Dungeon 7 - New challengers appear!
Brian woke up yawning; he had slept on the couch of his new apartment. The Zorua scratched his eyes and went to the kitchen, smelling pancakes. When he got there, he saw Lance sitting on a chair. Their kitchen was small, but comfortable, having a table for five Pokémon and the same number of chairs. They also had a refrigerator, which was now turned on.
"I didn't know you were a cook," he said with a laugh, sitting on one of the chairs.
"I asked them to deliver here. I think my knowledge of cooking comes down to juice," Lance said, drinking some tea from a cup.
"So what's the plan for the day, Mr. Masterchef?" The Zorua took a pancake, eating a few bites.
"I'll look for some mission in the guild; we need to create a reputation."
"Well, there must be some Caterpie that got stuck in a hole out there," Brian smirked.
"By the way, today is your day to do the dishes. Mine's tomorrow," Lance said as he took his plate and put it in the sink.
"Hey! Who said you could decide that?!" Brian grumbled.
"For starters, I rented the apartment. Also, you're the one that will have to replace the Light Ball on our fridge once it runs out of power, I know you love fixing those things," he said, heading for the bathroom.
After they left the house, the brothers went into the streets of the city. As the day before, the streets were full of movement. In front of the guild, they saw a Tyrunt who was in a hurry. Curious, the duo followed the unknown Pokémon.
The guildhall was large and they could see a wide corridor with multiple doors leading to different areas of the building, alongside stairs that stopped at the guildmaster's office. On the first floor, the siblings saw the Rock-Type running to a large board containing missions. The Tyrunt jumped, trying to pin a paper to it.
"Excuse me, is everything ok?" Lance asked, approaching the Tyrunt.
"Hm?" the dinosaur turned. "Misters! Can you help me?" the child said, trembling a bit.
"That's what we're here for!" Brian said, trying to calm the kid down.
"My dad... he's gone... it's been four days!" on the paper was the image of a Druddigon.
Lance widened his eyes, the Tyrunt's words bringing up some memories. Brian noticed that and took a deep breath, keeping the friendly face to the Tyrunt.
"Nobody accepted your request for help?" the Riolu crossed his arms, looking at the boy.
"No... Daddy is a politician, someone must have made him disappear!" At that point, the Tyrunt had tears in its eyes.
"Kid... We will find your father, you can count on us!" Lance growled, clenching his fists.
The Tyrunt forced a smile, raising his head. "Thank you so much!"
"Lance, let's do it!" Brian nodded, preparing to leave the building, only for him to feel something grabbing his tail and when he looked back, Brain saw that it was his brother.
"Not yet, we need to ask more things first, charging into the unknown is pointless," Lance said. "Kid, what can you tell us about your dad, who was running his political campaign?"
"O-Oh, well, daddy worked in this big building, I can show you!"
Brian smirked. "Sounds like a plan, then."
They walked together through the streets. Brian decided to try and cheer up the child, turning into several different Pokémon, including an Aipom, even making the sounds of a feral one, until they had arrived at what appeared to be an old building.
"Oh, we're here!" Tyrunt shouted, smiling for a bit.
Brian continued to stare at the building. It appeared to be made from concrete, and its walls were cracked all around. How did a politician choose such a place for his campaign? He ignored that, thinking it wasn't that important; someone was missing.
Lance scratched his chin. "Got it, I'll take it from here, alright? Do you know the way home?"
"Y-Yeah, I do!"
"Alright. Brian," Lance said, looking at his sibling. "Can you escort him to his house? I'll meet you back at the guild."
Brian tilted his head, sighing. He turned around and left with the Tyrunt. Now alone, Lance wondered what the whole story was; something he would find out soon enough.
The inside of the building was even more hectic, countless piles of paper were on the ground, scrambled, while a Pikachu with glasses tried to collect them all, mumbling something to themselves. While there were tables and chairs, the latter were on the floor. Lance twitched his ears, waiting for them to say something; and since the Pikachu didn't look like they were doing that anytime soon, Lance cleared his throat.
"W-Wha…? A visitor? Oh my, I'm so sorry for this mess!" the Pikachu said, a feminine voice coming out from her mouth. She got up, trembling.
Lance raised a brow. "It's fine, I'm here for—"
"Oh, I know! With the police?!" Pikachu looked down. "L-Look, I already talked with them, I-I mean, detective Apollo came here earlier this week. Look, mister Razor is missing, but I have nothing to do with it! He was so good, even hiring my services, considering how this place looks, I couldn't be more happy…"
Her aura radiated anxiety, something Lance knew very well, even without being an expert in aura sense like Lucario were. He opened his bag, showing the explorers badge of his team. "I'm a member of an exploration team, hired to investigate the disappearance of Razor. I believe you, alright? I just need to have some idea of what I'm going to do."
Pikachu blinked. "Oooh! Oh! That's better. How can I help you, then?"
"Well, first things first. When did you last see him?"
She bit her lip, trying to think of the answer to the question; her cheeks crackling with electricity. "A-A few… A few days ago, he was so nervous! Saying that… Someone was watching him from afar. I told him to go to the police, but he panicked even more!"
Lance watched in silence, processing all that she was saying. No suspects so far, it seemed, so that was the next step he needed to take. "Alright. Next question, then. Did anyone threaten you or him? It might help to have some suspects crossed off."
Pikachu trembled even more, trying to speak something, but found herself struggling to do that. Lance, noticing this, tried to reassure her. "Me and my brother have training, you won't be harmed in any way."
"I-I know one suspect, but if he finds out I told you… I'll disappear too, I'm… Sorry, I can't tell."
Growling, Lance thought about his options. With no suspects, this will be a feral Ducklett chase…
"I… Can't r-risk my life like that! I'm sorry, I really am, what happened was a tragedy, but…"
Lance looked at her in the eye. "You mentioned a detective. What if I were to talk to him? Witness protection and all. I mean, you're not a witness, I think. Regardless, it's your best option."
"Y-You would do that?!"
Lance grinned, it worked out, after all. "Why not? It's part of the job. I promise you I'll be doing that as soon as possible."
The Pikachu smiled, her eyes were sparkling. "O-Okay! I'll do that!"
"Go on, I'm waiting," Lance crossed his arms.
"S-So! About a week ago, we got a visit from this Gothitelle, she's the mayor's secretary and, well, she tried to bribe mister Razor."
Lance's eyes widened. "...A bribe? Oh."
"Y-Yeah, mister Razor refused to do that, and the next day, it started. Every time he came here, he complained about being followed wherever he went!"
Lance scratched his chin, so the mayor and his secretary were suspects? If nobody saw Razor again, the chances of him being alive were not high.
"I got it. Thank you for your help, miss."
Pikachu nodded. "You're welcome! What are you going to do now?"
"First I need to meet my brother again, then we'll figure out our next move. Don't worry, like I promised, I'll talk to this detective."
Lance left the place, thinking about what he would do next.
On his way to the guild entrance, Lance could see his brother from afar, looking down. He felt a shiver all over his body and ran as fast as he could to the doorway. His mind raced, trying to think of what happened. Lance didn't assume the worst, considering his brother was still there, but nonetheless, he worried.
"Lance, thank Arceus you're here!" Brian shouted, running to meet his sibling. He seemed to be okay, Lance couldn't see any wounds or bruises on him, only a faint aura of uneasiness.
"I… Are you okay?"
"Me? Yeah, I'm okay. That Tyrunt… Lance, once we got to his house, he got some terrible news, his dad…"
Brian didn't even need to finish the sentence for Lance to understand what was going on. He clenched his fist, that case just went from missing Pokémon to murder.
"Did you find anything useful? I feel awful for that kid!" Brian lowered his ears, whining.
Lance growled, looking around. Once he saw there weren't many Pokémon, he continued. "We have two suspects: the mayor and his secretary. That Druddigon was being followed and even bribed by them."
Brian's fur stood on end, and he had to contain himself from exploding right there. He wanted to do something as fast as he could. He spent a few minutes slowing his breathing.
"I think we should try to see the mayor," Brian finally calmed down, flashing a small smile.
"Yeah, we can try that, but I don't think you can see the mayor without an appointment," Lance shrugged.
"Not if you're a member of a famous exploration team!" laughing, he turned into a Lucario, a copy of his father. The only indication of the illusion was the tail, which had a red tip.
"That's... not a bad idea, come on!"
Stopping at the entrance, the two entered in silence. The mayor's secretary was sitting at his desk, reading a book. Getting closer, the "Lucario" tapped his paws on the table, trying to get her attention.
"Excuse me... miss…"
"Miss Jane. What can I do to help you?" the Gothitelle said without even looking at them.
"I'm Nick Williams, a member of Team Hero. And this is my son, Lance," he pointed to the Riolu.
"Good morning... we need to talk to the mayor," the boy said with his arms crossed.
"Let me see if he is available." she turned on the phone, calling the mayor, and then nodded.
Climbing the stairs, they went into the mayor's office. The building was also large, filled with rooms for all of the Alakazam's employees. The mayor had to be a busy Pokémon, but those two were determined to get answers.
"To what do I owe this team's visit?" the Alakazam said to the two Pokémon, his gaze fixed on them. The Psychic-type was not an idiot and tried to read their minds, although for some reason it didn't work on the Lucario.
"We received a mission from a Tyrunt; apparently his father disappeared," the Lucario crossed his arms, looking at the Psychic-type.
"He mentioned that the missing Pokémon was a politician, and—" Lance began to speak.
"You suspect me of having something to do with this, right?" Prometheus kept his gaze on them without even flinching. "I can tell, even without reading your minds."
Brian began to sweat but tried to stay calm. His brother took a slight look at him and faced Alakazam again.
"Well, I can assure you it wasn't me," he got up, looking through his office window. "It's a tragedy, certainly, and someone else has asked me about this. You can talk to the police, I was their first suspect. They will confirm that I'm innocent."
Lance closed his fists. He couldn't tell if the Alakazam was lying through his aura. They would have to find evidence to connect him to the case.
"I understand... I'm sorry to disturb you..." Brian turned around, getting out of there with Lance.
While the two of them were leaving, the mayor saw the Lucario's red tail, realizing the illusion.
How did they know about me?! Who even are they? I can't bribe, not this time, it's too risky if they're already onto me!
Prometheus picked up the phone. "I need to silence those brats…"
Half an hour later, at the lower parts of the city, three Steel-type Pokémon were talking to each other in a bar that was filled with mercenaries. They had received the Alakazam's message and were now discussing what their next move would be.
"Well, which one of us will take care of the target this time? They're a Dark-type and a Fighting-Type," Atlas grumbled.
"I offer myself," the Empoleon raised his fin.
"You just want to get the money for yourself as usual," the Bisharp said, rolling his eyes.
"He has a point, y'know. We can't use Flint, the last time he was the one who murdered the client's target, he would be a suspect!" Atlas snarled, hopefully, this job would be easy.
"Well, both of you have a 4x weakness against the fighting one… and as always your cowardice prevents us from getting better jobs, Atlas," Napoleon nodded.
"Okay, so you'll take care of it, Napoleon. Do we know where they live?" Flint crossed his arms.
"The mayor said that they have affiliated with Black Skull, which means they must live in one of the apartments. If I pay the landlord, he should let me pass without problems," the water Pokémon pondered.
"It seems that your greed will finally be useful. You better not screw this up, or I'll cut you up like a steak," Flint said, pointing his blades at him.
The day passed and the duo continued looking for clues. They decided to interrogate some Pokémon close to the victim, but most did not reveal anything important. The biggest hint was that he disappeared at night and left his house alone. The two of them then went back home.
Lance was in his room, writing in a notebook. His brain was racing, thinking about several chances of what had happened to the Druddigon. Outside the house, rain was falling and the sky was dark.
"Is it already dark? I lost track of time again." stretching, he left his room, going into the living room.
His brother was on the sofa, eating some Oran Berry pie they had ordered. When he noticed the Riolu, he left the sofa, waiting to see what he was going to say.
"I'm still sure the mayor is involved in this, damn. He's resistant to my aura," Lance snarled to himself.
"I can infiltrate his office, I don't think he'll be there all night..." Brian sighed.
While they were distracted by the conversation, the doorknob started to spin. The noise made the boys turn around, staying in combat position. Then, the door opened, but there was nobody there. Brian camouflaged them both with an illusion that made them invisible. They went to the corridor of the building.
Not only did he try to deflect, but he must have sent someone to attack us, but who?
Lance thought, his hand on his chin.
Suddenly, the place lit up, a silver gust of energy being fired. Barely having time to dodge, the illusion was undone, the two brothers looking at their enemy. On the other side was Empoleon hired to deal with them.
"My my, some new kids barely arrive and there's already that much trouble?" he gave them a smirk.
"Who hired you?!" Lance remained serious, standing in a combat position.
Brian shouted, body wrapped in a dark aura as he charged against Napoleon. Despite hitting him, the attack did little damage. His opponent laughed at the move, simply punching Brian with his fin, sending him across the hall, crashing into Lance.
I am not dying here!
Lance got up, ignoring all the pain he felt from that attack, even removing the sweat off his face. Taking a look behind the Empoleon, he saw a window.
"Well, well, I gotta speed up, don't you think?" Napoleon's body glowed pink and he ran, the sheer speed making wind blow through the corridor.
Brian grunted, copying the move, increasing his speed as well, enough to shove himself and Lance out of the way.
"Wow, I'm impressed... you're not so bad kids!" he continued to smirk.
"Shut up!" Lance dashed forward, his arms in the X position and shining. He jumped, trying to hit the penguin.
The enemy took one step back, dodging the blow, and opened his mouth, a white energy inside. Brian ran, still with the speed increase of before, his paws were shining like Lance's.
"Argh!" Brian copied the Cross Chop his brother had used, hitting the Empoleon in full force at the same time that he fired the energy, pushing Brian to the other side of the corridor. He hit the wall and fell to the ground, struggling to move.
While the two exchanged blows, Lance prepared to hit the penguin. He closed his fists, which glowed in a blue tone, aiming at the steel Pokémon.
"I'm strong enough to defeat you, moron!" Lance fired a gust of blue energy at his opponent.
Despite his best effort, a barrier appeared in front of the penguin, protecting him from attack.
"Tsc…" grumbling, the Riolu jumped, trying to hit him with another Cross Chop, only for Napoleon to dodge at the last moment.
Seeing the room's window, Napoleon noticed an opportunity while Lance was distracted. His fins were wrapped in water, giving the impression that he had made blades. Then, with his increased speed, the Pokémon advanced against Lance, cutting him with the swords he had made.
"It's time to take out the trash…"
The impact was so strong that Lance was thrown through the window, falling from the height of two floors, falling into a garbage can. In the building, the Empoleon smiled, thinking that his work was done. Well, if the mayor wanted them dead, he should pay more for the Crew. In silence, he left the place.
"W-Wait, Lance!" Brian ran outside the building.
During his hectic running, he came across Napoleon, but ignored him, that wasn't important right now! Instead, he focused on finding his brother. Once he did, he found Lance on top of a trash bin, moaning in pain.
"H-Hospital…" Lance said, spitting a little blood, his vision blurring.