> Cute Narratwo, real cute.
I don't really care what you think of me, you know. You're voices in the back of a teenager's head, and I'm a demigod.
> Anyways, I suggest figuring out what to do with those rocks in your inventory.
You pause to refresh yourself on a meal of dense, juicy rock.
No, wait, actually you keep running and forget about the stupid rocks.
(Hint: they really aren't going to help you.)
> I am really running out of ideas, and you can't even speak, walk, or run. I think the best thing you can do is beg Narrotor for mercy, after all of which you both have been through, he was you friend!
You can run. Since Tabiti purged your lungs, you've been doing pretty much nothing else.
I'm not just imagining things, am I? You people are taking note of what happens in between your commands?
> You can't interact with the world itself, yet you managed to "nudge" the typhlosion.
Yes – metaphorically. This story – the entire concept of all human language – works on the premise that a word is not necessarily literally the thing it describes. The word 'tree' is not actually a tree. By the same token, the nudge I gave to the Typhlosion was not necessarily a physical nudge; it was a twisting of fate, so that the Cyndaquil became Othodox's starter.
Jeez. You guys accept a necrotic steel zombie and parasitic amphibious coral without question, but I drop one figure of speech and you pounce on it like it's the biggest plothole you ever saw.
> As we've seen, the fire on the Typhlosion is intelligent, in that it spawned Vesta. So is it not possible that the simple animal was taken control by parasitic fire, causing it to burn everything? Vesta clearly liked to burn.
What Im getting at is this: Tabiti isnt bound by the Narrator and the fire is controlling the Typhlosion. Tabiti is the goddess of fire. Plead to Tabiti to change the allegiance of the fire to its rightful Trainer.
Have you still not grasped how starters work in this world? They don't obey their Trainers. They eat them. Nothing Tabiti can do will change that.
> Either way, you're probably best off getting help. Sacrifice Elm as well, if need be. He's officially not awesome at about this point.
You refuse to do that. It's not that you don't respect the opinion of your voices, nor is it that I am messing with your head. It's more that you're a moral human being with standards of acceptable behaviour, and you are not going to spend your final moments watching the man who has given up everything to help you save the world die.
You die together, or not at all.
> Maybe contracting the /help screen?
Hello! Sorry to keep you waiting. Welcome to the world of Pokémon! My name is Nyarlathotep. People call me the crawling chaos.
This world is inhabited by creatures that we call Pokémon. Pokémon and people live together in a predator-prey relationship. Some people flee from Pokémon. Some try to fight back.
Looks like you're a fleer. Good. We like those. We like the way their backs cook while they're still running because of the Typhlosion's flames, the way the skin splits as it tightens and the rich fatty juices come running out with the blood.
Oh yes, we like them.
You realise belatedly that perhaps no authority figure in this world ever actually did want to help you.
> Running is obviously our best option right now, especially with Thyphlosion down, even if there's only a minute at best. The only problem is that we can't go right back outside, we can only delve deeper right now, into the East or West (or is it West and East now?) tunnels, in hopes of finding another exit. As to which passage to take, well, I haven't the foggiest.
You darted into the nearest one when you fled the Typhlosion – the east one, as it happens.
> Each step counts to hatch that egg!
Gods alive, it's the sound of a reasonable idea. Does no one remember their basic game mechanics?
You run. You can feel the Egg coming to life through the fabric of the Pouch, twitching and shivering as something starts to kick inside. You keep running, along the curving corridor, tearing the Egg free from the Pouch and handing it to Vesta; she understands and holds it close, and the heat of her body washes through it, sending visible ripples through its cloudy surface.
And then there is a sudden burst of fire in front of you, and you realise that the corridor has curved all the way around and come back through the west passage, and that you are back in the large chamber.
With the Typhlosion.
Which does not appear to have enjoyed its sojourn in Tartarus.
(Also, I'm here. Hi!)
It advances slowly this time; it doesn't seem to be quite fully healed, and its movements are stiff and awkward. A single flaming breath could destroy the lot of you from where it is – but you've fought it before, and you know its love of physical contact, the way it delights in putting those massive orange incisors to good use.
“Vesta,” you say, as the four of you back away. “Keep tight hold of that Egg.”
“OK, Dad,” she says. Her eyes don't move from those of the Typhlosion.
You keep your feet moving. Keep walking, Othodox, and keep the Egg warm.
Very impressive, I sigh.
The Typhlosion stalks closer. You can smell its petrol-and-bonfire smell, and the infernal foetor of its breath; you can see the two tiny yellow lights, burning deep within the sockets of its eyes.
Vesta isn't real.
Suddenly, you know you were right to turn the Narrator down: you couldn't have stayed here, couldn't have forced everyone to live in this world. God f*cking damn it, you're getting them out of here: Elm, back to whatever real life is left for him; Jasmine, back to the peace of death; Vesta, out of this nightmare world she was unfortunate enough to be born into – even the Typhlosion, made into something it was never meant to be purely because of narrative imperative.
Even the Narrator, who was not happy before, but who would have been so much happier had none of this ever happened.
(I shake my head and say nothing.)
In a moment, you know, the Typhlosion will lunge, and you know who it will go for first.
You know what you have to do.
> In light of this, there are two "viable" options at this point. First one is to get that gigantic Gengar to assist you. The second one is getting the goddess Tabiti to assist you. Either way, they can operate in the same plane as the Eldritch Mewtwo (I think).
It's a nice thought, but you're not sure anything will come of it. The voices seem to be scraping the barrel now, you think. Still, you murmur thanks to Tabiti for helping you earlier; it seems only right and proper.
“Othodox,” says Elm, voice taut with fear. “We've run out of room.”
So you have. You're all backed up against a wall now, and there is no way past the smoke and the fire.
“Don't worry,” you say, and you're surprised by how strong your voice is. “It's almost over. Just, everyone, keep your feet moving.”
There isn't enough time, I say, frowning in bewilderment. It's hopeless. He'll be all over you before you can hatch that Egg; why keep playing for time?
The Narrator finds it hard to influence you, you recall. Perhaps he never realised that that meant he couldn't read all of your thoughts – perhaps he forgot that sometimes the words he narrates only imply an action you're considering – as they did when they read 'You know what you have to do.'
What are you doing? I ask suspiciously. It won't help, whatever it is. I can assure you of that.
“Let's see, shall we?” you ask, and the Typhlosion's head whips forwards—
—and you plunge your arm deep into its mouth, ignoring the fire, ignoring the teeth and the way your hand is aflame in its throat, ignoring the way your elbow has been shorn in two and yet the phantom forearm still keeps hurting.
And then you can't ignore it and you scream, and the lights in the Typhlosion's eyes blossom into fireworks as if the sound is a drug that drives it into ecstasy; it comes back to life fully all at once, smashing you to the floor with its flaming head, digging the points of its incisors into your belly, tearing and burning and yarring in delight—
And Tabiti takes the pain away with one cool hand, plucking the hurt from the fire as one might the sting from a wasp. Her last gift, you realise, as the Typhlosion busies itself spreading your abdomen as widely as it can.
Someone is screaming, very far away, and all at once you see Vesta coming towards you; you mouth the words 'Keep walking', and perhaps someone else can hear them, because Elm and Jasmine are dragging her away, and saying something that you can't hear because all the world's sounds are very far away.
It's OK, you think. We're all still walking. And the Typhlosion will always go for me first, and it'll take its time, because it hates me so much, and then...
So you figured out how to cheat, I say coldly. That's no fun for anybody, you know. Least of all for you, because if we're going down, you're coming with us, and you're not coming painlessly.
And then you can feel it – feel everything, your broken ribs, your shattered spine, your twisted nerves and the paste that was your guts; the blood coming out of you and the air in the holes; the teeth that strip the muscles from your hips and the sizzling of the heat cooking your entrails. You feel the Narrator's words running through you, keeping you alive and conscious until the very end, making sure you feel every bit of it.
When the world starts to go dark, you feel Vesta's lips on your cheek.
“Goodbye, Dad,” she whispers, and you hear the crack of an eggshell breaking.
It was all worth it, you think – all the pain and all the blood – and
? hatched from the EGG!
Something's not right.