Written Story Teen Nuzlocke Halloween Anthology

Extravanganza Accordian Demo Extravanganza Accordian Demo

Paine

The doctorate is in pain.
Badges
Pronouns
He/him; they/them; she/her
Dex Entry It never quite knows what it's doing. Yet, somehow, things still get done.
Pronouns
He/him; they/them; she/her
Pokédex No.
118
Caught
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
321
Location
Good question!
Nature
Timid
Halloween_2019.jpg

(Thanks @SilverDoe !)


Welcome, one and all, to the Nuzlocke Halloween Short Story Anthology!

This... is in no way some kind of official event xD This began as a spur of the moment effort on the Storylocke chat group, back in late September. Several of us were playing with the idea of some kind of Halloween/campfire story type of thing, and... we kinda just went from there, deciding to do short pieces based on existing Nuzlocke (or other accepted rule variety) compliant gameplay, and gather them in one thread since they wouldn't be full runs. I'll leave this short so participants can give their own explanations/inspirations on their posts, but! A quick thanks to everyone involved, and I hope everyone enjoys reading these :)

What kind of stories will you find here? Creepy things - it's been a loose association sort of project, most of us only sharing the base concept and going through it.

Anyway... uh... that's about all I got for now! Tune in for some cool stories - I'll update the OP with a final list of participants and an index of stories as they come in :) Happy Halloween y'all!


Index

The Frozen Temple - @SilverDoe

Night of Stalling Wobbuffets - @JavierE64

Leer - @Paine

The Painted Ship - @Rainbow Robin
 
Last edited:

SilverDoe

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Pronouns
She/Her
Dex Entry Entry unknown.
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokédex No.
37
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
174
Location
Verdanturf Town
Nature
Timid
Hello! Here is my story.

Deep in Snowpoint City, in the far north of the Sinnoh region, a mysterious plot is carried out by those who've done it many times before. After a trainer's Pokemon disappears in a blizzard, Candice guides the trainer to the Snowpoint Temple where the Pokemon's soul is being held hostage. Will they be able to save the Pokemon, or should that even be their goal?

By mid-morning, the sun had risen high enough that its glare reflecting off the snow made it difficult to see. Candice slipped on her sunglasses but abandoned her watch. Ella would tell her when she’d found someone. Instead, she turned toward her companion, sinking down to sit cross-legged in the snow. Her Abomasnow looked down at her and waved an arm in question. She shook her head and fell backwards. The snow formed a cushion under her head, but it was too soft.

This was the most boring part. Having to just wait, and wait, until Ella finally came back with a target - if she found one at all. The last two days had been busts, but maybe today they would get lucky. They had to; she had meetings and battles scheduled non-stop all the way until next week; they had to find someone today. Candice closed her eyes and sent out a prayer.

And then her god answered with a soft pop and Abomasnow’s grunt. Candice rolled to her feet. Ella hovered beside her, barely visible in the blinding light - her form even harder to grasp thanks to the sunglasses. The psychic’s ice-blue eyes, however, were clear as the day.

“You got someone?” Candice’s pulse began to race. Ella nodded; she lifted an arm and pointed. Following the gesture, Candice spotted the two dots far below. One was a burgundy color and the other, shorter one, a light orange.

Perfect.” Candice grinned and whirled to face Abomasnow. “It’s Blizzard time!”

Abomasnow stepped up beside her and lifted his arms. The air around them turned icy. Candice whipped off her sunglasses as the wind howled. Ella disappeared to do her job, and Candice watched with Abomasnow as their blizzard grew and grew, spreading out to cover the entire route, or as much of it as she could see, anyway. Clouds formed overhead, the day turning dark. Candice rocked on the balls of her feet and pulled a pokeball from her belt, tossing it in the air. Her Froslass let out a chime as she materialized. “Almost time,” Candice told Froslass, who swayed in response.

Seconds stretched into minutes that seemed to go on and on forever, but then, at last, there were two more soft pops and Ella reappeared - and with her, an Infernape.

Candice didn’t need to tell her Pokemon what to do. They’d played this game many times. Abomasnow’s Grasswhistle hit its target and Froslass’s Psychic lifted the sleeping fire-type into the air. Ella was already floating on ahead and Froslass followed with her burden. Candice accompanied them to the outskirts of the city, until they were in range of the temple and Ella could teleport the Infernape inside.

That part wasn’t particularly exciting, either. But it was necessary, for them to get to the really fun part, so Candice didn’t mind, even though it felt like going through the motions, especially when she and Abomasnow chanced upon the trainer coming back from their morning hike, after having to take shelter from that terrible surprise blizzard, and carrying her all the way to the hospital.

Having to wait again would have been as boring as the first time, but luckily Candice got to do a few gym battles that afternoon, so the time didn’t drag by too much. When her last battle ended and she sent off the loser with a few words of encouragement - don’t give up, work hard and you can try again soon - the sun had already sunk out of sight below the trees surrounding Snowpoint. Candice’s trip to the hospital was lit mostly by streetlights. It wasn’t winter yet, but the days were already growing shorter.

That was fine. It gave her more time to play.

The hospital staff were pleased to see her. The doctor told her all about the patient’s progress, including how lucky it was that Candice found her when she did but fortunately the patient would be fine after a night of bed rest. They’d found her license in her bag; Tessa Fields came from Twinleaf Town and had six badges. Unsurprising, most trainers saved Snowpoint for later in their challenge. Candice nodded along, feigning surprise and relief where appropriate, but she paid little attention to the rest.

Her request to stay the night and make sure the trainer would be fine was, of course, granted. She wanted to meet the trainer she’d saved, who would soon be challenging her. It was only natural.

Midnight had come and gone before Tessa Fields opened her eyes.

Slouched in a chair near the bed, Candice pretended to be absorbed in her phone until she saw enough movement to glance up and give a start. “Oh! You’re awake!”

“Who are you?” Tessa pushed herself up, her eyes darting around the room.

She’d woken up once before, Candice remembered the doctor saying, but they’d had to put her back to sleep. She offered Tessa a wide smile. “I’m the one who found you out in the snow. Came by and stuck around to see how you were. I’m so glad you’re okay.”

“You… found me?”

It made sense the trainer was confused, she’d only just woken up. Candice nodded pleasantly. “Yep, after the blizzard this morning. Brought you here.” She kept her expression neutral but waited, her heart racing. The question was coming, the doctor had mentioned she’d been panicked….

Tessa shifted on the bed, glanced around the room, and then it struck her. “What about Jak? My Infernape, he was with me, he wouldn’t have gone far, did you see him?”

The confusion gave way to panic, and Candice adopted a puzzled expression. Slowly, she shook her head. “I didn’t see any Pokemon around, definitely not an Infernape.” She watched as Tessa’s hope vanished, a candle flame winking out of existence, and felt a twinge of some distant sadness inside her. She ignored it. “Your name’s Tessa, right?”

“Yeah.”

The response came automatically, but Candice could tell Tessa’s thoughts were somewhere else. She dropped her next line anyway. “I’m Candice.”

Tessa turned her head, frowning. “Candice… like the Snowpoint Gym Leader?”

Candice smiled again and nodded. “Yep, that’s me.”

The spark of hope came back. Candice watched it reenter Tessa’s face and heard it in her voice as she asked, “If you’re the gym leader, can you get them to let me go? Jak’s out there somewhere and I have to find him.”

Now Candice frowned. “Maybe. I could get you out of here, anyway, but… are you sure he’s even out there?”

“What do you mean?” Tessa pushed the blankets off her. Her eyes went to the backpack sitting on a table by the window. “Of course he is, where else would he be?”

Candice leaned forward in the chair, resting her arms on her knees. “The doctor said you said he disappeared… like he was teleported.”

“He - I was - it was probably just the blizzard.” Tessa bit her lip and looked away, no longer willing to make eye contact. “I - it was confusing, and cold, and-”

“You’re the only one who knows what you saw,” Candice interrupted, and then she threw a glance at the door, which stood partly open. She lowered her voice. “But the thing is, it wouldn’t be the first time it happened.”

Tessa’s eyes widened. “What - what do you mean?”

Again, Candice glanced at the door, and then she moved her chair closer to the bed. “I mean, you’re not the first trainer to say their Pokemon disappeared in a blizzard. Some others described it like teleportation too.”

Tessa opened her mouth and closed it several times, and Candice figured she was struggling to come up with a response. So, she kept going. “There are stories… but they’re just rumors, really, and you probably wouldn’t believe it anyway….”

Candice let her voice trail off. She didn’t have to wait long for Tessa to take the bait.

“Tell me.”

“Okay, if you’re sure.” Candice shifted to the edge of her seat. “There’s this old temple north of the city. History says it was an ancient site of worship for Regigigas, but legend says it was actually a prison. Apparently there was some cult causing trouble and so everybody else got together and sealed Regigigas’s soul away in the deepest part of the temple, trapping it there for eternity.”

Candice watched Tessa’s face as she spoke, alert for any sign that she might need a plan B. “But, the cult hadn’t actually died out and years later a group found a way into the temple and learned it was possible to free Regigigas by sacrificing souls to the prison. They started luring trainer’s Pokemon into the temple, but the amount needed to free Regigigas was huge, and they weren’t able to finish before getting caught. The cult died out for a while, but in time it returned and went back to sacrificing souls. That cycle repeated several times until about sixty years ago, when the cult was finally wiped out. No one who’s gone beyond the first room in the temple has ever come out, and so it’s generally kept sealed off. Most people think the story of Regigigas being imprisoned there is a myth.”

Candice stopped her story to take a deep breath. Tessa was spooked, she could tell, but also confused.

“What does this have to do with Jak?”

Candice dropped her voice into a hushed whisper for the next part. “The thing is, the cult might not have been wiped out sixty years ago. One of them was a psychic, a woman named Ella Green. Because no one would go into the temple willingly, her strategy was to just get them near it and then teleport them inside and trap them there. When all the rest of the cultists were caught, she wasn’t, but no one ever saw her again… except for the trainers.”

“What trainers?” Tessa latched onto that detail, just as Candice had hoped she would.

“The ones whose Pokemon disappeared.” Candice let out a sigh. “I talked to a couple it happened to a few years ago, and they both mentioned having seen a strange woman just before the blizzard. A woman with dark hair and purple eyes who was thin and tall and extremely pale. Just like Ella Green.”

Candice watched the effect of her words spread over Tessa and had to focus on keeping her expression serious, and neutral.

Tessa swallowed hard, and then said, quietly, “I saw a woman like that. She didn’t say anything… but she was strange.”

Candice shook her head. “I was afraid of that. I’ve seen a lot of blizzards in my time, and that one really didn’t feel normal.”

Tessa’s brow furrowed. “You think she caused the blizzard?”

The doubt in her voice was easy to hear. Candice shrugged in response to it. “You think it’d be hard? One thing this area doesn’t lack is ice-types. There are lots of normal blizzards. And, if there really is some kind of ancient magic down in that temple keeping Regigigas trapped, conjuring up sudden blizzards doesn’t seem like a challenge.”

“But,” Tessa said, clearly struggling to figure out whether to believe Candice or not, “We were nowhere near the temple. There’s no way anyone could’ve teleported Jak there, and she’d have had to find us in the blizzard in the first place.”

“Well, she’s psychic,” Candice pointed out. “She could probably sense you. And anyway, you’re missing the point.” She was starting to get impatient. This explanation was taking longer than she’d meant. “Look, I can’t explain to you exactly how it happened. I’m just telling you what I do know, and the fact that if you want to find your Infernape, you’d be better off checking out the temple before you go wander around Route 216 in the dark, especially since it’s snow-storming out there right now.”

The last part wasn’t technically a lie. For all Candice knew, it could be storming. It stormed on that route about eighty percent of the time. She watched Tessa hesitate, still biting her lip. Time to get moving. She didn’t want to wait around any longer.

“As the gym leader, I can get some search parties organized to sweep the route in search of your Infernape, but it’ll take a couple hours to get everything together and for the storm to end. What if I showed you the temple now, and you could take a look inside while I get things organized? If you don’t want to go in farther, you don’t have to, obviously.”

The several seconds it took Tessa to agree to the plan were the longest in Candice’s life. The several minutes it took for her to dress and for them to sneak out of the hospital were even longer. But, once they were outside, passing through alternating patches of street lamps and moonlight in the cold night air, time finally picked up the pace.

Candice took the shortest route to the temple. By the time they made it, she felt invigorated again, but Tessa was shivering, even in her burgundy coat. They stopped just outside the temple’s front doors. Tessa stared up at it with apprehension all over her face. Candice rested a hand on Tessa’s shoulder and gave her a reassuring smile. “You go on in. The gym’s right there.” She pointed to the sloped roof of the building directly to the south. “I’ll go get people to join our search party and I’ll meet you back here afterward, okay?”

Tessa didn’t look happy, but she clearly wasn’t going to argue with a gym leader, and so she nodded. Candice patted her shoulder and then set off toward the gym, tossing a “Back in a bit” over her shoulder. She didn’t look back after that, and she didn’t hear the temple doors open or close, but a thrill shot through her all the same, a chill deep inside her waking up.

Candice didn’t have to use the front doors to enter the temple. She slipped in the back, judging that by then Ella would have had plenty of time to entice Tessa into exploring the temple further. After all, the trainer had to find her Infernape.

Inside the temple, Candice felt at home. Her blood flowed through her veins like ice, her skin giving off the same glow as the frozen walls around her. She ran across the sheets of ice that coated the floor, unafraid of falling. She raced through the corridors until she found the central room, the prison’s heart, the cell of her god. More icicles hung from the ceiling of this room than any of the others. Blocks and pillars of ice jutted up from the floor, creating a maze, and at the center of that maze stood the largest block of all: so high it nearly touched the arched ceiling, so wide it stretched from wall to wall, and even then the being inside had been trapped in a crouch, slumped forward with its arms awkwardly folded in around it.

Six gemstones glowed under the ice, three pairs, red, blue, silver. Candice pressed a hand against the block of ice. “I have another soul for you,” she whispered. Between the gem stones, six red circles winked into existence, flaring bright before flashing back to black. Not far from her, the Infernape lay on the floor, still asleep. His trainer would be arriving any minute.

Candice pressed the button of a Pokeball at her waist and Froslass materialized beside her. Froslass floated closer to Jak and then looked back at her. Candice nodded and moved forward. Froslass wrapped her arms around Candice’s neck, the ends flaring out to cloak Candice’s shoulders. Froslass hummed and Candice closed her eyes. She breathed in the temple around her. The ice had already entered her body and the magic began to stir, but now she opened herself to all of it.

It woke up inside her and brought her back to life.

Capturing the Infernape’s soul was easy, his body vanishing as she transformed his essence into a vessel, into a flame, which she set carefully upon a small pillar of ice near their god.

Then, all she had to do was fade back and wait. But this time, the waiting wasn’t a bore. The spirits in the ice whispered all around her, talking of the teenager walking through the corridors, calling out for a Jak, telling Candice she was close. Candice couldn’t give herself to the ice entirely, to meld in with the others and watch the entire temple at once, but by listening with them she could almost see with them.

When Tessa at last stepped hesitantly into the chamber, Candice nearly burst out laughing, but she managed to contain herself. It wasn’t time for that yet. Just a little longer to keep up the act. She kept waiting while Tessa made her way through the room until she reached the single flame and kept waiting while Tessa slowly looked past it, at the form of the god frozen in the ice before her.

Then, Candice stepped out behind her. “Tessa!”

The trainer whirled around with a small yelp. “What - Candice?”

“There you are!” Candice walked up to join Tessa. She looked over the enormous block of ice and widened her eyes. “It’s real.” She injected shock and awe into her voice, hopefully getting the balance right, although at this point it hardly mattered. “That - That’s Regigigas.

Tessa shivered and wrapped her arms around her. She threw a nervous glance at the god and then looked back at the flame. “I - she was here. The psychic. I saw her in the lobby and she said Jak was here and I tried to follow her, and she led me here but disappeared right outside and I - I haven’t seen Jak anywhere.”

Candice put on a frown and pretended to study the flame in front of them. The presence inside it felt so strong to her, she wondered that Tessa didn’t already know where her Infernape was. “There are some carvings in the entrance hall, did you see them when you came in?”

“Ye - Yes, but I couldn’t read them.” Tessa’s voice shook.

“They’re a really old language. I translated them once.” Candice walked around the pillar to stand between it and Regigigas, facing Tessa. The spirits had gone quiet, as eager as she was. “They say that fire is life and within the frozen temple, neither can thrive. But bring one into the sun, and its light will bring new life.”

Candice let the words sink in. She could just tell Tessa what to do, but it was more fun when they figured it out for themselves.

And sure enough, Tessa did. “So, this flame… it - it’s Jak?”

“You think so?” Candice feigned surprise. “Does it feel like him to you?”

She almost cursed herself for asking the wrong question, but Tessa didn’t seem to think it was strange. She just nodded. “Yeah. It does.”

“Then you should try to carry it out,” Candice suggested. “See if you can pick it up.”

Tessa seemed about to protest, but then she reached out her hands and placed them around the flame. When she lifted, the flame stayed in her cupped hands. She held it close to her chest, and Candice resisted a grin.

“Come on, let’s go.” Candice crossed over to the entrance, waiting there for Tessa to catch up. Tessa moved much more slowly across the ice. “Just don’t let the flame go out, okay?”

Tessa bit her lip and looked down at it. “This is crazy….”

“Yeah, but, look behind you.” Candice pointed at the frozen Regigigas, and Tessa swallowed hard again.

Candice led the way back along the temple’s corridors, dodging the hanging icicles and the occasional pillars of ice. The dark stone of the walls appeared musty beneath the layers of frost that coated them. There were no torches or windows placed on the walls, but the corridors still glowed with a silver light. Candice knew it wasn’t natural lighting, but Tessa didn’t appear to question it. Her eyes stayed mainly on the flame in her hands, and they’d been walking for over five minutes before she finally looked around and stopped.

“Wait, this isn’t the way I came. Are you sure you’re going the right way?”

Time’s up. Candice turned to face Tessa, keeping her expression serious. “That depends on where we’re going.”

“The exit,” Tessa said, though she sounded uncertain, as though confused by a trick question.

“Then, no, it’s not the right way.” Finally letting the charade go, Candice grinned at Tessa, who took a step back. “The thing is, the temple is hungry, can’t you hear it?”

From the way Tessa’s eyes darted around, Candice knew she could, though for Tessa the spirits couldn’t be more than a murmuring at this point. Candice heard them clearly as they laughed with her.

Candice stepped closer and Tessa back up again, raising a hand to shield the flame. This time, Candice laughed aloud. “It’s all true, you know. I’d never tell a lie. That flame is your Infernape’s soul, and the moment it goes out, he’ll be lost here, forever, and it’ll be your fault for failing to save him…. Unless you can find your way out first.”

A few tears had frozen on Tessa’s cheeks, and Candice relished the sight of them. She wasn’t usually empathic, but joined with the temple and its spirits, she could feel Tessa’s fear clear as day, and it nourished her as it nourished them.

“Why - why are you -”

“You’d better run,” Candice interrupted, with a pointed look at the flame. Tessa looked down too, and before both their eyes it shrank just a little. Several seconds passed with Tessa seemingly frozen in indecision, but the moment Candice lunged at her, Tessa whirled and fled, slipping and stumbling before she found her footing.

And the chase is on.

Candice could’ve overtaken Tessa easily, but she stayed on the other’s heels, always staying in sight, just out of reach. As they ran, the voices clamored for her favor, begging her to tell them what she learned. And they were growing louder for Tessa, too, judging from her choked sobs and the way she looked wildly around at the walls. That was part of the fun, and part of the process, and so Candice listened herself, drawing on the connection she’d formed with the soul resting in Tessa’s hands.

A meeting in the woods between towns, the joy of being chosen first, and she fed the memory to the hungry spirits.

Tessa had taken the wrong turn twice, but the right turn three times, and Candice wondered if she might actually make it out before the temple finished.

Training hard, all day every day, but it was fun. They worked together, and she trained with him, and he got good at punching rocks, and after a while each punch only made his fists feel stronger. He grew, bigger and stronger, and together they took on the gym and won.

She gave them the memory and seconds later Tessa’s shoulders shook. But they were closer to the exit than she’d anticipated, and she had to hurry.

He hadn’t minded the others, they were good partners. The Luxray had been his friend from the beginning. The Bibarel was unreliable outside of battle, but dependable in it. Not quite as dependable as the Nosepass, but then, none of them were… maybe not even him. It helped looked after their trainer, though, and so he appreciated it. Even the Girafarig he got along with, though she mostly watched them all. But this newest one… all she did was cause trouble and he helped her pick fights and wondered all the time why their trainer caught her, it wasn’t like they needed a Graveler, not with a Nosepass, but he was sure she had her reasons….

The spirits devoured the memory, their voices shrieks that made Tessa flinch and cry out.

The flame was tiny now; Candice could barely glimpse it in Tessa’s hands, but the Infernape’s presence was stronger than ever, his rage useless as the spirits only drew on it further. And all this time, despite slipping and falling and then running more, Tessa had kept the flame close to her chest, breathing on it, breathing it in, and it soaked up her in return. Her memories blurred with the Infernapes, but Candice stopped listening. She didn’t need to now; the process was nearly complete. All it needed was a final push.

Candice whistled. Her Froslass, following close through the walls, joined her at once and already knew what to do. The Shadow Ball flew forward and struck Tessa square in the back just as she burst through the door into the entrance hall. Tessa fell with a thud that echoed through the hall. Candice caught up to Tessa before she could stand, but grasped the other trainer’s elbow and pulled her to her feet. Tessa tried to twist away from her, but Candice held on tight and leaned in, her breath a mist that blended with Tessa’s tears.

“You made it here faster than I thought,” Candice told Tessa, and tightened her grip.

“Let me go,” Tessa demanded, sounding hoarse. Her hat had fallen off during the chase, and her dark hair was a mess, large strands fallen in front of her eyes, but Candice still saw them dart down to check on the barely flickering flame hidden in her gloves. “Please, please, just let me go, let me have Jak, and I’ll do anything, I swear -”

Candice released Tessa’s elbow but didn’t move away. She studied Tessa’s face with her eyes and Tessa’s soul with her own. She found what she needed.

“Of course you can leave, you and Jak.” She saw the disbelieving hope in Tessa’s eyes and smiled. She looked past Tessa. Ella waited there. The psychic’s spirit didn’t care for the chase as much as Candice did. Candice refocused on Tessa and rested a hand on her shoulder. “But one day, you’ll come back.”

Before Tessa could respond, probably before she could even come up with a question, she collapsed, the flame disappearing, returning to a pokeball tucked in Tessa’s pocket. Ella floated forward, raised her arms, and with a soft pop, Tessa vanished.

Candice sighed. “That one didn’t last long,” she told Ella, trying not to sound too disappointed. She scuffed a shoe against the floor. The entrance hall was the only area of the temple not to be covered in frost and ice. The stone was too warm. The other spirits didn’t like the entrance hall either, so it was too quiet as well. “And now we’ll have to wait even longer to do it again. Maybe it’s time to come up with a new plan.”

“The colossal one’s slumber nears its end.”

Ella’s voice echoed in her head. Candice nodded. “Yeah… I know.” She took a deep breath and grinned at Ella. “We’re two souls closer. We’ll work out how to get the next ones later.”

Candice waved, though Ella was already fading away, and left the temple.

The sun hadn’t risen yet, so she hung around the gym for a few hours until dawn finally came. At the hospital, she greeted the staff with a smile, explained she’d been called away the night before, and asked after the patient.

When she walked into the room, she found both the patient and doctor there. The doctor introduced them, but apart from an initial wide-eyed stare, Tessa seemed reluctant to make eye contact with Candice. She wouldn’t remember everything, Candice knew, and what pieces she did recall she’d probably chalk up to a weird dream. It was what the others had done, though they were always uneasy around her afterward, both drawn to her and afraid.

Smiling both inside and out, Candice walked over to Tessa’s bed and offered her hand. Tessa took it after a moment of hesitation. Her skin felt as cold to the touch as Candice’s - so cold it felt natural.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Candice told Tessa before dropping her hand and stepping back. “I’m glad you’re okay. And, hey, hope you get all better soon.” Candice winked. “I’m looking forward to your challenge.”

Never trust Candice.

This story is loosely based on an old run of Platinum. The run was initially meant to serve as the playthrough for a different story idea, but after completing it I decided it didn't quite work for the story I had wanted to tell and so I restarted the run, but kept all my old notes about the first playthrough. This story is based on a specific moment in the run: when my Infernape fainted against Candice. It was a terrible tragedy because it almost didn't happen.... seriously, it was so close.

Here are my notes from the battle:
(For the record: Jak = Infernape, Ramon = Nosepass, Brita = Bibarel, Deryn = Staravia or Staraptor I can't remember when it evolves, Shadow = Luxray. If you noticed, I altered the team a bit for the story using Pokemon I had in-game but not necessarily in this battle. In story I reference Jak, the Infernape, Brita, the Bibarel, Ramon the Nosepass, Shadow the Luxray, Alanna the Girafarig, and Aura the SHINY Golem. In-game I had a rotating team.)
-Battled Candice. Pokemon were slightly on the lower level side. (Jak was 41, rest were below 40, around 39-38).
I led off with Ramon against Sneasel. I used rock slide twice, it went first each time and used faint attack, knocking Ramon into the yellow before Sneasel fainted. Then, Candice sent in Piloswine and I switched to Brita. I was trying to conserve Jak for the latter two Pokemon as much as possible. Unfortunately, Piloswine's earthquake on the switch in knocked Brita into yellow, and I didn't want to risk it, so I switched to Deryn, hoping Piloswine would use earthquake again. Unfortunately, Piloswine used stone edge on the switch in and Deryn got knocked to yellow too. At that point I sent in Jak. (The other two pokemon in my party were Ori, weak to stone edge, and Shadow, weak to earthquake.) Jak was able to finish off Piloswine with flame wheel/mach punch, taking minor damage. Candice then sent in Froslass. It used double team several times while Jak whittled it down and took it out with Flame Wheel. However, Froslass used Psychic at the last turn and knocked Jak down to 2 HP. Flame wheel then took it out. Luckily, that turn the hail stopped, and Jak survived. Candice sent in Abomasnow, which whipped up another hail warning. I healed Jak using the hyper potion I'd picked up (also the only one I had). Abomasnow used Focus Blast. That move, combined with damage taken from the hail, knocked Jak just into the yellow. The next turn, Jak used Flame Wheel. It ALMOST OHKO'd Abomasnow, leaving it with only a few HP (in the low low red). IT ALSO BURNED ABOMASNOW. Then Abomasnow used Water Pulse --- and Jak survived it! But, again, with only a few HP... that was then taken out by the hail damage because the freaking weather effects activated before the burn on Abomasnow. Jak fainted, and right after Abomasnow fainted because of the burn.
Candice was defeated... by Jak, who went down burning with a vengeance.
R.I.P. Jak - level 42.

That's how it happened. Jak died to hail damage the same turn that Candice's final Pokemon, her Abomasnow, fainted to burn damage. I will forever be bitter about the fact that weather effects activate before status ones. Forever.

Anyway, that's what inspired this particular story, with Tessa trying to save her Infernape believing there's still a slim chance of hope when, in reality, there was none.

I hope you enjoyed the story and that it helped you have a spookier Halloween!
 

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!!! But don´t forget to wear one
Badges
Pronouns
He/Him
Dex Entry The Master of both Light and Darkness; who loves the Violent and Dramatic, and the Fun and Adorable.
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokédex No.
310
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,046
Location
Perú
Nature
Modest
Happy Halloween Everybody, For this occasion, I wrote a Short Story as Well.

Greetings fellow trainers; My name is Kendall, I´m trainer from the Kalos Region; and in this spooky night, I was brought here to tell you a story of horror, action, and unexpected twists. So you better bring those tricks, because I have a real threat for all of you.

Everything started on a night of October, my journey across the region led me to an intriguing cave located at the end of Route 11. This was Reflection Cave, and it just happened to lead right into the next Gym City; If my path of becoming the strongest trainer involves me entering a barely lighted cave in the middle of the night, without any preparation whatsoever, than that is what I must do.

I mean, what could possibly go wrong?


...​


Things were off to a good start, the first corridors of the cave were surrounded by mirror walls; I was walking with my Fletchinder on my side, and both of us were impressed at the sight of such beautiful reflections of ourselves. But my little Finn was more into exploring than looking at us, and he tried to pull me away from the mirrors in a cute manner. I couldn't help but to giggle at my little fire birdie leading me into a basement ladder.

WAIT! DON´T GO ANY FURTHER! We heard a voice nearby our position, a voice that belonged to a shaking Mr.Mime; although the Mister in the name was a tad inaccurate, as this was a female Mr.Mime. This place is not what it seems, and it's very dangerous. Please, turn around and leave, I beg of you.

Nonsense!
Duncan woke up from his sixteen hour nap, and popped out of his freaking Pokeball, just to correct this random stranger. Back in my days, the only dangers of a cave were never-ending amounts of Zubats, and nothing else. That old Dunsparce might be a veteran fighter, but I swear he can be a real pain sometimes.


As I put Duncan back into his Pokeball, I was thinking about the suggestion: I'd really like to follow it and leave; but this was my only way to the City of Shalour, and overcoming life-threatening situations is the task of a Pokemon Trainer. So, I just thanked the Psychic type for her help, and just made my way towards the stairs.

Don't you understand, this place can kill you. The Mr.Mime then used her abilities to block our way by invisible walls. I´m sorry, but you left me no choice.

She was looking at us with the saddest expression one could think off, I wasn´t able to send any of my team after her. Then I realized, this Pokemon was my first encounter of this area; so, as fast as I could,I threw a Single Quick Ball at her.

I caught her, without any difficulties, without any injuries.

She wasn´t send to the PC, I had a …. vacant slot on my team, is better if we don´t talk more about it. But, it was unfair to catch her by force, so I decided to release her after I´m done with the exploring; it wouldn't be nice of me to just take someone away from their home. And with all that set, my team and I traverse across the cave.

...​

The walk went on for a couple of hours, and we didn't run into anything dangerous; Don´t get me wrong, I had some tough battles with the local trainers, but nothing to worry about; Heck, the most lethal thing encountered so far was a small Ferroseed almost falling near us by accident. The Mr. Mime perhaps was just blowing things out of proportion.


It only took us a while longer to reach halfway through the Basement floor, just needed to reach the final stairs , and we would be out of here in no time;

If only we knew what we got ourselves into: I was taking a small rest, when Finn noticed a Pokemon from afar, a strange-looking Pokemon. Not a Carbink, nor a Roggenrola, not even a Solosis; we never encountered this creature before.

It had a giant Cyan body, it´s eyes looked scrunched, and the tail even had a pair of regular looking eyes.

I checked my Pokédex for any information, but I only got the name of this intriguing individual: This was nothing more, than a Wobbuffet.

I always heard interesting things about both them and their pre evolution Wynaut; how these two were one of the strangest Pokemon ever discovered on any region of this world. And yet, seeing one in person felt, unreal; it was standing there, doing nothing, staring at us.

There was an uncertain feel just standing next to it; it's both amazing, and very awkward. Finn couldn't contain his curiosity, and headed towards the Psychic type. The Fletchinder did everything to get a reaction: Standing on its head, flying around in circles, even flapping his wings near the face, and still nothing. As one final attempt, My little bird tried to touch the tail.

This was a huge mistake, not only did the Wobbuffet finally reacted, but he reacted badly.

The Pokemon was heading towards us, moving as fast as one with four stubby legs could move. We tried to run away, but something within us prevent us from doing so; we were unable to move, without any clear reason as of why.

Our only option left, was to battle.


I first ordered Finn to use Quick Attack and see how our opponent handles it; but even when the move landed right on its face, the Wobbuffet took it like nothing. Instead, the blue creature just inflated it´s massive body, and charged back at Finn with the strength of a mighty Tauros. It was hard to understand: My Fletchinder didn't hurt him, and yet he got hit like a truck. How's this even possible? I had to check my Pokédex for any answer.

Wobbuffet, The Patient Pokemon. It hates light and shock. If attacked, it inflates to build up a counter strike. Well known user of Counter and Mirror Coat.

Of course, that's its form of offense; It can only attack when attacked. But Finn was still injured, he had to retreat, but couldn´t return to the Pokeball.

Wobbuffet´s signature ability is Shadow Tag, It prevents the opponent of either fleeing or switching out.

So that's why we couldn´t escape, we had to defeat it first hand.


A Quick Potion heal later, and we were ready with a new strategy. Since using Physical moves can be dangerous, we had to attack from the Special Side; I commanded Finn to Ember as much as possible. And it worked, the move managed to make some damage to the Psychic type; it worked so well in fact, the Wobbuffet got set on fire. It ran away in pain, while shouting some kind of call. That call was loud enough to attract more and more Wobbuffets, all with the same strong desire, of revenge.

The Shadow tag wore off, we had to run while we still had the chance.

...​

I managed to hide inside a small room; From what I´ve seen, there were a huge number of those Pokemon searching for me. Oh my goodness, this is so intense. I thought to myself as I calm down; I needed to get out of the cave immediately, but had little to no knowledge about its structures. if only there was someone who could guide me.

That's when I remembered, about one recent catch I had on this area.

What on earth, where am I? Those were the first words the Mr. Mime said when I pulled her out of her Pokéball, just before I explained everything to the Psychic type. I told you this place was dangerous, specially because of THOSE Pokemon, and yet you refused to listen. Why should I help you now?

She has a point, and I'm very sorry for what I did, but she's technically my Pokemon now, and is her job as such to help me in my journey.

Alright, I guess is my job to fix this mess. The Mr. Mime then sit me down for a moment so she could tell me the best way to get through the Wobbuffet without difficulty. Those creatures can be bulky, but they're not that smart; They expect to bounce back attacks based on what you've previously used; we can all work around that, and hit them no problem. And furthermore, they cannot heal themselves in any way; I hope you all understand what I'm trying to say.

And I fully understood: The only way out; is to defeat the Wobbuffets, once and for all.



We managed to set our sights on the cave´s exit, it was guarded by a trio of those Psychic types. Finn was already too spent to battle them, so I had to use the rest of my team. Franklin, Peter, Fiona, I choose you!

And from their Pokéballs, appeared my dearest Braixen, Pikachu, and Floette respectively. Yeah, my team wasn´t the strongest one around, but we managed to make it this far with our everlasting bond. I know from the bottom of my heart, that I can always count on them.

Both Peter and Fiona were up for the fight, but Franklin was scared of those giant blue Pokemon. This wasn't something new for my fire Starter, he was always quite the shy guy, and it took just a few words of encouragement for him to gain some confidence.

Using attacks is really risky, so what about hurting them by other means; Franklin lit the little tree branch he always keeps in his tails, and surrounds one of the Wobbuffets in a ring of Flames. The attack worked incredibly well, as The Patient Pokémon had no choice but to be patient, or else it will be burned by the Fire Spin attack, just like it´s comrade.


One Down, Two more to go. Peter had to paralyze them first with a Thunder Wave; and Fiona just launched a Wish up in the Sky,one can never be so sure when it comes to this kind of Pokemon. But, unlike the first one, these ones weren't about to give up and run just for getting a single status effect.

So, now that they are slower than ever, my Pikachu can cause some damage by throwing some Electro Balls directly at the duo. This would definitely seem like a bad idea at first, with the two Psychic types bouncing the Electric attacks with Mirror Coat; but believe me, everything is just part of my strategy.
Just before Peter gets hit, Fiona got next to him, and protected them both with a force field. My dynamic duo completely blocked the attack, although they were hit by the massive forces of impact. And that's where the Wish move came in place, as they were instantly healed from any damage they received.

The Two Wobbuffets realized it was useless to fight against them, so they also retreated; but as that happened, those Psychic types shouted, even stronger than the last one; in a matter of seconds, the ground started to shake as many steps were heard from the distance.

Oh no, more of them are coming. The Mr. Mime realized the big problem they would have in their hands if they don´t get out of the cave immediately. To the exit, NOW! We ran like crazy, but we managed to reach the city before we got overwhelmed by a massive army of Wobbuffets. I mean, I always wanted to see a Pokémon stampede up close, but this was absolutely ridiculous. At least we are thankful that Shalour´s light system was enough to keep them all inside of the Cave.


...​


Oh man, that was a close one. I had to recover my breath for a few minutes, it was such an intense experience. But now that I´m here, I think I should follow my end of the bargain.

I called out for the Mr. Mime from her Pokéball, thanked her for all the help she provided us on the cave, and let her go. However, instead of feeling happy for not dealing with our mess anymore, the Psychic type felt, sad; her face just screams she doesn't wanna get back in there, I would probably feel that way if I had to deal with giant blue Pokémon all day.. I know this can be a little bit rude, but is better to try.

Listen, you don´t have to return there if you don´t want to. I lowered my hand to offered it to her. My team still has a slot, do you wanna travel with us?

It just took her a mere minute, but she accepted the handshake. Count me in.

Welcome to the team, and welcome to our family
. I was so happy of having a new Pokémon, that I pulled everyone else out of their Pokéballs. Everyone, It's my absolute honor, to introduce our newest member: Michelle the Mr. Mime.

Finn, Duncan, Franklin, Peter, and Fiona; they all received Michelle with open arms. And we all went to the Pokémon Center to both celebrate, and to spend the night in. Because now that we were on such a iconic city as Shalour, we will have a lot of things to do.

And that's how, my spooky story ends.
This Story is based on an Run of Pokemon X, that had to be left uncompleted due to technical Issues; It takes place inside Reflection, a place that could be considered an Nightmare for any Nuzlocke, specially with a particular blue Pokemon lurking around.

My Team on this point of the journey was :

Finn the Fletchinder: Calm Nature, Likes to thrash about.
Franklin the Braixen: Bold Nature, Likes To Relax.
Peter The Pikachu: Naughty Nature, Sturdy.
Duncan The Dunsparce: Timid Nature, Likes to Run.
Fiona The Floette: Brave Nature, Hates To Lose.
Michelle The Mr. Mime: Hasty Nature, Highly Curious.

And in case you´re wondering; I did lost a Farfetch'd to the Infamous Brain/Brawn Duo of Route 11, I only made a small mention of it to keep tone.

Thanks a lot for reading, and I hope you all have a Spooky Night.
 
OP
Paine

Paine

The doctorate is in pain.
Badges
Pronouns
He/him; they/them; she/her
Dex Entry It never quite knows what it's doing. Yet, somehow, things still get done.
Pronouns
He/him; they/them; she/her
Pokédex No.
118
Caught
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
321
Location
Good question!
Nature
Timid
Leer

Blue Oak has always been a headstrong boy, often contrary for no more reason than to be contrary. But things begin to change, after he, Red, and Makoto choose their first pokemon...


Content warnings for: Unreality, questioning sanity, and a general loss of free will/control.

He can accept losing to Red- Red, who'd been on track to the championship since four or five years old. Red, who had the advantage- like really, who’d expect a Charmander’s claws to make a dent in a 50-year old Squirtle shell? A loss to Red was a los, but there was some pride to it!

Or so Blue's told himself for about three hours now, and he's close to buying it. The current battle is more an like obligation; he’s got to make sure Bulbasaur’s with someone who can actually fight..

On the other hand, to hell with that ‘pride in loss’ bullshit, he’s actually winning this fight!

“C’mon boy, another Scratch! You’ve almost got him!” Blue calls. His nails dig into his palm and he forces his breath steady again- it’s just a baby battle, he thinks. Nothing exciting- but it is! The thrill of maybe, actually, being victorious this time- no! Knowing he’s going to win, he’s got the advantage! Charmander is so much faster than the old Bulbasaur, sharp claws slicing through the thick leaves with ease, and Bulbasaur can’t put up much of a fight any more, just one more hit now? One-

One more--

He can't see straight, his head light as air and buzzing like his ears are now.
It’s so close, so- is victory supposed to be this dizzying? Was this how Red felt this morning--

And it’s like he’s watching himself through a screen, snowy with static. He sees himself slipping, stumbling while standing, hands and tongue numb when he gives the command-

‘Growl!’

As if it’s what he’s planned all along.
To let Bulbasaur charge one final time. Barely a tap, and it collapses afterwards anyway. On top of Charmander.



---​



“Okay- Scratch, got it?! No growling! Never growl!”


The lizard rakes his claws through Pidgey’s fluff- harmlessly of course, nothing more than a few stray, ratty old feathers drifting away on the wind.

He shouldn’t be too hard on Charmander, Blue thinks. He’s the trainer after all, he gives the orders, Charmander just follows them. But still-

To get so tripped up like that? Maybe it was just the first loss that did that. And they’d been doing fine since then, nothing but victory upon victory, the flame on Charmander’s tail burning brighter every time, and they weren’t even at the first gym yet! Maybe that was it- just train against wild pokemon. Save the trainers for later, when his team could use actual attacks, right? Even with the addition to his team, it would still be a little while before they could do anything interesting. Definitely best to avoid all trainers--

Like Mako what in the hell is she doing here-

The numbness comes again; color fading and static building in his fingertips, building in his mouth and legs and he’s pushed ahead, towards where she’s blundering through the grass and it's everything he has to push back against the rogue instinct.

The guards in the checkpoint are nice though.
They just laugh and ask if he’s seen a ghost, the way he’s shivering. They don’t mind him staying there, as long as he doesn’t try going up the road.


Pewter Gym isn’t too bad either. He doesn’t feel that… static, not even once. And the guide gives him a handkerchief, once he’s calmed down a little bit. He almost doesn’t even mind the ringing in his ears, it’s all just so nice.



---​



The streak continues, through Mt. Moon and Cerulean and even through another encounter with her. He’s not even mad that he loses to her again on Nugget Bridge, that one’s a fight he can actually be proud of. For the both of them!

Mostly himself though, because he could resist it this time, that urge to pull useless attacks, to roll over and hand her defeat.

But then they meet again on the SS. Anne, and it’s barely a fight- he simply has to accept it now. Even if she doesn’t have the skill of Red, she comes into these fights with a brute force he can’t match.

He can live with losing, as long as he’s made the choices that lead to it.
But he'd like to win at least once, damn it.


---​



“Should we really be battling here?”


“Aw, you scared of some ghosts?” Blue laughs.

Mako doesn’t notice that he’s looking everywhere in the room, except at her.

“The Channelers battle in here all the time. Now come on, you too chicken or what?!”

So they battle, and he’s ready. Sick to death of seeing Pikachu around, too, it wasn’t enough that Red’s had earned a reputation for being stronger than any of those rats had any right to be. But he’s got his strategy, he’s going to win and be smart this time, open with

(Charmeleon?)

Pidgeotto-
Who’s left twitching and dazed after only one shock, he recalls her and tells himself he’ll do it right this time, he’ll send in his best!

Except instead of a bright blaze, there’s only vague candlelight reflecting off Parasect’s dead eyes, off the shiny gem in Exeggcute’s shell.

He knows he should recall.
And he does. Once Exeggcute is still.
He swears the mushroom is even larger, pulsating even. But it may just be a trick of the dim light. Or just the way his vision’s going all swimmy again.

It has to be now, just has to be. He fumbles with the pokeball, registering its presence by the space at his hip rather than feeling it in his hands. He hesitates- and it’s there again, sparks crackling along its tail and at its cheeks.

Charmeleon can do this. He’s almost a Charizard now, a Pikachu is nothing to--
Such raw power, yet the Channelers don’t even bat an eye as Gyarados rears up, crown scraping the ceiling overhead.
He can work with this.

“Just- just Bite it! Nothing else, just-”

He thinks he continues speaking. He’s not certain- but he sees Pikachu’s flagging; even after a potion or two, it can barely stand upright. He can do it- even if Gyarados slumps and pants, he has speed on his side for once, just one more and her team is already weak, he can win, he can finally come out on top-

And he hears it. The word pushes through the ringing that’s more a buzz now, crackling and filling his head up so he can barely think. Hears ‘Leer’.
And the tiny static crackle afterwards. The heavy thud, as some hundreds of pounds of scale meets stone.

He doesn’t even think to give orders to Kadabra.
He just accepts Venusaur’s appearance, and that it will defeat his Charmeleon.


---​

She leaves and he stands under a torch.

Why? He asks- out loud? Only in his mind? He can’t hear right, can’t feel, everything’s swallowed in a buzzing gray haze-

‘Why?’
A whisper that might be his own echo, except even if he’d spoken, he hadn’t been laughing and the echo does.
The Channelers do.

Laughter that crackles through the air, like an old TV or badly tuned radio, cackling and bouncing off the walls, tearing through the haze with--
“You’re not the hero here, kid! Never were, won’t ever be! You’re just an obstacle for them; even if you think you know better?

“I’ll make sure you don’t.”



And the room is gone, his hands, his pokeballs, nothing but gray and gray and gray, a million trillion tiny points in a face, in a form that grins and laughs even as he screams--

SO I KNEW THE GEN 1 AI WAS DUMB BUT HOLY SHIT BLUE'S IS JUST STRAIGHT UP POSSESSED.

This is based on some of my playthrough for Sailor Bluepiter, a limited type/notepad locke of Pokemon Blue! Part of the reason I even have Blue is because I've been fascinated by the MissingNo glitch for years, and it was great to finally experience it xD I'm intentionally holding off on glitching things during the run though, but...

Okay so in the very first battle, Oak the Bulbasaur nearly fucking died. I actually almost lost right there, except when Blue had a sure fucking win, he... used... Growl??? So Oak was able to take the kill. I also think I somehow accidentally skipped the Route 22 rival battle. Nugget Bridge and SS Anne were fine, but then we got

I Kid Y'all Not, it was the Lavender Tower fight. Pigeotto went down easy to Pikachu, Exeggcute to Parasect... and I knew he was gonna send out Gyrados next. Pikachu really needed the Exp, so... I... uh. Kept it in. And it very nearly died, and I honestly didn't exactly have a good switch in - I was low on healing items and had a good 4/4 on Oak taking out Blue's starter each round, and everyone else was kinda worn out, so I was pretty much saying goodbye to Pikachu bc Gyrados outsped, and Quick Attack wouldn't do enough damage, while Bite would take out Pikachu the next round.

AND THEN HE USES LEER AND I THUNDERBOLT THE FISH INTO SUBMISSION and the only logical answer is that Blue is possessed by some malign entity that refuses to let him win against the protags. And what would a Pokemon Halloween be, without Lavender Town and MissingNo? :D
 

Rainbow Robin

Conqueror of the Cinnabar Gym
Pronouns
Literally Any
Dex Entry Entry unknown.
Pronouns
Literally Any
Pokédex No.
157
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
102
Location
A secret bunker, just off Route 2, next to Greggs
Nature
Lax
The Painted Ship
by Rainbow Robin


The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.


A cargo taken from the sea by a headstrong and ungrateful sailor carries ship and crew both into the depths of obsession and paranoia.
Good evening. Allow me a brief moment to light my pipe, if you’d be so kind. Now… we can begin.

I want to take you to a fishing trawler, one that makes a living scouring the North seas for any signs of life. It, by its captain’s command, scans the surf for silvered specks to pluck, gut, clean and heave into the tank ready for selling. This trawler has been sailing for years now, belching fumes all the way and will continue to float for years after our story concludes. I do not claim to know when this trawler will make port again, nor if it ever will. I can only say that the manner in which it makes home in the water will have been changed forever by an unexpected twist of fate.

I want you also to meet a man, a man by name of Lars Lucian. Lars is one of a long line of Lucian men, stout Dutchmen born with saltwater in their blood. When Lars was a boy therefore he was taken onto a ship for the very first time. He was told by his grandfather, a lean man with beard knotted like the nets he hauled daily, that he had to respect the sea above all other things on earth. He warned his grandson with a quivering eye that no matter how much green grass God presided over among the polders and the poppy fields, the ocean would always swear fealty to different masters. He sits behind his wheel, staring out to sea with only his cat for company. Little Torracat, vain and too proud of himself. It has no name. A cat named cat for a nameless boat.

Now that we have met our king, his castle and his right-hand man, we can begin. The first of my grains of sand in Lucian's hourglass begin to pour in the midst of a storm. Miles from land and with compass spinning on its bearing as bolts of lightning strike the ocean surface, Lucian is hauling in the nets from their latest and final catch. His right hand is raised to the sky, reaching for support to steady himself against the warring waves, while his left closes on the hard ridges of a rope, running towards the sea where it drops from sight into that darkness below. There is a raindrop half broken on his brow, and a second about to strike him in his eye. When I take the hourglass and turn it upside down, as Lars Lucian’s array of levers lift the struggling net from the sea, still dripping with water that may never dry, time will resume, and Lars Lucian’s fate will be sealed forever.

Lars can only stare into the net as he swings it around, planting it onto the weathered bodywork of the ship amidst a howling torrent of blue Dutch from his second-in-command. He sees something moving inside it, wriggling and writhing amidst the mass of fish with arms pallid as winter snow, but his eye is caught instead, much like he himself has now been ensnared by fate’s hook and line, by a strike of thunder onto the ocean surface not a mile from them. A bolt of lightning accompanied by the ominous rumble that sends Torracat scurrying under the instrumentation panel in the cabin, a tiny metal box that offered more sharp edges than it did comfort from the storm.

Lars returns to the cabin to wait out the rest of the tempestuous clash between Jupiter and Neptune, and the unexpected haul has been forgotten as three men cram themselves among the instrumentation. Lars’s face is pressed into the chest of Samuel Zossie, a short man who stands on a stool to see over the wheel. They talk about nothing. Lars and Zossie and Jonathan Dulse, pressed like tinned sardines into a rusty box on the rising and falling of the ocean. Their world is intermittently quiet, their radio piercing the stagnant conversation with screeches of otherworldly static whenever the twin flash and rumble comes across the barbed ocean. John Dulse clutches his rosary and starts to pray. Lucian busies himself in his accounting. Zossie scans the surface of the ocean for obstructions and potential collisions. Torracat cowers in fear of the storm. And I lift my hourglass to check the sands, and find that they have almost run their course altogether.

There is a horrid thunderclap, as though a whip in the hands of a storm-wrought lion tamer strikes the top of the ship, and the radio howls its final screech and falls static and silent. None of them know that it is the first to die, but the last grain of my sands has reached the pyramid in the base of my hourglass, and the deed is done. As Dulse prays to the unhearing and as Zossie stares for dangers that have already arrived, Lucian never gives a thought to the thing that sits in his net, calling unheard for its freedom. He averages fish, guessing their weight and their value. He estimates the money each haul will bring with unflinchingly mechanical detachment. If there is something in the nets then so what, he thinks. Things get caught up in them all the time. Discarded waste, roaming dolphins and other detritus that he simply ignores as he ignored before, just carcasses to be returned to the sea in the scavenger’s wake. The storm rages for hours, and none of the men waver from their mission, until finally the sea falls calm and the clouds begin to idle their way back into their homes below the horizon. Silence once again descends over the ship.

The sea is never truly silent, not unless something has gone wrong and the sailors, like Dulse and Zossie and Lucian, are stranded at the mercy of forces greater than their own. The sea can always provide the whipping of wind, or the lapping of water against the side of the hull. Wingull shriek their trade on ocean currents, moving without movement. The engine throbs its heartbeat or the sails flap or something, anything, to signal life on the sea, but nothing comes for Lucian’s boat.

And worse, night has fallen. Unfamiliar stars pass over the heads of three men, Zossie’s analytical eyes raking over their peculiar patterns like sand in a garden. The first man to send fear climbing up and out of his throat, writhing through the air and into the ears of the other two is Dulse, who grabs Lucian by the collar and shakes him, demanding in a stream of panic to know where they are, how they were blown so far from their course. He demands to see what is in the net, that tangle of web sitting dank and forgotten in the dark of the cage, a storage tank for dead fish and the bounties of dead men.

Lars does not know why, but he refuses. Perhaps he knows what he took from the water, perhaps he does not. But as the men turn in for the night, hoping in vain that the sun will rise the next day, it is all he can think of. Something slithers in their tank, and Lucian knows he should have cast it back. Torracat explores in the night, running claws over the plastic. It hisses with fear and anger, loathing sounded in every scrape of the claws. It knows more than any of the men do, and had it the intelligence to move the levers, their fates may have changed. But the cat does not, and I can tell you now that the sun does not rise the next morning. There is no morning. Only stars in the sky, written in constellations unseen by any man.

As you can imagine, the panic that sweeps the ship is fierce and uncontrollable, and spreads like brine in springwater. All Lucian can do is lean against the rusty wall, stare upwards at the sky, and wait for the argument to finish. He knows why it rages. He knows what he has caught. By the time Zossie and Dulse have slept, he will have confirmed it.

Both men sleep in their hammocks, grease smeared across their fingers like oil in a cooking pot, cloying and coating as the footprint left by a hard day’s labour on the broken engines. But Lucian, too wrought with fear and knowledge to sleep, looks into the cargo hold. The Torracat has been locked in a cage, hissing and scratching all the while. Lucian knows the Pokemon is too clever, too aware of its surroundings to be trusted. He opens the tank with a groan like that of a dying animal, rusted hinges grating the same tenor as rattling breath escaping failing lungs. Beneath him lies stench, awful and pungent. Fish swimming in the same saltwater as their neighbour, pressed together as a shield of half-dead meat around… something. It sat in Lucian’s brain, glassy and beautiful as the morning dawn shining through a telescope’s lens. It shone in the moonless starlight. Too light to be cyan, too dark to be white, it hovered in the middle of colour and shade. He wanted to touch it. Tendrils, (were they?) of light and mist and bubbles stretched down from its, no, her hat. Her cape. Her glassy head and beautiful form. It was a mermaid, no two ways about it. He reaches out, unsure if his fingers have met her beautiful skin or just the scales of the fish that cloak her.



“Lucian!”



The word cuts through the air and the lid slams down, enshrining this mermaid in the tomb once more. Zossie stares unnervingly at Lucian’s back. His eyes seem lidless in the dusk.

Silence falls once again over the ship as Lucian sleeps. I would like to tell you that the ship continued on its course the next day, none the lesser for their stopover in this silent sea of endless night, but that was not the case. I would like to tell you they made it to land, that their boat commenced its endless chugging into the open seas once more, but this was not the case either. Every time they slept, the sun never rose. Every time they stared overboard at the still mirror, the stars that gazed back at them never formed recognisable constellations. Every time they ate or they drank, their stocks dwindled until one day Lucian will go to drink water from the tap and find only dust.

And yet they live. Lucian’s lips are cracked now, chafing as his eyes frantically sweep across that empty deck. He grinds his teeth from habit, the pain somewhat welcoming. What does he see that he has not seen for months? I cannot say. I wonder if he desires to drink the saltwater. He knows what it tastes of, he knows it is unpalatable. But still… for all the presence of it, he cannot use even a drop to quench his thirst. He remembers his stories and songs of old, and wonders if he too is cursed.

Dulse is asleep still, clutching his knife in his hands. It has been a week since Dulse commandeered the gutting-knife from its drawer, and he has never returned it since. Zossie does not sleep anymore, and he wanders the deck, looking for things in the water. His feet strike the deck like a pendulum's ticker, or a marching-drum bearing wounded soldiers home from a losing battle. His eyes are uneasy, restless. Beadier than before, narrowed and cruelled from the long thirst and the longer suspicion. Lucian sleeps only atop the tank now, the plastic casing his mattress and the steady song of the mermaid the springs under his body. He listens to her, even as Dulse snores and Zossie paces. He can hear the song still. He was unsure if he had touched her. He hoped he had. If he had known the truth, perhaps, he might have wished less. But all that overtook him was his yearning. He would be with her, his beautiful mermaid. But never Zossie. Never Dulse. Only him and his bounty of the sea. He would open the tank and let her hover in the air once again. Reach out, feel the glass under his finger, and be at peace in his own corner of space with only the sweet beast for company.


It is now, cheek pressed to the tank and ear drinking heavily of the otherworldly sound, that Lucian begins to turn his mind, addled by thirst and the lack of any feeling but hunger, to darker pursuits. Dulse has the knife. Zossie never sleeps. But he knows this, and he knows when Dulse will wake with his bleary eyes. He knows when Zossie turns his head to stare over the ocean and count his stars. He knows their movements, he knows their weaknesses. He knows they will want to take his mermaid for themselves.


But still she sings. It's haunting. Enchanting. As though the music flows inside his veins, he can hear it in every action he takes. He does not hear Zossie floundering in the water, only sweet song as unseen horrors rise from the water, mermaids swarming in beautiful synchronicity as they kiss at him over and over with the frills of their dresses. Lucian can only snarl in hatred at him, at how ungrateful he was. Their glassy beauty was bared for him, as bountiful and plentiful as the stars above, and all he could bray out was a plea for rope. The music drowns out the pleas for help. The music drowns out Dulse's death rattle as his own knife enters his lungs, Lucian's dead face hiding his euphoria. The blood washes over his hands with the same warmth as summertime seawater, bringing with it the comforting knowledge that nobody remains to take the mermaid from him. She is his. Her venom pulsing in his veins, his brain turned to nothing but love and devotion.


He must be ready. He leaves Dulse where he lies and heads for the side. He runs his hands through the ocean's surface, stripping them of the last of Dulse's remains. The Nihilego circle below, none rising up. Imperfect creatures, not like the mermaid. She's beautiful. They're imposters. They're welcome to Zossie. Now... Lucian drags a mouthful of brine to his mouth, swilling it around and spitting it back with the dead energy of a marionette trying to dance on broken strings. He hangs limply, struggling to force the life into his limbs to be ready for her, to embrace his beautiful mermaid. They would become one. His skin is pockmarked and weathered, his hair ratty and full of knots. That does not matter. He smells of fish and the sea and the accumulated filth of the months, and that does not matter either. All that matters is what lies in that tank. It does not matter that he cannot free her, it does not matter that he will enshrine himself as cleanly as a sarcophagus. His mind is consumed like fire running through a forest, or poison spreading through a glass. He is ready.


He lifts the tank's lid for the last time, seeing it clatter down and gazing on the swirling silver below. All he can do is crack his lips with a smile, spread his arms, and dive inwards towards his trophy below.



Some time in the future, the Torracat, hungry and bored of idle playing, would inspect the open cargo hold in search of fish. It will gaze on whatever used to be Lucian, down there alone in the dark, held in the embrace of his mermaid. It might choose to stand and fight, try to defend its former master. If it does, it will surely die. Nihilego and Torracat is never likely to prove an even fight. But perhaps, just perhaps, it might choose to seek comfort in another's arms, abandon the ghost of Lars Lucian and the shadow of the ship. I hope it does. I will be waiting to walk that ship's deck, to take the little one with me on my own travels. I do so want a cat of my own.


This is very loosely based on colliding with the Nihilego in Aether Paradise with a Torracat in a Moon run, but I also wanted to include the general Nihilego lore and Lusamine/Lucian's attachment to it. As for what any of it means... don't ask me! I wouldn't be able to give you a clear answer. I just wanted to avoid the usual sort of creepy stories, go for something more claustrophobic and yet spacey and confused.
Obviously this draws a lot from the famous Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (adapted by Iron Maiden), specifically the famous passage below;

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
 

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