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Remember me Not

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Bosumin, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. Bosumin

    Bosumin Only good for finding music

    Hello! I'm new to this site (haven't used a forum in years too). I'm an amateur writer and not altogether too good at some stuff, but it's fun to do it anyway!

    This is a story I want to write, and hopefully be the first I ever finish!
    I'm not too good at tagging.
    Sorry in advance.

    Chapter 1: Trip Trip Trip

    Along a quiet dusty road, the wind gusted, creating tiny dust tornadoes along the ground. From behind a faded green brick wall cracked with age, a Haxorus watched curiously as a pokemon he had never seen before stumbled around the road. It was a tall white quadrupedal with no mouth to speak of. Despite its fumbling there was a nuance and delicacy to its movements as it stepped on thin legs. Around its torso was a brilliant golden ring that extended outwards into two curved semicircles. However ornate they were, it was a clear hindrance to the creature, whose attempts to steady itself by leaning into the wall were dashed when the back ornaments would knock it over.


    Thinking that it would very much reflect badly on him if he just watched, not to mention feeling a great deal of pity, the Haxorus moved a ways away to come round the edge of the wall to assist.


    “Say, are you alright there?” he spoke anxiously, “Do you need help?”


    “There’s- there’s dust in my eyes” the response was telepathic, which made sense to the Haxorus all things considered, it did look like a psychic inclined sort.


    “That’s not good at all, let me help you” he wrapped an arm around the other pokemon as he said this, leading it into a nearby building.



    -----



    The space was vertically extensive, an acoustic haven, population formerly one, now two. The Haxorus gingerly rubbed the white pokemon’s face with a small cloth; though he had claws, it was clearly something he did often.


    “There you go, that should be better” the Haxorus said with a smile, stepping back to get a better look at it, “So how did you end up this far out? Long way from the city you know”.


    The creature blinked and was silent for a moment, “I don’t know really, I just remember the dust”.


    The Haxorus looked concerned, “Does that mean you don’t remember before that” he thought for a moment, “Better question, what’s your name?”


    “Uhm, uh, it’s Arceus” the reply was hesitant.


    “That’s a right nice name” the Haxorus said, watching Arceus carefully, “I’m Mallys, always a pleasure”.


    “Ah” Arceus said, “Thank you Mallys”.


    Mallys smiled again, “It’s nothing, least I could do for a stranger. Anyway, what are you going to do now?”


    “I don’t know” said Arceus, “Where is this?”


    Mallys sighed, “I suppose I was expecting something like this. Did you get drunk recently perhaps?” He grimaced, “On second thought, you probably wouldn’t remember that either”.


    Arceus looked uncertain, “I- I guess not. Do you think you know why I’m here?”


    Mallys shrugged, “I can’t really think of anything, but you don’t look like any pokemon I’ve seen before, so you’re probably a tourist. See, the thing is, I’ve heard of this affliction or something of tourists going into shock when the place they’re visiting isn’t what they expected” he stopped, “That was a bit complicated, sorry it’s just something I thought of”.


    “It makes sense though” Arceus said, “What’s around here that tourists come to see?”


    “If anything, the Grand Harvest Temple in the city, though it must have been a real disappointment if you wandered all the way out here” Mallys replied.


    “I wonder why that happened” Arceus was upset that something like that would be the case, but tried not to show it.


    “Hopefully if anything you’ll remember what happened if you go back, at least that’s what I think. Before you go though, take a moment to rest, it’s better for you”.


    Arceus nodded, “That’s a good idea, thanks Mallys”.



    ----



    Mallys stepped carefully around a brilliant jade statue of a huge bird, polishing it with almost a greater care than he had taken with Arceus’ face earlier. Arceus watched with fascination as Mallys’ claws moved rapidly, covering every inch of the surface with a forceful yet delicate energy that left a sheen on every surface.


    “Is this, a temple too?” Arceus asked as he looked around, unlit candles lined the walls, the cavernous ceilings creating a dull reverb.


    “Once upon a time yes” Mallys spoke idly as he continued to polish, “Nowadays I’m just a historic preservationist, in a manner of speaking” there was a sound of longing in his voice that Arceus noted, though he decided not to ask more.


    “A temple for uh,” Arceus gestured towards the statue, “The bird?”


    Mallys smiled, “Yes, the bird” he stepped back from the statue to look it over, “This is a pokemon known as Ho-Oh” he looked back at Arceus, “You could say I’m a big fan”.


    Arceus could only admire the statue of Ho-Oh some more. It was exquisitely detailed, the curves of the talons were perfect, complemented by angular lines depicting a fearsome avian face. The feathers were separated from lifelike quality only by them being sculpted out of jade, splayed outwards in a triumphant wave.


    “It would be really something to meet a pokemon like that someday” Arceus looked thoughtful, “Have you ever met Ho-Oh?”


    “Not at all” Mallys looked amused, “If I did though, I’m sure I would have some words for them”.


    “How long have you been taking care of this place anyway?”


    “Some thirty-five odd years, and I’d say it’s been something I would do again-” Mallys looked away, “-but I won’t say it”.


    Arceus nodded in return, and for a time, the two of them simply looked at the statue. As fantastic as it was, the fading daylight cast a shadow across the face, giving it a rather somber expression.



    ---



    Mallys looked exasperated as he leaned against the green brick wall, “As far as I’m concerned, leaving in the middle of the night flies in the face of common sense”.


    Arceus looked at him apologetically, “It’s the best thing I can do, unless you have a suggestion”.


    Mallys shrugged, “It’s not my place to tell you otherwise, and I understand why you’re doing it, but be careful would you?”


    “Kind of you for someone you hardly know” Arceus said half jokingly.


    “As I said earlier” Mallys started, “It’s the least I can do. This road is hardly traveled nowadays.” He looked bashful, “-and as much as I would like to think I’m modest, it’s nice to have someone appreciate the work I do to make my little world look nice”.


    “Well, it’s the least I could do for someone who would help me out” Arceus said, turning Mallys words right back at him.


    Mallys couldn’t help but smile, “If you ever need a place to stay...” he left the words hanging in the air.


    Arceus nodded, “Maybe sometime” with that, he walked off into the night as the Haxorus watched. The moon was only a sliver in the sky as Arceus walked, the only sounds the gravel under his hooves and the distant chirping of kricketune. ‘I guess’ he thought to himself ‘-if this Harvest Temple was apparently disappointing enough that I had a mental shutdown, I shouldn’t expect much’. Even as he thought this, he couldn’t help but feel a morbid anticipation for whatever it would be. Unavoidable he supposed.


    The night was long, but at least the wind had died down. All Arceus could do was walk.



    <><><>



    The sun was rising again as tall walls came into view. Arceus stared at the seemingly endless stretch of sun bleached stucco, broken only by a wide arch under which pokemon streamed in both directions. Arceus noted he was approaching from a side road that was essentially ignored, it branched off from a main thoroughfare that shot away elsewhere. Making his way through the throng, he received some glances, more so disapproving than anything else as the half-wheels along his back disrupted the flow of the crowd.


    The street was lined with double story mud brick houses with grass curtains for doors. Smaller pokemon could be seen leaning out of windows, either watching the crowds below or affixing miscellaneous ornaments to strings stretching across the road overhead from building to building. The lines stretched from side to side along the avenue, hanging with formless colorful material that hung so low at points that Arceus could touch it. There was a scent of something sweet baking, for a moment Arceus almost stopped walking just to take it all in. He ignored the audible cursing of the pokemon trying to walk around him as he slowed down before he spotted a spire of some sort rising above the other buildings. Thinking it was the Harvest Temple, he quickened his pace again.


    It looked like it was. The rising spire was actually a gigantic obelisk rising into the sky, situated right in front of a massive structure. It was a dome, ringed with white pillars heavily contrasting the red surroundings. Terraced steps lead up to the entrance, the white stairway covered in pokemon sitting in lively conversation and the occasional merchant sorting wares on ragged carpets. Arceus attracted more attention this time walking up the steps, his white and gold colors playing off the white of the stairs accidently creating an almost regal aura.


    Needless to say, Arceus felt uncomfortably embarrassed.



    ----



    The air in the temple was stiff. Though a breeze blew through the entrance, it seemed to disperse before it left the antechamber. Soft voices floated through the hall as Arceus entered. A lopunny wearing a yellow sash over it’s left shoulder hurried over to him.


    “Many warm welcomes traveller to the Grand Temple of the Fourth Harvest. I am Mae Chee, a humble believer in prosperity for the world, what brings you to this sanctuary?”


    Arceus hid a sheepish look, “I’m sorry Miss Mae Chee, I don’t quite know myself”.


    She smiled at him, “No need for such formalities, it’s unbecoming; and it’s ok that you don’t know, guidance for the unknown is always a reason”.


    Arceus nodded and made a move to go in before Mae Chee stopped him.


    “Full apologies visitor, but I must ask, do the-” she hesitated, “-things attached to your back come off?”


    Arceus looked down for a moment in thought, “I uh, I don’t know, why do you ask?”


    “Oh oh, it’s not a bad thing” Mae Chee was quick to appear apologetic, “It’s simply that this temple’s corridors are somewhat thin and I fear they may cause undue stress in passage”.


    “You don’t need to be sorry” Arceus was quick to respond, “I get it, but I really don’t know” he craned his head to look back at the ring, “If you want you can try”.


    Mae Chee approached somewhat apprehensively. She looked at Arceus several times while reaching and retracting her paws several times. He nodded at her and she finally, tentatively grasped the outer edge and pulled. Arceus swayed slightly, but the rings did not budge. She pulled experimentally a few more times from different angles and both sides before returning to face him.


    “It looks like they’re firmly a part of you” she said, “Oh well, what will be will be”. With that, she lead Arceus into the temple proper. Aside from a few scattered pokemon that Arceus assumed to be tourists like him, the majority of pokemon inside wore similar yellow sashes in various places. The temple’s style he supposed. In one corner, a group of yellow sashes were in what looked like a prayer. Others wielded a sharp looking instrument, carving into boards of wood, the scratching sound dimly echoing throughout.


    Most importantly was at the far end of the room. A large symbol was etched into the wall, an arrangement of straight lines forming an intersected triangle. Underneath it, two pokemon were having a conversation, a floating shield with two swords crossed behind it and a mass of blackness, save for a strand of white along the top. Though he tried not to, Arceus could not help but stare. At a point, the black mass turned and Arceus suddenly felt a pressure as it stared him down with a steely blue eye. Though he averted his gaze, he felt frozen in place as the two approached.


    “Greetings to you” it’s voice was smooth. It ebbed and flowed like a tide, possessing a singular nuance of musical quality that washed over slowly like a blanket. Arceus was enraptured by the voice of the dark as it continued, “We do not usually play host to such exquisite looking pokemon such as yourself, so I fondly hope you can understand my interest”.


    Arceus was lost for a moment before coming back to himself, “Ah, I don’t look that great, I’m just a visitor, no one special” he inwardly grimaced for sounding like a fool in front of the clearly eloquent pokemon, “”I’m Arceus, and I just came to ask a few questions”.


    The dark pokemon seemed intrigued, “An unusual name to be sure, but a fine one regardless” it affixed Arceus with both eyes, “I am Darkrai, the head of this temple, and if it’s questions you have, I can answer them to the best of my ability”.


    “Thank you Darkrai” Arceus said, “It’s, well, not really an important question or anything, so sorry in advance”.


    “Don’t be” was the response.


    Arceus looked at Darkrai for a moment before looking away, “All I was wondering was if I was here some time before”.


    “Here before?” Darkrai said curiously, “As in, if you have visited the temple in the past and you do not remember doing so?”


    “Yes, yeah that’s it”.


    Darkrai was silent for a moment, “No, you have never been here”.


    Arceus looked at him in surprise, “Really? Not at all?”


    Darkrai spoke directly, “There’s no way I would mistake a pokemon of your stature and visage. I have never seen you before. Since that is the case-” Darkrai spoke with concern, “What precipitated the question?”


    Arceus explained the entirety of the past day to Darkrai who listened intently. The entire time, the other pokemon, the shield, simply looked straight at Arceus unwavering, to the extent that it was almost as if it was looking through him. Around them, the activity of the temple continued heedless of the exchange.


    “A strange situation to be sure” Darkrai said matter-of-factly, “If it is any consolation to you, I can offer the resources of this temple to assist you in undoing this affliction.”.


    Arceus was taken aback, “Thank you very much Darkrai, though-” he stopped, “It’s only been a day, I don’t think it will be a long term thing, just an intuition you know?”


    Darkrai simply nodded, “If you decide otherwise, my position will remain unchanged”.


    “You’re very generous” was all Arceus could say.


    “The harvest is such to provide for all. I would do the same for anyone because it’s simply right”.


    Arceus couldn’t disagree.


    ------


    Exiting the temple was like waking up in front of a window in direct sunlight. Taking a moment to get his bearings again, Arceus was surprised to see a flash of yellow scales, a familiar face in the plaza.


    “Mallys?” Arceus said hesitantly. The Haxorus was leaning rather unceremoniously on the base of the obelisk; hearing Arceus he looked at him and waved.


    “You know it’s not hard to find someone like you around here” Mallys said.


    “That makes sense” Arceus replied, looking himself over, “I suppose you just asked about something big and white”.


    “Could’ve worked” Mallys shrugged, “Actually I just asked if anyone had seen a pokemon that looked like a god”.


    Arceus was incredulous, “What- You mean?” he glanced around, “I mean, I don’t think... ah”


    Mallys almost laughed, but caught himself, “Sorry, not sorry, I just asked the questions” he looked behind Arceus at the temple, “-and it looks like the answers agreed with me”.


    Some time later they walked together along the outer wall of the town a quiet path in the shade of a line of trees. That is to say, shade for Arceus at least, Mallys walked close to the wall so the blades around his head wouldn’t snag on a branch or simply cut them off.


    “So no luck?” Mallys asked.


    “Nothing” Arceus shook his head in frustration, “I even got to ask the head of the temple-”.


    “Wait” Mallys cut Arceus off with an exclamation, “You mean you got to meet Darkrai?”


    Caught off guard, Arceus took a moment to reply, “Oh, yea, yes I did”


    “Huh...” Mallys nodded to himself, “You’re lucky then ya know? I’ve heard he’s really smart, usually always doing business with dignitary types and royalty. How did you get to talk to him anyway?”


    “I think he noticed me because I was staring at him”.


    Mallys’ eyes narrowed, “Seriously? I mean, I could pick you out from a crowd a mile away, so I can see it, but that just sounds silly”.


    Arceus sighed, “You’re the one who got the idea that I look like a deity”.


    “Fair point” Mallys trailed a claw along the brick wall for a moment, “But, if he didn’t know, then we’re back to square one”.


    Arceus was thoughtful, “Well if anything, Darkrai said I could use the temple’s resources I don’t remember sooner or later”.


    Mallys looked at Arceus strangely, “I’m sorry, what?”


    “Yea” Arceus started, looking at the trees, “Darkrai said that they offer the temple’s help to anyone in need”.


    “Then uh, why didn’t you take him up on that?”


    Arceus looked at Mallys, “I mean- I think- well, I’d think the temple really has a lot more to do than help out with a minor memory problem-” Arceus was cut off suddenly as Mallys smacked him lightly with a claw.


    “Idiot, what are you putting yourself down for? You literally don’t know why you ended up eating dust in the middle of nowhere” Mallys paused for a moment, “And- and, I never even asked you what you remember before any of this happened; what do you- what did you do before this?”


    Arceus couldn’t focus, “I don’t remember?” he said in a daze.


    Mallys looked at Arceus, jaw agape, “So you don’t remember ANYTHING?” Seeing Arceus nod, he covered his face with his claws, “Ah geez, this is not good at all, what the heck happened to you?”


    “You still think it could be the tourist thing?” Arceus asked, rubbing his head with one hoof.


    “The what?” Mallys looked at him confused for a moment before remembering, “Right, uh, I guess?”


    “I must have had the worst day then”.


    Mallys had to take a moment to compose himself. He leaned against the wall as Arceus slowly sat in the grass, “Sorry for hitting you Arceus, it’s just, you know, you already were acting foolish when you left last night, and now you’re just letting this opportunity pass. What were you thinking?”


    “I was thinking about it for a while” Arceus said, “If it was really just memory lost from some disappointment somewhere, I thought maybe it would just go away after a while”.


    Mallys shook his head, “I might have agreed with you if I didn’t know you don’t remember a thing. Makes me wonder if you were this thoughtless before”.


    “Maybe, maybe not” Arceus groaned, “How do you hit so hard?”


    Mallys flexed a claw, “I really only wanted to give you a little smack” there was something of regret across his face, “Suppose it’s muscle memory or something”.


    Muscle memory of what?
    Arceus thought to himself. Mallys probably didn’t know his own strength from living alone in the small temple for so long. “Yea Mallys, I’ll go back to see what they have”.


    “Go for yourself, not for me” was all Mallys said.


    Arceus knew Mallys was right. He felt uncertain again, he still didn’t know anything about himself, but he didn’t feel extremely concerned by the fact either.


    Is something wrong?



    Do I not care about myself?



    Mallys watched Arceus, who looked deep in thought. “You haven’t slept since yesterday have you?”


    Arceus looked up in surprise, “I- no”.


    Mallys shrugged, “The temple aint going anywhere. If you don’t mind, you could sleep right there if you wanted”.


    Arceus looked at Mallys for a long time, before simply nodding and spreading out on the soft grass.


    Mallys was bemused, “He really doesn’t have anything to lose huh”.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
  2. Required

    Required Lot 10 Underground Editor/Head Writer

    Over all I liked a lot of your prose. I'm not super into poke'mon only fics, but I'm willing to try it since I like your writing. I'll stay in touch with this. If you have time check out my fic too!
     
  3. Bosumin

    Bosumin Only good for finding music

    Thanks for the fixes Required! I've never been on top of grammatical stuff, so I might make more mistakes like that, but I'll try!
     
  4. Firaga Metagross

    Firaga Metagross Auferstanden Aus Ruinen

    Hey, welcome to the forums! It's always good to see some new authors cropping up. I'm generally not a big fan of the Legendary Pokemon, but idea of Arceus forgetting their deity status/powers and traveling on earth in search of their past is pretty interesting. I like the drip feed of world building we're getting here. It's pretty clear that a complex-ish society exists here like in any of the PMD games. Also looking forward to the further delving into Pokemon religion here, considering how much it factors into your first chapter.

    Most of my critique so far is just a lack of development for characters, but this can be forgiven considering it's only the first chapter. The amnesia plot definitely has the risk of falling into cliches, but most of my issues depend on what you do with your current start. I'm looking forward to what direction you take this whole thing.
     
  5. Bosumin

    Bosumin Only good for finding music

    Thanks Firaga, fun to be here. As for direction, I'm not too sure myself so I'll have to figure that out.

    Chapter 2: Sidewinder


    There was a ringing sound. A messy clanging shattering the silence of the morning. For a few moments all Arceus did was lay still, feeling the grass against him. Slowly, he rose, blinking in the dim morning light.


    Looking over, he saw Mallys in the same spot as he had been yesterday. He silently watched Arceus with half closed red eyes. There was a sharpness to them that didn’t make sense.


    “Did you” Arceus was startled, “-even sleep?”


    “Yes” the response was unconvincing in it’s singularity.


    Arceus ignored it, “What’s that ringing sound?”


    Mallys looked up into the air, “Sounds like the market bell opening for the morning” he looked at Arceus, “You gonna head in?”


    Arceus rose on his four legs, experimentally stretching each, one at a time, “I suppose so, but-” he stopped for a moment, “Don’t you have to take care of your temple Mallys?”


    Mallys smiled slightly, “It’s not the end of the world if I take a little break. You’re the most interesting thing that’s happened to me in years”.


    Arceus would have smiled back if he was able to.


    ------


    The walk to the temple was much more quiet in the morning. The market was off in a different part of town, the ringing continued as Arceus could hear a distant cacophony. The obelisk looked skewed with the sun rising directly behind it from Arceus’ perspective, and as he approached, he saw a curious ritual of sorts.


    Several acolytes of the temple, identified by the yellow garments they wore were congregated around a large bucket. As he watched, they threw the bucket high into the air, letting water spill out partially over a side of the obelisk, but mostly over them. He could see a heated discussion taking place as they prepared another bucket of water.


    “Conventionally an exercise in futility, but the point is the effort to realize the value of such”. Arceus looked over with a jolt to see Darkrai floating next to him. The shadowy pokemon looked at him with one blue eye, “Sorry”.


    “So uh” Arceus was lost for words, “It’s like a test?”


    “You could say that” Darkrai replied, “Perhaps more cynically, one could say character building” he motioned for Arceus to walk towards the temple with him, “It would be simple for a more aerially inclined pokemon to wash the tower in a single motion. To that end, the goal is not to clean it, but to acknowledge the ease of a united world over a divided one”.


    “That’s... really deep” was all Arceus could say. At this point, a particularly strong throw had hung the bucket off the top of the obelisk and a panic had ensued below as some of the group tried to climb the monument, a task rendered difficult by their own earlier actions.


    Darkrai looked away, “Truthfully, it’s a lofty expectation. But that’s why it continues, an expectation is not always an impossibility”.


    The sentiment flew over Arceus’ head. He nodded anyway.


    ------


    “The totality of your ‘forgetfulness’ is not something I can explain” Darkrai spoke apologetically. Having heard the full extent of Arceus’ unfortunate condition, he had looked through a number of books before returning to him. They stood off to the side of the entry to the temple, watching the group that had finally managed to cover the entirety of the obelisk with water. Pokemon sat or lay in various positions around the plaza, presumably drained from the earlier efforts.


    “Huh...” Arceus felt a sinking feeling.


    “That being said” Darkrai continued, “What your friend said about the, ‘tourist syndrome’ or however it is referred, there is a chance that that could be a possibility”.


    Arceus looked at Darkrai, “What do you think I should do then”.


    “This is just a theory” Darkrai said, “It’s up to you to decide what you must do. But maybe if you continued as you had when you first came to this town, you’ll find this ‘Object of Supreme Disappointment’ so to speak”.


    “So where would I start? Where would I go?”


    Darkrai looked at the ceiling, “Despite this temple being referred to as Grand, it’s hardly so compared to some of the structures in the world. I know many such places, but perhaps you should ask your friend first. I know only the place, not the surroundings; as it is I have hardly left this town in years”.


    Arceus took a moment to absorb the suggestion, “I, well, I guess I have to thank you again, for everything”.


    Darkrai was impassive, “I have to be frank in this regard, your plight is one of a kind to me. It’s very cruel what happened to you, and for some reason, I feel obliged to help as best I can”.


    Arceus found it almost funny, “I guess that makes two now. Pokemon seem to really want to help me out”.


    “I can’t say for sure” Darkrai said, “But there’s something to you, something inexplicable, but almost beautiful”.


    “If you’re calling me beautiful, I guess I can take it” Arceus didn’t really know what to think.


    “If that’s how you interpret as such” Darkrai shrugged, “I’m sure you’ll figure everything out”.


    ------


    Mallys couldn’t help but laugh, “The Object of Supreme Disappointment, oh wow. I mean, it’s serious, really serious, but can you really expect me to react otherwise?”


    Arceus shrugged, “It’s my problem, and I guess if I’m going to figure it out, that’ll just be a part of it”.


    Mallys looked at Arceus seriously, “Yea, you’re right, I guess”.


    “So what do you suggest?”


    “You mean, where would you go?” Mallys thought about it, “There’s a big sanctuary in the village of Aibai. It’s known for that kind of- uh, spiritual cleansing and stuff like that”.


    It wasn’t as if Arceus needed much convincing, “It’s a start. Where is it?”


    Mallys pointed with a claw, “The other way, back past where we started. It’s a few days of travel by foot”.


    Arceus was undeterred, “Not like I have a better way to spend my time”.


    “So you’re leaving now?”


    Arceus nodded, “I’ve done this before right?”


    Mallys made a face, “Right, right”.


    -----


    It was late in the night when Arceus and Mallys reached the small temple again. Arceus watched in the dim light of hastily lit candles as Mallys polished the statue again. It looked like he was tired, his technique lacked much of the finesse he had previously and he seemed to be distracted.


    “Well that’s that, if you’re ready we can go” Mallys seemed content when he spoke.


    “Huh?” Arceus was confused.


    “We’ve done this before” Mallys said lightly, “You can’t really expect to just wander around by yourself can you?” for a moment he seemed to wait for a response, but continued anyway, “You know, you don’t have a say in this, I’m coming with you”.


    “O-ok”


    “Anyway” Mallys went on, “I’m not that tired right now, so let’s go. You want to go right?”


    “Well yea” Arceus regained his composure, “If you want to go, then we’ll go. But if you’re coming, you better help me”.


    “That’s the plan” as Arceus walked away, Mallys looked around the temple one more time. In a single, silent motion the Haxorus wrapped his arms around the statue of Ho-Oh, holding it tightly for a moment. Then he followed Arceus outside.


    <><><><>


    The sun was high in the sky, perfect compliment for a breeze if there was one. Arceus and Mallys were on a rock in the center of a steam, Arceus sitting in the somewhat dignified position that his rings forced upon him, while Mallys lay on his side. Arceus watched the rushing stream, counting floating branches as a few basculin gawked at him from under the water. Mallys busily chowed on a collection of berries he had picked from various trees for the last hour.


    “Strange question” Mallys said in between mouthfuls, “Do you need to eat or anything? Or since you don’t have a mouth do you photosynthesize or whatever it’s called?”


    Arceus looked over at Mallys, “Beats me. I haven’t really thought about it” Arceus looked back at the water, watching the reflection of the light off the water, “It’s probably the photo thing though”.


    “You know-” Mallys threw a berry at Arceus’ head, it missed and landed in the water, “It’s probably those rings” he drew a circle in the air with one claw.


    Arceus didn’t know enough to disagree, so he nodded, “Anyway, how close are we?”


    Mallys looked at a waterfall in the distance, “We’ve been walking for what, 3 days? Actually we’re only a few hours out”.


    “Really?” Arceus sprang up at this, “We gotta go then”.


    Mallys looked at Arceus in surprise, “Alright, let’s go”.


    The definition of go was more than Mallys expected as Arceus took off in a gallop down the path. Mallys made to run after him, but tripped and fell in the water. He realized his tusks were stuck partially in the sediment of the riverbed and sighed to himself. At the very least he thought, he would catch up eventually.


    -----


    The rolling hills seemed infinite, quickly tiring Arceus out. As he crested what seemed like the tallest hill yet, he could finally make out thin tree lines on the large mountain that had been looming ahead for a while. It’s peak stuck out at an odd angle to the left, countless yellowish humps protruding around it. A portion of the mountain was a brilliant green, a massive forest stretching from the base to the top of one of the lower peaks, while curiously the other side was nearly bare. A mess of zigzagging terraces were cut into the side of the mountain, and small figures could be seen moving along them.


    Also at the base of the mountain was a large village, presumably Aibai. Rows of buildings formed from thick wooden logs topped with a silvery metallic cover stretched outwards from a large pool that was ringed by a donut shaped building.


    Mallys trudged up the hill out of breath. Stopping beside Arceus, he took in the scene, “It’s been a long time”.


    “You’ve been here before?” Arceus said, looking at Mallys.


    “It was so long that I might as well not have. It’s changed a lot”.


    “Then let’s see how much it’s changed” Arceus began to walk down the hill, Mallys trailing behind.

    “Where do you get that energy from anyway” Mallys shouted after Arceus who turned back to look at the Haxorus.


    “Good question” was all he said before turning back.


    ----


    Walking down the main street, Arceus could see many pokemon walking around with metallic adornments. There was a constant din as they continually shouted over each other, trying to sell various objects.


    “I do remember this” Mallys spoke quietly to Arceus as they walked, “It’s an old trick, trying to sell you authentic souvenirs” he made a face at one of the vendors who was eyeing them who backed off quickly before turning back to Arceus, “It’s not, not at all, and I don’t know how or why but I have a very good source for that”.


    “I have no money, but I’ll keep it in mind” Arceus was more focused on navigating the crowd than whatever Mallys was going on about. It was a losing battle, the crowd got thicker the closer they got to the pool. While the two of them generally towered over the crowd, Arceus could see other large pokemon having the same troubles further down the street. He looked at Mallys with wide eyes, the response was a nod.


    It was almost a whole hour before they could make their way to the outer ring. Crossing to the opposing side on the foothills of the mountain, they could view the pool from a slightly elevated spot. Arceus was carefully looking it over, his eyes narrow. Mallys was uninterested in the pool, watching Arceus for a reaction.


    “So, disappointing huh?” Mallys said hopefully.


    “It’s um-” Arceus looked for the right words, “It’s a hot spring?”


    “It is” Mallys replied, “Pretty hot from what I remember too”.


    “Then where’s the spiritual cleansing part?” Arceus looked at Mallys, “Where’s the sanctuary? Or was that a personal experience?”


    “No really, that’s what everyone says” Mallys looked indignant, “You know, like mountain air is good for the body and stuff?”


    Arceus said nothing for a moment, looking back at the pool, “This plus having to deal with that crowd was really annoying. But nothing’s happened either”.


    “Not disappointing enough I guess?” Mallys gave Arceus an apologetic look.


    “I guess not” Arceus felt tired, “Maybe this won’t be that easy”.


    “Don’t worry about it” Mallys made a face at Arceus, “It’s like a trip you know?”


    “Some kind of trip if the goal is to have the worst time imaginable”.


    “I heard someone say once that if the result is what you want then the effort was worth it” Mallys paused, “I think”.


    “The result that I want...” Arceus trailed off. He realized with a start that he’d never thought of it in terms of remembering who he was. Rather, he had considered it as simply solving a problem. “I want to remember myself”. It was unconvincing.


    “You don’t sound like you want to” Mallys said, “I think we need to take a moment to put this all in perspective. I kinda need it too” Mallys gestured at Arceus, “Lay it out for both of us, it’s your show after all”.


    “Well, I-” Arceus started.


    “Actually wait” Mallys interjected, “Don’t say well, you say that often, just own it. Be real!”


    Arceus wondered for a moment what it meant to be real, but took the advice to heart, “I don’t know why I am here, and I also don’t know who I was before this happened” Arceus looked at Mallys for reassurance, he waved with a claw to continue, “Since we have nothing to go on and no leads other than your suggestion, we’re looking to find something so disappointing, it will jolt me into remembering things in the same way I forgot them”.


    Mallys made a face, “When you say it like that, it sounds really silly. But, there really isn’t any other way to say it when I think about it” Mallys kicked up dust with one foot as he thought, “It’s not that bad though, even if this trip won’t solve anything, we’ll probably run into someone who knows something eventually, right?”


    Hearing Mallys say that made Arceus feel a bit better, “You’re right” he sighed, “So what do we do now?”


    Mallys looked at the sky, “It’ll be late soon, and as much as I know you’d want to go right away, I’d rather rest here tonight” Mallys grinned, “-and to that end, I won’t tell you anything about where we could go next”.


    Arceus gave Mallys the best rueful look he could manage, “I guess you have me chained to you now. I wasn’t even planning to run off just so you know, I’m tired too”.


    “Now you’re being sensible, let’s go!”


    “Yea, lets” Arceus started walking, then spoke again, “Thanks as usual Mallys, I- I needed that”.


    Mallys looked at Arceus, still smiling, “Don’t mention it. In fact, I should be the one thanking you”.


    “For what?”


    “Oh you know, just-” Mallys kind of waved his claws in the air and didn’t finish.


    Arceus didn’t get it, but went along anyway, “You’re welcome then”.


    --------


    There was a pain in Arceus’ neck. The previous night he had attempted to sleep in a different position, leaning himself against a slope. Mallys assisted in this by digging a recess for his rings to rest in and so it was. This obviously did not agree with his body and now he was paying for it.


    Arceus groaned and shifted back to his normal sitting pose, stretching his neck from side to side in an attempt to alleviate the pain. He looked around blearily, Mallys was nowhere to be seen. Arceus didn’t care, he just wanted to rest more. He was able to doze off for some time flitting in and out of sleep until suddenly he felt something cold on his head.


    He blinked and was still for a moment before he started to look up. As he did this, he heard Mallys pipe up.


    “Wait, wait! Don’t do that yet, let me get it off first” Arceus froze in place as he felt Mallys gently take the thing off his head, “Sorry, I just thought it would be funny” Arceus looked at Mallys who was holding a pair of large round objects.


    “Mallys, what are those?” Arceus was curious as he slowly woke up.


    “Donuts!” Mallys exclaimed, “Cold donuts that is, like chilled. It’s an Aibai specialty”.


    “I don’t uh, have a way to understand it, but how do they taste?”


    Mallys seemed slightly agitated, “You know that’s just the thing. I would have been fine with one, but I got two because I was thinking of you, without remembering that you couldn’t really-” he gestured with the donuts, “-eat one. But anyway, it’s a real energy booster. Sugar for days”.


    Arceus nodded, “I don’t get it, but I can understand the feeling, at least I think so”.


    Mallys took a big bite out of one donut, “Anyway, when I was out earlier I remembered that there was supposed to be some kind of shrine up on the mountain; a few locals say it’s still there too”.


    “Shrines, temples, pools, a lot of, uh, sacred stuff in a way-” Arceus was thoughtful, “Like, I’m thinking now, what if the thing that was really disappointing was a rock or some natural formation”.


    “I get what you mean, but it doesn’t make much of a difference” Mallys said, “We’ll just visit whatever we can get until something sticks”.


    Arceus nodded, “Sounds good. A shrine then? What kind?”


    Mallys shrugged, “They didn’t specify. It’s probably something similar to the spring, good health or something along those lines”.


    “Let’s go then” Arceus nodded at Mallys who nodded in return, “I think you should finish your donuts first”.
     
  6. Bosumin

    Bosumin Only good for finding music

    I bought a new duster recently, never realized how amazing it is to just wipe the dust away.

    Chapter 3: Sweet Sensation

    The sun was midway through it’s path across the sky as they made their way up the zig-zagging path of the mountain. There was little in the way of vegetation save for small weeds dotting the ground, miserable yellowish clumps that more than once tripped Mallys. Whatever had cut the path into the mountain was thorough, the rock walls were smoothed, lacking jagged edges and protrusions.


    It didn’t seem to be a frequently used path. Arceus and Mallys encountered few pokemon on their upward trek, a few sightseers looking off at the rolling plains and the occasional local carrying various objects back down the mountain.


    At a point around halfway to the peak of the second highest spire, they found a pathway leading under a rock arch to an enclosed area. Long sharp rocks jutted upwards forming a cover over a circular area. Light filtering in through the cracks between the rocks lit up patches of grass, greener and fuller than the shrubs on the slopes.


    A few pokemon milled about in relative quiet. Along the walls formed by the rock arrangements, there was an array of items, a broken wagon, a faded pickaxe, a crumpled pile of material that looked like it was used to wrap something. Some of the pokemon looked briefly at Arceus and Mallys as they came into the clearing, but looked away after a moment.


    Mallys nudged Arceus and motioned straight ahead. A large entrance was cut into the mountainside. The top was rounded slightly, both sides of the hole supported by large beams of wood criss-crossed with dead vegetation.


    “Hey hey, what brings a couple of brutes up here?” a voice called out to them.


    Arceus and Mallys turned to see a Lurantis approaching them. The bug like pokemon was covered in dust and mud in several places, it’s pink coloring along its body was faded, and nearly all of it’s left antenna was gone, leaving a little stub. It looked them up and down with obvious disapproval and a small frown.


    “It doesn’t matter how big you are, we’ll still stay here” the Lurantis spoke defiantly.


    “That’s fine, you don’t need to move” Arceus was visibly confused, but he tried to be friendly anyway, “We’re just tourists”.


    The Lurantis looked at him suspiciously, “This high up the mountain? I doubt it”. Around them, the assorted pokemon were watching carefully.


    “No really” Arceus said, “We just wanted to see a shrine that’s supposed to be here”.


    The reaction was immediate. Scattered murmurs and whispering erupted among the pokemon surrounding them. Mallys looked around uncomfortably before looking at Arceus who didn’t seem to notice.


    “So, is there a shrine here?” Arceus asked.


    The Lurantis waved a scythe arm, silencing the other pokemon, “There is, it’s in the tunnels behind you” she looked at the pair as if evaluating them, “The old mines can be pretty dangerous though, I wouldn’t go looking if I were you”.


    Arceus was about to reply when Mallys wrapped an arm around Arceus’ long neck and forcibly walked him towards the entrance to the mountain, “We’ll figure it out, we’re pretty tough anyway” he made a painfully fake smile at the Lurantis who glared back but made no move to stop them.


    ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ


    “Mallys” Arceus let himself be dragged along the tunnel by the agitated Haxorus, his hooves leaving a line in the ground, “What’s wrong?”


    “Being daft is something you’re good at” Mallys replied, “That was obviously a situation”.


    “You mean they were going to attack us?” Arceus could tell the pokemon outside weren’t friendly, but he didn’t think there was hostility.


    “All I can say is that it wouldn’t have been a very good time” Mallys shook his head saying this. He stopped, letting go of Arceus who took a moment to right himself, “Although, that might also be a good thing for us”.


    “How so?”


    “When you asked them about the shrine, it really set them off. This shrine must be something important to them” Mallys looked at Arceus as he said this.


    “So, then it would be important to us?” Arceus said.


    Mallys shook his head, “Not quite. The locals in town who told me about the shrine said it was nothing more than passing gossip at best, so if the group outside considers it something so important when it’s barely a conversation starter to other pokemon-” Mallys paused for effect, “Then to us, who have no context or connection, it would seem like a whole lot of nothing”.


    Arceus considered this for a moment before his eyes lit up, “Like a massive disappointment!”


    Mallys nodded, “Right” he looked ahead into the darkening tunnel. It was illuminated by the glow of clusters of green mushrooms, “Luckily for us, it looks like we have a light source”.


    As the pair set off down the tunnel, Mallys looked back briefly at the receding light of the entrance, spotting the Lurantis and a few others watching from the entrance. He scowled at them and all except the Lurantis disappeared from view. The plant pokemon simply stared back at him until Mallys turned away.


    -----


    The winding caves were a rough experience. The height varied wildly in comparison to the width which somehow remained consistent. Tunnels at points were almost entirely blocked by piles of rubble that reached the ceiling, easily navigable to smaller pokemon, but impassable to the pair, especially Arceus' rings. Mallys made quick work of the blockages, smashing them left and right, something he seemed to have a good deal of fun with.


    They arrived at a split in the road. There was a greater concentration of mushrooms here, they were larger in size and glowed brighter, creating a more noticeable green hue. Stalactites and stalagmites stretched across the floor and ceiling in both directions. Mallys experimentally tapped a stalactite, it broke off and fell into Mallys claw.


    “This must be a naturally formed cave” Mallys said examining the rock, “I guess the mining operation broke into it some time ago”.


    Arceus looked at the rocks in wonder, “Huh” he looked at Mallys, “If this is a natural cave though, does that mean we missed the shrine?”


    Mallys shook his head, “I have a feeling this shrine is hidden, if you know what I mean. Plus, the mine so far hasn’t been anywhere nearly as dangerous as that Lurantis made it sound”.


    “You’re right” Arceus said, looking back at the tunnel they had come from, “Do you think it’s really that dangerous?”


    “All we can do now is figure that out” Mallys looked at the mass of rock formations in both directions, “Can I assume you can defend yourself or at least have tough skin?”


    Arceus was unsettled by Mallys’ words, but nodded, “I- I think I can defend myself, and my rings are pretty tough”.


    “I was just asking” Mallys replied, “I’ll take the lead, so don’t worry about it”. With that said, he headed left, smashing stalagmites and stalactites with with a reckless abandon as Arceus followed.


    Eventually they were stopped. Mallys looked around the wide cavern for a moment, the walls were solid, lined with mushrooms and rock protrusions. “Looks like a problem”.


    Arceus stared at the tunnel in front of them. It sloped at a steep angle, ending in a rippling pool of greenish water. Though mushrooms under the water illuminated it somewhat, though the glow was greatly diminished.


    “Do we have to go the other way now?” Arceus looked at Mallys.


    “It was just out of sight for you, but the other end was caved in” Mallys said looking at the water, “This is the only way forward”.


    Arceus glanced apprehensively at the submerged tunnel, though not needing to breathe, he was already imagining getting lost underwater.


    Mallys threw a few pebbles into the water, “We could go back too, it’s not like seeing this shrine is that important, and plus it’s a kind of disappointment in and of itself”.


    “That’s right, huh” Arceus poked at the water with a hoof. It was cold, “Not finding it after how far down we’ve come” there was a pause, then Arceus seemed to be energized, “But that makes me want to find it even more, cause now I’m anticipating it- doesn’t that make the chance for disappointment even greater?”


    Mallys blinked in surprise, “That’s a good point”.


    “Mallys” Arceus said, “Are you sure that the shrine is somewhere past here?”


    “I’m fairly certain-” the Haxorus started to respond before Arceus interrupted him.


    “Actually that doesn’t matter. If there’s nothing there, then that’ll be disappointing too”.


    “You’re really into this now” Mallys said, “You’re getting me excited”.


    It was true. Arceus felt really good for some reason. In a strange way the thought of disappointment was exciting to him. It was kind of creepy. Maybe this could be the one, he thought.


    “Can you swim Mallys?” Arceus asked.


    “I can manage, I’m more concerned if you can swim”.


    “I can do it” Arceus replied, “Besides, I don’t need air”.


    “Oh, that does work in your favor doesn’t it” Mallys seemed convinced, “Alright, you should go first then, easier for me to backtrack if I start running out of air”.


    “Will you?” Arceus asked.


    “I won’t. Don’t look back at me, just focus on reaching the other end”.


    Arceus couldn’t help but feel a bit worried, “What if the path branches?”


    “Pick the largest tunnel” Mallys said, “Hope for the best”.


    “I can’t just do that” Arceus was indignant, “What if I lead you to a dead end?”


    For a moment, there was a distant look in Mallys’ eyes, “That’s nice of you to think of me, but I’ll be fine, I promise”.


    “How can I be sure of your promise?”


    “If it was really such a great personal risk, don’t you think I just wouldn’t do it?” Mallys was impassive, “It’s not like I’m trying to hurt myself”.


    “If you say so” Arceus still was uncertain, but there was something in Mallys’ tone that convinced him. For a moment he looked at the dark water, feeling both excited and apprehensive in equal measure.


    “Don’t think about it, just go” Mallys spoke from behind him.


    “You sure do tell me not to do a lot of things” Arceus said in mock exasperation.


    “I guess I do” Mallys smiled.


    Arceus dived into the water in a single fluid motion. Mallys waited for a moment, then jumped in after him.


    /////◔ ⌣ ◔////


    There was a particular silence in the water, Arceus thought that it would be nice to simply drift in the water for a while, but reminded himself to keep going. His hooves moved, one after another in a motion that didn’t look like it would do much, but was surprisingly effective in moving through the water.


    The caves looked the same in the green glow of the submerged tunnels. Strangely, there weren’t any aquatic pokemon to be seen, maybe it was the depth?


    Arceus felt relieved, ahead of him was the other end of the water. The caves had been uneventful, there wasn’t even a single branch in the path. Feeling a burst of energy, Arceus pushed forwards breaking the surface. The cave was different from the one they had come from, the mushrooms were much brighter, emitting a lime green color. The air was stagnant, the sound of dripping water echoed from somewhere.


    Arceus pulled himself out of the water. Settling into a good position to dry off, he watched the pool patiently for Mallys. As minute after minute passed, it became harder for Arceus to remain still, he had made a promise not to worry, but could he really be blamed?


    There was a ripple in the water that Arceus noticed immediately. Suddenly the surface exploded upwards in a mass of water, momentarily blinding Arceus. Blinking a few times as the water settled, he looked back at the water, his eyes widening in shock.


    Two protrusions pinkish in color extended upwards. A pink head with two beady eyes stared at him from the water, regarding him with a strange glint of determination.


    “Yo” was all the Lurantis said.


    Arceus panicked. Without acknowledging the other pokemon, he dived back into the water. He looked around underwater in the green glow, seeing nothing. Focusing hard, he peered down the tunnel, but he saw nothing.


    Arceus resurfaced as suddenly as he had entered the water. There was a wild glint in his eyes as he looked at the Lurantis, who was sitting idle on the cave floor, watching him.


    “Did you see my friend underwater?” Arceus spoke quickly, slurring some of the words together.


    “I’ll assume you meant the Haxorus” the Lurantis spoke dryly, “I didn’t see anything, the underwater tunnels are a huge network anyway, so it’s a coincidence that we even ended up in the same place”.


    The Lurantis’ words were for the most part lost on Arceus who was already pacing in a circle.


    “Then, Mallys might be in trouble” Arceus looked at the water, “I have to go help him, I have to-” he stopped. Mallys words rang in his mind. If he went to look for Mallys unnecessarily, then it would mean Arceus didn’t trust him. But if Mallys really was in trouble, then he would lose his friend to empty words. His head swarmed with all sorts of bad thoughts, and Arceus felt ready to jump at the water in an instant.


    But he remembered Mallys’ eyes in that moment. When Mallys promised him, there was a light in his eyes for a single moment that made his red eyes appear deep blue. Even if it was just a trick of the light, the conviction that Mallys had was enough to make Arceus pause.


    I have to trust Mallys, he thought to himself. But how well could he trust someone he had known for less than a week? All the same, how much of a friend could Mallys be in that short a time?


    “It’s ok” Arceus said to himself, “He promised”. Slowly, steadily, he forced himself to stand still, and surprisingly he felt calm.


    The Lurantis was confused, “Who promised what? Are you ok?”


    “I am now” Arceus said, “Mallys will be fine”.


    “Yeah, you probably hit your head underwater” the Lurantis gave Arceus a strange look, “I hope you get better”.


    Arceus ignored the statement, “But, why are you down here?”


    “A couple of tourists getting lost in the mines would bring us more trouble than we already have. Didn’t think you guys would do something like this though”.


    Arceus looked at her, “Is the shrine close by?”


    The Lurantis shrugged, “I only know that it exists, not where it is. Anyway, why do you care so much? From what I’ve heard, it’s barely anything”.


    “Well, it’s hard to explain, but ‘barely anything’ would actually be good for us” Arceus said to the visible suspicion of the Lurantis.


    “I see”.


    “Anyway” Arceus continued, “Since I’m waiting for Mallys, what’s your name”.


    “Mallys huh” the Lurantis made a strange face at the mention of his name, “You can call me Mel, I don’t see a point to telling you my full name” she said.


    “Alright Mel” Arceus replied, “I guess now-” he was cut off by a splash. Mallys emerged from the water, looking none the worse for wear, “Mallys!” Arceus said happily.


    Mallys stuck a claw out from under the water as he floated in place, “Sorry it took so long, I had to go back once, didn’t get a good rhythm the first time” he looked over at the Lurantis, “Oh hey. I suppose it makes sense you would follow us”.


    Mel seemed shocked, “As I explained to your friend here-” she seemed lost for words, “-we are kind of obliged to deal with you”.


    “We?” Mallys asked.


    “All the other pokemon you saw up top” Mel explained, “We’re kind of a community, not that you would understand”.


    “You’re right, I probably wouldn’t” Mallys shrugged, “ You ready to keep going Arceus?”


    “Yep, let’s go Mallys” Arceus looked at Mel, “Are you coming with us Mel?”


    “I’ll be behind you” Mel said, “Just making sure you don’t do anything else stupid”.


    “Mel huh? Thanks for watching out for us” there was a sincerity in Mallys voice, but he and Mel were glaring daggers at each other, something which Arceus seemed completely oblivious to.


    ------


    They entered a large cavern that seemed to stretch forever. Boulders of all sizes were strewn around the floor, and the usual green glow was tinged with red from odd growths scattered around the room. The bulbous masses looked like a different type of mushroom, covered in a layer of fuzz that seemed to move slightly. Arceus poked one with a hoof, it sank slightly inwards, expanding to its original size when he stopped.


    “What are these Mel?” Arceus was curious.


    Mel poked one with one of her scythes “I don’t know- oh” she stepped back as the bulb she had poked exploded. For a moment there was nothing, then a smoky smell began to waft around the area. Arceus looked at the remains of the mushroom in surprise, Mallys frowned slightly.


    Arceus looked around the cave, “Where do we go from here?”


    “I don’t know” Mallys blinked seeming bothered by something, “Let’s look around”.


    Mel leaned against a wall with her eyes closed as Arceus and Mallys searched the huge chamber. As Arceus looked up and down at columns of rock extending from the floor to the ceiling, he was distracted by a noise.


    “Arceus” it was Mallys, who had an unusually serious look on his face, “I- I trust you”.


    “Mallys?” Arceus looked at him in confusion, “Is something wrong-”.


    He was cut off as Mallys began to violently cough, stumbling against a rock with a loud thud, “Sorry” Mallys said before he collapsed in a heap.


    Arceus was frozen, any words he had were lost in the air. As he watched Mallys quietly groaning on the ground, he could barely speak, “What, what- happened?”


    There was no answer.


    Arceus looked around, panicking again, “Mel? Something’s wrong”.


    Again there was no answer and Arceus felt very alone.


    --


    Arceus wandered the chamber in a daze. Every time he heard Mallys cough, he jolted in fright.

    What do I do? What happens now? Over and over he thought this, before stopping suddenly in realization. If Mallys was coughing, maybe if he brought him back to the water, it could help.


    As Arceus ran back to where Mallys lay, he could only barely register Mel right next to him for a moment. Mel gave Arceus a steely glance as she suddenly slid under him. Hooking a scythe arm around the middle section of his rings, she bodily threw Arceus into the air using the momentum of her movement.


    Arceus didn’t comprehend much as he bounced off the side of a rock. Standing up, he looked at Mel who had assumed a strange position. “Mel?” he asked.


    “Immune huh-” Mel’s stare was unwavering, “I can’t read you, but I sure can read your friend” she glanced at Mallys form, “You’re the most tenacious intimidators yet, can’t get us to leave so now you go after what’s most important to us?”


    “Intimidator? I didn’t mean to intimidate-” Arceus was cut off as the Lurantis raked both scythes across the side of his face, sending him off balance. Stumbling around, he was more confused than anything, “We’re not bad, really! You’re confusing us with someone else”.


    “And I have a really good reason to believe you don’t I” Mel replied sarcastically. She seemed dissatisfied, though Arceus had been tossed around a bit, aside from being a bit dirty there wasn’t a mark anywhere on him.


    Arceus didn’t know what to do again, it was becoming a trend. I guess I’m lucky that I’m tough he thought to himself as Mel continued to attack him.


    Mel was unnerved by Arceus. Again and again she struck him from all angles, using every attack she could think of. However many times Arceus was sent flying or knocked over, he didn’t appear injured at all, it seemed like Arceus wasn’t even paying attention anymore.


    “Is that it? Are you trying to mock me?” Mel shouted at him, “It doesn’t matter, I’ll take you down!”


    Arceus was about to reply when there was a loud cough. He turned to see Mallys leaning against a rock, staring at him intensely.


    “Arceus” Mallys’ voice was barely above a whisper, “You have to do something. Fight back, die, I don’t know, just do it” with that, Mallys collapsed unconscious.


    “I have to decide?” Arceus said to himself. For a moment, he looked between Mallys’ inert form and Mel who was angrily staring at him. I thought this would just be like a trip. Maybe I’m just naive. Arceus took a moment to compose himself, “Hey” Mel didn’t move as Arceus addressed her, “I’m going to hit you”.


    Mel looked at him blankly before shaking her head and charging at Arceus again. I don’t know anything about fighting, Arceus thought, But here goes nothing.


    Mel raised her scythes over her head, preparing to slash Arceus across his front. Suddenly he lowered his head and backed up. Mel realized that Arceus was going to headbutt her, but couldn’t stop her momentum in time. As they collided, Mel was sent backwards rolling along the floor in a heap while Arceus almost toppled sideways from the force.


    Regaining his balance, Arceus looked around, spotting the Lurantis lying on the ground a distance away. He walked over, feeling guilty for a moment before resigning himself to what he had to do.


    “Ugh, sorry” Arceus said to Mel. With little fanfare, he lifted his foot and stomped on the Lurantis, knocking the air out of Mel in an instant. Arceus repeated this twice, and Mel was unconscious.


    Arceus was by himself now, the silence of the cave returning.
     
  7. Bosumin

    Bosumin Only good for finding music

    His yolk is easy, his burden is seventeen ninety-nine plus tax


    Chapter 4: Ezdakit

    They sat together on the edge of a cliff in the moonlight. Arceus was fidgeting nervously.


    “Are you angry at me?” Arceus looked at Mallys, “I-I’m sorry”.


    Mallys looked exasperated. He shook his head and pointed a claw at his throat.


    “But...” Arceus was confused, “I brought you to the water right?”


    Mallys rolled his eyes, but smiled nonetheless.


    “Huh” Arceus looked at his hooves for a moment before looking up in surprise, “Are you saying you can’t talk?”


    Mallys nodded slowly, patting Arceus on the back.


    “I suppose I look like a fool” Arceus said, “Today really hasn’t been a good one”.


    “You can say that again”.


    Arceus and Mallys looked behind them in surprise to see Mel, looking a little worn out, but otherwise not injured.


    “Mel! You’re better” Arceus sounded happy saying this.


    “Yea, I’m lucky some pokemon around here know how to heal” Mel said.


    Arceus nodded contentedly.


    “You’re impossible” Mel said shaking her head, “What am I supposed to think? I try to kill both of you, almost did for that matter. But you didn’t kill me, in fact, you brought me all way back up here- and now you’re happy to see me?”


    “I am” Arceus nodded, “Can’t speak for Mallys though, but neither can he”.


    “Yea...” Mel said apologetically, “The mushrooms down there, they release a something that kind of acts like eating glass”.


    “Eating glass?” Arceus looked back at Mallys who didn’t seem to react.


    “Not like I know the specifics” Mel shrugged, “What I do know is that it really messes up the voice”.


    “Does that mean Mallys won’t be able to talk ever?”


    “No, no way” Mel said, “It’s just something that takes time to heal, and uh, I guess I’m right in assuming he’s already had water?”


    Arceus nodded. For a while, no one spoke.


    “Sorry, you know” Mel shifted from side to side as she spoke, “I uh, I misjudged you”.


    “That’s OK! We’re sorry too”.


    Mallys and Mel both looked at Arceus in surprise, “Sorry for what?” Mel said.


    “Well, we weren’t exactly forthcoming with you either”.


    “That doesn’t really matter now” Mel shook her head, “I attacked you guys first”.


    “Well I...” Arceus paused, “We all made mistakes, so I forgive you”.


    Mel was shocked, “Just like that?”


    Arceus nodded, “I’m sure of it. Mallys does too, I think” they looked at Mallys who shrugged, “That’s probably a yes”.


    “It’s rare that a complete stranger would be so kind” Mel said, “I guess I owe you one now”.


    “Not really, I don’t need anything” Arceus replied.


    “Oh, I guess I’ll go now” Mel shuffled awkwardly, “Safe travels stranger”.


    Arceus watched her slowly walk away. She got a good distance away before she froze in place. For a moment Mel was still before suddenly she turned around and sprinted back towards them.


    “Actually” she stopped to catch her breath, “Do you uh, still want to see the shrine?”


    “That’s still an option?” Arceus asked, “Isn’t there a bit of ill will towards us”.


    “Trying to kill you was my idea” Mel said sheepishly, “-everyone else wouldn’t go that far”.


    Arceus considered this for a moment, “Ok! Let’s go” he glanced over to Mallys, “Do you want to come with us?”


    Mallys shook his head and waved them away with a claw.


    “That’s OK” Arceus said, “It makes sense that he would rather just hang around”. Nodding at Mel, they made they way back towards the mine.


    /[--------]\


    Arceus and Mel walked through the winding caves again.


    “So the first time, were you just following us the whole time?” Arceus asked.


    “Yea, all the way” Mel scratched her head with a scythe, “I actually messed up, back when you were asking how I found you, I said I came from a connecting tunnel”.


    “And?”


    “That underwater tunnel was a straight shot, no branches or anything” Mel said as she walked, “If you could see underwater, you’d know that”.


    Arceus blinked, “Now that you mention it, I think I remember that. Guess I forgot”.


    “That’s just how it was then” Mel seemed to want to drop the topic.


    “So what about all the pokemon up top” Arceus tilted his head upwards, “Are you all like a family?”


    “Might as well be” Mel smiled, “We just look out for each other”.


    “I guess you don’t trust outsiders then”.


    Mel’s smile disappeared, “It’s not quite that. First off, no one really makes a point to come this far up the mountain, at least this side. The ones that do, more often than not are usually thugs trying to scare us”.


    “You were saying something about that” Arceus said, “It was that you wouldn’t leave no matter what; that’s what I remember”.


    “It’s exactly as it sounds. The thing is that the town at the base of the mountain, Aibai, it’s looking to expand”.


    “Expand?” Arceus was curious, “What do you mean”.


    “You walked through the town to get up here, at least I think you did”.


    Arceus briefly remembered the crowds, the pushing, the time wasted, “Right, it’s really crowded”.


    “Yeah” Mel nodded, “So the other half of the mountain is basically a park, pokemon go around there all the time. Then you got this half, a barren slice that’s lots of free real estate, get what I mean?”


    Arceus was putting the pieces together, “So the town wants you guys gone so it can build houses?”


    “More or less” Mel shrugged, “-and the only thing in it’s way is us washed up miners, so they’re just trying to remove us by force now”.


    “Oh? You all are miners?”


    Mel waved her scythes at Arceus “Yep! That’s why I’m here, these can cut rocks easily” she looked down, “Well, it was why we were here, the mine ran dry a long time ago”.


    “Then why do you stay?” Arceus was puzzled.


    “It’s a bit complicated” Mel said, “Speaking of complicated, think you can explain why you guys came up here? It’s ok if it’s a long story, we’ll still be walking for a while”.


    Arceus nodded slowly, “That’s a strange story, you might not believe it. But anyway...”.


    Arceus explained in detail the events of the past few days, his forgetfulness, and their search. Mel’s expression increasingly reflected incredulity as the explanation continued, eventually she took to watching the ceiling with her mouth slightly open.


    When Arceus finished, Mel was lost for words, sputtering incoherently for a moment before she began to laugh.


    Arceus simply nodded, “I think I can understand that reaction”.


    “So you’re-” Mel broke off in another fit of laughter, “you guys are looking for something that’s so underwhelming, you’ll remember who you are because of it?”


    “Yes, that’s it”.


    Mel had to catch her breath for a moment, “That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard” she took a deep breath, “-but you’re so earnest”.


    Arceus gave her a pointed look, “It’s the only option I have. Anyway, you seem a lot better than you were earlier”.


    “Really?” Mel said, “I guess, now that I know you’re not that bad, I feel a bit better. Also-” Mel paused for a moment, “There’s just something calming about being around you”.


    “Me?” Arceus’ eyes widened.


    “Yeah, maybe you were a therapist or something before you forgot”.


    “I don’t really see myself as a therapist” Arceus said.


    “Well uh, what about a massage therapist?”


    “Massage?” Arceus looked at his hooves, “How do you think I could do that?”


    “When you stomped on my face, that was pretty forceful” Mel said.


    “Don’t remind me”.



    ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ




    The cavern was the same as they had left it. Arceus examined a large patch of the red mushrooms as Mel messed with something in a corner.


    “Now that I look at them closer, they really do look dangerous!” Arceus exclaimed.


    “I don’t know why those things grow here” Mel looked up at Arceus as she said this. She stared at him for a few moments in confusion before speaking again, “Wait, you don’t have a mouth at all do you?”


    “No, not at all” Arceus said.


    “That’s really weird” Mel said, walking over to him, “So you’re like one of those psychic pokemon or something, like, your voice just comes out of your face somehow”.


    “One way to explain it I guess” Arceus said, “Anyway, the shrine’s around here?”


    “Yea, follow me” Mel walked back to the corner with Arceus in tow, “If you’re looking for disappointment, then this definitely fits the bill”.


    For a moment, Arceus thought he was being tricked. The shrine was a little hole in the wall that Mel had uncovered, it was a simple arrangement of small sticks surrounded by bits and pieces of things.


    “Is this the shrine?” Arceus looked at Mel.


    “Pretty disappointing huh”.


    Arceus looked over the shrine again. There was no order or pattern in the buttons and string lying around, it was simply a collection of objects. “What- what for?” was all he could ask.


    Mel shrugged, “You ever heard of a perfectly safe mine?”


    It took him a second. “Oh” Arceus felt a pit in his stomach, “I’m sorry”.


    “Don’t be” Mel seemed unconcerned, “It’s been years, there’s nothing left but a little bitterness”.


    Arceus looked away, “So when you tried to kill us...” he couldn’t finish.


    “Yeah” Mel said, “I thought you figured out somehow this was here. It really was a spur of the moment decision” Mel slowly covered the small shrine with rocks, “So, was that disappointing enough?”


    “I- I don’t think I could be disappointed by that” Arceus said, “Now I’m just sad”.


    “Huh. Oh well, wanna go back now?”


    “Alright”. Arceus felt his head spinning. He had felt pretty bad for beating Mel up earlier, but now he felt even worse.







    {=} {=}



    Arceus and Mel stood awkwardly on the path, illuminated by the moonlight. There was a stillness in the air, the sun would rise soon.


    “So, I never really asked, but I heard your friend call you Arceus?” Mel idly poked a rock as she spoke.


    “That’s me” Arceus said, “I don’t really know if it means anything”.


    “Hopefully you’ll find that out”.


    Arceus looked at Mel, “Thanks Mel. Didn’t you say at some point that you had a full name?”


    “I did” Mel said, “It’s Meiulula. You’re meeting a lot of pokemon with M’s in their names huh?”


    Arceus thought about it for a moment, “Huh, you’re right”.


    Mel nodded, “Sorry about everything Arceus, really”.


    “I should be the one saying sorry” Arceus said, “We really did just come out of nowhere, so it’s fair that you would be suspicious of us. I guess that’s something we should watch out for in the future”.


    “Hah, yea” Mel seemed distant, “Good luck then, it was nice getting to know you”.


    “I feel the same way” Arceus said.


    Arceus walked away to where Mallys was as Mel stared off into space.



    -----



    “Hey Moomoo, what are you up to?”


    Mel looked at the ancient Nidoking and made a face: “Nothing really Pasa, just couldn’t sleep”.


    Pasa grinned at her, “I’d say that’s fair, since those strangers brought you back up here, all beat up and the like. But-” he crossed his arms: “-you say you got hurt in a cave in, so either I haven’t really known you for years, or maybe I’m being half-informed”.


    Mel huffed indignantly and was about to speak when Pasa started again.


    “You don’t have to tell me. You’re alright now, and that’s all that matters. That does bring up something I’ve wanted to talk to you about for a while”.


    “And what is that?” Mel said.


    Pasa folded his arms, “You need to go”.


    “What?” Mel was taken by surprise.


    “I mean that you need to actually live your life” Pasa was serious as he said this.


    Mel looked at him curiously, “I’m still going to say what. Say it straight old man”.


    “You’re messing with me”.


    “Does it matter, just tell me already”.


    Pasa sighed dramatically, “You need to experience the world, like one of those novels”.


    “See, now I get you” Mel said, “If you were just asking me to live life then it wouldn’t make sense because I’m already doing that”.


    “If you call living bumming around with us old folk, then you’re right” Pasa made a face, “Seriously now, there’s nothing left for you here”.


    “I don’t need anything” Mel retorted, “I’m fine with just being here”.


    “No, you’re not, and I shouldn’t need to tell you that you have your whole life ahead of you” Pasa shook his head: “Don’t you think if you went out of your way to talk to those strangers that it means something?”


    Mel looked away, “That’s only because they were here you know. Just curious, you know”.


    “You just said you know twice. For being better than most at reading pokemon, I wouldn’t think you’d be so open yourself”.


    “Shut up Pasa” Mel looked defeated, “If- if maybe, just maybe, I were to leave, what would you do?”


    “You equate old age to feebleness huh?” Pasa smiled, “I’ll tell you not to worry as many times as you need, we’re all tough here and that’s a fact. Do you think a little business types from Aibai can scare us?”.


    Mel sighed, “I just don’t want to forget about everyone”.


    “You won’t” Pasa said simply.


    “Where do I go?” Mel looked at the dark sky, tinged a deep purple as the first signs of the sun appeared. The air was stiff and a light chill floated around.


    “I don’t know, at least anywhere but here” Pasa scratched the cracked armor on his chest, “Decide for yourself, that’s what adults do”.


    “I guess then I should say bye to everyone” Mel said.


    Pasa raised a claw, “If you go doing that, you’ll never leave. Go now, everyone understands”.


    Mel blinked, rubbing her face with one arm, “You’re just telling me that”.


    “If I hug you will you believe me?”


    Mel looked around the predawn darkness.


    “Come on” Pasa said, “No one’s watching”.



    (。◕‿‿◕。)



    In the early morning, the pokemon traffic in Aibai wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been previously. Arceus and Mallys ducked into an alleyway to rest for a moment and figure out their next move. Piles of empty crates lined the walls of either side, tin cans lying haphazardly in rivulets of water running along tiny canals in the ground.


    Arceus stood with his back to a grated window, out of which came plumes of white steam as Mallys watched him.


    “This is nice” Arceus said as the steam slowly rolled over his tail all the way to his head, “You want to try Mallys?”


    “No thanks” Mallys’ voice was still somewhat raspy. His arms were full of more donuts, four this time, he took a bite, speaking through a full mouth, “Are you sure it’s ok to do that?”


    “I don’t feel anything, so it’s probably good” Arceus stepped out of the steam, “Oh, cold”.


    Mallys idly held a donut up to his face, looking at Arceus through the hole in the center, “You’re uh- how do they say it, spontaneous, no?”


    A bit of condensation had somehow formed on Arceus’ rings, he didn’t seem to notice.


    “I want to try a donut” Arceus said, “Maybe I don’t have a mouth, but you could try pushing it into my face, I might absorb it or something”.


    Mallys tilted his head, “You really want me to do that?”


    Arceus nodded, standing tall in front of Mallys. Hesitating for a moment, Mallys slowly took one of his donuts, pressing it into Arceus’ face.



    ლ(´ڡ`ლ)



    Mel moved gracefully across the rooftops. She tried to scan the crowd, but found she could barely focus on the multitude of shapes and colors.


    “How am I gonna find them in a crowd like this?” Mel said to herself. She settled down on a slanted rooftop, drawing a few curious looks from the crowd below. For a moment she sat still.


    “I can do this. I just have to look for big ugly golden rings” chastising herself, she rose again and bounded to another roof with renewed energy. Her confidence paid off, as she jumped from one roof to another, she saw a flash of gold in the daylight and an unmistakable shape. Smiling to herself, she poked her head over the edge of the roof and immediately stopped.


    For a few seconds she wasn’t sure what was going on. In the alley below, the Haxorus was rubbing a large donut across Arceus’ face. The ground was littered with crumbs, and three more donuts, one of them half eaten lay on an overturned crate.


    “Do you taste it yet?” Mallys asked Arceus.


    “No, keep trying” Arceus said.


    “What are you guys doing?” Mel asked. Mallys turned to look up too quickly and the rest of the donut fell to the ground.


    “Huh? Is that you Mel?” Arceus looked around in confusion, “I can’t see you, I have glaze in my eyes”.


    Mallys looked between Mel and the donut on the ground as Arceus wiped his eyes with a hoof, “You made me drop it” he sighed, “That sucks”.


    “Oh, sorry” Mel was apologetic, “I just had to ask, you can’t really blame me”.


    “Personally I can” Mallys said. Mel rolled her eyes.


    “There we go” Arceus looked up at Mel, a few lingering crumbs still on his face, “What are you doing over here?”


    “I was looking for you guys” Mel said, “What were you doing?”


    “I was trying to eat a donut; Mallys was helping me” Arceus replied.


    “Trying?” Mel pondered this for a moment, “You don’t have a mouth, where’s the ‘try’ part?”


    Arceus shook his head, “Didn’t really work out I guess” he said, “Why were you looking for us?”


    Mel jumped from the roof, landing in front of the two, “I’m gonna follow you” she loudly announced.


    Arceus’ eyes widened in surprise while Mallys merely frowned, “Follow me?” Arceus said, “Why?”


    Mel thought about Pasa: “I want to experience the world” Mel looked at Arceus, “I want to go places like you said you were doing”.


    “That makes a lot of sense” Mallys said dryly, “Hang around with the pokemon you tried to kill”.


    “Don’t be like that Mallys” Arceus said, “Mel is ok, we talked about it yesterday, but you weren’t there”.


    Mallys shrugged, “If you say so”.


    “So will you let me hang out with you?” Mel asked hopefully.


    “Sure” Arceus looked at the donuts, “It’s not like this is some super important quest, we’re just going places”.


    “Yes!” Mel shouted happily, surprising the two, “Uh, why don’t we put the past behind us and try this again, I’m Mel, nice to meet you”.


    Arceus stared at Mel for a moment, “I’m Arceus, nice to meet you”.


    Mallys said nothing, merely looking at Mel.
     
  8. Bosumin

    Bosumin Only good for finding music

    Who ever came up with the names for different steaks? Hangar steak? Wild.


    Chapter 5: Hotel 2



    For the next few days, the newly formed trio wandered the countryside, trying to figure out where to go next. It was slow going, Arceus insisted on exploring anything mildly interesting on principle, and as a result there was much disappointment to be had, but nothing that really stood out. Luckily, this constant stream of distractions seemed to at least make him ignorant of the dirty looks Mel and Mallys would frequently exchange.


    They had settled for the night on a ridge shaded by trees. The treeline ahead was starting to thin, and the vegetation had already started to look less lively with an ashen green hue. Arceus had somehow fallen asleep on his side, he lay on two large logs, using the space between to fit his rings. Mel and Mallys sat apart from each other, watching each other.


    “Alright, this is what- the fifth night we’ve done this?” Mel sounded tired, “This has to stop”.


    “I could continue, but if that’s what you want” Mallys said.


    Mel made a noise of frustration, “I called Arceus weird before, but you’re so much worse”.


    “No one’s ever complimented me like that before” Mallys looked away in mock bashfulness.


    “It’s not a compliment- ugh, you’re messing with me” Mel buried her face in her scythes, “Why are you like this?”


    “Because I don’t trust you? Isn’t that more than obvious by now?”


    Mel rolled her eyes, “I get that much, but that’s exactly it. Like, a few days ago with the water”.


    Mallys nodded, “Yes, you tried to drown me. What about it?”


    “It’s just that- well” Mel remembered the events regretfully, “Wouldn’t any pokemon normally be more concerned with the fact?”


    “I was concerned” Mallys replied, “I just didn’t think it was necessary to say so at the time”.


    “So you kept going?” Mel was confused, “But what about...” she gestured at his throat.


    Mallys shrugged, “I’ll admit that was my mistake. I assumed that since you had failed once, you wouldn’t try again” his eyes narrowed, “A mistake I will not repeat” he said coldly.


    Mel looked at him silently for a few seconds, “Then can we both just consider the whole thing a big mistake?”


    “You didn’t think it was a mistake before now?” Mallys asked.


    “Yes, it’s-” Mel shouted before freezing up. She looked over at Arceus’ sleeping form before starting again in a lower voice, “Yes, it’s my fault, are you going to keep doing this?”


    “I’m just concerned about someone so violent following Arceus around” Mallys looked at Arceus as he spoke.


    Mel looked away, “I messed up I know...” she trailed off before looking back at Mallys, “Does that mean the reason you didn’t mention the water was because of him?”


    There was a flicker of something in Mallys’ expression, “Now you’re thinking”. The Haxorus seemed less tense, “I don’t really care too much about myself, but I’d rather make sure Arceus is ok”.


    Mel wasn’t sure how to respond. She remained silent.


    “Common ground then” Mallys said, “Otherwise you wouldn’t be following us”.


    “I-” Mel could hardly express herself.


    “Why don’t we agree to disagree then?” Mallys spoke matter-of-factly, “I’m sure we both have our own reasons for being here, but let’s focus on what’s important. Our unfortunate friend”.


    Mel felt the tension leave her body. “Ok” she had a sudden burst of energy, “I- I don’t want to dislike you Mallys, I really don’t”.


    Mallys was unmoved, “Do what you will, as long as we can agree in this one thing I don’t care. In fact-” he looked at Mel with a strange look in his eyes, “If it doesn’t work out for you, and you still feel bitter, then try again. Get rid of me if you want, I only have two conditions”.


    “What?” Mel couldn’t comprehend what he was saying. The tension came right back, “What do you mean?”


    “For one, make sure Arceus doesn’t see” the Haxorus ignored Mel’s words, a wild gleam in his eye, “-and second, take care of him like you would your own family”.


    Mel was frightened, “What are you talking about Mallys? Why would I do that?”


    Mallys shrugged, “That’s a lot of questions. Let me put it this way, if you did, you would be doing a lot of pokemon a big favor” Mallys looked away, “Keep it in mind, but let’s stick to what we know for now” he said.


    As suddenly as it arrived, the energy in the air disappeared. Mel felt drained as she looked at Mallys, not sure what to think about the dragon anymore.


    “I suppose it goes without saying that I’m watching you” Mallys said, “Still though, it’s not like I can distrust you forever. We’ll figure it out later”.


    Mallys abruptly turned away, lying on his side. Mel was frozen in place, still processing what happened. She released a breath she had been holding for a long time.



    \ (•◡•) /



    Massive cracks splintered across the reddish rocky ground. Black liquid leaked out of holes in the ground, occasionally erupting and leaving a slick surface. A foul smell lingered in the air as the sun blazed overhead, baking the group. Arceus was relatively fine, his pure white coloring reflected most of the sun in comparison to Mallys, who despite maintaining a stoic facade was clearly uncomfortable. Mel felt partly invigorated by the sun, natural for a Lurantis, but was put off by the viscous black liquid that frequently ran in steams over the road, stepping over these was a conscious effort on the part of all three.


    “Where are we going today?” Arceus asked.


    “It’s called the Sankuanz Geyser” Mallys replied, “It’s a natural spout of, whatever this stuff is”.


    “Is it well known?” Mel experimentally poked the stuff, “Aw, this is disgusting” she waved a claw to no avail, the black substance slowly slid off her claw instead leaving a trail.


    “World famous, at least that’s what I heard” Mallys said, “Anyway, it should be near here”.


    Down the road, the conditions were worse. The red plains surged with scattered flames, apparently the liquid was flammable. The smaller fires leapt and bit at each other, occasionally swallowing puddles of the black fluid to become ferocious blazes. Off in the distance, a massive wall of fire could be seen, roaring up and down the cracked plains.


    Mel was visibly shocked by the distant inferno; Mallys looked at it in disbelief.


    “That’s amazing” Arceus exclaimed, “Good thing it’s over there”.


    “For now at least” Mallys looked at the pools of liquid.


    “I don’t want to think about that” Arceus said.


    As they continued, the sky became overcast, thick clouds blocking out the sun. They hung low, enough such that the massive fire almost touched the bottoms. There was a back and forth between the walls of grey and red, each pushing against the other like a strange painting.


    “You don’t look so good Mallys” Arceus said.


    “I’m fine, don’t worry about it” Mallys waved him off, squinting into the distance, “There’s more important things on the horizon”.


    A large squat pokemon was running, or at least trying to run, towards them. It had rough grey brown skin with stubby flat rounded feet. A collection of holes ran along it’s back and on it’s nose, a few of them full of sand.


    “Wha- What are you lot doing out here?” the Hippowdon yelled. Coming up to them, he stopped to catch his breath, “Ah... the rain’s coming in, why are you outside?”


    “Do we need to be somewhere else?” Arceus asked.


    The Hippowdon looked shocked, “I’m sorry, do you even know where you are?”


    “No” Arceus shook his head.


    “Oh no, you’re a bunch of drifters eh? Vagrants just wandering around like, you’d think the gigantic fire would curb that” the Hippowdon shook his head.


    “Actually, we are kind of tourists” Arceus replied, “We wanted to see the, uh, the San-something geyser”.


    “That’s even better, stupid tourists” the Hippowdon was about to speak again when he looked at the sky frowning, “Never mind, let’s get out of here”. As he said this, the skies opened, giving way to a light drizzle.


    Mallys looked at the fire in the distance, “You’d think this would be a good thing”.


    “The key word in that is ‘think’, and if you think that, you’re wrong” the Hippowdon said simply.


    “I can accept that” Mallys said.


    ------


    Despite the apparent urgency, it was slow going following the Hippowdon through the rain. Mallys offered more than once to carry him, a suggestion that was ignored. The rainwater had begun to pool on the ground in spots, strangely it seemed to move all around the black liquid, but did not mix with it.


    Mel blinked in the rain, “If this is such a bad thing, why are you out here if you’re so smart?”


    “I know my limits, and I know how to be careful, unlike you all” the Hippowdon said, “See, we’re here”.


    In front of them was a tall building made of stacked rings of red stone. It was suspended in the air on a series of poles, a large one in the center, and several smaller poles ringing the edge. The facade was dotted irregularly with holes, and an assortment of tubes ran across sections. Resting on top of the structure was a large glass sphere. It was hard to tell from the ground, but the sphere was constantly spinning in place. A set of zig-zagging stairs led up to a low wide entrance with a sign overhead bearing a logo of an arrangement of circles.


    Arceus didn’t have very long to take in in, the Hippowdon hurried them up the staircase as the rain poured down. It fell in dense waves now, and a low roar of thunder could be heard in the distance.


    There was a cold breeze blowing in the chamber they entered. Arceus shivered slightly, hoping the water would dry quickly. Looking over, he felt slightly better, Mel and Mallys looked miserable in comparison, while the Hippowdon seemed unaffected.


    “Are you guys ok?” Arceus asked.


    Mallys glanced at Mel, then back to Arceus, “I think I speak for both of us when I say we find the cold more than disagreeable”.


    Mel nodded in confirmation but said nothing, grimacing.


    “Just get over it” the Hippowdon said, shaking his head, “I’m hardly partial to it myself but that’s just the way it is”. He walked off as he said this, leaving the group standing in the airy room, the sound of falling rain growing stronger.


    “Wait, what do we do now?” Arceus said, looking around in confusion.


    “Dry off” Mallys said.


    [][]-----[]


    Sitting in the entrance, they watched the rain. Distant voices echoed from somewhere, but there was otherwise a quiet punctuated by the occasional crack of thunder.


    “I’ve never seen this much water before” Mel said. As far as one could see, the rain soaked the red plains. Though most of the smaller fires around had gone out, the blaze in the distance was still going strong, columns of steam mixing with the clouds.


    “You’ve never seen the ocean?” Mallys asked.


    “The mountain was my entire life, so not really”.


    Mallys made a face, “It really must of been if you think that’s the only mountain in the world”.


    “I only called it that because- I mean I know there’s other mountains, it’s just that....” Mel trailed off in frustration.


    “Well, I haven’t seen the ocean either” Arceus said helpfully.


    “You don’t know that” Mallys said.


    “He’s still right though” Mel gave Mallys a pointed look, “It doesn’t matter if he saw it before, only if he saw it now”.


    Mallys shrugged, “I’m sure if this keeps up, we’ll see a lot of oceans” he paused, “-and mountains”.


    Mel shook her head in exasperation as Arceus looked between them, “Don’t be like that Mallys” he said.


    “Sorry Arceus, it’s just playing” Mallys grinned at Mel as he said this.


    Despite the levity, Mel suddenly remembered Mallys’ words from before. She shuddered thinking about how unhinged he had seemed, a stark contrast from how casual he seemed now.


    “Yea” Mel was quiet, “It’s uh, really nothing”.


    “Oh, ok” Arceus replied.


    They sat quietly for a while before Arceus spoke again.


    “Uh, what does the ocean look like anyway?”


    “It’s blue” Mallys started, “Just blue as far as you can see. I really don’t know how to describe it other than that” he was silent for a moment, “-and uh, there is more than one ocean too, if you didn’t hear me earlier”.


    “That’s my fault” Arceus said, turning to Mel, “Mel, do you think every ocean is blue?”


    “Maybe?” Mel said, “But that would be kind of boring, you think?”


    “Huh, well we won’t know until we see it” Arceus suddenly whipped around to Mallys, “Don’t tell us either Mallys”.


    “Alright, ok, I get it” Mallys said, “I won’t” he paused, “Although, if you’re talking like that, it sounds like we’re in this for the long run”.


    Arceus nodded, “I was confident earlier, but I was thinking about it, and I’m definitely prepared for the possibility of not getting anything done soon. But uh, I’m not making you come, you can go home whenever”.


    “No, it’s not that” Mallys said, “Just wanted to clarify”.


    Arceus thought for a moment, looking distant, “Why are you guys still with me anyway?”


    “Why?” Mallys sounded subdued, looking away.


    “Yea, why?” Arceus nodded to himself, “You said before that it was fine if you left for a few days, but you’re still here and it’s been a few few days”.


    Mallys was caught off guard, “A few few?” he asked in confusion.


    Mel nudged Arceus, “You can’t say you have a few of a few, it makes no sense in words” she leaned closer whispering, “Though it technically makes sense”.


    “Oh! Sorry” Arceus shook his head, “I meant you’ve been with me a couple of few days now”.


    “Yes, yes I have been” Mallys was impassive. He shot a disapproving glance at Mel who was trying to little success to contain her laughter, before looking at the ground.


    “So?” Arceus said, “Why are you still here? I mean, not that it’s a bad thing”.


    Mallys was silent for a moment, “I said before that I lived in that little temple for thirty or so odd years you know. Never really seen much myself, guess I’m just looking for something to do. You know?”


    “I guess I do know” Arceus said before turning to Mel, “What about you Mel?”


    Mel shrugged, “I want to see the world. Not entirely my own idea, but I’m liking it so far”.


    There was a moment while Arceus thought about what both Mallys and Mel said. “You guys are really nice” he paused, “Well, not much happening here, I’ll go look for someone!” He abruptly moved and disappeared through a hall, leaving Mel and Mallys sitting in silence.


    “Did we mess up?” Mallys stared straight forward saying this.


    Mel shook her head looking at him, “I think that’s just him. On that subject though, I’m in the clear, I was being upfront” she narrowed her eyes, “-in comparison”.


    “Oops, caught that didn’t you?”


    She rolled her eyes, “If anything, it’s more surprising Arceus didn’t catch that. But I don’t really think you’re gonna tell the truth either way, so I’ll leave it at that”.


    Mallys made a face, “Mmmm, good call”.


    “You’re the one who said you can’t distrust me forever. That won’t really mean anything cause I’m never going to trust you at this rate”.


    “I can work with that”.


    “Shut up!” Mel rolled her eyes, “Are we just going to pretend like this is ok? He’ll notice eventually”.


    Mallys frowned, “I- you think?”


    “Yea” Mel said, “He’s a bit daft, but not dumb”.


    “What do you suggest we do then?” Mallys said.


    Mel said nothing for a moment, “I don’t think either of us can solve anything right now...” she trailed off, “Let’s go on your idea, just help Arceus, and if we can’t agree-” Mel gestured, “Then we’ll just say ‘Agree to Disagree’”.


    “Agree to disagree?”


    “Just like that” Mel nodded, “-and we’ll just forget about it”.


    “That sounds like a terrible idea” Mallys said.


    “Right back at ya then, what do you suggest?”


    They sat there for a while. Then a while longer. The rain was falling, the fire was burning, it was kind of a bad day.


    “Agree to disagree” Mallys voice was low and strained.


    “Agree to disagree” Mel replied. They said nothing else.



    (>人<)



    “What’s your name?”


    “Can you tell me first? I’m not good with strangers”.


    Arceus looked at the chunk of ice curiously, “I’m Arceus”.


    “How do you spell that?”


    “I uh-” Arceus thought for a moment, “I don’t know”.


    “I heard that if you can’t spell your own name, it’s not your name at all” the miniature glacier said, giving Arceus a reserved glance.


    “Well my name really is Arceus” he said, “How can I convince you?”


    The tiny iceberg thought about it, “You could try to spell your name?”


    This was a tough one. For a while, Arceus stood in place making sounds while the little ice block watched.


    “A-r-s-e-o-u-s he finally said after a moment”. There was something strangely gratifying about spelling out his own name, and as Arceus watched, it seemed to satisfy the small cold stone.


    “Oh! You’re Arceus then” it said happily, “I am Toconoma. I know how to spell that”.


    “Alright Toconoma” Arceus said, “Uh, sorry, but what are you?”


    “What am I?” Toconoma looked confused, “What do you mean?”


    “What kind of-” Arceus cut off for a moment, “What kind of pokemon are you?”


    “Me? I’m a berger” Toconoma was still for a moment, “Wait, I meant Bergmite”.


    Arceus wouldn’t have known better either way, but nodded nonetheless, “I see. Anyway, this might sound strange, but what is this place?”


    Toconoma’s eyes widened, “You don’t know?” he sounded excited.


    Arceus looked away embarrassed, “I know, I probably should know, sorry”.


    “No no no, it’s not bad, not that bad. Actually, you’re the first pokemon I can tell about this place. It’s kind of exciting”.


    “Oh, r-really?” Arceus was surprised.


    “Yeah! This is the FRDC, or Fluid Research and Development Center. It’s a bit plain, but we’re one of a kind”.


    “In the world?”


    “I wish” Toconoma said with a hint of sadness, “Anyway, this facility was created to study the dynamics of oil and it’s vector reactions”.


    “Oil?”


    “That uhm, black liquid that’s outside. I hope I’m not assuming too much”.


    Arceus nodded slowly, “I get it, I think. So that’s oil? What kind of liquid is it?”


    “You might not know this, but the oil is why there’s fires everywhere” Toconoma had a surprising air of authority for his size, “Not only is it flammable, but it’s proprietary tension value is in excess of seventeen! It has the highest recorded internal movement resonance, and theoretically it is a near perfect replacement for water”.


    Arceus blinked, “I didn’t know a liquid could be that much. I guess if it could replace water, you can drink it right?”


    “I don’t know” Toconoma said, “It’s theoretical after all, we might have some around here if you want to though”.


    “I wish I could” Arceus said, “Anyway, we were brought here by a uh, a pokemon with a big nose”.


    Toconoma lit up, “Hey! You met Bolero? He knows even more about oil than I do, he’s really smart”.


    “Well, thinking about it now, he did seem like the type that would be in the know about a lot of things” Arceus said, “-about oil I guess”.


    “Who knows, maybe even more than that” Toconoma said happily, “Oh oh, if you’re a visitor, then I gotta take you to the Administrator. She runs this place”.


    “I’ll go with you, but I have to get my friends first” Arceus said.


    “There’s other pokemon?” Toconoma looked thoughtful, “I hope I can tell them about oil too”.


    Arceus hesitated, “I don’t know”.
     
  9. Bosumin

    Bosumin Only good for finding music

    The next innovation of 2019 is vocal coding language, calling it now


    Chapter 6> That's Strategic


    “Sorry” Mallys said, “You’ll have to repeat that one. I- I don’t think I heard you right” he looked at Toconoma apologetically, “Mel probably didn’t hear either, right Mel?”


    “I don’t know” Mel said noncommittally, “I stopped listening around the curve part or something”.


    “You mean the vertical mobility curve?” Arceus said. Mel gave him a strange look.


    “Oh come on” Mallys was frustrated, “At least have the decency to lie”.


    “I really don’t mind” Toconoma said from somewhere behind the Haxorus, “Most pokemon don’t even say anything when they ignore me”.


    There was an awkward silence for a moment before Toconoma, who didn’t seem to notice at all, started talking about oil again. Arceus listened with rapt attention while Mallys and Mel exchanged glances.


    “Huh, I feel bad now” Mel whispered to Mallys.


    “As you well should, you really blew it” Mallys replied, “Just- just don’t be so weird next time”.


    “You think I’m weird? You??” Mel looked down for a moment before shaking her head, “I won’t, I mean, I’ll try not to be weird OK?”


    Mallys smiled, “That’s good”.


    []


    “So basically, you’re like an expert in oil now?” Mel looked at Arceus curiously.


    “Well, I wouldn’t say expert, but Toconoma unofficially appointed me as an intermediate researcher”, Arceus seemed more confused than anything.


    “Tell me an oil fact” Mel said rather abruptly, “Like, something really cool”.


    Arceus was taken aback, “Cool? I er, well, uh...” he thought for a moment, “Oil was invented two thousand years ago by nomadic tribes of Houndoom as a means of faster travel”.


    Mel nodded, “How exactly did they do that?”


    “Uh, I don’t know what a Houndoom looks like” Arceus gave Toconoma a pointed look.


    “Houndoom run on four legs like you and me” Toconoma said looking at Arceus, “I forget exactly what they look like, but they used the oil to skate along the ground really fast”.


    Mel shrugged, “I still don’t really follow, but that sounds about right”.


    “Oh, oh!” Toconoma sounded excited, “You’re a dragon right?” he looked at Mallys, “Were you alive to see that?”


    Mallys was indignant, “I’m hardly over two hundred, that’s a long way off”.


    “Sorry, sorry. But aren’t there dragons that live that long?” Toconoma sounded hopeful.


    “I don’t... I wouldn’t know” Mallys said.


    “Huh, that sucks” Toconoma said, “Maybe one day I can find out and tell you!”


    “That’s very nice of you Toconoma. I look forward to it”.


    “I won’t disappoint you Mr. Mallys”.



    ----------



    Toconoma led them through a series of corridors to a central room. The cold air had been steadily intensifying, and now it was apparent why. A humongous hunk of ice moved about the room, making everything around it seem just a little more...blue. The Avalugg didn’t notice at first as the group entered, or maybe it just didn’t care.


    “Hey M-” Toconoma seemed to catch himself, “Administrator, heey, heeey”.


    The Administrator looked at Toconoma for a moment, then at Arceus and Co., “Did you forget where the main desk was again?”


    “Not at all!” Toconoma said, “These are my new fellow researchers, and uh friends too”.


    “Really?” the Administrator seemed surprised, “That’s very nice, thank you for letting me know”.


    Toconoma turned to face Arceus, “All done. Let’s go!”


    “Huh?” Arceus blinked, “What?”


    Before anyone else could say anything, Toconoma ushered them to an adjacent hallway. Mel and Mallys were exchanging confused glances while Arceus repeatedly looked back at the Administrator through the doorway.


    “Is an introduction supposed to last longer, or was I lied to?” Mel asked.


    “Generally yes” Mallys said.


    Toconoma looked at the Haxorus in surprise, “Wow, I didn’t know that either”.


    Mallys glanced at Toconoma disapprovingly, “Is that a joke?”


    “No, not at all” Toconoma said, “I didn’t mean to- sorry, really sorry”.


    “You- you didn’t know?” Mallys was confused.


    Toconoma was flustered, “My mother told me introductions need to be short or you’re just wasting time. M-maybe your’s are just different?”


    “I don’t think so” Mallys said, “That sounds like an exception to the rule”.


    Toconoma shifted uncomfortably back and forth, “It was ok back there when we talked with her though...” he trailed off.


    “Wait-” Mel cut in, “The Administrator is your mom?”


    “Yea, you saw that right?” Toconoma said, “I almost called her mom while she was working, and that’s like the biggest thing I’m not supposed to do. Honestly, I’m kind of embarrassed”.


    “I think I get that” Mel said.


    “Embarrassed for what though?” Mallys said, “I’m not sure what anyone could expect out of a kid?”


    Toconoma huffed, “I’m not a kid, I’m a professional” the Bergmite stopped, looking at the ground, “Actually, I suppose I am kind of a kid, it- it’s not good to lie”.


    “I guess not” Mallys said quietly.


    Mel looked at Mallys strangely for a moment before looking back to Toconoma, “Is your mom, uh, the Administrator, a researcher too?”


    “Not really” he said, “She’s just an administrator”.


    “Administrator of what?” Mel asked.


    “The hotel” Toconoma paused, “Uh, research doesn’t really make any money so this place is kind of a tourist resort too”.


    “Seems like the opposite of a conducive environment” Mallys said dryly.


    “I don’t know what that means, but you’re probably right” Toconoma replied.


    Mel nudged the Bergmite, “Don’t let him get you down, I don’t know what it means either”.


    “Anyway, when can we see the geyser?” Arceus shifted from side to side.


    “The geyser?” Toconoma made a face, “But that’s boring. If you really want to see it though, you have to wait”.


    “Wait? For what?” Arceus looked around.


    “If I had to guess-” Mallys’ interjected, “It’s the rain, isn’t it?”


    “That’s right” Toconoma said, “It won’t stop for another day or so, and then it has to drain for a day”.


    “But...” Mallys started, “That doesn’t make sense. Where does all the water come from? How does that fire continue to burn?”


    “I know oil, not water” Toconoma replied with an air of indifference, “It’s just what happens”.


    Mallys sighed, “Whatever, we wait. You’re lucky we’re not on a schedule”.


    “Hey!” Mel cut in, “It’s not his fault. He can’t control the weather” she paused for a moment before looking at Toconoma, “You can’t do that right?”


    “I wish I could control the weather” Toconoma pouted.


    “That doesn’t matter” Mallys continued, “I’m simply expressing my disappointment”.


    “Do it some other way then” Mel waved her scythes, “Toconoma, can you show me where I can eat something? I’m uh- I need to eat”.


    Toconoma led Mel away, leaving Arceus and Mallys.


    “You guys shouldn’t argue so much” Arceus said.


    Mallys shook his head, “We haven’t argued that much, you’re just worrying”.


    “Oh” Arceus thought for a moment, “But if I’m worrying, wouldn’t that mean something’s still wrong?”


    “Not really, but thanks for thinking of us. Mel and I have something worked out, we’re just getting used to it”.


    “Alright, that’s good”.


    “I suppose we’re stuck here for the time being” Mallys continued, “This is partially my fault for not actually reading into where we are going”.


    Arceus didn’t feel particularly bothered for some reason, “It’s not that bad, the geyser won’t go anywhere”.


    “It’s not that so much that as it is just wasting time. You still don’t remember anything, what if we wait too long and you forget that you were even trying to remember?”


    “I- wait” Arceus had to process Mallys’ question, “Can that happen?”


    Mallys shrugged, “You want to find out?”


    Arceus felt a chill run down his back.



    &%&%&%&%&%&%&%&%&%



    Mel didn’t feel hungry anymore. As she glanced over the collection of fruits again, Toconoma seemed frantic.


    “Do you not eat berries? I just thought that- you looked kind of green- I mean, I...” he looked at the floor.


    “I eat berries. I’m just not as hungry as I thought I was” Mel said.


    Toconoma perked up, “Oh, I get that. Sometimes I think I want something, but then I don’t really want it, or I forget I wanted it”.


    Mel nodded, “Yeah. I’ll eat it eventually, you don’t need to hang around for me”.


    “Are you sure?”


    “I just need a bit of time, just come by later”.


    Toconoma looked at the Lurantis, “Ok, see you!” he scurried away.


    Mel watched him leave, then back at the assortment in front of her. She made a face.


    “Are you going to eat that?” a voice came from beside her. Mel looked over to see a Combusken looking at her curiously.


    “I uh, what?” she said.


    The Combusken gestured to her food, “That stuff, are you going to eat it?”


    Mel looked over the food for a moment, “No”.


    “Then can I have it?” the Combusken seemed eager.


    “I guess”. Mel sat in thought as the chicken devoured the food, “Do you like lying?”


    The Combusken stopped and looked at her strangely, “I heard that liars get invariably smited, but that hasn’t happened yet. But I don’t think I’ve ever considered if I like lying. What do you mean?”


    Mel wavered for a moment, “Well, I have this friend, actually kind of more of a friend of a friend, like, I don’t dislike them, you know?”


    “How long have you known this friend?” the Combusken asked.


    “Not even that long, only a week or so” Mel made circles in the air with one scythe, “But I’m not sure of the direction we’re going, I feel like I’m doing something wrong”.


    For a moment there was silence, “Maybe you are if you’re telling all this to a stranger”.


    Mel blinked, suddenly becoming aware of what was happening, “Whu- I- Ghh...” she turned away for a moment, “Oh, I’m really sorry, really really, I can’t- I’m so-”.


    “It’s all past us now” the Combusken replied, “I can’t blame you, it was obviously something you had to let out; of course, also the fact that you let such a delicious snack go”.


    “Haa...” Mel was sheepish, “Sorry, the whole day just kind of caught up to me. I’m Mel by the way”.


    “It’s wonderful to meet you Mel, I am-” he stopped, “You can call me G, because of certain circumstances I can’t tell you my real name”.


    “Oh, alright” Mel was slightly intrigued, but tried not to show it.


    “That being said...” G continued, “I don’t really know if there’s something to be said about meeting someone else like this, but it was nice”.


    “Thanks for listening I guess” Mel said, “I hope I didn’t mess up your day”.


    “Not in the slightest” G said, “Uh, as for your problem, it sounds like you’re having a rough period. I think though, that it will get better!”


    “Do you think so?” Mel was hopeful, “You’re probably right”.


    “I don’t know about that, just my opinion really” G waved a claw, “You don’t seem like someone who would get in a bad relationship anyway”.


    “That’s right” Mel said, looking off into space.



    \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/



    “Since you’re not guests at the hotel, we can’t get into a room, but this is just as good” Toconoma sounded proud.


    Mallys looked around, “This is a storage closet”.


    “Only if you think it is” Arceus said from behind him.


    They had come into a room of middling size, filled with different sized boxes. Miscellaneous junk was piled on the floor and against the walls, and there was a damp smell in the air.


    “This is the best part” Toconoma slowly climbed up box after box until he was on top of a particularly large one, “These boxes are mostly empty, so if you open one, which I can’t do, then you have a great place to stay!”


    Mallys gestured with a claw and Toconoma moved to another box. With little effort, Mallys removed the top of the box and looked inside.


    He spoke after a moment, “It’s straw”.


    “Straw is really nice to sleep on, I do it all the time!” Toconoma said, “You wouldn’t believe how comfortable it is”.


    “I do know, just saying what it is for him” Mallys tilted his head back at Arceus.


    “Um, do you want to try getting in it?” Toconoma looked at the pair.


    “Not in the slightest” Mallys said, “Arceus?”


    “I’ll try it” Arceus said, looking over the box, “Do I just get in?”


    “Yes?” Toconoma sounded confused, “It’s a box”.


    For a while, Arceus tapped the box experimentally, craning his neck to look inside repeatedly. He was still for a moment before suddenly leaping up the side, unfortunately his back legs were briefly caught on the edge, Mallys rushed over and pushed them over while Arceus could only flail in place.


    Mallys looked inside, seeing Arceus experimentally wriggling around in the straw, “Is that comfortable?”


    “Actually it is” Arceus said, “It’s solid, but my ring also goes right through it so it works out! I’m even feeling kind of tired now, convenient”.


    “If you close the lid, it feels more comfortable!” Toconoma piped up from somewhere in the pile of boxes.


    Mallys looked around the room, “Arceus? Do you want me to close the box?”


    “Do it. It might be fun” Arceus said from inside the box. He watched as Mallys shrugged and replaced the lid on top, leaving him in complete darkness.


    “You’re...you’re fine in there right?” Mallys sounded concerned.


    “Yeah, everything’s ok, it’s kind of relaxing” Arceus’ voice was strangely muffled.


    “Hold on” Mallys said, “You don’t have a mouth right? You speak through psychic or something?”


    “I think?” Arceus sounded unsure, “I don’t know how it works”.


    “If it was telepathy or something similar, then it wouldn’t be dampened by anything” Mallys said, “So what’s going on?”


    “Oh oh, I think I know” Toconoma said, “I read once that some pokemon can make noise by vibrating air particles”.


    Mallys thought about it for a moment, “That sounds unrealistic, but it’s strangely the best possibility”.


    “I don’t really mind either way” Arceus said, “Why ask now though Mallys?”


    “Simple curiosity. You never know how the smallest things can help”.


    Everyone agreed.


    /* <><><><><> */

    /* */


    Mel was awakened by cold. She tried to ignore it, but the feeling persisted, leaving her extremely uncomfortable. It almost reminded her a bit of home. Taking a deep breath, Mel pulled herself up, opening her eyes to see Toconoma directly in front of her.


    “You’re awake” Toconoma whispered, “I was trying to think of how to wake you up, but I wasn’t sure if you’d get upset”.


    Mel glanced to the side where Mallys was asleep in a heap of junk. He was lucky, he probably didn’t feel anything through his scales, Mel felt a twinge of pain from sleeping on top of a box.


    Mel blinked in the dark, “What is it Toconoma?” The Bergmite seemed to have the same energy from earlier.


    “I was thinking about the geyser-” he seemed to catch himself, “Well, about how Arceus said he wanted to see the geyser, and I thought of something we can do for it”.


    “You could have told him some other time” Mel was half asleep, “Why go through the trouble of helping us anyway? You don’t even know my name”.


    “Oh” Toconoma looked embarrassed for a moment, “W-what is your name?”


    “It’s Mel. Just Mel”.


    Toconoma stared at her for a moment, “Ok Mel. How do you spell that?”


    “What?” Mel was confused, “M-E-L, exactly as it sounds”.


    “Mmhmmm” Toconoma seemed to perk up, “Sorry about that” he whispered, “I’ll explain later”.


    Mel was fully awake now, “You want to tell Arceus something? I mean, I don’t know where he is, when you brought me here earlier, I just assumed he was off doing whatever, that’s just how he gets”.


    “Actually he’s in the box under you”.


    Mel was frozen for a moment, “Eh?”.


    “He did it because I said I liked it” Toconoma said, “No one’s done that before”.


    Mel nodded, “I wouldn’t say he’s the only pokemon who would do something like that, but it’s something he would do. At least, I think so”.


    “I woke you up because we have to wake him up” Toconoma said, “Also we can’t open the box if you’re on top of it”.


    “If you say so” Mel hopped down from the crate, landing softly on the ground. She started to walk to where Mallys was sleeping, but stopped hearing a small noise.


    “Um” Toconoma seemed nervous, “Do we have to?”


    “Do we have to what?” Mel thought for a moment, “You mean, not wake him up” she pointed at Mallys with a scythe.


    Toconoma was silent.


    “I- I get it, he’s pretty scary sometimes” Mel said softly, “It’s not that bad though”.


    “Mmm, it’s not just that” Toconoma said, “Your friend is too big” there was a pause, “-and scary”.


    “Too big for what?”


    “The thing! I forget what it’s called”.


    “Oh”


    Toconoma shifted back and forth, “Anyway, we gotta get Arceus. But I can’t open the box”.


    Mel looked it over, “How much do you care about it?”


    “About what, the box?” he hesitated, “It’s just a box”.


    Mel silently cut a side out of the box, her scythes slowly and methodically moving in tandem.


    Toconoma looked strangely at the hole in the box where straw was spilling out, “We were mean to it”.



    Mel made a face at Toconoma as she moved the piece she had cut from the crate, “You just said it’s only a box”.


    He didn’t say anything.


    ___
    |^_^|
    |___|



    Mel watched Mallys’ sleeping form carefully for movement. Satisfied, she turned to Toconoma who was directly behind her.


    “I don’t know how much of a sleeper he is, so I don’t think we can wake Arceus up in here”.


    Toconoma thought about it, “But I woke you up. You were in here”.


    “That’s uh- it might have worked once but you know...” Mel tried to find the right words, “It’s what’s called an abundance of caution”.


    “If you think so Mel” Toconoma said, “But what are we going to do? Take him out of the box? Arceus is really big” he stopped for a moment, glancing at Mallys, “I think he’s bigger though, with all those scales”.


    For a moment, Mel was silent. “I think... I have a weird idea”.
     
  10. Bosumin

    Bosumin Only good for finding music

    Does reading Vice news give me an automatic L?


    Chapter 7 - Starch and Clay


    Toconoma walked slowly down the hall. Behind him, a trail of ice covered the floor.


    “Look, when we’re done, we’ll melt it, easy!” Mel was trying her best to calm Toconoma down.


    “The Administrator is going to kill me when she finds this”.


    “Don’t say when, say if!” Mel said, “-and uh, you don’t have to call her the Administrator all the time”.


    “It’s a good habit”.


    Mel shook her head in defeat, “I guess? Anyway, let’s do it”.


    The process was simple, albeit, much easier in theory. After a bit of pulling and pushing, Mel and Toconoma moved Arceus’ sleeping form out of the box and onto the trail of ice. For a moment, Mel stopped, thinking that maybe Arceus would wake up in response to the cold like she did. He didn’t, so they continued out the door and down the hall.


    “You know, something about this feels really meaningful” Mel had one scythe wrapped around one of Arceus’ rings, pulling him along, “I don’t know though”.


    Toconoma pushed against Arceus’ backside with his entire body, “I hope no one is around. This is a really bad idea”.


    “Look Toco, I can uh, call you that right? If anything happens, I’ll take responsibility. Plus, it was your idea in the first place to wake us up, so work with me here”.


    This seemed to shut him up.


    ____________

    *****************


    Mel knocked on Arceus’ head with a scythe, “Hello?”


    A moment passed before he stirred, “Hmm? Mel, what’s up?”.


    Mel pointed at Toconoma who was standing slightly off to the side, “Toco’s got something for you”.


    Arceus looked at the Bergmite expectantly.


    “You know the thing you wanted to do? The uh- whatever it’s called” Toconoma tripped over his words.


    “The geyser?” Arceus blinked slowly, “I can’t remember the name either”.


    “Yea, that. We can- I mean- I know how to get there”.


    “You just said earlier that we couldn’t”.


    “I did” Toconoma said sheepishly, “But there kind of is a way”.


    “But obviously-” Mel started, “If you’re only telling us this now, there’s a catch right?”


    “There’s no catch” Toconoma said, “It’s just a bit dangerous and the Administrator probably wouldn’t like it”.


    Mel sighed, “That’s a catch”.


    Toconoma looked confused, “It is?”


    Arceus looked around, “Where are we? What’s all this ice?”


    Mel and Toconoma looked at each other, “We’re still inside, Toconoma and I were just trying something” Mel shrugged, “So uh, what do you want to do?”


    Arceus was silent for a moment, “We already went through the trouble of waking up, might as well”.


    Mel nodded and looked at Toconoma who looked at the trail of ice, “Okay, follow me”.


    “I told you” Mel said, “We’ll deal with it, don’t worry about the ice”.


    Toconoma still didn’t look very confident.


    ::::}{}{}{}{}{}{:::::


    “I see why we couldn’t bring Mallys with us” Arceus said.


    Toconoma’s “solution” was an oblong metal object that he called a canoe. It ended in a tip on both ends, widening in the center. Flakes of rust dotted both the inside and outside, and a faint green paint could be seen along one side.


    “He would probably be too heavy. It’s probably already dangerous enough with you” there was a pause, “Not that you’re really heavy, I wouldn’t know that” Toconoma nudged the canoe, trying to move it while muttering to himself, “How do you spell Mallys?”


    Arceus looked at Mel, “Do you think we maybe should have woken him up anyway to tell him where we were going?”


    Mel was silent, her eyes darted around as if looking for something. After a moment, she seemed about to say something when Toconoma spoke first.


    “I just thought that it would be nicer to let him sleep” he said, “I know I wouldn’t want to be woken up for something pointless, you know?”


    Arceus thought about it for a moment, “That makes sense, that’s thoughtful of you Toconoma”.


    Toconoma shot a look at Mel who nodded, “So uh, this canoe can get us to the geyser”.


    “It looks like it can, but can you?” Mel said to Toconoma, “You did say earlier that you didn’t really care for it”.


    “I don’t, but I know where it is” Toconoma replied, “So if you can get this boat then I’ll show you”.


    With that, the group moved to get the canoe.


    :><:


    The clouds were a light grey, the water below a blackish muck. Choppy waves rocked the canoe back and forth as it cut through the surface. The rain was still falling in a steady drizzle, though nowhere near the downpour of the day prior, a small comfort.


    Arceus sat in the direct center of the boat, idly staring into the distance in an almost trance like state. Mel and Toconoma were at opposite ends of the boat working to move it forward. Mel cleaved through the oil and water with her scythes, trying her hardest to propel the canoe, while Toconoma judiciously froze parts of the water in front of them in a clever interpretation of steering. It was slow going, Mel’s attack on the water was too clean, more often than not the water was relatively undisturbed, meanwhile Toconoma’s ice was too thin in spots and the canoe simply plowed through the sheets of ice.


    “How do you know where we’re going?” Mel said in between swipes, “There’s no landmarks anywhere”.


    “The fire’s always in the same place” Toconoma shouted back, “It’s like how uh, the stars are always in the same place. That’s how it works right?”


    “More or less” Mel shuddered looking at the distant inferno. It made no sense, but there was no denying that it was still there, “So you just find your way from the position of the fire?”


    “Yeah” Toconoma said, “You can almost always see it”.


    “Where is the geyser from the hotel? Like, how far?” Mel scanned the horizon, but saw nothing except the fire.


    “I heard before that it’s just about opposite of the fire” Toconoma said, “I don’t know exactly where, just the general area”.


    “Why is there even a hotel here?” Mel said, “I don’t see the appeal”.


    “I don’t know” Toconoma replied, “The Administrator says it’s the ‘romantic bent’, I don’t know what a bent is though”.


    “I feel like I’ve heard it before” Mel hummed, “I can’t remember what a ‘bent’ is. But romantic?”


    “It might be. I’m not romantic, are you?”


    Mel thought for a moment, “I... don’t think so”.


    Toconoma released a jet of ice, “What about you Arceus? Are you romantic?”


    It was quiet for a moment before Toconoma turned around in confusion. Arceus was still staring somewhere, seemingly not having noticed the question at all.


    “He looks busy” Toconoma said.


    Mel glanced over for a moment, then conked Arceus over the head with a scythe, “Arceus, question”.


    Arceus looked around, eyes wide in surprise, “Huh? What?”


    Mel pointed at Toconoma who fidgeted, “We were talking about being romantic”.


    “Romantic? Is that hard to do?” Arceus looked curious.


    “I don’t think we know” Mel interjected, “Actually, we were wondering if you knew”.


    “Oh- well” Arceus paused, “I don’t know too many things, so I can’t say I know about that”.


    “So none of us are romantic” Mel shrugged, “That settles that”.


    Arceus spoke again, “Do you think Mallys-”.


    “No” Mel cut him off sharply.


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


    For a pokemon of his size and stature, the Hippowdon moved gracefully and silently. Around him Pokemon milled the hallways with a mixture of worried and confused expressions. Though he was trying, it was hard to drown out the distant sounds of shouting.


    Eventually, he came upon the Administrator. The Avalugg somehow seemed icier than usual, looking straight ahead with a scowl.


    “I take it you are aware of the problem?” Bolero spoke evenly.


    The Administrator sighed, “Unfortunately no. Usually, Toconoma tells me about these things, I’ve been slipping lately”.


    “As in old age or perceived responsibility?”


    “The latter” the Administrator said dryly, “But it’s unimportant, I assume you’ve come to tell me why exactly we’re standing here”.


    Bolero grunted, “Yes well, one of your guests is causing problems”.


    “I see”.


    >------------------->

    <-------------------<


    A hushed gathering of pokemon congregated in the hall, muttering amongst themselves.


    “We’re kitchen staff, why do we have to wait here again?” a Tyrogue said from his perch atop a Claydol. There was an exchange of glances.


    “There’s no reason really” a Vigoroth replied airily, “We just happened to be nearby, you know how Bolero is”.


    “Geez, I hate that guy” the Tyrogue frowned, “Even I have seniority over him and he just tells us what to do?”


    “While correct from a technical standpoint, he has- endeared himself, so to speak, to the boss” the Claydol below him said.


    The Tyrogue sighed, “You’re not doing yourself any favors phrasing it like that” he made a face.


    “It is the truth though,” the Vigoroth interjected, “-the Administrator works harder than any of us, any break from that is a great thing, but if that’s the implication you want to pull from that, then that’s on you”.


    “Hey” the Tyrogue shrugged, “I’ll take what I can get”.


    As they stood there, they were met by a Camerupt who seemed out of breath.


    “Ah, finally” there was an audible exhale, “Melted all that ice”.


    “Chef! Everything work out?” the Vigoroth asked.


    The Camerupt, Chef, nodded, “Well, except for the fact that I can’t guess how that ice got there in the first place”.


    “It can’t be that much of a mystery old man” the Tyrogue said, “-the only pokemon that can make ice like that are the boss and Toconoma, and there’s no way the boss would do that, so you know my vote”.


    “Oh shove off” the Vigoroth replied sharply, but seemed to regret it, “Erg- sorry, just, Toconoma would never do that. He’s a good kid”.


    The Tyrogue had a small grin, “Yeah? Then what, the boss did it?”


    “No...” there was a moment of silence, “It- it could have been the Blastoise from maintenance, you know?”


    “I don’t think so” the Tyrogue shook his head, “Why are you acting like that anyway? Were you in on it or something?”


    Chef hummed, “Lay off him Iokka, it’s not something you would understand” he then looked at the Vigoroth, “Jo, you have to admit he has a point, even if he didn’t mean it that way”.


    “Ha, looks like I’m the smart one for once” Iokka said triumphantly before suddenly looking confused, “Huh? Wait, what do you mean by that?”


    Jo scowled, looking away, “I know how Toconoma is, but- you know what thinking about that means”.


    “Mm, can’t be helped can it?” Chef sighed, “No point in arguing now though, how’s everything been here?”


    Iokka opened his mouth to answer, but a loud crash sent the group scrambling as a shower of debris flew out the half opened door nearby.


    Chef examined the pieces strewn about the floor, “Huh. Who is this guy again?”


    Jo made a face, “Bolero only said something about a guest”.


    “Guest is a generous term, the pokemon in there is a monster” Iokka said.


    “You should know better than to say that about customers” Jo rolled his eyes, “That being said, I can’t disagree”.


    “That’s all I really need to know” Chef shook his head, “We’re cooks not diplomats, let’s just hope this ends sooner than later”.


    They all agreed.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    “I dedicate myself to the well being of the client, and despite the fact that you are not technically a paying customer of my business, it’s only good form to assist you regardless” the Administrator spoke in a measured tone.


    “I’m sure that’s all really nice, maybe you could sell that to someone more interested” Mallys didn’t even seem to look at the Administrator, rather he was looking straight through her.


    “Unfortunately I’m not actually selling anything” the Administrator seemed slightly annoyed, “I’m only concerned about you” she paused, “-and our property”.


    Mallys grunted, “At least you’re honest” he stared at the ceiling, “I’ll be honest then, I’m angry, angry with myself. You know why? Because I can’t do the simplest thing right”.


    The Administrator turned to Bolero who was slightly behind her, “Is there any context in this?”


    The Hippowdon thought for a moment, “According to what I have been told, he was wandering the halls a few hours before now. Apparently, he entered a few rooms without invitation”.


    The Administrator scowled, “How... unruly”. She turned back to Mallys, “I understand you’re having a difficult experience, care to tell us why?”


    Mallys glared at them, “Alright customer service, I’m at this point because I lost my companions. The one thing. The. One. Thing I should at least be able to do is keep track of them, let alone find them, but I can’t get that right either”.


    The Avalugg was unmoved, “If they left somewhere of their own accord, it’s hardly any fault of your own. If they are your associates then wouldn’t the burden fall on them to tell you?”


    “No, no no, that’s not how it works, it’s my responsibility regardless” Mallys shook his head, “I can’t trust Mel. I said I could, but that’s not right”.


    The Administrator seized on the hint, “Everyone has trust issues sometimes sir. I can empathize with you, but you have to consider talking to someone about it, instead of...this” she grimaced at the ruined storage room.


    “There’s no need to talk about obvious facts” Mallys was nearly shouting, “I have an obligation to him, I have to help him. Then maybe I can do something right for once!”


    Bolero cast a worried glance at the Administrator who remained impassive, “Sir you have to calm down”.


    “I shouldn’t be here”


    “Sir-”


    “Maybe I should have just disappeared. Would have been better than thinking things would change”.


    “Sir please-”


    “No use in fighting the past after all”.


    “STOP” the Administrator’s voice rang throughout the room as an icy wind suddenly blew through the closed space. Mallys found himself unable to reply, his mouth frozen shut.


    “I must apologize for that” the Administrator spoke in a soft tone, “But it was necessary” she looked at Mallys apologetically, “It is ungainly to request something of you, but please, just listen”.


    Mallys was still for a moment before silently nodding. The ice was gone from his face, he experimentally opened and closed his mouth while watching her.


    “I understand the pressure of having to live up to one’s personal standards, and I also understand having an obligation towards someone else” she paused, “Judging on your comments, you mean the white one with the ring right?”


    Mallys nodded, “Messing up like this, it’s bound to happen again. He’ll probably think I’m stupid and ditch me”.


    “Somehow I doubt it” the Administrator said, “It’s important to stick to your goals, but don’t let setbacks define your drive”.


    Mallys was silent.


    The Administrator continued, “I have a kid you know, he probably told you. I care for him very much, the same way you probably care for your friend. It shouldn’t matter how many mistakes you make, so long as you can make sure they’re ok, right?”


    There was a moment before the Avalugg looked away, “I don’t suppose you would find much merit in the words of someone like me. Despite my words I have not treated Toconoma like I should, it’s surprising I didn’t realize it earlier”.


    “The end justifies the means?” Mallys said quietly.


    The Administrator locked eyes with Mallys, “That’s one way of saying it, albeit a bit rough” she took a moment to compose herself, “I should hope you would not construe this as an indictment of my management capacity. Are you quite satisfied with your service?”


    “I think so” Mallys looked slightly drained, but managed a small smile.


    “Great. Hopefully this experience will make your stay all the better” the Administrator turned to the Hippowdon, “Bolero, assist this guest in finding his associates, I have work to do”. With that, she left the room.


    “You know...” Bolero looked at Mallys, “That’s the first time I’ve seen her smile”.


    “Really?” Mallys looked at the open doorway.


    “Yes, now let’s go. If I have to help you with something like this, then make it quick. I have more important things to do”.


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


    “It doesn’t make any sense” Mallys frowned, “I don’t know where they could have gone”.


    “You know what doesn’t make sense to me?” Bolero sounded disinterested, “How you bounce back from shouting like a lunatic so quickly”.


    The Haxorus shook his head, “The Administrator’s words helped me a lot, probably more than even I know”.


    “I’m sure they did” Bolero said dryly, “More like put a lid back on if you know what I mean”.


    “I don’t know what you’re implying”.


    “Then leave it at that” Bolero paused, “Anyway, since you’re stuck, allow me to propose a theory, if only so I can leave sooner”.


    Mallys sighed, “Are you saying that you would be perfectly fine leaving me with nothing if you didn’t have a reason to help”.


    “Yes actually”.


    “Just tell me what you think then” Mallys said.


    “Little known fact-” Bolero started, “There’s a boat stored in a partially unused section of this hotel, a little contingency if you would”.


    Mallys stared at the Hippowdon, “And?”


    “I was over there looking for something earlier today, and it was gone” Bolero feigned shock, “Crazy huh?”


    The Haxorus glared at him.


    “Don’t storm off yet...or do that I don’t mind, but what I’m saying is that no one would have a reason to use that boat normally”.


    Mallys looked thoughtful, “The geyser”.


    “The geyser?” there was a moment before Bolero seemed to have a moment of clarity, “That’s right! You guys were stupid tourists. Looks like I’m right then”.


    “You mean they went to see the geyser in the boat?”


    “That’s how it looks” Bolero said, “I can see why they didn’t invite you, that thing was pretty ancient”.


    Mallys kept a straight face, but in his head he was already running through a host of terrifying scenarios where Arceus drowned. He was somewhat comforted in that he didn’t even know if Arceus could drown, but the thoughts remained nonetheless.


    “Well that settles it” the Hippowdon nodded, “Good luck to you, and if everything goes well, I hope to never see you again”.


    “I wonder if...” Mallys seemed thoughtful, “Let’s try something, I think we can go after them”.


    Bolero was already walking away, “I’m leaving now, goodbye”. He didn’t get far though before he felt Mallys’ claw grip one of the holes in his back, “Huh? What are you doing?”.


    “We’re going now, I don’t really want to waste any time”.


    Bolero struggled in vain, “Are you crazy, I said that I finished helping you”.


    Mallys had an innocent expression, “Mmm, you just said you didn’t care about what I do, so wouldn’t it be fair if I could say the same?”


    The Hippowdon scowled, “Crazy then. Can’t say I’m surprised”.


    With that, Mallys dragged Bolero down the hall.
     
  11. Chibi Pika

    Chibi Pika Stay positive

    Hi there! This is certainly an unusual story idea. I've read fics about Legendaries who don't realize that they're Legendary, but never one where no one knows that he is a Legendary. I like how this idea gives you the opportunity to go into Pokemon culture and religion in a way that isn't always touched on, even in Poke-POV. I was a little bit surprised that Darkrai didn't recognize Arceus--it truly does seem that no one in this world has heard of him as a god. But I suppose there's always the chance they might encounter someone who knows him in the future.

    It's pretty amusing that his quest is going to basically involve journeying around, hunting for disappointment. xD Though it does seem like maybe they could look into other causes of memory loss, particularly physcial (maybe he was injured?) Still, having the excuse to explore the world is always nice--I'd just keep in mind that if it's only looking for sources of disappointment, it could get pretty old quickly. But you've probably already thought of that. ^^;

    Anyway, welcome to the forum, hope you enjoy reading/writing fic here!

    ~Chibi~
     
  12. Bosumin

    Bosumin Only good for finding music

    Yay thanks Chibi, I'll see what I can do, not high expectations though

    Whoever invented condensation was a bad person



    Chapter 8 - Things Falling


    “Maybe we didn’t think this through” Toconoma chattered nervously, “What if we can’t see the geyser because of all the water”.


    Mel gave Toconoma an incredulous stare, “Once again, this was your idea. I think we’ll see it, I got a good feeling”.


    “Really? That’s great!” Toconoma was relieved.



    Arceus was worried. Looking over the wide expanse of water he felt guilty. Toconoma had gone out of his way to help him, and in all the excitement Arceus had forgotten to mention that the goal was not to have a good experience.


    “Toconoma, I forgot I had to tell you, but I don’t want to enjoy myself” Arceus said apologetically.


    “What?” Toconoma looked aghast, “I don’t understand?”


    Mel looked thoughtful, “That’s right, isn’t it? Huh, we almost forgot something that important” she shook her head, “Really though, you should have said it differently though”.


    “Said what?” Toconoma looked back and forth between them frantically.


    “Nothing you need to worry about” Mel said with a hint of exasperation, “It’s uh- something complicated we’re dealing with”.


    “Is it something weird?” Toconoma was curious.


    “Kind of? I don’t really think...” Mel saw Arceus give her an expectant look, “I mean, we can explain if you want”.


    =======++======


    Mel dramatically sighed, “Are we gonna have to do this for everyone we meet?”


    “It’s ok Mel” Arceus said, “We’ll take turns, I’ll do it next time”.


    Mel made a face, “That’s not particularly comforting”.


    “That’s really scary though” Toconoma tilted from side to side, “If I forgot everything, I would never leave home”.


    “But you wouldn’t know it was home right?” Mel said.


    “I wouldn’t? Oh, I guess I wouldn’t, but what if I only forgot some stuff?” Toconoma asked.


    Mel thought about it, “I don’t think you have the option to pick and choose stuff”


    “But Arceus didn’t forget some stuff” the Bergmite looked at Arceus as he said this, “Like he didn’t forget how to talk, or his name?”


    “Hey, that’s right” Arceus said, “I can still talk”.


    “If you forgot how to talk somehow, that would be a whole different problem. Toco has a point though, you remember your name” Mel paused, “Unless you came up with it”.


    Arceus was indignant, “It’s not like that, I-” he stopped, “I don’t really remember”.


    Mel blinked, “I’d rather not add this one to what we already got. Arceus is your name no matter what”.


    “Yeah! I like your name Arceus” Toconoma said happily, “It would be weird if it were different, plus you’d have to spell it again”.


    “Thanks Mel, thanks Toconoma” Arceus seemed relieved, “But Toconoma, what if a pokemon lies about their name to you?”


    “They can’t do that” Toconoma said with a huff, “I can tell”.


    Mel nodded, “Anyway, are we close? Actually, can the geyser even push through all the water already here?”


    “A little late for that, but I think we’ll be fine” Arceus said.


    “It should be somewhere around here” Toconoma looked around at the expanse, “I heard that it’s so strong the stream goes to space!”


    “Huh, maybe” Mel didn’t sound convinced.


    Arceus watched the waves carefully. The slow ebb and flow was monotonous, and for a moment he wondered if anything would actually happen. As he watched however, small ripples appeared across the surface.


    “Hey, I see something” Arceus called to Mel and Toconoma.


    The Lurantis idly looked over the edge of the boat, “The water’s moving, but where’s it coming from?”


    Toconoma peered over, “Umm, I think we’re on top of it”.


    “What??” Mel gave Toconoma a horrified glance.


    “That means we’re as close as we can get to see it” Arceus in contrast sounded excited.


    “That’s not good” Toconoma said, “We’ll get sent into the air”.


    Arceus looked around, “Huh? I thought you meant that we were really close, like that’s a turn of phrase isn’t it?”


    “It’s literal Arceus” Mel said.


    “Wuh-” Arceus was at a loss for words, “What’s going to happen?”


    “Something not good” Toconoma said fearfully.


    A low rumble could be heard, cutting through the sound of the rain. Before any of them could react, the geyser erupted, sending the small boat high into the air. To Arceus, time seemed to slow down. Around him, water and oil flew outwards as the sky raced to meet them. Mel and Toconoma were hanging onto the boat for dear life, the sound of rushing wind overtaking all other noise.


    It was like the world was ending for a moment. Then there was only grey. Arceus blinked repeatedly to make sure he was seeing right. He realized they were probably in the clouds, and as he felt himself begin to fall back towards the earth, this was confirmed.


    Strangely Arceus felt exhilarated.


    ===========


    There was a hole in the boat. Mel was making a face at it as if to plug it with sheer will, while Arceus tried to calm Toconoma who was panicking again.


    “It’s a boat, can’t you get a new one?” Arceus said confused.


    “The Administrator will get mad at me though, it’s the only one we had” Toconoma said, sounding on the verge of tears.


    “Well, I don’t think she would get angry at something like that” Arceus said, wondering if the Bergmite could actually cry.


    Toconoma looked away, “You’re just- you’re only saying that, I know she will”.


    “How do you know she’ll be?” Arceus asked.


    Toconoma was about to answer when Mel cut in, “Either way, the boat’s sinking. I know Arceus can swim, but what about you Toco?”


    “I’ll be fine” Toconoma said, “I don’t need to swim”.


    Mel looked over the Bergmite, “Are you sure?”


    “I’m really sure” Toconoma replied.



    Luckily they didn’t have to swim. At Toconoma’s insistence and with no small amount of effort, the boat was flipped over in the water, bobbing along the surface.


    Mel managed to scramble on top, “This sucks” the Lurantis said, examining her scythes, now covered in a strange mix of oil and water.


    “I hope this stuff isn’t bad or anything” Arceus said. Also covered in oil, he couldn’t find a stable position like Mel and was struggling to avoid slipping off the top of the boat.


    “It’s not, remember I told you?” Toconoma said, “Uh, as long as you don’t eat it”. Just as he had said, Toconoma was completely fine, he floated on the surface as easily as the boat, bobbing alongside Mel and Arceus.


    Arceus thought about it, “Huh, oh yeah that’s right! You did say that” he exclaimed.


    “I guess we’re lucky if we didn’t swallow any when we fell” Mel paused, wincing at the memory, “Or at least I am, I don’t think either of you have a mouth”.


    “I don’t think I do” Toconoma said.


    “I guess that settles....” Mel abruptly stopped, “-you don’t think you have one?”


    “Not really, no”.


    Mel looked suspiciously at the Bergmite, “Is that a joke?”


    “No?” Toconoma sounded confused, “Sometimes there are things you just don’t know, right?”


    Resigned, Mel nodded and said nothing.


    “Anyway”, Toconoma looked at Arceus, “How was it?”


    Arceus was caught off guard, “How was what?”


    “The uh, the geyser?” Toconoma said.


    “Oh” Arceus was silent, “I...it was so exciting when it threw us into the air, I forgot to look at it”.


    “Oh well” Toconoma sighed, “Maybe next time”.


    “I think this is kind of what we want though” Mel said, hesitating for a moment, “That was exciting to you?”


    “Kind of- I don’t know why” Arceus said apologetically.


    “I guess danger is kind of thrilling. That or I just don’t understand you again” Mel shook her head, “It’s strange that that’s the part I like the most about you”.


    “So uh, what do we do now?” Toconoma asked. The rain held steady, and the water was calmer than before.


    “Let’s go back” Mel said, “I’m worn out”.


    “But how?” Toconoma looked at the boat, “It’s all messed up”.


    Mel shrugged, “I mean, it’s fine right now, we just have to go back the way we came, except with an upside down boat”.


    “Hm, you’re thinking. That’s good” a new voice chimed in seemingly out of nowhere.


    Toconoma was terrified and Mel could only stare. There was an uncomfortable feeling.


    Arceus of course, was happy, “Mallys! You came too?”


    The Haxorus seemed to be floating above the water, but in fact was somehow standing on top of Bolero who floated in the water. He seemed preoccupied with something, possibly the weight on top of him.


    “We thought we’d have to come check on you guys, seems like we were right to do so” Mallys said.


    “Are you-” Mel sounded hesitant, “Riding on top of that Hippowdon?”


    Mallys nodded, “Strange huh? It was Bolero’s idea, he’s pretty smart”.


    “B- Bolero?” Toconoma said in a tiny voice, “You came for us?”


    The Hippowdon snorted, “An excess of caution if anything. If we’re to go, we should make it quick so I can get this weight off my back”.


    Mallys shook his head, “No use in complaining now right? Maybe you should have considered that when you came up with this plan”.


    There was a strange look on Bolero’s face, “Hmm, I should have thought a lot of things through before meeting you”.


    “Too little too late I guess-” Mallys shrugged, “Let’s go then!”


    >>>>><<<<<<


    Somehow they made it back. They even saved the boat too, mostly because Toconoma refused to go without it. It was a quiet affair, no one spoke as they arrived, no one was there to meet them.


    Mel idly watched the waves. The rain had finally stopped, an ethereal silence lingered in the air.


    “Hey” Bolero had appeared next to Mel without her noticing, “What’s wrong with you all?”


    Mel frowned, “Excuse me?”


    The Hippowdon gave her a fake smile, “Just a question you know. You seemed like the best bet since your friends both would probably crush my skull”.


    Mel glanced over at Arceus and Mallys who were having an animated discussion with Toconoma.


    “This is because Mallys did something right?” Mel said, “I can’t believe for a second any pokemon would suggest that kind of thing willingly- what did he do?”


    “Nothing really” Bolero brushed the Lurantis’ question off, “I’m being up front here, I just want to know why you’re interested in causing so much trouble”.


    Mel looked away, saying nothing. The Hippowdon waited a moment before he rolled his eyes and left.


    {}


    “Anticlimactic huh?” Arceus said, “I guess so”.


    “It really is” Mallys said dryly, “Not that it’s a bad thing though”.


    “How is it not?” Toconoma asked, “Isn’t that like being bored? Being bored isn’t very fun”.


    The Haxorus shrugged, “It’s complicated”.


    “So what now?” Arceus looked around, sounding slightly lost.


    “We’ll leave when the waters recede” Mallys said, “Time to get a move on”.


    “You’re going to leave?” Toconoma glanced between them.


    “We saw what we wanted to see...” Mallys paused, “Or rather, we didn’t, but the result is the same. We just gotta keep trying”.


    “Oh” Toconoma seemed to realize, “-yea, Arceus doesn’t know anything”.


    “Don’t be sad Toconoma” Arceus said, “We’ll come back! I mean, I’ve hardly known you, but you’re a friend already”.


    “Really?” the Bergmite’s expression brightened, “You will?”


    “Of course” Arceus replied.


    “Alright, see you around” Toconoma said happily.




    /\/\/\/\/\/\\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

    void setup()

    \/\\/\/\\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/


    “Not that much happened” Mel said, “In a way, it’s nice but...I don’t know, it doesn’t feel like we accomplished much”.


    “More than nothing” Mallys said, “Maybe you shouldn’t expect things”.


    Mel was silent for a moment, “I didn’t really have any expectations I don’t think”.


    “I did” Mallys spoke bluntly, “I expected everything to be OK”.


    “And? Everything was ok” Mel gave Mallys a strange look.


    “Not when you decided to go off by yourselves without telling me”.


    “Ah” Mel sighed, “Yea I get it, sorry”.


    Mallys looked at Arceus who was walking slightly ahead of them by himself, marveling at the scenery, “It would be nice if you didn’t do stuff like that”.


    “I won’t promise anything” Mel said, “Agree to disagree”.


    The Haxorus frowned, “Agree to disagree”.


    “Where are we going now guys?” Arceus called back to them, breaking the tension.


    “I don’t know” Mallys said somewhat apologetically, “We got lucky with the geyser, but I don’t know where anything is anymore”.


    “Anymore?” Mel looked confused.


    “But, we’re on a trail, and that’s good. We’ll find something” Mallys said, ignoring Mel.


    “Huh, alright” Arceus sounded unsure.


    [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

    [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]



    “-And that is why the train is the most important invention of the contemporary era” the Heracross said.


    Mallys, who hadn’t been listening, nodded, “That’s how it is sometimes”.


    “Although, maybe infrastructure does have its downsides” the Beetle groaned, looking at the line in front of them.


    The group had reached a busy thoroughfare, countless pokemon streaming in and out of a gigantic structure. A collection of black circular half-disks stretched into the sky at uneven heights connected in a straight line, surrounded by a massive network of tracks stretching in nearly every direction. Arrays of directional signs were everywhere, arrows pointing in enough directions to make Arceus’ head spin. They stood together in a large group of pokemon outside a cavernous entrance.


    “Wait, this is just a line to go inside?” Mel said in surprise, “Mallys, you’re big and scary, can’t you just get us to the front?”


    “Really?” Mallys looked exasperated but also slightly relieved to have an excuse to escape whatever the Heracross had been saying, “I can’t do that- I mean, I can, but I won’t”.


    “Because you’re weak” Mel said, smirking at him, “Follow my lead Arceus”.


    “What are you going to do?” Arceus looked at Mel slightly worried.


    “I don’t know, that’s the exciting part” Mel said. The Lurantis looked around at the crowd in thought, “Mallys, those things on your face are pretty sharp right?”


    “You mean the blades?” Mallys gingerly felt the sharp extensions on both sides of his face, “I’d like to think so”.


    Mel stared at the Haxorus with a determined expression, “I want you to cut me”.


    “What?” Mallys said.


    Mel leaned in, “What I’m thinking is that if I get hurt, then we can skip the line and get inside”.


    “But” Arceus started, “You’ll get hurt”.


    “Yeah? While I’m getting fixed up or whatever, you guys can go look around and decide what to do next” Mel nodded saying this, “Just don’t forget me”.


    “We won’t forget because you’re not going to do it” Arceus said indignantly.


    “I’m going to do it” Mel shot back, “I’ll be fine, I want to do this”.


    “It’s just a line” Arceus pleaded, “We can wait”.


    Mel was ready to retort again, but the matter was forcibly settled with a boom. For a moment, everyone was set off balance as the ground shook. No one knew what to do, some pokemon milled about in confusion while other hesitantly walked in different directions.


    “What happened?” Arceus looked around.


    “Nothing I guess” Mel replied, staring at a large plume of smoke rising in the distance, “This might be our chance though”.


    “There are more important things to think about right now” Mallys said dryly, “Arceus doesn’t mind, he just said so”.


    “What Mallys said” Arceus added.


    Mel made a face, “But he said what he said is what you said, not what he said”.


    Arceus blinked, “Huh?”


    A slick breeze blew as the sky seemed to turn white for a moment. A deep roaring sound tore through the air as everyone was sent off balance by a ferocious wave of heat and pressure. High above them, nearly the entire upper curve of several black discs had disappeared into jagged edges and black smoke as if a titanic bite had been taken out of them.


    Shouts and yells erupted as pokemon raced in every direction, fear and panic carried on the wind. A rapid clattering sound started as shards of glassy black metal fell from the sky, and in the distance an alarm bell could be heard.


    Arceus, Mel, and Mallys briefly looked at each other before running towards the entrance of the structure.
     
  13. Bosumin

    Bosumin Only good for finding music

    Will it concatenate? That is the question.

    Chapter 9: Words without answers

    Everything was hazy as Arceus blinked repeatedly to clear his vision. He had run nigh aimlessly for what seemed like forever, through featureless halls filled with a ringing sound and the occasional pokemon.


    “That was crazy! What just happened?” he said.


    A moment passed. Then another. Arceus looked around in confusion. Cavernous ceilings curved into a double arc, dotted periodically with triangular arches. A large train idled along an endless length of iron tracks, a deep, soft thrum echoing from the engines. A silvery-red behemoth, the cars were uniformly simple, double hexagonal windows on each end.


    He was alone. All around Arceus was a stillness, magnified by the quiet sounds all around him.


    “Oh, that’s not good” Arceus stood perfectly still, unsure of how to proceed.


    “Hey!” a small voice called out from somewhere, “Get over here”.


    “Over where?” Arceus said, “Wait, who is this?”


    “I’m like you, but I’m over here” the voice came again.


    “Where is there?” Arceus almost stomped a hoof in frustration but caught himself, “Can you tell me where you are please?”


    The voice hummed, “I appreciate the patience, but I can’t tell you that until I figure out if you’re a cop”.


    “A cop?” Arceus had rotated in a full circle but still couldn’t find the source”.


    “You know, constable on patrol? Having a vested interest in removing me from where presently I am?” the voice spoke sharply, “You get points for not knowing what a cop is, or at least sounding genuine enough in the fact itself”.


    Arceus rolled his eyes, “You just told me to come over to where you are. What do you want?”


    “It’s called reevaluation” the voice shot back, “-and it’s a survival skill”.


    “So you changed your mind?” Arceus asked.


    “Tactically speaking, yes”.


    Defeated, Arceus waited a moment before slowly turning in a full circle again. This time however, he saw a single eye watching him from a crack in the door of one of the train cars. Arceus stared at the eye in anticipation. Eventually he slowly walked to the car as the eye followed his progress.


    “Do you want me to come inside?”


    “Inside where?” the voice appeared to feign ignorance, “I still haven’t told you where I am”.


    “I’ll come inside then” Arceus said simply, approaching the door. Standing directly in front of it, he slid it open, watching the eye the entire time. Inside was a large purple rocklike sphere, a Weezing.


    “What are you doing out there?” it said with a worried look, “They’ll find you, and by extension of you, us”.


    Arceus said nothing, shaking his head as he stepped inside the cabin. The ceiling was flat, lined with unlit circular lamps. The walls were slate grey, barely illuminated by the low light filtering through the few hexagonal windows. Metallic scrap littered the floor, and assorted boxes were haphazardly strewn about.


    “You know-” the Weezing said, “You were really cutting it close there. The cops could have had you captured by now”.


    “You’ll have to forgive him” a new voice chimed in, “His vernacular is a bit off”. Laying among the junk for some reason was a Claydol. It rolled slightly to look at Arceus with one of it’s unblinking eyes, “Don’t think about it too much”.


    Arceus decided to heed the advice and ignore the issue entirely, “What are you doing here?”


    The Weezing spun in the air, “Putting to use a pension, you get it? I’m finished with contracting work so now, well I suppose I’m not contracting anymore”.


    “Do you know what happened a little bit ago?” Arceus asked.


    “You ask a lot of questions. Why don’t you answer them yourself?” the Weezing said.


    “Answer it myself?” Arceus thought about it, “There was smoke and a lot of noise, so an explosion?”


    “If that’s what you think, myself, I care not” the Weezing spoke idly, “I suppose though it explains the excitement”.


    Arceus blinked, hearing the faint sound of the alarm in the distance, “Well I have to go now to find my friends”.


    “Fair enough. It’s no fault of ours if you die” the Weezing was nonchalant.


    More than weirded out for the time being, Arceus turned and moved to open the door again. As he held up one leg to nudge open the metal door, a sudden lurch sent him crashing to the floor. Disoriented, Arceus only partially made out a lump rolling towards him.


    “About time” the Weezing said, looking out the window, “That said, terrible discipline for a train”. Turning away, he looked impassively at Arceus and the Claydol. Their collision had completely knocked Arceus out, the Claydol didn’t even seem to notice.


    “Do you think I should ask for my money back?”


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

    ~~~~~~~~~~

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


    The atrium was abuzz with chatter. Pokemon stood in clusters, murmuring discontentedly.


    “Permission to speak out of turn” the Slowking spoke as she adjusted the Shellder on her head slightly.


    For a moment, the Yanmega was silent, “Granted” he finally said.


    The Slowking sighed, “Can you take care of yourself?”


    “What are you implying Nea?” the Yanmega asked.


    The Slowking Nea grimaced, “It’s just- I’m not implying anything” she said angrily before appearing horrified, “I didn’t mean it like that”.


    “I see” the Yanmega replied, “So what are you saying?”


    Nea tugged her ruff, “You got hurt in the explosion Commander, you have to get that checked out” she gestured to the black shard that stuck out of his back. The debris had fallen earlier, pulverizing one of his back wings while lodging itself in the dragonfly.


    The Yanmega’s compound eyes showed no emotion, “There are more important things to concern yourself with Nea. Although, I appreciate the gesture”.


    The Slowking clutched her hands together, “I uh-” she turned away, “Understood Commander”.





    “Commander” an Azumarill shouted at them from a distance, running as fast as it’s stubby legs could manage, “There’s a situation in one of the terminals sir. Some pokemon are causing a disturbance”.


    The Yanmega’s wings buzzed briefly, “Nea, I’m leaving this to you. If it is related to the bombings, contact me immediately”.


    The Slowking nodded, “Will do” she turned to the Azumarill, “Let’s go”.


    {} {} {} {} {} {} {}

    < >


    Several large pokemon stood in a straight line shoulder to shoulder, or at least as close to an approximation as possible. Forming a wall, they separated both sides of the shouting match from each other. As Nea and the Azumarill approached, an Ursaring waved them over.


    “What’s up?” Nea said, “I mean, what’s the situation?”


    The Ursaring gave her a strange look, “One of the, uh, offending pokemon has been threatening to kill the other for a quarter of an hour”.


    “Do we know how this started?” Nea asked.


    “It seems to have started some time before we arrived to assess the damage to the station” the Ursaring said, “There’s no indication however that the situation will escalate”.


    “I see” the Slowking turned to examine the scene, “What about the other pokemon?”


    The Ursaring nodded, “The other one, for some reason or another, is encouraging the first. Putting it- unkindly, he seems a bit unhinged”.


    Suddenly the shouting stopped. The Ursaring looked back, turning cautiously as Nea looked around in confusion.


    ----------


    “We both failed” Mallys said solemnly, “We both suck”.


    “I guess so” Mel craned her head to see Mallys through the wall of pokemon, “Can we do anything about it?”


    Mallys shrugged, “Do you think I’d allow you to say no?”


    Mel nodded, “Same goes for you buddy”.


    “I don’t appreciate the sentiment” the Haxorus said.


    “Agree to disagree” Mel said without missing a beat.


    “Agree to disagree” he replied.


    “What’s going on over here?” a voice came from somewhere else. Mel and Mallys turned to see a Slowking looking over them carefully.


    “Oh right” Mallys said embarrassed, “Sorry, we just had a little disagreement, stressful environment you know?”


    “Yes, I am well aware” the Slowking eyed him suspiciously before looking at Mel, “This individual’s not giving you any trouble is he?”


    Mel smiled, “Not right now. In fact, I trust him more than you, not that much though”.


    “I’m sorry if that’s the impression you have” the Slowpoke frowned, “We’re only committed to ensuring public safety”.


    “After the fact?” Mallys asked.


    The Slowking huffed, “I don’t appreciate...” she seemed to catch herself, “I understand your frustration, though I am not at liberty to answer any questions you may have right now” there was another pause, “For now, you’ll have to wait here- for your own safety that is”.


    Mallys sighed, “Alright officer, you are one of those right?”


    The Slowking nodded, “Deputy Commander Nea of the fifth division HCU”.


    With that said, she called most of the other pokemon over to her and they left as a group. Two pokemon, a skittish looking Archeops and a Bellossom stayed behind, examining the room.


    For a moment, the Lurantis and the Haxorus stood in place. Slowly they looked at each other.


    “Where do we start?” Mel asked.


    “I’ll go first” Mallys said, craning his neck slightly.


    “Go first with wh-” Mel stopped, blinking. Mallys had disappeared.


    Before she could say anything else, there was a thumping sound. Against the far wall, the Archeops and Bellossom collapsed to the ground unconscious as Mallys stood over them. He idly rubbed one of the blades on his face as he turned to look at Mel.


    “Any ideas?” he asked.


    Mel frowned, “I don’t know. Uh, are they OK?”


    “They’ll be fine” Mallys said, “Are you worried about it?”


    Mel looked away, “Not really. Just don’t want more problems later on”.


    Mallys was impassive, “Would it make a difference?”


    “Yes, it would” Mel said, “A lot of difference”.



    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>



    For a moment, Arceus felt nothing. Then a whistling sound filled the space around him as he vaguely felt the sensation of air rushing against his face. Opening his eyes, he found himself on his side. In front of him, he could see the side of a train, the rest blurred by movement. He thought about it for a moment, before realizing with a start his head was leaning out of the train, only a short distance above the tracks.


    “Ack!” Arceus scrambled sideways, pulling his head back into the train. For a moment, he watched the scenery flying by with wide eyes.


    “Did that bother you? Sorry, it’s something I thought not of”.


    Arceus turned to see the Weezing looking at him somewhat apologetically.


    “What happened?” Arceus asked.


    “The train moved, and kept doing so” the Weezing said, “-and you had an incident with this individual” he tilted slightly to the left where Arceus saw the Claydol floating.


    Arceus looked back out the opening, “Where’s the train going?”


    “I don’t know” the Weezing replied.


    “How do you not know?” Arceus spirits fell, “I don’t even know where Mel and Mallys are either”.


    “There’s lots of things I don’t know. I’m positive you don’t know that much either, that’s why I said to answer it yourself earlier” the Weezing frowned, “Though that could be an unruly assumption for which if the case is so then I apologize in advance”.


    Arceus looked at him dejected, “What?”


    “I hope at least you can find the- well, whatever you said you were looking for”, there was a pause, “Perhaps I have been somewhat unfriendly, I’m Banmya and I’ve been somewhat irritable as of late”.


    Arceus nodded slowly, “Uh, alright Banmya” he was about to turn away again when he stopped, “How do you spell that?”


    Banmya seemed pleased by this, “This is a question worthy of being such. It’s B-A-N-M-Y-A, the third letter is what you would call without vocalization”.


    For awhile, no one said anything else. The train continued on, eventually climbing a hill to an arched bridge that stretched further than Arceus could make out.


    “What do you do?” Banmya’s voice came from behind.


    “As in, what I do with myself? Nothing really,” Arceus was quiet for a moment, “Well, maybe I used to”.


    “Used to huh...” the Weezing said solemnly, “You’ve forgotten things”.


    “How did you know?” Arceus said, surprised.


    “For these sort of things I have a knack” Banmya said, “-about you there’s something very... far away I would say”.


    “Oh” Arceus scraped a hoof against the floor, “There’s a few things I can’t remember”.


    “So riding a train is what you’re doing about it?” Banmya asked.


    “No, not really, I didn’t mean to be here” Arceus said.


    “Then what are you doing about it?” Banmya replied, spinning vertically in a full circle.


    “I’m trying to be disappointed” Arceus said simply.


    “Elaborate, if you would”.



    &--&--&--&--&--&--&--&



    “Did you see him?”


    In a dim hallway, far from the main terminals, the Lurantis and Haxorus spoke in hushed tones. Mel frequently looked behind her, Mallys in comparison seemed unconcerned.


    “Consider Mel, if I had seen him, would we be here?” Mallys said.


    “Yes” Mel rolled her eyes, “It’s entirely possible”.


    Mallys was unmoved, “Did you see him?”


    “No”


    “Well what do we do now?”


    Mel shrugged, “I don’t know. But how do I know you aren’t lying?”


    “Seriously?” Mallys groaned, “Why would I lie about something we’re both trying to do?”


    Mel made a face, “You’re just kind of like that”.


    “Like what”.


    “Just...” Mel waved her scythes noncommittally.


    “Let’s forget that and focus on the important things” Mallys said.


    “Let’s do that” Mel nodded.


    “If Arceus isn’t here, then where would he be?”


    “I don’t think he would leave by himself” Mel paused, “Maybe that Slowking would know”.


    Mallys ran a claw along the wall, “That’s what I was thinking. Though we might have to be careful”.


    Mel frowned, “You’re the one that beat up those pokemon”.


    “I’m not denying it” Mallys said, “I think I know what we can do”.


    “I bet you do”.



    ______________________________________
    ______________________________________



    As the wind gusted, Arceus leaned against a wall, awkwardly trying to position his ring.


    “For a lot of effort, it’s little return” Banmya said.


    “Remembering?” Arceus asked.


    “Yes” Banmya bobbed up and down, “It’s my opinion, but one in which I am confident”.


    Arceus waited for a moment, “Uh-” he looked at Banmya narrowing his eyes, “Are you going to tell me?”


    “I don’t know the answer to that question” Banmya said, “But my opinion is that there’s no point to remembering whatever you forgot”.


    Banmya was silent for a moment, he looked at Arceus who nodded and said nothing.


    “Everything happens in the world for a reason. Easy enough right?” Banmya smiled, “No matter how you forgot something, it’s gone like something you eat, so why bother trying to get it back?”


    Arceus shifted, “What if without the things you forgot you knew nothing?”


    “Even better” Banmya exclaimed jubilantly, “There’s nothing like experiencing something for the first time. You get a chance to learn for yourself everything again”.


    “But what if was something important?” Arceus asked with a hint of frustration.


    “For this, some pokemon call me inconsiderate, but truly I think if you’ve forgotten something, it was never important” Banmya floated close to Arceus’ head, “The world exists for the moment, not for the consideration of such”.


    “Never important...” Arceus looked away.


    “It’s just the same as when you ask all these questions. If you search for something not lost, you’re just lost. That’s why you have to answer things yourself”, there was an edge to Banmya’s tone.


    “I’ll- I’ll think about it” Arceus spoke haltingly.


    “You will” Banmya replied.


    Desperate to change the topic, Arceus walked to the other end of the train car and back again, “I wonder where the train is going” he said.


    “It doesn’t really matter” Banmya said, “The train’s going so we’ll be with it”.


    “You could stop the train”.


    “No point in that”.


    “What if it did stop?” Arceus asked pointedly.


    Banmya frowned, “It won’t”.


    “But- you can’t- ugh” Arceus groaned. Trying to think of a response, he noticed the Claydol still watching them from the floor, “The train could stop right?”


    “Whether or not it stops is irrelevant. So long as you’re on the train, that is all the meaning needed” the Claydol spoke idly.


    “To a point, similar to my view” Banmya said somewhat smugly, “That being said, who are you again?”


    “I have a special power” the Claydol said, “That if you don’t pay attention to me then I can stop existing”.


    “Fair enough I suppose” Banmya grinned widely at Arceus, “Nothing to worry about right?”


    Arceus closed his eyes in defeat, “I guess”.


    Walking away from the Weezing, Arceus glanced out the open door of the train and stopped.


    Suspended on a massive arched bridge, the train was passing over an endless jungle. Brilliant pink leaves spiralled in all directions, hints of greyish brown bark dotted across the canvas of vegetation.


    “It’s all pink” Arceus said in wonder.


    “Garish, if I must myself say” Banmya mused, “-and I’m purple”.


    Arceus ignored the statement, “In a strange way, it’s beautiful”.


    The Weezing shot him a sideways glance, “Ever thought of visiting a place like that?”


    Arceus shook his head, “I have... more important things to think about. Maybe someday though, it’s not like uh- it’s going anywhere”.


    “But you’re going somewhere” Banmya said, “Will you be here forever?”


    “I don’t suppose so, but what’s your point?” Arceus said irritated, “-and you tell me to answer my own questions”.


    For a moment Banmya looked distant, “Guess I can’t keep up with myself”.


    Arceus was about to respond when Banmya rammed into him from behind. He didn’t make a sound as he fell forward out of the train into empty air.


    “The longest regret is for the path never taken!” the Weezing shouted into the wind. He peered out to see if Arceus could still be seen, but the train had already moved on.


    Banmya sighed, “I wonder if he heard me”. There was a moment before he smiled slightly, “I hope I sounded cool”.



    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=



    “You heard of stuffed pokemon?” Mallys asked.


    Mel hummed, “You mean like full of food?”


    The Haxorus shook his head, “That is a way of looking at it, but I mean figures”.


    “So toys?” Mel looked disinterested.


    Mallys rolled his eyes, “More or less. I’m just trying to say that it feels like I have my own stuffed pokemon. It’s weird, but it’s kind of nice” he looked at the Slowking in his arms.


    Nea scowled, “Kidnapping is a crime, both of you will go to jail for this”.


    “As if-” Mel scoffed, “I have better things to do”.


    Mallys groaned, “It’s only a temporary arrangement, just help us out a little and we can pretend this didn’t happen”.


    Nea struggled against Mally’s powerful grip, “There’s nothing temporary about- ah” she was cut off as Mally’s hold tightened, his claws starting to dig into her.


    “We need to know where someone could have left the station, you have it locked down right?” Mallys said.


    “Yes, locked down because of you” Nea spat, “There’s no way anyone could have left”.


    Mallys frowned, “Sorry, but we’re not the ones who caused this commotion. Also you’re wrong because we know someone left”.


    Nea was silent until she felt Mallys’ claws again, “You’re lying” she said through clenched teeth.


    “Be a little more gentle” Mel interjected, “It’s not an interrogation”.


    Mallys gave Mel a sidelong glance, then nodded almost imperceptibly, “Anyway, I think you’re the one lying, we’re very thorough, and we didn’t find what we were looking for”.


    Nea glared, “And what are you looking for?”


    “Our friend” Mallys said, “He has a tendency to get into things”.


    “That doesn’t tell me anything” Nea said.


    “You don’t need to know anything else” Mallys replied dryly, “All you need to do is tell us how someone could have gotten out”.


    “The exits are blocked and all public trains have been stopped” Nea said.


    Mallys nodded, “So a private train then?”


    “I-” Nea stopped, realizing her slip.


    Mallys looked at Mel, “There was something we saw that seemed fit for that right?”


    The Lurantis shrugged, “That lower platform I think, it was kind of hidden?”.


    “Sounds like the best we’re going to get, so let’s do it” Mallys said.


    “Wait-” Nea started, “This station is huge even if you say you’re thorough, are you really going to bet on a chance like that?”


    “I didn’t know you cared” Mallys gave the Slowking an exasperated look, “Call it intuition if it bothers you that much”.


    Nea sighed, “Are you going to let me go then?”


    “No”.
     

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