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Pokémon What? I'm a Pokemon!?

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
Disclaimer - I do NOT own Pokemon or any of its characters!

Firstly, I wrote this yonks ago, and I've toyed around with the first chapter immensely. What originally started out as a daft story about myself and my friends (and much-loved other fandom characters) being sucked into a PMD universe has evolved into something I wanted to share with other fans. So the main characters and general premise had a huge make-over. The 'other fandom' element has also gone. Although some similarities in a minority of characters may remain. This is the second major edit, where I changed the names of the two main characters to remove the 'self insert' labels from them. This has not been easy, because their personalities are not something I've wanted to change. They bounce off each other like rubber balls with the banter and teasing, and I couldn't change that at all. Hopefully this won't hamper peoples' enjoyment of this silly story.

Despite the major edits, the writing style is a lot less... refined... than my newer style. I've tried to tweak it here and there, but it might be a little clunky. Please forgive me for this. Sometimes, it just adds character to the playful writing style which was never meant to be serious to begin with.

Please note that updates will be sporadic at best. I already have a main non-Pokemon project I am working on, so this is not a high priority story for me. It will basically be a case of 'I'll write it, then I'll post it!' so continuity and plot holes may be a constant! However, in a crack-fic, does that really matter? XD I have another two chapters written already, although the latest one may need some tweaking as it's way too short for my own personal tastes.

If there is interest in submitting your own background/minor OCs or suggesting 'quests' (please note plot takes priority), then I might open a request-thread to go with it. This might need some discussion with other mods, however, so please don't expect anything just yet.

I hope you enjoy the craziness and my poking friendly fun at the franchise. PMD humor (and Pokemon humor in general) abounds!





What? I'm a Pokemon!?

Chapter One - It Starts​


First there was a flash of bright light.

Then the faintest memory of a handheld console making a strange sucking noise.

Then there was the motion sickness.

And then... wetness.

“Argh!” Flailing. “Who on earth put a lake there?!”

“Flynn...” Arms crossed. “It's a puddle.”

Flynn stopped flailing. Then stood up. The ground seemed a lot... closer than normal. Shaking a foot... a bare foot I might add... he stepped out of the puddle and looked down.

“Oh yeh, so it is... wait...” He raised an eyebrowless brow. “Since when was I green?” He looked over at his friend. “Merry! Don't take this the wrong way or anything but... why are you an oshawott?!”

Merry, for the first time since landing on solid ground, looked down at her... paws. “What?” She then ran over to the puddle and looked down to see the white, round face of an oshawott peering back at her. “I'm a pokemon?! Since when did that happen?!”

“You tell me!” Flynn crossed his small arms. “And why am I a snivy?”

Merry pondered this for a moment and smirked. “Kinda suits you actually.”

“You sayin' I'm smug?”

“No...”

“You are, aren't you?”

“I think we have bigger things to be worrying about than if I think you're smug or not.” Merry sighed, patting the scalchop on her stomach anxiously. “I feel very nude.”

“Don't worry, you have fur.” Flynn stuck his nose in the air. “I, however, have no fur. If you ever wondered what a snivy felt like... it's scaly.”

“I imagined they were scaly. They're lizards.”

“Well anyway, I can't say I'm pleased about this.”

“Neither am I. We were only playing a game.” Merry sat down. It was a rather different experience than normal. For one, she had flippers and they were attached to very stubby legs, which made the act of 'sitting down' more of a 'flop onto the backside' and both stubby legs stuck out in front of her, absolutely impossible to cross. "Did we... get sucked into the game?”

“Dunno.” Flynn also sat down, and crossed his legs as if to mock her. “You were showing me the new Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game. You took the test... and then this happened.”

Merry's eyes widened. “Those words... it was going to tell me what Pokemon I was-”

“Yes. I believe it said 'I see... you must be...' then there was a flash-”

“And a sucking noise-”

“Then the motion sickness-”

“And you landed in a puddle.”

“Yes. And got my tail wet.” Flynn reached over to his tail and beat it with his paws. “Stupid puddle.”

“So, I'm an oshawott.” Merry sighed and leant back on her paws. “I suppose there's worse things.”

“Yeh. You could be a snivy.”

“What's your beef with snivy?” Merry crossed her arms and glared at him.

“Well... nothing, but... I mean... couldn't I have been something better? Like... I dunno... something more big and manly. Like...” He spread his arms wide. “A tyranitar?”

Merry blinked. “They're tall.”

“I'm tall.”

“Yeh but...” Merry blinked again, her eyes widening. “They're tall. Like tall tall. So tall they make normal tall things look tiny.”

“Now I'm just picturing a tyranitar on stilts.”

“Ahh!” Merry flailed her arms and fell onto her back.

Flynn leapt to his feet and scurried over to her. “Are you okay?”

“I'm fine just... the image startled me.”

“Oh uhm... okay, think about bunearies.”

Merry sat up. “Okay I'm better now. Let's have a look around.”

“S'pose. No point in sitting around here is there?”

“I guess not.”

Flynn helped her up. “Hey! I've just noticed something.”

“What?”

“I have a type advantage to you now. HAH! Beat that! Finally! After all those times you kicked my ass with your team of overpowered monsters, I now have the upper-”

He was cut off as Merry sprayed a water gun in his face. He wiped a paw across his snout, scattering droplets everywhere.

“What was that for?!”

Merry placed her paws on her hips. “Cooling down your hot head.”

“So you spat at me?”

Merry looked thoughtful for a moment. “I guess so, yeh.”

Flynn snorted. “Whatever, let's just go. Wet tail... wet head... what next?”

With that, they shuffled away from the puddle towards what appeared to be a dirt track leading up a not-so-steep hill. It was seemingly deserted, and rather quiet. Even more so as neither of them had much to say, still rather shell-shocked to have had their forms changed so drastically (and in Flynn's case, feeling rather too soggy).

“Oh look!” Merry pointed a paw. “There's a building there!” She clapped her paws together. “Oh what a cute little hut!”

Flynn paused next to her and stared at the building. It was made almost entirely out of soil, leaves and twigs. But one wouldn't think that to look at it, as it was a rather extravagant structure. It rose up from the ground in a form that greatly resembled the head and torso of a giant pikachu, even down to the colour. Wooden steps ran up its front so those who wished to enter did so through a doorway beneath its chin.

“What do you think it is?” Flynn asked. “A museum for the awesomeness that is Pikachu? Erected by Ash Ketchum?”

“It's a bit small for a human building.” Merry scratched her chin. “I think... this may be built by pokemon.”

Flynn's jaw dropped. “You're telling me pokemon have architectural skills?”

“Apparently so.”

“And they can talk and everything?” Flynn asked.

“Well, yes. Let's face it, you don't sound to me like your speaking anything that could pass off as remotely Snivish.”

“Snivish?”

“Yes. Do I sound... Oshish to you?” Merry looked at him.

Flynn gave her a blank stare, cocked his head on one side and fought the urge to burst into fits of laughter. “Osh... Oshish?”

“Sorry, do I amuse you?”

Flynn let a snort of laughter escape his pointed nose before bringing it back under control.

Merry sighed and turned to walk away. She waved her arm at him. “Go on, laugh if you must.”

Flynn fell to the floor in fits of giggles, gasping out the word 'Oshish' between breaths.

“When you're quite done,” Merry called over her shoulder, “I'll be waiting at the gate.”

“I'm done.” Flynn appeared next to her. “Wait, I don't see a gate.”

“The gate at the top of the stairs.” Merry waddled onto the first wooden step.

“Wait!” Flynn grabbed her shoulder. “You're going inside that thing?”

Merry looked back at him. “Well of course. Where else are we going to go?”

“I dunno, but freakish English speaking pokemon that build giant pikachu shaped buildings just isn't settling very well with me!”

“Flynn. Look at me.”

Flynn looked at her.

“What am I?”

“An oshawott...”

“And what are you?”

“A snivy...”

“Therefore we are...?”

“Pokemon?”

“Exactly. So if freakish English speaking pokemon did build this giant pikachu shaped building we have no better disguise than what we have now.”

Merry turned to move up the stairs, but was stopped as a green clawed hand grabbed her shoulder once more.

“Merry, wait!”

She looked back. “What now?”

“What if it's not freakish English speaking pokemon with architectural skills but instead... evil wicked humans who wouldn't bat an eyelid at making us their entertainment-duo-slash-talking-pokemon-slaves?”

Merry gave him an exasperated stare. “Flynn... your imagination is working in overtime again isn't it?”

“No. I'm thinking logically. I might be a snivy, but I'm a very scared snivy. I'm supposed to be a human. I don't even know how to get my vine whip out – oh wait, there it goes.”

Two long vines came out of the leaves on Flynn's neck.

“Well done. Put them back in, we don't want to scare whoever is on the other side of that door.”

“I don't know how! How?!”

“Why are you asking me? I'm not a grass type!”

Flynn looked desperate, grabbing the vines in his paws and trying to shove them back into his neck.

“Fine,” Merry sighed. “Can you suck them back in?”

Flynn made a sucking noise as he puckered his lips.

Nothing happened.

“Nope,” he said flatly. Then he panicked again grabbing at the vines which seemed reluctant to obey.

Merry placed her head in her paws. “You're hopeless. Try... try talking to them?”

Flynn stopped what he was doing (which wasn't much as now the vines were tied around his paws, tail and head) and looked at her. “Talk to my vines? Are you kidding me?!”

Merry threw her arms in the air. “I'm out of options!”

“Is there a problem?”

The voice came from behind Merry, causing her and Flynn to freeze and look over at the speaker.

A lone pokemon – a teddiursa to be exact – was stood in the doorway sucking on her paw.

“Hi there,” said the duo.

The teddiursa blinked slowly as she took in the scene. “Hi. Are you wanting to come in?”

“Possibly.” Merry looked from the teddiursa to Flynn and back. “But my friend is in a bit of a pickle.”

“It looks more like he’s wrapped in his vines to me,” said the teddiursa. “I was on door duty and heard you yelling. My name is Peg.”

Merry and Flynn exchanged confused glances then looked back at Peg.

“So, erm… my name is… this is… argh…” Flynn stopped and tugged at his vines. “Oh sheesh I'm stuck.”

“You don't seem to know what you're doing,” Peg told him as she descended the stairs towards them. “Would you like a helping paw?”

“Please,” Flynn said, giving up. “I'm in a bit of a tangle.”

“You know what?” said Merry, pointing at Flynn haughtily. “This is because you laughed at me earlier.”

Flynn gave her a blank stare. “You're going to laugh at me aren't you.”

“I'm thinking about it.”

A painful untangling session later...

Flynn sat rubbing the leaves on his neck, looking rather relieved.

“Well, I'm glad that's over,” he said, looking over at Peg. “Thanks.”

“Don't mention it.” The teddiursa sucked noisily on her paw as she stared at the two pokemon. “What did you say your names are?”

“We didn't get around to it,” said Merry. She stuck out a paw. “I'm Merry. And this clueless buffoon here is Flynn.”

Peg stared at her paw as though she was expecting something to be in it, then looked up at Merry. Merry withdrew her paw and hid it behind her back, filing a mental note about pokemon and handshakes away under 'possibly not'.

“So what is this place?” she asked the teddiursa, looking up at the tall pikachu shaped building.

“This is Pika's Place,” said Peg. “Haven't you heard of it?”

“No, we're...” Merry paused, “not from around here.”

“Oh?” Peg looked from Merry to Flynn and back again. “Pika's Place is known far and wide. Where are you from?”

“Far away,” Flynn explained. “Like so far away you probably haven't heard of it.”

Peg sucked her paw a few more times before lowering it slightly and saying, “Okay.”

Merry and Flynn exchanged glances and silent sighs of relief.

“Well, let me take you inside.” Peg stood up and led them up the wooden stairs.

Merry and Flynn followed after her, Merry much more hesitant this time. It could be assumed that the appearance of another talking pokemon had made her feel somewhat uneasy – or it could be the uncanny resemblance to a friend in their own world.

Whatever the reason, inside Pika's Place caused Flynn to let out a long, impressed whistle. “Swank!” he exclaimed.

“Excuse me?” Peg looked back over her shoulder.

“Erm...” Flynn shuffled his feet. “I'm impressed?”

Peg stared at him for a moment, causing him to visibly shrink away, then turned back to where she was going, leading them down a long corridor lined with thick luxurious leaves and trimmed along the tops of the walls with ornamental berries.

“You have to agree,” Flynn whispered to Merry, “It does look very-”

“Don't say 'swank',” Merry growled, flashing her canines. “It sounds rude.”

Flynn blinked. “Does it?”

Peg stopped at a door mid way down the corridor and opened it. “This way.”

The two pokemon followed after her cautiously. Inside the room almost took their breath away. It was filled with various pokemon either playing some kind of chess-like board game on the floor, nattering over cups filled with assorted berry juices or looking over what appeared to be fliers.

Peg cut through them, leading Merry and Flynn to a door on the other side of the room where she stopped abruptly and knocked twice.

“Who's there?” said Flynn.

Peg looked at him.

Flynn shrank back behind Merry.

A male voice came from the other side of the door.

“Enter.”

Peg opened the door and took one step inside.

“You have visitors.”

“Really?” The voice sounded a little more excited this time. “Well bring them! Bring them in!”

Peg smiled at Merry and Flynn and ushered them inside.

The duo were less than keen however and edged inside as slowly as they could. The door closed behind them, the teddiursa deciding to leave them alone with whoever was in the small room. The walls were filled with book shelves lined with various manuscripts, and sat in a black leatherette chair at a small desk was a pikachu with his back to them. He span round in his chair and opened his arms wide with a grin.

“Hello!”

Flynn screamed.

Merry jumped then cuffed Flynn over the head. “You startled me!”

Flynn gave her the 'wounded puppy' look. “Sorry...”

“It's my fault,” said the pikachu. “I was a little enthusiastic. We've not had visitors in a while.” He stood up and approached them. They eyed him up and down, taking in the fact he was wearing a black waistcoat finished off with a little blue tie around his neck. “The name's Pika, and this, as you have probably guessed, is my place. Hence Pika's Place. Get it?”

“Genius,” said Flynn sarcastically.

Pika seemed to not get his use of sarcasm as he beamed. “Well, welcome! What brings you here?”

“We're lost, actually,” Merry explained.

“Really? Where are you from?”

“Far away,” she said before Flynn could interject. “We came here hoping you could help us. It was the first building we saw, if I'm honest.”

“Well, any Pokemon lost or otherwise is very welcome here. You see, we send out rescue teams to help pokemon like you. Lost, wounded in battle, affected by the crimes of those more hostile, whatever the cause we help them! Does that sound like something you might like?”

Flynn blinked. “You sound like a salesman.”

“Oh...” Pika blushed, a small bead of sweat forming on his left ear. “I'm terribly sorry. I'm promoting my little business! I'm trying to recruit members, and I've not even asked your names! You might even be completely unqualified!” He scratched the back of his head and giggled. “I guess I got carried away.”

Flynn leant over to Merry and whispered, “I think this guy might be a little bit mad.”

Merry nodded and whispered back, “I couldn't agree more.”

“What do we do?” Flynn asked.

“What else can we do? Just follow my lead. I've played these games.” Merry straightened up and smiled at Pika. “I'm Merry, and this is Flynn.”

Flynn stood to attention. “Yes, I am Flynn.”

“Well Merry, Flynn.” Pika sat back in his chair. “Let me tell you a bit about what we do here. Like I said, we send out groups to help those who may need help. We get adverts from other pokemon asking us to help their friends or relatives. As such, our teams have to be good at solving these problems or we don't get our rewards, you see. So good combat skills are necessary, bravery, positive attitude, a preferable knowledge of the area but that's not necessary so long as you have good survival skills.” He looked at them each in turn and spread his paws. “Do you have rescue team experience?”

Flynn looked over at Merry, giving her a look that said if she didn’t answer this question carefully he’d definitely have something to say about it.

“Uhm... yes...” Merry nodded. “We... we are a rescue team.”

“Really?” Pika asked, drowning out Flynn's equally confused remark.

“Yes.” Merry looked over at her friend. “Right Flynn?”

Flynn shuffled his feet as he stifled a groan, then looked over at Pika. “Y-yes.”

Pika spread his paws slightly. “What is your rescue team's name?”

“Uhm...” Merry shrugged. “The Explorers of...”

“Of...?”

“Of...” Flynn looked up. “Stuff!”

Pika raised a yellow eyebrow. “The Explorers of Stuff?”

“Yes,” Merry nodded. “And Things.” She tried to look proud. “The Explorers of Stuff and Things.”

An awkward silence passed between the occupants of the small room.

“The title's a work-in-progress,” said Flynn.

Pika beamed. “Okay. Well then, if you are happy to join then you can.”

“Really?” Merry and Flynn said simultaneously.

“Of course!” Pika stood up and gestured to the door. “Well... shall I show you around?”

Pika opened the door and immediately a large group of pokemon abandoned their eavesdropping and acted nonchalant. Pika didn't seem to notice this, however, and led Merry and Flynn though the large crowd of pokemon and out into the hallway.

“Merry?” Flynn whispered.

“Yes?”

“I’m beginning to question your sanity.”

“Do you want out of this game or not?” she asked.

Flynn didn’t get the chance to answer as Pika began a monologue akin to a realtor desperate to sell a house to the first keen (or not) buyer.

“As you can see there are three doors here, each leading to a different room.” The pikachu pointed to each door in turn. “The dining room, the meeting room and the room we just came from.”

“What room is that?” Flynn asked.

“The relaxing room.”

Flynn looked over at Merry. “Did you see a massage table in there?”

Merry shook her head.

Pika moved on through the hallway, waffling on to himself, and Merry and Flynn took a moment to look around before following him.

“Hey. What's that?” Flynn pointed back the way they'd come at a little wooden square squatting inside the wall.

“That,” Pika said, following his claw, “is the elevator.”

“You have an elevator?” Merry and Flynn gasped.

“Yes. It provides easy access to the medical ward.”

Flynn's jaw dropped and he looked at his friend. “Medical ward? Medical ward? You never told me this game was dangerous!”

Merry stared at Flynn aghast then looked back at the pikachu. He had already wandered on, wittering away, seemingly oblivious to whether or not they were following him.

“Be careful,” she told the snivy. “We don't want to seem suspicious.”

“No, no.” Flynn crossed his arms and looked up and down the hallway. “We don't want to seem suspicious.”

“Flynn, calm down.” Merry waddled a paw at him. “You're a pokemon. You're in a rescue team. Act like it.”

“You're taking this oddly well.” Flynn moved on down the corridor and Merry was forced to follow him.

“Taking it well? I just got shape-shifted! I'm as scared as you are! Even – Argh!”

Pika had led them into the dining room and standing in the middle of it was a stocky, tall tyranitar setting the table with a pink, lace tablecloth.

“Well, hello there Pika!” he boomed. “You've bought some new friends along I see!”

“Yes!” Pika beamed from ear to ear. “These two here are Merry and Flynn. Together they form The Explorers of Stuff and Things!” He turned back to Merry and Flynn and waved towards the tyranitar. “Meet Rexi.”

“Oh how wonderful!” Rexi abandoned his table-setting to stride over to the two pokemon, which didn't take him much time considering his size.

Merry's jaw dropped and a low whine escaped her mouth. Flynn clasped a paw over her mouth and smiled at the tyranitar.

“So... you're a chef?” He eyed the giant Pokemon's floral apron.

“That I am!” Rexi beamed.

Pika gave a nod of approval. “Best chef in Pika's Place! You should try his berry soufflé!”

Rexi's expression became one of concern as he looked down at Merry. “Is your friend all right?”

“She's fine!” said Flynn. “She's just a little – yeow!”

Merry's oshawott canines bit into Flynn's soft, green paw and he yanked it back from her mouth.

“T – T – Tyranitar!” Merry exclaimed.

“What?! Where?!” Rexi's eyes widened and he looked frantically around the dining room. In one swift motion he dived over the heads of the three Pokemon – causing a yell from Merry – to cower behind Flynn.

Flynn looked back at him, then at Pika, his eyes searching for an explanation.

“Don't worry!” Pika laughed. “There are no tyranitar here, Rexi!” He looked from Merry to Flynn. “Rexi is... a little afraid of tyranitar.”

“But...” Merry anxiously eyed the large rock Pokemon then looked back at Pika. “But he's-”

“An oshawott.” Pika nodded. “Exactly!” He then gave the two pokemon a look that said he knew full well that Rexi was indeed a tyranitar and that such matters needed no discussion at that present moment.

“Oh. Erm.” Merry cleared her throat then looked back at the cowering Rexi. “Maybe I was imagining things.”

“Oh! Well!” Rexi stood up, towering over the three smaller Pokemon. “I do that all the time!” He laughed heartily and strode over them to the dining table. “I think I had better get things finished in here, or hungry tummies will be complaining their meals are late again!”

“Very well!” Pika waved a paw. “I shall finish showing our new friends around!”

“Yes! It was lovely meeting you!” Rexi grinned, flashing two rows of sharp teeth, causing Merry to gulp.

“You too!” Flynn and Merry replied, the latter somewhat nervously, as they followed Pika from the dining room.

Once the door was closed, Pika looked at each of them in turn and led them towards a flight of winding stairs.

“Just to clarify,” Pika began, “Rexi has no idea he's a tyranitar.”

“You're kidding.” Flynn frowned. “Has he never looked in a mirror?” At Pika's blank expression, he added, “Or a puddle?”
“Apparently not,” said Pika. “We don't keep puddles in Pika's Place. He was raised by oshawott, and that is the life he knows.”

“And his fear?” Merry asked.

“His family was unfortunately killed by a tyranitar.”

Merry paled and Flynn had to give her a nudge to prompt her to climb the stairs.

“Don't fret,” Pika told Merry. “He's one of the nicest pokemon I've had the pleasure of meeting! I'm sure you'll be fine friends in no time.”

The staircase ended in an intricate tunnel that forked off into many little rooms.

“This is our sleeping quarters,” said Pika. “The females go this way,” he nodded to the tunnel at their right. “And the males go that way.” He nodded to the left. He turned to address Merry. “If you follow this tunnel round, your nest room will be the fifth one on your right.”

“Okay. I'll give it a shot.” Merry waddled to the tunnel's entrance.

Pika then turned to Flynn. “As for you, I can show you the way! Follow me.”

...​

Merry waddled down the narrow tunnel, making a mental note that it forked off in many directions, leading to yet more nest rooms. Hers was easy to find however and after exploring a little she backtracked to the given room.

Inside were three piles of hay. One of them was up against a window. The other two were pressed up against the left wall, one of which was currently occupied by an eevee, her nose buried in a book.

“H... hello?” Merry ventured.

The eevee blinked and looked up at her. “Hello?”

“I'm Merry. I've been told by Pika that I'm meant to be staying in here?”

“Hmm.” The eevee crinkled her nose as she took this in. “You'll want the nest behind mine then. The one by the window belongs to Peg.”

“Peg?” Merry looked at the nest as if she expected the teddiursa to jump out of it in a flurry of stars and confetti.

“Yes. She's a teddiursa.” The eevee glanced back down at her book then up at Merry again. “I'm Kiki, by the way. You are?”

“Merry.” The oshawott glanced around the room then realisation washed over her as she finally placed the eevee's voice. Her sister... how had she missed that? She looked back round at the eevee sharply. “You said your name's Kiki?”

“Mhmm.” The eevee was currently lost back in her book and she frowned at the effort to detach herself from the imaginary world within. “Weren't you listening?”

Merry tapped her scalchop and glanced around the room again. This was big. What on earth was her sister doing in the game? She had to find Flynn and tell him.

“Excuse me, I have to look for my friend.” She turned to leave the room.

“It will be dinner soon.” Kiki closed her book then leapt from her nest and padded to the doorway. “I can take you back to the dining room if you want to follow me? Your friend will likely be there soon anyway.”

“Weren't you reading?” Merry followed the eevee.

“I was. But it's hard to read with someone talking to you. Plus there's no point in getting lost in a good book mere minutes before eating. Come on, follow Kiki. Have you been to the dining room yet?” The eevee looked back at her.

“Yes.” Merry shuddered at the memory.

“Fantastic berry soup!” Kiki grinned. “I can't wait! Peg is probably there already.”

...​

Pika left Flynn at his room with instructions to have a quick look then join them for dinner. After he'd left, Flynn took one look around the nest room, made note of three nests and turned to leave... almost walking smack into an absol.

The absol blinked. “Excuse me.” His voice sounded somewhat bored, as if seeing a strange snivy in his room was nothing more than a minor inconvenience. “I need to grab my bag.”

“A thousand pardons.” Flynn stepped aside and watched as the absol picked up a bag from a nest by the far left wall, pulled a large lollypop out of it and sucked it noisily as he walked back to the door.

He looked down at Flynn's confused expression and spoke around the large rainbow candy.

“Appetiser.”

He then marched from the room and Flynn was left to stand mouth agape as he watched the absol vanish down the tunnel.

...​

Merry followed after the speedy eevee as she spoke at a mile a minute about her books and Pika's Place, the two subjects often merging together. Merry found herself wondering if it was her difficulty in keeping up or if Kiki often confused literature and reality (which isn't something her sister generally did.)

The sound of stampeding feet made Merry look round at the adjoining tunnel and a blur of green crashed into her, sending her rolling backwards the way she'd come.

“Flynn?” she gasped. “What on earth?!”

“Hmm?” Kiki turned around and inclined her head on one side. “You should watch where you're going.”

Flynn scrambled to his feet and rubbed his nose.

“Oh no!” He looked down at Merry. “Does my nose look more bent to you?” He went cross-eyed and pawed gingerly at his face.

Merry stood up and stared at him. “No. What's wrong?”

“Listen!” He moved in closer to her and cupped a paw over his mouth. “I'm sharing a room with an absol that eats candy!”

Merry blinked. “What?”

“Candy! I'm sharing a room with him! He grabbed a lollipop and then he left!”

Merry blinked again. “Pokemon have lollipops?”

“You're missing the point!”

“A pokemon that eats lollipops?” Kiki sat down beside them and looked from Flynn to Merry and back. “I think I know who you mean. You mean Lance, right?” She looked thoughtfully up at the ceiling. “He has a bottomless pit of candy in that bag. Kinda like a pokemon nanny I know. Or read about. Was it a book?”

Flynn stared at her for a moment, then pointed dramatically and went, “Ah!”

Merry nudged him as Kiki stared at Flynn's claw then down at herself. Flynn grasped the point quickly and clamped his jaw shut so tight he practically trembled.

“What's wrong?” asked Kiki. “Did I do something to surprise you?”

“No, I...” Flynn scratched his head. “I was just wondering what looked so good about you then saw the bow on your tail.”

“Oh!” Kiki grinned and flicked her long, bushy tail. There was indeed a bright pink bow on it. “Thank you! I made it myself!” She stood and turned away from them. “Now. To dinner!”

Merry watched the eevee skip away then rounded on Flynn.

“Did you just hit on my sister?!”

Flynn blinked. “Apparently. I didn't mean it. I was trying to cover up my booboo.”

Merry crossed her paws. “Well... don't.” She paused. “So... What’s your beef with this absol?”

“He’s freaky, all right! Came in, all bored voice and munching candy. Like some kind of evil genius, I tell you.”

“Hmm.” Merry narrowed her eyes. “That poor absol.”

“That's what you're thinking?!”

Merry shrugged. “It’s stereotyping, Flynn. Absol, snivy… who else is gonna get the brunt of your prejudice, Bent-Nose?”

Flynn covered his nose with his paws. “You said it wasn't bent!”

Stare.

“Look, it was the sweets, okay!” said Flynn. “Not the absol himself. The sweets! In what demented universe do pokemon eat sweets?”

“Poffins.”

He blinked at her. “I beg your pardon?”

“Poffins,” Merry repeated. “They’re a sweet from Sinnoh. Pokemon love them.”

“Oh.” Flynn nodded and slumped against the wall. “Fine. I’ll try to make my peace with sharing with an absol.” He jabbed a claw at her. “But this is rather hypocritical given your reaction to Rexi!”

“It was a deep rooted primal fear! Like hamsters being scared of being snatched from above!”

“And my wariness of this absol is not?”

“Absol-lutely not!”

“... That was terrible.”

“I know... I’m sorry. I’ll try to reign in the poke-puns.”

“Anyway.” Flynn leant against the wall and crossed his arms. “Absol aside, if we've met your sister, do you think anyone else might have got dragged into this crazy-ass world?”

Merry tapped her chin with a claw and looked up at the ceiling. “I don’t know. Perhaps? But that’s not to say we know them all, is it? Kiki might just be a coincidence.”

“Possibly.” Flynn glanced at her. “I mean Peg has a human-sounding name, right? Maybe she’s from our world, too?”

“I did wonder that.” Merry shrugged. “Another hapless player sucked into the void that is PMD.”

“Maybe we know her?” Flynn's stomach growled loudly, slicing through the somberness. “Huh. I think I might be hungry.”

“Me too. Let's stop worrying over this for now and follow Kiki.”

They moved on in the direction Kiki had gone, back down the stairs to the dining hall. The door was closed and on further inspection sported a colourful sign that said 'sorry, closed.' The relaxing room wasn't too far away so they decided to go back there.

Merry opened the door, then immediately closed it again.

Flynn cleared his throat and nodded at it. “We're still on this side of the door.”

“I know.” Merry pressed her back up against it and fixed wide eyes on her friend. “I don't like it. Everyone was staring at me.”

Flynn shrugged. “Well we are new.”

Merry grimaced and looked down at her flippers. “I feel exposed.”

“Well, I want to mingle. We have to blend in.” Flynn paused and ran a paw over his head. “I hate to be the voice of reason, Merry, but we are pokemon. We need to mix with other pokemon and act like it.”

Merry let out a sigh. “That’s a different tone to your previous worries.”

“That’s because you’ve regressed from your previous ‘act of genius’.”

She narrowed her eyes at the snivy. “Were the air quotes really necessary?”

“Yes.”

She let out a defeated sigh and turned back to the door. “Fine.”

The door swung inward and the two of them stepped inside.

Staaaaaaaare.

Merry started to shake.

Flynn pushed her ahead of him and closed the door behind them.

“Hey!” Kiki waved from a corner beside Peg. “Over here!”

Feeling much more relaxed at the sight of a friendly face (and wagging tail), Merry and Flynn strutted over to the eevee and teddiursa.

“So!” Kiki smiled at them. “New pokemon! How exciting!” She nodded to Flynn and turned to Peg. “He's sharing with Lance.”

“Really?” Peg sucked her paw and looked up at Flynn. “What a combination.”

“What's that supposed to mean?” Flynn grunted.

“You're also sharing with Showa.”

“Showa?” Merry raised an eyebrow.

“He's a zorua,” Kiki explained. “A bit of a flirtatious, eccentric individual who likes to get into trouble.”

“What kind of trouble?” Flynn asked, eyes widening.

“Pranks.” Peg shrugged. “The pair of them are like chalk and cheese. I don’t know why Lance sticks around with him, if I’m honest.”

Kiki nodded and scrutinized Flynn closely. “Hmm. Your nose does look a little crooked.”

Flynn threw his paws into the air. “Oh for the love of...”

“I was joking!” Kiki laughed and shook her head. “Well, this is going to make for an interesting arrangement!”

“Indeed.” Peg sucked her paw again. “Showa also has a habit of taking on missions much too advanced for himself.”

“Yes.” Kiki nodded and fixed Flynn with a pair of serious brown eyes. “Don't get pulled in.”

“Oh great.” Flynn slumped. “So I'm sharing a room with a dangerous, deadly duo?”

“At least they don't go around stealing pokemon.” Merry said with a nod.

Flynn gave her a blank stare.

“Oh come on,” she laughed. “That was gold!”

“I don't get it,” said Kiki.

Peg shook her head slowly and Flynn copied her.

“Terrible,” he said. “Just terrible.”

“Anyway, it's dinner time soon,” said Kiki. “I don’t know about you two, but I’m starving!”

A bell rang right above their heads, causing Merry and Flynn to let out startled yells and leap a little.

“There it is!” Peg lowered her paw from her mouth and smiled. “Time for berries.”
 
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StellarWind

Biomechanical Abomination
PMD shenanigans are typically not my cup of tea - but I do appreciate stories that, on the whole, don't take themselves too seriously and definitely appreciate settings where the ridiculous is the normal and no one thinks much of it (except the characters from a less-ridiculous setting that somehow fell into it, of course). This was a fun first chapter! There's really a whole lot of ways something like this can go, of course - would be interesting to see what happens as this progresses.

Also, the mental image of a Tyranitar on stilts will probably haunt my brain for ages to come. XD

Also also, that is such a manga/light novel title.
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
PMD shenanigans are typically not my cup of tea - but I do appreciate stories that, on the whole, don't take themselves too seriously and definitely appreciate settings where the ridiculous is the normal and no one thinks much of it (except the characters from a less-ridiculous setting that somehow fell into it, of course). This was a fun first chapter! There's really a whole lot of ways something like this can go, of course - would be interesting to see what happens as this progresses.

Also, the mental image of a Tyranitar on stilts will probably haunt my brain for ages to come. XD

Also also, that is such a manga/light novel title.
You're welcome ;) Tyranitar on Stilts is the hot new trend!

I've just finished up Chapter 3 because it was bugging me just sitting there. There is probably no sense of direction in this story, as Chapter 3 is based off a writing prompt while I was bored one evening.

Regard the light novel-esque title, thank you! =D I wasn't going for that. It was a play off 'Help! I'm a Fish!' As for the title of Chapter One... I got that straight from Timon from the opening of The Lion King game which I played way too much back in my Mega Drive days XD I even still hear it in his voice...
 

NebulaDreams

Pokémon Trainer
Partner
luxray
Yo! I thought I’d check this out since I know I like your work already, and I’m glad I did. It’s interesting to see you tackle a more traditional PMD story not set in a cyberpunk world, and I thought it was pulled off well here. Every interaction between Flynn and Merry is brimming with fun, and the same goes for all the characters they meet along the way, especially the encounter with Rexi. The meta-humour is a nice touch as well. I also have to laugh at Merry’s absol-lutely terrible use of puns.

I do keep in mind that this is an older story with a less refined style than your current work, and it shows in places. The ellipses’ at the beginning can get tiring to read through, and it takes a little while to get used to the format of the story, which mostly consists of character interaction. While it doesn’t exactly make an immediate hook to the story, since it goes through the motions of humans realising they’ve turned into Pokemon, once we get to know more about Flynn and Merry, that’s where it starts to shine. Then again, this isn’t supposed to be taken that seriously, so feel free to disregard these points.

Overall though, this was an entertaining read. I’ll be sure to stick around for the later chapters.
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
Yo! I thought I’d check this out since I know I like your work already, and I’m glad I did. It’s interesting to see you tackle a more traditional PMD story not set in a cyberpunk world, and I thought it was pulled off well here.
Thanks! =D My first forage into major Pokemon fanfiction - The End - wasn't Cyberpunk, either. It was more based on traditional JRPGs until it evolved into something more! I do like to return to more classic Pokemon-y roots from time to time. Although sci-fi wins, hands down XD

I also have to laugh at Merry’s absol-lutely terrible use of puns.
I do love me some good puns!

I do keep in mind that this is an older story with a less refined style than your current work, and it shows in places. The ellipses’ at the beginning can get tiring to read through, and it takes a little while to get used to the format of the story, which mostly consists of character interaction. While it doesn’t exactly make an immediate hook to the story, since it goes through the motions of humans realising they’ve turned into Pokemon, once we get to know more about Flynn and Merry, that’s where it starts to shine. Then again, this isn’t supposed to be taken that seriously, so feel free to disregard these points.
Later chapters from 3 onward are freshly written, unless I decide to dip back into my old file for some inspiration and recycling! (That is, if I still have it. I went through a major purge and deleted tons of old writing!) It's only the first two chapters as of yet that are some major copy-pasta stuff! If you do stick around, you'll get to meet my favourite character Mushu... XD

As for ellipses, yes... that's an old habit of mine that my husband would often purge when proof reading for me, much to my chagrin.
 

qva

Pokémon Trainer
Location
florida
Pronouns
her/hers
hi there! this is a bit different from the kind of thing i usually read, so i went into it kind of expecting it to be a bit of a slog, but it was actually delightful! in particular, i really enjoyed the witty banter between characters— it felt very really, maybe because the silly tone of the fic in general provided some leeway to interactions that might otherwise seem stilted. there's actually not a lot of description here in general, but that felt okay. the meat of the story is definitely in the dialogue, which was easy to follow.

as nebula said, there are some lapses in mechanical things here and there, which are to be expected, as you said this is an older, less refined piece. the ellipses jumped out at me too (i'm guilty of the same thing though, i totally feel you), and toward the beginning, it was hard for me to pin down a feeling for the characters drive their dialogue was untagged and it felt more like a detached back and forth without strong associations to the speaking characters, witty as it was. additionally, the choice of the word "yeh" over "yeah" there was somewhat distracting. maybe it's a style or tonal thing? but my eyes really stuck to it.

all things considered, though, it was quite a lot of fun to read! your experience shows through in the writing despite the minor mechanical flaws, as you're characterization is excellent; all the characters are very fleshed out and individual. i felt like i got a good feeling for what each character was like by the end, each with their own quirks and sensibilities. they play off each other very nicely!

overall, i found it to be a fun fic that managed to pull off over-the-top goofiness without feeling excessive, with strong characters that really shine through.
 
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DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
there's actually not a lot of description here in general, but that felt okay. the meat of the story is definitely in the dialogue, which was easy to follow.
Thank you! And thanks for giving this story a chance =D Given I'm usually quite descriptive, crack-fiction takes a different direction with me. I'll probably get more descriptive as the chapters move on.

additionally, the choice of the word "yeh" over "yeah" there was somewhat distracting. maybe it's a style or tonal thing? but my eyes really suck to it.
This is an old thing of mine. I don't tend to use 'yeh' anymore, and leaving it in was probably more of an oversight.

all things considered, though, it was quite a lot of fun to read! your experience shows through in the writing despite the minor mechanical flaws, as you're characterization is excellent; all the characters are very fleshed out and individual. i felt like i got a good feeling for what each character was like by the end, each with their own quirks and sensibilities. they play off each other very nicely!
Thank you! I've had people comment on my characters before, so this is great to hear. It's nice to know I can craft individual characters. Even though the ones in this story were meant to be based off people I know, none of them actually acted like those people XD

overall, i found it to be a fun fic that managed to pull off over-the-top goofiness without feeling excessive, with strong characters that really shine through.
Thank you so much! =D

I'll try to get the next chapter out sometime soon. It is written, I just don't really feel it's the right time to post it just yet, given it's been less than a week XD
 

Negrek

Angel of Memory
Staff
This is a fun take on the PMD genre! Having multiple people end up "sucked into the game" changes the dynamic of the usual storyline a lot, and of course it works well for a more humorous take like you have here, where the outsiders can poke fun at the world around them because they're both in on the joke. I'm guessing that overall this is going to be a lighthearted run, although small things like Rexi's family having been killed by tyranitar suggest that you might end up incorporating some more serious things as well. The introduction of multiple other characters who may or may not be people Flynn or Merry know also give a hint at a plot beyond simply romping around the pokeworld and causing trouble. I imagine Flynn and Merry will eventually realize they need to do something in order to get back to their world, and I imagine those other familiar faces will be a part of how they need to do that somehow.

I was kind of surprised that neither of them confronted Kiki about (potentially) being Merry's sister, tbh. Both Merry and Flynn recognized her almost immediately, so it doesn't appear to be a question of Merry not really knowing if the resemblance is really there or if she's imagining things. Generally speaking pokemon in the games don't seem to care when the protagonist confesses to being a human; I'm not sure what the potential downside would be outside of Kiki thinking they were a bit strange, and the two of them seem impetuous enough to want to just blurt it out. I suppose Kiki didn't acknowledge them in any way either. I am interested in what's up with these other pokemon that might be people Flynn and Merry know, but if it turns out that they were all just kind of avoiding talking to one another about it because they were nervous or whatever it'd feel like a bit of a letdown to me.

Since you said this was a story about yourself and your friends, I immediately thought that the absol character was bound to be yours. But since he's male and really into candy rather than tea, perhaps not?

"The two of them are like chalk and cheese"--I don't think I've ever heard that expression before! Is that something people commonly say where you're from, or did you make it up for the story?

The chapter leaves off in kind of an odd place, just before dinner. Is something dramatic going to happen while they're eating? The general shape of this story is easy to guess, though. I imagine they'll have to go out on a couple of missions soon, and they'll want to start searching for a way to get back to their own world. I'm curious to see where you'll take the plotline... it has the potential to be humorous, or serious, or a mix of both. Is what brought Merry and Flynn to this world sinister or silly? In some ways this was a standard PMD opening, but the use of two non-amnesiac main characters with the potential for several more humans popping up later leaves a lot of room for this to go to unusual places. I know you're focusing on your Sonic fanfiction at the moment, but if you decide to go back to posting this, I'm interested to see where you'll take it.
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
I'm guessing that overall this is going to be a lighthearted run, although small things like Rexi's family having been killed by tyranitar suggest that you might end up incorporating some more serious things as well.
Originally it started off goofy and went dark while maintaining its goofiness. That's something I want to rectify for the re-write, while keeping some original plot lines such as Rexi's past. All in all, I want this to be a light-hearted stress-relief 'fic for me to work on =)

Generally speaking pokemon in the games don't seem to care when the protagonist confesses to being a human
My memory of Blue Rescue Team had the human revelation be taken badly? Either way, it's avoided because Merry and Flynn have no idea how others will react and want to tread with caution. It comes up, but I've not written that part in the re-write yet ;)

Since you said this was a story about yourself and your friends, I immediately thought that the absol character was bound to be yours. But since he's male and really into candy rather than tea, perhaps not?
Oh no XD I can see that. But the absol was originally L from Death Note. This thing was a massive goofy crossover. It's changed a LOT since then. But I had to keep him liking sweets for the quirks.

"The two of them are like chalk and cheese"--I don't think I've ever heard that expression before! Is that something people commonly say where you're from, or did you make it up for the story?
It must be! It's a phrase I'm very familiar with. Regional differences can be pretty surprising! I'd not heard the phrase 'knows his onions' before when I was writing Tenacious Tanuki for my Serebii exclusive cyberpunk 'fic, but I think that's a London term.


A/N - Sorry for the long wait. Updates for this story will be sporadic and sparse at best, as it's a 'just for fun' series that doesn't take itself seriously. I hope you enjoy this silly, random, fun-poking installment to Merry and Flynn's adventures!

Chapter Two - The Missing Child​

“Well, dinner was interesting!”

“It certainly was.”

Merry and Flynn had decided to return to their rooms after dinner and strolled through the confusing web of corridors in a vain attempt to find their abodes. Kiki and Peg had decided to go for a stroll but Merry and Flynn were just too tired for an after-dinner wander, plus the sun was setting and who knew what manner of carnivorous pokemon might be lurking and decide that oshawott or snivy might be just the right snack for an evening meal?

So... off to bed it was.

“I never knew how good pokemon berries were.” Flynn rubbed his full stomach. “That really hit the spot!”

“I know!” Merry grinned. “And they had fish too! I do love fish.”

“I think that might be the oshawott talking.”

“Hey, I liked fish as a human too.”

“I prefer steak.”

“Mmm... steak.”

“Wait. Where are we?” Flynn stopped and looked around. “This part of the corridor looks incredibly cobwebby.”

Merry turned her head towards him slowly. “You know what lurks in cobwebs?”

Flynn paled and grabbed Merry by the scruff of her neck, dragging her back the way they came.

“This isn't the right tunnel,” he grumbled. “How did we overshoot our rooms?”

“Kind of happens when you're not used to a new place,” Merry explained, wriggling free of his grip to walk beside him. “I do it all the time.”

“We should have just gone with Kiki and Peg,” Flynn went on. The tunnel forked off and he paused, looking down all three tunnels. “Can you remember which way we came?”

“No.”

“Great!” Flynn threw his paws in the air and fell to his bottom. “We've not been here a day and already we're lost!”

“Oh what a fantastic idea! Sitting!” Merry waved a paw at him. “The fastest way to get around!”

Flynn narrowed his eyes at her. “Do I detect sarcasm?”

“I was laying it on thickly enough.” She crossed her arms. “Get up. We can't sit around here all night, we need to get back.”

Flynn folded his arms and pouted. “I hate being lost!”

“Fine. Stay there. I'll just go back without you.” Merry turned and marched on...

“Nooooo!”

… but was brought to a halt as Flynn coiled around her ankle.

“Flynn! Get off!”

“Heh heh heh! I'm a snake-lizard!”

“Excuse me?”

Merry and Flynn looked round at the voice. A riolu was stood in the doorway to one of the nest rooms and he fixed both of them with a stern frown.

Flynn leapt to his feet and dusted himself down. “Sorry about that. Did we wake you?”

“No.” The riolu leant against the wall with his arms crossed. “It's a little hard to sleep when there's so much noise outside.”

“I'm sorry,” said Merry. “We're a little lost. Do you know how to get back to the stairs?”

“It's easier to show you the way.” He pushed himself back from the wall and marched past them. “Come on.”

Merry and Flynn exchanged glances before following after the riolu. They were both thinking the same thing. Was this another human-turned-pokemon? Or just your general everyday garden riolu?

“Excuse me,” Merry asked. “What's your name?”

“Gil.” He glanced back at them. “You're Merry and Flynn right? Pika introduced you at dinner.”

Flynn ran a paw over the back of his head. “Oh yeh, that was embarrassing.”

Merry laughed. “Only because you shot juice out of your nose!”

“I was nervous!”

Gil let out a sigh and stopped, waving ahead of him. “Behold! The stairs. I'm off back to bed. See ya.”

He turned to leave but looked back as Merry and Flynn stood fidgeting, glancing at each corridor.

“What?” he grunted.

“Nothing.” Merry shuffled her feet. “Just trying to remember where my room is from here, that's all.”

“Who do you share with?” he asked.

“Kiki and Peg,” said Merry.

Gil nodded to the corridor on her right. “Fifth room on the right.”

Flynn snorted. “How do you forget that? Seriously, Merry, you could get lost in a cardboard box!”

Merry puffed out her cheeks and huffed.

“What about you?” Gil turned on Flynn.

“I share with Lance. And some guy named Showa.”

“That way.” Gil pointed to the left. “Three rooms, take a right, fifth on on the left.” He gave them a wave and shuffled away.

Flynn crossed his paws and leant back on the stair rail. “He seems rude.”

“I think he's just tired,” said Merry.

“So what do you think?” asked Flynn. “Pokemon or human?”

“I’m too tired to think about it,” said Merry. “We might be looking into things too much. I mean… Kiki might just genuinely resemble my sister. Her personality, however, is too flaky and she seems to often get lost in la-la land.”

“You’ve only known her five minutes.”

“Whatever.” Merry yawned, flashing her canines. “Let’s get some sleep. Maybe we’ll wake up in our own beds.”

“One can hope.” Flynn stretched as he caught her yawn. “Good night. If we don’t wake up here, I’ll ring you and squeal down the phone.”

Merry chuckled and turned from the stairs. “I’ll be waiting for it.”

They waved and strolled down their respective corridors. Merry faltered in the entrance and Flynn looked back at her.

“Fifth on the right!”

“Right!”

Merry shuffled forwards until she reached her respective room. They must have been lost for some time, because Kiki was curled up on her nest reading and Peg was lay on her back fast asleep with her paw wedged in her mouth.

The eevee looked up from her book. “Did you go for a walk?”

“You could say that.” Merry fell back onto her nest. “If you don't mind, I'm going to get some sleep. This building is way too confusing.”

“So you got lost?”

“If you want to put it in layman's terms, yes.”

...​

It was the sound of bells.

Lots of loud, ringing, chiming bells blaring with such intensity the walls shook.

Merry leapt from her nest straight to her feet, dreams instantly shattered by the sound of that incessant ringing.

Flynn was launched from his nest by his tail, his head colliding with the low ceiling. Pain didn't even register. He ran from the room, flailing his arms in the air.

“What-!”

Merry launched herself down the corridor.

“On-!”

“Earth-!”

“Is that?!”

Merry and Flynn crashed into each other and fell back onto the floor.

“Do you hear ringing?” Flynn rubbed his nose.

“Are you kidding me?!” Merry waved her arms like a moron.

The ringing stopped.

Several confused pokemon were gathered in the hallway. Kiki and Peg finally caught up with Merry who had been oblivious to their voices until now.

“That's the emergency bell.” Kiki nudged Merry with her nose to help her to her feet. “We need to hurry to the meeting room.”

The pokemon flooded down the stairs like a colourful, vocal river. They all pooled into the meeting room where Pika was sat in a very important looking chair waiting for them at the head of a table. A distressed-looking furret sat beside him, wrapping her paws in a pink neckerchief.

Once all the pokemon were seated, he cleared his throat with an air of authority, bringing everyone to a quiet.

“I'm sorry to gather you all here so early,” Pika explained. “But a child has gone missing.”

Loud gasps rippled around the table.

“Who is it?” a female marill asked.

“It's my son,” the furret explained.

“Scout? No!” Kiki almost lost her balance and had to steady herself on her stool.

“He always was the adventurous type,” the furret went on. “I'm terribly afraid. Since what happened to his father, I'm worried he might have...” She wiped a paw across her eyes and turned away from the table.

“So as you can clearly see,” Pika stood up on his chair, “we really need a group of you to go out and find Moka's son.”

Flynn and Merry exchanged glances.

“This is how the game works,” Merry said quietly. “There's an event that introduces you to the art of being a Rescue Team. This is it.” She raised a paw. “We'll do it.”

Pika looked at them. “You two? Really?”

“Yes,” Merry said, shoving her paw over Flynn's mouth before he could protest. “We're a Rescue Team. Right?”

Pika blinked. “Of course, but... you're new.”

“Try us.”

“Okay... well then. That settles it.” Pika nodded and beamed. “I love enthusiasm! So! The Explorers of Stuff and Things shall go out and rescue little Scout! We believe he might be in the Silent Forest.”

Flynn paled. “S-s-silent Forest?”

“No. Just one 's'. Silent.”

“O-o-okay.”

“You seem to be having problems speaking today.” Pika inclined his head on one side. “Are you okay?”

All eyes were now fixed on the shivering snivy.

Flynn swallowed. “I'm fine. Just a little chilly.” He grabbed Merry by the arm and dragged her from the room, just as everyone began to cheer for them.

Once outside the room, the door closed to mask all sound, he threw her against the wall and stood in front of her, arms crossed.

“I shall have you know, I am not happy about this.”

Merry blinked. “Well, sleeping didn’t work! Do you want out of this game or not?”

“I don't think it's even a game anymore!” Flynn waved his arms frantically. “What I think is we got sucked into some other dimension and became pokemon for some reason!”

“That... is exactly what happened. And oddly enough we aren't the only ones. But when you get sucked into another dimension, you have to get back out of it, right?”

“Does that include dying?”

“Sometimes.”

Flynn's jaw dropped. “How many times have you done this?!”

Merry looked away from him. “None... this would be the first time.”

“So you haven't a clue?”

“No...”

“So what we are doing is...?”

“Freakishly dangerous but necessary?”

“Then send a professional! The Poke-Police or something!”

The door opened and a small voice alerted them to another pokemon's presence. The furret Moka was stood looking very nervous a mere couple of feet away from them.

“I...” She looked away, rubbing her paws together. “I was hoping I would catch you. I... I just want to thank you for offering to find my son.”

“Oh uhm...” Flynn rubbed his head. “That's... okay I guess.”

“You might need this.” She handed Flynn a small bag. “It has a few items in it that might come in useful. Some oran berries and an escape orb in case you run into any trouble. Well... thank you again, and take care.” She smiled and backed back into the room.

“Well... that was kind of her.” Merry took the bag and opened it. “Oh there are two scarves in here too.”

“Why? Is it going to be cold out there?” Flynn took a blue scarf and stared at it. “It looks more like a bandana.”

“It's a defense scarf. It raises defense. Put it on.”

“And yours is...?”

“A pecha scarf. Prevents poison.”

“Awesome. Right then, shall we be off?” Flynn turned away towards the front door.

“You're suddenly keen.” Merry skipped to keep up with him. “What's bought this on?”

“That lovely furret wants her son back.”

...​

“Silent Forest... Silent Forest...” Merry looked down at the sheet of paper in her paws. “Oh! There it is!”

“What do you have there?” Flynn peered over her shoulder.

“A Wonder Map. It was in the bag Moka gave us.”

“Wow! That location is flashing!” Flynn pointed with his claw. “And is that blinking arrow us?”

“Yes.”

“Wow! Why don't we have these back home? We'd get lost like... never!”

“We do. It’s called GPS.”

“Yes, but this folds up and doesn't need batteries.” He took the map from Merry and walked on ahead. “So I just follow this flashing arrow until it reaches that spinning red circle. Easy peasy!”

“Yes but Flynn... you...” Merry trotted after him.

“This is so easy! I can't believe it!”

“Yes, but Flynn! You-”

“Argh!”

Splash!

“Are walking on a splintering branch... across a river...” Merry watched Flynn as he clung for dear life on a broken branch and was whisked away downstream. Giving herself a mental shake, she ran after him.

“Use your vine whip!”

Flynn was too busy screaming. His head vanished under the water and popped back up in a flurry of spray and river weeds.

“Fine! I'm coming in!” Merry launched herself into the river and then suddenly realised... “I can't swim!”

“You're an oshawott!” Flynn barked, spluttering water from his mouth. “Do your water thing and...” gurgle “... save me!”

Using her tail, Merry propelled herself forwards until she reached the branch and grabbed it. The current dragged her under and out the other side where she grabbed on next to Flynn.

“Hi.”

“Hi.” Flynn scowled. “No what's your...” splutter! “... plan?!”

“It didn't go any further than this!” Merry had to strain her voice over the rushing water as it crashed against the rocks. “It was mainly to encourage you to use your vine whip to grab that branch that's coming up!”

“What branch?”

A branch whisked by overhead.

Merry pointed. “That one!”

“Oh...” The branch was soon out of sight. “Uhm...”

Merry sighed and shook water from her ears. It didn't do much since she was sucked under again briefly afterwards.

“Now what?” she growled.

“I wait for the next branch?” Flynn ventured a glance over his shoulder. “Here we go!” Out came the vines and he reached up behind him to grab the next passing branch. He yelped and sharply retracted them again. “What the-?!”

“This is my branch!” came a shrill voice. An emolga leered down at them. “This branch belongs to Mushu! Get lost!”

“What the... Merry!” Flynn spat out water. “I just got owned by some fuzzy stuffed animal!” He scowled at the emola as they went past.

Mushu waved his paw angrily. “Your face is a stuffed animal!”

Flynn roared. “When I get back up there I'm gonna-”

A loud rushing noise caused Merry to look back, ignoring Flynn's crazed rambling. “Uh-oh...”

“What?” Flynn's eyes widened as he turned to see what had distressed Merry. “Wow! Is that a waterfall?!”

“That's a waterfall.”

Flynn closed his eyes and screamed. “We are so gonna die!”

Merry also closed her eyes, waiting for the inevitable. But what came instead was a bite to the scruff and then she was lifted effortlessly into the air and thrown onto her back on the soft grass. Another thud and an 'oomph' next to her suggested Flynn had just been treated in quite the same way.

When she ventured to open her eyes, a black Pokemon with bright red markings stood over her watching the wooden branch as it was whisked away over the edge of the waterfall to crash onto a nice collection of sharp rocks at the bottom.

“Am I...” Flynn sat up and rubbed his head. “Am I alive?”

“You're alive,” came a voice from behind them.

The zorua looked back round at them, and fixed a pair of bright blue eyes on Merry, before looking away again quickly. So was this the trouble maker they’d been warned about?

She swiveled around on her bottom to look at their rescuers. Besides the zorua, Gil and an absol she assumed was Lance sat watching the river, the latter somewhat boredly.

“Thank you,” she said.

“Not a problem,” said the absol as he reached into his bag for a sherbert fountain.

“Like... what were you doing there anyway?” It was the Zorua who asked this, snatching Flynn and Merry's attention back to him.

“Well, we weren't swimming that's for sure,” Flynn grumbled, struggling to his feet. He wobbled. “Oh dear, I have sea legs.”

Merry chuckled. It was a combination of extreme relief from a near-death experience and humour at Flynn's expense.

“You're lucky we were passing by,” said Lance. “Otherwise... well... waterfalls are not known for their kindness.”

Merry shuddered and stood up. The zorua flashed her a grin and took a step back to give her space.

“Well... thank you.” She bowed for some reason. “We can get back to our mission now.”

“Oh really?” the zorua asked. “And, like, what mission might that be?”

“Saving some kid pokemon.” Flynn rang out his scarf then fastened it back around his neck. “Silent Forest apparently.”

The zorua laughed. “You're miles away.”

“Well we do have the...” Flynn panicked, sticking his hands into their bag and rummaging around. “Oh... zubats!”

“Nooooo.” Merry fell onto her bottom. “You lost the Wonder Map?!”

“Apparently.” He looked over at the river and let out a long, frustrated sigh. “I must have dropped it! Oh... rattatas!”

“You know...” Lance moved to sit next to him while licking sherbert from his lips. “There will be some pokemon quite offended by your outbursts.”

Flynn grumbled and cursed some more under his breath.

“If it helps, we'll lead you there.” The zorua nudged Merry forwards with his nose. “We're on our way back to Pika's Place anyway.”

“Pika's Place...” Flynn paused and looked around at the zorua. Then at the absol. Then back again. He blamed it on the shock for not knowing straight away. “You're Showa right?”

“Oh, you've heard of me?” Showa closed his eyes and laughed. “I'm flattered!”

“I wouldn't let it get to your head,” Gil grumbled from his spot against a tree. “Your pranks aren't exactly loved by others.”

Showa seemed to ignore this comment. “Well, let's be making tracks. That river has, like, washed you a fair bit downstream. And you need to be on the other side of it for Silent Forest.”

“But not to worry,” said Lance. “There's a bridge you can use to cross a little back that way.” He nodded upstream.

“Let me guess...” Flynn looked over at them. “Is the bridge we need to take a branch guarded by an emolga called Mushu?”

Showa grinned. “All bark and no bite.”

Flynn snorted. “Well he bit me!”

...​

The walk wasn't too far away. Before long, they could make out the massive branch that curved across the river in the distance. If one were to squint hard enough, they could make out a pesky emolga perched upon it.

“There it is!” Flynn pointed. “The fated branch!”

“Is there another way across?” Merry asked. “I'd just rather avoid anything unpleasant.”

“There is...” said Lance slowly, “however, after your last attempt I don't want to suggest you try it.”

“So we have to face the emolga?”

“You have to face the emolga.”

“Great.” Flynn closed his eyes and sighed. “I can't catch a break.”

“I'm sure he'll let you cross if you ask him nicely,” said Showa.

Flynn grunted. “We'll see about that.”

As they approached the branch, Mushu was indeed sitting upon it, examining a piece of paper while he nibbled on an oran berry.

“Wait! Is that-!” Merry pointed.

“The Wonder Map!” Flynn gasped.

Mushu dropped his berry and leapt to his feet, standing up as tall as he could. “Why are you here?! What do you want with Mushu?!”

“We are here to cross.” Flynn folded his paws across his chest. “And give back our Wonder Map!” Showa nudged him with his nose. “I mean... we would like to cross your amazing, beautiful branch, and if you could also return our Wonder Map, we would be very thankful to you.”

Mushu stared at him for a moment, looked down at his map then stuck his nose up in the air and looked away. “No.”

Flynn looked at Showa and said, in a mockingly high-pitched voice, “Oh, I'm sure he'll let you cross if you ask him nicely!”

Showa fixed one sapphire eye on Flynn but said nothing.

Merry's jaw dropped. Oh well. It was her turn, then? “Oh come on, Mushu! We need to cross. And we need that map!”

“Yeh!” Gil snorted. “These two get lost so easily without it.”

“No way!” Mushu hid the map behind his back. “This is Mushu's greatest treasure! A map to show all things! Mushu's amazing map of awesomeness! Never again will Mushu struggle to find berries!”

“Fine!” Merry threw her arms in the air. “Keep the map! Can we at least cross your bridge?”

Mushu seemed to think about this for a moment, then said, quite bluntly, “No.”

“No?” The group of Pokemon exchanged glances.

“What do you mean 'no'?” Flynn grunted.

“This is Mushu's branch! And no one sets foot on here but Mushu!”

“Why you little...” Flynn waved a paw at him. “Forget it. I'm climbing on anyway.”

He raised a foot and was cut off as Mushu streaked across the branch towards him.

“Listen here, LeafButt!” Mushu flicked his tail and glared at Flynn, yellow cheeks sparking. “If you put one paw on this branch, you will have to face my awesome Mushu powers!”

“Oh look, I'm shaking!” Flynn wiggled his paws in the air. “Move it, Squeaky!”

Showa, Lance and Gil took a step back as Flynn and Mushu threw strings of verbal abuse at one another. Merry decided she'd had enough of this and cut in.

“Listen, Mushu.”

The emolga stopped mid-insult to look up at the oshawott.

“We really need to reach Silent Forest. Is there anything we can do so we can cross your bridge?”

“No! ...Wait...” Mushu paused, fixing fierce eyes on Merry. “You can cross this bridge... if you pass Mushu's Challenge!”

“A challenge eh?” Flynn grinned. “Bring it on. I'll kick your ass.”

“Mushu will ask you three questions!” He raised three claws. “If you answer two questions correctly, you may pass! But if you fail, you leave and never come near Mushu's branch again!”

Merry and Flynn blinked.

“Okay...” said Flynn.

“Right! First question!” Mushu beamed. “What is Mushu's favourite colour?”

“Seriously?!”

“Answer the question!”

Flynn looked to Merry.

“Erm… Yellow?” she asked.

“Correct!” Mushu didn't seem remotely disappointed. “Next question! What is Mushu's favourite shape?”

Flynn looked at Merry again and she shrugged. He sighed and shrugged himself.

“I don't know... a strong shape? A square?”

“Wrong! The answer is circle! A circle has infinite sides!” Mushu traced a circle in the air with his paws. “Infinite like Mushu's awesomeness.”

Flynn frowned. “You have to be kidding me?”

“Last question!” The little emolga screamed this with such ferocity the other pokemon flinched back. “What is Mushu's most embarrassing moment?!”

“This.” Flynn strode onto the branch and shoved Mushu right off it. The tiny emolga struck the water with a splash unfitting for his size. The Wonder Map fluttered into the air and Flynn snatched it. “Yes! Finally, we can cross this thing.” He looked down at the map. “Huh. It's a little water-stained...”

Mushu wailed as he was washed under the branch and clutched on to a rock for dear life. “You'll regret that!” He spat water from his mouth. “When Mushu is safely back on land, I'll kick your tail all the way through Silent Forest!”

“That was a little harsh, Flynn.” Merry followed him across the branch and looked down at Mushu as he struggled to keep water out of his large ears. “Are you going to just leave him there?”

“I'll get him,” said Gil. “Just as soon as you two are in Silent Forest, otherwise it won't be pretty.”

They finally reached the other side and Flynn looked down at the map then up at the trees.

“This is it.”

The massive trees grew so close together it was almost impossible to get through. There was one small opening big enough for Lance to squeeze through but someone of Rexi's size would have a lot of trouble.

“Go on then,” said Showa. “We'll deal with Mushu.”

Flynn looked back at them. “What about when we need to head back? We'll need to cross the bridge again, right?”

“Use an escape orb.”

Flynn rummaged through the bag and pulled out a silver orb. “Is that was this thing is? I thought it was a silver pokeball. I was getting ready to use it on Mushu.”

“A what?” Showa inclined his head on one side.

“Nothing.” Flynn stuffed it back in his bag and wriggled between the branches. He called back to them, “Thanks again!”

“Yes, thank you,” said Merry. “Erm... if you three wouldn't mind, could you not mention this to Pika or anyone else? This is actually our first rescue mission.”

“Don't worry about it!” Showa waved a paw. “Your secret is safe with us.”

Merry's eyes widened. “You mean that?”

“Yeh.” Showa nudged her towards the branches with his nose. “Go on! Before Mushu gets out and, like, shocks you.”

Merry flashed him a smile then wriggled between the trees. She stopped on the other side and looked around at the empty clearing.

“Flynn?”

“Yeh!”

She looked behind her and her eyes moved up the trunks of two slender trees. Wedged between them was the green body of a snivy. He peered down at her, Wonder Map still clutched in his paws.

“What are you doing up there?” she asked.

“I got stuck. A little help?”

Merry fired a water gun, striking Flynn in the stomach. He flew out from the trees and landed on his bottom a couple of feet away. The Wonder Map fluttered down onto his head and he stared at her for a moment before dragging himself to his feet.

“I thought I'd warned you about doing that,” he grumbled, stuffing the map into his bag.

“Well I'm not tall enough, nor do I have a ladder.” She looked around again. The trees grew in clusters alongside a large path, impossible to see between. It forked off dramatically to the left and right, both paths leading to a hidden part of the forest. “These dungeons look a lot creepier when you're actually in them.”

“Aye. And when they're not pixels.”

“Well... we need to get a move on. Focus on our mission.”

“Oh yes!” Flynn trotted to keep up with his friend. “We're here to rescue a sentret right? For the lovely furret.”

“Yes. So we need to follow this path round until we find him.”

“Okay. Well, let's be on our guard, because this place is really cree-”

“Aboogaboogabooga!” A ratatta leapt out from the adjoining path and waved its paws.

Flynn and Merry screamed.

The ratatta laughed.

“What on earth?!” Flynn pointed at it. “You little... you don't just jump out like tha-”

The ratatta launched itself at Flynn, striking him in the chest and sending him sprawling onto his back with the wind knocked out of him.

Merry fired her water gun at the ratatta and sent it flying into a tree where it lay with little stars circling around its head. She grabbed Flynn by his paw and dragged him to his feet.

“Are you all right?”

Flynn grumbled. “Stupid rattata.”

“I should have warned you. Pokemon are a little wild in these Mystery Dungeons.”

“A little wild?” Flynn gave her a venomous look. “I'm surprised that little hooligan wasn’t spraying graffiti!”

Merry nodded to the tree it had leapt from. On it, still dripping wet, were the words ‘Rattata Rules! You all suck!’ in green letters.

Flynn nodded and pursed his lips. “See, this is what’s wrong with today’s youth-”

Merry shook her head and turned away, dragging Flynn after her. “Come on, grandpa. Let's just be on our guard okay?”

The narrow path between the trees spread out into a clearing. The clearing was empty and quiet except for something red and round in the middle of the floor.

“Is that an apple?” Flynn asked.

Merry picked it up and handed it to him. “Yup. Here, eat it.”

“I am not eating that! It was on the floor!”

“You're a pokemon!”

“Still, it's the principle.” Flynn folded his arms. “I shall not eat floor fruit.”

“Suit yourself.” Merry stuffed it into the bag and looked around. “There's another path there. Let's go.”

The next path was quiet and uneventful, and opened up into another clearing... with a flight of stairs leading down.

“Okay, this is just getting weird now.” Flynn scratched his nose. “Why are there stairs in a forest?”

“They take us to the next level.” Merry pushed him forwards. “Go. Try them.”

“You try them!”

“You are such a wuss! Fine, follow me.”

The stairs were certainly not dangerous. The next level however...

“Aboogaboogabooga!”

“Argh!”

Two rattata and a weedle greeted them. Flynn flapped his arms, staring at the three pokemon. The weedle carried a spray can in its tail.

“Just fight!” Merry bellowed.

Flynn ducked as the spray can narrowly missed his head.

Merry spat a water gun at the weedle, not quite knocking it out. It flipped itself up again and managed to worm its way behind Flynn with alarming speed. It then stabbed its stinger into Flynn’s rear.

“Ye-ow!” He leapt from foot to foot. “That was uncalled for!” He lashed the weedle with a vine whip and it rolled back into a tree, dazed. “Take that you little hooligan! Now for you...” He rounded on the rattata.

The two rodents laughed beside a stunned Merry. The pair of them tackled Flynn to the floor before he could ready his next attack.

He lay dazed with one arm flopped over his forehead. “Why me?!”

One of the rattata was launched off him, causing its ally to squeal. Merry was beside Flynn, pinning it to the floor. It bit at her paw as she cuffed it with her claws, and she shook her wounded paw to soothe it.

“Thanks!” Flynn finished off the other one with a scratch right across its ears.

“Well... we did it.” Merry stood up and grinned. Then the grin fell. “Oh I just leveled up! I feel stronger!” Fist pump. “Oh wait... I learned a new move!” She removed her scalchop. “Razor shell!”

“Yay!” Flynn also fist pumped. Then doubled over. “Feel sick.”

“Oh no!” Merry went wide-eyed. “Are you poisoned? Stupid weedle!”

“Do you have an antidote?” he asked.

Merry looked around the clearing. Her eyes fell on something in the distance. She ran for it and grabbed the object, throwing it at Flynn who caught it instinctively.

“Pecha berry!” Merry explained.

“I already told you! I am not eating floor fruit!”

“Fine. Be poisoned.”

Flynn sighed and resigned himself to eating it. “If this thing is rotten… Oh… it worked.”

“Did it taste okay?”

“Quite sweet actually.”

Merry beamed. “Right. Let's find the next stairs.”

“Where do you think Scout will be?” Flynn asked, jogging to keep up.

“Normally the final floor.” Merry shrugged. “So that's what I'm going off right now.”

“Okay, I'll trust you. How many floors?”

She checked the Wonder Map. “One more flight of stairs.”

“If it's more, I'll trip you with my tail.”

Merry ignored him. Mainly because another rattata had leapt out from behind a tree. Before it could make any silly noises, she clobbered it with her scalchop.

“These encounters are getting silly.”

“You're telling me.” Flynn put his hands behind his head and yawned. “Rattata are the trolls of the Pokemon universe. Why can't we fight something more awesome? Like a metagross?”

“You want to fight a metagross?” Merry raised a brow. “That's suicide at our level. And not one of us is a fire type.”

“Stairs!” Flynn pointed dramatically and ran for them.

“Flynn wait!” Merry tried to overtake him, tripping on her oversized flippers. “Argh, pokemon anatomy!”

When she reached the next level, she found him crouching behind a bush.

“What is it?” she whispered, joining him.

He pointed. “More of those rattata hooligans.”

Sure enough, a group of rattata were surrounding a frightened sentret who they'd tied to a tree in the middle of the clearing. They were giving him jeers and snickering amongst themselves. One of them had gone the extra mile and wore what looked like a wrestling mask. He even carried a weedle in his arms, petting its head like a kitten.

Flynn tutted. “I think he's trying to be a super villain.”

“Any ideas?” Merry asked him.

“Other than running in there water guns blazing, none whatsoever.”

“Hmm...” Merry removed her scalchop.

Flynn widened his eyes at her. “Wait, what are you doing?”

“I have an idea. Hang on.”

She launched her scalchop at the lead rattata and it struck him on the back of the head. The strap holding his mask in place snapped and it fell to the floor. The shell arced back towards her and she caught it in her paw.

“Bullseye!”

The group of rattata twisted and turned in confusion, their voices growing more and more frantic. The one that had worn the mask was trying to calm them down but none of them were listening. Not even its pet weedle. The little worm wriggled into the trees and vanished.

“They probably can't remember who their leader is,” Merry explained. “Not without his mask. So now we attack.”

Flynn nodded and they both leapt out from behind the bushes with a cry of, “Charge!”

The former leader tried to shout commands to organise his gang. Each command fell on deaf ears however, as the rattata were just too confused. Razor shell, water gun, scratch, vine whip and tackle.

A couple of them managed to get their acts together, flying at the two Rescue Team members, fangs bared. Merry countered with her razor shell, sending one back towards the fray. Then a flurry of leaves spiraled through the clearing, kicking up dirt and lifting the rattata mob into the air. They span around like a rattata-nado, crashing into the trees and falling down stunned.

The leaves settled, cascading down onto the dazed forms of the rattata pack. Merry and Flynn stood amongst them trying to catch their breaths.

“Hey guess what,” Flynn said, raising his arms in triumph. “I just learned leaf tornado!”

“I saw! That was awesome! High paw!” Merry gave Flynn a high five.

“Excuse me?”

The small voice came from Scout who was wriggling against his bindings.

“Oh, of course!” Merry ran forwards and cut the little sentret free with her scalchop. “Are you okay?”

“That was awesome!” Scout approached Flynn boldly. “Are you two super-heroes?”

“Well…” Merry blushed. “We did just take out what looked like a super villain, but…”

Flynn puffed out his chest. “You see my blue cape right?”

“It's a scarf, Flynn...”

“Wow!” Scout's eyes widened. “You're awesome! All in there with the vine whip, kicking those rattata's tails! You sure showed them!”

“I hate to interrupt,” Merry said flatly, “But these rattata will come to their senses soon. We need to get back.”

“Escape orb?” Flynn held up the small transparent orb. “What do I do with it?”

“Use it.”

Flynn threw it on the floor. With a woop and a sensation like one's stomach being left behind on a roller coaster, they found themselves standing before Pika's Place.

“Wow,” Flynn nodded. “That's convenient.”

Scout raced up the stairs, Flynn and Merry jogging to keep up with him. The little sentret ran into the Relaxation Room where most of the pokemon were gathered. Moka was sat in a corner with a miltank watching over a group of hatchlings. He ran straight to his mother who gasped loudly and hugged her child.

“I was saved by super-heroes!” he said, eyes wide and sparkling. “Real super-heroes! They took out a super-villain and everything! It was so cool!”

Merry and Flynn shifted from foot to foot in the doorway, all eyes now on them. They spotted Showa grinning at them in the corner while Lance smirked over a green lollypop.

“I am beyond words!” Pika's voice boomed from his office as he strolled into the room to greet them. “You have far surpassed what I expected of you. You completed this job quickly and without flaws, bringing back one of our youngest members safely. For this, I congratulate you. Well done.” He handed them each a badge. “This official badge commemorates you as members of Pika's Place. Flynn, Merry… Explorers of Stuff and Things… may we rely on you again in the future, like many other Rescue Teams here.”

“Wow!” Merry stared at the sparkling yellow badge shaped like a lightning bolt. “Thanks!”

“I guess we shouldn’t tell him about Mushu, then?” Flynn muttered by her ear.

“Uncle Flynn?” Scout tugged on Flynn's leg, gaining the snivy's attention.

The snivy raised a brow. “Uncle?”

Scout beamed. “Do you think maybe I could try on your cape?”

Flynn shrugged and removed his scarf, bending to fasten it around the sentret's fluffy neck just like a cape. “Keep it.”

“Really?!” Scout twisted and turned to admire the blue 'cape'. “Wow thanks! I can be a super-hero now just like you!” With that he ran off leaping from stool to stool making little 'pew-pew!' noises.

“Well, you made him happy.” Merry smiled. “Job well done I say.”

“Thank you.” Moka had appeared behind them, moved to tears. “I can't actually thank you enough.”

“It's nothing.” Flynn shuffled his feet.

Moka took a step forward and pulled Flynn into a crushing hug before going to rejoin her son in the corner where he was playing with the group of other little pokemon.

Merry grinned at the snivy. “Uncle Flynn, eh?”

“Oh shut up.” Flynn turned crimson and marched from the room.

Merry laughed and ran after him. “Uncle Flynn!”
 
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Adamhuarts

Junior Trainer
Pronouns
He/Him
Partner
mew
Okay, I have to admit. This story was way better than I thought it'd be. I've only read the first chapter so far, but I've had tons of moments and clever gags that made me laugh.

This story to me felt like you took all the clever comedic aspects of Glitched and made a traditional PMD story out of it, and I absolutely love it because of that.
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
Okay, I have to admit. This story was way better than I thought it'd be. I've only read the first chapter so far, but I've had tons of moments and clever gags that made me laugh.

This story to me felt like you took all the clever comedic aspects of Glitched and made a traditional PMD story out of it, and I absolutely love it because of that.
Aww thank you so much! =D I'm glad you enjoyed it! It was written before Glitched, but I like that you've seen a link with my humor. I love writing comedy. This story was originally written for a friend (and any other friends who wanted to read!) but I love it and decided to re-work it into an original piece. It's fun to get lost in every now and then =D Plus, I love poking harmless fun at Pokemon! The mechanics make little sense outside of the games themselves. I mean, why WOULD there be stairs in the middle of a forest??
 

Adamhuarts

Junior Trainer
Pronouns
He/Him
Partner
mew
I've read the second chapter and now I'm kinda bummed there isn't more, because I absolutely love this story so far.

Merry and Flynn have an interesting dynamic, the mystery about how they ended up there and whether or not people they also knew were thrown into the world is pretty intriguing.

Here's to hoping this gets chapters more frequently when you finish Mainframe Saga. Either way I'm looking forward to more of this thrilling tale!
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
I've read the second chapter and now I'm kinda bummed there isn't more, because I absolutely love this story so far.

Merry and Flynn have an interesting dynamic, the mystery about how they ended up there and whether or not people they also knew were thrown into the world is pretty intriguing.

Here's to hoping this gets chapters more frequently when you finish Mainframe Saga. Either way I'm looking forward to more of this thrilling tale!
That's awesome, thanks! =D I have Chapter 3 written up, I'm just being slow updating this to spread it out a bit given I'm not heavily working on it. I like to have a bit of a surplus, but it doesn't matter too much for this story. It's kinda episodic really, and a bit of a 'goof off' project when I'm running dry on inspiration or need to work on something a bit more light-hearted.

I had a LOT of the original written up but it centered around the original cross-over plot, so I can't really recycle much of it. Chapter 3 onward are going to be pretty much original and freshly written from scratch, so... the style might change a bit! (But I hope it's still just as funny!) This is also partly why it might take me a while to get chapters out...
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
A/N - I really wanted to get this chapter out before I post the Christmas Special next month! So here it is.

Fun fact - It was inspired by a prompt when I was bored one day. If memory serves, it was the opening line. (I did write it quite a while ago...)


Chapter Three - Dungeon Hopping​

“How does someone get lost twice in one day?!” Merry barked.

“Shut up.” Flynn swiped a branch aside. “I’d like to see you do any better.”

Merry lifted her paws to shield her face as the willowy branch swooped back towards her. However, grass and water don’t mix too well and she sputtered out a couple of leaves.

“What is that supposed to mean?!” she snapped.

“What I mean,” said Flynn, craning his neck back to look at her. Upside down. “Is that you have the homing sense of a half-starved, brain-dead, one-eyed pidove!”

An offended coo came from the canopy. The two pokemon glanced up at it, then Flynn shrugged and turned away into a gully.

“Let’s just find this flippin’ rock, all right?” he scoffed. “I’m starving, thirsty, lost and just wanna go home.”

Merry hugged her arms about herself and skulked after him down the muddy path. The trees grew closer together, moving up a gentle slope as the ground grew steeper on either side. It was sort of her fault. She’d agreed to take the mission, and she was the one who led them on the wild goose chase after a bunnelby with a sack. As it turned out, the sack hadn’t contained the item they were looking for. Just an abundance of carrots and nanab berries, owned by a very disgruntled and offended mother of twenty six.

Merry, with no idea how to get back to the path they’d deviated off, took them both the wrong way. So Flynn took over. Unable to find the path, he fell right down into a ditch. His vines couldn’t reach, and Merry’s arms were too stubby. So she had no choice but to join him. The snivy declared he could find a way back that way, so she ushered him on.

It was safe to say he had no idea how to get them back that way. So they’d tried to retrace their steps to their drop point and holler for the bunnelby’s help.

Six hours later, they were still lost and nothing looked familiar.

“I could really use a compass right about now.” Flynn paused and looked up at the canopy. “Losing track of the sun…”

“Would a compass really help?” Merry asked.

“Not. The. Time.” Flynn’s voice came out in an uncharacteristic growl. “If that sun sets before we get outta this place, we’ll be stuck in here all night! And I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to camp out in the wilderness when I look like a healthy green snack.” The snivy absently brushed his tail leaves and sighed. “Sorry. I’m just a little on edge.”

“Well so am I.” Merry ventured to his side, still hugging herself across her scalchop. “How did we even end up in this mess?”

“I think it started when you accepted the job to look for that Blue Orb that kirlia had dropped.”

“Oh like you weren’t all over that mission,” said Merry. “One damsel in distress, and you fly into Super Hero mode and declare you’ll scramble to the moon to find it!”

Flynn snorted and marched on down the path.

“What is a kirlia doing with a Blue Orb anyway?” Merry asked as she chased after him. “It’s used to summon Kyogre.”

“Maybe she wants it as a museum piece?” said Flynn. “Pretty valid reasoning, and Pika didn’t seem concerned.”

“It would just make so much more sense if she was looking for a Dawn Stone or a Gardevoirite.”

“What would a female kirlia want with a Dawn Stone?”

Merry shrugged. “Maybe she has a boyfriend who wants to evolve?”

Flynn tucked his paws behind his back and swiped his tail over the floor, scattering some yellowing leaves. He paused and glanced back up at the canopy.

“It might be a good time to dig out our tents,” he said.

“Plural?” Merry asked.

He rounded on her and frowned. “Well I’m not sharing with you.”

“No.” Merry blinked and pulled out a yellow sheet of cloth. “Then I guess I need to cut it, and we’ll just have to wrap ourselves up like tiny pokemon burritos.”

Flynn sighed and waved her off. “We’ll call that Plan B. I think… I might have an idea how to get back to that path.”

Merry stuffed the cloth back then tugged out their WonderMap. As far as dungeon details went, it was fairly useless. Their location merely blinked over… Glorious Gorge?

“Erm… Flynn?”

The snivy froze and looked back at her, but she didn’t look up from the map.

“I erm… think we might have a problem…” she said.

“What is it?” he asked.

“You know how we are meant to be in Silent Forest?” She glanced up at him, catching a raised brow. “We appear to have dungeon-hopped.”

He trotted back to her side and snatched the map, turning it left and right as he frowned at the flashing pointer.

“How on earth did that happen?!” he gasped.

“I don’t know, I guess… when we fell?”

“Merry!” He twisted the map to face her. “Explain! You’ve played these games!”

“I can’t explain because it’s never happened in the games!”

“Oh my goodness…” Flynn sank to his knees, staring down at the WonderMap. “Does this have something to do with the Blue Orb? Is Kyogre to blame? Has it fused with Groudon becoming KyoDon, the mahoosive land-shaping, dungeon-warping monstrosity that our delightful kirlia client is planning to thwart?!”

“I’m… fairly certain that doesn’t exist,” said Merry. “And you really need to stop messing around with PokeFusions.”

“It might be valid for all I know.” Flynn rubbed his snout. “I guess… we go back a bit and ask that pidove we offended for directions?”

“You offended,” said Merry. “And if you want to ask a wild pokemon who would no sooner peck out your eyes, then be my guest.”

“No, I like my eyes.”

“Then we’re stuck,” said Merry. “We just have to hope we get out before sunset, or survive the night. Or hope… I don’t know… that someone comes and finds us.” She paused and rubbed between her ears. “I don’t even know what this dungeon’s rank is.”

A soft hissing sound reached their ears and the two friends froze. Merry’s fur bristled and she instinctively reached for her scalchop.

“Don’t move!” Flynn hissed.

Merry’s paw froze over her stomach. “Why?”

“Because there is an arbok over there in that grass,” he explained. “I am going to attempt to leech seed it.”

“Care to explain why?”

“Erm… because it might slow it down then we can run for our lives?”

“Valid.” Merry ducked.

Flynn swung his tail over her head, scattering a flurry of seeds. They rained down on the grass, peppering the lavender body of a huge snake.

“Hey!” it roared.

The seeds erupted into tiny vines, fastening themselves over its scales.

“Buck it!” Flynn roared.

He shoved Merry ahead of him and the pair scampered through the gorge towards the rapidly setting sun.

“We’re just going to leave it like that?” Merry asked. “I’m not sure that’s good Dungeon Etiquette.”

“It’ll wear off eventually,” Flynn gasped between breaths. “Besides, it might know rapid spin.”

The two skidded to a halt and Flynn flailed his arms to stop himself tumbling down yet another ditch. Before Merry could ask if it was a dead end, her eyes fell on a small set of wooden stairs leading up to the next level of the gorge. Back onto a safe forest path.

“Wish I knew what dungeon floor this was,” she said as she joined Flynn’s side.

The pair looked left and right, their eyes lingering on the shadows. Enemies could be anywhere, and given the size of their last potential foe, it wasn’t going to be easy getting through it.

“Think we can dodge any more snakes?” Flynn asked. “Because there’s only so many leech seeds at my disposal.”

Merry’s paws twitched near her scalchop. “And if there’s any grass types in this gorge, which is likely, they wont have any effect.”

He grimaced and glanced down at her. “Then both of us are useless in that match-up.”

A thin branch above them bucked and swayed as something rustled unseen through the leaves. The two explorers froze and stared up at it, trying to spot the culprit.

“Think it’s a grass type?” Flynn’s voice was barely a whisper.

“What grass type climbs trees?” Merry asked.

“Pansage?” he suggested. “Or worse… Simisage?”

Merry nodded and moved away from the tree, following the dirt path as it cleaved a clear route through the gorge. Soon the path was surrounded on either side by a high slope and tightly knit trees. The pair moved in silence as the light rapidly waned away, leaving them to navigate by pale moonlight. Long shadows crept out on either side, occasionally plunging the gorge into complete darkness.

Noises rose from the shadows. Slithers, whispered voices, and the rattle of leaves and branches as something moved above them.

“I hope it’s not that pidove,” said Flynn.

Out of all the possibilities, Merry hoped it was. But she continued on in silence, clutching he scalchop at her side. Any desire to set up their tent had long passed. The fleeting thought of waking up to an arbok’s gaping maw in her face was too much to bare, and she shuddered.

The branches above them bucked and swayed some more, then the shadowy culprit dropped down before them. It rose up to its full foot of height and spread its stubby arms.

“Marshadow!” Flynn pointed a claw.

“Give back Mushu’s precious treasure!” it shrieked.

The shadowy bundle leapt at them, barreling into Flynn. They rolled tail over head in a flurry of leaves and dancing electricity. Merry shook herself and opened her mouth, sending out a spray of water. The two pokemon leapt apart and Flynn flicked water off his sneering muzzle as he met Mushu’s crazed eyes.

The emolga stood panting, flexing his tiny claws.

“Well, it wasn’t the pidove.” Merry sheathed her scalchop.

“No.” Flynn spat out a few droplets of water. “It was something much… much worse.”

Mushu stretched out his paw. “Treasure!”

“We need it,” said Merry. “We’re lost.”

“Mushu doesn’t care.” He folded his arms and turned up his nose. “Mushu found it, and you two stole it.”

“Oh he can count!” Flynn clapped his paws, then his entire body locked as a flash of electricity shot through him.

The snivy crumpled to the floor with his tongue hanging out. Sparks danced over his scales. Merry stared down at him then rounded on the emolga.

“Mushu, I can’t believe you did that!” she gasped. “We have to get out of here, and I can’t carry him!”

“Then drag him.” Mushu nodded at her satchel. “Treasure! Give it!”

Merry ran her paws over her face and sighed. “Okay. I’ll make a deal with you. I shall give you back the WonderMap if you can help us get out of this gorge.”

Mushu blinked up at her and inclined his head on one side. Then he stroked his chin with a claw, turning his gaze to the canopy.

“Mushu can do it,” he said. “But you give Mushu the WonderMap first!”

“Okay.” Merry tugged it out of her bag. “It’s no use to us in a dungeon anyway.”

Mushu leapt towards her and snatched the map from her paws. Then he stared down at it, giggling like a maniac who had just found a pile of gold.

“Mushu’s precious treasure!” He waved the map in the air. “A map to show all things!”

“Now!” Merry’s voice dragged his reluctant attention back on her. “How do we get out?”

The emolga stared down at the map and tapped it with his claw. Then again. And again. His lips turned down in a frown and his large eyes widened. Then he stared up at the trees.

Merry struck her face with her paw. “You don’t know, do you?”

“Yes.” Mushu tucked his map away. “Mushu is a dungeon genius. Mushu always comes in here.”

Merry hugged her arms about herself and shuffled a flipper. “Then make it quick, because it’s dark and there’s snakes.” She turned her eyes onto Flynn. “And we need to carry him with us. I’m not leaving him.”

“No problem. Mushu fix.” The emolga struck Flynn in the ribs with his foot. “Get up, LeafButt!”

“Blep…” Flynn cracked an eye open.

“Get up!” Mushu struck him again. “We haven’t got all night! You’ll be snake food!”

“Blep?” Flynn pushed his jerking body upright and tried to suck in his tongue. “I dob wabba be snek foob…”

Merry sighed and looked down at the emolga. “I don’t suppose you have a cheri berry?”

...​

The gorge grew darker until none of them could see past their own paws. Their feet crunched over the debris as the path grew narrower, forcing them into single-file. Above them, a noctowl hooted. Merry could just make out its yellow disk-like eyes, sending a shudder through her spine. Mushu didn’t seem fazed, keeping his large black eyes on the path ahead of them.

“You really trust him?” Flynn asked.

“He’s our best bet,” she replied. “And keep it down, he’ll hear you.”

“Mushu can already hear you,” said the emolga. “And Mushu doesn’t care if you trust him or not. Look!” He pointed a stubby claw. “Stairs!”

The trio scampered towards them. They led up to a higher part of the gorge, with a much wider path. Almost like a room. Merry froze at the edge of it, her fearful eyes fixed on something moving at the far end. Her companions followed her gaze, and a loud gulp came from Flynn.

“What is that?” he squeaked.

“Shh!” Merry nudged him in the ribs.

But it was too late. Two yellow eyes snapped open and fixed on them, reflecting the moonlight. Too low to the ground and too cat-like to be a noctowl. They lifted higher off the ground, held up by a powerful, rugged neck.

“Snake?” Flynn asked.

The rest of its body followed. Two arms, two legs. Two huge, jagged wings stretched out behind it, and an ear-splitting roar filled the room. The trio screwed their eyes shut as it pounded on their eardrums. Mushu tugged his large ears down at either side of his head.

Then Merry shook her head. “Definitely not a snake.”

The druddigon rushed at them, spewing fire from its huge jaws. The trio scattered in different directions to avoid the blaze as it lit up the gorge. Electricity bounced feebly off its scales and Mushu vanished into the canopy.

“Okay, so none of us have a type advantage!” Flynn roared. “And don’t you bail on us, rodent!”

As if to answer him, a thundershock struck the ground at his feet. He flailed backwards with an ‘eep!’ and Merry dragged him sideways to avoid a dual-chop from the dragon. It keeled back from her as a water gun struck its face, giving them a few vital seconds to rush towards the other side of the room.

“Do you have a plan?” Flynn asked.

“Yes,” said Merry. “If there’s stairs, we’re taking them.”

“And if there’s no stairs?”

“Then I don’t have a plan.”

There were no stairs. The pair stared at a glittering pile of gold and jewels, then turned their heads just in time to see the druddigon barreling down upon them. They let out matching screams and dived apart, leaving the dragon to crash down on its colourful nest. Coins and jewels rained down around them and Merry shielded her head with her paws as she rushed towards the trees.

Another thundershock skimmed her tail and the druddigon’s jaws jerked back from her, snapping down on thin air. The tiny emolga fell from the branches, performing a little dance in the air as he raked out with his claws. The dragon howled and flailed its arms after the squirrel pokemon as he glided away to safety.

A stream of fire chased after Mushu and Merry sent out a water gun to counter it. The flames fizzled away with a hiss, scattering hot embers and water droplets onto the dry dirt floor.

“It would be real nice if he’d explain his reason for fighting us,” said Flynn. “I mean, we only want to get out.”

“I think the reason is perfectly clear.” Merry waved a paw towards the treasure hoard.

“I don’t care about sparkling rocks!” Flynn scoffed. “I just want to get back to my nice warm nest!” The last word was squeaked as he dived out of the way of a purple dragon pulse.

The druddigon wiped a paw across its mouth and marched towards the quivering snivy. Mushu swooped in from its right, aiming his claws at its ear. The druddigon swiped its arm up in an arc, knocking the wind from Mushu’s lungs. The emolga landed in a crumpled heap in the middle of the room. He coughed a few times and wiped blood from his lips.

“Rotten reptile!” he barked. “You’ll regret that!”

Another dragon pulse cleaved the air, striking Mushu full on. An explosion of purple fire followed and Merry dropped her scalchop.

“Mushu!” she shrieked.

The tiny emolga lay surrounded by smoldering earth, his white fur singed black from the blast. She dived to his side and placed a paw on his shoulder. Still breathing. A sigh of relief left her lips and she turned just in time to see the druddigon rushing her, claws spread.

No time to move Mushu to safety. She fell across his body and screwed her eyes shut as she braced for impact, but all that came was a yelp from the dragon. Tiny vines exploded across its body, dragging it down to the ground.

“Three cheers for leech seed!” Flynn tossed Merry her scalchop.

She caught it and brought it down onto the struggling dragon’s nose. A deep welt spread across its muzzle and it hissed, flames licking at its lips. She grabbed Mushu in her arms and rolled them both out of the way of a deadly flamethrower.

The huge reptile thrashed against the pulsing vines as they sapped away its strength. It locked a livid eye on the oshawott and purple dragonfire leaked from its teeth.

“Here’s a suggestion,” said Flynn. “Could you like… learn ice beam real quick, or something?”

He swung his tail, engulfing the dragon in a leaf tornado. The sharp leaves sliced at its scales and the dragon roared, spewing a dragon pulse blindly across the room.

Merry glanced back at the pile of treasure. Maybe there was something in there that could help them? A pokemon tool of some kind. A totter orb, or even an escape orb? Or, unlikely but amazing, a sword? She released Mushu and rushed towards it, scattering coins and jewels left and right. The druddigon thrashed its tail and wings, roaring wildly. It took all her strength not to clasp her paws over her ears to dull it.

Then she spotted something. Something blue, glittering just beside a large ruby. An orb. She tugged it free, deeply wishing it would be something useful. But as she stared down at it, an alpha symbol stared back up at her.

“No way…”

No sooner had the words left her lips, the dungeon warped around them, and the two explorers found themselves standing before Pika’s Place.

Merry blinked up at the giant pikachu-building’s smiling face.

“What happened?” Flynn moved closer to her, clutching Mushu’s unconscious body.

Merry held out the blue orb, flashing its alpha symbol.

“That…” Flynn cleared his throat. “That’s the blue orb for Kyorgre? The one the kirlia asked for?”

She nodded.

“And it just happened to be in the dungeon we hopped to?” Flynn reached up a paw to rub his head, dropping Mushu unceremoniously to the floor. “How is that even possible?!”

“Maybe we were meant to dungeon hop?” Merry stooped to retrieve Mushu. “Or it was a coincidence and we’d just never have found it.”

“So we just hopped into a high rank dungeon to raid an angry dragon’s nest?!”

“Yes.” Merry hoisted Mushu in her arms and headed towards the stairs. “Now I don’t know about you, but I want to go to bed.”

Flynn yawned widely and followed after her. “Oh, I’m ready for bed all right. What are we gonna do about Mushu?”

“Leave him in the medical ward.”

“Just… leave him?”

“With a nurse!” Merry nodded to the growlithe on door duty and strutted towards the elevator. “I’ll be surprised if it’s empty.”

Flynn joined her in the elevator and rubbed his tired eyes. It rattled down on a pulley system into a cloud of noxious medical gas. Merry coughed and covered her nose as best she could and stepped out into a room filled with elevated straw nests.

An audino looked up from her current patient - a zigzagoon - and her eyes widened. “What on earth happened to him?!”

“Dragon attack,” said Flynn.

“He’s a hatchling! What’s he even doing in a dungeon?”

The audino relieved Merry of her burden and set the emolga down on one of the vacant nests.

“I think he followed us,” said Merry. “He told us he goes in there all the time.”

“Where is ‘there’?” the audino asked.

Merry shrugged her shoulders. “Glorious Gorge.”

The audino’s ears drooped and she looked back at them. “You went into Glorious Gorge?”

“Not so much ‘went’ as ‘hopped’,” said Flynn.

The audino shook her head in bewilderment. “What do you mean ‘hopped’?”

“We don’t get it either,” said Merry. “But we plan to talk to Pika about it in the morning.”

“We do?” Flynn winced as she nudged his ribs. “We do.”

The nurse sighed and turned back to Mushu. “Well, it’s not our policy to treat wild pokemon but I can’t leave a child like this.”

“So you can help him?” Merry asked. “I mean… he did really help us out today.”

The audino shuffled her feet and nodded. “Yes. I can. But how much do you know about this pokemon?”

“That he’s a near-rabid little git who bites,” said Flynn.

“Rabid?” The nurse’s nose crinkled. “I’d hardly call him ‘rabid’.”

Flynn snorted and turned away. “Whatever. He had our backs. I’m off to bed. G’night.”

“Good night.” She nodded to them both and went about cleaning up Mushu’s fur.

Merry joined her friend in the elevator and it rattled back up towards the ground floor.

“I don’t know about you, but I plan to sleep through breakfast,” said Flynn. “Think they’ll mute the alarm?”

“Sounds like bliss.” Merry yawned widely and rubbed her eyes. “But I doubt it.”

...​

They did not mute the alarm.

Merry covered her yawning mouth as she flopped onto the wooden stool between Kiki and Showa. The zorua closed his yellow eyes and laughed at her, shaking his shaggy head.

“You look like you got dragged through, like, a bramble or something.” At Merry’s livid glare, he added, “Backwards.”

Peg stared at him over the oshawott’s shoulder and he laughed nervously before returning to his breakfast of berry porridge.

Kiki nudged Merry’s shoulder, drawing her attention. “I heard Mushu got seriously hurt last night. Is it true?”

Peg sucked noisily on her paw as both her and Kiki awaited an answer.

“It’s true,” said Merry. “I was going to check on him after breakfast, actually.”

“You talking about the rodent?” Flynn fell down on Peg’s other side and reached for the porridge pan.

“You sound like you hate him,” said Kiki with some surprise.

“’Hate’ is a strong word,” said Flynn. “’Dislike intensely’ is more appropriate.”

“It’s the same thing,” said Kiki, and Peg nodded.

Flynn said nothing as he spooned porridge into his mouth. Then yelped and wafted at his tongue.

“You won’t get the chance to rush off and visit him anyway,” said Showa.

Merry stared at him, aghast. “What do you mean?”

“Rumor has it Pika wants to, like, talk to you.” A playful grin spread across the zorua’s face. “About your little impromptu dungeon excursion.”

Merry’s mouth opened and closed as she sought the right words to ask the zorua how on earth he even knew about that. Then she snapped her head around to look at Flynn. The snivy shook his head and shrugged, so she turned back to Showa.

“You look confused,” he said. “Let me narrow it down for you. I’m a master of disguise.”

Merry narrowed her eyes. “Who were you disguised as in Glorious Gorge?”

“Not the druddigon.” Showa didn’t take his eyes off her as he licked porridge from the edge of his bowl.

“The buneary?” Merry went on.

He grinned widely and slipped from the table, but she lost track of him as she swiveled on her stool. What on earth was he getting at?

“Don’t let him get to you,” said Kiki. “He lies.”

“Why would he lie about that?!” Flynn scoffed. “Does Pika really wanna talk to us?”

“Of course he does,” said Kiki. “You got the Blue Orb for the kirlia client. There’s a reward in it for you. Showa just wants information because he’s a big gossip.”

Peg lowered her paw from her mouth and caught Flynn’s eye. “Or he really was following you in disguise.”

The snivy’s spine stiffened.

Once they had finished their breakfast, they slinked off to Pika’s office. The pikachu was waiting at his desk ready, and beamed at them when they entered.

“Well done!” he said. “I didn’t expect you to survive somewhere as dangerous as Glorious Gorge!”

“Wait a minute…” Flynn narrowed his eyes. “Did you know we’d end up there?”

“Not at all,” said Pika. “If I had, I most certainly wouldn’t have sent a rookie team like you. No, no. The plan was always to send you to Silent Forest to look for the Blue Orb. But as it turned out, it had been stolen.”

“By the druddigon?” asked Merry.

“Precisely!” Pika nodded.

“Then how did we just… stumble across it?” she asked.

“That was Aurora’s doing,” said Pika. “The kirlia. She… followed you somehow. And when she discovered the orb was missing, she locked onto it and sent you to Glorious Gorge.”

Merry and Flynn stared at the pikachu, and Flynn narrowed his eyes again.

“And then…?”

Pika sighed and spread his paws in a shrug. “And then she fled. Came back here. It was as if she’d never even left. It was a stroke of luck that Mushu was there, otherwise I fear you might not have come out of that mission alive.”

“Mushu barely survived!” said Merry.

“Oh, he’s quite fine,” said Pika. “He was stuffing his face with oran berries when I went down to the Medical Ward earlier. Ruby said he had a restful sleep and had been complaining her ear off since dawn. Wants to get back to his tree.”

“Well, we can take him back,” said Merry. “It’s the least we can do. Which tree, and which dungeon?”

“No dungeon,” said Pika. “You know his tree. It’s the one that lies across the river outside Silent Forest.”

Merry and Flynn blinked a few times.

“The fallen tree?” asked Merry.

“Precisely,” said Pika.

“He lives on a bridge?” asked Flynn. “Like some kind of reverse-troll?”

“That’s rather impolite, and I’m not sure I grasp the humor,” said Pika. “He lives on that tree because it’s the one he was born in.”

“I’m not sure I’m following.” Merry rubbed her ear as she mulled this over. “He was born in a fallen tree over a fast moving river? What kind of irresponsible-”

Her eyes widened as she met Pika’s. Something about his expression told her there was much more to this story than she had first realised, and it likely had a pretty dark ending.

“His parents are dead, aren’t they?” she asked.

“They were washed away when the tree fell,” Pika said sadly. “And no one can convince him to leave it.”

“What, seriously?” Flynn spluttered. His green scales had turned a sickly yellow. “How on earth did that happen?”

“There was a storm,” said Pika. “About seven months ago. It wrecked havoc on the edge of Silent Forest. Mushu and his sisters hadn’t long since hatched. His parents were in the process of moving their children to another tree deeper into the forest. Mushu was the first. The rest… well, the gales blew their tree over and their drey was washed away by the river. We sent out a rescue party to find them, and well… we tried to bring Mushu back to Pika’s Place. But he wouldn’t leave the tree, and shocked anyone who tried. So for the first few months we sent along someone to make sure he was okay. But after a while he got tired of it. He taught himself to look after himself, and makes frequent excursions into Silent Forest.”

“Hang on.” Flynn pinched the bridge of his snout. “Do you think he got caught up in that kirlia’s tricks?”

“He did say something about ‘coming in there all the time’,” said Merry.

“Then looked all confused after we gave him the WonderMap,” Flynn added.

“It’s very possible,” said Pika.

“I reckon he were following us,” Flynn seethed. “Darn it. And after that story I’m gonna have to be super nice to the bitey little fluff-ball, aren’t I?”

“Yes,” said Merry. She then turned back to Pika. “Is there nothing we can do to get him off that fallen tree and into somewhere warm?”

Pika shook his head. “He’s a wild, I’m afraid. Although…”

“Although?” Flynn and Merry prompted.

“Exploration Teams have been known to recruit wilds.”

Merry turned to Flynn and raised an eyebrow. The snivy returned her expression, then paled back to a sickly yellow as realisation crossed his face.

“You’re about to suggest we recruit him to our team, aren’t you?” he squeaked.

Merry grinned then jerked her paw into the air before he could even open his mouth. “Bagsy on Team Leader! Hah! I get the final say.”

Flynn drooped and fixed Pika with a pleading look. The pikachu merely shrugged.
 

Adamhuarts

Junior Trainer
Pronouns
He/Him
Partner
mew
Chapter three was a pretty solid chapter overall, which came as no surprise to me. It's funny how Merry's lack of sense of direction ended up getting them lost only for Flynn to get them both going down a ditch.

I didn't expect Mushu to show up in this chapter, but he was a pretty welcome presence. I honestly thought he'd just skedaddle after getting the map back, but it's nice that he stuck around and tried to help them out. Poor kid almost died tho. His backstory was also pretty sad, and now that scene when they pushed him into the river for not letting them cross his tree has sad undertones to it. Since they're recruiting him anyway, I hope we get to see more shenanigans from him as he learns to open up to Flynn and Merry, perhaps even leading him to become a full-time guild member.

That Kirlia was pretty shady tho ngl. Not only did she tail Merry and Flynn, but she lowkey sent them to their deaths against that Druddigon. She didn't even come back to thank them for bringing back to blue orb lol, then again nothing implied she wasn't up to no good in the first place. I got the impression she's a one time character so I'm not really expecting a follow up on her.

In any case, it was a pretty good chapter. Ten outta ten from me. I'm looking forward to the Christmas special next month.
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
Thanks for the review!! =D I'm glad you like Mushu. I love him, but I get worried people will find him rather annoying XD

His backstory was also pretty sad, and now that scene when they pushed him into the river for not letting them cross his tree has sad undertones to it.
You know, that's a complete coincidence. Chapters one and two were written and barely edited for years. Chapter three is completely new. While Mushu being an orphan has always been a thing, I don't think I ever explained why. So I just coined that up without really thinking much into it. So the link is pretty unintended! Hmm... I wonder if I can weave that in somehow? Thanks for pointing it out! =D I love it when things come together like this!
 

NebulaDreams

Pokémon Trainer
Partner
luxray
Alright, back to this! I did read Chapter 2 a while back, but didn't give it a proper review until now. Now I've read 2 and 3 together, I have a bit more to say about it, but first, the quotes.

Chapter 2
“This is how the game works,” Merry said quietly. “There's an event that introduces you to the art of being a Rescue Team. This is it.” She raised a paw. “We'll do it.”
By the rules mandated by Isekai logic, we're bound to accepting new and dangerous quests.

“It's a defense scarf. It raises defense. Put it on.”
Naw, I thought it raised Evasion!

“Fine! I'm coming in!” Merry launched herself into the river and then suddenly realised... “I can't swim!”


“Last question!” The little emolga screamed this with such ferocity the other pokemon flinched back. “What is Mushu's most embarrassing moment?!”

“This.” Flynn strode onto the branch and shoved Mushu right off it. The tiny emolga struck the water with a splash unfitting for his size.
Oh, nice going, sending an electric type into the water. A hundred dead Magikarp later...

Merry nodded to the tree it had leapt from. On it, still dripping wet, were the words ‘Rattata Rules! You all suck!’ in green letters.
Does a Pokemon need graffiti in the wild? Oh well, I guess if Smeargle do it, so can they.

Chapter 3

Just an abundance of carrots and nanab berries, owned by a very disgruntled and offended mother of twenty six.
Cheezus crust, twenty six?! I guess it's true what they say about rabbits being good at multiplying...

“I’m… fairly certain that doesn’t exist,” said Merry. “And you really need to stop messing around with PokeFusions.”

“It might be valid for all I know.”
I mean, with Dynamax and Mega Evolutions being a thing, then it's just a waiting game until Gen 9 pulls another whacked out mechanic out of their ass.

This is a fun read as usual. All of these interactions between Flynn and Merry are gems, and it's nice to see them going out for their first dungeon missions! It doesn't take long for them to get into trouble, and Flynn being the more cynical one, it's nice to see him eat shit when things don't go his way. This was strong throughout both chapters, as well as the side characters. Especially Mushu. God, I love Mushu. He's a cocky brat, sure, but he's our cocky brat, and while his dialogue is a bit repetitive, that's fitting for his sort of background and kind of cute as well, so that stops him from being annoying. I also had a bit more sympathy for him with his backstory at the end of chapter 3, and am very glad he'll be joining the main team. I wonder if he'll warm up to them a bit more.

I don't know if this is a result of chapter 2 and 3 being written some time apart from one another, but the transition between them was a bit jarring. I guess it was nice starting with a cold open to trim the fat, but at the same time, by the end, it seemed like you were building up Kirlia to be a future antagonist, judging by her actions there. If that's the case, then why not start with the mission briefing at the beginning? It would've introduced her character in a more elegant way and it would've made the reveal at the end a bit less sudden. That's the part where I felt a bit lost with the 3rd chapter.

Despite that, I still really enjoyed it, and will keep my eyes peeled for more to come later.
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
Thank you! =D I'm glad you like Mushu. He's always been my fave, even back during the original write of this. He's a long standing and unchanged character, except the details around his backstory.

I don't know if this is a result of chapter 2 and 3 being written some time apart from one another, but the transition between them was a bit jarring. I guess it was nice starting with a cold open to trim the fat, but at the same time, by the end, it seemed like you were building up Kirlia to be a future antagonist, judging by her actions there. If that's the case, then why not start with the mission briefing at the beginning?
Chapter Three was written during a spell of writer's block, if memory serves, using a writing prompt. It was completely unplanned and pantsed throughout, and wasn't written in one sitting either. I think I wrote the second part of it a few weeks later, actually... So it's a bit of an oddball chapter. I was going for an episodic write of this, especially given my update schedule, but the following chapters are linked together so it might end up a bit more plot-focused. I'm not sure what shall become of the Kirlia at this stage. A mission briefing would have been a good idea, but I wasn't even sure what they were doing in the dungeon when I sat down to work on it XD

I'm glad you're enjoying it, though =) Future chapters aren't as disjointed as the third. Please bare in mind the Christmas Special is a bit of a standalone, which I hope to get up early to mid December.
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
A/N - Here's the Christmas Special for What? I'm a Pokemon?! I love Christmas and the run up to it, so I've tried to get that across in this 'fic, while maintaining the typical comedy fun this story is likely known for XD

...

Christmas Special!

An Ice Surprise!

The kitchen was in total chaos. The tablecloth wasn’t straight, and was stained with various sauces from that morning’s breakfast. The floor was coated with crumbs, plastered with berry juice, and scattered with seeds. But that was only the start of it. Loud clanging and clattering came from beyond the dining area, interspersed with rants and muttering.

Flynn stood beside Merry in the doorway, staring across at the ajar kitchen door. Smoke billowed from it, but not the thick black kind that would warn of a fire. It was the kind one would expect from a kitchen that was experiencing ‘frantic cooking’.

“Think he’s all right?” Flynn asked.

“No idea,” said Merry.

“I think we should go in.”

“You go in.”

Flynn cast an eye down at his friend. “No way. What if he tries to cook me? I’m a grass type. I can’t put out flames.”

“Just roll around on the floor a while. You’ll be okay.”

“Easy for you to say, Water Fountain,” Flynn scoffed, turning his attention back to the door.

A loud yell came from the kitchen, followed by a hollow ‘bong!’ The pair flinched, and the door creaked open, showcasing Rexi’s thick tail. The tyranitar hopped backwards from the kitchen, desperately trying to clutch his foot in his stubby fore-claws.

“Is everything okay?” Merry asked, taking a cautious step forwards.

Rexi started slightly, then hopped around to see the two explorers. His entire front was splattered with a brown, sticky, sweet-smelling mixture of berries and flour. His eyes widened, glistening with tears.

“Oh, little sis!” His voice was oddly whiny, and he let his wounded foot back onto the floor. “Just… just seasonal cooking, is all.”

Merry blinked at that, but it was Flynn who voiced her thoughts. “Seasonal cooking?”

“You know.” Rexi lifted his arms in a weak shrug. “Winter. Snow. Lots of fancy lights and… well, a huge demand for food.”

“Oh!” The pair exclaimed.

Flynn leant into Merry and whispered in her ear, “I think he’s talking about Christmas.”

“They have that here?” Merry shook her head and glanced back at Rexi, but he wasn’t listening. Instead mournfully eyeing up the soiled tablecloth. “So… What exactly are you cooking?”

Rexi looked up then and scattered sticky slop off his lace apron. “I was making figy berry pudding, but the mix is now all over the floor. And me.”

“Well if it helps at all, it smells great!” said Flynn.

Merry cuffed the snivy around the head. “Can we help you at all, Rexi?”

The tyranitar sniffled, but his eyes lit up a little. “Actually, you can. If… if you don’t mind? I don’t want to put you out at all.”

“Not at all.” Merry shook her head. “How can we help you?”

Rexi gave a mournful glance back towards his messy kitchen. “I need to make another figy berry pudding, but that was the last of the figy berries. It’s everyone’s favourite, you see, and I don’t want to let anyone down. If you could find me some more berries…”

“At this time of year?” Flynn folded his arms and closed his eyes. “I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”

“They grow all year round in the Frosty Lake,” Rexi explained. “It’s a Mystery Dungeon thing, you see. That particular place is cold all year round, so it provides for the pokemon living there.”

“Frosty Lake?” Flynn squeaked. He turned to Merry, eyes frantic. “I don’t have a type advantage! I’m gonna freeze!”

“Then at least we’ll have a nice ice sculpture for the table,” said Merry.

Rexi’s deep laughter echoed around the room and he placed his hands on his stomach. “Fantastic! But I’m sure you’ll be fine! You’re the Explorers of Stuff and Things after all. You’ve come through plenty of times.”

The pair gave a nervous laugh.

“Somehow, I’m not reassured,” said Flynn.

Rexi’s face fell, and Merry forced a smile.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “We’ve got this. Oshawott’s honor.”

A small smile spread across Rexi’s muzzle and he blinked a tear from his eye. “Thanks, little sis. And Flynn.”

Merry saluted with her scalchop, while Flynn gave a weak wave. She tugged the snivy behind her from the dining room and let the door close after them.

Outside was bitter cold, and the grass crunched under their feet. Flynn hugged his arms around himself and shook his head at his friend.

“Why did you agree to this?” he asked. “Might I remind you I’m a grass type?”

“Because he needs our help,” Merry explained.

“You just want the figy berry pudding.”

“No,” she said. “Christmas isn’t about the food, or the gifts. It’s about the greatest gift to mankind. And we celebrate that by spending time together and through generosity.”

“I agree,” said Flynn. “But what’s that got to do with helping Rexi make a figy berry pudding?”

“It’s the spirit of it,” Merry explained. “I’m not sure why the pokemon here have Christmas. All I can guess is that their human memories of a celebration have carried over, and they expect it. If it’ll help jog any memories, then I’m willing to help Rexi and the rest of the pokemon here to have a good time. Who knows. Maybe we’ll even find our way out of this world.”

Flynn made a thoughtful noise and nodded. “Okay. Then let’s find the Frosty Lake.”

They stopped at the path leading from Pika’s Place and Flynn pulled out his WonderMap. There, blinking near the north-east corner, was the Frosty Lake.

“Bit of a trek,” he said.

“Then we fast-warp.” Merry tapped a paw to the circle.

“Where you goin’?”

The little voice caused Flynn to yelp, but the WonderMap’s power surrounded them, whisking them across the region. They rematerialized outside a clump of tall shrubs dotted with frozen razz berries.

The pair looked down between them to see a small emolga standing there with his arms folded. His brow furrowed in a grumpy leer and he blinked up at them.

“Coulda warned Mushu first!” he snapped.

“You just jumped aboard!” said Flynn, pointing a claw. Then he turned to Merry. “I didn’t know the WonderMap could do that.”

She shrugged. “Kiki told me about it last week.”

“Why are we here?” Mushu stepped towards the berry bush. “All the berries are frozen!” He rounded on them and stomped his tiny foot. “Take Mushu back home, now!”

“No.” Flynn marched past him towards the thicket. “You’ll have to wait. We’ve got figy berries to harvest.”

“Why?” He scampered past them and barricaded the entrance, standing with his arms thrust out at his sides. “You shoulda done your harvest a month ago.”

“Rexi needs them,” Merry explained. “For the big meal we’re having tonight.”

Mushu looked at each of them, his mouth hanging open. “The winter meal?”

“Yes.” Merry and Flynn nodded.

“Mushu was invited.” The emolga glanced aside and scratched behind his ear. Then he nodded. “Mushu will find the berries! Mushu is good at finding berries! Then giant rock-oshawott will give Mushu extra portions!”

The emolga turned and dashed into the dungeon.

Merry and Flynn exchanged glances, and the former gave an exasperated sigh and shook her head.

“Come on.” She grabbed Flynn by his neck leaves. “Let’s go after him before he walks into danger.”

“Oh sure,” said Flynn. “Give us a side-quest, why don’t you? ‘Stop the Rabid Furball’.”

Merry released him and bared her canines. “Be nice! It’s not like he has anywhere else to go.”

Flynn hugged himself, rubbing his claws up and down his arms, and sighed. A thick white wisp clouded in the air before him. “I guess.”

They looked around at the dungeon. Icicles clung to the branches of evergreen trees. Their leaves were frosted, glinting in the dim light like jewels. Snow mounded up on either side of the path, dotted with frozen berries as if they’d been deliberately left there as decor. Apples clung to the branches of fruit trees, dusted with snow. Dainty flakes drifted down between the intertwined branches, clinging to Merry’s fur before melting away into droplets.

“It’s so pretty!” she said, eyes sparkling. “Like a winter wonderland!”

“Yeah, it is,” said Flynn. “It’s also absolutely freezing.”

He found the yellow fabric of his tent blanket thrust around his shoulders.

“Come on,” said Merry. “Before we lose Mushu.”

They waded through the shallow snow, following the little paw prints of the young emolga. They ended at a fork in the path, where his black tail poked out from between the branches of a rawst berry bush.

Merry stopped beside it and doubled over to peer inside. “Mushu?”

The emolga jerked his head back out and wiped rawst juice off his muzzle. “What?”

“I thought they were frozen,” said Flynn.

“Not inside, they’re not.” Mushu folded his arms and looked up at him. “Mushu likes rawst berries. What’s with the cape?”

“I’m cold,” said Flynn. “Unlike you two, I don’t have fur.”

Mushu snorted from his nose, forming little clouds in the air. “Careful you don’t fall in the lake then, eh?”

“Mushu, listen to me.” Merry crouched, drawing the emolga’s attention. “Do you know where the figy berries might be? Have you come here before?”

“No.” Mushu kept his arms folded and met her eyes. “But Mushu hears things.”

“Not voices, I hope?” Flynn mocked.

Mushu fired a glare over his shoulder. “Depends what kinda voices, LeafButt.” He turned back to Merry. “No, word on the wing. Murkrow. They harvest figy berries near the lake.”

“Then the lake it is!” Merry beamed and straightened. “Why don’t we work together? Then we can harvest more than enough berries for Rexi.”

Mushu inclined his head on one side as he considered that. Then nodded, his big ears flopping back and forth.

“Okay! Mushu will help the big dino make his pudding. Maybe he lets Mushu lick the spoon?”

“You can ask,” said Flynn.

The trio moved away from the rawst bush, taking the right fork further into the dungeon. It was quiet, yet peaceful. A breeze whipped up, causing a flurry of snowflakes in the air. The branches rocked, causing the frozen fruit and icicles to tinkle pleasantly. Merry couldn’t help the smile that spread across her face.

“This dungeon seems like a far cry from the ones we’ve ventured into,” she said. “Where are all the wild pokemon?”

“Probably hibernating,” said Flynn. “Like our little companion should be.”

“What’s ‘hibernating’?” Mushu asked.

“You know… when you sleep for the winter and wake up again in spring?”

His nose crinkled and he glared up at Flynn. “Why would Mushu sleep all winter? Mushu’s not a tree!”

Flynn exchanged a startled glance with Merry. “Well, excuse me! I thought it was science.”

“Mushu’s not science, either!” The emolga stuck out his tongue.

“Actually, we’re all sci…” Flynn sighed and shook his head. “You know what? Forget it. I can see stairs.”

A set of glassy steps rose up from the frozen path. Merry touched her flipper to one and tapped it a couple of times.

“They seem steady enough,” she said.

“I don’t know, Merry.” Flynn hugged his blanket around his shoulders. “They look pretty slippery and fragile.”

“They’re fine. Come on.”

Merry carefully climbed up them to make her point, vanishing into the next level. Flynn wasted no time in following her, with Mushu close on his tail.

The next level opened up onto a grand lake. Jovial voices filled the air with yells and whoops. Between the berry bushes, they could see colourful pokemon sliding back and forth over a wide stretch of ice. Huge trees grew around the frozen lake with thick vines stretching up them, each one heavy with frozen figy berries.

“We made it!” Merry exclaimed.

“Yeah,” said Flynn. “And by the looks of it, so did most of Pika’s Place.”

Merry looked out at the pokemon once again. Sure enough, familiar faces mixed with unfamiliar ones. Kiki and Peg skated along the lake, steadying Scout, still wearing his bandana like a superhero cape. The sentret’s mother sat on the sidelines with Daisy the miltank, the pair laughing at the hatchling’s antics. More tiny pokemon slid about on the ice, children from Pika’s place playing happily with the wild pokemon of the lake.

Showa slid across towards them and twirled, stretching out all four legs to steady himself. The zorua’s yellow eyes glittered with amusement.

“Hey! You guys made it!” he said.

“Made it?” Merry and Flynn exchanged glances.

“We didn’t even know this was a thing,” said Flynn.

“We, like, come here every year,” said Showa.

Lance and Gil skated up beside him.

“Didn’t Pika tell you?” the absol asked.

“No?” said Merry.

Flynn hugged his blanket around himself. “I’m starting to think he tells us very little.”

Showa and his friends looked at each other, then the zorua shook his head and laughed. “Oh yeah! Yeah. I was, like, meant to tell you.”

Gil rolled his eyes. “Showa…”

The zorua chuckled. “Sorry. My bad.”

Lance spoke around an over-sized lollypop. “You’ll probably find the invites stuffed in your nests.”

“So.” Showa’s eyes sparkled and he skirted backwards away from them. “You gonna, like, play on the ice?”

The Explorers of Stuff and Things gave the lake a nervous glance.

“I dunno…” Merry wound her paws together.

Mushu looked up at them and puffed out his chest. “Well Mushu is!”

He took off from them, diving onto the lake. He spread out all four paws and shot across it, scattering the hatchlings as they parted to avoid him.

“Hey! Way to go!” Showa laughed and bounced on his pads. Then he turned back to Merry and Flynn. “Come on! It’s fun!”

“I might freeze more than I already am,” said Flynn.

“It actually warms you up quite nicely,” said Lance.

Flynn stared at the absol for a moment, then nodded. “All right then.”

He fastened the blanket around his neck like a cape and stepped onto the ice…

“Whoa!”

… And his feet flew out from under him.

The snivy slid across the ice on his bottom, coming to a stop beside Mushu. The emolga could barely stand for laughing, pointing his claw at the stunned and chilly Flynn. The snivy bared his canines and swiped his tail, sending Mushu’s feet out from beneath him.

Gil shook his head, a smile of amusement on his muzzle. He held out a paw to Merry. “You coming?”

She eyed the riolu’s paw for a moment then took it hesitantly. He helped her onto the ice, and much to Merry’s surprise, she kept her balance.

“I have to say,” said Gil, “I’m surprised an oshawott is so wary of a little ice. I thought you’d be used to frozen lakes?”

“Yeah, well, I’ve not really come across any before,” she said.

Showa gave her an amused glance and skirted around her, his claws kicking up little bits of frost. “I find it surprising you’ve, like, never been to the Frosty Lake before.” He gave her a playful grin. “Race ya!”

Then he turned and took off across the ice.

Merry shook her head and looked over at Gil. “We’re actually here for figy berries. Rexi asked us.”

Gil cocked an eyebrow. “Spilled the mix, huh?”

“How did you-”

“He does it every year,” Gil explained. “Then sends stragglers to the lake. It’s his way of helping out those who might have missed the message. Like you two did. Come on, let’s get some berries.”

“He couldn’t have just told us straight?” Merry gasped as she tried to keep up with the riolu.

“No. If he did, you’d have asked ‘Why don’t you come, too? Cook later! The food isn’t going anywhere!’”

“That’s a good point.” She circled around Gil so she could see him better. “Why doesn’t he come?”

“Are you kidding?” Gil gasped. “You’ve seen the size of him. The last time he came here, he fell right through the ice and sank like a rock. It took seven of us to hoist him back out of the water. Kiki had to craft a rope out of figy vines! The poor tyranitar caught hypothermia!”

Merry’s heart sank. “Oh yeah… Of course. I’d never considered that.”

“After that, Pika put his foot down. Rexi had to stay back at Pika’s Place.”

“That was why he looked so sad,” said Merry. “It had nothing to do with the figy berries at all, did it?”

Gil shook his head.

Showa skated around behind them with a silly grin plastered on his face. “It’s little wonder Rexi didn’t, like, see his reflection.”

“The ice was scratched up before he got here,” Gil explained.

“I was going to ask about that,” said Merry. “I mean, he really believes he’s an oshawott.”

“I think that’s partly why Pika won’t let him come,” said Showa. “Imagine if he found out? It would be, like, a total disaster.”

Merry rubbed her paws together and glanced across at the other side of the lake. It really would be a disaster. He’d grown up believing he was an oshawott. If he found out now… but surely he’d have to find out at some point?

“Hey! Hey! Merry!”

She looked back down at Showa.

“I know a quick way to get those berries.” His tail wagged and a mischievous look sparkled in his eyes.

“Really? What do you have in mind?”

“Turn around, I’ll follow.”

Gil narrowed his eyes at the zorua. “We’re managing just fine.”

“Trust me!” Showa implored.

Merry sighed and turned away, skating across the ice. Flynn spotted her and struggled to his feet, his eyes widening.

Something warm struck Merry in the back and she yelped as her flippers flew out from beneath her. She slid along the ice on her bottom at top speed, sending pokemon fleeing in all directions. She finally came to a stop when her feet struck the snowy bank.

Showa burst out laughing and stood up beside her, shaking frost off his shaggy fur.

“Told ya I’d, like, get us here quickly!”

Merry leered at him. “You said you knew a fast way to get them!”

“I did!” He sat down heavily and closed his eyes in a smile. “You’d still be, like, struggling along in your dainty stride otherwise!”

Lance sat down beside him and licked his lips. “If it weren’t for Showa, you’d still be struggling along at sundown.”

Merry puffed out her cheeks in a pout. Then she shook her head and sighed. “Let’s just grab those berries?”

“Yes, please, let’s.” Flynn staggered towards them and clutched the trunk of a tree to steady himself. “I’m not sure I’m cut out for life as an ice dancer.”

“He’s really not,” said Mushu appearing beside him. He pointed his paw at the tree. “Figy berries.”

All the trees surrounding them were heavy with figy berries, frosted like all the others around the lake. Merry reached out a paw and plucked one from its vine. Solid, but it looked ripe enough.

“How many do you think we’ll need?” she asked.

“I’d say plenty,” said Gil. “We usually take back three or four baskets each year.”

Merry looked back at her friends. “Does anyone actually have a basket?”

Showa nodded his head to his left. Perched beneath an apple tree were two baskets.

“Who else?” Merry asked.

“Kiki and Peg already helped fill one,” said Gil. “Like I said, Rexi does this every year. So we come prepared.”

“It’s not as if they go to waste,” said Lance.

“All right!” Merry smiled. “Then let’s get picking!”

“Mushu will help!”

The emolga launched himself at the vines and clambered up them, sending frozen figy berries raining down. Flynn flew into action, grabbing a basket and catching as many as he could in it. The others gathered up those that had fallen along with the ones they could reach, and before long they had filled the two baskets.

Merry tapped her chin as she admired the frozen wintery pile. “I feel like… we need more than just figy berries.”

“I think that’s all he asked for,” said Flynn.

“Flynn’s right,” said Showa. “It’s all he asks for, like, every year.”

“I dunno.” Merry placed her paws on her hips and bit her lip. “That little story has set me thinking.”

“Oh boy.” Flynn took in a sharp breath. “That’s a dangerous game you’re playing, Mer.”

She cuffed him across the leg with her tail rudder. “Rexi misses out on this every year because it’s too risky to bring him here. He believes he’s a water type, but he’s not. He’s a rock type. Not only could he freeze to death, he could find out he’s been living a lie his entire life.”

“Way to put a dark spin on this,” Flynn scoffed. “And I’d just got into the festive spirit and everything.”

“Then get back into it,” said Merry. “Because we’re going to do something nice for Rexi. We’re not only bringing him back enough figy berries to cook with, we’re going to make him feel involved.” She turned to Gil and his team. “What else does Rexi enjoy? Besides cooking?”

“Eating,” said Lance, licking sherbert off his muzzle.

“I think that’s you,” said Showa.

“No, Lance has a point,” said Gil. “Rexi enjoys eating the food he makes. I’ve seen him snacking while he cooks.”

“That explains why he never joins us at the table then,” said Flynn.

“We could make him a cake,” said Mushu.

Merry looked down at the emolga with some surprise. “You… think we should make him a cake?”

Mushu nodded. “An apple cake.”

Merry blinked at him. Everyone had fallen silent.

“Where has this come from?” she asked.

“Mushu wants to help.” He shuffled his foot in the snow. “The big rock-oshawott is alone when you guys are all out here. He’s done a lot for Mushu.”

Merry and Flynn were silent as they stared down at the emolga.

His ears drooped as he went on, “He pulled Mushu’s tree from the rapids, made sure it was secure. Helped Mushu try to find his family. Brought Mushu food.” He looked up and his eyes flashed with enthusiasm. “Mushu will return the favor!”

Merry’s eyes glistened with tears, but a smile spread across her face. “You know what? I think that’s a great idea.” She turned to her friends. “Are there any fire types here who can help us?”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to set a fire here,” said Gil. “But we could certainly do this behind Pika’s Place.”

“And he won’t notice?” Flynn asked.

“Who, Rexi?” Gil smiled and shook his head. “He’ll be too occupied in the kitchen.”

“Okay,” said Merry. “But we’ll need some supplies. Cake tins, spoons, flour, sugar-”

“I have sugar,” said Lance. “You can use mine.”

Flynn narrowed his eyes at the absol. “How are you not sick?”

Lance licked frosting off his nose and said nothing.

...​

The rest of the pokemon were more than happy to chip in. Between them, they lugged the figy berries back to Pika’s Place, along with three baskets of apples. Snow fell softly around them while their cheery voices filled the air. The smell of cooking greeted them as they entered Pika’s Place.

The Explorers of Stuff and Things, accompanied by Mushu, dropped the figy berries off in the kitchen.

Rexi flashed them a toothy grin, but his expression lacked his usual cheer. “Thanks, guys! This should be plenty for a figy berry pudding!” He crouched slightly towards the emolga. “And thank you, too, Mushu! You’re a good pokemon.”

Mushu waved a paw and looked away, his muzzle creasing in a frown. “S’nothin’.”

“Ignore him,” said Flynn. “He slipped on the ice.”

“Only ‘cos you tripped me, LeafButt!”

“Guys!” Merry waved her paws. “Get it together! We’re supposed to be celebrating!”

Rexi chortled laughter and shook his head. “Ma always used to tell me only the best of friends squabble like that.”

Flynn and Mushu stopped seething as matching expressions of surprise took over. They looked up at Rexi with a start.

“Us?!” Mushu gasped.

“Friends?” Flynn added.

The pair leered at each other then turned their backs.

Rexi laughed again. “Like me ‘n’ my brothers, you two. Go on. Enjoy the snow.”

He turned from them and Flynn reached out a paw. “You sure we can’t help at all?”

“Nah!” Rexi fired a toothy grin over his shoulder. “Too many cooks spoil the soup.”

Merry ushered her friends out ahead of her, while Flynn muttered, “I thought he was making figy berry pudding?”

They filed out of the back of Pika’s Place where their friends were gathered around a small fire. A growlithe sat beside it, watching the flames, while Kiki and Peg set up the pan over them. A few strong-looking pokemon stood to the side, clutching rocks to stack around the little fire to keep in the heat.

Merry joined Showa’s side. “Great job, Showa. Even we didn’t see you in the kitchen.”

“Well, you did, like, make it easy for me by distracting him,” he said. “Almost didn’t even need to bother becoming a kecleon.”

Flynn blinked in surprise. “Wait a minute. You can actually use a pokemon’s ability when you disguise yourself as it?”

“Nope!” Showa grinned. “I just did it for flavor.”

“All right, guys!” Kiki trotted around to face them. “We’ve measured the flour. We just need milk, sugar, and someone to chop up all the apples!”

“I’m on it!” Flynn grabbed a basket of apples and started hacking away with leaf blade.

Merry joined him with her scalchop while Mushu grabbed the slices back into the basket.

“Lance! Please stop eating the sugar!” Kiki scolded the absol. “Peg, keep an eye on him.”

Peg moved closer to Lance and fixed him in an intense stare. The absol flinched back from her and instead pulled a sherbert fountain from his bag.

Kiki then turned to Mocha the furret and her miltank friend. “Daisy, do you have any milk spare?”

Daisy hopped over with a deep ‘moo’ and whipped a bottle of Moomoo Milk from her satchel.

“Perfect!” Kiki exclaimed, eyes sparkling.

Scout scurried over to her clutching a little bundle in his arms. “I have some nanab berries! Mother always puts them in my cakes, and they make it taste fantastic!”

“Wonderful!” Kiki trotted to the side and nodded to where the berries were being chopped. “Put them right over there! I’m sure Rexi will love it!”

Scout cheered and dashed towards Flynn, bundling his berries into the basket.

Soon other pokemon were chipping in with their own suggestions and unique ways of helping, and before long the pan was steaming away in the makeshift oven.

Flynn’s nose twitched as he sniffed. “It already smells great.”

“It’s for Rexi,” said Merry. “Remember that.”

Mushu nodded, narrowing his eyes at Flynn. “Yeah. This is Rexi’s special cake.”

“Hey, I can control myself!” Flynn folded his arms. “I’m not an eating machine, you know.” A small smile formed on the snivy’s muzzle. “It was a great idea, Mushu. And a lot of fun, too.”

Mushu grinned and turned to watch the little stove.

Steam rose up between the cracks around the stones and a soft heat radiated from it. Everyone settled around it, nattering among themselves and enjoying the warmth. Before long, a small figure strolled over to them, his arms tucked behind his back.

“What’s going on here?” Pika stopped beside them and eyed the stove.

The pokemon looked up, and Merry rose to her feet.

“I can explain,” she said.

“Oh, my dear, you’re not in trouble!” Pika beamed, placating the oshawott. “I just wondered where everyone had got to.”

“We’re baking a cake for Rexi,” said Kiki. “Please don’t tell him. It’s meant to be a surprise.”

“Oh what a wonderful idea!” said the pikachu.

“It was Mushu’s idea,” said Merry. “We felt a bit bad that Rexi can’t join everyone at the lake.”

“Yeah, he seemed a bit sad,” said Flynn. “I thought it was just because he’d spilled his cake mix.”

Pika made a thoughtful noise and inclined his head on one side. “I have to admit, he’s never told me he’s unhappy with the arrangement. Falling into the lake was quite traumatic for him. He always seemed content to be left behind and get dinner ready. He does like to make others happy with his cooking.” Pika straightened and nodded. “But this is a very thoughtful gesture. One I am certain he’ll appreciate. Do you… mind if I help, too?”

Kiki closed her eyes and blushed slightly. “It’s actually almost finished. But if you have any ideas on how to decorate it?”

Pika turned his head towards Mushu and the Explorers of Stuff and Things. Merry and Flynn looked down at the emolga. He tapped his chin with a claw and stood up.

“Mushu was thinking make it sparkly!” He waved his paws at the sky. Snow was starting to fall again. “Sparkly like snowflakes!”

“Hmm.” Pika nodded, a small smile forming on his lips. “I like that idea. Very seasonal. And I can see we have some frozen berries left, but I fear they might thaw very soon with all this heat.”

“Does anyone know powder snow?” Merry ventured. “Or icy wind?”

“Ooh! Ooh! I do!” A popplio raised a flipper then clapped them together. “Yay! I’m helping!”

Flynn looked over at Merry. “I didn’t even know we had a popplio in Pika’s Place. You ask me, it sounds like some kind of convenient plot tool.”

Once the cake was from the oven, and suitably cooled (which didn’t take long given the weather), Pika and Mushu set to decorating it. White frosting with apple slices arranged to look like a flower. The popplio dusted over it with icy wind, making the frosting and the apples glisten like jewels.

“It looks amazing!” said Merry.

“It really does!” The smile fell off Kiki’s face as something splashed between her ears. She jerked her head back, startling Lance. “Do you mind!? Drool somewhere else!”

“Apologies.” Lance scooted backwards away from her.

“Well done, everyone,” said Merry. “Now all that’s left is to present it to Rexi.”

“Might I suggest we do so after the meal?” Pika asked. “That way, it will be the perfect way to thank him.”

...​

Rexi had outdone himself. The table was set with an wild assortment of hot, steaming pies, pastries and stews. Dessert was as equally extravagant.

Flynn’s mouth watered as he piled up his plate. “It’s not goose, but I’m game!”

A zangoose beside him stiffened and cocked an eye in his direction, but Flynn said nothing as he took his seat between Merry and Mushu.

Once the meal was over, Pika stood on his little stool and raised his glass of apple cider. The entire room fell into silence.

“I’d like to make a little toast,” he said. “To Rexi, for putting this amazing meal together for us. He works really hard while all of us go out to the Frozen Lake at this time of year. For that, I think he deserves a round of applause.”

The table exploded with clapping paws and tails, and Rexi shuffled his foot in the kitchen door.

“It’s nothing, really,” he said. “I enjoy it.”

“Well, I think you’ll enjoy this, too,” said Pika. “Merry, Flynn, Mushu… if you would?”

The Explorers of Stuff and Things slid from their stool and rushed towards the back door. The cake had been left surrounded by rocks out in the cold to avoid the frozen decorations from thawing. Together, they lugged the large cake into the dining room. The frosted coating sparkled in the light like jewels.

Rexi’s eyes lit up and his jaw dropped. “You baked a cake?”

“Not just any cake,” said Pika. “The pokemon here at Pika’s Place wanted to show you their appreciation for all you do.”

“It was actually Mushu’s idea,” said Merry as she worked with her friends to set the cake on the table. “Go on.”

Mushu staggered forwards as she nudged him with her tail rudder. He gave her a bashful look, then turned to Rexi, winding his tiny paws together.

“It’s a thank you,” he said. “Mushu… thinks you are a good pokemon. You helped Mushu a lot, and you help all these pokemon to have a good time during the cold season.” He shuffled his foot back and forth. “I know it’s just a cake, but it’s one of Mushu’s favourite cakes. Mushu thought you’d like it.”

Rexi’s eyes glistened and he wound his claws into his apron. “Really? You all did this for me?”

The room nodded.

“We all contributed in our own way,” said Kiki. “Everyone with their suggestions and talents.”

Scout and the tiny hatchlings broke into cheers at the far end of the table.

Rexi dabbed his eyes on the hem of his apron. “Thanks, everyone. But… that’s a pretty big cake.”

“You’re a pretty big pokemon,” said Flynn.

“I have always been big for my age.” Rexi nodded and flashed his teeth in a grin. “But I think I want to share. It would mean a lot to me. We can enjoy it while we watch the stars. It’s going to be a clear night tonight.”

The tyranitar cut the cake up into slices, and the pokemon lined up to collect a slice before flowing outside. It was dark, and the moon shone bright and full, lighting up the snow in a pearly white. The pokemon gathered around in front of Pika’s Place and sat back in the snow, nattering among themselves as they admired the stars and the light reflecting off the frozen branches of the surrounding trees.

“This is my favourite part.” Kiki settled down beside Flynn and curled her tail around her. “I love the stars. I always thought, if I were to evolve, I’d become an umbreon.”

Peg nodded and sucked noisily on her paw before adding, “I remember someone telling me there were stars that looked like an ursaring and her cub. But I’ve never seen it.”

Merry and Flynn eyed the teddiursa curiously.

Then Mushu piped up, “Lies. There’s no such stars.”

Peg stared silently at him over Flynn’s shoulder, causing the emolga to flinch back behind him.

“Don’t be rude, Mushu,” said Merry. “We’re supposed to be spending a nice time together.”

Mushu slumped to his bottom and took a bite out of his cake. His eyes lit up and he licked his lips, staring at it aghast. Then he took another bite and sat back to watch the stars.

Merry followed suit, and the sweet taste of apples and nanab berries filled her mouth. “This really is incredible.”

“You’re telling me!” said Flynn around a full mouth. “Is there cinnamon in this?”

“Yes,” said Peg. “It was Lance’s idea.”

“It was a good idea,” said Flynn.

Mushu licked his paws clean and flopped onto his back, tucking his arms behind his head. After a moment of silence, he let out a little grunt.

“Maybe those stars look a bit like bears,” he said, pointing.

Peg looked down at him then turned to follow his claw. She lowered her paw and nodded. “I think I can see it.”

The group huddled down around the emolga, trying to trace the stars to form a bear. But try all she might, Merry couldn’t find it. Part of her wondered if the emolga had said it to apologize for upsetting Peg.

Deep laughter echoed softly in the air, and across the grounds Rexi sat laughing with Pika, Mocha and Scout. A small smile graced Merry’s muzzle and she exchanged a smile with Flynn.

The snivy looked over at Mushu lay sprawled between them and winked. “This was a great idea. Thanks, Mushu.”

The emolga’s nose twitched and the pair braced themselves for a retort. But instead he grinned and shuffled into the snow.

“Was nothin’,” he said. Then after a pause, added, “It’s been nice. Mushu has enjoyed.”

Merry and Flynn smiled and returned to watching the stars and the glittering icicles. They were almost reminiscent of the lights that filled the streets over winter back in their own world. The cool air and pleasant company almost echoed the atmosphere of a village carol service.

“It’s just missing music,” she said, almost to herself.

Her friends looked over at her, almost asking her to elaborate.

She cleared her throat and sang out, “Oh Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.”

When she’d stopped, the grounds fell into a momentary silence. Someone shifted beside her, and she looked up to see Gil and his friends. She hadn’t even noticed them join her.

“That was nice,” said Gil, sitting back on his paws. He inclined his head on one side. “I don’t know why, but I feel like I’ve heard that somewhere before.”

“I thought the same,” said Kiki. “It was quite pretty.”

Merry and Flynn both cocked an eyebrow. Had that actually triggered something? Showa and Lance peered at them from Gil’s other side, silent yet curious.

Merry let out a nervous laugh and turned back to the stars. “Unfortunately that’s all I know. That line, and the chorus. Otherwise I’d offer to teach it to you.”

Gil chuckled and flopped back into the snow. “Oh well. If you happen to remember any more of it, let me know. I’d like to join in.”

“Really?” Merry cracked a smile. “I can teach you the chorus at least?”

“You really want this guy singing?” Showa laughed and shook his head. “Oh boy. Like, get ready for the windows to crack.”

Gil nudged him and the zorua fell over onto his side, laughing.

“I think it sounds like fun,” said Kiki. “Come on, Merry. Ignore Showa. We’ll all join you.”

“Alright.” Merry pushed herself up. “I’ll teach you.”

She cleared her throat, suddenly feeling a bit self conscious with so many expectant ears listening. Flynn gave her a gentle nudge.

“Go on,” he said. “I know it too. So I’ll join in.”

She gave her friend a warm smile, and together they rang out the chorus.

“Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! Oh night divine, the night when Christ was born! Oh night, oh Holy Night, oh night divine!”

It took a couple of repeats, but before long the whole of Pika’s Place was joining them, the song ringing out into the clear night sky.

It didn’t trigger any huge memories, but the pokemon all went to bed filled with joy to wake up to a world of freshly fallen snow and new adventures.

...

A/N - Yup! No Whamageddon in this 'fic ;) you've been spared (unless you failed already!) I hope you enjoyed! =D

'Oh Holy Night' is my favourite carol (particularly the remix by Reyer. I've actually just put it on now, since it's in my head). I'm also very fond of 'Do You Hear What I Hear' and 'Mary Did You Know'. What's yours?

Merry Christmas everyone!
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
Chapter Four - The New Recruit​

“I can’t believe the little sparky toe-rag said ‘no’!” Flynn kicked out at a berry seed, sending it bouncing along the courtyard of Pika’s Place. “After all we offered the jerk!”

Merry merely ‘hmm’d’ as she followed after her friend, shuffling her feet across the dirt. ‘No’ was a rather vague and polite way of putting it. It hadn’t been in quite as few words, and had involved a lot of sparking, biting and scratching to boot. Flynn’s tail leaves still smoldered, catching on the wind and tickling the oshawott’s nose with the scent of burning herbs. She opened her mouth slightly and sprayed out a small water gun, causing his tail to sizzle slightly as the smoke vanished.

Flynn jerked his head back towards her, eyes wide. It suddenly felt a lot quieter.

“What was that?” he asked.

“You were still smoking,” she explained.

“Oh.” He turned back towards the pikachu-shaped building then froze, glancing back at her out of the corner of his eye. “You weren’t listening to a word I said, were you?”

Merry shrugged and scratched the back of her head. “I was just thinking about that little emolga.” Flynn rolled his eyes, but before he could complain, Merry cut him off. “I mean, we can’t leave a baby living on a fallen tree! What if it rots and he falls into the river?”

“Come on, Merry, he’s hardly a baby if he’s been looking after himself for what… half a year?” Flynn lifted his hands in a weak shrug. “I mean, sure, he’s small, but he’s almost one year old now! He can talk, fight, feed himself… in human years, he’s probably twelve or something. How long do emolga live, anyway?” Flynn paused at that and blinked a few times. “Hang on… how long do snivy live?!”

Merry placed a paw on his shoulder and steered him back towards Pika’s Place. “Come on, let’s change the subject before you give yourself an existential crisis. Again.”

“I mean, if he’s twelve then I’m…” Flynn counted off on his claws then squeaked. “I’m over a hundred! Yikes, I’m old, Merry! Well… reptiles do live pretty long lives, right?” He looked back at her as she half-pushed him towards the stairs. “I’m not sure about otters. Sorry, Mer.”

“Shut up and get up those stairs before I hydro-pump you up them.”

“You don’t know hydro pump.” Flynn yelped as her scalchop cleaved his tail, and leapt up the stairs with both paws clutching his rear.

Peg and Kiki poked their heads around the door before he could open it.

“Any joy?” the eevee asked.

Peg sucked noisly on her paw as she eagerly awaited the duo’s answer.

Merry shook her head as she pushed Flynn into the entrance hall. “He won’t budge off his tree.”

Kiki sighed and exchanged glances with Peg. “We told you. He’s a stubborn one.”

The teddiursa lowered her paw slightly. “It’s his home, after all.”

Flynn marched past them towards the dining hall. “Well, if he wants to live on a rotten tree then that’s his problem. I’m starving. I can’t believe I skipped lunch for this.”

“Dinner is delayed, I’m afraid,” Kiki said as she watched him go.

Flynn froze and looked back slowly. “Delayed? Why? Is there a berry crisis?!”

“Please excuse him,” said Merry. “He gets grumpy when he’s hungry.”

Kiki beamed and shook her head at the snivy. “Nope! Plenty of berries. Pika is preparing a party!”

“What for?” Flynn and Merry asked, the latter with more excitement.

“The new recruit,” said Peg.

The Explorers of Stuff and Things blinked at the other two pokemon.

“Why?” asked Merry.

“He never threw us a party,” said Flynn.

“It’s just what he does,” said Kiki. “Pika likes to celebrate his new recruits.”

“But…” Flynn jammed a thumb claw into his chest. “But we didn’t get one.”

“He threw one after you rescued Scout,” said Peg.

“Yeah, to celebrate Scout’s safe return!” said Flynn. “I’m sorry, but I am taking this very personally! I am morally offended!”

“Flynn,” said Merry. “Stop. Jealousy doesn’t become you. You’re already green.”

The snivy huffed.

Merry turned back to Kiki and Peg. “Although I am interested to know what’s so special about this new recruit.”

“Nothing,” they replied.

A small pause passed between them, broken only when Flynn snorted through his pointy nose.

He folded his arms and turned his nose up at the ceiling. “Very. Personally.”

...​

When the dinner bell finally went, Flynn marched to the dining hall with purpose. Merry had to trot to keep up, occasionally stumbling over her flippers. As they rounded into the dining hall, she let out a small yelp as she almost walked smack into the leg of a tyranitar.

Rexi looked down at her with a toothy smile that still chilled her.

“Oops! Sorry there, little sister!” He stepped aside, laughing jovially, while steadying a tray of fruit juice on one hand. He smoothed out his frilly apron with the other. “It’s a little hectic in here today. No table, so I’m just wandering around handing out drinks. Would you like one?”

“Yes please.” Merry silently berated herself for the waver in her voice, and she took a cool glass from Rexi’s claws. “What flavor is it?”

“Watmel!” Rexi said with a warm grin.

Merry sipped it and had to stifle a squeal. It was pleasantly sweet. Before she cold thank the tyranitar, he was off delivering drinks to the rest of the crowded room.

Flynn stood beside her, jaw hanging open.

“Is there a problem?” Merry asked.

“He didn’t offer me one!” The snivy folded his arms and pouted. “I am starting to think this really is personal! What have I done to cheese off Pika?!”

“Nothing!” Merry steered Flynn away from the door as a trio of shroomish hopped into the room. “I almost walked into him, that’s all. He probably didn’t see you.”

“Oh, so I’m invisible now?!”

“Seriously! Divert the existential crisis!” Merry pushed Flynn up against the wall and flashed her canines. “It’s not personal! Now wait here and I’ll get you a drink! What flavor?”

“Anything other than nanab,” said Flynn. “I never liked bananas, and I don’t imagine the pokemon variant is any different.”

“Bananas are great.”

“Ew. You’re weird.”

Merry bowed with a flourish, sloshing watmel juice onto the floor. She turned towards Rexi and a yelp came from behind her, followed by a thud. A riolu staggered back to his feet, rubbing his sore tail, before waddling away from the puddle of sticky green juice.

“Oops!” Merry grimaced. “Sorry, Gil.”

Raucous laughter came from behind her, and Gil fired a glare over her shoulder. Showa shook his head, tears streaming down his cheeks. Lance sat behind him, smirking around an oversized swirly lollypop.

“That was classic!” Showa gasped out between breaths. He wiped an eye with his paw. “Oh! Sorry, Gil. I can’t help it!”

The riolu joined the zorua’s side and narrowed his eyes at Merry. “You should watch what you’re doing. Water types should know better.”

Merry wanted to explain that she hadn’t always been a water type, but didn’t think it would go down very well. So instead, she muttered an apology and wiped the dripping side of her glass on her stomach.

“I’ve heard there’s a new recruit,” she said, in a desperate bid to change the conversation. “Have any of you met them yet?”

“Oh, not personally,” said Lance. Although most of his words were muffled by his sweet.

“But we’ve heard rumors.” Gil glared down at Showa.

The zorua closed his eyes and chuckled. “Oh yeah. I’ve, like, been keeping a watchful eye out.”

“So what’s he like?” Merry asked.

“Is he cool?” Flynn added.

Showa cracked one eye open and a playful smirk teased his lips. “I guess you’ll have to, like, wait and find out.”

“Oh come on! You can’t bait us in like that!” said Flynn. “I wanna know why this guy deserves his own party!”

“We all had parties,” said Lance.

Gil nodded, while Showa smirked at the snivy.

Flynn threw his arms in the air. “Oh, come on!”

The soft chime of a spoon striking glass echoed across the room, drawing all the pokemon into silence. All eyes went to the back of the dining hall where Pika stood on a stool.

“May I have your attention, please?” the pikachu called. “As you all know, we have a new recruit today. Allow me to introduce Rolly!” He waved a paw to the pokemon sat beside him.

A yellow corgi pokemon sat there with his tongue hanging out, panting happily. He leapt to his feet, tail wagging, to address the room.

“Hi there! My name is Rolly and I am so, so happy to meet you all! I can’t wait to join an exploration team and go on adventures together! I shall do my best to be super, super useful!”

“He’s a dog!” Flynn gasped. “A freakin’ dog!”

The snivy’s expression had transformed drastically from sour to sparkly.

“And that changes everything?” asked Merry.

“Of course it does! Look at him!” Flynn bent over and placed his hands on his knees. “He’s a good boy! Oh, yes he is!”

“Flynn!” Merry hissed. “You’re a pokemon, just like him. Stop it!”

She turned to check on the trio beside them, but thankfully no-one had heard them over Rolly’s endless monologue. The yamper was bouncing on his toes as he went on and on about how he had traveled the region just to join Pika’s Place. Pika’s smile never left his face, but Merry couldn’t help but wonder if he was deeply bored and putting on a front.

“I can find orbs in a jiffy! I am super good at that!” Rolly went on. “You need an orb? I’m your ‘mon! Need a wand? I’m your ‘mon! Need someone to carry your bag? I’m your-”

“Fantastic!” Pika cheered, cutting the yamper off.

Rolly looked up at him, beaming, tongue lolling.

“And as part of your induction,” said the pikachu, “you shall be assigned to a team for your first mission! If you succeed, you will secure your place here, at Pika’s Place!”

“Oh boy oh boy oh boy!” Rolly’s tail became a blur. “This is so exciting! I think it might be the best thing ever!”

Pika had pulled a hat out from somewhere. His paw fished about inside it, and somewhere in the hall was a drum roll. Merry and Flynn turned their heads left and right to spot it.

“And the lucky team is…” Pika unfolded a small slip of paper. “The Explorers of Stuff and Things!”

The room exploded into cheers and clapping.

“Oh boy!” gasped Rolly. “They sound amazing!”

“Aww, we get the good boy!” Flynn clasped his paws under his chin.

Merry stared up at him, her lips turned down in a frown. “I’m warning you, Flynn, if you try to scratch his belly, I’m quitting our team and joining Kiki and Peg.”

“Don’t worry, I can control myself,” said Flynn. “I’ll keep my dog-loving-human-self tightly wrapped up in this noodle of a body.”

“Good, because that particular human quirk does not translate well in a pokemon-centric universe. You’ll just come across as weird. Hi!” Merry forced a smile as Pika and Rolly strolled over to them. “We’re Merry and Flynn!”

“Hi there Merry! Flynn!” Rolly addressed the both of them the wrong way round. “I am so super excited to join you on my first ever adventure!”

“And we’re super excited to have you!” said Flynn.

“Excellent!” said Pika. “Your first excursion is to gather berries from the back of the Vibrant Orchard. That’s where the best berries grow, and they are currently ripe for the picking! I trust I have left this mission in good paws?”

“Gathering berries?” Flynn waved a dismissive paw. “We’ve got that no problem! I mean, it’s no dragon slaying, am I right?”

Pika laughed, but it didn’t feel sincere. “Very good. I shall leave Rolly in your care.”

The trio watched him waddle back off into the crowd. Then Rolly hopped in a circle to face Merry and Flynn.

“So when do we go?” he asked. “Now?”

“Well, I want to finish my drink,” said Merry. “And the party isn’t over yet.”

“Really?” Rolly’s eyes widened briefly as he watched Merry sip her drink. As she lowered her glass he hopped again. “We go now?”

“I’ve… not finished my drink…”

“I’m hungry,” said Flynn. “Say, Rolly, wanna get some food?”

Rolly’s eyes almost bugged out of his head. “Do I?!”

Merry watched Flynn lead the corgi away then let out a relieved sigh. This was going to be a very long excursion.

“Eccentric, isn’t he?”

She looked down at Showa sat beside her and shrugged. “He sure talks a lot.”

“And gets excited over, like, everything!”

Merry lowered her glass and licked watmel off her lips. “You knew all this, didn’t you?”

“Oh yeah.” A smirk quirked the corner of his muzzle. “It’s not easy to get by if you’re not always listening.”

Merry stared at the zorua for a moment, trying to work out what he meant by that. But the look he gave her chilled her to the core. She cleared her throat and excused herself, before turning to make her way through the crowd. A quick breath of fresh air was what she needed as she processed everything. She glanced back only to check on Flynn, who had found the buffet and was tucking into a plate of pancakes with his new canine friend. The latter had his muzzle buried in the plate, making a jolly mess of the floor in the process.

Once outside, she let out a sigh as the cool air washed over her. Eccentric canine pokemon actually acting like dogs was not something she’d expected to see in this crazy world. So far they’d all seemed so much more… human-like in their personalities.

A soft shuffle came from one of the nearby bushes and she froze, fixing her eyes on it. Her heart picked up as a primal fear took over, begging her to run. The bush was too small to be hiding any tyranitar. Maybe snakes…?

A small, round-eared pokemon scampered from it, freezing as it met her gaze. She let out a sigh of relief and visibly relaxed.

“Mushu? What are you doing here?” She paused as the small emolga shuffled over to her. “Is something wrong? Why aren’t you at your tree?”

“Murkrow.”

“Really? Surely you can handle them? You’re an electric type.”

Mushu shuffled his feet and looked up at Pika’s Place. “It’s not the fight Mushu’s worried about.”

The emolga’s expression was dour and he shuffled his feet on the ground.

“Have they kicked you off your tree?” she asked.

“You could say that.” He turned from her and started to climb the stairs. “Mushu’s hungry.”

“Well there’s a party going on in there but it’s pretty hectic and crowded.”

“Mushu can handle a crowd!” He scampered up the stairs out of earshot.

“Somehow, I don’t doubt that…”

She sipped her drink as she stared off towards the path that led to Mushu’s tree. Sure enough, over the canopy flocked a large group of black birds. They circled the air in an obsessive fashion, but any cries were lost on the wind.

“There you are!” Flynn stopped beside her, doubled over by the stairs. “Man, that dog can talk your ear off.”

“Finally gave up on him, huh?”

“Seriously, what is that guy’s problem?” Flynn straightened up and took her glass of her, downing what was left in a couple of hefty gulps.

Merry took the empty glass as it was offered to her. “You’re welcome?”

Flynn wiped his mouth on his paw and leant back against the wall. “Talk about eccentric.”

“He is very much like a dog.”

“You’re tellin’ me. I wanna toss a ball and see if he’ll chase it.”

Merry laughed and shook her head. “I was just thinking… out of all the pokemon we’ve met, he’s the one who seems most like an animal. It makes me wonder how many pokemon here are actually pokemon and not like us.”

“What? Weird?”

“You know what I mean, Flynn.” She sighed and shook her head. “So far, the only ones I’ve been convinced are also human are Kiki and Peg. But after seeing Rolly, I’m wondering if most of Pika’s Place are human, and unlike us no one knows it.”

“Or they do and they’re, like… yanno… just not saying anything so as not to scare anyone?”

Merry nodded at that and scratched behind her ear. “Maybe. Something weird is going on, though, Flynn. I think we really need to get to the bottom of it.”

“What? Before the transformation takes and we’re stuck as pokemon forever?”

Merry’s spine stiffened and she jerked her head up at her friend. “Huh?”

“Think about it.” Flynn lifted a paw and closed his eyes. “What if some ‘humans’ here were stuck as pokemon for so long they turned into ones like Rolly? Fully committed. Totally animals. No memories of being human. No desire to get back to their own world.”

Merry stared up at him, slack-jawed.

“Seriously,” he went on. “Can you honestly say no primal feelings have risen since you were transformed into that blue and white fuzzy body?”

She blinked a few times as she tried to process what he was saying. “A fear of tyranitar… and snakes… I never used to have that.” She paused and let out a sigh. “Although we don’t have dinosaurs in the human world. Not anymore, anyway. If we did, I’d probably be pretty scared of them. I mean, they’re tall!”

Flynn chuckled and shook his head. “Exactly.”

Merry hugged her arms around herself. “How long have you been worrying about this?”

“Oh, not worrying. Just wondering.” He paused and a smirk spread across his muzzle. “Makes me wonder if the cause is, like, right under our noses.”

Merry’s brow furrowed as she took in her friend. That smirk… the way he spoke… She flashed a canine and reached up, grabbing the snivy by his neck leaves. He let out a yelp and straight away his long body exploded with black fur. Merry found herself staring into the grinning face of a zorua.

“You trickster!” she spat.

Showa closed his beaming, yellow eyes. “You flatter me!”

“What do you think you’re playing at?” Merry growled.

“Just, like, doing what I do best.” He chuckled and met her eyes. “Gathering information.”

“For what?”

“Myself.” He grinned as he tried to pull back from her paw, but she kept it tightly clasped around his ruff. “Could you, like, let me go?”

“Not until you tell me why you were pretending to be my friend!” She seethed, baring her canines. “If you hadn’t slipped up with that little vocal tic of yours…”

“Oh, I, like, did that on purpose.” He shrugged and sat down heavily. “I wanted you to know it was me.”

Merry released him and stood back. She shook her head, baffled. “Why?”

“It’s, like, more fun that way.” He gave her a Cheshire Cat grin. “I wanted to see you sweat.”

Merry’s fur bristled as her entire body turned cold. “Why? What is your problem?”

“No problem. I just wanted to, like, clarify something I heard you say back in there.” He nodded towards the stairs. “You and your friend… talking about being… yanno… human.”

Her muzzle creased as a low growl rose in her throat. Showa didn’t seem to care.

“It’s pretty risky,” he said. “Humans are, like, fairy tales in this world. I mean, no one believes they actually exist.”

“And how would you know?”

That grin didn’t leave Showa’s face, only serving to make her more angry.

“Are you one?” she hissed.

He flicked his tail and laughed, shaking his head. “Oh, wouldn’t that be fun?”

“That’s not an answer!” Merry snapped.

“Really? Because it’s, like, all you’re getting.” He rose to his feet and started to climb the stairs.

Merry rushed to the bottom of the stairs and clutched the rail. Her eyes turned pleading and her voice betrayed her sudden fear. “If this gets out…”

“What? You think I’m gonna, like, tell everyone?” He looked back at her and flicked his tail again. Then he winked. “Don’t worry, little otter. Your precious little secret is, like, safe with me.”

All she could do was watch him climb up the stairs and vanish back inside Pika’s Place. Leaving her trembling at the bottom steps as she wondered whether or not to actually go back inside.

In the end, she decided to pop up her yellow tent at the opposite side of the courtyard, sheltered behind a clump of ferns.

...​

The wind was starting to pick up, sending little white whisps bobbing into the tent’s opening. They clung to the yellow surface like little, fluffy moths and tickled Merry’s nose. She shook her head to dislodge them then twitched her nose a few times before finally let out a sharp sneeze.

“Merry?” Flynn’s green face peered into the tent and a look of concern crossed over his features. “What are you doing out here? I’ve been looking for you everywhere!”

Merry stared back at him blankly. “Prove it’s you.”

“Eh?”

“Tell me something about me only Flynn would know.”

“Erm…” He scratched the top of his head, not taking his eyes off the oshawott. “You’re human?”

“Try again.”

He blinked at that, his mouth opening slightly. “Your… your 3DS system is mint green.”

Merry shuffled to the side and waved a paw at the grass beside her. “Come on in.”

He ducked into the tent and flopped down beside her. “Seriously, what’s happened?”

“I got pranked by a wolf in disguise.”

“Showa?”

“Hmm.” Merry returned his stunned expression with a sad frown. “He joined me outside disguised as you. Turns out he’d been listening into our conversation at the party.”

“Man, we weren’t exactly careful, were we?” Flynn shuddered and hugged his arms about himself. “What do we do now? Do we run?”

“I dunno. He said he won’t tell anyone.”

“And you trust him?”

“Of course I don’t trust him! I trust him about as much as I trust you around the last biscuit!”

“All right, then we gotta run.” Flynn raised his paws in a shrug. “But where?”

“I’ve no idea. And with that wind picking up, I don’t wanna venture too far away from the shelter of this fern bush.” She glanced at her friend. “What happened to Rolly?”

“Oh.” Flynn’s snout stiffened and he dodged her gaze. “I lost him.”

“Lost him?”

“Deliberately. The guy just. Wont. Shut. Up!”

Merry let out a dry chuckle. “Yeah. Think we’ll end up like that?”

“Huh?” Flynn stared down at her. “What are you talking about?”

She gave a weak shrug. “Showa said something that’s made me think. What if some humans have been stuck as pokemon for so long they actually adapt and start acting like them? No desire to go back. No memories…”

Flynn shook his head as his expression turned sour. “Are you sure he’s not just pulling your leg?”

“I don’t know, Flynn. What if he actually has a point? He might be stuck here like we are.”

“Did he actually say he’s human?”

“No.”

“Then he might just be pulling your leg. The guy was labeled as a trouble causer! I wouldn’t give him the time of day.” Flynn tugged at some grass. “Although I really do wanna find a way out of here even more now.”

“Likewise.”

A brief silence passed between them, broken only by the snap of grass stems as Flynn played with them.

“So are we going back in?” he asked.

“Nope. I’d rather take my chances with a hungry gyarados who’d just been beaten to the last burrito.”

“Then I might need that spare tent you rustled up.”

Merry reached into her bag and handed Flynn a second bundle of yellow fabric.

“Any blankets?” he asked. “It’s pretty chilly.”

“Sorry. But yeah, it is a little. I think Autumn’s on the way.”

He blinked at that. “Autumn?”

“Yes. Why the surprised tone?”

He looked down at himself. “Do you… you don’t think I’m gonna turn brown and my leaves fall off, do you?”

She stared back at him, speechless.

“Well I am a grass type.” He blinked at her blank expression. “Why are you staring at me?”

“Just set up your tent,” she said.

It didn’t take long for him to set up his tent right beside hers. She lay staring at the yellow wall as the night rapidly darkened. A faint shuffle came from outside as Flynn settled down inside his own tent.

“I still can’t believe they have tents in this universe,” he said. “I mean, can pokemon even sew?”

“Apparently they can,” said Merry. “I mean, Pika wears a little waistcoat. And I’m wearing a scarf.”

“Oh yeah, and Rexi wears an apron.”

“Speaking of which, I really hope we don’t get eaten by tyranitar.”

Flynn sighed loudly. “We won’t get eaten by tyranitar.”

“You don’t know that. You’ve never met a hungry one.”

“Neither have you.”

“Huh. Good point.” A harsh wind blew right through the opening of her tent and she huddled into a tight ball. “Man am I glad I have fur, otherwise I’d be freezing to death out here.” Flynn was silent. She stared at the tent wall again and propped herself up on one paw. “Flynn? You okay?”

“Yes. I’m just trying to give you an ‘are you kidding me?’ stare, but there are two sheets of cloth in the way.”

“Oh.” She chuckled and fell onto her back. “I forgot. You’re a lizard.”

“I think I might use this tent as a blanket instead.”

“You do that, you’ll be exposed to this wind, and it doesn’t look to be easing off anytime soon.”

“I hope it does, or these tents will become flags!” He paused. “Or kites!”

Merry turned to quickly check the iron thorns she’d used as pegs were still embedded in the dry ground. “I think we’ll be okay. Why not use razor leaf to cut a piece off and use as a blanket?”

“I don’t know razor leaf.”

There was the sound of fabric falling, followed by a yell of surprise. Merry stared at the cloth, watching what now resembled a shadow puppet show as something moved frantically back and forth. She stood and peered outside to find Flynn running around like a comedic yellow blanket ghost in a bad movie.

“Flynn?”

He stopped and turned in all directions, failing as he addressed a tree instead. “Merry, help! I’m scared!”

Merry shook her head and sighed. She whipped off the sheet, and Flynn shook himself like a dog, the leaves on his tail rustling all too loudly.

The sound of tearing fabric cut through the night air as she used her scalchop to hack a chunk free.

“Here.” She handed him the two sheets. “Cover yourself up and sleep.”

“Thanks,” he muttered, staring at the smaller sheet. “Hey, you wanna stay up late and tell funny stories and roast… marshmallows?”

The wind picked up again, rustling her fur and causing the reptile to shudder.

“Do pokemon even have marshmallows?” she said.

“I dunno. We could substitute berries instead?” He tapped his chin with a claw and looked up at the starry sky. “But would they make good smores?”

“We also don’t have biscuits.” Her nose twitched as a lone raindrop struck it. “It’s also starting to rain…”

Flynn looked up at the sky and flinched as another raindrop bounced off his snout. “Great…”

“Well, we’d best get into our tents for shelter.” Merry turned back to her tent. “Good night, Flynn.”

“G’night.”

She flopped onto her back in her tent and yawned widely. Despite how stressful the night had been, she was pretty tired.

“By the way,” said Flynn. “You cut this wonky.”

Merry rolled over and let out a loud, fake snore.

“Are you asleep?” Flynn scoffed. “I don’t believe that for a sec-” The wind whipped up, along with the sound of billowing fabric. “Argh! No, my tent! The wind whipped up part of it and I can’t pin it down!”

The sounds of fluttering fabric and yelps of her friend resounded outside while Merry smirked and tried to stifle a chuckle.

“Oh! I’ve got it. It’s all good. Silly peg wasn’t in properly.” Flynn gave a sigh of relief. “Oh no! My blanket!” His shadow bobbed along the wall as he swiped at the air. “Got it! I’m good! You just… stay asleep.”

Merry clasped a paw over her mouth as a snort of laugher betrayed her.

“Hah!” said Flynn. “A laugh! You’re awake! Unless you sleep-laugh, n’all?”

“Nope. Just pulling your leg. You okay out there?”

“Yes, I am. And warmer, now, too. Thanks, Mer.”

...​

Daylight broke through the entrance to the yellow tents. Both sagged in the middle as water dripped over the openings, and both pokemon lay huddled in tight balls. Merry’s entire body was covered in damp fur, and she screwed her eyes shut, silently pleading that the sun would give her five more minutes.

A huge shadow fell over her and her eyes snapped open. The grinning maw of a tyranitar filled the tent mouth and she leapt up with a yell, swiping its rocky face with her scalchop. It keeled back, clasping both paws over its nose.

“Tyranitar!” she yelped.

“Argh!” Flynn leapt to his feet, bringing down his tent. He flailed, running forward with another scream. His foot caught the edge of the fabric and he fell, rolling out from beneath it. He sat up to see Merry facing a tyranitar who was currently nursing a bump on his nose.

“I found them!” Rexi called over his shoulder. He turned back to Merry still standing in the mouth of her tent. “Sorry I startled you, little sis. Sounds like you were having a nightmare!” He shuddered. “Pika’s sent out a search party to find you two.”

“What?” Merry peered around Rexi’s hulking body to see Kiki and Peg trotting over to them. “He did? Why?”

“Well, you went missing after the party,” Rexi explained. “When you still hadn’t come back this morning, we were instructed to find you.”

“Oh…” Merry shuffled her foot as Flynn joined her side. “I’m sorry we worried you. And… I’m sorry I bonked you on the nose.”

“It’s okay!” Rexi grinned. “I’m pretty thick skinned for an oshawott! I’ve taken a lot worse than a little scalchop swiping!”

Kiki and Peg finally reached them and the eevee flopped onto her bottom.

“There you are!” she said. “You had Rexi worried sick! What on earth are you both doing camping out here in the open in tents?!”

“And in a storm, too, no less,” said Peg around her paw.

“I… uhm…” Merry patted her scalchop and glanced away.

“I can explain,” said Flynn.

“Oh, you can? Good…”

“You see,” said Flynn, “I fell out with Showa. Not wanting to go back to my nest, I stayed out here. Merry offered to stay with me. Safety in numbers ‘n’ all that jazz.”

“Two isn’t a very big number,” Peg said, staring at Flynn with such intensity you could practically hear it.

“Well, no…”

“Why didn’t you ask any of us for help?” Peg asked, still staring.

Flynn stepped back and glanced over her shoulder at the pikachu-shaped building. “I didn’t want to go back inside…”

The stare shifted to Merry who also stepped back.

“I, uhm…” She fiddled with her scalchop. “I… It was dark, and…”

“What does it matter?” Rexi boomed, spreading his arms. “They’re both okay! That’s all that counts!”

“Rexi’s right,” said Kiki. “You’re both okay, that’s all that matters. Whatever happened between you and Showa is between you three.”

“So he’s not said anything?” Flynn asked.

“Nope. Both he and Lance went off after breakfast this morning like they always do.”

“He didn’t look remotely irked,” said Peg. “In fact, he seemed more jovial than usual. I think they must have got a pretty well-paid mission or something.”

“Wait, we get paid for these missions?” asked Flynn.

All four pokemon turned to look at him.

Peg stared.

Merry elbowed him.

“Ow!” He rubbed his ribs and nodded briskly. “Oh. Yes, of course we do.”

Peg continued to stare, leaning in slightly towards the snivy. “You ask some very strange questions.”

“I’ve just woke up,” said Flynn.

“Hmm…” Peg narrowed her eyes.

“Let’s get back inside!” Kiki gave the teddiursa a nod, and she moved back from Flynn. Kiki turned to address Merry and Flynn again. “You two must be freezing your tails off! I’m surprised you didn’t blow away, or worse!”

“Exactly!” boomed Rexi. “A nice hot breakfast is on the cards this morning, I reckon!”

Merry rubbed her nose on her paw then sneezed.

Kiki paled slightly and shook her head. “You’ve caught a cold?”

“It’s allergies,” said Merry. “I have hayfever.”

“It’s not pollen season!” Kiki edged closer to her and touched her wet nose to the oshawott’s head. “As I thought! You’re warm! You’ll be staying in your nest today!”

Peg appeared over the eevee’s shoulder and gave a single nod. “Lots and lots of oran berries.”

Merry blinked in bewilderment. “Wha…?”

“And I’ll make you my famous spiced oran soup!” said Rexi. “I’m sure Pika can sort something out about that berry orchard harvest!”

The tyranitar nudged Flynn with a foot, almost bowling the snivy over.

“Sure,” said Flynn. “If it’s just me and Rolly, I’m sure it’ll be fine.” The snivy glared at the grass between his feet. “It will be fine.”

Merry sneezed again, causing Kiki to take a step back. The eevee moved behind her and nudged her with her nose.

“Bed!” she said. “Go on!”

Merry gave Flynn an apologetic glance over her shoulder. “I’m really sorry.”

Flynn shrugged, staring at the grass as it crunched under his claws.

“Oh!” Kiki grinned at them both over her shoulder. “Maybe Mushu can help you? He stuck around last night because of the storm!”

“He’s pretty good at finding berries,” said Peg. “I’m sure he’ll be a big help.”

The snivy’s face fell as he stared aghast at the eevee. “Mushu?”

“Yeah, why not?” Kiki shrugged. “He’s a little eccentric. But between him and Rolly, I think you’ll have a grand old time.”

Merry’s eyes widened and she gave Flynn a nervous laugh.

He spoke through clenched teeth, more to himself than to Merry. “It’ll be fine…”

...

A/N - Rolly's personality is inspired by the dog character in the novel 'Katt Vs Dogg' by James Patterson. He's also got another character inspiration, but I won't announce that here due to potential spoilers ;)

The tent scene is also a recycled scene from my second write-up. It remains unchanged in parts. I had to include it as it's one of my favourites (Flynn with his blanket struggles!) Just in case you noticed any style differences there. The main changes are the storm and the fact Merry gets sick.
 
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