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  #376    
Old February 14th, 2011 (02:41 PM).
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Dagzar
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Heh, I’ve been trying to get Missingno in the story for a while now. I wanted to first mention it in chapter twenty-four as a scary story told by Leah to Ed and Ally (to make them paranoid and scared) but I just couldn’t write it so I’ve had to wait until now to talk about him.

Yeah, maybe I should have put a Last Time on Mentor! blurb because of the three months in-between the updates. Even I was starting to forget what happened in the last chapter. If the update gap is ever that long again, I’ll definitely put something before the chapter to do a little refresh.
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  #377    
Old March 7th, 2011 (07:32 PM).
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Dagzar
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Quote:
Hey, I used to read this story a lot, and I still love it. I'm still hanging on every word, knowing that it will end soon. Ugh, it's so sad. Write more, MORE, MOAR!, I say!
I’m glad you still like the story! And don’t feel sad, the end of the story is nowhere close. I currently have 5000 words of the next chapter written, but I’m barely half-way through the chapter so I’m not quite sure when it’s going to come out. Hopefully soon.
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  #378    
Old March 20th, 2011 (03:32 PM).
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pikakip
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Join Date: Oct 2009
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Ah.... I really need to stop taking such long breaks from PC. This site is one of the greatest things i've ever seen. As is mentor. These last two chapters were great Dagzar. The missingno. bit made me chuckle a bit-not because it was funny, but because I didn't think there would be a way for it to get into this story- and I liked how you gave us a little more insight into the life of Ashley. I feel a bit bad for her now, and I can also relate. My parents are divorced and my mom can be really strict while my dad can be... Not strict at all. Also, what exactly was that...thing chasing Leah? It sounds like a Haunter, but at the same time it doesn't... wait, Black, Ghost, White eyes, Open mouth.... Quick Leah, GRAB YOUR SILPH SCOPE!
No but seriously, is it the ghost that you see if you don't have the silph scope? (http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l688gqYGuD1qzpbds.gif)

also, OHMAIGAWD ALLY'S INJURED! It seems like something really dangerous attacked her... and how did she get out of the tower? weird... Ed's little bit was kind of insightful. it really just told us what we already knew: Ed, Mr. Fuji and the team rocket (Admin?) have been stuck in the tower for a few days with no way out.

I'm kind of disappointed that there was no Sands TWO CHAPTERS IN A ROW! (I'm joking btw) Anyway, I'm guseeing that the Evolution plot hole had something to do with the "all pokemon evolve eventually" rule and the fact that Blue's Scyther never actually evolved? I have a feeling that I'm wrong here, but that's the only thing I could really think of... Wow, I have to go back and re-read this, I'm having difficulty remembering details.

Anyway, Great as always Dagzar! I'm looking forward to the next chapter!
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  #379    
Old March 23rd, 2011 (07:55 PM).
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Dagzar
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Hey pikakip! Thanks for reviewing!

Quote:
Also, what exactly was that...thing chasing Leah? It sounds like a Haunter, but at the same time it doesn't... wait, Black, Ghost, White eyes, Open mouth.... Quick Leah, GRAB YOUR SILPH SCOPE!
No but seriously, is it the ghost that you see if you don't have the silph scope? (http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l688gqYGuD1qzpbds.gif)
Yup, the black ghost is based off that particular sprite. I hated those things when I was little because they always made me uneasy… Not as uneasy as the old school Lavender Town theme, of course, but it was close.

Quote:
I'm kind of disappointed that there was no Sands TWO CHAPTERS IN A ROW! (I'm joking btw)
Sands will be in the next chapter; I promise. :D

Quote:
Anyway, I'm guseeing that the Evolution plot hole had something to do with the "all pokemon evolve eventually" rule and the fact that Blue's Scyther never actually evolved?
You’re half right, but the rule only applies to level-based evolutions. Any that need items, happiness, or trade are exempt (so the Scyther is fine). It’s actually William’s Pokemon that go against the rule since it’s fairly obvious that his Squirtle is at a fairly high level and William even said he keeps his Pokemon from evolving. I’ll probably do something about this later, but for now, his Pokemon can be considered haxed.

Next chapter should be out this week. It’s nearly finished and it somehow got to be over 10k words. I’m not sure how it happened, but at least you guys will get a long, fat update soon enough.
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  #380    
Old April 14th, 2011 (07:53 PM). Edited April 15th, 2011 by Dagzar.
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Dagzar
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Mentor

Chapter 52: Ally








“... I don’t get what’s going on,” Zach said, leaning back in the computer chair. “The Storage System should be working.”

“There’s nothing you can do?” Chandelle asked.

“No, nothing. Though, it’s been a while since I tinkered with computers.”

Chandelle gave the computer a cold look over Zach’s shoulder. She didn’t have much experience with computers, so if the only tech-savvy person she could find didn’t know what to do, then she too was at a loss.

It was unfortunate that the storage system chose this time to stop working. Very unfortunate, considering the circumstances. Even though her whole situation seemed shrouded in unknowns, she very much doubted that this was a coincidence. She knew it was odd behavior for something as big as a storage system to stop working suddenly. Adding to that, the phone lines were also down, but the television was still fine.

It was all very odd and she was discomforted to admit that she didn’t want to stay in Lavender Town another night.

She had been a trainer for nine straight years and she couldn’t remember the last time she had been afraid to stay in a town. But everything that happened since she first stepped foot into Lavender was making her uneasy. She didn’t like it when things started to act unpredictably, especially Pokemon. Animals and Pokemon sensed danger much earlier than humans and when they began acting strangely, their behavior were signs of bad things to come.

If something were to happen, she wanted no part of it.

“When did you find out the system wasn’t working?” Zach asked, staring at the screen.

“Around noon.”

“Well, it was working fine yesterday. I could access it then. Were you trying to withdraw a Pokemon?”

“Yes.”

“Then maybe it’s only the withdrawal that’s not working,” he suggested. “How about we try depositing a Pokemon to see if that works.”

It was a foolish suggestion and Chandelle had no qualms about voicing it.

“Are you offering?”

Zach hesitated, finally shaking his head.

Since the computer was proving useless, Chandelle approached the Pokemon Storage System again, swiping her trainer card and putting in the password for her account. Though no matter how many times she tried, she was unable to withdraw any of her Pokemon.

Even if it was too late to regret, she did wish she withdrew a stronger Pokemon when she had the chance. While her Rotom was a versatile ally, she was still only one Pokemon and if she went up against a Pokemon higher than level four, then Chandelle couldn’t even guess what would happen. She did always have that Magneton she caught, but she had yet to even send it out of its ball and while it could prove useful, she didn’t want to use an untrained Pokemon.

It would have been nice to have her Garchomp with her…

Either way, it would be a good idea to begin keeping her Rotom out all the time. If something did attack, she might not have the time to reach for a Poke Ball.

The only thing that made Chandelle feel better about the situation was that she wasn’t alone. It had been a while since she travelled with someone and she had forgotten the feeling of having someone always at your back. Leah wouldn’t have been her first choice for a companion since her Pokemon were weak and her physical capabilities could have been better, but she didn’t hesitate when she had to act, which really made all the difference.

“What Pokemon do you have with you?” she asked Zach, thinking it was a good idea to start categorizing the Pokemon they had. She knew Leah’s and Ashley’s, but Zach and Natalie were the unknowns.

“Charmeleon and Nuzleaf,” he said. “Both of them are in-training.”

The ‘in-training’ wasn’t the best sign, but both Pokemon’s typing could be useful. “I suggest you keep them with you,” Chandelle warned.

“Yeah, I got that.” Zach sighed, rubbing his head. “Damn, now I wish I withdrew something strong yesterday. Nuzleaf can decimate ghosts, but he’s only at level three. Is Rotom your only Pokemon?”

“Mostly,” Chandelle said and she was going to ask about Natalie, but the door to the room burst open and Leah appeared, looking harried.

“Either of you got medical knowledge or something?” she asked quickly. She appeared out of breath, as if she had been looking everywhere for them.

Zach stood. “Only basic; what’s wrong?”

“I have a problem. Come on!”

With that vague statement, Leah rushed out the door as quickly as she came in. Zach ran after her with Chandelle following at his heels. She didn’t know why Leah was in such disarray but she’d be a fool not to find out.


-


Leah was the first one back to the empty room she had put Ally in. Since the Pokemon Center was nearly empty, she didn’t think the nurses would mind if she borrowed a room for a while. It was small and its beds were stripped of sheets but it would do.

Natalie and Ashley looked up as she entered, the older of the two bent kneeling beside the bed Ally laid on.

“Is she okay?” Leah asked.

“I’m not a trained professional,” Natalie said. “There might be something wrong with her that I can’t see, but as far as I can tell, she’s not seriously injured. No broken bones or anything.”

“What’s going on?” Zach asked, standing at Natalie’s side and looking over Ally.

“Leah’s friend is injured.”

“What happened to her?”

Leah sighed. That was the question, wasn’t it? “I don’t know,” she said. “Some guys found her.”

“Let me see,” Chandelle ordered from the doorway.

Natalie looked up. “You have medical knowledge?”

“Only things I’ve picked up…” She looked at Leah. “Does she have any prior medical conditions?”

“Uh… I don’t know,” Leah said, rubbing the back of her head. “We’re not that close.”

“Is she sleeping?” Ashley asked, keeping her distance from the girl.

Since Ally didn’t wake up despite the way Leah carried her to the hospital room, she doubted it.

“I think she’s just unconscious.”

“Did you question the people who found her?” Chandelle asked, getting down to business as she inspected Ally though narrowed eyes.

“Yeah. They found her out near route eight, past Pokemon Tower.”

“Has she woken up at all?”

“No.”

“How long has it been since they found her?”

“Maybe half-an-hour or so?”

Chandelle looked at the girl with a frown. “… You would think she would have woken up by now,” she said.

“Maybe she hit her head?” Natalie suggested.

“If she was knocked unconscious, she should have been awake again in minutes,” Chandelle said quietly. “To be unconscious this long suggests brain damage.”

Those words sent a cold feeling up Leah’s spine and she shoved her hands in her pockets, trying not to fidget.

“Is there a hospital here?” Zach asked, directing it at Ashley.

“There’s a clinic…”

“It’s late,” Natalie said. “It is even open?”

Ashley shook her head.

“I don’t know.”

Leah glanced up at the clock. “It’s only seven-thirty,” she said. “It could be open. We… could carry her.”

“It’s on the other side of town,” Ashley said softly.

Leah wasn’t sure how big Lavender Town was, but she could tell from Ashley’s voice it was too far away.

“… Then what are we supposed to do?” she asked, trying to think up a solution. She thought most of her troubles ended when Ally was found, but all the talk of brain damage and the fact that she wouldn’t wake up with making her nervous. Seriously, didn’t Lavender Town have a hospital or something? They had a Pokemon Center and that was basically a hospital for Pokemon, so why not one for humans?

“Maybe there’s a Chansey around here?” Zach suggested.

“I haven’t seen any,” Chandelle said.

“Maybe someone who works here is a doctor,” Leah said. “If we could find someone-”

Natalie shook her head. “The anatomy of Pokemon and humans are really different. I’m not sure that would work.” She frowned. “Besides, have you guys noticed that there’s not many people around here? I mean, not just trainers, but not many workers either. The only person I’ve really seen around here is the girl up at the front desk.”

“For a small town like this, it’s not surprising that the Pokemon Center is understaffed,” Chandelle said. “Pokemon Centers are mostly comprised of volunteers and only certified doctors are paid for their work here. Even then, the pay for that sort of job isn’t very good.”

“You know a lot about Pokemon Centers,” Zach said.

“My mother used to work at the Eterna Pokemon Center in Sinnoh. It isn’t a job most people would want to do.”

So, hospitals were out, clinics were closed, and Pokemon Center’s seemed to be useless. What was left? How were they supposed to deal with something like this on their own?

“Will a psychic-type help?” Leah asked. I`ve been training my Drowzee to read the emotions off of things. She`s never done it on a human before, but do you think it could find the problem?”

Zach slowly nodded. “It could work. Try it.”

Enlarging Zee’s Poke Ball, Leah released her Drowzee at her side.

“Zee,” Leah said, directing her Pokemon’s attention to Ally. “Can you tell what’s wrong with her?”

Zee hesitated, looking at the girl’s still form. Then, she extended a hand, focusing on Ally. After a moment of thought, Leah put her palm on her Drowzee’s head, closing her eyes so that she could properly follow her Pokemon’s progress. She didn’t do it too often as she had no interest in knowing what emotions were attached to a book or something, but she had recently discovered that she could piggyback on Zee’s psychic abilities with physical contact.

As always, it felt strange, like she suddenly had a sixth sense that had always been there but she didn’t notice. A tendril of what could only be called ‘will’ extended from Zee and prodded at Ally.

Even if she had never ‘read’ a human before, Leah, along with Zee, could tell that something was wrong. It was hard to describe. There was a void around Ally, colorless and silent. It didn’t react to Zee, but Leah felt her Pokemon’s uneasiness. The void wasn’t supposed to be there. No matter how much the Drowzee poked at the girl, nothing happened. No thoughts or feelings came from her, not even from her subconscious mind.

Finally, Zee strained her control and tried to shove inside Ally’s mind. For a moment, there was nothing, and then a well of emotions, deeper than the ocean’s floor, hit her like a sky train.

Someone screamed but Leah didn’t realize it was her until she had fallen backwards, breaking her link with Zee. She huddled on the floor, putting her hands over her ears as her head pounded, each throb feeling like someone was hitting her with a hammer again and again and again. She felt as if was drowning in unfamiliar emotions; she could barely think, her head hurt so much. Everything else was muted and intangible, like it was a part of a different world. She could barely feel someone grab her arms, and the words that they were speaking sound like garbled whispers.

Never in all her life had she felt such… hate.

Not when Tash was saying mean things behind her back. Not when Harvey didn't tell her he was moving until he was gone. Not when Cienan or Megan or Vicky went to become trainers and left her behind. Not when her grandmother missed her birthday againand never helped her and was never there. Not when it was storming and she was a trainer and Sands wouldn't listen and wouldn't help. Not when her parents went out one night and promised they would be back but they lied.

Never.

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never

never.

The next thing she knew, she was on the ground with Zach and Natalie leaning over her.

“You alright?” Zach asked, helping her sit up.

Leah winced at the voice, wishing he would be more quiet. Her head still pounded, but it wasn’t even close to the migraine it had been before.

“W- What happened?” she asked, accepting the glass of water Natalie handed over.

“You fainted.”

Frowning, Leah shook her head, trying to shake off the dizziness. She fainted? That had never happened before...

As she stared into her cup, watching the water vibrate from the shakiness of her hands, she suddenly had the impression that the walls were closing in on her. The room was too small and the air was sweltering, only increasing the sudden tightness of her clothes. Her breaths came out in pants and a trickle of sweat dripped down her cheek.

“She doesn’t look too good,” Natalie was saying, her worried voice at the back of Leah’s mind.

“Did you see how she reacted? I’m surprised she’s not freaking out more,” Zach said.

“What’s going on?” Ashley asked.

“Be quiet, all of you,” Chandelle snapped, her voice cutting through the others.

All the voices fell silent and Leah took the time to take a gulp of the water. It was like ice, and she shivered as she felt the coldness slip down her throat and spread to her limbs. It felt good so she tipped back the cup and drank it all.

The cold gave her back some clarity and she took in a few deep breaths as she tugged at the collar of her shirt. She waved off Zach’s hand, and slowly rose to her feet, her limbs feeling like weights. A bit of dizziness hit her once she stood all the way up and her vision blurred, but she closed her eyes until it passed.

“How long was I … out for?” Leah asked.

“Only a few seconds,” Natalie said. “Do you want more water?”

Leah shook her head, trying not to look in Ally’s direction. She studied the ground with fake interest and her eyes wandered to a gold and brown Pokemon on the floor.

She felt her face pale. If she had fainted just by getting a glimpse of the thing in Ally’s head, then what about Zee, who must have taken the full blast from that thing?

She was at her Pokemon’s side in an instant, pulling the Drowzee’s head onto her lap as she tried to see what was wrong with her. Zee’s eyes were closed, but seemed to be breathing fine.

“She’s just unconscious,” Chandelle said.

Leah didn’t find any relief in those words as she ran a hand down her Pokemon’s trunk, which didn’t even twitch at the ticklish action.

“I’m taking her to the nurse,” she said quietly, returning her Drowzee to her Poke Ball and getting to her feet.

Zach motioned to the unconscious form of Ally. “What about …?”

“I’ll only be a minute,” Leah insisted, not looking in the girl’s direction.

She slipped out of the room and went to the lobby of the Pokemon Center, holding Zee’s Poke Ball tightly. After giving her Pokemon to the nurse at the front desk (and insisting that the Drowzee get a full check-up), Leah was about to go back to the others when she paused.

Other than the nurse, the lobby was empty and silent. The guys who found Ally weren’t around and the television was turned off with the remote set neatly on the table. The blinds were closed and it was only through the glass door that the outside could be seen.

Leah approached the door slowly, and peered outside. It was already dark out and the porch light stopped any attempts from seeing anything beyond the entranceway. There didn’t seem to be anything out there, but…

“When do you lock up?” Leah asked the nurse.

“About eleven, usually,” she said. “Though I doubt there’s going to be anyone else coming in tonight.”

Taking one last glance at the door (eyes straying towards the lock), Leah went back to the small room where the others were gathered.

They were still in the same positions from when she left and they looked up at her appearance.

“Dropped your Drowzee off okay?” Zach asked.

“Yeah.”

A silence fell, and the others glanced at each other as if deciding who would make the first move.

Chandelle was the one who spoke up. “Did you see something?” she asked Leah.

‘See’ wasn’t the right word, but Leah knew what she meant. She sighed, not knowing exactly what to say.

“… There’s a ghost in her.”

What?”

“She’s possessed?” Natalie said, aghast. “H- How are we supposed to get it out?”

Zach crossed his arms, looking worried. “I’ve never seen a case of possession before. I’ve heard about it, but I’ve never seen it.”

“Are you sure she’s possessed?” Chandelle asked sharply.

“Yeah, there’s… there’s something there that’s not supposed to be.”

Leah had only ‘scanned’ Ally for the briefest of seconds, but that was enough to know that something was not right. The emotions that were in her… there was no way they came from her. She honestly couldn’t see anyone holding those types of emotions. How could anyone hate so much? It was just…

But it wasn’t only emotions she got. There was a presence in Ally’s mind, something separate from her; something not natural.

“I didn’t know ghosts could possess people…” Ashley said, moving a few steps away from Ally. “I mean, objects, yeah, but people?”

“… It’s not a Pokemon,” Leah said.

“What do you mean?”

Leah looked away. “It’s not… It’s not like it’s a ****ing Gastly or something. Whatever that is, it’s not a Pokemon or an animal- it’s pure evil.”

Evil wasn’t a term Leah used lightly, but she didn’t know how else to describe it. Whatever was possessing Ally was so filled with hate that it didn’t seem to have any other emotions. It was like it only existed to cause pain and misery.

“Is it like the ghost from last night?” Zach asked.

“I don’t- maybe?”

Natalie exchanged a glance with Zach. “How are we supposed to get it out of her?” she asked. “Does anyone know anything about Pokemon possession?”

Leah shook her head, feeling frustrated. “Does that matter? It’s not a Pokemon!”

“We need all the information we can get,” Chandelle said. “Even if it proves useless, this situation is delicate. We should only act once we acquire all the information possible.”

That was true, but still… Leah wasn’t sure how it would help. Either way, she found herself saying, “My grandmother is an expert on ghost Pokemon. Only certain species can possess things and I’ve never heard of one being able to possess a human. Ghosts just don’t have the willpower or the intelligence to possess someone. I mean, it’s different to possess an object with no will of its own than a human, which is like ten times as intelligent as a ghost.”

Chandelle looked like she was thinking.

“How would you go about in exorcizing a ghost?”

“I don’t really know,” Leah groaned. “People don’t get possessed!”

“If it were an object?”

“Foresight, I guess. Maybe have another ghost try to push the other ghost out. A psychic-type might help.”

“Does anyone have a Noctowl?” Natalie asked. “I know they have Foresight.”

Zach frowned. “Nat, doesn’t Furret knows Foresight?”

Natalie blinked. “Oh, it does, doesn’t it?” She went to her belt and enlarged a completely white Poke Ball with a red ring around the middle. “Go, Furret!”

The Pokemon that was released was a stocky creature with a long fluffy body with brown fur and rings around its tail. Even with the current situation as is, Ashley couldn’t help but kneel down before the Pokemon with a smile.

“It’s adorable,” she said, petting its head to the Pokemon’s purring pleasure.

“I never use Foresight,” Natalie mused out loud. “It’s only really useful against ghosts so I keep forgetting about it.”

“Does Furret even remember it?” Zach asked.

Natalie clicked her tongue, the long-bodied Pokemon instantly coming to its trainer’s side. “She’s young; I’m sure she does,” she said.

“Have it use Foresight on the girl,” Chandelle said, reaching to her belt.

Natalie looked at her.

“Then what will we do then? Once it’s revealed?”

“I’ll deal with it,” Chandelle said coolly, holding out her own Poke Ball. “Em!”

The Rotom-M materialized, floating in the air with a green glow around its body.

Zach nodded and said, “I’ll send Charmeleon out as well for backup… What’s wrong with your Rotom?”

For the first time since Leah saw it, the Rotom-M was not smiling. Its usual grin was upside down and it didn’t make a sound as it floated motionlessly. The green glow that was holding it afloat flickered and pulsed, and the lightning bolt in front of the lawn mower was starting to wisp and blur.

“Em?”

Chandelle looked confused as she moved closer, putting her hands around the orange lawn mower and pulling it down to take a closer look.

From the angle Leah was standing, she was the only one who saw the Rotom’s green eyes turn red.

“Chandelle-”

“Em!” Chandelle gasped as the lawn mower dropped like a weight, making her bend over as she tried to support it. The eyes, mouth, and glow around the machine vanished as the now formless ghost Pokemon rose into the air. The green and orange mutated mess shifted, rearranging itself as the green turned a blue-ish white and a light bulb shape started to emerge. But even as it transformed, the ghost-type jerked forward, like it was forcing itself- right towards Ally.

Zach was the first one to react. “Charmeleon!” he yelled, throwing the Poke Ball between the ghost and the girl. “Flash!”

The crimson-skinned lizard stood on its feet, claws flexing, as it swished its tail towards the Rotom, the fire on the tip turning white.

Leah was do busy rushing to Ally’s side to prepare herself for the burst of light. The flash hit her hard, and she mentally swore as she closed her eyes and dropped to one knee next to Ally’s still form, gripping the side of the bed. Even as she did so, her hand went to Sands’ Poke Ball, despite knowing that he couldn’t do much against a ghost.

The light seemed to last for minutes, and when it died down, Leah looked up to see everyone else in similar positions of pain. The Rotom didn’t look like it was fairing well, as it was on the other side of the room in a shapeless mess on the floor.

Leah had seen ghosts react to light just as badly, but she had never seen them start to bubble black puss.

“Em, return!” Chandelle shouted. For a moment, it didn’t look like the red beam of light was going to be able to pull the Rotom into its Poke Ball, but the Pokemon dematerialized, black gunk and all.

Her hand shaking, Chandelle lowered her arm and looked at the Poke Ball, expressionless.

“What just happened?” Leah asked while checking on Ally. She didn’t seem to have been disturbed at all, but you never know.

“That was not natural,” Zach said quietly, giving his Charmeleon a well-earned pat.

“Has your Rotom ever acted like that?” Natalie asked Chandelle.

“… No, never,” Chandelle whispered. “She’s… never behaved that way.”

While Leah could have though up hundreds of reasons why Rotom acted out like that, even she had a hard time convincing herself that it wasn’t related to situation at hand. True, the ghosts of Lavender Town were acting weird… Actually, she had yet to see a true ghost in Lavender; only those black ghosts were floating around. Gastly, Haunter, and the more foreign ghost types- they had completely disappeared. You`d think that they wouldn`t be too pleased with these new ghosts roaming around as they liked, but they hadn`t once appeared.

“Where are the ghosts?” Leah asked out loud, and at confused looks, added, “Gastly and Haunter. I haven’t seen any since coming here.”

“The ghosts only at come out at night,” Zach said. “And I’m pretty sure they don’t wander into buildings.”

“They sometimes do,” Ashley said. “But only in dark buildings. They hate light.”

Natalie frowned. “You know, now that you mention it, I haven’t seen any at all. Only those new ghosts. I went out the first night me and Zach came here and even though the weather was good and I kept near Pokemon Tower, I didn’t see any.”

“You could of missed them,” Ashley said. “They’re invisible in the dark.”

She shook her head.

“No, no, I’ve been here before. I even caught a Gastly. Back then, the ghosts wouldn’t leave me alone. They kept appearing out of nowhere, scaring me, and making me trip. It was like some kind of game to them.”

“Ghost-types aren’t like other wild Pokemon,” Leah said. “They like bothering humans. I’ve never met an anti-social ghost.”

“Maybe the ghosts got driven out by these new ghosts,” Natalie said. “They do seem pretty, uh, violent.”

Ashley shot down that idea. “I would have heard about if the ghosts disappeared,” she protested. “The ghosts are pretty much the only tourism we get.”

“If the ghosts did leave then this would have to occurred pretty recently,” Leah said. “Maybe it’s somehow the cause of the lockdown?”

“They must be linked,” Chandelle said softly, making everyone turn to her. “It’s too much of a coincidence for it not to be.”

Everything came down to Pokemon Tower and it’s recent lockdown and there were only three people that could tell them what was going on. Fuji and Ed were still missing but Ally was here. She was unconscious, but if they could just wake her up…

“We need to wake up Ally,” Leah said. “She was there when the tower locked down; she should be able to tell us what’s going on.”

“Right,” Zach asked, folding his arms. “But if we don’t have a ghost, what are we going to do?”

“Foresight will force the thing to reveal itself,” Leah said. “If it doesn’t come out, we’ll just go find another trainer with psychic-type. We can’t be the only ones here.”

“What if the ghost attacks us?” Ashley asked.

“We’ll destroy it,” Leah said, shaking her head to ward off her sleepiness. This was no time to be tired. She needed to give the situation her full attention.

She looked around, noting the Pokemon that were out. If things worked out, only Zach’s Charmeleon would be needed, and she doubted that Natalie’s Furret or Ashley’s Zubat (as useless as it was) would be needed. However, she wasn’t sure what the thing in Ally’s head could do. She was assuming it was one of those black ghosts, but she wasn’t sure and if she was wrong, they were dealing with a totally unknown Pokemon… Well, the ghost was unknown, but at least it acted like a ghost and hated light.

Either way, they needed more backup. Better safe than sorry.

Please behave,’ Leah mentally begged, grabbing the only Pokemon she had left.

“Go, Sands!”

Her Sandslash looked around, a growl starting at the back of his throat. He eyed all the people, puffing his spiked back up as a warning.

“I don’t care what Pokemon you have on you,” Leah said. “Send them out, just in case.”

“I have Zu-Zu,” Ashley gave out.

Natalie nodded. “Got it. Go, Ivysaur!”

“He’s kind of weak right now,” Zach said, taking out his own ball, “but at least he has a type advantage. Let’s go, Nuzleaf!”

Both Pokemon appeared in front of their trainers. While the Ivysaur was familiar enough, the other was definitely wasn’t from around Kanto. Its skin was brown and wood-like, and it had a long nose, like Pinocchio. If it wasn’t for the leaf coming out of its head, it wouldn’t even come up to Zach’s knee.

While an Ivysaur and whatever-the-other-thing-was would help, that was still only six Pokemon from five trainers.

“No other Pokemon?”

Everyone shook their heads.

Leah sighed. Well, she supposed that was good enough. “Alright,” she said, making sure she was far away from Ally. “Get ready.”

Ashley held up her hands. “Wait, wait, do we need a giant battle for this? Can’t we just use Charmeleon’s Flash?”

“We need to get that thing out of her,” Leah said. “If there’s too much light, it’s probably just going to dive back into her at the first opportunity. We need to get it away from her first.”

Zach turned to the blond and added, “Charmeleon can’t do such a bright flash too many times in a row, anyways.”

“Wait,” Natalie said, holding out a hand, looking at Leah. “What if this hurts your friend?”

“… She’ll have to deal with a little discomfort,” Leah said, squashing down her worry. There was no time to lose. “That thing is evil and I want it out of her right now.”

Chandelle took her switch knife out of her pocket and flipped it open, going to stand at the very back while Ashley took a position beside Leah. Natalie stood by the door, Zach in front of her, and at Leah’s signal, Natalie turned off the light, plunging the room into blackness.

Leah could hear Ashley’s breathing and when a small hand grasped the sleeve of her jacket, she didn’t mention it, instead keeping her eyes on the spot where Ally lied.

“Furret,” Natalie called out. “Foresight!”

As the Furret’s eyes turned red, Leah felt her breath catch. Red light shone out of the normal-type’s eyes, enveloping Ally. It was deathly silent in the room, everyone waiting for something to happen. The seconds that ticked by felt like minutes.

Then Ally moaned. Her head turned, away from the light, black hair falling over her face. Her arm jerked, and that was the only warning they got before the girl’s whole body seized up.

Leah felt herself take a step forward. She wanted to yell at Natalie to stop with the light, that they’d wait, but she held herself back, nails digging into her palms.

As fast as it started, Ally’s body went relaxed, one of her arms falling off the bed and hanging there limply. In the red light, a black mist started to pool from the girl’s mouth

“I see something!” Ashley whispered, the silence in the room allowing everyone to hear it.

In the red light, a black mist started to pool from the girl’s mouth, ears, and nose. It gathered above her head, pulsing and wiggling. As the last bit of mist joined the mass, the ghost reshaped itself in a pitch black Haunter-like Pokemon with claws and white eyes.

“It’s out,” Zach said.

“Wait until it goes away from Ally before you attack,” Leah commanded.

“What about the lights?”

“Wait until it’s away from Ally.”

The ghost didn’t seem perturbed about the talking going around it. It simply floated there, white eyes burning pink in the light. Finally, it floated higher until it was out of the red light completely, being invisible in the darkness.

“Lights!”

Zach flipped the switch, the lights turning on with all their radiance. The ghost froze, ducking to the ground by Ally.

“Sands, Swift!” Leah exclaimed. “Get it away from Ally!”

Sands glanced towards her for a few moments before doing as she commanded and firing star-shaped white projectiles towards the ghost. However, by that time, the ghost had already moved, flying towards the Pokemon that formed a semi-circle around it.

“Charmeleon, Dragon Rage!”

“Ivysaur, Razor Leaf!”

“Go, Zu-Zu! Use Supersonic!”

Furret reared back, the red light fading as it jumped out of the way, long body arching, as blue fire and sharp green leaves flew past it. The ghost partially dodged the flames, any burns it did get not affecting it in the least, while the leaves cut through the ghost, turning it into the mist. But the mist reformed, any damage repaired, and the ghost grinned its white smile. It veered out of the path of the blue rings of the Supersonic, and then held out its claws, the appendages blurring and glowing shades of blue and pink.

“Nuzleaf, Fake Out!”

The wood-like Pokemon darted forwards, bringing its hands up, and the ghost focused on it. Suddenly, the ghost’s hands exploded in a blast of colorful light and the Nuzleaf tripped as the light enveloped it. The Pokemon shook on the ground, seizing, until the light faded and it laid still.

“Was that a Night Shade?” Natalie asked.

“It beat Nuzleaf!” Zach said in horror. “In one hit!”

“Sands,” Leah said. “Poison Sting! Stay away from it!”

Sands shot out a hail of purple needles from his mouth, but the ghost dodged them and zipped towards the ground-type, its claws starting to glow.

“Get out of there!”

Not needing to be told, the Sandslash got out of the way and took refuge near a wall.
Leah only hoped it was far enough away that the Night Shade couldn’t grab hold. Wondering what she should command next (Sands’ move pool was a bit limited in regards to long distance moves), she was so busy paying attention to Sands that she didn’t notice the ghost turning its attention to her.

She wasn’t alone, however, as Ashley grabbed her wrist and nearly pulled Leah off her feet with a desperate tug.

“Move!”

Leah nearly tripped over her feet in her haste to get going, pushing past Ashley and dragging the blond along instead. The ghost ignored Zu-Zu’s Supersonic attempts as it focused on the two girls, outstretching its claw and allowing the colorful light to explode outward.

“Ivysaur!”

The grass-type bounded forward, its vines grabbing Leah and Ashley’s ankles and pulling them out from under them, forcing them to the ground and letting the colorful light pass over their heads. Other vines whipped towards the ghost in a mass assault. Even with its versatility, the ghost couldn’t dodge them all and one of them hit it right in the face, slamming it backwards through the air.

“Get it, Charmeleon!” Zach exclaimed, the direct hit against the ghost encouraging him.

Charmeleon raced forward, scaled feet slapping against the floor, and its claws lighting up with a white glow. Dazed, the ghost didn’t have time to counterattack when the claws pierced its ghostly form, ripping it apart.

As the black mist tried to swirl back together, Natalie called out, “Foresight, Stun Spore!”

The mist seemed to panic as it was bathed in red light, withering and trying to dart between Charmeleon’s claws to get out of the attack, despite the Furret’s stubbornness in keeping the spotlight on it. Yellow spores joined the fray as Ivysaur directed them around the mist, the Stun Spore and the black mist mixing in a frenzied tornado.

Finally, the mist slowed and floated to the ground, quiet and docile in the cloud of spores.

Leah got her feet, keeping an eye on the shredded ghost. Ashley joined her, and Zach and Natalie approached the ghost, but stayed well behind their Pokemon.

“I think we got it,” Zach said, looking at it closely. “It’s not really moving.”

“But it is moving,” Natalie argued. “Look, it’s trying to get back together still.”

It was very slow, but the mist was drifting closer together.

Zach sighed. “Well, if it does get back together, at least it’ll be paralyzed.”

“We shouldn’t let it get back together,” Chandelle said, joining the group from her place at the back. “We don’t know what it’s truly capable of.”

“It took out your Nuzleaf with one Night Shade,” Leah added quietly. “It must be really strong if it can do that.”

“Then how are we supposed to contain this thing?” Zach asked. “If it won’t stop-”

“Are you absolutely sure that it’s not a Pokemon?” Chandelle asked Leah.

Leah shook her head. “It doesn’t think like one,” she said, “but… it’s using Pokemon moves.”

Chandelle took out a spare Poke Ball from her pocket and enlarged it as she approached the ghost.

With a bit of unease, Leah said, “Be careful.”

Nodding, Chandelle used an underhand throw to toss the ball gently in the air. It landed in the middle of the mist and opened, sucking in the black mist, spores and all. Clicking shut, the ball rocked back and forth, once, twice, and three times before rolling still.

“Oh, thank god,” Natalie said, her shoulders slumping.

“What are you going to do with it?” Leah asked Chandelle as the older girl picked up the Poke Ball.

“I don’t know,” she replied quietly. “I’ll deal with it later.”

Leah watched her for a moment before shaking her head and making her way over to Ally. Even though the battle was over, she still felt on edge, and her hands shook as she brushed black hair out of Ally’s face. As she did so, the girl’s eyes flickered, making her pull her hand back as if burned.

“She’s waking up!” she said over her shoulder. “Someone go get her a glass of water!”

Natalie hopped to it as Chandelle knelt beside Leah and sat Ally up, the girl’s head rolling to the side as she moaned.

“Ally,” Leah said.

The girl opened her eyes, looking out of it and confused. She opened her mouth and coughed, leaning on Chandelle as she shakily brought her hand to her mouth.

Natalie reappeared with the water and Chandelle took it, holding it to Ally’s mouth with the order, “Drink slowly.”

Ally did so, taking a couple of minutes to finish the glass. When she was done, she looked past Leah and over the unfamiliar faces.

“E- Ed…?”

“I don’t know where Ed is,” Leah said. “Some people found you at the side of the road.”

Ally still looked confused, but she didn’t ask anymore questions, only laying there and digesting the information. She still look tried and worn, and Leah suddenly realized that if she had been under possession for the past two days, she probably hadn’t eaten.

Leah turned to Zach. “Can you go get her something to eat?”

“What should I get her?”

“Something soft,” Chandelle said.

Zach disappeared and reappeared in record time, bringing with him several food items from the vending machine.

“Cafeteria’s closed,” he announced, dumping the food on the bed. “I got some stuff that looked soft, though some of it is candy. Also,” He popped the lid on a can of coke and gave it to Ally, “sugar should help increase energy.”

Ally drank the coke and silently helped herself to the softer food items. The harder stuff was passed around, Leah reluctantly accepting some as she needed the energy and it didn’t look like she’d be getting to sleep anytime soon. After everything was either eaten or put away for later consumption, Leah volunteered herself to help Ally get cleaned up. Since Ally wasn’t volunteering her room number (or even looking like she was paying attention), Leah took her to her own room.

“Do you need help?” she asked while showing Ally the bathroom.

Ally didn’t say anything so Leah mentally sighed and was about to leave her to it when she heard:

“D- don’t go...”

“Do you need help?” she repeated.

Shaking her head, Ally looked away from her.

“J- Just don’t…”

Leah understood. “Alright.”

As the shower was running, Leah kept her back turned and her eyes on the door. Soon, the room steamed up, becoming warm and humid. By fifteen minutes in, the shower was still running and any movement or splashing by Ally had stopped. Leah finally broke the silence and asked, “Are you alright?”

It wasn’t meant to be an indication to hurry up, but Ally seemed to take it as such.

“S- Sorry.”

“No, take as long as you want,” Leah quickly said. “I don’t have anything else to do.”

Leah heard the nozzle being turned but instead of turning off, the steam coming off the shower only grew warmer.

“… What happened?” Ally asked, her quiet voice echoing in the bathroom.

“You don’t remember?”

There was a splash. “No,” she said. “Why are you here? I- I don’t understand…”

Even before Leah knew that Ed and Ally were still in Lavender Town, she wondered what she would say to them when they asked her that question. She had travelled with them for three and a half months, always putting them down. She made fun of their Pokemon, their dreams, and trainers themselves. And now after they left, here she was, travelling of her own free will with an interest in being a real trainer again.

What could she say?

“There’s no point in going back to Pallet Town,” she started, “so I decided to keep going. I’m heading to Saffron. I was just going to cut through Lavender but… you guys were missing so I decided to stick around for a while.”

“You found me…?”

“Some guys did, at the side of the road. You were… asleep and… weird.” It seemed like a good opportunity of any, so Leah asked, “What do you remember?”

“… I- I don’t… really remember,” Ally said and paused. “I- I want to get out now.”

Leah didn’t let disappointment show in her voice. “Alright.”

The bathroom wasn’t very big, so Leah stood outside the bathroom with the door partially shut while Ally dried off. The coolness of the bedroom was like a slap in the face and she shivered a bit, glad the temperature was warding off her sleepiness.

After a while, Ally poked her head out of the bathroom, clutching a towel around her body and hair dripping.

“I- I don’t have any clothes…”

“Do you have your room key? I can go get some.”

Ally disappeared briefly only to come back and handed a key to Leah.

“Do you want pajamas or regular clothes?” Leah asked as she went to the door.

“W- Wait!” Ally opened the door fully. “I’ll come!”

Leah shook her head. “In a towel? No, stay here.”

“But…” Ally wilted under Leah’s stare. “I- I don’t want to be alone.”

Leah considered going through Ashley’s clothes and giving Ally some of hers for now, but Leah wasn’t sure if they’d fit. She could get someone else go get Ally’s clothes but they were practically on the other side of the Pokemon Center and she wasn’t sure if they’d hear her even if she yelled.

Maybe Sands could go to the others carrying a note in his mouth? … No, knowing her luck he’d just end up getting kidnapped or something.

Oh, wait a minute.

“Why don’t you let out Amber and-” Maybe having a aggressive bomb Pokemon out wasn’t the best idea. “-Yeah, Amber. Send him out and let him keep you company.”

Even with the suggestion, Ally still looked nervous, so Leah set Sands’ Poke Ball on the bed. After further thought, the Fire Stone joined it.

“If you want Sands, here he is too. If you send him out, just stay away from him, don’t touch him, and let him chew on the Fire Stone or something. I’ll be right back.”

The trip to get clothes wasn’t the most exciting, though Leah did almost have a heart attacked half-way up the stairs when she realized that she had no Pokemon with her and was completely defenseless if a ghost decided to attack. The rest of the trip was spent looking around corners and jumping at every shadow and sound, but she fortunately made it back to her room in one piece.

Amongst the pile of clothes she gave her, Ally chose her day clothes with the explanation that “she didn’t feel tired”.

Two weeks of separation apparently didn’t erase Amber’s memory of Leah as the fire-type greeted her with a cheerful yelp before promptly ignoring her and leaning against Ally’s body. The opposite proved to be the same as Sands, who had claimed Leah’s bed in the name of his Fire Stone, didn’t even growl at Ally whenever the girl glanced in his direction.

Leah and Ally ended up sitting beside each other on Chandelle’s bed with Amber on his trainer’s lap.

Honestly, all Leah wanted to do was go to bed. She was dead tired and not even all the night’s excitement could keep her awake for much longer. However, she did have one thing she needed to do before going to sleep and that concerned Ally.

If she had more time, she would have done it in the morning but she had to face the facts: Ed was still out there and Leah was uncertain of how much time he had left. Ally was found possessed after two days, hungry and dehydrated. The human body couldn’t go without water for about three days and that time was probably much lower when it concerned a kid. If Ed wasn’t found soon, then he could easily die of dehydration before anyone got to him.

Ally must have been with Ed the night the tower went into lockdown. She had to know something. Leah knew the girl was traumatized (though she wasn’t sure if it was because of the ghost or something else) and pushing might not get the best result, but Ed couldn’t wait for much longer.

“What happened at Pokemon Tower?” Leah asked, looking at Ally.

But the girl turned her head away and said nothing.

Leah sighed and while wondering what to do, she started speaking her mind.

“Ed’s still gone and there’s weird ghosts coming out of Pokemon Tower. I don’t know what’s going on; no one does… Pokemon Tower is currently locked up. No one can get in or out. Apparently, this important guy named Fuji is in there, and you and Ed might have been in there too.” She paused, wondering what else to say. “Also, there’s this group called Team Rocket that’s been hanging around. I don’t know what they have to do with this, but they’re here… Look, you’re the only person who can tell us what’s going on. I know you’re… traumatized, but…”

“I- I don’t… really remember,” Ally said, stopping her ceaseless stroking of her Vulpix. Amber looked up with a whine and Ally scratched his head.

“Just… start from where you and Ed got to Lavender Town. Start from there.”

“We got to Lavender… okay, I guess,” Ally started quietly. “We went out looking for ghosts that night…”

“Why that night? Weren’t you tired from the trip?”

“We wanted to catch a ghost-type fast so we could train it quicker. But we didn’t find any. We only walked around Lavender. The next… we decided to go into Pokemon Tower.”

“Isn’t it restricted?”

“W- We snuck in, but we were caught by Mr. Fuji. But he was nice and let us wait around for a ghost.”

“Something happened?”

“Some people showed up…”

“What did they look like?”

“They wore… all black.”

Ally didn’t look like she knew any more information on the people, so Leah asked, “Then what happened? After they showed up?”

“… I don’t really remember,” she said. “They… wanted something and attacked us, but we…” She trailed off, looking like she was about to cry. “Something… went wrong,” she whispered. “Something…”

“What happened to Ed?”

“We got separated. I- I don’t know what happened to him.”

“What about you?

“… I can’t remember anything,” Ally said. “I- I remember parts of it. T- The battle. While we... Mr. Fuji defended us, but M- Marowak-”

A few tears slipped down her cheeks and her lips started to quiver.

Leah had no clue what to do. She had never been good at comforting people, especially when they were crying. Hesitantly, she put a hand on Ally’s small shoulder and said, “You- Uh, it’ll be okay. You’re safe now.”

“B- But M- Marowak-!” Ally started sobbing and to Leah’s dismay, buried her face into Leah’s shoulder. Putting her arms around her, Leah looked down at Amber (who was a bit miffed at being forced to jump off) from above Ally’s head and gave the creature a pleading look.

She didn’t know what to say to comfort her so Leah just said nothing and hoped her embrace would be good enough. Apparently, Ally had many pent up emotions as she just kept crying and crying. When she finally calmed down, she pulled away from Leah and sniffled, her face red and her eyes watery and shiny.

“Er, feeling a bit better?” Leah asked, making a mental note to change shirts as soon as possible.

Ally shook her head. “N- No,” she said, her voice in a breathless whisper.

“… Can I ask one more question?” Leah said, feeing guilty. “You… don’t have to, but-”

“W- What is it?” Ally asked, wiping her eyes with the bottom of her shirt.

“As far as you know, Ed never made it out of the tower?”

“I- I don’t know. I was- W- We were at the top of the tower, something just… M- Marowak just… got up and then we were attacked by g- ghosts. I don’t remember anything after that.”

That was a bit confusing, but as far as Leah could tell, it was unlikely that Ed got out. If he had, then he should have been found by now, right? But that begged the question: how had Ally gotten out? They were both on the top floor and then Ally loses two days worth of memory. She supposed that Ally got possessed at that time (maybe), but then what? The ghost just took her out of the tower before the lockdown? Why? She supposed human bodies could make interesting shields against the sun and Pokemon like Rotom used objects so they could fight during the day, but…

Leah shook her head, frustrated. Things were so confusing. It didn’t help that her body was demanding sleep. She desperately wanted to give in, but she couldn’t until the problem was solved. And that problem was that Ed was still out there. She didn’t want to suddenly see his dead body on the news. Would he be able to survive another night without food and maybe water? And that wasn’t even considering that Pokemon Tower was the ghost’s home base. Who said that the ghosts hadn’t already…

Letting out a sigh, Leah glanced at Ally.

What was she supposed to do?

There was a knock on the door, breaking Leah out of her thoughts. She got up and opened it, revealing Ashley with her Zubat.

“Hi,” the blond greeted.

“Uh, what are you doing here?” Leah asked, not that she wasn’t happy for the distraction.

Ashley shrugged. “I’m sleeping here, aren’t I?”

Oh, right.

Ashley slipped in past Leah and surveyed the room, her eyes pausing on Amber for a moment. However, she gravitated towards Sands and sat at the edge of Leah’s bed, her Zubat flapping off her shoulder and taking a seat on the headboard.

“Hey, Sands,” the blond said, peering at the Pokemon. “What-cha got there?”

Sands growled, his paws placed protectively around his Fire Stone.

“Don’t touch the Fire Stone,” Leah advised, knowing from personal experience. “He’ll slash you.”

“Your Pokemon are so weird,” Ashley said, her attention drifting to Ally, who hadn’t even looked up at her arrival. The blond turned to Leah.

“So, how is she?”

“… Could be better,” Leah said cautiously. Why was she asking questions when Ally was right there?

“Hm.” With that one question out of the way, Ashley turned her attention away from Ally and asked, “Do you think we’ll be attacked tonight?”

“I don’t know.”

“I hope something’s done about this soon,” the blond said, sighing. “I really don’t like these ghosts. I wonder what Chandelle is going to do with that ghost she caught.”

“That can be decided after all this is done.” Leah yawned. “Aren’t you tired? Why are you still awake?”

Ashley looked around. “The room’s kind of full. Besides, aren’t you scared? I don’t want to be woken up to screaming again. Or worse.”

“We can keep our Pokemon out like last night.”

“Yeah, but… Zu-Zu doesn’t seem to really be good against ghosts and Sands can’t do much without Foresight, right? And Chandelle’s Rotom went nuts. I definitely don’t want it in here with me.”

That was a good point. Not to mention that Zee was in the infirmity. What were they going to do for the night? … Actually, a better question would be what were Ashley and Chandelle going to do. Leah had a feeling that she was going to have to sleep in the same room with Ally, who’s Pokemon were decent fighters.

Damn, it was only now that Leah realized just how pathetic it was for five trainers (minus Ally) to have only eight useable Pokemon between them. Leah and Ashley had an excuse, but what was up with Chandelle, Zach, and Natalie? She got that trainers rarely carried around six Pokemon as they would have to feed them and give each of them attention, but wasn’t it dangerous to travel around with such few Pokemon?

She really was starting to think that she should invest in a third Pokemon. She was still having Sandslash problems, but having a good variety could keep this situation from happening again. Not that she knew what Pokemon she could capture in the area. There were grass-types and flying-types everywhere, but she wanted a more uncommon Pokemon. She didn’t want a Pidgey or a Bellsprout; she’d rather have something like a Mankey or maybe even a Spearow if she found a good one.

Hmm, having a Fearow would be kind of cool. They were pretty big and ripped apart Pokemon with their beaks. Maybe not as fast and cool as a Pidgeot, but they were certainly intimidating-

The lights flickered.

Leah looked up, mirroring Ally and Ashley. When the lights didn’t flicker again, Leah let out a breath only for her heart to jump into her throat when they did it again. Her sudden hopes that it was only a burning out bulb were shattered when the bathroom light also started to turn off and on, with increasing frequency as the seconds ticked past.

Oh, don’t you dare,’ Leah warned the lights as they flickered again, feeling her mood plummet. ‘Don’t you dare-’

The lights seemed to be trying their best to stay lit, but they got dimmer and dimmer until with one last solitary flicker of light, they, along with the whole Pokemon Center, went dark.


-


A/N: At least the chapter didn’t take five months this time, right guys? ;_;

I was going to update a few weeks ago, but then I suddenly realized that I had an essay due in three days that I hadn’t even started and as soon as I got that done I was ambushed by exams. The chapter was much longer than even this, but I moved a scene and a half to the next chapter, so hopefully it won’t take as long for me to update as this time.

Thanks for being so patient with me, and I hope you enjoyed the chapter!
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  #381    
Old April 15th, 2011 (05:19 PM).
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delongbi
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Creepy chapter. I'm curious to see what's up with ghosts in this town. Missingno maybe??? Guess I'll have to wait and see. I'm also pretty worried about Ed right now, and for some reason Leah- I feel like she's about to get into trouble...

I'm really excited for all this plot to come together- I have no idea how its going to happen- but I'm sure it'll be pretty awesome. You've got a great buildup going.

This is a bit of a warning- careful when you start to have so many characters. I know the story's constantly bouncing around in your head, but us readers don't have that advantage. It's pretty easy to forget what's up with each of the characters when there are such long gaps between posted chapters. Same goes with several plot lines.

Someone recently recommended this to me, and I'm going to pass on the recommendation: Doing a Previously... summary bit before each chapter to remind us what's going on would be extremely helpful in remembering new characters and all the plotlines that are happening.
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  #382    
Old April 18th, 2011 (10:29 AM).
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pikakip
The original DarkHeart
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: in a luxury ball
Age: 18
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Well, at least Ally didn't wake up and attack them all whilst posessed.

Great chapter Dagzar, I had a good time reading it. It had a bit of a battle, Ally is awake, Chandelle has a new pokemon....o.o...thing, and the best part, Sands was in this one! XD Kind of interesting that Em is acting so weird... did the Ghost plate affect all of the ghosts in Lavender town? Odd....Anyway, I went back over that PM, and it's sooo close! only a few chapters! Anyway, great as Always Dagzar, I'm really looking forward to the next thrilling installment of Mentor!
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  #383    
Old April 18th, 2011 (07:43 PM).
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Dagzar
The Dreamer
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: In my dreams.
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Thanks for reviewing, guys! I’m glad you both liked the chapter.

Quote:
This is a bit of a warning- careful when you start to have so many characters. I know the story's constantly bouncing around in your head, but us readers don't have that advantage. It's pretty easy to forget what's up with each of the characters when there are such long gaps between posted chapters. Same goes with several plot lines.
You’re right, I keep forgetting how long the gaps are between updates and it’s not like this is fanfiction.net, where you can just quickly jump to other chapters to get caught up again. I remember you advised me on this before and I apologize for forgetting. <_<

I’ll make sure to put up a note next time, for sure.

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Anyway, I went back over that PM, and it's sooo close! only a few chapters!
Heh, judging by the way my update rate has been, ‘a few chapters’ means eight months later. Though, I do want to say that anything I’ve told you in PM is not set in stone as chapters and the Pokemon the trio might catch are constantly changing. It’s a bit annoying, but it’s hard to decide those types of things, especially since I’m being very careful at what Pokemon are caught; both to help with future plotlines and to make sure I can write the Pokemon easily (unlike Parasect, who is slow and annoying).
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"After being saddled with two ten-year-old brats and being sent out on her long overdue Pokemon journey, she can’t help but wonder… is it worth it?"
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Old June 10th, 2011 (07:53 PM).
Dagzar's Avatar
Dagzar
The Dreamer
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: In my dreams.
Gender: Female
Nature: Relaxed
Since some people have been requesting it:

Last time… on Mentor! Leah found Ally, but she won’t wake up due to possession by a black ghost. While trying to get it out of her, Leah is able to tap into the ghost’s mind and is hit with the knowledge that the ghosts were evil. After a fight with the ghost, which Chandelle catches, Leah takes Ally to her room and the girl explains she doesn’t know much about what happened. However, just when Ashley joins their discussion, the power goes out.




Mentor
Chapter 53: The Haunted, part one

-



“I think the power’s gone out,” Leah said, putting a hand on the wall so she didn’t trip as she made her way to the door.

“What are we going to do?” Ashley’s voice said. “Did the ghosts do it?”

That was Leah’s first thought too but she couldn’t jump to conclusions.

“I don’t know.”

“Zu-Zu, come here!”

Wings flapped in the darkness and Leah heard Ashley stand up.

“Stay where you are,” Leah said. “I’m opening the door.”

The hallway was just as dark as the room, but quiet. The Pokemon Center was nearly empty and Leah could feel that fact more than ever now.

Trying not to curse, Leah turned back her room. “We should go find the others,” she said. “Maybe they’re still in the lobby.”

“How are we going to get there,” Ashley’s voice said near Leah’s elbow, causing the older girl to jump. “It’s dark.”

“I’ll deal with it.”

Leah pushed passed Ashley and slowly navigated the room, only moving normally when her hand met with her bed.

“Sands,” she said, feeling his spikes. The spikes flared in warning, but she ignored it, running her hand down his arm, avoiding the claws. “I need the Fire Stone.”

The Sandslash let out a rumble, only for it to turn into a growl when Leah grabbed the stone from between his claws. She immediately backed away, hoping that Sands wouldn’t decide to attack the person who just stole his prized possession.

“Are you alright, Ally?” she asked, coming up beside her.

A very quiet, “I’m fine,” was the response.

“I need Amber to use Ember on the Fire Stone. Can you do that?”

Cold hands touched hers, and Leah was too surprised to stop Ally from taking the Fire Stone. There was a shuffling noise and Ally said, “Amber, Ember.”

A small spark of fire lit up the room as Amber gently blew on the Fire Stone which was held out in Ally’s hand. The orange and yellow patterns on the stone started to glow and when the flame ended, continued to brighten until it shone like a star.

“Wow,” Ashley said. “It’s pretty.”

Leah had a different concern. “Did you burn yourself?” she asked, taking the stone from Ally.

Ally quietly shook her head.

“Uh, thanks, then,” Leah said. The stone grew hot as Leah wrapped both hands around it, admiring its warmth. “Just… don’t do it with your hands next time, okay?”

“We should leave now,” Ashley reminded her.

Nodding, Leah said, “Okay, let’s go.”

Ally and Amber joined Ashley at the doorway as Leah tried to convince Sands to get up.

“C’mon Sands. I’m not leaving you here.” She wiggled the Fire Stone in front of him. “You want this, right? Then follow me.”

Looking at her like she was the most annoying person in the world, Sands reluctantly got up.

The march down the hallway wasn’t too long. Leah was in the middle with Ally and Ashley to both sides. Amber was trotting beside Ally and Sands clawed feet could be heard behind them. The light from the Fire Stone was comforting, but Leah couldn’t help but to feel uneasy. She didn’t know if the light would be enough to keep a ghost away if one attacked, not to mention that she didn’t know how long it would last. Having Amber along definitely helped, but it wasn’t like he could really battle if they came across a ghost. If a single fire attacked missed, she was afraid that they’d accidently burn down the Pokemon Center.

Either way, Leah needed to find the others as soon as she could.

The lobby was empty. Even the nurse was gone from her desk.

Leah turned to Ashley.

“Ashley, do you know where everyone is?”

“Chandelle left soon after you did,” she said. “Then Zach and Natalie said they were going to bed before I left.”

Unfortunately, Leah didn’t know where Zach and Natalie’s room was and when she asked Ashley, the blond didn’t know either. There was no point in thinking about Chandelle; she could be anywhere.

“… What are we going to do?” Ashley asked.

“I don’t know,” Leah said honestly. Maybe they should go back to their room and barricade the door? It wouldn’t do much against an intangible attacker, but at least it’d be better than standing out in the open. Who knows, maybe even Chandelle would show up if they stayed in the same place.

Ashley and Ally’s sombre faces glowed in the fire-like light and Leah realized that they were both waiting for her to make a decision. Even the fickle Ashley wasn’t going off on her own.

Both of them were relying on her.

The added weight of responsibility on her shoulders made Leah’s mind race as she looked around for something useful. That’s when she noticed Sands. He wasn’t growling or being annoyingly passive-aggressive. He was just staring at the wall separating the Pokemon Center from the outside, his ears pointed straight up. A quick look to Amber confirmed that the Vulpix was mirroring the ground-type, his six tails, for once, still.

There were blinds over all the windows except the glass door, which showed the utter blackness of the outdoors. But there was something off about it; it was lighter outside than it should. Was someone outside with a flashlight?

Leah approached the door and stared beyond the glass into the glowing white gazes of the ghosts. They were outside, surrounding the door, and their grins were wide. Past them, were even more ghosts, just hovering around.

Unable to believe her luck, Leah stood frozen, not knowing what to do. If they weren’t so close, she would have thought her eyes were playing tricks on her, but there was no mistaking it.

They really were under attack.

Face white, Leah got away from the grinning faces as fast as she could and looked around wildly. There was no way she wanted to stay in the Pokemon Center now, but she couldn’t go outside, right? What was she supposed to do?!

Finally, her eyes locked onto the door behind the nurse’s desk. With a surge of adrenaline, she heaved herself over the desk and pounded on the door.

“Hey, is anyone there?! Hello!”

There was no reply, but just when Leah was about to shout again, the nurse from an hour ago popped her head in.

“I’m sorry about the power outage,” the nurse said with a touch of annoyance. “I’m trying to fix it as best I can, but-”

Leah cut her off. “Hey,” she said, pointing at the door. “There’s a bunch of ghosts outside. Do you have anything to drive them away?”

“What?”

“Look! I don’t want those ghosts getting inside!”

The nurse peered past Leah and finally noticed the white-eyed ghosts peering inside. Her eyes grew wide.

“I- I don’t have anything,” she stuttered, suddenly looking a lot younger and secure. “Those ghosts-”

“They’re not nice ghosts,” Leah told her. “They’re the ones that killed the guy last night.”

The nurse stared at her. “W- What am I supposed to do?”

Leah nearly threw up her hands in frustration. Why was she asking her? She was fifteen? How the **** was she supposed to know?

“If you have any Pokemon, send them out,” she said. “And- I don’t know- make sure everyone in bed is awake! Make sure everyone knows.”

Nodding her head, the nurse unlocked the cubby door that separated the desk from the lobby, and took out two Poke Balls as she rounded the corner.

Leah had a stray thought of raiding the nurse’s office, but shoes slapping the floor of the hallway caused Leah to turn. Chandelle appeared, looking a bit short of breath and her hair in disarray.

“There’s something outside,” she said.

“Yeah,” Leah said, abandoning the office and shepherding the ten-year-olds and the Pokemon towards Chandelle. “There’s ghosts outside. A lot of them!”

“There’s a back door this way,” Chandelle said, taking command as she led them down another hallway.

“How do you know?”

“I checked the exits as soon as we got here.”

“Do you think anyone else sees what’s going on?” Ashley asked.

“Maybe,” Leah said. “But they’re not really making any noise.”

“Where’s Zach and Natalie?” Chandelle asked.

“They went back to their room,” Ashley said.

Leah looked towards Chandelle. “Should we warn them?”

Chandelle let out a breath and shook her head. “There’s not enough time.”

The hallway ended at a red door. Over it, the word ‘EXIT’ glowed brightly in the darkness. Chandelle went out first and Leah held the door open for the two girls, shivering in from the cold night air. As soon as Sands shuffled out, Leah let the door close and re-joined the others. The Fire Stone’s light revealed a long narrow alley, just bit enough to hold a garbage dumpster, that obstructed their view of one end of the alley. Leah looked down the other way and swore.

Ghosts were floating past the alleyway entrance, their eyes like flashlights. They were such a sight that Leah couldn’t help but remember the documentary she watched at home, the one about the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean, where the fish were colorless and freakish, and the only light came from the lures anglerfish sent out. It was an almost dreamlike feeling and Leah held the Fire Stone tighter.

“We have to get out of here,” Leah whispered.

“There are ghosts at both ends of the alley,” Chandelle said grimly, peering behind the dumpster. “We’re trapped.”

Ashley was prying at the door with her fingernails, but with no handle, the door was impenetrable. “It won’t open!” she gasped out.

Leah looked around until her gaze settled on Amber. “Chandelle,” she said without looking up. “Where are we going?”

“Anywhere but here.”

“Nothing more specific than that?”

She hesitated. “The stores all down the street are covered with Spell Tags. Even if none of them are open, we could break in and take shelter there.”

“Which direction?”

She pointed past the dumpster.

“Okay.” Leah turned to Ally. “Ally, we need Amber’s Flamethrower. We need light on the street that way.”

Ally nodded and she went first as they all squeezed past the dumpster and stood at the mouth of the alley. The ghosts were turning towards them, shining them with the light of their attention when Amber released some light of his own.

The flame was brilliant and bright, and Leah briefly closed her eyes to spare herself the pain. Then the light vanished, and suddenly she was running across the street with her eyes still burning from the afterimage. She couldn’t see anything and nearly tripped on the curb, but someone grabbed her hand and pulled her up.

“We need more light. The stone isn’t enough!” Chandelle ordered and Leah leaned on the side of the building, shielding her eyes from another display of fire.

“It’s locked,” Ashley said, jiggling the door knob.

“That’s fine,” Chandelle said, and there was a moment of silence before something hit the door hard.

“It didn’t open...”

Chandelle growled. “It’s too strong. Leah! We need your Sandslash’s Swift to break the glass.”

Suddenly, an alarm went off across the street at the Pokemon Center, piecing the air with its echoing ring. Leah winced and tried not to pay attention, instead yelled to Sands, “Sands, break the glass with Swift!”

Ashley let out an exclamation of surprise and then the glass shattered, the sound briefly overcoming the alarm.

“That’s not enough,” Chandelle said. “We need more.”

“Sands, Swift!”

Pieces of glass tinkled as they dropped onto the ground and just when Leah thought her part was done, hands were suddenly upon her.

“We need your jacket.”

Leah gave it up without a fight and by then her sight was retuning, the blackness being replaced with slightly lighter blackness, but it was allowing her to see a shadowy figure throwing her jacket over the bits of glass that had landed inside what appeared to be a clothing store. Once that was done, Leah was led to the hole in the glass, warned to “be careful” by Chandelle and was sent climbing onto the raised dais and into the shop. Ashley was next, then Ally, and Chandelle and Amber took up the rear.

The inside of the store was dark, only lit by the Fire Stone, whose glow was diminishing as the seconds past.

“The glass is broken,” Ashley said, Leah barely able to hear her over the alarm. “Can’t the ghosts get in now?”

“We can hold them off from here,” Chandelle replied, picking up her own jacket from the pile and shaking bits of glass off. “Unlike the Pokemon Center, the ghosts can’t come through the walls. We’re safe here.”

“For how long?” Leah asked, taking a seat against a wall. “Are we going to stay here all night?”

“If we have no other choice.”

The alarm was suddenly silenced, but the sound still rang in Leah’s ears.

“What was that?” Ashley asked, peering across the street. “A fire alarm?”

“It must be,” Chandelle said, following her gaze.

“There’s no fire.”

“That nurse must have pulled it,” Leah said, and for Chandelle’s benefit, added, “I talked to a nurse before you came and warned her about the ghosts.”

Chandelle shook her head. “I can see the reasons for pulling it, but if her goal was to wake people up, then there are much better ways to do it. People will only panic from this and run out into the ghosts.”

“… Doesn’t pulling the alarm also call the fire department?” Leah said. “Do you think they’ll come?”

“I don’t see why not.”

“That’d be great…” Ashley said, sighing wistfully. “Then maybe the police would come.”

“Could they even handle something like this?” Leah asked. “We’re trainers and even we had trouble against a single ghost.”

“The police aren’t incompetent,” Chandelle said. “Living so near to ghosts must make them used to dealing with them. If they were aware of the situation, they would be an assist.”

Leah turned away from the conversation and looked out the broken window, seeing the white light of the ghosts’ return. They stayed away from the store, but Leah could see their eyes staring in their direction. One of them came closer, and she felt a growl starting to work its way up Sands’ throat as he pressed against her side. She patted his spiked back, shifting to dislodge the sharper spines, but kept her eyes locked on the ghost which was slowly floating closer.

Just when she was about to ask for another Flamethrower, a bright light surged up from behind the Pokemon Center, causing the ghost (and all the others) to flee.

“What is it?” Leah asked.

“… I think it’s Zach’s Charmeleon,” Chandelle said, standing beside her.

The theory was proven when correct when only seconds later, Zach leapt out of the alley, Natalie and his Charmeleon close behind him. He looked around wildly until Ashley stuck her head out the window and yelled, “Over here!”

In record time, Zach had crossed the street and was pushing Natalie through the window, only jumping in himself when his Charmeleon was safely across.

“Are you all right?” Chandelle asked them as they got to their feet.

“We’re fine,” Natalie said, looking pale even in the dim light. “How about you?”

“Fine.”

“Did you guys pull the alarm?” Zach asked.

“No, a nurse did it, we think,” Ashley said in lieu of an explanation. “Did you guys cause that light?”

Zach nodded as he knelt down to pat his Charmeleon. “Yeah,” he said, inspecting the tiny flame on his Pokemon’s tail. “Good thing you guys were here or I don’t think we could have gotten away. Flash takes a lot out of him.”

“We almost didn’t notice the ghosts were there at all,” Natalie said in a hushed whisper. “If the alarm didn’t go off, we’d probably still be in there.”

“Was there anyone else in the Pokemon Center?” Chandelle asked.

He shook his head. “We didn’t see anyone. You’d think there would be more people, but I guess we really were the only people there.”

“You didn’t even see a nurse?” Leah asked.

“No.” He looked at her. “Do you think one’s still in there?”

“I don’t know. I’m pretty sure she pulled the alarm, though.”

Zach looked deep in thought.

“Don’t you think this is too close to the Pokemon Center?” he said. “With all the ghosts around it, it could be dangerous.”

“I don’t think that Pokemon Center is the only place getting attacked,” Chandelle said.

Natalie looked over.

“What makes you say that?”

“It doesn’t make sense. What can they gain from it? Whatever they’re doing, I don’t think they have a specific target. If we’re getting attacking, then so is everyone else.”

“Then we need to think of a plan,” Zach said. “I don’t think we’ll be able to stay here for long. We’re all too tired from last night.”

“Can you really not stay awake?” Chandelle asked.

“I doubt it. I guess you can?”

Chandelle nodded in confirmation.

Zach frowned.

“Okay, no offensive, but I’m not going to sleep with only one person standing guard. On a completely different night without all these circumstances, then sure. But not now. This place isn’t safe.”

“The ghosts are attacking everyone. Even if we moved, it won’t change anything.”

“You don’t know for sure the ghosts are all over Lavender Town. They could be only attacking this Pokemon Center. They killed that one guy last night and it didn’t happen to any of the other Pokemon Centers.”

Now Chandelle sounded annoyed.

“Why would the ghosts only attack us-”

A shuffling sound cause Leah to look over to see Ally had taken a seat beside her. The girl had her hands folded and her head down, but between strands of black hair, Leah could see Ally looking at her.

“What’s wrong,” she asked, ignoring the other conversation going on.

Very quietly, Ally asked, “What about E- Ed?”

“… What about him?”

“He’s still in the tower!” she said in a sudden increase of volume, leaning close. “I- If all the ghosts are in town, does that mean that the tower is empty?”

Leah hadn’t thought of that. “… I don’t think they’re all here,” she said.

“But look outside! There’s so many. Even if there’s some ghosts, Amber can take care of them. I just…” Her lip quivered, but she ploughed on, “I need to get to E- Ed and make sure he’s okay! He- What if he’s hurt and needs help? The ghosts aren’t going to stay out here forever. I need to go now.”

“How are you going to get through those ghosts?” Leah asked. “It’s a long way from here to the tower. Amber doesn’t have that much fire.”

“I- I have Sparks too. He can make light better than Amber can.”

That was true, but still…

Leah looked out the window, eyeing the ghosts as they floated past. They glanced in her direction but she just glared when they met her gaze.

It was an almost half-an-hour walk to Pokemon Tower, but Leah had only been there once and not in the dark. Not only that, but they’d be practically blind compared to the ghosts, who could sense their emotions from a mile away. Even then, Leah didn’t think she could walk for half-an-hour straight, not in her sleep-deprived condition. She’d probably end up walking into a post or something.

“Maybe we could steal a car,” Leah wondered out loud.

Ally gave her an astonished look.

“Y- You’re coming?”

“Yeah,” Leah said, feeling a bit confused. “Why wouldn’t I?”

“Y- You’ve never been…” Ally looked away, “the most proactive person, I- I guess.”

Leah could admit that she was lazy, but she wasn’t inactive. She had done a lot since she was on her journey: explored an abandoned house and power plant, crawled through an icy cave, fought a killer and thief (okay, one was more of a conversation than a battle, but that counted), and gotten involved in a mystery that seemed to be half conspiracy theory. That was pretty good for a three month trip.

“I’ve done tons of stuff.”

“W- We’ve always had to ask though,” she whispered. “You never come with us when we ask you to and when you do you’re really quiet a- and… cold.”

… She had never thought about it like that, but she didn’t actually go looking for mysteries and adventures, did she? Not including the power plant, every other experience was done either reluctantly or accidently. She didn’t mean to get into the troubles she did and before Cerulean, always avoided it. Now that she thought about it, she was surprised that she actually attended the two kids’ gym matches. How many times had they asked her to come with them when exploring and she refused?

“This is different,” Leah finally said. “This is important.”

Ally gave her a hurt look.

“The other times were important to us.

“… We can talk later,” Leah said, not meeting the girl’s eyes. “Your- your right, we need to do this now.”

“- Ghosts aren’t logical,” Zach was saying as Leah turned back to the argument. “They’re emotional. You can’t judge them like a human-”

“Ghosts are the most intelligent type of Pokemon aside from psychics and dragons,” Chandelle fired back. “A very possible theory, in fact, is that some ghosts do form from humans-”

Leah stood up and stepped between the two, effectively quelling their argument and gaining everyone’s attention.

“Hey,” she started. “So, me and Ally have decided to go to Pokemon Tower to rescue our friend and Fuji, if we find him. I know it’s stupid, but if all the ghosts are out here, that means that the tower is pretty much empty, right? So, now’s the chance to go storm it.”

To their credit, no one started objecting until she was done.

“You’re tired, it’s dark, and the ghosts will not let you get close to the tower,” Chandelle said, her tone irate.

“Aren’t you tired?” Natalie asked. “None of us have slept and you must be dead on your feet. I know I am.”

Zach frowned. “The stakes aren’t good. Maybe if we got a full night’s rest, but now…”

“I’m coming,” Ashley declared, stepping away from the others and coming over to Leah’s side.

Leah blinked. “You are?”

“I’m not missing this,” she said. “I know I’m not a good trainer but Zu-Zu and I can help. Besides, I’m not that tired.”

Natalie hesitated. “I really think this is too dangerous-”

“I’ll go too,” Zach said.

“What? Zach!”

“Sorry, Nats,” he said, looking apologetic. “But she’s right. This could be the only chance to get into Pokemon Tower and no one else seems to be doing anything. We have to try.”

Natalie looked at him for a long few seconds before nodding and saying, “Then if you go, I’ll go too.”

“You’re tired. You don’t have to come.”

She shook her head.

“No, I want to. I- I might not make it all the way to the tower, but I want to help as much as I can. You need backup. You only have one Pokemon and I have two. There’s a better chance of getting there if I come.”

And then there was one. Everyone looked at Chandelle, who stood alone with a grimace on her face.

“I have no protection against ghosts,” she said bitterly. “I can’t stay here by myself.”

“Maybe if you find an unlocked shop that will let you in?” Ashley said.

“No, that’ll take too long.” She sighed. “If we’re all leaving, we should do it now.”

Everyone nodded and went to get their things while Leah looked at Ally and said, “We’ll get Ed back, all right?”

She looked away, her eyes looking a bit red. “Y- Yeah.”

“But first,” she said, holding out the Fire Stone. “I need another Ember on this. We’ll need all the light we can get.”

This time the Ember was done on the floor, Amber being very careful not to set the carpet on fire. After the Fire Stone was fully bright, it was time to leave.

“I’ll go first,” Zach said, standing next to the broken window. “We’ll have to be careful so once we’re out, send out all the Pokemon you have.”

They nodded and one by one, climbed through the hole and stood outside. Chandelle was the last one out and after which the remaining Pokemon were released. The flashes of materialization were brief but Leah saw nearby ghosts shield away from the light and wondered if it could be used as a weapon.

Ivysaur shivered in the cold night air while Furret scampered up Natalie’s body and perched on her shoulders like an adorable, if furry, scarf. When no other Pokemon were sent out, Leah asked Ally, “What about Sparks?”

Ally hesitated, holding a Poke Ball.

“Sparks is…”

“Is he still misbehaving? I thought you fixed that?”

“No, it’s not that,” Ally defended. “I- It’s just… Sparks is still getting used to… his new body.”

Leah thought she had misheard at first, and then blinked.

“He… evolved?”

She nodded.

“H- He’s behaving and everything, but he keeps running into things and shocking himself.” She paused. “T- The nurses at the Pokemon Center said that’s normal, but I’m not sure…”

“Keep him in the Poke Ball for now,” Leah said. “You can send him out if we need him.”

Everyone else was staring at them, but Leah waved them off and said, “Let’s go before the ghosts start swarming.”


-


On the top floor of Pokemon Tower, Ed could see the entire town from his spot by the window. It was dark now, but it had nothing to do with the time. Half-an-hour ago, all the lights in Lavender Town went black and the power outage even hit the tower. He didn’t mind though; it just allowed him to see what was happening much clearer. Every once in a while, flashing lights with a variety of colors lit up parts of the town. Just a few minutes ago, a bright blue beam shot into the sky. He thought it was an Ice Beam, but it could have been something else. There were a lot of attacks he didn’t know.

He just hoped the ghosts were losing. All day he had noticed the ghosts exiting the tower in big groups and not coming back. It made him wonder if he could walk right out of the tower. If there were no ghosts waiting around, did that mean the tower was defenceless?

However, he didn’t think he’d be able to get out anyways. The black-cloaked woman had been trying and she wasn’t doing too well.

“You can’t open that door,” Fuji said, physically blocking the Team Rocket member’s path. “If you do, the protection around this room will be broken.”

Ed watched the two, feeling drowsy. He had slept lots already, but he still felt tired. It didn’t help that Fuji and the woman kept arguing, but this was the first time the woman was actually trying to do something.

The candles that Fuji had set up flickered as the woman sneered, saying, “I think I’ve spent enough time hanging around. You think you can stop me if I want to leave?”

At cue, the Houndoom growled at its trainer’s side, its yellow eyes flashing.

Fuji’s face didn’t change, but he did take a step back, holding up his hands. “The ghosts will overwhelm you as soon as you leave,” he said. “And even then, Marowak will still be out there.”

Almost like she didn’t hear what he said, the woman put her hand to her chin in mock thought. “How about you make a choice, hmm?” she said. “Either you get out of my way and I leave through that door, or I break one of your pretty windows? I’ll fly if I have too.”

“It doesn’t matter what you do, the ghosts will not let you leave the tower.”

The woman crossed her arms. “And how do you know that? Have you met one of these weird ghosts before?”

“They are not ghosts,” Fuji said sternly. “You can consider them a physical manifestation of negative emotion. Maybe they were Pokemon and ghost-types before, but now they’re something entirely different.”

“Pokemon just don’t change species like that,” the woman said, but seemed to be listening for once.

“Ghost-types do. From whatever they were before their death to what they are now. They constantly change states from gasses to solids, and as such, they are very malleable, especially from emotions.”

The woman looked at him.

“You’re not making much sense…”

“How aren’t I?” Fuji snapped back. “Ghosts thrive on emotions; it’s the only way they can continue to exist. The Ghost Plate is a link specifically for ghost-types. Any Pokemon who holds it gains a direct connection to all ghost species. What do you think Marowak was thinking and feeling when you killed her like that? Now all the ghosts in Lavender Town can feel her pain and hate,” he spat, his knuckles turning white. “What else could they do but become those twisted things out there?”

Fuji took in a breath to calm down, but when he spoke, a trace of anger could still be heard.

“You won’t get out because Marowak knows you and your friends were the cause of her death. She won’t stop until she sees all of you dead.”

“Then what’s stopping you from leaving?” the woman asked, sneering at him again though it seemed a bit half-hearted. “Afraid that your Marowak will decide you weren’t a good enough trainer?”

“… That is not my Marowak out there,” he said, visibly restraining his anger. “Perhaps she’ll remember and not harm me, but I have no way to be sure. Even then, what would she do to me if not death? Even if I am allowed to walk out of this tower, I doubt it will be with all my mental capabilities intact.”

The Houndoom growled again, causing the woman to put a calming hand on its back. “Then what do you suggest we do?” the woman asked. “Die in here? Help isn’t coming.”

“We cannot go out there,” Fuji repeated.

“What about him?” The woman pointed to Ed, who flinched. “While it’s all fine and good to wait for help, do you think the boy could last another night here? Will you feel satisfied if help does come for you, only to find the boy has died? I’m surprised that he hasn’t starved already.”

Fuji looked pained as he tried not to look in Ed’s direction. “You cannot fight those ghosts,” he said. “You fought them before and couldn’t do a thing to them. You couldn’t even attack Marowak.”

“Better to die standing than laying down in defeat,” the woman said, flicking a maroon curl over her shoulder. “I’ve had enough of this. I will not spend another night here. Houndoom.”

The Houndoom paced forward, making Fuji back away until his back hit the door.

“Bone!”

The fire-type’s head snapped to the side, locking eyes with Cubone’s. The ground-type looked skinny and scared, having spent most of its time hiding under the altar, but its determination was apparent as it held its small white club in front of it like a sword.

“It’s still alive?” the woman said out loud, her eyebrows rising.

“Cubone, get back,” Fuji said, his eyes wide. “I can deal with this myself.”

Cubone ignored him, focusing on the Houndoom.

Ed also watched the fire-type, remembering how it easily ripped Marowak apart. How could a Cubone win when a Marowak couldn’t?

“Fuji,” the woman said, turning to him. “Last chance, get out of my way or I’ll have Houndoom eat your Cubone. After that, you’ll be next.”

“Don’t,” Fuji growled. “You-”

“Get away from the door.”

“No-”

The woman turned to her Houndoom. “Get it! Crunch.”

“No!”

Ed couldn’t concentrate very well, but he didn’t have to as his body moved on its own, pulling out one of his Poke Balls and using his remaining strength to throw it near the battle. A flash of light announced the arrival of Coralie, who was unaffected by the two day starvation and completely healthy.

As soon as the Ditto touched the ground, she was already transforming. Standing up on four paws, the Houndoom-look-alike didn’t much look like the Houndoom opposing it. Her fur was more gray than black, the horns were only partially grown, and she had no tail. She also looked sickly and pinkish drool dripped down her mouth as the Pokemon experimentally opened her jaw.

While he and Ally had spent the last two weeks mostly travelling, he had taken a considerable amount of time training Coralie to Transform faster, even in spite of her accident at Misty’s gym. Using the Pokemon in the area as test subjects, Ed found that Coralie didn’t have to transform all the way to battle, and doing so cut down on her transformation time. Some Pokemon, like flying and water-types, had to be transformed all the way to fly and swim properly but other Pokemon, like Raticate and grass-types, only needed to be partially formed. As long as the main body was created, Coralie could use most of the Pokemon’s attacks, even if she did look weird doing it. However, Ed hadn’t had the time to do tests with other Pokemon, so he wasn’t sure if a partial-Houndoom would work.

The Houndoom paused, turning to him. So did the woman, frowning, but Ed didn’t feel like listening to what she had to say.

“Coralie!” he said. “Flamethrower.”

The Ditto took a few steps forward, testing its balance before breathing in and blowing out a steady stream of fire.

Even under the circumstances, Ed couldn’t help but feel proud. The attack was working!

However, the Houndoom didn’t seem intimidated at all, as it let the heat and flames slip over it, not even trying to get out of the way. Coralie couldn’t hold it for long and as soon as the fire died down, the Houndoom looked up, its eyes glowing red.

“Houndoom,” the woman spoke, smiling. “Show him how it’s done. Flamethrower.”

Coralie’s fire couldn’t even compare to the fire that leapt out of the fire-types mouth. It was double the size and it looked like even the Houndoom itself was having trouble controlling it. Without any command, Coralie leapt out of the way, landing awkwardly a couple feet away, but the fire went on, passing Ed and hitting the opposite wall. Close by spell tags burst into flames from the heat and Ed backed away, feeling the sweltering heat ghost his bare arms and face.

“You’re ruining the barrier!” Fuji exclaimed, watching in horror as the wall burned.

The woman only watched expressionlessly. “Huh,” she said. “I guess that was a bit much.”

The light hurt, so Ed covered his face and moved away from both the fire and the two other people. Instead, he walked up to Cubone, who was eyeing the doors. He picked up the Pokemon and held him in his arms awkwardly, not sure how to hold a fussing and annoying Cubone.

“Ow.” Ed winced as the Pokemon hit his arm with the point of its skull. “Stop it.”

The Cubone struggled some more before stilling, laying limp in Ed’s arms.

Looking over at the two adults revealed that they were arguing but Ed didn’t have the energy to care. Instead, he looked at the fire that was eating the wall and wondered when the ghosts were going to get there. Ghosts were weak to light, weren’t they? Then he supposed that they wouldn’t come until the fire was done burning.

But what were they supposed to do now? There was a hole in the barrier. There wasn’t anywhere else to go, right? So… They were done for. Unless they went downstairs, but Marowak was down there, and he didn’t think the Marowak would like them downstairs. The black-cloaked woman wanted to leave by fighting the Marowak, but could that work? She couldn’t attack it before. But that was the only option. Ed knew his own Pokemon wouldn’t be able to do much. Coralie was still hurt and Parasect…

Parasect. That could work.

But it still wasn’t enough. He needed… more support. Coralie wasn’t enough. Parasect wasn’t fast enough to do all the work by himself. That meant he needed the woman’s Pokemon. She killed Marowak, though. She was the reason they were there.

He really hated it. He just wanted her to-

No. Maybe later, but right now, he needed her Pokemon. He wanted to leave the tower. He didn’t want to die.

“That was our only protection against the ghosts,” Fuji was telling the woman. “Without it, we’re sitting ducks.”

“I’m leaving, anyway,” she said, flipping her hair over her shoulder. “It’s not like I care. Houndoom, we’re leaving now. Stop playing with the Ditto.”

The Houndoom looked up from the glare it was giving Coralie and trotted over to its trainer’s side.

“Wait.”

The woman turned to Ed.

“If you really want me to fight you, then I don’t mind burning you as I go out the door.”

“No,” Ed said, swallowing his anger. “Let- Let me help you.”

The woman seemed taken aback.

Ed pressed on. “You can’t leave here without getting past Marowak and Mr. Fuji said you can’t. So you’ll have to defeat it. We can’t stay here anymore, the only thing we can do is leave now. We’re in this together.”

“I’m with no one,” the woman said coolly. “I don’t need some rookie trainer helping me out.”

“I have a Parasect,” Ed said. “Do you have a Pokemon that knows Spore? If we can’t defeat it, I can put Marowak to sleep.”

The woman seemed to consider it and then turned her back on him.

“I don’t care what you do. Just stay out of my way.”

Hatred bubbled to the surface and Ed couldn’t stop himself from lunging forward and grabbing her arm.

The Houndoom snarled, but Ed ignored it.

“No!” he snapped to the woman as she tried to pull away from him. “Listen to me! You can’t walk out there and just fight! No! That won’t work! You- You need a plan- a strategy! Those work! I’m eleven and I know those work!”

“Get off!” she said, finally freeing her arm.

Ed continued. “You need me! You can’t do this one your own. So let me help! And- and then you can do want you want. I don’t care what that glass tablet thing was. I don’t care! I just want to get out of here!”

The woman stared at him for a moment before her lips twisted into a cruel smile.

“Fine,” she said. “I’ll… plan with you, but mark my words, this is off once I kill that Marowak once and for all.” She glanced at Coralie and then her Houndoom’s glowing eye, muttering to herself, “Hm, maybe you could be of use...”

“Ed!” Fuji said, his expression pleading. “Fighting Marowak won’t work. You don’t know what she’s capable of.”

“Then I’ll find out,” Ed said, thinking of the broken thing that Marowak now was. “S- She can’t be invincible.”

“… It’s worse,” Fuji said softly, but looked away from Ed’s stare and left him and the woman to decide what to do.


-


To Leah’s surprise, it was Ashley that took the lead with her Zubat on her shoulder. Her knowledge of the streets outstripped everyone else’s, and even the darkness didn’t make her hesitate.

“There’s a lot of roads that go to Pokemon Tower,” she said as they walked. “But this way’s the quickest. I don’t know how much longer it’ll take by walking, but as long as we don’t miss our turn, we’ll be there in no time!”

The ghosts kept their distance. Whether it was from Amber’s Flamethrower or Charmeleon’s Flash, the ghosts got out of their way as soon as a hint of light was displayed. Leah would have relaxed at that, but she knew the ghosts weren’t pushovers. It only made her more nervous that it was so easy. The ghosts grinned at them as they walked past and Leah longed to have her own light-bearing Pokemon, if only to slap that look off their faces.

However, it wasn’t the ghosts that were sapping her energy. Her lack of sleep for the past night was starting to catch up with her and it was starting to get hard to concentrate. Her feet were dragging and every once in a while her focus wavered and blanked out. She started to get scared that she was going to faint if this kept up. Even Ally was noticing and giving her confused looks every time she tipped over something.

At one point, yellow bolts of electricity could be seen arching above buildings in the distance. The lightning made no sound, but the whole display was so far beyond what Leah had ever seen in real life that she couldn’t help but be memorized.

“Isn’t there a Pokemon Center over there?” Natalie asked, as they all stopped to watch.

“I think so,” Ashley said. “What do you think is doing it?”

“Something that big?” Zach said. “It’d have to be something like a Jolteon or an Ampharos. I don’t think a Raichu has that much pure power.”

As they began to walk on, Natalie said, “I hope everyone over there is all right.”

“With something like that, they’re better off than us,” Leah said.

If only they had something as strong as that Pokemon was…

Some time later, Leah finally asked Ashley, “How much longer?”

“I dunno. A while?”

“A few blocks, maybe…?”

She thought for a moment.

“Blocks are like neighbourhoods, right?”

Leah gave up at that point and just resigned herself for a long walk. She was starting to regret volunteering to come. Even if she wanted to help, it wouldn’t matter if she just collapsed as soon as the fighting started.

After another five minutes, Chandelle said, “They’re going to attack.”

Zach snapped his head around to look at her.

“What do you mean?”

“Look at them,” she said quietly, staring at the ghosts from the corner of her eye. “They’re grouping.”

Leah looked closer and while she never really acknowledged the ghosts outside of the fact that they were there, there did seem to be more of them than before. The ghosts weren’t exactly floating alongside them, but it did look like they were trying to surround them.

She glanced over her shoulder and said, “They’re behind us too.”

“We’ll Flash them, then,” Zach said. “Make them scatter.”

“Will your Charmeleon be able to handle it?” Chandelle asked.

Zach turned to his Pokemon.

“What do you say, buddy? Think you can do one more?”

The Charmeleon looked up at him and nodded, swishing his tail in the direction of the ghosts with an expression that could only be described as determination.

“Alright then, this is what we’re going to do,” Zach told everyone. “Once Charmeleon Flashes, run and don’t stop. If ghosts try to get in our way, we’ll have Ally’s Vulpix Flamethrower them.”

The ghosts were getting closer and Leah said, “We need to hurry.”

“Right. Ch-”

The shadowy punch came out of nowhere and hit Zach in the face, sending him reeling back. As Natalie went to Zach’s side, Charmeleon roared, the flame on the tip of his tail growing with the sudden burst of anger, and he let out a blue tongue of fire at the gang of ghosts. However, the ghosts didn’t seem very intimidated and surged forward, phasing through the dragon fire and swarming Charmeleon.

“Sands!” Leah yelled, and her Sandslash uselessly swiped at a ghost with his claw before growling and showering it with a hail of glowing stars. Suddenly, a burst of fire engulfed the ghosts and Amber leapt to Charmeleon’s defence, blowing away any ghost that got in his way.

“Flash!” Zach shouted, holding a hand to his cheek. “Flash now!”

Even with the forewarning, Leah didn’t dare close her eyes, but the explosion of light seemed a bit more accepting this time, as it came with the agonized shrieks of the ghosts. Even with her head pounding, she ignored the pain and the blindness, and ran, yelling, “Run!”

As she ran down the street, she could hear Sands scampering at her heels and the flapping of wings beside her that could only be Zu-Zu.

“Which way do we go?” Ashley asked, panting. “I can barely see.”

“Follow me,” Chandelle said.

“But I can’t see you!”

Despite being half-blind, Leah followed Chandelle and Ashley down the street and around a corner. Their quarrelling was almost a relief, but by then, Leah’s vision was getting spotty and her legs felt so numb they didn’t seem to exist.

She looked behind her and saw no one.

Where was Ally? And Zach and Natalie? Didn’t they run too? Did the ghosts-

Not looking where she was going, Leah tripped and landed hard on the pavement. The fall knocked the breath out of her and she had to take a minute to just breathe. Then she looked up, seeing only darkness and hearing Chandelle and Ashley’s fading voices. They didn’t seem to have noticed she had been left behind. Not even Sands stopped.

Groaning, Leah tried to get to her feet but her legs wouldn’t cooperate. She didn’t think she had ever been this tired in her life. All she wanted to do was to go to sleep…

Cupping her hands around her mouth, Leah shouted, “Chandelle! Ashley!”

There was no answer.

“Sands!”

No one came for her.

Using the Fire Stone as a light source, she looked around for anything to help her. Then she looked up and saw the light of the ghosts’ eyes staring down upon her from the sky above. They were flying as high as the rooftops and they waited like vultures. They must have noticed her staring as some of the ghosts paused and then flew down, seeing an opportunity.

Leah cursed and forced herself to her feet, her legs buckling as she tried to run. Her lungs burned, pleading with her to stop and rest, but that wasn’t an option and she didn’t even want to imagine what those ghosts would do if they caught her.

With barely a sound, a ghost appeared in her path, its eyes and mouth burning white as it grinned and reached out to her with a claw. Leah ducked under it and backed away, knowing that there was no way she could outrun the thing.

“Go away,” she told it, holding the Fire Stone up as a weapon as she quickly reviewed her options. If only she had Zee with her…

The ghost said nothing, only smiling wide and toothless as both claws glowed with Night Shade.

Suddenly, stars of light pieced the darkness, and Sands leapt into action. The ghost made a small sound and went intangible, the Sandslash sailing right through it.

“Sands!” Leah said, smiling. He came back.

Another Swift drove the ghost to the side and Sands slashed at it with his good claw, tearing bits of black mist from its form. In seconds, however, the mist flew around Sands’ claw and reattached itself back onto the ghost, who grinned with more malice than cheer.

“We have to go,” Leah said to her Pokemon. There was nothing Sands could do to the ghost that would cause lasting damage, so fighting wasn’t going to help. They needed to leave and catch up with the group. There was nothing else they could do.

Sands growled in defiance to the idea, but he turned away from the ghost, and so did Leah, only to find she was too late.

The other ghosts had seen the commotion and now surrounded Leah and the Sandslash, each identical to one another. Some started to summon Night Shade while others just flexed their claws or grinned at them, wide mouths gleaming.

She was trapped. What was she supposed to do now?

“Sands,” she said, fear trickling into her voice. “We-”

“Flamethrower!”

The blast of fire sent the ghosts scattering and Leah shielded her face from the flames. The heat was intense, but she could only feel relief.

“Amber, drive them back!” Ally said, and the Vulpix unleashed another Flamethrower at the fleeing ghosts.

“You’re alright,” Leah said. “Where were you?”

Instead of answer, Ally grabbed Leah’s hand and pulled her down the street, towards Pokemon Tower.

“W- We have to go!”

With Amber on the alert, the ghosts left them alone. However, both of them stayed silent until the concrete under their feet turned to dirt and buildings started to replace trees.

“What happened?” Leah finally said. “Where’s Zach and Natalie?”

“Y- You ran, and so did those other two girls, but I couldn’t,” she replied quietly. “I tried, but the ghosts wouldn’t let me leave. So… They- They said they’d hold off the ghosts, and for me to go ahead. I- I don’t know how they’re doing. I ran, and then ran into you.”

Leah looked behind her and only saw nothing. If there was a battle going on, wouldn’t she hear it over the silent streets?

“They’ll be alright,” Leah said. “They’re experienced trainers, so they know what they’re doing.”

“But they only had three Pokemon. A- And the Charmeleon really looked tired…”

“They’re fine. Natalie’s Furret knows Foresight, so it’s not like they have to stick to elemental moves.” Leah gave Ally a smile, but wasn’t sure if she could see it in the dark. “They’ll be fine.”

“I- I hope so.”

Up ahead, there was a muffled yell and through the darkness, Leah could see something flash quickly across her vision before vanishing.

“Hey! Leave us alone!” Ashley’s voice exclaimed. “Zu-Zu, Supersonic!”

Leah and Ally exchanged glances and they both broke into a run. Adrenaline rushed through Leah and gave her a much needed boost to her worn-out body. At her feet, Sands ran at her side, while Amber led the way, a Flamethrower at the ready.

“There!” Leah said, pointing at the ghosts way down the street. “There they are!”

“Amber, Flamethrower!”

Unlike the numerous other times, the flame was small and thin, but it still scorched the air with light, leaving a trail of white and yellow sparks. It illuminated both the ghosts and the scene. Chandelle stood protectively in front of Ashley while the blond commanded the Zubat, the green bat shooting blue rings from its mouth. The ghosts shielded away from the fire and some went as far as to fade into the ground.

“Swift, Sands!”

The stars didn’t do nearly as much damage as the Flamethrower, but it did its part, cutting the ghosts off from their approach on Chandelle and Ashley. Taking the distraction gracefully, Zu-Zu launched another Supersonic and finally managed to hit a couple of the ghosts. The ghosts’ expression changed, the manic grins lessoning until they seemed more like a grimace and the lights of their eyes glowing brighter, like an inner flame was ignited.

Chandelle wasn’t one for words; she only glanced at Leah and Ally before pulling Ashley back and out of the way of the ghosts.

“Where were you?” Ashley asked them.

“Tripped,” Leah said, and even in the midst of battle, she had a hard time taking her eyes away from the ghosts Zu-Zu confused. They were the only ones not moving, instead remaining still, like statues. As she watched, their eyes and mouth began to distort -

“Leah!”

Leah snapped out of it, looked at Ally, and then jumped away from a nearby ghost that took a swipe at her with Night Shade. Sands leapt at it, hitting it with a close-ranged Swift, before stabbing its claw into its side and pulling out black smoke.

On the other side of the battle field, Chandelle looked like she had come to a decision as she pulled out a Poke Ball and said, “Em! Shadow Ball!”

The bright light had closer ghosts flinching back, but the ghost that materialized was not a Rotom.

It was just another black ghost.

Chandelle looked dumbstruck.

“Em…?”

The ghost only flicked a claw at her, encased in white, and sent her flying back. She landed on her side, making a small noise, and was still.

“No!” Ashley yelled. “Zu-Zu!”

The new ghost dodged the supersonic and flew towards Ashley, a ball of molten black energy swarming in its claws.

“Sparks!”

Ally threw a Poke Ball and out flashed a round white and red Pokemon that smirked as the girl screamed, “Charge Beam!”

The electricity that sprouted from the Electrode’s surface had the ghosts backing away and each spark that materialized only made more ghosts flee. The electrical current intensified and gathered into a single point in front of the Pokemon and with one last spark, the beam of electrical light shot down the street, impaling ghosts as it passed. It hit the ghost Chandelle released at point-blank range; the ghost came apart under the onslaught and faded away with the light.

All feel silent, the ghosts having vanished. Then there was a gasp as Ashley made her way over to Chandelle and after a moment’s hesitation, Leah followed.

Chandelle wasn’t moving, her long hair sprayed on the ground and partially over her face.

Ashley knelt at her side, looking pale, saying, “What are we going to do?”

“Is she going to be alright?” Ally asked Leah, standing a few feet back.

“I don’t know,” Leah said reluctantly and finally moved closer. Putting a hand over the older girl’s mouth revealed that she was breathing, thankfully, but with it so dark out, it was hard to tell what injuries Chandelle had. She looked unmarred, but who knew what damage the ghost caused that couldn’t be seen? “It’s too dark to tell.”

Leah looked into the distance where Pokemon Tower would be. Without the lights, the tower was invisible at night, hidden in the shadow of a mountain. She couldn’t see it, but they were close, she was sure of it.

“What are we going to do about the tower?” Leah asked, gaining both of the girls’ attention. “We can’t leave Chandelle here by herself.”

“I’m going,” Ally said and hesitated. “I- It doesn’t matter if I go alone. I need to find Ed. I have Amber and Sparks, so I should be okay.”

Hearing the girl’s unsure tone cemented Leah’s decision.

“I’ll go with you,” she said. “You can’t go alone.”

Strangely, Ally only shook her head, saying nothing.

“What? What’s wrong?”

“I-” Hesitating, she finally said, “You shouldn’t come.”

Leah blinked.

“And… Why not?”

“… You’ve already done enough,” Ally whispered. “You look… really tried. I- I don’t think you can come.”

As the girl said that, Leah could feel the deep-seated numbness in her legs and her overall tired body.

Ally continued, “Even when we get to the tower, it’s… really big. And we’ll be fighting and there’s lots of stairs.” Growing more confident, she said. “I want you to stay here. I- I can do this!”

“You can’t go to the tower alone…” Leah said weakly.

“Then I’ll go,” Ashley said.

Leah looked at the blond. She wanted to both protest and feel relief that Ally wasn’t going in alone. But it was Ashley! Her only Pokemon was a Zubat. How was that supposed to help?

Even so, it looked like there was no other choice.

“… Fine,” she said and knelt down next to Chandelle, taking the remaining two Poke Balls off her belt.

She held them out to the girls, saying, “One of these is the Magneton Chandelle caught. The other… I don’t know what the other is. It could be the ghost she caught a couple of hours ago, but…”

“I though she sent out the ghost before,” Ashley said, even though she could see where Leah was going. “The one that Electrode beat.”

“I don’t think Chandelle would mistake her Rotom’s Poke Ball,” Leah said. “But if she did, one of these might be that Rotom.”

Ashley took both Poke Balls. “Do you know which is which?”

“No.”

They stared each other for a long moment.

“… W- We should get going,” Ally said reluctantly.

“Alright. Be careful,” Leah told them.

They nodded and after Ally recharged the Fire Stone again, they began the slow trek to Pokemon Tower. The Electrode and Vulpix followed on the ground and the Zubat by air. Before they were out of sight, Leah remembered something and yelled to them, “Ashley! Supersonic bothers the ghosts! Use it!”

Ashley yelled something back that Leah couldn’t quite hear, and then they were gone from sight.

Once they were gone, Leah relaxed and let herself flop to the ground in-between Sands and Chandelle’s slumbering body. Chandelle didn’t stir, but Leah hoped she would eventually; she didn’t like leaving Ally and Ashley by themselves.

She sighed, looking into the light of the Fire Stone.

“It’s going to be a long night, Sands.”


-


A/N: THIS CHAPTER.

*shakes head*

Sorry the chapter was really late (again). I had really bad writer’s block for the past couple months and have only recently been getting better. Not to mention I had to rewrite one big scene because it wasn’t going in the direction I wanted it too, and that made me feel a bit exasperated with this chapter as a whole. It did come out rather nice, though, and I hope all of you like it too. J

And yes, Sparks evolved off-screen, but I had no choice. I honestly did try to find a good spot for him in later chapters, where things weren’t too crowded, but it didn’t fit. Sorry, guys.

Anyways, thank you for waiting, and let’s see if I can get the next chapter out in less than four weeks this time.
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"After being saddled with two ten-year-old brats and being sent out on her long overdue Pokemon journey, she can’t help but wonder… is it worth it?"
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  #385    
Old July 2nd, 2011 (12:09 PM).
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Oranje
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Hey I just wanted to let you know I love your story. I have been reading it secretly for the past few weeks and I think I am halfway through it. Honestly it is great. I especially like the chapters in the Old Mansion. I hope you remember it haha it was such a long time ago. I thought I would let you know how much I really enjoy it. Please keep it up and I will catch up as soon as I can.
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  #386    
Old July 3rd, 2011 (06:42 PM).
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Dagzar
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Thanks, Oranje.

Yeah, it's been a long time since I wrote those chapters. I always get surprised when I remmeber that I started this fic at the beginning of 2009. I've come a long way since then and I'm only half-way through it. Still so many chapters to go. Hopefully I'll finish it in a couple of years. It'd be nice to see this done.
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"After being saddled with two ten-year-old brats and being sent out on her long overdue Pokemon journey, she can’t help but wonder… is it worth it?"
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  #387    
Old July 31st, 2011 (03:30 AM).
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Aquacorde
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I've been reading this for the last day or two and just couldn't stop! Your storytelling abilities amaze me. This is one of the few many-chaptered fics that have kept me engaged for so long and I really hope you keep going strong till the end. I am still picking out grammatical issues, oddly-worded phrases and spelling errors here and there, but you have gotten quite a bit better since you began this fic.

I await future installments with incredibly high anticipation.
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  #388    
Old July 31st, 2011 (08:26 AM).
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Dagzar
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Thanks for reviewing, TheSmartOne.

I really need to go back and edit past chapters one day, not to mention touch them up a bit. Either way, I'm happy to inform you that the next chapter just needs to be edited and I'll probably have it posted in about eight hours, so look forward too it!
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  #389    
Old July 31st, 2011 (07:20 PM).
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Dagzar
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Last time... on Mentor! Ghosts attack the Pokemon Center and eveyone flees. While taking shelter, Ally convinces Leah that they need to go to Pokemon Tower, and everyone comes along to help. On the way, however, ghost attacks leave Zach and Natalie missing, Chandelle knocked out, and Leah too tired to fight. With no other choice, Ally and Ashley go on alone. Meanwhile, Ed and the Team Rocket woman prepare to face Marowak.




Mentor
Chapter 54: The Haunted, part two




“You didn’t have to come, Mr. Fuji,” Ed said, finally outside the altar room for the first time in two days.

Even though his face was pale, the old man said, “I cannot leave you alone.”

“I’m not alone,” he replied, though he really wished the company was better.

Looking out of the corner of his eye, he could see the woman giving instructions to her Pokemon, to not only her Houndoom, but two other strange Pokemon as well. One was a blue and yellow lion, and the other was a tall orange otter that stood on two legs.

Confusion must have shown on his face as Fuji leaned down and asked, “Do you know what they are?”

He shook his head.

“The blue one is an electric-type named Luxray and the orange one is a water-type called Floatzel. They’re from Sinnoh.”

The place sounded familiar. Wasn’t that the place with all the marshes and the big mountain?

“Are they strong? Do you think they could fight Marowak?” Ed asked.

“It’s hard to say. I’ve never… Marowak-” He fell silent, deep in thought.

After a moment, Ed asked, “What does that thing do? I mean, the glass thing that woman is looking for? Does- Did it really change Marowak that much?”

“… Yes,” Fuji said quietly. “The Plate isn’t something you can understand and you cannot predict its affects.”

“Hasn’t it ever been studied?”

“No, never. It’s too dangerous to have it out for so long. It’s- There’s something about it that’s not natural.” He paused. “To answer your first question, I don’t think those Pokemon could beat Marowak in a physical contest, no matter how strong they are.”

“… I’ll put Marowak to sleep,” Ed said. “That’ll work, right?”

“I don’t know.”

After that, Fuji went to go talk to the woman, leaving Ed looking at the doors that would take them downstairs. For the past few days, he had been feeling horrible, but now, even without food, he was feeling better than ever. He was finally doing something. Even if it didn’t work, it was better than sitting around.

“Ready, guys?” he asked his two Pokemon. Parasect didn’t do anything, as usual, while Coralie wagged her whip-like tail, still in Houndoom-form.

He hoped everything would go well.

“Don’t mess up,” the woman said as she stopped next to him. “Spore the thing as soon as possible. Don’t wait for a moment where there’s no danger because that’s not happening.”

“Parasect’s slow,” Ed said. “He can’t move in the middle of a fight like that.”

“Not my problem. You wanted to work with me, so don’t complain.”

Stomping down his raising annoyance, Ed looked at the woman’s Pokemon again. “What if those weird ghosts show up? Can they beat them?”

“My Pokemon know what they’re doing,” she said sharply. “No ghost will get past my Luxray.” She ran a hand lovingly through the blue lion’s mane, getting a purr in response.

“Will you be going now?” Fuji asked.

Both of them nodded and Fuji sighed before unlocking the door. Ed leaned to the side, almost expecting for monsters to jump out immediately, but none came. There was only a dark hallway and the stairs that led beyond it.

The woman didn’t hesitate as she strode forward, the Houndoom and Luxray flanking her and the Floatzel following behind. The stairs were no trouble either, but Ed hesitated at the top, looking at his Parasect.

“I’ll let you back out when we get close to Marowak,” he decided out loud, returning the bug-type. Parasect was too slow to sneak up to Marowak in the middle of combat so that meant that Ed would have to sneak up himself.

That was fine; he could be good at sneaking.

Looking down the pitch black staircase, Ed took a deep breath, kept a tight grip on the rail, and descended into the dark.


-


Ally pulled on the door handle to Pokemon Tower, but it didn’t even budge.

“It won’t open…”

“We need to get in,” Ashley said, her arms crossed.

Looking at her Pokemon, Ally asked, “Sparks, can you try a Sonic Boom one more time?”

The Electrode made a hum and concentrated, sending a whirling blue blade at one of the windows. It hit the glass with a thump and disappeared. When Ally inspected the window, her hands found only a smooth surface.

“It didn’t even make a dent…” Ally turned to the blond. “Is there’s another entrance…?”

“No.”

As Ashley glared at the window, Ally turned to her Pokemon, wondering what could work. If Sonicboom didn’t break the glass, then what could? Amber could try melting it, but what if that set the building on fire? Her Electrode had Rollout and Spark, but he couldn’t use those moves if the window was high above the ground.

While they were walking towards Pokemon Tower, the blond girl, Ashley, had filled her in on the situation. The News said that no one could get into the tower, but Ally had hoped that maybe they could find a way in somehow, but her Pokemon weren’t suited for breaking into places. Maybe if they had Sands with them, but…

“I don’t get why it won’t break,” Ashley said suddenly. “It’s not strong glass or anything. So why won’t it break?”

“How do you know it’s weak?”

“I broke one, once,” the blond said, sounding proud.

Ally stared at her in horror. “Why?”

“I was bored and was kicking a soccer ball around. Kicked it too high and it went through a window right in the middle of church service. It was perfect.”

‘Perfect’ wasn’t a word Ally would ever use to describe that. She would die of shame if something like that happened.

“So I don’t get why it won’t work now,” Ashley continued, scowling. “The ghosts must have did something.”

Ally stared up at the tower, wishing an answer would fall out of the sky. “How can a ghost make things unbreakable?”

“Dunno. They’re ghosts. They do weird stuff.”

If the ghosts did make everything unbreakable, then how was she supposed to break it? She couldn’t just give up here. She needed to save Ed.

“… Ghosts do weird things,” Ally repeated, remembering the Poke Balls Leah gave them. In an instant, an idea occurred to her and she turned to Ashley. “Since the ghosts locked up the tower… do you think that a ghost could unlock it?”

“What? You mean… the ghost Chandelle caught?” Ashley glanced at her Zubat. “I dunno, seems kind of dangerous.”

“What else can we do? Can I see the Poke Balls?”

Ashley reluctantly handed them over and Ally weighed them in separate hands, trying to figure out which was which.

“I- I’m going to open one,” Ally said, taking a deep breath. “So stand back.”

“What are you going to do to the ghost?”

“Leah said something about Supersonic. As soon as it appears, can you use Supersonic?”

“I guess,” Ashley said and stood behind Ally with her Zubat at the ready.

Clicking the button in the middle of the ball, Ally held it out and shielded away from the bright light of materialization. She struggled to keep her eyes focused and felt the Poke Ball snap shut in her hand.

And there is was. Even though she wanted it to appear, Ally felt dread just by seeing it and tried not to back away from its shadowy form. While she had been battling them for the past hour or two, she had never seen one so close or still. It towered over her, even taller than Leah, and looked at her with those white eyes. Its claws flexed and she could just imagine them wrapping around her neck-

The claws wrapped around her neck and she struggled and kicked, trying to hit something that she couldn’t touch. Her vision blurred and she tried to look for Ed out of the corner of her eye, but all she could see were black masses. The thing- the ghost- that had her wore an expression of devilish amusement with its hellish looking eyes and smile.

She could hear Ed call out her name, but she couldn’t respond.

It hurt-

“Supersonic!” Ashley exclaimed, the blue rings of confusion sailing past Ally and enveloping the ghost.

Ally flinched and took a step back, suddenly off-balance. What was that? It was… her? In Pokemon Tower? … That was what happened, hadn’t it? After the black ghosts came, she and Ed got separated and then that ghost grabbed her and then…

What happened next?

She couldn’t remember.

Apparently not noticing anything her trembling, Ashley leaned forward to whisper, “It’s not doing anything.”

Ally looked at the ghost again, seeing it had not moved. She let out a breath and tried not to think of what happened. It didn’t matter what happened before. What was happening now was important. And she needed that ghost to save Ed.

“Amber,” she whispered to the fire-type at her feet. “Be ready.”

Then, before their eyes, the ghost began to melt. Its claws elongated as black liquid dripped off of them in steady streams and one of the ghost’s eyes began to melt, the white trailing down its face like tears made from candle wax. The ghost did not move or make a sound as its body came apart and as they watched, the frozen grin on its face distorted into an expression of horror.

Suddenly, whatever was holding the ghost still vanished and the black, melting mass slowly floated downwards until it lied on the ground in a mess of goop.

“What’s wrong with it?” Ashley said, staying behind Ally. “Did we… kill it?”

Ally whispered, “You can’t kill a ghost,” and against the fear and horror she was feeling, approached the motionless form.

“Hey, you shouldn’t-”

She knelt down, not too close to it, and tried not to think about what she was doing. If it meant getting to Ed, then she would do anything.

Hesitating, she reached out with a shaking hand towards the ghost and stopped just before she touched it. Taking a deep breath and pushing down her fear, she pressed her palm to the ghost’s surface, the black goop making a squelching sound as it ran between her fingers.

“L- Listen to me,” she told the ghost and felt it move ever so slightly beneath her hand. “W- We need help. Open the tower and we’ll let you go. P- Please.”

The mass did not reply or move.

Please.”

It did nothing.

Ally’s hopes plummeted. All she needed the ghost to do was open the tower. That was it! It was such a small thing, and she could do the rest. But if it didn’t do what she wanted, then Ed would…

The desperation and anger that came with that thought overcame fear and Ally forced herself to her feet, grabbing the ghost with two hands. She lifted it and almost threw herself backwards, the ghost weighing as much as a feather. Black liquid stained her shirt and arms and ran down her pants, but she was beyond caring.

Ashley gave her a wide berth as Ally strolled to the tower’s entrance and dumped the ghost in front of the door.

“Open it,” she ordered it, pointing a black strained finger. “Open it right now or we’ll burn you. And don’t try to run or I’ll hunt you down. I will! Alright?” Her voice cracked with the last word.

The ghost shifted and disappeared into the door.

“You shouldn’t have touched it,” Ashley said, looking at Ally’s clothing.

“It doesn’t matter,” she replied quietly, feeling tired and drained as the anger left her. She really shouldn’t have done that, but what else could she have done?

Ed…

Ally went to rub her eyes, but stopped, looking at her hands. They felt messy and slimy, and she wondered what type of ghost was made of black ink.

At the front door, there was a click.

Ally’s mouth went dry at the sound and she glanced at Ashley, who went to pull on the handle.

The door swung open.

“It unlocked it…” the blond said in amazement.

After the hours of dread, just entering the tower felt like Ally had accomplished something amazing. She looked at the semi-familiar walls and couldn’t help but smile.

Ashley grabbed her by the shoulder, stopping her. “It’s still here,” she hissed.

Having felt so elated, Ally had completely missed the melted ghost still huddled on the floor.

Ally looked at it and said, “Let’s just go.”

“We shouldn’t just leave it there-”

“Come on.”

The blond scowled, but strode past Ally and up the staircase. Ally returned Sparks as he couldn’t go up the stairs, but just when she was about to follow Ashley, she paused, taking another glance at the ghost.

Even though she said she would hunt it, the ghost didn’t have to help her…

“Thank you,” she told it quietly and went to catch up to Ashley.

Ally held onto the rail and kept her eyes out for glowing eyes in the darkness. The higher the girls climbed, the darker the staircase became until they could no longer see anything in front of them. The rail became their only guideline and Ally carefully put one foot after the other, feeling like she was going to trip at any moment.

When Ally did make it to the second floor, she almost did trip as she tried to step onto empty air. But she regained her balance and looked up, trying to see anything at all.

“Ashley?” she called out, keeping her arms stiffly at her sides. She didn’t think she had ever been in such complete darkness before. At night, there were stars and the moon, but here there was only a suffocating feeling.

“I’m here,” the other girl replied, a few feet in front of her. “I still can’t see a thing.”

Remembering all the graves, Ally blindly stepped forward and touched Ashley’s shoulder. “Be careful,” she whispered. “You’ll trip.”

Ashley shook off her grasp.

“I’ve been here before. I know where I’m going.”

In the dark?’ Ally asked to herself.

“We just need to be careful,” the blond continued and grabbed Ally’s hand. “I’ll go first and you just hold my hand.”

As Ashley tugged her forward into a slow walk, Ally almost wished that she could take the lead. She didn’t like just walking blindly with some person she didn’t know guiding her.

“Should we get some light?” Ally asked, hoping that Ashley would say yes.

“We’re inside,” Ashley said in a matter-in-fact tone. “You’ll set something on fire.”

Ally looked away. “R- Right.”

They didn’t talk anymore after that and while Ashley sometimes cursed when she ran into things, Ally was mostly left to her thoughts. Often she looked down to make sure Amber was still following, but other than the small footsteps the fire-type made, she couldn’t be sure. With Sparks in his Poke Ball, the Vulpix was the only one she could rely upon and if he disappeared, she wouldn’t know what to do.

Ashley stopped so suddenly that Ally ran into her.

“What’s wrong?” Ally asked.

“We should have made it to the other side of the room by now,” Ashley replied, sounding annoyed. “It shouldn’t have taken more than five minutes!”

“Maybe we got turned around…?”

“Maybe,” came the grudging response and the blond started walking in a different direction, pulling Ally behind her. “Come on; if we hit a wall we can just follow it to a staircase. This is only the second floor. We can’t be lost.”


-


When Ed’s feet touched the floor, he stopped, hesitating.

He couldn’t see anything. It had slipped his mind when creating the plan, but now he wondered how he was supposed to put Marowak to sleep when he couldn’t see her. His eyes had grown used to the dark, but this wasn’t dark. It was black. There was no light at all.

Feeling Coralie pressed against his legs with her Houndoom form, Ed reached down and patted her.

This was going to be hard.

“Uh, are you here?” Ed called out, hoping the black-cloaked woman would respond. He couldn’t hear anything, but she must be there.

A voice from his left replied, “Be quiet.”

The answer made Ed jump, even though he was expecting it. “Where’s Marowak?” he asked.

“I said be quiet. I’m thinking.”

Ed listened and fell silent, waiting.

Finally, she said, “My Luxray will Flash, and when he does, go hide in the shadows. Don’t think I’ll keep you in mind when fighting. I don’t have time for you.”

“Then make sure you keep Marowak distracted,” Ed said, biting down a rude comment.

The woman didn’t bother to reply, instead turning to his Luxray.

“Houndoom, Flamethrower as soon as you see it. Floatzel, use Agility, now… And Luxray, Flash! Keep it low and steady.”

There was a hint of movement as something orange flashed by him, but Ed’s attention was drawn to the small light that the Luxray was producing. It grew in brightness, centered around the electric-type’s star-shaped tail and the small yellow designs on its front legs.

Remembering the woman’s instructions, Ed jumped behind the nearest row of tombstones, hoping the darkness would hide him from sight. They were packed tightly together and barely had enough room for him on his hands and knees. A bright light was ignited beyond his vision, but he ignored the fire and crawled as fast as he could, Coralie following close behind. Once he was past the first few tombs, Ed peeked from behind one and took a look at the battle.

The flamethrower had already died off and he couldn’t see the woman, her Pokemon, or Marowak from where he was at. Marowak had to be there, though, as the woman was cursing at something.

“****ing thing,” she was growling. “Floatzel, Aqua Jet and Quick Attack back.”

This time Ed did see it, the orange blur of the water-type sailing over even the highest tombstones and impacting something beyond his view. There was another thump and the Floatzel zipped back over to his trainer, blood leaking out of his mouth.

“Don’t let it hit you!” The woman told him. “Agility again! Houndoom, Faint Attack! Go!”

Ed tore his eyes away from the battle and continued on, keeping close to the wall. He came to a point of open space and he looked all around him, seeing nothing, He could only hear the battle now and by the way the woman was speaking, he supposed it wasn’t going well. He quickly got up to his feet and kept low on the ground as he got to the next row of tombstone and hid behind them.

Coralie made a low growl, liquid starting to drip out of her eyes and mouth.

“We got to do this, Coralie,” Ed whispered to her. “Keep your form up a bit longer. I’ll need your fire.”

The fake Houndoom touched Ed’s face with her muzzle and Ed smiled slightly, wiping his cheek. “Let’s go,” he said.

At the next row, he finally caught sight of Marowak.

The low light made it so he couldn’t see much, but the little he saw made him sick inside. From the angle Ed was at, he could see into the Marowak’s stomach as half of her torso was gone, leaving pink-gray skinny things hanging outside her body. But even then, she was standing straight and still, like the hole didn’t matter.

She wasn’t looking at him and as he watched, the Houndoom came into view, his mouth coated in fire as it attempted to take another bite out of Marowak. Just as the fire-type was about to make contact, the ground-type disappeared and Houndoom’s jaws snapped over empty air.

“Where’s he go?” the woman was shouting. “Houndoom-”

Marowak appeared above the Houndoom, her eyes glowing purple. She came down with both paws together into a fist and hit the fire-type in the head on the way down. Despite her size, the Houndoom was pushed down with the force of an anvil and a loud crack echoed about the room.

“Houndoom! … Floatzel, Water Gun, get it away!”

A blast of water tore through the room but Marowak disappeared again, the water only sweeping the motionless Houndoom into a tombstone.

Coralie growled again, getting Ed’s attention. He nodded slowly and tried to ignore the battle. He had to figure out how to get Marowak to fall into the Spore. If Marowak could just disappear when getting attacked, how was he supposed to hit it?

Ed still couldn’t see anything, but he could feel the dust coating his hands as he climbed over and between tombstones. It was slow progress since he had to keep climbing further out as the battle started to veer in his direction. So much so that he wondered when he would hit a wall. The room wasn’t that big, was it?

Finally, he settled into a place ten feet behind Marowak, using a gravestone as cover. He held Parasect’s Poke Ball tightly, counted to three, and then released it.

As always, the materialization came with bright light.

Ed closed his eyes in shock and pain, and he could hear the Rocket woman yell, “You fool!”

When he opened then, Parasect was beside him, but so was Marowak.

The ground-type looked even more horrible close up and she stared at him with bloodshot lavender eyes. Coralie was the first to react and she came at the Pokemon with flaming fangs, but Marowak just wacked the Ditto across the snout, splattering the graves and the floor with purple goo as Coralie came apart instantly.

In a flash, the Floatzel appeared, and Ed did his best to leap out of the way as the battle resumed right beside him. There was a surge of water and the Floatzel rammed into Marowak, knocking her down. The ground-type faded into the floor and re-appeared over the water-types head, fist coming down, but the Floatzel sped out of the way, landing on a nearby tombstone.

“Get Spore ready,” Ed whispered harshly to his Parasect, trying to wedge himself between his Pokemon and a grave. He looked over to Coralie, but while her goo was moving, she wasn’t reassembling at all.

Luxray came out of the left field, sparking and glowing as it charged Marowak. When the ground-type disappeared again, Floatzel was ready and tackled the Pokemon out of the air. It pinned her to the ground as the Luxray came over, bearing its fangs.

“Crunch!”

But Luxray did not get its chance. Instead of vanishing, Marowak phased through Floatzel’s paws and disappeared into the water-type itself. The Pokemon froze and the Luxray started to growl long and low.

The woman took a step closer.

“Float-”

The Marowak rose from the Floatzel’s back, floating, her white skull head now red and gleaming like the rest of her body. The Floatzel didn’t make a sound, it just toppled over, blood trickling from its mouth and nose.

“I need Spore now,” Ed said, his mouth dry, hardly able to hear himself over the loud buzz in his head. “Now. Please, Parasect.”

Dripping, the Marowak turned to him and Parasect stepped before his trainer, letting loose a cloud of green spores. The spores stuck to Marowak’s red exterior, but the ground-type did not pause and falter.

Despite the danger, Ed didn’t feel surprised or betrayed that it didn’t work. He didn’t feel much of anything.

How could something sleep if it was already dead?


-


Against all logical thought, they walked for ten minutes in a single direction and didn’t find a wall. While the floor was as constant as ever, it never seemed to end, and eventually both Ally and Ashley stopped to rethink their strategy.

“This isn’t possible,” Ashley said, and had been saying ever since they sat down. The annoyance that had once been in her tone had been replaced with what sounded like fear. “I don’t get it.”

“W- We must have been turned around,” Ally argued, any thoughts of Ed having vanished under the onslaught of panic. In her arms, Amber whined and she tightened her hold on the Pokemon, needing the reassurance of his presence. There wasn’t enough room for Sparks to sit next to her, so she had released him behind her, feeling a bit of comfort that she was protected at all sides.

In front of her, Ashley sat close enough to brush her knees against hers and frequently did so, either on accident or on purpose. Ally couldn’t imagine being alone in such a situation and was just thankful she had the blond with her, no matter how much a stranger she was.

Even after half-an-hour of being in the pitch black tower, Ally’s eyesight had yet to get used to dark and see even vague shapes of anything. It was strange as there were windows in the tower and they should at least see light from the stars, but there was nothing. Not even a sliver of light seemed to penetrate the darkness.

Ally heard Ashley let out a breath and say, “We need light something on fire.”

“What if we burn down the tower?” Ally asked meekly.

“Then we burn it down,” the blond snapped. “I don’t like this. We need to get out of here.”

Ally got to her feet, still carrying Amber. “We’ll use Sparks, then,” she decided out loud, looking around automatically. “We just need to… get out of the way…”

Because of the narrow corridors the tombstones made, Ally was afraid they’d get shocked if her Electrode used an electric attack. But even if it could work, she didn’t want to leave Sparks all alone in the darkness. What if she lost him?

Despite her misgivings, Ally let Ashley pull her away from her Pokemon. When they were a safe distance away, Ally tried to push away her fears and called out, “Sparks, use Spark, but don’t move.”

A few seconds ticked by and Ally found herself thinking, ‘Please let it only be misdirection, please, please, please-’

The blue sparks lit up the world. They materialized in short spouts of electricity and their very presence made Ally feel a blossom of hope. The colored lightning was very pretty and lit up her Electrode enough that all of her fears were washed away.

Then Ashley pulled violently on her arm, making her gasp. The blond’s face was white and her eyes round.

“It’s not there!” she exclaimed, almost shouting. “It’s not there! Where’s the ****ing ceiling?”

Ally looked up.

There was only a void of black, like a night sky purged of stars. The void acted like a sky too, never-ending and with no boundaries. There were no remains of the walls, only a floor that did not end, covered with graves that were white as bone.

They were truly lost.


-


“This is ridiculous,” Zach muttered, rubbing his eyes. He felt dead on his feet and wasn’t sure how much longer he could fight.

“Char,” his Charmeleon replied. If Zach felt tired then he could barely comprehend what his Pokemon must feel. The flame on the tip of his tail was tiny, smaller than candle fire. There would be no more fire attacks from him. Zach would have liked to pick the Pokemon up, but the fire-type wasn’t a little Charmander anymore; he was too big to carry.

Rubbing his eyes again, Zach looked for Natalie and found her standing near the window, looking out onto the chaotic streets.

“We can’t stay here,” he told her. “The ghosts will find us.”

When Natalie didn’t reply, he put a hand on her shoulder.

“Nat?”

She came back to herself with a start. “Huh? Oh, Zach…”

“We need to go,” he repeated.

“Go where? We can’t just keep moving like this… I’m really tired.”

“We’ll find some place. Come on.”

Natalie didn’t protest when Zach guided her out of the building they had taken refuge in. As Charmeleon kept an eye out for any ghosts to snipe, Zach tried to spot anyone that could help them.

After the ambush by a whole group of ghosts, Zach and Natalie had found themselves separated from the rest of their group and sent running in the opposite direction. They had gotten away from the ghosts, at least, but it wasn’t so simple. Any time they tried to approach the tower, ghosts showed up and drove them off. Already, Natalie’s Ivysaur had fainted, having not been fast enough to dodge a Night Shade.

Sometimes, Zach could tell they weren’t the only ones fighting. Evidence of fire and electric attacks shone in other parts of the city every so often, but even though Lavender wasn’t a city, per say, it was still big. He hadn’t been able to find any other people wandering the streets. Everyone was either hiding indoors or moving around too much for him to spot them.

While Zach hoped everyone else in his group was okay and while he wanted to help at the tower, he had to admit it wasn’t going to be possible. His Pokemon was too tired and Nat’s Furret could barely walk anymore. They wouldn’t be of any help and would only be a hindrance. The only problem was finding a place to hide out for the night. After attacking the Pokemon Centers, the ghosts had spread out and began causing chaos all over town. He could barely walk down a street without a ghost appearing.

“We’re going to be okay,” Zach said out loud for Natalie’s benefit.

“When?” Natalie asked softly.

“Soon. I promise.”

They walked down a street, both of them too disoriented to know where they were anymore, and turned a corner.

Zach stopped, putting a hand around Natalie’s shoulders to keep her close.

Three ghosts also stopped what they were doing and stared.

“Charmeleon,” Zach spoke.

His Pokemon gave him a tired look a shot a small burst of blue flames at a ghost. However, the dragon fire’s light was dim and the ghost phased through it.

“Zach,” Natalie said.

He let go of her shoulders and grabbed her hand.

“We have to run.”

“I can’t…”

“We got to!”

There was no time to return his fire-type, so Zach ordered, “Keep up, Charmeleon,” turned, and ran.

Zach pumped his legs as fast as he could, but he could tell he wasn’t going very fast. Natalie panted heavily and pulled on his hand as if trying to slow him down. However, he just pulled back and refused to let go.

Natalie gasped and suddenly, there was a cold sensation at his back, and he felt several needles of ice running up his arms and down his legs. His vision blurred- it was so cold- and his knees fell from under him. He barely felt his head hit the ground, but he could still see Natalie lying beside him. They made eye contact and Zach could see the fear in her eyes and the chalky paleness of her cheeks.

They got us,’ he thought, surprised, as the needles reached his head. It was like a blanket had been pressed to his face. His head felt like it was stuffed with cotton and it was getting hard to see.

The world was now silent and he held Natalie’s gaze until her eyes closed.

It was over.

His own eyes felt heavy and he was so tired, but just when they were about to shut, he was overwhelmed with light.

It was blinding and powerful, swirling with reds and yellows. It seemed to brush his face, but he couldn’t feel it. Even without his hearing, something cried out in pain inside of him. The needles of ice retreated and the blanket was thrust aside.

It was suddenly very cold, but a different kind of cold, biting and chilled. Breathing became painful and he flinched with every breath, wishing to go back to that numb world. He opened his eyes, not remembering when he closed them, and looked at the girl was lying beside him, who was still and pale.

His mouth formed Natalie’s name, but he couldn’t get it out.

He used all his strength to turn onto his back. At the edge of his vision, he could see two people, one taller than the other. They were standing close enough that he guessed they were talking. But that ended and the shorter one, an old woman, came towards him. He turned his head, trying to look at the other, a man, but only saw a cape and the long blue serpent arching over his head.

Blackness edged his vision and Zach closed his eyes.



-



A/N: OH GOD, FINALLY.

I must have re-written parts of this chapter twice now, so I hoped you enjoyed the chapter. Let’s hope I can get the next chapter out soon, but the next one is going to be loooooong, so we’ll see how that goes.
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"After being saddled with two ten-year-old brats and being sent out on her long overdue Pokemon journey, she can’t help but wonder… is it worth it?"
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  #390    
Old September 11th, 2011 (08:24 PM).
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Dagzar
The Dreamer
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: In my dreams.
Gender: Female
Nature: Relaxed
I've tried to post Chapter 55, but every time I do, it has serious spacing issues all throughout the chapter and there's no way I'm going through it to sort out every single word.

If you want to read the chapter, read it here: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4790679/55/Mentor

If these spacing issues aren't sorted out, just bookmark that story link and you can find all my Mentor updates there. Don't think PC is the only place you can find it.
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"After being saddled with two ten-year-old brats and being sent out on her long overdue Pokemon journey, she can’t help but wonder… is it worth it?"
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  #391    
Old September 26th, 2011 (04:32 PM).
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Electricmudkip
N wins at life.
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Land of Heat and Clockwork
Age: 16
Gender: Female
Nature: Naughty
I just have to say, I am loving this arc with the ghosts.

Also, what's your spacing issue? It could be similar to mine, because whenever I paste something from Word, it puts three spaces in between each paragraph. Is it anything like that?
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  #392    
Old September 26th, 2011 (07:34 PM).
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Dagzar
The Dreamer
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: In my dreams.
Gender: Female
Nature: Relaxed
My spacing issue has more to do the sentences themselves: for example, thissentence has spacing issues verysimilar to whathappens when I try topost. Spaces are taken out and I refuse to manually correct every single sentence. So, for now, just follow Mentor on FF.net.

Thanks for reviewing, though. The next chapter is being rather slow, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to get it out.
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"After being saddled with two ten-year-old brats and being sent out on her long overdue Pokemon journey, she can’t help but wonder… is it worth it?"
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  #393    
Old October 30th, 2011 (01:20 PM).
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Dagzar
The Dreamer
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: In my dreams.
Gender: Female
Nature: Relaxed
I've decided that I'm not going to continue posting Mentor here. It's just not active enough and it's far easier to post at FFnet. If you want to keep following the story, I've just just posted chapter 56 here: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4790679/56/Mentor

Thank you for reading.
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"After being saddled with two ten-year-old brats and being sent out on her long overdue Pokemon journey, she can’t help but wonder… is it worth it?"
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