(Con't from previous post...)
Shane and Tessa barely made it a few steps onto the stone streets before their senses were assaulted. Buildings lay in every direction around them. Many had three or four floors to them. Foot traffic pounded against the stone, combining with a chorus of different conversations from various Pokémon walking down the streets. Tessa's aura feelers scrunched up and her ears flattened against her head. "I don't like it here. It's way too noisy," she squeaked.
Shane ignored her. His attention was drawn to a nearby fruit stand surrounded by several Pokémon. He crept toward the stand and swiped a quartet of oran berries that looked about ready to fall out of the basket holding them. Shane trotted back over to Tessa, plopping two of the berries at her feet. "Here," he said, the berry in his mouth muffling his speech. "Eat up. We need to get our strength back if we're gonna get Silvally back."
"Where did you get these? We don't have any money," Tessa gasped.
"I applied the old two-forepaw discount," Shane said, a nervous look on his face. Tessa gave him a confused look. "I stole 'em, okay," he said in a whisper. Her eyes widened. "Quiet. Desperate times call for desperate measures." He scarfed his two berries down, feeling his vitality return. Tessa at her berries, albeit more hesitantly than her partner.
They continued walking down one of the main streets. "This is totally crazy!" she said. "Aeon Town doesn't even hold a candle to this. Some of those buildings are huge!
You could fit, like, four versions of my house in them! And what's with the water running where streets should be?"
"Those would be canals," Shane explained.
"How would you know that?"
"I've seen buildings like this before," Shane said. "See the arches in some of those buildings? Those are classic Gothic lancet arches. These buildings look like they jumped right out of Venice, Italy!"
"What the heck is a Venice?" Tessa asked. "Is that what you call Venipedes in the human world?" She raised a skeptical eyebrow. "And why are you suddenly so interested in buildings, anyway? I've never heard you marvel about any of the buildings in Aeon Town before."
"Of course not!" Shane scoffed. "Because this is so much different. They're a little rough around the edges and the doors and windows are a bit shoddy, but they're just like the buildings I saw in this one human city I took a vacation to with my family, my best friend, and his family." His tails started wagging excitedly. "I'll bet they make some amazing pasta dishes here… not that we'd be able to get any." His ears folded against his face. "Aaaaaaand I just made myself hungry. Great."
"Wait, you're saying this is a human city?" Tessa said. "Then… there are actual humans walking around it? Or would they be humans turned into Pokémon?"
"No, it just looks
like a human city. I doubt humans are here. If anything, it's far more likely that humans used
to exist here, and then they didn't, so the Pokémon just kind of took inspiration from them," Shane said. His eyes widened. "Wait… look over there. By the water! It's a shipyard. And I think I recognize those sails from that Clawitzer's ship. We've just got to find a way over there." He pointed a forepaw ahead of him. "There. We'll take the bridge."
They walked up a stone bridge hanging over one of the canals. Tessa peered out over the railing, observing two-way traffic from water-types swimming below her. Shane hopped onto his hind legs and braced himself against the side of the bridge. He examined the vast array of ships moored up in the different rows of docks ahead of them. "Crap," he said, "they all look the same to me. Doesn't help they all got the same indigo sails, too. Ugh, how are we going to find Silvally like this?"
"I'm not sure," Tessa said, stepping to the side to allow a Machoke carrying several large planks of wood on one shoulder to pass by. "Also, while we've got a second… seriously, Shane? Your girlfriend?"
"Hey, it got us past those guards, didn't it?"
"Well… yeah," Tessa murmured, fidgeting with her paws. "But you didn't have to jump right to that, you know? We could've been friends or siblings."
"Look, I went with the first thing that came to mind. Sorry for not consulting you first," Shane said. "Dwelling on the issue isn't going to get us our friend back. So, why don't you help me look around a bit?"
"Fine," Tessa said. She crossed her arms over her chest. "But don't get any ideas. If anyone else asks, we're friends from work."
"Yeah, yeah. I got it," Shane muttered. He resumed walking forward, only to step on an uneven stone wedge. He let out a yip and fell onto his front. Shane rolled down the other side of the bridge, shouting, "Tessssssaaaaa! Help meeeeeeeeee!"
"Oh, for the love of–" Tessa smacked her face with her paw. "Wait up, you doofus." She jogged after him.
An unfamiliar voice caught her attention. Tessa looked down at the edge of the bridge. There, Shane lay tangled up with a Mothim, his eyes spinning about in their sockets. "Why does gravity hate me so muuuuuuch?" Shane groaned.
The Mothim wriggled out from underneath Shane and hovered into the air. "Watch where you're walking, you unkempt little miscreant!" He glanced down at his scarf and frantically dusted it off.
"Sorry about that," Shane mumbled. "Stupid bridge wasn't laid down right."
"Hmph. That's hardly a fitting excuse. You have eyes. You can see," the Mothim huffed. "Whatever. I don't have time to deal with a mangy mutt. I've business to attend to."
"Yo, Elmer. Nice wipeout there!"
The Mothim flinched as a Weavile casually strolled up beside him. "We've been over this, Ketu. It's Ellsberg,
" the Mothim seethed.
'Nugget? Elmer? Jeez, it's no wonder everyone in Horizon skimps on the naming thing. Pokémon suck at naming themselves!'
Shane thought. "Uh, sorry to bump into your friend, Mr. Ketu. We'll just be on our way."
Ketu shrugged and rolled his eyes. He started to walk away, when he glimpsed Shane's Looplet out of the corner of his eyes. 'What the–?'
His face momentarily blanched. 'No… that's impossible! What are a couple of street rats out here in Tidemill City doing with our prototypes?'
"Err, hold up one moment," Ketu said, sticking a claw out. Ellsberg gave him a confused look as Shane and Tessa turned back around. "I couldn't help but notice those lovely pieces of jewelry you and your friend have. I don't think I have seen such exquisite craftsmanship in all of Tidemill." Ellsberg's look turned from one of confusion to one of utter disbelief. "Tell me, are you tourists? Where did you get those from?"
"What? This?" Shane stuck his left foreleg out. "It's just a looplet. What, are there no explorers here?" Tessa shot him a horrified look. "Because I could've sworn there are Mystery Dungeons."
Ellsberg gave a derisive snort. "Looplet? What a childish name for an even more childish looking toy. Ketu, if this is your way of stalling because you don't want to work, then I suggest you shape up and get a move on. We're burning daylight as it–"
Ketu held his claw up and flicked it, swatting Ellsberg back like an overgrown fly. He took in a breath and resumed his usual detached expression. 'This doesn't make any sense. Administrator Elilan said the Looplet Project hit a number of snags during testing since the last time I used one. How can a couple of sewer Mareanies like them know about the project? It's supposed to be top-secret!'
A gleam flashed in his eyes. 'And yet, they're flaunting a couple of prototypes at me. Did the Imps somehow steal our design and beat us to the punch?'
"Ketu. What is your problem? Do I need to go back to the ship and tell Lyn you're slacking off as usual?" Ellsberg fumed.
"Sorry, my claw slipped," Ketu lied, keeping his expression neutral. "Actually, Elmer, why don't
you run along back to the ship."
"Are you crazy? Lyn's expecting a report on–" Ellsberg started, but cut himself off. "Err, well, he's expecting a log about the, um, status of that cargo we're picking up."
Ketu glared at Ellsberg. A gesture that Team Radiance couldn't see, since his back was turned to them. "Tell him that I'm pretty close to finding its location, then," Ketu growled.
"What? And leave you here by yourself so you can keep slacking off?" Ellsberg harrumphed. "Fat chance."
"Uh… you guys seem a bit busy at the moment," Shane muttered, trying awkwardly to look behind him. "So, we're just gonna keep on going. C'mon, Tessa." He and Tessa turned and walked down the cobblestone street.
Ketu watched them go. His left eye twitched. 'Stupid Lyn pairing me up with this obnoxious little bug. He's a perpetual itch I can't scratch! Guess I'm just gonna have to work a bit of the old charm and lie through my teeth to him. That notary's gullible, he'll fall for it.'
He grabbed hold of Ellsberg's scarf and pulled him down so they were eye to eye. "Listen up, buddy,
" he whispered with a venomous tone. "See those two kids? They're Imperial spies.
And I bet they're heading off to tell their higher-ups about us."
Ellsberg's eyes widened. "How can you be so sure?" he asked in a whisper.
"Those little trinkets on their legs?" Ketu paused, his face scrunching up. "I saw a report about it on Lyn's desk back on the ship. Straight from Director Inler himself. The gems inside them are incredibly rare and extremely valuable tools for the Company."
Ellsberg's brow furrowed. "That sounds pretty far-fetched. How could gems possibly be so important to Director Inler?"
Ketu shook his head. "Because they use psychic energy. I'm telling you, I was getting briefed by Lyn and saw the documents on his desk. Those anklets are memory-snatchers. And the memo said that the Imps had stolen them from us."
"Wait… those foofy little trinkets are ours?
" Ellsberg gasped. He shook his head. "I… I still don't believe you," he said, his voice wavering and his wings steadily beating faster. "Why have I never heard about this before?"
"Because you're a notary,
" Ketu scoffed. "I'm serious here, the things are ingenious. All you have to do is pin your victim down and touch them with the anklets. It sends a sharp psychic current through your body that digs through your mind and pulls out your memories." Ketu leaned over. "Think about it. You looked pretty dazed when that Vulpix crashed into you. And didn't it seem like that encounter was all just a bit too convenient? Why, I'll bet he's got your whole life's worth of memories sitting in that anklet. He's about to bring everything you know about the Company's inner workings to his superiors. What would Administrator Elilan think if word got out?"
Ellsberg's eyes widened, his mind jumping to a mental image of a Zoroark grabbing him by the scarf, yanking him up to eye level with bared fangs. "It would seem, that I must inform Administrator Farn that we're about to have a new opening among our Second-Ranks…"
the Zoroark hissed. "I'm sure my Commander will be able to find some time to process you as a new inmate."
The Mothim daydreamt of the fox flashing a set of ruddy claws which sliced into his face, jolting his attention back on the streets of Tidemill with a startled buzz. His wings seized up, prompting the moth to drop in the air before a hasty, fluttering scramble to stop himself from crashing into the ground.
Sweat beads trickled down Ellsberg's head. "This is clearly a huge problem. We have to do something! But what?"
"Isn't it obvious? Take 'em out and drag them back to the ship," Ketu harrumphed.
"Need I remind you that our objective is to remain undetected
by the Imps?" Ellsberg huffed. "Kidnapping two of their spies in their own capital? That's the kind of action that can lead to war!"
"It's a bit late for that, Buzzy," Ketu said. "Just relax, okay? Follow my lead, and we'll have this little problem wrapped up rather quickly." He turned back around, making sure he could still see Shane and Tessa. "Whoa, hold up there!" he called, jogging after them. "Sorry about that. Elmer can be a bit of a scatterbrain sometimes."
Ellsberg nearly fell out of the air. "Seriously, Ketu?" he groaned.
Ketu ignored him. "Anyway. You two look a bit lost. I was going to offer to help with directions before Elmer started running his mouth." He chuckled and shook his head. "Isn't that right, buddy?
Ellsberg slouched in defeat. "Yes. My sincere apologies," he said. Ketu had to fight the urge to smirk at his partner's unfortunate position.
"Oh," Shane said. "Actually, yeah, we could really use some help. Especially if you're working with cargo. Do you two have a ship?"
"We do," Ketu replied.
"Great! Then maybe you can help us figure out how to get to the docks down there?" Shane asked, pointing ahead of him. "We lost our friend, and I think he's on one of those ships."
Ketu stood on his tiptoes to prevent Shane and Tessa from seeing Ellsberg's panicked expression. "Perfect. We were just heading over there, actually. Follow me." Ketu beckoned them forward and led them down one of the stone streets. It sloped downward, growing steadily closer to the canal it borders. Tessa soon found herself dwarfed by the long, slender neck of a Lapras. Excited giggles made her ears twitch. She spotted a group of kids sitting on the back of Lapras, pointing excitedly as he ferried them down the canal.
"Err, does everyone use these waterways to get around this place?" Tessa wondered.
"Of course not," Ketu dismissed. "Otherwise the canals would be too crowded for anyone to get through."
"And, of course, it'd be a waste of time for someone like me," Ellsberg said. "Ah, the benefits of wings."
"Yup. They sure did you a lot of good when that fuzzball was rolling down the bridge, huh?" Ketu sneered. Ellsberg looked about ready to pop a blood vessel. "Okay, we can cut through this side street to get down to the docks. You looking for any ship in particular?"
"Um. Our friend said he wanted to take a gander at some of the naval ships," Tessa lied. She didn't see Ketu turn to give Ellsberg a knowing smirk. "I'm just really worried about him. He has a tendency to cause a bit of a scene when he runs off by himself. So, we just want to make sure he's okay."
"Totally understandable. We've had a couple of instances where we've lost track of employees. Makes for one hell of a headache," Ketu said. "Guess we shouldn't dawdle, then."
As the group continued down the alleyway, Ketu quickened his pace, while Ellsberg hung behind Shane and Tessa. Ketu scanned the area and when he was absolutely sure there weren't any other Pokémon around, turned to face Team Radiance. "Alright, looks to me like we've made it."
"What are you talking about? We're in the middle of an alley, not at the shipyard," Shane said. "I thought you told us you knew where you were going."
"Oh, my mistake," Ketu exclaimed, giving Shane an innocent grin. "I should've clarified, this is the spot we'll be using to shove you two brats into Apricorns." His innocent grin immediately darkened into a scowl. "Hope you enjoyed the sights, kiddos, because we're taking you to Company waters for a nice, long incarceration."
Shane's tails shot up in alarm. "Ap… Apricorns? They have those here?!"
Tessa looked at him in confusion. "You know what they're talking about?"
"Yeah! They're… uh… kind of like what Espeon and Umbreon told us Zero used to capture them!" Shane panicked. He tried to back away from Ketu, but the Weavile swung a glowing arm around in the blink of an eye. His claws connected with Shane's sternum, rocketing him back into the wall. Ketu hopped backwards and Ellsberg, still hovering behind Team Radiance, flapped his wings rapidly, sending Air Slash currents at Tessa. She had enough time to turn around in surprise before they peppered her body. She stumbled back toward Ketu, who spread his claws and sent a volley of Ice Shards to pummel Tessa. She hollered and dropped to her knees. Her world spun and it took every ounce of willpower not to puke.
"W… what the heck is your problem?" Shane whimpered.
"What? You didn't really
think you could get away with stealing our looplets, did you?" Ketu sneered. "But hey, I know some Pokémon on Nagrobek Island who'd love
to question you."
He raised his claws and hurled Ice Shards at Shane. His tails shot up in alarm and he blasted the projectiles apart with Extrasensory ripples. Ellsberg fluttered behind him, however, and his eyes glowed pink. Shane and Tessa floated into the air. Their limbs flailed about as they struggled against Ellsberg's psychic grip.
"You're just a Mothim. Why are you so strong?" Shane gasped. Ellsberg flung them over Ketu's head, and they rolled down the alley, stopping in a tangled mess of fur and paws. Ketu left them no time to recover, working quickly to close the distance. Panicking, Shane breathed out a cloud of Frost Breath. It raced along the alleyway, but Ketu threw up an arm and ran right through it.
"Sh… Shane…" Tessa groaned. "It's no good. They're too strong! We can't take them like this."
Shane staggered to his feet, wincing in pain. Rapid footsteps and wingbeats made his ears twitch. He leaned over, bit down on Tessa's scarf, and yanked her to her feet. Shane dragged her backwards seconds before Ketu's icy fist connected with the spot she had been lying on. Ketu's brow furrowed as he realized his claws were stuck in the ground.
"You're right. No fighting. Only running!" he cried, and took off down the street. Tessa's aura feelers raised in alarm as Ketu pulled his claws out of the ground. She turned and ran after Shane, narrowly dodging Air Slash crescents fired by Ellsberg.
"Damn it!" Ketu hissed. "Of all the strokes of dumb luck. Now they're making a run for it!"
"Well then, hurry up and catch them!" Ellsberg cried. "Don't let them get back to their boss!"
"What do you think I'm doing?" Ketu snarled. He brandished his claws by his sides and charged ahead. Ellsberg flew along behind, looking between the nearby buildings to make sure that no one was watching. The Mothim's gaze fell on Team Radiance and his eyes widened.
"Ketu, wait. Stop!" he shouted. The Weavile skidded to a halt and looked back at him, a glare spreading across his face.
"This isn't a good time, Bugzzy," he hissed.
"Look. The Imps are heading onto a main street. If you try to attack them in a crowd of people, we'll have a whole squadron of guards breathing down our necks," Ellsberg said.
"Not if we get them in the Apricorns and slip them out of there fast enough to miss the guards," Ketu muttered.
"That's ridiculous," Ellsberg huffed. "You'll get us both jailed… or killed!"
Ketu's eyes lit up. "I've got an idea." He burst into the street, honing in on Shane and Tessa. "STOP!" he shouted. "THIEVES!" Several folks paused in the middle of their on-foot commutes to look at Ketu with widened eyes. "Stop the Vulpix and Riolu. They took my jewelry!"
"Are you kidding me?" Shane shouted. "That's a lie!" He slammed his eyes shut, gritting his teeth in pain, and tried to run faster. "We're not even from around here. We're just tourists." He and Tessa pulled away from the crowd in the street, making for a smaller road that descended toward the docks. Behind him, Tessa narrowly escaped a set of Air Slash crescents hurled by Ellsberg.
"Shane, I think that story's run its course," Tessa groaned.
"Fine." Shane glanced over his shoulder and shouted, "My partner's right. We're not tourists. We're from another world entirely. And we're trying to find our friend and get back there. So, please, leave us alone!"
"Another world? Ha!" Ketu lunged at Shane. The Weavile just barely missed striking Shane's flank with his icy claws. "How stupid do you think I am, huh? What's next? You gonna try to tell me you're actually a human on a mission to save the world?"
"Aha ha… ha… funny you should mention that," Shane said, a sheepish grin spreading across his face.
Ketu rolled his eyes. "Please. You're gonna have to think of a better cover story than that, kid." He spun around, claws outstretched, and shot Ice Shards at Shane and Tessa. Shane turned around and eyes glowed pink. Extrasensory waves blew the Ice Shards apart into harmless frost clouds. Ketu saw a blur of motion through the frost. He immediately braced himself, expecting to dodge a Force Palm from Tessa.
But Tessa didn't make a move toward him. Instead, electricity gathered in her fist as she hopped toward a nearby railing. "What the–?" Ketu wondered, only for his eyes to widen as Tessa kicked off the railing and careened toward an unsuspecting Ellsberg. Her Thunder Punch struck him right between the eyes. Electricity took hold of Ellsberg's body and he fell to the ground.
Ketu slightly tilted his head, before taking on a bemused expression. "Well, aren't you full of surprises?" he scoffed. "Not that it really matters once you're locked up in Nagrobek."
Tessa's eyes bugged out at the thought, but then Shane screamed at the top of his lungs. The sound waves pushed Ketu back down the street, giving Tessa the opening she needed to run back to her partner. Ketu dug his claws into the ground, preventing him from being pushed back any further. "You're not getting away from me that easily," he barked, and resumed chasing Team Radiance.
"Nuh… not so fast!" Ellsberg groaned. The Mothim hovered wearily in the air as psychic energy gathered around him. He tried to send the energy forward, but paralysis seized his body and sent him crashing to the ground.
Ketu skidded to a halt. "Elmer, you idiot!
" the Weavile growled. "You're screwing everything up!" He dashed to Ellsberg's side and scooped him up.
"Me? Th… this was your… asinine idea…"
"Save your excuses for later," Ketu snapped. "We've gotta stop those pipsqueaks." The Weavile produced a cheri berry from the satchel slung over his shoulder and held it in front of Ellsberg's proboscis so he could eat the berry. Ellsberg descended into a coughing fit as his paralysis subsided and Ketu broke into a run, chasing after Team Radiance. It didn't take long for Ketu to once again close the gap between the two parties.
"Tessa, what do we do? He's gaining on us!" Shane panicked.
"I don't know. If we had items, I could throw something, but we don't," Tessa groaned. She looked ahead of her. "The docks are just up there. But there's another guard post."
"Maybe we could ask them for help?" Shane proposed. He noticed the Barbaracle and Meowstic at the guard station looking over at them in confusion. "HELP! HELP! Some thugs are chasing us!"
Ketu narrowed his eyes. 'Crap! That stupid mutt beat me to the guards. There goes my idea,'
he thought. The Weavile raced toward the guard post, readying to strike as the guards popped out of their station.
"Hey, just what do you think you're doing? This is a restricted area!" the Barbaracle shouted.
"Yeah!" his Meowstic partner chimed in. "Authorized 'mons on–"
Ketu lunged at the Meowstic and slashed her with his shadowy-black claws. "Sorry, but I'm gonna have to cut in," he quipped. He pivoted toward the Barbaracle and slashed at the guard's knees. In the process, he put his back to Team Radiance. Tessa and Shane used the momentary distraction to run forward. Shane coated the gate in a thick layer of ice and Tessa wound up to smash through it.
Ketu looked up just in time to see the frozen gate burst open. "Hey!" he barked, trying to lunge for Team Radiance. However, the Barbaracle guard stepped into his path, looking to strike him with several sharp slabs of rock. Ketu dodged the attack and struck the guard's chest with a glowing fist. His Brick Break knocked the wind out of the Barbaracle, who collapsed onto the ground with a dazed look in his eyes. Ketu again looked through the broken gate, but saw no sign of Team Radiance.
"Damn it! This is not
how things were supposed to go down," he snarled.
Ellsberg finally caught up to Ketu. He fluttered beside the Weavile, panting heavily. "Are you alright?"
"No!" Ketu hissed, swatting Ellsberg away. "Those brats have officially
pissed me off. Get after them and keep them distracted! I'll freeze them with Blizzard."
"Err, but what about any naval officers on the docks?" Ellsberg asked.
"Do I look like I care about them right now?"
Ellsberg's wings fluttered rapidly in surprise. He buzzed ahead after Team Radiance. Ketu immediately took off after him, scraping dust off his claws as he ran.
Nagant let out a groan. "What is the matter with you Slakoths? Put your backs into it!"
The crew members Nagant had gathered pushed themselves up against Silvally's side, trying to push him along the deck of the ship. Above him, Jun and a Pidgeotto flapped their wings and tugged on ropes, trying to hoist Silvally up and help give the crew some traction for movement. However, they failed to make any progress, and most of them slumped against Silvally's hide, panting in exhaustion.
"S… sorry, captain," Cabot wheezed, "but this new Protector's a fair bit heavier than a baby Lugia."
"Yeah, he must weigh as much as a Boldore!" Niilo said. "Can't we get some more members of the crew to help?"
"They're tending to the hole in the ship. Or did you all conveniently forget about that?" Nagant growled. "Fine then. Stand aside and let me show you how a naval officer gets a payload moved." She flexed her large pincer and was about to press it up against Silvally.
"Silvally? Where are you?!"
Tessa's cry echoed through the shipyard. Nagant's eyes widened. "No, that can't be." She hopped toward the edge of the ship and spotted Tessa and Shane sprinting down the far docks. "Unbelievable. Those kids again?
" She whirled around, glaring at Jun. "Just how much daylight did we burn waiting out here, huh?"
The Beedrill rubbed his stingers together nervously. "Err, well, it did
take the courier a while to return from the palace with the queen's permission to bring this new Protector to her. I'd say it's been at least a few hours."
Nagant's brow furrowed. "I have no intention of letting a pair of obnoxious children run around our
shipyard and cause trouble. Least of all after damaging my ship." She took a closer look at Team Radiance, only to do a double-take at the sight of Ellsberg flying after them and Ketu trailing behind the Mothim. "Eh?! That Weavile from Sormus is here too?! But-! Bah, I don't have time for this!" Nagant raised her pincer and narrowed her eyes. "Jun! Be ready to attack on my mark!"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. Wait for them to get closer. I'll snipe the kids from the ship, and then you swoop in and scoop them up," Nagant ordered. Jun saluted her with a stinger and buzzed higher into the air. Nagant peered out over the edge of the ship as she saw Team Radiance coming closer.
"Hey, watch it!"
Tessa bumped into a Shieldon wearing a naval grunt scarf, nearly knocking him off the dock in the process. "Sorry, we're kind of in a hurry!" she shouted, not bothering to look back and make sure the Shieldon was okay.
"Are you even authorized to be here?" the Shieldon shouted, noticing Tessa's rainbow scarf fluttering as she ran. But at that moment, Shane bumped into the fossil Pokémon. Shieldon stumbled to the side. His right leg slipped off the deck, and the rest of him followed suit, landing in the water with a large splash.
A sheepish look overtook Shane's face. He wanted to ask Shieldon if he was okay, but a few Air Slash blades whizzed by him. His tails shot up and he started running after Tessa. Shane looked over his shoulder and spotted Ellsberg buzzing toward him. "This isn't working!" he shouted. "And we're going to run out of space to run pretty soon."
Tessa tried to look back at him, only for a burst of water to pummel her from the sky. She fell to her belly, grunting in pain. Shane screeched to a halt and looked up at the ship he was standing beside. "Wait." His eyes widened. "Are there Pokémon firing at us from up there?" He turned around in time for a psychic force to hoist him into the air and throw him back across the docks. Shane tumbled to a stop near the dock's edge. He struggled to get to his feet. Exhaustion made his legs tremble.
"Ketu, are you ready?" Ellsberg asked. "If I attack them again, I'll knock them into the water."
Ketu appeared by Ellsberg's side and dug in his feet, getting ready to attack. "You've done your part, Elmer. Now it's time to put these kiddies on ice."
Up on the ship, Nagant waved Jun back with her pincer. "Is something the matter, Captain?" Jun asked.
"It looks like we don't need to intervene after all. If that hack from Sormus wants to keep himself busy with those brigands, then we can simply shoo them out when they're weaker," Nagant declared. Frosty air drifted up toward the ship. The two of them looked down and saw a massive snowstorm racing forward.
Shane's eyes widened at the approaching Blizzard. It buffeted Tessa from behind, freezing her solid with a shocked expression plastered on her face. "No… Tessa!" Shane shouted. A flash of light burst forth from his Naturia Looplet and enveloped his left foreleg, something that did not go unnoticed by Ketu. The attack reached Shane just as an orange glow took over his body. The Blizzard's gale force winds struck the light and funneled completely around Shane, leaving him standing in front of a bewildered Ketu.
"What's going on? Why isn't your attack hurting him? And why is he glowing like that?" Ellsberg panicked. He fluttered in front of Ketu and waved his digits around frantically, as the Weavile continued to look at Shane while gritting his teeth. "Ketu, you said these were Imperial spies. Since when could spies do something like this?!
The Blizzard fizzled out. Shane's orange glow intensified. He opened his eyes, revealing the same orange energy leaking out of them. "You do not
hurt my friend like that!" he shouted. Shane stamped a forepaw on the ground and a gigantic iceberg shot up from the dock, with him positioned on top of it. It rose high enough to give him full view of the deck of Nagant's ship, complete with the shocked expressions of the crew.
"H… how…" Jun stammered.
"Is he also a Protector?" Cabot wondered.
"What? No way! He's just a Vulpix!" Berecien cried, backpedaling from Silvally. "What sort of trick is this?!"
Back on the ground, Ellsberg now had a grip on Ketu's scarf. "Do something, you lazy oaf! He's looking right at us. He's–"
Shane's tails fanned out, liquid ice funneling to the tip of his open mouth and firing down in a giant beam. "Get to cover!" Ketu shouted. He pushed Ellsberg off of him and dove into the water, disappearing under the surface. Ellsberg had just enough time to look back at Shane before the attack froze him solid.
"Everybody down!" Nagant shouted, as the fringes of Shane's Z-Move rocked the side of the ship. Ice coated the wooden walls and quickly spilled out across the deck. Cabot and Jun couldn't move away fast enough, and the ice froze them to the ground instantly. Niilo and Berecien slipped while trying to flee toward the far end of the ship. A wave of ice washed over them, freezing them to the deck in two large icebergs that jutted up into the air. Nagant just barely managed to hop free of the ice, shivering from the frigid air. The wave of ice came to a stop halfway across the ship deck. In the process, lingering icy air froze Silvally's restraints and jostled him awake. He opened his beak and thrust his limbs apart, shattering the frozen bindings.
Silvally hopped to his feet, narrowed his eyes, and charged across the deck, preparing to strike Nagant. She was too preoccupied taking aim at Shane, who had leaped off the iceberg he summoned before it melted into the water and sprinted across the icy deck, making a beeline for his teammate. "Silvally! Silvally! Silvally!" Shane shouted.
Nagant's eyes widened and she turned around. "No, the Protector!" She found herself staring down Silvally as he lunged toward her, golden light encasing his body. Nagant tried to shoot a Water Pulse at him, but couldn't form the attack up fast enough. Silvally's lightning-coated talons clubbed her pincer. It squished up against her face, offering Silvally a moment to see her shocked expression before the force of his blow sent her reeling across the deck. Nagant struck one of the ship's masts and crumpled to the ground, clutching her head and groaning in pain.
The crew members that hadn't been frozen stood in complete shock. Silvally turned around. A current ran across his body, giving his fur a jagged, spiked appearance. He fired several warning bolts of electricity in front of him, scattering the terrified crew. Shane jumped up onto his back. Silvally's legs momentarily buckled. "Where's Tessa?" he asked.
"Frozen down on the docks. We've gotta break her out and get as far away from this place as possible!" Shane slid his forepaw back and slapped Silvally's rear. "Hi ho, Silvally! Away!"
Silvally gave a surprised trill and reared up on his hind legs, clawing at the air. He dropped back to all fours and sprinted across the deck. Shane curled up tight on Silvally's back as the chimera's leg muscles tensed up. "For the record," Silvally said, springing into the air, "next time you want to hit me like that, you better have chocolate and flowers."
Shane's expression blanked just seconds before he and Silvally hit the docks. The impact jostled Shane upward, but he managed to stay on Silvally's back.
"Gah, I can't believe I had to dive in this disgusting seawater!"
Shane's head shot up in alarm as he saw Ketu dragging himself back onto the docks, looking at his soaked body.
"Hey, what's with the Weavile?" Silvally wondered.
"I don't know what you Imps did to modify our
designs, but I'm definitely gonna find out," Ketu snarled. "I'll get you to Nagrobek, even if I have to take down some freak
along the way."
"… Trouble," Shane said. "Just get him out of the way so we can get Tessa!"
Silvally tapped into his fire memories, shifting the glowing parts of his body to red. He opened his beak and spewed out a Flamethrower, prompting Ketu to jump to the side in order to dodge the attack. "Ha! Is that the best you g–? Ack!"
A Water Pulse struck Ketu from above, leaving him sprawled out in a puddle of water. "Nobody's… going anywhere!" Nagant's voice rang out. She hopped down onto the docks, landing rather unsteadily. "So, you're Company scum after all!" Nagant spat, pointing her pincer at Ketu as he glared back at her. "Well, there'll be plenty of time to discuss this further during interrogation."
"In your dreams, little shrimp," Ketu hissed. He sprang to his feet, looking to uppercut Nagant with his claws. She shielded herself with her pincer, but Ketu lunged for her before she could retaliate.
"Uh… did I miss something, here?" Silvally asked. "Why are they fighting?"
"Who cares! We'll take any opening we can get. Hurry up and free Tessa so we can leave," Shane said. Silvally nodded and lunged for Tessa, fire encasing his forelegs. Silvally dug his talons into her icy prison. They radiated enough heat to thaw her out.
"Th-th-th-th-thanks," she said, teeth chattering.
"Don't thank me yet. We've still got to find a way home," Silvally said. He turned around and bounded across the docks, passing Ketu and Nagant in the process. Silvally nearly managed to round a corner when a jet of water immediately shot up from the right side of the dock. Shane blew the water apart with a strong burst of Extrasensory. He looked over and noticed a Tentacruel and Sharpedo in indigo scarves trying to keep with the party from within the water. "I think we've got company. Run faster!"
"I'm going as fast as I can," Silvally groaned. He tucked his head down and started increasing his speed, moving away from the waterside.
"Halt, in the name of the Royal Navy!" the Tentacruel shouted. Another jet of water raced toward Team Radiance. Tessa grabbed hold of Shane's scarf and tightened her grip on Silvally's neck. Shane used her anchoring to turn around and fire another Extrasensory. The psychic blast ripped through the water, causing it to drizzle harmlessly onto the docks. Shane turned back around and resumed clutching Silvally as the chimera bolted behind a nearby ship. The water-types giving chase drifted to a stop, the Tentacruel slapping the water angrily as her Sharpedo companion shook her head.
"Forget it, Cyanea," she said. "We're not catching up to them in a million years."
Up at the edge of the docks, Silvally raced through the already-busted guard station, surprising a Meowstic and Pelipper that were attending to the guards Ketu had knocked out earlier. "H… hey! You're not supposed to be here!" the Meowstic squeaked.
Silvally looked over his shoulder, frowned, and then immediately booked it to his right. "Whoa! What's the big idea? We didn't agree to go right!" Shane complained.
"Uh, Shane?" Tessa mumbled, tugging on his shoulder. Shane looked back at her and she pointed a paw forward. "Maybe that has something to do with why Silvally went right?"
Shane turned his head back, his jaw dropping at the sight of two dozen Pokémon of all different shapes and sizes running after them. "Stop right there, criminal scum!" the Magnezone at the head of the group shouted. Electricity darted between his magnets and he narrowed his central eye at Team Radiance.
"No, don't stop! Go! Go faster!" Shane hollered, digging his paws into Silvally's fur and grabbing onto his scales for dear life.
Silvally gulped and raced forward, looking around for any signs of a clear escape route. A sudden flash of light brought his attention straight forward. The light swirled around, forming a familiar-looking checkered wormhole. "Ah! I see a portal up ahead of us. It's just like the ones the Prism Virus uses."
"Then head for it. It's our only real shot of getting home!" Shane said. He then let out a frightened yip as a lightning bolt and an ectoplasmic arrow whizzed past Silvally in unison.
"Guys, I think we've got a problem," Silvally whimpered. "Look… they've got a Lugia helping them!" he cried, eyes bulging out in surprise. "It's in that alleyway!"
"What? You've gotta be kidding me!" Shane groaned.
Silvally's beak stiffened and he started funneling electricity toward his cheek bolts. "I'm gonna zap him!" But before he could shoot his Thunderbolt, panic washed over the Lugia's face and it immediately disappeared. "Wait… what? It just ran away!" Silvally's eyes scrunched up in confusion, but given the crowd of Pokémon chasing him, he didn't dare stop to investigate the matter.
Instead, Shane poked his head up just in time to see the Lugia shove a Growlithe, Cubone, and female Nidoran further back in the alley. "Wait. It's a baby Lugia?" He shook his head. "Never mind. Just keep running, Silvally!"
"What the–?" the Cubone asked dumbfounded as Silvally ran past the alley.
"Sorry, we're in a bit of a hurry, here!" Shane shouted, before turning back around and clinging to Silvally's head crest. Silvally approached the Ultra Wormhole and lunged into it. Bright white light swallowed Team Radiance up.
A faint twinkle of light shimmered in Team Radiance's room. An Ultra Wormhole opened up on the far wall, facing the door.
Shane flew out of the portal, limbs flailing, and belly-flopped onto the ground. "Oooooog… my aching head…" he groaned. He was in the process of sitting up, when Tessa tumbled out of the wormhole and rolled into him, knocking him back onto his belly. "Ow! Hey! Watch it," Shane growled.
"Sorry," Tessa squeaked.
The wormhole flashed and, next thing Shane and Tessa knew, they were pinned down underneath Silvally's large frame. He turned and watched the Ultra Wormhole shut behind him. "Hey, I think we're back!" he declared. "Isn't that great?"
Something jabbed Silvally's belly, causing him to look down. His cheeks grew warm. "O-Oh… my bad," he muttered, and stood up. Tessa crawled forward, while Shane rolled onto his back, gasping for air. "Hi, guys," Silvally chirped. "Heh… I was wondering why my landing was so soft and cushy. How'd you get down there when you were sitting on top of me?"
"Seriously, dude?" Shane hissed, rubbing his face with a forepaw. "Do you use any soap when you shower?"
"Of course I do!" Silvally said. "Why, is something wrong?"
"Yes, you reek!" Shane groaned. "Or, more specifically, your underbelly reeks."
"Too much information," Tessa cut in, a disgusted look on her face.
"Oh, really?" Silvally lifted a foreleg and awkwardly tried to look across his underbelly. "I showered yesterday. But I didn't scrub my belly much. I'm 'monmade, after all, so I doubt I can make any weird scents there."
"What part of 'too much information' didn't register, Silvally?" Tessa growled, throwing up her paws and cringing.
"I don't want to hear any complaining from you, missy," Shane grumbled. "I'm the one who had to steal berries just to keep the two of us alive, you know. Frankly, this is both of your faults!"
"Excuse me? You're just as much to blame for all of this as we are," Tessa said, pointing a paw at him accusingly.
"What are you talking about? I told my agent when I booked this gig: 'no stupid crossovers with someone else's production,'" Shane scoffed.
"Well then, you should've read your contract closely, doofus. Because we all signed on for April Fool's Day world-swap pranks for as long as this is under production," Tessa explained, crossing her arms and giving a smirk.
Shane went slack-jawed. "You're kidding. There's no way…" His voice trailed off. He took the satchel off his neck and walked over to a small shelf. He pulled out a stack of papers and startled shuffling through them. His eyes widened. "Son of a *****! 'As part of your main character status, it is expected that you will take part in an April Fool's Day crossover event. Said event will run without any prior notice from the production team.'" He crumpled that particular page up with his forepaw. "I don't believe this! I've been had."
"It could be worse. The original plan was for an Easter special that'd put you in a Lopunny costume," Tessa mused while Silvally fought to hide a snicker.
Shane's jaw dropped. "Seriously?! Don't I look foofy and girly enough already? That's just demeaning!" He narrowed his eyes suspiciously at Tessa. "And wait… how do you know about that? I'm supposed to be the star here!"
a booming voice echoed through the room. Necrozma popped in behind Shane in a puff of black smoke. Shane yipped and hopped forward, burying his head in his forepaws. "You want to rephrase that one? Last I checked, it's my name in the title, bub. I'm the star here… literally!"
Shane couldn't think of a retort. Necrozma shook his head disapprovingly and teleported out of the room. Shane got back to his feet. "This is totally ridiculous," he huffed. "I'm getting such a crap deal. Where the devil is my agent?"
"… you rang, buddy?"
Shane turned to his right and let out a girlish shriek at the sight of Giratina's head sticking out of the wall.
"Ohhhh… I get it. He asked 'where the devil is my agent?' so you popped up," Silvally said. "I like it!" His tail wagged.
"Yes, thank you! I was worried no one was gonna get the joke," Giratina cheered. He turned to Tessa. "By the way, this totally counts as me appearing in the special. I expect compensation. Or else I'll steal all your sugary sweets!" He disappeared back into the wall, leaving Shane standing there, his right eye twitching rapidly.
"Aww, c'mon, Shane," Tessa said, walking over to him and throwing an arm around his neck. "Didn't you have fun? I thought the folks in Anyilla seemed great. Even if, y'know, they were all trying to capture us and throw us in jail."
"Yeah!" Silvally agreed, tail wagging even faster. "I'll bet their exploits would make for a real great read. A light-hearted, colorful adventure that everyone could enjoy!"
"Oh, shove off," Shane hissed, stomping toward the door. "Nothing in our contracts says we have to suck up to them or anything."
"It's not sucking up if it's true," Silvally exclaimed in a singsong voice. "Besides, they're the top dog in our genre. You should feel honored to get to work with them!"
Shane snorted out tufts of frost. "Whatever. I'm outta here."
"Where are you going?" Tessa asked. "Don't you want to rest up at all?"
"No," Shane growled. "If anyone needs me, I'll be at Glyphic Falls. I'm feeling rather spiteful, and think I'll take it out on a Murkrow flock there." He angrily marched out of the room, muttering under his breath.
Tessa and Silvally exchanged concerned looks. "You don't think he meant anything by that, do you?" Silvally asked.
Tessa rubbed the bridge of her snout with her paw. "I don't know. But I think I see why we Pokémon don't have an April Fool's Day. Or an April, for that matter."
: monster, fiend (Polish)
: pal, friend, buddy, mate (Finnish, possibly from the Yiddish word kahver
(лиса): fox (Russian, English romanization used)
All info from Wiktionary
If you haven’t caught on by now, yes, this was a giant April Fool’s Day special. More specifically a crossover with Spiteful Murkrow’s Fledglings
and, by extension, Virgil134’s Casting Off
. This idea was born from a Discord conversation back in December, and both of them very generously agreed. They also contributed to writing this chapter. And I’m immensely grateful for all the work they put into both this. Not to mention they spearheaded their own half of this crossover, which you can read by clicking here!
I know this was a bit of a throwback to the whackier tone of the early chapters. And that that might be a bit jarring. Nevertheless, we hope you guys enjoyed this and will consider sharing your thoughts. Thanks for all the support!
Next time: we return to our regularly-scheduled programming with the start of Episode 10!