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Pokémon Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Soaring Over Heaven

Introduction - A Brief Description New


United States of America

Beckoned by the worlds of a mysterious entity, A naive human-turned-Rowlet is dropped into the endless blue skies of flying ships and sky pirates. With a lack of memories and guidance on where to go next, he puts his stake into a partnership with free-spirited privateers. His journey to save the skies will put him on a collision course with warring nations, untamed dungeons, and self-reflection - as all roads lead to the end of the horizon.

Featuring art by yours truly and other amazing artists!

Now then. Where do I begin? Originally I only started to write for PMD in 2022, when I started my very first long story titled Embers and Flowers. I had been inspired by the sheer talent of writers who used original settings to their fullest, wanting to carve my own path with my own story and characters. The result...was a good first attempt, though full of hiccups here and there, but I soon found myself burnt out on my own story pretty quickly. I found my ideas at the time to be lacking, which led to me to shelve the fic and try again with a new premise, this time drawing on my love of certain aspects of some of my favorite media (Xenoblade, One Piece, the mobile game Granblu Fantasy, and more), while having a spin on some concepts. Thus, Soaring Over Heaven was born! This fic is my way of pushing myself to improve not only as a writer, but a storyteller and even as an artist! I learn something new nearly every day, which I try to put work. I'm so excited to share the fruits of my labor with a new audience, and while I'm new to this site and this format in general, I'm more than willing to learn and accept feedback! So please, hit me with your best shot!

Now if there's no more reservations, I'm going to try and link back to this main post when I can. Please bear with me as I grow used to TR's format.

General Rating: T for Teen (Occasional swearing, violence, some mature themes.)

I may try to have a little extra bit at the end of the chapter, usually some concept art/sketches or additional trivia. Feel free to ask me if you want to see anything in particular about this story, outside main plot details of course!

Chapter 1: Falling Down New


United States of America
Chapter 1: Falling Down

Hey Maxim.. What would you do if the stars above in the sky disappeared? Would you be curious? Upset they disappeared? Wish for them to come back?

Hey Maxim… If you were scared to hurt someone, why did you do it?

Hey Maxim… did they make you angry? Did they do nothing to you? Or did you…?

Hey Maxim… don’t forget…

Hey Maxim…



All encompassing void, all enveloping darkness.

He awoke to find himself floating in a sea of nothingness. Was he going mad? Why was he here?

There wasn’t a concept of time. An eternity could pass, and he’d feel nothing. In fact, he couldn’t feel anything at all. Where was his body?

Panic crept in. At least he still had his emotions. Maybe he could will his body into existence next..

“No need. You will soon be set free.”

Wha- Who said that?

“I did. You may call me an ‘observer’, if you will.”

And now he was going crazy. At least he won’t be lonely if there’s an imaginary voice to talk to.

“You still doubt me? Here, witness this!”

The darkness was illuminated by a single pulsating orb of light. A burning feeling of energy enveloped him, surging through his existence like wildfire. His very being felt drawn to the levitating light. And then…


The glow faded and the cold darkness returned. He was paralyzed, weak. Alone.

“Do not fear, for you have been chosen for a grand purpose. A divine experiment in a world of endless sky and unyielding conflict, where unforeseen calamity threatens to tear it apart. To safeguard it, I have searched for a qualified candidate. You have met my needs, knowledge seeker!”

This was too much for him to deal with. Could he just be free already? Even an eternity of silence would be more appealing.

“Very well, I suppose you have been in the dark long enough. I shall send you on your way, but not without the proper knowledge.”’

A low hum started in the darkness, followed by a flash of light. Soon, the void itself started to distort as a ball of light similar to the one before it formed again. The difference was that this one began to absorb the darkness like an inverse black hole.

“One more thing. Regardless of which path you take in this world, remember that you and only you can decide how your story plays out. Your memories shall remain scattered, but meet me at the origin point at the end of the skies, and know the truth.”

Again, he felt himself being drawn into the light, but this time he felt an overwhelming wave of pressure dragging him in. There was nothing he could do but watch as the light grew closer.

And closer.

And closer.

“Farewell for now, Maxim.”

The light enveloped him in a warm embrace, the void vanishing from sight.


The wind was blowing strongly against his skin. Darkness enveloped behind his closed eyes, but unlike before, he had control over his body.

Wait, body? His body was back?

Eyes slowly opened to overwhelming light that slowly faded. Ears that could hear the howl of rushing wind were the first sense to fully return. As his eyes adjusted, the only thing he could make out was nothing but blue and white blurs.

Then realization hit him harder than the wind. He was falling!


His voice was back, at least. A small solace for one falling to their doom.

He moved his left arm forward, only to find a bundle of toasty brown feathers instead. Using the right arm netted the same result, raising more alarm bells. Was reality playing a cruel joke on him?

Before he could gather his thoughts, a mighty force struck his back, causing the blur of rushing sky to stop, before resuming once again in reverse. He became disoriented and nausea set in. Feeling his consciousness slip away, he hoped whatever fate befell him would be swift and painless.

All encompassing void.

Had he really come back here, new life cut short already? He shuddered at the thought of dealing with that strange voice again.

...okay? …Not… damaged…”

Oh, another voice. This time, the tone was that of a male’s; gentle and soft, without an omnipotent boom present. Whoever he was, the voice was busy chatting away.

“. .. fall… on… patrol… can’t believe this happened…”

A second masculine voice, this time deep and confident, became locked in a discussion with the first. Both grew louder as they went back and forth.

“I wonder when the little guy is gonna wake up..”

“Hard to say when. Best to not bother him for now and let him rest. Your patrol duties are calling.”

“Hmph, noted.”

Wait a moment, that sounded like it came from right beside him. He struggled to move his body as feeling returned once more, and he began to open his eyes.

A fuzzy haze came into view, while a floral scent hung in the air.. Shapes formed and he was soon left staring at a candle hanging off a dark wooden wall. Staring down revealed a soft mattress covered in green wooly sheets.

He was now indoors, safe from a plummeting demise. Was it all just a bad dream?

“Ah, you’re awake already? Interesting.”

He wasn’t alone either. It was the gentle and soft voice from earlier, this time much clearer.

A humanoid figure came into view, one covered in a white dress with green leggings, and with piercing red eyes paired with green, twintailed hair. On their right arm was some kind of blue band covered in a small symbol. In their left arm was a small notebook and a pen attached to the back on a string. The figure raised their free hand and a wave of pink energy floated over his bed. Rejuvenation washed over him. He had never seen something like this before, and yet a name came immediately to mind as he gazed at them.

“That’s a Kirlia.” He thought. “ Wait, how did I know that?”

“I was worried that Signal had been too rough with you when he recovered you from your failed flight. But my worries were unfounded. Guess I should apologize to him later,” The Kirlia said as he raised a hand to his chin.

Maxim glanced to the side. On a nearby table was a small, circular mirror. He took the chance to glance at his body. Feathers, both white and brown, covered his small form. Instead of arms and legs, he had bird wings and orange talons. A small green bowtie-shaped growth was planted above his neck. He rubbed a wing over his face - even that transformed to a smooth, hard beak.

“I’ve been turned into a r-r-Rowlet?! That damn voice must have done this to me !” He speculated. “ I bet that guy is laughing his ass off, wherever he is.”


“Excuse me, are you alright?”

He was snapped out of thought by the waiting Kirlia. Now he had to figure out what to do about his current position.

“I-I’m fine”, he stammered. “Please just tell me where I am. I’m not even sure how I got here.”

Kirlia beamed. “Ah, you’re in the infirmary hold of our ship.”

“Ship?” He questioned. “So we’re at sea?”

“Sea…?” Kirlia gazed at him, raising their hand back to their chin. “Unless that’s what you call the vast sky.”

That was enough to make him raise a nonexistent eyebrow. Maxim pressed for more information. “What kind of vessel is this, and just how did I end up here?”

“The name of this ship is Serene Grace , a merchant ship! We were on our way to Cape Tirtouga to deliver goods, when one of our lookouts saw a hole form in the sky. One of our men went to investigate it, saw you fall out of there, and dragged you to safety.”

Maxim put a wing to his beak in thought. So that’s how I entered this world. Would it have killed the voice to spawn me on the ground? “So, another question: how long have I been out for?”

His question was answered by three fingers held up. “Three hours! You’ve been unconscious since you got here. Since then, I was doing some health checkups on you and nothing’s wrong with you. In the meantime, please try and relax .”

“I see.” Maxim sighed. Easiest thing for him to do would be to get a grip on what’s going on now, and focus on what to do next later.

“Sorry to interrupt your thoughts”, Kirlia chimed in, “but I’ve forgotten to ask your name! What do you go by, stranger?”

“Maxim. Just call me Maxim,” he stated.

Krilia smiled. “Quite the name, Maxim! My name is Cecil, nurse assistant! Just take a nice breather and rest yourself. We should be at our destination in one more day! Once we dock, then you can figure out what to do next.”

Maxim stood up on his talons on the bed. “I guess that’s fine, but I still don’t get where exactly in the world this i-”

“Oh, our mystery friend is finally awake?”

A girl’s voice, slightly gruff and full of energy, spoke from the door. Both the transformed human and Cecil turned to the door.

A bipedal creature resembling a weasel, with red limbs attached to a yellow body, stood there. A blue band the same as Cecil’s was wrapped on the right arm, while a blue and yellow striped bandanna was wrapped around her head. Again, a name appeared in Maxim’s mind at the sight of the creature: Mienfoo.

Did the voice turn me into a damn encyclopedia? I’ve never seen these creatures before!”

“Overheard you two chatting up a storm, figured I’d swing around!” The weasel clapped her hands. “Look at this crazy daredevil! How’d you get all the way into one of the straights without getting blown to pieces? Are yah a professional or somethin’?!”

Maxim brushed at nonexistent hair. “Daredevil? I got dropped into the middle of the sky with no warning! I’m not crazy enough to skydive from who-knows-where!”

A sly grin appeared on Mienfoo’s face. She placed a paw on her hips and pointed a finger at Maxim. “Eh? You trying to say Signal wasn’t fibbin’ with the ‘fallin’ from the sky’ story? I’d sooner believe you rowed yourself on the wind with two pieces of wood taped together!” She cackled.

Only three hours into this world and he was being called a liar. Great! Any plan he had of resting was dashed away an instant and uneasiness settled in. Perhaps a change of scenery would help to clear his head.

“Whatever”, he mumbled. “Believe whatever you want to believe.” Maxim turned back towards Cecil, waving his wing at the nurse. “Hey, if you don’t mind, I’d like to take a look outside. Get some fresh air, you know. Can I rest later?”

“Hmmm, I suppose letting you get some sunlight would be a good thing given your grass-type nature,” Cecil said. “I think it should be fine, provided someone watches you so nothing happens.”

Maxim wasn’t sure what the nurse meant by grass or “types”, but he buried the thought for now.

“Uh, sure, I could definitely use some more sunshine! I’m ready to go now, if you’re willing!” He said, putting mock-enthusiasm into his voice.

“Hold your ponytas! Just what do you think you’re sayin’, Cecil?!” Mienfoo raised a paw with a scowl on her face. “Letting some stranger go out of here without talkin’ to at least a high officer about it! How do we know this mudder’s not a spy or a criminal?”

Cecil frowned. He moved his notebook back under his arm. “Now Rene, why are you jumping to conclusions so soon? There wasn’t even a single item in his possession when he was brought in, nor did we find anything suspicious on his body after moving him to the ward. I get being cautious, but I can tell he’s not a legitimate threat.”

The weasel crossed her arms and looked away. “Bah, fine. But don’t come crying to me if he turns out to be some kinda wacko. I’ll do you a favor and find some bored crewmate to guide him up.”

That seemed to be exactly what the nurse wanted to hear, as a smile crept up on his face. “No need, as you’re going to be the best fit for the job!”

Rene took a step back and looked between Cecile, Maxim, and back to Cecil with widened eyes. “Wha? Since when am I a tour guide? I just came to have a look at him, not babysit him!”

Cecil pressed on. “Well think of it this way: what better means are there to keep an eye on a suspicious mon than with your own two eyes?“

Rene put her paws on her hip. “Well, you got a point there. And if he tries anything funny, then...” A loud clap echoed after the weasel slammed her paws together. “I still got some time to kill off shift. You said you’re ready to go, yeah?”

As much as Maxim agreed with her on picking someone else, he didn’t want to waste time. “As ready as I’ll ever be.” He sighed.

He stood up on the covers and looked down the side of the bed. Slowly moving his feet- no, talons- to the edge, the small owl hopped on to the ground.

“Okay, how do I walk on these things?” he thought.

Maxim took some steps. Despite how stubby his new legs were, walking for the first time didn’t feel strange. It was as if he had always been like this. He briskly moved to the door where Rene was scoffing. “Good! Now stay close to me so you don’t get lost. And don’t even think of tryin’ to jet away behind my back!”

While Rene stepped out into the hallway, Maxim took one last look back. Cecil waved back with a small smile . The former human returned the gesture with a wing before following the weasel’s lead.

Dim, candle-lit corridors and vacant hallways made up the path to the ship’s deck. The interior felt antique with the walls and floors made of polished wood, while the smell of burning candlewax filled the air. A few minutes of walking had led them to a set of steel stairs with sunlight beaming down from the top. They started to climb, with Rene leading the charge.

The sunlight grew brighter as they approached the top. Maxim tried not to grimace, hopping up as fast as he could. Eventually, he reached the last rung of the stairs.

The deck of the ship was beige wood with metal patches arranged around compartment entrances and lids. Twin masts reached triumphantly into the sky, beige sails expanded out in full force. The bridge superstructure was painted black and featured several glass windows, complete with unusual figures moving back and forth. Strange creatures roamed around the deck: a multicolored giraffe directed by a standing gray cat dragged around boxes, a blue beetle played a card game with a fat squirrel, and the strangest sight was an oversized floating bell with red eyes that levitated containers from one side of the ship to another. All the figures shared one thing in common: a blue band tied around a part of their body.

One creature stood out the most to him: a bipedal frog observed everything from a stack of boxes in the center. Matching a spiral pattern on their belly was a long, curved strand of hair on the top of their head. The blue band was on their left arm. In their hands was a small book they occasionally jotted down in.

A tap on the shoulder took him out of further viewing. Rene placed her paws on her hips and was staring him down.

“Don’t spend an eternity starin’ around while gawkin’ at the crew, you might get in their way. Head over to one of the corners if you wanna do that.”

Maxim rolled his eyes. “ Oh I’m sorry, not everyone has a normal reaction to weird talking animals running around some ship.”

Moving over to the railing along the edge of the deck, he glanced down to take a look at the water bel-

Wait, where was the water? No sea, no land, nothing but clouds reflecting the light of the clear sky above. The thick layer of cloud expanded for miles across the horizon.

Maxim reclined back. Rene tilted her head as he ran over as fast as his stubby talons could. An uncomfortable silence lingered as he stared at her leaning against the railing.

“What’s bothering yah?” She asked. “Thought you’d be enjoying the clear day since its easy sunlight.”

“Rene, where is the sea?”

The weasel stared back at him with widened eyes. “Sea? What the hell do you mean by that?”

Maxim raised a wing to his temple. Oh brother, first Cecil and now her. “ Surely I’m not the crazy one around here.”

“You know, a big body of water similar to how oceans cover the planet, or this one I’m assuming. What ships normally sail on instead of the actual sky itself?”

Another moment of silence, followed by Rene bursting into laughter. “Ahahaha! You must have bumped your head pretty hard before you got rescued! Of course a ship’s gonna sail the skies! Dunno what you mean by ‘sea’, but the only thing I see here is some Rowlet that took in a bit too much air for their own good!”

“Ugh, nevermind.” He sighed, shaking off the insult. ” I should have known better than to use reason in a world with talking animals in it.”

A deep and jovial voice spoke from a few feet away. “Hate to interrupt, but are you two having fun sunbathing over there?”

The fro- the Politoed had hopped over. A leather bag with a golden seal in the shape of three bird feathers was on him. The blue band on his arm also featured a golden trim along both edges, unlike the others.

“Ain’t you that Rowlet that got brought aboard?” The frog asked. “I’m surprised you were this quick to spring up after what happened!” He reached a hand out to Maxim with a growing grin on his face.

“Name’s Clyde! I’m runnin’ things on the deck! Thing’s seem a bit lively for now, but just wait until later, haha!”

Maxim hesitantly shook it with one of his wings. The frog was cold and slimy to touch, but he didn’t mind it. At least someone else besides Cecil was willing to play nice.

“What brings you up on the deck? You ain’t plannin’ on trying to fly again are yah?” Clyde teased.

“No sir, I just wanted to ‘get some sunlight’, as the nurse said. I’m not used to waking up in the middle of a ship.” Maxim said, rubbing his head with a wing.

“Hehe, well enjoy yourself for a lil’ while! But don’t forget to get back to the medical bay for some good rest, Especially considering how busy the crew’s gonna be later.” Clyde then winked at Rene, causing her to roll her eyes.

“You need anything, I’ll be over at my little post. See yah!” The frog said before turning over to a blue octopus moving a box. “OI, GRUE, I see you slacking over there! Hurry up and move that box or no drinks for ya tonight!” Clyde then hopped back to his position.

Maxim looked back to the distant horizon. “ Well, at least most of the creatures here seem friendly enough. Guess I was lucky I got dragged here over God-knows-where-else.”

The vast blue sky wouldn’t stay empty for much longer. Running level with the ship from far away was a black dot that grew bigger and bigger. Within a few moments, it was close enough to make out a ship-like appearance.

He turned back to Rene, who was still leaning on the guardrail. “Uh Rene, is there supposed to be another ship anywhere near us?”

“It’s probably some other merchant ship.” She grumbled. “Don’t pay ‘em any mind, because the rest of the crew won’t.”

Maxim couldn’t shake off his uneasiness. “Then why is it getting closer to us?” He raised a wing at the now rapidly approaching ship that was now extending sails and masts.

Rene noticed the object and leaned over the railing hard enough to nearly fall off. “That’s… huh?! They aren’t supposed to be here this early!”

The weasel recoiled before grabbing him by the back of the head. “Shit! We gotta go! I’m taking you back to the med bay, got it?!”

“W-what’s wrong? I thought you said not to worry about it?!” Maxim trembled. An ill feeling of dread took root inside and he shook. His claws dug into the wooden deck as Rene’s grip tightened. She began to drag him away.

“No more time!” She yelled. “We’re leaving right n-!

“PIRATES ON THE PORT SIDE! THE FLAG IS OCHER’S! EMERGENCY, EMERGENCY!” A voice bellowed out from atop one of the masts. The pirate ship’s bottom half was colored blood red, while the top half was a deep orange. Three tall masts with raised sails were present in the front, middle and rear. Coming near parallel to the Serene Grace, the pair froze as two massive hooks fired from the pirate ship and impaled the side. The ship rocked back and forth, knocking Maxim and Rene down. Before they could get up, a massive shadow flew over the railing.

It landed and Maxim’s blood ran cold. Only a few feet away was a cross between a bat and a dragon colored black and purple, a Noivern. On its neck was a dark orange bandanna with a bat-wing styled emblem and gleaming from the tip of its pointed tail was an attached metal blade. Long, speaker-like bat ears twitched as its head swiveled around. Eventually, its gaze lingered on Clyde. He stood as the bat-dragon approached him.

Creatures poured over the side of the ship and spreaded out. From a bipedal brown croc holding a black dagger to a walking cactus with even more spikes taped to its arms, the group was prepared to conquer. The crew had scrambled over the deck, with some hiding behind containers, while others formed a group behind Clyde. A deep and raspy voice boomed from the Noivern, causing pirate and crew alike to pause.

“Well then, I figure it’s about time to get down to business.” The bat-dragon leaned into Clyde’s face, the Politoed unblinking as he continued. “You, Politoed. Where’s the captain?”

Clyde stood straight as a statue, even as the pirate’s dagger tail moved close to his neck. “Aye, I’m sorry if you’re hoping for an appointment, he’s a bit busy right now!” Clyde laughed.

An uncomfortable silence returned to the deck. Maxim’s eyes widened into dinner plates as Rene gripped him closer to her body, a visible scowl on her face. Clyde’s smile didn’t diminish, a nonchalant stare on his face as if he was waiting for a proper response. The bat-dragon straightened up, glanced back to his pirate crew, then back down to the frog. He slowly started to laugh.

“Hehehehehe… HAHAHAHAHA! You’ve got some guts, Politoed. That’s fine, I’d rather drag your pathetic captain out of his hold kicking and screaming after we take your goods.” He sneered, slapping his tail on the wooden floor. He waved a claw at a pair of two black-and-gold-colored serpents with curved blades at the ends of their tails. “Trav, Igor, lead some of the men down below to the cargo hold. The rest of ya, tie up the crew on the deck. Make sure they have a front row seat while we plunder the vessel!”

Rene’s grip tightened as a pair of pirates moved to grab them. The weasel’s eyes brimmed with fury as she attempted to kick them away.

“Blow off, you filthy mudders! This ship ain’t yours for the takin’!” She growled.

Clyde shook his head and motioned both his hands down. Too focused on Ocher, Rene ignored the warning. In a split second, the bat-dragon closed the gap with a leap. His yellow eyes bored into them as he towered above.. His blade tail swished back and forth as if eager to see action. Maxim stayed silent, focusing his willpower into staying calm.

“Well isn’t this crew brimming with steel-coated bravery? I got to admit girlie, the average mon would have ran with their tail between their legs at the site of Blade Tail Ocher starin’ em down.”

Said tail-blade hovered a few inches from Rene’s forehead, causing her to shiver. Maxim gulped as the bat-dragon leaned in.

“Now then..” He sneered. “Let’s see how long those guts of yours last when I rip em outta yah!”
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Chapter 2: Predators or Prey? New


United States of America
Chapter 2: Predators or Prey?

“So what’s it gonna be, girlie?”

The pirate captain’s tail blade was only a few inches away from Rene’s skull. Maxim was paralyzed as the amused dragon leaned in closer.

“It’s your life, or your goods. Pick one.”

Rene and Ocher locked eyes for what seemed to be an eternity, with the wind being the only thing heard between the two. She knelt down and slowly released Maxim. The former human swore she turned back to him briefly before stating her answer.

“You moppet, pick someone to be a bigger tool than me.”

Everyone on board, from pirate to crew member, glared wide-eyed at the Mienfoo’s bluntness. Even Clyde’s smile had vanished, replaced by a steep frown. Maxim frantically crawled away from Rene.

“Is that so?” Ocher chuckled, pulling back his tail.

Without warning, he slammed Rene face-first into the wooden deck. The weasel let out a yelp as she was lifted up in the Noivern’s claws.

“Going to keep that bravado, eh? I guess I’ll do this slowly then!”


This time she was slammed down even harder, leaving behind visible cracks on the boards.


Ocher raised her up for a third time.


Then a forth, each impact leaving a bigger dent in the floor. As the crazed pirate pulled the battered Mienfoo up again, she was covered in wood shards and bruises .

The Noivern leaned her in close. “Well? Still got that fire in your eyes?”

Rene tilted her head over to Maxim, then stared directly into Ocher’s eyes.

“Yeah, I do.”

A growl came from Ocher’s maw as the dragon raised his claws to her throat. “I’m getting rather bored of yah! Time to cut the fun and skin ya alive!” He turned to his crew. “What do you say, boys?! Want me to give em a proper show?”

Roars of laughter echoed. Ocher raised his claws high in the air before coating them in draconic energy. Maxim’s heart felt like it would beat out of his chest.

Thump Thump

Fear coursed through him as his blood turned to ice in his veins.

Thump Thump

There had to be something, anything he could do! He tried to pick himself up, but his body refused to move. The dragon’s claws began to race forward to sink into-

Thump Thump

“That’s enough outta you lot! No fun n’ games for yah!”

The pirate captain paused mid-swing. All attention was drawn to Clyde, who stood with his chest puffed out on stacked boxes. A golden badge, shaped like a crown of feathers, was in his hands.

“And what do you think you’re going to do with that?” Ocher growled, pointing his tail at the Politoed. A Manectric and a Houndour rushed at Clyde, but he jumped high within seconds. Landing on one of the topmasts, he tossed a glowing orb. The object dropped all the way to the deck, shattering into light as bright as the Sun. Maxim reflexively raised a wing to shield his eyes.

The light faded after a few seconds. Maxim removed his wing to see scores of pirates clenching their eyes and rolling on the deck. Ocher had covered his eyes with his wings, while Rene had buried her face in her free arm.


Shrill whistling came from the sky. Stacks of containers rattled before several silhouettes rushed out in a tide of newcomers. A blue figure blitzed past a row of pirates, knocking them down in a single strike. The blur impacted Ocher and pulled Rene out of his grasp. The figure stopped and let her down a few feet away. Maxim took in the newcomer's appearance.

A bipedal bird stood arms crossed in front of Ocher. The bird was blue with a yellow bill and a red and blue feather crest on their head. A light blue feather with a streak of white stood out in the center. Covering their torso was a fancy white and blue vest complete with a navy blue scarf on their left shoulder. A name sprung in Maxim’s mind: Quaquaval.

“You really threw me off track showing up this early!” The bird snarked in a deep and suave voice. “Not a big deal!”

A trio consisting of a Cacnea, Krokorok, and Liepard sprung at the newcomer from behind, but the Quaquaval roundhouse kicked them into a stack of empty boxes. “How rude!” He groaned.

The Noivern’s eyes widened. “What are you doing here, Drake?!” He turned over to the other newcomers, all of them wearing the same blue scarves.

“This is a trap!” The bat-dragon roared, slapping his tail into the ground. “Boys, give em’ all you got!”

In a split second, everything went to hell. The Serene Grace’ s deck erupted into a battlefield. Fireballs, spraying water, and even lightning attacks all clashed with each other, cascading colorful sparks and smoke everywhere. Taking advantage of the chaos, Maxim flapped away to find a hiding spot. He only got a few feet before he bumped head first into a black furred Sneasel. The orange scarf tied around their shoulder confirmed that he had made a grave mistake.

“Tsk! I’m gonna pluck your feathers for that one!” The Sneasel hissed, brandishing his claws.

Maxim rolled to the side to avoid a claw swipe. He bolted away, weaving through fallen pokemon and flying projectiles. A fireball went over his head, the heat forcing him to dive to the ground. A slight creak behind him found the sneasel still in pursuit with claws encased in razor-sharp ice.


Maxim obliged as Rene launched like a speeding bullet into the Sneasel, sending the mon flying across the deck. The Mienfoo dusted herself off before sending a glare toward Maxim. Bruises and messy fur still covered her body, but her fiery gaze remained unshaken.

“Rene, you’re able to move around?!” Maxim stammered. “W-what’s going on?! Who are these guys?!”

Rene glared back. “I don’t have the time to explain it all, but if you see someone with a blue scarf just know they’re gonna be your buddy! How ‘bout you answer a question for me ?” She leaned forward.

“Why the bloody hell did you run away? At least try to defend yourself!” she barked.

The Rowlet shuddered. Fighting against bloodthirsty pirates? He couldn’t even outrun one!

“I-I can’t fight. Not at all!” Maxim said.

“A pokemon that can’t fight? You must be pulling a Wooloo on me.”

A few seconds of silence was her answer. The weasel signed, before turning away. “Fine. That amnesia of yours must be that bad..” She pointed to a stack of boxes. “Do me a favor. Either stay right behind me or hide away. Just try to be anythin’ other than a moving target.”

Maxim considered his options. If he were to hide he wouldn’t have to worry about constantly being attacked, but on the other hand if a pirate found him… He shuddered. Rene began to walk away, forcing him to make up his mind.

“W-wait! I’ll go with you!” He stammered. “I-I promise I won’t get in the way!”

The Mienfoo sighed and waved her paw forward. Maxim was quick to hop behind. Right as the two made their way around one of the masts, a massive column of water impacted the ground. As the water dispersed, it left behind a curious sight: a Floatzel with Fraxure headlocked under his arm, with his blue scarf wrapped around the base of his tail. Cuts and scars lined his body, while his face sported a huge grin.

YO , Rene! How are you feelin’?!” The Floatzel said with a deep, bellowing voice.

Rene crossed her arms and laughed. “Doin’ good, Conner! I’ll feel much better when this mission’s done.”

The Floatzel laughed back. “Aye! I say we pay 'em back at least twofold for those scrapes!” He brought attention over to Maxwell. “What about the little one over there? Ain’t never seen ‘im before.”

“Oh him?” She shrugged “Says he’s comin’ along. He won’t be much help in a fight, so I guess he’s on cheerleadin’”

The pirate went limp in Conner’s grip. He dropped them to the floor before kicking them away.

“Let’s get a move on then!”

A few minutes later, the daring pair of Rene and Conner cleared out any pirate that got in their way.. Conner hosed down a group of pirates with a wave of water, with Rene following up with a flurry of kicks. To finish them off, Rene charged energy into her fist, hit the closest pirate, and sent them flying into the group like a bowling ball into pins. Maxim stood in awe behind the spectacle.

T his is insane! How are they able to keep up with one another?

His curiosity continued to grow, but first he would need to find a safer spot to observe. Finding a nearby barrel, Maxim hopped inside and peered through a gash in its wooden side.. Beyond the duo’s position, the fighting still waged on with ferocious intensity.

Close to the ship’s bow, Clyde paired up with a Grapploct, the latter swinging around pirates as if they were toys into each other. The Politoed himself bounced on the head of one pirate, jump kicked into a second one, then froze a third with a beam of ice. Before the Rowlet could see what happened next, he picked up on shouting coming from the middle of the deck.

Spaced out enough to form a small arena, Ocher the Noivern and the Quaquaval were staring each other down while carefully moving around in a circle.

“Once I’ve skinned your sorry hide, Drake, every pirate worth their salt is gonna know who the real prowler of the west skies is!” The pirate-captain growled. He flapped his wings which caused a wave of air to rush like a bullet. Drake twirled to the side to dodge, the attack instead hitting the ground and knocking up splinters.

“Now that’s the spirit! It’s great to aim for sky high goals!” Drake taunted, waggling a feather. “But if you’re looking for some better rep, you might want to start with taking on someone in your own league!”

Ocher growled before his form crouched to the ground. Violet light coated his claws as they extended into blades. Drake responded in turn by summoning back his pair a water sabres, crossing them together in an X pattern. .

“Shall we dance?” Drake grinned.

Within a split second, both combatants closed the gap. Ocher attempted to land the first strike, launching one claw at Drake’s side while his tail zipped in from the other. Drake stepped back and struck the Noivern’s arm twice, leaving a visible cut. With a hiss, Ocher leapt into the air, charged his claws with draconic energy, then dived. Drake raised his water sabres to meet the attack head on.


The clash was strong enough to release a small shockwave that knocked down nearby pokemon. As the dust settled, Drake and Ocher were locked head to head: the dragon’s scowl countered by the grin on the Quaquaval’s face.

“I’ve had enough of this, you damned feather bag!” The Noivern snarled, pressing his attack onward..

“Already? I thought this dance was just getting started~!” Drake chuckled back, his twin sabers still holding the line..

The duck’s position slowly started to give, allowing Ocher a small opening. His bladed tail shot forward, causing Drake to veer to the side.The attack landed close enough to rip from the front to the back of his jacket.

“Why you..” He groaned.

Drake swung his leg into Ocher’s torso. The bat-dragon flinched from the strong attack. Drake didn’t waste the opportunity, slamming his foe with flurries of kicks ending with a roundhouse kick that knocked him across the deck and into unlucky Gabite pirate.

Drake took a deep breath. Ice slowly formed on the bottom of his legs, condensing until makeshift ice skates formed under his feet. Ocher rose from the ground. Sparks flowed from Ocher’s maw right before he launched a massive fireball. Drake met the attack head on and cut the fireball in two. Flipping into the air with the ice blade still on his feet, the Quaquaval became a spinning blur. Ocher tried to block using his wings, but the attack broke through before swerving into side. The Novern was launched away, howling as he impacted the ground.

Unfortunately for Maxim, the landing spot was right in front of his barrel. He turned back to Rene and Conner’s position, only to see the two had moved further on..

Shit! I need to get out of here!” He panicked.

A tall shadow loomed over the barrel. Maxim stared into the bloodshot eyes of Ocher. His heartbeat zoomed as the Noivern split the barrel in two with a tail strike. Ocher's claws seized Maxim, the Rowlet struggling against his tight grip.

The crazed Noivern turned back to Drake. “Now then, let down those blades o’ yours before I squish this little one!” His claws began to squeeze Maxim, the breath being sucked right out of his lungs. Tears started to form in Maxim’s eyes.

N-no! Someone! Anyone! Help!

Suddenly, a strange pink light enveloped both Maxim and Ocher. The former human found himself unable to move anything beyond his eyes.. Straining them around, he saw that the pirate captain himself was also frozen with his bloodshot eyes darting around..

Some of the remaining pirates rushed over to their captain’s aid, only to freeze when a shadow flew overhead. The shadow curved around and swept over the deck, knocking them all down. It back around, this time heading straight at the frozen duo. Like a speeding jet, the shadow impacted Ocher. Maxim soon found himself in its claws.

The Rowlet groaned at the familiar sensation of rushing wind against his feathers. He looked up at his rescuer. It was a Braviary, an impressive crest of white feathers billowing out from their head. Patterns on the crest glowed with pink and violet energy then unleashed an energy wave. The crescent shaped attack slammed into the Noivern’s back.

Drake had the opening he needed. He shot into the air, ice energy freezing his legs again. With a yell he twirled into another spin attack. The blow smashed Ocher directly on the head, slamming him face first into the wooden deck. Splinters flew everywhere as the Noivern rebounded onto his back, unmoving.

The sharp end of his tail twitched as Drake removed the blade, then held it up into the air. The fighting came to a standstill as friend and foe alike diverted attention.

Drake took a deep breath, then shouted. “This battle is over! Surrender, and I promise the rest of you will go unharmed.”

Silence passed. Then, one by one, the remaining pirates held up their arms and other substitutes. Maxim let out a sigh, then scanned the deck. He found Rene sitting on a stack of defeated pirates, their orange scarves tossed into their own pile. In the middle of that quelled chaos, Maxim felt a smile creep up on his face. Unpleasant first impression aside, the weas-err Mienfoo was a force to be reckoned with.

He still needed to focus on the pressing issue. Despite floating calmly in place, the Braviary still had a strong grip on him. Maxim swallowed the fear blooming in his heart and spoke.

“Uhh hello, could you let me go already?”

The Braviary stared back, then nodded. Maxim dropped down, quickly flapping his wings. The deck approached faster and faster with the Rowlet’s flaps speeding up. The Rowlet shut his eyes tight, then felt himself gently hit solid ground.

Maxim opened his eyes. Pirates were bunched up into tight groups bound by metal chains, while the unconscious ones were arranged into rows tied up with rope. Blue-scarved pokemon went back and forth between the two ships using the tether lines. Maxim marveled at how coordinated the dismantling was. Even with how busy things were, some mons still remained on deck, hanging out and laughing with each other like nothing had happened.

How can they just joke around like this? He thought. Just who are these gu-

A lone shadow looming over him snapped the Rowlet out of his thoughts. He subconsciously swiveled his head around to see the same Quaquaval. Maxim recoiled back.

“Oh, uhh hey there! Nice to meet you! Drake, wasn’t it?” He laughed, slowly shuffling away.

Drake straightened up and crossed his arms, only to relax with a chuckle a few seconds later. “A Rowlet? Don’t think I’ve ever seen you before!”

A gust of wind passed over the two right as the Braviary landed next to Drake. Maxim took a look at the huge eagle. Small scars and nicks lined their body. A blue scarf remained wrapped around their left leg, the symbol vaguely resembling Drake’s head. Their violet head crest glowed as they locked eyes with the Quaquaval.

The pair locked in a silent stare for a few seconds, before Drake knelled and placed an arm on Maxim’s head. “So you’re the one Signal rescued.. Interesting!” He raised his other arm to his chin. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one of your kind on this side of the skies.”

“Y-yeah, that’s nice... Uhh, xcuse me sir, but you’re the captain, right?” Maxim said, recoiling. “The nurse here told me it was a merchant ship, but that’s clearly not what’s going on!”

The Quauqaval chuckled and rubbed Maxim’s head. “Did he now? Well you see, that was just a little white lie! Good on him for not letting the Meowth out of the bag!” He clasped both his feathery arms together.

Standing up, Drake proceeded to twirl in place, placing a hand on his crest. Sparkles radiated from the Quaquaval’s form, completing the fabulous pose. Maxim nearly fell over from shock.

“It’s true, we aren’t merchants.” He waggled a feather. “I’m Captain Drake, leader of Aqua Step! We’re Privateers!

“Priva- what?

“Privateers! Nothing more, nothing less!”

Maxim racked his brain around that word. Privateer Privateer Privateer… I’ve heard that term somewhere before… Think it has some relation to pirates. He paused as a definition came to mind. Privateer - someone with the right to pirate under government rights. In other words-

“Y-you’re pirates too?!” He squawked.

Drake waggled a feather. “ Priv-a-teers~! Get it right~!”

Maxim slapped a wing to his face. This long day was about to feel even longer.

Elsewhere, in the endless void..

“What were you thinking, letting him drop in without coordination?! Did you want him to die before he could even begin to realize his purpose?!”

“Hmm, I suppose my calculations were off. Nevertheless, giving him a chance to meet another variable is the best outcome for him.”

“All the knowledge of the world, and yet you failed! How can you even call this the best outcome?”

“Oh dear sister, always driven by your emotions. He is a hardy individual. If you do not believe me, then wait for the next ‘experiment’ to begin. Even our sibling would agree.”

“Hmph, fine! But should you fail to keep it under control… then I shall step in.”

Drake's Full Design (Drawn by yours truly!)

Chapter 3: Finding Your Way New


United States of America

Chapter 3: Finding Your Way

Privateers, huh?

Maxim pondered over the term. To be rescued from pirates by pirates. Fate was truly laughing at his expense again.

“So you are all privateers? What does that mean?” Maxim asked.

Drake raised a wing to his chin. “Well, we do a lot of things. Exploration, capturing targets, fighting pirates, you name it!”

The Quaquaval leaned down at Maxim. “I’m surprised you’ve never heard of that term. It should be well known out here in the Southwestern Skies. Are you from another country, perhaps?”

“Well I, uhh, I have a bit of memory loss,” he stammered. I better just play into it for now. Not like he’ll believe me falling out of the sky…

“Memory loss?” Drake asked.

The Rowlet nodded. “Yes sir. I remember falling through the sky, then something caught me and I blacked out. When I woke up, I was aboard the ship. I don’t remember anything before that.” Maxim glanced down, unable to look Drake in the eye.

“Oh man, sounds like a hassle!” Drake groaned. “And going by what Signal told me, you didn’t have a poke to your name either! Do you at least have an idea of what you want to do now?”

What I want to do? Well…

There wasn’t any sort of thread or established base he had in this world, only some vague idea of his purpose to be here.

Save the world, but from what?

“I don’t really know. I do want to get my memories back, but I don’t even have a way of figuring that out. No leads, or anyone I can ask. Nothing.”

“How tragic to have to deal with that on your own, with no one to help you out.But~!” The Quaquaval flashed a grin. “If you need a good starting point, have I got an offer for you! How about you joi-”


A voice yelled from across the deck. Maxim did a double take at Rene effortlessly carrying a burlap sack twice her size. His shock wore off as she tossed the sack at Drake’s feet, causing tied-up orange scarves to fall out.

The Mienfoo spoke with a smirk. “Deck crew worked extra fast this time! We’ve got most of the raiders chained up already!”

Drake returned the grin. “Well done! Bisha might make us a larger quilt this time!”

“Well if she does, she better let us actually fly it like a flag this time!”

“No promises!”

Watching them going back and forth was quite the surprise. Coupled with how she acted around Conner, the Mienfoo wasn’t much of a grouch after all!

The conversation was finally broken by Drake raising a hand to his beak. “I’m glad to see you in such high spirits Rene, but you look rather scratched up.”

Rene rubbed the back of her head. “That dragon bastard roughed me up a bit, yeah, then his crewmates had to keep poppin’ up like weeds! But no worries, I pulled them out all just the same!”

“That’s good and all, but I still want you to get looked at before you try doing anything else.” Drake sighed. “It’s no good if my crew members aren’t in top shape.”

“Yeah, Yeah. ‘Don’t overdo it.’ You don’t have to tell me twice. “ The Mienfoo sighed while crossing her arms. “I’ll head to the Med Bay, no worries.”

She walked off, only sparing Maxim a side glance.

Should I go talk to her? Would she even want to speak with me after being such a burden?

“Oh I’m sorry we got interrupted. She’s pretty eccentric!” Drake said.

“Yeah, I can tell.”

Maxim looked back at Ocher’s pirate ship. The sails are curled up and blue-scarved mons roamed on board , taking apart pieces of the ship. A group of orange-scarved mons were tied around the center mast with the pirate captain himself slumped over in the center.

“Hey, Captain. What’s going to happen to those pirates?” He asked.

Drake flashed him a grin. “They were our bounty this time, so we’re taking them to Calvin Island, less than a day from here. By tomorrow, we should be there with the bounty in tow!”

“I saw they’re tied up, but what if they try to break free and cause trouble again?” Maxim said. He shuddered at the thought of being held at knifepoint by a crazed dragon again.

“No need to worry! Our talented crew is busy dismantling their ship, as you can see! If they get bold enough to break free and try to sail away…”

He took a nearby rock, raised it to the air, and let it drop back down. “Hahahaha!”

Maxim let out a small gulp. “Okay that’s good enough for me!”

Mercifully the Quaquaval moved on. “Now then, back to what I said earlier. I think you should join my cre-”

Again, he was interrupted, this time by Signal’s flashing headcrest. Both of them had forgotten the Braviary had been sitting in place this whole time.

“Argh! I forgot all about your report!” Drake shouted. “Sorry for getting too carried away!”

He knelt down and patted Maxim on the head. “I’ve got urgent business to handle! Once that’s taken care of, I’d like to have a meeting with you later today on additional topics.”

A meeting? What else could he want from me? Maxim furrowed his brow. “Sure thing, Captain Drake. I’ll see you then.”

“Thanks! I’ll be waiting for you in my quarters!” He pointed to the end of the ship. A blue door was right below the steering wheel. The Quaquaval took his leave, giving Maxim a bit of space to breathe.


Or so he thought. As he turned around he was greeted with Connor rushing towards him, flanked by a Hakamo-o and a Weavile. Before Maxim could respond, the Floatzle kicked a tiny broom his way.

Maxim stared at it with a raised brow. “A broom?”

“Yep, that’s right! If you’re gonna just stare around, then you’re gonna make yourself useful and help me brush the blood n’ guts off the deck!”

His eyes widened as his stomach lurched.

Conner’s Hakamo-o companion smacked him on the shoulder and gave him a fiery glare. “Oi oi oi, you’re scaring the lad half to death talking like that! Sorry, he’s got a messed up sense o’ humor!”

The Weavile shook her head. “He’s got a point. If you’re able-bodied, you can work. Crewmember or not, we’ll take everything we can get!”

“Well uhh, I don’t remember how to use a broom,” Maxim said. It wasn’t like he was exactly lying!

A snort came from the Weavile as she crossed her arms. “Yeah right, next you’re going to tell me you forgot how to fly.”

“Well,” Maxim said. “Would you believe me if I said yes?”

That got the trio to stare back at him. Conner’s jaw dropped. The trio put their heads together, trying and failing to whisper out of his earshot.

“Is he serious?”

“What the hell happened to him?”

“Did he get hit on the head one too many times during the fighting?”

“Maybe he’s always been crazy?”

Maxim rubbed his temple. “I can hear you three! And hey, I’m not crazy! I just have amnesia!”

“Amnewha- OH! So that's what Rene was talking about while we were busting heads! Well, you certainly haven’t lost whatever fire you’ve got burin’ inside, grass type!” Conner laughed. The other two joined in.

Maxim took the broom in his talons, quickly feeling disoriented with the extra weight on his foot.

“Ugh! How am I supposed to use this thing?!”

“Tsk! Just try to flap right above ground, then swing your foot from side to side.” The Weavile chimed in, rocking her arms back and forth. “C’mon! Heave! Ho! Heave! Ho!”

Maxim flapped his wings as fast as he could and within a few seconds he was slowly lifting off the ground. Flapping his wings in a rhythm, the Rowlet wobbled in air.

“Uhh, what was that you just said? Rock back and forth right?” Maxim said.

The Weavile flashed her fangs in a wide grin. “That’s right! Heave! Ho! Heave! Ho!”

“Uhh okay, Heave! Ho! Heave…! Ho!” Slowly, he rocked the broom back and forth, causing it to brush the ground. The motion kicked up dust, forcing him to angle his wings in a way that blew it away from him.

“Heave! Ho! Heave! Ho!” She shouted.

His movement slowly became more focused as he relaxed his body just a little t. The broom swung in a steady motion.

The Hakamo-o sighed. “Wow, I’ll be darned. You taught a flying type how to sweep, Silva. That’s an accomplishment.”

“Damn right, Herc! I’m just that good!” She boasted, placing a claw on her hip. “What do you think, Conner?”

The floatzel swept his tails from side to side and side. “Well uhh, he needs to work on his technique some more.” He sighed.

“You heard him, Rowlet! Let’s see you move around!” Silva shouted.

Maxim was reluctant to follow her directions, but he had to show he could do at least this one task. Stumbling forward, he flew in a straight line, wobbling the broom along the path. Small clouds of dust moved ahead of him.

“That’s it! More, more, more!” Silva cheered.

Maxim swept in a calm and steady pace, dust flying everwhere as he pushed forward.. Curiosity started to take over as he wondered how long he could keep this going.

Well, only one way to find out!

Minutes ticked by as Maxim continued to fly and sweep, attracting the attention of several other deckworkers who viewed the scene with silent curiosity and amusement. He was trailed by the trio, Silva still coaching him on. Right as he rounded the base of the center mast, a voice cut across the deck.

“Now what are you three doin’! Stop mankeyin’ around and get back to work!”

Maxim was startled and dropped the broom. All of them straightened up as Clyde bounced down from a rope above. The trio of Conner, Silva, and Herc gave him a small salute. “We’re sorry about it sir! We just wanted to have a lil fun with that Rowlet!” They shouted in unison.

“Well if yah want to mess around, I guess I can cut your rum rations as a lil payment. How about that?!” He barked.

“N-NO SIR, WE’LL GET BACK TO WORK RIGHT AWAY!” They shouted before dashing away. Clyde set his sights on Maxim.

“Sorry about that, lad! Those three are good workers, aye, but take your eyes off them and they’ll be up to Arceus-knows-what!” He sighed and crossed his arms.

“It’s alright, sir. At least I learned I’m good at something here.” Maxim said, staring at the ground. “It was a nice way to kill time before I met the captain.”

Clyde put his arms behind his head. “Drake wants to meet with yah?! I’m surprised. He rushed past me so quickly I couldn’t even tell him hello!”

“Yeah, said he needed to talk with Signal quickly, but he wanted me to come by. Not sure what about though.”

“Hmmmmm, I can’t either.” Clyde said, shaking his head. “ But anyway, before you do meet him, how about you swing by the medical bay? Best to make sure you’re all good to go before that!”

That reminded Maxim. Cecil! I almost forgot! I should go back and see if everything’s alright with him!

“I don’t feel like there’s anything wrong. But I guess it doesn’t hurt to check.” Maxim nodded and walked on, searching for the hatch below. “Thanks, Clyde! You’re a really cool guy!”

The Politoed chuckled at his praise before giving him a wave. “No problem, lad! Give the doctor my regards will yah!”

Past the hatch, the interior of the ship was undamaged. The only sign of the pirates’ attack was an unconscious pair of Seviper tied up to a wall. Their orange scarves were torn to shreds. As Maxim rounded the corner, Rene was walking out of the Medical Bay. The Mienfoo’s cuts and bruises had mostly disappeared; instead there were a few bandages around her body and below her right eye. He straightened up as she walked over.

“Well, you’re just the mon I wanted to see. You look fine, besides a few ruffled feathers,” She said, crossing her arms. “That’s good.”

Maxim raised a brow. Praise? Did some imposter replace her? He decided to roll with it for now. “Yeah, I’m doing good. Can’t say I enjoyed having two heart attacks in one day. But this seemed usual for you and the others. Do you always try and catch pirates like this?”

The weasel placed a paw on her hip and sighed. “Not all the time. Would have been harder to nail the guy with a good ole fashioned hunt. Certainly not with a ship like this.” She pointed at him. “But if you really wanna know more about us, just ask the Captain! He’s waiting for you anyway, right? Try not to take too long getting there!”

Maxim nodded. “Sure thing.”

Rene walked on past him for a bit before turning back. “Oh, one more thing. I guess I got you all wrong back there, yeah? Thought you were a spy n’ all. Wanted to say, my bad.”

Maxim froze. The last thing he expected her to say was an actual apology. “Hey! Wait a moment!” Maxim called out. By the time he did, the weasel had already turned around the corner, long gone.

Well, at least she’s still got plenty of energy in her. He thought, turning back to his destination and heading in.

The overpowering scent of alcohol and other chemicals filled the room. Replacing the dim atmosphere was candlelight from sconces around the room. Several beds were occupied by different mons sporting minor scrapes or bruises. Towards the back, a Sandslash had a black tarp wrapped around their body while a Krokorok had their mouth wrapped shut with white gauze.

Two pokemon were moving through the rows: an elderly Audino wearing small rimmed glasses poking patients with a wooden cane, and the other had mint green.


The Kirlia was busy dispensing pink energy to an unconscious Cacturne wrapped up in protective sheets. On hearing Maxim’s voice, he tilted his head toward him.

“Maxim? Oh thank the Emerald Dragon , you’re safe!”

He quickly hugged the Rowlet, still managing the flow of energy. Maxim couldn’t help but return it. After the day’s events, the gesture was a welcome gift. “Yeah! I’m glad to be in one piece! When their captain grabbed me, I thought I was going to get skinned alive! But then, I got rescued by that huge eagle. Signal, I think!”

Cecil raised a hand to his mouth. “My goodness! At least he was able to save you!”

Maxim avoided eye contact with Cecil for the next part. “Also, I talked with the captain. He told me you knew about everything. Is that true?”

The pink glow faded from the nearby bed as Cecil lowered his head. “Y-yes, that is true. You see, I am also a member of this crew, like everyone else. The operation was supposed to be an hour at least from when you went up to the deck. I figured Rene would have hopefully brought you back in time before things began. But when I saw her again, I knew that wasn’t the case!” He hugged Maxim again much tighter than before. “It’s my fault you were put into harm’s way! What kind of medical practitioner lets his patient walk into harm’s way?”

Aww crap, I didn’t mean to have him break down on me! Maxim thought.

“Uhhh hey, don’t cry! I’m still here, unharmed!” Maxim wiggled a wing. “See? You can scan me like before just to check right?”

“Yes, but that still doesn’t excuse my poor judgment. What if you had been hurt, or worse?” Cecil said, shaking his head.

“Well, it’s good we don’t live in a world where that happened.” Maxim said.

“Good for you, but can you two have your little moment outside my operating room?” A deep and gravelly voice said.

Maxim and Cecil turned around to find that the old Audino was glaring at them both. His face was as red as a tomato, and his cane was constantly being tapped into the ground..

“Of all the things to see when I’m having to deal with this many patients.” He grumbled, raising his cane at Cecil. “Boy, I thought I told you to keep your emotions in check while caring for others! You let the heal pulse wear off right in the middle of patient care!”

The angry Audino then set his sites on Maxim. “And you! What do you think you’re doing barging in here to distract my assistant? Unless your need for aid is desperate, wait your turn!”

“Well sir, I was sent down here by Clyde, the deckmaster. He said that I needed to get a checkup before my meeting with the captain.” Maxim spoke.

The Audino sighed and placed both hands on his cane, relenting his anger.

“Of course he’d send someone down here at the worst possible moment.” He adjusted his glasses. “He picked a terrible time for you to come, let me look at you real quick, boy!”

Before Maxim could speak, the Audino began to move his hands around the Rowlet’s spherical form. Once done, he stepped back and tapped his cane once again.

“Bah! You’re fine! It doesn’t take me examining you to tell that!” He grumbled. “Now go ahead and see the captain already!”

At least he wouldn’t have to worry about following the old guy around. “Thank you, Doctor..?”

“Gerald. And now that I’m done with you, it’ll be back to working on the rest of them.” He tapped his cane three times before raising it at Cecil. “Come along, now! If you’re still feeling guilty, then at least make it up by completing your tasks.” The cane pointed over to Cecil’s previous patient, still tied up under the covers.

“Yes sir, you’re right.” Cecil nodded, rising to his feet. “I apologize for letting my emotions get the best of me. I’ll keep them in check next time.” The Kirlia gave Maxim a small wave. “I promise I’ll find a way to make this up to you, Maxim. And one more thing before I go.”

“What is it?”

“I meant every word I said about regaining your memories. I hope you’re able to find yourself again!”

A warm feeling spread through Maxim’s chest. For the first time since coming to this world, he felt a smile tugging at the side of his beak. Now there was only one thing left to do.

The sun was beginning to set and bathing the deck in orange when he came back up. Maxim made his way to the stern, the area devoid of anyone nearby. Right below the elevated deck was a blue door with wavy gold and white patterns etched along the edges. No mistaking it, this had to be the captain’s door. Maxim held in his uneasiness as he inched closer.

I better not keep him waiting any longer. Let’s see, what if I hopped up here?

He gently turned the nob using his talons. It was a modestly sized room with almond-colored wood lining the floor and thick wooden shelves covering the walls. On the shelves were various books and souvenirs ranging from the severed tusk of some unknown beast to a sky blue teardrop-shaped gem embedded in a chunk of rock. Towards the back of the room and tucked in one of the corners was a small bed, thin and gray sheets neatly folded on top of the mattress.

Underneath the oval windows was the heart of the room itself: the captain’s desk. Wide, glossy, and square, it held stacks of papers and leather-backed books neatly arranged on its surface. A small, yellow globe and a long, thin candle were set apart at opposite ends at the desk. In the center rested a tied blue scarf bearing Drake’s symbol, next to Ocher’s detached tailblade.

Drake's desk

The captain was slouched into a leather chair behind the desk, turned away from the approaching Maxim while swirling an empty wine glass in his feathery fingers.

Maxim craned his head up in an attempt to speak. “I’m here captain, right on time. There’s something you wanted to talk about with me?”

His words seemed to fall on deaf ears, as the captain continued his action uninterrupted. Silence lingered in the room for an uncomfortable few seconds, as Maxim felt a chill creeping up his back. Finally, the captain broke the silence with a smooth and deep voice.

“Have a seat.”

Maxim turned to one of chair on his left then hopped into it. Swiveling his chair around, the captain placed down the wine glass on the desk. Compared to the bombastic display he put on during his grand entrance and intervention, this was a complete 180.

“Now then, let’s talk about you .

The Rowlet gulped as the captain’s gaze dug into him. Both of his feathery hands were folded below his face as he continued.

“So me and Signal had a long chat about things, including how he found you. I’ll admit, I found it a bit hard to believe that you fell from a hole in the sky, but Signal’s someone I’ve known and trusted for years. He wouldn’t fib, not even once.”

He reached under his desk and took out a small glass bottle. Inside was something that resembled rainbow-colored glass shards that shimmed brightly despite the lack of light. Maxim felt a strange pull towards the material, leaning forward, only for Drake to return the item back to its hiding place.

The Rowlet blinked several times, as if snapped out of a trance. A shiver ran up his back. “That thing in the bottle, just what was that?”

“Oh, it was some kind of material that covered your body when Signal picked it up.” Drake said, combing through his feathery crest. “He brushed it away and kept it hidden in a small bottle he had on him. Pretty convenient!”

Maxim groaned. “He found that on me? Then can you at least tell me what it is?”

“That’s the thing, I don’t know myself.” He shrugged. “Another mystery to add to the growing pile.”

The Quaquaval folded his hands again, and this time Maxim could feel his gaze boring into his soul.

“I know giving your amnesia you probably won’t know what I’m going to mention, but would you like to hear a little…history lesson?”

Is now really the time for a lecture? Maxim thought. Oh well, I hope this is useful.

“Sure thing, captain.”

Drake cracked a smile before clearing his throat. “Ahem. Quite some centuries ago, there was a skies spanning war, one that saw countless lives impacted and destroyed. It seemed like the world would tear itself apart, until six individual pokemon stepped forth and brought an end to the chaos. These six mons are still somewhat celebrated to this very day. Though there was one that has an air of mystery to them, even now.”

Drake loomed over the desk, almost casting the room into the shadow.

“This little lecture isn’t me going off a tangent. You see, the reason why is that this pokemon was said to have been brought from another world, originally a being known as a human.”

Time crawled to a standstill, as Maxim’s heart nearly pounded out of his chest. A human..? Just like me?

Drake noticed his reaction as his grin deepened within the shadows. “It’s said that when they came to this world, the field they appeared in was bathed in a shining rainbow glow, as if a gift received from the gods themselves. I can’t help but see a teeny-tiny bit of similarities, although they don’t mention a hole in the sky.”

He leaned back into his chair, much to Maxim’s relief. “It’s all just a legend, after all. I don’t exactly think you’re a human. But yours is a strange case. Never heard or seen this happen over the years I’ve flown through the skies.”

Maxim racked his brain around the new information. This has happened before? And somehow he’s right on noticing what I might really be. Just who is this guy?

“Sir, if I may ask? If I was a human, how important would that be for you, or even the world?” He said.

Silence settled in for a few seconds, then was broken by Drake’s laughter. “Oh my my my! It would be quite the discovery of the last few centuries! There’s plenty in this world that would view you as a powerful asset, or a dangerous tool to their own ambitions. To me, you would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to view!”

“Lifetime… opportunity?” Maxim faltered.

“Regardless of who or what you are, I didn’t want to just pick you apart with my ramblings, I wanted to offer you a spot on my crew!”

“Me? Joining a crew of pi-privateers?”

“Mmhph! That’s right!”

“But what would you get out of having me?! You must have heard it from Rene and the others right? I can’t fight at all! I couldn’t even sweep right with a broom! I’m just… useless.”

Maxim slouched in his chair, not even wanting to look Drake in the eyes. I bet even the last human was more talented than me. How does that voice have any faith in me?

“Oh? But remember, you’re a pokemon! So what if you’re weak? We have the potential to strengthen ourselves through all sorts of challenges!” Drake boasted, puffing out his chest.

Drake took Ocher’s tail blade in his hand and raised it towards Maxim. “You want to get your memories back right? Then you’ll need to start somewhere. It’s time to make that choice, Maxim!”

Thoughts of Rene flash into his mind. From being nearly killed by Ocher, to bouncing back and wreaking havoc on his crew. She had gone through it all without batting an eye. Could he really pull off something like that in the future?

I hope you’re able to find yourself again!”

Cecil’s words still lingered, driving him to grip his talons into the chair’s wood. He has to do something, anything, to get his memories back! A stranger Drake may be, but he’s giving him a choice. Pushing reluctant thoughts into the back of his mind, Maxim sighs and makes his choice.

“You’re right. Sitting around scared won’t help me. I’m here, and I’ll have to make the best of it.” He stares into Drake’s blue eyes. “I’ll join your crew, and find a way to return my memories one way or another.”

It’s silent again as Drake rears back. The Quaquaval reached up a hand to his crest, before bursting into laughter.

“That’s it! I knew you had it in you!” He says in between laughs. “Everyone has that fire within them, even if it’s a tiny ember!” Carefully slipping the tailblade into a drawer, Drake reached behind him and placed a tied blue scarf on the desk. He reached out a hand.

“Welcome aboard, Maxim!”

Maxim took his hand and lightly shook it with his own wing. The blue scarf was placed into his talons.

“Good, good, good! I think that's about it for now!” Drake nodded. “Only thing left for you to do is to sign one document for me!”

He put a slip of parchment paper on the desk. Maxim’s eyes traced it all the way to the bottom, where a signature was laid out.

“What’s this?”

Drake moved a cup of ink next to the paper. “It’s the legally binding document that ensures that not only will you be a member of the crew, but you’ll be loyal enough to be willing to abide by our ways of living. Once you sign this, there’s no going back unless you choose to leave the crew, or I force you to. Understood?”

“Understood.” Maxim said. “Now how do I sign it?”

“Place your claw into the ink and then press down on the signature line. That’ll be good enough for me!”

Maxim nodded and stuck his talons in, then pressed down on the paper. It only took a few seconds for the ink to harden and leave a three pronged footmark on the line.

Drake rolled up the paper, then tied it with a red string.

“PERFECT! You’re good to go, Maxim!”

As much as Maxim felt he should celebrate a step forward, there was still lingering worry in his mind. “Okay, so what do I do now, Captain?”

“Mmmmm I suppose its rather late. The ‘orientation’ can start tomorrow. In the meantime how about you head to the mess hall and grab you something to eat? It should be right around the time they open up.” He did a shoo away motion with his hand.

The Rowlet hopped down, careful not to track any leftover ink onto the floor. He began to walk off, turning around one more time to see Drake waving him goodbye. Without another word, Maxim went through the door and closed it shut.

“Well, I hope this mess hall doesn’t take me long to find.” He muttered, walking over to the hatch.

“Well, that was quite the meeting…”

Drake sighed as he pulled out a bottle of wine, pouring it into his empty glass. With how well things went for this mission, it should be smooth sailing till the next. And yet…

He pulled out the rainbow shard’s bottle again, gently sitting it front and center. A chill went up his spine as he closely examined the object. By that Rowlet’s appearance, the winds of change would soon blow in across the world, and he might be front and center. Alas, he would have to wait to see what was next.

On the corner of the desk sat a smooth gem, resembling an oversized pink pearl. Pressing down on it three times, he waited.

And waited.

And waited.


“Greetings, I see you have something to report to me. I assume that the operation has taken place?”

“Indeed. It’s been done. Ocher’s crew has been neutralized without issue.”

Magnificent! That would be the third one within the last two months! Stellar as always, Captain Drake!”

“Hmph, no problem. Fletchling crews tend to get rather cocky at some point. It took a bit of research, but it was an easy setup. I’ve dealt with worse, you know. Much worse…”

Of course. I will make sure to still reward you accordingly! You will be on standby for a little while. I have another mission for you, but it is not a bounty. Of course, I have to keep you on your toes.”


I suppose the finer details can be handled at the meeting. But before I go, there seems to be something on your mind. What is it?”

Drake hesitated for a few seconds, mulling over his next few words carefully.

“En route to the rendezvous point, my first mate came across a peculiar pokemon. One that I think will be of interest to us both…”

Rene's full design 2.0 by me


BONUS: Rene The Mienfoo full art by Kitsu_19
It's Rene! (Drawn by Kitsu_19)
Chapter 4: Down On The Street New


United States of America

Chapter 4: Down on The Street

With the smell of fresh bread as a guiding arrow, it didn’t take Maxim long to find the mess hall. The expansive room was full of simple tables and chairs made of tanned wood. Windows lined the wall, a sliver of indigo sky visible through each. Ceiling lamps hung down like fruits from a tree. A singular chandelier dangled above the room’s main draw: a lengthy wooden station stacked with bread, soup, and other food Maxim couldn’t make out.

A long line extended from the station all the way to the door, right to his position. He sighed as he realized he would have to wait for his meal. Within a few minutes, the line had steadily advanced. The Rowlet tried his best to keep from nodding off in line, looking around for some kind of focus to keep awake.

“I see yah tryin’ to cut in line!”

“Cut in line?! Says the lying arse who’s trying to skip ME!”

Right ahead was the perfect distraction; a Crocalor and a Timburr at each other’s throats. The latter’s face was as red as the Crocalor’s own scales as he continued to lob insults.

“Has your own heat roasted your brain, you lug? Don’t try and pass me then pretend I’m the one causing the problem! At least own up to it!”

The red gator spat out a small ember. “Bah! I’m no liar! You were the one oversteppin’ your boundaries especially with that oversized plank o’ yours!”

“Oversized plank?!” The Timberr growled, raising said object at him. “Try saying that when this thing bonks you over the head, you moppet!” The Crocalor shot steam out of his nose, as heat began to flow from his maw. Before the two could come to blows-


A purple projectile struck the floor near the arguing pair, shooting splinters and dust into the air. When the dust cleared, there was a hole burned into the ground by a slimy purple liquid. The crackle of dissolving wood was enough to make the duo jump back.

“Whoooopppssss~! My bad!”

A deep yet soft voice came from behind the countertop. The source was a pink and violet colored slowbro wearing a blue apron. A stubby arm rubbed the back of his head, while a strange, spikey shell covered his other one. Even from far away, Maxim could make out what looked like eyes at the base of the shell.

“No fighting, okay?” The slowbro said, waggling a finger from his normal arm. “It’s hard for others to eat when it's too noisy!”

The pair straightened up and quickly nodded. “S-sure thing, Hyde! We’ll get along!” They both said in unison before getting back in line.

Thankfully, the line continued to move without issue. When the time finally came for Maxim to get his share, he took a closer look at the food selection. A thick block of cheese had been cut into many pieces, some placed on small metal plates. Stacks of rolls were placed beside a massive pot of stew being stirred by the Slowbro with another mon, a Grafaiai, perched on his shoulder.

“C’mon, you gotta stir it faster than that!” The simian spoke in a light, but aggressive masculine tone. “

“Uh, excuse me?”

The pair froze and glanced down at Maxim. The Rowlet weakly waved to them. “I was hoping to see what was being served here?” He said.

Both stared silently before the Grafaiai tapped his partner on the shoulder..

“Well, whatardya waitin’ for? Give the kid some grub!”

The slowbro poured some soup into a wooden bowl, then handed it to Maxim. The Rowlet looked over the soup with curiosity. “Huh, what type of soup is this?”

“Tamato Soup! A beloved special from yours truly, Cardin!” The Grafaiai said before taking a mock bow. “One taste and you’ll be knocked into the stars above!”

“Heyyy, I helped too…” His Slowbro coworker sighed.

Cardin rubbed the back of his head. “Oh yeah and Hyde too, don’t wanna forget that! Anyway, enjoy your food! I’ve got to mark Hyde’s ‘accidental shooting’ tally again…”

Maxim looked back at the still-boiling hole in the floor and shuddered.

An unoccupied table in the back was the perfect spot for him to eat. Pokemon around paid him no mind, instead focused on celebration and chatting with friends. All the joyful energy in the air called to a familiar yet far away memory. Friends, had he done things in his previous world? Did he even have friends in his previous life? He pushed away those feelings of loneliness before they took root.

It’s alright. I can worry about making friends later.” He thought. “ Besides, if I stare any longer my soup’s going to get cold.”

He looked down at his meal. The orange colored broth had chunky bits peeking out of the surface, and a rich, earthen aroma radiated from the bowl. He took his first sip, and his world exploded into a mix of bitter, spicy and savory flavor. Again he took sip after sip as a hunger-induced trance took over. By the time he finally looked up from his bowl, it was practically picked clean.

They weren’t kidding! This is amazing!” He thought.

With that satisfying dinner out of the way, Maxim only had one more thing to do: sleep! Arrows and signs helped to guide him down the hatch to the barracks floor, the day’s final stop.

The gargantuan room stretched on and on, filled to the brim with hammocks strung between interlocking beams. So many of them were locked into a diagonal position it caused the room to resemble a maze of silk. Pokemon of all shapes and sizes were either adjusting their hammocks, talking with neighbors, or fast asleep. Larger mons, like a sleeping Tangrowth, easily occupied three hammocks by themselves. And yet it all happened without a care in the world.

His eyes drifted over to a currently unoccupied hammock next to a wall. The perfect place for him to nap. Maxim silently made his way over, looking from side to side to make sure he wouldn’t run into anyone. Hopping into the silk, Maxim turned on his side away from a group playing some kind of card game. Their frenetic whispers were easy to hear, but thankfully not enough to distract him. Amidst the dimming glow of candlelight, Maxim felt his eyes grow heavy.

Here’s hoping tomorrow is a smooth start… He thought right as sleep overtook him.





Let experiment number ^& commence!




“Well done! It was a success! Congrats all around everyone!”


“Well, done Maxim, well done!”


“It wouldn’t have worked without your quick thinking Sa*$*#! “

“Hehe, if it wasn’t for your suggestion, I wouldn’t have figured out how to adjust the power source! You really are your- $@$^





Maxim was jolted out of the hammock by the loud noise. As he scrambled to get off the floor, he looked around. Daylight peeked out of small circular windows while pokemon rose up ready to meet the new day. Turning into a sizable crowd, they began to pour out of the room. He sighed and put on his scarf, trailing behind the rest.

One by one the crew members came up to the deck, forming an unorganized crowd. In front of the crowd was Captain Drake, with Signal on his left and Clyde on his right. The Quaquaval stood straight, arms crossed dramatically in the blowing wind. His eyes remained closed as one feathery finger tapped on his arm. Once a few minutes had passed, his posture relaxed, only for him to let out a mighty yell.

“GOOOOOOOD MORNING MY LOVELY CREW~!” He bellowed. “Best be well rested, because Calvin Island approaches!” He turned around and pointed to the distant horizon. Sure enough, an island was slowly getting closer. He turned back to the crowd.

“Once we get there, it’s time to drop off this bounty, and claim another hefty reward. What do you all think about that?!”


The crowd erupted into cheers, forcing Maxim to put his wings to his head. I can’t blame them after that ferocious fighting, but this is gonna take some getting used to.” A small sigh escaped his beak.

“I hate to dampen the mood, but I have some bad news to share. You see, the crew of Blue Horizon suffered an unexpected delay which means it will take them roughly three whole days at least to make it to the rendezvous point. As such, we will be staying on Calvin Island for the meantime.”

All the cheering shifted into groans as a somber mood descended. Maxim was only confused at the news.

Drake remained unfazed. “No matter! This is a great opportunity to take a good break after a long month of work! Calvin Island’s a simple location, but a peaceful one. Enjoy yourself at the local stops, just don’t get drunk enough for us to leave you on the island!”

Laughter bursted out as Drake puffed out his chest for another yell.


“AT A TIME!” The crowd returned back.


The crowd slowly began to disperse, leaving Maxim to decide what to do next. Before he could come up with a plan, Drake appeared in front with Clyde in tow.

“Ah yes, Maxim, just the mon I wanted to see!” He grinned, before nodding at Clyde. “Let’s get things started shall we?”

Maxim fidgeted in place. Ahhh yeah, the “orientation”. Hope they won’t put me through hell.

Clyde cleared his throat. “Ah hem! Now then, since you’re now a new crew member, that means we’ve got to lay out some ground rules for ya!”

“Err, ground rules?” Maxim gulped.

“Aye! Our Crew Codes! Every new crew member is required to know them by heart, and you’re no different!” Clyde grinned. The Politoed took out a small navy-blue booklet and began to read aloud.

“The Crew Codes are to be followed at all times! Breaking them leads to a punishment reflecting the act! To start:

  1. Every crewmate is entitled to their own business and affairs, provided it doesn’t affect another crewmate or the crew itself.”

Maxim nodded, pleased that the crew wouldn’t bombard him with a bunch of questions without his permission.

“2. Every crewmate shall work for their daily poke! This includes labor, raids, exploration, etc. Otherwise, no pay! Non-negotiable!”

Does being a flying feather duster count? Surely being good at sweeping is worth a few.. Poke or whatever money is called here.” Maxim mused.

“3. All crewmates are to be vigilant at all times, even when resting! Anyone caught slacking or goofing off at their post is subject to punishment, so no Horseaing around, got it?!”

A certain trio came to mind, but Maxim chased the thought away.

“4. The most important one! A relationship between crewmates is built on trust! Therefore, you must swear that you will remain loyal to your fellow crewmate through thick and thin, and never leave the crew to dry! Anyone caught deceiving or betraying the crew’s trust for their own gain is to be kicked out and marooned from the crew! No ifs, ands, or buts!”

Clyde shut the book with a mighty clap then placed it back into the bag around his hip. “Well that about covers it! Now then, since you’ve already signed the paperwork I think we can move onto the next step. Ain’t that right, Captain?” He winked at Drake, who nodded back.

Reaching into his bag again, Clyde took out a small sack, the clinking of coins giving way its contents. The bag landed at Maxim’s feet.

“Money?” Maxim said, cocking his head to the side. “Would this be my first ‘paycheck’ on the job?”

“Yep! 500 poke! Nice little starter bonus! Shame you joined the crew after we knocked down Ocher, else you would have gotten more than that!” Clyde grinned.

Maxim scooped up the pouch and carefully tucked it away in his scarf. “Well thanks. I guess pay is pay.”

“So what do I do now?” Maxim asked.

“Calvin Island is coming up soon. So while your partner gets ready, why not kill a little time on the deck?”

“Sure thing, I guess. Don’t have much else to do.”

Maxim wasn’t sure how much time had passed as he watched the island grow closer and closer past drifting clouds. Eventually he could make out several features: Forests and grassy plains stretched over the land, while at its heart was a town complete with a harbor filled with docked ships. Near the left edge of the island was a tall forest packed with strange, dome shaped trees. A simplistic yet diverse island, and a welcome place for the crew to stop by.

The ship slowly eased into harbor, careful to squeeze through the gaps provided by other docked ships, finally coming to rest in an open space between two smaller galleons. A loud clack followed by a jolt on deck occurred as gigantic metal rings clasped the ship’s side. Now that the ship had docked, Drake called out from the main deck.

“Alright everyone, feel free to disembark!”

With another set of cheers, the crowd of privateers disembarked, only a few staying on deck. Maxim walked over to the ramp, but Drake’s leg stopped him.

“Oh hey! Don’t leave without your partner!” He chuckled before clapping his hands together. “Hey~! Over here!”

“Alright, Alright! Gimme a sec!” The voice from a very familiar weasel echoed. Running towards them with a bag in hand and scarf missing was Rene, a visible scowl on her face. Her gaze softened when she looked at Maxim.

The weasel placed a paw on her hip. “I’m not that good of a teacher, y’know! You remember how the last time went, yeah?”

Wait, she was going to be his partner? Maxim turned to Drake, who nodded in return.

“Indeed! It’s been a while since poor lil’ Rene here had a partner, and I feel a fresh recruit like yourself should at least shadow under one of our best solo members!” He shot a wink at Rene, but the Mienfoo only shook her head. “She’ll whip you into shape in no time flat!”

Well, I’ll give it a shot, Captain. As long as I’m not launching myself as a living cannonball like her.” He thought.

“Yea, yea, yea! I know I’m awesome. Let’s just get this going already!” The Mienfoo groaned. She pulled out an aged piece of paper, slowly unraveled it, and presented it to Maxim. The Rowlet found himself face to face with a map of the entire island.

Calvin Map part 1


“Here’s your own copy, don’t let it go flyin’ away from you. See yah outside the ship.” Clutching her bag tightly, she slid down the ramp.

“Have fun you two! I’ve got business to attend to!” Drake chimed in, pointing down at the dock. A group of armored pokemon wearing light blue scarves escorted the pirates off their ship one by one in chains. Then came Ocher, with the dragon held his head down and ears flat as his once proud form was cuffed to a wooden box. One of the armored mons, a spindly Watchog, pulled Drake to the side to talk with him. The two became locked in conversation as Signal watched from a few feet away.

Upon hopping off the ramp, Maxim was taken out of further observation by a quick tap on his head. Rene stood right behind him, tapping her foot on the ground.

Shit! I better get a move on!”

He gulped and picked up the pace, not wanting to delay his partner further.

Right before leaving the dock, a wooden sign stood next to the town entrance with letters painted in white.

WELCOME TO CALVIN TOWN - Where The Gentle Breeze Blows!

“Well come on, we ain’t got all day!”

Maxim held in a sigh as Rene fussed for him to follow around. The Mienfoo was dead set in getting him acquainted with the town, three day stay or not. Each building in town was constructed out of wood and stone, the average building no higher than two stories. Combined with the simple cobblestone streets and thin metal street signs, the area reminded him of an 18th century village in his original world. Pokemon peeked out of the open windows to sightsee and more at the streets below. He let out a small yelp as a bucket of paint crashed into the street below, a painting Smeargle above slowly waving a paw. A steady stream of pokemon flooded into stores and alleys, forcing Maxim to keep close to Rene.

“The first major stop is just right around this corner!” She called out.

Maxim flapped his wings to keep up as she ran down a narrow street. His novice skill at flying was a bane that forced him to swerve around signs and hanging lamps. The street emptied into a much larger road with a beige sign with faded letters painted on it: Merchant’s Road . Sure enough, rows of wooden stalls, tents, and stands dotted both sides of the road. Maxim looked around. A Mismagius selling various glowing orbs, a Typhlosion running a box opening business, and many others took up shop. There was even a Pikachu with the number 1 on their scarf selling… home insurance? From the surge of pokemon that blew through from store to store it was easy to see that this was the lifeblood of the town.

I’m honestly impressed that this world has a functioning society. But then again, things are crazy enough for this to be sane to me.” Maxim thought as he looked from side to side.

There was one location that really caught his eye, a rather lavish red tarped tent covered in vivid golden floral patterns. Right above the entrance was an arrow shaped sign with the title: Boniface’s Breathtaking Bazaar!

Rene had noticed the store herself, and stopped walking as stared at it. She turned around to Maxim and beckoned him forward. Once he got close enough she looked around before leaning in.

“There’s more to being a privateer than just plundering and exploration. Ya got to be clever and think on the fly!” She whispered. “So I’m not just gonna teach you how to fight, you’re gonna learn another key skill: barterin’!” Grinning, Rene crossed her arms and nodded towards the tent.

“What? You want me to talk them down for prices?” Maxim whispered back.

“Yeah! That 500 poke of yours is gonna go fast otherwise!”

Maxim raised a wing to his temple. “You do got a point. I’m no finance expert here, so I’ll follow your lead on it for now. What’s the plan, teach ?”

That got Rene to flash a wide grin. “We’re going into this fancy tent and givin’ the owner a hell of a price shakedown! C’mon, lets go!”

Rene dragged him through the tent’s entrance. On the inside, rows of scarlet covered shelves held many items from strange, oversized seeds, to glowing disks and a bag full of pebbles.

“Hellllllllllooooo~~! You come to buy Boniface’s goods, yes?” replied a slightly shrill male’s voice.

Maxim glanced up to see a giant walking, talking mushroom walking towards them. Gold jewelry lined the top of the mushroom’s cap while a lime green scarf wrapped around their neck. His biggest draw was the shining gold badge attached to the top of his scarf, shaped vaguely like a diamond. The Shiinotic waved at the pair before speaking again.

“What brings you here, friends? Do you seek goods, services or perhaps guidance?” He raised the orb in his arms forward, slowly rubbing the top with thin fingers.

Even with his friendly attitude, Maxim felt creeped out by the pokemon’s unmoving grin and vacant stare. It was as if he was staring through them. If Rene was also unnerved she didn’t show it, instead crossing her arms with a smirk.

“Goods? You know it! I can tell from a small gander that this place is legit! And that scarf and badge o’ yours is nice too!” She cheered.

The Shiinotic clapped his hands together. “Ahhh thank you! Boniface works hard to establish this branch of his growing merchant empire! Many have come from different islands to have a taste of the exotic goods here! Now then, what are you interested in?”

Rene picked up a shining orb, then presented it to Boniface. “A Rebound Orb! And its nicely polished too! How much for this one?”

“400 poke! In good condition too!” He beamed. The smile on his face deepened when Rene placed a paw on her temple.

“400? That seems a bit..much, don’t you think? It seems in mint condition, but wouldn’t it be easier to sell at a lower price?”

Boniface nodded and spoke.“Ohohoho! You have a wonderful eye! Valuable indeed. But Boniface’s prices are right as rain. That item is worth every penny!”

Rene “I suppose. But this kinda orb ain’t super rare either! Not saying they can grow on trees, but orbs show up often enough!”

“Then if you can find another orb like this in a nearby dungeon, that would prove me wrong. Surely that is easy task for privateer, oui?”

Rene was left at a loss for words. “How did you-?”

“Many faces come through here. Easy to read, easy to know and learn. You’re no different!” The Shiinotic taunted. Rene gritted her teeth as she raised a paw, but that just made him wag a finger.

“Ah ah ah! No more fooling moi! Either pay proper price or Boniface charge you extra premium!”

Biting her lip, the Mienfoo hesitated for a few seconds, before reaching into her pack and presenting her poke. Boniface nodded before accepting. “Merci! Pleasure doing business with you!”

He turned over to Maxim. “Hello, friend! Do you need goods too?”

“I-I’m good! Thank you!” Maxim stammered before skittering away behind Rene.

The two said nothing between themselves as they walked back through Merchant’s Block. Rene kept walking forward without turning her head back once. As crowds of pokemon began to flood in, the pair continued to silently travel.

After a few minutes of walking, Maxim worked up the nerve to speak to her again.

“Hey Rene, are you okay?”

The Mienfoo stopped, sighed and then tilted her head back. “I’m fine. That guy was just too damn tough to crack!”

“Are most merchants hard to deal with like him?” He asked.

“N-no! I promise I can find another one to demonstrate on! That one’s just a fluke, is all!” She said, crossing her arms. Before they could scout out another merchant, the pair received an unexpected interruption.


“What the? You good, shorty?” Rene said, raising an eyebrow.

Maxim looked down, too embarrassed to look her in the eyes for his next words.

“I.. may have forgotten to eat anything this morning. Slipped my mind.”

Several seconds passed before Rene howled with laughter, nearly falling over in the process.

“Hahahaha! You forgot? There’s no way!”

Maxim rubbed the back of his head. “I got carried away between everything that happened so far today, sorry.”

“Bah, don’t apologize. Least you can do is go fill your belly on some grub.” Rene said. She pulled out her town map, took a glance, then pointed in the direction of a nearby street. “Map here says there should be a stack of restaurants down there. Go and eat somethin’ there.”

She began to walk off in another direction, catching Maxim by surprise. “Wait, you’re not coming with me?” He said.

Rene shook her head. “Nope! You’ve got to be independent! You don’t need me holding your hand for this!” She clapped her paws together. “Plus, I ain’t hungry anyway! I’ll meet you down there later!”

With that, the Mienfoo was gone, leaving Maxim by himself. His stomach rumbled again, giving him the motivation to get going.

“I better make this quick.” He whispered as he flapped away.

The good thing was that the road was nearly a straight shot. Maxim weaved in and out of traffic by flying, cutting down the travel time. The road crossed into a circular plaza. The wonderful scent of baked and steamed goods taunted his nostrils, only making his growling stomach more weary. The Rowlet came to rest on a bench.

All around, vibrant buildings held restaurants galore. Some, like a sharpedo shaped shack, had a visible kitchen, while a Pidove shaped diner had tinted windows shielding the inside. Maxim’s attention hopped from place to place, until he set his sights on a peculiar one. On the plaza outskirts was an oblong shaped building painted a vibrant blue. On the top of the building was a sign shaped like a Wobbuffet holding a bowl captioned Hideki’s Noodle Shop .

Noodles?” He thought. “ Sounds simple enough for me. Here goes.”

Past a silk curtain, purple colored walls led to a line of seats and tables spaced out on a polished wooden floor. Floral themed lanterns hung from an open ceiling. The menu was displayed behind a counter run by a sulking Sandshrew.

“Ugh, what are yah orderin? Don’t spend too long staring up there, okay?” The Sandshrew said with a weary tone.

Let’s see… Oran Berry Noodles, Colba Berry Slaw, Tamato Berry Bisque, Rawst Berry Ramen? The more items I look at, the more confused I get!” Maxim thought. “ Alien world equals Alien food, that’s something to remember!”

“What’s the matter? Confused, little buddy?”

A voice called out from right behind him, that of a gentle masculine tone. Maxim turned around to come face to face with a large bipedal chicken he recognized as a Combusken. A silky white scarf with a golden badge that glimmered in the sunlight was attached around his neck. The pokemon sported a wide grin with his arms crossed behind his head.


“Honestly if you ask me, you should go with the Oran Noodle Special! It’s calm, refreshing, and tangy! Just the way I like it!” The Combusken beamed. Maxim swore if the bird’s grin widened any more it’d be brighter than the sun.

“But not too spicy?”


“Well, I’m hungry, and I’m not one to be picky, at least I hope. Hello, one order of the Oran Noodles please!” Maxim said.

The Combuskin chimed in. “Make that two orders please!”

Both pokemon paid for their meals, then went to look for a table. One touching the wall caught Maxim’s eye, but he wasn’t the only one interested. He hopped into a seat only to find the same Combusken facing him.

“Hey there! Hope you don't mind me sitting here too!”

Maxim was questioning why this mon wanted to take with him so badly, but it's not like he wouldn’t mind some company. “That’s fine, but just who are you?”

With a brush of his head feathers, the Combusken puffed out his chest. “Oh me? My name is Hurik, Gold-Rank Explorer!” He pointed to his badge. “Yeah I know, cool right? You can save the praises for later!”

“I see, that’s interesting. But what’s an adventurer?”

That question left the Combusken at a loss for words, as his eyes expanded and beak hung open.

“Wha-wha-WHAT?! What kind of question is that to ask? Have you never seen an adventurer before?”

Maxim rubbed the back of his head. “Err nope.”

“You’re joking, right?”


“Are you sure?”


Absolutely sure?”

“Uh huh.”

Hurik reclined back, rubbing his claws over his face. A few seconds and some low whispers later, and a grin flashed across his beak. “Well okay, I’m not sure where in the skies you’re from, but I guess a little history lesson wouldn’t hurt, would it?”

First privateers, now adventurers? I’ve got to keep tabs on these second-nature jobs.” Maxim thought.

He nodded to confirm. The Combusken sat up straight, then adjusted his badge. A fiery gleam shined in his eyes. “Alright, listen up Rowlet, because Hurik here is gonna give you a crash course on being an adventurer!”

Just outside of town, a party of armed guards had escorted Drake and Signal to an isolated location. The plain white walled house with a blue roof was a shockingly simple place for an important meeting. Suspicion began to creep up on Drake as he realized the place was devoid of security. It even lacked a fence!

“Not exactly up to snuff for such a formal meeting.” Drake said to the armored Watchog leading in front. No response came back.

One of the guards, an Aipom, scurried up to the door and knocked five times. A few seconds later, a soft female voice answered.

“Hello! Please come in!”

The guards parted, allowing Drake and Signal to pass. Drake inwardly groaned at the gesture. He had a bad feeling about who was waiting for him beyond that door. Signal only stared back at him with a sheen in his eyes.

With a gentle turn of the nob, Drake opened the door to the sound of a crackling fire and the smell of warm tea. The inside was just as simple: plain walls, with a pair of tables and chairs placed neatly in the center. The lit fireplace coated everything in a yellow glow, including the mon sitting at a table. Drake’s grin completely evaporated as he laid eyes on his “host”.

A female Indeedee, wearing a golden scarf with a platinum badge attached, sat cross legged with a tea cup in hand. Her almond eyes casted a warm glow as she waved at Drake.

“Matilda?” He murmured. “He sent you?”

A small nod answered him. The Captain almost wanted to swear. Titling his head back, he spoke to his first mate.

“Signal, leave us. Wait for me by the door.”

The Braviary nodded, leaving the house. Once the door shut, Drake took a seat at the table. Matilda poured a cup of tea and then slid it towards him, a light smile on her face. Drake’s frown refused to vanish however, as he glared at her shimmering badge.

“So why did the Governor send you? Hasn’t he been keeping good enough tabs on us?”

The Indeedee said nothing, only taking a small sip of tea after mixing in a cube of sugar. Seconds seemed to stretch for an eternity as he waited for her answer.

“Your tea is getting cold. I suggest taking a sip to ease your worries.” She said, placing her empty cup down.

Drake sighed and took the cup in hand, allowing himself a small sip. The sweet and silky drink went down easy, but did little to help his mood. “Now will you answer me?”

With a small nod, the Indeedee straightened up. “I suppose it was my turn to check on you. Stellar work as always, Captain Drake!”

“Could you get to the point already?” He said, crossing his arms.

“My my, so blunt! I was just passing by when the Governor gave me the order to meet with you!” She giggled. “I promise there’s nought an ounce of ill will by me coming here!”

Matilda reclined back into her chair, crossing her hands in front of her face. “Besides, I wanted to hear all of what you’ve been up to since last we met. The last three missions specifically. And of course, the human you found.”

His grip on the teacup tightened as he tried to maintain a steady pose. Keeping his thoughts clear was key around a psychic type.

“Hmm, he told you a little bit about our conversation yesterday, didn’t he?” Drake sighed. “Surely nobody else knows.”

The Indeedee’s small grew larger. “To my knowledge, he has not. I won’t ask you about that subject yet. After all, we still have some catching up to do beforehand!”

Ignoring the sensation of an oncoming headache, Drake nodded.

“Yes, yes we do. How about I start with Gearly Island?”


The Eyes Have It
Hey, Z102! I enoyed reading this over for Smeargle Swap. A mashup of sky pirates with PMD is a whole lot of fun, and I'm curious to see how it'll play with the usual PMD tropes under such a different sort of setting. I drew Maxim's first flight, when he's sweeping the deck. Thaks for a fun read!


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Chapter 5: The First Blow New


United States of America
Chapter 5: The First Blow

“My, My! Quite the little adventure!”


Matilda placed her tea cup down and clapped. Her thin smile only made Drake grip his own cup tighter. Not once during him recounting the crew’s journey did she say a word, instead only responding with small nods or a wave. Every now and then, she would scribble on her little notebook.

“You put even a veteran navy officer to shame with your efficiency. We’re lucky to have such a talented captain in our service!” She giggled. “Now then, about that human?”

Drake sighed and placed his cup down. “Well, there isn’t too much to say about him. We’ve only recently met, mind you.”

“That’s alright. I just want to know about some of his qualities!” Matilda said.

Reclining back into his seat, Drake raised a hand to his chin.

“Well now, if I had to describe him…”

“...And that’s the basic history of Adventurers! Exciting, right?”

As if on cue, Maxim snapped out of his trance and glanced up at the Combusken. Despite the long explanation, he managed to take in the main points. Adventurers were a task force spread out across the skies. Under the service of a guild, they would go around handling all sorts of tasks including rescue missions, bounty hunting, item retrieval and more. Each job would vary from island to island, meaning that an adventurer had to stay on their toes. Despite the risks and hard work involved, Maxim had to admit it did sound rather exciting for a fantasy world job. However, Maxim couldn’t shake the feeling on how close the job seemed to overlap with the basic descriptions of privateers.

I wonder if there’s some kind of innate link between them. Well, it wouldn’t hurt to ask, He thought.

Maxim shrugged. “It’s cool, I guess.”

Hurik raised a brow. “You guess? I’m surprised you’re not over the moon after that. Oh what, does your country or whatever have an even cooler job?”

“Uhh no, I just thought it sounded similar to how Privateers operate.” Maxim said. “Well uhh, without the guild and all.”

Hurik’s eyes darkened while his head feathers glowed, a small wave of heat emanating from his form. He quickly relaxed and rubbed his head.

“Privateers, huh? Funny how your familiar with them and not Adventurers. But anyway, yes the two do share similarities, but with several key differences. For one, guilds don’t function like a crew. Most adventurers are on their own or with a partner or two backing them up. Also, adventurers aren’t given nearly as free reign as privateers are to handle their business, not to mention the entree fees. And one more thing, adventurers don’t handle some of the more… darker jobs their counterparts do.”

Hurik winked at the last point, causing a shiver to roll up Maxim’s spine. “D-darker jobs?”

Hurik nodded. “Well privateers can be considered to be pirates on a leash. And anyone can tell you how the average pirate operates.” A grin creeped on his beak. “Just think about it, having the ability to use troublemakers on your beck and call when needed. Sowing a little chaos here, exploring dangerous islands over there, who else is more useful than those who throw caution to the wind?”

Hurik’s grin instantly vanished as his eyes dimmed.

“But keeping pirates on a leash? That’s kinda careless if you ask me. What’s keeping them from cutting ties and going off on their own once they get bored of dancing to someone else’s tune? Well, several things, but that’s besides the point.”

Hurik sighed and reclined back. Maxim swore he could see a tinge of sadness appear on his face. “Not much chance of being a free spirit with that arrangement. I don’t agree on how some pirates can be willing to do that. Trading freedom for so-called benefits. Hmph.”

A few seconds of awkward silence passed. Just before any of them could break the mold, a massive shadow engulfed them. Standing by their table was a Nidoqueen wearing a white apron stained with grease and other liquids. A tray holding two striped bowls was in her hand.

“You boys order the Oran special, ya?” She asked with a noticeable accent. Both nodded in response. She placed down the bowls before waving and leaving.

Maxim looked down at his bowl. Floating around in the thick broth was an entanglement of blue noodles with meat and strange vegetables finely cut on top. Triangle slices of a blue fruit floated in the center, completing the dish. A sweet, orange-like scent came from the steam, adding to Maxim’s hunger.

A fit of laughter erupted from Hurik as he crossed his arms across his stomach. “You’re just drooling at that dish! Can’t blame you though! It's good stuff!” Hurik chuckled, before grabbing two wooden sticks. “Sorry for going off a tangent, I get kinda heated sometimes, but it’s all good now!”

Hurik pointed the chopsticks at Maxim. “Now then, feel free to dig in while it’s hot!”

While he dug into his meal, Maxim adjusted his posture to take into account his size and the bowl’s placement. An awkward minute of shifting around later, Maxim took his first bite. He was blown away by the sweet and tangy taste of the soft noodles. The broth’s slight bitterness balanced out the taste while the chopped meat and vegetables stood out with their spices. Combined with tender fruit, the meal was perfect: neither too mild nor spicy and blended wonderfully into a hearty dish.

“I could cry, it’s so good!” He thought. This was only his second meal in this world, he never would have imagined such a strong first impression!

Just as Maxim finished slurping up the last of his meal, a shadow approached. Both him and Hurik turned to find themselves face to face with a new visitor. Black fur covered their body from head to toe, only broken up by circular neon-blue lines. A silken white scarf with a golden badge identical to Hurik’s was around their neck. Their yellow eyes are narrowed into thin slits that glared daggers towards Hurik.


“There you are! Do you have any idea how long I’ve searched for you, only to see you lazing on your ass and stuffing your face?!” The Umbreon snarled, her voice deep and raspy. She brushed at her ears waiting for Hurik to respond.

The Combusken stared back, only speaking after setting down his bowl. “Traveling around the entire island works up quite an appetite! What better way to satisfy it than with a nice bowl?” He shot a wink towards Maxim.

After looking over Maxim, the Umbreon let out a snort. “Who are you supposed to be, Hurik’s little lunch buddy? Did he bore you to sleep with his stories yet?”

“No ma’am, he didn’t. I enjoyed the discussion!” Maxim said. “I’m curious. Are you and him part of the same adventurer’s guild? You have the same badge and everything.”

“Hmph, he’s more than that, he’s my partner! One that decided to go and goof off in town instead of helping me with our tasks.” She scoffed, brushing her ears again.

“If you don’t mind me asking, what is your name, miss Umbreon?” Maxim asked.

Her body relaxed as she tilted her head away, anger replaced by an unenthused stare. “Celene. Part of Team Pale Moon along with him.” She flicked an ear at Hurik’s direction, causing him to wave.

Maxim raised a wing to his beak. “Partners? Were you two sent here on a mission, by chance?”

“Yep, for survey work.” Celene snorted. “At least we were, until my partner decided to cut his work short. I’m not letting you off easy!”

“Okay okay! I finished my meal anyway, so I’m happy to get back to work!” Hurik grinned, sheepishly rubbing his crest. He placed his bowl on the table before he got up and walked off with Celene. Before he got too far away, he cocked his head back.

“Hey Maxim, it was nice talking to you. Hope we can meet again before we leave!”

“Yeah, it was nice! I hope the same!” Maxim called back.

With a thumbs up, the Combusken ran off to catch up with his partner. Left alone, Maxim sat and tried to collect his thoughts, only for the arrival of a third, familiar visitor to interrupt him.

“So I find you chowing down at a noodle place, eh? Not a bad choice.” Rene spoke with her arms crossed.

“Ah, Rene! G-good to see you again!” Maxim stammered. “What have you been up t-to?”

“Well, I went around asking the locals about the different sights and places around here. I learned about a few cool places. Then, I found you before you could get lost, which didn’t take me long. After all, a Rowlet’s pretty rare in this part of the skies.”

She placed a paw on her hip and sighed. “Whew! You should have seen that Umbreon that left here just now. I bumped into her by accident and she gave me a crazy killer stare! Talk about having a stick up your arse!”

Maxim gave a nervous chuckle as he thought about Celene’s aggressiveness. While Hurik was nice, he wouldn’t mind missing out on his partner.

“What’s with the other bowl? You meet some new buddy or something?” She teased.

“Uhhh, it’s nothing to worry about. Now, about those sights, Rene.” Maxim deflected.

“Hmph. Follow me!”

With that, the two slipped out of the restaurant and onto the open road.

Maxim trailed her all the way to the town’s outskirts. Cobblestone gave way to unkempt dirt as they entered a forest trail. Thin trees and shrubs dotted both sides and it was quiet save for the chirping around them.

“Hey Rene, where are we going?” Maxim asked as he flew level with her.

The Mienfoo smirked. “You’re about to see in a moment. Be patient, will you?”

Sure enough, over a small hill, a strange landmass came into view. Carved into the side of a small cliff was a cave resembling a monster’s open maw.. Its eyes were overgrown with vines dangling from them while the teeth were stalagmites and stalactites. A wooden sign with faded black words hung haphazardly from a rope.

GLIGAR CAVE - en of B n its

Maxim was puzzled. This place was marked on his map but it didn’t look like a featured landmark. The dilapidated state made him wonder if the residents were simply trying to forget it existed.

“This isn’t exactly a sightseer’s dream.” Maxim sighed. “You certainly didn’t drag me out here just to take a photo, I’m guessing.”

“What the hell is a photo? I brought you here so we can train!”

“Don’t worry about it, just was thinking of something from- Wha? T-t-training?!” He stammered. “As in, fighting?”

A wide grin spread over Rene’s face as she clapped her palms together.

“That’s right! Part of my role is to get you up to speed in combat. And what better place to do that privately than a dusty old cave?”

He gulped as he remembered his promise to Drake. He did want to grow stronger and he would need a good base to start. That didn’t mean he wanted to dive into some run down cafe with little more than a torch guiding him!.

“W-won’t it be too dark to try and fight in there?”

“Bah! Don’t tell me you’re scared of a little darkness!” Rene scoffed. “Besides, there’s going to be plenty of times you fight with poor vision. Best to learn the basics now than to pay for not knowing later!”

“I suppose…” He groaned.

Heading into the cave, Maxim realized that he could see well even without relying on Rene’s torch.

“Huh? I better chalk it up to my new body I guess.”

Strewn around were the remnants of wooden minecarts and steel rails. What must be pickaxes and hammers embedded in the walls were coated in rust. Large pillars of soil mixed with pebbles rose from the ground. The air was cold and dry, making Maxim hug his scarf closer to his body.

“So this was a mine?” Maxim asked.

Rene nodded. “Yeh. Supposedly this was some mystery dungeon ages ago that eventually transformed into a regular cave loaded in minerals. The locals pretty much mined it out and then bandits turned it into their hideout. But that’s all history now.” She kicked a rock further down a corridor. A small echo of its impact could be heard a few seconds later.

“A mystery dungeon?”

“Oh right, your amnesia.” Rene sighed. “Mystery Dungeons are weirdo places that generate all over the world. Every island has at least one that pops up, teeming with mindless pokemon we call ferals, or wildies as far as us skymen go.”

Her head swiveled from side to side right before she leaned in. “Then sometimes they just… stop being mysterious ‘n all like this place. The wildies inside all disappear and nobody’s sure if they just left or straight-up go poof. I don’t care either way!”

“That’s nuts!” Maxim said. Just how much crazier does this world get? Floating in the sky, talking animals, and now this? He really wanted to groan.

Past a tight tunnel, the pair entered a clearing. Light beamed down from a hole in the ceiling, allowing a good view without a torch.

Withered fabric and rotted wood littered the ground, the remains of tents and minecarts piled up along the walls. Scorch marks of a lit campfire were still visible, though most of the remaining ash was long gone. Boulders strewn around had strange symbols carved into them, only adding to the archaic visage. Rene seemed indifferent to all of it, given how she sat down on a boulder and tossed her torch to the ground.

“Guess this is the bandit’s camp. Ah well! This’ll be a good spot to train in! No distractions, no nosy onlookers, just us and this dusty old cave!”

Leaping into the open campsite’s remains, she raised up her fist and assumed a fighting stance. “C’mon, C’mon! Don’t be a hatchling! Face me!” Her paw waved back and forth.

Maxim sighed and fluttered down on the opposite side. He sure as hell didn’t know how to assume a fighting stance, so he tried his best to give her a cold stare. Seconds passed without a word between the two. Within the blink of an eye, Rene crossed the gap. Her raised fist slammed into the ground in front of Maxim, kicking up dust. He jumped back only for Rene to swing out her leg. The impact sent him skidding across the ground. There was little chance to catch his breath as Rene leaped into the air and slammed her fist down. Maxim rolled away at the last second.

Soon, the spar had devolved into a game of cat and mouse between the two. Rene stayed glued to the Rowlet, hitting him with punch after punch. The blows were meaty and knocked him around, but left him with a stinging sensation at worst. In vain he attempted to claw at her with his talons, but this did little to dissuade her. As he tried to fly up to escape her, Rene landed a mean right hook to his back. The Rowlet slammed into the ground and struggled to get up.


“What is WITH you?!” Rene hissed. “Fight back! You’re a pokemon, for Arceus’s sake!”

Maxim strained his head to look at her, a weary sign escaping his beak. “I know that! I just can’t get anything to happen! It’s like a mental block!”

The Mienfoo raised a paw to her temple, then began to charge energy into her fist. “You know I’ve been holding back on you! I thought you’d get it by now! But still nothing! Why are you so weak, Maxim? You’re useless!”

“U-useless?” He stuttered.

“Yeah that’s right! You want to be a part of this crew and you can’t even throw out a basic attack? You’re useless! Best you could do is be a cabin boy!” Rene crouched low to the ground, preparing to rush again. “And now, I’m gonna knock you down!”

That word bounced around in his head as he gripped soil with his talons. Useless, useless, useless. This wasn’t some spur of the moment decision, he’d do anything to recover his memory and humanity back!

“Even if I don’t have any powers, that doesn’t mean I’m going to just give up and leave the crew!” He yelled back. “I’m not usel-”


A piercing ring echoed in his skull as he felt another memory bubble to the surface, this time allowing him to picture the scene.

A wooden desk was in front of him, with a figure sitting behind it. A stack of papers was laid out before him, with only the figure’s smile being a visible detail. The figure then opened their mouth to speak in a garbled tone.

“I’ve appreciated your effort up to this point, but I’m sorry to say we have no more need for you. Effective immediately, you’re to be removed from the project.”

Maxim slammed his hands, human hands onto the desk. “What? How can you do this to me? After everything?!”

The figure flashed a smile that extended from ear to ear. “Thanks to arrangements, you are well… unnecessary, unneeded.” They leaned over the desk, towering over him. Void-colored eyes burned their glare into Maxim’s own.


Pain coursed through his skull as he covered his head. It felt like his head was going to split apart.

“Huh, what’s wrong?” Rene asked, cocking her head to the side.

“Just leave me alone!” He roared. “I’ve dealt with enough already! And now you want to take this away from me too?” A green glow enveloped Maxim’s wings as he raised them at her.

“I’m not useless!”

Three feathers launched like arrows, coated in green energy. Rene, startled, lept back right as they impacted the ground. Again, Maxim shot another set. Rene swerved to dodge then pressed on her attack. Motivated by an unknown instinct, Maxim charged at her and slammed into her chest. The Mienfoo froze for a moment, only to backhand him away.

Both of them paused, Maxim letting out small gasps. He shakenly looked down at his wings. A strange feeling of relief came over him, as if he’d climbed a cliff all by himself. He summoned a loose feather again, closely examining it, and threw it at a nearby rock. The resulting impact shattered it into dust.

“This is my own power?” He marveled. Razor sharp feather projectiles? This new body truly was a wonder. He turned back to Rene, who had relaxed her stance and crossed her arms.

“Heh! I knew you could do it! All you needed was a little roughing up, is all!” She grinned. “Think you used another move when you slammed into my chest. Sure didn’t feel like a regular blow.”

Maxim nodded. There was a certain feeling he got from using both attacks, which made him wonder if it really was a natural instinct. “I can use more than one attack, right?”

Rene snickered, “of course you can! Up to four moves at a time! And of course, there’s only one way to figure that out.” She charged energy into her fists. “Cmon!”

The thought of getting pummeled again by her without holding back made him shudder. But there was no point in bowing out now.

“Alright, l-lets do this! For real this time!”

The Rowlet rushed forward, this time with a nervous grin on his face.

“And... that’s it for now.”

Drake crossed his arms as he waited for Matilda to finish writing down his report. The Indeedee had not moved her sight from her notepad. Seconds trickled into minutes before she spoke again.

“Again, I thank you for providing me with such wonderful information! This concludes our meeting!” She reached into a bag and handed him a beige envelope. Gold trimming lined its edges and a gold, three-leaf symbol was stamped to the back. Drake placed it into his vest pocket.

“So what will you do now? I suppose you will have to report to the Sol Knights about our little chat as well?”

“If you think we will take custody of the little one, then you have nothing to fear. He can stay with you for now.” Matilda said.

Drake flicked his crest. “Hmm? I’m surprised that you would trust a no-good pirate like me. What’s the catch?”

For the first time since starting, a frown replaced Matilda’s smile. “The Knights will be watching you closely. Should we deem you inadequate for holding the human, we will confiscate him from you.” Said frown vanished as she put on another smile. “I have faith in you, however! Do continue to impress the governor and myself!”

Drake rose and gave her a small nod. “If we’re finished here, I best be on my way then!” Before exiting, he turned around to see Matilda giving her a small wave. With that, he was finally done with his business here.

Just outside the door, Signal silently waited for him. The large Braviary levitated off the ground and took to the skies, flying in an arc. Drake made sure to put as much distance between him and the house as he could before letting out a hefty sigh.

“Well that was an annoyance. To have a Great Knight meet me at such an ill moment.”

Does he mean to test your loyalty? If so, how much does he suspect of you?” A deep voice spoke from high above. Drake looked up to see Signal’s crest pulsating with pink light.

“It was most likely out of the governor’s hand. The monarchy’s been getting anxious to stay on top of things lately. Me and him are on the same page, so no need to worry.” Drake said.

Signal’s crest gleamed again. “ Fair enough. Shall we return back?”

The captain straightened up his vest before raising a hand to his crest. He swore he could hear a sigh from Signal’s end.

“Indeed! Let’s go back home, first mate!”



“Hey, Maxim!”

Maxim groaned as he slowly opened his eyes to light. Moving his body around, he could feel the softness of grass beneath him. As his eyes adjusted, the sight of orange sky and treetops greeted him. He rose up in confusion. How did he get outside of the cave? As he looked to his side he found Rene staring back at him.

“Took you long enough!” Rene said, arms crossed. “I didn’t think I hit ya that hard!”

He groaned and rubbed his head. “What happened? Last thing I remember was us clashing blows.”

“Well I may have struck you a little harder than I realized and plain knocked you out. My bad!”

“Did I at least unlock a new move?”

“Uhh, well you growled at me. Guess that counts.”

“Growling is a move?”


Maxim blinked in response. He had a lot to learn about move diversity, it seemed. Turning back to the cave, the location glowed in the light of the setting sun.

“Hey Maxim. I hope you didn’t take those words of mine to heart too badly.” Rene sighed, rubbing the back of her head. “I just wanted to get you riled up in battle, is all.”

Maxim looked off into the distance. He thought about the word “useless” again and that painful memory. He couldn’t help but stay frustrated, not at her words, but at himself. How come his own personal memories could only trickle back into place but concepts were no issue? No doubt that voice had a hand!

“Yeah, it's no problem. I just wanted help knowing what my body could do.” He looked down at himself. His feathers were ruffled and his scarf was nearly tattered. Rene had really done a number on him. “I was a bit worried you got put off by my freakout.”

“Nah! It’s been too long since I got someone riled up. Bound to happen sometime!” She snickered, causing Maxim to sigh and roll his eyes.

“Pretty peaceful place, eh?” Rene said as she took a seat on the grass. “Haven’t been to an island like this in a long time.” She reached inside her bag and tossed over a small, spherical blue fruit with small pores. Maxim realized it was the fruit from his earlier meal.

“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten what an Oran Berry is! Eat it so you’ll get healed right up!” She teased.

Maxim swallowed the fruit, its sweet and tangy flavor delightfully familiar. A refreshing feeling rushed over his body and he felt rejuvenated enough to move around.

“Wow, this feels great!” He exclaimed.

The bliss coursing through him was enough to make him twirl in place. As he looked at the forest around, a nagging feeling crawled up from behind. Far away past a row of trees, he could make out shadows moving around. He rubbed his eyes only to see they had vanished, but his uneasiness was only growing.

“What’s wrong?” Rene asked.

“I dunno, felt like someone was watching us for a second.” He answered.

Rene got up and walked away, swerving her head from side to side. “Hmph, could be some curious villager, I imagine one of them may have noticed us passing through. I guess we should head back for now.”


Maxim followed closely behind, not wanting to stick around to find out. Rows of trees came and went with no sign of movement. Only a few minutes later the pair found themselves staring at a curious newcomer. In front was a spherical blue pokemon identified as a Marill. Gauntlet-covered paws held a small wooden sphere, while a blue scarf was wrapped around the base of their tail. A frown was on their face and their body trembled every few seconds.

“H-hey! What do you t-think you’re uh, doing out here?!” The Maril stammered in a young male’s voice. He raised the spear at both of them, gripping it the best his trembling paws would let him.

Rene walked up slowly and placed a paw on his spear. “Ease up, you big baby. We’re just checking out the cave here. Heard it’s a neat local attraction!” She winked at Maxim, who gave her a hasty nod back.

The Marill shook his head. “Famous or not, y-you shouldn’t be going in there! It’s dangerous and unstable f-from years of u-use! You could uh, g-get hurt!”

“And who are you supposed to be, my dad?” Rene scoffed. “Aren’t you supposed to be patrolling the city or whatever your lot does?”

“I’m the o-one who should be asking t-the questions here!” The Marill barked back.

She released her grip and began to walk off. “Eh don’t worry about it, we were leaving anyway. Have fun with your patrol!”

With that, the pair continued on their way, ignoring the guard.

“Don’t you ignore m-m-me!” He hollered, hopping up and down. “T-treat me with some respect!”

I can’t imagine a guy like that could sneak around so easily.” He thought. Turning back one last time, he saw nothing moving around in the forest, and that nagging feeling of his had vanished. “ Whoever or whatever that was must have left already. Glad they did, but I still feel uneasy.”

His thoughts would circle between his newfound powers and the strange encounter all the way back to the ship.
Chapter 6: Playing Pretend New


United States of America
Chapter 6: Playing Pretend

Orange skies gave way to violet starlight as the first day on Calvin Island drew to a close. Thankfully, there were no further interruptions once the two came back into town. Maneuvering through the emptying streets, the pair finally reached the docks. Fellow crew members were boarding the ship, with some carrying crates, bags, and other stored goods. One pokemon, an Ambipom, wobbled up the ramp before falling backward. Maxim rushed over, worried, only to see them snoring.

A nearby Heracross snickered at the sight. “Queen’s gown, what a lightweight! Told him he’s got a lot of practicing to do before he can drink with the big boys!” The Heracross slung the unconscious mon over their shoulder and leaped onto the deck.

“Is he gonna be alright?” Maxim asked.

“Eh, he’ll live. Some of us think we can outdrink the other and then this happens.” Rene sighed.

Back on the ship, the two went below decks to the mess hall. Like the day before, a massive line stretched from front to back, with the pair barely out the door. The line moved without confrontation, and Maxim soon found himself in front of a familiar duo.

The Grafraiai and Slowbro were hard at work moving dishes across the counter. While his much taller partner turned potatoes over a small flame, the Grafraiai handed out meals to everyone.

Noticing the Rowlet, Cardin presented a plate to Maxim with a gleam in his eyes.

“Hey Rowlet! Ready to get your pallet blown away by another Cardin and Hyde specialty? This time we’ve got oven-roasted potato slices coated with a zesty glaze made from grinded herbs and nomel berries! One bite of this and you’ll weep of joy!” The tiny chef flexed his thin arms. “I’d like to see one of those local joints match this!”

“I think that one Heatmor’s dish had our number, chum.” His Slowbro companion sighed.

“Hey hey hey!” Cardin growled. “Just you wait, that guy’s flame is gonna be a candle in the wind to our inferno!”

Hyde rubbed the back of his head. “Yeahhh, sure thing.”

Maxim took his seat at an occupied table, then jolted a bit when Rene sat down by him.

“Reservin’ a table, eh? Isn’t that nice of you!” The Mienfoo laughed.

“Oh I uh, I was just trying to c-chill out of the way, you know, uh.” Maxim stammered.

She lightly tapped him on the head. “Relax, I’m just teasin’ yah! Good eye to pick a spot out of the way!”

All around them, pokemon were chatting away or messing around with their fellow crew mates. The two dug in, eating their food without a word passing between the two. Between bites, Maxim broke the awkward silence.

“Hey Rene, I’m surprised you wanted to sit with me. I figured you probably had others that you’d hang out with.”

“I’m not a big party gal. There are plenty of days where I'm happy to sit by myself.” She said, puffing out her cheeks. “Plus I’m your partner now, gotta keep an eye on yah!”

Maxim couldn’t object to that. The two continued their meal in silence. But he had to admit, having someone to spend time with was giving him a slight fuzzy feeling inside.



Maxim groaned and rolled out of his hammock. The start of a new day had arrived, and with it, another jolt out of bed.

It’s going to be a long time before I get used to this. He thought.

A quick stop by the mess hall and a breakfast of roasted bread gave him a morning boost. Squeezing through the crowded halls of crewmembers, Maxim went above deck. The dull thumping of shuffling boxes and moving pokemon was the first thing to greet him. Most of the crew were busy sweeping the deck, lifting cargo, and other tasks.

Even first thing in the morning, the crew’s got the ball rolling! Talk about no effort wasted!

While his gaze wandered over the deck, he felt a strange sensation nibbling at the back of his mind. The feeling led him to look up at the bow, leading him to a curious sight. At the tip stood a figure covered in a long billowing green cloak. Through an opening around the head, a ruby-colored eye peeked back at Maxim. Despite the figure’s small stature, the other crew members were ignoring their presence. Maxim rubbed at his eyes with a wing only to see that the figure had vanished.


“What in the-”

His gaze darted from side to side, scanning for any other sign. He looked towards the stern. There the figure was, sitting on the deck above the ship’s wheel. It waved a dark blue arm, as if beckoning Maxim over.

This is ridiculous! Am I really the only one who can see this happening? He thought. Taking flight, the Rowlet soared just over the heads of his fellow crew members and landed directly in front of the steering wheel. This time, the figure stayed in place and waved back.

“Hey! Just who are you?” Maxim yelled.

A silent shake of their head was the only response. Bright pink energy coated the figure’s form before they vanished into light, leaving Maxim at a loss for words.

Just what the hell was that?

He wouldn’t have the chance, as a large shadow loomed over him. Maxim twisted his head around to see a massive bipedal pokemon standing with their arms crossed. Their jet black body was covered in armor-like scales, scars, and cuts. A pair of axe-shaped tusks sprouted from their snout, the left one’s edge chipped and broken. The blue scarf wrapped around their neck indicated they were a crew member. But that did little to assure Maxim, who was frozen with terror.

“H-h-how are you doing Mr. Ha-Hax-Haxorus, i-is it?” Maxim said with a poorly feigned smile. The dragon type stood statue-like as their red eyes bored into Maxim. A few seconds passed before the Haxorus relaxed.

“Why are you snooping around my quarters, Rowlet? Are you looking for something?” Spoke the dragon type in a masculine tone. His voice was deep yet smooth and commanded enough energy to make Maxim straighten up.

“S-sorry sir! I didn’t mean to intrude!” Maxim apologized, rubbing his head. “I didn’t know this was your area!”

The Haxorus let out a small sigh. “Don’t look at me all scared. I’m not going to bite ” His tail gently slapped the wood floor. “As long as this ship is docked here, I don’t have much else to do but stare.”

Maxim sighed in relief. The last thing he wanted to do was push the crew’s buttons. “Well that’s not a bad thing! I’d rather deal with a slow day than a hectic one like with that pirate crew recently, haha!” Maxim said with a nervous chuckle.

A smile tugged at the edges of the dragon’s face as he looked up at the skies above. “Aye. You’re not wrong kiddo. I’ve seen enough sunrises to know when to appreciate a peaceful day when I see one. You should as well.” The look in the Haxorus’s face softened. “I suppose I might as well ask. What’s your name, Rowlet? I’ve seen a lot of mons aboard this ship, but not one of your kind.”

“Maxim, sir.” He replied.

“Maxim, eh?” The Haxorus raised one of his hands to his chin, causing Maxim to notice said hand was missing a claw. “You new here? Don’t recall us picking up any rookies at our last stop.”

“Yeah, you can say that. I’m still learning a lot about the pir-privateer life.” He stated. “I’m grateful that Captain Drake gave me the chance to be here and stuff.”

“Well you picked a great crew!” The Haxorus chuckled. “Just make sure to put in work, little one!”

“Sure thing, Mr…?”

The Haxorus raised a hand, then pointed his thumb at his chest. “Abel. Just call me Abel. I’m the crew’s helmsmon. Come gentle breeze or rough storm, I’ll get us where we need to go in one piece!”

“Noted! Nice to meet you, sir!” The Rowlet gave him a small nod, then looked back to the deck. Some crew members were leaving the ship for the day, while others were still busy with daily tasks. “Well that reminds me, I’ve got to get back with my partner. I don’t want to keep her waiting any more.”

Abel nodded. “Aye, good to keep your fellow crewmate in mind!”

“Oh wait, one more thing. This might sound weird, but have you seen a floating figure covered in a green cloak anywhere around here? I seemed to be the only one that saw them.”

The Haxorus raised a brow. “Green..cloak..? Hmmm.” He traced a hand around one of his blade tusks. “Green cloak..oh! I know what you mean.” A sign left Abel as he rubbed at his temple. “Not normal for her to get bored this easily. Sorry if you got spooked, just don’t worry about that. You’ll probably meet her again soon.”


He raised a claw to his snout. “Shhhhh, she’ll get annoyed if I talk any more about it.”

Maxim wanted to protest, but decided he had spent enough time getting sidetracked. “Well alright, I’ll be off then!”

As Maxim flew back to the main deck, he saw Rene leaned against the railing. Her eyes were closed, and she didn’t react when he landed in front of her. Maxim tilted his head and poked her with a wing.

“Hey Rene, I’m here!”

“Yeah, I can see you.” She sighed. “Hope you’re ready for another day, ‘cause you’re gonna have more training to do!”

“Sure thing. And I’ll try not to get knocked out early on this time.” Maxim said.

“Let’s head on, then! I want us to start early today! No slackin’!” She huffed. Rene sped down the ramp, waving her paw for him to follow. He chose to glide down alongside the Mienfoo.

As the two were about to take the main path into town, nearby shouting caught their attention. The source came from slightly further down the dock, where the familiar face of Clyde was focused on a pink humanoid figure known as a Tinkaton. Two pairs of goggles were wrapped above her head and around her neck while her blue scarf was tied around one of her twintails. Despite being shorter than Clyde, the pokemon easily wheeled around a cart stacked with metal and fabrics at least three times her size. Though Clyde’s back was turned, the Politoed’s rigid stance conveyed enough.

“Argh! Now what have yer gone n’ done? I thought you and yer little group already peeled enough off that ship to satisfy yer!” Clyde groaned, crossing his arms.

The Tinkaton adjusted the goggles on her head, then flashed him a smile. “That ship of theirs won’t sail again,, so I figured they wouldn’t miss it if I took a few parts with us!”

“Yer calling that a wee bit o’ parts?” Clyde argued. “Yer bum’s oot the windae! I’ve gotten tired o’ listening to the navy cry and squeal like hatchlings!”

“Meh! By the time those lugs even try to complain, we’ve already gave em the slip!” The Tinkaton said. “Out of sight, out of mind!”

The Politoed facepalmed. “By the Queen’s gown, I’ll need to get hammered tonight.”

“She seemed rather…passionate.” Maxim whispered, turning to Rene.

“Hestia? She’s a wild one. I wouldn’t get too close if I were you. She might try to work ya into one of her wacky experiments!” Rene teased.

Maxim suddenly felt more motivated to head into town. “We should definitely get a move on now!”

With a roll of her eyes, Rene walked down the boardwalk with Maxim following close behind.

The town was more lively today as crowds of pokemon flowed through the streets. A dense herd of four legged mons like Tauros and Mudsdale forced the pair to hug the street’s edge. Even as they switched to a side road, the traffic refused to thin out

The chaotic pace and lack of space began to wear at Maxim. His small stature only made things worse. Finally after minutes of weaving around larger mons, he found enough breathing room in the middle of a wide road. His chance to rest would be short lived.

A figure brushed against his side, and with them the tug of something coming off. He looked down to see his scarf was still present, but felt strangely lighter . That wasn’t right. A few seconds went by before the realization dawned. He scanned around to see a black and white blur sped back into the dense crowd.

“What’s goin’ on? You look pissed!” Rene said.

“My bag is gone! Someone took it!” Maxim cried out.

The Rowlet launched into the air, looking for the thief.

“Hey wait up! I can’t fly, you know!” Rene yelled. She waved to Maxim, but he was already high in the air. From building to building, there was no sight of anything beyond visiting customers or relaxing townsfolk. The crowd began to thin out, but as Maxim passed between streets his target remained absent. He came to rest on a slanted rooftop, taking a moment to catch his breath.

“Shit! Where could they have gone?!”

His current position was where the main entrance to Merchant’s Street met another sideroad. The location was vacant outside a pair of passing Furret. Anger building, his claws started to chip into the roof’s tiles.

You’ve got to be kidding me! Only the second day here and I’ve been mugged for my one day paycheck!”

The rustling of a bush below caught his attention. It continued for a few seconds before the white head of a small bear poked its head out. A small leaf was in their mouth while a crudely stitched together black hoodie draped from their neck.

A…Pancham? Wait a second!”

After looking from side to side, the pokemon hopped out of the bush. The black hoodie had a cape stitched below the shoulders. Quickly, they dashed across the street and into a small alleyway.

Having wings was becoming a newfound blessing for Maxim, as they let him trail the Pancham without worry. The black and white pokemon skillfully weaved from alley to alley, eventually heading down a long narrow corridor ending in a square shaped clearing. Tightly enclosed by multistoried buildings, it was hard to believe someone would want to bother with a place like this. The most surprising fact would be that the Pancham wasn’t alone.

Two other mons, a Scraggy, and an Impidimp had seemingly been waiting for the Pancham. Similar to the latter, they had matching hoods color coated to their respective mons. Maxim slowly touched down on an overhang, leaning in as close as he could without giving away his position.

The Scraggy spoke first in a young female’s voice. “Okay Rodrick, we got everything together. Now what’s this big scheme o’ yours that dragged us back in here?”

“Alright Addie, you ain’t gonna believe this, but I pulled a fast one just now!” The Panchim grinned. He pulled out a brown bag and presented it. Maxim had to hold in a gasp, for there was no mistaking the sight of his own handbag.

“Woah! Did you really go and yank it off some poor sod? I didn’t think you’d go through with it!” Addie marveled, poking at the bag. Her Impidimp companion didn’t share the same enthusiasm.

“Hold up, hold up! You’re saying you stole it, yeah? What if the bloke figures out you’re the one who took it?” The Impidimp whimpered, his tone shrill and nasally. “We’ll get in real big trouble!”

Rodrick waved his paw in dismissal. “Don’t worry ‘bout it! The guards couldn’t find a Copperjah in a hayfield! At worst I’ll just drop it off at their office and claim I found it! Easy peasy!”

“As long as you don’t wimp out as soon as you step in!” Addie teased.

“Hey! I told you I’m brave! This bag here proves it!” Roddrick fired back. “Let’s just figure out who’s gonna play what role today! I call being Stacks this time!”

Addie crossed her arms and scoffed. “Guess we’re gonna have to be the Gliscor Twins today, since Minnie and Tay are out. C’mon Lars! Get out the cloaks!”

“Oh, alright. I’m better at playing the bad guy than Stacks anyway..” The Impidimp sulked. He moved over to a corner and pulled out a box stuffed with fabric. Each mon took off their hoods and replaced them with a unique, homemade costume. The Scrafty and Impidimp both wore matching purple cloaks with long slender ears attached on the hoods. Meanwhile Rodrick wore a gray hood with two ears and a paper drill-shaped horn at the top. The Pancham tossed Maxim’s bag over to Lars, who stumbled trying to catch it.

“Oh yeah, let’s go! Now get into place so we can start!” Rodrick cheered.

Maxim tilted his head as he watched them spread out. His bag got stolen by a bunch of kids playing dress up? He’d be the laughingstock of the crew if this got out!

Roddrick assumed a stance while pointing a finger. “Stop right there you conniving twins! Your misdeeds end here!”

Addie reared back before unleashing a comically over the top laugh. “Muahahahaha! You don’t have a chance against us, Stacks! You may have knocked out our minions, but the two of us alone is more than enough!”

Playfully gritting his teeth, Rodrick raised a fist. “We’ll see, you terrible twins! I’m kicking your bums out of this town! Haaah!”

He rushed forward, but froze as a shadow descended. Maxim dusted himself off before pointing a wing at the kid thief. “Hold it you three! Playtime’s over!”

Addie and Lars shot each other a look. “Who the heck is this? Did you invite someone else over to play, Rod?” Addie said.

“No I uh, well uh, I dunno who this guy is!” The Pancham stammered with widening eyes.

“You should know who I am.” Maxim sighed. “After all, you’re holding my bag. Or well, the Impidimp is.” Said mon shivered and dropped the bag to the ground. Rodrick’s jaw dropped.

“Ack! No way! I-I was careful and everything! N-no way you caught up!”

Maxim frowned. “But I did. The wings really help. Anyway, it’s time you give me that back. Now!”

A few seconds passed as Rodrick only stared at Maxim. Then, the Pancham bursted into tears.

“I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry! I’ll give it back! Just please don’t tell on us!”

“Y-yeah, what he said!” Lars chimed in, holding back tears. All Addie did was scoff and look away.

Maxim rubbed his temple and sighed. “ Didn’t think I’d feel this bad about stopping a would-be thief.”

“Alright, calm down. I just want my bag back. I promise I won’t tell on you to the guards, as long as you don’t do this again.”

Roddrick quickly nodded. In between sobs he spoke again. “I promise!”

Finally reunited with his bag, Maxim attached it behind his scarf once again. Before he could fly away, his curiosity kicked in again. “I’ll admit, I did see what you kids were trying to do. Some sort of playtime was it? But why steal someone’s bag to serve as a prop?”

All three children looked to one another. Rodrick waved for the other two to come close, then pulled them into a group embrace. A few seconds of whispering later, and Rodrick slowly approached Maxim.

“You ain’t from around here, yeah?”

Maxim nodded. Rodrick looked over his shoulder before continuing. “Well yah see, there’s some cool things about our island here that we learn from birth. You know that cave up there, just outside town? Used to be a bandit hideout and all, REAL bad guys stayed there.”

“Gliscor Cave? I went there just the other day.” Maxim said.

“Yeah that’s right. Mum told me about how the mine was all used up and vacant, then these bad guys, led by Gliscor twins named Slash and Strike, came on a big fancy ship. They ransacked the town real bad.”

“Y-yeah! REAL bad!” Lars said.

Roddrick continued. “The governor at the time lived on the island, in a stone fortress just north of town. Of course, the villagers begged the governor for help, but the guy was a dummy! He couldn’t muster up enough guards to fight back! Then the bandits got bored and settled into that cave up there. Once they had their own hideout, they made things even worse by messing with anyone who visited the island! The village suffered a lot, with the bandits constantly taking food and valuables. Nobody was strong enough to tell em off, so things looked rough.” Rodrick’s head drooped down.

“At least until Stacks came in!” Addie cheered.

Maxim raised a brow. “Stacks?”

Roddrick became starry-eyed at the mention. “That’s right! Stacks the Rhydon! He was a passing adventurer who had stopped by on pure chance! He saw how badly the bandits were treating the townspeople, and decided to step in! He kicked those bandits right of town, then rallied everyone to take the fight to the bandits’ hideout! There was an epic battle as Stacks took on the dangerous duo of Slash and Strike by himself, and knocked them both out!.” The Pancham punched and kicked the air.

“With the two of them down, Calvin Village was freed of the bandits for good! Things only got better from there, as Stacks even helped to boot that lousy governor! Thanks to him, Calvin Island would grow bigger and better than before! If you wonder how our ports got to being so active, you can thank him!”

So this Stacks guy was a real-life folk hero? Interesting. Maxim thought. I can respect them wanting to keep a tradition going, but did they have to steal my bag for that at least?

“So there yah got it! Isn’t that cool as all heck? We even made our own Stacks cloak!” Roddrick beamed, holding up the horned cloak.

Maxim sighed. “That’s nice…but don’t try and get others involved next time! Stealing other’s belongings can get you into serious trouble!”

“I told him it was a silly idea.” Addie groaned. “He wanted to be ‘brave’ and prove he wasn’t a scaredy-meowth. Fat lot of good it did us.”

“Hey! So what if it was stupid! I showed you I got serious guts!” Roddrick fired back.

“Serious guts? More like foolish bravery! Hahaha!”

Maxim flinched at the familiar voice coming from behind him. As he turned around, he came face to face with Hurik the Combusken.

“Well will you look at that? How’s it going, Maxim?” Hurik said.

Maxim nodded towards Roddrick. “Hello! I was just having a chat with these kids about staying away from risky things.”

“Were you now? Don’t worry, I heard everything!” The adventurer cheered. All three children gasped in horror.

Hurik quickly waggled a claw. “Ah ah ah! I won’t tell! But you gotta make sure you keep that promise and stay out of trouble, you three!”

“S-sure thing, Mr. Adventurer!” Roddrick stammered. “In fact, we were just about to head back home! Isn’t that right, chums?” His companions nodded back. “See yah!”

With that, the trio shoved their cloaks back into a box and then ran out of the square. Hurik crossed his arms as he watched them slip away. “Those kids sure are something?” He chuckled.

“Yeah, you can say that.” Maxim said. “Had to admit, the history behind that Stacks guy did sound interesting. Wonder what became of him?”

The smile on Hurik’s face twisted into a frown, and the look in his eyes darkened. “This town is kind, very kind. But they’re also rather…naive to their own history.”


Hurik nodded. “Often over time, history can be romanticized. The tale of Calvin Town is one such example. Stacks did help to save the town, that’s true, but the backstory behind it is heavily glossed over.”

The Combusken leaned in. “You see, Stacks didn’t come here on a whim. He knew the whole time what was going on. The reason why is because he was a bandit himself.”

Shock coursed through Maxim. “You’re kidding me!”

“Nope. It’s the truth. You see, decades after the event, a report was dug up from the office of the old governor Karka, who had been sitting in office at the time. Stacks was a member of the bandits who grew dissatisfied with them. Karka, seeking a way to mitigate losses and property destruction, cut a deal with him to help overthrow the twins and run them out of town. Needless to say, it succeeded. However, Stacks would use his popular influence to paint Karka as incompetent, eventually causing him to be removed as governor.”

“That’s crazy.. How did you even find out about all this?” Maxim questioned.

“I was curious about this island’s history, so I did a bit of my own research. Quite the controversial subject isn’t it? If you tried to give this information to the residents, they’d deny it to the last breath.” Hurik mused. “It’s been a tale of theirs for decades. No amount of knowledge would ever make them change their views.”

Maxim reluctantly nodded. He did have a point, going by how much those three children adored the story. A folk tale ingrained as a child for decades upon decades. No way the residents would change that if a bunch of outsiders told them to.

Hurik placed a claw on his hip. “Ah well, I’m not one to dash the fun of kids, even naughty ones! I’ve got more important business to attend to! Thanks for another chat, Maxim!” With that, Hurik walked out of the alleyway. Right as he left into the main road, the blue rings of a certain Umbreon peaked just out of sight.

Right as Maxim rejoined the main road, Rene caught up to him. “There you are, you featherbag! What were you thinking just jetting off without me? You got any idea how many streets I had to fly down?!”

“Ah, I’m sorry! I really had to get my bag back!” Maxim said. “I promise I won’t ditch you like that again!”

His apology did little to quell her anger. “Whatever, you can make it up to me when we train. I’m not gonna pull my punches this time!

Maxim let out a loud gulp. “N-noted!”

After hastily eating a pastry from a local bakery, as Rene didn’t want him to fight on an empty stomach, Maxim found himself back at the cave’s entrance. There was just one problem stopping them from going in, a hastily constructed barricade with a red X painted on wood.

“Tsk, what the hell? Who’s tryin’ to seal off the entrance?” Rene complained.

“Maybe the guards are worried about the security of the mines? It’s pretty old and worn.” Maxim noted.

Rene scoffed. “Pff. That place is a lot more secure than half of the caves I’ve ever seen. Held up pretty well while we were bouncing around.”

“Well what are we gonna do now?”

“I can’t just tear the barricade down. The guards’ll whine to the crew. But…” A smile crept onto her face. “They should ‘av thought long n’ hard about sealin’ the other places!” She leaped above the barricade, grabbed onto a bundle of vines, and vaulted her way up.

Maxim looked on, bewildered. “Wait a moment, what are you doing?”

“If they’re gonna block that entrance, I’m just gonna go through one of the ‘eyes’! Easy peasy!”

She swung her paws in an arc motion, cutting through scores of vine. Looking down at Maxim, she motioned him to come up. The Rowlet sighed and flew toward her. The upper level of the cave felt tighter to navigate with how small the tunnels were. The air was much colder and drier, causing Maxim to shudder.

“Looks like they didn’t change a thing! Lazy moppets just put a lock on the door and called it a day! Oh well, let’s get ready to scrap!”

She raised her fists which began to glow with energy. Crouching into a stance, she waited for Maxim to make a move.


Dirt and dust was thrown into the air as Rene and Maxim continued their training session. Despite his partner’s aggressive attacks, he was pleasantly surprised to discover he was getting better with dodging. He also was starting to trade blows too, from pecking Rene on her shoulder or flinging more energy coated feathers into her side. Unfortunately, his partner was far more experienced in combat, and had the resilience to prove it. By the time the two had backed away again, he was out of breath compared to her unfazed glare.

“Heh, you’re starting to get a bit better with this. That’s more like it!” Rene exclaimed.

“Th-thanks, those blows of yours are no joke though!” He wheezed.

The Mienfoo crossed her arms. “Eh, how ‘bout we take a small break? Too early for you to be faintin’, now!”

“Thanks!” Maxim said, dropping on his back. “I’m feeling a bit lightheaded.”

He swallowed an Oran berry lobbed at him, a sigh of relief coming out as the fruit’s rejuvenating energy washed over. “That’s the good stuff!” He cheered.

The two rested on the cold cave floor with only the sound of dripping water as company. Then, another noise began to echo from the main tunnel. The sound grew loud enough for Maxim to realize what it was: two voices having a conversation.

“Hey, do you hear that? It almost sounds like-” He didn’t get to finish as Rene quickly rushed over and put a paw over his beak. Before he could protest again, she dragged the Rowlet behind a jagged rock formation. Her grip was tight enough to render his frantic flaps useless.

“Calm down for a minute! You’ll make too much noise!” She hissed in a low whisper. She cranked her head around to look through a gap in the rocks. The voices started to get closer and closer, becoming clear enough to make out words.

“Stay.. here.. Long time..”

“Closed cave.. Nobody here.. We’re free..”

“This should b.. the place!”

“Alright, let’s get started!”

Maxim paused at the last line. The voice sounded very familiar.

“Guess those guards aren’t so worthless after all, if a little rope and wood is a good enough ward! This island’s all too easy to comply!”

“That’s good though! I had my hunch things would work out this way, and they have so far! But let’s not get overly cocky, Celene.”

Maxim’s blood froze in his veins. There was no mistaking it, that was Hurik’s voice! Both him and Celene were having a private meeting. The clearing became illuminated in yellow light as Maxim could hear the sound of crackling flames.


“Remember, we have to keep things going for at least another day or two. Don’t go blowing our cover, especially with those privateers lurking about.” Hurik growled.

Maxim could feel the bleeding animosity in his voice, a far cry from the cheerful fellow he talked with only earlier. Just who were these two?

“Just another reason for us to hurry up and finish our business on this damn island!” Spat Celene. “I dunno why the captain bothered to send us out here, does he really not have faith in us?”

“I can’t say. Crafty mon, he is. But don’t worry, once we finish this job, it’s smooth sailing from here on. Now let’s discuss what you’ve found out here.”

Their conversation went on for quite some time. Their voices faded in and out as they talked about different subjects and aspects of the island and its daily life. The conversation then wrapped around to its original subject.

“That about does it. We’ll stay one more day, then report our findings to the crew. I’ll have Morris meet us at Umbrella Forest tomorrow night, and we’ll compound our findings together. Does that work for you?” Hurik asked.

Celene let out a snort. “Good enough. I’ll be glad to stretch my legs anywhere else. I’m not big on playing pretend, and this place bores me to tears! Let’s just make sure that bubblering rookie didn’t go and spill his guts in the soldier’s barracks.”

“Noted. Let’s leave, Celene.”


“Hello, Celene? What are you doing?”

Celene let out a few sniffs before addressing Hurik. “You don’t smell that? A fresh scent, like someone’s here?”

“Nope, not at all.” Hurik huffed. “Sure you’re not picking on something from the other day? Think the guards mentioned that some privateers had visited here.”

“I know what I’m talking about!” Celene hissed. “I can tell there’s something here! Just got to find it.”

Maxim’s pulse began to race. He dared not move, otherwise the Umbreon’s suspicions would be confirmed. A wave of dread washed over him as he wondered what would happen if the two found out they were here. Rene had crouched to the ground to minimize her presence. If she was also worried, she was hiding it.

The echoing of paws on the rocky floor began to grow louder.

And louder.

And louder.

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