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Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Unequivocant

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by lucarioknight56, Feb 19, 2018.

  1. lucarioknight56

    lucarioknight56 Recorder of Tales

    Chapter 12: Assault

    Lawrence sat on a bench, in a park set in a suburban community. He studied the trainers walking on the paths, walking around the battles taking place on the fields. Houses surrounded the curved fences, and a stream cut through the corner in a winding fashion. Spindly trees cropped up in the lush green grass, contrasting the coarse dirt of the training fields. The bright sunny day benefitted the Arcanine in its bout against the Luxray, their attacks arcing back and forth and scorching the dirt underneath them.

    Lawrence simply watched their movements, leaning his head against his arm. He heard the commands of the trainers, knowing that some ulterior reward awaited the Pokemon after the bout was over. When the battle was finished, the Pokemon acted as if nothing had happened, save for a few scratches and burns. Lawrence felt sure that there would be no memory of this in the Pokemon’s minds.

    A man suddenly sat next to him. Without turning, Lawrence said, “What do you want, Brother Morgan?”

    The sharply-dressed man carried a small folder with him, and at his side was a single Poke Ball. His face hadn’t been shaved for some time, and on his head was a white, broad-brimmed hat.

    Brother Morgan tilted the hat up, watching another set of trainers go up to the practice field. “I heard a few weeks ago that you had a bad time with Josh; I haven’t seen you at meetings since. What’s got your Gogoat?”

    Lawrence remained still. “Pokémon aren’t like us.”

    Morgan chuckled, leaning back. “Well, yeah. They don’t talk, they breathe fire—”

    “I mean they don’t have feelings. They don’t remember things like we do, and they do things only by instinct, not because they want to,” Lawrence sighed.

    Silence rang between them, interrupted only by the newfound clashing of the Snorunt and Grotle fighting each other on the field, ice freezing the soil and leaves whipping in the wind.

    Brother Morgan blew his breath out slowly, then said, “That’s a rather…strong thing to say. Especially considering what is said in the Arcean Texts.” He flipped open the folder, pulling out a small stack of paper in fine print.

    Lawrence turned to see it. “Why’d you bring that?”

    Morgan rubbed the back of his neck, flipping through the pages. “Your parents wanted me to come talk to you about your faith. They’ve noticed that you haven’t been the same since your wilderness trip, and since they haven’t been able to get a straight answer out of you, well…”

    Lawrence turned away and muttered, “Well that’s encouraging.”

    Morgan put a hand over Lawrence’s. “I’m concerned for you. It’s my duty in the church to ensure that everyone’s taken care of, and right now, you’re my priority.” He stopped flipping through the pages and took a breath to read.

    “Arceus isn’t real.”

    Morgan held his breath.

    “There’s been no proof that he exists, all except for the Arcean Texts and some drawings in Celestic. Dialga and Palkia were sighted years ago, when Team Galactic was around, as well as all the other Legends at some point. But he never showed up—because he doesn’t exist,” Lawrence stated, refusing to meet with Morgan’s eyes.

    Morgan took off his hat, shaking his head. “Where'd you hear about that? Certainly not around here.”

    Lawrence replied, “It’s everywhere in Unova, even in Kanto and Kalos. Really, Sinnoh’s the only place that believes Arceus is real. I read some books about it in the library.”

    “But they have no credibility—”

    “Yes, they do. Archaeologists and experts made. Detailed studies, more than those Arcean Texts ever did.”

    Morgan’s face flushed. “Alright, now that’s going a little too far.”

    Lawrence stood up, maintaining his passive expression. “You just don’t get it. Just like everyone else here. It’s exactly why I want to leave.” He turned and walked away, leaving Morgan to dwell on the loss of a fellow Arceist.

    ~~~~

    Lawrence sat on a sizeable rock, remembering that conviction well—and the persecution it led to. He suffered so much to claim that Arceus was a false god and was satisfied with the results. That is, until he came to Equivos; now, everywhere he went with Cassia, he felt challenged in some way.

    Matheus had thrown off his cloak and went into a series of stretches, ignoring the other Lucario for a moment. Cassia still hadn’t returned from her reconnaissance of Jareth, and Grom presumably stood on the other side of the town, waiting for their eventual return. Lawrence and the Legend were the only ones together on the barren mountaintop.

    Matheus finally stood straight and exclaimed, “Alright, let’s see what we can do.”

    Lawrence got off the rock, shaking free of his thoughts. He stood in front of Matheus and said, “Alright, what do you want me to do?”

    Matheus smirked. “Hit me.”

    Lawrence nodded slightly, then suddenly threw a punch at Matheus’ chest. The silver Lucario deftly caught the punch and deflected it with his own, sending Lawrence onto his back.

    Lawrence groaned, and Matheus stood over him, shaking his head. “Let me clarify: land a successful hit. Every time you fail, I’ll punch you back. Your opponent’s not going to let off easy in the real world, so I won’t either.”

    Lawrence pushed himself up, staggering slightly. “Well that’s hardly fair. Aren’t you supposed to be teaching me instead of punishing me?”

    Matheus shrugged. “There’s all sorts of teaching methods. This one happens to be mine.” He crouched, putting up his fists. “I want to see how you humans tend to attack before I go about showing you how Lucario do it. Give it your best shot!”

    Lawrence couldn’t help but feel irritated toward Matheus’ attitude. He let out a forceful breath and swung toward Matheus’ chin. He stepped back and watched Lawrence miss, then grabbed the swinging arm and twisted it behind Lawrence’s back.

    Matheus leaned in close and said, “Stop being so predictable. How many fistfights have you been in?”

    Lawrence seethed, pulling free of Matheus grip. “None.” He swept his leg toward Matheus’ but the Legend leapt over his head and pushed him to the ground.

    Matheus sighed, brushing off his paws. “I was expecting more. So far as I can tell, we’ll have to—”

    “Stop talking like that!”

    Matheus ducked, barely avoiding another blow from Lawrence. He continued dodging, the other hastily attempting to land a hit.

    Matheus’ attitude reminded Lawrence of those individuals who called for him to ‘prove it’. To prove that Arceus didn’t exist. To prove that Pokemon were only animals. Yet they had no proof of their own that Arceus existed or that Pokemon were like humans. Even now, in Equivos, that attitude came.

    Lawrence swung too hard and spun, giving Matheus the few seconds needed to clout him over the head. He fell to the ground, then Matheus set a paw on his back. Lawrence looked up and saw the Legend’s concerned expression.

    “’Stop talking like that?’ Why?” he asked. He stepped off of Lawrence, allowing him to stand up and brush the dust off his fur.

    “I don’t believe in Arceus. It was an unpopular opinion back where I grew up. So many people taunted me with that tone, saying, ‘Prove it’, or, ‘That’s not enough.’” He shook, closing his eyes. “They’d even say ‘Let’s work on that’, as if I’d change my mind.” He sat on the rock again, massaging the back of his head.

    Matheus considered his words, looking down. He then said, “How does it feel to be in Equivos, where everyone—including you—is a Pokemon?”

    Lawrence groaned, rubbing his face. “It’s so…strange. For five years, I managed to avoid doing anything the Arceists would do. I’ve proven them wrong so many times that their religion should be dead.” He stopped. “But here, I’m put into the same situation as before: a beautiful region overloaded with Arceists. And now, all of them are Pokemon, preaching the same thing.” He closed his eyes. “I don’t know what to think anymore.”

    Matheus sat next to Lawrence, crossing his arms. “What did they use to prove that Arceism was true?”

    “Nothing. Just a few legends and the remnants of the book they used to have. They’ve been dying for the past few decades, especially once that book disappeared.”

    “Yet they continued to believe?”

    “Yes!” Lawrence turned to him crossly. “Why are you so interested? I thought you believed in Arceus.”

    Matheus pressed his paw against Lawrence’s leg, looking him in the eye. “Not believe, know. You are forgetting that what’s left of the book may be true. What about the world could have convinced you that it wasn’t?”

    Lawrence thought of the Gabite and Nidoking, his first experience with the reality of Pokemon. He thought of his antagonization, his peers loathing him for his views. He remembered the terrible atrocities in the world, like what Team Plasma or Galactic committed, and how only a single, unlikely trainer could defeat them—none of them Arceus’ followers.

    Matheus’ paw retracted from Lawrence’s leg, and the Legend grimaced. “I…understand what you feel.” He stood up, holding his head. “I’ve always believed in Arceus. I’ve even met him, when I completed his trials.” He picked up his hat from on top of his cloak. “But, for several days, I questioned his power. I wondered how he could allow so much pain, why Pokemon chose wrong, and why even…even your truest friend, can turn on you.” He wrinkled the hat, his paws shaking.

    He looked down at his paws, then set the hat over his head. “I didn’t fully recover until I raised Laryon. He helped me rediscover Arceus’ wisdom, and, well…” He held up his paw, engulfing it in azure flame. “This.”

    Lawrence focused on the flame, feeling his fears quelled by the cyan light. The gentle warmth reached into his core, a feeling of peace, familiar after what felt like years of silence. Despite his previous experience with Aura, he had never felt anything like this with it.

    Matheus noticed his gaze and made a small smile. “You feel it. Good. You at least have the sense for it.” He doused the flame and the peace that lingered in Lawrence, causing his face to fall. He stretched his arms and said, “Just from your expression, I could tell you want to use aura. Problem is that you appear to have not developed any serious relationships with anyone.”

    Lawrence cocked his head curiously. “What do you mean?”

    Matheus leaned on another rock, crossing his arms. “Riolu evolve by having a powerful relationship with someone. For Laryon, it came from his bond with me, while myself…” He cringed. “Well, it was my friendship with Arthus.” He furrowed his brow. “The reason why is because aura grows stronger based on your connections with others. From the studies I’ve made over the centuries, I’ve found that it has to do with Life, in a sense.” He looked up momentarily, then shook his head, jogging toward Lawrence. “It’s easier just to show you.”

    He stopped in front of him, then made a circle in the ground with his footpaw. He pointed at it and said, “Here’s a Pokemon’s Life. Despite the power it has, most Pokemon are unable to use it.” He made another circle, leaving a space between the other. “However, there is a way to tap into it, partially, by using another Pokemon’s life.” He finished the circle and pointed to both. “Two separate Pokemon, two separate sources of Life. Following me so far?” Lawrence nodded.

    Matheus nodded back, then set his paw into the first circle. “When you interact with Pokemon, you leave behind traces of your Life. It’s like a mark to show that you have impacted them in some way.” He dragged his foot into the other circle. “As you interact with Pokemon, more and more of your Life is shared with those around you. More is focused on those you interact with often, particularly if it is positive.” He stepped away and pointed at the line. “The other also leaves behind portions of their Life in your soul, and when you both have high levels of shared Life, it creates a sort of charge, similar to what Electric Pokemon gather.” He tapped the ground. “That is Aura. It is what comes from two souls becoming one.”

    Lawrence studied the image, realizing how much sense it made. Scientists in Unova had always wondered where Aura came from, despite all their best efforts. This explained it entirely.

    Matheus stepped away from the image and sighed. “There’s the problem: you don’t have a strong relationship with anyone. I could see it when I touched you earlier, just as I felt your emotions; your Life is in a tight little ball, keeping its power away from others.” He shook his head sadly. You can’t create Aura by yourself.”

    Lawrence leaned back on the rock and groaned. “That’s not helpful at all! I’ve never been close to anybody!” He rolled onto his shoulder and muttered, “Didn’t help that they hated me…”

    Matheus sighed, massaging his head. “Unfortunately, Lucario primarily use Aura in their fighting style. I can teach you how to detect other Pokemon, as well as how to see Aura connections; those things are usually taught to Riolu when they’re young, but it should come quickly to you.” He sat on the rock Lawrence lay on, clasping his paws. “But until you bond with someone, I can do little more than that for Aura.”

    Lawrence thought of who he could have some sort of friendship with. He never felt particularly close to anyone in Unova, everyone in Sinnoh despised him in some way, and had met few Pokemon in Equivos. The only Pokemon he could have grown closer to would be—

    “Cassia! What did you find out?” Matheus exclaimed, bolting upright.

    The Zoroark padded carefully toward them, looking over her shoulder. “Just so you know, Grom will be over soon, so be ready for him.” Across the town, a black shape dropped off the side of the mountain, then suddenly shot upward, barreling toward Cassia.

    The shape slowed and turned out to be Grom, who landed just in front of her and embraced her. “Graw-graw-hawm!”

    Cassia gently pushed away and said, “Yes, I know, you don’t like being by yourself for so long. We won’t let it happen again.” Grom, satisfied, stood obediently beside her.

    Cassia sighed and continued, “Anyway, I checked around and found out that Gardner should be there late in the morning. I think if we go there early and get out of there on Grom, we should be fine.”

    “Graw-unh!” Grom exclaimed, shaking his head and pointing at Lawrence and Matheus.

    The Zoroark groaned. “Having all of us will be too much? You’re stronger than a Machamp!”

    “Graw,” he grunted, pointing at his feet, then clanged his chest.

    Cassia’s face fell. “Right, your weight. Wouldn’t want you running out of Life while you’re up there.”

    Matheus smiled good-naturedly and waved his paw. “I can run on my own; I have to stay in shape after all. Lawrence can ride with you.” He wrapped an arm around Lawrence, who stiffly stared back. “Until then though, let’s teach you how to fight properly; humans are so predictable.”

    ~~~~

    “Mange!”

    The Torracat crept into the storage shed, keeping his head low. Gardner’s back faced him, the Dusknoir packing items into a satchel. Various supplies sat on shelves all around the room, dimly lit by the dusty window on the wall.

    Mange stepped cautiously across the filthy floorboards, looking up to Gardner. “Y-Yes, Guildmaster?”

    Without looking back, Gardner said, “Is that your real name? I heard the Pokemon around the Guild calling you that, but I doubt anyone’s parents are that cruel.” He took a glance back. “Besides, you’re hardly mangy by my standards.”

    Unsure of what to think of his near-compliment, Mange replied, “My name’s really Zacheus, but ever since Arthus called me Mange, everyone’s forgotten about it.” His ears dropped. “My dad named me after a great explorer, hoping for me to be like him one day. I guess that’ll never happen…”

    Gardner lifted a sack of berries from the shelf, then stopped. He took another glance back. “Who is your father, Zacheus? I haven't seen any Incineroar around here.”

    Zacheus, although glad to hear his own name, circled his paw in the dust. “I was only a Litten. My mom died soon after I hatched, so it was only me and my dad. He went out for a rescue mission, but he never came back. I was lucky that Arthus didn’t find me when he came.”

    Gardner focused his gaze on Zacheus, picking up the satchel and slinging it over his shoulder. He hovered past him and out into the open, dropping the bag of berries in front of the Torracat. “Keep quiet.”

    Zacheus gazed at the bag and drooled. He ripped it open with his fangs and dug inside, enjoying his first decent meal in weeks. After eating a few, he looked up and licked his lips, nodding his head toward the retreating Guildmaster. “Thank you,” he whispered.

    Gardner’s chest restrained a grin. He dug through the bag, finding mostly maps and healing berries inside. Ghosts like him rarely needed more.

    You regret.

    Gardner flinched, looking around him. Guild Pokemon marched about, carrying items to the various storehouses, completing their tasks for the coming night. Disheveled families huddled under what remained of their homes, avoiding the piercing gaze of the Guildmaster.

    He studied the area around him, then thought, “Where are you?”

    All the suffering you have brought is finally stirring your soul.

    Gardner tightened his grip on the bag. “What do you want from me?”

    You realize that Arthus no longer sees you as an ally.

    “That’s a lie!”

    The Guild Pokemon turned curiously toward their Guildmaster, wondering who he was taking to. He growled, his eyes glowing menacingly, warning them away.

    After they left, Gardner clamped over his eye and muttered, “I have to get rid of that voice.” He continued toward the gate, where the Usurper leaned against the wall and tapped his claws impatiently.

    He opened an eye and growled, “About time. You remember the plan?”

    Gardner nodded. “Down to the letter.”

    Arthus stood up and pushed open the gate, brushing his claws through his mane. “Get to Jareth by morning, and all will go well. You’ll be forgiven, and that little mistake will be forgotten.” He thrust a hand into the ground and forced it to glow red. He offered his other hand to Gardner.

    The Dusknoir took it, and they both sank into the ground.

    ~~~~

    Lawrence flopped to the ground, splaying his arms out in exhaustion. Grom had taken to watching Jareth for activity, while Matheus took to testing the younger Lucario’s skills. Cassia sat on the ground, watching from afar while she tossed pebbles down the steep edge of the mountain.

    Matheus put on his cloak and panted, “I think that’s enough for tonight; don’t want to be tired out before we go in there.”

    “Agreed,” Lawrence replied, panting. He sat up, then wiped his brow instinctively. Cassia gave him a curious look.

    He looked down at his paw, then realized why she looked at him that way. “Humans sweat; I’m used to wiping it off.”

    Cassia nodded slowly, then moved to set next to him on the ground, brushing back her mane. “You said earlier that you didn’t hate Pokemon, but you feared them. Why?”

    Lawrence froze. He rubbed his face, saying, “Well…it’s…complicated.” He paused for a moment, then finally said, “I had a bad experience with Pokemon when I was growing up. I was a wilderness survivalist—someone who lives away from civilization for a time. Sort of like what we’re doing now.” He clasped his paws and continued, “Anyway, one day, I was caught in a fight between a Nidoking and a Gabite.”

    Cassia gasped. “Wild ones? They could’ve killed you!”

    “I know; I was lucky to get out of there.” He sighed. “When I was hiding from them, I saw the Gabite’s eyes. They were… soulless. They looked like they wanted to kill and nothing more. No anger, no fear, nothing but want.” He released his paws, watching them shake. “It was completely opposite to what the Arceists taught. They said that all Pokemon should be treated like humans.” He turned away from Cassia. “They aren’t even close to us.”

    They stood silent. Grom’s head swiveled around, focused on them. Matheus continued to look toward Jareth, but his focus lay toward the human-turned-Pokemon.

    Cassia blew out her breath slowly, then began to gently pull off the Pokedex. Lawrence grunted and put a paw over her claws, staring at her. He stared at her eyes, seeing the compassion and feeling they had—so unlike the Gabite.

    He looked away and removed his paw. Cassia paused, then continued to take out the Pokedex. She removed it from the case, and carefully typed the password, then tapped the photos application. She reached the Tome’s pictures, then began to read:

    Two forms of life are present in my creation: one that holds knowledge of me, and the other that does not. Those that hold knowledge are to follow my word and grow closer to me, while the other cannot be held for their actions.

    I have given memories to know my word, emotion to confirm my word, and willpower to obey my word. Those that hold no knowledge have no such gifts, and thus, cannot be expected to be like those who hold knowledge.

    Cassia lowered the Pokedex, then said, “I know this might seem…strange…but, do you think that you received that commandment from Arceus so that you could treat the Pokemon of Equivos like humans?”

    Lawrence considered her words. He continued to think, while Cassia added, “Arceus is the same no matter where he is; his power can surely be felt in your world just as its felt in mine. He…could have foreseen you coming here and wanted to prepare you for it.”

    Lawrence turned back to her. “But why give everyone that commandment? The other Pokemon are nothing like you. You’re smart, kind, and—” He caught himself, then said with a sigh, “More trusting than I’ll ever be.” He took the Pokedex—Cassia allowing him to take it—then walked away from here, sitting on another rock and considering her words.

    He thought of what the Arceists of Sinnoh believed. They believed that someday, he would restore their book of scripture and grant them the opportunity to live all his teachings. Until then, they were to follow the three key commandments: love Arceus, love your neighbor, and love your Pokemon, all like yourself. It would not be far-fetched to say that the Arceus of Sinnoh was the same as the Arceus of Equivos, considering the dimensional abilities he shares with the likes of the Creation Trio.

    He held his head, sighing. For the longest time, he denied the existence of Arceus, but too many things confirm that he does indeed exist: The Legends of Equivos, the Arceist Tome, the widespread belief throughout this region. In Sinnoh and Unova, he could deny the credibility of the Arcean Texts because the minority actually believed them. Even if, in a small part of his mind, he knew that Arceus truly did live.

    He looked up. He finally admitted it to himself: Arceus was real. Not that it mattered, considering all that he witnessed. He hated it but knew that all evidence pointed to such a fact. But even if the Legend existed, that does not mean he ‘spreads his arms to grant blessings to his creations.’ The Gabite and Nidoking, along with so many other wild Pokemon have harmed humans for generations. No benevolent god would allow that.

    He felt a tap on his shoulder and looked up to see Matheus. The silver Lucario pointed to Jareth and aid, “It’s time to go. I’ll let you know about my plan on the way over.” He stepped away and toward Cassia and Grom, who both started towards the mountainous village.

    Lawrence stood up, slowly walking toward them. He had to admit that he was in the wrong for his beliefs about Arceus—even if, in a way, they were warranted. But if he was to be expected to believe in the goodness of Arceus, he had to see it. Words would not be enough.

    ~~~~

    Later that night, two Floatzel stood in front of the storehouse of Jareth, keeping a watchful eye over the iron doors. Burning torches hung in sconces, brightening the rushing river. Its sound crowded the area, blocking any other noises from being heard.

    The two Floatzel kept a constant watch for Pokemon, squinting their eyes to see better in the darkness. They felt the ground rumble beneath them, then gave each other surprised looks. Two holes opened beneath their feet.

    They fell with a shout, and Geodude hopped out of the holes, hovering toward the door. The two holes joined and expanded, allowing Boldore and Graveler to hop out as well. They surrounded the storehouse as stealthily as they could, watching as the aged Aerodactyl clambered from the hole.

    He crept toward the door and turned to a chipped Boldore. “Is the area secure?”

    The Boldore nodded. “No Guild Pokemon in sight, Aerav.

    The Aerodactyl looked up at the door confidently. “We’ll have food for our families tonight.” He grabbed the door and pulled back.

    From within, a jet of water thrust into the Aerodactyl’s chest, sending him to the edge of the river. Six Golduck exited the and blasted the other Rock Pokemon with Water Gun, forcing them back into the hole. With moans, and screams, the Rock Pokemon fled the flooded tunnels, leaving behind the Aerodactyl leader.

    Captain Loran Azumarill stepped out from the storehouse, smirking. “Good work crew; might let you have your share early at this rate.” He bounded toward Aerav and set a foot on top of him, causing him to groan. The Azumarill turned to his comrades and grinned. “Figured that this old fool would try something like this.” He leaned down to Aerav and said, “I think we’ll have you skip your next round of rations. How does going two weeks without any food sound to you?”

    Aerav groaned, looking up at Loran fearfully. “Y-You can’t. We won’t survive!” He struggled to push himself up.

    Loran sucked in a breath and sprayed Aerav’s face with a blast of water, causing Aerav to collapse with a gasp. “You don’t control us! Ever since we started listening to Guildmaster Gardner, life has been great for us Water Pokemon! My kids don’t have to worry about going hungry anymore, and we can settle in one place instead of having to wander scavenge the rivers!”

    Aerav coughed, blinking away the water in his eyes. “But look at what you’ve done to us Rock Pokemon. We used to help each other, giving each food and support when we needed it. We kept to our own business, and no one suffered. Now you use your powers to make us slaves!”

    Loran sprayed him once more, then turned to the Golduck. “I’ve had enough of this old Aerodactyl. Let’s shush him up!” He hopped off Aerav and set a foot underneath his heaving chest. He lifted his foot slightly, edging Aerav toward the rushing river.

    “Graow!”

    A massive black Golurk fell from the air and landed in the center of the Golduck, stunning them. He punched two away and ran for the Azumarill, his eyes burning crimson.

    Loran stepped around Aerav and toward the houses, pointing at the Golurk and shouting, “Get that thing before it kills us!” He fled toward the houses as his pursuer stopped in front of Aerav.

    The Golduck snapped into action, running toward the Golurk and breathing in for another Water Gun. A flash of silver dropped in front of him, and a silver Lucario crouched with his paws up.

    He grinned and exclaimed, “Lovely night to drop in, isn’t it?” He sprung forward and chopped a Golduck across the throat, causing him to choke and splutter on his stored water. He proceeded to battle with the other Golduck, dodging jets of water as he went.

    Grom carefully lifted the Aerodactyl, remaining crouched. “Gro-ha-hawm.” Aerav managed a croak before Grom burst into the air, soaring toward the low peak above Jareth.

    The Golurk left red streams of light in his wake, illuminating the scene below with eerie red light. Lawrence and Cassia stood atop the peak, and they nodded to each other. “Ready? Cassia asked, donning her mask and deepening her voice.

    They leapt off the peak, skidding down the side and rapidly descending toward Jareth. More torches went alight, driving off the red glow and illuminating the dozens of Water Pokemon streaming from the caverns and buildings. Poliwrath, Floatzel, Seismitoad—all sorts ran up to drive away the legendary Lucario at their storehouse.

    The Zoroark gracefully landed on a Poliwrath and pierced his skin, draining Life from the unconscious warrior. She released her grip—leaving only enough to keep him alive—then proceeded to spin toward another target and strike it down.

    Lawrence, however, lost his grip on his slide down and skidded on his rear toward a sizeable Poliwhirl, bowling into him and the couple of Palpitoad behind him. He covered his face and cringed, imagining the scene entirely different than how it turned out.

    Unfortunately, his rolling didn’t stop there. Just beyond the Palpitoad the stairs continued, and he continued to bash into more Guild Pokemon, knocking them with no more than his built-up momentum. He continued all the way down the village until he finally stopped at a run-down shack, away from all the action.

    He groaned, pushing himself up and holding his head. “I think I’m going to barf…” he moaned, holding his stomach. He looked behind him, noticing that he completely missed his target—namely, landing with Cassia.

    He brushed his dusty arms and growled, “That’s the last time I’ll listen to one of Matheus’ crazy ideas.” His ears twitched, then he turned toward the shack, noticing a pale blue light glowing within.

    He looked back to the ongoing battle. The Guild Pokemon’s yells of defeat echoed, and he could see Cassia and Matheus speedily dispatching them. They didn’t need him to finish the job.

    Despite his urge to rejoin the others, he entered into the hovel, entranced by the light. He brushed past cobwebs and broken beams, ignoring the dried blood and ruined furniture all around him. At the far end of the ruin, a disheveled Pokemon stood in front of the source of the light.

    Lawrence squinted his eyes at the brightness and asked, “Who are you?” The Pokemon turned, and the light dimmed, revealing it to be a Xatu.

    The Xatu’s feathers were discordant and matted, and its wings were spread apart, revealing the dark and unintelligible symbols on its chest. Its beak chipped and crooked over years of misuse, the eyes lay hidden behind a thick white cloth tied around its head.

    “You have come. As predicted,” he said in a monotonous tone, closing its wings.

    “What do you mean? Who are you?” Lawrence said, holding his paws as if ready to attack.

    The Xatu turned his head toward his paws. “You fear me. As expected.” He stiffly turned back around. “I am Tursha, a Prophet of Arceus. I paid my sight in order to see more clearly—” He lifted his wings. “—the will of the Creator.” The blue light appeared again, forcing Lawrence to cover his eyes.

    The light faded, and Lawrence gaped at the disheveled Xatu. “You’re saying you can see the future?” Arceus or not, he knew that Xatu could see glimpses of coming events, and if trained, could make accurate predictions.

    The Xatu turned once more, pointing at Lawrence’s chest. “A price must be paid. That stone that hangs from your neck—” He pointed to himself. “A mere trinket to you, the remnants of a lie. To me, however, it bears great value.”

    Lawrence groped at the fake Illusion Stone that Cassia had given him over a week before, holding it up. It would be a small price to pay in exchange for a glimpse to the future. He could help him find a way home, perhaps the very location where a dimensional weakness may be.

    He pulled the string off his neck and held it out to Tursha. “Here.”

    The Xatu stared at it, his head jerking to the right. He swept it with his wing, and it disappeared from Lawrence’s grip. “You are trusting. A sign of your Sinnohan upbringing.”

    Amazed that he would know of this, Lawrence went to speak, but Tursha held up a wing, halting him. “I have mere seconds to send my message. To find what you seek, go to the Arceist Temple within the Faelyn jungle, past the peaks of Xilo. I will await you there.” He clapped his wings together, and in a flash of blue light, he disappeared.

    Before Lawrence could ponder the events that had just happened before him, a voice called out, “Lawrence, are you in there?”

    He turned around and pushed past the cobwebs, finding Matheus standing at the entrance. The Legend sighed with relief, stepping aside. “Good, we were worried about you. All the Guild Pokemon have been taken care of; it's time for us to leave and wait till morning.” As Lawrence walked past, he clapped a paw on his back and chuckled. “Nice going back there. I’ve always wanted to see someone roll like that.”

    Lawrence held his tongue, knowing that Matheus would make some smart comment about it. He ran up the side of the mountain, leaving Matheus at the shack.

    The Legend went to follow, but stopped, giving the shack a suspicious look. “Something’s not right…” he peeked his head inside.

    The ground beneath it suddenly shook, and he scrambled back out. The shack crumbled and the ground beneath it gave way to gravity, tumbling down the peak and bringing the grisly remains of the property with it.

    Matheus stared at it in astonishment, considering the chances of such an event happening. Shortly after, he shook his head, then ran up to follow Lawrence.
     

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