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Summary and Info
  • IFBench

    Rescue Team Member
    Location
    Pokemon Paradise
    Partners
    1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
    Every story has at least two sides.

    A human named Gen wakes up as an Oshawott, retaining all his memories. After meeting a Chikorita and a Charmander, he makes a hasty decision, and lies that he is an amnesiac and not a human. As he journeys with the two, he ensnares himself in his own web of lies as he tries to find a way back home. All the while, Pokemon go missing, turning up in strange places, surrounded by shadowy auras.

    4_bench_final.png

    Cover art by AG_Systems.

    Mainly inspired by Gates and RTDX

    Takes place post-Super. Contains spoilers for all PMD games.


    Updates will be semi-often until I have all completed chapters up here, then they will probably change to a roughly biweekly schedule.

    I would like to request that any reviews aren't too harsh, if that's ok. I also prefer reviews on the story and characters rather than just the prose and grammar, but I'll still accept feedback on those. Line-by-line reactions are perfectly fine, though!

    Again, I want to reiterate, please don't be too critical. Please.

    Other sites where this fic is also at:

    AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/works/26285359/chapters/63992398
    FFN: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13688748/1/Pokemon-Mystery-Dungeon-Shadows-of-Eternity


    Chapter 3: Slight blood.

    Chapter 5: Body horror, mention of death.

    Chapter 7: Slight blood, panic attacks.

    This post will be updated as I figure out the site more.​
     
    Last edited:
    Chapter 1: Between Worlds
  • IFBench

    Rescue Team Member
    Location
    Pokemon Paradise
    Partners
    1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
    Chapter 1: Between Worlds
    My eyes slowly opened, as I woke up, still tired, not ready for whatever today would bring. I rubbed my eyes, feeling grass brush up against my arm as I moved it.

    Wait, grass?! I don’t remember sleeping outside!

    I hastily stood up, and gawked at what I saw. A few meters away, the ground ended, and beyond, was a constantly changing sky, of greens and purples and blues and whites, all shifting and distorting with each second. I turned around, hoping that something else laid behind me, but the ground ended just as quickly that way, too. In every direction I looked, it ended the same distance away. I was on some sort of circular plateau.

    I walked over to the edge, and looked down, to see if there was some way down. I hurriedly retreated in shock, before standing back up. There was nothing but a completely vertical drop into an abyss, that looked exactly like the strange skies above.

    This had to be a dream. This couldn’t be real. I pinched my arm, and winced. That pain felt real. This was real. This was happening. Where was I?! How did I get here?!

    My mind raced with questions, before I calmed myself down. There had to be some sort of explanation for all this. Maybe if I close my eyes, then everything will be ok. I shut my eyes, and opened them a few seconds later. Everything seemed to be the same as it was before I tried that, except I could now see something red in the corner of my vision. That wasn’t there before. I turned to the left to see exactly what that was.

    It was some sort of mailbox at the side of the platform, with a pencil, and a piece of paper next to it. I walked over, and read the paper, which had the words, "Please write your name on this paper, then put it in the mailbox." I picked up the pencil, then hesitated.

    What was I even doing? None of this made any sense! Who wrote this, and why should I listen to them?

    Did I really have any other choice, though?

    After a minute of contemplation, I wrote down "Gen" on the paper, then inserted it into the mailbox. Without warning, it started glowing brightly. I quickly backed away from it. What was happening to it?! As the light flashed even brighter in intensity, I flinched, and closed my eyes.

    Suddenly, the light disappeared, and I heard a loud SNAP! I opened my eyes, and saw the top half of the mailbox was gone, a dark, jagged wooden post in its place. I hurried over, and peered over the edge to see if anything snapped it, barely catching the still red top half of the mailbox disappearing into the technicolor abyss. I backed away, shivering. What could have possibly done that?! As soon as I stepped back onto the center of the platform, the darkness in the post started to spread to the platform, causing the grass scattered around it to wilt and disappear, revealing a glassy, mirror-like layer underneath.

    Soon, the platform was completely devoid of grass. The entire platform now reflected the ever-changing sky above. Strangely, my reflection seemed to be blurry. What was up with that? As I looked down, I saw something white out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head towards whatever that was, and noticed that there was a white bow on the ground a short distance away.

    I walked over towards it, before picking it up. It was the softest fabric I had ever felt. As I rubbed the bow, taking in just how soft it was, I felt an odd sensation throughout my entire body. I faintly heard a voice, though I couldn’t tell what they were saying. Abruptly, the bow emitted an intense light, and my eyesight went dark.

    I couldn’t see anything. Did I go blind?!

    Soon, my vision started to return. Once my vision had fully cleared, the bow had taken on a blue coloration. I dropped it in surprise.

    What kept happening in the flashes of light?!

    After a few seconds, I calmed down, and picked the bow back up. As I did so, I noticed that, for some reason, my reflection looked different. I bent down to take a closer look. That looked like an...Oshawott?!

    What had happened to me while I was holding that bow?! There was no way I could have become a Pokemon. I had to still be human, right?

    I moved my hands in front of my face. They were still human hands. What was that all about? What was any of this all about?! I threw the bow back down at the ground.

    The platform suddenly shifted from a mirror-like surface to a dark, glassy one. Around the edges of the platform, shadows flared up. I jumped in surprise. What was happening now?!

    After a few seconds, the shadows dissipated for the most part, revealing a wide variety of Pokemon on the edges of the platform, all seemingly unconscious, and surrounded by a wavering shadowy aura.

    Oddly, there didn't seem to be any Water-types.

    A single paper had appeared in the center of the platform. I hesitated, before going over to it, and reading it. I gawked as I processed the message. "Rescue one," it read. Rescue from what?! Those shadows? Why only one?! This didn't make any sense! I grabbed the paper, crumpled it, and threw it. "What's going on?!" I yelled, as I looked towards the many-colored sky.

    "What...happened?" I heard a voice to the left. I quickly turned in the direction of it, only to find one of the Pokemon, a Chikorita, starting to wake up, the shadowy aura around it dissipating. The crumpled-up paper was next to it.

    Did I accidentally hit it with the paper?

    Suddenly, I realized something. All the other Pokemon on the platform had disappeared. Where did they go?!

    Wait a minute, was that voice the Chikorita?! No, it couldn't be. Pokemon couldn't talk. Well, there was that one Meowth that was on the news once, but that was just one Pokemon...right?

    I began to approach the Chikorita, only for it to open its mouth and...actually speak. "Who...are you?" it said. I froze in complete shock. What was happening?! Nothing here made any sense!

    The Chikorita stood fully up, only for my vision to be obscured by a flash of light. Once I could see again, the Chikorita was frozen in place, mouth agape. Did something happen to it?

    I walked over to it, and once I was next to it, I noticed the platform start to shift again.

    The dark, glassy surface of the platform once more became mirror-like. The Chikorita near me still seemed to be frozen in shock after whatever happened to it. I could see blurry reflections of that Oshawott, the Chikorita, and...something else.

    I looked up. I barely had time to scream.

    A massive hand was reaching down for us. Pink and black, coming from a spiral high in the sky.

    I grabbed the Chikorita and ran to the edge of the platform, hoping to avoid it, only for it to smash into the platform, completely shattering it.

    As the platform broke apart, and we fell into the abyss, I could hear my own screams, as well as many more.
     
    Last edited:
    Chapter 2: Lost and Found
  • IFBench

    Rescue Team Member
    Location
    Pokemon Paradise
    Partners
    1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
    Chapter 2: Lost and Found

    Overcast Village

    I looked over the billboard, full with missing posters, lit by the sunlight that made its way through the clouds above. It’s depressing how small our town has gotten. I recognized Treecko, Sneasel, Morpeko, Orbeetle, Flapple, even Leon. I heard the whole Kecleon clan was looking for him. I haven’t seen Kecky at all since he disappeared. At least my own family isn’t among the missing.

    One missing poster in particular caught my eye, struggling to stay attached to the billboard against the breeze, depicting a Chikorita with an autumn-red leaf. That was Saltriv! I hadn’t seen them since school ended for the year. Their family helped run the item shop whenever one of the Kecleon brothers was out, though these days they run it full-time.

    I needed to do something. So many people were going missing, and so few were being found. Many of those that were found were shadowy, and had to be taken out of town to get better.

    Maybe I could go look for Saltriv. They were the one up there that I knew the best. They were pretty young compared to most of the others on the billboard; if they had gone shadowy, I could probably take them on, especially with today’s fire-type V-Wave.

    I hoped it wouldn’t come to that, though.

    I nodded to myself. It was decided, then. I’d go look for Saltriv.

    I had to do this in secret. There was no way I could find two other people who would agree to making a search party with me. Aron and Rockruff were both still tired after yesterday, and Helioptile was several towns over. Even if that weren’t the case, I doubt they’d be up for a full-time commitment like that. Plus, if Dad or the police ever learned what I was doing, I’d never hear the end of it.

    I headed over to the nearest deposit box to get everything I’d need, putting it all in my bag. Apple in case I get hungry, check! Max ether in case I get exhausted, check! A slumber wand to incapacitate Saltriv if they’ve gone shadowy, check! Two oran berries in case I get hurt, check! A tiny reviver seed just in case, check! Connection orb to find where Saltriv was, check! I still had my pecha scarf and looplet on in case they were in a Mystery Dungeon. I was all ready.

    I walked out of the main square and off the path to a small stone slab behind the house Flapple lived in before he disappeared. I took out the connection orb and threw it down at the ground. SMASH! The connection orb shattered into tiny pieces on the ground. Hopefully no one heard that. I’ll have to ask PNS-NT later to Recycle it.

    I emerged from behind the house and reentered the square. I could see all sorts of lines connecting the Pokemon around the square, some faint, some bold, some green, some orange. The connection orb was already working. I headed towards the Kecleon shop, where Mrs. Meganium and Mr. Torterra were talking to a Wooper I didn’t recognize—who soon left with a cheri berry. The pink line between the two was strong, and a blue line just as strong was behind each, both heading in the direction of the forest. Those must be the lines connecting them and Saltriv.

    I waited until another customer approached the two. When they weren’t looking, I left the square and followed the blue lines towards the forest. Luckily, it wasn’t too far away.

    Eventually, the lines converged, entering a gap in the treeline. Twig Woodland. A Mystery Dungeon. I’d been in one before, though never alone.

    Deep breaths. In, and out. Let my tail flame grow, then die down. Burn the stress away.

    I could do this. I could do this. I already helped find Patrat. I did it before. I could do it again.

    Saltriv was in there somewhere, and I would find them.

    As the clouds parted, letting the sun fully shine down, I entered the Mystery Dungeon.

    Hopefully, I wouldn’t be the next one missing.

    ===================================================================

    Twig Woodland Clearing

    The sound of trees swaying in the breeze reached my ears. Blades of grass pushed up against me as they were buffeted by a gale. I felt a leaf brush against my face as it was carried away by a gust of wind. My eyes opened slowly as I struggled to full awareness.

    As I stood up, I noticed that things were very different than they were on that platform surrounded by a psychedelic abyss. The ground seemed to continue quite a ways away, and was uneven, unlike the perfectly flat ground of that platform. There were trees around, and through the openings in their branches, I saw a bright blue sky with clouds strewn about. Twigs were scattered everywhere.

    Oddly, these trees seemed much taller than the ones near home. Probably just a different kind. I realized I was in a patch of tall grass. I needed to get out of here before I was attacked by a wild Pokemon. The ground seemed a lot closer than normal, too…

    Wait a minute.

    Something wasn’t right here.

    I took a step forward, only to stumble and lose my balance. I waved my arms wildly as I face-planted into the ground. They felt a lot shorter than they did before, somehow. My legs felt much shorter as well, as if they were barely there at all. Actually, come to think of it, my whole body felt strange.

    What had happened to me?!

    I moved my arms in front of my face and barely held back a scream. They were short, furry, and ended in nubs.

    Those were Oshawott arms. Just like in that reflection in that place.

    What.

    How did this happen. Why did this happen.

    “What the hell is happening?!” I yelled towards the sky.

    “Where...am I?”

    I froze. I recognized that voice. That was the Chikorita that fell with me after...whatever that hand thing was shattered the platform.

    I turned around towards the voice, and saw that same Chikorita as before—the same red leaf and everything. They looked much larger now, though.

    They turned towards me, and asked, “Who are you?”

    It was still startling to see a Pokemon actually talking, so much so that it was a few seconds before I remembered to respond. “Uh, Gen. You?”

    “I’m Saltriv!” A concerned look appeared on their face. “Do you know where we are?”

    “Not at all,” I responded, a bit quicker than before.

    “Wonder how I got here, then…” they said as they looked around.

    I sighed. I was stuck who-knows-where as an Oshawott with a talking Chikorita, with no idea what was going on, and it didn’t seem like they knew, either.

    Actually, did they?

    Maybe they knew something that could help me figure things out. Or, at least, let me figure out what was going on with them.

    “What do you last remember?” I asked them.

    Saltriv turned back towards me. “I was walking down the path to visit Burhalla. The next thing I knew, I woke up in this strange place with a weird sky, and there was this tall thing that looked just like the humans of legends! They approached me, and I asked who they were. Then...for some reason I couldn’t move anymore. The human looked up, then grabbed me and ran, just as something smashed down where we were. Then I woke up here. I think that human saved me! Or maybe it was just a dream,” they said, before pausing.

    “What do you last remember?” they echoed back.

    What do I say? That I was that human? They probably wouldn’t believe me. They were already partly convinced that the whole thing was a dream. I probably would be, too, if I hadn’t tested to see if it was.

    Maybe they would believe me, though. Maybe, somehow, they’d believe me, even though I looked nothing like a human anymore.

    I opened my mouth, about to tell Saltriv, before I heard a loud SNAP!

    I jumped in surprise and heard a startled yelp from Saltriv.

    What was that?! Did something find us? I had no idea how to defend myself!

    Through an opening in the trees, an orange figure approached, lighting up the forest around him as he drew near. Soon, that light was recognizable as a fire on the tip of a tail. A Charmander. He wore a pink scarf around his neck and had a bag slung around his shoulder. On his wrist was some sort of strange bracelet, with a purple gemstone, and two indentations in the same shape as that gemstone.

    I was about to ask who he was when Saltriv ran straight towards the Charmander. “Burhalla!”

    Burhalla ran towards Saltriv and tackled them in a hug. “Saltriv! You’re ok!”

    Another talking Pokemon? Could all the Pokemon here talk?! Or...was it just because I’m an Oshawott now? How did I hear Saltriv back there, then?

    I decided to let the two be as I pondered what had happened.

    “Where are we?”asked Saltriv.

    This made no sense whatsoever. First, there was whatever that place I woke up in where I met Saltriv, and I could somehow understand them, then the entire platform got shattered by that giant hand thing, and now I was here, in—

    “Twig Woodland,” Burhalla answered.

    —Twig Woodland, apparently, as an Oshawott, and I had no idea why I was like this. Did that hand do this? Was it me falling into that abyss? Did my friends and family know where I was?

    “Isn’t that a Mystery Dungeon? How did I get here?”

    Wait, a Mystery Dungeon? What was that?

    “It’s a long story. I’ll explain it all when we’re back home.”

    Before I could ask what a Mystery Dungeon was, Burhalla seemed to have noticed my presence and was now facing me.

    “Sorry I didn’t notice ya. Who are you?” he asked. I could faintly notice small droplets in his eyes. Were those tears? I didn’t know fire-types could cr—

    “Hello? You there?” he said, waving a hand in front of my face.

    “Right. Gen,” I hastily responded. I had to make sure to pay attention to him.

    “How’d you get here?” he asked.

    I answered, “I have no idea.” Well, besides maybe falling into that abyss, but I doubted he’d believe that.

    “Figures. Where are you from? I don’t remember seeing any Oshawotts around town,” Burhalla questioned.

    I froze. What do I say? My hometown? He’d be even less likely than Saltriv to believe that I was a human, since he wasn’t in that weird place. Also, apparently, humans were legends here. I didn’t really have time to process that before, but now...it’s unlikely that my hometown exists here. Even if they did believe me if I said that I was a human from another world, what if they started asking me questions about my world? I doubted they’d react well to knowing about how Pokemon like them were usually treated in my world.

    “You still there?” Crap, crap, need to think of something quick!

    “I don’t remember,” I blurted out. That was a complete lie, but I had to roll with it now.

    The other two were visually shocked. “You don’t remember? Not at all?” Saltriv asked.

    I shook my head. “Nope,” I lied through my teeth.

    “What do you remember?” Burhalla asked, concern evident on his face.

    “Just my name and how to do some things,” I said. I was digging myself deeper and deeper. I hoped they’d lay off the questioning soon, then I could worry about getting back home. .

    “...this is very concerning. Saltriv and I were about to head back to Overcast Village. You should come too. Maybe the mayor will be able to help!”

    I began to sweat. Maybe I should just come clean now? No, then nobody here would trust me. And apparently Pokemon in this world lived in towns?

    I was about to ask about Overcast Village, when Burhalla reached into his bag, seeming to be searching for something, before his expression paled. “...I forgot to bring an escape orb.”

    Was that like an escape rope? Whatever it was, it seemed important, as Saltriv’s expression also paled.

    Burhalla chuckled nervously. “Looks like we’ll have to go back through the dungeon. Hope you still remember your moves at least, Gen.”

    This was really getting out of hand. I had no idea how to defend myself, and I had no idea what this “dungeon” entailed. I looked towards the two, and saw that they were already exiting the clearing in the same direction Burhalla entered it in. If I didn’t hurry up, I’d be all alone!

    “Wait up!” I yelled after Saltriv and Burhalla, as I followed them down into the depths of the dungeon.
     
    Last edited:
    Chapter 3: Coexistence
  • IFBench

    Rescue Team Member
    Location
    Pokemon Paradise
    Partners
    1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
    Chapter 3: Coexistence

    Slight blood.

    Twig Woodland B1F

    I walked you through the dungeon, my flipper-like legs squelching against the dirt with each step. Such an alien, uncomfortable feeling. What I wouldn’t give to be me again.


    Focus, you idiot! We’re still looking for that Charmander! You thought.


    Right, right. Had to focus. We had to find that Charmander.


    We entered a corridor, only for me to be immediately tackled by a Poochyena. I felt your grip tighten on what we held. A strange orb with a bright light inside, and an oran berry, both picked up on this floor.


    You zapped them with a Thundershock, and they fainted. Something buzzed within my snow. Our Pokedexes, stored away. I had completely forgotten about those. You hadn’t.


    Forget about that for now! That Charmander’s probably on the next floor by now!
    You thought.


    Bloody Unovan. I thought back, as we resumed down the corridor, and ended up in a wide room.


    Your region is the one that manufactures the freaks of nature we’re stuck as! You thought, before we saw the stairs tucked away in the corner, and a Phantump approaching us. Forget about that for now! Go!


    I tried my best to run over, internally cursing how slow my new method of locomotion was, as the Phantump grew closer. Just before it reached us, we made it down the stairs.


    Twig Woodland B2F


    Immediately, we were ambushed by a Sewaddle, who promptly snatched your oran berry and ran. I heard your curses, both internally and externally. I’d make sure it never saw the light of day again.


    Idiot! The Charmander is still in here! We have to find it! You thought, as I ignored you, going down a corridor after the Sewaddle, as it got farther and farther away. I didn’t give up, though, as we entered the room it was on the other side of.


    Abruptly, a horde of Pokemon dropped down. Now look what you’ve done!


    The only thing we had that could possibly get us out of this was that orb. Neither of us had any idea what it did. It could make things worse.


    Would you rather just let them kill us? I thought, as the mob surrounded us.

    Once we get out of this, I’m strangling you. If we get out of this.


    You threw it at a Skiddo right as it lunged for us. A pillar of light enveloped us, and before we could comprehend what was happening, we were lifted up.


    ===================================================================


    Twig Woodland B4F

    “The layout’s still the same, it seems. This shouldn’t be too difficult, then,” Burhalla said, as we emerged into a larger, oddly rectangular clearing bordered by a thick layer of trees, with gaps in many places.


    “Hold on!” I yelled, as the two started to walk towards one of those gaps. “What were you talking about with this being a dungeon?”


    Burhalla halted for a second. “I’ll explain as we walk. It’s not safe to stay in one place in a Mystery Dungeon,” Burhalla answered, as he continued onwards. I hurried after him, stumbling a few times due to my new body shape. My legs were so short that I almost had to uncomfortably waddle instead of walk. I had to deal with the weight of my tail, too, which had its own set of weird feelings as it dragged against the ground.


    As we entered the gap, I noticed that it led into a narrow pathway, still bordered by trees, perfectly straight.


    Wait a minute.


    That clearing was too rectangular, and this path too straight, to be natural.


    Something was up with this. Is this what they were talking about with this being a Mystery Dungeon?


    “You really don’t know what a Mystery Dungeon is?” Saltriv asked, bringing me out of my thoughts. “Everyone knows about them!


    “Nope,” I said, as I shook my head.


    “They’re places where reality isn’t working right. I’ve only been in a few before!” Saltriv explained.


    Before I could question further, Burhalla spoke up.


    “Mystery Dungeons are places where reality is unstable. They have a certain number of floors, connected to each other by stairways. Each floor is made up of a set of rooms and corridors connecting them. The stairways are never in the corridors, always in the rooms, and with few exceptions, every floor only has one staircase. Every time one goes into a Mystery Dungeon, the layout changes,” he said.


    I heard him mutter something about being able to recite it from memory.


    This didn’t sound like anything I’ve heard of back in Johto. Really, nothing here did. Reality being unstable in places? Humans being legends? Pokemon that lived in towns without humans? Everything here was so strange and foreign, including my own body.


    There was nothing I could do about that right now, though. For now, my only real option was to go with Burhalla and Saltriv.


    I did wonder, though. How big was this place? How much longer until I’d be out of here, and could hopefully start figuring out what was up with everything?


    “How many floors does this one have?” I asked.


    “Four,” he answered.


    “When do you suppose we’ll be out?”


    “The layout hasn’t changed, so not very long. I remember where the stairs are for each floor. The stairs for this floor are just up ahead,”


    Just a little bit longer in this odd place. Just a little bit longer.


    Soon, the path opened into another rectangular clearing. These clearings were probably the rooms Burhalla was talking about.


    “There they are!” Saltriv yelled, as they ran into the room, Burhalla following after. Not wanting to be left behind, I hurried after the two.


    There was a staircase at the side of the room, and a shiny red apple on the ground next to it. Come to think of it, I was feeling a bit hungry, and it did look pretty appetizing. Was it safe to eat, though?


    “A fresh apple! The Kecleon brothers have been running low on them. They’ll be happy to have some more,” Saltriv said, as they ran over towards the apple.


    I noticed Burhalla’s expression pale, as I wondered who the Kecleon brothers were. He walked over to the apple, and put it in his bag. “I need to tell you something,” he said, looking at Saltriv.


    “Huh?” Saltriv responded.


    “Let’s go to the next floor first.” He started walking up the stairs, and Saltriv and I followed behind.


    What was that all about?


    Twig Woodland B3F

    We emerged into a square room, with corridors to my front and right. Also to my right, there was a small pink heart-shaped thing, with lighter spots near the point of it, and two green leaves on the opposite side. I’m pretty sure that was a pecha berry. They cured poison, right? Would I need to worry about poison? It would probably be a good idea to take it just in case. I walked over to it as the other two talked, picking it up with the end of my left arm. I didn't have any fingers anymore, yet I could still grasp it, like my nubs were some sort of suction cup almost. It felt completely different to grabbing stuff with my hands.


    As I pondered this, Burhalla said, “About the Kecleon brothers...Leon’s gone missing. Kecky and the rest of the Kecleon clan have been searching for him for weeks.”


    “What do you mean?! I talked to them just yesterday after the last day of school!” Saltriv responded.


    “Saltriv...you’ve been missing for months.”


    “W-what?!”


    “School ended a while ago. I haven’t seen you at all since then. Just today, I saw your missing poster on the bulletin board. I thought you had gone shadowy, like Patrat had. I thought I was going to have to fight you once I found you. But you’re ok, and I’m so glad for that.”


    “B-Burhalla…I've really been gone for that long?”


    “You have, but you're here now. Come on. Let's go home.”


    This was a lot to take in. First off, Pokemon had school here?! Was there an entire civilization of Pokemon in this world? Leon, whoever that was, and Saltriv had both gone missing for quite a while, apparently. And there was a Patrat that had gone shadowy, whatever that meant, and Burhalla had thought Saltriv did too? Did that have anything to do with that shadowy aura I saw around the Pokemon back on that platform, including Saltriv?


    I was about to run over and ask what any of that meant, when I heard something to my right. Once I turned in that direction, I saw a bird Pokemon with black, white, and red feathers as well as a long, narrow beak flying down the corridor towards me. Did that Pokemon know anything about what was happening?


    “Hello? Who are you?” I asked it, only to be swiftly answered by it ramming its beak into my forehead.


    “GAH!” I yelped, as my free hand immediately went to where it had hit me. I didn’t seem to be bleeding, but it still hurt.


    This Pokemon was behaving like the wild Pokemon back home. Did those exist here, too? I didn’t have much time to ponder that, as it tried pecking at me again. I grimaced in pain as its beak collided with my forehead once more.

    I had to do something against this. Come on, what moves did Oshawotts know? Water gun? Totodiles can know it, so maybe other water-type starters can as well? How do I do it, though? Do I just say it? Just point at it? Just imagine doing it? Couldn’t hurt to try all three at once. I pointed my free arm at the Pokemon, and yelled, “Water gun!” trying to imagine a stream of water being shot at it.

    Nothing happened. It pecked at me again. Ow. I think that one broke the skin.


    Ok, so I didn’t know how to do moves. Hopefully just trying to punch at it can suffice?


    Before I could try that, a burst of flame flew by me at the bird Pokemon, followed by a leaf going even faster.


    “Gen!” I heard Saltriv’s voice beside me. I looked to my left, and saw them and Burhalla there.


    The bird Pokemon tried to peck at me again, only for a glint to appear in Saltriv’s eyes, and out of nowhere, a rock crashed down upon it. It crashed to the ground, and the rock crumbled into dust.


    “Are you ok?” Burhalla asked. Saltriv looked at me in concern. Both of them had their eyes wet with tears.


    “I can manage,” I replied. “What was with that Pokemon?”


    “Let’s go down the corridor before we get attacked again,” he said, as he brushed past me and headed down the path the Pokemon that attacked me came from. I followed suit, shortly followed by Saltriv.


    As we headed down the corridor, he began, “In Mystery Dungeons, there are many Pokemon that will attack anyone that have entered the dungeon. Very few are able to listen to reason.”


    Before I could try to formulate a response, I heard snickering behind me. I turned around, only to see Saltriv seemingly trying to suppress a laugh.


    “What is it,” I said.


    “You really don’t remember how to use moves, do you? You can’t just yell the name of the move and have it work!” Saltriv answered between giggles.


    “I don’t remember how moves work,” I answered. It wasn’t a complete lie.


    “Something is seriously wrong if you don’t even remember that. Do you at least know what that is that you’re holding?” Burhalla asked, pointing to the pecha berry I held.


    “A...pecha berry?” I tentatively answered. I really hoped they were called the same thing in this messed-up place.


    “That’s right,” said Burhalla, as he breathed a sigh of what was hopefully relief. “At least you remember some things.”


    We emerged from the corridor into another room, and the stairs were right in front of us. “Let’s go,” said Burhalla as he went up the stairs, me and Saltriv following behind. I noticed a single tear fall to the ground near them as we ascended the staircase. Was Saltriv ok?


    Twig Woodland B2F

    We emerged into another room, with a single corridor to my front. I was about to head towards it, but stopped as I heard Saltriv speak up.


    “Who else went missing?” they asked, the laughter in their voice from before absent.


    “Besides you and Leon, Treecko, Sneasel, Morpeko, Orbeetle, even Flapple. And that's just the ones I knew personally,” Burhalla responded, melancholy evident in his voice.


    “My mom and dad...are they still ok?”


    “I'd have told you if they weren't. I'm not my father. I don't lie about things like that.”


    There was bitterness in Burhalla’s voice as he said that.


    This was bad. This was very bad. If he found out I was lying about not remembering anything, I'd be alone in this world. I was in too deep now to admit to things, either. He'd never believe me. The only thing I could do was keep up the act and hope he never finds out.


    “Is something up, Gen?” Burhalla asked, looking at me now. “Your expression’s a bit pale.”


    Crap, he might be onto me! Had to think of an excuse quickly. Come on, come on...


    “Something’s coming,” I bluffed without thinking. No! That wouldn’t work, unless I got extraordinarily lucky.


    Before he could ask, a small Pokemon wrapped in leaves entered the room we were in through the single corridor. I breathed a sigh of relief, only to be cut short as I was covered in silk. The sensation of the sticky string against my new fur was not pleasant in the slightest.


    As I tried to untangle myself, I saw two Embers head towards the Sewaddle, one after another.


    Huh?!


    I was pretty sure Chikoritas couldn’t learn Ember, so where did that second one come from? I didn’t see anyone else in the room besides me, Saltriv, Burhalla, and the now-fainted Sewaddle. Was that just a move I had never seen before? Double Ember?


    To my relief, the silk quickly disappeared after the Sewaddle fainted, just in time for me to notice an oran berry rolling away from it. Those healed Pokemon, right? Maybe it would be able to heal my forehead after what that bird Pokemon had done to it.


    I started walking over to it, only to see Saltriv running at me. “How’d you know that Sewaddle was coming?” they asked, an amazed, yet curious expression on their face.


    “I just sorta...felt it, I guess,” I lied. I was digging myself deeper, but it was too late at this point for me to be honest.


    “Wow! That’s amazing!” Saltriv exclaimed, as I saw Burhalla pick up the oran berry out of the corner of my vision, and put it in his bag.


    “Let’s go on,” he said, as he proceeded into the corridor. “We can talk as we walk.”


    Saltriv rushed after him, and I followed suit.


    “You just felt it coming?” Burhalla asked, his expression one of awe. I shuddered. What excuse could I give?


    Before I could think up a reply, the corridor ended, opening up into the largest room yet. The moment we entered it, my eyes widened, and I held back a scream.


    It was filled with Pokemon. There was a Skiddo to our left, and a Poochyena a bit farther in that direction. To our right, there was a Weedle next to a brown Pokemon that resembled a Pachirisu. On the far side of the room, there was a small Pokemon I didn’t recognize covered in grass and twigs, and the staircase was to the right of it.


    All of them turned to face us.


    “Run for it!” yelled Burhalla. I immediately complied, hurrying towards the stairs as fast as I could manage, hyperventilating as I ran. This was terrifying!


    Burhalla rushed straight through the room, and did two Embers in rapid succession at the Pokemon near the staircase, running forth as the Skiddo chased after him. Saltriv swerved around to the right, briefly pausing as the Weedle jabbed its stinger at them, but continuing onwards, tackling the Pachirisu-like Pokemon on their way. I tried to keep up, but I was knocked to the ground by the Poochyena tackling me. I tried to get myself back upright, only for it to bite my forehead right where that bird Pokemon had attacked me before. I yelped as pain flooded through my body, amplified as it tackled me once more.


    Suddenly, I saw an orb of light shoot into the Poochyena. Its attacks slowed before stopping altogether, and I watched as the Poochyena's eyes closed. I had no idea what that was about, but I’ll take it. I quickly got back up, and continued towards the stairs, seeing Saltriv and Burhalla right before them, the latter holding an odd purple stick that had a zig-zag formation at one end. The Weedle, Skiddo, and Pachirisu-like Pokemon were nearby, still standing.


    “Hurry!” Burhalla yelled, before sending a single Ember at the Skiddo as it charged at them.


    I ran as fast as my tiny legs could carry me, and soon, reunited with Saltriv and Burhalla in front of the staircase. The moment I arrived, they dashed up it. I quickly followed, not daring to look back.


    Twig Woodland B1F

    The moment we reached the room at the top of the stairs, I collapsed, breathing heavily. Luckily, the room seemed to be empty save for us, the staircase, and corridors to my left and right. Hopefully it would stay that way long enough for me to recuperate.


    Saltriv broke the silence. “Oww...I think that Weedle poisoned me,” they said, before turning towards me. “Do you still have that pecha berry? I need it.”


    I looked down at my left arm, and saw that, somehow, I had been able to hold onto it through all that. That made no sense whatsoever, but neither did a lot of things that happened since I woke up on that platform. Either way, Saltriv needed the berry. I nodded, and handed it over to them. The moment it was near Saltriv, they devoured it.


    I could probably use a berry, too, of the oran variety. I could feel liquid streaming through the fur on my forehead. That Poochyena really did a number on me. Hopefully orans still healed Pokemon in this world. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t, given how bizarre everything here is. Then again, pecha berries still seemed to cure poison if Saltriv was anything to go by.


    I looked over towards Burhalla, and said, “I need an oran berry. That Poochyena hurt me a lot.”


    He dug into his bag, and pulled out a small, round blue object with a short green top. “Here,” he said, as he gave it to me. I grabbed it with my odd suction-like grip, and stuffed it into my face. It tasted odd, a mild mix of various flavors, with a noticeable lack of sweetness. Not bad. I could already notice my pain disappearing, as it was replaced by reinvigoration.


    “Let’s go. We’re almost out,” said Burhalla, as he proceeded towards the left corridor. “This way.”


    Saltriv headed after him, as did I shortly after.


    “That was terrifying! I never want to go into a monster house again!” Saltriv exclaimed a few steps into the corridor.


    “I don’t think that was a monster house. With monster houses, the Pokemon drop from the ceiling. That didn’t happen back there. There weren’t any items there, either,” Burhalla responded. “I think we just got very unlucky. But we’ve made it through that, and we’re almost home.”


    “What’s a monster house?” I asked. I wondered what he meant with items, but the term “monster house” seemed a lot more threatening and concerning.


    “They’re rooms in mystery dungeons where a bunch of dungeon Pokemon ambush you at once! They’re filled with items to lure you in, then once you’re there, you’re surrounded!” Saltriv enthusiastically explained. “Leon once told me a story about how he had chased a thief into one! Once we’re out of here, I’ll...” they trailed off. Silence filled the corridor.


    “It’s going to be ok,” said Burhalla.


    The corridor ended, leading into a small room. There were corridors to my front and left, and to my right, was a gap in the trees larger than any corridor entrance I had seen in here, filled with light.


    “There’s our exit,” said Burhalla. “Once we enter that, we’ll be out of there, and it’ll just be a short walk home.”


    “Wonder how much things changed since I…” Saltriv commented, before trailing off.


    As I gazed at the light, I realized something.


    I had very little idea what this world was like outside mystery dungeons. I barely had a clue about what life was like here.


    Would I need to hunt for food, or did stores exist here? Would I need to sleep outside, or had Pokemon invented houses in this place?


    Even if stuff like stores and houses were a thing here, I didn’t have any of this world’s money. Did it even have any, actually? Were goods here provided on some other merit, like battles won or something?


    I did not know in the slightest. And if I didn’t wake up back home in Goldenrod tomorrow, I’d need to know.


    I needed someone to help show me how this world worked, and maybe get me a place to stay, at least until I get back home.


    I looked over towards Saltriv and Burhalla. The two were conversing about something, though I wasn’t paying attention about what.


    They were the only two I had met since I arrived here. Maybe they could help me.


    Hopefully they’d be willing to.


    “Can I go with you two? I don’t have anywhere else to go,” I asked the two.


    Burhalla smiled. “Of course! I already offered to bring you to the mayor to see if she could help.” His smile faded a bit. “Did you forget that too?”


    Right. With everything that had happened in here, that slipped my mind.


    “No, I just...a lot happened,” I responded.


    “Maybe you could start keeping a journal to help you remember things!” Saltriv suggested.


    I had no idea how a Chikorita would be able to write, or what writing in this world was like, but it wouldn’t be much help for me. It didn’t work out well when I tried keeping one years back, anyways. Trying it again now probably wouldn’t turn out much better. If I really had amnesia, maybe it’d help, but that was just a lie.


    Had to keep up the act, though.


    “I’ll keep it in mind,” I replied.


    I turned back towards the light-filled gap in the trees. Beyond this laid a world completely foreign to me. I didn’t know what to expect, or what to prepare for.


    At least I had some acquaintances who knew.


    “Let’s go home,” Burhalla said.


    The three of us walked into the light.
     
    Last edited:
    Chapter 4: Home Sweet Home
  • IFBench

    Rescue Team Member
    Location
    Pokemon Paradise
    Partners
    1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
    Chapter 4: Home Sweet Home

    Twig Woodland Outskirts

    Light flooded my vision, before fading. Before me, was a dirt path leading into the distance up a sunset-lit hill. The trees were much sparser now, no longer forming solid walls.

    “We’re out!” exclaimed Burhalla, as I heard something shatter.

    What was that?!

    Before I could ask what that was, Saltriv started running down the path, before stopping a few steps away, and turning around, a worried expression on their face. “Come on! I want to see my family again!” they demanded.

    I could understand their worry. I’d been through something like that once, though not to this degree.

    I shuddered as the memory came back. Listening to the news about how Kyogre and Groudon were rampaging near Hoenn, frantically packing only the necessities before leaving the house, getting lost in the crowd and separated from my family as everyone in Goldenrod evacuated, calling out for help to no avail...If that brawl had made its way to Johto—

    “Gen! Come on!” Saltriv’s voice echoed, breaking that train of thought. I had gotten lost in my thoughts again. I needed to focus on the task at hand, that being going with Burhalla and Saltriv.

    I ran towards the two, and together, the three of us headed along the path towards the sunset.

    No words were spoken for some time. I think we were all just relieved to be out of that place. I know I was.

    As we climbed the hill, I started to hear unfamiliar voices, though I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying. I slowed my pace a bit. I looked towards the other two, and they didn’t seem to notice them. Was I just hearing things?

    Should I tell the others? Would they believe me? Would it be a good idea to keep this a secret from them after what Burhalla had said?

    In the midst of me trying to figure out what to do, I saw a trio of figures emerge over the hilltop. I couldn’t tell what they were from this distance, but Burhalla seemingly could, as his footsteps halted.

    “Berry crackers. I’ve been found out,” I heard him mumble under his breath.

    The figures continued to approach, and I could now make them out. A Typhlosion, a Meganium, and a Porygon-Z.

    There was an audible gasp, and the Meganium came barreling at us with a shout of, “SALTRIV!”

    This was probably one of Saltriv’s parents, then.

    Saltriv ran off from our group with a similar shout of, “MOM!”

    As the two reunited, the Typhlosion approached us. Out of the corner of my vision, I noticed Burhalla’s expression pale.

    “Burhalla,” the Typhlosion spoke, briefly glancing at Saltriv, before turning back to the Charmander.

    “Hi, dad,” Burhalla responded after a pause.

    “I understand what you were doing. Really, I do. And I’m glad that you found Saltriv. But you should have known better! You could have gone missing, or worse!” Burhalla’s father roared at him. “What if you had? What would I do? What would Valorch do? I need to have a stern talk with you once we’re home.”

    I stood there awkwardly, all alone, as two contrasting conversations played out near me. I looked back and forth between Saltriv and Burhalla, barely registering the Porygon-Z following the rest of their group down the hill.

    “Well, se-se-seems like Burhalla’s fine, and they even brought back Saltriv and this Oshawott! All’s well that en-en-ends well, at least!” the Porygon-Z stuttered, bringing me back to reality as I was finally addressed.

    I locked eyes with the Porygon-Z, before they leaned towards me. “So what’s yo-yo-your deal? I’ve nev-ev-ever seen you around town before,” they asked.

    “I’m Gen,” I responded, taking note of their...odd speech pattern. I remember learning that Porygon-Zs were unstable. Was that still true in this world?

    “Where are you from-om-om? My memory banks indicate the Oshawo-wo-wott family not being common on the Thunder continent,” they continued, their tone changing midway through to a more robotic one.

    What now? Do I tell them what I told Saltriv and Burhalla, since the two of them were right there? Would the Porygon-Z be able to tell it was a lie? I didn’t remember if the Porygon line were normal-type or psychic-type. Either way, I needed to decide, and quickly, before anyone got suspicious.

    “I don’t remember,” I lied, hoping I made the right choice, or at least the best choice I could at this point.

    “You do not recall what lo-lo-location you are from?! That’s ve-ve-very worrying,” the Porygon-Z replied, their tone again switching as they spoke.

    The conversation between Burhalla and his father stopped, as did the one between Saltriv and their mother.

    "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't even notice you. I was a bit...caught up," the Meganium said, with a glance towards Saltriv. “You really don’t remember where you’re from? What do you remember?” the Meganium continued, worry seeping into their voice.

    “Just my name, and how to do some things,” I parroted back my response to when Burhalla had asked that question, causing the look of worry on the Meganium’s face to worsen.

    “I’m not sure if I should believe you. You’re not faking it, trying to pretend to be another amnesiac human sent to save the world?” the Typhlosion interrogated. “There’s been four Pokemon who tried lying about that just this month.”

    My confidence shattered with his words. I couldn’t tell the truth now, after what Burhalla had said. Plus, given what the Typhlosion was saying, they definitely wouldn’t believe the truth. I could ponder this more later, though, for now, I had to reply.

    “I’m telling the tru-” I began, before I heard Saltriv speak up.

    “It’s true. He couldn’t even remember how to use moves,” they defended.

    The Typhlosion looked like he wanted to say something, and began to open his mouth, but Burhalla interjected.

    “I saw it too. He couldn’t even remember how to use Water Gun. He never mentioned being a human, either,” Burhalla backed up Saltriv and myself. I shot a grateful look towards him, and he nodded silently in response.

    “Can’t we talk about this more once we’re in town?” Saltriv pleaded. “I want to see dad again.”

    “That sounds like a splen-len-lendid idea! Le-le-let’s go back to the village,” the Porygon-Z spoke, before floating towards the hilltop.

    “If we don’t start heading back soon, we won’t return before nightfall,” the Meganium said, before following behind the Porygon-Z alongside Saltriv.

    The Typhlosion hesitated for a moment, before starting back up the hill. I did the same, Burhalla walking alongside me once I caught up to him.

    “You are telling me the truth, right?” he questioned, turning to me, a look of suspicion on his face. “You’re not another Pokemon doing that for attention?”

    “I’m not,” I hastily responded. It was true for one of his questions, at least.

    His expression changed to a more neutral one. “Ok. I don’t want to have to deal with more people keeping secrets from me.” He turned back towards the setting sun.

    He muttered, “Hopefully dad won’t be too harsh once I’m home.” I decided not to comment.

    This lie couldn’t end well.

    Soon, we reached the hilltop, and the view beyond became clear. I gawked at what was on the other side.

    There was a massive clearing in the middle of an even more massive forest down below. In it, there was what looked like buildings, and tiny specks migrating from place to place. The entire area was shrouded in a light layer of fog. Was this Overcast Village?

    I wasn’t left with much time to process it, as the group continued onwards, down the hill, forcing me to follow them, lest I be left behind.

    For a while, silence pervaded through the group, as we descended the hill. It wasn’t until we reached the forest that someone spoke up again.

    “Where did you find Saltriv, anyways?” the Meganium asked Burhalla, as we walked along the foggy path.

    “They were talking with Gen at the end of the dungeon,” Burhalla answered.

    “Really? How long had you two been talking?” the Meganium asked, turning towards Saltriv and myself.

    “Not for long. I woke up, Saltriv was there, we just introduced ourselves to each other, then Burhalla arrived,” I answered.

    “I just woke up there, and Gen was the first person I saw before Burhalla had found us,” Saltriv corroborated.

    The Meganium took a moment to take in this information, then continued onwards.

    Soon, the trees cleared up, and the path stopped at a wide stone circle covered in fog.

    “Welcome to Overcast Village!” Burhalla announced to me.

    Overcast Village

    It didn’t seem nearly as big as Goldenrod, but what it lacked in size, it made up for in wonder. I walked towards the center of the circle to get a better look at my surroundings. Right to the left of where the path ended was a bulletin board, filled with posters depicting many Pokemon. A Tyrogue was looking over the papers on it. Next to it, was a large tent in the shape of a Kecleon’s head, underneath which was an assortment of boxes guarded by a Torterra. On the other side of the path was some sort of strange box with many mechanisms on it. Heading away from it was a Pokemon with short arms, a V-shaped head, and a wispy tail, carrying what looked to be its pre-evolution on its head. There were many stone roads leading out of the circle, lined with houses that grew progressively fainter the further into the fog they were. Down one road that a Leafeon was walking across, I could barely see another stone circle like the one I currently stood on.

    It wasn’t quite like anything I had seen before. There were so many Pokemon here, and yet I felt so alone.

    I was jolted out of my thoughts as Burhalla’s father spoke up. “Time to go home,” he stated, before starting down one of the roads.

    “Wait, but-” Burhalla began, but the Typhlosion interrupted him before he could finish.

    “No ‘buts’. We’re going home, now,” the large fire-type said, before ushering Burhalla down one of the roads. Burhalla turned towards me with an apologetic expression, and before I could protest, he disappeared into the fog.

    Now what? Burhalla had offered to help me out, and now he was gone, at least for the time being.

    I looked over towards the remaining members of our group. The Porygon-Z was already heading down the road Burhalla and his father went down, leaving just me, Saltriv, and the Meganium, the latter two of which were conversing with the Torterra under the Kecleon-shaped tent. I heard a loud shout of “Saltriv!” from an unfamiliar voice. Was that the Torterra?

    Hopefully Saltriv would be willing to help. Otherwise, I was in trouble.

    I walked over towards the tent, and pleaded, “Can I stay with you all for the night? I don’t have anywhere to go.”

    “Of course! Right, mom?” Saltriv answered almost immediately. I wasn’t expecting a response that quickly.

    “We’ll have to discuss it first, but I’ll consider it,” the Meganium responded, causing my expression to fall. “You should have told me soone-”

    “They helped heal me when I got poisoned in that dungeon! Please?” Saltriv added.

    “Why not?” the voice from before spoke up. I realized it was the Torterra, who was now facing me. “We have enough room, anyways. You helped save Saltriv, we should pay you back somehow.”

    “Thanks, dad!” Saltriv exclaimed, their expression full of joy. That Torterra must be their father, then.

    “Looks like you can come with us then, Gen,” the Meganium stated, as I felt my mouth form into a smile. I had somewhere to live here now! At least, for tonight. I doubted I’d be able to stay much longer, if I was even still here tomorrow, and didn’t wake up back home.

    “Let’s head home. Night is almost upon us.” the Torterra said, exiting the tent. The Meganium started towards a road next to an oddly apple-shaped house. Saltriv and their father followed, and so did I.

    We walked down the foggy road for a short while, passing by many Pokemon I did and didn’t recognize, until Saltriv broke the silence. “There’s not as many Pokemon around as I remember.”

    “There’s been a lot of disappearances since you’ve been gone. You’ve probably already noticed the Kecleon brothers,” Meganium responded, a twinge of worry noticeable in her voice. “Did Burhalla already tell you about that?”

    “He did,” Saltriv answered. “Has it really been months since I...disappeared?”

    “Unfortunately, it has been,” Torterra replied. “We can talk more about that tomorrow. Right now, you’re back, and that’s all that matters.”

    Eventually, the others stopped, as we came to a house that looked like four massive pumpkins joined together, with gigantic leaves topping two of them, and a tree on top of a third.

    “We’re here,” Meganium announced, as the three of them entered a wide doorway, and I quickly followed suit.

    Saltriv’s Home

    It was quite spacious. To my right, there were entrances to the other rooms. In one corner of the room I was in, on the wall, were several cabinets, with small handles that resembled loops more than anything else. Underneath them was what seemed to be a radio on top of a table, yet no chairs. That’s probably to be expected, though. All the Pokemon that lived here were quadrupedal, and I didn’t know if chairs even existed in this world. The left side of the room held a bookshelf, every shelf filled with a colorful assortment of books, piquing my interest. What kind of literature did Pokemon have? I’d have to check that out later, assuming it was in a language I could read.

    “Wait here. I’ll get the guest bed,” Meganium said, before heading into another room, Torterra following after her, leaving me and Saltriv alone.

    The silence was quickly broken, as Saltriv spoke up. “You really do have amnesia? You’re not faking it like Burhalla’s dad said?”

    “I really do. Barely can remember anything,” I lied, before questioning if I really did need to keep this up. Burhalla was away, I presumably wasn’t in danger anymore, and the topic was right. Plus, Saltriv had memories of that platform, apparently. Maybe if I told them my memories of that place, they’d believe me?

    “Not even about being a human or something?” they pressed.

    “Nope,” I responded after a few moments. I weighed the odds. At best, Saltriv believes me, doesn’t tell anyone, and can help me get back home. However, it was far more likely that they wouldn’t believe me, especially after what Typhlosion said. Worst case scenario, Saltriv’s family kicks me out, Burhalla is told, and I have no one to help me figure out this world.

    “Anything in particular you do remember?” they continued.

    “Just my name, and a few other things,” I answered. I couldn’t risk it. It wasn’t worth the potential loss.

    “What kinds of things?” they asked.

    Before I could get a chance to even think how to respond, Meganium poked her head into the room we were in. “Everything’s all set! This way!” she told us, before turning back around. Saltriv ran after her, and so did I. It wasn’t long before we entered our destination.

    It wasn’t nearly as large as the first room of the house, but there was still a great deal within it. On the far side of the room, there were two straw mats, a thin blanket and a pillow beside each. Next to them was a wide, plain-looking box, bursting with an assortment of various items, some I recognized, some I didn’t. Among them was a strange gadget with a screen in the middle, and a glowing blue orb at the top. Was that some kind of Pokedex or something? On the ceiling was an open window, letting the last rays of sunlight for the day shine down upon the left mat.

    “Your bed is the one on the right,” Meganium pointed out, as Saltriv rushed into the straw mat on the left, lit by a quickly diminishing amount of sunlight. Those must be the beds, then. They didn’t look very comfortable.

    “Get along, you two,” Meganium asked the two of us. “I don’t want a repeat of last time.”

    “We will!” Saltriv assured. “He saved my life! Of course we’ll get along!”

    “Just making sure,” Meganium clarified, before heading out of the room.

    I walked over to the unlit mat, dreading what would come next. I braced myself, then flopped onto the bed of straw, finding it...much more comfortable than I expected. Huh.

    “You looked like you’ve never seen a bed before!” I heard Saltriv exclaim in bewilderment. “Haven’t you slept at all since you forgot everything?”

    “I haven’t. Waking up in that clearing with you is the first thing I remember,” I lied.

    “Weird. You should tell me exactly what you do remember! Or you could write it down in a journal! I think I have a spare one somewhere.”

    “Can we do that tomorrow?” I pleaded. “I’m tired.”

    “Ok! See you tomorrow!” Saltriv cheerfully replied, pulling their blanket over themself with a vine as they laid their head on a pillow.

    As I tucked myself in, I thought over everything that had happened today.

    There was whatever had happened on that platform in that psychedelic void. There was that mailbox that I put that paper in. What was the deal with that? There also was that really soft bow, that changed colors. Then my reflection turned into an Oshawott, just like I am now. After that was all those Pokemon with shadowy auras, and that note, telling me to save one. Was Saltriv the one I saved? Who wrote that, anyway? Did that have anything to do with what Burhalla said about “going shadowy”? And then there was that terrifying giant hand coming down for me. I’m not sure if I wanted to know what that was. And somehow Saltriv remembered it all? That place had made even less sense than this world did.

    Not that this world made much sense, either. I’m somehow an Oshawott now, just like my reflection on that platform. Pokemon lived in towns here, but there were also wild Pokemon, too? Burhalla also did two Embers one after the other back in Twig Woodland. I was almost certain moves couldn’t be used that quickly after each other. There was also that shattering sound once we exited the dungeon. I still had no clue what that was about. Speaking of mystery dungeons, those also didn’t make any sense at all. Something like that happening naturally was an impossibility with the laws of physics as I remembered them.

    At least I met Saltriv and Burhalla. They had offered to help me. Saltriv already was, convincing their family to let me stay the night here. I really needed to thank them once I woke up, and Burhalla, too.

    They’ve really been a big help so far, even if they might have suspicions that I’m lying.

    Why did I even start that lie, anyways? All it’s caused me is trouble, and I can’t come clean now, or I’ll lose Burhalla’s trust, along with likely the trust of everyone else here.

    Would they have believed me if I told the truth, though? With there apparently being Pokemon faking being amnesiac humans, not to mention humans being legends here, they probably wouldn’t.

    What was the best thing to do?

    Was there even a right answer to that?

    Why were there Pokemon pretending to have amnesia, anyways? Why was I an Oshawott? Why was I here at all?!

    Gah, why was any of this happening?! Why couldn’t I be back home, where things actually made sense?!

    What was happening back home, even? Were my family and friends ok? Did they know where I was? Were they trying to find me right now?

    I want to go home. I want to go back to my family. I want to go back to the world I know.

    I want to wake up back in my bed, like this all never happened.

    My final thought before drifting into sleep was hoping that, somehow, despite all evidence to the contrary, this was all just a bad dream.

    ===================================================================

    Goldenrod City

    I heard the gambler curse as the fourth card he flipped over was revealed to be a Voltorb. All 930 coins he won during this game were forfeit. I began to shuffle the cards for the next person in line, when the gambler smashed their fist against the table, causing the Doduo near him to flinch.

    “Gimme another go! This time I’ll hit the level 8 jackpot!” he demanded. They never learn, do they?

    “You’re back down to level 2,” I told him, as I doled out the cards, making sure to lay out the right amount of multipliers and Voltorbs. After I wrote down the multiplier and voltorb sums at the side of each row, I announced, “Begin!”

    I paid little attention to his actions, instead glancing towards the empty table to my right. Gen should have been here for his shift hours ago. Where could he be?

    I felt a faint buzz from my pocket. It must be closing time, then. I ignored every expletive the gambler spat at me, as I packed up my belongings and headed out the door. Closing up shop wasn’t my job, anyways.

    The moment the door shut behind me, I was confronted by a disheveled mess of a man, eyes widened and eyebrows pulled together.

    “Spersua! Have you seen Gen at all? You’re his coworker, right?” he questioned. Right. This was Gen’s father.

    “Sorry, sir. He hasn’t turned up today. Something happen?” I asked in turn, raising an eyebrow.

    All I received in reply was a cry of anguish, as he ran off.

    Ok then. That was odd. Something was seriously up with Gen. Maybe I should leave him a message.

    I pulled the rectangle out of my pocket, and sent a quick “U ok?” message to Gen. That should put me at ease for now.

    I should get home soon. The sun was setting.

    I walked down the street from the game corner, past a telephone pole adorned with a poster of a familiar visage.

    I stopped, doing a double take. Yep, that was Gen alright, or at least a picture of him. And on a missing poster, too.

    Well, this sucked.

    Nothing I could do anything about, though.

    I began to continue towards home, before a patch of blue caught my eye. A pristine blue bow, lying on the ground. I immediately nabbed it. It was unbelievably soft, more than anything I’ve felt before. I didn’t want to let go of it.

    I’ll keep it. It was my favorite color, so no way was I giving it up. Maybe I could sew it on to my shirt collar or something. I bet that would look stylish.

    Whoever lost it wasn’t my problem.

    Hopefully Gen would turn up soon. Managing Voltorb Flip all by myself was exhausting.

    Plus, I did miss him a bit.
     
    Last edited:
    Chapter 5: All Together Now
  • IFBench

    Rescue Team Member
    Location
    Pokemon Paradise
    Partners
    1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
    Chapter 5: All Together Now

    Body horror.
    Mention of death.

    Overcast Village

    I floated through the fog, away from the Top Plaza. The sun was almost set. There’d certainly be no customers back at the old recyclin’ shop at this time. No need to take a gander at it before heading home.

    I took a sharp right down the alley next to ol’ Flapple’s home. He’s sure been missing for a while now. I miss those times when we hung—

    when we hung—

    when we hung—

    hungasfgdgdwqrqrqopnzmanzaggleccQSAJKJKJAOPFAFMALFLAPPLEFLNALFKAQOIUQNI

    Toucannon can launch plain seeds with enough power to destroy boulders.

    I floated through the fog. The distance to the village outskirts was not large.

    Within a short amount of time, I reached my place of residence, in the middle of a clearing just outside of the village. Something else was there, though.

    Through the fog, I could see a figure that did not register in my memory banks. It was moving erratically. Strange.

    I cautiously approached—

    I approached it. Soon, I could clearly see what it looked like through the fog.

    WHAT IN THE DISTORTION WORLD WAS THAT?!

    It was wrong in every possible way. It looked like someone had taken half an Arctoar and half a Ruzolt and stitched them together in the worst way they could. The bottom half was unnervingly still while the top half was shivering like its life depended on it, which I wouldn’t be surprised if it did. The two halves so desynced, it was almost like they were completely separate beings.

    The top half almost looked parasitic, like a Poisonous Slowking or a Parasect, as if it was a stem that had grown out of the corpse of an Arctoar. The hands almost seemed like they were tacked on as an afterthought, unable to reach anything. The whole top part looked like it was permanently locked in an ice bath, a frozen glob of snot dangling from its nostrils, almost like that of a Cubchoo.

    The snow around its top half shifted as I heard an eerily familiar jingle. I couldn’t quite remember what it was, like its memory file had been overwritten long ago, but still had twinges of its former self. I almost expected the hands of a Cofagrigus to leap out of the snow and grab me, pulling me in, never letting me out, keeping me frozen in there for all eternity.

    Yet, nothing happened. All was silent. It was just me, and this...thing, alone in the fog.

    Perhaps...did it need help? Was it lost? Did something do this to it?

    I floated a bit closer to it, and with as much warmth in my voice as I could muster, told it, “Do you requi-qui-quire assistance?”

    Suddenly, it lunged—

    it lunged—

    it LUNGED—

    LUNGEDAFAKJFJAJFLARCTOJLFLAPPLEQKFJQFKAJKFJAKFKAFHLAJL QRQUINOJMQNOHUMANOBJCMBJBQAWHFCHASVBKFQHNO KFNQKJBJFQ BJB FJQVJQHARUNOHFHZOLTAKHFJAH FHAJKFN0JS11KJN0G010101010100101010

    Error. Six unreceived packets. Backing up memories, then commencing reboot with unit PNS-NT.

    ===================================================================

    Burhalla’s Home

    “What made you think any of that was a good idea?! We still don’t know why Pokemon are going missing! What if you ran into whatever was causing this? What if you had gone shadowy?! Then we’d have even more missing Pokemon!” my father roared once we arrived home. I winced at the volume. It was worth it in the end. I had found Saltriv, after they’d been missing for months, and got them home.

    There was also that odd Oshawott who had lost his memory. Gen. I didn’t get a chance to bring him to Mayor Jellicent to see if she could help, like I had offered. I’d have to do that tomorrow, if I’m allowed to even leave the house by then. Hopefully he’d be able to find a place for the night on his own.

    “Did you at least pack the right equipment?” he asked, tone a bit gentler.

    I could probably lie here, and escape punishment. It would be simple, and easy. But I wouldn’t be like him.

    “Everything but the escape orb,” I told the truth. The flames on my father’s back instantly flared up.

    “THAT’S THE MOST ESSENTIAL PART!” he shouted. “You had no way to leave the dungeon if an emergency happened! Twig Woodland has Monster Houses! If you had run into one of those, you wouldn’t make it out!”

    And yet, me, Saltriv, and Gen had made it through one, or at least something very close to one. Before I could say a rebuttal, though, the flames on his back died down, and extinguished.

    “I’m not going to punish you, Burhalla. You saved Saltriv, and I’m sure their parents are thrilled to have them back. As reckless of a decision it was to go into there, I’m proud of you for saving them,” he told me, in a softer tone.

    I smiled a bit in response. That was a relief, unless he was lying again.

    “I’m still not happy with what you did, but I’d be a fool to punish you for saving them,” he told me with a soft smile on his face. “I’m not done, though. From now on, any time you even THINK of entering a Mystery Dungeon, I need you to take at least two others with you, and I want you to show me what items you’re bringing. Otherwise, there WILL be consequences. Alright?”

    There’s the catch. This will be a hassle whenever I form a search party like I wanted. I nodded, not wanting to be admonished further, even if I wasn’t happy with the result.

    “Also, when I say it’s time to go home, it’s time to go home. No buts about it, like I said earlier,” he added.

    “But I needed to do something!” I pleaded.

    “And what was that?” he asked, narrowing his eyes slightly.

    “I told Gen I’d bring him to the mayor, and see if she could help him figure things out,” I answered.

    “It was far too late for that, and besides, I don’t trust the Oshawott. He’s almost certainly just another pretender, and just faked not remembering his moves.”

    Here we go again. “He didn’t mention being a human, like the others.”

    “Why do you trust this Pokemon you didn’t know before yesterday more than your own father?” my father demanded.

    “Because he hasn’t lied to me like you do!” I shouted back.

    “For your own benefit!”

    “Lying to me about my mother isn’t for my benefit!”

    “You wouldn’t have been able to handle learning about her death!”

    “It would have been better than you keeping me in the dark about it for YEARS!”

    “Dad! Burhalla! Please!” Valorch’s voice cried out against our argument. I looked away from my father, seeing the Quilava that was my sister standing in the doorway.

    “You have this argument every other week and it gets worse every time! Please just stop!” she pleaded.

    Before either of us could respond, I heard PNS-NT’s voice, muffled by the walls. “SOM-OM-OMEONE! HELP!” they yelled.

    We all looked at each other in the dim room, lit now by little other than the flame on my tail. “Go to bed, you two. I’ll deal with this,” my father said, before walking out the door. Valorch sighed, before heading back to our room. I followed after her, not in the mood to argue further.

    ===================================================================

    Saltriv’s Home

    ?? Month of Autumn, ?? Day

    It’s been a while since I wrote in here!

    I was walking to Burhalla’s house, when suddenly, I felt something soft hit me, and I woke up in this strange place. The sky was all these different colors, and I was on this dark, glassy platform. In the center of it, there was something tall, with fur only on its head, and two arms ending with five fingers. It looked just like the humans of legends!

    Can you believe it? A real human? And not even a former one!

    I asked who they were, and the next thing I knew, the human had grabbed me, and I heard something smash right into where I was standing before. I didn’t get a good look at it, but it looked pink and black, and really big.

    I think that human had saved me from that thing! Or maybe it was just a dream.

    After that, I woke up at the end of Twig Woodland. There was an Oshawott there named Gen. He didn’t know what was going on, either. He asked me what I remembered last, and I told him about that place with the weird sky and the human. I don’t think he believed me, though. I can hardly believe it myself! An actual human!

    I asked him the same question, and suddenly, Burhalla came into the clearing! He was really relieved to see me, and told me where I was. Then he started talking to Gen. Apparently Gen couldn’t remember where he lived, or much of anything at all! I’d almost think he was just faking it, or maybe even another human turned Pokemon, but later he said he didn’t even remember being human!

    Burhalla had forgotten an Escape Orb, so we had to head through the dungeon backwards. It was pretty difficult. We even ran into a huge group of Dungeon Pokemon! I thought it was a Monster House, but Burhalla pointed out that there weren’t any items in it. We must have just been unlucky. A Weedle had poisoned me there, but Gen gave me a pecha berry to help with that.

    Speaking of Gen, he couldn’t even remember how to use moves! He tried shouting out “Water Gun!” at a Pikipek, as if that would do anything! I really needed that laugh after what Burhalla told me.

    He said that I’ve been missing for months. MONTHS! All of Summer, it seems. Morpeko, Flapple, and even Leon had gone missing while I’ve been gone. According to Burhalla, Kecky and the rest of the Kecleon clan have been searching for him ever since.

    I hope he’s found soon. I miss helping him out with his shop.

    At least mom and dad are ok. Once we got out of the Mystery Dungeon, mom was at the top of the hill, with Burhalla’s father and PNS-NT. I was so happy to see her, even if it felt like I saw her just yesterday.

    We didn’t have much time to talk, as Burhalla’s dad accused Gen of lying about his amnesia. I couldn’t believe him! We had just gotten out of Twig Woodland, and Gen had already gone through a lot in there. That accusation was too much after all that! Me and Burhalla helped defend Gen, though I do wonder what Gen’s life was like before we met him.

    Once we got back to town, Burhalla, his dad, and PNS-NT went home, while me and mom went over to talk with dad. He was so happy to see me! I think the whole town heard him shout my name! We talked things over a bit. He and mom had been running the Kecleon Shop in town since Leon had disappeared. Normally, I’d be ecstatic about this, but it wouldn’t be the same without Leon there.

    While we were talking, Gen asked if he could stay with us. I pleaded with mom to let him. She was unsure at first, but after some persuasion, dad agreed that Gen could stay.

    Once we were home, mom went to get the guest bed ready for Gen, and dad went to the parents’ room. While we were waiting, I asked Gen if he really did have amnesia, and if there’s anything he did remember. He told me yes, but before we could talk much, mom told us the guest bed was ready.

    It was right next to my bed, and Gen just stared at it awkwardly. Guess he didn’t remember seeing a bed before! I suggested for him to keep a journal like I do, to help remember things! I also asked if he could tell me exactly what he remembers. He said he was tired, though, and asked if we could do it tomorrow. I was pretty tired, too, so I agreed. I was so tired, I didn’t even get to write in here before I fell asleep!

    Once he’s awake, I’m going to ask him. There has to be something other than his name.

    Honestly, I don’t really know why I’m doing all this for Gen. Maybe it’s because he was the first Pokemon I saw since I woke up in Twig Woodland. Maybe it’s because we both don’t remember the past few months. Maybe it’s because he healed me with that pecha berry. Maybe it’s just that he feels familiar somehow, like I’ve met him before. Did we meet each other while I was missing?

    Anyways, the sun’s been up for a while now. I should get up. See ya tonight!

    ~ Saltriv


    I wiped away the tear stains, before closing the journal, and laying it back under the blanket with a vine. Looking over to my right, I saw Gen still sleeping. He must be a really heavy sleeper! Mom and dad would be awake by now, and they already wake up pretty late!

    I pushed my blanket off of me and stood up, heading to the wide open area of the main room. Mom and dad were already there, getting out breakfast. I think I saw mom breath a sigh of relief as I entered.

    “Good morning, Saltriv! Did you sleep well?” Mom asked, as she laid a few berries on the table, which I quickly grabbed with my vines and munched hungrily.

    “I did!” I told her between berries.

    It was pretty quiet as we all ate, and not long before we were all finished. I’d probably need to explain myself now. Would they really believe me if I told them I saw a human in that strange place?

    Couldn’t hurt to try!

    “Let’s talk about what happened to you over the morning news. Then we can write a letter to your uncle about what happened,” Dad said, as he turned the radio on. At least some things didn’t change, like dad always listening to the news in the morning.

    “To all residents in Overcast Village, stay alert. There has been a report of a strange creature terrorizing a resident. We have PNS-NT, the Porygon-Z who was the victim of this creature’s assault, here for an interview...”

    ===================================================================

    Team Seedlings Base

    The small, blue house fashioned after a Squirtle on the outskirts of Pokemon Square was packed, with 8 very special Pokemon. A Wartortle and a Meganium were the hosts for this particular meeting, as it was on their home turf, and were standing at the back of the house. A Sceptile and an Empoleon, the only two there that had saved the world twice over, and part of the few who actually deserved to be here, were standing off to the side, near a pool of water. On the other side of the room, on a small wooden platform next to the cyan wall, was the most obscure duo there, a Dewott and a Servine, whose meager escapades on the Mist Continent were not known by many. And near the entrance was the final pair, a Combusken and a Bayleef, the most recent heroes of the bunch, perhaps even the second greatest of the bunch, and the ones who had the idea to begin these gatherings to begin with.

    “Everyone’s here. Let the meeting begin!” said the Wartortle, with a strained smile.

    All was silent for a few moments, before the Bayleef spoke up. “Did that amnesiac Riolu lead to anything, Pahelia?” they asked the Empoleon, their signature hope in their voice.

    The Sceptile shook his head, as the Empoleon, Pahelia, responded. “We really hoped another human had come, but they were just another imitator. They admitted it.”

    A wave of disappointment flowed over the room.

    “There has to be some kind of lead, right? Gen, did you find out if anyone had disappeared from the human world?” the Meganium asked, looking towards the unkempt Dewott.

    “That’s still a work in progress. Nothing of the sort has happened in Hoenn or Sinnoh, but I haven’t checked the other regions yet,” Gen the Dewott told him, before pausing. “By the way, Acacia, was your nibling found yet?”

    “...no. Saltriv’s still missing,” the Meganium, Acacia, solemnly responded.

    The Servine immediately spoke up. “We’ll find them. It will happen, even if I have to look for them myself!”

    Acacia smiled a bit at that. “Thank you, Vernir.”

    Things were quiet once more, until the Combusken broke the silence. “We need to take action with this crisis on the Thunder Continent. We can’t just stand by and let all the Pokemon there suffer!”

    Pahelia the Empoleon was the first to respond. “We’ve all been trying, Ayueg. Nobody knows what’s going on with the surge of disappearances, or those shadowy Pokemon. Me and Apoyime tried when we visited the Thunder Continent, and we found nothing.”

    The amazing Sceptile beside Pahelia, Apoyime, nodded in agreement.

    “What if I told you I knew what was causing this?” the Wartortle announced.

    A chorus of gasps occurred, until Vernir’s voice rose up and ruined everything. “This isn’t another one of your jokes, Lidequir?”

    The Wartortle, Lidequir, gave a sheepish grin. “You got me.”

    “This is serious! Now’s not the time for jokes!” Acacia admonished his partner.

    “Come on! I bet it would have been funny!” Leviene rightfully backed the Wartortle up. “Besides, we need to lighten up a bit!”

    “Jokes aside, most of us have our own things to attend to. Mystery dungeons have been on the rise again recently, and we’ve been having to do the most rescues we’ve had to since the Dark Matter crisis,” Lidequir explained.

    “Couldn’t Team A.C.T. take care of those? Or Team Blast, or any of the other rescue teams around here?” Ayueg the Combusken questioned.

    “There’s been too many for even them to handle. And the Thunder Continent has its own organization for helping Pokemon. They’re not entirely helpless,” Acacia said.

    CRASH!

    The entire base shook, knocking some members of the group over as the sudden noise reached everyone.

    “What was that?” Pahelia asked, quickly and heroically picking herself up.

    “Sounds like it came from outside! Let’s go!” Gen proclaimed, before the entire group hurried out the exit.

    Outside, there was a sizable crater next to the path to Pokemon Square. Chunks of dirt and rock were scattered everywhere. In the middle of the crater, was a wooden red mailbox, intact save for its post being jagged and half missing, as if it had been snapped off. Everyone soon crowded around it.

    “That looks just like our old mailbox before our base was remodeled,” Acacia pointed out quizzically. “It almost looks like it fell from the sky!”

    “Something’s inside!” Vernir, pointing with a vine to a white slip of paper in the mailbox’s opening.

    Apoyime gracefully walked through the rubble, and pulled out the paper inside, before immediately frowning, a bead of sweat sliding down their head.

    “Gen,” he said, speaking for the first time since the meeting started. “Your name is written here. In Johtonese.”

    The Dewott rushed over, and looked at the paper. “Please write your name on this paper, then put it in the mailbox,” he read out loud. “Then my name’s written below that.”

    “Did you write this?” Leviene asked, mouth agape.

    “No. Even if I didn’t remember writing this, neither part is written in my handwriting or pawwriting,” Gen answered. “I don’t understand. Who wrote this, and why did they use my name?”

    “Vernir, do you know anything about this?” Pahelia inquired to the Servine, who looked to be in either deep thought, or had forgotten how to think entirely.

    “I have an idea,” the Servine began. “Like Acacia said, it’s almost as if this mailbox fell from the sky, but it looks to be mostly fine. Gen had fallen from the sky when I first met him, and was fine when he landed.”

    “Are you suggesting this could mean another human has arrived?” Ayueg asked, eyes widening.

    “Yes! Though I have no clue what that paper could mean, or why that mailbox might have been with them,” Vernir answered with a smile.

    “YEAH!” Leviene cheered, sparkles in their eyes. “They’re finally here! I can’t wait to meet them!”

    “Where are they, though?” Gen questioned. “Why wouldn’t they be here if this mailbox was with them?”

    “Maybe they’re back inside the base, and we just missed them,” Lidequir suggested in a joking tone. As Acacia shot a look at the Wartortle, she continued. “In all seriousness, they might be on the Thunder Continent. The crisis is happening there, after all.”

    “You have a point,” Ayueg began with confidence. “Most of us humans arrived on continents in crisis. The only exception is myself, and that was a worldwide crisis.”

    A quiet “ding” could be heard from everyone’s bags. The group all fished out devices with a screen in the middle, and a connection orb at the top, save for the two newest members, who pulled out an expedition gadget. A news report was on the screen.

    “Are you all seeing this?” Acacia asked everyone with a twinge of fear, as he and Lidequir looked at Teem Seedling’s Connection Device.

    “The report of a half Arctoar, half Ruzolt creature terrorizing a village on the Thunder Continent?” Gen asked, as he and Vernir looked at their own Connection Device.

    “C-could something like that really exist?” Pahelia wondered aloud, looking with Apoyime at their team’s Connection Device.

    “It’s like one of those scary stories from back in school, but real!” Leviene mentioned, as they looked at their Expedition Gadget alongside Ayueg.

    “Do you think this has anything to do with the shadowy Pokemon?” Vernir pondered.

    “We won’t know until we find out more,” Ayueg pointed out.

    “We’ll have to send someone to the Thunder Continent to deal with this, and to look for the human, if they really are there,” Lidequir announced. “Who’s open to volunteering?”

    Several variations of “I’ll go!” were said by just about every member of the group, aside from the Wartortle, Dewott, and Sceptile. A bead of sweat slid down Lidequir’s head.

    “We can’t all go,” she told everyone. “There’s rescues and other missions that still have to be done.”

    “Why not just let the rest of our teams work on that while we investigate this? We’ll work faster as a group,” Vernir suggested. “Back when we went to the Great Glacier the first time, Emolga led the rest of our team on missions until we got back.”

    Everything was silent for a few moments, until Lidequir broke it. “Oh. I never thought of that.”

    The awkward silence resumed, as most of the Pokemon there stared at Lidequir.

    “I guess the question I should have asked is if there’s anyone who doesn’t want to go.” Lidequir half-joked, before Gen spoke up.

    “I’ll stay behind. I don’t feel right leaving everyone back home without telling them, and I still need to look around in the human world more for clues. We’re not entirely sure yet if the human has arrived yet, even with that mailbox. It could just be a coincidence,” Gen said. “Vernir, you can go without me.”

    “We aren’t leaving right away, silly!” Leviene pointed out. “I’m sure we’d have plenty of time to go home and tell everyone what we’re doing.”

    “They’re right. We won’t be leaving until tomorrow,” Acacia told him.

    “I’ll go, then. I can look in the human world while I’m there. I’ve been wanting to see what the Thunder Continent was like, anyways,” Gen decided.

    “So we’re all going?” Vernir asked, smiling.

    A chorus of 7 agreements and nods were his response.

    “That’s settled, then! We’re going to be leaving for the Thunder Continent tomorrow morning,” Lidequir told everyone. “We’ll all meet up at Moonlight Town, then decide what to do from there. Keep in touch with your Connection Devices. Any objections?”

    Nobody else spoke a word.

    “This meeting of the Council of World-Savers is adjourned, then. See you all tomorrow!” Lidequir announced with a wave.

    Ayueg and Leviene were the first two to leave, heading towards Pokemon Plaza. Inside the former’s shadow, I followed them, thinking back over what had happened.

    This was juicy. So they ALL were going to the Thunder Continent. It was a great decision to spy on this meeting.

    Time to bring the news to Necrozma.
     
    Last edited:
    Chapter 6: Searchlights
  • IFBench

    Rescue Team Member
    Location
    Pokemon Paradise
    Partners
    1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
    Chapter 6: Searchlights

    Mossy Town 8F

    Keep running. Don’t stop. Don’t let them find you. Don’t let them know what you have become.

    I buffeted the Sigilyph with an Ancient Power, knocking it out of the sky. I ran past it, through the alleyway between two abandoned houses. Keep running.

    I exited the alleyway-like corridor, coming to a clearing. A horde of dungeon mon dropped down, and yet I felt nothing but fear and anger as I threw a one-shot orb at the Thwackey in front of me.

    Once the smoke cleared, I was the only survivor.

    There was no time to waste, and I fled through a corridor. Still haven’t found the stairs. I plucked a pure seed from my bag and plopped it in my mouth. I ran up the stairs, yet I felt no sense of accomplishment.

    Mossy Town 9F

    I kept running, throwing a Foongus in my way into a wall. I didn’t bother to check which kind of dungeon mon it was. I had to keep running. I had to.

    Or my clan will find me, and discover what I had become.

    Down a corridor. I sent a Timburr flying. I kept running into the next room. A Carnivine stood in my path. An aura of shadow surrounded me, as I rushed it, sending it across the room. I ignored the recoil. Keep running.

    I passed by a fresh apple. I felt no desire to sell it, so I ate it then and there as I ran.

    I ignored the emera dust coating the ground of the corridor, as I entered the next room.

    In there, in the middle of the room, was a gold ribbon. One of those could net us thousands of Poke if sold.

    It served no use for me anymore. It would only take up space. I ignored it, and ran down another corridor.

    I had to keep running. I couldn’t let my clan find me.

    Why couldn’t I feel anything for them, my family? Why did I only feel this fear and sadness towards them? Why couldn’t I feel any sort of fondness for when I ran the Kecleon Shop with my brother? Why was it so uncomfortable to even think of returning to them?

    Why why why why why?

    Brother, I’m sorry.

    ===================================================================

    Saltriv’s Home

    Light shined onto my face, as I opened my eyes, the round orange room revealing itself to me. This didn’t look anything like-

    Oh. Right.

    I brought a furry, stubby arm in front of my face, and sighed.

    It must not have been a dream after all.

    I pushed the blanket off of me, and stood up, wobbling on my tiny legs. I was still in that Chikorita’s house. I think their name was Saltriv?

    “You’re finally awake!” I heard a familiar voice yell, as a Chikorita with a red leaf ran into the room. That must have been them. I waved awkwardly at them.

    “So what do you think of my home? Pretty cool place!” they said, a bright smile on their face.

    “Uh, yeah. Pretty neat,” I told them, not sure what else to say.

    Their smile lessened a bit, “So, what do you remember?”

    I was about to ask what they meant, then I remembered. I had lied about having amnesia. I had to keep up that lie, or else nobody here would trust me.

    “Just my name, and a few other things,” I lied.

    “Like what?” they asked.

    “Types, berries, stuff like that.”

    “Oh,” they said, disappointment permeating their voice, before they perked right back up. “Come on! Let’s go!”

    “Go where?” I asked, confused.

    “Outside! I want to see what’s changed in the village, and mom won’t let me go outside without a companion now!”

    I hesitated to agree. Would this be a good idea? I barely knew anyone here! What if they started asking me questions? Then again, I could learn more about this village, and maybe even why I’m here.

    After a few moments, I said, “Sure,” to Saltriv’s cheers.

    “This way!” they told me, running through the doorway. I stumbled after them, coming to the room with the table and radio. The Meganium and Torterra were in there, discussing something, but before I could find out what, the latter noticed us enter.

    “Going outside?” the Torterra asked us, to which Saltriv nodded in response.

    “Stay safe, stay with each other, and don’t stray outside the village!” the Meganium told us.

    “We will!” Saltriv said, as we exited the house.

    Overcast Village

    The place was somehow still covered in fog. That was odd, but not the weirdest thing I’ve seen here.

    I didn’t have much time to ponder that, as Saltriv ran down the road. I ran after them. As we ran, we passed by a Tyrogue, as well as a Pokemon I didn’t recognize that looked like a cracked teapot. I managed to hear a bit of what they were talking about.

    “Did you hear about that monster that attacked PNS-NT?” the teapot Pokemon asked the Tyrogue. A monster!?

    “Of course! It was all over the news!” the Tyrogue replied.

    “Can you believe it? A creature that’s half Arctoar, half Ruzolt…”

    “And attacking that Porygon-Z like a wild dungeon mon!”

    “Greetings! I haven’t seen you around town before! Are you new here?” the teapot Pokemon said, turning towards me.

    “I am,” I answered. In more ways than one.

    “Be careful around here. Lots of Pokemon have been going missing lately,” the Tyrogue said.

    “Noted,” I replied.

    “Gen! Hurry up!” Saltriv yelled from down the road.

    “Sorry!” I yelled back, as I ran towards them, giving the two Pokemon I was talking to a small wave.

    Soon, I caught back up to Saltriv. “What took you so long?” they asked.

    “I was talking to those two Pokemon back there,” I explained motioning to their figures disappearing into the fog.

    “Oh, Tyrogue and Polteageist! They run the cafe in the Tree Plaza!” Saltriv said.

    “Tree Plaza?” I questioned.

    “There’s three town plazas in Overcast Village! The Top Plaza, which is the highest one, and where the road out of the village is. The Tree Plaza, which is centered around one big tree. And the Riverside Plaza, which is where we’re going!” they explained.

    Why were there three plazas?

    Soon, the sound of a flowing river reached my ears, as we entered a wide, circular area.

    “Here we are!” Saltriv announced.

    The place was just as large as the plaza at the entrance to the village. The first thing I noticed was a tent of vibrant reds and blues and pale yellows and blacks, reminiscent of the Porygon-Z I met yesterday. Was that where they lived? It didn’t seem to be, it looked too small to live in. Beside it was a large, hollowed out tree stump with a sign above the entrance, depicting various scarves, capes, and other apparel. On the opposite side of the plaza was a large, dome-shaped building covered with the markings of the Togepi line. Next to it was another tent fashioned after the head of a Sirfetch’d, one of which was inside the tent, wielding their leek as they talked to a Leafeon. Beyond the far side of the plaza, I could see a river running through the forest, almost touching the plaza itself. That must be why it’s called the Riverside Plaza. Next to the river, there was a blue, black and yellow building with an intricate yellow design of some sort above the entrance, and a large blue dome topping it.

    “I see Grapploct finally got her dojo running again!” Saltriv said, looking towards that last building.

    I didn’t get a chance to ask what they meant, as a familiar Charmander emerged from the entrance to the Togepi-like structure. Saltriv immediately ran towards him with a cry of, “Burhalla!” I hurried after them.

    “Saltriv!” Burhalla yelled in delight. “Just who I was looking for!”

    “Huh?” Saltriv responded.

    “Has everything been ok since yesterday? Since, you know…” Burhalla asked.

    “Everything’s been great! Dad was really happy to see me, and Gen’s staying with us for now!” Saltriv answered.

    Burhalla smiled in return. “Great! Anyways, I was wondering if-” he began, before noticing me. “Hi Gen! Sorry I couldn’t bring you to the mayor yesterday. We can do that now if you want.”

    “It’s...I can wait,” I told him. I wasn’t looking forward to what that conversation would entail.

    He gave me a confused look, before nodding and turning back to Saltriv. “Anyways, Saltriv, I was wondering if you’d like to form a search party with me?”

    Saltriv’s eyes widened, “Really? Why?”

    “So many Pokemon have been going missing lately, and not enough are being found. I want to help. I’ve already helped find you and Patrat, but I want to do more,” Burhalla said. “I want to be like the exploration team that helped me.”

    A few moments passed, until Saltriv announced, “I’ll join!”

    Burhalla smiled brightly, and said, “Saltriv, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!”

    Saltriv smiled in return, before tilting their head to the side. “Don’t you need three members to start a search party? Who’s our third member?” They asked.

    “I was going to ask Aron and Rockruff if they’d like to join, too. If they don’t…I’ll think of something,” Burhalla explained.

    A search party? I wondered what that entailed. From the looks of it, they’d be looking for Pokemon that had gone missing. How often would that happen? I probably wouldn’t be able to see them very much. What would I do then? I would be without my guides to this world. I’d be alone.

    I didn’t want to be alone.

    “Let’s ask them now!” Saltriv suggested, beginning to walk away.

    “WAIT!” I yelled reflexively. Both of them stared at me.

    I had just yelled that on reflex, but now I had their attention. Maybe I could convince them not to do this? No, Burhalla seemed really adamant about doing this, and that might turn him against me.

    Maybe...

    “Could I join?” I asked the two, hoping that I wasn’t making a mistake.

    Both of them seemed taken aback.

    “You’re serious? You don’t even know any moves!” Burhalla said. “You couldn’t do a thing to that Pikipek!”

    Right. I still had no idea how to do moves. That could be an issue. But I had to try to convince them, or I’d be lost in this world.

    “I can learn them!” I replied.

    Neither of them spoke a word.

    “Please? I...I don’t want to be alone,” I pleaded.

    A few moments passed, then Burhalla spoke up.

    “Are you willing to work out in the Grapploct Dojo and learn moves there?” he questioned.

    I barely had any idea what that entailed, though I didn’t have much of a choice. I nodded.

    “Are you willing to head into danger with us?” he asked.

    I hesitated. How dangerous was this going to be? What if I died out there? Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

    No. I couldn’t back down now.

    Besides, Burhalla and Saltriv would hopefully have my back.

    I nodded.

    Burhalla smiled. “You can join,” he answered.

    I was filled with joy. I managed to convince them!

    Hopefully this wouldn’t be too dangerous.

    “Welcome to the team!” Saltriv cheered.

    “On that note, what should our team be named?” Burhalla asked.

    So we needed a name for our group? Hm...

    “How about Team Adventure?” I suggested.

    “Too boring,” Burhalla replied. “I say we go with Team Light.”

    Drat. “Doesn’t that sound a bit pretentious?” I critiqued. “Team Search, maybe?”

    “That’d get confusing quickly,” Burhalla told me. “What if we combine them? Team Adventure Light Search!”

    I was about to shut that idea down, before Saltriv spoke up. “That might work!” Quietly, they muttered, “Team Adventure Light, Team Light Search, Team Search Light…,” before suggesting, “Team Searchlights!”

    “I like it!” Burhalla said. “What do you think, Gen?”

    That actually sounded pretty good. Even better than Team Adventure! And it even combined me and Burhalla’s ideas!

    “Sounds great!” I told them. A wide smile appeared on Saltriv’s face.

    “Hooray!” they cheered.

    “From now on, we’re Team Searchlights!” Burhalla declared. “I’ll mail in everything and tell my dad. We should be registered before midday. Meet me in the Top Plaza by then, and we’ll decide what to do from there. Sounds good?”

    Saltriv nodded, as did I.

    “Great!” Burhalla said, before walking away. “I’ll see you then!”

    “Come on! I need to tell mom and dad!” Saltriv spoke, and we ran back the way we came.

    I didn’t truly know what this would entail, but at least I wouldn’t be alone.

    Now, we were a team!
     
    Chapter 7: Two Sides of the Same Coin
  • IFBench

    Rescue Team Member
    Location
    Pokemon Paradise
    Partners
    1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
    Chapter 7: Two Sides of the Same Coin

    Slight blood.
    Panic attacks.

    Grapploct Dojo

    “No! Not like that! Calm yourself, then unleash the move!” Grapploct yelled, as I took another hit to the face. I had not been expecting this to be so harsh.

    I tried again to form a Water Gun. Calm myself. Feel the breeze, listen to the rushing water nearby. Attune myself with nature. Then attack with its full force.

    Nothing happened.

    This was my 17th try, and still nothing.

    I slapped myself with my glowing right arm in frustration, grimacing at the pain. Why couldn’t I pull off just one move?! Why did I have to do all this just to not be alone?!

    Wait a minute.

    Glowing?

    I pulled my right arm back, and looked at it. It was glowing darkly, as if it had been shrouded in darkness.

    What was that?

    “It’s not the move we were trying for, but congrats for pulling off Assurance!” Grapploct announced, giving me a strong pat on the back. I nearly fell over from the force of it.

    Assurance? Wasn’t that a dark-type move? I didn’t know Oshawotts could learn that. Then again, I didn’t know a lot about Unova to begin with.

    “Now, how about we try again for the move you’re actually trying to learn?” Grapploct said, rearing up for another hit. “Come on! Hit me with everything you got!”

    A tentacle collided with my head, and I flinched, before another one smacked my ear. Their training was brutal.

    How did I pull off Assurance, anyways? I was frustrated at how I couldn’t learn Water Gun, and then…

    My right arm darkened again. So it’s caused by frustration! Now I have at least one move I can rely on.

    I should test it out, though.

    As another tentacle was thrust at me, I thrust my darkened arm at a small cut on Grapploct, knocking them back a bit.

    “Excellent! That actually hurt! You seem to know how to use Assurance to its fullest effect,” they congratulated, before an angry shout was heard from outside.

    “Sorry, looks like our session has to end. Tyrogue’s waiting for his sparring match with me. Come see me tomorrow, and we can work more on Water Gun,” Grapploct told me.

    “Thanks!” I yelled, as I ran out of the dojo. I didn’t learn how the move I wanted to learn, but at least I learned how to use Assurance.

    Hopefully that would be enough for today.

    Overcast Village

    I ran into the fog of the village, and past the Tyrogue from yesterday. Saltriv was waiting for me at their house. I hurried down the road their house was on.

    Soon, I came to the familiar leaf-tipped house, and saw Saltriv waiting in the entrance. I walked up to them.

    “How’d it go?” they asked, tail wagging rapidly in excitement. “Did you manage to learn any moves at the dojo?”

    “I didn’t learn Water Gun, but I learned something else!” I told them. I concentrated on the frustration I felt at not learning Water Gun, and my right arm darkened. “Assurance!”

    “Hooray!” they cheered. “Now we’re ready to go!”

    The darkness in my arm faded, and I smiled. It was nice to see them happy, even if I’ve only known them for about a day.

    Saltriv turned around, shouted, “Bye mom! Bye dad! I’m going on an adventure with Burhalla and Gen!”

    A faint “Have fun! Stay safe!” from Meganium was heard, and we left the area.

    We ran uphill, through the fog, towards the Top Plaza. Once we got there, in the middle, I saw a familiar Charmander wearing a pink scarf and bracelet.

    Oddly, the purple gemstone in his bracelet seemed to be missing. I decided not to question that.

    As we ran up to him, he smiled. “Almost everything’s ready! I checked in with my father, gathered the items we’ll need, and decided who we’re searching for!” Burhalla announced, before his smile disappeared. “There’s just one problem.”

    “What is it?” I asked, hoping the answer wasn’t anything along the lines of me being unable to officially join.

    “We haven’t gotten approved by SaRO yet,” he explained. “Our certificate, badges, and synchronised bags haven’t arrived yet.”

    Was SaRO the one who approved all these search parties? Well, that wasn’t too big of an issue, I think. I didn’t quite know what the synchronised bags would do, but least we didn’t get denied.

    Yet.

    “Why don’t we go anyways?” Saltriv suggested, to my surprise.

    “What do you mean?” Burhalla asked, eyes widening.

    “There’s nothing stopping us, is there? You already checked in with your father, I already told my parents, Gen learned a move, we can go!” they answered.

    A few seconds passed. Burhalla’s smile returned. “You have a point,” he said. “I’ll triple check to make sure our items are enough, then we’ll begin our search!

    “Wait, who are we looking for?” I asked.

    “We’re looking for Flapple!” Burhalla told me, pulling a paper out of his bag, that depicted a Pokemon I vaguely recalled seeing before. “He was last spotted near Blistering Shore, so we’re looking there first.”

    The Pokemon looked like it had carved out an apple, and used parts of it as wings. I think I saw one of those during one of the Galar gym battles.

    I looked back at Burhalla, and saw him digging through his bag.

    “Let’s see...five oran berries, an apple for each of us, two max ethers, two elixirs, a rawst berry, an escape orb, a slumber wand, and a tiny reviver seed! Everything’s here!” Burhalla exclaimed, as he closed his bag. I didn’t know what some of those things were, but I could ask about that later.

    “Let’s go! Gen, follow me!” Burhalla announced, and with a cheer from Saltriv, the three of us ran down the path out of the village.

    Blistering Shore Outskirts

    It wasn’t too long before we arrived at the entrance. We had entered a small cave to get there, and the entrance was right at the other exit of the cave.

    The entrance was completely shrouded in darkness. I couldn’t see anything beyond it. I had no idea what this dungeon was going to be like, other than what I could gather from its name, Blistering Shore. Going by that, it’d probably be a beach of some kind, or maybe a cliff by the shore.

    As for what we’d encounter in there, other than hopefully Flapple, I had no idea.

    “Are you both ready?” Burhalla asked, facing the two of us.

    “I am!” Saltriv announced with a smile.

    “Yeah!” I confirmed, though I wasn’t sure if I truly was.

    “Then let’s go!” Burhalla declared, and we all ran into the dungeon.

    Blistering Shore 1F

    The moment we entered the dungeon, I was confronted with a strange sight.

    The sand was black, not the light tan I was used to. I’d never seen anything quite like it before. Steep dunes of it surrounded the area on three sides, with a few corridors that ran deep. Those dunes must be the walls of this dungeon.

    On the fourth side, the ocean crashed loudly into the beach, waves lapping against the dark shore. I could smell the ocean breeze blowing past me. A Lapras swam across the sea far in the distance.

    The sun shone down brightly on it all. It was causing me to start to feel a bit weak. Don’t water-types not do very great under bright sunlight? This could be an issue. At least Burhalla could back me up in this heat.

    Speaking of heat, the sand was very hot. I walked in place to keep my feet from burning, though it was awkward to do so with how short my new legs were. The others didn’t seem to be bothered much by the heat, though.

    In the middle of the room was a small, green gemstone, similar to the purple one Burhalla had in his bracelet back in Twig Woodland. He ran over to it, and quickly slotted it into his bracelet.

    “Whew! Almost shattered before I got it,” Burhalla stated. “Not a barrage emera, but still great!”

    “What’s an emera, and why would it have shattered?” I asked. Seems I still had more to learn about Mystery Dungeons.

    “Emeras are items only found within Mystery Dungeons. They have special effects if you insert them into a looplet, like this one,” Burhalla explained, as he motioned to his bracelet. “They shatter if they aren’t picked up quickly enough, or if they are taken out of a Mystery Dungeon. This one’s a big recovery emera. It makes stuff that heals you work better. Barrage emeras are purple, and are the best ones. They let you do two moves in a row!”

    That explains what happened to the purple gemstone Burhalla had, and how he was able to do two Embers that quickly back in Twig Woodland.

    Looking around the room, I spotted an oran berry half-buried in the sand near the ocean, and next to it, a strange, striped seed that spiraled in on itself. I went over to pick them up, stepping lightly over the scorching sands, and stared quizzically at the seed. “What’s this?” I asked.

    “That’s a totter seed!” Saltriv exclaimed. “If you eat it, it makes you confused.”

    That must be useless, then. I picked up the oran berry, and was about to give it to Burhalla, until Saltriv spoke back up.

    “Why are you leaving the totter seed behind?” they asked.

    “Isn’t it useless?” I questioned. “Why would you want something that makes you confused?”

    “They’re good for hostile dungeon mon! Throw one at them, and they’ll never hit you!”

    Why would the dungeon mons eat them, though? Maybe it’s best not to question it. Either way, this thing had a use to it now. I stepped back, and picked up the totter seed with my other arm, before walking over to Burhalla, and with a “Here,” gave both items to him.

    “Thanks for picking those up for me. I’d rather not get too close to the ocean,” he responded, as he tossed the items in his bag.

    “Let’s go on,” he said, as he proceeded down one of the corridors. Saltriv followed behind, as did I.

    It wasn’t long until we reached the next room. I could see the stairs a bit off to the left. Next to the shore, three Tirtougas laid, one of which was looking right at us. I braced myself for its attack, yet nothing came.

    “Aren’t they going to attack?” I asked my teammates.

    “Those are Dociles,” Burhalla explained. “They’re a type of dungeon mon that don’t attack if you leave them alone. Hostiles are the kind you have to watch out for.”

    So there were multiple types of dungeon Pokemon? How many types were there?

    Before I could ask further, Burhalla began to disappear up the stairs with a “Come on!” Me and Saltriv quickly hurried after him.

    Blistering Shore 2F

    As we entered the next floor, I was greeted once more with the sound of waves crashing against the black beach. I felt water rush past my feet as one particularly large wave hit the shore. The Lapras still swam across the sea, now farther along. How were we still at sea level, even though we just went up a level?

    Before I could question that, my attention was taken up by something else.

    In the middle of the room stood a strange Krokorok, looking towards the shore. There were several scratches across its lower body. An odd lump protruded from the top of its head. A few of its teeth were missing, and those that weren’t were covered in...was that blood?!

    This Krokorok looked seriously injured. What had happened to it? Where did that blood come from?

    As I took a step towards it, it tensed up, before turning in my direction. “Crooh-ook! CROOOHK!” It cried, before it lunged at me, and before I knew it, its jaws were around my neck in a Bite. I screamed in pain as what few teeth it had left began to sink in. Was it going to break my neck?!

    “GEN!” my teammates cried. I could barely hear them over my own thoughts.

    I was going to die here. This would be it. My family and friends would never know what happened to me. I’d never see them again.

    ...No.

    I wasn’t dying here. I’d see them again. I’d make it out of here, and I’d make this Krokorok pay!

    My right arm glowed with a dark aura. I thrust it down at the lump on the Krokorok’s head. It cried in pain, loosening its hold on my neck just in time. A few seconds later, its bloodstained maw would have ended my life.

    A Razor Leaf knocked the Krokorok away from me, fully freeing me from its grasp. I shuddered as an Ember collided with the Krokorok. That was close.

    “CROOOOHK!” I heard it cry, as it fainted into the black sand. The darkness shrouding my right arm dissipated, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

    I didn’t want to know where that blood had come from.

    “Gen!” Saltriv yelled, as they rushed towards me, Burhalla following. “That looked really bad!”

    Burhalla dug into his bag, and grabbed an oran berry, before tossing it to me. I swiftly ate it, feeling the teeth marks around my neck healing.

    “I’ve never seen a dungeon mon that aggressive!” Burhalla exclaimed. “Are you ok?”

    I thought about it. In truth, I wasn’t. I almost died.

    I could ask them to take me out of the dungeon. I could leave the team, and stay in the village. I could never have to deal with something like that again.

    But then I’d be all alone again. And besides, even if I hadn’t done that Assurance, Saltriv’s Razor Leaf would probably knock the Krokorok away in time. Burhalla and Saltriv had my back.

    I’ll stay with them, then. Hopefully nothing worse than this would happen.

    “Yeah,” I lied.

    “Are you sure?” he asked with concern. “That Bite looked like it could have really hurt.” He paused. “Please, be honest with me.”

    Before I could get a chance to answer, Saltriv’s voice rose up.

    “Look! Another Escape Orb!” they announced, holding with their vines a black orb with a bright light shining inside.

    Burhalla looked over towards them, then back toward me. “We have another Escape Orb now. You could go back,” he said.

    “I’m fine,” I told him. I felt awful for doing so after he asked me to be honest, but it wasn’t like I had a choice, unless I wanted to be alone.

    “If you say so,” he said, before turning towards a corridor away from the fallen Krokorok. “Let’s go.”

    The three of us headed down the corridor together. Once we entered the next room, I noticed three things that stood out.

    The first was the stairs, near the ocean. The second was a seed that resembled a burning fire, on the opposite side of the room. The third was a red hood, laying in the dark sand. At the base were several frills going out, a pale pink stripe on them, and a similar stripe ran across the top of the hood. I walked over to them, before pausing. I picked up the hood, and slid it over my head. I smiled. It felt nice to wear something again.

    “Great! You’ve found a Reunion Cape!” Saltriv exclaimed, as they picked up the seed with a vine. “Do you know what that is?”

    I shook my head with a “Nope.” I didn’t really care what it was, it was just nice to wear something again, but it couldn’t hurt to find out.

    “They’re really useful! They can reunite you with someone, no matter the distance!” Saltriv explained, as they handed the seed to Burhalla.

    “Really?!” I asked, smiling widely. This seemed almost too good to be true. Reuniting no matter the distance? Could I go back to my family with this thing?

    “Yep! You just need to tap the front of it while touching them, and then every time you tap the front afterwards, you’ll teleport to them!” Saltriv told me, as Burhalla put the seed in the bag.

    I couldn’t go home with it, then. My smile faded a bit. That was disappointing. Still, it seemed pretty nice, and useful. It would be amazing to have this back home, but it could also prevent me from getting left behind while I’m here. “Can you change who you teleport to?” I asked.

    “Just tap the front while touching a different person!” they answered.

    Good. So if I choose a person now, I could still use it back home.

    Actually, would I even be able to have it? Burhalla’s the one keeping the items after all.

    “Can I keep this?” I asked, internally pleading that the answer would be yes.

    “For sure!” Burhalla told me, prompting my smile to return. “You found it, after all. It’s yours to keep!”

    “Thank you!” I responded. Now, I didn’t have to worry about being left behind so much anymore!

    Now, who to choose for now?

    Burhalla was the team leader, but Saltriv was the one who I shared a home with for now. It would be great if I could go with both, but I could only choose one at a time.

    My thoughts were interrupted as Burhalla declared, “Let’s go!”

    I could decide later. For now, we had to find Flapple.

    The three of us headed up the stairs together.

    Blistering Shore 3F

    The moment we emerged onto the next floor, the first thing I saw was a bright beam of red light, going from the ground right in front of me into the sky. What was that? Was this another thing that was in Mystery Dungeons?

    “Gen, look out behind you!” I heard Saltriv exclaim. Turning around, I saw a Sandygast coming towards me. I started to back away, readying an Assurance, but the Sandygast Astonished me, causing me to flinch, and fall into the beam of red light.

    Suddenly, the world shrunk around me. It was like I suddenly surged in size! I saw three red clouds swirling around my head. Did...did I just Dynamax, like in those battles in Galar?!

    Everything was so small! Saltriv, Burhalla, the walls, the room, the Sandygast, it was all so tiny! I felt so much power within me! It was like I could do anything!

    Wait...could I?

    I gleefully willed for a surge of water to wash away the Sandygast, and an absolutely massive geyser shot out from me, completely submerging it.

    YES! I did it! Hahahahahahaha!

    I didn’t take any mind to a familiar voice yelping as I did that move again, the clouds around me starting to dissipate, rain beginning to fall, or a fleeing Growlithe as I completely drenched the entire area. None of that mattered. What mattered was just how much fun this was!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    As the last cloud around me disappeared, I felt the power leave my body, as the world grew back to its original size. That was exhilarating! I finally pulled off a water-type move!

    Actually...what even happened back there?

    “BURHALLA!” I heard Saltriv yell, and looked towards them to see what was happening.

    Oh.

    What have I done?!

    Burhalla had collapsed, and his tail flame had shrunk to mere embers. Saltriv hurried over to him, a terrified look on their face. I stared in horror. Didn’t Charmanders die if their flame ever went out?

    I did that. That was my doing.

    I guiltily watched as Saltriv dug an oran berry out of their bag, and gave it to Burhalla, who quickly ate it, and his tail flame grew back to a healthy size. I turned away, not able to look them in the eyes after that.

    “Gen...what happened?” I heard him ask.

    I had an inkling of an idea what happened, being Dynamax, but not the why, how, or any of those other questions.

    “I don’t know,” I guiltily told half the truth, turning back towards Burhalla. I noticed that Saltriv was sheltering his tail from the rain with their leaf.

    A moment of silence passed, before Burhalla spoke up.

    “You almost killed me! My tail nearly went out!” he shouted as his face contorted in anger. “What were you thinking?!”

    “I-I don’t know!” I stammered, telling the truth for once. “I fell into that red light, and I don’t know what got into me there! I shouldn’t have joined the team! I’m sorry!”

    Seconds passed. I felt something slide off my face and fall to the ground. I couldn’t tell if it was tears or the rain. Burhalla’s expression started to soften.

    “Are...are you crying?” he asked.

    “I don’t know,” I answered, looking away. Another drop fell into the sand, blending in with the rain.

    I heard footsteps approaching. I braced for the worst. I deserved this, after all the lies I’ve told.

    I felt two scaly arms wrap around me, as Burhalla turned me to face him. Was...was he giving me a hug?

    “It’s...it’s ok,” he said, sympathy in his eyes. “I shouldn’t have snapped at you. I’m sorry.”

    Why was he apologizing? This was my fault! I was the one who made the mistake here.

    “None of us knew what happened there. You’re just as confused as we both were. Maybe even more than us. And I lashed out at you despite that,” he continued. “I should have known better. I shouldn’t have been like my father.”

    “Really?” I asked, barely able to believe what I was hearing. “You aren’t mad at me?”

    “Not anymore. I understand,” he answered. “Tell me, do you have anxiety? Do you remember what that is?”

    Do I tell him the truth? Do I risk this?

    I should be honest at least about this, especially after Burhalla’s forgiving me for nearly killing him.

    I nodded.

    “My sister, Valorch, has anxiety too,” he explained. “I heard it’s...difficult to handle some situations with it.”

    No kidding. I fiddled with my Reunion Cape a bit, accidentally bumping my left arm against the front in the process.

    “If you want, I can try and get you an appointment with the village therapist. They’ve been pretty busy lately with all the disappearances, but I’m sure they can help,” he suggested.

    “And if that doesn’t work out, I can try to help!” Saltriv offered.

    Really? All this, for me? I barely knew them for a day!

    Still, it was...nice to have people that cared about me, even in this unfamiliar world.

    “Thank you,” I told them both, finally smiling again. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to tell them the truth.

    “It’s no problem. We’re a team now, and that’s not changing,” Burhalla said with a smile, before letting go of me, and taking a step back. “Anyways, if we see any more beams of red light like that one, we should try to stay away from them,” he suggested. “Let’s continue, and find Flapple!”

    We pressed onwards down a corridor, as the rainfall stopped. I felt a little better about myself.

    ===================================================================

    Blistering Shore 4F

    It wasn’t long until we found the stairway to the next floor. We didn’t have any more battles on that floor after what Gen had done.

    What exactly did he do, anyways? He fell into that red light, then suddenly he grew really big, and started using water moves I’ve never seen before, nearly extinguishing Burhalla’s tail! Good thing that didn’t happen!

    As we navigated the next floor, Burhalla had found a clutch performer emera and put it in his looplet. When can I get a looplet and get to use emeras? I should ask mom for one once we’re home.

    Going down a short corridor, we entered the next room. As soon as we entered the room, I could see the stairs, but I was knocked to the side by a Vulpix’s Quick Attack, and a Kingler and Salandit rushed towards Gen and Burhalla. “Watch out!” I yelled to the others.

    The Kingler shot a Bubblebeam at Burhalla, connecting with his tail and he stumbled as his flame flickered. Not again! I attacked it with a Razor Leaf, but the Kingler shrugged it off as it Stomped Gen into the sand, and the Salandit spat a cloud of purple gas at him. This wasn’t good! They were overwhelming us!

    I ran towards them, but before I could reach them, the Salandit bit into Burhalla’s tail. He collapsed into the sand beside Gen.

    No! We needed to get through this! We needed to find Flapple! We couldn’t lose here after making it halfway through the dungeon! I needed to do something! I needed to! But I can’t take them all at once!

    The Kingler Stomped Burhalla. I heard something crack.

    No! This couldn’t be happening! No no no no no!

    NO!

    I barely noticed as a shadowy aura surrounded me, or as shadowy tendrils shot out of me towards the sky. I only noticed as they came falling back down towards us, at the dungeon mon, at myself, and even my teammates.

    I yelped in pain as they cut through me, but I was more concerned for Burhalla and Gen. They were already pretty injured. I looked towards them, and was relieved to see only a few of the tendrils hitting them. The shadowy aura around me disappeared, as did the tendrils.

    What did I just do?

    I glanced at the dungeon mons. They were covered in injuries that shadows leaked out of. Did I do that?

    “Here!” Burhalla yelled, returning me to my senses. I looked towards him, and saw him and Gen scarfing down an oran berry. A third was being tossed my way. I grabbed it with a vine and quickly munched down on it, before tossing another Razor Leaf at the Kingler. Gen ran by, and delivered an Assurance to it at the same time my attack hit. Together, we caused the Kingler to faint. One down!

    I saw Burhalla running towards the Vulpix, and hurried after it as well, and together, we delivered an Ancient Power and Bite combo, causing it to faint, too! Two down!

    We all turned towards the Salandit, which began to charge towards me. I hurled a Razor Leaf at it, Burhalla fired an Ember, and Gen hit it with an Assurance. It staggered, then collapsed into the sand.

    “We...we did it!” I cheered, smiling, before turning to Burhalla. “Do you know what that move I did was?”

    “Saltriv...that was a shadow move!” Burhalla exclaimed, eyes wide. “Shadow Half! How did you pull that off?”

    A shadow move? Like those shadowy Pokemon? But couldn’t only shadowy Pokemon do those? “I’m not sure. I was overwhelmed by both you and Gen collapsing, then it happened,” I explained.

    “Hold on, what’s a shadow move?” Gen asked.

    “They’re moves shadowy Pokemon can do,” Burhalla explained. “We can talk more about this once we get to the next floor. Come on.”

    He headed up the stairs, and we followed him.

    I couldn’t be a shadowy Pokemon, right?

    ===================================================================

    Blistering Shore 5F

    What was happening in this dungeon?!

    First there was that weirdly aggressive Krokorok, then there was that thing with Gen turning giant, then Saltriv pulled off Shadow Half.

    Saltriv couldn’t be a shadowy Pokemon. They acted nothing like what I heard shadowy Pokemon acted like.

    Yet, they pulled off a shadow move. It didn’t make any sense.

    Maybe...they used to be one, then were purified?

    That would explain why they didn’t remember anything about their disappearance.

    Gen had been near them when they woke up. Did Gen have something to do with their purification? Had Gen been a shadowy Pokemon, too, and that’s why he didn’t remember anything?

    No, then Gen would have to have been a shadowy Pokemon almost since birth, and they only started appearing recently.

    Back to Saltriv, where would they have been purified? Wouldn’t the news of them being found and purified have reached Overcast Village? And why would they be purified, and then just dumped in Twig Woodland? Unless they were purified there? Who would have done it, then? None of the Pokemon who could had been in there, as far as I know, and I don’t think they would just leave Saltriv in there. Did Gen somehow manage to purify them, and that cost him his memory? Was Gen secretly a legendary or mythical Pokemon, like Leviene was? Then why didn’t he even remember how to use moves? Was he secretly a human? Then how did Saltriv get purified, and why would he lie about that?

    This made no sense.

    As we entered the fifth floor, we came to a room with a blue emera in front of me. A power boost y. I inserted it into my looplet, staying away from the ocean crashing against the right side of the room. Once it was in there, I turned towards Saltriv and Gen. It was time for me to explain this.

    “Shadow moves are moves that only shadowy Pokemon know. They are super-effective on all other types,” I began.

    “All other types?” Gen asked, eyes wide. “All 17 of them?!”

    “Yes, all of them. Shadow moves are dangerous to everyone,” I confirmed. “Anyways, nobody’s ever heard of a non-shadowy Pokemon using them.”

    “How did I use Shadow Half, then?” Saltriv asked. “I’m definitely not a shadowy Pokemon!”

    I wasn’t entirely sure how, but I had an idea. “Saltriv...I think you used to be a shadowy Pokemon, and were purified,” I said.

    “W-what?! But I don’t remember being a shadowy Pokemon!” Saltriv protested.

    “None of them do,” I told them. “I’m not certain on this, but it’s the only thing that makes some sense.”

    “But...but...but...” Saltriv stammered.

    “Saltriv, even if you were a shadowy Pokemon, that’s over now. You’re ok now, and that’s all that matters.” I tried to comfort them. “I might even be wrong, and you were never a shadowy Pokemon at all.”

    “T-thanks, Burhalla,” Saltriv responded after a few moments, calming down a bit. “How did I end up in Twig Woodland, though?”

    “I’m not actually sure,” I admitted. “I think Gen might have something to do with it, since you both woke up there together, but I have no idea how.”

    “Me?” Gen asked, as his eyes widened. “How would I get them there?”

    “Like I said, I don’t know, but since you both woke up there together, it’s a possibility. Maybe that has something to do with how you lost your memory,” I answered.

    A few moments passed, then Gen responded. “I guess that makes sense.”

    “Great. Everyone ready to go?” I asked my teammates.

    “Yeah,” Gen said. Saltriv nodded.

    I smiled. “Let’s go, then!”

    I started heading down a corridor. Gen followed, then Saltriv did a few moments later.

    Together, we pressed on, into the depths of the dungeon.

    ===================================================================

    Blistering Shore 5F

    I stayed in the back of the group, maintaining a forced smile. As soon as Gen and Burhalla looked away, it disappeared.

    No. No no no no no.

    I couldn’t have been a shadowy Pokemon. I couldn’t have. I couldn’t have.

    But what if Burhalla was right? What if I was?

    What if I hurt them? What if I hurt Gen or Burhalla or Leon or mom or dad?

    I couldn’t let that happen. I couldn’t.

    I saw shadowy wisps began to form around me. No no no no no.

    Keep calm. Calm down. Stop panicking. Maybe then they’ll disappear.

    Deep breaths, in and out. Feel the sunshine with my leaf. Let it energize and restore me, physically and mentally.

    The shadowy wisps disappeared. Gen and Burhalla didn’t notice.

    Keep calm, at least for now. Don’t let them figure out what’s going on. Don’t cause them to worry over you.

    We emerged into a new room. I could see the stairs. We were almost out of here. We’d find Flapple soon, and then we can go home.

    Then...we purify Flapple, if he’s gone shadowy. Like I was apparently purified, from being a shadowy Pokemon.

    No. Stop thinking about that. Focus on the dungeon. Focus on your friends.

    My vision cleared.

    Gen and Burhalla were crowded around something near the ocean. I heard them talking about something. I headed over to them.

    There was a leaf-green gummi in the sand. A grass gummi!

    “So these are really delicious to grass-types?” Gen asked Burhalla.

    “Yes! There’s gummis for all types of Pokemon. There’s also mysterious, rainbow, and DX gummis, which are delicious for all types!” Burhalla answered. “Rainbow and DX ones can even give you Rare Qualities!”

    “And what are those?”

    “They’re like emera effects, but even work outside of dungeons, and affect everyone you’re connected with. Some people call them Team Skills. I’ll explain more once we find Flapple.”

    Burhalla turned around. “Saltriv! You can have this one.”

    I smiled, genuinely. Yes! Even if it wasn’t a DX gummi, this was still great! I hurried over, and chowed down on the grass gummi. Mmmm, so good!

    Once I finished eating it, I looked back up, and saw Burhalla approaching the stairs.

    “The next floor’s the last one. Let’s find Flapple, and finish this,” he said. Me and Gen followed him.

    We climbed up the stairs, and entered the end of the dungeon.

    ===================================================================

    Blistering Shore Peninsula

    We emerged onto the final floor. We were on a flat, triangular stretch of black sand, bordered by the ocean on all sides but the one behind us. The dunes had completely disappeared. In front of us, there was a flying apple-like Pokemon, staring out into the ocean, looking like the picture on the paper Burhalla showed me. That must be Flapple.

    “There you are!” Saltriv exclaimed. “We’ve been looking for you!”

    Flapple turned around, and I realized something was off. His eyes were filled with a bloody red, and their green skin was stained a faint purple. A faint aura of shadow filled the inside of their apple shell. Was this what a shadowy Pokemon was?

    “Stay away from me!” he shouted at us. “Don’t come any closer!”

    “We can help you!” Burhalla pleaded. “You can be purified!”

    “No!” Flapple shouted back. “You’ll just make things worse! Get away before I hurt you! I don’t want to hurt anyone else!”

    A tear dripped down from one of his bloodshot eyes.

    I tried to think of something to say. I had to help somehow, right? But what could I say to help when I didn’t even know what being a shadowy Pokemon meant?

    Maybe I could back up my teammates’ pleas.

    “Please!” I spoke. “We want to help! Just come with us!”

    “I can’t!” Flapple yelled. “You could die! I don’t want that!”

    That didn’t work, then.

    “Everyone in the village misses you!” Burhalla tried. “PNS-NT hasn’t been the same since you disappeared!”

    Flapple’s movements slowed. Did Burhalla get through to him?

    “PNS-NT...I…I...” Flapple started, before the aura of shadow around him flared up. His reddened eyes widened.

    “No! No no no no no! NO!” he shouted, before the shadowy aura completely consumed him. “RUN!”

    I started to back away. What just happened to Flapple?!

    “Berry crackers!” Burhalla exclaimed, to Saltriv’s surprise. “I overwhelmed him! Watch out!”

    The shadowy aura receded enough for Flapple to become visible again, and I gasped once I saw what happened to him.

    The colors on most of his body had changed completely. The interior of the apple shell had turned a dark gray, and the exterior had become maroon. His green skin had become a withered brown, and his pupils had completely disappeared.

    What the hell did that shadowy aura do to him?!

    “He’s in Hyper Mode!” Burhalla explained. “He won’t be able to listen to anything we say! We can still purify him, we just have to knock him out and bring him there ourselves!”

    We were going to have to fight Flapple?! Would we really be able to defeat him? Would he really be ok if we did?

    Before I could say anything, Flapple began flying towards us.

    “Here he comes!” Saltriv shouted.

    Immediately, he turned towards Saltriv, and fired a Dragon Breath at them. They couldn’t get out of the way in time, and were hit dead-on. “Saltriv!” I yelled.

    Darkness enveloped my right arm, fueled by my frustration towards the situation. I ran towards Flapple, leaped, and delivered an Assurance to a small nick in his apple shell.

    As I landed back on the ground, I saw Saltriv rush at Flapple, and deliver an Ancient Power to his cranium. I gave them a small smile as it collided with Flapple.

    “Move out of the way!” I heard Burhalla shout. As we both backed away from Flapple, I looked over to Burhalla, and watched as he pulled out the fire-shaped seed from earlier, before eating it. A massive burst of fire shot out of his mouth, and hit Flapple, creating an explosion and a cloud of smoke.

    That looked powerful! That must be what those fire-shaped seeds did. Was that able to defeat him?

    Once the smoke cleared, I saw that Flapple was shielding himself with his apple shell, which was now covered in various burn marks. He soon took flight again, revealing that the rest of him was mostly unscathed.

    I heard Burhalla shout about berry crackers again.

    The shadowy aura flared up once more, as Flapple took to the skies. He flew up high above Burhalla, and closed his shell, starting to drop down-

    “Burhalla! Look out!” I shouted.

    Burhalla looked up, and ran out of the way of Flapple’s descent, mere moments before Flapple collided with the ground where Burhalla stood before. “Thanks, Gen!” Burhalla shouted, before tossing the totter seed from earlier at Flapple.

    I heard a gulp, and Flapple began spinning. I didn’t understand why he’d eat it, but I’ll take it!

    “Let’s all attack the same spot!” Saltriv suggested. “That might be enough to knock him out!”

    “Worth a try. Ready?” he asked us. We both nodded. “Let’s do this!”

    Burhalla breathed an Ember at the dizzy Pokemon. A rock appeared from above Saltriv, and was launched right towards the mark the Ember left. I gathered the frustration from this battle, and delivered an Assurance right to where my teammates’ attacks had hit.

    Even after that, Flapple was still flying.

    “We have one oran berry left. Does anyone need it?” Burhalla asked. I shook my head.

    A ball of bright light began forming over Flapple. A Solar Beam. This could be bad.

    “I could us-” Saltriv began, before abruptly, Flapple stopped spinning right when facing me, and unleashed the Solar Beam upon me before I got a chance to react. It felt as though my life force was being evaporated. It was agony.

    “GEN!” I heard my teammates’ horrified screams as I collapsed into the sand.

    I heard footsteps approaching, before Burhalla emerged into view, handing me the last oran berry. “Here!”

    I devoured the berry, and felt my strength returning. I stood back up, just in time to watch Saltriv deliver an Ancient Power to Flapple.

    As the rock hit, Flapple collapsed into the sand. The shadowy aura flared up once more, obscuring him, before disappearing, leaving Flapple looking exactly how he was when we first found him, aside from the injuries.

    We...we did it. We actually did it! We actually managed to knock Flapple out!

    Burhalla dug into his bag, and pulled out a purple stick that looked like the one he used back in Twig Woodland. He waved it at Flapple, and an orb of light shot out of it towards the apple dragon.

    “That should give us enough time to purify him,” Burhalla said. “Is everyone alright?”

    That was difficult. That Solar Beam really hurt. But, we managed to do it.

    “I’m fine,” I lied. I came this far. I already nearly died once. One more time wasn’t enough for me to leave the team.

    “That Dragon Breath hurt, but I’m ok!” Saltriv announced, with a strained smile.

    I could tell they really weren’t, but neither was I.

    “Ready to go back?” Burhalla asked us.

    Saltriv and I both nodded. I didn’t want to be in this messed-up beach any longer than I had to.

    Burhalla took the other escape orb out of the bag. “Let’s get out of here,” he said, before throwing it at the ground, shattering it.

    The three of us and Flapple were enveloped in pillars of light, and we escaped from the dungeon.
     
    Chapter 8: Congregation
  • IFBench

    Rescue Team Member
    Location
    Pokemon Paradise
    Partners
    1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
    Chapter 8: Congregation

    Blistering Shore Outskirts

    "How much farther is the town?" I asked, carrying Flapple's tail.

    "Not too far. We should be there before sunset," Burhalla answered, carrying Flapple's head.

    The three of us walked down the path to the village, carrying Flapple together.

    "We really did it! We found Flapple!" Saltriv exclaimed, with a vine wrapped around Flapple's midsection.

    "Once we...purify him, he'll be ok," Burhalla said, with a shudder at the word "purify".

    "Purify?" I asked, now that I had time to do so. What exactly did that entail, and why was it apparently so terrifying?

    "Purifying shadowy Pokemon returns them to normal. There used to be four ways of purifying shadowy Pokemon, but two of them have disappeared. There's only two left now," Burhalla answered with another shudder. "Neither are pleasant, but they're the only ways."

    I was filled with questions. Why was purification unpleasant? Why had two of the methods disappeared? Wha-

    Suddenly, I heard a voice in my head. You shouldn't think of prying into our affairs, hehehe. I know where you are.

    I froze up.

    Nope, not continuing that line of thought. Not after whatever the hell that was.

    Instead, I decided to ask a question that's been on my mind ever since Burhalla first mentioned "going shadowy" back in Twig Woodland.

    "What exactly are shadowy Pokemon?"

    "Shadowy Pokemon are Pokemon that can't feel any positive emotions. They can only feel fear, anger, frustration, guilt, and other negative emotions. Nobody knows how it happens, but usually Pokemon go missing, not even showing up with connection orbs for a while, then turn up shadowy in strange places," Burhalla answered.

    They can't feel any positive emotions, only negative ones? That explained why Flapple was so afraid back there. Still, that must be awful. What could be causing all this?

    Eventually, a large, ornate blue building came into view, covered in ornate designs and patterns. I could see one pattern that looked vaguely like a Kingdra. In front of its entrance were the wispy-tailed Pokemon I saw yesterday.

    "Halt!" the larger one yelled. "Why are you here?"

    "Nobody enters the shrine without our permission while we're on duty!" the smaller one on the larger one's head exclaimed. "Hey, is that Flapple? And Burhalla! Saltriv, too!"

    "Hello, Drakloak and Dreepy!" Burhalla said, looking at the larger one, then the smaller one as he spoke. Those must be the names of those Pokemon.

    "We found Flapple!" Saltriv announced with a smile. "They were at Blistering Shore!"

    "It was difficult, but we brought them out of there," I added.

    "You really found him! That's amazing! You're heroes!" Dreepy cheered. His eyes were filled with sparkles. "Are you all a search party?"

    "Yes! Team Searchlights!" Burhalla confirmed, before muttering just quietly enough for me to barely hear him, "Not an official one yet, though."

    "Wow!" Dreepy said. "That's so cool!"

    "It's really great that you found him. It was getting tiring guarding the shrine all the time, and I missed his company," Drakloak said, before turning towards me. "I haven't seen you in town before. Who are you?"

    "Gen," I hastily answered.

    "I see. Thank you, Burhalla, Saltriv, and Gen for finding Flapple." Drakloak said with something akin to a smile. "You're here to purify him?"

    We all nodded.

    "You all know the rules?" Drakloak asked.

    I saw Saltriv and Burhalla both nod, but I stayed still. "What ar-?"

    Burhalla clamped a hand over my mouth. What was that about?!

    "I'll tell him," Burhalla said, removing his hand from my face.

    "Good. Be careful in there," Drakloak said, before she and Dreepy moved out of the way.

    "I need to be the one to bring Flapple in," Burhalla said. "You can both let go."

    Odd, but I lowered my arms away from Flapple's tail. Saltriv's vine retracted, and Burhalla took hold of Flapple's midsection, before turning to face me.

    "Before we go in, I need to tell you something," he said.

    "What is it?" I asked. Was he going to tell me about what those rules were?

    "Whatever you do, BE POLITE AT ALL COSTS," he told me. "Stay calm, don't make many unneeded movements. And don't ask about or touch the statues."

    "Wait, what do you mean? Why?" I asked, startled by the sudden demands.

    "I can't tell you until after we leave. They'll know. Just follow my lead, and you should be alright," Burhalla said. He hesitated, before continuing. "If anything happens to me, don't react. Calmly exit the shrine."

    What might happen to him? Who'd know? Did it have to do with that voice? The more I heard about this, the more fearful I grew of going into the shrine?

    "Why do we have to go in? Why can't Drakloak do it, since she knows this stuff better?" I asked.

    Drakloak turned to look at me. "You three all found Flapple, so you all have to go in. It's part of the rules of purification here. If I could, I'd take your place, but sadly that's not possible."

    "You can do it! You're heroes!" Dreepy encouraged.

    "We'll be in there with you," Saltriv comforted. "You won't be alone."

    "Just remember what I said, and you'll be ok. We can do this, together," Burhalla said, before turning towards the temple. "Ready to go in?"

    Saltriv nodded after a moment.

    Could I really do this? I had no idea what would happen if I made a mistake.

    At the same time, though, I knew what not to do. And my teammates would be with me. I wouldn't be alone.

    And if I didn't go with my teammates, and we broke the rules, who knows what would happen to them?

    It'll be ok. I can do this.

    I nodded.

    "Let's go, then," Burhalla said, as he carried Flapple into the shrine. Me and Saltriv followed.

    Water Purification Shrine

    I walked into the shrine, and was amazed by what I saw.

    The four crystal walls of the temple were a vibrant blue, and coated in several intricate patterns. A sparkling pool of water laid in the center of the room, perfectly still. Two marble pillars were at the back of the room, reaching from the lavender floor to the violet ceiling. On the left and right sides of the room, waterfalls rained down into pits I couldn't see the bottoms of. The entire place was shrouded in light fog.

    Scattered throughout the room, I noticed many Pokemon scattered about, unmoving. I saw a Hoothoot, a Gastly, even a Lucario. It didn't even look like they were alive. Were these the statues Burhalla was talking about?

    I saw one of them, a Misdreavus, blink.

    Oh.

    Oh no.

    Were they ALIVE?! What had happened to them?!

    I felt Burhalla poke me. Right, right. Remain polite, at all costs. Don't draw attention to myself.

    What could have happened to those Pokemon, though?

    Suddenly, the pool of water began to ripple. Something began to emerge out of it. Something large.

    A purple, patterned shell floated out of the water. A fin was on the top of it, and a long, sharp point on the front. Was this a Pokemon? I'd never seen a Pokemon like this before.

    Soon, the shell opened, revealing a figure inside. I tried to figure out the thoughts to describe what they looked like, but for some reason they just wouldn't come.

    "Greetings, Tapu Fini," Burhalla said with a bow. I followed his lead, and me and Saltriv bowed as well.

    That Pokemon must be called Tapu Fini, then.

    "Greetings, Burhalla," Tapu Fini responded in an indescribable tone. "Who are your companions? It is rude to not introduce oneselves."

    "My name is Gen," I said, trying to keep myself from shaking under the pressure. Stay calm, like Burhalla said. "It is a pleasure to meet you."

    "My name is Saltriv," Saltriv introduced themself, echoing my words. "It is a pleasure to meet you."

    "It is a pleasure to meet you both," Tapu Fini greeted. "What are your opinions of my shrine?"

    "The shrine is rather nice. The waterfalls compliment the designs on the walls," Saltriv said, tone neutral.

    "It's pr-quite fantastic, if I do say so myself," I began, trying to imitate Saltriv's tone. "I enjoy the colors of the walls, ceiling, and floor."

    Several wordless seconds passed. I began to grow fearful. Had I been too impolite? What was going to happen if I had been?

    After what felt like an eternity, Tapu Fini made a gesture I didn't recognize. "For what reason did you come to my shrine?" they asked.

    "We seek to purify the Pokemon I am carrying," Burhalla answered. "Flapple. May we please request that of you?"

    "Is that so?" Tapu Fini responded. "Burhalla, place him in the pool of water. I will purify him."

    Burhalla took a step towards the water, tightly carrying Flapple with both hands. I could see him shaking a bit. Was it because of the water, Tapu Fini, or both? I couldn't blame him.

    Gently, he laid Flapple down in the water. He floated on the surface, above the deep depths that Tapu Fini emerged from.

    Once Flapple was in place, Burhalla backed away from the pool, and returned to my side. I wondered just what purification entailed. What was going to happen to Flapple?

    Suddenly, the fog began to thicken drastically. Within seconds, Flapple and Tapu Fini were completely obscured. Was this part of the process?

    A faint light appeared where I last saw Tapu Fini. It quickly grew brighter and brighter, soon becoming unbearably bright. It flashed even greater in intensity.

    I flinched, and closed my eyes.

    Suddenly, I heard a large SPLASH, and I felt myself get drenched.

    I opened my eyes, and saw that the light was gone. The fog was dissipating as well. Every surface of the temple was doused thoroughly, droplets of water, dripping down.

    I glanced over at Burhalla, worried that the water had put his tail out. He was shaking slightly, and his tail flame was wavering, but it still burnt bright. I almost breathed a sigh of relief, but stopped myself.

    I turned back towards the pool of water. Tapu Fini and Flapple were visible again. The latter's eyes were still closed, but the shadowy aura had completely disappeared, and his skin had changed from a purple-stained green to a leafy green. Did that mean he was purified now?

    "I have purified Flapple," Tapu Fini said. "You may now take him, and take your leave."

    Burhalla walked over and picked Flapple back up, then returned to me and Saltriv. Before he left, he turned around, and bowed once more. "Au revoir, Tapu Fini."

    "Au revoir, Tapu Fini," Saltriv echoed, bowing as well.

    "Au revoir, Tapu Fini," I said as I bowed, following my teammates' lead.

    Tapu Fini made another gesture I didn't recognize, before closing their shell.

    The three of us turned around, and exited the temple, with a now-purified Flapple in tow.

    Outside Water Purification Shrine

    We walked a short distance from the shrine, until Burhalla stepped off the path a bit and sat down, setting down Flapple beside him. Saltriv went and stood next to him. I walked over to them, and sat down with my teammates.

    "Even after the first time, purification is still terrifying," Burhalla said. "Being so close to water, even getting splashed by it, and the statues, and Tapu Fini themself… Is everyone alright after that?"

    "I am! Good thing I had memorized what I was going to say if I ever met Tapu Fini!" Saltriv exclaimed. "I think I'd still be in there if I hadn't!"

    That was absolutely terrifying. The strict rules, the moments of suspense when I worried I did something wrong, and the "statues"...it was horrible.

    Even so, I made it through it all, somehow.

    "I'm fine," I told Burhalla. I tried not to think too hard about what Saltriv had said.

    "Great. Let's take a break before we go back to the village. I think we all need one," he said.

    I definitely did.

    As we sat in the grass and looked up at the clouds, I thought back to what Burhalla had said earlier. Burhalla had mentioned that there was one other method of purification left. What was it? Was it more pleasant than having Tapu Fini do it, even slightly?

    Would asking about the other method incur that voice's wrath, though?

    Then again, it wasn't interrupting my thinking of this, so hopefully it would be safe to ask?

    "What's the other purification method?" I asked Burhalla.

    "I don't actually know," he said. "I just know that it's near Moonlight Town."

    "Careful speaking about them. You could incur their wrath. Especially her's," Drakloak spoke up, floating towards us.

    Hehehehehe.

    I shuddered. Maybe it was best if I didn't ask any more questions about purification.

    I decided to ask about Drakloak and Dreepy instead. Maybe I could learn a few things about the village from them.

    "What do you both do here?" I asked. Presumably, they guard the shrine, but was there anything else?

    "We protect the shrine, of course! Us, Flapple, and Drampa guard the shrine in shifts," Drakloak explained.

    Who's Drampa? I'd never heard of that Pokemon.

    Before I could ask, Saltriv spoke up. "What happened to the third method? I remember there still being three before I…"

    "You went missing, right?" Drakloak said. "Strange, I don't remember seeing you get purified here. Or perhaps you never went shadowy at all. I don't know what happened when you were found, after all."

    I saw Saltriv wince. Was this about what happened in Blistering Shore? Weren't they ok now?

    "Back to your question, Mossy Town became a mystery dungeon while you were gone, and the method there disappeared," Drakloak continued.

    "W-what?! Did everyone make it out? Where are they?" Saltriv asked, eyes widening.

    "As far as I know, almost everyone," Drakloak answered. "I heard most of them are staying in Capim Town for now."

    My mind raced with questions. Entire towns could become mystery dungeons? How did something even become a mystery dungeon? Could it happen to Overcast Village?

    I was so caught up in these questions, that I missed what Saltriv had to say next, only hearing Drakloak's response.

    "First the method in Coulomb City, then the one in Mossy Town. If Tapu Fini disappears too, we're in far more trouble than before," Drakloak said. "That's why we guard the shrine."

    A few seconds of silence passed. I watched the sun begin to set.

    "We should wake Flapple up soon. It's getting late, and it'll be a while before he wakes up otherwise," Burhalla said as he stood back up. Saltriv and I did so as well.

    "Indeed. I should get back to guarding the shrine," Drakloak said, turning around, before stopping. They floated over to the grass, then with both arms reached down and pulled out some sort of goggle-like thing, before handing it to Burhalla.

    The lenses were tinted red, and two arrow-like protrusions pointed diagonally from the center. It resembled the eyes of a Hoothoot. Were these some sort of glasses for Pokemon?

    "An Insomniscope?" Burhalla asked. "Why-"

    "Here, as thanks for bringing my friend back. I don't need these anymore," Drakloak spoke.

    "I...thanks," Burhalla said, taking the Insomniscope and putting it in his bag. Drakloak turned, and started heading back towards the shrine entrance.

    I was about to ask him what that was, then I heard Flapple's voice. "Whuh?"

    I turned around to where we had set down Flapple, to see Saltriv shaking him with a vine. His eyes were starting to open, now yellow instead of the red they were before.

    Suddenly, his eyes opened all the way, and he flew up into the air. "What're you kids doing to me?!" he shouted.

    I took a step back, noticing Burhalla flinch, before he spoke up. "We just purified you, sir."

    "Whaddya mean? Are you sayin' I went shadowy?!" Flapple demanded. I pulled my Reunion Cape over my face.

    "You did. We found you at the edge of Blistering Shore, and...hyper mode happened, and we had to battle you," Burhalla confirmed.

    A few seconds of silence passed, before Flapple spoke back up.

    "...I'm gonna need some time to process this, but...thanks, lads, and...I'm sorry," Flapple said. "I'll be heading home until my shift. Come with me. I have something to give you."

    Flapple started flying down the path, not waiting for a response. "Wait up!" I yelled, as me, Saltriv, and Burhalla ran after him.

    Overcast Village

    Soon, the four of us arrived at the entrance to the village. I could see Meganium under the Kecleon-shaped tent, talking to the Tyrogue I saw earlier. The Porygon-Z we ran into on the way out of Twig Woodland yesterday was near the bulletin board, talking to a strange, floating pink Tentacool-like Pokemon, with a large head and a crown-like horn on top.

    The moment we entered the Top Plaza, the Porygon-Z began to rush towards Flapple, with a cry of "MANZA-ZA-ZAGGLE!"

    Before I knew what was happening, Flapple and Porygon-Z had collided in midair, and were now both lying on the ground. "PNS-NT, I'm glad to see ya, but could ya not do that so often? You know I'm not comfortable with people knowing my primary name," Flapple admonished.

    I had heard that teapot Pokemon mention PNS-NT earlier, and Burhalla had mentioned it before Flapple went berserk. Was that the name of this Porygon-Z? And what was that about primary names?

    "My apolo-olo-ologies, but I've missed you greatly!" PNS-NT exclaimed. "Were you jus-jus-just lost, or were you…?"

    "I was. We can talk more in a bit, I need to get something for these three who found and purified me," Flapple explained, before I heard another familiar voice.

    "Saltriv!" Meganium shouted as she exited the Kecleon tent. With a worried expression on her face, she headed towards us, before stopping next to Saltriv. "You didn't tell me you were going on a search mission! Are you ok?"

    "I'm ok, mo-," Saltriv began, before the Tyrogue spoke up.

    "New to this town, and you're already going out to search for missing Pokemon?" he said, looking at me. "Color me impressed!"

    "Uh, thanks," I responded, not sure what else to say.

    "Seems like two of our missing residents have returned," an unfamiliar voice spoke. I looked for the source, and saw that it was the pink Pokemon by the bulletin board. "And one new resident as well. Pardon me, Oshawott, but what is your primary name? If you're not comfortable saying it in public, I ca-"

    "My name is Gen," I answered before she finished, hoping that primary name meant what I thought it did.

    The Pokemon seemed taken aback. Oh no. Was I wrong?

    "Wonderful. I am Jellicent, the mayor of this village. Do you need a residence?" she responded after a few seconds. This must be who Burhalla was talking about back in Twig Woodland.

    Before I could say anything, Meganium spoke up.

    "Gen's staying with my family for the time being," Meganium answered for me.

    "Wonderful. Speaking of your family," Jellicent began, turning to Saltriv and Flapple. "Welcome back to the village, you two."

    Saltriv smiled, and Flapple seemed too busy talking to PNS-NT to respond.

    Jellicent turned to Burhalla next. "I heard from your father that you decided to start a search party. Thank you for taking this step to protect our village, and congratulations on your first successful mission!" she congratulated warmly, before her tone grew stern. "Although it was unwise of you to leave before SaRO approved you."

    Meganium gave Saltriv a stern look, and Burhalla frowned. "Sorry," he said.

    "Regardless, completing your first mission is not something that should be punished. It's something that should be celebrated!" Jellicent continued. I saw Saltriv perk up. "I must take my leave now. Welcome to Overcast Village, Gen!" she said, before heading deeper into the fog.

    "I should go, too. Congratulations, Gen! We should spar sometime! Let me know when you can. See ya!" Tyrogue said, then walked down one of the roads.

    "Now that that's over with, let me get you what I said I would," Flapple said, flying over to the mechanism-covered box. "Give me a minute with the deposit box, and I'll have it." As soon as he was next to it, it opened, and he stuck both of his wings inside. Was that thing called a deposit box, then?

    As Flapple did his thing, Saltriv turned to their mom, smiling. "Can we-"

    "No," Meganium said, before Saltriv could get a chance to finish. "You know what happened last time you had a sleepover, and I need to have a talk with you after you went out underprepared."

    "We had an escape orb, and we found Flapple anyways! Besides, last time was months ago, and Gen's first night with us went well! Please?" Saltriv pleaded.

    "...with who?" Meganium asked after a few seconds.

    "Burhalla! I want us all to celebrate our first successful mission together!" Saltriv answered, and Burhalla smiled.

    "If Burhalla's father agrees, then tomorrow night," Meganium answered, to Saltriv's and Burhalla's cheers. "I was planning on letting you do something like this in a few days anyways to celebrate you returning, but to celebrate your first accomplishment on a search party, you can have it tomorrow." Meganium smiled after that.

    A sleepover? I haven't had one of those in years. This might be fun.

    "Think this should be it," Flapple spoke up, before taking out one of his wings from the box. 9 large yellow coins were stacked on top of the wing, and some sort of symbol was emblazoned on the top of the coins, though I couldn't quite see what it was. Was that what money was here?

    "900 Poké? Great! Tha-" Burhalla began, stopping as Flapple moved again.

    Flapple took out his other wing, on which laid the biggest apple I've ever seen. It was almost as large as I was! It was a shiny, glimmering red, and even seemed to be sparkling. A single leaf as large as my tail was attached to the grass-green stem. The most mouth-watering smell I've ever experienced reached my nose. Just what was this piece of heaven in the shape of an apple?

    Saltriv, Burhalla, and even Meganium gasped. "A perfect apple?! Real-" Saltriv began. It did seem perfect alright.

    "I insist. To thank you for purifying me, and to make up for whatever I did while I was...like that," Flapple said.

    Burhalla hesitated, before taking the coins and the perfect apple. "T-thank you, Flapple," he replied, eyes wide. Flapple smiled in response.

    "Now le-le-let's go home," PNS-NT said, beginning to float out of the plaza. "You would not believe what happen-pen-pened to me last night!"

    Flapple flew after them, leaving the four of us alone in the plaza.

    "I'll...go store these for now," Burhalla said, taking shaky steps towards the deposit box.

    He opened the box and dumped what he was carrying inside.

    What?

    Why was he just putting it all right back where Flapple had gotten it from? Moreover, why were Flapple's belongings apparently in this box right out in the open of this plaza?

    "Why are you putting that back?" I asked.

    Meganium looked at me weirdly, before her expression shifted to one of care. "Right, you don't remember anything. That's a deposit box. Anything one Pokemon puts in can be taken out by only that Pokemon. For everyone else, only their things are inside."

    Weird. They seemed to be like PCs, then. I still had one more question about them, though.

    "Who made them?" I asked.

    "The Kangaskhan clan manages them," Meganium answered. "They created them after-oh, you wouldn't know about that."

    Know about what?

    Before I could ask, Burhalla said, "I should go home. See ya both tomorrow!" He walked down one of the foggy roads, and out of sight.

    "We should get going, too," Meganium told us. "Come with me." She said, walking down the road to Saltriv's house.

    Me and Saltriv followed her into the fog.

    Saltriv's Home

    Soon, we arrived in Saltriv's home. Torterra was in the first room, and smiled as he saw us arrive.

    "Welcome back, you three!" he greeted. "How went the adventure, Saltriv?"

    "It went great! We found Flapple!" Saltriv exclaimed.

    "You didn't tell us you were going on a search mission," Torterra said, frowning. "I thought you three were just going to play in the forest, like your past adventures with Burhalla were."

    "You went underprepared, too," Meganium admonished. "You should have waited until your supplies had arrived."

    Saltriv's expression fell. Maybe I should try to comfort them? How, though? Would a hug work?

    Before I could do so, though, a vine sprouted from Torterra's tree, and laid on Saltriv's back.

    "Still, I'm proud of you," Torterra said. "Search missions are no easy feat."

    "We're both proud of you for finding Flapple," Meganium comforted. "I just wish you had told us you were, and had been better prepared."

    Saltriv's frown started to disappear. "Thanks, mom and dad."

    "You're welcome, my child," Torterra responded.

    "Can we still do the celebration sleepover?" Saltriv asked, beginning to smile.

    "Of course!" Torterra answered. "You deserve a reward after your first search mission!"

    "You're not allowed to go on any adventures tomorrow, though," Meganium added. "We might be getting a visit then, anyways."

    "Aww, ok," Saltriv replied with a frown, before their expression changed to one of curiousity. "From who?"

    "This morning I mailed a letter to Acacia that you'd been found," Meganium said. "We might get a visit from his rescue team soon."

    Was a rescue team like a search party? And who was this Acacia?

    "What's a rescue team?" I decided to ask first.

    "Rescue teams go around and rescue people, like search parties, except without most of the searching," Saltriv explained. "Acacia, my uncle, is part of the best one! Team Seedlings! They even saved the world once!"

    They saved the world?! That...that's an amazing accomplishment! From what, though? And I might be meeting them tomorrow...

    "Why don't you two go to bed?" Meganium told us. "It's getting late, and you should rest well for tomorrow."

    "Ok! See you tomorrow, mom and dad!" Saltriv yelled, before running towards the room we slept in last night. I followed behind.

    The room was almost just like how it was last night, aside from the items in the box having been moved around. Saltriv laid down on their mat, as I walked over to the one I had slept in.

    "I can hardly believe what happened today! You, me, and Burhalla are a search party now! And we even found someone already!" they said.

    "Yeah. There was...a lot that happened," I said, as I laid down. That search mission was terrifying at times, but at least I wouldn't have to worry about being alone.

    "I can't wait until tomorrow! I get to see my uncle again, and we have the celebration sleepover!" they continued, tucking themselves in with a vine. "See you then, Gen!"

    I pulled a blanket over me, and was about to close my eyes, when I noticed Saltriv shaking under the covers. What was that about? Were they still sad about that conversation with their parents?

    I'll have to ask them about that tomorrow.

    As I closed my eyes, I thought about Saltriv.

    They've done a lot for me, haven't they?

    They defended me when Burhalla's father was suspicious of me, convinced their parents to let me stay in their home, taught me about some of the things we found in Blistering Shore, including my Reunion Cape, helped save me from that Krokorok, tried to help me with my made-up memory problem, and offered to try to help me with my anxiety if Burhalla's idea with the village therapist didn't work out.

    Speaking of Burhalla, he also helped me a lot.

    He offered for me to go with him when he found me in Twig Woodland, taught me about mystery dungeons and more, let me join the team, guided me through mystery dungeons, saved me multiple times, tried to prepare me for Tapu Fini, and comforted me even after I had nearly killed him.

    We've already been through a lot together. If not for them, I'd be completely lost in this world. I might never have gotten out of Twig Woodland.

    I never did thank them, did I? I should tomorrow. I'm grateful for what they've done for me.

    I'm happy to be teammates with them, even if I wouldn't call them friends yet. I haven't even known them for two days.

    My friends are back home, in Johto. Most of them, at least.

    How were they? Did they learn yet that I was gone? Were they freaking out over my disappearance, or did they think I'd return soon?

    And what about my family? How were they taking my disappearance? Were they ok?

    I miss them all. Hopefully I could find a way home soon.

    Hopefully.

    ===================================================================

    Overcast Village Outskirts, Hours Earlier

    You idiot! We needed to move in sync! Now you scared that Porygon-Z off, and it alerted that whole village! I thought.

    It's not my fault you jumped the bloody gun! If you hadn't been so impatient, and actually waited for it to get close enough, we could have had it! You thought.

    If I had waited any longer, it could have gotten away!

    And if you had waited any longer, we could have actually gotten some help! Just because you're the only one of us who can speak like this doesn't mean you can yell at me to do whatever!

    You began to walk me further away from the village, through the forest.

    Just because I can't walk anywhere like this without your cooperation doesn't mean you get to decide everything we do!

    Yes it does, actually! You thought.

    I clenched my yellow hands. They barely poked out of your snow. I shivered from your cold.

    I heard your insulting thoughts of me. Why did I have to be stuck with the most insufferable Galarian imaginable?!

    Why do I have to be stuck with the most aggravating Unovan imaginable?! You thought, continuing to walk me away from the village.

    Both of us flung insults at each other mentally, until I stopped.

    We need to cooperate. You know this. Neither of us like this situation, but we'll have to deal with it until we find a way to fix it, if there even is one.

    We could have already found help if you had been more patient, but I agree. You thought.

    We need to find someone who will listen to us. We need to find them while they're alone, and where they can't call for help.

    How about that Charmander we saw yesterday?

    If we can find it again. You already know we haven't seen it since you pressured me to throw that orb. If I hadn't listened to you, we might have been able to catch up to the Charmander.

    If you hadn't listened to me, we might have died from that horde of Pokemon. Unless you got any other ideas, that Charmander is our best shot. And I know you don't have any other ideas.

    Fine. We'll look for that Charmander-

    As we came to a dirt path in the forest, you stopped walking, derailing my train of thought. I could see a glimpse of something blue down the path. I craned my neck, trying to get a better look without leaving the bushes. You didn't protest.

    There was a blue building, decorated with several ornate Alolan patterns. In front of it was a floating Pokemon with short, handless arms, a V-shaped head, fin-like legs, and a wispy tail. On top of its head was a similar, but smaller Pokemon. That's a Drakloak and a Dreepy.

    They were talking to an Oshawott with a red hood, a Chikorita with a red leaf, and the Charmander we saw yesterday. They were carrying an oddly-colored Flapple. We were too far away to hear what they were all saying.

    There it is! Too bad it's not alone. You thought.

    Before too long, the Oshawott, Chikorita, and Charmander entered the building, leaving the Drakloak and Dreepy alone, and vulnerable. This could work.

    Now's our chance! Let's get them!


    If those three starters exit and see us, they could overtake us. We're waiting.

    It's the perfect opportunity! They're all alone!

    If they're still there once the starters are gone, we'll do it. Until then, we should plan ahead.

    You're wasting this opportunity!

    You'd get us killed!

    Fine. Let's start planning, then.
     
    Chapter 9: Under the Stars New
  • IFBench

    Rescue Team Member
    Location
    Pokemon Paradise
    Partners
    1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
    Chapter 9: Under the Stars

    Lapras Travel Liner


    “How much farther is it?” Leviene asked, looking up at the cloudless sky.


    “We should be nearly there,” Lapras answered, swimming past a school of Wishiwashi.


    “I can barely believe it’s been this long since we’ve been there!” Leviene said, before turning towards me. “Can you, Ayueg?”


    “Well, it is the hardest continent to get to,” I pointed out. “Makes sense we didn’t come back after mapping it.”


    “Yeah, but we should have come back here sooner anyways! This place was so cool!” Leviene said.


    “It was,” I replied. “I wonder how much it’s changed since we were there last.”


    “Well, we’re about to find out!” Leviene replied. “Look, we’re almost there!”


    I looked out into the distance, and saw that thunderclouds had appeared over the horizon. Not much farther now.


    Soon, the perpetual thunderstorm encircling the continent came fully into view. Lightning struck the sea rapidly, and the sound of thunder grew louder and louder.


    The only safe way through was the tiny gap in the clouds directly in front of us.


    “Hold on tight!” Lapras said, a glint appearing in their eyes as a Protect barrier formed around us.


    I grabbed onto one of the spikes on Lapras’ shell with a wing, while Leviene wrapped a vine around the same spike, just in time for us to reach the thunderclouds.


    Lightning struck down into the ocean on both sides of us. The thunderclaps were almost deafening. One lightning bolt almost struck Lapras, causing Leviene to shriek. I laid my other wing on their back to reassure them.


    Before we knew it, the sounds of thunder had quieted down. We had made it through.


    In the distance was the Thunder Continent, now in clear view. Several steep cliffs jutted out, adorned with trees. A river delta poured out into the ocean. Sticking out from it all was a large town just above sea level, with buildings the color of the night sky.


    The ocean around us started to grow darker as we approached the town. Stars started appearing in the sky, and the sun faded away. We were entering Moonlight Town’s nighttime veil.


    As the docks grew closer, we began to slow down. Just before we stopped, the moon appeared high in the sky.


    “We’ve arrived at Moonlight Town of the Thunder Continent!” Lapras announced.


    Moonlight Town


    I hopped off Lapras with a wave, after Leviene climbed down from their back.


    “Thanks for the ride!” I said. Lapras smiled back at me.


    I turned away from the ocean, and towards the town. Leviene was already running across the candlelit docks. I opened my beak in a smile as I ran after them.


    Leviene was such a joy to be around. Ever since I had met them in Serene Village, I scarcely ever wanted to leave their side. We’d been through so much together. We even saved the world together!


    If I hadn’t been able to bring Leviene back after they disappeared, I didn’t know what I would do.


    I was so happy to be partners with them.


    It wasn’t long before we came to the end of the docks, where Gothitelle waited for us, holding a weathered map in her hands.


    “Greetings. Team Travelers, correct?” she greeted, a small smile appearing on her face.


    “Indeed! Only the best Expedition Team the world has ever seen!” I said with a wide smile. “It’s nice to see you again, mayor Gothitelle.”


    “The same to you both. It’s a pleasure to see again the two who saved the world from Dark Matter,” Gothitelle spoke, looking back down at her map. “You do remember the way to the plaza, correct? I know it’s been a long time since you were here last.”


    “Nope!” Leviene said, looking up at the starry sky overhead. “Could you remind us?”


    Gothitelle stared intensely at her map for several seconds, before looking back at us.


    “Go forwards until you hit a three-way split in the road. Turn around, then take the second road on the left. Make sure to walk on that road, not run yet. Once you reach a dead end, turn around and now run, until you pass by a road that goes downhill. Walk backwards down it. Once you feel the ground turn flat again, look up. If the constellation above is Cresselia, take the road to the left, otherwise, take the one to the right. Once you reach a dead end with a painting of Lunala, spin once, then walk forwards until you arrive in the plaza,” Gothitelle explained.


    “With how weird the layout of this place is, you’d almost think it’s a mystery dungeon!” Leviene joked, turning to me. “Did you get all that, Ayueg? I spaced out in the middle of it.”


    “Of course,” I said. It was mostly the case, although I couldn’t quite remember if it was the downhill road or the road after the constellation that needed to be walked down backwards.


    We’ll just have to figure that out when we get there. I didn’t want to annoy Gothitelle by asking again.


    “See ya, mayor Gothitelle!” I said with a wave, before we both passed by her, and entered the lamplit roads of Moonlight Town proper.


    It wasn’t long until we reached the downhill road. Were we supposed to walk backwards here, or after the constellation?


    “Uh, Leviene? Did you remember if we’re supposed to walk backwards yet?” I asked, hoping that maybe they had remembered that part.


    “Nope!” they answered. “You forgot?”


    “Yeah...any ideas?” I asked.


    They looked around the area a bit, before their eyes stopped on a Zoroark, Morgrem, and Meowstic gathered together a short distance away.


    “Team Gibbous!” they exclaimed. “Let’s go ask them! I’ve been wanting to meet them!”


    “Never heard of them before,” I said. “Who are they?”


    “They’re one of the top search parties of the continent! Pahelia told me about them a few meetings ago, during the one where you fell asleep,” Leviene explained, beginning to walk towards them. “She called them the Team ACT of the Thunder Continent.”


    “Hopefully they didn’t chase someone across half the continent like the real Team ACT,” I commented, before following after Leviene.


    As we grew closer to Team Gibbous, I heard them discussing something.


    “Illanero! Where are you?” Zoroark cried out.


    “We’ll find him,” Meowstic said, laying a paw on Zoroark. “He couldn’t have gone too far by now.”


    “What if he became a shadow Pokemon?” Zoroark responded, a look of anguish on his face.


    “Then we’ll search for him,” Morgrem said. “And shadow Pokemon can still be found with connection orbs, right? Once we manage to get another one, we’ll find and rescue him in no time flat.”


    Illanero...wasn’t he that one of those Pokemon who had been pretending to be a former human? Pahelia mentioned debunking him a few meetings ago.


    Well, no matter. Even if he was, he was still a Pokemon who needed help.


    “Hey! Need one of these?” Leviene said, pulling a spare connection orb out of their bag.


    Meowstic’s eyes widened. “Thank you!” she said, taking the orb, before looking us over. “A Combusken and a Bayleef...you’re Team Travelers, right?”


    “Indeed! The heroes of the Tree of Life!” I said with a smile, before switching to a more thoughtful expression. “You need any help looking for Illanero?”


    “Thanks, but no thanks,” Zoroark said, a hint of pride in his voice. “We’ll be fine. We’re Team Gibbous, a gold-rank Search Party!”


    “And what did that get you?” I said, glancing towards the scratched up badge Zoroark wore.


    “...smaller bags and shoddier badges,” Zoroark said, all pride gone from his voice. “Not our fault SaRO is so backwards with its ranks.”


    “Seriously, whose idea was it to give the best equipment to the worst search parties and the worst equipment to the best search parties? Anyways, while we appreciate the offer, we don’t need any more help than this orb,” Morgrem said.


    “Once we track him down, we’ll be all set!” Zoroark added.


    “You just want to be the one to find him so that he’ll think you’re cooler than humans,” Meowstic said, tapping Zoroark on the nose, before leaning over to whisper to us. “I am thankful that you’d be willing to help us, but Stubborn over here is too prideful to let a world-saving team in on our search. He denied the last one that came through here, too. Team Gardeners, I think they were called? They said something about a meeting as they left.”


    Oh, right. The meeting. We should ask for directions like we were going to.


    “Well, best of luck! Hope Illanero is found soon!” Leviene said.


    “Also, do you know if we’re supposed to walk backwards here, or after looking up at the constellations in order to get to the plaza?” I asked.


    “Right here,” Morgrem said, before quietly chuckling. “I thought the legendary Team Travelers would be better with directions?”


    I decided not to dignify that with a response, and neither did Leviene. Both of us turned around, and began walking backwards. “See ya! Good luck finding Illanero!” I said, as Team Gibbous disappeared from view.


    Soon, we finally arrived in the crescent-shaped plaza of Moonlight Town, illuminated only by the stars, and the light from the Lunala statue in the center. I could see the other teams of the Council waiting for us next to the statue. Everyone but Lidequir was groaning. Another one of her “jokes” must have just happened.


    In the corner of the plaza, I noticed an empty Kecleon shop. When would they be found?


    “There’s Team Travelers!” Vernir the Servine said once we reached everyone. “Now we can begin the meeting!”


    “Has anything happened since our last meeting?” I asked.


    “Saltriv was found!” Acacia the Meganium shouted, smiling widely. “They didn’t even become a shadow Pokemon!”


    Cheers rang out from every one of us here, save Apoyime, who simply grinned. That was amazing news!


    “Where were they?” Leviene asked.


    “Twig Woodland,” Lidequir the Wartortle said. “Acacia’s sister sent us a letter that their best friend rescued them from there.” She paused, then added, “She also mentioned an Oshawott with amnesia being with them.”


    “Really?” Vernir asked. “Did she mention if they said they were a human or not?”


    “If this is another imitator-” I began, before Acacia cut me off.


    “She didn’t mention that. Just that he had amnesia,” Acacia said. “I’m hoping that he might be the one, but I’m doubtful.”


    Apoyime the Sceptile nodded, as Pahelia the Empoleon said, “I really hope he’s it. That’ll be one less thing we have to worry about.”


    “Speaking of, who’s going to be doing what?” Gen asked.


    “I’d like to go to Overcast Village to see Saltriv, and see what’s up with that Oshawott,” Acacia said. “Is that good with you, Lidequir?”


    “Of course!” Lidequir said, before looking towards me and my partner. “Leviene and Ayueg, I think you two should come with us. We still need to investigate that monster that was spotted near there You’ve trav —”


    “No,” Acacia interrupted the pun, before looking at us. “Are you good with that?”


    “Yeah!” Leviene exclaimed. “I want to meet Saltriv!”


    “If Leviene’s going, then I’m going,” I said. “I’m interested in meeting them too, as well as finding out about that Oshawott.”


    “What about us?” Pahelia asked.


    “Maybe you could help the search parties with finding and purifying shadow Pokemon?” Leviene suggested. “On the way here, we ran into a search party that was having some trouble. You could help people like them!”


    I didn’t think that even Team Sunset could get through to that team, but it was worth a shot.


    “Sounds great!” Pahelia said, while Apoyime gave a grin in our direction. Then Pahelia turned towards Gen and Vernir, and asked, “What about you two?”


    “I think me and Gen should help look for the next human,” Vernir said. “His name was in that mailbox.”


    “That’s settled, then!” Lidequir said. “Let’s—”


    A figure emerged from the darkness of one of the nearby roads. A Pokemon with black and grey fur, red eyes, and wide green bands wrapped around both of its arms. A small smile was on their face.


    “Who are you?” I asked.


    “You may call me Zarude,” they said. “I have something to tell you.”


    “What is it?” Lidequir asked.


    “Have you heard of a Pokemon called Eternatus?”


    ===================================================================


    Saltriv’s Home


    1st Month of Autumn, 23rd Day


    Today, I



    I lifted the vine holding my pen into the air. For some reason, the words weren’t coming easily today.


    We formed a search party yesterday, so maybe I should write that first?


    Today, I formed a search party


    No, that didn’t sound right.


    Today, I formed a search party created a search party with Burhalla and Gen!


    That’s a little better, but it still seems off. And I still need to write about that creature that was on the news, and the search for Flapple, and purifying Flapple, and my plans for the sleepover tomorrow, and the shadow…


    That’s ok, though! I could do this! Just need to push through.


    We decided to call ourselves Team Searchlights! I came up with the name.


    No, I didn’t. I combined Burhalla’s and Gen’s ideas to make it. We made the team name together.


    We decided to call ourselves Team Searchlights! I came up with the name. We all helped to make the team name.


    That didn’t sound good, either…


    We decided to call ourselves Team Searchlights! I came up with the name. We all helped to make the team name.


    When did writing get so difficult? I was doing fine with it yesterday! What happened? What made me lose my motiva—


    Oh.


    That.


    Back in Blistering Shore. Burhalla and Gen had both collapsed. Then...I felt overwhelmed...and used Shadow Half.


    I couldn’t have been a shadow Pokemon, though, right?


    But I used a shadow move…


    Maybe it wasn’t me, but from Flapple somehow?


    No, I saw the shadowy tendrils come from myself. It was from me.


    What if I hurt Gen? Or Burhalla? Or mom or dad or—


    No no no. Stay calm. Deep breaths, in and out. Feel the morning sunshine on my leaf.


    Just focus on the journal entry. Focus on writing.


    We decided to call ourselves Team Searchlights! Other ideas we had were Team Search, Team Light, and Team Adventure.


    There, that seems good.


    We almost had Aron or Rockruff join us instead of Gen, but he asked if he could join.


    That sounds a bit off…


    We almost had Aron or Rockruff join us instead of Gen. but he asked if he could join. We were about to go look for them, when Gen yelled for us to wait.


    That still doesn’t sound good.


    Maybe I should write about a different part for now, and come back to Gen joining the team later?


    We had just entered the third floor, when we were ambushed by a Sandygast! It knocked Gen into a beam of red light, and he became giant! Then he did a massive water attack and nearly killed Burhalla.


    Maybe I should just skip today.


    Or maybe I could just try not to think and just write anything that came to mind? That might work to at least get something down, then I could revise it later.


    Gen and Burhalla were both knocked to the ground, but the dungeon Pokemon kept attacking them. I felt overwhelmed, then I


    I closed the journal.




    Herolich made two tracks to be Gen's themes! I'm really thankful to him for doing this!

    Longing For Home

    Regaining Hope
     
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