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On a day in mid-April, Zeke was returning home from a visit to his friend's house. He felt quite pleased with himself after entertaining his friend's family with experiences from his past. They were particularly interested at the big physical change that Zeke experienced when he was only three. Some say he was a victim, others say that the change was a blessing, and there are comments that lie in between.
Zeke was living with his family in a small town. Life was good as far as Zeke was concerned, and he thought it would be a good idea to venture into the surrounding forest. So when his parents were asleep, Zeke crept past them, and made his way downstairs. He opened the back door to avoid ringing the bell that was attached to the front door. He closed the door carefully, and took a few steps into the wilderness. He was fascinated by the landscape and so decided to go further.
Based on conversation among the people of the town, including his parents, and a few glimpses of pokemon, he thought it would be interesting to meet a few of these pokemon. So he traveled through the forest, and caught sight of a pink shape. Zeke was interested by this shape, and approached it, completely unaware of what was coming.
The pink shape, or creature more like, seemed to be unaware of Zeke's presence, and when it turned around, Zeke was close to it. The pink creature flinched and launched a stream of energy at Zeke. The multi-colored energy wave hit him, and while he did not feel any pain, Zeke began to lose consciousness. After several hours, he regained consciousness and picked himself up. To his surprise, he did not feel like himself. Then the truth came after he looked down.
He was covered with blue fur, had black, oddly-shaped legs, and had two white areas on the backs of his paws. Zeke put his paws on his head and discovered that his ears were now near the top of his head, rather than at the sides, and that he had two black flaps on the sides instead. He also found that he had a blue tail. Zeke was amazed at his new self, so much so that he began to smile.
As Zeke made his way back to town, his parents spotted him, and seemed ready to call for help. Others saw him as well, and began to approach Zeke with a curious look on their faces. One was armed with a pokeball, and was about to launch it when Zeke saw this attempt and shouted,
The people were shocked, especially Zeke's parents, as they already noticed that their child had disappeared during the night. The person who had the pokeball dropped it from his hand.
“Zeke...is that you?” asked Zeke's mother.
“Yes” he replied.
Half of the people in the crowd began to gossip and look at each other, wondering what had happened. Things that were said included,
“How did he get turned into a Riolu?”
“I've never known a case like this before”
“I wonder what his parents are thinking”
“Do you think that a Ditto was behind this?”
The last statement caught everyone's attention. Zeke's father asked,
“Zeke, did you see a pink shape in the forest?”
“Yes” he answered. “It shot pretty colors at me, then I fell asleep”
The people began to gossip again.
“How do you feel?” a teenager asked.
“Great” said Zeke.
Eventually, the people went back to what they were doing, but Zeke's parents decided to move out the next day into a larger town. For a while, Zeke's parents were confused and were not sure on how to raise their child. But eventually, that feeling faded, and Zeke's parents thought it was interesting to have a pokemon as a child. However, life was not that easy as the years went by.
There was a lot of confusion about whether to send Zeke to school or not. Since he was once a human, they thought he had to go to school. But since he is now a pokemon, the situation became confusing. Zeke's parents thought he would have to be schooled at home, for the school might have feared an unstable environment and thought it would be best if the teachers came to him and taught him at home. They did not want any harm, physical, emotional, or otherwise to come to Zeke. But apparently, at school, the children there were amazed at Zeke. Most of them even wanted Zeke to come to school with them. Zeke's parents were reluctant to send Zeke to school with the other children, but the teachers as well as the students said they would protect him from any harm, and that bullies will be dealt with.
Zeke's first day at school was very pleasant, although confusing at first. He was very popular, and quickly learned the academics. Lunchtime was a bit of a problem though, due to Zeke's lack of dexterity with his paws. After that day, it seemed like nothing would go wrong. That was when the problems were about to reveal themselves.
Zeke had always been considered cute in kindergarten, and 1st grade because of his social blunders, but the socializing became difficult for Zeke as he progressed in 2nd grade. He could not interpret body language, and so the teachers had to make room for a social skills class. There he began to learn different forms of body language, but not quite enough of them to be as skilled at socializing as some of the others.
By the end of second grade, more problems became apparent. Zeke was showing peculiar interests in pictures that had no relevance to what was being taught in class. He developed a habit of kicking his legs while in a chair, and spinning while in a computer chair. After school had ended, he burned himself on a lit candle, and screamed so loudly, that the whole town could hear it. After that event, he was extremely scared of fire. Sometimes he would pace around the room, staring at things. The habit that convinced Zeke's parents to see a doctor, was his attachment to a folder with printed pictures inside it. He would carry the folder with him everywhere in home and at school. His social skills teacher calls it “his security folder”
This habit with a folder prompted Zeke's parents to see a doctor, who referred them to a psychiatrist. The fact that Zeke's parents had to explain to the various staff members of the medical buildings what happened to him as an infant became a burden. Then they met the psychiatrist, and answered some questions, carried out different tests, and eventually, it was discovered that Zeke had Asperger's Syndrome. The news was shocking to Zeke's parents, and felt that they had a great task ahead of them.
They were then referred to see someone who conducted an IQ test. The result was that Zeke's IQ was in the genius range, which is above 140. The doctor told Zeke's parents that he could do anything he set his mind to, but will he?
Zeke's parents were lost on what to do at first, but then they began to learn about Zeke's disorder by reading books, going online, and talking to other people who have Asperger's themselves. They began to feel less stressed out, and they were helped by the fact that their son had a very high IQ. They resumed their lives by the time 3rd grade had started.
Zeke was well-liked by his classmates, and they began to ask questions about his disorder. They were surprised by his answers, his vocabulary was amazing. He was using words from 9th grade English. People were having a hard time understanding what he was saying. He couldn't write because of the shape of his paws, but the school had made accommodations for Zeke to use a large keyboard with a screen for text.
As the years went by, Zeke realized that his words were confusing people, after a lesson in social skills, and so decided to talk in terms that children of his age would understand. He failed to pickup the way of speaking that the middle school children knew well. He was popular in middle school as well. Any person who tried to bully him in any way was greeted with either a witty response from Zeke, or a team effort from his friends. One bully tried to assault him, but Zeke had an unusual skill at counter-attacking. He used lots of what he called 'false moves', which are fake attacks used as a distraction before a real attack. Zeke was never in trouble for fighting with the bully because everyone knew that Zeke was only defending himself. After he struck the bully, he would run away, and while the bully chased him, Zeke had set traps for him, whether it was a jar of marbles, or a roll of duct tape as Zeke opened before the bully could stop. Then Zeke would inform a teacher, the principal, or whatever figure of authority he could come across in the hallways. The bully was dealt with, and the repercussions from the bully losing to Zeke every time, the punishments from the school, and the teasing from Zeke's friends, were enough to make him stop completely after a while.
High school became a problem though, not socially, but some of the subjects he had to learn were difficult at times. English was a problem because of the literature. Zeke said that he had a hard time seeing what the character's emotions, intentions, and thoughts were. On the contrary, his writing skills were brilliant. By 10th grade, he had “evolved” into a Lucario, and many thought he was beautiful. He had gained enormous popularity throughout his previous school years.
He is now in 11th grade, and has accomplished a lot since his first day at school. He was the first pokemon to attend school, which to some people might sound odd. Now, life was great, and his parents were proud of him. Nothing could stop him from accomplishing great things...until one night. When he ventured into another forest.
Part 1: The Test of Courage
Chapter 1: The Portal and Behind It
Zeke was returning home from his friend's house after spending the night there. He was quite pleased with himself after entertaining his friend's family with his childhood experiences. After he reached home, he saw the clock and it read 7:15 PM. He decided to have a wander around the forest that was nearby, so he asked his mother if it was all right, she said yes, so long as he was back by 9:00 PM. Zeke agreed.
He walked out of the house, made his way out of town, and into the surrounding forest. Zeke had a fascination for forests, and any similar type of landscape. The incident regarding Zeke when he was three years of age, did not stop him from enjoying walks through the forest now and then. However, he does not fully understand the meaning behind danger. He knows it is real, but he did not seem to feel afraid of it most of the time. In fact, he often interprets it in a different way. He sees danger as a challenge, a game of sorts, even if his life was at risk. While this gave him the confidence and the nerve to try stunts that no one would dare to do, once again, he would often be unaware of the fact that his life could be in danger.
As a Lucario, Zeke noticed that he did not scare the pokemon in the forest nearly as much as humans did, but they were surprised at his capability of oral speech. They also noticed that Zeke did not seem to know how to use aura. That is because he was never taught. Eventually, he met another Lucario, but he felt something was not quite right. He remembered catching a glimpse of a pokedex that a trainer had, and it said that most Lucarios were usually around four feet tall. During his last visit to a special kind of doctor, his last reading was five-foot-six-inches.
The other Lucario stared at Zeke, surprised at the body language he was expressing. Zeke was in a thinking position and then shrugged. Then he mumbled,
“Why am I five-foot-six, when the normal height for someone like me is three-foot-eleven?”
The other Lucario leaned forward in interest.
“Are you looking for something?” asked Zeke. The other Lucario looked to the corner of its eyes, half-fascinated, half-worried. Zeke then said,
“I'll bet you're wondering how I became a Lucario”
The other Lucario stared at Zeke in amazement.
Zeke told his story, which spanned a good thirty minutes, but by then, the other Lucario had left while in the middle of it. Zeke wondered where he went, and shrugged again. Then he continued on his way through the forest. Something eventually caught his eye. It seemed to be glowing. Zeke walked over to the glowing object, and discovered that it was much larger than he thought. It seemed to be at least three times taller than Zeke was. It seemed to be a portal of some kind, but where it led, he had no clue. But he could not resist the urge to see where it would lead, so he stepped inside, and the portal closed behind him.
The portal opened and deposited Zeke near the base of a mountain with an entrance to what looked like a mine, with cart tracks leading out of it. It was still as dark here are it was before Zeke entered that portal, only that the sky was a slightly different color. Plus, the moon was full, whereas a minute ago, only half of it was visible. Zeke could hear a faint crackling sound coming from the inside of the mine.
As he approached the mine, a small boulder rolled down the mountain, landing only a few feet away from him. Zeke then tightened his lips, raised the top of his eyes, and looked in another direction. His curiosity seemed impossible to resist, so he ventured into the mine. Then, Zeke heard a faint rumble, then thumping sounds, and before Zeke had a chance to escape, huge boulders piled up at the entrance. He was trapped inside.
It took a while for Zeke to stop staring at the now blocked entrance to the mines. After he was done, he noticed that the inside of the mine was lit by some kind of flickering light. It seemed to be a fire. He took a few steps deeper into the mine and discovered that there was a campfire in the center of the room. Only there was a shocking characteristic about the room that Zeke was in. There were several patches of pitch-black darkness on the walls, on the ceiling, and on the floor, even one next to the campfire.
This instantly grabbed Zeke's attention, and he raised the top of his eyes. He looked around the room nervously for a moment, and then approached the campfire. He sat down on one of the small green carpets that surrounded the fire. Then he began to stare at the closest dark spot next to him, taking note of the fact that the light from the fire should be revealing what was in that dark spot, but for some reason it was not. Zeke slowly turned his head away from it, but still uneasy.
Then he heard a sound from the dark spot. Zeke quickly turned his head toward the sound. He began to feel afraid and his heart was starting to beat faster. He was trying to figure out where exactly the sound came from, when he saw something move. Zeke gasped silently. What looked to be a piece of black clothing was moving slightly, and Zeke felt his heart begin to pound.
He was caught between two decisions, ask for identity, or walk away. His mind leaned towards running away rather than walking. He slowly rose to his feet, and looked around for an exit. The gate at the end of the room was no use, since the figure was in front of it. To Zeke's relief, he found an alternate path, so he decided to take that route. What he was not aware of was that something had already been here.
As Zeke entered the passage and took a few steps, he noticed two gray points jutting out of the walls. Zeke began to feel terrified.
“Someone doesn't want me here” he murmured to himself. He then remembered a theory that he began to think about when he was still a Riolu. He edged closer to one of the menacing objects in the walls, put his paw underneath it, and a spear zoomed past him. His theory seemed to be true. All physical traps have some type of mechanism. He placed his paw underneath the second pointy object and another spear shot out of the wall. Zeke was relieved to find that these traps were navigable. These ones anyway.
Zeke saw a rather primitive-looking door at the end of the passage. He began to calm down, and feel better. He began to walk toward the door and had almost reached it, when three spears shot out of the ground, nearly catching Zeke in the chest, and then receded. The shock and the lack of warning about the traps caused Zeke to stumble and fall on his back.
Zeke began to feel terrified again. He realized that he would not be likely to survive in a place like this without knowing where the traps are. He decided to take one of the spears that was on the ground from the previous trap and use it as a trigger for the traps. Obviously, these traps detected motion, but Zeke wondered how they could sense nearby objects. Then he dismissed the thought, and grabbed a spear. It felt awkward trying to hold it, due to the shape of his paws.
He managed to make the spear stable by holding one area between his paws and holding it that way. He slowly made his way toward the door, waving the spear about. When he made it to the door, he waved the spear again, activating two separate spear traps. Seizing the opportunity, Zeke opened the door and rushed through, dropping the spear as he went inside.
He found himself inside what looked to be a small storage area. Crates were stacked up to heights nearing the ceiling. But the thing that caught his eye was a rather powerful, although confined glow. Then he realized that the entire room, the trapped hallway, even the outside of the mine was not shrouded by darkness, even though there was no apparent light other than that room. He wondered if he could see in the dark, then decided to see whatever was glowing. He found a little, highly-decorated bottle. It was full of liquid that seemed to have all of the characteristics of water, but Zeke sensed that it was different. He decided to take the bottle with him, thinking that he might need it later.
As he brushed aside a few cobwebs, he saw the entrance to another room. When he reached the end, he did not like what he saw, more dark spots. But then he saw a gate, with a door in the center, very similar to the one Zeke had opened recently. He hugged the right wall, trying to avoid slipping and falling into the largest dark spot in the center of the room, his heart beating rapidly. He reached for the door, but upon trying to open it, realized that it was locked.
Normally, Zeke would not be aware of the possible danger that he faced, but due to recent circumstances, the traps, the dark spots, and the figure, he felt ready to faint. He saw a key that seemed to match the keyhole in the door behind him, but it was on the border between light and the dark spot in the middle. Zeke broke into a cold sweat. Then he saw the same piece of clothing in the dark spot as the one that belonged to the figure that Zeke had feared so much.
As he reached for the key, he could feel his consciousness dwindling, his vision started to become blurry, he began to pant a little, and when he finally touched the key, a hand grabbed his arm. Zeke lost all strength, moaned faintly, and collapsed dropping the bottle he was holding.
Chapter 2: The Truth
After Zeke had collapsed, whatever was in the dark spot dragged him to the corner of the room. Zeke was either asleep or unconscious, but he could not tell the difference. He began to dream about a waterfall with a lot of vegetation around it. The sky was overcast, but did not look as if it was going to rain. He could hear music playing in his head, both soothing and somewhat refreshing, which he felt he needed after the incident in the mines. The dream continued for another ten or fifteen minutes, and then began to disappear.
As he woke up, he felt something, stroking his chest. He saw a hand, a rather small one, of a teenage girl. He began to see that the black clothing which frightened him the most was part of a black robe, with blue stripes around the edges of a sleeve. Zeke did not move, fearing an unpleasant response. After a few minutes he said,
“Who do I know with a black and blue robe?”
“I don't know, I've never seen an animal like you before” The voice sounded quite gentle, which contradicts what Zeke was originally thinking the voice would sound like. Zeke turned his head and discovered that it was no monster, but a teenage girl. She looked peculiar in the robe because of her hair color. She had long blonde hair, brown eyes, and she looked to be fourteen or fifteen years of age.
“Please do not scare me like that again” said Zeke. “I thought you were a heartless murderer for a while”
“You scared me as well, a lot in fact” said the girl. “I only hid in the shadows to protect myself. Sorry about that, I should have asked”
“You realize that those traps back there nearly got me, right?” asked Zeke. The girl closed her eyes and shook her head.
“Those were there to keep intruders away. I was hoping that the steel points would be enough to scare them away, rather than actually fire. The last ones though were intended to ward them off, should it ever come to that. But now that the entrance has caved in, it looks like we will have to take the back way out...if I can remember where it is”
“There's a way out?”
“Yes...in fact there's two, but I can't remember where either of them are...what a shame”
“How old are you?”
“Just curious...I'm sixteen as well” said Zeke. The girl gave Zeke the key that he was trying to reach before he collapsed.
“Did you want this?” asked the girl. Zeke began to smile a little.
“As long as it's for that door” he said, trying to hold the key properly, but failing. The girl nodded slowly.
“Looks like I might have to use it” she said. They walked over to the door at the end of the room. The girl inserted the key, turned it, and opened the door. Then Zeke realized something he felt was important.
“Hey” he said. “What happened to that blue bottle I had?”
“I have it” said the girl. “You dropped it when you fainted, fortunately no damage”
“What's inside it?” asked Zeke.
“Basically, it heals any injuries you have. Apparently even cures diseases. Pretty hard to come by, so only use it if you're in a lot of pain or at death's door”
“Where does he live?”asked Zeke. The girl started to giggle.
“Have you ever heard of a figure of speech?” she asked.
“Yes...can't say I remember what it meant though” answered Zeke. The girl sighed.
They began to explore the mine, using common sense not to separate. They passed some of the time exploring, the other portion was spent on introducing each other. The girl's name was Alice. Zeke told her his life story and she was fascinated. Alice told Zeke that he no doubt looked better as a Lucario, as she liked animals, especially furry ones.
Something glittering in the wall caught Zeke's attention.
“What's that thing in the wall?” he asked.
“I think that's gold...it IS...amazing” said Alice.
“Can't imagine why this mine would be abandoned” said Zeke, holding a gold nugget. Alice thought about this statement for a moment, then began to look horrified.
“Uh, Zeke?” said Alice nervously.
“You remember those dark spots near the cave entrance?”
“I didn't make those”
Zeke tilted his head and raised the top of one of his eyes, not quite understanding the message she was trying to give.
“Really? You did hide in them after all” said Zeke, slightly confused.
“Yes, but that was before I realized...”
“Notice that the place is abandoned” said Alice, looking around the room that they were in.
“Did something happen?” asked Zeke, still confused.
“Could have, and I have reason to believe...that this place might be haunted”
“You're kidding, right?” asked Zeke.
“No” said Alice, with a worried look on her face. “and if that's the case, what you've seen before is nothing compared to what could happen if we're not careful”
“What can we do to survive?”
“Simple, don't get caught. Also, listen for noises...some of them might signal danger to us, others may be of no use”
Sure enough, Zeke and Alice began to hear noises. One of them was constant, but seemed to fit in with the environment. It sounded like wind, only it was the type one would normally find in a cavern. The other was similar, only it was lower in pitch. Zeke found it soothing and wanted to listen to it. Alice had to talk him out of it.
Zeke, still holding the gold nugget that he found, wondered if this mine scenario could turn into a treasure hunt. He tapped Alice's shoulder.
“Alice...hold on to this. There might be more”
Alice placed the nugget into one of her pockets.
“Are you thinking what I'm thinking?” asked Alice.
“I can't read minds” said Zeke. “I tried last week and it didn't work” Alice started to giggle.
“I mean that the mine probably isn't as bad as we thought. Why don't we take our time?”
“Sure” said Zeke.
And so they began the search for two things: an exit and treasure along the way.
Chapter 3: The Grim Reality
Zeke and Alice were having quite a fun time looking for valuables. Already they found a number of nuggets, some of them gold, some of them silver, and even a few precious gems. So far, they had left the room with the dark spots and entered a series of tunnels, interconnected by mine cart tracks. The gold and silver nuggets were not the only things that Zeke and Alice found, however. They also found evidence of battles; weapons lying around on the ground, some of them broken in two. Several support beams were on the ground, scattered throughout the mine tunnels, but surprisingly, the mine did not even shake.
At the moment, Zeke and Alice were in a room that was nearly square in shape, connected with tunnels in different directions. They noticed an elevator in the center of the room. The problem was that while the elevator was still in working condition, two of the buttons were missing. Zeke was having a hard time deciding which route to take.
“I can't decide,” said Zeke. “Any one of them could lead to more treasure, or more...evidence”
“My uncle works in this mine,” Alice responded. “He told me once that miners usually set up their living areas near the top of the mine. They work down in the lower areas in the daytime, and return to the top to do the other things”
“Then why is absolutely no one down here?” asked Zeke. “The way I see it, there's at least a few people working at night. Some of the workers might want to work overtime, or maybe there's an inventory person counting the items? What I'm really concerned about is the weapons. Why are they scattered all over the place...and why are some of them broken?”
“The miners could have done three things: retreat back to the top, escape out the building, or die trying. Obviously, there was some sort of attack,” said Alice.
“In that case, why don't you grab a weapon, just in case?” asked Zeke.
Alice hanged her head, feeling silly that she did not take a weapon before.
“You want to go back and get one?” asked Zeke. “I know I can't”
“Why not?” asked Alice. Zeke showed her his paws, and Alice realized that it would be extremely difficult for him to use a weapon, due to the shape of his paws.
“Oh...hey what's that over there?” said Alice, catching sight of a long shiny object and a bag.
“Looks like a staff of some kind” Zeke answered. He and Alice walked over to the peculiar-looking collection of items. They discovered a decorated silver staff, and a bag full of scrolls. Zeke tried to pick up the staff, and for some reason, it stuck to his paws. Zeke liked this fact, and soon discovered that he could swing it in any direction. There was also a three-foot wand inside the bag. It was a beautiful item. The wood was painted black and there was a shiny blue orb at the end.
Zeke began to search through the various colored scrolls that were also in the bag. The colors were vibrant and had labels written on the outside. Some of them were particularly interesting. Things like “Hypervelocity Bolt”, “Levitate”, “Contorted Blast”, “Prismatic Laser”, “Ethereal Fire”, and “Oral Energy Ball”. He also noticed numbers beside the labels. Alice saw these numbers and was eager to find out what they meant.
Zeke reached the bottom of the bag, pulled out a note, and saw that it was a list of instructions having to do with activating the scrolls. Zeke nodded slowly and smiled. The instructions themselves were interesting, but what really caught Zeke's attention was the fact that with practice, he could learn how to use the spells in the scrolls without using the scrolls themselves. Basically, he could shoot magic from his paws, just like that.
He gave Alice the wand and a few of the scrolls, put the bag over one side of his neck, and realized that he could make the staff stick to his back, freeing his paws to do other things. The bag was easy to carry and the staff did not bother Zeke when he moved about.
“Right,” said Zeke. “Now that we have the weapons…what do we do now?”
“I know,” responded Alice. “Why don’t we go see if my uncle’s all right?”
“Will we run into anything dangerous?” asked Zeke.
“Not if we’re careful,” said Alice. “Although, we’d be better off together…especially in a place like this”
Zeke remembered Alice’s statement about the miners and decided to take the elevator to the top level. He did so, with Alice next to him. When they reached the top, they discovered more battle evidence: ruined furniture, broken weapons, and a peculiar ambience noise. There was definitely something grim about this place.
The ambient noise added to the unpleasantness because, while it soothed Zeke, it worried Alice. The noise was something very much like wind, only it was muffled, and the pitch seemed to fluctuate slightly. It gave the impression that something happened here and it turned a once busy mine, into a bleak, gloomy, and possibly dangerous place.
Alice took all of the environmental information and began to see the misery that this place had gone through. Zeke, on the other hand, was oblivious to all this and was only concerned that something might be hiding in a corner, waiting for a false move. Nevertheless, they were both nervous.
Zeke suddenly remembered one of his social skills classes in school and decided to put it to use. He remembered a lesson about gestures, and although his paws would not allow him to use some, he knew that he could try this one.
“Alice,” said Zeke. “You know what this gesture means?” He put his paw to his mouth and moved it quickly from right to left, implying a request for silence.
“No, sorry,” said Alice.
“It means be quiet” said Zeke. “If what I’m thinking is true, then it will come in handy later”.
They left the elevator and walked down the path in the middle, but they soon came to a fork. Neither of the options looked safe. The one on the left started to make noises, creepy ones. The one on the right was just as bad with its unnerving scenery. The lights were flickering, furniture was crushed, and of course the weapons on the ground. All of these factors created an atmosphere that suggested something greater than a simple battle.
“Why this way?” said Zeke, taking note of the number of choices back near the elevator.
“This is the way to where the miners should be,” said Alice. “The only way”
“I choose…right” said Zeke. “At least we won’t have to deal with the noises and the things that are making them”
“Who’s to say we won’t?” asked Alice.
“It’s worth a try”
They slowly crept through the path on the right, unaware of the surprise that was waiting for them near the pile of crates at the end of the central passage.
Chapter 4: Shelter
Zeke and Alice had chosen the path on the right, because they thought that they would be more likely to encounter something unpleasant on the left. But the path on the right was not much better. They slowly crept through the ruined passage, trying to stay out of the light to avoid being spotted. Zeke had his paws behind his back as he walked through. This was a habit that he had when he walked through an unknown place.
Eventually, Zeke and Alice came to another fork, this time splitting in three directions. They had no clue where the one on the left led to, but the path in the center had a sign that read “Barracks”. Alice already knew why there was a barracks in the mine. She peeked around the corner on the right path, and discovered that it was a dead end.
Zeke began to think about something. He noticed the barracks sign and the direction the arrow on it was pointing. Then he began to feel somewhat uncomfortable. He felt that something might be around the corner because he thought that the sign, while it seemed legitimate, kept a dark secret anyway. Alice noticed the expression on his face.
“Zeke?” said Alice. “What's wrong?”
Zeke put his paw on his mouth and quickly moved it across, implying silence. Alice nodded and remained quiet. Zeke crept up near the corner on the center path, then used another gesture to tell Alice to stay still. He looked around the corner and flinched. To his horror, he discovered something very unpleasant. An insidious body was on the ground, lying motionless. Zeke could not tell whether it was alive or not, due to the fact that there was no sign of injury or decay.
Zeke pulled a scroll out of his bag that read “Telepathy.” He read the instructions, used the scroll, and then said to Alice,
“Alice, talk to me through your mind. There's something ugly around the corner. Follow me and whatever you do, NO sudden movements or sounds. This thing might be alive.”
Alice crept around the corner and her heart started to beat faster. She saw the body and followed Zeke around the body. They were both relieved. Alice said through her mind,
“Right. Now for the barracks.”
They were about to walk away when the body started to make noises. Zeke and Alice froze in position. The noises were quiet at first, but then they grew louder and became more like the noises that a deranged person would make. Also, the noises did not sound entirely human.
Suddenly, the body rose with more crazed noises. Zeke flinched and Alice started to run. Zeke followed as the creature chased the two, still making wild noises. Zeke and Alice saw a metal reinforced gate with a slit in the center. Alice shouted,
“Hey! Open the gate, there's a deranged man after us!”
The gate slowly opened, showing how secure it was, yet also how desperate the situation became. The deranged man was only around fifteen feet away from Zeke. Zeke decided to buy more time and stopped. He knocked the man back with a kick, and ran inside the gate, which shut soon after.
Zeke and Alice saw that there were a few men by the gate, one with a hammer in his hands, another who looked to be more of a welder. Alice was suddenly happy.
“Hey, Alan” she said, when she saw the man behind the welding mask.
“Alice!” said the man, giving Alice a hug.
“You know this person?” asked Zeke.
“He's my uncle, the one I told you about” said Alice. “Alan, this is Zeke”
“Hi, Zeke” said Alan. “How'd you two end up in here?”
“I was coming here to visit you, but I didn't expect anything like this,” Alice explained. “What happened?”
“This whole place's gone mad” said Alan. “Don't know quite what happened, but all this happened in a day or two.” The other man with the hammer explained,
“This has happened before, but back then, we didn't expect anything like this, so there were casualties. This time, we've been very lucky, as we haven't had a single death, especially since we put in that gate. We've had to train everyone here to use weapons because of something like this. By the way Alice, how did your friend get here?”
“I only met him in the mine,” said Alice. Then Zeke said,
“Looks like I've ended up in a different world.”
“I'm not surprised,” said Alan.
“So what do we do now?” asked Alice.
“Looks like we'll have to hold off until we come up with a plan,” said Alan.
“What's that down there?” asked Zeke, looking at a small blue bottle on the ground.
“That's holy water” said the man with the hammer. “We keep some handy in case of situations like these. No matter what we throw at these monsters, they just keep coming back”
“Wait...I might have an idea” said Zeke, suddenly. “I have a scroll here that says 'Extinguish'. If we poured some of that holy water on the scroll, maybe it will turn this scroll into a weapon against the undead, I think that's your problem.”
“Uh-huh” said Alan in agreement.
“Then we can launch the holy water at the undead and watch them fizzle up” said Alice. “We'll need a bodyguard though, in case something happens”
“Ok, you've got me” said the man with the hammer.
“But first, let's go in and have dinner, I'm sure you two are hungry” said Alan.
“All right” said Alice.
They went inside and Alan began to show them around the place.
Chapter 5: Preparations
Alan began his tour around the living complex with the main entrance. The hallway was laid with blocks of oddly-colored stone. The stone had a slightly purple hue to it. Maybe that was why Zeke was more interested in the tour than Alice was. Alan stopped and thought for a moment.
“Alice, Zeke,” said Alan. “I just remembered that the mine is really complex. We've got so many passageways and rooms that it's hard to draw a map of the place. We've got a few magicians here that created something to counter the problem”
“And that is?” asked Alice.
“Navigation Rings,” said Alan.
“Never heard of that before,” said Zeke.
“They work like this,” explained Alan. “You press the fake gem on one of them and it shows a map in the air. Shows you where you are, what direction you're facing, and any living thing in the area. It helped save lives when we were attacked the first time, although it didn't detect the undead”
Everyone followed Alan to what looked like a dining room. It was quite elegant with cutlery made from precious metals, mainly silver. The plates were decorated with interesting patterns. This was obviously a perquisite for working in a mine of precious gems and metals.
“Interesting things you've got here,” said Zeke, impressed by the quality of the silverware.
“That's one benefit from working in a mine like this,” said Alan. “We have our own smelters and molds for things, so we can make whatever we want, even this weapon”
He pulled a curved sword from a weapon rack near a wall. It was a beautiful weapon; it was colored purple and had a serrated edge.
“Made this one last week,” said Alan.
“That's an interesting sword,” said Zeke, wishing he could wield it.
“This mountain's got more metals and gems than anyone can imagine. It used to be very busy, but the undead drove our competition away. While that's good for our income, the undead still pose a threat to us. In fact, I think we're the only group of miners who still work this mountain”
“So if we get rid of the undead, the competition will come back?” asked Alice.
“I'm afraid so,” said Alan.
“Unless you keep it a secret,” said Zeke.
“That's not as easy as you think,” said Alan.
As Zeke and the others were having a conversation about the mines and undead, two people came in, holding trays of food.
“Looks like we're having soup tonight,” said Alan. “The cooks here make really good soup”
The soup was made with vegetables, and some herbs. Zeke could not tell what herbs were used. There was also bread to go along with it.
Zeke began to feel awkward. He could not hold the spoon because of his paws, so he found another way to eat the soup, by holding the bowl. He liked it, though.
“Do you always have problems at dinnertime?” said Alice to Zeke.
“Sometimes,” said Zeke when he finished a mouthful. “Usually when it involves cutlery”
They enjoyed themselves thoroughly. After they were finished, they left the dining room and continued upstairs. They entered a large hallway, decorated with tapestries and a blue carpet in the middle of the floor. There were also electric lights in the hallway.
“These are the bedrooms,” said Alan. “Some of the miners are sleeping, so we shouldn't disturb them”
Are you two tired?”
“No, not really,” said Zeke.
“Neither am I,” said Alice.
“In that case, tell us when you're ready to start the mission, and we'll get started,” said Alan.
“Is there anything we should watch for besides the undead?” asked Zeke.
“I don't know,” replied Alan. “I haven't been down there in a while. Maybe you should talk with our Spy. He knows this place inside and out, down to the location of each of the undead and other things. Maybe the magicians can help too”
“Do you have any sort of communication devices?” asked Zeke.
“As in?” asked Alan.
“Something that two people use to talk to each other from long distances,” Zeke explained.
“Oh...we have something like that,” said Alan.
“Maybe the Spy can give us directions to places we need to go, or where the undead are,” said Zeke.
Suddenly, Zeke began to think that the mission was more complicated than it seemed.
“How many mines are there in the mountain?” asked Zeke.
“Five, last time I counted,” answered Alan.
“There has to be an easier way to get rid of the undead,” said Zeke, shocked at this fact.
“There might be, but from what I've heard, you'll have go somewhere quite far away from here,” said Alan, remembering something.
“Better than searching for every single super-zombie in the mines,” said Zeke, eager to find out what the other option was.
“All right, suit yourself,” said Alan. “Go speak with our Spy; he should be with the magicians. Want me to show you to them?”
“Sure,” said Zeke.
“Okay, follow me,” said Alan.
Everyone turned back the way they came until they found the dining room again. Alan went up the staircase that was on the left as soon as they came into the dining room. Everyone followed him until they came to three large hallways, each having a lot of doors inside. The halls were filled with odd noises, with most of them sounding like magic. There was also a strange ambient noise that seemed to echo in everyone's ears. The noise sounded like a contorted church bell. The sound also seemed to come from inside their heads, rather than from a distinct location.
“What's that noise?” asked Alice.
“Sounds like the magicians are working on something,” said the man with the hammer.
Zeke saw someone leave one of the rooms in the left hallway. The person in the hallway froze in position when she saw Zeke.
“It's all right Lauren, he's friendly,” shouted Alan.
More doors began to open upon hearing Alan's statement. Everyone was amazed at what they saw in the moonlight from a window. Zeke began to realize that the people in this world had never even seen a Pokemon before. He decided to dispel any suspicious thoughts by saying,
“We'd like to learn more about this mine, so that we can take care of the undead. Alan told us that there's another way to destroy them other than targeting them individually. He also told us that you might be able to help as well”
“I don't know who or what you are,” said one of the magicians, “but since you seem like you want to help, I'll see if the Spy is around”
The magician looked around for a second.
“Quince!” he shouted. “Quince, are you here?”
Someone appeared at the stairs that Zeke and the others walked up.
“Someone called?” asked a man in a black cloak.
“We have some visitors that would like to see you. It's about the undead,” the magician explained.
“Ah, yes...I believe your canine friend is leading the effort if I'm not mistaken. Zeke, I think his name is,” said Quince.
“I needn't ask how you know my name,” said Zeke. “Anyway, it's true, we plan to destroy the undead, but the problem is that according to Alan, there are five mines, a lot of undead, and what I have in this bag is all I have, weapon-wise. So we came to you guys for help. The way I see it, you've got the tools, and we've got the guts to do the job”
“All right,” said Quince. “What do you need as of right now?”
“A radio or a walkie-talkie,” said Zeke.
“A what?” asked Quince.
“Oops,” said Zeke, realizing that he was in the wrong time period to discuss radios. “What I meant to say was some sort of long-range communication devices. Small objects that two or more people carry so that they can talk to each other over long distances. That would be perfect, since this mine is big, and you know this place better than anyone else, am I right?”
“We have something like that,” said Quince. “And yes, your theory is a good one”
“Maybe you could give us advice, as well as instructions on where we need to go,” said Zeke.
“We also have some other things that might be of use to you,” said Quince. Zeke began to smile.
“Like what?” asked Zeke.
“A Threat Detector,” said Quince.
“How does it detect threats?” asked Zeke.
“It combines several factors to generate telepathic sounds to let you know what sort of environment and degree of danger you're in,” Quince explained.
And the conversation went on for another five minutes before Zeke and his friends were taken to various places to receive the items.
Zeke and his friends received the Threat Detector, which was a necklace with an emerald in the center. Zeke decided to wear it. Next was the Navigation Ring, which had a gold-silver alloy with a sapphire in the center. Alice was going to wear this. Also they were given a two-day supply of holy water to take care of any undead that caught sight of Zeke and his friends.
During the last five minutes of conversation between Zeke and Quince, they discovered their goal. Instead of fighting all the undead, they could find a specific book that was lost in the mines some time ago, during the first attack. It was in another mine, however, and getting there would not be easy.
After Zeke and his friends had reached the gate and opened it, Zeke said quietly,
“It's time to begin”
Chapter 6: The Mission
Zeke and his friends had left the safety of the rooms behind the metal gate, because their goal was to look for a specific book, which had been lost since the first attack of the undead. It seemed now that Zeke, Alice, and the man with the hammer, now depended on each other for survival in this mine. Now, the real Test of Courage was about to begin.
Zeke and Alice, while they were with Quince, were handed not just the Threat Detector and Navigation Ring, but were given other objects as well. Some of them were gadgets, some of them were spells that Zeke and Alice were taught, and others were compartments to Alice's wand and Zeke's staff.
At first, Zeke was a little uneasy at the spell-teaching part because he thought that he would have to say phrases to activate the spell, and he hated that. But fortunately, the spells that they were taught did not involve words, but instead, actions, mainly gestures and movements. Zeke and Alice also learned that in order to activate the spells as a beginner, they would need something that could channel magic. The staff and the wand were both very good with this. But to do it without a staff would require practice and skill.
Alice was given a bag of her own to carry her items in. She placed several scrolls inside, along with her gadgets. She also had a second wand which was to be used to help aim better with lightning spells and spells that travel in waves or novas. It was called, the Precision Wand. Her original wand now had a ring near the top, just below the orb. It was used to dispel enchantments. She also wore the Navigation Ring on her finger, while Zeke wore the Threat Detector around his neck. It was small enough that it did not touch his chest spike. The instant he put it on, everyone began to hear a strange humming noise. It was not the vocal humming noise; this sounded different.
Although Zeke could not interpret literature, he had a knack for interpreting sound. The noises that he heard suggested no imminent danger, but that there might be something in the distance to watch out for.
The other devices included Noisemakers, Light Bombs, Holy Water, a Quasi-Phone, and a Grapple Box. The Quasi-Phone was the communication device that Zeke named after its similarity to a phone in purpose. Of course, Zeke had to explain what a phone was before he could use the term.
With more equipment than they could have dreamed of, Zeke and his friends felt ready to take on the mission, and unknowingly, the Test of Courage. Zeke pulled the Quasi-Phone out of his bag spoke into it.
"Hey Quince," he said. "Which way is out? I heard there was more than one, but the only one I know has collapsed"
"Has it?" asked Quince with his voice coming out very clearly. "No worries, I know another way out. You know where the elevator is?"
"Yes, but two of the buttons are missing," answered Zeke.
"Does that include the top button?" asked Quince.
"I don't think so," replied Zeke. "I think the first and third of the buttons were missing."
"Go to the elevator and press the top button," said Quince. "It doesn't matter what floor you're on"
"Alice," said Zeke. "Wait...never mind"
"What?" asked Alice.
"I was going to ask you to show the map, but I realized that Quince can't see it," Zeke explained.
"Beware of the surroundings," said Quince. "The zombies aren't the only things to watch out for"
"Oh boy," said Zeke. "And those other things are?"
"My routine sneaking and snooping around has revealed that the mine you have to go to for the book...is unstable," Quince explained.
"You mean there's earthquakes?" asked Zeke.
"Correct," said Quince. "Enough to make you fall over. My suggestion is that when a quake starts, don't look for cover. Stay still so that you're less likely to fall over, or lie down if you can. The good thing about it is that the quakes are minor, and should not cause the mine to collapse. But the bad thing is that this will agitate the undead"
"Thanks for the tip," said Zeke. "We're going to move now...ready, you two?"
Alice and the hammer man both nodded.
"Right, before we move, I want to know your name, so that we can remember," said Zeke.
"Cedric," said the hammer man.
"Okay...here we go," said Zeke.
And with that statement, Zeke and the others walked slowly through the passageway that they used when the wild zombie was chasing Zeke and Alice. They backtracked to the elevator, and that was where they began to hear the Threat Detector making creepy noises. Something was nearby, and Zeke and Alice already had an idea as to what it was.
The all-too-familiar crazed noises started again.
"It's the grandpa zombie," said Zeke, taking the zombie's aged appearance into account. Zeke took out a scroll that was named 'Extinguish', and a bottle of holy water. He unscrewed the lid, poured a small amount on the scroll, and watched the scroll glow, showing that it was ready to be used. The zombie heard the noises that the holy water made, and attempted an assault on Zeke. It was not even close when Zeke launched the first holy water bolt at the zombie. The zombie made noises as the holy water hit him. A cloud of steam rose from the zombie, but it looked to be that one bolt was not enough to destroy the zombie. Zeke launched another bolt; this time making the zombie fall to the ground.
"Everyone on the elevator, now," said Zeke, rather quietly.
Everyone ran to the elevator, with Cedric pressing the top button. The elevator noisily worked its way up to the top level, scaring everyone a bit. When they reached the top, they were faced with three directions. The center path had a faint light coming through it, which lifted everyone's spirits.
"This way," said Zeke.
"Fresh air would be good," added Alice, as they walked outside.
Fortunately, there was no horrific, dizzying, vertigo scene to make everyone nervous. Instead, there was a winding path that lead all the way to the base of the mountain. When Zeke compared the height of the mountain to the mine, he was glad he chose the option he had now, which was to find the book.
The sky was beautiful, with a full moon to the left, and a massive chunk of mountainous terrain to the right. Zeke decided to ask for directions from Quince. He pulled out the Quasi-Phone,
"All right Quince, we're outside," he said. "We just left the elevator and took care of the grandpa zombie that attacked us. No one was hurt. So, where do we go now?"
"There should be three paths that converge into one single path. Do you see them?"
"Yes," Zeke responded.
"All right," said Quince. "You have to go into the place where the three paths lead. The mine we're looking for is on the left, once you go inside."
"Got it," said Zeke. "Anything particularly dangerous?"
"Yes," said Quince. "The zombies, I think you can take care of. But there is another problem. The book is guarded by different types of undead."
"What kinds of undead?" asked Zeke.
"Zombies, skeletons, liches, and ghosts," replied Quince.
Alice began to nervously tap her fingers together.
"We already know what the zombies can do," said Zeke. "But tell us about the other kinds of undead"
"All right," said Quince. "The skeletons are basically guards. They carry weapons like swords, bows, and things like that. They are smart, follow their own patrol routes, and can summon their friends. Yes, the undead are friends with each other. The ghosts can't walk through walls, but they can float. Some are harmless, while others are hostile. The liches, oh you'll love these, can cast spells just as you can. They have experience, so caution is advised when you see them. It would be best not to fight one because of their capabilities"
"Thanks for the info," said Zeke.
"Once you're in the mine with the book, you're on you're own. I couldn't get very close to the book because of the undead," said Quince.
"Okay," said Zeke. "We'll see if we can cope on our own. Thank you and we hope to see you in an hour or two"
"No problem," said Quince. "But remember, fighting the undead should be a last resort. Use stealth if you can"
Zeke put the Quasi-Phone back in his bag, and together, they walked down the mountain trail and eventually stopped at the mine entrance. Zeke breathed in deeply before going inside. Zeke, Alice, and Cedric will have to rely on each other to survive in this mine. Who knows what might be inside other than the undead mentioned? All that was about to reveal itself, as Zeke and the others entered the mine.
Wouldn't it be wiser to wait for reviews, and then post the next chapter? If no-one's replying, then there must be a reason.
I do wait for reviews as I'm posting my chapters.
On my other site, I posted the same story. I got 21 reviews. All of them were good.
Yet, it would be wiser to wait on this site as well. It's pointless saying abot how you've got some on another site, because lot's of people might not even know what other site your talking about, much less be members of it.
This seems very interesting, though fast paced.
I once posted a very long story all at once, and no-one reviewed it because they couldn't be bothered to go through the whole thing at once.
But I do hope that you continue this.
Chapter 7: What Lurks Within
Zeke and his friends were about to enter the mine through the entrance that converged three paths, that ran to separate mines. Their goal was the book, but they knew by now, it would not be easy to retrieve. After the warnings about the undead in the mine, the time had come to see if Zeke and his friends can survive what lurks within.
Meanwhile, Zeke was having trouble solving an inconsistency. It involved the elevator.
"Cedric?" asked Zeke. "Did we use a second elevator when we went to the top floor? I could have sworn that we pressed the exact same button if we didn't"
"Yes, we did," replied Cedric. "We used the emergency one, as from what I've heard, the other one's damaged"
"Oh...okay," said Zeke.
And with that problem solved, Zeke and his friends entered the mine, and the minute they did, they began to hear noises. Noises that only the Threat Detector would make. It sounded like rumbling intermingled with rattling chains. It gave the message that there were dangerous enemies in the mine, and a good number of them as well.
As Zeke and his friends reached the end of the entrance, something quite frightening happened. The gate at the entrance began to close. Zeke was not concerned though.
"Don't worry...for every gate, there's a lever that opens it somewhere," he said. Then he realized that he was talking out loud and pulled out the Telepathy scroll. He opened it, followed the instructions, and talked to the others, using telepathy.
"Let's try to talk to each other through our minds. We don't want to attract attention, especially in a place like this," he said.
He noticed that the number on the Telepathy scroll when he first found it was twenty-five. Now it was twenty-three. He began to understand how the numbers on each scroll work. The numbers indicated how many times the scroll could be activated, before it became useless.
Somehow, Zeke was beginning to feel good about the situation that he and the others was in. Although he knew that the mine was dangerous, he did not see the real meaning behind the danger. Alice and Cedric did not catch on to this fact, until Zeke said,
"This is kind of exciting, don't you think?"
"Exciting?" asked Alice, surprised by Zeke's question. "You worry me sometimes, Zeke."
Zeke and his friends came to a halt as they were faced with two different paths. One that wandered off to the left, and another to the right. Zeke chose the one on the right. He did not know why.
"Since this mine has been used before, and since the book is in this mine," said Zeke. "Why don't we look...ah, hey!"
He broke out of telepathy as the floor seemed to neatly collapse around him. Zeke fell through a trap door.
"Zeke!" shouted Alice.
"That's not fair!" shouted Zeke as a last comment before fading in the distance. The surprising thing was that it did not seem like an instant end for Zeke by plummeting to the ground, but instead he seemed to be sliding diagonally downwards. Still, the sudden separation of Zeke from the others was shocking, especially to Alice.
"We've got to find Zeke, wherever he's landed!" shouted Alice. "We've got plenty of equipment, so let's not waste time!"
"Where do we go now?" asked Cedric.
"Over the trap door," responded Alice. "That's the direction Zeke is heading"
"All right, let's go!" said Cedric.
And they ran down the hallway, looking for Zeke's landing place.
Meanwhile, Zeke had no idea where he had landed, but he felt dizzy after falling through the trap door. He could see nothing but the ending point of the trap door, iron bars, and the fact that he was suspended in the air. He was in a cage, and was just about to try and climb back up the slide in the trap door, when the cage began to lower itself. Suddenly, everything began to light up. What Zeke saw next, surprised him.
Zeke saw a large room, lit up with electric lights. It was densely populated with undead, who were talking and socializing with each other. All faces turned to Zeke. One of the skeletons in the room spoke to Zeke,
"Look what we've got here," he said. "Lower the cage!"
Once the cage was lowered to the ground, everyone came closer to Zeke, with the skeleton who spoke to him making his way through the crowd. He was wearing a suit of chainmail with a breastplate. The chain was worn much like a robe. The skeleton was also carrying a staff with a red orb at the end.
"My, my...I don't think anyone in the world has seen an animal like this before," said the skeleton.
"Actually there are a few that have," said Zeke, suddenly thinking of an idea. The idea involved talking to the undead to see if they can make some sort of deal to let Zeke go free. Zeke always knew he would never do something bad on purpose, so he brainstormed for ideas.
"It can talk too," said the skeleton. "Who are you...what are you...how did you get here?"
"To make a long story short, my name is Zeke, I'm a Lucario, and I got here by falling through a trap door. Why did you block up the right entrance hallway with a trap door? Don't you use it anymore?"
"We never used it," replied the skeleton. "We wanted to catch intruders like you before they do something dreadful"
Zeke began to feel awkward. He was faced with a difficult decision. Tell the truth and possibly cost him his life? Or lie and save himself from death, but tarnish his honesty. Zeke weighed the two choices, and seeing as the undead can talk and do not seem like the traditional, aggressive, mindless beings that other people learn from books, he came to a decision. He was going to tell the truth, but seeing the delicate situation he was in, he knew it was not going to be easy.
"Okay, I'm going to be honest," said Zeke. "I'm looking for a book that was lost in here when you guys supposedly attacked the miners"
"All right, I'm going to be honest too," said the skeleton. "We destroyed it, and also, we didn't attack the miners. It was the exact opposite."
"I'm not going to ask why you destroyed the book," said Zeke. "But there's one thing that puzzles me. I think that all this fighting could have been prevented if all of you spoke when you met the miners first saw you. I think they were only trying to protect themselves, but from what I can tell now, it spiraled out of control"
"Only, we didn't attack them first," said the skeleton. The undead in the other mine must have done that"
"So there are two groups of undead in the mountain...one that is savage, and the other, I can actually have a conversation with?"
"Seems so," said the skeleton. "Listen...will you do us all a favor?"
"That depends...will it involve attacking the miners?" asked Zeke, seeking a simple answer.
"No...in fact we need help from the miners to pull this one off, but I fear that they will attack us because we're undead ourselves," replied the skeleton.
"I can fix that problem...but how can we tell you guys apart from the savage undead?" asked Zeke.
"We have glowing eyes," responded the skeleton. "The others don't. Please be sure to tell the miners that"
"Don't worry, I will," said Zeke.
"Why don't we see the miners and introduce ourselves?" asked the skeleton. "Maybe then we can discuss the first phase of our plan, once the miners get to know us"
"But first, we have to find my friends. One of them is a teenage girl, and another is a miner. You'll have to tell them that you and your people are not savages. Be careful though, they're heavily armed and alert. Stick with me because once they see me with you, they will think twice before attacking"
"All right," said the skeleton. "That sounds like a good idea"
He then turned to the crowd.
"Everyone, listen! We are going to attempt an offensive on the enemy undead, but we'll need the miners' help with this one. Treat them as you wish to be treated. Do not attack them, or do anything that will cause tensions between us and them. I will be back in a while. And another thing...there are two others in this mine, one of them a teenage girl, and another is a miner. Tell the guards to watch for them, and if they see you or you see them, tell them that Zeke has spoken with us and that we wish to help the miners. I really think we have a chance this time, now that Zeke is with us"
Everyone in the room then started to move about, searching the hallways for guards to inform.
"Right," said Zeke. "I can still talk to the miners from here...with this thing"
Zeke pulled the Quasi-Phone out of his bag and spoke into it,
"Quince, you there?" he asked.
"I'm still here," Quince responded. "And I heard the whole conversation between you and your new friend. I'll be sure to tell everyone the good news."
"Great," said Zeke. "Let's go"
As Zeke and the skeleton left the room, both of them had something else to say. Zeke began first,
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Devlin," said the skeleton.
At the moment, Zeke and Devlin were at the entrance of a long hallway. Then they heard distant voices that seemed to be coming closer. Zeke recognized them immediately.
"That's Alice and Cedric," he said. "This is it, Devlin. Stay with me in case they haven't heard from you yet"
"Is that you, Zeke?" asked Alice.
"Yes it is, and I've got someone with me," replied Zeke, trying to be tactful.
"Is it Devlin?" asked Alice.
Zeke was relieved that they knew about Devlin.
"Yes it is," said Devlin. "Now that we've found you two, we can head to the miners' camp and remove all doubts about us"
"Great," said Alice. "Let's get moving"
Before they were about to leave, a skeleton with a suit of armor came into view. He caught sight of Alice and Cedric and disappeared, telling others that Zeke and Devlin had found Alice and Cedric.
Zeke and the others walked out of the mountain and into the path that now split into three directions. They followed the one on the left, admiring the scenery and the mysterious music that the Threat Detector was playing. It did not sound threatening or ominous in any way. Then, they entered the passage leading to the elevator, took the elevator down to the floor at the start of the mission. It did not take long for them to find their way back to the living complex. There were several miners there waiting for them. Among them was Quince.
"Greetings, Devlin," said Quince. "We've been expecting you"
"I should think so. Now, where can you take me so that I can formally introduce ourselves to you?"
"In the dining room, I think," said one of the miners. "Follow me"
Everyone followed the miner to the dining room, where Cedric and Quince introduced themselves, and after a while, discussed their plans for the offensive against the savage undead. Meanwhile, Zeke and Alice were having a conversation of their own. Alice already knew Zeke's backstory, so she explained her's.
Alice came from a town that was close to the mine. Her house was old, but well-maintained. Her father was the owner of an inn that was quite popular. Her mother had equal responsibilities with the inn as well. Alice always appreciated nature and she liked animals, and even ventured into the forest quite a few times. For some reason, whenever she saw a wild animal in the forest, like a wolf, the wolf would not attack her. She had something about her that convinced the animals in the forest that she was not a threat to their safety, so they just continued on, sometimes approached her, and sometimes even befriended her.
When Alice told her parents that she had a "special relationship" with the animals in the forest, her parents cautioned her about the dangers of the forest. But one night, Alice's parents hid behind a bush and watched to see what would happen to Alice when an animal approached her. And as expected, the bear that she saw that night acted friendly, with no hostile feelings at all. Her parents were amazed at this, but still decided to remain silent and hidden, just in case.
Zeke was fascinated by this story, and by the time Alice had finished, Cedric tried to recieve their attention.
"Zeke, Alice...listen. Thanks for your help. We now have the forces to drive the savages out of the mine and the mountain. We couldn't have done it without someone like you. Someone who has the guts to pull something like this. As a reward, you two can keep the equipment I gave you"
Quince gave Alice the other part to the Quasi-Phone.
"We'll put it to good use, don't you worry," said Alice. She then realized that her mother had wanted her to return home by midnight. "But now, I have to go home. I hope the offensive goes well. Thanks for the gadgets and spells. Zeke, are you coming with me?"
Zeke saw no reason to refuse.
"Okay, I'll come," he said.
Zeke and Alice made their way out of the living complex, into the mines, all the way to the elevator, up to the exit that they both used when they were looking for the book, and out. Once again, they saw beautiful scenery, but this time, the moon had changed position in the sky. It was getting very late.
They slowly made their way down the mountain, enjoying the cool air that was present. By the time the reached the bottom and a short distance away from the mountain, a blue oval of energy opened up. Alice was shocked.
"What's that thing?" she asked.
"That must be the same portal I entered when I first came to the mountain," said Zeke. "This may be my only chance to get to my home, but I don't want to leave you, you've been a good friend"
"I wonder if this is a two-way portal," said Alice. "If so, then I can come with you. Even if it's one-way, another will open up eventually if another one has already appeared. I don't want to leave you either. In fact, I'm coming with you"
"All right, prepare yourself," said Zeke. "On the other end lies the world of Pokemon"
They walked into the portal, closing it behind them. They had made it through the Test of Courage. But instead of going to the world of Pokemon, the portal took them somewhere else. Someplace where it would take more than courage to escape. Now, the Test of Resourcefulness was about to begin.
Part 2: The Test of Resourcefulness
Chapter 8: Unfamiliar Territory
The portal that was supposed to take Zeke and Alice to the world of Pokemon, deposited them inside a massive, dimly-lit room that was made entirely of stone. Zeke was shocked at the result.
"This isn't the world of Pokemon," he said.
Alice began to show a nervous look on her face.
"Zeke...I know this place," she said. "I've heard rumors and read books about this building"
"And?" asked Zeke.
"This place was abandoned for some reason," responded Alice. "Something to do with a nasty discovery"
The room that they were in had only one stained-glass window with moonlight shining through it. There was an eerie silence that intimidated Alice. Then, Zeke and Alice heard pattering noises. They seemed to be coming from the far right corner of the room, hidden by the darkness.
Zeke put his paw on his mouth and quickly moved it across, implying silence. Zeke and Alice gradually approached the location of the noise until they heard breathing noises. Whatever was making those noises had to be small. Alice's heart began to pound. Zeke's eyes were fixed on the dark corner. Then he took another small step forward. Something darted across the room.
Zeke had just enough time to take a glance at the figure. It was quite small, and had a familiar color and tail shape.
"Was that a Pikachu?" Zeke spoke, quietly.
"A what?" asked Alice.
"That's a Pokemon, like me," said Zeke. "The Threat Detector isn't making any noises, so we can only assume, it's not a threat. Just don't do anything to make it attack"
"Well, since you're a Pokemon, and you can talk, why not try speaking with it? Let it know that we don't mean any harm," asked Alice.
"I'll try," said Zeke. "Hey, you over there! You can come out now. We're not going to hurt you"
"You're not?" asked the figure.
"Course not," said Zeke, relieved that the figure can talk. "Why would we?"
"I don't know," said the figure. "I can't trust anything in this place"
The figure stepped forward, and was indeed, as Zeke suggested, a Pikachu.
"So glad that we're not the only ones in here," said Alice.
"I couldn't agree more," said Pikachu. "How did you two get here in an instant?"
"By chance," said Zeke. "We entered a portal, hoping to go home, and suddenly, we're now trapped in this miserable place. By the way, what's your name?"
"Samuel," said Pikachu. "I was trying to open that gate when you two came in. I can't open it. But I did find something"
"What did you find?" asked Alice.
"A lever, next to the gate," said Samuel. "But I can't pull it...I'm too small"
"In that case, I'll open it," said Zeke. "Shouldn't be too hard to pull"
"Wrong," said Samuel. "It's rusty, and from what I can tell, it's stuck"
Zeke thought for a moment. He figured that he could use his staff to force the lever down, but he feared that the staff would bend or even snap. So he decided to use the force from a projectile instead.
"I have an idea...Alice, I'll need to climb on your shoulders," he said.
"You're not going to try the window are you?" asked Alice.
"No," replied Zeke. "We're going to force the gate open...with this"
He pulled out a scroll, held it under the light of the window, which made the words "Hypervelocity Bolt" visible.
Alice nodded. She turned her back towards Zeke and crouched. Zeke climbed on her back and onto her shoulders. Zeke was not too heavy, and she could move around quite easily. Then Zeke realized that it would be difficult to hit the lever in the dark.
"Alice, can you make your wand glow?" he asked.
"Yes," said Alice, remembering a wizard's trick from the magicians back in the mine. She put her hand on the orb of her wand, and it began to glow a bluish color. The lever was clearly visible. Alice walked over to the lever, with Zeke on her shoulders. Zeke unrolled the scroll, touched the writing, made the required movements, and shot a fast-moving projectile at the lever. It was colored blue with a purple trail, and made a strange noise when it was fired. The magical bolt hit the lever with a small explosion, forcing it downwards. The gate then began to move upwards.
"Great," said Samuel. "Now how do we find a way out of this place?"
Alice pressed the button on the Navigation Ring. A map appeared, showing where everyone was as little green blips. But then they saw something quite disturbing. There was a red blip at the very top of the map area. Something was nearby. Then everyone began to hear ominous music, coming from the Threat Detector. A lone guitar-like instrument gave the impression that something bad was about to happen.
"I hope you're ready for a possible encounter, Samuel," said Zeke.
"Why?" asked Samuel.
"See this?" asked Zeke, pointing to the red blip. "What does that mean?"
"Something bad," replied Samuel.
"Let's see if we can avoid this thing. If not, then we'll have to face it," said Zeke.
Alice pressed the Navigation Ring again, and the map disappeared.
Everyone crept out of the room with the gate, and into a long, wide hallway with stairs blocking the view. This made everyone especially nervous because the red blip was directly in front of the direction they were facing. Eventually, everyone saw a suit of armor, holding a poleaxe. It did not look tarnished at all, which made everyone aware that the suit of armor could be the red blip.
"It can't be that thing, can it?" asked Alice, pointing to the suit of armor.
Suddenly, the Threat Detector made everyone afraid by stopping the music that was playing, and playing a stringed instument that grew louder until a skidding noise stopped it. After a moment, the suit of armor began to move. Everyone began to step back, with Zeke and Alice readying their weapons and scrolls. Then they followed the instuctions on the scrolls, and readied themselves for combat.
The suit of armor caught sight of Zeke and the others and began to run towards them with alarming speed. Zeke launched a Hypervelocity Bolt from his paw, denting the armor and knocking the enemy backwards, while Alice began shooting blue energy from her wand, with Samuel dealing the final blow with an electric attack. The suit of armor collapsed and crumbled to dust.
"Okay," said Zeke. "The place is haunted as well"
"There's another thing I found out about this place," said Samuel. "This castle might be sentient"
"How do you know that?" asked Zeke.
"Strange noises, locked doors, that suit of armor that we just defeated. Those should give you all the proof you need"
"I don't think we can take on every single thing in the castle, considering we know nothing of what's in it," said Alice. "Let's try to find hiding places instead, because you never know, we might be surrounded or outnumbered if we try an assault"
"Okay, we'll try that," said Zeke. "Alice, try to refrain from using that ring of yours. We don't want creeps and ghosts knowing where we are"
"So how will we get around?" asked Alice.
"We'll just have to find a regular map," responded Zeke. "If the maps here are old and crumbling at the edges, then we'll consider using yours"
"If we're going to play hide-and-seek with these guys, we'll need a room with lots of good hiding places," said Samuel.
"I read that just about every castle has a library, a storeroom, a wine cellar, and maybe some sort of attic,"
"I hope there's more than just that if we get caught," said Zeke.
"You want to know two other things about this place?" asked Alice.
"Go on," answered Zeke.
"One, the undead can't hear telepathy unless they know it too," explained Alice. "And two, in the case of haunted places, I read that if something is controlling an entire building, it can't directly influence the building's structure that much. It can lock doors, like Samuel said, and it can hurl small objects, maybe even animate things like suits of armor, but it can't hurl furniture, change the room's shape, or anything like that,"
"Good to know," said Zeke. "Now let's get moving before this place directly influences something near us"
But now, there was a fork in the hallway. Zeke and the others had to choose a path. But due to the recent armored suit problem, finding a way out of this gloomy castle could prove to be quite complicated. The only map they had of it could put them in jeopardy if used. But what was just around the corner of their choice, could give escape a real chance.
Chapter 9: A Turn for the Better
Zeke and the others now had a choice to make. Both of the paths in the hallway seemed equally unpleasant. However, Zeke and the others had no real reason to think about choosing a certain path, because they had no knowledge of what lied in either. So they settled for eeny-meeny-miney-mo. They chose the path on the right.
Zeke and the others crept around the corner and came to an unusual door. It had a keyhole, but there was a button next to the door, instead of a handle. Zeke pressed the button, and the door slid inside a slot in the wall.
"Interesting..." said Zeke.
They crept down a staircase and into a large room with a smaller room in the middle. Books were found everywhere.
"This looks like a library," said Alice, quietly. "Some of them have secret rooms to hide things that certain people shouldn't lay their hands on"
"In that case, why don't we see if there's a secret?" asked Samuel.
"We'll do that," answered Alice. "Look for a crack in the wall. Not a real crack, just a line in the wall"
Everyone searched the room until Samuel found some oddly-proportioned bricks in the wall.
"I found something," he said.
"Good," said Alice. "Now since most secret walls are activated by some sort of mechanism, look for a book that's on the closest bookcase. It should be out of childrens' reach...aha"
She found a book with pages that did not seem to be made of paper or parchment. She pulled the book, and indeed, the wall opened. There were two mechanisms on both sides of the false book. Inside was so dark that even Zeke had a hard time seeing what was in it. Alice put her hand on the orb of her wand and made it glow.
Inside was a table, with an inkwell, a note, and a wastebasket on the floor. A miniature lever was located on the wall, next to the entrance. A beautifully crafted chest was in a corner, with a suspiciously placed stone face above it. It's mouth was hollow and open.
"Wait," said Zeke. "It's probably a trap"
He pointed his staff at the chest and waved it about. A small, magical bolt shot out of the mouth of the stone face and hit the floor. Fortunately, it did not make a lot of noise. Alice grabbed the chest and placed it out of harm's way. Inside, she found a few scrolls, with one of them reading "Unlock", and another reading "Purify". She opened the Purify scroll, curious to see what it was for.
The scroll was made to purify the air, removing things like miasma and other dangerous atmospheric things. Alice wondered if this could be the reason why the castle was abandoned. A very nasty smell, or perhaps something worse. She rolled the scroll back up and placed it in her bag, along with the others. Then she turned her head towards the note on the desk. The note read:
"If you discover this note, read carefully. You are in a very delicate situation right now. You can't use the front gate or the back door to escape. Both of them have been sealed to contain the evil within. Something, a mysterious force, has taken control of the castle itself. Beware, the building is sentient, meaning it has a mind of its own. The walls really have eyes. Even now the castle knows you are inside it. Take the scrolls that are inside the chest, but be careful about the stone face, it's trapped. Open it from the side, instead. Once you have the scrolls, make your way to the storage room at the top of the castle. I've hidden the next letter there to prevent the undead from seeing it. It's underneath one of the beds. The building can't read, so you don't have to worry about it knowing what you're up to. Beware the undead that roam around the castle. Use stealth, rather than combat. It's much safer that way.
Good luck with your escape, if you so choose.
The minute that everyone finished reading the note, they heard breathing noises. Creepy, ghostly breathing noises, coming from the Threat Detector. Everyone turned around, and to their horror, they saw a hooded, black, shadowy figure hovering towards the room that they were in. Everyone rushed out, but it seemed that the figure would strike with magic before Zeke and Alice had time to prepare for combat.
But Samuel attacked the figure first, with electricity, stunning it and giving Zeke enough time to launch a green energy pulse from the tip of his emerald staff. The figure tried to dodge Zeke's attack, but the green energy moved too quickly, and knocked it to the floor. Alice launched a red, laser-like beam at the figure, making it collapse and crumble to dust, like the suit of armor did.
"This place gives me the creeps," Samuel remarked.
"At least we know where we have to go," said Zeke.
They made their way up the staircase and into the hallway. Then they proceeded to the right and entered a room that was square in shape with a staircase leading up. Then, they traveled upwards into what looked like a storage room. There was yet another staircase leading upwards, but first, they decided to search the room they were in for more items that they could use.
They began by searching the pile of crates that was in a corner. They found nothing useful, mainly furniture, until they came to a small crate at the end. It had a label that read "Speed Potion". Inside was a highly-decorated green bottle. Zeke stared at it in fascination until Alice put it inside her bag.
Samuel did not like the silence of the room they were in, so he decided to start a conversation to calm his nerves.
"You're pretty tall for a Lucario," he said rather quietly. "What happened?"
"Must have been that Ditto I saw years ago," answered Zeke. "I was once a human"
"In that case, you're not the only one who's been turned into a Pokemon," said Samuel. "I saw someone last week who was wandering into a forest one night. He was hit by some kind of energy wave and fell asleep. When he woke up, he was a Ninetales"
There was a brief pause, then Zeke looked puzzled.
"Hang on, this doesn't make any sense," he said. "I'm guessing that you've been a Pokemon all your life, but you can talk. You know any other Pokemon who learned to speak English?"
"It's amazing what one trainer and one Pokemon can do," explained Samuel. "Ever since one trainer taught his Charmander how to speak English, the word got out, Charmander started teaching other Pokemon English, and eventually, the language was passed on to wild Pokemon. Now you can hear talking in the forest, which is kind of neat. As for me, I picked up English from my parents."
Meanwhile, Alice was staring in disbelief. She could not believe what she was hearing. She wanted to go to the world of Pokemon, but first, she would have to convince her parents that she should go, if she ever had the chance. But still, she decided to keep quiet to avoid bringing up a subject that would likely last a very long time, long enough for anything to happen in the castle. But now she was caught between two choices, let them talk more about the mysterious world of Pokemon, or alert them to the seriousness of their situation.
"That explains a lot, but I need to know something else," said Zeke. "Where did the energy wave come from, and was it multi-colored?"
"I think it was a Ditto," said Samuel.
"That might have been the same Ditto that turned me into a Lucario," said Zeke.
"Is it?" asked Samuel.
"Could be," responded Zeke.
"Must have some kind of weird power or something," said Samuel.
"I guess so," said Zeke as he turned his head towards the staircase. "Now for the storeroom"
They traveled up the staircase, leading to the storeroom, and went inside. Just as the note mentioned, there were beds in it.
"Okay," said Samuel. "Now which bed is the note under?"
"There's only one way to find out," said Alice. "Hey, Samuel, you're smaller than us, can you crawl under there?"
"I think so," replied Samuel. He went under one bed and found nothing. He looked under another and found a note. He held it in his mouth and crawled out from under the bed. Zeke then took the note. It read:
"If you haven't seen the note down in the secret room in the library, you should go there and read it before you read this one. If you have, then read carefully. Over on the other side of the castle, there is another note, but don't go yet. The only way to get there is through a room full of traps. The only alternate way to get there was through a passageway, protected by a gate, but that has been sealed. Once you get to the trapped hallway, I've left the answer to a dangerous puzzle in a jar. Study it before you go any further; it could save your life. There should be a map and compass around the storeroom somewhere that shows the location. The place you have to go should read 'Hall of Traps'. As I mentioned before, there is another note at the other side of the castle, in the cellar. Look in one of the empty barrels.
Good luck with your escape, if you so choose.
Alice put the note back under the bed and turned to Zeke.
"The note said that there's a map somewhere in this room," she said.
"I think I see it," said Zeke. "Over there"
He pointed to the rectangular object at the back of the room, that was hanging from the wall. Zeke took a closer look, and what he saw was indeed, a map. He took it off the wall and held it under the moonlight from the window. The map was old, but still usable. He saw the room where everyone needed to go.
Samuel found an old compass on the floor, next to a crate. Surprisingly, it was still in good condition.
"You'll probably need this too," he said.
"Okay," began Zeke. "We have to go back the way we came, into the hallway and make a left. Then we have to go through a few rooms and hallways until we come to a gate. Then we'll know if we made it to the 'Hall of Traps'"
Zeke and his friends exited the storeroom, walked past the library, and entered the hallway where they saw the suit of armor. The next note lied beyond the hallway to the left. Could this be the way out of the castle?
Everything seemed to be going very well, until the Threat Detector made an eerie noise that lowered in pitch.
Chapter 10: Survival of the Smartest
Zeke and his friends left the storeroom that had the second note. It seemed that their lives now depend on the notes that are scattered around the castle. Although they had somewhere to go, they had not thought of a plan yet. Now, they were in the hallway where they saw the suit of armor.
The Threat Detector made a noise that suggested something was wrong. It was a strange, indescribable noise that descended in pitch. Something was nearby.
“Quick everyone, hide behind those crates,” whispered Zeke.
He was referring to the pile of crates in the room below the first storeroom. They ran to the crates, with Alice trying to make her footsteps as quiet as possible. Everyone peeked from behind the crates, and eventually saw an armored figure, standing in the middle of the hallway. It was too far away for anyone to take a guess on what it was. But then the figure began to move directly in the direction Zeke and the others were. Everyone ducked back into the crates and watched from an opening between two large crates. Then they heard footsteps, and the rattling noises that come from chain mail. Samuel watched in fear as the figure came closer. Zeke pulled the Contorted Blast scroll out of his bag, just in case. All eyes were focused on the figure. The shocking truth was that the figure was a skeleton in a suit of armor, holding a sword. It looked to be something like a castle guard in uniform.
All was quiet, and nobody dared to move. They knew that even the slightest movement or sound can cause the skeleton to investigate. Even the fact that Samuel was about to sneeze. The dust that was accumulating in the air, was beginning to irritate his nose. Zeke was worried about this, so he shook his head at Samuel, hoping that he would try to control it, just until the skeleton walked away. But it was too late. Samuel felt a tickling sensation in his nose, and after a moment, it happened.
Samuel sneezed, and not only that, he alerted the skeleton to everyone's presence. The skeleton turned its head to the pile of crates that Zeke and the others were hiding in. It then began to walk slowly towards them, keeping its sword ready. Zeke was beginning to sweat, given how close and unpredictable the skeleton was.
Suddenly, the skeleton saw where everyone was hiding, raised its sword, and tried to hit Alice. Fortunately, it missed, but not by much. Everyone picked themselves up and darted for the hallway. Zeke put his paw on the scroll he pulled out a short while ago, made the required movements, and launched a violet, swirling, cone-shaped projectile at the skeleton. It was a direct hit that knocked the skeleton on its back. Samuel attacked it with electricity, but seeing as skeletons are nothing but bones, it did not affect it at all. The skeleton got back up on its feet and tried to stab Zeke with its sword. But Zeke made a clever maneuver. As soon as the skeleton came close, Zeke deflected the sword with his staff, and kicked the skeleton with enough force that it fell on its back. Alice seized the sword the skeleton was holding, and threw it out of reach. Zeke put his foot on the skeleton, pinning it to the floor. Alice pulled a scroll out of her bag, made the required movements, and shot a beam of energy that delivered the final blow. But this time, the skeleton did not crumble to dust. It just lied there, motionless.
Alice realized something about the undead, faced so far in this castle. Not one of them made any noises at all. They were all silent, even as they were defeated. Suddenly, the skeleton vanished from view. Everyone was surprised at this.
“I guess this castle really is sentient,” said Alice.
“Must be,” replied Zeke. “How else can the undead just vanish from view like that?”
“I don't know,” said Alice. “But let's get going before more of them come this way,”
“Hopefully it won't be as dusty there as it was here,” said Samuel.
They walked through the left passage in the hallway, where the suit of armor was. As they made their way through the hallway, the Threat Detector began to play music. It had a rather melancholy mood to it. The music also began to make the castle appear even gloomier than it was before. Cobwebs were found in numerous places. Dust had collected in areas like bookcases, shelves, and several other pieces of furniture. The castle had very little light, but everyone could see quite clearly for some reason. Surprisingly, the castle seemed to be in good condition. It was structurally sound, which meant that it did not seem like it was going to collapse anytime soon. Zeke was enjoying the music that was playing. This was evident by the faint smile on his face.
They walked past the Study, into another hallway, up a staircase, and turned right. Then they came to another hallway, turned left in the middle of it, and beyond that hallway was a door. But the door was locked, and they had no key. But Alice had a trick up her sleeve. She remembered the Unlock scroll she found earlier, pulled it out of her bag, made the required movements, and put her hand on the door handle. It began to glow a yellowish color. Then everyone heard a click, which meant the door had been unlocked.
Alice opened the door, and the first thing everyone came across, was a 3-way intersection. On the left was the gate, mentioned in the second note, and on the right was a passage. Everyone walked through the passage until they could not see where they were going. Alice then put her hand on the orb of her wand, and made it glow. Everyone could see a large room, with something frightening hanging from the ceiling, with the Threat Detector making noises again.
The things that were hanging from the ceiling were enormous, spiked metal balls that looked as if the chains supporting them, could snap at any minute. They came in various sizes, but they all looked fatal. Then Zeke looked down and noticed a peculiar floor. Every inch of floor looked like pressure plates.
“This must be the Hall of Traps,” said Zeke. “Don't move a muscle”
He began searching the area around him for the solution to this obstacle. He found a jar next to one of the support beams. It contained a note, so Zeke opened the jar, pulled the note out, and studied it. It was a puzzle. It showed two different types of symbols. The symbols that Zeke was interested in, were all connected in the form of a snake-like pattern. He decided to give the mysterious note to Alice. Zeke already knew his answer to the puzzle; the Levitation scroll he was carrying. He could not hold Alice while he was floating; the added weight might cause Zeke to land somewhere unpleasant, and cause a horrible accident. He pulled it out of his bag, put his paw on the center, slowly raised his arms, and began to float in the air.
Zeke floated over to the other side of the room, to safety. Alice was next, but she had an idea. She could use the Grapple Box to launch a small but extremely durable hook, and make it to the other side, but then she realized that all that was in this room was stone and metal. So she studied the scroll for a moment and decided, that she was going to attempt the puzzle.
“Samuel...,” said Alice.
“Yes?” responded Samuel.
“I don't know what will happen if we both walk on different tiles,” said Alice. “You'll have to get on my shoulder.”
“Okay,” said Samuel.
Alice bent down on her knees, and Samuel jumped on her back and climbed on her shoulder. Alice took a deep breath, and stepped on the first tile. It was pressed downwards, and back up again as Alice stepped on another tile. Nothing happened so far. Alice slowly followed the note, counting her steps in her head. She gained confidence as she solved the puzzle, but not allowing her triumph to make her lose count.
She had made it to the other side of the room, with Samuel on her shoulder. They had not been crushed flat by the huge spiked balls. However, the traps were not fully navigated. There were still more to worry about. Zeke noticed this by the mysterious placement of a tiled floor. Having just been through pressure plates and obstacles on the ceiling, he began to suspect that there were more traps. But what kind of traps were present, remained a mystery. Samuel was the first one to see where the traps came from.
“Zeke...you might want to look up,” said Samuel, nervous about what he saw up on the ceiling. Zeke looked up, and saw multiple rows of square-shaped holes in the ceiling. He wanted to know what would shoot from there, so he poked a tile with the bottom of his staff. A narrow-pointed arrow zoomed to the floor.
“Nasty,” said Alice. “But if I had a bow, I could use these.”
A good thing about the tiled floor was that there were two different colors: black and white. Zeke noticed that the holes in the ceiling matched the placement of the black tiles.
“Okay, everyone,” he said. “Follow me, but stay on the white tiles, so you don't end up in a horrible state.”
Zeke walked on the white tiles, nearly tripping at one point, much to everyone's horror. Samuel was still on Alice's shoulder while they made it through the arrow traps. When everyone was across the hall of traps, they came to another door. This one was unlocked, but guarded by a trap. As soon as Zeke opened the door, a steel serrated disk whizzed through the air, forcing everyone to duck.
“Serrated discs?” said Samuel, frightened. “This could get ugly.”
Everyone continued to duck to avoid a gruesome fate, and crawled across the hallway, until they made it past the rectangular hole in the wall, where the serrated disk came from. They saw the end of the gate, near the end of the hallway. They had made it through the Hall of Traps alive. But now it was back to the task at hand; finding the next note. They had come this far. Could they succeed at escaping the castle and live to tell the tale?
Chapter 11: The Art of Stealth
Zeke and his friends had just made it through a life-threatening obstacle. The Hall of Traps was something that no one wanted to face again. But now it was back to finding the third note, which was in the cellar. Alice read the map and discovered that it was not too far away. Zeke and his friends immediately came to a four-way intersection in the hallway.
“I guess now would be a good time to look at your map,” said Zeke. “Just in case there's anything close by”
Alice pressed the button on the Navigation Ring. It revealed two rooms, with one of them containing two red dots. Both of them were moving. The shocking thing was that one of the red dots was moving towards the center of the map, where everyone was.
“Find a hiding place, quickly,” whispered Zeke. “Samuel, tell us when the coast is clear.”
Fortunately, there was a hiding place nearby. To the left of where everyone was standing, there were two dark corners, perfect for evasion. Everyone crept over to the dark corners and stood against the wall. Samuel leaned slightly so that he could have a good look at what was coming. The Threat Detector made a noise that frightened everyone, particularly Samuel. It sounded like stringed instruments that were low in pitch, raising and then lowering again. A strange figure hovered close by. It was particularly scary because it had an animal's skull for a head, and a scythe in its hand. Alice thought that she had seen Death himself. Whenever it moved, dark clouds of black and purple mist trailed behind and evaporated quickly. The figure stopped in the middle of the intersection and looked both ways, probably checking for intruders. After a moment, it hovered back in the direction it came from.
Samuel waited for a minute before giving the signal. During this time, Alice began to think about something. She thought that the map on the Navigation Ring was too large and bright to consider using. However, out of curiosity, she tried twisting the circle surrounding the gem on the ring to see if it did anything. Samuel and Zeke heard several clicks and turned their heads towards the ring.
“Alice, what are you doing?” asked Samuel quietly.
“I'm testing the ring,” responded Alice.
She managed to project the map in the air, but at a much smaller size. The map appeared just above Alice's finger. Zeke began to smile.
“Never thought it could do that,” noted Zeke.
Everyone stared at the map for a moment, watching the lone red dot as it moved further away from everyone. After a moment, the red dot wandered off the map and disappeared.
“Keep that map active, but turn it off when we have to hide,” said Zeke.
Everyone was hoping that there would be a way other than the direction the red dot was previously. Unfortunately there were only two directions anyone could travel in. The Hall of Traps was one of them, but no one wanted to go there again. So they decided to go in the direction they feared.
Everyone crept through the hallway until they came to a somewhat large room. It looked to be a living room with furniture, a fireplace, an assortment of trophies and pictures on the wall, and the usual result of years of neglect, dust. Samuel started to worry about the level of dust in this room. There was also something upsetting about the fireplace and some of the pictures on the wall. The fireplace was conspicuous because of the absence of light in it. Zeke could not take his eyes off it. He began to think that there might be an evil spirit hiding in there, waiting for a false move. Alice and Samuel were sensing something wrong with some of the pictures. They were mainly portraits of people, but there were skulls instead of recognizable faces.
The Threat Detector made a rumbling noise; only the rumbling seemed a bit too aeriform to sound anything like an earthquake. Everything was quiet for a moment, then the fireplace began to make whooshing noises, like the ones that bellows would make. No one dared to go near it. Zeke's concern seemed to be coming true. Everyone gathered around in a circle, with Alice eventually picking Samuel up and placing him on her shoulder.
“Don't go near the fireplace,” Zeke spoke quietly. “I don't think whatever's inside will attack us yet, so long as we don't do anything stupid. Alice, check your map. Are there any other red dots?”
“No,” replied Alice. “Apart from the one in front of us.”
“Okay,” said Zeke. “You two follow me, and whatever you do, do NOT make any sudden movements.”
Everyone moved slowly around the fireplace, hoping to reach the hallway on the left without being caught. The Threat Detector suddenly made the same noise that played when everyone first entered the room. That sound, at least from Zeke's way of interpreting it, meant that whatever was in the fireplace had left. Alice looked at the map again. Nothing was on the map to worry about. Then she looked at the old map and discovered that the cellar was in the hallway that everyone was in.
This showed a glimmer of hope in a castle full of dangerous-looking creatures. The cellar was right in the middle of the hallway and on the left. Everyone walked down the hallway until they came to a door that for some reason had been boarded up.
“How do we get in the cellar?” asked Samuel. “It's been boarded up.”
“Simple,” answered Zeke, pulling out the Hypervelocity Bolt scroll. “When in doubt, use common sense.”
“Right,” said Alice. “We can blast our way through.”
Zeke looked at the door for a second and began to doubt that the spell would be safe at such a short range. So then he had another idea. He would use the scroll at a distance and at an angle. That way, no one would be hurt.
“I'm going to try something,” said Zeke. “Alice, Samuel, you two watch for anything behind my back. I'm going to blow the door open from a distance”
Zeke moved to a spot about fifteen feet away from the door. Alice and Samuel went behind him. Zeke opened the scroll, put his paw on it, made the required movements, and shot the familiar projectile at the door. The magical bolt exploded and destroyed the door handle upon contact.
Inside was extremely dark, even to the point where no one could see anything. Zeke and Alice already knew why some places are darker than others. This darkness was created by magic. Zeke and Alice both searched their bags for any sort of scroll that would allow everyone to see in the dark, yet remain hidden. Zeke found an interesting scroll labeled “Night Vision” and opened it. The description inside read that it intensifies the light waves that comes into the eyes, making everything seem brighter. Fortunately, there was a window to provide some form of light for the spell to work. Zeke put his paw on the scroll, made the required movements, and soon discovered that he could see in the dark quite clearly. Everything appeared slightly distorted, much like a night-vision video camera. However, this was not a problem for Zeke. He repeated the scroll's procedure twice and touched Alice and Samuel, allowing them to see in the dark as well.
Zeke did not want to take any chances in the cellar, so he pulled out his Telepathy scroll, made the required movements, and began to speak to the others, using his mind.
“Alice, Samuel, don't talk out loud,” he said. “Instead, try to do it through your mind. I have a bad feeling about this cellar. Things could get very nasty if we're not careful. Don't make any noise...and Samuel, if you have to sneeze, run back upstairs and do it.
Now, since we can see in the dark, don't panic if you can't find a hiding place. We're in pitch-black darkness, so whatever's in there won't see us. The third note is in the cellar somewhere and in one of the empty barrels. Search the room for enemies, and if there are any, talk to me and we'll figure out a way to take care of them.
Right, are we ready?”
“We are,” responded Alice, knowing that Samuel would agree.
Everyone crept down into the cellar and discovered a cluster of empty barrels near the right wall. The cellar had so many barrels and crates that it looked more like another storeroom. There was something disturbing in the middle of the room. A woman in a white gown had her back against the wall and was sitting on the floor, as if she fell asleep and never woke up again. Perhaps this was the enemy that Zeke dreaded when first entering the cellar. Everyone slowly crept down the stairs until they were roughly ten feet away from the figure.
A closer look revealed that the woman, despite the time she had apparently spent here, showed no signs of injury or decay. Suddenly, the Threat Detector began to make slow heartbeat sounds. Samuel began to build up electricity, waiting to make the first attack. Zeke shook his head and waved his arms, signaling Samuel to stop. Samuel stopped what he was doing and waited.
The woman began to open her eyes, but Zeke still sensed that something was wrong. The woman seemed alive, but judging by the condition of the castle and the fact that the cellar door was boarded up, she may very well have not been. Zeke finally gathered enough courage to see whether she was alive or not. He walked over to the woman and tried to help her up, but to Zeke's shock, she had no substance. She was either a ghost or an illusion. Samuel began to build up electricity.
“Wait,” said the woman. “Don't attack me. I'm one of the few in this castle who have a conscience.”
Everyone was surprised, but relieved at the same time.
“Thank goodness for that,” said Alice. “Who are you? Why aren't you made of anything physical?”
“That's a long story,” said the woman. “Let's just say that I cheated death. My body is in my grave, but I somehow managed to rise out of both.”
“At least you're not like everything else we faced in this castle,” Samuel remarked.
“Oh, ghostliness has its advantages you know,” said the woman. “I'm no longer in danger from the undead. We leave each other alone, so everybody's happy.”
“We're looking for a note that someone left down here,” said Zeke. “Do you know where it is?”
“Of course I do,” said the woman. “I wrote it”
Everyone was astonished at what she said.
“Well, technically you're not really a survivor if you're dead,” said Zeke. “But you're still alive in a sense? Ah pfft, I don't know.”
“I'll show you where the note is. In fact, let's stick to the notes because I wrote in detail how to get out of the castle, and it's pretty hard to remember.”
The woman walked over to the cluster of barrels that Zeke and the others saw when they first entered the cellar. She pulled the lid off of one of them, reached inside, and pulled out the note. She then handed the note to Alice. The note read,
“Now that you've made it this far, here is where the escape plan begins. In the barracks, there is a button on the wall. Press it and a section of the wall will disappear. There is a long network of tunnels, so you may end up being lost if you don't have a map. Go through the tunnels, and once you reach the surface, you have escaped the castle. But once you escape, there is still more to do. You will find the next note, nailed to a pole when you reach the outside.”
Could this be the escape that everyone was hoping for? Zeke and his friends had made it this far. Could they go further? Everyone was beginning to feel less afraid of the castle and more hopeful that they could find a way out of the castle. However, this was no reason for Zeke and his friends to let their guard down, as anything could still happen at any moment.
I like the story, your writing style is great and has plenty of potential. Great writing can develop with plenty of practice. But there are two things that I didn't like. The first is simply a personal opinion that I doubt would be very popular, but I think the whole Lucario thing is kinda overdone. The second, is the font in some of the chapters. The large-sized type is just assaulting on the eyes, to put it bluntly.
However, the storyline is very interesting indeed, so I would definitely keep it going. Be sure to check out and comment on my fanfic, the link's in the sig : D
I was typing at Times New Roman, size 12.
But thanks for pointing that out. I'll be sure to shrink the font next time (so long as it doesn't erase every space in the chapter).
I'm still reading this, and enjoying it. A couple of small spelling and/or grammatical errors like
For a moment, I thought that Samuel was an alternate universe's version of Oak, but yeah...
Keep at it, AL.
~ La Pompa
i think that the lady is the evil that was put in the castle.i mean she cant remember the notes she is in a borded up room and she is a dead spirit with a conncence. thats what i think
Chapter 12: The Stalker
Zeke and his friends now had a real chance to escape. Now that Zeke had three others with him, he felt confident about himself and that escape was so close to reality. However, none of them saw what was coming closer and closer to them.
“Okay,” started Zeke. “Now that we know what to do, let's get moving. Everyone keep close, keep sharp, and whatever you do, don't get separated, as we may never find you again. One could easily get lost in this place...and with what we've seen lately, that could prove fatal.”
Alice pulled out her map and studied it. The barracks again was not far away. It was directly to the left of where everyone was at present. They walked back up the stairs and into the hallway. All was quiet, so much so that Zeke began to sense that something was wrong. Soon after that, the Threat Detector began to make noises. They sounded like low-pitched whooshing noises accompanied by what seemed to be small chimes. Something was wrong, so everyone crept back into the cellar and waited in the darkness.
No one heard any footsteps and were just about to look into the hallway, when a figure walked across everyone's view. An invisible person holding a visible, double-edged sword walked down the hallway. There was something interesting about the way it walked. There was no sound of footsteps and the figure seemed to be floating. Everyone waited until the figure had disappeared.
The figure walked into the room with the menacing pictures and fireplace, turned left, and entered another hallway. Everyone slowly made their way out of the safety of the cellar and into the hallway, immediately turning left and walking down that way. Since the ghost woman could float, she decided to watch the hallway where the figure was previously.
“What's your name?” Zeke asked the woman. “I forgot to ask.”
“Victoria,” answered the woman. “But you can just call me Vicky.”
“How did you end up in this castle?” asked Samuel. “And why were you trapped in the...oh shoot.”
Just as Samuel was about to finish his sentence, the Threat Detector made the same noise that it made when the figure walked by everyone in the cellar. Immediately after the noise stopped, the figure appeared in the hallway. It stopped suddenly for a moment and then began to approach everyone. Everyone backed away from it, with Zeke and Alice readying their scrolls. Samuel began to build up electricity. As soon as the figure came close, it jumped, raised its sword, fell down slowly, as if partially resisting gravity, and waved the sword about near the ground, nearly catching Zeke in the leg. Samuel attacked it with electricity, causing the figure to utter a peculiar sound. It sounded like “hhheey,” only it echoed and sounded as if the figure was inhaling at the same time. The figure tried to attack Zeke, but Zeke deflected the blows with his staff.
“Alice, are you just gonna stand there?” he asked.
Alice wasted no more time in readying the scroll she pulled out. She put her hand on the center, made the required movements, and somehow caused violet energy to swirl around her wand. She saw the perfect moment to strike and smacked the figure near the head with her wand. The energy reacted violently with the figure's body, causing it to fall to the floor. The figure remained on the floor for a few seconds, then instantly vanished from sight, with a sudden, sharp whooshing noise. Everyone was alarmed at what had just happened.
“Things are getting very complicated with this castle,” began Zeke.
“That makes two sudden disappearances,” added Alice.
“Have you noticed it too?” asked Victoria.
“Have we...” responded Zeke. “Facing an enemy is one thing, but having a sword aimed at you is another.”
“You know, we could have stopped this fight from happening in the first place,” said Samuel.
“How?” asked Alice. “We have a sentient castle, ghosts on the alert, and just now, an invisible creep.”
“The map?” answered Samuel.
Alice slapped her forehead. No one was paying careful attention to the map.
“Are we ready to move on from this?” asked Zeke, keeping the barracks in mind.
Everyone walked down the hallway, with Zeke starting a conversation.
“Hey Vicky...why was the cellar door boarded up?” he asked.
“I think that was where the first ghost appeared,” answered Victoria. “The interesting thing is that the one we just faced was the first ghost. He can occasionally teleport to random points in the castle.”
Remembering the statement Alice made about the “nasty discovery,” Zeke asked Victoria,
“Is this why everyone evacuated? Spirits in the cellar?”
“Exactly,” replied Victoria.
“That still doesn't explain why the castle itself has a mind of its own,” mentioned Samuel.
“A curse was placed on it,” answered Victoria. “When the people left the castle, a spirit formed the mind of it. Fortunately, the only thing it's capable of doing so far is knowing we're inside and alerting every ghost.”
Everyone reached a reinforced door that was made of metal. Alice tried to turn the handle, but the door was locked. She pulled the Unlock scroll out of her bag, touched the middle of it, made the required movements, and put her hand on the handle. Everyone heard a click, meaning that the door had been unlocked. Alice opened the door and entered the barracks. Everyone else soon followed.
As soon as the door closed, it locked itself again. The Threat Detector again made the same sound as when everyone faced the invisible person. The sword appeared from a distant corner of the room.
“Oh, not you again,” said Zeke, partly expecting the figure's appearance after the door locked itself.
Zeke held his staff like a spear, waiting for the figure to come closer. Alice shot a magical, slow-moving, blue projectile at it. The figure made a sharp hissing noise, but it sounded nothing like a snake. Samuel electrocuted the figure, causing it to fall on its back. Once again after a few seconds, it vanished, this time with a ghostly inhaling sound.
“Is it gonna keep stalking us wherever we go or what?” Zeke asked Victoria.
“Basically, yes,” replied Victoria. “Now if you'll follow me, I can show you where the button is.”
Victoria walked over to the far end of the room, which was quite a long way, and searched the wall for a button. It did not take her long to find it. She pressed it, opening a small section of the wall. Everyone else ran up to the opening and went inside. A closer look revealed that the opening was the entrance to a small room with a large hole in the wall, leading to a tunnel.
“So this is the exit?” asked Samuel.
“Not quite,” said Victoria. “Now we have to navigate these tunnels. It will take a while, but so long as everyone sticks together, there won't be a problem. Get separated, however, and we will have to look for each other, and judging by the size and complexity of these tunnels, it's not gonna be fun.”
“Alice, how long do you think that wand can be kept lit for?” asked Zeke.
“A few days, without recharging,” answered Alice.
“Great...let's get moving,” said Zeke.
Alice put her hand on the orb of her wand, making it glow. She went in first, carrying Samuel on her shoulder. Zeke went in next and finally, Victoria.
“Are we ready, everyone?” asked Alice.
Everyone agreed and went inside the tunnel.
Escape was becoming more and more likely. They were now out of the castle itself and into the tunnels leading to the outdoors. But could they find a way out of the tunnels?
nice way of ending it but what are the next test all 10 if you would.
Chapter 13: A Personal Request
This could be the chance to escape that Zeke and his friends were hoping for from near the start. However, they still needed to navigate the tunnels. The map that Alice was carrying showed no evidence that the tunnels even existed. Alice thought that they were deliberately left out.
With Alice's wand glowing and everyone eager to escape, they ventured into the tunnels. The tunnels themselves were surprisingly dry and there was little need to worry about any creepy crawlies, which Zeke always had difficulty tolerating. Fortunately, he did not think about insects at the moment, otherwise there may be a chance that he would panic.
It did not take long for everyone to reach a small room of sorts. There were three holes in the walls of the room, one near the left, another directly in front of Zeke, and one to the far right. Alice wondered what these tunnels served as back in the day when the castle was not haunted. She thought that it was probably a secret way out of the castle, in case it was under attack.
Alice pointed her finger at the tunnel in the middle of the room. Everyone went inside and continued on. Alice looked at the Navigation Ring. There was no sign of enemies, but neither was there a sign of a way out. Eventually, everyone reached another room, this time with several crates. Nobody wanted to bother searching through the crates, as they wanted the outdoors more than any item.
There were two other passageways in the room of crates, one to the left, and one to the right. Alice chose the one on the left, with everyone following her inside. After a while, they came to a room with nothing inside it. There was only one passageway, so everybody took that route. This tunnel was slightly longer than the previous ones. Halfway through it, everyone began to see a flickering light not coming from Alice's wand. Further investigation revealed that was actually a lit campfire. Two green bedrolls were laid out.
“Someone else is here,” whispered Zeke. “And it looks like they're not alone...Everyone, listen carefully. I have an idea. Right now, I think we're lost. But don't worry, here's the plan. We wait here until whoever lit this fire comes back. We will know because they will make footsteps. As soon as you hear footsteps, everyone jump up and down a couple of times. When they hear us, they will come to this spot. Then we can explain to them our situation and ask for a way out.
I'm confident that this will work. Now everyone, wait for the signal.”
They waited for a few minutes, and sure enough, they heard voices. They sounded like a father and son. They seemed to be coming closer from the tunnel that was closest to the campfire, which was in the center of the room.
“Okay...wait for it...now!” signaled Zeke.
Everyone jumped twice, causing the tone of voice between the voices to change.
“What's that sound?” asked the younger voice.
“I don't know,” said the older voice. “Stay behind me and I'll check it out. We might have company.”
Everyone realized that the voices might belong to humans, which brought relief.
“Whoever's in the tunnel shouldn't worry, we're not hostile,” Zeke spoke out loud.
“Some of us aren't human, but we're not hostile,” Samuel added.
The two figures revealed themselves, and as expected, they were human. A man who looked to be in his mid thirties and a boy who looked to be around twelve years old. They were both surprised when they saw Zeke and Samuel, but Zeke began to explain the situation.
“You two probably have never seen creatures like us before, but that's not important. Here's the problem; we're lost and can't find our way out. Some portal keeps opening up and teleporting us to random places. Inside this castle happened to be one of them. Can you show us the way out?”
“Sure thing,” said the man. He was holding a sledgehammer, which everyone understood why. Everyone followed the man through the tunnel he came from. Zeke, knowing that he was in a world where no one had ever heard of a pokemon before, tried to explain his situation.
“Have you ever seen creatures like us before?” Zeke asked the man.
“Not personally,” replied the man. “I've heard of a couple creatures that the world probably has never seen, though. Just appeared in the city a couple of days ago. One of them looks a lot like you, only younger. The other one with him had orange fur and a tail that split in two. I heard rumors that they can talk, and judging from this encounter, I'd say the rumors are true.”
“I know exactly what they look like, just from that information,” Zeke responded. “The creatures that seem to be appearing at various places, including myself are known as “Pokemon”. Zeke looked at Samuel. “This guy here is also a pokemon. Interesting thing is...I was once a human.”
The man, boy, and Victoria looked surprised. The only one who did not was Alice.
“How did you get turned into what you are?” asked the boy.
“Long story,” replied Zeke. “By the way, why did you two decide to camp inside this place?”
“We've been here before,” the man explained. “We saw that there was a room inside the castle, but that was all we could find. I'm guessing you found a secret entrance to the castle, right?”
“Yes,” answered Alice. “And you don't want to have anything to do with the castle. We were teleported to the middle of it, and we had a few close calls with the undead, not to mention the Hall of Traps.”
“Nasty, evil place,” Samuel commented. “We're lucky to still be alive. How far are we from the exit?”
“Just around the corner,” answered the man.
“Great,” said Zeke, relieved that all this was about to end.
A few seconds later, light was visible. Another few seconds later, the end of the tunnels was visible. Finally, everyone was outside, away from the sinister castle. For Zeke, Alice, Samuel, and especially Victoria, it was hard to believe. Everyone took a moment to enjoy the fresh air, then Zeke noticed a wooden pole next to the exit. A note was nailed to it, which raised curiosity as to what to do next.
Alice gently tore the note off the post and read it.
“Now that you've escaped the castle, what do you plan on doing next? You can do as you please, but if you don't know where to go, read carefully. There is a village not too far away from here. In the direction the post is facing, you will come to a sign that points directly to the village. Go straight to the village and ask for guidance on what to do next. Tell them that you escaped the castle and they will understand.
Also, on a more personal issue, the writer of this note will appreciate a favor from the reader. What I have in mind is simple. I want to tell my parents that I am half-dead, half-alive. I am a ghost, but I have the ability to become corporeal, pick up objects, and do other things. The only things I can't do are eat, feel pain, and die, unless a special ritual is performed.
All you have to do is take the note and deliver it to my parents, if they still live. They will go through a variety of emotions and may not believe that I am really the author of this note, but they remember my death and will recognize my handwriting. If I am nowhere to be found, tell my parents that I will try to return one day and continue this existence, living with my parents for many years, maybe even when my parents' time comes.
Again, this is only a favor, but I will appreciate anyone who is willing to help me and my parents. Be sure to remember the one who helped you get out of the castle. Best of luck on your travels.
Victoria, the survivor.”
Alice handed the note to Victoria, saying
“We'll do this for you. You helped us escape the castle. It's only fair that we return the favor.”
“Thank you everyone,” said Victoria, feeling happy, yet delicate inside. She clutched the note to her chest and smiled faintly.
“We're all grateful for your help,” Zeke responded. “Let's go see your parents.”
Zeke and his friends walked through the road that had badly deteriorated and was now lightly covered with vegetation, mainly grass. Everyone had escaped the castle without a scratch, with the outdoors being their temporary reward. But now was the time where Victoria was to be reunited with her parents and bring happiness to the village that they lived in.
Chapter 14: Reunion
Zeke and his friends had escaped the castle. Thanks to the notes found throughout the castle, they were able to leave it and continue with their lives. But now it was time to thank the person who helped them with the escape. It was time for Victoria to be reunited with her parents.
The man and the boy decided not to stay at the castle tunnels for the night because of the story that they heard from Zeke and Alice. Instead, they packed up their belongings and traveled with everyone else. Everyone walked down the road until they found the sign that was mentioned in the note. The sign pointed to the right and read “Gramford.”
Everyone walked down the path, which was becoming more visible as they moved further and further away from the sign. Victoria began to explain her fate.
“Five months ago, I lost my life due to a tragic accident,” she began. “Two of them were spent in the castle.”
“Really?” asked Zeke. “How did you survive in the castle for two months without losing your mind?”
“I only died recently,” replied Victoria. “I was still getting used to ghostliness. I wandered throughout the castle aimlessly for two months, then you guys came along. The nice thing is that since I'm a ghost, my body won't age, so I'll always look the way I do now. My real body is probably a different story. It may have deteriorated into a state which would make you nauseous.”
“How did you get in if all the doors were locked?” asked Samuel.
“I found the secret entrance through the back,” replied Victoria. “Exactly the same way we came out.”
“So what happened during the first three months?” asked Alice.
“It all started when I woke up from my grave,” explained Victoria. “The strange thing was that I was on top of my grave, rather than inside it, where I should have been. I don't remember what happened when my death took place, only that my body was failing. I think for some strange reason, I may have been dormant rather than truly dead. It was like being asleep. I was in my dreams and memories until I woke up one night. I can still remember everything that happened before and after my death, but not during. The only exception is dreams.
I woke up, wondering if I had really died. I looked at my grave and really became confused. I'm glad I can still breathe, walk, and talk like a living person, but at the time, things didn't make sense until I read about the effects of ghostliness. Mine was a rare case, usually the undead are raised by malevolent magic. I'm not quite sure if I was raised at all; there was no one around to raise the dead.
I went into the forest, wandering around for a bit. Getting used to being a ghost is like trying a new pair of shoes. It feels awkward at first, but then you get used to it. After a couple of days of avoiding my parents, I went into the city to observe people's behavior and reactions to seeing ghosts. Nobody knew I was a ghost until you guys showed up in the castle. Then I ventured into the castle. After two months, you came. Now we're here, walking towards Gramford. I've been looking forward to seeing my parents again someday, but I also didn't want them to mistake me for a malevolent spirit. Now that I have you with me, things should change. We'll be able to live a happy life together again.”
By the time the explanation had ended, they saw the village.
“Here it is...Gramford,” said Zeke.
“Are you sure you're ready for this?” asked Alice. “Your parents are going to get a pretty big shock when they see you.”
“I've waited five months for this day to come,” answered Victoria. “Nobody knows I'm here, except everyone who's around me. I've been eagerly waiting our reunion...I'm ready...let's do it.”
“All right,” said Zeke. “Are your parents asleep yet?”
“I don't think so,” responded Victoria. “From all the chattering that's going on at the inn, I'm guessing that there is a celebration being held there. My parents run the inn, so they'll be up for a while. Now is the perfect time to make our presence known...while everyone's at my place.”
Everyone approached the village and eventually, the tavern. Music was playing, people were talking, and it seemed to brighten the tavern's atmosphere.
“I'll do the talking,” said Victoria. “You guys stay out here until I open the door for you, when everyone can expect what they're about to see.”
The minute Victoria walked in, the instruments stopped playing, the crowds stopped talking, and everything was silent.
“John...Elliot...you there?” she asked. “This is Vicky.”
Two figures rushed out of one of the doors upstairs and went down the staircase. The male one was rather tall, had brown hair, hazel eyes and looked to be in his mid forties. The female looked just as old, had brown hair also, and brown eyes.
“Victoria...is that really you?” asked John, staring in disbelief.
“This is me, and I have something to tell you,” replied Victoria.
“But you're supposed to be dead,” Elliot commented, who was equally surprised. “How are you alive?”
“Not quite,” answered Victoria. “I'm a ghost, but I can recognize you people. I remember everything that happened in my life. Five months I spent wandering the forest, the city, and even the castle.”
“I'm glad you're still alive in a sense. You took us completely by surprise,” responded Elliot, showing a smile.
“Let me tell you something else,” said Victoria. This is probably going to sound like madness to you, but guess who freed me from the evil clutches of the castle? You remember the rumors that spread about creatures from another world appearing?”
“We have,” answered John.
“It was those creatures and a teenage girl that did it,” Victoria explained. “They were the ones who freed me from the castle, and now I can spend a happy life and afterlife in the comforts of my home with my parents again.”
Everyone began to cheer. When everyone calmed down, Victoria continued.
“I'm going to introduce you to everyone who made this possible,” said Victoria. “Don't be alarmed if some of them aren't human. They can talk, are very kind, and helped with the escape.”
She opened the door and let everyone inside. The crowd was silent, but smiling.
“She helped us escape the castle with the notes she wrote,” began Zeke. “We figured it would be nice to return the favor. However, there is one thing that baffles me. The portal that deposited us in the castle in the first place came from your world. Do you know someone who could tell us what's going on?”
“The only person who would know would be a great wizard who lives just outside the city,” answered John. “His name is Rupert, and he knows a lot more about magic than most people.”
“I'd like to ask a question too,” Samuel started. “Vicky, remember when you were in the cellar when Zeke blew the door open?”
“Yes,” replied Victoria. “Why?”
“How did you get trapped in there in the first place?” asked Samuel.
“I was locked in. The castle locked the door as I went inside, so I couldn't escape. I don't know why, seeing as I'm already a ghost.”
“We had some pretty close calls with the undead,” began Alice. “We each played a role in survival. Fortunately, no one was hurt at all, but we were frightened.”
“Well all I can say is...thanks for your help...all of you,” said John.
“A toast to Vicky, her return, and her friends,” said one man in the crowd, with everyone cheering after that statement.
After a moment, Elliot came downstairs after everyone had resumed their activities. She told Zeke and his friends that they could have dinner and a room for the night, free of charge. Everyone accepted this offer.
After a lovely dinner, Zeke felt tired and wanted to rest after the experiences in the mines and the castle. Elliot showed Zeke, Alice, and Samuel to their beds, which were very neat and tidy. The beds were warm and comfortable. Everyone slowly drifted off to sleep.
By the next morning, everyone except the regular customers had left the inn. Zeke and his friends woke up and got out of bed. They left the room and walked down the staircase. Victoria, John, and Elliot were standing in the middle of the room, awaiting their arrival.
“Before you three go, I just want to say...thanks for everything you've done for me,” said Victoria. “If it weren't for you three, none of this would have ever happened, and I would still be trapped in the castle...good luck.”
“We couldn't have done it without you,” responded Zeke. “John, Elliot, you should be proud of her.”
“We have to leave now...it was nice to see you...bye,” said Alice.
Zeke and his friends left the building and walked out into the forest, with Victoria and her parents waving goodbye. By the time they were no longer visible, Alice began a conversation.
“I'm so glad that this was a happy ending,” she said.
“I'm glad to be out of that castle,” added Samuel. “Vicky was such a nice woman,
“Maybe someday we'll meet each other again,” said Zeke. “Until then, we have the mystery of the portals to solve,”
Just as he made that statement, a large portal opened up and began to circulate.
“I don't think this is over yet,” mentioned Zeke. “We entered a portal and it took us to the castle. So where will this one take us?”
“There's only one way to find out,” replied Alice.
They entered the portal and passed the Test of Resourcefulness. But again, the portal did not take them to the world of Pokemon. Instead it took them to a place where time has to be used wisely, even though it may seem plentiful. The next challenge was the Test of Patience.
Part 3: The Test of Patience
Chapter 15: The Setup
Of the six people that left the castle, only three entered the portal. Those three were Zeke, Alice, and Samuel. The portal they entered deposited them inside a room. It looked to be a bedroom that, judging by the quality of the furniture and walls, seemed to be part of a wealthy home. The time of day seemed to be late morning or noon, so the room was brightly lit. Zeke began to worry about the possibility of intruding.
“If anyone sees us in here, we're in trouble,” he began. “I suddenly get the feeling that we're trespassing; trust the portal to take us somewhere inconvenient. Fortunately, we can just tell them what happened. Judging from the reactions from people that have seen me and Samuel, I think they'll believe us. Alice, you should know this already, but Samuel, if someone like a guard approaches us, don't attack him. We're not here to hurt people. You should only do that if you have to defend yourself.”
“So now what do we do?” asked Samuel. “What do we do if we do get caught?”
“Sometimes words can get us out of situations weapons can't,” replied Zeke. “If someone sees us, I'll start talking and ease our way into a conversation. Then if all goes as planned, word will spread about us in a positive way, so people will be less afraid of us. Sound good?”
Alice and Samuel both nodded.
“Now both of you follow me and act natural,” said Zeke. “Don't sneak around like we normally do in situations like this; it will only make people suspicious.”
Everyone walked out of the room they were in and into a hallway. The decorations and carpeted area caught Zeke's attention. They could hear distant talking and judging by the number of voices, it seemed like a gathering or a party. To the left was the end of a long corridor and to the right was a hallway with a lot of doors. Alice thought that they were bedrooms as well. Zeke walked to the left, so that is where Alice and Samuel decided to go. Then, they came to the center of another hallway. To the left was a spiral staircase leading down. Everyone went down that staircase and stopped in the middle.
Zeke halted Alice and Samuel and listened to the voices that seemed to be very close.
“Sounds like they're having a party or something,” Zeke guessed.
“We'll never be able to get past them without being spotted,” added Samuel.
“We're going to be spotted anyway,” responded Zeke. “That's the whole point.”
“What if they call the guards?” asked Alice.
“We have the truth and my words on our side,” replied Zeke. “Keep calm and let me handle it. Only talk when everything's all right. Okay, here's the plan...I go in there and you two follow me. Make it seem like we're looking for an exit. We want attention, but don't make that obvious to the point that they figure out that something's up. They will see us and be shocked. Once again, let me do the talking so everyone is less afraid of us. Samuel, when I introduce you to everyone, you'll need to talk too so they don't consider you to be dangerous. Are you two ready?”
Alice and Samuel nodded. Zeke walked into the room where the voices were coming from. The instant he did, the voices were silenced and all eyes were on Zeke. Several questions among the crowd that followed included,
“What is that thing?”
“How did it get in here?”
“Is that another of those creatures that have been appearing recently?”
Zeke answered the last question with,
“Probably...why, have you seen them?”
“Seen them? I've actually met them,” replied the man who asked the last question. “There are two of them and they can talk just like you and I. One of them tends to look after the other, as the other can be a bit silly at times. The silly one looks just like you, only he's younger.”
“I've heard about the other one as well,” added Zeke. “I want to introduce a couple others to all of you. Alice, Samuel, it's safe now, you two can come in.”
Alice and Samuel walked up to Zeke and revealed themselves to the crowd. Everyone's eyes were mainly focused on Samuel. The crowd had never seen or even heard of a Pikachu before, so they were curious about him.
“Can you talk?” asked a woman at the right of the room.
“I can,” replied Samuel. “We're looking for someone by the name of Rupert. Someone told us that he's a wizard that lives outside the city. Which way is it?”
“It's north of this building,” replied the woman at the right. You'll have to ask the guards to raise a few gates as you enter the Market District. You'd be best off under the escort of a guard, as there have been reports of suspicious activity over there.”
“Thanks a lot,” responded Alice. “We can defend ourselves if it comes to that point.”
She touched the orb of her wand with her finger and moved her hand from left to right, creating a blue glitter of magic to prove her point.
“Can you show us to the door?” asked Zeke.
Half of the people pointed to the door at the left of the room. Zeke and the others walked up to the door, opened it, and left. As everyone walked down the street, Zeke noticed that it was completely void of people. Zeke did not want to think that the “suspicious activity” had spread to their location, but everything was quiet. Alice noticed that Zeke was quickly moving his eyes.
“Is something wrong?” she asked.
“I don't like this,” replied Zeke, staring in the direction in front of them. “It's quiet...and the streets are deserted. You don't think that something's up, do you?”
“I don't think there's much to worry about,” Samuel commented. “Why would anyone pick trouble with us?”
“I think a mirror would answer that question,” responded Zeke. “We're newcomers...very strange ones at that.”
Everyone soon came to a gate that was closed with metal grating. Then the grating began to move up, suddenly. The person in charge of the gate was wearing a gray coat and was holding a smooth club in his hand. Everyone decided to go through anyway.
“He doesn't look much like an officer to me,” Zeke spoke to Alice quietly.
“You're right,” responded Alice. “These aren't like the guards I normally see. Why did he raise the gate for us without question?”
“If that guy is part of any suspicious activity, we'll know soon,” answered Zeke.
They continued walking down the street, aware of the fact that something may indeed be going on. After a while, they came to yet another gate. This one also raised when everyone approached. After everyone was through, the gate closed behind them. Two men, both holding weapons, stood there. One of them with a mace and the other with an axe.
Zeke began to realize that the whole deal with the gates was a setup.
“Hold it,” said Zeke, halting Alice. “This is probably a trap. Those two men over there are probably not alone.”
Zeke then saw another man, poorly concealed in a cluster of barrels, holding a net.
“Aha...I was right,” he added. “That guy hiding in the barrels has a net. Looks like he wants to trap us. You two stay behind me and I'll tempt that guy into throwing the net. I have my staff to catch it in mid-air. Then we can deal with them.”
Zeke then walked down the path to the massive gate that led to another part of the city.
“Now!” shouted one of the men.
The man holding the net threw it, but as it was flying through the air, Zeke swung his staff and catched it, causing the man who threw the net to open his eyes wider.
“This one's smart!” commented the man who had the net. “The boss is gonna love this one when we capture it.”
“Not a good idea,” began Zeke. “We survived a haunted castle and a haunted mine – so we will survive this fight.”
The three men charged at Zeke with their weapons. The man who had the net was now wielding a sword. Zeke kicked him and knocked him to the floor. Within seconds he raised his staff, turned it, and stopped the other two by catching both in the neck. Alice rushed to one of the men and struck him on the head with her wand. She only wanted to give him a strong enough concussion so that he would fall unconscious. Zeke did the same with his staff on another man. Samuel zapped the last conscious man, causing him to lose his senses as well.
The three men lay senseless on the ground. No one was seriously injured, much to everyone's relief.
“Time to get out of here before they wake up,” said Zeke, looking for an escape route. The gate was closed and there was no obvious way out. Then everyone heard two voices. They sounded like children's voices. Two figures saw the bodies on the ground and ran towards them to see what the situation was all about.
A Riolu and a Buizel showed themselves to everyone.
“You must be the two pokemon everyone's talking about,” began Zeke, hoping not to frighten them.
“I'm glad to see more friendly faces,” responded the Buizel. “These horrible people are everywhere.”
Zeke and his friends had just met the two pokemon who were the talk of the city. Unfortunately, their presence had attracted the wrong kind of attention as well. Who were these “horrible people?” Alice had a particularly hard time understanding why anyone would want to attack innocent pokemon. Instead of finding the wizard, Zeke and his friends would now have to solve the mystery behind the incident and find out who was behind it.