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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Reflecting Balance


Well-Known Member
Griff4815: Thanks for your reply! I'm glad you enjoyed the first chapter. I hope you'll like the rest of the story as well, if you continue reading. And if you have any thoughts you'd like to share, or think there's an aspect of my writing where I could improve, feel free to let me know!

Hey everyone! Things have been kind of hectic lately, a lot has been going on. However, at least I've managed to finish a new chapter for you all!

So, I've been thinking about why it's been taking me so long to write these recent chapters, and there are probably several reasons for that. However, I think one of the main things I need to do in order to become more efficient, is to somehow get back into the mindset I had when I worked on earlier chapters of this story: It doesn't have to be perfect. After all, I'm doing this to improve my writing.

This story is now up to fifty chapters, and I guess I should be proud of myself for having gotten this far. Plans and details have changed along the way, but I'm pretty pleased with how the story has turned out so far. Sure, there are probably some elements that could've been even better, but hey, no story is perfect. Just giving this story a proper conclusion will be a big victory for me, and seeing as the story is around 2/3rds done, I'm getting closer to that point.

I've been thinking about what I want to do with the next few chapters, and I think I've got some ideas about what I should be focusing on.

Anyways, for now, let's continue on with the story! I hope everyone is enjoying it so far, and if anyone has any thoughts they'd like to share, feel free to let me know! Here's chapter 50!


Chapter 50: Be careful out there in the cold, okay?


Another new day had begun in Fenix Town, and a few of the rescue teams were currently gathered in the town plaza, as Stella and Bow had an important message for them. Blitz and his teammates were among the Pokémon in the crowd that were listening to Stella and Bow's explanation about the vision that the stars had shown them last night, revealing to them the location of one of the crystals that still had yet to be retrieved. Unbeknownst to them all, there was also a certain Elgyem listening in on Stella and Bow's explanation, observing them from a hiding spot with a pensive expression.

"Wow, it never even crossed my mind that one of the crystals would be hidden so close to the place where I used to live," Frosty the Beartic commented, stroking his icicle beard. "I hope that villain didn't mess with the place…"

"I'm afraid I don't know too much about the current state of Mt. Frostbite," Stella replied, looking over at Frosty. "I know there is definitely a crystal there, but it was… difficult to tell exactly what was going on…"

"It was snowing, a lot!" Bow added, raising her arms.

"Was it like… a blizzard?" Frosty asked, looking somewhat concerned.

"I don't know," Bow responded, shaking her head. "But… for a brief moment, I thought I saw something moving inside the flurry of snow… I don't know what it was, though…"

"… I see," Frosty replied, nodding his head.

"Well, whatever the situation is, whoever decides to take on this mission ought to be very careful out there," Stella explained, crossing her arms. "If you are not an ice or fire type Pokémon, I recommend seeing Couture. She should be able to provide you with something to help you stay warm in the colder parts of this region."

"And, um, when making your usual preparations for going into a mystery dungeon, you should choose your items carefully so you're prepared for any situation," Bow added, looking around at the various teams. "Don't forget that!"

"All right, I believe that is all," Stella said, looking over at Frosty once more. "Since you're familiar with the area, would you mind taking it from here?"

"Don't worry about it, Stella," Frosty responded, giving her a reassuring smile. "I'll gladly answer any questions these other guys have about Mt. Frostbite!"

"Thank you," Stella replied, smiling back at Frosty. "Well, I guess we'll be heading home, then."

"Good luck, everyone!" Bow said, happily smiling and waving at the rescue teams, before she and her mother headed home.

After the two of them had left, the other rescue team members turned to Frosty.

"So, this Mt. Frostbite is close to the village where you used to live, right?" Mirage asked, looking over at Frosty.

"That is correct," Frosty responded, nodding his head. "It's quite the impressive sight."

"I'm guessing there's a mystery dungeon within Mt. Frostbite?" Sera asked, raising a paw.

"Yes, that's right," Frosty responded, nodding his head.

"How big is it?" Azure asked, grinning.

"Um… I don't actually know the answer to that one…" Frosty replied, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly. "I've never actually explored the whole thing… I can tell you that it is divided into multiple sections."

"Multiple sections…?" Regina the Servine inquired.

"Yeah," Frosty replied, nodding his head. "They're in the area both outside, and inside of icy caves within the mountain!"

"Yikes…" Regina said, wincing.

"You said it," Frederick commented, turning his head in Regina's reaction. "Not a place I would want to visit…"

"The mushroom also agrees with this sentiment," Cordyceps said.

"Speak for yourselves!" Azure shouted, grinning. "That place sounds awesome!"

"I assume that this place is mostly inhabited by ice-type Pokémon?" Sting buzzed in, looking over at his teammate.

"Well, obviously," Frosty responded, shrugging his shoulders. "There are some really tough ice-types there."

"I'd expect as much," Blitz commented.

"Also, aside from the wild Pokémon inhabiting the dungeon, there's also this Absol who lives on the mountain," Frosty said, smiling. "If something happens that would affect the village, he would come down from the mountain to warn everyone!"

"Ooh, really?" Chiaki responded, looking up at Frosty. "Maybe… he'd be willing to help us find the crystal?"

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure he would, if you happened to meet him while making your way up the mountain!" Frosty replied, nodding his head.

"That would be really great!" Chiaki responded, smiling at the thought.

"So, anyways… Who will be heading there, anyways?" Frosty asked, looking around at the gathered Pokémon.

The various rescue teams exchanged looks, and began trying to work out which teams would go on the mission. Frosty obviously wanted to take part in the mission, which Sting had no objections to and so decided they would indeed go. Regina decided against going, feeling that she and her teammates wouldn't be able to get through a mystery dungeon full of ice-type Pokémon. Calder and his teammates also decided not to go. Megara felt confident in being able to handle the mission since her fire-type attacks would be super effective against ice-types, while Cordyceps was against going since he was part grass-type, and thus like Regina and Floretta, wouldn't have good odds against a bunch of strong ice-types. In the end, Mirage made the decision for the team, deciding that they would indeed go, much to Cordyceps' dismay.

As at least two of the higher ranked rescue teams had now volunteered to go, some of the other rescue teams followed Calder and Regina as they and their teammates headed for the HQ to look for other missions. Blitz and his teammates discussed the situation amongst themselves for a few more moments, before making their decision.

"So, we're going?" Azure asked, grinning excitedly.

"Yeah," Blitz replied, nodding his head. "I mean, we've helped retrieve the five crystals that have been found so far, so I feel we might as well keep going..."

"Yes!" Azure exclaimed, happily jumping into the air.

"My fighting type attacks will be super effective, right?" Chiaki asked, smiling at Blitz.

"Yes, they will," Blitz responded, nodding his head again. "However, I have a feeling this won't be an easy one… So, don't let your guard down, okay?"

"Understood!" Chiaki replied, saluting with one paw.

"Uh, it looks like the other two teams are already headed for the HQ," Sera pointed out, looking over in their direction. "Shouldn't we be getting ready too?"

"Right," Blitz responded. "So, let's make our preparations."


After a quick stop at a few of the shops and services in the town plaza, the group made their way to the HQ and headed through the green curtain to see Couture. The Leavanny was humming to herself as she worked on something, as the five younger Pokémon stepped into her room. As she put down what she was working on and turned around, she greeted Blitz and his teammates with a friendly smile.

"Ah, hello there!" Couture said, smiling brightly. "Wait; let me guess, you're planning on heading to Mt. Frostbite, aren't you?"

"Yes, we are," Blitz responded, nodding his head. "I'm guessing Sting and Mirage's teams have already been here?"

"That is correct," Couture replied, picking up a red scarf. "They needed something so their non-ice and non-fire-type Pokémon could stay warm during their mission in the colder part of this region, so I gave them the perfect thing for the job!"

"Those scarves will keep us warm, then?" Chiaki asked, curiously looking at the scarf Couture was showing them. "Like, the entire body?"

"Of course," Couture responded, winking. "These are special, high-quality scarves, specifically made for these types of missions!"

"Ooh, I like the sound of that!" Azure commented, grinning.

"So, how many would you like?" Couture asked, looking over the group.

"Uh, I'm not going, so they only need four," Frederick said, tilting his head slightly. "I wouldn't last long against a bunch of powerful ice-types, so…"

"Ah, right," Couture responded, looking down at the scarf. "These won't actually protect from attacks from ice-type Pokémon, by the way. It may possibly reduce the damage you'd take just a little, though."

"Good to know," Blitz replied.

Couture quickly picked out four red scarves, and held them out to Blitz and his team. Chiaki stepped up and accepted the scarves from Couture.

"Thanks!" Chiaki said, smiling.

"I'm just glad to help!" Couture responded, smiling back.

Chiaki helped Blitz and Sera put their scarves on, before handing one of the remaining two scarves to Azure and putting on his own scarf.

"They look good on you!" Couture commented, nodding her head in approval. "Well, I guess you're all set for your mission now?"

"I certainly hope so," Blitz responded, glancing down at the treasure bag he was carrying. "I tried to pack a good variety of items…"

"I'm sure we'll be fine!" Chiaki replied, grinning.

"Yeah!" Azure said, nodding. "Let's get going!"

The five of them thanked Couture once more for her assistance and said good-bye, before heading into Kala's room. Kala was in her usual position, snoring lightly while hugging her pillow. Sera walked up to try to wake the sleepy Abra.

"But you'll still take the damage…" Kala muttered in her sleep as Sera began shaking her shoulder. "… I'll set two cards face down, and end my turn…"

"Kala seems to have a lot of interesting dreams, doesn't she?" Chiaki commented, tilting his head. "I always find myself wondering what exactly she's dreaming about…"

Kala soon opened her eyes slightly, glancing at the rescue team.

"Oh, hey there…" Kala said, yawning as she sat up. "So… What can I do for you today…?"

"We're headed for Mt. Frostbite," Blitz explained.

"Ah, you too, huh…?" Kala responded, rubbing her eyes. "Yeah, about that… I can't send you directly to Mt. Frostbite…"

"You can't?" Azure replied, staring at Kala incredulously.

"I'm sorry…" Kala responded, looking over at the map. "However… I can send you over to this mystery dungeon here…"

Kala hovered over to the map, and pointed to a mystery dungeon marked on it.

"The Snow-Laden Path… if you go through this mystery dungeon, you'll end up in a village…" Kala explained, moving her finger over to the village as shown on the map. "From there… You can get to Mt. Frostbite…"

"I see," Blitz responded, watching the map. "So, we have to go through the mystery dungeon that leads to the village where Frosty lived before moving here."

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Azure asked, looking around at her teammates. "The other two teams already have a head-start! We should get going too!"

Kala had slowly floated back down onto her pillow, and seemed to have dozed off again.

"Good luck, you guys," Frederick said, smiling at his teammates. "Be careful out there in the cold, okay?"

"We will," Sera responded, nodding her head and smiling back.

"Yeah, so don't worry about us!" Azure said, grinning. "We'll be back with that crystal before you know it!"

Azure stepped forward and affectionately patted Frederick's head.

"See you later, buddy," Azure said, still smiling. "I'll tell you all about our adventure when we get back, okay?"

"Okay, Azure," Frederick responded, nodding his head. "I'll wait for you guys at the café."

Blitz stepped up to Kala, and shook her shoulder again.

"Kala, we're ready to go," Blitz said, glancing at Sera, Chiaki and Azure as they walked up to join him.

"Hmm…?" Kala replied, opening her eyes and lifting her head slightly. "Ah, right…"

Kala sat up for a moment, before floating up into the air as she prepared to teleport the four of them to their destination. In a flash of green light, they were sent off to their destination. Her job done, Kala laid back down onto her pillow. Realizing that the others had left, Frederick left the room, being sure not to make much noise so he wouldn't disturb Kala. He then left the HQ to head to the café, where he would wait for his teammates' return.


Chiaki looked around his surroundings in awe as he and his teammates arrived in a location covered in white snow, glittering in the sunlight that shined on it. His teammates also admired the beautiful sight, approaching the entrance to the mystery dungeon. Chiaki bent down and scooped up some snow in his paws, taking a moment to examine how it felt in his paws. He wondered if he had come across snow before, at some point before he lost his memories. Or maybe this was the first time? He wasn't sure.

"You know, if we didn't have work to do, it would've be fun to play in this snow," Azure commented, poking at it with her foot. "Then again, I guess this snow isn't in the right state for making snowmons…"

"Building snowmons, huh?" Sera said, looking over at Azure. "Not the suggestion I expected from you. I would've thought you'd suggest a snowball fight!"

"Well, how would you and Blitz throw the snowballs?" Azure responded, glancing down at Sera's paws. "Seems to me like Chiaki and I would kind of have the advantage there…"

"Uh, guys?" Blitz said, drawing the attention of his teammates. "We should probably get going. After all, getting through this mystery dungeon is only our first objective."

"Ah, right," Sera responded, nodding her head. "I guess we should get going if we want to be home before it gets too late…"

"Not to mention that the other two rescue teams are already ahead of us," Azure added. "We might miss out on all the action if we can't catch up!"

Chiaki continued to absent-mindedly stare at the snow, until his teammates called him over to the entrance of the mystery dungeon. The four of them exchanged looks, before stepping through the entrance into the maze. Snow-covered trees made up the walls of the labyrinth they found themselves in, and there was also snow on the ground, as expected.

"This way, everyone," Blitz said, pointing his paw towards one of the paths.

Blitz led the group down the path he'd pointed out, Chiaki briefly looking down at the paw prints they all left in the snow as they moved. They all kept an eye out for items and wild Pokémon as they searched for the stairs to the next floor. As expected, it seemed most of the wild Pokémon in the dungeon were ice-type Pokémon. However, they also came across a few deer-like Pokémon with dark brown fur and a yellow flower growing at the top of their heads as they went through the first few floors of the dungeon.

Being part normal-type and part grass-type, the winter form Deerling were also weak to fighting-type and fire-type attacks just like the ice-types were. While his Fire Fang attack would be effective against their current opponents, Blitz was still reluctant to use it.

"Take this!" Azure shouted, as she rolled at high speed into an ice-type Pokémon resembling a small, snow-covered tree, slamming it into the ground.

"We're doing pretty well so far," Sera commented, smiling at her teammates.

"Yep," Azure responded, shaking off some snow. "I'd say this is a good workout before we get to the main mission!"

"I hope there's a Kangaskhan Rock we can use in the village," Blitz said as he put an Oran berry they had just picked up from the ground into the bag. "We've managed to hold on to our most important items so far, but we're running out of space for extra items…"

"I guess we should keep working hard so we can get a bigger treasure bag soon, huh?" Sera responded.

"We certainly should," Blitz replied, nodding his head.

The group continued making their way through the dungeon, dealing with any wild Pokémon in their way. Oval-shaped pig-like Pokémon mostly covered in fur and Pokémon resembling small snow-covered trees with arms were the two most common encounters throughout the dungeon, even as some of the other encounters on later floors changed. About halfway through the dungeon, they stopped coming across Deerling, and a brown reindeer-like Pokémon with a round tail and a black orb on each of its yellow antlers seemed to take their place.

The wild Stantler proved to be a bit more of a challenge, with their hypnotic abilities and limited psychic power. However, with a bit of teamwork, they were able to take them down without much issue.

"We should be getting close to the end now…" Blitz said, looking around as they arrived on yet a new floor.

"I wonder what new friends we'll make this time," Chiaki commented, smiling.

"You sure there will be time for that?" Azure asked, following behind Chiaki. "I mean, I don't think we'll be in that ice-type village for long."

"At most, I'd say we'll only have time for a short break," Sera said, glancing at the two Pokémon following behind her and Blitz.

"So… No time for getting to know the Pokémon of the village, then?" Chiaki asked.

"Well, considering Erebos' actions up until now, it might be a good idea to talk to the Pokémon of the village to ask if they've noticed anything out of the ordinary," Blitz said, looking around for wild Pokémon nearby. "We might be able to get some more important information before heading to Mt. Frostbite that way."

"Oh, right," Sera responded, nodding her head. "Good idea."

The group continued moving through the remainder of the mystery dungeon's floors. As they finally reached the final set of stairs, they found themselves back outside, at the entrance of the ice Pokémon village. It had also started to snow by the time they exited the dungeon. The four of them exchanged glances, before heading into the village.


It was a small village, with several wooden cottages with snow-covered roofs. A few of the younger ice-type Pokémon were out playing in the snow, while a few of the older Pokémon were standing around, talking about their own things. Blitz and his teammates looked around as they walked further into the village, looking for someone who looked like they might know something useful. Chiaki looked excited as they explored the village, catching a few glimpses of the Pokémon there going about their lives.

"Look, it's another rescue team!" someone shouted.

Some of the younger ice-type Pokémon came running up to the rescue team, curiously looking at the four of them.

"Ah! Um… Hi," Blitz said, blinking a few times.

"Are you guys really a rescue team?" a dark-furred Pokémon with sharp claws asked, as she curiously looked at each member of the team.

"We are!" Chiaki responded, nodding his head and smiling.

"Whoa, really?" the Sneasel replied, tilting her head slightly.

"Hmm… Are you guys heading to Mt. Frostbite too, then?" a small pink humanoid Pokémon with blond hair asked. "… You don't look as tough as those other guys."

"T-T-The Pokémon on Mt. Frostbite are r-r-really strong," a small, gray Pokémon that looked as if it was wearing a yellow coat said.

"Hey, we can handle this no problem!" Azure stated with a confident smirk. "Even if none of us are fully evolved yet, we're still really strong!"

"Strong enough to stand a chance against the Pokémon on Mt. Frostbite?" the Smoochum asked, still seeming a bit skeptical.

"Um… We'll see," Blitz responded, briefly touching the yellow rings on his forelegs together.

"S-S-Something isn't right…" the Snorunt said, still shivering.

"With the wild Pokémon within Mt. Frostbite, you mean?" Sera asked, tilting her head slightly.

"H-H-Huh?" the Snorunt responded, blinking a few times. "Y-Y-You already heard?"

"Can you tell us more about it?" Sera asked, smiling sweetly.

"Um… T-T-The elder…" the Snorunt uttered, taking a breath before continuing. "S-S-She should be able t-t-to tell you more t-t-than I could…"

"Ah, is that so?" Blitz asked, looking over at the Snorunt. "Can you take us to her?"

"Y-Y-Yes, I can!" the Snorunt responded, nodding slightly. "F-F-Follow me!"

The Snorunt began to skip away, Blitz and his teammates following closely behind. Chiaki briefly stopped to wave good-bye to the other young ice-type Pokémon, with a few of them waving back and wishing the rescue team good luck. As they headed towards the home of the Pokémon that the Snorunt referred to as the town's elder, Chiaki looked over at Mt. Frostbite, which was visible in the distance. There was a crystal hidden somewhere on that mountain, and soon he and his friends would be climbing up there to look for it.

Sting and Mirage's teams had probably already started making their way through the mystery dungeon. Sting's team had Frosty, who was familiar with the area, while Mirage's team had Megara with the type advantage. Chiaki wondered how far the two teams had made it by now, and what obstacles they were facing at the moment. They would know soon enough, though.

Once they had spoken to the so-called elder, they would begin their own exploration of the mystery dungeon within Mt. Frostbite. A beautiful and hazardous place of ice, and with Erebos' forbidden magic present, there was no doubt that a chilling adventure awaited them there…


End of Chapter 50



Well-Known Member
Hello everyone!

Yes, I've finally finished chapter 51! Inspiration to keep writing has a tendency to come and go, a feeling I'm sure my fellow fanfic writers are familiar with. I don't know why, but I feel like the inspiration has been coming to me more frequently lately, allowing me to make some good progress on and finally finish this chapter. Whatever it was, I hope the feeling sticks with me so I can keep making progress on this and other stories I'm working on/want to work on.

If you have any comments/thoughts on my story that you'd like to share, don't be shy! I'd love to know your thoughts on the story.

Anyways, here's chapter 51! Hope you enjoy it!


Chapter 51: I’m just glad I made it in time.


After making their way through the Snow-Laden Path, Blitz and his teammates had reached a certain village inhabited by ice-type Pokémon. Before continuing on to Mt. Frostbite, where one of the Axis Tower crystals was hidden, they had decided to speak to some of the locals in order to find out if they had noticed anything unusual in the past several weeks or so. A young Snorunt had brought them to the home of a Pokémon who could supposedly give them the information they needed. While most of the buildings in the village were made of wood, this house in particular stood out due to being made almost entirely out of ice. The Snorunt carefully pulled at the sheet covering the front door, motioning for Blitz and his teammates to go inside.

“Um… Is it really okay for us to just go in?” Blitz asked, looking over at the Snorunt.

Before the Snorunt had the chance to answer Blitz’s question, Chiaki had already stepped inside. He curiously looked over at the white humanoid Pokémon that was hovering in front of a large block of ice, staring at it intently. Her two arms were connected to the sides of her head, with one hand currently touching her chin as she continued to stare into the ice. There were two small ice crystals on top of her water-droplet shaped head, vaguely resembling horns.

“H-H-Hey…” the Snorunt said, walking up to the Froslass. “I-I-I brought another rescue t-t-team over… Is n-n-now a bad time?”

“Not really,” the Froslass responded, shaking her head slightly. “I’m just waiting for this block of ice to turn into art, but alas, it seems inspiration just won’t come to me at this moment…”

The Froslass turned around, allowing Chiaki and the others to get a look at her face. It almost looked as if she were wearing a mask, due to the holes in her head. Her blue eyes were visible through two of the holes, while her mouth was visible through a gap in the “mask”.

“I suppose I’ll take a break for now,” the Froslass said, looking over at Blitz and his teammates. “So, you wish to know about Mt. Frostbite, is that it?”

“Yes, that’s why we’re here,” Blitz responded, nodding his head. “A Beartic from this village, Frosty, already told us a bit, but we thought someone here might know if anything unusual had happened lately…”

“Ah, yes, Frosty,” the Froslass replied, chuckling. “I remember when he was just a little Cubchoo… I recall he was quite the energetic little thing, albeit a little clumsy… He was always yearning to get stronger, and from what I can tell, he has indeed grown quite strong.”

“Yeah, you’ve got that right,” Azure commented, grinning. “He’s part of a pretty high-ranked rescue team, after all!”

“Yes, I’m glad he’s been doing well,” the Froslass responded, nodding her head slightly. “It seems moving to Fenix Town was a good decision on his part.”

“We certainly like having him around,” Sera said, smiling.

“Good to hear,” the Froslass replied, holding a hand to her chin. “Anyways, I guess I’d better tell you what you came to hear, so that you rescue team Pokémon can carry out your mission.”

“Right,” Blitz said, nodding his head. “The wild Pokémon on Mt. Frostbite are acting unusual, isn’t that right?”

“Indeed,” the Froslass responded, forming what looked like a ball of ice with two pointy horns between her hands. “I’ve noticed that some of the wild Glalie seem to be acting more aggressive than usual… It’s like they’re patrolling the area, and if they see anything out of the ordinary, they’ll immediately attack with powerful ice attacks… I suggest you try to stay out of their line of sight if possible.”

“We’ll keep that in mind,” Blitz replied. “Anything else we should look out for?”

“Hmm… Well, based on the unusually long and harsh blizzards on the mountain lately, I’d guess that the wild Abomasnow are also affected by this,” the Froslass said as she began to form another small ice sculpture between her hands.

“Ah, Stella and Bow did say something about that when they described their vision, didn’t they?” Sera pointed out, her ears perking up. “Something about it being difficult to see through all the snow?”

“Yeah, they did say that,” Chiaki responded, nodding his head.

“Well, keep an eye out for them when exploring the outside parts of the dungeon,” the Froslass replied, the small ice sculpture formed between her hands having taken the shape of a bipedal Pokémon with spiky hands and a tail, as well as fur covering most of its body. “I don’t think you’ll see them inside the cave areas.”

“I see,” Blitz responded, holding a paw to his chin. “So, wild Abomasnow appear in the outside areas of the dungeon, and I assume the wild Glalie can appear both inside and outside the caves, correct?”

“Yes, that is right,” the Froslass replied, nodding her head slightly.

“Is there anything else?” Blitz asked, looking up at the Froslass.

“There might be,” the Froslass responded, leaning against the block of ice she had been staring into earlier. “However, I’ve only really gotten a look at the first few floors of the dungeon, so I’m afraid that’s all the information I can give… I can only assume the Pokémon higher up on the mountain are also affected.”

“S-S-Scary…” the Snorunt muttered, having quietly listened this whole time.

“So, keep an eye out for the Glalie, Abomasnow and other kinds of wild Pokémon that might be acting unusual,” Azure said, nodding slightly.

“Hmm, that might be easier said than done,” Blitz commented, looking over at Azure. “Especially with those harsh snowstorms in the outside areas… Even with my sharp senses, I might have trouble detecting an approaching threat in such conditions…”

“Especially since some ice-types’ natural abilities can make them harder to spot when it’s snowing or hailing,” Sera added, her ears drooping slightly.

“Indeed,” the Froslass responded, nodding her head. “You have quite the challenge ahead of you, young ones.”

“M-M-Maybe you s-s-should reconsider?” the Snorunt suggested, looking at Blitz and his teammates. “Two r-r-rescue teams are already t-t-taking care of the mission, s-s-so there’s no need for you t-t-to go on such a d-d-dangerous mission!”

“Aw, don’t worry about us,” Azure said, patting the Snorunt on the back. “We’ll be fine. I told you before that we’re pretty strong, didn’t I?”

“B-B-But…” the Snorunt stuttered.

“Azure, this isn’t simply a matter of being strong enough to defeat our opponents,” Blitz said, looking over at the Marill. “They’ll certainly be taking advantage of their abilities to hide in the cover of snow to attack us when we least expect it.”

“So… Bring items that allow us to keep track of wild Pokémon?” Azure suggested. “Got any Radar Orbs in storage?”

“Hmm, that could help…” Blitz responded, holding a paw to his chin. “But there’s limited space in our treasure bag… and I’m not even sure how many Radar Orbs we’d need…”

“There are times like these when I wish we had X-Ray Specs…” Sera commented, sighing. “I still hope we can get our paws on a pair of those someday…”

“You’ll certainly have to choose your items wisely,” the Froslass said, looking at Blitz. “But I don’t think that’ll be a problem for you. You seem like a rational young Shinx, so I’m sure you’ll handle that just fine.”

“Uh… Thanks,” Blitz replied, rubbing the rings on his forelegs together.

“Well, I guess that’s everything I know about these unusual conditions…” the Froslass said, looking away for a moment. “Although there is still one more thing that worries me…”

“What is it?” Chiaki asked.

“A certain Pokémon lives somewhere on the mountain…” the Froslass responded. “I wonder if he is okay…”

“You’re talking about the Absol who lives there, right?” Blitz asked.

“Yes… I guess Frosty already told you about him,” the Froslass responded, nodding her head slightly. “Since he hasn’t come down from the mountain in a while, I suppose the village is safe. However, with everything that is happening on the mountain…”

“Yeah, he might be in trouble…” Sera said, her ears drooping slightly.

“Of course, I doubt he’d go down without a fight,” the Froslass said, looking thoughtful. “He is quite strong, after all.”

“We’ll look for him too!” Chiaki said, smiling. “We’ll make sure he’s okay!”

“Thank you,” the Froslass responded, nodding her head slightly. “I wish you luck in your mission.”

“Thanks for sharing what you know about the current situation,” Blitz said, looking over at the Froslass. “Well, we’d better get going.”

“B-B-Be careful…” the Snorunt stuttered, giving the rescue team a concerned glance.

“We will,” Blitz responded, smiling and nodding at the Snorunt. “Thanks to you too, for bringing us to the elder.”

“Huh?” the Snorunt replied, blinking a few times before blushing slightly. “Oh, um… You’re w-w-welcome…”

Chiaki smiled and patted the Snorunt on the head, before he followed his teammates out of the elder’s house. After saying good-bye to the elder and the young Snorunt, the group began heading towards the mountain.


A Kangaskhan Rock was standing close to the entrance of the mystery dungeon, and Blitz was quick to run up to it and begin sorting through the items. While Blitz was focusing on preparations for the mission, the other three rescue team members noticed that it seemed to be snowing much more compared to the light snowfall they’d seen since exiting the Snow-Laden Path and entering the village of ice-type Pokémon. Of course, compared to what kind of weather they would have to face on Mt. Frostbite itself from what both Stella and the Froslass’ warnings, this was just a little flurry.

Chiaki looked up at the large mountain before him. A crystal was hidden somewhere on it, and it seemed Erebos had gone out of his way to make it difficult for the rescue teams to reclaim it. Chiaki wondered how far up they’d have to climb in order to find the missing crystal. Could it be hidden at the very top of the mountain?

“I wonder if the other rescue teams are doing okay…” Sera said, staring up at the mountain.

“Well, Sting’s team has Frosty, who is familiar with the area,” Azure responded, looking over at Sera. “And Mirage’s team has Megara, who is a fire-type. She can fight off ice-types with super effective fire attacks and keep her teammates warm!”

“Still…” Sera murmured, looking away for a moment. “It sounds like things are pretty intense up ahead…”

“I think they’ll be fine,” Azure responded, smiling. “After all, their rescue team badges will activate and teleport them out if anything serious happens, right?”

“Ah, yes, that’s true…” Sera replied, holding a paw to her chin as she thought about it. “The badges can also send out a distress signal to let other rescue teams know if they’re in trouble…”

The three of them glanced over at Blitz, who was still busy trying to decide on which items to bring along on the mission. The rescue team badge was as usual hanging off of the treasure bag, much like a regular cute little accessory.

“Doesn’t look like the badge is reacting to anything, so they’re probably okay, right?” Azure said.

“I hope you’re right,” Sera responded, nodding her head slightly.

The three of them stared up at the imposing mountain for a few moments, before they eventually heard the sound of Blitz closing the lid on the treasure bag.

“Okay… I think that’ll do,” Blitz said as he turned to face his teammates. “Are you all ready?”

“I think so,” Sera responded, nodding her head.

“I’m ready!” Azure said, punching the air with a stubby paw.

“Yeah, I’m ready too,” Chiaki added.

“All right…” Blitz responded, nodding his head. “Don’t feel bad if… things get too rough up there, and we have to flee… It’s okay…”

“Huh? Don’t tell me you’re getting cold paws now!” Azure said, looking a bit annoyed. “I guess it is perfectly understandable, but…”

“I’m not saying that we’re just going to head home without trying,” Blitz corrected, looking over at Azure. “I’m just saying that if it gets too dangerous, then there’s no shame in just escaping the dungeon.”

“Hmm… Fine,” Azure responded, sighing. “I guess you’re right…”

“… Okay, let’s go,” Blitz said, walking up to the entrance of the dungeon.

Gathered in front of the entrance to the mystery dungeon, the four Pokémon exchanged glances before heading inside. With Blitz leading the way, the team found themselves inside an icy cave. Blitz looked around at the room they were in, while Azure helped listen for any potential threats. No one said a word as they began exploring the rest of the floor.

Parts of the cave floor were icy, and they had to be careful not to slip on it. After a few moments of wandering around exploring the first floor, Blitz suddenly stopped.

“Be quiet…” Blitz whispered to his teammates, keeping his gaze on something nearby. “I don’t know if they’ve noticed us yet…”

Azure’s ears twitched as she tried to listen for the wild Pokémon that Blitz seemed to have spotted, but couldn’t hear anything other than her own teammates’ breathing. Chiaki wondered what was going on, and tried to get a look past Sera and Blitz in front of him. Sera just waited quietly for her cue to make a move.

“It’s getting closer…” Blitz whispered, getting into a fighting position.

A Pokémon resembling a black rock covered in ice was floating towards the rescue team, glaring at Blitz with its blue eyes that were visible through two of the holes in the ice covering its orb-like body. As it approached the rescue team, it slowly opened its mouth, a blue light forming between its jaws as it prepared to attack.

Before the wild Glalie could unleash its ice attack, Blitz made his fur shine brightly. Blinded by the light, the Glalie ended up shooting the ice beam too high, missing the rescue team entirely. After the ice beam had harmlessly passed over them, Blitz jumped forward and pushed the still-stunned Glalie back slightly with an electrified tackle.

“Let’s take it out before it alerts the other wild Pokémon!” Blitz shouted, keeping his eyes on his opponent.

Sera quickly used her Helping Hand move to give a power boost to her teammates, followed by Chiaki and Azure going in for an attack. Chiaki jumped up and kicked the Glalie, while Azure slammed her tail against it with enough force to send the Glalie flying into one of the dungeon walls. The Glalie gave an angry growl, before falling to the ground.

“… Did it faint?” Sera asked, tilting her head slightly.

“I think so…” Blitz responded, cautiously approaching the Glalie to make sure.

“That wasn’t too tough,” Azure commented. “Maybe this won’t be as difficult as we thought?”

“Hmm… I don’t know about that,” Blitz replied, not taking his eyes off of the Glalie. “We’re currently on the first floor, and this was just a single Glalie…”

“He’s probably right,” Sera said, her ears drooping slightly. “There’s no way the entire mission will be this simple…”

After making sure that their opponent was indeed defeated, Blitz and his teammates continued to explore the dungeon. They soon located the stairs and moved on to the second floor. Blitz continued to carefully watch out for the wild Pokémon, trying to avoid battles if more than one wild Pokémon was within close range at the time. Eventually, they went up a set of stairs only to suddenly find themselves outside of the cave.

From the layout, it was clear that they were still in the mystery dungeon and that this was another floor, although a heavy snowfall was making it a bit harder to see everything clearly.

“Okay… I think this is where things will start to get more difficult,” Blitz said, looking around. “Let’s keep moving.”

The four of them continued to explore the new floor, staying close together and keeping an eye out for wild Pokémon. Azure’s ears twitched slightly, and she briefly stopped to look around.

“What’s the matter, Azure?” Chiaki asked, turning to look at her.

“I hear something…” Azure responded, looking around.

“Maybe it’s just the wind?” Chiaki replied, also glancing around.

“It’s never just the wind,” Azure responded, her ears twitching as she tried to figure out where the noise was coming from. “I hear… it’s sort of a growling sound…”

“Huh? So, it’s a wild Pokémon, then?” Chiaki asked.

“Probably…” Azure responded, nodding.

The two of them continued walking, quickly catching up to Blitz and Sera so they wouldn’t get left behind. After a few moments, Azure stopped again.

“There it is again…!” Azure exclaimed, her ears twitching. “It must be close by!”

Blitz had stopped walking, and was now staring up at a much larger Pokémon that had appeared before them. A large bipedal creature with white shaggy fur was glaring down at them with pale purple eyes. It raised one arm, preparing to slam down with a glowing green hand. Blitz managed to leap out of the way of the Abomasnow’s Wood Hammer attack, before ramming his body against the Abomasnow’s side. The larger Pokémon seemed mostly unfazed by Blitz’s attack.

While the Abomasnow’s attention was still focused on Blitz, Sera ran towards the Abomasnow as quickly as she could and slammed into the opponent. The Abomasnow gave an angry grunt, before launching several large shards of ice at Sera. The shards were sent flying towards her so fast that she didn’t even have time to try to dodge, and was knocked down.

“Ow…!” Sera yelped, flinching as she tried to get back onto her paws.

Chiaki and Azure quickly ran over to Sera, standing between her and the Abomasnow as it walked towards her.

“Don’t worry, Sera!” Chiaki said, glancing over his shoulder at her. “We’re here for you!”

“I’d rather not get hit by one of those powerful grass attacks, though,” Azure commented, with a somewhat nervous smile on her face.

While the Abomasnow’s attention was on his teammates, Blitz was contemplating his next move.

“I wonder if my Fire Fang attack would be enough to take it down,” Blitz thought to himself, looking up at his opponent. “It… should be okay to use that… right?”

Chiaki jumped up and delivered a powerful punch to the Abomasnow’s chest, while Azure slammed her tail against one of its legs. Sera had managed to get back onto her feet.

“You okay, Sera?” Azure asked, looking over at her teammate.

“Y-Yeah…” Sera responded, nodding her head. “I’ll just walk it off…”

Chiaki swiftly sidestepped as the Abomasnow fired off more ice shards, just barely managing to dodge every single one. Chiaki gave a sigh of relief as the attack ended, while the Abomasnow stomped on the ground in anger. Blitz leaped forward and tackled the Abomasnow once more.

“I think we’ve got this!” Azure exclaimed, before rolling towards the Abomasnow at a high speed. “Let’s finish it!”

Azure rolled into the Abomasnow, bouncing off and rolling into it again with even more force. The Abomasnow tried to slow her down by blowing an icy wind at her, but the attack didn’t seem to have much of an effect. Blitz and Sera both rammed into the Abomasnow’s side, while Chiaki jumped up and kicked it in the face. Azure soon came crashing into the Abomasnow a third time, finally causing it to faint from their attacks.

“Ah, there we go!” Azure said as she began to slow down, looking a bit dizzy. “Whew…”

Blitz looked up, and noticed that it seemed the snowfall had gotten a bit lighter now that they had defeated the Abomasnow. The group decided to keep moving before anything else happened. As they continued moving through the floors, they had to fight several tough wild Pokémon. But through teamwork, and the consumption of a few of the healing items they had brought along, they managed to keep making progress.

“Hmm… I think the next floor after this one will be in the cave part again,” Blitz said as they arrived on a particular floor. “At least, if I’ve counted these floors correctly…”

The group continued walking for a bit, before noticing that the weather was looking a bit different on this floor. Each of them felt a small as tiny balls of ice hit them from above.

“Ugh, is this hail?” Azure asked, rubbing her head. “How annoying…”

“Well, let’s just keep going and find the stairs,” Sera responded, trying to keep a positive tone. “Hopefully, it won’t be hailing on the next floor.”

They kept exploring the floor, trying not to be bothered by the occasional piece of hail landing on them. After a while, Chiaki suddenly stopped, having felt his leg bump into something cold and icy on the ground.

“What is it?” Azure asked as Chiaki bent down to pick up the object that was sticking out from the snow.

Chiaki brushed some snow off of the icy object, and was surprised to see what appeared to be a rescue team badge encased in ice. Azure gasped as she peeked over Chiaki’s shoulder and saw what he was holding.

“Is that badge… from one of the other teams?” Azure asked, looking a bit concerned.

“I’m not sure…” Chiaki responded, examining the badge. “It might be…”

“But why would something like that be here like this?” Azure asked. “Did something happen to one of the other two teams!?”

“I-I hope not…” Chiaki responded, starting to worry himself. “We should show this to Blitz… Maybe he can tell who it belongs to.”

“Y-Yeah, good idea,” Azure replied, nodding.

The two of them ran forward to catch up to their teammates, only to discover that Blitz and Sera were already engaged in battle against three Glalie. Chiaki and Azure exchanged quick glances, before rushing in to assist their friends in battle. Chiaki tucked away the frozen badge away into his scarf, before jumping up and hitting one of the Glalie, causing it to flinch. He then narrowly avoided getting hit by ice beams from the other two Glalie.

Azure fired a strong stream of bubbles from her mouth at one of the Glalie, pushing it back a little. Sera was using her Helping Hand to power up her teammates, while Blitz was charging up electricity to power up his attacks, as well as build up a better resistance to the beams fired by their opponents.

The stairs leading up to the next floor were nearby. If they could just get past the Glalie hovering near them, they could move on.

“They sure like firing those ice beams, huh?” Azure commented, jumping up and slamming her tail against one of the Glalie.

One of the Glalie dropped to the ground as Chiaki knocked it out with a Jump Kick. Blitz and Sera teamed up to try to take down the one in front of the stairs. The two jumped up and tackled the Glalie in near perfect sync. Soon, all three Glalie had been defeated.

“Whew… Good job, everyone,” Blitz said, smiling at his teammates. “Let’s keep moving.”

Blitz and Sera walked up the stairs to the next floor. However, before Chiaki and Azure could follow them, a large icicle suddenly dropped from out of nowhere, landing in front of the stairs to block Chiaki and Azure’s path.

“W-What!?” Azure exclaimed, blinking a few times. “What just happened?”

Azure’s ears twitched as she realized that something else had entered the room.

A large, brown mammoth-like pig Pokémon had appeared, having gotten into the room unnoticed in the hail. Staring down at Chiaki and Azure, it began preparing another attack.

“Quick! Let’s go around the big icicle and catch up to the others!” Azure shouted.

“Okay!” Chiaki responded, nodding his head.

The two of them tried to do just that, only to discover that yet another Glalie had just entered the room from another path.

“Not another one!” Azure whined, looking rather annoyed.

“Watch out!” Chiaki cried out, pushing Azure and himself out of the way of an incoming ice beam attack.

The rolled out of the way of the ice beam, but didn’t have much time to relax as a sudden blast of cold wind blew through the room. They had no way of dodging the Mamoswine’s Blizzard attack like this.

“Ugh… That’s not fair!” Azure complained, glaring at the wild ice-type Pokémon.

“Azure… The stairs…” Chiaki said, pointing towards the staircase, which was now being blocked by the Glalie.

“Doesn’t look like these guys aren’t going to let us reach it that easily…” Azure responded, sighing. “Guess we’ll just have to fight!”

“But…” Chiaki replied, shivering a little from the cold.

“It’s the only way we’ll be able to reach those stairs,” Azure reminded him.

“… All right,” Chiaki responded, nodding his head. “Let’s go.”

Azure let out a stream of bubbles to slow down the Mamoswine, while Chiaki decided to do something about the Glalie blocking their path. Chiaki fired a stream of golden stars from his paws at the Glalie to try and push it back, before aiming for a powerful Jump Kick. However, the Glalie suddenly made a sharp movement to the side, causing Chiaki to miss his attack and crash into one of the walls of the dungeon.

“Chiaki!” Azure cried out, as Chiaki fell to the ground.

Azure slammed her glowing tail against the Mamoswine for quite a bit of damage, before rushing over to check on her teammate.

“Chiaki, are you okay?” Azure asked, shaking Chiaki by the shoulders.

Chiaki did not respond.

“Did he faint…?” Azure muttered, looking up as she realized the Glalie and the Mamoswine were getting closer. “Ah… This is so not good!”

Azure stood between Chiaki and the two ice-type Pokémon, who were soon joined by an Abomasnow.

“Okay, this is just too much!” Azure exclaimed, glaring at the ice-types. “Well, I don’t care if you outnumber me! I’m going to protect my friend, no matter how many of you decide to show up!”

The Mamoswine roared and stomped on the ground. The Abomasnow and the Glalie soon joined in, making the ground shake. Azure’s ears twitched, and she looked up to see an avalanche headed towards her and Chiaki. Azure tried her best to cover Chiaki in order to protect him from the ice-types’ attack with her own body. She closed her eyes, preparing for the impact of the attack.

… Instead, she suddenly felt something pick her up, carrying her away. When she opened her eyes, she and Chiaki had been moved out of the way of the avalanche. A quadruped Pokémon with white fur was standing in front of her and Chiaki, and was facing the ice-type Pokémon.

“It’s that Absol…” Azure said, looking up at the white furred Pokémon that had just saved her and Chiaki.

The Absol had dark blue skin on its face, which was devoid of the white fur covering most of its body. It had a dark blue sickle-shaped horn on the right side of its head and a tail resembling a scythe. The Absol was watching the ice-type Pokémon with his red eyes, waiting for one of them to make a move.

Once the Glalie opened its mouth and began preparing for a Blizzard attack, the Absol suddenly leaped at high speed and struck the Glalie with his horn. With a critical attack, the Glalie was knocked out and fell to the ground.

“Nice!” Azure exclaimed, grinning and punching the air. “One down, two to go!”

The Abomasnow launched several razor sharp leaves in the direction of the Absol, but the Absol sensed the incoming attack and moved out of the way. The horn on the side of its head shone with a pink light, before it unleashed a Psycho Cut attack against the Abomasnow and followed up with a Quick Attack. However, while the Absol was focusing on trying to take down the Abomasnow, the Mamoswine was able to launch several shards of ice at the Absol.

The Absol made a pained grunt as the ice shards struck its body. The Mamoswine was about to attack again, when a stream of bubbles struck it.

“I’m still here, you know!” Azure yelled at the Mamoswine, smirking.

With Azure distracting the Mamoswine, the Absol was able to continue focusing on taking out the Abomasnow. The Absol gritted his teeth and walked towards the Abomasnow as it tried to slow him down with an Icy Wind. Once the Abomasnow ceased its Icy Wind attack and tried to slam down on the Absol with a glowing green arm, the Absol moved out of the way of the Wood Hammer attack, before biting down on the Abomasnow’s other arm. The Abomasnow made a growling noise as the Absol released its arm.

The Absol finished the Abomasnow off with a powerful Night Slash attack, before running over to help Azure take down the Mamoswine, who was approaching her and the unconscious Chiaki.

“Whew… I don’t know how much longer I can keep up the bubble beam attacks…” Azure muttered as she tried to catch her breath.

Azure did her best to block attacks from the Mamoswine by knocking its ice projectiles away with her tail, making sure none of them would hit Chiaki. Her expression brightened as she saw the Absol running over to help her. Seeing the change in Azure’s expression, the Mamoswine began to turn around, only for the Absol to strike its side with the claws on one of his paws, following up with a slash from his horn.

“I’ll let you finish this,” Azure said, panting.

The Absol glanced over at Azure and nodded in acknowledgement, before turning back to face his opponent. The Mamoswine began charging at the Absol, intending to strike with one of its large, white tusks. The Absol waited for the Mamoswine to get close, before stepping to the side and letting the Mamoswine collide with a wall. While the Mamoswine was disoriented from the failed attack, the Absol began whipping up a small whirlwind. As the Mamoswine managed to turn back around, the Absol was running towards him with a Razor Wind blowing and weakening the Mamoswine before the Absol delivered the final blow. His horn coated in dark energy, it struck the Mamoswine with a powerful Night Slash attack, finally taking it down.

Azure gave a sigh of relief as the Mamoswine went down, looking over at Chiaki lying next to her and patting him on the head. She looked up to see the Absol standing in front of them.

“Thanks,” Azure said, smiling up at the Absol. “You really saved us there…”

“There is no need to thank me,” the Absol responded, looking down at the two younger Pokémon with a stoic expression. “I’m just glad I made it in time.”

The Absol leaned down a little, curiously sniffing Azure and looking at the red scarves she and Chiaki were wearing.

“You two… you are rescue team members, aren’t you?” the Absol asked.

“Yeah, that’s right,” Azure responded, nodding her head. “We’re looking for a crystal from Axis Tower. They were all stolen a while ago, and one of them is hidden somewhere here on this mountain!”

“I see,” the Absol replied, nodding his head slightly. “So, you’re looking for it too.”

“… Huh?” Azure responded, tilting her head slightly. “What do you mean by that?”

“This isn’t the place to talk about that,” the Absol said, looking around. “It’s not safe here.”

“Oh, right,” Azure responded, glancing around. “More wild Pokémon might appear…”

“Exactly,” the Absol replied, nodding his head. “I’ll take you two to a safer location, so that you may rest up from that battle. We can talk there.”

“Um… Okay,” Azure responded, looking a bit concerned. “But… our teammates have already gone on ahead, and… they’re probably really worried about us by now…”

“I’ll help you reunite with them once you’ve recovered a bit more from that battle,” the Absol replied.

“… Fair enough,” Azure responded, sighing. “All right, let’s get out of here.”

Azure helped Chiaki get Chiaki onto the Absol’s back, before climbing onto it herself. She held tightly onto his fur as he began running at high speed. She wasn’t sure where he would take them, but she trusted him. She knew he would keep his promise, and help her and Chiaki reunite with Blitz and Sera.

“Blitz… Sera… I’m sure you two are worried sick right now,” Azure thought, as she rode on the Absol’s back. “But we’ll catch up to you two soon enough! So, just wait for a little bit, okay?”


End of Chapter 51



Well-Known Member
I never get tired of the feeling when I post a new chapter. Feels good. :)

Hey everyone! Today, it has been five years since I posted the original version of the first chapter of this story!

Time sure flies, huh? I feel like my writing skills have improved a lot these past few years as I've worked on the story. Of course, I still feel like I have a lot more to learn, so I hope I'll be able to improve my writing skills even further!

Anyways, with this being sort of the five year anniversary for PMD: Reflecting Balance, I figured it was only appropriate to post a new chapter today!

Thanks to everyone who has been following the story so far! I hope you're all enjoying it! Feel free to leave a comment/review/reply to let me know what you think about it!

Well, here it is! Chapter 52!


Chapter 52: I simply can't ignore someone in trouble.


Neither of them had said much during the exploration of the last few floors. After somehow getting separated from Chiaki and Azure when moving on to a new floor, Blitz and Sera were eventually forced to move on when they realized their teammates weren't coming. Even though they were worried about their teammates, they couldn't go back the way they came since the stairs vanished behind them the moment they stepped onto the next floor. They could only move forward, as the wild Pokémon would certainly trap them if they stayed in one place for too long. They had to keep moving.

Eventually, they reached a floor with a Kangaskhan rock in it where they could stop and take a break. While Blitz took a moment to sort through their items, Sera just kept staring in the direction they had entered the room from, as if hoping their missing teammates would appear.

"They're… okay, right?" Sera asked, her ears drooping down.

"I hope so," Blitz responded, closing the lid on the treasure bag as he turned to look at Sera.

"What do you think happened?" Sera asked, looking over at Blitz.

"I don't know," Blitz responded, shaking his head. "There's simply no way either of us could know what happened on that floor after we left it…"

The two of them sat there in silence for a few moments.

"No wild Pokémon will appear here…" Sera commented, looking around. "Maybe we could wait here for Chiaki and Azure to catch up…"

"We could, but… I just get the feeling that might take a while…" Blitz responded, frowning.

"So you think we… should just keep going without them?" Sera asked, seeming displeased with this idea.

"We're not going to leave them behind, of course," Blitz responded, shaking his head. "I think… we should try to catch up to one of the other rescue teams. Things should at the very least be easier with their help. And who knows, maybe Chiaki and Azure will catch up while we look for the other teams…"

"That would be nice," Sera replied, her ears perking up just a little. "But, can't we stay here just a few more minutes first? See if they show up?"

"Sure," Blitz responded, nodding his head. "We'll wait for a bit."

The two of them sat on the icy floor, in front of the Kangaskhan rock, taking the time to gather their strength for the next few floors. Blitz looked over at Sera, wondering if she'd be able to keep her focus during the exploration of the next few floors, even if Chiaki and Azure were still missing. Getting distracted in a situation like this was simply too dangerous, which was why Blitz was trying his best not to imagine what might've happened to their friends. If he could stay strong, then maybe Sera would be okay too. They would get through this together, and find their teammates.

Blitz closed his eyes for a moment, trying to clear his mind. His fangs began to heat up as he focused on channeling his power into them. Sera looked over at Blitz as he opened his mouth slightly, seeing the orange light from his glowing fangs.

"Blitz…?" Sera said, tilting her head slightly. "What are you doing?"

The orange glow slowly faded, and Blitz soon opened his eyes and turned to look at Sera.

"In order to keep working towards overcoming my fears… I need to be able to use my Fire Fang and Ice Fang attacks in battle," Blitz explained.

"Ah, I see," Sera responded, nodding her head slightly.

"I've been working on the technique while training at the dojo, so I should be able to use them without doing more damage than necessary," Blitz said, taking a moment to adjust his red scarf. "I'd be even more useful in battle against foes that can resist my electric attacks… For example, my Fire Fang attack would surely be useful in our current situation."

"I suppose it would," Sera replied, looking a bit concerned. "But… you shouldn't force yourself to use those attacks… I mean…"

"I know," Blitz responded, sighing. "My past will remain a part of me, as much as I at times wish I could just forget it all…"

"Blitz…" Sera replied, her ears drooping down.

"As for the future… It doesn't seem quite as scary as it did before," Blitz said, rubbing the rings on his forelegs together. "Of course, there are still things that worry me…"

"I understand that," Sera responded, looking down at the ground.

"I truly appreciate everyone's support," Blitz said, smiling. "But you can't solve all my problems for me."

"I… guess not," Sera responded, holding a paw to her chin. "We can still help, though!"

"Of course," Blitz replied, nodding his head. "However, I need to start doing something about it too. If I just keep telling myself that there's nothing I can do to change things, then… well, I won't be able to change them. It's kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy."

"Makes sense, I guess," Sera responded.

"I'm not really sure why I never realized that until recently," Blitz said, smiling sheepishly and looking away. "Maybe I'm stupider than I thought…"

"Hey, don't say that!" Sera responded, frowning. "You're not stupid…"

The two of them were quiet for a few moments, seeming unsure of what to say.

"So… Do you have any idea about what to do?" Sera eventually asked. "With the whole stuff about the future, I mean."

"Not really," Blitz responded, shaking his head. "I suppose I'd have to return to Lightning Plateau in order to sort some of those things out…"

"Ah, right," Sera replied, nodding her head.

"… You know, I had a talk with Chiaki a few nights ago," Blitz said. "Chiaki talked about how he'd like to stay in Fenix Town with us, but that there may be somewhere else he needs to return to someday…"

"Oh?" Sera replied, tilting her head slightly.

"Yeah," Blitz responded, nodding his head. "I also like living in Fenix Town, with you and everyone else, but… my stay in Fenix Town… was supposed to only be temporarily, you know?"

"… Right," Sera responded, her ears drooping down slightly. "So… Does that mean that whenever you return to Lightning Plateau to sort things out… you won't come back?"

Blitz didn't seem to sure how to answer that.

"… Well, I guess your mother and your sister are there, and they might want you to stay with them…" Sera said, sighing. "I understand that."

Blitz quietly nodded his head.

"… I… can't really imagine what living far away from your family is like," Sera said, looking down at the ground. "I've always been surrounded by my older siblings… they're always there, waiting for me to return home from my missions."

Blitz smiled as he listened to what Sera had to say.

"If you decided to stay with your family, I'd… understand," Sera said, closing her eyes for a moment. "Of course, I'd miss you, but…"

"Well, there's no need to worry about such things just yet," Blitz responded, reassuringly touching Sera's paw with his own. "It'll definitely take a while before I'm ready to return to Lightning Plateau, so… let's just focus on the things we need to do now."

"… Okay," Sera replied, smiling at Blitz.

"On that note, I think we've waited long enough…" Blitz said, getting up. "Even though Chiaki and Azure haven't caught up yet, we should keep going."

"… Yeah, I guess we should," Sera responded, her ears drooping slightly.

Sera got up on her feet, and followed Blitz as he headed for the path leading deeper into the mystery dungeon. They looked back in the direction they had come from one more time, before stepping into the next part of the dungeon to continue their search.


Chiaki could see it. Shining from inside a large block of ice was a light blue crystal. Several ice spikes of various sizes were surrounding it, making it a bit difficult to get close enough to get a better look. There was no way these spikes had formed naturally. Chiaki assumed it had been set up this way either by some of the wild Pokémon living on the mountain using their ice attacks, or by Erebos himself using his magic. If it was the latter, then the ice itself was likely enchanted in some way…

From within the ice, the crystal was calling out to Chiaki.

Chiaki glanced around at the ice spikes, nervous about potentially triggering a trap, since he had no way of knowing what Erebos might've done. However, he had to get to that crystal. He just had to…

"… aki…"

He nervously took a step forward.

"…ey… ki…"

However, his vision was getting fuzzy. He felt dizzy.

"Ca… u… ear… me?"

He couldn't move. Had his body suddenly frozen?

"... up!"

Wait… This voice…

"… Chiaki!"

It was a familiar voice. One he knew well. But where was it coming from? He barely seemed to notice that his surroundings were fading away as he tried to find it…


Azure was sitting by the still unconscious Chiaki's side, waiting for him to wake up. As he seemed to be coming to his senses, the concerned expression on Azure's face seemed to become mixed with a hint of impatience, as she began calling to him to help him return to consciousness. As Chiaki groaned and slowly opened his eyes, Azure smiled and patted his head.

"Ah, you're awake!" Azure said, sighing in relief. "I was wondering how long you'd keep me waiting!"

"… A-Azure?" Chiaki mumbled, glancing around at his surroundings. "Huh? Where… is this?"

The last thing Chiaki remembered was that he and Azure had been fighting against wild ice type Pokémon in the mystery dungeon. But now the two of them were inside an icy cave that was seemingly not a part of the dungeon, lying on a pile of leaves arranged on the ground as a bed.

"Well, after you accidentally knocked yourself out during our battle against those three wild ice-type Pokémon, I was in a bit of a pinch," Azure began explaining. "I wasn't even sure how I was going to get us out of that one."

"… So, what did you do?" Chiaki asked, sitting up.

"I kept fighting, of course," Azure responded, grinning. "I'm not the type to give up, you know."

"Yes, of course," Chiaki replied, nodding his head.

"However, even with my strength and stuff, I'm not sure how long I would've lasted," Azure continued, sighing in relief. "So, it's a good thing Wynn showed up when he did."

"… Wynn?" Chiaki inquired, tilting his head slightly.

"The Absol who lives here," Azure clarified, grinning. "He's the one who brought us here, after helping me deal with those wild Pokémon."

"Ah, I see," Chiaki responded, smiling and nodding his head. "So he saved us…"

"Yep," Azure replied, nodding. "You should've seen him in action."

"Where is he now?" Chiaki asked, looking around. "I need to thank him…"

"He and I talked for a bit, and then he headed back outside," Azure responded. "Said there was something else he needed to take care of… He said he'd be back soon, though."

"Oh, is that so?" Chiaki replied, sighing.

"So, how are you feeling?" Azure asked, curiously examining her teammate. "Does it hurt anywhere?"

"Ah… Now that you mention it, I guess I'm still feeling a bit sore…" Chiaki responded, looking down at his hind legs. "I'm sure I can walk it off, though… Huh, Azure? Where are you going?"

Azure had suddenly gotten up and run off somewhere. Chiaki curiously looked over in the direction she had gone, as she returned carrying something in her paws. As she sat back down on the leaves and put down what she'd been carrying, Chiaki saw that it was a few Oran berries.

"Where'd you find those?" Chiaki asked.

"Wynn said to help ourselves to anything we need while he's out," Azure responded, smiling at Chiaki. "He's got plenty of items to spare, so he said not to worry about it!"

"Oh, I see," Chiaki replied, picking up one of the Oran berries. "Well, if it's really okay, then…"

Chiaki quickly ate the Oran berries, soon regaining more of his energy.

"I wonder how Blitz and Sera are doing…" Azure said, sighing. "Once Wynn gets back, we should probably try to catch up to them."

"Agreed," Chiaki responded, nodding his head. "I'm sure they're okay, though. We got separated when we were looking for the crystal from Nightmirror Forest, and we all managed to get through that and reunite without too much trouble."

"I hope you're right," Azure replied. "Although… Didn't you guys tell me that the ghost-type Pokémon in the mystery dungeon of Nightmirror Forest didn't actually fight you because they needed your help, or something?"

"Uh, yeah," Chiaki responded, nodding his head. "They needed our help to save Nereza from Erebos' spell."

"So, the situation was a bit different that time," Azure said.

"I guess so," Chiaki responded, rubbing the back of his head. "But even so, I'm sure Blitz and Sera are okay!"

Azure seemed like she was about to say something, when she suddenly heard something. Her ears twitched as she turned towards the tunnel.

"What is it?" Chiaki asked, noticing Azure's reaction. "Ooh, is Wynn back?"

"Sounds like it," Azure responded, listening closely. "And… he's not alone."

"Huh?" Chiaki replied, tilting his head.

"Those voices…" Azure said, looking surprised.

Chiaki followed Azure out of the room and headed towards the entrance of the cave, where they saw Wynn helping Mirage and her teammates into the cave. Mirage's fur was messier than normal and had small pieces of ice sticking to it, and she was carrying Cordyceps under one arm. Chiaki and Azure couldn't tell if Cordyceps was conscious or not as Mirage carried him, but he seemed to at least be shivering from the cold. Megara was walking close to her teammates, seeming to be trying to help them warm up.

"It really is them!" Azure exclaimed, looking over at the other rescue team.

"Huh? You two… you're here too?" Mirage said, seeming out of breath.

"Mirage… What happened to you guys?" Chiaki asked, looking at the three of them with concern.

"Well, to make a long story short…" Mirage replied, sighing. "Ice types kept giving us trouble, Megara ran out of energy for her fire attacks, not enough healing items…"

"Ugh, I'm sorry, guys," Megara said, looking down. "I guess I… overestimated my abilities…"

"The mushroom… is sorry too…" Cordyceps muttered, groaning in pain. "It's because of me that… our supply of Reviver Seeds was depleted so quickly…"

"Heh… I messed up too, you know?" Mirage said, putting Cordyceps down on the ground. "I was the one who decided we'd go on this mission, and then I ended up losing my cool with everything that kept happening…"

"Sounds like… you guys had a rough time, to say the least," Azure commented, frowning a bit. "Those ice types sure are annoying…"

"I guess you ran into trouble with them too?" Mirage inquired, before realizing something as she looked around. "Wait… Where's Blitz and Sera?"

"We got separated," Azure explained, sighing. "Some stupid ice-types showed up out of nowhere while we were trying to move on to the next floor…"

"Ah… I see," Mirage responded, blinking a few times. "So, they're still out there?"

"Yeah," Azure replied, nodding. "We'll be heading back out again soon to try to find them."

"Are you sure you've rested up enough?" Wynn asked, looking at Chiaki and Azure with a stoic expression.

"Our friends are probably worried," Chiaki said, looking up at the Absol. "The sooner we can find them, the better."

"Plus, we wanna make sure they're okay too!" Azure added. "We don't have time to sit around in here!"

"… Very well," Wynn responded, nodding his head once. "We'll make our preparations, and then I will help you two find your friends."

"Thank you so much!" Chiaki said, smiling up at Wynn.

Wynn led the other Pokémon over to where he kept his item hoard, so that he, Chiaki and Azure could stock up on the supplies they needed before heading back into the mystery dungeon. Wynn also let Mirage know that she and her teammates were free to help themselves to whichever items they needed in the meantime. As they were making the last few preparations, Azure looked over at Mirage and her teammates.

"So… While we're out there looking for our friends and the crystal, what will you guys do once you've rested up?" Azure asked.

"I don't know," Mirage responded, shaking her head. "We may have no other options but to head back out there, as we lost our rescue team badge somewhere…"

"Your rescue team badge?" Azure replied, her eyes widening a bit in surprise before turning over to Chiaki. "Hey, could that be…?"

"Oh!" Chiaki exclaimed, quickly pulling out the frozen rescue team badge he had picked up earlier out of his scarf. "I found this earlier! It's yours, isn't it?"

"Whoa, that's it!" Mirage replied, grinning as she took the badge back from Chiaki. "Thanks! I owe ya one!"

"No problem," Chiaki responded, smiling back at Mirage. "I'm just glad you were able to get it back, even if it's still frozen…"

"Leave that to me!" Megara said, holding out her hand. "I'll have that thawed out in no time!"

Mirage nodded her head and handed the badge to Megara. The fire duck held the badge between her clawed hands, letting her own body heat begin melting the ice around the badge.

"… This should be sufficient," Wynn said, looking over the items he had decided to bring along. "You two, are you ready to head out?"

"You bet I am!" Azure responded, grinning.

"Yeah, I'm ready," Chiaki replied, nodding his head.

"Very well," Wynn responded, nodding in acknowledgement. "Then, we should get going."

"Good luck, you guys," Mirage said. "We'll rest up here, and then… I guess we'll either head back to Fenix Town, or we might try to catch up to you guys…"

"The mushroom would prefer the first option," Cordyceps commented.

"Be careful out there!" Megara said, still working on thawing out the badge.

"Don't worry about us!" Chiaki responded, waving to the other rescue team. "We'll be fine!"

"Yeah, so you guys just take it easy for now," Azure said.

Wynn led the way as he, Chiaki and Azure headed outside and back into the mystery dungeon. He didn't spend much time deciding which way to go, and seemed to have a clear idea of which path would get them to the next floor with minimal trouble. It was likely due to the natural precognitive abilities of his species that he knew which paths would lead to the most danger, and thus how to avoid it.

"I wonder how far Blitz and Sera have made it by now," Azure said, helping Chiaki and Wynn listen for potential threats. "Sting's team is also around somewhere, aren't they? I wonder if any of them have gotten close to the crystal yet…"

"The crystal…" Chiaki muttered, holding a paw to his chin.

"Huh? Is something on your mind?" Azure asked.

"I… I saw it," Chiaki responded, blinking a few times.

"… Saw what?" Azure inquired, looking a bit confused.

"The crystal," Chiaki responded, closing his eyes for a moment. "It was inside this block of ice, and… there were these ice spikes around it, and…"

"Wait, what?" Azure replied, her eyes widening. "What are you talking about? How can you possibly have seen the crystal?"

"I… I don't know," Chiaki responded, shaking his head. "It's like… it appeared to me in a dream…"

"Appeared to you… in a dream?" Azure replied, staring at Chiaki incredulously. "Are you messing with me right now?"

"N-No! I wouldn't!" Chiaki exclaimed, turning around to face Azure. "I really did see it!"

Azure didn't seem to know how to respond to this. Chiaki couldn't blame her, of course. He didn't really understand it himself.

"Hey, you two," Wynn said, stopping and looking at the two smaller Pokémon following behind him. "We need to keep moving."

"Ah, I'm sorry!" Chiaki responded, turning back around.

"Don't worry about it," Wynn replied, shaking his head. "Let's just keep going."

Chiaki and Azure continued following Wynn, occasionally having to fight off wild Pokémon as usual.

"Seriously, I don't get it," Azure said. "Why would you have a dream about the crystal?"

"Like I said, I don't really understand it myself…" Chiaki responded, shaking his head. "It just… happened."

Azure was quiet for a few moments, before speaking up again.

"Well, I suppose it doesn't necessarily mean anything," Azure said, shrugging slightly. "I mean… dreams are just the stuff we've been thinking about being tossed about inside our minds while we sleep, right?"

"Um… I guess?" Chiaki responded, tilting his head slightly.

"So, since we came here to look for that crystal, maybe it's not all that strange that you'd randomly dream about it, right?" Azure suggested.

"I guess not…" Chiaki replied, blinking a few times as he held a paw to his chin. "Um… The crystal in my dream… it was a light blue color…"

"… Okay?" Azure responded.

"I don't think we've seen a crystal that color yet…" Chiaki said, glancing at Azure behind him.

"The crystal we found in the Sapphire Sea was blue," Azure responded.

"Yeah, but that one was a darker blue," Chiaki replied, closing his eyes for a moment to try to picture the scene from his dream. "The one in my dream was a lighter blue…"

"Huh," Azure responded, taking a moment to think about. "Hey, did Stella say what color it was when she described her vision?"

"Um… I don't think she did…" Chiaki replied, glancing around. "… Did she?"

"Well… Either way, it probably doesn't mean anything," Azure said. "We don't even know for sure if the actual crystal is the same color as the one you saw in your dream."

"Hmm… Yeah, you have a point there," Chiaki responded, nodding his head slightly.

As Chiaki and Azure talked, Wynn quietly listened to their conversation. He glanced down at Chiaki, a somber expression crossing his face for a moment as he observed the young Mienfoo. However, they had to keep moving forward. Sooner or later, they would be able to catch up to their teammates.

"Um… Wynn?" Chiaki said, looking up at the Absol.

"Is something wrong?" Wynn asked, glancing down at Chiaki.

"No, nothing's wrong…" Chiaki responded, shaking his head. "I just… I never really introduced myself properly, did I? My name is Chiaki!"

"… I see," Wynn replied, turning his gaze back to the path ahead.

"And I… I wanted to thank you properly for helping us earlier," Chiaki said, smiling up at Wynn. "So… Thank you!"

"Well… I couldn't just stand by and do nothing," Wynn responded. "I simply can't ignore someone in trouble."

"I understand that feeling," Chiaki replied, still smiling.

Wynn gave a slight nod in acknowledgement. They kept on walking, doing their best to reach the next few floors. Chiaki hoped they would catch up to Blitz and Sera soon. He also wondered how Sting and his teammates were doing. Frosty was familiar with this part of the region, so perhaps he knew some tricks for how to make it through the area safely, much like Wynn. If so, then at least he didn't need to worry about them, right?

Shortly after arriving on one floor, Azure suddenly stopped, her ears twitching.

"… Was that Blitz just now?" Azure said, looking around.

"Huh? You heard Blitz?" Chiaki asked, turning to Azure. "He's on this floor?"

"I think so…" Azure responded, her ears still twitching. "I thought I heard him roar…"

"You two, watch out!" Wynn suddenly exclaimed.

Azure turned around to see a Glalie approaching. It opened its mouth as if to prepare an attack, only for Chiaki to beat it to the punch by jumping up and striking it with a paw, knocking it back slightly and causing it to flinch.

"Hey, don't disturb me, you big lump of ice!" Azure shouted, before spraying the Glalie with a stream of bubbles from her mouth.

Wynn quickly ran over and knocked the Glalie down to the ground with a strike from his horn. After making sure the Glalie had fainted, Wynn closed his eyes for a moment, seeming to be focusing on something.

"… If I'm right, then… there are a lot of wild Pokémon over in that direction," Wynn said, opening his eyes and looking towards one of the paths. "If your teammates are also on this floor, then chances are that we'll find them if we go there."

"Huh? Are they in trouble?" Chiaki asked, looking up at Wynn.

"They might be," Wynn responded, looking over at Chiaki and Azure. "The wild Pokémon here, especially in their current state, do seem to be actively seeking out anyone from the outside and force them out of the dungeon."

"I see," Azure replied. "So, that's why you think they might be over there…"

"Yes, I'd say there's a good chance of that," Wynn responded, nodding his head. "Even if they're not in any imminent danger just yet, it'd probably be best if we went over there as quickly as we can."

"What are we waiting for, then?" Azure asked, bouncing impatiently on her feet. "Let's go!"

"I'm ready too!" Chiaki said, clenching his fists. "Please take us there!"

"Very well," Wynn responded, nodding his head. "Come on, this way."

And so, Wynn led the way as they headed down the path that would hopefully lead to their friends. Once they were all reunited, they could focus on finding the crystal that still remained hidden somewhere on this mountain. Chiaki was certain that with Wynn's help, they would definitely succeed.


End of Chapter 52



Well-Known Member
Hey everyone! It's time for another new chapter of PMD: Reflecting Balance!

Almost had this chapter done last week, but then I got stuck at the very end. Oh, well. Inspiration comes and goes.

Anyways, I hope you're all enjoying the story so far! Here's Chapter 53!


Chapter 53: I have this feeling…


Getting through a mystery dungeon full of tough ice-type Pokémon when half of your team was missing was no easy task, but Blitz and Sera had managed to make some decent progress after resuming their adventure. They had hoped to at least catch up to one of the other two rescue teams exploring the dungeon and from there work out a plan for how to deal with the current situation. Blitz wanted to avoid battles as much as possible until then, but the wild Pokémon just kept coming after them, making it difficult to get anywhere without fighting for it. As a result, he and Sera were starting to run low on healing items.

Blitz couldn't help but feel like his difficulty bringing himself to use his Fire Fang attack directly against his opponents were part of the reason he and Sera had ended up in this predicament. After all, he probably could've ended some of those battles faster if he had just used that super effective attack.

"Maybe we… should've just stayed in that safe room…" Sera said, panting.

"Are you okay?" Blitz asked, glancing at Sera following behind him.

"I'll be fine…" Sera responded, shaking some snow out of her fur.

Blitz nodded his head in acknowledgement, before turning his full attention back to trying to make it through the floor they were currently on.

The sound of the footsteps of a larger Pokémon that seemed to be approaching from behind made Blitz wince, but he knew he had to remain calm. Taking a deep breath, he simply continued walking. If nothing else, he would do his best to protect Sera.

"Come on, this way," Blitz said, hurriedly moving further down the path.

Parts of the floor were slippery, so they had to try not to fall as they made their way through the area. They soon found themselves in another room, but the stairs were nowhere to be seen.

"Okay, guess we're… huh?" Blitz said, looking over at the only other path leading out of the room.

"Is something wrong?" Sera asked.

A large block of ice was blocking the other path, preventing the two from continuing forward from there. They still had the option of going back the way they came, but first they would have to deal with the Mamoswine that had been following them all this way. Seeing as the Mamoswine was also part ground-type, Blitz wasn't looking forward to fighting it, especially if it knew moves that could hit everything in the room.

"This might be bad…" Blitz muttered, turning around to look at the Mamoswine. "Did they lead us into a trap…?"

"Let's just try to take it down as fast as possible!" Sera said, taking a fighting stance.

"R-Right…" Blitz responded, nodding his head.

The Mamoswine roared as five floating rocks glowing with an ancient power materialized above it. As the Mamoswine stomped on the ground, the floating rocks went flying towards Blitz and Sera. Luckily, the two of them were able to dodge the attack. The rocks crashed against the ground, disintegrating on impact. Sera then closed her eyes for a moment, while Blitz made his fur glow brightly in order to temporarily blind the Mamoswine.

Sera dashed forward and tackled the Mamoswine while it was still dazzled by the light. Blitz stared up at the Mamoswine, trying to figure out what to do. His electric attacks were no good against a ground-type Pokémon, and unless he was willing to use his fangs, he didn't have a lot of options.

"Ugh… No time for this…" Blitz muttered under his breath.

Blitz ran up and rammed into one of the Mamoswine's legs, in order to get some more damage in before the Mamoswine had the chance to attack. The Mamoswine roared and angrily stomped on the ground, dropping large icicles down on the two.

As they moved out of the way, Sera felt something appear underneath her paws.

"Ah!" Sera yelped as smoke erupted from the trap she had just stepped on.

"Ah, that's…!" Blitz exclaimed, as the smoke began to clear.

More wild Pokémon had suddenly appeared in the room Blitz and Sera were in, having been drawn in by the trap Sera had triggered.

"This is bad…!" Blitz muttered, looking around.

"What do we do?" Sera asked, looking over at Blitz.

Blitz kept glancing around at the wild Pokémon that had appeared, trying to figure out how to handle the situation. Did they have any items that could help…?

Before he had the chance to think about it further, a Glalie fired several small shards of ice in his direction. Unable to dodge in time, Blitz was knocked back and sent sliding towards a wall. Blitz groaned in pain before getting back on his feet. Sera tried to run to his side, but her path was blocked off by two other wild Pokémon. Making a growling noise, she hoped to weaken the power of the wild Pokémon's attacks a little, but she knew it wouldn't be enough.

However, at that moment…

"Leave them alone, you jerks!" a familiar female voice cried out.

Blitz and Sera perked their ears up, and some of the wild Pokémon turned around to try to find out where that voice came from. The next thing they knew, a blue blur struck one of the Glalie, before rolling at a high speed towards a Weavile, knocking it off its feet. It then began rolling towards the second Glalie in the room, only to suddenly be telekinetically lifted into the air by a purple, humanoid Pokémon looking like it was wearing a red dress.

"Hey, I wasn't done yet!" Azure protested, flailing in mid-air.

Before the Jynx that had interrupted Azure's Rollout attack could do anything else, she was suddenly struck from behind by a powerful Night Slash attack from the horn on the side of Wynn's head, knocking her out instantly and causing Azure to drop back onto the ground.

"Azure!" Sera exclaimed, running over to her teammate. "You're here!"

"Sorry we're late!" Azure responded, grinning. "But hey, at least we got here in time!"

Most of the wild Pokémon had turned their attention to Wynn, who seemed unperturbed by the looks they were giving him. The Weavile suddenly lunged towards Wynn, only to be knocked out of the air by Chiaki suddenly leaping forward to block the attack with his own.

"I'm here too!" Chiaki said as he landed on his feet, smiling and waving to his teammates.

"Chiaki…" Sera responded, sighing in relief. "Thank goodness… You're both okay…"

"Sorry to worry you guys!" Azure said, nonchalantly knocking out the still-stunned Weavile with her tail.

"It's all right," Sera responded, smiling at her friends. "I'm just glad to see you two again!"

"We're glad to see you and Blitz again too!" Chiaki said, smiling back at Sera.

Blitz let out a powerful roar to push back one of the wild Pokémon blocking his path, before running over to his teammates.

"That Absol…" Blitz said, looking over at Wynn. "He's the one they told us about, isn't he?"

"Yeah, he is," Azure responded, grinning. "His name is Wynn. He helped us out."

"I see," Blitz replied, smiling as he watched Wynn take down one of the Glalie. "Well, why don't we take out the rest of these wild Pokémon, and then you guys can tell us more?"

"I'm already on it!" Azure shouted, the orb on her tail glowing as she rushed back into battle.

Blitz, Sera and Chiaki exchanged glances, before nodding their heads and running over to join the battle.


After finally taking down the last of the wild Pokémon and moving onto a new floor, Chiaki and Azure explained what had happened, while Wynn shared some of the items he had brought along from his own storage to help Blitz and Sera recover from the battle. He even allowed to Blitz to take some of the items to replace the ones he'd used over the course of the exploration so far. Blitz was a bit reluctant to accept the offer at first, but Azure and Chiaki eventually convinced him to do so.

"… I see," Blitz said, listening to Chiaki and Azure's explanation. "So you met up with Mirage's rescue team…"

"Yep," Azure responded, nodding. "Wynn saved them too."

"Well, I'm glad they're safe," Sera replied, wagging her tail.

"Still no sign of Sting's team, though…" Blitz said, holding a paw to his chin. "So, I guess they must be further ahead…"

"Probably," Chiaki responded, nodding his head. "I wonder how far they've made it… Could they have found the crystal already?"

"Good question…" Blitz replied, tilting his head slightly to the side. "I think we should probably keep looking for them, just in case…"

"Agreed," Wynn said, looking over at Blitz. "I have this feeling…"

"What kind of feeling?" Chiaki inquired, looking up at Wynn.

"I'm not sure," Wynn responded, shaking his head. "Regardless, I'll continue to accompany you all the rest of the way."

"Awesome!" Azure said, grinning at Wynn. "With you around, the rest of this dungeon will be a breeze!"

"Don't let your guard down, Azure," Blitz commented, giving her a look.

"I won't," Azure replied, her ears twitching slightly. "I'll let you know if I hear something!"

"Good," Blitz responded, smiling at Azure. "Well then… Let's go."

With renewed energy, Blitz and his teammates continued their exploration, Wynn following closely behind. Surely they had to be getting close to their goal?

Wynn stayed mostly quiet as they climbed higher, but he kept glancing down at Chiaki. Chiaki did notice, but didn't say anything about it, even if he did wonder why Wynn kept looking at him like that.

"… Do you think the wild Pokémon here will return to normal once we've taken back the crystal?" Chiaki wondered out loud.

"I don't know," Blitz responded, glancing over at his teammates following behind him. "I don't think the crystals themselves were enchanted. So far, it has either been part of the area itself or some of the Pokémon in the dungeon where it was hidden that were cursed, in order to make it difficult for anyone who tried to reclaim the crystals…"

"Ah, I guess you're right…" Chiaki replied, holding a paw to his chin. "So, retrieving the crystal won't necessary return things to normal here…"

A worried expression crossed Chiaki's face as he looked up at Wynn.

"If the wild Pokémon don't return to normal… Will you be okay?" Chiaki said.

"There's no need to worry about me," Wynn responded, glancing around. "Aside from being more persistent in chasing down Pokémon that aren't part of the dungeon, they're not any stronger than they normally are."

"Ah, I see…" Chiaki replied, seeming a bit relieved.

"What really worries me about these wild Pokémon's behavior is the possibility that it might endanger the village near this mountain if it continues," Wynn said, closing his eyes for a moment.

"Oh! I didn't even think of that!" Chiaki exclaimed.

"Thankfully, I haven't sensed any signs of such a thing happening in the near future," Wynn said, narrowing his eyes slightly. "Of course, that doesn't mean I can just relax for now…"

"… Well, I certainly hope nothing bad happens to the village," Chiaki responded, looking down at the ground.

Wynn just nodded his head in response. They just kept following the rest of the team for a few moments, before Wynn suddenly spoke up again.

"So, how many of the Axis Tower crystals have been recovered?" Wynn asked.

"Huh? Oh, we've got five of them so far," Chiaki responded, looking up at Wynn. "Once we get the one from here, there'll only be two more left to find!"

"... I see," Wynn replied, nodding his head.

"Hopefully we'll be able to return them all to Axis Tower before the distortions get too out of hand…" Chiaki said. "And as for Erebos, that's up to Samara… I wonder if my memory will return once he's been dealt with…"

"Your memory…?" Wynn inquired, looking down at Chiaki.

"Ah, yeah… I don't really remember anything about my past," Chiaki explained, rubbing his head. "I think Erebos might've done something to me… That's the only explanation we can think of, anyways…"

"I see…" Wynn responded, seeming as if he had something on his mind.

The group continued moving through the dungeon. Eventually, Wynn stopped in front of a set of stairs.

"We're almost at the top," Wynn said, looking at the stairs. "The crystal you've been looking for is probably there… However, I get the feeling that we'll have to face one more challenge before we can obtain it."

"Of course," Azure responded, shrugging slightly. "That's basically how it works, right? I wouldn't expect anything less, really…"

Blitz took out some items from the bag and handed them out to his teammates, so they could all have their full strength when they headed to the next floor. Wynn kept quietly looking at the stairs as he waited for Blitz and his teammates to finish their preparations for the challenge ahead.

"Okay… Is everyone ready?" Blitz asked, looking over at his teammates.

"I certainly am!" Azure replied, grinning.

"I'm ready too," Sera said, smiling at her teammates.

"Me too!" Chiaki responded, raising his paw.

"All right…" Blitz said, looking over at Wynn. "Looks like everyone's good to go."

"Then let's head up there," Wynn responded, glancing at Blitz and his teammates for a moment before turning his gaze back to the stairs.

Chiaki thought Wynn seemed a bit anxious. Just what exactly was waiting for them beyond those stairs? There was only one way to find out…


Wynn was the first to head up the stairs, reaching the summit of Mt. Frostbite. As Blitz and his teammates arrived shortly afterwards, they saw Wynn already running up to help a familiar Beartic.

"Hey, that's Frosty!" Sera exclaimed, her ears perking up.

"What's going on here?" Blitz wondered out loud, as Frosty was standing near some rocks, seemingly hiding from something up ahead.

As the group headed up to check on Frosty, Chiaki noticed that there seemed to be an awful lot of large ice spikes stuck to the ground, with even more visible beyond Frosty's hiding spot. Were they made of regular ice, or was it ice created from Erebos' magic?

"Grr… I thought nobody was going to show up…" Frosty said, seeming a bit relieved. "I seriously didn't know what to do…"

"What happened, Frosty?" Blitz asked, looking up at the polar bear Pokémon.

"After somehow making it through the dungeon, we finally arrived here…" Frosty began to explain. "We went a bit further ahead, and there we saw it… the crystal…"

"You found it!?" Chiaki exclaimed.

"Yeah…" Frosty replied, nodding his head. "It's frozen in ice, surrounded by these huge ice spikes and so on..."

Wynn peeked past Frosty's hiding spot and looked over towards the large ice crystal surrounded by ice spikes. Within the ice, one could faintly see something light blue shimmering. However, there was something else that Wynn noticed nearby, and he gasped as he saw what it was.

"Is something wrong, Wynn?" Chiaki asked, walking over to see what had caught the Absol's attention.

Blitz, Sera and Azure joined the others trying to see what it was, and were shocked to see a certain Beedrill and a certain Wigglytuff, both trapped inside large blocks of ice.

"Sting and Melody are…!" Sera said, taking a few steps back.

"A bunch of ice-type Pokémon attacked us when we tried to get close to the crystal…" Frosty explained, clenching his fist. "They managed to freeze Sting and Melody… I couldn't get close enough to free them because there were too many of those wild Pokémon in the way… I somehow managed to get past them and hide back here…"

"And they haven't tried to attack you over here?" Blitz asked, tilting his head slightly.

"Yeah, that is strange, considering how the wild Pokémon we fought on the way here acted…" Frosty responded, sighing. "Not that there's much I can do on my own in this situation anyways… Couldn't even signal for help since Sting has the badge…"

"I think I can hear something moving nearby…" Azure said, her ears twitching. "Those wild Pokémon are definitely just waiting to attack if we head out there…"

Wynn had quietly been observing the situation, preparing himself for battle. After all, they would certainly have to fight in order to rescue the two frozen rescue team Pokémon and claim the crystal. However, there was one other thing that somehow felt off, and if his sixth sense was right, it had something to do with the ice that the crystal was sealed in.

"I don't think we'll be much safer if we just stay here…" Blitz said, looking around. "They could ambush us at any moment…"

"Frosty, do you need any berries or medicine before we head in?" Chiaki asked, looking up at the Beartic.

"Nah, I think I'm good," Frosty replied, shaking his head and smiling. "I couldn't do anything before, but now that you guys are here, I'm sure we can get this done!"

As the group began moving closer to the ice containing the crystal, Sera used her Helping Hand move to power up her teammates in preparation for the battle. Wynn suddenly stopped, as eight Glalie suddenly appeared and fired ice beams towards the group from several directions. Wynn managed to block one of the beams with his horn, while Chiaki pulled Sera out of the way of the attacks and Frosty used his own body to shield Blitz and Azure from the attacks.

Wynn dashed forward, hitting one Glalie with a powerful Night Slash. Azure had started firing her bubble beam attacks at random Glalie as they tried to move closer to the group, trying to push them back a bit. However, an Abomasnow's arm suddenly blocked Azure's attack, and it began to hail as two Abomasnow revealed their presence.

While Blitz and his teammates were mostly annoyed by this turn of events, Frosty seemed pleased with this development.

"Hail, huh?" Frosty said, smirking. "Oh, you just made a huge mistake there!"

Before anyone knew it, Frosty had vanished from sight. One of the Glalie didn't even have time to react when Frosty suddenly came charging towards it at high speed. Frosty punched the Glalie with enough force to knock it into one of the other Glalie, causing both to momentarily fall to the ground. However, as Frosty was looking satisfied with his work, he suddenly became aware of the fact that he wasn't the only one there to have taken advantage of the hail storm, as something hard struck him from behind.

Frosty let out a pained grunt, and turned around to see the Mamoswine that had just attacked him. He quickly rolled out of the way before the Mamoswine could stomp on him.

In the meantime, Wynn kept moving as quickly as he could to avoid ice beams, ice shards and other such attacks being fired in his direction. A few of the attacks grazed his back, but he just kept running. He didn't see any reason to worry just yet. If things got too bad, he could use a certain move to take them down. Hopefully, things wouldn't go that far.

Azure had mostly been making use of her ranged attacks up until now, but as a few of the ice types were starting to get closer to them, she figured it was time to show her true strength with some physical attacks.

"Back me up, guys!" Azure shouted, before rolling towards the wild Pokémon at high speed.

One of the Abomasnow tried to block Azure's path with its arm, only to flinch as Chiaki suddenly leapt forward and punched it. Before it could recover, Azure rammed into the Abomasnow, bouncing off and continuing rolling in a different direction towards one of the Glalie. Chiaki smiled and waved at Azure as she rolled away, before turning back to continue fighting the Abomasnow.

Blitz had managed to momentarily stun two Glalie by blinding them with his brightly glowing fur, letting Sera run up and tackle one of them. Shortly afterwards, Azure came rolling and slammed into the other Glalie, knocking it down to the ground.

Frosty had momentarily stepped away from the Mamoswine so he could help the others take down some of the other wild Pokémon. He had already managed to defeat one of the Glalie by dropping several rocks on it. In doing so, he had managed to divert the attention of two other Glalie that had been focusing their attacks on Wynn. Frosty continued to make use of the hail to dodge the two Glalie's attempts to headbutt or bite him.

In the meantime, Azure had managed to take out another one of the Glalie with her Rollout attack. Coming to a stop, Azure's ears twitched as she heard something behind her, allowing her to jump out of the way of the Mamoswine attempting to run her over.

"Nice try," Azure said with a smirk as the Mamoswine ran right past her.

Blitz and Sera had gone to assist Chiaki, who had gotten into trouble in his own when one of the Glalie had managed to hit him with an ice shard attack while he was still focused on taking down one of the Abomasnow. As the Abomasnow was about to slam one of its arms down on Chiaki, Sera managed to run over and pull Chiaki out of the way just before the attack could connect. Before the Abomasnow could react to this, Blitz dashed forward and hit it with an electrified tackle. The electric attack only did a small amount of damage to the Abomasnow.

"Thanks, Sera," Chiaki said as he sat up, smiling at his teammate.

"No problem!" Sera responded, smiling back.

Blitz moved out of the way as the Abomasnow launched several sharp-edged leaves towards him. Once the Abomasnow had ceased its attack, Blitz tried to blind it with his glowing fur, but the Abomasnow seemed to have realized what Blitz intended to do and covered its eyes with one arm. However, this still opened up an opportunity for Chiaki and Sera, who attacked the Abomasnow while it was distracted. With their combined power, they were able to defeat the Abomasnow.

Of course, there was little time to relax, as there were still more opponents to deal with.

Wynn had helped Frosty take down two more Glalie, and was looking over to see how many wild Pokémon were left. Even though he was feeling a bit worn out from the battle, at least it seemed they had managed to take out almost half of the wild Pokémon guarding the area.

"Sting… Melody… Just wait a little longer…" Frosty said, glancing over at his frozen teammates. "I'll definitely save you guys…!"

Wynn pulled out and consumed an Oran berry to regain some of his strength, before looking around to see if any of the other rescue team members needed his assistance.

Azure seemed to have decided to focus on taking down the Mamoswine, trying to keep it away from her teammates. Azure smirked as she jumped up and slammed her glowing, water-coated tail against the Mamoswine for a good amount of damage. She hadn't yet noticed one of the remaining Glalie floating towards her, trying to sneak up from behind. The Glalie was about to ram into her, when Wynn leapt forward and took the attack.

"Don't worry about me," Wynn said as Azure turned around to see what was going on behind her.

Wynn struck the Glalie with the side of his horn, pushing it back a bit away from Azure. With the situation under control for now, Azure turned back to continue fighting the Mamoswine.

Blitz, Sera and Chiaki were attempting to take down one of the other three remaining Glalie, which had created an energy shield around itself to block their attacks. While waiting for the barrier to go down, a strong, icy wind suddenly blew through the entire area, damaging everyone except the wild Pokémon. It was the remaining Abomasnow that had suddenly unleashed a powerful Blizzard attack.

It seemed the wild Pokémon had changed up their strategy and were now unleashing their strongest moves. The hail was making it especially hard to dodge the Blizzard attacks.

"Ugh! This is bad!" Blitz said, shielding his face with a paw.

"I guess they've been saving their best moves for a situation like this, huh?" Azure commented, shaking some snow off of her body.

"Better try to take out these remaining guys as fast as possible!" Frosty shouted before charging at one of the remaining Glalie.

The others agreed there was no time to waste, and that it'd be best to finish things as soon as they possibly could. Blitz looked over at the Abomasnow, who looked just about ready to unleash another Blizzard attack. Blitz took a few steps towards the Abomasnow, letting his fangs heat up as he got closer. Once the Abomasnow noticed Blitz heading towards it, Blitz quickened his pace. Suddenly, he leapt up and flicked a few flames from his fangs into the Abomasnow's face. Startled by the fire, the Abomasnow took a few steps back.

While the Abomasnow was still stunned, Chiaki came running and delivered a jump kick to the Abomasnow's chest.

"Nice timing," Blitz commented, smiling at Chiaki.

"Glad to help!" Chiaki responded, smiling back.

The Abomasnow roared and tried to slam its arm down on the two. Blitz simply moved out of the way, while Chiaki jumped onto the arm and slid down as the Abomasnow raised its arm once more in order to punch the Abomasnow in the face with a glowing fist. By draining some of the Abomasnow's energy, Chiaki was able to recover from some of the damage he had taken during the battle. As the Abomasnow stumbled from having its energy drained, Blitz helped Chiaki finish the job by tackling the Abomasnow one more time.

In the meantime, Azure had decided to try finishing off the Mamoswine, since she had already weakened it significantly with her water attacks. If only those Glalie would stop interrupting her with their attacks…

"You're in my way!" Azure shouted as she rolled out of the way of several ice shard attacks fired in her direction.

Frosty had managed to take down one of the four Glalie, and noticed that two of the remaining three seemed mostly focused on Azure at the moment. Wynn was fighting the third one, waiting for the barrier currently protecting it to disappear. The hail seemed like it was about to stop, so Frosty knew he had to act quickly while he could still make use of it. He lunged towards the two Glalie that were attacking Azure, catching them off-guard as he rammed into them at a high speed.

With the two Glalie out of the way, Azure could focus on taking out the Mamoswine. With the hail coming to a stop, it wouldn't be able to hide anymore. Hearing its footsteps, Azure hurried over to where the Mamoswine was. Too slow to escape her, Azure was able to slam her water-coated tail into the Mamoswine once more, finally knocking it out.

"All right, who's left…?" Azure said, looking around.

The others, having taken out the last three Glalie, looked around in surprise.

"Is that… all of them…?" Blitz said, panting.

"Huh… I think so…" Sera responded, glancing around.

"… I don't sense any other enemies," Wynn said, closing his eyes for a moment. "It seems we've managed to take them all down."

Frosty walked over to the block of ice containing the still-frozen Sting, examining the ice with his paws.

"Hmm… So, we defeated all the enemies, but now what?" Frosty asked, looking over at the others with a concerned expression. "This ice is really thick… How are we going to get Sting and Melody out of here?"

"Good question…" Blitz replied as he looked over at the ice Melody was trapped in.

"Well, Blitz has his Fire Fang attack…" Sera said, her ears drooping down a little. "But… that might take a while…"

"Do we have any items we can use?" Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

"Or maybe we can help!" a familiar voice called out.

The others turned around in surprise to see that Mirage and her teammates had just arrived on the floor.

"Sorry we're late," Mirage said, smiling sheepishly. "Looks like we just missed the big battle, huh?"

"Mirage…! You… you guys are still here?" Chiaki exclaimed.

"What kind of silly question is that?" Megara responded, putting her hands to her hips. "I mean, we're right in front of you guys, aren't we?"

"We wanted to make sure you guys were okay," Mirage explained, grinning. "So, we decided to stay a bit longer and try to catch up to you guys!"

"T-The mushroom isn't s-sure how you convinced it to stay…" Cordyceps commented, shivering a bit. "T-The mushroom would rather be s-somewhere warm, but not too warm…"

"It's good to see you guys again!" Chiaki said, smiling at the other rescue team.

Frosty suddenly grabbed Megara's arm and pulled her towards the block of ice containing Sting, pointing to it anxiously.

"Um, can you hurry up and…?" Frosty said, still gesturing to his frozen leader.

"Okay, okay!" Megara responded, chuckling a little. "Just leave this to me!"

Frosty let out a sigh of relief as he stepped aside to let Megara begin the process of thawing out his frozen teammates. For now, the rest of them could relax for a bit. Chiaki noticed that Wynn seemed to be staring up at the block of ice containing the crystal they had all come to retrieve, and walked up next to him to get a better look at it.

"I feel a strange dark aura emanating from this large block of ice…" Wynn said, still staring at it thoughtfully. "Perhaps it's the magic Erebos used to affect the behavior of the wild Pokémon…"

"Does that mean things will go back to normal here once we've melted it?" Chiaki asked, looking up at Wynn.

"It might," Wynn responded, nodding his head slightly.

"Assuming Erebos didn't make it out of Never-Melt Ice," Azure commented, having overheard the conversation.

"… Chiaki, when you look at this crystal, do you… feel anything?" Wynn asked, looking down at the Mienfoo.

"Do I… feel anything?" Chiaki responded, staring at the crystal for a moment. "Hmm… No, not really…"

"… I see," Wynn replied, looking back up at the crystal.

Chiaki glanced up at Wynn for a moment, before staring up at the crystal again. It really was just like how he saw it in his dream. How strange…


After a while, Megara had successfully managed to thaw out both Sting and Melody, who were both still shivering as Megara began the process of thawing out the crystal. Blitz had assisted her by using his Fire Fang to clear out some of the ice spikes, making a clearer path to reach the large block of ice. The steam rising from the ice as Megara worked on melting it seemed to take on a strange purple tint, suggesting it really was affected by Erebos' magic. It also seemed harder to melt than the rest of the ice, but Megara was slowly but surely working her way to the crystal.

"Ugh… I can almost feel my wings again…" Sting buzzed, glancing at his back.

"M-Maybe it's about time I prioritized learning some new attacks…" Melody said, snuggling up to Mirage for warmth. "I-I think I'll start by learning some fire-type attacks…"

"Are they going to be okay?" Sera asked, looking a bit concerned.

"I think so…" Frosty responded, rubbing the back of his head. "But we'll have Giselle take a look at them when we get back, just in case."

Having made sure everyone was okay, Wynn kept watching as Megara worked on melting the large block of ice in order to retrieve the crystal. Megara kept alternating between breathing a stream of fire from her beak at the ice, and engulfing her fists in fire and using those to heat it up.

"Just a little more…" Megara muttered, stopping for a moment to dry her hands before continuing. "Come on…"

Megara was getting ready to grab the crystal once the ice around it had melted enough to free it. After a few more moments, the crystal finally fell into her hands. The others gathered around her as she held up the crystal.

"Well done, Meg!" Mirage said, grinning at her teammate.

"Great job," Cordyceps commented, shivering a bit. "Can we go home now?"

"I suppose it is about time to head back…" Frosty said, rubbing the back of his head.

"Yeah… We should hurry home," Blitz added, nodding his head.

The rescue teams looked over at Wynn, who seemed to be examining what was left of the block of ice that had contained the crystal.

"Has that strange feeling gone away?" Chiaki asked, walking up to Wynn.

"I think so…" Wynn responded, nodding his head slightly. "Hopefully, it won't bother the wild Pokémon anymore."

"I hope so too!" Chiaki said, smiling at Wynn.

Blitz stepped forward, looking up at Wynn.

"Wynn, thank you for everything," Blitz said, bowing his head down. "We couldn't have done this without your help."

"Yeah, you were really amazing!" Mirage added, smiling at Wynn. "You're like, a one-Pokémon rescue team!"

"I'm just glad you're all okay," Wynn responded, looking at the three rescue teams with a small smile on his face. "And that you were able to complete your mission."

"Hey, there's no need to be modest!" Mirage said, pointing a claw at Wynn. "You are great, and you deserve to hear it!"

Wynn blinked a few times, seeming unsure about how to respond to that. He turned away for a moment, hoping nobody would notice the blush that had suddenly appeared on his face.

"Well, we're heading back!" Frosty announced, waving at the others. "Take care, Wynn! Everyone else, we'll see you back home!"

Sting, Melody and Frosty disappeared in a flash of golden light from their rescue team badge, returning home to Fenix Town. Mirage and her teammates briefly exchanged glances, before nodding and turning to the others. Megara held out the crystal she had been holding, offering it to Blitz.

"Here, I think you guys should be the ones to bring this to Stella," Megara said.

"Huh? Why?" Blitz asked, blinking a few times.

"Well, you guys did most of the work, didn't you?" Mirage responded, chuckling. "All we did was come in at the end to help melt some ice."

Blitz stared at the crystal for a few moments, before nodding his head.

"If you insist," Blitz said, placing the crystal inside the treasure bag.

"All right, then!" Mirage responded, grinning. "Well, time to go home!"

"Finally…" Cordyceps said, letting out a sigh of relief.

"Will be nice to get some rest…" Megara commented, seeming a bit tired.

"Bye, Wynn! Thanks again for all the help!" Mirage said, waving good-bye to Wynn.

After Mirage and her teammates had teleported away, only Blitz and his teammates remained there with Wynn. Blitz waited for his teammates to gather around him so they could teleport home as well. As he was walking over to the others, Chiaki briefly glanced over his shoulder and thought he saw Wynn giving him a strange look. He turned around, but all he could see was Wynn's usual stoic expression.

Chiaki wondered if he'd just imagined it. He considered asking Wynn if something was wrong, but decided against it.

"I guess it's time we head home as well," Blitz said, looking at his teammates. "It's been a long day…"

"Yeah… I'm really looking forward to telling Frederick about today's adventure!" Azure responded, grinning.

"Ah… My legs are tired…" Sera said, her ears drooping down a little.

"You should all get some rest when you get home," Wynn commented, looking at the four of them.

"We will!" Chiaki responded, smiling at Wynn. "Make sure you get some rest too, okay?"

"… I will, don't worry," Wynn replied, nodding his head and smiling back at Chiaki.

"Okay, let's go home," Blitz said, looking over at each of his teammates before looking over at Wynn. "Good bye, Wynn."

"Farewell," Wynn responded, watching as the golden light emanating from the rescue team badge enveloped the rescue team and they disappeared from sight.


After everyone had left, Wynn went back into the mystery dungeon to check on the conditions of the wild Pokémon. From what he could tell, they weren't quite as insistent on pursuing him as before, which presumably meant Erebos' spell was indeed wearing off. The weather on certain floors in the areas outside also seemed less intense than before. Eventually, Wynn returned to his cave to rest for the night. Wynn lay down in his bed, and just stared into space for several moments.

Even if Erebos' spell was wearing off and things were starting to go back to normal, there was still a lot on Wynn's mind.

"That Mienfoo…" Wynn muttered, still staring at nothing in particular. "His future seems quite uncertain… Perhaps I should've said something…"

Wynn sighed and closed his eyes. There wasn't anything he could do, so there was no point in dwelling on it. All he could do was believe in Chiaki, and hope for the best.

"Chiaki… Just keep getting stronger…" Wynn mumbled, beginning to drift off to sleep. "If you're strong enough, then… even you might be…"

Wynn soon fell asleep. He hadn't even really realized how tired he was. It had been a long day; assisting the rescue teams and helping them retrieve that crystal. Wynn felt grateful to the rescue teams, since it was with their help that he had been able to avert a potential threat to the village.

However, while the village was safe for now, a new potential threat began to materialize during the night, as small distortions began to appear throughout the Snow-Laden Path…


End of Chapter 53



Lost but Seeking
Hi there! I kinda sorta started reviewing this a few times before but... never quite finished. Let's see if I can fix that, eh?

This is going to get pretty long, so I'm going to break things down into smaller groups of chapters so it's not as overwhelming. I started out just doing five-chapter chunks, then loosened up a bit as coherent arcs started to emerge in the story. So, groups of five to seven chapters or so, let's say.

Right, let's get rolling!

Chapters 1-5

This is what I'd call the "tutorial level" of the story. It's kind of a literal tutorial, with Blitz and Sera essentially initiating Chiaki into the rescue team lifestyle and showing him around town. The thing here is, what's your audience for all this? Most pokémon players don't really appreciate the tutorials the games put up front--they've played before and don't want to sit through all the basic information again. They want to get going with the good stuff! That's kind of how I felt with these early chapters. Even if your reader is someone who's never played a PMD game in their life, I think all the info you cram into chapters two and three especially would be a bit overwhelming. There's so much coming at the reader at once! It does give a sense of what Chiaki's experiencing as he's learning anything, but that doesn't make it fun, and it'll be harder for the reader to remember these details later.

What I'd recommend is thinking about what your readers really need to know right now and presenting that and that alone. Like, are we really going to need to know what all the different shops in town are? If so, do we really need an inventory of them right now? I don't think so. I think the best way to avoid a big info-dump like this is to have information come out naturally in service of the plot, rather than front-loading it all like this. For example, since Chiaki wants to learn some new moves, you could have him express that and then have Blitz or Sera mention that, oh yeah, there's a dojo in town, maybe he could try training there? This ensures that the readers haven't forgotten about the existence of the dojo when it becomes relevant and also helps to break up the information being presented so it isn't a bit list of what shops there are and what services they provide.

The fifth chapter, rather than being info-dumpy, was instead rather filler-y. There were some interesting tidbits about Blitz's situation, and it was nice to see his relationship with Hercules. The majority of the actual training part wasn't that interesting, though, and I think you could have cut it or or summed it up as "and then they trained for a few hours. Sera got better at sand attack, and Chiaki learned two new moves" or something without harming the story. Training sessions are rarely interesting in and of themselves, so if you're going to show them they generally need to be pulling double duty in some way: providing characterization or subtly advancing the plot. Like I said, I didn't see much plot going on here, and I don't think there was much novel to see about the characterization; Chiaki is flighty, Blitz is neurotic, and Sera is bold and rambunctious, but there's nothing particularly new going on there.

It was nice for you to start off showing a bit of the plot right from the start with the sigilyph and the gray hooded figure. It kind of vanished for most of this chunk of chapters, though--stuff happened, but there wasn't a lot to connect it to an overarching narrative. Chiaki's memory loss, which may or may not be related to the sigilyph somehow, is currently what's giving an indication of what we'll be dealing with in future chapters. I thought it was cute how the idea of him being human was brought up and then immediately dismissed. Could go either way, although so far this hasn't looked like a typical human-turned-pokémon PMD story. The appearance of the elgyem at the end of Chapter 5 is a hopeful sign that we're moving out of intros and into the meat of the story.

Chapters 6-10

And this is where the main plot (with the crystals) really kicks off. Great! Eight crystals, like eight gym badges? Not sure if you were explicitly trying to mirror the gym setup you see with a trainerfic, but it's a cute parallel either way.

Unfortunately Chapter 6 itself starts this batch of chapters off on a kind of lackluster note, since it's basically filler. The chase between Chiaki and Elina is amusing and gives you a chance to bring a lot of side characters in to join the fun, but I really don't think it needed to go on for an entire chapter. After a few hundred words, that kind of joke gets to be beating a dead horse, I think, and as a result there just wasn't much that happened in this chapter. It's also bizarre in that I still don't know why Elina was trying to get away from Chiaki in the first place. She doesn't seem to have any personal issue with him or actual desire to withold information from him, and later on actively seeks him and the team out even when they tell her not to. So why is she so intent on fleeing here? One way or another, I think devoting an entire chapter to Chiaki chasing her around the town was a little excessive.

But Chapter 7 really does set the main plot rolling! I've seen a lot of MD fanfics, in particular, toy with the multiple-universe interpretation of the pokémon setting, so I had to smile to see this one going in that direction as well. It makes sense to some extent, since the "pokémon world" and "human world" are explicitly different places in the PMD canon. In any case, it'll be interesting to see whether you go deeper into that, and how Chiaki might be involved, or whether it's more of a general explanation for what might go wrong in the world and the specifics of the multiple worlds aren't that important.

It is a little too bad that nobody seems to know what the crystals really do or what their disappearance means, other than that it's Bad. This makes it a little harder to generate tension around what's going to happen if the crystals aren't found in a reasonable amount of time--we don't really know the stakes. The whole world could be destroyed, or maybe not. How you actually show the crystals impacting the world through their absence is the really crucial part, but I think a bit more concrete exposition here on what the crystals mean to the world and the pokémon of Fenix Town would give the knowledge they're missing more impact.

It was neat that you set up a real moral dilemma for the characters in Chapter 7. The question of whether they should go for the crystal themselves or let everyone else know about it is a legitimately a tough one (even though it's clear that they really should let other people know) and gives you a lot of opportunity to show of your characterization in how each character answers the question, and especially in who they go to for help when wrestling with it. It's just another one of those things where I don't know if you needed to devote an entire chapter to it. You obviously want to get at least one scene with each of the characters thinking about things, but I think you spent more time than necessary here--this was another chapter where, ultimately, not much went on; it ended up feeling a bit long to me.

On the other hand, the dungeon section that spans chapters 9 and 10 is definitely the best yet. You've moved past the tutorial elements that annoyed me in the earlier chapters, and you do a great job of pacing the dungeon. You don't talk in detail about every floor the team goes to, but stay focused on places where actually interesting/important events take place. The way you had the team interact with local pokémon, created a sort of little culture/ecology for the dungeon, and had the team work together with more experienced and powerful allies to take down the dungeon "boss" were all creative and gave this section a very unique structure--it doesn't feel like your typical dungeon adventure in a PMD fanfic, in a great way. All in all this is a well-done two-chapter arc that neatly wraps up the first crystal's storyline and clearly sets up the next arc of the story.

Chapters 11-15

A return to some quieter chapters here, which makes sense since chapters 9 and 10 are kind of a mini-climax. Chapter 12 was one of those that didn't really have a lot of substance to it, though. The bit at the beginning with the sigilpyh is more hinting that something sinister is going on, but there's not a lot of meat there, just a couple paragraphs of generic evil cackling, and then the dungeon section provides a couple cute moments for a minor character, but there isn't much going on otherwise. Chapter 11 is maybe overlong, too, but at least it's directly connected to one of the main characters and advances her arc.

Overall I didn't like the dungeon section in chapters 13/14 as well as I liked chapters 9 and 10. While Sera's carelessness coming around to bite her was good and sets up some nice internal conflict for future chapters, the dungeon itself was less memorable and had less vibrant characters than the pan-tribes we saw in the previous dungeon. And Chapter 13 in particular is a lot of logistics--getting ready for the mission, figuring out where the dungeon is, that sort of thing. It's not all that thrilling, you know? The stuff going on with Eltanin and Elina is a bit more interesting, but it's also very vague--we don't actually learn more than a tiny bit about what's up with Elina, or what happened to her earlier, so it's more of a tease than anything. You can only tease so much before you start giving answers, or it starts to get more tedious and annoying than intriguing. Important info that could put Chiaki in danger! Or the whole town in danger! It's ominous, but like with the earlier warnings about what could happen with the crystals gone, you have to show that there's some teeth behind the warnings of how dangerous things could get, or it's just empty words.

Chapter 15 is very much like Chapter 12--more dungeon stuff, more hinting with the sigilyph. Dungeon sequences are not inherently interesting! If you threw this chapter out, I'm not sure what the story would be missing.

Chapters 16-20

Chapter 16 is another one of those chapters that's basically dungeon and nothing much going on. Azure wondering whether the team will accept her and Elina wondering whether Kala will agree to teach her telepathy aren't really riveting problems; it's obvious that the answer is "yes" in both cases, and the team clearing another dungeon without problems doesn't make for great reading, either. I don't know if you're showing all these dungeon crawls because you want to emphasize the progress the team is making towards the next rank, or whether you're doing it to kind of space out the various background threads going on (Elina's telepathy, the location of the various crystals, Blitz's issues, etc.), but it's another case of, if there's nothing interesting going on, it doesn't need to be in there. We don't need to see every dungeon the team goes through to rise to silver rank or whatever, and it's okay to deal with the various other subplots in the story without cutting back and forth from a dungeon the whole way through. The other option is to make the dungeon sections more vibrant, but that's probably going to mean upping the stakes a lot, and you can only go so far without taking the story darker places than you'd like. Ultimately the problem is that dungeons rarely seem to challenge your characters; they go on a mission, and it's pretty much a sure thing that they're going to succeed. That doesn't mean it would be preferable for them to be constantly failing, but you want to create the sense that they at least have to work at it to successfully clear a dungeon. Chapter 17 is another one where nothing much happens, but it feels more substantial because at least the various activities the characters are getting up to give them the opportunity to reflect on their respective character arcs.

The next three chapters, about recovering the undersea crystal, were better, though. Like the first crystal dungeon expedition, I thought you did a good job with the minor characters in particular. The setup in Chapter 18 was a bit contrived, with the team just happening to run into Stella and realizing they'll need a Deep Sea Charm to go after the next crystal, then finding out Couture just happens to have gotten lost in a dungeon, and she just happens to decide to reward them with Deep Sea Charms after they rescue her. The section that actually takes place in the dungeon was good, though. The villains were entertaining, and I particularly like how you had the team work together to defeat opponents that were stronger than them. In general you do a nice job of making boss fights about finding clever ways to win, rather than just leveling up and/or learning more powerful techniques to be able to overpower enemies. The more creative strategies your characters use to take on difficult challenges are more interesting to read about than slugfests, and they feel more appropriate for the kind of characters you're working with. The characters in this story aren't big-time heroes who go swaggering around, lopping off heads; they're ordinary kids with ordinary abilities, so they need to rely on teamwork and strategy to win against stronger opponents. It works well with your ensemble cast and the kind of story you're trying to tell.

Chapters 21-27

I'm going to cheat a bit and talk about seven chapters in one go instead of the usual five, since they all make up probably the most coherent arc in the story so far. The major issue here is Blitz's issues with the expectations other people have for him, and I think it's probably the most successful arc in the story so far. This is one where you did a nice job of foreshadowing it earlier on in the story with little hints that Blitz has issues around using the elemental fang attacks and is to some extent hiding out from his past, then following through by having his past literally show up on his doorstep in the form of his mother and younger sister. In particular what I think you did well in this arc was show how Blitz's insecurity affects many other people besides himself; we didn't just have chapters of Blitz struggling to come to terms with his past (or future), but got to see the Hercules' struggle to reconcile wanting to be Blitz's friend with doing what he thinks will ultimately be best for him, Sera trying to understand what this all means for their friendship as well as questioning her own desire to be a leader, and Chiaki still coming to terms with the loss of his memories and kind of caught in the middle of it all, with his friends falling out with each other and going through some rough times.

This is also an example of an arc where each chapter feels necessary and works to advance the story. Chapter 21 introduces the conflict, with Lita showing up and new questions arising about Blitz's past. Chapter 22 gives us Blitz's story, and then the chapters after that are about coming to terms with what we learn in 22, with Blitz running off in 24 and the town organizing to find him after that. In particular I think the resolution in the Chapter 25 is nice, in particular the scene where Bow and Blitz get to talk about what destiny means and what the future holds in store for them. It's a nice introspective moment, and you can really see a bond developing between the characters. I would say Chapter 23 works out to be the least memorable of the bunch, the one where the least goes on: it's kind of a grab bag of brief scenes with a variety of characters, and none of those scenes contain as much emotional import as do the ones in surrounding chapters. The final two chapters of the arc, 26 and 27, also kind of trail off a bit, though it's nice to see some resolution with Hercules. There was nothing like the filler that came in earlier parts of the story, for sure.

Perhaps also notable: there were only two dungeon crawls in the whole of this arc! That isn't to say that dungeons are inherently a bad thing, but I think it is telling how much more cohesive and distinct this section felt for not having a mission every other chapter or so. You don't really need the missions to give structure to the story or move the characters around--you do just fine without them.

Of course, all this does put the main plot on the backburner for a while, and the transition back into the crystal-finding stuff is a bit abrupt. I don't think it's a bad thing to take some time off from the primary plot thread to deal with character development, but it's always preferable to have that development happen in a way that more clearly advances the story's overall plot.

Chapters 28-33

The plot really picks up here! We finally get to see the "sigilyph" arrive on the scene, and the heroes have their first serious encounter with the antagonist. I like the use of magic here; it lets you do different things than standard pokémon attacks would allow, and the effects you chose are cool, and serious, and seem like just the kind of things a nasty piece of work like Erebos would use their power to do. Cutting off the communication between Cordyceps and his mushroom, in particular, is an ingenious and cruel little trick. And the effects don't fade when Erebos is out of the picture! There's been something of a lack of serious consequences for the characters so far this story, so that's extra chilling and a real sign that Erebos means business. All in all, I think this was an effective first encounter with him, as well as a great "big damn heroes" moment as all the characters gather to support Sera's team and drive Erebos off for now. It'll be cool to see everyone (presumably) come together for the final encounter, where they have to get rid of Erebos for good, and Erebos will manage to raise the stakes even higher for that final battle.

That's what I see as the centerpiece of this arc--the fight against Erebos. Some of the other chapters are a little more lackluster, like 33, which seems really short. Not sure if it actually is, but ultimately not much happens in it; aside from Chiaki not-really remembering anything, it was mostly just confirming that, yup, the effects of Erebos' spells haven't worn off. On the other end of the arc, Chapter 28 was mostly setup for the crystal dungeon crawl. The fire crystal sequence I found interesting because, again, we see what I consider to be a more serious threat from Erebos. Traps like giant plants, powerful sandstorms, and so on are challenges, sure, but they feel a lot less personal and, well, evil than basically mind-controlling pokémon into blindly attacking anything that gets near the crystal, making them fight their friends, that kind of thing. There's been some suggestion that wild pokémon are acting more aggressively because of Erebos' magic, but this is the first time that it's happened to a named character that the team has really gotten to interact with. Spooky!

Aside from the chapter where Erebos appears, Chapter 30 is probably the most interesting to me out of this arc, in that it's a real mixed bag of a chapter, with what I think are really good elements and really bad elements. On the good side, Blitz taking over as rescue team leader, and all the tension that creates within him and Sera, make this an unusually good dungeon crawl section and a nice continuation of all the issues brought up in the previous arc. And since Bow gets captured, of course this chapter moves the plot right along. However, it also contains those scenes where Bow and her mother discuss Erebos and the history of the village... except the part where they actually discuss those things is of course cut off, so we just get blurbs where it's clear that important information is being conveyed, but we don't actually get to learn any of that information ourselves. You do this a fair amount, in particular with Elina and her knowledge of Chiaki's past, but it felt particularly egregious to me in this chapter because we get not one, but two hinty scenes like this, with the actual conversation about the past neatly excised from the middle, and then you're going to go on and have Bow's mother go through and tell the whole thing at the end of this arc anyway. Generally speaking, I think it's more effective to come right out and give the audience information than to give it to the characters but not the audience. What purpose did those scenes serve? I imagine they were intended to pique the reader's curiosity, but they annoyed me more than intriguing me! If it's information I'm going to get later anyway, and there's no way to figure it out from the text, what's the point?

Chapters 34-40

This is another self-contaied arc, one that could basically be pulled out of the story and told separately. In a sense we are pulled out of the story, since we don't see anything of the present day while Stella's narrating. It's nice to get some real answers about things that have been hinted at since more or less the beginning of the story. With the reveal of Erebos in the past couple chapters, it felt like the plot was really starting to pick up.

Unfortunately, I think this flashback arc did rather slow things down, and it ran a bit long for my tastes. I'm a little curious as to why you chose to full-on show scenes of everything that happened in the past, rather than having Stella narrate the story, which probably would have taken about a chapter. It's hard to get invested in characters we're with for such a relatively short time and who (outside of Erebus) we won't be seeing in the main narrative. It could easily get kind of boring, just giving the whole story as a big exposition dump, but it wouldn't separate us from the people we know and care about, and the immediacy of their situation, for nearly as long.

Probably some kind of compromise would work best: keep the flashbacks, but trim it down to the ones that are most essential to the story and the characters. What is it you want the reader to come away knowing about the past, the essentials, after reading this bit? I'm going to guess it's along the lines of, you want them to know who Pandora and Cassandra and Erebos are, and that Erebos was corrupted by dark magic, not always as he is now; and how Pandora managed to imprison him, and how that imprisonment came to an end. You obviously are going to have a better idea than me of what belongs and what doesn't, but that would be my guess. The next question is, what aspects of that story do you need to show, in the form of a flashback, and which can simply be summarized in the narration? For example, maybe the nature of Erebos' imprisonment is something that you can get across in words ("Pandora's magic created a chest crusted with purple jewels, which would hold Erebos' spirit for as long as her spell could last") rather than a full scene.

Personally, I liked the bits with Pandora and Erebos the best of this arc. I think you did a good job of portraying Pandora's situation, in particular, how horrified she is by her brother' behavior but also conflicted in terms of what she can or do to try and stop him. Cassandra's little arc about how she's dissatisfied with how uneventful life is in her town is a little interesting in terms of her "be careful what you wish for" guilt, but ultimately it doesn't seem to come to much. I guess she learned her lesson? There didn't seem to be a ton of resolution to that aspect of the story, and it's one where I wasn't sure whether it ultimately contributed a great deal to the story. That in mind, Chapters 35, 38 and 40 were my favorites out of the arc. Thirty-four was more setup than anything, before we even meet the mismagius, and 37 was maybe a little wheel-spin-y; Erebos is still up to his "experiments," and Cassandra is still trying to help Pandora figure out how to deal with him. I actually thought the town-burning episode was less impactful than the final chapter, where everyone has to confront Erebos at Axis Tower: there actually wasn't a lot of focus on the fire itself, and the characters we see affected are ones we generally don't know much about or have a great deal of attachment to. This is one section of the story that I think you could make really impactful, but as it stands I think it's a bit glossed over. (Which is actually fine! It's less important than the final fight, so you don't need to spend as much time on it... but at that point, the question might be why you want to include those scenes at all!)

The more logistic-y scenes, where we see characters gear up for a later event or set out to go somewhere (with whatever happens in that location being shown later) are good candidates for cutting. Chapter 40 has a fair number of them, like the scene where Pandora's collecting crystals from the mystery dungeon or the one where Simon and Cassandra speculate about what Pandora's up to. On the other hand, it also has the climactic scene where Pandora finally seals Erebos away, which is definitely a good one! I liked Erebos' disbelief when he at last starts to realize that Pandora really is going to imprison him, and that her spell is working, and how ripped up Pandora is after having to do that to her own brother, despite what he's become. There's quite a bit of chaff in that chapter too, though, and I think overall this arc could be improved by focusing on those high-impact scenes and removing some of the less important ones, so you have a nice, tight arc full of quality drama that doesn't take the reader out of the main storyline for as long as the current version does.

I do think it's quite clever that "Fenix Town" literally rose from the ashes of a previous settlement, and it was neat to see how you portrayed the guild evolving out of the previous system of using the oracle's predictions to find pokémon lost in mystery dungeons. It's clear you could write a whole other story about Illumine town and the pokémon in it... I just don't know if it was a good idea to include quite as much of that information in the main text as you chose to.

Chapters 41-46

Another crystal in this section. I'm curious whether getting all eight crystlals will more or less bring us to the end of the story or not; obviously the primary threat of distortions consuming the world will be over at that point, but Erebos will presumably still be a problem, since his presence isn't directly related to the crystals being scattered. It's also still not clear how Chiaki may be involved in all of this, and whether the resolution of his story is going to come at the same time as the crystals being returned. And speaking of him, the info we get in this section seems to hint more strongly that he used to be human, or at least that he has some radically different "other identity" attached to his lost memories. Meanwhile, Malefica seems to have a somewhat Erebos-like personality--not as totally jerkish, but certainly on the overly-aggressive side of ghostliness. Not sure if that's an intentional parallel or not!

For the most part I think the three chapters spent on the crystal here works fine. The "characters face their greatest fears/weaknesses" when confronted by ghosts is a pretty classic device, and it works well enough here, even if it does take a bit more time. One thing that seemed out of place to me was the lecture Lodestone gave Frederick about being frightened of ghost types. I know you wanted to address Spiteful Murkrow's comment about why Frederick was scared, but having Lodestone admonish Frederick for it in the text seemed a little odd to me. In the first place, ghosts are legitimately spooky, according to what Lodestone's saying, so it doesn't seem at all strange, or predjudiced, to me, that Frederick would be nervous about them. Not many people are going to appreciate pokémon who like to pop up out of nowhere and play pranks on you! And it didn't seem all that weird to me that he'd be scared in the first place; fears aren't rational, so the fact that Frederick was afraid of ghosts, despite having an advantage over them, didn't strike me as strange. Plenty of people are afraid of mice, for example, even though in a battle of mouse vs human the human is very clearly going to be the winner. So, the reason for his fears wasn't something I thought needed to be addressed, and it was brought up in a rather out-of-the-blue way, I thought, that didn't have much to do with the rest of what was happening in the dungeon.

One thing I thought I would address in this arc is the role of luck in the story. The fact is that your characters simply get lucky a lot--it's lampshade-hung more in the first part of the story, but it happens all throughout the story. Sera is right in what she realizes at the end of 46; they did legitimately conquer the dungeons on their own, so that part wasn't just luck, but they really have had a lot of their accomplishments kind of dumped in their lap throughout the story. For example, Bow just happens to have a vision of the crystal's location at the end of Chapter 43, and the team runs into her at the beginning of 44 so she can tell them where it is. They've always kind of stumbled into being the team that ends up going for the crystals, one way or another. Similarly, the spells Erebos cast on various pokémon are all resolved within a couple chapters (excluding the flashback chapters, of course) with very little input from the main characters--basically, Samara shows up and fixes everything for them. It seems a little easy, you know?

That's not to say that the pokémon should never be able to get out from under Erebos' spell, or that everything needs to be an ~ordeal~ for the characters, but it would be nice to see them struggle a bit once in a while, you know? Blitz, Sera, and Chiaki have all wrestled with their own personal issues throughout the story, but as far as the main plot goes, they've gotten through most things without much difficulty. It's a bit more rewarding, I think, to see them have to work a bit for their victories. Like, how much more satisfying would it be to see the team have to work together and use their own individual skills to figure out where the next dungeon is, rather than have the oracle tell them whenever it's time for the plot to start moving again? How much more interesting would it be to watch various characters have to deal with temporarily having their abilities sealed until they can figure out a way to reverse the spell instead of having a previously-unknown character show up to save the day? There's only so far you can go with this sort of thing before the tone starts to get a bit darker than I think you want, than would really be appropriate for this story, but at times things do feel a bit too easy, and there were definitely a couple moments in this set of chapters where I got that sense.

Only other thing to say is that Chapter 41 is another one of those that doesn't really feel like it fits, where there's not a lot going on. There are scenes like the one where everybody wonders where Elina is, so they go to look at Kala's, only to find... that she's not there. Which feels kind of pointless, you know? And then there are parts devoted to interaction between members of Sera's family, and not even the characters that have gotten a lot of focus in the past (Amethyst and Sirena). I like the eeveelution family well enough, but they're far from major characters, and I don't know how much getting to know Yoru, Volt and so on is adding to the reading experience. I'm sure you could make some fun spin-off one-shots if you wanted to explore more of what was happening with those guys, though!

Chapters 47-53

And the final group of chapters, bringing us up to the present! The majority of the chapters here are devoted to finding the ice crystal, of course. One thing I like is that you've by and large succeeded at making the challenge of each successive crystal dungeon escalate without getting crazy. This definitely feels like the most difficult dungeon yet, with the environment and wild pokémon alike being unusually hostile, and lots of dangerous fully-evolved pokémon like abomasnow and glalie running around. However, this particular challenge does feel a bit same-y in some respects. The structure is pretty similar in that the team shows up to take on the dungeon, they talk to some locals to either make friends or learn some important information, and ultimately they enlist the help of some local pokémon and/or other rescue teams in order to conquer the main challenge of the dungeon. It's tricky, because part of the point is that the team's strength is their ability to work together, both with each other and with the friends they make over the course of their journey, but it would be nice to see them have to take a different approach to a mystery dungeon now and again, or somehow have to cope with going it alone. The water crystal dungeon was like that, more or less, although it was also a weird one because the team didn't actually go after the crystal as such, they solved the underwater HQ's problem and in return some of their pokémon went out and retrieved the crystal. In short, more dangerous dungeon good, Wynn and other rescue teams bailing the main characters out, kinda eh.

The issue of the ice the crystal's encased in provides kind of a convenient study. First of all, Chiaki's vision is curious, of course; he's had flashes from his past before, but never from his future (as far as we know!). Or perhaps this crystal is connected to his past, and so there's some resonance there that's causing him to catch glimpses of it. In any case, that's a neat bit, as is the team finding the other rescuers frozen solid in blocks of ice. Reminds me of the scene with Lusamine in Aether Paradise, where it's revealed that she's been "collecting" pokémon like that. It's creepy and serious! But once again, the main characters don't have to actually deal with it: they pretty much show up, see their frozen friends, and a few lines later Megara pops up to melt them with her body heat, so the main characters don't actually have to do anything to solve the problem. Likewise, it's set up so it sounds like the ice around the crystal itself is special somehow, like it's going to take something extra to deal with it, but again, nope, Megara just melts it all. It takes her a little longer than normal, but it's nothing out of the ordinary. These, to me, felt like cases where you were setting up potentially-interesting problems, but then undercutting them by having a secondary character show up with an easy solution, so the main team never actually has to engage with them.

The chapter where Blitz's father returns is a bit odd. Like you mentioned, it doesn't involve any of the normal cast. It does introduce a new wrinkle in how Blitz is going to have to come to terms with not wanting to be leader of the pride; he's removed of the shame of his father having abandoned everybody, but now he's got to tell his father directly that he doesn't want to follow in his footsteps. However, what does having a chapter showing his father returning to the pride add to the story, as opposed to Lena or Lita telling Blitz that his father's back, or him simply showing up and Blitz needing to deal with it? We don't even get to learn what made his father leave in the first place (though to be fair, the guy doesn't really seem to know himself). This is one of those chapters that felt out of place to me.

Chapters 47 and 48 are more traditionally filler-ish. I hesitate to say that about 48, especially, since that does have a bit more of Chiaki trying to figure out what his deal is, but they're generally a fair number of short scenes covering more minor characters. You're right that after a big event like a multi-chapter dungeon crawl, it makes sense to take a little time off with some slower scenes. You do want to make sure that those scenes are still advancing the story, though, or showing us something new about the characters. Bits like the scene where Bow's practicing her psybeams don't feel like they show us much that's interesting. I guess it's nice to know she wasn't super traumatized by getting kidnapped and lying around depressed or something, but it's one of those things where there's not a lot going on there, so why include it? And these chapters have several scenes like that. Overall, probably what you want to work the most on going forward: deciding what it's necessary to show in the story and what is better summarized or left out entirely.


Lost but Seeking
Whew! That's enough of the blow-by-blow. Let's sum up where I see the story so far.

Overall, I almost think there are two parallel stories going on here. One's a slice-of-life story about a young rescue team in a town filled with colorful characters, and the other's an epic save-the-world tale about a young rescue team setting out to defeat an ancient evil and restore the balance of the world. Obviously, both these threads exist in the story, but I think they're at odds with each other at times. Slice-of-life calls for a wide cast of secondary characters with their own concerns and foibles and for more domestic scenes that simply let them bounce off each other; epic adventure stories tend to have a more streamlined cast and focus more on gathering information and overcoming obstacles than on character interactions. They can definitely be combined, although it's a little tricky, but right now I think those two elements don't work together all that well in this story. At times it felt like I was reading along about the exploits of Sera's team and the extended cast of Fenix Town, when suddenly! It's time for another vision and another crystal mission! Or the reverse, where after a big dungeon mission we're back to interludes with comic relief characters or family drama.

Again, both these elements can coexist in a story just fine, but in this one at times the two tracks can feel like they they run alongside one another but don't interact much--like they're two separate stories rather than one cohesive narrative. This has improved in recent chapters, particularly with Blitz and Sera, since their personal problems kind of span both halves of the story: Sera has lots of interactions with her family where she's trying to figure out what she wants her role in life to be and where she wants to be recognized as an adult, and capable, and feels overshadowed by some of her other siblings, and these all come to a head in the kinds of decisions she faces in terms of what she does in dungeons: how she beats herself up over mistakes like not bringing orbs for a monster house or suggests that Blitz take over as team leader... and then wonders what it means that she doesn't really miss being in charge. Likewise, Blitz has a lot of his character development take place in dungeons, as he deals with being made leader and how similar that is to the destiny he's hoping to escape, as well as dealing with his issues around using the elemental fangs to cause pain. These issues that come up both when the characters are in Fenix Town and when they're out on crystal missions and so forth: it gives some continuity between the two parts of the story, helps them feel like one cohesive whole. It would be nice to see more of this crossover between the Axis Tower-related segments and the pure Fenix Town segments, though, to make the connection between the two stronger. How is all the business with the crystals affecting life in Fenix Town? How does it change what all those secondary characters are up to? There have been some hints at this in more recent chapters, with the talk of disotrtions and potentially needing to close certain mystery dungeons, but I'd like to see more! I think more attention to how the main plot is affecting characters outside the main team will help tie everything together and also make Erebos' threat feel more real and more pressing. You don't need to go super-dark or super-serious or anything, but it's a bit hard to worry about the world ending if the majority of characters appear to have forgotten entirely that anything like that's going on!

All in all, it seems to me you're more comfortable writing the slice-of-life bits and character scenes than the more plot-oriented stuff, or at least that's what you gravitate towards. But despite that, I haven't really talked very much about the characters themselves when going through the chapters, have I? So let's do that now.

One of the things I really like about this story is how ordinary-feeling the main characters are. They aren't destined heros or people called from other dimensions to complete a mission (well, we don't really know about Chiaki yet)--they're young pokémon with mundane goals and interests. They want to go on adventures and help people, they want people to recognize their talents and maturity, they want to find somewhere they fit in and are accepted for who they are, not the position they were born to take on. It's the whole ordinary people, extraordinary situations thing. In a lot of PMD stories the main characters are thrown into epic missions almost immediately and are taking on legendaries and powerful conspiracies within a few chapters of waking up in an unfamiliar body with amnesia. There's nothing wrong with that, exactly; it's great when it's done well. But it's refreshing to see you take a different tack here. The protagonists are thrown into an epic quest, but they remain very grounded in smaller concerns, the kinds of concerns an adolescent pokémon in the PMD world might have. They need the help of more powerful, experienced characters to get things done. They very clearly grow into their roles rather than starting out with special abilities or other qualities that mark them out for greatness. While I think the slice-of-life stuff gets a bit much and can bog the story down at times, it really is nice to see you take a different approach with this story, which gives it a totally different flavor than the majority in the genre.

I think all three of your main characters are well done. I don't know that I could pick one that I like better between Blitz and Sera; it took me a bit longer to warm up to Chiaki, since for a long time he was just kind of "super cheerful, carefree guy," but since you've been focusing more closely on what his lost memories mean to him and the fact that he might have to leave his friends behind to return to his former life, he's gotten a lot more interesting. In general you've been steadily adding more complexity to the main characters as the story's gone along, which has been great to watch, and there's a very real sense that they'll all have grown up a lot by the time the story reaches its end. They'll probably be, I don't know, a gold-ranked team at that point, and it will definitely feel like they earned it.

The secondary characters don't have nearly as much depth, though you've been doing a fair amount with the eeveelution family recently. I think that's appropriate--you do want this story at some point, and that's simply never going to happen if you try to develop a complete arc for every member of the supporting cast. The only time when it gets to be an issue is when attention is being paid to those characters, even if it seems unwarranted. I think I mentioned it already, but Bow's scene working on her psybeam is a good example. Her desire to be a better Oracle, and how she works on that goal, is all good, but it isn't really related to the main plot at all and isn't that interesting compared to what's going on with the main cast. Hercules and Mielle's budding relationship is cute, but again it really doesn't have much to do with anything, and neither of those two has a ton going on in the characterization department, and so on. A couple of times I've mentioned that it feels like you've got plenty of material for as spin-off one-shot or series of short stories set in Fenix Town, and I do think that might be a good option if you want to talk more about what the secondary characters are up to; it'd give you some space to delve into their characters a bit more, and you could chronicle their adventures in a place where you could give them some more attention and without bringing stuff up in the main story, where it can look out of place.

I have to admit that I'm probably never going to get tired of Cordyceps' gimmick, though. He's probably my favorite of the supporting characters.

So, I would say that characters are a particular strength of this story. As far as its primary weakness, you can probably guess from the stuff I talked about in the chapter-by-chapter section, but I would have to say filler material--both on the level of scenes or whole chapters, and down at the sentence level as well. Some of this, I think, is wanting to check in with all the characters at fairly regular intervals, even if they aren't doing anything particularly interesting. Some of it, though, I think is from focusing a bit too much on the logistics of things--having to lay everything out rather than eliding some of the grunt work of getting from one point to another. Most of the dungeon sections are preceded by a chapter that's primarily prepping to go into the dungeon and getting all the characters on the same page. Discussions about what items to bring, scenes where one character informs another about what's going on where there isn't anything going on besides that character getting caught up to speed, training sessions at the dojo to learn a new move(s)--these aren't particularly interesting unless something unexpected happens, or there's something more going on, these scenes somehow tie into character or plot arcs. The reader can generally assume that everybody who needed to know about something was informed at some point, that the appropriate items got bought, or any of these things can be summed up in a sentence or two--"Hey, I've been practicing a cool new fighting attack! I can't wait to show you!" Cutting down on that kind of logistical stuff would let you focus on the more exciting and relevant events in your story and make it feel more exciting overall, since there'd be a greater concentration of high-impact scenes.

There's also a whole lot of previewing stuff before it happens, for lack of a better word. Stella realizes something, for example, and instead of the reader being told what that is, Stella resolves to reveal it to someone at a later date, or goes off to act on it without us knowing what she's doing. You can just have her tell somebody! You can just have her act on it! Characters don't need to announce that they're doing the thing before doing the thing. Similarly, scenes of characters walking around looking for things, discussing what they're going to do next... you don't need them. Unless there's something interesting about them, all they're doing is bogging the story down and getting in the way of what you actually want to be talking about. "Interesting" doesn't necessarily mean plot-relevant, but you want there to be some character building in there, or worldbuilding, or humor, something that justifies the scene's existence. If it's just "they looked over here and met this character along the way, then looked over there and met this other character, and then they found the place," it isn't a lot of fun to read through.

Particularly towards the beginning of the story, you also had a tendency to be repetitive at the sentence level; a common pattern was to have a character say something and then have the narration explain what the character just said again. You also leaned very heavily on the various character tics--Blitz was "rubbing the rings on his legs together" every couple of paragraphs or so, it sometimes seemed like. You've gone a bit overboard with characters "putting a hand to their chin" in recent chapters--that's a gesture you see quite rarely in real life, and it really doesn't make sense for the quadrupeds and other pokémon with nonstandard arm/face configurations--but overall you've gotten much better at not repeating yourself or relying so heavily on stock phrases to describe what characters are doing or thinking.

Your writing has definitely been improving with time! For another example, as you can see in the chapter-by-chapter section, there were still chapters or scenes where I felt relatively little was accomplished, but it's much rarer for me to find a chapter where I thought nothing of note happened. I think it may have taken the story a little while to find its feet, but I think once you got rolling and kind of settled into the structure of eight crystal dungeons and dug a bit more into character motivation and conflict, you got better at focusing what's relevant to the plot. You might also have kind of figured out where you wanted to go with the characters over time as well, since I feel like most of their serious development started up somewhere in the late twenties, chapter-wise. It's all to the good, anyway; later chapters have seen the stakes grow progressively higher and characters confronted with difficult choices (Chiaki in particular). It's really cool to see how you develop as a writer from the first chapters to the most recent of them; I hope you can appreciate how far you've come, too!

Finally, I want to say congrats on having made it 53 chapters on this! That's a huge amount of work to put in over a five-year period, and way more than most people accomplish when they set out to do epic-length fanfics. I'm guessing you probably have around twenty chapters left at this point, since you need two crystals and possibly some kind of final arc dealing with Erebos, if that doesn't come along in combination with the final crystal. However many chapters are left, I really hope you manage to get them all written and posted! Finishing a huge project like this would be such a great personal accomplishment, and it would be too bad to see you fall out of it in the home stretch. One way or another, though, I think this project has definitely been worth it; there's a huge amount of improvement evident over the course of the story, so if your goal was to practice and get better at writing, you definitely accomplished it. This review is quite long, so if you want me to clarify or discuss anything further, just let me know. Great work on the story so far, and I'm rooting for you to get those last few chapters out! Good luck!


Winter can't come soon enough
Okay, so I’ll bet you weren’t expecting a second person to have played catch-up with this. But… surprise! I was reading, like, 2-4 chapters of this a day because I like my PMD stories and wanted to see where this one would go. You’ve quite the dedication to work on the story for this long. And I’ve enjoyed reading it a lot up to this point. You’ve clearly put a lot of thought into the story’s overall development, especially the cast of characters. While some of them are a bit one-note, I was still entertained by their lines and appearances and found things to be reasonably well-rounded. Sure, not everyone’s getting fully developed, but you are making it a point to make sure recurring characters continue appearing. It’s definitely a lot to juggle, and I find myself wondering what sorts of resolutions certain characters’ conflicts will have since we’re getting closer to the end. Also, it does feel like, outside of one arc of chapters, the main villain takes a back seat with all these other characters popping up. His appearances up to this point have been sufficient for me to root for the guy’s demise, but I do hope to see more of him in the closing acts. Now, I know Negrek mentions it feeling like there are two stories running in parallel with one another. And I totally get that mentality. I’m just going to take a slightly different opinion on this matter, and say that this fic reads like a what-if scenario. That being, “What if a PMD universe got a similar treatment as the Pokémon anime?”

The parallels just got clearer the more I read of it. There’s an overarching storyline (the Axis Tower crystals), but not all chapters are dedicated to pursuing that plot. Rather, there are small arcs that advance that storyline. And in between, there are filler “episodes” that focus on the dynamics between different characters. Or, perhaps, chapters where the MC’s take a backseat to the exploits of other characters. Recurring characters get dedicated subplots that span several chapters. And we sometimes get “characters of the day” that show up for different locales. For example, Wynn the Absol for Mt. Frostbite or the Frillish twins underwater. So, yes, it has this anime-esque feel to it. Sorry if that seems odd, but it’s what came to mind for me.

I just ended up grouping my thoughts in clumps of 5 chapters. I know that doesn’t match up with the arcs of this fic. Hopefully I’m not repeating too many things that Negrek said. He’s a far more sophisticated reader than I could ever hope to be and I tried to edit this stuff to make it as different as possible. If any of it doesn’t make sense, feel free to PM me or something and I can try to explain myself better.

Ch 1-5
Nice little juxtaposition with the action scene, then cutting to a more slice of life style with introducing the rescuers for some comedic relief. And that’s balanced out by the more mysterious scene with Stella. It’s abundantly clear by the start of chapter 2 that Blitz is quite a nervous little guy, but it complements Sera’s more energetic personality both in a good way (some of their banter is funny) and a bad way (their one-sided argument about going to Meridian Forest). The dungeon itself seems faithful to the games, complete with mysterious stairs and random items to nab. Even the tour of the town for Chiaki seems like one of the tutorials you’d find in the early games. The accuracy is nice, of course, but it feels like a ton of filler.

Heck, the start of this story feels like a game’s natural progression. Lush Valley sounds like a perfect introductory dungeon and there was a slight reference to the games’ turn-based elements. And then you progress into a low-key outlaw mission with Deino in Granite Grotto (nice alliteration, btw). The battle against it was very… cute? Yeah, not too serious, but I had a giggle fit at it. Especially how polite Deino seemed. Then we have another new mechanic in Hercules and the dojo to coincide with a rank up. Chiaki probably had my favorite moments in the training montage, b/c I wouldn’t be sitting still either. And the “introductory chapters” end off with a little bit of mystery in the form of the Elgyem. It’s a double-edged sword in that, if a reader’s looking for tons of excitement right off the bat, they may end up disappointed by this kind of a start. But, it seems like you’re attempting to replicate the games and follow their formats. That may narrow your target audience a bit, as it makes things tough to approach from the get-go.

Ch 6-10
Oooh… a chase scene. Very odd change of pace, but I liked the funny background events interspersed in it (like the spilled milk gag, even if it was cheesy), though it’s odd it went on that long. Elina being mute adds an interesting dynamic to her interactions, without things dragging out too much. From there, it seems we have our overarching issue presented: the Axis Tower crystals. It does bring to mind the Explorer games, but swap Dialga and time out for Palkia and space. But I like that you have some unique elements, such as the spacial distortions being responsible for mystery dungeons’ existences. And the idea of other worlds popping up raises the stakes quite a bit. On the one hand, putting a standard dungeon mission after that scene makes it clear the cast don’t really know how serious the gear situation is. On the other hand, it kind of weakens the impact of explaining the main conflict at that point in time. It feels like that plot point should get tackled right away.

Sigilyph returns for a creepy dream sequence. I had a feeling he and Chiaki were connected, from the intro. Speaking of returns, Sera’s eagerness and determination to prove herself is back. Glad to see that trait getting brought up. And squuueeeee! It’s Sera’s family. Eeveelutions everywhere! I’m not biased or anything, I swear. Moving on, I like the contrast with how each team member addresses their concerns about the crystal. The conflict seems in-line with their portrayals at this point. As for the mission itself, the vines in Harmony Forest are unsettling, but a nice original mechanic. As is the treetop village. Haru gets annoying quickly, but that seems intentional to create a bit of levity with the tribe leaders’ personalities (and some overall worldbuilding beyond Fenix Town) before the evil tree comes to life. Makes for an interesting boss battle too. Plenty of teamwork leading to a decisive victory. A good end to a second act where things get a bit tougher for the main team.

Ch 11-15
Good to see Sera acting a bit cocky. It fits her personality to this point. And the chat with Azure about evolving and role models offered insight to back up Sera’s behavior. Reading about Amethyst’s troubles tugged at my heartstrings a bit. Then we’ve got our creepy-crawlies mission; bugs everywhere! Azure’s inexperience and immaturity shows off a bit here, but unlike some tagalong Pokémon, she pulls her weight. This brings us to another crystal mission and a big team up of sorts. It raises the stakes, even if the desert dungeon seems pretty tame. Still, it’s good to see all three teams cooperating to some degree. I was worried Sting’s and Mirage’s teams would completely give the MC’s the brush-off b/c of their lower rank. And then a Monster House on top of it. I guess this was a good time to bring in that mechanic. You do a good job with the MC’s reactions to it; I’d probably panic too. But, hey, they got the second crystal, and Sting’s and Mirage’s teams didn’t completely look down on them for losing their cool in the Monster House.

From here, it’s back to more low-key missions. Though I do like that Sera’s behavior pretty much follows up on the Monster House and the lack of progress with the Bronze Rank. It’s just odd seeing what are essentially fic equivalents of sidequests. Speaking of things getting brought back up, Azure’s evolution subplot is making some progress, it seems. To your credit, the subplots regularly break up the dungeon crawls. But having them interrupt crystal missions feels a bit odd. At this point, I wasn’t sure how many of them you would be juggling, though.

Ch 16-20
We have the newer subplot of Elina wanted to learn telepathy making some progress. And its intertwined with Azure’s quest to evolve, to boot. This feels like something out of the Pokémon anime, where a recurring character gets an episode to themselves. From there it shifts toward another family-oriented chapter. To the credit of these particular filler chapters, they aren’t going through any dungeon crawls, and I did appreciate the break from that. Actually, this group of chapters seems to have this overall feeling of, “And now, for something completely different!” Even the introduction of the Deep Sea Charms feels like a change of pace. That’s not to say the plot doesn’t progress at all. The third crystal gets brought up and the distortions are clearly affecting Tidal Shores. Its effect on the wild Pokémon mirrors the natural disasters and time stopping of the older games. But it does seem like once the issue is brought up and discussed a bit, the MC’s drop the subject and continue about their business.

But I do like the swimming-based dungeon, how the traps are worked in, and the boss with Starmie and Missile. It’s more entertaining than just, “Bad guys sighted. Use moves. Win. End of story.” On top of that, it’s a good wrap-up point for Azure’s evolution subplot. Though I can’t help but wonder why that subplot got such a significant focus at this time, while Chiaki’s memory issues seemed to become a non-factor by this point. Even some vague illusion that it still concerned him might’ve been helpful, but I guess he’s too upbeat to care? This batch of chapters ends off with another crystal nabbed, and a new team member to boot. Azure already jelled well with the team, so her addition isn’t much of a surprise. But, again, following that “anime of the game” scenario, it’s like a recurring character getting promoted to the main cast between seasons.

Ch 21-25
I suppose it’s only fair for Blitz’s family to show up after Chiaki and Sera have had some relationship development with Elina and Sera’s family, respectively. There’s again a vague mention that something bad happened to him, although it feels like Lita’s and Hercules’ conversation is very forced. Like, they both know what happened and should just talk about it openly, but instead they’re being vague for the audience’s sake. It seems a bit pointless considering you go right into what happened to Blitz afterward. Speaking of, Blitz’s backstory is very well thought out. It does take a lot of attributes from a typical “coming of age” or “discovering who you are” sorts of scenarios, with a hint of a childhood bully in Charge. His fear about using his Fangs is well justified, though it just makes me wonder why none of his training with Hercules thus far has consisted of any sort of meditation/anger management stuff. Though, I understand his biggest concern is that he doesn’t want to be seen as special or a leader. And his tendency to shy away from things and act rather nervous does a good job illustrating that hesitancy.

I also like how the follow-up in the next chapter is mainly Sera and Chiaki figuring out what to do with this new info they have. Their reactions are perfectly in-line with their characterizations to this point (e.g. Chiaki, being the cheerful optimist, wants to do something to help Blitz). And, with the tension Sera brings to the table, what perfect time for an escort mission! Although it really only gets glanced over, there is still a big confrontation after the mission, leading to a heated argument and a breakdown in the main trio’s relationship. And there is clearly fallout from this that, though I didn’t know at the time, would spill over into future chapters. Cue high-stakes rescue sequence that brings in some of the minor characters. Bow seemed a bit out of character in her conversation with Blitz, but maybe that was intentional to show she’s not quite as scatterbrained as she looks? It still felt like it came out of left field given the way she was portrayed up to that point. But, I think I preferred Bow talking to Blitz over, say, Stella.

Ch 26-30
And after the more emotionally-driven chapters, we’re back to basic missions. It’s a bit abrupt, I must say. Although there’s a new tidbit with the distortions apparently affecting wild Pokémon. It’s a slow, but steady progression in threat level, even though it seems to again just get touched on briefly. Then a complete change of pace where Hercules gets his own chapter. Given his larger role in the last act, I guess he needed resolution. Especially since there’s still awkward friction b/w Blitz and Sera. But, it then looks like that gets mostly shelved in favor of tracking down the next crystal. This time in a volcanic region. I suppose it’s a good contrast to the underwater one. And this time there’s the added issue of Sera’s nerves, which have become a hindrance to the team. Especially when it clashes with Azure’s eagerness. I must say, given Sera’s characterization I wasn’t expecting her to beat herself up this much over things, considering she seemed pretty headstrong. But I guess she was just shaken up by Blitz’s behavior?

And now we have a brainwashed(?) Blaziken. Good to see Sigilyph having some sort of direct effect, since up to this point his appearances have been along the lines of, “Hey, I exist and I’m evil! Mwa ha ha!” At least Blitz and Sera managed to patch things up to some degree, though. And having Blitz take the leadership role is a good follow up to the arc from the previous chapters. Meanwhile, Elina’s made significant progress with her telepathy. At the same time, it’s good to see the leadership switch immediately followed up on. Sometimes these relationship-driven plot points come up and then get tossed aside for several chapters. There are also some more hints about this past oracle, Cassandra. My guess it it’s tied to the Sigilyph in some way. But, again, much like his appearances up to this point, they seem disjointed and, at this point in my reading, I had a feeling things would start to gel together soon, but I still wasn’t sure if we’d be going toward filler or progressing forward.

Ch 31-35
Okay, looks like Sigilyph (actually Erebos) is finally on the rise here. It’s just, rather jarring how casually he just reveals his motivations. No real build up, or trying to play mind games with Bow (since he just kidnapped her “for the evulz”). Seems a bit underwhelming. And there’s clearly things being held back for the sake of the readers again. To me, it messes with the pacing. But it’s a decent set-up for a higher-stakes mission. And, to Ch 32’s credit, it finally brings back Chiaki’s memory issues. But, the reveal about Sigilyph being possessed by Erebos was pretty anticlimactic. I’d have expected Erebos to figure out a way to keep her silent, or rather, reveal that tidbit himself in a more dramatic fashion. But, it was a decent hopeless boss fight, with Erebos’ sealing mechanic making him extraordinarily tough to deal with and it really offers up the first major sense of defeat the main characters have experienced since this started. Erebos’ spells lasting beyond the dungeon creates a very serious consequence that everyone now has to deal with.

As for the fallout, not surprised that Chiaki was our cloaked Pokémon in the intro. And I like how upset characters like Azure and Cordy are with Erebos’ spells. Then it’s time for some much-needed backstory, courtesy of another flashback. There are just enough subtle differences in that period to make the past seem convincing (namely, the lack of proper rescue teams). And this does a good job explaining who exactly Erebos is and what his deal is (that being, he just does whatever he wants b/c he feels like it). I do also like Pandora calling out Cassandra’s motives, though it’s contradictory of her to say it’s okay for folks to be selfish, and then trying to act selfless by keeping Cassandra from getting involved with Erebos.

Ch 36-40
The flashback continues. It’s an extraordinarily extended part. This whole sequence feels like one of Sky’s special episodes (more specifically, any of the longer ones). Erebos’ behavior escalates, and the craziness made by his spells mirrors some of the unusual distortion effects that pop up in the dungeons in the present. I guess I appreciate that connection to Erebos, but he could just as easily have taunted the present-day characters with that during the hopeless boss battle. I appreciate that Cassandra’s inexperience seems to show, what with her keeping information about Erebos secret from Illumine Town because she didn’t want them to panic. As an aside, though you seemed to complain at the time about writing Era, I thought that dialogue provided some solid comic relief to the overall flashback. Looks like what Pandora had in mind wasn’t all that bad and came from a place of love. I do like that Erebos’ greed ultimately made her lose control of the magic and basically resulted in our current situation. It shows off just how twisted he is. Especially since he blames his sister and tries to attack her for it. And giving him a spirit form is a good way to make him not bound by typical Pokémon rules anymore, so that would explain all his sealing tactics and how he could possess Sigilyph. Then he just burns the town in retaliation because he can… I guess? Erebos just comes across as psychotic as this point. If that’s the intention, good job. We’ve also got Simon and Cassandra revealing their true feelings before a desperate mission to stop Erebos. I’d have liked to see Cassandra address those feelings a bit in the flashback, since that subject matter seemed to fall mostly to Simon. And, I mean, the fact that the flashback itself gets this subplot seems a little off to me. If this is somehow not getting addressed at all in the present day (and I feel like it won’t), then what exactly was the point behind it? Erebos even mocks it a little bit, the jerk. Concluding, I do like how the flashback serves as an origin for rescue teams in the region. And it’s nice to see that now there’s a more specific sense of direction for everyone in the present day, especially with the reveal that Samara is working behind the scenes on trying to fix this. My prediction is that Erebos won’t be re-sealable and he needs to be destroyed for good this time.

Ch 41-45
Oof, Stella’s tale seems to have dragged down the town’s morale. But it’s good to see the general reaction to everything. Teasing the possibility of something else causing Chiaki’s memory loss adds another layer of intrigue to that subplot, besides the dreams. Interspersing it with glimpses at Sera’s family seemed like an odd pacing choice to me, given how intently the focus was on Stella’s story. I understand wanting to break things up, but maybe that should’ve been saved for the next chapter? Anyway, the main characters get a taste of Silver Woods. Elina and Eltanin are again vague for foreshadowy purposes. I thought the bit about Chiaki’s “truth” sounded better (less forced) than whatever Elina’s role with the gears is but it still feels like it would be just as entertaining for a reader to have the two explicitly say what’s going on and then look forward to what’ll happen when Chiaki learns about this “truth”. Anyhow, Samara’s able to cure some of Erebos’ spells. It’s a bit anticlimactic again. Might’ve been nice to need some of the teams to do something to ensure Samara could successfully undo the spells, but I digress. Bow goes a bit OOC again to level with Malefica, who makes me nervous b/c I think her love of tricks will make her like Erebos. Bummer to see Samara couldn’t help Chiaki, but it does further the mystery of what his role in all of this is. And I think a scene like that does a much better job of foreshadowing than the one with Elina and Eltanin talking in vague terms. In general, your foreshadowing scenes would be better using actions and events rather than confusing dialogue.

Onto the next crystal mission. And it looks like the theme is spooky and messing with everyone’s heads. The Cubone and Marowak tribe were nice, though (was that one Marowak referencing something with the “...fills me with [blank]” quotes?). And, of course, there’s something screwy going on in the dungeon right off the bat with an, uh, Gastly swarm? I do think the “characters talking to creepy doppelgangers” schtick has been done before. But given each of the MC’s uncertainties at this point in the story, I do think it works pretty well. And having it be a secret test of character is a nifty take on it.

Ch 46-50
Poor Frederick’s just beside himself, isn’t he? But if I couldn’t see properly, I’d probably feel the same way. I feel like you were trying to have Lodestone help Frederick steal his nerves a bit, but it ended up coming off more like an out-of-place lecture on why Frederick’s wrong to be afraid. On the bright side, looks like Sera and Blitz are finally reconciling with some of their big concerns. And offering to support Chiaki with his memory issues. It’s pretty much a “yay, power of friendship,” moment but it’s still very cute. On the flip side, Nereza is a good take on the enigma that is Spiritomb. Right down to it seeming to be an amalgamation of various spirits creating a hivemind of sorts that eventually gives up fighting because the “good” voices win out. As far as threats go, it’s not as big as the previous crystal. But Frederick gets some development, at leas.

Now we have another cool down chapter. So it looks like Chiaki can’t stick around when all this is said and done. While it’s not the whole truth, I had a strong feeling that was the case. Now, it’s a matter of seeing how that plays out. I do like how Queen Mielle shows up for this particular filler chapter. Thought she wouldn’t be appearing past the mission she helped with. Seeing actual dungeons getting shut down due to distortions is interesting. Like, if this were an actual game, those areas would be temporarily shut down until you finished the main campaign, I guess? Otherwise, the mission dealing with the Tangrowth seemed pretty standard. It’s a bit unusual that normal missions are still happening now that Erebos has become a major threat. I would’ve expected that everyone would be all in on getting the crystals. Even the PMD games reach a point where the focus solely becomes on the main threat. Anyway, Blitz’s dad is back, apparently! This feels like an odd place for this event, seeing as it’d been, like, 25+ chapters or so since Blitz’s family took up screentime. But, I guess it’s like a mini special episode. Lita and Charge take the wheel for it, to boot. It’s quite different. Certainly don’t blame Leandra for her reaction toward Tirell, though. But this all might’ve fit better at an earlier point, unless you intend to have the pride head out for Fenix Town because the distortions are too severe.

And now we have a snow-themed gear mission. It’s very subtle, but with the start of the mission, it does seem like, given how many of these have been dealt with, the MC’s greater experience is showing. Their prep work goes more smoothly (and is thankfully just glossed over), and they’re quickly locating Pokémon that can help them out with finding the crystal. I know Negrek mentioned it felt very samey. But I do appreciate that, at least in Ch 50, it initially seems like the MC’s are operating on a much more serious level than they were early on.

Ch 51-53
Continuing on from Ch 50, it’s right down to business with this mission. Again, it’s subtle but it shows progression on the part of the heroes. They were fumbling through earlier dungeons, but now they’re more focused. At the same time, it looks like Mt. Frostbite is much more threatening. Chiaki got hammered (is that the first time one of the MC’s has properly fainted on screen?) and the team gets split up. Luckily (or conveniently), Absol to the rescue! This kind of blows in the face of that “more experience” stuff I said earlier, unfortunately. But at least, splitting them up does allow for some quieter, character-fuelled moments as opposed to standard dungeon crawling. Amongst the main team, this batch of chapters makes it quite clear that Blitz and Sera are steadily growing closer to each other. And Azure often likes pairing up with Chiaki, though it’s not comparable to Blitz and Sera. Though I hope it will make things tough for Azure down the road. To hammer home Frostbite’s difficulty, Mirage’s team got thumped too. Curious to see Chiaki have a dream vision about the crystal. It brings the Dimensional Scream to mind, honestly. I’m guessing this ties into his connection to Axis Tower? I’d have liked to see Blitz bring up his troubles using Fire Fang with Sera, since they’d had a bit of a heart-to-heart in the Ch 52, but oh well, the team’s reunited. And our big boss this time around is a bunch of ice-types? Well, it’s not quite as creepy as some of the other bosses, but the sheer amount of numbers escalates the difficulty. Still, they pull it off, with some help from Wynn. I also see the ol’ Absol disaster sense snuck in there. It does bring to mind the idea of a guest teammates/recruiting Pokémon in the games, though unless I’m misremembering didn’t certain story-important dungeons not let you bring in any of those teammates? I suppose, if anything, it makes me think of working with Expedition Society members in Super. Though this story was started well before that came out.

-The long chapter names are intriguing. I get they’re actual lines from the chapters. I just find them funny and a bit satirical. Was that your intent? Because this seems like an adventure-driven story, so I’d have thought the titles would be more serious.
-Early on there were definitely a lot of run-on sentences and overuse of commas to splice them. But that faded by around chapter 6 or 7, or so.
-There’s a good handle on banter between Pokémon, especially in the dungeon. Azure’s impatience was like a reflection of people who get annoyed with tutorials. Although the fact that she was hanging lampshades on that makes me wonder why there were lengthy tutorials. Accuracy to the games, I guess? The veteran rescue teams have a few funny one-liners too, but I’m admittedly a sucker for puns.
-I like how recurring and minor characters have certain quirks or personality tics to give them individuality. Cordyceps’ constant consultation with “The Mushroom,” particularly sticks out. And their interactions are interspersed with the progression of the plot, although you are juggling quite a lot of characters and trying to make sure they all have opportunities to reappear. It did take me basically until Chapter 50 to realize that Kala’s dreams are probably references of sorts, but that just means it’s a good running gag. At the same time, bit characters that show up for a dungeon mission always seem to have something unique to distinguish them (ex: Rhythm’s laying of her eggs, the elemental monkey tribe leaders).
-Your knowledge of game mechanics really shows. You implement those concepts into the fic quite well. There’s even a ton of variety. The main characters regularly show off different items. Ranks are given a points system. And many chapters take us through complete days, much like the games. Even minor points (like Bow’s request to get a Shadow Ball TM) are followed up on. It does seem like a lot of subplots get juggled around though. So ones that certain chapters lead me to think are quite important (Blitz’s family and backstory, for example) will suddenly get dropped in favor of new subplots and not really brought up again for a very long time.
-It seems like some of the attempts at foreshadowing major plot points lead to some really forced dialogue and narration. Because the characters know important facts, but don’t feel like outright saying them. And the only reason for that seems to be to leave readers in suspense. It has the opposite effect to me. Especially since the points you try to hide end up getting brought up in that same chapter or the one following. Since we’re not quite at the end yet, I feel like you still have stuff you plan to foreshadow. So, if I may make a recommendation, try to focus any future foreshadowing around actual actions or events, as opposed to deliberately vague conversations (or Stella having a vision, because that’s been done to death by this point).
-Perhaps because of the number of subplots you’re juggling, the pacing can zig-zag. The gear missions seem evenly spaced out, from what I can tell, but between them you try to squeeze in multiple subplots and sometimes introduce new ones. That could have us going from a gear mission with a boss to more of a slice of life chapter. I personally don’t mind it, but it could throw off other readers. I get the feeling that you don’t plan on introducing any new subplots. But given the threat level is rising at this point in the story, I’d recommend using caution (or even consulting a friend) when you’re choosing which subplot(s) to wrap up when. The other 2 crystals will probably get unveiled by Stella or Bow (unless you want to throw us a curveball and I’d totally be down for that), so it just remains to be seen what’ll happen between the crystal missions and just what Erebos will do behind the scenes. I feel like the best way to resolve the subplots without throwing things off completely is to try tying them into the overarching distortion threat. And I think you might be going for that angle, but I’m not entirely sure.

Phew... that's all I got. I do not regret playing catch up with this. I've been thoroughly entertained so far. There are a lot of loose threads dangling and I'm wondering how you plan to bring them all together in the end. Looking forward to it! ^^

Sike Saner

Peace to the Mountain
The Tangrowth made angry plant noises

...wonders what angry plant noises actually sound like. The squeaking of pickle slices being rubbed together??

Chiaki jumped up and kicked the Glalie, while Azure slammed her tail against it with enough force to send the Glalie flying into one of the dungeon walls.

RIP wall :p

Tirell's back! I'm happy to see him in the picture, even if much of his pride doesn't seem to be. Hopefully they'll find it in themselves to forgive him at least somewhat before all is said and done.

And Blitz actually used fire fang on an opponent! ...Sort of. That was pretty creative of him, turning it into a sort of pseudo-ember that wouldn't require him to actually bite anyone. I think this is an important step for him to have taken. Odds aren't bad that he'll be able to pull off biting attacks in earnest again before he knows it.


Well-Known Member
All right, guess it's about time I responded to these... First of all, wow! All of a sudden there were all these reviews/comments! Thank you guys so much for sharing your thoughts and advice! I really appreciate it, and I'll try my best to keep these things in mind as I plan out the next few chapters.

Next, I guess I should go into some of the specific things you guys brought up. I know my writing is still a bit clumsy in some aspects, and there are probably some things I could've done better, but it's good to know that I'm at least improving in certain aspects, and I hope I can eventually reach a satisfying ending. Anyways, onto a few specific things...

- One of the things I was initially aiming for when the story began was to make the story feel similar to the first few games of the PMD series, while also subverting some of the common elements in the series so far. However, perhaps I went a bit too far, especially early on, in trying to give it sort of that video game feel? And yeah, I suppose it also does have sort of an anime feel as well.

- Yeah, I guess the pacing can be a bit odd in some places when it comes to the chapters dealing with the main story, and the chapters serving as character development and/or setting up future plot points and such. I suppose it may be partially because I was worried some of the readers would get bored after a few chapters of main plot not progressing. I guess chapters 28 and 29 in particular ended up feeling a bit rushed and awkward. I guess on the plus side, I guess that part of the story helped me reach the conclusion to not stick to a specific number of chapters for the missions in which the heroes would retrieve crystals, since the story had obviously reached the point where two chapters weren't enough to cover those missions.

- So, the story seems a bit unbalanced in some places, huh? Well, I guess that's not all that surprising. Although, it does make me wonder if I should just outright try writing a slice-of-life fanfic at some point, either for another PMD story or another thing. I suppose outright making it a slice-of-life thing would allow me to just focus on different characters, their lives and not have to worry about readers getting impatient since there'd be no "main" story that wasn't progressing.

- A few people have brought up the backstory chapters featuring Cassandra, and commented that they felt a bit out of place. Well, the reason I felt the need to include such chapters was mainly because of concerns that my main villain would end up as a generic doomsday villain. I guess part of the reason for those concerns is partially because it took me a while to decide on some of the details regarding just who the villain was. I guess it's a subjective thing, as some people might prefer a more mysterious villain. Anyways, I felt the chapters would help flesh out my villain and why he was doing stuff. I also went through a few different versions of said backstory in my head before settling on the current one.

- I actually have been thinking of writing some one-shots focusing on different characters, kind of like the Special Episodes from PMD: Explorers of Sky. It'd basically just be short stories set at different points before or during the main story, focusing on some of the recurring characters. Like Sera's siblings, some of the other rescue team members, maybe a chapter focusing on Lita, or focusing on some of the characters Blitz and co. met during their missions, and maybe I'd even revisit the characters from the backstory chapters?

- I'm also considering writing a few short stories set after the main story, which I guess could be considered the "post-game" for this. :p

- On that note, I'm wondering about some of the sub-plots, and whether I should attempt to resolve them all during the main story, or save some of them for the "post-game" stuff?

- I guess the formula of Stella being the one to tell everyone where the next crystal is feels a bit stale at this point? Fair enough. I'll try to do something a little different for the next one.

- I feel I may have a bit of a bad habit of shoving more foreshadowing in than necessary into the story. In fact, a thing I'm still keeping to myself has probably been foreshadowed a bit too much, even if it's not too obvious at this point... I guess that comes partially from an attempt to make sure said twist doesn't feel like it comes out of nowhere. I suppose a sort of related thing you guys mentioned that I should keep in mind is that in my attempt to build things up, I may end up overdoing it and just taking way too long to just get to the point already. Hopefully I'll eventually get the hang of doing these things at a good pace.

- This story has a lot of characters, and perhaps I do occasionally spend a bit too much time checking on some of the recurring characters who aren't necessarily important to the plot at the time. I guess part of the reason for having all these recurring cast members and such is a bit of personal preference on my part. Quite a few shows and such I enjoy have quite a few recurring side characters and such who occasionally contribute to the main story. Plus, having a bit of a population besides the main characters in a story makes it feel more alive, doesn't it?

- I guess part of the reasons the main characters end up usually having some companions join them on their missions to retrieve the crystals, whether it be a Pokémon living in/near the mystery dungeon the crystal is in, or one of the other rescue teams from Fenix Town, is partially because I felt it would be strange if the other rescue teams weren't shown doing anything since they would obviously be searching for the crystals too. So... to partially avert the "main characters do everything" trope, I guess? Not sure if I've been doing it well, but I thought it was a neat idea. Plus, I feel meeting new friends and such during these adventures is important for Chiaki's development, although...

- ... I guess Chiaki has been lagging a little behind in the character development department compared to Blitz and Sera. I'm pretty pleased with their development so far, especially how Sera has matured. Hopefully, Chiaki is starting to at least catch up a little. After all, I feel there's an upcoming part of the story that would lose some of its impact if Chiaki hadn't gotten a decent amount of character development. I also think he needs to bond a bit more with his teammates, so I might try to aim for that a bit more in upcoming chapters.

- Why did I decide to name each chapter after a line from the chapter? Um... I guess to make it easier to name the chapters, since my past self couldn't think of anything better?

- Kala's waking non-sequitors aren't always references to other works and such, but sometimes they are.

- People sure seem to like Cordyceps, huh? Well, I'm glad you guys like him.

- Yeah, I certainly did a lot of planning for how the basic story would go. Of course, over the course of writing it, certain details ended up changing quite a bit. I've probably already talked about that a bit in a previous post.

- Sometimes I wonder if certain parts of my speech pattern carries over into my writing... I try not to let too much of that slip into my stories, though.

So, to sum things up, I guess it's mostly the pacing that I need to improve on, huh? At the same time, I guess another thing I should keep in mind is that people do have different tastes, so I shouldn't worry too much and try to do things the way I feel flows best? As long as I'm satisfied with the result, then it's probably okay enough, right? Well, as long as I keep writing, I'm sure to keep improving. Thank you all for following the story so far!

I can't say when the next chapter will be ready, as inspiration comes and goes. I'll keep working on it, though, and hopefully inspiration will strike once I've worked out some more details about how I want to do things. Anyways, I guess this is all for now. If there's any other things I should've gone into more detail with, or something, let me know, and I'll try to answer to the best of my ability.


Well-Known Member
Hello everyone! It's been a while, hasn't it? Yeah, as I've mentioned before, it sometimes takes longer than expected to finish one of these new chapters. Doesn't help that I've been having some problems with my laptop lately. Hopefully, I'll be getting a new laptop soon.

Anyways... Happy new year, everyone! I really hope 2018 will be a good year. I'll do what I can to make the most of it, and I hope you guys will be able to do that too in your own ways. For now, I'd like to share with you all the newest chapter of this story, since that's what you guys are here to see. I'm really thankful for all your feedback, and giving me tips on what to keep in mind for future chapters and what aspects of my writing I can work on improving. I hope you guys will enjoy this chapter, and feel free to leave a comment!


Chapter 54: I'd say we make a fine family, don't you guys agree?


Chiaki was sleeping comfortably in his bed. After yesterday's mission at Mt. Frostbite, it was nice to come home and get some rest. As the light of the sun shining through the windows slowly began to wake him up, Chiaki soon realized that Blitz's bed was empty. Chiaki sat up and rubbed his eyes, wondering where Blitz had gone off to. As he looked around the room, he suddenly noticed an opened envelope lying on the floor. Chiaki stepped out of bed, and walked over to the envelope. He picked it up to examine it, noticing a pattern of paw prints on it.

"Oh, I guess it's from Lita!" Chiaki said, examining the envelope a bit more. "It's empty, though… I guess Blitz must've taken the letter itself with him…"

Chiaki put the empty envelope back on the floor, and decided to head outside to look for Blitz. Knowing his roommate, he was probably at the dojo. Depending on what was written in Lita's letter, Blitz might've felt the need to talk to Hercules about it.

"I hope nothing bad has happened…" Chiaki muttered to himself, as he headed towards the town plaza.

In the town plaza, there were several other rescue teams going about their usual business, preparing for today's missions. Chiaki noticed that Sting and his teammates were over by the item shop, and it looked like Melody was checking out which TMs were for sale today. If he wasn't currently looking for Blitz, Chiaki might've stopped to say hi to some of the other rescue teams.

"Oh, Chiaki!" a familiar voice called out.

Chiaki looked over to see Sera approaching him.

"Oh, hey there, Sera!" Chiaki responded, waving to his teammate.

"Hmm? Blitz isn't with you?" Sera asked, looking around.

"Ah, yeah… he'd already left by the time I woke up," Chiaki responded, nodding his head slightly. "I think he might've gone to the dojo, so I'm heading there now."

"Oh, I see!" Sera replied. "I'll come with you, then!"

"Okay, let's go!" Chiaki responded.

The two of them headed towards the dojo together, hoping to meet up with Blitz there.


At the dojo, various Pokémon were busy training. However, in one corner of the dojo, a certain Shinx seemed to be deep in thought. Hercules was reading through the letter that Blitz had brought with him. Hercules looked down at Blitz with a concerned expression as he finished reading what was written in the letter.

"So… Your father came back…" Hercules said, handing the letter back to Blitz.

"Yeah…" Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly.

"… How do you feel?" Hercules asked.

"… I'm… not sure…" Blitz responded, staring off into space.

"I see…" Hercules replied, nodding his head. "I guess it's understandable that you wouldn't know how to feel about this…"

Blitz just nodded his head in response. Hercules wasn't entirely sure how to feel about this either. As he tried to collect his thoughts and think of something to say to Blitz, he noticed a certain Eevee and Mienfoo approaching them.

"Oh, it's you two," Hercules said, looking over at Sera and Chiaki.

"Uh, hi," Sera said, noticing the state Blitz was in. "Did something happen?"

"Ah, well…" Hercules responded, glancing over at Blitz for a sign that it was okay to inform his teammates of what was going on. "Blitz, you okay with…?"

"Uh-huh…" Blitz replied, nodding his head.

Blitz pushed the letter towards his teammates, and Hercules motioned for them to read it.

"O-Oh… oh my…" Sera said, blinking a few times as she finished reading through the letter.

"So, that's…" Chiaki said, looking over at Blitz.

"You guys don't have to say anything…" Blitz responded, shaking his head slightly. "I… I need some time to really think about this…"

"… I see," Sera replied, nodding her head. "We're… here for you."

"… Thanks," Blitz responded.

Sera and Chiaki exchanged uncertain looks, before moving a little closer to Blitz.

"… I wonder how Lita feels about all this…" Blitz said, sighing. "She didn't really say anything about it in her letter, but… it must be difficult for her…"

"Yeah, you're probably right…" Sera responded, her ears drooping down slightly. "After all, a lot is probably going on because of your father's return…"

"Lita… I'm sorry…" Blitz said, staring down at the floor. "You shouldn't have to deal with this all on your own…"

"… Huh? Blitz, are you… thinking of going home?" Sera asked, her body tensing up a bit.

"N-No, I… I can't… no…" Blitz responded, shaking his head. "I'm not ready for that… yet…"

"Oh, I see," Sera replied, letting out a sigh.

"… Hey, don't worry," Chiaki said, trying to give an encouraging smile. "I'm sure Lita will be fine. I mean… she's pretty tough, isn't she?"

"Even so, she's still just a kid," Blitz responded, looking over at his teammates. "As her older brother, I… I should be there for her at a time like this, but… instead, I… I'm…!"

"Blitz, calm down," Hercules said, gently placing a hand on Blitz's back.

"Ah…" Blitz looked up at Hercules expectantly.

"I… can't really tell you what you should do, but…" Hercules said, thinking for a moment about what to say. "Just take all the time you need to think about all of this."

"Y-Yeah, you're right…" Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly. "I… I should write back to her later, once I… once I've sorted out my thoughts…"

"That sounds like a good idea," Hercules replied, smiling at Blitz.

"So… What should we do now…?" Sera asked, her tail twitching slightly. "Do you… need some time to yourself, or… do you want us to stay…?"

"Um… It's fine, you guys can stay…" Blitz responded, rubbing the yellow rings on his forelegs together. "I don't mind…"

"If you say so…" Sera replied, leaning against Blitz.

Chiaki stared at his teammates for a moment, before walking up and patting Blitz on the back.

"Let us know if you need anything," Chiaki said, trying to put on an encouraging smile.

"Mm-hm…" Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly.

The three of them sat there quietly for a while. Once again, Chiaki thought about how he didn't really understand some of the things Sera and Blitz had to deal with that well. He didn't know how his relationship with his own family was before he lost his memories, assuming he even had a family.

Hercules watched over the three of them, happy that Blitz had gotten closer to his friends and proud of how much he had grown. Blitz had certainly gotten stronger, in more ways than one.

After a while, Blitz and his teammates decided to go somewhere else.

"Thanks, Hercules," Blitz said with a weary smile. "I hope it wasn't inconvenient for you, since it's still your work hours and I didn't actually do any training this time…"

"Hey, don't worry about it," Hercules responded, patting Blitz on the head. "For as long as you are here, for as long as you need it, I'll look after you."

"Yeah… I'll come back once I've sorted out my feelings," Blitz replied, nodding slightly.

Blitz and his teammates headed off towards the café, while Hercules returned to his work. He was still a bit concerned for Blitz, but he knew it was fine to leave him to his friends for now.


In the town plaza, Bijou the Sableye was casually snacking on some small gems while waiting to see if any more rescue teams would come to ask her to open any treasure boxes. She could hear muttering among some Pokémon discussing the latest news. Some of them seemed quite concerned about the state of certain areas, which were getting more and more distorted by the day. Bijou wondered if it was because of the six Axis Tower crystals that were being kept here in Fenix Town for safe-keeping that the town so far seemed to be free of any such distortions.

"Those crystals sure are amazing…" Bijou muttered to herself, reaching into her bag, grabbing and shoving another handful of tiny gems into her mouth. "Such incredible power…"

Bijou briefly wondered how one of the Axis Tower crystals would taste… not that she'd actually try it, of course.

"I'll just stick with these…" Bijou said, reaching into the bag to pull out another handful of gems. "Hmm…? I already emptied this thing?"

Bijou sighed and put the bag away, only for another grin to form on her face as she pulled out another bag of gems.

"All right, time to open another one!" Bijou said, chuckling to herself.

As Bijou began eating more gems, Marietta suddenly fluttered over to her stand.

"… Do you want something from me?" Bijou asked, looking over at the Ledian.

"Ah, no," Marietta responded, shaking her head. "I was just wondering if you were all right…"

"Oh? What's this about?" Bijou asked, tilting her head slightly.

"Well, maybe I'm just imagining things, but… you seem to be eating a bit more than normal these days…" Marietta said, glancing down at the bag of gems in Bijou's hands.

"Ah, so that's what's got you so concerned?" Bijou responded, snickering. "Well, I'm sure you've heard that those distortions are starting to become a real big problem in some places…"

"Um, yeah," Marietta replied, nodding her head. "I think I read that the service that flies rescue teams to Wyvern Island had to shut down until further notice because of a large number of distortions in the area around their station…"

"Yes, and that is only one example of the trouble others are facing out there right now," Bijou responded, reaching into the bag and pulling out a small red gem. "It's at times like these that you sort of begin to feel like… is the world going to end soon? Will I have time to accomplish my goals within that time?"

"Uh… I don't think it's quite that bad," Marietta replied. "I mean… Six of the Axis Crystals have been found, so hopefully once they're returned, they'll stop things from getting worse and fix the damage to those areas…"

"I guess you feel relaxed because these events aren't affecting you at this point," Bijou commented, tossing the red gem into her mouth.

"You make it sound like I'm not doing anything," Marietta responded, crossing both sets of arms with a pout. "I'm doing what I can, and that is doing my job to support the rescue teams that are out there looking for the last of the crystals!"

"Hehehe… You sure are fired up," Bijou commented, snickering a little. "Anyways, I'm doing my best too, of course… even if I haven't had a lot of customers today."

"We all have those days," Marietta responded.

"Yes, yes…" Bijou replied, nodding her head. "On days like that, I can afford to take it a little easy, can't I? Plus, when you've got this "not knowing when the world might end" feeling, you might as well enjoy yourself as much you can before anything serious happens, right?"

"Um, again, the world isn't ending," Marietta responded, tilting her head slightly. "I… don't even know if the whole business with Axis Tower and the distortions affect anything outside of the region we all live in…"

"I guess you're right…" Bijou replied, putting away the bag of gems. "… Hey, if the world was ending, is there anything you would want to accomplish before then?"

"Huh? What kind of question is that?" Marietta responded.

"Come on, surely there's something you'd want to do…" Bijou said, smirking.

"Um… Well…" Marietta replied, seeming unsure what to say.

"Oh? Is it a secret?" Bijou inquired, her smile growing bigger. "Ah, it's okay! I won't tell anyone… probably!"

"Ugh… You're being really weird right now, you know?" Marietta responded, looking somewhat concerned. "And not your usual kind of weird… Is it because there hasn't been much work for you to do today? Is this what boredom does to you?"

"Well, I am bored," Bijou replied, fiddling with her lock-picking tool. "You've certainly got that right…"

"Hmm… Well, just hang in there, okay?" Marietta responded. "I've got to get back to work now, but once we're done for the day, we could go hang out at the café, maybe?"

"Oh?" Bijou replied, tilting her head slightly.

"I mean, it seems you have a lot on your mind, so I thought maybe it'd help to go out and just relax properly a bit?" Marietta explained, before looking away. "Ah, unless you don't want to, or you have other plans…"

"Ah, I see…" Bijou responded, still fiddling with the lock-pick. "Very well, I'll accept your invitation."

"Oh, okay!" Marietta replied, smiling at Bijou. "I'll see you then!"

"Yes, it'd be a good opportunity for us to get to know each other better..." Bijou responded, tilting her head slightly. "Hmm… You never actually answered my question earlier… Perhaps I should make a guess?"

"Um, I'm going back to work now…" Marietta said, as she began flying away.

"Ooh, perhaps there's a certain someone you'd like to spend some more time with?" Bijou asked, grinning. "I'm guessing a certain Heracross…?"

"Eh!? You know about- I mean…" Marietta responded, a barely visible blush on her face. "Ah, um… See you later!"

"Hehehe… Did I guess right?" Bijou said, snickering. "My gemstone eyes see it all… hehehe!"

Bijou kept idly playing with her lock-picking device while waiting for any rescue teams in need of having treasure boxes to come by, looking forward to her appointment with Marietta later. Bijou had always had a curious heart, which was one of the reasons she enjoyed her job so much. It always felt so satisfying to open up one of those mysterious treasure boxes, and getting to see exactly what was hidden inside. And right now, she was mostly curious about the current state of the relationship between Marietta and Hercules.

She would certainly try to get some details out of Marietta when they met up again this evening!


Marietta and Bijou weren't the only ones with plans to visit the café to get their minds off of things, as Blitz and his teammates had ended up heading there some time after leaving the dojo. Meeting up with Azure and Frederick, they explained the situation to them as well. The two of them listened quietly, until Blitz had finished explaining everything. The group was quiet for a while, until Azure broke the silence between them.

"You sure have it rough, huh?" Azure said, taking a sip from her berry juice.

"Well, at least it sounds like his father is trying to make up for his past mistakes," Frederick commented. "That's good, right?"

"Uh, I guess…" Blitz replied, nodding his head slightly.

"It certainly is better than nothing," Azure said, her ears twitching slightly. "However, that doesn't mean you should just automatically forgive him."

"I know…" Blitz responded, nodding his head again.

"And if you need to take some time off, that's totally fine," Azure said, grinning. "I mean, I do love a good adventure, but if you're not up for it, I'll simply have to find other ways to pass the time while you get things sorted out!"

"Yeah, I don't mind either," Frederick said, rapidly nodding his head. "Your well-being is important, after all."

"… Thanks, guys," Blitz responded, smiling at his friends. "I'll try to get my feelings sorted out as soon as possible."

"Hey, don't push yourself," Sera said, looking a bit concerned. "I mean, family stuff can be complicated matters… I should know! I have five older siblings!"

"Ah, right," Azure replied, looking over at Sera. "I haven't really heard you talk about any family drama on your end lately… Does that mean things are going better with them?"

"Yeah, I think so," Sera responded, nodding her head. "It seems like we're all doing our best to improve things little by little."

"Good for you!" Azure replied, grinning at Sera.

"I kind of wish I had brothers or sisters sometimes," Frederick commented. "Maybe I should ask my parents if they can make some whenever they have time…"

"Ooh, I bet you'd make an awesome big brother!" Azure said, still grinning.

"R-Really...?" Frederick responded, turning his head in the direction of Azure's voice.

"Well, of course," Azure replied, shrugging slightly. "I wouldn't have said it if I didn't really believe it, you know?"

"Ah, that's true," Frederick responded, nodding his head. "Thanks, Azure."

"What about you, Azure?" Sera asked, tilting her head slightly. "Have you ever wanted siblings?"

"Hmm, I don't know," Azure responded, taking another sip of her berry juice. "My dad is often out of town on business, so that might be difficult…"

"Oh, right," Sera replied.

"But hey, things are fine just the way they are," Azure said, grinning. "Sure, it'd be nice if dad came home to visit more often, but other than that, I think we're doing pretty well!"

Blitz looked at Chiaki, realizing that the young Mienfoo hadn't said much during this conversation. Chiaki was just sitting there, observing his friends with a wistful expression.

"Um… Something wrong, Chiaki?" Blitz asked, trying to get the Mienfoo's attention.

"Huh? Oh, it's nothing…" Chiaki responded, shaking his head.

"Hey, don't be like that," Azure said, looking over at Chiaki. "If anything's bothering you, let us know!"

"Ah, well… I was just… trying to imagine what it is like," Chiaki responded.

"Imagine…?" Sera asked, tilting her head slightly.

"I haven't really been able to be of much help when it comes to these things, since… I don't have any memories," Chiaki explained, staring down at his drink. "I… I don't know anything about my family, assuming I have one, so…"

"Oh, I see," Sera responded, her ears drooping down slightly.

"I'm not lonely, or anything," Chiaki said, looking at his friends. "But sometimes… I wish I knew what it's like to be part of a family…"

The group was quiet for a few moments, before Azure smiled and looked over at Chiaki.

"Well, you've got us, don't you?" Azure said, grinning. "I'd say we make a fine family, don't you guys agree?"

Chiaki looked surprised for a moment. Looking around, he realized the others were surprised too. Azure looked around at her friends, before speaking up again.

"What? Don't tell me I'm the only one who thinks so!" Azure said, pouting.

"Ah, of course not!" Sera responded, her ears perking up in alarm. "I… also do think of our team as something like a family."

"Yeah, me too," Frederick said, nodding his head. "Azure's kind of like a supportive big sister to me."

"Huh? But you're bigger than me," Azure responded. "And, aren't you the oldest one out of us?"

"Oh, right," Frederick replied, tilting his head slightly. "Hmm… I still think it works, though."

"Heh, that's fine with me!" Azure responded, grinning.

"… I'll admit, I've grown to see Sera as another sister of mine," Blitz said, before looking over at Chiaki. "And you are kind of like a little brother."

"R-Really?" Chiaki responded, staring wide-eyed at Blitz.

"Yeah," Blitz replied, smiling at Chiaki. "After all, we've been living together for some time now, and I've basically been helping look after you since then… I guess it brought out my instincts as an older brother, you know?"

"I see…" Chiaki responded, nodding his head.

"Hmm, you really see me as a sister?" Sera replied, one of her ears drooping down a little. "I… don't really see you the same way I see any of my older brothers..."

"Oh, you don't see me like that?" Blitz asked, looking away for a moment. "Um… How do you see me, then?"

"H-Huh?" Sera responded, blushing slightly. "W-Well... You're my best friend! You know that!"

"Uh, yes," Blitz replied with a slightly confused look on his face. "Of course I know that."

"Good," Sera responded, looking away. "Glad we're on the same page."

"R-Right," Blitz replied, tilting his head slightly.

"… So, we're like… a family," Chiaki said, looking at his teammates.

"Yeah, that's right!" Azure exclaimed with a grin. "A family can come in many forms, so surely it can also come in the form of a group of different Pokémon who go on adventures together and fight stuff!"

"… I see," Chiaki responded, smiling at his teammates. "So, this is what it's like…"

Somehow, all five of them seemed to feel more at ease now. It was almost as if the events earlier that day hadn't happened. Of course, even though he seemed relaxed now, Blitz probably still had that letter from Lita on his mind. But since he seemed to be in a better mood now, maybe it'd help him properly collect his thoughts and write a reply to Lita. At least that's what Chiaki hoped.

"Even after I get my memories back, I hope I can continue to go on adventures with everyone!" Chiaki thought to himself with a smile. "I want to make even more friends, so I can grow even stronger!"

The group stayed at the café for a while, until it was time for each of them to head home for the evening. After saying good-bye to the others, Blitz and Chiaki returned to their house. The two of them stayed awake for a while, thinking about the various things that had been on their minds.

"… I guess I'll try to write that letter to Lita tomorrow," Blitz said, yawning.

"You've figured out what to write to her?" Chiaki asked, glancing over at Blitz.

"… Some of it, I think…" Blitz responded, looking over at Chiaki. "I'll have to think about it some more tomorrow."

"All right…" Chiaki replied, nodding slightly. "Then, let's get some sleep now."

"Yeah… Good night, Chiaki," Blitz said, smiling at the Mienfoo.

"Good night," Chiaki responded, smiling back.

It felt like it had been a long day, even though nothing much had really happened. Chiaki wasn't sure how things would turn out for Blitz and Lita, but he hoped that both of them would be okay. The bonds between Pokémon were truly fascinating, especially with how they seemed to have the power to bring out everyone's full strength. Family… Friends… Rescue teams… and if he thought about it a bit more, he could probably think of even more such connections that had the potential to create such power.

At first, Chiaki felt excited thinking about it all, but after a while, he began to feel as if… something was missing within him. Was it just his missing memory, or was there something more? Had he… lost something else besides his memories?

As this line of thought began to make him uneasy, Chiaki glanced over at Blitz, who already seemed to be asleep. Chiaki calmed down a bit as he remembered the conversation between him and the others earlier that evening.

"Like a brother…" Chiaki thought, smiling to himself. "That's right… I'll be fine. I have Blitz and everyone else by my side… I'm not alone."

Chiaki closed his eyes, and eventually fell asleep. No matter what happened from now on, Chiaki believed he could handle it as long as he had everyone else there to lend him their power. In return, he would do whatever he could to protect them all.


End of Chapter 54



Winter can't come soon enough
Hoo boy, it really has been awhile, hasn't it? I read back through my review to shake some of the rust off. So, I think I should be good to go here. Let's get into it!

Right off the bat here, we've got a bit of bombshell dropped with Bliz's dad. I mean, it was going to have to come up eventually. With that said, I'm not 100% sure if the opening bit was completely necessary. Looking back, you use a lot of transition scenes, rather than just cutting right to the action. That may be the reason why some folks (myself included) feel like things can drag a bit with the story. Like, you could've started immediately with Blitz at the dojo, and then have Chiaka and Sera show up. Chiaki could just have a line saying he found the empty envelope, and that would pretty succinctly summarize things and eliminate the need for that short transition scene altogether.

The scene at the dojo is very sweet. Though, maybe bittersweet would be the more appropriate answer? You do a good job getting across this sense of confusion that Blitz has over all of this, and yet it's pretty clear that he's thankful that he's got his teammates there for him. And the bit with Chiaki is also saddening. I'd have liked to see a bit more done with those thoughts of his, since his lost memories are a subject you're starting to explore a bit. And I appreciate that change. Just, y'know, there's got to be more too it other than it makes him confused.

Onto the next scene. Looks like the distortion is starting to cause some problems. I think it would really help to describe them more specifically, because "distortions" is rather vague, and leaves everything up to imagination. I, personally, am basically imagining giant balls of dark matter in the middle of everything (think the blorbs of Subspace from Smash Bros. Brawl). It's also funny that this stuff is coming from Bijou, since Sableye have this stereotype as being super creepy to begin with. And it looks like the next subplot that's going to get attention will be a little ship teasing? That's... well, I think it could be unique given the Pokémon species involved.

"I'm not lonely, or anything," Chiaki said, looking at his friends. "But sometimes… I wish I knew what it's like to be part of a family…"

The group was quiet for a few moments, before Azure smiled and looked over at Chiaki.

"Well, you've got us, don't you?" Azure said, grinning. "I'd say we make a fine family, don't you guys agree?"
Aww, this was sweet. And a nice chapter title drop (roll credits *ding!*). Honestly, I think the fact that it came from Azure is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it might've been more meaningful to come from Blitz or Sera, given these three have been together from the start. On the other hand, it also shows how integral to the team Azure has become, and that being on the team seems to have helped her a bit with her interpersonal skills. Especially because the stuff that follows is pretty heartwarming. And ship-teasing in the case of Blitz and Sera; you two are blinder than Frederick sometimes.

Overall, a very quiet chapter. Though, I believe this is coming on the heels of a crystal mission, so I shouldn't be surprised. It was very cute! ^^

One thing to correct:
Plus, when you've got this "not knowing when the world might end" feeling,
When you're inside of quotation marks, you should wrap those phrases around in single quotes. So, it'd be 'not knowing when the world might end'.
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Lost but Seeking
Yo, it's great to see you update this again. Congrats on getting another chapter out!

This is a bit of a weird one to come back to since it's a bit of a breather chapter, and also kind of wants you to remember that Bltiz's dad had recently reappeared, although fortunately I did. The team conversation at the end was the highlight for me here. I'm a sucker for motley crews turning into weird little families, and with the themes of this story so far, it's exactly what I'd expect to come up. I do agree with Ambyssin that it seems a little weird that the sentiment comes from Azure originally; she doesn't really seem the type, in addition to what he said about her being a recent addition.

"I kind of wish I had brothers or sisters sometimes," Frederick commented. "Maybe I should ask my parents if they can make some whenever they have time…"
Oh lord that would be the most awkward conversation ever. Whenever they have the time. Frederick XD

I'm liking the little pointers towards Chiaki's lost memories here. He's going to have to confront them at some point, and I'm looking forward to it.

There are kind of a heck of a lot of elipses in this chapter. Elipses are great; they give you that feeling that a character's kind of trailing off, for one reason or another, but I think they can be easy to overuse, and I think you definitely did in the conversation between Hercules and the team in particular. With so many elipses going on it kind of feels like the characters are half asleep, constantly fading in and out of the conversation. Try to only use them when you really want to emphasize the trailing-off nature of their thoughts, and in general, you probably don't want more than two or three in a conversation unless you want to give the impression that somebody's gone kind of dreamy-drifty.

I'm also not totally sold on the Bijou/Marietta scene. I do like the bit at the beginning where Bijou's nervously chain-eating her gems because the world's ending, why not enjoy yourself? (same, Bijou) It's nice to see the crystal crises having a real impact on the villagers. However, pretty much the only other thing this scene established was that Marietta has a crush on Hercules and she and Bijou are going to meet later to chat about it. Which, well, rather than having characters plan to do something, it's usually more interesting and efficient to have them go do it, you know? And the Marietta/Hercules subplot doesn't strike me as important enough to have so much space devoted to it. What does it add to the story, besides being a neat little thing going on between a couple minor characters? Also, I have to admit that to me it looked like Bijou and Marietta were flirting here, which given that you're pushing the Marietta/Hercules pairing pretty hard I don't think was your intent.

Anyway, congrats again on getting this chapter out. A relatively quiet one, but I think it's probably the calm before the storm. Blitz's father's return is probably going to shake things up a lot for him, and there are only two crystals left now! I think the little family we see here should expect trying times ahead. Best of luck with the next chapter; I hope it comes easier for you than this one did. Until next time!

Sike Saner

Peace to the Mountain
"Those crystals sure are amazing…" Bijou muttered to herself, reaching into her bag, grabbing and shoving another handful of tiny gems into her mouth. "Such incredible power…"

Bijou briefly wondered how one of the Axis Tower crystals would taste… not that she'd actually try it, of course.

"I'll just stick with these…" Bijou said, reaching into the bag to pull out another handful of gems.

That got a chuckle out of me. The INSTANT she started talking about the Axis Tower crystals while snacking on other crystals I wondered if she might be contemplating their tastiness. Whaddya know, she totally was. :B

(Darn right you'll stick with the ones in the little baggies, you silly ghost. Also little bags of edible jewels make me think of these. Alternatively, these.)

I wonder how long it'll be before Blitz realizes that Sera fancies him. And how he'll find out, if indeed he does.


Well-Known Member
Hey everyone! No new chapter yet, but I thought I'd give you guys a little update!

So, I got a new laptop recently, and it's been working pretty well for me so far! Ah, feels nice to not have to worry about my laptop randomly shutting off when I'm in the middle of something due to overheating or blue-screening, so hopefully not having to worry about such things will also help me make more progress on my writing!

Speaking of which, Chapter 55 is still in-progress, and I feel it's coming along nicely so far. I suppose there are also some details I need to work out for the next few chapters, since the story might be getting closer to the end, and I need to think about what I want to do before then. I guess there's also the question of whether some plot points are better left to be resolved in a few possible short stories I might write taking place after the events of the main story conclude.

Anyways, thanks for your replies and for telling me for thoughts on the latest chapter! I'll try to keep them in mind as I keep working on the next few chapters!

Well, I guess that's all for now. I hope you guys will look forward to the next chapter! I don't know when it'll be ready yet, but I'll try to get it done as soon as I can!


Well-Known Member
Hey everyone! It's been a while, but I finally finished chapter 55!

Yeah, I kind of got stuck for a bit, so I decided to take the same approach I did with the last chapter I got stuck on, namely going back to one of the earlier scenes and changing it up, and seeing where it'd go from there. It also helps that I had a sudden flash of inspiration as I was trying to sleep one night, which gave me the general idea for this chapter.

Also, I intended to include a female Sneasel as a supporting character during the Mt. Frostbite chapters, but the character ended up being cut, so I decided to include a Sneasel in this chapter to make up for that, even if it's a different one.

Anyways, feel free to let me know your thoughts on the story. If you guys have any advice, I'll try to keep it in mind for future chapters.

I hope you enjoy this chapter!


Chapter 55: We're stuck here forever, aren't we?


Elina looked up at the home of the town oracle, where six of the Axis Tower crystals were currently being kept for safe-keeping until they could all be brought back to Axis Tower. It was getting pretty late, but both Stella and Bow seemed to still be awake. Were they perhaps looking to the stars for guidance? Elina glanced up at the night sky. Supposedly, her species came to this planet a long time ago from somewhere beyond that sky. It was kind of hard for Elina to imagine that, though, since she had been born in this world. Although now that she thought about it, she was a bit curious about what exactly lied beyond the sky.

Thinking about it, there were a few other species of Pokémon who were also said to come from space. Lunatone and Solrock, for example, apparently came to live on this planet after falling from the sky. And didn't Cosmo once say that her species came from the moon? Elina wasn't entirely sure if that was true, but she couldn't think of a reason why Cosmo would lie to her either. After all, Cosmo was sort of like an aunt to her.

"… I wonder how they're all doing back home," Elina thought to herself, letting out a small sigh. "Do they miss me? I hope father isn't too lonely…"

Elina glanced over at Stella's house once more.

"… It won't be much longer until they've all been gathered now," Elina thought. "Then, they'll be returned to Axis Tower…"

Elina shuddered a bit.

"But… Erebos… he'll surely try to stop us…" Elina thought, wrapping her arms around herself in an attempt to stop her trembling. "Back then… I just barely managed to escape from him…"

"Is someone out there?" Bow's voice called out, and Elina realized that the other psychic types must've sensed her distress.

Bow stepped outside to see if anyone was nearby, her mother staying in the doorway and looking around as well. However, the presence they had felt seemed to be gone.

"Huh… That's strange…" Bow commented, looking around. "I could've sworn I sensed someone…"

"Yes, someone was definitely here, until just a moment ago…" Stella responded, nodding her head. "Who would stop by at this hour, though…?"

"Did somebody nocturnal want some advice?" Bow mused, tilting her head.

"… Well, if it's advice they wanted, they'll probably return," Stella responded, looking around once more before motioning for Bow to come back inside. "Anyways, I think that's enough for tonight. Let's get some sleep."

"Okay," Bow replied, letting out a small yawn as she stepped back inside. "Good night."

"Good night, sweetie," Stella responded, smiling at Bow. "Love you."

"Love you too," Bow replied as she got into bed.


Elina peeked out from some bushes in the town plaza, not sure why she still felt so cautious even though no one was around at the moment. Was it just that she had been startled by Bow suddenly calling out to her earlier, or was it because she had reminded herself of what happened the night the crystals were taken from Axis Tower? That night…

She remembered hearing the sound of rain pouring down outside. The wind blowing, lightning flashing…

Then, an intruder suddenly appeared inside the tower.

Before she even realized what was going on, various guards were trying their best to stop the intruder from taking the crystals. However, the intruder possessed powers none of them had ever seen before.

Somehow, Elina managed to stay out of the intruder's sight. Whether it was pure luck, or because she was too small and weak for the intruder to consider her a threat, she wasn't sure…

She couldn't stop shaking, but even so, she didn't take her eyes off of the intruder, as he flew up to where the crystals were. She saw the streams of light shining into the crystal in the center from the other seven crystals positioned around it being disrupted as Erebos removed them from their pedestals one by one.

Elina could've sworn that Erebos' maniacal laughter only got more and more intense with each crystal he took, until only the clear one in the center was left.

Then, just before he could take the last one…

"It's still kind of hard to believe… that I managed to do that…" Elina thought to herself, hugging herself tightly in an attempt to stop her trembling. "I know I was just lucky, though…"

Elina noticed that her fingers had started flashing erratically as she thought about what happened that night. She took a few deep breaths, trying to calm herself down.

"C-Calm down… After all, he's… he's not even looking for me! If he wanted to find me, he could've easily done so at any time!" Elina thought to herself. "Besides, even with my interference, he still technically succeeded in his goal that night…"

Elina looked down at her hands, her glowing fingers having stopped flashing gibberish. She then looked around the town plaza. The crystals in the wooden posts around the town plaza looked pretty when they were glowing like this at night. Even when no one was around late at night, their light somehow made it feel less lonely.

"Fenix Town is quite nice…" Elina thought to herself. "To think, that if none of this had happened, I probably would've never come here…"

As far as Elina could remember, she hadn't really been outside of the tower that many times before all this. She'd never really considered exploring what was out there, and yet she had managed to make it all the way out here. Perhaps she had been stronger than she had believed herself to be all along. At the very least, her psychic powers had certainly gotten stronger since then.

"I've gotten much better at teleportation, and Kala has been helping me work on my telepathy…" Elina thought to herself, glancing over in the direction of the dojo. "Maybe I should work on my battle skills next?"

Elina wasn't sure what the future would bring, but she had always expected that she'd eventually end up becoming another one of the guards protecting the Axis Tower crystals alongside her father and the others. She would certainly need to get stronger in battle if she planned to become a guard…

… Did she want to become a guard, though? It suddenly occurred to her that she had never really given that much thought. Maybe it was too soon to be thinking about it, though, with everything else that was still going on.

"Ah, my thoughts are all over the place…" Elina thought, rubbing her head. "Maybe it's about time to call it a night and get some sleep…"

Elina quietly made her way over to one of the spots where she usually slept. She tried to clear her mind so her thoughts wouldn't keep her awake for too long, but doing so tended to be easier said than done. At times like this, she almost felt a bit envious of Kala, who seemed to have no difficulty whatsoever falling asleep. But if she just kept her eyes closed and made sure there weren't any disturbances, she would surely fall asleep eventually.


As Chiaki woke up, he noticed that Blitz was already awake and staring down at a piece of paper laying on the floor in front of him. Judging from the ink on one of Blitz's front paws, it seemed he had already made some progress on that letter for Lita. At the moment, though, he was just staring down at the paper in deep thought, trying to figure out what to write down next. Chiaki was curious about what Blitz had written so far, but figured it was best not to look. Whatever was written in that letter was between Blitz and his little sister, after all.

"… Hm?" Blitz said, one of his ears twitching slightly before he glanced over at Chiaki who had just gotten out of bed. "Oh, you're awake."

"Good morning!" Chiaki replied, smiling at Blitz.

"Good morning to you too," Blitz responded, smiling back.

"… You look kind of tired," Chiaki commented, noticing Blitz's weary expression.

"Ah, well… I woke up early, and… I couldn't stop thinking about it…" Blitz responded, letting out a small yawn. "So, after a while, I decided I might as well get up and try to write it…"

"Oh, I see," Chiaki replied, nodding his head slightly.

"I even managed to think of some things to write, but… now that I've gotten this far, I'm not sure where to go from here…" Blitz said, looking over what he had written down so far. "I… don't know if I should keep trying, or if… I should just do something else for a bit, and maybe if I'm lucky, it'll just come to me then…"

"Maybe you should go back to sleep for a bit?" Chiaki suggested.

"Nah… Even if I'm still a bit tired, I already know I won't be able to return to sleep," Blitz responded, shaking his head. "So, I'll just stay up."

"Okay, then…" Chiaki replied, nodding his head. "Well, in that case… Why don't we head out for a bit?"

"Yeah, sure," Blitz responded, putting the paper away. "Let's me just wash this ink off my paws first."


Things were the same as usual in the town plaza, various rescue teams getting ready for their next missions while other Pokémon stood around gossiping and discussing recent events in the region. Among the various conversations they could hear snippets of as they walked past, one thing they overheard that Blitz made a note of was one rescue team telling another about a notice that had been put up at the rescue team HQ. Before he could hear any more details, however, a familiar voice caught his attention.

"Blitz! Chiaki! Good morning!" Sera called out as she ran over to them.

"Oh, there you are, Sera!" Chiaki responded, smiling at her.

"Hi, Sera," Blitz said, also smiling.

"Huh? Blitz, you don't look so good," Sera commented, squinting her eyes a bit as she looked at Blitz's face. "Did you not get enough sleep last night?"

"Ah, is it that obvious…?" Blitz responded, sheepishly rubbing the rings on his forelegs together.

"Well, I don't blame you, considering what happened yesterday…" Sera replied, her ears drooping down slightly.

"Don't worry about it," Blitz responded, shaking his head. "I need some time to think things through, but… I don't think just keeping to myself while I try to get that sorted out will help."

"Blitz…!" Sera replied, looking rather surprised at this.

"Heh, what's with that look?" Blitz asked, letting out a chuckle. "I mean, I know I don't have to keep everything to myself anymore."

"Ah… I see," Sera responded, smiling at Blitz.

The three of them then headed over to the café to pick up Azure and Frederick before deciding on what they would do today. As they arrived, Azure was in the middle of cleaning the tables.

"Oh, hey guys!" Azure said, waving at her friends.

"Hi, Azure!" Sera responded, looking around. "Frederick's not here?"

"Nope, not yet," Azure replied, shrugging slightly. "He didn't mention having any other plans, so I assume he'll be here soon. Feel free to wait here while I finish cleaning these tables."

Blitz and the others watched as Azure cleaned the tables one-by-one, spraying them with her bubble attack before swiftly drying them off with a washcloth. Judging from her movements, Blitz guessed that Azure must've practiced this technique for cleaning efficiently. As she was close to finishing off the last few tables, Frederick finally showed up.

"Hey guys," Frederick said, walking over to the rest of the group.

"Hi Frederick!" Chiaki responded, smiling at the Deino.

"Ooh, good timing!" Azure said, grinning. "I'm almost done, so just give me a moment!"

Once Azure had finished the last table, she ran up to the others.

"So, what are we doing today?" Azure asked, still smiling.

"We haven't decided yet," Sera responded, shaking her head.

"Hmm… Maybe we should head over to the HQ?" Blitz suggested. "I think there's something there we should check out."

"Ooh, you're really up for an adventure?" Azure asked, looking over at Blitz.

"Well… Maybe," Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly. "At the very least, I want to know what is going on."

The group then made their way to the rescue team HQ. Reaching the main area, things seemed the same as usual, except for something that had been posted up next to the bulletin boards. They quickly went over to examine it.

"… Ah, I see," Blitz said, as he looked over the document. "I guess some mystery dungeons have been greatly affected by the distortions, to the point where they're practically inaccessible."

"Well, that kind of sucks," Azure commented.

"It's not that surprising, though," Sera said, her ears drooping down a little. "I mean, we've seen and heard of how distortions have been spreading and getting bigger all this time…"

"Yeah…" Blitz responded, nodding his head. "For now, there aren't that many mystery dungeons that have been blocked off, but I can only imagine the list will get longer… The list also mentions some other mystery dungeons that are currently being monitored and that may soon be blocked off as well."

"I sure hope nobody got lost in those dungeons before the distortions closed them up…" Frederick commented, tilting his head slightly.

"… Well, I don't see any of the dungeons that are currently inaccessible mentioned as the location of any of the missions on the bulletin boards," Azure said, glancing at the various missions posted. "I assume that means we don't got to worry about that."

"Hope you're right about that," Frederick responded. "If not, then they might be in there for a while…"

"… You've got a wild imagination, buddy," Azure commented, blinking a few times.

"Ah! Look at that!" Sera said, pointing her paw at one particular mission on the bulletin board. "Isn't that one of the mystery dungeons that is currently under observation and that may soon be closed up?"

Blitz let out a gasp as he quickly looked over at the mission, then back at the list to confirm Sera's observation.

"You're right…" Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly. "According to the list, any mission in these possibly soon-to-be closed off dungeons should be prioritized…"

"So, is that what we're doing today, then?" Azure asked, looking over at her teammates.

"Well, none of the other teams have accepted this one yet," Blitz replied, taking another look at the mission. "And the difficulty range shouldn't be too difficult for our current rank… under normal circumstances, anyways."

"In other words, the distortions might make things a bit more difficult," Sera responded, letting out a sigh.

"I'm always up for a challenge," Azure said, smirking. "Guess we'd better get ready, huh?"

"… Yeah, we'd better go rescue this Pokémon," Blitz responded, nodding his head.

The team quickly made their way back to the town plaza to prepare for the mission. Once they had sorted out which items to bring, they made their way back to the HQ. As they prepared to set off, they first had to decide who would stay behind.

"Good luck, guys," Frederick said, smiling at his teammates.

"Sorry about having you be the one to stay behind two missions in a row, buddy," Azure said.

"No, it's fine," Frederick replied, shaking his head. "There'll be plenty of other chances to go on missions, so I don't mind waiting."

"Yeah, that's true!" Sera said, wagging her tail.

"All right, then!" Azure said, grinning. "We'll be sure to tell you all about the mission when we get back, so until then, just cheer us on from here, okay?"

"Of course!" Frederick responded, nodding his head.

With their preparations complete, Blitz, Sera, Chiaki and Azure headed into Kala's room.

"Kala, wake up," Chiaki said, lightly shaking the Abra's shoulder.

"Mm… Just put the spoon back where you found it…" Kala muttered in her sleep.

After a few moments, Kala finally woke up and listened to the rescue team's request.

"Hmm, I see…" Kala said, nodding her head slightly. "All right, I can send you there… You guys just be careful, okay?"

"We will, don't worry," Blitz responded, nodding his head in response.

And so, in a flash of green light, Blitz, Sera, Chiaki and Azure were teleported out of the room. With her job done for now, Kala laid back down on her pillow.

"A mystery dungeon heavily affected by distortion, huh…" Kala muttered to herself as she let out a yawn. "Wonder if it'd be as confusing as a dream…"

Kala didn't spend too much time thinking about it before falling back asleep, ready to return to her own strange dreams.


"… So, where's the entrance to the dungeon?" Azure asked as she and her teammates looked around.

"Um…" Blitz rolled out the treasure map and quickly glanced at it. "Well, this does look like it could be the right area, and if so…"

Blitz took a few steps away, examining his surroundings before finally spotting something in the distance.

"Oh, I think that might be it over there!" Blitz said, pointing a paw in the direction of what he'd seen.

After rolling the map back up, the group quickly followed Blitz over to the entrance of the mystery dungeon. As they approached it, they noticed that small distortions were scattered throughout the areas closer to the dungeon.

"All right, we're here," Azure said, looking at the entrance to the mystery dungeon. "I wonder why we landed that far from the entrance, though…"

"Good question," Blitz responded, touching a paw to his chin. "I'm not sure if Kala did that on purpose or not, but either way, it might have to do with the distortions…"

"Ah, so we ended up further away from the dungeon because there weren't as many distortions over there," Azure replied. "Got it."

"Well, it's my best guess, anyways," Blitz responded, looking up at the entrance. "Anyways, our client should be on the thirteenth floor…"

"I wonder what it'll be like in there…" Chiaki commented.

"Hopefully it doesn't get too difficult to navigate," Sera said, her ears twitching slightly.

"I'm ready to head in when you guys are!" Azure said, seemingly unperturbed.

Blitz exchanged glances with his teammates, before they all stepped inside the mystery dungeon. Upon entering, they quickly noticed that parts of the walls were warped and flickering.

"… Yeah, this is just about what I expected," Azure commented, looking around.

"Ugh, I feel I might get dizzy looking at this for too long…" Sera said, her ears drooping down.

"Let's not linger here too long," Blitz responded, looking over at his teammates. "Come on, we should get moving."

The team quickly began exploring the floor, trying to find the stairs as soon as possible. As they made their way throughout the first few floors, they noticed that the wild Pokémon in the dungeon seemed more aggressive than normal. Of course, this didn't come as a surprise, considering they had already seen how the distortions tended to agitate the wild Pokémon in the mystery dungeons.

"I feel kind of bad for the wild Pokémon here…" Sera said, trying to avert her eyes from some of the distorted walls.

"Me too…" Chiaki responded, nodding his head slightly. "I hope the remaining two Axis Tower crystals are found soon so things can go back to normal…"

"Yeah…" Sera replied, nodding her head in agreement.

As they made their way through the different floors, they noticed that the level of distortion seemed to wary from floor to floor. Once they had managed to get past the first five floors, the next few floors were a little less distorted. However, a few floors after that seemed even more distorted than the first few.

"Geez… Make up your mind," Azure said.

"Hmm?" Chiaki said, glancing at Azure following behind him.

"I was talking to the dungeon," Azure explained, sighing.

"Oh," Chiaki replied, turning back around.

"Ugh, is it just me, or is it kind of hard to breathe in here?" Sera asked, her ears twitching slightly.

"I guess this floor must be especially harshly affected by distortion," Blitz responded, looking around. "It's okay, let's just hurry up and find the stairs."

Blitz quickly led them down one of the paths, only to suddenly find himself in a different room before they had even walked through the entire tunnel.

"Um…" Blitz said, glancing at the path behind him. "That… can't be right."

"What just happened!?" Azure exclaimed, looking around.

"Did we just… teleport?" Sera asked, blinking a few times.

"I… I guess so," Blitz responded, looking around.

"Huh… How'd that happen?" Chiaki asked, tilting his head slightly.

"Hmm…" Blitz kept looking around for a moment, before his eyes settled on one of the other paths leading out of the room. "Let's try going that way next."

Following Blitz's lead, the team began heading towards a different path. However, once again, before they knew it, they ended up in a different place from before.

"Oh, hey! The stairs!" Azure exclaimed, pointing to said stairs. "But, wait… How'd we…"

"I see…" Blitz said, looking around.

"I guess we got teleported again," Sera said, looking over at Blitz. "Did you figure something out?"

"Hmm… On floors with particularly strong distortion, I guess the paths are connected in certain ways…" Blitz responded, looking back at the path they had just appeared from. "As in… Imagine that each path is a portal linked to a different path…"

"Ah, is that how it works?" Azure replied, blinking a few times. "Huh… In other words, navigating those floors might be a pain…"

"Yeah…" Blitz responded, nodding his head as he glanced over at the stairs again. "Finding the stairs to the next floor in a situation will require some luck on our part…"

"Well, we did get lucky this time," Chiaki said, smiling. "So, it'll probably be fine!"

"We should also try our best to remember which paths lead where," Blitz added.

After discussing the situation, the team moved on to the next floor. Thankfully, the next floor wasn't as distorted as the previous one, allowing them to get through the floor without too much difficulty. However, once they had made it through the next few floors, they finally reached the floor where their client was supposed to be, only to find it was another floor strongly affected by the distortion.

"This again…" Azure commented as they tried to walk down a path, only to be teleported to a different part of the dungeon.

"All right… Try to remember the layout of these rooms, and where the paths lead," Blitz said, looking around at his teammates.

"Hmm… Maybe it'll be easier to remember if we don't pick up the items?" Sera suggested as she glanced over at some Iron Thorns lying on the ground.

"Good thinking," Blitz responded, nodding approvingly at Sera.

"Agreed," Azure said, thinking for a moment. "Although, if we find an item that might be useful, we can just switch it out with something from the bag that we don't need, right?"

"Yes, of course," Blitz replied.

"Sounds like a plan!" Chiaki said, smiling. "All right, let's keep moving!"

The team quickly resumed their exploration of the floor, making good use of items to help memorize the layout of the floor. After being teleported around the dungeon for a bit, having to start over at least twice after being returned to the room they arrived in upon reaching the floor, they finally found their client. A rather frustrated looking dark-furred bipedal Pokémon was pacing back and forth inside a room, the pink feather on its left ear twitching.

"Hmm?" the Sneasel said, turning to look at Blitz and his teammates. "Ah… Did you come to rescue me?"

"Yes, we did!" Chiaki responded, nodding his head.

"… Well, give it a try," the Sneasel said.

"What do you mean?" Blitz inquired, tilting his head slightly.

"…" the Sneasel just looked away.

Blitz waited for a moment, before stepping forward and holding up the rescue team badge. However, nothing seemed to happen.

"… Even the badge?" the Sneasel said, letting out a sigh. "I was hoping it was just the escape orbs that didn't work…"

"Huh? We can't teleport out of here!?" Azure exclaimed.

"Seems that way…" the Sneasel responded, shrugging.

"… The strong distortions on this floor must be interfering with our ability to teleport," Blitz said, looking down at the badge.

"What do we do, then?" Sera asked, her ears drooping down.

"Don't panic," Blitz responded, putting the badge back on the bag. "Maybe it'll work if we move to a different floor…"

"Oh! Because the distortion might not be as strong there?" Chiaki chimed in.

"Exactly," Blitz replied, nodding his head.

"All right! Then let's find the stairs!" Chiaki responded, smiling.

"Uh… Good luck with that," the Sneasel said, crossing his arms. "I've been wandering around for a while now, and I just can't seem to find those (Frillish) stairs!"

"Whoa, calm down!" Azure exclaimed, before walking over and patting the Sneasel's shoulder. "I understand you're frustrated, but there's no need for such language."

"Yeah, it'll be okay!" Chiaki said, looking around. "We'll get you out of here!"

"Well… I feel like I've already tried every possible way I can go in here, but… maybe you guys can find another path," the Sneasel responded, shrugging slightly. "Ugh, my head hurts… I just want to get out of here…"

"Okay, let's look for the stairs!" Sera said, wagging her tail.

And so, the Sneasel joined the exploration as the group attempted to find the stairs leading to the next floor. However, it seemed that no matter which way they went, they just kept walking in circles, being sent back to the same rooms again, and again, and again, and again…

"… And there's the Iron Thorns again," Azure said, glancing over at the Iron Thorns laying on the ground. "How many times have we seen those now?"

"We're stuck here forever, aren't we?" the Sneasel muttered while rubbing his head.

"Hey, don't give up!" Chiaki said, looking around. "There's got to be something we haven't tried yet!"

Blitz glanced at the nearby paths a few times, seemingly at a loss for which one to pick.

"… Blitz?" Chiaki said, looking over at the team leader.

"Um…" Blitz replied, rubbing the rings on his forelegs together.

"B-Blitz?" Chiaki said again, realizing what was going on. "Hey, it's okay! We're all kind of confused right now, so don't worry about it! If we keep trying, I'm sure we'll find a way!"

"Chiaki's right!" Sera exclaimed, her ears perking up. "Just try to stay calm!"

"R-Right… Sorry," Blitz responded, taking a deep breath. "Whew…"

"So, which way should we go?" Azure asked, glancing around. "Just go with your gut feeling."

"Hmm… In that case…" Blitz responded, looking around once more before pointing to one of the paths. "Let's try going there again."

Following Blitz's lead, the group returned to one of the rooms they had visited a few times now in their attempts to find their way through the dungeon. As Blitz attempted to once again figure out where to go from there, a wild Pokémon resembling a crow wearing a top hat appeared.

"I'll deal with it!" Azure said, smirking as she faced the Murkrow.

The Murkrow flew out of the way as Azure tried to hit it with her bubble beam attacks. Once the Murkrow came closer for an attack, Azure used her rollout to move out of the way. She kept rolling faster and faster, trying to ram her opponent while it flew close to the ground. It was at this point that something unexpected happened. Once she had finally hit the Murkrow with her full force, Azure kept rolling at full speed towards a wall. However, instead of simply colliding with it, Azure disappeared into the wall.

"Whoa!" Sera exclaimed, her ears pointing upright in surprise. "Did you see that!?"

Blitz quickly walked over to the wall, curiously looking at it for a few moments before reaching into the treasure bag. Sera, Chiaki and the Sneasel watched as he took out a small seed and flung it through the wall.

"… Do you think…?" Chiaki asked, curiously looking at the wall.

"I guess it's worth a try at this point," Blitz said, looking at the others. "This might just be the path we need."

"Azure! Can you hear me?" Sera shouted at the wall. "Are you okay?"

The group waited a few moments for an answer. At first, there was nothing, but then a stream of bubbles suddenly shot out from the wall.

"Oh! I guess that's a yes!" Chiaki said, smiling.

"All right, let's get out of here," the Sneasel said, smirking.

The group gathered around the wall, and after a count of three, they leapt through the wall. It only took a moment before they reemerged from a particular spot on another wall in another room. Azure grinned as she saw the others arrive. A few other spots on the wall were also wet, suggesting that it took Azure a few tries to find the part of the wall that she had entered the room from when she used her bubble beam to send a signal.

"Hey guys!" Azure said, waving at them.

"Hi!" Chiaki responded, waving back.

"There are two paths leading out of this room," Azure said, pointing them out. "Since the stairs aren't in here, I'm guessing one of those paths might lead there."

"I see…" Sera said, looking at the two paths. "So… We just got to choose the right one…"

"Yeah, I think so," Azure responded, before handing the seed Blitz flung through the wall back to him. "Thought you might want this back."

Blitz put the seed back into the treasure bag, before taking a moment to watch the two paths.

"So, which one do you think we should choose?" Chiaki asked, glancing back and forth at the two paths.

"We'd better get it right…" the Sneasel said, sighing.

"If rollcall orbs worked here, we could just try both paths, and then the group that found the stairs could bring the others over…" Blitz mused, still trying to decide.

"Well, at least we do know the way now, so if we get sent back somewhere, we can just try again," Sera said.

"Yeah…" Blitz replied, nodding his head slightly.

"So, should we just flip a coin, or something?" Azure suggested.

After taking a moment to decide their path, the group were finally able to locate the stairs to the next floor. They had to get through two other floors, before reaching a floor where the distortion seemed fairly light compared to the previous floors.

"… All right, let's try this again," Blitz said, taking out the badge once more.

"I have a good feeling about this one!" Chiaki said, grinning.

"Please, let it work this time…" the Sneasel muttered, anxiously biting at one of his claws.

As Blitz lifted up the badge, a golden light began to emanate from it. Everyone's expressions brightened as the light shined on the Sneasel.

"Finally!" the Sneasel said, grinning. "I'll wait for you guys back at the HQ with your reward!"

"Okay, we'll see you there in just a moment!" Chiaki responded, nodding his head.

After the Sneasel had been safely teleported out of the dungeon, Blitz and his teammates gathered around the badge as they activated it one more time to leave the dungeon themselves and return to the rescue team HQ to pick up their reward. And with that, they had completed their mission.

"So… You guys wanna stop by the café?" Azure asked.

"Sorry, but I think I'll just head home for tonight," Blitz responded, shaking his head. "I want to try to finish writing that letter for Lita… Plus, since I didn't sleep too well last night, I should try to get to sleep a little earlier tonight."

"All right, fair enough," Azure replied, nodding slightly before looking over at Sera and Chiaki. "What about you guys?"

"I think I'll be heading home too," Sera responded. "I'm kind of worn out from all that stuff we went through today…"

"Yeah, that dungeon sure was something…" Chiaki said, rubbing the back of his head.

"I see," Azure replied. "Well, guess it's good bye for now, then! I'll see you guys tomorrow!"

And so, the team went their separate ways for the night. Azure went back to the café to assist her mother, as well as tell Frederick all about today's adventure. Sera was greeted by her older brother Flare as she returned home. And as Blitz and Chiaki returned home, Blitz immediately looked over at the unfinished letter lying on the floor and sat down in front of it to pick up where he had left off.

Chiaki lay down on his bed and listened for a while to the sound of Blitz's ink-covered paw carefully touching the paper, until finally…

"… There, that should do it," Blitz said, looking over the letter one more time.

"You're done?" Chiaki asked, looking over at Blitz.

"Yeah…" Blitz responded, cleaning the ink off of his paw again. "I think so."

"That's good," Chiaki said, smiling at Blitz.

"Mm-hm," Blitz replied, nodding his head. "When Santos stops by during his deliveries tomorrow, I'll have him take it with him."

Blitz let out a sigh of relief as he laid down on his bed. It seemed to take only a few moments before he fell asleep. Chiaki smiled and closed his eyes, trying to fall asleep himself. He thought back to the mystery dungeon they had explored that day and wondered just how much worse the mystery dungeons that had been rendered inaccessible were. Were the wild Pokémon living in those dungeons okay?

"… I shouldn't think about this now," Chiaki thought to himself, letting out a sigh. "I don't think I'd be able to sleep if I did…"

Of course, it was difficult to not think about it. Even so, Chiaki tried his best to push his worries out of his mind, so that he could get some rest and be ready for whatever he and his friends would do tomorrow. That was all he could do for now.


End of Chapter 55



Winter can't come soon enough
Wow, I see our intrepid heroes have gone full Action Replay on us! Walking through walls and everything. Next thing you know they're going to boost themselves up to max IQ. I kid, I kid. In any case, it's very interesting to have a dungeon randomly warp the team around all willy-nilly. In some sense, you're basically channeling the warp panel puzzles from the main line games and putting them into a mystery dungeon. And I'm always a fan of seeing those elements show up in a dungeon like this. Especially since you can make it work within the context of the story... as opposed to just handwaving the fact that they're there and they exist. Beyond that, I think it's also good to see the town's rescuers getting more unnerved by all this spacial distortion business. I'd have liked to see more of that in action, but I'll take what I can get.

I think my biggest issue with this chapter overall was that you were writing a lot of stuff that required me to visualize what was going on... but didn't give me the necessary tools to help do that. By which I mean the descriptions felt lacking throughout a lot of the chapter. Starting with Elina, for example. That flashback was your chance to actually showcase more of the architecture and inner workings of Axis Tower, but that doesn't really happen. You don't even identify any Pokémon species. You just say "guards." Are they all Beheeyem like Elina's dad? Because I can't remember that being the case. Likewise, the dungeon trek suffers from a similar lack of scene-setting. We don't even get a proper name for the place! And just using the general throwaway terms "distortion" and "flickering walls" leaves a lot to my imagination. You could have things like trees teleporting between spaces in a room... thorn bushes or rocks randomly popping into existence in a corner of the room... weird clusters of pixels (a la M or MissingNo) forming in spaces. Or, is it more like the Subspace Bombs from Brawl? That was what I was going with, but I think it could use more description.

So, given we've had this distortion trip, I'm hoping this means the next crystal mission is on the horizon. Maybe you're planning to dovetail it into the stuff with Blitz's family? In any case, I guess I'll just have to wait and see. Sorry for the delay with this review. DX

Sike Saner

Peace to the Mountain
Elina's little finger-lights rambling random gibberish while she's thinking is an interesting detail. Reflecting subconscious thoughts, maybe?

"Geez… Make up your mind," Azure said.

"Hmm?" Chiaki said, glancing at Azure following behind him.

"I was talking to the dungeon," Azure explained, sighing.

"Oh," Chiaki replied, turning back around.

There's something realistic about this bit, realistic in a way that I'm realizing I don't commonly see. Namely, that Azure's thinking aloud didn't pass without comment. That kind of thing tends to happen when you're with other people; they can't hear your internal monologue, after all, and they won't necessarily assume you're just thinking aloud.

Distorted, teleport-spot ridden floors sound like a nightmare. @_@ Maybe it's mostly the fact that I just got through with Silph Co. on my latest Blue run and therefore have a bone to pick with being teleported around at the moment (honestly, you'd think I'd have them all mapped out by now :p)... but the more I think about it, yeah, it'd be rough. Disorienting to be sure. Probably also nauseating. I envy the constitution of these characters, let me tell you.

Oh, and one more thing: how, HOW am I only just now realizing that "Elina" is an anagram of "alien"? XD;


Well-Known Member
Hello everyone! It's been a while, hasn't it? But I finally have a new chapter ready!

Like with many other chapters, this one took a lot longer than I expected it to take. I guess I sort of got stuck for a while there, but I guess I eventually managed to find inspiration and motivation to get back to working on it thanks to a strange dream I had. Basically, I dreamt I had posted a new chapter, but wanted to go back and make some changes because the chapter ended on an oddly dark note. It took me a few moments after I woke up to remember that I hadn't actually finished the chapter yet.

While I obviously didn't intend to end the actual chapter the way the dream!chapter did, I still decided to incorporate the new character created from this strange dream into this chapter, since they did in a strange way help me get back into things.

Anyways, I hope you'll enjoy this chapter!


Chapter 56: Think you'll be able to beat our strategy?


It was yet another morning, and Sera and her older siblings were having breakfast together as usual. The atmosphere was quite different today, however, as both of their parents had joined them today as well. Apparently, distortions near their workplace had spread to the point where it was causing problems for everyone, so the ones in charge had given everyone some time off while they attempted to work out a solution.

"I guess they don't have time to just wait for a rescue team to find the rest of the crystals and bring them back to Axis Tower…" Sera thought to herself while quietly eating the berries on her plate.

Sirena was quite enthusiastically talking to their parents about various things, who were listening attentively. Amethyst was looking over at Sirena with a fond smile, while Yoru looked like he was having trouble keeping up with the conversation. Volt looked like he wanted to say something, but Flare just quietly signaled for him to wait his turn. Sera felt like maybe she should say something too, but for some reason, she couldn't really think of anything to say. So, she just kept quietly eating her breakfast.

Once she was done eating, Sera excused herself and got ready to head out.

"Have a nice day, sweetie!" Summer the Glaceon called out, smiling at Sera.

"Um, thanks," Sera responded, looking over at her parents. "I'll see you guys later, then."

Sera headed outside and began making her way to the town plaza. She wondered why she couldn't think of anything to say back during breakfast. Not that she would normally talk that much unless she had something to talk about anyways, but something about it still bothered her. It may have been a while since her parents had joined her and her siblings for breakfast, but it wasn't like she hadn't seen them at all lately. After all, they would usually be back in time for dinner.

Maybe she just had too many things on her mind? A lot had happened recently, after all.

"I should find the others," Sera thought to herself, as she stepped into the town plaza and began looking around. "They're probably around here somewhere…"

As usual, other rescue teams could be seen around the town plaza. Some were talking with shopkeepers and making their preparations for whatever missions they would be taking on today, while others were just standing around discussing recent events.

"Hey, Sera!" a familiar female voice called out.

Sera looked over in the direction of the voice to see Azure waving at her.

"Oh, Azure!" Sera responded, smiling as she walked over to the Marill. "Are the others over at the café?"

"Nah, they're at the dojo," Azure replied, shrugging slightly. "Blitz thought it might be good to get some training done."

"Ah, I see," Sera responded, nodding her head. "So, you came to find me?"

"Pretty much," Azure replied, grinning. "Come on, let's go!"

"Okay!" Sera responded, smiling back at Azure.

The two quickly made their way over to the dojo, and met up with their teammates.

"There you are!" Chiaki said, smiling as he saw Sera and Azure.

"Hey guys!" Sera responded, waving to Blitz, Chiaki and Frederick. "So, what kind of training are we doing today?"

"Hercules is preparing one of the training dungeons for us," Blitz replied.

"Um… There's five of us, though," Frederick commented, tilting his head.

"We don't need to worry about that this time," Blitz responded. "This is only training, after all."

"Yeah, don't worry about it!" Azure said, grinning.

The group headed over to the part of the dojo where some of the more elaborate obstacle courses were set up. Hercules was talking to some of the other Pokémon working at the dojo as the five of them approached.

"Ah, good timing," Hercules said, as he noticed Blitz and his teammates. "We just finished setting things up."

"So, how does this work?" Chiaki asked, looking curiously over at the training course.

"Well, these particular obstacle courses are made to resemble the mystery dungeons that rescue teams explore," Hercules explained. "Using certain mechanisms, we can rearrange the labyrinth to simulate the way the floors of mystery dungeons always have different layouts upon revisiting them. Once that's set up, we place the items you'll pick up, have some volunteers head inside to act out of the part of wild Pokémon for you to fight, and depending on the difficulty level, we may even set up some traps in there."

"Whoa, that's so cool!" Chiaki responded with an excited smile.

"Yeah, a lot of work was put into making it so these training dungeons could feel as close to the real thing as possible," Hercules said, looking over at the entrance to the dungeon. "Of course, there are limits to what we can do with all this. There's only one floor, and instead of stairs, there's a teleportation panel you can use to come back here once you're done."

"I see," Blitz responded, nodding his head. "So, do we just have to defeat all the Pokémon in there?"

"Not quite," Hercules replied, shaking his head. "Lotus, you can bring them their mission now."

"Mission?" Chiaki inquired, as Lotus the Meditite hovered over to the group carrying a scroll in her hands.

"Please take a look at this," Lotus said, unfurling the scroll. "On this scroll, are three items we'd like you to retrieve from Pokémon inside the training dungeon."

The team gathered around to examine the scroll, which had three different items drawn on it.

"So, a scarf… a lantern… and a hammer?" Sera said, looking over the list.

"We gotta find whichever three Pokémon have these items, beat them and take the items, right?" Azure said with a smirk. "Seems easy enough."

"Also, you will not be allowed to bring your items for this," Lotus explained, looking over at the treasure bag Blitz was carrying. "Don't worry, we'll look after it while you're in there, and once you're finished with the mission, we'll return it to you."

"Oh, okay…" Blitz responded, nodding his head and taking off the treasure bag.

"Here, take this," Hercules said, handing Blitz a different type of bag. "You can use this to carry items you pick up in the dungeon, including the three key items."

"You may keep any regular items you picked up in there when the mission is over," Lotus added.

"Sweet," Azure said, smirking. "So, is there anything else we need to know before we head in there?"

"No, I believe that is everything," Lotus responded with a small smile.

"Just let us know when you're ready to begin," Hercules said.

The team stepped up to the entrance of the training dojo, making sure they were all ready before stepping inside.

"Okay, let's go!" Blitz said, leading his teammates inside the training dungeon.

Once all five of them were inside, Hercules signaled to some of the other workers nearby to close the entrance to the dungeon. Now, they just had to wait and see how long it'd take for Blitz and his teammates to clear the training mission.


Inside the dungeon, the very first thing Blitz did was look around for any items laying around on the floor. He wasn't entirely sure how tough the Pokémon they would have to fight inside this dungeon would be, but figured they'd have better chances either way if they could find some healing items as soon as possible. When they couldn't find any, Blitz led the group deeper into the labyrinth. In the next room they entered, a Mankey was running around, and upon seeing the team enter, immediately rushed over prepared to strike.

"Does it have any of the three items we need?" Chiaki asked as he side-stepped the Mankey's attempt to hit him with a Karate Chop.

"I don't think so," Blitz responded, shaking his head.

"Well, let's take it down anyways!" Azure said, grinning.

As the Mankey tried to strike Azure, she was quick to block his paw with her tail. Before the Mankey had the chance to do anything else, Sera rushed over and rammed her body into it.

"Nice one!" Azure commented, smiling at Sera.

The Mankey let out an angry squeal as it charged at the group again. It managed to dodge one of Azure's Bubble Beam attacks, only to step right into the path of Frederick's Dragon Breath attack in the process. With the Mankey weakened from the attacks, Blitz was able to knock it out with an electrified tackle.

"Well, that was a nice little warm-up," Azure said, smirking. "Now I'm up for a real challenge!"

"Hey, let's not get too ahead of ourselves here," Sera said, gently nudging Azure with her paw.

Blitz picked up a seed from the floor, and placed it inside the bag after quickly examining it.

"Looks like that's everything in this room," Blitz said, looking around. "Okay, let's keep moving."

The team made their way to the next part of the labyrinth, where they managed to find two more items, as well as a small amount of coins.

"Ah, something's headed this way!" Azure exclaimed, her ears twitching.

"I hear it too," Frederick said, turning his head towards the source of the sound. "Something with hooves, and I think I smell something fire-y… I guess it's a Ponyta."

"… Yep, you got that right," Azure replied as a cream-colored horse-like Pokémon with a mane and tail made of fire came into view. "Oh, and I think I hear another Pokémon approaching from over there, something with wings."

As the Ponyta entered the room, it didn't take long before it was joined by a Pidgeotto flying in from another direction. Both Pokémon were quick, the brown bird Pokémon swooping down towards Chiaki, while the Ponyta dashed to avoid Azure's Bubble Beam attacks.

"Do either of them have any of the items we need?" Sera asked, glancing over at Blitz.

"No, not as far as I can tell," Blitz responded, shaking his head. "Let's take them down and move on."

As Blitz and his teammates worked together to take out both Pokémon, a third Pokémon entered the room. A giraffe-like Pokémon wearing a green scarf around its long neck entered the room.

"Ooh! That's the one, isn't it?" Azure said, grinning as she pointed at the Girafarig.

"Yes, that's the scarf from the list," Blitz confirmed, nodding his head. "Let's do this, but be careful around the second head!"

On the tip of the Girafarig's black tail was a small and round second head with sharp-looking teeth in its mouth. Chiaki dodged a few Psybeams fired from the main head's eyes as he tried to get close enough to jump up and snatch the scarf from the Girafarig. Frederick meanwhile, gladly let his teammates use him for cover from psychic attacks, since they didn't have much of an effect on him. It didn't take much longer until they had finally obtained the first of the three items.

"Well done," Blitz said, as he put the scarf into the bag they had been given.

"Only two more to go!" Azure said, grinning. "Let's keep moving!"

"Yes, let's go," Blitz responded, nodding his head. "This way, come on."


Outside the labyrinth, Hercules and Lotus were waiting for the group's return, while a few Hoothoot helped keep track of the time, as well as observing the team's progress and relaying the information to Lotus via her psychic powers. Hercules smiled and nodded as Lotus informed him that Blitz and his teammates had already collected the first of the three items.

"Seems like it's going well," Hercules commented.

"But it'll only get more difficult," Lotus said, floating in a lotus position next to Hercules. "Or at least, I hope the instructions I've given will make it so."

"I'm sure they'll put up a good enough challenge for them," Hercules responded, looking over at Lotus. "Plus, there is also one more challenge at the end…"

"True, that's… hmm?" Lotus said, opening her eyes.

"Something wrong?" Hercules asked, noticing the slight confusion on the Meditite's face.

"One of the Pokémon in the dungeon is behaving oddly…" Lotus responded, shaking her head. "I do not think there is any reason to worry though."

"If you say so," Hercules replied. "Let's keep observing for now, and let me know if there's a problem."

"Of course," Lotus responded, closing her eyes as she resumed her telepathic communication with the other Pokémon overseeing the mission.


"Hey! Get back here!" Azure shouted at the purple ghost-type Pokémon as it kept trying to evade the group while carrying one of the items they needed to retrieve, the lantern.

"How does it manage to take the lantern with it when it goes into the walls?" Chiaki asked, as the Haunter did just that.

"That's a very good question…" Sera responded, looking around to see if the Haunter would re-emerge from another wall.

"It's creepy how they can do that…" Frederick commented, shuddering a bit.

"I thought you overcame your fear of ghosts?" Azure asked, glancing over at Frederick.

"Well, I'm not running away in a panic, am I?" Frederick responded.

"Oh, right," Azure replied, smiling. "I'm proud of you, buddy."

"Sera, behind you!" Blitz shouted, as the Haunter reached for Sera's tail with its free hand.

"Ah!" Sera quickly turned around to face the ghost-type Pokémon. "You were trying to pull my tail again, weren't you?"

The Haunter let out a laugh, just before a purple fireball struck it.

"Nice shot, Frederick!" Azure said, grinning.

Before the Haunter had the chance to recover, Blitz dashed into it with an electrified tackle, shocking it and causing it to drop the lantern. Sera quickly caught it with her tail before it could hit the floor.

"Got it!" Sera said, smiling.

"Nice catch!" Chiaki responded, clapping his paws.

Blitz and Sera placed the lantern inside the bag with the scarf, while Azure defeated the weakened Haunter. With two of the items obtained, the group continued their exploration of the training dungeon.

"Everyone doing okay?" Blitz asked, glancing at his teammates.

"I think we're all doing okay," Sera responded.

"Hmm, good," Blitz replied, looking at the bag containing the regular items they had picked up so far. "Our healing items and such are a bit limited at this point, so it'd be best to try to conserve our strength just in case."

"Because getting the last item will be even more difficult than the first two?" Chiaki inquired.

"Well, probably, but that's not all," Blitz responded. "I don't think getting the third item will be the end of the challenge."

"What do you mean?" Chiaki asked, tilting his head.

"Ooh, is there going to be some strong Pokémon at the end for us to fight?" Azure asked, seeming excited.

"I think so," Blitz responded, nodding his head.

"Sweet!" Azure exclaimed. "Gotta make sure I don't use up all the energy for my moves before that, then!"

The group continued moving through the dungeon, trying to find more items while also trying to find the Pokémon that had the hammer. The Pokémon they fought along the way were also getting stronger, and tended to attack in groups. After a while, they come across an unusual sight.

"Huh? What happened here?" Azure asked, as the group came across a Pokémon that had collapsed on the ground.

A blue bipedal Pokémon with muscular arms laid on the ground, letting out a pained groan as Chiaki walked over and lightly poked it.

"I guess someone else already beat him?" Sera said, tilting her head slightly. "But… we're the only ones taking this challenge, right? There's no reason for any of the other Pokémon here to do something like that, right?"

"Yeah, that's strange…" Chiaki commented, looking at the knocked out Poliwrath with a concerned expression. "Should we give him a healing item?"

Before anyone had the chance to answer, a white squirrel-like Pokémon rushed forward and jumped onto Blitz, preparing to sink its teeth into his neck.

"What the… Get off!" Blitz said, sparks flying from his fur as he attempted to shake off the Pachirisu.

However, the Pachirisu held on tightly with its small paws, its body seeming to absorb the electricity from Blitz without issue.

"I've got this!" Chiaki shouted, firing a stream of stars from his paws at the Pachirisu, which hit its target and caused it to loosen its grip enough for Blitz to shake it off.

"Are you okay?" Sera asked, running over to Blitz.

"Y-Yeah…" Blitz responded, nodding his head slightly before looking over at Chiaki. "Thanks, buddy."

"No problem!" Chiaki replied, smiling at Blitz.

"Hey, what was up with that?" Azure shouted at the Pachirisu. "Are you the one who defeated this other guy here too?"

The Pachirisu looked at the five Pokémon surrounding it with a wicked smirk.

"Yeah, that was me," the Pachirisu responded, pulling a small hammer from its tail. "I wanted this, so I knocked him out."

"Ah, that's the hammer we need!" Chiaki exclaimed.

"Yes, indeed," the Pachirisu responded, smirking. "If you want it, you'll have to take it from me."

"Fine with me," Azure replied, shrugging slightly.

"Um, I don't get it," Frederick said, tilting his head. "Why'd you want the hammer?"

"So that you'd fight me," the Pachirisu responded, snickering. "I'm going to destroy all of you, starting with that Shinx!"

"W-What? Why?" Chiaki exclaimed, taking a step back.

"I came here from the world of dreams to end you all," the Pachirisu explained with a diabolical expression one wouldn't expect from such a Pokémon.

"… So, you… want to kill us?" Blitz finally managed to respond after a few moments of not knowing how to react to this.

"I already finished you off in the dream," the Pachirisu said, pointing a paw at Blitz. "And now, I'll destroy you and your teammates!"

"… Yeah, that's not happening," Azure responded, glaring at the Pachirisu.

"I won't let you hurt my friends!" Chiaki said, taking a fighting stance.

"Me neither!" Sera said, taking up a position next to Chiaki.

"There's five of us, and one of you, so… I think we'll win," Frederick stated.

"Okay, everyone! Let's do this!" Blitz shouted, signaling for everyone to make their move.

"Don't underestimate me!" the Pachirisu yelled, barely managing to move out of the way as Sera and Chiaki both dashed forward to attack him. "Ugh… This thing is too heavy…!"

To everyone's surprise, the Pachirisu simply dropped the hammer on the floor.

"There, now I'll tear you guys apart!" the Pachirisu shouted, laughing manically.

Even if it had discarded the hammer, it was clear that they wouldn't get away from this Pachirisu without a fight. Moving at a high speed, it easily dodged Azure and Frederick's ranged attacks. Chiaki picked up the hammer and turned around to give it to Blitz, only for the Pachirisu to suddenly ram into him. Despite being shocked by the Pachirisu's electricity, Chiaki managed to keep his grip on the hammer.

"What's the plan?" Sera asked, throwing a quick glance over at Blitz.

"I'm working on it…" Blitz responded, not taking his eyes off of the Pachirisu. "He's fast, and based off of what happened earlier, my electric attacks won't have any effect…"

"Should we use the Stun Seed we picked up earlier?" Sera whispered to Blitz.

"Nah, I think it's better to save it for later," Blitz responded.

Chiaki kept holding on to the hammer while trying to dodge the Pachirisu's attacks, Azure trying to wait for an opportunity to attack so she wouldn't waste too much energy before they could get to the final challenge.

"Hold still, darn it…" Azure muttered, trying her best to keep an eye on the Pachirisu.

"He'll have to get tired sooner or later, right?" Frederick asked.

Blitz and Sera managed to get over to Chiaki so he could quickly hand the hammer over to them. The Pachirisu moved away from Chiaki and continued running around the rescue team, looking for an opening to attack. Both sides were just waiting for an opportunity to make their move.

Eventually, the Pachirisu made another leap towards Blitz, only to immediately be blinded by a flash of light from Blitz's fur. This gave Azure the chance to finally hit it in the face with a Bubble Beam attack, knocking it to the ground. Chiaki and Sera followed up with a punch and a tackle respectively.

"All right, I think we've got this!" Azure said, grinning.

"Nngh… This isn't how it was supposed to go…" the Pachirisu muttered, glaring at the rescue team as it tried to get up. "I won't lose…!"

"Yes, you will!" Azure shouted before slamming her tail into the Pachirisu with enough force to send it flying into a wall, knocking it out.

"Whew… We did it," Sera said, looking around at the others. "Let's get out of here before he wakes up, huh?"

"Yeah, agreed," Blitz responded, nodding his head.

The group resumed their exploration, having obtained all three items. Now they just needed to find the exit, and deal with whatever final challenge that might await them.

"So, um… About that Pachirisu we fought…" Frederick began uncertainly.

"Still thinking about that guy?" Azure asked, glancing back at Frederick. "Yeah, that certainly was… something. What was all that stuff about "the world of dreams" anyways?"

"No clue," Frederick responded, tilting his head.

"I think I might've heard about something like that," Sera said, looking over at her teammates. "Yoru once told me that there exists a world that some Pokémon can visit in their dreams."

"Wow, really?" Chiaki responded, looking surprised.

"Yeah, I've heard about that too," Blitz replied while looking around for items. "Apparently, Munna and their evolved form Musharna have some connection with it, or so I've heard."

"Oh, yeah, now that you mention it, I think I've heard about it too," Azure said. "So, such a world really exists?"

"Well, if what that Pachirisu said is true, then I guess that proves that it does," Blitz responded. "You see, they also say that it is possible for Pokémon born in this Dream World to travel into the real world by taking certain steps."

"What? No way!" Azure replied, shaking her head. "There's no way that's possible!"

"I don't know… These Pokémon supposedly have abilities that their species aren't normally born with," Blitz explained, thinking back to their encounter. "And that Pachirisu… his body absorbed my electricity…"

"Yeah, and?" Azure inquired.

"Pachirisu don't normally have the Volt Absorb ability," Blitz responded. "But this one clearly did, which means he might've indeed been from the supposed Dream World."

It seemed to take a few moments for the others to process this information, and for a while, none of them seemed sure how to respond to this. After a while, Frederick spoke up again.

"So, if that Pachirisu travelled here from the Dream World, then… whose dream did he come from?" Frederick asked.

"… That's a very good question," Azure responded, blinking a few times as she thought about it. "He said he defeated Blitz in a dream, right? So, does that mean it's somebody we know?"

"Or at least somebody who knows who we are?" Sera added. "So… Somebody from Fenix Town? Or somebody we've met during our missions?"

"Probably…?" Azure responded in an uncertain tone. "I mean, who else could it have been?"

After quietly thinking it over for a few moments as they kept walking, the group concluded that they'd probably never figure out whose dream had spawned that bloodthirsty Pachirisu. It was probably better not to dwell on it too much. Chiaki still seemed to be in deep thought, though.

"Hey, Chiaki? Something wrong?" Azure asked. "You haven't said anything in a while."

"Oh, it's nothing…" Chiaki responded, shaking his head. "For a moment there, I was just… wondering if I too might just be a figment of someone's imagination…"

"Huh? You mean you thought you might be from the world of dreams?" Azure inquired.

"Well, I don't have any memories, and the only Pokémon I know that knew me before I lost my memories is Elina," Chiaki explained. "So… What if I came from one of Elina's dreams, and that's why she hasn't told me anything about my past?"

"Whoa… I never would've thought of that," Azure said, staring wide-eyed.

"Could that be it…?" Frederick asked.

"I don't think so," Blitz responded, looking over at Chiaki. "After all, Pokémon from the world of dreams have abilities or attacks that their species don't normally have, and Chiaki has neither of those."

"Oh… right," Azure replied. "I guess that's true."

"Huh… Guess that isn't the case, then," Frederick responded.

"Ah… I see," Chiaki said, letting out a sigh of relief.

"Don't worry about it, Chiaki," Sera said, smiling at her teammate. "I'm sure we'll find out who you really are eventually!"

"Yeah, once Erebos is dealt with, I promise that we'll help you find the answers you're looking for," Blitz added, smiling at Chiaki.

"You know, why don't we just track down Elina and…I don't know, tickle her until she agrees to tell us?" Azure suggested.

"Wouldn't she just teleport away if we tried that?" Frederick reminded her.

"… Oh, right, she can do that," Azure replied, sighing. "Still, I don't get how you put up with her keeping this all from you, Chiaki. If it were me, I'd just go up to her and demand some answers already!"

"Well… I think she has a really good reason for not wanting to tell me yet," Chiaki responded. "I don't know what it is, but… I trust her. She's my friend."

"… Fine, if you say so," Azure said, shrugging slightly.

"Thanks for worrying about me, though!" Chiaki responded, smiling at Azure.

"Heh… You're so weird," Azure chuckled.

After walking for a bit longer, their goal was finally within sight. There were three Pokémon waiting in a room, with a teleporting panel visible on the floor at the end of the room. All three Pokémon were vaguely humanoid male fighting-type Pokémon. One was a brown Pokémon with long, spring-like legs, one was a lighter brown Pokémon with hands resembling boxing gloves, and the last was a pale brown Pokémon with a spike on its head. The one with the springy legs and the one with the boxing glove hands were having a sparring match as the rescue team walked over.

"They're here," the Pokémon with the spike on his head said, pointing them out to the other two who stopped their sparring match.

"Ah, I see," the one with the long legs responded, not noticing the way Chiaki was curiously looking up at the upper half of his body when he spoke, in an attempt to try to figure out where his mouth was. "I guess that means it is finally time for the final challenge?"

"If they have all the items, yeah," the one with the boxing glove hands said, shrugging slightly.

Blitz retrieved the three items from the bag, and placed them on the floor for the three fighting types to see.

"Good job," the one with the spike on its head said, smiling in approval as he looked over the items. "You've done well so far."

"Thanks!" Chiaki responded, smiling back at the Hitmontop.

"Well, are you ready to get started?" the one with the boxing glove hands asked, punching the air a few times. "Defeat all three of us, and you'll have completed this mission."

"I know I'm ready," Azure responded to the Hitmonchan's question, before looking around at her teammates. "How about the rest of you?"

"I'm ready, I guess?" Frederick said, tilting his head slightly.

"Me too!" Chiaki responded, raising his paw.

"Ready when you are, Blitz," Sera said, looking over at Blitz who was looking over the healing items they had gathered one more time.

"It's less than I'm used to, but it'll do," Blitz muttered before closing the lid on the bag and looking over at the Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan and Hitmontop. "We're ready."

"All right, looks like we're ready to begin," the Hitmonlee said, crossing his arms.

"This may just be a training session, but we won't go easy on you guys!" the Hitmontop said, smirking as he did some stretches. "Think you'll be able to beat our strategy?"

"Well, we wouldn't be here if Hercules didn't think we couldn't," Blitz responded with a confident smile.

"Ooh, good line!" Azure whispered to Blitz with an approving smile.

"Heh, very well," the Hitmontop responded, nodding his head. "Then let's get right to it!"

With that said, the Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan stepped closer to the walls in order to make space as the Hitmontop leapt into the air and landed on the spike on his head before beginning to spin around rapidly. Moving around by spinning on his head, the Hitmontop began chasing after Blitz and his teammates. The Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan occasionally had to move aside when the Hitmontop spun closer to them to avoid accidentally getting kicked by his blue feet.

Blitz tried to observe his opponents' movements while dodging the Hitmontop's attacks along with his teammates, something which was made even more difficult by the fact that the Hitmontop was getting faster and faster.

"Ah, Azure… Help!" Frederick called out, struggling to avoid the Hitmontop's fast movements.

"Kind of busy here…" Azure said, trying to avoid the Hitmonlee's strong kicks after she had rolled closer to his end of the room in her efforts to avoid the Hitmontop.

Chiaki attempted to slow down the Hitmontop by firing a stream of stars from his paw at him from some distance away, only to quickly be interrupted by the Hitmonchan suddenly charging at him, ready to punch. Chiaki just barely managed to dodge the punch in time.

"Hmm… I guess this is the perfect time to use that item…" Blitz thought to himself, glancing down at the bag for a moment. "We only have one, so I have to make it count…"

Blitz kept dodging attacks while waiting for the right moment to make his move. Once he was sure he had the Hitmontop's attention, he just needed to make sure the Hitmontop was looking right at him before making his fur shine brightly. Blinded by the light, the Hitmontop ended up going too far and crashing into one of the walls.

While the Hitmontop tried to get back up, Blitz used his tail to flick a seed over at the Hitmontop. The Hitmontop found himself unable to move as soon as the stun seed hit his body.

"There, now we can focus on the other two," Blitz thought to himself.

With the Hitmontop unable to move at the moment, the Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee both began running forward. Spotting the Hitmonlee moving towards the Hitmontop, Azure tried to slow him down by firing a powerful stream of water from her mouth at him. However, she soon found herself having to quickly roll out of the way to avoid being hit by an electrified punch from the Hitmonchan, which had made its way over at a high speed. The Hitmonchan continued attempting to strike at Azure with electrified punches, forcing her to keep moving to dodge them all.

Chiaki eventually made his way over to Azure, just in time to block one of the Hitmonchan's Thunder Punches. While Chiaki tried to counter more of the Hitmonchan's punches, Azure tried to use this chance to hit it with a few Bubble Beams.

In the meantime, Blitz had managed to get the Hitmonlee further away from the Hitmontop with a powerful Roar attack, and was trying to keep him from getting closer again. Sera was trying her best to help, while dodging the Hitmonlee's kicking attacks. Frederick had managed to catch his breath while the others were busy, and was getting ready to assist Sera and Blitz. He took a deep breath, and fired a Dragon Pulse attack at the Hitmonlee.

Chiaki was getting worn out from fighting the Hitmonchan, especially since the Hitmonchan knew how to get past his defensive moves. While Azure had managed to weaken the Hitmonchan a bit with her long-ranged water attacks, the Hitmonchan had also managed to avoid some of these attacks by quickly moving to the side. Figuring she wouldn't be able to attack as long as the Hitmonchan was expecting her to do so, Azure decided she could at least work on increasing her defense while trying to figure out her next move.

After taking a few moments to increase her defense with her Defense Curl move, Azure gently sprayed a stream of water into the air, enveloping her body in a glittery, water-y veil.

"Ugh… Getting… kind of tired…" Chiaki muttered, panting as he tried his best to keep up with his opponent.

Azure was about to go assist Chiaki, when something suddenly slammed into her, knocking her over. Looking over at what hit her, Azure found that it was Blitz, who had been sent flying by one of the Hitmonlee's kicks.

"Whoa, you okay?" Azure asked, helping Blitz to his feet.

"Ah… I think so…" Blitz responded, trying to shake it off.

"Hey, maybe you can help out Chiaki for a bit?" Azure asked, before glancing over at the Hitmonlee. "I'll see if I can help out with that other guy."

"Okay, let's try that," Blitz replied.

Azure rushed over to assist Sera and Frederick, while Blitz ran over to help out Chiaki. Blitz quickly made his fur shine brightly to stun the Hitmonchan long enough for Chiaki to hit him with a Drain Punch attack, allowing Chiaki to regain some energy by taking some of his opponents' strength. Blitz followed up with an electrified tackle.

Meanwhile, Azure was attempting to trip the Hitmonlee, while at the same time trying to avoid getting kicked away like a soccer ball. Sera used her Helping Hand move to power up her teammates' attacks. She wanted to try lowering the opponents' attacking strength with her Growl, but decided against it since she was worried doing so might be just enough to undo the effects of the Stun Seed on the Hitmontop.

Frederick took a moment to focus, making sure to fire his attacks in the direction of the Hitmonlee whenever he was certain that neither of his teammates were standing in the way of them.

"I think he's getting tired!" Chiaki commented, noticing that the Hitmonchan's attacks had slowed down a little.

"Don't let your guard down just yet!" Blitz responded, not taking his eyes off of the opponent.

By now, it seemed the Hitmonchan was focusing more on defense, blocking and dodging Blitz and Chiaki's attacks with ease. The Hitmonchan even seemed to be able to predict whenever Blitz would use Flash, closing his eyes whenever Blitz's fur began to shine.

"Wow, he's good…" Chiaki said, stopping for a moment to catch his breath. "If only I knew that attack that he used to break through my defense earlier…"

The Hitmonchan continued to block Blitz and Chiaki's attacks, until he was suddenly struck by a Frederick's Dragon Pulse attack. While caught off-guard, Blitz and Chiaki were both able to get another attack in.

"Thanks, Frederick!" Chiaki shouted to the Deino.

"No problem," Frederick responded, smiling. "I thought it sounded like you guys needed a little help."

Before the Hitmonchan could recover, Blitz, Chiaki and Frederick quickly used their combined power to finally take him down.

"All right, that's one down," Blitz said, letting out a sigh.

The Hitmonlee noticed that the Hitmonchan had been defeated, and quickly kicked Sera and Azure aside so he could make another attempt to reach the Hitmontop.

"Ah, Sera! Azure!" Chiaki called out, running over to his two female teammates. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine…" Azure responded, looking a bit annoyed as she got up.

Sera just let out a pained groan, seeming to have trouble getting back on her feet.

"Here, take this," Blitz said, giving Sera an Oran berry.

"T-Thanks…" Sera replied weakly, before eating the berry to regain some energy. "Whew… That's better."

"You need one, Azure?" Blitz asked.

"No, my Aqua Ring move has been gradually restoring my energy, so I'm good," Azure responded, gesturing to the glittery water-y veil around her body. "I'm running out of energy for some of my moves, though…"

"Ah, I think I have something in here…" Blitz replied, quickly looking through the items and pulling out a small bottle. "Here, use this."

"Thanks," Azure said, taking the bottle and drinking the elixir within. "All right, let's do this!"

In the meantime, Frederick was trying his best to slow down the Hitmonlee to keep him from reaching the Hitmontop. The Hitmonlee managed to dodge Frederick's long-ranged attacks with ease, but Frederick still succeeded in delaying him just a little. Sera and Chiaki managed to catch up to the Hitmonlee, with Blitz and Azure following a short distance behind.

Chiaki jumped in front of Sera to shield her as the Hitmonlee attempted to hit her with a Rolling Kick, blocking the attack with his paws. Before the Hitmonlee had the chance to do anything else, Azure hit him from behind with a powerful Hydro Pump attack. Blitz attempted to follow up with a Spark while the Hitmonlee was still soaked from being hit by the powerful stream of water, but the Hitmonlee moved aside before the attack could connect.

Sera was taking the opportunity to try to power up her teammates with another Helping Hand, increasing the strength of their attacks even more. From what Blitz could tell, the Hitmonlee was getting tired. Once they had dealt with him, they could finally deal with the Hitmontop, who seemed to just be waiting for them to attack him so he could return to the fight.

The Hitmonlee was doing his best to keep enduring the combined Bubble Beam and Dragon Pulse attacks from Azure and Frederick. Chiaki joined in a Swift attack, shooting a stream of stars at the Hitmonlee. Eventually, the Hitmonlee's ability to endure their attacks ran out, finally knocking him out.

"All right! Just one more to go!" Azure said, grinning.

Blitz approached the Hitmontop, who looked down at him with a smirk.

"Not bad," the Hitmontop said, seeming prepared to do something the moment the effects of the Stun Seed were undone. "However, you haven't won yet."

Blitz nodded his head, before running at the Hitmontop, hitting him with an electrified tackle.

"I was waiting for this!" the Hitmontop exclaimed upon being able to move again, wasting no time in returning to spinning around on his head at increasingly fast speeds, and this time he seemed to be moving even more aggressively.

Blitz was hit with three kicks with increasing strength in rapid succession before he could attempt to blind the Hitmontop with his glowing fur again. Sera let out a Growl to try to lower the Hitmontop's attack, before having to run as the Hitmontop came charging at her. However, Sera was unable to outrun the Hitmontop at the current speed he was moving at.

Azure and Frederick tried to hit with long-ranged attacks, only for the Hitmontop to come charging at them. Chiaki attempted to dodge or block his opponent's attack, but like the other two, the Hitmontop knew how to easily get past his defensive moves.

He had paid close attention to Blitz and his teammates while they fought the Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan, but with how aggressively he was moving now, Blitz was certain that the Hitmontop was bound to make a mistake at some point. While avoiding attacks, Blitz tried his best to keep an eye on the Hitmontop to find the opportunity he needed.

In the meantime, Chiaki happened to manage to dodge an attack from the Hitmontop by leaping up high into the air, letting the Hitmontop spin past under him before landing. This gave Chiaki an idea. As the Hitmontop chased after one of the others, Chiaki leapt into the air and managed to slam into the Hitmontop upon landing. Chiaki held on tightly to the Hitmontop as he tried to regain his balance. Azure didn't miss this opportunity to hit the Hitmontop with an Aqua Tail attack, while Blitz followed up with a tackle, knocking him further off-balance.

"Nng… Get off!" the Hitmontop snarled as he tried to shake off Chiaki while also trying to regain his balance.

Chiaki kept clinging to the Hitmontop, trying to think of something he could do from here. At least he and his teammates had managed to slow him down. Using his legs to help keep his grip on the Hitmontop, Chiaki used his Drain Punch to drain some of the Hitmontop's energy before finally letting go of him.

"Good work, Chiaki!" Sera said, smiling at Chiaki.

"Thanks," Chiaki responded, smiling back. "Wasn't sure if it'd work, but I guess I got lucky there."

The Hitmontop had fallen over, and was trying to get back up. He narrowly avoided one of Frederick's Dragon Breath attacks, but it was clear that the Hitmontop had been weakened from their attacks. The Hitmontop took a deep breath before lashing out with powerful punches and kicks.

"Not giving up yet, huh?" Azure said, rolling out of the path of one of the Hitmontop's attacks.

The Hitmontop managed to dodge a few more attacks, but couldn't dodge Chiaki's Swift, as the stars homed in on him. Finally, Blitz and Sera finished him off with their Spark and Quick Attack moves.

"… Is it over?" Frederick asked, panting.

"Yeah… I think so," Blitz responded, nodding his head.

"Whew… That was fun!" Azure said, grinning.

"Speak for yourself," Sera responded, looking over at Azure. "Fighting-type attacks aren't super effective against you, you know."

"We did it!" Chiaki said, raising his paw in the air. "We cleared the mission!"

With everything done, the group could finally head to the teleporter at the end and leave the training dungeon.


"Ah, you're back!" Hercules said as Blitz and his teammates reappeared in front of him and Lotus in a flash of light.

Blitz smiled and handed over the bag containing the three items they needed to retrieve for the mission. Lotus quickly looked over it and nodded in approval.

"Good job, all of you," Lotus said, smiling.

Hercules and Lotus returned the treasure bag, and Blitz carefully deposited the few remaining items they had left from exploring the training dungeon into the treasure bag before returning the bag they had borrowed for this mission.

"Well done defeating all of us!" the Hitmontop said as he, the Hitmonlee and the Hitmonchan suddenly teleported over. "I'm impressed with your quick thinking!"

"Oh, you guys already regained consciousness?" Azure asked, looking over at the three fighting types.

"One of the other workers was waiting to heal us once the battle was over," the Hitmonlee explained, standing there with his arms crossed.

"That Helping Hand move of yours really made your attacks pack a punch," the Hitmonchan commented, seeming to have something on his mind. "We could learn something from you."

"Well, we did all learn that attack back before we evolved," the Hitmontop said, shrugging with a sheepish smile. "But it's been so long since any of us used that move, that we kind of forgot how to do it."

"Perhaps we should ask Zap to give us a refresher on that move?" the Hitmonlee suggested, looking over at the other two. "That way, the next time somebody tries a Stun Seed on us, we can undo the effects without much trouble."

"Ugh… That sounds like it'd be even more exhausting," Sera said, her ears drooping down slightly.

"But you still managed to take down these tough opponents," Hercules said, smiling proudly at Blitz and his teammates. "You've all really come a long way."

"Thanks," Blitz responded, smiling back at Hercules. "I'm really glad I came here, to Fenix Town… I never would've imagined that I could ever feel this… confident."

"I'm happy to hear that," Hercules replied, petting Blitz's head. "I'm really proud of you, Blitz."

"We're proud of you, too," Azure said, grinning at Blitz. "You did a good job leading us through that dungeon."

"Yeah… Even when that Pachirisu attacked us out of nowhere," Frederick commented.

"Where did he even come from?" Sera asked.

"He must've snuck in when we were setting things up," Lotus responded, shrugging slightly. "But do not worry. We'll send someone over to take him away so he won't cause any more trouble for you guys."

"Or anyone else for that matter," Hercules added.

"That's good," Blitz said, smiling as he looked over at his teammates. "Anyways, I guess that's enough for today, so we'll be leaving now."

"Understood," Hercules responded. "Come back anytime, okay?"

"Yeah, we will," Blitz replied, nodding his head.

After saying their good-byes for now, Blitz and his teammates headed outside. Worn out from all the training, Sera decided to head home right away. Azure and Frederick went back to the café, and with not much else to do, Blitz and Chiaki decided to go home as well.


Elsewhere, a certain Aerodactyl was somewhat unsteadily flying around. As he landed to take a break, he glanced at his right wing. The injury was mostly healed by now, but like Giselle had told him, he probably wouldn't be able to pull off anything too risky.

"Guess I won't be able to participate in the flying competition…" Aeron said, letting out a sigh. "Oh well… There's always next year…"

Aeron looked up at the purple evening sky, just admiring the view as he suddenly spotted something in the distance.

"Hmm? Is that…?" Aeron said, taking to the air to get a better look.

As Aeron flew closer, he spotted another Pokémon flying in the direction of Fenix Town, a large blue dragon Pokémon with red wings. It spotted him as he flew closer, and seemed surprised to see him.

"Aeron! So, this is where you've been!" the Salamence called out, flying over to him.

"Angeline! Why are you here?" Aeron asked, both happy and surprised to see his friend.

"I'm on my way to Fenix Town," Angeline explained. "I have to deliver a message."

"A message?" Aeron inquired.

"Yeah, some stuff has happened back home, and we could use some assistance," Angeline responded, glancing over at Aeron's wing. "Hey, did something happen to your wing? You seem a bit unsteady."

"Ah, don't worry about that," Aeron replied, shaking his head. "What do you mean something's happened? Assistance with what?"

"Well, you see…" Angeline responded, as she began explaining to Aeron what had recently been discovered on Wyvern Island…


End of Chapter 56



Well-Known Member
Hey guys! I've finally finshed another chapter! At this point, I feel we're getting near the end of the story. Of course, there are still quite a bit of story left, and I don't know for sure how many chapters remain. However, I'm happy to have gotten this far, and I'm really looking forward to what comes after these next few chapters.

Also, for those who haven't seen it, I recently posted a one-shot focused on Sirena, one of Sera's older sisters, in "Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Reflecting Balance - Special Episodes", which as the title implies, I intend to eventually add more one-shots focusing on other members of the supporting cast in the future. Feel free to check it out!

Of course, I guess you're here because you want to see the next part of the main story, so let's get right to it! I hope you'll enjoy the chapter!


Chapter 57: I don't really think anyone really knows how floating islands work.


Another morning, and Blitz and Chiaki were heading into town as usual to prepare for any missions they would tackle today. However, as they reached the town plaza, they came across an unusual sight. A large crowd of Pokémon were gathered around something in the center of the plaza for some reason. Curious as to what was going on, the two went closer to try to find out what was happening.

"Blitz! Chiaki! Over here!" Sera called out, waving a paw.

Blitz and Chiaki quickly went over to Sera, who was standing there alongside Azure and Frederick.

"What's going on?" Chiaki asked, looking around.

"It's the seventh crystal!" Azure said, her ears twitching.

"The seventh crystal?" Blitz exclaimed, trying to get a look at what was happening. "Did Stella have another vision?"

"Not this time," Azure responded. "Apparently, somebody else found it."

"Really?" Chiaki asked, staring wide-eyed. "Where? Did they bring it here?"

"Um… I don't think so," Azure replied, her ears twitching as she tried to listen to the conversation between Stella and the dragon-like Pokémon. "Hey, by the way…"

Azure motioned for the group to move to a spot where they could get a better look at the Pokémon Stella was talking with.

"Is that who I think it is…?" Azure whispered, pointing towards the Aerodactyl.

"… Yeah, I think you're right," Blitz responded, squinting a bit as he managed to get a glimpse of the Aerodactyl's right wing.

"Whoa, it really is the same Aerodactyl we helped out that one time?" Sera exclaimed, her ears perking up.

"Aeron!" Chiaki said, smiling as he recognized the Aerodactyl.

While he had only met him once, Chiaki hadn't forgotten Aeron. After all, he was the first Pokémon that Chiaki had helped out alongside Blitz, Sera and Azure. Chiaki was happy to see the Aerodactyl again, and from what he could tell, his right wing had healed up nicely. Of course, he was curious about the news regarding the seventh crystal too. He hoped to get a full explanation of what was going on once Stella was done talking to Aeron and the blue dragon Pokémon that was with him.

"… Understood!" the Salamence said, nodding her head. "I'll tell them to gather there as soon as possible!"

"Very well," Stella responded, smiling. "When they are ready, Kala will send over the rescue teams that will assist you with this mission."

"Thank you so much!" the Salamence replied, smiling back. "All right, then! I'm off!"

Some of the Pokémon in the crowd moved out of the way to give the Salamence space as she began to walk away, before flapping her wings and taking off, flying away. With the meeting apparently over, the crowd began to disperse as rescue teams got together to discuss what had happened and Stella went off somewhere. Blitz and his teammates decided to go talk to Aeron, who had stayed behind.

"Hey, Aeron!" Azure said, grinning at the Aerodactyl. "Remember us?"

"Hmm?" Aeron responded, looking over at the group. "Oh, it's you guys!"

"It's nice to see you again!" Chiaki said, waving at Aeron.

"How is your wing?" Sera asked, looking up at Aeron's right wing.

"Well, Giselle's done a good job fixing it up," Aeron responded, looking over at the wing. "I can at least fly again now."

"That's good to hear," Sera replied, smiling at Aeron.

"So… What was that we heard about the seventh crystal?" Azure asked.

"Ah, well… Angeline told me that some strange things had been happening back home," Aeron explained.

"Angeline?" Chiaki inquired, glancing in the direction the Salamence flew off in. "Was that the dragon who flew off just now?"

"Yes," Aeron responded, nodding his head. "She's a pretty fast flier, so they sent her here to ask for help."

"Help with what?" Frederick asked.

"It's about the crystal, right?" Azure said impatiently. "Come on, just give us the details already!"

"Right… So, from what she told me, it all began with the discovery that the prizes that they were going to give out during our annual flying tournament had been stolen," Aeron explained.

"They were stolen?" Frederick asked. "Why would anyone do that?"

"Apparently, the thieves were a group of Pokémon consisting of the fliers who lost in the last few previous tournaments," Aeron responded. "Someone caught sight of one of them leaving with the prizes, and then someone decided to go after them… When they managed to track them down, they discovered that not only had they stolen the tournament awards, but they also had one of the Axis Tower crystals in their possession!"

"Whoa, they did?" Sera exclaimed, her ears perking up.

"I wonder how they got it?" Chiaki mused, tilting his head.

"I bet it's Erebos' fault," Azure commented.

"And then what happened?" Blitz asked, looking up at Aeron.

"Well, the one who followed them tried to take the crystal, but since they were outnumbered, they failed to get it," Aeron explained, sighing. "By the time they regained consciousness, the group had left with both the crystal, and the prizes."

"Do you know where they might've gone?" Blitz asked.

"We believe they probably headed towards the Sky-High Mountains," Aeron responded. "And that's why we need help from rescue teams."

"Because of the mystery dungeons, right?" Frederick asked.

"Yes, that's right," Aeron replied, nodding his head. "The mystery dungeons there contain some really tough Pokémon, so we need help from rescue teams in order to deal with this situation."

"You don't have enough strong Pokémon of your own?" Azure asked. "I mean, dragon Pokémon often have to be pretty strong in order to evolve, right?"

"Even if they are strong, that doesn't necessarily mean they have the experience needed to explore mystery dungeons," Blitz pointed out.

"Exactly," Aeron responded. "There are a few who have trained to handle the mystery dungeons, but aside from them, we do rely on rescue teams from Fenix Town to handle the missions that come up."

"If I remember right, there's a place somewhere that helps transport rescue teams to Wyvern Island, right?" Frederick asked, tilting his head.

"Yes, that is correct," Aeron replied, nodding his head once more. "Although it seems they're currently closed because of distortions, which is why Angeline will be bringing over some Pokémon to a location near there that hasn't been as heavily affected by distortion yet, and Kala will teleport the rescue teams that agree to help to that location."

"So, Kala can't just teleport us directly to the island?" Chiaki asked.

"Wyvern Island must be out of Kala's teleportation range," Blitz said. "I'm guessing she normally just teleports rescue teams to that place Aeron just mentioned if they happen to have any missions there."

"Oh, I see," Chiaki responded.

"If you guys want to come along, you have some time to prepare before Angeline gets back from the island," Aeron said, smiling at Blitz and his teammates.

"All right!" Azure responded, smiling back at Aeron before turning to her teammates. "We're going, right?"

"Oh, um… Sure," Blitz replied, nodding his head slightly.

"We've helped find six of the crystals so far, so why stop there?" Sera commented, wagging her tail.

"I'd like to see what Wyvern Island is like!" Chiaki said, smiling. "I mean, it's an island floating in the sky, right? How does it do that?"

"I think I remember my parents telling me that Rayquaza was once said to live on Wyvern Island…" Frederick responded, turning his head in Chiaki's direction.

"Ah, you're also from Wyvern Island, little one?" Aeron asked, looking over at Frederick.

"No, not me," Frederick replied, shaking his head. "My parents used to live there at some point, though. And then they decided to move here. I don't know all the details."

"Oh, I see," Aeron responded, nodding his head.

"Rayquaza… That's a legendary Pokémon, right?" Chiaki asked.

"That's right," Sera responded, nodding her head.

"Is Rayquaza's power what made the island float?" Azure asked, looking over at Frederick.

"Um… I don't really know," Frederick replied, tilting his head. "But I've heard there's a tower made of clouds in the sky somewhere far away from here, that is also connected to Rayquaza…"

"Whoa…" Chiaki responded.

Chiaki tried to imagine what a tower made of clouds would be like. What would a cloud feel like, anyways? Clouds… they were made of water, weren't they? Would his paws get wet if he stepped on one?

"So… then does Rayquaza make those places float, or does he just happen to like living in places that are already floating?" Azure asked.

"Like I said, I don't know," Frederick replied, shaking his head.

"It's okay," Aeron said, letting out a chuckle. "I don't really think anyone really knows how floating islands work."

"Fair enough," Azure responded, clapping her paws together. "Well, we've been standing around and talking for a while, haven't we? Why don't we get started on our preparations for our next big mission?"

"All right, all right," Blitz said, gesturing with his paw for Azure to calm down. "Let's get started."

"Yes!" Azure exclaimed, grinning.

Blitz and his teammates made their way over to shops and warehouse to begin sorting out what items they would bring with them. The shop was already out of Reviver Seeds because of the other rescue teams making preparations of their own, but Blitz was at the very least able to pick up a couple more Oran berries and Heal Seeds.

Unbeknownst to the various rescue teams making their preparations, a certain Elgyem was quietly observing them from a hiding spot.

"Soon…" Elina thought to herself as she watched the rescue teams that were getting ready to head to Wyvern Island. "… It'll be over very soon."

Elina let out a silent sigh, as she leaned against a wall.

"I need to prepare myself too…" Elina thought to herself as she briefly glanced over in the direction of Chiaki and his teammates.


In a cave somewhere in the Sky-High Mountains, a group of four Pokémon were admiring the shiny prizes they had taken for themselves. A large orange dragon-like Pokémon with a flame burning on the tip of his tail was smiling fondly as he looked over a medal. Another large Pokémon, a mostly blue and black three-headed dragon, was snacking on a pile of berries while looking over their treasures. A large green dragonfly-like Pokémon was excitedly hovering nearby, while a red eagle-like Pokémon was keeping his gaze focused on a particular dark pink crystal.

"Ah, so many shiny things! I love it!" the Yanmega said, continuing to happily hover around the items.

"Yes, shiny…" the Charizard said, holding the medal up against his cheek. "It's all ours…"

"But… others will try to take them away, right?" the Hydreigon pointed out, while wiping some berry juice off his mouth with one of the two smaller heads at the ends of his arms.

"Indeed," the Braviary responded, his gaze still fixated on the pink crystal. "We can't let them take away our treasures."

"We'll beat them up right?" the Yanmega asked, continuing to flit around. "I'll beat them so fast they won't know what hit them!"

"Yes, we'll defend our treasures!" the Charizard said, holding onto the medal tightly.

"No matter how many of them I have to fight, I'll beat them down with all my might!" the Hydreigon boasted, punching the air a few times.

"Good to see you're all determined," the Braviary said, looking over at the other three Pokémon. "However, sheer strength alone won't be enough. I hope you're all aware of that."

"Of course!" the Yanmega responded. "We've got to use our heads, right? Right?"

The Braviary simply nodded his head in response. It seemed like the other three Pokémon considered him the unofficial leader of their group, since he had been the one who came up with the plan for how they would finally obtain the treasures they had been after for so long. Of course, because of their methods, it would only be matter of time before those other flying Pokémon showed up to try to take them back. The Braviary looked at the dark pink crystal once more. It wasn't one of the prices that would've been given out after the flying tournament, but he knew that someone would try to take that away from them as well.

He stepped over to the entrance of the cave and peeked outside. So far, there were no signs of anyone trying to reach their new hideout. It was possible that the Pokémon in the village simply hadn't figured out where they had gone, but the Braviary couldn't shake the feeling that they probably already had. That they were planning something.

The Braviary took a deep breath to try to calm himself. It didn't matter how difficult the battle ahead would be. He wouldn't let anyone take away their treasures.


Back in Fenix Town, Blitz and his teammates had finished their preparations. Blitz and Chiaki were waiting for Sera, Azure and Frederick to return to the plaza, as the three of them had gone to inform their parents of the mission they were going on, since it would likely take them more than a day at this point to complete it. Chiaki looked over at the other rescue teams that were also planning on heading to Wyvern Island. Both Sting and Mirage's rescue teams were going, as was another rescue team Chiaki had seen around town sometimes.

It was a rescue team led by a bipedal Pokémon with dark fur, sharp white claws and a red crown-like crest of feathers on his head. He also had two thinner feathers on his ears, and two tail feathers. The Weavile grinned as he talked to his two teammates.

One of them was a flying squirrel-like Pokémon with white fur, yellow patches on her cheeks and a black tail that somewhat resembled a lightning bolt. The other was a green Pokémon with two rose bouquets for hands, one red and one blue. She appeared to have white hair, but a closer look revealed the "hair" on her head to actually be white rose petals. The Emolga seemed quite excited about the upcoming mission, while the Roserade seemed calm.

Chiaki couldn't quite hear what they were talking about, but maybe he'd get a chance to get to know them better during the mission? His attention was suddenly drawn to Mirage and her teammates as he overheard a conversation between the three of them.

"The mushroom does not want to go to that island," Cordyceps complained, as he looked up at Mirage. "The mushroom will not last long in battles against flying types."

"I know, Cordy," Mirage responded, glancing over at the other rescue teams. "But it seems the other teams going also have at least one member who is weak to flying, so at least you're not alone!"

"That does not make the mushroom feel better," Cordyceps replied.

"Well… Just try to stay out of battle, then," Megara suggested, shrugging slightly. "If some big flying type tries to attack you, just… hit them with a cloud of spores, or something."

While Cordyceps seemed to consider Megara's suggestion, Chiaki noticed Azure walking back towards him and Blitz.

"All right, I talked to my mom," Azure said. "I feel kind of bad for leaving her with some extra work to do at the café, even if it's just for tonight, but she said it'd be fine."

"That's good to hear," Chiaki responded, smiling at Azure.

It didn't take long before Sera and Frederick returned to the plaza as well. As Chiaki waved to them, he spotted Regina the Servine and Calder the Wartortle carrying the still-sleeping Kala into the plaza towards the other three rescue teams planning to go to the island.

"Ah, I guess it's time for them to head to the meeting spot," Azure commented, looking over at her teammates. "Should we go too?"

"That won't be necessary," Aeron said with a confident smile. "Just get on my back, and I'll take you there!"

"Whoa, really?" Azure asked, grinning.

"Are you really sure you can carry us to Wyvern Island?" Blitz asked, looking up at Aeron's wing.

"Don't worry, I can handle it," Aeron responded. "I might be a little unsteady, but just hold on tight and it'll be fine. Besides, I want to repay you guys for saving me."

"Well… Okay, then. If you're absolutely sure," Blitz replied.

Blitz and Sera climbed onto Aeron's back, with Chiaki and Azure helping Frederick climb on before getting up on his back themselves. A short distance away, they saw Kala teleport the other three rescue teams over to whatever location Angeline had told Stella to send them to, before teleporting herself and her pillow away, presumably back to her room in the HQ. Blitz and his teammates held on tightly as Aeron began to ascend, going higher and higher into the sky. Chiaki was amazed at how much smaller Fenix Town seemed from above.

Aeron was still a little unsteady, but he was still certain that he'd be able to get his passengers to Wyvern Island without too much trouble.


Some time passed as Aeron carried his passengers towards their destination. Chiaki continued to admire the view from above, trying to see if he could spot any locations he and his friends had visited during their adventures. It was difficult to tell if any of the locations they could see from above was specifically one of those places, though.

"You still doing okay, Aeron?" Sera asked.

"Yeah, don't worry!" Aeron responded. "We're almost there!"

Looking over in the direction they were headed, Blitz could just barely make out something else floating in the distance.

"Is that it?" Blitz asked, squinting his eyes.

"It is!" Aeron responded, nodding his head.

At last, Wyvern Island was starting to come into view.

"Wow… It really is floating!" Chiaki exclaimed, staring in awe at the island as they got closer and closer.

"It really is amazing…" Sera commented, also looking at the floating island in awe. "I mean, we've all heard about it, but actually seeing it…"

"I know, right?" Azure said, grinning. "I can't wait to explore this place!"

After some more minutes passed, Aeron landed on a beach, where Angeline was waiting. Judging from the various paw and foot prints in the sand, Angeline and the other two fliers had already dropped off their passengers and gone off somewhere.

"Ah, Aeron, you did make it," Angeline said, as she noticed the Aerodactyl.

"What, were you doubting me?" Aeron responded, panting a bit.

"You okay, Aeron?" Blitz asked, as he and his teammates climbed off of Aeron's back. "You seem a bit out of breath."

"Yeah, I'm fine," Aeron responded. "No need to worry."

"So, where do we go from here?" Azure asked, looking around.

"There's a village not too far from here," Aeron explained. "We'll show you the way there."

"I see," Blitz responded, nodding his head. "I'm guessing that's where we'll be planning out the details of the mission?"

"Yes, that's right," Angeline replied, walking over to the group. "Gale Wing Village is this way. The others have already gone on ahead, so we should hurry."

The rescue teams followed the two large flying type Pokémon as they began leading them down a path surrounded by green vegetation. Looking around at their surroundings as they walked, Chiaki was getting excited about seeing what Gale Wing Village was like. Was it anything like Fenix Town? What kind of Pokémon would they meet there?

He couldn't wait to find out!


End of Chapter 57



Well-Known Member
Hi everyone! My, it is nearly the end of the year! And guess what? I have a new chapter ready for you!

Yes, my New Years Resolution for 2019 was to post at least three chapters of Reflecting Balance this year, and while I had technically fullfilled that goal if you count the Special Episode, I wanted to get at least one more chapter of the main story in before 2020.

So, what will my goal for 2020 be? Well, without revealing too much, there's a certain point in the story I've been looking forward to reach. I'm pretty sure I'll get there soon, so my initial goal will be to reach that chapter. I hope you'll all look forward to it!

For now, here's chapter 58 of Reflecting Balance! I hope you all enjoy it! Feel free to leave your thoughts on it! And Happy New Year!


Chapter 58: Just stay calm and remember that you're awesome!


Chiaki continued to look around at the vegetation in the area as he and his teammates followed Aeron and Angeline to Gale Wing Village. Glancing at his teammates, it seemed Sera and Azure were also checking out their surroundings, while Frederick seemed to like the scent of the plants around them. Blitz on the other hand just seemed to be focused on reaching the village, keeping his gaze on what was ahead of them as they followed behind Aeron and Angeline.

Perhaps he was preoccupied thinking about the mission ahead of them. Blitz was the leader of their team, after all.

"All right, we're here," Angeline said, as they stepped into the village.

Looking around at the village, there were quite a few dragon type and flying type Pokémon about. There were several large houses that seemed to be built in ways to evoke caves, made for the dragon type Pokémon living in the village. Looking up at the trees, Chiaki saw that there were also several smaller tree houses, where bird-like Pokémon lived. Any other houses with different designs were likely made for Pokémon of other types.

In addition to the houses, there were also a few shops set up, although there wasn't as many shops as in Fenix Town's shopping district. It was probably because the shops in the town plaza mainly served rescue teams, and there weren't any official rescue teams here on Wyvern Island, according to what Aeron had told them.

There was a long-necked dinosaur-like Pokémon running an item shop, which seemed to have an especially large selection of berries. The shopkeeper had large leafy wings on its back, and seemed to have fruit growing out of their chin. The Tropius greeted their customers with a friendly smile, while Blitz and his teammates continued following Aeron and Angeline to where the other rescue teams were.


A short distance away from all the buildings, were the other three rescue teams and a few of the local Pokémon. As they walked closer, one of the Pokémon, a female Garchomp, turned to look at the newcomers. As he looked up at the bipedal dragon-type Pokémon, Blitz noticed that there was a slight glint to her scales.

"Ah, there you are, Angeline," the Garchomp said, looking a little annoyed.

"Sorry to keep you waiting, Indigo," Angeline responded. "I had to wait for Aeron to bring the last rescue team over."

The Garchomp nodded her head slightly before walking over to take a closer look at Blitz and his teammates. In the meantime, Chiaki looked over at the other Pokémon gathered, and noticed that there were also a chubby orange dragon and a blue bird-like Pokémon with the most of her body covered in fluffy white weathers present.

"Hmm… Yeah, they seem strong enough," Indigo commented with a slight smirk. "All right, let's get back to business."

Everyone listened as Indigo gave a quick explanation of what kind of Pokémon they could expect to run into while exploring the jungle. The plan was to get through the jungle, then spend the night near the entrance to the mystery dungeon of the Sky-High Mountains, then begin climbing the floors of the dungeon in the morning. She also recommended that the teams gather apples and berries that they could prepare for dinner once all of them had gotten through the jungle dungeon. Each of the teams would be joined by one of the four dragon Pokémon.

"… Why do you keep looking at me like that?" Indigo asked Blitz as she looked over the teams, trying to decide which one to pick.

"Ah, sorry, I didn't mean to stare…" Blitz responded, looking away for a moment. "It's just… you're a shiny Pokémon, right?"

"… You can tell?" Indigo replied.

"Well, yes," Blitz responded, nodding his head. "While it is a bit hard to tell, your scales do have a more grayish tint than that of most Garchomp. Plus, there's that slight glint to them."

"Wow… You have pretty good eyes!" Indigo replied, grinning. "All right, I've made up my mind. I'm going with you guys!"

"Huh? Just for that?" Blitz responded incredulously.

In the meantime, the other dragons were choosing which team they would accompany, while Angeline talked to Aeron.

"I kind of wish I could've helped out too," Aeron said, glancing at his wing. "But I guess it is best for me to avoid fighting for now."

"Agreed." Angeline responded. "Just take it easy and don't worry about us."

Once everyone had decided on which of the dragons would be accompanying which team, it was about time to finally begin the mission. Angeline would be accompanying Mirage's team, the Altaria had decided to go with Sting's team and the Dragonite would be going with the Weavile's team.

"Good luck, everyone!" Aeron said, waving his good wing.

"Aw, thanks Aeron!" the Dragonite responded, waving back at Aeron.

"Ha, I don't need luck," Indigo said with a confident smirk. "But thanks anyways."

At last, Blitz, his teammates and Indigo entered the mystery dungeon. Indigo took the lead, confidently strutting down one of the paths of the first floor of the labyrinth.

"This is the first time all five of us are on a mission together," Chiaki commented, glancing around at his teammates.

"Well, yeah," Azure responded. "The usual limit of four Pokémon for regular missions means we don't get a lot of chances to go on missions all together."

"So, because this isn't a regular mission, it's okay?" Frederick asked, tilting his head slightly.

"I guess so," Sera responded. "I mean, when we went to Nightmirror Forest and Mt. Frostbite, we had Lodestone and Wynn come along with us even though there were already four of us, so I don't think it matters that much in situations like these."

"Makes sense to me," Azure replied, shrugging slightly.

The group continued heading further into the dungeon, with Indigo making good use of the shark-like fins on her arms in the battles against wild Pokémon. Indigo seemed quite eager to put her battling skills to use, to the point where Blitz and his teammates nearly missed their opportunity to assist in the first few fights. As they made it further into the dungeon and got into more fights with more than one wild Pokémon at a time, Blitz and his teammates were able to get more hits in.

"Ooh, nice hit!" Indigo commented as Frederick got a critical hit on a Vileplume with his Dragon Pulse attack.

"… Was she talking to me just now?" Frederick whispered to Azure.

"Yep, she was," Azure replied.

"Cool," Frederick responded, nodding his head slightly.

"Trying to make a good impression on the other dragons?" Azure asked, smirking.

"Well… I certainly wouldn't want to make a bad expression on them," Frederick responded.

"Heh, you don't have to worry about that, buddy," Azure replied. "You're doing just fine. Just stay calm and remember that you're awesome!"

"Thanks, Azure," Frederick responded, smiling.

The group continued moving forward, fighting off wild Pokémon and making sure to pick up some rare berries along the way.

"I wonder how the other rescue teams are doing?" Chiaki wondered out loud.


On another floor of the dungeon, Sting and his teammates were exploring the jungle while listening to the Altaria cheerfully singing a song she had written herself. Melody was just listening intently, while Frosty and Sting seemed a bit unsure what to make of some of the lyrics.

"… What is this song supposed to be about?" Frosty whispered to his teammates.

"… Perhaps it's up for interpretation?" Sting responded.

After about another minute, the Altaria finished her song.

"So, what did you think?" the Altaria asked, after first taking a moment to catch her breath.

"It was amazing!" Melody responded, smiling. "You have real talent! Right, guys?"

"Ah, yes," Sting replied, nodding his head. "It had a nice tune."

"Yeah! You have a really great voice!" Frosty commented.

"Ah, thank you!" the Altaria responded, blushing slightly. "It is always nice to meet other music lovers! I figured that with a name like 'Melody', you'd probably be willing to hear my songs!"

"Is that the reason she picked our team?" Frosty whispered to Sting.

"Well, of course!" Melody said, looking at the Altaria. "Your songs are lovely!"

"I'm glad you like them!" the Altaria responded. "Would you like to hear more?"

"Um, you might want to hold off on that," Frosty said, pointing to some wild Pokémon just ahead.

"Oh, good point," the Altaria replied. "I'll let you hear more later!"

Together, the four of them fought against the wild Pokémon, the Altaria mainly attacking with quick pecking attacks and Dragon Pulses fired from her beak. Whenever the Altaria had to make quick and sudden movements to avoid her opponent's attacks, Sting and his teammates could hear muffled sounds of metal objects clanging together. Once all the wild Pokémon in the area had been taken care of, the group continued moving forward.

"… Are you carrying a bunch of stuff inside those feathers?" Frosty asked, gesturing towards the fluffy white feathers covering most of the Altaria's body

"Oh, yes I am!" the Altaria responded, nodding her head. "Since we'll be spending the night near the entrance to the Sky-High Mountains mystery dungeon, I figured it was best to bring some extra supplies!"

"Makes sense," Frosty replied. "Why carry it in your feathers, though? I mean, that sounds like it'd kind of uncomfortable."

"Not if you know how to pack your things efficiently!" the Altaria responded cheerfully.

"Huh… If you say so," Frosty replied, shrugging slightly.


In another part of the dungeon, Angeline and Mirage's team were trying to get through the floors as quickly as possible, while still taking the time to gather up all the money and items they could find.

"… Hey, Mirage?" Megara said, looking over at the Zoroark. "You seem a little lost in thought. Something the matter?"

"Huh? Oh, sorry about that," Mirage responded. "It's just that… you know, distortions have been getting worse in a lot of areas, including where I used to live…"

"Oh, right," Megara replied. "You're worried about your family?"

"Yeah…" Mirage responded, nodding her head slightly. "I haven't heard from them in a while, so I hope they're all right…"

"I'm sure they're fine," Megara replied. "Maybe they've just been busy re-locating to a different part of the forest, or someplace else that isn't as affected by the distortions, or something."

"Hmm… That might be it…" Mirage said, tilting her head slightly. "In that case, I hope they've found a place to stay…"

"Speaking of distortion, the mushroom hasn't noticed any in this place so far," Cordyceps commented.

"Well, as far as we can tell, the island hasn't been affected yet," Angeline explained, looking over at the rescue team.

"Oh, really?" Megara responded, looking over at Angeline. "Is it because it's so far up in the sky?"

"I don't know," Angeline replied, shaking her head.

When the group battled against wild Pokémon during their exploration, Angeline took down her opponents with many different attacks of various types. Most of these attacks were physical attacks making use of her fangs, claws and wings, but when up against opponents with certain abilities, she would also unleash breath-based special attacks.

"You sure don't mess around, huh?" Megara commented, seeming impressed with Angeline's strength. "Where'd you learn all those moves?"

"Well, most of them I just learned naturally," Angeline responded. "Upon fully evolving, there are a lot of moves us Salamence can learn, even without the use of TMs and stuff."

"Cool," Megara replied, nodding her head.


The Weavile's rescue team were also making their way through the floors of the dungeon, the Dragonite accompanying them seeming more interested in gathering up all the berries and other food items they came across than fighting wild Pokémon. Of course, being one of the Pokémon trained to be able to handle the mystery dungeons of Wyvern Island, the Dragonite was still a really good fighter when he wasn't distracted by nearby food items laying on the ground or hanging from nearby trees.

"Wow, you don't usually see berries like this in mystery dungeons!" the Emolga commented as she picked up and examined a red berry. "This is a Haban berry, right?"

"Yes, it is!" the Dragonite responded, nodding his head. "If you hold onto it, it lowers the damage from dragon-type attacks."

"Sounds like it'd be pretty useful around these parts!" the Emolga replied, grinning.

"It sure is!" the Dragonite responded, smiling back. "Berries are amazing."

The Weavile let out a sigh, while the Roserade seemed amused by the interactions between the Dragonite and the Emolga.

"Looks like Liz has made a new friend," the Roserade commented, chuckling a little.

"Yeah, yeah…" the Weavile responded.

"My, are you in a bad mood?" the Roserade asked teasingly. "Is this mission not as exciting as you thought it'd be? Or is the tropical environment just too warm for your liking?"

"I'm fine, Rosie," the Weavile responded. "I suppose it'd be nice if we could move a little faster, though…"

He glanced over at Liz and the Dragonite, who seemed to be having a fun conversation.

"I know that escort missions have never been your thing," Rosie commented. "Ah, well, I guess this isn't quite like one of those missions, though."

"The dragon's a pretty good fighter with some strong moves, I'll give him that," the Weavile responded. "But how does he get anything done at this pace, assuming this is how he does every mission he goes on?"

"You know, it's not a bad thing to take your time, take in the surroundings," Rosie said, looking around. "I mean, look at this place! Isn't it quite lovely?"

"I guess so," the Weavile responded, quickly glancing around. "There's… a lot of plants and stuff."

"Ah, you're hopeless," Rosie replied, shaking her head.

The group continued moving forward, the Weavile hoping they'd be able to pick up the pace soon, or at the very least that they'd find some more wild Pokémon to fight.


Blitz and his teammates continued to explore the jungle along with Indigo. As they continued moving further in, the opponents they faced gradually got stronger and stronger. Even with Indigo's assistance, they proved to be quite the challenge.

"How many floors is this dungeon?" Sera asked, glancing around. "We've been walking for a while now…"

"Don't worry, fluffy one!" Indigo responded, grinning. "If you've made it this far, you can handle the rest of the dungeon!"

"… That doesn't answer my question," Sera replied.

"Whew, the wild Pokémon on this floor are really tough…" Frederick commented, panting a bit.

"The stronger they are, the more satisfying it is to defeat them!" Indigo replied.

"Yeah!" Azure said, beaming. "Hey, are the wild Pokémon in the Sky-High Mountains mystery dungeon just as strong?"

"You bet!" Indigo responded, glancing over at Azure with a smile. "I can guarantee you won't be disappointed!"

"Ooh, I can't wait!" Azure replied.

"… Those two seem to be on the same wave-length," Chiaki commented.

"Maybe it's because they're both named after colors?" Sera whispered back.

"Haha! Don't be silly, you two!" Azure said, giggling a little.

Blitz hoped they could get through the last few floors without having to use up any of the Reviver Seeds they had brought along. After all, if the Pokémon they would fight tomorrow while climbing the Sky-High Mountains mystery dungeon were as strong or even stronger than the ones here, then it'd be best to have as many Reviver Seeds as possible, just in case.

"We're running low on Oran berries…" Blitz said, checking on the items.

"Huh? Already?" Sera responded. "I didn't think we had used that many…"

"Yeah… I guess it's easy to lose track of that in the heat of battle…" Blitz said.

"Don't worry, I'm sure we'll be fine!" Chiaki said, smiling. "Maybe we can find some more Oran berries around here, or maybe one of the other rescue teams will have some extra that they can share with us."

"Yeah, maybe," Sera responded, nodding her head slightly.

Moving through a few more floors, the group continued to gather more items while trying to avoid getting into more battles than necessary.

"… All right, this is the last floor!" Indigo announced as the group headed up another set of stairs. "Once we've gotten through here, it'll only be a short walk to the entrance of the mystery dungeon of Sky-High Mountains."

"Okay," Blitz responded, nodding his head. "Let's keep moving!"

"I wonder if the other rescue teams already reached the end?" Chiaki wondered out loud.

"We'll know when we get there," Azure responded, shrugging slightly. "I'm kind of surprised we didn't run into at least one of the other teams on the way."

"I'm looking forward to dinner…" Frederick said, licking his lips. "Delicious berries…"

The group picked up the pace a bit, knowing they were now close to reaching their destination. All they had to do was find the stairs. They kept searching for a few more minutes, at one point having to turn around and take a different path when they come across a particularly hard-to-wake Snorlax that was blocking their path forward. Eventually, they finally found what they were looking for.

"Ah, there it is!" Blitz said, as they finally located the room with the stairs.

"Huh, that easily?" Azure commented, glancing around. "I was half-expecting there'd be a really powerful wild Pokémon or something in the way that we'd have to fight…"

"Well, I'm sure there'll be plenty of Pokémon for us to fight tomorrow," Sera said. "For now, let's just get out of here."

Heading up the stairs, the team finally exited the dungeon. Upon arriving at their destination, they discovered that Sting and Mirage's rescue teams were already there.

"… How did you fit this in your feathers?" Frosty asked, as he helped pull some of the cooking gear out from the Altaria's fluffy feathers.

"I told you, it's all about knowing how to pack your things efficiently!" the Altaria responded.

"Oh, hey, Blitz and his team are here," Megara commented, waving at the group.

"Hi Megara!" Chiaki said, waving back. "Hi everyone!"

"Glad to see you guys made it," Angeline said, looking around. "Now we just need to wait for Wilbur and the last rescue team to get here."

"Well, I'm sure they'll be here soon," Indigo responded. "In the meantime, should we start preparing dinner?"

"All right, let's see what we've got!" Azure said, walking over to check what ingredients the various teams had gathered and what cooking gear the Altaria had brought.

While Azure and a few of the other Pokémon began discussing what they would make and set everything up, the Weavile and his teammates finally arrived.

"Ah, looks like we're the last ones to arrive," Liz commented, looking around.

"Sorry we're late!" the Weavile said. "We ran into a Monster House on the way, and it took some time to get through that."

"You were the one who insisted on fighting all of the Pokémon," Rosie pointed out with a smirk.

"Hey, why let the potential battle experience go to waste?" the Weavile responded, shrugging slightly.

"Oh, hey everyone!" Wilbur the Dragonite said, walking over to the other dragons while holding a large handful of berries. "Look at all these berries we found!"

"Good work, Wilbur!" Indigo responded. "Bring them over there."


With Azure taking the lead and assigning tasks to the Pokémon helping with the cooking, it didn't take long before dinner was underway.

"Azure sure is fired up," Sera commented.

"I guess she's putting her experience from helping out at the café to good use," Blitz said.

While waiting for the Pokémon preparing dinner, the Emolga from the Weavile's rescue team approached Chiaki and the others.

"Hi there!" Liz said, waving at the group. "I've seen you guys around, but I don't think we've ever actually spoken. I'm Liz!"

"Nice to meet you!" Chiaki responded, smiling at the Emolga. "I'm Chiaki!"

The two Pokémon began to ask each other about their respective teams, discussing adventures they had been on and talking about their teammates.

"Oh, looks like Liz had made yet another friend today," Rosie commented. "Hello there, little ones. You're that rescue team that's helped retrieve each of the crystals so far, aren't you?"

"Uh, yes, that's us," Blitz responded, nodding his head.

"How exciting!" Rosie said, smiling.

"What are you guys doing over here?" the Weavile asked, walking over.

"Ah, you're finished cutting up the berries?" Rosie responded.

"Pretty much," the Weavile replied, licking some berry juice off of his claws before looking over at Blitz and his teammates. "I'm Yukio, by the way."

The two rescue teams talked amongst themselves for a bit, while Azure continued to lead the dinner preparations.

"Ooh, they smell good," Wilbur commented, holding the pan containing the roasted berries. "Are they done now?"

"Hmm… Yeah, that looks good," Azure responded, grinning. "Good work, everyone!"

The rescue teams and the dragons would spend the rest of the evening enjoying their dinner, talking about different things and discussing the plan for tomorrow. Eventually, it was time to get some sleep. The Altaria found a nearby tree to perch on, while the other three dragons each found a spot on the ground a bit away from the others.

"Hmm… Maybe this will do?" Rosie commented as she examined a grassy spot.

"Trying to find a spot where you'll get plenty of sun in the morning?" Liz asked.

"Yes, exactly," Rosie responded, smiling. "There's nothing like waking up to the warm light of the sun."

"Eh, speak for yourself," Yukio said, looking around. "I'll just find a spot in the shade, somewhere a bit cooler."

While Rosie and Yukio looked for good spots to sleep on the ground, Liz decided to find a tree to sleep in.

"… And in addition to the cold, it is really hard to sleep comfortably with your icicle beard poking at my body," Melody said to Frosty as she explained why she didn't want him to use her as a pillow.

"Fair enough," Frosty responded, nodding his head.

Megara tried to find a spot to sleep where she wouldn't accidentally set anything on fire in her sleep, with her two teammates making sure there was a bit of distance between them and her.

"Well, I guess it's time to get some sleep," Azure said, leaning against Frederick. "I hope nobody here snores."

Blitz looked surprised when Sera decided to lay down right next to him, snuggling up against him.

"… You don't mind, do you?" Sera asked, noticing Blitz's expression.

"Uh… No, it's fine," Blitz responded, blinking a few times. "As long as you're comfortable."

As the various Pokémon gradually fell asleep, Chiaki looked up at the night sky. Even on this island floating in the sky, the stars seemed as far away as always. Chiaki glanced over at the entrance to the mystery dungeon. Tomorrow, they would all be heading up the mountain through that dungeon to find the thieves that had stolen the prices for the flying tournament. And then they would retrieve the Axis Tower crystal that was currently in their possession.

Chiaki moved a little closer to Blitz and Sera, hoping that Sera wouldn't mind if he used her tail as a pillow. He looked at the two of them, and couldn't help but think about how cute the two of them looked sleeping next to each other like this. Chiaki let out a yawn and laid down, resting his head on Sera's fluffy tail.

"Good night," Chiaki whispered, before closing his eyes and trying to sleep.


End of Chapter 58