A Smell of Petroleum Pervades Throughout
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March 16th, 2013 (2:15 AM).
Gone. May or may not return.
The Misspelled Cyrpt
> Wow Othodox the Pc Highest Teir you can get (Well besides us of course ) Anyway ask Falkner if he has any idea what to do next?
What is the longest one of your previous incarnations lasted?
Could he teach you his Training Methods?
Ask he has an extra Pokegear you could use to stay in contact just in case.
> Ask about the metal collar-thingy around pidgeots neck. It seems to be keeping him in line, so maybe a similar one could help you control Quilava. Or maybe you shouldn't listen to us at all. According to falkner, we seem to be doing pretty good at leading you to your death.
“These starters,” you say. “They can be controlled, right? I mean, you've got Jawson there. How did you manage to get him under control?”
Falkner smiles mirthlessly.
“I chopped his head off,” he replies. “Over and over again. Eventually he got the picture. I made that collar out of some iron park railings. Took me a month, but now every time I pull on the chain it feels to him like his head's going to get cut off again, so he quiets down.”
Ah. You're not really sure that that's going to be much help with the Quilava. You're not a head-chopping kind of guy. Nor are you a blacksmith. Nor are you the kind of guy who can get close enough to a living inferno with teeth and claws to put a bladed collar around its neck.
“Fair enough,” you say. “Just out of interest... how long have any of us survived before?”
“Not much longer than this,” he replies. “Usually they don't come back from the next part.”
All at once, you feel unaccountably cold.
“The next part...?” you ask hesitantly.
“Yeah.” Falkner flicks a strange, one-eyed look at the Clair scarecrow, and a little smile crosses his face; it's as though they're sharing a private joke. “You're the PC,” he says. “You're the only one who has any chance of stopping this mess. Agreed?”
“Uh...” You're not really sure. Falkner certainly looks like he could do a good job of it. He's the one with the dragon and the axe. Hell, he's practically a Viking already. “I guess...”
“Then you need to know what happened.”
“You mean you don't know?”
“Yeah. I saw it happen – I saw all the Pokémon change, and the people start dying – but I don't know why. But there's someone who does.”
“Who?” you ask, curiosity winning out over fear for once. “Who is it?”
Falkner is silent for a long time, staring into the forest to the north.
“You have to go to Ecruteak,” he tells you at length. “You have to speak to Morty.”
Ecruteak. The city of Ghosts. They were scary enough before the apocalypse – you dread to think what a Gengar might be like now.
“The Ghosts aren't like the other Eldritch Pokémon,” Falkner continues in a low voice. “They're... weirder. Everything got a little smarter when it changed – and the Ghosts were smart already.”
“What happened?” You don't want to know, not really, but you can't help but ask; Falkner's voice is almost hypnotic, and you can't not know what went on.
“I don't know. Not for sure. I only visited once, and I left fast before they got me. But I saw him... saw Morty...” Falkner's voice breaks, and you stand there uncomfortably, not knowing what to do; thankfully, he recovers soon enough, and turns back towards you. “I don't know,” he says. “I don't know. They got him, and they use him...”
It seems clear that he can't say any more about that particular subject, and you decide it's time to change the topic of conversation.
“Why do I need to find him?” you ask.
“You've been having the dreams, right? The dreams of the sea, and the creatures in the deep.”
You start. How could he know that?
Falkner nods at the look on your face.
“Yeah, we all have them. But I think Morty saw more than most. He's psychic, remember – all that 'I can see what others cannot' stuff is true. He saw right down to the sea bed. He saw... everything.”
“How do you know all this?” you ask.
“It's mostly guesswork,” he admits. “But I know it's right. I'm not... I'm not the same character I was.” He scratches his head furiously with ragged nails. “There's – I was a threshold guardian,” he says at last, gesticulating wildly. “Someone you had to beat in order to progress. That's not me any more. When the world was shaken up and the story was rewritten... I stopped. I'm not – that – any more. I'm a – a – guide character. A tutorial. Does that make any sense?”
To be frank, it doesn't. Falkner is clearly insane; his eye is bulging wildly from its socket and seems incapable of remaining fixed on any one point, and he's shouting at you like you're half a mile away. Nevertheless, he has an axe, so you nod politely and give him a weak little smile.
“Uh... yeah, I guess so.”
“Good.” Falkner stalks off, scratching his head violently, and you let out a shaky sigh of relief. Only as you do so do you realise you've been holding your breath. Christ. The man is terrifying.
And yes: he is a man. Not a boy, as he was before. Despite the way the rest of the world seems exactly the same as before, Falkner is quite clearly several years older than previously. How does that work? You're not sure. Perhaps you'll find out.
“So, whenever you're ready.” He pops up again out of nowhere like a mad-eyed Jack-in-the-box. “I'll fly you to Ecruteak. But that's it, you hear? After that, you're on your own. I did my part. I gave you information.”
“No chance that we could stay in touch via Pokégear, then?” you ask diffidently.
Falkner laughs. It is not pleasant.
“Hell no!” he snaps. “I'm under no illusions here. You enter that dome, you're as dead as the rest of you.” His lip curls. “I'm not wasting sympathy on another dead PC. It's hard enough to keep myself alive.”
He turns away again, and once more begins his furious, mechanical scratching.
“So. Whenever you're ready.”
All right, Othodox.
Get your stuff together, make sure you're armed.
Then go save the world.
The Thinking Man's Guide to Destroying the World
The Rocket Case
The Rocket Revival
Neither Here Nor There
Coriolanus Rowland's Guide to Pokémon Husbandry
Robin Goodfellow's Christmas Carol
Stranger Than Fiction
My Trip to the End of Time, by Pearl Gideon
A Smell of Petroleum Pervades Throughout
For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click
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