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PMD: Sentience

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Kukansis, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. Kukansis

    Kukansis Active Member

    Thank you, Vulpi! Glad to see you reviewing here, again!

    Yeah, I understand how disorienting swapping POVs can be, for both reader and writer, and I don't plan to have very many of them at all. I'll only be using them when it'll actually help with the narrative.

    Well, I guess you'll just have to wait and see. I'm sure Dare would like to know who's messing with his head as well.

    Thanks again!
     
  2. Kukansis

    Kukansis Active Member

    Chapter 6: Broken Rescue

    Dare stared onwards, watching the Glalie as he turned away from Zeke’s unconscious form. The malicious smile that had been on his face was replaced with a disappointed frown.

    “You always have to show up just to ruin my fun, don’t you?” Glalie floated away, out of Dare’s vision.

    Still on his knees, Dare felt his energy fade away as adrenaline stopped flowing through him. He fell forwards and slammed his arms against the ground. He regretted slipping towards the ground as an instant pain surged through his right arm. He screamed as he pulled his arm up, rolling onto his opposite side. It took a few seconds for the pain to die down enough to regain focus, and he clenched his teeth to muffle himself.

    Glalie was ahead of him, talking to someone directly behind him. All Dare could see of the other Pokémon was its legs, but given the voice he had heard before, he knew who it was. That same voice spoke again, “Glalie, I asked you to find them, not kill them.”

    “Wouldn’t it be easier if they were dead, though? Why bother keeping them alive?”

    “Because the last thing we need is another reason for more fighting!” The Pokémon began pacing and came out from behind Glalie. “You and I both know what would result.”

    Dare glared at the revealed Snover. It was him! The Snover from before! The first one that attacked me! Why is he here?

    Luckily for Dare, Glalie was wondering that as well. “How did you even discover where we were?”

    “Simple,” Snover replied as he gestured behind. Two more Snovers appeared from a tunnel behind the Glalie and shoved someone into the room, but the new Pokémon ended up behind Glalie. “He told us.” The Pokémon ran further into the room, straight past Dare. He barely had time to recognize Togetic as the bird rushed past in a blur.

    Dare turned his head towards the Togetic and saw him go straight to Meditite’s side. The duo started talking to each other, but Dare couldn't hear their hushed voices. Glalie, now behind his head, made a sound of protest before the lead Snover interrupted him once more.

    “We can discuss this more when we’re not escorting this group. You will incarcerate them until we can send them away.”

    “And if they resist, may I kill them then?” Glalie was still frowning, visibly displeased with the Snover’s commands.

    “Do not test me, Glalie. None of these fools look like they could fight you.”

    “They knocked out Poliwhirl! Is that not a threat?”

    “You know how unskilled Poliwhirl is.” Snover looked over at the unconscious creature behind Zeke. “We will take care of him. You do as you’re told.”

    “...Fine.” Glalie snarled. “And then you can tell me what this is truly about?”

    “Yes. Get moving.”

    Glalie suddenly approached Dare, blocking his vision of the Snovers. “Get up. You’ll be carrying your friend over there.”

    Dare used his good arm to push himself back into a sitting position. He thrust his wounded arm out defiantly to show how little control he had. His wrist twisted agonizingly fast to the side, making him yelp again.

    “Oh, you poor, fragile thing,” Glalie mocked. “Broke something, did I?”

    “Glalie!” Snover shouted, his voice now distant and muffled from behind the giant ball of ice that was blocking Dare’s senses. “Stop fraternizing and get them moving! If you broke one of their bones, get it braced and move on!”

    Glalie ground his teeth into each other, creating a sharp screeching sound. Both Meditite and Togetic shouted in pain, but Dare hardly noticed it with how much his arm hurt.

    “Keep that arm out,” Glalie demanded as he shifted to Charmander’s side. “I can... remedy this issue.” The venomous way Glalie stated ‘remedy’ made Dare cringe, but he didn’t want to argue with someone who could kill him at any given moment.

    Glalie’s mouth began to glow blue again, just as it had before he froze Meditite to the ground. With no further warning, he spun forwards and slammed his horn into Dare’s arm, forcing the wrist back into place. The pain was excruciating, but before Dare could even move in reaction to it, Glalie spun back to face Dare and released a gust of freezing wind.

    The pain was subdued with the cold, but Dare still doubled over and reached for his arm, making his displeasure known with a very loud yell. His claws never reached the scales, though. Instead, he found himself gripping a block of ice. Once he had regained his composure enough to silence himself, he moved his arm in front of his eyes. A thick cage of ice surrounded it, immobilizing the wrist, but also constricting the arm itself.

    Glalie began speaking again as Dare went silent. “Don’t think I just helped you, though. Either you follow me and we get that properly treated, or it’ll freeze and you’ll lose the arm completely. I think that should be a fairly good reason for you all not to give me any trouble.”

    The sounds of ice shattering set Dare on edge. “You can’t do that!” Meditite tone showed she was clearly defiant, despite how badly the entire team had been beaten. “What gives you the right to condemn him?!”

    “What gives me the right? Are you honestly so dense that you can’t understand what is happening?” Glalie floated away from Dare’s side. Dare was still too focused on working with his now frozen arm to look towards him. “He aided a known criminal, that Bulbasaur over there, twice. You both were lucky enough to only be caught once. Your punishments have to be less severe.”

    “Zeke is not a criminal!” Meditite shouted, and a smacking sound came shortly thereafter. At this point, Dare turned his head. A red mark that vaguely looked like a wing was beginning to form on Meditite’s cheek, showing something Dare hadn’t expected. Togetic had hit her. The nervous, over intelligent bird had just struck the very partner he was trying to save.

    Togetic himself seemed shocked for a moment, but he spoke. “We are not able to defeat this Glalie! Either we follow him or the Charmander loses an arm! Think for a second before you make it worse!”

    Glalie’s back was turned to Dare, but he could almost sense another smirk cross the monster’s face as Meditite backed down. “Thank you for being reasonable, Togetic,” he said deridingly. “Now then, you and Meditite will carry ‘Zeke’ since the Charmander is unable to. Understood?”

    Meditite’s face flushed red as Glalie said Zeke’s name, but she held her tongue. Togetic, on the other hand, showed no particular emotion and responded with a simple nod. Dare felt their reactions should have been reversed.

    “Good, then go pick him up. You’ll want to get moving before the Charmander’s nerves begin to die.”

    Dare tried to bring himself to his feet, but found it incredibly difficult with the heavy block of ice weighing down his right side. Meditite must have noticed this, as when she passed him, she grabbed his good arm and yanked him upwards. Dare stumbled slightly, but managed to get his feet underneath him.

    Meditite didn’t even wait for another word before continuing ahead and grabbing Zeke’s forelegs. Togetic was already holding onto Zeke’s hindlegs, and the duo lifted him up. Meditite had no trouble, but Togetic was clearly straining to support the Bulbasaur’s weight.

    “Now, follow me.” Glalie commanded as he floated in the direction the Snovers had gone. “And you’d better move fast.”

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Exiting the cave gave Dare an idea of why it was so easily guarded: it opened to a pathway on the outskirts of the very town they had entered the dungeon from. So it’s a tunnel that leads underneath and into the town. No wonder they were able to find us like that.

    Glalie continued leading the way forwards through the streets. A few of the civilians who were wandering about stopped and stared at the group exiting the dungeon. Some looked straight at Glalie, although when he looked back, they turned away sheepishly. Others looked towards the duo carrying Zeke and murmured amongst themselves, creating wild theories about what had happened.

    But what drew the most attention was Dare. A group of Pokémon that looked like giant snowflakes eyed him warily, ready to attack at any given moment. A colossus that looked like an iceberg on legs looked pityingly at the Charmander’s icy brace. Dare’s eyes shot from face to face, trying to find a friendly face amongst the crowd.

    One Pokémon seemed out of the ordinary. It vanished before Dare could identify it, but he caught sight of its blue insectoid winds before it moved out of sight. A twinge of pain shot through his mind, similar to what had happened in the cave.

    Not now, voice. Whatever you did was enough to wipe my mind of whatever set Glalie off. The last thing we need is another reason for him to kill me. This time, the voice seemed to listen and his headache vanished as abruptly as it had appeared.

    Their trip through the town was uneventful. More Pokémon stared at them as they walked along, but Dare didn’t care. He tried to keep track of where they traveled in the town, in case they were released and could make their way back to the dungeon, but all the buildings looked the same.

    Eventually, Glalie led them to an odd building, one built of steel rather than snow and ice. Charmander recognized the building immediately, despite never seeing such a structure before. He’s taking us to prison? He’s so vicious... How could he possibly be with the guards?

    Once they had entered the prison, a slab of steel slammed down behind them, closing off their entrance and sending a shockwave through the floor. Dare was shaken off of his feet and landed on his knees while Togetic and Meditite gripped tighter onto Zeke, having trouble staying up. Glalie turned around and scowled when he saw the fallen Charmander.

    “And I thought I might need help to defeat you. Poliwhirl wasn’t even necessary.”

    Two near-identical black Pokémon rushed into the room. Dare didn’t get time to identify them as they rushed behind Glalie and began to speak with him. “Which ones should we take?”

    “Take the ones carrying the Bulbasaur,” he replied without turning back to them. “I’ll be behind you with the Charmander.”

    The Pokémon ran back into the open and began to yell commands at Togetic and Meditite. Dare tried to figure out what they were, but he hadn’t seen anything like them before. They had red feathers coming out from the tops of their head and necks, as well as their ears and tails. Sharp white claws took the place of their hands and toes, and they both had malicious grins and red eyes.

    Togetic and Meditite moved forwards as they were commanded, despite their exhaustion from carrying Zeke. Togetic was obviously having trouble keeping his arms up, but Meditite still had energy to spare.

    “Hold on, Charmander,” Glalie growled. The quintet of Pokémon ahead of him rounded a corner and disappeared from view. “Now we can continue.”

    Dare stood back up and walked forward, following the path already taken ahead of him. Once he rounded the same corner, he couldn’t see anyone ahead. Glalie moved past him, muttering something to himself as he led the way further in.

    The path they took continued to turn randomly, and Dare felt like they were crossing over their own path a few times just to confuse him. Eventually, it lead to a cell with thick metal bars covering the face of it. A small section with a handle stuck out in the middle.

    Mere moments after they reached the cave, the pair of feathered Pokémon came in from their left. One of them walked past Dare and opened the door while the other one shoved him inside. A loud clang sounded behind him before he could even turn around.

    A chill ran up his spine again. He couldn’t tell if it was physical or psychological, as the feeling refused to subside. He turned around to see if one of his captors was attacking him, but they were all standing still. He cast a glance down at his frozen arm. “Can we get this fixed? I’d rather not lose my arm.”

    “I’ll handle this, Weavile. Go ahead back to your posts.” Glalie waited while his two allies walked away. Once they had left earshot, he spoke again. “How does that arm feel, Charmander?” His voice sounded strangely earnest, almost showing concern.

    Dare responded with a dismissive shrug, unwilling to give Glalie a voiced answer. Glalie chuckled. “So you aren’t feeling it yet. Don’t worry, it’ll get worse.” The malicious grin Glalie often had returned.

    “What do you mean ‘worse’? Aren’t you supposed-”

    “No, I’m not supposed to do anything. You heard the Snover, I was to brace your wound and continue. That has been done.”

    “But you said I follow you or I lose my arm. I followed, now I keep the arm.”

    “And what makes you think you’re in a position to demand that? Look at your situation for a moment. You are locked in a cage, with no friends in sight, and someone who can clearly kill you on the other side of the bars.”

    “But you’re putting me in prison! You can’t just mistreat your prisoners!”

    Glalie smirked again before turning away. “I believe I can.” With that last comment, he floated out of Dare’s sight.

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Dare had only been in his cage for a few minutes before he noticed something strange happening. The cold which had secluded itself to his arm began to spread around his body. He felt his tail dim as his body temperature dropped.

    That’s it, I’m going to break this if he won’t. Better to hurt than to lose it. Charmander sucked in a deep breath, but before he could spit out a fireball, the voice from before entered his head and began speaking.

    A cage? But- The voice disappeared again.

    So you’re spying on me? Are you going to be civil this time? Charmander replied, trying to find a way to prepare for another mental assault.

    Dare waited for the voice to respond. It felt as if there was a strange lag between them, despite their argument being in thought. After a few seconds had passed, it spoke to him once more. This time a clear message got through. NO! Stay away from me!

    And with the message delivered, Dare felt a familiar headache suddenly appear. It was as excruciating as the first time the voice had attacked him, but he knew it was coming and struggled to hold control. This is my mind! Stop attacking me!

    The voice became scrambled once more, sending distorted sounds and words into his mind and clogging it up. Strangely enough, a second headache seemed to start at the same point in his head. He didn’t know he could hurt twice in the same place. Why are you doing this? What have I done that makes you so violent?

    His senses were flooded, each individually pouring suffering into his brain. Random colors overtook his vision and blurred into unrecognizable blobs while his nerves began to feel as if they were coated in acid. He could only hear the sound of the voice yelling until another voice entered his head, one that sounded much more calm.

    ”I can help you. I’m going to mute that connection temporarily. Okay?”

    Yes, anything to stop this!
    Dare’s mind shouted desperately. Just make them stop!

    A second more passed before the noise suddenly stopped. As quickly as the feelings had overtaken him and forced him into submission, they had disappeared. Dare found himself breathing heavily and laying on the floor. He reached his good claw up and rubbed his sore forehead. When he pulled the claw back in front of his face, he found there was blood on it. “I guess I hit my head pretty hard there.”

    ”Yeah, but that injury shouldn’t matter. You sure did a good job holding that psychic off,” the new voice answered in his mind, making Dare cringe. ”I’ve never seen one so desperate in their assaults, and I’m glad you held up that well.”

    “Who are you? Where are you?” Dare rocked himself up into a sitting position and looked out of the cage. No one appeared to be around.

    ”Please, be quiet. Just talk to me with your mind. I can’t help you if they spot me. I’ll show myself to you for just a second, but I really need to stay hidden.” There was a blur of motion as an insectoid Pokémon appeared in front of him. A blue stripe ran across its torso, as well as the beginnings and ends of its wings, four of which sprouted from its back and were fluttering at very high speeds.

    The Pokémon vanished in another blur before Dare could see anything else about it. I’m not sure I like another person invading my mind.

    ”I’m sorry, I wish I could speak with you instead, but I can’t risk getting caught. Now, quick question, have you spoken with or been with a Bulbasaur by the name of Zeke?”


    Dare felt an urge to be defiant. No, he’s helped me, so- Er, sorry. I don’t like having my mind read, I can’t keep even momentary urges secret.

    ”Don’t worry, I’ve been reading minds for long enough. I don’t judge Pokémon because of fleeting thoughts. Please answer me, though, have you been with Zeke?”

    Yes, I was working with him and we both got captured. Wait a minute, weren’t you watching us? Didn’t you see this?

    “Oh, you spotted me?”
    The insect paused for a moment. ”That’s... worrisome. But to answer your question: yes, I saw this. But I had to know if Zeke trusted you. I knew the other two with him- have they given you their names yet?”

    No, they haven’t. Were they-
    A stray thought interrupted his question and raised a new one. Zeke’s partner... You were Zeke’s partner, weren’t you? The one he was separated from before meeting me?

    Dare heard a soft buzz come from above him. It almost sounded like a sigh. ”Yes. That accursed squad of Snover separated me from him. Is he okay? He looked pretty badly off when I glanced at you all.”

    I honestly don’t know. I wish I did.


    Dare felt the blood from his forehead trickling down near his eye. He wiped it away with his healthy arm while the bug spoke again. ”I have to go see him, now. I’ll be back to help you in a minute, okay?”

    Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you get back, frozen arm and all.

    “Right, that... I can help with that, if you’d like. It’ll hurt, though.”

    I could probably thaw it anyways, so don’t-

    “Oh, no no no, you do not want to do that. Getting water into the wound if there’s any broken scales there would only hinder your healing.”

    So what do you suggest?

    “Sorry, no time.”
    He felt some sort of force overtake his body, and it forced him to rush to a wall of the cage. Before he could react and ask what was happening, his arm pulled away from the wall and slammed into it at lightning speed, shattering the icy prison. His arm again fell into a state of pure agony, but he felt it go numb a few moments later. Dare managed to hold in the scream he felt coming to the surface, but he still fell over from the temporary shock.

    Could have warned me about that! Dare complained as he sat back up and rubbed his freed wrist. What did you do to me?

    ”I shut off the nerves in your wrist so you wouldn’t feel it. Sorry, I’ll fix it later, but I’ve wasted enough time. I’ll be back after I speak with Zeke.”

    The headache he still had died down, leaving only the pain of the bleeding cut on his forehead. The blur of the insect flew past his vision, disappearing past the wall on his right. So those headaches are a sign that a Psychic is in my mind. Good to know, but... what do I do now?

    More minutes passed while Dare was left alone. He took a deep breath and rubbed at his wrist again. There’s so much I need to think about. Like how Meditite used Zeke’s name there. She seemed so reluctant to use names before...

    But it doesn’t help to wonder about this kind of stuff. I’ll just have to ask her once I get the chance.
    Dare looked down the hallway he had entered from and saw Glalie floating back inwards. If I get the chance.

    “So, you were intelligent enough to shatter that brace, hm? You seem no worse for the wear from it as well.” Glalie floated right next to the bars. “...Might you be willing to explain yourself now?”

    Dare sat silently and stared at Glalie. At least he doesn’t read my thoughts.

    “You’d find it in your best interest to speak. Giving us the truth may help to lessen your punishments.” Glalie’s eyes shifted down to Dare’s arm. “Blood? Now how did you manage to hurt yourself in there?”

    Dare still didn’t speak, instead releasing a primal growl. You’ll get nothing from me, Glalie. I don’t care if you are somehow with the good guys, you were going to kill us.

    “Fine, continue to be difficult.” Glalie’s indifference was almost more frustrating to Dare than his earlier anger. “I’ll return shortly, and whether you like it or not, you will give me the information I want. Only a matter of time.”

    Glalie turned away and vanished beyond the corner of Dare’s cell, leaving him alone again. What does that mean? He can’t torture me... can he? Or is there some sort of ice-psychic Pokémon around? Or... No, stop it! Being paranoid won’t help anything!

    But still... I wish that bug would hurry. I don’t think I’ll last long against whatever Glalie has planned.


    -------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Author Notes: Well, this chapter did have a few hiccups during its development, but in the end, it's for the best. The next two or so chapters should be coming much faster.

    So, this was a very dialogue heavy chapter, and I hope it doesn't come across as an infodump or some other such negative thing. I liked writing the chapter, though, and I hope that you enjoyed reading it.
     
  3. Azurus

    Azurus The Ancient Absol

    Addressing the authors note, no, it doesn't come across as an info dump, I actually rather enjoyed this session.

    The only part I'm confused about is who shouted "no, stay away" as it seems like charmander did, but he wasn't the main focus there...

    Anyway, looking forward to your next chapter, perhaps you can post it by next week to make up for the wait of the last one?... *Already knows you can.*
     
  4. SableVulpi

    SableVulpi Here To Review

    Like I said before, I am glad that you split up the chapter at the point where you have it now. It seems to end on a good note that's a bit of a cliffhanger, but is satisfying enough to the readers. There are many things running through my mind, but I suppose the main question I have in mind is why Mothim was in that prison in the first place. Did he simply see Zeke get dragged there after they got separated and chased after him?

    Either way, this was a satisfying chapter.
     
  5. Kukansis

    Kukansis Active Member

    Thank you both for the reviews! Now on to responses, first to Azurus...

    I'm glad to hear that! Always nice to hear someone enjoys your work.

    That would be the psychic talking, not him. Sorry, I'll edit that to make it more clear.

    I'll make no promises, but yes, the next chapter will be up earlier than usual. And I suppose, since it's literally passing the one week mark today, unfortunately not by then.

    Now for SableVulpi's comments.

    Good to hear. I actually didn't want it to end on a cliffhanger, as I feel like I've done that a few too many times recently, but I'm glad it's not interrupting or annoying.

    Well, actually, he clearly saw Zeke being carried away and followed after them (as Dare noticed him above the crowd for that split second). How he got into the prison unnoticed is a bit harder to explain at the moment, but you'll see fairly soon.

    I'm glad you both enjoyed the chapter, though, and thank you both for the reviews once again!
     
  6. Kukansis

    Kukansis Active Member

    Chapter 7: Breaking Free

    Zeke’s first sensation as he woke up was that of a psychic entering his head. Oh, great. So who’s invading my mind now?

    ”The only friendly psychic you’ve met, Zeke.”


    Zeke’s heart raced and his body surged with life once again. How did you find me?

    ”Lucky guess that you’d end up in Snowshore Town. How are you feeling? You look kind of pale.”

    Zeke felt a stinging in his leg and remembered Glalie’s attack. I think I’m okay... How does my leg look, though? I can’t tell if it’s just numbed down from the cold or what, but it doesn’t hurt as much.

    “The one where you had a spike? It’s bandaged now. Looks like you still might have a bit of blood coming out, though, as more of the bandage is turning red with the passing seconds.”


    Zeke slowly opened his eyes. He found himself blocked by steel bars, with iron floors and walls surrounding him. He strained to pull his legs back under himself and rose to his feet. Can we speak to each other?

    “No, Glalie’s over by the Charmander’s cell right now. As tiring as using telepathy is while I’m like this, it’s what we have to do.”

    Charmander... Wait, what happened? Why are we in cages? Did we get captured?

    “I’d suppose so. I only was able to catch a glimpse of you guys as you were headed here. But here, let me give you my ideas for how we can get you guys out. Ready?”


    Zeke closed his eyes. Ready.

    A few seconds passed before images began to fly through his head, all from the psychic’s perspective. The voice now seemed to come in through his ears rather than his mind, as if his senses were being directly connected. “So, first I’ll help free Meditite. With a little bit of work from both of us, these bars should be easy enough to break.”

    The image moved as the psychic did and showed Meditite in a cage next to Zeke’s. “Once she’s free, we’ll move down the line and free you and Togetic. After that...”

    The image shifted once more, this time flying through the twisting hallways of the prison and onto its roof. “We’ll go ahead and leap off here, and escape towards the Inverse Sea. We should be able to lose anyone chasing us in there. Sound good?”

    Yeah, except for one thing. Zeke opened his eyes and resumed his own thoughts. What about Dare?

    ”Dare? Do you mean the Charmander?” After a moment of hesitation, the psychic continued. ”Should we rescue him? Is he important or something?”

    Well, he saved my life earlier, and I...
    Zeke stopped as he realised something. Do I trust him? He was acting weird when we were about to fight Glalie. And he’s been a really weird character the whole time I’ve been around him. What do you think?

    “You... don’t know, do you? He’s got a few secrets up his sleeve. I think he’s got a psychic with him. The psychic seems a bit wild though. It started attacking him when I last connected with him.”

    Really? A psychic? That might explain something he did earlier. Do you think he knows?

    “I didn’t ask, and I didn’t pry into his mind. You know how much I hate to do that. But we’re wasting time; are we going to save him or not?”

    Yes, we will. Because he saved me, if for no other reason.
    Zeke paced around his cell to test his leg. Every movement made it feel sore, but he didn’t feel any other problems forming. So he tried running around his cell. The soreness quickly turned into a burning pain spreading up his leg and into his back, but it wasn’t debilitating. I’ll be okay, it looks like. Go when you’re ready.

    “Alright. Give me a moment to let them in on this. Be ready when we show up at your door, though.”


    There was a pause for about a minute before Zeke heard wings flutter and saw a blur rush past his cage. The sound of metal being crushed came from the other side of the wall where the blur had gone. Zeke shivered as a thought rushed through his mind. Glalie’s with Dare. That means we’ll have to fight him.

    Before long, a steel cage door levitated out into the open and rested on the bars of Zeke’s cell. A quick glance over it showed the edges of it had been crushed inwards. Meditite rushed out to Zeke’s door and began pulling on the bars of it while a Mothim followed behind her.

    “Glad you’re up and about, Zeke,” Meditite said, still pulling with all her might. “Mind helping with the door, here?”

    The door began to glow as the Mothim focused his eyes upon it. The ends of the door squealed as they bent inwards. Zeke rushed forwards and slammed his head into the bars, forcing the door to pop out of its space. It levitated ahead of him, still glowing, while Meditite hung on. “They really put us in cages right next to each other? Why?”

    “This is a pretty full prison, if you haven’t noticed.” Meditite jumped off and pointed to the side. “Not much room for anyone else.”

    Zeke looked where she pointed and saw the walls lined with cells, all with an individual Pokémon inside. Some were staring at the escapees, but others purposefully turned their backs and ignored them. Some even called out, asking for rescue, though the Mothim silenced any he noticed with a quick psychic blast.

    “No time to talk, let’s get Togetic,” Mothim commanded. He flew ahead and began to focus on Togetic’s cage door, making a glow surround it as the steel crushed under a psychic weight. Zeke and Meditite moved ahead and ripped it off its hinges. It came out of its space silently, almost eerily quiet compared to the first one.

    Before Togetic could move out, the prison suddenly shook and seemed to fall, dropping the standing Pokémon onto the ground.

    “What was that?!” Zeke yelled. Fear coursed through him as he realized how loud he was, but a quick glance around revealed no guards were anywhere near them.

    “Sorry, should have informed you all. This is a prison ship, not a building. Doesn’t change our escape plan, though.” The Mothim nodded to himself. “I bet Glalie’s still with him over there. Everyone ready?”

    Zeke and Meditite got back on their feet and nodded as Togetic flew out of his cell and did likewise. Meditite grinned maliciously and spoke. “Besides, we need to give him some payback anyways. And this time we’ll have the jump on him.”

    “Plus, we’re a full group again,” the Mothim replied. “Even with Zeke being injured, we should be able to take him down, if we’re smart. Is the Charmander able to fight?”

    “He should be, if he’s not being stupid at the time.” Zeke felt a chill and shook himself off. “How long before someone else comes along and sees this?”

    “Two minutes, max,” Togetic said as he seemed to stare off into space. “There’s a patrol going around these cells, and they had just passed by when we began this escape.”

    “No time to waste, then. Let’s move!”

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    “Put your back to the wall, Charmander, and spread your arms out. This should be familiar enough to you.”

    Dare growled and reluctantly walked backwards until he bumped into the barrier behind him. After he regained his balance, he thrust his arms out to his sides. “Freezing me again?”

    “So you can learn,” Glalie replied sardonically. “Yes, after all, we can’t have a brute like you attacking a lady.” Glalie sucked in a deep breath and his mouth filled with an aqua light. He breathed out a wave of ice, which immediately pinned Dare’s arm to the wall. He moved across Dare’s body while still breathing out the ice, making a thin layer of frost stick to his skin as he worked his way onto the other arm and froze it as well. “Good, now that we’ve got that out of the way, allow me to introduce you to Jynx.”

    Glalie floated away to reveal a purple skinned humanoid Pokémon. It had strange pale yellow hair that went past its shoulders and looked as if it were wearing some sort of red dress rather than having scales or skin all over its body. The strangest thing about her was the way she held her hands next to her face, palms stuck out towards him.

    Her appearance was unnerving, but when Dare felt a small familiar headache start up, he became livid. “No! Stay out of my mind!”

    “You don’t know how much I’d prefer to just kill you and be done with this, but instead I must settle for this. Now then, she won’t do anything to you, unless you refuse to answer my questions. Otherwise...” Glalie nodded towards the Jynx.

    The Jynx nodded back and began to wave her hands around. A second later Dare felt a spike of pain in his head and a thought surfaced unrequested. Dare. Call me Dare.

    “He calls himself ‘Dare’,” Jynx stated without breaking her focus. Her voice was almost more disconcerting than her appearance, with how deep and emotionless it was.

    “Stop!” Dare started struggling against his restraints. The bravado he had shown quickly melted into panic. “Why do you even care what I know?!”

    “Simple, you overpowered that Poliwhirl despite having no way to do so. So then, tell me what you did, or we’ll be forced to simply pry into your mind.”

    “I don’t know what I did! Honestly!” Another jolt ran through his system as more thoughts appeared that he didn’t want to think about. Thoughts of the voice overtaking him and wrestling with his mind, his last thoughts before he awoke to fight Glalie.

    Jynx spoke again, her eyes still focused intently on Dare. “He was contacting someone through a telepathic link. And it looks like someone else shut off his connection to whoever it was.”

    “Can you get him connected again?” Glalie asked indifferently. “Perhaps we can-”

    “NO!” Dare shouted. “Don’t do that! I... I...” Dare had to close his mouth and strain to hold his thoughts on irrelevant things. He tried to think of the pain his arm should feel, his first experiences with snow, the interior of his cell, anything but what he was about to say moments before, but the Jynx was unfazed with his attempts to distract himself.

    As if a dam in his mind had just broken, the panicked thoughts of the wild psychic flooded into his mind, overwhelming him once more. The white noise of the screaming voice overtook his thoughts, but he fought for control of his own mind. He managed to keep his eyes open and focused, and was surprised to see even the Jynx drop her concentration as the onslaught began.

    “He’s being attacked.”

    “What?” Glalie floated away from Dare slightly. “By what? How could he-”

    The entire structure suddenly shook and dropped, giving Dare enough momentum to shatter through the ice coating his arms. He fell to the floor and smacked his nose into the ground, but he didn’t care. He was free.

    “Oh, for the love of Regice. Dare, get back up there, or I’ll be-”

    Dare had already stopped listening. He had no idea what emotions were his own or the psychics anymore, but he knew one thing: He needed to escape. He looked up as Jynx backed away from him, and something clicked in his mind, perhaps directly from the psychic’s mind as the noise quieted while he thought. She did this! Stop her from doing it again!

    Dare struggled disorientedly to his feet. Glalie was still threatening him, but he couldn’t hear him, nor did he care. Instead, he waited for his center of balance to readjust. He caught just enough of what Glalie was saying to know now was his only chance. “Dare! Move now, or I’ll-”

    So he did move, just not where Glalie was expecting. He charged directly at the Jynx, who since her focus was shattered, was cowering in the opposite side of the room. A part of Dare’s mind told him he should breathe fire, he should just run away, he should do anything more than just charge her, but he was too panicked to do anything more. He felt a strange energy begin to surround him, but he ignored it and continued.

    The Jynx waved her hands, trying to do something to stop him, but it was too late. Less than a second later, Dare slammed into her and the energy surrounding him dispersed. A faint blue color flickered in front of his face as it disappeared. The Jynx only flew back a few inches before slamming directly into the wall. Her eyes, which had remained open and staring the whole time he saw her, drooped and then closed as she slid down the wall.

    A portion of the headache he now felt, what he presumed was the Jynx’s connection, disappeared in an instant. The noise of the wild psychic seemed to die down as well. Charmander didn’t have any time to ponder it though, as Glalie began speaking again.

    “You just signed your own death warrant, Charmander!” he shouted from behind. Dare’s instincts took over and he rolled to the side, expecting an immediate attack, but Glalie didn’t pass by him. He turned to see where Glalie was.

    He found Glalie, but what he didn’t expect to find was Meditite latched onto his side. Zeke was charging at the monstrous ball of ice at full speed, pulling his head back as he braced for impact. Togetic, to Dare’s surprise, was in the air and also charging at their opponent. The strange insect was also nearby, sending out a strange wave of blue air that almost looked like it had a razor-sharp edge.

    Emotions clashed inside Dare as the psychic became agitated and screamed in his head, forcing its thoughts to overlap his own. He knew they were his friends, and he wanted to stand and help them, but the psychic continued shoving feelings of distress into his heart, making him want to back into a corner.

    It became irrelevant a moment later when his right arm came back to life, bringing with it a crippling pain. Stop it! You’re only causing more pain! Let me think for myself! This is not your mind to mess with!

    The last words he said seemed to quiet the psychic, but only for a moment before the cries amplified and became deafening. The insect had come to his side at this point and was shouting something, but Dare couldn’t think straight enough to understand what he said.

    A moment later, he felt another connection start in his mind. Whether intentional or not, a few thoughts came clearly into his head from the bug. ”Curse that Jynx! Opening psychic barriers she knows nothing about!”

    The wild psychic’s voice cut off once again, this time with a sharp stinging in Dare’s forehead. Now that he could think again, he heard Glalie shouting. “So, too afraid to fight me alone, are you all?! Have to win by ganging up on me?! I won’t go down so easily!” There was a sound of rushing air just before something smacked into the wall beside Dare. A sharp cry from the Pokémon showed it was Meditite, and she landed beside him, still on her feet.

    “Get up, Dare! We don’t have any time for this!” she yelled, pulling him up by his bad arm. The nerves in it seemed to scream with the exertion, but it dulled as it was replaced by an adrenaline surge. He ended up staring right at Glalie’s back as the ice-type fought with Zeke and Togetic on his other side.

    Dare felt his tail flare up as he sucked in a deep breath. He exhaled a fireball that swelled as it contacted the air, flying straight at Glalie. It burst as it came into contact with his body, and a loud hissing filled the room as mist formed from the ice melting off of him. Glalie bellowed as the blow struck him, much to Dare’s surprise.

    Meditite took advantage of his weakness. She put her hands together as a ball of energy began to form between her palms. The bug spoke through the link to Dare’s mind, still maintaining the connection as he focused his power elsewhere. ”Help me hold him down. Meditite’s charging a Focus Blast.”

    Glalie appeared to be struggling to turn as a purple glow surrounded him. A moment later, a pair of vines wrapped around him, making his struggles do even less. “How are you this strong, Mothim?! No bug should be this well versed in psychic power!”

    Dare ran forward as fast as his body would let him without stumbling.

    “Brace his other side with your good shoulder!” Togetic screamed at Dare.

    Dare saw he was ramming head-first into Glalie’s right side. Dare rushed to the opposite side of him and slammed his shoulder into his icy body. He could feel Glalie trying to force himself out of the hold they were putting him in, but he wasn’t able to put out much energy to do so.

    There was a sharp whistle as the energy Meditite had created ripped through the air. Before it struck, Dare felt something that drove fear back into his confident heart: an icy cold breeze.

    The ball of energy slammed into Glalie and his struggles almost immediately ceased. The insect dropped his focus on Glalie as he fell to the floor, no longer levitating. Dare and Togetic fell next to him as he slipped past them and landed with a shockwave. Dare immediately spun himself around to look at Zeke, fearing the worst.

    Zeke had frost all over his face and an icicle stuck right underneath his chin. His eyes were frozen wide in petrification. He slowly moved back and showed the spike of ice was stuck in the ground, and the blunt side was underneath him. “That... was too close.”

    Dare smiled as he slowly got back to his feet. “Yeah, but we did it.”

    “No time for celebration, we’ve still got to get moving.” Togetic interjected. “There’s almost no time before the patrol comes back, unless they-” He stopped and stared at Zeke. “Zeke, are you...”

    Dare noticed Zeke’s body beginning to glow white. “Really? What’s he going to...” Dare also trailed off as the glow encompassed Zeke’s entire body.

    He’s evolving... Is that what is happening?

    Mothim was still linked to him and responded. “Yes. I understand you may be fascinated, but be ready to run if I call! I’ll keep him safe if need be.” With that said, the Mothim cut the psychic connection. A fluttering sound behind him informed him of what the bug was doing.

    The glow became bright enough that Dare needed to shield his eyes. Even Togetic seemed frozen watching the event, and Dare couldn’t see what Meditite was up to, but he guessed she was also staring. It felt like there was something sacred going on, despite how commonly Pokémon evolve.

    Excitement flooded through Dare, but along with it, he felt a small amount of pride. He would have died without me, this close to evolution.

    The light suddenly burst off of Zeke, revealing his new form. The first thing Dare noticed was simply his sheer size. Zeke was almost as tall as his old form plus another half. After that, he looked up and saw the bulb on his back had bloomed into some sort of red budding flower.

    But Dare’s awe was cut short as his focus was pulled back to reality. “I found the artifact!” Meditite yelled. “Dare, come help me get this off of Glalie!”

    Dare turned around and moved to her side. “Why do you need me?”

    “It’s frozen into his armor, see? Right there!” Meditite pointed at a spot in Glalie’s icy shell that held a tiny multi-colored orb. He couldn’t tell much else about it, as the ice wasn’t very transparent. “Just, I don’t know, melt that area if you can.”

    Maybe I can use my tail? That’d probably be the best way to make sure we don’t- Never mind, there’s no time for caution. Dare inhaled sharply and released a small burst of flame onto Glalie. Again his ice hissed and added more mist to the room, making it hard to see for a few seconds. The ice melted away and revealed the orb, but before Dare could even glance at its revealed form, Meditite grabbed it and prepared to throw it.

    “Heads up, Zeke!”

    Zeke looked up as the orb went into the air. “No, wait! That’s-!”

    He stopped as the orb suddenly burst open with a blinding flash. Dare turned away and blinked rapidly, trying to recover from the light. It took him a few seconds to regain his vision, and when he turned back, he found the orb split in two and something he didn’t expect.

    A Pokémon, standing right below where the artifact had burst. He’d seen such a Pokémon when one visited Blaze Town; a canine Pokémon with lightning yellow stripes running from its nose through its eyes and up either side of its head. Its tail’s tip was also covered in the same shade, though it ended halfway down the spiky fur. Its legs all had spikes jutting out from the back of its elbows, although its hind legs also had a pair jutting off in the same direction as its tail.

    “Anyone mind explaining how an Electrike just appeared?” Dare asked. “Who is this?”

    “I have no idea.” Zeke replied. “Hey, Electrike, are you-”

    A voice cut them all off. “What in Articuno’s name is going on- GLALIE!”

    -------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Author Notes: So, yeah, that was sooner. Less than a month at least...
    But in all seriousness, sorry for the delay on a chapter that should have came faster. I had a lot of distractions come up in the past few weeks and just found it hard to give this the proper time it deserved. And with more distractions coming my way soon, I can't guarantee the next chapter will be any faster, though I'll try my best to make it so.

    Well, this chapter was tricky to write. Switching between chatter and battle and back again proved to be more difficult than I expected, but thanks to some perseverance and my beta readers' help, I think it works out nicely. If anything could be improved, though, please let me know.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015
  7. Azurus

    Azurus The Ancient Absol

    A rather enjoyable chapter and intense enough for me to lose focus on picking sentences apart, so that's good.

    Having said that, two things that seem awkward to read.

    1. "...where the blur had gone Zeke shivered..."
    You are missing punctuation or some other words. I believe you need a comma after "gone"

    2. "...but a quick glance around revealed no one but the other prisoners noticed."
    No idea how to fix this one, it sounds like two ideas trying to take up one sentence.

    All in all, pretty gripping, I have to wonder if that "artifact" was a pokeball or something and I am looking forward to who this electrike is and who that voice belongs too.
     
  8. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    This looks like an interesting take on the Mystery Dungeon format. It's very rare to see one that doesn't focus on the usual "human-turned pokémon," and while there have been some elements of that showing up (with the psychic yelling in Dare's head sounding a bit like someone stuck in a new body), it doesn't look as though this is going to turn into a typical "join a guild and save the area from a legendary evil" sort of adventure. I'm curious to see where you'll go instead, or how you'll mix those elements into the plot later.

    Right now, though, I'm having a little trouble getting into the story. This is primarily an issue with the characters.

    Thus far Dare is a standard "heroic" lead. Pretty much his only distinguishing characteristic is his desire to help people--his perhaps completely self-destructive desire to help people, given that it made him rush into an erupting volcano without much of a plan. He really doesn't have much of a personality. The result is that he functions more like a window through which we're viewing the story unfold than a character in his own right. In some stories this is exactly what you want; in others, not so much. Right now I don't think it's working for this particular story.

    This is because it leaves Dare pretty directionless. At this point in the story we don't have much of an idea of what he really wants, whether out of life in general or just moment to moment in the story. Ultimately, what really drives an engaging plot is the desires of the characters involved and how those desires conflict with the world and what other characters' wants. But Dare doesn't have any clear desires, or even any clear opinions on his world or the things happening to him. And things do happen to him, lots of them. That's great in the sense that stuff does happen, which can be surprisingly difficult for authors to get a handle on; I'm not saying you need to slow down the action. However, you're not really giving me a reason to care about any of it.

    As previously stated, you've been piling mysteries on since the beginning of the story: what was up with the whole volcanic eruption and the espeon/yanmega at the beginning, how Dare ended up on the mountain, what's going on with Zeke and his artifact, even what the significance of Dare being shiny is--there's plenty here to chew on and wonder over, and that's certainly not a bad thing. The problem is that it's not clear what stakes Dare has in these things. He's gotten thrown into conflicts that he has no real connection to, and as a result all the things that are going on don't really feel like they matter. Why doesn't he just walk away? To some degree it feels like he's going along with all this craziness because it's expected that's what the hero will do, not because he has any actual personal motivation to do so. You don't do much at all to justify why he's going to start working with Zeke, for example. It comes down to Zeke saying that Dare doesn't have any other options and Dare agreeing, despite the fact that he certainly does have other options and doesn't even take a moment to consider the issue. It just feels obligatory.

    It's also important for the trials a character undergoes in the course of the plot to have some effect on them and to somehow reflect or catalyze their arc of character growth. This isn't true of all stories; it's perfectly fine to have a static main character in some cases, but so far this really isn't looking like one of those. I would expect Dare to be changed by the adventures he undergoes, but thus far it's not clear how that's going to happen. I don't really know what he wants or needs out of life, nor how hanging around with Zeke is going to challenge him as a person (as opposed to just challenging him to stay alive). Everything that's happened to him just hasn't really seemed all that relevant to him. Usually you want your plot to arise as much as possible from the decisions the character(s) make and the consequences those decisions have, but thus far the plot's been imposed on Dare by external forces. He's just been running around, trying to stay on top of things while more and more complications get piled on him through no fault of his own. Without the ability to make choices, Dare doesn't have much opportunity to demonstrate his character or have an influence on the plot. It leaves him a victim of circumstance rather than someone whose actions feel meaningful; there's not a real sense that what he does actually matters, because the plot is going to arrive and drive him into behaving a particular way no matter what.

    Again, this isn't such a bad thing if the conflicts of other characters are interesting (or if his being unable to influence the plot is the point, or a number of other things) and Dare is acting more like a roving camera through which we can watch the situation unfold. But right now the secondary characters aren't pulling their weight, either. We know even less about them than about Dare, so again we have no idea why anything they're doing matters to them, much less to the overall story. Also, while you don't have any trouble characterizing the somewhat jerkish characters, and Togetic is recognizably cowardly and nervous, the others don't have much personality. Zeke's POV reads basically the same as Dare's POV for the brief time that we see it, and all in all the rest of the group doesn't contain any compelling characters to carry the story. They are, as much as Dare, a bunch of people doing things for reasons we don't yet understand and playing for stakes we don't know about. This makes it hard to care about what happens to them or whether they succeed in their objective--although we don't really know what that objective is in the first place.

    Your character portrayals are also a little inconsistent. For example, Zeke is honestly a jerk to Dare from the time he wakes up until Togetic recruits them to visit the dungeon. Once they're in there, though, he switches to being concerned for Dare and critical of Meditite for being hard on the charmander. It's certainly possible that seeing her act that way and recognizing some of his own behavior in her actions might have opened his eyes to the fact that he was being unfair and make him change his tune, but there's no indication of that shift actually happening. We simply see Zeke being rude and sarcastic to Dare, then suddenly being protective of him. This effect also creates a strange moment of disconnect in chapter seven when Dare thinks he "knew [the others] were his friends," but... are they? The only one that's been consistently friendly towards him is Mothim, and a couple of the others have been outright hostile. It feels like another case where something happens out of obligation--the pokémon the hero hangs around with is always their friend, so that must be the case here too, right? But the characters here haven't done much of anything to earn that relationship.

    That all sounds a bit dire, but I think it's fairly straightforward to fix. You just need to work on making your characters' motivations clear: show us why they care about what's going on, and then the audience will be more inclined to care about what's going on, too. Give your characters the chance to react to what's going on around them; make sure they have opinions as well as hopes. For example, Dare shows up on the middle of a mountain and, for a brief moment, wonders about what happened and how he got there. Then he notices Zeke, and all that goes out the window while he tries to save the bulbasaur. But isn't he still far from home in a strange land? Doesn't he worry about what happened to his friends back home, or at least miss them? Similarly, isn't he still curious about what Zeke's artifact is, why the bulbasaur's willing to go so far to get it back, and ? Thus far Dare just doesn't seem to have been all that badly affected by everything he's been through--it causes problems in the moment, but then is forgotten about as soon as some new crazy thing happens. Dare doesn't even seem all that frustrated by the fact that no one will tell him anything about what's going on, except for some passing irritation at Zeke.

    It's also important to keep in mind what continues to drive him forward. What exactly is his goal here? Does he really just want to get back home? Is he intrigued by Zeke's talk of artifacts and hoping to getto the bottom of what's going on with the bulbasaur and his group? Does he just sense that Zeke and his companions need help and want to contribute? You just need to figure out what's motivating him, if you don't know already, and makes sure that it comes through on the page.

    As an example of how to do this, consider Togetic, who's one of the more developed characters in this story. He works because his motives are fairly straightforward and transparent. He's trying to get Zeke's help because his partner's trapped in a dungeon and he can't rescue her alone. For the same reason, he's willing to cooperate with the snover after he gets kicked out of the dungeon again, and he's even willing to slap his partner to get her to shut up because he doesn't want her to tick off the glalie and perhaps get them all killed. His motives are straightforward and ordinary, but they're clearly articulated and, as a result, he feels like one of the more genuine characters in the story so far. Also note how, rather than having things imposed on him by the story, events unfold because of his actions. He chooses to bring the snover in, despite knowing that they're after Zeke, because he was more worried about saving meditite than what would happen to the bulbasaur. He's willing to cooperate with Glalie and shut Meditite up because he values personal safety over standing up for Zeke. It's the decisions that he makes that tell us what he values as a person and so define his character.

    You might also improve things by not clinging so tightly to the mystery of the story. You probably want a little mystery, sure, to keep people intrigued and make them wonder where the story's going to take Dare. But you've been going to great lengths to not reveal almost anything about what's going on. Glalie even lampshades this by complaining about the fact that the snover won't tell him what's really going on. It seems a bit contrived that no one is willing to explain anything (and/or the other characters don't ask about it), and it contributes to the feeling of disconnect in the story because, again, it's hard to say why anything matters if we don't know what anything's about. It's always a question of what you gain by keeping things hidden versus what you gain by telling them up-front; at this point I think you're leaning too far towards pushing off the explanations.

    So in summary--try to shed some more light on Dare's thought processes and feelings about what's happening; try to give him more opportunities to make choices and then see the consequences of those choices played out; and beware of mystery for mystery's sake. A little more attention to those things should improve your characterization a great deal.

    And there's plenty to like here already. As I said, you've set up plenty of mysteries that suggest something interesting is going on in the background or will be happening soon--I'd just like to see more of that onscreen and/or sooner! It also suggests that you have an idea of where the story is going, rather than just sending the main characters to wander around some dungeons until they inevitably encounter the plot the way a lot of PMD stories seem to. In addition, you do a nice job of handling action scenes in particular--very good, considering how many of them there have been already! You aren't afraid to have your characters get dirty and get hurt, so as long as you take the time to consider how those experiences are going to affect them over time, you have a good setup for character growth down the line. It'll all be about how you decide to follow through on these things.

    Your prose overall is nice and clean; nothing to complain about there. And with the reveal of Zeke's "artifact," it looks as though we're coming up on some explanations and the introduction of the plot proper soon. That's great! I think this story shows a lot of potential, and if you keep working to improve like you have in the chapters thus far you'll be able to go far with it. Best of luck, and I hope you don't find this review too discouraging. I really think this is a good start.
     
  9. Kukansis

    Kukansis Active Member

    Thank you both for the reviews!

    Azurus, I'm glad the chapter held your attention. I'll get that one punctuation error fixed, and I'll see what can be done to make the other sentence more clear. And as for the artifact, it won't be too long before it's revealed what happened there. And the voice at the end will be revealed pretty instantly next chapter.

    Sorry for taking so long to reply to you, by the way. I have no excuse, not even the server outage.

    Negrek, I'm happy to hear that it's interesting you, at least. And I understand what you're saying. Dare is rather flat, looking back, and that wasn't what I was going for and still isn't. I'll work on making sure he's more of a character on his own right. I see what you mean when you say things happen, but he doesn't react emotionally nor really make choices about them, so much as follow a line. I realize that the plot has been very external thus far, and I agree when you say it makes him feel irrelevant. And I certainly didn't intend for Zeke and Dare's POVs to look that similar, but I do see what you mean. And looking back, you are right in saying Mothim's the only one who's genuinely friendly to him so far, and I see the disconnect that makes.

    Thank you very much for the advice, as well. I'll be sure to try to make them more connected emotionally to what is going on, rather than having them simply coast by it all, and I'll make sure Dare's reasoning becomes more of a focal point in the chapters to come. I didn't consider how that feeling of mystery could be harmful like that, and I thank you for pointing it out and will work to clear some of it up, so the more important things can be focused upon.

    I'm glad you like the different approach I've taken, and I'm especially happy to hear you liked the action scenes, as I'm always worried I'm screwing those up. I also promise that the consequences of those, such as Dare's recent broken arm, won't just go away, and I'll make sure Dare specifically has more reaction to them, as well as the rest of the group.

    And yes, with the artifact being gone now, I'm going to get things moving and have a lot less hidden and a lot more explored. I'll continue to try my hardest to improve with all you've pointed out. And don't worry, it's not discouraging. It's a whole lot to repair, and that does scare me a little, but it's for my good, I know that, and I'm thankful that you took the time to write all that out for me.

    And Azurus, I'm not discrediting your review! I appreciate your help!

    But again, thank you both! I'm grateful for all of your help!
     
  10. Kukansis

    Kukansis Active Member

    Chapter 8: Jailbreak

    “You... you all defeated Glalie,” one of the Weavile said, its voice wavering. “How did you even escape?”

    Dare glared at the duo. “Are these the same pair we saw earlier?”

    “Who cares?!” Meditite yelled before speaking directly to the Weaviles. “I’m sure you passed by our busted cell doors and wasted a few seconds there, so what do you think we did?” she asked sarcastically as she walked towards the Weavile. “Now then, are you going to let us pass?”

    “No! You may have beaten Glalie, but you can’t defeat us!” the other Weavile yelled, pulling its claws in front of its face.

    “Really? Do you not see how bad this situation would work for you?” Mothim argued. “There are six of us here and only two of you. Even if you weren’t outnumbered, you have a Meditite and a Charmander here, both of which-”

    Meditite and Dare apparently had the same idea at that moment, as they both charged at the pair of Weaviles. Meditite reeled back her fist while Dare breathed out flame, engulfing himself, and the duo slammed into the Weaviles.

    Dare rammed headfirst into the battle-ready Weavile. It skidded across the ground, trying to dig its claws into the steel to slow himself down. The other Weavile went rolling across the ground as a red mark appeared on its forehead.

    “Still want to fight us now?” Dare challenged, breathing out a small cloud of smoke and ash. “It only gets worse from here.”

    The aggressive Weavile growled and pulled its claws out of the floor. “That was a cheap shot! Try that again and we’ll see how well you fare!”

    Zeke leapt out from behind Dare and rammed into the Weavile. He kept running until it slammed into a corner of a passageway. He backed off and let the Weavile fall to the ground as it started coughing violently.

    “Cheap shot? What do you think this is?!” Zeke chuckled and looked over at the other Weavile, who stood up and started running. “See, now he has the right idea.”

    Togetic suddenly cut in. “You do realize he’s going to raise an alarm, right? So we should start moving now.”

    Dare saw everyone around him nod and start moving, except for the Electrike. It was backing away, its entire body trembling . “Guys, what about him? We can’t just abandon him to whatever these guys will do. And he looks afraid.”

    “Speak for yourself, Dare.” Zeke ambled towards the cowering Pokémon. “Electrike, do you want to join us?”

    The Electrike glared at him and began snarling, crouching down into an offensive position. Zeke blinked and turned back to Dare. “That answers that, let’s get-”

    “Hold on... Electrike, do you even understand us?” Dare waited for a response, but instead of speaking, the Electrike started barking. “Zeke... I think it’s a wild one.”

    “Oh, good, then we can feel fine knowing we aren’t leaving behind an intelligent one. Come on, we need to move, Dare.”

    “No. Whether he likes it or not, he’s coming with us. We’re not leaving a Pokémon to die because it’s not smart enough to realize we’re not the threat here.”

    “Dare, I’ll leave you behind if need be. I don’t want to waste the effort we just put into getting you freed, but-”

    “Fine, I’ll just carry him. That sound okay?”

    “It’s most likely heavier than you, and more importantly, you have a broken arm!” Zeke mumbled something under his breath. “Do what you will, but we’re leaving, now.

    Zeke walked past Dare, leaving him with the Electrike. Dare slowly made his way towards the terrified Pokémon. “Look, I’m not here to hurt you. Come with us. We’ll help you.”

    The Electrike snarled even louder and started backing away. I’m trying to talk to a wild. I should know better. It’s just like those Durants, the only thing they listen to is force.

    Dare rushed forwards and leapt at the Electrike. It yelped in surprise and tried to turn away, but Dare landed on top of it and pinned it. He felt a strange electrical current pulse through him, but it flowed harmlessly through him. He felt colder from it, but there was no pain, nor did it make his limbs go numb.

    He stood up and pulled the Electrike into the air with his good arm. To his surprise, it wasn’t difficult, despite the Pokémon being just as large as he was.

    He suddenly got a headache, making him growl. Can’t I go for ten seconds in this place without my head hurting?! He bit his tongue to stop himself as heard the Electrike whimper. A voice entering his head told him what was really happening.

    ”Keep holding onto him, it’ll keep him calm while I carry him psychically. It should keep him from thinking he’s levitating. Mothim was helping, holding the Lightning Pokémon up in his place.

    Dare nodded and wrapped his arm around the Electrike’s belly. The headache dissipated as he turned around, quickly running to catch up with the three that were leaving already. He passed by the prone Weavile, still struggling to get its breathing under control. Mothim flew ahead of him, getting back to Zeke’s side in less than a second. He sure is good at splitting his focus. How does he do all of this at once?

    “Stick close to me!” Mothim yelled. “Since the ship has dropped into the sea, there’s only going to be one way out of here.”

    “Ship?! I thought we were in prison!” Dare shouted back.

    “We are. It’s a prison ship. The Snowlands don’t have any prisons, so they were going to ship you off.” Mothim turned a corner to the right, with everyone staying close behind him. “Doesn’t matter where to, but we need to escape nonetheless!”

    “Where are all the rest of the guards? Shouldn’t they be patrolling here?”

    “We’re careful planners, Dare. We don’t let things go to chance. Togetic and I have been discussing the patrols and found this hole. That’s why we had to move now, along with the fact that we’re going to have an alarm ringing soon.”

    “How? How did you do that? There isn’t even enough time to think something like that through!”

    “I’ve always been able to think faster than most, Dare. There’s a reason for that, but I’ll explain once we get safe, okay?”

    Dare growled in displeasure as Mothim made another sharp turn, this time to the right and up a set of stairs. Dare stumbled, but he kept his grip on the Electrike and started running again. “How far do we have to run?”

    “Far enough.” Meditite interrupted. “Don’t worry, we’re almost there already.”

    They continued running for another few minutes, going up stairs and through corridors, back and forth. It felt like they were going nowhere to Dare. The floors of the ship were almost identical, the only difference being the prisoners in the cells they rushed past. Dare’s only solace was the fact the Electrike wasn’t struggling or shocking him.

    “Almost there, huh?” Dare complained between raspy breaths.

    “Well, we’re not any farther from where we’re going.” Meditite replied, not sounding even slightly winded. “Besides, this is a ship. It can only be so tall.”

    “Besides that, here’s the last staircase.” Mothim yelled back. “We’ve only got one shot at this, so everyone ready?”

    Everyone but Dare gave their affirmations. He looked around frantically at his teammates. “Wait, ready for what?” None seemed to even glance back at him.

    “Hate to repeat myself, but no time. Follow us closely and you’ll be fine.”

    “Not like I can do anything else...” Dare muttered.

    The group ran up the stairs and into the open air above. Dark clouds had rolled in overhead, threatening the world with precipitation. Mothim continued leading the group straight towards a dead end, a path straight to the edge of the ship. “Uh, guys? This isn’t an escape route.”

    “Jump!” Mothim flew over the edge and Zeke leapt off as well.

    “Wait, what?!” Dare faltered and stopped running. Staying away from the edge, he leaned over the edge and saw the duo falling straight into the ocean. The Electrike in his hand started to struggle against him, trying to get itself free of his grasp. Dare hardly noticed, shaking his head in confusion. “But I can’t swim!”

    “You should worry about the fall more than the water!” Meditite replied. “Come on, unless you want to be re-captured!” She ran and jumped over the edge, falling as well. Togetic flew past and dove face first towards the water.

    Dare continued to stare down at the falling quad of Pokémon. What are they thinking? Are they insane?

    “Hey! Who are you?” A voice yelled from behind. The surprise of the voice made him spring involuntarily, and an instinctual need to get away made him push off harder than he had expected. Before he knew what was happening, he was off the ship and descending fast.

    He fell facing the water, the Electrike kicking against him in a panic as they fell. He felt a few stray shocks run through him, but the pain from them was minimal.

    The water was swiftly approaching; Zeke and the Mothim had almost hit it and Meditite wasn’t far behind. Togetic unfurled his wings and ended up behind Dare and the Electrike.

    “Guys? The water?!” Dare yelled out. He could already imagine the cold taking over his body through crippling pain, just as it had the last time. “Guys?!”

    Mothim’s body began to glow. It wasn’t as sudden and bright as the flashing orb from the Electrike’s sudden appearance, but it was quicker than Zeke’s evolution. The glowing shape suddenly shifted, losing his wings and becoming much larger. A long neck stretched away from the growing torso as his limbs twisted into flipper-shapes. Small flat spikes began to form out of his back as the glow suddenly vanished, revealing a purple beast with a white shell. He hit the water with a great splash, and Zeke landed on top of him, only stumbling with his still-wounded leg.

    Meditite was quick to follow suit, bringing her legs beneath her and sticking her landing on the massive Pokémon below.

    Dare had no such luck. He tossed the Electrike forwards, giving it room for when he fell, and braced for impact by putting his good arm ahead of the rest of him. He slammed into the shell and felt a shock wave of pain rush through the arm.

    He rolled to the side his arm had hit on and found himself slipping. He struggled to grasp onto something to stop his fall, but he skidded past the spikes of the shell. His tail caught a spike that made him spin, ending up aiming headfirst towards the water. Scrambling to stop, he grasped and clawed at the shell, but he couldn’t slow himself down. Just as he was to hit the water, he felt someone grab his leg and pull him back up.

    After taking a few seconds to recover from the feeling of panic, he looked up to see Meditite standing over him. “Thanks for that,” he said quickly as he sat up and began examining his arm for any damage. “A little warning about this whole ‘Mothim can transform’ thing would have been nice, though.”

    “There wasn’t any time to tell you. Were we supposed to stop running and give you all the little details while our opportunity slipped away?” Meditite sat down next to him. “You should be glad we still took you after that stunt with the Electrike.”

    Dare turned his head towards the front of the Pokémon that once was Mothim, and saw the electric canine hunched over defensively on the opposite side of the shell, teeth bared and head pulled low. “At least he’s alright.”

    He heard noise coming from above, and looked up to see what looked like a huge and monstrous version of the Snover from before looming at the edge of the ship. It was swiftly joined by multiple Weaviles and other Pokémon Dare couldn’t identify: Huge floating snowflakes, a strange, long necked quadrupedal creature with fins on its neck, and even something that looked like a frozen ghost. “Are you sure this will work? They’re not going to chase us or anything?”

    A huge shard of ice shot past Dare and shattered on contact with the transformed Pokémon’s shell. The shards scattered around and fell into the ocean, not leaving so much as a single scratch. “Oh, they’ll certainly chase us,” “Mothim” replied, unfazed by the shard, “and attack us, and whatever else they can do to stop us. But it won’t matter. We’ve got a plan to evade them.”

    Dare got up and walked towards the Electrike, reaching out a claw for it to examine. It calmed slightly at the gesture and sniffed at the outstretched arm. Dare turned over his claw and scratched at the Electrike’s fur, and it seemed to work, for the Pokémon dropped its defensive stance, sitting down and closing its mouth.

    “Well, can I be filled in on the plan this time?”

    “That depends.” The Pokémon they were riding on turned his head back. “Can we trust you, Dare? You’re a very strange Pokémon.”

    I’m the strange one?” Dare yelled as another chunk of ice flew past his head and into the ocean. “I’ve been with you guys for less than a day and I’ve nearly drowned, been arrested, saved two Pokémons’ lives, broken out of jail, and we’re all still under attack! Just what is going on?! Why do I need to be dragged around left and right without ever being told a reason why?!”

    The Electrike was thrown into a furious panic as another bolt of ice nearly grazed it before reaching the ocean. ‘Mothim’ didn’t seem to mind the ice nor the Electrike, keeping its eyes trained on Dare. “Calm down, Dare. There’s no need to be so aggressive. I promise you, I’ll explain anything you ask about. Just let me ask you about one thing first.”

    Dare growled and turned back, looking up at the ship and seeing more Pokémon gathering at the edge. A rainbow-colored beam was headed straight towards him and instinctively he shot a fireball at it, causing it to dissipate into mist. He turned his head back. “Fine. Just what is so worrying about me that we can ignore this whole war zone for it?”

    “I spoke with Zeke, Dare. Even he has his doubts about you right now. I just want a simple explanation for one thing, and please don’t make me take this from your mind instead of your mouth.”

    “What? You don’t mean-”

    “I’m fairly certain you know exactly what I mean. Please, tell us why exactly you have a psychic attacking you at any given moment.”

    Crap. Dare bit into his lower lip as he collected his thoughts. It had to be that. The one thing I can’t explain.

    Hail began to fall, the tiny globes of ice bouncing irritatingly off his scales. The Electrike continued running about the shell, surprisingly not throwing off sparks or lightning bolts despite its heightened fear. Dare looked back up at the deck of the ship and saw the shapes of the Pokémon begin to blur as the attacks of the weaker ones began to fall short. “And you want me to answer this right now? While we’re still under attack?”

    “It’s the best time for you to answer, Dare. I’ve already told you, we are going to evade them, so stop worrying. Now, the psychic?”

    “I... I honestly don’t know. I’m beginning to think it’s a Pokémon that I tried saving back in Blaze Town, but... I’ve never contacted a psychic besides them until you showed up. I really don’t understand.”

    “What Pokémon was it? The one you tried to save, that is.”

    “I don’t know.” Dare covered his face with his claw as he strained to remember. “It was a pink quadruped, with a red gem in its forehead and a split tail. It looked like a psychic, at least.”

    “So, an Espeon? Hm... There’s no reason an Espeon should be violent like that...” ‘Mothim’ mused as a strange ball of shadow energy shot right over his head.

    “Look, Dare,” Zeke cut in, “I’ll trust you, on one condition.”

    “This sounds backwards, but whatever, name it.”

    “Whenever that psychic starts to affect you, you tell us. I know you wouldn’t know how to fight a psychic, much less in your own head, so I think we all need to know when that battle is happening.”

    Dare felt strangely reluctant. He couldn’t place where the emotion was coming from, but a part of him didn’t want to agree with Zeke’s term. The more I think I know about him, the more it seems he has hidden. But if they’re truly going to be open with me, do I want to stick around? I mean, I could just wander off and try to find my way back to Blaze Town. Sure, it would take a while, but I could do it...

    But even with all of this insanity, even these threats to my life, somehow I like this more than my old life back there. I feel like I’m actually doing something, even if I don’t know what it is.

    I better find out what it is I’m doing. Guess that decides it.


    Dare took in a deep breath to calm himself. “Okay. I’ll tell you if I ever start feeling that psychic attack again.”

    “Good. In that case, welcome to the team, Dare.” Zeke smiled and turned back to ‘Mothim’. “Now, where to begin...?”

    “Can we start with names? I mean, with how Zeke reacted to me being nameless, I have to suppose he calls you all something.”

    “Sure, let me start.” Meditite stood up and stretched. “Name’s Melanie, but just call me Mel.”

    “My name is Kade,” Togetic said from the side. “Hm. Somehow that feels like a weight off my mind, speaking my name after so long holding it secret while we worked here.”

    “What do you mean?” Dare scratched nervously at his numb arm. “Are you really so shady that you have to hide your names?”

    “Not most places, no. We just wanted to remain hidden there. Since, as Zeke proved, what we were doing is technically illegal and easily got us in trouble.”

    Dare started to ask another question, but became distracted as he looked past Zeke. “And, uh, you.” Dare pointed towards the head of the Pokémon they were riding on. “What... What even are you?”

    “Well, think about it. Only a few Pokémon can transform into functional copies of others, and what are the odds you’ve met a legendary?”

    “...Pretty slim?” Dare shrugged. “I really don’t know.”

    “More like impossible. But that’s not important. Yes, I’m a Ditto, and call me Glitch.”

    “Glitch? Kind of a strange name.”

    “No offense, Dare, but you’re one to talk about strange names.” Glitch shook his head. “Doesn’t matter, you wanted to know where we’re going?”

    Dare sat down next to the Electrike, who was pacing back and forth worriedly. “Still do, yes.”

    “Well, let me tell you, then. Our first destination is the Inverse Sea, a mystery dungeon not too far from here...”

    -------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Author Notes: Well, this took a lot longer than I expected. And no, I'm not going to say it was getting this fixed according to the advice Negrek gave me, as this still isn't exactly up to snuff, but I think this chapter puts me in a better place for getting more personality out while still continuing with the story as planned.

    Anyways, I tried to edge some personality into Dare without making it a sudden shift, and I think that's working out well. The rest of the crew, I realize, weren't too developed here, but I'll make sure that it doesn't become a "turn in the spotlight" kind of thing, instead being simultaneous development, as it should be.

    As discussed as well, the plot is speeding up, and will continue to do so, though there may be a few slow chapters here and there. Nothing too extreme on either end, though.

    But thank you to all who read this chapter and the rest of my fic. I'll continue to work to improve all that has been pointed out or that I've noticed.
     
  11. Akiyama

    Akiyama Awake me if Ash wins

    This recent chapter is continuing the story, I see.

    Dare's ignorance is often bewildering for me to sort through, but it actually works out. After all, he doesn't know what an espeon is until he is told. Strange, I admit, but I trust that this will be put to use by the author for some plot device later.

    Besides that, this seems like more of an action chapter that gets the team off of the ship while also expressing their distrust for Dare. Furthermore, the action scenes are doing pretty well. Like that close encounter with the cold water.

    In general, the only part that I feel is lacking is the level of detail. It works, but I prefer more details generally everywhere. Then again, you're doing pretty well, so keep it up.

    I'm not sure what's happening next, but it's important to mention my concerns now: Everyone except Dare and Zeke does not feel like a character so far. Of course, they were too busy to mention any motivations or backstories, but I hope to see their backgrounds affecting the story. It's early in the story, anyway. A whole bunch of surprises can come from the characters that Dare is with, and I'm happy to hear that they aren't exactly legal while they do this. That opens up some interesting possibilities for what is going on in this world. Indeed, their distrust with Dare shows some promising leads as to their situation.

    Anyway, story seems all right so far. The last issue was the delay between updates, so I refresh myself by reading back a bit. Glad to see you back.
     
  12. Kukansis

    Kukansis Active Member

    I should really work on replying in a timely manner as well. 22 days is much too long. Anyways, glad to see a new face here!

    Yeah, Dare's a fun case to write, and I often catch myself stating something before Dare understands it and I have to change it to fit his knowledge. It's for the story's betterment, I believe, so I'll keep it going, as long as it doesn't interfere with critical details or something like that.

    Detail is certainly something I'm trying to tone up, so thanks for pointing out it was lacking in this chapter. I'll keep working on getting more in there.

    That issue has been brought sharply to my attention a few times now, though I still appreciate every opinion on the matter. I realize that they all seem rather flat and just kind of... there, at the moment, and I'm working on getting them to be more of characters. The next chapter should help with that a little bit, though I wouldn't say it fixes it. I do have plans to make sure they're more fleshed out fairly shortly here, without interrupting the flow of the story.

    I thought the criminal aspect of it was a kind of nice twist, and I'm glad to hear you agree. That distrust aspect may be a bit downplayed for a while, though I'm not forgetting it, and I'm certainly not going to just be ignoring it. It'll still be there, but it won't exactly be prominent given what's upcoming.

    As said previously, I will continue to work and make this a better and more fun story to read. I realize I've been rather slow with updates when chapter length is considered, but I should be having a lot more free time in the months to come, so I should start posting faster sometime soon. Speaking of which, my next chapter should be up within this week. (Edit: Or a few days after, it seems. Should be up before the 7th.)

    Thank you for reviewing, Akiyama!
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  13. Kukansis

    Kukansis Active Member

    Chapter 9: Respite

    The barrage of ice slowly died down as Glitch drifted farther from the ship. What was once a barrage of spikes was now an occasional thorn bouncing harmlessly off his shell. Even the ones that hit Kade wouldn’t pierce his skin, having lost so much momentum on the way. Only the hail remained constant, still falling and being more irritating than painful.

    Zeke growled to himself and sat down. They had to summon hail, didn’t they? They had to know it wouldn’t help, but they did it just to be annoying.

    He shook his head. It doesn’t matter. I don’t even want to think right now. Weather like this kind of makes me wish I was-

    No, no it doesn’t.
    Zeke argued internally, feeling a primal sense of rage. Nothing is bad enough to make me want to be like I was.

    He forced the thought out of his mind. He struggled to relax himself, though a sudden outburst from Dare broke through his calm.

    “Reversed? What do you mean ‘reversed’?!”

    Zeke growled quietly and tried to clear his head once more. He started taking in deep breaths and tried listening to the sound of the hail hitting all around rather than Dare’s argument with Glitch. He kept this up for nearly a minute before he felt calm enough again.

    He looked back at Dare and Glitch, deciding to listen to their conversation.

    “It’s not going to be as bad as you make it sound, Dare.” Glitch protested, his voice showing how little Dare’s outburst affected him.

    “I just broke my arm, and now I have to deal with the madness of this Inverse Sea! How is that not going to be bad?!”

    “Look at it this way, Dare.” Zeke said, cutting off Glitch’s response. “You have five other Pokémon, or... four, I guess, since we don’t know what the Electrike will be like. But, four other Pokémon that are ready and willing to help you. Not much can threaten us as a team.”

    A strange pain in Zeke’s chest started to swell and shrink in time with his breathing. As a chill ran down his spine, he realized it was coming from the point in his chest where he was stabbed. I thought that was healing, not getting worse! Zeke felt an urge to reach out with a vine and feel for the hole, but he stopped himself.

    “You have a point, I guess.” Dare nodded slowly and let out a long sigh, breathing out a small cloud of thick black smoke with it. He looked to Zeke. “But how much am I a team member, anyways? You all seem to have been together for quite a while.”

    “Not as long as you might think, Dare.” Glitch interrupted. Dare turned his head towards the Lapras once again. “But let me continue. After we get through the Inverse Sea, we’ve got two more dungeons to go through before we end up back at our base. Now the first one-”

    “Actually, can it wait?” Dare yawned as he suddenly began to slouch down. “I guess I was too... hyped up before and I didn’t realize it, but I am tired. How long until we reach this Dungeon?”

    “Not too long. If you need to sleep or something, you’re not going to have too much time. Might want to start now, but be ready for a rude and quick awakening.”

    “Great...” Dare growled out. “Always nice when you can’t get enough sleep.”

    “Well, would you rather be in my position? I have to ferry you all, so I can’t sleep even if I wanted to.”

    “True. You probably slept more recently.” After shrugging with his good shoulder, Dare slumped onto the shell and closed his eyes.

    “Before you do that, Dare, I need to know from everyone. Are there any injuries among us? Besides Zeke’s leg and Dare’s arm, of course.”

    Are you reading my thoughts again, Glitch? Zeke questioned, but Glitch did not respond. I take it that’s a no?

    “None here.” Mel replied.

    “I’m fine as well,” Kade started, his confidence wavering as he continued. “I... was knocked out i-in the whirlpool dungeon, so I was able to recover while Zeke, Mel, and Dare were fighting.”

    “Don’t worry about it.” Dare said without opening his eyes. “Glitch, I’ve got nothing hurting.”

    Zeke felt a primal urge telling him to stay silent about his chest. No, I should tell Glitch! He knows more about these kinds of things! He had to strain to get himself to speak.

    “I... took an icicle to my lung, I think. My chest is hurting and it’s only gotten worse as we traveled. It stopped for a few minutes, but I think that was just adrenaline.”

    “Wait, why didn’t you say anything earlier?” Dare asked as he sat back up and opened his eyes. “It’s not like we’re gonna take advantage of you while you’re hurt.”

    “Yeah, I know...” Zeke shook his head. Should I tell him? Zeke felt his instinctive reluctance resurface and he had to struggle against it once more. Yeah, I trust him. Glitch can keep his secrets, but I won’t from a teammate.

    “I have some problems with my instincts still. Coming from a Mystery Dungeon does that to someone.”

    “You were... feral?!” Dare asked, his eyes now wide open.

    “Yeah, is that a problem?”

    “Not to me, but...” Dare pointed towards the Electrike, who was sitting close by his tail. “Why were you so against me rescuing him, then?”

    Zeke’s wild side urged him to anger, and he didn’t think to fight it. “Because that was stupid, Dare!” he yelled. “That could easily have gotten you more injured, and I certainly wasn’t gonna carry you! I didn’t want to have his blood on my conscience, either, but getting myself locked up again for his sake was not something I was about to do!”

    Glitch’s voice suddenly appeared in his mind. ”Zeke, calm down. Dare meant well, you know that.”

    Zeke took a few deep breaths while Dare remained staring silently at him. “Look, I’m sorry. I’m happy this turned out well, but at the moment... I couldn’t justify it. I’ve got too much of a survival instinct for that. What’s done is done, though.”

    A smirk crossed Dare’s face. “And it turns out the stupid choice was the right one, huh?”

    Zeke chuckled and nodded. “Yeah, it was. Good job, Dare.”

    Dare slumped down onto the shell once again. “Oh, and thanks, Glitch. Literally couldn’t have done it without your help.”

    “Sure thing.” Glitch turned to Zeke again. “Now, Zeke, we’ll have to see if we have any Aspear Berries stored; they might help with your injury. And since all of that is out of the way, might I discuss something with you?”

    I don’t like where this is headed. Zeke thought as he turned his head. “What’s up?”

    “You used none of your spores, according to the report Kade gave me. Not once did you try to stun, put to sleep, or poison your foes. We have discussed making your enemy weak before assaulting them. Now, why are you simply attacking through brute force?”

    Oh, great, another lecture. Zeke complained to himself. Just what I wanted right now.

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Mel turned away from Glitch as he started to lecture Zeke. “Glad to see Glitch hasn’t changed. Still gets on Zeke’s case for every little thing.”

    “Yeah, certainly helps things feel more normal, even with our two new friends.” Kade replied, keeping his eyes trained on the ship they had escaped from. It was slowly getting smaller and smaller as they got farther from it.

    “Friends? A bit strong a term, don’t you think?”

    “Well- for the Electrike, maybe. But Dare is our friend. He helped rescue you from those Spheals, even after I was knocked out, and he saved Zeke’s life.”

    “Yeah, thanks for repeating what I already know, Kade.” Mel chuckled. “You weren’t the one who had a fireball shot at you. You’re right, though. We need to at least try to be friends with him if he’s gonna be heroic like that.”

    At that moment, Dare suddenly yelled, making both of them flinch. Mel spun around and nearly dropped into her battle stance, but stopped as she realized what happened. Dare glanced at her and looked away embarrassed.

    “Sorry, just, didn’t expect this.” Dare muttered sheepishly. “At all.”

    The Electrike was sprawled out over Dare’s tail, laying near the fire on the end of it. He didn’t appear shaken by Dare’s sudden outburst. Instead, he seemed to be looking around curiously, examining both the Pokémon around him and the water surrounding them all.

    “What did you expect? You’re taking up a lot of Glitch’s shell just by laying down. You’re lucky we three had the courtesy not to sit on top of you.”

    “Ugh, you’re right.” Dare sat back up, either taking care not to move his tail out from under the Electrike, or being unable to move under its weight. “Guess I’ll have to sleep sitting instead of laying. Just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?”

    “Or you could just skip your beauty nap until we get safe again, huh?” Mel joked. She pointed at Kade with two of her fingers before opening her hand, a signal they had devised to say they’d talk later. “But, hey, since you’re up, got a question for you.”

    Dare scratched tiredly at the scales on his face. “What?”

    “What’re you planning on naming him?”

    “Name him?” Dare leaned back and squinted at Mel. “Why am I suddenly naming him? Even if we’re ignoring his possible intelligence, he’s as big as me!”

    “Yeah, but do you think he’s going to name himself? He doesn’t even speak. And I think it’d be more rude to just refer to him as ‘Electrike’ the whole time.”

    “Why? Up until Zeke forced me to make a name, I was just Charmander. It didn’t bother me any.”

    Mel put her palm over her face. Is he seriously this ignorant?

    At this point Kade walked up next to Mel and gave the Charmander an odd stare. “Where were you from?”

    Dare shrugged with one shoulder. “Blaze Town, why do you ask?”

    “Just wondering. It seems odd to us, is all. Each place we individually grew up, everyone gets their own names. And only the paranoid ones like us refuse to give them out.”

    “Where is Blaze Town, anyways?” Mel interjected. “I’ve never heard of it.”

    “I have,” Kade cut back in. “It’s... rather distant, actually. How did you get all the way over here alone?”

    “Tough question to answer,” Dare replied with a chuckle, “since I really don’t know. One moment I’m rushing to rescue a pair of Pokémon at the mountain’s summit, the next I’m unconscious in a bed of snow.”

    “Hm. Mind if we continue this discussion later?”

    “Uh, sure, Kade. Whatever.” Dare shook his head and looked back towards Mel. “You really think he needs a name?”

    “I’d prefer to have something to call him, yes. And look, Glitch named Zeke; does Zeke seem upset about it at all?”

    “Glitch is the one who, uh...” Dare paused to think for a moment. “...Who civilized Zeke?”

    “Yeah, he found Zeke in a Mystery Dungeon, and he’s tagged along with him ever since. It’s rather amazing how smart he’s become just by being with Glitch all the time- “ She stopped and glared at Dare. “Don’t change the subject here, Dare. What are we calling the Electrike?”

    Dare sighed and looked at the Pokémon still laying on his tail. The Electrike stared back and tilted his head quizzically. “We could call him Blink, since that’s something he never seems to do.”

    At that moment, the Electrike blinked a few times. “Oh, anything to make a liar out of me, huh, Blink?”

    He blinked again. Mel put her hand on Dare’s shoulder. “Hold on, Dare, I think...”

    No, let’s just test it.

    “Blink.” Mel commanded. Once more, the Electrike blinked. “Dare, he understands.”

    “But if that’s the case, why doesn’t he speak?”

    “Don’t ask me! I’ve never seen a feral recognize words right off the bat, let alone follow commands! Who says he has to speak anyways? It’s amazing in its own right.”

    Dare sat looking into Blink’s eyes until the Electrike looked away nervously. “Well, if we ever get you to speak, you and I are gonna chat about this, Blink.”

    Mel saw the Electrike blink again, even after having turned away. “I really hope he realizes that’s his name soon.” Dare said with a sigh. “I like the sound of it, but I don’t want him thinking we’re ordering him around.”

    Mel frowned as Dare turned back to her. “You’re seriously naming him that?”

    “Look, I named myself ‘Dare’. What’d you expect? I’m not used to all this, I just kind of go with the first thing that pops in my mind.”

    “...Guess you’re right. I suppose it could be worse. Could’ve named him something much more stupid.”

    “Like I told Zeke when he asked for mine, you asked for a name, I gave you one,” Dare affirmed, brushing a few small water droplets of melted hail off of his scales. “He’s Blink now. Is that a problem?”

    “I-I’m not criticizing you for the name, Dare.” Mel lied as she struggled to find an excuse. “It’s more about how sudden you were with it. Do you make all your decisions that fast?”

    “Well... Okay, I see where you’re going with this. Yes, I’ll be careful to think before I do things.” Dare rolled his eyes and started mumbling. “Learned that lesson the hard way with that stupid whirlpool, anyways.”

    Whew, he bought it.

    Zeke walked backwards into Mel’s peripheral vision as he spoke up, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “Alright, Glitch, is my lecture done? Can I inform Dare of what we failed to mention before?”

    “If you think you’re able to remember,” Glitch responded with equal derision.

    Zeke turned past Mel to face Dare, smirking as he always did after warring with Glitch over tactics. “So, anyways, the dungeon’s going to separate us randomly. Since there’s six of us, it’ll probably split us into groups of three. There’s no rhyme or reason to who goes where.”

    Zeke stopped and stared at Blink. “I guess we can only hope he goes with you. Not sure if he’d follow one of the rest of us.”

    “So there’s no way to influence it one way or another?” Dare asked, turning only his head towards Zeke.

    “Nope. You either get lucky or you don’t. Unless you plan on swimming out there before us so you don’t get put into a group.”

    “Uh, no.” Dare shivered violently. “I’ve jumped in enough water recently, thanks.”

    “Alright, then we’ll just wait and see what happens, sound good? Good. We’ll be passing into the dungeon in just a few minutes.” Zeke turned away and started talking with Glitch again.

    “Don’t mind him,” Mel chimed. “He’s just very straightforward.”

    “Yeah, I hadn’t noticed.” Dare mocked, shaking his head. “But, can I be straightforward with you? You weren’t very happy with me being around at first. What changed?”

    “Hey, you try being friendly to someone who shot fireballs at you,” she replied with a snide grin. Dare groaned and rolled his eyes.

    “You’re not going to let that go, are you?”

    Mel shrugged. “You really want to know what changed? It’s that guy laying on your tail.”

    “What? How does Blink change anything?”

    “Well, we were ready to leave you over him, and yet you wouldn’t give up on saving him. No selfish Pokémon would stay that relentless when it could easily mean more of the torture you were receiving when we came in.”

    Dare tilted his head and leered at her. “So you thought I was selfish at first?”

    “I didn’t know anything about you, Dare!” Mel shouted, shifting back to a steely glare. “I knew I could trust Zeke, and I knew he trusted you, but you don’t always like everyone you trust. I wanted to see if you would actually care about the Pokémon you are working with, and so far? I think you do. And that’s the best proof of a good friend someone in your situation could have given me.”

    After seeing Dare’s eyes widen, mortified by her outburst, she couldn’t help but smile as she stifled a laugh. “Now, any other questions?”

    “N-no. Thank you, Mel,” Dare said nervously as he looked away and closed his eyes.

    Mel turned back towards Kade, but as he was starting to speak, she held up a hand to silence him. That didn’t seem like him.

    She waited a few moments and, even through the noise of Zeke and Glitch talking, could hear Dare’s breath suddenly become shaky and strained. Either my words struck deeper than I thought they would, or there’s something else on his mind right now. Mel glanced back to see him clutching at his chest and shaking in place. He started muttering something under his breath, but Mel couldn’t hear what it was.

    She let out a quiet sigh and looked at Kade just as he shot her a concerned glance. She shook her head. Better to leave him be. We can ask about it later, when it isn’t actively hurting him.

    “So, Kade, what needs to be done once we get back to base?”

    “W-well...” Kade stopped and shook himself off, both to regain his composure, and to get the hail off of him. “We’ll need to check the berry stores and make sure we have enough food. Besides that, there’s a few things we may need to do...”

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Dare couldn’t help his breathing becoming off. The thoughts returning to him had been such a shock. How did I not remember earlier?

    He had to struggle to keep his emotions in check, barely preventing himself from crying as his mind went through a million possibilities, all involving death. I didn’t want any of this! It’s not my fault!...

    Still the thoughts came through, and it didn’t even feel like it was the psychic doing it. His own mind was assaulting him, the way he saw it. He dug his claws in deeper, actually prying up a few scales and scratching the weak skin underneath. He barely even registered the pain; the heartache was overpowering all other feelings. No, it can’t be. He’s fine, right? His parents had him when I left. They’re making sure he’s still okay. He’s not chasing after me. He’s safe at home right?

    But despite arguing with himself, he kept feeling a terrible sense of dread as he thought upon his friend back in Blaze Town. His once only friend, who would have been foolish enough to go into the volcano after him. Robb... Please be safe. I’m so sorry for abandoning you.

    -------------------------------------------------------------
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    Author notes: Barely making deadlines I've set for myself... Yeesh. Life got a bit unexpectedly busy these past few days.

    So, this chapter kind of explored Mel and Zeke a bit more, which was fun to write. Again, not planning on making this a "characterization of the month" kind of thing. This chapter just worked out this way, hopefully to its credit rather than its detriment.

    ...This also turned out to be one of those slow chapters I mentioned in my last note, but even with that said, I think this chapter turned out really well.

    Thank you for reading!
     
  14. Kukansis

    Kukansis Active Member

    Chapter 10: The Inverse Sea

    “Dare, wake up! We’re less than five minutes out!”

    With a groan, Dare sat up straight and rubbed at his eyes with his good claw. Ugh, Zeke, yours is not a voice I want to wake up to. He pulled his hand away and opened his eyes, seeing a blurry shape of blue and white in the side of his vision.

    “He’s right next to you, Zeke!” Mel shouted back. “No need to yell!”

    “Excuse me, Mel, but I’ve seen Dare sleep in snow, tail down in it. Yelling is probably necessary.”

    “He’s probably right.” Dare said before yawning. He blinked a few times to get his vision back to normal. Nothing but sea sprawled out in front of him. He spun around, looking for any sign of the dungeon, but there was nothing but more of the water. He turned and looked at Mel. “Did I miss anything?”

    “No, not really.” Mel shrugged. “Besides the hail letting up, nothing’s happened.”

    “At least there’s that bright side.” Dare yawned again. “So what’s the plan?”

    “The plan is, we get through the dungeon, meet up at the end of it, and keep running,” Zeke answered bluntly. “Teams are irrelevant since we’re all strong enough to get through. Excluding the Electrike.”

    “Blink.” Dare stated.

    “Huh? You named him?”

    Dare nodded. “Mel asked me to. He’s Blink now.” Zeke and Glitch both looked at him with odd stares. Dare chuckled and shrugged. “Expected something different from the guy who named himself ‘Dare’?”

    The Charmander stood up and stretched his working arm and his legs. He rubbed his broken arm, wincing slightly as the movement made it hurt. I guess it’s time to see just how much this will hurt when I actually do something. Hopefully Glitch’s psychic, uh... whatever it was he did still works. He looked over towards Blink, who was sitting next to his tail, staring out towards the ocean. And we’ll see just what he can do.

    “So, I’m guessing it’ll be obvious once we get into the dungeon, as always?”

    “Yeah, unless you can’t notice a ceiling.”

    “Thanks.” Dare groaned. “So now I get to see what you mean by reversed, huh, Glitch?”

    Glitch smirked and looked back to the ocean. “Indeed. Though I thought I was pretty clear. It’s reversed, in every sense that you’d think of.”

    “That doesn’t mean anything to me, thanks.”

    “Almost crossing over now...” Glitch stated, his voice suddenly taking a serious tone. “Everyone ready?”

    The other four Pokémon nodded in unison. “As we’ll ever be, Glitch.” Zeke replied.

    “Good. Remember, focus on getting through the dungeon, avoid combat if possible to conserve energy, and regroup at the end before moving ahead.”

    Dare stared ahead, trying to keep himself ready to move at a moment’s notice, but he couldn’t help his mind wandering. Just what am I going to find in this ‘reversed’ dungeon?

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Dare noticed the moment he entered the dungeon, but not because of the dungeon itself. Glitch suddenly seemed to disappear, leaving him to fall. He fell face first into the ground and pain shot through his nose and mouth. He shoved himself off of the ground with both arms and got to his feet once more, only to realize the mistake he made. His broken arm immediately began to agonizingly hurt, nearly forcing him back down to his knees.

    His eyes involuntarily closed at the torment his arm was putting his psyche under. He let out a short scream and grabbed at his arm, stiffening it in attempt to prevent further pain, though it sent another spike through him. He held on and waited for a few minutes while the pain slowly died down to withstandable levels.

    When he opened his eyes, Kade was right in front of him. The Togetic opened his mouth to speak, but couldn’t seem to find any words.

    “I’ll be fine, Kade.” Dare growled as he stood back up, still holding his wounded arm in place. “Sorry about that.”

    “I-it’s nothing to be s-sorry about, Dare.” Kade stammered. “I was w-worried you had really hurt yourself.”

    “I don’t think so. Besides, we can’t stop. We’re in a dungeon now.”

    Dare looked around to see where they were. The walls and ceiling of the dungeon seemed to be made of water. Dare thought he saw it moving upwards. No, that’s just the pain messing with me, right?

    He stared at the wall for a second and saw the water truly was moving upwards. “So that’s what he meant when he said it was reversed?”

    “It’s more than j-just the walls, Dare.” Kade replied nervously. “Didn’t he explain-”

    “No, not really, but I don’t think we can just sit here and chat while who knows what comes to attack us. Who’s with us?”

    “It’s you, m-me, and Blink.”

    Dare glanced over towards the Electrike, who was standing on the opposite side of the room from them. At least he’s still with me. Now I wonder if he’ll listen...

    “Blink, get over here.” Dare said as calmly as he could manage. “We’re moving out, alright?”

    Blink hunched over and growled slightly before complying and moving to them. His fur sent small stray sparks around, as if he was giving some threat to Kade and Dare.

    Oh, please, Blink. Now, of all times?

    Dare shook his head. “Don’t be that way, Blink. There’s no time for us to be angry with each other. Now, c’mon.” Dare looked around once more, hunting for any tunnels out of the room, and headed towards the first one he could find. “Mind if I take the lead, Kade?”

    “I’d prefer it.”

    “Then let’s go.”

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Dare couldn’t get over the structure of the dungeon as they wandered through the rooms and tunnels of the dungeon. Not only was the water surrounding him unnerving in an instinctual way, the upwards flow made chills run up his spine. This is just too unnatural.

    The group passed through a few empty rooms, with Dare still in a daze over the surroundings. He couldn’t focus on the dungeon ahead; his mind struggling with the area he was in. I knew Mystery Dungeons were weird, but this just seems so-

    He jumped as something touched his shoulder, but calmed himself quickly when he turned his head and saw it was Kade. The Togetic pointed past him with a wing, remaining mute. He looked forwards again and saw a shadowy shape approaching from a tunnel leading to their current room.

    Dare instinctually started taking deeper breaths as he moved closer to the shape. He stayed silent as he tried to identify it, looking more closely at its figure, but a growl from ahead made him stop trying.

    Instead, he immediately shot out a fireball. The weaponized flames threw light around the tunnel as it flew through it towards the creature ahead. It burst as it struck, sending fire all around the tunnel and causing the creature to yelp.

    The light from his flames allowed Dare to see the creature better. He saw white frills surrounding a blue face with giant fins coming from the sides of its head. A Vaporeon?! Dare staggered backwards, getting ready to dodge some inevitable jet of water. Fear started to course through his veins.

    “Don’t retreat, Dare!” Kade shouted, snapping him out of his momentary panic. “Burn it more!”

    Dare tried to argue that fire wouldn’t help against a water type, but just as he had feared, the Vaporeon started sending out a high powered stream of water. He barely had time to cringe before it struck him. The pressure of it nearly knocked him off his feet, and he closed his eyes to protect them from the flood overtaking him. I knew this was coming! I knew it!

    The blast didn’t last long, though, as the stream died down and ceased hitting him. Dare growled and opened his eyes. The Vaporeon was still ahead of him, but had turned around to fight something behind it. Dare had to blink several times to get the water away from his eyes.

    Once he could see clearly again, he quickly identified the Vaporeon’s assailant as Kade, striking the Vaporeon with a strange sparkling wind his wings had created. “Dare! Now!” Kade shouted as his wings slowed down, ceasing the gale.

    I hope you know what you’re doing, Kade. Dare sucked in a quick breath and released another fireball. It sailed through the air and struck the Vaporeon’s tail, exploding and sending flames all around the tunnel once more. The Vaporeon let out an anguished cry and suddenly fell to its side. Its body slowly relaxed as it fell unconscious.

    The embers faded, robbing Dare of his vision inside the tunnel once more. He walked forwards into it, letting his tail give light to it. “Kade? What happened?”

    “You knocked it out.” Kade answered bluntly just before his face appeared in Dare’s light. “You were the best choice against it.”

    Dare looked down at the limp form of the Vaporeon. “What? But... it’s a water... type.” Dare stopped as he thought back the deluge. “It attacked me, but it... didn’t... hurt.” His eyes widened as his mind finally caught up with the situation.. “Wait, you mean it’s backwards?! I’m stronger against water in here?!”

    “That’s right,” Kade said with a nod before looking past Dare. “And he’s weaker against them.”

    Dare turned back and saw Blink was walking up behind him, his face locked in a grimace as his eyes darted to and fro. “He looks as stressed as I felt.”

    “He’s a feral, so I’d suppose he can feel the difference somehow. It’s probably making him rather stressed and uneasy.”

    “Huh... Didn’t think about that.”

    A noise in the room behind them set the trio on edge, all of them stiffening and turning towards the entrance to the tunnel.

    “We need to keep moving.” Kade stated, immediately taking to the air and moving deeper into the tunnel.

    “I’m with you.” Dare said as he started walking after him. He turned his head back as he started moving. “Coming, Blink?”

    The Electrike blinked. After he had nearly left Dare’s light, he finally started walking after them.

    Dare sighed and turned back to Kade. “So why is this tunnel so dark? The rest of the dungeon wasn’t.”

    “We’re moving deeper in. It’s actually a good sign. The rest of the dungeon will be similarly dark, if Glitch is correct. Never been in here, myself.”

    “Huh. Okay.” Dare shrugged, even though Kade wasn’t looking at him.

    Glitch sure knows a lot... Like, more than one Pokémon should. There has to be more to him than what he’s told me.

    Dare shook his head, getting rid of the thought. “Want me to retake the lead, Kade?”

    “Yes, please do.”

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Wandering through the dark proved to be a lot more tricky than Dare had expected. Whenever they entered a room, they had to stick to the walls or risk being turned around. When he was able to see clearly, Dare hadn’t noticed the constant noise of the water rushing upwards, but in the shadows, it seemed to drown out all other noise. This whole situation is kind of vulnerable.

    Several minutes passed as they wandered through apparently empty halls and vacant rooms. “Are we supposed to be finding something here, Kade?”

    “Besides the exit, no. Let’s hope we don’t find anything.”

    “Don’t say that, you’ll jinx it!” Dare joked. “Now we’ll probably run into a monster house or something!”

    They continued on their trail through the endless upwards waterfalls and dark chambers. It was beginning to wear on Dare’s mind, and he had to believe his companions were feeling it too. He was struggling to find his resolve to continue as they walked through yet another tunnel, when he heard a strange noise.

    It was a noise he remembered from his home in Blaze Town. A noise which never seemed to be much threat, but with the inversion of the dungeon, it meant something much more sinister now.

    The water was hissing. It was the sound it made when it turned into steam.

    Dare quickly glanced around to find its source and saw a glowing light coming up from behind. “Everyone to the walls!” he shouted, pulling Blink away before the Electrike could react. Kade listened and flew to the side, just moments before a creature wreathed in flames rushed through the tunnel, zooming into the distance.

    Dare didn’t wait for the attacker to turn around. He rushed ahead as the walls slid away beside him, leaving him in the middle of the room with this new Fire type. He moved closer and prepared to attack as he identified the Pokémon.

    It’s strange body shape gave it away. The rounded hands and feet were unusual among fire types, especially with useable digits, and the fire constantly being expelled from its backside made it unmistakable. It was a Chimchar.

    Dare charged straight to the Chimchar and slashed at it with his claws. They cut through the air worthlessly as the Chimchar leapt to the side and swiped at him in return. Its scratches didn’t hurt much, merely removing a few scales where they landed, but the blows were constant. Dare rammed into the enemy with his good shoulder, shoving it away from him.

    The Chimchar snarled as flames began to coalesce in its mouth. Dare tried to roll to the side, but he couldn’t manage with just one arm and found himself skidding on his side across the floor. The Chimchar reacted too slow and released a small burst of flames at the spot he had just been.

    It turned back to face him as a speedy blur tackled it to the ground. Dare started getting to his feet when a sudden yellow light made him have to shield his eyes. Astoundingly, Blink had pinned the Chimchar, standing on top of him and sending electricity pulsing through the Fire-Type.

    The Chimchar quickly shoved Blink away, throwing the sparking Electrike into a nearby wall. Blink yelped, though his scream seemed more high pitched and surprised than pained. The light from his electricity disappeared as he stopped generating it and the room went dark besides the two burning Pokémon once more.

    Dare stood up as the Chimchar did likewise, both glaring intensely at each other. The Chimchar started breathing out fire as it somersaulted towards Dare, wrapping itself in a wheel of fire as it swiftly approached.

    Don’t think I’ll dodge this one, so... Dare engulfed his scales with his own fire and rushed forwards, tilting slightly to protect his broken arm. It’ll hurt for them, too!

    The collision was a violent one, sending flames all through the air along with the two Pokémon. Dare felt the Chimchar’s fire spread to him as it heated and stung the skin underneath his scales. The pain from it was horrible, forcing Dare to close his eyes and grit his teeth together to keep himself silent. He slammed into the ground sideways and started rolling, but only the sharp agony of his wounded arm being crushed underneath his own weight compared to the flames searing his skin.

    Dare forced himself to keep rolling despite his arm, trying to put out the flames. Luckily, the wet surface of the ground helped suffocate the flames and they died out quickly. The flames went out with a hiss as the pain disappeared as suddenly as it had come.

    Is that what burning feels like to others?! Dare asked himself as he struggled back to his feet. His bad arm had gone numb, but his body was aching from the fire or, in the case of his tail, being trampled underneath him repeatedly as he rolled.

    A new cry from the Chimchar made him jump as he turned back to face it. The wild Pokémon was running as a glowing breeze rushed towards it. The breeze seemed to almost rip through the Chimchar as it clutched at its back and fell to the ground. Without warning, Blink leapt out from the shadows onto the prone Chimchar and unleashed another torrent of electricity.

    The Chimchar’s body went rigid as the sparks ran through its nerves and muscles. Its face was frozen in surprise, its mouth and eyes both stuck wide open. Four small black spots formed underneath Blink’s feet before he stopped the attack and walked off of the unfortunate Pokémon below him.

    Dare sucked in a breath, readying a fireball. “Hold on, Dare!” Kade shouted.

    “What, and let it attack us?” Dare said, releasing the pent up energy as a small cloud of smoke instead.

    “Just trust me here. Give it a few seconds...”

    Dare waited, uneasily staring at their petrified opponent. Just moments later, the Chimchar’s flame went out as its consciousness faded.

    “How’d you know it was fainting?” Dare asked as he began to walk and feel at his worsening arm. The pain was slowly returning as his adrenaline faded. Is that a good or a bad sign?

    “Blink gave up his assault, that’s how. He wouldn’t have been so calm as to walk away if he still had an enemy to worry about, paralyzed or not.”

    Dare moved closer to the Chimchar and looked at its wounds. A severe black mark had spread along its back from Dare’s flames, and four smaller marks showed where Blink was standing on it. Bet I don’t look much better right now.

    Dare glanced at his own scales, seeing they were just as blackened as the Chimchar’s fur where the enemy had collided into him. “Burns really are no joking matter, huh?”

    “Consider the fact you probably hurt close to if not as much as Zeke would have in this situation under more normal circumstances.”

    “Still.” Dare cringed as he pulled his tail forward to check for damage. A small section of scales had been crushed and ripped off from the back of it. Phew, looks like nothing’s too bad. It should all heal soon.

    “One question before we move on,” Dare announced as he looked around for Kade. “Why was there a Chimchar in here? I mean, I know it’s backwards, but it’s still full of water.”

    Kade appeared behind him and flew to face him. “I honestly don’t know, Dare. It wasn’t supposed to be here.”

    Dare sighed and shook his head. “...Well, we’ve got better things to do than worry about that. Like worry if any more are around.”

    Kade nodded as his stern expression faded back to a nervous frown. He pointed to a side of the room. “This is the opposite w-way from the one we c-came through. I kept t-track. A-after you.”

    Dare finally released his tail and started walking where Kade had pointed. That fight was nasty. I don’t think I could handle another like that right now. Hopefully we get out of here soon. And hopefully we can stop running so much.

    ...That nap didn’t do me any good at all.


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  15. Kukansis

    Kukansis Active Member

    Chapter 11: Uncertainty

    Zeke, Glitch, and Mel walked idly through the tunnels and rooms of the dungeon. Water still rushed through the walls to the ceiling with no regard for gravity. Shadows ruled over the tunnels between rooms, limiting their vision.

    They weren’t in any rush, knowing that the other three were going to be moving slower. Zeke was still scanning the area, but the other two payed no attention. Instead, they were focused on discussion, figuring out how they’d deal with the ‘new recruits’.

    “It’s almost inconvenient to have them,” Glitch stated, now transformed into a Flareon. “Having a four-man team made it very easy to go through dungeons. Now we have to consider whether they’d be good to have in a specific scenario or not.”

    “But on that same note, we can explore two places at once rather than just one,” Mel argued, “and it’s not like we all traveled together all the time anyways. How d’you think Zeke got captured?”

    Zeke snickered to himself. I wasn’t captured until I started helping you out, Mel. I was dying before then.

    “I know how Zeke got captured.” Glitch frowned grimly as they walked into a spacious and empty room. “A foolish mistake of ours exacerbated by the sudden appearance of the Snovers. Still, fair point.”

    “What I’d be more worried about is Dare’s, uh...” Mel shook her head and laughed. “Head psychic, whatever you’d like to call it.”

    “I am more worried about that. It seems to make little sense. Why would a psychic be attacking him so sporadically, or so viciously? It’s like it’s permanently stuck in a state of panic.”

    “How would that work?”

    “I’m trying to figure that out. I think it may be due to them being locked out of-”

    Zeke saw a shadow moving towards them from a tunnel ahead of them. “Enemy,” he stated loudly, interrupting the duo’s discussion. “Can’t tell what it is yet.”

    Glitch groaned and turned to face the same way. “I’ve got it.” He stiffened his legs and opened his mouth as a small red glow formed in it. The glow quickly expanded into a ball of flame as he spat it across the room.

    The unknown Pokémon across from them tried to dodge it, but the ball struck it and exploded in a brilliant flash of light. Zeke winced and pulled his head away until the light went away. When he looked back, the hostile Pokémon had collapsed in the tunnel.

    “Show-off,” he murmured. “Just because you can turn into a fire type.”

    “Hey, it isn’t my fault that you can’t, Zeke.” Glitch joked. “Now where were we, Mel?...”

    Zeke shook his head and walked forwards. Could have at least waited until we saw the thing.

    Once Glitch had moved close enough to give light to the tunnel, Zeke stopped and looked at the unconscious form they were passing over. Its rough, rocky exterior coupled with its fins made it obvious. A Relicanth. Dungeons with water Pokémon are too weird.

    They continued their unhurried stroll through the dungeon as Mel and Glitch continued conversing. “We were talking about the psychic. You were giving me some sort of theory about it.”

    “Oh, right.” Glitch slowed down and went behind Zeke, to where Mel was. “So as I was saying, I think they may be locked out of their territory, looking for a new location to replace it.”

    “That’s a feral behavior, though, and he made it sound like he was saving it outside of a dungeon. I don’t think it was feral for that.”

    Glitch let out a small growl. “This’d be easier to figure out if he didn’t keep it so secret and we could have learned more from him about this psychic. We actually don’t know if it’s the Espeon still. Could be someone else entirely.”

    Speaking of secrets... Zeke thought to himself as a question overtook his thoughts. “Hey, Glitch?”

    “Hm?” Glitch responded, jogging up to be face to face with Zeke. “Something up?”

    “Yeah, question. Why exactly are you hiding, well... you-know-what, from Dare? I won’t say it in case you just think we’re still being listened to, but if we’re working with him, he’ll have to know eventually. Especially if we want him to know why we’re doing this.”

    Glitch tilted his head and squinted slightly. “Hiding? What am I- oh.” He sighed and looked forwards, avoiding Zeke’s gaze. “It’s partially that I think they could still hear us. You saw they had a Jynx. They could still be listening.”

    “The other part, or parts?”

    Glitch walked on silently for a few seconds before sighing again. “Loath as I am to admit it... I kind of don’t trust him. It’s not his fault I don’t. But it’s just what Mel and I were talking about.”

    “That disqualifies him from knowing the truth?”

    “I want to say no, I really do. But we both saw what happened when we dropped our guard back there. You nearly died.”

    “A psychic, which only seems interested in Dare, and that you’ve felt attacking him before in an incredibly feral manner; you think is going to be a threat to your secrecy?”

    “It’s nonsense, I know. I just get a bad feeling about it though.”

    “Glitch, you may be the smartest of us, but you have the worst senses when it comes to danger.”

    “Still, how long did it take before I told you and Kade, Mel? A month?”

    “Yeah, but we also knew what snow was already.” Mel replied sarcastically before switching to a serious tone. “Look, strange as it is to say, Zeke’s right. Dare’s out of his element, in more than one way. I think keeping information from him will just make things harder.”

    “I know!” Glitch shouted. “I just...” He stopped for a moment to collect his thoughts, but a sudden skidding sound made all three of them jump.

    Zeke sharply turned towards the sound and was surprised at what he found standing there: a brown quadruped with multiple massive tails, all furled together. It was struggling back to its feet, now covered in water from the floor it had slipped upon.

    A Vulpix? Here?! Zeke questioned as it let out a menacing snarl. That can’t be right! This place only has water types!

    The Vulpix charged ahead, wreathing itself in flames as it rushed straight towards Glitch. Zeke felt a primal fear emerge, making him want to run away and stay away, but he ignored it and ran in front of Glitch, taking the blaze on himself.

    Fire wrapped around his leaves, and he felt a momentary chill as his system braced for the inevitable pain, but it never came, replaced by a small sensation of overheating which passed quickly.

    Wasting no time, Zeke spun the bud on his back and unleashed a barrage of leaves at the offending Vulpix. They rushed around its body, leaving deep gashes where they struck and bringing it to its knees. The Vulpix tried to get back to its feet, but Mel came at it from its side and slammed her fist into its back, sending it sprawling back to the ground. It weakly moved its legs, vainly trying to get back on its feet, but its body gave out as it closed its eyes.

    The trio stood silently, staring at the unconscious form ahead of them, until Glitch finally spoke up. “We need to move.”

    Zeke stretched a vine out in front of Glitch, trying to get his attention. “How did it get here?”

    “How would I know that, Zeke?” Glitch pushed the vine away with his nose. “All I know is that it’s not normal. We can’t stay here and talk about it.”

    “Alright...” Zeke sucked in the vine again and started leading the party forwards again.

    They walked in silence now as they all thought on what had just appeared. Zeke had no idea what had happened, so he soon found his thoughts drifting back to their previous conversation.

    “Glitch?”

    “Yeah?”

    “If you can’t find a reason, and I mean a good reason not to tell Dare...” He stopped, allowing Glitch to reply. Another few seconds of silence passed.

    Glitch sighed in defeat. “I know. I’ll tell him.”

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Dare, Kade, and Blink found the walls suddenly shifting and rotating, letting the water run downwards once more. Walking forwards more revealed a small round room with no further exits in sight. “This the end, Kade?” Dare asked as he entered.

    “Yes, it is. Now we just need to wait for the others.”

    Dare exhaustedly slumped down on one of the walls, closing his eyes. “Good. That place sucked.”

    He felt himself nodding off, and didn’t fight the urge to sleep. His rest was interrupted when he heard a voice. “Dare? You guys beat us here?”

    He opened his eyes and looked at the entrance, seeing the other trio come in led by Zeke. “Guess so.” Dare said, his voice slurred in his half sleeping daze. Zeke’s face suddenly contorted into a worried grimace.

    “What happened to you?”

    “Chimchar. We kind of rammed each other while we were both on fire.” Dare chuckled and shrugged his shoulders, cringing slightly from the pain. “He got the worse end of it.”

    “On the bright side, our possessions appear untouched.” Kade stated from the back of the room. “Are we distributing items here or-”

    “Later, Kade.” A Flareon interrupted. “We’re still not safe here. Mel, can you get the-”

    “Hold on.” Dare stood up walked towards the Flareon. “Uh, Glitch, right? This is a dead end. Our only way out is back towards the people who want us dead.”

    “I tried to tell you about this, Dare, but you wanted to sleep instead.”

    “I still want to sleep...” Dare mumbled.

    “Well, look, we’re almost there, okay? Just a few more dungeons and-”

    “More dungeons?” Dare asked, snapping out of his tired state. He felt a momentary rush of anger before he remembered their earlier conversation. “...Right, that’s what you were going to tell me about.”

    I’m gonna wear myself out at this rate, he complained internally.

    “Anyways, Kade, Mel, is everything ready?” Glitch asked as he walked forwards and pulled something out of Kade’s wings. A second glance showed Dare it was a red satchel that looked overstuffed with items. Glitch held it in his mouth while Kade pulled an ornate thin box out of it and handed it off to Mel.

    “Looks like it.” Mel stated as she opened the box and pulled something out of it. Dare craned his neck to try to see what it was, but catching a glimpse of it didn’t help him to identify it.

    Dare shivered uncomfortably and scratched at a patch of his blackened scales. “Ready for what? Running back through those guys?”

    Glitch spat out the satchel. “How do you think we got here to hide these things in the first place, Dare? Do you think we walked through here and decided to hide all our important items before going into the Snowlands? Nonsense.”

    Dare shrugged. “It wouldn’t surprise me all that much. Why did you even hide this stuff?”

    “To make ourselves look more natural. Nobody trusts a group running around with an overflowing bag of unknown goods. Especially not when none of them are of the usual typing of Pokémon that lives there.”

    “Fair point. But you didn’t even take anything with you? Not a single berry?”

    “We didn’t expect to be attacked, to be honest.” Glitch shook his head. “First and last time we’ll make that mistake.”

    “Glitch,” Mel called out as she pulled the satchel onto her shoulder. “Last step.”

    Glitch turned to her and nodded before looking back at Dare. “Now, this will probably look incredibly odd. I’m not sure how you’ll want to react to this, but I ask you to try and keep yourself calm. If not for yourself, then for Blink, because I’m certain he will be either stunned by this, or immediately going to try to run from it. I promise you, we know exactly what we are doing here.”

    Dare rolled his eyes. “That’s not suspicious at all.”

    Glitch spun back again towards Mel and Kade as they set the box on the ground. Dare finally got a good look at what was in it, but still couldn’t understand. It appeared to be a set of three large square metal sheets with weird runes on them.

    Zeke walked up besides Dare. “Don’t worry, I jumped the first time, too.”

    “What?” Dare didn’t turn away, focusing on the trio ahead as they placed a fourth card into the box, filling it.

    No more than a few moments passed before his world changed.

    The cards seemed to draw specks of energy from the air before the whole room was suddenly filled with a blinding light. Dare’s eyes recovered in time to see the box had vanished, replaced with a pillar of light, and red rings began shooting forth from where it once was, spinning across the ground and spreading out to cover most of the tiny room. Three such rings sprang out, and another burst of light erupted from the center, this time with a sound rivaling that of an explosion accompanying it.

    Dare strained to subdue a surge of panic as his heart began to race. What in the world is this?! He blinked repeatedly to get his vision back to normal, struggling to see what had appeared.

    The red rings now were revolving around a swirl of color which spun on its own. Rounded squares and rectangles floated idly around the rings, creating an elaborate cone which hovered around the center of the swirl.

    The sense of panic he had just subdued shifted into a feeling of wonder. What am I seeing? What kind of power is this?

    His momentary reverie was lost when he heard Blink growling behind him. Dare shook his head and sighed. “Blink, it’s not a threat to us. They know it’s safe.”

    Blink didn’t stop growling, but he walked forwards and stood next to Dare. His growling only increased in volume as Glitch turned back to face them.

    “Somebody certainly gets the concept of being saved,” Glitch said dryly. “But we’ll discuss him later. Dare, this is a magnagate. We use these to travel without having to actually pass through the land or sea or whatever else have you.”

    “And all it takes is those metal sheets and that box?” Dare looked around at the flying shapes and the glow they sent across the room. “And all of this happens from them?”

    “It’s a bit more complicated than that.” As Glitch spoke, one of the three red rings vanished. “But we can explain it another time, perhaps along with our discussion on Blink. Now, if you could get Blink to stand on that vortex, as well as doing so yourself...?”

    Dare nodded. “Let’s go, Blink.” He walked onto the swirling mist of colors and found it to be surprisingly solid. Zeke, Mel, and Kade walked onto it right after him. Blink followed shortly after, still growling and holding himself low to the ground as if ready to run. Very little room was left on the circle, but Glitch found his way onto it as well. A second ring had vanished by the time they all got on.

    Just as suddenly as the Magnagate had appeared, a burst of light erupted from under their feet, blinding Dare once again. I didn’t expect my eyes to be burned out today!

    Once he was able to see once more, he found the whole group now standing in an unnatural looking orange cave. “Where are we?”

    “This, Dare, is the inside of a magnagate.”

    -------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Author's Notes: Took me long enough, didn't it? Apologies for the long wait, there were a lot of distractions these past few months. Mostly of the video game variety.

    But now that the whole chain of distractions is gone, I'll be back to posting regularly. Shouldn't be any more multimonth waits unless something else like that rolls around, which is unlikely.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015
  16. Kukansis

    Kukansis Active Member

    Chapter 12: Inconvenience

    Dare spun around, trying to get his bearings in this new and strange location. It looked normal enough, besides the orange tone to everything, but something about it just didn’t feel right at all. Something in his body told him he shouldn’t be here.

    “What is up with this place?” Dare asked.

    “It’s a link between two points in space, to put it simply,” Glitch replied, still in the form of a Flareon. “We use those cards you saw to create a portal, which leads to a dungeon. Once we go through here...” Glitch pointed one of his front paws to the side.

    Dare turned to face where he pointed and saw a tunnel with golden pillars lining the walls. The pillars became hidden in darkness only a few feet from where they began.

    “We’re going to end up in the Everautumn Forest. For now, we need to focus on getting through this magnagate dungeon. But like last time, we’re going to need to split up.”

    “Seriously? Why can’t we all stick in one party? We’d be a lot better off.”

    “The ley lines tend to destabilize if there’s too large a group going through one line. And trust me, you do not want to end up in a destabilized ley line.”

    Dare frowned. “Uh huh, whatever a ley line is.”

    “Dare, ley lines are what these magnagates connect us to. It’s a complicated subject that I’d rather explain when you’re awake enough to remember,” Glitch shook his head. “Anyways, if I can be so rude, I’m going to be the one splitting us, okay?”

    “No complaints here,” Mel shrugged.

    Kade walked towards Glitch. “I’m fine as well. I’m certain you have your reasonings for whatever you’ve thought up.”

    “Okay.” Glitch nodded to himself and looked at rest of the group. “Zeke, Dare, we’ll head together. Kade, Mel, you two keep Blink with you.” Glitch turned away and started walking towards the entrance.

    “H-hold on!” Mel moved forwards and grabbed onto Glitch’s fur. “You want us to watch Blink? How are we supposed to lead him anywhere?”

    “Actually, he listens to me, at least,” Dare said, smirking. “Should be a good test to see if he listens to everyone else.”

    “But-”

    “Mel, it’ll be fine.” Kade got between Glitch and Mel. “There shouldn’t be any concern with Blink. After all, he isn’t just a feral. He might not even be a feral, given how he reacts.”

    Mel turned and looked at the Electrike, who was still standing beside Dare. Her expression was heavy with worry. Eventually, she shook her head and returned to her usual demeanor. “Fine. If you think that’s what we should do, Glitch, let’s do it.” She released her grip, letting Glitch move again.

    Glitch sighed. “Thank you, Mel. Zeke, Dare, we’ll enter first. Come on.”

    Zeke walked past Dare with a grin plastered across his face. “Is this for the reason I think it is, Glitch?”

    “Depends on a few factors. If not now, soon, Zeke.”

    “Fair enough.” Zeke caught up with Glitch and they started moving past the pillars.

    “Hey, wait for me!” Dare called out as he rushed forwards. His broken arm swung as he did so, causing a wave of pain to rip through him again. He stopped and gripped at his arm, stopping its motion. “Ow!”

    Glitch and Zeke stopped and looked back at him. “You okay?” Zeke asked.

    “Yeah, I’m fine. Just still hurting.”

    Glitch frowned. “I’d help you with that again, but this form doesn’t have any psychic prowess, unfortunately.”

    Dare started moving forwards again, holding his arm still. “No, it’s fine. I handled it through the last dungeon, and I wasn’t as tired in there.”

    Glitch continued to frown at Dare. “I hope you’re not as tired as you make it sound. We’re not able to carry you if you pass out.”

    Dare shook his head. “I’ll be alright. Pain is keeping me awake pretty well.”

    Zeke chuckled, but Glitch still appeared worried. “If you say so.” Dare caught up to them and the trio headed towards the entrance.

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    The further into the Magnagate they moved, the more Dare was both confused and enthralled with how it worked. The walls, even when viewed up close, seemed ready to collapse at any moment, but when he tried pushing on them, they felt sturdier than the walls of the volcano dungeon. The orange walls slowly faded to a yellow tone as they went deeper, though it still sent shivers down Dare’s spine. Plant life seemed to be entirely absent.

    “This place just keeps getting stranger...” Dare mumbled to himself.

    “Actually, this is one of the more simple Magnagates,” Glitch said, making Dare jump. “I’ve been through ones that modify themselves a lot more to throw you off balance.”

    “Oh, great. Can’t wait to see those,” Dare replied.

    “Supposing you stay with us for long enough to see them. But they shouldn’t be a problem by then. Most people get used to the unnatural feel of these after only going through a few of them.”

    They continued onwards in silence for a while before finding themselves in an open room with three other Pokémon: a strange blue blob with leaves sprouting from its head, a gray, furry quadruped with sharp fangs and a bright red nose, and one that looked like a walking brown star with a gem in its center.

    “I’ll get the Poochyena. Zeke, get the Staryu, Dare, the Oddish,” Glitch spoke quickly and sprinted into the middle of the room.

    “Wait, the what?!” Dare yelled as Zeke passed him. Neither of his teammates responded to him, being too busy charging at the Pokémon on the other side of the room.

    What the heck is an Oddish?! Dare wondered to himself as he gripped his wounded arm and began running after them. Whatever. I’ll just fight whatever they aren’t fighting.

    Glitch lined himself up with the quadruped and rammed headfirst into it, while Zeke was headed straight for the star Pokémon. Dare turned to face the final one and found it rushing straight for Glitch.

    “Watch out!” Dare yelled before sucking in a quick breath and releasing a small sphere of flame at the leafy blob. The blaze soared towards the Pokémon, audibly burning the air as it flew. But Dare’s aim was off.

    The fireball went behind the Pokémon and exploded against a wall, leaving a black mark scarred across the yellow rocks. The creature continued on its path, uncaring about the near miss, and unleashed a strange jet of purple liquid from its mouth. Glitch barely had time to turn and see it as it collided with him.

    Glitch stood his ground as the liquid rushed around him. The jet didn’t last long, but Dare could tell its effects were already taking place. The Flareon’s fur quickly became pale as whatever substance it was rushed through him. Glitch almost fell over as his system visibly recoiled from the poison.

    Glitch mumbled something as he struggled to keep his feet underneath himself, but Dare didn’t care to pay attention to it. Instead, he continued running straight for what he supposed was the ‘Oddish’, preparing his flames the whole time. As he got close to it, he let the fire surround himself and rammed himself into the blob.

    The blaze transferred onto its leafy head and the impact sent it skidding across the ground, but surprisingly, it stayed upright. It cried out with a strangely low sound, not seeming to care about its now burning leaves, and released another gout of the ooze-like substance.

    Dare barely managed to sidestep the blast as he released a fireball towards the Oddish. The impact of it sent the grassy Pokémon skidding back once more, but at the last second it seemed to falter and rolled, dropping onto its side and releasing an orange powder.

    “Stay away from those spores!” Zeke yelled from somewhere to Dare’s right. The sounds of his leaves ripping through the air accompanied his words.

    Dare started backing away when he noticed the gray one charging through the cloud towards Glitch. He turned to face it, but as he began to move, he felt the familiar sting of a sudden headache start. I thought Glitch had prevented this!

    Who are you? the voice in his head replied, strangely calm. Dare stopped in his tracks as his focus shattered, his mind quickly registering that something was up.

    Wait, you’re actually talking to me this time?

    This time? I don’t-
    The voice abruptly cut out and was swiftly replaced with the cacophony and distress he felt the last time it had appeared. Dare involuntarily fell to his knees as he struggled against the sudden deluge of emotion and sound.

    Stop it! Why are you doing this?! Dare shouted against the sound. To his confusion, he felt as if he heard the voice speaking normally underneath the screaming sounds it was making.

    Dare barely remembered his promise to Glitch and Zeke. “Guys! The psychic-!” he yelled out before his body became stiff. His muscles suddenly tensed up, leaving him immobile. Dare barely had a moment to realize that the orange powder from the Oddish had reached him, paralyzing him.

    The stresses quickly became too much for Dare’s already tired mind. Everything suddenly became a blur as he felt himself losing consciousness and slipping away. Why did it have to be now?! Dare yelled in his mind. A sickening feeling of dread overcame even the emotions of the psychic’s assault as his consciousness slid away and he blacked out.

    -------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Author's Notes: Well... posting is back to my old regular speed, at least. I'll see if I can't speed it up, though, as this was slow for a shortened chapter like this.

    Speaking of which, yes, the chapter is quite a sizable chunk shorter than usual. I had plans to actually make it longer, but something about it felt better as it stands. It's not a new trend, future chapters should be as long as I generally make them, or longer.
     
  17. Azurus

    Azurus The Ancient Absol

    Well, finally caught up, easy now that you are the only one actively posting anything in months.

    I wasn't looking for mistakes as much this time around, so have nothing to point out that I didn't already mention in our earlier discussions, so no list of mistakes here.

    All in all, I'm starting to get a feel for the characters, though Mel is still kinda there, and Zeke doesn't have as much of an impact at the moment. Glitch seems to be sharing the spotlight with Dare, which is fine to me. Having to concentrate on too many characters can be overwhelming, so in my mind, this pacing for development and plot relevance works for me.

    Last chapter can be easily appended to chapter 11 to make for a better cliff hanger, but I can forgive it if we get more and longer content to go off of this one. Really enjoying this story though, I had to reread everything to remember a few details as it has been like half a year between reading. Looking forward to the next part, so keep it up man.
     
  18. Kukansis

    Kukansis Active Member

    Chapter 13: Mistrust

    Dare’s head was swirling when he woke up. His head ached as if it had been rammed by a Rhyhorn, and the rest of his body was feeling weak, but the pain seemed to be fading, as if it was ending shortly. His ears were ringing loudly, but the ringing subsided mere moments after he awoke.

    Glitch was calling to him as he regained his sense of hearing. “Dare! Dare! Get up, Dare!”

    “Glitch, he’s getting up, no need to yell.” Zeke’s voice replied as Dare shifted slightly, trying to regain feeling in his limbs. He started hearing the sounds of rain around him and felt the droplets bouncing off of his scales and evaporating in his tail’s flame. His mind slowly began to piece together what was going on as he opened his eyes.

    Glitch was standing over him, staring straight at him. “Okay, good. Dare, do you have any idea what just occurred?”

    Dare struggled to push himself up as Glitch backed up, but he only managing to get into a sitting stance. He looked around, seeing they were in the middle of a rainstorm sitting next to a forest with fall-toned leaves of orange, yellow, and brown. Zeke was standing a few yards away, looking towards Dare, but remaining silent. His expression was almost one of indifference.

    “Uh, not at all, no.” Dare scratched at his head feebly with his healthy arm. “What happened back there? And where are we?”

    Glitch sighed loudly as Zeke seemed to chuckle. “Then this is going to be a lot more troublesome a situation than I first thought. What do you last remember?”

    “We were fighting... the ‘Oddish’, I think. And I got stuck in the spores while the psychic decided to-” Dare stopped abruptly as he remembered the few words he heard from the psychic. Just as he was about to continue, Glitch spoke again.

    “Just as things began to get strange, of course.” Glitch sighed again. “Why must this be so complex?”

    He shook his head, tossing rainwater around the area as he ignored his own complaint. “We took out the Poochyena shortly after you were paralyzed, as it also entered the Stun Spore and was in the same condition as you were. Zeke had already dealt with the Staryu by then, but as we moved on to deal with the Oddish, you started moving again.”

    “I’m... pretty sure I didn’t,” Dare stated confusedly. “I wasn’t even awake.”

    “You may not have been, Dare, but your body yet moved. You shrugged off the paralysis and headed straight for the Oddish. We expected you to, well, do what you always do and burn it...” Glitch suddenly glared. “But you instead decided to do the impossible.”

    “What’s that supposed to mean?”

    Glitch remained silent walked forwards again and moved right next to Dare, barely giving him room to breathe. “You tossed it aside without touching it at all. You threw it into the back wall of the room, quite violently knocking it unconscious, perhaps worse. No flame, no claws, nothing. You just made it fly away.

    “After that, we tried to talk with you, ask you what it was you just did. You refused to answer. Lucky for you, Zeke said you weren’t acting like yourself, so I took his word for it and we continued out of the dungeon. Upon doing such, you fell on your face barely a minute later. Unconscious, as far as we could tell. And now here we are.” Glitch didn’t move away, nor did his glare let up.

    Dare sat silently, barely comprehending what Glitch had just told him. What? How could I even do that? I don’t have any sort of... psychic... power. Wait. This happened before. Glalie also said I did something like this. And it was right after one of those psychic attacks. But that doesn’t make any sense.

    “Speak your mind, Dare.” Zeke suddenly commanded. “You’ve gotta have some sort of idea what’s going here. Hopefully a better idea than us.”

    Dare stammered for a few seconds before his thoughts caught up to his mouth. “That’s just it, though. My idea doesn’t make sense.”

    Glitch still held his gaze, not even blinking. “I’ve seen many events and ideas that don’t make sense yet still occur. Humour us.”

    Dare swallowed hard, some part of him telling him he should run, that Glitch wouldn’t believe him, but he ignored it. “Alright. I’m thinking this psychic can control me sometimes.”

    He waited for Glitch to reply, but neither of the other Pokémon said anything as they waited for him to continue. “I mean, Glalie said I did something similar back in that whirlpool dungeon. And I don’t remember anything about fighting him, or the... whatever it was he called it, prior to waking up and breaking my arm shortly after.”

    “Poliwhirl?” Zeke chimed in.

    “I think so?” Dare scratched at his head again. “But anyways, when that was happening, the psychic knocked me out sometime before then. I don’t exactly know when.”

    “Zeke?” Glitch called, unmoving.

    “Yeah, I remember him being out of it when we were walking towards where Glalie was. Gotta remember that Glalie knocked me unconscious as well, though, so I don’t know about the whole Poliwhirl thing. Mel should, though. Unless she also got knocked out.”

    “No, she was awake.” Dare rubbed at his broken arm. “She kind of played a part in this whole arm situation.”

    Glitch stared intently at Dare for a few more seconds before turning and pacing away. “I want to trust you, Dare, as Zeke already does. But this situation continues to be more and more odd. I need to be confident that you’re with us, and I hope to explain why soon. Until then, we’re going to wait for Mel. Hopefully she will corroborate your story.”

    Dare turned to Zeke, but the Ivysaur simply shook himself. “He’s right, I do trust you. But he’s in control here for a few reasons. Let’s just hope those three get up here fast.”

    Despite the truth of his words, Dare felt a knot turn in his stomach. Please, Mel. Hurry.

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Mel stared blankly forwards as Blink sniffed around the room ahead of them, as if searching for something. “Why are we letting the wild one lead?”

    “I told you, Mel, he’s not a feral,” Kade protested, “or if he is, he’s highly advanced for one. He acts like Zeke did when he was learning to speak.”

    “Yeah, but Zeke was being trained by Glitch. That pretty much instantly seals his learning. But Blink here is being taught by Dare. Just the names should say enough.”

    “Oh, come on, neither name is as bad as you make them out to be.” Kade cleared his throat and continued. “Regardless, Blink is on the trail of something, and we might as well see what. It’s not like we can’t watch our backs and make sure it’s still safe, and these magnagates are impossible to predict anyways.”

    “I hate that you’re right about this,” Mel growled out. “We’ll see where he takes us, though.”

    Blink suddenly perked his head up and looked around. After taking a second to think about his course, he ran off to a side, barely giving the duo time to react and chase after him.

    “What do you think he’s after?” Mel yelled as they ran.

    “I don’t know. Why don’t you ask him?”

    Mel rolled her eyes. “Just what has gotten into you? One walk with Dare and you’re suddenly being sarcastic.”

    Kade took a second to respond. “Sorry. I just think you need to trust Blink more.”

    “Trust him? I do-” Mel cut herself off as the sound of lightning cracked through the air. Blink stood ahead of them and absorbed a large bolt of electricity, forcing it into his fur. A soft glow enveloped Blink as his fur became overcharged.

    Mel tried to push past Blink and see what he was fighting, but the Electrike stood his ground and unleashed the charge from his fur, sending it in all directions as if an explosion. Mel pulled her arms up to guard herself, but the lightning passed harmlessly around her and Kade. A shrill squeak sounded just after Blink released the burst.

    When Mel pulled her arms back down, Blink was already rushing down the hall again, with Kade close behind. On the ground was an unconscious Emolga, which was lying face down with an arm outstretched away from Mel.

    “Do you mind warning us when you do something like that?!” Mel shouted. Blink didn’t seem to even flinch as he kept his course. With an exasperated sigh, Mel sprinted after him.

    “So I’m supposed to trust him after stunts like that?” Mel asked sarcastically as she caught up with Kade.

    “He didn’t hurt us, and besides, when have you ever warned us when pulling off a maneuver that could potentially be dangerous such as that?”

    Mel smirked. “Good point. Fine, I’ll humor you. Blink, where are we going?!”

    Blink still ignored her and stayed true to his course, running off towards some unknown place or thing. “See what good that did, Kade?”

    “I-I said I was s-sorry.” Kade said.

    Mel laughed to herself as she continued chasing after Blink. “Now that’s more like you, Kade.”

    Blink’s mad dash continued uninterrupted for nearly a minute before he finally skidded to a stop as the trio entered a small room. He immediately began sniffing the air and searching around the room, eventually coming to a stop in a corner to dig.

    Mel shook her head and looked at Kade. “What’s he doing now? It’s not like he’s going to find anything. The dungeons don’t bury items.”

    “He seems wildly intent on digging there, though.”

    “Yeah, ‘wildly’ is right. Makes me wonder-”

    “He’s got something!” Kade shouted as he ran to Blink’s side.

    “But there’s nothing underground in dungeons!” Mel shouted right back as she turned to face them. Blink had a strange, ragged looking, blue cloth in his mouth.

    “What is that?” Kade asked as he reached towards it. Blink immediately crouched down and growled loudly, causing Kade to literally jump backwards. “Aah! W-what? What’d I do?!”

    Mel picked up on what happened while Kade struggled to regain his composure. “Blink, we won’t touch that. Don’t worry. It’s yours.”

    Blink glared at her for a few moments before standing up straight again, still holding the cloth in his mouth. Mel shook her head as she thought over the situation.

    Either he’s being possessive of something he just found, which makes him seem less intelligent, or that actually has value to him, which makes him more intelligent. But I can’t tell which it is. There’s too many weird things going on already.

    Mel shook her head again, dispelling the thought. “Well, Blink, you’ve had your fun and... got whatever that is. Now are we going to move on and get out of here?”

    Blink just stared blankly at her. “Taking that as a yes. C’mon, Kade.”

    Kade was still breathing heavily as he walked to Mel’s side. The duo started walking off back out the tunnel they entered from. A few steps into it, Mel turned back and saw Blink was still sitting back in the room. “Hey! Get over here, Blink! Unless you want to be stuck in this dungeon!”

    Blink looked away from her, and for a brief moment, Mel thought he was ignoring her. Instead, he sneezed, blowing dust around the room and causing the cloth to be spattered with fluids from his mouth and nose. After sneezing, Blink ran to catch up with them.

    Mel rubbed her hand down her face. “Okay, now that cloth is definitely yours, Blink.”

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Mel, Kade, and Blink emerged from the dungeons only a few minutes after Glitch’s small tirade, but Dare felt as if it had been an hour or more. He felt his mood lighten immediately as she came into view, walking out from a nearby set of bushes. “Sorry we’re late,” Mel said, “Blink decided to pull us on a little detour. Seems he-”

    “Sorry, Mel, but the details of that can wait,” Glitch interrupted, “there’s a more pressing issue here.”

    Mel folded her arms indignantly. “And what would that be?”

    Glitch tilted his head towards Dare. “Have you seen him doing anything impossible?”

    Mel stared back at him blankly. “What kind of a question is that?”

    “Fine, more specifically, psychic powers?”

    “Oh, psychic powers?” Mel said with a smirk. “Yes, I have. Not that I would think you’d bring that up. You saw them too?”

    Glitch nodded and twisted to face Dare directly. “And did he seem... odd, while using them?”

    “If by odd you mean unresponsive, yeah. Getting slammed into a wall seemed to fix that, though.”

    “...Okay.” Glitch looked away from Dare as his visage shifted from an angry scowl to a exhausted frown. “I’m sorry I doubted you on that, Dare. But we need to learn more about this... whatever it may be, and soon. Let’s get moving.”

    Glitch shook the pack off his shoulder and started rifling through it with his nose. “Rather than walking, though, do we want to try out the new cards here?”

    “This would be an optimal time for it.” Kade stated, walking away from Mel’s side to help out Glitch. “Besides the rain, nothing’s liable to hinder us.”

    “New cards?” Dare finally spoke up, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

    “Entercards don’t make themselves, Dare.” Glitch replied with something in his mouth once more, muffling his voice slightly. “We have to craft them, and while we have the process worked out rather well, there’s still a chance they are imperfect, which changes which ley lines we’d be traveling through, and thereby the destination.”

    “Wait, you’re saying this could bring us farther away? Why can’t we just do what you know works?”

    Glitch dropped the ornate box from before and Kade pulled the lid off of it. “That’d mean going through another dungeon, Dare. Do you really want that?”

    Dare sighed loudly. “No. So what are we doing?”

    Neither Pokémon responded. Instead, Kade began rearranging the metal sheets inside the box, shuffling them into different positions and flashing new and strange symbols, similar to the ones he had seen last time. The cards sparked to life as he placed the fourth one in, once more sending off a brilliant light. The spinning red rings formed one after another, surrounding the box, before a blinding flash shined out from it accompanied by the same explosive sound it had made before.

    Dare’s senses had to recover from the onslaught of light and sound. After taking a second to get his bearings, he looked at the newly opened Magnagate. “That took you a lot less time. But I thought we were dodging a dungeon?”

    “We are, hopefully. We’ve tried out Entercards like this before; most of the time they don’t work, but the worst case scenario is that we have a dungeon before we get home... Which we’d have anyways if we went on ahead.”

    One of the spinning rings vanished. Kade, Mel, Zeke, and Glitch all stood inside the vortex and waited. Dare shook his head and joined them. “Blink, you coming?”

    Turning his head back, he saw the Electrike follow him onto the whorl of rings. He stopped momentarily as he noticed the scarf held in the Electric Pokémon’s mouth. “What is that?”

    “Don’t know, but he wants it, and don’t touch it.” Mel stated bluntly as another ring disappeared. “He’s protective of it for whatever reason.”

    Dare tilted his head. “Uh, okay? I won’t try to take it, Blink, don’t worry.”

    Blink didn’t react, and the last ring vanished just before the painfully bright light erupted from the ground, whisking the party away. Dare’s sight returned faster than before, letting him see very quickly after they arrived.

    “It worked!” Kade shouted excitedly. “We’re home again! The cards worked!”

    “Well, no more having to run through the Everautumn Forest, I suppose,” Zeke stated, sounding strangely sad.

    “It’s not like this isn’t the edge of the dungeon anyways.” Glitch shot back. “Anyways, we’re here, Dare.”

    Dare looked ahead at the place the Entercards had brought him to. Simple stone walls with only a few windows greeted him, with only one point of entry through a gaping hole, without even a covering. As he thought of what he expected to find and compared it to what lay before him, only one word came to his mind about this simple structure.

    Unimpressive.

    -------------------------------------------------------------
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    Author's Notes: So, you know how I said I'd post faster "unless something else rolls around"? Well... I got distracted again... But even with that distraction still ongoing, I'll try to speed these up.
     
  19. Kukansis

    Kukansis Active Member

    Chapter 14: Truth

    Dare stared at the building in front of him, a part of him almost denying that it was real. How could they live in such a simple place when they carry around things that make them teleport? Shouldn’t they be rich or something?

    The others walked towards the house, leaving Dare and Blink behind, but the Ivysaur only walked slowly while the others moved at a normal pace and started chatting with each other. Dare turned away from the building and looked towards him. “Zeke?”

    “It’s nothing, Dare.” Zeke replied abrasively before shaking his head and speaking at a normal tone. “We just used to have to go through the Everautumn Forest to get to a good ley line. Looks like we won’t be needing to anymore.”

    “Isn’t that a good thing?”

    “I... No, Dare, not to me. That place is my home. It’s the first place I can remember.”

    Dare tensed up as his thoughts returned to Blaze Town, but he shook himself and tried to avoid thinking about it as he spoke again. “But Glitch just said you’d still be going through it, right?”

    Zeke chuckled sadly and sped up his walking pace. “Time will tell.”

    Dare tried to think of something to say, but couldn’t as he felt himself getting more and more tired. I better get inside before I fall asleep. He started walking after the group, and his legs felt more and more sluggish with every step. Almost struggling to keep on his feet, he slipped through the hole that was the entrance to the house.

    After his eyes adjusted to the light of the small torches inside, he still found himself unimpressed. The walls were hewn stone, but not even any decorations hung on them, only a torch on each wall and two near the entryway. Two ‘doors’, or more correctly holes, led out of it, heading into other rooms whose walls looked just as plain. The only thing of note he could see was a table in one room. Dare started walking towards the furnished room, but stopped as his whole body felt as if it were spinning. His vision darkened and blurred, and he felt as if he could barely hold himself on his feet.

    He struggled against the feelings, remaining standing as his vision slowly cleared. Once he could see again, Dare found himself completely unprepared for what now appeared before him. “R-Robb?”

    The Cyndaquil, sitting idly on the stone floor in front of the table, turned around to face Dare, a strange and unfitting scowl across his face. “Charmander?! What are you doing here?! Shouldn’t you be running off to some suicidal rescue, not caring about who you’re hurting with your death?!”

    Dare was taken aback by the sudden outburst. A part of him questioned if it even made sense, but his confusion overwhelmed the thought. “What?... Robb, I-”

    “Do you know how painful it is to believe your best friend is suddenly dead and that you could have stopped them? That if you argued harder or maybe fought to stay with them, they could still be alive? No, you don’t!” Flames erupted from Robb’s back, illuminating the room and creating a sudden wave of heat.

    “What are you even doing here, Robb? No one said anything about you-”

    “Don’t ignore me! You knew just how much weight you put on my heart if you died, and you went anyways! Who cares why we’re both here now?! You’re not even sorry for what you did!”

    “I never said that I wasn’t-”

    “You never said you were either! But fine! If you’re sorry, you’ll be even more so now!” Robb rushed forwards and slammed into Dare, knocking the wind from his lungs and slamming him onto his back. Not stopping for an instant, Robb rushed through the empty hall, heading straight out of and away from the house, towards the forest proper.

    “R... R.. Robb!” Dare shouted as he got control of his breathing back. “Where are you going?!”

    “Into Everautumn Forest! Doesn’t matter if I survive it or die there, you won’t see me again!”

    “Why?! Robb, this isn’t like you at all!”

    “Try having a friend die on you! See how you like it!” Robb yelled back before vanishing into the trees.

    No, no, this can’t be happening. Dare struggled to his feet once more and tried running after Robb, but his legs were too tired to move fast. “Robb! I really am sorry! I didn’t mean to... to...”

    Dare’s lungs wouldn’t let him keep yelling. I didn’t mean to abandon you, Robb. And I won’t here, either. Dare forced himself into a run, ignoring the stiffness of his exhausted legs. He rushed after Robb, not caring how his new team was reacting. We won’t be split up like this.

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Zeke walked into the front room, sighing as he thought of the prospect of avoiding the dungeon of the forest. I guess we still live inside the forest anyways, right? But... no, it’s not the same. The Dungeon just... feels more like home.

    His thoughts were interrupted by a loud sound of something hitting the stone floor. He turned towards the sound to see Dare, unconscious, lying half in and half out of the building.

    “Um... Dare?” Zeke walked over to his side and turned him over. “You alright?”

    Dare didn’t reply, instead ignoring Zeke and turning over again before curling up and moving his tail closer to his center. It took only a brief moment for Zeke to figure it out.

    Turning away and continuing walking, he shouted out. “Guys? Dare just fell asleep in the entrance.”

    At the entrance, Zeke.” Glitch corrected.

    “No, I mean in, Glitch. Come out and see for yourself, if you don’t believe me.”

    “I’m good where I am. Is he sleeping on his broken arm?”

    Zeke took a quick glance at Dare before walking into another room and losing sight of him. “Um, no, luckily. I think he’d wake up if he were anyways.”

    “Then leave him. He’s dealt with multiple psychic intrusions today, been run around by us, and shattered an arm. He needs the sleep.”

    Zeke looked towards where Glitch’s voice was coming from to see he had taken his natural form. “So, you’re going to tell him?”

    “You and I both know I was about to when he had that latest episode of his. So, yes. I’m still going to tell him.”

    Zeke smirked. “Good. Then I won’t have to.”

    “You would have threatened to tell him a long time ago if you were actually willing to, Zeke.”

    “True. But at this point, it’d be really inconvenient to hide it.”

    “Inconvenient isn’t exactly the right word...”

    Blink walked into the room they were talking in. The Electrike looked up at Glitch and tilted his head.

    “Well, now it’d be impossible, huh?” Zeke joked, smirking again.

    “Indeed it would, if Blink ever feels dispositioned to speak. Ignoring that fact, what do you need, Blink?”

    Blink held up the cloth in his mouth, letting it drape down. Glitch and Zeke both stared back in response before Glitch moved towards him. “You want that secured to you? I can tie it around your arm or neck, if that would work.” Blink nodded in response, and Zeke found himself confused.

    Since when does the feral nod? Maybe they are right about him.

    “I wouldn’t touch that if I were you, Glitch,” Mel stated as she and Kade wandered through the room from the opposite side. “He’s had that in his mouth through more than I want to describe. If you’ll excuse us, we all know it’s time to eat.”

    “Noted, thank you, but it’d be rude of me not to oblige.” Glitch moved to start helping Blink as Zeke turned to follow the other duo. “We’ll catch up with you three in just a moment.”

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Robb!

    Dare jolted awake, wrenching his broken arm away and immediately shattering any tiredness he may have felt through sudden pain. He yelped loudly before gripping the arm and stiffening it once more. Looking around, he found himself half inside the barren entry room and half outside. The forest outside was bathed in shadows, dusk having fallen sometime while he was asleep.

    Wait, that was all a dream? Guess that makes more sense than it being real... But...

    Dare shivered as he finally felt the temperature surrounding him had dropped dramatically since he fell asleep. Realizing it was warmer inside the building, he struggled to stand, allowing his bad arm to fall limp once more and using his good one to push himself slowly onto his feet.

    It felt real enough... No, I must have been tired.

    As he entered, he heard Zeke and Mel chatting in the side room with the table. Feeling no rush, Dare ambled his way forwards into the room. Zeke and Mel immediately stopped their conversation as they saw him enter, and a sudden fluttering of wings let Dare know Kade or Glitch was just beside him without looking. “You alright, Dare?” Zeke asked, handing him a Sitrus Berry.

    Dare took hold of it, his claw trembling, and sighed loudly. “Yeah. Just an awful dream. Thought I saw my... best friend again. Here.” Dare fell silent for a minute. “Doesn’t matter, it was impossible anyways...”

    “Hey, from what you’ve told us, he’s probably still fine over in Blaze Town.” Kade assured him from the side. “You said you went alone to that peak, right?”

    “Yes, but... that is what I’m worried about.”

    “Excuse me for interrupting.” Glitch stated as he walked up, once again in the form of a Flareon. “Dare, if it makes you feel any better, we’ll see if there’s a way we can send a message out to him so you can let him know you’re okay. But right now, there’s a more pressing matter.”

    “What do you-” Dare stopped again, almost seeming frozen for a brief moment. “Is it finally time that I get to know what you’re all doing? Why everything has to be so strange?”

    “Exactly so.” Glitch replied before looking at the floor. “Dare, I’m about to tell you a lot of things here. Are you sure you’re in control of your psyche enough to listen right now?”

    “I should hope so. I don’t feel any other presence with me.”

    Glitch sucked in a deep breath. “This is your last chance to back out, Dare. If I tell you this, I need you to stay with me. Not just now, but until we finish our mission here. And that’s... not going to be any time soon, it seems.”

    “Why would I back out? I’ve gone too far in anyways,” Dare replied sarcastically.

    “No, Dare, I’m serious. You back out now, you won’t need to worry about us ever again, but if you stay...” Glitch’s voice trailed off.

    Dare held his breath for a few seconds as he collected his thoughts. Glitch is really serious about this. Do I really want to get stuck here, working with these Pokémon who are still actively hiding something from me?

    Well, it’s not like I have a choice. It’s them or literally nothing.
    Dare released his pent up breath as a sigh. “I’ll stick with you.”

    “What do you even have to gain from this, Dare?”

    “Well, you seem to know the most how to deal with the crazy psychic in my head. And... you all are probably my best chance at getting home, even if I am stuck with you for a long time before we get back there. I don’t know anything around here, I’m now probably a wanted criminal, and this thing will do me no favors.” Dare pointed at his broken arm. “It’s not like I can walk there either. Right?”

    “What if we could just take you home? Or teleport you there?” Mel interjected from across the room, sitting on some sort of stool by the table with an Oran Berry in hand.

    “You would have offered before if you could, wouldn’t you?” Dare shrugged one of his shoulders, still allowing his wounded arm to be limp. “Unless you thought it was some funny joke to drag me along through all of this.”

    Glitch continued staring at the floor. “No, he’s right, Mel. You forgot a flaw in that plan.” Mel’s face went red while Glitch continued. “You’re sure then, Dare?”

    “Yeah. I’m sure.” Dare replied with a soft nod.

    “First, Dare, I need to tell you something. I’m not what I may seem.”

    “What do you mean? I know you’re not a Flareon, but-”

    “That’s just it. I’m not a Ditto, either. I couldn’t turn into one if I wanted to, as I’ve never met one, and certainly not been close enough to one to transform on command.”

    “Wait, then what-”

    “Dare, please let me speak here.” Glitch looked up again, his eyes locked in a serious glare. “I’m sure you’ll have questions, but let them wait until I explain everything. I'd expect I'll answer them in the process, anyways.”

    Dare closed his mouth to signify his compliance, and Glitch spoke up once again. “No, I’m not a Ditto. And you should know, there’s only two Pokémon that can transform like this. What I truly am...” Glitch stopped as his body became enveloped in the same glow that he had when Dare first saw him transform. His shape quickly shifted into a small, floating form with two small arms, large feet, and a long tail with a large end, all colored a light shade of blue. “...is a Mew.”

    Dare staggered backwards. “A Mew?! I thought-” Dare clapped his jaws shut, realizing he was already breaking his agreement.

    “You thought there was only one Mew, I’m guessing? Or better yet, that it was, as the title states, a legend? Well, there was only one. There was only ever supposed to be one. But... something happened.

    “No one knows what it was, only that it happened shortly before those we call the ‘predecessors’ all disappeared at once. But one day, a strange copy of each Legendary suddenly appeared, myself included... We were children, and the real Legendaries took us in. Or, well, most of us.

    “Regardless, what we, as in Zeke, Kade, Mel, and I, are trying to do here, is learn what happened. Both to the predecessors, and to make the Secondaries, as we copy Legendaries have taken to calling ourselves.

    “I’m guessing your next question is, why the secrecy when you have legends on your side, and I’m a legend myself?” Glitch turned away and sighed, though his sigh almost came out as a growl. Dare immediately felt on edge from it, and his eyes darted about the barren room, not wanting to view the angry Legendary on an instinctual level.

    Glitch continued, ignorant of Dare’s unease. “One of us was foolish. Specifically, the copy of Mewtwo. He became power hungry, unwilling to live his life in the shadows as the Legendaries had told us to. He started going out in the open, declaring himself as Mewtwo, demanding to be treated as ruler of the land nearest where he was raised. And when the people laughed at him, due to his strange coloration not matching the legends, and the fact that we’re supposed to be myths... He murdered them.

    “It wasn’t an isolated incident,” Glitch stated as he turned back, his face still locked in the glare he had taken as a Flareon. Dare found himself unwillingly returning the gaze, though the Charmander’s expression was one of anxiety instead of being grave. “Several towns were decimated in a matter of a week, as his power was phenomenal. He nearly strangled the life out of the country he was in entirely, as when he killed, he was thorough. No one got out to tell the tale elsewhere. The only forewarning some towns received was their trade suddenly shutting down.

    “Needless to say, the true Legendaries didn’t like that when they finally did figure it out, so they hunted him down. And regardless of how much power he may have had, there was no way he could stand up to the combined might of the ones that he fought with. Not even a speck of him remained at the end of his battle with them.”

    Glitch put his paws on his nose as he took another deep breath. “Zekrom, the Legendary of ideals, decided that to make an ideal world, we Secondaries would all need to be removed from it. Crazy or not, a number of the other Legendaries agreed, especially those he had battled the Secondary Mewtwo with, which were Reshiram and the true Mewtwo.

    “There’s no way we could have fought them. None, whatsoever, even if we were grouped together, which we weren’t. I was unfortunate enough to be right there when they made that decision. I would have been dead, too, if not for-” Glitch got out half a mumbled syllable before he stopped and coughed awkwardly. “The True Mew. She stayed in the way as they threatened to kill me, not allowing them to insomuch as approach. And, for fear that they’d screw up the world itself if they killed her, they left, threatening that the moment she let up her defense, they’d destroy me.”

    Glitch stopped and looked behind himself at the plate of berries on the simple stone table in the center. He stared at them for what felt like forever to Dare before turning back and continuing.

    “So instead of letting her suffer through keeping me safe, I left, and I’ve been hiding ever since. I have to believe that she’s still preventing them from searching for me. They would have found me already if they wanted to. But that’s the reason we can’t just power through to areas we may want to visit and learn about. I can’t risk revealing myself, and the Legendaries will harm more than help.

    “So we hunt for whatever we can from the days of our creation. More and more seems to be cropping up, so our hunt is certainly not fruitless, but it’s certainly arduous and taxing. And, Dare... I don’t want to force this on you, but I have little choice.” Glitch held his arms out in a shrug and smiled sadly. “I need your help on this matter... or I have to make sure you don’t get interrogated by the Legendaries, through whatever means you make necessary.”

    Dare waited for a moment before realizing Glitch was done explaining. “Wait. Are you suggesting... killing me?”

    Glitch opened his mouth, but no words came from it as he looked down to the ground once more. Everyone in the room shifted uncomfortably. “If that’s what you make me do,” Glitch finally replied, his voice a faint whisper. He swallowed loudly before speaking in a moderate tone once more. “I’m sorry, Dare. But I can’t take the risk if you’re not with us directly.”

    “C-can’t you just, like, wipe my mind or something? I don’t think that’d be too hard for a Legendary. Or... Secondary.”

    “No, Dare, I can’t,” Glitch stated, still refusing to look away from the ground. “Maybe if I had more time to learn before becoming a fugitive, I could have figured it out. But I didn’t, and I don’t trust myself to only erase those memories. And what good would releasing you do if I wiped away something much more personally important to you, like your memories of your home?”

    “I...” Dare couldn’t find anything to say. He stared blankly at Glitch, struggling to even reason out his emotions.

    I have to be with him now? There’s not even a choice in the matter? No, that’s not true. I made my choice when he told me to before. But still... Killing me? Would they really do that?

    Does it really matter if they would...? I’d be no closer to getting back to Blaze Town if I was dead, or even if they just... silenced me some other way. Or even if they did nothing. It’s still not really a choice. Not like I’ve had any since I woke up in the... snow? Yeah, it was snow.


    Dare nodded once again. “I understand. And I’ll stay with you guys.”

    The sadness instantly melted away from Glitch’s face as he looked back up, replaced with an expression of pure relief. “Thank you, Dare. I promise you, you won’t regret this.”

    I really hope I don’t, Glitch.

    -------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------



    Author's Notes: Huh, what? It's been half a year? No it hasn't- oh, wait, crap. It has.

    Uh, yeah, so, FFXIV is a timesink of an MMO. That's the best excuse I've got for the extreme wait, and I know it sucks. But, uh, we'll see if I can take less than half a year going forwards, eh? Regardless, yeah, still writing over here. Just being slow due to being easily distracted at the worst of times. It's a problem I'm working on fixing.
     

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