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Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Seekers of Legends [PG-13]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by icebolt, May 7, 2013.

  1. icebolt

    icebolt Aerial Ace

    Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Seekers of Legends

    Ignore the [PG-13], will you? I put it there because some other people did and then realized I might not need it. And I can't seem to change it. This fic isn't rated PG13. At least, not yet. It'll depend on how I write the... darker... chapters.
    Welp, here we go. I'm an amateur writer and I've been wanting to write a PMD fic for some time. Then I finally got around to doing it.
    Please tell me what you think. Don't be afraid to criticize harshly - I know I'm not very good and want to improve. Thank you very much if you do! The thing I'm most concerned about is probably description, which I suck at.

    This is also posted on my fanfiction.net account, the link to which you'll find in my signature, though there really isn't any point in clicking it because this is the only thing I've written.

    EDIT: I added a prologue. I had it planned, and then entirely forgot about it.
    EDIT OF EDIT: The prologue got changed a bit because I realized I had something I didn't want in there.


    (on this page)
    Chapter One - The Pokemon World
    Chapter Two - The First Misadventure
    Chapter Three - Rumours
    Chapter Four - Spies

    Prologue

    At the edge of a polluted pond stood a strange creature, resembling both a feline and a canine. Her red eyes darted back to the scenery behind her – a large coniferous forest, sheltered by neighbouring mountains. The forest was a shadow of its former self, a corrupted shadow filled with twisted, blackened trees where there had once been magnificent pines that stretched so far into the sky that their tops seemed to touch the clouds.

    She focused her attention back onto the pond. Stretching forward a blue paw, she willed all her power to gather into the limb. She submerged the paw in the water, holding her breath as a wave of blue energy spread over it, turning the surface into a glowing disk of light.

    A disk of light that flickered twice and died down again, leaving the contaminated pond exactly what it had been. The Pokémon stared dejectedly at the water for a few moments.

    "Why?" she said bitterly to herself. "Everything has been going wrong..."

    "Oh?"

    The Pokémon whirled around to the direction that the voice had come from. She could not find the source – the voice seemed to emanate from the earth itself. Its single word echoed around the valley.\

    "I see... you and your friends are in quite a bit of trouble."

    "What is it to you?" she snarled. "Who are you, even?"

    "I can help you, you know… Just listen to what I'm about to say."

    Chapter One: The Pokémon World

    A little Zigzagoon bounded through the morning air, his fur fluffed up against the cold. An empty basket was slung around his neck. He reared up on his hind legs and looked around at the various berry bushes that grew here, nestled in the bend of the stream. Unable to spot a single bush that wasn't wilted and empty, he heaved a sigh.

    "Huh…" he murmured, glancing at his empty basket. "I've come all the way out here, and there still isn't any food… The land here's dead, too. It must be late spring now…"

    "But… why… are all the plants wilted? Why aren't the berries growing?" he asked the grey sky above him.

    Nothing answered him; the only sounds were the soft rustle of dead leaves and branches in the wind and the slow trickle of the stream. He should have gotten used to this silence a long time ago – he hadn't heard the cheery twittering of Taillow since autumn and even in the normally bustling village things had quietened.

    "Ah, nope!" he uttered, cutting off his train of thought. "I gotta stay optimistic. The berries have got to grow some time. I'm not gonna feel down just cause I can't find any food!"

    He paused to scan the dead landscape, casting his eyes over the discoloured grass and darkened sky that had become so familiar to him over the last few months, "But… this… I don't understand what's happening. It's like… it's like the land's being drained of its life force."

    He shook his head vigorously. "No. No. Don't think about that right now. You dunno what's happening and now isn't the time to find out. You've gotta collect some food for Mama and lil' Xavier, or we're gonna starve. There's gotta be some berries still out here."

    With one last look at the lifeless grove of bushes, he set off further into the morning mist.

    +++

    She opened her eyes. There was a dull throb in her head and her vision was blurry, but she immediately knew that she had awoken somewhere she hadn't been before.

    This… this is…

    Her senses were becoming clearer – she was lying on a rock at the edge of a sluggish stream. A feeling of foreboding hit her as she noticed how dark and dreary the landscape was – even though she cloud clearly see the noon sun, the sky was dull. The few nearby trees were blackened; few leaves hung at their branches.

    What… happened to this place?

    She shifted her weight, trying to get up. As soon as she managed to stand successfully, she felt something was wrong. Of course, that feeling of misplacement had been there as soon as she woke up, but...

    I am… standing… on four legs?

    She looked at the black-furred paws beneath her, and then twisted her head to get a better look at the rest of herself. She was some sort of creature… something with grey and black fur and large, furry tail. She scampered over to the stream to see her reflection – her face was canine, covered in black fur and with a large red nose. A Pokémon… what was it called? Oh yes – a Poochyena!

    But… why doesn't my body… feel right?

    Had she always been a Poochyena? Something about standing on four paws didn't feel right to her. But if she hadn't been one, why was she one now? And what was she before she was a Poochyena?

    I… I can't remember anything… do I?

    She searched through her memory until her head ached, and only one recollection surfaced.

    My name is Keira.

    She just stood there, unsure of what to do, until she heard a loud, high-pitched voice.

    "Oh! A Pokémon! Are you lost? You don't really see many 'mons out around these parts!"

    She turned to see a brown-and-cream Pokémon bounding towards her in a zigzag motion. What was that one called again? Oh, Zigzagoon. He skidded to a stop as he reached her, and she noticed that he had a basket around his neck.

    "Hi! I'm Ziggy! What's your name? You're definitely not from the village, are you? I've never seen a Poochyena around here!"

    "H-hi… I'm Keira," she said hesitantly.

    "Oh, okay!" he shouted cheerily – quite the inappropriate mood for this kind of environment. "I'm just from Topaz Village over there, see? It's right there near the base of the mountain. We're in a pretty isolated spot, so we don't get many travellers. You look young… are you lost, or something?"

    "I-I think so," Keira answered. "I just woke up here and I can't remember anything except my name…"

    "Oh! I'm sorry! Are you all right?" Ziggy yelped. "Are you hurt or something?"

    "I don't think so," Keira said.

    "Are you sure you don't remember anything? Just your name?"

    Keira nodded.

    "That's strange… you must have bumped your head on that rock, or something… But I'm out here almost every day and I've never seen any Poochyena or Mightyena around! That's really strange."

    Had she bumped her head on the rock? Keira rubbed her forehead with a black paw. She was definitely having a headache when she woke up, but it didn't seem to have been because she hit her head on something.

    "Huh… well… I'm sorry if this seems to be an absurd question to ask right after you've just lost your memory, but… do you have anywhere to go? I can take you back to the village if you want. If anyone's looking for you, they'd probably stop at the village," Ziggy suggested.

    "I don't know where I came from. I don't remember anything," Keira repeated. "I-I'm not sure if I should…"

    "No, no, it's absolutely fine! Topaz welcomes any Pokémon into his village, as long as they won't harm anyone else! I can't just leave you out here wandering and lost. These days it's really dangerous to be out alone. See how the land's so weird and half-dead? A lot of Pokémon are being extremely territorial because of that. They'll attack anyone that puts one step into their land. And food's scarce, too, so you don't want to get eaten by some hungry predator."

    This Zigzagoon... he's so... ah, I suppose I don't really have anywhere to go. I don't really have any choice. And if this place is anything like what he said...

    "I… oh, okay… thank you."

    "Well, come on then! I'll take you to my place. My mum's really nice to everyone, though you might find my baby brother a bit annoying. I'm meant to be collecting berries right now, but that can wait!"

    Without waiting for any further reply, he whipped around and began zigzagging towards the village. Keira began taking tentative steps forward. The grass felt stiff and chalky under her paws.

    "Uh… are you sure you're all right? You're walking weird…" Ziggy, noticing her slowness, had turned around and asked.

    "Sorry. I'm not used to be on four legs," Keira answered, and when she realized what she had said it was too late.

    "Not used to being on four legs!? You must have bumped your head really hard! I-I can't carry you, though… sorry! Can you hold out until we get to the village?"

    "O-okay," Keira answered. She forced her limbs to walk on.

    +++

    "Well, here's Topaz Village!" Ziggy cried out happily as they reached the humble little hamlet, built at the edge of a thickly forested mountain. Keira immediately liked the place – it was unimpressive, with homes and shops built out of crudely cut pine wood, but something about it felt inviting. Maybe because it looked like the community that had built those buildings had put every last bit of effort into them, even if they obviously weren't very good builders.

    "Oh, hello there, Ziggy!" a deep voice boomed. Startled, Keira looked up to see the furry face of a huge Arcanine who had suddenly appeared beside them. "Who's your friend, huh? Ya don't see many Poochyena around these parts, eh?"

    Without warning, the Arcanine swung a large paw at Keira. She yelped as it almost knocked her off her feet and began patting her.

    "Hi, Topaz," Ziggy said. "Keira, this is Topaz. He's the founder of our village. He's really nice, too! Topaz, I found Keira near the river. She says that she couldn't remember anything but her name, so I'm taking her to Mama."

    "Good on ya, kid!" Topaz praised. "Nice to see a Pokémon lookin' out for others in these times, eh? I hope someone comes to find her soon; her family must be missin' her to tears! Well, I've got things to do. Keep your spirits up, hm?"

    And with that, Topaz waltzed off. Ziggy turned to Keira.

    "I really admire Topaz. He's one of those Pokémon who keep being cheerful even when our world's going all screwy. I want to be like him – never giving up, always standing up to challenges!" Ziggy said. "Well, c'mon then! You must be really tired by now. My home's not far away."

    Keira dragged her paws over the dirt path as she followed Ziggy to a hardly noticeable house, made with the same pine wood as the rest of the village. It was slightly elevated – to keep it from being blocked by snow, she guessed.

    Ziggy pushed open the door to reveal an interior with a dirt floor, some straw beds and a few wooden furniture items scattered around. A Linoone was sitting up on one of the beds, and there was another Zigzagoon – smaller than Ziggy – curled up in another, sleeping peacefully.

    "Oh, Ziggy, you're back!" the Linoone said. Her eyes fell on Keira, and then on Ziggy's empty basket. "Oh, no luck finding berries today? That's all right… we can still last a while with the ones we stored in winter. And who is this Poochyena?"

    "This is Keira," Ziggy said. "I found her by the stream today. She was lost and she doesn't remember anything. So I thought I should bring her back here. Can she stay with us until someone comes to find her?"

    "Oh!" Ziggy's mother said. "That must have been terrible, darling! Of course you can stay! Ziggy'll tell the villagers to keep a lookout for any other Poochyena or Mightyena – I feel so bad for your parents! My name is Lana, but you can just call me Mum or Mama if you'd like."

    Keira nodded, "Thank you so much…"

    "It's completely okay," Ziggy said. "Topaz told us that we should welcome any Pokémon that needs help, and those who don't too. A lot of the villagers are Pokémon who we've found wandering lost around the mountainside. A lot of them just come and go, but some decide to stay."

    He paused for a while.

    "Oh, and Mama… I'm sorry I didn't bring back any berries. I looked all morning, but the bushes were all empty and then I got side-tracked, of course," he said with a grin at Keira.

    "I told you it's all right," Lana answered. "The town market still has some in stock, and we do have a supply! Don't go worrying yourself too much over that, darling. Now, Keira, you look exhausted! You need to rest a bit. Ziggy, will you…?"

    "Tell the villagers to keep a lookout? Sure," the Zigzagoon said, and turned to go back into the village. As he reached the doorway, he looked at Keira and said, "Don't worry, all right? We'll sure find your parents soon. They must be all over the place looking for you!"

    "Thanks..." Keira murmured before exhaustion took over and she fell into a warm sleep.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  2. Codeepfly

    Codeepfly MyCaruba

    I honestly really enjoyed these first two chapters. The characters are likable and diverse. Not to mention your amazing description. It feels like its been planned out and executed very well. I can't wait until I can read the next chapter .
     
  3. icebolt

    icebolt Aerial Ace

    Thank you for the positive comment ^_^

    Chapter Two – The First Misadventure

    "Hey, Keira! Wake up!" the unmistakeable voice of Ziggy jolted Keira to a much more pleasant awakening than what she'd had yesterday. He was standing beside her, his face almost completely shoved into hers. Keira got up onto her paws and stretched. Lana and Ziggy's brother were nowhere to be seen.

    "Good morning! Mama and Xavier are out for some town business. You've been sleeping for a long time, you know. Are you feeling up to going outside? 'Cause I've still got to look for berries, and I want someone to help!" Ziggy said, bouncing around excitedly. His basket was back around his neck.

    "Uh, yes, sure." Keira replied. She glanced at her paws. Well, I suppose now that I don't feel like dropping dead anymore... I feel more used to this body, too, but… I can't help but feel that I wasn't always one of those…

    "Great, then!" Ziggy said. He grabbed one of her front paws and began to drag her outside. "We'll see if we can spot any of your relatives, too. They're probably out looking for ya."

    As soon as they reached outside, Ziggy broke into a zigzagging run. Keira chased after him – it felt good to run in this crisp morning wind. Had she ever run like this before, on four paws? It still felt odd and foreign. She pushed the thoughts to the back of her head, deciding to just focus on the task ahead.

    "Hey, Ziggy, tell me something," she called as they reached the top of a hill.

    "Yeah?" Ziggy circled around to face her and said.

    "You said yesterday that there's a food shortage because the land's dying, didn't you? And you said that Pokémon were becoming aggressive because of that."

    "Yup. That's what I said."

    "But… why? It doesn't seem like a drought or anything."

    "That's what everyone's trying to figure out, actually. It's definitely not a drought – there's been plenty of rain over the past few weeks. All we know is that it seems like… it seems like the health of this place is deteriorating. Like its life force is being drained away. Because of that, we haven't had many berries even though they usually fill the whole moor in spring. Anyway, there are Pokémon out there right now, trying to find what's going on. But until then, I've gotta keep searching for berries. I'm not gonna give up even if it means I'll have to look really hard!"

    Without another word, the Zigzagoon began to descend down the hill. Keira leapt after him.

    "Come on, there's a bigger hill just right over here. If we get to the top of it, we'll be able to look out through the entire moor and see if we can spot your relatives. I'm glad that it's not as misty this morning – it might be a bit hard to spot a grey Pokémon with all that discoloured grass."

    Keira ran up the tall hill with surprising ease – if she had been something else before, it definitely didn't have as much stamina as a Poochyena. They were known for their tenacity and stamina when hunting.

    "Huh…" Ziggy said. "I don't see anyone out there."

    Keira squinted at the sprawling moor – no furry, black-and-grey shapes in sight. Just dead grass, dead trees, dead bushes and the sluggish stream that coursed through all of it.

    "Sorry, Keira," Ziggy said. "You must be pretty worried about your family right now. I'm sure we'll find them soon. For now, you'll have to come and look for berries with me, all right?"

    Worried about my family, huh… Keira thought, I… I don't feel that. Maybe it's because I lost my memory, but… I think there's something more to that.

    "Are you coming? If you don't wanna come, you can go back to the village. The Pokémon there are pretty interesting, you know. I can sit for ages listening to their stories of how they found the village!" Ziggy was already halfway down the hill.

    "Sorry! Coming!" she called.

    "Okay!" Ziggy gasped as they both reached the bottom of the second hill. He pointed with a paw to where the moor's stream bended. "I looked all over there yesterday, so this time we'll go along the edge of the mountain. I know this place really well, so we won't get lost. So c'mon, don't hesitate!"

    Ziggy rocketed across the grassland. Keira heaved a sigh at his behaviour and once again started chasing after him. The Zigzagoon used his peculiar running pattern to check the berry bushes scattered across the moor – his zigzagging motion was surprisingly efficient for performing such a task.

    Keira decided to try something – she sniffed the air, hoping to catch the scent of berries with her sensitive nose. But all she smelled was something strange; a thick odour that emanated from beneath the Earth. It wasn't unpleasant, but she still coughed and cleared her nose, trying to block the scent away. Was this the scent of corruption?

    "Yeah, I tried that," Ziggy said. "Man, it would've made my life so much easier if I could smell where the berries were. Ah, well, guess I'll have to do it the slow way, huh? At least I get plenty of exercise this way!"

    He turned away from the bush that he had looked through and was about to shoot off to another one when a hissing noise made him skid to a stop.

    "Hey… d'ya hear that?" he asked. Keira nodded. Ziggy continued, "I think it came from the cave over there."

    Keira looked to her right and saw a small opening in the mountainside that she hadn't noticed before - perhaps because it was partly shielded by the two discoloured pine trees that grew near it. The two Pokémon edged closer to the cave, straining their ears to try hear the noises more clearly.

    "Let go of me, you disgusting thing! You're dirtying my tail! Do you think that I'd lose to a common bug like you!?" the yell was high-pitched, yet male – probably the voice of a young unevolved Pokémon.

    "Ha ha ha… quite the plucky little fellow we've got here, huh? Worried about his pretty tail when he's about to be eaten alive!" a deeper, much more menacing voice cackled.

    "Someone's in trouble!" Ziggy shouted out loud, apparently not realizing that whoever was inside could hear him - or maybe he didn't care. "Come on, Keira! We gotta go help him!"

    He dove into the cave before Keira could stop him. Keira took a hesitant step forward – the voice that was taunting the other Pokémon sounded scary, and she didn't want to have to face it, whatever it was.

    "Keira, come on!" Ziggy yelled from inside the cave. "There's a big Ariados in here! I need your help! I can't take him out all by myself!"

    Keira took a deep breath and plunged into the cave. It was surprisingly light inside – unfortunately, that also meant she got a good look at the monstrous insect that was in it. A spider four times her size towered over them, held in one of his claws a struggling, cursing Snivy. She shuddered and edged behind Ziggy.

    "I don't need your help! I can take this big idiot out by myself! Go away!" the Snivy was screaming. Vines lashed out from his shoulders, bouncing off the giant spider without doing any damage.

    "I advise you to shut up and stop struggling. You sure don't know your type matchups!" Ariados snapped. "As for you two… well, well, well. I've been living on berries for the last month and it's time I got some good fresh meat, so you'd…"

    "Berries!?" Ziggy interrupted. "But I've looked all over! There are hardly any berries around…"

    "Fool!" Ariados said. "There have been less and less berries around for whatever reason, so I've gathered up the last of them for myself! That's why you don't see any around here anymore. For a carnivore like me to eat berries… how shameful! I had a mighty good surprise when this little snake here got caught in my entrance web… you're lucky that he destroyed it for you two."

    "Let him go!" Ziggy cried. "You can't just…"

    "Listen, little raccoon," Ariados snarled. "I'm a predator. I. Eat. Other. Pokémon. It's a simple fact of life, and it's about time I got some proper food – the village is too well defended for me to attack, and almost nobody wanders out this way. Therefore… you two aren't escaping either!"

    Ziggy and Keira scattered as the Ariados shot a stream of silk at the cave entrance, sealing it shut and trapping them inside. Keira stared at the thick white strands - there was no way they could break through that.

    "Great, now look what you've done!" the Snivy screamed.

    "Shut up!" Ariados said and swung his free front claw at Ziggy, who narrowly dodged.

    Meanwhile, Keira was panicking. She didn't know how to fight - and she'd just ended up in a body that felt foreign to her! Ziggy was doing his best to keep the Ariados occupied, lowering his head and charging into his vulnerable abdomen. Ariados was having difficulty grabbing him with only one free claw. Meanwhile, the Snivy was struggling harder than ever.

    "Keira! Do you know how to battle? Help me!" Ziggy yelled as Ariados fired a string of silk at him. He zigzagged out of the way and went back in for another attack. Ariados hissed loudly as the Zigzagoon jumped towards him and tackled him straight on the head. He lashed at him with his front leg again, knocking him onto the ground.

    "No!" Ziggy screamed as the giant spider picked him up by the tail and gloated. Ariados turned his attention to Keira, who was still cowering in a corner. He took slow steps at her – he was having some difficulty walking on only two legs.

    "And now, you!" he shouted. "I suppose you'll have the extra pleasure of being held in my jaws, eh?"

    Keira shrieked and jumped out of the way as another gush of silk shot her way. The Ariados's head followed her like a turret, blasting her with wave after wave of silk. She couldn't keep dodging forever, she thought.

    "Do something, you idiot!" Snivy yelled. "I'm gonna blame you if I get eaten!"

    Keira's stamina abandoned her and she skidded into the cavern wall, panting. She couldn't dodge those attacks anymore. She pressed against the wall, her fur flattening and making her seem even smaller in comparison to the gigantic Ariados.

    "Pathetic!" the creature gloated. "Oh, what an easy meal to catch!"

    "You can talk after you've won!" Ziggy snapped. Keira's eyes jerked towards him and widened – the Zigzagoon had managed to swing himself up by his tail so he was clutching Ariados's front claw. Opening his mouth wide, he bit down on the soft insect exoskeleton.

    Ariados screeched in pain, a horrible, high-pitched screech that made Keira's entire body vibrate. As if she wasn't shaking hard enough already. He let go of the two Pokémon that he held. Snivy laughed as he landed on his head and immediately wrapped his vines around his jaw. Ziggy landed on the ground, rising back to his feet with a surprised look on his face.

    "L… lmmhhh… ghhhh!" the Ariados tried to say.

    "Sand!" Ziggy gasped as if it was the most wonderful thing in the world. "Sand! There's sand in the cavern floor!"

    "What?" Snivy said.

    He received his answer in the form of Ziggy kicking hard against the sand, sending it into Ariados's face. He recoiled his vines in alarm, as if he didn't want to get them dirtied. Ariados roared and began to scratch madly at his eyes. Snivy leapt off as the insect charged straight into the silk barrier, destroying it. The sticky silk wrapped all around him, gluing his limbs to each other.

    "Gaaaaghh! Get it out of my eyes!" he screeched.

    "Heh!" Snivy laughed. "That's what you get for trying to eat me!" With that, he jumped onto the insect's face and began to whip his closed eyes with his vines.

    Ziggy, a wide grin on his face, took another charge at Ariados. The Headbutt attack hit him square on the side and he toppled over onto his back, his own silk entangling him and preventing him from getting up.

    "You imbeciles! You'll pay for this!" Ariados roared.

    Then he fell unconscious.

    "One pathetic giant bug," Snivy sneered. "That's exactly what I expect from the evolution of a common Spinarak."

    "You can't talk!" Ziggy said. "We saved you, you know."

    "Yeah, right," Snivy replied. "I'd have beaten him to a pulp if you two hadn't insisted in coming in too. I almost got trapped in here because of you."

    "W-what?" Keira said.

    "And you," Snivy said. "You, Poochyena, how much more of a coward can you be? It's a simple thing – go charge at that ugly bug and bite him in the face. You'd have saved me lots of trouble if you'd taken the consideration to, you know, be useful."

    "Keira hasn't battled before!" Ziggy said. Keira wondered if she had.

    "I won't waste my time with you two," Snivy snapped. "Such common creatures as Zigzagoon do not concern a rare Snivy such as myself. Not sure about you, Poochyena but you look pretty common, too. Now, if you'll mind, show me where the nearest settlement is."

    "You're just going to waltz out of here like…" Ziggy was cut off before he could finish his sentence.

    "Listen, Zigzagoon. I have no time to waste with you. Show me where the nearest settlement is, or do you all just live like barbarians in this moor?"

    "It's over there," Keira said, pointing a paw towards the direction of the village.

    "Well, I shall take my leave then," Snivy said and strolled away. "Don't forget the favour I did for you two today! And don't try to help me again. You'll only cause trouble."

    "That Snivy… man, he's ridiculous!" Ziggy said as he went out of earshot. Keira shrugged.

    "Should we go home? Or keep looking?" she asked.

    "Come with me a moment. I want to check something," Ziggy gestured towards the cave.

    The two Pokémon walked in. Now that the giant insect was no longer blocking the way, they saw something amazing – a huge pile of assorted berries against the back wall of the cave. The pile nearly reached the ceiling of the cave. Though most of them weren't fresh anymore, and even the fresher ones looked a bit dry, this was a much-needed discovery.

    "So many berries!" Ziggy cried. "He said that he started storing them when the land began to go weird, huh? This'll feed us for ages!"

    Keira grinned. "We'd better get Topaz or someone. That's gonna take a lot of trips."

    "And Topaz'll roast this spider if he wakes up while we're at it!" Ziggy laughed, and the two of them ran back to the village.

    +++

    Late that night, after the village celebrated their finding of the berry stash, Ziggy and Keira lay in their beds talking quietly, as to not disturb Lana and Xavier.

    "Ziggy… I'm sorry about today. I wasn't brave enough. I should've helped fight the Ariados," Keira said.

    "Don't worry about it!" Ziggy said. "See, I'm not too good at battling either, but when you gotta depend on your survival skills, well, you gotta use them. I think you lost your battling confidence along with your memory – most Pokémon are trained by their parents to fight from the moment they can use an attack. I don't blame you. We won in the end, right?"

    "… Thank you…"

    "I wasn't really impressed with how that Snivy acted to us afterwards, though. I guess that's just who he is. He did fight, too. We'll probably get into another fight sometime. Just promise me you'll do your best, okay? Goodnight. That was one tiring day."

    Ziggy immediately began to snore.

    Oh… I guess I'd better go to sleep too. Who knows what's going to happen tomorrow? Keira thought.

    +++

    "Keira…

    "I hope you haven't forgotten your duty…

    "You are here for a reason.

    "The time will come soon."
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  4. Codeepfly

    Codeepfly MyCaruba

    Of course. This series has some good potential. Plus you have poochyena as a protagonist. I approve. I've never really read any mystery dungeon series before but I like this a lot.
     
  5. ThatYellowGuy

    ThatYellowGuy Active Member

    It's a really good beginning. I'm really liking the whole mystery of who Keira really is and what her mission. The story is also very well written so congratulations on that. Definitely will be watching and reading the story.
     
  6. Psychic

    Psychic Really and truly Staff Member Moderator

    Hey there - as a reminder, you shouldn't have multiple chapters in the same post. It's fine to have the prologue and chapter one in a post together, but chapter two should be in its own post, and so should chapter three and so on.

    That said, your fic is looking pretty good so far. I only skimmed it, but from what I saw your writing is solid, and I liked the way you described Keira's focus on walking on four legs and how it feels foreign - it's a nice detail you don't always get in PMD fics. My main suggestion would be to be careful with your dialogue, since sometimes it doesn't sound 100% authentic. Read your dialogue out loud - that will help you get an idea of if it sounds realistic. For instance, "Just listen to what I’m about to say" isn't really something someone would say in real life; they'd more likely phrase it a little differently, like "Just listen to this." It's a small detail, but it really helps.

    And two small nitpicks:

    Since it's still the same character speaking, you don't need to start a new paragraph. It's generally not necessarily. However, if it makes sense to divide up the dialogue like this, don't put a closing quotation mark at the end of the first paragraph (but keep the opening quotation mark at the beginning of the next one). So for example:
    (Yep, it looks kind of weird, so it's not used very often, haha.)

    For bits of narration that are actually thoughts, you should either put the thoughts in italics, or add something like "Keira thought" at the end of it to make it clearer and differentiate it from normal narration.


    Anyhow, these are just small nitpicks - like I said, it looks like you're off to a good start. Please just put the second chapter in a separate post and you'll be golden. Best of luck!

    ~Psychic
     
  7. icebolt

    icebolt Aerial Ace

    Thank you~

    Thank you very much for such a helpful post.
     
  8. icebolt

    icebolt Aerial Ace

    I got chapter three done, woot. Been trying to use the advice I've been given. Anyway, the plot is going to pick up from here out.

    Chapter Three – Rumours

    Early the next morning Keira woke up in a cold sweat. She was sure of it – there had been a voice in her dream, an alien voice that said something about a duty. She glanced at Ziggy, curled up on his straw bed, unsure of whether or not to tell him – and decided against it. It might have just been an ordinary – just strange – dream, and it was unlikely that Ziggy will be able to do anything to help. Seeing that it was still too early to go outside, she went back to sleep.

    She did not notice Ziggy rolling over and murmuring, "Okay. I'll keep a sharp lookout."

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

    The days at the village passed by in a blur for the next few weeks. Every morning, Keira and Ziggy would run up to the hill and look out across the plains, but not once did they see any wolf-like creatures wandering in the moor. The residents of Topaz Village reported no sightings, many insisting that there have never been any Poochyena or Mightyena in the region before Keira. Gradually, they gave up on the task. Even Ziggy didn't want to search anymore.

    "They… maybe they didn't want you in their pack," he had said. "That's okay though. You can stay with me!"

    Most of their daily routines involved going out to the village to gossip with the Pokémon, and going out to play in the moor, occasionally finding a few berries. They hadn't run into any aggressive Pokémon since the Ariados, which Keira was grateful for. Ziggy guessed that not many Pokémon would claim a territory that had hardly any food left, especially if it was near a settlement that was, though crude, rather well-defended thanks to Topaz.

    Keira had finally gotten used to controlling her body properly, and now her movements felt as natural as ever. Ziggy had suggested that they do some battle practice, but she denied. She insisted that she didn't want to hurt anyone, including herself. Hearing that, Ziggy just shrugged and suggested that they go do something else.

    Keira also noticed that she has not had any dreams since the first time the voice called to her. Figuring that it was probably from knocking her head on the rock, she pushed it to the back of her mind.

    Keira's life seemed to go on like what would be expected of a normal Pokémon in a normal town, albeit one that was built in the middle of a deteriorating landscape. That was, until one day…

    Ziggy froze, all of a sudden, during one of their strolls in the market. His ears perked up towards a nearby stand.

    "Huh? What's up?" Keira prodded him.

    "Come with me," he said sharply. "C'mon, Keira. This way."

    "Huh?"

    "Just come with me, 'kay?" Ziggy said. He casually walked over to a stand where a Girafarig and a Teddiursa were talking, then quickly darted behind it. Keira had no choice but do the same.

    "What's going on?" she said.

    "Not so loudly!" Ziggy hissed. "These two Pokémon are from the guild. I recognise their scarves. They're an exploration team."

    "Exploration team?" Keira asked.

    "Not now!" Ziggy said, a tone of urgency in his voice. "Lemme listen to what they're saying."

    "… planned an expedition. They've already picked the members, I think, and they're gonna announce it at tomorrow's dinner meeting," the Teddiursa was saying. "Oh, and I didn't quite catch it properly, but Cyra told us we were going to some place called Glyph Cave."

    Ziggy drew a sharp breath and bumped his head on the side of the stall.

    "Oof! My head!" he moaned, realized what he was doing, and clapped a paw over his mouth.

    Keira held her breath as Teddiursa looked curiously in their direction. She ducked and pressed hard into the stall wall, hoping that she wouldn't be noticed. Risking a peep out, she exhaled in relief as he went back to what he was doing. She looked at Ziggy - he was concentrating harder than she'd ever seen him do before, his ears looking as if they would fall off if he strained them any harder.

    "Yeah, man, and we totally did get picked!" Girafarig was saying. He reared up on his hind legs, surprising the stall owner – a surly-looking Persian. "Oops, sorry, man. But we like, did all of the jobs they gave to us super quick. Only the best members get picked, you know, and we're quite aware of our own outstanding performance."

    "Look, tell your story somewhere else. I don't have time for your guild chit-chat," the Persian snapped. "Plus, your behaviour is making me quite nervous."

    Girafarig blabbered on as if Persian had just said the opposite of what he did, "I dunno what Guildmaster was thinking, man! We do have a lot of jobs to do, what with this place here going totally weird. I suppose that's why the less fortunate dudes get to stay…"

    The Persian was now glowering at the team. Teddiursa tugged at his friend's fur, but Girafarig talked on.

    "I dunno what Glyph Cave is, but I hope it's somewhere really dangerous! Haven't had much thrill time since that crazy Rhydon quest. Guess we'll know when we get there. I'm gonna totally kick the butts of anyone who gets in my way!" Girafarig reared up once again, this time kicking out with his front legs. His hooves slammed into the fragile orbs lined up neatly on the stall front, shattering them with the sound of breaking glass. The orb fragments flew into Persian's face.

    "Out! Out!" Persian screamed. "Get out of my store before I rip your faces off!"

    "I tried to warn you!" Teddiursa shouted. He grabbed onto his friend's hind leg and dragged him away with impressive power.

    "Sorry, mister! Won't do it again!" Girafarig called out as they disappeared in the direction of what Keira supposed must be the guild.

    Keira and Ziggy made a quick sprint away from the stall. They slipped in between two dead-looking trees planted in front of a gap between two buildings and made their way to the far end of the village, right near the wooden fence that surrounded it. Keira noticed the powdery, short grass under her paws. Normally, the grass would have been overgrown in such an area.

    "That escalated rather quickly," Ziggy panted as he sat down, leaning on the fence. "You don't want to get Chance the Persian – or Mister Unpleasant -With-A-Rather-High-Chance-of-Rage, as we like to call him – mad at you. When he gets angry, he gets angry. One stubborn Pokémon when it comes to holding grudges, too. I don't see how he couldn't be more optimistic. He's one of the richest 'mons in town."

    Keira nodded. She didn't need him to tell her that – she had just seen the consequences with her own eyes.

    "Why did you want to hear what they said?" she asked.

    "Well, let me start from the beginning, okay?" Ziggy said. "Okay. I forgot to mention this, but near the village there's a guild. I don't know much about it, except it started up recently. Anyway, I've been trying to join this guild since it started, but some of the Pokémon there… well… they're all good Pokémon, but they enjoy mocking younger members."

    "Oh…" Keira said.

    "No, no!" Ziggy said. "I wasn't discouraged by them or anything. It just made me want to think about it more before I try to join. But then we had a food shortage – and no matter how much Mama tried to hide it, I knew we were running out of food. So I haven't thought about joining again for some time. I really want to be in an exploration team. You probably won't expect me to say this, but sometimes this place gets a little boring."

    "You keep mentioning a thing called an exploration team, but… what is it, anyway?"

    "They do exactly what they sound like and more. Exploration teams are groups of Pokémon that go out and explore these places where normal Pokémon wouldn't go. Most towns have a few around, to use as scouts and such. They're also sent out to look for Pokémon in trouble and apprehend any outlaws. They don't just work for others, though; many places in this world contain unbelievable treasures, and the greatest exploration teams aspire to find them. I want to be in one for all of those reasons! You'll have to train at a local guild to become a certified team, though."

    "Oh…"

    "Ah, okay. Anyway, the point is that now we've secured the food problem – for a while, anyway – I think I might have a go at joining it again. But I'm really surprised that they're having an expedition. I think it's their first one. If I join now, I'll miss the expedition, and with the land like this it's not likely that they'll find the time to stage another one in a while…"

    "So you're saying…"

    "Yeah. What I'm getting at is… what about we sneak into the guild tomorrow evening? We'll hear out their plans and we'll go and tail them!"

    You mean… leave the village? Leave and find ourselves exposed to all those dangerous Pokémon you mentioned? Without any proper training? Thoughts were racing through Keira's head.

    "But you said that it was dangerous to be out alone!"

    "We're not alone! We've got each other, right? And the guild! The guild'll clear away any dangerous Pokémon for us! And besides, I had that…" Ziggy's speech suddenly cut off.

    "You were saying?" Keira prompted.

    "Oh, never mind," he said. "But we've gotta go. It's really important, 'kay?"

    "What about Lana and Xavier?"

    "They'll be fine thanks to that Ariados gathering up so many berries for us! I've on gone some trips before to explore the mountain. She'll just think I'm on another little journey of my own."

    Keira tilted her head, thinking.

    Her thoughts were quickly cut off as, without warning, Ziggy pounced on Keira. She yelped as she toppled over onto her back, the Zigzagoon scampering onto her and staring at her cutely with his large brown eyes, "Please? They said... No, I, uh, I don't want to go alone but I don't wanna miss this!"

    Keira was reluctant to say yes, but she knew that she had no choice. She wanted to stick to her life at the village – a life of peace. Following a guild on an expedition to who-knows-where was not her idea of peace. She remembered the battle with Ariados – going to unknown places in times like these would probably involve battling. But she couldn't say no to a Pokémon who had done so much for her.

    "Oh… okay, then," she said.

    "Yay! Thank you so much!" Ziggy clapped his paws around her neck in a hug. "I knew you'd say yes!"

    Keira smiled.

    "I promise you we won't get found out!" Ziggy said. He rubbed his front paws together excitedly. "I hope they're going somewhere really cool. Trust me, this is the right way to go!"

    Ziggy bounded off happily down the way back to the market square, almost tripping over a fallen branch as he went. Keira just stood there and watched him go for a few seconds before following.

    He seems to be hiding something, she thought.

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

    "Your mission…"

    Keira jumped. Another dream! She realized that she could now see, but what was in front of her was merely a swirling vortex of strange colours.

    "The time has come…"

    "W-wha… who are you?" she whimpered. "W-what's going on?"

    "Follow the path that has been set for you!"

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

    Keira's eyes opened and she was hit by a wave of relief. She was out of the dream. A shaft of silver moonlight shone through the window. Ziggy's family were sleeping. Being careful so that she wouldn't make any noise, she placed her head on her paws to think.

    Her mission? What mission? She had woken up in this place with no memories, nothing to tell her that she was on some mission. And what was all this about the time coming?

    And the path that's been set for me… She didn't remember anything about a path that she had to go down, whether it be physical or metaphorical. Were those dreams a remnant of her past? Did she perhaps have those dreams before she lost her memory? By losing her memory, she must have also lost all the information she needed to make sense of them.

    Then... that means I can't do anything about them, she thought. I need to know more. Maybe my dreams are a key to my past... Maybe, if I look carefully into those dreams, I'll find some clues.

    She closed her eyes again. If she ever has another dream, she decided, she'll look for any clues that may be embedded in them.

    Beside her, Ziggy murmured something.

    "I did it."

    One last thing. What are PM lists? Are they like lists of people you PM when you've finished a new chapter? If that's the case and you want to be listed, tell me!
     
  9. Chakra1412

    Chakra1412 Active Member

    So far I've really enjoyed this story. Only read up to chapter two so far but it's picking up at a good pace and being described quite well. Good job so far on this work.

    I believe a PM list is a list of people you send the next chapter to, to help proof read the chapter before its done to help you fix certain parts up in case it's needed or suggestions of things to take out or add to make it feel more "realistic."
     
  10. icebolt

    icebolt Aerial Ace

    Oh. Okay. Guess I won't have one then.
     
  11. icebolt

    icebolt Aerial Ace

    Chapter four is done.
    Chapter Four – Spies
    The evening of the next day came much faster than Keira would have expected – or would have liked. As soon as Ziggy saw the sky reddening, he had latched onto Keira with one front paw and half-dragged, half-led her to a hill overlooking the guild.

    The guild looked quite impressive. The sturdy-looking building was made of several connected blocks, and there appeared to be some sort of yard in the centre, though Keira couldn’t see exactly what was going on in there from where she stood. What had made it look so striking, though, were the pictures carved and painted into the walls – depictions of unevolved Pokémon standing up against fearsome creatures such as Salamence, of perilous journeys through chasms and mountains. As cool as she found them, Keira definitely didn’t want to be one of the Pokémon in the pictures.

    “Come on, let’s find the dinner hall,” Ziggy said. “From the stuff I’ve heard around town, all of the apprenticing teams gather into one hall to eat. They must have really fun food fights!”

    “Hey, what about them?” Keira pointed a paw towards a Swablu and a Floatzel who were hanging around the entrance. “Are they guards?”

    “We’ll just sneak past them! They don’t look like the vigilant sort, anyway."

    “Uh… why couldn’t we just join this guild?”

    “’Cos they only pick good members to go on expeditions, and if you’re a rookie they’re obviously not gonna pick you. C’mon, Keira, we’ve gotta find out what time they leave! Remember what Teddiursa said? They’ll announce at a dinner meeting. We’ll just slip in, find the dinner hall and listen in on them through one of the windows.”

    “What about asking to tag along?”

    “Oh! I haven’t considered that. But they’ll probably think it’s too dangerous for us two. Anyway, let’s go!”

    Ziggy scampered off down the hill towards the guild.

    Why do we have to do this? Keira thought and ran after him. The Zigzagoon was already sprinting about the connected buildings, ears perked up to catch any sounds that would lead them to the correct section of the guild.

    They soon found the dinner hall – there were plenty of open windows for sound to pass through, despite the guild’s thick walls, and the incredible noise emanating from the place quickly led them to it. There were so many voices that it was impossible to distinguish any words. Ziggy reared up, supporting himself on the wall and trying to see through the window, but he was too short. He tried to stand on his tiptoes, but fell over on his back with a yelp.

    “Wow, everyone sounds so excited. When are we gonna be able to join them?” Keira heard a distinct voice over the ruckus – and it was coming from outside.

    “One of the guards!” Ziggy hissed. “Come on, Keira, we’ve gotta find somewhere to hide! Any suspicious activity is treated very seriously these days.”

    Keira looked around for a place to hide. She found none.

    “I don’t think they’re going to just leave us out of it,” the other guard said.

    “Shoot, we’re gonna be caught!” Ziggy muttered.

    “Heyyyy, Team Cyclone!” a third voice joined in. It came from above. Keira jumped and looked up – there was a Staravia hovering just over the next corner. He hadn’t seen them.

    “Guildmaster’s gonna announce the expedition plan now! You’re both to get into the dinner hall right away! He’s not gonna let you go if you got picked but miss the meeting!” he screeched.

    “About time!” the first voice that they had heard said. Keira loosened up as she heard footsteps pattering away from where they were.

    “Whew,” Ziggy breathed. “That was close. It would have been really awkward if they’d caught us! They’re gonna announce their plan now, huh? We’d better listen really carefully.”

    Suddenly the voices in the hall quietened down. Even from outside the building, Keira could feel the atmosphere of tension in the hall. Those guild members really did take their expeditions seriously.

    “Ahem!” someone coughed, and then started to speak. “Good evening, guild members. I am sure that all of you are aware that the expedition members will be announced today.”

    Shouts of excitement sounded from the guild, until the speaker cleared his throat again. Keira and Ziggy edged as close as they could to the window so they could hear everything clearly. Keira hoped that they wouldn’t have to do this for long – it was very uncomfortable rearing up and trying to stretch to the window, with her paws pressed hard into the rough stone wall.

    “We have chosen the five most worthy teams to go on the expedition,” the speaker continued. “We have also elected a single expedition leader who will be helping Aesta and me with the overall trip. The expedition leader is expected to set an example for the rest of the party throughout the expedition. We have observed your performance over the last few weeks and have come to a conclusion as to who it would be – Flare the Charmeleon.”

    The hall erupted into a cheer so loud that Keira jumped away from the window with her paws clamped over her ears. Ziggy remained there, apparently keen to hear every single word.

    “Silence!” another speaker yelled. “Let the Guildmaster speak!”

    “Thank you, Aesta,” the Guildmaster said. “And now, for the expedition members.”

    The already thick tension in the hallway doubled. Keira could imagine every Pokémon holding their breath, every pair of eyes fixed on their Guildmaster. Were the Pokémon in this world all this keen to set out upon dangerous lands in hopes of discovering something?

    “C’mon, c’mon, tell us the time already!” Ziggy muttered.

    “We select teams not for their strength, but their worthiness – for their outstanding performance in missions and their intense will to do well in the guild and to help the Pokémon of this world in the darkest of times. The following five teams have shown their worthiness in every way possible. In no particular order, I ask for those chosen Pokémon to come to the front.”

    The tension at this moment was so strong Keira almost thought the walls were going to burst because of it.

    “First of all, Sidin and Duplell of Team Thrill!”

    “Wohoo! I told ya we got picked, Sidin! Told ya!” Keira recognised this voice as belonging to the Girafarig they saw in the town square yesterday.

    “We did a good job, huh?” the Teddiursa spoke up too.

    “Secondly, Jeffrey, Magnus and Flitter of Team Rain Dance!”

    More cheers from the guild. Keira looked up to the sky – more time had passed than she’d thought, and it was now a dull pink. A sunset over the moor probably would have been spectacular if not for the strange phenomenon that had happened to this world.

    “Aw, hurry up with those names!” Ziggy said.

    “Hey, Ziggy…” Keira began. While the Guildmaster was calling out names, she might as well get some answers out of Ziggy.

    “Hmm?” Ziggy said, drawing his attention away from the Guildmaster’s speech.

    “Why are you so keen to go on this expedition? You’re acting as if we absolutely have to go.”

    “But of course we have to go! Uh, I mean… why not? We don’t need to stay home anymore. Heck, we’re old enough to be by ourselves, aren’t we? And, umm, I don’t want to miss a big adventure! Just stick with me, ‘kay? It’ll be great!”

    “But… you…”

    “I’ve got my reasons!” Ziggy interrupted, and went back to listening in on the speech. Keira shrugged and did the same.

    “The chosen teams are to use the last of the evening to stock up on supplies,” the Guildmaster’s stern voice said. “They will then ensure that they get a good nights’ sleep. Tomorrow morning, at sunrise, we’ll set off over the moor. We are heading eastwards towards a place called Glyph Ruins. In the ruins, there is said to be a Glyph Cave. Glyph Cave is supposedly decorated with thousands of strange runes. Our mission is to decipher these runes. Some say that they hold a secret to the past.”

    Oohs and aahs sounded from the hall.

    “The pathway to the cave is dangerous and filled with aggressive Pokémon, which is why you should prepare as fully as possible. Keep in mind that the land is under the effect of some strange spell, and we may need to take precautions accordingly. Either way, I hope that we have a good expedition, and solve the mystery of Glyph Cave. Zephyr, please wake the selected teams up early tomorrow. Thank you for your attention. You are now dismissed.”

    At once, wild cheers erupted from the Pokémon in the guild. This time, Ziggy too tumbled back with his paws on his ears. They ran away from the dangerously loud noise as quickly as possible, stopping at the top of the hill.

    “Are you sure about this?” Keira asked, her ears ringing. “They said it’s really dangerous.”

    “Trust me, Keira,” Ziggy said. “We have to go! No matter what! And it’ll be a great adventure!"
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That night, Ziggy had convinced Keira to go outside with him. They sat on the top of the big hill where they used to scan the moor for any traces of Keira’s ‘relatives’.

    “Are you sure the stuff we packed was enough?” Keira asked.

    “Heh… well, I didn’t want to seem suspicious stocking up along with the guild when I don’t have their signature scarves, so I had to just get out whatever stuff I had stored for my own trips out of town,” Ziggy said. “You know, before the land started going weird, I often came up here to look at the night sky. My da said that the stars are actually different worlds high up in the sky. I asked him how he knew, but he said an old friend told him. A legendary Pokémon he met when he was just a Zigzagoon.”

    Keira had long ago noticed that there were no stars in the sky any more. It was a featureless dome of the darkest blue, with only a weakening moon providing light. She couldn’t help but feel a slight twinge of sadness for the sky.

    “Your father… where is he?”

    “Oh, he’s a trader! He often sails around the world, looking for exotic merchandise. I hardly ever see him…”

    “Oh, I see…”

    “He’s one of my inspirations for wanting to join the guild. I want to go to wonderful places all over the world, just like him... I want to meet Pokémon only ever heard of in myths, just like him! But… hey, Keira… remember when I said I had second thoughts about joining, because the Pokémon there weren’t friendly to new members? Well, it’s more than that.”

    “Huh?”

    Ziggy looked up to the starless sky, his eyes reflecting the weak glow of the moon. “I felt that I had the responsibility to stay and help my family. Mama told me over and over to chase my dreams as I liked, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave my home forever and live in the guild instead. And… there is one more reason.”

    “What is it?”

    “I’ll tell you later,” he said with a mischievous grin upon his face. “Now we need to get back home and get a good sleep, ‘cause tomorrow our lives are about to get even more interesting!”
    Plot's kicking off now so expect longer chapters from now on.
     
  12. aswertyuiol

    aswertyuiol Cold turkey.

    I liked this chapter! Ziggy's sort of suspicious and mysterious, and when he talks about his dad at the end, it instantly made me think "There's got to be something on his dad."
    I don't have any problems that I can see so far, but I'll let you know. Keep 'em coming!
     
  13. Psychic

    Psychic Really and truly Staff Member Moderator

    I'm glad my comment helped, but I see you still haven't put Chapter 2 in a new post like I asked, so please be sure to do this soon.

    Also, PM lists are just lists of people who ask to be informed when a new chapter is released. Members can ask to be added to a PM list, so when you post a new chapter, you PM them saying "the new chapter of my fic is up." Chakra1412 is thinking of a beta reading or editor, which is someone who volunteers to proofread your story before you post it to help you with anything from spelling and grammar to description to working on your plot. You might be able to find someone to help with this in The Beta House.

    ~Psychic
     
  14. icebolt

    icebolt Aerial Ace

    All hail chapter five.

    Chapter Five – In the Wilderness

    "Oh! There they are," Ziggy whispered.

    Keira was shivering as they stepped out onto the hills of the moor, despite her thick grey coat. She shook herself, fluffing up her fur once again and tried to concentrate on the adventure ahead. Not that she was very prepared – out of anxiety, she had not slept well last night. She thought about what possibly would happen on the trip – attacks by these dangerous Pokémon like Ariados, of course, and various complications such as the possibility of losing the guild and getting lost.

    The two Pokémon silently made their way towards the hill overlooking the guild. Thankfully, the mist was thin today, so the guild Pokémon were clearly visible. They were standing in a circle right outside the guild building, apparently discussing their trip. To her surprise, many of them were completely unevolved Pokémon. She had expected the best Pokémon in the guild to at least have evolved once. It also struck her that she had not seen a single Pokémon evolve since the day she awoke on the moor, many weeks ago.

    "How are we supposed to hide from them? The moor's pretty flat, save for the hills by the mountainside. Plus, the grass is too short to hide either of us," Keira said. She looked doubtfully over the dull landscape, the horizon blurred by the familiar morning mist.

    "Good question!" Ziggy said. "Well, I… haven't thought of that! Hehe…"

    Keira sighed. Maybe it was better that they'd be caught. Then they might be sent back to the village, back to the protection of its villagers.

    … No. She couldn't let that happen to Ziggy. He had been so enthusiastic to go on this trip. Though why exactly, she had no idea.

    "H-hey, don't get discouraged, 'kay? I come out to those plains pretty often, so if any of them looks back we'll pretend we're just going the same way as them, looking for berries," Ziggy reassured, seeing her expression.

    Keira watched as the guild Pokémon cheered something, possibly waking up the rest of their guild, and began to move eastwards. The sun had been weakened so much by the strange draining phenomenon that despite facing it, none of the Pokémon needed to shield their eyes. Keira observed the party – three Pokémon were leading it, a Zangoose, an Espeon and a Charmeleon – Flare, wasn't that his name? They were followed by nine other Pokémon, who had gathered into one large marching group that seemed to be chatting excitedly amongst themselves. She picked out Sydin the Teddiursa and Darius the Girafarig – Sydin was riding on his partner's back, and Darius was happily skipping along, the atmosphere of the landscape starkly contrasting this. Keira was quite impressed by all these Pokémon's determination to keep optimistic despite the strange curse the land was under.

    "Let's go, then," Ziggy said. The two Pokémon began to trot behind the group, getting close enough so that they could hear what the Pokémon were saying but not so close that they would be noticed. Keira noticed that their footsteps blended in with the other Pokémon's. That would help them to stay unnoticed.

    "We shouldn't walk right behind them," Keira said. "They'll know immediately that we've been following them. Let's stray to the side instead."

    Ziggy obliged, and they veered off to the left of the guild Pokémon. They knew that they would be walking on the moor for a while yet.

    "We shouldn't talk too much," Keira decided. "Our footsteps blend in with theirs, but they might be able to hear our voices."

    "Why are you so paranoid, hey?" Ziggy said, chuckling. "Don't worry! They won't hear us. I doubt they can hear over Darius's voice."

    Sure enough, the Girafarig was singing as if he had never stepped onto the moor before. He was also moving in such a lively way that everyone tried to keep away from him, as to not be trampled by his hooves. A Seviper hissed loudly as he almost stomped on his ornately patterned tail, and his Sneasel friend shot him a glare - not that he took any notice. The attention he was drawing, and the fact that most of the Pokémon were deep in their own conversations, made Keira feel a little less uncomfortable.

    "We are the guild of Misty Moor! We're out to conquer Glyph Cave an' more!" Darius sang. Sydin the Teddiursa clapped along with his voice, not at all afraid of falling off the tall, rampant Pokémon.

    "Watch it," Flare said, stopping to turn to Team Thrill. "It will be quite a long walk towards Shady Forest. We will also need to get through the woods as soon as possible when we do reach them, so please conserve your energy for now."

    "Hey, Flare! Totally getting into the leader attitude, eh?" the Sneasel said, laughing. He was walking at the front of the party.

    "Dude, no need to worry 'bout us!" Darius said. He reared up, forcing Sydin to throw his paws forward and cling to his neck. "I've got more energy than six thousand angry Combee, I tell ya!"

    Flare snorted and turned back to walking. At the front of the group, Zangoose and Espeon were discussing something. Keira tried to figure out their genders from where they were, remembering that the Guildmaster's voice had been male. In the end, she decided that the Zangoose must be the Guildmaster, and that the Espeon was his assistant – Aesta.

    They were talking too quietly for her to hear, especially over the sound of Darius's singing. She tried to listen into another conversation, this one between the three Pokémon of Team Rain Dance.

    "Honestly, I'm not being ungrateful, but I don't see why we're mounting an expedition when the state of the land is clearly getting worse," a Poliwrath was saying. Keira was sure that she had heard his name at the guild's dinner meeting, but it escaped her for the moment.

    "Now, now, excuse me!" his teammate, a Masquerain, said, flapping his wings faster for emphasis. "Don't you think that we deserve a break, Magnus? We've been running around all day ever since this guild started and we joined. It's about time we got to do something a normal explorer does! Solving the long-hidden mysteries of ancient places! Now that's what I call a real adventure."

    "This guild was started to help Pokémon who were affected by the deterioration, remember?" Magnus pointed out. "I don't see what spontaneously taking a trek out to some cave has to do with that. It's not as if we're walking a long way to help, say, some Pokémon in trouble."

    "Huh… they founded the guild because of this deterioration? I never knew that!" Ziggy said very loudly. He jumped, clapped one front paw over his mouth and looked apologetically at Keira.

    "Be more careful," she whispered. "You're gonna get us caught."

    "Sorry," Ziggy mouthed. Keira went back to listening to the Pokémon's conversation.

    "We should strive to do what we set out to do instead of wasting away valuable time on a random expedition," Magnus was still complaining.

    "Oh, don't be such a no-fun dude!" Darius had heard him and came bounding over. "We gotta have some breaks, yeah? These unlucky dudes back at the guild'll keep doing the work for us! Hah! Poor them! I can't imagine being one of them, left at the guild while we go an' solve a nice big mystery. I mean, who cares if it doesn't exactly fit our goal? Even us guild Pokémon need our fair share of fun, eh?"

    At that moment, Keira saw Zangoose and Espeon turn their heads to look at each other. It was too far away to read their expressions, and she was not sure if she had imagined the two Pokémon nodding to each other.

    "I just hope that we find the cause to this problem soon," a Croconaw near them said, kicking a few shreds of wilted grass into the air. He watched the discoloured shreds float down before continuing walking. "This weird curse is making everyone unable to evolve. I know I should be a Feraligatr by now - I've been practicing for months and months. It's holding us all back."

    "It's… disabling… evolution?" Keira muttered to herself. So that was why there were so many unevolved Pokémon around.

    "Yes, Jeffrey. We must solve this problem as soon as possible," Magnus said. "It's causing problems for Pokémon everywhere."

    "We will, don't worry," Sydin said. "I bet all of the guild's scouts are out there right now, busy looking for any information that might help us. I know it's kinda worrying how it's getting worse, but as long as we believe we can do it, we'll be able to get rid of this curse, right?"

    "I want to join the guild," Keira heard Ziggy speak up again. He didn't seem aware that she might be listening in. "I want to solve this problem… I'll… I'll join this guild when I've got the chance. Hopefully…"

    He trailed off, his voice quietening so that she could no longer hear him. Then she realized that he had quietened down for a reason – he was staring at the surroundings bewilderedly. Keira stopped walking; her fur, which had flattened since it had gotten warmer, fluffed up again.

    "The mist's suddenly… thickened?" Ziggy gasped.

    Keira's heartbeat quickened. She looked around frantically. The Zigzagoon was right – the mist around them had suddenly thickened so much that the guild members were barely silhouettes in the distance. She instinctively edged closer to Ziggy until their bushy tails were touching. The white mist seemed to be closing in on them, intending to smother them, to suffocate them, to trap them in its ghostly grip… Memories of the fight with Ariados returned to her – the ghastly mist reminded her of the revolting white silk that he spat.

    "What's going on?" Ziggy said.

    "Hehehehehe…" a cackling noise sounded from the encroaching mist.

    Keira felt her limbs begin to shake. This had all been a terrible idea. They shouldn't have come! Now they were going to be attacked by another one of those unruly Pokémon…

    "What's this? Children wandering around this far out in the moor?"

    "W-who are you? There's guild Pokémon nearby, you know, and if you don't clear off…" Ziggy growled, pricking up his bristly fur so that it made him look larger. Yet still Keira knew that he, too, was afraid from the shaking of his voice.

    "Oh, don't worry… the mists that you see swirling around you quieten any noises… they won't be able to hear you here…"

    "What do you want? We don't have any poké!" Ziggy cried.

    "Oh, we're not going to hurt you… And poké are no use to us, anyway. It's very rare that such young Pokémon come wandering out this far…. We just wish… to have some fun with you!"

    We? Keira thought woefully. There were more than one of those beings?

    "We don't have time!" Ziggy shouted. "We're doing something important! Please just let us go!"

    "Now, kiddie… do you think that we'd give up this chance that easily? We are bored, little Zigzagoon. We are bored."

    "G-go play with someone else then… we have things to do!" Ziggy cried.

    "I'm afraid that's not going to happen, dears…"

    A dry laugh echoed in the background. Another one of them spoke up.

    "We have not had fun with other Pokémon for so long… Show us what it's like to be alive again!"

    Then they began to chant, all at once.

    "To breathe again! To be tickled by the wind again! To feel the thrill of life again!"

    Keira's shaking breath caught in her throat as figures began to emerge out of thin air. They resembled floating, ragged bundles of cloth and each of them wore a mask on its face, or where its face was supposed to be. Under the mask was not skin, but rather a black abyss, illuminated by a single red eye. They all had a necklace hanging around their body – a glassy blue sphere attached to a string. The six Duskull formed a circle around the two trapped Pokémon, revolving around them as they laughed their unnatural laughs and looked over them with their eerie red gazes.

    "Go away!" Ziggy shouted.

    "Hahahahaha! Hahahaha!" The sickening cackles continued to sound all around them. It was all Keira could do to not cover her ears with her paws.

    And then they dove for them, their paws of torn cloth outstretched. Keira turned away and ran, but the Duskull were too fast. They gripped her long fur in their ghostly hands, their touch burning through her fur like cold fire. They dragged her into the air where they shoved their masked faces into hers, blinding her with the intense red light shining from their eyes. And they were laughing, laughing like they had never had so much fun in their lives – if the existence of ghost Pokémon could even be considered 'life'.

    "Keira, try to bite them!" Ziggy yelled. He jumped and swiped at a Duskull, but his paw passed through her harmlessly. "I can't hurt them! They're ghosts! They can't touch me but I can't touch them either!"

    But Keira's mind wasn't working. All she cared about was getting away from these Pokémon, and she knew only one way to do it – run. But their hands spread across her body like a thick, sticky liquid, holding her into place. Her terrified struggles did nothing to help her break free. In fact, with each one of her desperate kicks they seemed to grip her tighter.

    "Let go!" Ziggy yelled at the Duskull. But they responded only with laughter. And then, much to the Normal-type's shock, a pink aura enclosed on him and he, too, was being lifted into the air.

    "You're not supposed to be able to affect me!" he cried. He kicked and struggled but couldn't seem to break free of the power that was holding him. Keira gazed up at the dancing Duskull, her eyes wide with terror and her body shaking so much she thought she was going to fall apart. What were they going to do with them, now that they had them trapped?

    They just pranced around them, laughing maniacally, chanting in a strange language that she couldn't understand.

    "Let the Poochyena go. We can have some fun with that little coward," one of them hooted. Keira gasped as she felt the shadowy claws draw away from her, letting her fall onto the wilted grass below. She immediately tried again to flee, but another Duskull swooped over her, tripping her over with strands of shadow energy. She fell flat onto the grass and was soon scooped up and tossed into the air again. All around her the ghost Pokémon were laughing at her, mocking her. They threw her to and fro each other again and again as if she was a toy. Ziggy, still suspended in mid-air, was screaming his lungs out for her to attack.

    She couldn't take this anymore.

    Twisting as she fell towards the Duskull who was meant to catch her, she readied herself to bite. She felt energy gather around her fangs as her mouth opened and she snapped at the Duskull. The Ghost-type seemed to utter a howl of pain as her teeth snapped over his cloth-like skin.

    Using a move did not feel good, contrary to what some of the Pokémon in Topaz Village had told her. Her jaws had clashed together very hard, sending sharp bursts of pain up her teeth.

    The Duskull broke away from her, letting her fall towards the ground. She stretched her paws forward, landing awkwardly onto the ground and resuming her wild run towards freedom. She looked back at the Duskull – he had taken the sphere off his necklace and was holding it up. She had to get away as quickly as possible. She lengthened her strides, leaping over the flat plain faster than she had ever ran before.

    Z-Ziggy… no… I can't go back and get him! They'll get me…

    "You can't get away…. You can't get away…" the Duskull chanted again in their nauseous voice. Out of the corner of her eye, Keira saw a bright beam – the next second, she had been hurled up in the air again. She was so high up, the other Pokémon had become blurred by the mist. If she landed on the ground up here, the impact was sure to hurt badly. She shrieked as the ground lunged up towards her.

    "Oh, our fun's not going to be over that soon!" Keira didn't know whether or not to be relieved as she felt a Duskull's shadowy limbs once again grasp her fur. She caught a glimpse of Ziggy as the Duskull dragged her around in circles. He was still floating, and a Duskull nearby was staring at him, motionless as if she had been frozen.

    "Attack that Duskull to my right! Please, Keira!" Ziggy yelled.

    Keira couldn't think. She blindly snapped at the Duskull who was tormenting her. This time, her bite was more controlled and didn't hurt. Not that she cared anymore. She just needed to get away, get as far away from these Pokémon as possible...

    She was dimly aware of one of the Duskull charging up a Shadow Ball attack as her jaws found their mark. The Duskull holding her veered off course just as the other launched her Shadow Ball. The Ghost-type slammed into the attack, letting out a ghastly shriek. The impact of the move sent them flying towards Ziggy and the Duskull holding him airborne.

    "Bite her! Bite her!" Ziggy shouted.

    Keira did it more out of instinct than because of Ziggy's call. Her Bite attack broke the Ghost-type's concentration and Ziggy began to fall out of the sky. Just as he flew past one of the Duskull, one of his claws caught on his necklace, right above the sphere, and it slipped off. Keira watched, wide-eyed, as the sphere on the necklace began to glow. There was a flash of light, another bright beam – and suddenly, power began to gather in her body. Energy streamed from the blue sphere into her and Ziggy. She felt it flood every part of her body, strengthening her, filling her with confidence. Her eyes glowing with the new energy, she bit the Duskull holding her a second time. The Ghost-type Pokémon screamed like a banshee when the attack connected. Her grip loosened, and Keira began to fall again.

    Keira and Ziggy landed, with great difficulty, on all four paws. Keira tried not to cry out as spasms of pain coursed through her legs. The Duskull that Keira had bitten fell down with them and landed soundlessly onto the grass, knocked out. Keira leapt into the air as the other five Duskull began to fly towards them, her fear of fighting suddenly chased away by the power the sphere had given her. She effortlessly reached their height and bit another one of them, who too fell unconscious onto the ground. The four remaining ghosts came to a sharp halt, their single red eyes darting between their fallen friends and the two Pokémon whom just minutes ago they were mocking. They turned to each other and a silent decision seem to pass through them.

    Then, without a sound, they were suddenly gone, disappeared into thin air just as they had appeared. The mist started to clear away and once again the dull landscape of the moor came into view. The discoloured grass, the dull sky – even that was better than the suffocating mist the Duskull had brought. However, the guild Pokémon were out of sight.

    The energy that the orb had channelled into Keira suddenly disappeared and she slumped down onto the dry grass, panting. She had never been so exhausted in her life – though since she had lost her memory, that didn't mean much. She looked over to where Ziggy was – he was looking considerably better than her, though still exhausted.

    "H-hey…" she gasped. "What was that? We all suddenly got powered up…"

    "Some sort of orb," Ziggy answered. "Orbs are devices that cause strange things to happen when used. Lots of Pokémon use them these days to ward off the territorial Pokémon who went all crazy because of the strange deterioration… There are lots of kinds, I think… I dunno which one it was; I just kinda grabbed it when I fell…"

    Keira noticed that Ziggy looked somewhat betrayed. He was staring towards the ground as if not wanting to look at her. Then she realized – when she had been freed from the Duskull's grasp, she had just turned and run for her life without a single look back at him. Guilt hit her harder than the ground had when she landed.

    "Sorry," she muttered. "I couldn't think…"

    "No!" Ziggy said sharply. "I'm not gonna hold grudges! You… I… I did think you could have thought a bit about me, though. But… this is all my fault. I should've known that these places are unsafe for Pokémon like us, Pokémon who don't know a thing about fighting. Come on; let's go back to Topaz Village. We can't stay out here…"

    The Zigzagoon picked himself up and started trudging back in the direction of Topaz Village. Keira had never seen him so down before. She wouldn't have believed he was capable of acting like this.

    "No," she said firmly. She couldn't let him give up now.

    Ziggy turned back to her, "Huh?"

    "We're going to follow the guild, Ziggy. They shouldn't be out of the moor yet. We've got time to catch up. Let's finish what we set out to do, huh?"

    Ziggy leapt on top of her and gave her a big hug. Keira almost choked as he squeezed her neck.

    "All right then! Let's go!" he said, as if the ordeal had never happened. Then, realizing the state both of them were in, he added. "Oh yeah. After a rest."

    "We should get away from these two," Keira said. She pointed to the two Duskull lying on the grass. "I don't want to fight ever again."

    Ziggy nodded, "Good idea. Come on."

    He began to trod slowly towards the direction of the sun. Before she followed, however, Keira walked over to where one of the Duskull lay and took off his orb necklace.

    Now I just need to figure out how to link to posts.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2013
  15. icebolt

    icebolt Aerial Ace

    Can't seem to get post linking to work.
    Will link to thread pages instead.

    Chapter Six – A Chase and a Meeting

    "Aah… we've finally caught up…" Ziggy panted.

    Keira stopped, gasping for breath, as she glimpsed the shapes of guild Pokémon slipping away through the thick trees of the forest they were now in.

    It was late afternoon by the time they had caught up and, even with the weakened sun, the forest was darker than Keira had expected. Perhaps it was because the sky was blocked – not by a thick canopy of leaves, but by sheet after sheet of crisscrossing branches. The forest still had leaves, but they were dry and brittle and hung limpy by their stems. The bark of the trees was blackened as if charred by a fire, and some of the trunks were twisted into eerie shapes.

    The atmosphere of this forest was definitely disturbing, Keira decided, and it wasn't just because of its appearance. But there was nothing she could do about that other than get out of it quickly, so she set back to business. After the attack by the Duskull, they had come up with a little plan to avoid any further fights. They would find the guild's trail and keep as close to them as possible without being spotted, so if any territorial, bored, or simply insane Pokemon tried to attack them, the guild would fight them off.

    "I'm glad we finally found them!" Ziggy said.

    "I think they took a rest on the way here. We wouldn't have caught up if they hadn't," she said to Ziggy.

    "Yeah… Come on, through here I think…" he said, pointing to the cleared path the guild had left. "This place's kinda weird, huh? I don't see any Pokémon around! Did they all leave 'cause of the weird draining thing?"

    "Maybe," Keira replied. "Let's get to the guild Pokémon and keep them in sight. Something about this place doesn't feel right to me."

    As they continued down the path, Keira caught a glimpse of something moving not far ahead of them. A green blur was flickering through the dark trees, stopping frequently. It wasn't a guild Pokémon – none of them were that colour. Keira watched as the Pokémon darted across the cleared path in front of them, too quickly for her to see what it is.

    "There's someone up ahead," she told Ziggy, who was gazing wide-eyed up at the matted mass of branches above them as he walked. "Not a guild Pokémon."

    "Probably one of the local Pokémon," he replied. "Gee, you must be pretty tough to live in a place like this. And a real good navigator, too..."

    They plodded on for a while after that, looking at the dark scenery around them as they walked. Once every few minutes they would spot the strange Pokémon again, but it was too fast for them to properly identify.

    "Seems to be following the guild," Ziggy commented as it flickered by again. "Hope we don't run into it. We've been in enough trouble today, right? Hehe…"

    Keira gritted her teeth.

    They walked on and on, and Keira felt her legs beginning to tire. It had been such a long day, and they didn't have many energy-restoring berries with them. She wondered about where they were going – what was Glyph Cave like? She hadn't realized it before, but the name stirred something within her. She couldn't pinpoint exactly what – it felt like a very, very faded memory. But how could she remember that, when just weeks ago she had lost her memory?

    Was her memory perhaps coming back as time passed? It struck her as strange that the first thing she remembered was the name of the same cave they happened to be heading towards.

    But maybe it wasn't a memory. There was something else about it... no matter how hard she tried to think, she couldn't figure out what.

    It was after half an hour of walking briskly that they caught up to the guild members, who had gathered in a small clearing full of fallen logs. They sat around on the logs, chatting eagerly to each other and stabbing at their maps. Keira and Ziggy hid themselves behind a clump of branches to watch. As they watched, Guildmaster Zangoose jumped up onto the tip of a log which tilted as it leant on another, elevating him above the rest of the guild. He cleared his throat loudly, drawing the eyes of his guild members towards him.

    "This seems to be the spot," he announced. "I believe we should change our direction from here... Sydin, would you please...?"

    "From here we need to make a turn south," Sydin said, nodding to his guildmaster. He reading off a map from his seat atop Darius's back. "We're running a bit late, I think… It's best we get out of this forest before it gets dark and they come, right?"

    Guildmaster Zangoose's gaze swept over the crowd as he calmly said, "Yes. They're known for causing quite a bit of trouble for night-time travellers. We'll have to move fast. It's already darkening. Dusk comes around quickly these days."

    Keira felt her fur fluffing up a little. She forced it down again. Who where they?

    "Gotta agree!" a Woobat fluttering around above the heads of the guild members said. "I wouldn't wanna mess with them."

    "They'll be pretty hard to spot when it's dark, especially in a forest like this," Magnus the Poliwrath said. He looked around the congregation of guild Pokémon, "Plus, many of us have a type disadvantage. They'll be a big problem if we come across them."

    "But not all of us, hey?" Sneasel shouted. He flashed his sharp claws.

    The Masquerain hovering near him bobbed up and down in the air to attract attention, and then said, "Heh, I'm not worried. I'm the only one here to have seen Guildmaster battling. We wouldn't lose to untrained thugs like them. But I do suppose it would be most beneficial to simply get out of the forest before they come, eh?"

    This set off a series of nods around the gathered Pokémon. Then, they jumped down from the logs and began to make their way in another direction. Keira watched, impressed, as Guildmaster Zangoose used his blade-like claws to swiftly cut away at the fallen branches and bare bushes stacked up on the ground like fences. They waited until the guild was almost out of sight before following them.

    "We shouldn't lag too far behind," Keira muttered. "I don't like the they they were talking about, whoever they are. I don't want to get into a fight ever again."

    "Aw, relax a bit!" Ziggy said cheerily. "It's an adventure, okay? Stop being so uptight all the time! We're supposed to have fun! The guild's scared too, probably, but they're having fun too!"

    "But I don't want to get attacked," Keira replied. "I can't fight. I've seen everyone do it back at the village in those friendly battles and I don't know how they do it so naturally. When I attacked those Duskull back there, something about it felt wrong. I knew I was defending myself but it just doesn't seem to be what I'm meant to do. It's like… not my nature…"

    "I'm not sure what that could mean," Ziggy said, shrugging. "Most Pokémon are real eager when it comes to a fight. In fact, I haven't really seen one as reluctant as you - no offense. I suppose that's you, though. Still, would you loosen up a little? We're supposed to be having fun! That's the reason we came, huh?"

    "Doesn't seem like it," Keira growled. She swished her thick tail in annoyance. They were in a forest with some presumably dangerous Pokémon that would be coming out very soon and Ziggy was thinking about having fun? It wasn't particularly fun, anyway, walking through such a gloomy forest.

    "O-oh…" Ziggy said. He seemed to shrink a little, "Look… I can't tell you now. I just can't tell you now. I know when to tell you. I'll say it when the time comes. I promise it's a good reason. I promise!"

    Keira didn't reply. She wasn't sure what to say. The environment around them was steadily growing darker, and her pace was quickening as was her heartbeat. Ziggy still seemed as cheerful as ever, skipping through the forest as if it was a bright sunny day and the sky was blue again. She made sure that the guild Pokémon were always in sight, her eyes following the bladed tail-tip of the Seviper who was bringing up the rear of the party.

    They had not walked much further when a shriek sounded from ahead.

    "They're here! They're here!"

    Keira's heart skipped a beat. Great. Just great. They were going to be attacked yet again. The second time in one day. And this time, it sounded like they were up against some real formidable enemies instead of a bunch of bored ghosts. Could she go anywhere without getting attacked?

    From where the scream came from, a deep, throaty cackle rose into the air. It sounded like the deformed hoot of a bird Pokémon. This was followed by the fluttering noises of dozens of wings, raucous laughter, and more screaming.

    "We have visitors, boys!" a loud, gruff voice called.

    Horrified, Keira dove into the messy undergrowth – it could hardly be called undergrowth, as it was just a collection of fallen branches and dead bushes. Ziggy followed her. She turned around, looking for the quickest way to run from the apparently attacking Pokémon. If they were lucky, they could get away from those Pokémon before they ever caught a glimpse of them. Deciding that the guild's path was probably the best way to go, she shot towards the track and began to run back the way they came. Ziggy quickly followed, trying to run straight instead of in his usual zigzag fashion.

    "H-hey… we don't need to run out of the forest… they aren't the guild for nothing, you know! They'll take care of those Pokémon, and then we'll go back to following them!" he called.

    "Well, let's make sure we get away from them first! We need to find a good hiding place, at least!" Keira tried to keep her voice down as she snapped. Running over the forest floor wasn't easy – she tried her best to avoid the random twigs sticking out of the ground and jump over the fallen trees.

    Behind them, the sounds of battling and shouting Pokémon were fading away. They once again broke into the clearing. It had become dark – awfully dark, as if night had suddenly sped up just so it would be time for 'them' to attack. However, the darkness didn't actually affect Keira's sight, as she had the natural night vision of all Dark-types. She quickly spotted the logs in the center of the clearing.

    "Into here!" she whispered at Ziggy, and both of them slipped into the hollow inside of the largest fallen log. Keira flattened herself against the bark, hoping that her grey fur would blend in with her dull surroundings and help her escape notice.

    "Do ya think they'll see us?" Ziggy whispered.

    She shrugged, still quivering, "Don't know. Don't talk."

    She tried to see as best as she could from the rims of the hollow log, but didn't dare to poke her head outside in case any of them spotted her. From where they were, she still could hear the sounds of battling Pokemon. Once or twice a Pokemon would shoot past the clearing, apparently running or flying away, but nobody had yet noticed them.

    She didn't know how long they had waited, but it appeared to have been a while. The sounds of battle had quietened and she was beginning to think that maybe, just maybe, they had avoided a battle. If they stayed in there for the rest of the night, she decided, they could try to catch up to the guild again in the morning.

    But it was not her lucky day – it never seemed to be. A sharp feeling of panic shot through her as she saw a black bird land nearby. The Murkrow's feathers were tattered and dirty; a mean gleam shone in his eyes. He prodded around in the undergrowth at the edge of the clearing, and then tilted his head up to say something.

    "Aye, Boss. Pretty sure I saw some stragglers run off in this direction. They should be around here."

    Keira heard Ziggy gasp softly. She wished he would just stay quiet.

    "They look like they got any gold?" the gruff voice that they had heard earlier said. It clearly belonged to something much larger than a Murkrow, which wasn't a good sign.

    "Naw, Boss sir," the Murkrow replied. "Still, since those guild 'mons seem too tough, we could get a bit of entertainment outta them, am I right Boss?"

    "No!" Ziggy cried out, his fur bristling.

    No! The word echoed in Keira's mind. Why did he have to call out!? The Murkrow whirled around and faced her, his red eyes gazing straight into hers. She squeezed further into the log, her heart beating so hard against her chest she could almost hear it. If she stayed in there, then maybe the Murkrow and 'Boss' wouldn't be able to reach her…

    "Well, well, well," the bird said, taking a step towards them. Keira had to admit that even the raspy voice of the bird sounded better than the Duskull's unearthly chanting.

    "Wwww... what is... oops," Ziggy spluttered. He was trying his best to look over Keira's fluffy tail so he could see what was going on.

    Keira watched fearfully as the Murkrow poked his beak inside the hollow log. However, the stiff feathers on his head prevented him from entering. She tried her best to not turn around in the tight space and run out of the log – if she did, she'd be caught by those birds for sure. A disappointed look came over the bird's eyes, and for a hopeful second Keira thought that, maybe, there was a chance they would just get impatient and leave them alone. But the Murkrow simply turned to his commander.

    "Boss, looks like we're in need of your talents here," he said.

    "Hah. Why, I'm most pleased to have an opportunity to show off!" Boss cried out, a hint of triumph in his voice. There was a soft, feathery sound of the Pokémon spreading his broad wings wide, and a whoosh of wind that swept against Keira's face as he took into the air. She still couldn't see what the Pokémon was, and she didn't want to think about that just now.

    The Murkrow shoved his face into the fallen log again and cackled, "Boss sir's just gonna show you a neat little trick he uses to get Pokémon outta hiding!"

    "Keira!" Ziggy hissed. "We've gotta get outta here! Now!"

    Without any further warning, he gripped Keira's scruff with his jaw and dragged her both out of the log, just as a blade of purple energy split it in half. Splinters of wood flew everywhere as the log shattered. Keira let out a shriek of surprise and immediately jumped to her feet, running in the opposite direction. Ziggy sprinted after her. As she entered the undergrowth, she took one fearful look back at where their attackers were. She almost froze as she saw the huge Honchkrow whom his minions referred to as 'Boss', but shook herself out of it. She had to get away, as quickly as possible.

    "Get them!" Boss's voice bellowed as they ran. "Get them and bring them to me!"

    "Aye, boss!" the collective cries of dozens of Murkrow rang out. Cruel laughter and the beating of wings against stale air sounded as the birds began their chase.

    The two Pokémon charged straight through the undergrowth, not caring that the sharp branches and twigs stabbed at their bodies. Keira couldn't open her eyes to see unless she wanted them stabbed, but that didn't matter. All that mattered was that they got away from these Pokémon – but was that possible? Keira didn't need to see their red eyes lighting up the darkness to know that they were still chasing. She could hear each flap of their midnight blue wings; she could feel the strengthening gusts of wind blown against her back as they sped up.

    A Murkrow swooped low over them, his talons stretched wide. Ziggy whacked a branch with his tail, sending it flying into him. The Murkrow screeched as he awkwardly tried to regain flight position. Behind him, his comrades were drawing ever closer. Keira lowered her head and mentally screamed at her legs to go faster.

    At last they broke out of the undergrowth into what seemed to be a clearing, judging by the fact that they didn't immediately crash into a tree. Keira didn't care to open her eyes, and Ziggy's poor night vision ensured that they didn't see the Pokémon standing in front of them. Nor did they see that he was standing on the top of a steep slope as they charged into him, sending all three Pokémon tumbling down the hill. Keira was too shocked to even yelp as they rolled down. Suddenly, solid ground disappeared from under her. Then she felt their angle of fall change – now they were falling vertically!

    "Noo!" she heard Ziggy scream as they plunged through thin air, the occasional root scraping at them, until…

    Thud.

    The landing was, surprisingly, softer than when she had fallen out of the air when escaping from the Duskull. Then she realized that she was lying on top of something furry – Ziggy.

    "Owowowowow… geddoff me…" he moaned, and Keira shifted. They sat up in the darkness. Keira looked up and breathed a sigh of relief when she saw that the birds seemed to have gone. But her relief was cut short when she realized something else – they seemed to be in a pitfall. A rather deep one, at that. Its walls were lined by stiff roots and random branches which had become buried by soil as time passed. Still, being in a deep pit beat being chased by a band of ruffian birds – the Murkrow seemed to have lost them. She took a few deep breaths, calming herself down, before turning to talk with Ziggy.

    "We're in a pitfall," she told him. "I can see our bag up there. I-it seems to have gotten tangled in the…"

    She was cut off by something stirring beneath her. Then, all of a sudden, a Pokémon slipped out from under them and whacked them both over the face. Keira shook her head vigorously, and then opened her eyes to see what had hit them. She gaped in shock as she recognised the Pokémon.

    "Well, what are you staring at?" Snivy snapped. "And what the hell was that for?"

    "Y-you! Why are you here?" Ziggy choked out.

    "I could ask the same of you!" he huffed. "Well, for your information, Zigzagoon, I followed the guild here. After all, a Pokémon like myself should not be missing out on such an adventure."

    "O-oh… we did the same," Ziggy said.

    "We saw you earlier when you were running through the forest," Keira said. "We thought it was just a local Pokémon…"

    "Pah! A local Pokémon! There aren't any Pokémon here but those dirty Murkrow. Bet they chased everyone else away with their repulsiveness," Snivy said. "And now that we've discussed the recent happenings, perhaps we should turn our attention to a more pressing matter." The Grass-type spread his arms towards the sky and screamed out, "We're trapped in a damn pitfall! AND IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!"

    "C-calm down…" Ziggy said. "We're sorry, okay? We were being chased by those brutes and we didn't…"

    "Oh, is that your excuse?" Snivy cut him off. "Just what I expect from Pokémon like you! You should have stayed and fought them, if you had a pebble's worth of bravery inside you! I'd definitely had smashed their faces in!"

    "If you wanna do that so much, then let's find a way to get outta here!" Ziggy shouted. He didn't sound particularly angry, though.

    "Look…" Keira began, "Let's look for a way out later. I think we should just spend the night in here. From what I heard from the guild, the Pokémon who attacked us don't come out during daylight."

    "Spend the night in a pitfall? Are you kidding me?" Snivy screamed.

    "We, uh, don't really have any other choice, do we?" Ziggy pointed out.

    Keira nodded, "The pitfall's deep. I don't think we could climb out, especially not in this darkness. We could stay here and figure how to get out when it's brighter."

    "Why should I listen to you!? It's your fault we got trapped in here!" Snivy yelled. "I'm gonna get the heck outta here!"

    With that, a vine shot out of a flap on his shoulder and wrapped clumsily around the first branch it hit. Keira guessed that he couldn't see very well in the dark either. He did the same with his other vine. Testing them both to see if the branches could hold his weight, the Snivy began to lift himself into the air. Every time he touched a branch he would climb onto it and readjust his vines.

    "Ah… can't see much, but… do ya suppose he could actually get himself outta here by doing that?" Ziggy said.

    A second later he was answered by a thud – the sound of Snivy falling on top of him. Despite the situation and what had occurred just minutes before, Keira couldn't help but giggle.

    "It's. Not. Funny," Snivy snarled. He jumped off Ziggy, apparently not at all fazed by the fall.

    The Zigzagoon, too, seemed to be amused, "Gonna try that again?"

    "Shut up!" he snapped.

    "Well, now that you're calmer, can you tell us your name?" Ziggy asked. "We've met ages ago but we don't know your name yet. Tell us!"

    The Snivy tilted his head, apparently pondering whether or not to tell. Then he said, "My name's Thistle, and you'd better remember it."

    It suits you, Keira thought, and not just because you're a grass type.

    "All right," Ziggy said, smiling. "I'm Ziggy, and this here's Keira!"

    "I don't care about your names! Let's come up with a plan to get out!" Thistle said, his expectant gaze shifting between Keira and Ziggy.

    "I said, we should wait until morning," Keira said.

    "Yeah! And we'll be able to actually see!" Ziggy agreed.

    Thistle sighed. He hoisted himself onto a low rock jutting out of the wall of the pit. "I suppose we don't have any other choice then, so fine! But I'm sleeping up here. I'd rather stay away from unsophisticated Pokémon like you."

    Keira felt a strong urge to tell him to shut up. But she didn't, knowing that the best she could do was to stay out of any and all trouble – and that had so far not gone very successfully, since trouble seemed to be very keen on always finding her. Still, Thistle's attitude and antics had somehow cheered her up.

    "Well, good night," Ziggy said. "We're gonna get outta this pit tomorrow and be right back on the guild's trail!"

    "Yeah, that'd definitely be a cakewalk," Thistle snorted. "Thanks to you two…"

    "We've gotta try, huh?" Ziggy insisted.

    "The guild's probably set up camp just out of the forest," Keira said. "They'll take a while packing up, probably, so we could still catch up."

    "Y-yeah!" Ziggy said. Keira guessed he was still surprised by her tone of voice. She had sounded as if she actually wanted to go.

    And she did, she admitted to herself. Even though the hostile Pokémon were scary, even though it was hard work following the guild, she wanted to find out why exactly Ziggy had wanted her to follow the guild onto this expedition so much. She also remembered the feeling she had earlier today – would she find out more if she went to Glyph Cave?

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

    The next morning came awfully slowly. In her dreams, Keira was being chased again by those birds – some of them morphed into chanting, madly cackling ghosts. This, of course, didn't have much of a positive effect on her mood as they woke up next morning. But as she lay on the dirt, musing about the dreams, she realized something – she hadn't heard any strange voices in her dreams since the night after they found out about the guild's expedition. Maybe these dreams had just been random, just results of her losing her memory? But even then, now that she looked back at it, these dreams seemed so real compared to the nightmares she had the previous night. They seemed as if someone was in fact talking to her. The voices were clear and crisp – in usual dreams, they were blurred and indistinct.

    Her train of thoughts were interrupted by Ziggy awakening with a loud yawn. This woke up Thistle, who immediately started arguing.

    "How rude!" Thistle yelled. "Considering that you two just knocked me down this stupid pit last night, you could at least have paid me some politeness!"

    Ziggy ignored that, "Good morning, Keira! Good morning, Thistle!"

    "Hmph," Thistle snapped. "Well, any ideas on how to get out of this place?"

    "I-I'm working on that! I just woke up!" Ziggy exclaimed.

    "Just what I expect from you," Thistle muttered.

    "Well, it can't be that hard, right?" Ziggy said. "All we need to do is to get outta this pitfall – it's not that deep, now that I get a proper look at it, and then we go right back to tailing the guild!"

    "Is that so?" all three Pokémon jumped and looked up as a voice rang out from above.

    Keira looked up to see Guildmaster Zangoose peering down at them, a displeased look on his face.
     

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