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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!

Water Continent ~ Revelation Mountain Summit

R8 ~ Sword

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
At the very top of the Water Continent's tallest mountain was a holy spring of pure water. Intended for the destruction and purification of Dark Matter, it had been protected for generations and guarded as a holy land for reasons long forgotten. When Dark Matter had attacked, the springs were ravaged and drained, but since then, had been replenished. Whether its holy power had been restored or not was unknown, but the springs themselves returned, beautiful, cold, and tranquil.

Rarely did anybody--not even the highest Legends or the lowest outlaws--touch the water. They felt that it was too symbolic of their efforts to fight Dark Matter to ever disturb again. Even now, despite the Blacklight calamity that bubbled under Cibus, this mountain remained pure. Perhaps, then, Giovanni simply did not know of its presence.

<><><>

"This ain't Destiny Village, Maple. What's going on?" Soda looked at the Smeargle, looking irritated and nervous at the same time.

"I'm sorry. Something disrupted my portal when I conjured it, and I could only go somewhere closer. The Sand Continent is far from Destiny Village, and I had to find a midpoint I had ties to." Maple looked to Ho-Oh, who still looked a little tinged of darkness, and then at the others. "I'm sorry. Can we wait here for a short while? And don't disturb the springs; it's culturally sacred."

By now, Nate's Isolation had worn off, and Darkwhite had had uncurled from Brisa's hold... Once on the ground to have a proper look over, she was at least stable. She seemed a lot less hazy than usual--her body was actually solid. For once, her chest and belly was visible, revealing that odd, dimly glowing light in the middle of her torso.
 
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unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
Brisa took Sword in her paws and let the mew rest against her in what she hoped would be a comfortable (and comforting) position.

"Sword? You're okay. You're among friends. You're safe. How d'you feel?"

She looked to the faint red light with concern, and then around her for everyone in the posse she hoped made it out okay. Starr, Astrid, Celeste, Icetales... at least Owen was right there with her, him and his gloomy doppelganger.

She gasped as a dark paw set on her shoulder.

"I've got yer vulpix gal for ya, darlin'," drawled Luz, smirking.

"She ain't mine," snapped Brisa. "But thank you."

Astrid hadn't come to just yet. Probably for the best. Brisa was this goddamn close to giving her an earful for scaring her like that again. Best to focus on Sword.

"Owen, can ya use that perceptive power of yers to see what the fuck this red glow is?" she asked.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
"No, it isn't," Maple said to Bahamut. "At least... I don't think it is."

Owen nodded, then looked to Wishkeeper. "Darkwhite used to be so chaotic that I couldn't look at her for long. It's like trying to comprehend a storm and every single water droplet... Overwhelming. But now..."

Wishkeeper said something to Owen, whose eyes widened. "But--that's not..." He looked to Sword.

"No way," Cal muttered, her golden eyes following Owen's.

Sword's body was losing its definition even more, now. There were massive holes in her back from where the heads had sprouted, yet there was no blood.

"I'm... with friends? But..." She laughed weakly. "I never had friends... except for... Shield... and then I messed it all up..."

"Brisa... guys," Owen addressed, raising his voice, but not so much that it would disturb Sword. "That thing in her chest. It's..."

Sword continued to stare emptily forward. "I'm... so tired."

"It's an Ultra Stone."
 

Negrek

Die by the Sword
Staff
"Put me down! Put me down! Fuck!" Nate struck out blindly at the familiar that had grabbed him, trying to twist enough that he could spray the familiar holding him with water. Most of it ended up soaking Rocky instead; the familiar's attempts to calm Nate down hadn't done any good, but he was hovering anyway, chattering a constant stream of admonishments.

When Betamax or Arnold or whatever finally dropped him, Nate stumbled a few steps away, shaking out his fin just for the principle of the thing, but he wasn't going farther than that. The haze of dark spots still swirled across his vision, even though there were fewer than before. What had fucking happened? With the sand and the black and being fucking carried around like a goddamned child, he didn't know much except that they had all piled through a portal and ended up here.

It looked like Darkwhite was here at least, so Giovanni hadn't gotten his hands on her. For a moment Nate wanted to go over and see how she was doing--if the shadow thing had actually taken hold, she was probably feeling pretty shit. But no. There were plenty of people checking up on her already. Nate slumped down on his haunches, tendrils of shadow still fuming around him, listening half-heartedly to what was going on.

Darkwhite had one of the shade-stones in her? That was probably, like, interesting or some shit. Nate stared dully at the stream trickling across the rock.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
Brisa's chest felt cold.

My Mountain Breeze, listen. You can't expect that simply because you have done your best, that all will be as you hope. People will fail you. People will be weak. People will die. This is outside your power to control.

Sure, but that just means I gotta work harder to make up fer that.

No. That is your father's folly, sweet Breeze. You must be prepared to lose fights. You must be prepared to lose friends.

Why should I have to lose anyone? I'll keep 'em all safe. Whatever happens.

Maybe you will, my dear daughter. But you can't know it.

I can still have faith. I can still believe in folks.

Faith hurts, darling.


It hurt. Sword was fucking dissolving in her grasp, before they'd so much as had a sparring match or a kind word. Brisa hadn't even been around for the goddamn Isle of Light mission. She'd sent her shade, her better self, in her stead. Believing that Sword could still be saved required her to deny the reality in front of her eyes. That despite all that effort, despite that moment when she'd seen herself in the Whiplash, despite her trust that Darkwhite really had been their ally all along...

Brisa had failed.

No, no, no, no it wasn't over. Not yet. Not while she could hold on. Don't die. Don't go. Don't leave me here.

"It's an Ultra Stone."

She glanced up at Owen, staring hard. Did that make Sword a familiar? Someone's familiar—whose? Shield's? Did that make her more or less likely to survive this? She didn't fucking know. Her goddamn words died in her throat.

Luz spoke on her behalf. "If that's an Ultra Stone, I guess that makes Sword here a shade. Like me. Maybe we're sisters, huh?"

"Luz," croaked Brisa. "Not the time."

"Right, yeah. So, what do we do? Can we help her, d'you reckon?"

Please let there be something.

"It's okay," murmured Brisa to her charge. "Fight's over. You can rest."

She killed a sob as she looked at the gaping, bloodless wounds in the mew's body.

"It was a wonderful party."
 

Phoenixsong

the world's scariest violinist
Partners
  1. custom/skiddo-steplively
"As long as you promise to behave yourself!" The growlithe familiar let go, allowing the mudkip to plop to the ground near his own familiar's feet.

Skara was still blinking furiously to get the leftover grit out of her eyes; everything farther away than Araun or Limax or whoever was little more than a sandy smudge. Granted, Darkwhite and her swirling, cloudy aura usually looked like a big smudge to begin with, but judging by the way everyone was hovering around her, something was still very, very wrong.

"...Araun," she said at length, after her thoughts had solidified into something resembling useful. Easier at this point just to call him that, she supposed. "Can you hold a badge with those paws?"

The growlithe sat up slightly, tail thumping eagerly against the stone. "Fuck yeah I can! Probably, I mean. I haven't tried before. But I think everyone else can, so—"

"Message Chip," she said wearily. "Ask him if his research has uncovered anything about treating injuries to familiars. Also ask him whether there's anyone who can get to Shield quickly. We might need to ask whether there's anything else he remembers about... about being separated from Sword, I guess. Anything that might explain... anything, I don't know." Araun rooted through her satchel until he'd fished out the little device and set to tapping at it with his claws. Skara sighed and did her best to remain braced on his back, still dazed and now increasingly nervous.

If none of this worked, then someone back at home base was going to have to prepare Shield for some bad news.
 
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Virgil134

PMD Writer
Partners
  1. weavile
Cabot stared in shock at the Ultra Stone in Sword’s chest. Did this mean she had been a Shade this whole time?! But how was that possible? Her powers were way beyond anything that a Shade was capable of! And who would she even be linked to? If it was Shield he’d surely know, right? Yet, he reacted surprised when he saw her...

Gah, that could wait. Sword was dying and she needed their help now. But what could they do? Cabot nervously looked around as he tried to think of something. After how far they had gotten there was no way they could let her die now. They had to do something.

... Anything

Suddendly, his eyes fell onto the water. Maybe it was a longshot, but since they had nothing to lose...

“Wait! Those springs. Maple, why are they considered sacred?”
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
"None of the shades displayed any of... this nonsense. They can't even really attack."

"Hey, I can totally attack! Just... not as hard as you guys." Cal crossed her arms, frowning. "We're more defensive and stuff."

"I don't know if removing it is possible..." Owen looked to Darkwhite. "But... should we try? Or... should we do it somewhere, you know, more controlled, like a hospital?"

“Wait! Those springs. Maple, why are they considered sacred?”

"These are sacred waters meant to purify someone of Dark Matter's corruption, and to vanquish Dark Matter himself. It had been destroyed and defiled when Dark Matter attacked... Now, I think they are just holy springs. There is nothing enchanted about it anymore. It's... symbolic, as far as I'm aware." She hesitantly approached the clear water. "...But what if it harms Darkwhite further?"

"Helloooo?" someone called from behind--they had appeared out of nowhere. Another Teleport? That voice sounded just like Sword-- "There they are! Ha! Told you someone came up here."

"What in the world?" And that voice sounded like Shield. "Um, aren't you guys supposed to be fighting Ho-Oh right about now?"

Lucario Pita, and behind him was Charizard Nutmeg--and atop her head, an uncorrupted Mew, the source of Sword's familiar voice, though it was... strange to hear it without those distortions.

Genki had told them about those three--the heroes who had defeated Dark Matter long ago. Well, there went one theory. Sword and Mew were in the same place together.

Sword weakly turned her head, squinting. "Shield...? Is that..." She smiled a little, then laughed. "Ha... I feel... better already..."

It was hard, but she forced herself up to sitting. She nearly fell a few times, but Owen and Brisa kept her stable.

"Message Chip," she said wearily. "Ask him if his research has uncovered anything about treating injuries to familiars. Also ask him whether there's anyone who can get to Shield quickly. We might need to ask whether there's anything else he remembers about... about being separated from Sword, I guess. Anything that might explain... anything, I don't know."

It took a while, but Chip eventually responded by calling them outright. After an answer, his buzzing voice echoed out of the badge. "What? You guys got hurt that badly? Well I can't really help ya all that much, only that your little Shades are pretty much indestructible as long as you don't damage the core. And we don't even know if that's enough! Never could crack one open! And Zekrom keeps telling me it's a violation of ethics to test it on you guys!" He was practically whining.

"...I don't see any cracks in her core," Owen reported. "That's got to mean something, right? Chip, what about... being tired, or exhausted?"

"Well, even Shades have energy. Get too tired and they won't have enough energy to project a form beyond their core."

"Is--is that bad? Dangerous?"

"Well, I don't think so. It's practically the same as laying down to rest. Or those capture sphere things. They're very cozy, by the way. Too bad we can't replicate them... and Zekrom says it's an ethics violation to--"

"So Sword's fine..." Owen breathed a sigh of relief.

"Err, by the way, how come you're there?" Chip asked. My geolocator is saying you're all the way in the Water Continent. Aren't you--"

A low boom echoed from Chip's side.

"Uh, what was that?" Owen asked.

It sounded like Chip was flying out somewhere based on the wind noise. A deep, feminine voice called something out. Her voice had an electric bite to it.

"Oh, huh," Chip said. "The Guild blew up. Oh, hey! Karat! Do you think I can get an autogra--"

The line abruptly ended.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
Lucario Pita, and behind him was Charizard Nutmeg--and atop her head, an uncorrupted Mew
Brisa looked up at the new arrivals and tensed even further. This was another human hero whom she'd anticipated meeting, and a version of the ailing creature she was currently tending to. Two ver- counterparts. Two counterparts, even.

"Howdy," she said, quietly, "and well met, Team Gyro. We dealt with Ho-oh in short order, then Giovanni arrived to force some dreadful great mutation on Darkw– on Sword. We defeated the parasite, but... she's ailing."

"Sword's fine..."
Brisa didn't know if she could believe that. Not yet. But she clung to it, sure that if she just kept Sword's core safe, that she'd come back. That Brisa wouldn't have let her down, her words wouldn't have been for nothing.

"Oh, hey! Karat! Do you think I can get an autogra--"
"What is it with this guy?" she hissed. "Sounds like we oughta get a response team to Destiny Village as soon as possible. Blade?"

As for her duty... Brisa eyed the sacred waters. "Someone bring me a flask of that water. Luz? Right away, if you please."

Luz obliged with an unworried, fanged smile.
 

Virgil134

PMD Writer
Partners
  1. weavile
Cabot grimaced as Chip's call suddenly got cut off. He supposed they'd at least had an idea now who one of the supposed spies that Giovanni was talking about could be...

"I can join the team to see what's going on in Destiny Village. I barely got hurt earlier, so I'm ready for another fight if needed," he said. "Pleo, can you make sure that Sword is alright?"

"Okay!" the young Lugia exclaimed.
 

Ambyssin

am i spoopy?
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. silvally-dragon
  2. necrozma-ultra
Bahamut I have been thinking about what you said earlier on Eterna energy and I fear that I will harm everyone if I was corrupted. Legends said that Gigantamax Urshifu is ‘The embodiment of rage
Bahamut was trying to figure out how to address this with some tact when a flurry of activity erupted around him. Sword and Shield's Cibus counterparts, then a call that got interrupted by, if he heard correctly, the other mewtwo on the planet. "It would seem... that Arceus' house arrest did not work." He should've expected as much. Bahamut frowned at Owen. "Were you not the one telling me not to give up hope because there were gods on our side? Well, look what just happened."

If they had gotten back to Destiny Village sooner, they might've had a chance at preventing this. But instead, they spent excess time and energy to try and save Sword or Darkwhite or whoever this was when the simplest thing would've been to put her to rest. "You chose a single life." It didn't seem like he was addressing anyone in particular. "And now a whole city could be in danger." He bowed his head. This was what he meant when it came to the greater good. But he'd said enough.

He turned back to Fey. "In my experience, Eternatus' corruption cannot be removed. If you think you were exposed, then we would have to put you into some sort of quarantine and monitor you to see what happens. Or... stay here and see if the spring purifies Sword."
 

Jedi Shulk

Master Driver
He turned back to Fey. "In my experience, Eternatus' corruption cannot be removed. If you think you were exposed, then we would have to put you into some sort of quarantine and monitor you to see what happens. Or... stay here and see if the spring purifies Sword."
“Let’s purified sword first.” Fay said to Bahamut.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, hang on," Soda said even as Maple prepared the portal, though she looked like she was having trouble doing it, even now. "We aren't splitting the party up. Giovanni wants that. The second we split off, he could pop in and steal Darkwhite. I don't trust that guy for a second. We stick together and help out Destiny Village."

"Soda's correct," Maple said. "We have enough information from Chip that Dar--that Sword is safe."

"Sword, right, yeah," Soda mumbled.

"Just grab some water and let's go!" Cal followed Brisa. "The springs aren't going anywhere! And, uh, hey, you think it's safe for me to touch the water...?"

"For all we know, the springs could be dangerous to Sword," Owen pointed out "I don't know if we want to risk that..."

The portal was open.

"Uhh, what's going on?" Nutmeg said. "We can guard Darkwhite if you want to split up. Mew's way stronger than she looks."

"So is that a me from another world?" Mew asked. "Wow... I look way cooler!"

Despite everything, Sword grinned with pride.

"Can we stop wasting time?!" Maple snapped.
 

Ambyssin

am i spoopy?
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. silvally-dragon
  2. necrozma-ultra
Bahamut glowered at Soda. "And do you think it's a good idea to bring her in close proximity of that other mewtwo?" He gestured at Sword. "Just because I think she's better off dead doesn't mean the rest of this lot are going to just walk her right back into danger."
 

Virgil134

PMD Writer
Partners
  1. weavile
Cabot hesitantly looked between Soda and Bahamut, before letting out a sigh.

"I can't believe I'm saying this... but I agree with Bahamut," he said. "None of the Blacklight stuff has reached the Water Continent, right? And we know that there are supposedly spies back in Destiny Village who would want to get on Giovanni's good side again, with Karat potentially being one of them. So wouldn't Sword be safer here where none of them can find her? And if Team Gyro saved the world from Dark Matter before they'd surely do a great job at keeping her safe."
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
Team Gyro might be formidable, but so were Team Spice and Team Colada, and they'd been corrupted easily enough. There was no guaranteed safety, not anywhere. Brisa set Sword down and looked her in the eyes.

"Sword. Our science fella tells us yer gonna be okay, but I ain't keen on leavin' ya t'get snatched up by that motherfucker with the smug smirk. I don't reckon that's my call, though. What d'you wanna do, Sword? D'you wanna stay put, or come back to Destiny Village? And... d'you wanna take the risk of usin' the sacred water here?"
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
Bahamut glowered at Soda. "And do you think it's a good idea to bring her in close proximity of that other mewtwo?"

Soda looked surprised at first, like he hadn't considered that. "Right, you guys aren't immune to Psychic blasts..." He looked off.

"None of the Blacklight stuff has reached the Water Continent, right? And we know that there are supposedly spies back in Destiny Village who would want to get on Giovanni's good side again, with Karat potentially being one of them. So wouldn't Sword be safer here where none of them can find her?

"The Blacklight had touched the Water Continent a few months ago during the initial scattering of random, giant Pokemon," Maple said. "Shades had been here as well, but we were able to take care of any strange symptoms before they became violent or energy-absorbing... But it was certainly not untouched."

"Sword. Our science fella tells us yer gonna be okay, but I ain't keen on leavin' ya t'get snatched up by that motherfucker with the smug smirk. I don't reckon that's my call, though. What d'you wanna do, Sword? D'you wanna stay put, or come back to Destiny Village? And... d'you wanna take the risk of usin' the sacred water here?"

Sword looked up at Brisa, torn. On one hand, she was in danger, but on the other... "I... want to see... Shield. He'll... protect me. He always has..."

Soda gritted his teeth. Something was bothering him, and he always seemed to be looking at Darkwhite more than he'd admit. He fidgeted, and it didn't seem like his illusions were doing well. Was the distortion messing with his power, too?

"Alright, how about this. I use my illusions to keep Darkwhite hidden. I'll keep away while you guys try to handle what's going on at DV, alright? Splitting the party like this isn't a good idea. Giovanni will know and he'll try to steal her again. I feel it in my fur. He doesn't seem like the kinda person who'd just leave us claiming his prize uncontested..."

"But we can't just leave Destiny Village like this," Owen agreed. "Especially if Karat actually has that power-nullifying aura... Do we know?"

"We do not," Maple said impatiently. Several shouts and what sounded like cracks of thunder echoed from the other side of the portal.

"Look, Sword's probably fine, alright?" Soda stepped forward Brisa and held her by the shoulder--his actual paw, on her shoulder. Soda was really there. Was he being genuine...? "We need to protect the town. Now. Just do your thing and I'll stay hidden."

"Geez, Soda. This is the most I've ever seen you care about someone," Cal muttered.

"Fuck you," Soda snapped, a fierce look in his eyes.

Cal flinched and held her hands up.

"I'll... explain later," Soda added, and then glanced back at Maple. There was a look of knowing sympathy in her eyes, and he hated that.

"We need to decide, now," Maple said after another booming shockwave.
 
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