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Old March 31st, 2008 (11:20 PM). Edited March 16th, 2014 by bobandbill.
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bobandbill
Wahahahaha!
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Central Coast - Australia
Age: 23
Gender: Male
Nature: Jolly
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Well, I'll sit on the refernce for a bit longer - up until the posting of chapter 8 if someone else can get it. Oh, and there is another one in this chapter as well, just so you know.

Anyways, here it is!


***


***

Chapter 7 - Gotta Snag Them All



Wes was in one of the drab streets of Pyrite. He glanced about as he walked through. He didn't know what it was that he wanted to find, but still he looked. Not watching where he was going, he walked straight into a lamppost. Wes looked at it - strangely, the light bulb looked just like Miror B's afro, and the lamppost was covered in a purple and black aura.

"Gah," spoke the lamppost grumpily. Wes took an uncertain step backwards, and suddenly he was falling, the ground parting behind his feet. Pyrite was gone and replaced by nothingness, save for the pastries floating around him.

"What the…" began Wes, before he felt something hit him in the head. "Ow!"

"Naughty words are bad," said the lamppost which had somehow joined Wes in his descent. Seemingly it was the one which had hit Wes.

"I guess I must be dreaming. Ow! What was that for?" cried Wes, as the object hit him again. The teenager rubbed his aching head and gazed at the attacker.

"Silence - you will bow down to me instead of being aware of being in a dream!" the lamppost boomed.

"What are you?" tried Wes, careful to choose his words.

"Luke, I am your Father!"

"But wait, I'm not Luke…" began Wes. "And don't tell me that you're my father!"

"Oh, yeah." A moment of silence followed. "I'm not your father… because YOU DON'T HAVE ONE!"

"No…no…" mumbled Wes, before he paused in thought. "Wait, I don't care about that."

"You don't?" the lamppost asked.

But Wes did not answer, for suddenly a large bear which had appeared wearing a top hat was shaking him, yelling 'wake up'...

***

"Wake up, youngster! How long do you sleep in bed for?" shouted Sherles in his rusty, gruff voice, as he roughly shook the startled teenager out of his slumber. Wes moaned before getting up. He rubbed his head, trying to get the remnants of what remained of his dream out of his memory.

"I was having a dream… what time is it?" he mumbled.

"5:30! Come on, look sharp!" replied Sherles, before marching off to his office. "We've got work to do!"

For crying out loud, it's 5:30! Nobody's supposed to be awake at this time! thought Wes grumpily to himself as he dragged himself out of a makeshift bed. After a quick check on Espeon who looked fully rested, he walked into the office where Sherles and Rui were waiting. Does 5:30 even exist?

"About time, you two…" huffed Sherles.

"Oh calm down," replied Rui. She clutched a mug filled with frothing, brown liquid in her hand. "Not everybody wakes up at the same time as you, and I'm sure we don't have to rush right now… Arrgh!" she cried, as she took a sip.

"What is it? Too hot?" asked Wes curiously.

"No - I thought this was hot chocolate!" cried Rui, turning to Johnson with a scowl.

"Er, sorry?" Johnson offered feebly.

"How the heck can you mistake coffee for chocolate… but wait - it smelled like chocolate!" she added, smelling the cup of questionable contents.

"Maybe I used both…" Johnson muttered as Rui took another sip.

"And it's salty! Don't tell me you didn't… oh." Rui trailed off upon seeing two identically sized and shaped tubs of white, grainy substances. "Never mind, I'll make myself another one…"

"Anyway," interrupted Sherles, "we have a lot of work to do with regaining those Shadow Pokémon."

"But aren't you forgetting something?" asked Wes, taking a bite from an apple. "We were kinda chased by the whole town, and stealing - I mean, snagging another Shadow Pokémon will just get the same result. And I'm not sure we want to go through that again…"

"Espeon!" (Too right! I still have a headache!) agreed Espeon, trotting through the door. He sniffed in distain at the thought of having to do the same again – even Psychic Pokémon had limitations.

"I haven't forgotten about that. No, after we go meet someone who may help us, you two are to try to regain as many Shadow Pokémon as you can, and see if you can locate Cipher's hideout, wherever that may be. Unfortunately, it seems that Folly and Trudly genuinely cannot remember where the hideout is located – my Alakazam made sure of that… Now, let's go!" ordered Sherles, before marching off outside with a spring in his step.

"Well, at least he's enthusiastic about the whole thing. Not really surprised about Folly and Trudly's forgetfulness… they don't seem much like criminals," remarked Wes. “Good ones, anyway.”

"Espi Espeon! Espeon!" (They don't even know what Cipher's trying to do! A bit like how you didn't know anything about what Team Snagem were doing!)

"…Shut up," Wes retorted, feeling tired. He gave a sigh, and rubbed his forehead. What did I get myself into this? First I was with Team Snagem, and now I'm fighting two criminal syndicates!

"Hey, Wes, you're looking glum. Everything all right?" asked Rui.

"What? Oh, yes, just had a… bad dream," replied Wes tiredly.

Rui suddenly sprang forward and gave Wes a quick hug to comfort him, surprising both him and herself in part – she hadn't planned on doing so, but she felt it was the right thing to do.

"Suddenly, I feel much better now…" Wes mumbled.

"And Johnson, you come along too! You're helping Wes and Rui!" Sherles called from outside the door.

"Ok!" exclaimed Johnson happily as he followed Sherles out.

"What did he just say?" queried Wes. "Because I could have sworn that he said that Johnson was helping us."

"….Damn it!" remarked Rui.

***

"Want a blueberry muffin?" offered Johnson to Wes as they walked through Pyrite.

"…Yes," accepted Wes reluctantly. To say the least, Wes still felt rather dismayed by the fact that he would be stuck with Johnson for a while. He looked around carefully to check that a repeat of what happened in his dream was avoided, no matter how strange it was, and gave the lamppost a wide berth.

"Hey, what's going on over there?" called out Rui suddenly. Wes looked ahead. The man named Duking they saw at the Colosseum and a young teenager seemed to be arguing outside a house.

"Duking! How much more are you going to take from those people?" shouted the young man. He was short, yet he had a pose and stance that expressed power, and his head held high. His loud voice carried through the town and got the attention of the few others outside at this hour.

"That's… unexpected. There's trouble at the Colosseum - right? So who's causing it?" whispered Rui. "And who's that young fellow?"

"Oh, that's Silva," replied Johnson with a smile. Wes frowned – he still hadn't gotten quite used to the fact that Orre's citizens had odd names, or bluntly obvious ones. Silvia's name seemed to be of the latter kind give the boy’s uncombed, silver hair.

"Look, it's not what you think…" replied Duking. Surprisingly, he looked meek despite his towering stature, and appeared intimidated by the average-sized Silva who looked as if he was about to explode in a rage of sheer fury.

"How can it not be how it seems? They're using you and the Colosseum! What's the matter with you? They suck the spirit out of you?"

Duking offered no reply, choosing instead to look at the ground.

"Tch. So you just clam up. I've lost faith in you!" shouted Silva, before running off past the group, ignoring Johnson's good-natured offer of a blueberry muffin. Sherles sighed and walked to Duking, then put a hand on his shoulder.

"Duking, I know that something's up, and in all honesty this just confirms it. Do you need any help?"

Duking sadly looked down at Sherles. "N…No, I… can't…I have to go to the Colosseum now. Don't… need help," muttered Duking, putting on a weak smile, before walking away with his head bent towards the ground.

"Oh dear…" began Rui. Sherles shook his head.

"I don't like this one bit. Normally Duking would not even let anyone intimidate him. But as Silva said, it seems the spirit has been sucked out of him. And I wouldn't be surprised if Miror B has something to do with this. Maybe they know a thing or two…" Sherles said, trailing off as he fell into deep thought.

"Who?" asked Rui.

"Oh, you'll see in a moment," replied Sherles, before approaching a locked door of the nearby house and began picking at the lock.

"Umm… sorry to intervene right here, but… what are you doing?" asked a worried Wes. He wasn't against picking locks in general, but a sheriff doing the sort didn't seem quite right.

"Relax. It's Duking's house," replied Sherles with a grin.

"Err… okay then?" Rui said, scratching her head.

"Espi!" (Let me help you with that,) offered Espeon, before making the lock click and the door open for Sherles.

"Why thank you," said Sherles, motioning for Wes and Rui to enter. They exchanged glances and peeked in. The main room greeted them - and strangely enough it was the only room in the house as well. Cramped walls ensured the size was modest at best, and dozens of pieces of furniture littered around the floor only served to add to the already-excessive 'cosiness' factor. There were a dozen mattresses laid next to each other; a sink, fridge, desk, bookshelves and even a toilet in the corner. Wes pinched himself as he looked around nervously.

One being was inside - a small child leaning against a bookshelf nearby, seemingly asleep on his feet.

"Aww, isn't he cute…" Rui said.

"Esp…" (Shh, you'll wake him,) warned Espeon, a bit unsure of the situation himself. Suddenly the kid woke up.

"Halt! Begone!" shouted the kid, alarmed to see strangers in his home.

"Espeon." (My bad.)

"You'll never get past me and find the secret switch upon the side of this bookshelf which is labelled 'secret switch' and enter the secret room behind it!" continued the kid, before he realised his error. "Not that there would be a secret room with anything of importance… oh, it's you," he added after trying to cover up his blunder, spotting Sherles.

"Young scallywag, don't you know anything about the art of concealment? The very fact that you positioned yourself by the secret entrance raises suspicion over why you would do such a thing! Tactics, child, tactics!" lectured Sherles.

"Yes, Sherles," said the child, not really sure what Sherles just said, but going along with it.

"What's going on?' asked Rui.

"Es, peon! Esp!" (Yeah, who the hell built such a bad house? And what's with the kid?)

"You'll see in a moment," replied Sherles mysteriously, looking at the side of the bookshelf. "Ah, here it is." Sherles pressed something on the side of the bookshelf, and stepped back as the bookshelf shifted to the right revealing a dark hole where it had been.

"Espi!" (Now that's high-tech! And odd too…)

"Umm… okay then… this is a weird house…" muttered Wes as they walked through. The narrow passageway was only mildly brightened up by the occasional lamp, each lamp mounted together with a picture of a Plusle. After a while the number of both lights and pictures added up into double figures.

"You like… Plusle?" asked Rui.

"Oh yes," replied the kid enthusiastically. "We all like him as he's daddy's Pokémon and he's very lovable and cute and cuddly and huggable and he's very sweet and his favourite food is potatoes and I love him and my father loves him the most and his name is Plus."

What an original name - Plus the Plusle, thought Wes to himself sarcastically. And that's why I stay as far away from nicknames as I can. Still, I've seen worse – I once met a Golduck called 'Yellow', because it had been called that as a Psyduck...

"When I grow up, I want to be a Plusle," continued the child.

"That's nice," said Rui absentmindedly.

"Espeon…" (He's going to be bitterly disappointed then...) Espeon remarked.

"Umbreon? Umb. Umbreon?" (Yeah, who wants to be a Plusle? That's stupid. Why not an Umbreon?)

Suddenly the passage brightened up considerably as it expanded outwards. A small cave-like room greeted them, a lower ceiling making them have to stoop to avoid bumping their heads. A small waterfall trickled down a wall into a pool of water at the end of the cosy cave.

Wes ignored the unique room however, and focused his attention on the occupants of the room - a bunch of kids. Two girls, maybe eight or nine years old at the most were chatting to each other, one in a light-blue dress, and the other in white. A boy with geeky-looking glasses, a few years older than the females, was seated in front of a computer. His eyes quickly darted from the screen to survey Wes and Rui, before they returned back to the computer.

"Hang on, Sherles - you've got kids helping you?"

"Hey, what's wrong with us?" retorted one of the girls, returning Wes's glares right back at him indignantly. "Who are you anyway - a friend of papa's?"

"No, they don't really know your father - nevertheless, they're here to help. Remember about the Team Snagem's base blowing up?" Sherles asked.

"Who doesn't? It's still all over the news," said the boy at the computer, sounding bored. “I wish the network people were better at their jobs...”

"Well, Wes here was the one who caused it all."

"He did?" exclaimed the boy with sudden interest, letting his attention of whatever was upon the computer screen lapse for now. "Wow!"

"Can I have your autograph?" asked one of the girls.

"Err… ok…" said Wes, unsure how to act with this sudden interest. The girl quickly tore a page out from a magazine about railway tracks and held it up, beaming brightly.

"Anyway," interrupted Sherles, "Rui here can actually identify Shadow Pokémon from normal Pokémon, and both she and Wes have got a few Shadow Pokémon."

"Oh, my. That's… amazing! But…" trailed off the boy, seeing the Snag machine on Wes's arm. "Is that…."

"Yes," answered Wes.

"Oh, that's great! Now we can hit them back!" he said.

"Calm down, Secc," said one of the girls. "And... what are Shadow Pokémon anyway?" Secc sighed.

"I've told you, Marcia, that they're Pokémon turned… bad by Cipher. And if we can get them back, we can make them good again... somehow… so how did all of this happen?”

Another long recount of the story began again for Wes and Rui, briefly going over what had happened over the last few days for the benefit of the children.

"So, you have - how many Shadow Pokémon?" Secc asked.

"Three - two from Cipher, and one from a civilian of Pyrite - Vant, I believe," Sherles said.

"Wait, you actually got one that had been given to… but how?"

"Well, luckily they escaped the wrath of Pyrite - with a bit of assistance from me, of course - we wiped their memories!" said Sherles, with more than a hint of pride in his voice.

"I see - with that Espeon here, you mean?" asked Secc, raising an eyebrow. Espeon also snorted, giving Sherles a confronting stare.

"Yes. Only, that's the problem - we can hardly expect to get all of the Shadow Pokémon in the same way, as the strain will be too hard on him and my Alakazam."

"And that's why you came here?" asked Secc.

"Yes."

"Ok, I'll see what I can do. You'll have to wait, though. Wes, can I see those Shadow Pokémon to check up on them? And Espeon too - I have an idea."

"Um, sure," answered Wes, surprised at the kid's sudden role of authority.

A long wait ensured, with Secc scrutinising every detail of Wes's newly gained Shadow Pokémon one by one, much to their displeasure.

"Maku! Hita Hita!" (Stop poking me! Stop it or I'll… OW!)

"Espi Espeon? Espeon," (Does being a Shadow Pokémon make you stupid as well as moody? Behave - he's trying to help you,) Espeon said as he gave Makuhita a short, sharp headache.

"Hita…" (Stupid Espeon and his psychic thingy…) grumbled Makuhita.

"Croconaw. Croc..." (Stop moaning, you fat lump. This is annoying though…)

"Misdre!" (Shut up, both of you!) cried Misdreavus in frustration at hearing the two bicker.

"Maku!" (You shut up!)

"Mis!" (No, you shut up!)

"Maku!" (You shut up!)

"Mis!" (You shut up!)

"Croc!" (Shut up, the both of you!)

"Maku!" (You shut up!)

"Mis!" (You shut up!)

"ESPEON!" (Everyone just SHUT THE HELL UP!) shouted Espeon suddenly, losing his patience. All the Pokémon fell silent and kept still obediently, as Secc analysed them and entered data into a computer.

"Esp." (Thank you,) added Espeon, surprised that his demand worked.

Meanwhile, Wes and Rui were forced to wait and be entertained by the two younger girls, as Sherles left to retrieve something from the police station.

"I want to play house," demanded Marcia, folding her arms and pouting.

"But I want to play shops!" argued the other girl.

"Aren't they basically the same game?" asked Rui quietly.

"No!" exclaimed both girls, turning simultaneously to gape at Rui.

"Ok, ok…I didn't play those games…" Rui hurriedly backed down.

"Wes, what do you want to play?" asked Marcia. "House or Shops?"

"I don't know, it's an impossible choice. House or Shops. I'll just have to hope that when I flip the coin it somehow explodes and kills me," replied Wes sarcastically. "Okay, Shops it is…" he continued, catching Rui's warning glare.

"Marcia, where's the thing?" asked Secc suddenly.

"It's on top of the thing next to the other thing!"

"…Where?" asked Secc. "Never mind, I see it," he remarked, rummaging through a pile of black books.

Sherles walked in at that moment, carrying a large cardboard box.

"Lots of Poké Balls here. Got a large supply too."

"But where did you get them?" asked Rui as she eyed the small red and white capsules. Wes’ eyes widened as he ran to the box.

"Well, I am the Sherriff of Pyrite. I simply ordered some from Silph Co., and they came via the PC. There's some Great Balls there as well, which should make snagging even easier."

"That's great!" Wes said, holding them and peering at each one closely.

"And good timing too," added Secc. "I'm just about done now. Come over here - I'll explain. Wes, you might as well take back your Shadow Pokémon."

"Right," answered Wes, as he recalled his three Shadow Pokémon into their respective Poké Balls.

"Good," answered Sherles. "Sit up straight," he added to Marcia.

"Okay, first the Shadow Pokémon. From my observations, they've seemed to have been put under a lot of stress - maybe due to the process that made them into Shadow Pokémon. It's hard to pinpoint exactly, but I think that the door to their heart has been shut."

His statement received blank stares from all.

"Well, what I mean by that is, they've been pushed to their mental limits - maybe stressed out, or tortured," - Rui gave a gasp – "or something like that. Badly treated. Pokémon can be quite sensitive creatures and if ill-treated, can change their personality, mood or even their movesets."

"Too right," whispered Wes to Rui. "Espeon once didn't talk to me for three days after I had accidentally used the wrong type of shampoo on him…"

"Espeon!" (That shampoo smelled like rotten lemons! I stunk!)

"Umbre," (Yes, you certainly did,) snickered Umbreon.

"I think that's how they became Shadow Pokémon. These Pokémon have literally forgotten their normal moves, as Wes's P*DA shows, and instead only seem to know Shadow Rush - which is quite a powerful move actually. I guess it is what you could call a side effect of becoming a Shadow Pokémon…"

Man, that Secc knows his stuff... Wes thought to himself. What a nerd.

"Those poor things. I wonder what they went through," said Rui. "What about their auras?"

"Ah, good question. I guess Shadow Pokémon are more prone to anger - you could see how they behaved when I was examining them. As a result of being Shadow Pokémon, their emotions are easier to show themselves. In truth, all Pokémon - and people - give out an aura, only we can't see them. However, as Shadow Pokémon's auras would be bigger, it would be easier to notice."

"But why can I only see them?"

"I'm guessing that you are a, well, a rare case. I've heard that people have been able to see the auras of regular Pokémon, although they are few and far between. You probably can also, but not as well - and thus, why you can only see Shadow Pokémon's auras as they would technically be more visible and easier to see. It's only an educated guess, but it's the best I can come up with. I think it's the same deal when they enter 'Hyper State' - their emotions go off the edge, Shadow Rush gets stronger and they get even more dangerous. And as such their auras would be affected - hence the red colour."

Yep, he's a Pokémon nerd all right, Wes thought again, smiling slightly at the kid’s rambling explanations.

"That's sounds about right - it was as if they went on fire," said Rui. "And when Misdreavus and Croconaw's auras went red, they seemed… angrier."

"Sounds feasible," offered Johnson. Wes was surprised that he comprehended all that information of all people, before realising that Johnson had been commenting on a book on UFO sightings he held in his hand.

"Anyway, I've checked all three, and I've managed to get a program up and running that checks to see how their emotional state is. It seems that Makuhita's and Croconaw are actually better than Misdreavus - maybe because you've had them for longer, and travelled with them. Some Pokémon thrive on just spending time with people - maybe Shadow Pokémon can make a recovery, provided they get treated well again."

"Aha!" cried Rui. "So if we get them happy, they'll recover?"

"That should be the case. It might be different for each Pokémon though, depending what they like, and how long it takes for them to recover. Maybe battles would help too? Pokémon tend to like battling... Anyway, I've added the program to your P*DA Wes, so you could get a rough judgement on how they are going in that respect. I wouldn't be surprised to see them slowly regain their moves as well."

"Ok then. I might have to use them in some battles and see if it makes a difference for them."

"Now, for snagging the other Shadow Pokémon without raising attention. As the memory-wipe thing worked, I think we might as well stick with that - and make it easier in the process."

"How?" Wes asked.

"Well, firstly, I took this Itemfinder here - we have dozens," said Secc. He picked up one of the objects which were commonly used to find items in a nearby radius. Trainers often used them to find objects dropped by other careless travellers, while they had a use to the general public of Pyrite in looking for stuff in trash. "I took it apart, gave it way more power, and changed the way the signal is transmitted. Now we attach it to Espeon here…" Secc put on a strap to the machine and attached it to Espeon's neck like a collar. "And he's good to go!"

"Wait, that's it?" asked Sherles curiously.

"Yep. All he has to do is focus on the transmitter with what he wants people to forget, and it should be transmitted in roughly a 200 metre radius around him, affecting everyone within that radius. I think you may have to battle for those Shadow Pokémon without Espeon however, Wes."

"What about us?" asked Wes. "Wouldn't we also get affected?"

"Not with this," responded Secc. "As you know, dark-type Pokémon share a sort of… 'immunity' to psychic powers, so you would say – their fighting style and tactics just outwit Psychic types."

"Umbre Umbreon!" (And being immune to psychic stuff annoys Espeon.) He stuck out his tongue at his brother who sniffed and turned away in reply.

"So, Umbreon, could you please assist me? Use Secret Power on these." Secc gestured at another bunch of Itemfinders.

"How did you know he knew that move?" asked Wes.

"Checked your P*DA."

"Fair enough."

"Umbre…" (Here goes…) Umbreon said, before focusing on the machines intently. For those who paid attention (which didn't include Johnson), small sparks seemed to travel from Umbreon into the Itemfinders, which shook for a moment before falling silent.

"Umbre?" (Did it work?)

"Only one way to find out - Espeon, try to communicate with one of us," commanded Wes, quick on the uptake. He grabbed one of the Itemfinders.

Espeon stared intently at the Itemfinders for a while, but nothing happened.

"Try using the transmitter," offered Secc. Espeon started to comment and it was only until Wes removed his Itemfinder that he could understand what Espeon was saying again.

"Espi! (That was what I was doing!)

"Great - it works!" exclaimed Secc once Wes relayed the answer. "For these I've made the signal weaker - it should only protect you if you are within a radius of a few metres. I'd suggest you'd stay away from people that you want to be affected. There's one for each of you," he added, giving one to each person in the room. "Now don't lose them!"

"Well, thanks for that, son," said Sherles sincerely. "You've done a good job, and with luck we can take down Cipher. By the way... what's happened with Duking?"

Secc's smile faded. "I don't know. But I think that it's Cipher that's making him act all different. I heard Silva shout at him about it too just before you came - normally Duking would have done something about it. That's why I'm helping, you know," he added.

"Well the sooner we can find where Cipher's hiding, the sooner we can help your dad. For now though, let's get those Shadow Pokémon!"

"Great! Let's go already!" cried Rui.

"What's the deal with Duking's house?" asked Wes as they stepped back outside.

"The same thing with everyone's house in this town," answered Sherles. "Yep - most people's homes in Pyrite are like this - it's all thanks to the Loan Sharks."

"The Loan Sharks?" Rui asked, interested.

"Yes - a bank business that also loaned money. Pyrite by all accounts should be better off than this - there was a lot of money to be made from the mining business back then. Many people when building their homes here needed to borrow money, and most chose the 'Happy Friendly Money Lenders' as the source."

"What went wrong?" asked Rui.

"They went under new management, and thus they changed to the name of Loan Sharks. Clearly the interest rates and conditions changed - by the end of it most could only afford their house by slapping everything together in one room."

"But wouldn't that be illegal to do that?" asked Wes. "Change the rates like that?"

"Yes, but we haven't been able to pin them down as of yet. It's one of the things that Duking has been fighting against. I remember him telling me that he had borrowed at something like five percent, only he found out that the interest rate was basically triple that, and that he could only make payments yearly - no earlier. When he went to them to tell them otherwise, they said 'no, you can't do that', and began to eat every part of his body."

"What?" Rui frowned.

"Not literally - it's a figure of speech."

"Oh." She grinned sheepishly.

"Anyway, good luck with getting those Shadow Pokémon. Johnson, you might as well make yourself useful - you watch for people acting suspiciously, and help Espeon if you can."

"Ok!"

"Espeon! Esp!" (I don't need help! Especially from him!) Espeon insisted.

"Well, I'm off - still have to see if there's a way to get into Team's Cipher's hideout."

"Ok Sherles - see you soon!" Wes called.

***

Over the next two days, Wes' Pokémon were hard at work as Wes went into battle after battle to root out a Shadow Pokémon. He stuck to a simple plan of finding someone who wanted to battle, luring them to a quieter place in town so that they would have less people to 'memory wipe', and commencing with a battle, usually pairing Umbreon with a Shadow Pokémon of his own. Meanwhile, Rui watched from the sides, keeping her eye on the opponent's Pokémon, while Johnson and Espeon also looked on.

Most of the town's trainers did not have a Shadow Pokémon, as they discovered while Wes tore through their Pokémon teams time and time again. They made the occasional trip to the Colosseum's healing machine to allow his Pokémon a rest every so often, ignoring Duking's suspicious stares while feeling sorry for the man. Wes mused as he watched Duking; if he could help people like this through his actions, well, maybe it would be worth the trouble and be a neat bonus to not being in jail.

The first Shadow Pokémon that Wes encountered was a Quagsire which belonged to a trainer by the name of Divel, who wore a classy bandana around his head. Wes had begun with Umbreon and Makuhita, the latter being the one to pulverise Divel's Psyduck with little effort as it spent most of the battle waddling about clutching its head and moaning. Rui had pointed out that Quagsire was a Shadow Pokémon the moment it had been released, as well as that it looked 'dumb and ugly too'. Even Wes had not been prepared for the Pokémon's look - a light-blue Pokémon with a blank stare, and extremely tiny eyes which gave it the appearance of someone born with the same amount of brain cells as Johnson.

"He's a Shadow Pokémon? Well, have a look at mine!" Divel cried in dismay as Quagsire took a heavy hit from Umbreon. "Quagsire - use Shadow Rush!"

"Quagsire!" (Dah, no, water is better!) Quagsire responded in a dumb voice before summoning water from the ground.

"What? No - not Surf!" cried Divel in despair as the Shadow Pokémon purposefully disobeyed him and formed the mass of water pouring from the ground into a wave, knocking over some spectators who were too slow to react.

"Espeon - use Light Screen!" ordered Wes. With everyone ducking for cover, nobody noticed Espeon summon a wall of light in front of Wes' Pokémon and divert the wave back onto Quagsire. Wes quickly slotted a Poké Ball into the Snag machine, and then successfully caught the weakened Quagsire. Espeon immediately focused his psychic prowess onto the transmitter, and in half a minute, part of the town of Pyrite was standing dazed and confused, no longer knowing who Wes was or what he did - nor for that matter why they were gathered around a battle area, hiding behind buildings and soaking wet.

The next Shadow encounter occurred soon afterwards, this time the opposing trainer being a young kid on roller blades continuously singing about how battles gave him a lot of joy and calling Wes a 'little boy'. Wes was bemused to why Cipher had given such an odd kid a Shadow Pokémon - despite having a decent Swablu that gave Makuhita a hard time with his flying-typed attacks, when commanding his Shadow Slugma to use Shadow Rush, he left his Igglybuff wide open to a powerful attack which sent the blob high into the air.

"Igglybuff!" (Help!) it cried, as a breeze picked up the light balloon-shaped Pokémon and carried it away from his trainer.

"Oh no - come back!" cried the boy as he ran after it. Espeon made sure that he didn't come back for his Slugma, as the sluggish flame waste of a fire-type charged at Umbreon at a surprisingly and ridiculously slow pace. The snag was relatively easy as the dim-witted Pokémon had nobody to instruct it.

Another Shadow Pokémon encounter occurred within the hour as a female trainer revealed her Shadow Skiploom which proved to be a far more formidable Pokémon this time around. The grass-flying type Pokémon lasted for far longer than the trainer's Oddish and Dustox, as Skiploom fired off Leech Seed in every direction it could, causing Wes's Pokémon to have a tough time as they were continuously drained of energy (along with a few unfortunate onlookers). Eventually though, Skiploom incredulously managed to accidentally Leech Seed itself. This was soon followed by Misdreavus Biting Skiploom's head, and Umbreon firing a Secret Power, and so Wes took the opportunity to snag the Pokémon. His opponent found herself congratulating Wes on his victory instead of strangling him for stealing her Pokémon, which she had promptly forgotten had ever existed.

Every so often, Wes made frequent trips with Rui, Johnson and Espeon to Duking's house and Secc, who analysed Wes's new Shadow Pokémon and uploaded them to Wes's P*DA's new program, dubbed the 'Shadow Metre'. It became increasingly clear that the more battles the Shadow Pokémon had with Wes, the happier they became as they slowly accepted Wes. Some started to regain their previous moves, which gave Wes more options to use in battles. As Wes's Pokémon count went past six, he was forced to leave some behind to be examined by Secc, and then put into the PC systems for the time being.

The rest of the Shadow Pokémon were quickly dealt with by Wes the next day with all of them seemingly severely angry with everything. The first obtained a Shadow Flaaffy. The normally mild-tempered Pokémon was much more vicious than what the sheep-like Pokémon would normally be like but this had made the battle easier as Flaaffy in its rage failed to look where it was charging and took out its own partner in Shroomish. It in turn released dust pollens which landed on the Shadow Pokémon, promptly making it fall asleep and allowing the snag to be a much simpler task.

Another Shadow Pokémon was a Noctowl - an overgrown bird Pokémon of the owl species - which had tried attacking several of the spectators during the battle. It then turned on its own trainer who clearly was unable to control his own Pokémon. He chose to run off. While he recalled his Ledyba and Wingull to their Poké Balls, he abandoned the angry Noctowl after it deflected his ball and swooped at the trainer. Wes after a long struggle managed to catch the violent Pokémon without having to use the Snag machine, but Espeon still gave the frightened onlookers a memory wipe, just in case.

The last Shadow Pokémon Wes could find was a Shadow Furret. It belonged to Cail, the aggressive individual who had been standing by the front of the town's entrance when Wes and Rui arrived. Unlike the other trainers, Cail had seemed accepting that his Pokémon was snagged by Wes, saying that it was a waste of a Pokémon. Wes personally disagreed with this - the elongated white and brown ringed Pokémon had put up a decent fight, slashing at Wes's Pokémon with long, sharp claws. Cail had also confirmed that Cipher was indeed the people supplying Shadow Pokémon to winners of the Colosseum challenge, but refused to reveal more after seeing Wes snag the Furret.

Unfortunately for Cail Espeon still gave him a necessary memory wipe - Wes didn't want news of him and Rui’s actions to leak.

Fortunately Wes also found out that only seven people had been given Shadow Pokémon thus far - meaning that for now he had all the Shadow Pokémon in Pyrite belonging to innocents.

"Well, that's a relief. So many battles… and some of the trainers believed that battling was a turn-based thing! What kind of a battle is it when you take turns? Almost like some game, not a battle!" Wes told Rui as they relaxed in Duking's cave-like room.

"Umbreon... Umbreon..." (You don't say… at least most of the battles were easy…)

"Espeon!" (At least it only took a couple pages of summarising!)

"Hita? Maku! Makuhita!" (You've had enough of battling? I want more battles! I shall defeat many more Pokémon!) shouted Makuhita in protest.

Suddenly, the power went out in the room, leaving all in pitch black.

"Power failure… that's never happened before," muttered Secc. "I'll get some candles going."

“Maku!” (I’ll punch the darkness!)

"Help me!" a distant voice suddenly called from outside.

"Did you hear that?" asked Rui.

"Someone's in trouble!" cried Johnson. "I'LL SAVE YOOOUUU!" he shouted, running out of the room and straight into a wall, forgetting that he couldn't see anything. "Oww!"

"Guess we should go after him, make sure he doesn't do anything stupid, right?" asked Wes.

"Probably."

"I hate babysitting that guy…" Wes sighed as he got to his feet.

"Espi esp..." (At least you didn't have him following you offering dumb advice all the time…) grumbled Espeon.

***

It turned out that the commotion had occurred inside the windmill. Wes immediately noticed that the windmill was not in operation when he walked in. He heard Rui gasp as they saw both a worker and 'Chief' - the gear spinning man – lying on the ground wheezing for air.

"What happened?" asked Sherles, who had reached the windmill first. Wes was amazed that the old man could run so fast. The Chief took a moment to catch his breath before launching into his explanation.

"I was spinning the gears, as I always do, when suddenly I was attacked, and knocked to the ground! When I came to, one of the gears were gone! Now I can't spin my gears anymore! I WANT MY GEAR BACK!" cried the 'Chief'. "Oh, and both the Colosseum and the town would be without power, I guess," he added as all stared at his outburst, "but what about ME?"

Duking then appeared, looking even more worried than usual. "What's going on?"

He slammed an arm against the door frame after the news was relayed to him. "I'm sorry I let this happen. Now the town and Colosseum suffers! Who did this?" he shouted, before catching notice of Wes standing next to Sherles. "Was it you, you suspicious runt?" he growled.

"No, he's innocent - Wes here is working for me," added Sherles hastily.

"It was… Silva, I'm afraid," said the Chief.

"It was - what? How could he?" cried Duking.

"I saw him with my own two ears," garbled Chief, frightened of Duking's face of rage. "He came in, attacked me, and took the gear while shouting anti-war slogans, and trying to explain himself."

"Such as?" prompted Sherles.

"He was ranting on about how the Colosseum can just close down or something, and that this is for the good of the town…"

"But why do this? This affects the whole town, damn it! And I'll be put under a lot of pressure if the Colosseum challenge can't go ahead tomorrow…"

"Since when?" asked Sherles curiously.

"Er… since recently," Duking answered, looking at his feet and shuffled them uneasily.

"Well, I think," began Chief, "that he wouldn't have done it unless he thought it was the right thing to do…. Silva wouldn't ever do such a thing normally, especially to you. No, I reckon he agonized over this and did it 'cause he thought it right. Why though is beyond me, and maybe he could have done it a bit less roughly… would you know why?" he asked Duking.

"Um, no…." began Duking, looking more nervous by the second.

"Err, Chief?" began Wes, piping up. "What if we just used one of the gears lying around the town? There's dozens, and some would probably fit…"

"NO!" shouted Chief, jumping up and down and making wild gestures. "I want MY gear back, not some crummy substitute!"

"Does it... really matter, Chief?" asked Sherles.

"YES!" he screamed.

"Ok, ok, calm down, I know how upset you are about losing your… gear, but sometimes we have to make… hang on, I'm getting a phone call," Sherles said, taking his P*DA out of his pocket and putting it next to his ear.

"What if… you spun the windmill by hand?" offered Johnson, trying to impress. Wes took one look at the heavy metal gears, and recalled how slowly the windmill had spun even with the help of machinery. It would be impossible to make the windmill's blades budge an inch.

"Johnson, who's using the family's brain cell at the moment?" asked Wes.

"Uh huh, who's this?" said Sherles through the P*DA. "The construction site...? What, oh that's good, we need that…. No, I know that your place isn't a tip… I know, I know. Someone will come to pick it up right away." At that, Sherles switched off the P*DA.

"It's the gear - seems that Silva let it roll all the way down the hill from Pyrite to the construction site. The guy there wants it out of there ASAP, and saw that the gear had some writing on it stating that it was the property of Pyrite."

"Hurrah! Let's go get it!" cried Chief.

"It's not going to be that easy…" said Sherles. "After all, it's a long trip uphill from there, and it'll take ages to get it back up here. It's rather heavy, remember?"

"I'll lug it back if it takes me all day!" Duking said confidently.

"Hey, Sherles, suppose I went to get it with the Zoomer? I'll just drag it back carefully. It'll be quicker and easier as well,” Wes suggested.

"Good idea, Wes," replied Sherles.

"Really? You'd do that for me?" asked Duking. He paused for a moment. "Well… thanks."

"Think nothing of it," answered Wes. "I'll be back soon."

***

After a few hours of lugging the gear back to Pyrite, Wes tiredly unattached the gear from the Zoomer and rolled it back to the windmill. It had taken longer than he had expected - the Zoomer had been reduced to a far slower pace than what it could normally go at and the gear was enormous. It has been boiling hot in the desert too - the ground had shimmered in front of his eyes only a few metres before him. It was a wonder Silva managed to get it out of town in the first place.

However he was surprised to see that Duking was once again angry when he had arrived, glaring angrily at two new arrivals - two females of average height. One had an aggressive posture, while the other looked meeker.

"Look, we're just curious about when this windmill will get fixed. I know that some… people may not be happy if it doesn't get fixed," said a woman, with a hint of menace in her voice.

"Oh good, you're back!" exclaimed Rui, who a moment ago had been staring daggers at the two.

"There you are!" cried Duking happily. "See, I told you it's under control," he said to the two women. "Now you may leave."

"…Fine, whatever," said the woman. "Come, Ferma." They both began to leave. Ferma looked somewhat puzzled while Reath pretended to look laid back but failed to suppress the sense of annoyance showing through her forced smile.

"Hey, where's the gear?" asked Wes suddenly, noticing it was no longer next to him. Then the windmill started up - Chief had in his excitement already taken and fitted the gear.

"Woohoo! Thanks man - now I can spin these gears!" cried Chief happily, as he manned the machine that controlled the gears.

"Well, all's well that ends well," summed up Sherles, as Wes wondered how Chief had managed to lift such a heavy object by himself, never mind the fact that it had surely been too hot to handle by hand.

"Yes, the brave Johnson has solved the case of the Missing Gear!" boasted Johnson.

"Johnson, you didn't do anything."

'Um, well…"

"Even though the Chief was knocked out, I'll be spinning gears some more! Thirty long years of cranking gears, Thirty more years I'll spin some more…" began Chief with his off-key singing. "OH YEAH BABY! This is the way it should be! Thirty long years…" he continued, singing louder this time.

"Oh dear - once he's started, he'll never stop…" muttered Duking. "At least he's happy. I'll ask you to excuse my behaviour - you can be trusted. You have my sincere thanks."

"No problem," answered Wes, although he felt that it had been a bit of a trouble bringing back the gear. It was odd to be helping people, instead of helping Team Snagem, or helping only himself before... but the change felt nice.

"Anyway, I have a… favour to ask of you. You too, Sherles. Maybe it's best we go to my house…"

***

Outside the windmill, Ferma tugged Reath's arm. "Did you notice that guy with the gear?"

"Um, yes. Good looking or what?" Reath replied, distracted by some flies buzzing around her head.

"No, not that!" cried Ferma. "That guy was Wes!"

"Who?"

"The one who blew up Team's Snagem base!"

"Really? Are you sure?" Reath hissed. Ferma nodded. "Oh god… this is bad news… we've got to go to Miror B about this right away! We can't let the Shadow…."

"Shadow?" asked Johnson, popping up suddenly.

"Go away, nitwit," replied Reath.

"Not without making you forget!" Johnson waved his arms at the pair.

"…Whatever are you talking about?" asked a confused Ferma. "Can you let us go now?"

"Espeon - they know something! Wipe their minds!" Johnson ordered, now pointing at the Psychic type.

"Espi!" (Okay!)

"But you don't have an Espe…." began Reath, before her face went blank, as did Ferma's, as they found themselves staring into Espeon's glowing eyes.

"Espeon! I know it must be fun, but stop erasing people's minds!" shouted Wes from afar.

"Esp…" (But Johnson… oh, never mind…) Espeon said.

"Coming!" shouted Johnson, racing Espeon to Duking's house. As he left, Reath and Ferma came back to Earth.

"Reath… what are we doing here?" asked Ferma, confused.

"I don't know… something about the windmill, although it appears to be fine… whatever, let's go back," said Reath, not as worriedly as Ferma. "Hey, look, Johnson's dropped something," she pointed out as she went to pick it up. She shook the object and peered at it curiously. "A weird looking Itemfinder…"

“Maybe he tried to invent something smarter than himself,” Ferma remarked, and laughed.

***

"So, what's the problem?" asked Sherles. Duking's children were seated next to Duking on the floor, while Wes, Rui, Duking and Sherles had seats. Johnson had been relegated to the floor as well by unanimous vote.

"I think you may know already," said Duking with a sigh. "I've been pressured by Miror B and his stooges. They've been… taking control of the Colosseum."

"I knew it!" exclaimed Sherles. "But… why have you done nothing about it yet? You're not the kind to be pushed around."

"It's because of Plusle," explained Duking, with a heavy sigh.

"Plusle?" asked Secc. "But what…"

"They took Plusle…" finished Duking.

***




Hope you enjoyed that. Sorry about the end - couldn't resist. The next chapter shall include a character that has featured once thus far before as well.



As for the events and characters in this chapter:

Spoiler:
Duking – he’s a large and heavily muscular man who features a lot in this part of the game and even in XD. He also has a neat ‘stache. He has some standing in the town, and runs Pyrite Colosseum.

Silva – you see him yell at Duking in the game as well, before he nicks off. He’s a short person, likely a young teen. He also later steals the gear as well. Strange how they both ignore you in the first of those scenes – after all you just walked into Duking’s house as a total stranger and all.

Silva is rather stubborn in the game, and acts before he thinks at times. Certainly appears time and time again in the game.

Duking’s house - there’s really a secret back room that you can get into via the bookshelf. Pretty neat! Duking’s kids are in there and they seem eager to have Cipher out of the town. That said, while they seem to know a bit about what’s going on regarding Cipher, they don’t help you. Only to then they help you much later in the game, as if they have done so for ages.

The kids - you only learn of two of the kids names here - Secc - a boy you seems by far the smartest in the game (and in XD, but that’s another story), and Marcia. Then there’s the kid ‘guarding’ the bookshelf, and the girl who is bored and wants to play house.

The Missing Gear – stolen by Silva, who somehow managed to beat up the Gear Chief as well as haul it out of town, all the way to the construction site. I merely had him roll it out of town. There’s gears lying around Pyrite and other locations too (such as the Outskirt Stand), but you need the gear from the construction site to be able to progress. I suppose the Gear Chief really is particular about his gears. In the chapter, Wes pulls the massive gear back with the Zoomer, which is far more realistic than simply putting the gear into the ‘key items’ pocket of Wes’s bag, never mind that the gear is bigger than Wes.

When this (short) arc starts in the game, a guy stumbles out and falls over in front of the windmill, implying that Silva beat him up. Curiously enough, he constantly shakes, due to an animating glitch that makes the scene kinda humorous. Creepily, his head still turns to watch you as you walk past like most other NPCs, which... really doesn’t work well for a guy lying down face-first.

Duking’s request - Duking asks you after helping retrieve the gear removed from the windmill to enter the Colosseum battle for him. In the game, you can’t refuse this, so battle you must. However it is only revealed that Plusle was kidnapped later on. ‘Oh by the way, this Plusle you never heard about is kidnapped!’ Doesn’t really make sense.
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