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Old March 17th, 2013 (2:50 AM).
Cutlerine Cutlerine is offline
Gone. May or may not return.
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
Age: 23
Nature: Impish
Posts: 1,030
> Follow the crazy guy, but keep your weapon ready
> Stay where you are I think I got an idea well two 1. we try to catch it than threaten to leave it in the purifying light of the shrine until it tells us or 2. We threaten to let Vesta feed to her hearts content, turn their dark sanctuary into a blazing inferno
> I would suggest that since you probably can't escape, and are probably up against unknown amounts of powerful enemies, that continuing on is likely your only option. Worst comes to worst, throw Vesta at its face.
> Do as the ghosts wish, they hold the cards here after all.
> Continue. The ghosts have the power right now. If something goes bad. Torch the place with Vesta.

(Four to one. Othodox will continue.)

You don't want to go near that thing. You really don't.

But he's right. You have no choice.

You drag your feet, but you keep walking.

Morty relaxes visibly, sagging like a puppet on slack strings.

“Good,” he says. “Good.”

As you get closer, the air gets colder. Vaguely, you remember the Pokédex entry about lurking Gengar; they can conceal themselves, you recall, but their presence leeches the heat from the air. You wonder if the cold is what has distorted Morty's skin, made it crack and blister as it has done.

You wonder if it can extinguish Vesta.

“Why do you want me to come closer?” you ask hesitantly, though you don't stop moving.

“We hunger,” breathes Morty, and for a moment his voice splits apart into a hundred others. “We must feed.”

“What do you eat?” you ask. You have no idea why. It just seems like the right thing to say.

Morty grins.

“That would be telling,” he replies, the many voices melding back into one. “Just come here, Othodox. We have so much to discuss.”

You walk on a little further. The cold is incredible now; it's as if you're walking forwards into the teeth of a windless blizzard. Vesta wails weakly and shrinks down to cinders in her jar, and you hold her close, trying to keep her from going out.

ssss, she hisses frantically. sssscold...

And now you're there: just a few feet away from the thing that once was Morty and now seems to be nothing but a façade for the seething darkness beyond. You force your eyes up from the ground and up to his face, and he smiles at you.

Brave Othodox,” he says. “So much fear to overcome...”


“Fear,” you say slowly. “You eat... fear?”

“Amongst other things,” murmurs Morty in a dark, rich voice. “Yours made a piquant starter.”

His head slumps and something black with eyes like frozen stars oozes from the back of his neck, rising into a hump over his head, trickling through his hair. A faint smell of petrol comes to your nose, and you know that this must be one of the Eldritch Ghost-types. It's smaller than you thought, but no less terrifying; of all the Pokémon you've seen, this one most truly deserves the epithet eldritch. There is a hideous eerie wrongness about it that outshines the Cyndaquil, the Pidgeot, everything; it is a blasphemy against the universe itself.

“Give it to us,” says the Ghost, no longer bothering with Morty's face. “Give us the flame.”

You look at Vesta.

“What – this?”

You tap the jar.

That,” confirms the Ghost greedily. “It burns with life – young, fiery life, the perfect dish for such a cold night as this.”

You consider. Should you give them Vesta? You're not sure. It will buy you information, that's for certain, and it may stop them eating your life, which you're pretty keen to do. On the other hand, Vesta is your only protection – and, since she started showing signs of emotion and increased intellect, you're not so sure you could live with the guilt of wilfully destroying her.

Then again, would she last anyway? If you can fix the world, Eldritch Pokémon might no longer exist. Perhaps Vesta would vanish with the rest of the taint – assuming it can be banished, that is.

And then there's something else, some faint dust-veiled alarm bell beginning to trill in the back of your head – a sense that something is not right here, beyond the ghoulish creature before you, beyond the tumultuous abyss below you and the darkness all around.

“Give it to us,” says the Ghost, more imperiously this time, and it stretches out Morty's arms towards you, fingers crooked into clutching claws. “Now.”

You look at the black lump with its dead eyes, and the body beneath it. You look at Vesta, huddled small and scared at the base of her jar.

What do you do?

For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.