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  • It's time for Thousand Roads' yearly one-shot contest! This year we're focusing on the theme of partnership between humans and Pokémon. You have all February to craft an entry--see more details here!

Sea of Wonders ~ Hidden Land

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
"Well, chances are you won't have to do anything at all," Palkia said, approaching with Giratina. "I can already feel the strange presence around you, but... I can't quite tell what it is..."

"I sense it, too. It's related to distortions, but not quite..." Giratina stepped closer, leaning down at Cabot first. "...Oh! It's coming from your bags!"

"Huh? Our bags?"

"Some of them. Or, no, it's..."

Owen pulled out various items from his bag, with Giratina shaking her head for each one, until--

"Ah! That one."

"But... this is just where I put my Shade," Owen said. "Not too surprising the distortion would come from it."

"Oh. Right, those... things."

Maple frowned. "I think we can rule those out as similarities; we already know why. You're saying it's from Diyem's units as well?"

"Yes, though it's also from..." Giratina glanced at Maple, but then shook her head. "Right, not important."

After a few more exchanges, with Giratina looking uncomfortably close at them, and then describing something to Palkia that seemed practically like overcomplicated gibberish, Palkia enveloped his claws in a violet aura and seemed to scoop into the air in front of him. Dialga peered into whatever Palkia was looking at.

"...Well, it was worth a shot," Palkia said, sighing. "But unfortunately, I don't think I have enough to go by here. All I'm picking up are Dungeons..."
 

Virgil134

PMD Writer
Partners
  1. weavile
Cabot's face fell. "Wait, does that mean we came here for nothing?"
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
"Well... not entirely," Dialga said, giving a knowing glance to Maple, who nodded back. "We learned recently that your leader, Diyem... He is unable to communicate with you directly when within distortions, correct?"

"Er, yeah," Owen said.

"The Hidden Land has a similar property to Giratina's Reverse World--in other words... you probably cannot hear Diyem right now, can you?" Dialga looked down. "That means he cannot here or influence you guys at the moment. Is that true?"

Owen froze.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
The others of the team seemed a little less relaxed. Owen perhaps most of all, occasionally fidgeting and shifting his weight, being way more obvious than he wanted to, but he kept it together well enough.

"We're glad you feel safe around us," Maple said, "but what we actually wanted to ask... was if you feel safe with your leader. While it's only a theory... we are worried. That is all. So if there is anything that might be bothering you about this Diyem..."

Was this the real reason they wanted to bring them here? Into a distortion, where Diyem couldn't interject, to ask them candidly about their leadership?

Did they already know?

No, surely they couldn't... otherwise, Maple would have...

Owen's mind rushed with the possibilities, his flame sparking every so often, but he said nothing for now. Being in a crowd of others helped take the pressure off of him.
 

Cresselia92

Ace Trainer
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
"We're glad you feel safe around us," Maple said, "but what we actually wanted to ask... was if you feel safe with your leader. While it's only a theory... we are worried. That is all. So if there is anything that might be bothering you about this Diyem..."

Icetales felt his ears folding back, while his tails flicked constantly. So that was all a ruse! Ah, the cunning folks! How were they supposed to… answer that sudden question?

But… no. He couldn’t falter. He couldn’t show hesitation. That would have just cast unneeded suspicion on himself and his team. So, he steeled himself and lifted his muzzle, regaining his neutral composure.

It is in times when thou feel the most threatened that thou must show thy coldest and strongest self.

“…Well, how shall we put this simply, good folks? If we were indeed bothered or concerned about our common patron, dost thou think we would be willing to follow his requests and commands so freely?” he asked, his tails swaying with an almost hypnotic motion. “Indeed, Sir Diyem is the most… peculiar of patrons, perhaps, but we do not have any tangible evidence to doubt his goodwill. We appreciate thy concern for our sake, nonetheless.”
 
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Mellow

Pokémon Trainer
Pronouns
They/Them
"There's no reason to think we aren't safe.", Mellow replied as she put on her best "dealing with a rude customer" face. "He's always had our best interests in mind!"

All of that was said with a very placid smile, while internally she was close to panicking. The sooner they got back to town the better...

And she would think long and hard about going with Maple anywhere ever again.

...If they made it through this in one piece.
 

Fusion

Exploring The Infinite
Pronouns
Him/His
"I dunno about everyone else, but I like Diyem. He kinda reminds me of a friend of mine back home," Vix shrugged. Candle shrugged. Whatever that was. Sure he was mysterious and secretive, and was most likely still keeping secrets, but that's par for the course for all of Vix's friends. And family, and fellow villagers...

Vix realized she might be way too accepting towards having secrets kept from her.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
Maple looked to Balm and Cepa, who seemed unsure, but ultimately nodded.

"Then there is nothing peculiar about him at all?" Maple asked. "We've had some concerns lately about why he seemed to so suddenly have an interest in this world, right as it came in danger. It's a strange coincidence, you know..."

"Well, that's because he's the sort of person to look around for interlopers and problems like that, you know?" Owen said. "It's like we said before... so..."

Maple looked them over again, then at Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina.

"So even when you're certain he can't hear you," Maple said, "you stand by that story?" She leaned in, kneeling. "I'm here to help you. You don't have to lie for him, if that's what's happening."
 

Cresselia92

Ace Trainer
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
…Golly, why was the situation so nerve-racking?

From some folks telling that Maple was a force to be reckoned with and that they needed to tread carefully when interacting with her, to how she seemed to show genuine concern toward them right at that moment, the poor Vulpix found himself being pulled by two opposing sides who wanted to convince him to take their truth over the other’s.

…And what was that deal about a ‘moment at the square’? Why was that… ‘whatever’ being brought up? The last thing they needed was to dunk the persona of Diyem even further into suspicious territories.

Sure, Icetales had his own reservations, but he was not someone to jump at the first rumor. He needed indisputable evidence before pointing paws at anyone.

Heavens and Sir Jirachi, lend me thy strength…

“…I believe that what my good comrade is trying to tell is that there might have been a few… um, shall we say… discordances between us, yes. However, despite those events, we managed to settle matters and keep working on our main objective: helping this world.”

He chuckled. “And in all fairness, isn’t gathering heroes from foreign worlds to save innocent souls a fairly common praxis? Many of our comrades are familiar with creatures with innate talents brought from other dimensions to save their homeworlds. Our appearance into this world is no different.”

He paused as he glanced at Palkia. Right. The Space Guardian. “I… sure hope thou dost not mind our presence too much. We all mean the best for this world. Truly.”
 
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Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
"Hmph. Well, Arceus said that it was fine, so I suppose there isn't a reason for me to be upset," Palkia said, even though he clearly was.

"It's just strange, you know?" Giratina said.

"Strange indeed. I'm skeptical that Diyem is some kind of Voice of Life given his behavior and what I've already been able to deduce." Maple narrowed her eyes a little more, then knelt down so she was at eye level with Icetales when he spoke, but then rose when he finished and sighed.

"I do not believe you are telling me the whole truth," Maple said. "Owen."

"Eep--!"

"Who is Diyem?"

"He's... someone trying to save this world? He's taking the form of a Charizard right now, so..."

"And why does he not come here himself?"

"It would have taken too long where he is. He had to send only our spirits and then channel his power through us quickly, is the thing." At least that much, Owen believed was the truth.

Maple stared, then finally addressed the rest of them. "Well?" she said. "Is that the full story, absolutely?"
 

Fusion

Exploring The Infinite
Pronouns
Him/His
It was time for that big nonexistent brain of Vix's to go to work. She wondered herself why Diyem had yet to fully reveal himself even before she found out he was some "big evil". Why would someone send a group of weaker, less professional amateurs, when they themselves are strong enough to bring them from together from across the universe on the first place? Some would call Diyem their leader, or captain... maybe even guildmaster. Guildmasters of Vix's world were incredibly secretive, because if they weren't... they'd be easy prey.

Alternatively, assuming the guildmaster were on a mission and was after someone, and that someone knew who was coming after them, they'd do their best to disappear. No one would get anywhere with any investigations, because the culprit would have been long gone the second the guildmaster showed his face.

Vix floated to a place that she could be seen by everyone and cleared her throat. "If whatever was causing these distortions suddenly caught wind of someone as strong as Diyem trying to stop them, they'd probably gun it to take him out, or try and hide themselves away immediately. So, instead of doing this hero thing himself, he sent a bunch of... almost literally all children, or pokemon that act like children, as to not set off any alarms for this culprit."

"Even if we've been a pain in their butt so far, I don't think we've been doing anything substantial enough yet to raise any real red flags with the culprit behind the distortions. Otherwise, they would have died down, making everyone think they were some cosmic phenomena that wasn't truly anything to worry about." She could have went on a whole lot longer, but was quick to notice everyone staring at her and cut herself short.

"A-At least that's what I think," she said nervously. "Sorry, I didn't mean to ramble so long."
 
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Virgil134

PMD Writer
Partners
  1. weavile
Maple's brow rose slightly. "Moment at the square?" she pressed.

"Yeah, when we found out you guys aren't actually named after different types of food. I asked why Diyem translated your names like that and he got mad over it and just started yelling at me out of the blue," Cabot explained. "I know it was all said telepathically, but I thought you had picked up on it a little bit, since I remember that when the others stuck up for me you asked if we had troubles with Diyem and how that didn't bode well."

The Cranidos paused, realizing that telling all of this was just proving Maple's suspicions as opposed to convincing her that Diyem had everyone's best interest at hand.

"Er... but like I said it's all in the past now. I found out later he was feeling agitated due to a lack of sleep and working all week to try and find Team Spice, so if anything it proves that Diyem isn't all that different from the rest of us. Besides, he apologized before we went out to fight Team Spice. If he was bad he wouldn't have done that, would he?"
 

Cresselia92

Ace Trainer
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Icetales groaned inwardly. This was no good! Those deities were starting to become even more suspicious and inquisitive, while his comrades were getting more and more uncomfortable and nervous.

He needed to cool down his spirit. As such, he snuck a tail into his bag and produced a bottle filled with frozen mint tea. After pouring some of that chilly treat into a cup held with another tail, he lapped at it with nonchalance while his gaze lingered on his comrades.

Hmm… but what that his comrades Litwick and Cranidos said gave him an idea. Perhaps, rather than trying to keep all information away from those deities, what they had to do was to give them something to sink their fangs into. Not necessarily spilling the beans, but it wouldn’t have hurt to give to those deities a pawful of them, at least.

“Well, allow me to be frank here, good sirs and ladies. I do not approve the notion of sending unaware fellows into a warzone, especially those who are largely unprepared. After all, Sir Diyem is… well, he possesses a considerable prowess, which would make this unorthodox approach appear even more perplexing.” He stared at the deities. “I wager that this is the same conclusion you all have reached, to a certain extent: ‘Why send folks to fight in thy name and in the name of a world that isn’t thy own’? Indeed. This is a question I am still pondering about.”

He swished the frozen tea in his cup. “Notwithstanding, while I comprehend thy concerns and doubts, our common patron has his reasons for acting behind the curtains, so to speak.” He sipped some more of his beverage. “And that is mainly to make sure that our current operations shan’t be jeopardized and hampered by the folks of this world. There are… some facts that must stay under wraps for the time being, in order to not attract unwanted attention and become the targets of hostile fiends and daemons.”

He shrugged. “At least, this is what I could infer from our discussions with Sir Diyem.”
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
They all listened very closely, brows raising now and then, small, subtle glances to one another with each new sentence that the team so carefully set out. Owen could already tell that they had been cornered just for the sake of getting out all of this information at once. And perhaps by coincidence, it had been so many of the open, talkative, or otherwise vulnerable units of the team. Grudgingly, he knew that he was one of them--after all, his tail made him an easy read. He still could not control it.

So when Icetales finally finished his explanation, and after everyone else had settled into silence, Maple nodded and turned around. "I see," she said, taking a few paces back and forth as she spoke, walking in a wide circle around them while at the top of the ruins. "You all genuinely seem to trust Diyem. You see him as a good person, and it is clear that despite whatever secrets he might be holding from you, or telling you to hold from me, you put his faith in him and his drive to complete this mission."

Maple turned around, retreading the half-circle until she stopped directly in front of them. They were closer, and Maple looked down at them in such a way that the sun was behind her, and her face was dark. And at this angle, her eyes glowed a soft golden color.

"I have one last question," Maple said, her voice even and her face like a statue.

Owen wasn't sure how long he had held his breath.

"Is your leader Dark Matter?"
 

Mellow

Pokémon Trainer
Pronouns
They/Them
They were cornered. And stuck somewhere they couldn't be found. With three Legends and a Pokémon who was obviously not at all what she seemed.

She quickly went over what options they had. All of them involved lying to get themselves out of this. Mellow silently prepared herself for the worst, and kept up the best "customer service" persona that she could manage;

Mellow frowned. "What kind of question is that? Of course he isn't!"
 
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