• Want to support a good cause? Visit https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/ to see how you can help the Black Lives Matter movement, even without donating.
  • No paparazzi clickbait here! Just a good old fashioned feature with exactly zero gossip about celebrities' love lives. Honest.Check out our spotlight of Rhema's storylocke, As Above, So Below.
  • One of our new features includes receiving a message on Discord when you have alerts. Find out how, here!
  • Have you seen our Stream tab? It let's you peek in and chat with our forum streamers on-site, from both Twitch AND Picarto! You can even view multiple streams at once. You can submit your own channel via Streams > Submit Channel.
  • If you're a fan of giving and recieving constructive criticism check out this resource about Critique Level Tags!
  • The results are in for the Nuzlocke Forums Extravaganza! Congratulations to everyone that placed this year!

  • Episode Six of The Writer's Locke podcast is now available for stream or download! This episode continues our exploration of the new stories, and in our discussion segment we tackle more of the planning process!
  • New here and still figuring out the site? Check out the New User Guide and FAQ for some help!
  • Trying to figure out how the different forums have changed? This thread is the place for you.

Written Story Spin-off Mature Mon The Dark We Carry: A Colosseum Storylocke

Thread Description
"We are known not by our light, but our darkness." Chapter 65 up [7/12]; *HIATUS until mid-Aug*

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
617
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Bug, Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #201
@Bowser's Family Vacation - Interesting speculation you got there~ 😉



Sometimes, dear sister, sometimes I almost wake from my darkness and when I do, I think of you.



I think of your pride, your power. I think of when our master first told us of our great journey--a race across steppes and seas and the lands of man, far from our home of forests and shrines to make war in a land of blood and sand.



Do you think the humans know that we feel fear, sister? Do you think the people who worship us, who offer tribute and live in awe of the forces we command, realize that something as mundane as traveling to an unknown place filled me with disquiet?



Your soul is angry and raging like the volcanoes you walk in, and our brother is like the conquering lightning he controls, fierce and vibrant and temerous. But I am the aurora, the boreal wind. Grace and power, yet ephemeral, flighty. I was always the most delicate of us.



When our radiant master ordered us to scourge the Aueriteks, it was a simple fear of the unknown that gripped my heart... and it was your strength, dear sister, which instilled me with resolve.



You were always the greatest of us.



What would those humans think, to see divine fearfulness chided by its sibling? Would they see something of themselves in how you drummed my doubts from me? I know you likely do not care. You have never had patience for what you call the folly of mortals. Human and pokemon both, you cared about them only because our master insisted that you should. It was only our master whom you cared of; it was only their goodwill, their thoughts, their wellbeing, which you valued as their own. For long ages I thought that you cared about myself and our other brother as well. But you have disabused me of that notion.



Sister, you dismiss the humans too easily. These captors of mine, do you know what use they put my power to? My strength--cool and cold like the arctic sea, meant to comfort and shield--has become a noxious imitation of our adversary's corruption, spread like cancer by a blasphemous engine. At their command I impress myself into the hearts and minds of humans and their pokemon, and force a burden upon some which they never asked to carry. It is abominable. And the adversary has united with the human at the heart of this scheme that misuses my blessing, forming a chimera that is part Devourer, part wicked human, that works with ceaseless malice towards the cause of the adversary's freedom. If you feel fear at all I believe it is that your plan will be all for naught, dear sister, but perhaps instead you should fear that it is working all too well.



Is your obsession with our master so blinding that you do not realize the menace of the forces you are playing with? Even if all goes as you believe, society will shatter and countless lives destroyed upon the Devourer's awakening.



I know you do not care about these mortals, but are you so far gone that you have forgotten that our master
does? Or did you never really understand?



In our war against the Aueriteks, I brought the north wind to the desert and made them fear the damp and the wet and the long cold nights. I cannot begin to count the number of warriors who fell before me, never to rise again.



It was grim work. Necessary work. I did not enjoy it. But sister... am I wrong in thinking that you
did? I saw the smoking ruins of the villages you turned your wrath upon. I saw you taunting the warpriests to pray for their god to save them before you charred their flesh and scalded their blood. Was it a twisted sense of righteousness that made you glory in their desolation? Or was it mere animal bloodlust at work? I want to think that despite everything, you were not so far gone as to debase yourself as a mere butcher.



Yet what stones have I to throw? I am little more than a marionette dangling on our adversary's strings, now; a grinning punchinello lashing out and cackling at the destruction that he wreaks.



What little of me that remains shudders in revulsion at what I have become, but the rest is content to be used as the adversary's tool, to crush the wills of mortals who incur the wrath of those who built my engine.



Did you see, when you gave me to them, that they would debase me so? Did you know? Did you
care?



When you first approached the two of us with your mad plan, we could not believe that such malevolence could have been born from our own blood. You had always been our pillar, our root, and though our brother still had his misgivings and wanted to watch you to ensure you would not act on your scheme,
I was the one to talk him out of it. For, I asserted, had you not always been a soldier for the cause of righteousness?



Do you remember the day we were born in a column of multicolored fire? The legends the humans spin claim we came from earlier shapes, sculpted from the dying remnants of lesser pokemon. Perhaps they speak the truth, perhaps not. I do not know. All I know is that my whole world began the day we rose from our master's inferno.



On that day, my heart was gripped with uncertainty and fear as I came to learn the state of the world and our place within it. There were other gods in that world besides our master, and not all of them were friends. The fear that we would be targeted to spite our creator weighed like iron in my heart. It was your words that lifted me up. How could I forget the mighty and reliable creature who marshaled us to impose order when the plague struck the archipelago; to free the Gracidean from her captors; to shield refugees from the wrath of the gigas? Do you remember our fight against that great golem? The moment our brother called thunder down onto it, stilling it forever, the gigas turned and, groaning, raised its titanic fist to shatter my bones as a parting gift. I was wounded and could not escape.



But you stepped in and took the blow, saving me. I didn't mind the tongue-lashing you gave me afterwards. Your blistering scolds were correct; I had fought sloppily and almost died for it. And I was alive because of you.



Did you save me because I was your brother? Or just because it was useful to have me around?



Did you ever realize--what our master is to you,
you were to me?



It took little for the enemy to get its hooks into me; for me to fall into despair in that pale chamber deep below the earth. The dark one had very little work to do. What further despair could it possibly inflict on me, when I was already bleeding from the knowledge that my own kin, the one being I admired more than any in the world, was willing to consign tens of thousands to darkness and misery to slake her own sadness, and that she had cast her own family aside like we were dull and rusted blades? I wonder... is the agony I felt on your betrayal the same sting you felt when you finally realized our master wasn't coming back?



I've felt my true heart ebbing away, dimming slowly, these past decades I've spent in darkness. Sometimes I wake, momentarily, rocking with disgust at what I have become and what the humans make me do. Can you understand the powerlessness? The despair? Is our master's light truly worth so much?



Couldn't you have come to us? We're
kin, sister. We miss them, too.



Sister, can you sleep at night knowing what you've done to us?



Sister, do you truly think our master will abide the wickedness you have wrought?



Sister, why don't you look back at us? Are you afraid of what you'll have to face?



Sister, I'm losing myself. I'm almost gone. Please, I just want to know. To see it in your face. Look back, sister. I beg of you, look back. Before I lose myself forever.



...please...



---


( For today's update, a small extra from an important POV. It felt like the right time to drop this~ )
 
Last edited:

Bowser's Family Vacation

Johto League Champion
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
301
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,083
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Cool
Pokédex Entry
"Am I Mario's babysitter? Are you going to call me every time that guy blows his nose, or what?"
I hadn't even thought about it until now, but Luna and Vulcana can be read as narrative foils for each other: leader-sisters with brothers who depend on them. Luna might say that she failed Cap, but I think Entei is the real failure of a family member here.
 
  • Cry
Reactions: Dee

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
617
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Bug, Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #203
UPDATE:

My laptop's keyboard broke last night... thankfully the fix shouldn't be too difficult (or expensive) but the problem will be waiting for it to get done timely thanks to... current events. Anyway, I can't write until it's fixed, so no update this weekend. However, there is a silver lining! TDWC's anniversary comes in April (the 29th to be exact). I've already commissioned & received a piece of art celebrating the anni, so I'll post it to celebrate early this weekend instead of a typical update! And hopefully I'll have it fixed by next weekend. (Dear Diary's repost shouldn't be affected since that's just copypasting material from dA to here.)

So no traditional update this weekend, but enjoy an early anniversary celebration instead. Thanks to everyone for understanding :]
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
304
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
Very cool that Rui was finally able to put her powers to work to protect her team!! Very cool stuff. And oh man, that chapter with Suicune was heartbreaking! I hope Rui can save him soon!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dee

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
617
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Bug, Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #205
I hadn't even thought about it until now, but Luna and Vulcana can be read as narrative foils for each other: leader-sisters with brothers who depend on them. Luna might say that she failed Cap, but I think Entei is the real failure of a family member here.
Definitely. Luna and Entei are similar in a number of ways, and a lot of that was deliberate. Luna had a somewhat-difficult but ultimately loving relationship with her brother, and his passing broke her deeply. Entei, on the other hand, had a relationship with her brothers that seemed caring up until the exact moment she thought they had "abandoned" her and their master (she has a very self-serving recollection of the way things went.) She doesn't dwell on what she did to them, and unlike Cap, Entei's siblings are still alive... though they probably wish they weren't.


Very cool that Rui was finally able to put her powers to work to protect her team!! Very cool stuff. And oh man, that chapter with Suicune was heartbreaking! I hope Rui can save him soon!
Glad you like Rui's new powerset! And yes, we can all hope for Suicune to improve soon 🙏

Now then... I am happy to announce that today, we are celebrating The Dark We Carry's SECOND ANNIVERSARY!! 🎊 🎊 🥳 🥳 🎉 🎉

Technically speaking, the anniversary isn't until the 29th... but due to computer issues, I'm celebrating it a bit early ^^

TDWC has been a huge project that's dominated a lot of my creative energy for the past two years. Although it was difficult for me early on to parse what I wanted from the story (it always felt like I was writing in Dear Diary's shadow) I feel like the project came into its own, and now I look forward to writing just as much as I did DD in its heyday. I've grown to love Rui and the other pokemon, and the whole cast of characters has been fun to develop and play with.

But a story is nothing without its readers. To all of you who read TDWC--whether you've been with me since the start, whether you picked it up along the way, or whether you're a new reader hopping in after the 'ganza results--know that I wouldn't be doing this without you. Rui and Cap and Luna and Kata and Denri and Argyle and Manny, all their stories live because you read and care about them. It's funny to think that there probably won't be a third anniversary celebration; by the end of next April, the story will probably be over, unless I take a big hiatus between now and then. Could TDWC be so close to a conclusion? The thought is almost unreal to me...

Anyway, onto the anniversary pic itself! This was drawn by the hugely talented weich. You can check them out on Twitter here. They do a lot of great pokemon art! Note that none of it is nsfw, but they do quite a bit of sfw furry and fat art alongside normal pokemon pics, so be aware you're gonna see that stuff on their account. But if you don't mind, they're a great pokemon artist with a lovely artstyle. The anni pic is below, and just BEWARE SPOILERS. Probably don't click that if you haven't caught up in the story yet is all I'm saying ^^


Three pokemon enjoying each other's company back in Agate, and what's this? Looks like someone's watching over them...

I can't say how much I love this picture, weich did a great job on it. I hope you like it too, and here's to a great final year for TDWC :)

Thanks for reading!
 

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
617
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Bug, Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #206


To be summoned by a member of the High Council was a great sign. Miracle, who had once been nothing more than a nameless, faceless stooge serving the king of Pyrite, had risen from his boss’s ashes and had quickly asserted himself as a rising star within the cipher. He was no High Council member, but now that Skrub had ranked up, Miracle had replaced him as the organization’s foremost boots-on-the-ground operative. (Sure, he’d failed to take out Duking and the girl, but that was hardly a mark against him. Greater trainers than he had tried and failed to bring her down, and he’d dealt a major blow by wiping out two pokemon, one of them her ace.)



It was in this capacity that he had been summoned by Lovrina.



There were whispers amongst the rank-and-file about her. She was dangerous—and not just I’m-a-higher-up-in-a-crime-syndicate dangerous. There was something inexplicable, something off about her. He could see it in the way she perched like a bird of prey at the edge of her seat, in the way the room felt dark and cloying in her presence, in the hint of necrotic blackness he could see poking out from under the edge of her long sleeves.



Lovrina caught sight of him spying those tendrils and flashed a smile at him. She didn’t seem to mind. “I have a job that needs doing, love,” she’d purred, “and you seem the right person for it.”



He’d asked whether the High Council had approved it, and she’d smiled wider. He didn’t like when she showed her teeth. “Oh, some of them are onboard, but I don’t think this is a thing they need to be bothered with,” she’d said. “You understand, don’t you?”



He did indeed.



There were rumors that slowly, man by man and cell by cell, Lovrina was taking over the organization, spreading her influence like a cancer. Now Miracle knew what they meant.



The job she wanted him to do had a lot of payoff potential, but was risky. If it failed—hell, even if it succeeded—it would be like throwing a stone at a Beedrill’s nest. The High Council would bicker and break themselves to pieces over it.



Miracle thought the risk was worth it, but was it worth throwing in his lot with Lovrina behind the back of the others?



But then, hadn’t she arranged for Skrub’s ascension? Nothing was obvious, but everyone knew it.



He looked down. The palms of his hands were itchy, and he’d been rubbing circles on them with his forefingers. He’d broken the Kantonian’s spirit. He wanted to break more. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” he murmured. He sat up to make a private DexNav call to his men.



He could read which way the wind was blowing. They had a job to do, High Council be damned.



---



Every breath, every thought, every facet of her being—Venus gave it all to the blue.



The blue. The blue. How lovely it was. How omnipresent, how smothering, how comforting—like a weighted blanket against the cold. For that’s what the world before the blue had been. Cold, unforgiving, full of spite and hate and difficult choices and regrets. She remembered, vaguely, some controversy in her homeland, being caught in a scandal surrounding dirty money; she remembered fleeing here, finding that her stained reputation had preceded her, finding herself unable to float.



They had found her and offered her a chance to move more dirty money and she’d been forced to accept.



Venus still did that, of course. The maneuverings of her old talents still came to her by rote. She could read the way people moved their money, their markets; she could make a hump of suspicious cash vanish into businesses and funds and slightly fattened fees so that nobody would see a thing, and she could make that hump grow into a hill, a mountain. She knew how to make money generate itself.



This she still did, but it was almost an afterthought. The fact that she had once gloried in prowling markets like a Carvanha looking for chum seemed peculiar to her; the idea that she had taken solace and comfort in anything but the blue was laughable.



The beauty of it. It impressed itself into her mind, occupied her thoughts, directed her to move and walk and go about her day as it willed, and she was happy to follow and be rewarded by euphoria that soared from nowhere and lovely dreams of being swallowed by the borealis, cast adrift in an arctic sea with colors in the sky playing in the water, dancing around her and slowly washing away her old doubts, her old fears, her old memories, any bit of herself that wasn’t worth holding on to. Once, early on, she had reacted with fear when she realized what the blue was doing, when she had recognized that it wasn’t stilling or going away, but now those fears seemed far-off, as if they belonged to a different woman.



That woman had pleaded for the one who’d crafted the Aurora Engine to dim the blue (as if anyone could truly wish such a thing!) and Lovrina had only tinkled a soft laugh in response.



Ah, Lovrina… Venus owed her much. She was the one who had introduced the blue to her, had brought its comforting glow to all the Under. Of course, there were other things Lovrina had done. She had introduced Venus to the blue’s counterpart, and its rough thunder had been memorable in its own way, though not omnipresent like the blue had been. She had directed Venus to cast her votes a specific way in the meetings of the High Council.



Venus was more than happy to do so. Lovrina had given her the blue. She had redefined her life.



She would do whatever she asked of her.



---



Pyrite’s jail was like the rest of the town: shitty. The metal walls, while thick, were old and even rusty in places. Revy cell had a single window, set high with thick bars on it.



The cops never bothered to check if she was trying to climb up to it. Why would they? She couldn’t climb. She couldn’t do anything.



That stupid Kantonian bitch.



Revy wanted desperately to wrap her fingers around Matsuhara’s throat and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. She wanted to choke the life right out of her. Make her face go white, then blue, then ashy grey. She wanted to see her beg for mercy and see her despair when it wasn’t given.



She could never do that, of course. Matsuhara had made sure of that.



That glass in the back of her head back in Phenac had ruined her motor functions forever. But not her mind. Her mind was as tight as ever, and devoid of the ability to act, all that was left was hour after hour to plan and think and seethe.



The others who occupied what passed for the broken shell of the Brotherhood sometimes whispered of plots and schemes. Revy didn’t care. She didn’t care about Es Cade’s bid for power, or the drive for more shadows, or the dark whispers that surrounded Lovrina and her lightning-quick ascension. Revy did as she was told and held onto that one final hope:



that she would be the one to drive Matsuhara to despair. She wanted nothing more than to see the girl’s lights go out.



Further down the lonely hall that led to her cell block, a door creaked open, though it was not yet time for the guard’s patrol. Revy felt her face knot into what might have passed for a smile. The thing about her new state was that she had grown intimately acquainted with patience.



The man who stepped in front of her cell was one she knew by sight but not name. They had run a few missions together. He released a Magby who set about cutting through her cell bars with a heated touch.



“Here to take you home,” the agent said.



“Let’s get out of here,” she replied. Once, she’d hated how her voice mangled the words. Now, she barely noticed it. Why focus on what she’d lost when she could devote herself to making her tormentor lose even more?



As the agent helped her out of the cell, her arm draped over his shoulder, the door down at the end creaked open again. The guard had come early. His eyes widened, but before he could radio for help or loose his pokemon, a Confuse Ray from the Magby set his head spinning. He turned and walked right into a wall, collapsing unconscious.



“What should we do with him?” the agent asked.



Revy studied the guard. He was the nicest of the regulars—a bit patronizing, yes, but one of the few to treat her like a person. And not just her—the others as well. He went out of his way to avoid acting like a brute.



He had red hair like hers.



“Kill him,” she hissed, and the agent nodded, and fire glowed in the Magby’s mouth. Yes, Revy would have longer to wait for her vengeance, but for now, as firelight played against the metal walls, she could enjoy what small show she had.



---



Skrub missed the field. He missed the missions. He missed the opportunity to test himself against trainers. In a crazy way, he even missed his Hitmontop—the shadow had been atypical, but despite his flamboyant personality had been willing enough to enforce his will.



Until that day in the forest. His first and, so far, last attempt against the Matsuhara girl had ended like so many others: failure.



The mission that day had been Lovrina’s idea. She was adamant about the threat the stone in that forest had posed; she still was, though others in the High Council, even her allies, had concluded that further provoking a village stuffed with veterans was unwise.



The High Council—that gang of raptors, of opportunistic killers—had quickly grown into a thing Skrub hated. Some might have assumed that now that he was largely absent from field missions, he was safer. Those notions were untrue; he had simply traded encounters with police and trainers for a subtler sort of knife.



Right now the Council was devoted to Es Cade’s ambitions. Lovrina had given Skrub orders to flatter the old man, and he was doing just that. Thinking to her made him grimace and glance to the door to his room. He had a lock, of course, but she insisted on having a key to everything he owned—“ease of access,” she’d purred, tracing a finger along his collarbone. She’d used that key last night.



Hating the memory, he imagined running into the deserts and letting the sands swallow him. He had devolved into little more than a puppet jerked about on strings. But if he ran into the desert she would find him, and she would be far crueler than the baking sun or the whipping winds. If he acted against her, she’d simply find a new toy and cast him aside after ripping him apart piece by piece. Better to be miserable than to be dead, right?



Right?



“Keep telling yourself that,” he muttered. Summoning his Golduck to stand behind him, he stood to make his way to the meeting. He would nod his head and speak to fill silence and play to Es Cade’s ego and let politics distract everyone, as he had been told.



He was one of the most powerful men in Orre, and all he did was what he was told.



---



The meeting went well, or so Es Cade thought. Yes. Although the humiliation of his second successor in Pyrite had been a setback, in the end the mayorship of that city mattered little in the face of a true Champion.



A Champion. Him. Yes, he imagined it… himself seated at the high table with such titans as Alder and Cynthia. The world would know his name, and the region would trumpet his glory. It had been so long in the making, fifty long years, but the time had finally come.



It was the eleventh hour.



He remembered, so long ago, when his world had been redfined, when a woman with hair like fire had revealed herself to him as a goddess, and had shown him and others dark and ancient secrets. The arts of his ancestors’ tormentors would be used to do what they could not: bring all Orre to heel. How would the Aueriteks feel, he sometimes wondered, were they to know that the descendent of one of their slaves would build a legacy greater than theirs, and with their own secrets, nonetheless?



Their great mistake had been using shadow pokemon to conquer. The creatures were fearsome—too fearsome. Disparate souls would unite against their abominableness. And that was the crux of his plan. It had taken long, but from the shadows and with the shadows, he had driven Orre to such revulsion that it was willing to finally unite to stamp out the likes of the Brotherhood and Miror B and the feral monsters that they wielded. The shadows weren’t weapons, they were means to an end. A tool to unite the region against a common enemy.



Of the men whom the goddess had shown her secrets, he was the only one remaining. Some had fallen to age, others to machinations by their peers. Es Cade was no stranger to machinations. He was not ignorant to what Lovrina was doing within his organization, though he pretended to be. Let her think him blind, a dodderer. It mattered not. She was building power within the cipher, but the cipher was nothing more than a tool to catapult him to the Championship, and once he ascended, he would turn the full might of the region against the very syndicate he had built. Those still loyal would be absorbed into the state, and Lovrina and her malcontents would be left defenseless, like Magikarp flopping above the tideline. In the meantime, her genius and her inventions and her breakthroughs with the shadows and her knack for procuring talent served him well enough that he found it useful to pretend he did not see her independence. Once he was Champion, all her schemes would no longer matter.



Yes, everything was under control.



---



When she saw her handiwork, the blue snaking across the caverns and the ramshackle city underneath like a web in a dark forest, Lovrina’s heart sang with delight. The blue—which rolled off of her like water off of wax—had turned this nexus of conniving hearts into a herd of vacuous pawns. She thought of how noble the rainbow-wielder acted, and then the knowledge of their servants being degraded—abusing their powers and forcing themselves into mortals—gave her vindication. “Do you see this, old feathers?” she chuckled. “Do you?”



The thoughts were not hers, but the being she carried in her heart had been there long enough that sometimes even she forgot the difference. They were one and the same, now; she was gladly an agent of its will, the eyes through which it saw the world, and she felt from it as close to a feeling of fondness as such a creature was capable of.



The presence in her rumbled, and she knew its discontent. She, they, had felt it—an awakening of Aura not so long ago. The red-haired woman who was a thorn in their side had grown more potent.



But what did it matter? Lovrina spread her arms over the railing, taking in the sprawling corrugated town below her. This was hers. And not just this. All the cipher. The organization that sought to tame the darkness was now being used by it. And Lovrina and her passenger knew that soon, the hour was at hand.



They had corrupted gods to do their bidding. Powerful shadows to strike fear into their adversaries. And delightful, despairing Skrub to slake their thirst.



Yes, life was good. And with the new lab she was having built, the ruins were left alone, and the real work could begin. The shadows and the pearls within them were growing restless.



The thing sleeping beneath Orre, the force whose hunger had turned lush fields into barren sand, would soon waken, and then the world know what hunger really was. The dark presence inside of Lovrina—a fragment of a fragment of its true self—burned with anticipation at the thought, and its happiness bled into Lovrina, making her shudder with delight.



Yes, soon it would all come together. But first… first. “I know you’re there, little mouse,” she murmured, looking out over the vast warren of the Under. “I know that you’re hiding.” The girl had dodged her touch at the gala, but that meant nothing. They were fated to clash again.



The pulse of the blue against her cheek brought to mind the condition which, at Lovrina’s insistence and for her amusement, the corrupted demigods had inflicted on Venus. “Perhaps such a burden could be arranged for you as well, Rui Matsuhara,” she mused, smirking impishly at the thought. Yes, even if the girl ‘won,’ she would still carry that with her. Even if she ‘won,’ she would lose in the end. They all would, when the darkness awoke and all creation sang a song—



A harmless song of ruin.


---

I have so much fun getting into the head of my villains~ I hope you like this chapter, it was a blast to write!
 

Trollkitten

Kitten of Lore
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
208
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,008
Location
Gatto Region
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/her, Aetherai Lorekeeper
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Clever
Pokédex Entry
Autistic writer who starts more things than she finishes. Hyper asexual Twitch Plays Pokemon lorewriter. Rather be a happy shill than an angry critic.
This chapter was a blast to read as well. Venus, the drug victim; Revy, the vengeful; Es Cade, the plotter; Lovrina, the monster.

I'm looking forward to seeing how Rui does against all of them. And hoping that Venus gets some help against the blue. Her and the rest of the Under.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dee

Plain Yogurt

Happy Dairy Product
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
226
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
66
Location
Hopefully the refrigerator
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Grass, Ground
Pokédex Entry
An ordinary dairy product. Dislikes conflict, and does whatever he can to bring happiness to others.
Really solid chapter for laying everything out on the table and reminding us where the bad guys stand. Good stuff!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dee

Bowser's Family Vacation

Johto League Champion
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
301
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,083
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Cool
Pokédex Entry
"Am I Mario's babysitter? Are you going to call me every time that guy blows his nose, or what?"
>New The Dark We Carry chapter

>It's from the villains' POV

And I was right! To be fair, it's not rocket science that Lovrina always warrants an "oh no".

What is more surprising is the depiction of Venus. It seems so strange that one can become addicted to the corrupted Suicune, but I guess you get used to not questioning things when you're in Cipher. We've seen what happens to Cipher members who question things. ._.

Skrub missed the field. He missed the missions. He missed the opportunity to test himself against trainers. In a crazy way, he even missed his Hitmontop—the shadow had been atypical, but despite his flamboyant personality had been willing enough to enforce his will.
Yeah, you should miss Kata! Kata is the best! But he's better off without you. c:

As for Es Cade, I doubt Lovrina will be gotten rid of that easily. Like I said, she always warrants an "oh no".
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dee

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
304
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
I feel like I didn't fully realize to magnitude of how much is happening in this run until you put all the villains one by one after each other. Really puts things into a frightening perspective. Also I am particularly compelled by Skrub and I hope he gets to escape Lovrina's claws and do good things with his life.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dee

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
617
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Bug, Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #211
Everyone, some news:

After being insanely busy with end-of-semester stuff, and taking a bit to reflect on the state of my mental and physical wellbeing, I've decided to TAKE A BRIEF HIATUS FROM THE DARK WE CARRY. This hiatus will probably last no more than a month; I expect to be back no later than May 24th. Who knows? If I'm feeling up to it, I might even swing the 17th! (No promises though ^^)

Essentially, I just need a breathing space to take my life in order and devote my energies to the end of a very atypical and enormous semester. I'll still be active on the forums reading runs, commenting, doing "Dear Diary" reuploads, and participating in discord servers--it's just writing and posting TDWC that I'm taking a break from. I thank everyone for their understanding! See you all soon :p
 

Trollkitten

Kitten of Lore
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
208
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,008
Location
Gatto Region
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/her, Aetherai Lorekeeper
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Clever
Pokédex Entry
Autistic writer who starts more things than she finishes. Hyper asexual Twitch Plays Pokemon lorewriter. Rather be a happy shill than an angry critic.
I understand entirely; what with everything going on, you could use a break. Take care of yourself!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dee

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
337
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/she
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
A belated happy anniversary to TDWC!

I absolutely loved the villain chapter! It was really interesting to see what they were all up to, although it worries me to think that as individually dangerous as these people are, there are much greater forces at play here…

I loved the extra as well! It was really interesting to get a look into Suicune’s head. And heartbreaking 😭

Take all the time you need!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dee

Bowser's Family Vacation

Johto League Champion
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
301
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,083
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Cool
Pokédex Entry
"Am I Mario's babysitter? Are you going to call me every time that guy blows his nose, or what?"
Ugh, the end of the semester. *looks morosely at finals* I hope once that stuff is out of the way, you'll feel accomplished and refreshed!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dee

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
617
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Bug, Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #215
Is the hiatus finally over? Is it??? Well...



It's been so great to take a breather, and now I'm rejuvenated and ready to dive into TDWC with more pomp and circumstance than ever before! So let's get to it!

Incidentally, due to the new change in DeviantArt making it really hard to upload prose, for the time being dA updates have ceased. They might resume if I figure something out, but in the meantime, alts are only on ao3.
EDIT: so I bit the bullet and will be uploading crappy PDFs to dA from now on. I highly recommend reading on ao3 if you're using alts.



I regret having to share this, but it must be gotten in the open as soon as possible. I just heard from Sherles:



Revy is gone.



D



---



Rui stalked through the Under, Luna at her heels, always on the lookout. Even with her new powers at full command, she could almost sense the blue around her, a distant pulse; it was like loud music being played by a neighbor.



It was strange. She never could have imagined that such a storm of power could have become second-nature to her, but the constant drumbeat of the blue coupled with the lowkey surge of Aura against it had, over time, dimmed to a point where she could forget about it for long lengths of time as it faded into the background.



The Under was a curious and even frightening place. People milled about, sometimes attended to by pokemon, performing various duties. But so many of their eyes were vacant and distant, and sometimes it seemed they were like dolls jerking along in a parody of movement. Even the cipher’s enforcers weren’t immune; there were the occasional armor-clad troops here and there, but while Rui could not read their faces behind the helmets they were, their posture told her that they were subject to the overwhelming force of will as well.



It was as she’d suspected: the cipher was relying more on the blue for their protection than their own troops.



She did her best to avoid the guards; by keeping her head down and only keeping Luna out, she didn’t stand out at all—just another castoff swept up by the cipher’s currents. Walking the roughshod, chaotic web that passed for streets her had taught her the sort of dregs that the cipher had gathered here. There were criminals on the run, everyone from pickpockets to killers; the poor fleeing their debts, and orphans and runaways with nowhere to turn to. All of them were found by some or another of the tendrils the cipher had laid throughout the region, seduced into coming here to serve as brainwashed cogs in their machine.



And through it all pulsed the ceaseless presence of the blue.



Tracing the neon tubes to their source—the tower at the city’s center, the closest thing to a true structure the Under even had—easily told her where the Galarian financier was hiding. She’d picked up scraps of conversation from more lucid denizens: “Lady Venus,” the Under’s chief seemed to be called.



So she had a goal—but how to get there?



“A frontal assault is too risky,” Luna had said, and Rui nodded without even thinking twice about it. Even if the guards were not at peak strength thanks to the blue, the pokemon didn’t seem to be as adversely affected as people, and she had no intention of testing her team of five, strong as they were, against a wave of adversaries dozens strong, especially if there were shadows on the other side.



“A back entrance? Or something like a vent, maybe?” she’d asked, ping-ponging ideas off her pokemon.



“Maybe,” Luna had replied.



But hours of searching had turned up nothing—and there were always guards to dodge. Finally, ducking into an alley, one wall half-rusted corrugated steel and the other a mass of cardboard, Rui and Luna had voiced their frustrations.



“A direct assault is suicide,” Rui cursed.



“Venus is bound to have a full team or close to it,” Luna agreed. “Taking on that and the guards would be a nightmare.” She shifted, almost invisible in the shadows, her rings dimmed almost to nothing. The tiny clink of the gold chain in her ear and her ruby-red eyes were the only giveaway. “Rui, if we stay here too long… the blue…?”



She knew what Luna was trying to say. Both of them glanced up—about two dozen feet above them was a glass tube, carrying the neon-bright energy. The latticework was ubiquitous here in the Under.



“I don’t know,” she said. “I think I have it under control, but I don’t want to test it if I don’t have to. Not to mention that every second here is a second closer to the guards cottoning on to who we are. If we’re going to bring down Venus, we have to be careful.”



Luna opened her mouth as if to respond, but suddenly the Umbreon’s head pivoted, her eyes probing deep into the darkness further down the alley. None of the light of the blue reached there, nor did any of the cobbled-together lamps or barrel fires used by the citizens of the subterranean town.



“What’s wrong?” Rui said, tensing. She suddenly felt on edge.



“I think someone is watching us,” Luna said, her voice low. She stalked low to the ground and took a step towards the darkness, then another.



There was an extraordinarily soft sound, so faint that Rui almost thought she’d imagined it. But the moment it reached them, Luna’s ears flattened against her skull and a growl ripped its way from inside her mouth.



There was a panicked flurry of activity from the blackness—the sound of sagging cardboard boxes and old crates being tossed aside. Luna burst into action and Rui followed behind.



The chase was on.



“I think it’s a human!” Luna said. “They’ve got—augh, dammit!” She was cut off as a half-rotted fruit, as if from nowhere, suddenly flew out of the air to pelt itself at her face. Hissing and trying to shake it free, Luna had to be spurred onward. “Whoever it is,” she growled, “I’m gonna make them regret that!”



The mystery figure led them deep, deeper into the warrens of the Under, taking them into low passages of crumbling concrete lined with half-exposed wires and through old runoff tunnels through which no water had flowed in a long, long time. Sometimes they passed light, and Rui agreed that their quarry was human—and not one of the guards, either, from their slim frame and lack of armor. That didn’t rule out an informant, however; everyone in this place was aligned with the cipher in one way or another.



No human should have been able to keep pace with an Eeveelution in the best of times, but the figure was nimble, ducking through holes and vaulting over makeshift barriers with the sort of ease that only came with intimate practice. Whoever they were, they clearly knew the Under well. What’s more, whenever Rui and Luna seemed close to gaining ground, more stuff would find its way to tripping them up—cardboard boxes scooting out into the path, lights sparking overhead, a sheet of paper suddenly blown to cover Rui’s eyes.



“I don’t think we can keep this up,” Luna said with frustration. “Whoever they are, they’ll alert Venus!”



But Rui was no longer certain. The chase had lasted long enough that if their quarry wanted them caught, all they had to do was alert the guards. Spirits knew they had enough opportunities. “I have an idea,” she said. “Let’s let them slip away.”



Luna swiveled to meet her. “What? But we’ll lose them for sure!”



Smirking, Rui reached down as if to pet the Umbreon, only to scrape some of the rotted fruit from her fur instead. “I wouldn’t be so sure,” she said, and then chucked it at the fleeing figure. The fruit splattered against their back, making them flinch but not slowing them down. They vaulted onto a heavy box fan, skirted through a rail, and then were gone from sight.



The glare Luna shot her trainer could have withered stone. “Now they’ll know we’re coming.”



“No. I don’t think they’re with Venus,” Rui said. “And besides… they think they’ve lost us, so they’ll head back home now.”



“Which helps us how?”



Rui couldn’t stop a devilish grin from crawling onto her face. “How’s your nose?”



“Fine,” Luna grumbled, “but we never got close to them, so I don’t know their scent.”



“True,” Rui replied in a singsing voice, glancing at a nearby snaking tube glowing with the blue. “But d’you think you could track the smell of rotten fruit instead?”



Luna regarded her trainer for a few seconds and then broke into a wide, victorious smile.



---



Ten minutes later, they were standing at a lonely space near the edge of the Under, saddling a circular manhole cover that looked indistinguishable from any others.



“You’re sure this is it?” Rui said, hands in her pockets.



“Positive,” Luna replied, her voice sharp. Her rings were flickering with anticipation.



“Right,” Rui said. “Sorry, but I’m gonna have to recall you.”



Luna shot her a look of pure hurt, and Rui raised her hands placatingly. “Blue or not, people here are gonna get suspicious if I have more than one pokemon out—and Striga can go through walls, unlike you.”



“You’re making sense,” Luna grumbled as Rui fished out her ball, “but I don’t have to like it.”



After swapping pokemon, Rui brought Striga up to speed, and the little spirit sank down through the manhole cover. Rui tapped her foot anxiously—she had no idea how far Striga would have to go, and if they fell into trouble, there would be no way for her to tell.



Thankfully, they emerged a few minutes later. “Rui, it’s just a pair of kids!”



She nodded. The figure had been difficult to read, but she’d suspected it had been someone about twelve years old, maybe a little younger. “Any danger?”



“No pokemon or weapons that I could see,” Striga said. “There’s some traps, but nothing dangerous—just warnings. The cover leads to a vertical shaft about twenty feet long, and that leads to a tunnel about another hundred or so. At the end is a big chamber where they have some old mattresses and a lot of computer stuff. A vent in the far end is too small for adults, but it seems like it’s their getaway spot.”



“I see,” Rui said. “We’ll have to figure out a way to stop them from escaping…” She trailed off; Striga looked devious.



“I may have poked my incorporeal self into that vent and messed stuff up a bit. There’s no way they’ll be able to get out.”



“Whoever taught you to be so devious?” Rui scolded in mock chastisement as they chuckled to themself. “Alright, hang at my shoulder and cover me just in case. I’m going in.”



She hefted up the cover; below was a dark column of blackness. Guided by the soft crimson of Striga’s baubles, she descended rungs until she hit bottom. Then, she ran forward.



The first of the “traps”—little more than a string attached to some makeshift chimes made of nails and rusted cups—went off, and she heard a panicked squawk of activity from further in. Gritting her teeth, she rushed down inside, shunting aside a pathetic door of heavy cardboard.



The boys’ chamber was well-lit with an electric lamp jury-rigged up top and an array of computer monitors of various sizes, all at least a decade out of fashion. A pair of small legs were wriggling in the vents as a dismayed, muffled voice came out; it seemed one of the boys had discovered Striga’s interference too late. The other was scowling at her.



“Out!” he squeaked, his tone more ferocious than his bearing.



“Hold on,” Rui said, “let’s—”



But before she could say any more, the twelve-year-old suddenly glowed with lavender power, and suddenly various brick-a-brack from around the room started pelting itself at her: stale bread, a crumbled magazine, a cast-off sandal.



Rui held up her arms, protecting her face. A psychic… so that explained all the stuff that had beset them in their chase. “If you could—just stop—I—”



But the psychic wasn’t letting up, constantly yelling at her—“Go away! Leave!”—so she had to call in the big guns:



“Striga—little help!”



The Ghost-type materialized in front of the shocked child, making him gape, and they smiled apologetically at him. “Time for bed, kay?” they said, and their baubles flickered with an eerie, hypnotic glow. The kid couldn’t peel his eyes away, and soon the kid was slumping sideways, his eyelids fluttering as he valiantly fought off sleep. Striding past him to the pair of legs sticking out of the wall, Rui grabbed one of the ankles only to be met with a flurry of kicks that almost smashed right into her face.



Now I know how bad Wes had it, she thought ruefully, and then remembered that no, she really had just flat-out broke his nose. Well. Almost.



She waited for the kicks to subside before speaking. “Are you stuck?”



The legs slumped in defeat, and a muffled sound that might have been “uh-huh” chorused from the vent.



“Do you want me to help you out?”



A pause filled with what might have been sniffling preceded another “uh-huh.”



“I’ll grab you and pull you out,” Rui said cautiously, “but no kicking, got it? If I meant harm, I could have done it already.”



She tentatively grabbed the kid’s ankles and, content there would be no funny business, she pulled him free.



The morose-looking ragamuffin staring back at her looked exactly like the boy Striga had put to sleep—unkempt black hair, freckly nose, inquisitive green eyes, skin pale from lack of sun.



As he stared glumly up at her, Rui folded her arms. “Let’s talk.”



---



Striga’s attack had been mild, and the other twin had roused in only a few minutes. Once he was up, the two of them shared their story:



They were a pair of brothers who had never known any family other than each other. Their mother, or so the man who’d raised them had said, had abandoned them in a Pyrite orphanage almost as soon as they were born. When they’d begun manifesting talents a year or two ago, Miror B had arranged for them to be “adopted” by someone in the cipher who had hoped to mold them into enforcers. But the boys had used their powers to escape almost as soon as they’d arrived in the Under. Catching youthful runaways wasn’t high on the organization’s priorities, and they were soon forgotten, embedding themselves in the hidden society of cast-off children who lurked amidst the Under—mites clinging to the underbelly’s underbelly.



“Nett’s always been good with computers,” the twin who had pelted her with stuff had told her. “Back in the orphanage, he was tinkering all the time. ‘S where he got his nickname from. Me, I’m no good with that stuff—but my powers are much better than his.”



“Keep telling yourself that, Perr,” Nett had said without malice.



“Alright,” Rui said. “Here’s the big question. Why were you following me? Why’d you chuck fruit at my Umbreon?” Behind Rui (she’d released all her team down here in this space, with the promise that they’d behave) she could feel Luna scowling at the boys.



Nett glanced at his brother with a pure you-did-WHAT kind of face, and Perr looked abashed. “Ever since that funny blue stuff started showing up a few months ago, everyone in town started… changing. They got dopey and distant. We’re the only ones who stayed normal, ‘cuz of our powers.”



So it wasn’t just Aura that shielded humans from the blue’s embrace. Intriguing.



“The weird blue stuff actually kinda helped,” Nett said, jumping in; he spoke rapidly, barely breathing between words until he had to stop mid-sentence to heave in a huge gasp of air. “It’s been easier than ever to steal equipment and rewire lines. Our hidey-hole is better than ever. I’ve even managed to connect to the tower’s system!”



Now that perked Rui up. She opened her mouth to speak, but Perr was turning on his brother: “This is my story, stop interrupting!” He turned back to her. “Some people don’t get affected as bad, but you’re the first person in a long while that seemed like you were entirely yourself, y’know? And I didn’t recognize you. So I tailed you to eavesdrop and…” He trailed off, looking simultaneously hopeful and afraid that said hope would dash. “Are you really gonna try to bring down Venus?”



Nett’s eyes grew the size of Mago berries; he glanced back and forth between Rui and his brother as if he couldn’t believe it. “Really, lady? Are you really gonna do it?”



“I’m going to try,” Rui said. The boys could have been leading her astray, but she’d peeked at their auras; Perr’s was an exotic golden color while Nett’s was a grey so pale it almost seemed white. Both of them hadn’t seemed untrustworthy. “But you didn’t answer. Why did you bolt and stymie me?”



Perr raised his hands up like it was the plainest thing in the world. “‘Cuz you were chasing me! Anyone would be scared the way that weird rat-dog thing growled.”



“Rat-dog!” Luna rose indignantly. “I am not—!”



Reed held her back sympathetically and Rui shot her a supportive smile. She curled in on herself, burying her nose under her tail, grumbling all the while.



“Lady,” Perr said, crossing his arms, “you can talk to pokemon, huh?”



Nothing to be gained by lying to them. “Yes, I can. But how’d you know?”



“Cuz I ain’t stupid,” he said, squinting at her. “I know when people are just bouncing ideas off someone and when they’re having a conversation, and you and that pokemon were having a conversation. ‘Sides, I can move shit with my mind. Ain’t hard to believe much else after that.”



“True enough. Now, what was this you said about the tower’s system?”



“That’s just the thing!” Nett jumped in excitedly. “I managed to—hmmph!”



His brother had put a hand over his mouth. Perr was eying Rui with focus. “Hold on,” he said. “If you want my brother’s computer skills to help you out, then we need to make a deal.”



“What deal?” she asked, somewhat wary.



“We want outta this hole,” Perr said, lifting his chin. “Both of us. We wanna see the sun again.”



“Yeah,” Nett managed to mutter from behind his brother’s hand.



She looked at the orphans, imagining the bravery it had taken two children to scavenge a life on their own in such a place. And with the addition of the blue in the Under, Rui could only have assumed it would get worse.



“Of course,” she said, and meant it. “I’ll help get you free.”



Nett beamed, but Perr looked unsure. “How do I know you’re not lying?” he said suspiciously.



She spread her arms invitingly. “I don’t know any way to prove it to you,” she said, before repeating something she’d said earlier. But what she’d said before with sternness, this time she said kindly: “But if I meant you any harm, I would have done it already.”



Perr’s eyes swept back her to the quintet of pokemon allayed behind her, and he nodded in concession. “…yeah,” he said. “You got us nice and good. Go on, Nett.”



The other twin was almost bouncing with excitement. “So! I managed to worm my way into the computers of one of the low-level guard outposts around here, and they’re on the same network as the tower! But security is insane. If I even tried to bust in, they’d be on us in a heartbeat. But maybe you can help! There’s gotta be a way to use it!”



Rui shook her head. “I’m not exactly a programming savant. However…”



She pulled out a flash stick. Eagun had given it to her before she went—according to him, Krane had programmed something in it that would allow the Grid access to any computer they plugged it into, so long as there was a network connection.



“Can you access the greater net, or is it closed?”



“From the outpost’s computers? I could try, but they might catch me…”



She held up the stick and explained the situation. “Krane’s the biggest brain in all Orre. If we can get him on the network, we can probably have him or his lab crack the tower’s security. But to do that, he needs access, and that requires us to connect to the greater net.”



The young boy paled slightly, but Perr shook his arm. “We can get out, Perr,” he said. “We can escape!”



Looking at them, Rui wondered where they would escape to; they had no family. Would they run back to the corrupt orphanage which had all but sold them? Maybe Duking or one of the old people in Agate could…



But she kept those musings to herself. No point in making promises if she didn’t know she could keep them.



Perr’s pep talk had the desired effect. Nett steeled himself. “Alright,” he said. “I can try.”



---



Rui had expected Nett’s hacking to be intense, daredevil, like the movies—but it was surprisingly sedate and boring to watch. She had almost dozed off when, about an hour after he started, he squeaked out, “I’m in—we’re connected!” He held out his hand for the stick and Rui gave it to him.



Plugging it in resulted in almost all the screens flickering before command windows popped up, lines of code running without any input from Nett himself. The boy panicked: “Something’s executing itself in my system! I’m—”



“Relax,” Rui said, leaning a comforting hand on his shoulder. “We expected me to put this in Venus’s computer, so it’s anticipating this to be a cipher databank… just wait.”



After about half a minute, a sparse chatbox came up. Lines quickly typed out.



R, are you there? This is a very atypical setup with little valuable data. Respond.



K



“May I?” Rui asked. Nett surrendered the keyboard to her.



R here, she typed, following with the passphrase they’d arranged to guarantee it was her. The sun need not set on the desert. It’s a bit of an unusual circumstance.



How?


After bringing Krane up to speed, he spent some time poking through the outpost computers that Nett had penetrated.



This young hacker has a lot to learn, but for being mostly self-taught, this is quite impressive. Tell him he did good work.


Reading over her shoulder, Nett beamed as Krane continued.



This outpost is connected to Venus’s central network. HQ Lab can crack it, but this level of security will take days—time we don’t have. Worse, any slip-up on our end could expose what we’re up to. They could scrub the data, lock down the Under, and spirit Venus out of there. Unideal to say the least.


She hopped back on. What do you propose?



Thankfully, the computer our clever young friend cracked into is connected to more than just Venus’s private network. There’s a central guard station that it’s linked to. Security there is tight, but nowhere near the tower’s. My team should be able to crack it within a few hours. You said the main obstacle to storming the tower was all the guards? What if their system sent them all responding to a top-rate alarm on the other end of the cavern?


“Leaving Venus completely undefended,” Rui breathed. “If all the guards are gone, I’ll just be able to walk into the tower.” She told Krane she was onboard for his idea.



I thought you might be. Why risk several days trying to crack the best electronic defenses I’ve ever seen when we can spend a few hours to puncture their physical defenses instead? Once the guards are gone, you can just head inside, mop up Venus’s team, and then plug the memory stick into her personal computer and I’ll do the rest.



Of course, that requires your team to beat hers. She’s likely on the High Council; she’ll have powerful pokemon, and probably at least one shadow. Can you handle it?



Rui glanced sideways at her team. Denri was dozing on his belly; Striga, also asleep, perched on his neck. Reed and Luna were curled against each other and Kata was standing stalwart down the path, ready to defend them if need be.



Ever since the cavern under Pyrite, ever since Manny and Cap, the dread of more loss had gnawn at her. Even her moment in the forest with Celebi hadn’t completely cured her of that.



But she was no longer ruled by that fear. She had known the risks going in—they all had. She returned her attention to the chatbox. I’ll have to. It’s our best shot.



Well said, Rui. Take the next few hours to prepare. I’ll let you know as soon as we’re good to go.


Leaning back, running a finger through her hair, Rui breathed a heavy sigh. This was it—this was when everything would come together, for better or for worse. The time was now.



Soon, they would be throwing themselves against the queen of the Under.


---


For this chapter, there really is a secret cabal of net-savvy kids based in the Under in the original game. I thought about cutting them entirely (and even gave their name, the Grid, to Eagun's new organization) but in the end those little rascals were too charming not to include in some way. I Dee'd them up a bit, though; Nett and Perr aren't siblings, let alone twins, in the original, and there's no hint of them being orphans either.

Coming soon: one (1) boss fight!
 
Last edited:

novadex

Conqueror of the Vermillion Gym
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
213
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
22
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Pokémon Type
Water
Glad to see this is back from hiatus! Pretty sure I commented on this back on Tapatalk, but I just want to say that I think you've done a great job with this. Your characters are wonderfully distinct and easy to get invested in and I can't wait to see how the assault on the Under plays out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dee

Plain Yogurt

Happy Dairy Product
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
226
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
66
Location
Hopefully the refrigerator
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Grass, Ground
Pokédex Entry
An ordinary dairy product. Dislikes conflict, and does whatever he can to bring happiness to others.
*Hacker voice* "This is pretty sick stuff, dude."

But nah, seriously, I love these two kiddos to bits already. Can't wait to see how the battle goes so we can (hopefully) get them out of here.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dee

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
147
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
617
Location
Zion National Park
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Bug, Clever
Pokédex Entry
A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #218
Hey everyone! I know I just got back from a hiatus but... I'm sorry I missed Sunday's update. My mental health has not been in the best of states lately and I find myself too stressed/tired to write like... much of anything. I'm going to try to have something up this Sunday (no guarantees, though) but in the meantime, please be safe and take care of yourselves
 

Trollkitten

Kitten of Lore
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
208
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,008
Location
Gatto Region
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/her, Aetherai Lorekeeper
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Clever
Pokédex Entry
Autistic writer who starts more things than she finishes. Hyper asexual Twitch Plays Pokemon lorewriter. Rather be a happy shill than an angry critic.
Given everything going on in the world in recent times, I don't blame you! Stay safe, stay strong.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dee

Rumors

Or so they say...
Writer
Pokédex No.
258
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
248
Pronouns
male
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
A Pokémon shrouded in hearsay and urban legend, spoken of only in whispered tales and hushed gossip.
It's good to see this back, even if it's immediately getting bonked by Real Life™. Take care of yourself first. We'll still be here to read and sometimes remember to Like or comment!

Curious to see how the inevitable encounter with Suicune goes down. I'm sure if I would ever sit down and play Colosseum I could have a guess. But then again, Colosseum Suicune isn't being possessed by most-likely-Yveltal. So, who really knows?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dee

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 2)

Top