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Thread Description
Dreams of victory, dreams of peace, dreams of the future... all scattered to the winds. (Extra 1 - 9/20/19)

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
For those of you new to the story, hello! For those of you continuing the journey from Taptalk, welcome back!

Stolen Dreams is a bit of an... interesting case. Years ago, I posted my first story on the site, Fractured Actuality . I then proceeded to a sequel, got part way through, and then was curb stomped by Real Life™ and, between that and other reasons, ended up dropping the project and writing altogether for quite a while. Never forgot about the unfinished stories and, determined to finish the trilogy, here I am. However, it's been years, so picking up the middle of a story everyone's forgotten seemed like a recipe for failure. So, rather than beat new readers over the head with around 80 chapters of several year old content, we're starting fresh!

Fractured Actuality was always a bit of a problem child in hindsight. So many major storytelling mistakes that just begged me to fix. Plus there was... well... not outright bad writing at the early parts, but definitely nothing I was proud of. So rather than simply slowly repost it, I'm taking this chance to make things right. While this is the same story as FA, this is most definitely not the same story as FA. I originally intended it as a cleaned-up retelling, but Stolen Dreams has definitely taken its own life and direction, enough that it basically could be continued a separate continuity. So understand that if you ever read the original, or are brave enough to go and read it now, understand that things don't play out the same. The similarities will be clear, but there's also striking differences.

Anyway, if you're reading my stuff then please hit the Like button so I know I have readers! Even if you don't want to say anything, it'd be great just simply knowing I have readers! But, if you do leave a comment, feel free to either simply give simple commentary, leave brutally honest critique, or anything in between! If you feel like my run needs to be torn about, the scraps burned, and the ashes ejected into the sun, tell me and tell me why! If you feel like singing praises of the story to the high heavens and preaching it as Arceus' gift to man, then go for it and tell me why! Criticism is always appreciated, of all kinds!


Ah, but enough of me being wordy here. You're here for a story, after all, so don't let me keep you any longer!




1. If a Pokemon is defeated, it is not allowed to battle again. It must be released, permanently boxed, or traded up to Gen IV.
2. Must capture the first wild Pokemon found in an area. An area is defined as any location that has its own set of wild Pokemon*. Gifts, in-game trades, trainer encounters, freebies do not count towards this, but the Game Corner does.
*For example, the Safari Zone is not part of Fuchsia since it has different wild Pokemon, but each part of the Safari Zone is the same area. Likewise, the Burned Mansion is not part of Cinnabar, but all the floors there are the same area.
3. If an area requires an HM to proceed and there are no owned Pokemon that can learn the HM, whether due to deaths or bad luck in what Pokemon appear, it is permissible to find and catch a dedicated HM slave to pass through this area. It cannot battle and, if forced to, must be allowed to faint. If a Pokemon that can learn its HMs is properly caught, the HM Slave must be released.
4. If there are no more usable Pokemon, the run is considered a failure. Whiting out is permissible provided there are usable Pokemon in storage.
5. The run is considered successful if the Elite Four and the Champion are successfully defeated. Post-game is optional.
6. If a shiny is encountered, it may be captured even if it is not the first in the area. However, it may not be used to battle if it is not the first in the area.
7. Starter is chosen randomly by using the random integer generator at random.org. 1 = Bulbasaur, 2 = Charmander, 3 = Squirtle


"We dreamed of creating the world's strongest Pokemon..."

Legs unable to move, the scientist could do nothing but watch the creature step through the flames and explosions of its own creation as it cut down his peers. The being spotted him, narrowed its blue glowing eyes, and raised an open palm towards him. Only one final throught ran through his mind before a foreign power invaded his conscious.

"...and we succeeded."


* * *


A jerk and a bright flash of cold, sterile lights brought the man back to the realm of consciousness. Unaware that he had even been asleep, he fell back down onto the pillow before his mind finished processing where he was and what he was doing. Before he moved again, his body told him he felt rather stiff and a little sore, as if he had stayed in bed for too long.

The real question though: whose bed was this? He sat up to examine it and, on further inspection, discovered that it was actually a couch. Looking around, unfamiliar walls and bookshelves turned their gaze upon him. If he had to make a guess, he was in some sort of... study perhaps? On a table a short distance away were his phone and wallet. Immediately, he threw off the thin blanket and sat up.

The man stretched his body before leaning over to reach for his things. He was partly worried he might have been robbed, but partly hopeful they might give some clue to what was going on before he met someone who might expect him to know. Prying open the leather, he found his wallet, and contents, intact. There was no I.D inside, which made him panic a little until something told him it was on a different device entirely. He couldn't for he life of him remember what device, however.

His phone, however, was in worse shape. The screen was cracked and dark splotches were beneath the glass, as if someone had gone through the effort to carefully spill ink into the phone through those cracks. He tried to power it on but the device was completely unresponsive. Sighing, he stuffed the useless thing and his wallet in his pockets.

He squeezed his eyes shut, took a breath, and tried to focus and bid his memories back to the surface where he could see them. Nothing came to. Panicking, he tried to remember something, anything! Immediately, his mind was flooded with images and sensations of the past. His childhood, growing up, going to college, and then... then right as he graduated, nothing. Gone, as if that part of his life had been scrubbed clean from his mind.

The man bit his lip in concern. Something very unsettling was happening. Amnesia was not laser focused like that. He'd either struggle to remember his past or struggle to remember anything new. Yet, he had a chunk of his life cut out. Missing, absent, nothing save a sense of a long passage of years. Just... what happened?

No answers would be found here so, with nothing useful to be found in this room, he stepped out of the room and into a colder, sterile hallway. The dim hum of large, electrical equipment reached his ears and he thought he heard voices drifting down the hall. He quickened his pace towards them in the hopes he'd find answers.

The hallway opened up into a large room with a bank of computer servers and doors leading elsewhere off to the sides. On the opposite wall, an elderly man was hunched over a computer-occupied desk working on something he could not see. On a couch in a far corner sat a blue-skinned, brown-shelled turtle-like pokemon with oddly fluffy ears and tail. Shawn immediately recognized it was a wartortle. One that seemed completely engrossed in a television.

Shawn didn't make it halfway across the room before the Pokemon noticed him. Glancing up in mild surprise, he quickly turned to the older man. "Yo, prof!" No immediate response. "Prof. Oak!"

"One moment, I almost-" There was a pause and a half laugh. "Excellent, it's working again." He grabbed a nearby cane, rotated his chair around to see what the commotion was about, and hesitated upon spotting the stranger in his midst. He then sighed in relief and smiled. "Oh good, you're awake! My family and I were worried about you."

Worried about him? That set off alarms in his skull and he absolutely had to shut them down before they drowned out his thoughts. "How did I get here?"

"Shawn- that's your name, right?" Surprised at "Prof" Oak's knowledge, the man nodded. "Rusty here and my granddaughter, Daisy, were playing down at the beach yesterday afternoon and found you on the shore. It was... very unusual. You had not a scratch, your clothing was not damaged, and you had nary a drop of water or grain of dirt on you. It was as if something had carried you and set you down there." He tapped the floor with his cane thoughtfully. "My grandson, Cole, identified you and said you two knew each other. Which is good because you had no functioning I.D. on you. We brought you here and I called in our on-staff vet to check you out, since the closest doctor is in Pewter City, and found that you appeared to have no injuries. While I suspect a Pokemon probably put you to sleep, that normally does not last nearly so long."

Shawn wasn't sure what was stranger: his lack of memory or somehow washing ashore without even getting wet. Clearly, the professor agreed. "What happened to you? This is not something that just happens."

The man slumped his shoulders in defeat. "I was hoping you could tell me. The last thing I remember was falling asleep in bed after graduating from uni, but I'm confident that was years ago. There's just..." He paused as he thought of how to word it. "...a blank haze in my mind. It's like someone surgically removed part of my memories."

The professor turned back to the desk and picked something off of it. He turned and held out a black and yellow fold-up device. "Maybe this will help? The memory was corrupted and, try as I might, I couldn't recover anything. I was able to at least reset it completely, although you'll probably want to redownload the Kanto and Johto expansions, since this is not a Kanto-native Pokedex."

Shawn stepped forward and accepted it. He flipped it open and found that it was displaying an entry on Chimchar. He stared at the picture for a moment as it felt intensely familiar. Overwhelmingly so. Something stirred within him and the man gasped as a memory exploded to the forefront of his mind.

* * *

The crisp, cool sea air blew through the streets of Canalave City while Shawn sat on a pier overlooking the ocean. Even though it hadn't physically changed, the world somehow seemed fresh and new now that he had graduated and earned his bachelors of veterinary medicine a few days ago. Perhaps it was because, now that he was finished with education, a vast expanse of possibilities were opened to him, free for him to choose? Or perhaps it was the lavender and purple-spotted egg that rested in his lap and promised to start an exciting journey once it hatched?

He carefully shifted it and inspected it. While it was inert and inanimate, its warmth gave clear indication that there was a living, breathing pokemon inside. But this wasn't going to be just any pokemon. No, this would his first, given to him by one of his old roommates the day after they had graduated from Canalave University. That meant this pokemon would be special even if it was ordinary in every other fashion.

Shawn stared back out across the ocean and toward the distant lands hidden well beyond the horizon. About a year or so ago, even with the funds at his disposal, he would have never given serious thought to crossing the seas and visiting other regions. But now? Now he had the perfect reason to, someday, go and see the rest of the world.

Heavy footsteps on the pier caught his attention and prompted him to turn. While he had never actually met the man, Shawn instantly recognized the portly, elderly gentleman since he had visited the university on many occasions to give speeches and interact with students studying various fields of biology.

Despite his potentially intimidating stature, any threat was destroyed by the smile he wore. "That's a mighty fine egg you have there, young man."

Shawn stood up, grinned, and nodded. "Yes it is. A very special one, actually. Also, it's a pleasure to meet you, Professor Rowan."

"You must be one of the students from the university." Rowan sized up Shawn for a moment. "But I don't recognize you. Are you a biology major?"

The young graduate shook his head. "Veterinary Medicine, just graduated a few days ago." He couldn't help but grin and swell with pride at his accomplishment. "But I did attend a few of your speeches on pokemon evolution. Not my field of study, but it's still a fascinating topic. I especially liked the one where you discussed pokemon who evolved from external stimulus rather than by natural means." He smiled, but his eyes went in slight surprise as he realized he was making a serious mistake. "Oh! I'm Shawn O'Donnel. I'm sorry, I forgot to introduce myself."

Professor Rowan chuckled and grinned. "It's okay, son. So tell me, what makes that egg so special?"

"This is my first pokemon. Or, well, it will be once it hatches. The friend who gave it to me told me it'll be a nidoran." Shawn held up the egg for Rowan to see for a moment before he protectively clutched it to his chest.. "I'm going to raise it and, when it's old enough, we're going to set off on a journey and see the world. I don't know if we'll go onto the League circuit or try something else yet. But, whatever it is, I'm looking forward to it." He realized he was grinning goofily and his expression became more sheepish. "I don't know why, maybe it's the egg, but just thinking about it makes me giddy."

"A journey, huh?" Professor Rowan set his briefcase down onto the pier. "You know that eggs hatch better when they're around other pokemon, right?"

Shawn nodded and sighed. "I don't have any way to catch a pokemon on my own. Not until this one is hatched and old enough to battle. So, I'll just be patient."

The elderly man chuckled once more as he opened up his briefcase. He dug around through the papers and writing utensils until he produced a red and white sphere. Shawn's breath caught in his throat when he recognized what it was. "Here, take this pokemon then. I think he'll be perfect for you."

"Are you sure?" He so terribly wanted to take the ball right then and there but... this wasn't something you just gave away!

Professor Rowan nodded and smiled once more. "It's heartwarming to see such dedication and enthusiasm from aspiring trainers such as yourself. Don't worry, I always keep a few pokemon with me to give to individuals such as yourself. There comes a time in everyone's life to meet pokemon and I believe yours has arrived."

Hesitantly, Shawn shifted the egg into his left arm and accepted the pokeball. He held it in his hand and stared at it carefully. It felt slightly heavier than it appeared and, like the egg, was warm to the touch. He twisted and turned it in his grip with uncertainty.

"Don't be nervous. I'm sure he'll be just as excited to meet you as you are to meet him." Shawn flipped the ball in his grip and, like he had seen done many times before, pointed it at the pier and pressed the button on the front. The ball popped open and shot out a burst of red light that slowly took the shape of a small, brown monkey with a small flame in place of its tail. It looked around in confusion for a moment before staring up at Shawn with wide, curious eyes. "Shawn, I would like you meet Kyle, your new friend. Kyle, this is Shawn, who is likewise your new friend."

Kneeling down low while being careful not to lose his grip on the egg, the new trainer got close to the chimchar. "Hey there little buddy. Are you as happy to see me as I am to see you?" Much to his surprise, the monkey nodded and grinned eagerly. The young man couldn't help but return the grin with one of his own. "I think we're going to make great friends."

"He seems to have taken a liking to you." The Professor snapped his briefcase closed and picked it back up. "It seems I was right when I decided you two would be a good match."

Kyle leapt onto Shawn's shoulder as the young man stood up once more. He couldn't help but giggle and immediately felt silly for doing so. "Thank you, Professor. No seriously, thank you. I... I really don't know what else to say."

"You're welcome." Professor Rowan offered his hand and Shawn accepted and shook it. "You two be kind to each other and work together. As long as you treat each other with respect and compassion then there's no telling what kind of potential you'll be able to meet."

"I will, I promise." Although it wasn't with words that Shawn could understand yet, Kyle voiced his promise to do the same as well.

"I know you will." The professor glanced down at his watch and then back to Shawn. "I need to be going now. Or really, I shouldn't have stopped to begin with, but you caught too much of my curiosity. Besides, I think you two are going to want to take some time to get better acquainted."

Once more, Shawn couldn't help but wear another huge grin. "Thanks again, Professor. I'm not going to forget this moment."

Professor Rowan laughed heartily and smiled. "You're welcome. Safe travels to you and I hope you have a wonderful journey."

As the professor walked away, Shawn turned back to Kyle. "Hey buddy, I got an important task for you. You see this egg? When it hatches, it'll be a new friend of ours. But, until then, I need you to help me keep it warm and safe. Can you do that?"

Kyle nodded enthusiastically in reply. "I'm glad to hear it. Let's go home then, shall we?"



* * *

"Dude, are you okay?"

The voice of the wartortle snapped Shawn back to reality and he looked up to see both the pokemon and the professor staring at him. In his hand, the image of the Chimchar remained on the screen of the Pokedex.

"I... I just... I remember. Just a little bit but... I was... am... a pokemon trainer." He snapped the Pokedex closed and calmed his mind from the resurfaced experience. The memory seemed real, genuine, and filled the very beginning of that gap in his head. Knowing that he could remember something was a blessed reassurance that whatever damage he had suffered would not be permanent. At least, not entirely. "I was in Sinnoh and I started with an egg and a chimchar. That's... all I remember."

The turtle turned to the professor. "Yo, what's a chimchar?"

Before any answer could be made, a heavier exterior door opened and closed somewhere behind them. Shawn turned to see a brown haired man around his own age walking inside. Something immediately put Shawn at unease about this guy, but whatever he knew of him was currently buried in the empty abyss of his absent memories.

"Oh, Shawn's awake! Lemme text mom real quick that we won't need the other bedroom." The newcomer immediately dug his phone out his pocket. He started to address Shawn as he typed. "Hey, it's been a while! How are you feeling? How'd you even wind up on the beach?"

He didn't respond right away as nothing came to his mind. "A little stiff, but I'm fine. And... I don't know. I... don't even remember who you are."

The newcomer looked up from his phone with a dumbfounded look. "Really? Shawn, it's me, Cole! We've known each other for a few months now!" An awkward silence fell between them as Shawn's face showed a lack of recognition. "You really don't remember..."

Professor Oak cleared his throat for attention. "As I was about to say, it might be a good idea for him to go to the Global Transit System in Goldenrod to recover his trainer I.D. If he's a Sinnovian trainer then none of the Pokemon Centers will be of any use here. Cole, can you take him there?"

The other man shook his head. "I have a lot of business to take care of that I can't put off. But I can take him to the Viridian City Pokemon Center and help get him issued a temporary license and I.D. if you email them that we're coming."

"Well... that's a better plan than I'd be able to come up with right now." Shawn only recognized the name of Goldenrod, which he knew was a major port city and, therefore, was the main economic and population center of Johto.

"Gramps, I'll catch you later." Cole waved to the Professor and motioned to Shawn to follow him. "Walk with me, Shawn. Maybe we can jog some of that memory for you."

He nodded and turned back to the Professor. "Hey, thanks for making sure nothing happened to me and fixing my pokedex. Tell...uh... tell Daisy thanks as well.

"Hey, wait!" Rusty threw himself off of the couch and ran up to Shawn. "I wanna go with you."

"Rusty, are you sure? You barely know him." The professor was gripping a cane and slowly pulling himself up out of his chair. "It's also either a long or dangerous trip to Goldenrod from here, even if you take the train in Saffron."

The wartortle nodded. "Prof, as much as I enjoy the TV and helpin' you, I'm gettin' tired of being cooped up in the lab most of the time. I'm happy I'm here but... I can't keep waitin' any longer for your other grandson to grow up. I just can't, I need to be out there and this is my best chance before then!"

There was a pause as if Professor Oak seemed to be thinking of something. "Well... that does give me a few months to get something else..." He shook his head. "Well, if Shawn will have you, then its your decision and I respect it."

Long or dangerous trip? And he'd only have an escort for only so far? To Shawn, the decision seemed like a no-brainer. "I'd be happy for you to come along."

Cole nodded in approval. "Awesome, Rusty's been complaining about boredom for a week now, so this works out for you both. But come on, let's get going. It's the weekend, so if you don't want to wait until Monday, we only have a couple more hours to get to Viridian in time to get you that temp I.D."

Shawn nodded in agreement and started to follow Cole out the door with Rusty, who was waving farewell to the professor. This all seemed really abrupt to Shawn but... if his best shot at getting his memories back were a long trip from where he currently was, then sitting around and doing nothing felt like it'd be very counter-productive.

Still though, he couldn't shake the nervousness about... well... everything so far.


As per my rules, I chose my starter by using a random number generator at random.org. I generated a number between 1-3. I got a three, hence Squirtle. This was my first run ever with a Squirtle, so it definitely was a new experience for me. I never used it prior since Squirtle was my "brother's starter", so in the name of being different, I always avoided it. Meanwhile, I pretty much went Fire-type all the time every time for first plays.

Don't worry though, Rusty was a typical level 5 Squirtle at this point in the game, not a Wartortle or anything.

Not much to say about the first battle here. I used Tail Whip and proceeded to throw Tackle and used additional Tail Whips to "parry" any Growls. I ended up winning, but, had I lost, I probably would have just continued rather than restarting since the loss of the first level-up is more punishing than starting over.

Normally I'd keep track of levels down here, but my notes on this run are rather bad about tracking my team's levels. I only really have them in the very early parts of the runs and the late parts. So, I probably won't do so. Kinda putting this here to answer the "what level is everyone" question(s) I'd inevitably get.
 
Last edited:

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #2
Because I am impatient, already reposting Chapter 2! Let's get this adventure started! ...or, well, restarted!



Maybe it was because Oak's lab was situated in the outskirts of Pallet Town, but Shawn couldn't help but feel they were almost in the middle of nowhere. It was as if the surrounding forests were encroaching on the town rather than civilization having carved out a clearing for itself. It reminded him of some of the more remote parts of Sinnoh, such as Twinleaf Town, which, while small, was not located too far from Canalave University.

And even then, what little he had seen of Twinleaf Town seemed more... affluent than what he was witnessing in Pallet Town. Excluding the lab, the nearby homes and other buildings he could see from here seemed... dated. The roads were also cracked in places too, although such a thing wasn't terribly uncommon, so he gave Pallet a pass on that issue. Down town would probably be in better shape but, well, he wasn't getting to see that.

Shawn glanced at his temporary traveling companion. His mind still told him to be at unease, despite how nothing was being said or done to reinforce that disposition. "So, you're not bringing me out here just to trick me into a battle, are you?"

"What? No! Dude, I know I have a reputation for being a jerk sometimes, but you just woke up from a coma. That'd be waaaaay too much of a dick move!" Cole vigorously shook his head as he led them out towards the north along the road. "Besides, two other things. First, it wouldn't be a fair battle."

Shawn raised an eyebrow when the other man didn't elaborate and then noticed he was indicating to his belt. On it were seven pokeballs of various designs, only a couple of which he recognized. "That is a few pokemo- wait, I thought trainers only could use teams of six?"

"You're not wrong. These-" he indicated the six on one side of his belt. "-are my Master Division team. Pitting Rusty against them would be like pitting a kid against a pro boxer." Shawn's mind was immediately filled with the image of a seven foot tall man punching out a five-year old, which made him grin despite how horrible such a thing would be in reality. "Meanwhile, the other one is Victor, an ivysaur, who I'm training so I have more options in League battles. Rusty's strong, but he doesn't have the training to overcome a disadvantage like that."

The wartortle walking along Shawn's side sighed and nodded. "Yeah... back before we evolved, Victor and me used to be on even footin'. Now I struggle to win unless he messes up pretty badly."

Shawn patted the tortoise on the shoulder reassuringly. He imagined that shell would be difficult to overcome for a novice Pokemon, even if the owner wasn't skilled yet himself. But with some experience... "That makes sense. I'd rather not get mine or Rusty's teeth kicked in during my first hour of being awake again. But... what was the other reason?"

"Come on, Shawn, you're smarter than that, it should be obvious." Cole glanced to him when the amnesiac in question shot him a quizzical look. "Your memory? You are a trainer, one of the best I know even. But none of that matters if you don't even remember how to battle. Without your memory, you might be stuck on the same level as those bug catching hobbyists in Viridian right now."

"You better be better than one of 'em. I ain't gonna listen if all you do is tell me to tackle someone over and over."

Shawn shook his head. At the very least, he knew how to battle better than a ten year old. "No, I think I remember the basics at least. One of my friends in college wanted to be a trainer, but couldn't since he had a bad knee and could only walk so far. When I expressed interest, he taught me everything he knew before we graduated. It wasn't a lot, I think, but still better than nothing."

"Really?" Cole gave him a quizzical look and then grinned as a thought seemed to come to his mind. "Well, let's go over what you know. You might jostle a memory loose in that head of yours. And if not then at least you'll be better prepared when a wild pokemon or angry bug catcher attacks you."

"Well... for starters, he did go over the League classifications for pokemon. For example, Rusty looks like he'd probably be classified as a water pokemon, which means he'd have an advantage against fire but disadvantage against floral pokemon..."

The conversation would continue like that for some time. And while it did cause something to come back to his memory, it wasn't the memory he would have expected...


* * *
Angry shouting amplified in volume as the argument reached its hottest levels yet. Two men were doing the majority of the yelling while a woman seemed to be shouting only to be heard above their noise. Eventually, one of the parties had enough of the fight and stormed outside of the house, onto the deck, and slammed the door behind him. Muffled shouting followed after him, but he ignored it.

Andrew and Sarah, Shawn's younger siblings who shared his green eyes and dirty blonde hair, stared at him quietly from their seats at the patio table as he huffed and sighed. Now free of the fight, he slumped his shoulders and collapsed into an unoccupied chair. Jasmine, the pink-furred, blue-eyed, ribbon-adorned sylveon seemed to sense his distress and trotted over to Shawn and nuzzled his leg to comfort him. He scratched her ears in return.

After a few moments of silence, he looked up at his siblings and asked the obvious question. "You heard all of that?"

"Yeah, but I don't get it. Why are they so angry when this is what you want to do?" Andrew shook his head. "They always told us they'd support us in whatever we do."

"Well, I think mom is finally understanding where I'm coming from." Shawn turned his gaze to the snowy line of mountains on the horizon and the valleys below them, a view he had missed terribly while in Canalave. "The problem is dad. He thinks that, by becoming a trainer, I'm wasting my degree and education and I'll wind up living in a rainy ditch or something."

His younger brother crossed his arms and gave him a perplexed look. "That doesn't make any sense! You have a veterinary degree! Wouldn't being able to heal your own team be one of the best uses for it? Seriously, how many trainers are forced to quit because their team gets hurt on the road and they can't do anything about it?"

"That's what I told him." Shawn sighed again and turned away from the panoramic view and back to his brother and sister. No matter how overqualified he was for the occupation, he couldn't get through his dad's thick skull. "Heck, I even told him that, if I didn't do well as a trainer, then I'd at least have real field experience. That'd make me a lot more desirable to hire than anyone fresh out of college."

"Dad's just being dad, don't worry." Sarah stroked the small nidoran in her arms and smiled warmly. "Besides, if he saw how adorable Mayra is then he'd have to change his mind."

Andrew snorted. "Ha! Good luck with that! I'm surprised they let you get and raise Jasmine for participating in contests!" The sylveon in question lifted her ears and peered over the edge of the table at the mention of her name, though stayed silent. She tended to stay out of drama-filled conversations, at least verbally.

"Yeah, that makes no sense. Why won't they let me be a trainer when they'll let you be a coordinator?" There was a pause before Shawn thought better of it and quickly added, "Not saying that's your fault or anything, of course."

"No, it's fine. I guess it's because I'm not out on the road? Or because I only need to go down to Veilstone to practice and do shows?" His sister shrugged while the nidoran squirmed in her arms. "By the way, Mayra keeps trying to poke me with her barbs. It kind of tickles, but I feel like she's trying to attack me or something."

Shawn snickered slightly as he offered to take his baby pokemon from his sister. Once the nidoran was in his arms, she calmed down immediately. "That's probably because she doesn't know you yet. Normally, you're not supposed to pick up a nidoran you don't know since they have toxic barbs and they're not afraid to use them if they feel even slightly threatened. But Mayra's still a baby, so hers aren't sharp or poisonous yet. Which is a good thing because I'm a vet and not a doctor."

"Speaking of pokemon, where's Kyle hiding this time? He's not with you, so he can't be insi-" As if waiting to become the subject at hand, the chimchar dropped down from the tree above and landed on the center of the table and posed dramatically. Kyle said something, but none of them could understand the chimchar yet. "Oh, well... that answers that! So, even though dad's gonna be upset forever, you're still going to try to challenge the League and all that?"

Shawn nodded. "Yeah, at least Senior Division. I'm too old for Junior and nowhere near ready for doing Master like all the trainers on TV. I might even start sooner than I planned since I doubt it's going to be pleasant staying here with dad acting the way he is." He offered a hand to Kyle, who accepted it by clambering along his arm until he reached Shawn's shoulder to use as a perch.

His sister smiled brightly. "Well, good luck then! I hope you do well and get to start when you're ready. ...rather than being forced to because dad kicked you out. Come visit me in Veilstone whenever you go for the gym there!"



* * *

Turned out, Shawn did need some brushing up on some things since not all of his information was quite accurate. Was it fault of his own or his mentor, he wasn't sure. But, for example, insects didn't like rocks, which was one thing slipping his mind. He felt as if he should already know that and more, but the information was eluding him. The lessons, however, were interrupted when a brown and tan bird, with yellow and pink tail and crest feathers, swooped in and landed in between them and the road beyond.

"This is MY territory!" the pidgeotto shouted as she flapped her wings and glowered menacingly. Shawn could almost see the fire burning in her eyes. "And I'm not letting some some blue, furry eared lizard through! Go back to the sea where you belong and stop coming after my prey!"

Rusty crossed his arms. "Really, sis? I'm just passin' through. I don't care about your huntin' grounds or any of that!"

"Oh hey, that's that really feisty pidgeotto!" Cole dug into a pocket and produced a black and white pokeball with a yellow "U" on top. He tossed it to Shawn, who almost dropped it in surprise. "Show me what you just learned and whatever else you might remember!"

The bird eyed the ball warily. "You throw that thing at me and I'll drag your butt to the ocean and drop you into the deep end myself!"

Shawn had to resist rolling his eyes. He could tell that this pokemon might be a handful. But... something in the back of his mind told him if that fiery attitude could be refined and focused... well, she might just end up being a fierce pokemon in battle. "Tell you what: if you beat Rusty then we'll go back to Pallet Town for the rest of our lives. If we beat you then you'll come with us. And if you don't want to fight, then you have to let us pass."

Avian eyes narrowed on Shawn's, as if they were looking for deceit and trickery. "And if I refuse?"

"Well... I make no promises my friend here won't sic seven more pokemon on you." Shawn shrugged nonchalantly. "It's all up to you."

The pidgeotto made an expression and a noise that seemed like her best imitation of growling and baring her fangs. Only, she couldn't growl and had no fangs, but the expression and sound still managed to convey menace. Her talons scratched the ground and kicked up dirt as she considered the offer. The bird's eyes shifted between Shawn and Rusty before she spat onto the ground.

"Fine. But you're gonna regret picking a fight with the most badass pidgeotto of Viridian Forest!" She did not give anyone a chance to reply before a powerful flap of her wings launched her into the air with a small shockwave of dirt and debris. Both humans practically jumped back when she immediately dove for Rusty and knocked him onto his back before he realized what was going on.

"Rusty, just protect yourself for a moment." The wartortle nodded in response to Shawn's command. "I want to subdue her rather than knock her out if we can."

The bird wheeled around in the air and dove again. The tortoise watched her as she drew near before withdrawing into his shell to allow the attack to deflect off of the hard surface. Despite his defense, the force of the blow sent him skidding a few feet across the grass.

"Ha, I KNEW it!" The bird laughed as she swopped up to reposition for another attack and then dove again for the same result. "You would hide in your shell instead of fighting me!"

Shawn snapped his fingers. "I got it. Fake your protection, but when she comes again, pop out, drench her, and pin her."

"Got it, bro." Rusty watched as the pidgeotto moved in again, seemingly unphazed by her attacks being deflected. He timed her approach and withdrew again. When the bird came close once more, Rusty poked his head out of the shell while unleashing a torrent of water. The pidgeotto could not correct her course in time to dodge and was sent tumbling to the ground by the aquatic blast.

Immediately, Rusty was on his feet running her down. The bird scrambled onto her talons just in time to hop away from the wartortle's tackling attempt. She flapped her wings in an attempt to kick up sand, but with most of it becoming mud from Rusty's water attack, very few grains rose up to deter Rusty from dousing her in the face. The pidgeotto was unable to shake the water from her eyes before a shell dropped right on top of her. She struggled and fought to escape, but Rusty's greater strength and mass allowed him to near effortlessly keep her trapped.

"Do I gotta spray water in your face or are you goin' to give up?" No response other than frantic flapping of wings and flailing of talons. "You're not gettin' out unless I let you."

"No, never!" The pidgeotto renewed her attempts to escape, but her efforts were in vain. As she continued, Rusty gave her a blank stare as if to ask if she was serious. Finally after another half an of minute, the bird stopped, sighed, and a resigned expression of embarrassment filled her face. "Fine, you win. Happy now?"

Rusty sighed and shook his head. "Took you long enough."

"Okay Rusty, you can get off of her." As he did so, Shawn fiddled with the pokeball for a moment to activate the passive capture function and then pointed it at the pidgeotto. Grimacing, the bird did not resist or escape. "So, what's your name?"

The displeased avian shot him a glare. "It's Sonya. And even though I'm going with you, I'm not going to call you master, boss, lord, highness, His Most Epicness To Ever Exist, or any of that crap. And if all you use me is for chasing down bugs in Viridian Forest or keeping me as a pet or anything else worthless, then I'm going to gouge out your eyes, make some chicks, and then feed your eyes to them."

It took some effort to keep down a snicker. Sheesh, Cole wasn't kidding when he said she was feisty! "Fair enough, I'd probably do the same if our positions were swapped."

The exchange was interrupted by a low whistle. "You still have it, Shawn! Maybe not as much as you used to, but... that was a clean catch. Passive catch even!" Cole grinned and patted him on the back. "And you're still partly empathic too, so your head isn't screwed up too much!"

Shawn shot him a quizzical look. "Partly empathic?"

Cole's smile faded and he sighed. "You and your messed up memory... Look, that's more of a question for Gramps. All I really know is you're one of those types who can talk to Pokemon freely and stuff without having to get to know them first. But, for better and worst, you're not a full on empath." No bells rung at the term, unfortunately, so Shawn figured it must have been an ability he discovered after starting his Sinnoh journey. After all, wasn't he unable to understand Kyle and Mayra when he first met them?

They started towards Viridian City again, Rusty and Sonya following in silence, mostly because the latter refused to do much other than smoulder in silence. Meanwhile, the tree line started to open up as they came upon the outskirts of the next town. Shawn thought he saw the red roof of a Pokemon Center coming into view in the distance. "So... I need to go to Goldenrod in Johto to get to the GTS, right? Professor Oak said it was a long or dangerous trip, but that doesn't explain which way to go."

"Right, right." Cole thought for a moment. "Let'see... You got a lot of bad options. Like, the fastest way would probably be to go west from here and then follow the coast all the way around to New Bark, up to Violet, and then over to Goldenrod. But, that's Johto's Champion's Route and you'd also have to go through a waterfall cave. In any case, there's no way you're prepared for either. You could also cut straight west, but that's hiking through mountains and wilderness, so bad idea." Cole tapped his chin as he considered other routes. "You could go up to Pewter to take the visitor's road to Indigo Plateau, then follow the road on the other side to Blackthrorn and eventually Ecruteak, where you'd go south. But the League isn't in season for another month, so you won't find any public transit until Mahogony Town. So, at best so you might as well be hiking through mountains."

Another period of silence as the other trainer thought more on the problem. "The Magnet Rail in Saffron's your best bet. Between here and there directly is all dangerous wilderness, so you can't walk straight there. Diglet's Cave is in Viridian Forest, but I hope I don't need to explain why spending days underground walking across the region is a really bad idea. So, your best bet is to go east from Pewter to Cerulean and then south from there. You'll have to deal with Mt. Moon, but that'll be a cakewalk compared to everything else."

All walking? That felt a little odd... "Is there really no public transit or anything? Nor a GTS hub in Kanto?"

Another head shake. "Sorry to break it to you, again. Kanto is a fairly poor region compared to Sinnoh. I mean, we're not impoverished or anything, but you're still not going to find any real vehicles until you hit Pewter since we're basically in the boonies out here. All the money and population are concentrated around Saffron and the neighboring cities. So like... we don't even get internet out here, except for Gramps, who needs it for research, the Pokemon Centers, and a few businesses." Cole sighed. "If it weren't for the seaports at Fuchisia and Vermillion we'd probably end up all being dirt harvesters."

Well, that explained a lot and and painted a somewhat bleak picture of Kanto. Coming from a more affluent background, it was a little hard for Shawn to imagine a whole region lacking in a lot of conveniences that he had taken for granted growing up. But, he probably had gotten along more or less fine before today... "Looks like Mt. Moon it is then. I get the vibe I might need more than Rusty and Sonya to make that trip safely."

As they stopped outside the Pokemon Center, Cole nodded. "Right. Take your time, there's no rush. Your license isn't going anywhere and the temporary one is good for six months. So, I'd say spend a few days here getting up to speed with your pokemon and maybe recruit a few more. Might not be a bad idea to train at the gym in Pewter too. They won't let you challenge for the badge with a temporary license, but you can still practice there." He patted Shawn on the shoulder and opened the door to the Pokemon Center. "Speaking of, let's get that taken care of. This should take no time if Gramps sent them the email like I asked."


-Sonya joined the team at level 3 on Route 1 as a pidgey. Like Rusty, she is cheating in-plot and coming pre-evolved.

-I also did the second rival encounter before making any more catches, mainly because I forgot where the rival was and thought he was farther into Route 22. Because of this, I sent out Sonya first. I meant to send Rusty out against his pidgey and Sonya vs the bulbasaur. Either way, Sonya trashed his pidgey and then proceeded to invoke OHKO crithax on bulbasaur, so it worked out. Adamant Pidgeys are the best Pidgeys.

...at least until they mega-evolve into a special attacker, but that's neither here not there.


Out of game... the alternative title to this chapter is "Pidgeotta". Mainly because, for some reason, I misspelled "pidgeotto" like that every single time.
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
And here is the repost of Chapter 3! ...might go against what I said and do it daily or almost daily, since I kinda don't want to wait a month or more before I'm uploading anything new and I'm sure the veteran readers don't want to wait that long either. I mean, there's still 12 chapters to go plus 2 extras, so that's already two weeks if I do one repost daily!



It had been a few days since he and Cole had parted ways, the latter insisting he had important matters to attend to while refusing to elaborate as to what they entailed. Shawn had been eager to get on to the road and rush to Goldenrod. But, with Mt. Moon looming ahead, he knew he'd need the assistance of Pokemon to ensure safe travels on foot.

So, he trained. Lack of memories or not, Shawn was confident he had never trained a pidgeotto nor a wartortle before, so learning how they battled seemed like a good idea before getting into any real situations. Fortunately, after he downloaded the Kanto and Johto expansions to his pokedex at the pokemon center, they provided a wealth of information on everything he could possibly need to start training with them without doing so blindly.

The pokedex doled out useful information such as diets, typical behaviors, habitats, expected growth speed, and more that would help anyone raising the pokemon in general. But for trainers, it also had a bounty of crowd-sourced training information. Ideal battle tactics, techniques most individuals learned on their own or could be easily taught, techniques they could learn with assistance, League "type-designations", Pokemon that often partnered well with them, and more. The only thing it was really missing were the secrets from the pros themselves. More than likely, those were either sold for money or simply kept secret.

Although, there was still a lot of guessing. Pidgeotto, for example, had a lot of entries of people analyzing the battle techniques a gym leader named Falkner in Johto used with his own pidgeotto and pidgeots. But, between that and all the other information, Shawn had picked up enough to try it out right now.

Rusty and Sonya sparred. The bird was grounded after a failed dive attempt, but refused to back off to give the turtle a chance to blast her with water before she could take off. The wartortle definitely had an advantage while they were down on the surface, but not as much of one as Shawn would have expected. Sonya nimbly dashed and darted around Rusty's strikes while slipping in quick blows from her beak and talons. They weren't dangerous on their own, but they'd add up.

Rusty spun around, whipping Sonya with his tail to throw her off balance before completing the spin and launching a headbutt right into the bird's face. Sonya stumbled back and immediately whipped up a cloud of sand to force some distance before launching herself upward in a small funnel cloud. Rusty recovered and took aim, but held his fire as she shuttlelooped to make herself a harder target.

As she uprighted herself, Sonya twisted in the air and then gave her wings a directed, forceful flap in Rusty's direction. Blades of wind sliced through the air and carved up the grass where the tortoise had been just moments ago. A surge of water rose up to meet her, but she folded her wings together defensively and they became reflective like a polished mirror. The attack bounced off harmlessly and Sonya chased the torrent down and drove Rusty into the ground just after the water attack returned to its sender.

"I love that new skill." Sonya spread her wings triumphantly on top of the wartortle. Had they not been sparring, both of them probably would have kept going, but the aim wasn't to hurt each other. The bird looked over at Shawn with approval. "Between that and the food, I might have to take back some of that vitriol I yelled at you."

The pokemon trainer chuckled. She had taken well to human cuisine and mellowed a bit as a result. "Wait until we can find somewhere with a stable enough connection to buy and download some of the more technical and unusual moves. Most bird pokemon can flap fire or use their wings to cut like a sword. I'd be surprised if you couldn't do either."

"I'm glad you're happy, sis. But can you get off of me?" Rusty tapped Sonya's talons planted on his chest and, after a snicker, the bird relented and hopped off. He groaned and sat up as he looked at Shawn. "Tell me I get more than headbutting and shooting water."

The trainer flipped open the pokedex and took a few moments to look for it. "Hmm... Ice, boiling water... ooohhhh! There's one here about shooting raw power like a dragon!"

"Wow, that was awesome!" an unfamiliar voice praised in interruption from out of sight. Everyone glanced around in surprise but, moments later, a small, brown, somewhat-ball shaped monkey dropped out of a nearby tree.

Sonya hopped forward and crouched slightly, just in case she needed to defend herself. Or... more likely as Shawn was guessing, attack because she felt like it. "Were you watching the whole time?"

The mankey, undeterred by the warning in her stature, nodded enthusiastically. "Yup! You guys seem like you're taking things seriously and will be really strong! Unlike a lot of the kids and their teams around here. Those guys suck."

Suspecting she had some sort of ulterior motive for this approach, and to deter a potential Sonya attack, Shawn stepped forward and positioned himself partly between the two females and knelt down. "What's your name?"

"I'm Alex! And, umm, this might be a bit awkward to ask out of nowhere..." The mankey twiddled her fingers and glanced sideward for a moment. "Can... can I join you?"

Rusty crossed his arms and sized up the other pokemon. "I'm not against it, but that's really forward of you, sis. What's up? Why do you wanna just up and leave your home?"

"I wanna be strong like you guys!" When that answer didn't seem to be taken as a fact, she sighed. "Okay, fine. I can't stand being around my family anymore. I don't have any anger points like they all do, so being around that raging bunch gets tiring. Plus, I want to prove to them I don't have to turn into a berserker just to fight well. And what better way to get the training, teaching, and experience I'd need than to hitch along with a good trainer?"

Sonya relaxed and folded her wings. "Well, it's a good enough reason for me, I guess."

Rusty glanced at his avian friend. "It's better than my reason."

"Wait... yeah, what even was your reason?"

The tortoise shrugged. "I was bored."

"What the...?" Sonya actually looked taken aback, much to Shawn's surprise. "Are you freaking serious? THAT's your reason?"

While he let those two bicker about how silly Rusty's reason may or may not of been, Shawn returned his attention to Alex while digging a pokeball out of his backpack. "I'm hearing no objections, so consider yourself part of the team. Just, fair warning, we were about to pack up and head to town for lunch before going through Viridian Forest to make it to Pewter. So, it might be a day or two before I can catch you up to the others."

The mankey grinned. "That's fine! Just promise I'll get to learn some of those awesome attacks too!"

Shawn took aim with the passive capture feature. "I promise!"


* * *


Kyle threw as powerful of a punch as he could muster, but his opponent, a small, brown quadruped pokemon with a thick, gray plate for a face, didn't even flinch. The shieldon continued it's charge and knocked the chimchar onto his back yet again. Kyle staggered to his feet, but then dropped to his hands and knees while wheezing deeply for air.

"Come on Kyle, you can do it!" Shawn shouted in encouragement, certain his partner could pull this off. He had an advantage in this gym, after all! However, the monkey tried to rise once more and instead just gave out onto the ground.

"I don't think he can take anymore." The gruff, dirty, pink-haired gym leader crossed his arms and shook his head. "It was a nice attempt, but you still have a long way to go before you should be challenging the gyms."

"What am I doing wrong?" Shawn reluctantly recalled Kyle from the field in an act of forfeiture. Even though he had two pokemon, Mayra was too young to fight in a serious battle. "Fire is supposed to beat metallic pokemon, right? How come I lost?"

"Battling is more than just trying to counter the type of pokemon your opponent uses. A good trainer will compensate for their weaknesses, a great trainer will overcome them, and a trainer with true skill will render them meaningless. One of the reasons we gym leaders specialize is to teach that to new trainers such as yourself." Byron let his message sink in before he smiled. "But don't worry, you should be fine for the first badge or two if you do some bonding and training with your pokemon. Adding one or two more to your team wouldn't hurt either.

The rookie trainer sighed and nodded. "Thanks, I guess. I'll just have to wait until Mayra is old enough to battle..."

Disappointed at losing so easily, Shawn to left the gym and felt the eyes of others in the establishment watching him pass through the doors. He felt naive and silly for attempting this so soon. Veteran trainers made gym battles sound so easy. But... that was clearly not the case.

On the bright side, he took solace in the his confidence that his mistake was likely a common one. But... it wasn't one he was going to make twice.



* * *


Alex stared down the yellow cocoon as its black, near-lifeless eyes tried to gaze deep into her soul. It was almost unnerving, but the effect was lost as it was barely able to move around to threaten her. The mankey walked up to the kakuna, gently pushed it over onto its side, and gave its young trainer a tired stare.

"Oh no, I think she might have us on the ropes!" The boy paced frantically as he tried to figure out a solution. "Uhhh... ummm... uhhh... Bee! Use tackle!"

The mankey gave the kakuna a sardonic stare as it slowly rolled over to her and bumped into one of her legs with just enough force for her to notice. The boy ran over, picked up the cocoon to set it back up right in front of her, and then ran back to his spot. The cocoon slowly reached out with a stinger before twisting and falling sideways into Alex. She took a step back and allowed it to finish its journey back to the forest floor.

Shawn sighed and shoved a palm into his face "Kid, do we really have to do this?"

"Yup! I am the Wrath of Viridian Forest!" The only thing keeping Shawn from glaring at him in utter disbelief was the fact that this kid couldn't have been any older than ten years old. "Nobody passes through here without battling me! And I never lose!"

The adult trainer shook his head. Where the heck was this kid's mom and dad? He didn't even have a functioning pokemon for protection. "Okay, fine, we surrender. We forfeit."

"Wait wait..." The child took a moment to process what was said before his eyes attempted to go wider than the smile spreading on his face. "Does that mean I win?" Shawn nodded. Immediately, the kid practically dove for Bee and scooped it up. "Yeaaaaahhhh! I told you I never lose! Bee! Let's go home and tell mom I beat an adult!"

Alex watched the kid run off and slumped her shoulders. "Did... did that just actually happen?"

"Bro, couldn't you have like... taught him some humility or somethin'?" Rusty glanced at his trainer. "It woulda been really easy..."

"There will be no curb stomping of the kids." Shawn shook his head vigorously. "If he had been older, it'd be one thing. But the last thing I want is some angry parent shouting at me over her crying child or maybe even getting police involved. Or worse... I can already see the news headlines: 'Man beats lone child in middle of forest.'"

The wartortle shook his head and sighed. "Wouldn't have stopped Sonya. ...speaking of, where did she go?"

As if on cue, the bird swooped in from the tree tops shouting "Catch!" Shawn barely had time to react before a terrified, squirming, green caterpillar fell into his arms. "I was gonna eat it but... since we're doing the whole team thing, I thought I should at least ask if you wanted one first."

"Don't eat me, please! I'll do anything! Don't eat meeeee!" Shawn closed his eyes and let out a deep breath. He was gonna have to talk to Sonya about her recruiting methods. He did not want to be deciding whether pokemon joined his team or died.

"Relax, I'm definitely not going to eat you." Shawn refused eat pokemon meat to begin with, let alone bugs. "What's your name?"

"Oh..." The caterpie seemed surprised at the sudden change in the situation as Shawn sat it down on the ground. "Ummm, my name's Cedric. I named myself that since my parents didn't bother naming me or my siblings since birds eat most of us in our first few months. But umm... I was trying to get into a cocoon when she grabbed me off of my branch!"

Shawn fished his pokedex out of his pocket and flipped through it for caterpie. It wasn't one he was too familiar with since nobody in Sinnoh ever mentioned them. Eventually, he found it and, after looking at its evolved form's abilities, he couldn't help but grin. Cedric could offer some utility he team would be really lacking... "You wanna join us? We'll protect you while you go through your cocoon so you could evolve."

The little bug nodded so hard it almost looked like his head was going to fly off. "Yes, yes, please! We almost never make it past being metapods!"

"Really, Shawn?" He glanced up at the pidgeotto, who was shaking her head. "He's just going to be a burden. Just say no like I was hoping you would, okay?"

"Sonya, do you hunt butterfree?"

She considered for a moment and shook her head again. "No way. All that toxic dust they carry is nasty. Even if you manage to get one down and not get coated in the junk, it makes them taste chalky and gross. Nastiest thing I ever tried to eat."

"Well, there you go then! If we had that kind of stuff in our arsenal it'd really give us a leg up in any difficult battles." Shawn started to dig out a ball from his backpack. "Might even help you beat someone you couldn't otherwise."

Sonya rolled her eyes and huffed. "Kind of a lame way to fight, if you ask me."

"Says the bird who keeps blowing dust into my eyes..." Rusty remarked dryly, crossing his arms.

"Hey! I can't help that the dirt is in the way of my wind blasts!" Sonya retorted, pointing an accusatory wing at the wartortle. "So I might as well make use of it!"

Alex and Cedric watched the two of them bicker for a few moments before the mankey glanced up at her trainer. "...do they do this a lot?"

Shawn slowly took in a deep breath and exhaled. "They're... a work in progress. Hopefully the gym in Pewter helps them blow off some steam. If not, then I don't know what I'm going to do yet..."

After calming the two down, they managed to get out of the forest without another hitch or encountering any more cocoon wielding children with threatening, made-up titles. The uphill hike continued until close to sunset when the team finally crested a hill and were staring down into the stone gray city of Pewter.

Shawn may not have been in a rush, but he was definitely happy to finally feel like he was finally making progress on this trip.

-Alex joined on Route 22 at level 3 as a Mankey, albeit after I battle Cole. Not that she'd do so hot against a Flying and a Poison type either way.

-Cedric joined in Viridian Forest at level 4 as a Caterpie.

-Not shown is my Route 2 catch. I definitely used it, but I didn't want to overcrowd all the new characters right away. Don't worry, you'll meet that catch soon enough!
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4
Happy 4th to everyone in the U.S! Yes, I know it's the 5th now, but I work meat market retail at the moment Which, for those outside the U.S, is a big deal since this is the biggest outdoor grilling holiday of the year. So I think I was justified in celebrating by working the first half of the day and then sleeping the second half.

Anyway, onward with the reposts!


Alex ducked and rolled to the side as a rock whizzed through the spot she just was. She glanced at her opponent, a ground, spherical rock with arms, and narrowed her eyes. "Oh, so that's how it is? Not even going to say hello back?" She slammed a fist into her open palm. "Well fine, but don't expect any mercy from me, you pebble!"

The mankey bellowed a battle cry as she rushed the geodude. The rock simply held his ground and watched his approaching foe. He threw a rocky fist at her gut as soon as she was in range. Alex dove and slid under the pre-emptive strike and slipped behind her opponent. Before he could even turn, she knocked him reeling with a rapid series of punches and kicks to his back. Once her attacks sent him forward a couple of feet, he spun and flailed his arms to strike at her, but she leapt forward and caught his arm before he could gain momentum. With a grunt, she lifted him up and started to spin. They moved slowly at first, but the spinning swing began to pick up speed and move faster and faster. Finally, she released and hurtled him into one of the arena's walls.

Alex dusted off her hands as she watched him crash into the ground below his impact. "Huh, that wasn't so hard..."

"You think that's all it'll take to beat me?" The geodude rolled over and righted himself upwards. He brushed himself off before shooting her a grin. "We're just getting started."

"Manx, use Rollout!" The geodude's trainer called from the side. On command, the geodude to tucked his arms and rolled towards his opponent.

Recognizing the attack and knowing that it could pose serious danger, Shawn called out his counter command. "Alex, do not let him build up momentum! Stop him, now!"

She immediately charged Manx, whose roll was picking up speed with every passing moment. A crash echoed through the rocky arena and a cloud of dust billowed from the air as they made contact. Out of one side of the cloud, a grunting Alex slid to a stop as she held against the Geodude. Manx then untucked his arms, grabbed her, and used his free hand to rain punches on the monkey. However, he only got a few in before she caught his fist.

"No." When he tried to withdraw, she tightened her grip and forced the geodude to grimace. "Enough."

With her own free hand, the mankey quickly delivered a blow to the wrist that gripped her and made the hand spasm open. Now free, Alex firmly planted her feet on the ground, grunted as she lifted the rock up into the air, over her shoulder, and slammed him into the ground. With another grunt and a heave, she slammed him several times more. Manx was dazed from the beating, but that didn't stop Alex from knocking him out with a kick to his forehead.

"Not bad, your mankey is catching on really fast." The gym leader, a young man with shaggy brown hair and squinty eyes, was standing next to Shawn and watching the practice bout between him and one of the local trainers. "She could use some improvements, but I think she's well beyond what a rookie team could do, Senior Division or not."

Shawn nodded while motioning for Alex to come back. "The pokedex is really handy for training." In truth, it wasn't all the pokedex. His memory was coming back in a trickle and there were a number of things that were hitting him far too intuitively to just be merely talent. For example, unlike all the other rookie trainers, he was noticing that he had been calling out strategems rather than specific moves. Based on what he knew and could remember, novice trainers typically didn't do that.

"Amen to that!" Brock's grin was quickly replaced with a sigh. "A lot of new trainers ignore it or get overwhelmed by it. They don't utilize it well, use it wrong, or don't even bother with it. It's like... THE best resource from trainers short of a personal mentor and so many people don't even touch it! If people would use it, they could probably get three or four badges just blindly copying strategies listed in it without even thinking of what to do."

Another nod from the Pokemon trainer as something occured to him. "Speaking of badges... why Senior Division? That seems kind of... high up there for me since I'm new, don't you think?"

The gym leader gave him a dumbfounded look for a moment before something clicked. "Oooohhhhh, right, you told me you were from Sinnoh, didn't you? Guess they do things differently there." He shrugged. "In the Indigo League, we have three divisions. Junior Division is for kids aged 9 to 16. It mostly runs during the summer when school is out. Senior Division is for everyone who's older. Both divisions must collect 8 badges before they can challenge the Elite 4 and claim the title of champion of their respective division. Although Junior Division Champions can challenge for becoming a Senior Division Champion once they're old enough."

As Brock spoke, Shawn felt things clicking in his head. This was sounding almost exactly like Sinnoh. Although, instead of ending the explanation, Shawn politely allowed Brock to finish instead. "Senior Division Champions can then attempt the Masters Division, which is the one with all the big, serious tournaments, professional trainers, and televised events. Every year, there's a tournament to become the Masters Division Champion and be considered as the strongest trainer in Kanto and Johto. Cole Oak has held the title for the past few years and it doesn't look like that's gonna change anytime soon."

That last statement set off a series of bells in Shawn's head. But they were isolated bells attached to nothing but blurriness and darkness, so why they were going off so loudly was a mystery that'd need to be solved by the recovery of his memories. Frustrating, but there was little he could do about it.

"Gotcha, definitely a little bit differemt from Sinnoh." Not really, but Shawn preferred to avoid any awkwardness. "Maybe after I get my permanent license I'll come back and try for your badge?"

Brock got the hint and raised an eyebrow in response. "Leaving already? I can understand why your metapod isn't training, but all your pidgeotto has fought was a sandshrew."

The bird in question shook her head. "No, I'm not fighting a rock."

The other eyebrow was raised at her. True to seeming to have the same ability Shawn did, Brock understood her speech clearly. "Why not?"

"Brock, do you know the difference between a badass pidgeotto and a dead pidgeotto?" The gym leader thought for a moment and eventually shook his head. "The badass pidgeotto knows her limits. The dead one didn't. As much as I hate to admit that I have limits, I'm not going to risk breaking a wing fighting something I can't hurt but that can easily hurt me."

Shawn and Rusty both snickered as the gym leader was forced to nod again, but it was the former who spoke. "Besides, I want to try heading to Mt. Moon and getting across it within the next day or two. I'd rather everyone be rested up for that if I can, just in case."

"Fair enough." Brock extended a hand to Shawn, who accepted it and shook. "Come drop by again whenever you're in the neighborhood. I'd love to have a proper battle against you sometime so I can really see what you and your team are capable of."

The pokemon trainer grinned. "I'll keep that in mind. Until then, you take care of yourself!"

Team in tow, Shawn walked around the arena, out the doors, and out the exit. As soon as he was outside though, he froze for a moment as something felt seriously off in his head. Snippets of revent events flashed faster than lightning and, on a hunch, he shot a glance up at the roof just above the gym entrance.

Were those golden sparkles he saw for the briefest of moments?

A tap on the side from Rusty got his attention. "Bro, are you all right?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. Thought I heard something weird, I guess." He shook his head and resumed his journey. "Come on, let's go get lunch."

From another rooftop that she had teleported to, a blue-green lizard with autumn colored leaves watched him with her yellow eyes. When he and his team vanished into a restuarant, she too disappeared in a puff of golden motes of light.

* * *

Shawn eyed the short, grey, black, and white bird carefully. He needed more pokemon and this one would be his first catch if all went as planned. Creeping carefully through the grass, they attempted to get as close as possible without being noticed. They were successful until the snap of a twig alerted it to their presence.

"Now, both of you, scratch it!" Shawn shouted as Mayra and Kyle rushed forward to carry out the command.

The bird panicked and attempted to take flight, but the chimchar was upon it before it could do so. The nidoran struck it from behind to put a stop to its struggle. A red and white ball sailed through the air a moment later and struck the bird in the head, opened, and sucked it inside in a flash of red light.

"All right!" Shawn cheerfully he ran over to claim his catch. "Good job you two!"

Taking a hold of the ball, he monentarily fumbled for the release mechanism before bringing the starly out once more. It seemed to realize what had happened and stared at him in mild annoyance at having been scratched and caught. But, on the bright side, it did not attempt to attack or run away.

"Welcome to the team! I think I'll call you... Lauren."


* * *

Route 3 was yet another uphill trek. Having climbed hills rather than going down them for days now, Shawn was starting to wonder if Kanto was, in actuality, one giant hill with Pallet being the base and his final destination being the very peak. At least most of the routes weren't particularly steep, so they hadn't been a problem for travel.

This route, however, had decided to defy the precedents and was much more slanted. It had its even, level moments, but it otherwise curved and wound its way upward. Somewhere along the way was the "Mt. Moon Square", which included a pokemon center. Shawn was aiming to reach it by evening before tackling Mt. Moon itself tomorrow. He'd have a few options for routes there, but he'd consider them more seriously after using information at the Pokemon Center. And with any luck, he'd be in Cerulean City by tomorrow evening.

And from there? He'd hike his way into a nice, soft bed and crash until noon the next day.

In the mean time, he navigated around the local pokemon trainers looking for wild pokemon and trainers to sic their own teams upon. Having spent the morning training, he'd rather let his own team have a rest from such encounters if he could help it. Sure, he could always decline the battle, but some trainers were... insistent. Kind of like that kid with the kakuna a few days ago. He'd rather not have a repeat of that episode.

However, the wilderness did not seem content with leaving him alone. After a couple of hours, the nearby tall grass rustled frantically and caused his team to stop just in case there was a threat. The critter in the grass seemed to make a large elaborate circle before darting out onto the road in a purple blur. Although it was smaller than everyone in Shawn's party, the purple and white rodent did not seem intimidated and instead twitched its tail eagerly.

"Sup guys! Bet you can't outrun me!" The ratatta somehow managed to work a grin around its buck teeth.

As Shawn pondered how to address this situation, Rusty slipped his hands behind his head. "Nah, probably not, dude. I ain't fast."

"And I can't move!" Cedric declared with sarcastic pride.

Shawn started to reply, but a bird swopping down in front of him cut him off before he barely managed a syllabel and eyed the ratatta. "You're pretty bold to be just walking up and challenging the most badass pidgeotto of Viridian Forest. I bet you won't make it ten feet before my talons grab you."

"Wait, aren't you-" the ratatta started, but stopped as recognition seemed to cross his face. He grinned wider as he sized up the bird before him. "Ohhh, hey Sonya! Long time, no see! I think the last time you tried to hunt me you were still a pidgey!" Despite the seething glare that was locked on him, the rodent looked to be completely at ease. In fact, he even snickered. "Wanna fail again~?"

"Sonya, please-" A burst of wind and dust interrupted Alex and she lowered her outstretched arm slowly. "-don't..."

Shawn sighed. "Hey, if she manages to make the catch, can you two try to make sure Sonya doesn't hurt him too badly? Or kill him?"

"Bro... I don't think that's gonna be a problem..."

Indeed, try as she might, the little ratatta was proving to be far too quick and nimble for Sonya to keep up with. Whenever she dove in, he'd dart in another direction almost as if he could ignore physics concepts like momentum. When Sonya moved at him at full speed, the little critter managed to even outrun that on the ground, obstacles present or not.

"Is it just me or is that ratatta a lot faster than others...?" Alex mused aloud as the two pokemon continued to battle in a one-sided game of tag.

"I dunno, I can only see straight ahead." The metapod on Shawn's backpack wiggled slightly. "Shawn, can you turn me so I can see?"

The trainer shook his head. "My arms would fall off if I tried keep you facing the right way. Pretty much, it looks more like Sonya chasing a cloud of dust right now." He did grab and point Cedric in the right direction for the moment it lasted, but there was little to make out. "But what do you guys think? At the risk of ticking Sonya off, someone that fast could be a real asset..."

Rusty shrugged again. "I'm cool with it, as long as he can do more than run."

Alex echoed the shrugging gesture. "Worth a shot, I guess. Ratatta can have really nasty bites, so there's that at least. Maybe he can dash in, bite someone, and then run away over and over?"

With two votes of three, Shawn walked forward and waved his free arm for attention. When that didn't work, he shouted. "Guys, enough!" When there was still no response, he took a deep breath and shouted through his lungs. "HEY, ENOUGH!"

Much to his surprise, Sonya actually wheeled down and landed nearby, her feathers covered in a fine layer of the dirt that the two of them had kicked up. Still though, her eyes were filled with daggers. "What? Why? I almost had him! Several times!"

"Only because I let you." The oddly clean ratatta sauntered up, swishing his tail tauntingly at the bird. The response was pounce he easily jumped back from. In return, Sonya got a tongue stuck out at her.

"Sonya, enough!" Shawn commanded before she pounced again. A twinge of rage echoed deep at the back of his mind. It was small, separate, and foreign. It made him pause in surprise for a moment as it wasn't his emotion. Was that... Sonya? He shook his head and focused on the matter at hand. "Look, it's clear you'd shred him if you managed to get him. But that'd be a huge waste when he could help you become the fastest pidgeot of Viridian Forest."

Sonya perked up, but glared as she considered his words. "Wait, are you suggesting-"

"-that I join you guys?" The ratatta tilted his head for a moment. "Why?"

"Simple. Alex has power, Sonya has a mix of power and speed, Rusty can shrug off hits, and Cedric, when he evolves, can do a lot of technical stuff," Shawn replied, indicating to each team member as he spoke to double up the explanation with some introductions. "But we don't have raw speed which, as you just showed me, could get us into trouble. Plus you seem to like showing off a bit, so why not come with us and get the chance to show up a lot of other pokemon who think they're fast." Plus he'd be a good training partner for the others, but that detail Shawn left unsaid for the moment.

"Ehhhh..." The ratatta paced back and forth, making an exagerated show of deliberating. "Okay sure, why not? I mean, hey, if you managed to get Sonya to go with you then you guys must be on to something. As much fun as it is to tease her, I don't think I'd ever want to actually meet her talons."

His words seemed to defuse Sonya somewhat as he fed her ego. Shawn nodded approvingly as it looked like this ratatta might be a bit clever with words too. Or lucky. "Awesome. Okay, biggest question then: what's your name?"

"Fang!"

Shawn paused. "...that doesn't sound like your real name."

The ratatta chuckled and grinned as Shawn dug a pokeball out of his bag. "No, but it is now!"




Joey... errr... Fang joined on Route 2 at level 3 as a Ratatta. Yes... I named him Joey in-game. And he went through the entire story of Fractured Actuality being a meme-named Ratatta, although I never invoked the meme in that story. Meant to threaten is constantly, but actually only did that once or twice.

As for the actual Route 3 catch... well, Soon™

As for the actual Brock battle, it went fairly easily considering I chose Squirtle. Although, not paying attention to base stats at the time, I kinda did make it a little harder on myself. At the start, I led with Rusty, who was at level 13, vs Geodude, level 12. And I took it out with one hit with Water Gun, so all going well, right?

Alex knew Low Kick and I knew Onix was heavy. Onix had Rock-STAB and Alex resisted it, so I swapped to her. Level 14 vs level 12, I overtrained a little bit but, at the time, this was my first Nuzlocke so I was a bit paranoid. She threw her Low Kick and almost OHKOed it and took a Tackle in return. A second Low Kick finished it off.

So, the thought process wasn't too bad: 4x effective Water Gun hits a rough base power of 160 while 2x effective Low Kick vs Onix hits an effective 180. Problem was, Onix has base 160 defense and 45 special defense, so it'd take something like 2-3 times as much special damage as physical. So, even though it was non-threatening, I could have avoided the light tap on the head if I just kept Rusty in.

I assume Onix's stats are so lopsided to make new players in R/B/G/Y learn to use their special attacks? It definitely explains why Charmander can get through with Ember in those games. However, I can't imagine how much leveling it'd need to be able to Metal Claw its way through safely in Gen III.
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5
And so, it came to pass, that Chapter 5 was reposted. And lo, it was said that this was the chapter that chose the course of the story. Gaze upon it, and remember what happened this day, for there would be no going back.


"Are you all right?" Shawn asked the starly as she landed on the ground for a quick break. Gardenia recalled her defeated pokemon sent out her final pokemon, one that looked like a closed flower petal. Lauren cawed eagerly in response to both the question and opponent. "Okay, all you have to do is defeat this cherrim and then we'll have our first badge! Take it out with a wing attack! I'm counting on you!"

The small bird took to the air with a small burst of wind, but the gym leader was not content to idly stand by. "Sora, defend yourself with a razor leaf! Don't let it get close!"

Lauren cawed once more as she dove to strike her foe. A barrage of bladed leaves cut through the air to greet her, but she did not deviate her course to avoid them. The little starly plowed through them and continued her dive, but the attack was more powerful than she anticipated. She fainted in mid-flight, plummeted out of the air, and landed on her head with an audible snap.

"Lauren!" Fear gripped Shawn's heart as he rushed out into the arena.

Gardenia gasped. "That... that did not sound good..." She turned to the referee. "Time out! Stop the match for a moment!"

"Leader Gardenia has requested a time out. Challenger Shawn, do you ac..." he started, but stopped when he spotted the trainer rushing into the arena to check on his pokemon. "I'll take that as a yes."

Shawn flew to the bird's side and kneeled down next to her. He carefully took her into his arms and inspected the bloody injury. His trained eyes immediately recognized the dull, glassy, lifeless eyes and he knew that she was not going to wake back up.

"D-damn it!" Shawn tried to say more, but it came out in a sputter while a dizzying array of conflicting emotions send the world turning.

The gym leader gasped and covered her mouth. "Oh god! I'm... I'm so sorry!"


* * *

Shawn jerked awake and gasped at what he just saw. Immediately, his vision was filled with ruby, multi-faceted, alien eyes. The pokemon trainer shouted in alarm, jerked backwards and banged his head against the wall behind him.

"Are you okay?" the butterfree in front of him asked, though its expression was largely incapable showing the same concern its voice did.

The trainer took a breath to calm himself and then slowly nodded. "Yeah, I'm fine, I think..." Shawn reached back to rub his head and thought he felt a small knot growing on the back of it. "Cedric, why were you in my face while I was asleep?"

The butterfree flapped its wings and leapt backwards off of the bed to hover just beyond it. Shawn sat back up and noticed Rusty and Fang had been busy with the television while a groggy Alex and Sonya laid on the neighboring bed. The hovering insect made an attempt at shrugging, but his limbs couldn't flex the same way a human's did, so it didn't quite work. "You felt distressed."

"Distress-" Shawn stopped when he remembered what the pokedex said about butterfree's pseudo-psychic abilities. Cedric would never read minds or sense the future, but he could pick up on emotion more easily it seemed. Or maybe dreams? He'd need to do a little more reading... "I was having a bad dream." Memory, but he kept that to himself. "It startled me awake and then you doubled down on that."

"Sorry about that! But look! I evolved!" Cedric did a happy, yet somewhat clumsy, flip in the air. "So few of us make it this far! But I did it thanks to you guys!"

"We're happy for you, bro. But you can clean up your mess?" Rusty indicated off over to a spot on the floor. Shawn sat up and grimaced slightly when he saw the metapod husk. The husk itself wasn't a problem, he had handled it plenty when it was inhabited. But now, it was covered in some sort of strange slime and he thought he caught a whiff of a foul odor.

"Yeah, please? I'm not touching that." Shawn sighed and glanced at the nearby clock. He froze when he saw the time before scrambling out of bed and nearly falling in the process.

"Uhhhh, Shawn? What's wrong?" Alex asked with a yawn.

"Hey, can you guys get us packed up real quick? We overslept and if we stay here too much longer, they'll charge us another day."

The resident pidgeotto rolled her eyes. "So we gotta clean-up because you forgot to set an alarm? Nice."

Shawn dug through his backpack, produced his back-up pair of traveling clothes, and moved towards the bathroom to change. "I'll get you guys a good breakfast, deal?"

"Deal~" Fang paused when Sonya glared at him. "What? I wanna try good human food!"

While they argued over getting things together, Shawn got changed and rushed out the door as fast as he could without running. He took the stairs down since motel elevators, even on a two-story building, were notoriously slow in his experience. Within a couple of minutes, he was in the lobby with another ten or so to spare to get everyone out of the room once he was done checking out. The exchange was fairly standard at first until he mentioned his destination.

"Mt. Moon? This is your first time going through it, huh?" the receptionist asked while clacking away at her keyboard to finalize his bill.

Shawn looked up from the modest amount of paperwork and stared for a moment. "How'd you guess?"

Without looking away from her task, she simply grinned. "Your Sinnovian accent is really obvious. Most foreign tourists come up here at least once since the square's basically a tourist trap, which you did not hear me say, and they usually check out the cave. Either way, my advice? Make sure to get plenty of zubat repellent and make sure not to step on any large rocks while you're in the caves."

"Are those pokemon really that much of a problem?" Shawn slid the completed paperwork to the girl, who took it without even a glance.

"As long as you stay on the marked path. Most of the time people are fine on there, but wild pokemon don't care too much about safe areas. Stray off the path at your own risk though. My brother did it as a kid and was in the hospital for a week." She finished typing and finally looked back to the trainer. "Now, will you be paying in cash, check, debit, or credit today?"

* * *

Glowing, autumn-colored leaves pierced into the zubat's body, pinning a wing to the cave wall. The pokemon struggled to free itself and, with great effort, managed to get itself to drop to the ground. Clearly outclassed, it haphazardly fluttered away into the darkness. However, as soon as she had attacked it, Lethe ignored it and continued heading deeper into the caves.

The blue-green grovyle scanned the passageways as she went, her mind's eye focused on searching for clues that her physical eyes could not detect. She knew he had to be here, the traces would not, could not lie. He did not know how to properly mask himself yet and, as long as he was left in this wild and free state, he might not ever figure it out.

She stepped on a rock. It immediately threw a punch at her in indignation. She caught the attack, flicked her wrist, and sent the geodude crashing somewhere behind her. Whatever it did next, she paid no attention to because it did not attack her again. These wild pokemon were minor inconvenient obstacles between her and her destination.

The grovyle stopped when a scent caught her nose. The air had a faint metallic and slightly sweet smell to it that filtered through the damp, stale cave air, and without any breeze to blow it away, stubbornly hung in the space it had claimed. Lethe recognized the scent and moved quickly to track it down. It only took a few moments before she spotted a white shape laying on the ground admist the gloom of the dark. The grovyle rushed to it and the smell intensified.

A woman in a white coat laid face down in the dirt, unmoving. The grovyle knelt down next to her and probed the victim's mind. Nothing, she was dead. Lethe rolled the body over and was immediately greeted by crimson staining the coat, her face, and the floor beneath her. Throughout her childhood, she had seen this one many times to leave her identity unmistakable.

"Elizabeth..." Lethe squeezed her eyes shut and clenched her firsts. "You... weren't even one of the bad ones. You certainly didn't deserve this..."

A tortured roar reverberated throughout the caves and made the walls shudder and vibrate. An imposing presence washed over her mind's eye for the briefest moment, something only a few pokemon besides those who were like herself could sense from the sound. Lethe stood up and, just beyond the body were several torn up magnemites, their metal bodies and magnets ripped apart and scattered.

A second anguished cry made Lethe narrow her eyes and sent hot fury rippling through her body. The monster would pay for what they had done, both to her, to her friend, and to people like Elizabeth.

Lethe rushed into the darkness. Their time would come. But first, she needed to tame the beast.

* * *

As dangerous as Mt. Moon could potentially be, Kanto had at least taken as many precautions as they could to make it safer. Well, short of building an isolated tunnel. Or adding a subway. Or just... not going into Mt. Moon. Shawn had pondered such a route, but, oddly, no paths were on any maps around the base and lower parts of the mountains. Even his pokedex's map app advised against traveling in such areas.

But why? He did not know and nothing seemed to indicate a reason.

Either way, he found himself on a lit path, guided by electrical lights he suspected were powered by that large solar array back at Mt. Moon Square. And, since he had to have his team recalled into their pokeballs to avoid attracting attention from wild pokemon in this area, he was grateful for their presence. The caves echoed ominously from various sounds, their origins indecipherable after being distorted by the twisty, deeper passages.

The fluttering of wings above was also concerning. Every so often he thought he noticed a zubat swooping down towards him, only to veer off once it got close enough to the pungent scent of his repellent. As grateful as he was for the chemical... it stunk. He was definitely taking a long bath and cleaning his clothing tonight. But, at the very least, others would likely recognize the smell and wouldn't judge him for it.

Shawn gripped Rusty's pokeball in his hand and twisted it in his grasp for reassurance. He especially needed it between now and... last night. He played the memories through his head again, rewatching the gym battle play out in his mind. His team had such a strong advantage, but Gardenia had shown him how little the advantage meant and gave him a tough fight. Mayra and Kyle had led the battle at first, but he had swapped them out to avoid getting anyone too tired or hurt.

Lauren had been left and took out an opponent Mayra had weakened. And then... he left her in. Shawn had put his trust into the little starly he had just met, letting her prove herself, and something had gone wrong and she dived into a fatal accident. The event seemed so long ago now, and he felt as though he should be at peace with it, but the freshness of his recollection had also dug up old emotions and left him gritting his teeth.

What had gone wrong? And what happened after? Did Shawn cry? Did he react in anger? What? Try as he might though, his sealed memories refused to budge and left him with an incomplete picture. It annoyed him but... at the very least, he could resolve not to make the same mistake, right? He had been a rookie trainer back then, but even though he didn't remember much, instincts of someone more experienced were reawakening inside of him.

But had he made that mistake again? Kyle and Mayra... where were they? Did they survive his Sinnovian journey? Did they die when he came to Kanto? Were they lost somewhere? Stolen? Shawn took a breath, held it, and let it out slowly to relax. Fretting over those questions would not help him. He had to focus on getting to Goldenrod and-

Another smell assaulted his senses and brought him out of his thoughts. Shawn coughed as he focused on the area around him and spotted a man in a white uniform spitting out a cloud of cigarette smoke. He waved the cloud away from him, even though he was almost a dozen feet away, and, with the hiking trail passing by the man anyway, he approached.

"I wouldn't think smoking would be a great idea in a cave. I can smell it from over there," Shawn remarked as he got closer and got the man's attention. He fanned away more of the smell, but it hung in the air and refused to diffuse easily.

The man snapped to attention out of his own world and finally noticed Shawn. "Oh what? Sorry man, didn't think anyone was going to come by on my smoke break. I don't have enough time to get all the way outside."

The trainer shook his head. "What are you doing here, anyway? You don't look like you're traveling."

"Nah, I'm with Rocket Science and Research." Why did that name ring a massive gong bell in Shawn's head? "We got a fossil dig in one of the nearby deeper caves, but I'm not going to risk smoking over there and damaging the specimens. Came here so I don't have to burn my flashlight battery."

Fossil dig in the caves? Well... they did similar stuff in Sinnoh so that might actually be the case. "But why not take it outside so you're not stinking up the path for travelers like me?"

The man sighed. "Look, guy. I only get fifteen for my break and, yeah, we're close to the Cerulean exit, but that's still ten minutes of walking. I don't have time-" He paused as the walls shuddered and vibrated from a tortured, alien scream that reverberated through the caves. "What the hell was that...?"

"I don't know, but it doesn't sound good..." Shawn turned around to meet the sounds of heavy movement behind him. Two geodude sat behind him, angry and with eerie, glowing blue eyes. One grabbed a nearby rock and hurled it at the scientist who cursed as he dodged it. Shawn immediately clicked the release mechanism on Rusty's ball and set the wartortle free. "Douse them, quick!"

Immediately a pressurized jet of water sent both geodude skidding back out of sight somewhere off of the path. Another roar shook the walls of the cave again and Shawn's breath caught in his throat as several dozen pairs of eyes began to glow in the distance.

Rusty twitched his tail nervously, gulped, but didn't risk a look back to his trainer. "Bro, what's goin' on?"

"I don't know, but..." He looked around quickly as he fought down his nerves. Eyes were all around except... the path! Cerulean was a ten minute walk? How short was the run? "We need to get out of here, now! Let's- ...seriously, are you recording this?"

The scientist had a cellphone out of his pocket and was slowly scanning all the eyes with it. "Of course, for science! I've never seen anything like thi-" Shawn didn't let him finish as he grabbed his arm and jerked the man towards the exit. "Dude, I almost dropped my phone!" Shawn yanked again as the eyes came closer. "...okay, yeah, you're right. I don't think we could take on that many..."

The three of them sprinted down the pathway as more roars echoed through the caves and slowly seemed to come closer. As the air in Shawn's lungs began to burn from his running, a burn he ignored, he prayed that whatever monster that was screaming would not find them. Glowing eyes emerged from the darkness off of the path and stalked after them, but they seemed in no rush to catch up. If the trio stood their ground to fight, they'd be overwhelmed in minutes. But, they refused to stop.

Bright sunlight filtered through a wide opening ahead and Shawn redoubled his complaining legs to move faster. An eternal minute passed by before they bursted through the exit and out into the sunlight. The trainer shouted as the ground gave out beneath him and he found himself falling and rolling down a small hill right outside the exit. A few feet later, he came to a stop.

"You all right?" Shawn nodded and reached out for Rusty's hand, but was surprised when a human one took it and pulled him to his feet. Once he was up and face to face with the scientist, he hurriedly glanced around for his pokemon.

Rusty emerged from the cave a moment later, seemingly unphased by the run. "Come on, bro. My legs aren't nearly as long as yours!" Shawn sighed in relief.

"Ah hell, there's no reception!" The scientist held up his cellphone as if it'd somehow more easily pick up a signal. "Hey, you two mind coming with me to Cerulean? If something's going on in there then my coworkers are going to need help and the police will probably want a statement."

Shawn nodded. As much as he wanted to run in and help, there was no way his team could fight off that many wild pokemon. "I was going to suggest the same thing. Let's hurry."

* * *

Lethe followed the trail of mangled scientists and pokemon. This was a fossil expedition who had been digging at the wrong place and wrong time. Largely innocent, but guilty by association of one of their employers. It was enough of a crime to be worthy of slaughter to a feral and enraged mind.

She had to put an end to the bloodshed before it claimed anyone else. Ahead of her, the angry roars grew louder. Some terrified, wild pokemon fled from her presence. Others hung to the side, watching her with glowing blue eyes. She knew what was affecting them. After all, she could feel pressure compressing down on her mind as she drew nearer and nearer. Some of the wild pokemon were powerful enough to resist its violent influence while she was able to brush it aside completely.

A few corners down a twisty, dug out passage and she emerged into a larger cavern. Before her, crushing the throat of a man as he struggled to free himself, stood a bipedal, gray pokemon with vague feline features. The man's eyes began to glow the same blue as Mewtwo's before his lifeless body was dropped to the floor.

"Stop this! Stop it, now!" Lethe shouted as she ran into the room and halted mere feet away from Mewtwo. "These people don't deserve this!"

His head snapped to the side to spot her and blue glow locked onto her, fading to leave her with a furious and confused stare of purple eyes. Did he still recognize her? He must have, as he didn't attack immediately. But, he also did not respond. The pokemon seemed to mentally debate before turning to leave.

"You are not walking away!" She started towards it, but Mewtwo turned and immediately grasped in her direction. Blue light shrouded her form as his psychic powers began to levitate her. He was powerful, so overwhelmingly powerful! But he lacked technique and her own thoughts pierced through a small gap in his assault and dissolved the light around her.

Purple orbs materialized in the air around Mewtwo and Lethe moved to dodge the barrage as he launched them at her. Small explosions trailed behind her as the attack increased in intensity. Mewtwo raised both arms, creating a dozens of orbs in the air above him. Seeing her chance, Lethe vanished into motes of golden light and reappeared behind Mewtwo.

"I will save you-" Lethe slapped the back of Mewtwo's head and prompted him to turn. Golden, fire-like light erupted from her eyes as she shoved her palm into the pokemon's forehead, causing his own eyes to do the same. Then, in unison, they finished her statement "-just as you saved me!"

The world erupted into dazzling colors as she dove into his mind. Every muscle in her body felt electric as she shifted down into his thoughts to seek the source of his fury. Within mere seconds, she soon found herself somewhere quiet, somewhere sterile.

Lethe laid on a bed, her long, human body completely masked by a blanket. She tried to move, but something underneath the sheets had her completely retrained and only allowed her to squirm in vain. Two scientists were busy on terminals to either side of the small, white room.

"He's awake," the male scientist commented. "His heart rate is skyrocketing though, well beyond normal for a human. Is he okay? Is this normal?"

The female growled in annoyance. "How am I supposed to know this is normal? We've never done this before! Hell, nobody's done this before for what.... centuries? And they didn't bother to leave us notes on details like that!"

Lethe groaned, her mouth gagged and her voice unable to speak. She groaned again fiercely and struggled against the bonds. The male glanced over at her. "Dear god, he looks horrible. I'm glad I didn't tick the boss off."

"I think he did a little more than tick him off. I mean, he kinda tried to expose us and get us all arrested." The female turned and shot Lethe a stare full of envenomed daggers. "You know what would have happened if I got arrested? My husband died in a car accident years ago and I have no family in Kanto. My kid was almost on the streets because of you!"

Lethe lurched forward, though the restraints kept her to moving no more than half an inch. Still, she tried again several times. Fury washed through her body, sunk into every fiber, and continued to simmer and boil.

"Awww, how cute! You're angry at me despite that?" The female rolled her eyes and turned back to her work. "Selfish prick. He'd rather ruin our families and doom us all in the long run because we're immoral or some other tauros crap."

A buzzing noise filled the room briefly. "Keep it to yourself, we have company," the male replied while he pressed a button, which sent a chime throughout the room.

Lethe could hear doors open and close. And then, the wall in front of her split and slid open to reveal itself to be another door. When she saw the face of a man she recognized, she screamed through her gag and fought so hard against her restraints she could feel them cutting into her flesh.

The man before her walked up to the edge of the bed and simply smiled. "Hello, Giovanni."

The world went white, and then black, and then colors she couldn't describe before Lethe gasped and found herself out of the memory and on the cave floor. She slowly sat up and rubbed her pounding head. The experiences had not been her own, but they burned in her mind with an intensity beyond reality.

The grovyle looked around her and found only quiet. "Oh no... no no no!"

Mewtwo... Giovanni... he was gone.


Cedric actually evolved back before Brock, just in case I needed to use him against the gym leader. Since, well... Metapod would be completely useless against Brock.

So, thanks to changes in plot ideas that pretty much dominated this chapter, I was kind of forced not to include my next catch. I don't know if or when I'll get a chance to get her into the plot without putting too much into one go, so I'll go ahead and introduce her here. Route 3 saw me get Lucy, the level 7 Spearow. Since I crit KOed my Mt. Moon catch and didn't bother buying Magikarp, I was left with two Flying/Normals and left wondering who I should have ultimately kept. I was leaning on Lucy since I had never used Spearow before, but I kept and leveled both just in case...

And if you're wondering, I took the Dome Fossil.

Meanwhile, before anyone asks, Lauren has no in-game equivalent pokemon. I've never Nuzlocked Sinnoh before this chapter and she doesn't represent any pokemon in this run.

...I've since gotten partway into a Platinum run and did lose a Staravia, but that was Skarl, not Lauren.
 

Wise Person

New member
Pokédex No.
442
Caught
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
1
not sure what happened and why the forums are here now, but I’m still here nonetheless
so I guess I’ll keep on liking
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7
@Wise Person Basically, Nuzforums were originally a Zeta Boards board, but they were bought out by Tapatalk at some point and we were forced to migrate. In doing so, we lost a loooooooooooooot of board features, such as themes, a lot of the info you see below people's avatar here, or a lot of post editing tools. Apparently the mods and admins lost a lot of tools as well. Additionally, Tapatalk was aggressively shoving ads down our throat that ad blockers couldn't fully block. Ads between post and, more importantly, ads that crashed mobile users (my own phone was crashed so hard I had to reboot it and reset my browser.)

The move also mangled many posts. Some of my old runs are unreadable. I had to reformat Stolen Dreams twice and the WYSIWYG editing mode would often break my formatting, even if my post was originally formatted in it, which basically meant every time I previewed or edited the post, I had to fix the post because it kept defaulting to that mode. And even then, you may or may not have noticed, but Stolen Dream's Table of Contents didn't work correctly on Tapatalk no matter what I did.

ALSO there were random, forum-breaking bugs like apparently people would get locked out for days at a time for no rhyme or reason, people could randomly access moderator and admin tools (I once had an edit button on everyone's post. Everyone's.), and we outright lost the ability to edit posts that had been up for more than 24 hours for like... two weeks or something. Add that Tapatalk's support team was apparently slow (like, days slow even for admins on priority topics like security breaches), unhelpful, and difficult to work with, the staff held a vote and the community strongly favored jumping ship.

So, several months later after a lot of discussion and work, here we are on a forum the community actually owns, rather than a freebie, and we're in no danger of losing or getting screwed over by buy outs.



Anyway, that's all in the past! It's also in the past that I wrote this next chapter, but let's repost it anyway!


Shawn stared down at the three stylized trees that made up the Forest Badge. It felt heavy in its hand and the victory it represented left an hollow echo in his mind. They had worked hard for this badge. The months spent training and the number of times they had challenged gyms and failed had been rough. But yet, everything it amounted to didn't matter when the cost of that victory was considered.

"It was an accident. Not intended and something that shouldn't have happened." Shawn stared into the depending darkness of evening settling over Eterna Forest. He unclipped the two pokeballs on his belt and stared at them for a long, long time. "None of that matters though. It doesn't matter that we won in the end. It's not going to bring Lauren back."

Pressing the release mechanisms on the pokeballs, Kyle and Mayra appeared in a flash of red light. The monkey and the blueish, large-eared rodent looked around in confusion before turning to him. "I'm sorry you two, but I don't think we... I don't think I can keep on doing this. Not after what just happened."

The two pokemon stared silently as he turned his attention back to the depths of the forest. "There's just no way. When I set out from Canalave... When Professor Rowan gave you to me or when you hatched from your egg... I never considered the extent of the responsibility I had. I never thought that any of you could actually... die."

He took a deep breath and let it out in a long, mournful sigh. "I can't do this anymore. They said it was an accident, but I could have prevented it if I had just withdrawn her. That's why... that's why I'm letting you two go. I don't deserve to be a trainer, I don't deserve you, and this..." He stared down at the badge for a moment before angrily hurling it into the trees and brush. "I definitely don't deserve that!"

The two pokemon watched it sail off into the darkness before turning back to their trainer, who squeezed his eyes shut and looked away. The two glanced at each other and nodded. Kyle scampered off into the woods in pursuit of the badge while Mayra ran to Shawn's front and nuzzled his leg to get his attention.

"Mayra... I'm sorry. I just can't do this and I'm only going to get you hurt if I keep trying. I want you to go and live a happy, peaceful life where you'll be safe. Please Mayra... just go and leave me like Kyle did. Please..." He faltered when she refused to budge. Shawn gritted his teeth as tears began to form in his eyes.

"Go! Leave me, please!" The nidoran leapt back and cowered as if he was about to strike her, but she stubbornly remained otherwise. Shawn then felt something tugging on the back of his pants leg and he spun around to see who was bothering him now. "What!?"

Unfazed by his shouting, Kyle held up his hand and offered something to Shawn. Hesitating, their trainer lowered his hand to accept it. The chimchar dropped something small, hard, and metallic into his palm. When he examined it, he immediately recognized the Forest Badge. He slammed his eyes shut and tried to hold back the emotional tide that screeched in his head. In the end, all he managed to do was sink to his knees.

"You two don't want me to give up, do you?" Both pokemon leapt into his arms. He sobbed a couple of times before taking a deep breath. "I'm sorry I yelled at you two. You guys didn't do anything wrong. I'm... I'm just scared and worried. I... I just don't want to lose you."

Neither pokemon replied and simply voiced their opinion by continuing to show him their affection. Wiping the tears from his eyes, he looked up at the deep blue sky above the swaying overhead branches. "I'm being selfish. I need to stop only thinking about what I want and remember what you two want as well. If you guys want to keep going... I need to accept that."

He looked back down to his two pokemon who returned his gaze. "And besides, you're right, quitting isn't going to solve anything. Nothing will ever bring Lauren back and, if I give up then, I've just thrown away her life for nothing, accident or not. I can't do that to her, it wouldn't be fair. I'll keep going. We'll get better. And, someday, we'll become champions. I'm sure that's what she would have wanted us to do."

Shawn set his pokemon onto the ground as he stood up. He wiped his eyes once more and took a deep breath. "Thank you, Kyle and Mayra. I don't know what I would do without you two."


* * *

The trainer yawned and stretched as he and his team wandered down into the lobby from the free bedrooms offered to pokemon trainers by this Pokemon Center, a service the previous locations had not offered. Sure, he had ample funds to afford much better lodging, but it'd be wise to be frugal. He had no current income and until he reached a GTS hub he was cut off from his back accounts in Sinnoh. Wealth or not, running out of money was a real possibility if he was stuck for a while and he didn't keep any sort of budget.

Of course, as a result, his back complained about the old bed his room had offered, but he'd be fine in an hour.

"Shaaaaawwwnnn!" The trainer perked up and shook off some of the sleep at the sound of the familiar voice. Over by the main desk, receiving a number of various types of pokeballs from the nurse, was Cole. "Hey man, I didn't think I'd run into you here! What are the odds? How've you... Jeez, you look like you just crawled out of bed!"

He felt like he should be on edge for reasons he still hadn't figured out since their last encounter. Shawn brushed those feelings aside and smiled sheepishly. "That's because I did."

"Seriously?" Cole whipped out his cell phone to glance at it before looking back up. "It's almost one o-clock! What are you doing sleeping this late?"

Shawn waved dismissively. "Too much hiking and spelunking in too little time. You didn't tell me I'd be walking uphill from Pallet to Mt. Moon."

"But doesn't Sinnoh have a ton of mountains?"

"Well, yeah. But we actually have public transportation there. Barely anyone hikes Mt. Coronet if they don't have to."

Cole laughed. "Point taken! Good news is, you finally made it to the land of the bus stops in Kanto, so you won't need to do that again unless you feel the urge to tackle Rock Tunnel, Mt. Silver, or walk from Fuchsia to Lavender." He paused and thought for a moment. "But now that you're here, I got a lot of questions for you. But not here... You wanna go get lunch? I know a really good fish place. They don't let pokemon in, but there's another place nearby you can leave 'em that specializes in pokemon cuisine. My treat if I don't gotta pay for your team."

Shawn considered the offer for a moment. "Lemme ask my pokemon." He turned to his team, who were standing all around him. "Guys, thoughts?"

"Hey, I wanted to try the civilized stuff, so of course I wanna go!" Fang grinned excitedly. Or at least, Shawn thought he grinned. Those buckteeth made reading his expressions hard sometimes unless you were at the right angle.

"Only if Sonya behaves and doesn't threaten everyone there," Cedric chimed in.

The bird in question glared at the butterfree. "Normally I'd have a retort, but I'm too hungry to care."

Rusty and Alex glanced at each other and shrugged The mankey nodded and Rusty turned to speak up. "Well, guess that's a majority, bro."

Shawn wasn't sure if he should take it that one or both of them would have rather done something different, but they weren't objecting. Either way, he turned back to the other trainer. "Looks like the answer is lead the way."

Cole led them out of the Pokemon Center and into Cerulean City. Despite still being in a mountainous region, Cerulean was a stark contrast to Pewter. Whereas the latter was as dreary and gray as the rocks that surrounded it, Cerulean was colorful and beautiful. Every yard and lawn was filled with verdant green grass and every city-owned stretch of land seemed to be populated by a rainbow of flowers and shrubbery. Criss-crossing many areas of the city were trenches built with a mosaic of blue stone that flowed with streams of crystal clear water. And most of the buildings fit the wintry mountain town aesthetic he was used to in Sinnoh, albeit without the snow and ice.

While the city might still be behind the times technologically, what wealth Kanto did have was clearly being shown off here. And as one of the five major cities of Kanto, and the one that was considered to be a mountain resort town, it made perfect sense. The heightened affluence of the area was definitely much more comforting than the older, poorer western cities.

Eventually, after dropping Shawn's team off at a large restaurant that almost seemed more like a pokemon daycare, Cole led him to a nearby hole in the wall establishment a couple of blocks off of the main road. It was a rather small building, which explained the restriction on Pokemon, with somewhat dingy lighting. The walls were packed top to bottom with signs and various memorabilia of all sorts that seemed at least fifty years old. Though with the technology difference between here and home, they might be much newer.

They were quickly seated and left with two menus as the waitress went to fetch their drink orders. "I know you have a thing against pokemon meat, but you can relax here. It's almost all seafood." Cole paused for a moment. "...that comes from the mountains. You know, I never realized how much of a misnomer it is to refer to mountain fish as seafood..."

Shawn glanced at the menu and, aside from the mandatory hamburgers on the menu, all of the meats appeared to be various animal fish of sorts. Most of which he had never had the opportunity to eat before. "I'm guessing this is all local?"

"Yeah, fishing's a pretty big thing here thanks to the rivers. But not a lot of hunting. The wild pokemon here pretty much out-compete everything that's not a scavenger. And who wants to eat like... rat or opossum anyway? I bet they taste like rabies."

He had to stop reading for a moment as his mind instinctively tried and failed to grasp the abstract concept of rabies having a flavor. "Yeah... That's a big problem in Sinnoh too. Most of our animals live in water, on farms, as pets, or in zoos."

"At least you guys have some ranches..." Cole sighed and set down his menu. Almost as if on cue, the waitress came back with their beverages and took their orders. "So yeah, first thing..." The other man shifted his position to fish around in his backpack. A moment later, he produced a small envelope and offered it to Shawn. "You wanna go to a party in Vermilion before you run off to Johto? I have an extra ticket since my date said no and it's gonna go to waste if nobody takes it."

"I'd... really like to get to Goldenrod to see what's going on with my situation and-"

"Aw, come on, Shawn! The biggest trainers in Kanto are going to be there! Misty, Surge, Koga, Lance, Misty, Sabrina, Blaine, Karen, Will, Mis-" He stopped and shook his head. "Look, it's gonna be fun and there'll be a lotta big names out there for you to meet! Besides, it'll only set you back a day, tops! You can take a bus down there, enjoy the party, and then hop on a bus in the next morning to Saffron and then zip on the train to Goldenrod by the evening! So whaddya, say?"

Shawn sighed. "Fiiine!" The envelope containing what he guessed was a party ticket gleefully slid across the table to him. "Where is it, anyway?"

"S.S. Anne, in the port of Vermilion. It comes by every year for this party before setting off for... Unova and... Alola, I think? Or was it Kalos?" He shrugged. "Most expensive cruise you can find to whichever of those places. Probably one of the best ways to get sick of posh and fancy stuff if you ever feel the need."

Another interruption came as their food was served. Shawn's dish contained a large filet of pike, served with a sauce he couldn't pronounce, with chopped and seasoned potatoes, and a salad. Before they continued in conversation, he cut off a piece of the fish and took a bite. He quickly concluded that it might not be his new favorite thing, but it was still delicious! Which was a very good thing because he had never tried this or most of the other fish on the menu before. So, that neatly avoided the awkwardness of eating something he hated or sending it back.

"So, how's you're memory doing? Everything come back yet or are you no better off?" Cole asked after letting Shawn try his lunch.

The trainer shrugged. "Coming back largely chronologically, for some reason. It's weird and I'm confident amnesia isn't supposed to work like this. Well, except skills I learned during that time... those seem to be coming back a lot quicker. But otherwise, I'm back at the first badge I got back in Sinnoh."

Cole whistled slowly and shook his head. "Darn... Sounds like you're still a couple of years behind us, if I remember right about the stories you told me before. Isn't that when La-" The man stopped and thought better of it. "Never mind, that's probably too fresh for you right now. Ummm... Oh yeah, you see the news about Mt. Moon?"

"Saw the news?" Shawn chuckled sheepishly. "I was there! I'm lucky a squadron of reporters aren't tracking me down right now!"

That response got his acquaintance's attention. Cole stopped eating and perked up immediately. "You were there? Man, Shawn, how did you not get hurt? You know how many people there died?"

He closed his eyes as he thought back to the report last night. At least twenty confirmed dead. A few trainers and travelers were missing with about seven confirmed survivors, including himself. "Yeah... I was lucky. I heard the screams of the monster, but I never saw what it was. A guy I ran into and I were attacked by a bunch of geodude and other pokemon with glowing eyes, but we ran out of the cave before we got hurt." He paused and opened his eyes. "Never ran so hard in my life."

Something seemed to cross Cole's mind, but all he did was pause for a moment. "Yeah... That's lucky as hell. Most people got hurt. Some had memory loss. Good thing you went there prepared. I know unexpected things can happen in places like Mt. Moon but... jeeze, I don't think anyone can anticipate anything like that."

"Did the news reports say what even happened?"

Cole shook his head. "Nobody who's alive saw the thing. Or at least nobody who can remember."

"This wouldn't have happened though if there was a path around the mountain instead of through it." Shawn finished his food and dropped the fork on the plate in annoyance. "I mean, I double checked the maps last night and there's a lot of wilderness south of it, but it's not a cave, at least. Would be a lot safer to go that way, even if its longer."

"...you do remember why we can't go that way, right?" Shawn shook his head and, in response, Cole got up from their table and gestured to follow him to the counter to pay their bill. "Come on, guess I need to show you again."

* * *

Shawn's sore legs complained about being on another hike, but he reassured himself that this would be the last one for a while. Tomorrow, he could relax and recover with his team and rest a bit before being driven to Vermilion. No more walking for miles upon miles! But for now... it was a bit of a trek up Route 4 before they veered off to the north.

At this point, Cole had Shawn recall his team as they made their way up a large hill, citing the need to be quiet and keep as low of a profile as they could. Unsure what to expect, he obliged and soon it was just the two of them hiking. After a few dozen minutes, the river came into view and they followed along it from a distance. Large, rocky outcroppings began to form, along with small dips and bowels pockmarking the ground. There were... too many of either for them to be completely natural formations.

"Stay low so they won't see us," Cole ordered as he crouched while they walked, sticking to the outcroppings of rock. After a few minutes of crawling through the dirt and they rounded one of the outcroppings, Shawn laid his eyes on what "they" were.

Broken and strewn all about a pockmarked field were large, spherical things with odd dull green, red, and yellow markings. All of them had broken and shattered wings and tails, but many had their "heads", essentially a large, block rod with a single lifeless eye, intact. Despite their dilapidated state, Shawn recognized them instantly.

"Sigilyph?" Shawn asked, to which Cole nodded in response. "Active sigilyph?"

His partner growled and nodded again. "Yeah... We got a ton of these bastards all over central Kanto, Mt. Moon, and a few other places. Cerulean is lucky that all of these have broken wings, so they can't patrol onto the roads. But go to the wilderness between Celadon and Viridian or try to get to that old world power plant and you'll find some still in pristine condition that endlessly fly on patrol and blast everything that comes near them. Human... pokemon... they don't care what it is, they get shot."

Shawn didn't reply and simply stared at the broken, and apparently active, husks. History was incredibly sketchy, but supposedly these things were weapons of a bygone era used in some cataclysmic war. Sinnoh had active, flying ones in remote regions still, but not in these numbers. Everyone knew not to approach them. They were wicked dangerous and could vaporize a man in an instant.

"I thought the unown hanging around our ruins were bad enough. I mean, yeah, they're only dangerous in swarms, but those little lasers they shoot still hurt. Got hit by a few when I wandered off on a school field trip once." Luckily, he had only met a pair at that time, not a swarm.

"Yeah, well, these things friggin' kill people. Sure, they're supposedly ancient pokemon, but they don't give two craps about an empath trying to reason with them. You see that broken skeleton in that hole over there? That guy thought because he was a full blown empath he could calm them." Cole gritted his teeth and growled again. "Our ancestors made some freaking stupid choices and we're still paying it today in blood. And we're gonna keep paying for years to come."

Shawn remained silent for a moment. "Kanto doesn't have the tools to remove the grounded ones?" Flying ones, as far as he knew, were outright out of the question.

"Not like you guys, no. Kanto's behind the times. Only way we can get rid of these things is by risking lives. If the government wasn't so stubborn about accepting outside aid, Unova or something could probably help. But we're too poor to risk going into debt or don't want to threaten our independence or some other bullcrap they spout as an excuse." He grabbed a rock and angrily tossed it in the direction of the sigilyph. Fortunately, his throw fell way short of hitting any of them. "It's crap like this that needs to go away. The world needs change. We need to finish fixing al ofl the stupidity of the past and make sure it doesn't happen again, not pretend it's not there when its only a couple of miles from our homes. We need-"

He stopped when the eyes of a number of the sigilyph glowed a sudden, unworldly blue. Shawn froze when he recognized it as the same light from yesterday. The red, yellow, and green portions of the sigilyph began to glow brightly and they turned their eyes at them. They shifted to a dangerous red hue as the necks extended higher. Shawn heard a loud beeping noise as several red laser dots appeared on Cole's chest.

"Ohgodrun!" Cole leapt to his feet, yanked Shawn's arm, and pulled him behind the outcropping. But when his partner didn't stop running, neither did Shawn. The beeping noise behind them intensified and then suddenly stopped. A high pitched, electric whoosh screamed into his ears before an explosion rocked the world and its shock wave knocked him to his knees. He dared a look behind him and saw chunks of rock raining down where their hiding spot had been a moment ago. The sigilyph continued to glare at them with deadly red eyes.

"Elyssia!" Cole shouted as he ripped a ball off of his belt and threw it behind him while scrambling back to his feet. With a brilliant flash of blue light, Shawn found himself running past a slender, green-haired humanoid in a white dress. The gardevoir paid no heed to him and crossed her outstretched arms in front of her body and erected a shimmering bubble between them and a second barrage of blue lasers. They slammed into the bubble and shattered it, but were deflected upwards and to the sides to explode elsewhere.

The two men continued their flight until they stumbled and fell down a hill. Shawn landed on his rump just in time to see Elyssia diving down over the hill as more shots flew over her head. Those blasts exploded in the air some hundred feet away. Laying flat, he listened for more shots, but all he could hear were angry beeping and mechanical noises, along with what vaguely sounded like a distant alarm.

Cole groaned as he pulled himself to his feet and brushed off wet dirt and grass from his body. "Thanks, Elyssia."

The gardevoir levitated back to her feet and simply smiled. "It is my pleasure."

"Looks like we're all okay." Shawn checked his belt to ensure all of his pokeballs were intact. "Now I see why you didn't want my team around..."

"ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?" He looked up, or rather down the hill, to see a ginger girl with a purple starfish levitating in the air behind her. She and the starmie ran up to them, but her focus seemed to be on Cole. "You... YOU! YOU. OF. ALL. PEOPLE!"

Cole raised his hands defensively. "Misty, I..."

"OF ALL PEOPLE! You should. SHOULD know how dangerous this place is!" She got close to the man and leaned down to glower at him. "I hear the sigilyph going off thinking some kids were in danger and come running. And what do I find? The freaking grown man of a champion of Kanto playing around with death beams!"

"Misty... I... I... Look, my friend from Sinnoh wanted to see why we can't go around Mt. Moon and I was showing him!"

"Are the warning pamphlets in the Pokemon Center not good enough?"

"Hey! They never target from that far, especially when you're crouching behind a rock! I know how close you can get to these things without waking them and that was way outside of their usual range!"

"You still almost got yourself and your friend killed over that! You, of all people, should know not to go near these things!"

"I know but... ummm I'm sorry!" Cole stammered for a moment before he switched tactics. "But hey... uhh... are you sure you don't want to go to the S.S. Anne party tomorrow with me? I still have an extra ticket and-"

Misty's stare silenced him. "Cole... you're a freaking idiot. Let's not even talk about how this is the worst pick-up attempt ever." She turned to Shawn. "Sorry we had to meet this way. I recommend you stay away from this idiot before he gets you killed. If you're a trainer, my gym will be closed for the next few days, so I'll see you next week."

With that, she turned and left. Silence fell over the trio for several long, awkward minutes. "I'm no expert in getting a date, but that was real smooth, Cole."

"Shut up, Shawn!" He sighed and dropped his shoulders, clearly shaken, and motioned for him and Elyssia to follow him back. "Look, I don't know what happened there, but that was a first, ever, for them picking a target from that far. Let's just... let's just get back before something else attacks us.

Fortunately, the trip back to Cerulean was blissfully uneventful. And the whole time, Shawn couldn't help but wonder at how stubborn the Kantonese people were living so close to danger.






Scrapped titles for this chapter include: Local Lasers, Laser Fish, Death Lasers, Death Beams, Ginger Lasers, Exploding Fish, and Ancient Egyptian Laser Beams. I have no idea why it was so hard to come up with a serious title for a serious chapter or why I fixated on lasers so hard. >.>

So, a fair amount of gameplay to cover here. First of all, my game actually glitched in Cerulean City. Some of the map got slightly corrupted, the game froze, and it began to play really, really weird noises. A few restarts did not fix the issue. I was playing on a DS at the time and I tried unslotting Platinum from the DS slot. This fixed it. I've never seen nor heard of this bug before and it's never happened again. And my Platinum cart, AFAIK, is still perfectly fine to this day.

Next up though, rival battle with Cole! I knew he was in the area, but I stumbled upon him accidentally since I didn't recall the precise spot. I thought he was AFTER Nugget Bridge! Luckily, I was fully healed, just had the wrong lead...

Directly from my notes, with some dumb commentary removed...

Pidgeotto (lv 17) vs Lucy (lv 15). Lucy gets injured and I swap out to Rusty (lv 16). Rusty is able to tank Pidgeotto's after using Withdraw, but Sand Attacks make fighting back difficult. After a tough fight, Rusty KOs the annoying bird.

Sonya (lv 16) vs Bulbasaur (lv 18). Sonya almost takes out Bulby with a couple of Gusts, but then gets put to sleep. Luckily, her type advantage lets her tank hits long enough to wake up and finish off the offending Pokemon.

Next: Joey Fang (lv 15) vs Abra (lv 16). Abra only knows Teleport so.... Joey one-shots it with Hyper Fang.

Final: Joey vs Rattata (lv 15). Joey almost KOs Rattata with a single Hyper Fang and finishes it off with a Quick Attack before taking damage.

A little after this fight, I changed my writing from being overly Nuzlocke cliche to the storylocke it is... well... became back then. So, I can post direct notes from here without embarassing myself now, yay!

Also, after going down to clear the trainers at Vermilion first, I took on Misty! ...I also started to neglect to record levels >.> Rusty, Fang, and Sonya were evolved by this point and around level 20 since Sonya just learned Whirlwind.

Directly from my notes...

Finally brave enough to take on Misty! Alex is leading the attack with Joey as back-up against her first Pokemon. Cedric will lead against Starmie in an attempt to Paralyze and Rusty will come in to finish it off with super-effective bites. Let's just hope things work out as planned

Alex vs Staryu: Alex gets a 2HKO against Staryu without getting touched! Awesome! Now for the real fight

Cedric vs Starmie: As predicted, Starmie is faster and hits rather hard. Cedric gets his Stun Spore off and then swaps out to Rusty

Rusty vs Starmie: The stupid starfish still hits pretty hard, but isn't a match against Rusty without the speed advantage. It does get a Recover off, but Rusty flinched it with Bite at a critical moment after, leading to a victory with no deaths!


...considering Misty is my Whitney, this battle was somewhat anti-climatic for me.
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8
You know, today's reposted chapter has an oddly appropriate title, since I also had unwanted news today!

...specifically a co-worker suddenly quit while we are already short-handed and it made me have to work extra long today. Woo.

Ah well, I could give an Unwanted Ten Page Rant on that if I let myself. But you guys are here for story. So, have some story!


The schedule had been set. Today, Shawn opted to do more training and practice with his team. Ideally, once all was said and done it would have proven to be a pointless and unnecessary exercise, but there was no telling what would happen beyond Goldenrod. Tomorrow, they would get on the bus to Vermilion and go to that party that Shawn really wished he hadn't gotten himself talked into doing. The next day, ride to Saffron, get on the train to Goldenrod, and track down the GTS hub.

From there was anyone's guess.

The team had split into pairs and rotated match-ups, with the odd one out taking a break while Shawn fought with the local internet services to see if he could get his Pokedex to download some of the pay-to-learn moves for whoever was resting to learn. So far, he wasn't having much luck aside picking up a couple of techniques for Rusty from the local gym's network.

"This is soooo much easier when they have to come to me like Sonya does..." Fang nimbly ducked another pseudo-psychic eye-laser from Cedric and moved out of the way. The butterfree, however, was too high up for even him to jump and catch, an issue the ratatta had been puzzling over. "I need a ranged attack so I can do more than dodge."

The butterfree ceased his attacking and swooped down to land on the ground. "I'd close to attack, but I'm much better from afar and nothing's stopping the height advantage. So... umm... why would I?"

"That's why I need a projectile! Shawn said something about shooting ice and lightning and shadows and a whole lotta cool stuff, but he can't get the stuff to download out here." Fang huffed in annoyance and walked over to the butterfree. Their trainer was busy with the other three right now, so he surely wouldn't notice the break right away.

"Yeah, I call stalemate. You're way too fast for me to hit, but you can't hit me. Whoever gets tired first will probably lose..."

"Which wouldn't be me~" Fang chuckled and grinned. "I've been outrunning everyone my whole life and been making sure I won't get tired doing it just in case a bird or something thought I was food. So I'm not going down to attrition!"

The butterfree nodded and glanced over his shoulder. "Probably. Plus I'm not entirely used to my wings..."

"What's it like having those, anyway?" Fang asked, tilting his head slightly. "Six limbs seems like it'd feel weird."

"It did! And I had nobody around to tell me what to expect either!" Cedric rapidly fluttered his wings in response and created a soft, buzzing noise. "Doesn't help I'm already a lot older than the average caterpie. But even with Sonya, her wings are so much different! And don't even get me started on having hands!"

Fang's mouth hung open in surprise for several moments. "Whoa whoa whoa wait, back up! You're a lot older than the average caterpie? How old are you even?"

It was hard to read the insect's expression, but he appeared to look up at the sky as the did some calculations. "Ummm... a little over a year. Most of us only last like... a couple of months before we get picked off by predators, I think. If I'm lucky, I'll live about five years before old age takes me."

"Only five years! And I thought my kind were usually short lived, sheesh!" Fang shook his head. "And you're gonna spend that whole time with us or do you have other plans?"

Cedric made a gesture that might have been an approximation of a shrug. But without proper arms and shoulders, it was difficult to tell. "I uh... don't plan ahead much. Life's too short to worry about the future, especially when that future could have been taken by a bird at any moment. I guess I just worry about now and... I guess I'm just grateful I made it this far."

"I don't even know what to say about that. I just..." Fang stopped and glanced in the direction of their trainer. "Oh crap, Shawn's looking!" He immediately leapt at Cedric with no warning and pinned the butterfree to the ground. "Ha, gotcha~"

"...that wasn't nice..." The butterfree sighed as Fang got off of him.

"Sorry, but I-" The ratatta stopped again, only this time with a sharp breath and his eyes going wide. He grabbed his chest with his forepaws and rolled onto his side. "Oh no no no, I can't- Not now...!"

"Are you okay...?" When Fang merely groaned and kicked his legs in some unseen struggle, Cedric took wing right up to his trainer! "Shawn, Shawn! Something's wrong with Fang!"

Without missing a beat, Shawn leapt from the bench and rushed over to the ratatta, who squirmed in pain on the ground. Their trainer knelt down and examined the mouse closely. He didn't have any real tools on hand, but he did quickly come to a likely diagnosis. "Fang... listen to me. You'll be fine, just stop fighting it."

Fang opened one eye at Shawn and gritted his teeth. "No! I can't... This isn't what I-" The ratatta let out a pained yelp and fell limp. A moment later, his body glowed a vibrant bright white light that obscured his form completely. The glow quickly grew larger in shape before fading. In its wake, a larger, brown and white rodent opened his eyes.

Shawn rolled his eyes. "See, you're fine! And, congratulations!"

The raticate sat up, looked at himself, and then hit the dirt with a paw. "Nooooo! This is not how I wanted to evolve! I was holding it back and waiting for a moment where I could pounce someone stronger than me! I was gonna evolve while mid-flight! It was going to be so cool, but it's ruined now!"

Several snickers were made at his expense, but Sonya simply nodded. "You know... that's a really good idea... I'm going to have to remember that one."

Rusty glanced at the pidgeotto. "Sis... What if you need it before then?"

"Then I'll evolve before then!" Sonya crossed her wings in front of her. "Come on, you know I'm the most pragmatic badass bird of Viridian Forest!"

The wartortle shook his head. "Whatever you say..."

"Well, looks like that's a good stopping point for training today," Shawn quickly said to interrupt a potential squabble. He climbed back to his feet and glanced around to ensure everyone was accounted for and present. "Let's go back, get cleaned up, and think about dinner, shall we?"

As they started to head back, Alex quickly chimed up. "Hey, can we try one of those pizza things? I don't know what they are, but Rusty and I saw them on the TV and they looked good!"

Fang trailed along and sighed. "Cheese really ought to not be melted like that, it ruins it. Plus it'll get stuck in my new, thicker fur..."


* * *


It had been a closer fight than he had expected, but he finally managed to capture the riolu. Even though Kyle had grown bigger and more powerful with his evolution, the two had still been evenly matched. Glad that it was all over and now that he had been successful, Shawn couldn't help but grin. Excitedly, he released the newly caught pokemon.

The blue, black-masked dog-like pokemon emerged from its pokeball. It laid its eyes upon Shawn and stared at him momentarily. Its red irises glinted gold briefly before its palms were ignited with a bluish-purple flame. Before anyone could react, it leapt up and placed them on Shawn's chest.

The trainer cried out in alarm as he felt
something surge through him and inside him. Something deep down began to change and grow. Kyle leapt forward and yanked the riolu off of him and the smaller pokemon did not resist.

"Sorry about that!" The riolu reached up and scratched the back of its head. "I just didn't want to waste time having a trainer who couldn't understand me!"

"Well you could have war-" Shawn started to snapped, but froze. "Wait, how do I understand you? I just met you! I can't even understand Kyle or Mayra yet!"

The small pokemon smiled. "We riolu are sensitive to aura and, consequently, especially sensitive to everyone's emotions and empathic links. All I did was manipulate your aura to force our link wide open. I can sense your potential, which is why I didn't flee at the sight of you. I wanted to test you in combat and test the bonds you have with your companions. You're inexperienced, but you passed."

At first, he didn't know what to say. But then, a realization dawned upon him. "Wait, does that mean I can understand Kyle and Mayra now too?"

He got his answer when the both of them replied with words that his mind was unable to translate. He sighed.

"For now, I can only manipulate our link because it is one we both share. I could manipulate a link between myself and your... I'm sorry... our two companions, but not between you and them. Perhaps in time I may be able to eventually do so, but I suspect your bonds will have grown sufficiently before then." The riolu thought for a moment. "But, I guess I can translate in the mean time. Even if I somehow managed to disappoint you with my performance at any task you assign me, which I truly doubt I will, I believe you'll still find that ability quite useful."

"You're quite talkative. I... think I like that. I'll definitely welcome conversation when we're out on the road." Shawn grinned and then offered it a hand.
"Welcome to the team! I think I'll call you-"

"Evelyn," the riolu interrupted before he could come up with a name. "My name is Evelyn. No need to call me anything else."

"Right then, Evelyn it is."



* * *


Cole lounged on his hotel bed and half-read the book in his hands. He wasn't entirely too interested in the contents as the man was simply trying to pass an unknown amount of time. Consequently, his focus was busy on anticipation and listening, waiting, and growing a little impatient. This is why he liked setting specific times, rather than vague approximations like "soon" or "this evening."

Finally, after far too long, a sharp knock found its way to the door and Cole immediately jumped up and tossed the book onto the bed behind him. After confirming it was who he thought he was through the peephole, Cole unlocked the door and opened it to let his colleague inside. Another man, dressed in old jeans and an equally worn shirt, stepped inside and looked around nervously.

"You did sweep for listening devices, right?" The man compulsively looked behind the television and under its shelf.

"Archer, what the heck are you worried about listening devices for?" Cole closed the door and grabbed the other man on the shoulders, who practically jumped at the touch. "Why so jumpy? Did you punch an old lady in front of a cop on the way here or something?"

The man spun around with a grave expression on his face. "The news hasn't made it here yet, has it? At least not publicly?" After a confused glance, he shook his head. "Cole, the lab on Cinnabar was destroyed and I didn't have time to wipe any data. I don't know if all the explosions cleared it for me but... if they go in and find the restricted sections are still intact then... then Rocket's days are numbered! Our days our numbered!"

"Destroyed? Was it terrorists?" Archer shook his head. "Oh god... Did Mewtwo get out?" The response to that made him fall back against the wall and slowly sink down until he was sitting. "How in the hell did he get out? We hadn't even finished designing the RKS System, let alone installed it, so those anti-psychic bonds should have held him perfectly!"

"There was an intruder just before he got released. I overheard one of the guards saying Shawn turned on us and got into the restricted area..."

Cole looked up in shock. "No, there's no friggin' way. Shawn didn't even know the restricted area existed, so how in the hell would he go back there and free Mewtwo?" The scientist shook his head. "It had to have been an inside job, but I really doubt it was Shawn. He's not the type to get a bunch of people killed. Besides, he showed up in Pallet and can't remem-" Cole stopped as something clicked in his head. "Oh god damn it..."

Silence feel between them for a few moments as Archer stared. Finally, he spoke up. "What? What happened?"

"A couple of days ago there was an attack on our dig site at Mt. Moon. Killed most of them and all but one of the scientists had lost their memory. That one guy who survived recorded some of the roars and they sounded just like Mewtwo's screams, now that I think about it." Cole paused to let his mind process for another few moments. "Mewtwo probably damaged the memories of the survivors in a way that sounded like Shawn's case. So, Shawn had to have been in contact with Mewtwo at some point during this incident, especially since he's missing his regular team. It doesn't prove anything, but Styx probably would have been there, so I could confirm with him in a couple of days..."

Archer practically fell into sitting on the bed. "We're so ruined. Everything we worked for, gone. Giovanni would know what to do if he hadn't gone missing but... What the heck do we do? Monster on the lose and the authorities will shut us down and arrest us all..."

"No, we're not screwed yet. Not fully at least..." Cole pushed himself against the wall to slide back up to his feet. He tapped his chin. "I'm going to call Arianna in the morning and see if we can't get a public statement out before the government or police do. We can spin this in our favor." He sighed. "Of course, that means we're going to need to actively try to contain Mewtwo, and that's going to be dangerous as hell. He shouldn't be hard to track, but containing..."

"No!" Archer shook his head aggressively. "People and pokemon will die if we do that, Cole!"

"Yeah, well, even more people and pokemon are gonna die if we don't! If we assume Mewtwo is hunting us since he targeted our fossil dig site, we're all screwed if we do nothing! And holy hell, if he finds his way into a city..." Cole took a breath and calmed himself. "Look, its dangerous as hell, but the situation is horrible. We sit on our butts and we either die or go to jail. So, we gotta act first, get the PR in our favor, hopefully prevent some deaths, and, maybe if we're lucky, we'll recapture Mewtwo."

Archer sat in silence for a few minutes. "I feel like Giovanni would have a better solution..."

"Stop worrying about Giovanni, he's not here and he's gone!" Cole shook his head and resisted the urge to start pacing. "Here's what's gonna happen. I'll call Arianna in the morning. I want you to call Petrel and have him get a containment team together. I need to go down to Vermilion because I have to show at that party and I need to meet with Styx. After that, we'll meet up in Saffron and move from there."

"Wait, why Saffron?"

"Because, if we're lucky, Silph will have finished that ball of theirs."



Joey Fang actually didn't evolve until around Vermilion City. He actually evolved before facing Misty, since I was so worried about her I decided to go down and clear all the Route 11 trainers first.
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9
For some reason, I keep thinking this chapter was like... Chapter 11 instead of now. I dunno why.

...by the way, gonna ask again since never got an answer this time. When you read this chapter, which Pokemon battle theme do you imagine? I'm curious!


Shawn peered over the rock at the round, blue, mouse-eared pokemon. His next catch was in sight and he didn't want to lose this one. With water nearby offering a quick escape route, he knew he needed a clever strategy to ensure it would not get away.

"Okay, here's the plan. Since it's a water type, I want you to dodge left when it fires and then tackle it." Shawn tapped his chin. "No, dodge right so you're between it and the river."

Evelyn stared at him for a moment. "That's the plan? Can't you do better? What if it doesn't use a water attack?"

"Good point. Okay, it might try tackling, in which case you'll need to jump back and upper cut it." His eyes widened slightly when another realization hit him. "Or it might try punching. In that case, trap its arm and punch it back!"

"Shawn!" Kyle's voice called.

"Or she might try using rollout. We'll have to stop her before she gains momentum. That could be difficult..."

"Shawn!"

"But what if she goes on the defensive? Oh, we'll have to break through that in order to hurt her. That might be-"

"SHAWN!"

"What?" The trainer turned to see what Kyle was yelling about, but paused when he witnessed the scene before him. "Uhhh..."

A very confused and awkward-looking monferno was pinned to the ground by the wild marill. What was odd was that the wild pokemon did not seem to be attacking him. In fact, she barely behaved aggressively at all.

"What do I do if she tries to snuggle me?"


* * *​


"You've definitely improved since the last time you were here, Shawn." Byron withdrew his defeated pokemon with a beam of orange light. "Though that much was obvious when you came in to challenge me for your fourth badge rather than your first, but it's still nice to see an improvement." The gym leader grabbed the final ball off of his belt, tossed it into the air, and caught it with his other hand. "But now, I'm afraid I'll have to end this. Come out, Nephilim!"

The ball descended into the arena and rolled innocently across the ground. The orb came to a complete stop and rested for a moment before bursting into yellow light. Emerging from the glow was the biggest pokemon Shawn had ever seen. The steel snake couldn't even stretch out to its full height without striking the ceiling! Upon realizing it was in battle, it roared loud enough to send vibrations into Shawn's chest.

"Is that... a steelix?" Shawn stared in awe. He had heard they were massive, but to actually see one was a whole different story. His brain felt like it was trying to reject the idea that something that big could still be a living thing.

Midori, who had quickly evolved into an azumarill since her capture, hopped up and down excitedly. "Oh, can I fight it? Can I can I can I can I?"

The rabbit's enthusiasm caught Shawn completely by surprise. "Ummm, sure? You're not afraid of it?"

"Nope!" She grinned happily.

Shawn shrugged slowly. "Then uhhh... sure, go ahead."

"Yaaaaay!" Midori cheerfully skipped into the arena. Meanwhile, both Byron and Nephilim stared in disbelief at her eagerness. "Hi, I'm Midori! And I'm gonna beat you up!"

The steelix turn to his trainer, who shrugged. "Well, give it what it wants, I guess. Use iron head."

"Midori, use waterfall!"

Nephilim roared as he lunged at the excited azumarill. Midori seemed completely unfazed as a torrent of water engulfed her body and she launched herself into the snake and slammed into its body. Shockingly, the steelix went airborne from the collision, flipped over, and landed on the ground with an impact powerful enough to shake the walls. It did not get back up. Midori, however, landed gently nearby and didn't seem hurt at all.

"Yaaaaaay!" Midori raised her tiny arms and danced happily. "I won!"

Byron simply stared, dumbfounded. "Did... did... did that azumarill just take out Nephilim in one hit? ...how?"

"To be honest, I'm just as confused as you are." Shawn shook his head. "I had no idea she could even do that!"



* * *


Vermilion, according to the tourist brochures Shawn had read while waiting at the bus station, was largely a harbor and shipping hub with a side of fishing. Despite being one of Kanto's central cities, it was primarily a place of commerce and industry. Tourists mostly only came here to get on boats for vacation cruises, to travel across the seas, or to eat fresh seafood. Trainers? There was a local gym and a major fan club. But if Shawn had to guess, the latter was probably made by local trainers to have more things to do with their pokemon without traveling to other towns or the wilderness.

That or maybe there was a college here like Canalave and students had created it? Honestly, the more he thought of that, the more likely it seemed based on his experience.

He wasn't here for any of that though. He just wanted to go to the S.S. Anne, get this party over with, and then get to Saffron tomorrow. That was, of course, assuming nothing good nor useful happened tonight. Slim chances of that, however, since he had no reason to believe this would be anything other than a waste of time. Potentially an entertaining waste of time, but he'd enjoy it more if his pseudo-amnesia issues weren't going to be looming over his head the whole time.

...besides, wouldn't that lead to awkward conversation? "Hey, what do you do for a living?" "Oh, I don't remember. You?"

Luckily, finding the ship wasn't difficult. The S.S. Anne was, by far, the biggest thing in the harbor tonight. A few minutes walk down the pier and soon he and his crew were approaching the ship and its sole on-boarding bridge manned by a protective ticket keeper and another bouncer to insure that no weapons were brought on board and all pokemon were confined to their balls except in designated areas. With an apology, Shawn recalled his team before boarding the vessel.

At the very least, he quickly saw a legitimate reason as to why pokemon were restricted. The ship was packed with who he had to assume were well-dressed trainers and individuals involved in pokemon-related industries. If everyone had their pokemon out and about then the place would be crammed with no space to move. Already as it was, the volume of the voices and the music was a little louder than Shawn would have liked, and he had to do a little gymnastics to weave through the crowd without bumping into anyone, but no doubt that'd subside below deck and in his room.

Hmmm... maybe he ought to hide in his room the whole night? He only promised Cole that he'd attend the party, not that he'd participate...

Pondering this, he wandered up to the top deck along with the flow of the crowd and soon found himself instinctively following the sound of cheering and someone yelling over a microphone. Within a few moments, Shawn found himself staring down into a small arena surrounded by plexiglas walls and, in the middle, was a man in a black tuxedo standing next to... was that Cole in the arena? Brock said he was Kanto's Master Division Champion, right? That'd definitely explain the cheering.

"Tonight! One or two lucky trainers will have the chance to battle me!" Cole gazed out at the crowd and pointed to himself with his thumb to elicit a chorus of cheers. "I have pokemon for all types of trainers with me right now. So it should be a fair match whether you're a rookie fresh from your home or you've met me in the arena at Indigo!"

There was a pause to let the crowd calm down before the champion brought his free hand to his chin and began to scan the crowd. "But who to choose...?" People began to frantically wave their arms around. But when Cole's eyes locked on Shawn's, the trainer realized he had wandered up to the arena almost absent-mindedly while watching. Immediately, Cole pointed right at him. "You, right there! You owe me a battle anyway and now's a good time for it! Everyone, give it up for my friend, Shawn O'Donnell!"

Shawn froze in place for a moment before cursing his luck. He was in the spotlight now, figuratively and literally, whether he liked it or not. Trying to hide his grumbling expression from the crowd, he stepped around to enter the arena. He walked straight up to Cole as the microphone was handed back to the man in the tuxedo.

"Was this why you invited me to the party?" Shawn demanded.

"Whoa, not at all! I wasn't even sure I'd run into you! This is just a nice coincidence!" Cole waved his hands defensively and grinned. "I was looking for a kid who looked like he could win without me obviously giving it to him for PR purposes. But, they can be second. Besides, why are you mad? The crowd's cheering for you, bud!"

Shawn shook his head. "Let's just get this over with, what's the rules?"

"How about..." Cole paused for a moment and glanced at the pokeballs on Shawn's belt. "Best of five, all one on one? I'll let you draw first so I know which pokemon to use. I don't wanna like... send out Shrike if you're just going to have Kyle thrash him in two seconds." He glanced at the man in the tuxedo. "That sound good to you?"

The man nodded and turned to address the crowd. Shawn sighed. "And if my team gets hurt?"

"There's a pokemon Center right below us a deck or two down. Now come on, crowd's getting impatient!" Shawn turned and started walking to his side of the arena. "Oh, and be sure to like... shout your team member's names and commands and stuff! That way the crowd will hear it! They love that kinda stuff!"

Shawn came to his corner and grabbed one of the balls on his belt. "Well, at least Sonya and Fang will have fun with this..." He then turned around and hesitated. Well, better play along since he only had a few hundred or so eyes on him right now. "Go, Rusty! [sub]...ugh, I sound like a ten year old...[/sub]"

As the wartortle materialized in a flash of red light, Cole made an exaggerated chuckle. "Okay, so that's how it is, huh? We'll start rivals then! Go, Victor!"

"I saw this coming..." Shawn muttered before tapping the confused wartortle on the shoulder. "Okay, surprise battle I wasn't expecting. We got a close-by crowd so keep the crazier moves to a minimum. Those walls will only block so much. As for Victor... hrmmm, he'll outlast us, so best bet will probably be to strike fast and hard. Fake him out at the start and I'll make the calls when I see them. But listen hard for them since it's loud. Otherwise trust your training and instincts."

Rusty glanced around for a moment, took a breath, relaxed, and gave Shawn a thumbs up "Got it, bro! Really caught me off guard and... I dunno if I can handle Victor yet. But, here goes nothin'."

Shawn couldn't help but agree with Rusty, especially since his empathic senses were detecting just a twinge of Rusty's reluctance. The wartortle still didn't have any moves effective against pokemon like Victor, so he was at a big disadvantage. Still though, best not to go in expecting to lose, otherwise it will happen for certain.

"Ready?" Shawn nodded at the announcer's question. "Go!"

Cole immediately shouted out a command, but whatever it was was quickly intercepted when the two pokemon closed the distance and Rusty slammed his fists on both sides of Victor's head. The ivysaur was briefly dazed and only snapped out of it in time for Rusty's skull to slam into his body. The reptile stepped back and launched several small seeds from his plant. They latched onto Rusty on contact and began to glow a sinister green.

"Clear 'em off!" Shawn barked and Rusty responded by withdrawing into his shell and spinning rapidly. Several vines slammed into the shell at the same moment and sent him skidding across the arena floor. Once he withdrew to get his bearings, he was met by a flurry of sharp leaves. A pulse of water forced the attack to break off.

They weren't winning the range battle, even with Victor not able to safely use his pollens in this arena. However, Rusty must have read Shawn's mind as he launched himself forward with a torrential burst right into the ivysaur and slammed him into the wall. Landing on top of the reptile, he bit down hard onto his opponent's side.

As soon as Shawn saw the vines, he realized the mistake they had made. "Rusty, get back!"

As soon as his jaws let go, vines grabbed Rusty and began to glow the same green as the seeds. Rusty kicked, punched, scratched, and bit to try to free himself, but his struggles quickly grew weaker and weaker while Victor's assault continued unabated.

"I'm done, I'm done! Lemme go, dude, I'm out!" Rusty gasped as he was dropped to the floor. He shakily climbed to his feet and stumbled back towards Shawn.

"Nice try, Rusty. Maybe next time?" The ivysaur didn't get to hear a response from his opponent as he was recalled back to his trainer.

"Point for Cole!" the announcer cried and the crowd, which Shawn had been tuning out, erupted in response.

Shawn gently patted Rusty on the back. "You did good out there. I'll get you patched up once everything's done"

"Thanks, bro. I did better than I was expectin', to be honest." Rusty stepped past Shawn and slumped his back against the wall. "If nobody minds, I wanna watch the rest."

Nobody was telling him to recall Rusty, so Shawn simply nodded and, at the behest of the announcer and crowd, he reached for his next pokeball.

"I'll go first next, just to be fair!" Cole interrupted and grabbed a ball of his own. A blast of brilliant blue light revealed a pidgeotto who, at a glance, seemed larger than Sonya. "Take your pick, Shawn! Who's next!"

Shawn released Cedric's ball and reached for Sonya's ultra ball instead and couldn't help but chuckle sheepishly. She'd kill him if he made her pass up on this match-up. Yellow light shone brightly and unleashed the bird, who was all too eager to be out in the world again.

"Hey, Sonya!" Shawn waved his arms to get her attention. You up for a friendly fight against another bird?"

"Always! And in front of a crowd too? It's about time! Who am I-" Sonya stopped when her eyes laid upon the opposing pidgeotto, who, in turn, seemed quite surprised to see her. "Oh ho ho ho! It's Shrike! Shawn, you just made my night! I never thought I'd get this chance again!"

"...sis, besides me and Fang, how many rivals do you have...?" Rusty asked, but his question fell upon deaf ears as the two pidgeotto moved to face each other in the arena.

"I'm not afraid of you anymore!" Shrike shouted loud enough for everyone around to hear. No doubt, very few people, if anyone beyond Shawn and Cole, could understand him. "I evolved and my trainer's the champion!"

Sonya opened up her wings wide as if inviting Shrike to strike her. "You think I care? I promise it'll be just like the old days! Only this time, everyone's watching me do it!"

"Yeah? But I've learned a lot things since then! Like new aerial attacks or..." Shrike suddenly took wing and sliced across the arena. "This!"

Sonya ducked to the side and slashed across the other bird's body with her talons. She then feigned like she was going to take flight before jabbing Shrike with her beak and forcing him to stumble back.

"I see faster on a daily basis. Besides, surprise attacks? Really?" Sonya snickered, but Shrike didn't respond. Instead, Cole shouted for him to take wing and, immediately, Shrike was diving up into the air.

"Sonya, watch for it!" Shawn called as she took off in pursuit and the two climbed higher and higher. "You know how this goes!"

Once they were a few dozen feet above the arena, Shrike spun around in the air, his wings shining white, and flapped blades of wind in Sonya's direction. She responded by folding her wings and making them glow reflectively. The blades bounced back and Shrike barely maneuvered away from them.

Growling, Shrike's whole body erupted in a fiery yellow aura. Sonya tilted her head slightly. "Huh... that's one I don't know yet. I'll give you that..."

Curious, and unsure if the light would be harmful to contact, she hung back and prepared herself. A glowing pidgeotto suddenly bolted straight at her chest moments later. Sonya slipped to the side, but one of the wings gashed her across the chest. Undeterred, she folded her wings and dove after the other bird.

As Shrike's aura faded, Sonya slammed into his back. The two rocketed towards the arena and Sonya slammed her opponent into the wall hard enough to make every side of it vibrate visibly. Sonya rolled off of her opponent and, despite being a ruffled mess, stood tall and proud while the other pidgeotto laid unconscious.

Cole ran across the arena to his downed companion, making it only moments before Shawn, and kneeled down to check on him. Sighing in relief, he stood up and waved to the crowd. "He's okay everyone, just knocked out!" The crowd collectively sighed in relief and cheered. Cole then leaned closer to Shawn. "You gotta be careful with the crazier moves! Especially with birds! Someone could have gotten hurt if they had missed the wall!"

Shawn shrugged. "YOU try telling that to her! Besides, Shrike wasn't doing much better!"

"Okay, fine, got me there. Let's cool it and try to keep it contained, okay?" Without waiting for a response, he returned to his side of the arena with his bird in his arms.

"Sonya, what was that about-" Shawn stopped. "Did you even notice you're bleeding?"

The pidgeotto waved at him dismissively while he went back to his side to dig a potion out of his backpack. "Eh, it's nothing. And besides, that? Just a little sibling rivalry. Shrike's my older brother and was one heck of a bully until I put him in his place when we were kids. I used to like to remind him who was the most badass between us every now and then." She sighed contently and smiled. "Ahhh... good times~"

"I swear Sonya, you're freaking nuts." Shawn shook his head before spritzing down Sonya's injury with the mist from the potion, the bird not even wincing at the sting. The medicine wouldn't heal the wound, but it'd stop the bleeding and ease her pain for more than long enough to get her actual medical care. "At the very least, if you're gonna slam someone into a wall that hard, at least jump off of them before impact!"

"What, and let them escape?" Sonya glanced over at Rusty. "Oh come on, I know you have something to say!"

The wartortle shook his head. "Nah, I ain't got nothin' this time. I'm too speechless."

Shawn stood up and grabbed Cedric's ball off of his belt. "Please don't fight right now, you two. Save it for tomorrow after we're off the boat or, at the very least, wait for us to be finished here." He turned back to the arena and signaled he was ready. Seemed like Shrike had woken back up and was laying on his side, which put Shawn at ease. "Okay, Cedric! Your turn!"

"Wha?" The butterfree looked around rapidly in confusion after emerging. "Where are we?"

"Unexpected battle in a crowd against Cole. It's too dangerous for everyone to use your powders but-"

A flash of light interrupted Shawn as a yellow, bipedal fox-like creature dropped down into the arena. It casually twirled a spoon in its hand and grinned. Cole, standing behind it, smirked. "I'll give you the advantage here, Shawn. You'll see why in the next match-up. But it's time you face Marquis!"

"-but your opponent is a kadabra. This'll probably be a projectile fight, so just watch your aim! But other than that... yeah, considering the arena, it's probably just gonna be you overpowering each other. Good luck!"

The butterfree gulped nervously as he fluttered up into the starting circle and Shawn's senses made him wonder if this was a good idea. At the signal, Marquis pointed his spoon at Cedric and emitted a brilliant purple beam at his opponent. Cedric responded instantly, his eyes glowing pink before clashing with a pink and green beam of his own. The two attacks collided in the center and held. And then, gradually, Cedric's attack began to overpower Marquis'.

Before the beam completely overwhelmed the kadabra's, Maquis instantly vanished and appeared behind Cedric. The surprised bug wasn't able to react in time before a fiery fist slammed into his body and sent him skidding across the arena. Before Cedric could get back up, a focused wave of electricity tore through his body and trapped him in convulsions. Afterwards, Cedric simply laid on the ground, panting.

"Did... did he give up?" Rusty asked, glancing at Shawn, when the butterfree didn't try to stand.

"That'd be kinda weird. He does pretty well in training..." Sonya added before shrugging with her wings. "I don't get it."

The trainer didn't respond as he aimed Cedric's ball to recall him. Immediately, he sent Cedric back out next to him and kneeled down. "Hey, are you all right?"

The butterfree glanced around nervously and twitched. "It's... there's too much! Too much noise and too many lights! Put-put me back in my ball, please!"

Shawn obliged. "I thought as much... Going to have to keep that in mind in the future." And do some research to see if all butterfree had sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises or if this was an issue specific to Cedric. In the mean time though... he had to finish the battle. He'd rather just call it quits but... he doubted he'd pull that off in this situation. Plus, he felt like he was starting to enjoy it, but focusing on that emotion made him realize it was simply Sonya affecting him.

Alex or Fang though? Cole was probably saving his best for last and, while he wouldn't necessarily say either of the two were better than the other, Fang's speed would come in handy against whatever it was. Alex's power, meanwhile, ought to ensure there a swift defeat of the expected weaker opponent. "Alex, you're next!"

As Shawn quickly explained the circumstances for the third time, Cole nodded. "All right then, lemme show you why I sent out Marquis. Lace, you're up!"

A blue flash of light and a red canine with black stripes and a golden mane landed in the arena. Definitely something that would have torched Cedric. Shawn turned back to Alex. "I think we have the advantage here. That growlithe can't use her fire too much lest she set the boat ablaze. Get close and, if she bites you and won't let go, aim for the eyes, nose, and if you can't reach those, the ears."

The mankey nodded and stepped out into the arena to meet her opponent. She grinned as the two's eyes locked. "Hiya, I'm Alex! Are you ready?"

The growlithe slowly nodded. "I just started training a few days ago so... go easy please. I've not had as much practice as the others."

"I can't make any promises, not with this many people around." Alex settled into a combative stance, hands high in the air, as the announcer shouted for them to start. "Give me everything you got!"

The mankey leapt forward and sliced her hand through the air at the growlithe's head. The canine ducked underneath it and rolled to the side. Lace parted her jaws and a sonic blast struck Alex and sent her flying. The mankey quickly corrected herself in the air, landed feet first into a wall, and leapt off up and over a small blast of fire as she closed the distance again.

As she sailed through the air, Alex drew back and jabbed at Lace's snout. The blow landed, but not in the way she expected as the growlithe opened her mouth, took the blow to the top of it, and clamped down around Alex's wrist and trapped her hand.

"Lace! Closed mouth flame!" Cole shouted and immediately Alex could feel the heat building up inside of Lace's maw.

Alex gritted her teeth as fire licked her fingers. "I thought you said you were a rookie!"

With her free hand, Alex slammed her fist down right onto Lace's eyes. The growlithe clamped harder in response and yank backwards to pull Alex off balance, but several more blows before a straight, full on punch to the nose forced Lace to yelp in pain and free Alex's arm.

The mankey took a moment to shake the embers out of the fur on her arm. With time to recover, the growlithe reared back and pounced. Alex stepped back to avoid the full blow and managed to stay on her feet when Lace crashed into her. The dog immediately tried to back up and, as she did, Alex threw her whole weight into an uppercut. The blow to the bottom of Lace's jaw flipped her onto her back.

"I-I give!" the growlithe whimpered while scrambling onto her belly and shaking her head. "I can't even see straight!"

Alex relaxed and smiled. "You did well for just starting. I'm sorry if I hurt you too badly!"

"Point for Shawn!" the announcer interrupted the exchange, causing the crowd to drown out anything else the two pokemon tried to say. "Both trainers are tied now! It's the last match-up and either one could take the victory!"

"Jeez, Alex. That fire cauterized the spot where you got bit. Looks like its barely a second degree burn. How are you so calm right now?" Shawn asked in surprise once Alex came over and let him inspect her injury.

"I'm channeling my inner Sonya." Alex grinned for a moment, long enough for Sonya to smile back. She then winced. "But I'm about to fail. Potion please, before I start whimpering and whining."

As Shawn dug another canister out of his bag, Cole approached the announcer to borrow the microphone. "Hey, it's best of five, but the only pokemon I got left would be way too strong or way too weak for this fight. Who wants to loan me one to finish us off?"

"I will!" Shawn glanced up from his work to see a large, blonde, and muscular man pulling himself up one side of the wall to jump over it and land on the other. He approached the other two men and they spoke too quietly for Shawn's ears to pick up. After a moment, a yellow, rodent-like pokemon with a lightning-bolt shaped tail appeared from a pokeball and the three continued speaking.

"It looks like Lt. Surge is loaning Zeus to Cole! This ought to be an exciting conclusion! Can Cole lead an unfamiliar pokemon to victory? Will this somehow count for getting a badge at the gym?"

Surge crossed his arms at that last rhetorical question. "Nice try, but no."

"All right, let's go Fang!" Shawn shouted, glad this was the last time he needed to do that to please a crowd, while sending out the raticate in question.

"Oh~?" The rat glanced around and grinned wider than should have been physically possible. "A crowd and an arena? This is what I was dreaming about when I joined~!"

Shawn wasn't entirely sure Fang was listening to his final explanation on the situation when the rat slowly strode into the center of the arena, head held high as he soaked in the atmosphere. Surge's pikachu stepped forward to meet him as well.

At the word "Go," both pokemon dashed forward and feigned strikes. Quick, light blows were traded before they both leapt backwards. Zeus immediately fired a small jolt of electricity at the raticate, but somehow Fang was upon him and swatting him with his tail almost immediately.

Both Cole and Shawn remained largely silent as they both had trouble keeping up with the speed of the two mice as they ducked, dodged, and weaved around each other, landing only light blows at best.

Both pokemon broke and immediately dashed towards the opposite walls of the arena. The two pokemon raced up the side and ran along the walls. Once they were opposite of each other, Zeus cackled with electricity and leapt at Fang, who launched himself as well with a brilliant white glow. The two crashed in mid-air and Fang drove the pikachu into the opposite wall.

When they both landed, Fang grimaced as he found himself having trouble moving his limbs. They twitched and spasmed with every movement he made. Zeus picked himself up off of the ground and grinned.

"You were fast, but not anymore. Gotcha now!" Zeus walked over to the raticate, cracking his knuckles. "Better give up now or it's gonna really start to hurt soon!"

Fang glanced at his opponent with one eye and waited for him to get within mere inches. He then grinned widely. "Right into my trap~"

The raticate erupted into a fiery orange aura and Zeus stepped back in surprise. That hesitation costed him dearly when Fang charged into him, slamming him into the arena's walls with a small, but brilliant orange explosion. Zeus hung on the wall for a moment before sliding down to collapse unconscious, leaving a crack where he had just been.

"AND THAT'S THE BATTLE! SHAWN O'DONNEL WINS THREE TO TWO!" the announcer shouted into the microphone.

Shawn tried to speak to his pokemon while Joey looked silly trying to strut back while limping, but the thunderous roar of the crowd downed out even his shouting. He gave up after a moment and signaled the best he could it'd be only a few minutes before recalling everyone. He turned to see Surge checking on Zeus and waking him back up.

Cole motioned to him and Shawn stepped to meet him in the middle of the arena. "THAT WAS A GOOD BATTLE!"

Shawn put a hand to his ear to indicate he couldn't hear well. "WHAT?"

"I SAID THAT-"
Cole stopped, glanced at the cheering, and rolled his eyes. He then dug out his cellphone, pointed to it, and leaned close to Shawn's ear. "I'll just text you later, okay? This is ridiculous."

Shawn nodded and was all too happy to step out of the arena. Several people shouted what he assumed were congratulations, but all the words were just slightly louder shouts in a sea of voices. By the time he finally weaved his way below deck, he really had to wonder if he was going to have some permanent hearing loss.





Sadly, I stopped recording levels for some reason at this point in my notes. Anyway, I had cleared all of Vermillion before going for Misty, so it was pretty much straight to the S.S. Anne and the rival battle from there. How'd that fight go? Well, I stumbled on him by accident, so I didn't make a super top secret plan ahead of time and kinda rolled with the fight.

Sonya vs Pidgeotto: It's a close fight, but Sonya maintained the speed advantage and KOed the offending bird.

Alex vs Raticate: OHKO with Karate Chop.

Rusty vs Kadabra: 2HKO with Bite with Rusty going untouched!

Cedric vs. Ivysaur: Cedric completely disabled and walled Ivysaur. This was a bit of a slow, but very easy victory.

Overall, not a hard fight with the Pidgeotto giving me the most problems.

As for Lt. Surge? Next chapter!

Rusty: Fake Out, Headbutt, Rapid Spin, Water Pulse, Aqua Jet, Bite, Flail

Victor: Leech Seed, Vine Whip, Razor Leaf, Giga Drain

Sonya: Aerial Ace, Feint Attack, Mirror Move, Brave Bird

Shrike: Quick Attack, Air Cutter, Sky Attack

Cedric: Signal Beam

Marquis: Psybeam, Teleport, Fire Punch, Shockwave

Alex: Karate Chop, Detect, Brick Break, Counter, Revenge

Lace: Roar, Ember, Bite, Flamethrower, Take Down

Fang: Quick Attack, Sucker Punch, Return, Guts-boosted Facade

Zeus: Quick Attack, Thundershock, Wild Charge, Nuzzle
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10
Another new repost! Also, if anyone cares about reading my opinions on things book and writing related, and maybe the occasional attempts at sagely writing advice, I started up a new blog in the blog section: A Writer's Rambling and Ranting Mostly a spot I can throw out thoughts and stuff so I can get them out of my head, but never know, someone might be interested in hearing them.


The grovyle's eyes returned to their normal color and she released the sigilyph's head from her grip. The mechanized beast let out a soft whirring noise and settled down from having its recent memories sifted through. Giovanni was here. Had been here. Lethe closed her eyes and replayed the vision of this thing firing on two trainers and a gardevoir. And in that vision, she could sense a familiar mental presence manipulating its aim and aggression.

"Where did you go?" she asked aloud. Lethe gritted her fangs in frustration and raked her claws along the beast's skull. "Where?"

Not one of these mechanized beasts offered any clues. Giovanni had been in the Cerulean area but vanished shortly after. She had lost his trail and he could be anywhere now. Back at Mt. Moon? Down towards Saffron? East to Aureolin and Rock Tunnel? North beyond the borders of Kanto?

She hopped off the sigilyph, the beast whirring and tracking her with its now-green eye. Lethe ignored it as, after her tinkering, it'd no longer be a threat to anyone. At least, for a little while until her psychic tampering wore off. A tiny, barely silver lining to her complete and total failure of her main objective.

"Do you need help?"

The grovyle practically jumped in surprise, spun around, and sought the sound of the voice. She saw nobody.

"Up here, silly!"

She stepped back and looked above. Immediately, a small, green, sprite-like creature, of the like she had never seen before, whether with her own eyes or the eyes of other people's memories, descended from above until it was around her eye level. She regarded it for a moment. "Who... What are you?"

The creature smiled as it hovered in the air in front of her, its bright blue eyes both seeming playful and very tired at the same time. "My name is Aeta. But, that is not important. What is important, however, is that you find Giovanni!"

"...why would you help me with this? What is the catch?" Thinking for a moment, Lethe snapped her fingers and several glowing, bladed, autumn colored leaves rose from the ground and hovered in a wide, ring shape before her. "Is this some sort of trap?"

The being shook its... her head? Its voice did sound feminine. "No tricks, no traps, just a catch! Both of our goals are temporarily aligned and there is far too much at stake. I need your help as much as you need mine!"

When Lethe simply stared, Aeta continued. "Giovanni is headed to Rock Tunnel. You absolutely MUST get there by Tuesday morning. There is a man, a pokemon trainer, that you came across in Pewter. If you are not there, he dies. You must not let Giovanni kill him."

The leaves lost their glow and drifted to the ground. Lethe crossed her arms. "And why do you assist and ask me for this? Why do you not do it yourself?"

Aeta's smile faded and she sighed, exhaustion overtaking her features. "Believe me. I have tried. I have tried so many times in so many ways. If there was something else that worked then I would not be here right now. Giovanni... he will kill me if I go there myself. But if you go, even if he attacks you, he will be afraid to hurt you. You know this to be true in your heart."

The grovyle clenched her fists and snorted. "How do you even know all of this? Who are you? Who?"

"Lethe, please... There is something bigger, something far worse, than this. Than all of you. It's coming and, while the days might drift by lazily and harmlessly, there's really precious little time" The sprite shuddered. "You won't save Giovanni this time, but you must try. You absolutely must try, otherwise he will be doomed to a life in shackles. The same will hold true if you let him kill that trainer."

Aeta drifted upwards. "You need to go, now, if you're going to get there in time. If we need to meet again, we will!"

Blue mist suddenly occupied the spot the sprite had been in before dissolving. Lethe growled in response. She felt like she was being used. Something was up and that thing knew way too much and had way too many answers.

...but what choice did she have than to be manipulated?


* * *


"As president of Silph Co, I would like to express both my condolences, and those of my company, to all the members of Rocket Science and Research who were lost in the recent accidents at Cinnabar Island and Mt. Moon. We may be competitors, but the people and pokemon of both companies are more important than any business. My heart goes out to the families of those-"

Cole pressed the power button on the remote and tossed the device onto the cabin's excessively soft bed. "Fuji, you're full of crap and don't mean a thing you're saying. You're just trying to soak up all the good PR you can get from our setbacks. 'Oh, we're sorry you died. Buy our products! Give us grant money!' Friggin' asshole."

The trainer grabbed his phone and glanced at the time. A few minutes early, but he had nothing better to do, so he might as well wait at the right spot. Stretching, he flopped off of the bed and left the room. Now that it was late the party had largely died down. Most people were either in their quarters or were in the bars. Plus, with the chilly sea breeze washing over the S.S. Anne, it was hard to not feel why the decks were mostly clear.

The tip of the bow of the ship wasn't far and the area around it was open enough to ensure nobody could get close enough to spy on him without their approach being noticed. He thought he heard a bird flapping nearby, but he shrugged it off as he waited.

Minutes crawled on by slowly, filled with only the sounds of waves and breeze. Eventually though, the one he had been waiting for finally emerged. Crawling up and over the side of the ship, a green, bipedal reptilian pokemon with a large, leafy green tail pulled himself over the railing.

"Styx... you look like hell," Cole remarked as he got a closer look at the sceptile's body. Cuts, bruises, and burns laced his body and bandages covered spots Cole assumed had been more serious injuries. He was dry though, so he had managed to get here while avoiding a swim. "...you were at the lab, weren't you?"

The pokemon nodded. "You told me to be there, did you not? I did as you instructed."

"Then what the hell happened? You were supposed to guard Mewtwo and keep anyone from snooping back there! But now he's free and killing people at Mt. Moon and the lab is a wreck with law enforcement crawling all over it! If that lab isn't dust, then..." Cole stopped himself. "...what the hell happened? Tell me."

"Six intruders in a group snuck in. Shawn and his team. I did battle with Kyle and the others, but I couldn't hold them all back. Shawn slipped past me and, next thing I knew, chaos. I barely survived."

Shock dug into the fibers of Cole's being and he shook his head. "Seriously... Shawn did it? How in the hell...? He didn't even know about that part of the labs, let alone have access to it! Tell me. Who sent him back there? Was he operating on his own? Tell. Me. Everything!"

Styx shook his head. "Didn't have the chance to interrogate and they didn't volunteer the information. I doubt they could have been working alone, as you said, but we don't know who was with them. And for all we know, Mewtwo killed them." The sceptile shrugged. "Regardless, I recovered my strength before making my way to here. I feigned being an ordinary pokemon so I'd get treatment easily enough. Either way, do you want me to hunt and kill Shawn?"

Cole paused and gritted his teeth. "No. He's lost his memory, so he's no threat. It pisses me off, and I'm confused as hell since he didn't seem to be the type to do any of that. Hell, we were at the bar together having a good time the night before I went home to help Gramps..." He shook his head. "We got more important things to do. We got to get Mewtwo back, which means we need to track down Silph's invention. Or schematics for it if they've not built one. I'm going to need you for that. We can deal with Shawn later if we have to."

Styx started to reply, but stopped and perked his head up in alert. "Wings... We're being spied on." He vanished in a flurry of leaves. A moment later, a loud, pained squawk echoed in the air before a spearow slammed into the deck at Cole's feet. Styx landed next to it, grabbed it by the head, and both pokemon's eyes began to glow an eerie blue. "Do not resist. Tell us everything."

The bird squirmed for a moment before relaxing. It then spoke in a flat, monotone voice. "My name is Lucy and my companion is an agent of the International Police Force, codename 000. I was sent to spy on Cole to aid in our investigation of Rocket Science and Research for suspicions of illegally modifying and abusing pokemon."

"Seriously, we have them tracking us now? I thought we were fine once Arianna got the Kanto police off of our backs." Cole thought for a moment. "Anything else in there pertaining to us? Like... who the hell this mole is?" Both the sceptile and the spearow shook their heads. "Styx, dispose of her. We can't take the risk. There's way too much at stake."

The sceptile sighed before picking up the spearow and walking towards the edge of the boat. He jumped onto the railing and held the once-again-struggling spearow in his grasp over the water. Using the bladed leaves on his other wrist, he slit her throat and dropped her into the waves below.

"We need to leave," he said, turning back to his trainer. "This 000 and any partners with him will be suspicious when Lucy doesn't return."

Cole nodded. "Let's go grab my things then. I'll call Arianna on my back-up phone and see where we can lay low in Saffron."


* * *


Getting away from the fight and to the ship's Pokemon Center had been both noisy and difficult. It really wasn't helped by people stopping to congratulate him, insisting he only won because Cole let him, or to buy him drinks. After reaching the Center and getting his team taken care of, that latter one he was forced to do by an overly insistent man. For two hours, Shawn found himself stuck with a wealthy, but clueless, trainer who rambled and rambled and rambled about himself until he got finally distracted by a pretty girl. At that point, Shawn took the chance to escape without any hesitation.

Finally, he made it to his lavish quarters, where he intended to stay put until tomorrow morning when he could enact his daring escape plan from the boat. However, no sooner than had he let his pokemon out of their confinement inside the room than he got a knock on the door. Shawn gave as frustrated of a sigh as he could physically manage before answering it.

"Shawn O'Donnel?" a black-haired man in a brown trenchcoat asked upon being greeted. The trainer nodded. "I am with the International Police Force, codenamed Looker. We need to talk." The man paused for a moment when Shawn's eyes went wide. "Relax, I am not here for you."

"Then why the pokemon at your sides?" Shawn gestured to the blue and black, large lynx-like pokemon and the black and red, horned canine pokemon behind him. A luxray and houndoom, two pokemon he'd rather not incite to attack.

"Jasper and Tiana are my companions and they go everywhere with me. Plus, they're here on the off-chance you're either setting a trap for me or you give me probable cause to arrest you."

Shawn nodded and stepped back to let the trio in. "Fair enough."

As they stepped through, the luxray looked at Shawn's group and smirked. "I hope they give us probable cause. I've not wrecked criminal scum in too long."

"Oh, try it!" Sonya hopped off her perch on a bed post and spread her wings to invite an attack. "I've not had the chance to put a cat in his place!"

"Sonya, please! Not now!" Shawn glared at her and got the same look in response. "Besides, he has electricity."

The pidgeotto deflated slightly despite someone snickering at her from behind. She then shot Jasper a glare. "You win today."

Shawn sat down at the fancy, round table with the officer and gave him a moment to speak. He didn't. "So, International Police? You're part of that controversial group working above the laws of the regions, right?"

Both Tiana and Jasper growled at the word "controversial." Looker himself frowned. "Criminals are operating beyond international borders these days. Regardless of what the governments and the public think, we need law enforcers to work internationally too. Otherwise we'll end up with more lawless regions like Orre. Or worse." He reached into his satchel and tossed a manila envelope onto the table. "I'm not here for politics, Mr. O'Donnell. Can we get to business?"

"...if you're not here to arrest me, then why do you have a file with my photograph on the front?"

"We have files on everyone who worked for or with Rocket Science and Research. Look for yourself." Shawn complied and opened the file. There were pictures of him at a lab that felt familiar, but he didn't recognize. He flipped a page and his breath lodged itself in his throat when he came across another picture: himself posing with an infernape, nidoqueen, azumarill, ambipom, luxray, and a salamence. His heart sank when the names of the last two didn't come to mind.

"...something wrong, Mr. O'Donnell?"

Shawn looked up and realized he was about to cry. He wiped his eyes to prevent tears from forming. "They were there." When he got a blank expression, he realized he needed to clarify. "My pokemon... they... we were at Cinnabar."

"You were last seen there together. I'm curious though... Why is this such a revelation for you?"

"Looker... I don't remember being there. Last thing I recall was..." Shawn stopped and glanced up at the ceiling to jog his recovering memory. "...last thing right now was capturing Liam as an aipom. After that, it's a huge blank until I found myself waking up in the lobby of Professor Oak's lab, alone. This whole time I've been trying to get to Goldenrod's GTS so I could see if my friends were there."

"I was afraid of this..." Looker stood up and Shawn gave him a questioning look as the officer began to pace. "After I interviewed Blaine on Cinnabar Island, he suggested I come look for you for more answers. Rocket Science and Research is an innocent company on the surface, and most of those working for it are innocent themselves. Beneath that though, they were working on something sinister."

The officer stopped and turned to face Shawn. "Details are sketchy still, but it was a weaponized pokemon of power never seen since the old world. Blaine told me you went in to destroy it before it was finished. But it got free and the lab was destroyed and you were nowhere to be found. Survivors who we suspect encountered it suffered memory loss. They're recovering, but its slow. The survivors at Mt. Moon though? Their loss is more profound and may be permanent. Fortunately, you sound more like the first group."

Shawn processed everything that was said for a few moments before he almost jumped right onto the table. "Wait wait wait, you know what happened then! Looker, where are my friends? They... I remember enough to know they were like family to me. What happened?"

Looker remained silent for a moment and glanced at the floor, the ceiling, and then the porthole. "Goldenrod is your best bet still."

"You know something!" Shawn kicked away his chair and stomped towards the officer and grabbed him by the collar. Tiana immediately snarled and rammed her horns into him hard enough to knock Shawn off of her companion. The trainer felt Alex's hands catching him from hitting the floor. And then grabbing his knees to stop him from starting forward again. "Answer me! You know what happened! Answer. ME!"

The officer stared at the angry trainer and sighed. "We found five bodies. Mayra was missing, but we found the others."

Whatever happened or was said after that fell into a black blur.


* * *


"I'll be honest with you Shawn, that monkey's grin creeps me out," Evelyn remarked as they stalked their latest target. A small, purple monkey with a large, hand-shaped tail was hanging from a nearby tree.

"Same here, but I heard they're quite powerful once they evolve." Shawn smiled, but the jackal-like lucario did not seem convinced. "Okay! They're less creepy too! I mean, hey, can't complain about that, can you?"

Evelyn rolled her eyes. "I suppose not. Do you wish for me to go in and incapacitate it?"

Shawn shook his head and produced a blue ball with yellow stripes. "Not yet. I want to try this quick ball and see if they're as good as they claim. As long as it doesn't notice me first, the ball should work."

"And if it doesn't?" The lucario crossed her arms. "I don't want to get slapped in the face by a tail hand. That'd be weird."

"Blast it with some aura I guess?" Shawn shrugged, not really thinking as far ahead as he ought to. He turned back to the aipom. "Now just wait a moment while I see if this works."

As silently as possible, something he had gotten much better at over the months, he crept up on the unsuspecting pokemon. It still hadn't noticed him by the time he got into throwing range. Perfect! Slowly and quietly, he stood up, hoping not to draw attention to himself in the corner of its vision. Once he was standing, he wasted not a moment more in hurling the quick ball. The aipom noticed it too late and was not able to dodge. The ball clicked shut.

"Wow, they really do work!" He walked over to it and picked it up. "Hey Eve, why don't you greet our new teammate with me?"

The lucario sighed and slowly wandered over. "So long as it doesn't smile at me. I'm really not looking forward to having a creepy ally."

With a brief flash of blue light, the aipom reappeared. Much to Evelyn's approval, it was not smiling. In fact, it had its arms crossed and a scowl on its face.

"That really wasn't fair," the monkey complained. "You didn't even give me any warning before you chucked that thing at me. Aren't you guys supposed to fight us first before trying to capture us?"

"Ah, sorry!" Shawn rubbed the back of his head and grinned sheepishly. "I just had to test out that quick ball. So, umm, what's your name."

"My name is Liam. And it looks like I'm stuck with you, right?"

The aipom turned to look up at the owner of a black paw that was placed on his shoulder. "Do not fear, little Liam. Shawn might not be the greatest trainer yet, but someday he shall be. Until then, you can be at ease and know that you'll be among pleasant company rather than a band of ruffians."

"Oh, and by the way, Midori, my azumarill friend, might greet you with a tackle hug," Shawn warned while glancing back where Kyle, Mayra, and Midori were watching from a distance. "If it hurts, try not to get too angry. She's overly affectionate and doesn't know her own strength. Like... really doesn't know her own strength. It's kinda scary almost."

Liam shook his head. "I'll be sure to leap out of the way."



So, first things first. You might not remember, but Lucy was my Route 3 catch. (Fang was earlier, but moved there for pacing.) I couldn't really work her into the story properly, but I didn't want her to not appear at all since... well... she was my first death. She never participated in a major battle, as she the only one she was present for, Cole in Cerulean, she wasn't used. I had been planning on replacing Sonya with her since I had never used a Fearow before. But, it didn't work out and, to this day, I've not not used a Fearow.

Lucy ended up getting killed by Youngster Yasu on Route 11. Lucy started at level 7 and went down at level 18, fighting Yasu's raticate. She was only a Peck or two from winning, but I didn't account for critical hits. Raticate used Quick Attack, scored a critical hit, and killed her. I could blame RNG, but had I thought about crits, I would have healed or switched and she would have survived.

...and Stolen Dreams would be pretty different if I had boxed Sonya.

To happier events, let's talk Lt. Surge! After Lucy, I had caught a Diglett from Diglett's cave. I didn't note the level, but Tristan was used in the battle against Lt. Surge. I knew it was frail though, so I planned around it.

Joey Fang was to use his speed and his evolvedness to take on the two opening pokemon, not to mention possible Guts boost from Static. Tristan? He went for Raichu. How'd it go?

Fang nearly OHKOs Voltorb with a critical Quick Attack and took a Sonic Boom. Surge used a potion and Fang undid it with another critical Quick Attack. He then finished it off with a third Quick Attack. Pikachu came in and Fang OHKOed with a another critical Quick Attack. (I call hax on myself!)

Since he had plenty of HP left, I had him use Scary Face on the Raichu to slow it down for Tristan. Raichu Thunderwaved in return and, in hindsight, maybe I should have abused Guts? I didn't though, I switched and Raichu Double Teamed on Tristan coming in.

Raichu used Quick Attack for ~45% of Tristan's HP. It then spammed Double Team, but Tristan never missed and took it down through the other potions.

Had my accuracy not been so awesome, that would have gotten nasty fast, especially since my team was horribly weak to electricity outside of Tristan. RNG could have easily blessed me with a wipe had it been in a bad mood that day.

No levels though, because I was a derp and didn't record them. >.>
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11
And with this, we are back to the double digits chapters!

Unrelated, I just noticed my site Pokedex number is 258. In normal national dex, that is... mudkip. so i herd u liek roomurz

...sorry, I'll see myself out after reposting Chapter 10.


Someone once told him that, in Kanto, Aureolin was where grandiose dreams went to wither and die.

Looking at the small dilapidated town, Looker would have to agree. The town had been hastily erected years ago when a wealthy man dreamed of reclaiming the old world power plant, restoring it, and providing cheap and clean energy to Kanto. Buildings and dwellings had sprung up to both act as a base camp for setting up and as a future town for the plant workers to live at. Someone also dug out a rough tunnel from the caves between here and Lavender Town so that supplies could be quickly brought to the site.

Those dreams had been crushed by reality. Looker, Jasper, and Tiana stared from their cliff-top perch on the southern side of Aureolin and down at the power plant some distance away. He and the town were well outside the range of the patrolling, pristine sigilyph that blasted anything that wandered near and had taken the lives of the many people and pokemon who had tried to evict them.

Supposedly, some stories by the workers who tried to clear the place claimed that Zapdos, the embodiment of spring in some religions, lived in the power plant and personally thwarted attempts to reclaim the site. Some of those tales mentioned a pokemon calling itself "Maarku" did it instead. A few said the two pokemon were one and the same. None of the claims had ever been proven real and therefore had been brushed off as non-sense created by the PTSD of the slaughter at the wings of the sigilyph.

Looker's detective senses couldn't help but note that the stories had never been disproven either. Evidence was needed to prove both guilt and innocence and it was lacking in this instance. Still though, it was none of his concern. A curiosity, to be sure, but he was no historian or archeologist. Nor did he work for the Kanto government. He had other, more pressing matters to attend to, so this mystery would remain unsolved for him.

Either way, in the end, Aureolin now only existed for the sake of existing. It was a backwards, relatively poor area mostly inhabited by those who wanted to get away from society without actually leaving it. It was so far off the beaten path and had so little function that even the criminal underworld had written it off as a pointless town not worth anyone's time.

Hence, a perfect place to operate from unnoticed. Sources told him Rocket Science and Research were busy in the Rock Tunnel connecting this town to Lavender, but he hadn't seen any of the scientists around yet. He wondered how well hidden that could be here? Or were they in the caves right now?

"I'll never envy the kantonians," Tiana remarked as they turned to head back into the ramshackle town. "As nice as some of these places are, this region is just a few gangs shy of becoming another Orre."

Jasper chuckled. "Once again, you're assuming all gangs operate openly and do nothing but blue-collared crime like murder and drug trafficking. I'm confident that these big companies here aren't as innocent as they appear, just like RSR."

The houndoom nodded. "Good point. I'd have to wager Silph might have their fingers in something. Or probably that seedy casino in Celadon." The canine growled. "I don't care if it's legal here, putting pokemon up as gambling prizes is wrong."

Jasper's irritation filled the surrounding air with static, putting Looker's hair on end. He pat the luxray reassuringly. "Relax. We're here to enforce the law, not change it, regardless of what that law is. Give it time and let the politicians sort it out and I'm Kanto will go the way of the other regions on topics like that sooner or later. They're behind, but they'll get pressured to step into line one of these days."

Both of his companions snorted in dissatisfaction, a sentiment he felt as well. But learning that not all justice could be served by law enforcement was a cold, sour truth he had learned long ago. Something his companions were still coming to terms with.

In the mean time, they had to rest and prepare for the morning. Rocket Science and Research were likely down in the caves if they weren't in town. Supposedly, an inside source claimed they were after an escaped pokemon called "Mewtwo" inside there. Something they did not want the to be revealed to the world. And if it was as dangerous as reports indicated... he'd sorely wish his request for back-up hadn't been denied.

His thoughts were promptly interrupted by someone waving him down. Looker glanced over to see a familiar face with five pokemon approaching him. The officer frowned. "I told you not to come here and go to Goldenrod instead."

"We tried." There was a hard edge to those words that Shawn's tone had lacked the night prior. And when Looker got closer, he saw that same edge in the trainer's expression. "The magnet train is down for maintenance and it'd take longer to walk there than it would to wait." The man clenched his fists. "But I can't wait anymore. I want answers."

Looker sighed as he was now intensely regretting making the proposition for Shawn's help as he had originally planned to do. True, he had also planned to not reveal the deaths of five of Shawn's pokemon last night, but that didn't excuse him for making the offer afterwards anyway. This seemed to be a bigger lapse in judgment than he had anticipated.

Several of Shawn's pokemon made comments and remarks the officer could not understand. Looker ignored them and addressed the trainer. "You're not in the right mental state for something like this."

"Like hell I'm not in the right mental state! If anything, the world's gotten a lot clearer after last night." Some of Shawn's pokemon gave him worried expressions. "I still don't remember everything, but now I know who stole my memories and I know where he is."

Looker shook his head. "Mr. O'Donnel, I strongly advise you not to make any rash decisions. Mewtwo will kill you if you attack it."

The trainer kicked the dirt and crossed his arms. "Look, Mewtwo spared me for a reason. I have no idea what it is, but surely he's not going to spare me and then try to kill me. I'm not stupid enough to attack him, as much as I want to beat his face in right now, but I have some questions for him. A lot of questions."

"I don't think there's any reasoning with him," Tiana remarked quietly. "He's going to go in whether we take him or not. And he's done nothing wrong, so we can't arrest him."

Jasper glanced at the houndoom and flicked his tail. "Bringing them along is a really bad idea."

"Do you have a good one?"

The luxray didn't respond.

Looker deflated and slumped his shoulders. "Fine then. If you absolutely promise not to engage in any violence outside of self-defense, and only should it be deemed necessary, and you do not provoke Mewtwo or RSR in any other fashion, you can come along. After all, this is an investigation, not a raid. Now, follow me and I'll brief you over tomorrow's plan."


* * *


"This rain is really something else..." Mayra muttered as she attempted to glance up at the skies. The nidorina had to turn her face away immediately. "I think I almost drowned by looking up."

"Are you sure none of you want to go into your pokeballs?" a very drenched Shawn asked them again. He was regretting his decision not to replace his damaged rain gear sooner. Granted, the weather only reported a slight chance of rain. As such, he had expected drizzles, not deluges.

"As long as you're enduring this weather, than so shall I." Kyle flared his flames up in defiance of the rain and remained ignited despite the downpour.

Liam, whose evolution to ambipom had made him grow larger, grow a second, hand-tipped tail, and develop a less-creepy grin, nodded. "I don't like it, I'll be honest. But you don't have a pokeball to go into. And I bet that trench coat isn't doing anything for you anymore."

"No, it's really not." Shawn shivered and plucked at his coat. It felt more like weight than protection at this point, but he suspected taking it off would somehow make things worse. "I don't think we're very far from Sandgem Town though. Hopefully we'll get there before any of us catch a cold or something."

With a blinding flash, the skies roared with an explosion. The noise banged against his eardrums and the brilliant lightning strike nearby left him disoriented for several moments.

"Shawn, look out!"

Their trainer looked up to see a burning tree popping and snapping as it descended to crush him. Something slammed into his chest at the last moment and shoved him out of the way. He fell flat on his back just as the tree crashed into the ground. When he sat up, he saw that his savior was not one of his pokemon, but rather a small blue and black lynx.

A savior who had taken the brunt of the tree in his place.

"Midori, put that fire out!" Shawn shouted as he stumbled to his feet. The azumarill doused the flames as soon as he finished giving the command. "Now let's get this tree off of her."

With all six of them working together, lifting the tree was an easy task. They tossed it aside and Shawn wasted no time in scooping the luxio up into his arms. Someone tossed him a potion and he spritzed the injured cat's wounds. Closer examination though told him that she'd need much more care than he could provide with his on-hand supplies.

"Come on, we got to get her to the pokemon center now!"



* * *


Despite being away from the beaten path, the imaginatively named Rock Tunnel's interior was similar to Mt. Moon: very dark and illuminated by electrical lights. The nearby power plant wasn't a source, so Shawn suspected that a solar array hidden somewhere kept them going. Regardless, despite the similarities, maintenance seemed to be of less concern here as some lights were burned out to leave dark, empty voids of shadows along the largely linear path.

According to Looker's briefing, Rock Tunnel was mostly artificial: two small caves expanded and connected to each other through the mountain for Aureolin's ambitious plant restoration project. There were small, diverging paths made by local pokemon and natural phenomenon, but they weren't places people went and, hopefully they'd remain unvisited by themselves.

Looker, with his two pokemon, led the way. Having been advised not to antagonize the scientists, Shawn had to keep some of his pokemon in their balls, despite their protests. The threat of zubat ambushes were almost nil in this cave, unlike Mt. Moon, so he could safely have Alex and Rusty by his side due to their calmer personalities. And Cedric too as, despite his wishes, the butterfree absolutely insisted he help. Shawn reluctantly had to admit his ability to light up dark areas with small, flare-like balls of light might come in handy.

"So, how come we didn't come from the Lavender Town side? It would have been quicker and easier," Shawn asked quietly as they followed the pathway.

"Because my sources said Rocket Science was basing this project from Aureolin. I was hoping we'd find them there and save ourselves a trip inside," Looker admitted while keeping his eyes forward on the trail. "We weren't lucky, so now we hope they're in here."

"And if they're not?"

Looker was silent for a moment and Shawn thought he saw the houndoom glance up at him. "We hope they're here or in one of the towns because this is the only solid lead. If they've withdrawn, then this will have been a waste of time."

"I wouldn't worry about that..." Cedric muttered, twitching his antennae uncomfortably. "It feels like the scent of death in the air."

Shawn glanced over his shoulder at the butterfree. "Are you sure that's not just wild pokemon hunting each other?"

"One moment." Cedric fluttered ahead of the group and flicked his antennae some more. "Burning, acrid... a mix of steam and... I think you called it sulphur? Blood... so much blood from humans and different species. Dried now, I think, for the most part."

Looked watched for a moment and turned to Shawn. "What's he doing?"

"A lot of bug pokemon have excellent sense of... well, they don't smell like we do, but they're good at picking up faint particles of scent with their antennae." Not quite the accurate scientific explanation, but it was close enough for layman's terms. The trainer took a deep breath, his own nose not yet detecting whatever traces Cedric was picking up. "It sounds like we're going to find the scientists. But we're not going to like what we find."

The group continued down the path for some more time, accompanied by only their footsteps and the occasional shrill call of some wild pokemon. Eventually, both Tiana and Jasper began to pick up on the smells and confirmed Cedric's suspicions well before anyone else was able to detect it. But when they finally smelled what everyone else was smelling, Shawn had to pinch his nose.

Moments later, whatever eagerness and fury he felt towards finding Mewtwo dissolved into a gag and a desire to look away. Shattered glass littered the cave floor below the broken lights and hid whatever it was. But Looker's flashlight and Cedric's flash flare revealed bodies of humans and pokemon.

"We're too late..." Looker trailed off as he stared at the carnage. He swept his flashlight over the bodies, although Shawn wished he hadn't. "I was not prepared for this."

A soft groan caught the edge of Shawn's hearing and he turned to see a man, slumped against a damaged light pole, move slightly. Immediately, he rushed over and kneeled in front of him. "Are you okay?"

The man opened one eye, the other closed from an injury Shawn couldn't make out in the darkness at the edge of Cedric's flare. He laughed painfully. "We thought we could contain it, contain Mewtwo." He wheezed. "I'm not gonna make it. Just been hanging on by adrenaline. Here." The man suddenly grabbed one of Shawn's hands and forced a small, spherical object into it. "Please... get Holly to safety. She's the only one left who'll have seen what happened."

"...Holly?"

"Get-" He coughed and sputtered. "-get out of here. It's not safe! Mewtwo might be-"

Before he could finish, a glowing, blue blade of energy suddenly bursted out of the man's chest. The trainer fell backwards as the scientist screamed in agony. The blade was withdrawn and something stepped out of the shadows, its eyes alight with eerie blue fire. Tall as a man, but purple with feline features and a long tail... Shawn knew, somehow knew, this was Mewtwo.

Pressure pushed down on him, pinning him in place. Both Tiana and Jasper roared and leapt to attack, but both slammed into some sort of invisible force field and were sent skidding off into the shadows. Rusty and Alex followed shortly, moving to defend their trainer, but were also casted aside. Mewtwo glowered at Shawn and his mind suddenly pulsed with what felt like intense pressure from each word that echoed within.

I GAVE YOU FREEDOM FOR MY FREEDOM BUT I FEEL YOUR RAGE AND ANGER TOWARDS ME Shawn grabbed the sides of his head and groaned in pain as the words exploded in his mind. YOU ARE LIKE THE OTHERS WHO HUNT ME I WILL NOT BE HUNTED

The glowing blue blade on Mewtwo's wrist formed again and he slowly raised it. Shawn could barely keep his eyes open to stare up at it as he fought for some sort of motor control. But he was pinned in place and unable to move, to flee, or even fight back.

"No! Leave him alone!" Cedric zipped over his head and slammed straight into Mewtwo's chest. His ruby eyes shown intently and he rippled his wings and released an intense, projected buzzing noise. Mewtwo stumbled back and covered his ears in pain. "I will not back down or give up again! I'm not going to let my friends down again! I will-"

Shawn's heart stopped with Cedric's words when the blade pierced his friend's chest. As his companion fell to the ground, Shawn's blood ran hot and he screamed. Ignoring the pressure on his body, he leapt to his feet and rushed the monstrous pokemon. Almost immediately, a fist slammed into his jaw and he was flat on his back.

As his consciousness faded from his eyes, the last thing he saw was the blade being raised over his head. And as it came down, an autumn colored blur caught it before he became one with the darkness of Rock Tunnel.


* * *


Lethe caught the second strike of the psychic blade with one of the leaves on her forearm. She angled her arm to lock it in place while glancing over her shoulder at the officer and the pokemon.

"What are you all waiting for?" she demanded, hissing in pain as the blade slowly dug into her arm. The only thing holding it back from dismembering her was Giovanni's confusion and hesitation. "Get them and yourselves out of here before he kills you all!"

There was only short hesitation before the officer and the other pokemon grabbed their fallen friend companions before retreating down the cave. Giovanni roared painfully at their escape and tried to push past and knocked Lethe to the side.

"You are not here for them, you are here for me!" Lethe dug her claws into the dusty ground and focused her power. Massive vines erupted in front of Giovanni, blocking his path. He formed a second blade on his other wrist and swung at them, cutting into them, but they responded by swinging and knocking him back towards her.

Giovanni turned and glared at her. He tried to speak into her mind, but she blocked him. The once-man hesitated before using his real voice. "Let... me... pass. Or... or..." He rushed at her, but swung slowly as he simultaneously tried to strike her down and stop himself from doing so. "Don't..!"

Lethe flicked her wrists and whipped vines around his elbows to restrain his arms. Giovanni would break free quickly, but it was all the opening she needed. Kicking off the ground, she leapt onto the pokemon's chest and shoved her palm into his face. Immediately, Mewtwo's eyes began to glow golden.

Dazzling colors filled her vision and electricity rippled through every fiber of her body once again as she dove into his mind a second time. All the noise faded until all that was left was the steady hum of machinery in a quiet and sterile place.

The same scientists, the same machinery, bound to the same bed. The man sat to the side of the bed, the one who entered prior. Lethe traced his features and, when she recognized him, screamed and tried to lunge against the restraints. Pain reverberated through her soul as she fought, but whatever held her in place was stronger than her.

"He's really fighting. Heart rate is going even higher. Should we sedate him?" the male scientist asked, eyes glued to the monitor.

The man at the bedside, Cole, shook his head. "Not yet. Watch." He paused for a moment. "Mewtwo, calm down."

Something in her mind twisted. It dug talons into her thoughts and willpower and it wrenched and tore at her resistance, compelling her to obey. She screamed against it, but eventually she was forced to lean back and merely growl quietly.

"It seems we have perfected the technique," Cole's voice echoed in her mind, his eyes flashing an eerie blue with every word she heard. "Regular pokemon have their empathic links. Styx, Lethe, and the others had theirs amplified to near total obedience. But you? It's like our minds our linked directly now, with yours subservient to mine. Well, almost. It's not finished but... in due time."

The female glanced over in shock. "What the hell, that actually worked. We... we need to test this right away!"

"Not yet. Not until the change is complete." Cole said aloud. And then, his voice echoed once more. "Ah yes, you don't know yet, do you? The first volunteer for the army that will save mankind from extinction."

Lethe's thoughts boiled and churned, but the talons twisted at the angry thoughts and refused to let her react. All she could do was stare daggers at her "master".

"You know the stakes, but you never made the unwilling sacrifices. I had to watch my friends die for the knowledge we acquired. To blast off into a new age of enlightenment... a goal on the trail of human and pokemon corpses. And an enlightenment shrouded in a dark truth buried in the ruins of a civilization who thought they knew better until everything they accomplished turned to ash."

Cole leaned forward, his gaze growing more and more fierce. "You know the stakes we face and you know what our odds are without what I found. Yet, despite how much blood was spilled before my eyes, you shot me down because you decided ethics came before everyone's survival. You didn't trust me. You listened on me, spied on me, and tried to oust me." The man leaned back and smirked. "But I outplayed you and here we are. Elyssia insisted I didn't kill you. So, you get to be the first to witness the so called dark secrets. And you'll be among those to stop the coming storm." He paused. "Struggle for me. Resist futility."

The talons released Lethe's mind and she once more tried to break her bounds. Fighting, gnashing, straining helplessly. Cole simply sighed.

"It's not quite finished yet. Maybe when the transformation is complete?" He shrugged, speaking with his own voice once more. "Sedate him, please, before he hurts himself."

The male scientist pulled a syringe from a case and a vial. He filled the syringe and tapped the needle to shake the excess. He then stood up and walked over to Giovanni. "Hold still, otherwise this will hurt more."

Cole's eyes flashed as the sheet was lifted up and the syringe plunged into Giovanni's flesh. "By the way, don't worry about your family. You'll be the one to save them and everyone else from what's coming. Although, for their own sake, they'll never know it was you. And you won't remember them anyway. If all works as it should, all you'll be left with are these few burning memories to fuel your fury."

Lethe screamed before the world went white, and then black, and then colors there were no words for. The grovyle, in her own body and mind once more, gasped from her position on the floor of the cave. Explosions rocked the insides of her skull and she rubbed her head to ease their force and reduce the intensity of the burns Giovanni's memories left in her mind.

All was deathly quiet around her. Once again, Giovanni had fled.



So there was quite a bit of things happening in-game during Rock Tunnel. If that place doesn't have a nasty reputation, then it needs one. It's probably one of the hardest points in the game since most Pokemons' current forms are starting to run out of steam as they approach their final form. Or in the case of things like Butterfree, running out of steam entirely. If you grind up prior, it's not so bad. But otherwise... it's long and dark, and ugh.

So, first off, Alex. It wasn't reflected in this version of the story, but a trainer's Geodude, don't remember which since I didn't record the name, managed to land a Magnitude 10 on her. The critless hit brought her from full all the way down to 8, which about made my heart stop as I watched the numbers crawl down and down and down. She survived and finished her opponent off but, with everything else happening here in-game, I'm not sure I could have handled her death too.

Second, we also lose an "off-screen" teammate here too. Tristan joined the team from Diglett's Cave. I don't recall the level, it's not in the normal notes and I've managed to lose my "Catches and Deaths" file at some point. He participated in Lt. Surge's battle, as I mentioned last chapter, and that was the end of his glory. In Rock Tunnel, he did decently well and was having him down Gravelers with Magnitude to try to evolve him. 87 XP from becoming Dugtrio, he rolled Magnitude 4 against Hiker Dudley's Graveller. The Rock Pokemon, in return, countered with Magnitude 9. Tristan was cleanly OHKOed.

Sadly, I had no real way to involve him in the plot. Shawn's not had the time to go to Diglett's cave to make a catch and, at the next logical encounter location, Rock Tunnel, he's already gone. It really irks me I couldn't write Tristan and Lucy up as proper catches and teammates without hurting the overall narrative.

As for Cedric, well...
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12
And so we get the repost that uses the old title of this run! ...which, speaking of, nobody ever did find the easter egg in the old banner. Unsure if I should give a second attempt opportunity or just be like "lol i win u lose".

...and dang, really been since Sunday since I last reposted? Ugh. Real Life™ is a jerk sometime.


Despite being cold, wet, and tired, Shawn had insisted that he help the injured luxio. The vets at the pokemon center objected initially, but eventually relented when Shawn both explained the situation and was able to prove that he had his degrees and certifications still in order.

It was a long few hours of tending to the injured pokemon. Setting broken bones, stitching guts and gashes, and putting her back down at one point when she began to awaken. Fortunately, nothing suggested that she needed surgery and that she'd recover. The tree, fortunately, had been a smaller one. Large enough to probably kill him on impact, but not enough for an evolved pokemon.

Some time in the night, as the rain still continued to hammer the world and thunder roared warning to anyone who dared to stay outside, Shawn slumped in a chair in the same room as the luxio, having now been moved to a room to recover, and nearly dosed off when he thought he heard her waking up again.

The feline opened her eyes, tried to lift her head, and groaned immediately. Shawn snapped back awake and was on his feet at the bedside. "Easy, relax. You're hurt pretty badly. You'll recover, but you'll have to rest."

The yellow eyes turned to stare at him for a moment and the cat made an annoyed, growling purr. "Why didn't you get out of the way, you idiot?"

Shawn paused as that was not the reaction he expected. He froze for a moment. "Sorry. I was screaming at myself to dive but my legs just refused to move. I don't know what happened there." He sighed. "Partly why I helped get you fixed back up."

"As grateful as I am you didn't just leave me to die and walk off, I still wouldn't need to be here right now if I didn't have to shove you out of the way," the cat grumbled.

"Umm... sorry again..." Shawn scratched his head sheepishly. "Well, good news is, you'll be able to return home soon."

The lynx shifted her head to look away and stare at the rain pelting the window. "You're a trainer, right? Then no, I'm staying with you."

"Huh? But why?"

"Because
someone[/i] has to make sure another tree doesn't fall on you. And clearly none of those other pokemon with you were fast enough to do it. I didn't get myself mangled trying to save you for you to go off and die tomorrow." She yawned and closed her eyes. "Now could you leave me be? I'm going to take full advantage of this bed you have me on. Really beats my pile of leaves."

This had definitely been the most interesting "catch" Shawn had ever made.[/i]

* * *

Time passed in a foggy haze. Whenever Shawn was conscious the only thing he could focus on was the painful pressure in his head, the stars dancing in front of his eyes, and the incessant ringing in his ears. Occasionally his vision cleared enough to see the world spin at nauseating speeds. He also had the sensation of people speaking to him and him attempting to reply, but conversation was difficult at best.

Then he plunged into darkness once more for a long time. When he came to again, bright, irritating lights kept him from examining his surroundings. The ringing was quieter but was still a constant irritant. His thoughts felt a little bit clearer, but they were still buried in murky haze. If he concentrated, he could try to piece together what happened. The exact event eluded him, but everything leading up to it, going to Rock Tunnel and exploring it with his team and Looker. Finding the scientists. And... Cedric!

Oh god, Cedric!

Shawn launched himself up and begged the worried people in scrubs with his slurred speech, but he couldn't say what he wanted to say. He had a sensation of moving, being in something traveling. Someone grabbed him and pushed him back down. He felt a pinprick on his arm and the darkness returned quickly.

When he woke up again, his eyes were more willing to cooperate. He was somewhere clean, sterile, and dark. Shawn thanked whoever turned off the lights in his room and curtained the window so he could actually see without being blinded. His head still throbbed painfully, he felt a haze in his skull as if he hadn't slept in days, and his ears continued to ring, but the effects were, thankfully, starting to wane.

Sinking back into his pillow, Shawn sighed and pieced together his symptoms. Slurred speech, dizziness, nausea, slow to respond, ringing in his ears, light sensitivity- he didn't need to go on. Combined with the snatches of memory around the event, he was able to deduce that he had a concussion. He couldn't be certain without properly evaluating himself, but all signs pointed to it.

Also, his jaw ached, which reminded him of where he took the blow. But it wasn't wired shut or anything, so it must have had a minor fractured or dislocation, at worst. If Kanto was anywhere near Sinnoh in terms of medical advancement, then that wouldn't be too big of an issue and would just an irritating week or two of soft foods and painkillers.

With nothing else to do, Shawn relaxed and tried not to worry too hard about his team. He had no idea what had happened to them. But, he was in a hospital, not dead, so the most likely case was they got him out of the cave. He remembered Cedric suffering a serious injury, but he couldn't remember what.

A few hours passed before the door opened and he snapped back to focusing on reality. He lifted his head as a nurse had come in to check his vitals, followed by several pokemon shuffling in silently. He couldn't make them out until he lifted his head higher over his pillow to get a better look. When he saw who they were, he smiled and the pain in his face made him instantly regret it.

He laid his head back down when the nurse came over to check on him. "Mr. O'Donnel, how are we feeling today?"

"Better. Might need a little more painkiller, nothing too strong or anything, unless it'd mess with whatever you're already giving me." Despite his jaw complaining when he spoke, he still definitely did not want anything that'd alter his perception of reality. "Concussion, right?"

The nurse nodded. "That's right, you took a really nasty blow to the jaw. It was a little dislocated, but the doctors were able to get it back into place without any surgery." She glanced at the window. "Are your eyes still bothering you? You were shouting something about 'too bright' earlier."

He glanced over at the window and the small streams of sunlight sneaking around the blinds were annoying enough. "Let's not chance it. But uhhh, if there's nothing wrong that you need to do, can I talk to my pokemon? If I've spoke to them in the last while, it probably wasn't coherent."

"Very well. I'll look to see if there's any pain killer we can give you. Otherwise, ring me if you need me. The button's on the left side of your bed." The nurse turned to go tend to other patients and give them the requested privacy. In the mean time, his team came closer.

"I'm so glad to see you guys." Shawn resisted the urge to smile again. "Are you all okay?"

"Nothin' but a few stitches." Rusty patted his right arm where a gash had been stitched closed. "But we got off a lot better than you did, bro."

Alex nodded in agreement. "I had to evolve to drag you out of there. I didn't realize humans were so heavy and awkward to carry. You were like carrying a limp log. Good thing they put us in a noisy vehicle in Lavender Town, because I don't know if I could have carried you all the way to Celadon."

Shawn chuckled in spite of himself as he now took notice that she was, indeed, a primeape. Basically larger and tailless now and her fists looked like gloves when she had them closed. Either way, she basically confirmed he must have been out of it for a day or two now. "What about Looker and his team?"

"They're fine," Sonya responded with a bit of a shrug. "Jasper and Tiana were scuffed up, but Looker got out of there mostly unscratched." The pidgeotto grinned. "He keeps wanting to come in to check on you, but the nurses won't let him in. Something about you 'not being in any shape to debrief.' Which means I think he wants to talk to you about that guy's sandslash we saved?"

"Good call, nurses." Shawn sighed. "Last thing I want to do is talk about police bullcrap right now. But uhhh..." He paused as something finally clicked in his mind and he felt his heart freeze for a moment. "Where's Cedric?"

Silence fell over the group and he could sense a variety of unsettling emotions from the group. He bit his lower lip as he started to anticipate the response. After a few moments, Fang confirmed his fears. "He didn't make it. We told him to go into his ball, but he refused and kept lighting our way through the cave when we were escaping." Fang shook his head. "He bled out before we made it to town."

The trainer slumped into his sheets as heavily as he could and sighed deeply. "I was afraid of that. If only I had been conscious, I could have stopped the bleeding and-"

"Shawn?" Alex interrupted. "We know you're a vet but... he had a hole in his chest."

He started to reply, stopped, and started, and stopped again. "He, along with a couple of you, told me it was a bad idea to go. And I didn't listen. I was so set on getting answers for my friends and now there's another friend to answer for."

"Bro, it's not your fault. You didn't know that-"

"I know!" Shawn recoiled at his own snapping, winced from the pain and sudden nausea, and laid back down. "Sorry." He sighed. "I remember a bit, it'll probably come back in a few days. But, I should have died and Cedric took the blow instead. It's not my fault Mewtwo tried to kill us, but I'm not entirely blameless since we were only there because I let my anger get the best of me. I wasn't thinking clearly."

Sonya fluttered up on to the bedside and stared at him hard in the eye. "Hey, look at me. Cedric died. It sucks since I actually kinda liked him and he had more potential than he gave himself credit for. But he only got to get as far as he did because of you. Remember how we met him? I was going to eat him for lunch and, if you hadn't stopped me, he would have died a couple of weeks ago and nobody would have cared, not even you."

She jumped off of the bed and glanced over her shoulder. "One lesson you humans miss out on that we get living in the wild: death happens. When you lose someone you care about, it freaking sucks. But you move on and get over it because its going to happen someday. You don't sit there and try to assign blame or anything like that, it's a waste of time. Besides, if you don't get over it, you'll end up being next sooner rather than later."

Shawn gritted his teeth and let out a long, slow breath. "Yeah, I know. It's just... look, not to be an ass, but you guys only just lost Cedric. I-" He squeezed his eyes closed and a few tears forced their way out despite his efforts to contain them. "I just learned that my old friends are all dead. And I'm just now dreaming of meeting Anya for the first time, finally remembering her only to be reminded I'll never see her again. Or Kyle, Liam, Midori, Evelyn... Even Mayra might be gone. I know what you're trying to do Sonya, and I thank you, but I'm going to need more time to cope."

"So, you're just going to lay around and mope?" Fang asked.

Before he could answer, the door opened as the nurse returned. "Good news Mr. O'Donnel, I found something we can give you. Although it'll make you drowsy for a while."

Being reminded that he was pain made him realize how badly his jaw was hurting from all the unrestrained conversation he was having. He didn't want to be put out of consciousness again. But, now that he was aware of his pain again, he wasn't sure he wanted to continue feeling it either. So, he nodded.

The nurse stepped over, uncovered a portion of his arm, and dabbed it with a sterilizing agent. She measured out a dose of medicine from a small bottle into a syringe, tapped the needle to shake the excess, and then plunged the needle into his arm and injected him. Almost immediately, Shawn began to feel a little unsteady.

Once she was done, she smiled to him as he began to black out once more and turned to his team. "It's time to leave for now. Your trainer needs his rest. You guys will have plenty of time to see him later."

He was barely aware of them leaving. Instead, all he did was hope his dreams would help him come to term with everyone he had lost.




So Cedric. No random crits, no unexpected damage rolls, purely my fault here. I had been having him take on Geodudes and Gravelers, using Sleep Powder to snooze them and take them out with Confusion. Yes, he was vulnerable to Rock attacks, but I knew he could survive a 2x effective Rock Throw.

I forgot Bug was weak to Rock as well, making it a 4x effective Rock Throw. I've never forgotten since.

Hiker Allen's Geodude had an early wake-up, used Rock Throw, and straight up OHKOed him. Cedric lost his life at level 25 because I had forgotten a basic aspect of Pokemon: the type chart.

Needless to say, after losing both Cedric and Tristan in Rock Tunnel, once I made it to Lavender Town, I put the game down for a while.
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #13
You know what's fun? Your video card frying itself. :( I guess the one benefit of no longer owning a failure-prone vehicle, or any vehicle for that matter, and working 6 days a week right now meant I could order a replacement right away. Still though... even though the computer runs without a video card, it's a little sluggish on the display. Like... I can't even pull 30 FPS typing this paragraph! And I get screen tearing scrolling windows. I'd hate to actually try to run a game.


Anyway, you know what's actually fun? A new chapter to port over!

Kyle carefully inspected the handful of flowers. They had to be absolutely perfect! As perfect as they had been when they bloomed in the spring time! No, even more perfect than that! He held them up and examined them closely, making sure to keep them upwind from the flame on his head that he had acquired recently when he evolved into an infernape.

"What are you doing?"

He leapt in surprise and spun around to come face to face with Evelyn. How fortunate he was that not only was his face covered in fur, but he was also already on fire, because he otherwise he was confident his cheeks would have metaphorically ignited in being so close proximity to the lucario.

"Uh, I... oh, nothing! I'm... I'm not doing anything!" A moment too slow, he hid the flowers behind his back.

"Are those flowers?" Damn it, she saw! "Who are they for?"

"I uhh.. they're for... ummm..." He sighed and gave up trying to hide it. Looking away in embarrassment, he offered them to her with a single arm.

Evelyn gasped and covered her mouth with a paw. The jackal then gently plucked them from his grip and smiled. "That's so sweet of you!"

"Ye-yeah, I guess it is. I hope you-" Kyle started awkwardly, but was silenced when Evelyn stepped forward and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. He was unable to find words after that.

"You're so cute when you're being shy like this." The lucario giggled while twirling the flowers in her paws. "It's so different from your usual noble act."

"It is?" Kyle paused as he realized what he had just asked. "I mean, yeah. It... it is, isn't it?"

She smirked and stared him straight in the eye. "I always suspected that if I tried to flirt with you, you'd be all like 'Touch me not, for I am chaste' or 'I only love with my fists' or something else silly." The infernape laughed nervously in response, which prompted an immediate giggle.

Both of them paused a moment when a sudden rustle caught their attention, followed by a children's song. "Kyle and Evelyn, sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-"

Kyle immediately spun around, almost swinging as he did so. "What the heck, Anya?" Good thing he didn't throw a punch, because the luxray was well out of reach in the bushes behind them. "Were you spying on us?"

"I can see through stuff, remember? I don't even have to try to spy on you to do it by accident." The luxray snickered. "Oh, but this is good! Gold, even!"

The monkey growled at her, which only made the lioness grin even wider. "You better not tell anyone!"

"Oh ho ho ho! I am so going to tell everyone!" Her grin only widened when Kyle narrowed his eyes at her. "In fact, why don't I go do it... ohhh... right about now?" She immediately wheeled around and leapt off into the woods.

Kyle immediately sprinted off after her. "You get back here or I swear I'm going to set you on fire!"

Evelyn, meanwhile, only bursted out laughing at the whole scene. "He's so cute when he's flustered!"

"I wouldn't have thought that myself."

The lucario eeped and spun around to find that she had been snuck up on this time. And by her trainer, of all things! "How long were you there!?"

"Most of it. Or all of it." Shawn looked over at the infernape chasing the luxray. "Even if I'm not great at it, you guys
do remember I can sense emotions, right?" He sighed. "Would have given you guys more privacy, but that was the first time I've sensed a pokemon's romantic feelings, so I really wasn't sure what I was feeling. They're really different from... well... mine."

The lucario nodded and glanced at the monkey fruitlessly chasing the cat. "Should we tell them you already know or should we let Anya have her fun?"

"I'll let you guys figure that out and let you be for now." Shawn turned to leave, but paused. "Oh, and uhhh... please keep it cool in public. Please? I don't want to start suddenly blushing in front of people because you two are kissing behind my back."



* * *


A few days in the hospital dragged on and on when Shawn had little to do beyond fiddle with his pokedex and watch television. Celadon's TV offerings were much better than the other towns he had visited in the region, but they still weren't great. Especially in the middle of the day when everything was a soap opera or a rerun of the news. Especially then. Especially. Then.

The pokedex, meanwhile, had a very strong connection here and, maybe it was his worries of having another encounter like in Rock Tunnel, but he found himself throwing a pretty sum of money at buying up premium lessons on more uncommon Pokemon moves. Might end up being a waste, but with everything that's happened lately, he found himself a little paranoid. For all he knew, bikers might try to assassinate him at this point.

Finally, after many many hours of being confined to one building, he was discharged and turned loose. His first thoughts were to go directy to Saffron and ride over to Goldenrod. And he would have done that immediately if it were not for the fact that Looker apparently wanted to settle one more piece of business with him first. At the very least he didn't have to track the man down in a ramshackle village or find him in some unmarked building for privacy. No, the officer instead led him to an unused office in the hospital that, no doubt, his position in Interpol allowed him to borrow without too much fuss.

"I know I caught you walking around in your room when you weren't supposed to, but it is good to see you on your feet again," Looker remarked to break the silence between them as they neared the end of their hallway journey.

Shawn wasn't much in the mood for small talk. "So, really, what's this about? I thought everything was settled."

"One last loose end for you to tie up. Mostly because she insisted on it being loose until you fix it." Looker opened the door to the office, revealing an unused office desk and chair. The officer's houndoom sitting patiently on the floor while a sandslash Shawn didn't recognize occupied a second chair in front of the desk. Both turned their gaze to meet him. "Shawn, meet Holly, the sandslash you saved in Rock Tunnel. She was expressing interest in traveling with you."

"Really? Seems kind of abrupt..." Shawn remarked as he stepped inside and turned his attention to the pokemon in question. "Well, uh... it's good to meet you, Holly."

She offered a claw in a gesture to shake hands. Shawn accepted it. "The pleasure is mine."

"I'll give you some privacy so you two can get to know each other. I'll meet you by the fountain with your team. Don't make us come find you." The officer motioned for Houndoom to follow. "Tiana, let's go."

Mostly ignoring them, Shawn crossed his arms and sized up the sandy-colored pokemon before him. She seemed like an ordinary specimen of her species to him. "So, why did you want to come with me? You do know I'm not doing the League or anything fancy like that."

The sandslash nodded. "Looker and his two translating friends did inform me of your current predicament, memory loss and all. I made the request of Looker first, but unfortunately the silly rules and regulations of his organization would prevent him from bringing me along in a capacity that I would wish to participate in. So, you are my next best option."

"Next best option?"

Another nod. "Yes. You see..." she paused and hesitated a moment. "Considering what happened in Rock Tunnel, I have a bit of a bone to pick with Mewtwo now, to vastly understate things. I have told everything I know to the officer, but I am not really one to just sit on my claws and wait for others to fix things. Assuming they can even do anything beyond reassuring me that they will do something."

Something seemed off, but Shawn couldn't quite put his finger on it. "You do know that, no later than tomorrow, I'm going to Goldenrod, right? And from there, that I might be going home to Sinnoh depending on what I learn at the GTS?"

"Well, I-" Holly looked away and considered for a moment. "But only maybe, right?"

"Only maybe, but I really don't plan on going after Mewtwo personally after this. I mean, if that other pokemon hadn't randomly showed up, I'd be dead. All of us would be dead." Even after a few days, that thought was still giving him pause. He shook it off and continued. "I'm angry too, but I'm just going to get more of us killed if I listen to that and run after him again. As much as I hate to admit it, I learned my lesson the hard way the first time."

The sandslash sighed in exasperation. "And here I thought you would be different. But no, you humans are all alike and would rather let someone else fix the problem for you." She scraped her claws together in irritation. "At least my trainer WAS different. But that is no longer the case. He is in a hole now because nobody will take action. They would rather wait for someone else to die for them."

At first, he was taken aback by the outburst, as calmly spoken as it may have been. And then... he realized what was so off about this sandslash. "Holly, what's wrong? There's something you're not telling me."

"What are you talking about? I am just angry and frustrated and-"

"That's exactly what I'm talking about." Shawn moved to sit down on the desk. He then looked at the pokemon in the eye for a few moments. "I'm an empath. I'm a pretty sucky empath, but good enough I know I should be sensing something from you if I focus. But I'm getting nothing. You're like a shadow in a brightly lit room. What happened?"

Holly deflated instantly, slumped back in the chair, and refused to make eye contact. Awkward silence filled the air for a couple of long moments while Shawn patiently awaited for her to respond. "They... they did something to me..."

Shawn raised an eyebrow. "Did something?"

She nodded. "Rocket Science and Research were breeding pokemon, trying to breed perfect specimens. I was close, but not good enough, so I did not go farther in that program. But that did not spare me." She put both claws on the sides of her head. "They... their psychics... they did something to my brain. I am not sensitive to the emotions of people like I was before, except two: my trainer, Proton, and the scientist who did this to me."

Shawn shifted in position uncomfortably. This was all ringing too familiar, even if the memories weren't in place to echo the ringing back.

"I was acutely sensitive to Proton and I could not refuse his commands. He did not know this and the scientist told me to never tell him, he did not have the clearance to know. I have never told anyone. Even... even as I tell you, I can feel... it. It is almost like there is something in there trying to twist my thoughts into obedience. But they are both dead now, so I can resist. It hurts, but I can bear it now."

"Dear god, listening to that makes me sick to my stomach." Shawn thought he could feel a twinge of nausea within him from just considering how low someone could go to do practically force enslavement upon another living being. "If I met those two sleazebags, I'd strangle them if given-"

"Please do not say that about Proton!" The trainer stopped mid-sentence in surprise. "Those scientists? Yes, they were awful and deserve everything that happened to them. Proton did not know. He may have been callous and harsh, but he was a good man at heart. He was just trying to do the right thing in the wrong place. I may have had to obey him, but I was not forced to love him. I am deeply upset about his passing."

Shawn took a breath and let it out. "Did you tell Looker about this?"

She shook her head. "No. I told him about others such as the grovyle and sceptile who both disappeared, but not myself. Resisting is hard and I did not want them to lock me away for more interrogation or to try to treat me. I do not want to risk more damage to my mind."

He closed his eyes for a few moments and considered the situation. "Look, I can't promise I'm going to be going after RSR or Mewtwo after this. I'll let you come with me to Goldenrod. If everything goes as I hope, I'll learn a lot more from someone there and I'll know what to do and, if needed who I can send you to for help or..." He wanted to say vengeance, but he really wasn't sure he should advocate that.

"Thank you. But what if things don't go as you hope?"

Shawn considered for a moment. "Well, you'll probably my best bet for figuring out a plan B."

The rest of that day was uneventful. His team was happy to meet him, Looker finally released him, and team, unsurprisingly, took well to Holly. Unsettled about what he learned, Shawn felt it would be prudent to hold off travel for one more day so he could put his money spent on the pokedex to use. He was probably being paranoid, but he had to admit that it felt a little justified at this point.


* * *


"Hey, come here."

There was a sigh. "What?"

"I made a mistake. Back on the ship? We should have done something then. Shawn was seen with an Interpol agent in Aureolin."

"So, does that mean..?

"No. I just want you two to teach him a lesson. Don't hurt him, but make him suffer and warn him it'll get worse if he doesn't go away. And do it discreetly, not publicly."

"...why do you go easy on him but not anyone else."

A pause. An awkwardly long one. "Shawn's my friend. Or, at least he was. The man who turned on us right now is dead and, so long as his memory never recovers, will stay that way." There was another hesitation. "But make it clear that this is my final warning. Hurt his pokemon, kill one even. And then tell him that, if he doesn't go home? He and the rest of them will follow."


When it came time to make replacements when I got back, I peaked into my box and a lack of dupes clause reared its head at me. Pidgeys, Spearows, a Magikarp, a Geodude I had no interest in, and a Sandshrew. One or two other things too, but my main notes only mention nicknames and I'm missing my catch list. >.>

The nearby route had a Pidgey use Whirlwind on me, killing that catch chance, and I had no interest in Gen III Ghastly. Gen IV and later? Sure, I'll use it gladly! But III? No thanks!

So, for the moment, I took Holly, the Sandshrew out of the box, promptly trained her to be on-level (and be a Sandslash), and left slot #6 empty for the time being.

Meanwhile, there were a few major important battles all crammed here. Since I'm not doing gyms, Pokemon Tower, or the Rocket Hideout, this is all gonna suddenly just kinda pop up.

So, in order, gonna just copypasta my in-game notes. I REALLY wish these were a bit more detailed...


Vs. Cole! (Pokemon Tower)

Joey vs Pidgeotto! Joey 2-shots it and takes no damage in return!

Joey vs Gyarados! Gyarados' Thrash hits too hard, so Rusty swaps in to take the beating. He's tough enough to endure it and deliver a KO in return, though some healing is needed during it all.

Sonya vs Ivysaur! Sonya scores a 2HKO and dodges a Razor Leaf! No damage received!

Holly vs Growlithe! Holly's dig seriously hurts Growlithe and it takes the counter Ember, enabling an easy KO.

Rusty vs Kadabra! 2HKO with Bite, Rusty easily tanks Confusion.



Vs Giovanni! Holly KOs Onix and Rhyhorn with Brick Break, each. 1HKO and 2HKO without taking damage. Alex comes in for Kangaskhan and 2HKOs it, taking little damage in return.



Plans for Erika: lead with Joey to take out one, relieving pressure off of Sonya who has the other two. Alex is a back-ups (only Tangela doesn't resist Alex's STAB) with Rusty as an emergency back-up and Holly as the "I'm screwed" back-up.

Vs Erika! Joey against Victreebel! 2HKO and Joey manages to avoid Stun Spore! Sonya then goes out against Tangela! Sonya takes out Tangela after a few hits (it gets healed), but gets poisoned. Only have one Antidote left better let Joey take on Vileplume. Joey gets paralyzed and hit with Giga Drain, but he has Guts for a reason. Quick Attack lets him finish off his opponent before it can take him out.


The ghostly Marowak was, well, rather tough. Rusty led the attack and took out significant HP, but Bonerang had the potential to 2HKO him, so he swapped out to Sonya, who was immune. Sonya did a lot less damage, and nearly went down to crithax Headbutt (crit, healed, critted again), but managed to hang in there and bring it down.



Alex easily handled Snorlax, though took a hefty hit in return.
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14
Derp... I totally forgot about the Abridged episode. So lemme repost that in all of its weird, silly, and maybe funny glory.

Also, new video card, so yay!


The scientist stared at Mewtwo as he approached with deadly intent in his eyes. "Great, my only role in this whole story is to die while giving foreshadowing."

Meanwhile, in Pallet Town, a young man woke up from a brief coma. Shawn stared at his surroundings and recognized them immediately. "Oh no... not this again. I'm not doing this TL;DR Editi-"

Abridged version.

"Abridged version again. No friggin' way! It was bad enough for Fractured Actuality what with all the stolen jokes and meme spam and blatant references to other runs and-"

A giant hammer from on high slammed down and struck him in the head and knocked him out cold. Guess I didn't hit him hard enough the first time.

The next day, he reawoke. "Ugh... what happened? Where am I? I kinda remember who I am, but oddly not the past couple of years." Much better. "Hey wait, isn't that like... how amnesia doesn't work? Come on, I know this is fiction, but neither form of amnesia functions like this!"

But, since there was nobody there to respond to him-

"But you're here-"

No I'm not, now stop breaking the fourth wall.

AHEM!

Now, as I was saying, with nobody there to respond to him, Shawn got up and walked into the main part of the laboratory, where Professor Oak was waiting for him.

"Hello, and welcome to the world of the living! Again!" the old man greeted happily. "Now, what is your name?"

Shawn paused. "Excuse me? You can see it right at the start of this line..."

"Ah, so your name is 'Excuse me? You can see it right at the start of this line...'! Good good, are you a boy or a girl?"

"...yeah, no, we're not doing this way overused joke..." Shawn approached the table and snatched Rusty, the evolved by plot hax wartortle's pokeball, off of it.

"Ah, you're a Tumblr user!" At that moment, another man, Cole, came through the door and Shawn experienced a sense of obvious foreshadowing apprehension. "Now this is my grandson. You've been rivals since right about now. Errr... what was his name again?"

The so-called Rival blinked. "Okay, Gramps? I hate to tell you, but I really think it's time we put you in a home. You've been getting nuttier and nuttier with every passing year lately. I'm really starting to think you have dementia or something. I know a really good place near Celadon that's nice and quiet I've been looking into. Real friendly staff. I think you'll love it and they'll take great care of you."

Professor Oak's eyes suddenly brightened. "Yes, that's right, how could I forget? This is my grandson, 'Okay, Gramps? I hate to tell you, but I really think it's time we put you in a home. You've been getting nuttier and nuttier with every passing year lately. I'm really starting-"

Shawn turned him out and turned to Cole. "Let's just leave."

The two stepped out of the lab and into the poor, backwater town of Pallet that was pretty much way back in the woods and had no cellular or internet connection save for Professor Oak's lab, all in an attempt to keep our protagonist from simply calling someone or using the internet to solve his problem.

Shawn paused. "Well dang. They're really crapifying Kanto this time around, aren't they? Well, guess I can call Sinnoh from Viridian..."

And Pallet's only cellular, landline, or internet connection to other regions was via the GTS in Johto.

"Gonna be a long walk to Goldenrod from here. Luckily the League is not too far and there's that route to New Bark..."

And the routes to Johto were overly long and dangerous now. And walking straight to Celadon from here would get you outright killed deader than dead before you even think about trying. And there's no ferry in Pallet to Cinnabar. And Diglett's Cave is horrible. And every other route besides Mt. Moon you can think of is blocked by men who are dancing for no reason.

Cole glanced at his so-called rival. "Shawn... you shoulda kept your mouth shut."

Shawn sighed. "Yeah... guess I'm going to have to remember major events in sequential order while somehow recovering my trainer skill slightly out of order. Like how I went to college in Canalave and my starter was a Chimchar given to me by Rowan and I had a Nidoran egg and-"

"I AM THE MOST BADASS PIDGEOTTO OF VIRIDIAN FORE-"

"-and that I just caught a pidgeotto with one of your ultra balls I stole."

"Dude! Seriously, I would have just given you one if you had asked!"

Shawn held up a second ball containing a mankey. "You mean two."

Cole sighed. "Screw this, I'm out of here. I will get an olfactory whiff of your aromatic emanations at a proximate date!"

The so-called rival whipped out a small disc from his pocket labeled HMO2 Fly. He then threw it like a frisbee and immediately ran to catch up to it. When he did, he leapt up to grab it and held on with both hands while it carried him up and off into the horizon.

"...okay, I am so trying that when I get one!"

As Shawn reached Viridian City, he released his three Pokemon. "All right, introductions and then training montage."

"Rusty, laid back wartortle. I'm here because I was bored."

"Sonya, most badass pidgeotto of Viridian Forest."

"Alex, friendly and nice mankey. And I wanna be strong."

"Okay, cool. We're on a very roundabout journey that really should be straightforward to get my memories back, because I'm too impatient to wait for them to return on their own, despite the fact that he-who-shall-not-be-addressed-from-this-side-of-the-fourth-wall probably has about as many memories to insert into chapters as he does for chapters to actually reach Goldenrod. Everyone cool with that? Good, let's train."

The three of them spent the next few days copying techniques off of notSmogon, notBulbapedia, and notSerebii that were all conveniently on Shawn's Pokedex.

They then traveled north through Viridian Forest, where they were assailed by menacing children armed with deadly metapods and kakunas. While such opponents would have been trivial, the threats of possible lawsuits and litigation thrown at them for adults beating up children meant they had to forfeit every single battle!

"Well, dang bro, we're already through chapter 3!" Rusty remarked.

"Not quite. You forgot this..." Alex lifted up Cedric, the caterpie by the tail.

"But... but... I was trying to hide until I evolved..." Cedric whined.

As they entered Pewter City, Brock approached the group. Immediately, Rusty and Alex punched out his Geodude and Onix.

Shawn slapped his forehead. "Guys, seriously? We're not here to collect badges in this story!"

Both grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, force of habit."

Brock shrugged. "Eh, I'm just here to make a cameo, really. Oh, and Cole is champion of Kanto. Now that the odds are heavily stacked against you, good luck!"

A shiny grovyle also appeared. Immediately, sixty masterballs were thrown at it, all of which bounced off. "Sorry, I'm not wild." She shrugged. "Anyway, very slight introduction of myself here since my appearance in the next chapter wasn't planned yet and I didn't want to come out of nowhere like last time. See you later."

"Wait, wait... before you go..." Shawn paused... "Didn't you have a hissing lisp?"

"Oh, you mean thisssss hisssssssssing lisssssp? The one that isssss asssss annoying to type assssss it isssss to read?" The grovyle sssssighed. "There's a reason why that got dropped. Now leave me alone, you weren't supposed to have noticed me."

As they left Pewter, a ratatta ran up to them. "Fang's the name and feeds-" the ratatta paused. "...feeds my game? Fpeeds? ...huh, I should have gotten a name that began with an 'S'. Welp, no more ripping off of Sonic lines for the rest of the story for me!"

"Fang's not your real name!" Sonya remarked.

"Yes it is!"

Shawn looked at his Pokedex and then showed it to the rodent. "No, your name is Joey. See?"

"And it says your name is Locke." Joey tapped the screen with a paw. "See?"

Locke looked at the screen again and frowned. "Okay... if we forget that's my name, we'll forget this is your name. Deal?"

Fang nodded. "Deal!"

Shawn relaxed. "Good, let's go to Mt. Moon now, which is supposed to be super dangerous or something for some reason. Yet the Kanto government is too cheep to make a safer path."

As they arrived at the Pokemon Center that had somehow exploded into a small, entirely unimportant town, Cedric evolved.

"Yay, finally!" The butterfree did thirty back-flips in joy. "...okay, now I'm dizzy."

With only one bottle of repel around, Shawn withdrew his team and went into the cave system. Instead of... you know, over on mountain roads like reasonable people in a reasonable region who aren't stuck in a plot hole would do.

"Hell, even Fractured Actuality had the 'Mt. Moon Pass' to bypass all this..." Shawn muttered, shaking his head. Shawn then encountered a minor character! He gasped. "Ah, crap! It's Team Rocket!"

"Huh?" The man looked up. "What? No! We're Rocket Science and Research, which is a bad pun and also a peaceful resea-"

He didn't get to finish before he was arrested and hauled off by a conveniently placed Officer Jenny.

"I didn't think the anime was canon to this story..." Shawn remarked.

It's not.

He paused. "Then why was Officer Jenny here?"

Well, you see because... HEY LOOK! IT'S AN ARMY OF POSSESSED GEODUDES!

A bunch of geodude with glowing blue eyes appeared. Shawn grinned and sent out Rusty. "Sweet, free XP!"

"Ummm, bro?" Rusty glanced at his trainer. "I don't know Surf yet. I can only hit one at a time..."

"Oh come on!" He recalled the Pokemon and fled to Cerulean.

Meanwhile in the cave, Lethe approached Mewtwo standing on a pile of dead Team Rocket members. "Ummm, Mewtwo?"

The pokemon glared at her. "That's not my name!"

"Yes, I know you're Giovanni and SOMEONE took super heavy inspiration from The Sacrifice in Warframe to have you tortured and transformed into a Pokemon in a memory I don't feel like stealing from you right now like I do in the actual plot." She sighed. "But, what I'm saying is... you killed the wrong Rockets. You wanted Rocket Science and Research, not these Team Rocket."

Giovanni stood frozen for a moment. "Oh. Ummm... you think anyone will notice the difference?"

"Yes. Yes they will."

"Darn it. Well uhh... guess I better go hide, bye!" And then Giovanni vanished into thin air.

Lethe sighed. "This is gonna take a while to tie back to the main plot, isn't it?"

Meanwhile, back at the excuse-plot in Cerulean, Shawn was eating ordinary, real world fish for lunch with Cole.

"Wait? Where did you come from? And how did I get here?" Shawn exclaimed in surprise.

Cole shrugged. "I dunno. Wanna get sidetracked on your trip and dragged to the S.S. Anne?"

"No."

"I'll show you some world building!"

"...fine."

The two traveled back to Mt. Moon, but stopped halfway and went towards the... Unknown Dungeon? Cerulean Cave? ...hey uhh... what was the canon name of the place now? Wait, what's the Japanese say, it'll clear it up... Hanada Cave? Well, what the heck?

Once they got closed to the Cerulada Dungeon, they had to stop as very dangerous things were blocking the way.

"Uhhh... Cole?" Shawn asked. "Ummm... why are there decayed guardians from Breath of the Wild here?"

"Oh, ummm, one moment. I forget to load their reskin." Cole whipped out his cellphone and pressed some buttons. Everything was replaced with a loading screen with a pokeball logo outlined by the words "Loading! Please wait!" before their view returned to normal. The guardians were now wrecked sigilyph. "Ok, yeah, these guys... they're the plot excuse as to why western and eastern Kanto isn't directly connected why it should be. They're also weapons made by people in the old world that are still active and kill lots of people if they get too close. Which, with phrases like 'old world', it's a hint that this version of the pokemon world is actually post-"

He was silenced by a Hyper Beam.

"Oh, so that's what those were..." Shawn remarked. "I thought they were Psybeams the first time..."

"COLE! YOU KNOW SPOILERS WILL SET THE SIGILYPH OFF YOU IDIOT!" Misty shouted in anger as she came to see what the noise was.

Cole jumped and turned around. "Oh, hey there Misty! Wasn't expecting you to make a cameo here! Ummm, wanna go on a date?"

She shook her head. "Sorry, but I'm dating a generic NPC."

"Ummm... Misty?" Cole paused for a moment. "That's not until Gen IV. We're still in Gen III here. Well, technically anyway since I do have a Hydrei-" Another laser interrupted him.

"Ohhh, right. Well ummm, you see I can't because..." Misty then suddenly threw an HM02 and sailed off into the distance on it.

Cole was quick to throw his to fly after her. "You will not escape me, Misty! I will date you even if it's the last thing I doooooooooo~!"

Shawn stared after them in silence for a few moments. "...it's a really good thing she's an adult in this story. Otherwise that would have been creepy as hell."

He went back to Cerulean and let his team out to train. "Okay guys, I'm gonna go buy an HM02 of my own. Someone better evolve before I get back."

Fang stared at him. "But I already did!"

Shawn glared at the raticate. "Well fine, go develop Cedric's character some then. It's vitally important he gets some ASAP."

"I don't like the sound of that..." Cedric remarked.

After a few minutes, Cedric was a somewhat more well-rounded character and Shawn had his own HM02. He sized up the butterfree. "It'll have to do. Let's go."

He threw the disc and watched it sail in the air a short distance. He then sprinted after it like he had seen the other two do, jumped up, and grabbed a hold of it. He continued to gain altitude afterwards as he had a grip.

"I'm flying! I'm really flying! This is friggin' awesome! We'll make it to Vermilion in no time and-" Suddenly, the disc stopped and he started to plummet out of the air. "NOOOOOOOOOOO!"

His team watched him crash in the distance. Rusty glanced at the others. "We should probably go see if he's okay."

"He's fine. Unlike us, he actually has plot armor," Alex replied with a shrug, but followed the team anyway.

Meanwhile, Cole crashed through a hotel room and tumbled across the floor, landing at Archer's feet. "Darn it, I take one wrong turn and not only do I lose Misty, but now I have to do plot and character development with you!"

Archer sighed. "Yeah, so let's get this over with. Mewtwo got free, I blame Shawn, you aren't willing to do that because you're friends-"

"So-called rivals."

"Okay, you're so-called rivals with him since before he lost his memory-"

"Since page one."

"...okay, fine, since page one! Now will you stop interrupting me?"

Cole leaned against the wall. "No promises, now go on."

"Anyway, Cinnabar Lab was destroyed and you're only just now finding out because a certain author had to dismantle Kanto's communication and travel infrastructures to make this plot work. Mewtwo causes some memory loss and is probably getting better at it. He's also killing people and I'm unaware that he's Giovanni even though Lethe flat out stated it a little bit ago. You'll want Proton to contain him and for me to meet you in Saffron to work the Master Ball into the plot."

Arianna nodded. "And I have the most important role in making this sound thingies for the Lake of Rage and giving them to Saturn for Rock-"

OFF THE SCREEN, NOW!

"But I-"

NO, THOSE ARE PLOT ELEMENTS AND CHARACTERS THAT HAVE BEEN DROPPED IN THIS REWRITE! NOW GET OFF MY SCREEN BEFORE I KILL YOU OFF OF IT!"

As she left, Cole nodded. "Okay, that all sounds about right. I'll see you next episode. I gotta go battle Shawn because this story still hasn't had a major battle in it, somehow, despite Fractured Actuality having them as one of it's main draws."

"But, we have better plot though," Archer countered.

Cole shook his head. "Not with a story name like Convalesce! How do you even pronounce that?"

"It was changed to Stolen Dreams right around now."

"Oh right, yeah, that was a thing, never mind." Cole threw his HM02 out the window. "Anyway, see you in about ten to fifteen weeks!"

Back at the plot, Shawn climbed aboard the S.S. Anne. A storyline was thrown at him, lassoed him, and dragged him into a battle arena on the boat.

"Seriously? I just want to nap so tomorrow comes sooner and I can go to Goldenrod.

Cole dropped down from his HM02 into the arena. "Nope, time to battle! Let's send starters first!"

"Wait, but you have an Ivysaur! That's not a fair fight!"

"No, it's not!" Cole grinned as Rusty was already slammed into a wall and knocked out. "How about birds next?"

Both Sonya and Shrike appeared in the arena. The latter pidgeotto sighed. "Oh great... are we going to try to compress our on-going rivalry from Fractured Actuality into a single fight?"

Sonya nodded. "Yup! Now it's time for me to kick your butt, brother!"

"Wait, since when were we related? When did that-" Shrike was silenced as he was knocked over the horizon by his new sister.

Cole grabbed another ball and hesitated. "...okay, I'm a little hesitant about this one."

"Why?" Shawn tilted his head. "Is it dangerous?"

"Well... you'll see..." Cole released his kadabra, Marquis, into the arena. He then braced himself as...

"MEGA KICK!"

...as Shawn leapt high into the air and then drove his foot into the pokemon's face, sending it into the floor unconscious.

"Seriously Shawn. Nobody's going to remember that running joke from Fractured Actuality TL;DR Edition. It wasn't even that funny anyway!"

Shawn waved him off. "Relaaaax. Nobody's gonna care because nobody's reading this story anyway. I mean, we just hit the two month anniversary of our last comment a couple of days ago before this was written! Heck, that was even the last indication of anyone even bothering to read this! So, we can do whatever the hell we want and get away with it, because nobody's gonna complain or report us! Chapter 11 can be a super graphic, violent, and gorey porn scene full of drugs and language and nobody would ever notice!"

"No, we have way too much dignity for that!" Cole's anger simmered just beneath the surface. He growled and, unable to contain himself, punched out Cedric. "Now you see what you made me do? I just did as much senseless violence as you did!"

"Whatever, let's just have our next ones fight and-" Shawn stopped as he stared at the next two Pokemon. "Alex, what are you doing!?"

The mankey was rubbing Lace, the growlithe's belly while the dog panted and thumped its leg happily. She looked at her trainer sheepishly. "I'm sorry, I can't help it! She's just so floofy and adorable!"

Cole sighed. "Well crap, I'm out of usable Pokemon then. Well, aside from my champion team, but that'd be no fun."

"You're not done yet! It's my turn now!" Lt. Surge jumped into the arena in a flash of lightning to make his cameo. He sent out a pikachu, crossed his arms, and grinned. "All right, Shawn. It's time for you to meet the real trial! You ain't seen a battle like this! For you are about to face the Apikalypse!"

Shawn said nothing.

"...you... you get it, right?" Lt Surge asked hesitantly. "The Apikalypse? A pun of apocalypse and pikachu?"

The trainer sighed. "Tristan, use Earthquake so we can leave."

The diglett created a fissure that tore the ship apart. "I don't even exist anymore in this rewrite! Which is awesome because I no longer have to die in Rock Tunnel!"

As the boat began to sink, Shawn left to go sleep in his cabin for the night. However, he was interrupted by Looker knocking on the door. He grudgingly opened it. "What?"

The officer stared for a moment. "Your original team is dead. Except maybe Mayra."

"Thanks, dick. That's just what I needed to learn from a stranger." He slammed the door in the officer's face.

Meanwhile, Lethe was over at Cerulean's Sigilyph when a small, green pokemon appeared before her.

"Oh, aren't you Ae-" A laser interrupted her.

"Okay, aren't you a cel-" Another laser interrupted her.

"Well... weren't you the hidden easter egg nobody noticed on the old Convalesce lo-" A third laser greeted her in the face.

The spoiler sighed. "Just shut up and go to Rock Tunnel."

Meanmeanwhile, Cole was meeting with a sceptile that was most likely related to Lethe.

"Yup, Shawn let Mewtwo go free. Want me to kill him?" Styx asked.

Cole sighed. "Of course Archer was right. No, don't do it because, even though it might make sense to do so, the story would end right here and now." He paused. "Besides, his plot armor is active until the last few chapters. And as strong as you are, you're no match for plot armor."

Styx nodded and held up a spearow by the throat. "Okay, what about Lucy here since your own ratatta, Spot, got written out of the plot and you can no longer force me to kill him?"

"Yeah, sure, go for it."

The sceptile stabbed with with a leaf and threw her off the boat. "Done!"

Lucy sighed as she sank. "I had such a bigger role in Fractured Actuality, but now ALL I get to do is die. Just because I was first death doesn't mean I have to show up to ONLY DIE! COME ON, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS STORY! Well, you know what? Lemme spoil the third and fourth deaths then! COMING SOON, ONE OF SHAW-"

A long-range laser shot silenced her.

The next day, Looker stared down at the Power Plant and all the sigilyph around it. "Huh, more world building, kinda."

Markuu, the Zapdos, looked up at him from his perch on top. "Wait, why am I here?"

"To tie you better to the plot when you show up," Looker replied.

"BUT I DON'T EVEN APPEAR UNTIL THE SANGUINE GOSPEL!!!!"

Both were interrupted as a loud scream from on high landed at Looker's feet. Shawn was in a crumpled heap and his HM02 dropped from above him and landed on his head. "How do you guys land these things?"

Looker glanced at him. "I told you not to come."

"No you didn't," Shawn replied as he popped all of his dislocated limbs back into place.

"Yes, I did," Looker crossed his arms. "I did it offscreen."

"Looker, seriously... offscreen doesn't count for anything! Now come on, let's go hunt Mewtwo, because that is not a bad idea!"

The two men went inside Rock Tunnel. It was perfectly dark. Looker dug an HM05, Flash, out of his pocket and shook it a few times. Suddenly, the whole cave was lit up as if the sun itself was shining inside of it.

"Oh dang... that one's cool too." Shawn thought for a moment. "Oh, oh! I really need to get HM03 so I can push boulders and trucks with it! And... ohhhh, would HM08 let me breathe underwater?"

"Shut up and come here!"

Shawn obeyed the injured and dying Team Rocket member among the piles of Team Rocket corpses. "What?"

He handed Shawn a pokeball. "Here, have a free sandslash!"

"That was random." He paused. "Wait wait wait, we didn't mention Holly's species in Chapter 10. So, isn't that a spoiler?"

The injured Rocket's eyes went wide in shock as he realized his mistake. A laser blast sealed his fate.

"Welp, now I'm short a kill." Mewtwo sighed. "Mind if I borrow your butterfree?" He stabbed Cedric with a psychic blade. "Cool, thanks."

Lethe suddenly appeared with an epic sigh. "You two humans? Exit conveniently to the south please." As they took off, Lethe turned to Mewtwo. "Seriously Giovanni? YOU KILLED THE WRONG GUYS AGAIN!"

Giovanni stared at the bodies for a few moments before facepalming. "I'm awful as this..." He then vanished leaving Lethe alone to end the episode on her own.

"Wait wait wait!" Cedric cried. "Aren't we going to say if I lived or not?"

Nah, we need a cliffhanger. Readers will find out in Episode 2!

"That'll be months! MONTHS! YOU MEAN I HAVE TO SPEND THE NEXT FEW MONTHS BLEEDING OUT FROM FRIGGIN' MASSIVE HOLE IN MY CHEST? THIS IS ABSOLUTE BULLSHI-"

Will Cedric survive his mortal injuries? What will happen in Lavender Town? Will the word Sandslash be same to say without getting shot by a Hyper Beam? Tune in next time on Stolen Dreams Abridged!
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15
Just another repost to the pile. Almost caught up now!

Two years after a trainer started their journey, it was customary in Sinnoh to make a pilgrimage to the Spear Pillar to pay their respects to the creators of the region. While not a requirement, it was frowned upon to avoid the undertaking. Shawn held no belief in Arceus or his three dragons, but he was not about to violate tradition.

Mt. Coronet was intentionally kept as a tough and difficult climb. While it was kept as safe as it could be, it was still extremely hazardous to get reckless or inattentive. He thought the notion of keeping it rough for "improving one's spirit" was a little silly, but there was nothing he could do except complain on the internet.

"So why are we doing this if it doesn't even matter?" Liam asked while eyeing the nearby cliff and pressing as close to the wall on the other side as he could.

Mayra shrugged. "It's tradition. It's bad karma not to do it." It took some adjustment to becoming bipedal for her when she had evolved again, enough that Shawn had delayed this trip just for her.

"Which, in other words, it means a tree will fall on Shawn if we don't do this." Anya chuckled. "Trust me, they're all waiting at the base of the mountain to ambush him if he doesn't finish the climb."

The trainer sighed and rolled his eyes. "You're still going on about that?"

The luxray smirked. "Always."

"Shaaaaawn! My feet hurt!" Midori whined in her characteristic high-pitched irritation. "We've been going up hill the whooooole time! Can we take a break? Pleeeease?"

"Let's get to a safer spot before we-" Shawn froze as he both heard, and felt, something crack beneath them. "...please don't rock slide?"

The mountain above refused to listen to his request and instead splintered and broke off to tumble down the steep cliff to the jagged rocks below. Shawn immediately scrambed away before he was pulverized. Just as he was getting clear, a sharp scream froze his blood.

"EVELYN!" He turned just in time to see Kyle leaping off the edge after lucario. As the slide petered off, he and his team ran back to the edge. A tiny amount of panic subsided when he saw the infernape hanging onto a smaller ledge below, one hand keeping his grip and the other hanging onto Evelyn's wrist.

"Hang on, I'll lower Midori down to pull you up!" Shawn unslung his backpack and began to frantically dig out a length of rope. Thank god he had the foresight to bring this. A few agonizingly long moments later, he had the rope out and was tying it to Midori. "Someone secure the other end!"

"Don't worry, Evelyn. I'm not going to let go. I promise!" He heard Kyle say from below.

Shawn gritted his teeth and sped up securing the azumarill. "Got it. Are we good over there?"

A thumbs up and both he and the others were gently lowering Midori down to the other two. Shawn tried to focus on only getting them up. Kyle was slipping and- no, don't fret. Everything will be fine when Midori reaches them!

He saw Evelyn staring up at Kyle and the others. Shawn felt a rush of emotions from the lucario, enough to almost make him falter. Oh god, she wasn't going to... no, she couldn't!

"Evelyn, just hang on a moment, we're almost there!"

The jackal looked up at her trainer and friends, tears streaing down her cheeks. She squeezed her eyes shut as the rescue, an eternity away while Kyle's grip slipped farther. "Everyone, I'm... I'm sorry."

"What are you saying? I'm not letting you go! We're going to be okay!" Kyle cried out as his fingers slipped another knuckle. "I told you, I promise! I'm not letting you go!"

"I'm so sorry..." She sighed bitterly and Shawn felt intense self-loathing and regret at herself. "Thank you, Kyle... for everything..."

She was going to do it. "Evelyn, no!

"I told you I have you. I'll just lift you up first and- Gah!"

Blue and purple flames erupted from Evelyn's paw and seared Kyle's hand, forcing open his grip. She fell silently and the screams of her friends did not save her. Shawn could do nothing but watch as she tumbled down the cliffs into the rocks below.

They managed to save Kyle, but he was never the same. None of them were, really, but he felt part of his friend die that day.



* * *

When Shawn started out, the journey was supposed to be relatively simple. A bit round-a-bout with having to cross Mt. Moon rather than hike directly to Saffron, but otherwise pretty straightforward. Instead, he had found himself veering off to Vermillion, Aureolin, Rock Tunnel, and Celadon instead. None of those detours had really beneficial reasons for them either.

But now, here he was, finally riding into Saffron on a bus, and all of the side jaunts were at an end. And now, disembarking and entering the train station to buy a ticket to Goldenrod. All that would remain would be a simple, long, relaxing ride to another region, a short walk to the GTS, and then... Well, if he found Mayra there, it'd be off to somewhere they could talk privately since he had no idea what her temperment would be like. And if his Sinnoh account was currently empty?

...he hoped it wasn't empty.

Regardless, everything was simple and straight forward again. Despite how badly things have been going and despite how uncertain the future was, to have no distractions and just being able to focus on a single goal was calming, refreshing even. And he hoped things would remain that simple. He was, after all, a trainer, not an adventurer.

Team recalled, due to the station's understandable policy on pokemon out of their balls due to limited space on board, Shawn strolled towards the ticket counter, which seemed to be designed for more capacity than it was currently handling. Sure, it was an off-hour for travel, but it was clear there were definitely plans for this rail line to do more than travel between two cities. Kanto might be behind the times a bit, but, at least in the central region, it was clear they didn't intend to remain there forever.

"Hello, one ticket, please," Shawn requested once he approached the receptionist, money in hand.

She immediately printed off the ticket, no doubt it was easy to do when there was only one possible destination, and handed it to him. "Here you go, sir. Train should be rolling into the station now and will be departing in about twenty minutes. Please do not miss your ride as there are no refunds. Now, enjoy your trip to Goldenrod, sir!"

Idly, he wondered how often she repeated those exact same lines every day and it made him glad he never had the misfortune to work in such a position in his life. Taking the ticket, he turned to go sit down in one of the waiting chairs. There were a few people around, some families, some business men and women with briefcases, and a few other stragglers.

As he took a seat, he reached over to grab one of the month old magazines off the table to occupy himself with when he stopped and spied the oddest piece of decor he had ever seen. On the middle of the table was a piece of smooth stone shaped almost like an upside down flower pot. A crack ran through the top and down the front before splitting into two angles. Between that and the two holes, it almost looked like an upset face staring back at him.

Shawn regarded the small statue for a few moments and couldn't help but feel unsettled. It felt like the thing was staring at him intently, almost maliciously, somehow. He tried to ignore it and reached again for a magazine, but he paused once more, stared at it, and gave up. Grabbing his bag, he moved to a different set of table and chairs. He couldn't help but feel the thing's eye holes were following him. However, he refused to acknowledge the statue anymore.

Despite burying his focus into a magazine he didn't care about, he couldn't help but feel like he was being watched. When onboarding was finnaly announced, he instinctively glanced at the table and stopped as he got up. The statue was gone. ...did someone steal it? Or maybe it had been put there as like... some weird prank? Confused, he shrugged it off and moved to board the train.

The taking of tickets was uneventful and he soon found himself filing onto the train with other passengers. Not wanting to be too close to impatient young children for two hours, he moved farther to the back to keep away from the families and to also give the people on the job priority seats for getting off quickly so they could get to their meetings or whatever it was they were doing. Finding a spot, Shawn scooted in and glanced down to put his bag underneath the seat.

"What the...?" he started when he saw the statue again. Only this time, the cracks were glowing an otherwordly violet.

Immediately, a dark presence erupted from the stone, slipping underneath one of his pant legs, and zipped up along his body, leaving everywhere it touched feeling icy. He fell back in his seat and tried to cry out in alarm, but it wrapped around his neck and squeezed to keep him from breathing. He tried to resist, but it had his arms pinned and he thought he'd be choked out.

Instead, it got worse.

Shawn nearly gagged from a sensation similar to inhaling frigid water poured into his senses as the presence forced its way up its nostrils. He could feel the inky coldness sinking into his form as it released his body from without to possess him from within. He felt himself go rigid before his body put his bag on the seat next to him.

"Sir, are you okay?" The force inside made him look up to see one of the train's attendants looking at him from a few rows up.

He tried to beg for help. "I am fine." Those were not his words, but he spoke them anyway. The attendant gave him a weird look before moving to help a family having trouble getting their baby's car seat to balance in the train seat.

Do not resist We are neither here for your life nor your soul. We are simply here to ensure your compliance.

That voice... no, those voices came from everywhere. His head, his body, it was like it was a hundred people whispering to him from every possible direction both within and outside of himself. What was it? Who was it?

We are Legion. For we are many.

...a spiritomb! It just had to be. But why...?

You knew us once. We were friends. You were friends with our friends. We were friends with your friends. We were all friends. But you ruined that. You are and your friends. So now, we are here to ensure you receive a message from our friends.

With his body possessed, Shawn could sense the pokemon's emotions almost as if they were own. Their words suggested they might be angry for what he did. But instead, it was just... disappointment, sorrow, frustration, remorse, and resignation? It was a deep and complex web of feelings, one he'd never be able to decipher on his own.

Do not resist. He knew he couldn't even if he tried. His special power was being a weak empath, not anything useful in forcing off a ghost as powerful as a spiritomb. You will be released before this day is over. You will not be harmed Do not resist. Be patient.

It seemed like it wasn't going to to volunteer the information. Instead, it simply kept him looking ahead, almost unblinking, and left him with inky blackness flooding overtaking every sensation. Until now, Shawn had never felt, never smelled, never tasted emptiness and the void. But now it was all he could do, all he could focus on, and it made him want to panic. He wanted to run, to scream, to fight, to flee. But, his muscles refused to obey him.

For the entire two hour ride, he sat there, almost unmoving save for blinking and breathing. Some other passengers and staff gave him odd looks and a few children pointed, but nobody bothered him. To them, he was just a strange man, very odd, and probably safest left alone because who knew what he would do if bothered. All of them, potential saviors, yet unaware of his plight.

Finally, when the train stopped, he found himself picking up the spiritomb's key stone and placing it within the top of his bag. He then stood up to patiently file his way off of the train. People spoke to him, thanking him for riding, wishing him a good day, but he did not respond. Instead, he left, turned north, and began to walk.

Shawn tried to question where he was going, where he was being taken, or why, but all he received were vague answers or more "Do not resist." He passed people on the sidewalk, moved down the road at a steady pace, and stopped only to avoid traffic. Shawn made his way through downtown, to the north gate, and out into the more suburban, outskirt regions of Goldenrod.

More walking, more incessant walking. His feet were hurting and he had no idea how long he had been going. Gradually, another gate began to come into view, the gate to the National Park as the sign said, and he passed it too without incidence. He felt his nerves getting more and more on edge as the spiritomb forced him to head into the less populated areas of the park.

Eventually, when he had been alone for some time, he stopped. Weight pressed down onto his shoulders and drove him to his knees. Shawn collapsed forward until he was prone. Forced to look up, he saw something dropped down from above. A green, bipedal reptillian pokemon regarded him with yellow eyes, leafy tail swaying behind him.

"You don't recognize me, do you?" The sceptile waited for a moment, but Shawn did not, could not respond. "No, you don't. You probably don't even remember what you did or what you've gotten involved in. You have no clue what you've been up to." The pokemon shook his head. "That makes this even worse."

The reptile turned on his heel dramatically and stared up at the overcast skies through canopy of trees above. "Honestly, what you did was entirely justified, even if the results were... undesirable. But what other choice did you have? I don't think I would have done any differently." He turned back to regard Shawn. "I wish I had any say, any control in what we are about to do. Legion and I... we're here to deliver a message from... our master."

Shawn noticed he practically spat those last words. But why couldn't he resist? Why did he have no say? Their master wasn't here, right? Wouldn't it be easy to just flee or escape or do anything else?

We cannot resist. We cannot refuse. We are enslaved on a level beyond the physical realm. We are bound by yokes that cannot be seen. Shawn felt searing heat welling up within him. We... we... we despise it.

The sceptile sighed and lowered his head ashamedly. "They are right. We are about to do something that we will regret. It, like so many others, will haunt me every minute of my day. Another voice to torment me of the murders I had no control over."

The pokemon approached, kneeled down, and started fishing for the pokeballs at Shawn's belt. Once he had all five of them, he turned and started to walk away. Shawn's heart began to thud. A dozen possibilities of what was about to happen ran through his mind. None of them were good.

Several feet away, the sceptile clicked the releases and dropped the balls behind him. All five pokemon of Shawn's team emerged from flashes of light. And before they could even get their bearings, the yellow pods on the sceptile's back exploded into a vibrant cloud of pollen. Immediately, his team fell to the ground in convulsions.

"What... what's going on?" Alex tried to get to her feet, but fell back down immediately.

"Ugh... this... this is..." Fang gritted his teeth as he struggled against the toxins in the air. "...never seen any paralysis like this."

Rusty managed to look around and froze when he spotted his trainer. "Bro! Are you okay? What's going on."

"He can't respond." The sceptile turned back around to face his captives. "My companions have him held in place. He's as much of a victim as you all are."

"Styx!"

The lizard paused and turned to the source of the voice. "Holly? We... we thought you were dead."

Sonya glared at the sandslash. "Wait? You KNOW him?"

The sandslash nodded slowly, haltingly. "I was friends with his sister in the same lab. At least until... they went... farther in the program. They did the same things to them as they did to me. And probably... worse." She took a breath. "Styx. Is Lethe okay?"

The sceptile paused for a long time. Finally, he closed his eyes and whispered. "I don't know..." The pokemon regained his composure. "She disappeared but... we don't have time for that. The longer this takes, the more likely someone innocent stumbles on us and this gets bloodier."

Despite the hold on his body, Shawn shuddered.

"My master wants to send you, all of you, a message. You've been meddling in affairs that you have no business getting involved in. So, you are to leave Kanto and never return. Otherwise, next time, all of you will die. And to make sure the message is clear..." Styx sighed. "One of you has to die right now."

Several reactions were made at once, but the most prominent of them was a deep, gutteral growl. "Oh, like hell that is going to happen. I don't care who you are, who sent you, or whether you have a choice in all of this."

Sonya forced herself to her feet, shuddering from the pollen within her. Styx watched her for a moment as she growled again. And then, with an explosion of light and pollen, in her place stood a large, beautiful pidgeot. She flapped her wings freely and glared daggers at the sceptile. "You back the hell off now. I don't care what the others think of me after. I will kill you if you don't leave now."

Styx instead sighed. "At least I didn't have to choose."

The pidgeot cawed loudly as she took wing and charged the sceptile. Styx simply stepped to the side, but underestimated Sonya's reach as a wing clipped him across the chest. As she wheeled around to make another pass, several bladed leaves sliced through the air, but Sonya folded her wings and they glowed reflectively. The projectiles bounced back and struck her opponent, though he seemed hardly phased.

She dove again, bringing her talons up to rake him with another pass. Styx once again stepped away to dodge and parried the blow with the leaves on his wrists. He then spun around to launch a counter attack, but had to leap back in surprise when he found her beak pelting into him. More leaves were launched at her, but Sonya weaved through them nimbly.

The pidgeot took higher and higher into the skies as her body erupted into a fiery, yellow aura. "You think you can just waltz in here and expect to kill us? Well, I have news for you, buddy!"

Styx did not respond. The sceptile simply sighed, relaxed his stance, and closed his eyes in resignation.

"My name is Sonya and I am the most badass pidgeot there ever was!" The fire coalesced into her body and she shot into a dive, cutting through the air in a brilliant stream of flame. "And I am a nightmare for scum like you!"

Styx opened his eyes again as his attacker dove. He waited, patiently. And just before she hit, he vanished into a puff of leaves. Immediately, he reappeared on her back and drove her into the ground with the full force of her attack. Once they came to a stop, he stepped off of her and Sonya didn't move. He rolled her over with a foot, grabbed her by the throat, and lifted her up.

"I'm sorry." With his free hand, he sunk his claws into her neck, tore through it, and dropped her lifelessly to the ground.

Sonya! Shawn jerked against his captor, fighting back with renewed vigor. All he managed to do was twitch against his bonds and be told not to resist. He ignored and continued to struggle.

"There's no way Sonya could..." Fang squeezed his eyes shut and growled. "You'll pay for that!" Fang forced himself onto his feet and stumbled forward, but only made it a couple of feet before collapsing. "Seriously? Come on!"

Styx shook his head. "I'm sorry. I truly am. If I had any say then you would have never met me. The pollen should wear off in about an hour and- Hm?" He stopped as another bright light flashed nearby.

"Dude... that... that... Sonya was my sis!" An exhausted, panting blastoise stood where Rusty had been moments ago. "And you... you..."

Once more, Styx shook his head. "I admire your resolve, but you clearly just forced your evolution. And unlike the bird, you're still paralyzed."

"The bird? She was not just a bird!" Rusty staggered towards the reptile, fists clenching. Styx did nothing as he approached. The blastoise then swung at him, which the sceptile simply ducked and stepped back to avoid. He tried again, but he missed completely.

"Enough." Styx backhanded Rusty across the face to knock him to the ground. The blastoise tried to roll off of his back, but he didn't have the strength. "You're lucky I'm not required to kill everyone who resists."

Shawn felt so useless, so powerless, so helpless right now. Everything transpiring before him urged him to do something. But yet, he couldn't even lift a single finger. He was completely at the mercy of his assailtants, even as the sceptile approached him, and it angered and frustrated him to no end.

Styx knelt down in front of Shawn. "I'm supposed to tell you that I'll be forced to kill all of you if you step foot back in Kanto. And if, after today, you went back home to Sinnoh to hide, I wouldn't blame you." He paused and closed his eyes. "But what I want to tell you, neither me nor Legion are permitted to say. However, it wasn't said that I couldn't show you."

The sceptile's eyes were consumed by an eerie blue as he reached out to grab Shawn's head. The same color filled his vision before everything went black.

Flashes of memory began to run through his mind. They weren't his memories, however. They were from a different perspective, a different body. A pokemon's body. Styx's body. It was all so very quick he fought to keep up with it all. He wasn't sure how he managed.

At first, he was a treecko in a lab, everything seemed fun and innocent, nobody knew the truth, and the scientists were nice and nurturing. He, his sister, and others were there. They were all tested and examined, but it felt normal. This was his life, why would it feel wrong? Then they took his sister when she evolved. And then they took him.

Other scientists, ones who were callous and indifferent, experimented on him. Pokemon invaded his mind, twisting and contorting it. Pain... pain was all he could remember as he developed abilities his species was not meant to have. The pain was always lingering, always there, forever at the edge of his thoughts. He mostly adapted to it.

He was a prototype and he was trained for stealth, assassination, and brutal combat, all just to test what he was capable of. He could not resist or fight back, their tinkering prevent him. Eventually, he was bound to one man, one trainer.

Shawn felt his stomach, his real stomach, churn when he saw Cole's face in the memories.

The memories continued. He watched from another perspective as he and his old team broke into the deeper parts of the lab. He watched as his past self slipped away while Kyle and Styx fought, the former coming out on top. And then all there was searing heat, searing noise, and searing chaos. Mewtwo escaped and demolished everything in his path.

Styx barely survived.

The recollection ended and he suddenly had a skyview of Goldenrod City. It followed the roads north to Ecruteak before going west to Olivine. It followed a trail across the seas, back to Kanto, and to Fuchisia. And from there, back to sea to Cinnabar Island. The view zoomed in to one man on the island. An eldery, bald man who, despite his age, still seemed to be going strong.

Then there was blackness.

"Help us."

And Shawn passed out.



Sooo, Sonya... My first Nuzlocke catch ever, not including picking a starter, and, even to this day, was among the most badass. She's fiesty in-plot, sure, but she had the in-game credentials to back it up. She only ever once dropped down to red HP. And it took crithax from the ghostly Marowak to do it. All other times? Whenever I sent her out, she destroyed the opposition, regardless of what it was. Granted, I never pitted her in a bad match-up, like a Geodude, but she wrecked otherwise. So her behavior and ego weren't me just wanting to write a fiesty bird or reflect her Adamant nature, she was actually pretty downright awesome in-game and that's what I was reflecting.

So, what happened then? After some of the mid-game stuff, I got confused and couldn't remember where I was to go next. I figured I needed to go to the Safari Zone stuff to open up Silph Co. Which was a good idea anyway, as I'd discover later when I met the levels of those trainers. So, I went to Cycling Road to XP grind. Rusty and Sonya were both close to leveling, so I had them out battling everything, Rusty facing down the abundant Poison-types and Sonya one-shotting all of the Fighting types on the route. Machop? Machamp? All OHKOed.

Until it suddenly didn't. Against Zeek's Machoke, Sonya knocked it down to a sliver of health, barely even visible. And how did it respond? Revenge. Revenge is base 60 power move that doubles to 120 if the user was damaged that turn. Now add Fighting-STAB to that and we're up to base power 180, stronger than a non-STABed Hyper Beam.

And it scored a critical hit.

Sonya was immediately one-shotted from full health. One turn she was practically invincible, the next turn she was dead, and I had no reason to have even suspected that could have been possible since this was a Machoke and she had been one-shotting Machamps without breaking a sweat. Only thing I can think of is that Sonya's chance to OHKO was something like 95%+ on Machokes and she finally rolled low.

I remember putting the game down at this point for a long time. Sonya was such an integral part of my team that, when I continued, the rest of the run didn't feel the same. And I was a good few chapters into Fractured Actuality at the time, in which Sonya had been hogging the spotlight. So the second half of that story also ended up feeling different too.

Spearow I had knew they were kinda weak until they evolved, so every battle with Lucy was a risk. Same with Diglett since they're one of the most fragile Pokemon in the series, so as much as while Tristan's quick death sucked, it wasn't unsurprising. And Cedric had been losing steam pretty hard and I was already considering swapping him out since I didn't think he'd make it to end game. It just happened sooner than I anticipipated because I screwed up.

Sonya though? She was supposed to either make it to the end or be one of the last standing between me and a team wipe. And I guess, all these years later, it still bugs me. I mean, look at how much I wrote when the other deaths didn't get so much attention in the notes. I suppose while we all remember losing our first Pokemon shortly after catching them or similar, it's the first one who was integral to the team that sticks the most.


As dark and sad as this chapter is, I'm actually really quite happy I managed to make Shawn's memories of Evelyn's death line up with this chapter. You see, most of Shawn's memories are from Chapter 36 of Fractured Actuality, with a few taken from a couple of other tidbits. I've cleaned them up and, in a few cases, added or removed content. Or in the instance of Chapter 11, mostly rewrote it save for some dialogue.

Thing is though, I didn't plan this way. My original outline puts Stolen Dreams at around 46 chapters and we would have been on Chapter... 25ish at this point in the story, which would have been close to the end of the chain of memories I was planning on using at the time. I had just been kinda dropping them in chronological order regardless of how well they worked with the chapter, so Evelyn would have dropped... around Rock Tunnel I think. But that was before I cut out huge chunks of unnecessary characters, plot threads, events, and a large number of chapters wholesale. (I mean, I had not one, but two chapters that were both literally expositional bus rides. COME ON PAST ME!!!)

Fortunately, thanks to a little last minute planning and restructuring, I managed to make it work like this insetad and I think it works a heck of a lot better than my initial plans!
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #16
Was Thursday really the last repost? :( I need to pay more attention to the date.


The Sinnovian Global Transit System was a massive building. Shawn had always wondered why until he got around to looking it up himself, only to discover that the building not only connected the regional internet to other regional internets, but was also the backbone for Sinnoh's internet. Add in the sheer amount of people who came by daily to utilize the services for business, transporting goods, or just contacting loved ones, the size began to make more sense.

Shawn was here to pick up his end of a trade. Pokemon were often shuffled around across regions this way too, and only willingly as well according to the law, and requests were often listed for visitors. One list item from a girl (or at least he assumed they were a girl), going by the name of Tsuki41, had expressed that she really wanted a buizel. She found them utterly cute, but they weren't native to Hoenn.

Meanwhile Shawn had captured one in consideration of creating a back-up team he could rotate to increase his group's overall flexibility. But, after a little bit of training, the otter decided it did not want to battle. This was well-timed with the visit to the GTS as not only could the buizel visit warmer regions it had expressed interest in, but also live a much more sedated life.

The catch though was Shawn was going to get a pokemon, a bagon, Tsuki41 claimed she was having too much trouble handling. To the point she insisted Shawn had send proof that he could handle and take care of it properly. Transferring trainer credentials, and proof of his League progress, took some time. But, eventually, she approved and now he was here hoping the bagon had finally arrived.

Arriving at the terminal, Shawn presented his pokedex, and the I.D. stored within, and found the pokemon had indeed arrived. With a soft white glow, a pokeball materialized in the device's repository. "Okay guys. Someone be ready to restrain him if she's as bad as he claims. I'm hoping she's exaggerating but... let's not take chances of someone getting bit."

With a click of the release mechanism, a short, blue, bipedal reptile with a gray helmet materialized. It glanced around for a moment before sizing up Shawn. "So, you're the new trainer? Don't look like much. I suppose you won't be able to handle me either."

"Oh really?" Anya huffed and raised an skeptical eye. "And what's your name, Mr. Tough Guy?"

The bagon puffed his chest proudly and grinned. "The name's Antares! I'm the most badass bagon north of the Petalburg Woods. I'm sure you've heard of me."

The luxray diminished his pride with a laugh. "Nope, can't say I have. Can't say I've heard of those woods either."

"Why you..!" Antares rushed at the lioness, but was stopped in place when Mayra placed her hand on his head and held him back. He turned and swung wildly at her, but his arms were too short and he wasn't strong enough to break from her grip. "Come on, I'll take you both on! Right now!"

The nidoqueen shifted some more of her weight into her palm, which finally forced the bagon to stop. "Okay, that's enough out of you. Keep it up and I'll punt you back to Hoenn."

The dragon growled in response, but only fought back with a smoldering stare. He then shouted in surprised when he was tackled to the ground and viciously snuggled by a certain azumaril.

"Hi hi! I'm Midori! I'm so happy to meet you!" She tittered happily and the bagon fought to escape, but he might as well have been trying to wrestle a truck. "We're going to be the bestest of friends!"

Shawn snickered at Antares' suffering. "Now I see why Tsuki said you were a handful. Oh, Midori, let him go for a moment? I think you're strangling him." He kneeled down closer as the little dragon caught its breath. "But seriously, you see how you're no match for my team right now? Work with us and I promise not only will you get strong enough to match, but you'll also get a much better title than you gave yourself."

Antares gave an annoyed gaze to his new trainer. "And what would be better? Being called an azumaril's teddy bear?"

"How would you like to be the most badass salamence in all of Sinnoh?" That got the pokemon's attention. "We're going after the League and we don't really plan on winning anything less than the championship. So, how about it?"

Antares stared at him long and hard for at least a full minute. Finally, the bagon cracked a toothy grin and extended a hand, which Shawn took. "Deal."



* * *

Shawn woke up with a jerk to the soft patter of a drizzle. His limbs and body finally responded to his commands and he slowly pushed himself up onto his knees. Dreams swam through his head among a pool of visions that were not his own. He closed his eyes and shook his head to clear them and try to focus on reality. As he got his bearings, he discovered was right where he had been left: face down in the grass and dirt.

"Guys...?" He looked around uncertainly as he sat up. He immediately froze when he found the team around one body. "Sonya!"

He threw himself up onto his feet and half ran, half stumbled to the fallen bird, his team making room for him. They said something, but he didn't hear them as he inspected Sonya's body. Her eyes were glassy, lifeless, and the front of her neck was missing, leaving only torn flesh behind. He wrapped his arms around her form and hugged her close to his chest.

Shawn wanted to say something. He wanted to give an apology, a eulogy, ask why she did it, ask why she was the one taken, and so many other things. The sheer number of words rushing through his mind silenced him and, instead, he remained there quietly with his fallen friend.

A hand placed itself on his shoulder and he turned to meet Alex eye to eye. She was quiet for a moment. "It was going to be one of us. There was nothing any of us could have done. She at least got to try."

"I know..." The trainer allowed a few more minutes to drift by before he relaxed his grip and looked into the pidgeot's face for one more moment. Taking a breath, he looked up and fumbled a few moments in his mind in what to say next to his team. "Guys, listen to me. If you have any concerns, any doubts, anything you need to say about staying with the team, or anything else, now's the time. Even if I go run back to Sinnoh, I get the feeling sticking with me isn't going to be safe."

Rusty nodded. "We know, bro. That lizard showed us the same visions too. We saw everythin' you did when you passed out."

"And Holly confirmed it. And shared everything she has been through..." Fang stopped and shook his head. "That such a thing can even be done to someone..."

Shawn glanced at Holly quizzically and the sandslash nodded. "I told them everything I knew while you were out. The experiments, the tampering with my mind, everything. They were not pleased..."

"To think Cole was doin' all this the whole time... I knew him for years." The blastoise clenched his fists, turned his gaze downward, and started to shudder. "I thought that dude was a good guy, ya know? We played together and everythin' and he turned out to be... to be..."

Alex sidled up to the tortoise and put a hand on one his arm. "Relax, it's okay. You didn't know. Nobody did."

Shawn closed his eyes and listened for a moment. Not to the sound, but to the swirl of emotions from his team. Anger, sorrow, shock, determination, acceptance... So much of it matched what he was feeling too. To have one of the largest fires on his team snuffed ou was crushing, but he knew, this time he absolutely knew, he could not let it beat him down. He would have to privately mourn as they went.

"I'm confident that, if I drop everything and run, they'll realize their mistake of leaving me alive. They'll realize I could talk to Interpol about this and they'll try to silence me, even if I go back to Sinnoh." Holding Sonya close, Shawn climbed onto his feet and glared up at the overcast, drizzly skies. "So, I'm going to Cinnabar since this needs to stop. I don't know what I'll do, but that's where answers will be. And if this is some sort of elaborate trap... then Cole's an idiot for not killing me the easy way."

He returned his gaze to his team. "I think I can already feel the answer from you guys, but I'm gonna ask anyway. It'll be dangerous if you come with me, so if you'd rather stay safe, I have no objections towards releasing you, whether in the wild or finding other trainers and caretakers. I'll understand completely and I won't try to change your mind."

The sandslash shook her head. "We have already been over this, Shawn, while you were out. We are in accord about going. Whether she meant to or not, Sonya sacrificed herself for us, so not to do so would be a waste of her life." The others nodded while sandslash paused and frowned. "Plus, you do know I have my own bone to pick."

Rusty crossed his arms. "And I just wanna know from Cole... why?"

Shawn shuddered as he felt emotion, his own emotion, rush through his back and spine. In spite of everything that had happened, he managed to smile. "Thank you. Seriously, I just... thank you. We'll head to Olivine City in a day or two. I still need to go to the GTS. And..." He looked down at the pidgeot he was clutching to his chest. "We need to make sure she's buried respectfully."

* * *

The wilderness northwest of Saffron City was a place you weren't supposed to go. It was on the edge of dangerous territory that Kanto had been trying, and failing, to reclaim for years. This area was a buffer zone. You would probably be fine visiting it, sure. But only probably. Sometimes things from the old world broke from their regular patrol paths and, if you happened to be out here when they did, your odds of sudden death skyrocketed.

That's probably why this meeting was taking place here. Arianna had done her work trying to smooth over the mess and accusations thrown at Rocket Science and Research. She was good at her job and was expertly deflecting all controversy away from the group proper. Of course, investigations were going on into her claims that the researchers had truly gone rogue on Cinnabar, but, at worst, she had bought time.

Silph, however, had certainly caught notice of the PR ploys and, oddly, the company's president, Mr. Fuji himself, absolutely insisted on meeting Cole almost immediately. Cole would have ignored the request had there not been an inclusion of a veiled threat of exposure.

So, here he was, by himself, meeting one of the most powerful men in all of Kanto. A man who, on the surface, appeared to be sweet and caring with the wellbeing of all people and pokemon as his first concern. Anyone who really knew him, however, understood he was am ambitious, clever, and ruthless business man. And, while not a politician himself, he had his hands in Kanto's government and his money was definitely pulling some of the strings that held the region together.

Four ultra balls on his belt, two occupied, Cole approached the meeting location: a small, ornate set of ruins in, what he understood from old world texts, something that had been "classical greek style". He had no idea was a greek was, but those buildings apparently liked their white stone and columns. The building itself, however was collapsed and the evidence of some sort of park being here was mostly erased by time. Even then, had this place not been so dangerous, it no doubt would have been one heck of a tourist attraction. Maybe even restored.

Today though, in front of the building, a fancy table had been set-up and, on it, an expensive tea set. One chair was vacant. The other held a well-dressed man. Certainly not the attire of someone who had hiked through woods and fields to get here. He was far too clean and immaculate looking for this setting.

Fuji was always about appearances, so he guessed he shouldn't be surprised. Still though, all of this still pricked his suspicion. It was a good thing he already had a contingency plan in place.

The elderly man's face lit up as the trainer entered the clearing and he stood up to greet him. "Ah, Cole, it is good to see you finally arrived! I was a tad bit worried there that you might have trouble finding the location, my good sir!"

The trainer approached the table and stopped behind the seat. "Fuji."

"Now, now, no need for such droll manners! We are both friends here having a private meeting in a secluded area. Take a seat, sir, and let us conduct business!" Cole did so and the older man beamed. "Ah, good, very good. Now, I have my finest brew here. Would you like one sugar or-"

"Cut the crap, Fuji. I don't know why you think I'm going to fall for your facade." The Silph president was stunned from the commentary, which let Cole give him a wry smile. "Corporate espionage is a bitch."

Fuji's friendly demeanor melted away into a much more serious expression. He lowered the teapot and half-poured glass and did not offer the latter. "Very well, if you'd rather conduct business as criminals, so be it. I can play your game too. Or any game, really. You don't make it to my position by being a poor player."

That got an eyebrow raise. "What the hell are you talking about? I mean, I guess I should expect you're up to something since we're way out here in the wilderness rather than a fancy restaurant or something. But I don't know what you're trying to hide or imply."

"Oh, we both have our secrets, Cole." Fuji clasped his hands together, placed his elbows on the table, and leaned his head onto his fist. "Well, let's say... did have secrets. After all, corporate espionage is a bitch, hm?"

Cole felt ice flow through his veins at those words. However, he crossed his arms and kept his poker face. "...and?"

Fuji stood up, stepped away from the table to face the ruined building, and gestured widely to it with one hand. "Behold, the accomplishments of our ancestors. All of their great works are either in ruins or sit in our museums. The dead are nothing but tourist attractions. All of that could be averted if they just had... better control of their creations."

He turned back around and clasped his hands behind his back. "Oh I know you know the truth behind pokemon. Created by man as weapons of war to fight in their stead. But oh, in their hubris, the creations turned on them and the resulting war was The Cataclysm. The leadership of both sides were dead and the survivors sought to erase the bad blood. Most don't know the truth, it's hard to learn when the knowledge is stricken from even the secret history books, after all. But I know you found them."

"Yeah, so, you heard of my research into the old world and exploring the uninhabitable regions, so what? Nothing came of that except a lot of people getting mauled by feral pokemon and a lesson from history that, turns out, we've been following the whole time."

Fuji laughed and shook his head. "You don't get it Cole, do you? I know you found more than that. Those secret labs under Cinnabar? Your Mewtwo project? Those... monsters in Mt. Moon and Rock Tunnel were no coincidence, after all. You've messed up and the whole world is about to be breathing down your neck. Well... assuming you get to keep that neck of yours."

Cole said nothing as the older man walked over to him, stood next to his chair, and smiled down at him. "You see, Cole, Kanto is in... a rough position. We have fish, forests, and farmland. We either isolate ourselves into poverty or we accept aid from other regions and let them turn our homes into their factories. Dirt farmers or slaves. Silph... we truly seek to rise above that. We've done research into the sigilyph and we can finally create them, control them. We cannot make their weapons yet, however, but that's only a matter of time. Oh, but surely we can do better!"

Fuji stepped around back to his chair and sat down. "This is where you come in. All you have to do is turn over everything you know, all of your research. Bring us Mewtwo. We have the means, after all." He reached underneath the table and produced a small case. The box was turned to face Cole before it was opened and, on a velvet pillow, sat a white and purple ball with two pink circles and a 'M' written on the top. "We know you were looking for this. The ball that could capture pokemon without fail, something not even our ancestors could create. We're not done with the prototypes, but a field trial is in order, don't you think?"

He closed the case and smiled. "All you need to do is bring us Mewtwo and all of your research. Rocket Science and Research will be disbanded and merged into Silph Co. You can have whatever position you want short of my own. Your slate will be wiped clean and my connections will ensure not even Interpol will find enough evidence to bring you to a court."

"...and if I refuse?"

"Cole, you wound me to even ask such a thing! And I think the result would be... quite obvious." The wind echoed hollowly as Fuji smiled sinisterly. "You won't walk away from this meeting. All of your dirty secrets will be exposed for the whole world. Your colleagues will be arrested and your family discredited and shamed as our girl Arianna reveals everything." Cole froze. "Oh... did I give her away? Whoops. Oh well, I suppose it doesn't matter at this stage since the game is over."

Fuji took a sip of his tea and smiled. "Let's put it simply: you either take the money or you take the bullets."

Cole frowned in response. "I always knew you were a total slimeball beneath the surface, Fuji. But hell, I didn't think you were a warmonger too. I mean, trying to recreate the same damn weapons that nearly wiped out civilization in a bid to... what? Conquer Johto? Steal Sinnoh's natural resources? Whatever, it doesn't matter. You're just starting the same crap all over again. It's time I take the third option."

"You don't have a third option, Cole."

The trainer grinned. "Think again." He whistled loudly.

There was silence for a few moments before two well-dressed security guards were dragged out of the foliage. A blue, aquatic-canine vaporeon brought in one while a golden, vulpine ninetales brought in the other. Fuji tried to scramble back out of his chair as Cole stood up and opened one of his ultra balls to release a floating, three-headed black dragon: a hydreigon.

"For starters, know your pokemon. Those sigilyph and junk you wanna make? Those were only second generation pokemon. Most of the ones running around the wild, running around the League, or, heck, being your lap dog are descendents of third generation pokemon. It only takes a little bit of breeding and tweaking to get them back into the same level their ancestors were, like Tartarus here." He patted the hydreigon, who simply growled at Fuji as he tried to scramble backwards.

"Mewtwo? Lemme tell you a secret about Mewtwo. There's a fourth generation of pokemon that were basically super weapons. You know those myths about the zapdos at the power plant? Yeah, that'd be a fourth gen. Towards the end of the old world, they started in a fifth generation, one supposed to be even stronger and without the loyalty issues because they weren't made or bred from scratch. They made humans into pokemon. Some were volunteers. Some... not so much. Either way, Mewtwo is gen five."

He stopped in front of Fuji. "Second, you wanna know what else I found out there in the ruins of the old world? You wanna know what my friends died learning? Arceus. That thing ain't some myth about a pokemon god seeking to kill humanity in the old world. It's freaking real. There's too many buried records about it, reports, all dating back to The Cataclysm. It was a weapon created by some extinct nation to curb stomp their rivals. But instead, it turned on humanity, turned pokemon on humanity, and nearly wiped us out."

He took another step forward and rested his arms and head on his knee. "And you know what? They didn't kill it. They did some sealing bullshit to it, locked it away in something called the Entralink. And everything I found shows that seal isn't holding. I don't know how long we got. Days? Months? Years? It's gonna be soon when Arceus gets free and, this time, we're not prepared. I've not been making weapons to fight a war on our neighbors. I'm trying to stop a second apocalypse. But no, I have greedy assholes like you wanting to repeat the same damn mistakes and shortsighted idiots trying to sabotage me."

Fuji was silent for several moments. "Look, look, I'm sorry about the threats. I can help you! Help me help you! We can make Kanto great and we can stop your Arceus when he comes back and-"

He was silenced into writhing and groaning in pain by a swift kick between the legs. "No. You're a snake who can't be trusted. I only told you all of this because..." Cole closed his eyes, gritted his teeth, and then opened them again with new determination. "Monsters like you are too dangerous to leave alive. Best case, your greed is going to get a lot of people killed pointlessly. More likely, you're going to get angry at me and get in my way. And there's too much at stake for anyone to get in my way. Yeah, some people are gonna suffer because me, but damn it, it's better than the whole world getting killed off."

Cole turned away. "Tartarus. Take care of him."

The dragon lurched forward and the trainer ignored the pleas, the screams, the ripping, and the tearing as he went back to the table. He picked up the case, opened it, and inspected the ball inside. It looked to be genuine.

"Come on guys, we have a mole to take care of."


* * *

The Johto GTS was actually smaller than the one in Sinnoh. Granted, it might have been an illusion from it competing against the neighboring radio tower since the Sinnovian building was stand alone. Either way, it was a crowded place and Shawn was forced to recall his team to be admitted entry.

They had stopped to take care of Sonya by turning her over to a Pokemon Center. Sadly, the local laws meant he didn't have a say in how her body was handled. The nurses eyed him suspiciously when he explained a fabrication of an accident, but the dour expressions from him and his team kept them from doing anything else. Either way, it had been a heart-wrenchingly uneventful moment.

So here, hours later, he was getting into a private booth to hopefully find something, anything he could use. Shawn sat down at the terminal, fussed with having to recover his credentials since the license on his Pokedex was a temporary, and eventually logged in. His first instinct was to check the pokemon but... no, save it for last. Once he got to that, he'd forget to handle all the other business he needed to attend to.

First step, recovering his license and syncing his pokedex with his cloud-saved data. Or, well, merging it with that he had now since he did not want to lose access to the Kantonian TMs he had downloaded. It didn't take long and he soon pulled up his license.

Sinnovian trainer, eight badges acquired. Rank: Sinnovian League Senior Division Champion, Master Division Finalist.

His breath caught in his throat. That... that a hell of some accomplishments to forget. It'd also explain his instincts and training. Sure, he hadn't battled much with his team, but there really should have been no way a, who had started out for the first time in Pallet, would have a perfect Kantonian streak except for a loss to a kakuna in Viridian Forest.

Shawn moved to check other things. His finances were well beyond solid. His family wealth and, he assumed, accomplishments in the League saw he'd be fine. He did have a couple of charges from a pokemon care center as well, which caused him to raise an eye.

The email was next. Most of it was business. A few messages from friends and family back home who he debated on replying to until settling for generic responses. The last one, however, caught his eye.

<format text here>Hey Shawn, it's Sarah!

Been a while since I heard from you! But, can I ask a favor of you? One of Jasmine's pups, Rigel, is too full of energy. We tried letting him evolve into a jolteon to help, but it worked some, but he gets way too excited when he hears stories about you training and really wants to go on an adventure with you. I know you have a full team, but maybe you can figure something out?

I've sent him over to you, hopefully you'll get this soon. But if you can't, or won't, take him, just send him back and we'll figure something out. Just... don't give him away or anything, please! I know you want but... you know me, always gotta ask! But if you do take him... I demand pictures ASAP! Seriously, he can be a handful, but he's freaking adorable. You'll see!

Hope everything's going well over there, I know Kanto sucks with you being cut off from the rest of the world. Meanwhile, nothing new since my last email. Well, unless you count Sirius chewing up one of my contest dresses as something you want to hear about.

...anyway, you got things to do and I know the GTS charges per the minute or whatever evil money sucking scheme they've come up now, so I'll stop here. Looking forward to seeing you back in Sinnoh where you belong next year!"<format>

Shawn bit his lip. Oh, why did his sister have to send him a pokemon? Especially with this timing? It'd hardly be fair to put what sounded like a young jolteon in a dangerous situation. Yet... with the way things sounded, it'd hardly be fair to deny him his dreams to.

He sighed. Something to address once he was done here. For now, he switched to the pokemon view and caught his breath. There were two pokemon in there. Heart thudding, he moused over the first icon and Rigel's information showed up. He moved to the second one and stared in disbelief.

It was Mayra. She was alive. God, she was alive!

He immediately put in a request to withdraw. Nothing appeared immediately, so he guessed that the care center charges were her and Rigel being kept at such a place since long term digital storage was considered abuse. Shawn got up from the chair and paced back and forth, waiting as the minutes crawled on by.

Finally, an electric noise caught his attention and the terminal's receptacle formed two balls. One ball was pure white with a red line in it's center. He didn't recognize it, so it must have been Rigel's ball. The other had a green and yellow camouflage-patterned top. He immediately recognized it and took it. Rigel could wait.

Shawn opened the ball and, in a flash of green light a blue, mouse-like reptilian pokemon materialized in front of him. The nidoqueen appeared facing away. Her ears twitched and she turned quickly. Mayra stared at him for a long moment. She huffed, started to sniff, and tears welled in her eyes.

His first pokemon threw herself into him, burying her head into her chest and wrapping him in a tight embrace.



So, as you might have guessed, Rigel is the Eevee from Celadon City. I evolved him immediately and tore into the Game Corner to grind him out Thunderbolt, along with useful moves for other teammates like Shadow Ball for Fang. I elected for Jolteon since it covered Water-types, who I couldn't really hurt well, and a bonus way of dealing with Flying-types. Having to face down a Gyarados on rival battles also helped. As I got him before Erika, I still had Sonya for Grass-types and, with her out of the way, there really wasn't any major battles I could use a Flareon in. Vaporeon... well, I have Blastoise, so nothing needs to be said there.

Mayra, meanwhile, was actually one of my latest catches, down in the Safari Zone. I wasn't enthused to get such a common Pokemon from the Safari Zone and she went right to the box since Sonya didn't die until I went back to Cycling Road to clear the other trainers. When I came back after recovering from her death, I went through my options and decided she'd be the best, and most convenient, replacement. Nidoqueen is a strong Pokemon and, with a Moonstone on hand and another long trip to the slots, she had an amazing moveset right off the start (Shadow Ball, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, and Dig).

In the next chapter, gonna cover at least Sabrina and Koga in the notes. And Silph Co. too. Technically Cole's part of the story here is the stand-in for Silph Co, but still, you have to wait!


I really enjoyed writing evil Mr. Fuji. He was just... so much fun! Shame I couldn't use him more in the story. He would have made a fantastic long term villain, I think. Enough that I kinda wished I had planned things a little differently so he could have been the big bad of the story. Oh well, I'll definitely have to keep him in mind for future stories, see if I could maybe adapt him into a new villain.
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #17
And with this, we have the last normal chapter to be reposted! ...okay, I still gotta repost the chapter written by a bot, so don't hold your breaths quite yet! But hey, if you only care about the normal, serious story, then this chapter will catch you all the way back up without having to touch the darkness that lurks within Taptalk.



After months of training, hard work, and brutal complaining from a shelgon, Antares had finally evolved into a salamence. And, to be honest, Shawn was fairly confident he had never seen a pokemon so ecstatic to finally reach their final form. Heck, for a while he had started to believe Antares was never going to come down from the sky. But eventually, he finally returned to the earth.

So, it was time to stop walking and start flying. A bit of training, some purchasing of some gear, and a flight suit was all they needed for Shawn to start second guessing his decision. That didn't stop him from bringing his dragon out to a field, however.

"I'm still surprised you actually agreed to this," Shawn remarked as he strapped the saddle to Antares' back. "In fact, in hindsight, I think I'm kind of scared that you did agree."

The dragon roared with a deep and throaty laugh. "There's a reason why I told you to get the saddle first."

His trainer paused and stared at the salemence for a moment. "So why do you think I'm afraid to go through with this now?"

Antares laughed again while Shawn shook his head. He then shut out the quips and double checked his work to make sure everything was in place. Each strap needed to be secure, every buckle locked down. No loose ends, no untied bits, nothing. One mistake could be lethal.

So he triple checked it.

Finally, he hesitantly climbed onto the dragon's back and secured himself to the saddle. The system was complicated, but he had gone over it on the floor several times to make sure he had it down pat. After all, even if he had a parachute with him, he still didn't want to take a sky dive.

"Hey, try shaking me off real quick." Shawn instantly regretted his request. Sure, he stayed in place no problem, but being thrown off probably would have been more pleasant experience. "Okay! Okay! Stop! Sheesh, my head is spinning now..."

The salamence glanced over his shoulder innocently. "All I did was do what you asked."

"Yeah, yeah... Look, let's just get this over with before I regret ever thinking this was a good idea." It was probably too late for that, but he needed to convince himself otherwise.

Stretching out his wings, Antares flapped them experimentally a few times. He then crouched low and leapt into the air with a massive push of his wings. Dirt and debris billowed out from them as they rapidly took flight and, even from Antares' back, Shawn could still feel the powerful gusts from those wings. Fortunately, those powerful wings were easily lifting them higher and higher from safety below.

"See? Nice and easy," the dragon remarked with a hint of smugness.

"Please keep it that way." Shawn nervously glanced down at the ground some couple of dozen feet below. "I'm already afraid of heights as is."

The dragon chuckled deeply. "Oh, I'll fix that!"

"I really do not like the so-" Shawn was cut off when Antares suddenly jerked upwards and forward. The salamence pumped his wings furiously to gain altitude and showed no signs of wanting to go lower. "Do we have to go so high?"

"The air currents down here are too weak for me to soar on. If you want me to get anywhere without exhausting myself then we have to go high. Very high," Antares shouted back as they continued to climb.

Shawn gulped as they rapidly approached the low hanging clouds but, fortunately, they leveled out before getting there. Antares spread out his wings and Shawn could feel things smooth out into a soar as he caught an updraft. If it weren't for the speed they were moving, and the swarm of butterflies that had taken residence in his gut, it'd be almost pleasant.

"We're so high up!" He really wished he hadn't given into the temptation to look over back at the ground. Being in the open air made this way more terrifying than being in a plane.

The dragon glanced over his shoulder again. "Still scared of heights?"

"Extremely!" Another laugh. "Seriously, not funny! My heart is thudding!"

"Then I'm not trying hard enough! Mark my words: you're not going to fear the skies by the time we touch down again!" Antares turned the side... and kept turning. Soon they were upside down and the dragon was going faster and faster...

"Oh god!" Shawn slammed his eyes shut in hopes that it might block out the world tumbling around him. It didn't. "I seriously think... I'm about to lose my... oh god!"

Antares roared in laughter.



* * *

"And that's as far as I remember right now. It's coming back over time, mostly in order for some reason, but I still don't know what happened on Cinnabar."

They were still in the private GTS booth and had been for... Shawn wasn't really sure now. After sharing the whole story of what had happened since they last met he was sure he was overstaying his time limit but... screw it, he could be charged extra or whatever. At this moment, he didn't really care.

He was here with the pokemon he had raised from an egg and provided care and guidance for her entire life. They were family. Heck, he was practically her father. The bond between them ran deep and, even as a weak empath, he could tell they were at depths unlike any he had ever achieved with other pokemon.

"And I wasn't there for it either." The nidoqueen wiped her reddened eyes once again. "Maybe things would have gone differently had I been there. Gone better. Based on what I've heard I know it wouldn't but- but..."

Shawn squeezed Mayra again as the sobs returned and her emotions flooded into him. Emotions that he had felt when Looker broke the news, emotions of wounds torn open and rubbed raw. He felt everything she did deeply and, in return, she did the same. He knew, they both knew, that the mutual reassurances that they were both still alive was the only thing keeping each other from breaking back down.

"Turns out it was good you did back out. You're alive, we're alive, and that's what matters at the moment. We're still here."

The pokemon nodded slowly and he felt the sensations before she even voiced them. "I still have so much regret. The argument, feeling like I was being a coward despite all the justifications I gave myself. It was the right call. But-" She took a breath, held it to steady herself, and exhaled slowly. "You don't plan for the last time you see your family, but I'm going to hate my last memories forever."

Shawn was silent for a moment. "Honestly, as much as I want to remember those events, I'm afraid to for exactly that reason. I'm going to recall leading everyone into danger." It was his turn to keep himself calm and he bit his lip to do so. "But there's always going to have been something we could have done better. I hate to say it, but I don't think we can afford to dwell."

Mayra opened her eyes and regarded him for a moment. Her jaw clenched and he felt the fire starting to ignite in her veins. Shawn focused on keeping his own blood cool in the hopes it'd keep Mayra calmer.

"I don't care who that cat man is or how powerful he is, I'm going to break Mewtwo's jaw when we meet again. And that's if he's lucky."

"...and if he's unlucky?"

"I'm going to rip off his arm and beat him to death with it." Shawn felt a chill at the seriousness in her words. "He'd probably deserve something slower for taking our family, but I don't think I have the patience."

"I... I understand, completely." It was scary how familiar those emotions were to him and, he hoped, Mayra was picking up on that fear. "But I don't want to repeat my mistake. I beelined for him once and I was almost left for dead in a cave, saved only by some fluke pokemon intervening. Whatever we do about him, we need to be careful and plan things out. That and probably go to Cinnabar first so we can figure out what the heck a plan might even be."

"Right, you said that." The nidoqueen picked up the white pokeball, Rigel's, and held it between the two of them. "But are you sure you wanna bring this guy along with us? He's super excited about going on an adventure and kept asking me non-stop about you. He helped me cope, yeah, but I'm not sure we ought to be bringing him on a trip that's likely to kill him."

"That'll be entirely up to him." Shawn sighed. "I want to just straight up say no to him. And to you and everyone else." He paused for a deep breath. "But I'm going to need the help, I hate to admit, and it'll help everyone's odds of making it through if he does want to come along." He slumped back a bit. "Plus, maybe we might need someone who's not lost their friends and family to help keep spirits up."

She nodded. "I guess we better get it over with then. Are we doing the meet and greet here or...?"

Her trainer shook his head. "No, not really enough room in here. Let's go get a hotel room. We can get everyone up to speed and figure out plans from there."

They got Shawn's stuff together and, after paying for the time in the booth, exited the GTS together. The weather was still wet and a distant rumble of thunder promised more rain was on the way. Fortunately, Mayra remembered a nearby hotel they had rented a room at in the past, so the threat of seeking accommodations in the rain was short lived.

A while later, they were stumbling into a hotel room large enough to accommodate himself and a small team of pokemon. Seems like he had done is his research in the past on where to stay and he was happy Mayra remembered it. Shawn was all too eager to ditch his wet, muddy clothing for clean ones while the nidoqueen grabbed a towel to dry herself off.

"Okay, you ready?" the trainer asked Mayra once he was changed. "I'm thinking it'd probably be best to release everyone except Rigel first. If he's as energetic as you say then I think they're going to need a moment to prepare considering... everything that's happened."

She nodded and dropped down into one of the several chairs in the room. "I was going to suggest that. I don't think I can get any more ready, so go for it."

Shawn unclipped the balls on his belt and hit the release mechanisms. Traces of still raw emotions impacted him immediately as they materialized in the center of the room. He let them get their bearings for a moment. "Guys, I at least have some good news. I'd like you to meet Mayra."

The four pokemon turned to the nidoqueen Shawn indicated to. There were not any smiles on either side. Granted, he knew it wasn't from animosity. But, considering everything that everyone had gone through today, he wasn't really expecting a lot of happiness.

"So, you're Mayra," Alex was first to say while walking up to the nidoqueen.

"I am."

The primeape seemed to size her up for a moment. "I always expected you to be bigger. Like... ten feet tall with how everyone talks about nidokings and stuff."

The seated pokemon couldn't help but crack half a grin and flick the tip of her tail. "No, most of us are actually shorter than humans. But don't worry, I get that a lot. Not as much as charizards do, but people still don't realize me and my kin average about four to five feet tall."

"Huh. Well, I'm Alex by the way. It's nice to meet you." Shawn noticed that she didn't have her usual exuberance at meeting a new teammate, however.

"Rusty."

"Fang."

"Holly."

Nor did the rest of them.

There was a moment of silence that threatened to turn awkward as neither side was entirely sure what to say. Finally, Mayra broke the ice. "Look, I'm not expecting you all to be excited to see me or anything. Shawn told me what happened today and, trust me, I know how you are feeling right now."

The blastoise nodded and slumped slightly. "Yeah, just gimmie a day or two, sis. I take it Shawn told you everythin' about what we're gonna do?" The nidoqueen nodded. "And I guess you bein' here means you're on board with that?"

"Trust me, I am very on board with that." She clenched her fists and her thrashing tail tip sent a nearby lamp sliding across its table. "Right now, I want to beat Cole to death with his own skull."

Shawn winced from the anger flash and tried to focus on calming thoughts for a moment to get her relaxed again. "We have another who may or may not be on board with us though." He held up Rigel's pure white pokeball. "My sister sent me a jolteon who apparently wanted to go on an adventure with me, but neither of them know what's going on. I want to just say no but... we also need the help."

"You think this is a good time for that?" Fang twitched his tail nervously. "I mean I guess if you had just met me and explained things I might have still been eager. But- but now I'm kinda seeing things from a new direction for the first time."

Holly shrugged. "I say we leave it to their choice. We explain what is going on and let them decide what they want to do."

"I say let him pick, bro."

Alex crossed her arms and stared at the floor for the moment. "Yeah, I don't like it, but probably the best option. Wouldn't really be fair to just send him back without him ever knowing why."

"Just a warning though." Everyone glanced at Mayra. "He's young, a bit naive, and can hardy sit still when he gets excited. So try not to get upset at him. He means well and all, he just... doesn't know what it's like."

Seemed like everyone was in accord. Shawn took a breath and lowered Rigel's pokeball. He hesitated a moment, not sure he was ready for someone rambunctious. But he really couldn't just leave him locked in his ball for a few days. That would both be unfair and a bit cruel. Exhaling, Shawn aimed the ball at a spot on the floor and pure, white light illuminated the room.

The pokemon that appeared was short, spinney, yellow-furred creature that seemed like a mix of feline and vulpine. The jolteon in question took a moment to get his bearings and, as soon as he realized where he was, he inhaled sharply and his ears shot straight up.

"It's finally happening! Awesome, I'm finally on a real team!" The eeveelution excitedly bounded in tiny circles as he repeated his sheer joy before suddenly pouncing Holly and aggressively snuggling her in greeting. "This is so cool! I'm so happy to meet you all!"

The sandslash desperately squirmed to get the larger pokemon off of her without hurting him. "Ack! This is undignified!"

"Rigel!" At Shawn's shout, the Jolteon froze and immediately jumped away like he was a child who had been caught trying to sneak into the cookie jar. "Calm down, please!"

When the pokemon's eyes went wide and he gasped, it seemed that the trainer's request failed. "You hafta be Shawn! Man, your sister told me like everything about how awesome of a trainer you are! I mean you're a champion and everything!" He looked around excitedly and finally started to slow down. The Jolteon did a double take at the pokemon. "Wait... where's like... Kyle and Antares and... Anya! I was really looking forward to learning from Anya!"

Mayra got up out of her chair and put a hand on Rigel's shoulder, prompting him to turn towards her. "You're going to need to sit down, kid. It's a bit of a story. I never told you the full thing."

Both her and Shawn started to retell the tale. Mayra had told him parts of their earlier adventures in Sinnoh, as they elected to start there to set up context. And then the nidoqueen recounted the time in Kanto with the old team and, when she explained what she had heard happened, the jolteon visibly deflated.

Shawn picked up the story from there, explaining waking in Pallet, his amnesia, and meeting with Rusty. They told Rigel of the travels, of meeting the other teammates, and their journeys together with Rusty, Alex, and Fang chiming in where appropriate. Shawn felt chills as he retold the events of Rock Tunnel and, when he reached today, he struggled over the fresh memories of being possessed by a spiritomb. Sonya's death after was hard for the team.

"And that was only hours ago," Shawn said a little louder than a meek mumble. "I went straight to the GTS as soon as I could to see if Mayra was okay and, thank god, she was. And I also found you there too with a note. We've been trying to decide what to do with you ever since."

The jolteon, who had taken to leaning into Mayra's legs during the tale, spoke up almost immediately. "Take me with you. Yeah, this is like more real than a movie, but we can't just let bad guys get away with doing that! I mean they gotta be punished and stuff!"

The nidoqueen tapped him on the head. "Kid, I don't care what Shawn says, we're not taking your choice yet. Think about it overnight. This is more than the adventure you want. We could use the help, but we also all might wind up dead in under a month."

Shawn shuddered at how matter-of-a-fact she was about their possible deaths. It really didn't help that she was absolutely right.

"She's right, dude." The blastoise crouched down as low as he could next to the smaller pokemon. "We're all in too deep, but you got nothin' tiein' you to us. If you just want an adventure, Shawn can find you someone who can give you that without the danger."

The jolteon frowned, opened his mouth to speak, paused, and then sighed. "Fine, I'll think about it."

Shawn wasn't entirely sure he actually did. As grateful as he was for the help, he wasn't sure Rigel understood the gravity of the situation he was getting into.

* * *

Rain poured out from the night skies and cascaded down upon the land and the old, abandoned barn in the outskirts of Celadon. It was chilly, damp, muddy, and one awful night to be anywhere except curled up on the couch in a warm, dry home. Two figures stomped their way through the muck and mire into the barn and hastily brushed the excess water off of their ponchos before dropping their hoods.

"Ugh... did he really have to pick such a bad location at such a bad time in such bad weather? On. Short. Notice?" The red-haired woman grumbled to herself as she shook mud off of her boots, only for larger, fresh clumps to gleefully replace it. "Seriously, even if the meeting went badly, what the hell?"

Archer rolled his eyes. "Can you please stop complaining about that? You've said that five times now."

"Yeah and that's still not enough times for me to have to drop dinner plans with my boyfriend. Eck!" She tried scraping mud off on one of the rotting walls to some degree of success. "And now I'm going to have to rent a hotel room just so I can shower off all this grime without him asking any questions."

"Yes, you told me. Five times." Archer adjusted his glasses and glanced around the darkness. "I'm sure he has his reasons for this. I'm just hoping those reasons don't involve Interpol kicking down my door at home right now looking for me."

"You won't have to worry about that."

Both of them paused and Archer sighed. "Cole... you don't have to do the whole mysterious, come from the shadows act. It's just us."

From the darkness of one of the animal stalls, the trainer in question stepped out. He lowered the hood of his black poncho and both of his colleagues paused at his smoldering expression "You could have been fine staying at home. I didn't ask for you to come here, Archer, just her. You've just made this a lot more complicated."

"What the hell are you on about, Cole?" The red-head crossed her arms and scowled. "You're acting like a spy movie villain or something right now. Seriously, cut the crap already and act like a normal person."

"Ariana." Cole shook his head and approached her. "I just wanted to ask you a few questions in private. Just a few. Actually... just one question." He stopped a few inches away from her, making her take a step back and he pursued to keep close. "Why? And... please lie to me." Arianna gasped loudly and doubled over as a fist smashed into her gut. Cole stepped back to let her fall to her knees. "Because I really, really want you to lie to me right now."

Archer recoiled at what he saw and stumbled back a step in shock. "What are you doing!? Cole, what the hell is going on?"

As Ariana coughed, he turned to his other colleague. "She's a mole. A spy. She works for Silph, for Mr. Fuji. He told me so himself. She wasn't trying to cover us to keep us out of prison. She's been feeding info on everything we do to Silph and I'm willing to bet she's only been keeping us afloat just so Fuji could strong arm me into giving over everything."

The woman sputtered one more time and slowly looked up at Cole. She wiped her mouth and sneered. "Yeah, well, I had all of our best interests at heart. You'd be surprised at how deep his claws are in your organization. Hell, if it weren't for him, you guys would have never gotten the funding to get off the ground." She stood up straight and held strong under the stare of daggers. "You and Giovanni's been his puppets from the start. And trust me, you're hardly his first, or only, hobby."

"W-w-what? Are you-? You can't be serious?" Archer took a breath and exhaled slowly. "So we've been... a side project the whole time? Fall guys?"

The red-head shrugged at her colleague. "Something like that. The man plays Kanto like a game of chess. Except the other player only has pawns. Rocket Science is just one piece of a much bigger game. But, it's not bad. A little bit of illegal weapons development, a little bit of war and, hey, Kanto's out of poverty! It's a win/win for all three of us and all of our friends and family to boot!"

There was silence for a moment and she turned back to Cole. "But that's assuming you made the right decision. Which, of course you did, you're here, alive, instead of being dead in the middle of the woods." She crossed her arms. "Which really does make me wonder though, why are we here and not at some posh restaurant celebrating our new promotions?"

The only answer to the question was the steady beat of rain on the roof of the barn. Cole narrowed his eyes at the woman. "That's because the old man is dead."

That smug expression on Ariana's face froze and the color flooded out of it. "You- you're joking, right?"

"Monsters like him, like you, who just want to warmonger don't deserve to stick around. You're just doing the same god damned mistakes that nearly got everyone killed in the past. You want everyone shooting each other over some shiny rocks or black liquid or whatever the hell else you think is more valuable than human lives when we have real, world ending threats looming over the horizon with no clear indication when they're coming."

"S-seriously? Do you honestly believe all those old myths and legends about some world destroying pokemon who's going to return and-"

Cole slapped her and slammed his knee into her gut. She doubled over and he threw her into the mud. Ariana tried to crawl away, but instead her cry of pain when he kicked her drowned out the sound of the rain.

"STOP!"

The trainer glanced at Archer and lowered his foot. He paused a moment and shook his head. "You weren't there. You didn't watch your friends, both human and pokemon, get torn limb from limb by herds of ferals." He gritted his teeth and wiped a tear from his eye. "I knew those people for years. Some of those pokemon I grew up with since I was a kid. And their only reward for uncovering the truth is having their bones scattered and thrown away. And there's so many signs, so much data, so many reports, all pointing to that sort of fate waiting for all of us if we don't do a thing."

Ariana coughed again and slowly looked up at her assailant. "You're... delusional, you know that?"

"I could say the same thing about you. I saw even more than that, but you don't deserve to hear about that." Cole clenched his fists and growled. "So yeah, people are getting hurt because of me. Hell, now I'm having to kill some. But at least I'm trying to do the right thing. You? You guys just want to murder lots of people and profit over their deaths." Cole reached into his coat and slowly fished out an ultra ball. He hesitated a moment. "But I'm going to make sure that doesn't happen. It's sounding more and more like if I take a detour to burn Silph to ashes then I'll be doing the world a favor. It'll have to wait until things are under control again. But, I got time for you now."

Cole thumbed the release mechanism of the ultra ball, but the contraption slipped from his grasp when he was suddenly shoved backwards. He remained standing and glared at the interference, who in turn stared back at him defiantly. The two men locked gazes while Cole reached for another ball.

"Archer, out of the way."

The other man shook his head. "No, I cannot condone this. You want to stop someone from starting wars? Fine. But when it comes to resorting to senseless murder... I... no I won't stand for it. We turn her to Intepol and let them deal with her."

"But if we do that, then they'll find out about us, too."

Archer swallowed and squeezed his eyes shut. "...we probably deserve it. We had the right intentions, but we created a monster that's killed a lot of people. I- I've been trying to deny it, but I can't live with hiding that guilt anymore. Every time I sleep, I imagine the screams." He opened his eyes and looked at Cole pleadingly. "Giovanni, Proton, Petrel, and... and... I can't even remember all their names and I feel awful for it. None of them deserved what happened, but we caused them all to die."

The trainer didn't respond.

"Please, Cole, enough is enough. Turning ourselves in is the right thing to do. I- I don't want to, but enough people have died already. How many more are going to if we don't let the people equipped to handle this do it? So- so- I'm drawing the line here. This is it. Do the right thing, please!"

Cole closed his eyes and listened intently to the sound of the beating rain above. Thunder roared somewhere in the distance. The wind howled and shook the trees. He opened them again. "You're a good man, Archer. Too good for where you ended up, really."

The other man sighed in relief when Cole slipped the hand holding the ultra ball back into his poncho.

"But there's too much at stake."

Archer's eyes went wide when that same hand was now holding two balls. "Cole, please please please don't! Please don't do this!"

The trainer, however, simply smiled sadly as he released his vaporeon and ninetales. "When it's safe to do so, I'll be sure to apologize to your wife."

He turned away as both of his colleagues started to call for help. The rain, wind, and thunder drowned them out, of course. Not that there'd be anyone around to hear them anyway. He had made sure of that.

"Gehenna, Cocytus." Cole closed his eyes, took a breath, and exhaled. "Go for their throats."



Okay, so, here we go, a few major battles that we're kinda rushing through. Granted, that kinda happens in-game anyway since, after Silph, there's zero plot or dungeons until Cinnabar. Besides, the game is like... one moment you're barely stumbling out of Rock Tunnel, the next moment the main villain plot is done and you have six badges. Pacing was not one of Kanto's strong points.

Anyway, Silph first. My notes make no mention of my plans for Cole and, in FA, I simply stated the rival was a lot easier than expected. Here's the copypasta from my notes...

Just remember Joey = Fang.

Vs Cole! Rigel vs Shrike. OHKO with Thunderbolt!

Rigel vs Gyrados! Err... I expected you to be smarter than that, Cole... OHKO as you could expect.

Rusty vs Growlithe! Another OHKO...

Mayra vs Victor! It's not a OHKO! Mayra gets put to sleep twice, but gets reawoken both times and takes Razor Leaf decently well and manages to down Victor.

Joey vs Alakazam! OHKO! Victory!



Not very detailed :( The same issues come up with Giovanni as well. Sad day, but what can I do? All I can gather is "easy".


Vs Giovanni!

Alex vs Nidorino! Whoops, swapping! Mayra switches in! She lols at Nidorino's attacks and almost OHKOs it. Sadly, it barely survives and needs a second hit.

Alex vs Kangaskhan! Amazingly, not a OHKO! Two does it in, however.

Alex vs Rhyhorn! Almost OHKOs it, but takes a beating in the process.

Rusty vs Nidoqueen! 2HKOed and takes little damage in return. Victory!




Did much better on Sabrina here. Moves aren't listed, but I'm assuming lots of Shadow Ball and Thunderbolt.


Vs Sabrina! I'm really nervous about this battle...

Again, Joey was serving as the primary pokemon in this fight (seriously, he's torn up chunks of each gym since Surge). His combination of speed, attack power, Shadow Ball is what I'm relying on to survive this match. He probably won't be able to take more than one hit though, so the plan is to swap him out for Rigel when Venomoth shows up and pray that he can OHKO Alakazam. Rigel and Rusty are the back-ups for this fight as they have the best special bulk. Alex, Mayra, and Holly are "oh crap!" reserves since the first two are weak to psychic and Holly couldn't take a special hit from a wet noodle.

Joey vs Kadabra! OHKO as expected. No Reflect is good.

Joey vs. Mr Mine! Didn't quite expect a OHKO.

Rigel vs Venomoth! 2HKO with a small hit in return, but Rigel gets confused.

And now the part that scares me...

Joey vs Alakazam! All my fear was for naught as Joey was able to outspeed and OHKO Alakazam, despite being outleveled. All my prep was worth it (grinding 9k coins for some Shadow Ball TMs, giving Joey Carbos, etc.) Victory and a MASSIVE sigh of relief.



And finally, Koga! ...to this day, I have no idea what Rusty vs Koffing's note means.


Vs Koga! Holly and Rusty each get a Koffing to tank self-destructs, Mayra gets Muk and, if needed, Weezing. Otherwise Rigel or Rusty gets Weezing. Muk is a defensive, stalling behemoth hence I want Mayra to be in to shrug off its attacks with her inability to be poisoned as well as 4x poison resistance. Weezing is a physically defensive pokemon with kind of bad special defense, hence why I want Rusty or Rigel in so they can eliminate it quickly.

Holly vs Koffing. 2HKO, minor damage in return.

Mayra vs Muk: Muk pops Acid Armor and 2x Minimize and also gets a Hyper Potion, but Mayra manages to never miss, lands a crit, and KOs while taking scratch damage in return.

Rusty vs Koffing: OHKO, never to mention.

Rigel vs Weezing: Weezing misses Toxic while getting 2HKOed in return. Victory! Surprisingly, nobody got poisoned that entire match.



Notes will get a bit better though, I promise! I started mentioning moves and even actual levels soonish!
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18
And with this, every update from Tapatalk has been fully moved over to Xenforo! And now you are free to fully abandon Tapatalk if you were reading this over there.

Anyway, this chapter, which I've rebranded to a "Bonus" rather than an "Extra" due to its non-serious nature, is not a normal chapter by any means. When I came to this chapter, I was in a pretty rough spot in Real Life™ and couldn't motivate myself to write something serious. So, after seeing a Youtube video whose script was written in Botnik by combining the script of the Star Wars franchise, the texts of the Harry Potter franchise, and some texts from the creator's own works, I was inspired to do the same.

So this chapter is written from a mix of all the chapters that existed at the time (1-15 + Abridged Ep 1) done in Botnik. It's weird and silly and strictly non-canon! And also entirely non-spoiler too if you're reading this before all the normal chapters! And entirely optional too, since this has nothing to do with anything.

But yes, the next time I update this run it will be a fresh, new chapter! Finally!


Shawn couldn't understand the bird in the air. "I don't even know about shooting water attacks." He was definitely not going to risk breaking a wing fighting something else. The man sighed and shoved it out into a small flame. The pidgeotto deflated a little.

Sonya stumbled back towards Saffron and then pointed back at him. "If you can't even understand me in the air then why are we going through here without waiting for Rusty?"

The trainer shook his head and knocked over a microphone. "I can't keep waitin' for him to recall his eyes."

The bird stopped. Immediately, she slowly rolled innocently across the ocean before turning back to Shawn. "But yet Giovanni would have just gone through the caves without any hesitation."

"But he didn't have to understand the bird in the air!" Shawn protested. "He can anticipate anything about to dive along the walls!"

Sonya flashed a large dissolving grin. "You don't need to do that because I'm in the air with every passing year. So much that it could pose serious danger to the ground. So I'm going through here with or without you."

His mind instinctively tried again to make great ideas before giving up. Rusty emerged from the darkness of Kanto and Shawn nodded. "Let's go."

They stormed outside of the cave and grinned excitedly. The bird in the air above him skidded across the region before she pounced at a fluffy reptilian pokemon. They slammed into the arena floor unconscious. Shawn sighed again and frowned over the pokemon. This was no friggin good. From above him Cole nodded approvingly.

"Hey you! You guys think anyone can anticipate anything like that? I think I'll just have to burn down your butt! "

Shawn was not content with this party. "I'm sorry, but now I have to break through your butt!"

The trainer flipped through his backpack and grinned excitedly as he got his team out. He grabbed Cedric and smiled sheepishly while Cole whipped out his geodude. It was going to be a pointless battle!

"Prepare to meet this pokemon trainer in question!" Cole ordered the geodude to use Apikalypse!

Cedric whined incredibly fiiine and shook his body over and over at his opponent to make its instincts spoil. The rock simply stared silently.

"I think I don't deserve to get HM03." The geodude fainted on the spot. Cole growled bluish and then slowly nodded innocently. He then braced himself as Cedric simply grinned and sent him skidding across the seas by using Rollout.

"I think I somewhat understand a bug in the air." Shawn admitted. "Now come on. Let's go down into the horizon."

Together they could probably do anything else worthless. But now they were going off into Cerulean City for the briefest of moments to make every cameo. Shawn shrugged while he thought of that. As long as they could learn moves to get into the pokemon center then they weren't particularly grounded.
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19
All right, we're finally posting a new chapter! Let's celebrate!

Okay, sadly though, this is the only chapter that was up in my backlog. This one was trickier to write, which you'll see why as you read, and also by far the longest of them all so far. Around twice as long as normal, so make sure you got a little time before you sit down and read! Luckily, 17 shouldn't take so long to do since it was originally going to be part of this chapter. But, well, we'll see!


How long had it been?

How long since those days at the docks? How long since the sunshine seemed extra bright and warm? When the air smelled fresher, cleaner. When all the world was brighter, cheerier, happier?

How long had that all dissolved into reality? Into crawling through grass and caves. Into being caught at sunset in the wilderness? Into braving rain and snow on foot? Into treks up mountains and deep into forests? Into weeping over loss?

How long had it been since he had stepped away from an easy career? How long had his future been unknown, save his goals and dreams? His destination unsure and the path rough, difficult, and uncertain? Since he had abandoned the company of those he knew and trusted? Since he had decided to try to make friends with strangers who may not have wanted friends?

Two years.

Two years of huddling at a lonely campfire deep in the dark wilderness. Two years of trekking through mud and muck because the weather ignored the predictions. Two years of the lingering knowledge his chosen path was left with disapproval by most he grew up with. Two years of making allies he had never considered and now trusted above anyone else.

Surrounded by his team, Shawn tuned out the crowds around him and looked up the steps to the grand doors before them. It existed simply as a sign that, by getting here, he had fought adversity and had overcome it where so many others had failed. He stood here in spite of it all, in spite of all the trials trainers endured yet nobody ever really talked about.

But yet, being here was not victory. The structure offered one final challenge for him to overcome and make this more than all for naught. It silently dared him to come forth, to enter, to test the mettle of himself and his team, to clash with those who had also suffered for their dreams to see if he truly deserved to seize them.

Shawn stood at the gates of the Sinnoh Pokemon League. The Elite 4 waited to see if he truly was worthy of the title of Senior Division Champion.

Two years...

Wordlessly, he nodded to his team and they all started forward together.

It was time to seize their dreams.


* * *

Time was not of the essence.

Even here in Johto news reports were trickling in that Rocket Science and Research were reeling right now. Two of their executives were missing and whereabouts unknown. Combined with the loss of their lab and the attacks on their crews, there was mounting public pressure for a full-blown investigation as, curiously, Mr. Fuji, Silph's esteemed corporate president had disappeared that very same day as the Rocket executives.

Whatever Cole had planned, he was gonna have to step slowly and carefully.

It had been unanimously agreed that the team would take their time going back to Cinnabar. Stay in Goldenrod for a few days to train, to recover from the shock of the loss of Sonya, and to lay low. And then they'd travel on foot, whenever possible, to Olivine, as Shawn was understandably paranoid about public transit right now.

Fang felt he recovered quicker than the rest. He was a rodent. He was prey. He was used to minding his own business with family, only for them to be snatched up by the talons of a bird in an instant, never to be seen again. Losing friends and family was a fact of life. That was, after all, why he had so many siblings. ...heck, he wasn't even really sure who is father truly was. There were too many candidates. Not that he minded; they were all dad to him.

Either way, he grinned. It sucked losing Sonya, big time. But if he was gonna be the first to move on then he was gonna be the one to pull his team out of this mess. Sonya left empty shoes in the team and he was gonna fill them. He might have had her speed, easily, but he lacked her power. He was gonna fix that though. He was gonna prove he could do it.

...by first taking down this friggin' rolling miltank!

The massively fat cow zoomed by him fast enough for the wind to ruffle his fur as he side stepped the rolling attack... hadn't the gym leader called it "roll out?" Either way, how a tub of lard moved that fast was beyond him. But, he was gonna do better.

Tapping into the force of his speed, he rushed after the living hamburger as she uncurled to recover from her miss. He made himself glow with awesome white light that sent amazing jolts through his body. He slammed into her with his shoulder and blasted her and sent her... only stumbling?

Arceus she was heavy!

That tiny little tail whipped the air above him and he ducked just in time for it only to graze him and leave what felt like skid burns. Gritting his teeth, Fang jumped over her hoof as she tried to stomp down on him and sunk his fangs into her side. The cow yelped, grabbed him, and easily threw him off.

Of course, he landed on his feet. Why wouldn't he?

And then... then... then the miltank did the unthinkable. Was... was she drinking... her own milk? Fang retched. "Ugh, seriously!? That's... that's just wrong on so many levels."

"Oh, you know you like it. All the boys do~" ...did she just blow him a kiss?

"Yeah, nope! Nuh uh! Sorry! Nope! Not interested unless your udders are full of brain bleach! Way too grossed out to find that hot."

The cow grumbled, tucked herself into a ball, and rolled again. This time, Fang stood his ground since he now really, really, really wanted this to be over, one way or another. He'll take a dozen murderous lizards over... over this gym and... what was her name... Whitney? Yeah... who the heck trains their pokemon to drink themselves and try to use that to infatuate opponents?

Either way, his opponent neared, impending doom rolling right towards him. He waited for the last moment, the very precise last moment before he was crushed and smeared all over the ground beneath her heft. It'd be a better fate than falling for the lust for her, but that wasn't his plan. No, instead a blue barrier formed in the inch between the two of them and the cow slammed into it with full force. The shield cracked heavily, but the miltank fell out of her roll, stunned for a moment.

Fang leapt at his chance and pounced on her belly and... ewww was he standing on her udders? Ugh... no time, deal with it. He leapt forward again as she tried to sit up and locked his fangs around her throat. With his bite force, his incisors could easily cleave her flesh like tissue, slicing through veins, bone, and throat to kill the pervy cow on the spot.

But no, he held it there, teeth pressing just hard enough to threaten to pierce. The cow froze for several long moments and he could see the fear in her eyes. ...he had to admit that made him a little bit satisfied. Finally, the miltank turned into blue light below him as she was recalled, leaving him to drop to the floor.

He ignored Whitney's comments and rushed over to Shawn. He prodded him on the foot to get his attention because gosh darn it he needed it now!

"What's the matter, Fang?"

"Let's leave, please? Or put me in my ball?" Fang twitched his tail rapidly, nervously, behind him and he dared risking a glance at the gym leader. "This place gives me the creeps now!"

His trainer laughed, much to his dismay. But he got his wish, so he didn't complain.

* * *

Alex was nervous.

Whenever she closed her eyes when it was quiet, she could still feel that pressure on her mind when the lizard pinned her with his thoughts. Of the group, she was the most susceptible to such powers and, as she had learned the hard way during this adventure, she had been affected the most. Heck, she was catching herself glancing over her shoulder, half expecting a sceptile to be stalking her and the team from a distance.

She knew the fears were unfounded. The anxiety of knowing that they would likely be facing that again though... that was founded. What good was she when she was vulnerable? Supposedly she was evenly matched with the sceptile's normal affinities, but that lizard wasn't normal.

Alex shuddered, but took a deep breath to calm herself. Calm. Focus. They weren't there yet. This was now. They were in Olivine, a couple of weeks after that event. And she was walking into an arena just for some friendly training.

The primeape opened her eyes and was reminded why her nerves had gotten jumpy again. Opposite of her was a massive, metal snake. A steelix, someone had called it. Mayra had told her that, supposedly, Midori had taken one out in a single blow. And supposedly, as an azumaril, Midori was actually smaller than she was.

Neither Shawn nor Jasmine gave any commands. This wasn't so much a battle as it was a test of Alex's resolve. A challenge to smooth out her brand new jitters. To make her face down a titan, who gazed at her with no expression. Who she was supposed to down in a single blow to even stand a chance in the future.

How the heck was she supposed to do that?

She stopped halfway and looked up at the snake, which leaned closer and roared. Alex shied away, turned, and covered her ears, but it didn't attack. It was daring her to try, threatening her if she did.

But if she didn't try, then what good was she? If she couldn't stare down a big, giant, dumb metal snake, then what worth would she have when the time came and their lives were all on the line again? She'd be useless like she was against Styx. And like she was against Mewtwo.

Useless!

Her family would jeer at her for her uselessness. She couldn't get angry, couldn't enter a mankey's, or now a primeape's, beserker rage, so she couldn't fight properly. She'd only prove them right. And if they were in her shoes now, they would... they would...

Alex opened her eyes as she realized they'd run. All talk, but no fight against real danger, just like she was. Useless, worthless, no reason to belong on such a team. She clenched her fist. Her fingers erupted in flame and spread to her palm, a technique Shawn had taught her the other day but still felt foreign. Except today. Today, it felt natural.

She was here to prove her family wrong, to defy them. They would run. She refused. She would stand her ground.

With a howl, Alex dashed forward. Immediately the steelix swept its tail to send her flying, but she jumped over and onto it. The primeape rushed up the tail and jumped, kicking off the bend in its chest, and drove that fiery fist up into the snake's chin. It's head launched to the ceiling and the creature fell backwards with an earth-trembling crash. Alex landed, satisfied.

It hadn't been a single knock out blow, as evidenced by the snake coiling around itself to get back up, but Alex didn't care. It was a good start and she was going to make sure she got a good finish.

* * *

Whoooaaaaaaaa! Wow, this was soooooo coooooool!

If Rigel still had a tail then it'd be wagging furiously. He still missed the fluffy appendage, but everything else he had gained had been worth the trade. He was bigger, faster, had these really really neat quills, and... and... he could shoot electricity!

...no no no, that was too mundane.

He could shoot awesome!

...no, not exciting enough!

HE COULD SHOOT PURE UNADULTERATED SUPERCONCENTRATED AWESOME!!111!!1!!

Much better!

And because he was able to manipulate the powers of awesome to levels all the way up to eleven, he was here! No longer confined to a play pen or just seeing those boring tall mountains he had been born and grew up in. No, he could see those, he could see the end of those, he could see how far they went and where they stopped. And they didn't react to anything, they just sat there!

No, this was the ocean! It stretched so wide he couldn't see the end of it! In any direction! Or he assumed any direction since the boat was always in the way and maybe land was always circling the boat to hide from him? He didn't know why since land was so lame that it completely ignored his awesome and continued to stay lame, just like mountains, but it did.

Either way! The ocean rolled, it bucked, it made waves, and it did all sorts of other things! It reflected light and it was like... extra vulnerable to awesome! That was amazing! Oh, and it was full of fish! Fish were delicious!

"Hey, Mayra?" he asked the nidoqueen nearby, who was using her powers of lameness to keep him from running off and doing what he wanted. He liked her, but she was 50% lame. Unlike Holly, who was 100% lame, but still lame! "You think Shawn would get mad if I went fishing?"

The nidolame raised an eye at him. "Go... fishing?"

"Yeah, fishing! I wanna jump in and zap some fish and eat them! Can I can I can I?"

He shouldn't have been surprised when she shook her head. He felt his ears drooping, much to his annoyance. Stupid ears, stop making me look sad!

"Kid, jumping into the ocean right now would be really dangerous, for starters."

He thought about it for a moment. "Well, pokemon that use a lot of water are weak to awesome, right? Like Rusty?" He glanced down at the sea. "And the ocean is just made of only water, so it's like... super weak to awesome, right? So like... shouldn't I just be able to one shot the ocean?"

"That's... not how things work." Was Mayra trying to stifle a giggle? He took his forepaws off of the rail and fell back down onto all four legs. "Okay, but even if it did and you jumped in and one shotted the ocean, then how are we getting to Fuchsia?"

"If there's no ocean, then it's dry land, so we walk, duh! You're an adult, you should know that!" He paused. "Besides! I can probably outrun this boat, so I'd get there faster anyway!"

"The rest of us can't!" She paused. "Well, I mean, maybe we can since we're almost there and the boat has to slow down now so it doesn't crash into the port, but that's besides the point."

They were almost to Kanto? He was going to get to see Kanto? Wooow, that was gonna be so cool! Okay, yeah, sure, they were only going to be there for a little while right now, but still... Kanto! It was where everyone else was from! Except Shawn. And Mayra. But still!

He realized he was bouncing side to side on his paws, but he didn't stop. "Oh, we're almost there? I call dibs on being first onto land!"

The nidolame rolled her eyes and he stopped. "Sure thing, kid. But we better go wait now if you want to do that."

"YES!" Immediately he bounded to where he thought they had gotten on at.

"Rigel, wrong way!"

Immediately he bounded to where he actually had gotten on at.

* * *

"Both Senior Champion Flint and challenger Shawn are now down to their last pokemon!" the announcer practically shouted as Flint sent out his ace, who appeared to basically be a ball of fire with a pair of legs and a pair of cannons for arms. "Both are almost entirely unhurt and fresh to go! Just one final one on one! Can the challenger overcome Fulsillade?"

Kyle glanced over his shoulder at his trainer. The double knock out had bought a timeout for both sides. "What's the plan, Shawn?"

"We'll have the speed advantage. Use it and abuse it." He took a breath to calm himself and focus, to recollect everything they had gone over. "Remember, his strongest attacks are going to be fire-based, but we can attack physically, so we have that advantage as well. But also remember, you might be the most powerful on this team, but that magmortar is the most powerful on his."

The infernape nodded as he sized up his foe. "Understood. Also, you might want to step back."

Jump back would have been a better recommendation. Kyle shielded himself from an explosive shell of fire that detonated where he stood. When the smoke cleared, he emerged, unfazed.

"Huh, not often that gets shrugged off." The magmortar lowered his arm slowly and smirked. "Looks like this will be a more interesting match-up than usual."

The infernape grinned and started to slowly walk towards his opponent. "I have conquered far larger than you. So yes, I can promise this will be... more interesting."

Shawn watched as Kyle suddenly leapt into the air and immediately the trainer shielded his eyes. The monkey threw a bright ball of light into the sky, just as another fiery shell whizzed past him. The light exploded and soon Shawn felt the warmth of summer strike down the bite of the Sinnovian autumn's chill.

Blinding rays of solar energy formed in Kyle's palms and he quickly launched it as a coherent beam of energy at the magmortar. As Shawn expected the attack was easily deflected. The trainer knew that was probably Kyle's expectation too. Probably his hope, even.

An electrified cannon swung at the infernape in a punch as he landed, but Kyle stepped into it and deflected it with his arm while throwing a punch of his own. The magmortar reeled from the attack, but maintained focus and delivered a counter-strike. The two rapidly exchanged blows and parries as they sought to best each other in close-quarter combat.

"Fusillade!" Flint shouted loud enough for even Shawn to hear over the crowd and fighting. "Ashes to ashes!"

He had no idea what the command meant precisely, but he knew it was probably a powerful attack, maybe even a finisher. However, he did not call out a counter command. He trusted Kyle enough to recognize the call for what it was and fight more cautiously, just as they had trained and done many times before.

The magmortar leapt back and his entire body began to glow an intense blackish-orange. Ah, yes, there it was... the 'dex called it Giga Impact, yes? In that brief moment before the magmortar launched himself forward, Kyle planted his feet and braced himself. As Fusillade rapidly closed the gap, Kyle threw his weight and strength into the larger opponent.

The two skidded across the arena, but Kyle did not collapse or falter. He dug his heels into the dirt and strained against the force and the fierce energy lashing out at him. But, eventually, the infernape's stubbornness brought them to a halt.

"I've never seen anyone stop this!" Shawn couldn't help but smirk at Fusillade's shock and continued attempts to break free. "How are you so strong?"

Shawn blinked. Oh no... Kyle, don't respond now. We're on television and-

"My strength comes from my conviction!"

Oh come on!

"I fight with honor and a noble purpose! I draw power from the friends and family who are behind me and support me so that I can support them. And, most importantly..."

Kyle paused as his opponent thought he had him distracted and exhaled a gout of searing flames. The infernape quickly ducked under it while yanking the magmortar towards him, throwing him off balance. The monkey slipped between his foe's legs and came up onto his feet behind him in one fluid motion. As he did, his fist began to glow an intense red and black.

"...I fight in memory of the one who gave her life so that I might keep mine!"

Shawn blinked again, especially when he felt those emotions hit him like a truck. Conviction, determination, pain... He drew in a sharp breath as he watched Kyle slip around a counter strike. He hadn't known he was still suffering. Seems like Kyle had been hiding it from him very well.

They were going to have to have a talk about this later.

Shawn snapped back to focus from a loud crack. Kyle's energy-enveloped fist exploded on contact with the magmortar's chin. The fiery pokemon sailed through the air and slammed on his back a short distance away. He slowly lifted himself and managed to prop himself up on his elbows.

"I see. Maybe... I need to find a cause to fight for then..." Fusillade held himself for a moment before he collapsed.

"It's over! It's finally over!" the announcer screamed over the roar of the crowd. "With an explosive finish, Shawn O'Donnel has just taken the title of Senior Division Champion!"


* * *

"You sure you don't want to come down to the water?"

Rusty nodded to Fang and cracked a small smile. "Bro, I'm sure. I spent most of my life hangin' out in the ocean. It ain't nothin' special to me. Go have fun with the others." He paused for a moment. "And try not to get shocked by Rigel. Mayra told me he had been talkin' about tryin' to one-shot the ocean or somethin' by zappin' it. Dude's crazy enough to try, I bet."

The raticate was quiet for a moment before noddin'. "Eh, makes sense, I'll buy it. I'd probably get bored if we were hanging out in Viridian Forest. Just don't wander off or they'll put you in that safari place."

"Got it, bro." Rusty chuckled before the rodent ran down to the beach to join the others. Let 'em have their fun, the water didn't interest him much. Nor did the safari place. Or the gym, since Shawn decided it'd be safest not to train there since they were in Kanto now. They had instead done trainin' a little ways up the cliff where the sand couldn't reach the grass and were now takin' a break.

'Sides, he did want a moment to himself. He was feelin' reflective and that was easier to do when he was alone.

...okay, he was still gettin' used to the weight of his new shell and it had worn him down more than usual, again, in training, but that was 'sides the point.

...and okay, gettin' shocked by Rigel in the water would hurt him more than anyone else, but that was also 'sides the point.

But no, the beach resort town didn't interest him. He had originally come on this trip because he was bored and wanted adventure. He had let himself get caught for that same reason. And yet, here he was, bored while on an adventure. Those movies really cut out the long, dull parts between the excitin' bits.

Seriously though, this trip wasn't nothin' like the movies. Friends were only supposed to die in the climax, ideally as a self-sacrifice, yet Cedric and Sonya were gone. And the worst was still yet to come.

So what did that make this? When did important friends die before the climax? Horror, right? But, other than the park and the cave, this wasn't a horror story. Otherwise, at this point, it ought to be just one or two of them facin' down the killer. Or monster. Or monster killer. So that conclusion ain't right.

Still though, Rusty leaned back against the cliff face and allowed snippets of the journey to play through his mind. Meetin' Sonya, the battle on the boat, facin' down a kadabra in a saffron gym trainin' session, gettin' kicked in the face in a fightin' dojo, evolvin', losin' people...

He had imagined this trip would be sort of grand adventure. Hikin' through scenic vistas, encounterin' magical people, constant excitement and thrill, danger in every corner that everyone made it out from just fine. Yeah, the original premise of just gettin' to Goldenrod was a little dull, but he knew from movies that such borin' scenarios either became incredibly complicated affairs or grew into somethin' else much more excitin'.

Reality was a lot less excitin'. Exciting moments. Deadly moments. Moments that left him depressed for a couple of days before he accepted it and moved on. Sure, all of that. But lots of dull moments, lots of trainin', so very much walkin' and travelin'.

Had this been worth it?

Rusty let his thoughts fall silent for a moment. He turned his gaze up at the sky as he silently processed the question. He rotated it, flipped it, turned it inside out, and rearranged it to find out the truth. Had it truly been worth it?

The cost had been high, and may go higher still, but yes, yes it is.

Cedric and Sonya bitin' it sucked. He accepted it and probably always knew in the back of his mind that, at the very least, accidents could happen. Experiencin' it was a totally different thing. It was rough, and so was everything, really. And they had it easy considerin' most towns were close enough to hike to within hours on a clear day here in Kanto, whereas other regions that apparently wasn't always true.

He had grown and changed, surely. At least, he told himself that, it'd be kinda disappointin' to himself if he was still the same when all was done. But no, the real reason this was worth it was because they weren't only doing somethin' mundane, they were actually making a stand and movin' to do something right. He wasn't just an adventurer, but he was becoming a hero.

Rusty blinked and looked down at his own hands. ...a hero?

Okay, maybe he was gettin' too flowery and stuff. Sure, everyone who had ever seen any media ever fantasized about it. But really, a hero? No, heroes were larger than life and were chosen by destiny and all that. He wasn't. He was just a blastoise.

Still though, he had a chance to do somethin' right. To try to fix a major wrong in the world and set things straight. There was a bad guy who needed stoppin' and who else was gonna do it? If he could bring an end to whatever nastiness was in Kanto, then sufferin' through the dull moments would be worth it.

* * *

Another boat. This time they had embarked for home.

Home.

The word was bitter, sour, disgusting. She was liberated of home. She was free. Home had been devastated in her wake of leaving, an event she was not sorrowful for.

Yet, Holly was going back, voluntarily.

She hadn't given proper consideration to the notion of returning home back when the plans were laid out. At the time, the reality of the situation had eluded her. Instead, her thoughts were pre-occupied elsewhere considering that home had come, found her, and slaughtered one of her new companions.

The sandslash did not have the same level of attachment to Sonya as the others who had been present. She and the pidgeotto had not enjoyed each other's company for very long. Whereas the others had suffered the loss of a friend they had been with for months, hers was more akin to losing a coworker she had just met. It was a tragic affair, one that rightfully left her upset but yet not sorrowful. It left her feeling mighty guilty that she wasn't as distraught, but it was of good fortune that the others understood.

Or at least claimed to understand. She could not even be aware of Shawn's thoughts on the matter, so cut off she was from the ties of emotion that often bonded human and pokemon.

Mmmm, yes. Cut off.

Just as she was now. Holly had segregated herself from the rest as they took this ferry. She appreciated them, but she never quite felt entirely comfortable with them. Alex, Fang, Rusty, and Shawn were a team and were loyal to each other. Mayra and Shawn also shared a deeper connection that, even with her ties severed, she could still logically deduce by observation. And Rigel? He was young, naive, and liked everyone and his innocent and boundless energy meant everyone liked him too, even when he was behaving in quite the irritating manner.

But her? She was separate, aloof, stoic, alone. She was here on a purpose and a purpose only. A noble purpose, but she was not bound to the loyalty of the others. If they abandoned the mission, she would then abandon them. It was clear and they accepted and understood. After all, she was a guest, not family, so she was not bound to the same unspoken codes.

Which, hence, why she could not let them close when she was at her most vulnerable. Withdrawn into an untraveled corner of the ship, the sandslash trembled with anxiety. An anxiety she could no longer share with anyone else, not even the respectable but hard man her original trainer had been. Her emotions were locked in with her, so she had better get well acquainted with the idea of coping with them alone.

Home...

She shuddered.

The memories of the tinkering they had done to her mind were almost as fresh as the day they had occurred. Knives, both physical and mental, digging into her, probing, cutting, rearranging. She presumed much of those memories were imagined, visions of what she felt rather than the reality. But they were vivid and they were her memories. And, although devastated, that was the home she was returning to.

Part of her wanted to crack her stoicism and confide in someone. But, why? She lacked the necessary verbiage and vocabulary to adequately describe what she had experienced. The sensations of having parts of her mind altered, the dangling puppet strings that forcibly guided her when a command of any sort, no matter how trivial or mundane, was uttered by the puppet master. And the ripping and tearing she felt when Proton was torn asunder...

Arceus, the ripping and tearing!

Even from the safe confines of her ball, she had felt him. The psionic blade penetrating her chest, burning her insides with spectral flame, leaving her frozen as it slid out. She experienced it all in great detail. So vivid and graphic that it had left her intimately familiar with the... no, she stopped herself before she remembered it and doubled over in pain.

Oh, but that had been nothing.

Proton's emotions lashing out, his death throes screaming into her mind. It was like she had joined his mind as he died and she felt... everything. All that he was, that he had been, that he had aspired to be seared into her mind and drilled holes as she felt some of the puppet strings, Proton's strings, splinter and snap. His hopes, his dreams, his regrets, all of it tore into her mind like the claws of a beast caught in its death throes, desperate to take its killer with it.

Words could not describe the pain she had felt. Her mind could not comprehend it. Even her memory failed, unable to acknowledge this was such a thing that could exist to be recorded. And all of Proton flashed so quickly through her wounded mind that she could not catch any of it and, consequently, her trainer had well and truly died.

It was a wonder she had survived. Had Proton not asked her to live, then perhaps she would have followed him. No spectacular suicide or any of the sort. She imagined she would have simply... stopped living just as quickly and easily as one blinks.

She shuddered again.

Home.

Had it never been for home, she would have never had to experience any of this. Her life would be more grand. But... as she questioned many times, would the world be better off? Maybe, maybe not. It was dreadfully easy to give into cynicism as idealism was typically reserved for those who lived in the warm, easy days of a languid, relaxing life.

Maybe that was why she was here. Subconsciously, she had decided that she needed to face her personal demons of the past so that she could face the world's demon of the future. Or maybe she was thinking too highly and too fantastically.

But nonetheless, she stood up.

Whatever happened, so long as she could ensure that her experience and reality remained a foreign, alien concept to all others, then it was something she ought to be trying to do. Right now, the world, or at least the team, didn't need her pain and angst. It didn't need her suffering or anxiety or sorrow. That was why they could not feel them.

No, they had need of her claws. They needed her to deploy them in a calm, cool, efficient, and graceful matter. They required her to be able to stare down the darkness itself and not flinch.

She would be what they needed. Her own torment could wait a while longer.

* * *

The first time she had visited it she had been full of awe. Mayra had seen the ocean plenty of times before, but Cinnabar Island was not like the coasts and islands in Sinnoh's frigid seas. This was a warmer and drier region, not nearly enough for desert, but it was definitely more grassland except for its eastern reaches where it connected to a more arboreal Johto. Cinnabar itself promised to even be hotter if it desired thanks to the looming presence of the dormant volcano.

Such a thing, jutting out of the sea as if it owned the waters as far as the eye could see, indifferent to whatever decided to settle around it, and more than capable of wiping away life and civilization with nary a thought, demanded respect. The fact that people and pokemon called this island home was something she wasn't sure was disrespect or worship. Maybe both.

But that was the first time.

Now was the second time. The volcano was merely an after thought. For all of its grand presence, it was really a minor thing in the world. It could rage and unleash tremendous power, but it could only threaten a small area. But what people developed here could threaten everyone. As such, trepidation drowned out the awe.

The team was disembarking from the ferry, along with all the other passengers. Strangers were giving her a wide berth, a common occurrence when she was in a crowd. One accidental brush with her spines could potentially hospitalize someone. Shawn, Kyle, Evelyn, and the others knew how to handle her and touch her safely, whether for affection, providing aid, or striking her in mock battle.

For the rest? They kept her distance, much to her amusement despite the edges of anxiety on her mind.

Mayra glanced at the others. Rigel was bouncing and harassing Shawn, Alex and Fang were pointing out the sights to each other, Holly seemed to be in her own world, and Rusty walked to the side and seemed to take in everything as if it was nothing new. Once they were free of the narrow pier, she moved up beside him and fell in step.

"Been here before?" She didn't look at him, but kept her eyes on their surroundings in case someone was too busy on their cellphone to notice the walking hospital trip approaching them.

Rusty shook his head. "Nah. Been places that were close enough. A lot smaller though. Seen it on TV a lot though with all the reports. You?"

"Second time."

There was a pause. "Yeah, sorry sis. That was an obvious answer."

She didn't reply right away. "You know that this is where everything is decided, right? Best case, we know how this journey's going to end. Worst case, this is the end of the journey." She paused and finally glanced to him. "Last chance to back out. You might be involved, but this isn't really your problem. You could swim away. Heck, if there's an ambush for us then that might just save your life."

It was Rusty's turn not to reply right away. He turned to her and looked her hard in the eye, as if searching for a deeper meaning in her words. "No way. Cedric died 'cause of all this mess and then they murdered Sonya in person. I'm not quittin' now."

Mayra smiled. "Good answer." The nidoqueen returned her gaze back to their surroundings as they moved into the city proper and followed the roads as a group. Looks like they were going directly to the lab. "Seriously though, I think we'll be fine. If Cole knew we were here and wanted to take us out then he skipped the more subtle chances on the ferries and in Fuchsia. Too risky here, especially if all the cops are still hanging around."

"Yeah, that's 'bout what I was thinkin'. As long as we don't make ourselves obvious, we should be fine for at least a while."

They rounded a corner into another street and, as the buildings parted way to show a large, advanced campus, the group slowed down. Mayra recognized the buildings as the research lab. Three structures, the one on the right mostly administrative stuff. The middle was more of a public building for the projects that didn't need protection from corporate spies or, as it turned out, the law.

The one of the left was for more secure and dangerous research. But now, it was half-collapsed, half-burned out husk. It looked less like a research facility and more like a casualty of a warzone plucked from its home and placed in the middle of the city.

She noticed that the group had come to a stop. Shawn was staring at the building. Or, more accurately, staring through the building. Frowning, Mayra stepped through their group and tapped Shawn on the shoulder, startling her trainer. She didn't need their empathic connection to understand what was going on.

"You all right?" she asked, despite already knowing the answer.

He shook his head and forced a smile. "It's fine. I'll tell you later." Shawn took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly. "Come on. I know neither of us are looking forward to this, so let's go get it over with."

* * *

Two years to become a Sinnovian Senior Division Champion. Another year to make a bid for Masters Division. To get the title of Sinnoh Champion. To become the real champion of the region.

Quietly, Shawn and his team filed away from the roars of the crowd and the endless celebration. He was close, so very close, to having had all of that for them. But, in the end, he choked. He couldn't blame anyone except himself for making the wrong calls. He kicked a pebble and sent it sailing into the shadows of evening.

"So, so close... We were right there! We just had to win that last battle!" Frustrated, Shawn kicked a larger rock and immediately froze when he noticed it flying towards a car. Luckily, it missed by a couple of inches. He wheeled around to avoid the temptation to kick a third and end up smashing a window.

"I'll admit, just this once, that we were bested." Antares' wings were drooped slightly, something rarely ever seen in the salamence. "Her pokemon were at least as powerful as I am."

Kyle shook his head. "I could have defeated that brute of a garchomp had we been on even ground. But I had spent too much energy fighting other opponents while he was still fresh."

Shawn crossed his arms. "No, my fault. If I hadn't been cocky about letting Mayra take it on with an ice beam instead of pulling her out, the rest of the match-ups would have been a lot smoother." He sighed. "I shoulda switched to Midori, which meant Cynthia woulda switched to her roserade probably, which meant I could have switched to you and she would have had nowhere to run without risking a bad call."

"Don't worry, Shawn! I still love you!" He reached down to pat Midori on the head as the azumaril snuggled up against his legs.

"Well, at least a tree didn't fall on you." Anya snickered and smiled mirthfully. When her trainer glared at the luxray, she feigned shock. "What? It's true!"

Shawn rolled his eyes. "Some days you make me wish I left you under that tree."

"Well hey, trees or not, we only got beaten because of some bad calls and not because we were outclassed, right?" Liam shrugged his hand-like tails. "That just means we spend the next year preparing so we can have the title in the bag. 'Sides, how often do first time challengers actually get as far as we did in the Master's Tournament? Let alone actually win? We're still way ahead of the curve here."

Their trainer took a deep breath. "Yeah, you're right. I think it'd suck less if we went down in an early round instead of getting so close. But yeah, I guess we still do have bragging rights."

A cough caught their attention and Shawn and his team turned to see a brown-haired man standing a short distance away, flanked by a gardevoir. The man smiled widely. "Sorry to eavesdrop, but based on what I heard, you're Shawn O'Donnell, right?"

The trainer in question paused and slowly crossed his arms. "Yeah, who are you?"

"Cole Oak. I'm out in Sinnoh on business, but had time to swing by and watch the tournaments and, I gotta say, you're definitely one of the best battlers I've seen."

Where was he going with this? "Thanks. But, I kind of choked back there, so shouldn't you be looking for Cynthia or something?"

The man shook his head. "Nah, nobody's getting close to her for weeks except journalists. But look, I was wanting to extend you an opportunity."

Mayra leaned in close to Shawn. "This is starting to look really sketchy. Who approaches people for opportunities in parking lots?"

Either Cole didn't hear her, didn't care about what she said, or couldn't understand her. "I'm with Rocket Science and Research over in Kanto and we're doing genetic research on pokemon, trying to see if what separates a battler from a pet is in their genes."

"I'm not letting you experiment on my team if that's-"

"Oh, no no no no!" Cole waves his hands in front of him disarmingly. "You've spent too long training them, it'd skew the results. No, we got a volunteer breeding program and we're starting with them young. But, problem is, scientists aren't good trainers and neither are most people in Kanto. We could use someone like you to help train them so we can see how they develop."

Shawn didn't reply for a moment. "I don't know. This is all... very sudden."

"Yeah, I understand. I wouldn't expect you to make a life-changing decision at a moment's notice. So, here's my card. I'm gonna be in Sinnoh for a couple of weeks, so think about it and call me. RSR has our company info uploaded to the GTS, so you got time to do your homework too. Oh, also feel free to call me if you got any questions."

Cole smiled and turned to head away, but he looked over his shoulder. "But, I gotta run, have a dinner meeting soonish. Gimmie a call, all right?"

Shawn said nothing as he watched him and his gardevoir leave. He then glanced down at the card in his hand, pondering whether he should drop it where he stood or if he and his team should actually give it serious consideration.



I probably coulda saved some of last chapter's notes for here. Granted, my original plan at the writing of the last chapter was to teleport to Cinnabar with an expositional time skip so... yeah.

Well uhhh... I guess at this point I finally obtained the Itemfinder and tracked down Leftovers?

Or uhhh... I noted that Holly dodged a Self-Destruct with Dig in Burned Mansion.

Or... ummm... uhhh... I caught a few Pokemon. I'm missing my detailed catch list from way back, assuming I even had one, so only have names written down. Lanny, Lore, Meg, Julius, and Ezekiel.

Ezekiel was an Aerodactyl and I remember wanting to use it for the longest time. Until I obtained it and saw the level and how much grinding I'd need. Not sure who he would have replaced. Holly, Alex, or Fang, maybe? Dunno, but I was too attached to abandon them.

But yeah, Blaine next time!
 

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
127
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #20
Oh boy, this was a tougher chapter to right. I had a cool, neat idea for how to make up for Ezekiel not appearing in this story (sorry if anyone who read FA was hopeful!), but executing it was a little harder than I anticipated. I mean, on the technical terms it wasn't any different than normal. Well, other than me putting this chapter together like a puzzle rather than writing from start to finish. But rather... it was trying to settle on what to include. But I think I'm happy with the result!

Oh, fair warning, thus one's slightly on the longer side too!



"You all right?"

Shawn shook his head as he cleared away the memory of being recruited by Cole and forced a smile. "It's fine. I'll tell you later." He took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly. "Come on. I know neither of us are looking forward to this, so let's go get it over with."

There was a certain amount of trepidation in the air as they approached the buildings. He was realizing that he hadn't even thought of simple things, such as staff knowing who he was. Shawn wasn't looking forward to having to explain himself to dozens and dozens of people over and over, especially when they'd recognize him before he did the same to them. Then again, this was a big campus with what looked to be hundreds of employees, so perhaps there was a good chance he'd not constantly bump into people who knew him back when he actually remembered who they were?

They elected to enter the center building first since Shawn suspected that a scientist like Blaine wouldn't be stationed in the administration building. Assuming, of course, he was still alive and not imprisoned. Unlikely, perhaps? Maybe he was-

No, stop fretting and just get on with it. No amount of mental reasoning would answer the questions.

"Excuse me, sir," a receptionist called from her desk across the lobby moments after they entered the door. "Please recall your pokemon. We can't have visitor pokemon running about."

Mayra shook her head. "Looks like Stan is either off work or gone now." The nidoqueen sighed. "Whatever, I'll see you on the other side."

"Sorry guys." Shawn unclipped each ball from his belt and recalled his team in turn. Now alone, he walked up to the newbie receptionist who watched him expectantly. "Is there any chance that Dr. Blaine Kay is available?"

"I can check on that. May I have a name please?"

"Shawn O'Donnel." He watched her for a reaction. Nothing. He wasn't sure whether to be concerned or relieved.

"One moment, Mr. O'Donnel." The receptionist picked up a nearby phone, dialed a number, and waited a moment, presumably for an answer. "Dr. Kay? I have a man in the lobby looking for you, a Mr. O'Donnel, are you-" She paused. "Uh, yes, he's right in front of me right now." Pause. "Uh... Yes, he said Shawn. And... he has blonde hair and-" She screwed up her face in confusion. "Uh, doctor, it's against protocol to send someone-"

The receptionist moved the receiver away from her ear and Shawn thought he heard shouting on the other side. "But he doesn't have an identification or- ...one moment, doctor." She turned to her computer to click and type for a few moments with her free hand. She stared at the screen and then looked back to Shawn with a pause. "Okay, sorry, I- I see him in here now. Yes, I'll send him along."

She set the phone down while muttering something under her breath. "He wants you to go to his office, uh, Mr. O'Donnel. It's just down that hall, second left, third right, and then second left again. His name will be on one of the signs."

"Thank you."

Shawn departed directly for the destination, replaying the instructions in his head so he didn't forget them. Easy enough to find, but he made sure not to look at anyone in the eye lest they might notice and recognize him. Blaine seemed to be very insistent on meeting him and Shawn didn't want thirty reunions to keep him waiting. Luckily, once he was out of one of the main halls, traffic dropped considerably and he was able to reach the office unaccosted. And also, so far, he hadn't been ambushed either. He wasn't expecting one, but it was still a possibly in the back of his mind. Uncertain as to what to expect from here, Shawn knocked on the door.

"Come in!" an older, gruff voice from within called. Shawn obliged.

The office itself seemed fairly ordinary. A messy desk, chairs, a computer, bookshelves mostly filled with books, a television in a spot without books, and a balding, elderly gentleman who occupied the nicest seat behind the desk. Upon Shawn entering, the man, who he assumed was Blaine, jumped to his feet.

"By god, it is you!" Blaine took his glasses off and stared in open astonishment. "You... You actually are alive! We've all thought you were dead!"

Shawn couldn't help but crack a half grin. "No, I've managed to avoid becoming that. Though... I'm gonna take it that we met before?"

"That we met before...?" Blaine appeared confused for a moment before something seemed to click. "Oh... Don't tell me..." He took in a deep sigh and exhaled it slowly. "Giovanni took your memory too?" Shawn nodded. Blaine's hands covered his eyes as he muttered a string of curses that made Shawn's ears burn.

"I uhh... I..." the trainer started and trailed off.

Blaine looked up and shook his head. "It's not your fault. Please tell me you're at least recovering?"

"Yeah, at least that. I've remembered up to Cole recruiting me for working at, I assume, here..."

"Still a while to go then..." The elderly man shook his head and sat down. "Have a seat. So, if you don't remember why you were here then can you tell me what led you to here?"

Time to go on a limb and assume Blaine entirely understood what he was talking about. "It's a long story, so I hope you don't have anything else to be doing..."

Shawn recounted his tale to Blaine, starting with waking up in Pallet Town and his trip across Kanto. He made sure to pay particular attention to the encounters with Mewtwo and the ambush on the magnet train and the park from Styx and Legion. And, as well, the vision Styx showed him, the abridged version of the sceptile's life, where to find Blaine, and his plea for help.

"Other than finding that Mayra was okay-" He patted her ball reassuringly. "-its been uneventful since then. We came to find you, not knowing what to expect. So... here we are."

Blaine nodded and stared into a space above Shawn for several long moments. "It seems the control measures Cole put in place over those two weren't perfect. We might have more hope than we expected and Giovanni might not be beyond saving."

"Giovanni?"

Another nod. "Mewtwo is Giovanni. And I see from your lack of reaction that you've not remembered that man yet. He was the founder and leader of Rocket Science and Research. A great man with great ambitions to recover the science and technology of the past. 'To blast humanity off into an age of enlightenment' was his, and our, motto." Blaine sighed. "If only he knew the truth, then maybe it might not have been used by Cole to betray him, to turn him into the monster that Mewtwo is, and to start this whole mess."

Shawn tilted his head. "The truth? I don't think I'm really following here..."

Blaine turned to his computer and pressed a few clicks on his keyboard and mouse. The television on the shelf crackled to life. "And I'm not sure your memory will come back soon enough on its own for you to follow. You've seen these video before, but it'd be faster to show them to you again."

A menu appeared on the screen and Blaine seemed to be navigating it from his computer.

"We all know about the Cataclysm that shattered the more advanced civilizations that came before us some centuries ago. What's been buried in time was the whys and hows. The real whys and hows, not just theory and conjecture." Blaine turned to the television as the screen went dark. "What you're about to see are snippets of truth behind that. Fragments that, along with a lot of other knowledge, should have remained buried forever."

* * *

An older man in a lab coat appeared in the screen, standing in an office. He smiled as soon as the video started. "Hello. Before we continue, I must remind you that this video is classified as Top Secret. If you are an unauthorized personnel viewing this video, you must either turn it in to your superiors or destroy it depending on the situation."

Shawn felt his heart race slightly at the mention of how classified this was. But he tried to remind himself that this, according to Blaine, was centuries old footage. The keepers of these secrets have long since died.

"I am Doctor James L. Arceus, the leader of Project Light. You might have heard of 'The God Project' or similar. This is that very same project and that name came from an errant comment I made about making a pokemon god. Before I continue, in case you have not worked with pokemon before, let me review their classifications so you know where this project stands.

"The first generation we do not speak about. Modified animals, the first generation of pokemon were failures. Nevertheless, we persevered and created a second generation of pokemon: cybernetic creations that were both animal and machine ran by A.I. The third generation we went fully biological again and created entirely new beings from scratch. The fourth generation is merely an improvement on the third.

"The fifth generation, however, is where how we proceed is of up for debate. You might be aware of Project Ascension, which seeks to bring third and fourth generation pokemon to more powerful levels through combat metamorphosis v1 and v2, or mega-evolution and awakening as some call it. There is also Project Hybrid, which is combining and overwriting parts of the human genome with compatible pokemon genome to turn volunteers into humanoid pokemon who are proving to be much stronger, more loyal, and quicker to produce than previous generations, although the ethics behind this project are very questionable.

"You may have heard of a sixth generation program called Project Angel that seeks to marry Ascension and Hybrid. I believe that is a dead-end and will not see us create soldiers and weapons to our full potential. That is why you are here to work with me on Project Light. We are going beyond what we know of pokemon to create the ultimate being. Our first attempt, Silvaly, was a failure. But we have learned.

"You will be working on a new pokemon called." He paused, looking sheepish. "Arceus. My colleagues named it in my honor and, before I could choose something less personal and egotistical, the name stuck, unfortunately. We are still in the early stages of developing it. Your purpose here-"

The video suddenly buzzed and froze. Shawn looked to Blaine questioningly as the older man paused it.

"We don't have a complete copy of that part. Probably for the better in case he went into more details on how to make another Arceus." Blaine sighed. "I could only imagine the havoc Cole could wreck if he made one of those instead."

"Or heck, an army..." Shawn shook his head. "I'm guessing that stuff on Hybrid wasn't so well hidden, huh?"

Blaine nodded. "Unfortunately, not anymore at all. Cole found complete files and schematics on that one, if I'm correct. Speaking of..." he resumed the tape.


The buzzing held for a few moments more before it cut to a shaky camera view speeding through the woods, accompanied by the sound of heavy footsteps.

"We're on the twentieth mile now, sprinting non-stop while carrying a backpack full of rocks. I barely even feel it," a male's voice said. "Still able to talk normally, even. Almost done with the trial run and I feel like I've only run a few hundred yards in my old body. This is insane."

"You're a little tired? Damn, you're a pansy."

The view turned and Shawn assumed the camera was on a head and the owner was looking over a shoulder. When it showed a pink-furred sylveon, except bipedal and wearing some sort of military uniform and a head-mounted camera, he had to do a double-take. It looked like someone had brought a cartoon to life. Except far more realistic and not cartoony in the least. Seeing it was a little unsettling as it flew in the face of the reality he knew. There were a few hybrids behind, it seemed, but they were at the edge of the view and hard to make out.

"Okay, pink ribbon boy. Whatever you say."

"Bitch, I'm fabulous now! Unlike a certain blue dog."

"Yeah, you had to overcompensate for how ugly you were before, I get it." The view turned back to the forest path. "Now shut your trap, we're almost there and they're not gonna wanna hear you."

After a few more minutes, complete with stray pieces of banter, they came to a clearing where several targets were set-up and a few scientists were waiting by a few tables housing a few unrecognizable devices. One of the scientists approached the camera's owner. "Captain, how was the run?"

"Barely even felt it."

"Excellent." The scientist jotted something down on a clipboard. "Please take off your backpack, hand me your camera, and proceed to the circle. We wish to see how such a run may have impacted your power output levels."

A paw reached up to grab the camera and obscured the view for a moment. As it was handed over, the world tumbled until the camera was set on something solid and slowly rotated. The camera's owner turned out to be a lucario, only... well, mostly just taller and longer limbed than a normal one. And, of course, in uniform.

"Whenever you're ready, captain, project at one of the targets. Our sensors are ready."

Having trained Evelyn, Shawn recognized the pose and posture the captain was taking. It was near identical to the one she had made when throwing aura spheres. And, unsurprisingly, the captain formed the same blue-white ball of energy in his hands and shoved it a target which, as Shawn had predicted, exploded into splinters.

The captain stood up and grinned in delight. "Ha ha ha, woooow! I never get tired of doing that!"

"Energy output seems hardly affected," another scientist off-screen reported. "Everything is within expected parameters."

Blaine paused the video once more. "Before you ask again, yes, those were originally just people. Not sure if they were soldiers before or after they were changed."

"Pretty impressive, although he didn't look much more powerful than Evelyn was. Maybe a lot more stamina though..." Shawn muttered. "And they look kinda weird too, like something an artist would make. But uhh... if this was a thing, then where are all these changed people today?"

"A good question without a good answer. We're not entirely sure if this scene was just very close to the Cataclysm, so they didn't have a chance to make many, if they were mostly killed off, or if they were sterile and couldn't breed, making it impossible for them to produce off-spring." Blaine paused and stroked his chin. "Or maybe they could only produce normal humans or normal pokemon as off-spring? A lot of possibilities, but nothing conclusive has been recovered."

Shawn raised an eyebrow. "You don't have a timeline for all this stuff?"

The gym leader shook his head. "No, not at all. These videos are in what we think is the correct order. In some cases its obvious, but there's no telling, really. This one you just watched could have displaying a trial run of prototypes or it could have been a training video of soldiers preparing to join the fight against Arceus or anywhere in between. It may even be post-Cataclysm, although that seems unlikely."


The video skipped again and, this time, there was female scientist. She stood to the side of the camera, standing on the edge of the screen, and in the background, laying on a table was a naked, unconscious female connected to a variety of tubes and machines. Something seemed off about her and, when Shawn looked more closely, it looked as if her hands, feet, and skin were deformed.

"Video log 37 of Dr. Morrison on Project Angel," the scientist reported in a near-monotone voice. She paused. "I am reporting on trial attempt #6. We are still in the early phases, but so far all is well."

Dr. Morrison looked down at her clipboard. "Subject 6 original name is Luna Hayes. Female. Age... about 26. Hometown is... somewhere around New York. Subject is homeless, believed to have been living in an abandoned building with several others. Subject also has a long criminal record of thefts and assaults, although has evaded capture by law enforcement. She was also quite dangerous and had injured several of the requisition team sent to collect her and has to remain in a constant state of sedation."

Shawn grimaced. The ones in the previous videos had been volunteers. But this one... Were they picking homeless people up off the streets?

The scientist looked away from her clipboard and glanced at Luna, who remained sedated and unmoving. "So far, things are progressing smoothly with this one. Absol genes were determined to have the greatest match and the transformation is going without hitch, unlike previous trials. It is still early, so observation will be required."

Morrison turned back to face the camera. "Once the transformation is complete, we will begin the second phase and see if we can induce combat metamorphosis. If the subject takes, then phase three we will see if we can make that state permanent, which should result in a pokemon far stronger than anything we've created thus far."

She smiled wryly. "If my calculations are correct, the result should be a little ways behind Arceus' God Project projections but much cheaper and more readily produced and available. If that stage succeeds though, perhaps we can try to exceed that little side-adventure by trying to induce combat metamorphosis 2.0 on top of it. I fear the strain might kill the subject, but better her than a volunteer."

"After that?" She tapped her clipboard with a pen. "We've not decided what to do with the subject yet, should she survive that far. Her lack of cooperation means she must be sedated constantly, so I suppose she'll either be held in containment for study, dissected, or go through mental reconditioning to make her obedient."

"Either way, that is where we stand for now. I am hoping to have good news in the next log."

Shawn looked away from the video in disgust, fury brimming just underneath. All of these might be events from the past and everyone involved long since dead, but... still. "How in the hell can someone be so nonchalant about doing that to another person?"

Blaine remained expressionless. "It's what happens when you stop wielding science for the betterment of mankind and pokemon and instead for cold, calculated purpose. Women like her see nothing else but the advancement of science for science's sake. A lot of those who worked for Cole on Giovanni were of the same mindset. It's sickening to see such intellect used for vile purposes."

Shawn bristled again. "I only thought people like that existed in movies. Or ancient history..."

"This IS ancient history now." Shawn noticed Blaine's expression didn't change. "This is our history, our truth. This is the sort of thing that led to the world being what it is today. Regardless, I remember you didn't like her next few logs either and they're not important at the moment, so let's skip ahead a bit. You can watch them later with your team. They'll deserve to see this too."


The screen was dark and empty.

"Video log sixty- You know what, it doesn't really matter anymore. This is probably the last one." The female owner of the voice, not Dr. Morrison, drew in a breath sharply and exhaled. This part seemed to be only audio. "Honestly, I'm surprised this microphone still even works. I have the thing held together with scotch tape."

There was a pause. Something crashed in the background.

"I'll get to the point. James is missing, probably dead. Most of my other colleagues are either dead or will be soon. Maybe a few will survive in the hospital, but I doubt it. And apparently I'm under so much shock that even saying that isn't scratching the numbness I feel. Hopefully it'll stay that way until I can finish this log. I don't know why I'm doing it since this video will probably be destroyed when someone comes up with a cover story and wants to sweep the evidence under the rug. But I just... think it's important someone tries to leave a message.

"To put it simply: Project Light escaped. I don't know how or why. Maybe investigations will turn up an explanation, maybe not. The thing, after it got out, was claiming to be James. Well, it called itself Arceus, specifically, not James. Regardless, it was also claiming to be a god, so who knows what the truth is there? All I know is that it apparently has gotten it into its insane head that humans are evil and it must liberate pokemon through revolution. And it seems to have gotten into the heads of all of our pokemon. No, not from Hybrid. Only the ones that aren't human at all. Generations two, three, four... They all fought their way free and who knows where they or Light are going? I can only hope they're not going towards the cities."

She sighed deeply and it sounded like she was hitting a desk. "My sub-conscious was right. We've been playing god when we shouldn't be. And now what? We made a god who wants us all dead." She sighed again. "Let it go on record that we were fools who made a terrible mistake."

There was silence for several long moments. "I don't know who might see this video. If Light is still out there, I'm confident it must be put down. No capturing, it needs to be stopped. And we need to stop playing god. Otherwise, next time... I don't even want to think of it."

As angry as Shawn was getting at some of these scientists, her sheer despondency mellowed him out. For all the horrible things some of these people had done, they had all suffered for it, innocent or not. Just like... Just like Rocket Science and Research was now with the slaughter here, in Mt. Moon, and Rock Tunnel at Giovanni's hands.

The screen suddenly lit up again. It was a bright and sunny day. And a very loud day. Gun shots that sounded as if they came from a sci-fi movie reverberated throughout the scene, explosions echoed from all directions, and light flashed everywhere. Above it all, on a hill, stood a being Shawn had never seen in such detail.

There were drawings, sketches, recreations. Some people even worshipped Arceus, but nobody had ever gotten the design right.

Even in this low quality video, it was a breath-taking being. It was a tall, snowy-white equine creature, its shape reminiscent of those centaur things he had seen in a few movies before. Only the upper half wasn't human, but instead maintained the equine characteristics. Arceus was also adorned in the purest of golds, most notable with an ornate, four-spiked wheel around its mid-section.

Surrounding Arceus was a clear, crystalline glass-like bubble that, at certain angles, refracted light into a rainbow like a prism did. And motes of pure, soft light swirled around the shell. The whole sight was glorious, regal, and awe-inspiring. Or, it would have been if those same motes of light weren't obliterating the people they came into contact with.

Bipedal pokemon equipped with technology far beyond what they had today fought more recognizable pokemon who were backed by sigiliyph, magnezones, and other mechanized pokemon. The hybrids were outnumbered, but they would have been winning if it weren't for Arceus. The self-proclaimed god of pokemon created prisms of light around itself to smite his foes with the judgement of blinding rays of light.

The view seemed to be a camera mounted on another soldiers head. He darted and weaved through the fighting, as did several others, while slowing only to engage whatever got in his way. His comrades dropped around him, some from the traditional pokemon, but mostly from the light of Arceus. Only the camera owned seemed to avoid death.

He sprinted up the hill and Shawn heard the crackling of electricity. Arceus paid the attacker no mind as more lights swirled around to protect it. A wave of sparks thrust them back, making an opening for a bolt of lightning to strike into Arceus' protective shell. The dome shattered and the electrical hybrid sprinted forward.

Now Arceus took notice as lightning struck its own body, singing its fur but doing little else. Shawn got an appreciation for just how big Arceus was as it glowered down at its attacker. The owner of the camera moved to strike, an electrical fist flashing across the camera's view as it was drawn back.

Arceus lifted its nearest foreleg and the golden metal gleamed light bright enough that Shawn had to look away from the screen a moment. When the camera recovered, whoever was carrying it was on his back, screaming in pain. Arceus simply brought down its foot as if it was crushing an insect.

His pure gold metal and snowy white fur were stained with splashes of crimson.

Arceus lifted his foot, shook it, and the camera fell and tumbled down the hill.

* * *

"Was... was that-?"

"Yes, that was Project Light. That was Arceus."

"... I can't believe some people are worshipping that."

"To be fair, their source material doesn't contain any truth to it."

"Even still..." Shawn slumped into his chair.

"We don't have the full details. There's more videos, but from there it's all news reports and fighting. And those all end before the war is finished." Blaine turned off the television. "From what we can gather or theorize, that Arceus is either named after its creator or its creator somehow became it. We don't know. What we do know, however, is that our forefathers created pokemon as weapons for their wars. They played god and created new life. And then Arceus made that life turn on them in a revolution. Was Arceus killed? Was it captured? Did peace come to other terms? We don't know, those records are lost."

Shawn was silent for a moment as his mind tried to both accept and reject everything he just saw. He knew it had to be real, but it conflicted with the world view he had grown up with. ...he also strongly suspected he had this same crisis before the first time he watched these videos. "But how does this relate to Cole?"

"About a year ago, Cole and several others, both scientists and guards, along with teams of pokemon, traveled across the ocean to another land to explore dangerous ruins in pursuit of knowledge. Only Cole and Elyssia returned, bringing back the videos you just saw, among many other documents and files. He claimed the whole group had been killed by something called 'The Prophet.' He insisted that The Prophet told him that Arceus was returning to finish destroying humanity.

"I don't know whether that really happened, but Cole was insistent that only we could stop it from happening by using the files he had recovered from Project Hybrid, Project Ascension, and Project Angel to create an army to oppose him Giovanni took intense odds with this and shut Cole down. That was the worst thing he could have done."

Blaine sighed. "Needless to say, Giovanni disappeared mysteriously and, being his successor, Cole took over Rocket Science and Research and started experimenting on Pokemon using what he found and using Giovanni as a Hybrid prototype using incomplete genetic data on a Pokemon called Mew. Mind, a lot of the drama was behind the scenes, so we didn't know anything other than Giovanni's disappearance until one of our colleagues uncovered everything going on. That was when you and I decided to take matters into our own hands since we feared the corruption in Kanto's police would ensure nothing was done unless they were forced to act."

The elderly scientist turned back to Shawn. "So, we made a plan. You infiltrated the secure area and freed Giovanni. Who, in turn, completely destroyed the lab, killed many people in there, and fled." He sighed. "In hindsight, that wasn't our best plan."

"That'd explain why I was ambushed on the train..." Shawn pondered a bit as his mind tried to process everything without spinning his head up into the foggy clouds. "So, what now then? Styx wants me to help him, Giovanni's still at large, and I have no idea what Cole is up to."

"For the most part, it's in Interpol's hands. The problem is getting close to him. Kanto's justice system is on the corrupt side, but they'll be forced to act regardless if the PR against Cole is bad enough. Its turning, but I don't think it'll be enough." Blaine leaned forward. "But, if we can take his League Championship from him, that'll be a major blow."

Shawn froze. "Why do I get the feeling that, when you say 'we', you mean 'me'? And how does this save Giovanni?"

"It probably won't hep Giovanni. I have someone else more... qualified working on that." Blaine paused. "For the rest, it's because you have the right feeling. I'd do it myself, but my hands are tied dealing with all the police business here. There's still ongoing investigations and I'm having to cooperate completely to stay out of prison. I had no involvement with the project, but they're not being shy with the cuffs on anyone suspicious."

"But isn't the tournament only about a month away? How am I supposed to train my team well enough to compete in a Master's level tournament? I'm only a Senior Division Champion and, even then, no offense to my team, they are not even at that point yet."

Blaine nodded. "I understand. I've asked the other gym leaders to compete this year and I know both Koga and Sabrina are on board and supposedly Pryce in Johto is going to show as well. Hopefully more will decide to join in too. They don't know the stakes, but its at least putting the eggs in a few different baskets in knocking Cole out of his position." The scientist paused. "For you though? An idea occurs to me. Might be a long shot, who knows. But are you familiar with Rosa Toyosaki?"

"World Champion Rosa Toyosaki?" Blaine nodded. "The one who won the first ever Pokemon World Tournament?"

"The same." Blaine grinned wryly. "She lives in the Sevii Islands nearby. She might be my ex-wife, but we've at least smoothed things out over the years. I think, if I call her and am totally honest with her, she'll agree to train you. She's seen things others haven't and she has a few tricks up her sleeves that made her successful, so she's our best shot." He paused. "And if that fails, well, I suppose I'll train with you to the best of my abilities."

Shawn remained silent for a little longer. "You do know that if Cole knows I'm in Kanto, he'll try to kill me, right? He pretty much promised that."

"Do you still have that Interpol agent's number? Looker, wasn't it?" Shawn nodded and reached into his pocket. "Give it to me and I'll see if I can work on that angle for you. No matter what, I'm not sending you to your death. But if I can-"

His phone buzzed. "Mr Blaine? I'm just reminding you of your two o'clock meeting in five minutes."

He pressed a button. "Thank you, Cheryl." Blaine grabbed a sheet of paper off his desk, wrote a few phone numbers on it, and handed it to Shawn. "Those are my contact numbers. Go find a nice hotel to relax in and, if you decide you want to go through with this, give me a call tonight or tomorrow evening and we'll work out the details."

Shawn pocketed the paper and stood up. "All right, will do. Either way, I think Mayra might wind up upset if she doesn't get to talk to you again if we knew each other that well, so we'll have to arrange for that."

"Yes, of course. I would have asked you to let her out if I hadn't wanted to speak to you privately." Blaine paused a second. "Oh, before you go..." He opened a drawer, dug around for a moment, and then handed Shawn a small disk in a paper sleeve. "A copy of what you just saw. Be sure to show it to your team if you're going to do this."

Shawn looked it for a moment and then returned his gaze to Blaine. "Didn't you say this needed to stay buried."

"I did."

"Then why...?"

"Ignorance is bliss. But the higher ups disagree and say 'Those who don't know history is doomed to repeat it' or some non-sense, even though we're in danger of repeating it because we now know it again." Blaine shook his head and grumbled to himself. "Regardless, a lot of those videos are going public once investigations are over no matter what I say. So, there you go, your own copy before the editors get to it."

Shawn slipped the disc into a bag. "Makes sense. Well, I'll give you a call soon regardless of what I decide. Enjoy your meeting."

Blaine rolled his eyes. "Yes, quite. Take care, Shawn."

Shawn stepped out of the office and back into the hallways. He patted the disc and frowned. He had a feeling this was going to be a very long evening.



I have two Ground-types and a Water-type. It needn't be said that Blaine was... easy. I probably could have just had Rusty Surf spam it, but I wound up opting for a more complicated, but probably safer, strategy. But, can you blame me? It was my first Nuzlocke and, at this point, I was getting really antsy about taking losses or, worse, wipes this late in the game, so I was staying on my toes and over-strategizing as much as possible.

From my notes...

Vs. Blaine! Plan is for Mayra to lead and take out the first two, with Holly taking back-up. Mayra has much better special bulk than Holly, hence why she's leading. Rusty will swap in on the third, set up rain, and then finish off. Everyone else is back-up should something go wrong, but I'm not too worried. Just gotta stay careful.

Mayra OHKOs Growlithe and Ponyta with Dig. Again, not the mons I'm concerned about.

Rusty swaps in on Rapidash and gets the rain off. Rapidash's Fire Blast did a pittance of damage. OHKO on Rapidash and Arcanine with Surf! Easy victory. Too easy.
 

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