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PMD: Demon


you should've known the price of evil
  1. inkay-shirlee
  2. houndoom-elliot
  3. yamask-joanna
  4. shuppet
  5. deerling-andre
hello! this is that "pmd cop fic" i have been talking about on the discord. i'd been thinking about zoroark and watching a lot of rookie and this was kind of born from those. big thanks to @Ambyssin for betareading this one! your input was very valuable.

this story is kind of teetering on the edge of teen and mature, but i think i can call it teen as long as i warn for a couple accounts of "stronger" swears, and one more gruesome description of gore, which i will add an inline spoiler for. outside that, we have general warnings for gore, murder, violence, death, domestic abuse and suicidal behavior.

okay! with that out of the way, here we go. i hope you like it. any feedback is appreciated.

Lucario Luna
Charizard Colter and Zoroark Florence


Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Abnormality

Lucario Luna and Charizard Colter attempt to apprehend a killer on the loose, but he ends up fatally shot. The following night, his body goes missing.

Mystery, Drama

Completed oneshot.

11,000 words
(measured 2nd September 2023)

She escaped. I can't believe she escaped.

Why? Why did I have to turn around? Why did she have to use her telekinesis? The gardevoir didn't. He just cried and begged. He denied his fate, too, but he didn't act on it.

Now what do I do? She's going to go to the police. She's going to tell them what happened. They're going to start looking for me. I have to become invisible. I can't live my regular life anymore. I'm going to have to find a new hideout and make that my home. I'm going to have to steal all my food and other supplies. I'm going to be more on edge than I've ever been.

But it's okay. Enlightenment will surely fix everything. I just have to find that alakazam again and do the ritual. Then there's only one left. I can still do this. I can still banish my demon.

Right now, though, I've got to get out of here…


A lucario and a charizard with navy blue hats and scarves walked down a cobblestone street.

"Wonderful weather today, isn't it?" asked the charizard.

Lucario Luna looked up at the sunny skies and smiled. "Certainly is. Makes for a lovely patrol."

Chaizard Colter stretched his arms and wings. "I'd rather be sunbathing, to be honest."

"Of course you would, you lazy lizard."

Colter laughed. "You know me."

Luna smirked, but soon slowed down her pace. "Colter?"


"There's some kids hiding in the bushes at eleven o'clock."

"You reckon they're up to something?"

"Let's ask them."

Colter cupped his hands around his snout. "Hey, kiddos! What are you planning?"

Luna saw their auras begin to quiver.

"It's okay, you're not in trouble," she yelled at them. "Yet," she added under her breath.

The auras hesitated, but then emerged. It was a patrat and a pansear. Defeated and a little scared, they crept their way to the policemon.

"W-we were just curious," said the patrat. "We wanted to see some cops up close."

"Well, here we are," said Colter, flexing his biceps. "You don't need to sneak around, you know. You can just come up to us and talk."

"O-okay," said the patrat.

"Dude," whispered the pansear, nudging his friend. "Look at their piercing wands."

The patrat's eyes grew starry as he gazed upon the wands holstered on the policemon's belts. "Whoa…"

"Can we see your piercing wands?" the pansear asked, fists clenched in excitement.

Colter laughed. "Sorry, kiddos, but that's a no. Piercing wands are dangerous. They need to be holstered at all times when not in use."

"Is it true that they can kill a mon with just one shot?"

Colter nodded. "Precisely why they're so dangerous, and for emergencies only. They go right through a mon's natural energy barrier, hence the name."

"That is so cool," the pansear said.

Luna rolled his eyes. Kids.

Her thoughts were halted, though, as a new aura entered the area. But this one had no visible owner. She frowned.

"Colter," she said. "Zoroark at two o'clock."

Colter's smile dropped in less than a second. "Let's pursue."

Luna raised her bracelet to her mouth and spoke into the connection marble. "Luna and Colter pursuing an invisible zoroark."

“Acknowledged,” said a voice from the other side.

"Stay back, kiddos," said Colter to the children, and the two policemon began to walk towards the invisible mon.

It wasn't long before the mon's aura flared in startlement and began to zoom away.

"They're running!" Luna shouted, dashing after the fleeing aura. Colter followed behind.

"Stop, police!" Luna shouted at the zoroark, but they only ran. They took a turn at an alley to try and lose them - but it was a dead end.

"Nowhere to run, zoroark," Luna said. She put her paws together, concentrated aura between them and spread them apart, creating a long bone of cyan energy and grabbing it. "Give yourself up now."

The form of a zoroark faded in. He had his hands up. "Alright, alright. You got me. Don't shoot."

Luna sighed in relief. This went more easily than it could have. "Alright, stand still." She let the bone disappear, took the rope out of its holster on her belt and approached the zoroark. "Hands behind your back, and your back to me."

The zoroark did as asked. Luna walked up to him and reached in to grab his hand --

In an instant, the zoroark flipped around and grabbed the wand from Luna's holster. He pointed it straight at her, and its tip began to glow. Time slowed down, and Luna became acutely aware of the blood rushing through her ears.

A yellow lance of energy pierced the chest of the zoroark. He collapsed, dropping the wand that Luna then quickly picked back up and holstered. Blood emerged fast from the wound in the zoroark's chest, and his breathing became ragged.

"Are you okay?" Colter's voice asked from behind, holstering his wand.

Luna took deep breaths, then turned around and nodded. "Yes, thank you." He turned to the dying zoroark. "But he's not."

Colter raised his bracelet to his snout. "Luna and Colter requesting first aid. Suspect resisted arrest, was shot."

Luna took off her scarf and kneeled down alongside the zoroark. She pressed it down on the puncture wound, applying steady pressure while the zoroark wheezed.

"It's going to be okay," Luna said. "Help is on the way. Hang in there."

"Y-you k-killed me," the zoroark said. "N-now I'll n-never --"

Luna shushed the zoroark gently, looking into his panicked eyes. "Save your energy. Focus on breathing."

"No!" the zoroark barked. "You… I hate you! I hate you all! I --"

He gagged and spit out blood. A few shaky breaths later, he passed out.

"He's not going to survive," said Colter. "Should I cancel the first aid?"

"No," said Luna. "We're going to do everything we can until the medics call it."

"Luna…" The charizard sighed. "You know he tore someone's heart out and tried to do it again."

"We don't know if it's the same zoroark yet," Luna said, now trying the pulse of the zoroark and beginning resuscitation. "If he's innocent, his family would never forgive us for giving up on him."

"And if he's not?"

"He'll be locked up so he can't hurt anybody else."

"Hm." Colter crossed his arms. “Fine.”

Luna continued her resuscitation until first aid arrived and declared the zoroark dead.


"You ready?"

The spectacled alakazam nodded. "Ready as I'll ever be."

Doctor Tangrowth lifted the sheet covering the body. The alakazam gasped quietly, shrinking away.

"Yes, that's him," she confirmed. "I could recognize those black stripes in his mane anywhere."

"Well, that solves the case," said Colter, putting his hands on his hips. "Two, actually."

"And you're sure he said he was the one that had killed the gardevoir?" asked Luna.

The alakazam nodded. "I'm certain."

"Thank you, Professor Alakazam," said Luna. "You may leave now."

"Oh, thank you, officer," the alakazam said. "It's morbid, but seeing him dead finally puts my anxiety to rest. I know he won't be coming for me anymore."

"That's fair," said Colter. "Have a good rest of the day."

The alakazam left.

"I guess now we now have to let the family know," Colter said. "And bring them here to ID the body to play it safe. It'd be pretty embarrassing if we pronounced the wrong guy dead. Do we still have their address from when we questioned them regarding the murders and Florence's disappearance?

"Yeah, hold on…" Luna reached into her satchel and took out a notebook. She flipped through the pages. "Here. Caleb Obstagoon and Amanda Zoroark, Raticate Road 7. Let's go."

After bidding the doctor goodbye, the policemon left.

"So, I guess he wasn't innocent," said Colter, stepping out of the building into the sunlight.

"Yes," said Luna, deep in thought.

Colter turned to her, blinking. "Oh, come on, Luna," he then said. "Are you feeling bad for him?"

Luna sighed. "I just wonder why he did all this. Why kill two mon and take their hearts? What was he doing with them? And why were they both psychic? Just a coincidence?"

"You're thinking too hard about this," Colter said. "He was just a nutjob. We don't need to know how they think unless it helps us catch them, and we've already got that covered. Case closed."

Luna shook her head. "You have no sense of mystery."

Cole only shrugged.


Luna sighed as they arrived at the run-down wooden house of Raticate Road 7.

"This is never easy," she said.

"I know," said Colter. "But we just have to power through."

"Of course."

The two walked up to the front door. Luna knocked.

"Police," she called out. "We'd like to talk to you about your son."

Lazy stomps came from inside the house, and an obstagoon opened the door. He smelled thickly of spirits and tobacco. "What is it this time? Did you catch him? Was he really the murderer?"

"We need to speak to you and your wife together," Luna said. "May we come in?"

The obstagoon, Caleb, rolled his eyes. "Fine, come in."

The policemon entered the building. The interior was not much better than the outside, with dirty furniture with plentiful frays and claw marks.

"Amanda!" Caleb roared. "The cops are here, and they want to talk to us."

Steps came from the stairwell, and soon a zoroark appeared. She wore a necklace with the Wheel of Arceus. "Well, good day, officers. What's this about? Have you found Florence?"

“We’re Officers Luna and Colter,” Luna said. She hid a sigh. "You should probably be sitting down for this."

Amanda's ears perked, and she took a seat on the couch while Caleb did the same. "Why? What is it?"

Luna exchanged a look with Colter. "Sir, ma'am… a zoroark was killed in an altercation with the police yesterday, and we have reason to believe this was Florence."

Amanda's eyes widened while Caleb's jaw went slack. "No," Amanda breathed, her aura twisting. "No, no, no, no. There must be a mistake."

Luna's heart ached. "I'm afraid there likely isn't. You should also know that this zoroark was confirmed to be the one that murdered that gardevoir and attempted to murder an alakazam."

Amanda brought her claws to her forehead. "Oh, no, Florence… it was the demon, wasn't it?"

Luna tilted her head. "Demon?"

"Oh, yes, he had a demon," Amanda said. "When he was a child, we would find him hurting ferals, and he told us some urge told him to do it. He would be jumpy and quick to anger, too. We employed a priest to lock away the demon, and through hard work, we did it. But… now that he killed someone, and in such a gruesome manner, it's safe to say that demon got loose again." She looked at the ground. "And now our Florence is gone…"

Caleb crossed his arms and shut his eyes. "What a disappointment."

"Caleb!" Amanda hissed.

Caleb spread his arms. "What, it is! Eighteen years of child-rearing, and it all goes down the drain because he couldn't keep his demon in check."

"I'm sure it overpowered him," Amanda said.

"Or maybe he just slacked off again, lollygagging and drinking instead of reading scripture and praying. I'm just saying, he's a grown mon. Was. He should have been able to handle it."

Luna raised an eyebrow. The obstagoon really had no right to criticize someone else for drinking with the way he smelled.

Amanda sobbed, covering her eyes. "I can't believe you," she whimpered. "Our son is gone, and you --"

"Oh, save it," Caleb spat. "The boy was rotten from the beginning. We should have always known it would end up this way. In shame and regret."

Amanda sniffled and sobbed. Luna and Colter exchanged a look.

"Could you come with us to the morgue to identify the body?" Colter asked. "We'd like to make sure it's him."

Amanda's head perked up. "Y-you mean it might not be him?"

Colter took on a grave expression. "I wouldn't get my hopes up. He did go on the run right after the alakazam escaped."

Hope died in Amanda's eyes. "R-right. I'm sorry. That was stupid of me."

"No need to apologize. It's perfectly natural," Colter said. "Now, shall we?"

Amanda sniffled. "Yes." She turned to Caleb. "The kids have dinner soon. You know how to prepare some, right?"

"I'll make some scrambled eggs or something," Caleb said, waving an arm.

"Thank you, dear." Amanda turned to the policemon. "Let's go."

Luna and Colter nodded and led the zoroark out of the house. They made their way to the morgue in relative silence, though Luna could spot Amanda grasping her necklace and mumbling prayers from the corner of her eye.

Once they arrived at the morgue, they headed straight for the drawers. Luna asked Emmett to open up the one with Florence's body, and he did. At the sight of her son's motionless body with a large puncture wound in the chest, Amanda burst into tears.

"So it's true," she whimpered. "It's true, he's…"

Her sobs drowned out her speech. She hugged the corpse, squeezing it tight.

"I'm so sorry, baby," she whispered. "I should have done more. I should have been there for you…"

Luna took a deep breath and let it out. Watching the zoroark cry would have been hard by itself, but she had to see how her aura was tearing itself apart.

She adjusted her cap. "We'll let you have some time alone." She turned to Colter. "We should get back to patrolling." The charizard nodded.

"A-and you're free to come collect the body at any time for the funeral," Emmett added.

Amanda sniffed. "Thank you."

With that, they left the two zoroark alone.


"What the hell do you mean 'gone'?" Captain Johnson snapped.

"I mean that the body is gone, Captain," Doctor Emmett's voice came from the connection marble. "And there's a broken window. Somebody must have broken in last night and taken it."

The braviary covered his face with a wing. "Just what I needed today. Alright, stay put. I'm sending Luna and Colter there, and you need to give a statement."

"But I have nothing to --"

The connection severed before Emmett could finish his protest, shut down by the rotom at the call center.

"Get me Luna," Johnson said, and in a second or two, the connection marble on the table beeped, signifying a successful connection.

"Luna, come in!" the bird said.

"Here, Captain," the lucario's voice answered.

"You and Colter need to pay the morgue a visit," Johnson said. "It appears someone has stolen the body of the zoroark."

"Stolen?" sounded Colter's voice in the background.

"Got it, Captain," responded Luna. "We'll head there right away. Anything else?"

"No. You can go."

The connection ended, and the braviary sighed. "Heart thieves and now body thieves," he muttered. "What's the world coming to?"


Luna knocked on the door of the morgue. "Officers Luna and Colter. Open up," she said.

Not long after, the door was unlocked and opened, a tangrowth on the other side. "Ah, you're here," he said. "Come in."

The two policemon entered, their noses wrinkling at the smell of decomposition. "Can you take us to where the body used to be?" Luna asked.

"Of course. This way."

Emmett led the two to a room with a wall of drawers. He pulled one out. It was empty.

"This is where the body was," Emmett said. "Now? No trace of it."

"Well, there's a hair," said Colter, pointing to a long red hair. "But that looks like it belonged to the body."

Luna looked around, her eyes settling on a broken window. She walked over to it. "This must be where they broke in."

"Careful," Emmett said. "There might be shards of glass on the floor, and you don't want to step on those."

"We have very powerful energy barriers due to our training. We'll be fine," Luna said, looking down at her feet. "...Hmm."

"'Hmm' what?" asked Emmett.

"There are no shards on the floor." She looked at Emmett. "Did you clean here?"

"No, not at all," said Emmett. "I know how important it is to keep things as is for the investigation."

Luna walked up close to the window and craned her neck through it. "There are shards on the other side, though."

"So the window was broken from the inside?" Colter asked.

Luna nodded. "Exactly."

"Well, what does that mean?" asked Emmett.

Luna stepped away from the window and put her paw on her chin. "They must have gotten in by picking the locks or something, and then decided to go out by breaking the window," she said. "But why? What happened to make them change their mind?"

"I guess we'll just have to file that detail for later for now," Colter said. "Unless we can find something else that blows the case wide open."

"Yes, let's keep looking," said Luna. "Though, before that…" She turned to Emmett. "Where were you last night?"

"A-at home," said the tangrowth, his aura quivering, but showing no signs of deception. "Surely you're not suggesting I had anything to do with this?"

"Police protocol," Luna said. "No one is ruled out by default. Are you associated with anyone who wanted to break into this building?"

"No, of course not," said Emmett, his aura giving the same reaction as before.

Luna's shoulders relaxed. "Okay, your aura checks out. You're telling the truth."

Emmett sighed in relief. "That's good."

Luna and Colter continued to search for evidence, but could not find any - no hairs, no smells, although the stench of decomposition was likely too strong to detect any other scents if they were there to begin with.

"Well, we seem to be done here," Luna said. "You have our permission to replace that window."

"Oh, thank you," the tangrowth said.

"I guess next up is questioning some possible suspects," Colter said.

"Well, the first suspects that come to mind are the victims," Luna said. "Mr Gardevoir's family and Professor Alakazam's." She took out her notebook and found their addresses. "And we should make Alakazam first since Gardevoir's family lives on the outskirts."

"Alright, let's go, then."


"Now that is a house," said Colter, faced with a proudly standing mansion. "How can her family afford this beauty?"

"Professor Alakazam studies emera manufacture," Luna said. "The government is very interested in that. Hence the generous research grants. Plus, I hear her parents were pretty well off, too."

"Well, let's go," said Colter, and the two walked up to the door. Luna knocked.

"Coming, coming," sang a male voice. An alakazam opened the door, an abra clinging to his neck. "Ah, Officers. What brings you here? Do you need to speak to Sally again?"

"Well, her and you," Luna said. "Is she home?"

"Oh, unfortunately no," said the alakazam. "She told me yesterday that she'd have a long day at the university. She must have done an all-nighter and crashed. It happens sometimes." He leaned in, lowering his voice. "Especially after the attack. I get the feeling she drowns herself in her work on purpose."

Luna nodded. "Gotcha. We'll go look for her there, then. But before that - where were you last night?"

"Last night?" The alakazam blinked. "I was here at home, taking care of Perry." He nudged the abra in his arms. "What's this about?"

"Someone stole the body of the mon who attacked your wife," Luna explained. "You wouldn't know anything useful about that, would you?"

"A body, stolen? Oh my," said the alakazam, scratching his head. "No, I have no information about that. This is the first I'm hearing of it."

"And your aura seems to agree… hm." Luna paused. "Well, thank you, Mr Alakazam. We'll get out of your fur now."

"And may I add before we go - your baby is adorable as always!" added Cole.

The alakazam laughed, grinning. "Yep, he sure is. Even when he teleports all around and gets himself lost, I can't be mad."

"Well, good day," said Luna, raising a paw. Mr Alakazam raised a paw back, and the two policemon left once more.


On the way to the university, the two decided to stop by a cafe for a quick pastry and a cup of coffee. Colter munched his croissant quickly, leaving him sadly staring at Luna's, which only had one bite taken out of it.

"What's wrong?" Colter asked. "You don't seem to have much of an appetite."

Luna leaned into her paw. "I'm just thinking about this case."

"Worried someone's gonna steal your body once you're dead?" Colter took a sip of his coffee.

"No, that's not it. I'm thinking about Florence and that whole… demon thing."

"Oh, that." Colter stretched his neck. "Sounded like he was a troublemaker since birth."

"Well, what his parents did hardly helped," Luna said, a deep frown on her face. "Being told he had a demon in him, and that he had to read scripture and pray to keep it under control… it must have been very stressful."

"Yeah, they really didn't seem like parents of the year," Colter said, with a smirk forming on his face. "Unlike me." He pointed to himself with a thumb.

"Oh, yeah. How is that little charmander doing?"

"She's growing every day," Colter said. "Exploring, learning. She's a real trooper."

Luna smiled. "Takes after her father."

Colter grinned. "She sure does."

But Luna's smile drooped. She groaned. "Sorry, it's just hard to be cheerful in this whole situation. Two people are dead and more are traumatized for the rest of their lives. And now someone's mad enough to go and steal a corpse to desecrate it in Gods know what ways."

"Mmm…" Colter knotted his brow. "I mean, one of those dead was still a dangerous murderer. The fact that he's dead means that this town is a safer place."

Luna clenched his teeth. "He should have been imprisoned. That way, he could atone for his sins. Now, he just gets the release of death.”

Colter raised a brow. "Luna, you're not… mad at me for shooting him, are you?"

Luna perked up, eyes wide. "No, of course not. You did everything according to protocol, and you saved my life. I'm eternally grateful for that."

"Well…" Colter smirked. "Wouldn't hurt to say it once in a while."

Luna huffed, but smiled. "Don't go forgetting all the times I saved your ass, you know," she said.

Colter waved a hand. "I would never." He pointed to her croissant. "You gonna eat that?"

"Oh -- sure, yeah, just give me a minute."


“It’s right through here,” said the steenee who’d been leading Luna and Colter through the hallways for about three minutes now.

“Gee, are you sure?” Colter teased.

“I am,” the steenee answered, blind to the sarcasm. “Aaaand here! This is Professor Alakazam’s office.” She raised a palm. “Do knock before you enter, though. She specifically requested not to be disturbed. I think she’s coming close to a breakthrough.”

Luna nodded and stepped up to the door. She gave it a firm knocking. “Professor Alakazam?”

There was no response.

Luna tried the door, and to her surprise, it was unlocked. She opened it fully and stepped in.

The sight and smell of blood assaulted her senses simultaneously.

On the ground lay a motionless alakazam, her chest opened up like a carapace after a molt. Organs usually only seen in anatomical diagrams were on full display, and without delay, Luna deduced that one of them had to be missing.

“By the Gods,” she heard Colter whisper behind her.

Luna stepped closer and crouched beside the corpse. From what she could tell of the grisly mess, the heart was indeed gone.

“Another heart gone,” Luna said. “Whoever did this must have put the professor under while they killed her, considering no one heard screams.” She put a paw on her chin. “But who could this have been? Who else would want to steal a heart and why?”

“Well…” Colter weakly began. “Maybe it wasn’t someone new.”

Luna turned around to Colter. “What?”

“I mean…” Colter brought his claws to his snout. “Gruesome murder, killer caught, body goes missing, another gruesome murder… doesn’t it kind of seem like…”

Luna half-closed her eyes. “That he rose from the dead?”

“Well, just think about it,” said Colter. “At the morgue, the window was only broken from the inside. If he rose from the dead and made his way out --”

“Colter, please, that’s fairytale stuff,” Luna said. “If anything, that only points to the possibility of the thief having been a ghost.”

“A ghost?”

“Yeah, some ghost mon that can phase through walls. They would have phased in through the wall, and then have needed to break the window in order to transport the body out.”

Colter rubbed his chin. “That does make more sense.” His eyes widened. “Or maybe he turned into a ghost and wanted to bring his body along for some reason!”

Luna rolled her eyes. “You’re really obsessed with this ‘risen from the dead’ theory, aren’t you?”

Colter put his hands on his hips. “Want to make a bet about it?”

Luna frowned. “Mon are dying, Colter.”

Colter flinched. “You’re right. That was insensitive of me.”

They paused.

“Well…” Luna started. “Whoever’s right treats the other to a cup of coffee. How about that?”

Colter perked up. “Sounds good to me.”

Luna scratched her chin. “But we still have to figure out the alternative explanation. Was the new killer the same as the body thief? Did Florence have an accomplice? Or was the heart stolen by someone Florence was only working for? Or is this a case of a copycat killer?” She shook her head. “For the purposes of this investigation, I think we’re best off assuming this new killer was some kind of associate of Florence’s and go from there.”

Colter nodded. “That makes sense.”

“What do you see in there?” the steenee shouted from outside. “Is the professor alright?”

Luna and Colter exchanged a mutual grimace. This would not be pleasant.


After giving the steenee the bad news and calling the station about the murder, the two searched the crime scene thoroughly. Having found nothing, not even a hair, they left the university.

“So, where to?” asked Colter.

“Well, we need to figure out who the possible associate is,” Luna said. “We should start by searching Florence’s home again. Someone might have visited since the last time we were there.”

Colter rubbed his chin. “Would be good if we could search his murder cave, too… the others still haven’t found it yet, have they?”

Luna shook her head. “Not that I know of, and they’d probably tell us first thing. We’ll have to settle for his apartment for now.”

Luna pulled out her notebook and recapped the location of Florence’s apartment. They made their way there in about half an hour, talking little among themselves.

Luna knocked on the door of the apartment house. A pangoro came to answer.

“Oh, you two again,” the landlady said. “I thought you already caught Florence?”

“We suspect he may have been working with someone,” Luna said. “Has anyone visited his place?”

The pangoro shook her head, but let the couple in and began leading them to Florence’s apartment. “Like I said last time, Florence was not a mon’s mon,” she said. “No one’s been to his apartment since he went on the run. Not that I could tell, anyway. Who’s to say he didn’t sneak in while invisible?” She stopped in front of a door and unlocked it. ”Anyway, here you go.”

The two entered the apartment. Like before, it seemed quite empty, with nothing but a bed, a pile of empty brown bottles and a few books on the shelves. Luna regarded the bottles with a sigh. Father’s son.

Distinct from last time, however, there was a book on the bed. “That wasn’t there before,” Luna pointed out. She grabbed the book and read the title. “History of Giratinism.”

Colter grimaced. “He’s a Giratinist now? Well, that motivates the gruesome murders…”

“The fact that this book is out of place means somebody was here,” Luna said. “But what’s so important about this book?”

“Lemme see,” said Colter and took the book.

Luna smirked. “Hoping to find some spooky stories?”

“You know me,” said Colter. “Aw, there’s barely any pictures.”

“You can assign Avery to read it for you. She can tell us afterwards if there’s anything important there.”

“Right, I’ll do that.”

Colter slipped the book in his satchel, and the two continued to search the place. With nothing else out of place, however, they had to give up.

“I don’t think we’re going to find anything else here,” Luna said.

“Agreed,” said Colter. “So, what do we do next?”

“We could stop by his work and ask if he knew anyone there. We probably won’t get anything, but we’d better be sure.”

“Got it. Let’s head out.”


Luna’s prediction had been correct. Florence’s employer, an older kricketune, told them that Florence was a loner and didn’t seem to speak to anyone unless he had to. Colter suggested they try asking Florence’s family next, and the two left for Raticate Road 7 once again.

With the dilapidated house in view, shouting reached the ears of the policemon. They were not shouts of excitement.

“Sounds like there’s an argument going on,” Luna said as they rushed up to the door.

“Yeah, a bad one,” Colter added.

A loud crash came from inside.

Luna knocked hard against the door. “Police! Open up!”

“Oh, and now the police are here!” shouted a voice from inside - Caleb’s. “Look what your crying did!”

Heavy stomps came up to the door. A sullen obstagoon opened it. “What is it?”

“Is there a situation here?” Luna asked. “Do we need to get involved?”

From inside, crying reached her ears. It made the decision for her.

“No, there’s no need,” Caleb insisted. “The missus is just in heat. Makes her emotional.”

Luna frowned. “Sir, step away from the door. We’re coming in.”

Caleb sighed heavily with a roll of his eyes. The policemon came in, entering a scene of a living room with a broken armchair, a sniffling zoroark and a shrinking zorua.

“What’s going on here?” Luna asked.

“I-it’s nothing,” Amanda insisted. “There’s no need for you to be here.”

Luna turned to the zorua and kneeled in front of her. “Is that true?”

The zorua shrank further, glancing at her parents. “...Daddy’s mad,” she finally said.

“Piper!” Amanda hissed.

Piper’s ears folded further back. “You always told me to tell the police the truth…”

“You’re doing the right thing, Piper,” Colter said, himself crouching. “Why was Daddy mad?”

“Because… because I had a feral baby bunnelby in my room,” Piper said. “I just wanted it to be my pet. I wasn’t gonna do anything to it. But Mom found me and freaked out, said I wanted to hurt it, that I also had a demon…”

Luna and Colter glanced at Amanda, who was clasping onto her necklace now. “Is that… true, Piper? Did you just want to be friends with it? Tell your mother the truth.”

Tears welled up in the zorua’s eyes. “It’s true, Mommy! I would never hurt a helpless baby! I don’t have any demon!”

Amanda sighed in relief. “Oh, baby, I’m sorry I doubted you…”

“You can’t be serious!” Caleb’s shout cut the room as he stepped closer, making the mother and daughter flinch. “You fell for Florence’s lies, and now you’re falling for Piper’s! Of course there’s a demon, Amanda, because your womb is cursed!”

Amanda broke into a sob. “No, Caleb, tell me you don’t mean that! You’re just upset --”

“I’m upset because I have a rotten son, and now I have a rotten daughter!” He punctuated his last word by striking the already broken armchair with a fist. It gave way with a crash.

Luna got up and turned to the obstagoon. “Sir, you’re gonna have to calm down and come with us.”

“Why? What did I do?”

“You’re acting violently around your family, so we need to take you in. Your family isn’t safe with you.”

“Bullshit!” Caleb spat. “I’m the man of the house! You can’t just remove me!”

Luna created a bone of aura between her paws and grabbed it to point at the obstagoon. “Yes we can,” she growls.

Caleb’s eyes widened, and he froze.

“Colter, tie him up,” Luna said. Colter took out a length of rope from his satchel and did as asked. The obstagoon accepted his fate, but glared at Luna all the while. With the mon secured, Luna let her bone of aura disappear.

“Um -- there really is no need for this, please,” Amanda said, stepping forth. “Can’t you overlook this?”

“I’m afraid not,” Luna said. “But don’t worry. We’ll let him go home tomorrow.” She raised a brow. “Unless you want to report criminal behavior?”

“Oh, Arceus, no,” Amanda said. “He’s not a criminal. He’s just passionate.”

Luna hummed to herself, but let it go. “Let’s go.”

They walked Caleb out of the house and shut the door behind them. The obstagoon stayed silent the entire way to the station. Once arrived, they locked him up in a jail cell.

Colter leaned onto the bars of the cell. “So we wanted to come to your house to ask more about Florence, but things got kinda sidelined,” the charizard said. “But now that you’re here… do you know of any relatives or family acquaintances Florence would have been close to? Like another zoroark or perhaps a ghost?”

“Ghost? The missus would never allow it,” Caleb said. “And no, there’s no one Florence was close with. He wasn’t a mon’s mon.”

“Damn, that’s the second time someone’s said that,” Colter said. “Must be true, then.”

“And it puts us back at square one,” Luna sighed. “We have no idea who the associate or the body thief is, and if it’s a ghost, we have no way of tracking them, anyway.”

“Trouble with ghosts?” a voice asked. Luna and Colter turned around to see Wartortle Avery, a rookie. “You should go see Ira.”

“Ira who?” Colter asked.

“You know, the typhlosion with purple flames that lives by the abandoned temple. She’s an expert in all things spiritual. I go to her for readings every now and then.”

Luna and Colter exchanged a glance. “Well, it’s not like we have any other clues,” said Luna. “We could pay her a visit.”

“Well, good job, Avery,” Colter said, marching over to the wartortle. “You may have given us a new lead.” He reached into his satchel and dug out the book they had picked up at Florence’s apartment. ”And as a prize, you get to read this book!”

Avery frowned at first, but smiled when she read the title. “Ooh, Giratinism. Spooky.”

“Don’t get too excited,” Colter said, crossing his arms. “There are barely any pictures.”

Avery smirked. “Guess I have a better reading head than you.”

“Let us know if you find anything related to stealing mon’s hearts,” Luna said, and Avery nodded.

“Alright!” Colter stretched his arms and wings. “Next stop, the abandoned temple.”

The two left the station and decided to stop for some dinner before heading for the temple. The sun was already low in the sky, and Luna figured the visit to Ira would be their last excursion for the day.

She finished her meat and potatoes and looked over to Colter. He was playing with his last potato. It seemed like the roles had reversed.

“Something on your mind, Colter?” Luna asked.

“Hm?” He looked up. “Uhh, well, maybe…”

“What is it?”

Colter knotted his brow. “What if there… really is a demon?”

Luna sighed. “Colter, come on.”

Colter put down his fork and fidgeted with his hands. “I mean, that could explain this whole ‘back from the dead’ scenario. He died, and now his demon has taken over his body.”

“There is no such thing as demons,” Luna stressed. “That family’s parents are obviously religious zealots that attribute any misbehavior to imaginary evil spirits.”

“But you heard what Florence did as a child,” Colter said. “He hurt ferals out of some urge. That’s not normal child behavior.”

“He clearly had some kind of mental illness,” Luna said. “Maybe Waking Dreamer Syndrome. I don’t know. Point is, no demon. Just misunderstanding.”

“It’s not that I don’t hope that myself,” Colter said. “If he’s mortal - was mortal - and he just has an associate, we can know what to expect. If there’s a demon… who knows what a creature like that can do.”

Luna sighed. “If it makes you feel any better, we can ask that Ira woman about demons, too.”

“It would,” Colter said. “Thanks.”

“Now, finish your meal. I’d like to get home before dark.”


“How come you know where this place is?” asked Luna as they approached the abandoned temple made of white bricks and the wooden shack next to it.

“Little brother liked to come here when he got mad and wanted to get away from the family,” Colter said. “I fetched him from here a couple of times. Back then, this place wasn’t abandoned, though.”

“What made them abandon it?”

“Spinarak infestation,” Colter said. “They did get rid of them, but it was too late by then. No one wanted to visit a temple that wasn’t holy enough to keep away ferals.” They stopped in front of the shack’s front door. “I guess this Ira woman is the one keeping watch over the place now.”

“Well, we can ask her if it comes up,” Luna said, then knocked. “Officers Luna and Colter from the police,” she called out. “We’d like to ask some questions.”

“Come in, it’s open,” crowed back an old woman’s voice. Luna and Colter entered as instructed.

The interior of the shack was lined with shelves full of crystals, books, knickknacks and even feral skulls. The curtains were all closed. A lit candelabra stood on a table in the middle, its flames flickering, but a stronger light came from the nape of the typhlosion, who produced an odd, purple flame.

“Good evening, officers,” Ira greeted them, rocking back and forth in her chair. “What brings you here?”

Luna closed the door behind them. “We’re told you know about ghosts. We need to ask about them.”

“And we want to ask about demons, if they’re real,” added Colter.

“Would it happen to have something to do with that gardevoir’s murder?” Ira asked. “I thought the perpetrator was shot.”

“He was,” Luna said. “But his body was stolen from the morgue. We think it may have been done by a ghost.”

“How come?”

“Well, there were only signs of the morgue being broken out of, not in. We think a ghost phased in and broke the body out.”

Ira paused for a moment, taking in what Luna had to say. Then, she burst into a cackle.

“Oh, officer, I believe I can crack your case wide open,” she said.

Luna’s ears perked, and her tail steadied in concentration. “Please do.”

“This murderer was a zoroark, wasn’t it?”

Luna nodded.

Ira got up from her chair and shuffled to a bookshelf. She took out a blue book, opened it, searched for something and then showed the opening to Luna. It had a picture of a zoroark who looked emaciated with a long, billowing mane and lacerations all over their body.

“What is that?” Luna asked.

“That is a Baleful,” Ira said. “A form that a zoroark may turn into when faced with a violent, unjust death.”

Colter’s eyes widened. “Is that… a demon?”

“Depends on what you mean by ‘demon’,” Ira said. “It certainly has the temperament of one. It is said to be supremely vengeful and malicious.” She smirked. “You’re gonna have your hands full with that one… if you ever manage to catch it.”

Luna sighed. “Well, if that’s true, that also answers the question of the new killer,” she said. “Looks like you were right, Colter. He did rise from the dead. I owe you a cup of coffee.”

“I wish I could be glad about that,” Colter said, claws on his chin.

“What type is this ‘Baleful’?” asked Luna. “I’m guessing ghost.”

“Given it’s impervious to ghost attacks, it would also be normal,” Ira said. “Ironically, the only thing it’s weak to now is dark, its previous type.”

“How about a piercing wand?”

Ira shrugged. “A Baleful, while powerful, is still a mon. As far as I know, that should do the trick.”

“Noted,” said Luna. “So… any idea how we could track him down?”

Ira scratched her chin. “A Baleful has all the illusion capabilities of its former self,” she explained. “It’s going to be just as hard to track as a regular zoroark, but it should still emit aura. So, keep your eyes open… or feelers perked, more like.”

Luna’s shoulders slumped. “There’s no other way to track a ghost?”

Ira shook her head. “I’m afraid not. You’re going to have to try and guess where he would be.”

“Where he would be…” Lune turned to Colter. “I guess his murder cave would be our best bet, but they still haven’t found that.”

“We should join the search tomorrow,” suggested Colter.

“I guess that’s the only thing we can do,” said Luna. “And we need to do something before another murder happens.” She turned to Ira. "Thank you for your help."

Ira nodded. "Any time, officers."

With that, the two policemon exited the shack and headed back to the station.


"What a day, huh?" said Colter, hanging up his hat and scarf.

"Indeed," said Luna, doing the same. "I think I'm headed straight for a bath at home."

"I'm gonna dump it all on Larry," Colter said, taking off his belt and storing it in the locker. "I've already vented everything about the case to him, so at this point he's invested." He put a hand on his hip. "Are you sure you don't feel lonely all by yourself?"

"No, it's peaceful," Luna said. "And I'd rather not even think about work again on my time off. I want to relax."

"Suit yourself," said Colter, closing his locker.

Having both deposited their work apparel, they headed outside together. They took the same path until a familiar fork in the road.

"Well, see you tomorrow," said Colter.

"Same to you," said Luna.

The two parted ways. Luna took a deep breath and watched the sunset. She smiled at the orange sky, knowing that the lack of clouds meant a beautiful assortment of stars to look at come nightfall.

It seemed that the passersby were similarly relaxed based on their calm auras. Everyone was heading home after a long day of work. Just like Luna, they were on a trip towards well-deserved rest and respite from the day's stress.

Only someone didn't agree. Someone's aura was twisting, turning, raging like a flame.

Must have had a bad day at work, thought Luna, or they're headed for a night shift and are not happy about it.

The aura came closer, moving faster than Luna. Maybe they were in a hurry.

…They were headed straight for Luna.

Luna turned around. There was no one there.

No one but the aura.

Luna channeled aura into her paws and created a bone of cyan light. The invisible mon stopped in place.

"Show yourself!" Luna shouted, gaining the attention of a couple of onlookers. "Officer's orders!"

The mon did not do as asked. Instead, a ball of pink light shot out of nowhere, headed for Luna. The spell of a slumber wand.

Luna swung her bone and deflected the spell, which burst into sparkles. She moved forward and swung it again, hitting the invisible mon. She heard a grunt, and they must have dropped the wand as it fell into view, out of the cloak of invisibility. Luna stepped on top of it.

"I'm telling you again - show yourself," Luna growled. "Don't be a cowa-"

A blinding flash assaulted her eyes, making her stumble back. She realized her error too late as she heard the chime of the wand and felt the cool touch of the spell - she'd been hit.

With her last energy, she yelled out, "I'm being attacked! Call the police!"

She saw some passersby with widened eyes whispering to each other - and then she collapsed. The cool cobblestone beneath her bruised her body as she fell. Her vision began to blur, and her eyes began to droop shut. The last thing she saw was an indeterminate form crouching by her side, and the last thing she felt was the touch of claws as they lifted up her body…


It was dark. It was cold. It was hard underneath her and hard behind her back.

Something ran across her chest and wrists, something tight. Rope, she believed. She forced herself to open her eyes, and she saw a torchlit scene of a room made of white bricks, three jars and a slumber wand on the floor alongside a small satchel. Among them stood a white-red zoroark with a billowing mane and yellow, soulless eyes. A Baleful.

"Are you awake?" asked a raspy voice.

Luna clenched her teeth. "Yes."

"Good," said the voice that she now saw was coming from the zoroark. "Then we can begin."

Luna tried to rip out of her bindings, already knowing it to be in vain, and she was right. "Begin what?" she asked. "And couldn't you have killed me while I was out? You did that to professor Alakazam."

"I had already tried to explain to her once," the voice hissed. "But she didn't listen. I decided that she didn't deserve my honesty."

"But I do?"


Luna's eyes focused on the slumber wand. That's what he must have used to put all his victims under. "Where'd you get that slumber wand?" she asked.

"Stole it. From a hospital."

"I see."

Silence reigned for a few seconds.

"You already know my name," Florence said, "but you don't know why I'm doing this. I believe you should know."

"Are you planning on taking my heart?" asked Luna.



"Do you know of Azelf, Mesprit and Uxie?"


"Then, do you know of their peoples?"

Luna paused. "I do know that lucario are said to be the people of Azelf sometimes…"

"Correct," said Florence. "And gardevoir are Mesprit's people, and alakazam are Uxie's people."

"So there's a pattern," said Luna to herself. "Why do you need their hearts?"

"That book I read - that book you stole..." he hissed. "It taught me that gathering the hearts of the three peoples and performing a certain ritual with them leads to enlightenment. And I need enlightenment. Then I will know how to rid myself of my demon."

"Demon?" asked Luna, though she already knew.

"Ever since I was a child, I have had a demon," Florence said. "I wanted to hurt people. I wanted to start fires. I wanted chaos. But my family helped me - they got a priest that taught me to control it. But they only taught me to control it. They didn't take it away."

He takes a deep shaky breath and continues. "Every day, I feel it follow. Every second, I feel apprehension. I know it's stalking me, waiting for me to slip up, to give it control again. In my nightmares, it tortures me. I am its prisoner.

"But enlightenment… that will open my mind. That will heal me. That will allow me to face my demon, to destroy it. I'll be free. And I'll be able to see my mother again, to tell her that I've been purified. That she doesn't have to worry about me anymore. That she doesn't have to fear me anymore.

Luna frowned. "But you're killing innocent people to do this. You're doing exactly what your demon wants you to do!"

"I know!" shouts back Florence, and his shout echoes briefly. "I know it is a rotten thing. I am prepared to go to prison after this."

Luna tilted her head. "You are?"

"Yes. All that matters to me is that I'll be free of my demon. After that, I can be happy anywhere."

Luna growled. "Those people are still dead. Giving yourself up doesn't bring them back."

"I know," he says, "but think about it this way. If I let my demon live… I might lose control at any moment. I might end up killing many more. But if I get rid of it now, only three people die. Isn't that a good trade?"

"If you took your own life, only one person would have died," Luna snapped, but regretted it afterwards. As a mon of justice, she couldn't just tell someone to kill themselves.

Florence stood up straighter. "No. I know this is how things must be. Before, I was only desperate… but now, I know it must be fate. Why else would I have come back to life? Some divine entity must have given me this mission."

"You came back because of your bitterness," said Luna. "There's nothing sacred about it."

"We'll just have to disagree," said Florence. He grabbed the slumber wand. "Either way, it's time. Goodnight, lucario. I'll remember your sacrifice."

Luna's heartbeat spiked. "Wait!" she yelled. "Are you sure you need to kill me?"

"Of course," said Florence, approaching. "I need your heart."

"But you already have my heart," Luna said. "It's inside me, but it's there. Did anything in the book say the hearts had to be disembodied?"

Florence paused. His eyes widened, and for the first time, Luna saw soul in them.

"...Would you really do that for me?" he asked quietly. "Help with the ritual?"

“Of course,” said Luna. It means I don’t die. She forced a smile. "I'm a policemon. I'm supposed to help."

Florence took his claws to his arm. Luna noticed the lacerations.

“...Does it hurt?” she asked.

“No,” said Florence. “They’re numb.”

“That’s good,” said Luna. “No one deserves to be in pain.”

The room was silent for a few seconds.

“You know what I think?” Luna said.

Florence frowned. “What?”

”I don’t think you have a demon.”

“What?” Florence huffed. “Of course I do. Look at what I’ve done. Would I have been able to do that without a demon?”

“There are people that, for some reason, don’t feel bad about hurting others,” Luna said. “I think you have the same condition they do.”

Florence gave a suspicious glare. “...No,” he said. “It has to be a demon. I can feel it following. Why else would I be anxious all the time?”

Luna took a deep breath. “Look,” she said, “I’ve met your family. And I don’t think they did you right.”

“No, they loved me,” Florence insisted. “It’s because they loved me that they did what they did. I needed it, to keep the demon in check.”

“Florence, listen,” Luna said. “When a child goes through a lot of stress, that can leave scars. And those scars can manifest in a lot of ways, some of which are anxiety and nightmares.” She blinked. “But there’s help for those scars, Florence. You don’t need enlightenment to heal.”

“Tch! Of course I do. I’ve tried everything else. Nothing calms me down. Not qwilfish toxins, not morelull spores. Not that I could afford them regularly, anyway.” He crosses his arms. “Closest thing that works is booze, and that just makes me feel all nice and floaty for a while. It doesn’t take away the demon’s presence.”

“There’s more to try than drugs,” Luna said. ”You should really see a psychiatrist. They’ll know what to do.”

“I already know what to do. I need enlightenment.”

“But what if the ritual doesn’t work?”

Florence stopped. “Then… then I’ll turn myself in. I’ll go to prison. And then I might as well try what you’re suggesting.” He began to walk towards the door.

“Where are you going?” Luna asked.

“I need to get that book back,” Florence said. “It has the instructions for the ritual, and they were too complicated to remember.” He stopped. “Only…” He turned back to look at Luna.

“Only what?”

“I can’t leave you awake,” he said, returning to her. “You might try to escape.” He picked up the slumber wand on the floor.

“Wait. You’ll wake me up for the ritual, right?”

Florence tilted his head. “...No. I’d just have to put you under again to kill you if it doesn’t work without a disembodied heart.” He raised the wand.

Damn, she thought, not good. Once he casts that spell, I’m never going to wake up again…

A heavy door opened, splitting the air with its creak and bringing new light to the room. Florence flinched. "They found me," he whispered - and then disappeared. His aura bounded for the hallway behind the corner.

Steps came from the staircase, and Colter, Avery and Dubwool Hugh came down. Colter's eyes settled on Luna, and they widened.

"Luna!" he shouted and ran to the lucario. "Are you okay?"

"Yes, but Florence is getting away," Luna said as Colter used a glowing claw to cut through the ropes. "I need to go after him."

"Take my piercing wand," said Colter, handing the wand to Luna, who'd already stood up.

"Thanks." Luna grabbed the wand. "Hugh, block the entrance. We can't let him escape."

"You got it," Hugh said and began trotting up the stairs.

Luna ran into the hallway Florence had disappeared in. She sensed that his aura had stopped. Had he faced a dead end, or…

Yes, it was a dead end. The hallway ended in an altar. Florence's aura awaited there.

Luna raised her piercing wand. "It's over, Florence! Drop the illusion."

Florence did not answer. His aura flickered wildly.

"Fine, I'll break it myself," said Luna, freeing one paw and shooting a weak flash cannon at the zoroark. It broke the zoroark's illusion but left the mon unharmed. Florence growled.

She returned her paw to the wand's handle as the other policemon appeared behind her.

"It's time to turn yourself in," Luna said. "You're surrounded. That slumber wand won't do you any good with three trained officers facing you. Don't try using a flash again, either -- if you do, I will shoot, and I will hit my mark."

Florence continued to shiver, glancing around like a cornered animal, which he was.

Luna sighed. "I know you're in pain, Florence, but if you turn yourself in, we can get help for you."

Florence met her eyes with a pitiable look. His aura whirled with despair.

"You don't have to kill to get rid of your demon," Luna said. "There is another way."

Time passed in slow motion. Then, Florence sighed, slumping, and dropped the slumber wand.

"Thank you," Luna said. "Now, put your paws on your head and interlace your claws. Turn your back to us and stay --"

Florence raised his head, eyes gleaming with fury. He began taking steps towards Luna.

"...What are you doing?" Luna asked. "Stay where you are, or I will shoot."

Florence did not stop. His face twisted in a snarl and he raised a paw, a dark purple energy enveloping his claws.

Luna clenched her teeth. What was he doing?

"Luna, shoot!" Colter shouted behind her. "He's not stopping!"

"Last warning!" shouted Luna.

Florence growled and rushed for the lucario, paw ready to strike.

Luna threw back the wand, gathered aura in her paws and blocked the zoroark's shadow claw with a bone of light.

Florence's eyes widened. Then, he grimaced. "Coward!"

"The cowardly thing would have been to shoot you," Luna said, jabbing the bone forward and shoving the zoroark back. "The cowardly thing would have been to get yourself shot!"

Florence only growled. He formed a ball of darkness between his paws and let it fly. Luna blocked it with her bone, which shattered. She began creating a new one.

"What are you doing?" Colter shouted. "You don't know how powerful he is! It's too dangerous!"

"I'm not giving up on this!" Luna shouted. "I'm dragging him to a jail cell, alive and kicking!"

Florence screeched. Dark purple energy engulfed him like flames, and the air seemed to get colder. Luna put up her paws just in time to create a protect barrier as the unknown attack hit her, dropping the unfinished bone. The blast chilled her paws.

Before she could react, however, Florence came rushing with another shadow claw and slashed her forearm. A painful stinging told her that it had drawn blood. Even through her energy barrier…? This transformation had made him powerful.

"Luna!" shouted Colter. "Keep him in place so I can get a clear shot!"

"No! Don't shoot him!" Luna barked. "I've got this… under control!" She raised a paw and blasted Florence with a weak flash cannon in the face. He huffed, stepping back, but was attacking again in the very next second.

Having too little time, Luna had to block with her bare arms again. Florence's shadow claw carved three new wounds to her forearm, and she took them with a hiss.

A yellow lance of light flew through Florence's mane, barely missing the nape of his neck and burning a hole in its wake. Florence turned to the shooter with a hiss - it was Colter - and disappeared. His aura slunk to the slumber wand, which quickly disappeared inside his illusion. At least he can't attack while invisible, thought Luna.

"Luna! You have to take the piercing wand, or this'll never end!" Colter shouted, and Luna saw him offer up his wand. She grimaced. Was what he said really true? Her attacks didn't seem to be having much effect, while Florence was drawing her blood…

She'd given it a fair chance, right? She'd be forgiven for this?

Maybe if she got an indirect shot in. It would be painful, but it wouldn't kill him. He could be slowed down enough for them to take the slumber wand from him and put him under.

She heard a chime and immediately struck the pink spell away with a paw. A wave of fatigue came over her, but she pulled herself together.

A bright flash turned the hallway blinding white, but Luna knew to expect it this time. The others didn't, though, screaming at the assault on their eyes. One pink ball flew at Colter and sunk in, making the charizard totter and finally collapse.

"Colter!" shouted Avery. She turned to Luna, and both nodded. Avery threw her piercing wand to Luna, who caught it with grace and pointed it towards the invisible Florence.

"Let's end this nonsense, Florence," Luna shouted. "You don't want to die, and I don't want to kill you. Come peacefully, or I'm gonna try and shoot you in the leg."

It was silent for a while. Then, Florence dropped his illusion. He looked… defeated.

"Drop the slumber wand," Luna ordered. Florence did as asked. "Alright, now, paws behind your head, claws interlaced…"

"Didn't you promise?"

Luna tilted her head. "Huh?"

Florence took a deep breath in. "Didn't you promise to help with the ritual?"

Luna was quiet.

"What's he talking about?" asked Avery, who'd taken Colter's piercing wand and was pointing it towards Florence as well.

"His ritual with the hearts," Luna said. "I said I'd sit in place of my heart and see if it would work that way."

"I'm so close," Florence said. "So, so close. But if you take me away now, I'll have killed both those mon for nothing."

Luna looked into the zoroark’s eyes. She saw a miserable mon.

“...No,” she said.

Florence flinched. “But you --”

“Let’s not get things fucked up, Florence, okay?” Luna barked. “You killed two mon. Both had families. Both had children. Those children are gonna grow up without one of their parents each because of you.”

Florence snarled. “They didn’t have demons to deal with!”

“And that excuses it? I know you have a shitty life, Florence, but how does that give you the right to take away others’?”

The zoroark breathed heavily. “...Fate. Fate is on my side. It revived me. That means I am righteous!”

“I don’t want to hear your excuses!” shouted Luna. “The only righteous thing you can do now is give yourself up and not keep running away from consequences like a coward. You need to pay back for what you did, and jail time is how you do that. Not death.”

Florence glared at Luna. “For a moment, I thought you understood.”

”Yeah,” Luna said. “Likewise.” She nodded to Avery. “Get that slumber wand and put him under.”

Avery did as asked, carefully approaching the zoroark. As he showed no signs of attacking, Avery managed to pick up the slumber wand. Florence didn’t break eye contact with Luna until Avery flicked a spell onto him and he collapsed.

Luna took a deep breath and sighed. “What a day,” she muttered.

Together, they bound Florence’s wrists behind his back and lifted him upright. They left Colter on the ground for now and carried Florence back to the front of the temple.

“Everything okay in there?” asked Hugh’s voice from the top of the stairs.

“We got the guy,” Luna answered back. “He’s unconscious now.”

The large dubwool trotted down the stairs. “I can carry him,” he offered, and Luna and Avery took him up on that offer.

“I’ll go back to Colter and stay with him until he wakes up,” said Luna.

“Gotcha. We’ll call the station and tell them what’s up.”

Avery lifted her bracelet, but Luna lifted a palm. “Um, actually…” Luna started. “Thanks for saving me, first of all, but how did you find me?”

“We got word that you’d been attacked,” Avery said, “but it was the book that told us where to go. We found a description of a ritual with three hearts - a gardevoir's, an alakazam's and a lucario's. You're the only lucario in town, so it was obvious you would be the next victim, and the book said to do the ritual in a sacred place, so…" She gestured around. "Here we are."

“I’m glad you got here in time,” Luna said. “If you hadn’t, I’d be one heart short by now.”

“And Florence would have gained untold unholy powers,” Avery said, wigging her claws.

Luna huffed. “I think he would’ve just been sorely disappointed.”

“Well, anyway - see ya,” said Avery, and her and Hugh turned back towards the stairs. Luna waved at them and headed back to the hallway where Colter was. She heard vague words of calling into the station and explaining to them that the zoroark had been caught before they faded away. She reached Colter and sat down beside him.

She poked his snout with a paw. No response.

“I’ll be here for hours,” she sighed.


With enough time, Luna fell asleep next to Colter. Hours later, she was woken up.

“Luna!” whisper-yelled Colter. “Wake up!”

“Mmm…” Luna took a deep breath and yawned. She opened her groggy eyes. “Colter… nice to see you up and about.”

But Colter wasn’t anywhere near as relaxed. “What happened to me? What happened to Florence? Did he get away?”

“No, no,” said Luna, rubbing her eyes. “We caught him. He’s at the station. You just got hit by a slumber wand and snoozed for… however many hours it’s been.”

“Well, we better get out of here, then,” said Colter. Luna nodded and got up. The two walked back to the front of the temple, climbed the stairs and opened the door to the outside. The morning sun shone in.

“We better hurry, or we’ll be late for work,” said Colter.

“You got that right. Let’s go.”

Colter raised his bracelet. “Luna and Colter awake, leaving the temple. Over.”

The response took a small while to come. “That’s good to hear. Hurry on over to the station. Over.”

They made their way to the station in silence. It seems they both were still too tired to talk.

Having walked through the station doors, Avery approached them. “Finally back, I see,” she said. Come on to the break room. You can have some coffee and croissants for breakfast.

“I am in dire need of some food,” said Colter.

“And I direly need coffee,” said Luna.

Avery led them to the break room and was kind enough to get the food and drink for both of them. Luna took a sip out of her hot cup and sighed in pleasure.

“That’s the stuff,” she said.

They quieted to eat their croissants, but spoke again once they’d gotten some food in them.

“Luna,” Colter started, “I hope you know I’m still upset at you for going against protocol with Florence.”

Luna quirked a brow. “You mean not shooting him?”

“It was a dangerous thing to do,” said Colter. “You know we’re supposed to rely on our piercing wands when facing a high-risk assailant.”

“I know,” she said, “but it didn’t feel right. He was still just a mon, and he wasn’t in his right mind.”

“Has he ever been in his right mind?”

Luna grimaced. “I don’t know. But I still think we should try to detain people over shooting them.”

Colter sighed. “Yeah. I don’t disagree with you there, but you should still adhere to protocol. If I wanted to be a pain in the ass, I’d go to the Captain and tell him what you did.”

“Good thing you’re not a pain in the ass,” said Luna, taking the last sip of her coffee.

“I mean it, Luna,” Colter said. “It’s not because we want to shoot people. It’s because we want to keep people safe, and that includes your fellow officers.”

Luna thought about Florence attacking Colter or Avery instead, and she began to see the point. “Yeah. You’re right. I’ll be more conscious of my behavior in the future.”

“That’s all I ask,” said Colter, drinking the rest from his own cup. He lowered the cup onto the table and got up. “Ready to go on patrol?”

Luna got up herself. “Ready.”

After Luna had put on her cap, scarf and belt, they ventured outside. It was a beautiful day.


Last edited:


Houston, Texas
  1. serperior
  2. alolatales-goat
Heya Canis! Gonna review this one stream of consciousness style, so my commentary from start to finish won’t have the full context of the story in mind until my concluding thoughts at the end~

When reading the synopsis and peeking at the story art, I’m immediately left with the impression that the Zoroark played a trick with illusions to make it look like he was fatally shot… guess I’m about to find out!

Lots of vague details to try and dissect in that opening snippet. Normally vagueness is an area I advise caution, but I like how the synopsis alone makes it obvious who’s talking, and even suggests relatively when he might be thinking this. It’s a good hook.

The actual opening with the cops felt a bit expository—thankfully mitigated almost entirely by how it didn’t drag on, instead jumping into the chase. Regarding that, I’m tickled because… these cops are Definitely Racist, no? Sorry if that’s not the intent, that’s just my first impression xD (tbf it’s explained a little later that they were specifically after a Zoroark, but still). Because they just went after that guy and pulled out their gun-equivalents without a second thought, well before he did anything dangerous. It was only after they did that, said “let’s pursue,” and called it in to dispatch, that he made a break for it.

And now it seems that Luna is able to touch him, pressing down on his wound… so it’s not an illusion then. Huh! Or maybe that still is his body, but the blood is an illusion? Hmm.

Let’s see… ripping out psychic-type hearts, musings of a “ritual” with probably that same Alakazam character… it sounds like some serious fucking voodoo shit is going on. I have a hunch the Alakazam knows something they aren’t letting on about.

The parents’ reaction was admittedly underwhelming. It actually tracks well that the father would be so callous about it, the way his character was presented from the moment he stepped on screen, but in between spikes of grief the mother seemed to be holding it together remarkably well for someone who just lost her coming-of-age son because of a force that was out of his control. Enough to hold a conversation and make deductions for the sake of exposition. Fwiw it tracked much better when she got to the morgue, confirmed it was him, and broke down for real.

Oh, so the professor was pulling an all-nighter huh… suuure.

The brief scene where the cops stop to get coffee seems like pure fluff. I think in a longer fic I wouldn’t think anything of it and file away some of the details slipped in there, but for a oneshot that implicitly has no long-term, I’m unsure what the takeaway is. We learn Colter is a father, that he and Luna have slightly different perspectives on the results of their encounter with the Zoroark, but these seem like things that either don’t particularly matter to the narrative or that could’ve been touched upon in a scene that’s actively furthering the plot. Could probably cut out this whole scene and lose very little.

Oh uh, lol whoops I guess the Alakazam wasn’t the secret mastermind after all. I can’t imagine having one’s own insides ripped out would be part of their own master plan. As a side note, I love the exchange where Colter wanted to make a bet and Luna was like 😠 smh we're cops

Zooming out a bit, the climax was really interesting for how it explored the idea that this was never about demons, and that Florence’s problems boil down to a psychologically induced lack of empathy that was misdiagnosed and misappropriated by his family. It’s a sad tale, but Luna’s efforts to keep the guy alive in the end gave it a silver lining that I appreciated.

In any case, this was definitely one of the more dialogue-heavy stories I’ve read. There are tradeoffs to this, and as I tend to prefer reading heavier dialogue over rambling prose, I enjoyed the pacing. Wouldn’t have minded some scene description sprinkled in here and there, but I won’t admonish a stylistic decision that I see mostly as a positive anyway. It reads like a Law and Order style crime thriller, but in a Pokémon world, and there’s a really unique charm to that. Well done! Critiques aside, I really enjoyed the read. Colter in particular made me giggle more than a few times.


you should've known the price of evil
  1. inkay-shirlee
  2. houndoom-elliot
  3. yamask-joanna
  4. shuppet
  5. deerling-andre
The actual opening with the cops felt a bit expository—thankfully mitigated almost entirely by how it didn’t drag on, instead jumping into the chase. Regarding that, I’m tickled because… these cops are Definitely Racist, no? Sorry if that’s not the intent, that’s just my first impression xD (tbf it’s explained a little later that they were specifically after a Zoroark, but still). Because they just went after that guy and pulled out their gun-equivalents without a second thought, well before he did anything dangerous. It was only after they did that, said “let’s pursue,” and called it in to dispatch, that he made a break for it.
Oh, good point - truth be told, I kind of forgot about moves as a non-lethal takedown method for the beginning of the story. I think I could edit it so that they don't pull out their guns and Florence just manages to nab it from Luna's holster and Colter... somehow... is faster. But they are also like 80% sure it's the one that attempted to kill the alakazam because there are only two zoroark in town (Florence and his mother), and they know he would likely be hiding via illusions.

The brief scene where the cops stop to get coffee seems like pure fluff. I think in a longer fic I wouldn’t think anything of it and file away some of the details slipped in there, but for a oneshot that implicitly has no long-term, I’m unsure what the takeaway is. We learn Colter is a father, that he and Luna have slightly different perspectives on the results of their encounter with the Zoroark, but these seem like things that either don’t particularly matter to the narrative or that could’ve been touched upon in a scene that’s actively furthering the plot. Could probably cut out this whole scene and lose very little.
Huh. I specifically put it in there to serve as a moment to breathe because I felt like the fic was otherwise all "go to place x and find out new detail x and then go to next place". It also helps humanize (ironic word for pocket monsters) the leads a bit more.

In any case, this was definitely one of the more dialogue-heavy stories I’ve read. There are tradeoffs to this, and as I tend to prefer reading heavier dialogue over rambling prose, I enjoyed the pacing. Wouldn’t have minded some scene description sprinkled in here and there, but I won’t admonish a stylistic decision that I see mostly as a positive anyway. It reads like a Law and Order style crime thriller, but in a Pokémon world, and there’s a really unique charm to that. Well done! Critiques aside, I really enjoyed the read. Colter in particular made me giggle more than a few times.
I'm glad! This is my first time writing a proper mystery, so I'm glad it could emulate something existing. Thanks for the read and review! Much appreciated.
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