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Pokémon Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Destruction

Started by 0bs1d1ankn1ght December 19th, 2015 3:44 PM
  • 14 replies


Seen August 19th, 2019
Posted August 10th, 2019
102 posts
3.9 Years
Chapter 1

Thunder boomed across a gray, pouring sky with a loud shout. The rain didn't let up its assault on the soft, muddy earth, cleaving off leaves, and even full branches alongside the wrathful wind. All the Pokémon of the bombarded forest fled for whatever shelter they could find- to their own little huts- but they still couldn't escape the harassment of the elements. But one Pokémon decided to stay: a lone Lucario.

He sat on a fallen trunk as if the storm around him wasn't happening, meditating with arms crossed while the impaling rain pelted his fur. The others poked their heads out from their huts, to watch this mad Pokémon in shock and awe. They all watched with the same question on their minds: has he gone insane? The weather didn't treat the challenger kindly, it cracked the sky with many blades of lightning in several attempts to faze the blue jackal. Lucario denied it the courtesy of even twitching his eyelids to the disaster.

The Pokémon calmly stood from his log, ignoring the continued fits of thunder and lightning happening around him. No matter how much the downpour drenched his fur like a wet towel, or the screaming wind tore it off, he payed no mind to nature's childish tantrum.

He brought both paws to the middle of his chest. Through the thick curtain of rainfall, the cowering denizens observed a faint bluish light he summoned, growing brighter while cutting through the grayness. Their eyes became fixated on the Lucario, who focused his aura into a single point, growing it larger, and larger, and larger, until it all collected into a large ball of light. Why did he want to practice his moves in a time like this, they all asked themselves, he really must have gone mad. Their scared and sheltered auras shrieked in his ears, questioning his guts without understanding the pure thrill moments like this give him. When face to face with death, he felt more alive.

Life and power flowed from every vein in his body, and into the Aura Sphere, it squealed in a soothing, high-pitched tone. He could just feel it- this was the most powerful Aura Sphere he ever made. But if he wanted to show nature's wrath its place, he needed more to his power. In the middle of trees falling right beside him, to shots of lightning threatening to strike him down, he stood firm, charging his attack. Suddenly something distracted him from reaching his attack's fullest potential: the insides of his body shook violently, like his heart was somehow causing an earthquake. A loud, shrieking voice harassed his thoughts, growing louder and louder the more he tried to ignore it-

“Wake up! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!!!”

The voice rung through Oran's ears, static screeching in his head like nails on a chalkboard. He opened his scarlet eyes wide, but gave the morning light a chance to burn his little eyeballs out. He rubbed the blindness out with his fist, but sadly the first thing he had to see in the morning was Loudred, the guild's living alarm clock, looming over his side. The first thing he saw every morning was always him. “WAKE UP, YOU'LL BE LATE FOR GUILD LESSONS! YOU'LL BOTH BE LATE,” the Big Voice Pokémon blared with his large, gaping mouth to both him and his still sleeping sister. Sometimes, Oran wondered to himself if Loudred could even hear himself talk; then his mind would answer back: he has Soundproof, of course he can't. Some Pokémon just don't know what an “off button” is.

“Rrgh.” The Riolu forced his groggy body from the pile of hay that he called a “bed”, dusting off the itchy straw from his black and blue fur. A little weak in his knees, his body felt heavy, and had a little jiggle to his stance, as if he was about to collapse any second into his hay pile for a few more Z's. “Do we have to get up so early?” He asked.

“YOU HAVE WORK TO DO TODAY. YOU BOTH DO. HOW WILL YOU WORK IF YOU BOTH ARE SLEEPING IN?!” Loudred screamed. Regardless of the time of day, it was as if Loudred had a sadistic fancy for bursting other Pokémon's ear drums.

“Agh, okay, okay,” the pup yielded, folding his ears over themselves to block out as much of that Pokémon's screeching roar as possible. “We'll be there! We'll be there!”

“BE THERE AT THE ASSEMBLY HALL, SOON. OR ELSE YOU'LL TALK TO THE GUILDMASTER AGAIN.” With nothing else left to say, and his job done, the Loudred stomped out of the room.

“Geez, how loud can that guy get?” Oran asked himself, while rubbing his aching head clear of that painful voice of his. “Just listening to him should be its own work.”

“I thought you wanted the guild life,” His sister yawned while shaking her body awake. For being the oldest sibling of the duo, she stood no taller than her brother, only a foot and four inches to his two feet four inches. Typical of a Buneary, she could rival a Teddiursa in cuteness, even after waking up. Despite being the older sibling, her baby brother towered over her by a foot. For her lack of height, she compensated with a quick tongue, sharper than any Seviper's tail. “Only a week in, and you're giving up. I knew you were just bluffing about joining.”

“I want adventure,” he replied. “I joined to be just like mom, and explore the Unido Region! I joined to learn how to use my aura powers! But I've just been getting chores ever since I came here. Speaking of which, how can you deal with him screaming every morning?”

“Soundproof,” Pecha joked.

“Whatever, let's just go, already.” With no more words he wanted to say to her, the two left the morning awkwardness of their quarters with a walk to the assembly hall; It was just an appetizer warm-up to prepare their bodies for the mountain of warm-ups that awaited them for the day.

The assembly hall was nothing but a meadow of grass inside a stone dome, lit by the many torches lining the restrictive walls of the guild. Wind could only flow through the opening at the top of the dome.

The room filled with the gathering members, still a bit sluggish from their ears being assaulted so early in the day. Among the growing mass: Normal, Grass, and Bug outnumbered all other types, including Oran, the lone Fighting-type. Big and small, strong and weak, there's no such thing as discrepancy at the Florges Guild- only teamwork and happiness.

Pecha and Oran walked into the conversing crowd, with only talks of job requests floating around to be heard. Oran could only catch white noise as he dug around in his own ears, trying to clear out Loudred's lasting echo.

“Okay, the first thing we should do is find Azumarill for our duties,” Pecha told herself while exploring the hall, with Oran tailing her.

“Sis, what are you doing?” he asked his big sis while watching her wander. “The job board is that way,” he pointed the opposite direction they were walking, though Pecha refused to pay his notion any mind. “Why don't we just skip the chores, and grab a request while they're still good?”

“Because we're not big enough for those requests,” she replied to him with a blunt tone wreathing with irritation, about what she was uncertain, “I prefer being prepared over running into things head first.”

“But Azumarill's jobs are so boring! I mean, garden maintenance? Cooking? Sentry duty? Those are boring! I want an adventure!”

“Aww, how cute,” the Buneary stopped, teasing her brother as if what he said was absolutely precious, “you're so eager to take down a Legendary! Everyone, run away from the big, bad Riolu!”

“Cut that out,” he demanded, “I can tell when you're being sarcastic! I'm being serious!”

“Hmm? Me? Sarcastic?” She hummed, her left paw coyly placed by her mouth. “You must be saying things.”

“I'm not!” His sister's words stung him under his skin like a swarm of Beedrill. He pushed her to the grassy ground with his full upper body, thinking that would stop the teasing. She hit the soft lawn with a thud, her adorable fur coat got painted with mud and grass stains!

No matter how much she scraped her paws across her pelt, the stains never came out. “My fur! Oran, you jerk!” when she got back up to her feet she gave her brother a taste of his own medicine, returning the push he gave her; a war between siblings soon erupted: while each side pulled at the others' ears and fur, neither stood an advantage without grunting an angered, painful moan. The fight quickly took to the ground, with Pecha jumping onto her brother, pinning him down under the weight of her bottom. Oran squirmed for freedom, but his sad attempt only put a wide grin across his sister's face, “Ha! What are you gonna do now, Mr. Big Bad Riolu?”

“Get off me, Pecha,” Oran barked.

“Say, 'pretty please',” she said, ignoring the painless flailing her brother's giving her. “Now say you're sorry.”

“Never!” Too determined to give up in the face of his vain sister, he flailed even harder with every free limb he could control; to his disdain, even then, progress remained constant- he withered himself, while the punished only felt slight tickles to her skin.

“You always wanna do things the hard way,” She teased him some more.

“Of course,” he huffed under the little breath Pecha's weight squeezed out from his lungs, “H-how else'll I become strong? At least I'm not taking the backseat, like you!”

“That's not what I'm doing-!”

their vocal war soon broke to the cry of a peacekeeper, “Ch-children, please, stop fighting!” The gentle calling somehow was powerful enough to reach the two through the collective chattering of their surrounding, yet soothing enough to quell the children from fighting anymore. Pecha and Oran looked up with puzzled eyes to find Azumarill, the Guildmistress' assistant, on the verge of tears. “Wh-why are you two fighting? Don't you love each other?” She asked them in a faint voice, almost ready to break into a waterfall.

“Azumarill, tell Pecha that we're ready for a job request,” Oran told her at the top of his lungs, still struggling to catch breath from Pecha being on top of them.

“Be quiet, Oran, you're going to get us in trouble,” the Buneary hissed in his ears.

“I was told to bring you two to the Guildmistress' chambers this morning,” She told them.

Oran couldn't ignore the large pit that just dropped in his stomach; Loudred couldn't have reported him to her already! As his sister released him from the ground, he caught several quick gasps of air, then spoke, “w-w-w-wait, Azumarill, I-I can explain: I was going to wake up on time, this morning, I swear!”

“Huh? What are you talking about? Miss Florges said she had something special for you two.”

A moment of confusion befell the pair, which quickly sparked into a flame of curiosity that sparkled in their eyes. “Really? What is it?” The children asked her in high hopes.

“She wanted it to be a surprise,” Azumarill told them. Seeing the children not attempting to kill each other any more, her smile broke from the confiding gates of her own blues. “Are you interested in finding out?”

The children needed no words- their expressions of joy were enough to speak to the Aqua Rabbit Pokémon. They followed the assistant through the morning crowd, in hopes of finding out the secret.


Seen August 19th, 2019
Posted August 10th, 2019
102 posts
3.9 Years
Chapter 2

A wonderful fragrance sneaked up the kids' noses as they entered an indoor garden with Azumarill. Just one step in, and their morning grumpiness melted away like snow during the springtime. Rows upon rows of fresh earth supported different beds of flowers: from beds of blood red roses in front of bushes of deep sea blue hydrangeas, to budding lilies as pure white as snow sitting next to a field of vibrant purple lavender, their gardener had a taste for variety.

The queen flower slowly rose from the field of color. Her collar sported vibrant blue flowers all around her neck, with just a few orange one sprouting here and there. It was Florges, the Guildmistress. “Ah, good morning, children,” She spoke in a motherly tone, sweet and soft to every ear.

“Miss Florges, what's our sur-?”

“What's our surprise?” Oran eagerly cut his sister off. She grunted a frustrated sigh, with arms crossed.

Seeing children act like children brought a slight chuckle to the Guildmistress, “well, aren't you two so eager, today. Come here, children, I have something to show you.” They ran over to Florges, as she pulled out a neatly folded piece of paper. Oran's eyes lit up brighter than any star in the sky at its sight.

“Is that-?”

“You both have been working hard this past week,” Florges said, “And I thought it might be time for your first job request.” She opened the folds of the paper with care, and showed the duo its inscriptions. “Here, children- read this-”

Maranga Berries Needed

It is that time of year, again, Florges Guild: the time when the Maranga berries are in their prime for the picking. I would like a handful of Maranga picked from the Verde Forest, about five should do it. Hmm, yes, five would do just nicely. A very generous payment of 5,000 Poké will be rewarded.

-Guildmaster Slowking

“What? Berry picking?” Oran complained; just as his hopes were raised up high, they crashed back down to earth like a meteor.

“Hmm? I thought you wanted a job,” Florges said, a bit puzzled about the little one's reaction.

“Don't mind Oran, Miss Florges, he's too picky for his own good. I appreciate your gift, though,” Pecha told the guild leader with an impressive set of manners for a kid her age; though, if you asked Oran, she only said it to prove how much more perfect she was than him.

“Am not!”

“Tell me, Oran, what do you find so unsatisfactory about this request?” Florges asked with open ears ready.

“It just doesn't sound fun to me,” Oran told her bluntly.

The Guildmistress didn't take the pup's bluntness in offense, but rather with a warming smile. “I understand,” Florges said, “you're an adventurous type. But you want the big journey all too soon. It's better to first take small steps to achieve your dream, rather than giant leaps. In fact, some of the greatest explorers started off with requests like these.”

He gave it a small thought: if some of the greats had to go through this, he might as well, too. “Okay, I'll do it,” he told her.

“What are so special about these berries, that the guy asked us to pick them for him?” Pecha asked. “Can't he just pick them himself?”

“Maranga berries don't grow just anywhere,” the Guildmistress explained, “Only a certain area of the Verde Forest can sustain their growth; we're located near that area. Every year, around this time, Slowking would request this, all the way from Azul Shores! I like to save these requests for newcomers to the guild, I just thought it so befitting. The Maranga bush is located not too far from here: just follow the trail, and you'll find it.”

“But what if we get attacked by a wild Pokémon?” Pecha asked.

“The guild is in good terms with the Pokémon of the Verde Forest. There shouldn't be any trouble. But just in case,” Florges handed them a small leather bag, shaded in a deep brown all across its surface. Its contents interested the duo the most: inside its dark green walls were a pair of bandannas, one green, and one red. Pinned to them were two glimmering copper badges. Oran held the winged pokéball up close, and saw the start of his dreams reflect off its metallic surface. As he tied his red bandanna around his furry neck, his heart beat with a feeling of connection, like he felt he became a piece to something great, just by putting that scarf on. “wear these- as long as they see those badges, they'll know who you are.”

“You chose the red one, Oran? I wanted the red one,” Pecha complained.

“You can have the green one,” he replied. His sister's paw lunged towards his neck, aiming to take from him what she thought belonged to her.

“Children, no-!” no matter how many times Florges cried out in shock, she couldn't reach their ears. As Pecha kept violently pulling on his scarf, he could only pull back from her in pure desperation to catch a breath.

“Come on, Oran, give it to me!”

“N-no, I chose it first!”

“I'm older than you! I'm supposed to get first choice!”

“That is enough!” Florges lifted the bratty bunch off the ground by their scruffs, quelling their inevitable bloodbath. She looked at the Buneary, with not a single sign of approval in her eyes, “I am very disappointed in you, young lady! That is not the kind of behavior I expect from you!”

“But he took the one I wanted!” she complained.

“That does not mean you can attack him over it!” After a quick breath, the Guildmistress continued with tested composure, “Pecha, dear, it shouldn't matter which one you choose.”

“But I don't like green,” she told the Guildmistress. “It clashes badly with my fur!”

“That should be the last thing to worry about when you go out there,” Florges yelled. “Not liking it I understand, but I won't put up with that kind of spoiled behavior! Apologize to Oran.”

The Buneary crossed her arms, and puffed her face. She hoped her agitated expression would get across to the Florges, but looking into the angered glare of the Guildmistress changed her reluctant stand. “I'm sorry, Oran,” she said hesitantly, without batting an eye to him. The Guildmistress offered the Buneary the scarf, though Pecha hesitated to take it. She already foresaw the humiliation awaiting her if she put that gaudy thing around her neck; but she also foresaw worse if she kept the Guildmistress waiting. Swallowing her pride, she snatched the scarf from Florges' hands, and tied it loosely around her neck.

“Well, aren't you two just the cutest, little explorers this region has ever seen~!” Florges praised them both, almost like she forgot about her rage a moment ago. “It's like those badges were practically made for you. Now, remember: there's no rush, just do your best.”

Oran threw the strap of the bag over his shoulder, and bolted for the door, “Don't worry, Miss Florges: we'll get those berries faster than you can say 'Quick Attack'! Let's go, Pecha!”

“I'm coming,” She shouted, trying to catch up to the speedy half-pint. All was quiet in Florges' chambers, once again.

Florges returned to planting a rose bud in a fresh spot of dirt, without noticing her assistant standing behind her. “They're a rowdy bunch, aren't they? I can barely keep up with them,” Azumarill said.

“Oh, they're just children,” Florges replied, while patting down the dirt around her bud, “though I wish they wouldn't fight over the littlest of things. I know they'll grow up into wonderful Pokémon, one day. They're just young seedlings waiting for their time to bloom. I know they'll make the guild proud. Quick Attack.”

Despite the morning heat hiding behind the thick foliage of the Verde Forest, the boiling hot air tried to get to the minds of the two explorers; Oran ignored it all with a smile, knowing this was just a part of the experience, yet Pecha knew none of these conditions would do her fur any justice. They traveled the fresh, muddied path for what felt to them like hours, when it's only been an uncomfortable ten minutes.

No matter how much Pecha pushed herself, she couldn't match her brother's eager speed. Each time she took a step, the soft ground latched onto her paws, and refused to let go. “Burgh, Oran, can you slow down a minute?” Her constant struggle over her feet with the earth stretched the distance between her and her brother. Watching Oran practically breeze over the clingy road only agitated her more.

“How about you hurry it up a little, Slowpoke?” He replied.

“Easy for you to say- you don't have short, stubby legs! I can barely walk in this mud!”

“Isn't this what you signed up for? Why are you so afraid of getting a little mud all over you?” He asked while keeping his eyes on the winding path.

“It's because I'm not made for these conditions,” she replied with an exhausted huff.

“That's funny, I thought you appreciated Miss Florges' gift,” he chuckled. “Who's the picky one, now?”

The most bitter of tastes tingled her tongue; she kept her silence about her while being fed her own medicine by the hands of her own sibling, the bitter taste soon turned sour. “Let's just find the berries, already.”

“Look!” Their strenuous journey paid off. The path lead them to a dead end, with their target in sight: water-locked by a small pond, the trail led straight to a small bush; a beam of sun broke from the tree lines, warming the vibrant green leaves of the plant. “That must be the Maranga berry bush!”

“Are you sure about that?” Pecha asked, unable to soak in the same belief as her brother.

“It must be; Miss Florges did say the path will take us to the bush, didn't she?” He said, rushing off to collect the fruits.

The Buneary observed the softly rustling waves of the pond; within the light brown muddy waters, she noticed a large, shadowy blot escape her sight, like something was swimming in the murky pool, jetting towards Oran. Her normally rolled up ears perked up straight in the air, and each strand of her fur stood on end as a slight chill tingled up her spine. It was her own personal warning to herself- soon, they might have company. “U-uhm, Oran, I think those berries might be taken, already,” she warned him, but with no response from him. “Oran!”

She kept calling to him for his attention, but he never acknowledged her cries. For all he knew, she just wanted to boss him around. The Maranga bush amazed the Riolu with how wide it was- he could even hide inside of it if he wanted to! Sickly yellow fruits dotted the inside of the lush green plant, their prickled bodies preventing any harm from a mishandling grasp. Oran reached to grab the closest, most juiciest berry he could find to put it in his sac. “Good,” he told himself, “That's one down; just four-”

“Oran, look out!”

“Hmm?” A loud splash broke from the pond as something shot out of its murky depths, and shook the ground around the little Riolu with a menacing thump. The Quagsire loomed over the Riolu with disturbing closeness, and an empty grin. To him, there was no such thing as the concept of personal space. “Do you mind, pal?” Oran asked him. “you'll have your turn when I'm fin-”

From nowhere Oran met the brute force of the creature's tail, throwing him into the waters like he was just a rock. He flailed about like a Magikarp on land, struggling to keep his head above the water for air. “H-help!” he screamed repeatedly.

“Oran!” Pecha ran to his side, lending her paw to her gasping brother.

With all her strength she fished the heavy pup onto dry land. Coughing and hacking great deals of liquid, Oran wagged most of the moisture out of his short fur, glad he could fill his lungs with air, instead of murky pond water. “Y'know...a 'Please, get out of my way'...would have been nicer!” he yelled at the Quagsire.

“You should have listened to me, Oran! I tried telling you a about that guy,” Pecha said.

“Hey, you: we're from the Florges Guild, and you're interfering with our business!” Oran flashed his badge at the Pokémon, but failed to even catch a side glimpse from him. “Can't you see this?!”

But the Quagsire ignored the duo like they weren't even there, slowly picking a berry at a time off the bush, and then downing it whole. From the look of things: he perfected the art of swallowing his food in one bite to a disgusting fault. “H-hey! You're eating them all!” Oran charged at the Water Fish Pokémon, delivering a barrage of feeble flails to its backside without even fazing it. “Stop! Eating! Them! All! Give me a hand, Pecha!”

She unrolled her long bunny ears, and used them to deliver devastating punches to the Quagsire's back. Even with the added efforts of his sister, they were mild thumps to the creature, barely doing anything besides getting their bodies covered in his slime. Berry by berry, the Quagsire dried the bush out without even acknowledging their failed attempts for his attention.

“What other moves do you know besides Pound?” Oran asked.

“Nothing that will help us at the moment,” Pecha replied.

“Yeah, same here; I'm gonna try something else!” He seized his pitiful flailing and took several steps back. With all the running power he could gain, he leaped off the ground and threw his feet out in front of him before impacting with the Pokémon's back. Quagsire's squishy body absorbed his dropkick with ease, and threw him back on the muddy trail. “Ye-yeah, so that didn't work,” he whimpered as he picked his aching body back up.

“Have any more bright ideas for wasting our time?” His sister asked, continuing her Pound attack on the Quagsire. The berries disappeared by the second, and nothing they did could slow the monster down. With each sound of its gulp, their success grew slimmer and slimmer.

At the latest of times, a simple idea came to the Riolu's head. He got up to his wobbly feet, and harvested the berries on the other side of the bush while Quagsire was busy on the other. “There, that's two. Three.” The spiny shells of the fruit pricked his hasty paws as he grabbed them, but he ignored the slight pain. “And here's fo-”

A stream of water blasted through the bush, launching the Riolu back into the moat with enough pressure to break through rock. “Oran!” His sister shouted.

“N-now's not the time for me to practice my swimming!” He flailed around in the water, hoping he would eventually reach the shore. His arms and legs failed to do anything but ache, giving the water a wonderful opportunity to swallow him whole.

“Ya know, for a happy Pokémon, you're awfully violent!” The Quagsire slammed her away from him with his massive tail. “Oomph!” she rolled across the wide path, stopping at the very edge where land stopped and the water began. Before she got back up, the Quagsire dropped into the pond with a lazy body slam that showcased its full grace.

Oran could barely see anything in the cloudy belly of the pond as he slowly sank to the bottom. He patted the bag with a soft touch, feeling its contents were still safe and secured inside. “Well, this is just great,” he thought to himself while keeping his mouth shut tight, “how am I supposed to get myself out of this, now? I don't think more kicking would help me now. If only the guild taught me how to swim, I wouldn't be having this problem- but nope- gardening is a waaay more useful ability to have!” A subtle cramp in his lungs grew more noticeable, demanding he should take a breath in the coming time. Whenever he made an all-or-nothing attempt to surface, he only caused the cramp to worsen. “I'm really in trouble, aren't I? This is not what I had in mind for a swimming lesson! Must get out of here, and fast!”

From a distance he spotted a shadow moving towards him. As much as he wanted to believe it, from the back of his mind, he knew it wasn't Pecha- she couldn't swim that fast underwater, let alone this deep. The speedy figure made itself out quickly: Quagsire. His mouth agape, he aimed to swallow Oran's bag, along with the pup as an optional bonus. “No, no, no, no! Stay back!” While delivering multiple kicks to the Quagsire's malleable face, Oran kept his sac away from him within arm's length. The Water Fish circled around his target, trying to find a way to work around the jackal pup's sad game of underwater Keep Away, but the only thing he found was Oran's foot constantly bombarding his forehead.

Quagsire took in a hefty breath, and pushed his opponent out of the belly of the pond with a merciless Water Gun. “Aaaaaaaagh!” The powerful stream broke Oran through the surface of the water, and launched him high into the air, before he dropped back onto dry land with an unkind face plant.

“Oran!” Pecha ran over to help pick himself up. “Are you okay? We're too weak to fight him- we need to head back to the guild!”

After spitting out a mouthful of dirt, Oran responded, “Are you asking me to run away, while it just started to get fun?” He stood to his wobbly feet as his senses returned to normal. His sister shielded herself from the nasty rain produced by her brother wagging his wet fur.

“Everything we throw at him just bounces right off of him, Oran. I'm not asking us to run away- I'm asking us to take a tactical retreat.”

“You can run away all you want,” he replied with a confident growl, “I'm staying to complete our mission; and I won't let even a hundred Quagsire get in my way!”

The Quagsire jumped out of the moat and onto the trail, waddling towards the bratty duo; Pecha felt it from a distance: his permanent, carefree smile seethed with unimaginable rage aimed at them for interrupting his meal; to him, a thorough punishing was in order. Her mind debated on two opposite actions: take her brother back to the guild by force; or help her brother stand against this Pokémon. The more she thought about it on the spot, the more Oran's point gained her favor: they were on a mission, and they should see to its completion, whether she liked it or not. She caved in to her decision, “All right, fine. You wanna stay, Oran? I'll stay, too; as the eldest, it's only right that I lend a paw.”

Oran couldn't believe it: for once, his ears caught the magical sound of his sister caring for him, even if it was just for this moment. He and his sister, finally working as a team, the very thought failed to keep his emotions locked tight behind his eyes. “Th-thanks, sis,” he sniveled while rubbing his face clean of tears, though he kept a certain level of toughness about himself.

“But we can't fight this guy directly, he'll just shrug us off completely.” As the Quagsire drew nearer with each sluggish step, she had to devise a plan on the spot. “we need a plan.”

“What is it?”

Her throat dried up like a desert and closed on itself, as if it didn't want to speak of her embarrassing idea. But she gave her best wording it out, “I'm going to Attract him. While I have him distracted, you can pick however many berries you need left. Then, you will Quick Attack the both of us out of here. Can you remember all that?”

“Sounds easy enough.”

The Quagsire closed in on the duo with each slow step. Pecha gulped away whatever quick changes of heart she had about her plan; for it to work, she had to walk out of her comfort zone. “O-okay, you can do this, Pecha,” she told herself for a quick hype up. “J-just like what mom taught you. Just ignore that bad taste in your mouth, and do it.”

She tapped into her inner well of cuteness. The approaching Quagsire stopped to watch the little Buneary sway her body back and forth, and found himself thrown into a fantasy occupied by only the two of them. She blew him a kiss carried by the wind, and stole his heart through all his fat and blubber. When she looked into his eyes, she noticed his face turning a faded lavender hue, and all rage that once filled his smile turned to courtship. Everywhere the Buneary jumped, the Quagsire followed after her like a love-struck puppy; she played her own version of Keep Away with the Water Fish Pokémon, trying to keep herself out of his grasp. “Okay, Oran, go,” She called out, “you have no idea how uncomfortable this feels!”

While his sister distracted the beast, he rushed over to the Maranga bush, to carry out his side of the plan. Quagsire's Water Gun did a number on the inner branches of the plant, a gaping hole, clear of all leaves and produce, showed only its spine. The prickly fruits were scattered across the dirt, some even floated around in the moat. He placed the berries into his overly soaked bag, carefully avoiding their spiky shells as he placed his hand around them. In a matter of seconds, all five were accounted for. “Pecha, I got 'em!”

“Gimme a sec.” Pecha stood still over the edge of the moat, with the infatuated Quagsire closing in on her. He reached down to grab her with his stubby flippers, but to his surprise- she took a step to the left. The Pokémon splashed into the pond without a care in the world. “Okay, I had enough fun for today.” She latched onto her brother's soaking wet back with a vice grip.

Before the Quagsire even poked his head out of the water, the children disappeared like ghosts, with only a trail of dust to prove of their existence. He dunk his head back into the pond.

Florges found herself dumbfounded at the sight of Oran when he returned to her chambers: she stared at him mouth agape, amazed at how much dirt and scent of pond muck his fur collected after such an easy mission. “O-oh, my, what on Earth happened to you two?” She asked. “How did you get so dirty? And where is your sister?”

“We fought a Quagsire,” Oran yelled with a shout brimming with glee. “Pecha went back to our room to groom herself.”

“You fought a Quagsire?” Of all the Pokémon she knew living in the Verde Forest, she had no recollection of a Quagsire.

“Yeah, but it got real mean whenever I got close to the Maranga berries.”

“B-but at least you didn't attack it first, correct? You only attacked it in self defense?”

“Mm-hmm, but none of our attacks could harm him; so Pecha came up with a plan to distract him while I cleared the mission,” he said passing his bag of contents to Florges. The leather sac felt heavier in her hands, not from what it held, but from what it absorbed from the pond. She flipped over its cover, and counted all five Maranga berries within its belly.

A slight smile and a sigh of relief broke across her worried expression; knowing the children found a way to get out of trouble safely, she learned to rest a little easier. “I'm glad the two of you returned safely. I'm sure you enjoyed your first taste of adventure, didn't you?”

“Definitely,” he told the Guildmistress with sparkling eyes. “In fact, I wanna go on another one, right now!”

“Now, now,” she giggled, rubbing her gentle hand on top of his head, “let's not get too excited. You just came home, darling. You did wonderful today. Why don't you rest up for a while, get cleaned up? Thank you for retrieving these, I'll give Slowking a call.” She picked herself up, and walked to her desk.

“But I haven't even been gone for that long,” he tried arguing back. “I wanna go on another one! Please?”

“And in that time, you've done so much for the guild,” she replied. “Go on, enjoy the rest of your day. You deserve it.”

The day slowly burned away into night, and the guild was left silent after dinner. Pecha slept as heavy as a Snorlax, but Oran's eyes couldn't seem to close, even if he made them. As he laid in bed, restless, he held his bronze badge high above him, letting its sleek metalwork be the only illumination in the dark room. He clearly saw his own reflection, and thought of what the future held as he held the badge.

“Psst, hey, Pecha. Pecha,” he whispered to his sleepy sister, but in return, got nothing from her that counted as a “response”. “Pecha, are you awake?” He poked at her, and never stopped until he got her attention.

“Nhn, what?” She mumbled in a low growl. “Can't you see I'm trying' to sleep, Oran?”

“I was just wondering, what did you think about today?” He asked her.

“My body is sore, Florges made me skip dinner, and I'm trying to forget that I Attracted an older Pokémon. Can I go back to sleep? It's kinda hard to do that with you invading my space just to poke at me.”

“I thought today was fun,” he told her. “I'm so excited for tomorrow, I can't sleep; I can't wait to go on another mission!”

Pecha yawned, “I'm sure you are.”

“You're not excited?” He asked her in curiosity.

“I'm trying to sleep,” She told him. “I can't multitask sleeping and talking to you at the same time.”

“I'm not that bad to talk to, am I?”

She ignored his attempt to strike up a conversation in the middle of the night, and was out like a rock. He rolled back into his bedding, but the thoughts of future adventures refused to leave his head. He was one step closer to becoming a great explorer, just like his mom who inspired him now. His veins tickled with a fuzzy warmth from just imagining what's in store for him. As much as he wanted to make them a reality, he had to get his rest one way or another. He closed his eyes, and tried keeping them closed until his waiting impatience turned into sleep.

The duo's morning started off like any other: with an eardrum-busting song from the guild's alarm clock, Loudred. Waiting in the assembly hall, a strange visitor broke their usual routine of waking up, and starting their day with tedious work. He was the funniest Pokémon Oran had ever seen! A large Shellder sat on top of his head like a crown, constantly gnawing at his thick skull. Though, telling by his ditsy smile and dim-witted glare, he ignored it completely. In his left hand, he held a sac filled with Poké. “Good morning, Slowking,” Florges greeted him with a bright spirit no average 'mon had the time to muster for the morning. “I hope your travel wasn't too strenuous.”

“Hmm, yes, good morning, Guildmistress Florges,” he replied in a deep, slow voice. “Visiting your guild is always my greatest pleasure. I'm sure you have my berries, yes?” Florges passed him a bowl, holding his five Maranga berries. “Ah, yes, and what a wonderful harvest you did,” he replied in slow glee.

He handed Florges the sac, and its sheer weight caught her off guard for a moment. “O-oh, thank you, Slowking. You're too kind,” she complimented him.

He set his eyes on Pecha and Oran, “Are these the tenderfoots who harvested these berries for me?” He asked.

“Yes,” Florges replied.

Slowking looked the children in their eyes with his ditsy smile, “I must thank you two for retrieving these for me. Maranga only grow once a year, and they happen to be my favorite.”

“Why are they your favorite?” Pecha asked.

Slowking gave her question a slow thought with a long “Hmmm,” and remained silent for a moment. “I can't put my finger on it, everything about it is good,” he replied. “Their insides are just so gooey and smooth, sometimes I like to mix it with my coconut milk. I don't mind sharing if you're still curious,” He took one of the Maranga, and busted it open, sharing one of the halves with the duo. Just as he said, the berry was just a thick shell protecting a yellowish pudding.

Oran dipped his finger in the batter, and licked it. From just a tiny sample, an overwhelming bitterness washed across every taste bud in his mouth. A harsh tingle ran up his spine, and he had the sudden urge to pass it to his sister without a word. She dipped her fingers in the goop and tasted it, “I like it.” Tilting the shell to her mouth, steadily she took small slurps of the thick cream.

Slowking downed his half like water. “Ahh, how refreshing,” he said happily. “If you don't mind, I'll be leaving now, Florges. Take care, I'll be in touch,” he turned his back on the three, and went on his long way back to Azul Shores.

“You two did wonderful,” Florges praised the children with a silky song. “Absolutely it will make a fine dinner tale for the guild to hear.”

“Really?” For a moment Pecha felt her tummy upset itself, and stopped eating her treat; what if she already knew about what she did to Quagsire, she worried. Just the thought of bringing that embarrassing moment up to the entire guild made her stomachache worse.

“Yes,” Florges nodded happily. “Oh, dear, what's wrong, Pecha?” She noticed the Buneary acting a little strange: she had her paws wrapped around her belly, and she shivered as if she caught a bad chill. “Has something caught you ill?”

“N-nothing,” Pecha replied, “j-just, I probably just ate the Maranga berry a little too fast. I-I'll be fine, Miss Florges, honest.”

“Hehehe,” Florges chuckled faintly, wiping her brow. “Oh, forgive me, I keep forgetting how quickly you children want to eat your food. Just be more careful, and take smaller bites next time.”

“Y-yes, Ma'am.”

“Oh, and children, before I forget,” the Guildmistress reached into the sac of coin, and handed Pecha and Oran a small handful of the reward: five hundred Poké for the both of them, glimmering the their palms. “Something for your troubles. I would love to give you two more, but I can only give each of you ten percent of all monetary rewards. Guild policy, I'm afraid.”

“I don't mind, Miss Florges,” the Riolu said to the Guildmistress with a wagging tail. “As long as I had fun, I don't care what I get for a reward.”

“You should at least care a little bit,” said his sister under an annoyed breath.

“If you don't mind, children, I have my duties to attend to,” Florges excused herself from Pecha and Oran. “I'll have Azumarill arrange some tasks for the both of you shortly.”

“Agh, what, we still have to do chores?” Oran's tail seized its wagging. All the hype he put himself through to get ready for today, the Guildmistress went and smothered it all.

“Oh? Is there a problem, little one?” Asked Florges. “I just don't want you both to be lagging in your guild duties; they're just some things that need to be done. I haven't the time to argue, I hope to join you during dinner, tonight.” Florges waddled away to her chambers, to assess the newly acquired reward.

“Man, what a bummer,” Oran fussed to himself. Not once while living in the guild did he ever enjoy the Assistant-Guildmistress' chores: they gave him time to think to himself, time to fight the voice in hi head that wanted to drag him elsewhere. The voice always won.

But when he hoped for a response from his sister, nothing came, at least in the form of an answer. Pecha got over the symptoms of her belly ache, at the cost of throwing herself into a different problem, chanting a repetitive mantra to herself, “No, no, no, no, no.” Pecha this worried was a new sight to the little Riolu. “What am I going to do now? Now, they'll all figure it out!”

“What's gotten into you, Pecha?” Oran asked.

“Oran, this is terrible,” she whined.

“Yeah, I know; I'm stuck here all day,” he replied.

“That's not what I'm talking about,” Pecha shouted, unable to calm herself from her nervous fuss. “Everyone's going to find out: I Attracted a Quagsire!”

“Really? Is that all?” He teased.

“No, you don't understand how embarrassing that was for me- I spent all last night literally repressing that horrible experience to the deepest depths of my mind to forget it, and now I have to tell everyone about it!”

“Maybe they'll find it funny,” Oran attempted to reason with his big sis.

“You're right, they'll find it funny,” Pecha looked her brother in the eye with calmed tone, only to work herself up, again, “they'll find it too funny! Too funny to take me seriously, again! Which is why: we'll tell them a little fib.”

Oran asked, “What's a fib?”

“It means I'll tell them the truth, but not exactly the truth. I'll keep it just vague enough to sound like it happened.”

When two and two came together, Oran couldn't believe what he was hearing, “Are you saying you're going to lie to the entire guild? You can't do that, Pecha, lying is bad!”

“Hush up! Hush up! Don't you have any volume control?” Pecha hastily silenced her brother's mouth with her paws, worried of any pedestrian member walking by, catching an earful of their conversation. “It's not all gonna be a lie- I'll just fabricate the ending a little. What actually happened in the forest, stays there; just between the two of us, okay?” She whispered.

Oran squirmed his mouth out of her clutches, “Okay, but no more secrets after this! It makes me feel weird inside, and I don't like that feeling.”

“Fine with me.” She sprung away from him in a hurry.

“W-wait, Pecha, where are-?” He asked too late, he lost all sight of his sister before his question ever finished. “Shoot,” he groaned softly to himself. Alone in the assembly hall, he wondered for a bit, about where Pecha headed off to in such a rush, but entertained that thought no more than three seconds.

When the chimes of the dinner bell finally rang through the stone halls, everyone stampeded for the cafeteria at the same mad pace- if it was a race to see who'd get food in their growling bellies first, everyone would come to a tie. The cafeteria cramped with anxious eaters in under five minutes, and not a single spot was left open; not even the smaller Bug-types had room to stretch. Despite the lack of shoulder room, the servers, watched by a stern Granbull, navigated through the crowded space with the flexibility of serpents.

But Oran sat with his head lying behind his paws, ignoring the chatter around him with an occasional soft groan. His bones ached deeply, not from the labor he endured throughout the day, but from sheer boredom, from waiting for the slow-crawling hours of the day to carry him all the way to his dinner seat.

“What's wrong with you, now?” Pecha asked him.

Oran raised his head above his arm wall, “I'm so bored! I'm dying of boredom! I thought it would all wash away by dinner time, but it's still sticking to me!”

“Have you actually tried bathing?” She suggested in a neutral tone. “It might work.”

“I'm an explorer! Explorers don't bathe,” he replied loudly. “We don't got time for that stuff! Not when there's an entire world of possibilities staring us in the face!”

“And it's probably clenching its nostrils shut,” Pecha said while sinking her fluffy chin into her paws.

Just in time to pick the children' spirits up with food, an Ambipom handed them each a bowl of berry salad consisting of sliced Oran, Aspear, and Sitrus berries by the large palms at the ends of his twin tails. “Here ya go, oh-ho oh-ho,” he said with a beaming white smile, before walking off. Peering into the bowl of blue and yellow slices of goodness at least lifted Oran's spirits up a little, and his tummy impatiently growled at him to begin stuffing his mouth with them. He won't deny his own stomach food, for any reason.

The chimes of tapped glass screeched and hollered across the noisy scene, silencing everyone within earshot. They all took their attention off their food to figure out where it came from, even Oran. Florges, the Guildmistress, stood with a slow rise from her seat, eager to share some news with her fellow members.

“Thank you all for giving me your undivided attention, I won't take long,” Florges said to her members. “This morning Pecha and Oran have fully completed their first guild mission,” She said as if singing it to the light applause of the cafeteria. “Yesterday they went to on a mission requested by Slowking; they have faced, and solved, an unexpected problem, all on their own! Truly they deserve their spots in our ranks: Guild Florges, please welcome our newest exploration team!”

Oran's ears perked up to the rounds of applause given to him by the guild. The spotlight they gave them, he doubted he'll forget its warmth anytime soon. One part of him wanted to cry a liter; the other part told him to keep it together. While his sister played off her interest subtly while slouching into her paws, his excitement found a way to take control while his two halves argued with each other, “Really? You mean that?” He asked the Guildmistress as the rounds died down, a bit misty-eyed.

“I mean every word of it,” Florges clearly told him from the other side of the room, smiling. “Starting tomorrow morning, you and Pecha will begin your training.”

“Isn't this great, Pecha?” Oran asked her, with more stars in his eyes than in the night sky. “We're finally going to be explorers!”

“Yeah, great,” Pecha replied, focusing her enthusiasm rather on the coming moments than the one now. She knew what's coming, she prepared for what's coming.

“But in the meantime, why don't you two enjoy yourselves, tonight?” Florges asked. “In fact, I hear you two have a riveting tale about your first mission. Oran, care to tell?”

“U-hm, really? M-me?” He was put on the spot. He wanted to tell the real story, maybe the guild might get a good kick out of it, he thought. But the promise he made to his sister formed a barrier in his mind, preventing him to find the words to speak it. All he could say without stuttering on his own nerves, “Uhm...lessee did it go, again?”

“Oh, no, Oran, did you forget, already?” Pecha jumped in, to seize the moment she was waiting for. “Don't tell me you already forgot what happened while we were in the Verde Forest!”

“I-I did?”

“I'm sorry, Miss Florges: I think Oran was so excited to tell you what happened, he suddenly found himself drawing blanks,” Pecha proclaimed to the Guildmistress.

“I am?” At first Pecha's angle confused the Riolu, he thought she was talking gibberish. But then it struck him, and his confusion cleared. “I-I mean, yes! Yes, I got too excited to remember stuff!”

“Don't worry, Miss Florges, I remember the entire story,” the sister said to the Guildmistress proudly.

“Well, just as long as the story is told, I'm sure we'll all enjoy a little bit of dinner entertainment,” Florges replied.

The guild ended their tiresome workday with a feast of berries, just as they always did. While the empty bowls piled into towers on each table, Pecha not at all minded telling everyone the story about she and her brother took down the difficult Quagsire. Some members paid no mind to her while eating away. Others stayed respectful to her as she told about how she distracted the Pokémon by throwing a rock at it,while Oran sneaked behind him to grab as many of the juicy fruits as possible.


Seen August 19th, 2019
Posted August 10th, 2019
102 posts
3.9 Years
Chapter 3

The luscious green leaves of the Verde Forest filtered the morning sun from burning the early-birds while they sat in an even flat of swaying grass. While the gentle wind blowing through their fur felt nice in the numb heat,it felt like they were waiting their lives away for their instructor to arrive. Oran's wagging tail beat against the tall blades of grass as his head scurried from angle to angle, hoping to find someone. No one came.

He yawned while leaning back on his arms, “Hey, Pecha, do ya think we might be in the wrong spot?” He asked. He turned his eyes to his sister, to find Pecha blacked out in her own lap. Her snores were monstrous for a girl her size, loud enough to even cause unrest in the surrounding forest. “That's fine, you just sleep,” he told her. Catching a few Z's himself sounded good to him, but he couldn't will himself to do it.

He collapsed on the dewy ground with both arms stretched out wide. Watching the curtain of leaves over his head wave with the influence of the wind, he thought to himself, who will his instructor be? “I hope he'll be someone cool,” Oran said to himself, looking up in the sky. “Maybe he'll be a highly decorated explorer, who'll take us to touch every corner of the world! Or maybe he'll be extremely smart, and teach us every secret pathway in every cave!”

His ears twitched, catching the nervous chants of someone close by, “I'm late! I'm late! This can't be good!” Oran picked himself off the ground in curiosity, and caught someone running towards him and Pecha: he was a large mantis Pokémon, colored a bright lime green. The bug scurried nervously into view, just enough for him to see the neatly folded bandanna with white stripes running diagonally was tied around his neck. He waved his left scythe while running, “H-hey, guys, sorry I'm late!”

The Scyther fell to his knees when he got to Oran, huffing for his life, “Hah, hah, again, sorry I'm late,” he wheezed. Scyther always spoke as if he permanently swallowed his tongue; for some reason, he just could never pronounce his “s” sounds properly. “I would have completely forgotten about this if Florges didn't say anything.”

“Are you gonna be our instructor, Scyther?” Oran asked him.

“Yeah,” he said. “Is there something wrong with that?”

“No, no,” Oran waved his paws in front of him, “I just never took you as an instructor.”

Scyther chuckled. “Yeah, I get that a lot,” He said smiling. “It's probably just the way I talk; I don' let it bother me, though.” He looked to his right to find Pecha, sleeping like a rock while purring like a Glameow. “Is she all right?” He asked Oran.

“Who, Pecha? Yeah, she'll be fine,” Oran said to him.

Scyther got up from his knees and tiptoed towards the sleeping rabbit, “Okay, Pecha, I'm here, now,” Scyther said to her in a loud whisper. “Nappy time's over; it's time to start your lesson, now. Pecha?” Either his whispers weren't loud enough to reach her, or she learned Soundproof, somehow. “Why isn't she waking up?”

“Don't worry, that's normal. Watch this,” Oran stood up, and poked his sleeping sister in her forehead, and watched her immediately collapse to the ground. “Not even Loudred could wake her up. I bet you I can throw her against a tree, and she'd still be sleeping.”

“No, no, don't do that,” Scyther objected to that thought. “I just want her to wake up without harm! Is there any way we can wake her up?” He asked.

Oran picked his sleepy sister up by her shoulders. There was only one way for him to wake her up: with a swift backhand across her right cheek! “Ow!” Her face flooded with pain and some tears, enough to shock her out of her sleep. She pushed Oran off of her, and onto the ground, “What was that for?!”

“Scyther's here,” Oran told her. “We're starting our lessons, now.”

Pecha rubbed her sore cheek, “Well, you didn't have to slap me! Those things on your paws aren't exactly the softest things ever.”

“I told you to wake her up without causing harm,” Scyther screamed at the little Riolu.

“Nuh-uh,” he argued back, arms crossed, “all you said was 'don't throw her against a tree'.”

“You weren't listening, were you?”

“You were going to throw me against a tree?!” Pecha blared into Oran's ears.

Oran folded his ears flat on his head, and kept them there with his paws, “It was a joke,” he replied loudly.

Scyther separated the two with his scythes, trying to keep the situation from getting any uglier, “Guys! Guys! Can we just calm down for a minute, and do our lessons?” He asked the rowdy duo. “Let's all just sit down for a while, okay?” He plopped onto the grass below him with a cautious pace, hoping he could convince the children to do the same.

Pecha and Oran took a quick look at each other, they had no idea what was going on for different reasons. Without talking to each other, they both decided to join the Scyther in sitting in a close triangle. “Okay, good, very good,” he clanked his scythes against each other happily. “I hope we all got that out of our systems. Before we get on to our lesson, today, how about you guys tell me a little about yourselves?”

His offering threw the Buneary back a little, “What? Why?” She asked.

“Well, because we're gonna be working together for a while,” Scyther answered. “Don't you think it would be nice to know each other a little?”

Pecha turned her head away from him, “No thanks, I'll pass,” she said in a huff.

“Sounds like someone's a little cranky, this morning,” He said. “If you don't wanna go, then I'll go: my name is Scyther. I'm level twenty-six, and my favorite move to use is Fury Cutter.” He took a while to think to himself, “Gosh, how long have I been exploring? It's been so long, I can hardly remember. But the places I've been at, I'll tell you your dreams will never compare.”

Oran gasped, wagging his tail ferociously, “Were they really that nice?” He asked.

“Oh, you better believe it,” he assured the Riolu. “I can even remember some of them as if I just went there yesterday: the bright, shining violet stalactites of the Lavanda Cave; the rainbow-colored leaves of the Vida Forest,” he looked away for a brief moment, wiping a single tear strand from his left eye with the back of his scythe, “I can't even describe it without crying! I look like a weenie to you, don't I?”

“No, not at all,” Oran told him, with a large smile on his face. He threw his arms out wide, “That's one of the reasons I want to be an explorer! I always want to go to new places, experience new things!” He looked at his open palms right in front of him, “And maybe, along the way, I can learn how to control my aura powers. All I know is it's an important thing to all us Riolu. It's our power. I'm just level five, but if I learn my aura, I can do anything!”

Scyther rubbed the back of his left scythe against his chin, “Hmm, aura, that's a bit tricky,” he told him in an unsure tone. “I don't think I can teach that. Now that I think about it, I don't think anyone at the guild can teach that.”

“Agh, really?” He crossed his arms, and groaned to the ground. He never thought he could feel so disappointed in his life. “Well, that kinda stinks. I was really hopin' the guild can help me with it.”

“Sorry if I disappointed you,” Scyther apologized. “But we just never had the need to teach that. But I'm sure you'll meet someone out there who could help!”

“Sounds like your power's just a waste of time, Oran,” Pecha butted in.

Oran turned to his sister, “Why do ya think that?” He asked. “Lessee you do any better than that!”

Hearing those magical words stretched a slight grin across her face, “Well, if you insist,” she sung. She looked at the Scyther, and cleared her throat a little of its morning dryness, “Ahe-hem. Well, like Oran, I want to be an explorer, too. But unlike him, I'm smart enough not to rush into situations that are over my head-”

“Everything is over your head,” Oran interrupted, trying to hold back an intense wave of laughter behind his paws.

Pecha aimed her irritated stare at her kid brother, with an uncontrollable twitch in her right brow, “You find that funny, don't you?”

Oran tried calming himself down before speaking, “It's funny 'cause it's true!” The moment he opened his mouth again, he couldn't hold it back anymore. He fell to his back, kicking his feet in the air as he tried finding the air to breath after each howl of gut-splitting pain.

Pecha let out a frustrating grunt, “Scyther, Oran keeps interrupting me,” she cried out loud to her instructor.

The mantis gave the jackal pup a concerned glare, “Seriously, Oran, let her talk, okay?”

Oran picked himself up, and sat himself back down, holding his waist as his giggles burned away, “Okay...okay, I'm done, I think,” he huffed, wiping the tears out of his crimson eyes.

Pecha tried her best to ignore her brother as she began speaking again, “As I was saying, since I'm too weak to fight, I want to work my way up. But I want to explore for a different reason: treasure,” she yelled, throwing her arms with enough enthusiasm to rival even Oran's. “I hear rumors all the time about Mystery Dungeons protecting a lot of treasure.” She fonded over the thought while wrapped up in her own arms, “With all those riches in one place, what more can a girl want~?”

“Hmm,” Scyther hummed, deciding whether he liked that reason or not. Any reason was a good reason to explore to him; but some took a little more persuasion for him to form a solid opinion. “I don't know about that, Pecha. Sometimes there's a reason some of it's left untouched.”

“It's treasure,” Pecha replied in a brash temper, “It's there to be taken! I'm not just gonna stand there and not take it; it needs a home.”

Scyther felt he wasn't reaching her the way he hoped. In order to get through such a thick skull of youthful ignorance he had to be crafty with his taste in words. Something clicked in his head, “I'm not saying treasure hunting's bad, it can be a very rewarding experience. I just think there's a time to do it, and a time it.” Whether the translation from mind to tongue was lost in a sudden second thought or his thick, dorky stutter, he knew it wasn't what he wanted to say. “Moving on, since we all know a little about each other, let's move on.” He picked himself up from the soft ground, and started walking a bit before turning his head to the children. “C'mon, you guys,” he shouted at them, “I can't teach my lessons if you don't come with me!”

“But where are we going?” Oran asked.

“Everywhere,” Scyther shouted back in a happy light. “We have the entire Verde Forest in our convenience, and I'd really hate to waste it!”

Wherever the dirt paths of the forest twisted and turned, Scyther went for miles, leading Pecha and Oran while admiring the quiet morning. It always made him happy to see the early sun's rays leak through the thick veil of leaves, feeling his short wings catch their warmth. But one of his students didn't share that appreciation with him-

“Why are we just walking around aimlessly?” Pecha moaned from the back of the line, dragging her tired feet across the ground. “I liked it better when we were sitting.”

“Sometimes when you travel through a forest, you have to walk for hours just to make progress,” Scyther sputtered with numb sounding words. “And besides, I like walking around, works up my ol' brain juices, y'know? We'll be doing this every day before our lessons, to get accustomed.”

She groaned to herself while brushing her wool diaper, “Ugh, my fur's getting all dirty. I can already feel all this gunk weighing me down.”

“Probably a good idea to sheer yourself, then,” Scyther replied. “You're gonna get dirty often when your out traveling.”

“What's gonna be our lesson, Scyther?” Oran asked.

“Well, since it's our first lesson, I thought it'd make sense to talk about teams,” Scyther said. “Ah, here we go.” The path led them to a clear patch after a good thirty minute walk, with nothing but a short stump in the middle of the ring of trees. Scyther parked down on the stump, and the children sat on their knees.

“Much better,” Pecha sighed with sweet relief, letting the soreness in her feet slowly fade away.

“Okay, so this is basic stuff,” Scyther started to explain. “Your typical exploration team has around two to four members. Each member has their own role in the team, for example: the leader, who obviously leads; the strategist, who comes up with strategies for the team to safely subdue any possible threat; the quartermaster, who packs and manages supplies for the team; the list goes on and on. For the purposes of my lessons, I'll function as the leader of our group.”

“So if we're a team, does that mean we'll go on missions and stuff?” Oran asked.

“That's the plan, kiddo,” Scyther stuttered back. “When that time comes, I'll start us off with some easy stuff-”

“Are you kidding?” Oran barked. “Where's the challenge in that?”

“That's not the point, Ora-”

Oran passionately interrupted the instructor, “How are we going to grow as explorers, if we don't do the difficult stuff? I wanna feel the struggle in my bones!”

“Here in a second, Oran, you're going to feel the struggle everywhere,” Pecha barked back to her brother, ready to enforce her warning on him. “Quit being a pain.”

Oran jumped from his sitting position to confront his big sis, pointing a finger very close to her nose, “How 'bout you quit being so bossy?!”

Even with a single finger almost touching her nose, she just crossed her arms and looked at it as if she expected it, “You really like testing others' personal spaces, don't you?” She asked in a bland tone.

“Guys, guys, we're getting really off topic here,” Scyther intervened, having to yet again protect the two from each other with his gentle scythes. He felt his top inch closer and closer to blowing off if he had to keep doing that; these children did a thorough job of testing his mellow nature, and it hasn't been a full day, yet! “Are you two done, yet?” Scyther asked them in a frustrated squeak that was meant to be an angry growl. One look into his piercing glare, and Pecha and Oran couldn't stop shivering under their pelts. “I won't be ignored while the both of you egg each other on!”

“But, Scyther, I wasn't doing anything wrong,” Pecha pleaded. “Oran's the one interrupting your lesson,” She said pointing at her brother.

Scyther aimed his glare at the pup, “Oran, I am not going to put up with behavior like this, do you hear?” He asked in a harsh tone.

“Y-yes, sir,” Oran said, fearing for himself.

The mantis dropped his behind back onto the stump. He took a deep, relaxing breath or two, before his blood had the chance to completely evaporate. He looked back at the children, lacking all harshness he had a moment ago, “If we are going to be a team, we need to be in unity,” Scyther replied In a much more calmer demeanor. “I'll be frank: it may all sound like fun n' games, now, but out there, it's survival of the fittest; we need to cooperate with each other, or we're not gonna last five minutes out there. I was at least hoping to be the nice teacher about it- but if we're not going to be serious- then I guess I'll just have to be the not-so-nice teacher.”

The siblings looked at each other, sharing the same guilty expression, nodding before answering to him in a synchronized “We'll listen, Scyther.”

“Thank you,” the mantis replied. It took him a couple seconds to figure out where he last left off, “Teams aren't limited to only exploration, you also have: archaeology teams, who focus on unraveling mysteries kept locked beneath the earth; bounty hunting teams, who specialize in tracking and subduing outlaws; and rescue teams, who relieve lost or injured Pokémon from dungeons and forests. There are many paths to choose...”

Within the center of the Verde Forest was the homely Verde Town, a small community of thirty, just half a mile north of the Florges Guild. Being one of the most southern-bound settlements in Unido separated from the rest by several hundred acres of overgrowth, life was often quiet for the little town- when it didn't concern the guild.

The early afternoon heat wave failed to faze the denizens from opening up their shops: from the Kangaskhan storage facility and Klefki Bank, to Arcanine's transit services and Roselia's herb shop, everyone knew everyone, like they all were in the same family. Even visitors and strangers felt at home when stepping into town.

Like an orange blur thundering through the town an Arcanine rushed to the entrance of Florges Guild, with two passengers riding atop his back. “Thank you for choosing Arcanine Express,” the bear of a dog thanked his customers, while kneeling low to the ground.

The Delphox crawled off his strong back cautiously, to make sure she regained the feeling in her legs from the long ride. She raked at her matted burnt-red fur with her short claws to smoothen it out. Before she had the chance to thank the giant bear-dog, he was gone in a flash and a cloud of dust.

Delphox looked down and shook her arms a little to wake up the sleeping Pokémon she held, “Cheri, baby, we're here,” she whispered to her.

“Nhnn.” The small Fennekin pup stretched her body inside her mother's hold, and let out a small squeak of a yawn. She opened her sapphire eyes, and through her foggy vision saw the stone face of the guild's owner, lightly coated in moss. “Where are we?” She asked her mother in a slow moan.

“This is the Florges Guild,” Delphox said. “This is where we'll call our home.”

Though she usually never thinks much of anything while sleepy, the Fennekin knew exactly how she felt looking at the coarse stonework of the structure- it made her want to fall asleep again. “I liked our old place better,” she replied as she burrowed her pointed snout into the soft fur of her mother's arm.

“In due time you'll learn to appreciate it here,” the mother told her sleepy pup. Delphox viewed the stonework in a different light than her daughter that made her smile on the inside: she had a certain appreciation for anything built by a Pokémon's hand as art. “The Guildmistress requested me by letter, saying she was in need of a move tutor. I still need you to assist me.”

The Fennekin bellowed with a shallow yawn, “Yes, ma'am.” With her drowsy daughter in her arms, Delphox stepped forward through the giant stone Florges' mouth of an entrance.

After a day under the roasting heat, Scyther, Pecha, and Oran welcomed the shady coolness the assembly hall offered. They've spent three hours in the wilderness; overloaded from Scyther's wisdom, Pecha and Oran's ears, hiding underneath their paws, couldn't take another lecture.

“So many words,” Pecha whimpered messaging her crammed cranium, feeling it might burst at any moment if she didn't soak in what she learned today.

“MY HEAD FEELS LIKE IT'S LEARNING,” Oran cried falling to his knees. “MAKE IT STOP!”

“It wasn't that bad, you guys,” Scyther sputtered to them encouragingly. “I know it was a lot to cover, but you'll get used to it.” The team stopped in their tracks. Two Pokémon they've never seen before stood out in the shallow crowd: a Delphox, with her Fennekin child. “Are they looking for help?” Scyther asked himself, as he compelled himself to meet the stranger upfront, with his young students following behind.

The mantis confronted the family openly, “Can I help you with something?” He asked the Delphox.

Delphox shot him an uncaring glare that pierced through him as if he was invisible, “We will not be need your assistance,” she told him in a low tongue. “Our needs have already been met.”


Seeing another Pokémon his age, Oran couldn't controlled himself, and ran to the Fennekin. “Hi, my name's Oran,” he introduced himself with glee. “What's yours?”

The fox took several steps back, and sheltered herself behind the thick robe tail of her mother, with only her head popping out. She had an uncomfortable look in her eyes, as if Oran threw her into a corner just by asking her for her name. “Don't be shy,” Delphox told her as she watched. “Tell him your name.”

It took her a few seconds to gather the courage to speak, “Cheri. My name's Cheri,” she told him.

“Cheri, huh? That's a cool name,” he told her smiling.

“Y-yeah.” She hid herself deeper behind her mother's legs. Socializing was never one of the young Fennekin's strong points- she never found a way of getting around the nerve-wracking feeling of being being spoken to.

“She is not in the mood for conversation, it seems,” Delphox told the group. She bowed to the Scyther, “And my name is Delphox. I am terribly sorry if my earlier attitude seemed strange to you.”

“It's no big deal,” Scyther waved his scythe. “I've met with stranger clients, before.”


From one of the hallways leading from her office, Guildmistress Florges strutted to the Delphox, with a smirk of joy that a realtor would have after selling their first house. “Miss Delphox, Cheri, may I interest you in a tour of our- oh-!” the early arrival of Scyther and his two students came as a shock to the Florges. “Scyther, you're back already,” she exclaimed. “Was it a short lesson, today?”

“Nah, it was pretty normal,” he replied. “Are you working with these two?”

“Why, yes, I am,” she sung. “Everyone, as of today, Miss Delphox will be our new move tutor~!” the excited Florges proclaimed to the Scyther and his students. “Isn't that wonderful? Now we won't have to travel for miles just to relearn our techniques.”

“How long have we been looking for a move tutor?” The mantis asked with his interests somewhat piqued. For as long he was with the guild, he forgot how long that certain position was left empty.

“Far too long,” Florges happily responded. She turned to the Delphox, and asked her, “May I interest you in a tour around the guild?”

“Yes, that would be lovely. Thank you.” Delphox tailed behind the Florges to discover what her new home had to offer.

“Well, today sure turned out to be exciting,” Scyther told himself as he walked away from Pecha and Oran. He rubbed his long blades against each other, making mental notes of their bluntness, “I think I need to order a new sharpening stone,” he murmured to himself, “my scythes have been feeling really dull for a while.”

“All right, Oran, let's just get this day out of the way,” Pecha said to her brother as she walked away. Her teacher's lesson put a heavy strain in her head, limiting what she felt like putting up with for the day. “The quicker we get to Azumarill, the better.” Something came off as odd to her: she turned her head, and saw her little brother staring intently at the new Fennekin. “Oran, what are you doing?” She asked. But Oran still stood motionless.

A wild beat drummed in his chest, and his blue coat almost took on a faint purple hue. He couldn't put his finger on it, but there was something he liked about her: maybe it was her mustard yellow fur? The fluffy, scarlet tufts in her ears that looked like clouds? Or was it simply those deep baby blues that needed little eye contact to capture him? A violent shake by his shoulders broke him from his hypnotic funk, falling to the ground as he pushed himself away from his aggressor, Pecha. “What was that for?” He asked.

“Don't ignore me like that,” she told him, “You know how much I hate that!”

“Sorry, Pecha,” he said, “I was just thinking to myself.”

Pecha had herself a good giggle, “What?” she asked, wanting to know if she hadn't misheard. “You, thinking? Good one, Oran.”

“It's true,” he yelled back.

“Right,” she mocked him. “It's a good thing I stopped you then: any longer, and you would've overwhelmed yourself. And what exactly were you thinking about?”

He paused for a moment, mouth gaping as if he forgot what to say. Regardless of what he'll say, his big sister would make fun of him, anyways. “I was...I was thinking about food,” he told her.

“Pfft, whatever,” Pecha scoffed. “Get up; let's just get our chores out of the way.”

“Okay,” he grunted back, picking himself off his knees.


Seen August 19th, 2019
Posted August 10th, 2019
102 posts
3.9 Years
Chapter 4

Droplets of filtered water poured down from the hanging stalactites of a cave, echoing through the empty cavern as they hit the floor, producing a chorus of nature. Heavy footsteps disrupted the soothing silence: one set frantically ran, escaping the other set that faintly rang through the darkness behind them. The battered Garchomp had no time to catch a quick breath- he'd give his pursuer the opportunity of catching him if he did. His body feeling heavy and nearly drained of energy, he wanted to fall onto his knees, but he forced himself ahead.

The tunnel led the exhausted land shark to a large, closed off room- a dead end. He fell on one knee in the middle of the room, seizing every quick gasp of air he could. Being pursued for days on end into a cave drained him to his very bone, and he struggled just to keep his foundation from crashing to the ground. “I...I can't,” the outlaw wheezed to himself. “I...I can't let him...catch me!”

Burning through the darkness a bright blue light fired from the mouth of a cave. The shark had just enough time to save himself jumping out of the way of the speedy projectile, and hitting the floor belly first as the explosion turned the solid wall behind him into rubble. “Rrgh!” He lifted his one ton-heavy self up, eventually to where he could stand again. Stepping out of the slightly illuminated shadows, he stared down his approaching foe- a Lucario, with his black dreadlocks risen in the air delicately reading the aura around him. By reading his target from the back of his eyes, feeling his prey's weariness in his being, Lucario knew this chicken race was coming to its end.

“H-how?” The hammerhead questioned. “How are you able to keep this up without tiring?!”

“I'm just that good,” the Lucario replied back, a confident smirk stretched across his mouth. Having the bad guy where he wanted him, the Lucario assumed a standing stance: his left hind leg behind the right, and his left arm behind his right. “So: are we gonna fight? Or are we gonna run some more?”

Being pursued so far through the twisted layouts of a mystery dungeon on the last of his legs, the Garchomp was out of options. The fins underneath the outlaw's single-clawed arms glowed in a ghostly white light, growing twice their original, monstrous size. “If I'm gonna be taken, it won't happen easily!” For a weakened spirit who was ready to collapse at any moment, he kept himself standing and in fighting condition purely off his desire for freedom- he was so close, he could almost taste it.

“I like that answer!” Placing his paws over each other, he saw his opponent's Dual Chop, and raised him an attack of his own: he closed his eyes, and focused on the small marble of blue energy developing between his hands.

“You left yourself wide open!” The ground crushed under each muscular step of his sprint, betting all he had on his attack; he understood very well: either he succeeds, or the freedom he obsessed over for days would poof right in front of him like a popped bubble.

The marble in Lucario's paws soon grew to the size of a beach ball, moaning like a banshee as it still charges. He opened his eyes, and the Garchomp was right on top of him.

Garchomp dropped one of his fins down like a hammer, “Dual Chop!”

“Aura Sphe-!”

When he prepared to throw his projectile, the Garchomp froze in his tracks like a floating statue just an inch away from connecting his Dragon-type attack to his muzzle. A faint shriek echoed through the cave, yet it remained powerful enough to quake the very ground from underneath him, “WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!”

“Oh, no.” He knew who that disruptive voice belonged to. With each boom of the outsider's yell, the space around the Lucario distorted and twisted, becoming unstable. The walls and floors around him slowly dissolved into white noise, only being restrained and kept stable by his own thoughts. As his surroundings slipped into an oblivion, soon even the suspended Garchomp disappeared into chaotic static. “Please, just ten more seconds,” he pleaded with the voice that couldn't hear him, while everything slowly faded in front of him. “Ten more seconds; I wanna know how this ends!”

“WAKE UP!” If Loudred screamed any louder, he risked the room falling on top of their heads. The Riolu pup groaned while lifting himself off his bedding, which he patted down with his body weight. “GOOD, YOU'RE FINALLY AWAKE,” Loudred said while Oran drowsily rubbed the sleepies from his dim eyes, “I THOUGHT FOR A SECOND YA GONE DEAF.”

Oran yawned, “Nope, jus' geddin' there.”

Loudred left the chambers, and went on his merry way doing the line of work he was made for with satisfied pride. Oran turned and rolled around in his pile, throwing hands of straw in the air while roaring in an agitated fit. “Every night! This happens every night,” he yelled to himself. “Whenever I have a cool dream, Loudred wakes me up! Why can't my brain make dreams earlier?!”

“Oran, you're too loud in the morning,” Pecha moaned while she started making a stir in her own bed.

“It's not fair,” Oran complained, still kicking around. “Loudred always wakes me up during the best parts!”

“I think it's funny how you two are similar,” she replied, brushing her straightened, floppy eyes from in front of her eyes to the back of her head.

“Me and Loudred are not similar,” Oran responded in a huff.

“Sure you are,” the sister implied, “you two have the same voice.”

Oran shouted back, “We don't sound the same, either!” He fell back into his straw bedding. “I just wanna know how at least one of my dreams end,” he told Pecha calming down from his stir, blankly staring at the carved niches in the stone ceiling as if they'll unfold an answer before his very eyes. But the grooves and cuts remained where they were, not telling him a thing. “I was an outlaw hunter, and I was chasing a Garchomp, a really mean Garchomp. I had him in a cave, and we were about to duke it out; but then Loudred happened.”

The Buneary stood up, and stretched and twisted her body to the popping sounds of her bones realigning. Her body feeling loose, she shook violently as a chill ran from her toes to her head, and her fur puffed wildly. “Just assume you won,” Pecha told him. “You act like you don't have any control over any of it. Besides, that's the only place where you can win.”

“Nuh-uh, you take that back,” Oran yelled at her, standing himself on his left side.

“Why?” She asked. “It's funny watching you get rustled when I pull your leg.”

Oran grunted. Being five months old to his sister's eight, he never liked being her vocal punching bag, and target for her jokes. As much as he looked up to her, she thought of herself too highly to look back down to him, despite being shorter than him. He planted his face back into the pile of straw, and murmured into it, “Whatever.”

Oran began the morning sparring with Ambipom, his combat instructor, in the bald patch of the forest Scyther brought him and Pecha to the last day. Scyther and Pecha watched from the sidelines as the purple monkey hustled the little Riolu, either: hopping out of his attack's way, or blocking them with his large tail hands. Oran rolled across the grassy ground when pushed back by the Ambipom with a force great enough to dislodge a rooted tree. But he quickly regained his traction as he slid across the grass with his feet, breaking his series of ragdolling.

“Quick Attack!” He dashed at the Ambipom- the faster he ran- the more visible and plenty his following afterimages became. In such a short distance and amount of time, he managed to make a gang of three Orans, all charging the purple monkey behind their leader. He threw out his right shoulder, ready to connect a high-speed tackle to his opponent. “Take this!”

Ambipom's right tail palm stopped all momentum from the Quick Attack in its tracks. Oran pushed against the fleshy wall with all his might, his feet dragged and even dug into the ground, but the hand kept him in place. Oran grunted, “Rgh! Let! Me! Get! Through!”

“Oh-ho, you're attacks are too linear,” the looming Ambipom told him with a large smile. “Mix it up a little!” Ambipom gave the Riolu a mighty push, Throwing him ten feet away like he was just a pebble. Oran picked himself up, refusing to stay down, but when he looked up, found the instructor suddenly breathing down his neck. “You took too much time getting back up, leaving yourself wide open! Double Hit!”

“E-Endure!” Oran crossed his arms in front of his chest, and braced himself. With the first punch coming from the left tail, Oran stood solid against the boulder-crushing impact, although left a little shaky. But the right tail came with the second hit from out of nowhere, knocking him clear off his knees, skipping him like a stone across the pond of grass. Winded and wheezing, he clenched his gut as he sat on his knees, “Okay...okay, pause...lemme catch a quick breath.” The more he exhaled, the more he realized his opponent didn't fool around, even for a sparing match.

“Be careful with that move, Oran,” Scyther yelled from the sidelines. “It may keep you in the fight, but you're still getting hurt!”

“I know,” Oran replied weakly, “but thanks to it, I'm still in it!”

“Oran, tag out for me,” Pecha suggested, noting her brother's shaky condition as he stood back up. “We'll have a better chance at beating him if we switch!”

“She's right, kid, oh-ho,” Ambipom commented. “You can't just solo the enemy; let your teammate take a crack at me.”

“Are..are you kidding? I'm just gettin' warmed up!” His body refused to call it quits, somehow managing to get him standing on his own once more. He cupped his paws over each other, and emitted a bluish light from his palms. While the glow grew harsher and its whistling became louder he held it to his left side.

“Oh-ho?” The monkey stepped back, a small amount of shock in his eyes as he watched the student attempt something he didn't expect. He watched the light grow into a sphere, while also deciding if he should stay where he was, or neutralize a possible threat the child was about to bring on himself.

“Oran, listen to me,” Scyther called out, “You have to tag out! You can't beat Ambipom on your own!”

The blue sphere in his hands soon became the size of his own head, and he wasn't keen on wasting it. With a strong toss, the ball screamed straight for the Ambipom; as the move was Fighting-type in nature and Ambipom was a Normal-type, he was sure it would cause some damage.

“Oh-ho!” Ambipom guarded himself using his left tail hand as a shield. The attack ricocheted off his palm, before popping like a bubble full of glitter in front of his face. And not a single scratch on him. Oran saw it in his eyes- he tried to desperately hold in a howl of laughter.

“Ambipom, be cool about it,” Oran told him, his feelings on the verge of crumbling, “don't laugh.”

But his request was ignored. Ambipom tumbled to the ground, rolling around as his gut busted, “Ahahahahahaha! Aha, Ahahahahahaha! Oh-ho, ahahahahahahahaha!”

Oran stooped to his knees. He put all he had in that one attack, to show the instructor what he was made of. And it just poofed in front of him; he was convinced Splash would have done more damage than that. Now he had to deal with the pain of all the broken pieces of his pride cutting him from the inside all day.

A shadow suddenly blotted out the light. Oran looked up- it was Scyther, looking down at him with a disappointed stare. He chuckled nervously, “Ehehe, how'd I do?”

“Welp, to put it bluntly: you'd be a Riolu pancake right about now,” Scyther told him.

“We would've passed, if you didn't decide to take him on by yourself,” Pecha yelled at him.

Oran got into his sister's face, “I thought I actually had him!”

“Oran, we're a team,” Scyther stuttered to him in a softer tone. “As such, we all have to work together to take down the foe. Out there, they actually want you to do what you just tried to do to Ambipom.”

“What, Aura Sphere them?” He asked.

“No, you're missing the point,” Scyther said. “When we go out as a team and you decide to disobey my orders and run off, they'll see you as easy pickin's; who knows what they'll actually do to you. Take a look at Ambipom-”

Oran took a look where the mantis pointed, at the Ampibom that still had no control over his own laughter, rolling around like he caught on fire from a Flamethrower. “What about him?”

“Say, for instance, he was an Ursaring who thought we were intruding on his territory: instead of laughing, he'd do whatever it takes to squash us- you, Pecha, and I. When we go out there, that's essentially what we're doing- to some of them, we're invading their home. That's why we stay close together, cooperate with each other, and only attack when we are attacked. Understand?”

“Yeah, I guess,” he pouted.

“Okay, Ambipom, that's enough laughing,” Scyther told him, becoming irritated at the monkey's refusal to stop. “You're making Oran feel bad.”

A suspicious rustling in one of the nearby bushes by the group took their attention, even stopping the Ambipom from his mad, uncontrollable laughter. The shaking got louder, as if someone, or something, raced to meet them. In the anticipation they readied themselves for the confrontation- be it a friendly meeting, or a brutal conflict.

“Ahh!” A small Pikachu burst from the leaves and branches, stumbling on his own feet when he couldn't control his speed before finally eating a face full of dirt. Small bruises and slightly bleeding cuts lined his yellow body where the branches and vines he ran through struck him like little whips. Even his zigzagged tail was all but a gigantic bruise. He coughed all the mud out of his mouth as he could, before screaming, “Somebody! Somebody, please help!”

“Oh my gosh!” Scyther ran to the downed rodent, and helped him get back on his feet. “Are you all right?” He asked him.

“No, I'm not,” he screamed at the Scyther while he could only breathe quick and shallow breaths. “This is horrible! Really, really, horrible!”

Scyther told him, “Calm down, and tell me what's horrible. I'm an explorer at Florges Guild- you can trust me.”

The rodent took a few slow, heavy breaths and slowed himself down before his heart had the chance to explode in his chest. He finally spoke, “My, my wife, Dedenne, she's in real trouble,” he told Scyther. “We were going for a honeymoon stroll, heading for the Cristal Springs, but must've taken a wrong turn into the Indigo Overgrowth. As we tried figuring our way out, a bunch of Ariados attacked us, too many to count! She told me she could handle them while I run to get the nearest help. You gotta help her: as tough a girl she may be, she can't handle all those Ariados on her own!” He started breaking down into his own arms, little streams of tears leaked from his palms, “If she doesn't get help soon, she'll be-!”

“There, there, it'll be okay,” Scyther kneeled to the electric mouse, assuring him the best he could. “Go with Ambipom to the guild; my team and I will make sure you'll see your wife again.”

Sniffling, he wiped his eyes clear with his muddy arm, “Th-thank you.” Following the purple monkey, Pikachu dashed for the guild, placing the safe return of his loved one in the Scyther's claws.

“What's happening, Scyther?” Oran asked.

Scyther slowly stepped from his knees, “Oran, Pecha, we're going out, immediately.”

Pecha shot her eyebrows up as far as she could, “what?! Now? But what about our training?”

“The most important thing to do as a guild member is help those in need,” Scyther told her. “We can continue the training some other time.”

Oran felt his skin crawl with energy; something like this was just what he needed to really start off his day. “Yes! A mission,” he psyched himself up. “I can't wait! We'll show those Ariados what for!”

“Indigo Overgrowth, that's just to the east of here,” Scyther said to himself, softly enough where even Pecha's excellent ears had trouble picking up. He looked at his younger teammates while they got under each others' skins as usual, “And maybe a little sample of what it's like out there will be healthy for them; I doubt they'll learn a thing if I just tell them about it. The quicker we get there, the better the chance we'll save Dedenne.” Scyther hollered at the two, taking their attention for a sliver of a moment from each other, “Pecha, Oran, pack your bags: we're going to Indigo Overgrowth.”


Seen August 19th, 2019
Posted August 10th, 2019
102 posts
3.9 Years
Chapter 5

After hiking for thirty minutes Scyther, Pecha, and Oran stopped before the mouth of the Indigo Overgrowth. all of the leaves of every tree in their sight was a deep violet hue, almost appearing entirely white from the thick veils of web topping the gigantic plants like a blanket. The air felt strange and clingy to their fur, especially to the Buneary; each pat she gave her excited hairs, the more they crackled and bit at her paw.

“Ow! What's with my fur all of a sudden?” She screamed, while swatting at her fur as if trying to kill an entire family of mosquitoes that chose her for their next picnic.

“I dunno, but it sounds funny,” Oran commented. “I wanna touch your fur!”

She took two steps back, and screamed at his approaching paws, “Stay away from me! Go touch yourself!”

“But mine isn't as long as yours; it won't make the funny sounds,” he stuttered to her numbly. A slight tingle caught his tongue; the more he smacked his mouth, the more the tingle spread. “I cant feel my tongue all of a sudden,” he said to himself. He told his instructor, “Is this what it feels like to be you, Scyther?”

“Look!” He pointed his right scythe in the air, and their eyes followed its direction. A large bolt of lightning broke from the back of the Overgrowth's throat, screaming with electricity, and causing a flock of bird Pokémon to scatter away from the danger in panic. “A Thunder Wave,” he told himself underneath his voice, “Dedenne is still here, after all. Guys, we haven't much time,” he told his students. “Dedenne is still here. I'll make this quick: we'll have a better chance of success if we all stick together. Ariados aren't brainless, so we need to be careful of our surroundings; for all we know, they've set up the entire area as their hunting trap. And Oran, whatever you do: don't use your Aura Sphere.”

Oran threw his arms up in response, “What?! Why? That's my favorite move!”

“Oran, quit complaining,” Pecha told him. “Every time you use it, it pops like a bubble.”

“Yeah, but every time I use it, I get better at it,” he told her back. He looked at his palms, tightening them into fists. He didn't know how to say it, but while looking at his fists, he heard his powers whisper into his ear, promising him they'll succeed this time around. “I have this weird feeling,” he said to his sister, “I just know it, I know it's going to work this time!” He said to the Scyther, “Just let me use it this one time; I'll get it to work!”

“No, and that's final,” the mantis told him, looking him dead in the eye.

“Scyther, please-!”

“How will we know for certain if you can get it to work?” Scyther asked him. “In a situation like this, we need to be precise; we can't rely on vague gut feelings. I know how hard it must feel, Oran, but the more we argue about this, the more we're letting Pikachu and Dedenne down- and not just them- but the whole guild, too.”

“Right, so we don't have time to lose!” Oran charged right into the mouth of the woodlands without a second thought. He had no fear of what's awaiting. He had no interest in thinking it through. His mind had two priorities: find Dedenne, and fight off as many Ariados he can, in any order he wanted.

“O-Oran!” Scyther's heart jumped seeing that boy dive into unknown danger headfirst. He and Pecha took off for their impulsive teammate. Scyther shouted, “Come back! What did I just say about sticking together?! Oran!”

“Oran, what are you thinking?!” Pecha yelled.

Out of sight, Oran's voice echoed through the throat of the woodlands, “No time to lose!”

The bruised and dirty Pikachu sat on Guildmistress Florges' desk back at the guild, in front of the Single Bloom Pokémon and her assistant. As time passed, his heart calmed from its nervous beating, and he regained some lost breath, though his chest still cramped to a degree. “And that's my story, Guildmistress Florges,” he told her, looking her face to face. “Three of your guys are already out there looking for my wife.”

“This is quite the situation you've brought to me,” She thought to herself out loud.

“Guildmistress, what should we do?” Azumarill asked her. “Should I issue more help?”

“I trust in Scyther and his team that they'll get the job done,” she told her. “But Indigo Overgrowth, Arceus know if the rumors I've heard about that area is true.”

The Pikachu tried hiding his breakdown behind his paws, but the rivers of tears seeped through the cracks of his dam. “I'm begging you, Florges, please, do whatever it takes to save Dedenne!” sniffling, he wiped most of his waterworks off with his arm, “She's the best thing that ever happened to me. I...I don't think I'll ever find someone like her again! I had one happy moment happen in my life, and those Ariados are going to ruin it!”

“There, there, it'll be all right,” she whispered to the distressed rodent, running her delicate fingers across his head.

“Th-thank you,” the Pikachu whimpered while drying his eyes with his arm. “I wouldn't know what I'd do without you.”

“You're very much welcome,” she told him smiling. “I just wouldn't feel right denying help to a Pokémon in need.”

He smiled, wiping one last tear from his eye. “I-I'm supposed to pay you for your service, right? I don't have anything to offer, I-”

“That's all right,” she said. “My guild's services do require payment, but we'll work something out. Your wife must be someone special if you're taking her all the way to Cristal Spring.” She laughed into her hand, “Ahahaha! Taking her to a place like that, you must treat her like a real queen!”

Pikachu looked away, his red-dotted cheeks glowed with a soothing light. “Ehehe, yeah,” he admitted. “She's my cheery, energetic, little queen. She can be just as bossy and abrasive as one, but that's just how she defends herself. When I got to know her, I saw how she really was on the inside- she's just as anxious and soft as I am. And I have no plans of letting go of her.”

“Oran? Oran, where are you?” Scyther and Pecha's calling voices cried through the Indigo as they searched for their missing teammate, but with no returning reception. They had him in their sights, and somehow, he stayed evasive to their search- not two Pokémon were in need of potential rescuing.

“Rrgh, Oran, you can be an idiot, sometimes,” Pecha grunted to herself. “No wait, you're always an idiot, what am I saying. Do we even have time to look for you?” Wherever she placed her eyes, the more the unnerving chill crawling beneath her pelt grew worse. She didn't notice it back at the entrance, but the deeper she walked through the woodlands, more and more white sacs of tightly coiled silk clinging to the violet trees lined their coarse. Some hung low, almost as if laying on the ground, while the rest hung high above in the branches like fruits. Some were even so thinly wrapped, Pecha made out the dried remains of other Pokémon inside.

“Don't look at them, Pecha,” Scyther told her while devoting his eyes to the path in front of him, as if he had eyes in the back of his head watching her soak up the macabre scene

She cleared her throat of its choking pit by gulping it down, “S-Scyther, are they all what I think-?”

“Yes,” he replied. “They are what we're trying to prevent Dedenne and Oran from becoming. Don't let it scare you, Pecha- as horrible as it might seem- this kind of sight is normal in the wild. Just stick by me, and everything will be okay.”

“Don't look at them, he said,” she scoffed to herself. With at least three of the cobweb sacs showing up within her peripheral vision with each step she took, and then three more, it was something of an impossible favor- unless she knew how to keep on coarse while keeping her eyes shut. Her stomach gurgled with an uneasy sensation, and she forced back the urge to cry, though for how long she didn't know.

“Pay attention, Pecha, do you see these?” Scyther asked her, pointing his left scythe at the treeline. Pecha couldn't understand what he was talking about, nor could she see what he was pointing at. But while squinting her eyes, she caught a vague shimmer of sunlight. Several thin, invisible strands of silk dangled from what appeared to be each tree, only made visible by the sun's touch.

“Yeah,” she told him, “What are those?”

“Those are how Ariados bait their prey,” Scyther whispered to her. “Once one gets on you, it lets them track you down back to your house. The worst part is: you'll never even realize them, until a hungry Ariados shows up to your front door. Just watch where you walk, and you'll be all right.”

Her tightly coiled ears shot up and stiffened. She felt every one of her hairs get delicately plucked off of her body by the air, one by one, as if it tried to get her attention about something. But when she ran her paws across her little body, she found her hairs still intact. Her muscles stiffened to the point where even walking became a struggle. She tried telling Scyther about it, “U-uhm, Scyther, I have a really bad feeling about this. My danger sense is acting up. I feel like something's looming over my head.”

“It's going to be all right,” Scyther told her calmly. “As long as I'm here, you don't have anything to worry a-”

It came from nowhere, right before their eyes a thick string of silk latched onto the anticipating Buneary's back, and reeling her into the branches of the tree above her head with unreal speed.

“AAAAAAAAAGGGHHHHHHHH!” Pecha screamed her lungs out while she was lifted into the tree, watching the ground shrink underneath her feet. “Scyther! Help me! Help me!” The more she struggled to break free from the sticky silk, the more she got herself lassoed and wrapped in its grip.

Scyther cried, “Pecha!”

Pecha trapped herself in the webbing with her entire torso in its bind, and her arms restrained. The more she struggled to free herself, the tighter it squeezed her; she wasted most of her energy in one moment, and had little strength to keep it up. She huffed to herself, “It's no use.”

She felt something wet drip on the back of her head; it might just be morning dew dripping off the tree leaves. When she looked up, she wished it was only that: two purple eyes glaring brighter than a candle wisp looked straight at her from the shade within the tree. It had a small red head armed with a single horn as long as one of her ears, and a larger red body with black stripes. The drips she felt came from its two large fangs, which were excessively coated in the stuff. It hung on the side of the tree by its four yellow legs as it reeled her in by the web it spat from its mouth.

“S-Scyther,” Pecha cried once more, “Scyther! Help! Help me, I can't get free!” Meeting face to face with her predator breathed some new life in her struggle. But once again, all attempts for freedom tangled her more in the string.

Before the spider claimed its meal, Scyther severed the silk with a single swing of his right scythe, cutting through it like paper across his sharp bladed appendage. Before the Buneary ever had a chance to fall he held out his left scythe, and Pecha's stringy cocoon stuck to its flat surface. Using his beating wings to slow them down, he landed on his feet with a soft thud. The spider backed itself deeper into the shade of the tree line when Scyther spotted it looking up. “Hold still for a sec,” he told the frightened Buneary.

“A-already ahead of you.” She had no choice but to trust him. Scraping her off his scythe was the tricky part, it always latched back on when he touched the string with his other scythe. With some fiddling, Pecha finally plopped to the ground. With a swift swipe down her back, Scyther severed her natural binds. “Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew.” It seemed like the stuff had a mind of its own while she scraped herself away from its clingy mess, reacting to every little movement she made as an excuse to spread all over the place. But she managed to crawl out of it, crumpling it all into a ball that only claimed a handful of her hair. After tossing the nasty sight into a nearby bush, she held herself tightly. “Wh-wh-what was that thing?” She asked Scyther.

“That was an Ariados,” Scyther stuttered. “That one just so happened to be one of the patient ones. Are you okay?”

“I..I...” Her knees had the structural stability of a Ditto, and the uncontrollable wobbling sent her crashing to the ground. She lost all restraint to her stomach, emptying it all over the ground as a yellow-ish pile mixed with various chunks of berries. She cried into the puddle of mud she created, huffing and puffing without catching her breath. In the silence of her catching her breath like they were hiccups and wiping her face clean with her arm, she whimpered to her instructor, “Scyther, I don't wanna do this anymore. I wanna go home, where I won't be eaten! I can't handle any of this anymore!”

Seeing the crying Buneary reminded Scyther of what he used to go through as a new explorer. He once felt her pain of inexperience, wanting to give up the first instant the world challenged his innocence, and made his stomach tie itself into a knot. This is what he wanted- an experience that would help them absorb his lessons- but why does he feel so guilty about getting what he wanted? If only he had hands he'd give her a needed, warming hug. He crouched down to her, “Hey, Pecha, it's gonna be all right,” he told her lovingly.

“No! You, you keep saying that, but I know it's not going to be,” Pecha screamed. “I told you something awful was about to happen, but you didn't listen to me! I'm, I'm just a Buneary- all I'm good for is running away! At least you can defend yourself- you're big, and you have blades for hands; I am the preferred snack for all the Pokémon bigger than me!”

A yellow flash lighting up from inside the belly of the Overgrowth caught Scyther's sharp eyes. “Aaaaagggghhhh!” A faint shriek followed it, one too feminine to belong to Oran on first hearing; its owner's cry reminded him of the little time they have left.

Pecha sniffled while wiping the streams from under her button eyes, “I'm done playing explorer; I'm not cut out to actually be one. I never was. I don't know how Oran can just be fine with all of this, but I...I just wanna go home.”

“You can't give up, now,” Scyther pleaded. “Don't blame yourself for feeling like that; if anyone's to blame, it's really me.” He took a short moment to think about what to say next, “I should have realized something like this was going to happen. But instead, I was too caught up in the thought that an experience like this would help you two absorb my lessons a little better. I shouldn't have endangered you and your brother like this.” He rose from his knees, looking down at the weeping Buneary, “But we've made it this far, and we can't look back, now; all we can do now is move on, and rescue Dedenne. You're right to feel afraid, and you're right to want to run- but you're letting those feelings control you. You may be just a Buneary, but you're the bravest Buneary I know.”

Pecha sniffled, “ you really mean that?”

“I wouldn't be saying it if I didn't,” he told her. “You mustn't run away, Pecha. Everyone's counting on us, on you. Do you want to let them down?”

Despite hearing what Scyther had to say, her gut instinct opposed his words. It kept telling her, “Run away. Run away. You'll be safer, then.” She considered taking its advice, and even thought of letting the instinct drive her and take her to safety. But no matter how much more sickened her stomach became, she choked it all back down. Against her own desire she stood back up to her feet, wiping off her tear-drenched fur. “Okay...okay,” she sniffled one last time to Scyther in a calmer tone. “I won't be afraid anymore. I want to help out the best I can.”

“Alright! That's my Pecha,” he praised her, softly tapping her on the back with his right scythe. “I'm proud of you for doing this.” He picked the fragile bunny off her feet, and plopped her right onto his right shoulder. “Let's go save some Pokémon!”

She must have ran at least seven miles deep into the heart of the Indigo Overgrowth, all the while evading the fangs of what seemed like a hundred predators to her. Dedenne was just a tiny little gerbil, smaller than even her husband, defending herself in a bigger Pokémon's territory. Dirt lightly painted her burnt orange coat around her belly. Like Pikachu, giant red dots covered the entirety of both her face cheeks, though unlike him, antenna-like whiskers protruded from her spots.

She put her brakes on, skidding a few feet across the soil. Peeking over her shoulder, several Ariados were still hot on her tail- seven in counting. “You're a persistent bunch,” she huffed. Though she was drained to her very bones of juice, it was all or nothing. She took a deep breath and howled, “Thunderbolt!” From the crackling field surrounding her she shot a single prong of lightning at the predators- when it hit one, it hit them all.

“Gyaaaa-aaaagh!” Taking the lightning head-on, their bodies tensed and tightened to the point their muscles felt like solid stone to them. The Ariados fell flat, right from underneath their four legs that twitched uncontrollably.

She barely had the strength to suspend herself upright from the ground with her own hands. She can't remember how long she's been going at this, paralyzing these one track-minded insects, but the toll of her efforts started racking up. Her body was empty of energy, muscles ached and screamed for immediate relief. Every time she opened her eyes the world around her spun and her vision fogged. She had pushed herself beyond her own limits, and still she pushed forward. “D...dangit,” she huffed to herself. “I can't...I can't keep this up much longer! When is Pikachu coming back with help? He better not have deserted me out here!”

After taking her eyes off the paralyzed group, she tripped. She looked behind her, and an Ariados hooked her with its String Shot. Even with his body slightly twitching and muscles stiffening from being filled with electricity, Dedenne still had to rake her claws into the soil to keep from having his venom-drenched fangs digging into her. “No, no, no,” she chanted frantically, “I refuse to let you have me!”

He answered back with a chant of his own, “Hungry! Hungry! Hungry! Must eat!”

“Eat someone else- I'm not on the menu!” But her comment meant nothing to the Ariados, who could only think of what her plump, juicy, insides tasted like.

“Leave her alone!” A voice broke from the shadows of the Overgrowth. A young Riolu hopped across the abdomens of the grouped Ariados like a stone path in a raging river. He leaped into the air, and kicked his heels straight down onto the leading spider's head, slamming it onto the dirt path. Disoriented with a mind-splitting headache from the attack, The Ariados let go of its web the Dedenne was caught in. “Hey, are you Dedenne?” He asked the gerbil.

“That depends, just who are you?”

“I'm Oran, I'm from Florges Guild,” he told her proudly, flashing his shiny badge stuck to his scarf. “Your boyfriend sent me n' my team to come rescue y-”

“BOYFRIEND?!” Dedenne rattled the very trees of the Indigo with her voice- if she and Loudred were to go against each other in a screaming contest, all of the judges would go deaf, and no one would be chosen winner. Oran crossed a thin and fragile line, with the ignorance of his youth unable to protect him from her wrath. “KID, DO I LOOK LIKE THE KIND OF WOMAN WHO HAS A BOYFRIEND?! I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE A HUSBAND, AND HE'S THE REASON I'M BARELY SURVIVING IN THIS DEATH TRAP OF NATURE! IN FACT, I'M SURE HE'S PROBABLY RELAXING HIS LAZY BUTT AT YOUR DUMB GUILD, WHILE I'M RISKING MY LIFE NOT TO BECOME BUG FOOD!!” She came down with a dry hacking fit, coughing and wheezing out a lung, sparing the poor Riolu from the rest of her rant. “How did you even find me, anyways?”

Instead of her question, all Oran could hear was a faint siren wailing from inside his ear lobes. He shaked his head hoping to get the splitting sound out of his mind, but the soft static still resumed. “What?” He asked her.

“Rrgh, nevermind,” she grunted. Thanks to her lack of an inside voice, speaking to her rescuer won't work for a few moments. She reached for his left paw, her antenna whiskers sparked several times before delivering a shock over to him with the rest of her strength. At first it caught him off guard as he stepped back, but then he noticed- the shock isn't hurting him- not one bit! At worst his muscles just cringed on their own underneath his skin, but nothing painful or irritating. But it felt odd to him, like the electricity pinched him not to hurt him, but to relay something to him that physical words couldn't. “Take me to your guild.” Was that what she was trying to tell him?

A stream of a thousand purple needles as thin as a blade of grass suddenly struck the gerbil, sweeping her off her feet, and out of the jackal's loose grip. “D-Dedenne! Are you o-?” From the side of his eyes he caught another storm of Poison Sting rushing his way. He tucked his head into his crossed arms and protected his chest, “Endure!” One by one the darts ricocheted off his arms like they were hitting a barrier, instead, and spiking into the ground around him. But the move failed to protect him from the sensation of being pricked barely beneath the pelt a thousand times over, like being stung by a swarm of wasps. When the rain stopped, he raised an arm high enough to take a peek through his defense- the Ariados have shaken off their paralysis from before, and, needless to say, they weren't too happy.

“Rrgh.” Despite her body wanting to be a pin cushion and lie on the ground, Dedenne forced herself back up, ignoring the shaking in her arms telling her to stop, before collapsing again back down. The needles melted inside her as if they were icicles, taking their times spreading their vileness in her system.

“Dedenne!” Oran hustled his way to her side, gently lifting her head into his lap. “Are you okay?” he asked.

“Yeah, totally, I'm totally fine right now,” she whimpered to him, unable to block out the sickening pain in her body.

“Really?” He asked her. “You don't look fine to me.”

She wheezed “It's called idiot.” The Poison Stings soaked deeper into her body. She wanted to scream- about how much she felt her insides turn to liquid- but her body refused her request. Being a lone Fairy-type in an area brimming with Poison-types must never be fun. “Just, please, take me away from here, already,” she coughed. “I...I feel disgusting. I feel like I'm melting inside.”

“Don't worry, Dedenne, I'll take you to my guild, no problem,” he assured her, softly throwing her around his back like a bag. But the sheer weight of the rodent on his back nearly sent him to his knees. Each time he took a step her weight wanted to pin him to the ground. “Gosh, you are really heavy, y'know that?”

Dedenne cried an ill groan into his back.

The line of Ariados drew closer to the duo as a slow march, salivating entire pools of venom from their fangs and leaving trails of it behind. With all emotion replaced by hunger, their eyes saw two appetizers to alleviate it. “Hey! That blue kid is taking our food,” an Ariados shouted.

The other came up with a brilliant idea, “Let's eat him, too!”

Despite danger inching its way closer to the Riolu, he stood ready to fight them off one by one, with both his hands supporting Dedenne on his back. “Go on, come at me, I'm not scared of you,” he taunted them. “You mess with me, you mess with Florges Guild!”

“Food is mine!” An eager spider broke from the line, and rushed at the Riolu. All it could think of was how the gerbil and jackal would taste together. But it felt one of its hind legs catch on something- it peeped behind it, a String Shot connected it to another Ariados. “What's the big deal?!”

“If anyone gets food, it's me,” the Ariados hissed at its captive, tightening its String Shot to keep the captured spider from touching the pair.

The captive spider responded, “Fool! They're both MINE! Let go!” The Ariados raked its pointy legs across the ground, attempting to force itself out of its lasso and take a bite out of the small Pokémon. But the captor stayed strong while fishing the misbehaving arachnid back into the group.

Once unified under a simple goal, Oran watched the group fall into chaos under that goal: their tidy line dissolved into a mosh pit of hissing spiders, each trying to intimidate the rest from having their next meal. Crouching low to the ground while the appendages on their thorax flared upright, some even sniped back at whoever dared to get too close. “What's happening?” Oran thought to himself while watching it all unfold. “Were they all just pretending to be cool with each other? Were they all planning on turning on each other when they get Dedenne?”

“Oran!” His ears twitched. With a few lightning quick slashes, Scyther pushed a path through the circle of arachnids, with Pecha riding on his shoulders. Although the team reunited at last, the leader had a couple words to lay off his chest to the young blue jackal, and none of them happy. “I'm very cross with you, mister,” Scyther told him with a harsh look in his eyes. “Just rushing in like that, what were you thinking?! You nearly endangered us all by doing that!”

Oran argued back, “Hey, you said we didn't have much time to save Dedenne, so I took the initiative!”

“I also said we must be precise,” the mantis replied. “Would you call running in with a head full of gusto 'precise'? I sure wouldn't!”

Pecha hopped down from Scyther's shoulder, and delivered a slap across his face that thundered throughout the forest. “That's for nearly getting me eaten!”

He knew she was serious- she put a lot more sting into that slap than usual. He rubbed the sore lump on his cheek, while his left eye started tearing up a little. “Hey, we can all relax, now- I rescued Dedenne! See?” Oran turned his back slightly, revealing the gerbil clasping for her dear life on his back.

Scyther let out a huge sigh of relief, “Well, at least you did. And at least nothing terrible happened to you.” His eyes fixated on the small needles lining all over her back, which were now more like tiny magenta bumps. “Ooh, can't say the same thing for her, though. That's a lot of poison for someone her size.”

“,” she whimpered.

“Ooh, yeah, that does look bad,” Scyther said to himself. “Oran, hold her in front of you.”

The Riolu unstrapped her arms from his back, and held her in front of his chest as high as he could. The mantis dropped to one of his knees, and held his silver badge that was pinned to his bandanna between his scythes. “Don't worry, Dedenne. Just open your eyes, and focus on my badge.”

She had trouble just opening her eyes half way, but when she looked at the small sapphire piece in the middle of his badge, it started to glow pure white. The stone transferred the shine to her, its brightness rivaling that of the sun's, until it suddenly died down to just a twinkle- and Dedenne was nowhere to be found.

“Whoa, where'd she go, Scyther?” Oran asked.

“Back to the guild,” he replied. “My badge can teleport other Pokémon to the guild.”

“Cool! When will mine do that?” He asked, starry-eyed.

“Later, but that's not important, now,” he told the Riolu. “For now, we need to head back to-”

“Hey!” The Ariados gang wiggled themselves up until they were upright on their feet again. They approached the trio with growling stomachs, and even angrier spirits. “You took our only food,” one slurped, “now you made us angry!”

“Pecha, Oran, get behind me,” Scyther said, gently nudging them to his sides. “One Ariados is bad enough; a group of them spells trouble.”

“But, Scyther, I wanna help,” Oran yelled at him.

“Oran, just listen to Scyther,” his sister told him, “you've done enough 'help' for today!”

Something felt off to the Riolu: It was like a pulse of negativity suddenly flowing through his entire being, like wind flowing through his sapphire fur. The negativity turned into images quickly flashing before his eyes- of him getting tightly wrapped up in a cocoon, like a mummy still alive. Then came the image of a spider, a living silhouette able to hold the cocoon like it was a pea- and it sank its tree-thick fangs into the wiggling sac. He felt his back suddenly flare up with some kind of sharp, burning ache, with all the pain concentrated into two spots. His howls pierced through the thick foliage of the Overgrowth, the experience drove him madly to his knees as he latched his paws on the furs of his head. “What's happening?!” he demanded in agony. “What's going on?!”

His mentor joined in with his own screams of dwindling sanity as the wave even affected him, “AAAAGGH-NN!” He collapsed to his knees, pleading for the horrible images to stop playing behind his eyes: he flew anywhere and everywhere he could to avoid the silk streams, but he wasn't fast enough. As soon as his left leg caught on the web, he turned to a cocoon before he could even blink. His squirming and muffled screams for help attracted the spider silhouette; his dance for desperation made him all the more delicious for it, the silhouette drove its tree-sized fangs into the dancing bean, putting him out of his misery. “These thoughts! Make them stop! Make them stop!” Just with Oran's cries, Scyther found no one else to relieve him from the horror.

“G-guys?” Everywhere she looked, everyone around Pecha seemed to have gone feral with insanity of some sort. She gulped a tight knot down her neck, standing in one spot while crawling beneath her own skin, and unable to figure out what's happening to everyone. “Guys, cut that out! I've been through enough weird stuff for today!”

“GYAAAAGH!” Whatever Oran and Scyther felt, the pulsating horror extended to even the group of Ariados. No matter how much they shook their heads violently, or bang them against the ground, they saw the same images, too, and it drove them haywire! Through their hysteria they chanted out loud, “She's here! She's here! Run away, run away!”

“Wait! Who's here?!” Oran screamed. “Scyther, what's happening?!”

The pulse seized. The images in their images weakened to where Oran and Scyther shook them out of their heads. They became just a memory to be quickly forgotten. “Br-r-r-r-r,” Oran rattled his head, “That was intense; a little too intense.”

“I-I think we were hit with a Night Shade,” Scyther told him with a hint of trembling in his voice. He aimed his eyes over the towering tree line. If it was the move he suspected, somebody must have had to use it close by. “That must mean whoever used it is right above us!”

The Buneary's danger sense grabbed her by her soft ears, and chucked her forward off her feet. A large object fell from a tree and landed where she once stood with a ground-shaking thump. Another Ariados, but different from the rest: the rest of the bunch looked like newly hatched egglings compared to her gargantuan size. Instead of scarlet red, her exoskeleton was a deep purple, perfect for camouflaging in the Overgrowth's foliage, and bright blue rings around her legs, instead of purple.

Oran stretched his arms out wide, “Whoa, that one is huge! I bet it can take on all the other Ariados!”

But Scyther and Pecha didn't share the same enthusiasm as the little pup. The mere sight of her sent trembles down their spines, freezing the Buneary in place, and forced the Scyther into uncertain anticipation. “She probably has,” Scyther choked.

She looked at the Buneary through her light blue tinted eyes with a glare of strange content, and Pecha could only guess at what she was thinking to the sound of her fangs clanging against each other. Like a showdown before noon, both predator and prey stared each other down.

The Ariados took the first draw- she spat a thick stream of String Shot that no one's eyes managed to catch, and latched to the Buneary before she had any time to even twitch. The Ariados reeled Pecha in with a single jerk of her head, and wrapped her between her fangs. Her heart raced as moments from her earlier experience flashed before her eyes, but instead of giving in, she fought them back. Despite her hands being bound to her waist, her free ears delivered devastating Pound after devastating pound to the arachnid's face. She repeated her orders to her, “Let go of me! Let go of me! I won't be on your menu, today!” But the Ariados took all of her struggles as if she were being continually punched by a feather- not a single sign of flinching or hurt shown in her eyes.

While she had the monstrous bug distracted, the Scyther and his jackal pup apprentice rushed in to help her fight. Scyther leaped, and readied his right scythe up high for an aerial slash. “I won't let you have her!” But the spider was quicker than he thought, jumping out of his way and onto the trunk of a nearby tree at the last second before he swiped at her with his sharp appendage.

Stationed on the side of the tree, the black markings on her abdomen that formed a frowning face became exposed to the Scyther and Riolu. For some reason they couldn't take their eyes off the markings, fully aware of the hypnosis they were undergoing. The face twitched. Even while being plastered onto the female spider's back it seemed like it was coming to life on its own. Stiffly the dotted eyes slanted into an angered glare, and the single frowning line split and morphed into a stencil smile full of teeth.

The face popped right off of the Ariados' back, and hovered toward the explorers like a bodiless specter looking for a victim to scare. It opened its mouth as if to eat them, then let out a small shriek of nails running across a chalkboard, knocking the two on their butts. When they opened their eyes, Ariados disappeared from the tree, but still seen hopping from limb to limb of each tree deep inside the woods.

“Rrgh, she hit us with a Scary Face,” Scyther grunted getting back up. “She's slowing us down so we can't get Pecha- I hate when that happens. It always makes me feel so awkwardly sluggish.”

“No use crying over it, Scyther, we can still get her back!” The eager Riolu lept to his feet. His legs filled with a sense of awkwardness, as if his very bones were going against his wishes of pursuing the spider holding his older sis captive, and wanted to stay in place, but he didn't listen to them. Through the subtle sensations of fear and shock he pushed himself through the Overgrowth's foliage that was almost as tall as he was, and nearly disappearing in front of the Scyther's eyes yet again. “Don't worry, Pecha, we'll get you back!”

“There he goes running off, again,” Scyther said to himself. He stood up slowly. Each step he took felt like he was fighting against some kind of underwater current wanting to push him back to his knees, but he won't allow him to give in to it. He tried matching the Riolu's speed as he ran, ignoring his legs and knees wanting to lock in place in fear. “Pecha, whatever you do, don't stop attacking her! She wants you to tire out!” He shouted as loudly as his lungs could allow.

The tree lines zoomed past Pecha while wrapped in the gnaws of her predator. Each long hop from branch to branch made her stomach want to hurl, but that was the least of her worries. She huffed and puffed while delivering a number of Pounds to the arachnid's face with her long ears, but the Ariados never seemed to be fazed from her attacks. Either she had a Durant's exoskeleton, or Pecha's soft, cottony ears were barely strong enough to swat flies out of the air. Rather than hurting the Ariados, the Buneary believed she was inching her way to the spider's last nerve. She wasn't used to attacking another Pokémon for this long: soon a strong wave of soreness engulfed her ears, her attacks started to slow down.

Pecha shouted at the Ariados to the rhythm of her Pounds, “Let go of me! I've had it up to here with you miserable insects snatching me up! Why not go eat someone your own size? Oh, that's right, there is no one your size! You just love bullying smaller Pokémon, and gobbling them up! Well I won't let you make a meal out of me!”

As soon as Ariados landed on her next branch, a bright bluish orb broke straight through the limb, and the spider tumbled down! She landed roughly on her left side, spitting out the rabbit she once had between her fangs with a long string. Her four legs danced and scampered in the air without anything to catch on until she decided to roll around on her back, landing safely back on all fours.

“We're not done with you, yet!” A blue blur struck the Ariados breathless in her sides when she turned around to see who yelled at her. She tumbled and rolled across the ground several times from the impact; when back on all fours, she shook the pain right off her body. A Riolu seemed to have struck her with his elbow during his Quick Attack. Eyebrows narrowed, Oran stared at her with a readied face as he let the cracking of his knuckles speak for him. The situation turned out different for her: now she has two walking meals to scrounge on.

The Scyther trailed behind Oran, finally able to run off the effects of Scary Face. He felt like he ran a twenty-mile marathon, despite running just two miles. He bent over and took heavy breaths, hoping to quell the burning in his lungs. “Nice...shot there, Oran,” he wheezed. “But how did you get it to go through the branch? I thought your Aura Sphere always ricochets.”

Oran shrugged his shoulders, “I dunno, it just always worked when I practice on tree trunks n' stuff.”

“Rgh, I'm sure glad the gang's all back together,” Pecha grunted to herself, trying to free herself from her String Shot cocoon. “Hey, I have an idea to celebrate this occasion- somebody help me out of this nasty stuff- whoa-!” The Ariados yanked on the loose string connecting her to the Buneary, reeling Pecha while she dragged across the ground. “Hey,” she yelled at the spider, “I said I've had enough of this for today!”

“I got ya, Pecha!” Oran chased after his sister. He grabbed hold of her wrapped body, and dug his hind paws into the ground to halt the spider from claiming her. But he underestimated her strength, no matter how deep he dug his heels into the ground, she never slowed down her pull, causing him to rake rows of dirt behind him. “Rrrgh-!” This was one tug-o-war he refused to lose; taking one step at a time backwards, he matched his efforts to the Ariados', and Pecha was going nowhere. “I! Won't! Let! You! Have! My! Sister!”

Pecha thought to give him some encouraging words, “Come on, Oran! Pull Harder!”


The webbing's elasticity was stretched to its absolute limit between the two Pokémon, but with all the tension stored within its strands, it still refused to break. But with a single touch from Scyther's right blade, the string gave way and flung Ariados and Oran in opposite directions. “Oomph!” The Riolu met the ground harshly with his back, but at least his sister is safe in his arms. Scyther turned to the Buneary, and freed her from her sticky bindings with a single swipe of his Fury Cutter. “Pecha, are you alright?” He asked her.

She crawled out of the sticky string like a Butterfree molting out of her Metapod cocoon, but not without losing a few patches of fur on her. “Y-yeah,” she told him, freeing her left paw out of the mess, and throwing it on the ground. “Do me a favor: after we're done, let's not do any more missions involving giant spiders.”

“Watch out-!” Scyther jumped right in front of the kids. One by one thousands of little Poison Stings punctured his back while he used himself as a shield for his little ones. “Rrgh!” His body tensed as if it went through a bad acupuncture session, he was unable to move a muscle outside of a simple twitch. His legs couldn't handle the weight of his body, and he crashed onto the dirt like a fallen tree.

“Scyther!” Pecha and Oran ran to their fallen mentor's side. Frantically they pulled out every needle puncturing his backside that they can get their paws on, even risking pricking their hands on their before they had the chance to sink in. When Scyther was freed from the Poison Stings, his back was a chart of connect-the-dots left by the Poison-type attack that stuck him.

“Thanks, guys,” Scyther grunted while slowly picking himself up; the absent poisonous needles left phantom pains that still fooled his body into wanting to lock up.

“Scyther, let's just go home, now,” Pecha told him softly. “We rescued Dedenne, there's no reason to stay.”

Scyther knew his disciple had a point. Their mission was over, and Dedenne is now recovering back at the guild. He could use his silver badge to teleport the three of them away, and call it a day. But something built inside of him, irking him to stay. “No,” he said.

“What? No? But why?” The Buneary asked.

“You're right that our mission is over,” Scyther said, “but when a Pokémon attacks my students, I won't let it slide!” He turned away from the children. Crossing his blades in front of his chest, he emitted a white glow around his body, and two more Scyther appeared by his side.

Oran's heart raced as fast as his tail wagged. He always wanted to see how an experienced explorer handled business, and now was his chance. He cheered him on, “Yeah! Go, Scyther! Kick that bug's butt!”

“Ariados, today you will witness the wrath of a Silver-ranked explorer!”

The Ariados attempted to fire another round of Poison Sting, hoping that would finish the job, but Scyther and his doppelgangers easily fled the stream of purple needles, flying away from it. Their small wings turned ghostly white, and grew to be twice as long as his arms. They flew low to the ground, low enough for each of them to strike the spider with just one of their wings.

As the Scyther gang swarmed above her like angry Beedrill, what felt like a light graze across her exoskeleton with their wings to them was like a deep cut to her. The Flying-type attacks kept coming, and with them another monstrous shriek of distress from the Ariados.

Oran jumped up and down at the sight of the spectacle, “Yeah! Go, Scyther! You have it on the ropes!”

“And now for the finishing move!” His two doppelgangers dissipated into mist, and the real Scyther revealed himself over the Ariados head. “Fury Cutter!” He dropped like a falling rock from the sky, his raised scythe screamed through the air.

Victory was assured to him. Until the spider proved him otherwise, by catching his blade between her maw before it had the chance to hit.

“What the? How is that possible?!” Scyther screamed. He tried to wiggle his arm out of her fangs, but her grip was too strong to even let him inch his way to freedom.

She flung him around in the air like a toddler would with a brand new action figure, before flinging him back by his students' feet. “Even after being super-effectively hit by my Wing Attack, she still has fight in her,” he grunted as the kids pushed him up.

“Why didn't you go for another Wing Attack while you were overhead?” Pecha asked.

“I got excited, and thought I had her with my Fury Cutter,” he said. “I've never won a fight with my Fury Cutter. Let that be a lesson, kids: even when victory is assured, you still lose.”

The spider drew closer to the group, her fangs leaving entire rivers of venom behind just to the thought of the all-you-can-eat-buffet she was about to have. Oran didn't want to stand by while his friends would be eaten; he had to think fast. He threw himself in front of the Scyther, his arms stretched wide. “No! I won't let you have us,” he shouted at the spider.

Ariados didn't care for his plea; all she wondered was how much longer was her prey going to run out of steam to fight back. Then came her solution: she opened her maw wide, and aimed a thousand needles of Poison Sting at the Riolu.

“I said I won't let you have us!” All he wanted to see was his friends' safety. All he wanted to feel was their pain in their place. A small spark of growth clicked inside of him- he crossed his arms in front of his chest, and the thousand poison needles just disappeared on contact with his skin. With each of their stings a dark blue aura around the jackal's body shined brighter.

Pecha and Scyther watched behind him with curious fascination: what was happening to their teammate, they wondered with open eyes. The Buneary has never seen something quite like this before; the Scyther just can't quite put his scythe on what's happening in front of him. “Scyther, what's he doing?” She asked.

“If my hunch is right, Oran is learning Counter,” Scyther sputtered to her.

The pecking of the needles died off. “Here, have it all back!” With a wave of his right paw, Oran returned all one thousand needles to the spider. Of all he threw back only a hand full pricked Ariados in her face, but that small amount was enough to send the creepy-crawly into a fit, screaming bloody murder as she raked the pins out with her front legs.

A shout from Scyther caught Oran by the ears, “Oran, she's weakened now! Use your Quick Attack!”

“Okay!” After his first step his feet felt weightless and quick like the wind. Everything in front of him became a blur to his crimson eyes, all but the fast-approaching arachnid. Before time ran out he propped his right shoulder in front of him as he awaited the incoming collision.

As the final needle fell out of her face, Ariados was lifted off her feet and carried off by the speeding Riolu. He slammed down his breaks, and threw the gargantuan arachnid with the rest of his inertia that still believed he was in motion. When she hit the ground she hit it hard, skipping across it like a stone over a pond while rolling. A sturdy tree trunk broke her momentum, along with, as evidence from her unconscious twitching, most of her body.

“Hey, I did it! I won!” taking on a Pokémon three times his size and winning made him feel a while lot bigger about himself. Underneath all of the dancing around and hopping for glee, he felt like he could take an Ursaring on, no problem! “Scyther, did you see that?” He asked his teacher. “Wasn't that cool.”

“Yes, you did a good job,” Scyther replied, grunting as he barely picked himself back up. “Hoo-geez, what an adventure. Sure thing I'm gonna feel this in the morning.”

Pecha hopped to her little brother, “Oran, how did you do that?” She asked him, her jaw still hanging low.

“Did what?” What a vague question coming from his sister. Usually she's more blunt when it comes to questions.

“That blue, glowy thing, how did you do that? When you were shielding us from the Poison Sting.”

he pondered hard to himself, rubbing the sides of his head to see if that helped bring back anything from that moment. Certainly he did remember that instant, but everything else was so vague to him: his feelings, all were as gray to him as the world around him. “I-I don't know how I did it,” he told her. “I was just so fed up with that Ariados trying to hurt you guys, all I wanted was to do something.” He glanced down at his open paws, “And then something just...unlocked inside of me. Just sort of sparked inside.”

“Well, the important thing is, we're all at least in one piece,” Scyther told the children. “Just between us: Ariados aren't exactly my favorite Pokémon to deal with. They tend to be a bit unpredictable for me, it's scary.”

Pecha turned to Scyther, nodding her head in agreement, “I hear that. This entire thing has been stressful on my fur.”

“Okay, guys, time to fall in towards me. I'll take us home.” Pecha and Oran huddled around the Scyther. He gave his silver badge a slight tap, and its sapphire eye hummed while emitting a faint glow. A quick burst of light, and the crew was gone.

There couldn't have been any greater relief pouring from Pikachu's eyes seeing his wife again, back in Florges' office. He rubbed his scarlet cheeks against hers as he held her tightly, producing small sparks of static between them. “Oh, Dedenne, my love,” he cried onto her cheek, “I'm so glad you're okay! I'm just so happy that we're together again!”

Dedenne only responded to him with a low grumble of irritation. After seeing her husband again after what she's been put through, how could she reply back to him with the same kindness.

“Wh-what's wrong, dear?” He asked her nervously.

“I think you know what's wrong,” she replied back with a bitter voice. She decided to let her foolish husband have it, “Do you know how long you left me stranded out there, at the mercy of every Ariados in the Indigo Overgrowth?! I don't even know how long I was out there, but it felt like an eternity! And all because YOU ran away to get help, when you could have stayed with me to fight them off! We could have solved the problem faster that way!”

Pikachu's once gentle grasp around his wife grew limp and weak. He knew she had some harsh criticism about his decision, and he thought he could take it. But his watery eyes and cracking heart believed otherwise. “B-b-but I did get help for you,” he sniveled. “I-I only wanted to help.”

She crossed her arms while turning her back on him, “Thanks for the 'help'.”

“Dedenne, I-” the closer he got to her, the more she wanted to push away from him. he squeaked multiple huffs, and hid his eyes in his palms. “I'm so sorry, Dedenne,” he told her, with streams of water trailing down his tiny arms. “I wanted our honeymoon to be perfect; but instead, I ruined it for us! If only I didn't take that detour! Why am I so stupid? Everything good that happens to me I ruin!”

“Cry all you want, I'm still mad at you,” she told him.

“You deserve to be mad at me- even I'm mad at me- and I deserve every ounce of it!” Dedenne felt her husband's tiny hands gently placed on her shoulders, “I know today was sort of a hiccup, but let's try to forget about it. Every couple goes through days like this. But at least let me take us to Cristal Springs! Before our marriage dies before it even begins.”

Dedenne glanced at her husband from her left shoulder. Even while bumbling, she noticed something different in him. Previously he was too squishy to support himself. Maybe some of that softness hardened into a backbone during her absence. And she felt a little proud, teaching him how to do that, though not enough to break through her anger. “Fine,” she sighed heavily, “I forgive you. I'm not gonna stay mad at you- at least you did try to help.”

“R-really?” He pulled his wife in towards him for a tight hug. “Thank you, Dedenne,” he praised with tears running from his eyes, “you don't know how much that makes me happy! I promise not to mess this up!”

She replied with no words, but with a, silent, hot huff into his arm.

Pikachu peeled away from her, “What's wrong, love?” He asked. “Was it something I said?”

“Oh, nothing,” Dedenne told him. Pretending to trip into his chest, she purred to him within his hold, “it's just that, after going through all that stuff, I'm really beat. I don't think I have the energy to walk all the way to Cristal Springs. If only there was a big, strong Pikachu that could carry me there- that would make me very happy.”

He caught on to what she was trying to tell him, though he thought it best to keep it to himself, and just play along. “U-uhm, okay,” he said, “I'll carry you along the way, if that's what you want.”

“Oh, that would be lovely,” she purred with warmth. Crawling into his arms she wiggled a little bit to fit snugly in his caress. She could almost fall asleep! It took the mouse by surprise: rarely did his wife ever let him hold her. His stubby, little arms just wanted to give way as soon as she cradled on top. But after all he put her through, he felt she needed this little rest, and he needed this little pain. She pecked him in his right cheek with a kiss, “Love ya', honey.”

He chuckled a bit under his wife's weight, “I-I love you, too.” He looked to the three explorers standing in front of him who saved his wife, “Thank you, explorers,” he told them. “If it weren't for you, I would see my wife, again.”

“No problem, we're always happy to help,” Scyther told him.

Finally reunited, the Electric couple went on their journey, continuing for the glistening waters of Cristal Springs.

“What, no reward?” Being left empty-handed frustrated the Buneary. She at least expected to be paid for all her labor and the fur she lost- some Poké wouldn't have hurt. She turned to the Guildmistress, “We're just letting them walk out for free?”

“We've already worked out a payment,” Florges said while tapping a stack of papers on the face of her desk. “It may not come today, but you'll be duly compensated.”

Pecha grunted, crossing her arms, “Could you at least tell me what it is?”

Florges chuckled, “No, no, no, I'm keeping it a surprise~. I thought you'd appreciate surprises.”

“I think I'm all burnt out on surprises for today,” the Buneary said.

She felt Scyther's lukewarm blade wrapping around her right shoulder. He kneeled down to her, and stuttered, “Come on, let's get some rest, okay?”

“Excellent idea, Scyther,” Florges praised, “you've all had quite a day, I'm sure. You all deserve some rest.” Being dismissed by the Guildmistress, Pecha and Scyther walked out of the office.

Strutting behind the others Oran had one foot out the door, before hearing his name called, “Oh, Oran,” Florges said, “before you leave, I need to have a word with you.”

A massive clump formed in his throat, and tiny goosebumps began growing under his pelt. Regardless of what she had to tell him, he never liked being called by her to stay in her office. He had a feeling he knew what she wanted to talk about, but a little speck in the back of his mind kept him cool, telling him she might actually commend him in private! He turned and asked, “Yes, Miss Florges?” Although his body stayed collected, his voice crackled with anticipated anxiety.

“Scyther has told me about your behavior in the Indigo Overgrowth,” she explained. “I'm very disappointed in you. That's not the way an explorer should act.”

he rushed over to her deck, “But if I hadn't, I wouldn't rescue Dedenne,” he argued.

“That may be true,” Florges said, “but you could have put your teammates in danger, just running off like that. You could have easily put yourself in danger. I do not condone reckless behavior like that. I'm sorry, Oran, but you give me no choice: no dinner for you, tonight.”

In one instant, upon hearing those words, he immediately knew what it felt like to be a Water-type being struck by Wood Hammer. “No, no, Miss Florges, don't do that,” he begged against her desk, his eyes misting lightly with tears. “I promise I learned my lesson! I won't do that ever again!”

“I'll take your word for it,” the Guildmistress told him, “after you are finished with your punishment. Don't worry, I know you'll pull through.”

“This can't be happening,” he chanted softly to himself while cupping his pointed ears to his head, “this can't be happening!” The anxiety was too much for him to bear, and he dashed out of her office before it had the chance to cripple him.

The office grew dead and silent with just the Florges occupying its lonesome space. Her once erect form slouched sluggishly down on the desk, her face covered behind the wall her arms formed. A deep breath turned into a heavy sigh, and she raised her head from behind her arms, “I hope I wasn't too harsh on him,” she said to herself. “That boy is becoming more and more like his mother everyday. Pretty soon I have to discipline him the same way I disciplined her. Oh, Lopunny, why is watching over your children so draining? I'm a Guildmistress; not a babysitter.” A great yawn escaped her mouth, and she wiped the light dew from her eyes. “Oh my, I should take a break, too, before my job kills me.”

The light of day quickly burned to just specks of light in the blackened Unidan sky, with just streaks of gray clouds casually floating across the canvas. A gentle, yet weary breath of wind blew through a beige prairie of dry grass. Like an island stranded in an ocean, there was a small cave formation looking over the field, softly illuminated by several torches inside its mouth.

A young Gabite paced back and forth in front of the cavern at an impatient pace. Being on the run with her twin brother, it didn't sit well with her just staying in one place, while authorities came closer to sniffing them out. How much longer must she sit around until that happened, she thought. “Come on, come on,” she growled to herself as she chugged along her little personal moat, “where is he? The authorities are gonna be here any minute- where is he?!”

“Calm down, Pele,” her twin brother told her from within the cave. Surrounding him where he sat was their plunder for the day: four hundred-fifty of Poké, three Oran Berries, and just a handful of Gravelerrock. Hardly anything of worth in small quantities. “I'm sure we're safe for the night.”

“Easy for you to say, Lono,” she hissed at him. “We can't have our guards down when it comes to the Pawniard Brigade: one minute we'll be miles ahead of them, and then the next they're breathing down our scales! We can crush those little worms easily- but noooo- we need to be on the run from them!” Repeatedly she took her frustration out on a nearest innocent wall by kicking it, crushing it bit by bit into rubble underneath her large feet. “He's an idiot,” she roared, “he's making us sitting ducks, while he's still out there! We're supposed to be a team!”

Each kick by his sister caused the ceiling above his head to rumble a little bit, with a few strands of dust breaking loose. “Can you try to be a little more quiet?” Lono asked his sister calmly. “And while you're at it, I'd appreciate it if you don't collapse the entire foundation on top of us.”

“Shut up, Lono, worry about yourself,” the sister barked. “Go back to counting our loot!” She was about to deliver another blow to the wall, but something stopped her. A curious rumble, softly vibrating beneath her grounded foot. The little shiver quickly became a violent shake, until a geyser of earth and dust exploded in front of the cavern, and a heavy object crashed back down near the gaping opening.

The thin veil of dust settled, revealing a Garchomp behind it, one very large for his species. A deep scar from long ago stretched diagonally across his scarlet underbelly, and another smaller one permanently closing his left eye.

“Where have you been, Ku?!” The Gabite female demanded. “do you know how much I hate waiting out here?!”

“Shut up,” the land shark growled back. The authority and aggression in his voice took the female a step back, closing her mouth. “I was meeting with an associate of mine.”

“I hope it was a good meeting,” the twin brother cracked.

“All you need to know is we have our next target: a small town not too far from here. I hear they have something that has peeked my interest.”

“Really?” Pele asked. “What is it?”

“You'll see soon enough. It's time to head out!” The Garchomp hopped back into the hole from where he came.

“Aw, man, and I was just starting to like it in here,” Lono said in a sarcastic tone, scraping all of the items off the floor and shoveling them back into his bag. “Any longer, I would've called this place 'home'.”

“There's no use bellyaching,” Pele told him, rearing for a fight, “I've been looking forward for a little action all night! Come on!” The Gabite hopped and then drilled into the earth, disappearing into the hole she made.

Lono huffed, “Why am I always picking up your guys' slack?”


Seen August 19th, 2019
Posted August 10th, 2019
102 posts
3.9 Years
Chapter 6

A symphony of screams filtered out the crackling of crickets. Against the backdrop of the blackened sky, thick pillars of smoke arose from the many burning shelters of the Beige Plains village, their owners fleeing, shrieking with glass-breaking screeches to escape the destruction, and from Team Sharktooth. Despite their calls for help being loud enough to wake all of Unido, no one came to their aide.

“Run for your lives!” they chanted, running from the flame-engulfed plains they once called homes. But before clearing the field of rubble, a geyser of dirt stopped them in their tracks, with the young Gabite female, Pele, emerging from it as she landed back onto the solid ground with a thud. She spewed an intense river of flame from her gaping maw right at their feet, pushing them back with a growing wall of fire. “Aww, leaving so soon?” She taunted the crowd. “The fun's just getting started!”

“Please, just leave us alone!” a mother Persian shouted, sheltering her cowering litter of five Meowth kittens. “Why are you doing this?!”

“Quiet!” Pele silenced her. “This dump you call your home has something of ours, and we're not leaving until we get it!”

Another Gabite slowly crawled out of an earthy mound behind the frightened crowd. “Good job keeping them in line, Pele,” Lono said. Wherever he looked all he could see was the great wall of inferno his sister created, quickly spreading from the dried grass the plains offered. “Love what you did with the place,” he also cracked, “could use a little less fire, though. The authorities won't even think of looking here. ”

“Shut it, Lono,” she barked , “I doubt you can do any better! Help me keep this idiots in check; maybe you'd actually be of some use, for once!”

“Hmm, I dunno, sis,” the Gabite brother told her, “I was planning to help, but then you said those hurtful things.”

“Oh, wah,” cried Pele, “Go cry me a river!”

“If I do, it'll put your fire out,” he said.

Heated air beat at the Garchomp's dry scales while he strolled through the burning aisles of the Beige Plains. All around the smoke-filled plains his eyes searched for someone, ignoring the crowds of escaping inhabitants running past him. Turning his head left from right in several quick sweeps, his search for one specific Pokémon grew more and more fruitless; of course this had to be the day both his eyes were needed.

A hostile growl shrieked from behind Ku, “You'll pay for destroying my village!”

“Hmm?” The Garchomp turned his head to the sound, wondering who said it, to see a fully-grown Machoke thirty feet in the air, with his right fist glowing sizzling white from preparing a Dynamic Punch to punish the Dragon-type with. Pouring enough muscle and power into his punch to make an entire mountain crumble into a pile of pebbles, the only thing to hit him as he sidestepped out of harm's way was the small shock wave surrounding the fist, breezing across his navy blue scales like a soft breath of wind. His right claw turned a hideous orange hue, and struck the Fighting-type across his chest.

Machoke plummeted to the ground, the worst pain he felt for a while forced a non-stop holler for relief from him. The Dragon Claw should have cleaved right through him like bread; thanks to his bulk, it only left a deep purplish bruising cleanly streaking diagonally across his chest.

“You're this village's strongest fighter?” Ku scoffed.

Fighting against the unimaginable pain keeping him on the floor and his stiffening muscles, Machoke raised himself off his back, but a large foot forced him back onto the ground.

“Pathetic,” Ku scorned. “Tell me where the Elder is.” The Garchomp applied steady pressure onto the downed Pokémon's chest by leaning forward- his favorite persuasion technique.

“Grrgh!” Drool bubbled between the Machoke's clenched teeth. With each passing second, his ribs pressed against the increasing stress, with a thought in his mind that they could only take so much. He wrapped his beefy hands around his ankle with a vice grip, and fought against the grain of his opponent's weight, trying to ease the pressure by lifting it up as much as he could. But the slightest slip of his grip brought it all crashing back down on his center. Machoke's voice cracked as his rib cracked, the bone piercing deeper inside him as his enemy's paw pressed down harder.

“Tell me,” Ku demanded again calmly.

“Wh-why...should I tell you anything?” Machoke asked.

“Because you're in no position to fight back,” he replied. “This could have easily been avoided if you didn't listen to your pride.”

Machoke saw no way out of his predicament. No matter how much he resisted for his pride's sake, this was one battle he ultimately lost. Taking one hand off the dragon's ankle, it took all his strength to point the Dragon to where his leader was. “Over there,” he wheezed, “H-he's going around town...putting out fires you jerks caused.” Ku's eyes glanced over and spotted an Elderly Ludicolo toward the horizons that Machoke pointed to. Foolish geezer, he believed he could put out the mighty inferno all by himself, yet he was without help. Witnessing the Ludicolo's Hydro Pump reducing some of the blaze to just a whimpering sizzle, the flames grew quicker than he could put them out. The Dragon-type finally lifted his foot off the Fighting-type, though with the weight gone, Machoke only managed a few shallow, painful breaths at a time.

Shooting gallons of high-pressured water from his bill, Ludicolo conquered the engulfing blaze one burning house at a time- but even with some of it dwindled to just smoke, the sea of fire challenged the Water-type Pokémon with just its heat alone. It was like putting out a bonfire with nothing but a squirt gun running out of water. All that's left of the homes in front of him were rubble and ash, and their owners' burnt up cherished memories. Fatigue slowly crept up on him, and he noticed his efforts becoming more sluggish and less thorough. He still had much to do, but he can't keep doing it forever. “This is not good,” he huffed to himself, “not good at all.”

“Maybe you'd enjoy some company.” Ku's daunting, yet calm voice startle Ludicolo from his work as he approached him.

“You!” Ludicolo growled at him under a rough, scratchy tone. Seeing the mastermind of all the entropy and destruction going about in his settlement face-to-face set the Ludicolo aback. There were no words he knew that resembled any form of kindness that he wanted to say to the Dragon-type. If he were any younger, he would have sent the outlaw packing with a Hydro Pump. “I think you caused us enough pain and suffering for one night! Leave my village at once!”

“Not until I find what I'm looking for,” Ku told him. “The orb, where is it?”

“I haven't the slightest what you're talking about,” the Water-type replied.

“I have reason to believe you do,” said the Garchomp. “A little Pidgey told me.”

“Well, that little Pidgey of yours is wrong,” Ludicolo said.

The Garchomp rubbed his blade-like teeth together- the longer he talks to this geezer, the more time he wastes. He had a gut feeling the Elder was dodging him deliberately. “As much as I'd love to stay and chat with you, I'm a Pokémon on borrowed time,” he told the Elder.

“And I'm a Pokémon at the end of his rope, trying to calm down the chaos and entropy of his beloved home,” Ludicolo snapped back, “the chaos and entropy that you caus-!” without even seeing it the Ludicolo kissed the crushing blow of Ku's tail, slamming him onto his back in a thin bed of dry grass. A blunt grunt left his bill, calling for any nearby help to lift the Dragon's weight off of him, since his old, weakened muscles can't lift it even an inch for him to crawl out for freedom. But no one came to his aid.

“And I thought you Elders were smarter than this,” Ku sighed. “I thought wrong.”

“Release me, you fiend!” The Elder hissed from underneath the Pokémon.

“You wasted enough of my time,” said the Garchomp. “Tell me where it is, or I'll cut your rope even shorter.”

Ludicolo's stubby flippers wagged in the air, failing to grab any traction with the ground. Getting the hulking appendage required some arm muscle, which had all but deteriorated in his old age. Despite his best efforts, he lifted it just a tad off his chest, barely enough to breathe. As he grabbed a quick gulp of air, the Mach Pokémon pushed his arms back until his elbows touched the soil again with a slight flinch of his tail, squeezing air right out of the Elder's lungs. “Okay! Okay!” he wheezed. “I'll give you what you want!”

Hearing the lovely sound of surrender drew a small smirk from the Garchomp, lifting his weight off the old 'mon as he wheezed and gasped to fill his lungs with air again. “There, now was that so hard?” Ku asked.

He huffed and gasped, “I'm only doing save my village from further harm.” He rolled over to his chest, lifting himself up to his hind flippers so he can stand back up. After a quick dust off, he said to the criminal, “Once you have it, I want you and your little goonies out of here, capish?”

Ku's grin stretched wider, now showing some of his blade-like teeth. “Fine with me,” he said. He called for his partners, “Pele! Lono!”

The Elder led the team of hammerheads to his hut, which remained to be the least affect by the blazing inferno outside. Just as they walked right in, there it was, staring the group in the face: the orb, sitting so snugly in the wall as the centerpiece of the Elder's sigil. Just merely gazing upon the deep red stone and its smooth surface brought the Garchomp at a loss for words. His eyes stayed glued to it like candy, his mouth agape.

“Beautiful,” he whispered to himself under a soft whisper, with no other word to describe it, “just beautiful; I've never seen anything like it!”

“We terrorized an entire village, just for that lil' thing?” Pele asked. “What a complete waste of time! Why not just raid a Kecleon shop if you wanted one so badly?!”

“This orb is unlike the rest,” he told the steaming female. “Just a mere sliver of this orb will grant us great power. Lono-”

The male Gabite ran to his leader's side, shuffling through his bag for an empty pouch to receive the treasure in. Ku grabbed a hold of the softball-sized sphere by both claws, delicately transferring it from its imprint in the wall to the awaiting empty bag. With a satisfied bulge in his pouch, Lono threw the top back over and closed the bag.

“You have your treasure, now,” the Elder told them, “but before you leave, just let me ask: what are you planning on doing with it?”

“That's none of your business,” said Ku.

The Elder stepped in front of the group as they were about to walk out, “It's very well my business! What you have there is no ordinary rarity: it's an item capable of turning the very pecking order of Pokémon on its head! It's use was even banned years ago by the Seven Guilds Association itself!”

“I'm fully aware of that,” Ku replied to the Pokémon's outcry in a calm tone. Just a slight nudge from the Dragon's shoulder nearly knocked the Elder off his feet, “Out of the way,” he told the Ludicolo.

“Then what in Arceus' name are you planning to-?!” It suddenly dawned on the Elder, as if it just walked up beside him, and slapped him across the back of his head. His beige fur faded to a sickly white hue, and his sombrero sunk crooked atop his head. “Oh, no, don't tell me you're-!”

“Pele, Lono, let's leave the poor, old man to his burning pile of rubble,” Ku told them, walking away. “That was our deal, after all.” The two Gabite twins trailed behind the leader, never looking back at the Elder and his village.

“You are insane,” Ludicolo howled with all his breath, “all three of you! Your plan is doomed to fail!”

“My sincerest gratitude for the orb,” Ku shouted back, before he forgot. “I'll make sure we use it wisely.”

“You have no idea what you're all getting yourselves into!”

Pele shouted from the horizons, “Shut your trap, already!” and the trio disappeared from the Elder's sight, underneath the smoke-filled night.

A great inferno ate away at the prairie grass at a rapid rate. Nothing resembled a “village” to him anymore: just a pile of blackened brick and charred wood. All thanks to that little rock he used to adorn his office wall with. He never once believed in a bad day- funny how one experience changed that outlook. “Sheesh, what a rowdy bunch of youngsters,” he growled, crossing his arms. As much as he wanted to stay inside and ramble the night away, it won't do any good against that mighty fire blazing next door to him. He some serious firefighting to do.

While the sun's welcoming light slowly broke from the retiring darkness, Guildmaster Bisharp entered the ruins' horizon, along with his Pawniard Brigade of eight of his little pre-evolutions. His long purple cape fluttered against the agitated breeze, catching the small particles of soot blowing from what used to be a happy, quaint settlement. Just as the light began to make clear of the predicament, thick clouds of settling smoke somewhat clouded his vision.

The black ground crunched underneath their metallic feet as the force walked down the streets of the ruined settlement. Everywhere Bisharp gazed looked all the same: the aftermath of one big bonfire that shouldn't have happened. Whatever wasn't burned to the ground wished it was, as the remaining shelters were nearly painted entirely black from ash, with various signs of influence from the blaze, whether it was just minor charring around the sides, or entire walls being claimed by the dead blaze. If this was the outlaw's idea of provoking him, they failed.

Two of his Pawniard ran towards him, “Sir,” one said, “we found survivors!”

The Sword Blade Pokémon followed his associates to a clustered group of villagers. The three approached, and some of the inhabitants backed away a few more inches into the huddle; they had their fill of visitors for the day. Some had barely a sunburn from the incident; others had full patches of fur missing, and their skins seared rare and bandaged. “May I speak with your leader?” The Bisharp called out loud to the group. “I am Guildmaster Bisharp of Guild Bisharp; I wish to investigate whatever has happened here.”

Amid the frightened lake of his people, a Ludicolo slowly rose from tending the more serious injuries the best he could. “Go away,” he shouted back to the Guildmaster, “we've had enough for one day!”

“We don't wish to cause any harm,” Bisharp told him in a leveled voice. “We only have a few questions for you; all I ask for is your cooperation.”

The Elder gave a soft grunt. His capacity to trust outsiders has all but crumbled away, regardless of who it is. “It's funny, the last guy who visited us had questions, too, and look what happened! What makes you so sure we can trust you?”

Bisharp replied, “I understand that you're distraught-”

“Who wouldn't?” Ludicolo barked back. “You'd be too, if someone just walked right in to your town, burned everything down, demanded your most prized possession, and left!”

What an unruly Elder Bisharp had to deal with. Although rather small, a kernel of guilt grew inside of the Sharp Blade; had he arrived any earlier, he had no doubt at least some of this catastrophe would have been avoided. He opened the inside of his concealing cape with his left hand: stuck to his left shoulder was a badge as dark gray as charcoal, adorned with chrome wings and a sapphire eye. It was his Guildmasters' badge: his only proof of authenticity to the bewildered Elder. “We only want to help you,” said Bisharp. “If you cooperate with us, I'm sure I can persuade the Guild Association to send disaster relief.”

Ludicolo gave a soft growl. “Fine,” he told the Bisharp, “But make your questions snappy- I have many wounds to tend to. Follow me.”

Ludicolo walked down that familiar path, taking three strangers to his hut for a private talk. His rusty bones screamed for him to plop right down in the middle of his grassy floor, a somewhat relieved huff left his bill.

“we've been tracking down a group of delinquents for a while,” said Bisharp. “They call themselves 'Team Sharktooth'- a Garchomp, and two Gabite. Were they the ones who caused this destruction?”

“Of course they did,” the Elder snapped. “They just showed up out of nowhere! One of the Gabite started firing away at our houses with a Flamethrower, and the Garchomp assaulted all those in his vicinity. He even killed one of my strongest fighters!” His eyes started to water with light tears, “Poor lad; all he's doing right now is waiting for me to give him a proper burial. But my hands are full at the moment, and they'll probably be that way for a while.”

“One death and several wounded,” the Bisharp thought to himself, “for just a C-ranked threat, Team Sharktooth is more dangerous than I perceived them.” He told the Elder, “I have just one more question: if I recall, earlier, you referenced a 'prized possession' that they stole from you. What was it?”

“It was an orb,” Ludicolo told him, “a treasure I kept since I was just a young Lombre working at Slowking Guild.”

“And so you just kept it around as a centerpiece,” Bisharp jumped to conclusions.

“It wasn't just any ordinary orb,” the Elder told him. “It's called the 'Inverse Orb', and what a very powerful item it was to be banned from use by the Guilds themselves. What else was I supposed to do with it, use it as paperweight?”

“The Inverse Orb.” Bisharp's eyes raised slightly from their cold, unconvincing rest, “They are in possession of such a thing?”

“Guildmaster Bisharp, was it?” The Elder asked. “I must thank you for coming to our aid, even though I tried to push you away earlier.”

Bisharp bowed to the Elder, “It's my pleasure; I wouldn't be doing my duty as a law enforcer if I hadn't.” He turned from the Elder as he exited his hut, and said, “I will bring news of this to the Association as soon as possible. I will make sure that you and your village receive the full crisis care that you deser-”

“There is just one more thing bothering me, though.”

Bisharp's footsteps stopped, and he froze as stiff as a statue in front of his doorway. “Oh?” He asked, without looking back at the old Pokémon.

Despite the attention of the officer in his hands, Ludicolo slipped what he was going to say. He swallowed a small dump down his throat, and hoped he could word his concerns easily to the Bisharp. “That 'Team Sharktooth', I believe they are planning to assault the guilds.”

A dead silence befell the room, not even the coming wind from outside dared to disturb it with its whispers. Ludicolo could only imagine what went through the Sharp Blade's mind, hearing it as a Guildmaster under a potential threat of a raid: tension, anger, maybe fear. No, something different; as he stood there in the still atmosphere, the Elder felt a certain sense of calm and collectiveness resonate from the Dark-type- as if he's already prepared for such a situation. Bisharp peeked over his right shoulder, “Is that so,” he told the Elder.

“Don't you find it a little suspicious?” Ludicolo asked. “You're a Guildmaster, you must know what the Inverse Orb is capable of, correct? Why would three outlaws want to steal it? The orb isn't just a thing one could use at their own leisure- they're planning on using it, one way or another.”

Something caught just the edge of Bisharp's eye: a tiny black dot coming from the north where he was, the sounds of clanking metal accompanying it as it came into focus. “Sir,” the Pawniard private shouted, “We found something!”

The Pawniard lead his commanding officer to another one of Team Sharktooth's trails, barely located off the village's property. There were three holes lined near each other, showing the same characteristics as the others they tracked: the middle hole was the largest in diameter, requiring a Wailord to plug up; the one to its left was articulately crafted, and impossibly smooth all the way down; the right hole had some haste put into its creation, as if its digger had no patience.

“So, they really were here,” said one Pawniard to another.

“It must get really dark in there,” said the other Pawniard, “How do they even see while digging underground?”

Despite the banter between his subordinates, the Bisharp kept his eyes on the entrances, without chiming in to the conversation. His mind ran wild with questions, only to have them followed up by possible conclusions. “An entire year of harassing travelers, and hijacking their possessions, and this is what it leads to,” he thought to himself. “I've always taken you lot for just petty crooks; Now I have you mistaken: you are capable of much, much more.” He told his privates as he strolled away from the underground escape routes, “Pawniard, we're heading back to the guild. Immediately.”

“What? Why?” The two Pokémon asked back in synchronized timing.

“There's nothing more we can do,” the commander told them. “As long as they travel underground, we'll never catch them on foot; our pursuit is done. We must return to the guild.”

“But what about the criminals?” One Pawniard asked. “Are we just going to give up on them?”

“As for Team Sharktooth: we will raise their threat level from C-class to Star-I,” the Sharp Blade responded. “The guilds must be warned: as of now, every guild is under threat of an outlaw attack- even ours.”

The pupils of his subordinate's eyes shook with a subtle tremble. Whatever their Captain anticipated, it sounded like nothing but bad news to them. But even if their leader was ready for it, then they were too! They straightened their stance to a salute, and gave a loud and proud “Yes, sir!” in unison. The little Pawniard tapped at their badges, and the field lit up with small bursts of light as they all disappeared one by one.

The leader remained for just a little longer, gazing down the darkness within the three gaping crevasses dug up by his targets. “You've led quite the chase, Team Sharktooth,” Said the Bisharp as if he's talking to the holes, “but thanks to this little stunt, your endgame became predictable: you're planning an attack on the guilds, and I think I know exactly which one it'll be first. Making the rest of them anticipate your arrival is just an extra precaution. You think you can win this; you're going to lose before it even begins.” A metallic clink rang from his badge as he tapped it with his right hand, and he vanished in a sudden flash bang.


Seen August 19th, 2019
Posted August 10th, 2019
102 posts
3.9 Years
Chapter 7

Pequeño Cave: you'd think nothing more of this small cave resting near Verde Town. Its exterior claimed by avaricious vines and moss of the forest, a passerby would simply mistake it as just a large rock or mound. But to those putting out the effort to explore it soon realize- its unremarkable, mundane surface was just a camouflage, hiding an amazing power rare to Unido.

A faint bluish glow illuminated the corridors of the cave, shooing away the darkness sticking to its rocky surfaces. The Riolu pup led his team, with a small Aura Sphere the size of a marble hovering between his hands to act as his lamp. Tiny pebbles gave way underneath the team's feet with each step. All morning it was just one continuous hike through a straight corridor, hunting for the heart of the Dungeon. “Okay guys, just stay by me and we'll be okay,” the mantis instructor stuttered his young students. “Traversing through Mystery Dungeons can be a little tricky for beginners: it likes to change its layout a lot. Just keep your eyes open to any sudden dead ends. It's not every day we get to walk through one: we only have a small hand full of Mystery Dungeons in Unido.”

“It's hard to see with Oran's light being so weak,” Pecha huffed from the back of the line. Without seeing it, as she took her next step, her left foot caught onto a hidden rock. Her life flashed before her eyes as she tried running out of an inevitable trip, being saved by bumping into the back of Scyther's right leg.

The bug turned his worried eyes to the bunny, “Whoa, Pecha, are you all right?”

She peeled her face from the mantis' calf; after rubbing her sore button nose, she screamed at her brother, “Oran, make the room brighter; I nearly died after tripping on something!”

“This is as bright as I can make it,” he told her back. “If I make it any bigger, then I have to throw it.” He looked to his sister, a wide grin concealing a chuckle cracked across his face, “You're overreacting, Pecha- you don't die from tripping on a ro-”

Yelping as his right cheek crashed into a hidden object, his Aura Sphere which illuminated the area popped like a bubble, and the cave returned to darkness. A numbing soreness filled his cheek, and the light didn't return until he rubbed it all out with his paw. As the blue glow returned to scare away some of the dark, he discovered what exactly hit him in the face- a wall. Oran gave it a few pats here and there with his right paw; it wasn't just a wall- it was a solid wall. “Hey, Scyther, there's a wall here!”

“Great observation skills,” the Buneary mocked.

“Just as I told you,” said the mantis, “Mystery Dungeons like to shift on you. See if there's any more routes, Oran.”

Oran waved his light in both directions: to the left side, first- just a corner; to the right side- the path continued. His brows shot up slightly, and he shouted, “I found it!” Darkness claimed the newly discovered path, but it failed to deter the Riolu from running into its mystery.

The Scyther and Buneary gave a collective scream of worry, “O-Oran! Wait!”, as they tried catching up to their eager, young teammate.

Oran ran through the blackened, ill-lit halls of the cave at full throttle, his countless huffs were the only thing he could hear being echoed back to him. The more he ran, the more the darkness faded from the light marking the end of the tunnel- he saw no reason to stop. Not with the last floor looking him dead in the face.

The tunnel spat him out into a large, spacious area, seemingly large enough to hide a sleeping Legendary. But something was odd to him: the room was illuminated with no hint of shade, but had no open areas or crevasses for the light to come from. No use keeping the Aura Sphere around, that's for sure.

“Oran!” Two voices called out to him, catching his ear, making him turn his head. The rest of his team caught up to him, but were almost ready to collapse on the spot from the chase.

“Stop, stop doing that!” Scyther wheezed.

“Y-yeah,” Pecha agreed in a winded tone, “are, are you stupid or something?”

“Nah,” the Riolu told his older sibling, “just wanted to see where the path led.”

The mantis took a slight gulp, and maintained a stable breathing rhythm; though his throat still burned a little from being as dry as a desert. “What did I say, earlier?” He asked of the pup with brows narrowed and a wide glare staring him down, but his voice maintaining a leveled tune.

A gut feeling told him where this was going to end: in Florges' office, with no dinner for the night afterwards. Maybe an innocent smile could help mitigate the problem, he thought. But putting it into practice only came off as anxious. “U-uhm, I-I dunno, Scyther,” he told him, “I forgot.”

A twitching smile; a look in his eyes desperate to get out of trouble; it was the weakest attempt of playing coy the bug ever saw. But he returned the gesture with an irritated sigh, giving in to the game. “Just don't do that again,” he told the pup. “Florges'll kill me if I lose you guys.”

Oran's forced smile relaxed into something more natural, wiping his brow and chuckling while a growing weight disappeared from his chest.

“Whoa.” Pecha gawked at the stone ceiling above her head; how could it be so well-lit without a single light source? She never saw anything like It! “How is this even possible?” She asked in awe.

“Anything is possible in a Mystery Dungeon,” the mantis told his student, “and magic let's it happen. Heck, even our explorer badges use the same magic the Mystery Dungeon uses to eject fainted intruders- that's how we can teleport back to the guild quickly. Only problem is: it's one-way-”


A burly shout echoed within the room, startling the team. Was there someone else in the room with them? Their eyes swept left to right, up and down for the perpetrator- they saw nothing. Was hearing voices a part of the Mystery Dungeon's magic, also? “Where are you?” Scyther asked the voice. “I thought this cave was uninhabited.”


The sound of crumbling rock alerted the mantis, coming from behind him. He looked up: a boulder the size of a large hill descended rapidly above the group, intent on crushing the three on impact. Scyther and his rapid succession of Fury Cutter turned the heaping stone into a heavy rain of rubble and small pebbles; no damage to the kids, except from the rocks pelting them in the head as they tried covering themselves with their arms. A cloud of fine dust wafted in front of the bug, revealing a Graveler with a smug grin plastered across his face as it cleared. “That was uncalled for,” the bug told him, “you could have hurt the children!”

“Do you really think I give a hoot?” He asked. “For years you have been trespassing into my cave; for years you have been disrespecting my home by calling it vacant-!”

The Rock Pokémon ran his mouth for what seemed like forever- he must really like the sound of his own loud voice. Tuning out of his autobiography, Oran leaned over to the Bug-type and whispered, “Do you know this guy?”

“Can't say that I do,” he whispered back. “I thought this cave was unoccupied; that's why I kept using it to train my students.” He turned to the Buneary, “Hey, Pecha, why didn't you alert us there was someone here?”

“My danger sense only picks up on potential threats,” she told him. “This guy's just all talk-”

“SILENCE!” The Rock-type's booming yell rattled the walls, shifting the ground with its echo. The team readied themselves in anticipation; such a display of power meant the Graveler prepared to throw them into a storm of hurt. He aimed a menacing glare at Scyther, “For three years I mistook you and your posse as lost travelers; but you keep coming back to insult me! You and your bunch have disrespected me, Graveler the Cave King, for the last time, bug,” he snarled. “YOU WILL PAY FOR ALL THOSE YEARS OF TRESSPASSING!”

He curled his boulder-like body into a ball, and spun rapidly in a single spot; one he released himself, there was no stopping him and his Rollout attack. Scyther and his team had barely enough time to jump out of the way, missing the high-speed rock by a hair, but it wasn't the last they've seen of him. Graveler took a hard turn for another go at the group, this time, aiming straight for a vulnerable Buneary lying on her knees.

Instead of moving out of the way, she froze in place like a statue in distress. Crippled by delay, she had no time to jump out of the way. Her eyes stared on to the approaching rolling stone in a fixed gaze of anxiety- she was done for.

A blue streak appeared, and in front of her stood her little brother, ready to take the hit for her. He crossed his arms over his chest, spread his footing for a more solid stance, and readied himself for impact. Launching the Riolu straight into his sister's lap, Graveler ricocheted off his Endure, flying high in the air for a handful of seconds before landing back on Earth with a thunderous crash behind the siblings.

“Get your butt off me, Oran!” With her brother pinning her to the ground, she pushed him off her body. Getting back up on her feet, she quickly dusted herself off of his loose fur. “Next time you take the hit for me, do a better job.”

“It hit harder than I thought,” Oran muffled casually with his snout dug into the floor. He pulled himself up from the rock for a quick breath. “This guy doesn't fool around.”

“Guys, are you all right?” Scyther shouted in concern.

A rough voice cut the younglings off from speaking to their teacher, “WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF, BUG!”

The moment he turned his head towards the Graveler, Scyther gave a sudden painful howl from being torn apart by a rapid volley of a thousand sharp rocks, blasting him feet away from his students. It all happened so fast: one second he was going to help them- the next he found himself unconscious, squished inside a Scyther-sized imprint in a Dungeon wall from the sheer force of a Rock Blast. Several cuts and and bruises grazed across his light green exoskeleton. Even the very blades of his scythes managed to chip from the weaponized debris; what were once objects of personal and articulate care became dull, and gave off a look of abuse and neglect.

“Scyther!” the children shouted for their mentor, but he laid there in his personal hole, unresponsive.

“Too bad, kiddos,” the Graveler mocked, a smug grin stretching across his face, “looks like your compadre will be out cold for a little while. I squashed him like the cockroach he was, and it wasn't even satisfying to look at. I wonder- how long will you both last without your friend around? Oh well, serves you right for trespassing into someone's territory.”

“Please let us go,” the Buneary begged, with tears building up her eyes. “We'll leave you alone- just stop!”

“It's too late for that!” Watching that smug grin of his stretch to disturbing lengths sent a chill down the Buneary's spine. Staring directly into his tightly clenched teeth froze her right where she stood. It was as if her danger sense was arguing with itself: does she take the first opportunity to run away? Or stay where she was, in hopes of preventing any sort of provoked chase? All she knew was- it just now decided to alert her of the threat. The chill spread from her back to everywhere else, and her eyes were locked in a wide stare as she watched the giant rock walk towards them, and she was going to let it.

But all it took to snap her out of her self-applied hypnosis was a firm pat on the back from her brother. “Pecha,” he said, “come on, we can't have you freaking out right now! We gotta do something!”

She stuttered, “B-but, but, Scyther's unconscious; how are we going to beat this guy without him? W-we're too weak to fight him!”

“You said that while we fought that Quagsire,” he told her, “and we still managed! Don't focus on whether or not we're weaker than him, Pecha: focus on beating him with me! We're explorers- we beat Pokémon like him! Let's take him on together, Pecha, for Scyther.”

She never could match the same level of assurance and determination her brother always exhibited. One look in his eyes, and she saw a fire ready to burn the place down. What's her excuse? She couldn't even dent the iron wall of timidity her danger senses built and told her to hide behind. But maybe this morning, she could learn how to ignore her sense. Against her own grain, she stuttered, “O-okay. I'll do it, for Scyther.”

The floor trembled with each heavy step the Graveler took, succumbing to the weight of his feet and leaving behind a shallow trail of prints. He hovered above the children, with a sick grin of glee while cracking all four of his knuckles in a rhythmic orchestra ringing throughout the cave. “Playtime's over, kiddos,” the Graveler said to them in a gruff tone. “You're about to learn firsthand why trespassing is a bad idea.”

A sizable mound of mail appeared on Guildmistress Florges' office desk back at the guild , just asking to be sorted and given to their respective recipients. Among the piles of hot pink, white, and blue envelopes, one package caught her fancy: a small sac the size of her palm, its membrane being prodded by something inside of it, with a tightly folded letter snagged on its lace that kept it shut. It addressed to no one on any of its outside faces. But when she opened it up: “To Florges Guild”. She unraveled it entirely like a map, until it revealed to her its entire message:

Dear Florges Guild,

I would like to thank you again for rescuing my beloved wife, Dedenne; seriously, I can't be any more thankful to you and your services! Even though Dedenne said her rescue could have been a little less...sloppy...but I can tell she's also grateful. She may not admit it, but I think we've become a little closer from that incident with the Ariados.

On our way to Cristal Cave, we stopped by a Kecleon shop, and decided to repay your services with twenty iron thorns- I didn't quite have the money to issue a rescue mission. Who was that team who rescued my lovely Dedenne? The one with: a Scyther, a Buneary, and that blue one? I wish to repay them with these thorns- I just couldn't catch their name. I hope they find a good use for these things.

My sincerest gratitude,


She gave the bag a gentle toss in her right hand a few times; listening to the satisfying light clanking of the iron objects within brought a small smile across her face. “What a nice Pikachu,” she said to the sac. “Pecha and Oran will surely love this when they return.” She placed it aside gently, to the right of her desk.

But as soon as she laid the tiny purse down, a large sac was dropped by beside it with a heavy thud! Florges jumped back a little, and looked in front of her with startled eyes: A Lopunny, about a foot taller than expected of her species, wrapped in a light cloth, faded tan cloak that went down to her knees, stood in front of her desk with her hip cocked slightly to the left. She wasn't your typical Lopunny: her wide eyes were deep crimson, instead of the common bright pink her kind share. Her eyes may say, “sleepy”, but her smile screamed, “come get some!”. Just like a flame, she's not exactly known for staying idle.

Florges took a sigh of relief, one hand firmly placed on her chest to keep her wild heart in place. “Lopunny, you startled me for a second,” she told her.

The Rabbit Pokémon shot her a little wink, “Sup, rose butt?”

Florges' eyebrows gave way to a twitching fit, and her porcelain white face turned a bright pinkish, almost red color. She cradled her ruff of brilliant blue flowers in both hands as her eyes narrowed. “For the last time, they're not roses,” she told her in heated breath, “they're hydrangeas! And also for the last time, I request you stop using that nickname for me.”

“Pfft, okay,” Lopunny giggled to herself playfully. It seemed that yanking the guildmistress' tail fin was her favorite past time- and Florges always walks right into it.

The Guildmistress took a second to recapture her elegance, fluffing her ruff of flowers, though her white skin took a while to return from its bright redness. She raked the bag brought in by her explorer in front of her, and a pile of two-thousand Poké gleamed in front of her when she opened its flaps. “I assume your mission was successful.”

“Meh, it was kinda boring,” she shrugged her shoulders, scratching her chin. “It was just a bunch of Beedrill planning to use a gummi bar as a breeding ground- nothing remarkable for a Class-C request. Seriously, you guys should keep some Class-A's around just for me.”

“You know you could always work around the guild, correct?” Florges asked.

“Nah, sounds boring,” Lopunny huffed. With her right arm flexed straight above her head, she stretched her back out forward, several pops accompanying her squeaking moans. “Boy, what a week: I got bored with the mission so quickly, I decided to walk home, instead of teleporting back. I'm beat.”

“You've always liked the hard way of doing things,” an irritated Florges sighed. She fished into the bag, coins clinking against each other as her hand swirled about in the pile. “But since you're here, I should give you your reward, anyways-”

“Eh, keep it out for me, later,” Lopunny told her, “I'm gonna enjoy my bed for a while.” A massive yawn escaped from her mouth, which she blocked with the back of her hand, “See? Startin' to get the yawns, now. Just keep it around until I'm ready for it, 'kay? Bye~” Waving her hand, she attempted to make her way out of the office.

“There's just one more thing I need to talk to you about.” Lopunny barely took two steps away from her before Florges caught her in her tracks. “For the record: I don't appreciate you dropping your children by my feet before you go off on a mission as you just did.”

“Oh?” She glared at her boss from the back of her head, a mischievous smirk stretched from cheek to cheek, though she was wise to keep it from her sight. “Isn't it a part of being the guildmistress? I just thought you were good with taking care of children, since you do it all the time. Were they too much for you?”

“It is true that it is a part of my job to watch over other Pokemon,” the Florges spoke into her hands, which were clasped together like a bridge which she rested her chin upon. “What I find distasteful is: a week ago, I just witnessed a mother shove her own children aside, just to selfishly pursue a request that she could complete within minutes if she felt like it. And instead of immediately coming back home to reunite, she decided to take the long route home because she 'got bored'.”

“Hey, I'm trying my hardest,” Lopunny whimpered.

“At what?” Florges questioned. “You've consistently failed to show me any proper responsibility. I don't see a parent in front of me: I see someone who refuses to grow up. Do you want to know why you're not moving up from Silver rank to Gold?”

“That's a personal choice-”

Florges rose from her desk, and within seconds she stood face to face with the towering rabbit, staring her in her crimson eyes as if she can see to her center. “Physically, you can match a Gold-ranked explorer, maybe even a Master explorer; but mentally, you act no better than a newly hatched Pokemon. Once, I've even considered giving you a Master Star-III ranking, putting you alongside Azumarill and Granbull as the guild's strongest- but your bad attitude sabotaged the opportunity. That tells me you are self-defeating; you don't care about anything. Was all of that a 'personal choice'?”

“Maybe,” Lopunny told her. Telling from her ignorant grin, she thought this was all just a verbal game. If there was one skill she mastered during her time at the guild: it was getting under her boss's skin.

The guildmistress broke her eye contact by turning her head, rubbing at the sides of her skull. She took one good, deep breath to help quell the veins popping out in her forehead.

“Are you serious, right now?” Lopunny referred to Florges' tantrum in a joking manner. I don't understand why you're so mad at me- I completed the job, and brought back the reward, after all. If I were you, I'd be mad at me if I didn't. So just calm your little flower patch down- it's starting to smoke up the place.”

“I swear, talking to you is the most complicated part of the job,” Florges huffed while massaging her temporal bones.

“'Kay,” Lopunny answered back without any interest. “While you're busy keeping your head from exploding like an Electrode, I hear my bed callin' my name. See ya~!” Her cloak flapped calmly as she turned away and walked out of the office.

Waiting until the coast is clear, the guildmistress sunk her head into her open right hand, taking stable breaths until the pressure inside of her head dissipated. She moved back to her desk to prevent what felt like a fainting spell from overcoming her. “Oh, Lopunny,” she said to herself while laying her head on top of her hand, “what am I going to do with you?”

a knock on the side of her door threw her out of her exhausted stance, and she saw the Lopunny poking her head out into the office. It was a slime chance, but maybe she came back to apologize. “By the way, I forgot to ask you: have you seen Pecha or Oran anywhere?” she asked. “I haven't seen them ever since I came back.”

“Ugh...” Scyther began opening his eyes, letting in the light that was so absent to him for a while. “Wh-where am I?” The foggy blots and contours became so clear in an instant: he was in a cave, more specifically inside a wall in a cave. He began peeling from the hole, and his heavy body plopped right on to the ground, hitting his face.

“O-ow...” Stiff and trembling from weakness, he used his scythes as stilts to help push himself up to his feet. Being off his legs for a while, they first felt light, as if he was walking on air, and he had some trouble keeping himself up. But he soon adjusted enough to keep himself standing. “Was I...was I knocked out or something?” he asked himself. Noting the loose rubble around his feet, and the him-sized crater dug into the sides of a Dungeon, that seemed like the most logical explanation to him. “How long have I been out for?”

A barely audible tremble quaking the ground almost sent him back onto his chest. Near him the Graveler engaged in a battle with his two students. Beneath the deep-routed worry for them he had, he found himself impressed: working together to give an enemy that highly outskilled them a run for his Poke, his youngsters put up a decent fight. Even their strategy raised his brows in approval: Pecha would bait the rock into a devastating Rollout attack; when he got too close, she would jump out of the way, leaving Oran to deal with the rolling stone. With his Counter, the Riolu kept the Rock-type suspended in one spot as he still spun with furious speed, collecting power for his move as his wrists sparked from being ground by the enemy. For the final piece of the strategy, Oran gave Graveler a simple thrust with his right palm, launching the Rock Pokemon back in a blast of brilliant blue light. It seemed to the bug their strategy worked every time, and, telling by the look in Graveler's face, it got on his every last nerve.

He used his feet as brakes while locked in a forceful push by the Riolu's last attack, leaving deep trenches as he stopped himself from smashing into the side of a wall just inches behind him. He looked at the children, heavy growls for breathing, and vision turning red. Ever since he picked a fight with the children, the inexperienced explorers were doing a pretty good job at smoothing down his otherwise very coarse body with each attack. “YOU LITTLE WEAKLINGS!!” He shouted at the top of his lungs, rattling the very dungeon they're fighting in. “YOU BOTH SHOULD BE GROUND TO DUST BY NOW; HOW DARE YOU MAKE A MOCKERY OF ME, GRAVELER THE CAVE KING, IN MY VERY HOME!!”

“We're just trying to learn about Mystery Dungeons!” Oran shouted back, pointing a finger at him. “How were we supposed to know it was occupied?!”

“IT'S OCCUPIED BECAUSE I SAY IT IS!” Lifting his right leg straight into the air, Graveler brought it back down with malevolent force. When the ground gave way underneath his foot, it started off as a slight rumble, but quickly grew to violent quakes that knocked the team off their feet, and onto their chests. Fissures began to slowly split the ground, creating giant mouths in the floor. “YOU ALL HAVE DISHONORED ME FOR THE LAST TIME- I HEREBY CONDEMN THIS CAVE!!”

“S-S-S-Scyther,” Pecha screamed out for him among the appending destruction, “Wh-wha-what is he doing?!”

The mantis responded, “I-I-I-I-I-I think he's using Earthqua-a-a-a-ake!”

Large cracks raced up every surface of the Dungeon for the ceiling, and huge hunks of rock began raining down those beneath. “LET'S SEE HOW YOU LIKE MY MAGNITUDE,” Graveler said. “AT MAGNITUDE 10, I WILL CAVE US ALL IN!”

“Guys,” Scyther shouted with the shaking ground stuttering his voice, “we have to stop him!”

“Pecha knows Attract,” Oran replied back. “She can stop him!”

“No way,” she objected loudly. “He gives me the creeps; I'm not using it!”

“Use it, Pecha,” Scyther suggested, “or we'll all get squashed! Please, Pecha, it might be the only way!”

They weren't listening to her; she didn't want to do it. She'd rather Attract that Quagsire, again. But with stones the size of buildings crashing all around her and attempting to entomb everyone, she had no choice: if she wanted to stay alive, she had to Attract the enemy Graveler. “All right, fine,” she shouted, “I'll do it!”

Getting back up on her feet was hard enough with the very floor shaking underneath her. Focusing her energy to her chest, a pink heart began to form. Now came the hardest part: aiming it. With the ground having a seizure, it'll be easy to miss- if she did, she wouldn't have the Rock-type under her spell. But for the safety of her team, she hoped for the best as she let it drift calmly in the air toward the enemy.

With a lucky shot the heart popped like a balloon on one of Graveler's upper edges, sprinkling him in a fine shower of pink glitter. “YOU CALL THAT AN ATTACK?!” he shouted. “THAT WAS THE WEAKEST ATTACK EVER! I DIDN'T EVEN FEEL A- huh-?” the earthquake seemed to calm down along with the Graveler, and the ceiling stopped its rain of death. His face- first frozen in a twitching expression of confusion- mellowed into pure bliss. Just a second ago, he had his mind set on killing everyone under a cave-in, but not anymore.

“Pecha,” Scyther whispered, “I think it's working!”

Taking paws full of the wool around her hip, she hid most of herself behind the tan curtain, only leaving her head poking out. Her eyes glimmered as if they were freshly watered, but to the stricken Rock-type, she was about to cry. “Please, don't hurt us,” she asked of him in a frail, timid voice, “we don't like getting hurt.”

His smile that was fueled by his personal vendetta softened to dopey grin. What ounce of hatred he felt for the group left him entirely, for the sake of the precious Buneary right in front of him. “I won't hurt you, anymore,” Graveler replied back in a calm tone. “I don't want to hurt you.”

“That's it, Pecha,” Scyther told her. He rolled his aching body over onto his left shoulder, preparing to tap his explorer's badge to teleport him and his students back home, “just tell him to stay right there, so we can teleport.”

“Can you do something for me?” the shy Buneary asked of the hulking Rock-type. “I would really love it.”

“Anything for you,” the puppy-eyed Graveler said.

“Can you stand still where you are?” she asked. “I want to admire all of your refined edges.”

“I will certainly do that for you.” Doing as his precious said, he stood still in a single spot.

A loud ring echoed through the Mystery Dungeon as the mantis tapped his badge, summoning a blinding flash that sent him and his team out of the area.

Breaking free from the spell he was put under, Graveler's mind snapped back to its original, aggressive self in an instant. But he woke to find all of the destruction he caused to his own home: the floor was heavily lined with small fissures and cracks, and stones larger than he sank into the ground like jagged teeth- what a complete mess he made! His four hands tightened into knuckles, and he sulked in the feeling of what it was like to be a Voltorb- built up in the inside, ready to explode at just the slightest irritation. Gritting his teeth until they were very fine dust, the only way he knew how to vent all of this tension out was to curse the explorer team that made him wreck his own home. “CURSE YOU, SCYTHER!!” he hollered at the heavens above for the whole world to hear. “AND CURSE YOUR LITTLE BRATS, TOO! YOU WILL ALL PAY, ONE DAY!!”

A choir of Pidgey and Pidove sang within the tree lines surrounding the outside of Guild Florges, catching Scyther and his younglings up to their morning song they missed while inside the cave. Though, their weary bodies could go without the boiling humidity of the forest. Continuous huffs stirred the soft soil, until their owners felt strong enough to raise themselves back onto their feet. Florges' giant stone face welcomed the pair back home.

“What a morning,” Oran commented, holding himself up by his lap. “He was sure tough- that guy made my wrists hurt.”

“Just who was he, Scyther?” Pecha asked, while sprawled on her back across the soil.

The mantis pushed himself up by the scythes, grunting in soreness, “I don't know, really.” He got up to his feet, a little wobbly in his knees, but able to manage. “I think,” he huffed, “he was a Pokemon taking up new residence. You'd think if he really saw me use the Dungeon for three years, he would've confronted me about it, sooner- it was entirely empty when I used it. Sure gave me a beating, though,” he said, viewing the countless scrapes and cuts lining his body. “I saw how you guys handled him- it was amazing!”

“We did it for you, Scyther,” the Buneary huffed.

“R-really?” Hearing that brought him at a loss for words. Whenever he wanted to say something, no words came out. All he could do was stare at his students, with water flowing from his eyes as he sniveled. A sudden, yet comforting warmth invaded him, summoning a growing smile that assured him to count on his little one. “Th-thanks, guys,” He mumbled. “You're the best. I wish I had hands to wipe these tears out of my eyes.” Taking one big sniffle, he said, “Let's head back inside, before I flood this place.”


Seen August 19th, 2019
Posted August 10th, 2019
102 posts
3.9 Years
Chapter 8

The L-shaped hallway on the right-hand side of the guild led the rabbit out of the guildmistress' office, and back into the bright and sunny dome that was the guild's assembly hall. Breathing fresh forest air again was nice and all, but an annoying soreness behind her neck told her to ignore it. She stopped in place, rubbing that specific spot that bothered her for days with her right hand to see what's the problem. No matter how much she massaged it, it refused to go away as it lingered within the muscle. “Man,” she groaned, “that's the last time I'll ever sleep in an Inn for a while.”

“Mamma!” Two separate cries caught her low hanging ears- and soon after- she found two little creatures latching themselves onto both of her ankles. Being gone for a week, seeing the smiling faces of her Buneary and Riolu again uplifted Lopunny's spirit. “We missed you so much!” they told her. Good thing her little ones anchored her to the ground- she felt light enough to float away with the gentlest of breezes.

“Hey, guys,” she told them back, softly smirking, “How ya been?” She picked them up from her legs, and perched them both on her shoulders. Feeling them play with curled, fluffy, wool-like fur lining her ears was something that always brought a smile to her face. “I missed you both while I was gone, y'know that? Florges told me you guys became explorers- that's awesome!”

“Yeah, we did,” Oran told her in an eager tone. “Today, we fought a Graveler-!” he threw his arms out wide, as if holding a ball bigger than he, “he was so big, and mean! But me and Pecha came up with a plan to beat him- and we did-!”

“Actually, we teleported before the fight could be finished,” Pecha informed her.

Mamma Lopunny gave them a bright smile, and said, “sounds like you guys had quite the day.”

“What did you get to do, mamma?” Oran asked, with eyes shimmering and ears ready to listen.

“I'll tell you both, later-” catching something on the edge of her left eye, she spotted a wounded Scyther. Several cuts and deep purplish bruises were painted all across his body like a game of connect-the-dots, and his steps carried a heavy limp, as if he's more dragging his feet than walking. Even the blades he cares for constantly were nicked and cracked, and in desperate need of a resharpening. “Right now, I think I'm about as exhausted as he is.”

The mantis turned his head to the left, the sensors on his head catching someone saying his name. But seeing the Rabbit Pokémon again brought an even harsher tremble into his weak body; he needed to work on sneaking past her, better. He gave her a weak smile, “O-oh...h-hi, Lopunny. I guess you're back, huh?”

“Yeah,” she told him, “I guess I am back. What happened to you? You like like some Luxray's chew toy.”

He shrugged his stiff shoulders as best he could, trying to blow it off. “W-well, y'know, got attacked by a Graveler,” he said, while letting out a nervous chuckle. “He just sorta got me when I wasn't looking.”

Lopunny's grin grew wide, wanting to make him fell better with a joke, “I guess you could say- he rocked your world.”

In an instant, the mantis' thinly held together smile dissolved like a solvent underneath his heavy flow of tears. “Puns make the pain worse!” he cried out, limping away from the reunited family as he hunted down the infirmary.

She watched the Bug-type leave trails of tears, looking on with a face deciding whether or not it wanted to be regretful for telling the joke, or just indifferent. “I guess some people don't have a taste for puns,” she said to herself underneath her voice. But whatever ounce of guilt that tried to build up rushed out of her head with a quick shake, and she said to her children with a cheery voice “You both should tell me more about your exploring back in my room-!”

Mom's room- the same as it's always been. Despite each room in the guild looking the same as the last, her room had a more personal touch: where everyone slept on a pile of bedding, she had a makeshift bed of cloth from discarded cloaks she wore in the past, most of which became too torn to wear, but she refused to get rid of them. The “guild-issued” straw was useful as its filler.

Sitting cross-legged on the lengthy sac, her hip-length ears stayed open to the stories her children told her during her absence. The Quagsire; the giant Ariados; even the Graveler from earlier, they've told their mother about- most of the enthusiasm coming from Oran- Pecha filled in the blanks he excitedly forgot to address. “Huh,” she said, “That sounds pretty neat.” Placing her right hand on top of her daughter's head, petting her gently, she giggled, “I especially liked the one with that Quagsire- you're quite the charmer, Pecha! Maybe you'll grow up to be just like me!”

A luminescent blush brushed underneath her eyes as she shrugged her mother's hand off from her skull, looking away. “Whatever,” she mumbled.

“What did you do while you were gone, mama?” Oran asked.

The mother laid herself on her side, her head perched on top of her left paw. She grinned, and asked, “You really wanna know?”

“Of course,” he told her back, with no control over his wagging tail. “I wanna hear the cool things you did!”

What happened to her plan to sleep after getting back to the guild? For now, she put it on hold, wanting to see her son's reaction to her story, first. She gave an assuring smirk, and said, “All right, I'll tell ya.”

She began her story: a little settlement off the edge of the Verde Forest, known as Naranja Town. After three days of cruising through the forest, she stepped foot into the community of orange huts. Lucky for her, the one place she came to visit was the one who broke the town's pattern: On The House Gummi Saloon. She took a good look at its rustic design, its brown, weathered wood refusing to conform to its surrounding town's single color. Their drinks better be good for the trouble of coming.

Swiveling the dual doors wide open, everyone's eyes glued to the Lopunny in a fluttering tan cloak. All of the rustic bar's walls were covered in thick streams of string, snuffing out the bar's sense of antiquity, or so it appeared to her. Four other Pokémon were present: a gang of three Beedrill, and the bartender, a Wigglytuff. Her glimmering silver badge froze everyone in silence while the wooden floors creaked under each of her steps, until she parked herself on one of the bar stools near the counter.

“W-welcome to On The House Gummi Saloon-!” the Wigglytuff welcomed her with a surprised smile, “it's on the house!”

Lopunny knew her smile wasn't genuine: her plump, pink marshmallow body trembled of exhaustion, after days of nonstop work; and her eyes, those round, crystal blue orbs reflected the pain her mouth couldn't speak of. She knew- on the inside- she's crying for help. “Do you have any red gummi juice?” Lopunny asked. “I traveled a long way to get here, and I'm feelin' parched.”

Wigglytuff tried spitting it out, “U-uhm, well, I-I don't know if I have any red ones left. But I can certainly check if I have any others left- just sit tight!” Running on the last bit of energy she had, she scavenged her emptied drawers and shelves, only coming up with a handful of light green gummis. “I-I only have green gummis left, ma'am,” she told her, “is that all right with you?”

Lopunny slumped into her left hand, “I suppose,” she told her. “It's a bummer you don't have any reds left- those are my favorite.”

As the sounds of a blender grinding the beans into juice whirred in the air, Team Bee Sting kept their eyes on the rabbit, analyzing her. If she had been any other Pokémon, they would have attacked her on sight- but she scared them. They felt it in her aura: her bloodlust, her taste for conquest, it almost came off as demonic to them. Whomever sent her didn't send any regular guild member after them- they sent a monster.

“Y.J., what should we do?” the male Beedrill asked his leader underneath a whisper. “She might be out of our league.”

The Beedrill took awhile to respond, her body shook while being absorbed by the mere shock of the rabbit's potential strength. Just by staring at her she felt powerless- like she was a Weedle, again, but with wings. “N-nonsense,” she told him while gaining some composure, her wispy voice shaking. “O-o-our instincts can pull our wings, sometimes. Y-yeah, that's it, it's all in our heads. Sh-she's just a Lopunny- how bad could she really be? We can take her.”

“W-well, what should we do about her, then?” the other male asked. “She's in our turf.”

“The same thing we always do to people who step into our turf,” Yellow Jacket told him, regaining her confidence, “make her regret it!”

“Here ya go, ma'am.” The Wigglytuff placed a cup of light green juice in front of the Rabbit Pokémon. “Please, enjoy.”

Her nose was about a foot above the drink, and yet she could catch a slight scent of green apple wafting from the cup. She already felt her taste buds pucker in anticipation to the sourness of the juice before the cup was in her hand- sour isn't really her taste. “Bottom's up,” she said to herself.

Before the ceramic touched her lips, a blunt, “Hey!”, called out to her. She turned to the right, just to see the three Bug-types just wallowing in their own anxiety in her presence.

“You guys must be Team Bee Sting,” she told them. Her face looked away, uninterested, “I'll deal with you guys, later; right now, I'm thirsty-” but a sudden sting struck her in her hand, sending her straight back up to her feet while she dropped her cup. Smashing onto the hard wood floor, her drink was reduced to just bits of clay fragments sitting in a puddle. She plucked the thin purple needle from her left palm, and shot the bees a cold glance. “You owe me a drink.”

“You must be pretty stupid to come here!” shouted Yellow Jacket. “We, Team Bee Sting, were in the middle of preparing this bar to become our nest- and I'm going to be queen of it! After it's completed, this place'll be swarming with our little Weedle-”

“Classy,” Lopunny remarked. “Your standards seem low enough to make it work.”

“Sh-shut up!” the leader shouted. This Lopunny knew how to get to her. Her very blood boiled, urging her for the first strike for it to be quelled. Yellow Jacket obliged, flying straight for the rabbit, “If you're not gonna leave, I'll make you by force!”

Within just a second, the Beedrill lunged at Lopunny with a thousand strikes of its lances, none of which landed a successful hit on her. To the Beedrill and Wigglytuff watching, Lopunny was just standing still in one spot- but she's been dodging each attack, with little effort. As much as she pushed herself to land a hit, her speed simmered down, her arms soon dropping limp from exhaustion, unable to lift the very weight of her lances. Still not a single scratch on her opponent- even failing to hit her cloak. “H-how,” she huffed under heavy breath, “how were you able to keep up? My Fury Attack is the fastest around- how were you able to dodge it all?!”

“You call that 'fast'?” She mocked. “I've seen a Slakoth move faster than that. All I did, really, was move out of the way. What's wrong? You look exhausted- take a load off-!” Lopunny drove the blunt end of her right knee into her abdomen, sending the Beedrill flying past the spectators. All that everyone's eyes could catch of the incident was most of the wall behind Team Bee sting having a crater blown through it, and outside laid Yellow Jacket, lying unconscious among a pile of brick and tangled in string.

“Yellow Jacket!” her teammates called out, peeking their heads out of the hole the Lopunny made, “Are you okay?!” Her twitching, silent body flapped her wings in response. For a second there, she might have been squashed for good!

“Y'know, all I was gonna do was kick you out,” Lopunny told the remaining two Beedrill, grabbing their attention. “But now, guess I gotta kick your little stingers in. That'll teach ya for killin' my drink.”

The remaining Beedrill looked at each other, nodding as if they knew how to take care of her: a synchronized attack would leave her helpless. “Prepare yourself!” They shouted, voices melding as one. Impatient to dig their lances into the rabbit for their fallen teammate, their wings produced a symphony of buzzing while flying towards her, mirroring each others' swift speed. If they act as one, they'll win as one.

The Beedrill on the right lunged with his right lance, and the Beedrill on the left with his left, both aimed for her chest. But they stopped before they even touched flesh, grasped by both of the Normal-type's paws. Having both hands holding their stingers created an unfortunate lock on her by forcing her in place, greatly eliminating the Lopunny's chances of dodging their next attack.

Witnessing their remaining arm stingers reeling back for another strike, they deserved no more than a bored smirk from her- predictable. Moving her hands away from each other knocked them out of their prepared pose, which allowed her to slam the two Bug-types into each other with disorienting force, dropping them by her fluffy feet. Muscles twitching, their soft grunts in pain told her they were still alive, albeit a bit shaken from the impact.

Team Bee Sting was everything Lopunny expected from C-ranked outlaws- boring. They fought more like E-ranked outlaws. With tender care she placed the males' unconscious bodies underneath a table near the entrance, sitting them up by its single beam. Before she hunted for the leader's, she turned to the near ecstatic Wigglytuff, and asked, “Happen to have any rope or somethin' on ya?”

It took her a minute or two, but she managed to collect the full set- the three Beedrill- tied snugly together underneath a table by a thick rope. They won't be going anywhere when Bisharp comes to pick them up- except jail. And for her, a sac of Poké that fit in her palm awaited her on the serving counter. “Here you go, ma'am,” said the bartender, her smile now growing more genuine with Bee Sting out of the picture. “Thank you for your help; they've been running me rampant for days.”

“Yeah, sorry 'bout your wall,” Lopunny apologized, taking the coin bag in her right paw. “I'll let the guild know to repair it.”

“Oh, no, it's quite all right,” she giggled, “I'll just request Guildmaster Bisharp to have those three Beedrill repair it when he comes- after they pay their bill, or course-”

“Hypocrite!” Yellow Jacket butted in with a wheezing shout. “Your motto is, 'it's on the house', isn't it?! Do you not know what that means?”

“Honey, that's just a business hook,” Wigglytuff told the loud Bug-type. She returned her attention to Lopunny, “They don't understand a thing about business, do they?”

“Yeah, well, neither do I,” Lopunny replied. Walking away from her, she said, “I'll be headin' back to the guild, now; I got nothin' better to do.”

The sound of her doors swiveling brought a stream of relaxation to ease the bartender- so much so- she fainted behind the counter. Her face hit the hard wood floor with a heavy thump, though she felt no pain. She didn't care where she rested for the moment- it'll be better than being on her feet for another minute. “I need a vacation,” she moaned, her relieved voice muffled by the floor.

“Huh.” Oran looked down to his lap, his eyebrows pinched together, “I was expecting more from that fight.”

“You and I both,” the mother told her son, while scratching the back of her left calf with her right foot. “But oh well, I don't really expect much from C-ranks, anyways.” A yawn escaped from her mouth, hitting the back of you open hand. Sinking deeper into her bed as if it and her body became one, she closed her eyes, and told them, “Anyways, mommy's a little tired. Why don't you two run along, maybe go bug Florges for a little while? I'll just be here.” It took her a little while to find a comfortable position, but once she did, she was out cold.

It was cool to Oran that she came back. Just thinking about all the cool things he'll get to do with her, all the cool missions he'll get to do with her in the future, he felt no limit to the butterflies in his stomach!

His train of thought broke, taken by strange ramblings happening somewhere outside her room. Though muffled by the thick stone walls, he could almost make out some of the conversations: some burst in outrage, others were crying, scared. “Hey, Pecha, you hear that?” he asked his sister.

“Yeah,” she said. “What is with everyone?”

By the time Pecha and Oran came to investigate the commotion in the assembly hall, almost all of the guild, except the guildmistress and her assistant, crowded around the request board like a flock of Mandibuzz scoping out a freshly deceased body. Being blocked from view of the request by the much taller adults, all they could make out was: an important mission had just arrived from Bisharp Guild. Or so that's how they interpreted it. They gave them no room to budge through to even see it.

“What are we going to do?” a Swadloon asked.

“There's not much we can do,” a Tangela answered back. “These guys seem pretty tough- I don't think even our strongest guild members can deal with them.”

“B-but what about Guildmistress Florges and her team?” A Butterfree asked. “They're really strong- they can beat these guys. R-right?”

“QUIET, ALL OF YOU!!” Loudred's thunderous voice silenced the masses, and maybe have ruptured an eardrum or two, evidenced by a few Pokémon shaking their heads to get the static hissing out of their ears. “AS SHOCKING AS IT IS, WE ALL HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO- AND ON TOP OF THAT- YOU'RE ALL MAKING ME CLAUSTROPHOBIC. SO, UNLESS YOU'RE GOING TO GET A MISSION OFF THE REQUEST BOARD: GET BACK TO WORK!!”

Preferring to not listen to another one of Loudred's grading outbursts, the group dispersed from the request board, though not without muttering a few choice words about him to themselves.

Finally open, the children ran right for the board to observe the mission that got everyone so riled. No new, updated missions, except for one that took Oran's eye. He jumped for it, tearing it slightly off the pin that stuck it to the flat timber. His eyes quickly scribbled across the note, only to feel the inside of his skull about to burst, overwhelmed from so many words! He passed it to the Buneary, “Here, sis; can you read it?”

“What, can't read simple words?” she snickered at him, swiping the paper from his paws. She cleared her delicate throat, before beginning:


Recently, a team of outlaws who call themselves, 'Team Sharktooth', have attacked a small village located in the Beige Plains, killing one and wounding many others. After speaking with the village chief, I have reason to believe they will attempt an assault on the guilds in the near future. There are three members of Team Sharktooth:

Ku the Garchomp- the leader. Sports a large scar across his chest, and one enclosing his left eye. Wanted for: murder of the first degree; acts of terrorism; destruction of property; major theft; and harassment of travelers. Reward for capture: ten-thousand Poké, dead; twenty-thousand Poké, alive.

Pele the Gabite- the only female of the group. Extremely volatile, and highly dangerous. Wanted for: arson; battery; assistance of a dangerous fugitive; major theft; and harassment of travelers. Reward for capture: five-thousand Poké, dead; ten-thousand Poké, alive.

Lono the Gabite- their strategist. Most likely to verbally confront you, rather than physically- suspected to be the least dangerous of the group- but remain cautious while confronting him. Wanted for: conspiracy; assistance of a dangerous fugitive; major theft; and harassment of travelers. Reward for capture: five-thousand Poké, dead; ten-thousand Poké, alive.

Overall outlaw team rank: Star-III

They are carrying a very dangerous item, known as the Inverse Orb. Once in effect, it may turn any confrontation to their favor. Approach with extreme caution.

All explorers ranked Bronze and below: do not engage the enemy- evacuate from the premises immediately. To all explorers ranked Silver and up: you are to confront Team Sharktooth in large groups- do not fight any of them, alone. Any trained guild personnel, such as nurses and combat instructors, are recommended to support their efforts.

We recommend keeping them alive for interrogation purposes- only kill if absolutely necessary.

-Guildmaster Bisharp

“I wanna fight 'em,” Oran spoke with a casual tone.

“Are you serious?” she objected. “we're not even ranked explorers, Oran, how are we supposed to fight these guys?”

“With fists, that's how,” he answered back. He placed his paws on his sister's shoulders, “Come on, Pecha, think of the challenge!”

“That's not a challenge, Oran- that's just insane,” she told him while shrugging off his hold.

“Don't worry, sis,” he assured her, smiling, “if I train hard enough, I won't lose to 'em-”

“Are you even listening to yourself?!” In a sudden, Oran found her face just inches from touching his. Anger reflected through her button eyes, but it brought with it a worried twitch in her brows. “It doesn't matter how much you train- you're not going to win against them! Have you even considered how long you need to train before it even matters? What if you decide to train tomorrow, and they just show up? Are you still going to fight them?”

“Of course,” he told her. “I can't just let them come and trash my home; I wanna help defend it! I'll leave the other two for you, but I wanna fight the leader dude.”

Pecha clenched her teeth tight while giving her brother an irritated grunt. He was just doing what little siblings do best- enjoying talking nonsense. She had a feeling that's going to bite him back, someday. “Whatever,” she huffed, pushing him aside as she left. “You're unbelievable. If you want to get your legs broken or something, that's your business; but don't drag me into it.”

Before she departed from the hall, he noticed the paper gliding in the air, thrown out of her grip. Rushing to pick it up, a few damp spots appeared across its pulpy surface, soaking in the morning dew from the blades of grass it touched. Skimming through its well-crafted cursive calligraphy brought back faint episodes of a dream he once had: a yet-to-be finished fantasy of him fighting a Garchomp. One way or another, an ending to that dream will be created- even if he had to fight a real Garchomp to get it.

Dusk brought a sleepy indigo tone to Unido's previously clear cerulean sky. One by one the stars began to awake, as the sun decided to retire for the night. Team Sharktooth appeared out from under the earth, one after the other, returning to that familiar little cavern on a prairie. It was good to be home.

With soft breaths of fire, Pele relit the five charred torches suspended on the walls, as her brother laid a map flat on the stone floor. All of Unido was illustrated on the face of the thin paper: the heavily forested South; the oceanic beachfronts of the West; the mountainous badlands up North; the unforgiving deserts occupying the East; and the prairie seas of Central Unido.

“Okay, so right now, we're here,” Lono told his gathering associates, as he drew a small circle Southeast of the prairie with his claw, “and Florges Guild is here,” he said, drawing another little pattern on the Southern tip of the map. “Normally it's about a three or four day journey by foot; since we're faster underground, I'd say we'll hit them in about half a day's time. I recommend attacking them during the night: we'll catch them off-guard, and hopefully it'll make it easier for us to go in, grab whatever treasure they have, and get out-”

“No,” Ku's deep voice objected, “we'll attack them during the day.”

“What?” Said Lono, asking if he heard that right. “What do you mean, 'no'? If we are going to succeed, then we need to strike them when it's most optimal, right? If we hit them at night, they won't fight back as much-”

“I want them to fight back,” Ku replied. “I want them to fight back, and see exactly who crushed them. I want them to see exactly who it was that toppled their foundations. I want them to realize how weak they were for depending on the guilds for strength. And when they've had enough, and cry for mercy- I want them to know exactly who denied their request.”

“Well, I think that's a borderline dumb idea.” Standing to his feet, Lono walked over to the towering dragon, stopping until their bellies were inches apart, and looking him straight in the eye. “Rumor's been going around that our little stunt in the Beige Plains escalated us to a Star-III outlaw team. I've also heard that Bisharp called off his pursuit of us to alert the guilds of our coming. Do you know what that means, Ku? We're walking into our own execution if we fail to hit them at the right time. If damage is to be had, I want as minimum of it to happen as possi-”

For his defiance, the Garchomp whipped his hulking tail into the Gabite's side, smashing him into a wall. Lono fell out of the crater he created, face first onto the floor. He got his trembling self onto his hands and knees, before taking Ku's monstrous kick to his stomach, sending him flopping deeper into the mouth of the cave. All he could do was breath in his own spit, before coughing it back out in a nasty wheezing fit. “Learn your place, Lono,” the leader hissed. “Next time, I won't be merciful.”

“Lono!” Seeing her twin brother near beaten to a pulp in just two blows brought a rare case of worry back into the sister Gabite; she had to help him up!

“Leave him be, Pele!” Ku's daunting roar froze her in place before she had a chance to run to his side. Hearing his voice being raised like that was the worst of her nightmares come to life, sending her entire body into a shivering tantrum. “Listen, the both of you: I don't care what ideas you have of going about this- we are doing this my way. Damage control is out of the question. There will be resistance- and resistance is meant to be crushed. We will leave no one standing, with or without the treasure. After tonight, there is no going back; we will cross the point of no return, whether you like it or not. If you can't handle it, I will save myself the trouble, and kill you now. Do I make myself clear?”

“Y-y-y-yes, s-sir,” Pele squeaked.

“You both need your strength, so rest up for tonight,” Ku told them as he turned around to walk out of the cave. “I will be on watch duty.” The walls of the cavern obscured him from Pele's sight as he walked out side, to the left of the cave.

Taking the time while he's out, Pele sat down by her aching brother on the floor, still trying to calm herself from the shivers. “G-gee,” she whispered to him, her voice only audible from the echoes of the cave, “I-I think you really got to him.”

“What...ever,” Lono wheezed, “he just can't take other people's opinions. Short-sighted punk; I hope a low hanging branch pokes him in his good eye. That'll be funny.”

A subtle, yet somewhat chilling breeze whistled across the Garchomp's navy blue scales as he sat in the sea of dried grass, watching the moon rise from the East. What a beautiful shape it had, tonight: a full moon, partly censored from passing clouds. Its pale light was enough to hypnotize him, becoming something of a luxury to him since he turned to the busy life of an outlaw. He could stare at it all night if he wanted, just like the old days.

And sometimes, if he stared long enough at it, it felt to him like it stared back like a familiar smiling face in his past. It only left him wanting the moon even more.


Seen August 19th, 2019
Posted August 10th, 2019
102 posts
3.9 Years
Chapter 9

Faint and constant pecking sounds of iron thorns hitting a stump target rung through the Verde Forest. In the back of the forest, that little designated spot that they usually go to for training, Pecha and Oran spent the humid afternoon throwing the slim barbs of metal that the guildmistress gave them at their assigned targets ten feet away from them. Ambipom, their combat instructor, stood beside them to provide advice on better techniques to throw them- and prevent the kids from poking their eyes out, while he's at it. Of her ten thorns, Pecha managed to stick seven into the rings of her target; Oran only managed to get two.

“Oh-ho, what's wrong, Oran?” the instructor asked, looming over him. “Your sister is beating you good; you just gonna take that?”

The Riolu returned from his target, with a handful of ten refreshed thorns. The next iron thorn ready to be pitched twirled and spun in his paw as if he couldn't find a comfortable way to hold it. Just holding the spike normally felt awkward to him, no matter where he gripped, one of its three prongs would stick him. “I don't understand,” he told the monkey, “how do I even throw these things?”

“Here, grab your next thorn, and lemme show ya something, oh-ho.” As the pup picked his next spike and held it in his right paw, the monkey caressed his paw with both tails, shuffling the thorn around with care; by the time he was finished Oran held the long end of the metal spike between his first and second digits, its sharp tip pointing towards him. “There,” the instructor said, smiling, “You were putting too much muscle in your throws; relax your body. Don't just throw the thorn- let it glide out of your paw like a dart. Keep your back straight, your body calm, and your right foot in front of the left.”

“Okay.” Oran took his eyes off his teacher, and aimed back at the wooden structure designated to be his target. Just as the monkey advised: a deep breath or two loosened him from within, and his back erected straight. It took him a few wind-ups to mark where he expected the piece of metal to go, in the center dot; when he felt he built up enough confidence, he let it loose from between his fingers, a little wobbly while it spun in the air, but in the end, the spike managed to stick deep into the right of the center, in the last of the three rings. What an awkward routine to go through.

“Not bad,” Ambipom congratulated him with a smirk, patting him on the back with his left tail, “needs a little more practice, but not bad, oh-ho.”

Oran's eyes drifted toward his left, to where his older sister came back from harvesting her thorns from her cedar target. She threw each one as he was instructed to, only left-handed, and to his discouragement, the Buneary threw each spike into a tight, correlated group, just barely hovering underneath the bullseye- and she was just as much a beginner as he. “How come she's a lot better at it than me?” Oran pouted to Ambipom.

“I just am,” his sister intercepted the question, gloating.

“Some are just naturals at it,” Ambipom told him. “Some learn faster than others; I guess it didn't take your sister too long to figure it out, oh-ho.”

“Don't tell me you're giving up on this,” the Buneary joked, flipping her left, uncoiled ear with a flick of her paw. “Oh well, it wouldn't surprise me- I'm the older sibling, after all- talent just comes to me-” all of a sudden her pile of thorns grew larger as Oran dumped his handful into hers. She gazed at her new quantity with a dash of confusion in her eyes, then told her brother, “You aren't any fun; I was at least expecting some competition.”

“Nah,” he replied with hands behind his head, shrugging his shoulders. “I just don't care for them; I don't see the point. You're much better at it than me; you can have this win.”

Hearing his forfeit was like a dream come true to the Buneary's ears as she kept the tears in her eyes from falling. Ever since he came into her life, she threw herself in constant competition with the jackal- whether for affection or attention- which was the reason she put so much pride in her seniority in the first place. She never thought she'd see the day he'd give up without a fight- it nearly brought her to tears! But she had to keep that visage of superiority strong, wiping excess water from her eyes with a quick stroke of her arm, then puffing out her chest a little as she bragged, “I guess you just aren't cut out for this, after all, Oran: this is much too sophisticated for you.”

The pup chuckled as if agreeing, “Yeah, you're right about that, Pecha. And you know what else? You can take them with you during our missions! That way, you can help me and Scyther fight for once.”

“Are you calling me useless?” she snapped at her brother like a piece of twine under a candle flame. “I'll show you who's the useless one!” Dropping the spikes in her hand she pounced on her little brother, sending the duo to the ground, clutching each other as they tumbled around in the sea of short grass.

Ambipom stood as he watched the children deliver a flurry of punches, kicks, and slaps to each other. To some degree it was amusing to him, almost comedic, watching them go at it, but at some point he had to put a stop to it before they start yanking each other bald. Grabbing the both of them by their napes with his slender tails, he yanked them apart from their little squabble, and hoisted them into the air. “Does Scyther have to put up with this?” he asked the two with a hint of irritation breaking in his voice.

“Yeah, all the time,” the Riolu replied. “We're just playin' with each other.”

Gingerly Ambipom placed the duo back on their hind paws, back on solid ground. “You can kill each other, later,” he told them with a scowl, “But right now, we're practicing, oh-ho.”

“Yes, sir,” the kids said in a defeated groan, looking down to his feet.

Thirty feet below the guild's surface sat a Diglett in a dark corridor, his only source of light beaming from a hatch located in the assembly hall above ground. He had what he considered a simple duty: to alert the establishment above to any foreign threat. The other would go insane, staying in what looked like a hole, doing nothing all day, but not him; he enjoyed the quiet solitude it provided.

He sensed a slight vibration in the ground he protruded from, feeling it grow in intensity until it was akin to a harsh shake. However, not all of the floor quaked around him, feeling too precise and focused to be an earthquake; someone was down there with him, tunneling their way in his direction!

Before he had the chance to alert the guild above, something crashed through the wall in front of him, the harsh light emitting from its claws stunned the mole from identifying the invader. A streak of brilliant orange swung like an ax across the Mole 's necks, and suddenly the walls around him gained a fresh, uneven coat of red. Scarlet blood emptied from the open tear in his throat into a growing puddle around him, and with each ounce spilled his consciousness dissolved to just enough strength to keep his eyes open. “Intru...,” he squeezed out a painful wail, “intru...”

“How about you take a rest?” the intruder's coarse whisper asked Diglett.

The longer he forced his weary eyes to stay open, the heavier his eyelids weighed in his blinking. His vision became a blur, and breathing dwindled to just short huffs at a time. Before fading away, the soft hue emitting from his attacker's claws allowed him to at least capture an idea of who it was: from the darkness, the soft orange glow revealed blue scales, and the ruby red underbelly of a towering dragonic body belonging to a Garchomp. The feeling of drowsiness soon overpowered the little Ground-type, slouching over himself as he gave a final, weak sigh.

“The alarm's been dealt with,” the shark said to his two associates lined behind him.

The team of three gathered in the corridor that was once the Diglett's station, immersing themselves in the amount of surprising elbow room it provided. Giving his teammates some time to stretch, the leader asked his strategist, “Lono- our location-”

“Well, since that was a Diglett sentry you filleted, a safe guess would be: we're beneath the guild's assembly hall,” he replied back in a whisper.

“Perfect,” the Garchomp replied. “Hand me the orb, Lono; now's about the time we use it.” Just as instructed the Gabite fished out the sphere from the belly of his satchel and handed it to his leader, its hot pink core illuminating the room to some degree. “Once we use it, we'll only have ten minutes of its effect,” Ku told his subordinates, taking the glass sphere between his claws. “But ten minutes will be just enough time to cause damage; that should draw the guildmistress and her team out from their quarters. After which, we'll force them to spill the location of their treasury. Both of you- cover your eyes.”

The pair of Gabite flinched behind the fins hanging below their arms, as sounds of the Inverse Orb cracking in the Garchomp's grip filled the area. Falling apart into an innumerable amount of shards underneath the dragon's mighty pressure, a surge of magenta light that was once the sphere's core exploded into a flash bang.

After a good hour or two counting on her desk, Guildmistress Florges finished accounting her guild's budget collected over the week: fifty-thousand . A treasure chest slept underneath her desk, where she put the last few bags of coins into its interior, and closing it with a satisfying click.

A sudden cry from deep within the guild caught her ears, causing her to jump out of her seat; if the nervous pitter-patters of her dancing heart were to be believed, she had a hunch what might have caused the distress.

The Florges rushed herself to the assembly hall, meeting with her teammates, Azumarill and Granbull, to find three dragons standing in front of the entrance: two Gabite, and a heavily scarred Garchomp- just as Bisharp's alert illustrated. And it seemed they found their way through the Diglett sentry's hatch, which emitted a heavy smoke of dust behind them.

“Good afternoon, Florges Guild,” the large Garchomp addressed the scared stiff members in his daunting, yet calm voice. “We are Team Sharktooth. We came with a simple demand: either relinquish your treasury to us, or watch your precious guild fall like rain water; we're not leaving until we accomplish one of those.”

“What have you done with the Diglett sentry?” Granbull demanded the Dragon-type in a menacing growl.

The Garchomp gave a subtle smirk to the dog. “That's a good question, mutt,” he replied, “although you won't like the answer. Let's just say: he'll need that hole of his more than ever, now.”

Hearing that sent the Fairy-type through a fit of trembling rage. “You,” he huffed furiously, tightening his knuckles until blisters would appear, “you monsters!” A simple step turned into a bloodthirsty dash towards the shark, even slipping out of his guildmistress restraining grasp; all he wanted for the moment was the dragon's head as his trophy.

In response the Mach primed his right claw in a feral orange light.

“That won't work on me, idiot!” the Granbull shouted. In a blink of an eye his long, sharp fangs turned icy blue, and he frothed a cold, wintery haze from his mouth. Taking a powerful leap at the dragon, he opened his maw wide, revealing those icicles for teeth ready to shred into his skin.

“Let's find out!” Ku responded with a heavy swing with his Dragon Claw, cleaving straight through the Granbull's abdomen, and even amputating his left arm just below the shoulder joint with simple force. Even his expression of shock read deliciously predictable to Ku: “how is this even possible?”

The mangled dog landed straight on his back with a heavy thud. The shock in his eyes remained permanent while he twitched and shook, the open wound in his chest continued spraying his vital life essence like a sprinkler, and his newly stubbed arm coated him in a red puddle. He sat there as his slayer stepped over him; when he took a look at his fresh kill, the Granbull was no more than discarded trash in the Garchomp's eyes. “Disgusting.” With a bump from the back of his right foot, Ku kicked the defeated mutt into the blown Diglett hole, wanting to forget about the mess he made of him. Though instead of hearing a satisfying scream, all the dragon ever heard was a faint “thump”.

“Disgusting,” the dragon said once more to the shivering guild members, “he even died like a mutt; what a waste of time. Who else is feeling particularly brave?”

No one wanted to face that monster. They stood in place, either shivering out of their own skins, or keeping themselves from balling their eyes out. Even the guildmistress dared not to budge from her stasis, freezing her left hand in front of her mouth as to keep herself from throwing up from tension. “E-evacuate,” Florges squeezed from her mouth. She tried once more, but with a stronger roar, “Everyone- evacuate! Now! Evacuate to the back of Verde Forest!”

“Y-YOU HEARD HER, EVERYONE,” Loudred's voice broke from the silence, “MOVE IT TO THE BACK OF THE VERDE! MOVE IT, MOVE IT, MOVE IT!”

At first it took them a while to gain the courage to even break from their statue-like stances, but with the Loudred leading them, an organized stampeded ensued, heading for the back of the Assembly Hall which led to the forest outside.

“Ku, they're all getting away,” Pele whispered as she jogged to his side. “What should we do?”

The Garchomp responded with silence at first. But after a few seconds, he told her, “Leave them be.”

“But they're eye witnesses,” she whispered back in an angered growl. “We can't just let them go!”

“And what are they going to tell the officials?” he asked her back. “All they can do is spread our influence. Don't waste your energy on those guppies; we have bigger fish right in front of us-”

After the guild cleared of all potential distractions, all who stood in the outlaws' way were the guildmistress, and her assistant. Ku gave a slight smirk: telling by the shaken expressions worn by the opposing side, his team had the psychological advantage. “What's wrong, ladies?” he taunted the Florges and Azumarill pair. “You're acting like you saw a ghost. I assume the both of you are the strongest in the guild, yet here you are, frightened like a pair of newcomers. Go on, then- defend your pathetic guild! Show no mercy to us!”

“G-Guildmistress, I'm scared,” the Azumarill squeaked to her.

“It will be all right,” Florges assured her. She then asked her invaders, “I have but one question for you: the Inverse Orb- are you under its influence? What you did to Granbull was unnatural, a Dragon-type move hurting a Fairy-type; even if that was your natural strength you've trained specifically for countering us, you still wouldn't be able to even bruise us. If you are under its effects, then I assume our Fairy-type attacks are ineffective, correct?”

“You have an eye for observation,” the dragon replied with an intrigued smirk. “I'll answer your question with a question of my own: do you want to find out?”

The second the Garchomp tilted over for a charge, a curtain of blue flame engulfed him, taking everyone by surprise! A tall Delphox approached from one of the many hallways connected to the assembly hall, with a wooden staff aimed at the outlaws in one hand, and her daughter in the other. “Go, now, Cheri,” she told her pup, placing her on the ground, “go find the evacuation party.”

“But, mother-!”

“There's no time for arguments!” the mother roared, causing her child to cower. Taking a few steps back, the Fennekin pup took her mother's advice, running off to find the rest of the guild members. Wherever they were, at least she would be safer there than here.

Ku fanned away the sea of fire with a single swing of his left fin; thick clouds of gray smoke filled the hall from its embers attempting to burn the moist grass of the guild floor. Despite being in the belly of an overwhelming inferno, he showed no scorches or burns across his entire body. “You'll pay for that,” he hissed at the fox.

“Forgive my intrusion, guildmistress, but I would like to join in on the fun,” she told Florges with an air of confidence. “I simply won't allow these barbarians to destroy my home; I've recently made one journey to move here, I refuse to make another.”

It wasn't much, but the sight of Delphox brought a wave of relief surging through the guildmistress. “Thank you for joining,” Florges told her, smiling.

With the addition of the fox on her side, it was now three against three. “What an interesting development,” the Garchomp said to himself. “Regardless, adding more people into the fray won't increase their odds of winning- it only increases the number of bodies.” He shouted to his teammates, “Lono- take the Azumarill; Pele- take the Delphox; I'll have a little talk with our guildmistress.”

Her collar of hydrangeas glowing pure white, Florges took her hands up to her chest, charging a small ball of greenish-blue energy between her palms; once it grew to the size of a bowling ball, she hurled it at the Garchomp. Swinging his left claw down like a hammer, Ku responded by Slashing the ball of energy in two, detonating it in front of him.

Drawing a circle of fire in the air with the end of her staff, Delphox collapsed it into a single point before spewing a tense stream of bright sapphire flame at the female Gabite. Pele reacted with a stream of flame of her own, colliding her Flamethrower with the fox's Mystical Fire to create a great curtain of inferno that spread across the guild floor.

Azumarill took a deep breath, and soon fired a high pressured jet of water from her mouth, aiming to take the male Gabite out in a single attack. Covering his chest with both arms, Lono took the impact of her Hydro Pump, trying to hold his ground while the jet of water pushed him back with boulder-crushing force, waiting for the Aqua Rabbit to tire.

A suspicious noise latched on to Ambipom's ears, making him turn his attention away from his student's practice. An entire crowd of Pokemon gathered around the teacher and his disciples, though curiosity or amazement wasn't what dragged them out in the forest.

“Ambipom, what's wrong with them?” Oran asked, observing the same scene the monkey was.

“Oran, stay with Pecha,” he told him. “I'll go figure out what's happening, oh-ho.”

Leaving his students for a second, the double-tailed monkey met with the sudden crowd, but something wasn't right with them to him. Some hid their faces in paws full of tears; others spaced out with empty eyes as if escaping from an active battlefield. “What has gotten into everyone, oh-ho?” he asked himself. Among the bunch he saw Loudred, as quiet as a Whismur for once. “Loudred, what's going on?” Ambipom asked.

“SOMETHING TRULY TERRIBLE, THAT'S WHAT!” he replied with a shout loud enough to rumble a mountain, everyone around him covering their ears to keep from going deaf. “THREE OUTLAWS JUST SHOWED UP OUTTA NOWHERE AND STARTED ATTACKING THE GUILD! THEY EVEN WHACKED GRANBULL!”

“That's terrible!” Ambipom screamed. “What about the Guildmistress? Is she still all right?”


He didn't care how strong the invaders were, or why they want to wreck the guild. Ambipom had only one answer, and he blurted it without a second thought, “Oh-ho, yeah, like I would ever let those punks destroy my guild! Watch Pecha and Oran for me; make sure they don't leave the group, oh-ho. I'm going in to help Guildmistress Florges!”

“BUT, AMBIPOM, I AIN'T GOOD AROUND-!” Having started his run for the guild, Ambipom made a great effort to ignore Loudred's complaint, never looking back to acknowledge him. “KIDS,” the Loudred sighed. His perpetually open mouth took on the form of a frown. “GREAT,” he said to himself, “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KEEP THOSE KIDS AWAY FROM THE GUILD? I'M NOT SO MUCH WORRIED ABOUT THE GIRL; SHE SEEMS TO BE ENJOYIN HER PRACTICE. IT'S-”

He felt two light on his right leg. Looking down, he saw a curious looking Riolu hovering near his kneecap. “hey, Loudred, do you know what's going on?” Oran asked. “Where's Ambipom going?”


“But you just said a second ago-”


“You mean, 'iron thorns'?” Oran corrected him. His eyes drifted away, and his hands locked behind his head. “Nah, I don't like those things all that much; I just feel like heading back inside, and-”

To his surprise Oran found himself lifted up with ease, Loudred hoisting him by his sides, and suspending him over his head to observe the forest's thick skyline of rich, emerald foliage. “HEY, LOOK, KID- NATURE!” Loudred exclaimed in a falsely excited tone. “YA LIKE NATURE, DON'T YA, KID?”

“Well, of course,” Oran replied back, watching the blanket of leaves above head sway to the slightest touch of wind. “I live in nature. I get to see it every day; it gets kinda boring, though, after seeing it so many times, y'know-?”

“MY MASTER PLAN IS WORKING,” the Loudred thought to himself as the Riolu pup rambled on without much of a care.

Meanwhile, the guild remained an active war zone. The moist grass floor became a thin smokescreen from the Gabite and Delphox spreading their fire around; everything below the fighters' feet was a mystery.

Azumarill, the first to fall in battle, laid on her stomach unconscious, with several light gashes and scratches lining her cerulean body. Lono loomed over her as the victor, though looking down on her wrote a grimace of self-disgust across his face. Even after going easy on her, refraining from doing any major damage to her, he felt sick to his stomach just looking at what he was able to do. If he wasn't under the Inverse Orb's effects, maybe she'd be in better condition.

His sister's shout caught his ear, “Hey, Lono, get your butt over here! This one's really starting to get under my scales!” When he looked over to her battle, he realized she wasn't kidding. It's been only two minutes since they started fighting, and already Pele huffed and wheezed as if she just ran a marathon; she never learned how to conserve her energy during fights.

“Take this!” Again the Delphox drew a circle of flame midair with her staff, collapsing it into savage stream of inferno. Except this time, her opponent had tired herself too much to counter, deciding to engulf herself in the ravenous sapphire flames. But as the Gabite's screams of discomfort suggested, she was unaware the Inverse Orb weakened her natural resistance to fire.

“Lono! Don't just stand there,” she shrieked in pain, rolling around the ground in a panic, “do something, you idiot!” Lono kicked up a small stream of sand with his left fin, using his Sand Attack to douse out the flames devouring his sister before they did any major harm to her. Pele's cries for mercy turned into a series of coughing fits as she laid flat on her belly. “Took you long enough,” she coughed out. Just like Ku, her body failed to register a single scorch mark, even after being turned into a giant ball of fire.

“Mystical Fire doesn't act like other Fire-type moves,” the Delphox explained to them. “It lacks the ability to burn, yet your body still registers the sensation of burning. Being both a Dragon-type and a Ground-type you should have resisted it fairly easily, yet, your reaction to it was interesting.”

Pele stood herself onto her knees, refusing to lose the fight. “Why don't ya shut your mouth, ya dumb broad?” she blurted out. “Your voice makes me wanna puke!”

Seeing such revolting disrespect from her opponent sent a twitching fit through the fox's right eye brow. “Is that how you treat your elders?” Delphox growled at her, flinging a ripple of blue inferno at the Gabite with her staff. But a line of sand intercepted the fire attack, snuffing it about before reaching Pele. The Fox passed an apathetic glance towards the brother, suspecting him of throwing the Sand Attack. “I prefer you not to interfere,” said the fox witch.

“You got something in your eyes!” Whipping his tail across the foggy black ground summoned a splash of sand, aiming directly for the Fire-type's head. Delphox nudged her head to the left, missing the Dragon's pathetic Sand Attack.

“Fool,” Delphox called the Gabite. “Did you really think that would work after you called it out?”

“No,” Lono answered with a confident grin, “but thanks for taking the bait, anyways.”

At first she had no idea what he was talking about, But then it suddenly dawned on her. Delphox only took her eyes off her real opponent for a few seconds, but that gave the female Gabite enough time to get up close to her, practically breathing up her robes. There wasn't enough time to charge another Mystical Fire; in a split-second decision, her deep blue eyes turned entirely purple with psychic energy, erecting an invisible, paper-thin barrier between her and the Gabite.

Passing through it certainly slowed the Dragon-type down to a noticeable degree, but it failed to stop her from attacking. Swiping at her lower abdomen with her right claw, to start off her Dual Chop attack, it connected with a light mist of blood. Then the second claw came, cutting diagonally downward to intersect with the first wound; a little more fluid left the fox's stomach as she toppled like a falling tree, hitting the ground hard on her back.

Delphox groaned while wiggling on the ground, using her thick coat arms to slow the heavy bleeding; All she felt in her stomach was a deep burning sensation from her open wounds getting some air. Had she not used her Reflect, she feared the dragon's claws could have gone deeper.

As the Fox used the wall to her right to help prop her to her knees, the victor towered over her, a smug grin stretching across her face. “Had enough, yet?” Pele taunted in glee. “I guess so; you're just all bark, and no bite.”

“You little, arrogant brat,” Delphox growled in pain. “I will not allow myself to be talked down by the likes of you-!” in the middle of forcing herself up her knees gave in, and she toppled back to the ground on her stomach.
The Cave burst out laughing at the sight of her enemy falling down, her obnoxious howls rung through the guild like a banshee's wail. “Look at you; you're a mess!” she hollered, tears nearly trickling down her face. “Don't think about getting back up- you look better as a rug, anyways!”

“Leave her alone, already,” Lono told his sister. “You've won your fight; there's no need to brag about it.”

Suddenly her desire to laugh died out to a resentful silence. “Gee, just suck the fun outta everything, why don't ya,” she groaned in a disheartened tone. That was her brother for her, all right: an enemy to all that is fun.

Her fight with the Garchomp didn't even remotely feel like a real fight to the Guildmistress. Her once perfect, porcelain skin now adorned several deep purplish bruises and lightly bleeding scrapes. With not a single scratch on his scales, it was like he was toying with her, playing with her like she was some child's doll. To her- he was taunting her abilities.

“Tired already?” the dragon mocked. “We haven't even begun, yet.”

As mush as she wanted to tell him otherwise, the flower wasn't in any condition to lie. Each irregular breath was heavier than a Stoutland's overheated panting. Even while she slumped to the ground for a few quick gasps, the desert in her mouth kept getting dryer, making it harder to breathe. All of her muscles felt stiff and heavy, having expended so much energy to punish the foe with no payoff.

“What you did to Diglett and Granbull, was truly horrendous,” she huffed. “As Guildmistress, I will stop your terror; no more members will be harmed by your hand!” Struggling to get back up, she continued, “Even if I must fall, I will not allow your evil to destroy my guild! As every guildmaster must be, I am prepared to die, to protect the home of so many -!”

Ku's enormous tail slammed into the guildmistress' gut with boulder-shattering strength, knocking the wind out of her lungs and the Florges off her tail, flinging her outside of the guild's entrance to the Verde Forest. “I've been courteous enough to go easy on you,” said the Garchomp as he strolled to her. “With this power of mine I could have killed you the moment we started fighting; I kept you alive this long to tell me where your treasury is located.”

Laying on her back in the pebble-filled dirt, a spot of sun hit her in the eyes. It gave her an idea: closing her eyes, her collar of blue hydrangeas turned snow white, drawing in energy from the sunlight around her. The Synthesis continued to draw in the surrounding light, reinvigorating the Garden with newfound energy; she didn't need much, just enough to keep her fighting.

Ku's hefty left foot crashed down on the Florges' arm, disrupting her Synthesis, and pulverizing her left humerus into bone powder. Biting down on her lip almost hard enough to draw blood, she locked a scream of pain inside of her mouth, filtering it to sound like a discomforting groan to the dragon. Florges turned her head, trying to rob her opponent the pleasure to watch a heavy flow of tears trickle down her face, but no matter which way she turned, there would always be one eye revealed.

Grinding his left foot with her arm underneath forced those exquisite screams right out from her throat, and her tears flowed heavier than streams out of a crumbling dam. “Talk,” he told her in a calm demeanor. “Where is your treasury? Your guild will be left unharmed, if you just tell me where it is.”

Despite squirming around on the ground like an earthworm, filling the air with her stomach-churning howls, Florges kept her lips shut to the hammerhead.

Ku bellowed a low growl at the sight of the guildmistress' noncompliance; a new persuasion tactic was needed. He lifted his foot off the Garden 's broken arm, only to place his right foot on the side of her head, placing firm pressure, but not enough to squish it like a grape. Ku ground her face into the dirt, until she was locked in place to stare at the inside of her guild through watery eyes.

“Look, Guildmistress,” the dragon told her, “look at your guild. Watch what your stubbornness rewarded you with.” The leader called out to his observing teammates from the inside, “Lono, Pele: destroy the guild! Leave nothing standing!”

The female Gabite was all too happy to carry out his order. A calm vortex of sand formed around her at first, but the entire inside of the assembly hall was soon devoured by the devastating storm. Fine particles of earth produced by her Sand Tomb wore down the walls at an alarming rate, until the ceiling overhead collapsed from having nothing left supporting it. Like meteors from the sky, the ceiling collapsed into large chunks of stone, burying both the unconscious Azumarill and Delphox underneath hills of rubble.

Her entire pride and joy was being destroyed by a simple sandstorm- and she was forced to watch every second of it. She was forced to watch her guild, her home, be converted into an unrecognizable ruin in a hand-made desert. Florges tried wiggling her head out of her captor's grasp, to avoid another moment of devastation, but Ku's foothold held strong and firm; the more she struggled, the harder he pressed down.

“Stop,” the guildmistress gave in, begging while catching a mouthful of dirt, “please, stop! I'll do as you ask- just leave the rest of my guild alone! I'm begging you!”

The dragon lifted his foot from her tear-soaked face, believing in her surrender. Signaling for his teammate to put a cap on her Sand Tomb, He told the guildmistress, “Then be a good girl, and tell me: where is your treasury? If this is a trick, I have no qualms with squashing your head like a berry underneath my foot.”

At first she couldn't speak coherently underneath her heavy sobbing. But she took a few seconds to collect some calmness to speak, “The- the treasury is underneath my desk, in my office, west wing. It's all collected inside a treasure chest. We are a- we're a rural guild- we don't receive much, anyways; it's all we have. So, please, just take it, and leave,” she told him before her tears started running, again.

The dragon gave a slight smirk, satisfied with his prey giving in to his demands. “There; was that so hard?” he asked as if belittling her.

A furious shout broke from behind the Garchomp as he turned his back and started walking for the guild, “Hey, you! Get away from the guildmistress!” An aggressive Ambipom caught up to him, ten feet in the air, preparing to strike him with a savage punch from one of his tails.

Ku blocked the attack from his right tail by covering his upper body with his arm fins, unflinching at its sheer impact as it drove him backwards. Ambipom landed several feet away by ricocheting off his opponent; the Garchomp's entire left fin was nearly turned black, but he read no signs of pain from his face.

“Oh-ho, how are you still standing?” Ambipom demanded. “That punch was strong enough to even fall a redwood tree; how did it not break your arms?”

“Oh? Was I supposed to feel something?” the shark taunted, a wide, toothy smile stretching across his face. “Because I didn't feel a thing.” He turned to his teammates inside the ruins, “Lono, Pele: find the treasury,” he ordered. “I'll deal with this monkey, myself.” Given the order, the Gabite pair ran off deeper into the guild, hunting for their treasure.

“You'll pay for-”

Ku cut him off, “For destroying your home- I know; I can't go five seconds without you worms reminding me. It disturbs me that so many of you fell for that guise. Do you know what a guild really is? What it really is: is a work camp, leeching off what little their 'explorers' rake in. You risk your life, possibly even die, to earn just a measly handful of , while the Guildmaster gets comfy with your earnings.”

A look of confusion struck the two-tailed monkey, unable to decipher what he's saying. “Oh-ho? Which guild did you come from that does that?”

“Why does it matter to you?” Ku asked. “You're going to die in a few moments!” Digging his right foot beneath the Florges' barely conscious body, he flung her at Ambipom!

Distracted by his flying guildmistress, he took his eyes off his opponent for a few seconds to catch her in his scrawny arms; for someone built like a slender flower, she packed some serious weight!

A sudden shadow blotted out the sun; in just a few short moments, Ku towered over the monkey, poised to strike! He brought his right claw down with the weight of a sledgehammer, but the nimble Ambipom dodged by jumping backwards several feet.

“What an attack,” the Normal-type remarked to himself, observing the thick cloud of dirt that engulfed the dragon whole. “Had I taken it, Florges and I would've been torn apart like paper, oh-ho! I can't mess around with this guy; first, I need to find a safe spot to put the guildmistress down. But where is 'safe'?”

“Nowhere's safe,” Ku remarked, as his veil of earth cleared, revealing him once more. “If you lay her down, who's to say I won't attack her?”

“You're a monster!” screamed Ambipom. “What are you gaining from attacking us?”

“That's a good question,” Ku replied. “A good question that I don't have the time to answer!” From underneath his feet he summoned a whirling maelstrom of sand, using it as a veil to block his opponent's line of sight.

The storm howled relentlessly, causing the Ambipom to close his eyes shut; his whole body stung from resisting the sand blasting him at a high velocity. But through it all he kept the guildmistress close to his chest. “You're Sand Tomb doesn't faze me!” Ambipom's scream broke through the storm. “You're gonna have to try a lot harder if you wanna beat me!”

The sandstorm died off, but there was no trace of the Dragon-type anywhere; only a large hole was left where he used to stand. His heart beat like a racing Rapidash, and his nerves hardened to steel. The inside of his head buzzed like a hive of angry Combee, turning every direction in a frantic sweep.

“Where could he be, oh-ho?” he asked himself. “It's unlikely he's retreating- he doesn't seem like that kind of . So, is he going to attack me from the front? Or maybe from behind?” A loud gulp rung through his throat, “What if he's planning a sneak attack on the evacuation party?”

Following the sound of the earth exploding behind him, a sharp pain traveled up his spine, causing him to drop his leader from his tight grasp. Turning around, he saw the outlaw reappear, but with both of his tails laying beside him.

Hyperventilating, he patted down the bleeding stubs where his precious extensions used to be, hoping this was some kind of dream. It wasn't. “What did you do to my tails?” screamed Ambipom.

“The same thing I'm going to do to you,” the outlaw replied.

Obnoxious fumes of foliage and chlorophyll invaded the land sharks' nostrils as they entered a small room housing no more than a hand-grown garden of various colors, and a desk; it was like walking in to an Aromatisse parlor! What a bland, little office: nothing gave the room any sort of personality, aside from the few cornrows of dirt that sprouted a plethora of different flowers.

“Where could it be?” Pele asked.

Her brother responded, “She said she kept a treasure box under her desk.”

“Oh, really?” She walked up to the dark oak desk; placing her claws underneath its ledges, she tossed it at a nearby wall, smashing it into a broken heap of wood. There it was, begging to be taken: a wooden box with a dark finish, large enough for the both of them to carry.

Bending over, Pele tried picking it up by herself. It wouldn't budge, her single-clawed hands were unable to get a solid grip; very time she pulled up, it would just slip out of her grasp.

“You can do better than that, Pele,” Lono remarked.

The sister took several huffs, not of exhaustion, but out of frustration. “Oh, forget this!” She reeled her left leg back, and delivered a swift kick to the box, its top exploding into a spray of fine splinters. Inside were several sacs, some big, and some small. “Lono, fill your bag up with these,” she told him.

Lining the inside of his bag with the numerous coin purses, its single strap thrown over his right shoulder started choking him from its accumulating weight. Just one big sac of Poke was almost enough to fill his pouch entirely! “I don't think they can all fit.”

“Shut up, and do !” the sister exploded, startling her brother into a faster pace of scooping up the loot.

By the time he was finished, his bag was overfilling with Poke; he felt like he was put in a chokehold by the strap over his shoulder. “Okay, Pele, let's go,” he wheezed, “you have no idea how uncomfortable this is.”

Ambipom crashed into the face of a large tree back first, kicking all air out of his lungs. Black spots littered his purple body, and a massive shiner closed his left eye entirely; his body became too weak and broken to even stand himself up. Consciousness came as quickly as it went, often blurring his vision of the dragon towering over him.

“I'm surprised you still decided to stay and fight,” he told him, “considering I've crippled your only means of effective attack. Either: you stayed out of obligation, or desperation.”

Ambipom said nothing to him, focusing his remaining energy on breathing, albeit they were very weak.

Ku looked down upon the hurting creature, with not a single shred of regret. But something about the sight of him disgusted the Dragon-type: his broken appearance reminded him of his own pain from long ago.

“Look at you,” he snarled, “all broken and vulnerable; you disgust me. You are probably thinking to yourself: 'if I were any stronger, I could have prevented this'. Regardless of how many times the weak convince themselves they're strong, there's always something to prove them wrong. You think relying on the guild makes you strong? Look-” his right eye shifted to the downed Fairy-type, “your caretaker couldn't do anything to stop this. What does that say about your dependency? Such a reliance is why weak spirits as yourself exist.” He turned back to the monkey, “And that reliance on her got you in the state you are in, now. I can see it in your eye: you want it to end. Don't worry- it will.” Extending his right fin, he placed it firmly across the battered Ambipom's throat.

All the monkey could do was grip at the fin, kicking up mounds of dirt to try and break free. Breathing soon turned to constricted gurgling, and tears tread down his open eye. After a few seconds his strength started failing him, his grip on the dragon turning limp. It didn't take long until his arms fell to his side, hanging lifelessly as he drew a long sigh. As soon as Ku let go, the monkey flopped onto the ground.

Ku stared at the lifeless husk, now sleeping peacefully on the grassy floor. He wanted a formidable fight from the guild; in the past ten minutes, he had nothing that even resembled a fight. Three members have died, while three more remained critically injured. All the while he stood victorious without a scratch. The Inverse Orb was to blame, for the most part: it made all those “fights” boring to him. No wonder why it was banned from use in the first place.

“Ku!” A male voice broke from the background calling for him, grabbing his attention. He saw both Lono and Pele back from the Guildmistress' office, but with no aforementioned chest. Instead, Lono's satchel was full to the brim with its loot. “Our time is up,” Lono cried, “We need to go!”

“I couldn't agree more,” he shouted back, “it's no fun fighting these worms, anyways.”

Ku felt like he was forgetting something. As he stepped over the unconscious body of the guildmistress, he gazed down at her from his shoulder. Florges looked so peaceful in her sleep, except her left arm bent in a twisted, mangled way. She was left wide open; he could kill her in an instant, and she won't even know it. But that would be no fun. “I'll let despair do the job for me,” he told himself as he turned away from her.

When he stepped back into the destroyed assembly hall, the soft sand covering the ground, getting in between his toes, reminded him of the desert he used to call home. But now wasn't the time for reminiscing.

“My taste for battle has grown stagnant,” he told his team members in an unsatisfied growl. “I expected them to give me a fight, but apparently that was asking too much of them. Even killing them felt like I was doing them a favor. Disgusting.” He turned to Lono, and asked, “Do you have all of it?”

The Gabite flipped his faded brown pouch open, revealing the many sacs of Poke stacked over its brim. “Pele couldn't lift the chest,” he told him, “so she had to improvise. But, yes, we got it all.”

“Good. Very good,” Ku said. “Now, I don't have to spend another second meddling with these degenerates.”

“There, there, good,” a mysterious female's voice rung through the eastern hallway, accompanied by the quiet screech of an object grazing against a wall. Telling by her tone she was rushed, like she quickly needed to be somewhere. “You're doing fine,” she said to someone unknown, “just a little further, then we'll make it with everyone else.”

Seconds later, two Pokemon emerged from the corridor: one of them was a Blissey, adorning a pure white gown and nurse's cap. She hovered next to a Scyther, directing him as he slowly made his way through the hall. The Bug-type looked taped together, many little white strips and bandages patched all over his mint green exoskeleton. They must have been late to taking the evacuation call.

“Just keep walking,” the nurse told him. “We're almost-” she stopped in her tracks.

“Nurse? What is it?” the Scyther asked. “Why did you stop?” When he looked in front of him, he found himself speechless. Three Pokemon unknown to him stood in what used to be the assembly hall, which was now a makeshift wasteland. To his horror, he noticed Azumarill and Delphox buried under a mound of debris passed out, or possibly even worse.

“Who are you three?” Blissey demanded them in a frightened squeal. “What have you done to the guild?”

“You two were late to the party,” Ku told the nurse and her patient. “We don't take kindly to latecomers.”

Gazing around the room in shock, it didn't take the pink egg very long to realize the dragons' sheer strength. Her muscles locked up in tension, only being able to tremble. “C-could you let us pass through, please?” she asked them in a quivering voice. “I-I-I wasn't trained to fight; I-I'm just a nurse!”

“All the more reason to quash you!” Pele snapped at her, sending a shock down her spine. A stream of intense fire left the Gabite's mouth, roaring straight for the nurse with the intent of cooking her like the frightened egg she was.

In a quick moment of selflessness, the Scyther stepped in front of the Blissey, taking her place to be engulfed by the flames as her shield. His blood-curdling roars drowned out the crackling of the flames, and he collapsed to the ground rolling, hoping to use the soft earth to snuff out the blaze. But the Flamethrower still persisted, constantly adding new fire before the old inferno had a chance to die out.

It only stopped after a few seconds when Pele interrupted it with a sudden cough. Puffs of smoke now bellowed from her maw as she hacked up a storm. “Man, what was up with that just now?” she asked herself in a scratchy voice, before clearing her throat again.

Scyther's bonfire dissipated to just a few embers, revealing the full horrors of his condition to the Blissey: his bright lime skin was now charcoal black. His thin wings completely burned away like they were made of paper. His body raised and lowered faintly, showing her that he was still conscious- for now.

“S-Scyther!” Blissey shouted as tears ran down her cheeks.

Before she attempted to touch him, Ku barked, “You there: run! Do you want to share a similar fate?”

The Happiness Pokemon stood frozen in fear, overloaded by her thoughts. She wanted to do as he said and run; on the other hand, she couldn't just leave Scyther by himself in his burned state.

“Run!” Ku barked at her even louder. Eventually, she gave in to him before he gave in to his rage, and waddled out to the forest where everyone else was.

“Why'd you let her go?” Pele questioned him. “Do you know who that was?”

“I'm well aware,” Ku answered. “She would have been a nuisance had we fought her: even with our combined efforts, it would take all day just to scratch her. My patience has been stretched far enough with this pathetic place. We have what we came for- so let's just leave.”

One moment, the team hid behind a violent vortex of sand; in the next, they were gone, with a large gaping crater appearing where they used to be.

For the past ten minutes, strange noises and smoke emitted from the guild. The occasional screams of familiar voices got on everyone's mind, even Oran's. From the sounds of it, something interesting was happening, and here he was, suspended five feet in the air by Loudred, only able to observe the clouds above. If he wanted to free himself, he had to devise a quick plan.

“Hey, Loudred,” he said, “I have to pee.”

“HUH? OH, OKAY.” The moment he placed him on the ground and let go, the Riolu dashed straight for the guild! “ORAN, YOU LITTLE LIAR! WAIT UNTIL I GET MY HANDS ON YOU!” the Loudred shouted, finally realizing what the blue jackal pup was planning. “DON'T GO THAT WAY! ORAN!”

“Loudred, what's going on?” Pecha asked, taking time off her practice to notice almost everybody had gathered outside. “What's happening?”


The trees zoomed past him like brown blurs as he made his run. Suddenly he put on his brakes, sliding across the dirt floor before stopping in front of his first warning sign. Ambipom's body laid in front of a tree, while his severed tails were strewn everywhere. The guildmistress herself was in no better condition, having fainted in the middle of the trail, with her left arm bending in a naturally impossible angle.

Hovering above the downed leader, he saw Blissey flipping Florges' unconscious body around to examine every bruise and broken bone. “No fatal injuries, as far as I can tell,” she said to herself, “but you need attention, pronto.”

“Hey, miss, what happened?” Oran asked, startling the nurse from her work.

She took a large sigh of relief, “Oh, Oran, you startled me. It was those outlaws- they did all this! First, they burned Scyther right in front of me, and now I see they've knocked Guildmistress Florges unconscious, and killed Ambipom! And I'm sure that's not even all they did!”

“What?” His tightening fist croaked loudly and trembled; anger swelled inside him like a boiler under pressure. He couldn't create a single consistent thought about the scene before him, but one: “unforgivable”. Who could have done such a thing? But one thing he was sure of: whoever did this must be very strong.

Leaping over the leader's body, he dashed straight for the guild, without a second thought. Most rational Pokemon would turn away after witnessing what he saw; he used it as a reason to push forward.

“W-wait, Oran,” Blissey cried for him, “don't go in there! You don't know the danger you're getting yourself into!”

Oran tuned her out.

Oran's hind paws sunk into the soft sand that flooded the floor as he entered the assembly hall- or what's left of it, anyways. The stone dome that once sheltered him was converted into a sun roof, while large chunks of ceiling laid on top the ground like monoliths sitting in a wasteland. The surrounding walls showed varied signs of erosion, from light scratches, to deep, compromising scars.

A strange object caught the edge of his eye: it was black, charred, like a large piece of charcoal. He ran over to it to have a closer look: he noticed two thin blades laying beside the object, singed to a toasty brown color.

“S-Scyther?” The pile of ash still had a recognizable form, and it still showed weak signs of breathing. But even just the softest touch from Oran sent the bug in a screaming frenzy, flailing about like he's gone mad from the pain.

He startled the Riolu into backing away immediately, tumbling onto his butt. For a few seconds Oran's heart galloped, calmed by a gulp of air.

The bug finally calmed from his tormented rampage. A mellow wave of guilt formed at the bottom of the jackal's stomach; Scyther would have been better off had he not decided to touch him. “Scyther,” Oran said to himself under a low voice, “who did this to you?”

He turned to his left, and spotted a massive hole that took up at least a third of the floor that he somehow missed. Lightly jogging toward it, he peered down from its edge: not much of the bottom was visible within the thick veil of darkness. Though it seemed shallow enough to jump in without much injury.

“ORAN! ORAN! COME BACK!” Loudred's roaring cries grew louder as he approached closer; from the sounds of it, he was almost to the entrance.

Oran gazed down the darkness once more. “If I let Loudred catch me, I won't find who did this,” he told himself. “No way I'm gonna let'em get away with this! If no one can beat these guys- then I will!” Lead by his determination to avenge his fallen home, the pup reeled back a step, before leaping into the crater of darkness.

“ORAN!” Loudred burst into the destroyed room, shouting for the little pup, but Oran didn't respond back. Light sweat soaked his lavender skin, giving it somewhat of a shine in the bright sunlight. His winded panting sounded more like disgruntled roaring. For just running a few miles, he felt like he was about to pass out.

His eyes scanned the miniature wasteland for the blue pup- nothing but sand, sand, and more sand. But he felt his stomach drop at the sight of a blackened, charred husk, sickening him that he immediately recognized it: Scyther. “O-OH, NO,” he told himself in a slight panic, shaking his head multiple times. “OH, NO-NO-NO-NO. THIS AIN'T GOOD; THIS AIN'T GOOD AT ALL. EVEN SCYTHER, THEY GOT SCYTHER, TOO?”

A discomforting groan from within the large hole tugged at the Normal-type's ears. Peeping down, he noticed the defiant Riolu hiding in the dark, rubbing his calves to massage the pain away. “ORAN,” his voice reverberated down the hole, somehow becoming louder than it naturally was, “ARE YOU OKAY, KID?”

“Y-yeah, I'm fine,” he answered back in a sore whimper. “I just hurt my legs a little; it's nothing much. This hole was deeper than I thought!”


Oran sprung back up to his feet, and argued back, “Well, I'm not doing this to be safe: I'm doing this to get back at whoever did this to the guild! Are you telling me you're just gonna let'em get away with this?”

“YES!” Loudred bluntly shouted.

“Where's your guild pride?” Oran asked.


“Yeah, I know- I'm gonna avenge'em!” Oran told him with a confident smile. “Don't worry, I'll save some bad guys for you, too; come down here, and join me!”


“Suit yourself!” The Riolu didn't turn back. Even with the Normal-type calling for him several times more, warning him to come back, Oran blocked him out as he dashed deeper into the one-way tunnel.

Loudred stood motionless from the edge of the hole. He had one simple job- and he blew it. But the job itself wasn't what riled his nerves to hardened steel. “WELP, I TRIED,” he told himself. “I GUESS THIS IS THE END: WHEN LOPUNNY FINDS OUT ABOUT THIS, IT'LL BE GOODBYE ME, FOR SURE. WHAT A WAY TO BE DONE IN.”

Team Sharktooth landed themselves into a strange cave that emitted its own light, which eliminated any darkness that would otherwise be considered normal. They quickly concluded it was a Mystery Dungeon, though it was the smallest they've been in. A Graveler tried throwing them a welcome party; he became no more than a heap of rubble.

Piles of gold coin were spread in front of the dragons in small piles. The male Gabite's eyes widened slightly in surprise as he finished counting each one. “Whoa, fifty-thousand Poke,” he exclaimed in the most astonished tone he could muster, which could easily be misheard as sarcasm. “We were actually lucky, for once: we must have pillaged them on one of their good weeks.”

“Hmm,” the standing Garchomp on lookout hummed to himself. “No, it's still not enough.”

“What do you mean, 'this still isn't enough'?” Lono asked. “It's enough for us to retire right now, though I prefer to have a little more: Pele could blow through this all too easily-”

“Hey!” The sister jumped from her sitting position to approach her brother in a hostile manner. “If you got something to say, say it straight to my face!” Pele screamed above him.

Lono only gave her a side glance from his sleepy glare. “You're so loud,” he told her, “You don't need to blow your top off so close to me-”

“Stop arguing!” Ku burst into a furious roar almost loud enough to collapse the cave on top of their heads. “You two are getting on my very last nerve!” The twins remained silent to prevent from provoking him any further. After a moment Ku's burning, venomous glare softened to a collected calm, and he told them, “That Poke is not enough; I want more. We're not gonna stop until we hit every guild. We were sloppy the first time; this time we won't be.”

“Then let's hit Slowking Guild, next,” Lono suggested. “It's the closest one to Florges Guild. And from what I've heard, they're rolling in Poke- practically drowning in it-”

“We are hitting Machamp Guild, next,” Ku said.

“What? Why?” Lono demanded, raising his mellow voice to a somewhat frustrated growl. “They're located in the heart of the Espectro Badlands: even if we dig our way there, it's at least gonna take us a week to get there! Azul Shores will only take us about a day to get there, maybe even less! Don't tell me you want to go all the way to Espectro just because you're bored!”

“That is exactly my reason,” Ku told him. “Florges Guild left a bad taste in my mouth; they were weaker than I anticipated. I need something to rekindle my taste for battle- and Machamp Guild will do exactly that. I don't care how long it takes us to get there; it'll be worth watching that guild tumble and fall.”

A suspicious sound bellowed from their tunnel, like an intruder was trying to climb their way to them. A few seconds later, a strange dog-like Pokemon emerged, small in stature and clad in blue and black, with his crimson eyes hiding behind a mask-like fur pattern. “Whew, I finally made it,” the pup huffed, catching his energy from the elevated climb.

He stared down three hammerheads from the other side of the cave, all three looking back at him in various degrees of confused silence. Who was this strange Pokemon? For that matter, what was this strange Pokemon?

“You should head home to your mommy, little one,” Ku finally broke the silence. “If you came here to fight, it's not in your best interests. I've had enough weaklings to deal with to last me a while.”

“That's why I'm here,” Oran shouted at him, “you guys trashed my home pretty bad!” The young pup raised his fist to the dragon leader, and shouted once more, “None of the other members could stop you- but I will! Believe it or not, I had a dream like this, once: I faced a Pokemon that looked just like you, but with less scars. That was the first reason I wanted to fight you, because I couldn't finish that dream; now you gave me an even better reason! I won't let you get away with what you did to the guild!”

The Garchomp left himself in a stupefied daze, and his face froze in an expression unable to fathom the sheer idiocy he was fed. Something was loose in this child's head, he just knew it.

“Can you believe this kid?” Pele whispered to him. “The audacity on this one; it's just unbelievable!”

Ku broke free from his stupor, morphing his face into a listless grimace. He decided how to deal with the intruder: the boy wanted a fight, so he'll get his fight. “Very well, child,” Ku told him, “I will grant your wish to battle- just you and me.”

“Ku, you can't be serious-” Lono whispered to him.

“At least let me fight this pipsqueak,” Pele growled.

The Garchomp ignored them, continuing on, “I will give you one free shot- use any move you wish against me- make it count.”

The Riolu didn't even need to think about the move he was going to use. Blue mist swirled in between his paws, collecting and condensing into an orb the size of a grapefruit. It was no ordinary Aura Sphere: he poured all of his determination, all of his hopes of defeating the enemy within this one attack. Once ready, he let it loose in a blue blur, the sphere screamed with a loud whisper-like wail before burying the Garchomp in a violent explosion of dust and earth.

Lono's face froze agape, and his eyes widened from their tired gaze. “What an attack,” he said to himself, after witnessing his leader being smitten in front of him. “I didn't realize this Pokemon knew such a powerful technique.” Telling by his sister's same expression of surprise, they were on the same page for once.

A quiet, yet unsettling chuckle came from within the thick veil of earth. The dust settled, unraveling the Dragon-type with not a single scratch on his body. “Pathetic, I didn't even feel that,” Ku hissed at the pup.

“You were supposed to blow up!” Oran shouted, pointing at the dragon. “Why didn't you blow up?”

“I gave you a free shot, and you wasted it so casually,” he remarked. “Now, it's my turn.”

Lopunny's snoring roared through all of Unido. Taking a day off from her explorer duties she decided to spend it sleeping in- ever since this morning arrived, she fell into a heavy, coma-like slumber. Every now and then a girlish groan escaped her mouth, following her tossing and turning in bed from whatever indecent dream her lewd mind cooked up.

Something tickled the inside of her nose, irritating enough to disturb the Normal-type from her wonderful dreams; snorting only made it worse. Her thunderous sneeze rumbled the surrounding foundation, causing her to scramble around into sitting upright in a blink of an eye.

Her crimson eyes couldn't see a thing in her room, everything hid behind a dense fog of dust. “Ugh,” she groaned in disgust into her elbow, covering her mouth, “where did all this stuff come from? How long have I been breathin' this in?” Unrolling her cloak from its pillow form, she tied it around her nose and mouth, then walked out of her room.

“Oran? Pecha?” Lopunny called out, muffled by her mask, but no response returned. A considerably cool wind for late summer passed through, carrying all the dust in the air with it; she unraveled her cloak from her mouth, figuring it was safe to breathe. But with each step more bits of fine sand clung to the fur of her soft feet like metal to a magnet. A frustrated groan left her mouth, and she said out loud, “Doesn't anybody clean up around here? How did so much sand get tracked here, anyways?”

When she reached the end of the hallway, it was like walking into an unfamiliar area. the entire assembly hall disappeared, turned into a field of rubble with only the walls remaining. Nurse Blissey roamed about with several of her Double Team duplicates, clearing debris, and pulling the unconscious bodies of both Delphox and Azumarill from the wreckage. One Blissey kept herself busy analyzing what looked to be a burned up, shriveled corpse, while a handful more gathered three bulky, bloodied tarps, laying each one side by side. What did she miss while sleeping?

“Whoa, what happened here?” Lopunny asked, her eyes wide open.

“LOPUNNY!” Loudred sprinted towards her as if his life depended on it. From the looks of him, he was short on breath, and about ready to suffer a nervous breakdown. “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN THIS ENTIRE TIME?”

“Sleeping,” she told him in a tired tone, “what did I miss?”


“Yeah, that does sound kinda bad,” Lopunny replied, scratching her left cheek. “All right: I'll go get Oran, then.” She gazed to her right, spotting a ginormous gaping opening near the entrance to Verde Forest. “Lemme guess: he went down there, right?” she asked him, pointing at it.


“I gotcha, no need to say more! I'll go rescue him!” Darting for the hole, she hopped down its gullet, descending about thirty feet into its dark belly before hitting the bottom.
She glimpsed down its pitch black corridor, running faster than her like could muster towards the faint glimmer of light at the end. Her voice echoed, “And maybe while I'm at it, I'll even take care of those outlaws!”

From the dragon leaning slightly toward him, the Riolu knew he was about to do something. In a quick decision he reverted behind his arms, which were stiffly crossed in front of his chest in a defensive stance.

Ku smirked, recognizing the formation his opponent instantly adopted: his foe was attempting to Counter his attack. “Smart boy,” he said, “but you jumped too quickly to assumptions!” Swinging his right fin with tremendous force, he kicked up a ravenous Sand Tomb which devoured the blue pup in no less than a second.

He broke from his stance, moving his arms in front of his face to keep the rapid streams of dust from blinding him. Trapped inside a merciless vortex, he felt his body being stripped of his fur one strand at a time by the plucking sands.

All of a sudden the storm stopped, disappearing as if it never happened. By the time Oran opened his eyes and realized why, it was already too late: the Garchomp was just inches away from him, too close for him to react in time. The dragon swerved to his right, slamming the full girth of his tail into him, knocking him off his feet with little difficulty.

Oran was thrown as easily as a ball into a right side wall many feet away, the sudden collision taking most of the air out of his lungs as he flopped back on to the ground. He gasped loudly several times like a Magicarp out of water, grasping his throat.

Looking up with shaky eyes, the Garchomp was already towering above him. Ku spun around for another whip of his tail, throwing the young pup off the ground once again, and violently tumbling across the hard rock floor many feet away from him.

The impact knocked the wind right back into his lungs, but the pup's cerulean fur became dotted with innumerable scarlet scratches and cuts from skipping and rolling across the rugged surface. His breathing spotty and rough, Oran struggled to push himself back up to his feet, as if a tremendous weight was strapped to his back. Even as he stood, he seemed barely conscious, often fighting back a collapse; his determination alone kept him awake.

“You picked a fight with the wrong shark, boy,” the dragon told him.

Oran let out a desperate roar as he charged at the Mach Pokemon. While being flailed at his left knee, Ku felt nothing, not even a slight thumping from each hit, before punting the jackal away from him. “You disappoint me,” he told the Riolu, walking towards him from his side. “Where has all your pride gone? I wanted to see more of your ambition, but it was nothing but talk.”

Defeat never sat well with the child. While pushing himself off his belly his feeble arms trembled, ready to give in to his own weight. Blood dripped from the Riolu's snout onto the floor beneath in a little red puddle. Faint grunts of frustration and anger filled his breath, accompanying an occasional painful cough that left his throat aching after clearing.

Even with a young body as ragged and broken as his, he still remained adamant to fight; the boy confused desperation for gallantry. “You are a waste of my time,” Ku growled. “Now that I think about it, I don't know why I chose to battle a child, if there was really nothing to gain from it. At least that mutt and monkey put up something resembling a fight; killing you won't even be pleasurable.”

“ killed Ambipom,” he growled in a wrathful whisper. “You killed Granbull. You keep hurting my friends!” Oran roared to the sky, “There no way I'm gonna let you get away! No matter what I'll beat you, here and now-!”

Ku dropped his right foot like a sledgehammer on both of the Riolu's legs, crunching them between a hundred pounds of weight and the hard, rocky surface, silencing the pup for a moment. When the pain caught up, hurt accompanied his roar instead of rage, his cries for the pain to stop was like nails on a chalkboard. Tears fell out of his eyes like waterfalls, while he screamed at the top of his lungs, trying to rake his way out of the dragon's hold.

“It disgusts me watching someone cry during battle,” the dragon bellowed. “You wanted to fight me; the least you can do is have some dignity while in pain.” Slowly twisting his foot around, the jackal's screams grew to a deafening screech. Oran soaked the rock floor beneath in a heavy flow of tears, while the painfulness compelled his unrestrained body to flop about for freedom from the dragon's foothold; once again, his efforts were in vain.

“Enough crying!” the dragon exploded in a fit of rage. With all of his unbridled fury, he delivered a kick to the Riolu's stomach with almost enough power to break him in two. When the blue pup finally hit the floor ten feet away, he became unable to left himself back up to continue the fight. Instead he laid broken, with only the occasional muscle spasm to indicate he's still alive. “Pathetic,” Ku remarked.

He stepped closer to his beaten prey, his claws wishing to spill more blood to cure his displeasure. He had no qualms with having a child join his list of victims- he had it coming.

Just as he approached the broken pup for the finishing kill, the Gabite brother rushed to stand between his leader and his victim, wearing a mask of disapproval and disgust.

“Out of my way,” Ku demanded in a calm demeanor.

“Not not letting you kill this one,” Lono told him.

“Oh? Then tell me, are you going to finish him off for me?” the leader asked.

“Watching you kill all those Pokemon was one thing,” Lono said. His usually laid back tone erupted in a roar of anger, “but this is a child you are wanting to kill! Does he really need to die just because he made a stupid decision to fight you?”

“Yes,” The Garchomp said bluntly. “He was wanting to fight me: this is merely his punishment. Are you going to stop me?”

the Gabite hesitated to speak, deciding to first gulp down his nerves. “I'll try,” he muttered. “I'm done playing outlaw with you; I'm done watching other Pokemon suffer because of us! If you want to kill this child, first, you have to get through me-!”

Ku made sure he made his disobedient team member regret those words. In a heavy, yet swift motion, he swung at the Gabite with the back of his right claw like a hammer to his rib cage, throwing the smaller dragon out of his sight.

Fifteen feet away the Gabite crashed back onto the hard surface back first. He coughed into the ground beneath him, splattering it with little droplets of blood. He gritted his teeth together as he pushed himself back up, but a sharp, stabbing pain in his chest kept him pinned to the floor.

“Don't be so impatient to die, Lono,” Ku told him, “you'll have your turn: after I'm finished with the child, I'll kill you next.”

A suspicious sound of quick footsteps came from the tunnel Ku dug earlier- another guest was soon to be expected. A blur shot straight from the tunnel's mouth, and soon after, a Lopunny landed back onto the cave floor with the grace of a trained gymnast. Even in this cavern she couldn't escape the heavy blanket of dust wafting in the air, heavy enough to fog up her vision somewhat. But what she could make out was her son, appearing broken and near death to her laying on the ground, with a hulking dragon towering over him.

“Hey, you,” she shouted at the Garchomp, pointing straight at him, “get away from my son!”

“Oh? So this odd creature is your son?” Garchomp asked. “Funny, I don't recall Buneary looking like this. But no matter, he wanted to fight me, and I obliged him. Sadly, I'm not in the mood for company.” He the remaining Gabite, “Pele, be a good girl, and take care of our unwanted guest.”

“Right!” Pele charged straight for the Normal-type, accompanied by a fierce battle cry.

In a blink of an eye, Lopunny disappeared in a bright light blueish flash, and suddenly Pele's body went numb, and was unable to move. It happened in a blink of her eye and didn't feel anything, but she found herself encased in a thick chunk of ice, with only her head being able to move freely. “H-hey! How did you do this?” Pele wiggled about frantically, but it wasn't enough to loosen herself out of the ice. “This isn't funny,” she shouted, “it's actually starting to get really cold! Get me out of here!”

The downed Gabite watched with amazement. His sister may not have seen what happened, but his eyes were able to identify the move: an Ice Beam, weaker than most he's seen, but it served its purpose.

Underneath his angered grimace, the incident lit some intrigue into Ku, though he refused to show it through his perpetual frown.

“I'll tell you one last time,” the Lopunny warned in a stern tone, “get away from my son.”

She could make all the warnings she wanted to him, he knew she was just a Lopunny: her kind was below him. What was the worst she could do? “And if I refuse-?”

In under a second she appeared before him as if teleporting to him, lodging her right foot into his chest, too fast to react to. The kick shot him into the face of a cave wall, digging him deep enough to meld with it.

The look on Lono's face witnessing it morphed from surprise to utter terror, his eyes shooting wide open and jaw dropping to the floor. One second he saw Ku, and in a blink of an eye, he disappeared into a side of the cave. Never had he seen the kind of power she displayed: even Dragon-types had to train for years to even reach that kind of strength. Just thinking about what else she was capable of sent an arctic chill down his back, distracting him from the stabbing pain of his broken rib.

Lopunny kneeled down to Oran, who still remained a twitching husk. Both his legs were flat and crinkled from the knees down like paper cutouts plastered below his hip. She held him in her gentle caress, feeling the tears form behind her eyes at the unsightly mess that dragon turned her son into. Stripping her lower face of its makeshift mask, she bundled the Riolu in her cream colored cloak, and pinning her explorer badge to keep the wrapping from uncoiling. She tapped its brilliant sapphire eye, and her son vanished from her hold in a blinding glare.

Slowly getting up from her knees, she started walking to the tunnel back to the guild. A voice cried out to her, “Hey, you! Help me out!” She turned around, now realizing the beaten Gabite she missed earlier laying on his belly across the stone surface. “Can you help me, please?”

“You one of the outlaws, huh?” Lopunny asked. “Why should I help you out-?”

“Because if it weren't for me, your son would already be dead!” Lono shouted in the strongest voice he mustered. “Look, be mad with us all you want: but if you help me out, I'll turn myself in; I'll tell the authorities everything I know!” A dry, troublesome cough interrupted his plea, irritating his throat. “Just before you showed up, I defended that Pokemon from him- that's why I look like this, now. The least you can do is help me out!”

“Rrgh.” An angered growl escaped from the Garchomp, catching the Lopunny by surprise that he was still alive. He peeled out from his earthly mold, planting his knees into the solid ground below. Blood spilled into a growing puddle around his knees from his now opened chest scar, ruptured wide apart at its seam from the kick he earlier received, with some trickling down his bottom jaw, in between his jagged teeth. “And where do you think you're going?” he snarled at her in a weak undertone.

“Back to the guild,” she replied. “I already did what I came to do, so there's no reason to stay. But I gotta admit, you're a pretty tough guy if you can take one of my kicks the way you did. Props for that.”

The Garchomp's scowl turned to a toothy grin, exploding into a fit of disturbing chuckles that echoed throughout Pequeño Cave, and not long after a moment, the giggles evolved into roars of laughter.

“What's so funny?” she asked, feeling left out from the joke.

“This pain,” he told her in a jagged smile, “it's finally starting to sink in. It's been so long since I last felt something like this, I used to hate it when I was young.” His heart galloped like a wild stampede of Bouffalant, a feeling he thought long went extinct. Each beat stretched that toothy smile more and more, allowing him to soak in the adrenaline his mortal wound brought.

“You've surprised me,” he praised the Normal-type, an acknowledgment he rarely gave out. “For most of today, I failed to find a single battle that satisfied me. But in a single moment you made prey out of me; I never knew a Lopunny, of all Pokemon, was capable of that! I admit you're strong, strong enough to rupture my chest scar. With my mortal wound draining, I won't let strength like that just walk away!”

Ku lunged forward, soaring above the floor like a jet. He was hooked on a single taste of the Lopunny's strength, and he wanted more. As respect for his opponent he held nothing back, because she gave him something he searched long and hard for: a worthy foe.


Seen August 19th, 2019
Posted August 10th, 2019
102 posts
3.9 Years
Chapter 10

When the sounds of destruction subsided, the remaining members returned to see their guild reduced to a giant sand trap. The grassy floor was underneath an ocean of beige earth, and the destroyed bits of ceiling stuck out from the ground like jagged teeth. It was like walking into a ruin forgotten and abused by time.

Nurse Blissey worked herself to near death managing the dead and wounded; aside from the whistling of the coming breeze, all the returning members heard was her ordering herself around. Three large cocoons of cloth were laid side by side where the request board used to be, two of them heavily soaked in blood. Of the five wounded and unconscious, she laid them in the middle of the room.

Among the wounded, Assistant-Guildmistress was given the lightest treatment, hiding her many cuts underneath simple bandages. The worst she had to deal with were the numerous dark purplish spots dotting the cerulean section of her body.


After laying her completely flat, Blissey hovered her flippers above Delphox's lower stomach, where a large gash stretching across her wide waist resided.

“You might feel a slight burn,” Blissey told her. A brilliant glow emitted from her hands. Delphox clenched her jaws shut, holding down a distressed growl. It was like the nurse held the open flame of a Charizard's tail close to her abdomen. But the longer she endured the harsh burning sensation, the more her flesh wound shrunk. Within no time, the deadly affliction became a simple graze across her epidermis, until disappearing completely.

Delphox relaxed her head on the wall behind her. “Thank you,” she said to the nurse under an exhausted, yet relieved huff.

“Just rest up, for now,” Blissey told her. “You've lost a lot of blood; you may be light headed for a little while, so I don't recommend you do any heavy physical activity.”

Her little Fennekin pup ran to her mother's side, curling herself into a little yellow and red ball of fur in her limp left arm. “Mother,” she squeaked with mist forming in her eyes, “are you going to be okay?”

“I'm fine now, little one,” Delphox told her, raking her in closer to her, “just a little sore.”


“Nngh.” The guildmistress felt a strange sensation like pins and needles fill her arm, causing her to wake up. The harsh brightness of the afternoon day stabbed her into the back of her brain like a well placed knife, causing her to shade herself with her right arm until her sight adjusted. “What happened?”

“Good afternoon, Guildmistress.” The nurse's soft voice caught the dazed Fairy-type's ear. “Hold still, I'm almost done.” Her vision was still a bit fuzzy, but from what she could make out, the Blissey had her broken left arm in a gentle caress. A healing pulse of energy surged through it, reconstructing the broken bits of her limb into a whole bone like puzzle pieces being put together. When she let go, Florges moved her arm a little: aside from a numb ache lingering in her upper arm, it was back in proper working order!

“Thank you, nurse,” Florges said in a grateful sigh, “I don't know what we would do without you.”

“I can name a few things,” she answered back, “but you wouldn't like them. Just rest easy, don't push yourself too hard.”

Florges rested her head against the wall, sighing an exhausted huff. Gazing around the assembly hall, her heart crawled down her stomach after seeing what those barbarians did to her guild. Covering her mouth with her hands, a consuming emptiness overpowered her, seeing most of her pride and joy reduced to just bits of rock. Though only the assembly hall suffered damage, to her, it felt like all of it was destroyed.

“What's the matter?” the nurse asked.

“I don't know what I'm going to do,” the guildmistress huffed, wiping the water from her eyes. Under a strong sniffle, she continued, “Some of my best explorers are dead; our guild is ruined; what am I going to do? How am I going to rebuild it? We've lost so much in so little time- I don't know how to deal with this!” She sunk into her lap, sobbing to herself.

“There, there,” Blissey told her, patting her on the back, “you'll eventually work things out.”


Four Blissey hovered over Scyther's burnt carcass. His entire body was one large third degree burn, his exoskeleton was almost pitch black instead of mint green. He wore himself out from his flailing for now, but whenever they touch him, he would still jerk back in pain. Every time he took a faint breath, it came out as a weak wheeze.

“This isn't good,” one Blissey said, “he's in critical condition.”

“You're telling me,” another Blissey replied. “The bad thing is: our Heal Pulse won't do anything against burns.”

“But we can use it to mitigate some of the pain,” the fourth replied.

“Good idea,” the Blissey occupying his legs complimented. “If we do that, we won't hurt him as much when we move him to the medical bay. Then when we settle him there, we can start applying herbs to reduce the burns.”

“Maybe we can collapse one of the sick beds to use as some sort of stretcher?” The Blissey near his head asked.

“Yes, good idea,” Blissey said, “go do that real quick.”

The Blissey near his head left her spot, hustling her way to her office.


The land shark zoomed towards Lopunny in a streak of sand. His left claw burned in a harsh orange color, poised to strike. She leaped out of his range to the left. The Dragon Claw missed, striking the ground instead with a thunderous crash. Buried deep in the rock, he pulled his talon out of its crater.

A light bluish glare caught him in his good eye. He turned around. Crouching, the rabbit fired a straight beam of ice at him. Ku responded, kicking a maelstrom of sad with just a single waft of his right fin.

Dirt and ice collided, fusing to become a twisted, warped barrier of frozen earth separating the two.

With the howling of both attacks simmered down, all had gone quiet for Lopunny. She heard no more heavy grunts from her opponent. “What is he up to?” she said to herself, trying to read her opponent's next move.

She heard screaming, a voice shouting the same thing over and over. “He's below you,” Lono shouted at the top of his voice, “below you! Move out of the way!”

By the time she caught his message, she already felt a rumble beneath her feet growing in intensity. She leaped to her right to escape her reappearing opponent's surprise attack. A geyser of rock and dirt exploded from behind, and razor sharp teeth clamped down on her right ankle, cutting to the very bone.

In the air Ku twirled with his prey in his mouth, letting go to throw her into the barrier of ice. Lopunny slammed into the frozen wall back first, bellowing an agonizing yelp as one of its icy prongs impaled her straight through her side. The icicle snapped from holding her weight, and she fell flat on the ground, her left side soaked in red from her wound.

Now was his chance. Ku dashed toward her, his right claw raised up high. But again, the slippery Lopunny barely avoided his assault by leaping out of his way. He struck the wall of ice, shattering it completely in to just hunks of frozen block. “Why are you avoiding me?” the dragon asked in a calm tone masked by bloodthirsty rage.

She didn't answer him at first. She groaned in discomfort, slowly pulling the icicle from her back. An extra squeal left her mouth when she freed the chunk of ice; her blood lightly coated it from its tip to its middle. “It's called strategy,” she wheezed, throwing the shard to the ground.

“With strength like yours, it's a waste,” he growled. “I didn't choose to fight you so you can showcase your acrobatic skills. I am showing my respect for you by giving you all I got; I expect you to do the same-!” He waved his right fin, summoning a ravenous vortex of sand.

“Another Sand Tomb,” Lopunny grunted to herself, “like I would fall for that again!”

“This is the end for you!” Ku's left claw took up its familiar orange glow, as he dashed for the tornado. He slashed into it, but when the dust cleared, nothing was inside the Sand Tomb. “What?” His eye opened wide. “How could it have missed?” Ku growled between his clenched teeth.

It dawned on him. Looking up he saw her, several feet in the air. She kicked her left foot out in front of her, while descending back down as fast as a shooting star. Ku threw himself out of her way, avoiding the impact as she crashed down to the earth, leaving a small crater in her wake.

Lopunny tumbled to her side, growling while holding her left shin tightly. A sharp, stabbing pain ran from her foot to just below her knee. Putting weight on it as she attempted to stand made the pain flare up even worse, and she tumbled back down.

“So careless,” Ku remarked, looming over her, “you broke your leg. I'll admit, you're one of the few able to escape my Sand Tomb. It's a shame I have to put you down so soon.” Ku raised his left claw, readying it for the killing blow.


Ku stopped his talon from diving into the Lopunny. She turned around, staring at him with her soft crimson eyes. Her outstretched body laid innocently across the floor, with her chest puffed out. “You don't want to hurt me, do you, Mr. Dragon?” she asked in a tender voice.

He lowered his claw. Looking at her brought a strange sense of calmness to the Dragon-type. Each heartbeat filled him with a gentle and close warmth he forgot long ago. She watched all of his aggression dissolve off his face, leaving behind a submissive grimace. “N-no,” he told her back in a depressed voice, “I don't want to hurt you.”

Lopunny ran her left paw across her chest, playing with her short yet soft fur between her fingers. “I wish I could get up,” she said to him under a flirtatious smile, “but I'm very injured. I need a big, strong Pokémon to help me back up.”

“I'm big and strong,” he replied back. “I'll help you back u-” he flinched back a step, cradling his head between his claws. “N-no,” Ku growled repeatedly while shaking his head, as if trying to shake some maddening voice out of his mind, “no!” Lashing out, he drove his shin deep into her side, tossing her across the cave like a ball thrown at full force.

Lopunny rolled across the hard, rocky floor as her body came to a halt at the other end of the cave. She lifted herself up on all fours, though feeling a bit shaken and breathless. A severe bruise numbed her lower abdomen, while a burning dryness flared in her chest from coughing so many times. “Guess some boys just can't handle me,” She huffed to herself, wiping her mouth dry of saliva.

Ku flailed about as if he went mad, his feral roars almost reaching deafening levels. His furious gaze fixated on the rabbit, the blood thirst in his golden eye burned away what little shreds of respect he had for her. “You,” the dragon hissed, “how dare you defile me!”

Ku's footsteps thundered down the cave as he sprinted for the downed Lopunny, looking to put her down for good. Both of his talons illuminated the settling dust-filled air with an orange hue. Before she had time to react, he was already on top of her. He swung his left claw down first- Lopunny caught it before it sank into her shoulder. He took another swing with his right, and once again, she caught it.

Lopunny held his attacks by his wrists, but her arms felt like they were about to snap under the dragon's immense weight. Fatigue started to sink in, allowing her strength to fail her and the dragon's claws to slip closer. The heat coming off his Dragon Claws was intense, like they were steel daggers fresh out of a furnace. At this rate, she couldn't tell which was about to give in first: her arms, her legs, or her back.

“Give in, already!” Ku demanded, pushing down harder on the struggling Normal-type. “This fight is over- I've won! So stop struggling, and just die!”

Lopunny refused to lose, refused to let this monster walk away from what he did to her son. While bearing his weight on her shoulders she slowly rose to her feet; her left leg screamed in pain, but she had to ignore it. She threw his talons off of her to her left, causing the brute to stagger; in his moment of lost poise, Lopunny delivered a swift punch to his jaw, feeling it fracture beneath her knuckle. She held him tight by his hammer-like appendages, then drove his snout into her left knee.

He stumbled back a few steps; broken growls of pain left Ku as he stomped at the ground. He lifted his face from behind his arms: streams of blood emptied out from his nose, while the right side of his jaw was somewhat slanted. That punch was harder than he expected; even his opponent flicked her hand and flexed her digits, checking to see if she didn't break anything again. “I spoke too soon about you,” he told her in a numbed voice, “you still got some fight in you. But it's going to take more than a few dirty tricks to stop me!”

“Then I'll just cool off that hot head of yours!” Lopunny put her hands together, and let loose a straight beam of ice heading for the Dragon-type.

Thinking fast Ku hid himself behind his right fin as he took the Ice Beam; a thick cloud of chilling mist enveloped the dragon as the beam continued to flow. She won't let up until the dragon was nothing but an ice statue. But her weakened leg gave in, causing her to collapse back onto her knees and stop the attack.

After her struggle passed, she caught her breath. Her body hurt from the waist down, but she now had the time to let the pain settle for a moment. That Garchomp was unlike any Pokémon she fought before; none of the others were able to keep her on her toes for so long. But this was one fight she would be glad to forget about. After a quick breath she tried getting back up, again. Everything ached as she limped towards the cave's exit; she knew for sure this was the last fight she'll have for a while.

“What a shame.” The voice stopped Lopunny in her tracks, and her heart dropped. She looked back: the icy veil soon dissipated, revealing the Dragon-type. All of his right arm was encased in ice like a cast, along with some of the right side of his body, its trail stretching as high as the bottom of his chin; the ice went far enough to even enclose some of his ruptured chest wound. For a dragon he didn't look too bothered by its cold, numbing sting. “If you kept going, you might have won,” he told her.

“You're still kicking?” Lopunny asked.

“I've been through worse,” Ku replied. “It was smart targeting me with an Ice-type attack, but it's going to take more than a little frost to defeat me!” Without hesitation, Ku slammed both his arms together in a scissor motion, shattering his right arm off like it was made of brittle glass.

Both Lopunny and Lono shared their shock, speechless as they watched him stomp on the ice chunks that used to be his arm. If Ku did it to catch their attentions, he certainly had them. He made it clear to them this wasn't the first time he was willing to sacrifice a body part to win.

“Hey, why'd you do that?” Lopunny asked. “Now you're missing something on both sides!”

He responded with a toothy smirk and chuckle. “I could tell you,” he replied, “but I'd rather show you- up close!”


Seen August 19th, 2019
Posted August 10th, 2019
102 posts
3.9 Years
Chapter 11

Those affected by the battle migrated to the medical ward, with the help of the nurse. It was a quaint room somewhat larger than the average quarters the guild provided, with little to get in the way of her work besides her materials, and several sick beds lining its walls. Despite her Heal Pulse healing some of her patients' wounds, she wanted to analyze their conditions more thoroughly for signs of shock her technique couldn't treat.

She laid the guildmistress down first by the right-hand wall, with her assistant right beside her; Delphox, and later Scyther and Oran, were placed gently along the left wall. Most of the more delicate medical attention went to the Bug-Type, as the nurse's Double Team clones started applying Rawst juice over some of his crusty exterior, while the rest had nothing more than a few examinations.

The Riolu laid in his cot motionless, as if he was taking a power nap. Underneath the nurse's healing rays his flattened legs started popping back into their original forms, as if they never broke in the first place. Pecha watched in a slightly disgusted intrigue, listening to what sounded to her like his tibia's being broken in reverse. It fascinated her, but at the same time, it left a nauseating pit in her stomach; good thing she never had plans of becoming a nurse when she grew up.

“All right,” the nurse sung in a happy tune, “he's all fixed up, good as new!”

“But why isn't he waking up?” Pecha asked her, pointing at his closed eyes.

“Sometimes Pokémon will faint from just the pure shock of pain,” Blissey educated her. “It'll take some time: maybe he'll wake up in the next few seconds; maybe he'll wake up in the next few days?”

“D-days?” she squeaked.

“Days, sometimes months,” Blissey continued. “In fact, I've even seen one or two Pokémon not wake up at- oh?” She peered down, and saw the Buneary stand there in sniveling silence. She was struck with a bad shivering fit, her paws continually trying to wipe the tears from her eyes.

Looking at her, Blissey realized she went a little too far with her story. She wrapped her flippers around the distressed rabbit, holding her close, in an attempt to comfort her. “It's gonna be okay,” she told her in a motherly whisper, “I'm sure he's strong enough to pull through it.”

Pecha continued to cry, her wails muffled by the Blissey's round stomach. “I-I didn't think he would do it,” she said. “I heard him argue with Loudred, but I didn't actually think he would do it! It-it's my fault he ended up like this! Ambipom, Scyther, Oran; If I wasn't so focused on those stupid iron barbs, I would have-!”

“That's enough, now,” she told her, pulling her in closer, “you don't need to blame yourself so harshly. If you stand by him, I bet he'll recover out of this as if it never happened!”

Pecha paused from her sobbing, to look up at the nurse with watery eyes, “Y-you really think so?”

Blissey nodded. “Of course.”

The Buneary sunk her head back into the nurse's stomach. Though her tears still flowed slowly, she felt the weight on her chest lighten up a little. Maybe the nurse was right, she just needed to stick by him. Maybe that would help him wake up faster.


Lono's broken rib kept him pinned to the floor in pain. His and Pele's eyes were glued to the fight in front of them, watching as it devolved from a fight between equal individuals to a long-winded struggle between predator and prey. He wondered how long they've been at it: ten minutes? Twenty minutes? He was lucky the fight never drifted towards them; he had to get away before that happened.

“Pele, we need to get out of here, somehow,” he told his sister, his voice shook with worry.

“What? How are we gonna do that?” She asked him back.

“Try your Flamethrower to thaw yourself out,” Lono told her.

“O-okay.” Pele wiggled her head back and forth, trying to find a decent angle to aim her attack with. The ice kept her neck stiff and locked in place; wiggling was all she could do. She stopped, letting out a large breathe, “I can't do it,” she told her brother in defeat. “I can't get a good angle! My Flamethrower won't be able to come into contact with the ice.”

“All right, lemme try something.” Lono's arms shook as he lifted his heavy torso off the ground, a discomforting groan slipped through his clenched teeth; he managed to get on all fours, but nothing more. His chest burned, his lungs felt ready to pop if he took too big a breath.

As the fighters occupied each others' attention, he crawled over to his frozen twin sister while the pain in his chest stabbed at him with each inch he made. He perched himself against the block of ice, and started to chip away at her prison with his right claw.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!” she screamed at him. “What do you think you're doing?”

“Breaking you out,” he told her, “do you want out or not? I'm not leaving here without you.”

“But you might turn me into Pele cubes-!”

“Better than Ku turning you into Pele steaks,” Lono quipped. He hammered away at the ice, chipping off chunk after chunk, watching the crack in its shell grow with each strike.

With his remaining arm Ku summoned another stream of sand to engulf Lopunny in. She memorized his routine: the Sand Tomb itself was just a diversion. After which, he would either go straight for a Dragon Claw, or a surprise attack with Dig. “Sand Tomb again?”

Before the ravenous storm reached her, the Lopunny leaped straight up, thinking she was safe from his attack. To her surprise the dragon followed her into the air, where she left herself open. A brutal uppercut to her chest painted the air in a fine rain of red mist. Her yelp caught the Gabites' attention, and they watched both fighters crash back down to the floor.

Ku felt weak in his knees, wobbling for a moment after landing. His vision blurred for a quick second or two, disoriented by a rush of lightheadedness before shaking it off; after pushing himself to defeat his opponent for so long, the loss of blood started to take it's toll.

He stepped over to the Lopunny's left side. She sprawled out across the hard, rocky floor, unable to move from landing on her back. A large gash from where he stuck her stretched across her chest, her brown fur turning red from soaking up excessive amounts of blood.

Something light tapped him on the head. He looked up out of curiosity: small pebbles fell from the ceiling. During his fights, his Sand Tombs worsened the pre-existing cracks in the walls; the cave could collapse on top of him with just the lightest touch.

“Ku,” Lono's grading voice called out to him, “there's not much time left! Forget about that Lopunny for a second, and help us es-!”

“I thought you killed over already,” he replied agitated. “No matter, after I'm finished with this rabbit, I'll finish you off properly.” He raised his right foot over her rib cage, ready to put her down for good.

Another rush of lightheadedness disoriented the Garchomp. His vision blurred, one Lopunny split into several others, it was hard to keep focus on the real one. Keeping his foot elevated over her chest proved difficult, growing heavy from his declining strength, and hovering listlessly with little control. The ground crushed underneath his stomp when he decided to bring it down, but the attack missed her chest by a few inches. He lifted it back up, and went for another stomp- another miss.

Lono cried out to him, “are you even listening? Forget about her, the cave is gonna-!”

Before he could finish his sentence, a large chunk of rock the size of a Tyranitar plummeted down from the ceiling, crushing the Garchomp in a blink of an eye. Lono stared at it in dumbfounded shock, it happened so fast. The thought scared him: the same could happen to him at any moment, and it would flatten him quicker than he could realize he was hit.

“Lono, you idiot, quit gawking at the stupid thing,” his sister barked, snapping him out of his trance. “Get me outta this thing! Do you want us to end up like him?”

“R-right.” His sister had a point- time was running out. The longer he stood there paralyzed, the less time they had to escape.

The giant headstone that marked his leader's demise exploded, shattered into dust and pebbles. The Gabite twins drew their eyes toward the Garchomp, who demolished the boulder with one swing of his claw. They thought he was crushed- the rock only fell in front of him.

“I've had enough of you,” Ku told Lono, his calm demeanor masking his rising anger. “Every time I hear you speak, it's like listen to a crying Whismur up close. Just the sight of you now disgusts me to my core,” he said while pointing to his open chest scar. “I've become weak from losing so much blood, but I still have enough strength to kill y-!”

Something climbed onto his back. One of their tiny arms coiled and tightened around his neck, and the other tucked underneath his left arm, pulling him back with all their weight. “Get off me!” He flung himself around to try and break free from the Lopunny's hold, but she stuck to him like glue. Even while being thrown about in the air like a sac of feathers, she kept her grasp tight.

“You guys,” she called out to the Gabite twins, “Get out outta here as fast as you can! I'll try to keep him busy!”

Pele yelled back, “Are you nuts? The cave will collapse on top of you!”

“I know,” Lopunny shouted. “If it means keeping this psychopath from hurting more Pokémon, from hurting my kids, it's something I have to do! Hurry, get outta here-! ”

“I told you to get off me!” Ku struck the Lopunny in the face with his elbow, loosening her grip enough to throw her over his shoulder.

Slamming onto the hard surface back first stunned Lopunny, knocking the air out of her lungs for a moment. She opened her eyes to the dragon's foot plummeting straight down toward her head. Rolling to her right, his stomp missed her, the rock beneath his foot shattered like frail glass.

Lopunny performed what looked like a strange dance move to get back on her feet, hopping forward to stand on her hands before launching herself in the other direction like a spring. Wobbly, she stumbled backwards a bit while landing, trying to regain a steady posture. But her weight tipped her to fall on her knees, with one hand grasping over her bleeding wound.

“You're a real nuisance to kill,” Ku told her.

Underneath her winded pants, she gave the dragon a faint smirk and replied, “I consider that a good thing.”


Working at an exhausted rhythm, Lono carved away at his sister's frozen shell. His right claw sank deeper with each strike, breaking larger chunks from the mass, but it still wasn't enough to free her. He stopped, huffing on the ice while pressing against it, the jagged pain in his chest began to overwhelm him.

“Lono, what do you think you're doing?” Pele barked. “Breathing on it won't get us nowhere! Stop goofing around!”

“You try doing this with a broken rib,” Lono replied in a pained huff.

By the second more debris from the ceiling fell like hail, some barely the size of pebbles, others big enough to cave a Pokémon's head in on impact. The cave itself groaned in agony, with cracks climbing up its crumbling walls, creating even more hazards to avoid.

“Lono, we don't have time for this,” Pele shrieked, “get me outta this thing! Hurry!”

He returned to his routine of breaking large amounts of ice from Pele's restraint, carving into the crater he created in the ice. His chest continued to scream in pain for him to stop, and arms burned with fatigue, but if he and his sister want to survive, he had to suppress it back for a few more moments.

He raced against the crumbling state of the cave, more and more debris fell from above with no telling where they'd land. Clawing at the frozen mass, he managed to carve a Pele-shaped cavity into her casing, though she was still contained in its grasp.

“Lono, hurry up,” she told him, “I can't handle this any longer!”

“Just,” he huffed, “hold on for just, a second!” Lono cleared most of the front side of the iceberg; all that's left was to pull his sister out from her mold. He hooked his claws from behind her shoulders, pulling with a tender tug that gradually increased in harshness.

“Ow, ow, ow!” Pele didn't realize how well ingrained she was into the ice. Like a slowly removed bandage plucking off a few arm hairs, being gradually split from her mold took a few scales off her shoulders and back, though her dorsal fin slid out with little confrontation. With her arms and legs freed one at a time, she plopped on top of her brother, a heavy groan of discomfort leaving his mouth.

She barked to his face, “You could have done it a lot quicker than that, you idiot!”

Underneath a pained breathe, he replied, “Get off, you're hurting me.”

As much as she wanted to get off, Pele couldn't. The ice had drained all of her strength from her body, her muscles were numb and cold. The best she could do was strain herself to roll off his fractured chest, after which she laid on the ground, vulnerable to the cave's fall.

She couldn't feel it, but Lono wrapped his left claw around her middle frame, helping her stand as her crutch. Her weight pushed down on his chest, the stabbing sensation returning to torment him. Lono refused to move, but not because the pain paralyzed him.

“Lono, what are you doing?” She asked. “Go!”

“I'm thinking,” he said, his voice crackling in discomfort. He pointed his snout toward the Dungeon's tunnel, and said, “We can't exit that way: the cave will collapse on top of us by the time we get there.” His eyes traveled to the burrow his team dug, several yards away from the exit, “We can't exit through there, either: that's a thirty foot drop.”

“I'd rather break my neck from a fall than get caved on,” She told him in a harsh manner.

Lono would have joked about how she could only feel from the neck up, but time was slipping out of his grasp. “Then it's settled, I guess,” he muttered, carrying his heavy sister over to the hole where they entered through.


Broken and exhausted, Lopunny struggled to defend against the Garchomp. She collapsed to her knees gripping her scar, hoping to stop the blood pouring profusely from her chest. her head felt light like a Drifloon, and the room started to spin around her. It was a miracle she was even breathing, despite each huff for air being thin.

Ku loomed over her like a scarred tower. “I win,” he boasted to her. “You gave me a good fight, I'll admit; the fun's over, now. Prepare to die.”

After a few short gasps, she broke away from her pain for just a moment to ask, “You keep saying you'll kill me, but why haven't you done it yet? Don't say you grew attached to me.”

“Don't worry about that,” he said, raising his remaining claw up high. “For now- worry that I'll grant your request.”

While focusing on his talon, Lopunny's eyes caught a glimpse of something in the background, and she knew immediately what they were- the next batch of rocks falling from above- and they seemed big enough to crush even a steel-type flat. If she could push the Garchomp underneath their paths, she'd end this long-winded battle once and for all.

She roared at the dragon, “I take back my request!” With the last of her strength, she hopped into the air, driving both of her feet into Ku's chest with a quick drop kick. The ice covering his scar broke wide open, spraying driblets of blood as all air in his lungs escaped him. He stepped back several steps, stumbling to his knees as his breathing returned.

A growing shadow encompassed him, taking his attention. His eyes opened wide, gazing at the large chunks of death raining down on top of him, at a rate too quick to avoid. Before he knew it, the stones crushed him underneath their weight, burying him instantly under their mound.

Lono, with his sister wrapped around his shoulder, was near the hole where they entered from, when he felt a tremor from the earthy rain. Before they could turn their heads around to witness Ku's burial, the ground beneath gave in without warning, causing them to plummet into the hole.


Lopunny laid on her stomach, barely conscious enough to breathe. Her body was numb from pain and exhaustion, not a single muscle could move; it'd be a miracle if they could even twitch. “I-I'm spent,” she spoke slowly to the ground. “I can't get back to the guild; I'm gonna be buried here.”

Her eyes welled up with tears, the streams were soaked up by her delicate fur. She howled as if her heart was broken in many pieces, muddying the ground around her head with a rampant flood. “I'm stupid,” she screamed in realization, “I'm stupid for letting this happen! Why didn't I just escape the fight, and get back to my kids? I deserve every bit of this!” She calmed herself from her screams, though her sniffling and huffing still rang through the crumbling cave. “I'm sorry, Oran. I'm sorry, Pecha,” she whimpered. “I became too careless, this time. Please: grow up for me.” Pequeño Cave couldn't bare its own weight anymore and collapsed, burying Lopunny with the last of its ruin.


Pitch black darkness. The cave-in sealed all light from streaming down the escape hole. It's narrow walls did a good job from keeping most of the ruin from reaching the twins, though the interior creaked in stress.

Lono's closed eyes twitched every time he was pecked in the forehead by a small pebble, though it wasn't enough to open them. A softball-sized stone struck him in his right eye, causing him to jolt up in pain. “O-ow!” He gave his injured eye a little rub and a few blinks; his left eye could see perfectly well in the dark, but the vision in his right was foggy. His eyelids wanted to latch closed, and so he let them. “That hurt,” he groaned to himself, giving it another gentle rub.

He spotted his sister, Pele, unconscious not too far from him to his left. He crawled toward her; despite his dragon body being built to endure punishment, falling from thirty feet with a broken rib didn't put him in a comfortable position. At least she was lucky enough to have her body numbed.

At first glance, when he got close to her, she seemed to not move at all; maybe she landed on her neck and broke it. He prodded her fave gently with his right claw to see if she reacts to it: she twitched.

“S-stop it, Lono,” she groaned. “Can you- can you pick me up?” she still couldn't feel her own body.

“Sure.” Like before, he wrapped his sister's arm around his shoulder as he stood up. He wasn't in any condition to push himself, but if he wanted to escape alive, he had no choice. He knew this tunnel only had one route- he hated the thought of going back- but he had no choice. “Get those legs movin', Pele,” he told her as he walked with her at a slow pace down the tunnel. “I can't keep dragging you around forever.”


Seen August 19th, 2019
Posted August 10th, 2019
102 posts
3.9 Years
Chapter 12

For the duration of his slow crawl to safety, the end of the tunnel was just a faint speck of light to Lono's eyes. Adrenaline fading, his wound caught up to him, each step bringing with it a precise and painful stab inside his chest; lugging around his unconscious sister wasn't helping it. But even with all the pain and weight he burdened, he still managed to make the five mile trek back to Florges Guild.

The late afternoon light beaming down the entry hole warmed the dragon with a mild heat. He called out with the strongest voice he could muster, "Hey!" No response. He tried a second time, but his broken rib cut it short to a nasty cough. Some liquid left his mouth as he coughed, a strange metallic taste at the back of his tongue hinted that it was his blood.

He collapsed to his knees, too weak to be holding his sister while standing around idle. "I'm never gonna get help," he huffed to himself, hanging his head down low. "What a mess today turned out to be-"

A small splash of sand from above hit him on the back of his head, causing him to raise back up in surprise. It felt like someone was throwing sand down the hole, not to fill it back up, but to provoke him on purpose. "H-hey," he yelled, the walls of the tunnel echoing his voice, "is someone up there?"

Two heads popped out from the edge of the tunnel in response to his cry: a Bellsprout, and a Tangela. "What do you want?" the Bellsprout demanded, flush with anger. She may have been swept up in the evacuation attempt, but the familiar faces of the dragons- and the destruction they caused- was still very fresh in her mind.

"I-I need help up," Lono replied in an exhausted squeal.

"Go away!" Bellsprout picked up another handful of sand, and dropped it on top of the dragon. Lono stepped back, dodging the dirt ball while watching it rain like a soft veil of earth.

"I'm being serious," he shouted.

"Why should we help you?" the Tangela asked him. "You're probably just gonna destroy the rest of the guild if we help you up-"

Lono let out a distressed roar, "I'm here to turn us in!"

Bellsprout and Tangela stood speechless. They peer at each other, sharing a look of confusion for a moment, before Bellsprout said, "we don't believe you!"

His sister's weight pushed him to the ground again. His coughing grew harsher and spewed more blood across the rocky surface. "I-I'll explain, later," he said in a scratchy tone, "right now, we need medical atten-"

"Because of you, our nurse is working her hands to the bone," Bellsprout replied.

"What makes you think she's in any mood to see you?" Tangela asked.

"Don't you want your reward?" Lono asked them.

"Reward?" something about that sounded tempting to the Grass-type duo.

Lono collapsed further into his lap from the pain, suppressing a roar of discomfort behind his teeth. "Y-yeah, reward," Lono told them. "If you capture us alive and turn us to the authorities, You'll be paid a lot of money- you have to help us up, first!"

"But why would an outlaw want to be caught?" Bellsprout asked him. "That doesn't make sense to-"

A third, much older voice called from the background, "Bellsprout, Tangela, what are you doing over there? I told everyone to stay away from-!" Guildmaster Bisharp peeked his head over the edge of the hole, wanting to know what caught the two young explorers' attention.

As soon as he spotted the two outlaws down below, Bisharp reeled back. "Bring them up," he told them in a stern voice. "Now!"

The two grass-types unraveled their vines down the hole. Like a snake coiling its prey, they wrapped tightly around the two outlaws. As soon as they lifted the dragons up, Bellsprout and Tangela were overwhelmed by their combined weight, but Bisharp held them firmly underneath his arms as they continued reeling them in.

"Ow. Ow. Ow." Lono mumbled each time he bumped into the side of the hole. Their combined weight swayed like a pendulum, occasionally knocking him against the wall.

The higher they pulled the dragons up, the more their vines wanted to snap from strain. Crossing the hallway point of the tunnel, it pained them to reel their catch in another inch higher. "How are we even doing this?" Tangela grunted under his breath.

Bellsprout replied, "Don't stop now, Tangela, just keep going!"

"Keep it up," Bisharp encouraged the grasslings, "you're doing good, you almost got 'em."

With one final burst of combined strength, Tangela and Bellsprout heaved the dragons out of the hole. Out of strength and breath, they fell to the floor near their haul, huffing out their soreness and exhaustion.

"I-I can't believe we did that," Bellsprout wheezed.

"Y-yeah, me, too," Tangela agreed.

His chest felt like it was on fire, each empty breath he took was killing him with a precise, sharp jab. Lono clawed toward the approaching Bisharp, with hopes that the guildmaster could help him, even if it meant being captured. "H-help me, please, hel-" he coughed up a spray of blood at the Dark-type's feet before hitting his head on the ground.

Blissey's Double Team clones were nowhere to be seen; they retired before the dragons ever reached the guild. "Bellsprout, Tangela, go alert your medical officer that two Gabite have arrived, and need attention," he told the winded grass-types.

"Y-yes, sir." Picking themselves up as they caught their breaths, they both raced to the nurse's office.

Bisharp took to his knees to comfort the hurting reptile. The heavy wound across his chest was too defined to be from a simple stumble or accident- he was attacked. Bisharp's eyes zoomed to the second Gabite near his left, and she didn't fair any better than her brother.

Her body took on a somewhat darker tone than that of her neck and head. Checking for a pulse, her skin even felt ice cold and stiff to his metallic claw. A pulse was present, but her excessive shivering numbed it. "She fell unconscious from being too cold," Bisharp said to himself. "She must have been struck by an Ice-type move." That was the only explanation he could think of, there was no other reason a dragon-type would have body temperature this drastically low in the middle of summer.


What a crowded day it has been for Blissey; the chaos slowed down, but not the stress. Just when she thought everyone was taken care of, a new case would emerge. Worked to the bone, the nurse wasn't given a single second to catch a break, but she stayed on her toes.

She wasn't ready for the surprise Bisharp fished out for her. There was no mistaking them, they were the Gabite from earlier who burned Scyther right before her eyes. She wasn't interested in hearing how they got in the terrible shape they were in; her gut even told her to refuse them help. But despite her grudge for the dragons being thicker than an Aggron's steel plating, she had a job to perform.

Under Guildmaster Bisharp's close eye, she placed her flippers on top of the brother Gabite's broken chest, releasing a tingling ray of light throughout his body, and reconstructing his loose rib back into place. Lono took several deep breaths of relief, that sharp, jabbing pain that used to occupy his side vanished like a bad dream. He savored the air's taste on his tongue: clean and smooth, with what's left of the taste of blood in his mouth fading.

"Thank you," Lono told the nurse with hope in his grin. Blissey didn't return his happiness.

"Why aren't you healing the other one?" asked Bisharp, noticing she was only working on the male Gabite.

"Heal Pulse won't work on conditions such as freezing or paralysis," answered Blissey as she pulled out a folded blanket from underneath one of her workstations. "Being reptilian, she lacks any actual way of producing her own body heat; she needs to be warmed by an outside source." The long, wide sheet of brown wool was laid flat on the ground, and with the help of a newly summoned Double Team clone, Blissey moved the unconscious Pele on top of the blanket. "We'll need to move her outside where it's nice and warm; this blanket will help insulate her body temperature."

"Move her to the front of the guild," Bisharp suggested, "that way, I can pick her up on my way out when she's able to move about."

Both Blissey took a corner of the blanket in each hand, and carefully lifted it with the dragon on top, coordinating with one another to move her out of the office, and into the warm sun outside.

Bisharp kept the feeling of guilt hidden behind a flat face. "All of this could have been avoided," he thought to himself. "If only I caught Team Sharktooth sooner, this wouldn't have happened. But what's done is done; there's no point in beating myself up over it."

His mind clear of doubt and pollution, he secured the Gabite beneath his knee, and fastened both of his arms behind his back. "You and your lot gave a good run," Bisharp told Lono, "but the fun's over. By the order of Bisharp Guild and the Seven Guild Association: I'm placing you under arrest."

"I don't care," Lono grunted. He carried no malice in his voice as the officer would expect, but rather a strange tone of acceptance and gloom.

"You're an unusual one," Bisharp remarked in mild awe as he handled the criminal with the ease of handling a young hatchling. Unlike others he arrested over the years, he sensed neither the energy nor the desire to fight back in Lono as he bound his claws with iron shackles. For once in his life: an outlaw made his job easy. "I have a few quick questions for you," he said. "Where is your leader, Ku? I noticed he wasn't with you when I rescued you, did he get caught in the cave-in that happened recently?"

First the dragon treated him to silence. For a few seconds he contemplated, and finally answered in a blunt tone, "Ku's in hell, where he belongs. He got what he deserved. The quicker I can forget about him, the better." Not an ounce of remorse was spared in his voice for his late leader. Upon saying that, a tremendous weight lifted off his chest. He never felt this good in years, never felt this free from the Pokemon who taught him resentment and hatred ever since he was a Gible. But before you take me in, may I speak to that Pokemon over there?" His snout pointed toward the bed Oran laid in.

"It'll only be a quick word," Bisharp told him.

"A quick word is all I need."


Her eyes wandered between her brother and the explorer's badge in her paws, wanting to make some sort of connection between the two. It was undeniable to her that it belonged to her mother, but one question remained: how did Oran get a hold of it? Pecha refused the only answer she could think of, the mere thought of it toyed with her nerves. "N-no," she chanted to herself under a soft whisper, "th-that can't be true. Sh-sh-she just has to come here, she just has to." She tightened her grip on its silver metalwork, but the frame wouldn't budge underneath her delicate paws. The many cuts in the stone reflected the sorrow in her face like little mirrors, taunting her that she's all she had left.


An unfamiliar voice broke her from the stone's hypnosis, looking up to see a Dragon-type standing on the other side of her brother's bed. She wiped the mist from her eyes with a quick swipe of her arm, and asked him, "what are you doing here?"

"I just wanted to see if this kid is doing okay," Lono told her.

"What's it to ya?" she asked in a defensive tone.

"I defended him against my leader," he told her. "Had it not been for me and some Lopunny, he might've-"

"You know my mom?" Pecha leapt out of her seat, meeting the dragon more closely. She showed him the badge, "did she have something like this? Is she all right? Tell me, please, I haven't seen her since this morning!"

Lono looked her in her black button eyes, clearly seeing the worry and anxiety eating her from within. A lump formed in his throat, draining his strength to speak to her. He hated being the bearer of bad news to anyone, especially to a little girl, but it was something he had to tell her. "I-I'm sorry," her said, "but she didn't make it. My sister and I barely made it out in time before the cave collapsed, but your mother and my leader stayed. She's gone."

Pecha went quiet, letting the badge slip out of her limp grasp. Something in her chest dropped, and she couldn't fight the tears back. "N-no, you're lying, y-you have to be lying! You're just saying that to make me mad!" She propelled herself from the bed with a single leap, and dashed out of the office in a heated huff.

Lono let out an exhausted sigh; he expected no other reaction from the young normal-type. After he showed the poor creature pity, and told her the truth, she'd much rather throw a fit and run away like the sheltered child she really was. "I guess it wasn't worth the effort, after all," he said to himself. He turned to the officer that kept his arms bound, and said, "Ready when you are." The sooner he left, the sooner he could make Florges Guild a bad, distant memory in the back of his mind.

Rustling of sheets caught Bisharp's attention before he almost stepped out of the room. The guildmistress perched herself up, with a hand placed on her throbbing forehead; the little Buneary's outburst disturbed her from her peace, or what little she received before then. Dark circles outlined her bloodshot eyes, and bruises dotted her porcelain white skin like Liepard spots. Some flowers around her neck dangled by their broken stems, while some even fell off, revealing small patches of bald skin. "O-oh, Guildmaster Bisharp," she said as she noticed him gazing back at her, "you're here already? What's with the shouting?"

"My friend here struck a nerve in one of your little ones, and she ran out," he told her, briefly presenting her the bound wrists of his captive. "If it weren't for your Tangela and Bellsprout, I wouldn't have been able to capture the bandits; I'll be sure to pay them well. I'll be taking him and his colleague back to my guild for interrogation." He went quiet for a moment, turning his head away as if in shame. His guilt urged him to tell the guildmistress of his fault, of how Florges Guild fell because he failed to catch the attackers on time, but he held his tongue back in the presence of his captive. To give an excuse of why he failed within earshot of a criminal he pursued for a year would paint him as soft and careless. "If anyone catches wind of this, it may inspire another incident," he told her. "The other guilds will be notified about this; I'm sure they already know about it. I wish you and your members a speedy recovery."

"O-oh," Florges said, "thank you, Bisharp." She didn't know what else to say to him, other than that.

In an orderly line, Bisharp walked Lono out of the room, with his captive's occasional discomforting gripe echoing through the halls.

In the silence of the medical ward, the voice from earlier played in Florges' head like a broken record, tormenting her from laying back down. Looking over to Oran's bed, she noticed one less visitor that used to be there before she laid down.

"Where could she have gone?" Florges asked herself.


Once she had Pecha on her mind, she couldn't get her out. But as she wandered about her guild in search of the young kit, she felt a strong pull within herself as if tied to a line and letting fate reel her in to where she needed to be. This sense proved to be accurate, the closer she approached Lopunny's room, the more clearly she could hear someone crying in it. She poked her head through the doorway, and there she saw, curled up in a ball, the Buneary loudly sulking in the middle of her mother's mattress.

"Pecha, are you all right?" Florges asked in a soft voice a mother would use to pacify her troubled child.

Pecha gave no response, and continued her weeping.

The guildmistress moved in a little closer to where she hunched over her slightly. She asked her again, "are you all right, Pecha?"

But again, the Buneary ignored her.

It was clear to her she was ignoring her on purpose. She eased up to give her more space, and for a moment, sat there in quiet contemplation. On one hand, she wanted to comfort her in any way she could; on the other, she thought it best to leave the Buneary be.

"It's okay to talk to me, Pecha," she told her, "I want to help you."

Pecha held back her sobbing for a moment or two as she raised herself up to speak. "Th-that Gabite," she stuttered, "he, he said my mom is, she's dead!"

Florges seized up like a statue, suddenly feeling the situation switch from bad to worse.

"I know he's lying," Pecha continued, though the cap on her emotions started to loosen. "He's an outlaw, why should I trust him? I know she's all right, sh-she has to be. She's gonna walk through that door any minute now, I know she will!" After her outburst, she collapsed face first back into the mattress. "Wh-what am I supposed to do, Miss Florges?" She asked the guildmistress, covering her head with her paws to hide her grief. "I-if mamma is dead, I'll have no one else left; I don't even know if Oran and Scyther will make it!"

Florges was at a loss for words. She wanted to say something kind, anything to help ease the child's pain, but nothing came to mind. Placing a hand on Pecha's shoulder, and showing her a gentle smile, she told her in a soft whisper, "You'll always have me."

She lifted her head from behind her paws, and tried to repress her excessive huffing as she glanced at the guildmistress through watery lenses. The anguish in her eyes seemed to soften toward, but she still held on to her resentment.

"I understand you want to feel angry," Florges said, "and that's okay, but I don't want you to feel like this was your fault. Your mother may be gone, but she helped protect the guild; she wasn't the only member I've lost, but I'm thankful for all of them doing their best to protect us."

Pecha quickly threw Florges' hand off of her shoulder, "But she didn't need to die!" her distressed cry rung inside of Florges' ears. "She could have protected us and still live! She didn't need to leave me; it's not fair!"

The sudden burst of aggression caused Florges to recoil back in shock. She was so careful as to not aggravate the Buneary any further in her vulnerable state, and yet, she ended up triggering her anyway. It gave her the impression it wouldn't matter what she said, it'd only anger the little rabbit further.

"I-I apologize," she murmured, "I didn't mean it to sound like that." drawing a short, depressed huff, she continued, "I just thought you needed someone to talk with; maybe it's best if I leave you be for now." Slowly getting up from the Buneary's side, Florges started to walk out the door, but paused as she neared the doorway. "I meant what I said earlier," she told her. "I do love both you and Oran dearly, just as I love all of my members. You aren't the only one who lost someone- I've also lost many today. I want to cry, too, but as guildmistress, I'm expected not to let it drag me down; otherwise, I drag everyone else down. If you need someone to talk to, I'll always be here for you." Florges walked out of the room.

Fastened to the bed by her own loneliness, Pecha had nothing but her woeful cries to accompany her in the guildmistress' absence. She felt angry with the world for what it took from her; it was like fate itself conspired against her, and all she did was exist.

"M-mamma," she sniveled, with no one to answer back. "I know that dumb dragon is wrong; I kn-know you're still alive. Wh-wherever you are, I'll be waiting here for you."



Okay so since I can't do it on the thread I'll do it here.

Let me say that I took this over the course of my writing so I took notes after reading the chapters for impressions to be prime. So if there is something I mention that was remedied then feel free to either ignore or read the point of view. I took this in segments as well.

So in your early segments of the story (chapters 1 and 2) I felt you introduced the characters Oran and Pecha well. You did good in portraying their chemistry and were witty in their writing. I will say that this part was a bit, generic, to me (probably since I’ve been a fan of PMD and have heard them all). I liked how you did the events in chapter 2 and the whole quagsire bit. However, something that does bother me a little, is that Oran and Pecha both have unique names, while none of the others do besides their species. I wouldn’t mind if the siblings didn’t have names, but this just comes across as focus on them and not really on anyone else, (Namely Scyther).

Minor nitpick, but I do feel that calling Unido a region is somewhat unfitting. What I mean is that you seem to be pretty accurate in the vocab of the actual games and they are called Continents in them. Just a little thought.

Another thing I’ve noticed along the way is a lack of scene transitions. Now these aren’t really required, but it helps when it comes to jumping from one place or time to another. Basically, it enables the reader to see the change rather than having to read it and then put two and two together.

In the next segment (chapters 3 – 5) I noticed a few things also, you tend to show some scenes that I wouldn’t really consider necessary. This isn’t inherently a problem, but I will say that chapter 5 was a bit of a read and while I’m not opposed to reading, it was annoying to read a scene about the Pikachu and The guildmistress, especially after that important scene with the Scyther and Pecha.

Another thing I will say and this is where I’m saying it. By chapter 2 I made the theory that Oran and Pecha were Lopunny’s offspring. The Lopunny from team charm. By chapter 5 I have more reason, but I’ll see if I’m right later.

Now in this segment (chapters 6 – 7) I feel you did rather well. You introduced a potential explanation for the antagonists and what they did as well as build the world a bit bigger. The next chapter is probably my favorite as of right now. I feel you described it well and the small break to Lopunny (destroying my thoughts on who their mother was) and florges was good as well as build a bit more into this mon they keep talking about. The mystery dungeon mechanic was built a bit more and I like the how the chapter was written, especially how you did the attract scene.

I will say that while you do have a strength in describing things well, that can also be a hindrance to your writing. I can understand want to write every nook and cranny of a scene and so far it hasn’t been bad to the point of insanity, but I will say there is a bit overdoing it to me. For future works I would recommend a simpler detail unless said detail is important like with Ku. I felt his scene in regards to his “persuasion” tactics was fitting to tell us how impactful (pun) it was on the victim, while something like the scyther coming to and watching them, only really required the waking, strategy and awe without any unnecessary details/repetition.

I’ll give you an example from chapter 8:
The mantis turned his head to the left, the sensors on his head catching someone saying his name. But seeing the Rabbit Pokémon again brought an even harsher tremble into his weak body; he needed to work on sneaking past her, better. He gave her a weak smile, “O-oh...h-hi, Lopunny. I guess you're back, huh?”
The description that made this part long was a bit unneeded. All it really is he hears her say his name, looks and gets that feeling. But I do see that description is your writing style in a way so I won’t say stop doing it, but rather don’t overdo it.

Though I will add that you did well in developing Pecha a bit in chapter 7 and showing a more recessive side to her in not being the right one in this chapter at the fight scene.

The next part (Chapters 8 – 9) Were really good. It was the peak moment and I will say I began to see the payoff from the lead in. I am a bit sad about some of what happened, but that just shows you wrote it well. Course, Oran’s character reacted the way he I guess did, but I felt it was more of an under reaction or at least in the wrong way. To me, he wasn’t angry enough to avenge as he said. He saw his teacher dead and still wanted the vibe to fight a strong opponent, when I do feel that while he would want that he would focus on destroying this opponent. I was also pretty mad at the loppuny’s reaction, though I suspect that was your intentions. Her being a bad mother and basically an irresponsible prick.

One more thing, I felt that the beginning of Chapter 10 was a bit unfitting for how short it was and how it really didn’t add to the chapter other than info on the repercussions. I think a better placing would have been at the beginning of 11 since there it would reflect on the chapter better and not detract from the fight scene from earlier.

The latter chapters were indeed a strong conclusion as well as a good cliffhanger. I liked what you did with the Gabite twins and that while the sister is still a moron the brother Loco acts on the signs he showed earlier in chapter 7 or 8. Perhaps he and his sibling will make a comeback should you continue it. I liked this conclusion and was genuinely surprised at the amount of “Character killings” you weren’t afraid to do. I admit you didn’t really pull any of them and well, that’s sometimes a good thing (like in this case). I do feel so sorry for Pecha and Oran, though Oran technically was asking for it I still can’t help but feel sad for him.

You’ve written a good story. I can’t deny that there were parts that were dragged out and well some that weren’t exactly to my liking. However, despite the cliché like start, you spiraled it into something not only unique but damn well interesting. Let me know if you plan to continue cause your story has earned my attention (not trying to be arrogant).
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