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Thread Description
A PMD: Gates to Infinity Dungeonlocke | On Hiatus; PART ONE NOW COMPLETE

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!!! But don´t forget to wear one
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
310
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
727
Location
Perú
Nature
Modest
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Grass, Water
Pokédex Entry
The Master of both Light and Darkness; who loves the Violent and Dramatic, and the Fun and Adorable.
Oooooooh okay, haha! Naaah, chapter 13 won't have a 180... Totally...... Believe me, I'd never lie to you.
We all believe in you, there's no way something horrible might happen on this happy sunshine of a world, specially on the 13th Chapter. That's not ominous at all.
 

Uberle

Lur King
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
209
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,546
Nature
Lax
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
Stays in the distortion dimension where no one bothers him
So Catrin is a girl’s name
That has.... implications

Anyway this update
I love this Dunsparce
Usually not overly fond of them, but Brin is just so enjoyable

Also adorable gays are adorable
Just as a relationship it’s great
Emolga is there supporting Brin and that’s all it requires

This update is just pure wholesomeness
Which makes me worry that something is about to happen
We’ve had a few updates that were fairly calm
Experience suggests that things about gonna escalate
Or that’s just paranoia
Either way, there’s gonna be adorable gays, so looking forward to more
 

Salt&PepperBunny

Formerly MouseWithADinosaurTail
Artist
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
47
Caught
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
1,865
Location
Lightbeacon
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Flying
Pokédex Entry
Rabbits are so human. Or perhaps, humans are so rabbit?
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #83
There is now a fine for being mean to Brin. *outstretches hand* Pay up, Catrin.
We're gonna have to start fining him for every chapter from now till forever. The bright side is once we get to the end of the story, we should have enough money to fund free college for all students nationwide!

It´s official, Brin and Emolga are the OTP of this run, they are so F-ing adorable together.

And this chapter somehow out-wholesomes the previous one, and I absolutely love it.
*chanting* OTP! OTP! OTP!!!!!!! Heehee. I've been trying out a new way of writing romances with this story, so I'm very happy it's paying off. ^w^

We all believe in you, there's no way something horrible might happen on this happy sunshine of a world, specially on the 13th Chapter. That's not ominous at all.
It's fine! :)

So Catrin is a girl’s name
That has.... implications

Anyway this update
I love this Dunsparce
Usually not overly fond of them, but Brin is just so enjoyable

Also adorable gays are adorable
Just as a relationship it’s great
Emolga is there supporting Brin and that’s all it requires

This update is just pure wholesomeness
Which makes me worry that something is about to happen
We’ve had a few updates that were fairly calm
Experience suggests that things about gonna escalate
Or that’s just paranoia
Either way, there’s gonna be adorable gays, so looking forward to more
Catrin's name doesn't have any implications. He's not transgender, if that's what you're wondering. Having two characters mock a trans person's name is, ahh, not exactly something I want to write. Adorable dunsparces and wholesome gays ARE something I want to write, however! :D Escalation? What's escalation? Not this chapter, no sirree~

Chapter Thirteen: The Smell of Danger
The walk to Post Town was full of excitement. Emolga chattered on about how well the upcoming proposal was going to go, while Brin switched rapidly between agreeing with his boyfriend and panicking about the worst possible outcome. Elaine tried her best to comfort Brin. “I wanna see a skip in your step, little buddy! How can anyone turn down that geode?” As they walked, Elaine couldn’t help but think back to all the times she’d walked her little siblings to the classroom door on the first day of school, psyching them up when they got nervous and encouraging them on how fun it was gonna be. Sometimes, she felt dishonest doing that, especially to her poor sibling who took more shit from their classmates than they deserved, but here, she felt a lot better about it. Brin was one of the two happiest pokemon she’d met in this world. No way was anything gonna get him down on her watch!

Catrin brought up their rear, sulking a few feet behind them. As they passed through the crossroads, he stared longingly at his property before trailing after them like a dejected miltank. (That was what Mom always called Elaine when she was glum. A dejected miltank.) Elaine couldn’t deny that she was starting to feel bad. If Catrin really was as tired as he claimed, he deserved to get some rest after humoring her on their mission to Stompstump Peak. But Elaine couldn’t bring herself to turn back. If she walked away from these pokemon now, she might never get to be proper friends with them! And she needed these friends! In a not-creepy way! Desperate, maybe, but not creepy!

Post Town was oddly quiet as they came in. Only the cinccino's shop was open, and the only pokemon in the square were a few folks clustered around the entrance to the inn, whispering to each other. Wow, that was weirdly suspicious. There was a rufflet, a patrat, a panpour, and to Elaine’s surprise, even Quagsire was here! Elaine told her new friends to give her a moment and trotted over to the pokemon, Catrin behind her. “Hi Quagsire! Long time no see!”

Quagsire turned to them and blinked his smooth, black eyes in surprise. “Ah, hmm, greetings, Tepig and Oshawott. What brings you to town on this night, hmm?” He glanced behind them and spotted their company. “And with Dunsparce and Emolga, no less. Odd company for you both to keep, hmm?”

“Hey, is that an insult?” Emolga yapped from behind them. Dunsparce held out a wing to block his boyfriend from charging forward.

“We’re on an errand with the dunsparce,” Catrin muttered.

“Yeah! We’re helping him make a friend!” Elaine said happily. She looked around. “What’s with the crowd?”

“Hmm, it seems the usual folks have gathered to see the Lady Vixen in person, hmm? I will admit, I came to see her myself. I have a few questions about her travels if she’ll speak to me, hmm.”

Catrin cocked a brow. “The who?”

At that, the patrat, rufflet, and panpour all whirled around shock. “You don’t know the Vixen?!” Rufflet screeched.

“We’re new in town,” Catrin muttered, looking done with this conversation already. “Who is she, then? Enlighten me.” Behind him, Brin awkwardly coiled and stared in any direction but theirs.

“The Lady Vixen is a wanderer in these northern parts, hmm. She is notorious for her incredible strength and solitary nature,” Quagsire explained. “She’s quite knowledgeable on-”

“She’s the hottest bitch to ever set foot in this town!” Rufflet interrupted. His eyes may as well have had hearts in them. Brin shot the flying-type a dirty look (or at least as much of a dirty look as he could muster).

“I want her to kick me in the face and call me scum!” Patrat said, practically drooling as she cupped her cheeks.

“She holds the beauty of an altaria, the grace of a ninetales, and all the power of a latios,” Panpour finished. “Oh, what I would give to follow her on her travels, live a life of great importance as her dutiful sidekick! But alas, the Vixen takes no companions.” Brin started to sweat.

“She sounds pretty cool,” Elaine shrugged. She was pretty eager to end this conversation, since everyone except Quagsire was giving her weird sexism vibes.

“Yes, very cool, and I’d rather you lot avoid using such crass language in front of my companion.” Catrin glowered at the three pokemon with a hint of a snarl, and all their eyes widened as they quickly stepped back. It certainly wasn't the most threatening Elaine had ever seen her guide. Either these pokemon were scaredy-skitties or Catrin's reputation preceded him.

Brin slithered up and tapped Elaine on the shoulder with his nose. “Hey, um, are you ready to go in?” His face was constipated, like he was trying to swallow a boulder.

“Yeah, sorry, didn't mean to hold you up! Let's go.”

After taking a long, deep breath (in through the nose and out through the mouth, incredible form in Elaine's opinion), Brin led the way past the crowd and into the inn. The place was incredibly packed today. Hordes of pokemon clustered at the tables, most strangers to Elaine but some familiar. Swanna was at her place behind the counter, cleaning a mug and clearly off in her own world, and Gurdurr was present as well. The room was filled with the soft roar of conversation, but unlike most restaurants where every table chatted amongst themselves, every patron in the building was fixated on a pokemon in the center, like asteroids orbiting a star. In the center of the room, standing poised and elegant at the center table, was...

“What the shit?! IS THAT A VIRIZION?!”
Catrin, Emolga, and Brin all turned to give Elaine weird looks at her sudden outburst. “Is that strange?” Brin asked.

“She's probably just flipping cause she's a grass-type,” Emolga shrugged.

Elaine spluttered. “N-no, grass-types are fine, but that's a freaking legendary pokemon!

Indeed, seated at the center table was none other than a virizion. Elaine recognized it right away from kids' picture books, mythology sites, and Wikipedia. The pokemon was massive. It would have felt huge even at Elaine's normal height, but in her tepig form, the pokemon was a colossus. She was missing the leaves and flowers that typically adorned a virizion, but she had the typical green fur, long, muscular legs, and horns spreading from her forehead like wings. Without a doubt, this was a virizion. But what the freaking hell was a virizion doing here?

“I... I'm sorry, I'm freaking confused,” Elaine spluttered. “Virizion are myths! The Swords of Justice are a fairy tale! And there's one just... there! Right there! Like it's nothing!” She jabbed her hoof in the virizion's direction, gesturing wildly.

All her companions stared at her like she'd lost her mind. Brin and Emolga looked absolutely flabbergasted, but Catrin stepped forward. “Savior, I'm not sure what the circumstance is in your homeland and why certain pokemon would be considered mythological. But I assure you, virizion may be rare, but they are perfectly ordinary.”

Elaine spluttered. It took her a good second to come up with some words. She should be used to this sort of thing by now but DAMN this was a curveball! “W- Next you're gonna be telling me the Dragons are real, too!”

“Dragon-types are real! My granddad was a dragon-type,” Brin said. Emolga stared at her like he was considering throwing Elaine in a padded room.

Elaine groaned. “Agh, no! Not dragon-types, the Dragons! Reshiram, Zekrom, Kyurem!”

“Is there a reason they wouldn't be real?” Brin asked, eyes wide with confusion.

“I believe I heard of a kyurem living out near the Great Glacier,” Catrin added matter-of-factly.

Elaine's brain shattered.

One of the inn patrons, a foongus, whirled around and hissed, “Shhhhh! I'm trying to listen to the Vixen!” before whirling back around. Elaine was still reeling; she wanted to grab Catrin or Brin or somebody and demand a freaking explanation. But if she kept flipping her shit, she'd probably get them all thrown out. Okay, Elaine. This was a world where suns could disappear, pokemon had landscaping companies, places could break the laws of physics, and mythological pokemon had the same amount of normalcy as a volcarona. Cool. Okay. Roll with it. When in Geosenge.

Elaine realized that besides Catrin who was staring at her in worry, her company had all turned to take in the scene at the inn. Gurdurr, a rampardos, and a kecleon (the latter of which were the shopkeeps from outside) sat at the same table as the virizion, practically drooling over her as they talked.

“S-s-so, Lady Virizion! You were traveling northwest in search of new mystery dungeons, yes? Please, tell us all about your travels! We'd love to hear about the fruits of your discoveries!” the rampardos stuttered. Elaine could feel his heart palpitating from across the room.

Virizion casually sipped on a clearish, whitish drink from a long straw and said, “I found a couple of new dungeons. Low level, few Lost. Not much of a concern.” Her voice was deep like Mom's, but smooth and evocative, not the sort of voice that would screech about extracurriculars. She held herself with all the grace of a legend (which, fitting), but Elaine couldn't help but get the impression that she sounded incredibly bored. Like she'd rather be anywhere else than at this inn right now. Weird. If she wanted to leave, why didn't she just go?

Gurdurr then spoke up. The brute looked like a different pokemon in Virizion’s presence; he was leaning in, looking engaged, and actually- gasp- smiling. It was a tiny smile; on any other pokemon, it would’ve barely counted. But Elaine figured that turning up the corners of his lips was the most Gurdurr could manage. “Lady Virizion,” he said, “It’s fantastic to have you back in town. Been nearly a year now since the last time. Do the travels go well?”

Virizion sipped on her drink for what felt like three years before smacking her lips and responding, “They’ve been alright.” Everyone was quiet, waiting for more, but she just went back to sipping. She drained the cup dry and then turned away. “I’ll be off to my room, then.”

Elaine blinked. Well, someone wasn’t very social. Not that she could blame Virizion, these pokemon seemed like the worst. No wonder nobody was having luck getting past that deadpan exterior.

Virizion started to saunter out of the inn, and the crowd split like the sea to let her out. But just as she was reached the door, Brin suddenly jumped into her path. “W-w-wait!”

The crowd let out a collective gasp, which baffled Elaine. People, chill, this wasn’t a flipping telenovela! Gurdurr snarled and made a move like he was about to get up and beat Brin with his pole (something Elaine was not going to allow). Even Swanna looked up. Virizion blinked in surprise, the first facial expression she’d made the whole time.

Brin pressed himself down towards the ground, practically shaking, and Rampardos spoke up. “Lady Virizion, do you want us to move that kid for you?”

“It’s fine. Calm down.” Virizion glanced down at Brin. “Yes, Dunsparce?”

“I-I, um… U-ummm…” Brin was shaking hard. The poor kid looked like the rattata standing in front of the incineroar and asking it to be his friend. But Emolga stepped over and placed a paw on his side, and Brin’s eyes steeled in resolve. He opened his wings to reveal the geode and set it down in front of Virizion with his mouth. “Th-th-this is f-for you. P-Please be my friend!”

The room was dead silent. A few pokemon started to snicker or mutter to each other, which only made Brin shake more. Virizion stared at the geode for an extended moment. Then, she looked Brin in the eye and said, “No thanks.”

More snickering rose up. Brin looked like he’d been struck. His eyes were wide and watery as he stuttered, “Wh-wh-what?”

“I don’t make friends,” Virizion shrugged. It was so frustratingly matter-of-fact. “I might consider you an ally of sorts, but you’re a child, and you look incredibly weak. I don’t need anyone mooching off me. So yeah, no thanks.” A pause. “Nice rock, though.”

Elaine started to shake in anger. What the hell was wrong with this woman?! Why would anyone ever say something like that to another person?! Emolga’s face was contorted with rage; he looked like he was about to blow a fuse, and his shoulders quaked. But Brin didn’t look angry at all. His eyes glistened like a pond, and thick, fat tears were already cascading from his amber eyes. He tried to say something, but it just came out as a hiccupping sob. With a wail, Brin spread his wings and flew out of the inn.

Emolga called after him, “Dunsparce, wait!” But Brin was already gone. He whirled on Virizion like an enraged arcanine. “You FUCKING SKANK! What the hell is wrong with you?! Even if you didn’t wanna be friends, you don’t have to be a fucking bitch about it!”

Virizion blinked, looking incredibly bored. The inn patrons behind her looked ready to tear Emolga limb from limb. “Who are you?”

“I’m his fucking partner, you buck-toothed ass,” Emolga raged. His cheeks started to spark with electricity, and he opened his gliders. “You and me, town square, NOW!”

“… No.”

Virizion walked past him, kicking aside the geode in the process. Shaking, Emolga roared, “GET THE HELL BACK HERE!” and tried to charge after her, but Catrin jumped in front of him. “GET OUT OF MY WAY, GIRLY!”

“You are making a scene. If you continue this course of action, you are either going to get attacked by these townsfolk or end up picking a fight with a pokemon you cannot hope to defeat,” Catrin muttered.

Elaine quickly padded over to them, deciding not to make a comment on the pot calling the kettle black. “Emolga, you should go find Dunsparce. He needs you.”

Emolga’s face twisted in agitation. But he glanced back at the inn patrons who were all up out of their seats ready to fight, and he groaned. “You’re right.” He dashed out of the inn on all fours, and Elaine and Catrin hurried after him.

They headed out into the square. It had filled up more than before, and Elaine heard the whispers on the air.

“… Just walked right up to her and asked to be friends…”

“… Such a moron, doesn’t he know the Vixen doesn’t…”

“… Called her a skank. TO HER FACE…”

Catrin stared around at the gathered townsfolk with a look of distaste, and Elaine felt a pit in her stomach. But if Emolga heard them, he didn’t show it. His ears twitched as he looked around the square, and he called out, “Dunsparce! Where are you, buddy?” His eyes glistened with concern.

“He may’ve gone home,” Elaine suggested. “Maybe someone should check there while the rest of us look around here?”

“Well, I’m not leaving the Savior,” Catrin stated.

“Ugh, whatever, girly, I can check there. I’ll be back in a jiff.” Emolga launched into the air and glided off between the buildings, and Elaine and Catrin got to searching. Thankfully, Catrin seemed at least somewhat invested in finding Brin. Having picked up his scent from earlier, he sniffed around the square like a police stoutland, searching behind buildings and in the narrow spaces between houses. He and Elaine made their way up the hillside on which Post Town was built, and the air grew quieter as they drifted further from the square. The town’s residential area felt like a ghost town. They only saw two pokemon on the pathways, a venipede and a froakie. If it hadn’t been for the red torches and her tail lighting up the place, Elaine would have found it outright frightening.

Sadly, their search was fruitless. Nearly an hour later, Emolga glided back down to them, eyes wild with worry. “H-he wasn’t at home! I checked his favorite spots, the hilltop, the old silo, the old bridge, he isn’t anywhere! He’s probably freaking out, I don’t know what to do!” He grabbed his headband in his paws and started to breathe hard.

Elaine quickly put an arm around him. “I’m so sorry, we haven’t found him either!”

“I haven’t found a fresh scent anywhere. Have you been looking for scent trails?” Catrin asked.

Emolga nodded frantically. “My nose isn’t that good, though. Oshawott, could you check one more time by the entrance to town? Please?”

Catrin narrowed his eyes and stood up tall on his hind legs. “Maybe if you agree to stop using my name and calling me girly.”

Elaine groaned internally. She got where he was coming from, but this really wasn’t the time. “Oshawott-” But Emolga interrupted her.

“Maybe help me find my distraught boyfriend and then we’ll talk,” the electric-type growled, standing up on his toes to butt his nose directly at Catrin’s. The oshawott bared his teeth and started to make a grab for his shell, but Elaine butted in between them.

“Now is not the time for fighting! We need to find Brin!” Elaine cried. She gave Catrin a pleading look. “Oshawott, I know you’re upset, and it’s something we’re all going to need to talk about later. But right now, we need to help Brin. Will you and Emolga cooperate for a little bit longer? Please? I promise I’ll make it up to you.”

Catrin stared at Elaine for a moment, his expression emotional yet unreadable. He sighed sadly, “You are too good for this world, Savior,” and then sprang down the path towards the base of the hill. Elaine dashed after him, and Emolga followed on his gliders. They passed by the Kecleon shop and came to the big wooden gates that marked the entrance to Post Town.

Right away, Catrin started to sniff around. “If you can just pick up a fresh trail, we can follow it to him,” Emolga pleaded, to which Catrin growled, “Let me concentrate,” in response. Emolga watched him work, clutching his paws together and shifting his weight back and forth. Elaine couldn’t be sure how old her companions were, but Emolga and Brin didn’t feel too far off from her age. And she knew enough about teenagers to know that if one ran off and their friend was this worried about it, it could only mean bad news. An old memory peered out at her from the back of her mind. A quiet train station, sixteen missed calls, her head throbbing from dehydration, and Steven’s footsteps racing towards her under the street lamps. Her chest tightened, and Elaine scraped the ground and pleaded for Catrin to find something.

“You lookin’ for yer lover, boy?”

The three of them looked up to see a pokemon watching them from across the road. It was an old flaaffy with a wrinkled face and milky eyes, leaning against a boulder and smoking a pipe. His face was turned towards Emolga.

“I’m not a boy,” Emolga said with an edge of aggression in his voice. Oh shoot, whoops. Elaine made a mental note of that. “Did you see Dunsparce?”

“Didn’t see ‘im, heard ‘im. The kid was out here cryin’ ‘bout somethin’. Then some folks came ‘round and lured ‘im off.”

“Lured him off?!” Emolga’s eyes were wild with fear. They dashed at the flaaffy and squeaked, “Who took him?! Where did they go?”

Flaaffy took a long drag off his pipe and said, “Pawniard brothers.”

Emolga’s eyes stretched so wide that the whites were visible around the rims of their irises. Even Catrin looked up with fearful eyes, his mouth slightly agape. It was like all the air had been sucked out of a room… if they’d been indoors, that was. The name Pawniard brothers meant nothing to Elaine, but it seemed Catrin knew something about them, and he wasn’t even a local.

Emolga backed away from Flaaffy, clutching their chest, breathing hard, and shaking. It took them a moment to to compose themself enough to speak. “Where did they go?”

Flaaffy simply held out his palm.

Catrin suddenly stormed forward. He grabbed the coins Brin had paid him out of his cloak pocket and threw them at Flaaffy’s feet. “Location. Now.

“Desolate Canyon. S’where they always go.” Flaaffy bent down to pick up the coins, and Emolga and Catrin rejoined Elaine on the other side of the road.

Emolga grabbed their ears and yanked them down, eyes still wide and wild. “We need to go now. This is bad, this is bad, this is really, really bad! I-if anything happens to Brin, I-I-”

“The Savior and I will help you rescue him, but you need to calm down. You’re no use to your partner panicking,” Catrin said. “Where is Desolate Canyon?”

“M-m-mystery dungeon, north of here. It can get really rough…”

Catrin fell quiet at that and glanced at Elaine, but her heart thundered with resolve. She stepped forward and met eyes with Emolga, trying her damndest to look as calm and confident as possible. “It doesn’t matter how rough that dungeon is. We’re with you to the end, Emolga. Lead the way.”

Tears started to fill Emolga’s eyes, and their lip quivered. “Th-thank you, Elaine. You can… you can call me Macsen.” On all fours, they started to dash up the road. “LET’S MOVE, PEOPLE! WE’VE GOT A BOYFRIEND TO SAVE!”

Catrin and Elaine sprinted after them. But as they started their way north, Elaine glanced back to see a peculiar sight. It was Virizion, lingering by the town gate. Elaine had no idea when she’d shown up, but the legendary stared after them with an unreadable expression. Elaine had no idea what it meant, but she didn’t give a damn. She’d have plenty of time to give that woman a piece of her mind when she got back. For now, it was time to help a friend and prove how great of a savior she could be.
See, that didn't escalate! Y'all are so paranoid, smh my head uwu


 
Last edited:

TerryTheTeryx

Gen Z Degenerate
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
358
Caught
Jul 3, 2019
Messages
489
Location
Unova
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Flying, Rock
Pokédex Entry
A bizarre Pokémon who dislikes many social activities. She appears to have a penchant for peanut butter and learning foreign languages.
This is the M-rated take on Gates the fandom needs.
 

Trollkitten

Kitten of Lore
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
208
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,482
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.
So Emolga is agender and they have the nerve to mock Catrin for having a girl's name? That... that's pretty bitchy if you ask me.
 

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!!! But don´t forget to wear one
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
310
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
727
Location
Perú
Nature
Modest
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Grass, Water
Pokédex Entry
The Master of both Light and Darkness; who loves the Violent and Dramatic, and the Fun and Adorable.
I knew this series was dark; but damn, I did not see THAT one coming.
 
Last edited:

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
726
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/them
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
Elaine's reaction to seeing a legendary was hilarious, but wow, Virizion is awful. Who wouldn't want to be friends with Brin? I hope he's okay…

aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh, nonbinary Emolga! Heck yeah! ...But I do think that makes it kind of strange for them to be making fun of Catrin for being “girly”.
 

Salt&PepperBunny

Formerly MouseWithADinosaurTail
Artist
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
47
Caught
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
1,865
Location
Lightbeacon
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Flying
Pokédex Entry
Rabbits are so human. Or perhaps, humans are so rabbit?
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #88
Whoops! Almost forgot to update today.
This is the M-rated take on Gates the fandom needs.
I am happy to provide this in-demand service.

So Emolga is agender and they have the nerve to mock Catrin for having a girl's name? That... that's pretty bitchy if you ask me.
I know, right??

I knew this series was dark; but damn, I did not see THAT one coming.
Wait what did you not see coming I honestly thought that chapter was pretty light compared to others

Elaine's reaction to seeing a legendary was hilarious, but wow, Virizion is awful. Who wouldn't want to be friends with Brin? I hope he's okay…

aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh, nonbinary Emolga! Heck yeah! ...But I do think that makes it kind of strange for them to be making fun of Catrin for being “girly”.
Yeah, Virizion is, not great. About as not great as everyone else in this world. As for Emolga, I do personally enjoy dabbling in content where LGBT people do shitty or hypocritical things somewhat akin to this; it's an interesting "dark face of the moon" of lgbt folks, not one you really see in communities like this where everyone is very prideful and openly kind to one another. It's not something I've really touched in a long-ass time since I've been writing a lot of wholesome, okay-for-all-ages content for the last year and a half or so. But I ended up accidentally falling into it again and just kind of rolled with it cause it was an intriguing side of Emolga's character to me? That being said, I usually do this sort of thing with sexual orientations, I don't have as much experience playing with this sort of thing in regards to gender, so if there are any further concerns, my DMs are always open.

Also, a quick official notice that this run's rating has been changed from Teen to Mature. There honestly won't be anything that bad, I feel as though I could have kept this run in Teen and just warned that this would be more of an upper Teen run and not be breaking any guidelines. But the story will start getting into some more shit, and since I know a lot of people in this community have sensitivities to darker content, I decided just to do it as a safety measure. Feel free to check the OP for general content warnings, and more questionable chapters will have their own CW notices on them from here on out. Lmk if anyone has any concerns! My DMs are always open, or you can just drop a comment on the thread.

Chapter Fourteen: The Strong and the Weak
“Come on, keep up, short stack. We’re almost there.”

“I-I’m coming! Sorry…”

Brin slithered along behind his new friends, trying to keep up as best as he could. But admittedly, it was difficult to keep up the pace when the sights of the mystery dungeon around him were so distracting. This place was called Desolate Canyon; his friends had told him that. It’s what they’d said in Post Town, when they’d stopped to comfort the crying, wailing dunsparce they’d found on the side of the road. “Come with us. There’s a mystery dungeon nearby, Desolate Canyon, where you can go to get stronger. Any pokemon with their head on straight will want you as a partner after you come train with us, even that bitch virizion!” Brin hated that sort of language, especially towards Virizion, but he’d gone. He needed to get stronger. And if his new friends could help him with that, he refused to hesitate.

However, they’d been traveling through Desolate Canyon for some time, and Brin found the dungeon incredibly strange. He was aware it was a silly thought; mystery dungeons were known for their being strange! But Desolate Canyon had such a perplexing personality; he couldn’t quite wrap his head around it. Brin admittedly had more experience with mystery dungeons than the average pokemon in these times. He’d earned himself a reputation as the kid who continued to plant more than he could water, and even Macsen had long since stopped supporting his bumbling adventures. But he couldn’t help it. Brin loved mystery dungeons. They brought out a fascination, a curiosity in him that otherwise may have faded with the sun. The mystery dungeons were his friends. Well, perhaps they weren’t very good friends; he became lost in their labyrinths constantly, the Lost were undefeatable to a small, uncombative pokemon such as him, and he’d felt the decaying disease begin to creep into his body more than once in his extended misadventures. But Brin could never stay away. There was nothing in this world comparable to the wonder of a mystery dungeon, learning the quirks of their differing personalities, histories, hopes, and fears. The way each of them spoke in such a quiet and intricate language, telling stories to any mon who stopped and listened. All the pokemon of Post Town and beyond hated the mystery dungeons, and Brin had to admit he understood why. But there was nothing else like them. Nothing else.

So, as Brin followed his new friends through Desolate Canyon, he listened to its story, and its story was strange and unsettling unlike any he’d ever heard. This was an older dungeon; he could tell by the Lost. There was countless mon here, slumped over on the edges of the trail, croagunks, vullabies, blitzles, and audinos. They watched with still, blue eyes as Brin passed by with his friends, but they did not attack. Their breathing was heavy, like every breath was a struggle, and some tried to make their way over to them but stumbled, their legs unable to support their weight. Their decay was far in its process, the poor things, but their suffering would fade soon. But if Desolate Canyon was old enough for its Lost to be in such a final state of decay, why was the dungeon so well behaved? They’d been walking along a straight path through the canyon for a long time. No stairwells appeared, the path did not diverge, the dungeon threw no tricks or traps their way. It was just a singular path, filled with Lost that could not attack. It reminded Brin of the times he’d sat up straight and quickly hid his doodles in the schoolhouse when the teacher passed by his desk. The dungeon felt quietly nervous, a rattata hiding under the bush. But the dungeon had the power to destroy them, kill them or plunge them into an inescapable labyrinth. What was wrong? What had made Desolate Canyon afraid to misbehave?

“Dunsparce! Hey, Dunsparce! You listening to me or what?”

“H-huh?” Brin looked up to see he’d fallen far behind his friends again. The two pawniards waited a few feet ahead. The shorter one, the one who’d called him, had his arms crossed, and the taller one was tapping his foot. “Oh, I’m so sorry! I’m coming, I promise.”

“Good,” said the shorter pawniard as Brin slithered to them in a hurry. “Better not be getting cold feet now.”

“I don’t have feet,” Brin said with a little smile.

“Don’t patronize me,” Pawniard muttered, and they continued on.

Brin’s new friends were a little strange. They were a no-nonsense duo, it seemed, but they had good hearts underneath. Otherwise, why would they have stopped to console a crying dunsparce of all pokemon? The shorter one was more talkative; he’d done most of the comforting and had convinced Brin to come along for training. His yellow eyes glowed with confidence, and his smooth blades looked sharp enough to prick through skin just with a gentle brush. The taller pawniard was odder. He’d remained quiet for most of Brin’s time with him. His right arm was a stump that ended at the elbow. Most of his face and his right eye were covered by dark red ribbons, and Brin could see glimpses of scarred, burned metal where his face was uncovered. His blades were rigged like a purrloin’s teeth and cloaked in a fine layer of rust. He had more ribbons wrapped around his right shoulder and waist, and the loose ends fluttered out behind him like Macsen’s headband. A strange looking pair, but Brin preferred not to judge by appearances.

They didn't walk for much longer before the narrow trail widened into a round clearing in the canyon. Brin frowned. It was a change, yes, but it seemed more like the natural geography of the canyon than dungeon trickery. He realized quickly they'd come to a base of sorts. There were crates and barrels stacked against the canyon walls. There were several hessian sacks, filled, tied, and stacked in a pile, and- Oh. Oh, dear. A scent touched Brin's nostrils, so horrible he physically cringed and covered his face with his wings. A base in a mystery dungeon was strange enough, but what in the Sun's name was that odor?

“We're here,” said Sawtooth, the rigged pawniard, speaking up for the first time since they'd left Post Town. Did he not notice the odor? Was it maybe just Brin's imagination? Well, either way, perhaps he shouldn't say anything, it would probably be awkward.

“Y-you have a base in a mystery dungeon? How odd...” Brin said, trying not to gag as he slithered forward. Bases in mystery dungeons were notoriously impossible to keep; the dungeon's shifting often destroyed them within a few days. But this place looked properly lived in. How was this possible?

“Ugh, one of them got in here,” Sharp muttered, and Brin looked up to see there was a Lost in the camp. A blue-eyed foongus, hardly bigger than an actual mushroom, was dragging herself towards Sharp’s feet, sighing and panting.

At the look of utter disdain in Sharp’s eyes, Brin flinched. He knew, other pokemon weren’t fond of the Lost. And they had their reasons. But that scowl Sharp was shooting the foongus... It gave him a nasty feeling in his belly. He quickly slithered over. “U-um, I can take her out if you want, I don’t m-”

Before he could finish, Sawtooth jabbed at the foongus and skewered her on his blade.

For a moment, Brin didn’t react. The movement was so quick, so horrifyingly nonchalant that it didn’t immediately register to him that something terrible had happened. But as Sawtooth slowly lifted his arm to show the limp, deflated little body and the fat globs of black blood running down the side of the blade, the cold realization of what had happened creeped up his body like rime.

Brin leaped backwards before he even realized he’d wanted to move. His body trembled. “Wh-wh… What did… Wh-why did you do that?”

Sharp shot Brin a look of distaste and rolled his eyes. “Oh boy, don’t tell me you’re one of those sun freaks.”

“Y-you killed her…” Brin mewled. He couldn’t stop shaking. It was all he could manage to even speak. “Wh-why would you do that?!”

Sharp rolled his eyes and said nothing, and Sawtooth slowly turned to fix Brin in the gaze of his single, blood-orange eye. Brin couldn’t understand. An instant ago, these pokemon had been his friends. They were going to teach him how to be strong. But the comforting aura they’d had in Post Town had evaporated before Brin had even realized it. The look in that eye was one of a predator.

Sawtooth glared coldly at Brin for an extended moment, and then he fixed his gaze on the girl he had killed. “It’s just a Lost, kid.”

“She was alive!” Brin cried. His voice came out more powerfully than he’d expected to manage. “She was alive, and you killed her… You killed her for nothing! Why would you do that?!”

Sawtooth did not respond. Sharp’s eyes were also on him, and Desolate Canyon was silent and unmoving around them. The entire world was waiting for Sawtooth to speak. The wind whistled gently, the foongus’s blood spattered on the earth in droplets, and finally, Sawtooth opened his mouth.

“Did you know that in the old days, pokemon made organizations- rescue teams- to save folks like these out of dungeons?”

Brin couldn’t understand. Why was Sawtooth talking about rescue teams? What did that have to do with what had just happened? “U-um, yes, I do…”

Sawtooth gave a quiet hmph, eyes still fixed on the dead girl. “Just imagine it. A time when pokemon had the resources to fish these things out of dungeons. A time when survival was so easy that the strong could spend their time putting their own lives in danger for the sake of weaklings. A time when the strong and weak alike were entitled to survival.” Sawtooth flung his arm, launching the foongus off his blade and at the nearest canyon wall. The sound she made on impact, that sickening SPLAT… Brin felt the revulsion, deep in his core. It was the worst noise he had ever heard.

In that moment, it hit Brin just how far he was from home. It’d taken hours to reach Desolate Canyon, and even longer after that to reach this spot. Macsen had no idea where he was. He hadn’t said anything to them when he’d left. He’d gotten swept up in the excitement of the moment, grabbing at the chance to achieve his dream the instant it presented itself. He was so far from home, and no one knew where he was.

His entire body turned to ice.

Brin started slithering backwards, automatically, before even the semblance of a plan came to mind. “A-a-actually, u-um, I think I should be going. I really appreciate your offer to help me get strong, but I just realized I didn’t tell my partner I was leaving town, and they get really worried when I wander off without saying anything so if we could pick this up another time-”

He spun around, but in the second it took him to spread his wings to take off, Sawtooth was on him. Brin gave a terrified screech when Sawtooth jumped at him with lightning speed. He was only a few inches off the ground when the pawniard grabbed his tail and slammed him against the ground. Brin choked at the force of the impact; his vision went black for an instant, and before he could even recover, Sawtooth slammed a foot on his back and held his blade threateningly close to Brin’s throat. His body froze in an instant. He didn’t even dare shiver, for fear of the blade touching his scales.

“My brother and I have had our eye on you for quite some time, Brin.” Cold horror grabbed Brin around the throat at the sound of his own name coming from this stranger’s- no, this monster’s- throat. Tears pricked at his eyes as he covered his mouth with the tip of his wing and put all his will into not shivering, not trying to run, not moving at all. “You wander into mystery dungeons nearly once a month. Not even to do jobs or rescue anyone, just for no reason at all! And every time, you have to beg your precious boyfriend to save you.”

The words started to form at the back of Brin’s throat. Th-they’re not… But his jaws were locked by the fear that the slightest defiance he made here would be his end.

“You’re a dunsparce. Hell, less than a dunsparce, you’re nothing. But you couldn’t just quietly die, could you? You feel the need to throw yourself into danger you know you don’t have the strength to face, and then the strong have to use their resources to save your hide. But the times when the strong had resources to spare are gone, Dunsparce.” It was terrifying, how sickeningly calm Sawtooth’s voice was. There was seething, cold anger buried deep, deep within, but the pawniard held it back. Like Brin wasn’t even worth screaming at. “You’re a liability. A drain on society. The strong sink their resources into you, but you will never give anything back. At least, not alive.”

At those words, Sawtooth may as well have stabbed him. Cold, unbridled fear shot through Brin. He was too hot and too cold and felt like he was going to be sick all at once. Finally, he managed to sputter out a few shaking words. “Wh-wh… Wh-what’re g-gonna…”

Sharp cackled from the other side of the clearing. The smaller pawniard slid his blade across the rock wall and said, “That’s what we do, kid. Make use of the weak. If you ain’t no use to anyone alive, may as well make use of ya the other way. If you catch my drift, heheheh.”

No… No, no, no, no, no. He couldn’t help it anymore; Brin trembled like he’d been thrown into an ice storm. He felt everything around him; the icy rock under his belly, Sawtooth’s foot pressing on his spine, the ghost of the blade’s touch just a hair from his throat. This couldn’t be it, this couldn’t be it! He had so much more to do! Was it all over, everything wasted just by one weak moment and one sneaky trick?! He’d only just met Elaine. Heroes were coming back, he knew it! He had to be there for the revolution, be the revolution! Macsen… What was Macsen going to do without him? Macsen-

Brin opened his mouth and screamed. “HELP! HELP, PLEASE SOMEBOD- MMF!” Sawtooth picked his foot up and slammed it down on Brin’s head clamping his jaws shut. He started to thrash and buck like a wild Lost, flapping his wings in desperation to get away to his partner. But Sawtooth slammed his other foot down on Brin’s delicate feathered wing, and he gave a muffled scream has he felt something give a sickening crack.

“Sun’s ray, will you cut that out?! Why do they always gotta squirm,” Sawtooth hissed.

“Probably cause they don’t like getting killed,” Sharp said with a shrug from where he was leaning casually against the canyon wall. “Can you hurry up? It takes so long to skin the scaly ones.”

“Rush me again and I’ll be gutting you next,” Sawtooth snarled, and Sharp flinched back. He turned his one-eyed gaze back on Brin and pressed the blade gently against his throat. Brin tried to flinch away as the blade bit softly through his scales, but Sawtooth’s feet may as well have been boulders on top of him.

“Thank you for finally making a contribution to the world. Sure took you long enough,” Sawtooth growled gently. “If it makes you feel better, we’ll give some of the money we make off of you to your boyfriend. Sun knows he deserves the compensation.”

Brin’s mind was racing at a thousand miles an hour. The pawniards and Desolate Canyon faded around him; all he knew was the icy blade digging at his neck and his racing thoughts. This is all my fault, I’m always messing up, I always mess up and Macsen has to clean up after me! Virizion’s going be alone and Elaine’s gonna have to do it all by herself and Macsen… I never did anything. It all never amounted to anything. I-I’m nothing. He squeezed his eyes tight, braced himself, and let his body go limp.

I’m so sorry, Macsen…

“Goodbye, Brin.” The blade pressed in deeper, cut through scale, and-

KRAKOW!

Sawtooth screeched, and Brin opened his eyes just in time to see the blinding flash of a thundershock.

 
Last edited:

Trollkitten

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Autistic writer who starts more things than she finishes. Hyper asexual Twitch Plays Pokemon lorewriter. Rather be a happy shill than an angry critic.
That...

Now, THAT was HARDCORE.

Whatever Sawtooth and Sharp get for that stunt, they deserve it. And I get the feeling that they'll seriously be feeling the pain.
 

TerryTheTeryx

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Holy shit, this is great. I can feel the terror and sadness in Brin.
 

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!!! But don´t forget to wear one
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The Master of both Light and Darkness; who loves the Violent and Dramatic, and the Fun and Adorable.
Normally I prefer not to incite violence; but after all the messed up things they did to our precious Brin, I really hope Elaine and Macsen burn those miserable Pawniards, until only ashes remain.

I´m sorry if I sound a little bit aggressive, but Nobody F-ing messes with a Dunsparce and gets away with it.
 

Trollkitten

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I'm not going to say that I want these two to die, but I definitely concur that they thoroughly deserve it.

Also, if they die, they can't kill anyone else. And I'm pretty sure they've got a pretty high body count already.

Which leads to a rather unfortunate question: what exactly are they doing with the bodies? And do I want to know?
 

Salt&PepperBunny

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Rabbits are so human. Or perhaps, humans are so rabbit?
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #93

Trollkitten

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Well, with all of the plant life dead, I suppose they have to eat something.

On another note... Foongus is a Grass-type, based on a mushroom, which is a fungus (and thus not actually a plant, but Game Freak lumps them under the 'grass' label anyway). Why does it have blood? Is it not actually a fungus, but an animal that resembles a fungus for camouflage purposes?

(I made three posts in this topic in the space of less than two hours; somebody send help)
 

Bowser's Family Vacation

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"Am I Mario's babysitter? Are you going to call me every time that guy blows his nose, or what?"
This is the chapter where I, at least, really felt the apocalypse setting. :) The scariest part of the apocalypse is other people.
 

Salt&PepperBunny

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Rabbits are so human. Or perhaps, humans are so rabbit?
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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That...

Now, THAT was HARDCORE.

Whatever Sawtooth and Sharp get for that stunt, they deserve it. And I get the feeling that they'll seriously be feeling the pain.
:D

Holy shit, this is great. I can feel the terror and sadness in Brin.
Thank you!! I'm glad!

Normally I prefer not to incite violence; but after all the messed up things they did to our precious Brin, I really hope Elaine and Macsen burn those miserable Pawniards, until only ashes remain.

I´m sorry if I sound a little bit aggressive, but Nobody F-ing messes with a Dunsparce and gets away with it.
It's difficult to come off as "a bit aggressive" when you're responding to murderers trying to murder someone. It's okay to get angry or upset about things that are legitimately upsetting! No worries!

Well, with all of the plant life dead, I suppose they have to eat something.

On another note... Foongus is a Grass-type, based on a mushroom, which is a fungus (and thus not actually a plant, but Game Freak lumps them under the 'grass' label anyway). Why does it have blood? Is it not actually a fungus, but an animal that resembles a fungus for camouflage purposes?

(I made three posts in this topic in the space of less than two hours; somebody send help)
Oh, they don't eat the bodies.

Also...... Imma be real I didn't think that one through. :V

This is the chapter where I, at least, really felt the apocalypse setting. :) The scariest part of the apocalypse is other people.
"The scariest part of the apocalypse is other people." Now THAT is a power quote!

Chapter Fifteen: Let Her Save the World
This chapter contains dark subject matter and intense violence. Viewer discretion advised.
As they ran through Desolate Canyon, Elaine remembered what Catrin had told her on the way here.

S-so um, who are these pokemon we’re dealing with? The Pawniard Brothers?” Elaine asked as they sprinted up the dirt road.

Serial killers.” Catrin’s eyes blazed, and Elaine’s blood ran cold. “Not incredibly notorious, but reports of their crimes have reached Noe Town. They lure pokemon from northern towns, and their victims’ body parts turn up on the black market.”

Elaine felt such a deep terror run through her that she nearly stumbled. “Wh-wh-why?”


No one understands their motivations,” Catrin growled. “Pokemon want the church to deal with them, but these pokemon select their times to strike very carefully to minimize witnesses. And at all other times, it’s like they don’t even exist. Tracking them would have been difficult even when the sun was here and we had the resources to spare.”

Well, not anymore,” Macsen growled from where they sprinted up ahead, leading the charge. Their voice was so saturated with dangerous energy that Elaine thanked the Dragon she wasn’t the one they were after. “They picked the wrong target. These suckers are going down today.”

It was still impossible to process. Serial killers. Actual serial killers. Even in the hours they’d spent running to Desolate Canyon (which, Elaine wanted to note, had not been fun), the idea hadn’t fully sunk in. How could it? Elaine’s experience with murderers was limited to crime junkie podcasts and villains on Elementary. Despite knowing these sorts of people caused real, actual harm to real, living people, it was still just entertainment to her. With Elaine’s only previous exposures to death being Claire’s pet goldeen that had “accidentally” gotten dropped into the garbage disposal and Steven’s childhood pets that she could care less about, mystery dungeons’ breaking reality was a less foreign concept. She couldn’t understand now, and maybe she never would.

But Elaine knew one thing. She could not let anything happen to Brin.

They’d been running through Desolate Canyon’s twisting paths for about twenty minutes when they heard a scream. “HELP! HELP, PLEASE, SOMEBOD-”

Before Elaine could react, Macsen whirled towards the shriek, eyes wild with terror. “BRIN!” They launched forward with a blast of electricity and zoomed down the path it had come from, and Elaine and Catrin sprinted after them. The scream was loud; it couldn’t have come from far away! The three pokemon turned a corner, emerged into a clearing, and-

KRAKOW! Elaine saw the flash and heard the clap of a thundershock before she saw anything else. When the white light dimmed, she quickly took in the scene. They were in some sort of basecamp that stank to high heaven. A pawniard sprang up from leaning against the wall, a second pawniard was springing back from where Macsen had struck, and Brin was on the ground. His feathers were disheveled, and his eyes were flooded with primal sadness and fear. But as it registered to the little dunsparce that his rescue party had come, his eyes overflowed with utter relief.

“M-Macsen!” Brin spread his wings and flew to his partner’s outstretched arms, despite grimacing at every flap.

“Brin! Thank the Sun, thank the Sun!” Macsen was crying themselves as they wrapped their boyfriend in a hug, but the moment of relief only lasted a second before Macsen pushed Brin behind them and shot the pawniards a wild snarl. The sparking of their cheeks cast a terrified yellow glow on their blazing eyes as they stepped forward. “So. Pawniard Brothers.”

Having recovered from the thundershock, the bigger pawniard stood up straight to face them, and it hit Elaine just how terrifying this pokemon looked. This world’s pokemon all had a feral aspect to them, but this was a whole ‘nother level. An amputated arm, saw-toothed blades, and a scarred, disfigured face covered in blood red bandages. His single eye was a blood moon, glowering in quiet hatred. It didn’t take an AP student to know he was dangerous in a way she’d never encountered in her life. Even in this world, Elaine had never stood before a person ready to kill.

Sawtooth’s gaze snapped from one pokemon to the next as he took them all in. “Macsen the emolga. Resident of the Post Town outskirts and babysitter of Brin.” Macsen flinched back and snarled at the mention of their name, and Sawtooth continued. “Catrin the oshawott. Low-level church member. Came from Noe Town to build one of those sanctuaries. And Elaine the tepig. Local idiot and Oshawott’s tagalong, but otherwise, no history.”

Elaine’s gut reaction was to say, WOW, ‘scuse you, you don’t score a 1393 on the SAT by being a local idiot. But she swallowed her words when she saw her partners. Catrin’s hackles were raised like a growlithe ready to bite, and Macsen’s eyes held confused fear underneath their rage. Both of them were ready to fight, but there was hesitation now. They were dealing with something beyond what they’d expected.

Macsen spoke up. “If you think you can scare us by throwing our names around, you’re gonna need a lot more than that. What the HELL do you think you’re tryna do to my boyfriend?!”

“A favor.” Sawtooth stood up straight and started to run his knife arm against the blades on his stomach. “I was going to remove a problem for you, Emolga. Your partner is a liability. You are a strong pokemon forced to spend your resources on a thing that will never provide anything in return. You would be much better off without this leech.”

“THAT IS NOT FOR YOU TO DECIDE!” Macsen roared. “You think you can spy on me a few days and learn my name and think that’s enough to decide what I do with my life?! Fuck you! You don’t know ANYTHING about me!”

“Oh, but I do.” Behind him, the smaller pawniard started to saunter over from the wall, and Sawtooth fixed Catrin in his blood orange eye. “And you. Oshawott, Oshawott, Oshawott. Tch, tch, tch. I don’t like church members, you know.”

“Am I supposed to care?” Catrin snarled, rising up onto his hind feet.

“Your sanctuary is an issue to me.” Sawtooth’s voice was a deep, low rumble. “We are in a world without a sun. There are not resources to spare. Everything we have, we should be giving to the pokemon strong enough to carry us forward. But you give it to the weak who will drain society into nothing, all the while singing lies of how this is temporary and we must only hold out a short while until the sun comes back.” His chuckle rolled like thunder. “You are liars.

“Liars and thieves,” the second pawniard piped up with a snicker. “I always tell Pawniard we should be gutting more sun freaks.”

Catrin’s body shuddered in anger. He grabbed his shell off his chest and barked, “How dare you two speak sacrilege when you know nothing? How dare you call the prophecy a lie?!”

“Your flowery words of sacrilege solve nothing. Your church solves nothing. Only action creates solutions. And I take action.” Standing side by side, the Pawniard Brothers brandished their knives and paced forward. “It really is a shame. Emolga and Oshawott are such strong pokemon. You’d be a boon to the world if you didn’t shackle yourselves to the world’s problems,” Sawtooth muttered. “But by coming here, you’ve made yourselves witnesses. And we cannot have witnesses.”

The way he said it sent a flood of terror through Elaine. Desolate Canyon suddenly felt fuzzy around her. Her eyes couldn’t tear themselves away from the pawniard’s blades. Those things could cut. They could kill. Her head went light, and she nearly pitched over before catching herself with a hoof. Oh, Dragon… Oh Dragon… But she shook her head like a herdier and stood on her four feet. They were in danger. They could die. But she had to protect everyone. She couldn’t let anyone get hurt!

Macsen scoffed. “For all your ‘everyone’s dumb and I’m so smart’ talk, you sure are a pair of freaking idiots. There’s two of you and four of us, and we’ve got a fire-type! Do you really think you’re gonna win this one?” Their cheeks sparked to life, and Catrin brandished his shell beside them.

The smaller pawniard broke into cackling laughter, and Sawtooth gave the tiniest of smiles. Even before he spoke, Elaine already felt it coming. “Larger parties have come after us before, Emolga. Do you really think we would ever let anyone get away?” With a toothy grin, Sawtooth raised his knife and brought it down hard on the blade of his stomach. The cry of metal rang across the clearing.

SHIIIIIING!

The walls came to life.

Elaine thought at first that the stone itself was shifting, like a massive golem was breaking out of the wall to stomp them to death. What actually happened was a billion times worse. Elaine didn’t consider herself scared of bug-types; all the ones she’d ever encountered were small enough to step on if things went south. But she was a lot smaller now, and compared to the bug-types she was used to, these were a lot bigger.

First came a trio of venipedes. Their pointed feet scratching against the rock was nails on a chalkboard. Her body twisted up at the sound of it. Behind them, two galvantulas crawled out of the shadows. These titans must’ve been five times bigger than their whole party at least. Yellow hair covered their bodies, and the sight of their eight scrabbling legs and pincer-framed mouths dripping with saliva brought bile to of Elaine’s throat. Those things could swallow her whole if they grabbed her. She was so small. Dragon dammit, she was so small! She scrambled back as the bug-types crawled to the floor and lined up behind the pawniards, beady eyes narrowed and ready to fight.

Seven on four. Seven on four.

Were they going to make it out of here alive?

She glanced at her companions. Brin was cowering behind Macsen, who was still baring their teeth, but their sparks had simmered down and their eyes were wide with fear. Catrin’s coat bristled, and his eyes flicked nervously between the pawniards and the bug-types. But he bared his teeth, and his eyes flared with a determination absent in everyone else. Elaine knew. Catrin would get her out of this alive or die trying. He would fight to the bitter end for the future he hoped to bring to this world. Elaine glanced at Macsen and Brin, cowering and afraid but standing together.

She scraped her hoof against the ground. If Catrin would fight that hard for the future he wanted, then so would she.

“Brin, Macsen, Catrin, and Elaine.” Sawtooth shook his head in disappointment and then raised his blade. “Goodbye.”

The fight exploded.

As the bug-types charged, Macsen shouted, “Brin, get out of here and get help!” Brin, eyes wild with terror, didn’t hesitate to spread his wings and flap towards the top of the wall. A galvantula charged towards them, and Macsen jumped at its face to block it, but the bug-type knocked them aside with a giant, furry leg and spat a web towards Brin. He only saw it coming a second before it hit. The yellow-white web grabbed him like a fist, the silk sparked with crackling light, and Brin screamed in pain as the web electrocuted him. Macsen and Elaine both cried out as Brin’s eyes rolled back in his head and he fell. They both dashed forward to catch him, and Elaine reached him first. He bounced off her back, and she jolted at the electroweb’s sparking touch on her skin. Brin flopped to the ground, unconscious and muttering deliriously.

The galvantula suddenly sprang at them. “Hands off MY CATCH!” it hissed in an ear-shattering screech. Elaine jolted back, but she didn’t have time to react further before a water gun blasted the galvantula from the side. It hissed and sprang back, and Catrin launched out of nowhere and slashed the bug from throat to tail with his shell. “GET AWAY FROM HER!”

While Macsen took on the pawniards and second galvantula on the other side of the clearing, the venipedes advanced on them. They let loose a needle-like screech and then curled up and started rolling, gearing up to charge. In the next second, they blasted forward like an army of evil Sonik the togedemarus. Catrin watergunned one of them away before dodging the second. Elaine managed to dodge the third just in the nick of time. Smoke swirled in her lungs. As the venipedes bounced off the wall to charge her again, a blast of fire jumped from her nose and pounced on a venipedes. It screeched as its body caught fire. Quick not to miss her chance, she scraped her hoof and charged, knocking the venipede into a rock.

“Savior, look out!” Elaine whirled around to see Catrin pounce at a venipede that had been charging for her. The two pokemon rolled across the clearing, slashing at each other. The last venipede charged her, this time not rolling but instead springing at her on its stubby, pointed legs.

“B-back off!” Elaine cried. She let out a sharp exhale, a blast of fire flared up her throat, out her nose, and at the venipede. The bug dodged under the grasping flames and jumped at her. Elaine screeched as the venipede grappled at her chest. In a kneejerk reaction, she flipped onto her back and kicked it in the stomach with her back hooves. The venipede choked and flew back, and Elaine jumped to her feet just in time to see a pawniard darting at her.

“Hellooooo missy!” the pawniard cackled as it jumped at her. It was the smaller one with the smooth blades; his eyes buzzed with a crazed energy, and his wide, toothy smile was VERY out of place. Elaine sprang back as Pawniard slashed with one of its knives. He was far too quick for her, and he slashed again before she had time to dodge. But as Elaine squeezed her eyes shut and braced for the hit, she heard a CLANG!

Catrin had jumped between them. He’d caught Pawniard’s advancing blade with his shell, gritting his teeth as he pushed back. “Do not touch her!” He slid his shell off Pawniard’s knife and jabbed for his face, but Pawniard parried the blow. They slashed and parried like swordfighters, Pawniard pushing Catrin back but not breaking through his defense. Pawniard stabbed at him straight-on, and Catrin knocked his blade upwards, making him stumble. Catrin’s forepaws suddenly glowed black as he slammed Pawniard in the face with both paws.

Pawniard fell back with a cry. Catrin grabbed Elaine by the scruff and started dragging her towards the clearing exit at a sprint. “We need to get out of here now!

“What? NO!” Elaine slammed her butt down and dragged her hooves like a stubborn mudbray. “I’m not leaving my friends!”

Catrin spun around and glared at her with wild eyes. “THAT WAS AN ORDER! IF WE STAY HERE, WE’LL DIE!” But suddenly, a shadow sprang at Catrin from behind, and Elaine screeched.

“BEHIND YOU!”

Catrin whirled around with shocking speed and caught Pawniard’s advancing blade with his shell. It was like the steel-type had jumped out of a shadow! He cackled and pressed down on his shell, grinning crazily. “Protecting your little princess, huh? What’s so special about ‘er? Spent a lotta money on her?”

Catrin’s teeth flashed. He slid his shell up off Pawniard’s knife and kicked him hard in the stomach. Pawniard flew back, and Catrin didn’t even seem to notice that his foot came away red and bleeding. “How DARE YOU SUGGEST SOMETHING SO VILE?!”

“I just wanna knooooow!” Pawniard sang as he jumped back at them. Catrin parried his blows, stepping backwards to keep him off Elaine. “You fight good, Oshawott! Better than I’d expect out of a sun freak! So, stop playing defense and FIGHT ME HEAD ON!”

Pawniard slashed at Catrin’s left, and Catrin moved to parry. But at the last second, Pawniard suddenly darted to his right. becoming a shadow for an instant as he thrust a blade at Elaine. She shrieked and stumbled back. As Catrin tackled Pawniard to the ground with a roar, Elaine fell backwards right into something big and hairy: a galvantula.

Elaine screamed and kicked at its arms as it grabbed her. When its arms didn't budge, she tilted her nose up to blast it in the face with fire. The galvantula shrieked and dropped her. She only managed to get a few feet away before it shook the flames off.

“Y’know, I think I liked it better when you fire-types were EXTINCT!” Galvantula blasted a bright white web at her. Elaine tried to spring away, but something slammed hard into her side. Her flank burst into pain as the rolling venipede knocked her into the web. Elaine tried to get up, but the sticky web held her limbs down like a suction. She was trapped!

The galvantula advanced on her, and something primal took over Elaine. She was no longer human, no longer a pokemon, but a trapped, terrified animal seeing death before it. She screamed like she’d never screamed before. “CATRIN, HELP!

“SAVIOR!” Catrin jumped off Pawniard and sprang towards her at a hundred miles an hour. But in his wild panic, he didn’t see it coming. The galvantula fired a sparking web that grabbed him right on the back. The web flared to life, and Catrin screamed as the electricity stabbed through his body. It was like nothing she’d ever heard before, nothing. The galvantula fired charge after charge through the web, and Catrin convulsed on the ground in agony. Only when a sadistic, satisfied grin spread across the galvantula’s face did the charges end and Catrin slumped over, completely limp. The stench of burned flesh choked Elaine’s lungs, and she thought for one horrible moment that her guide was dead.

Pawniard sauntered over, lifted Catrin up by the scruff, and slapped him across the face with the flat side of his blade. “Oh, don’t go passing out on me, Oshawott. It was just a little zap.” He tossed him, and Catrin fell onto the web limp as a ragdoll.

“Catrin! Are you okay?” Elaine cried. He didn’t answer, but she could see his sides heaving and a semblance of awareness in his eyes. He was alive, maybe somewhat conscious. But with them both trapped on the web and beaten, the horrible realization dawned on Elaine that it might not even matter that Catrin had survived the hit.

“You finished with that other one yet, Pawniard?” the steel-type called.

“Pretty much.” Elaine turned to see Sawtooth approaching. He was dragging something behind him like a sack, and only when he tossed it onto the web did Elaine realize it was Macsen. They were covered in bad gashes, electric burns, and red splotches. Elaine was at least relieved to see they were still snarling with blazing eyes, but they were beaten. They’d all been beaten.

“That was more annoying than I thought it would be, but it’s done,” Sawtooth muttered. One of the venipedes dragged Brin over from the other side of the clearing, who was still wrapped in webs but conscious again. He sobbed and hiccupped, murmuring something too quiet to hear. Once Brin was lined up with the rest of them, the bug-types backed up to give the Pawniard Brothers room with their prey.

“So.” A tiny smile tugged at the corner of Sawtooth’s mouth. His single knife screeched as he ran it over the blade on his stomach, and the metal flashed in Elaine’s light as he lifted his hand. “Who’s first?”

“L-look,” Macsen growled. Their voice was laced in pain, like it took all their energy to speak. “Kill the rest of us and let Dunsparce go. He’s not worth it.”

“E-Emolga!” Brin wailed.

“Pokemon are always looking to buy oshawott scalchops. Emolga gliders fetch a decent price, and do you even know how much bank you’d make selling a fire-type?” Macsen gave a shaky exhale. Their face twisted in pain. “Whatever you’ll get off a dunsparce will be peanuts compared to that. You don’t need him. Let him go.”

Sawtooth and Pawniard blinked at Macsen, looking pretty unimpressed. But they both looked up in attention when a low, rolling growl suddenly rose from Catrin.

“E-Emolga…” Elaine shrank back as much as she could. Her guide’s voice was hoarse and quiet and thick with pain, but none of that could dampen the broiling anger rising off the half-conscious oshawott. “If you ever… dare… try to sell the Savior again, I s-swear by the Sun-”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!” Pawniard suddenly barked, cutting Catrin off. “Oshawott, no way. You think that tepig is the Savior?

Elaine suddenly felt like a spotlight was on her. All eyes in the clearing fixed on her, from Brin and Macsen’s shocked gaze to the bug-type’s surprised glances to Sawtooth’s suspicious glare. And then, something happened that Elaine hadn’t expected. The bad guys all started to laugh.

Besides Sawtooth who remained as composed as ever, Pawniard and the bug-types all broke into laughter. “Bwahahahahahahaha!” Pawniard shrieked, clutching his belly in laughter. “That’s sun freaks for ya! They grab the first fire-type they can find and call her a savior! What a joke!”

But as the others continued to laugh, Elaine met eyes with Sawtooth. His blood orange eye was narrowed just slightly. Though she could tell he was reading her, she couldn’t fathom what it was he saw. But then Sawtooth strode forward. The other thugs fell silent and Catrin growled louder as he stepped up to Elaine and lifted her chin with the tip of his cold blade.

In a low voice, he asked, “Are you a human?”

Elaine stayed silent. She couldn’t speak. Her body was locked in such rigid terror that no words would’ve come if she’d tried. Here she was, in a world impossibly far from her own, with Mom and Dad and her siblings and Steven an entire universe away, utterly alone and staring down a serial killer. She pleaded to the Dragon or the Sun or anyone that would listen to please wake her from this nightmare and let it be over.

Sawtooth grabbed her by the scruff of her neck and yanked her off the web. She hissed as the web ripped away her hair but otherwise did nothing as Sawtooth dragged her across the ground. She saw a flash of movement behind her as Catrin started to squirm desperately.

“No! NO! Don’t touch her! Bring her BACK!” He shot a desperate water gun in Sawtooth’s direction, but the shot barely held the power of a squirt gun. Sawtooth didn’t even acknowledge it as he dropped Elaine and slammed a foot down on her throat.

She gasped and choked at the sudden blow, and Catrin thrashed even harder. “DON’T TOUCH HER!”

“How’re you gonna stop me?” Sawtooth asked. He then stared down at Elaine with a look of distaste. “Even before the prophetess turned out to be a madwoman, everyone knew the prophecy was fake. But even so… I don’t like taking chances.” Over everything, it was the stillness in his voice, that inhuman, seething calm, that terrified Elaine most, down to the pit of her stomach.

“So, let’s end this one here.”

Sawtooth grabbed her by the ears and yanked her head up, and Elaine’s eyes shot open when Catrin suddenly screamed. “NO! Please, please no!” He reached out to her with his one free paw, eyes wild with desperate terror as they filled with frightened tears. “Please, Pawniard, please don’t. If you kill that tepig, the world is doomed! You can’t-

“We were all doomed from the moment the sun disappeared, boy. You can’t bring back the dead.”

“She can! She can!” Catrin cried. “Please, please let her go! I waited so long for her, you have no idea-” His voice choked in a sob. “You have NO IDEA! Please let her go, she has to save me!

“News flash, Oshawott. You aren’t worth saving either.”

“Don’t you DARE SAY THAT!” Catrin started to thrash again, raging and spitting, but his weakened body was useless against the web.

“Do you even care where she came from? That she probably has a home and family to get back to?”

“IT DOESN’T MATTER!” Catrin thrashed and bucked for only a second more before he went limp again, panting hard. “Please don’t kill her, not until she saves the world! Do whatever you want with her after, I don’t care, but please let her save the world! PLEASE!

For a long moment, the only sound in the clearing was Catrin’s sobs and heavy breaths. The bug-types glanced at each other awkwardly. Sawtooth stared at him silently, and then, very quietly, he snickered.

“Not a great feeling, is it? When someone tries to take your prey,” he murmured, shaking his head. “It's almost funny. You people delude yourselves into thinking you have some sort of moral high ground over the rest of us. But no matter how much you deny it, kid, the churchgoers, the commoners, and the criminals are all cut from the same cloth. We are all One under the Light.” Another snicker, and then in a quiet voice, “Goodbye, Elaine.”

At her exposed throat, Sawtooth swung his blade.

But it never struck.

Sawtooth dropped her like a sack and spun around when someone screamed behind them. The icy stone floor jolted her back to life, and when Elaine looked at the scene behind them, for a moment, she didn't even believe it. The galvantulas and venipedes were fighting something in the dark, a black silhouette more colossal than the massive bug-types. They tried to fight, tried to run, but in an instant, they all dropped to the floor.

“What the hell?!” Pawniard cried as he scrambled back. Sawtooth held his ground, but his blood moon eye was wide with fear, and his body had gone rigid as a board.

“Who are you?!” Sawtooth shouted. The silhouette paused, the downed bug-types moaning in a heap around it. Then she stepped into the light, and Elaine could barely believe her eyes.

It was Virizion. The graceful legendary looked as cool and collected as she had in Post Town, but this time, her eyes were narrowed in a disapproving glare. She lifted her head high and spoke in the voice of a goddess.

“Release them.”

Pawniard was frozen in confusion. Sawtooth raised his blade, eye narrowed and teeth bared. “Just who the hell do you think you're messing with? We're the Pawniard Brothers! If you think we haven't faced-”

Sawtooth didn’t finish, because Virizion dashed forward at lightning speed and bowled him over with her hooves.

Elaine took that moment to leap as far away from him as possible. She breathed shakily, and waves of sickly cold rolled through her as she woke up. Her brain started to scream. The weight of everything hit her at once. Oh Dragon, she'd almost died—

Sawtooth suddenly sprang up and lunged at her. Elaine screamed and scrambled back, but a volley of rainbow, glowing leaves buffeted Sawtooth from behind and bowled him over. The pawniard barked in rage and whirled back on Virizion. As the legendary readied to fight, she shot Elaine a glare. “Don't just sit there, Tepig, look behind you! If you don't want to die, then FIGHT!”

Elaine whirled around. The bug-types weren't in great shape anymore, but they were slowly making their way over, ready to help their masters slaughter them all. And something primal took over Elaine. She'd almost died. She didn't want to die. If she wanted to live, then they had to go down!

Elaine jumped to her feet and charged.

The bug-types were so surprised to see her up that they didn't even react until she bashed a venipede with her head and sent it flying into the canyon wall. The other bugs flinched back in fear, still trembling in pain from Virizion's attacks. A voice in the back of Elaine's head trembled at the idea of them looking at her a vicious, wild animal. But it didn't matter. She needed to get safe, and they had to go down! She jumped at a venipede and slammed its skull with her hooves, knocking it out instantly. The last venipede jumped back, but not fast enough to avoid a blast of fire. It shrieked as the flames engulfed it, and it left a wail in its wake as it raced from the clearing. She whirled on the galvantulas, heaving like an animal as fire swirled around her. They turned tail and scrabbled up the canyon wall, crying out as Elaine's fire jumped at their back legs before they made it over and vanished.

Elaine turned to see if Virizion needed help on the other side of the clearing, but that didn't seem to be the case. Virizion danced around the pawniards like they were nothing, dodging every slash and blasting them with volleys of magic leaves. As Pawniard charged her, Virizion spun around and kicked out with her back hooves, knocking him unconscious the second they connected. Sawtooth gave an enraged cry and became darkness as he charged, but Virizion knocked him down with a hoof to the stomach and then slammed her weight down on his leg. It gave a sickening CRACK, and Sawtooth's resulting scream devolved into whimpering sniffles and mewls.

The brothers were defeated.

“Y-you can't do this,” Sawtooth whimpered. “W-we are the Pawniard Brothers! We protect the world by c-culling the weak—”

“Oh, shut up,” Virizion spat, and Sawtooth immediately clamped his jaw shut. She turned to the web. “Tepig, help me free your companions. ... Tepig?”

Elaine blinked, realizing that Virizion was talking to her. “S-sorry. I... sorry.” She hurried over, not thinking, not sure what to think. She saw Virizion start to cut away the webs around Dunsparce with her sharp horns. Elaine started to work away the webs around Catrin with her teeth, and only when he sprang to his feet did she realize he'd been talking to her the whole time.

“Thank the Sun!” Catrin cried. He winced in pain but pushed through it to wrap Elaine in a big, tight hug. “Thank the Sun! You're alright! You're alive! Y-you're alive...” His warm tears seeped against her skin has he held her tight, stroking her ears and trembling. He said nothing more. Elaine said nothing either.

“Get the HELL AWAY FROM ME!”

The white light of electricity flashed behind them. Elaine turned to see that Virizion had just sidestepped a thundershock from Macsen, who was still on the web. Brin was behind her front legs, looking frightful as his partner glared at their rescuer. “This is your fault, you heartless bitch!”

“Do you accuse me of sending the Pawniard Brothers after you?” Virizion asked flatly.

“DUNSPARCE WOULDA NEVER GONE WITH 'EM IF YOU HADN'T TREATED HIM LIKE DIRT! YOU ALMOST GOT HIM KILLED! YOU ALMOST GOT ALL OF US KILLED!” Macsen's cheeks sparked to life as they readied another thundershock, but they suddenly shuddered and pitched over.

“Emolga!” Brin cried and ran to their side, and Virizion rolled her eyes.

“You're exhausted. Don't overexert yourself.” She stepped away from Macsen and allowed Brin to work the webs away with his drill tail. Once they were free, Brin helped Macsen up by letting them lean on his head. They were shaking and still obviously in pain, and they hissed and nearly fell over again before Brin caught them.

“I can carry you on my back if you're injured,” said Virizion.

“Fuck you,” Macsen spat.

Gritting their teeth and shaking, they let Brin guide them back towards the way they came. The two paused for a moment as Brin turned and murmured, “C-come on, guys... We should go...” They headed back up the trail.

“They're right. We shouldn't linger.” Catrin let Elaine go and started to walk after them but hissed in pain and pitched over. This time, Virizion didn't ask. She bent over to pick Catrin up by his hood and placed him gently on her back. Elaine figured he'd fly into a rage, but when Catrin slumped over and went limp on her back, she realized he was way too spent for that. Saying nothing, Elaine turned and started to follow after Brin and Macsen. Her legs trembled under her.

“I can carry you as well, Tepig,” Virizion offered. She started leaning down to pick her up, but Elaine growled like an animal and jumped away. Virizion blinked in surprise, and even Catrin looked up curiously.

I'm fine,” Elaine snapped. She turned and left clearing on her own four feet.

“I can walk by myself.”

 
Last edited:

TerryTheTeryx

Gen Z Degenerate
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
358
Caught
Jul 3, 2019
Messages
489
Location
Unova
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Flying, Rock
Pokédex Entry
A bizarre Pokémon who dislikes many social activities. She appears to have a penchant for peanut butter and learning foreign languages.
I read half of it so far and I’ve gotta ask,
Was that a heccin Ice Age reference
 

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!!! But don´t forget to wear one
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
310
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
727
Location
Perú
Nature
Modest
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Grass, Water
Pokédex Entry
The Master of both Light and Darkness; who loves the Violent and Dramatic, and the Fun and Adorable.
Those warnings weren't there for nothing, this chapter felt....so terrifyingly real: the whole battle was very intense, for a moment I thought Elaine and company would be goners; not to mention how great the sense of despair and hopelessness were written.

Also, those Pawniards and their survival of the fittest BS can just piss off.
 

Salt&PepperBunny

Formerly MouseWithADinosaurTail
Artist
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
47
Caught
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
1,865
Location
Lightbeacon
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Flying
Pokédex Entry
Rabbits are so human. Or perhaps, humans are so rabbit?
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #99
Since I'm traveling all day tomorrow, I'm doing this a day early!
I read half of it so far and I’ve gotta ask,
Was that a heccin Ice Age reference
I haven't seen Ice Age in like ten years, but you should tell me where the accidental reference is so I can take credit.

Those warnings weren't there for nothing, this chapter felt....so terrifyingly real: the whole battle was very intense, for a moment I thought Elaine and company would be goners; not to mention how great the sense of despair and hopelessness were written.

Also, those Pawniards and their survival of the fittest BS can just piss off.
Thank you. ^w^ If I managed to convince you for even jut a moment that they might die, I feel like I did something right. I hope it was enjoyable suspense, at least!

Chapter Sixteen: Let's Do This
Catrin expected Virizion to follow the Savior right away. She did not.

“Why do you hesitate?” he asked in a soft growl. If he had even a fraction of his strength, he would have sprang from her back there and then. He did not want to be alone with a stranger. The Savior’s holy light was already fading down the pathway. She was out of sight. His frail heart thudded with anxiety.

Virizion stayed silent for a breath. She looked over her shoulder at him. “I don't think the others would understand, Oshawott, but I believe you are different. There's one more thing I must do.”

Catrin narrowed his eyes. Nothing in the grass-type’s voice betrayed nefarious character, but he’d lived too long to trust any offspring of this world. His body was still sagged and limp, thrumming with soft pain from the zap of that blasted electric-type. Could he get away if this went wrong? “And that would be…?”

Virizion turned her head to the two pawniards slumped on the ground. They were the last remaining evil in the clearing; the bug-types were long gone. In a voice neutral and cold but just a little bit sad, she spoke. “The Pawniard Brothers are badly injured, but they still breathe. They will live through this. We should correct that.”

It took Catrin a moment to understand. Ah… “You wish to end their lives…” The fur rose on his back. He suddenly felt nauseous.

“You’re a member of the Church, and I respect that you may believe even these creatures' lives are sacred. Trust me, I understand…” She trailed off for a moment. Though she tried to hide it, Catrin saw sadness in her eyes, small and brown as nuts. “But these pawniards will wake and recover, and they'll kill again. They may even come after you and your companions. There's no jail to keep them in; no village head would take responsibility for them. Two evil lives to spare countless good. Do you understand?”

Catrin did not respond immediately. The longer Virizion spoke, the more nauseous he felt. She was asking his permission to end the pawniards’ lives… Why him? She should be asking the Savior, not some lowly wretch such as— Ah, but Virizion had arrived late. She didn’t know who the tepig was. Dunsparce was wide-eyed and naïve; he would never accept this proposal. Emolga would probably decline out of spite. And the Savior… Would she understand?

Catrin sighed. Even as he moved to respond, his jaw resisted like a rusted door. He spoke through his nausea. “If they come for your life, they are prepared to lose their own,” he murmured. “Do what needs to be done.”

“Thank you.” Seeming somewhat emboldened, Virizion approached the unconscious pawniards. Their metal hides were dented and cracked from the grass-type’s powerful kicks. It was hefty damage but nothing permanent. She approached the smaller pawniard first. Catrin’s ribs tightened as he silently relived that desperate battle, fighting with a single scalchop against whirling knives. He did not look away.

Virizion closed her small, brown eyes and inhaled. A faint green aura glowed around her. She raised a hoof and brought it down like the hammer of justice against the pawniard’s skull. A CRACK rang through the clearing. She punctured straight through. Blood bubbled out and down the pawniard’s face like a hot spring. Catrin’s eyes locked on that bleeding face, and his nausea began to fade. His eye twitched just slightly. He scraped his claws gently against Virizion’s fur.

She padded then to the second pawniard. The heathen. The murderer. Just the sight of him set Catrin’s blood to a boil. He started to growl, and his hackles rose despite their soreness. Scum. Vile scum. Monstrous, despicable, loathsome, vile scum. When he remembered that creature’s torment, what that thing had almost done—

“Calm yourself,” Virizion told him.

Catrin’s eye twitched. He bared his teeth just slightly. “If you’d seen what he tried to do—”

“I know well enough. Be at peace, Oshawott. He can do you no more harm.”

Virizion stomped through Pawniard’s skull. Her hoof came back bloodied with bits of gore in her fur. As the blood crept across the stone earth, something hot spread through Catrin’s chest. His ears felt warm. His claws itched and curled. He could not imagine why he’d hesitated to grant Virizion’s wish in the first place.

Good, he thought, as he watched Pawniard shudder and bleed. Die.

He expected they would leave then, and he lifted his head to stare after where the Savior had gone. It had only been a few moments, but his heart already panged for that warm light. But Virizion did not yet leave. Stepping between the two bodies, she lowered her head to the earth and spoke in a murmuring voice.

May their souls find solace in the light. May their memories light the dark. May their flesh fuel the fire and the earth that it feeds. Find something better than that which you left.

As Virizion lifted her head with a sigh, Catrin stared at her wide-eyed. His body tensed till it was rigid as stone, and his ears fell back. “Th-that prayer… It’s told nowhere but in the Church’s private circles. Y-you’re a member of the Church?”

Virizion looked back at him and gave a tiny, sheepish smile. “Once upon a time. It was easy to have faith when the Sun shone for all hours of the day back then. When it vanished, I found my faith challenged, so I journeyed from my southern home to Noe Town in hope of finding new inspiration… What I found there ended my faith.”

Catrin’s fur stood on end. Why was the Savior not here?

“Now, I may be mistaken. I have many memories of that place, all disturbing and confusing, but…” Virizion suddenly fixed him in a hard look. “I don’t think yours is a face I would forget.”

Catrin sprang back. It was automatic, an act of instinct. He pushed off Virizion and thudded against the rock. Pain spasmed up his body, but he powered through and grabbed his scalchop.

“Oh, will you stop it. What do you think I’m here to do, deliver vigilante justice? You're the least of my problems,” Virizion muttered, not moving from her place.

“I do not want the past following me,” Catrin snarled.

Virizion rolled her eyes. “Buy Post Town off Swanna and hire three dozen lackeys, and maybe then you’ll have the power to stop me,” she muttered. “It’s no use getting haughty with me, Oshawott. I'm not your enemy, and you're not my responsibility. Seeing as you’re here building a new sanctuary, the Church has already dealt with you. I didn’t intend to ruffle your fur. I just wish to say one thing.”

Heart thudding, body aching, head pounding, Catrin pushed himself up into a sitting position. He was alone with this pokemon. The Savior was gone. He couldn’t move on his own. He was cornered. Anger rolled through him like the gusting winds of a storm, but there was nothing he could do. Baring his teeth, he held Virizion’s gaze with a look he prayed was even the slightest bit intimidating. “What?”

“I didn't believe the prophecy for a long time. And even seeing her now, I’m not sure I can again, at least not yet.” Virizion stared down the path. “But she is our last chance. The prophecy foretold that the first pokemon she met would be her guide. I assume that was you, and there’s nothing I can do to change that now. But if I could, I would, because your history is not one I would trust anywhere near the Savior. So, Oshawott…” She took a step towards him, towering high like a colossus, and fixed him in a look as black as the night. “Do not mess this up.

Catrin shivered. The hot anger he’d felt just a moment before had evaporated into a cold, sick emotion. This wasn’t even fair. Nothing had been his fault, not in Noe Town or anywhere. He wasn’t the one who’d made the Sun disappear. He wasn’t the one who’d spread crime and plague through the continent! It wasn’t him who’d chosen for all those pokemon to die! He hadn’t made her go mad! It wasn’t his fault! None of it was! NONE OF IT!

But there was no convincing her of that, was there? He scraped his claws over his scalchop and snarled.

“I won’t.”

“Then we’re in agreement.” Virizion gave a little smile that made him want to fling his scalchop at her nose. “Now, we should catch up with the others. You’re not much use to the Savior here.” She stepped forward, picked up Catrin gently by his cloak, and set him down on her back. As she padded from the clearing where the Pawniard Brothers’ bodies cooled, Catrin yanked his hood down over his head and shook in quiet anger.

This was not his fault.

* * *

You really don’t have to come with me, Steven.”

Not even her puffy, blue overcoat could keep back the biting chill of a Castelia winter day. Seriously,
screw winter. This Dragon-awful season turned her bright, beautiful city to a stony monochrome. The wind buffeting against the concrete buildings would not stop smacking her in the damn face, and the slush soaked her feet to the bone no matter how thick her socks were. Castelia didn’t even get to have the one good part of winter! Snow was overrated, but at least it was pretty. But give it a few hours after a snowstorm, and all that white goodness turned to brown, sloshy, muddy slop. What Dragon in their right mind allowed for this to happen? She was gonna have a word with them.

But I wanna cooooome!” Steven made an exaggerated pout and skipped ahead on the sidewalk. If there’s one thing winter couldn’t dampen, it was this kid. His nut-brown skin glowed like a setting sun, his toothy smile was bright as a billboard, and his neon, rainbow-striped jacket could probably cause a car crash. He didn’t even seem cold! Which, considering he wasn’t even wearing a hat over his half-shaved head and floppy, black hair, it was probably witchcraft. She could buy Steven being a witch.

Well, I don’t!” she muttered. “Seriously, you’re gonna waste your ticket money. And then Jamal’s gonna be on my ass cause two of us had to bail last minute!” She kicked a nearby chunk of ice, which ricocheted off the nearest building into the street. “And you were looking forward to this for weeks…”

So were you,” Steven shrugged. He twirled back over to her, took his mitten’d hand in her own, and swung their arms between them as they walked. A warm feeling washed over her before she remembered they weren't supposed to do this sort of thing anymore and glanced around warily.

Relax, your stupid boyfriend isn’t around,” Steven muttered, now pouting for real. She knew the difference: his lips puffed out in a joke pout. They tightened inwards when it was real.

I’m not… That wasn’t…” She wrenched her hand away from his and shoved them in her jacket pockets. “Look, it’s not like I wanna miss the concert, okay? Dad was s’posed to pick the kids up from school, but he forgot to ask for the shift off. Someone has to do it.”

And not your mom?”

You know she can’t.” She rubbed her temples for a moment before turning to him. “Look, Steven, I get that you—”

She cut off when a group of 20-something passersby suddenly jeered at them. “Who let the miltank out without its trainer?” It was like being stabbed. She froze for a second before growling and storming forward, and when Steven stopped and opened his mouth, she grabbed him by the forearm and dragged him with her.

That didn’t stop him from shouting, though. “AT LEAST WE’RE NOT TRANSLUCENT, YOU CRACKER-ASS—”


“Will you STOP?!

Steven silenced immediately at her scream. His eyes went wide and wet with worry. With hurt. Ugghhh, she hated that look. The guilt was already contorting in her stomach. Damn this psychological warfare.

She rubbed her temples. “Look. I get you’re trying to be a good friend, and I appreciate it, but you’re smothering me. Not everything has to be this massive problem! I don’t mind helping out to pick the kids up from school, Hunter is
not stupid, and I can handle a few random assholes in the street! Can you not treat me like a kid for one second and just believe me when I say I’m fine?!”

They stared each other down for a long time. Her stomach was a raging inferno. Steven stared back just as defiantly, obviously unappreciative of her yelling at him. He stood there for a long moment as his eyes went from blazing to suddenly doubtful, and he steadily shrank back, uncurled his fingers, and dropped his gaze.


I’ll bring a pizza to your place tonight,” he muttered before walking off.

A distant school bell rang over the buildings. She watched him go for only a moment before hurrying towards the source of the sound. Her heart ached.


She remembered her name was Elaine.

It was dark in the half-built house where she lay strewn on the floorboards. Deryn had brought her a dark cloth to cover her tail when she'd asked. The light couldn’t penetrate through the navy-blue fabric. The world was a dark, dark gray around her. She lay prostrate on her side, tired. Breathing. Thinking.

She’d walked the whole way home from Desolate Canyon and collapsed the second they got back. She was the only one to make it back on her own feet, besides Virizion. Macsen had eventually grown faint from exhaustion. Brin had forced them to accept Virizion’s help and curled around them on her back the rest of the way. Her memories were a blur after she’d collapsed. Catrin had helped her into the half-finished house the timburr had been working on in the hours they’d been gone, and he’d heeded her order when she barked at him to leave her alone. Quagsire had come at some point to check her for wounds. She only remembered him bandaging the slice on her neck. He’d spoken to her as he worked, but she didn’t remember what he said. After that, she occasionally heard the tp tp tp of paw steps on the floorboards but never turned to see who it was. Otherwise, she’d been alone.

She thought about home.

She walked back through her life so far, unearthing memories that hadn't stirred in years. So much that had been forgotten now held all the importance in the world. She remembered Claire's fifth grade spelling bee, the entire saga of Marcy's Club Delibird girlfriend drama, every single nickname Kai had ever pitched to her, and the day Jake had been born. She remembered how it felt to run her fingers through Claire's iron-straight hair, Marcy's thick, rough locks, Kai's minky-soft curls. The touch of Jake's little fingers curled around her own. She yearned for a hug from Mom or a head scratch from Dad. She wished Steven was here. No matter how many times she'd snapped at him or wrenched her hand away from his, if she asked him to hold her, he would. The need for him to be here with her now, the pain of him being a universe away, was so oppressive and suffocating that it became physical.

Elaine spent a lot of those dark hours crying. Her heart cracked and leaked her emotions all across the floor. She wished someone would hug her, stroke her hair, take her hand and guide her home.

No one came.

Eventually, cabin fever started to creep in. Her body became restless. So with the cloth still over her tail, she rose off the floor. On four feet. A puff of smoke swirled from her nose as she kicked the floor in frustration, but there was nothing she could do about her body now. She walked slowly outside.

Catrin was curled up asleep outside the makeshift doorway. In the dark, she almost mistook his maroon cloak for a big rock. It was blackened and full of holes where the electroweb had zapped him, and under it, she could make out boiled, blistered skin creeping out from underneath white bandages. He’d taken that hit for her, hadn’t he?

She stepped over him and padded onwards.

Heading away from the half-built house, she rounded a few boulders and came to a surprising sight. Brin and Macsen were sitting up ahead, curled together at the base of a large rock. Brin’s right wing was wrapped in a splint, and Macsen was covered in bandages. But they were both alive. Both okay.

Macsen spotted her first. They appeared to have been lost in thought, lazily stroking Brin’s head as their boyfriend rested in their lap. Their eyes snapped to attention when she came around the corner. “O-oh…”

Brin looked up then, and his amber eyes flooded with relief. “Elaine!” He jumped off Macsen and slithered to her, flapping his good wing to move faster. “Thank the Sun, you’re okay! Oshawott told us not to bother you. I-I was really worried.”

“Relax. I’m not dead,” Elaine said, only half-joking. The little smile she managed took near all her energy. “What’re you guys still doing here? Shouldn’t you be resting at home?”

“That’s what I said,” Macsen shrugged. They got up with a grunt and padded over to join them on all fours. “But Brin wanted to wait for you and Oshawott. Said it was important.” They scratched at their ear with their back foot and gave her a concerned look. “You doing okay? After, um… all that?”

Elaine mulled it over for a second and then shrugged. “I guess so. I’m pretty tired.” She glanced around. “Um, where’s everyone else?”

“Quagsire headed off a while ago. The timburr went to go get rations in town. And the bitch won’t be coming back, if she knows what’s good for her,” Macsen muttered and crossed their arms.

Brin shot them a scowl and then turned to Elaine. “Virizion went to go make sure the pawniards aren’t, um, following us… She said she’d come back after.”

“I don’t know why. I thought Miss Stuck-up ‘doesn’t do friends.’” Macsen said the last bit in a whiny, mocking voice.

Elaine didn’t comment on that. She didn’t really have it in her to. Instead, she just said the thing she wanted to say most. “Yeah. I mean, I don’t know anything about that. I’m just… really glad you guys are okay.” Her pitch turned upwards as she finished her words, and tears flooded her eyes.

“Aw man,” Macsen said, rubbing the back of their head sheepishly. Brin, however, had no shame and closed the distance between them to nuzzle Elaine under the chin.

“I-I-I’m glad you’re okay, too! After you came to save me from Stompstump Peak and everything, if you’d gotten hurt because of me, I’d never forgive myself!” Brin sniffled.

A warm feeling washed over her, and her nurturing instincts started to come back online. She nuzzled him and wrapped an arm around his back to pull him close. “It’s alright. We’re all okay. We all got back safe.” She glanced at Macsen, who was awkwardly shuffling to the side, and extended her other arm to them. “Come on. You too.”

They only hesitated for a bit longer before they shuffled on in and wrapped their arms around them both. They stayed that way for a long, peaceful moment. The warmth of their touch washed away all the bad feelings that sleeping alone on a cold floor couldn’t. She closed her eyes and imagined for a moment that it was her family hugging her.

“Ah, good. You’re awake.”

Virizion padded into the clearing from the trail that led towards the house. Brin’s face brightened in a smile, and Macsen scowled as a growl rose up from their throat. But they didn’t get a chance to start shouting before Catrin bounded in, underneath Virizion’s legs and right up to Elaine.

“Savior! You weren’t in the house when I woke. I was worried!” He cupped her face right away, and when she yanked away from him, he looked like he’d been struck. Elaine’s gut twisted at that. Damn psychological warfare.

“Neither the brothers nor their henchmen are within the borders of Post Town. I checked the road towards Desolate Canyon as well. We can consider ourselves safe,” said Virizion.

“Yeah, all thanks to you, I’m sure,” Macsen spat. Brin shot him a scowl.

Catrin gave a sigh. “Well, thank you for your assistance, Virizion. Now that Dunsparce is safe, I’m sure we can all forget about this and get back to our lives. Savior, did you see where the timburr went? I need to discuss further construction of the sanctuary with them. We’re going to need more money, but if we start focusing on high-output jobs—”

“U-um, Oshawott?”

Catrin fell quiet as Brin piped up. He shot the dunsparce an irritated look but allowed him to speak anyway. “Yes, Dunsparce?”

“I-I, um, I have something to ask you.” Starting to sweat, Brin slithered away from Macsen, past Elaine, and right up to face Catrin. “I-I’ve been waiting to ask you, um…” He paused, took a deep breath, and then spoke firmly. “I wanna join the team to help build the sanctuary.”

Catrin looked stunned. Elaine’s eyes widened in surprise, and Macsen barked an astounded, “What?!” Only Virizion remained neutral.

Then Catrin frowned and tilted his head to side-eye Brin. “Are you under the impression that I need your help?”

“I… um, no, I’m not.” Brin was already shrinking back, coiling slightly and bringing up the tips of his folded wings. “B-but, I want to help! You both are new here, so you probably don’t know this. But that job board in Post Town? No one’s checked it in four whole years. Notes pop up every day, but none ever come down. Not until you took mine!” His eyes were beginning to tear up now, but his voice was surprisingly strong and commanding. “You’re heroes, like a rescue team. The first heroes who’ve come to this town in such a long time. A-and I almost got you killed…”

Brin’s voice broke for a moment, and Macsen immediately spoke up. “Dunsparce, it wasn’t—”

“Emolga, let me finish!” Brin said as sternly as he could in his little voice, and Macsen begrudgingly closed their mouth. “I almost got everyone killed. I’ve spent too long being a liability, and I’m tired of it! I wanna give something back to the world. Your sanctuary is going to do that. A place where pokemon can come to get help? Food and medicine and shelter? It sounds amazing! I have to be a part of it!” Brin bowed his head to Catrin and Elaine. “I’ll give everything to help you both, if you’ll have me.”

Elaine was stunned, too stunned to reply. So Catrin unfortunately beat her to it. “I’m still not certain what makes you think you’ll be of use. Manning a sanctuary is not easy work. What skills do you even have?”

Brin flinched. He coiled in on himself, and Elaine thought for a terrible moment that that would be the end of it. But then…

“Mystery dungeons.”

Everyone looked up as Macsen spoke up. A deep frown carved through their face, and they crossed their arms and stared off to the side. “You need money to build your sanctuary. Money comes from mystery dungeon jobs. Brin knows every dungeon from Breezy Meadow to the Crags of Lament like the back of his wings. He’s the only dungeon guide you’ll find in the whole north.”

A huge smile spread across Brin’s face. His eyes glowed with gratitude and love, and he turned to Catrin and gave a little smile. “Um, yes! That.”

Catrin was dumbfounded. He sat there blinking for a moment, obviously not having been prepared for the possibility of Brin actually having something to provide. Elaine watched him think for a long moment before his face sank into a defeated frown. “I suppose that would be of use...” After staring at his paw for a moment like he couldn’t believe he was doing this, he extended it to Brin. “So long as you aren't expecting wages, welcome to the team, Dunsparce.”

Brin’s wings fluttered as he smiled wide. He butted Catrin’s paw with his nose like he’d been expecting a pat, which Catrin recoiled from with a hiss. “Thank you so, so, SO MUCH! I promise I won’t let you down!”

“I’ll hold you to that,” Catrin said. “That at least helps our employment problem.”

“I’ll join, too,” said Macsen.

All eyes turned to them, and Brin’s grin grew even wider, something Elaine hadn’t thought possible. “Emolga! No way!”

“Well I can’t just let my boyfriend run off and do all the fun stuff by himself,” they shrugged. They flashed a sassy smile, though their eyes looked not at all into this. “I can help do jobs and fight in dungeons. Just, like, not every day. I’ve got my own stuff to do, too.”

“What do you expect in return?” Catrin asked, eyes narrowed just a bit.

“I’ll take food, for me and Dunsparce. Post Town rations to folks living outside of town are not exactly generous,” Macsen said. “And I want a ten-percent cut of all the reward money from jobs I help with.”

“One percent,” Catrin growled.

“Fifteen or I walk.”

He bared his teeth. “Emolga…”

“Just give them three percent,” Elaine snapped. Dragon, she was not in the mood for these two to get started.

Catrin gave a tried look but sighed. “Very well. A share of rations and a three-percent cut of reward money for any jobs you assist with. Welcome to the team,” he muttered, extending a paw.

“Well, don’t act too grateful. You’re embarrassing me,” Macsen responded in a sassy tone as they shook Catrin’s paw.

“Very well!” Catrin pulled away from them and padded a few feet off. “That is… actually somewhat of a help. We can earn more money if we have more manpower to perform jobs, and having knowledge on the local dungeons will make explorations safer and more efficient.” His ears turned upwards, and he made a satisfied expression almost halfway to a smile. “Perhaps running this sanctuary will go more smoothly than I thought.”

“We’re gonna build the best sanctuary ever!” Brin cheered, flapping his good wing and swirling his tail.

Ahem.

The four of them turned to Virizion. In all the excitement, Elaine had forgotten the legendary was still there. She was surprisingly adept at melting into the background despite her commanding presence. “Oh great, you’re still here,” Macsen muttered, indicating that the feeling was apparently mutual.

Catrin shot Virizion a wary look, his shoulders stiffening. “Yes, Virizion? What is it?”

Virizion took a step forward and said with a tiny smile, “I would like to join your sanctuary as well.”

What?!” Catrin and Macsen shrieked in unison. Elaine blinked in surprise, her ears perking up slightly, and the biggest of smiles spread across Brin’s face.

“Of COURSE you ca—” Brin started, before Macsen slapped a paw over his mouth.

“No way! Absolutely freaking not! You think you can just walk in here and ask for a place on this team after you almost got us all killed?! As if anyone wants to work with you? Take a hike!” they raged, cheeks sparking and fur puffing out.

Brin nipped Macsen’s paw, making their partner squeak, and pushed past them. His eyes were bright as stars, and he twirled his drill tail in elation. “I wanna work with her! I’d love to work with her! Think of everything we could learn from the powerful Virizion!”

“The only thing we could learn from a mon like that is how to be a right awful bitch!” Macsen raged. “Oshawott, tell me you think this is a bad idea. Tell me you’re not gonna let this happen.”

Catrin was quiet. His body was stiff, his tail swished in agitation, and he laid his ears back as he shot Virizion a wary, suspicious look. “Why do you want employment here?”

“I’m a powerful battler, as I’m sure you’ve seen by now. Your sanctuary will get raided within a week if you don’t have strong pokemon to protect it. I can solve that problem for you.”

“That's not what I asked.” Catrin's eyes narrowed in a dark look. “Why do you want to join?”

Virizion fell quiet for a moment. She was so composed, so consistently neutral in expression that it was hard to glean anything from her. But there was a flicker of something in those small, brown eyes. Her gaze flicked to Brin, and she quickly looked away from him before shooting Catrin a hard look. And then she shrugged and said, “It seems fun.”

Macsen’s cheeks sparked as they growled. “Don’t you have other things to do, like prancing around the countryside toting your whole ‘worthier than thou’ thing?!”

“It can wait,” Virizion shrugged. “Besides, it’s not your decision to make, Emolga. Oshawott surely understands the importance of protecting his borders and that he holds dear.” She fixed Catrin in her paralyzing gaze once more. “Unless you have some reason to refuse?”

It took Catrin a long moment to respond. He was silent, grinding his teeth and messing with his cloak as his eye twitched. But Elaine didn’t understand. Why? Virizion was obviously a powerful ally, and she was offering her services up for nothing. She couldn’t imagine he was hesitating for Macsen’s sake. So why…?

And then he exhaled, curled his fluffy tail around his body, and glared at the ground. “I will accept your services.”

“No!”

“YES!” Brin flew forward and hoisted himself as high as he could to meet Virizion’s eye. “I’m so, so glad you’re joining! It’ll be awesome to have you in Post Town all the time now! All the heroes are banding together like a rescue team, to save the world!” He turned his hopeful gaze to Elaine. “That's what we're gonna do. Cause you’re human, right?”

Elaine took a quick step back. “H-how did—” she started, before she remembered Desolate Canyon.

“I’m sorry if we found out quicker than you wanted,” Brin said as he slithered over to her. “I never really thought the prophecy was real, but I remember the stories my gran told me. Humans, the greatest heroes of all— even greater than rescue teams!— who turn into pokemon and come to save the world. It’s so amazing to meet you.”

Elaine stared into Brin’s wide, glittering eyes, and then she glanced at everyone else. Macsen stared at her in stunned disbelief, Virizion looked at her with a hint of warmth in her brown eyes, and Catrin… There were so many emotions in those blue eyes. They carried the weight of the world in them. Elaine flinched away from Brin and said nothing.

Brin coiled. “I-I’m sorry. I don’t mean to put you on the spot,” he said sheepishly as he continued to put her on the spot. “I just wanted to say that, you saved my life, and you’re here to do so much more. So if there’s any way that I— all of us— can support you, then we will. We’re behind you, Elaine. Cause you’re gonna save the world… right?”

For a long, long time, Elaine was quiet. Was she going to save the world?

In that moment, she didn’t want to. Bitterness chewed at her heart like a black mold. The mightyena, Swanna, Gurdurr, the Pawniard Brothers, Virizion, hell, even the timburr. There were plenty of times Elaine thought her own world was bitter and cruel, but these people, this world, was a whole ‘nother level. And maybe that was just her privilege talking— it was better to live in Unova than somewhere like Alola or Orre— but even the worst evils in her own world would have hordes of brave, strong, angry people fighting against them at every turn. But this world was just begging to die. This world was begging for Elaine to turn her back on it, and after being stolen and transformed and almost murdered, she sure as fuck had a right mind to.

But even as a part of her wanted to tell Brin I sure as hell am not, go bring your own sun back if you want it so bad… she didn’t.

Why didn’t she?

As the inferno in her head finally began to fizzle out, Elaine looked at all of them. Virizion, Macsen, Brin, Catrin. A woman who’d saved the lives of strangers simply because it was the right thing to do. A kid who lived to keep the light of their life shining bright. A boy who sought heroism in a world where it had long since gone extinct. And a person who was nasty, temperamental, self-centered, and hateful but protected her anyway. A person who wanted to see the world restored because— she hoped— it was the right thing to do. A person seeking to make things right. A person who’d reached out and asked to be saved.

And she’d promised, hadn’t she? She’d promised to save the world.

But she didn’t know how. She wanted to protect people but had failed at every turn. She was here to restore the sun but had no idea how to do it. All she had in her belt were vague, foggy memories of a cry for help and a temperamental oshawott. No powers, no battle strength, not even opposable thumbs. But here they were: Brin, Macsen, Virizion, and Catrin, ready to stand by her despite all that. They were ready to help save the world. This world had long since forgotten how to fight for itself, but maybe, just maybe, it could remember.

And if Elaine had to be the Savior to kindle that flame and get this job done, she would. Because that’s how she’d be getting home. That’s how she’d keep her promise. That’s how she’d give these pokemon back the chance to live safe, happy lives. She had no idea what she was doing, but if there was one thing Elaine knew, it was how to fake it till you make it.

Bring back the sun. Save the world. Get home.

So, Elaine lifted her chin, shook the cloth off of her tail to let her light shine, and said, “Yeah, Brin. I sure as hell am.”

“YAAAY!” Brin nuzzled her so hard it was practically a headbutt. Tears waterfalled from his eyes as he started to hiccup, smiling so bright it eclipsed her own light. “Th-thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!”

Behind him, Macsen padded forward and scratched their ear sheepishly. “Th-this whole ‘human savior’ thing isn’t easy to wrap the head around, b-but if there’s anything I can do to help bring back the sun, I will.” They blinked and twitched their nose. “Wow. ‘Bring back the sun.’ Not a sentence I ever thought I’d say unironically.”

“It’s very pleasant to meet a human for the first time. If there is anything I can do to assist, please let me know!” Virizion said with a pleasant smile.

“Thanks!” Elaine said, smiling at them both. Underneath the blackness, a little light flickered in her heart.

They fell quiet as Catrin suddenly padded forward. Brin backed away from Elaine as he came, and the two stood face to face. Hero and partner. Human and guide. Catrin’s ears flopped down as tears pricked at his eyes, and he sniffled. “Savior… I’m sorry that this world has brought you to question your mission. It’s m-my job to keep you safe, and what almost happened…” He paused for a moment, covered his mouth with his paw, and took a deep breath. “But for you to remain steadfast in your mission despite what happened… You are truly great. Too great for this world. I promise won’t fail again.” With a stray glance at Virizion, he wrapped his arms around her neck and hugged her. His tears were hot on her skin. “Th-thank you for doing this! Thank you!”

Elaine’s body tensed at Catrin’s touch. His voice echoed in his head. Please don’t kill her, not until she saves the world! Do whatever you want with her after, I don’t care, but please let her save the world! It looped in her head, again and again until it was all she could hear. But she wrapped an arm around him and hugged him back anyway. “No problem, Oshawott. No problem.”

“A-are we interrupting something?”

Elaine and everyone looked up to see Deryn and Aeddan peering at them from the edge of the clearing. She had no idea how long they’d been standing there, but considering the wildly confused looks on their faces, probably not long.

“Ah, you two! Took you long enough,” Catrin said as he pulled away from Elaine and padded over to them. “Now that the Savior is well again, I ask you get back to work on finishing the house. I’d rather she not have to sleep exposed to the wind! And you have some new coworkers. Dunsparce, Emolga, and Virizion will be working with us henceforward.”

Deryn and Aeddan just blinked. “Cool,” said Deryn.

“Hi! Nice to meet you!” Brin said as he slithered over to them, Macsen and Virizion in tow. “What do you guys know how to build? I’ve got a lot of cool ideas for the sanctuary! I was thinking we could have a building to store local books that people don’t want anymore, and…”

Brin continued to ramble, with Macsen cheerfully encouraging his ideas, Catrin looking unimpressed, and Deryn and Aeddan starting to perk up from the infectious excitement. Elaine let their voices fade from her ears and turned her snout to the purplish-black sky. Faded, sick, and lifeless. Impossibly far away. She could climb the tallest hill in Post Town and still never reach it. No matter how far she jumped, no matter how much she struggled, no matter how high she climbed.

But she may as well try.


PART ONE: SOLAR ECLIPSE
END
So! This is the first time I've gotten to do one of these, so this is really exciting. Let's talk about gameplay!

The gameplay of Part One stretches from the game's opening to the end of the Pawniard Brothers boss battle. Up to this exact point, the game doesn't allow you to recruit pokemon to your team and thus, there were no catches for the entirety of this part. I'll admit, it was a little stressful to have a team of just a tepig and an oshawott, especially since it was game over if either of them fainted. The boss battles were especially nerve-wracking, but I discovered something that let me sail through both of them just fine. In all PMD games before Gates, you're not allowed to use wonder orbs in boss fights, but this game DOES allow you to do so. And it should not have cause it made things easy peasy! :'D For each boss battle, I basically started off the first three turns using a slumber orb (puts all enemies to sleep, all-dodge orb (boosts evasion), and then all-power-up orb (sharply boosts attack/special attack). There was just nothing the bosses could do at that point. The first boss battle versus Gurdurr and Scraggy was a little harder, cause it was just my tepig and oshawott against them and it got pretty hard to manage both Catrin and Elaine's health in that fight. The Pawniard Brothers fight was much easier since you also had Emolga, Dunsparce, Virizion, Gurdurr, and the Timburr fighting with you.

At the end of the Pawniard Brothers boss fight, the game allows you to recruit Dunsparce, Emolga, and Virizion. These were our first three catches in the gameplay! If any of them had fainted in the Pawniard Brothers fight, I would have had to consider them dead and never use them once recruited (the game forces the recruit on you), but thankfully, they all made it through fine. And honestly nothing was gonna happen to Virizion anyway. When you recruit her, she's already level 20 (Elaine and Catrin were maybe level 12-13 at the time), she was a fighting-type against dark-steel bosses, AND she had absurdly good stats even for her level! Virizion is a pretty broken catch in this game, so from this point on, I tried not to use her as a crutch and rely more on other, weaker teammates like Dunsparce and the recruits that were to come.

So yeah. The first quarter of the game went pretty great! I'll be doing more gameplay discussions from here on, since after this point is when you can actually make catches and pokemon can die without your run wiping, so there'll be interesting stuff to talk about. See you then!

And that's a wrap for Part One: Solar Eclipse! It's been an absolutely amazing and wild ride bringing these chapters to you, and I hope you enjoyed Solstice's first of four parts! I'm in the process of making Part Two, but it's not ready yet, and until it is, Solstice will be going on hiatus. I don't like to rush myself to draft/edit/finalize a chapter every single week, I prefer to make a big batch and release em steadily. I hope you don't mind, and I can't wait to get the opportunity to share more chapters with you, cause honestly, y'all have been an amazing audience. Thank you!

< Chapter 15: Let Her Save the World || Part Two: Winter Solstice (coming soon!) >​
 

TerryTheTeryx

Gen Z Degenerate
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
358
Caught
Jul 3, 2019
Messages
489
Location
Unova
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Flying, Rock
Pokédex Entry
A bizarre Pokémon who dislikes many social activities. She appears to have a penchant for peanut butter and learning foreign languages.
Right!

“Y’know, I think I liked it better when you fire-types were EXTINCT!” Galvantula blasted a bright white web at her.
Sounds a lot like Manny shouting something to the effect of, “Y’know, I think I liked you better when you were extinct!” In Ice Age 3.
 

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