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Old June 6th, 2009, 07:56 PM
Shrike Flamestar's Avatar
Shrike Flamestar
The Invisible!
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Within the synapses of the internet and my own mind.
Age: 25
Gender: Male
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Why hello, people! Here is my story for the very first Seven Day Seven K challenge! And it just so happens that I'm the very first person to post. Perhaps the only? That'd be interesting. Anyways, this is something I've been interested in doing for a while: a much, much darker fanfic than almost anything else you'll find for Pokemon. The initial concept was horror, but that quickly changed to splatter horror and now that it's done I won't lie, it's not that scary really. I guess I'm not really good at actual horror, but eh. It is very, very gruesome though and one specfic scene around the middle has to be probably the most gruesome scene I've ever written.

Final word count is around 8435, well above what was needed. The story itself isn't actually completed yet, though; there's a whole 'nother part which I'll get to work on soon. Maybe. I guess that makes this a two-shot or something.

Before we get started, I guess it's important that I put in a very big warning giving the story's contents:

WARNING, THIS FANFICTION CONTAINS EXTREME VIOLENCE AND SCENES WITH LARGE AMOUNTS OF BLOOD, GORE, AND DEATH IN GENERAL. POKEMON DIE, AND IN VERY NASTY WAYS. DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT, READ IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH.

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There are some tales told which are just that, stories long in age with questionable basis in reality. Meant to ingrain fear in the hearts of children, wonder in the hearts of dreamers, and pride in the hearts of the victorious, such tales are widely regarded merely as fiction. Yet, amid the sands of such tales, a few grains stand out, grains of stories rooted in none other than truth.

I will tell you one of these tales today, a grisly tale of a young girl whose curiosity led her to pay no heed to warning. Even in such tales bound by reality and not fantasy there are lessons to be learned, if only from the folly of others. Take these lessons and learn them, they will serve you well. If, however, you too fail to heed the warnings that the story presents to you, then perhaps the next tale will be your very own.

A Haunting at the Old Chateau
Part 1

Along Sinnoh's route 205, near the fringes of the Eterna Forest, there sits a dark building long abandoned by its previous inhabitants. No one knows what happened to the people who had lived there, or even who those people were. All that is known about the building now called the Old Chateau is that the boundary between our world and that of spirits is weak among the chateau's darkened halls. In the Old Chateau, spirits pass between the realms as if they were separated by nothing more than a curtain of water, such ghosts of long dead Pokémon ruling the chateau as if it were their own. Yet it is not just these common apparitions, known to humans as Gastly, that can be seen about the chateau. Rumors abound of other ghosts, such as those of humans from the distant past as well as a being more sinister, one behind all the disappearances throughout the years. Some even say that among the ghosts are the chateau's previous inhabitants, warning people who venture into the Old Chateau to leave before whatever calamity befell them was to happen to another.

Yet, not all heed such warnings. Alone, a young girl named Christine walked down the shadowed lane that led to the towering building, a small backpack slung over her shoulder as she stared up at the Old Chateau. Stopping before the iron gates that barricaded its entrance, she removed a small ball from a bracelet about her left wrist. Enlarging the Poké Ball, Christine opened it to release the Pokémon inside before replacing the ball in its socket on the bracelet, repeating it one by one with the remaining five Poké Balls. Appearing on the ground around her, her team of Pokémon looked about, some more nervous than the others. Her Buneary instantly began to cry in terror and hid behind her leg, while her braver Luxio approached the gates and sniffed them, batting a paw at the iron bars as if trying to figure out a way through. As Christine walked over to the gates to take a look as well, her Monferno patted Buneary in support, while a Buizel jeered at the act of kindness before chasing after Luxio and his trainer. Her withdrawn Staravia also followed, perching on top of one of the gateposts and silently waiting for any orders as the girl's last and latest Pokémon, a young Riolu, jumped up to the top of the other gatepost with surprising ease.

Spotting a lock securing the gate in place, Riolu leaped from atop the post, flipping in midair before reaching out with a paw. As she grabbed one of the bars next to the lock, a burst of energy erupted from her palm and enveloped the lock, the mechanism shattering and falling to the ground. Flipping back off the bars as they swung open, Riolu ran over to Christine and the rather jealous Monferno. While Monferno herself had impressive agility and technical skill, the newcomer's natural ability at such a young age was almost a match for her own. She feared that in time the Riolu would prove better than herself, outshining her current position as the best fighter amongst the party in the process. Monferno realized that Christine would always hold her in high regard due to being her first Pokémon but she was concerned that the new addition would eventually take the title of best fighter from her. She couldn't help but wonder, if that were to happen, whether she'd lose some of the respect most of the others gave her.

Of course, not all looked up to Monferno; Buizel in particular was the proudest of the group of Pokémon and admittedly was second only to Monferno in his skills. Too boastful to admit otherwise, he insisted that he was her superior. To him, her jealousness of Riolu only proved his point: that she was far from the best if she was so worried about a Pokémon just out of infancy. Christine began to give the Pokémon a speech explaining the rumors that the Old Chateau was haunted, although Buizel mostly ignored her as he examined the path beyond the gate. Christine was somewhat of an adventurer and liked exploring old, mysterious ruins and the like, so it didn't surprise him that she now wanted to investigate what could potentially be a very real haunted house. Turning around, Buizel smirked at the timid Buneary who was only getting more scared with each rumor Christine explained to them. Buizel didn't mind at all if any of the rumors of ghosts were true; there was no doubt in his mind that even the incorporeal would prove him no match.

Christine finished up her speech soon, which had done little to motivate the Pokémon other than scare Buneary out of her wits. Picking the rabbit Pokémon up, Monferno sighed as she closely followed Christine as the human started down the path, Buizel and Luxio walking ahead of them. Together, the otter and feline Pokémon had long been friends, Luxio looking up to Buizel with jealousy. In addition to being a friend, Luxio was the only Pokémon of the group other than Buizel himself who agreed that the otter was stronger than Monferno, although he wasn't willing to say it out loud.

The group soon found themselves at the large doors that led into the chateau, Christine setting aside any fears that she herself had. Determined to see the history of the chateau firsthand, she pushed open the unlocked doors only to be assaulted by the stale smell of days long gone. One by one the Pokémon walked into the dark building, Buizel leading the way with Luxio not far behind. Staravia, ever stoic and the quietest of the group, flew up and perched atop a light fixture above the door, staring down as the rest of the party entered As Christine herself walked into the chateau behind her Pokémon, the loose doors fell closed slightly on their own, leaving only a small sliver of light piercing through the darkened foyer. Without the need for a command, Luxio's fur began to crackle with electricity, an incandescent glow emitting from his body and forming a sphere of light around him amid the shadows. Christine went ahead and grabbed a flashlight attached to a hook on her belt, turning it on and pointing the beam of light about as the group walked farther into the foyer of the Old Chateau.

Dust seemed to cover every surface, obscuring the paintings that hung on the walls and neatly showing the footprints of the Pokémon and Christine as they disturbed the fine dust covering the floor. Statues of various Pokémon lined the foyer, most having decayed and collapsed with age, leaving them unidentifiable. Shining the light over at the far end of the foyer, Christine noticed a doorway that led farther into the chateau; however, the wall above the hallway had collapsed, broken fragments of the stone the chateau had been built from obstructing the path. Next to the doorway, however, two sets of stairs wound their way up to a balcony leading to the chateau's second floor. Motioning at them, Christine approached the stairs and hesitantly took the first step. Surprisingly it still seemed to hold under her weight and she began to ascend the stairs with her Pokémon following, Staravia leaping from from his post and soaring to the stairs, disappearing behind a bend and onto the balcony above.

Atop the balcony Christine found a still intact doorway leading to a hall that ran the length of the chateau. Christine shined her flashlight beam down the hallway, dust motes swirling in the light. Doorway ran off from the hallway to either side, leading to various rooms including the bedrooms of the chateau's previous occupants. Waiting until her Pokémon had reached the top of the stairs, she slowly walked down the hallway in silence, turning to glance in each room she passed. Behind her, her Pokémon huddled around Luxio for the light he gave off, the unnerving silence weighing down on them all like a blanket so much it even kept Buneary, still held in Monferno's arms, from crying. So far they had seen nothing to suggest that ghosts resided in the Old Chateau; however all of the group but Buizel and possibly Staravia—who hopped from light fixture to light fixture along the hall due to the trouble of flying in such an enclosed space—couldn't help but wonder if something would appear out of the next door they approached.

Turning to face one of the doorways, Christine noticed something that caught her attention. Sitting inside a small bedroom on top of a small stand sat a large, old-style CRT television. In its corner, a small, red light glowed; curious as nothing else in the chateau seemed to have power. Walking into the room, Christine knelt next to the television and shone her light over it as the Pokémon stopped in the doorway and watched. The television was plugged into the wall, however that still didn't explain much as Christine had been under the impression that electrical power no longer was delivered to the chateau. Hesitantly, she reached out for the television's power button, the silence seeming deafening as she held her breath. Quickly she pushed the button, unsure of how the ancient television would react.

To the surprise of both Christine and her Pokémon, the television turned on. However, rather than displaying any actual channel a black and white static filled the screen, the harsh sound of white noise filling the previously silent room. Wincing at the noise, Christine quickly pressed the power button again to turn it off, only to find that now the button wouldn't work. Grunting as she hammered the button a few more times to no avail, she shook her head and stood up. Eager to get away from the grating noise, the Pokémon huddled around Luxio in the hall quickly took off, Christine following them to continue their exploration of the Old Chateau.

In the otherwise empty room now filled with the sound of static and scattered light coming from the broken television, a ghostly form slowly rose up out of the device. A blue electrical aura enveloped the form, seeming to contain the almost liquid body within. As soon as it appeared out of the television, however, it disappeared into thin-air, seeming to fade out of reality. With the departure of the ghost the television slowly lost power, the static image and sound fading away as the television finally broke down after the several years it had sat in silent waiting.

Unaware of this, the group of Christine and her Pokémon continued down the hallway, nearing its end. Set into a small nook off to the side at the end of the hallway Christine found a small dumbwaiter shaft, the platform having long since collapsed at the bottom of the shaft. Figuring that this was their key to returning to the first floor beyond the small collapse, Christine lifted herself up into the opening, shining the light down first to make sure the bottom was clear of anything dangerous before jumping down. Landing on bent knees to absorb the impact, she looked back up at the top of the shaft and gestured for her Pokémon to follow, yelling that she'd catch them. One by one they followed, Buizel going first if only to show off to the others, followed by Riolu and then Monferno who held on to Buneary as they fell. Staravia glided down the shaft using spread wings to break the fall with Luxio following last, having stayed behind in order to continue providing the second floor with light so long as someone was up there.

Christine crawled out of the dumbwaiter shaft and dropped onto the floor next to where she had set the Pokémon, looking about to determine where they were. It seemed they were in the kitchen now: a very large one lined with counters and multiples of every appliance you could think of, all of which were old enough to be antiques. Eying a butcher block that sat off to the side and which had a row of rusty knives hanging above it, Christine went on to sweep the flashlight beam across the kitchen, its light penetrating farther than Luxio's luminescence. Passing the beam over an old toaster oven, Christine went on to look at a refrigerator before suddenly turning the light back to the toaster oven.

As with the TV, a small light was on in its corner, indicating that it was receiving power from somewhere. Cautiously Christine began to approach the toaster oven, however before she could move more than a few feet Buizel stepped in front of her, shaking his head while flashing a proud smile. Monferno sighed; she knew that he just wanted to show off his bravery by doing something she was too scared to. It was stupid though, and she wished that he would stop trying to prove himself better at every possible chance.

When Buizel was only a few feet from the toaster oven, the heating elements behind its glass window suddenly turned on and began to glow, causing the otter Pokémon to stop in his tracks. Resolute in his determination, however, he continued against the wishes of Christine. The girl was nervous about the situation, not feeling that it was right, and was yelling for Buizel to come back and that they should just leave the toaster oven alone. However, Buizel was too proud to retreat and pressed on, hopping up onto the counter next to the device. Reaching out for the door to pull it open, the water weasel was suddenly blown back by a fierce wave of heat as the door flew open on its own, a reddish glow suddenly surrounding the toaster oven as a ball of fire appeared within it.

Before Buizel could recover from the shock or Christine could do anything about her Pokemon, a stream of fire suddenly shot out of the toaster oven, forming into a tornado that stretched from the kitchen's floor to its ceiling. The fire enveloped the stunned Buizel, who cried out in pain as he tried to summon up his water powers. The intense flames left him parched, however, and he was helpless to defend himself as the blaze swirled around him, burning at him unlike anything he had ever felt before.

“Buizel!” Christine yelled out in shock, quickly ordering all her Pokémon to attack the tornado of fire in order to rescue Buizel. Four attacks lashed out at once: more flames, lightning, gusts of wind, and even small bursts of water from Buneary. Riolu, having no such special attacks, could only watch in horror as her companions efforts to save Buizel had no effect on the towering fire tornado. From its depths, Buizel's screams pierced through the air as he batted blindly at the fire, his characteristic orange fur soon burnt away. The orange float around his neck and blue fins along the back of his paws also succumbed easily to the flames, the organic rubber melting and running down his bare, charred flesh. Seemingly naked, Buizel writhed on the tiled floor amid the fire and swished his split tail back and forth as if trying to fan away the flames, having just as little impact as his companion's efforts had been.

Panicking in worry about his friend, Luxio stopped attacking and sprinted over to the fire, fighting against the intense heat that seemed to almost be physically pushing him away from the tornado. Desperate to pull Buizel out of the fire, Luxio pushed through nonetheless, baring his fangs against the heat. Before he could reach it, however, a dark apparition appeared floating in the air above. The apparition seemed to have a round body with a small bulb below and spike coming out of its top, however black shadows as dark and fluid as ink pulsed around its body, obscuring its true form. Tendrils of the ink-like shadows reached out from the apparition, grabbing one of Luxio's legs and lifting the feline up into the air with ease.

Luxio howled and shot off a blast of lightning at the apparition, however the attack passed through it as if it wasn't even there. A cackling sound seemed to emerge from nowhere as the apparition easily threw Luxio back at where Christine and the rest of the Pokémon stood, having halted their ineffective attacks by now. Christine dove to catch Luxio as he sailed through the air, the apparition floating back and sliding into the tornado of fire as it cackled again, seeming to disappear amid the flames.

Buizel's screams of pain had by now quieted down, reduced to just a few meager yelps in between gasps for breath, the fire having robbed Buizel of valuable oxygen. His body was severely burnt by now, flesh peeling away in several spots to expose muscle and even bone beneath. Blood flowed out from the wounds but instantly evaporated in the intense heat, the vapors of Buizel's vital fluids drifting away slowly along with his life. Meekly he pawed at the tiles in one last effort to crawl away, however his body was by now so weak it took all his effort just to move his paws. Inwardly he couldn't help but wonder why this was happening to him, but finally he gave in and admitted the answer: his pride had finally gotten the better of him. He wasn't any better than Monferno after all, he had just always been too proud and even ashamed to admit otherwise. He had always wanted to be the strongest, the one everyone looked up to, but instead of gaining that right as he should have, he had instead resorted to belittling others. Curling up his blackened paws, pain seemed to wash away as a numbness set over his entire body, the last thought that passed through Buizel's mind being the desire to apologize to Monferno.

The fire tornado suddenly dissipated, sparks of flame shooting off in all directions as the aura around the toaster oven vanished, the power light turning off for good. Amid the blackened tiles on the floor lay the remains of Buizel: a charred corpse which Christine and the Pokémon approached with stunned looks on their faces. She had never expected any of her Pokémon to die, especially not like this, and she couldn't even figure out how to react. Reaching a hand out she gingerly touched the corpse, quickly drawing her hand back as she found it was still burning. Monferno closed her eyes sadly as she looked away from the carcass. She may not have liked Buizel but she had never wished for him to die. He was one of Christine's companions as well, and thus one of her own; no matter how much she disliked him she never wanted to lose a companion.

Christine stood up and backed away from the scene, shaking her head and cursing to herself. She knew they had to get out of the chateau immediately, before whatever had killed Buizel returned and did it again. She couldn't risk climbing up the dumbwaiter shaft, however, and the path back to the foyer from here was blocked due to the collapse. They had to find a way to get out to the front of the chateau from the courtyard. A door in the kitchen led out to the side of the patio on which the chateau's previous inhabitants may have had meals on, Christine quickly motioning for everyone to follow. Luxio, however, stayed behind a moment, tears falling from his eyes as he nudged the corpse sadly, ignoring how hot it still was. Buizel had been his friend and even mentor, and with him gone now he didn't know who to turn to. Seeing this, Christine turned around and gave Luxio a pat on the back, assuring him that they'd be leaving as soon as she found out how. It didn't make him feel much better, however he sadly turned away from the corpse of his dead friend and followed the group out into the courtyard.

As Christine and her Pokémon left the kitchen, another apparition appeared above Buizel's corpse, this one composed of a purple fog. Placing two disembodied hands on the corpse, the ghost laughed as the body began to break apart into small particles, the particles flowing into the ghost's hands. It took only a moment to completely absorb the corpse, the ghost laughing again as it disappeared, leaving behind only the blackened tiles as reminder of what had happened to the Buizel.

Unable to admit to what had happened, Christine was in a near panic as she searched around the walls that enclosed the chateau's large courtyard, looking for any gap or gate that could lead the group to safety. The Pokémon were little better, with only Staravia managing to remain calm. Buneary had begun to cry again, Monferno doing what little she could to calm the rabbit while at the same time trying to still her own nerves. Riolu and Luxio had withdrawn into themselves, the former unable to comprehend her first sight of death while the later continued to mourn the loss of his friend. Overhead Staravia circled, free to leave the chateau as he liked but unwilling to part from his companions. Instead, his eyes pierced through what little light remained, dusk having given way to night, in search for anything that could help the group below get past the enclosing wall.

There seemed to be no such route for their escape, however. The courtyard wall appeared solid even after several years of neglect, and there didn't seem to be any sort of gate built into it. A few vines ran along its surface but easily fell loose as Christine gave them a tug, the stone walls having not allowed the vines to root themselves firmly. Only a few trees grew close to the wall, but none of them looked to have branches capable of supporting her weight. As Christine looked around the courtyard in despair she couldn't help but feel as if she was trapped, a prisoner in this house with no way to escape from whatever ghost had just killed Buizel. The hope of being able to leave from the courtyard was dashed, the only exit from it that didn't seem to lead back into the chateau disappearing into a small stone structure. Christine could see stairs leading down into the earth within the structure and assumed that it was a private crypt, housing the remains of the several generations who had lived in the chateau long before it was abandoned.

Collapsing to her knees on the ground, Christine reflected on how quickly the night had gone from being an interesting exploration to being trapped in a house apparently haunted by some malevolent spirit. At the same time, the silence that the group had been keeping before had been shattered, Buneary's cries loud enough that Christine couldn't help but wonder if it would cause a passing stranger to investigate. Within her own head it almost seemed as if she could hear something behind the cries as well: fleeting whispers whose words she couldn't make out. As she pulled herself to her feet and supported herself against the courtyard wall, overlooking her Pokémon huddled about in the tall, unkempt grass, it almost seemed as if the voices began to grow louder. In a moment they were so loud that they filled her mind like a swarm of buzzing bees, so loud that they drowned each other out.

A motion above her head caused Christine to look up, seeing the shape of Staravia come flying lower to the ground. At once, all the voices in her head seemed to shriek out as if in pain, Christine wincing and grabbing her ears reflexively. At the same time, large vines shot up from the tangled grass and into the sky, neatly catching the surprised bird.

Struggling against the pain of the voices in her head, Christine looked up to see the vines wrapped around Staravia, dragging the shrieking bird down to the earth. Monferno was quick to attack, throwing a ball of fire at the vines. The flames tore through one of the vines holding Staravia, causing it to wither and fall to the ground. However, just as soon as one of the vines had been destroyed another took its places, binding the bird in tight coils that forced his wings to his side and left him unable to fight back as he thrashed about and screamed.

From the shadows in a corner of the courtyard, a green aura suddenly appeared as a lawn mower slowly rolled forward on its own power, its front gaping open where some of the metal chassis and casing had broken away as if it were a mouth eager to feed. Inside the opening was the lawn mower's blade, spinning about fast enough that it could barely be seen as it cut through the long grass, rolling towards its target. Aghast and in disbelief, Christine realized that it was moving straight towards where Staravia now lay tied against the ground by the vines, the bird letting out a shrill cry as he tried to free himself after noticing the approaching lawn mower.

Not wanting to see another friend die, Monferno, Luxio, and even Buneary joined together again to try to fight back the lawn mower, choosing to attack it instead of the rapidly regrowing vines. Riolu didn't want to just stand still and watch without acting again either, sprinting forward and leaping over the bound bird as she flipped through the air, sailing toward the approaching mower. Drawing a palm back, she concentrated as she approached the possessed machine, knowing that the timing had to be just right for the force palm attack to be effective.

Before the virtually flying Riolu could reach her target, however, she was pulled out of the air by a shadowy black tendril that spun the dog-like Pokémon about as if it were a toy. The tendril suddenly let Riolu go, sending her straight at Christine. The Pokémon impacted the girl square in the chest, knocking the trainer back as she closed her arms around the small Riolu. Regaining her senses, Christine stood back up as she cradled Riolu, noticing that she had been knocked unconscious from the throw. After ensuring that her Pokémon was otherwise safe, Christine looked up to see the same inky black apparition that had prevented Luxio from saving Buizel. Its tendrils swung through the air as if they had a mind of their own, spinning about the shadowed body at the apparition's core. Another cackle as before joined the voices in Christine's head as the apparition floated backwards, fading into the shadows the lawn mower had emerged from and disappearing.

Turning her attention back to the lawn mower, Christine cried out as she realized that none of her Pokemon's efforts to stop it had succeeded, the machine undeterred on its path towards Staravia. Desperate to save her Pokémon, she quickly grabbed Staravia's Poké Ball from her bracelet and held it out before pressing the button on its front. Instead of the beam of energy shooting out to withdraw Staravia, the Poké Ball instead began to spark as cracks formed along its side. Yelping in surprise, Christine dropped the Poké Ball and could only watch as it hit the ground and shattered into a hundred pieces. As if in response, the remaining five Poké Balls on her bracelet also began to spark, Christine quickly unclasping the leather band and letting it fall off her arm as all the Poké Balls broke apart in a burst of metal and plastic. Realizing that she couldn't do anything to save Staravia now, the lawn mower only a few feet from the constrained bird, she sank to her knees as tears began to stream down her face. Staravia turned to look Christine in the eyes as the lawn mower continued its steady pace, a look of peace in the sharp eyes of the bird of prey. He didn't want to die, no one did, but he could only hope that his trainer wouldn't give up hope. Serving her had meant everything to him, even if his inwardness had never allowed him to properly show it to her or the other Pokémon.

Christine and all the Pokemon turned away as the lawn mower reached its target, the voices inside the girl's head suddenly silencing as well. The swirling lawn mower blade easily sliced through the vines that held the bird down, continuing on unabated as it began to cut into the Pokémon itself. A spurt of blood splattered across the grass as the blade easily cut into flesh and bone, Staravia's body proving no match for the lawn mower. The bird cried out one final pained scream as he felt the blade slice deep into his body, tearing it apart as if he were merely a piece of paper. Crimson liquid flew out over the grass and coated the blade as it tore into Staravia again and again, slicing through his ribs and into internal organs, all life snuffed from the bird in an instant. Free of the vines, Staravia's body was pulled underneath the mower and thrown about, the blade tearing off pieces from the carcass and hurling them out from under the mower and onto the grass in bloody chunks of meat and bone. It only took a moment for the body of the second victim to be torn apart and shredded beyond all recognition, not even the Staravia's head having been spared. Strewn across the grass were the remainders of the bird, various sized chunks of meat and lumps that had once been its vital internal organs. There were even small globs of gray set against the red blood that now covered the grass: the remainders of Staravia's brain.

Christine didn't see any of it, but when she heard the lawn mower dying down she couldn't help but risk a look at the massacre. Upon seeing the blood and gore she involuntarily began to gag, turning away again and shutting the image of her Pokémon's shredded remains out of her mind. She couldn't ignore the loss though and moaned at how a second of her Pokémon had been killed by whatever spirit was possessing these devices. Her remaining Pokémon were faring little better, Buneary now not just crying but screaming as well. The rabbit was Christine's second newest Pokémon, before Riolu, and while she was actually quite a bit older than the newcomer it was impossible to tell from her behavior. She was scared by the smallest thing, and when scared she flew into a crying fit that almost nothing could calm her down from. Monferno had always been kind to Christine's Pokémon and so had naturally taken it upon herself to care for Buneary as if she were a baby from the moment she was captured. All she could do now though was try her best to calm the rabbit while preventing her from looking upon the carnage, all while trying to calm herself.

Even if no one else was crying as much as Buneary, it was obvious that most were on the verge of it. Even Luxio, who had withdrawn into himself following Buizel's death, seemed to be impacted by the loss of Staravia as the light shining from his fur dimmed. Meanwhile, Christine's eyes had become red from tears and her skin was pale, matching her remaining Pokémon with the exception of Riolu who was fortunately still unconscious and spared from seeing the terrible act or remains. Singularly, everyone agreed that they needed to find a way out of the chateau as soon as possible. There was no telling when the ghost would strike again or who it would take next, but with both Buizel and Staravia now dead everyone was certain that it was only a matter of time unless they found their way out. On shaking legs Christine stood up, taking careful care to avoid looking at the pool of red intermingled with pink gore and even fragments of white bone. Set against the pale green grass and the gray and browns of decay that filled the courtyard, Staravia's remains seemed almost colorful. Christine quickly pushed the macabre thought out of her mind.

“We...we've got to get out of here,” Christine muttered, pressing her head into her palm as she tried to work out a plan. “Right now.” She didn't care what the plan was. Just something, anything that would get them away from the horrible place that had already taken two of her Pokémon from her. Her three conscious Pokémon nodded in agreement, eager to get out just as much as she was. Having realized that there didn't seem to be any direct path out from the courtyard, Christine decided that their best bet would be to just try taking the collapsed hallway after all. Perhaps they could carefully clear away some of the rubble to get through to the foyer; it was certainly a better chance than just standing around waiting for the ghost to show up again.

As Christine was turning around to return to the door that led into the kitchen, a laughing from behind her back stopped her in her tracks. Slowly turning towards it, she saw a ghostly form composed of purple fog hovering over the now defunct lawn mower. Laughing again, the Haunter spread its disembodied arms apart, palms downwards to the pool of blood and gore. Christine's eyes widened as the blood and every bit of gore that had been scattered about suddenly began to dissolve into particles which the Haunter seemed to absorb. It took less than a minute for the Haunter to absorb any and all remains of Staravia. The absorption was so complete that the only remaining sign of what had transpired was the bent and broken blades of grass leading up to and radiating from the lawn mower.

Monferno began yelling angrily at the Haunter. They couldn't have done anything in respect of Staravia themselves, but it still seemed disrespectful on Haunter's part to just go and absorb the remains of someone's Pokémon like that. The Haunter didn't seem to be paying attention to Monferno however, instead laughing some more as its eyes began to glow red. Suddenly, from the shadows that pressed against the edges of the chateau, hundreds of pairs of red eyes appeared at once. Unblinking, the eyes stared at the human and group of Pokémon amid the yard's unkempt grass. As they glanced around at the eyes, chills ran down Christine's spine and the fur of the three Pokémon around her stood on end.

Christine raised her flashlight and moved the beam over to one of the pairs of eyes, the light illuminating the shadows it was hiding in. However, rather than reveal anything hidden amid the darkness, all that Christine and the Pokémon saw as they looked down the beam of light was a pair of red eyes floating in midair that seemed to possess no body. Without warning a fanged mouth suddenly opened beneath the eyes, as if parting the very folds of space itself. Christine nearly dropped the flashlight in surprise as similar mouths appeared all around the wall of eyes, the Haunter howling as a loud, multi-voiced laughing filled the courtyard and gaseous bodies formed around all of the multitude of ghosts. Finding themselves faced by an army of Gastly blocking their path back to the chateau, Christine screamed in shock and fear, this time managing to drop the flashlight for real as she instantly turned around and began running away from the wall of ghosts.

Her Pokémon were quick to follow after her, however Monferno paused to glance at the Haunter again only to notice that it had disappeared. Launching a stream of fire at some of the approaching ghosts to stun them, she quickly bent down and scooped up the dropped flashlight before turning around and running as fast as she could. Not knowing where else to escape to, Christine had fled inside the crypt at the far end of the courtyard. Noticing that Monferno had lagged behind, Christine paused in the act of pushing closed a large stone door, yelling worriedly for Monferno to hurry up. The army of ghosts were right on the monkey Pokemon's flame-tipped tail, her feet pounding the ground as she ran faster than she ever had before.

The ghosts mere feet behind her, Monferno jumped and sailed through the air, flying between the doors of the crypt right as Christine slammed them closed behind her. The girl wasn't sure if it would stop the Gastly, however after a heart-stopping moment nothing had come through. Huddled together at the top of the stairs, everyone breathed a sigh of relief as Christine pulling the still unconscious Riolu she held in her arms close. Feeling both her own and the Pokemon's heart beat she panted heavily, relieved that they were safe for the moment. Monferno muttered an apology for lagging behind and offered up the flashlight she had retrieved, Christine gladly taking the important object. She couldn't understand what Monferno was saying, but nonetheless she knew what the Pokémon meant and reassured her that it was okay and that the important thing was finding a way out as soon as possible.

Having nowhere else to go, the group turned around and began walking down the stairs, Christine shining the flashlight around her in the front while Luxio remained in the back with his naturally-produced light. Behind their backs and unknown to them, the ghostly form of the Haunter from before drifted through the stone door as if it wasn't even there, silently watching the group descend the stairs with an ever-present grin plastered on its face.

The spiral stairs leading down into the crypt seemed to descend forever, twisting around and around as it penetrated deep into the Earth. Every once in a while a passage off the stairs would present itself, prompting the group to explore the burial places of several generations one by one. Caskets lined the walls of the tunnels, unnerving the group somewhat. Christine pressed on nonetheless, wanting to find a way out of the place once and for all before anything more could happen to them. Monferno admired her trainer's determination and, despite her own personal fears, she couldn't help but feel as if she owed it to Christine to continue on as well. Luxio, still heartbroken about Buizel's death, remained in a zoned-out state that made it almost impossible for Monferno to read his feelings, however. While he seemed just as determined as the rest of them to get away from the haunted chateau, Monferno couldn't help but feel as if he wasn't all there, only going through the actions because he didn't know what else to do now. Surprisingly enough Buneary had calmed down, the rabbit Pokémon seeming to have realized that this was a situation that called for them to seriously focus if they planned on getting out alive. She had even taken to walking on her own rather than relying on Monferno, the monkey giving her a small pat before moving next to Luxio.

Despite Monferno's efforts to try to get through to the feline, nothing seemed to be working. He was simply unresponsive, not so much as batting an eye when Monferno tried to cheer him up. Luxio's sour mood worsening Monferno's, she sighed as she returned to walking alongside Christine as they returned to the stairs again. The passage they had been down had turned out to be nothing but a dead end, just as the one before it and the one after it would be. Dejected and with moods rapidly dropping, the group continued ever lower into the crypt. Eventually they managed to reach the very bottom of the stairs, Christine noticing that the stonework the stairs were made of at the bottom looked noticeably newer but less refined than at the top.

A passage reached off from the stairs down here as well, however to Christine's surprise it seemed as if the tunnel was unfinished, the walls jagged rather than smooth. Something about the passage unnerved her almost more than the other ones had, even if she had so far not seen a single casket containing a dead body down here as they had in the higher tunnels. Indeed, this path looked to be a fairly recent addition to the crypt, perhaps even made after it was abandoned. Shining her flashlight along the ceiling Christine noticed a string of lights running along it, fans wedged in the corner where the wall met the ceiling at regular intervals. She assumed that they were remnants from when the tunnel was dug, but that they were left behind was a bit odd.

Almost before anyone had realized it, the tunnel gave way to a large room buried far beneath the ground. Lights and fans were set up around the room as if it were the sight of some sort of expedition, the people who had been studying the place having long sense disappeared. As Christine shone the light around and took in the room she began to get a picture of why it had apparently not been connected to the crypt originally until the tunnel was dug out. Set into the walls of the room were numerous cages, the iron bars that prevented whoever had been inside from getting out long since rusted. Chains were anchored to both the ground and large pillars that rose from the tiled floor to the ceiling, and set against one wall on the far end of the room was a table on which Christine could make out a row of various knives, chains, steel spikes, leather belts, and a variety of other torture devices that she couldn't even identify. However this room had gotten below the chateau, it's purpose was obvious: it was a classic dungeon, most likely from when the chateau had first been built long, long ago. There had to be stairs running up from it to the chateau proper, which renewed Christine's hope that they'd be able to get out alive after all. The group drifted apart as they explored the room, Christine telling them of her suspicion that there were stairs leading up hidden somewhere around the dungeon.

By the time Christine realized that they probably should have remained close to each other it was too late.

Luxio was sniffing around one of the far corners of the room when he felt something give beneath his paw. Jumping backward, he watched in surprise as a portion of the floor slid away, only to reveal a large pit that had been hidden beneath it. Bending his head over the edge to look, Luxio yelped as he saw that far below in the depths of the pit, a blanket of rusted yet still sharp-looking spikes covered the ground. Hearing the sound of the retracting mechanism, Christine turned around to look and was walking over to Luxio when it happened. One of the fans sitting on the ground began to shudder, its blades spinning up slowly at first but then faster as a yellow aura appeared around it. The device lifted up in the air, turning to face where Luxio was still looking down into the spiked pit, the Pokémon unaware of what was about to happen.

Christine noticed the fan though and cried out for Luxio to get away from the edge. Before he could even process what she had said, however, the fan suddenly began spinning faster than Christine thought such an old machine could possibly do. A vortex of wind seemed to erupt from the fan, surging through the air straight on its collision course with the precariously perched Luxio. The blast of wind hitting its target, Luxio could only let out a scream as he found himself losing his footing and plummeting over the edge, into the lethal spiked pit.

Also screaming, Christine reached the pit's edge and crouched down after setting Riolu on the floor, almost scared to look below. When she did she regretted that she had: Luxio had fallen neatly into the very center of the pit, the spikes piercing through his body like a pincushion and erupting from his chest in a bloody mess. The feline Pokémon whined and twitched its paws about, tongue lolling uselessly from his muzzle as he tried to turn his head to look at Christine far above. Weakly he tried to raise a paw up towards her in the hope that she could help him, however there was nothing she could do. Christine openly cried as she stared down into the deep pit, which had to be at least five meters deep and far beyond her reach. All she could do this time was watch, unable to even order her Pokémon to help. Monferno and Buneary, having noticed Luxio fall as well, had also run over and were clustered around the edge of the pit, both crying just as Christine was as they stared down at their dying friend.

Luxio moaned as he dropped his arm, perhaps realizing that the pit was simply too deep. Feeling his friend's tears hit him on the chest, he tried to say something to them. However for some reason he found he couldn't talk, both as if he physically couldn't, as well as if he simply didn't know how. The spike that had jammed itself in his throat and which he could see at the bottom of his vision was surely one of the reasons he couldn't talk; however, even when he tried to remember the names of the people and Pokémon he could barely see above he found himself simply pulling up blanks. Feeling his body slide down the spikes some, Luxio gave one final cough as he tried to remember something, anything about who he or the people above were, about his life and why he was here. Unable to come up with any answers, all Luxio could do was shiver uncontrollably as his body dropped down the blood-coated spikes again, the large wounds across his chest widening. Unbeknownst to Luxio as his life slowly drifted away from him, the spikes hadn't just pierced him in the chest; one had driven itself straight through his skull as well.

Crying still, Christine backed away from the pit, picking up Riolu's limp, still unconscious body as she forced herself to her feet again. She couldn't believe this was happening; already she had lost half her Pokémon to whatever it was possessing these everyday objects. If she couldn't find a way out soon she feared that she's lose the other three as well, among those being not just her starter Pokémon and closest friend but also the unconscious Riolu who she had cared for since it had hatched from an egg. Tears falling onto Riolu's fur, Christine shakily turned away from the pit, keeping her eyes down as she stared at the Riolu cradled in her arms. She had to hurry and find the way out of this place soon; whatever was killing the Pokémon off didn't seem to be giving them a break.

Slowly Christine looked up, only to come face to face with a Gastly floating right in front of her.

Jumping in surprise, Riolu slipped out of Christine's arms as the girl screamed and ran off to the side. However this only led her straight into another Gastly, which she nervously backed away from. Glancing at Monferno and Buneary, she saw them looking past her. Slowly Christine turned around, only for her eyes to go wide. Filing out from the tunnel and into the dungeon, a swarm of Gastly were appearing much as in the courtyard. Pressing in on Christine and the two Pokémon from all sides, the Gastly forced them back against a wall. Looking past them, Christine saw where she had dropped Riolu accidentally, a pair of Gastly approaching the puppy.

In a frenzy Christine broke away from where she had been backed against the wall, screaming in both pain and terror as she literally ran straight through the encroaching Gastly. With every ghost she passed through it was as if that part of her body had been plunged into ice. Disregarding her own personal comfort, Christine focused solely on Riolu, desperate to get to it before the Gastly could. Suddenly, however, a surge of the ghosts against her turned Christine's entire body to ice, every single nerve in her body crying out as the Gastly swarmed around her. Collapsing beneath the pile of ghosts as she flailed futilely to try to get them off, all that ran through Christine's mind was concern not for herself, but for her remaining Pokémon. She desired to protect more than anything else in the world, painfully dragging her paralyzed body across the ground, only a few feet from Riolu. Reaching out, she felt her arm fall on Riolu's chest. The ghosts that were swarming about her continued to scream, overwhelming her hearing as their touch froze her body. Crying out, Christine pulled Riolu's body closer to her, trying to hang onto consciousness as she shielded the small, defenseless Pokémon with her own body.

Despite her strong will, however, the Gastly were simply too numerous. Feeling consciousness slipping away, Christine buried her face in Riolu's fur as tears dripped from her eyes.

To Be Continued...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Old June 7th, 2009, 08:38 AM
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OMG, one of the best stories I've ever read!!!! :D:D:D

Absolutely couldn't find any grammatical or punctual errors, but there's only one word for it: WOW!!!!!!!!!!!
And perhaps one sentence, being: DON'T YOU DARE STOP WRITING UNTIL WE FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS!!

LOVED IT
As you can probably see. I'm a fan of horror stories
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Old June 7th, 2009, 09:47 AM
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*Shivers*
Wow, and I thought my fic deserved an R rating. Your fic here takes the R rating to a whole new level.
Just one correction, I think.
Quote:
Not wanting to see another friend die, Monferno, Luxio, and even Buneary joined together again to try to fight back the lawn mower, choosing to attack it instead of the rapidly regrowing vines. Not wanting to stand and watch without acting again, Riolu sprinted
Isn't it a bit repetitive?

Other than that, great fic can't wait for more.
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Old June 7th, 2009, 10:01 AM
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*shivers* Fantastic. Superb peace of writing. You have a natural talent. I can only hope to be as good of a writer as you one day.

Only thing i would say is ni agree with Neo Groudon. That part was a little repetitive, but absolutely fantastic.
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Old June 7th, 2009, 10:04 AM
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Well, I suppose it is a bit repetetive. But, the bit with Staravia really got to me, qutie frankly.
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Old June 7th, 2009, 03:43 PM
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Hey, thanks everyone for reading, even those whose comments were deleted. I do plan on continuing it but considering how slow I tend to write when not under a deadline, who knows when. Against some wishes it seems, I may get the next chapter for one of my other fanfics done first, before this, but we'll see. I have part 2 of this completely planned out though, so yeah.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo Groudon
Wow, and I thought my fic deserved an R rating. Your fic here takes the R rating to a whole new level.
Bah, I could do worse. I know because I have. Maybe not in sheer, raw gore, but to me the psychological aspect is just as important and due to the deadline I was under and this being an entirely new thing for me, I couldn't quite get that down as I'd like here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo Groudon
Isn't it a bit repetitive?
Yes, it is. I have no idea how that snuck past me. I have changed the second sentence to:

"Riolu didn't want to just stand still and watch without acting again either, sprinting forward and leaping over the bound bird as she flipped through the air, sailing toward the approaching mower."
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Old June 7th, 2009, 09:05 PM
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Oh. My. God. Shrike, I haven't read any of your work before, so I didn't know what you were capable of, but . . . jeez. This story - even unfinished - is just amazing. You created a really great sense of suspense throughout the piece, and I just loved seeing the Pokemon getting picked off one by one. (I'm sick like that) I have a funny feeling that Buneary will be next... And it's great how you've included the relationships between the Pokemon, and how each one reacts differently to situations. You know, I've seen so many fics where Pokemon just pop out, do their attacks or whatever, and vanish again. But even in those that don't, very few authors give all their characters (including Pokemon) individual personalities. So that, to me, is one sign of a masterful author. Kudos to you.

I always, however, try to find a problem with everything I review. With most, it's not too hard. With yours, however, all I could find was this:

Quote:
Slowly Christine looked up, only to come face to face with a Gastly standing right in front of her.
Logic Nazi on the loose. Perhaps "floating" might be a better choice, but pfft. I bow down before your superior literary skill. *goes off to edit own story in hopes of making it seem readable next to this* Please let me know when you write the next part.
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Old June 7th, 2009, 09:12 PM
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...it's good. Five times better than anything I could write.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 06:28 AM
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Hmm... I still have yet to read Flamestar Chronicles, but judging by this, you do have some pretty awesome skills, dude! I'd like to say there's just something missing, but then it might just be me...
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Old June 8th, 2009, 08:41 AM
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Oh.
My.
God.


This is one of the best stories I have ever read, and Im not being generic. I have read a lot of good horror in my time, but never something as well thought out and well written as this. You should seriously consider making a human version of this and finding someone to publish it. Im still in shock that I was able to read something as good as this online. Please write more soon!

Also, I started to cry alot. Thats how good it is. I never cry when I read horror. Never.
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Old June 9th, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Wow, I...really didn't expect this kind of reaction. Again, immense thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read, especially for those who have gone further and taken the time to reply. I really wasn't expecting to get as big a reaction as I have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparkling Dragon
I just loved seeing the Pokemon getting picked off one by one. (I'm sick like that)
So am I. So am I... Being probably the biggest saddist I know likely has something to do with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparkling Dragon
You know, I've seen so many fics where Pokemon just pop out, do their attacks or whatever, and vanish again. But even in those that don't, very few authors give all their characters (including Pokemon) individual personalities. So that, to me, is one sign of a masterful author. Kudos to you.
Giving the Pokemon personalities is something I do in pretty much everything I write. I don't know why, but I just can't accept that Pokemon are simply animals and nothing else. To me, they're fully sentient and sapient beigns who, for the most part, have the same thought capacity as the average human. Because of this, the individual personalities of Pokemon is something that is vital to me in all my stories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparkling Dragon
Logic Nazi on the loose. Perhaps "floating" might be a better choice, but pfft.
Nah, don't worry about pointing stuff like that out. That particular error must have snuck past me due to the pressures of the approaching deadline, leading me to skimp on my proofreading of the ending. It shall be changed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skunter
I'd like to say there's just something missing, but then it might just be me...
Heh, probably the lack of a point behind all of it. There's really no reason behind the story at all, the stuff just happens. Unfortunately, that was sort of an unavoidable side-effect of my idea behind the story. I simply wanted something that would take my already existing yet private splatter/sadistic writing skills and turn it into something which I could put out for the public at large. At the same time, I wanted to experiment with using this specfific writing style, having before also been used only for my relatively private writing, in a more public fic. Thirdly, I simply wanted to experiment with the concept of the horror-themed darkfic in general, adapting something relatively innocent in official canon (the Old Chateau and the ghosts, namely Rotom, that reside within it) to a much darker and even outright evil interpretation. The downside of all that is that it didn't really leave much room for an actual meaningful plot, especially within the one week time constraint.
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Old October 31st, 2009, 10:19 AM
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Happy Halloween, people! Finally, after several months I finished this story, and just in time too. I won't waste your time by apologizing or ranting or anything and just get on with it. Know that this part is shorter than the first and doesn't contain quite as much gore or anything, but it actually has more than I had originally planned. One of the scenes I changed while writing, and I think it worked out well. Hint, without the change there probably wouldn't have been any extreme gore at all in this part. <_<

All the same warnings as from the first part apply here, so don't read if you have an aversion to death and/or blood.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Haunting at the Old Chateau
Part 2

Intruders. The feel of them permeated throughout the chateau, carrying in ripples through the air. The inhabitants who resided within the cursed place were alerted to the trespassers, once again encroaching on land that no outsider was meant to touch. There was no forgiveness, no redemption. Intruders could only be met with one fate, the fate that many before had themselves succumbed to. As if a machine, all the inhabitants of the Old Chateau moved as one, waiting for their chance to strike. However, it was not the inhabitants who got the first strike.

By chance, the human released it. Trapped within the electrical construct humans called a television, it had waited for the intruder whose folly would one day return it to the world. The inhabitants, feeling their leader returning, moved aside as it lay its traps. Three fell to the leader's mechanisms: one to fire, one to grass, one to wind. Before the full extent of their leader's plans could be unveiled, though, the inhabitants found their prey cornered. Moving in, they prepared to consume them, and welcome them to the fate that the three companion had already met...

Christine could feel the Gastly surrounding her as if they were reaching straight into her body, ethereal hands grasping at her very soul. Slowly, sensations became lost to her. All that remained was the feel of the unconscious Riolu's fur her face was pressed into. Even this began to lessen as she felt the bond between soul and body weaken, the Gastly slowly pulling her away from the material world. As if miles away she felt the feeling of fur all but disappear.

Suddenly, a great feeling of heat surrounded Christine, ghostly screams crying out as the Gastly let go and retreated. Like a rubber band Christine snapped back into her body, gasping as she pried her eyes open and looked up. A wall of fire encircled her, driving the Gastly back. Monferno and Buneary came running forward and vaulted over the flames, landing before Christine with worried expressions on their faces. Even Buneary no longer seemed scared, worry for her trainer overriding any sense of terror she had. The monkey held a hand out for Christine to take, which she shakily reached out for and grabbed, pulling herself to her knees. Picking up Riolu and holding the small Pokémon close to her chest, Christine looked around through the veil of fire.

The ghosts were clustered up against the flames, the mad grins on their gaseous faces unchanged. Monferno may have pushed them back for now, but the barrier wouldn't hold forever. Eventually the flames would extinguish, leaving the intruders easy pickings for the Old Chateau's ghostly inhabitants. Christine tried to collect her thoughts in an effort to come up with some plan to get her and her remaining Pokémon out of this situation, but nothing came to mind. Limply her head fell, the realization hitting her that she was quite literally at a dead end. She should never have come to the Old Chateau in the first place, especially with the stories surrounding it. Already Buizel, Staravia, and Luxio were dead and in just a few moments, she and the remaining three Pokémon would fall as well.

Defeated, Christine fell to her knees, the momentary high from being saved by Monferno all but gone with the realization that, in the end, all her Pokémon had done was delay the inevitable. She could feel tears well up in her eyes as she looked down at Riolu. She regretted getting her mixed up in all of this most of all. She wasn't more than a few weeks old, and should have been resting safely inside a computer storage box. Yet, Christine had wanted to give her the chance to journey with the rest of the team, to prepare her for what would have been in their future. Now that last minute decision to bring her along had done nothing but seal her fate, dooming her to death instead of the life she deserved to live out.

Monferno slowly approached her trainer as she noticed the tears, reaching out with a hand and grabbing onto Christine's shoulder. Deep inside, she too wanted to believe that they could still make it out alive, that they could still find some way out of this hellish place. Reality was harsh, however, and as the hoard of ghosts pressed ever closer against the wall of flames from all sides, blocking out all view of their surroundings, it was hard to see the situation ending with anything other than their deaths.

Glancing to her side, Monferno saw Buneary walk up next to her, sitting down on the ground and leaning against Christine. Like Riolu she was also young, however she did have some experience with going out on the journeys and adventures that Christine so loved. Monferno knew Christine had been hoping that bringing Buneary along on this trip would help her to overcome her fears, and as she watched the rabbit Pokémon try to comfort her trainer, she knew that may have finally happened. Only, perhaps, a little too late.

A cackling laugh broke Monferno away from her thoughts. Looking up, she saw one of the Gastly slipping through the fire, the barrier starting to fail. Leaping into action, Monferno spat a handful of fire balls at the ghost, pushing it back for the time being. It soon became evident that time was not on their side, however, as more and more Gastly began to breach the wall of fire. Working as fast as she could, Monferno tried to fight them back, however it was only a few minutes before they began to overwhelm her. Staggering back and panting, the monkey Pokémon tiredly hurled a weak fireball at a Gastly that had just barely made it through the flames. Just about at her limit, Monferno accepted the grim realization that soon, they would exist no longer.

Christine, meanwhile, wasn't aware of anything around her as she stared down at the Riolu in her lap, tears falling upon its unconscious body as she tried to make some silent, unspoken attempt to apologize. Closing her eyes, she wished that Riolu could only be awake, so that she could tell the Pokémon how sorry she was. A few more tears squeezed out from between her closed eyes, falling down onto the canine Pokemon's fur as she rested a hand upon its chest, feeling the movements beneath that told her Riolu was still alive.

Then, just as Christine was about to pull her hand away for the final time ever, a small paw reached up and grabbed onto one of her fingers. Eyes snapping open, Christine looked down and saw Riolu holding onto her, its eyes slowly opening. A moment passed where they simply stared at each other, Christine unable to bring herself to say anything. Nonetheless, the Pokémon slowly nodded as she accepted Christine's unspoken apology.

Monferno suddenly screamed as a Gastly charged through the dimming fire, knocking into the fire Pokémon as streams of white particles began to stream from Monferno only to be absorbed by the Gastly. Looking up and at the scene, Christine realized the ghost must have been trying to absorb Monferno's essence as they had tried to do with her. There was nothing she could do but watch, her first Pokémon writhing on the floor as she tried to resist. Riolu wasn't so content to sit still, however, leaping to her feet with a determined look across her face. Christine knew there was little the Riolu could do though, as the only attacks she knew would be ineffective against the ethereal Gastly.

Surprising Christine, a blue light suddenly flashed in Riolu's eyes as a visible blue aura surrounded her body, quickly rising in intensity before shooting out in a sphere that washed over the room and ghosts. As the light passed, Christine noticed the ghosts seeming to become more solid, their bodies losing the primarily gaseous composition that would prevent Riolu's physical attacks from hitting them. It wasn't something Christine had taught her, and in fact she hadn't even realized Riolu could use the Aura powers that proved the primary strength of her species' evolved form. Yelling some wordless battle cry, Riolu suddenly charged forward, leaping through the air and spinning before coming down on the Gastly, her tail hitting it with enough force to send it flying back into the failing wall of fire. The ghost screamed as it was enveloped by the fire, its now physical form having the side effect of intensifying the effect of the flames on it. In a burst of purple gas the Gastly was destroyed, dissipating in a purple mist through the air only to be absorbed by the others for later reformation.

Monferno weakly looked up, seeing Riolu run off to fight back another of the Gastly. She was glad it had saved her, happy that she didn't have to die, not just yet. She wanted to thank Riolu for saving her life, but as she watched the young Pokémon fight back more of the Gastly faster than she had been able to, her jealousy toward the Pokémon Christine was surely raising to be her replacement flared up again. It wasn't fair, why should the newcomer get so much attention causing their trainer to neglect those who had repeatedly shown their value time and time again? Monferno watched as Christine stood again, cheering Riolu on as it sprinted around destroying Gastly after Gastly. Inwardly Monferno knew that such thoughts were stupid at a time like this, that they all had to work together if they wanted any hope of surviving. She knew that she had to continue helping as well, not dwell on personal vendettas. Shaking, drained of energy and nearly of her very soul, Monferno pulled herself to her feet and gathered what little strength she had left to aid Riolu in the fight.

Unfortunately, that was when the wall of fire that had been holding back the flood of ghosts gave in, the sole barrier that had been slowing the Gastly's progress disappearing in a burst of flames.

The Gastly washed over the group like a tidal wave, the sounds of their jeering drowning out screams as they buried the girl and her three Pokémon under their sheer number. Monferno could feel the Gastly working on separating her soul and body again, the ghosts working together with the sole intent of converting the four remaining intruders to their ranks. Glancing to her side, Monferno could the same with her three companions, white particles fine as dust emanating from their bodies, freed from their mortal constraints. Monferno watched as Riolu thrashed, still trying to fight the overwhelming number of Gastly as they pinned her down. The relative newborn screamed as the Gastly began to sever the thin threads that held her soul to this world, unwilling to accept that she had lost the fight. Inwardly Monferno took pleasure in seeing her would-be usurper in such pain, although as soon as she realized it she tried to vanquish the disturbing thought.

Monferno almost missed it among the streams of particles escaping her companions. Spheres of white light began to shoot out from Buneary's body, surrounding her and remaining stationary in the air for a moment as more spheres formed. Just as Monferno noticed them they suddenly shot out in all directions, the spheres bursting into fiery explosions that rippled throughout the swarm of Gastly. Laughing shrieks turned to wailing screams as the explosions tore the Gastly swarm apart, vaporizing several of the ghosts and scattering their numbers through the dank chamber. Monferno could feel the heat of the explosions all around her, some close enough that her fur was left singed in places. Close enough that the Gastly that had been keeping her down were among those who were instantly killed in the attack. As their forms disappeared in a burst of purple particles she could feel the bond between soul and body again return to normal, her life saved for the second time within the span of merely a few minutes.

Christine scrambled to her feet as she realized what had happened, looking around at her Pokémon. Monferno and Riolu were both pulling themselves to their feet, but Buneary still lay on the ground, whimpering and panting. Whether from the strain of the powerful attack or fear for the Gastly, Christine didn't know. Bending down she scooped the rabbit into her arms, Buneary turning to look up at her trainer. She smiled at Christine with a weak yet proud expression, however in her eyes Christine could see the fear she was trying her hardest to suppress. Stroking her fur, Christine whispered that she didn't have to hold anything back, that she had done more than her share and could now let everything out. Nonetheless, Buneary refrained from crying, squirming in Christine's arm until she was set back on the ground, already able to walk on her own again.

Despite their casualties, the Gastly were not vanquished. Already they were beginning to regroup in each of the corners of the room, staring down the intruders that was taking all too long to defeat. They had lost their prime chance to do so, a fact that Christine and her remaining Pokémon were also all too aware of. A group of the Gastly continued to block the entrance to the dungeon that they had entered through, however Christine knew there had to be some other way out; the tunnel was a new excavation after all. Riolu was already searching for another exit, waves of her newfound Aura power rippling off her body as she tried to sense any hidden exits. Suddenly she perked up, turning around and running towards one of the walls excitedly.

Christine and the other two Pokémon quickly followed, the Gastly beginning to move again, attempting to cut off their path. With renewed strength Monferno unleashed a stream of fire that tore through the Gastly in their path, parting the cloud of ghosts to allow Riolu to pass through. Close to the wall she took a running leap, pulling a paw back that began to glow with blue energy. Thrusting her palm forward she hit the wall with force far greater than one would normally think a Pokémon her size could exert, shock-waves of energy radiating throughout the wall and forming cracks along its surface. Suddenly it burst inward in a shower of rocks, the wall caving into a hidden passageway. Riolu was sent flying through the hole, landing at the base of a staircase on the other side.

Christine, Monferno, and Buneary ducked through the opening as they reached it, rushing up the first few feet of stairs. When Christine realized Riolu wasn't following she stopped and looked back down, seeing her standing by the hole with a hand on the passageway's wall. Ripples emanated from the paw, shaking the wall and forming more cracks in it. Suddenly the solid wall began to cave in as well, Riolu jumping back out of the way as the wall collapsed and blocked the hole to the dungeon. A solid barrier such as the pile of rocks would slow the Gastly down greatly, and hopefully keep them from catching up. As Riolu slowly walked up the stairs to where the group had paused, Christine realized that her backpack, and with it her flashlight, had been left behind in the dungeon amid the chaos. Without either the flashlight or Luxio the group was left to climb the stairs in the dark, feeling their way upward with only the minimal, flickering light of Monferno's tail to guide them by.

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As they climbed the stairs, the party quickly lost track of time. It could have been that only ten minutes passed, but just as easily it may have been an hour. It didn't matter much to any of them though; time was meaningless to them now, their sole focus being on finding a way out of this place that had already claimed three of their own. Christine tried to keep her mind away from the deaths during the climb, but inevitably she failed. Memories of the times she had spent with Buizel, Staravia, and Luxio rushed back to her mind. Staravia had been the first Pokémon she caught, not long after leaving her home in Twinleaf Town. He had been next to only Monferno in terms of the time they had spent traveling together; she had never even imagined that he would die someday, and so soon. Buizel had been another early capture, while Luxio she had raised from an egg. Tears ran down her cheeks as memories ran through her mind, tears that went unnoticed by her remaining Pokémon in the darkness of the stairwell.

When they finally reached the top of the stairs it at first glance seemed to be a dead end, the flame on the tip of Monferno's tail lighting up a blank wall that blocked their path. Monferno waved her tail around to light up the corners, and as she did so Christine noticed a lever on the wall. She walked over to it and pulled it down, rocks grinding as some ancient mechanism started moving for the first time in centuries. The dead-end wall slowly began to swing outward, fresher air than had been in the dungeon and stairs wafting over the group as they walked through the opening. They weren't outside yet, but as Christine looked around she could tell they were at least back in the Chateau proper. Shelves lined the walls of the rooms, rotting boxes and barrels scattered about in disarray. Looters must have already been over the place, but with the encounters Christine and her Pokémon had had, there was no guarantee they had managed to escape with anything they found.

The boxes and shelves seemed to indicate that they were in a storage room of some sort, while the dankness pointed to them being in the Chateau's basement. Christine figured that if they could find a way back to the first floor, they could somehow get past the entryway collapse and escape from the place. Having Monferno lead the way so that she could provide what little light her tail gave off, the group began to follow as they looked for a way upwards. The storage room they had emerged in connected to multiple other rooms, each of which must have held something different in the days the Chateau was still inhabited. Progressively the group realized that the basement seemed to be a winding maze of passageways connecting the storage rooms, and that finding a way out might be harder than it had first seemed. Desperation and persistence drove them forward, however, no matter how lost they seemed to be.

Eventually the group reached a room which seemed to be a dead-end to the maze. As Christine looked around, she didn't see any other exits leading out of the room. About to turn around and head back the way they had come, she stopped when she noticed that Buneary had her attention on something else. Turning back around she saw that, at the far end of the room, a small refrigerator sat with its door cracked open slightly. From inside it, a single light bulb gave off a dim, flickering glow as if it would die any moment. With no power supposedly flowing to the Chateau, however, it should have already died.

The hairs on Christine's neck rose as she quickly realized this had to be another trap. Her Pokémon also seemed to realize the same thing and began to back away as well, however the ghost that had been following them and laying these traps wouldn't let them escape so easily. The door to the refrigerator suddenly swung open, a shower of ice crystals shooting out of it and quickly filling the entire room in a small-scale blizzard. Christine screeched as she tried to cover her face, the crystals flying past and tearing through her clothes and into flesh. Blood streamed down in tiny rivulets from the scratches, but that wasn't her primary concern. She could see the initial chaos and disorder of the blizzard begin to lessen as it focused itself, soon enough forming into a tornado of ice shards focused around the Pokémon farthest into the room: Buneary.

Christine screamed as she saw the sharp crystals whip around the young rabbit Pokemon's body, grouped loosely enough away at first that they merely scratched. Monferno leapt forward and tried launching some fire at the ice in the hope of melting it, but any of the crystals she managed to destroy were instantly replenished by the refrigerator they had come from. There was no hope of either Monferno or Riolu getting close enough to pull Buneary out without getting caught up in the ice tornado themselves, so all the group could do was watch in horror as the tornado slowly closed in, tightening on its victim. As the crystals began to slice deeper into Buneary's body and with more frequency, she turned to look back at Christine for one final time, wincing at the stings as she did so. Christine could see fear in her Pokemon's eyes, but before she could gather anything else one of the ice crystals suddenly tore across Buneary's face, ripping through her small button eyes and leaving them a bloody pulp.

Everyone began to scream at once as the shards of ice violently tore into Buneary's body, some digging so far in that they embedded themselves beneath her flesh. Blood flew through the air as gashes opened up all over the small Pokémon. Tufts of fur and chunks of flesh flew off and got mixed in with the tornado, turning it into a whirling vortex of blood and gore as Christine watched her Pokémon get torn to shreds. Bones began to snap and shatter as crystals ripped through Buneary's limbs, an arm flying off and promptly getting tangled up in the vortex. Christine found herself falling to the ground again as she saw an ice shard rip violently straight through Buneary's chest, emerging on the other side entangled with a strand of entrails that were pulled out of the now near nearly dead Pokémon. Christine felt her body heaving, however it had been long enough since she ate last that there was nothing in her stomach to expel.

Christine couldn't watch any more, but it wasn't long until so much gore had been caught up in the ice tornado that it was impossible to see Buneary anyway, or at least what remained of her. Almost as soon as it had started the tornado suddenly died down, the ice shards suddenly falling out of the air and clattering to the ground amid a pool of blood and Buneary's remains. The body had been mutilated to the point where few recognizable features of the Pokémon remained. The head and most of the limbs had been torn off and thrown into the corners of the room. Flesh and fur had been stripped clean from the muscle underneath, which had itself been ripped straight off the bone in places. Blood flowed freely from every part of the mutilated corpse, the exposed heart sitting in the middle of the open chest cavity pumping a spurt of blood into the air for a moment until it fell still.

Christine scrambled to her feet, turning back the way they had come as she covered her mouth and kept her eyes closed. She didn't want to see anything, she just wanted to run. Monferno and Riolu frantically followed her as she set off running down the hallway in the direction they had come, not caring about where they were going so long as they could get away. Christine couldn't stand it any longer, she wanted out of this place now and she'd be damned if anything would stop her. In her frantic rush she didn't notice the sets of eyes appearing all around as she passed through rooms, Gastly phasing into existence in every room the group ran through. Eventually she did realize they were seemingly being followed, but at the same time she also noticed a door ahead that she hadn't noticed before. It was only open a crack, but she was willing to take it if there was even the slightest possibility it could get them back to the surface and closer to escape.

Christine, Monferno, and lastly Riolu rushed into the new room, Christine throwing the door shut behind them in the hopes that it would stop any ghosts from getting through. It was odd that solid objects would block ghosts that could easily go incorporeal, but it had worked when leaving the dungeon so she counted on it here. No Gastly appeared through the door, so she took a few steps back before collapsing against a wall and sliding down it, holding her head in her hands. It was getting harder and harder for her to get a grasp on what was going on. It seemed like it hadn't been long at all since she and her team of six Pokémon ventured into the Chateau for nothing other than some exploration, and now here she was huddling in the basement with all but two of her companions dead. It seemed like it had to be some sort of bad dream, but as she looked up and saw Monferno and Riolu standing over her she knew it was all too real.

It wasn't just Christine who was having a hard time, though. Both Monferno and Riolu were also sad at the loss of their teammates. Even Riolu, who hadn't been around long enough to get to know them that well, had to hold back tears. She didn't want to look bad in front of her trainer and knew that she had to strive her hardest to help Christine through it all. She knew the whole reason Christine had brought her along was to judge and test her, and Riolu wanted to make sure her trainer realized her potential. She wasn't foolish and knew that her efforts at displaying her strength had made her some sort of rival to Monferno, but she hoped that in time they could make up.

Riolu took a look around the room, her sensitive eyes and Aura powers allowing her to see better in the dark than either Monferno or Christine. The room they had found was small, with dilapidated washing machines and dryers lining the walls. There didn't seem to be any other way out, at least not a door. However, Riolu could sense that the ceiling at the far end of the room seemed unstable and prone to failure. Perhaps she could cause it to collapse like in the dungeon, and they could then get to the floor above through the hole. Lowering her guard as there didn't seem to be anywhere in the room for something to pop out from, she walked down the space between the clothes washing machines to examine the weak ceiling closer.

Monferno was lost in her own thoughts when Riolu began walking away from the group. She turned to watch her but thought nothing of it. She couldn't see as well as the Riolu in the dark, but could see enough to tell that there wasn't really anywhere for her to go. Turning back to face Christine, she thought nothing of the sole other Pokémon that remained wandering off. By the time she realized she should have cared, it was too late.

Riolu's screams filled the small room, Monferno and Christine whipping their heads around to see one of the washing machines had its door opened, a blue-black aura surrounding it as inky shadow tentacles reached out and wrapped around Riolu's limbs. As if a beast ravenous with hunger, the tentacles pulled the resisting Riolu ever closer to the open drum, water starting to fill it already. Streams of water began to spill over the edge of the open drum, falling to the floor like drool. Stunned, Monferno just blinked and watched as Riolu shrieked, squirming within the grasp of the tentacles as they managed to lift the small Pokémon completely off the ground. Only when Riolu was literally thrown straight into the gaping drum of the washing machine did Monferno begin running over to try to save her, the door slamming shut right as she reached the end of the room.

Riolu pressed up against the windowed door, trying to push it open and screaming, the sounds muffled to Monferno outside. Something seemed to be holding the door shut, however, and Riolu could only bang against the glass in desperation that Monferno would do something. However, all the monkey Pokémon found herself able to do was stand there, watching as the water level inside the washing machine gradually rose. She didn't know if she'd have any better luck trying to open it than Riolu and merely watched for a moment as the trapped Pokemon looked around at the water rising up over her body. Monferno had placed a hand on the door's handle and had a feeling it would open if she tried it, saving Riolu from the fate that had met the four Pokémon previous to her. Slowly her hand dropped from the handle, however, as she realized to her own horror that she didn't want to save the Riolu. Taking a step backward, Monferno stared in at Riolu with cold, emotionless eyes.

Riolu fell still as she saw Monferno back off, refusing to save her. Tears began to run down her cheeks as she sobbed, struggling to keep her head in the slowly shrinking pocket of air above the water. She hadn't meant for it turn out this way, for her strives to prove her capabilities to turn Monferno so against her. She hadn't expected that when given the chance, Monferno would essentially murder her due to pride. Riolu's head slipped under the water as she lost focus on keeping above it, the water soaking her face and washing away her tears. Gasping for breath she pulled herself up again, in time to see Christine realize what was happening and run over.

Christine hadn't seen Monferno's refusal to even try to open the door, and so when she tried to pull it open only to find that it seemed to be locked, she didn't give a second thought to how Monferno was just standing there, watching. She banged on the glass as if it would break, yelling to Riolu inside that they'd get her out. Scrambling on top of the washing machine next to the one holding Riolu captive, she squeezed her way behind the machine to search for the water pipes and electrical cords. Except, when she did find them, they weren't connected to anything. Whatever ghost was possessing the machine was supplying the electricity and water itself, and without a way to fight it off there was nothing they could do.

Monferno's mind was blank as she watched Riolu get what she had been desiring in her subconscious all along. She didn't know when, but sometime after Staravia's death, she had realized deep down that none of them would be getting out of this place alive. They were all going to die, every single one of the seven who had entered. All she had been hoping for, the one thing that had driven her forward no matter how much she refused to believe it, was that Riolu would meet her end before she herself did. The water had almost filled the drum now, only the very tip of Riolu's muzzle able to fit into the small air pocket. As the water completely filled the washing machine's drum, Riolu breathing her last breath, all Monferno felt was pleasure that she was able to witness her rival's death before the ghost saw fit to take her own life.

Riolu stared back at Monferno's emotionless gaze as she sank down in the water. She knew that this was the end, but still she held her breath as long as she could. As she felt her air supplies rapidly deplete she could feel the water begin churning, the washing machine's drum beginning to spin. It quickly sped up, Riolu unable to resist the motion of the water. She found herself thrown about in the drum, hitting against the sides from the force of the spinning. Coughing and gagging she reflexively opened her mouth, the last few bubbles of air she had been holding on to drifting up and out through the small holes in the drum. Riolu could feel her lungs begin to fill with water as she coughed and sputtered, unable to do anything within her watery prison. All the while the drum kept spinning, her stilling body wildly thrown about.

Riolu was dimly aware of the sound of bones cracking as she collided with the side of the drum again, and when she looked down she could see points of white sticking through her chest. She wasn't aware of the blood flowing from those same wounds, nor of Christine who had returned to the front of the machine, unable to find a way to help. She wasn't aware of Christine's tears as she cried, weakly hitting against the glass window. She wasn't aware of how mangled her own body now was, limbs bent at odd angles and shattered bones puncturing through flesh and fur. All Riolu was aware of was Monferno's cruelty. All Riolu was aware of as she felt the life flow from her body was of Monferno's betrayal to her own ally. As Riolu sputtered one final, weak cough, her eyes closed for good as all bodily systems shut down, all she was aware of was that it wasn't the ghost responsible for her death, but rather Monferno.

The room was oddly silent, the only sound being the hum of the washing machine. If one didn't know what had happened, nothing would seem too out of the ordinary. Christine and Monferno watched, unmoving, as Riolu's lifeless and mangled body flopped around in the washing machine, the water turning red with blood. While Monferno couldn't pry her unblinking eyes away due to a sense of morbid satisfaction, Christine was stunned, her body shaking. The only Pokémon she had left now was Monferno, her very first Pokémon. Of course, she did have others safely stored in their PC boxes, but to lose five of her best, among those her newborn Riolu, it was as if the whole world was falling apart around her.

Before either of the two remaining survivors could react, a small earthquake suddenly shook the ground. The part of the ceiling Riolu had spotted before suddenly broke free of what little support had been holding it up, causing concrete and rocks to come crashing down. Christine was confident the falling ceiling would crush Monferno and her, ending everything forever, but the debris missed the two and instead fell on some of the old washing machines. It wasn't until a large rock fell down and crushed the washing machine that Riolu's corpse was still trapped in that Christine and Monferno snapped back to reality. The machine crumpled surprisingly easily, the door flying open in a flood of bloody water. Riolu's corpse was ejected out of the machine in the rush of water, landing at Christine's and Monferno's feet in a twisted mess. The small puppy was barely recognizable, the violently spinning drum seeming to have broken most of the bones in the carcass. Christine almost wanted to pick up her dead Pokémon and cradle it as if she could somehow bring it back to life, but as she looked at the mangled corpse she knew that such wishes were the realm of fantasy and not this dark, grim reality she had found herself in.

Silence passed between Christine and Monferno as they stared at Riolu's corpse. There was no running away this time, each ready for whatever horror would come next, whatever would end this grim journey. Neither had anything more to lose, Monferno having seen her dying wish while Christine had lost all she had come to hold dear. All except Monferno, who she pensively picked up and held as she had done before when she was only a Chimchar. Picking herself up from the ground, Christine turned to look at the hole in the ceiling. Their path through this place, the ghosts always seeming to be one step ahead, couldn't have been coincidence. They were being strung along, the ghastly denizens of the house leading them to their undoing. Christine knew that nothing good could await them above.

Still, straining to hold Monferno with one arm, she grabbed onto the pile of debris and began climbing up it. At the top she reached over the edge and set Monferno on the ground above before pulling herself over. The first thing that hit her was the breeze and the smell of fresh air. When Christine looked up she realized where they were: in the foyer of the chateau. At the far end, the large entrance door stood open, a silver beam of moonlight piercing through the opening and illuminating the foyer. Christine remembered how the door had closed behind them as soon as they had entered, an early sign of the trouble ahead that she should have paid more attention to. It being open now was no doubt the work of the chateau's inhabitants. Knowing that at any moment a trap would be sprung, she nonetheless began walking down the length of the foyer, Monferno beside her.

Behind them and unseen to the final two survivors, a bubbling mass of black, ink-like shadows began to spread along the ground, as of oozing up between the cracks in the tiles. Seeming to emerge from the building itself, two long tentacles formed out of the writhing mass which began to come together and take shape. Forming into a sphere with a spike coming out of both its top and bottom, the mass of darkness freed itself from the ground and began to rise up into the air. The intruders still unaware of its presence, it finally made itself known when, with a loud cackling laughter, it lashed its tentacles out at the girl walking towards the chateau's exit.

Christine was caught unaware as the shadow tentacles wrapped around her arms and barely had time to scream as they suddenly dragged her backwards and up into the air. Monferno spun around as she heard Christine screaming, seeing her handing below the black mass as she wildly kicked. Christine could feel her arms straining underneath her suspended weight but the grasp of the shadow tentacles was too strong, with it not seeming as if they'd let go anytime soon. As she screamed and tried to free herself, the black mass continued to laugh, a grinning smile appearing as a slit across its surface.

Two more gaps in the shadow mass followed, they suddenly springing open into a pair of eyes with large blue pupils, staring down at Monferno below. The air around the shadowy mass began to shimmer and spark, bolts of lightning randomly flying off to impact with the walls and ceiling of the foyer. Then, as if emerging from within the mass of black shadows, an orange ghost appeared with a body similar in shape to the one the black mass had taken, wearing the eyes and grin that had formed on the mass just before. An aura of blue electricity surrounded its body, the inner-core of which seemed to be almost liquid. The ghost didn't completely leave the black shadow mass, however, two tendril-like extensions of its blue electrical aura trailing behind and into the shadows.

Monferno didn't know what to do as she watched Christine hanging in the air. She could try to fight the ghost now that it had finally appeared, however something told her it would be a losing fight. Glancing back over her shoulder, she saw that the door was still open, and she figured that if she ran she could probably reach the exit before the ghost could retaliate. Turning back, she looked up at Christine, who she could tell knew what her Pokémon was thinking.

“Get out of here!” Christine yelled. Before she could say anymore, however, the ghost Pokémon suddenly let out a loud screech as a burst of electrical energy suddenly filled the air around it and Christine. The girl shrieked as electricity began to pour through her body, numbing her limbs and causing muscles to spasm. Unfortunately for her, it didn't stop after the initial surge, the flow of electricity continuing without pause. Christine could feel her heart beating erratically, trying to keep synched with the flow of her body despite the shocks trying to disrupt it.

Tears began to well up in Monferno's eyes as she watched her trainer thrash in pain, the ghost's grin broadening as it cackled, delighting in the pain it was causing its victim. Christine tried to fight against it but there was little she could do, her only hope being that she could get it to release its grip and send her plummeting to the ground. She would die if she fell from such a height, but it would at least save her of the torture she was going through, death inevitable no matter what happened. She didn't want to die, but after all that had happened, after all the deaths and losses she had been forced to suffer through, she didn't see the point in living either. She knew that even if she didn't, Monferno still had a chance to get away, to escape this place and go on with her life no matter how hard it would be after all this. Straining against the pain, she managed to gasp out, “Please, Monferno... Save yourself!”

Monferno was split. She could escape, or at least try to. Perhaps another trap would be waiting, but there was the chance that there wasn't. She could stay and try to fight the ghost, a fight which would likely end badly for her. Or she could stay and do nothing, wait until the ghost had finished Christine off and turned its attention to herself. She could give up her life, not for anything meaningful but simply because she had already committed herself to her own death. Tears welled up in her eyes as she watched the ghost torture Christine. She had thought that seeing Riolu and all the other of her companions die had hardened her, however Christine was different. She was the one who had raised and trained her, the one who had been with her for months now, going on a full year now since they first left Sandgem Town together. Memories rushed back, Monferno bowing her head as she remembered all the times that had long since passed. Racked with indecision, the time Monferno had to make a decision quickly began to shorten.

The shadow mass suddenly began to expand, growing large enough that it stretched across the entire foyer, covering it like a veil. From that veil of darkness, several pairs of eyes suddenly appeared, forming a seemingly solid wall of eyes that all stared down at Monferno. Unnerved by the sight, Monferno took a step back, when suddenly several loud, piercing shrieks filled the room. It was as if the spirits of every victim that had fallen prey to the Old Chateau and been reduced to ghosts were crying out at once, singing in an eery chorus of wails and screams. As Gastly began to glide out of the veil of darkness, seemingly infinite in number, a few split off from the group and drifted up to where Christine hung, eagerly clustering around her.

Monferno could only watch as the Gastly began drawing Christine's soul from her body, the girl gasping as her body heaved. The constant electrical current running through her was by now almost unnoticeable, her body numbed from the pain. When the ghost let off she didn't even notice, the remaining current from the electrical cloud discharging to the ground below in a dancing column of lightning bolts that lasted for several seconds. Those several seconds to Monferno as she watched seemed like an eternity, the endless wall of Gastly meanwhile slowly approaching her and forcing her back closer to the Chateau's exit. She could see the wisps of light emanating from Christine's body, the Gastly around her eagerly absorbing the girl's very essence as they forcibly recruited her to their own ranks.

As Christine felt the world fade away, she strained to open her eyes and tilt her head up, looking at Monferno who now stood mere feet from the door, the wall of Gastly threatening to engulf her. Gasping, she tried to stir her numb throat awake to talk one final time. With each passing second, as she felt her bond with the mortal world loosen, it only got harder to do anything. Using all of her energy and then some, she managed to work her throat and mouth one final time, whispering out the words, “I'm sorry.” She didn't know if Monferno could even hear her, or if she would forgive, but she never got the chance to find out. A white aura suddenly burst from her body, the Gastly laughing as the aura dissipated as suddenly as it had appeared, the ghosts absorbing the aura's remnants. Christine's body hung lifeless in the grasp of the shadow tentacles, an empty shell no better than a corpse.

Monferno had heard Christine, and as she watched her trainer's dead body hang in the air she made up her mind. Amid the cackling and the wailing, Monferno watched the wall of Gastly approach her. No doubt the Gastly were former visitors to the Old Chateau reduced to mindless drones, following the commands of the orange ghost that had been possessing the objects around the house. Monferno figured that Riolu along with her other companions were somewhere among the Gastly, or soon would be, and all she had to do to join them was let herself by taken. However, she had the chance to escape, to go on living. Even with the sins she had committed, even with Riolu's death heavy in her heart, she could carry on the memories of Christine and the team of Pokémon that had been lost to the Old Chateau.

Tears raining down her cheeks, Monferno turned around, putting her back to the ghosts and all that had happened inside that haunted chateau. On all fours she sprinted out through the door, bursting into the moonlit night and leaving behind that place of death, misery and despair. Behind her she heard the doors slam shut on their own, the wails of the dead cut off from the outside world as Monferno aimlessly ran down the Old Chateau's lawn and through the gate Riolu had opened hours before, although it seemed like days now. On her own, with no companions to guide or comfort her, Monferno set out for the nearby Eterna City, unsure of what she would she would now do.

Of the seven who had entered the Old Chateau that night, only one left. Five Pokémon fell to the possessed forms of the being now known as Rotom while one human fell to Rotom itself and the Gastly it commands. Only a single Pokémon escaped, but why? For the rest of her life Monferno was haunted by that night, and never could she forget a single detail. Most of all, the death of Riolu that she herself collaborated in never left her mind. Always she wondered what would have happened if she had tried to save Riolu. Would two have managed to escape, rather than just one? Or would Riolu have died anyways? Perhaps most terrifying of all was Monferno's worst fear, the possibility that the only reason Rotom had let her escape was because she had essentially committed murder herself. With blood on her hands and death in mind, Monferno lived out the rest of her life never regretting her decision to live, but always regretting the choice to kill, no matter what it may have lead to.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I hope you see now the power of stories and the strength that lies within them. Christine ignored the stories and tales, and as a result only added yet another to the collection I now harbor. You may not believe that my stories are real; you may go on for the rest of your life, thinking of the old storyteller you met this hallowed night as being nothing more than a night's entertainment. One day you may feel tempted to visit the Old Chateau for yourself, to prove that such stories of evil ghosts are nothing more than fantasy. I will warn you one last time, and if you do not heed me than I am afraid it is only a matter of time until I learn of a new story. Stay away from the Old Chateau, or you too may find yourself witness to horrors you thought could not be real...

The End?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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  #13    
Old November 7th, 2009, 08:57 AM
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pikakip
The original DarkHeart
 
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wow *shudders* that was good. it was wierd though, i wanted to keep reading, up until staravia. part of me wanted to stop, but part of me wanted to keep reading. it was a total gorefest, but it was still good. I probably could have predicted that only one would survive, mainly because rotom only has 6 forms. but the end was the best. and even if monferno had tried to save Riolu, He could not have, due to the power that rotom controls.

What was wierd about this, was that i thought rotom pretty much sucked. i didnt really think about how much destruction he could really cause. but now...*shudders* i will never look at him the same way again. (goes to breed an army of ROTOM's in every form.)

But uh, that was pretty good. thanks for providing us with a horrifying story to thrill.

And remember, stay away from the old chateau..........
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Old November 13th, 2009, 11:35 AM
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Bay Alexison
Not a Baygel
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Dani California
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I read the first part when you posted it in the summer, but wasn’t able to post review. D:

Anyways, as far as horror stories go, I see some depth in it, mostly on the character development side. Like Misheard Whisper said, you did well with the Pokemon, their interactions with one another, and how they react to the certain curses and death. My favorite has to be Monferno not saving Riolu and was satisfied of his death at first, but then regrets not at least trying to save him. Christina at first I was worried as you didn’t develop her much in part one, but part two I’m glad you put her thoughts on what was going on at the chateau more and also her regrets. Seriously, most of the time in horror stories the characters are all like, “Why I came here in the first place?” In this story however, you went beyond that, which I already explained, so I won’t repeat myself. :3 I want to say though I’m kind of iffy on Starvia’s personality and wished you put more depth on him (though maybe I have to read part one again to refresh my memory XD).

Idea on Rotom being this sinister ghost in the chateau is nothing but excellent. I wish I thought of that! D: And the deaths…all I’m gonna say is you’re a cruel, cruel man. D: In all seriousness though, interesting you have the Pokemon and Christina die by each of the forms. I actually didn’t think any of the forms except Heat, Mow, and Normal are capable of destruction. D:

Writing style I thought is good too. Despite not much dialogue, you’re able to still show the emotions and interactions of the characters well.

All in all, excellent horror story there. Nice depth on the characters, like the writing style, and also excellent description of the deaths of the characters. Great work there.

PS- Isn’t it weird while reading Buneary’s death I suddenly thought the online cartoon Happy Tree Friends? O.o

Also, oh my gosh, this is funny. I have a Monferno in a one shot of mine who lives in Eterna Forest (assuming the Monferno in this story stayed at Eterna City/ Eterna Forest the rest of her life) and also goes to the chateau once in a while (but the place isn’t haunted D: ). XD
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Old November 17th, 2009, 12:44 PM
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Oh what the hell. I could have sworn I had a subscription to this thread, did it get dropped somehow? Well yeah, only now do I realize I got a reply over a week ago and another not quite that long ago. And here I was thinking part 2 had gone ignored. <_<

So yeah, thanks to both of you for reading and replying!

Good job catching on to the added characterization in the second part, Bay. The problem with the first part is that I had exactly seven days to write it, and that's really not enough time for me to write as I normally do as any of my regular readers can vouch for. Typically whenever I'm in a time crunch, something has to be sacrificed. With Three-Sixteen it was length, while here it was characterization. Since I had total freedom over part two minus my self-imposed deadline of Halloween, I was able to better flesh out what characters remained so as to make the turnout of the story more interesting and impacting to the reader. If I could rewrite part 1 (something which I guess I technically can do but don't see much point in doing right now with my other stories waiting for updates) you can be sure I'd better flesh out those characters as well, but alas.

And don't worry about not liking Staravia's personality. I almost forgot that he existed myself while writing. Naturally, though, I simply didn't have time to do much with him and so threw him under a lawnmower and figured everything would sort itself out. It didn't, other than the nice gore it left behind. Hence my attempt to try and add at least some backstory in part 2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bay
I actually didn’t think any of the forms except Heat, Mow, and Normal are capable of destruction.
Heh, wind/flying was my biggest problem. Thus the cop out of not having it kill Luxio directly, but rather be only one of two indirect deaths in the fic (the other being Christine, who technically dies to the Gastly and not Rotom). While writing part 2 and talking to some people I suddenly realized the missed potential to use the fan as a saw, but oh well... Water had been pretty clear to me since the beginning, although it was only near the end of part 1 that I worked out for it to actually be inside the washing machine. Ice was going to be different at first, with the somewhat generic "freeze in ice block then shatter" sort of thing. When I thought about it more and realized that blizzard is Fridge Rotom's special move, the thought of ice shards doing the damage occurred to me and thus made that scene infinitely better. I especially love the first part where Buneary's eyes are cut across, if I may say so myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bay
Isn’t it weird while reading Buneary’s death I suddenly thought the online cartoon Happy Tree Friends?
I wasn't thinking of it at the time I swear but now that I do it does seem rather like something they'd do. :D Maybe I've just been inspired by HTF, in a rather gruesome sort of way.
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Old November 17th, 2009, 05:14 PM
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genius. sheer genius. It's been a long time since I read something this good.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 01:36 AM
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Eliminator Jr.
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This was really good. I've got nothing really to say in terms of constructive criticism, but within those two parts I was able to capture the characters perfectly in my mind, something which usually doesn't happen for chapters upon chapters of other fan fictions. Your description was perfect, even if they were a bit gory. Really good, put a whole new spin on Pokémon. Especially the moral at the end. Well done.
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  #18    
Old December 1st, 2009, 09:18 PM
Idiot!
One shot, one kill.
 
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Wow. This is such an awesomely scary fanfic. I kinda expected the spirit of her Pokémon to somehow help her, but this unforeseen ending just adds up the score. Nice.
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