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Beyond the Sky - An Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky Novelization

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by Syaoron the Fox, Apr 22, 2017.

  1. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    While I'm editing the chapters to be uploaded, I'll start the thread as thus:

    I'm originally a writer on FFN, and this story was originally posted there. Since the community there isn't exactly active, I figured I'd move my works over to here. I have 14 chapters posted so far, and I'm working on future chapters. I'll be posting each chapter, starting from the first, every day or two just to keep it current. If you absolutely cannot wait to see the others that I've finished already, you can visit my FFN account and check it out. Otherwise, after a bit of post editing, you will hopefully receive higher quality stuff here on the forum.

    The Fanfic in question is a novelization of my favorite Pokémon spin off: "Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky". If you've never played it, I definitely recommend it, but if you haven't, my novelization is hopefully good enough that you can grasp what happens in the story.

    Thank you so much for reading! *_*

    PS: Feel free to comment, offer feedback, or whatnot. One thing I like about posting my stories online is that feedback I receive from my audience, so I'd be delighted to hear how you feel about my work! Without further ado...

    Edit: Henceforth, the character Abomasnow will be changed to Froslass. She fits the thematic aspect of the story more. Forgive me while I edit her in.

    Beyond the Sky
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    #1 Apr 22, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  2. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 1: Premonition to a Fresh Start

    Storms: the bane of all sailors and seafarers. Storms that were violent enough had the power to sink ships, throw them off their course, or cause some of the crew to fly overboard, to be lost at sea and perhaps never seen again. For many ocean-bound cases, storms were perilous and undesirable.

    Even while not at sea, storms can be dangerous to travelers, causing pneumonia in extreme cases and electrocution from lightning in others. They blinded the eyes and chilled the bone, making transportation life-risking, even impossible.

    For the travelers we observe right now, they are experiencing a very different storm.

    Light flashed, as if caused by lightning. Whirring winds sounded in the midst, signifying that it was a very intense storm indeed. In a place such as this, a storm was unheard of. Something had clearly gone unexpectedly wrong.

    Another nearly blinding flash of light. The wind blew harder than before. “H-hold on! Just hold on!” a deep voice shouted in the midst of the dark storm. The figures could hardly see each other, let alone anything else in the middle of the raging tempest.

    “I’m trying!” A younger voice shouted in response. His grip loosened; his eyes widened. If he didn’t hold on it would be ruinous. “I… I’m slipping!”

    Both hands gripped each other harder. “I don’t care, just hold on!” the deeper voice yelled back, desperately keeping hold of his partner. As the winds strew them about in its violent torrent, the younger one was screaming in terror, never having been more horrified in his life.

    Their hands began to slip and the younger one gasped a bit, trying to cling harder as his grip slipped. “Ah! I can’t hold on!” he screamed.

    “No, Just keep trying!” the older voice yelled again, trying to maintain a grip. One hand finally slipped between then and they were left hanging by one limb apiece.

    It wasn’t long until even that slipped through their grasps and the two were lost to the mercy of the raging storm.


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 1
    Premonition to a Fresh Start


    He tried to ease his eyes open; tried to get up. His body felt like a boulder was sitting on it though, and his eyelids weighed down on him by the tons. Barely, he was able to crack his eyes open just enough to be almost instantly blinded by a bright light. “Ah!” he groaned, rolling over to protect his eyes from the bright light.

    As he rolled onto all fours, he felt something soft and gritty beneath him. He fluttered his eyelids and moaned a bit from the penetrating light and his bright surroundings. He laid his sights on the ground for a moment and blinked. “Sand?” he wondered to himself. He tried to stand up, but his movements felt awkward and out of control, and he ended up falling back into the sand.

    He couldn’t even go on all fours after that. A massive headache suddenly came over him and he laid there on the ground. No… I can’t… he thought to himself as his vision dimmed. Fading too fast… can’t stay awake… He was able to catch sight of the sun in the sky before passing out entirely.


    Wigglytuff’s Guild. Though the name sounded silly to the unexposed ear, it was one of the most respectable guilds in all the lands. The guild tended to produce many impressive explorers from its bowels, and many aspiring trainees worked there. The guild was an impressive place indeed.

    Not only that; it also served as commerce for the local, traveling explorers as well. Many of the Pokémon who were on the road often came to the guild to earn pay by performing certain tasks that were commissioned for the guild. Yes, it was a very interesting place by all due respect. But, how does one become an explorer? Though arduous as the process is, it’s often worth its own while in the end.

    At least, that was what a certain Eevee hoped as she came to the gates of the guild. The massive, looming teepee designed to look like Wigglytuff himself shrouded the entrance to the hideout that was on the side of a cliff, beyond which a vast, expansive ocean stretched out. To the small she-Eevee, it brought nervous shivers to her core.

    “Alright; this is it,” she said to herself, trying to imbue herself with courage enough to enter the foreboding guild. She took in a deep breath to try and calm herself as she stepped forward, trying to keep her cool. As she breathed deeply—in and out—she puffed out her chest, trying to seem confident and collected.

    Her façade was shattered and left in pieces as she walked over a grate in front of the teepee, a squeaky voice shouting out, “Pokémon detected! Pokémon detected!”

    The Eevee’s heart stopped for a moment when she heard the voice and she looked around for its source. A mere second later, a booming voice sounded in response; from somewhere in the guild, she assumed. “Who’s footprint?! Who’s footprint?!” the voice responded.

    “The footprint is Eevee’s! The footprint is Eevee’s!” was the given response by the squeaky voice. The she-Eevee was more than frightened enough to back off of the grate, and she let out a sigh, trying to calm her rapidly beating heart.

    She became depressed suddenly, signified by her drooping tail and the ears that were flattened back against her heard. “I… I can’t do it,” she murmured in her disappointment. She brought a paw up to her neck fur, feeling around for a string and she sighed upon finding it. She looked at the thing attached to the string around her neck: a small stone with a four-spoke wing –like design on the flat surface. “I thought that carrying around my precious treasure would help encourage me,” she mused before stuffing away in her neck fur. “Guess that didn’t work like I thought it would…”

    With a discouraged expression, the lone Eevee sulked away from the guild, back down the stairs that led to the town crossroad. Behind her, in the shadows of the totem poles that stood aloft near the Wigglytuff teepee, a duo of Pokémon waited. “Well, did you hear that, Zubat?” the first one asked, his voice dull and heavy.

    “I heard everything, Koffing,” the Zubat responded in his high-pitched, know-it-all tone. “The kid said something about a precious treasure. It sounds valuable.”

    Koffing looked back over to Zubat, puffing gas from his spherical body to keep himself afloat. He raised a brow to his compatriot, nodding in the direction that the Eevee ran in. “Do we go after the runt?”

    Zubat nodded, only able to see his sidekick through the use of echolocation. “We do.”


    The young Eevee couldn’t hold back a few tears as she walked straight across the crossroad. She chastised herself constantly as she meandered around. How could she have been so nervous? It was just some shouting from underneath the grate. She knew she could’ve handled it if she had only been more patient and less timid.

    She pondered so many questions in her mind that it almost hurt to realize how foolish she had been to back away. How could she have been so cowardly? That question had plagued her again and again and she finally hiccupped in realization. Hot tears splashed onto the ground as she stopped her walking. “It’s because I am a coward…” she cried softly, shaking as her tears slid off her cheeks.

    At that very moment, she shook her head, a look of determination suddenly crossing her face. She slapped herself in the face, wiping away her tears. “Don’t be so ridiculous,” she scolded her own actions. “You’re not a coward. It just surprised you, that’s all. Just keep a cool head and go back and try it again.”

    However, as she turned back and saw the guild entrance from below, she sighed. “Aw, who am I kidding,” the Eevee grumbled under her breath. “I’m still afraid. What if they reject me? What will I do then?”

    Though a frown had been on her face for a while, when she hung her head to feel sorry for herself, she noticed the soft sand that was under her paws and a smile suddenly lit up her face. “I’m already at the beach?” she wondered a bit giddily as she looked up, across the ocean. The sun was beginning to set and her eyes glistened in happiness when she saw it. “Oh wow, it’s beautiful!”

    As she slowly exhaled, she decided that she’d wash away her worries for the time being by watching the sunset. A giggle escaped her lips as she noticed bubbles floating out toward the horizon. She finally decided to sit down in the sand and she turned her head enough so that she could catch sight of the crab-like Pokémon on the cliffs, blowing bubbles out into the ocean.

    “I always love it when the Krabby blow bubbles at sunset,” she mused contently to herself, lost in thought. “The bubbles always twinkle when the sun shines on them right. It makes me feel at peace.”

    So lost in her thoughts as she was, she might’ve been building castles in the air. The Eevee took another glance at her ‘precious treasure’ and she gripped it tightly. She planned on going back to the guild some other time. However, she knew that going at it alone again would solely result in backing down once more and more sadness to follow. She kept wondering about what she needed to keep from running away again well into the evening, even as the sun dipped its heavenly body into the horizon of the ocean.

    With her thoughts being inconclusive, she stood from her spot on the beach and gave a mighty yawn. It would probably be best—she decided—if she went home for the night to get some rest. As she was about to leave however, she took one last look at the coast and noticed something that seemed out of place. “Huh… I wonder what that is,” she muttered as she walked over to the thing in the sand.

    Upon closer inspection, the Eevee realized it was the motionless body of a Pokémon; a Riolu to be more precise, though she’d rarely ever seen a Riolu before. Upon noticing this, her heart skipped a beat and she rushed to the Pokémon’s side. “Hey, are you alright?” she asked nervously while pushing on his side, trying to get him to wake up. “C’mon! Please wake up!”

    Her persistence seemed to do some good as she finally got the Riolu to groan. As he sat up, holding his head as if from a migraine, he blinked and looked up at the Eevee. “Uh… hello?” he said, unsure of what else to say.

    The Eevee girl only huffed a bit, wearing a confused expression on her face. “Hello? I wake you up on a beach in the afternoon and all I get is a hello?”

    The Riolu only cocked his head to the side. “I… don’t understand what you mean,” he responded.

    The she-Eevee only put a paw forward and poked his forehead. “What happened to you, silly?” she asked, full of curiosity. “What are you doing out here on the beach? It’s getting late, and the sun will set in an hour or so. Did you hit your head or something?”

    The Riolu only felt at his head, wondering if he had gotten a bump. He frowned when he didn’t find one, and his mind came up blank. “I… don’t remember,” he groaned as he tried to stand up, only succeeding in falling back into the sand.

    “Oh, I guess that’s too bad,” the Eevee said. “So, tell me about yourself! I’ve never seen you around town before. Do you live nearby? Where’d you come from?”

    The Riolu only shook his head and scrunched up his expression in thought. “Slow down. I can only answer one question at a time,” he said, tapping his chin in thought. “But, come to think of it… I don’t remember where I’m from either…”

    The Eevee looked disconcerted, sitting down with her forelegs propping her up. “Weird. Riolu are Aura Pokémon, right? Aren’t they supposed to have like… a good memory or something?”

    The Riolu looked around, puzzled by her words for some reason. He finally glanced at her, his brow furrowed. “Riolu? Me?” he asked her. When she nodded slowly, he let out a loud laugh. “Oh, that’s a good one! I’m not a Riolu; I’m a human! Haven’t you ever seen a human before?”

    The Eevee felt even less sure about the Riolu’s sanity now than she did a few minutes ago. “I’ve seen a human before once, yeah,” she assured him. “But you are definitely a Riolu.”

    The Riolu suddenly held a hesitant look on his face, though confused as he was. Out of his curiosity though, he decided to amuse the Eevee and he peered into tide to see his reflection… and found her to be absolutely correct. “What?” he asked as he looked at his paws, noting the spike that protruded from the back of them. “I don’t understand. I know I was a human!” He beat himself over the head, trying to focus and bring some sort of reasoning for his transformation to mind. “Why can’t I remember anything?”

    The Eevee blinked, frowning to the Riolu. “So, you remember being a human, but you don’t remember anything else?” she asked skeptically. “Is this a trick or something?” When she received a confident headshake from the Riolu, she sighed and the edges of her lips curled up into a smile. “Well then, you at least remember your name, no?”

    The Riolu blinked again, scratching his head as he tried to think of something. He felt something ping in his mind, a word that seemed to fit itself in his mind perfectly, much like a key to its proper lock. “Aru,” he said with some confidence. “My name… it’s Aru.”

    After finally getting her answer, the Eevee nodded. “It’s nice to meet you, Aru,” she greeted him on a friendlier basis. She offered her paw forward and spoke again, “I’m Thali.”

    Aru smiled at Thali, taking her hand and finally standing up on his own two feet… though as he looked down, it looked more like he was standing on hind legs rather than normal legs. “So, anyway,” Thali began to speak. “I was wondering if—”

    She never got to finish her sentence when she was thrown back by a powerful force. She let out a grunt as she hit the ground and the two glanced over at her attackers; a Zubat and a Koffing. “Oh, whoops. Excuse us,” Koffing said sarcastically.

    Aru rushed over to Thali, helping her up and the Eevee lobbed a glare over to poison Pokémon duo. “Hey, what was that for?” Thali shouted at them, wincing a bit from the blow.

    “No, please, don’t get up,” Zubat continued to tease them with a malicious smirk. “We came to mess with you. Ain’t it obvious?” Thali and Aru could only remain silent; Thali was simply too shocked to do much of anything, while Aru was simply waiting things out, wondering what their goal was. It was soon shown when Zubat pointed to a small rock attached to a string laying in the sand. “That’s yours, isn’t it?”

    Thali’s quivering eyes widened in surprise when the Zubat picked up the stone and hung it around his neck. “Hey wait! That’s my treasure!”

    “Bingo, kid,” Koffing said, another smirk beheld on his face. He noticed the Eevee’s shaking and he snorted, “What’s the matter, squirt? Ya’ too chicken to take it back?”

    Thali frowned, her ears flattening as held back tears welled up in her hazelnut eyes. The Zubat only chortled. “Thought so,” he badgered the timid Eevee before flying past them, with Koffing following soon after. “See ya’ around, morons.”

    As the duo of perpetrators disappeared into the nearby cave, Thali let out a disheartened respire. “But… that was my most precious treasure…” she whined, a kind of anxiety showing in her voice that implied that her confidence was on thin ice. She turned to Aru, her eyes glazed with hanging tears. “You… you have to help me get it back! Please?”

    The Riolu looked taken aback, unsure of how to respond. He’d only met her a few minutes ago, and she was already asking for his help. However, concluding that it was the right thing to do, Aru nodded to her briefly. “Sure thing!”

    No sooner than those words were said, the odd duo ventured into the cave.


    Aru looked around the cave as they entered; an aura of uncertainty about him. Of course, the timid she-Eevee felt similarly, and a bit afraid as they entered. The Riolu simply tried to stick it out, glancing over to Thali and nodding. “So, tell me about yourself,” he suggested, trying to lighten the mood in the dank cave.

    Thali only nodded as she walked forward. “Well, I’m an Eevee,” she stated. A blush suddenly crossed her and she shook her head. “You probably already knew that though. We—us Eevee, I mean—we’re naturally really… um… what’s the word for it?”

    Though Aru pondered for a word to finish her statement, he was kept from doing it when a Shellos suddenly came out from around the corner in the cave. The Shellos, being native to the area and defensive of its territory, glared at the two and shot a wave of mud at the two. “Get down!” Aru yelled at Thali, tackling her to to the ground to avoid the blow. Thali seemed scared stiff as Aru jumped up to defend her. In that instant, Aru threw forward a punch at the Shellos, sending it packing.

    When Thali looked up, taking her forepaws off of her head, she noticed Aru helping her up. “I think the word you’re looking for is timid? Maybe it’s afraid?”

    Thali pouted defiantly, trying to hide her blush and keep whatever pride she had left. “Yeah… something like that,” she said. She took a glance back down at her newfound friend’s paw and hummed thoughtfully. “You threw a pretty fast punch out there,” she discovered. “For a moment there, it looked like it shined silvery or something.”

    “Yeah…” Aru muttered. He glanced at his paw again, clenching it; wondering how he had done something like that. “That’s one of my… abilities or moves, right?”

    Thali only nodded, deciding to take the lead. “Looked like it,” she remarked with a keen eye. “And I’d say that was Bullet Punch. I didn’t know Riolu could learn it.”

    The human turned Riolu only shrugged. “I guess I… didn’t know I had it in me.”

    Thali simply nodded, going down a corridor and to a lower floor in the cave. “You never know,” she said. Her best serious expression was put on as she looked down to lowest section of the cave. “They’re probably stuck at the bottom. Y-you ready?”

    Aru glanced at his companion, a bit shocked by her determination. Though her knees were trembling, threatening to drop her on the floor at any moment, he saw a fire that burned in her eyes, burning with a drive to get back her stolen treasure. Now that he focused on it, he could almost sense an orange aura around her, making her perseverance seem evident. The Riolu, after identifying all of this, bowed his head with a chuckle. “Yeah, let’s go.”

    Upon entering, they found the duo of poison Pokémon looking about the small chamber. “Aw man, Koffing. I think this is a dead end,” Zubat groaned as he searched around with echolocation. “There’s not a single way out except the way we came in.”

    Koffing slowly turned around and nearly paled. “It looks like our only way out is gone, too!” he shouted as they were met with a pair of brown, scowling eyes.

    Zubat put on his most confident smirk, looking almost overconfident as he flew forward a bit. “Well, if it ain’t the squirt and her tagalong,” he mocked them. “What’d you come for?”

    The Eevee only glared daggers at Zubat. “You know exactly what we came for!” Thali accused them. “I want my treasure back, now hand it over!”

    The Zubat only scoffed, barring his fangs and preparing for a fight. “Not likely, kid,” he taunted her. “You’ll just have to take it back from us.”

    Though Thali gritted her teeth, still unsure about fighting, Aru patted her back and gave her a thumbs-up, stepping forward. “We can take them,” he assured her before giving a piercing stare to the Zubat and Koffing. “You’re on.”

    Aru smirked and rushed forward, trying out his Bullet Punch, but the Zubat swiftly dodged to right. Instead of staving off in case of another attack, Zubat rushed in for a flyby, knocking into Aru and throwing him to the side.

    The Riolu rolled a bit, getting to his knees. Before he could stand up again, Koffing appeared in front of him, preparing to blow poisonous gas in Aru’s direction. Before the gas was prepared, Aru rolled to the side and narrowly avoided the toxic fumes.

    Getting up swiftly, the Riolu backhanded Koffing, sending the gaseous Pokémon reeling. Unbeknownst to Aru, Zubat appeared swiftly behind him and utilized his Supersonic move. The sound waves caused by the bat wracked the Riolu’s ears, causing his vision to blur and his balance to wane, bring him to his knees. Still though, Aru stood back up and whisked by the Zubat, using his Quick Attack.

    Thali could only watch from afar, amazed at how her companion so quickly jumped into battle. All for my treasure, she remembered. Her cheeks flushed as she made note of that, wondering for a moment why he had helped her at his own expense. She watched as Aru began battling with Koffing again, throwing powerful blows but not hitting the dodgy target.

    However, as Thali watched her Riolu friend slowly tire, she caught sight of Zubat sneaking around to try and get a hit on Aru’s blind spot. “Aru, watch out!” she called out to him, hoping that he would notice in enough time to dodge it. However, with enemies to his front and rear, Aru was unable to dodge the Zubat’s attack as it was boastfully announced, “Poison Fang!”

    Aru was taken by surprise when the bat Pokémon latched onto his shoulder, biting into him. He winced from the pain, and swatted the bat off of his shoulder, jumping back from the fight and gripping his shoulder, which was leaking with blood. He felt a pang in his shoulder and groaned, suddenly feeling weakness enswathe him.

    “Aru!” she exclaimed as she rushed to look at his wound. However, when she spotted him fretting over such a small wound, she frowned. “What happened? What did he do?”

    “Your friend is out of luck, kid,” Zubat said with confidence. Though he had no eyes, he still managed a glower at the odd duo. “That’s some of my most potent poison. If he’s lucky, he’ll get out of here with only unconsciousness. Worst case scenario, he dies.” However, the bat realized at the end of his speech that the Eevee wasn’t paying any attention to him and he groaned. “Hey! Listen to me when I’m talking!”

    The Eevee only shook her head and she reached into the fur of her tail, pulling out a small pink fruit. “Eat this,” she urged him as she pushed it up against his lips. “I may be scared, but I’m not stupid. Going up against poison enemies; I thought I’d pick up a Pecha Berry along the way. It should be enough to heal that poison.”

    Aru nodded to Thali as he took the berry in his mouth and swallowed it. The sweet taste made it easier for it to go down, and it wasn’t long before he felt the toxic fatigue fade away as well. “Wow Thali, thanks. You really saved me right there.”

    Zubat only groaned as he watched the moment between the two, growing annoyed at their ignorance. “Hey, pay attention when I’m fighting ya’!” he shouted at them as he swept in for another attack.

    Though Aru was still recovering from the poison, unable to react fast enough, he didn’t need to. Eevee stood up confidently and briskly spun around, striking Zubat with her strong tail. “How do you like my Tail Whip, thief?” she boasted in her moment of brief triumph.

    The Zubat was sent tumbling and he tried to no avail to relieve the buzzing in his head and the cloudiness in his vision. As soon as he was able to see again, he was met swiftly with Aru’s Bullet Punch, which effectively kayoed him.

    The Koffing looked to his fallen partner, to the stone that had fallen on the ground, and to his foes and began to panic. “A-alright, just take the rock!” he said as he heaved Zubat over his body. With his surrender given and dismay written all over the Koffing’s face, he floated away as fast as his bloated body would carry him with his partner in crime slung over him.

    Aru then turned to Thali and nodded. “I guess we should be getting out of here too, huh?” he suggested, panting from the exhaustion that the fight had brought on.

    Thali bobbed her head in affirmation, picking her treasure up by the string and placing it around her neck. “Sure,” she breathed out, also a bit tired. “Let’s get going.”
    #2 Apr 22, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  3. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 2: Beginning Anew

    The two newfound friends, Thali and Aru, stumbled out of the sea cave in a bout of laughter. “You did pretty good back there, Thali,” Aru complimented her, arousing a blush from the Eevee’s cheeks. Aru then chuckled playfully, “You know, once you got over your fear.”

    Thali, embarrassed already by the compliment, pouted and looked up at Aru. “Hey, that’s not fair to say!” she said. “Not everyone can lunge out recklessly into a battlefield. I don’t have a clue how you survive doing that, even if you were a human!”

    Aru sighed, crossing his arms and looking away indignantly. “Hey, if we were gonna get your… treasure back; we had to fight them,” he reasoned. “I was only taking the initiative.” The Riolu suddenly blinked, a thought occurring to him that he hadn’t thought of before. “Thali?”

    Thali tilted her head to the side, wondering what he could want. “Yes?”

    “Do you mind telling me what’s so special about your treasure?” he asked. Hurriedly, his cheeks flaring a bright shade of red, he then added, “If it’s not too much trouble, I mean.”

    The she-Eevee hummed a giggle before glancing back over to her friend. “I was beginning to wonder if you would ever ask,” she mused. Bringing her paw up to fish through her neck fur, Thali retrieved the small stone pendant looped in a string collar and set it in the sand. “I found it one day, really. Just stumbled upon it. From a distance, it looks like a piece of junk, but look closer.”

    Aru leaned in and looked closer at the stone, noticing the four-pronged wing design set in the perfectly flat side of the peculiar rock. “See that design?” she asked. “It’s weird, isn’t it? Before this thing, I’ve never seen a rune quite like that before—see I’ve always been interested in exploration.”

    “Exploration?” asked Aru, somewhat curious.

    “Yeah, exploration,” Thali responded. Her expression brightened up as thoughts of the subject came to her mind. “Visiting new places, delving into ancient ruins, or even discovering something that no one’s ever heard of! I’ve always been fascinated by stories of great explorers who find new places and discover amazing treasures! Doesn’t that just seem awe-inspiring?”

    Aru tried to imagine, just for a moment, what she seemed to be feeling. I suppose it might be intriguing… finding great treasure and exploring new lands… he admitted thoughtfully.

    Thali continued her great speech while Aru pondered on her emotions. “That’s what I want to be like. I want to be one of the great explorers who goes off and finds new places, discovers ancient pieces of history and lore. It’s my goal to go where no Pokémon has gone before and to one day find out where my little relic fragment fits into everything.”

    The Eevee then gave another sigh and sat down in the sand, looking out at the fading horizon. “I tried to go up to the explorer’s guild so I could apply to train for an exploration team,” she admitted sadly. “But… I chickened out at the last moment. I’ve always been so timid and I just couldn’t do it.”

    Aru let out a sigh and sat beside her, letting the water soak his feet as he patted her back. He could already see the tears forming in her eyes, and something inside him didn’t want to see them fall. “Hey, c’mon Thali,” he encouraged her. “I saw what you did back there in the cave. You can do this. All you need is a little push.”

    Thali bobbed her head to answer him, though she appeared to be in deep thought. “Aru? Can I ask you something?”

    “Of course, Thali. What is it?”

    Thali glanced up at the twilight sky, noticing the first star of the sky in the night and she sighed. “Where are you going to stay now?” she asked him. “You lost your memory, right? You’ve got no place to stay right now?”

    Aru gave a sigh and pawed at the sand. “Yeah, you’ve got that right,” he answered, forcing him to ironically remember that his amnesia had taken away all prior memories before that afternoon. “What’s your point?”

    A bit of hope glinted in the young Eevee’s eyes as she leaned close, toward Aru. “I was wondering…” she began, “if you wanted to form an exploration team with me.”


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 2
    Beginning Anew


    Aru gave a sigh as he climbed the steps, following close behind Thali. He had caved in, of course. With a roll of his red eyes, he remembered the exact reason why he’d caved in in the first place: the hope hidden behind Thali’s tearing eyes and his own defenselessness to her exploitation tactics. He blamed her for his submission, but when all had been said and done, he was rather interested in the matter of exploration. Who knows? he thought back on his decision. Maybe I’ll discover something about my memory by exploring with Thali.

    At the top of the hill sat the large teepee canopy that resembled Wigglytuff: the proclaimed legend that was the master of the guild. Before the guild’s entrance was a grate made of sturdy wood and beside the entrance were lit totem poles resembling various Pokémon; the top being Wigglytuff. Talk about foreboding, Aru thought. Just the crackling of the fire in the dark night was enough to set the Riolu on edge. No wonder Thali is so afraid of this place.

    After he had relished on his thoughts of the strange place, he looked back over to Thali and noticed that she was quivering. The young Eevee was struggling just to remain still and she breathed a huge sigh. “Alright… Alright…” she whispered under her breath, trying to encourage herself. “Aru’s here with me; I can do this…”

    With that imbued confidence, Thali looked back up toward the teepee, feeling newly invigorated. Keeping her newfound companion in mind, she stepped forward, settling on the grate. It still startled her of course when the voice sounded, and she shook in her sudden fright, but she remained there and bit her lip. After the examination of her Pokémon species and a few seconds of wait, a voice sounded, “Alright! You may enter!”

    Thali gave a relieved sigh, stepping off the grating and giving a silent cheer before the voice boomed again. “Someone else is with you!” the voice stated the obvious. “Have the stranger stand on the grate!”

    Thali blinked, looking back at a confused Riolu that was shaking his head about, as if trying to find this stranger. “I think he means you, Aru,” she said, clarifying Aru’s misconception.

    “Alright then…” Aru gave a blank nod and looked down at the grate, turning it over in his mind. What’s up with this thing? he wondered, analyzing it. It’s just a grate, sure… It’s put there so no one will fall through, but I don’t know; it looks like it’ll tickle my feet or something.

    He was snapped out of his daze when he was promptly demanded once more to step onto the grate. Giving a deep sigh and deciding to analyze the grating further later, he stepped onto the grate and received a very much similar greeting.

    “Pokémon detected! Pokémon detected!”

    “Whose footprint? Whose footprint?”

    “The footprint is… the footprint… is…”

    The two waited for a response, confused and wondering what was going on.


    A groan had finally been elicited from the rather loud individual. “Is something wrong, sentry? Sentry Diglett, do you copy?”

    Diglett, the apparent sentry Pokémon at the time, gave a sigh. Feeling rather unsure of his answer, he shouted back, “Uh… Maybe Riolu’s! Maybe Riolu’s!”

    “Maybe? What kind of an answer is that?” the loud voice replied, clearly irritated. “That’s a pretty crummy job, Diglett! Identifying the footprints of Pokémon; that’s your job, isn’t it?”

    “I’m sorry! I don’t know what I don’t know!”


    Meanwhile, sitting outside the guild’s entrance, Thali and Aru looked back and forth between the grate, the teepee, and each other. From below the grate, they could hear distant shouting, but couldn’t make out the words that embodied that shouting. “Um… Are they arguing?” she asked, trying to open up conversation to Aru.

    All the Riolu could do was shrug. Even as he tried to peer through the grating, he couldn’t see the bottom because of the light contrast. “I’m not sure,” he muttered, giving a nonchalant shrug. “I wish I could tell why they’re taking so long.”

    Thali suddenly blinked, narrowing her eyes at Riolu. “Wait… you’re not a bad Pokémon, are you?” she asked, preparing to take a stand as though she believed that thought for a moment.

    Aru blinked. “Thali, of course I’m not!” he said. “I seriously lost my memory. I’ve got no idea how I got here. I’m not gonna turn around and stab you in the back.”

    Thali sighed and nodded. “Yeah, yeah,” she muttered. She looked back up to him, scuffing her paw against the floor. She figured that what she had just insinuated was rude; Aru was clearly lost in this new world. “I didn’t mean to accuse you of anything.”

    Aru shook his head, waving aside her comment as if he were erasing a stray chalk mark on stone. “It’s okay,” he said with an understanding chuckle. “How could I not look a little suspicious? I’d call you crazy not to at least be a little suspicious of me.”

    After a few more moments’ wait, they finally received a response from the booming voice. “Well, I suppose you don’t see very many Riolu around here,” said the voice dripping with hidden accusation. “But you don’t appear to be bad. You too shall pass!”

    Without another moment to spare, the steel bars that barred the entrance rose and allowed entrance. The screeching of the raised gate startled the two—Thali especially—and after they had calmed down, they snuck a little closer to observe it. “At least I finally get to go in,” Thali whispered to herself, squealing in her excitement.

    When they passed through the flaps of the tent, what appeared before them was less than expected. “Huh…” Aru mused as he gazed at the manhole in the ground; a ladder was built into the side of the entrance. “I guess we go down then.” And with that, the two climbed down the wooden ladder, into the expanse below.

    When they arrived in the guild, it was much more than they had expected. An expansive lobby extended at the base of the first ladder, revealing a myriad of various Pokémon; of all types, species, and attitudes. Pokémon from round the world and all walks of life were gathered. Young and old, soft and seasoned, even Pokémon from separate ends of the world worked and spoke together. They were gathered around, talking amongst themselves or bragging about their latest explorations. One notable team—Team AWD—was currently talking up how they had discovered the famed Zero Isle. Some teams even spent a great deal of time telling tales of old; recanting stories of the great explorer Scizzor who vanished to the Blizzard Islands and never returned. So many Pokémon, from so many backgrounds of life; the mere image of it all stirred Thali to excitement.

    “I say; are you the two fellows who just entered?” A voice from behind them greeted them rather formally in a singsong voice. Upon turning around to meet the cheery tone, the two noticed that the parrot Pokémon—with the striking feather atop its black head made to look like the flag of a musical note—was a rather colorful Chatot. “We don’t have any time for your silly surveys or that nonsense,” he continued, waving a wing as if to flick them away. “Now shoo! We don’t need any more miscreants invading our establishment.”

    Aru was overcome for a moment as the parrot exuded a vocabulary colorful enough to match his feathers. It was Thali who spoke up in his place, “No, mister Chatot sir. We actually came here to join the guild.”

    It almost appeared as if the parrot had been shocked, and he visibly recoiled. “Explorers, you say?” he asked them. He turned around, as if to think about things and he sighed. “It’s hard to believe kids this young want to become explorers…” he muttered under his breath. “Especially considering the steady amount of recruits that run away from our vigorous training…”

    Aru blinked, trying to catch the words that Chatot spoke and noting a few details. “Um, excuse me sir,” the Riolu spoke up. “The training… it can’t really be so difficult, can it?”

    As soon as the question breached Chatot’s ears, he swiftly turned to correct himself. Even if they might be hopeless, they could still bring in revenue for the guild, after all. “Oh no, not in the slightest!” he lied. “Our training is as easy and simplistic as can be! You haven’t got a thing to worry about.”

    The two were yet again bewildered, this time by his careening attitude. “I wish you would have asked me about that in the first place,” Chatot spoke while walking off. “Yes, if you want to become an exploration team, you will need to get yourselves registered with Guildmaster Wigglytuff… what are you waiting for? Do hurry along now. The Guildmaster has far more important business to attend, and this should be dealt with quickly.”

    With no further ado, the two rushed after Chatot, taking the second ladder down into the guild. There were less Pokémon here; only a few were going about and even they traveled with a sort of purpose about them. Thali wondered for a moment if they were all trainees as well. Chatot stopped them before a wooden door with a red symbol painted on it, resembling the face of the Guildmaster. Wigglytuff sure does like to leave an impression, doesn’t he? Aru thought.

    Chatot flapped his wings to draw their attention and then instructed them, “Now, on no circumstances are you to be rude to the Guildmaster. You will establish eye contact, you will hang on his every word, and you will treat him with the utmost respect. After all, he will be deciding if you are fit enough to be accepted.” With all the mannerisms dispensed, Aru and Thali gave a quick nod and Chatot knocked on the door. “Guildmaster, it’s Chatot. I’m coming in.”

    Chatot opened the door and allow the newcomers in, and they were able to walk in. What lay before them put them on edge. The Guildmaster lay at the end of the hall, a foreboding feeing invading their senses. The crackling of fire on torches set an odd light on the Guildmaster. Even if he was a large, pink rabbit with large blue eyes and a big white stomach… and maybe he looked cuddly. Even then, the Guildmaster casted an unreadable gaze that they couldn’t quite figure out.

    The overwhelming aura of mystery gave shivers to Thali, and even Aru was quivering a bit. The Guildmaster was an unreadable character, simply staring. It almost seemed as if the gaze bored into their very souls; seemed as though he was judging them before a word could even be said.

    Chatot finally took his moment after the long dramatic pause to speak up. “Guildmaster, I present to you these two Pokémon who wish to join us as apprentices,” he said, speaking with a tone that would support the argument that he was always haughtily formal before Wigglytuff. “They are rather young as you can see, and I suggest you take that into account before you allow them into the guild.”

    Chatot gave a blink, looking at the Guildmaster oddly. He had not given a response in quite a while, and it was beginning to bother him. The two were put on edge, waiting for the Guildmaster’s response. Taking this opportunity, Chatot flew up and perched by the Wigglytuff’s ear, whispering in his ear. It was only then that the Guildmaster was roused and he looked down at the two newcomers.

    “Hi-ya!” Wigglytuff suddenly shouted, jumping down from his throne and greeting them, with firm handshakes that left the Pokémon befuddled and shaken. “You want to become explorer trainees? Well, yippee! Let’s get started right away! You have a team name, right?”

    The two were so overcome by Wigglytuff’s rambunctious personality in that moment that they had to look back and forth between each other before Thali finally spoke up and recited the name. “It’s Team Unity!” she shouted excitedly. “To function properly as a team in exploring, you need to be like family or close friends! You need to function like one, not like just individuals.”

    The Guildmaster gave a nod and smiled. “Wonderful!” he shouted before taking it down on some paper and shouting into the air, “YOOMTAH!” A great echo of the voice boomed throughout the base. “You two are now officially explorers! Team Unity is now registered!”

    Aru leaned over to Thali, whispering in her ear, “Is this the Wigglytuff you’ve been afraid of this whole time?” When the Eevee gave an unsure, slow nod, Aru chuckled and patted her back. “I think it’s safe to say you had nothing to worry about.”

    “Shut up.”

    “I mean, unless you have a chronic fear of… clowns, or something.”

    “I said, shut up.

    It was then that Wigglytuff dug around in the expansive area behind his throne. Aru and Thali stood stalk still, looking at the Guildmaster and giving looks of strangeness. Is this guy… real? Aru wondered when suddenly Wigglytuff appeared before them, a small chest in his hands.

    “Here is your official Exploration Team kit,” Wigglytuff presented them with the chest, his eyes glistening with excitement like a newborn seeing the world. Disregarding the strange character of the Guildmaster however, the two peered inside the chest in their own excitement. “In there, you should find a Treasure Bag, your explorer’s badge, and a Wonder Map,” Wigglytuff explained while hopping back up on his intricately designed throne. “The Treasure Bag stores everything you need for your journeys! Your Wonder Map will show anywhere you need to go, and your badge will prove your identity as explorers.”

    They took up the useful items, cheering together before Wigglytuff interrupted their cheering. “From this moment on, you two will be training and living at the guild!” he announced to them. “Oh joy; new friends!”

    Though Wigglytuff had turned out to be more or less than expected, it didn’t stop the two’s eyes from glistening with the great sensation of succession, having finally attained membership to the guild. The rest of the time in the presence of the Guildmaster was spent gleefully, rejoicing for the arrival of the new team.


    It was only later that night that the two were finally left to themselves. Chatot decided it was too late into the night to give them a tour of the facilities and he decided rather to merely show them to their barracks. It was a small, simple room with beds of mounded, bound grass. A lone window lay to the side, letting in a divided beam of pale light.

    Thali was still feeling her unrestrained sense of amazement. “I can’t believe it,” she hummed, relishing on the wonders of that day. Many strange things had happened to her that day. She discovered a Pokémon lying flat out on the beach, with no recollection of his past and only knowledge of his name. Her precious treasure was stolen, and then this mysterious Riolu helped her recover it. Best of all though…

    “I finally made it… I’m finally an explorer!” squealed Thali as she gazed up into the night sky. All her hopes and dreams could now be fulfilled to her; the world was an expansive slate, waiting for her to leave her mark as one of the greats. She turned at that moment and gazed at her partner. In deep thought, Aru gazed up at the ceiling. The animated Eevee gave a sudden sigh and whispered meekly, “And it’s all thanks to you, Aru.”

    Aru perked his ears up and prostrated himself, looking over at Thali. “What?” he asked, bewildered by her sudden appreciation. “You were the one who was able to get up there and be brave. You don’t have to thank me for anything.”

    “But that’s just it; I do need to thank you,” Thali immediately responded. A smile stretched its way onto her lips as she nuzzled her cheek against his. “You know, just you being there really made me feel… stronger,” she explained, gazing with her hazelnut eyes into his fiery orbs. “I felt like I could really stand up for myself, even over the loud noises that I usually run away from. I have to thank you for being here… with me.”

    Aru blushed a bit, shaking his head. “Oh, it’s no problem at all,” he said as he tried to hide his fierce red-flushed cheeks in the darkness. “After all, I have no other place to go, right?”

    “Still, thank you.”

    A bit of silence fell between them. Only the beam of moonlight on the floor separated them. It was with a smile that Thali spoke up once more, “Wigglytuff was nice, right?”

    Aru huffed, laughing a short while after that. “He’s a strange Pokémon, that’s for sure.” More than strange, as they both thought. Wigglytuff was outgoing, friendly, and even childish. Nothing like they had expected—which was a figure that was much more terrifying. No, this Wigglytuff was a strange fellow and he seemed to have such happiness about him all the time. Perhaps the stories about his fearsomeness were a farce?

    A burst of laughter arose from Thali, elicited by her comrade’s words, and when they subsided she drew on a long breath and glanced at his eyes again. Eyes that shone like a youngling’s eyes; with wonder and curiosity in a world they were completely new to. Again she was reminded of his amnesia and she gave a sigh. “I’m sorry.”

    The amnesic Riolu in question twitched his head over to her upon hearing the apology. “You’re… sorry?” he asked. “What is there to be sorry for? I don’t understand.”

    Thali let out a tiny giggle, soon sighing as she sobered up. She looked back on the day once more, her eyes trying to focus on anything but him at the moment. “It seems like I’ve been having you run around all day… doing things for me,” she admitted shamefully. “First you helped me get my Relic Fragment back… Then you helped me get into the guild. You even formed an exploration team with me! And I haven’t been considerate enough to remember that you lost your memory…”

    Aru shrugged. He had not dwelled on that, even in his own right to dwelling. He figured there was no point in lingering on what had been, and he decided to move on. “It’s no trouble at all, Thali,” he said, stopping any further apologizing. Even as she was lifting a paw to object, Aru stretched his own paw out and laid it upon hers, pushing it back down. “I mean it,” he cut her off. “No more apologizing. I’m starting a new life, and those were my decisions.”

    Thali, though hesitant, conceded the argument and smiled brightly to him. Her brown fur glistened in the light of the moon as she curled up on the adjacent bed. “You know, Aru? I’m really lucky to have met you,” she murmured softly. It wasn’t long before she was whisked away by the night to a restful wonderland.

    Aru was unfortunately incapable of falling asleep then and there. Too many thoughts had begun to plague his mind and the unending cycle of thought after thought led long into the night. So… I’ve joined an exploration guild with a Pokémon I met a few hours ago so I can help her accomplish this dream of hers… Yeah, not the most normal way to start your new life, he thought while contemplating what had happened. Being in an exploration team might help me find my memory… or it might not. I might end up never figuring out what my old memories were. I’ll never know what I used to be like…

    Then, as he finally glanced over to Thali, with fur shining like the moon’s light and her paced, peaceful breathing, he felt content. It may not help me find my memory, but… She’s happy. That makes me happy, I suppose. It was only then, with his thoughts resolved and his intents made clear, that he was able to escape into his own slumber.
    #3 Apr 23, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  4. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 3: The Dimensional Scream

    “Hey! Wake up! It’s morning!”

    Aru rolled in his hay bed, his ears ringing from the piercing noise. He snapped his eyes open and shot up. He could swear he heard Thali’s screams of terror beyond the ringing in his ears. As soon as his vision cleared, Aru looked over to see Loudred standing at the door, looking nothing short of furious. “I said GET UP you maggots! You’re going to miss morning cheers if you don’t hurry up!”

    It was with slight reluctance that the odd duo stumbled out of their room and into the briefing area where the rest of the crew was. “Ah, there you are,” Chatot remarked, nodding to a spot for them to file in. “Get in line you two. We will hear from Guildmaster Wigglytuff soon.” With only a yawn escaping Thali, the two trudged into line.

    Not long after, Wigglytuff burst forth from his doors and everyone quieted down. They waited for the Guildmaster’s words, hanging onto their breath almost. But the only noises that Wigglytuff seemed to make were a few snores and giggling fits.

    “Can you believe it?” Croagunk muttered aside to Bidoof. “He’s fast asleep.”

    “Yup yup… That’s our Guildmaster.”

    “Eek! And his eyes are wide open too!” Sunflora gasped.

    Chimeco giggled. “Yes, isn’t it just fascinating?” she mused, jingling a bit.

    Chatot sighed as he redirected his attention to the guild members. Not again… he thought, flapping his wings to get their attention. “Thank you, Guildmaster, for your wise words of… wisdom,” Chatot nearly choked on his words. “Come now, recruits! Where are your cheers?” Then, with the incitation and a little count off…

    “One, don’t shirk work! Two, run away and pay! Three, smiles go for miles!”

    “Alright, Pokémon!” Chatot shouted. “Get to work!”


    The gathering of guild recruits immediately dispersed upon Chatot’s order. However, the parrot Pokémon took the time hereafter the morning cheers to call over Thali and Aru. “You two, don’t just dawdle around,” he chastised them, waving a blue and yellow wing. “Come, I will guide you around the guild.”

    Chatot gave the complete lowdown to the new recruits when they arrived on the first floor and turned over to one of the boards. “This is the request board,” Chatot told them. “Here, you will take up missions that Pokémon put out. Allow me to pick one out for you.”

    Chatot shuffled around the board and found and appropriate note, and handed it over to Thali. She sat on her hind legs and took the note in her forepaws, reading the message, “Hello, this is Spoink here. You see, a few days ago, the pearl that sits atop my head was stolen by some foolish miscreant! I simply can’t sit still without my pearl in its proper place on my head. However, I’ve heard that my pearl has been sighted in the Drenched Bluff. Please, wondrous explorer, fetch me my pearl!”

    Thali looked up at Chatot with a blank expression. She looked back down to the note, and then flared up. “What? You want us to go play fetch? This is a waste of time!” she exclaimed. “I want to go on a big adventure! Discover new places and find new treasures and…”

    “Be quiet!” Chatot scolded her. “All great explorers must start somewhere. Every great explorer started just as you are; running errands and going into mystery dungeons to gain experience.”

    “Oh…” Thali muttered, scuffing her paws against the ground. “I guess it’s okay then.”

    The two traveled back to their room and checked thee bag of items. Considering Aru’s bipedal nature, he naturally carried the bag. They laid the map out on the bed and look over it. “Huh… Looks like we got a bit of a way to go,” Thali said, pointing to two points on the map; theirs and the location of the Drenched Bluff.

    Aru dragged his forepaw across his face. “It’s gonna be a long day.”


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 3
    The Dimensional Scream


    That mission had, of course, gone well. It was one of the lowest ranks they offered: a D rank. Thali was ecstatic at first upon returning the pearl, since the Spoink had offered them two-thousand Poké and several medicines for strengthening themselves. However, upon retrieval of the vast award of money, Chatot demanded they hand it over. “You are guild recruits, and thus, your payment to us is through the reward,” he said, cutting them a lowly ten percent pay of two-hundred.

    “But we worked hard for that money…” Thali muttered, sighing as she trudged back to the room, Aru coming up in tow.

    “Hey, it’s not all bad,” Aru said, trying to perk his partner up. “At least they can’t take away the experience of exploring. Isn’t that what you came here for?”

    Thali looked back at him, frowning a bit and giving a sigh. “Yeah… I guess,” she muttered. “I kinda need the money too.”

    Aru sought an answer in her eyes and frowned, noticing the steeled look she attempted to keep. “Oh… I guess you don’t want to talk about it?”

    “Not really, no.”

    Aru frowned at how quickly she had answered. When they lay down to go to bed that night, he looked across over to her. She had her back turned toward him again, as she had so many of the previous nights. He wished horribly to ask what was bothering her so much, but he figured it was too late to ask when she fell asleep. “Maybe some other time…”

    Another night of restful sleep was equal to another morning of abrupt awakening with Loudred’s shouts. Good mornings were exchanged between the two, though little energy stood behind the greeting. They meandered down the hall to shout the morning cheers before all the recruits were dispersed. Chatot called the two over for another briefing and they headed upstairs and turned left to another board. “Wait… didn’t we take a notice from the other board yesterday?” Aru pointed out, being the more aware one at the moment.

    “Most precise of you,” Chatot denoted in a singsong voice that was natural to his species. “Yes, this is the Outlaw notice board, where you take up the offer for a bounty on hardened criminal masterminds or even rubbish petty thieves. Everything from pickpockets to world dominators can be found here.”

    Thali frowned, her ears folding back against her head to show her clear discomfort. “Huh… sounds scary,” she muttered, just loud enough for them to hear.

    “I assure you it’s not so,” Chatot reassured Thali, looking over the post of various outlaws in the sketched witnesses. “I’m sure we can find something that’s fairly easy for you new recruits. In the meanwhile, why don’t you go out and tour the town? I’m sure Recruit Bidoof will be able to show you around.”

    Eagerly, of course, the beaver Pokémon that was mentioned rushed up from the second floor at the call of his name. “Yup! I’ll positively do just that Chatot!” he answered up, a fired-up look in his eyes. “I can take it from here, yup!”

    Chatot blinked, surprised at Bidoof’s display of energy. “If you are so sure, then go by all means,” he said. “Come back when you are ready.”

    Bidoof looked over to the two and smiled. “Aw shucks, it’s nice not to be at the bottom of the barrel,” he mused, blushing a bit. “I ought to show you around, huh? See, I was the newest recruit before y’all came.”

    Introductions were handed around before Bidoof guided them to the various stations set in the guild: Croagunk and his cauldron of unknown use, Chimeco and her preparations in the mess hall, the Guildmaster’s quarters, and then the barracks before he continued outside the guild.

    Down the massive climb of stairs, and taking a turn at the crossroads, Bidoof introduced them to the Treasure Town. “This here’s the local stop for any traveling Pokémon,” the beaver Pokémon explained. “Ya see, each of the five exploration guilds has an outpost nearby. There’s one guild for every environment in the world: the marine guild, the sky guild, the subterranean guild, and the earth guild—ours.”

    “Wait, you only listed four guilds,” Aru spoke up, looking over to Bidoof in slight confusion. “What’s the fifth one?”

    Bidoof hummed in thought, smiling brightly. “The fifth one’s a mystery, like a secret organization,” he said, his eyes full of innocent wonder. “Yup, some people think it’s a league of Super-Explorers that protects us from real bad Pokémon. Others think it’s more sinister, like a thieves’ guild or mercenary guild. It’s a real faraway place, so I don’t know much much ‘bout it.”

    The beaver Pokémon glanced around town while he guided them through. “There’s a bank so you can store your money, and mama Kangaskhan handles items. The Kecleon Brothers handle item sales, and that’s really all that’s open right now.”

    Noticing that the Unity founders were trying to take everything they had just learned in, Bidoof backed off and nodded. “I’ll let y’all take a look around then.”

    The duo hardly even noticed that Bidoof had left when they walked through the commerce. “It’s a lively place, huh?” Aru mused, glancing around at the various stores. Gleeful vendors greeted smiling customers, and everything was generally bright. “What do you think, Thali?”

    Thali shifted a bit in her walking, feeling almost uncomfortable when one of the Kecleon brothers gave her a glare. The chameleon Pokémon quickly hid it though, as was his nature. “It’s peachy,” she muttered.

    “Well, hello there customers!” the green Kecleon greeted them, carrying himself with a professional air. “Take a look at our stock; I’m sure we have something to your interest.”

    Aru looked over to Thali and asked whether or not they should get something. However, she refused to speak and he sighed, taking the pack off his back and counting their coin. “Huh… I’ve got a thousand,” he muttered. “Can I get a few of those Oran and Pecha berries?” he asked, looking at the labeled container of seeds.

    “Ah, yes, a fine selection,” the purple Kecleon said, handing the berries over in exchange for the required Poké. A short silence passed while Aru packed away the berries before two young Pokémon ran up to the counter of the Kecleons’ shop.

    The young Pokémon, an Azurill and a Marril, looked up to the vendors with smiles. “Hey, Misters Kecleons! Can we buy some apples?” the Azurill spoke up in short squeaks.

    While the exchange between them was working, Thali suddenly squealed to Aru. “They’re so cute!” she said.

    Aru blinked and looked down at the kids and then back to Thali. “Are you okay?” he asked her. “What’s with you all of a sudden?”

    “They’re just so cute!” she whispered, trying to keep quiet. Aru could only roll his eyes and laugh at his partner’s musings.

    It wasn’t too much later that, after the young Pokémon went off, they returned hastily. “Misters, you gave us one apple too many!” Marril said.

    “Oh, have no worry young ones,” green Kecleon replied. “That is a gift from us.”

    “Thank you!”

    When the brothers ran off, the green Kecleon chuckled. “Cute kids, really,” he said to them. “Those two are brothers, you see. Their mother has been very ill lately, so they run errands for her to take care of her. It’s so sweet.”

    Suddenly, an apple from down the road came rolling by and stopped at Aru’s feet. Azurill ran back from down the road, and Aru handed the apple to him. “Thank you,” he muttered before running back with Marril.
    It was then that everything seemed to slow down for Aru. His vision blurred heavily and colors seemed to change and swirl. Huh? he thought, groaning as he pressed his paw against his forehead. What is this? The colors and his vision continued to swirl. A ringing grew in his ears and his breathing got shallow.
    All of a sudden, his sight and all noises were cut off before a sharp, piercing noise reached his ears and a blinding flash of light met him. “H-H-HELP!” a squeaky voice cried out before he finally faded back.

    He looked up suddenly, remembering that he was still in the market. “Aru?” Thali spoke up, trying to get his attention. Aru looked down to her, blinking to try and focus again. “Aru, are you okay?”

    “Yeah,” he said to her hesitantly. He pondered the voice for a little while, wondering whose it was.

    “You know, you were staring off into the sky for like… ten minutes,” Thali said to him, appearing concerned. “Are you sure you’re okay?"

    “Did you hear a scream?” he asked suddenly, glancing between the Kecleon brothers and Thali. “Anyone?”

    Thali shook her head. “No, I didn’t hear anything,” she responded. The same response was given by the two Kecleons. “Maybe you were just imagining it?”

    “Yeah… sure,” Aru said, following her as they began walking back to the guild, now prepared for their next mission. I know I heard it, though… he thought, pondering back to the sound of the voice. That was Azurill’s voice, I know it.

    Thali, unaware of her partner’s thoughts, glanced around as they walked back to the guild and noticed that the two brothers were speaking to a Drowzee. “You’ll really help us find our missing item?” Marril asked, a feeling of elation enlightening him. “Oh, thank you kind sir!”

    Drowzee smiled at the two. “Oh, come now. I’d be hardhearted to turn away such nice kids like you in this cold world,” he said to them as he began to guide them away. As he left with them, he kicked Aru in the shin by accident. “Oh, excuse me,” he said as he continued to lead the children.

    Aru blinked as he watched the Drowzee walk away. For the slightest moment, he thought he saw a malevolent gleam in the elder Pokémon’s eyes before he was distracted by another massive headache. Ugh… another… he groaned.

    A second vision came to him through a piercing light. He noticed Azurill and the Drowzee in a mountainous area, and it seemed that no one else was around. “If you keep being difficult, it will mean big trouble for you,” Drowzee threatened the Azurill, glaring at him.

    It was then that Azurill’s shrill shriek was given, “H-H-HELP!”

    The vision cut off and he woke, his blue complexion blanching at what he saw. Again, Thali looked back at him and frowned. “Aru, something’s wrong. What is it that you’re not telling me? You’re acting really weird…”

    Aru proceeded to describe the events of the dream to her. As soon as he was done, a moment of heavy silence intruded before she gave a bit of a laugh. “Oh Aru, you must have been having some kind of daydream or something,” she claimed. “Drowzee seemed like such a nice Pokémon too. I don’t believe that he would have done that.”

    Aru maintained a completely serious expression. “But I’m sure of what I saw!”

    “Maybe it’s the heat? It is the peak of summer. Or did you not get enough sleep?” she asked. She scuffed her paws against the ground and sighed. “What you describe sounds pretty serious… but I just don’t think that a Pokémon that nice would do something like that.”

    The two remained there, staring one another in the eye before Thali sighed. “Let’s just get back to the guild,” she said, turning around and leading the way with Aru close behind to follow.

    Upon returning to the guild, the two took a gander at the wanted board, trying to discern a decent target. Chatot spoke up to them, “Since it’s your first mission, I shall choose a criminal that should be easy enough for you to capture.”

    However, as Chatot gazed intently at the board, Thali began to shake and she backed away from the board. “A-Aru…” she whispered to him, catching the attention of the Riolu and of Chatot. “Top left corner of the board… do you see the Pokémon there?” Aru looked in the mentioned spot and widened his eyes as he saw a mirror image of the Drowzee they had seen not long ago. “Do you think it’s him?” Thali asked.

    Aru nodded, for even in the rough drawing of the Pokémon, he could still feel the malevolence in his so carefully illustrated glare. “It’s definitely him,” he muttered. The two gave firm nods to each other before they both ran out of the guild.

    Though it was futile, Chatot squawked and shouted, “Hey! Where are you off to?!”


    As the Unity duo crossed over into an increasingly mountainous region, they came upon Marril who was fraught with worry. “You two! Oh, I’m so glad you’re here!”

    “Marril, what’s going on? What’s wrong?” Thali asked, frowning at the obvious displeasure the young, blue mouse Pokémon showed.

    “Azuril and Drowzee disappeared off to somewhere,” Marril muttered. “I didn’t see where to…”

    “That’s all we need. I saw them in a mountainous area,” Aru explained, giving a brief nod to Thali before running ahead.

    Thali gulped, feeling a bit of quivering nervousness that she quickly forced away, running after Aru. She knew he would need her help. “Careful in there, Aru! This mountain is a mystery dungeon,” Thali warned him and he blinked.

    “This is a mystery dungeon?” Aru asked her, unaware of a bird Pokémon coming straight for him.

    “Aru!” Thali shouted suddenly, charging forward and ramming into the Pokémon with a powerful tackle. The Pokémon fell to the floor, unconscious, giving them the chance to identify it as a black and white Starly. Thali looked over to Aru and sighed. “Yes, it’s a mystery dungeon. It mightn’t have looked like it at first, but it is.”

    Aru gave a sigh and nodded. “Um… yeah, right,” he said as they began to trek up.

    A variety of Pokémon were here, most that they could handle. There were a few dangerous times when they were snuck up upon by a Pokémon they had a type disadvantage against, such as a Starly or the fighting Machop in Thali’s case. They had each other’s backs though, and it was a relatively simple trek up the mountain.

    Once they reached the peak, they noticed a scene, just as Aru had described. Drowzee was looming over Azuril, casting threatening words to the youngling. It enraged Thali to see it, and with a nod to Aru, the duo strode forward. “Stop right there, Drowzee!” the she-Eevee shouted.

    Drowzee turned around, surprised to find someone else up here. “Huh? It’s you two, from the market!” he growled, suddenly remembering them. “What are you doing here?”

    Aru smirked. “We’re the Unity, an exploration team sent out to capture you and bring you to justice,” he warned Drowzee, flashing their official badge.

    Drowzee panicked a bit. “W-what? An exploration team, here?” he wondered, cursing himself for not being more secretive about his abduction. However, upon giving a second gaze to Thali’s shaking form, he smirked. “Oh, I see. An exploration team made up of total rookies,” he taunted them. “Yes, I’m an outlaw. You really think you can take me down?”

    Thali, through her nervous shaking, looked over to Aru, then glared at Drowzee and shouted, “Y-yes! Yes we can!”

    Drowzee flexed his forefingers, a gesture indicating he was ready for them. “Then come at me.”

    Aru growled and nodded, rushing forward with a speedy Bullet Punch aimed for Drowzee’s gut. “Aru, wait! He’s a Psychic type!” Thali shouted to him, but her warning came just a bit too late. Drowzee raised a hand, glowing with magenta colored energy.

    “Confusion!” the psychic convict called out, stopping Aru in his tracks and causing his move to fail. Aru felt pain wrack against his head, his vision blurring and swimming.

    Thali sighed and opened her mouth wide, a sphere of dark energy forming before her. “Shadow Ball!” she announced as she fired the energy at Drowzee, causing him to back away and releasing Aru from the telekinetic hold of Drowzee.

    Aru stumbled back next to her and she sighed. “Don’t do that. We need to work together,” she chastised him, calming herself from her fears. She fished her paws through the pack while Drowzee was recovering from her attack. She grabbed a small seed and smiled. “Here’s a quick seed I picked up on the way. You can use that to get past his attacks.”

    Aru nodded to her and smiled, taking the seed and ingesting it. Immediately he felt lighter on his feet, and he began to run circles around Drowzee till he became a mere blur of blue. Such intense speed… he thought as he suddenly jumped out of his circular path and struck Drowzee with a few hardened Bullet Punches.

    The battered Pokémon backed away, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to track the blinding speed of the Riolu till the quick seed’s effects wore off. To that end, he reached for an orb he had and smashed it on the ground, releasing a blinding light that caused Aru to stagger.

    “Now… where’s the runt,” Drowzee grumbled as he looked and saw Thali, still trying to recover from the light burst. He walked up to her and aimed his psychic powers for her. “Confusion!”

    Thali was met with swirling colors and wracking headache, causing her to yield all other options and simply try to stumble away. The colors swirled faster, causing the pain to increase, before finally she was released. She blinked to make sure she had actually gotten better before she turned around to seek Drowzee.

    She stepped back when she saw Aru lying there on the ground. Her legs quivered and she frowned. His form was littered with lacerations and jutting bones. He coughed up blood and looked over to her, before falling back, limp. “A-Aru… Aru no!” she shouted, running over to him and pressing her paws down on his chest. “You can’t leav… You can’t! I need your help!”

    Drowzee smirked at her and nodded over to Aru. “Your friend’s gone,” he told her, his arms crossed. “You couldn’t protect him. He wasn’t strong enough. You failed.”

    “Shut up…” Thali mumbled.

    “You left him to die; sent him on a suicide mission. He could never beat me, and certainly not without your help. You’re such a coward. His bleeding, broken corpse is proof enough of that.”

    “Shut up, shut up, shut up!” Thali shouted, tears flowing from her eyes.

    “It’s your fault he’s dead,” Drowzee accused her.

    Thali collapsed in her tears, crying and weeping. She had killed him. It was her fault he died. She knew it now. And she was going to die with him…


    She perked up, wondering where the familiar voice was coming from. She focused on it, blinking. “Aru? Is that you?”

    “Thali… You need to wake up.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    “Wake up Thali!”

    Thali blinked a few times and snapped her eyes open to see that Aru was beside her and, while he was injured with a cut to his left arm, was not dead. “Aru, you’re alive!” she shouted hugging him tightly.

    They weren’t able to relish it long and Aru took Thali up in his arms, dodging a blast from Drowzee’s Psywave attack. “Thali, if I can get in there and paralyze him with Force Palm, you should be able to hit him Shadow Ball again.”

    “Wait, when did you learn Force Palm?” Thali asked, blinking.

    Aru shrugged as he looked at his hand, pulsating with some bodily power. “Just recently,” he said to her. “I’m going in one last time. I’m counting on you.”

    Thali blinked at him and nodded, ducking another blast of psychic power. “Go ahead, Aru,” she said to him, smiling softly. She believed in him, if anything.

    Aru nodded, and began to run, dodging attacks in a serpentine manner. Drowzee tried focusing on his movements, and fired another Psywave blast that he was sure would hit. Just when he thought victory was at hand, Aru jumped swiftly above the attack and smirked. “Take this; Force Palm!” Aru announced, hammering the psychic Pokémon with an attack that left Drowzee incapable of movement. “Now, Thali!”

    Thali nodded to him, focusing a ball of dark energy before firing it at Drowzee, rendering the convict unconscious. “We did it…”

    “Yeah,” Aru said, patting her back. “We did.”
    Little Azuril was shell shocked from the battle. He ran over to Thali and hugged her, still wailing and crying from the fear. “Thank you,” he eked out between his tears.

    Thali smiled and stood by him, patting his head. “Don’t worry,” she assured him. Aru tapped his explorer badge and put out a beacon to hail enforcers who would haul away the criminal. It wasn’t long after he sent out the signal that a team of Magnemite led by a Magnezone came. Still, Thali cooed to the child. “It will be okay.”

    Thali and Aru relaxed meanwhile, resting against a granite wall while they carted away the criminal. They had won.


    Once things had blown over, and the Unity had received the meager reward of three-hundred—a reward to which Thali had protested greatly—the duo lied down in their beds and gave a sigh. “Thali?”

    Thali looked over and sighed. “Yes, Aru?”

    “Before we go to bed… can I ask you why you need the money so badly?”

    Thali sighed and shook her head, rolling over on her side. “No.”

    Aru frowned and sighed, wondering if there was anything he could do. Even though the only thing that separated them was a beam of moonlight, he felt like there was a whole wall between them. “Why won’t you tell me?”

    Thali sighed and curled up with her tail. “You’ll hate me.”

    “I’m not that kind of person, Thali,” he said to her, rubbing his paw on her back in an attempt to coax her out. “I don’t hate people because of things they’ve done. You’re a good person now. I know that.”

    Thali sighed and hummed, feeling a bit comforted. She rolled over, snuggling up against Aru’s chest. “You promise?” she asked, looking up at his eyes.

    Aru blushed and nodded. “I promise.”

    The Eevee girl gave a soft sigh and snuggled his warm body. “My family has been having difficulties getting money,” she muttered. “I send them a little money every now and then.”

    “What’s so bad about that?” Aru asked her.

    Thali gave a sigh. “The fifth guild that Bidoof never talked about is the Thieves’ Guild. I became part of it to steal money for my family. After a few years, I learned that what I was doing was wrong… so I tried to join Wigglytuff’s Guild. But, I was afraid they’d recognize me as a member of the Thieves’ Guild and kick me out. That’s why I was so incapable of going in on my own. I need the money to pay not only my family now, but all the people I’ve stolen from too.”

    A short silence existed between the two. Thali waited for a response, and when she got none she assumed the worst. “You hate me now, don’t you?”

    Thali was surprised when the arms that were wrapped around her held her tighter. “Thali… I don’t hate you at all,” he whispered.

    “What? Why?” she asked, confused.

    Aru only chuckled. “You might have taken a few wrong turns. But you took them for the right reason,” he said to her. “And you’re trying to be a better person now, right? That’s good.”

    Thali looked up to her, a smile cracking on her lips. “You silly Riolu,” she muttered, snuggling him and sighing. “Trying to make me feel better… Thank you, Aru.”

    “No need to thank me, Thali.”

    Thali gave a sigh and hummed. “Goodnight, Aru.”

    “Goodnight, Thali.”
    #4 Apr 24, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  5. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 4: The Hall of Legends

    Days passed quickly for team Unity. Days turned into weeks, and before they even knew it, a month had passed for the duo. Quickly, the two had grown in skill and in efficiency as a team, developing a friendly bond that tested many grueling hours of fetch quests and outlaw hunts in dungeons.

    Of course, they weren’t alone in their growth. They began to grow out into the guild’s community, becoming like family members with the others. Thali discussed widely and openly with the others about dungeons and the lore of the land, and Aru found the guild to be a pleasant place to call home. They smiled in the good times, stuck through the hard times, and laughed at the musings of their Guildmaster as one. One great brotherhood was what had become of them.

    And in the great world of exploration, the name of Unity was starting to become known to explorers and even to the higher-ups in guild society. Small rumor of them had reached the executive guild council. They advanced in not just rank, but also in popularity. The young aspiring explorers were slowly growing and extending their reach.

    But for now, the growing explorers were relaxing for the night. After exchanging stories with others over a nice hot meal, they hit the hay of their beds with a resounding thud. It had been another hard day’s work. “It was a tough day, huh?” Thali asked Aru, feeling exhausted.

    Aru nodded, a smile stretching over his lips. He sat beside her, letting the moonlight grace them softly. “It was. It was a tough job, but that dungeon was no match for us.”


    Aru figured this would be one of those nights where she wouldn’t talk much—just rest up against his chest, breathing and purring softly, trying to fall asleep. That moment was the best time for him to show her, he thought, and he fished his paw through the treasure bag, pulling out a small fabric piece. He tied it upon the base of her left ear, causing her to blink in surprise. “Aru? What are you doing?”

    The Riolu only chuckled a bit. “I’m just tying this little bow on your ear. I found it at the market, and I had to get it,” he whispered to her. The pink bow on her ear seemed fitting, and when she looked at her reflection in the glass, she blushed. “I hope you like it,” Aru hummed.

    Thali blushed and looked up, into his crimson eyes. “Aru, I…” she muttered, speechlessly trying to come up with something to say. They remained silent for a moment, only gazing into each other’s eyes. Finally, the she-Eevee managed to break their silence, kissing his cheek. “Thank you, Aru. I really like it.”

    Almost immediately, Aru snuggled her and held her tighter. “I’m glad you like it,” he whispered to her, closing his eyes contently. “The shop advertised that the bow is supposed to have enhancing capabilities, like a Defense scarf, but it helps with all your attributes.”

    Thali blushed a bit, humming. “This bow then… it must have cost you a pretty penny,” she mused, frowning. “You didn’t have to spend so much on me. I know you were saving that money up…”

    Aru chuckled, shaking his head. “Don’t you worry about it. You’re the first person I met in this brand new world,” he said. “You’ve helped me along the way, and even though I haven’t gotten my old memories back, I’m glad that I can make new ones with you and everyone in the guild. I think it’s fitting that you have that bow.”

    Thali blushed furiously, smiling all the while as she snuggled him. “Thank you, Aru,” she whispered, smiling. She soon lost the will to stay awake however, and sleep guided her heavy eyelids down. “Goodnight.”

    Aru smiled as he laid her down on the hay softly, soon lying down on his own bed of hay. None of my memories have been coming back… that’s a little disappointing, he thought with a sigh. But, I suppose that’s alright. My life with Thali has been… great, actually. At this point, I really don’t care much about getting my memories back.

    He sighed and looked over to his partner. He watched the rise and fall of her chest, heard her soft breathing, and he blushed a bit. I still don’t understand what this feeling is, he pondered. But then again, maybe I don’t have to…

    That’s what I’ll do—just go with it.


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 4
    The Hall of Legends


    The two woke up the next morning to Loudred’s shouting as usual, and per the usual they got up and completed the early morning cheers with the rest of the guild. If anything was abnormal that day, it was that Thali wasn’t behind Aru like he expected her to be. He also noticed that Chimeco had disappeared off somewhere as well.

    He wasn’t too surprised. The young Eevee had been hanging with Chimeco and Sunflora more often the past few days. He believed that she found close friends in them, which made him happy. But he was even beginning to see less of her. What was she plotting with Chimeco?

    He decided that perhaps he could ask Sunflora. The sunflower Pokémon had hung around long enough for him to talk to her a bit so he took up the opportunity while he could. “Hey, Sunflora, do you know where Thali went?”

    Sunflora gave her typical “Eek!” at first, having been astonished by the sudden question. Afterward, she only smiled and giggled. “She and Chimeco are hanging out,” she said. Then she gasped and squealed a bit. “Omigosh, you’re gonna love it! They’ll be back soon.”

    Aru would have asked what it was exactly that he was going to love, but Sunflora skipped away, still as bright and cheery as she always was. He also found that, as she skipped, she squealed—much like a high school girl, he figured. It wasn’t until much later that Thali came back with their job request in hand, yet he still couldn’t figure out what Sunflora had meant.

    “Hey, Aru, are you okay?” Thali asked him, noting the confused expression he wore. She waves the request in the air as if to signify its importance. “We should really get going to these ruins. Our client is waiting.”

    “Oh, I knew that!” Aru said with a nervous chuckle, running back to their room to grab the treasure bag. “I just had to get ready is all.” Then, though with an odd glance, Thali began to lead the way while Aru tagged along beside her.
    They set out toward their job site, a series of ruins supposedly from the Age of Legends. It was a long ways away where they had to travel for this job, far past Mt. Bristle, and the rocky terrain they had to traverse was unforgiving. Aru could see dark clouds already forming on the horizon, in the direction they were heading.

    Aru decided that he would rather clarify the job before they arrived. “You’re saying that this archeologist got lost in the ruins because it turned out to be a mystery dungeon?” he asked her.

    Thali nodded, stepping carefully over rocks in their path and being wary to avoid ditches. “Yes, that would be about right,” she answered. “The archeologist is a Vulpix—she goes by the name Phi, short for Phyllis. She believes she has made a vast discovery, but she can’t go any further and needs our help to get out.”

    Aru nodded and sighed. “A mystery dungeon… who’d have thought?” he muttered, sighing as he picked up a rock and held it in his paw. “You said there were rock-type Pokémon in the dungeon too, right?”

    “Yes, this dungeon is supposedly full of rock-types. There are sure to be Pokémon like Geodude, Cranidos, and maybe the occasional Onyx if we’re unlucky. Our client is at a type disadvantage,” Thali said, sighing. She smiled though, looking over to Riolu. “That’s you’re specialty though, isn’t it?”

    Aru chuckled and nodded, crushing the rock in his paw. He thanked this world for making him the fighting-type Riolu he is. “Yeah, that’s for sure.”

    “Then you shouldn’t have any trouble with it.”

    Aru gave a nod and smiled, humming to himself to fill the silence of their travel. He gave the occasional glance over to his partner, which caused her mysteriously to blush. Seeing this, he finally remembered what Sunflora had told him after morning cheers. Was she hiding something?

    As they peaked the next rocky hill, Aru asked her, “Thali, are you hiding something from me?”

    Immediately, the Eevee’s cheeks went beet red, and it became quite obvious that she was. Whatever it was, she felt no obligation to tell him, merely responding indignantly with, “Nope! I’m not hiding anything.”

    Aru sighed at her words and scuffed at the dirt as they came down from the hill, into the valley of the next. “Thali…” he muttered, trying to think up something to say, only to find that the words hung in midair. Much as he tried to grasp at those words, they were as difficult to hold as a breath. “Sunflora told me that you were hiding something,” he suddenly said.

    Thali blushed even harder when she heard that. “O-oh? Did she now?”

    “Well, it was more like she told me I would love it. I still don’t know what it is.”

    “Well, I was planning on telling you soon,” Thali responded, sighing.

    Aru nodded. “Well, tell me now then. Why wait?”

    “I wanted to… wait for the right time.”

    “You wanted to wait for the right time?”

    Thali groaned as they began to climb the next hill. Neither of them noticed the clouds growing overhead. “Yes, I wanted to wait for the right time, the right atmosphere, just the right everything!”

    Aru blinked and stared at her, confused. “You sound like you’re trying to propose or something,” he said. Thali simply blushed furiously. “I mean, c’mon. You didn’t get into the guild by waiting for the right… atmosphere.”

    “You’re trying to compare two completely different situations,” Thali argued as they reached the next hill’s summit. She looked on ahead, wondering how much longer it would take before the ruins were in sight. “Besides, I didn’t even want to tell you something. I wanted to give you something.”

    Aru blinked at her. “You wanted to give me something?” he asked her, intrigued by this. “What is it?”

    The she-Eevee suddenly blushed at having given away that information, shaking her head. “I’m not telling you! It’s supposed to be a surprise, silly,” she replied, even giggling a bit. “I’ll give it to you sometime, okay?”

    Aru was only able to give a brief nod as he felt a lone raindrop hit his muzzle. Then a drizzle began to settle down upon them and the youthful Riolu gave a sigh. “It’s gonna start raining harder soon. We should find some cover for the time being,” he advised his partner. The clouds overhead were beginning to fade to a darker color, with more rain pouring by the second.

    Thali gave a nod, biting her lip slightly. How had she not noticed these clouds coming overhead? Had she really been so distracted as to not notice? She gave a sigh. What’s wrong with me? she wondered, groaning as they ran for some cover. “Up ahead, there’s a rock formation we could probably rest under,” Thali said, running toward a small hollowing between two larger boulders, the jagged points of the rock providing a large enough roof to shelter them from the rain.

    “It could be raining for a long time,” Aru muttered, sighing. “I hope our client will be okay until we can get there.”

    Thali nodded, humming. “She should be alright. In her own right, she’s a strong-willed explorer,” she said.

    “In her own doubt, she’s at a severe type disadvantage,” Aru retorted.

    Thali gave a sigh, nodding. “Yeah… you’ve got that right,” she muttered. As soon as the storm was over, they’d have to make double-time for the ruins so as not to risk the safety of their client.

    Thali was also quite thankful for the rain, however. It gave her the time and atmosphere, just as she had wanted. “Hey, Aru, you remember that thing I said I was gonna give you?” she asked him. The Riolu gave a short nod and the young Eevee giggled. “Close your eyes, silly. It’s still a surprise!” she said, giggling.

    Reluctantly, the Riolu closed his eyes. Aru could hear her giggling, feeling her trembling paws on his shoulder. He twitched when he felt an odd fabric on his chest and again when a he felt something being tied around his neck.

    “Okay, you can open your eyes,” Thali spoke to him, smiling.

    Aru blinked at her, looking down and noticing the red bandana tied round his neck. He blushed a shade of red to match the bandana and looked back into her eyes. “Thali, I…”

    “Hush,” Thali stopped him, placing a paw over his mouth. “I want you to have this. It’s something I had specially ordered. It combines the effects of a Defense and a Zinc scarf to give you extra defense against attacks.”

    Aru blushed, feeling the strength that the bandana gave him, and he pulled Thali in for a tight hug. “Thank you, Thali…”

    “Oh Aru… you don’t have to thank me,” Thali told him. “I wanted to repay you for the lovely bow you gave me.”

    Aru smiled, rubbing his arm. He truthfully felt a bit embarrassed. He could hardly believe he had such a nice bandana on his neck, and he wondered for a moment if Thali felt the same way with her bow. Perhaps she did…

    For the longest time, they stayed there. The Riolu held tightly onto his partner while the Eevee nuzzled in his chest. They felt each other’s comforting warmth as the storm rumbled on. Though the cold rain pitter-pattered against the stony ground, the two felt no cold, only each other’s warmth.

    It wasn’t till what felt like hours that the rain lightened and finally disappeared. Sunlight shined down through the cracks of the rock, down upon the Unity in their embrace. Aru fluttered his eyes open, light shining into his orbs. He winced and looked away quickly, back down to his partner. “Thali… Thali, wake up.”

    The Eevee blinked and looked up at him, a bit groggy. “What is it, Aru?” Thali asked, still feeling tired; tired to the point where thinking was a chore.

    Aru smiled at her and pulled out a small, cone-shaped berry—a Chesto Berry, which helped wake up the eater. He tore off a piece and handed it to her, taking the rest of it for himself. Immediately, the two felt more awake. “The rain stopped. We should probably get going,” he whispered.

    Thali only nodded, blushing. She didn’t remember falling asleep, only that she felt really warm—and when she woke up, feeling the warmth of Aru’s body heat, she was blushing furiously. That same red tint remained as she responded, “Yeah. Let’s go.”


    It was only a couple hours later that the Unity arrived at a rather large base encampment that was just outside the ruins. Pokémon of all sorts gathered here, all for the sole purpose of investigating these magnificent ruins.

    Word was going around though that certain anomalies were cropping up all over the land. Thali and Aru were able to pick up on some gossip as they meandered through the camp. Some of what they heard was not settling.

    Nearby, a Sandslash and a Marshtomp were discussing such things. “Have you heard about the secret investigation that’s being done?” asked the Sandslash to the Rampardos. “Supposedly, the five Guildmasters—even the Thieves’ Guild’s master—are gathering to investigate why time is getting all wacky.”

    “Time, you say?” the Marshtomp asked, mulling over his cup of tea. “I heard that because of time’s distortion, there are multitudes of mystery dungeons popping up all over the place.”

    The Sandslash gave a nod. “Yes, I could believe that,” he said. “After all, the ruins themselves have enveloped into a mystery dungeon. It’s becoming harder and harder to discover new things because rooms keep repeating.”

    The words passed between those two were enough for the Unity to grab a gist of the situation. Now all they needed to do was get inside.
    The entrance to the ruins was obvious enough, made conspicuous by the stone walkway that was lined with pillars which led into a temple. An inscription above the temple entrance was made in footprint runes, something Thali had great expertise in. “The Hall of Origin. That’s what this place is called,” she said after examining it for a few seconds.

    Aru looked around as they entered the great stone edifice. The first room was dark and a bit dusty—as Aru’s sudden sneeze so evidently showed—and it seemed as if parts of it had been sectioned off for further studies. Strange pictographs depicting tales of long lost legends were carved into the walls. “This is… incredible,” Aru gaped, turning round in circles just to look at it all.

    Thali nodded, a glint of excitement in her eyes as they continued onward. “I know, right?” she squealed. “Before exploring, I considered archeology. I love the stories of legendary Pokémon, tales of old, and other things like that.”

    The dungeon itself was most uneventful. The wild Pokémon that had taken up residence here were none too powerful, easily overcome by Aru and Thali’s teamwork. They scrounged every corner of the ruins, searching for their client.

    It wasn’t till much deeper, when the wild Pokémon had become stronger than they expected, that they had begun to wonder if they went too far. Thali was, however, unaffected. “Ooh, look at this Aru!” she shouted over to him, pointing to a statue of an elegant looking Pokémon. “Look! Look! That’s Arceus, the creator of all Pokémon! Can you believe it? Such a detailed relief, with his crown so elegantly carved, and—”

    The young Eevee only snapped out of her transfixion when a large crash came down behind her. Thali looked over her shoulder and turned, noticing with a gasp that a large and vicious-looking Agron had collapsed, blood dripping from its mouth. Aru stood atop it, sighing. “Let’s move it along, okay?” he teased her. The Eevee only chuckled, discomforted as she followed the Riolu.

    Later, the two came to realize that their worries of leaving their client behind were unnecessary. Up ahead, relaxing peacefully in a corner, was a Vulpix—their client… apparently enjoying a cup of tea. “Ms. Phi?” Thali spoke up to get her attention. “We’re here to take you to safety.”

    “Where have you been?!” the Vulpix suddenly shouted, standing up and turning her nose to the air haughtily. “I have been waiting in this most dreadful place for such a long time. Those brutish, frightening Pokémon are everywhere, and I wish to leave this instant! Plus, it’s hot and muggy! Do you know how hard it is to maintain my precious tails when it’s all muggy? Do you?!”

    Aru was appalled upon hearing this pompous woman. He had never heard such a whiny voice in all the time he had been in this world. With a sigh though, he put on a smile. “Uh, we are here to help you escape, ma’am. You won’t have to worry about… your tails any longer,” he said to her, taking out his badge and casting it out, creating a circle of blue light. “This light will take you to the dungeon’s entrance. You can find your way back from there.”

    “Yes, I believe I will be able to do fine by myself,” Phi stated confidently. Aru nearly stumbled from the change in attitude. As the Vulpix strode over toward the light, she looked over her shoulder at the Unity. “Thank you for getting me out of here by the way. There was something I was trying to investigate, but I couldn’t get to the end of this blasted dungeon.”

    Thali, disregarding her attitude change—perhaps she was bipolar—was curious of this investigation. “What were you trying to find down there?” she asked.

    Phi sighed and nodded. “There are explorers who go into the ruins, past the dungeon part, and then they don’t come out,” she said. “Supposedly, down at the end of the dungeon, past an altar in tribute to the Legends, there is a vast labyrinth of all sorts of tricks and puzzles. It was only a rumor, since no one has come back from past the dungeon itself. I was going down there to investigate it myself. Perhaps, since I am clearly incapable, you two could go and investigate it for me?”

    Though Aru was about to jest, Thali jumped at the chance to be part of a fantastic archeological discovery. “We’ll do it! We won’t let you down, Ms. Phi!” she claimed, pouncing Aru to keep him quiet, as she knew he would object.

    Phi simply smiled and nodded to them, giggling softly. “I’m sure you won’t dearie. I must be off. Ta ta for now!” she spoke to them before vanishing in the blue light.

    Aru stared blankly as the blue light faded and he picked up his badge when Thali allowed him up. He groaned a bit, twisting his back to make sure it was okay. “Such a strange woman,” he mused as they continued deeper into the dungeon

    “Do you think there’s really a labyrinth down there?” Thali asked, her excitement clearly showing through.

    Aru gave a nod, analyzing the situation. “It would explain what Phi said; that archeologists are going missing deep inside the ruins,” he said. “I guess we’re going to go investigate it, eh?”

    “You bet! I’m not passing up an opportunity like this!” Thali exclaimed as she bounded forward. Aru could only follow in her footsteps, chasing her down in case she ran too far ahead.

    The end of the dungeon was really not much further, and it made Aru chuckle that Vulpix couldn’t even go this little bit further. As they stepped out of the dungeon, they came into a magnificent chamber that awed them both. On the left side was a depiction of the quarreling duo—Groudon and Kyogre—being settled by the shining light of the dragon Rayquaza. On the right wall was a depiction of the legendary birds—Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos—flying outward while their earthly canine counterparts—Suicune, Entei, and Raikou—were dashing over the land.

    “These paintings are just… They’re amazing,” Thali gasped, looking around. She walked down the center, which was tiled to act as a walkway, and she gazed to the back of the room. Statues of the Dialga the Timekeeper lined the left while statues of Palkia the Space-mender lined the right. To the very back was a small set of stairs leading to an altar. Strange runes lined the table at the altar while a large painting of Arceus on the wall behind it seemed to look down on the altar. “This must be the altar that Phi was talking about. This is it, Aru. The Hall of Legends.”

    Aru nodded, soon catching up with her. “What do you think they did at an altar like this?” he asked.

    “I don’t know, Aru. I don’t have a clue,” Thali admitted.

    They couldn’t question much more when a blinding orb of light suddenly appeared above the altar, causing the two to stumble back. A whistling sound pierced the air as a beam of white light was shot down from the orb. When their eyes adjusted, they looked at the beam of light and gasped a bit. A figure was being formed from the light, but they couldn’t quite tell what it was. When finally the figure was complete, the light dissipated and was gone like a whisper.

    “What is that?” Aru asked, gazing at the figure. It appeared to take the form of a bipedal snake with a pale underbelly and green upper half. A sort of collar seemed to form around the area where the neck would be, and two green, flimsy arms began to stretch out as well as two pale legs. The end of the tail flared with three leaves as the big brown eyes opened.

    “Huh? Where… am I?” the figure—clearly feminine—weakly spoke before her eyes glazed over and she fell.

    Luckily for the girl, Aru managed to catch her so she didn’t take any damage. The strange Pokémon was none he had ever seen. “What can you make of this, Thali?” he asked her. “What kind of Pokémon is she?”

    Thali was flabbergasted at the question. “I’ve never seen a Pokémon like her,” she said. The surprises ceased to end as a loud, rumbling sound came from behind them. The doorway they had come in was soon shut off by a stone wall.

    Aru gulped, culminating all the instances and surmising them. “We’re trapped.”
    #5 Apr 25, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  6. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 5: Accalia

    Trapped: it was a word that Thali had never wanted to hear in all the time she was exploring. So when her partner’s words struck her ears, she recoiled and frowned, looking around frantically. “Aru… what do you mean, trapped?”

    “I mean, trapped,” the Riolu repeated, twitching his ear as he looked around. “As in, the wall just came down and we’re stuck in this sanctuary.”

    Thali sighed. She should have expected such a straight forward answer from her laconic partner. She sat on her hind legs, letting a groan rise from her throat. They were stuck in here, with only each other and the strange Pokémon that lay on the altar for company.

    Now that she had taken a better look at the strange Pokémon, the Eevee noticed that it seemed to be breathing faintly. Thali guessed it had passed out from the shock of whatever had just transpired here. “You think that was some kind of summoning ritual?” Thali asked to her snooping partner.

    Aru snapped his head up from investigating the walls and strode over to her side. “Could be,” he said, scratching his head. “I don’t know of anything else that could have brought it here. I mean, the Teleport move is one thing, but I don’t think it would have been as… flashy.”

    “So, what are you saying?”

    Aru shrugged, scratching his head. “Something… divine happened here,” he suggested. “Some kind of otherworldly power must’ve intervened or… or something,” he muttered, unsure of how to diagnose the situation.

    The Riolu then went back to searching for an exit. Gazing up, he sighed. A sole beam of light illuminated the sanctuary. Based on what he could tell and how deep they were in the temple, he figured that light was pouring in through a series of mirrors that would illuminate the room. It was rudimentary, but more complex and more reliable than torchlight. The opening would be impossible to slip through, let alone the problem of reaching the ceiling.

    I could try breaking down one of the walls; they’re weak enough for me to destroy, Aru imagined, tapping the walls. He could hear a slight reverberation, so it couldn’t be that thick. He donned a frown then, sighing in thought. But that might very well damage the structure of this whole temple. There’s no way we’d survive. Even Thali’s Protect ability wouldn’t save us then.

    Aru’s concentration shattered when he heard the little patter of unfamiliar footsteps. He swiveled around as Thali did simultaneously to view the figure. It rose and looked around, the rusty eyes glazed like those of a newborn. The strange Pokémon’s vision swirled only for a moment before it was able to see clearly.

    Still, the Pokémon—whatever it was—did not speak a word. Perhaps it’s mute, Aru wondered before turning over to Thali. “Maybe it knows something about how to get out,” he whispered sidelong to her.

    The Eevee hummed in thought, pacing in circles. “I don’t think so,” she murmured. “I mean… it just arrived here. It couldn’t possibly know anything.”

    They quieted, watching the snake-like Pokémon walk around the room. It pranced about the shrine with some odd grace, taking in everything as it looked around. Its eyes, still glazed over, finally stopped over a discolored area of the altar. The Pokémon proceeded toward the discoloration and pressed on it, revealing a secret corridor behind the altar.

    Thali merely gazed in disbelief when Aru whispered a faint, “I told you so.”


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 5

    The duo had come to conclude that the opposite end of the temple held an entirely separate mystery dungeon. Here, Pokémon came in mostly water type. They also noticed that the floors of the dungeon also lead up; they were leaving the temple.

    “Shouldn’t we try to talk to it?” Thali suggested to her partner, looking ahead at the bemused Pokémon. “I mean, it appeared out of nowhere. We should at least… communicate with it, right?”

    Aru nodded, not entirely focused. He took a sharp glance to the right, smashing a Barboach with his Force Palm. Only once the threat was eliminated did he respond, “Well, it would be polite, I suppose. We don’t even know if it speaks the same language as us, though. What if it doesn’t speak at all? Maybe it communicates with some kind of weird method, like… by telepathy.”

    “Aru, that sounds ridiculous,” Thali said, chuckling at the thought. “I’m sure it at least speaks something we can understand.”

    Still unsure, they continued through the maze of corridors. Aru furrowed his brow in thought as they rounded a corner into another dead end. Strange… it seems like we’ve been walking around forever, he mumbled. Normally we would have proceeded to the next area of the dungeon by now… This is no ordinary dungeon.

    As though she had read his thoughts, Thali spoke up. “Haven’t we already been down this way?” she asked. “It seems like we’ve been walking backwards or something…”

    “I agree,” Aru mumbled as he leaned up against the end of the wall. He was fairly sure they’d be safe for a few moments of rest. The strange Pokémon looked over to them, slightly confused, before she sat down with them. “We’ve already passed this spot. We’ve been going in circles in this… maze.”

    The strange Pokémon perked up at hearing this, its interest suddenly piqued. The tail swished back and forth a bit, confirming its interest. Aru continued to speak, groaning. “We need to start mapping our progress. We don’t want to keep backtracking again and again.”

    The young Riolu then reach into their bag and pulled out a small sketchbook and a pencil. “I’ll map it using this. It doesn’t have to be exact, but I’m sure we’ll make do with just this.” At this, he noticed the strange Pokémon crack a shy smile. However, as soon as he noticed, a blush protruded its face, and the Pokémon turned away.

    While they made their way back through the labyrinth, Aru was jotting down notes. Thus, while he was focused on drawing the map, his partner protected him. The strange Pokémon eyed them, smiling at their friendship and teamwork. They worked in perfect synchronization.

    They were rounding a corner though, and the snake Pokémon caught movement in the corner of its eye, something that Thali didn’t notice. The strange Pokémon instantly lashed out with a violent Vine Whip attack, cracking the vine at the Poliwhirl and nearly instantly downing it.

    “Well, I guess we know what type it is,” Thali whispered aside to Aru. “Grass… I should have guessed from the green color.”

    Aru shrugged. “You can never really tell a Pokémon’s type just by its color,” he said to her. “I mean, what if you had made that assumption about… what was it… Rayquaza?”

    “Yeah… I suppose I see your point,” Thali responded with a pout. “But, using Rayquaza is a pretty extreme situation.”

    Aru ceased to respond when they came to yet another dead end. He pieced together all the sections and gave a loud groan of frustration. “It just won’t work!” he shouted as he ripped out the sheet of paper and tore it into shreds.

    “What don’t you get, Aru?” Thali asked. She had only ever seen Aru frustrated a few times, so this surprised her.

    “The only other route is the one back to the altar,” the Riolu grumbled, kicking a nearby pebble in frustration. “It just doesn’t make sense! There has to be another way… something I missed, something I didn’t see before!”

    In the break of silence after Aru’s ranting, he heard a small giggle and swiveled around to see the strange Pokémon emitting a rather girlish giggle. From that, he determined that it was indeed female. Then she spoke, something else he didn’t expect. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I couldn’t help but be amused by your irritation. You see, I think I figured out how to get out of here.”

    Aru blinked in utter surprise. She had figured it out? He shared a look of confusion with Thali before he asked, “How?”

    The strange Pokémon smiled and waved them toward her with her thin arms. “C’mon,” she said with a smile. Along the way, she summoned another Vine Whip to make sure other Pokémon kept their distance or were defeated. She stopped suddenly in the middle of the hall and turned to the side, motioning to the wall.

    “This is our way through?” Thali asked, unsure if their companion was sane. It appeared to be a normal wall in every way, to her at least.

    “It’s pretty convincing, huh?” the strange Pokémon asked before she walked forward, seeming to phase into the wall. “It’s just an optical illusion that makes this hall appear like a wall. My species have sharper eyes than most other Pokémon, so I was able to spot it a while ago. I just wanted to see if you’d figure it out.”

    Thali felt meek from that comment, wondering how she hadn’t spotted it before now that this Pokémon had made it obvious to her. She then felt something click in her mind and she turned back to her. “What is your species, anyway?” she asked.

    The strange Pokémon looked back, a puzzled look on her face. “You have no Snivy in this world?” she asked them. The duo shook their heads. “Oh, well that would pose a problem then… Yes, my species are called Snivy.”

    Snivy… Aru mulled the species title around in his head, humming. He had never heard of a Pokémon like that before. He glanced back over at the Pokémon called Snivy and hummed. Something strange and new… I wonder if that’s how Thali felt with me.

    “So… Snivy… Thank you for pointing out this hidden hallway,” Thali thanked the Pokémon as they continued to travel down. The she-Eevee hummed as she spotted a light in the distance. “That has to be our way out!” she pointed out as she made a mad dash for the exit. She could nearly taste the freedom.

    A large rumbling suddenly caught in their ears and forced Thali to stumble and doubly back. They had entered into a large, open cavern. A few boulders stuck out from the ground here and there. In the midst of it all, a large, heavily armored Pokémon fell from the ceiling and appeared in the dust. Its rocky exterior was dotted with orange stones, the drill on its face churning ever so slightly. “It’s a Rhyperior!” Thali exclaimed, only having ever read about the rare Pokémon.
    The giant rhinoceros Pokémon glared over to them, easily hearing Thali’s exclamation. He prepared for an attack by raising stones in the air. “That’s a Stone Edge attack, so be careful,” Thali shouted nervously, having instantly identified the attack. They hid behind a few boulders while sharp stones whizzed by.
    Aru peered back over the boulder to get a better look at it. He wondered if he might be able to get the drop on it with a quick Bullet Punch. He was about to leap over when he winced, feeling Thali push him back down. “Thali, what are you…”

    “Don’t go out there!” Thali cut him off. “Y-you’ll get hurt. We can’t beat something like that; we have to go back.”

    Aru blinked, having been surprised by her outburst. He forgot occasionally that she was naturally fearful and that she probably didn’t think they’d be able to do this. He shook his head and sighed. “We have to do this,” he said to her. “There’s no other way to get out.”

    The Snivy glanced over from a boulder away from theirs. “Hey!” she shouted to them. “We need to think of a plan before it uses a wider area attack!”

    Aru nodded and sighed, leaning back against the rock. “I might have an idea,” he whispered over to Thali. “But you’ll have to trust me.”

    “But Aru, I…”

    “There’s no time, Thali!” shouted Aru. “We need to do this now! I need you to trust me.”

    The she-Eevee gave a drawn out sigh. “Do it then,” she murmured. “I trust you.”

    The Riolu gave her one last smirk before he dashed out from behind the rock. He felt his speed increase fivefold as he used the powers of his Bullet Punch to enhance himself. “Just hope this works!” he shouted as he came upon the slow moving Rhyperior with a surprise, steeled punch.

    The Rhyperior jolted upon the attack, but he only looked annoyed by the strike. The punch felt like a pinch in comparison. He glanced at Aru and growled, swinging around his tail for a powerful strike.

    Aru narrowly avoided the strike of the gleaming Iron Tail attack with a jump. He then paled when he realized that hanging in the air left him open for attack, and he took the full brunt of a powerful Drill Run attack.

    “Aru, no!” Thali shouted up at him as he sailed through the air. The Riolu came to the ground with a thud, skidding along the ground. She rushed over to assist him, nudging his side to push him behind a rock.

    The Riolu wasn’t in good shape. There was a large puncture wound in his midriff, though it might have been larger had Aru not put some distance between him and the horn. He breathed heavily and sighed. “There’s an Oran berry in the bag,” he said to her. “Give me that and I’ll wrap up the wound.”

    While Thali was tending to her partner, the Snivy was making full utilization of her keen eyesight. She peered out from behind the rock, wondering what the best way to attack a large enemy like this would be. She knew there was one; she had battled something like it before. But for her life, she couldn’t remember what she had done.

    And then it clicked. The Snivy dashed over to Thali and Aru, a bright smile on her face. “Aru, do you think you can stand?” she asked him.

    The Riolu gave a nod. The Oran Berry had dulled the pain, so he stood with relative ease. “Yeah,” he said. “Why? You have a plan?”

    The Snivy nodded and glanced over at the Rhyperior with a calculating look. “Yes. I’ve fought something akin to this back in my homeland,” she said. “Wait for it to strike with Earthquake. Then we make our move.”


    The Rhyperior was stomping about in the meanwhile. Where had those strange intruders gone? Did they think they could mock him by running about in his territory and then disappearing? He would show them who was in charge here!
    The Rhyperior gave out a loud roar, stamping on the ground and initiating a wild Earthquake that tore at the ground and sent large stones into the air. Upon one of the stones, the three were clinging on and waiting for a good time to strike. “Now!” the Snivy shouted, pushing herself off of the stone and lashing out with her Vine Whip. She wrung the neck of the giant Pokémon and the mere force of her momentum allowed her to force the beast off balance. Thali’s swift Quick Attack that followed at the beast’s feet finally felled it.

    “Finish it, Aru!” Thali signaled to the Riolu. Aru gave a smirk and rebounded off of the suspended stone, touching the ceiling only for a moment so he could push himself back down. He charged up energy and released it in his palm as soon as he had struck the Rhyperior, smashing it with a devastating Force Palm.

    Aru leaped off of the massive Pokémon after having kayoed it. He panted, feeling tired after that intense attack. When he glanced over to his teammates, the Riolu noticed that they were winded as well. The Snivy straightened up and gave a deep sigh of content. “C’mon,” she suggested. “The exit is right over there.”

    The two followed her outside and into barren lands. It would take them a while to get back to the guild, they were sure of that. Thali had to support Aru once the healing and numbing effects of the Oran berry began to wear off. The Snivy looked back to check on them and noticed that they had started heading off in a different direction. Perhaps they had someplace to return to. She figured staying with them might help her discover more about what had happened with her, so she followed along.

    “I don’t believe I ever told you,” the Snivy mentioned to them whilst they were resting from the sun behind a nearby dune. “My name is Accalia.”


    “And, you want us to permit this… unknown Pokémon into our guild, despite the obvious ambiguity and suspiciousness of its mere presence?”

    “Yes, Chatot, that is exactly what we are asking.”

    It was late at night when team Unity arrived at the guild. They had sorrowfully missed dinner, so their stomachs were rumbling. However, a far more pressing issue was being discussed in the Guildmaster’s chambers: the admission of Accalia into the Earth Guild.

    Chatot gave a sigh and began to pluck at his colorful feathers, keeping them aligned. “Alright, let me see if I have this correct,” he began. “You went to the Hall of Origin ruins to rescue a trapped archeologist. You rescued said archeologist and she requested that you investigate the depths of the dungeon. Upon arriving at this altar, as you call it, the entrance wall shut and this Pokémon appeared.”

    “Her name is Accalia,” Thali said threateningly. “She has a name. Stop referring to her like she’s not here.”

    Chatot grumbled under his breath about insubordinate kids before turning around to face Wigglytuff. “Well Guildmaster, it is your decision on whether or not to permit access of our esteemed establishment to Ms. Accalia. I insist you take into account the enigmatic circumstances of her origin and decide with extreme caution whether—”


    Chatot blinked, utterly shocked at having been interrupted. “But, I… Guildmaster, are you not even going to give a second thought unto how risky this could be?”

    “Nope!” Wigglytuff smiled brightly and stood eagerly. He gazed over team Unity and hummed, the ditsy outward glaze of his eyes hiding his true thoughts. They would certainly be something great someday… “I think that mysteries are only things we don’t know about yet. Let her join, let her join!”

    Still appalled by Wigglytuff’s actions, Chatot merely glanced back at the Unity trio before handing over a new badge to Accalia. “Uh… here you go then,” Chatot muttered, still utterly dumfounded.

    Team Unity laughed all the way back to their dorms at the amusing situation.

    The moon was already high in the sky when team Unity settled in their hay beds to drift to sleep. Accalia, exhausted from the day’s events, was the first one to fall deep into slumber. Due to the lack of beds, Thali and Aru shared one.

    Gosh… It’s been quite an interesting stay so far, Aru mused, holding his partner close for warmth in the chilly barracks. They were the closest to the ocean, so the breeze through their small window was enough to chill one uncomfortably. The Riolu was then recounting the events as of late, something he tended to do most nights.

    I still don’t have any of my memories back, but I suppose I’ll have to come across something eventually. Aru sighed in his musings, brushing down Thali’s fur absentmindedly. He had certainly not survived the adventure to the Hall of Origin unscathed. He was sorely reminded of this when Thali pressed herself against the throbbing wound that he had received during the fight with the Rhyperior.

    Thali shifted once more, looking up at him tiredly. “You’re tickling me,” she pouted, yawning. “C’mon, let me get some sleep here.”

    Aru smiled cheekily and patted the smaller Eevee’s head. “What kind of fun would that be?” he whispered, chuckling at the blush that was evident in her cheeks.

    “You’re such a tease, Aru,” Thali giggled, smiling. She took a glance over to Accalia, just beyond the beam of moonlight. “What are we going to do about Accalia?”

    “What about her?”

    “Don’t you see, Aru?” she asked him. “This is a completely new experience for her; it’s a new world with new faces and new places. Do you think she’ll really adapt so quickly to all this change?”

    Aru hummed and looked up at the ceiling as he pondered that. He could empathize with the girl and he knew that things were mysterious to her. “Well… When I first arrived here, you were there for me,” he spoke. The Riolu gave a feisty smile and shifted in the hay bed. “We’ll just have to be there for her.”

    Thali smiled, content with that answer, and she nuzzled into his chest fur. “Yes… I suppose you have a point,” she murmured. Then again, she had come upon Aru in her great time of need. He helped to assure her of her abilities, made her feel as though she were capable of amounting to anything she set her eyes on. It really was a stroke of good luck that brought him to her.

    “You realize… I would never even be here without you.”

    Aru glanced down at his partner. “That’s a strange thing to say,” he muttered. “I’m sure you could have done it all on your own. All you needed was a little push.”

    Thali giggled and replied, “See? There, you’re doing that thing again.”

    “Doing what thing again?”

    Thali sighed, finding her thoughts difficult to put into words. “Making me feel… more confident in myself,” she whispered. “Whenever you’re around, you make me feel stronger and you really support me.”

    Aru hummed in confusion. “Really? I’m just being me.”

    “That’s the thing. You don’t even have to try,” Thali whispered. “It’s natural for you. I don’t think I could have asked for a better friend, Aru.”

    The Riolu blushed fiercely. He still wasn’t quite used to compliments, even after all this time. With a contented sigh, he lay back on the bed and held her closer to him to warm her up. “We really should get to sleep. We’ll have to wake up extra early to ask Chimeco if we can have an early meal.”

    Thali nodded, yawning widely as she nuzzled him. “Yeah… Alright Aru,” she murmured as she drifted off to sleep. Aru could have sworn that he caught something along the lines of love escaping her lips, but he couldn’t tell exactly. He simply decided to caress her back till she fell asleep, something they did often when it was cold at night.

    As the Riolu fell into slumber, thoughts swam in his head, thoughts of his memories and of Thali. He laughed quietly at the thought that he knew more about his partner than he did himself. He wished that they might discover something pertaining to his memories, but they weren’t quite as important to him. And as he fell asleep, he let those cumbersome thoughts drift away into the void of his subconscious so he could think about it later.

    He thought it strange how, even as darkness took him into the depths of his dream state, Thali continued to resurface in his fading, sleepy thoughts.
    #6 Apr 26, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  7. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 6: Memory

    Since the arrival of Team Unity’s newcomer, the Snivy Accalia, the capabilities of the entire team seemed more rounded. With her keen vision and unique grass-type abilities, Accalia was fitting just fine in with the team. The reliability of team Unity was noticeable, as the Guildmaster himself soon began to assign them direct quests and explorations.

    It was the fruits of one such exploration that the Waterfall Cave had been discovered—or rather its discovery was confirmed, since Wigglytuff had been there on one occasion—and that led to the discovery of something… rather fascinating.

    “Guildmaster, is this…?”

    “Yes, Chatot, I think you know exactly what this is.”

    Only when he was alone with the parrot Pokémon did Wigglytuff ever drop his shroud of exuberance. What was revealed was the twisted, serious expression of a hardened explorer. As he munched absentmindedly on a Perfect Apple, one of his favorite foods, he looked over the sketches of the interesting things that Team Unity had discovered in the Waterfall Cave.

    A gear-like shape was sketched on the paper, while something in the shape of a chalice was sketched below it. A strange design we found in the cave, the caption read, it seemed to glow green when approached.

    “It could be another clue to where those Time Gears are! Why, imagine if we managed to discover one? Imagine the rewards that we’d receive, the treasures that we’d acquire! We’d be able to fully fund our guild in no time!”

    “No,” the Guildmaster responded sternly. “No, that is not an option. You remember the vow I swore all those years ago.”

    Chatot sighed and nodded. “Of course, Guildmaster, how could I forget? I think you live up to both the expectations of Lapras and Guardian Ditto. You needn’t worry.”

    “Still… the possibility exists that we could have found one,” Wigglytuff murmured. “We could have potentially stumbled on something amazing here. Let’s give a little more thought to it before we call on an expedition.”

    “You believe a full expedition will be needed for this?”

    “You should know that there’s a line between believing and knowing.”

    “Certainly, Master Wigglytuff…”

    “Chatot… what have I told you about talking to me that way when we’re alone?”

    A small chuckle escaped the parrot’s beak and he sighed. “Not to do it, I remember,” he said. “I just forget sometimes. You’re so powerful, I just feel subordinate to you.”

    Wigglytuff’s gleeful smile made a reappearance as he looked to Chatot. He patted the parrot Pokémon’s back and giggled. “Well, stop it then! Make sure to get some rest. The next few days will be undoubtedly long and hard.”

    Chatot let a meek chuckle escape him as he flew up to the perch where he slept. As he relaxed, he thought about how much he truly admired the Guildmaster. They were friends first and explorers secondly, but he always looked up to Wigglytuff for his ever bright attitude and constant vigilance. For Chatot, Wigglytuff was his role model, his guide, and his best friend. Even then…

    “Wigglytuff, your lewd implication was absolutely unnecessary.”

    “Oh, stuff it, Chatot.”

    Yes, these next few days would certainly be grueling.


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    …His First Pokémon Story…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 6


    Once again, the members of team Unity were gathered in their dorm. They sat in a circle round the place where the moon’s beam shone, not quite ready to go to sleep yet. Thusly, the three did what most explorers did when gathered together with nothing better to do.

    They told stories.

    One particular story was a very special one, a story that was essential to the region’s culture. “Have either of you ever heard of the Legend of Creation and the Time Gears?”

    Aru and Accalia were very new to this region, Aru having lost his memory and Accalia being from another realm, and they thusly shook their heads. Thali gave a bright smile as she began to recall the fable. “As legend has it: there were once four mighty beings that ruled over a barren land, filled with nothing but chaos and destruction. The four entities were saddened by their world of chaos. Nothing seemed to exist there, only a never ending reign of terror, fire, and darkness.

    “The entities decided to be done with this world and left it to craft a new one. Palkia the Mender of Space took them from that dimension and crafted a new world with his almighty power. With the use of his vast power, he shaped mountains, dug oceans, grew trees, and made the world. After his achievement, he went into a deep state of hibernation, one day to awaken after regaining his power.

    “Dialga the Timekeeper breathed life into the world, setting time into motion. He remains awake, constantly vigilant and always keeping the flow of time in repair. He worked time like a well-oiled machine, altering and creating with his almighty power.

    “Arceus the Creator begot the first Pokémon, allowing population to grow and survive. Pokémon of all kinds were created and manifested throughout the world, bringing about harmonious joy and bountiful progress. Arceus’ body was split into light and cast over the world, and so long as his essence remains, life shall remain for all Pokémon.”

    Accalia shifted slightly as the story was told, and Aru wondered what she was thinking about. However, that was not the most pressing thing in his mind. “What about the fourth entity, Thali?”

    “That is where the plot twist comes in, Aru,” Thali said with a murky tone. The Riolu smiled and commended her silently for her storytelling skills. “The fourth and final was Giratina the Shadow Master. With all the best intentions, Giratina wanted to craft light for the beings of the new world. However, he inadvertently created darkness as well. Dark and light overlapped in his powers, forming miasmic shadow. For the betterment of that world, Giratina was henceforth banished to the destroyed realm from whence they came, now known as the Cage. And that’s how this world came to be.”

    “Wow, is it true?” Accalia asked in amazement.

    Thali giggled and shrugged. “No one knows. Relics of the Ancient Legends, the first spawns of Arceus, have been found. But the only evidence that linked to Arceus is the worship of his figure. None of the other three beings have been discovered.”

    Aru nodded to her and chuckled. “What was the other part of the fable? The part about the Time Gears?”

    Thali blinked and nodded fervently. That was her favorite part of the legend! “Well, that focuses more on the Timekeeper,” she explained. “Supposedly, Dialga could not manage the time of our whole world on his own. In order to keep the flow of time running properly, Dialga imbued his power into these Time Gears and spread them across the lands. The legend says that a total of twenty gears were crafted, but none have ever been found. Dialga exerts his influence through these gears and keeps everything synchronized.”

    Accalia then scratched her head in thought. “Well, what if a Time Gear was removed or destroyed.”

    Thali frowned at the thought. “The obvious would happen,” she mumbled. “Time would cease and desist in that area. Dialga would have no control over the time. That’s why this tale is told. Even if a Time Gear is ever discovered, even the most hardened and dastardly of criminals known never to disturb them. It could lead to calamity.”

    When the first yawn went round, the trio finally decided to get some rest. As they lay down to sleep, Aru murmured, “It’s a good thing nothing like that has ever happened.”

    And while they dreamt, sinister plots elsewhere were coming to fruition.


    A rugged figure was dashing through a dark wood, constantly searching. Even while it rained and poured outside, his dripping person burned with the fire of vigilance and strength. He had to find it; he needed to find it.

    Every muscle in his body ached, but he couldn’t quit going forward. He wiped the water and sweat from his brow as he glanced around the forestry. All around, wild and crazed Pokémon roamed. Some say that staying in a Mystery Dungeon too long affects Pokémon, turns them into something feral and wild. That’s why the Pokémon out here were wild, rabid some would say.

    However, the stealth of this certain figure prevented other Pokémon from spotting him. He had to be absolutely sure that he could get to the pit of this dungeon and finally find the object of his desire. Lightning crashed down and illuminated the figure for brief moments. Flashes of green made up this character, with a red belly and a leafy blade on his head, like flowing hair. The bipedal Pokémon was out on the hunt.

    His eyes hid the life of a depressed, suppressed, oppressed man; his true feelings locked deep in his soul. He had been hardened for all his life, waiting for this moment.

    He broke through the brush and smirked as a soft glow suddenly illuminated him. The gecko-like Pokémon smirked with succession.

    “Ah, a Time Gear at last! It is but the first of many, but I should be able to track them all down.”

    Then, with deft hands and swiftness of feet, the figure swiped the omnipotent artifact and fled from the scene promptly. Not long after, a dark and foreboding dome of grey expanded from the spot where the gear once existed. The wind stopped, the trees and grass came to a standstill, and even dew remained unfallen.

    It was a premonition of dangers to come.


    The next morning at Wigglytuff’s Guild, bad news was already being delivered. The recruits rushed out into the lobby outside the barracks for morning cheers as normal, but a very unsettling message was delivered.

    “Time in Treeshroud Forest… has stopped.”

    Chatot’s announcement sent a buzz throughout the guild members. Squeals of shock arose from them along with words of awe. It was then that Sunflora’s girlish gasp was heard and she spoke, “It couldn’t be…”

    At that moment, the guild quieted and Chatot nodded. “That’s exactly correct, Sunflora. The Time Gear of Treeshroud forest has been the only gear archived in all of existence; the Time Gear has been unfortunately stolen.”

    “But that’s impossible!” Loudred bellowed, his voice ringing in the ears of those around him. “Why would anyone in their right mind steal a Time Gear?”

    Chatot nodded and gave a reluctant sigh. This was hard news to hear, of course. Time Gears were sacred in this realm, and to disturb a gear, let alone steal one, was an unheard of event. “We have no more information on this,” the parrot Pokémon replied. “The Council of Masters is taking these new happenings into consideration, and officer Magnezone’s detectives have been dispatched to investigate the situation.”

    Wigglytuff came out from his room at that moment and frowned when he saw the upset faces of his recruits. That just wouldn’t do; melancholy was an unwelcome foe in his establishment. “Nobody worry, okay?” Wigglytuff cried out in his cheery voice. “Officer Magnezone will certainly keep things under control. Everybody, be happy! There’s no need to be sad.”

    A small smile split Aru’s lips. The Guildmaster sure was something else, what with his carefree demeanor and his caring attitude. The entire guild took his words to heart and seemed to perk up with confidence. “Yes sir!” they responded, regaining the demeanor of a proud and responsible guild.

    “Alright, Pokémon, get to work!”


    Shortly after morning cheers, Team Unity gathered on the floor above to discuss what their next mission would be. They felt more adventurous and bold today; perhaps they would select an escort mission to unknown territory of some kind. Accalia plucked one such paper and pocketed it in the bag.

    Just they were about to head for the exit, they bumped into two familiar enemies.

    “Hey, it’s you again!” Thali shouted, glaring down the Zubat and Koffing they had run into.

    “Hey, watch it kid!” replied the indignant Zubat.

    Accalia looked around, confused by these two. The Snivy pondered, wondering what could grant the Eevee such hostility. “Thali, you know these two?”

    “We both do,” Aru replied, snarling at the pair. “These are the same bandits that tried to steal Thali’s artifact quite some time ago.”

    The Zubat grimaced from the sore recognition. It was true that he and his accomplice were members of the Thieves Guild, but things were far more complicated than that. “I’ll have you know that we’re an official exploration team as well,” he retorted indignantly.

    “The way we work just isn’t always… By the book,” Koffing replied with a snicker. “We are from the Thieves Guild, of course.”

    Aru sent a glare at the two and snarled, stepping forward in an act of defense. Zubat rolled his eyes. “Oh, stop with your fierce act. You guys were just a job. We were sent after you.”

    “Yeah? Well, who sent you then?” Thali asked, trying to sound authoritative.

    Koffing simply sighed at her attempt. “Our Guildmaster,” he said, raising a brow at Thali. “Don’t act so tough. The only reason you beat us last time was because the boss wasn’t with us.”

    Thali frowned softly, quivering on her paws. “Your… boss?”

    “That’s right, shrimp,” Zubat said. “Our team, Team Skull, has three members: me, Koffing, and the boss.”

    That’s no good. I didn’t think they were getting orders from somewhere higher up, Aru mused, narrowing his brow. This boss must have orchestrated the job that tried to have Thali’s artifact stolen.

    He was pondering these thoughts when a sudden stench drew him out of his stupor. He gasped and coughed, gulping down air in hopes of closing off his orifices to the pestilence. Koffing then smirked and looked over to the ladder. “Speaking of the boss, here he comes now.”

    Then, down from the ladder came the source of the disgusting scent. A large, purple skunk with a white stripe lining its back entered, with a thuggish attitude that was almost as overbearing as the putrid smell that surrounded him—a stench of sewage spiced with rotting corpses, the guild members thought. The large Pokémon stopped in front of Aru and sneered at him. “Out o’ the way, punk,” he growled before blowing a putrid gas cloud out the Riolu, sending him reeling from the mere smell. He was rolling on the floor in seconds.

    “Nice one, boss!” the Zubat and Koffing called out in near unison. With a snarky laugh, the skunk smirked and looked around the room.

    He suddenly eyed Thali with a sense of recognition. “Well, if it isn’t the tiny traitorous twerp?” he growled as he approached the Eevee. A sardonic smirk crawled over his lips as he chuckled. “Surely you remember your old buddies.”

    Thali barred her canines and leaned back in a defensive stance. “I was never your buddy, Skuntank,” she replied, glaring at the leader of Team Skull. Skuntank, in reply, rolled his eyes. “What are you doing here, anyway?”

    “Why, picking out a job, of course,” Skuntank replied coolly. He looked over to the request wall, taking note that there was really nothing of particular interest. “We also heard word that your guild is doing particular… investigations,” he added. “We wanted to check things out ourselves, but Wigglytuff is keeping tight lips about it. He hasn’t even told his own guild about it.”

    Skuntank looked to his side and noticed that Thali was still giving him a deathly scowl. “Quit your glaring, runt,” he barked swiftly at the Eevee before gesturing to her coughing comrade. “That is, if you don’t want to end up like him.”

    That had Thali backing away in cowardice. The Skuntank snickered and rolled his eyes at the timorous action. “That’s what I thought,” he said before nodding toward his fellows. “Zubat, Koffing, let’s go. No need to hang around these losers.” Then, without further ado or insult, Team Skull vacated the premises, leaving Team Unity to gather themselves together.

    Accalia helped Aru up, who was still reeling from the stench. His vision swam as he felt his olfactory senses return to normal. Thali frowned as she looked over to her rattled comrade. “I’m sorry, Aru,” she whispered as she nudged him. “I was too much of a coward to do anything…”

    Aru placed his hand over her head and smiled. “Don’t be ridiculous. You’re not a coward,” he said. “You’re just a little timid; that’s all.” Thali failed to respond to his kind words. Her emblazoned cheeks were the only notable response.

    Accalia nodded in agreement and tore a request from the board. “Yeah, cheer up, Thali,” she said. “There’s something I want to show you guys.


    The Snivy led them out of the Earth Guild and down the massive stairs till they were at the intersection. She pointed a manhole carved into a tree stump. “That’s strange,” Thali mumbled. “I’ve been here for a long time, and I’ve never seen this.”

    “I only recently discovered it after one of our missions,” Accalia responded as she led them in, climbing down the stairs that were carved there. “It’s some kind of café for explorers.”

    When they entered the small café, the trio glanced at the lively atmosphere. Musicians played some new sort of music in the corner while the patrons and customers held conversation. A spotted panda Pokémon danced—or stumbled, Aru couldn’t particularly tell—across the room and greeted them gleefully. “That’s right! I run a café for explorers,” she remarked.

    The panda blinked when she spotted Accalia and smiled. “You must be the famous Team Unity that Accalia told me so much about,” she said, fervently and enthusiastically shaking their paws. “I’m so glad to welcome you to this humble abode that we call a café. We welcome you in with the wide arms of all our being! I’m Spinda, the owner of this establishment.”

    Though he was stunned by her demeanor initially, Aru could tell that he would like this place. They decided to sit for a while and relax before taking off for their next job. “So, what do you want to do for the next job?” Aru asked to the other two. That was the question being posed at the time.

    “I’m really not sure,” Accalia said with a shrug as she munched on an apple. “What about you, Thali?”

    Thali pawed at her mane in thought. “Why don’t we go explore somewhere we haven’t been before?” she asked.

    “Where?” Aru inquired, “I already checked the board; there’s really not much there in terms of new exploration. I don’t know where we would go that we haven’t already been.”

    “If a new adventure is what you’re looking for, then—why not?—I have just the thing!”

    The three looked swiftly over to the opposite side of the room. There, a Wynaut sat poised with a large smile stretching over his face. “You three are explorers, are you not? You are seeking higher adventure? Then I have the thing for you!” he spoke with splendid glee.

    Team Unity was befuddled by the sudden outburst by the short Pokémon, but they nodded, intrigued by his claims. They walked over to his stand, which had a large, triangular recycling symbol over its top. “You mean, you think you’ve found a new dungeon?” Thali asked, suddenly excited at the prospect. Aru laughed at her gleeful display, but held to his own mirth nonetheless.

    “Think? No, little lady, why, I know we have found a new dungeon!” the Wynaut exclaimed. “Our very own explorers from Team Restitution have uncovered a location far to the southwest, a dungeon that we have dubbed Lake Afar.”

    Aru nodded to the Wynaut. With a strange recycling stand and a personal exploration team, the Riolu believed there was something more to this Spinda’s Café. He even caught a subtle wink from the panda Pokémon’s swirling eyes in the corner of his vision. “Well then, give us the directions, please?”

    “Why, most certainly!” the Wynaut responded. In the back, behind the stands, a Wobbuffet with bright red lipstick on shouted, “That’s right!” before moving on. Wynaut opened up a map of the region and nodded in the affirmative when he had Team Unity’s attention. “You see, it’s a really long journey…”


    It was indeed after an arduous journey that Team Unity arrived at Lake Afar, or rather, its outskirts. The dungeon itself took place in a cavern that hid the epicenter: the lake itself. When they approached the entrance, they gulped and nodded slightly. A new dungeon always held twofold emotions for these explorers, those of fear and those of anticipation.

    “Watch your step. You never know what might be down here in this dungeon,” Aru reminded them as they quietly advanced.

    Accalia replied, “No need to remind us, Aru. You’re always so worrisome.”

    “W-well… it’s life and death out here,” he replied. “I wouldn’t want you guys to get hurt too bad. Even though we’re getting a lot stronger, we can’t let our guard down.”

    Thali smiled softly and nodded. She hung slightly behind Aru, as though he were some kind of protective barrier. “Aru’s right. We can’t underestimate our foes.”

    Accalia shrugged and smiled, strolling on ahead. “I’m sure,” she replied with a satiric tone. “Should I be hiding from a little Geodude? Is a Magikarp gonna flop out of the water and splash me?”

    “You never know, Accalia,” Aru replied to the Snivy. “This is a new dungeon, not many have explored it. We don’t know what kind of Pokémon to expect in here.”

    Accalia wasn’t nearly this cocky when the duo had first met her. She had probably become accustomed to success, as they had been successful numerous times in the past. The Snivy smiled lackadaisically as she strode through the dungeon, unaware of a creeping enemy just around the corner…

    And then it came. A seemingly docile puddle burst with tentacles, entangling Accalia in their grasp. The body of an enraged Tentacruel had floated to the surface, and it seemed to be taking out its anger upon the small Snivy.

    “Hold on, Accalia!” Aru called out to her. Meanwhile, Thali was already running forward to assist her. With a violent whip of her tail, she knocked back the distracted Tentacruel. While it was stunned, Aru dashed forward and struck the Tentacruel with a swift Pursuit attack.

    Having decided that it had taken enough, the Tentacruel dropped Accalia and fled. She stood up with a stumble and looked over to her comrades. Seeing the deadpanned look that Aru gave her, she sighed. “Right, continue with caution and all that stuff,” she spoke, blushing from embarrassment.

    Having learned her lesson, Accalia followed in suit behind Aru. He had taken a natural leadership role among the three, as he seemed to be the most daring, apart from Accalia’s blatant foolishness, that is. It was one thing that Thali admired about him, and also a thing that Accalia held great respect for.

    As they adventured further in, encountering a few more water and rock-type Pokémon along the way, the dungeon began to feel stifled. Humidity rose to nearly choking levels and a heavy mist hung in the air. A large rumble shook the ground beneath their feet as the traveled lower and they took refuge behind a boulder for a short time to investigate it.

    A large, looming figure’s silhouette appeared in the mist, and the trio snuck along in attempts to avoid it. “What do you think it is?” Thali asked shakily.

    “I can’t tell from this angle,” Aru murmured as he peered over rocks. He cursed himself for not being able to properly develop his aura sensing techniques. “If I had to guess, I’d say it’s a Golem.”

    Accalia nodded and sighed, sticking close to the walls. “Aru and I might be able to take it since we have a type advantage,” she whispered. “Thali… I don’t know if you’d be able to help all that much.”

    The Eevee gave a sigh. Sometimes, she hated being Normal type. It prevented her from having any natural advantages. “Why don’t we sneak past it?” she suggested. “There’s a larger cavern just over there. I think it’s the lowest point of this dungeon.”

    “Alright, let’s go for it,” agreed Aru.

    When they figured the silhouetted Pokémon had turned its back on them, the three rushed out of cover. They hurtled themselves at the cavern, hoping that they would be safe from any imposing enemies.

    How sorely disappointed they were when the vicinity of the lake was surrounded by a hoard of irritated Gyarados. Vicious looking blue serpents glared at them fiercely, eying them with nothing less than pure fury.

    “This isn’t good, Aru,” Thali whimpered fearfully.

    Accalia nodded in bitter agreement, biting her lip to keep from overreacting. “What’s the great plan this time, leader?”

    “I…. I don’t know,” Aru mumbled, drawing a complete blank from his deck of ideas. Surrounded by Gyarados to the front, and a bleak, impenetrable fog to their rear, Aru hadn’t a single idea to help them squeeze out of this mess.

    The trio prepared for their utter annihilation as the mob of Gyarados began charging up a fierce energy attack in their gaping maws—Hyper Beam, if Thali remembered correctly. They shut their eyes, waiting for the end…


    Several splashes of water broke the surface of the lake suddenly. The three flashed their eyes open to witness the Gyarados suddenly fleeing while from the depths rose a different figure, a serpent with a beauteous, tan coat. Fuchsia locks dangled from the figures head as it gazed intently at the trio. It splashed at the water with its blue-scaled tail. “Oh my, I hardly ever have visitors drop by, so rarely that I even forgot to drive away the Gyarados.”

    The serpent then refocused on team Unity and nodded solemnly. “Forgive me, travelers, for I did not mean them to cause you trouble. I am Milotic, the denizen of this dungeon. I guard the reservoir of Lake Afar, and keep hidden its secrets.”

    “Secrets?” Thali asked.

    Milotic bowed her head in a nod. “Yes. This lake holds many secrets,” she said. “It is a powerful secret. Some people who aren’t accustomed to it lose themselves simply by gazing into the deep, murky pool. I would advise you not look in! You could very well lose your memories in it.”

    Lose… memories? Aru mused, frowning at the thought. He suddenly blinked and widened his eyes. Thali looked up at the Milotic and tilted her head to the side. “Just looking into it makes people lose memories?”

    Milotic nodded solemnly. “Yes,” she said. “Some of them even go rabid with their hollow selves, like the Gyarados.”

    Aru frowned. He lost his memories… did he lose them here? This lake seemed familiar somehow, or at least, a lake in general. “Milotic, is it possible to retrieve memories if they’ve been lost?”

    The majestic serpent closed her eyes and nodded softly. “Well, there are a few ways,” she responded. “If they were taken by this lake, I might be able to protect someone long enough that they may find them. Why do you ask?”

    “Could you… Could I look for them?”

    Accalia looked at him in mild shock. How had she never known that her own captain had lost memories? This was clearly something that she should have been told, or should have figured out. She tilted her head as she eyed her team leader. Milotic gave him a nod and blessed him with an aura of white, which the Snivy presumed would protect his mind.

    Soon after, the Riolu dove into the lake.

    At the bottom of the lake, you will find what you seek, traveler, Milotic spoke directly to his psyche as Aru swam to the bottom. He dove lower, surprised that he had not yet lost air. He assumed Milotic was helping him survive under the water.

    As he reached the bottom, he noticed streams of white coalescing into an orb. He couldn’t tell what it was, but none of the strings reacted to his presence. He heard a sigh in his mind and then Milotic’s voice again. It seems that what you seek doesn’t rest with me.

    Aru was about to turn back before the orb of memories began glowing brighter. In fact, he found everything grew bright and white before blackness enveloped him.

    “I think we’ve finally found it, Aru! This has to be it!”

    “You think so?”

    “Yes, but we’ll have to be careful from here on out. Just make sure, Aru, don’t let go!”
    #7 Apr 27, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  8. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 7: Unexpected Complications

    “Look! He’s waking up!”

    Thali’s form hovered beside Aru as he finally woke up. A bright smile split the Eevee’s lips as he rose. “Thank Arceus! I was worried you weren’t going to wake up,” she said as she hugged him tightly.

    “Thali? I don’t understand what’s going on. What happened?” Aru finally asked, rubbing his head. He felt like he was gasping for breath, and his head was spinning from exhaustion.

    “You had a dizzy spell under the water,” Thali said, caressing his cheek with the soft pads of her paw. “You nearly drowned, you big dolt! I was so worried about you…”

    Aru chuckled at the worrying Eevee. He gave her a soft smile of reassurance. “Don’t worry, okay? You know I’m stronger than that. A little water won’t kill me.”

    “Don’t say it like it’s nothing!” Thali exclaimed. “Aru, you could have gotten yourself killed if Milotic hadn’t saved you. You almost died!”

    Aru blushed and smiled. “Thali… thank you,” he said with a chuckle.

    “For what?”

    “Just for being here,” he said. He gazed into her eyes for a long moment, taking in her presence. Something about being there, looking in her eyes, seemed to just soothe him. “You’re still wearing the bow I got you. That makes me really happy.”

    Thali blushed a bit and looked away. “A-Aru… you’re being weird,” she whispered, trying not to show her evident blush.

    Accalia walked in to find the two talking. “Oh, you’re awake,” the Snivy said as she knelt down beside him. “It’s good to see that you’re awake, but…” she faded off as she whipped her leafy arm around to slap him firmly across his cheek. “You had better explain yourself! Why didn’t you tell me you’d lost your memory? I thought we were a team.”

    Aru sighed. He should have seen this coming. He looked up to Accalia apologetically and nodded solemnly. “I know, I should have told you earlier. I could never imagine how to bring it up in casual conversation.”

    “I can explain, Aru. Just get some rest,” Thali assured him. She sat on her hind legs, prepared to speak. “You see, about a month or so ago, I wasn’t even part of the guild. I was too afraid to join. I found Aru on the beach after one of my failed attempts to join. When he woke up, he couldn’t recall anything but his name. We joined the guild as partners and the rest is history.”

    Accalia sat back with her arms crossed, still feeling indignant. “Alright… Any success on figuring out his memories?”

    “Nothing yet,” Aru said. He thought about the strange thing he heard down at the bottom of Milotic’s lake, but disregarded it. It couldn’t have been one of his memories. “I don’t have anything about myself. But… I do have the strange ability to see visions of past and future events.”

    Accalia sat still for a while, scratching her head. “You lost me there. You can see the future?”

    “It works like that in a way,” Thali explained. “We figured out after a few of his visions that he can sometimes see events connected to something or someone’s past or future by touching it. We don’t know how, but it’s really amazing!”

    Accalia hummed and nodded. “That’s... really amazing,” she said with a smile. “I can’t believe you can use that sort of power.”

    Aru gave a light chuckle. “Enough about me, though,” he spoke up. “What’s going on? What time is it?”

    “It’s morning,” Thali said. “Don’t worry, Chatot said that you’re allowed to sleep in so you can get your strength up. We don’t have to run through the morning cheers today.”

    “Alright. That’s good.”

    At that moment, Bidoof burst in. He was covering his nose to block a pungent odor and his face was glazed with sweat. “H-hey, y’all! You’re never gonna believe this!”

    “What is it, Bidoof?” Aru asked as he sat up. He held himself steady to hear the news clearly.

    Bidoof shivered; the beaver Pokémon had a difficult time even bringing himself to say it. “The Guildmaster let Team Skull join our expedition!”

    The jaws of everyone in the room immediately dropped.


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 7
    Unexpected Complications


    After receiving the news about Team Skull joining their guild-exclusive expedition, Thali stormed out of the room. She tore down a request—an item retrieval mission for Mount Bristle—and made haste for their mission location. Aru and Accalia had to run to catch up with her.

    They moved swiftly through the dungeon when they got there. Thali’s movements were jittery and impulsive; she took enemy Pokémon down with the ease of fury. In a moment of peace, Aru patted her shoulder. “Thali, calm down. We need to talk about this,” he said rationally.

    “Talk about what? What’s there to talk about?” Thali said angrily. She rushed off to fight a nearby Starly. With a single whip of her tail, she obliterated the Starly, kayoing it instantly. “Team Skull is joining the expedition… I can’t believe Wigglytuff let them in.”

    Aru was confused himself by the Guildmaster’s decision. Everyone could see that Team Skull was shady, even when discounting that stereotype of poison and dark Pokémon. “Well, maybe Wigglytuff thinks there’s something good about them?”

    “There is nothing good about them, Aru. Do you hear me? Nothing!” Thali exclaimed in anger. “They’re a team of liars and cheater.”

    “Well… they are from the Thieves’ Guild, right? Isn’t that what they specialize in?” Aru reminded her. “You came out of the Thieves’ Guild, but you’re a good person. What’s so bad about them?”

    “Aru, you don’t understand, and neither does Wigglytuff,” Thali huffed in disagreement. “No one understands, not like I do… I was on the same team as Skuntank, Aru.”

    Accalia, after dealing with a rowdy bunch of Geodude, returned to them. “You were paired with those stinkers?” she asked. After receiving Thali’s begrudged nod, the Snivy continued. “What makes them worse than the others?”

    “They’re unlike any other team in the Thieves’ Guild,” Thali said dramatically. “All of the others in the guild bonded like brothers, but Team Skull was very distant. They’re haughty and arrogant, but their cunning is what ranks them among one of the strongest teams.”

    “Their cunning?” asked Aru.

    Thali gave a nod. “Yes. Team Skull uses the dirtiest, lowliest deceit to accomplish a job,” she said. “They will use brutal means to get what they want. They’re traitors and double-crossers. They even betrayed me…”

    “They’re pretty untrustworthy, huh?” Accalia said.

    Thali nodded. “They are. They’re one of the reasons I left the thieves.”

    “It’s settled then,” spoke Aru. “We have to be wary at all times around Team Skull. Even if Wigglytuff has decided to allow them to join us, we’ll always be wary of them. Agreed?”

    “Agreed!” the others responded simultaneously.

    With a new resolve, the three trudged through the mountain. They reached the seventh floor with no issues along the way and discovered the orb that had belonged to their client. With the orb in their possession, they used their badges to warp out of the dungeon, back to the guild entrance.

    Time in the dungeons always seemed to flow in an odd way. It had only been morning when they went into Mount Bristle, and when they returned it was nearing dinnertime. The sun was setting on the horizon. “We should hurry before we miss the meal!” Thali exclaimed. They would have to deliver the orb to their client tomorrow.

    The three rushed in and took their places in the mess hall which was on the first subfloor of the guild. Team Unity was sat at the far end of the large table. They piled their plates with delicious salads and foods prepared by Chimeco and dug in to their hearts delight. “I can never get over how great of a cook Chimeco is,” Thali said as she dug into the mix of meats, berries, and salads.

    “You can say that again,” Aru said. The table was alight with merriment and joy as the guild members shared stories of their days.

    “Chaw, you guys started early. That’s no fun.”

    Conversation stopped and the air grew thick. It settled in their lungs and held their words hostage till a better time revealed itself for those words to be set free. Team Skull entered the hall, and their presence demanded attention. “Guildmaster Wigglytuff… why are they here?” Thali questioned, barely able to bite back her fury at their appearance.

    “Well, I thought that it would be silly to go into this expedition with friends that we hardly know!” Wigglytuff justified himself. “In order to work as a team, we need to take a little more time to get to know them, just like they need to get to know us. Mutual understanding is a vital part of teamwork!”

    The normally encouraging words fell silent in the hall. Team Skull’s leader Skuntank only smirked and took his place at the table with his team. “Gosh, you guys could learn a little respect,” he said haughtily, glowering down at Thali, Accalia, and Aru especially. “The expedition will begin at the beginning of the next moon cycle in five days. You wouldn’t want to botch up your act and get left out.”

    Though the words were a sort of dark advice to them all, Team Unity knew it was a threat specifically directed toward them. When their bellies were full and the cups were drunk, the members of the guild turned in for the night. “I don’t trust them,” Aru sneered at Team Skull as they retired to their own room in the back.

    “Don’t get so worked up about it,” Croagunk said, appearing behind Unity with his own mysterious stealth. He patted Aru’s shoulder and looked in his eyes with a cunning, knowing look. “None of the other members trust Team Skull either. I don’t know what this means for the guild, but we will not let their presence deter us. You should keep calm for the struggle ahead.”

    They returned to their room with Croagunk’s advice in mind. They knew little about toad Pokémon, but his warning was clear enough: Team Skull was a dangerous bunch to be trifled with.

    A beam of faint moonlight shone through the window. It was but a sliver now. In five days’ time, it would be reduced to a black orb in the sky and mark the first day of the expedition to the east. Accalia had decided on getting sleep early that night and bid her comrades goodnight.

    However, Thali was simply too agitated to go to bed yet. She nudged Aru’s side to make sure he remained awake and kept her company. “I’m afraid, Aru,” she whispered.

    “Of what?” he replied.

    “You know what. They’re out to get me, Aru; I know it,” Thali whispered, nuzzling deep in his furry chest for comfort. “I don’t know what it is, but I feel like they’re going to make this experience miserable for me.”

    Aru smiled and put his paw against her lips. “Calm down,” he whispered softly in his best attempts to pacify her. He pawed at the bow on her ear, tugging the string to make sure it was still snug. “I’m really glad you’re still wearing that bow.”

    Thali blushed and looked away in embarrassment. “I know. It really helps me in dungeons. I can feel it protecting me,” she whispered. Her blush would have be apparent were it not for the darkness. “Besides… I think it looks good on me.”

    “I know. I think you look cute with it on.”

    Thali felt a sudden desire to change the topic of conversation. Their current dialogue was much too embarrassing. “And I see that you’ve still got that bandana on,” she said.

    “Of course I do! I look awesome in this thing.”

    Thali noticed his enthusiasm toward the cloth and giggled. “You’re too adorable,” she whispered. “Go to sleep, Aru.”

    “What about you?”

    “What about me?”

    “You need to rest too,” Aru said. He rubbed her back soothingly. “You fall asleep first. I’ll be close behind.”

    Thali gave a tired smile and shut her eyes. “Fine, but you better go to sleep, you big dummy,” she whispered as she drifted into slumber.

    With her in his protective grasp, Aru sighed. There was so much to think about.

    It hadn’t been one day since Wigglytuff announced the expedition, and already things were going awry. Chatot had filled them in while Aru was resting that morning: the guild was to have an expedition to the Far East to search for the mysterious Fogbound Lake, a mythical lake said to hold untold treasures in its maw. When Wigglytuff had brought it before the council, they had suggested that a team from another guild go along to ensure success. That team was Team Skull.

    How little did they know that this pairing would cause more problems than it would solve. Sighing, Aru, tried not to think about it too much. Accalia, Thali, the guild; those were the things that mattered. As long as they were safe, he didn’t care for this Team Skull.

    And so, with that confidence in mind, he set his sights on sleep, and the dreamscape beyond that.


    “I’m sorry, Chatot, but run that by me again. What do you want us to do?”

    Team Unity was called up by Chatot after the morning announcements and cheers occurred. He had a special mission to give them that was, as he had said, of the utmost importance. This mission was so crucial, that the failure of such a task would be undeniably unacceptable. Its vast momentousness was incontrovertible.

    “I want you to venture to the Apple Woods and acquire some larder.”

    Accalia tilted her head to the side in confusion. “You mean… you want us to go get some food?”

    With a great sigh, Chatot nodded. “Yes, that is correct. It seems we have been completely and mysteriously cleaned out of our stock,” he said. “And we have particularly run low on Perfect Apples, which can only be found in the Apple Woods.”

    Thali hummed as she thought over Chatot’s peculiar request. “Well, are they such a necessity that we all have to go to ensure we get it?” she asked.

    “Yes! Yes; you have no idea how necessary it is for us to have a plentiful trove of Perfect Apples,” Chatot said. “They are the Guildmaster’s favorite food! If we do not have any in stock, he will surely be upset.”

    “Does he get that upset?”

    “Yes,” Chatot said. “The Guildmaster is… terrifying if his craving is not satisfied.”

    Aru then responded, “We’ll do it then! We should get a head start so we can get what we need before dinnertime.”

    Thali looked up to him with a great smile of approval and nodded. “I was thinking the same thing,” she said. “Don’t worry, Chatot. We’ll get your apples.”

    With that, Team Unity set off to the Apple Woods. They traveled through low and high lands to reach their destination, but they stood at the entrance after a few hours. The sun was already beginning to travel down. “We had better get those apples before the sun starts setting,” Aru reminded them. They entered the dungeon, mindful to be cautious and wary of enemy Pokémon.

    True to the name, the dungeon was filled with nothing but towering apple trees. They gathered apples all along the way, storing them in their bag. Aru lunged forward with a dark Pursuit attack when they were suddenly attacked by a giant bee Pokémon, a Beedrill. “Bug-type Pokémon? We don’t face a lot of these,” Aru mused.

    Accalia backed Aru up with a fierce Vine Whip, though it did little to harm the Beedrill. “We haven’t been to a new dungeon in a while. Why am I so weak against this thing?” she mused as she continued battering it with her vines.

    “You’re not exactly the best when it comes to type matchups, are you?” Thali mused as she whipped around her tail to strike the Beedrill, sending it reeling into a tree where it collapsed.

    Accalia chuckled softly and scratched her cheek. “It’s been a while since I’ve boned up on type matchups. Remind me how that would have been important?”

    “Beedrill is a Flying-Bug-type Pokémon. Its hybrid type gives it a huge boost in defense against grass attacks,” Thali stated matter-of-factly. “It nullifies three-fourths of the damage if I remember correctly.”

    Accalia blushed after having been given that lesson. To avoid further lecture, she went on ahead to gather more apples. Aru simply stared at Thali. The Eevee looked over to the Riolu in confusion. “What? Why are you looking at me that way?”

    “How do you do that?”

    Thali blinked, not fully comprehending him. “How do I do what?”

    “How do you just know stuff like that?” Aru asked. “You knew exactly what type that Beedrill was… in fact, I don’t think you’ve ever been wrong about a Pokémon’s type. And then you knew exactly why Accalia was failing. How do you know all that?”

    Thali blushed at his indirect compliment. “What? That’s just trivial. I thought we were supposed to know stuff like that,” she said, looking away meekly. “It’s not like it’s that great or anything.”

    “What are you talking about? That’s amazing!” Aru insisted.

    Accalia ran out from a small clearing, followed by a horde of bug Pokémon. “Hey, guys, I know you’re having a moment right now, but can you help me out?” she called to them for help, fleeing from the Pokémon she was so disadvantaged to.

    With a slight chuckle, Aru and Thali rushed forward. Aru was able to break up the crowd of Pokémon with a fierce Bullet Punch, while Thali cleaned up the rest with her Tail Whip. The enemies were quickly dispatched from their might. “Accalia, how about you take back your harvest of apples. We don’t want you to get hurt,” Thali suggested.

    With a meek sigh, Accalia nodded and activated her badge to warp out of the dungeon.

    Now that Accalia was no longer in constant danger, Aru and Thali made their way to the center of the dungeon with ease. They arrived in the central clearing of the woods where a giant tree stood tall. Hanging from the high-up branches were the plumpest, juiciest apples one could ever come across. “Those must be the Perfect Apples,” Thali said as she looked up at the tall tree. “Now… how are we going to get them down?”

    “Chaw, it’s a simple task, really.”

    The two remaining members of Team Unity jumped in surprise when Skuntank and his gang came around the bend of the tree. “We were waiting so long for you losers to show up, we almost started eating them ourselves,” he spoke up with a haughty voice. “But we can knock those pesky apples down for ya. Just takes a bit of brute force.”

    Skuntank demonstrated this brute force by ramming his body into the trunk of the great tree. Apples fell from the sheer force of his girth smashing into it. A few more times, he slammed into the tree, and apples came tumbling down in sync. “Go ahead. Gather them up and take them back to your little guild,” he said in a condescending tone.

    Aru would have gone forth to gather them so they could be on their way, but Thali put a paw out in front of him. “Cut the act and leave, right now,” Thali barked in anger.

    “Oh, the puppy’s grown a spine now, has she?” Skuntank mocked her. Still, it appeared that Zubat and Koffing were unsettled by Thali’s order. “It’s troublesome that you’ve avoided the bait. But that doesn’t matter.”

    Thali’s whole spine seemed coiled as though she were ready to attack Team Skull at any moment. “Of course I recognize it. You give us what we want, but while we’re recovering it you’ll rough us up a bit,” she said. “It’s a simple tactic.”

    Aru blinked. Was that what had just happened there? He assumed that Team Skull was trying to taunt or agitate him and Thali, not attack them. Now that he was fully aware of the situation, he held his paws at the ready for combat.

    Meanwhile, Skuntank snickered. “You really think you two will be able to defeat us?” he asked them snidely.

    “Yeah, you go boss,” Zubat cheered from the sidelines. Koffing and Skuntank strode toward them confidently.

    “Fine, since you’re so willing and ready for a beat down, we’ll show you a world of hurt,” Skuntank growled. Koffing began to suck in air, his body inflating slightly.

    “Be careful, Thali,” Aru reminded her.

    Skuntank smirked. “We’ve prepared a special attack since you left, Thali,” he said with disdain. “I hate that I have to bring this out against you losers, but I don’t really have the effort to fight you right now. So you’ll just have to put up with our noxious gas combo!”

    With no warning, Skuntank and Koffing spewed a great cloud of yellow gas from their mouths. Aru fell to his knees when he inhaled it. Tears welled up in his eyes and he could feel his throat dry out and clench up. Just breathing was difficult. His body was wracked with pain and he felt himself teetering on the edge of consciousness just from one breath.

    Aru looked over to see Thali struggling in agony as well. He crawled and reached for her, hugging her protectively. He felt the Eevee relax in his arms and he knew she’d lost consciousness. He looked up to Skuntank with blurry eyes and teary vision. “G-go away. Just leave us alone,” he demanded Skuntank. His words came out as more of a plea than an order.

    Skuntank sneered at Aru. Even though he received Aru’s glare, he ignored its malice. “Whatever, losers, but only because I’m merciful,” he said. The leader of Team Skull walked over to Aru. Skuntank was immune to the gas and he was able to easily give Aru a few kicks for good measure, knocking the Riolu out. “See ya later, punks.”


    When they awoke again, they could breathe with more ease. As oxygen filled their lungs, they slowly stood up. The two looked back and forth from each other as they examined their surroundings. As Thali had expected, the Perfect Apples were gone. Whether they were smashed by Team Skull or devoured by other Pokémon, the result remained the same: Team Unity would be forced to return to the Earth Guild empty-handed.

    “What do you mean you failed to bring any back?” Chatot squawked frantically. “You mean to tell me that you completely and utterly failed?”

    Thali winced from the berating words. Aru noticed how her ears were folding back and he knew that she was taking this criticism harshly. “Chatot,” she meekly tried to speak up, “It’s not our fault. I—”

    “No excuses!” Chatot exclaimed. “I trusted your team with this mission explicitly. How could you have let me down so harshly?”

    Thali winced again. Aru growled and snapped his gaze over to Chatot. “Listen, Chatot, I can explain,” he said, coming to Thali’s defense. “Team Skull came in and sabotaged us.”

    For a moment, Chatot showed interested. The interest gleamed in his eyes as though he were taking note of that particular fact. “That is ridiculous. Where is your sense of pride? Blaming a fellow exploration team for your own faults is incredibly lackluster.

    “Now I will have to report this mishap to the Guildmaster. He will surely be unhappy about this. I can only imagine how he will react…” Chatot flapped his wings a bit frantically, pacing back and forth. “Oh dear, am I in for an ordeal! It would be absolutely unfair for me to deal with this on my own. You two will come with me when I report this to Wigglytuff, and you will go without dinner for tonight.”

    And so, the three—Aru, Thali, and Chatot—appeared before Wigglytuff that night after dinner. Only Aru and Thali had been left without dinner; Accalia was pardoned since she had at least brought back a good bounty of other apples. “Guildmaster, I regret to inform you that these two have failed in their mission to bring back the Perfect Apples,” Chatot spoke up finally. The air was thick with tension.

    Wigglytuff remained oblivious, smiling as widely as he normally did. “That’s fine. Everyone screws up now and again,” he said. “Just go grab me one of the Perfect Apples from the inventory.”

    Chatot sucked in a reluctant breath before speaking, “Guildmaster, as you might remember, we have no Perfect Apples in storage. With none in storage and none retrieved, our Perfect Apple count has been reduced to null.”

    A dead silence pervaded the room. Wigglytuff’s normally ecstatic smile vanished, replaced with a trembling lip. His eyes watered like a child’s when denied a promised toy. “B-but… but…” he began to babble incessantly. Along with the babbling came a great quake. The ground shook with the power of the uncontrollable Guildmaster. He began to wail and the air vibrated with energy. He could likely destroy the guild in seconds with his mighty voice.

    “Sorry to barge in, but we thought we’d give ya little present.”

    And suddenly, the quaking stopped. Skuntank strolled in, appearing as meek and humble as his haughty stature could manage. He placed a Perfect Apple before Wigglytuff. The Guildmaster immediately took the apple and began praising them.

    “Oh thank you,” Chatot also gratified them. “I could never imagine standing up to that horror we were about to witness. We are in your debt!”

    Koffing was confused and looked aside to Zubat. “Hey… was that really all it took to get their trust?” he mumbled.

    Zubat nodded, also stunned. “I guess Wigglytuff is kinda a crybaby…” he responded with disappointment. He thought the earth guild’s master would be more awe-inspiring.

    Skuntank nodded and smirked. “We’ll take our leave. We need to rest up; replenish our energy for the expedition in a few days,” he said, making sure to add extra emphasis on the expedition. With how badly they’d embarrassed Team Unity, Skuntank was certain that Thali and Aru would never get on the team. And just like that, Team Skull left.

    “You should be grateful to them,” Chatot reminded Team Unity. “Those three just saved us from some serious humiliation and injury. Go to bed, both of you. I do not even want to speak to you tomorrow.”

    Thali frowned and tried to speak up, “But…”

    “Bed, now! Go before I make your punishment even more severe.”

    And with that, Team Unity dejectedly retreated to their room.

    The candles in Wigglytuff’s quarters glowed low and dim as the night went on. In the air of privacy, Wigglytuff refrained from such exasperating emotion as he put on before the others. “Chatot… tell me exactly what happened. What really happened?” he asked the parrot Pokémon.

    Chatot nodded meekly and stood beside Wigglytuff, looking out the window with his longtime companion. “Team Unity made mention of Team Skull being involved in their failure,” he said. “I did not give them much time to explain themselves such that I may keep up faux anger at their failure. But I trust Team Unity. They have had a good record as long as they have been with us. Team Skull is up to something, Guildmaster.”

    “Wigglytuff, Chatot. Please, call me Wigglytuff in private.”

    Chatot blushed a bit. “Right,” he muttered. “I believe that Team Skull sabotaged them, Wigglytuff. I have never met a more enthusiastic and trustworthy couple than Thali and Aru. I choose to trust them.”

    Wigglytuff nodded and smiled softly. “I trust them too,” he said with a brief giggle. “They are an odd pair, a mysterious pair; even we still don’t know very much about Aru. Thali though… You’re sure she’s from the Thieves’ Guild?”

    “I’ve gleaned enough information from Team Skull’s cacophonous boasting to know that,” Chatot said with a roll of his eyes. “Does that present a problem, Wigglytuff?”

    “Not at all,” Wigglytuff replied. “I don’t care what her past was like. What matters is that she’s here. They’re both here. As the honorary leader of the earth guild, I must uphold their credibility. We will be wary of Team Skull from here on out.”

    “Of course, Wigglytuff.”

    “Oh, and Chatot?”

    Just as Chatot was turning to leave, Wigglytuff had spoken up again. He turned to see the pink-furred master giving him a smile. “Keep it up.”

    Chatot beamed back at Wigglytuff and chuckled. “I will, sir. You’re one to say that, being forced to keep that childish character,” he replied before exiting.
    #8 Apr 28, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  9. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 8: Fogbound Lake Pt. 1

    The day had finally come. After days of hard work and attempts to impress the Guildmaster, it was finally time for members of the expedition to be chosen. The guild members along with Team Skull gathered outside of Wigglytuff’s chambers for the announcement.

    “Alright everyone! Guildmaster Wigglytuff has bequeathed me this list of members who will be accompanying us for the expedition party,” Chatot squawked. He carefully cupped the list in his wing and hummed. “Our first member of the party is Croagunk.”

    Croagunk stepped forward and shrugged. “I guess seniority trumps everything else,” he said in a low tone, chuckling at Loudred’s pouting for not getting picked first.

    “Next,” Chatot went on, “we have Loudred, Bidoof, and Sunflora.”

    The three stepped forward. Loudred was the braggart of the three, while Bidoof remained bashful and Sunflora remained cheerful. “Ha! I knew I’d get in,” Loudred claimed.

    “Shut up, Loudred. You were as worried as we were about getting picked, no doubt,” Sunflora retorted snidely.

    Chatot cleared his throat to quiet the two. “Finally we have Chimeco, the Snivy Accalia, and Corpish.”

    Chimeco floated forward with glee at being chosen. Corpish, a lobster-like Pokémon, followed in suit. “Hey, we got chosen, Chimeco!” Corpish exclaimed.

    “We did indeed,” Chimeco responded.

    Accalia just remained silent. She looked back at her comrades from Team Unity with a wistful gaze. Her eyes held apology within them, a silent notion that Aru and Thali fully understood. “Go get ‘em,” Aru encouraged her.

    “With that, we have finished the expedition selection process,” Chatot announced. “These are the members of the team.”

    Aru looked over at Thali and frowned. She was still upset that they hadn’t gotten chosen, especially after their failure. Aru gave her a hug and sighed. “It’s okay, Thali,” he whispered to her.

    Off to the side, Team Skull’s leader held a smug grin on his lips.

    “Wait a minute,” Chatot said suddenly, eyeing the paper carefully. “It appears that we have more party members.”

    Everyone went silent as Chatot read the last few names over. “Curse the Guildmaster’s sloppy handwriting,” he said beneath his breath as he read the margin of the paper. “Our last few members are… Dugtrio, Diglet, the Eevee Thali, and the Riolu Aru. That is all.”

    The two digging Pokémon Diglet and Dugtrio, who looked rather like brown stumps that burrowed through the ground, were confused by this development, as were Aru and Thali. Chatot looked about the room and suddenly squawked in surprise. “Guildmaster Wigglytuff, this is everyone in the guild!”

    “Of course it is, silly!” Wigglytuff retorted. “I kept thinking about how much fun it would be if we brought along the whole guild. I thought about how much fun we’d have and all the bonding we’d do and it just made me so giddy!”

    “We can’t just leave the guild unattended though!”

    “Sure we can. If we lock up tightly enough, no one will come in.”

    Chatot’s jaw dropped and he gave a throaty groan. “Then this entire selection process was completely unavailing!” he said, shredding the paper with his talons. “What a waste of time… Well, I suppose that means we’re all going. Make your preparations and join us when you’re ready.”

    A great huzzah resounded in the guild. All the members were excited to begin their quest. Team Unity gathered together, smiles spread across their faces. “I can’t believe it! We’re all going,” Thali exclaimed in elation. “It’s like a miracle.”

    “It sure is, Thali,” Aru said, smiling as he looked over to Wigglytuff. The Guildmaster flashed Aru a quick wink before bickering further with Chatot. “It really is.”


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    …His First Pokémon Story…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 8
    Fogbound Lake Pt. 1


    Later that afternoon, the entire guild was prepared for their journey. They met just outside the gates to discuss their plan for advancement. “Alright Pokémon, our destination is the Foggy Forest on the panhandle of the southeast peninsula,” Chatot announced. “Divide yourselves into small teams, since uniform movement would be inefficient for travel. Meet up at base camp by high noon tomorrow. You are dismissed!”

    Teams quickly paired off to begin the expedition. While Team Unity was double-checking their supplies, the others had already gone off. Only Bidoof stayed behind. “Hey Bidoof, what’s up? Why didn’t you go off with the others?” Accalia asked him.

    Bidoof remained shy, looking away to hide his embarrassment. “W-well… golly, the others already had their teams set, so I was left behind,” he said. “Y’all wouldn’t mind me coming along with you, would ya?”

    Accalia gave a bright smile and patted his shoulder. “Not at all,” she said. “I don’t mind, but Thali is the team captain.”

    “No, I agree,” Thali spoke up. “Let him come along! The more the merrier, right?”

    And so, with a couple of laughs and a friendly gibe betwixt, the four set off on their journey. Through the vast terrain, they ventured on. They traveled along the coast in order to keep in line with their destination.

    After getting caught up in a mystery dungeon, night had fallen. The quartet had arrived roughly at the halfway mark, a small plateau at the edge of a precipice. Another cave before them continued the path. “Let’s make camp here for the night,” Thali said as they settled down. After a few snacks, Bidoof and Accalia set up a fire. They were cozy and falling asleep before long.

    Aru sat up, looking at the flame. He couldn’t help but watch the alluring flicker as the embers floated on the wind. He liked to watch those embers, and he even tried catching a few. They always evaded his grasp, however, much like his elusive memory. “Dammit…” he mumbled, rubbing his temples.

    “Can’t sleep again?” Aru turned his head to find Thali sitting right beside him, watching the fire.

    The Riolu breathed a weighted sigh and nodded. “I just haven’t been able to sleep lately. I don’t know why; I don’t understand what I’m feeling,” he said. “Haunted is the word, if you want to call it that. I feel haunted by my lost memories. I just really wish I had them back at times. Sometimes, it’s hard to even remember that I’m supposed to be human.”

    Thali nuzzled his side, resting beside him and relishing in his pleasant warmth. She liked these times where they could sit together and open their hearts to each other. Untapped yet unlocked, the heart between the two was a wellspring of emotion, just waiting for the right touch, the right word. “I know, Aru. If I lost my memories, I know I would have given up long before this,” she responded. “Still, there isn’t much we can do about it.”

    “Do you think I’ll ever get those memories back?”

    Thali gave a sigh and hugged him. Those words stopped her from saying what she really wanted to. Those memories were important to Aru; the rest would wait till later. “It’s hard for me to say,” she murmured. “But Aru, even if you never get those memories back, I think it’s important that you’ve made new memories along the way.”

    Aru looked down at the Eevee and gave a brief, tired smile. He brushed back the hairs on her mane and snuggled into her softness. “That’s true. I am pretty lucky that you came along and found me,” he responded. “I never really got to tell you, but you’ve grown into an amazing, respectable leader.”

    Thali looked up at him with a potent blush. “Me? But I get scared easily.”

    “Not lately, I’ve noticed. You’re not as afraid anymore.”

    “Shouldn’t a real leader be completely fearless though?”

    “You really are a silly girl, aren’t you?” Aru murmured as he ruffled her mane. “Leadership isn’t about being brash or fearless. That’s the route to go if you want to get yourself killed. Leadership is about making good decisions, being attentive, and caring for your teammates; not presiding, but guiding. That’s what I think anyway.”

    Thali pondered over is words. “That’s very insightful of you,” she whispered. She rested on his side and looked across the fire where Accalia and Bidoof had already fallen asleep. “Those two look cute, don’t you think?”

    A chuckle rose from Aru at her words. “You think so?” he asked. “I never really thought about it; I was too focused on the fire.”

    Thali suddenly pushed Aru back onto the ground with her for paws. “Sleep; now,” she ordered as she rested on his chest. “I know you’re tired, and you need this.”

    Aru blushed as he looked down at Thali. “What if I can’t sleep?”

    “Then stay still so that I don’t wake up, fuzz head,” Thali whispered. Sleep claimed her before long while she lay on top of Aru.

    “Fine… I’ll try,” Aru whispered. He found her to be comfortably warm, and within minutes, he was drifting off to sleep.


    While Team Unity slept, another team was hard at work getting through a rugged mountain pass. Sunflora, Chimeco, and Loudred passed on together, hoping to make it out of the dungeon soon so they could get some rest.

    Sunflora and Chimeco chatted back and forth while Loudred led the way. Even the Pokémon known for his noise was getting tired of the girls’ endless rabble. “Would you two just shut up?” he finally yelled at them, angry at their constant jabbering.

    The sunflower Pokémon scoffed. “Shut up, Loudred. You’re the one who wanted to come with us,” she retorted. That shut up the loud-mouth. “If you can’t stand the conversation, then either plug your ears or join us. Don’t be a brute.”

    “I am not a—” Loudred stopped himself. He didn’t want Sunflora to make a fool of him. “What are you talking about then?”

    “What do you think of the three newcomers?” Chimeco quickly asked. That’s what their previous discussion had been about, of course.

    “There’s not much to say,” Loudred responded, crossing his arms in thought. “I honestly don’t know much about them. I know that they work hard, harder than most. They’re good people in my book.”

    “I don’t know much of them either,” Chimeco mumbled. “They’re all so mysterious. I’ve heard that Thali and Accalia have quite the past, but I’ve also heard that Aru has no past at all.”

    “No past? What kind of nonsense is that?” Loudred barked back.

    “Just that,” Sunflora added. “Thali wouldn’t tell me much, but she told me that Aru has lost his memory. That’s why he joined the guild: to find his lost self.”

    Chimeco floated about. She scanned the area with her psychic abilities and narrowed her eyes. An enemy Pokémon was watching them from the corner of the hall. She launched Psybeam attack at the Pokémon, sending it scurrying after a blast from the psionic power. “I’ve heard that Thali was once a member of the Thieves Guild,” she said, remaining wary of other enemies.

    “Thali seems so nice; I never would have thought she’d have come from such a guild!” Sunflora exclaimed. “Oh my gosh, those two certainly are interesting.”

    “Well, don’t judge her for that,” Loudred responded wisely. “She seems nice enough, and she’s working very hard. I bet she got out of that guild because she felt her work was dishonest. Self-reflection is such an honorable characteristic.”

    Sunflora rolled her eyes to his remark. “You should practice what you preach,” she mumbled under her breath.

    “And then there’s the question of Accalia,” Chimeco said. “Thali told me that Accalia came from an entirely other world!”

    Sunflora widened her eyes. “Wow, those three sure are an interesting bunch!” she said. “Destiny must have brought them together, for sure!”

    Even Loudred gave a smile to that. “Yes, those three are bound for great things,” he said. He then scampered on ahead. “I won’t be outdone! Not by those newbies!”

    Sunflora giggled and ran after him. “We better follow him and make sure he doesn’t get into trouble,” she said.

    Chimeco nodded, a bright smile on her face as well. “Yes, I suppose we ought to.”


    “Look, the camp is up ahead!”

    Team Unity had just made it to the base camp on the outskirts of the Foggy Forest. As the name would suggest, a blanket of nearly impenetrable fog blanketed the forest. Even on the outskirts where the fog was thinning out it was difficult for the guild members to see.

    Chatot met with Unity as it breached the border of the camp. “You four are late, extremely so. The other members arrived hours ago,” he chastised them. “Line up with the others so we can begin the execution of our plan.”

    Embarrassedly, Accalia, Aru, Thali, and Bidoof lined up alongside their comrades. “Alright Pokémon, we’re here today in hopes that we discover the fabled Fogbound Lake,” Chatot announced.

    “Fogbound Lake? Hey, what is that?” Corpish questioned, never having heard the legend.

    The lore expert Chimeco spoke up at that, “Fogbound Lake is said to be a location filled with troves of treasure. It is a lake that is hidden within this forest, and no one has ever been able to find it. Some say that there is a spirit here which guards the lake from intruders.”

    “W-what kind o’ spirit?” Bidoof spoke up.

    Chimeco donned a grin and continued, “The spirit is one of the Legends, a Pokémon called Uxie. He is one of the three Great Sages. The legend tells that Uxie protects the lake by wiping the memories of anyone who as seen the lake!”

    Aru gasped a bit and Thali looked up at him. There was a profound possibility that Uxie was the one who wiped away his memories, if he truly did exist there. Thali nudged his side with her head and gave him a quick wink. That was enough to make Aru smile.

    “Enough of your lore-mongering,” Chatot said. “The possibility of one of the legends living here is nigh infinitesimal. The existence of the lake though is highly likely.”

    Wigglytuff then stepped forward; a bright smile was on his face. “Now, if there’s anything that has prevented discovery of the lake, then it must be this fog,” he spoke. “As long as I’ve been alive, this fog has persisted over the forest. I’m sure that there must be a way to lift the fog.”

    “To conclude,” Chatot said, “your search is twofold: find a way to lift the fog, or find Fogbound Lake itself. If you have a clue to it, report back to us immediately. You’re dismissed!”

    The Pokémon then broke off into groups. “Ah thank y’all for ‘llowing me on your team,” Bidoof told Thali. “Ah think that Loudred will let me on ‘is team, so ya don’t have ta worry ‘bout me.”

    “Well, that’s good, Bidoof,” Thali responded. “We’ll be heading out soon ourselves.”

    Bidoof ran off with Loudred, Sunflora, and Chimeco. The young beaver Pokémon was eager to spend time with his new teammates, and Thali had to get back to her own. There was a passage into the forest where Aru and Accalia were waiting for her. “Ready to get going?” Accalia asked her, flashing a victory sign.

    “I’m all set,” Thali said with a smile. “Let’s move out, Unity!”’

    They headed through the small pathway. Aru was still full of thought, of wonders about the legend of Uxie, guardian of Fogbound Lake. Was the legend just that, or was it something more? Was this Uxie somehow related to his memory loss?

    “Hey, I think I found something!”

    Aru’s mind was jolted from rhetorical thought at Accalia’s shout. She had found a red stone with a distorted, oblong shape. “Whatever it is, it’s warm,” Accalia said as she rolled the stone between her paws. “Aru, put it in the bag. We might need it for later.”

    Aru picked up the stone and placed in their bag. “Of course,” he said. “Let’s get going.”

    They entered the dark forest and the fog wrapped them in its malevolent embrace. The air was stiff and damp. It was difficult to see more than a few meters before them. “Careful, everyone,” Thali warned them.

    A growl came from the fog and a Pokémon resembling a raccoon rushed in, bashing into Aru with a headbutt. Aru staggered backward from the intensity of the strike. The raccoon Pokémon had a crazy, feral look in its eye.

    Accalia whipped a vine at the Pokémon before raising her arms out. “Leaf Tornado!” she shouted, unleashing a storm of leaves on the smaller Pokémon, bashing it into unconsciousness. She looked back at Aru and held a hand out to him. “Geez, you klutz, Thali just told you to be careful.”

    The Riolu sported a blush of embarrassment. “It took me by surprise. That was one fast Pokémon,” he mumbled.

    Thali patted him on the arm, as if to assure him. “That was a Zigzagoon,” she said. “Those Pokémon are notorious for their crazy speed and jittery movement. The Pokémon here must have adapted to living in this awful fog. Let’s be more careful from now on.”

    They ventured further into the foggy woods, wary now of shadows that might be hiding in the mist. The air was so still, that not a sound was made but the occasional fall of leaves around them. “Do we even know where we’re going?” Accalia mused. “It seems like we’re getting nowhere.”

    “Wait, stop!” Thali shouted, standing still suddenly. Her comrades followed in suit, stopping just beside her. Thali’s ears were perked up. “Can you two hear that?”

    Aru listened closely, closing his eyes. When he closed his eyes, he felt like the rest of the world came to life in a way he had never known. He blinked; his ear twitched. “Rushing water,” he reported.

    “I’m starting to hear it too,” Accalia followed.

    The trio followed the sound to its source and was awed. They had entered a large clearing where the fog had only cleared slightly. Around them, water fell in cascades from an unknown source. Pools formed where the water fell, and these ponds spotted the land.

    Corpish had arrived on his own a few minutes prior. “Hey, sure is interesting ain’t it?” spoke the lobster Pokémon. “It’s different than the rest of the forest, that’s for sure.”

    “It certainly is. I wonder where all this water is coming from,” Aru mused as he looked around. He looked into to hazy expanse and suddenly eyed something grey. He rushed on ahead, beckoning to his comrades. “C’mon, I think I found something.”

    With anticipation and wonder, team Unity and Corpish arrived under a massive statue. It depicted a massive Pokémon, something legendary undoubtedly, with some writing along the base of the pedestal. “What do you think it is?” Accalia wondered.

    “I’m not sure either,” mumbled Aru.

    Thali hummed as she eyed the being—its jagged features, its stony eyes, its great claws and wide tail—and then looked down at the writing. “It’s written in the language of the Unknown,” Thali said.

    “Hey, can you read it?” Corpish asked.

    “I think so,” Thali replied. She stared at the runes in silent contemplation for a few minutes before speaking again, “The runes read as follows: ‘The fire is gone and the dark has set. Restore the flame; lift the veil.’”

    “But what does that even mean?” Accalia asked. “Do we have to light some kind of fire to lift the fog?”

    “No, that’s too obvious,” Thali said. “If all it took was a little fire to lift this dense fog, any fire-type would have done it by now. There’s something more to this riddle. Without a doubt however, that statue is a depiction of Groudon.”

    Aru looked up at the statue. It was odd for him; now that he looked at the statue and really felt the air of this place, it was as though he had been here before. The air seemed dense, but familiar. “I can try using my power,” he reminded Thali. “If there’s something connected to the time of this statue, I can find it.”

    “Good idea, Aru! I almost forgot about your power,” the Eevee exclaimed. “Go ahead. Touch it.”

    Aru walked forward and place his hand on the statue. He began to concentrate deeply while he felt it. Accalia was off to the side, confused by this. “Hey Thali, why is Aru groping the statue?” she asked.

    Thali blushed at the language she used and nearly stumbled. “That’s right, I never did tell you about his power,” she said. “Apart from once being human and losing his memory, another interesting thing about Aru is this power he has. Sometimes, when he touches an object or person, he can see into its past or future.”

    “He can really do that?” Accalia asked, awed.

    “He can. He doesn’t have to do it often, so that’s why you’ve never seen it in action. It’s truly amazing.”

    Aru tumbled backward suddenly, his eyes closed in focus. Thali sat by his side and patted his forehead until he woke up from the dizzy spell. “What did you see?” she asked, concerned. She hoped he didn’t hit his head on anything.

    Aru thought back to what he saw, rather what he heard. “Flame—flame—that must refer to heat of some kind, not a real flame of course. But what… Ah, of course! Groudon! Somehow, the heat is related to Groudon, the legend of mountains and magma. Perhaps… Of course! If we restore the heart, the heat of the land; that will lift the fog! Great thinking, partner!” There were no images, only that singular, deep voice.

    Aru searched inside his bag and dug out the strangely warm, vermillion stone they had found earlier. It still emanated a strange warmth. “Aru? What did you see? Are you okay?” Thali asked again. Aru realized he had not been responding in all that time.

    He stood up with the stone and eyed the statue. Now that I get a better look at it, there is a cavity in the chest where the stone, the heart, could go, he thought. “I think I get it,” Aru said. He climbed on the statue with stone in hand and lodged the stone into Groudon’s heart.

    After Aru climbed down, he looked up at the statue expectantly. “Aru, are you sure this is going to work?” Thali asked.

    “It should.”

    After a few more minutes of nothingness, the statue’s eyes began to glow with the same bright red as the stone. The ground began to quake and heat emanated from the statue. “Careful, guys,” Aru warned them as they backed away from the statue. As they backed away, the sculpture gave of a bright light that blinded the four.

    When they opened their eyes, the fog was cleared and the expanse was released to them. Before them in the middle of the plain was a column that expanded up like a chalice. At the top was an expanse from which the water was cascading. The singular monolith towered over them, casting its shadow down as light shone from behind. “That must be it,” Thali said, looked up at the chalice structure. “There at the top must be Fogbound Lake.”

    The massive structure stood before them, seeming insurmountable and awing, shocking and impenetrable. “Hey, I’ll go report this to the rest of the guild,” Corpish said before scuttling off.

    “Can you believe the lake was hiding in the sky the whole time?” Thali said, amazed at their discovery. “No wonder it’s so hard to find!”

    Accalia was astounded, petrified by the edifice. “How are we ever going to get up there? That’s gotta be at least a couple hundred meters in the air.”

    “There’s probably an entrance shaft in the pillar,” Thali speculated.

    “Chaw, thanks for figuring out the riddle for us, losers.”

    They turned around to suddenly be confronted by none other than Team Skull. Their malevolent leader Skuntank stepped forward to greet them with a haughty grin. Aru stepped forward in defense of his team. “Damn you! What are you doing here?” Aru interrogated them angrily.

    “We’re here to take what we came here for, of course. The only reason we put up with you losers was to get a shot at finding this lake,” Skuntank sneered. He gave a haughty smirk and reared up his head. “We’re going to take the treasure of Fogbound Lake for ourselves!”
    #9 Apr 30, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  10. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 9: Fogbound Lake Pt. 2

    The sun shone hotly now that the fog was cleared. Below Fogbound Lake, Team Unity stood opposed to Team skull, both sides bristling with contempt. The fur along Thali’s spine straightened, electrified by the mixed fear and anger she felt towards them. “Not a chance, Skuntank,” retorted Aru angrily, shaking his fist at the three poison Pokémon.

    “Oh? And what are you going to do about it?” Skuntank questioned. “We already know how this fight will end: with you on the ground, reeling in pain.”

    “Not this time,” Aru said again. He could see Thali to his right, shaking, and it caused anger to rise in him. He knew she was scared. With a lunge too quick to see, Aru launched a Bullet Punch right at Zubat, sending the flying nuisance reeling.

    That unfortunately left him within striking range of Skuntank. “You little punk!” shouted the leader of Team Skull, and Skuntank retaliated with a brutally fast Sucker Punch. Aru took the brunt of the attack and slid back, digging his hind legs into the earth to steady himself.

    Thali looked at Aru with concern for a moment, and Koffing took that moment to rush Thali for an attack. Accalia quickly spotted the telegraphed attack and lashed out with her Vine Whip, lassoing Koffing and throwing him back at Skuntank. “Not on my watch, airhead,” Accalia spoke fiercely in defense of her comrades.

    Skuntank dodged to the left so as not to be hit by his own flailing friend and sucked in a gulp of air. “Flamethrower!” he called out uproariously, unleashing a stream of flames from his maw. Accalia was already swift enough to get away, and Thali tackled Aru down to avoid the flames.

    When he looked back up, Aru noticed that the grass behind them had caught fire. “They’re going to burn down the whole forest at this rate,” he mumbled, looking up to see that Zubat and Koffing had recovered from their bashing. Aru regrouped with Thali and Accalia and whispered, “Do you have a plan?”

    “One,” Thali replied as she eyed Team Skull, noticing how Zubat and Koffing fanned out to the side, probably to flank them. “Wait for them all to rush in, then we’ll make our move.”

    They attacked swiftly. Zubat, Koffing, and Skuntank all rushed for the center to strike them. Aru could feel his heart pound as they three enemies dashed for them. “Now!” shouted Thali, just at the moment when they would strike. Team Unity dodged out of their spot, allowing the members of Team Skull to collide in a humorous exchange of blows.

    Quickly recovering, Aru turned around. “Bullet Punch!” cried he in the moment of adrenaline, knocked both Koffing and Zubat back with quick blows.

    Beaten but not down, Skuntank stood and glared at them. “Meddling twerps, I’ll show you what it means to mess with me!” he shouted angrily before his body lit up with dark energy. “Dark Pulse!”

    A wave of dark energy rippled out from Skuntank and crushed the three with unbelievable force. Thali and Accalia gasped as they were knocked off their feet by the blow of the arcane force. Aru stood standing, not as affected by the attack, but shuddered from the feeling of darkness. His comrades wouldn’t be conscious if another blow like that hit them.

    Skuntank prepared another attack and shouted, “Your line ends here!”

    And then, when all things seemed bleak for them, a figure appeared overhead. “Hyper Voice!” shouted the figure, creating a visible ripple of sound which crashed into the ground where Skuntank stood. A crater was left in its place, and Skuntank only barely dodged the attack.

    The figure fell to the ground, revealing itself to be Guildmaster Wigglytuff. He looked back at Team Unity not with the jubilance that he normally seemed to wear but with a fierce gaze bent on protection. He puffed up his cheeks, readying another attack. The might of his roar exploded, shattering the earth.

    Chatot soon landed on Wigglytuff’s shoulder. “Is your team okay?” Chatot called to Aru.

    “We’re injured, but I think we’re okay,” responded Aru while he helped Thali and Accalia onto their feet.

    Chatot nodded and Wigglytuff smiled with approval. “You’ve done well, Team Unity. I’m proud of you,” the Guildmaster said with pride. “Go and complete your work; be the first to explore Fogbound Lake. Go, now!”

    With confidence, Aru led Team Unity onward to the lake while Wigglytuff and Chatot stayed behind to face Team Skull.


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 9
    Fogbound Lake Pt. 2


    As Team Unity approached the towering plateau, Aru looked back to check on his teammates. “Are you okay?” he asked them, looking them over thoroughly.

    “We’re fine,” Accalia said as she patted Thali’s shoulder. Accalia strode with an air of confidence after their farce of a triumph over Team Skull. “Right, Thali?”

    Thali seemed reluctant to answer almost as she stumbled over a rock. “Yep, we’re fine,” she responded with an infirm smile. Thali strode ahead of Aru simply to prove her point.

    “If you say so,” Aru muttered.

    They marched forward still and approached the towering stone. As they neared it, the terrain became earthier and less grass covered the ground. Hollowed stalactites billowed steam from their bowels in light puffs and hissing jets. “There must be a spring beneath the lake,” Thali concluded as they approached an entrance.

    The entrance to the caves opened up like the gaping nexus to the unknown. What they were about to explore had never been touched by any other exploration team. Exhilaration filled Team Unity as they entered the Steam Caves.

    The first thing Aru noticed when he entered was how dreadfully muggy it was within the cave. The humidity was palpable; it stuck to his fur and seeped in; it gave him the sensation of wading through a wall of water. He wiped his forehead when he soon began to sweat. “It’s definitely hot in here.”

    “That’s for sure,” Thali panted from the heat. They padded through over the rocky ground of the cave, looking for passages that would lead them higher into the cave.

    It was quiet in the cave except for the occasional hiss of steam, and dim light percolated from cracks in the walls. Aru perked up suddenly to the sound of shuffling behind a series of boulders. “Careful!” Aru shouted when a fiery Pokémon stepped out from behind the rocks, revealing its duck-shaped form to be that of a blazing Magby.

    Accalia was too surprised by the Pokémon to react with any speed, and she was caught by its weak, yet effected, ember attack. She cried in pain and jumped back, wincing as the fire scorched her skin. Thankfully, it hadn’t left a lasting burn.

    “Accalia!” Thali cried to defend her comrade. She jumped forward in a burst of courage and prepared an orb of eerie light. “Shadow Ball!” she announced her attack, launching the orb at the Magby. Aru compounded upon the strike with a fierce kick to the Magby’s face, and it went down.

    When the enemy was finally unconscious, Thali went to bandaged Accalia’s wound. “You have to be careful,” she whispered as she applied a pulped Rawst berry to the burn, soothing it. “There are bound to be a lot of fire-types in this dungeon.”

    “I know. I just got scared,” Accalia mumbled, sighing. “We normally never have to face fire-types; that was my first time.”

    Again, Aru caught sight of Thali limping but was unable to make much of it. More Pokémon set upon them, invading from the corridors leading out of the room. “There sure are a lot of them,” Aru grumbled as two more Pokémon entered the room: a bitter Snubbull, and an irate, flittering Yanma.

    “I have a feeling that it is because we’re getting closer to Fogbound Lake,” Thali whispered. She shook unsteadily, an action which did not go unnoticed by Aru. “We’ll have to battle our way to the top.”

    Aru nodded as the Snubbull started running straight for them. With a lunging shout, Aru smashed the Snubbull to the ground with a crushing, super-effective Force Palm. The pink bulldog Pokémon held onto consciousness long enough to ram into Aru with a headbutt, but he was able to send it reeling with a simple kick to the head.

    Accalia had meanwhile hid behind Thali—Thali was, of course, the insurmountable wall of courage. The she-Eevee shook where she stood, unsure of facing these Pokémon. Aru noticed his partners’ plight and rushed over to protect them. “Bullet Punch!” he cried quickly. The blinding speed supplied to him by the power allowed him to easily hit the twitchy Yanma, despite its lack of effectiveness.

    In the wake of the damage it was dealt, the Yanma immediately focused on Aru. It swept forward in a swift attack, slicing into Aru’s arm with only the sharpness of its wings. Thali yelped at the sight of blood and shouted to him, “Careful Aru! That Yanma knows Aerial Ace; those flying-type attacks will kill you!”

    “Just get back, Thali!” Aru shouted in return as he gathered dark energy in his palm and attacked the Yanma with it. His Pursuit attack seemed to deal hefty damage, but the Yanma was fixated on him with feral anger. It attacked again with a furious Aerial Ace attack, leaving Aru windblown and panting from another gash in his arm.

    Praying that the next attack would finish it off, Aru lunged with another Pursuit and landed the finishing blow, leaving the Yanma in a heap on the floor. “Let’s get out of here,” grimaced Aru through the pain of his lacerations.

    A little further ahead, they came to a round cave. The passage behind led lower into the cave; the passage ahead led higher. “Let’s take a short rest here,” Aru mumbled as they sat down for a rest. Accalia laid back and tended to her burn. She turned her arm over a few times, looking at the burn. A thought came to her as he remembered one of the powers of her species and she attempted to call on it. A glow enveloped her arm and she felt an inner warmth emanated from her arm while the burned healed over.

    Thali looked over to her in amazement. “What was that?”

    “It was a healing move called Synthesis,” Accalia explained. “Some of us grass-types can use it. I wish I could use it to help you, but it’s a self-affecting move.”

    “That’s fine,” Thali mumbled as she settled down on the warm stone of the cave. She looked over her tired comrades and breathed a sigh. “We should heal up before we move on.”


    Accalia lay back for a rest, but Aru simply could not bring himself to relax. He looked over at Thali and sighed as he saw her nursing her paw. He crawled over to her rather than walk and he knelt beside her. “You hurt yourself during the battle with Team Skull, didn’t you?” he whispered to her as he eyed her paw.

    Surprised, Thali looked up to Aru. She hadn’t even noticed he was beside her until he spoke up. “I’m fine,” she said. She attempted to inconspicuously hide her left forepaw from view, but Aru instead grabbed a hold of it.

    He examined her paw carefully. A burn scar of black fur and charred flesh ran down her leg and to the underside of her paw. “Why didn’t you just heal this up earlier?” he chastised her as he began grinding a Rawst berry from the bag into pulp.

    “No reason,” Thali mumbled, looking away. A blush was evident on her cheeks.

    Aru sighed and began applying the pulp to her burn. “Tell me.”

    “Fine. I just… I’m the team captain, aren’t I? I don’t want to look weak in front of you,” she whispered.

    “Why just me?”

    Thali blushed brightly at the slip and sputtered a bit. “I-I meant you as in the two of you,” she said.

    Aru chuckled as he dressed the wound with a bandage. “I wouldn’t have considered you weak for getting burned by Team Skull. They are tough enemies,” he said to her. “You shouldn’t worry about weakness. We’re a team, Thali; you just said so yourself.”

    Thali whispered, “I did, didn’t I?”

    “Yes, you did,” replied Aru. “We care about you, Thali. Never forget that.”


    “Yes, Thali?”

    Aru was surprised to find himself embraced by a sudden, tight hug. Teardrops fell on his shoulder and he wrapped his own arms around Thali. The Eevee blubbered a bit in her distraught, “I just…”

    “You just what?”

    Thali hugged him even tighter. “I just hate looking weak, okay? Especially in front of you.”

    Aru smiled softly and patted her head. She always could be such a silly girl. “Rest, Thali. You have nothing to worry about. You’ve grown and gotten so much stronger from when I first met you. I’m very proud of you. For now, rest.”

    “You really mean that?” Thali muttered, resting her head on his shoulder while they embraced.

    “I do,” Aru said. He blinked at her sudden heaviness. The numbing agents of the berry must have finally set her to a weary sleep. He smiled and held her close while they all took a break. They were almost there now.


    Wigglytuff and Chatot stood tall. With victorious grins upon their faces, they looked at each other with a sense of dignity as they walked toward the base camp. There, they met the guild members with happiness. “Hey everyone! We are happy to report that Team Unity along with Corpish have discovered the way to Fogbound Lake!”

    The guild cheered suddenly in a mix of awe and anticipation. Corpish, who had just recently arrived himself, sighed. “Hey, hey, I was about to tell them myself,” he said with a meek chuckle.

    Chatot gave a subtle, approving nod to Corpish and fluttered his wings to attract the guild’s attention. “Alright everyone, listen up! Team Unity has already gone ahead to secure the path to Fogbound Lake; it is our duty to follow in their steps and affirm the discovery. Is everyone ready?” Chatot smiled when he heard the shouts and cries of preparedness. “Good. We’ll be heading out immediately.”

    After gathering the items necessary for the trip ahead, they headed out. Wigglytuff lead the way with Chatot on his shoulder, followed by Corpish and Croagunk. The others filed behind in a messy group. Corpish clicked his claws together as he pondered while Croagunk looked around inquisitively. “Guildmaster, I must ask: what became of Team Skull?” Croagunk asked in his baritone, monotonous voice.

    “Oh, they decided that the expedition was too much for them to handle and left,” explained Wigglytuff exuberantly. “It’s a pity, a pity! I really enjoyed their company.”

    “How strange. I thought Team Skull was a formidable ally,” grumbled Croagunk. “Apparently, I was wrong.” While it was believable that Team Skull would run away in cowardice, that they were not strong enough to handle the Pokémon in Foggy Forest was the bizarre bit. Still, he would not question Wigglytuff’s obvious bluff.

    “Maybe they ran away because of Groudon,” Corpish suggested meekly.

    Wigglytuff stopped at the name and Chatot turned around in surprise. “What did you just say?” he asked, his voice only just above a whisper.

    Corpish stuttered a bit. Had he said something wrong? “I-I said that they might have run away because of Groudon,” he explained. “In order to lift the fog, Aru put a strange stone inside of this statue of an enormous Pokémon. He explained that he had investigated the statue and that it was a depiction of Groudon.”

    Chatot frowned and took off to flight. “This way, everyone! We must venture with all haste!” he directed them as they made their way through the forest and toward the column of stone. “If I am right, Aru and Thali are in more danger than we had anticipated.”

    Scuttling along after the frantic Chatot, the guild was suddenly in a panic. For Chatot to react so intensely, something must have been very wrong. “Hey, I don’t understand though,” continued Corpish. “So, hey, who is Groudon anyway?”

    “Groudon is a Pokémon spoken of mostly in myth and tale,” Chatot explain as he soared toward the entrance. “He is said to hold dominion over the earthen lands. Groudon is the master of flame and land, eternally in conflict with his counterpart, Kyogre.”

    “Well… hey, what’s so bad about that?” Corpish responded curiously. “I mean, hey, it couldn’t be that hard to fight him.”

    Chatot squawked then, sending a glare back to Corpish. “You would be foolish to think that, young Corpish,” he spoke critically. “Groudon is one of the progenitors of our kind, one of the ancient Legends! To fight a Pokémon of such magnitude and strength would be to ensure one’s death.

    “If Team Unity is to fight Groudon, they don’t stand a ghost of a chance.”


    Panting, Aru landed a fierce punch on a Volbeat, rendering it unconscious. He was tired from using so much power, as were his comrades. Behind the trio were hallways littered with the strewn bodies of Pokémon. “There are just too many of them,” he groaned.

    “Probably because we’re getting closer to Fogbound Lake,” Thali suggested. “There was a bed of fog to hide it, so there are probably more Pokémon around to protect it.”

    They continued to walk through the steamy halls. Despite their sweat and fatigue, Unity ventured onward through the dungeon now that an amazing discovery was upon them. “The lake must be something truly amazing if all this precaution is being taken to ensure its secrecy,” Accalia mumbled. “I wonder what kind of treasure it holds.”

    “Could be gold or maybe a rare and valuable artifact,” Thali fantasized. “Maybe ancient knowledge about the Legends! Ooh, that would be the most fantastic.”

    Thali and Accalia bantered back and forth excitedly about what the treasure may be, but Aru took no part in their dreaming. Instead, he lagged behind. Thali looked back and frowned to see that her partner had come to a full stop. “Aru, what is taking you so long back there? What’s the matter?” she asked him.

    He wanted to follow them, but something stopped him for a moment. An anchor dragged on his soul and he felt the edges of his vision pull away. Something was up ahead—Aru could sense it—the weight of some Titan-aura impressed upon him. “Something is very wrong,” he mumbled as he pondered the strange oppression. “I can feel something up ahead, something dangerous.”

    Thali padded back over to him and nudged his shoulder with her forehead. “Then we’ll have to be careful,” she said. “Let’s get going.”

    Spurred by the encouragement, Aru began to smile and he followed her into the cave. He frowned when he heard off in the distance a rumble. “Do you hear that?” he asked as they came out into a wide cave. Vibrations reverberated throughout the cave and a distant roar echoed.

    “I can hear it,” Accalia spoke. The anticipation and fear was palpable in the air as the rumbling grew more violent and the roars became louder and more imminent.

    And then it appeared to aggrieve them. From the hall at the end came a bellow that blew the trio back simply from the sound. Aru looked up to see a grand figure stomping down the hall, one that bore exact semblance to the statue that cleared away the fog. Razor claws like jagged knives, piercing eyes, and huffing enough breath to fuel a volcano.

    Here stood Groudon, the imposing lord of the land itself.

    “Go back the way you came!” Groudon called down to them. “You have no business here!”

    Accalia’s knees quivered at the bellowing voice; Thali dug a paw into the ground and arched her back in fear. Only Aru stood perfectly firm. “We are explorers!” he attempted diplomacy in protection of their cause. “We’re only here to investigate!”

    Groudon only stomped the ground in retort, sending a tectonic rattle through their bones. “I know perfectly well why you are here, Riolu,” he roared. His massive claws swung through the air at Aru, and the Riolu jumped back in order to dodge the fierce slash. The immense power behind the swipe sucked away the air, leaving Aru breathless and defenseless against the next attack.

    Seeing her partner in distress, Thali forced away her fear and lunged over Aru’s weakened body. She torqued her body all the way around, cracking a fierce Tail Whip at Groudon. It stunned him only slightly, but it was enough for Thali to defend him. “Get away from him!” she shouted.

    Groudon raised his brow and snarled. “Do not defy me, weakling!” he barked, batting her aside with the mere swipe of his palm. Thali was sent flying into a nearby boulder, and she gasped for breath upon impact.

    Aru stood quickly after these blows, confident to face his new foe in spite of the creeping fear. Aru smirked and rushed over to Thali, helping her stand. “It’s a quest of futility then?” he mocked.

    “I suppose it is,” she agreed. “Let’s go!”

    Aru charged Groudon. He was prepared this time for Groudon’s slow swing, and he watched carefully how the strike was telegraphed. As the blow as about to land, he sidestepped it and launched a fierce Force Palm at Groudon’s chest. It didn’t do much, but he saw Groudon flinch at the attack. Could he have hurt the beast?

    Accalia stepped in soon after. She realized that the Legend of the earth itself must be a ground-type and prepared her attack based on that information. “Leaf Tornado!” she announced her move. Around Groudon, a whirlwind of spurs and leaves whipped razor-sharp around Groudon’s body.

    Groudon escaped the assaulting typhoon in time to notice Aru rushing in to Bullet Punch. His palm was like a colossal shield in the way that it decisively deflected Aru’s blow. Groudon then reared back and spewed a whip of flames from his bowls. Aru felt the heat and put his arms up to block his face, and he dodged out of the way to avoid the brunt of the flames. When he was out of Groudon’s range, he winced to look at his charred, pained arms. He’d live through it, though.

    Aru grunted and watched as Groudon unleashed hellfire and swatted at Accalia and Thali. They would need to end this quickly in order to avoid too much injury. “Accalia!” he called to her, coming to an idea.

    “Yeah, boss?” Accalia responded with her meager attempt to be jocular. “What’s up?”

    “I’ll take his aggression,” he said. “I need you to try out that new move.”

    “I haven’t mastered it—”

    “Just do it!”

    Accalia nodded and backed up, preparing for the right moment. Aru rushed up to Groudon and dazed him with a sudden Force Palm strike. Groudon focused on Aru, and the Riolu narrowly dodged a sweeping strike. He ran from Groudon, followed by the lumbering form in its fit of rage. “Now, Accalia!” he shouted when he had Groudon’s attention fully diverted.

    “Right!” the Snivy shouted as she shot out a thick, knotted vine. “Grass Knot!” she shouted to announce attack.

    The vine whipped and bound around Groudon’s foot and hooked onto a boulder. For that moment, Groudon lost his balance and collapsed to the ground. Thali flipped up and bashed her tail into Groudon’s head, and Aru followed up with a destructive Force Palm. The toppled Legend received harsh battery from Team Unity, an unrelenting force.

    Enraged and frustrated, Groudon swept his arms out to his sides and unleashed a shocking roar. Stunned by the amplitude of the sound, Aru and Thali were unable to block the sweeping strikes and flew backward. Aru managed to hold his stance, but Thali crumpled shortly to one knee. She stood again soon afterward, but Aru knew she wouldn’t hold on for much longer.

    He charged again in hopes of distracting Groudon, but the ruler of the earth would not yield. Groudon blocked a blow from Aru with his stony shin, and Aru’s strike merely bounced off of Groudon. Mightily, suddenly, Groudon smashed his fist into the ground with an explosive roar, and the ground exploded in much the same way. The rock cracked and broke apart, spiking up in some place and catapulting stone into the air amidst the mighty Earthquake.

    “Watch out!” Thali called to her teammates as she shielded his face from the dust and stone. The bombardment of rubble battered her body and clouded her vision, ripped her fore and hind legs to tatters of flesh and blood. She fell to the ground, whimpering from the pain. She twitched in a meager attempt to stand before falling again.

    Thali turned her head to the left and saw Accalia stagger before falling back in unconsciousness. “Accalia…” she whispered, she tried to stand again and fell back to the cold earth.

    “Don’t get up,” a voice said above her, soft and soothing. She looked up from the ground and saw above her standing a silhouette in the light that could only be Aru’s. “Just lie down, Thali,” he panted. She squinted and made out his blue form covered in spattered blood. “It’s going to be okay.”

    “Aru, don’t…” she whispered, barely able to make out shapes in her blurry vision. Her words died before they passed her lips and she fell into darkness.

    Meanwhile, Groudon stood and watched the lone Riolu standing in defense of his partner. His look was inquisitive, his footsteps harsh as he approached Aru. “You are impressive to have stood before me so long, young Riolu,” Groudon grumbled. “You are beaten, broken, and still you defend them. Why?”

    “I have something to do in this world,” Aru said firmly. “I have a goal which I must accomplish, a mystery I have yet to solve. I have answers which I must find.” A solemn glance shot back to Thali, then, “And… I have a promise to keep.”

    “To the She-Eevee?” asked Groudon. Aru nodded quietly. “I see… you have gained my sympathies, young Riolu. There is something I see in you, so I will let you pass. If it is reprieve you need, I will supply it. If answers are your necessity, I will provide them. But first, allow me to assume a form that is more sociable.”

    A bright light shone off of Groudon’s body and particles of the light began dissipating, leaving behind a form. It was a floating being of white, with a carapace of gold that hung over its head like a helmet or bowl. Upon its forehead was a gleaming, red gem, and two tri-pronged tails swung gracefully behind it. “Allow me to reintroduce myself. I am Uxie, guardian of Fogbound Lake. I took on the form of Groudon earlier in order to borrow his power and protect the lake.”

    Uxie’s gem began to glow, and it wrapped Thali and Accalia in a soft, blue glow. “Hey, what are you—”

    “Worry not, young Riolu,” Uxie answered him. “I am caring for you all. I will only carry them toward the lake; I will not harm them. In fact, I am healing you all as we speak?”

    “You are?”

    “The warmth that you feel is my power washing over you. It will cleanse and seal your wounds,” Uxie assured him. Hesitantly, Aru confirmed this. “I understand that you don’t have the utmost trust in me, but I implore you to follow me closely,” Uxie continued. He began to float toward the exit of the cave with Accalia and Thali in tow.


    “So, you are…”

    “A spirit, yes; if that is what you wish to call me. I am a Lake Guardian, one of the three Muses.”

    Aru looked blankly at Uxie. “What is a muse?”

    “A muse is a being that presides over thought in some way,” Uxie explained. “I am the muse of wisdom and intelligence, and I am patron to the wise and intelligent.”

    Aru chuckled. “Patron to the intelligent, eh?” he mumbled. “What I did back there—standing up to you and risking my life—that can hardly be considered smart.”

    Uxie laughed uproariously at this remark. “No, it could hardly be considered the pinnacle of your intelligence, young Riolu, but I know it is there. The way you formulate quick plans while you’re fleet at foot is sign enough of your ripe mind.”

    “But that’s not what stopped you from striking me down.”

    Uxie leered at Aru and nodded. “You’re perceptive, Riolu, I will give you that,” he said. “Smarter than what I gave you credit for.” Uxie levitated and assumed a pose of meditation, his eyes closed in thought. “Yes, perhaps your aura abilities are developing faster? No, that cannot be the case. I will tell you the reason, youngling, but under seldom circumstance may you ever reveal this information.”

    Aru nodded and waited, curious and open for Uxie’s words. “You see, I have two siblings; we’re triplets. We can all communicate together telepathically, and they have an intrinsic knowledge of what I can sense, but their senses are calibrated differently from mine: Mesprit, my sister, senses raw emotion, while my brother Azelf calibrates the strength of one’s will. They analyzed you through me and deemed you good. So I spared you.”

    Aru looked down meekly. “I guess we never were strong enough to beat one of the Legends.”

    Uxie patted Aru’s shoulder, shaking his head. “Don’t look down on yourself, Riolu. You gave me a good fight. We are Arceus’ own, after all.” He saw the shock in Aru’s eyes, but failed to address those unanswered questions. “That is a story for another time. See, your Eevee partner awakens.”


    Thali’s eyes were flooded with a light she could not see. She had to squint and furrow her face beneath her arms in order to block the aggrieving rays. She peered slightly off to her right and noticed Accalia lying unconscious. Her breathing was steady, and she didn’t seem to be in pain.

    She felt a paw on her shoulder. A moment of tension preceded a sense of relief; she knew this paw, Aru’s paw. “Welcome back to the land of the living,” Aru chided. Thali giggled and tried to sit up, but Aru held her close instead to steady her.

    “Aru… where are we?” she whispered as her vision began to clear.

    Aru smiled and breathed in her scent. It was the only thing he needed to complete this perfect moment. “Fogbound Lake, Thali. We finally made it.”

    Thali’s eyes shot open wide and she looked outward to gaze on that magnificent sight. Stretched before them was an oceanic expanse that dared call itself lake. The water was clear and it seemed to glow against the navy night sky. In the middle of the lake a geyser shot out of the lake, surrounded by the subtle glow of firefly Pokémon Illumise and Volbeat. Green and purple lights shot from beneath the geyser, completing the beautiful sight.

    “Aru, I… It’s beautiful!” Thali cried in amazement.

    “Is it not?” Uxie said from beside Aru. “Steam from the caves create pressure in the water, activating these geysers. If you look closely, you can see something special below the geyser.”

    Thali was wary of their new friend; she’d fallen unconscious before Uxie revealed himself. “Aru, who is that?” she whispered.

    “That’s Uxie, the real guardian of the lake,” Aru said. “I’ll explain it later. Let’s take a look first.”

    So the two stepped forward, one next to the other, and peered over the edge of the lake. They felt rather than looked at the object at the center and Aru could feel his heartbeat accelerating rapidly. What is this? He wondered. What is this object that makes me feel this way? Why do I feel excited when I see it, like I’m forgetting something important?

    “A Time Gear,” Thali mumbled under breath in amazement.

    “You are correct, Eevee,” Uxie answered her gasp of awe. “That is a Time Gear, and that is why I am the guardian here. I have to protect this Time Gear from wrongdoers. You must promise me, young explorers, that you will share this experience with no one, lest the information fall into the hands of wrongdoers.”

    “You have our word,” Aru said with a smile. “But please, let us stay here longer.” With Uxie’s smiling blessing, the two sat down at the edge of the lake and leaned together as they longed to do.

    Aru sat there while Thali lay in his lap. He played with the bow tied to her ear and felt the heat of her blush. “Our first expedition was a success, Thali,” he said with a smile. “We did it.”

    Thali smiled, nuzzling his chest affectionately. “We did,” she whispered. “I have you to thank for it. I’d have never come this far if it weren’t for you.”

    “You’re just saying that.”

    “But I’m not,” Thali mumbled as she leaned close to him. “What I am now, all I’ve become thus far, you’re the one who’s been at my side the entire time. What does that make you if not the most helpful Pokémon in the world?”

    Aru looked down at her in disbelief. A fleeting thought caressed his mind like sandpaper: what had he done to deserve such praise? “I’ve done nothing particularly special,” he remarked, his words released in innate humility. “I only do for you what I believe you deserve.”

    “And yet you insist on treating me at a higher standard than others.” Aru did not expect such a jocular retort and eyed her with surprise. “You do; don’t lie and say you don’t treat me better than others. You do.”

    Laughs and sighs escaped their lips as they lie there in wake of the sight. “Aru, I want to talk about something serious.”

    The Riolu saw her big eyes looking up and he couldn’t help but nod. “Go ahead,” he mumbled.

    “Why are you still helping me?”

    There was a question that hit him like a storm. “What do you mean?”

    “Aru, we haven’t been able to find anything on your memory in the longest time.”

    “Well… I thought I found something.”

    “Really? What was it?”

    “I remembered what Sunflora had said earlier at the camp, that a Pokémon named Uxie had the ability to wipe the memories others. So, I talked to Uxie…”


    Aru tore some grass from the earth in his frustration. “Nothing. He’s never seen a human through here.”

    “That’s what I was trying to say,” Thali continued as she lay against him, listening for the Morse code patterns of his beating heart. “We haven’t been able to find anything pertaining to your memory or past. All this time we’ve spent has been a waste for you; why do you—?”

    He silenced her with a kiss to her forehead. “Because you’re my friend, silly girl,” he whispered, embracing her gaze in his own. “I may not know who I once was, but I know who I am now. I’m Aru, a Riolu, and I’m your partner and friend.”

    Thali blushed brightly and smiled. “Oh Aru…”


    “You’re such a softy!”

    The two bickered and exchanged jovial comments throughout the night under the light of time, a night that would forever last in their hearts.
    #10 May 1, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  11. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 10: Restless Thoughts (or If I Could)

    Aru and Thali basked in the moment of calm as they eyed the geyser of Fogbound Lake throughout the night. That pure, iridescent beauty was a sight that they wanted to sear into their minds. They exchanged looks of glee; Aru draped his arm over Thali’s shoulders and pulled her close. The she-Eevee blushed as they basked in that moment.

    It wasn’t until later than night that the rest of the guild came scuttling in to rescue their endangered comrades. Uxie was the first to react; he took on the form of Groudon to frighten the guild at first. Only after Thali and Aru assured Uxie of their friendliness did the muse reveal his true form and welcome the guild.

    Accalia woke up after an hour more of rest, lying against Thali’s side. She was still weak and tired from Uxie’s onslaught, but at least, so she told Thali, she was able to experience the discovery of Fogbound Lake with them. She looked up to Thali and saw pride in her eyes, a welcome accomplishment that Accalia was happy to have achieved. She nuzzled Thali’s fur, lulled into a rejuvenating sleep.

    The Guildmaster and Chatot discussed the state of the Time Gear with Uxie while the others made merry. Bidoof congratulated Team Unity on their discovery; Loudred picked on Sunflora and shoved Corpish into the water—the lobster Pokémon complained vigorously about it—Dugtrio and Diglett observed the lake as father and son, and Croagunk helped Chimecho gather berries scattered around the lake. To the foragers’ surprise, the berries grew back near instantaneously, an effect of the Time Gear and its special water, as Uxie explained.

    Wigglytuff’s guild built a bonfire to rest by, and for the remainder of the night, they gazed upon the magnificence of the lake and its glowing relic. They sat in a semicircle about the lake’s edge while Uxie at the epicenter told a story about the origin of time:

    “Many eons ago, when the Legends roamed free, chaos gripped the world,” began Uxie, his silhouette lit by the green glow of the Time Gear. “During this time, the weather was run amok by Legends who wanted to change the seasons to their liking. Storms crackled and suns blazed, clouds swarmed and sands rose into the air. Pokémon lived in fear. Legends like Moltres, Zapdos, Articuno, Ho-oh, and Lugia quarreled for the rights to control the seasons and the world. Many Pokémon prayed to Arceus the Creator and Palkia the Space-Mender to solve this quarrel, but that was not their domain, and so they stayed their hand.

    “Instead, Palkia and Arceus called to Dialga the Timekeeper, who was afraid to get involved. His mind was clouded with insecurity and faux thoughts of the future. Nervous, Dialga stepped back, and receded into the shadows to meditate.

    In order to motivate him, Arceus called for Cresselia, a longtime lover of Dialga, and asked her to imbue him with motivation. So it was that Cresselia came and spoke to Dialga, and he at last came into the world and utilized his grand power.

    “In every region, so Dialga decreed with his power, there was to be an artifact imbued with his power. He would create the construct of Time to dictate the passing of seasons and the cycle of the years. These artifacts would manage the passage of time in these regions and keep their cycles running. Dialga himself would observe this and would repair any irregularities.

    “And so, all was good. Moltres had his time of heat, Articuno had her time of cold, Zapdos and Lugia had a time of showers and thunder, and Ho-oh had his time of new birth and spring. Time and seasons came into being, and once more, all was right with the world.

    “But be warned,” Uxie reminded his listeners. “The removal of the Time Gear from an area will cause time to stop, and undo Dialga’s work. Respect these artifacts, and never reveal their location, ever. Otherwise, calamity will ensue, and unspeakable horrors will infect this world.”


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 10
    Restless Thoughts (or If I Could)


    The very next day, they started the trek back to Treasure town. Wigglytuff saluted Uxie’s endeavors before they left. “Don’t you worry, Uxie,” Wigglytuff assured him in his characteristic, giddy fashion. “Your secret is safe with us. You won’t hear a peep about the Time Gear from us.”

    Uxie smiled, and his squinted eyes seemed to curve with his smile. “Worry not, Wigglytuff. I trust you and your valiant guild. To that end, I shall not take your memories of this past wonderful night,” he assured them. “Treasure this moment, young adventurers. You may never experience it again.”

    The trek back was done in one big group, unlike the smaller groups used on the way to the lake. Then, they took turns at the watch, driving away wild, rabid Pokémon to protect the pack. Thali told the story of their discovery of the lake often. Aru remembered how she told the story of creation many nights ago and knew already she was a fantastic and enthusiastic story teller.

    “I thrust the heart into the statue and a blazing beacon flared into the sky,” Thali exclaimed to Chimecho and Sunflora. “The beacon cleared away the fog in an instant, and we looked up to see the sun shining down upon a great chalice of a structure. There, at the pinnacle of the column, was the basin of Fogbound Lake.”

    Aru stopped listening after a while; he already knew what happened, after all. A pebble skipped down the road and grabbed his attention. He looked back to see Accalia lagging behind, her eyes focused on the dust in the ground. “Hey,” he muttered to her. “What’s the problem?”

    Accalia snapped her head up. Undoubtedly, she had troubles on her mind, like a boat on the rough sea. “Oh—I—uh—nothing,” muttered the Snivy. “I’m just fine.”


    “I assure you, Aru, I’m just fine,” she repeated. “Let’s just go.”

    For the rest of the trip, that brusque conversation nagged the corner of Aru’s consciousness. Accalia, he knew, was not fine; something had been bothering her that day. Still, he decided to let it go. He reminded himself as he watched her solemn expression, let her sulk for the time being. Eventually, she will come out with the truth. But the truth never came, not even when they triumphantly marched back into Treasure Town.

    Of course, it was not triumphant in the traditional manner; rather, Wigglytuff asked the guild members to hang their heads low—an action Accalia had no trouble adjusting too—in order to symbolize the failure of their expedition. The report to the townspeople was unspoken, but clear: they had found nothing.

    The march up the steps to the guild was long and somber and disappointing, but as soon as the gates to the guild closed behind the very last member, the hall exploded into jubilation. Another night of partying ensued to celebrate what had probably been the greatest discovery to date. Loudred grabbed a cup of some fermented berry juice and smiled. “Can you believe it? A real Time Gear on our very own continent!” Loudred exclaimed to Croagunk. “Hell, there could be even more Time Gears right under our noses. Think of all the possibilities.”

    Sunflora even joined in, sidling up alongside Loudred, tipsy with the fermented berry juice. “Yeah. Oh my gosh, we could go find all the Time Gears! That would be so amazing!”

    Croagunk only shook his head. “Have you already forgotten what Uxie told us?” the shady toad reminded him. “To speak of the Time Gear’s location is forbidden, and I can only imagine that this goes for all future Time Gears. Our discovery was indeed amazing, but we should not try to pursue these gears any further.”

    Sunflora’s drunken blush became deeper and she laughed. “You’re such a square, Croagunk,” she pouted in her stupor. “You should cut loose more often!”

    The toad only raised his brow. “No one says square or cut loose anymore.”

    “That’s ‘cause you’re all squares!”

    Sunflora slipped a minute later and passed out. She would not wake till the next morning, and only then would she regret the decisions of the night before.

    The guild gathered that morning for the cheers. All stood at attention—sans Sunflora, who clutched her head in agony. Aru and Thali only snickered at her, and even Accalia got a good giggle out of it.

    “Hey, Sunflora,” whispered Chimecho as she nudged the flower Pokémon.

    “Yeah, what?”

    “This is why you shouldn’t drink so much.”

    Sunflora returned the comment with a slap. “Shut up, Chimecho.”

    Meanwhile, they stood at attention, patiently waiting to begin their cheers. Neither Chatot nor Wigglytuff had shown up yet, and the members were getting jumpy with anticipation. “Where are they?” Thali whispered.

    Aru stared intently at Wigglytuff’s door and frowned. “No idea,” he whispered back to her. “I think they must be busy.”

    The doors to Wigglytuff’s room opened with a creak at that moment. The guild members snapped to attention and saw Chatot fly out, though Wigglytuff was nowhere to be seen. Clearing his throat, Chatot spoke, “It appears that you are all confused as to the whereabouts of Guildmaster Wigglytuff. Fret not, apprentices; Wigglytuff is merely away on a council meeting to report the findings of our expedition. He was called away with urgency, so you must understand that he is currently unable to oversee the cheers. Nonetheless, we expect the same display of excellence we have observed from you in the past. Dismissed!”


    The members dissipated then, off to perform their duties. Meanwhile, Chatot stayed behind, wiping his forehead of sweat. “Oh, Wigglytuff. Do be careful,” he wished softly as he returned to the office.


    Upon a high summit in a faraway mountain, six Pokémon sat at a hexagonal table within an ornate hall. The walls were decorated with golden ropes and great murals. Towering columns engraved with depictions of Legends held a ceiling which showed the transcendence of Pokémon throughout the times—as history had recorded it so far. This was the Shrine of Evolution and the current meeting hall for the council of Guildmasters.

    Round the table sat each master: Staraptor of the Sky, Empoleon of the Sea, Tyrannitar of the Sub-terra, Drapion of the infamous Thieves, and Wigglytuff of the Earth. Overseer Salamance stood at the head of the table and spoke in his booming, draconic voice, “I now call this Guildmasters’ council to order such that it may be disseminated to our collective the findings of Master Wigglytuff’s expedition to Fogbound Lake.”

    “Yes, tell us, Wigglytuff,” spoke Drapion with his cunning demeanor and piercing leer, “What did you discover of the lake? Any whereabouts of the supposed treasure?”

    “I too am eager to hear the tale,” Empoleon said. She brushed off her wings to maintain an air of misleading disinterest. “What did you find?”

    Wigglytuff shook his head. An oath was made; he was not about to reveal anything. “I’m sorry, fellow Guildmasters,” he spoke. No longer was his cheery accent employed, and he discoursed with a somber attitude. “We searched for a lengthy bout of time, but were unable to find anything linked to Fogbound Lake’s presence. Regardless of the near unnavigable fog, we searched for at least a week, and nothing, not even the slightest hint, was found.”

    A squawk resounded from the surprise Staraptor when the news was given. “My word, Wigglytuff, I have hardly ever seen you turn an expedition cold like that. And you seemed so elated when your request for the expedition was granted. I am truly sorry.”

    “Not as sorry as I will be when I have to comfort my guild,” Wigglytuff chided. A few chuckles went around the table. Wigglytuff’s relaxed mannerism made him popular among the Guildmasters, so his news was easily accepted.

    Tyrannitar nonetheless stamped his foot on the ground and huffed. “What a waste of my time,” he grumbled. “All this for nothing?”

    “I’m sorry to say, but nothing was found,” Wigglytuff repeated.

    Drapion scratched his chin with a pincer and hummed. “So what became of my team?” he asked. “What became of Team Skull? They alerted me that they would be taking part in your little venture, yet they have not returned?”

    Wigglytuff returned his answer with a smile. “They exhibited unacceptable behavior,” he said cheerily, in such a way that Drapion felt threatened. “I do not approve of bullying or harassment, and for their impertinence, they were immediately dispatched. Somehow, I doubt that they will be making rounds to your guild hall for quite some time.”

    “Why you—!”

    “Calm yourself, Drapion,” Salamance was quick to react, casting his glare over the scorpion Pokémon. “As I recall, Team Skull has always been one to bend and break the rules. I would not doubt for a moment that, should treasure have been there, that team would have stolen every last coin of it and slaughtered the trainees to horde it for themselves. Wigglytuff’s actions were justified.”

    Drapion huffed in indignation, but said no more. Salamance held an iron grip over the hall. His will was not to be tested. “Well, if that is all there is to say on the matter, then you are dismissed,” Salamance spoke, waving for servants to open the doors. “But Wigglytuff, stay a while. I have some questions to ask you.”

    Chairs and cushions were scooted around while the masters took their leave. Drapion took special care to send Wigglytuff a sneer and a nasty word on the side before exiting briskly from the hall.

    Wigglytuff never liked Drapion. The Guildmaster had sticky fingers, and often times, he reached into pockets that weren’t his own. Why such an archaic, immoral guild as them was still allowed to exist, he did not know. Perhaps it was due only to tradition. They were the first and oldest guild.

    While they were clearing out, Wigglytuff eyed the others. Empoleon was a new guildmaster, and had come far in her young age—well, not quite as far as Wigglytuff. She maintained an air of confidence and entitlement on the level of royalty, holding her beak high and keeping her sleek feathers clean. She had to; to appear weak in the midst of a male dominated council would only lead to trouble. Wigglytuff respected her for that.

    Staraptor wasn’t new, but he could be a bit clumsy. He was endearing though, and Wigglytuff was glad to have the bird in his corner in an argument. He was intelligent when the situation called for it.

    Tyrannitar was a hulking beast of a Pokémon, but that didn’t make him bad. His dutiful maintenance of pragmatism was off-putting, but like a disenchanting speech, he meant well.

    Salamance did not have to clear his throat, as his lumbering footsteps hit the ground with a thunderous rumble and drew Wigglytuff’s attention. He did it anyway. “You are still good, Wigglytuff, very good. I’ve never seen a prettier veil of lies.”

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    “Drop the act, Wigglytuff. I thought we were better friends than that. Whatever your secret about Fogbound Lake is, surely I can keep it.”

    Wigglytuff chuckled. “Always on a quest for the truest knowledge. You are the promethean explorer, I suppose. I’ll admit it, you saw through me. What do you want to know?”

    “Everything,” Salamance said. “I want to know everything.”


    Late at night, after a long day of fulfilling requests once more, Team Unity lay down to begin sleeping. Aru felt over the crates in the corner and the hay on his bed. To spend time tiring themselves, they sat around a fire that had burned for hours in that sole beam of moonlight. Embers continued to burn even after the flame had calmed. The hypnotizing glow of the embers drew their attention and concentration into nothingness, allowing them to relax.

    At this time, they told their closest stories to one another.

    “When I was a thief,” Thali began after the long period of silence, “I worked hard to get through the ranks. I became stealthy, tough, but remained fearful. In that place, fear kept me alive. All sorts came to join the Thieves’ Guild, each for their own reason. Most—not all—were the wrong sorts.

    “I remember tales of the Thieves’ Guild from when I was just a baby Eevee. There was a time when that guild was not known for brutality or pettiness. Instead, the guild was revered. Its purpose was to combat evil tyrants and nobility that sought to horde money and control the people. It stole from the rich and redistributed to the poor.”

    Aru as enthralled by the story and Thali’s skill at telling it. “The thieves really used to be like that?” he asked, awed. Accalia listened as well, but passively.

    “Yes. They were revered once,” Thali said. “Where I come from, I used to know a few old thieves who would go on and on about the glory days of their guild and the accomplishments they made. Of course… it’s not like that anymore.”

    Confused, Aru asked, “What happened that made the Thieves’ Guild so bad?”

    Thali sighed in reminiscence. “According to the veterans, it all started when the new guildmaster was appointed,” she recalled. “His name is Drapion—at least, his surname is. Like most, he never gave out his first name. He was different from others in the guild, and he had his own following of loyal members. He was appointed not by selection, but by election, due to the old guildmaster’s death.

    “After that, the guild’s policies changed. They accepted more despicable requests, and the members soon turned on the people who they once protected. Then, everyone was a potential victim, at anyone’s request if the price was right. The veteran thieves fled the guild, too outnumbered by this influx of new members. And so, the Second Order of the Thieves’ Guild came to pass.

    “When I joined the Thieves’ Guild, I was foolish. I didn’t listen to the elders, and I still believed in the romantic lifestyle of the First Order. I worked hard, but I never felt good about what I had to do. Eventually… I quit. I stole enough money from the guild reserves to get by and I ran away. That’s why I’m here today.”

    While Accalia stared solemnly at the dying flame, Aru nodded and thought. “Wow. You’ve seen a lot, huh?”

    “Yeah…”—Thali yawned—“It’s getting late, guys. I think I’m going to sleep.”

    “Me too,” mumbled Accalia at last. Those were the first words she had spoken since dinner. The two girls lay down then and began to sleep.

    Aru wasn’t quite ready to rest yet. He lay back and watched the dying embers float towards the ceiling slowly. So that’s what the Thieves’ Guild is like now? he mused in deep thought. Shame. At least Thali got out alright though. We’re here now.

    He glanced quickly over to Accalia and sighed. Even as she slept, her eyebrows furrowed and she cringed in her sleep. Accalia hasn’t been feeling good lately at all. She’s so listless at times; hardly even talks to Thali and I. I wonder what is on her mind right now. She refuses to tell us, no matter how many times we ask.

    The situation with Accalia was beginning to make Aru nervous. He began to pet Thali’s head, absentminded of the relieving affect it had on him. And Thali… no matter what I do, I still think about our time together at Fogbound Lake. I guess it’s not a bad thing; it as a wonderful memory. But why does it keep coming back to me?

    Off in the distance came the tumble of rain, like a pile of light beads sifting over a grate. Thunder rumbled like the growl of a lover and spread soft lights in the sky. It was a sleepy rain, and it drew a yawn from Ian. I guess I’m finally getting tired too. Well, Arceus, if you really are this world’s god, I pray that you heal Accalia and help me sort out my feelings and memories…

    Oh right… My memories.

    Perhaps that worst of all had plagued him of late. Aru thought back to Uxie and sighed. Before Thali and Accalia had woken up, he asked Uxie that final question: If the muse could—according to legend—remove peoples’ memories, perhaps he had interacted with Aru and his memories once.

    Uxie shook his head then. “I have only small control over memories, mostly that which concerns obstructing knowledge of Fogbound Lake. When travelers stumble here, I ensure they forget how they had come,” he had explained then. “I have never met a human, and even if I did, I could never in good conscience make him forget his entire life.”

    Aru never told Thali. She had never asked to begin with; too elated by the discovery of the lake. For her sake, he kept quiet. Still, feelings of emptiness persisted in him, and he began to have fears, dreams, nightmares wherein he was forgetting something dire and important, but he could not remember what. Lost in the endless cycle of torment, he began to feel hopeless.

    But now, his worries were fading. With the rain came sleep, and he soon no longer had the strength to dwell. He lay back, and finally let go into the grips of dark slumber.


    Yet in the rainy night, another figure was plodding along. She took weighty steps from the duress of long, hard travel. It was dark and cold in the night, but her body seemed to thrive on the rain coming down. She was slender and ghostly, and wherever she moved the rain seemed to turn into sleet.

    A flash of lightning brighten his face for a moment, revealing the snowy white textures, the icicle horns upon her head, the narrow gaze she cast so precisely over the road.

    When the terrain changed from grass to dirt and mud beneath her, she looked around and noticed a signpost. So this was Treasure Town? Not far from the sign was a crossroad, and she looked north to see the looming staircase to Wigglytuff’s Guild.

    “At last,” whispered the figure. “At last, I have found you; the Pokémon who will help me crack this case.”
    #11 May 4, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  12. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 11: Rising Tension

    “Pokémon detected! Pokémon detected!”

    “Whose footprint?! Whose footprint?!”

    Morning cheers had only just ended, and already Diglett and Loudred were calling out for a visitor requesting entrance. Aru sat back patiently as he watched Loudred shout down the hatch to Diglett. “It’s too early in the morning for this,” the Riolu yawned.

    “I agree,” Thali said as she leaned against him, still trying to wake up. While the other guild members were busying themselves, Team Unity sat by and watched the communication, hoping to learn who the visitor was.

    “No footprint! No footprint!”

    “No footprint, eh? A floater. What about the shadow then?!”

    Accalia was disinterested though. “Don’t sit around too long,” she reminded them. “We still have a job to do, and I’d rather not get back to base too late.”

    Disconcerted by the Snivy’s attitude, Thali shot her a stern look. “We’re not in any rush for time. This shouldn’t take too long,” she responded. “Besides, I haven’t seen a visitor in weeks. I’m rather interested to see what will happen.”

    Accalia scoffed a bit, but didn’t disagree any further. She spent her time picking at her tail leaves and removing and debris in them.

    Aru felt like Diglett’s response was taking forever to arrive, though he knew it was only seconds of analysis. The tension between Thali and Accalia seemed to be dragging out the moment, making it last much longer than it should have. Normally they were never this upset with each other; what was going today?

    “The shadow is… Froslass’! The shadow is Froslass’!”

    “A Froslass?” wondered Thali as she looked toward the ladder. “I’ve never seen one before.”

    From across the room, Sunflora gasped in surprise. “Oh my gosh, you don’t think it’s the Froslass, do you?” she cried in shock. “I’m not ready for this! My flower petals haven’t been trimmed properly, I haven’t bathed yet! Oh my gosh!”

    “Sunflora,” Aru stopped her quickly. “Who’s the Froslass?”

    “You mean you don’t know?” scolded Loudred, his face scored by his typical, short-tempered expression.

    Croagunk rolled his eyes. Loudred always assumed everyone should know just as much as he did. Then again—Croagunk thought—that wasn’t exactly a high standard to uphold. “I don’t blame them. After all, she practically became famous nearly overnight. She hasn’t been around for very long, and Unity hasn’t exactly been a team for very long either.”

    Croagunk then looked to Team Unity with a very nonplussed expression. “Froslass—well, the Froslass—is a famous explorer. She’s come out of the dust of some faraway land and has been exploring the countryside, covering vast lands and even completing some dangerous requests. The craziest part is that she does everything solo.”

    Even Accalia became interested after the ‘solo’ detail was mentioned. Thali was shocked; she had never even fathomed going solo. “They say she has a wealth of knowledge about pretty much everything. Well, that’s what they say, at least,” Croagunk mumbled. “Look there; she’s coming down now.”

    Froslass was a delicate Pokémon, though her expression betrayed a hardened lifestyle. Like traditional women from an oriental land, her white shell came down over her like a kimono and draped along her arms. A small red bow was tied around her waist, and icy blue eyes cast a quick, gleaning glance around the hall. “Might I request to speak to the Guildmaster here?” she spoke loudly, but gently.

    Chatot rushed out to greet her and bowed deeply. “You must be that explorer everyone is talking about,” he spoke in his characteristic singsong voice. “The Guildmaster is out of town at a very important council meeting right now. I’m sorry that he is not here, but if you have any questions pertaining to the guild, then I’ll be happy to answer them. I am his assistant after all.”

    Thali giggled under her breath as she listened to the conversation. “Wow,” she mumbled. “Chatot sure does love to hear himself talk.”

    “I wish he wouldn’t,” Accalia said as she gazed intently at Froslass. “I’m much more interested in hearing her talk.”

    “What?” Aru and Thali were both confused by that.

    The Snivy did a quick pirouette and breathed a happy sigh. “Didn’t you hear her voice? So rich and ladylike,” she mused. “beautiful, and cunning as an explorer I bet. No wonder she’s so famous.”

    Oh. She had become suddenly and deeply infatuated with the mysterious celebrity. Aru couldn’t help but feel exasperated with the flip-flopping girl. “Calm yourself, Accalia.”

    “Ooh, and can’t you feel that? The cold, hardened exterior of ice, and something ghostly and mysterious hiding within. It’s too good to be true; you might say that she’s just my type!”

    Bad puns now? “Accalia, like you said,” Aru attempted, “maybe we should get back to doing our missions.”

    “Hush! Give me a moment.”

    Unable to argue with her, Aru stayed put with Thali at his side. They exchanged looks of worry and frustration while they unabashedly eavesdropped on the conversation between Froslass and Chatot.

    “So in the end, you discovered nothing?” Froslass mumbled. She tried to hide it, but her scrunched, sad eyebrows betrayed her disappointment.

    Chatot nodded and flapped his wings to clear the air. “Yes, sad, I know,” he replied with equal disappointment. Aru admired how good of an actor Chatot was. “It was a challenging trek along the coast and over Mt. Horn too. We searched the forest for a week on end, without resting, but to no avail.”

    “Drat. Well, I am truly sorry for that,” Froslass said with a sigh. Accalia swooned a bit and Thali only rolled her eyes. “I’ve been traveling for quite a while, and I’m very tired. Haven’t slept in a day and a half.” The celebrity explorer released a yawn, as if to enhance her weary look. “Perhaps there is a place nearby where I can rest?”

    Accalia jumped up then and approached Froslass, smiling. “Ms. Froslass, I overheard that you’re looking for a place to rest.”

    “Why, Accalia!” Chatot reprehended her. “Don’t be so rude. Eavesdropping on other’s conversations—”

    Froslass put a hand up in front of Chatot to stop him. Her face contorted in what appeared to be a smile. “Don’t worry, Chatot,” she said. “I would be delighted to have one of your pupils escort me around town.” She nodded to Accalia and smiled. “Lead the way, Miss…”

    “Snivy!” Accalia said excitedly, wagging her tail like a puppy. “I’m a Snivy, but you can call me Accalia.”

    “Then show me the way, Ms. Accalia!”

    When Froslass and Accalia left immediately afterward, leaving the others alone, the bewildered Thali looked up at Aru and asked, “What just happened?”

    “I think… I think our teammate just ditched us.”


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 11
    Rising Tension


    Accalia didn’t rejoin Team Unity for the rest of the day. They waited till midday, and when she didn’t show, they reluctantly grabbed a request to deal with some bandits in Serenity River and headed out without her.

    “Thali?” Aru asked when they went to market to grab a few items from their storage and check the Kecleon Bros’ wares.


    “Is there something happening between you and Accalia?”

    Thali frowned and thought back to that morning. “No,” she mumbled. “It’s not between us; Accalia is just being rude right now. I don’t know why she’s been so distant from us, but she ought to pipe up and tell us why.”

    “Maybe she doesn’t want to tell us. I don’t know why, but it’s really been worrying me lately.” While he was musing, Aru stopped by the bank to deposit some of their poké just in case they lost any in the dungeon.

    Thali looked confused. They knew exactly where they were headed—north by northeast to the river basin—but she was lost on what Aru was saying. “Lately? What do you mean?”

    Aru was obviously reluctant to discuss it, Thali could see, but he soon replied, “Ever since our adventure to Fogbound Lake, Accalia started acting distant. She wouldn’t hang around us quite as often, and she would grow silent for hours.”


    They kept walking a bit further, over a few rolling hills toward the river basin. When the got to the final hill, with the river down at the basin, Aru looked back and noticed that Thali had stopped at the bottom. “Thali?”

    “I… I’m a terrible leader.”

    Aru cocked his head to the side. Did she really just say that? After all the improvement he’d seen her go through, from their very first mission to the expedition, she thought she wasn’t a good leader? He sat down at the top and looked down to her. “Don’t say that, Thali. That’s not true.”

    She snapped her head up, revealing the tears rolling down her cheek. “But it is,” she said. “I’m the leader of Team Unity. That means that I look out for both you and Accalia!”

    “Thali, you can’t blame yourself for this.”

    “I should have noticed it sooner. Maybe I could have talked to her and seen what was going on. I should have seen it and been there for her. Oh, I’m such a dunce!”

    Thali had a bad habit of self-deprecating when things went wrong, Aru knew. It was useful in certain scenarios; it helped her improve faster. But when those mistakes stuck in her head and pestered her, she became solemn and upset. Aru hated that.

    When the Eevee looked back up from her sniffling, she came face to face with her partner. Startled by the proximity, she hiccupped, and Aru laughed. “Look, Thali, you have to understand something,” he said, poking her forehead. “You may be the leader of Team Unity, but we’re still a team. It’s my responsibility as much as yours to look out for her. I tried talking to her, and she didn’t come out to me with her problems. There’s no reason for you to be upset with yourself.”

    Thali looked up at him, searching for approval, and Aru answered by caressing her cheek. Oh Thali… I hope you learn to accept yourself as well as you accept others, he thought. “Don’t worry,” he assured her. “Come on. The village is just on the other side of this hill. Let’s get over it.”

    After clearing her eyes of tears, Thali smiled vibrantly, determined as always to make today another good day. “Okay. Let’s go.” They climbed the hill together, Aru helping her along the way, and made their way to the basin where their client was waiting.

    At the inlet road, a Pokémon waited. His fur was split between black and blue at the waist, and he looked up at the two with electric, yellow eyes. In some ways, he resembled a lion cub. “Good afternoon, travelers!” the Pokémon greeted them.

    “Hello!” Thali responded with the same enthusiasm. “You must be the Shinx who contacted our guild. We’re Team Unity, and we’re here to help you.”

    “Unity? You must be that up-and-coming team I’ve heard so much about,” the Shinx said. He gave the travelers a welcoming grin and nodded back into the village. “Come on. Let me show you where the bandits struck.”

    They followed the Shinx into the village, and Aru surveyed the land to get a grasp on life here. There were several small farms around the area, with different berry trees growing within. The water probably provided a good source for plant nutrients, and there were a few wagons here and there for transportation. So this is a berry farm. They must ship their harvests out to the Kecleon Brothers and other shops.


    The Riolu returned to reality at the call of his name and he turned back to Thali. “Uh… yes?”

    “We’re going inside,” ushered Thali as she nudged him toward the Shinx’s house. “Come on.”

    The Shinx’s house was small, but accommodating. Waiting within were the Shinx and his parents. The mother was a proud Luxray, with similar fur patterns, but a more lion-like appearance. The father—with his striking yellow mane and electric blue fur—could only be a Manectric. He appeared injured, with a bandage wrapped around his forehead.

    “Ah, so you’re the exploration team that our little one requested,” greeted the Luxray. “Come in; sit. I can serve some tea while we discuss the details.”

    “That’s alright, ma’am,” Aru said. “I’d like to get down to the heart of the matter so that we can solve your problem as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

    The Manectric chuckled gruffly and nodded. He winced from the muscle movement though, putting a paw to his forehead. “I’ll leave you to it then,” he said before heading off to the back room. “If you need me, I’ll be resting.”

    “Do be careful, dear!” A door shut somewhere down the hall, and the Luxray wife giggled a bit. “Forgive him if he seems rude,” she excused him. “My husband grows Lansat and Salac berries. They grow better at night, so he does most of his tending in the night time, and rests during the day. He hurt himself during work yesterday, so he’s taking it extra easy.”

    “That’s just fine, Mrs. Luxray,” Aru responded, as polite as always.

    Chuckling softly, Thali followed, “Would you mind showing us where the item was before it was stolen? You mentioned in the request that it was an heirloom of sorts.”

    “O-oh, right!”

    Luxray showed the two to a small dining area where a cabinet stood in the back. In the middle of the cabinet stood a pedestal, but upon it stood nothing. “It was a golden brooch from my mother’s family. My mother told me that it had been passed down through our tribe of Shinx, Luxio, and Luxray for ages,” she said.

    “A tribe?” asked Thali.

    Luxray nodded. Though the brooch wasn’t there, seeing the pedestal alone brought her such nostalgia. “When I was just a Shinx, my family ran with a tribe of Luxray around the northern fields and plains. There is a flat of salt and quarts to the north called the Amp Plains where we would gather to feast on the thunderstorms…”

    There was a pause in her story. A cold, solemn look crossed the Luxray’s face, and it did not go unnoticed by Aru or Thali. “That story is for another time though,” she said, embarrassed that she had told such a revealing story to these newcomers. “My golden brooch is what was stolen.”

    “I see…”

    Thali shot a glance over to Aru and smiled in excitement. “Aru, I know! You can use your special ability!” she reminded him. “Go ahead. Touch the pedestal.”

    She’s right. I almost forgot about that, Aru thought as he reached inside and took hold of the pedestal. Alright, little guy. What kind of past do you have in store for me?

    Dizziness and blindness followed by searing light and a sound like wind cutting metal. Then...

    There was a vision before him. It was dark and difficult to see, but Aru could not mistake the scenery of the dining room. His eyes darted to the side. There were two dark silhouettes. Among the furniture and dark walls, he found it difficult to make out their features.

    “You’re telling me it’s been hidden here this whole time?”

    The other figure—the one who had not spoken—stopped and bobbed slightly; Aru suspected that he nodded an affirmative.

    “In the name of Arceus, I can’t believe you didn’t recognize our own sacred treasure. Quick, let’s nab it and make a run for it.”

    The silent figure was hesitant. Was he injured? Perhaps he found difficulty moving. Or maybe he was reluctant?

    “Don’t tell me you’re backing out of this now. This is justice. You know what they did to us.”

    The other figure swished what was clearly its head back and forth, looking around and sighing. He was nervous. He felt wronged, but he felt that this was more wrong.

    “Figures. You never were able to hang with us. The enemy’s made you soft.”

    “Fine, I’ll help you get out of here. But you have to promise that you’ll leave me and my wife alone.”

    Aru’s eyes widened in shock. That voice, it’s…

    The first figure reached into the glass cabinet and took the brooch in his mouth, then turned around and bashed the other with a fierce head butt. The other one with the recognizable voice fell, and did not get back up.

    “Like I need any help from a miserable traitor like you.”


    In Spinda’s café, just outside of the guild by the crossroads, there was an underground inn below the café portion. There, many explorers would go to rest after hours of journeying when they could not return home. They enjoyed drink and story in the café, and rested in the inn later.

    Accalia had taken Froslass to this inn since she had requested a place to stay while she was in Treasure Town. While she had certainly put on the bravado of a gleeful fan earlier, now that she was in such intimate quarters with the famous explorer, Accalia no longer felt as confident as before.

    She hoped her guild mates didn’t take her coldness the wrong way. Though moody as she was, Accalia did want to go with. At the time, though, she needed someone else to talk to.

    “Well, thank you Accalia for showing me to such a fine establishment!” Froslass said at last, chuckling as she looked around the quarters. It was humble, with a hay bed and a few paintings on the cavern wall, but it was also homey. “I really do appreciate it, yes. Why, I may even stay longer than I had thought to!”

    Accalia scuffed her feet on the floor. What was she supposed to say to a famous explorer of all Pokémon? Sure it was a simple question, but she didn’t want it to sound silly, and he was supposed to be wise.

    Noticing her silence, Froslass lifted one of her delicate limbs and patted her head. “Child, what is the matter? You have been somber since we stepped into the tavern.”

    Well, now she had no choice. “Mr. Froslass, I wanted to ask you,” Accalia mumbled, “about a personal problem.”

    A smile donned the celebrity’s face, and she sat on the bed, eager to listen. So Accalia continued: “You might have seen it earlier, but I’m a part of Team Unity, along with my friends Aru and Thali, a Riolu and an Eevee.”

    “Yes, I did notice they were looking at you with a deep expression of worry.”

    Accalia shifted a bit in her stance. “Well… It’s going to sound silly, but lately I’ve felt…”


    “Neglected is more of an appropriate word,” she mumbled. “I’ve gotten really attached to them. I’m not at the liberty to say why, but they’ve sort of raised me, if I can put it that way. But ever since one of our journeys, they spend more time together, and I feel like I’m being pushed out.

    “So, I figured ‘who better to ask than the knowledgeable Froslass?’ But… well, now that I’m here, it seems so silly.”

    Froslass let out a soft giggle then, not one of scorn, but of understanding. “Child, everyone has those feelings. I have many friends, and over the years, I thought that they had turned away from me, more interested in others.”

    “How did you deal with it?”

    “Well, I didn’t,” he admitted. “That’s why I venture alone now.”


    “My advice to you is this, Accalia,” Froslass said at last. “If you care for you friends as dearly as you seem, I can only assume that they must reciprocate that. If you are feeling neglected, you absolutely must tell them.

    “I noticed the way you acted earlier. You were being indignant with your teammates.” A look of shame crossed Accalia’s face. “I’m sure they are equally worried about you. Speak to them, Accalia. I promise, good things will come of it.”

    Though she was confronted with confused emotions, Accalia felt a little more secure now that she had some reassurance in her corner of the ring. Smiling thankfully, she bowed to Froslass and went toward the door. “Thank you for your advice, ma’am,” she said.

    “Don’t be unfriendly now, Accalia. Call me Froslass.”

    She giggled a bit. It was the first time she’d smiled in a while. “Thank you, Froslass,” she said before leaving.

    “Oh, Accalia!”

    The Snivy turned around while in the middle of the doorway. “Yes?”

    “Where did you say your friends had gone today?”

    She hadn’t said it, but she nonetheless revealed, “My friends went to Serenity River. Something about a Luxray’s heirloom.”

    “Oh… I see. Well, take care, Accalia.”

    She was gone immediately afterward. Froslass sat there for a moment, pondering the young girl. She was a Snivy, a race he had never heard of before in all his years of exploration. Perhaps there was more to her than met the eye. She suspected that wasn’t the only thing on her mind.

    “We’ll see each other again,” she mumbled beneath her breath. “Though, your friends are in much graver danger than you realize. I must make haste.”


    At the head of Serenity River was cavern where the source was located. It was here, Aru had gathered from his vision, that the bandits were hiding out for the time being. The Pokémon that lived there were serene water-types that mostly sequestered into their own groups and lived on their own. Of the feral Pokémon they had seen, these had been the tamest.

    Aru took the time granted to them by the peace to further ponder his mysterious vision. There’s no doubt, he concluded as they crossed over cracks with flowing water. That voice, and the bruised forehead; that was the Manectric from the farm. But why was he taking part in the thievery of his own family’s precious heirloom?


    The Riolu looked beside him at his partner, her lips turned down in a concerned frown. “Something’s bothering you ever since your vision.”

    “Yeah…” he mumbled, looking up toward a small cluster of Pokémon gathered around a tiny pond. It was a group of Poliwag; he recognized them by their big eyes and the spiral on their bellies.

    “Well… what did you see?”

    He divulged the occurrences in his vision while walking, checking constantly around for any sign of the thief. It was only made more difficult since Aru couldn’t tell what Pokémon the thief was from the vision.

    “Wow… I can’t believe Manectric would do something like that,” Thali mumbled.

    “Remember,” Aru said, “he had a change of heart at the last moment. Still… I’ll definitely have some questions for him when we get back.”

    “From his own wife! How could he even think about doing that to her? I just don’t understand at all. How could he betray—”

    Aru slapped a paw over her mouth and suddenly dragged her behind a large set of stalactites. “Hush,” he whispered to her. There had been a noise, and he thought he saw the form of a Pokémon they’d not yet seen in this dungeon. Suspicious, Aru and Thali hid there and waited.

    Deeper into the cave, there was a crevice so huge, that it split the cave in two and prevented access to the edge on the other side. Before the crevice stood a quadrupedal Pokémon, looking up to the edge on the other side. “Wait a minute,” Thali mumbled upon closer inspection. “Is that Manectric?”

    Aru narrowed his gaze, trying to make him out in the low light. “Yes,” he mumbled, identifying the coat and the sharp, yellow mane. “But look closer at the forehead. No bandage. That’s a different Manectric.”

    They watched then, stunned and amazed, as the Manectric suddenly began walking over the crevice on thin air. Aru noticed a disturbance in the air around him, but nothing else, and soon the Manectric had crossed safely to the other side. “What the…?”

    “Oh, of course!”

    “Of course what?” Aru asked.

    Thali hummed, padding her paws on the ground in careful thought. “Manectric are electric-type Pokémon, Aru! There must have been others on the opposite side manipulating electricity to create an electromagnetic field which allowed that Manectric to cross over the crevice. That’s how he gets over there.”

    Aru was astonished at how quickly Thali came to that conclusion. “Wow… sometimes I forget how smart you are.”

    The Eevee’s cheeks suddenly burst into a rouge color. “Huh?”

    “I guess it’s just that you’re shy; I forget that you’re so smart.”

    Compliments aside, how were they going to cross the crevice? Flustered, Thali began looking around for a solution. “If only Accalia were here,” Aru hummed. “Her Vine Whip would have made crossing this a breeze.”

    “That doesn’t matter,” Thali hummed as she looked around. She pointed at a stalagmite on the ceiling. “Look at that one. I think it’s large enough, so if we knock it down, we can tilt it over and use it as a bridge to get over.”

    “Want me to use my new move?”

    “No, don’t. You haven’t perfected it yet; you’ll hurt yourself,” Thali insisted. She giggled when Aru pouted. “Don’t worry I can hit it with my Shadow Ball.”

    So Thali took aim at the stalagmite and fired a thrumming ball of dark energy. It struck the stalagmite with a crack, and down fell the stalagmite until it hit the earth with an echoing boom. “Knock it over, Aru,” she said. “And quickly. They must have noticed us by now.”

    Aru looked up at the towering stalagmite. Now that it was next to them, it seemed much bigger. He rushed forward and struck it with a Force Palm, toppling the stalagmite. As Thali predicted, the stalagmite was tall enough so that it crashed into the other side. “Brilliant,” Aru mumbled. “Let’s get going.”

    With care in each step, and not a single glance down into the endless pit, Aru and Thali crossed the crevice. Every step Thali took on the makeshift bridge caused her heart to jump. She felt a pit in her stomach as deep as the crevice itself. Gulping down a breath, she stumbled across the bridge and landed on the other side.

    “Oh thank Arceus,” she mumbled, her legs shaky.

    They were both shocked when a booming voice shouted down the cavern: “Get back! Don’t come any closer!”

    “Those must be our bandits,” Aru mumbled as they ventured into the cave. Water dripped from the ceiling as they approached in absolute silence. The plops of water rung in their ears like war drums. Not a sound was heard as they creeped down the darkening cave.

    “I don’t see anything, Aru,” Thali mumbled. True to her word, their seemed to be no sign of the voice they had heard earlier, or its source. “Aru maybe this isn’t what we’re looking for.”

    It only took a moment. A second.


    A blinding, piercing light exploded in their eyes. Aru stumbled and hit the floor. He felt the soft impact of Thali landing right next to him.

    When again he could see, Aru looked up into the glaring eyes of a Manectric and a pack of his fellow, green-colored Electrike. They were surrounded, and the pack was poised to strike. “Now that I have your attention,” growled the Manectric, “why have you invaded or home?”
    #12 May 6, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  13. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    All changes made! Back to posting as usual.
    #13 May 20, 2017
    Last edited: May 22, 2017
  14. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 12: The Thief

    Aru could feel the tension in the air when the Electrike began to growl. There they were, in a damp, dark cave, surrounding by those electric hounds with charged, bristling fur and sharp fangs, and in that moment, the Riolu wasn’t sure if they’d be able to survive this time.

    A blast of lightning struck at their feet, and Aru and Thali jumped in surprise to avoid it. “I asked you a question, vermin!” Manectric shouted. Thali’s ears folded back in fear from the loud clap of the thunder. “Why have you invaded our home?”

    Aru spoke up, summoning courage from nowhere seemingly. “We were contracted by a client of ours who said that their heirloom was stolen,” he replied calmly. “We tracked its location back this way. You wouldn’t happen to be in possession of such a trinket, would you?”

    “You’re cheeky, Riolu. I don’t think I like that,” growled the Manectric, his fur bristling with a charge. “Yes, we have the heirloom of which you speak. But you know nothing about its blood-soaked history. This is ours, little Riolu. Ours and no one else’s.”

    Aru closed his eyes and saw the world in black and white through his aura vision. The Manectric was bristling not only with electricity, but with hot, tempered rage—and also some despair, he noticed. Aru could see the fear in his partner as well, and was impressed when she spoke up. “This is what we were hired to do,” Thali said warily. “Sorry to say, but in the current circumstances, it seems that you’re at fault here, thief.”

    The aura of the Manectric’s red rage flared up. “Thief? You dare call us thieves?” he growled. “You know nothing of our history, of our struggle. This is ours, our justice and retribution. Did you even bother to ask that wench how she got her precious heirloom?”

    The slightest change broke through in Thali’s expression—the slightest twitch of his brow—but Manectric noticed it with a laugh. “So she mentioned it, but failed to tell you the full story?” he said.

    “I know there was a conflict,” Thali said, glaring intensely. He felt more confident, and it gave him the courage to go on. “I don’t know the specifics of what happened, but I know there was suffering on both sides. You need to stop this. Just give us the heirloom.”

    Aru looked down at Thali, seeing her intense expression, and knew he had to stand tall alongside her. He knew what she was referring to; but she was bluffing, simply guessing based on Luxray’s demeanor from earlier. He nodded firmly in agreement with her.

    “You claim to know,” Manectric growled, poising to pounce and strike them viciously. “But your ignorance knows no bounds, it seems. Kill them, quickly!”

    The Electrike jumped, growling all in unison. Thali cringed, and Aru stood ready to block the blows.

    “Stop this!”

    There was sudden movement and the chill feeling of a brisk wind. Battering noises echoed in the cave, and the slumping of Electrike hitting the ground could be heard along with their whimpers of pain.

    Thali snapped her eyes back open. Standing before her was Aru, and in front of him defending the two of them was Froslass, the very explorer they had met that morning. In that moment, she was grateful and surprised. How had she known where to find them?

    “What the—who is this?” shouted Manectric.

    Froslass sighed and shook her head. “Such a worrisome misunderstanding,” she muttered under her breath. She fixed Manectric and his pack with a fierce glare that held them back. “Cease hostilities, Manectric. I bear you no ill will.”

    Wary of the intruder, but alerted of her strength, Manectric glanced sidelong at Froslass, giving her an once-over. “What is it you are here for, then?”

    “I’m here to negotiate on behalf of these explorers’ foolishness,” Froslass claimed, this time adopting a more empathetic gaze. “Just give me a few minutes of your time, Manectric. I will be as brief as possible.”

    Aru too was surprised by Froslass’s sudden appearance, and he was still trying to figure out what exactly was going on. He looked over to Manectric and analyzed his aura, finding surprisingly that the pack leader was much less angry now, and instead relaxed, ready to acquiesce and listen to the famous explorer’s words. “Go on…” said Manectric.

    “Your people have been through much suffering, I know,” Froslass said. “After the Blitzkrieg and the Thunder Battles, you bear much animosity to your foes. Staggering circumstances like that leave you hungering for blood and revenge. I know. I feel that too.

    “But now is not the time for war. Look at your people. They are poor and hungry and they need rest. Bringing this item into your home, it will only trigger more calamity, more war and destruction. The Luxray are hurting too. It is time for this rivalry to cease, before all of you are lying in shallow graves.”

    Manectric looked up, wary but in acknowledgement of the truth Froslass spoke. “You seem to know much about our ways, Froslass,” he said. He looked around, frowning suddenly when he looked at his people. The Electrike were all suffering from exhaustion and hunger. It really was taking a toll on them. “And you know much of our peoples’ suffering.”

    Manectric was silent for a while. It was clear he was upset, but the silent thinking told of reason. “I choose to trust you, Froslass,” said Manectric. He took the amulet and tossed it to the floor at Team Unity’s feet. “Leave us. I must… I must talk with my people.”

    And so, with their tails between their but their heads more firmly on their shoulders, Manectric waved his head back, calling his brethren back with him as they entered deeper into the cave. They sunk into the darkness, disappearing in a somber silence, leaving Team Unity and Froslass to exit the cave. Aru and Thali looked between each other, not sure if they had done the right thing or not.

    “Don’t let this weigh heavy on your minds, young ones,” Froslass said, nodding in approval to them. “You did what you could, but you simply did not know enough. Your client was discourteous to you by depriving you of important information.”

    They walked warily back over their stone bridge. Froslass’s words did little to comfort them, and still they wondered, wondered about the true origin of this problem. It wasn’t until they exited the caves and returned to Luxray’s home, Froslass assured them, that they would get a good account of the story.


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 12
    The Thief


    Aru set the pendent on the coffee table in the center of Luxray’s rustic living room. He nodded to her, forging a smile. “We retrieved your heirloom as promised,” the Riolu said. The whole time, he was watching Luxray’s every move, her breath and her aura.

    Again, he noticed what he had before. When Luxray entered the room, she was at first happy and relieved, lit by a soft yellow aura. As before, when eyeing the amulet, her eyes seemed to glaze, and the grey blue reminiscent sadness invaded her. What was she thinking beneath all of that stoicism?

    “Oh Team Unity, you are every bit as amazing as I had hoped!” Luxray exclaimed as she examined her heirloom. There it was, as though it had never gone. “Quickly, let me get your reward!”

    “Actually, not yet, Ms. Luxray,” Thali said. “We wanted to talk to you about something.”

    Luxray was confused, but stayed. She was smiling, eager to talk to the young ones who solved her problem.

    “We want to know about the Manectric, and what happened between your clans.”

    Luxray paled and looked away, part in shame and part in terrible, terrible memory. “Why would you—”

    “The thief who stole your heirloom nearly killed us,” Aru said. “He claimed to be part of a pack of Manectric and Electrike, and that something happened with your clan. Please, Ms. Luxray, we just want to know.”

    Luxray sighed. “It’s a long story. An awful one too,” she mumbled. She did recognize though that they had managed to retrieve her heirloom, and put her worries to rest. She didn’t like it, but they deserved to know. After all, it was a history that anyone could learn from.

    “I was just a girl when it all started,” she recalled through teary eyes. “My family used to live in a stony plateau called the Amp Plains. I was just a little Shinx back then. We were a pack of Shinx, Luxio, and Luxray, and we had settled in the Amp Plains for a special reason.

    “See, the stony plains were abundant with limestone, which attracts lighting from storm clouds with incredible accuracy. There, during the stormy season, we were able to feast on lightning and rejoice with each other. We discovered it when I was a little girl, and when we were just a roaming band of vagabonds.”

    Luxray shuddered to think before continuing with her story. Aru could tell she was getting worked up. “Every year, we would come back to that spot to enjoy the lightning in the Amp Plains. We didn’t even think that there might be others out there. We were wrong. Where resources abound, so too do others wishing to partake.

    “A pack of Manectric came one year. We approached them amicably, but they retaliated. We couldn’t share the fields, they said, and we would have to fight. From then on, the season that had once brought us great joy now resulted in bloodshed. Every year, we fought and died for conquest of the field.

    “One year, the fighting was so intense, that lightning crashed down around us, and nature herself seemed to join in the fight. It cracked and broke the stone, melting it and forging it, and in the wake of the series of lightning strikes and thunder crashes was a stone, perfectly molded in beauty and color and crystallinity. In that final battle, my father ruthlessly slaughtered the leader of the opposing pack and took the gem for his own, claiming that we were the rightful rulers of the Amp Plains.”

    Aru was amazed. The story was full of loss and sorrow, such dread that he could not even begin to imagine what it must feel like. That she had overcome all of it was an amazing feat to him, and it left him dumbfounded. Thali though, ever the inquisitive one, had more questions to ask. “So if you ended up winning, how did you and a Manectric find yourselves way out here?”

    “Oh…” Luxray mumbled, the edges of a smile peeking out in her lips. “At the time, I never understood this conflict, just as my father had not at the beginning. I never understood it. Well… Lucius and I had fallen madly in love. We met… well, it’s not important how we met. When finally the conflicts had ended and the amulet had appeared, I knew I would never see him again.”

    “So what did you do?” asked Thali again.

    This time, from the entrance to the farm, Manectric entered and spoke: “Lara and I snuck away in the middle of the night. After her father’s death, Lara was next in line to receive the heirloom, and her brother the leadership of the pack. Taking the amulet, she met me at a rendezvous point and we ran south until we came to Serenity River.

    “Please,” Manectric spoke in desperation. “We wish for a peace between us to remain. Don’t tell anyone about our true identities or our relationship to the packs.”

    It was a haunting tale, one marred by loss and bloodshed, but brightened by love. Even as he agreed to keep the story a secret, Aru felt that this would weigh on his mind for some time to come. The walk out of Luxray and Manectric’s home felt long and solemn compared to the short duration of the story.


    The Riolu looked beside him at his partner. That concerned expression she wore made him feel guilty. She should not have had to worry. “Yes?”

    “Don’t worry so much about it, alright?” Thali assured him. “It is awful, I know, but… Well, they did what they had to do to survive. I think it’s admirable that they have come so far. In a way, I’m reminded of myself a bit.”

    Aru nodded. He forgot sometimes that Thali used to be in a tough position herself, scrounging for food and shelter before she came to Wigglytuff’s Guild.

    Hanging by the entrance of the village was Froslass, waiting for the other two to appear with a peaceful smile on her face. “Did you two find the answers you were looking for?” he asked them, though his eyes told of more knowledge than he revealed.

    “We did,” Thali said, smiling. “We ought to get back to the guild before we’re missed.”

    “Yes, you should,” Froslass said with wise smile. “And someone in particular misses you very much, I can assure you.”


    Later that night, when all was still with the world and the wrongs for that day had been righted, darkness came silently like a thief in the night, bearing new ills into the unforgiving world.

    Lightning crashed into Fogbound Lake on this dark, stormy night. Lighting the scene for a moment. The silhouette of Uxie fighting with another Pokémon flashed into the night. The enemy’s attacks sliced like blades through the air, and Uxie channeled psychic powers into brutal attacks which would only slightly miss the enemy.

    “I should never have trusted them,” Uxie grumbled, audible only to the nearby enemy. “Never should have let them keep their memories.”

    The enemy replied in a gruff voice: “I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Nobody gave me the location of your lake. I discovered it on my own.”

    Uxie raised a brow, holding his arms up defensively. “Interesting. You wish not to pin the blame on anyone else. Why would that help you?”

    “I don’t do this for myself. But you wouldn’t understand that.”

    Another flash of lightning, followed by another deafening thunderclap. In the burst of light, their silhouettes clashed again, the air suddenly lit with red as the enemy struck Uxie. The legendary muse gasped from the attack and fell to the ground, his little body lying motionless on the ground. “You—but—how could you…?”

    The enemy looked down, sighing. “I bear you no malicious intention, ancient muse,” the enemy spoke courteously. He kneeled down to examine the legendry Pokémon. He heard the labored breathing, and for a moment felt the pang of regret. But he had higher goals to strive for; he moved on and left Uxie there, lying in a puddle of blood.

    “Don’t do it,” Uxie pleaded. The enemy stood, his twin, leafy tails extending from behind as he prepared to leap into the lake. “You don’t understand… the consequences. You won’t make it out of here alive!”

    “Begging now, mystic muse?” the enemy spoke. “Please don’t. You are honorable and worthy of a battle, though I wish I didn’t have to fight it.”

    Uxie narrowed his gaze. “Who are you?” he asked. “You who so boldly and blindly relinquish reason in exchange for greed.”

    “I?” asked the enemy. “I am more reasonable than you give me credit. I have cheated death many times, Uxie. I am not afraid to do it again.”

    “You’re name! Give me your Arceus-damned name!”

    The enemy did not answer. He dived into the lake and swam for the Time Gear in the center. Uxie knew what was about to happen, and watched in horror as the swinging figure approached that mystical artifact. His last cries of desperation went unheard as the Time Gear was grabbed, and a piercing shriek was released from artifact.

    Using the last bit of his power, he summoned the strength to teleport away to a safer location. Lights swirled around him as he teleported, and he landed roughly. After that, he fell unconscious.


    The next day seemed like just another day when they had awoken. They woke up, quickly got ready, and reported for morning cheers. However, after the cheers had been performed, Chatot didn’t release them like normal. Instead, the parrot exchanged nervous glances with Wigglytuff, who himself was anxious.

    Aru shot a glance around the room. He wanted to assess the situation. He spotted Froslass in the corner of the room, waiting quietly for something to be said. What is he doing here? Is Chatot going to say something important?

    He looked down from Froslass to his right, where Accalia stood at attention. He could see some worry in her brow as well, and she kept looking back up at Aru in return. The Riolu wondered if she wanted to say something to him. Indeed, it looked like her lips were about to part when Chatot began speaking.

    “It is with great regret that I wish to inform you of the current news,” he began. “Another Time Gear was stolen. This time… it was at Fogbound Lake.”

    Chimecho gasped. Sunflora cried. Most, though, just stayed silent, petrified in that very instant by the shock. Uxie, who had been so welcoming to them, was defeated and the Time Gear stolen?

    Team Unity perhaps felt it the hardest because of their connection with Uxie. He had spared them and taught them things about the Time Gear, shown them the beauty of the lake. And now, that beauty was no more, frozen in desolate time.

    “Wait just a minute now! What are you saying?” Froslass exclaimed, outraged suddenly. “Guildmaster Wigglytuff, you told me that you and your trainees had uncovered nothing in the Foggy Forest! Now you’re reporting that there was something after all, a Time Gear no less?”

    “Please don’t be angry, Ms. Froslass, pretty please don’t take personal offense,” Wigglytuff quickly entreated her cutely. “Yes, we did discover Fogbound Lake, but the guardian Uxie had us swear that we would keep our discovery a secret in order to preserve the lake and the Time Gear.”

    “Oh my gosh, I feel awful now,” Sunflora exclaimed as she cried. “I hope Uxie doesn’t think badly of us. Is he okay? Was there any word on him?”

    Chatot nodded slowly. “Calm down, Sunflora,” he assured her while Loudred patted her back. “I assure you, Uxie is fine. Before he took too much damage, Uxie was able to teleport away. He is now in Officer Magnezone’s care. Unfortunately, time around Foggy Forest and Fogbound Lake has now stopped.”

    “That beautiful view… it’s all gone,” Accalia whispered. Though her memories of it remained, she lamented to think that those wonderful lights and that wonderful geyser were frozen forever, gone. “Who could have done such a thing?”

    “You don’t think…” suggested Croagunk, ever the speculative one, “Is it possible that someone from the guild let our little secret slip?”

    “What the hell, Croagunk?!” shouted Loudred. “No one in our guild would dare violate our vow with Uxie! How dare you suggest otherwise?”

    “Yeesh, I was just saying,” Croagunk said logically. “If you think about it, isn’t it coincidental that this heist would occur after our discovery.”

    “Rather a coincidence than betrayal!”

    “Everyone, settle down!” Chatot shouted, drawing the arguing guild members to a silence. “Nothing has been uncovered yet; nothing made certain. I highly doubt Croagunk’s suggestion that our honor is at stake here. In the recent months, there have now been three robberies of Time Gears. Something bigger than our comprehension may be going on here. As explorers, it is our priority to remain vigilant, and to rise to the challenge should our criminal’s name be revealed.”

    The whole time, Thali was silent, horrified. Aru and Accalia looked between each other, both of their gazes filled with concern. Would their leader be okay?

    The sound of blaring sirens broke the silence. Instantly, everyone recognized the sound; it was the siren of Officer Magnezone? Had something been discovered?

    The members of the guild rushed upstairs to where the sound had been heard. On floor one was where the job requests and outlaw wanted posters were. Officer Magnezone was there, escorted by two Magnemite, and he was hanging a wanted poster up on the board. When he turned around, surrounded as he was by the guild members, he bobbed his floating body as if to nod and left without a word.

    “Where is it?” Aru asked, looking over the board.

    “There,” Thali spoke to the silent members. “Right in the middle. On charges of robbery and tampering with mythic relics…

    “His name is Grovyle the Thief.”
    #14 May 22, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  15. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 13: The Northern Desert

    Dear Mother, Father, and Twila,

    But where did she go after that? Carefully maneuvering her inky paw in Unown script, she continued to write.

    As I’ve promised and continued to deliver, I have included with this letter a sum of 1000 Poké. Hopefully, that will keep you guys going for a while. I love you and I miss you very much.

    She was about to end the letter there, close it with a footprint signature, but she stopped. Had all her letters become this monotonous and droll? Had she resigned to writing situational reports instead of longing letters?

    She continued.

    It’s been so long since I’ve even said anything. I suppose I assumed you were ashamed of me. The Thieves’ Guild was my only option at the time, but I know none of you were pleased by it. Especially not you, Twila. You most of all.

    But things have changed. That’s why I send less money this time than I used to. I’ve left the Thieves’ Guild. Too many things have gone wrong there. Instead, I joined an exploration guild. Wigglytuff’s.

    The guild here is nothing like the Thieves’—it’s stupendous. The Guildmaster really is an amazing Pokémon. He’s the only one who’s given all us normal types a fighting chance to make our stand.

    And the members here are cool too! Chimecho is always cooking up something interesting for dinner, and Bidoof, this goofy fella, tries so hard to be the best he can be. We aspire with each other and conquer our fears. Together, I and the others have grown so much. It’s crazy to think how much we’ve done.


    “Yes, Aru?”

    She felt a paw on her shoulder, warm and caring. She began to relax instantly.

    “Don’t stay up too late. Accalia and I are off to bed. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow.”

    “Right,”—she giggled briefly—“I know. Goodnight, Aru.”

    “Goodnight, Thali.”

    She paused for a moment, breathing in deep, deliberate breaths. Then she continued:

    I’ve made a close friend here. Well, two close friends really. Accalia is a girl from another world, and it’s hard to explain why that is, but she’s cute and new to this land. She’s like a child—there’s just so little she knows about the world. I’ve taken it upon myself to be there for her and to uplift her in this new world.

    And Aru… Well, there isn’t enough space on the scroll for me to explain his predicament. He’s a dear friend, a Riolu, who has lost his memory, but he still helped me form my own exploration team. We’ve been through many mystery dungeons together, some more harrowing than others, and he has always been there for me.

    Mom, dad, was this what it was like for you? Somehow, I cannot get past this feeling I have for him. When I talk to him, I choke on some of the words. When I’m next to him, it’s like bathing in warm firelight. This isn’t friendship, it’s something… more.

    We have many days of danger ahead of us. We’re going to track down a vile criminal and change the world. Wish us luck. And please, stay safe.

    Your loving daughter and sister,



    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 13
    The Northern Desert


    The next day, Team Unity awoke and reported immediately for duty. Out in the mess hall, Froslass, Wigglytuff, and Chatot were gathered around the table with a map of the known world spread out. Around them, the other guild members had gathered to discuss a plan of action for dealing with Grovyle the Thief.

    “I’ll tell ya,” grumbled Loudred as he bit into a juicy apple. “If I catch wind of that Grovyle, I’ll gut him like a fish for getting Uxie like that.”

    Sunflora nodded emphatically. “Absolutely! I mean, oh my gosh, I can’t believe someone would do something like that! It’s despicable! And I still can’t believe it happened so soon…”

    Croagunk nodded. “Again, I wonder exactly how he—”

    Sensing the beginning of conflict, Chatot gave Croagunk a careful, soul-piercing gaze. “Croagunk,” he said in a mindful tone, “I think it’s safe to assume that, given his accountability for the other missing Time Gears, Grovyle has spent months investigating their locations. Our arrival at Fogbound Lake and his present thievery are parallel situations. I will not hear any more of your treason-talk.”

    Croagunk gulped down a single, fearful breath. “R-right, Guildmaster.” He was immediately silent.

    Thali had a sort of stony gaze, fierce and pointed, as she strolled up to the map of the world along with her two comrades. She placed her forepaws on the table to get a better view. “So Guildmaster, what’s the plan?”

    Chatot seemed almost taken aback by Thali’s candid approach, but Wigglytuff only smiled and nodded. “Straight to the point? Good! Froslass has been very gracious in helping us devise a strategy for catching our criminal,” he said. “He can say it better.”

    Froslass began in her sweet alto, “Yes, thank you Guildmaster.” Accalia was entranced while she detailed the plan: “Grovyle is hunting Time Gears. Naturally, the best way to find Grovyle is to find the Time Gears. We have laid out a set of locations on the map which we believe—based on prior experience—have something to do with the Time Gears.”

    “Prior experience?” Aru wondered. “You’ve encountered these before?”

    Wigglytuff chuckled. “Another time, Aru. Go on, Froslass.”

    “Yes, as I was saying,” she spoke, not at all disgruntled, “we have identified a couple key locations. Specifically, the Northern Desert, Crystal Cave, the Eastern Plains, and the Gulf Archipelago. Thali, if your team is up for it, I would like you to investigate the Northern Desert.”

    Thali looked between her teammates and hummed in thought. It was obvious that they were waiting on her to make a decision—the way their eyes gleamed with trust, and yet also uncertainty.

    The desert, she assumed, would probably be a fine habitat for ground and rock types. Accalia and Aru would be great at dispatching such foes, so she turned to Froslass and nodded. “We’ll gladly accept the mission,” she answered. “Anything to help Uxie.”

    “Good,” curtly said Wigglytuff. He had bounded from his chair and was organizing the other explorers, gathering them by the painted hall of the dining area. “Now line up, kay? I have to give the official assignments.”

    Lining up in order of seniority, Aru looked down the row and noticed that Croagunk was at the head of the pack. Strange. With his nonchalant attitude, I’d have thought he would be newer. I thought for sure Chimecho was his senior.

    “Alright, explorers!” Wigglytuff exclaimed in his characteristically joyful voice. “As you know, we have a duty to hunt down that bad guy! We organized a plan to divide you all up in order to search for him.

    “Sunflora, you will take Bidoof and Loudred to Crystal Cave.”

    A mumble from Loudred was heard under Sunflora and Bidoof’s excitement—something about wanting to be leader.

    “Chimecho, you will lead Corpish, Dugtrio, and Diglet into the Eastern Plains.”

    Chimecho nodded, a determined expression on her face. “Absolutely, Guildmaster!”

    “Froslass will venture solo to the Gulf Archipelago. Which leaves Thali, Accalia, Aru, and Croagunk to explore the Northern Desert.”

    Team Unity was excited, but Aru, who had been watching Croagunk, noticed that the toxic mouth Pokémon was less than ecstatic. He seemed reticent, and he looked up to Wigglytuff, an unasked question on his lips that Wigglytuff answered with a firm stare.

    “You’re all dismissed!”



    The journey to the north would be long and arduous. They would not even reach the mystery dungeon at least for a day. Team Unity and their new tagalong had gathered everything they needed for the journey—items, wood for a fire, food for the day, and their hardened determination.

    And yet, when they set forth for the Northern Desert, Thali couldn’t escape the unmistakable feeling of something missing. Some vacancy or void had filled her gut with a strange, uncomfortable stirring.

    “Alright everyone,” Aru spoke. He held the map in his paws, examining their path. “Looks like we’ll have to venture around the waterfall and this forest in order to get there. We’ll reach the edge of the forest and then rest for a while.”

    With a plan set, they ventured off. Without a moment to spare either, as the winds that proceeded a storm were beginning to sweep across the dusty path.

    Soon, morning turned into afternoon, and their dirt road became a rocky expanse through which sparse creeks sometimes flowed. The silence had been unbearable, but it prevailed for hours it seemed. The only sound was the rushing of water and the swirling of clouds overhead in windy gusts. The sky, once clear blue, had become dark, shadowy grey.

    Ascending to higher plains, climbing, Thali finally decided she’d had enough of silence. “Anybody have a story?” she asked curiously. “Accalia, you must have one, right? I mean… you’re practically from a whole other world.”

    The Snivy blushed. She hadn’t expected to be called on, and the sudden attention had her stuttering. “Well… I do have this one,” she said in thought. “And it’s a personal experience too.”

    “Well, go ahead! Tell us.”

    Embarrassed, Accalia waited a moment to gather her thoughts. She began slowly, softly:

    “Where I came from was not… the greatest place. It was a land divided by war and hatred. Pokémon from two kingdoms had resigned to anger and war as a way to solve their problems. The two leaders were godlike Pokémon, lords of destruction, Reshiram and Zekrom. For centuries, they fought.

    “I belonged to neither Reshiram nor Zekrom’s kingdom. I lived in an outlying village where we were relatively peaceful. For all my life, I had cultivated food for my villagers. But… things didn’t stay that way forever.

    “We thought we were safe from war where we were. But one morning, I woke up and found war at my doorstep. My fields, burned; my mother and father, slain; my people, scared. I rushed around, trying to help others while I could, until I was trapped in a burning hut.

    “I thought I was going to die there. I thought that was the end of my life. It wasn’t. The building suddenly exploded open, the embers climbing into the sky, and before me were the dark silhouettes of the Pokémon that I knew were Reshiram and Zekrom. I begged for mercy; I was utterly terrified.

    “Something strange happened then, something I still cannot explain. Those two gargantuan Pokémon looked back and forth between each other. Then they told me that ‘Arceus had called for me,’ or something like that. They surrounded me, and then I began… glowing. I don’t know how to explain what happened then. I was in another plane, filled with white and nothing else, like I was floating endlessly…

    “And now… well, now I’m here.”

    Accalia finished her story, tears in her eyes when she finished remembering the events that had transpired that day. Even Croagunk appeared moved by her story, though it was displayed in only the barest widening of his eyes.

    “Accalia…” Thali mumbled. “I—”

    “Don’t, Thali,” she assured her, smiling slightly. “We can talk later. Let’s just keep going.”

    The story had lasted them quite a while. Soon, the rough stones under their steps turned to fine dirt, weathered and smoothed by time. They were just at the edge of a forest, and, famished as they were and sore from a day of walking, they settled down, hunkering beneath tree to avoid the worst of the rain to come.

    And come it did. Pouring in massive rivulets and thick drops, the rain soaked the ground, and they rested through only with the setup of a tarp. Accalia stood out in the rain, soaking it up, while Thali watched her from afar.

    Meanwhile, Aru eyed Croagunk. His dry skin, now quenched by the rain, seemed much smoother. Still, the frog remained something of an enigma to Aru, something that he desperately desired to figure out. He was nondescript, yet something about his unwavering expression seemed so suspicious.

    “Staring is rude. Didn’t someone ever tell you that?”

    Singularly, the statement broke Aru’s concentration and he was suddenly on the other end of Croagunk’s stare. With guarded speech, Aru treaded, “Something is bothering you. But you won’t speak up about it.”

    Croagunk’s prosaic gaze returned some intensity. “I think you’ll find that many Pokémon are aloof to others, especially in this perilous time,” he croaked. “Don’t ask, don’t tell; that’s the motto of the time. Respect that.”

    “How can you expect me to work with you when I don’t even know if I can trust you?”

    “Funny you say that. I’m not sure I can trust you either.”

    Finally giving up on the standoffish Croagunk, Aru backed down and settled by the tree. Thali and Accalia had already cuddled up and were resting. Odd. Accalia had been so distant before. I wonder what changed.

    As the moon finally peaked in the sky, parting the sky with its soft glow, Aru gazed up in lonesome thought before finally letting sleep claim him.

    And while the guys slept, Accalia and Thali lay awake, whispering.

    Thali peeked over her shoulder, saw the slow rise and fall of Croagunk and Aru’s chests, and turned back to Accalia, comfortable knowing that they were asleep. “So,” she whispered, “What was it you wanted to talk to me about in private?”

    Accalia’s eyes glimmered in the moonlight, shining with radiant innocence. “Thali… It’s admittedly a bit embarrassing,” she whispered.

    “You should never feel embarrassed to talk to us,” assured Thali. “We’re here for you.”

    Accalia was silent for a moment, as if waring with herself, wavering between denial and uncertainty. “Thali… I feel excluded.”


    “Yes, I… You two spend a lot of time together,” she whispered. “I just want to… I want to be a bigger part of the team. You two have become so close, and I just fade into the background.”

    Thali sighed and looked down at the wet ground. “Shows what kind of leader I am,” she mumbled. So there they sat a few moments longer in gnawing silence, and the She-Eevee looked up at her comrade with sorrowful eyes. “Accalia… can I be honest?”

    “O-of course, Thali.”

    “My feelings for Aru are… different,” she admitted shyly. “I don’t know what it is, but something about him makes me feel different. And maybe that’s why I’ve been spending more time with him and less with you. I can’t deny the way I feel about him, but I’ll talk to him and tell you what you told me, okay?”


    “We’ll spend lots more time together, okay? Don’t you worry one bit,” Thali whispered. “We’ve been here for you since the beginning, and we’re not about to leave now.”

    “Thank you…” Thali listened, but couldn’t tell if there was genuine happiness in her words. Perhaps she was just tired. “I’m going to sleep, Thali. Goodnight.”

    “Goodnight, Accalia.”


    It was a grim night for Wigglytuff and Chatot. With the gates to the guild locked up tight, there was no one left in the torch-lit halls beside them. Peering out a window to the open sea, Chatot looked up at his best friend and Guildmaster with a solemn expression. “I dare say, Guildmaster—”


    Stuttering and bumbling a bit, the bird spoke again. “Right. Wigglytuff, I don’t think we’ve ever had the guild hall this vacant.”

    “No, not even since the beginning. I had always amassed many followers. The guild hall had always held throngs of Pokémon.”

    “Now though…” Chatot fluttered up to Wigglytuff’s shoulder and perched there. “I worry, Wigglytuff. You and I, likeminded as we are, both know that our young apprentices run the very real risk of encountering a mastermind criminal who has defeated countless Pokémon, including Uxie himself, singlehandedly to obtain his prize.”

    Wigglytuff sighed. Now that Chatot said it aloud, it was worrying him too. Pacing to and fro, Wigglytuff replied, “We knew the dangers we were sending them into. We even counted on that. We knew that sending our teams out, as other guilds are certainly doing now, would undoubtedly draw the attention of our criminal. He knows they’re looking for the Time Gears, and he will follow them.”

    “Then what do we do? I’m worried sick.”

    “We keep worrying, Chatot. We worry and wait.”


    “We could be searchin’ for hours, you know that?”

    “Quiet. Every word you speak is filled with disgrace.”

    It was midday, the time when the sun was its harshest in the Northern Desert, and three senior members from the Subterra Guild were exploring the vastness. A Sandslash, Vibrava, and Hippowdon. “I’m just sayin’, there’s no tellin’ how long we’re gonna be out here,” said the Sandslash with rude, impatient disposition. “I don’t know why they sent elites like us out to catch some petty thief.”

    “Not a petty thief,” said the jittery Vibrava. “Stole the Time Gears, he did. Need much skill for such an operation.”

    “Vibrava imparts keen insight,” said the Hippowdon. “We are not dealing with some simple vagabond who takes coin purses. Our thief has successfully stolen not one, but three Time Gears. Be on your guard.”

    The mystery dungeon around them was not an open desert as they had expected, but a twisting labyrinth of high walls surrounding narrow openings like a box canyon. Already, they had encountered several rabid Pokémon, and with no sign of the thief or the Time Gear.

    Hippowdon charged around the corner, Head Smashing a Trapinch while sending others of its kin scuttling back into trenches through small holes in the walls. Sandslash followed behind, groaning and wiping his claws together. “You’d think that we’d have found somethin’ by now,” said the Sandslash. “Come on, my quills are beginnin’ to ache.”

    “Halt! Do you sense that?” Hippowdon shouted after coming to a stop. His nostrils flared up as he smelled the air. “Something not of this land approaches.”

    Trapinch burst into action, flitting about in a square perimeter, his eyes dashing about. “Nothing here; nothing there,” he claimed as he looked around. “Target not found. Are you not mistaken, Hippowdon?”

    “No, I certainly sense something unusual. This place has a particular scent to it, and this thing I detect is not from here.”

    “Then where is it?” Suddenly serious, Sandslash bared his immense claws to strike. “Where is he?”

    “I don’t know!”

    Hippowdon’s intuition was correct, but none of them could react in time to make use of it. Dust exploded from the ground, razor sharp blades cut into them. It was over in seconds. Their bloodied, unconscious bodies lay strewn across the desert sands, and away from the battle scene walked a single figure, the green leaves on his arms tainted in blood.

    Speaking in a deep, gruff voice, Grovyle mumbled: “Now let me see… If I were a Time Gear, where would I be?”


    The piercing sounds of struggle could be heard for miles it seemed. At least, that was what it seemed to Team Unity when they heard the echoing sounds from afar. “What was that?” Accalia asked, furrowing her brow with curious concern.

    “Our allies have encountered the enemy, it seems,” said Croagunk as he walked at the head of the group. “I’ll lead from here.”

    Thali hurried up to get alongside Croagunk. He was walking unusually fast; she had to lengthen her stride just to keep up with him. “What allies?” she asked.

    “Oh, you don’t think that the Grovyle problem is solely our jurisdiction, do you?” asked Croagunk in genuine surprise. “All the guilds have put a price on his head. It is only natural that the Guildmasters would coordinate a strategy to uncover the Time Gears. Those were allies from another guild. We continue the mission as usual.”

    “But shouldn’t we help—”

    “We continue the mission.”

    Firmly set on a singular goal, Croagunk led on through the blistering heat of the Northern Desert. Winds picked up, and every step to them was a fight against the forces of mighty nature, every grain of sand a scathing knife in the gales that blazed over the land.

    After hours though, the rooms began to blend into each other. Through the thick mist of sand, each corner of the dungeon began to look like the rest. Even climbing to a new plateau seemed to create only new, uncertain paths. Entering a room in the dungeon, they were quickly accosted by a Lairon and two Aron, defending their territory with loud growls and crunching metal beneath their feet.

    “Accalia, you take the Aron on the right!” shouted Thali, surveying the battlefield. “I can handle the other, and Aru—”

    But Croagunk rushed ahead out of turn, passing with only the slightest notice of, “I’ll handle this.” He struck quickly with powerful chops and punches. From a distance, Aru noticed the energy surrounding his fists. Brick Break, he assumed.

    Croagunk moved with ease, fluidity, but with a sort of turbulent violence, reminiscent of a tadpole struggling to swim in torrential rapids. He smashed the Aron with his fist, downing the steely ram with a clang. The other Aron, scared but vigilant, charged in with headfirst, but was stopped by Croagunk’s firm grip. Yelling, Croagunk hauled the second Aron into the air, tossing it against the wall as though it were a feather and knocking it out.

    Left now was the Lairon. It scuffed its feet on the dirt, scraping up dust in rage. Rearing onto its hind legs, it reached out with foreleg, baring sharp, metal claws at Croagunk. Again, with a gaze steely enough to match the Lairon, Croagunk swiftly dodged the maneuver, ducking under and sweeping a powerful low kick to knock it off balance.

    In the moment of that final strike, Aru caught sight of the Lairon’s tail coiling back to strike. Thali and Accalia were too awed by Croagunk’s battle prowess to notice, so Aru took it upon himself to charge forward and help.

    He lunged forward, shoving Croagunk away and off balance. “Hey, what are you doing?” shouted Croagunk. He would have berated the Riolu had he not noticed that within his arms was caught the Lairon’s swinging tail.

    “I’ve got him, Croagunk. Finish him off!” shouted Aru.

    Taking no time at all, Croagunk lunged in with a final fist, striking the Lairon back into the canyon wall, unconscious.

    With but a brief glance, Croagunk nodded to Aru. “Thanks,” he said. “Now come on. Let’s get going.”

    Hanging behind them, Accalia tugged on Thali’s tail to get her attention. “It’s weird, isn’t it?” she said. “I thought Croagunk would open up once we got out of the guild, but he only seems even more introverted now.”

    Thali gazed into the distance, looking at the opening of the canyon walls into a sandy clearing. “Perhaps it’s none of our business,” she replied. “Maybe he’s like me. Everyone has a checkered past.”

    “Perhaps…” Nonetheless, Accalia couldn’t help but worry.

    They stepped out of the clearing, into a wide open field. “Over here guys!” shouted Aru from ahead while he stepped out into the field. “Something’s off here!”

    Accalia and Thali followed shortly behind and were stunned by the sight around them. All around were swirling whirlpools of quicksand, sifting with a soft hiss. “Other than these pits? There’s nothing out here Aru,” Thali replied, frowning.

    But Aru was looking around frantically. Something about this was all too familiar. Something that made his heart race with anticipation. What exactly was all this? What was it that made him feel so excited?

    And then, before he knew it, he blacked out.
    #15 May 23, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  16. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 14: The Muse of Emotion

    When his vision cleared and he awoke once again, he was standing before the desert pits as he was before. Aru’s head was wracked with pain though, and his field of view was constricted, as if he was looking down a long, dark tunnel.

    The land around him wasn’t like how it was before though. Everything was greyed out, and he didn’t hear the hissing of the sand, or even the rushing of the breeze. Not even the sun was in the sky, but still a lifeless, grey glow seemed to emanate from everything.

    What is this? He thought. Am I still in the desert?

    “Hey, partner! Are you sure it’s here?”

    Partner? Who said that?

    “Are you positive it’s here? I won’t lie, this is a strange place to find one, and we’ve seen them in volcanoes, for Arceus’ sake.”

    That voice… It’s coming from behind me. He attempted to turn around, but found himself stuck in place. Damn, I can’t even see who it is.

    The second person—the partner, apparently—was still silent and stoic, but something he had gestured to must have reassured the gruff, deep-voiced one. “Well then, I believe you. Still though, I’m not too keen on getting sand in all my things.”

    The silent one seemed to laugh. Aru paled when he heard it, like hearing a strange and unsettling echo. That voice; that laugh… it’s familiar to me. But why?

    But before too much longer, the environment began to fade. His tunnel vision crept in towards the center until all he saw was black. Then the vertigo set in, and before he blacked out again, he heard some parting words from the gruff voice: “Mark it on the map. When we go back, the Time Gear will be ours for the taking.”


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 14
    The Muse of Emotion


    “Aru? Aru? Come on, lazy bum, get up!”

    Reality plunged back in with the force of a tsunami. Aru’s eyes snapped open and he looked around. “What… what happened?”

    “You passed out,” Accalia said, offering him a sip of water. “Here, take some.”

    Croagunk grumbled a bit and leaned up against the red walls of the desert canyon. “I told you to drink more water, or you’d pass out from heat exhaustion. We’re in a desert after all; heat exhaustion is no joke.”

    Accalia glared at Croagunk with serpentine eyes, silencing him. “Don’t mind him,” the Snivy mumbled.

    “Did you guys get in an argument?” he asked as he sipped the water greedily. He was quite thirsty.

    Accalia sighed. “Not really. He just threw a fit after you passed out,” she said as she put a wet towel to his forehead. “We didn’t tell him about your special ability, so he’s convinced you just didn’t take care of yourself.”

    Aru groaned as he rubbed his head. The piercing lights from before, that grey image, and that voice still echoed in the recesses of his mind. “Right, my vision,” he mumbled. “Where’s Thali? I figured out something important.”

    “She’s perusing the sand pits,” simply observed Accalia. She packed the towel back into her sack as well as the canteen of water. “Take an apple, by the way. You’re beginning to look a bit peckish.”

    Aru sighed. Accalia’s doting was incessant, but at least now she was interacting with them again like she used to. Taking a shiny, red apple from the sack, Aru looked around. “Those sand pits,” he mumbled as he eyed them carefully. He toyed with the bandana around his neck as he watched the swirling sand. “They have something to do with the Time Gear. I think one is nearby.”

    Croagunk glanced over from a distance, watching the Riolu and Snivy discussing things. He sneered a bit; perhaps they did not care about the fact that they were deep in the heart of a dangerous dungeon, or that a master criminal was on the loose. He meandered down to the sand pits, thinking deeply.

    He met a resistance and stumbled back. “Croagunk, be a little more careful of where you’re walking,” Thali suddenly reminded him. She rubbed her head as she sat in the sand, groaning from the impact. “Wouldn’t want to fall in, would you?”

    “Ha, I’ll be just fine, Thali,” he replied, ever abstaining from vibrant response. “But I am… curious.”


    “About your leadership capabilities.”

    Puzzled, she pawed at the sand and replied, “I’m perfectly capable of leading my friends. What’s there to be curious about?”

    “That very thing precisely,” he said, still stoic in his gaze. Perhaps there was irritation behind his guise, but Thali couldn’t exactly tell. “You’ve been an explorer for how long, Thali? Some months, I would say; maybe two seasons.”

    “What does that have to do with anything?”

    “You’re ignorant, little Eevee. Too ignorant for your own good. You haven’t seen real danger, yet.”

    “What, and you have?” she asked, frustration breaking through her voice.

    “Like you would not imagine. I’ve been at this guild for years, Thali. Twelve years.”

    “I…” Any retort she had was caught in her throat. “Wait; twelve years? And you’re still at the guild?”

    “Of course. I’ve worked with Wigglytuff and Chatot almost since the founding of the guild. I work under them, helping and guiding new recruits. I’ve seen more than any of the other guild members combined.”

    Thali sighed. His calm gaze now seemed unsettling, as though the lines under his brow had darkened. Scuffing the sand, she rubbed her arm. “Okay. So you’ve got some accolades, and more experience than me,” she mumbled. “What are you getting at?”

    “You don’t understand the peril that you’re leading your team into.”

    “Grovyle is a thief who’s beaten Uxie and some others. I know exactly what I’m up against.”

    “No, you don’t quite understand the most important thing yet,” Croagunk insisted. He approached her and grasped her by her shoulders. “You could die. They could die. Yet you don’t seem to realize that yet, now do you?”

    Silence. Aru was calling from the distance, but Thali felt stonewalled by Croagunk’s words. Now they were walking over, and Thali watched her friends striding in the sand, imagining corpses in their place, bony and inanimate.

    No. That wouldn’t happen.

    “What is it, Aru?” Thali finally found the words to ask.

    “I think I figured out where the Time Gear is,” explained Aru, “but it’s going to sound a bit weird.”

    “Define weird.”

    “Um… jumping into a pit of quicksand. That kind of weird.”

    The blank look on Thali’s face expressed simultaneously her confusion and exasperation. “I… what?”

    “No, I’m serious! It’s got to be down there,” he claimed. “I saw it. In my vision, I saw it.”

    Croagunk, brow raised in speculation, mumbled, “Vision? What vision?”

    “Kind of a long story, Croagunk; not enough time in the day for that one,” Thali stopped him shortly. “What exactly did you see?”

    Aru sighed. How best to recount it? Closing his eyes, he spoke, “I was in this desert. There was someone else here speaking to me about a Time Gear beneath the sand.”

    “Really? That settles it then. Everyone, into the quicksand!”


    And before all was said and done, with bravado and brevity, Team Unity leaped into the quicksand in a burst of excitement. Croagunk gazed onward, his formerly passive gaze now punctuated with knitted brow and twisted bewilderment. “What the…”

    Seeing no other way out of it, he leaped in after them, sinking into the gritty sand pit.


    “Don’t tell me that… none of you have found anything?”

    It was the end of the second day, and one of the teams had returned. Chimecho, the team speaker, was chagrined to admit it, but she reported honestly to Wigglytuff, her dear role model, “Forgive us, Guildmaster. We arrived without haste and searched tirelessly. We scrutinized over every crack, but… we came up empty-handed.”

    “We admit our terrible shame for this,” Dugtrio spoke up heartily. “But perhaps, Guildmaster, it is possible that no Time Gear exists in the Eastern Plains.”

    Wigglytuff sat calmly at his mat, humming in thought. “Well… no good, no good at all,” he mumbled, pouting cutely. “I’m sure you guys tried your hardest. Don’t beat up on yourself, Chimecho. Dugtrio is right. We only guessed that a Time Gear was there anyway.”

    Looking up at his father, the younger Diglett wore a troubled expression. “So what do we do now?”

    Dugtrio resigned to a lone sigh. “We’re… not sure.”

    “Don’t be scared!” Wigglytuff assured them, bounding up with limitless energy. “I’m sure we can figure this out. With teamwork and perseverance, we will find the Time Gears.”

    So Wigglytuff gestured them out, giving them each time off to rest after a job well done, and allowing him some space to confer their findings with Chatot. Chimecho left to the mess hall, dejected and still feeling disappointed about their results, or lack thereof.

    She blinked when she felt a friendly claw brush against her flimsy torso. “Hey, hey, don’t worry so much, Chimecho,” Corpish said in his typical accent. “Like the guildmaster said, maybe there just wasn’t a Time Gear after all.”

    “I know, Corpish. But—”

    “Hey, hey, but nothing!” Corpish said, pointing his hefty claw at the chime Pokémon. “You’ve got to be more positive.”

    Passing by on his way to the sentry post, Diglett looked up at Chimecho with concern that affirmed Corpish. “Yeah, Chimecho. You know, lately you’ve been beating yourself up a lot.”

    Chimecho crossed her arms—or attempted to with her stubby limbs—and stiffened indignantly. “I have not.”

    “Chimecho, my dad says lying is bad,” Diglett replied, unsettled by her unusual attitude. “You’re a good Pokémon, and a great leader too. You know, you should spend less time feeling bad about yourself, and more time remembering that we’re happy to have a great friend like you.”

    There was more color in Chimecho’s cheeks than normal, and she felt flustered at the young one’s praise. “I… thank you, Diglett. I must be stressed lately,” she admitted. “These recent events have got me doubting myself.”

    “Well hey, we’re all feeling bummed, I think,” Corpish replied sincerely. “I say we take a load off for a bit. There are lots of exploration teams out there. One of ‘em will nab Grovyle.”

    “Yeah. I guess you have a point,” Chimecho admitted. There was an unshakable somberness in her tone though. “Still, it’s hard to feel like this isn’t just our responsibility. I mean, so soon after we went—”

    Corpish reached out and gently grabbed her arm with his claw. “Hey, none of that,” he said. It was easy to tell that they were all suffering from the mutual guilt. “No time to be feeling like that. Come on. Let’s go eat something. Hey, hey, I’ll even help you cook this time.”

    Now that got Chimecho to giggle, even if it was half-hearted. “You’re silly. Come on, then. We’ll make something for us, and extra for when the others return.”

    And so, while Diglett and Dugtrio returned to holding down the fort, Corpish strode with Chimecho into the kitchen to make something. Though their hearts were heavy, they knew that this burden was not theirs to bear alone. Or at least, that was what they believed in order to quell their palpitating fear.


    The first thing Team Unity noticed was breathable air. They gasped in huge gulps of air, relieved to finally free their collapsing lung.

    Of course, the next thing they noticed was the falling. Their shrieks echoed as they fell, far down below. They descended further and further, their guts filling with unbelievable terror.

    And then they landed. Not hard in the bone-crunching way that Accalia had first expected, but softly, though she was sure there would be a bit of a bruise on her tails.

    Finally, after all that had happened, they opened their eyes. Though it was barely lit by torch sconces lining the walls, it was still easy to see that they were in an enormous cavern. They had landed on a soft pile of finely ground sand which had cushioned their fall, saving them from injury.

    “Yes! Aru, you were right!” Thali shouted, springing up in elation. “This is a new mystery dungeon, something no one else has ever found before. We’ve got to be on the right track!”

    Croagunk, who had just landed nearby, pulled his head from out of the sand and shook himself clean. “I don’t know how you knew about this,” he mumbled in thought. “But good job.”

    “Eh… call it intuition,” Aru said meekly to pacify Croagunk’s curiosity. “We should go deeper then. Come on, we don’t have all day. Remember, Grovyle could already be there.”

    Now that was an unwelcome thought. They gathered themselves quickly and rushed down the nearest corridor of the new dungeon.

    While they ran through, descending further into the unknown territory, Croagunk looked around, witnessing the evidence around him that proved more and more how surprisingly competent Team Unity was, and felt a pang of guilt for insulting them before. Perhaps their lack of experience didn’t discount their skill.

    “Aru,” Croagunk said, tugging at the Riolu’s paw. “Listen, I admit that I was in the wrong for doubting you three.”

    Aru, puzzled by his sudden about-face, accepted the apology with a smile. “You don’t have to tell me you’re sorry,” he said. “Thali, though. She might want a bit of an apology later.”

    At last, Croagunk elicited a small, amphibian chuckle, the only sign of his amusement. “Of course,” he mumbled in thought.

    “Yeah. For now, try not to worry so—”

    “Hold up!” Thali suddenly shouted when they came out of the corridor. “We’ve got company!”

    The enemy was upon them. Outside of the corridor was an open cavern, with smaller holes on both sides. Pokémon flooded into the cavern. From the left, at least ten bipedal, stony beasts with blue heads and beaks; from the right however, there was an equal number of quadrupedal Pokémon with heads like bucklers. “Cranidos and Shieldon?” Thali wondered, blinking. “But they were supposed to have gone extinct thousands of years ago.”

    “Hold up. I don’t think they see us,” Accalia mumbled as she watched them closely. “They’re just looking at each other. What’s going on?”

    They watched for a few more moments in silence. The Cranidos and Shieldon lined up in side by side, facing off against each other with fierce gazes. They growled and snarled—maybe they were angry, or maybe they’d never learned to speak a common language. Grinding their feet into the dirt, they prepared to charge.

    Observing all this, Thali mumbled, “They’re about to fight.”

    “No, wait just a moment,” Croagunk said, nodding over to the other holes. “There’s more. Just watch.”

    Exiting their respective dens were the leaders of the packs: A hulking brute with spines over his cranium, Rampardos; and a lumbering giant with an enormous shield guarding his face, Bastiodon. “This is insane!” Thali squealed, “Two species that have been dead for eons. But what are they doing way underground like this?”

    “I’m not sure,” Croagunk croaked. “But whatever it is, I don’t want to be caught in the middle of it. We can sneak around after this blows over.”

    “And how long will that take?” asked Aru.

    “Don’t be hasty, Aru,” pouted the Eevee as she looked out on the scene. “I want to observe this. This is a phenomenon that no one else has ever seen before.”

    Aru smiled as he watched her expression stretch into excitement. Sometimes he forgot the true reason she became an explorer: to discover new things, and uncover mysteries about the unknown world.

    The Rampardos and Bastiodon parted the armies of their underlings and glared at each other. They huffed and made unintelligible noises, but the pattern was recognizable. It was an ancient language, she realized; something unheard of, exotic, and yet all the more beautiful because of that.

    Territory negotiations, perhaps? Aru thought as he watched the strange, new Pokémon chatting in their foreign tongue. Or maybe an armistice of sorts? The grunts seem raring for a fight, but those two leaders seem levelheaded.

    The Rampardos and Bastiodon suddenly reared their heads back and shouted cries to their underlings. Rather than advance to combat, the flanks of Cranidos and Shieldon backed away, spacing out from their respective leaders. Fiersome gazes passed between the two enormous Pokémon before they charged at each other, their hard heads clashing in a pushing struggle against each other.

    “Oh, I see!”

    “Wait,” Aru mumbled, watching Accalia’s enthralled gaze. “See what?”

    “This is single combat,” Accalia said, smiling sort of sadly. “It is very common where I lived. Rather than whole armies do battle, they held a sort of champion warfare for certain territories. The strongest fighter in a region would be sent forth from each side to engage in bloody combat. The victor of the combat claims victory for his whole team.”

    “Wow. That’s… surprisingly efficient,” said Thali.

    “Well, we only started doing it because the death tolls were so high,” Accalia admitted. “It’s… Let’s not talk about it.”

    Returning to spectating—though a melancholy chord was struck—they watched as the Rampardos launched himself at the Bastiodon, only to be halted by the shield Pokémon’s parry. Bastiodon then charged, ramming into Rampardos who threw him back with a mighty, rearing bash.

    “It’s staggering,” Thali mumbled. “The sheer display of power.”

    Aru watched in anticipation. “Hold up. Something is happening.”

    The Rampardos fell back, exhausted and spent of energy. Bastiodon stood victorious over Rampardos, but did not attempt to kill him. Instead, Bastiodon stepped down and bowed deeply.

    Rampardos, injured and beaten, returned to his feet shortly after and nodded humbly. He called to his allies, and they returned to their den. Soon after, Bastiodon roared in victory before returning with his Shieldon.

    “Wonder what that was all about,” Accalia said as they entered the now destroyed battlefield. “Why were they fighting?”

    “Perhaps to gather resources deeper in the cave,” Aru said. Looking around the room, he felt a pulse deep within him, something that matched his heartrate but was entirely alien. “But we need to focus on finding the Time Gear. I think it’s through that passage over there.”

    Aru led, and Croagunk analyzed him closely. “What makes you so sure?” he asked.

    “Just intuition.”

    Hanging back, Croagunk mumbled aside to Thali, “You never doubt the crazy things your partner says?”

    Thalis sighed. “Aru sounds crazy, I know; still, you have to understand how long we’ve worked with him,” she said. “I’d trust him if my life depended on it.”

    Croagunk found that premise a bit bizarre, but he shrugged. Now wasn’t the time to question that.

    Besides, the results were unquestionably illuminating. Through the passageway lit by torches in sconces and covered by hanging stalagmites, they exited into a vast aquifer. Glistening from the firelight, the underground lake gleamed and shown with a mysterious, green aura. Ripples covered the lake in regular intervals, like Morse code on the water.

    “Oh my,” Thali gasped, taking in the majestic beauty. “It’s almost exactly like Fogbound Lake.”

    Croagunk’s eyes were blank, but the jitteriness of excitement could still be seen while he bobbed in place. “And that green glow is unmistakable. Must be a Time Gear.”

    “So theives, now that you have this knowledge, what do you plan to do with it?”

    The water was disrupted as a small figure burst out of it. It was a small Pokémon with twin white tails, a red gem in its forehead, and pink digits trailing its head. Thali watched it closely, realizing almost instantly that it bore a resemblance to Uxie.

    “Answer me, thieves!” shouted the Pokémon—clearly female—aggressively. “Why have you come here?”

    The voice of the team, Thali stepped forward, a concerned gaze in her eyes. “We come bearing no harm, guardian,” she insisted. “Please, I beg of you—”

    “Silence!” she shouted in retort. “Bearing no harm, eh? Then why have you sought my Time Gear?”


    “Because you plan to steal it!” she shouted. “Don’t believe you can fool me as easily as you did my brother Uxie. I am Mesprit, guardian of this lake, and Muse of Emotion. I will not bow so easily!”

    The fight was upon them before they were even prepared. With devastating psychic power, Mesprit blasted them back away from the lake. She then zipped away out of sight.

    “Where is she?” shouted Aru. They regathered into a small circle, Aru, Croagunk, and Accalia encircling Thali. “Hold your ground everyone!”

    Thali looked around frantically. Where was that Pokémon? “Mesprit, please! Hear us out!”


    Faster than the eye could see, Mesprit blipped in before them. She unleashed Psycho Cut moves, firing blades of energy that caught them in a blast and scattered them across the cavern. They were blasted down, battered in the dirt and rock. “Damn,” grumbled Aru as he pulled himself to his feet. Croagunk was nearly out, he could tell. A fighting-poison type like him was no good in this fight.

    Of course, he wasn’t doing so well either. Still, he scrounged for strength enough to stand.

    Thali was still up, shouting now, “Mesprit, please understand that we don’t want to harm you!”

    “Is that what you told my brother? Is it?” shouted the muse in retort. She threw forth a Fire Blast at the impudent intruders, scorching the earth beneath them when they dodged. “You’re liars, the whole lot of you! I’ll never let you touch the Time Gear!”

    “Hit her with Shadow Ball, Thali!” Accalia shouted as she dodged another strike. They couldn’t attack while Mesprit was flying around.

    But Thali was insistent. “I don’t want to. She’s not our enemy,” she said in passing.

    “We can’t reason with her until we subdue her,” marked Croagunk. He struck with a Brick Break attack into the ground, forging a wall of rock that he could use as a shield against the onslaught of fiery fury. “Take the shot!”

    “I can’t!”

    There was confusion, inbred conflict. It would be their downfall.

    While they argued, Accalia had tried to run for cover, but instead tripped over the rough ground. Mesprit’s piercing, angry gaze glued to Accalia as she primed a Fire Blast. “I have you now!” she shouted as she glowed with power.

    The blast shot out just as Thali made it to her. “Protect!” she called out, using her energy to form a protective shield, just in time to save them from the blast. It was a close call, and it winded her to stave the attack.

    Pacifying her was impossible now. Thali refused to risk the health of her teammates further. Seeing opportunity in the wake of Mesprit’s rage, Thali gathered what inner strength remained and aimed. “Shadow Ball!”

    The energy sphere struck the surprised Mesprit, and she staggered from the energy burns of the super-effective move, falling to the ground to support herself. “Now Aru! Get her!”

    Taking the immediate opportunity, Aru rushed forward, his fist charged and gleaming metallic. “Bullet Fist!” he cried, striking quickly against the psychic Pokémon and putting her down.

    “I’ll not be beaten so easily!” Mesprit cried. Her eyes glowed golden with psychic power as she levitated into the air. With power and majesty, she lifted her arms and commanded the members of Team Unity to rise into the air with her.

    “Let us down!” shouted Croagunk as they were lifted. A purple aura enveloped them, and he slowly began to feel his throat constrict. She was going to choke them in to submission.

    “Thali!” coughed Aru in an attempt to grasp for breath. “Take a shot. Please!”

    “Shadow Ball!”

    As a last ditch effort, Thali gathered her strength and fired one last bolt of ghostly energy. It struck Mesprit, and she along with all of Team Unity collapsed to the floor in weakness.

    Thali grasped at the cavern flooring, dragging herself inch by inch toward Mesprit. “Stay back!” shouted the muse as she pulled herself into a seating position against a rock. “I won’t succumb to you.”

    “Why don’t you get it?” shouted Thali as she pulled herself alongside her. “We’re not here to fight you. We’re here to help you!”

    “You’re… what?”

    “We’re explorers,” Thali explained, wincing from the pain of her wounds. “There is a thief who’s stealing Time Gears. We’re searching for them in order to trap him. Please, you have to believe us!”

    Mesprit frowned. Her words were sincere. When she closed her eyes and searched her insight for truth, she found that the young Eevee was kind-hearted, with intentions true and pure. “Forgive me,” she mumbled. “I was blinded by my rage. But if not you, then who is this thief?”

    That would be me.”

    And then, striding in with regale and austere pride, entered the very Pokémon described in all of the wanted posters. A blade of grass like a ponytail sticking up from his head, red jawline and sharp leaves on his forearms, and a smug grin on his face; verily, this was Grovyle, the master thief. “I was wondering what the ruckus was, and all that clamor,” he said in his gruff tone. “Thanks, really. You did the hard part for me.”

    Foolishness hanging over her head, Mesprit suddenly looked downcast. This was it. She had failed.

    Aru and Thali though refused to give in. Even though their team was beaten and bruised, and Accalia and Croagunk huddled together in pain and failing consciousness, Thali and Aru still stood tall to face off against this fiend. “Don’t you dare,” Thali shouted hoarsely. “We’re here to stop you, Grovyle.”

    Gone like a bolt of lightning, Grovyle struck swift as the wind.

    There was no time to react. The pain was delayed, but only by the shock of the instant attack. “For all your foolhardiness, you put up very little fight,” Grovyle scoffed as he stepped over them. Thali reached over to Aru, trying her best to stand, but failing. They had lost.

    “Stay down for now. I’ll be taking that Time Gear.”
    #16 May 24, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  17. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 15: The World's Paralysis

    Blood pooled beneath Accalia as she tried to stop her flooding wounds. Mesprit’s attacks had left them more vulnerable than she thought. Unaware of her surroundings, she clutched onto her arms where she bled. She lay in a world vastly separate from the real one, her consciousness fading.

    But violent shakes gripped her, and her swirled vision cleared. Above her was Thali, beaten herself. She was shouting; her lips formed the words “get up!” but the blood pounding in her head engulfed all other sound.

    Numbed by pain and blood loss, she found the strength to stand up, but barely. Next to her was Croagunk, similarly battered, and he was clutching his head from some injury. Aru was right behind Thali, holding Mesprit in his arms. What was going on?

    She was being dragged by Thali now as she kept shouting in warning. Just behind them, Grovyle the Thief swam to the center of the lake. What happened next was a sight like nothing ever seen before.

    The Time Gear flashed brightly for a moment just before it was taken. As soon as it was removed from its seat of power, an ominous air seemed to flood the cavern. While Grovyle speedily retreated into the recesses of the underground network, an odious void of grey began to spread, blanketing and freezing all it touched.

    There was no time for pain or ache; Team Unity was in a realm of implacable doom. Though their bodies threatened to give out, they ran out of the cave. They had to survive.

    In the wake of their escape, the grey scourge left behind a timeless landscape frozen in place. The water, once crystal clear and rippling pure, was now frozen still, cold to the touch. Contemptible and compelling, like a plague of madness, the void swallowed all in its maw.

    And then there was nothing; only the revolting madness of undying death, timeless eternity, an instant in time with such double-edged beauty and eternal stillness that some might be foolish enough to praise it. A work of art in nature, some might call it; a pure moment which would lie untouched.

    How witless it would be to think that such existence was appealing. The state was forever a Heisenberg uncertainty, perpetually chaotic, encompassing all that it was, all that it could have been, yet all that it never was. It was a state of finite chaos, entropy contained within the most infinitesimal space.

    Running faster than they ever thought possible, Team Unity sought to escape the onslaught of the cosmic silence before it engulfed them, even as every limb in their body fought against them.

    They ran, and ran…

    Until consciousness failed.


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 15
    The World’s Paralysis


    The first sense that returned was touch; the bite of the sand beneath him where he’d collapsed, and a glowing warmth. Then came sight, and with it light. The dawning sun rose in the field of his vision, and when he swiveled his neck slowly around, he saw the exit of the dungeon behind them in a rock wall. Either they’d run farther than he thought, or the mystic laws of mystery dungeons had returned them to the entrance.

    His eyes were heavy-lidded, but there was work yet to be done. Crawling around on his hands and knees, he looked around him for his comrades.

    They weren’t too far; merely stumbled out of the cave like him, and passed out as well. Croagunk was holding onto the Mesprit with protective care. Accalia was right behind them, cuts and bruises all along her left side.

    And Thali… Examining the field with blurred gaze, he soon found that the Eevee was just waking up. Dragging his weak body toward her, covered in dirt and scrapes, he hovered over his best friend, watching her closely. “Thali?”

    “Mm… ugh… yes?” she groaned as her vision cleared.

    Though her words were barely intelligible, they were enough to relieve Aru. “Good. You’re alright,” he mumbled. Overcome with a sense of urgency, he tried rolling her onto her feet. “We need to get back to the Guild quickly. We won’t last very long in this state.”

    Thali, acting quickly, tossed their satchel to the ground, letting the contents spill out messily so she could grab her badge and world map. She looked at the badge and frowned as it only glowed in small pulses. “We’re too far from the guild to teleport everyone back. We only have enough energy for… one, maybe two people.”

    Aru sighed and surveyed their team. “Mesprit and Croagunk, then,” he replied shortly. But seeing Accalia and her battered side, he frowned. “Actually… Accalia needs medical attention. You go with her, and make sure she gets treatment.”

    “But what about you?” asked Thali, frowning as the heat began beating down. She panted from pain, but still looked up at him, concerned. “You and Croagunk and Mesprit are all wounded too.”

    “But not like Accalia. Just look at her; she’s torn up. And I need you to go with Accalia. That way, Accalia can rest, and you can explain the situation to the Guildmaster and to Froslass,” he replied.

    Thali reached for his paw and bit her lip, holding back her tears. “But I’ll worry about you,” she cried.

    Aru sighed. He had such a hard time resisting those big, weeping eyes. “Take care,” he whispered as he caressed her cheek and brushed her tears away. “Get going. Tell the Guildmaster what happened here. We’ll be back before nightfall.”

    “Aru, wait!”

    He smiled at her and shone his badge at her, surrounding her in the blue aura of a teleportation circle. “Get home safe. And get some rest. We’ll be back before you know it.”

    “Aru, stop! Dammit!”

    But she was gone before she could eke out her next words. Soon, Accalia had disappeared too, and Aru was left with two injured Pokémon in the dusty wastelands. He was silent for a while, exhausted. It had taken all the willpower he could muster to send her and Accalia off.

    Well, now I’m alone… well, mostly, Aru thought as he hauled Croagunk and Mesprit off to an alcove within the sandstone to shield them from the buffers of sandstorms. I wonder if that was the right choice… She’s going to be mad at me later.

    With a sigh, he finally sat, reposing against the cold wall to recover what strength he could glean. Even thinking was too exhausting, so he let himself drift, and was soon asleep.


    “Nothing to report either, eh?”

    Sunflora looked down with a bit of shame. “Nothing we could find. The Crystal Cave is a dangerous dungeon, but in all our time searching there, we uncovered nothing that would lead us to a Time Gear.”

    Froslass sighed deeply, seeming disheartened herself. “A shame, truly. Crystal Cave was the location I was most sure about... but it wasn’t as though we expected these Time Gears to be easy to unearth,” she replied. Beside Sunflora were her teammates Bidoof and Loudred. Even the normally bombastic Pokémon was reticent now, his head bowed in defeat.

    Morale was low. Chatot, who was hanging out on a small perch, shuffled down and rested on Sunflora’s shoulder. “Listen here, Sunflora,” Chatot chirped sternly, fixing her and her comrades with a firm gaze. “And you two as well. There’s something you ought to understand, and it will affect the rest of your careers as explorers.”

    He chirped a bit, breathing a quiet sigh. “Failure isn’t pleasant. It cripples the heart with fear and uncertainty, and it invites criticism. But failure is inevitable; arguably, failure is a vital aspect of our maturation. You need to understand as explorers that life is laden with failure, but failure is okay. It is better to live to fight another day, to take your experiences, learn from them, and improve.

    “You will fail to catch criminals; your exploratory endeavors will turn up cold; you will fall down over and over again. However, you will get up each and every time, and you will stride onward, growing and improving. Don’t let this single defeat dishearten you when so much lies ahead to be done.”

    Only after Chatot’s speech was Sunflora finally able to crack that characteristic smile, weak as it was. “Thank you, Chatot,” she mumbled. The hint of a frown still curved on her lips. “You can’t deny, though… We need to catch Grovyle. Every second we spend failing is another second closer he is to acquiring another Time Gear.”

    “This is true. But you are not alone in this endeavor,” assured the song bird. “You have your comrades. And the other guilds are pulling out all the stops to search for this master thief. Rest assured, we will catch him.”

    Chatot sent her and her team off, with their spirits lifted slightly. Bidoof scurried alongside Sunflora, blushing a bit. “Uh, Sunflora… y’all don’t have to feel so bad,” he assured her. “Ah mean… We tried our best, didn’t we?”

    Sunflora giggled a bit. His drawl was cute. “You’re right, I suppose,” she mumbled. “Still… my gosh, I can’t help but feel that we didn’t do anything important.”

    Bidoof blushed a bit and fumbled with something in his paws. “Look… Mayhaps we didn’t,” he mumbled, bumbling with his bobble. He leaned up to her. “But if it makes y’all feel any better, Ah want y’all to have this.”

    Sunflora finally looked and accepted the gift, blinking as she looked at it. “Bidoof… what is this?”

    “It’s a crystal from that cave!” he explained. “I thought it looked real pretty. See the way it refracts the light? Ah thought it was dazzling. Ah was gonna keep it for myself, but Ah think you’ll like it better.”

    “It’s… I…” she was speechless. The reflecting light was hypnotizing in its beauty. “Bidoof, it’s gorgeous! But why would you give this to me?”

    Bidoof scuffed his paws on the ground. “Well… Maybe we didn’t catch that nasty Grovyle. But exploring was still fun,” he said, looking up to her with hopeful eyes. “Ah wanted to remind y’all that exploring is more than catching bad guys. It’s also ‘bout making memorable experiences.”

    Sunflora sighed as she gazed at the crystal. She tried to perk up with a smile, but Bidoof’s words had touched a deep part of her heart that she’d concealed too long, and she began to tear up. “Thank you… Bidoof.”

    “Sunflora? Are you—?”

    She pulled him in for a deep hug, shushing him. “Just… thank you. Don’t say anything else.”

    They were silent for a moment, and Bidoof blushed from the embrace. From behind though, a gruff grunt passed by. “You two. Sheesh,” mumbled Loudred. “Pull yourselves together. There’s still work to be done.”

    “Out of the way!”

    They were shoved aside to the hallway walls while, blindingly, Thali suddenly ran past them. The dormitory hallways were loud with her pounding paws as she ran. Sunflora and Bidoof were still shocked by her mere appearance. How did she get back so fast?

    But Thali ignored their confused gazes and ran out toward the lobby where Froslass and Chatot were waiting. “Quickly, listen to me!” she shouted at them, exasperated and tired.

    “Child, what’s the matter?” Chatot squawked, fluttering his wings. “Why the rush?”

    “It’s Grovyle!” she said, gritting her teeth. “He… He got the Time Gear in the Northern Desert.”


    Where was Wigglytuff during all this? Another meeting with the Council had been called, a conference on the state of the continent, and the attempts to arrest the nefarious Thief of Time Grovyle. They were to discuss plans on sweeping out the continent in order to find the villain. Or at least, that was what should have taken place.

    “Empoleon! Why have you not deployed all of your efforts in finding this thief?” Tyrannitar shouted, pounding his fists on the table. “I know for certain that you have the greatest magnitude of members, yet you’ve hardly deployed them beyond your Marine Resort. You understand what is at stake here, of course.”

    Maintaining her haughty air of disinterest, Empoleon fixed Tyrannitar with a fierce glare. “Perhaps you’ve forgotten that my guild spans the seas, Tyrannitar,” she reminded him. “There are plenty of submarine temples and dungeons which could hold those Time Gears, and we must keep searching through them. Besides, the land front is your responsibility, along with Wigglytuff’s.

    “But what of you, Staraptor,” She asked, switching to the predatory leader of the Sky guild. I’ve seen your apprentices soaring through the skies in crosshatch for days now. Have you not discovered anything?”

    Staraptor squawked a bit. “My scouts have reported little,” he grumbled, embarrassed. “What we see from a broad distance ought to be inspected with more scrutiny. He hides in the shadows. We’ve seen no sign of this thief, other than the scars on the land he’s left behind.”

    The room grew silent then. That was the fear that had lain in all of them, the fear of time stopping for the entire continent. Salamance, who sat at the head of their ornate table in the Shrine of Evolution, stretched out his wings and shook his head. “Now is not the time to argue, but to make plans and decisions,” he reminded them, irritated by their division. “As you are well aware, the realms that are paused in time are not the only ones in danger. The paused time is spreading. We must act quickly if we are to resolve this.”

    “Is it possible though that we are spread too thin?” Drapion suggested finally, though his sleek voice sounded like it was wafting through a veil of subterfuge.

    “What do you mean?” Salamance maintained a fixture of imperturbable will.

    “Maybe we’re low on numbers? This problem spans more than just our own territories, and this is more than just a bout of pride. Perhaps we ought to recruit more members to take on a problem of this—”

    “Don’t even finish that thought, Drapion,” said Wigglytuff, suddenly and intensely, leaning over the table heavily. He had a temper at times, but even Drapion was shocked by his brash outburst. “Grovyle may be our number-one priority right now, but don’t think I’ve overlooked the increase in petty thefts and crimes lately. Our request boards are practically chocked full of them.”

    “I…” Drapion was staggered into silence. “What are you getting at, Wigglytuff?”

    “While you talk cheap about needing more numbers, you haven’t exactly been very honest about how much assistance you are actually providing,” criticized Wigglytuff. “In fact, I suspect that the rise in crime lately is precisely caused by the thieves from your guild taking advantage of this panic to wreak havoc across the continent.”

    Now accused before his peers, Drapion cowered under the oppressive atmosphere. “W-what? Dear comrades, this is ludicrous,” he said. “Like Salamance said, we should be working together, not dividing ourselves.”

    “Hold your tongue, Drapion,” said Salamance, a scowl between his eyes. “We will discuss this matter at another time.” He breathed a deep sigh, huffing steam in annoyance. “This meeting has produced nothing. I now dismiss the council. Continue your current efforts.

    “Drapion and Wigglytuff, though, will stay behind.”

    So the council dissipated. Downcast and dreary seemed to be the mood of the day; even Tyrannitar stomped out with a look of melancholy stretched over his face. When the room had finally emptied of unnecessary occupants, Drapion looked desperately up to Salamance. “Please, Master Salamance, you must understand—”

    “I understand clearly, Drapion,” grumbled Salamance as he stomped his foot. “Like Wigglytuff, don’t think that I have stood idly while this suspicious rise in crime has occurred. I’ll remind you that I am not the head of this council because I drew the largest straw. I am watching you.”

    Now meeker than ever, with anger showing in his clenched pincers, Drapion bowed. “I… of course, Master Salamance.”

    The enormous dragon then turned to gaze on Wigglytuff. “Right then,” he mumbled. “Now Wigglytuff, I—”

    He stopped at the sound of a quick buzzing. As if from nowhere, a figure with blinding speed flew into the room, halting before Salamance. The Pokémon was a Ninjask, a blindingly fast, hornet bug-type. Recognizing him, Salamance huffed, “Speak, messenger.”

    “Pardon, Promethean,” said the Ninjask hurriedly, with a great air of formality, “I received news just now from my scouts. Time over the Quicksand fields in the Northern Desert seems to have stopped suddenly. We suspect Grovyle the Thief has struck again.”

    “The Northern Desert?” Wigglytuff wondered before gasping. “Team Unity! Croagunk!” No sooner had the thought come to his head than was the guildmaster bounding out of the room, rushing frantically.

    “Wait, Wigglytuff!” Salamance called out, but the frenetic master was already gone, running back to his guild to make sure his precious apprentices were okay. Wigglytuff was a kind soul—it was something Salamance valued about him. He was like a father, vigilantly protecting his children, even if that meant he had to get a little mean. But sometimes, his heart was too big.

    Salamance just hoped that his old friend wouldn’t let himself get hurt.


    It wasn’t until later that night that Aru and Croagunk returned from the desert with Mesprit in tow. Fittingly, the town covered by fierce storm clouds, and rain poured down. When they crossed the grate to enter the Guild, Diglett and Loudred immediately rushed up to help. “It’s about TIME you got back!” shouted Loudred as he looked over the injured cargo. “Who’s that you got there?”

    “She’s Mesprit, a guardian like Uxie,” explained Aru weakly. “She needs medical attention immediately. Please, she needs care.”

    The patter of the rain was cool on their bodies, yet it lingered with a palpable sadness. With all their efforts, they had failed again. Loudred nodded. “We’ll help you get inside,” he offered. “Let’s go.”

    They were all injured, Loudred noticed, but none like Mesprit. Battered with blood and pink skin bruised, she hadn’t regained conscience for some time, and she appeared close to death. He gulped down a breath. If they were up against a villain so ruthless that he could nearly kill a legendary Muse such as Mesprit and Uxie, how could they ever hope to take him down?

    The climb down the ladder was slow, and deliberate care was taken to ensure Mesprit’s safety. When they finally came down to the lower second floor, it seemed Wigglytuff had already gathered the other apprentices. Chimecho was at the ready, guiding Croagunk to a dormitory where she could properly treat Mesprit. “How bad is it?” asked Croagunk as he followed the floating chime Pokémon. He had returned to being emotionally distant, Aru noticed.

    “She’s in bad shape,” mumbled Chimecho as they exited down the hall. “But I have hope that she’ll pull through. Let’s go, quickly.”

    When they had left, the crowd in front of Wigglytuff’s chambers dissipated, revealing Thali at the center. Aru breathed a sigh of relief as he watched her stomp toward him. ”You’re okay. That’s a relief,” he mumbled. “What about Accalia? And did you tell—”

    A loud slap echoed in Aru’s ears when Thali whipped her paw across his face. He felt the blow in his heart more than in his cheek. He had deserved that. “You jerk! How could you do that?” she accused him.

    “But I…” mumbled Aru, fear of judgement trickling into his voice. “I was just protecting you.”

    “I don’t care about that!” she shouted through hot tears, her breath shaky. “Don’t you care about how I felt? About how worried you made me? Your life was on the line too!”

    “But I—”

    “No! We’re a team, and that means we always stick together!” Thalli raised paw to strike again. Aru braced himself, his breathing hitching as he prepared for the blow.

    Softness wrapped around him tightly, an embrace he knew all too well. He fell to his knees and returned the hug, tears welling. At last he could feel safe, and inside he began to unwind. “Don’t you ever go leaving me again…” she cried, kissing his cheek through her lacrimation.

    Aru smiled, petting her head as he hugged her. “Sh. I’m here now. Don’t worry,” he whispered. “What’s everyone doing out here? What happened?”

    Wigglytuff came forward, a bright smile on his face as normal. “Thali told us what happened,” he said, sniffling a bit. Had he been crying earlier? “After that, Ms. Froslass called the apprentices to gather. She has a very important announcement to make, so make sure to listen.”

    Froslass nodded. “Yes, and it’s very important that you stay attentive,” she insisted. “Gather around me, explorers; huddle in tight. You’ll want to listen carefully to what I am about to say.”

    As they were told, the guild huddled around in a circle. Everyone was there except for Accalia, still resting from her injuries. Though they were weak and exhausted, they looked up at her, and listened as she began:

    “I haven’t been completely honest with you, I admit that. So let me start with the truth,” she said slowly. “I have known Grovyle before all this. In fact, I know him more intimately than anyone else. You see, Grovyle is no ordinary thief. He’s a mastermind criminal who has escaped from the future.”

    The gasp of shock was nearly unanimous as a frenzy swept over the apprentices. “From the future?” asked Croagunk, still calm, though his piqued curiosity hinted to his shock.

    “Correct,” sighed Froslass with a defeated huff. “Grovyle is a megalomaniacal fiend from the future. He escaped his imprisonment, and fled here to your present.”

    “Hey, but how could you possible know that?” Corpish asked skeptically.

    There was an eerie silence. All attention was drawn to Froslass. “I know all this because I too am from the future, sent back to capture Grovyle.”

    Not a single one spoke up. Even Chatot and Wigglytuff were flabbergasted. “You can choose to believe what I say. You can also choose not to believe,” Froslass carefully instructed, “but these words I tell you are the truth, and the consequences of failing to capture this villain will be irreversible.

    “Grovyle has traveled this far back in time in order to avoid capture. From here, he seeks to evoke the World’s Paralysis.”

    Just the name of the cataclysm sent shivers down their spines. A cold breeze seemed to fill the room at its mention. “What is the… the World’s Paralysis?” asked Thali.

    A fearful looked crossed Froslass’s face, but only for an instant. “It is an apocalypse like no other, one that will destroy all we know. It is starting even as we speak,” warned Froslass. “It was started by Grovyle’s theft of the Time Gears. Pockets of space will grow motionless, and time will stop in the areas immediately around it. You have seen this already for yourselves, but that is only the beginning.

    “The timeless zones of silence will grow if unchecked. As more Time Gears are removed, the world will slowly unravel, until everything is consumed by the silence, until all things are stopped in time. This is the World’s Paralysis.

    “In a world that is paralyzed… all the rules of this world no longer apply. Water does not flow. The wind does not blow. Nothing grows, only perpetually decays. The sun never rises, and the moon never sets. It is a world of perpetual darkness, unrelenting cold, and maddening loneliness. All who live in such a world are fraught with fear, and where fear stews, selfishness, treachery, anger, and madness are born. It is a world devoid of light and happiness.

    “If Grovyle is not stopped soon,” she warned them, “this is the fate that will befall your world.”
    #17 May 25, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  18. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 16: Under Crystal Skies

    The season was summer. There were certain astronomical implications to that, but for the Pokémon in treasure town, that normally meant burning sun, but nice breezes from the ocean. It was a prosperous time for Spinda’s café, as they made money off of explorers trying to beat the heat.

    But that night wasn’t like that. Instead of the normally muggy atmosphere, an unending deluge battered the land. Bright flashes of light flooded through the windows of Wigglytuff’s guild, glowing violently before ending in huge thunderclaps. The moon still shone off in the distance, unshrouded by the storm clouds.

    Like so many times before, Team Unity sat in their bedroom, in a ring around the solitary beam of moonlight that shone in from the round window. Accalia had finally woken up from her injury. She was weak, but by the morning she’d be better. But she knew there were more important things at hand to discuss.

    Discussion was delayed by silence. Feelings were locked away inside while they made strong faces. “So… the World’s Paralysis,” Accalia mumbled. Thali had just regurgitated all the information that Froslass had hit them with, and now Accalia too was paralyzed by fearful silence. “What a horrible thing to do…”

    More silence. It was hard to speak when the end of the world was at hand. “I’m sorry,” Accalia mumbled, gripping hay from the beds in her hand. “I wasn’t any help at all. I only slowed you guys down. I-I…”

    Thali sighed and leaned forward, putting her paws on the Snivy’s shoulders. “Accalia, stop,” she said firmly. “After the fight with Mesprit, there was no way we could stand up to Grovyle. We were no match for him in our condition. You did well.”

    What was held back for so long finally exploded in a fit of tears. Accalia hugged Thali tightly and sniffled. “I’m sorry for how I’ve been acting lately,” she sobbed, quivering as, like a flood, her emotions washed out. “I’ve been so angry at myself lately. You two have been improving, striving ahead, and I feel like I keep getting left behind.

    “It’s not easy being in this brand new world. But with you two, I… I can forget about all that stuff. I feel like I’m home! And when you get better, and strive forward together, I feel like I’ll be left behind. I don’t want that! You two are my family, so I… I…”

    Whatever words she had to say were lost in the inundation of her lament. Soon, Aru was around her too, and they all embraced each other, heavily laden with fear, but even stronger was their bond, and the familial love they shared.

    It wasn’t long before Accalia had cried herself to sleep. She was curled up and shivering, but there was a smile on her face reminiscent of the innocence she had when she first arrived through the ritual. Watching over her, Aru suddenly began thinking about his own plight, and the trouble it caused him. “Thali… I want to talk to Froslass tomorrow,” he mumbled thoughtfully.

    “Why is that?” Thali asked, concern glossing over her big, brown eyes.

    “I want to see if she knows anything about memory, and why it was taken,” he mumbled.

    Thali sighed. Of course he was still worried about that. She leaned onto his chest, sighing. “Don’t you think that’s a bit of a stretch?” she asked. “I don’t want you to get your hopes up again for no reason.”

    “I know,” Aru mumbled. “But Froslass is a knowledgeable explorer. Hell, she’s from the future. If there’s any hope for me to regain my memories and know who I am, I have to talk to her. Maybe she’ll know more about who I am, and why I get these visions of the past and future.”

    Thali sighed. “Right, your visions. I’d nearly forgotten,” she mumbled. While he could sometimes receive visions of the past or future by touching objects or Pokémon, he hadn’t had a vision in some time. “With her vast well of knowledge, she might just know something. We’ll go with you, okay?”

    Surprised, Aru looked her in the eye. “You know, you don’t have to.”

    Thali caressed his cheek, giggling a bit. “I know. But I—we—want to be there with you,” she whispered, hugging him. A yawn escaped her tiny lips as she closed her eyes. “Tomorrow then. Goodnight Aru.”

    “Goodnight Thali.”

    There they lay again, two hearts so close to one another. There’s a lot ahead of us in the next few days, thought Aru as he storm clouds finally dissipated. The light of the moon shone brighter than ever. We will be strong though. We must be.


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 16
    Under Crystal Skies


    The next morning, the storm had blown over. It left its mark though: Diglett and Loudred were bailing out the security tunnel for hours, and down in the town, Kangaskhan was making sure her stored goods were protected, while the Kecleon brothers were lamenting about lost stock.

    Team Unity strolled through the town with Froslass and witnessed all this. They made no purchases as they walked through the market this day, but rather they walked passed it. Beyond the market was a private place they could talk: Sharpedo Bluff.

    The bluff was named according the Pokémon that it resembled. From below, one could sit by the shoreline and look up at the bluff and see the spitting image of a Sharpedo, maw, gills, and all. The bluff overhung the ocean, and caught a beautiful breeze. A single tree grew on the bluff, as well as one bush, and they swayed in the wind.

    Here, Aru hoped to get some answers.

    “So tell me, little Riolu, what is it that you wish to ask me?” Froslass asked, waiting patiently for Aru’s question. “Then we will see if I can help.”

    Aru breathed in deeply. He was prideful—an unbecoming trait, at times—and he was embarrassed to ask for help. But he was beginning to get desperate. “I am a human, Froslass.” The blurted statement received only a raised brow and some suspicion. Aru blushed; perhaps he could have phrased that more delicately. “Rather, I was. One day, a few months ago, I woke up on the beach below us. I had no memory, other than my name, and that I was a human.”

    Now Froslass was intrigued. At least, she wasn’t giving Aru a look like he’d lost his sanity. “Is that so?” she asked. “A human?”

    “Yes,” Aru said meekly. He looked over his shoulder, still nervous; still, Accalia and Thali were waiting there, encouraging him. He sighed again. “And I also discovered that I have the ability to see into the past or future of objects that I touch.”

    The elder explorer seemed interested now, almost fascinated. “You’re telling the truth,” she mumbled, awed by Aru’s incredulity. “Why, that’s… That’s the dimensional scream!”

    Aru blinked. “You know about my ability?”

    “Yes, of course!” she said, excited. “Though, really I’ve only ever heard of it by word of mouth. But your ability is known as the dimensional scream, a power which lets you bridge the gap in time between an object or person’s past, present, and future. Your ability is no clairvoyant act, but a true prognosis of events to come or events long passed.

    “A human, turned into a Pokémon, who’d lost his memories and has the dimensional scream ability, eh…?”

    Aru frowned. What was that tone in her voice? Is she amused by this? Thought Aru, frowning. “Is something the matter, Ms. Froslass?” he asked.

    “No, Aru… Nothing at all.”

    Did she just chuckle? Aru wondered, his ears perking. I swore I heard her laugh just then.

    “Anyway, as for your former humanity or memory loss, I have no way to explain that, even with all the knowledge at my disposal. I’m truly sorry.”

    Disheartened, Aru scratched the back of his head. He’d let his hopes get up, despite Thali’s warning. And the higher he let them rise, the more painful the fall when he was disappointed. “That’s okay, sir. I should have expected as much,” he mumbled.

    “However,” said Froslass, now elated, “I do believe we can make use of your dimensional scream ability! With such a power, capturing Grovyle will be a menial task.”

    Hurriedly, Froslass rushed back through town, and Team Unity trailed her at her heels. “What’s he talking about?” asked Accalia curiously.

    “I think she knows a way to use my ability to find Grovyle,” said Aru. He was panting as they rushed after her. “But I don’t know how. I have to have something to touch in order to use it, and even then, it doesn’t always work.”

    Accalia hummed. “I think I have an idea,” she mumbled as she recalled something from earlier that morning. “Sunflora’s team went to Crystal Cave, right? I think they brought something back with them.”

    “And Froslass thinks it’s linked to the Time Gears?” Thali asked. “I don’t understand how.”

    They barged through the gates to the guild; time was of the essence, and there was little to spare. Froslass banged on the door to Wigglytuff’s quarters, an action that Chatot—who was standing nearby—was most upset by. “Why, Froslass! How very impolite. You should know better than the so rudely request the presence of Guildmaster Wigglytuff when he is in his quarters.”

    “Not now, Chatot,” Froslass said hurriedly. “I have an idea on how to find Grovyle.”

    “Well, that is hardly a reason for sacrificing basic social principles,” grumbled Chatot as he opened the door. Within was Wigglytuff, who was at the moment fascinated by a spinning top.

    “Wigglytuff!” shouted Froslass. “Call the apprentices together immediately! I have an important announcement to make!”

    It was dead quiet. Wigglytuff continued to gaze intently at his spinning top, watching it rotate and move about the floor. After a minute of silence, it began to wobble, shake, and finally it fell down, to which he pouted.

    Wigglytuff looked up. “What did you say?”

    Froslass nearly fell over, while Team Unity laughed.


    Everyone in the guild was immediately summoned—following the funny debacle, of course—and gathered to the lobby outside of Wigglytuff’s quarters. Now full of energy and new purpose, Froslass stood proudly before the apprentices. “Members of Wigglytuff’s guild! I have come upon a sudden finding that will prove beneficial to our search for Grovyle the Thief.”

    Such a magnificent proposal was surprising, especially after the long string of failed attempts at finding Time Gears and capturing Grovyle. What new evidence could have possibly been unveiled between yesterday and today? “I had always suspected that Crystal Cave held a Time Gear,” boldly claimed Froslass, “and that it would surely be Grovyle’s next target. The temporary-team Hyacinth”—Bidoof blushed at the mention of the embarrassing team name—“unfortunately discovered nothing. But I feel there may have been something we overlooked.”

    Loudred fumed. “Hey! Are you insulting our investigation skills?” he shouted brashly.

    Sunflora backhanded Loudred’s arm with a rebuking slap. “He’s not, but you just did,” she pouted. “Don’t be a jerk, Loudred.”

    Froslass cleared her throat. “Anyway,” she said, trying to refocus the chuckling apprentices. “If I recall correctly, Bidoof brought something back with him. A crystal from the cave, am I correct?”

    “It was just little souvenir,” mumbled Bidoof as he kicked the dirt. Bringing back souvenirs wasn’t very mature, but it was important to him still.

    “We will need to borrow it for a little while.”

    Taken aback, Bidoof sputtered, “Y-ya can’t! That’s very precious to me.” Then, glancing over at his teammates, he scuffed the ground. Aru watched him closely; what was he so embarrassed about? “Besides, I gave it to Sunflora. Ask her.”

    “And I’d gladly give it.”

    Bidoof frowned. “But Sunflora…”

    Accalia looked up at Aru for a moment while they bickered. “Doesn’t Bidoof like Sunflora?” she whispered.

    Huh? “Wait, does he?” asked Aru, his eyes widened with blank ignorance.

    “Honestly, Aru,” mumbled Accalia. “At least Thali has fine attention to detail. You’re so oblivious.”

    When the little scuffle ended, Sunflora was reassuring Bidoof, and Froslass had taken the crystal to the front of the room. “Aru, if you would please: come to the front.”

    It was as if the entire room had zoomed in, and Aru felt suffocated by it. He was called to the front once more, and as he walked there, put on the spot, Froslass explained: “Aru has a fascinating ability which allows him to see the destinies—past and future—connected with objects. We will use this ability to our advantage, to see if my hunch about Crystal Cave is correct.

    “Go on, Aru. Take it.”

    As Aru turned the crystal over in his palms, his ears were perked and attentive to the incessant chatting all around him. He knew they were all talking about him. Being put on the spot like that, he froze up and struggled to focus on the object. Come on, Aru. This is no time to worry about everyone else watching, he thought. But he couldn’t get the thought out of his head. What if I don’t see anything? Then we have no lead, and we have to start from scratch. All the work we’ve done, it will be for nothing…

    So he focused harder, trying to block out the stares of everyone from his mind. He didn’t even realize he had stage fright before this exact moment. He closed his eyes and breathed steadily; slowly he felt the world getting farther away. He wasn’t the center of attention; just something to be observed from a distance. And as the world grew smaller, his focus sharpened…

    Until the world went black, and a piercing scream breached his ears:

    The scene was gorgeous. Deep beneath the surface, a lake that was as clear and reflective as the crystalline cave itself. The water lay quiet, undisturbed except for small water droplets that trickled down from ceiling. Plop, plop, plop; they dropped slowly, stagnated, and the ripples they made shone with the light of the deep blue crystals and the minty green light of a Time Gear just below the surface. There was no noise, except the plop of the water, and if it dropped at just the right frequency, the crystals rang with beautiful resonance.

    But not all was so serene.

    A small peninsula of land stretched out into the lake. Upon that peninsula, a small body collapsed to the ground. It was a fey-like creature, similar to Mesprit and Uxie. It had three tails and a red gem in its forehead, but this one was blue, not gold or pink. Battered and bloody, the creature had collapsed on the crystal floor. “Damn you… You’ll never get away with this!” he shouted, though it seemed vain.

    The intruder standing before him was none other than Grovyle the Thief, a stoic look in his eye that betrayed some form of apology. “I will, and no one can stand in my way. Not even a mighty guardian like you.”

    The guardian tried to stand. He almost got to his knees when Grovyle dropkicked him. Crunching like snapped bones punctuated the sweet ring of the cave, and the guardian’s body rolled off to the side. “Don’t get up. I don’t want to hurt you anymore that is necessary,” said Grovyle, his voice deep with age, and somehow recognizable. “Now, I’ll be taking that Time Gear.”

    “No, you can’t!”

    “Aru…? Aru…?”

    When he came back and the world stop swirling, Aru was silent. He blinked, and everyone waited on the tips of their toes to hear what he had to say. “Everyone?” he started slowly, trembling. “I’ve found it.”

    [Stop Music]


    Nearly the whole guild had been immediately ordered to advance on the Crystal Caves. There was no time for Wigglytuff to alert the council; action had to be taken. All but Dugtrio and Diglett had left—the other two stayed behind with Wigglytuff and Chatot in order to man the guild.

    “So, I’ve got me a question.”

    Corpish snapped his claws in annoyance as they marched up to the entrance. It was a crystalline burrow—perhaps created a long time ago by a Pokémon in order to escape its enemies. Now it was a mystery dungeon. Corpish wasn’t thinking about the history of the burrow though; he was more concerned with Bidoof. “Hey, if your question is about your little crystal thingy, I swear I’ll sock ya’.”

    Bidoof blushed. “Naw, that ain’t it,” he mumbled. “So Aru can see into the future and the past right?”

    “Hey, yeah. That’s true.”

    “Well, how does he know that what he saw is in the future and not the past?”

    The lobster blinked; now that was a good question. “Well… for one, hey, Crystal Cave isn’t frozen in time,” he speculated.

    Chimecho floated in, chiming in from the sidelines: “But we won’t know if it is or not until we get there,” she admitted. Team Unity at the front seemed to have picked up the pace. “They know just as well as we do that this is our best bet to catch that Thief. Even if we don’t know, it’s our only option.”

    “That’s actually not true.” Froslass approached them, staggering the three with surprise. “We know it was in the future because of who Aru saw in the vision: the Lake Guardian Azelf, brother to Mesprit and Uxie.”

    Corpish chirped, “Hey, but that doesn’t explain anything.”

    “But it does,” said Froslass matter-of-factly with a look of astute scrutiny on her face. She looked up to think, but instead saw clouds forming in the sky. Rain again? “When Team Unity engaged Mesprit in combat at the desert lake, Mesprit claimed that Uxie warned her, not Azelf. If Azelf had already been attacked, she would have claimed Azelf had warned her.”

    “Hey, hey, I guess that makes sense to me.”

    The battalion of guild members came to a halt as Thali, Aru, and Accalia led them. “Alright everyone!” shouted Aru. “We know that the Time Gear is in here somewhere, and where we find the Time Gear, we find Grovyle. Let’s do this together!”

    Accalia nodded. Daintily as she always did, she instructed, “Split up into your original groups and comb the caves for any secrets. Like the other lakes, Azelf’s lake will likely be hidden by a puzzle or veil.”

    Thali stood up on a stone to get a good vantage over her friends and comrades. “You’re all very brave for coming here,” she said proudly. “Grovyle will be a tough enemy to take down, and this dungeon will not be easy to get through. I have only just joined here, but I know from the few months we’ve been here that you are the best friends an Eevee could have. Now let’s get in there!”


    And then they charged in, not daring to look back.


    Deep within the cave though, the shouts echoed. Some of the Pokémon, hearing the shouts, became frightened and ran away deeper. Others hid in the small streams, waiting to see what became of the noises.

    The sounds of the shouting guild trickled even deeper into the cave, and the barest signs of it reached one Pokémon within. He twitched about and frowned before putting his ear to the wall. The sound of stomping, almost like marching; they had found him.

    “No time to waste then,” Grovyle grumbled as he dashed away, deeper.


    “Now, Aru!”

    On command, the Riolu jumped out of cover. With the energy gathered in his palm, he struck the Golem with a thunderous Force Palm. The super-effective move toppled the huge Pokémon, kayoing it. “Nice one!” Accalia shouted as she roped up a nearby Graveler with her Vine Whip.

    “I can feel it, guys,” Aru said as he stepped over the Golem. They had been encountering even more resistance in the dungeon, but he felt in his heart that they were getting close. “I can sense it, I think. We’re getting closer.”

    “Well, sense faster,” Thali said, sighing as she took a look around a corner in the hallway. The crystal reflected images of enemies from far away. She wasn’t sure how far though. “There are more on their way.”

    “It’s just this way,” Aru said as he led onward down the hall.

    “Towards the enemies?” Thali asked with a frown. “Surely we can just go around them.”

    Accalia giggled a bit as she readied her Vine Whip. “Getting cold feet?” she asked. “Still timid as always, Thali.”

    “Hey, I am not!”

    Aru motioned for them to come along, but quietly. “Careful,” he whispered. There was a large open cave, but there was cover placed sparsely throughout. Crystal reflected the groups of enemy Pokémon. He recognized Donphan and some Graveler like the ones from before. “Over there,” motioned the Riolu to a corner of the area, where a hole in the wall broke away into a small, concealed room. “That’s where I’m sensing it strongest.”

    “No wonder Sunflora’s team missed on their first time through,” Thali mused. “I can hardly see it from here. What about you, Accalia?”

    “I mean, I see it perfectly fine,” said the Snivy, unfazed. “Need I remind you that my vision is better than yours?”

    “Oh. Right,” huffed Thali. It was nice that Accalia was back to bragging in her humble way, but still. “So how do we get over there through all those Pokémon?”

    Aru hummed and looked around. Stalagmites and stalactites were all around the cave, but there wasn’t enough cover on the ground to shield them. “I’m not sure,” he mumbled. “Accalia, think you can swing us from one of those stalagmites up there?”

    “Not likely,” she said. “Unless you’re itching to get yourself crushed.”

    “Darn. Really wish Dugtrio was around; digging around this would be really useful right now,” mumbled Aru.

    “Having some trouble?”

    Thali jumped from the sudden voice, but upon turning around, she found that it was just Team Hyacinth—Sunflora, Bidoof, and Loudred—along with Froslass. “We overheard you,” Sunflora said with a characteristic, bright smile and a little wave. “You need to get across this room, but you don’t want to fight all these Pokémon, right?”

    Thali nodded. “Yeah. There’s no way to sneak around them,” she reluctantly mentioned as she glanced around the room.

    Froslass chuckled. She knew what Sunflora was getting at. A bold move; she liked that. “Fret not, young one. I believe you three are capable of heading off Grovyle. We’ll distract them so you can get across,” she said. Then, stepping forward with the makeshift team, Froslass laughed in the open room and called out: “Blizzard!” A snow storm whipped up from nowhere, shredding through the Pokémon with ice and blistering cold.

    “Now’s our chance,” mumbled Aru as they snuck around the wall of the room. They watched carefully from the sidelines as their friends fought. Loudred laughed heartily as he blasted massive sound attacks at their enemies. Even Bidoof, running in headstrong was confidently tackling enemies with Waterfall attacks. “You know… Our guild mates really do care about us.”

    “Yeah,” Accalia said appreciatively. “Even though we’ve only been here a short time.”

    “Let’s not take their care for granted,” Thali mumbled. After a few minutes of agonizing tiptoeing and silent movement, they had finally reached the concealed room.

    Therein, an enormous structure lay. It was a singular, shining mound of coagulated crystal. Surrounding it in a triangle were three singular crystals, one red, one green, and one yellow. “What is this?” mumbled Accalia as she looked at the crystals. “Aru, this is a dead end.”

    “No, it’s not,” Aru exclaimed as he looked around. “There has to be something here. Just look at those crystals. Something here is different.”

    Thali nodded and hummed. Curiously, she went up to the yellow crystal and touched it. “Look!” she cried out when the crystal suddenly shone and became orange. “It changed color!”

    Accalia rushed over to the red crystal and touched it; it changed purple. “They all do!”

    “Three crystals that all change color,” thought Aru carefully. “They must be linked to something.”

    “Oh, I know Aru!” shouted Thali as she climbed down from the crystal. “You try touching one. Use your Dimensional Scream ability to solve this puzzle!”

    “Good idea,” he said as he went up to one of the crystals and touched it. He focused and waited for a message to come through to him.

    With a piercing scream and a blasting headache, one finally did:

    “Good thinking, partner. The Legendary Muses are masters over three elements of the spirit: wisdom, emotion, and will. Azelf must be… you’re right, the muse of Willpower. Willpower is the strength we have to carry on. It unifies us, and holds us where our body may fail.”

    Silence. And then…

    “Of course, you’ve got it! To unify with will is to make as one. The crystals must all have the same color! But what is the color of Azelf’s soul? He lives here at Crystal Lake… Has the lake had an effect on him over time? Or perhaps…”

    And like that, the world returned to him. He stood straight again, sucking in a deep, stale breath. “Aru?” called Thali, “did you see anything?”

    How strange, thought Aru. This vision wasn’t like most… it was like at Lake Afar and Fogbound Forest. Just a voice in a black void. Why does that voice sound so familiar? I feel myself relax whenever I hear it. And who is this partner?

    “What is the color of Azelf’s soul?” Aru asked.

    Accalia turned to him, confusion on her face. “I’m sorry, Aru, but what was that?” she asked. “Azelf’s soul?”

    “We have to make all the crystals the color of Azelf’s soul. That’s how we get through.”

    Deadpanned, Accalia crossed her arms. “Well, how are we supposed to know the color of his soul?” she asked impatiently.

    “Something in my vision said his soul was affected by the lake,” mumbled Aru incoherently. “Or that the lake affected him somehow? I’m not very sure.”

    Thali sighed; Aru was trying to organize his thoughts, and it wasn’t making very much sense. So, absentmindedly, the Eevee began switching through colors. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and then red again… “Wait, Aru, when you saw the vision with Azelf in it, wasn’t his head blue?”

    “Well, yes,” said the Riolu thoughtfully. “But it couldn’t be that simple.”

    “Sure it is,” Thali responded. “Azelf is blue; the caves are blue; the crystals need to be blue too!”

    Quickly, they rushed around, tapping the crystals until they all turned a deep, cobalt hue. They waited for a few seconds, eyeing the mound in the center. Nothing seemed to be happening. “See?” said Aru. “I told you, there’s no way it was that easy.”

    How wrong he was. The ground began to shake moments afterward, and the blue crystals shined brightly. Accalia screamed, terrified for a moment. And then, the front of the mound caved in after the shaking, revealing a cave hidden within. It might as well have been accompanied by a choir of angels; it seemed to be a godsend.

    “There!” Thali shouted before sticking her tongue out impudently at Aru. “Let’s get going, Team Unity! We’ve a thief to catch!”


    It was exactly the scene that Aru had described: A crystal peninsula on the backdrop of a gorgeous, shining lake, thereupon which a struggle was taking place.

    “Leaf blade!”

    One final slash had settled the battle, leaving the lake guardian Azelf in a bloody pool. The sanguine ichor clashed on the cobalt crystal, creating a rainbow array of pain. He tried to crawl to his hands and knees, but instead slipped in the puddle. “Damn you… You’ll never get away with this!” he shouted, though it seemed vain.

    “I will, and no one can stand in my way. Not even a mighty guardian like you,” replied Grovyle, his glare slanted with the intent to be victorious. He noticed Azelf try to stand again, and before he could regain his footing, he punted the fey guardian in the stomach, sending him reeling in pain. “Don’t get up. I don’t want to hurt you anymore that is necessary,” said Grovyle, his voice deep with age. “Now, I’ll be taking that Time Gear.”

    “No, you can’t!” shouted Azelf. For a moment, Grovyle stopped and returned a gaze to the lake guardian. He was a broken, small creature, but he still had a grin on his face. “I knew you were coming eventually. And I knew that, like my brother and sister before me, I might fail to vanquish you.”

    “As you have,” grumbled Grovyle. “Now accept your humble defeat, lest I make your death less honorable.”

    “However,” Azelf said, ignoring Grovyle’s taunts, “I installed a failsafe in the event that I could not defeat you.”

    “A failsafe?”

    With Azelf’s words, the room began to shake. Azelf’s eyes glowed with the last remnants of his power, and over the lake, crystals began to grow. Shooting out from all sides, crystals chimed as they grew out to the lake, covering it completely.

    “What is this?” shouted Grovyle angrily as he looked over the crystal-shrouded lake. “What have you done?”

    Azelf smirked. “Now, it would take you weeks to recover the gear,” he grumbled weakly. The strength to stay awake faded from him at last now that his duty had been done, and Azelf passed out from pain and exhaustion.

    Grovyle, fitted with rage and frustration, stomped over to Azelf’s unconscious body. “You…” he growled, his fists clenched, preparing a devastating attack. Not even the lake guardian would survive another attack in his state. “You!”

    “Not so fast, Grovyle the Thief!”

    Jumping onto the scene, Team Unity pounced, landing in between Grovyle and Azelf. Thali was ferocious, teeth barred in a nearly feral growl. “We won’t let you escape, Grovyle. Not this time.”

    “Ach! It’s you three, from the desert lake!” shouted the thief, surprised. How had they made it out alive? “No matter. I’ll soon have that Time Gear.”

    “Not if we have anything to say about it,” shouted Aru, his fist balled. “You’ll have to pry it from our cold, dead grip, thief.”

    “Fine then!”

    Rage was boiling between the two as they clashed, suddenly and violently. But just before they struck, it seemed as though Grovyle vanished. “Damn him!” shouted Accalia, looking around swiftly. “Where the—”


    Aru shoved Accalia out of the way and put his paws in a guard, barely blocking a strike from the swift thief. He had not disappeared; he was moving too quickly for them to catch. “It’s an Agility technique,” Thali recognized while Aru held strong, not budging as he blocked Grovyle’s strikes.

    Then he was off again, rushing with blinding speed. “I have to admit,” came Grovyle’s voice from the hurricane of his speed, “you’re a hardy group to seek me even this far. I thought for sure you had died. But your existence as a nuisance ends here!”

    “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” grumbled Thali. Just as she spoke, Grovyle whizzed by and nicked her with his Lead Blade. The whirling air was painted red with the blood Grovyle drew, and Aru winced in pain.

    Then, with a snap, Accalia hurled her Vine Whip at a nearby crystal structure, looping it and tugging to form a tripwire. Grovyle, too focused on whittling down Team Unity, missed the wire and tumbled over it. Instead of crashing into the floor as Accalia hoped, though, he quickly recovered, flipping gracefully and landing on his feet. “Feisty,” he mumbled before rushing directly toward them.

    Aru pushed his teammates back to take him on directly. Grovyle approached, his bent knee intended to crush Aru’s abdomen. Swiftly, the Riolu blocked, countering with a whirling kick. Grovyle ducked the attack and rocketed up with an uppercut into Aru’s chin, knocked him backwards with a reeling headache and swirling vision.

    “You have skill, Riolu,” grumbled Grovyle with a smirk. “But not enough.”

    Aru groaned. He had to stay focused; had to pace himself. Grovyle was moving towards him fast, and, more than seeing, Aru felt where Grovyle was going to strike. A punch rushed in directly for his face, but he saw through it. Aru grabbed Grovyle’s fist before it could impact and smirked. “Why, you,” Grovyle grumbled before Aru threw him into the air with the mighty strength of a Fighting Pokémon.

    “He’s open! Now, Thali!” shouted Aru.

    Grovyle turned his head to see that the Eevee had been charging an attack the whole time. “Shadow Ball!” cried Thali as she launched a ball of ghostly energy that threatened to strike the thief.

    With swiftness and cunning, Grovyle rolled in the air, pushing himself just far enough to not be grazed by the wicked attack. The energy crashed into the ceiling, and crystal dust rained down along with the recovered Grovyle. Moonlight began to shine in from above, framing the fight almost beautifully.

    They were panting and tired, but neither had been victorious. Grovyle, aggressively fighting for survival, rushed in to strike. Thali stood in front of her teammates to block them. “Protect!” she cried, and a ward cast in front of them to block the strike. Grovyle, rushing full force into the ward, bounced off of it in frustration.

    Accalia leaped out from the ward, waving her hands towards Grovyle. “Leaf Tornado!” she cried, spawning a whirling tornado of grass blades that cut and sliced at Grovyle’s skin, though weakly. He guarded his face, blocking his view so as to protect his eyes from the onslaught. That was his biggest mistake.

    “Focus Blast!” The moment the words were spoken, a blast of huge energy impacted Grovyle, sending him flying backwards into the crystal walls. He coughed, blood spattering from his hacking lungs as he fell to one knee.

    But still, he stood back up. “I will not be beaten!” he refuted, rushing forward in a zigzag motion. His movements were quicker than before, and even Aru couldn’t keep up with them. Striking quickly, Grovyle slashed through with a devastating Leaf Blade, slicing open Aru’s chest and causing him to fall forward.

    “Aru!” shouted Thali in quick response. She dropped the Protect ward and rushed over to him. By the shaking of his eyes, she knew he was wavering in and out of conscience. “Aru, stay with me!”

    He reached up to her, quieting her. Just his paw touched her, caressing her cheek. “Don’t,” he whispered. “Go. Take him down.”

    “But Aru…” she whimpered. It was just like before in the Northern Desert. “Don’t you dare faint on me!”

    “I’m sorry,” mumbled weakly, his eyes closing. “Get Grovyle. Stop him…”

    He was gone before she could finish, and Thali howled in anger.

    “You bastard!” shouted Accalia as she continued holding Grovyle at bay with her Vine Whip. The whip latched onto his leg, and she began whirling him around with all her strength, smashing him into walls and crystals.

    But Grovyle was still strong. Planting his feet on the ground, he pulled back on the vine and swung Accalia toward him. She flew at him uncontrollably, and with a simple slash of his leaf blade, she too was reeling in pain on the ground, her ichor flowing out. “Thali, please…” she tried to call out. Too soon, she was silenced by Grovyle kicking her into the ground.

    “You’re all that’s left,” Grovyle mumbled as he approached Thali, the leaves on his arms shining with a sharpened sheen. He brushed off the crystal dust from his shoulder menacingly. “Your team put up a good fight. You have nothing to regret.”

    “May the Cage take you, Grovyle!” Thali shouted angrily, her final defense against the formidable foe. “When Froslass gets here, she…”

    “Froslass?” mumbled the thief. “So she’s roped you foolish explorers into capturing me, eh? Tell me, what pretty little lies has she told you?”

    Thali spat, glaring at him. “I only see one liar here, Grovyle.”

    “Huh. Cheeky girl.” The agonizing sound of a slice right through living tissue resounded in the cavern, its slick, deathly shriek reaching ears even beyond the lake. Thali, laden with weakness, fell first to one knee, then to another, and then crumpled to the ground.

    But hardly aware, Thali watched with blood pounding in her ears. Through swirling vision, Grovyle approached the lake, now tasked with retrieving it from the bed of crystal. But, stomping from behind, another challenger came. “So after all this time, I’ve found you Grovyle.”

    “Froslass,” he scoffed. “I should have known that you’d be here.” Even in weakness, Thali recognized the panic in his voice.

    “You were so close, too,” Froslass said, almost delightfully. Close to what? Thought Thali, frowning. This conversation was strange.

    “You’ve been hunting me for so long, I’d say you were obsessed with me,” said Grovyle.

    “Hah! Obsession,” grumbled Froslass, a deep glare in her face. “I can’t go back. Not till I capture you.”

    “Go back to that place? I would never.”

    “It’s time, Grovyle.”

    “Yes, I suppose it is.”

    It all happened in an instant, faster than Thali’s weak vision could comprehend. “Sheer Cold!” shouted Froslass, and in an instant, the escaping form of Grovyle was encaged in the cold grips of ice.

    “Now, we will return, my old nemesis, to the time far in the future.”

    After that, Thali lost consciousness.
    #18 May 28, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  19. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 17: Epilogue

    Again, darkness. How many times would he return to this unending void? It was splotchy, with murky colors, like what one sees when his eyes are closed too tightly. He was woozy, tired, and sick, as though his bowels wanted to turn themselves inside out.

    He rolled a bit to the side, but felt a hand placed on his head. “Lie back down now, partner. You dived a bit too deep that time.”

    He still couldn’t see anything. What was happening? Was this dream or reality? Who was speaking to him? Questions bombarded him as he reached around. Again, he was pushed back down, held with his back on the ground. “Stop moving; you’re only going to hurt yourself more. And don’t open your eyes; your headache will just come back even stronger.”

    He didn’t know where he was, who he was, but for some reason, he felt like he could trust this Pokémon, some deep voice that he couldn’t even see. “How long do I have to be like this?”

    “Until you recover. And don’t you worry, I’m not leaving your side until you can stand again.”

    “But they’ll catch us.” They? Who were they? His voice had spoken without his will about things he didn’t know about—could this be…?

    “No, they won’t. We’re hidden away well; I know you can’t see it, but we are. It’d be more trouble than we’re worth for them to find us now.”

    “If you say so. I… I don’t want to die.” Were they going to die? His head spun with questions while his gut churned in sickness.

    “Don’t think about the future,” said the voice again. “Don’t think about the past either. We don’t need you zipping in and out again. Just think of the present. Every minute is a fight to live for the next minute, and the next minute, until eventually we complete our task.

    “Just remember, my friend: stay awake. Stay with me. Stay…


    “Come on, Aru, stay with me!”

    His eyes snapped open and he sucked in a breath as if he were just coming up for air from a deep dive into a miasmic sea of death. Aru looked around, his head swirling. “What’s going on?” he shouted.

    “Calm down, Aru,” came the soothing, accented voice of Accalia. Something about the way she rounded her vowels was very cute. She pushed him down onto his back and placed a wet towel on his head. “You’re back at the guild. You’re awake.”

    Aru tried to sit up and he winced; there were deep lacerations across his chest that still threatened to bleed. But quickly, he was pinned to the ground by a tight hug. “You’re alright!” cried Thali, ecstatic about his recovery. “Thank goodness. Seems like you took the hardest strike.”

    “Yeah,” said Accalia. “I’m lucky I’m grass-type, I didn’t get hurt so bad. But you—yeesh. He missed your heart by inches. I mean, you were almost dead.”

    Thali laughed nervously. “Accalia, please… you’re making me nervous,” she mumbled. “Anyway…”

    There came a knock at the entrance suddenly, and seeking quick relief, Thali rushed to greet the visitor. “Oh, Sunflora!” shouted Thali thankfully. “How are things?”

    “I’m just fine,” said the bright, cheery Pokémon. “Looks like you guys just woke up. Oh my gosh, I was scared we’d have to carry you three back in body bags, you were so torn up. You’ve been asleep for three days.”

    “Three days?” asked Thali incredulously. She began to pace a bit. “What have we missed?”

    “That’s what I came to get you for,” said Sunflora. “Froslass is going back to the future with Grovyle today!”


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 17


    The capture of Grovyle the Thief brought days of great joy and celebration. They had saved the world from suffering paralysis, brought an end to the apocalypse. Parties were held in Treasure Town, in Spinda’s Café, and in the guild itself. Explorers quenched their thirst on pulped berry juice, and quenched their spirits with jubilation as they told and retold the tales of his capture.

    But at the end of those two days of great happiness came a dawning of sweet, parting sorrow. Her quest complete, the time had come for Froslass the legendary solo explorer to return to her own time with the thief in apprehension.

    Late on that third day, somber bells rang in the town as Chimecho’s chimes resounded, announcing Wigglytuff’s presence. “Town meeting!” called Wigglytuff with his characteristic, resounding voice. “Town meeting!”

    So everyone from the town—Duskull, the Kecleon bros, Kanghaskan, Maril and Azurill, all the other shop vendors, and all the guild members—gathered at the town square. Along the dirt road, a circle was paved with clay tiles, a sort of social space where the meetings were often held. Team Unity gathered here along with their friends to witness the departing.

    At the center of the square was a sight like they had never seen before: a gaping hole in space that seemed torn open. Within were swirling colors, multidimensional facets that seemed to fold and unfold into themselves. Beside it stood stone-faced creatures with bejeweled eyes and sharp claws and fangs, creatures Thali recognized as Sableye. “Guildmaster,” spoke Thali in wonder, “what is that thing?”

    “I was with Ms. Froslass when he was setting it up,” answered Wigglytuff, curious himself. “But I dunno. He didn’t explain it very well.”

    Chatot sighed, fluttering atop Wigglytuff’s head. “He explained it perfectly well, Guildmaster,” groaned the bird. “That thing is a sort of portal or wormhole. He will use it to transport back to his own time. Be very careful not to touch it.”

    Accalia’s sigh was laden with longing, regret perhaps. “Does he have to go now?” she asked. “There was so much I had hoped to learn from him.”

    “I’m afraid his task is much more dire than your desire to be an understudy,” Chatot reminded her. “The prosecution of Grovyle is a weighty trial that he must oversee.”

    “Yeah… you have a point,” mumbled Accalia, still filled with longing.

    “Hey all y’all, look there!” shouted Bidoof suddenly. “Here come the lake guardians!”

    Down the road, floating in with renewed might and poise, came Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf, smiles on their faces as they chatted. Team Unity was the first to rush up to them to greet them. “Guys! You’re all better!” shouted Thali with excitement.

    “Well, naturally,” replied Uxie with a knowing smile. “With the help of Ms. Chancy and your own Chimecho, we recovered swiftly.”

    Mesprit slapped his back and gave him a sibling look that spoke of reprimand. “Uxie, just be thankful,” she huffed, crossing her arms. With a sincere gaze, she approached Team Unity, kissing each of them on the forehead. “We’re grateful to all of you for your valiant efforts. Truly.”

    Azelf chuckled as he came forward as well. “I agree,” he said, pounding his chest. “What you did took heart and guts; no spoken word can ever convey the thanks we owe to you.”

    “Well, you can start by returning the Time Gears to their rightful place,” Thali laughed.

    “Already done,” assured Uxie with a curt nod. “While you were unconscious, we returned the Time Gears to our lakes. I’m is due to run the Treeshroud Forest gear back today. We hope to see time heal in our areas soon.”

    Breathing a sigh, Thali looked around at her comrades. “We finally did it,” she mumbled, tears of joy welling up in her eyes. “I can’t believe it. We did it!”

    Joy seemed to be contagious that day. Pokémon hugged each other, raising mugs and cheering. Azelf and the other guardians told stories of life on the lakes and some of the troubles they encountered. But before long, they knew the time would come for the departure.

    And so it came. Dugtrio had kept watch—he preferred reverent introspection instead of parties—and noticed figures coming down the road. “Everyone, make way!” he shouted, “Madame Froslass approaches, with the Thief in tow!”

    Quickly, all the townspeople separated, clearing the path to the portal. Froslass marched down the road, followed by flanks of Sableye. Within the formation, they led Grovyle, bound up by ropes and incapable of escape. The Thief struggled nonetheless; he tried to speak, but only muffled sounds and grunts came out as he looked out desperately.

    “Looks like they muzzled him,” Thali mumbled, frowning. In some way, that almost seemed cruel.

    Aru laughed a bit. “Probably to shield the children’s ears,” he joked.

    “Behold!” cried out Froslass bombastically, “here is the Thief who tried to steal our Time Gears, to bring about an end to our world as we know it.” Boos and scornful shouts rang out in response to the introduction of the vile villain. “At long last, he has been captured, and his hateful crimes have come to an end.

    “Hopefully I can rest your minds with this: In the future, the punishment for Grovyle’s crimes will be… severe.” At this, Grovyle seemed to struggle more. In his last minutes, Aru felt something akin to pity. He was sure to suffer pain that was perhaps worse than even death.

    And so, unceremoniously, the Sableye shoved Grovyle over to the portal before pushing him in. Grovyle soon disappeared within the hole, and the Sableye along with him.

    “Before I leave,” said Froslass as she turned toward the portal. “I would like to speak to the fine, brave members of Team Unity, who so courageously rounded up the criminal. Aru, Thali, Accalia, please come forth.”

    Suddenly placed in the spotlight, Team Unity stepped forward cautiously. Their pace lightened with the sound of the applause from their comrades and the townsfolk, and Thali realized at that exact moment just how far they had come. They started out as no-good rookies, just two Pokémon looking for a place to belong in this world. Now their team was three, and they were becoming world-renown by the day. So rather than hang their heads in embarrassment, Thali patted her friends on the back and told them to stand up straight and lift their heads high.

    “Your team has been diligent throughout the entirety of this investigation,” commended Froslass. “You have been thorough and dutiful. The courage you displayed in taking on the vile thief—not once, but twice—is more than proof of your valiance. You are a cooperative team, and you will only continue to build atop each other, to push each other harder. I think I speak for the Guildmaster and the lake guardians when I say that you three represent a paragon of exploration.”

    Speechless was Team Unity for a moment while the others applauded them, their breath stolen by the feeling of elation that came over them. “Ms. Froslass,” spoke Thali first, shyly, “We enjoy the recognition, but the capture of Grovyle was a team effort. Not just Team Unity, but the entirety of the guild. And not just our guild either, but all five guilds! We all came together to make this happen.”

    Accalia looked up hopefully at Froslass. “Tell us you don’t have to leave,” she pleaded. “You’re a great explorer, and I—I mean we—are huge fans of yours.”

    Froslass sighed, donning a friendly smile. “I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you Accalia,” he said with a laugh. “I must be returning.”


    They exchanged sorrowful gazes. Froslass looked out among the crowd with the same longing that Accalia felt, it seemed. Perhaps she did not want to go back to her time? But then…

    Then Aru saw it. The cheering seemed to fade away when he did, and it was as though the world had turned grey except for Froslass. His heart beat in his throat as he watched closely, seeing how Froslass’s friendly grin suddenly turned up in a sinister smile. Something about the look in her eyes, or the way she chuckled nonchalantly, changed in a fraction of a second, and Aru could feel in every fiber of his being that something was terribly off.

    “You two, however,” said Froslass suddenly, turning a sickening glare back on Thali and Aru, “You two are coming with me!”

    It was too quick for them to fight. With enormous strength, Froslass grabbed Thali and Aru by their throats, hoisting them in the air. They struggled and floundered for breath, unable to fight or respond. Everyone else was too shocked; they just stood by and watched, watched as Froslass dragged them into the portal, choking for a last few seconds before the portal closed.

    Horrified, the crowed stood in silence. “What…” Accalia mumbled, her eyes welling up with tears when she finally rose out of her stricken fear and anguish, “What just happened?”
    #19 Jun 7, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  20. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 18: The Future of Darkness

    The passage through time and space was gut-wrenching. Colors and multidimensional polyhedrons swirled around them in a place lost to all realms of the familiar world; a seizure-inducing, chaotic scape passed them in the tunnel through time, until finally, exhausted and nauseated, Thali and Aru fell into slumber.

    Warmth was lost to them, and seemed so distant. When Thali awoke, she was collapsed against a cold, concrete floor, drab and foreign in its grey slate. The pads of her feet were chilled by the stone, and the air seemed infinitely still and stale, as if the air itself were as dreary as the stone beneath her.

    A sharp flare of pain had her gasping and faltering. She glanced at her right foreleg’s shoulder: a deep bruise was seated there, as if they had been carelessly tossed into their domain. Instead of moving, she looked around. Though the floor was flat concrete, the walls were like a cave. It was jagged and seemed to lean inward, encroaching on what little space they had.

    Then there were the vertical bars at the front, wrought of iron and gnarled in places, confirming her suspicion: they were trapped in a cell. But why had Froslass brought them here? What was happening?

    She limped over to Aru, touching his side to see if he would wake. “Come on, Aru,” she mumbled, still exhausted from the trip through the portal. “Please, please wake up…”

    The Riolu budged after a few moments. His eyelids squeezed tight, then released as he awoke. “Thali? What’s the matter?” he grumbled as he rolled onto his knees and paws. “Where are we?”

    Thali examined the vertical bars at the front. “We’re in some kind of cell,” she mumbled. Weakly, she shook the bars of the cage to no avail. It was a vain effort. “I don’t recognize the architecture at all. Nothing about this place is like anything back in Treasure Town… Are we really in the future?”

    Carefully, Aru pushed himself to his feet. “Ugh,” he groaned, holding his head. “Froslass took us here. Maybe she can explain what’s going on.”

    Thali leaned up against the bars, trying to shake them more violently. “Someone, help!” she shouted as loud as she could, her reason taking leave while she began to panic.

    Aru came up behind her, patting her shoulder. “Thali, calm down,” he whispered to the Eevee.

    “I can’t calm down! We’re trapped in here!” she shouted in retort, tears bubbling at her eyes. “Aru… I’m scared.”

    “Me too…” They both sighed.

    Then came the first sound they heard from the new world: the shuffling of feet from down the hallway. It sounded like buzzing almost, and cackling was heard from the approaching crowd as well. They appeared unceremoniously, with sickening grins on their faces; the Sableye henchmen under Froslass’s charge opened the cage doors and filed in. “Wheh-heh, so it looks like you woke up,” said the lead Sableye, who had red rubies for his eye instead of the typical cyan gems. “You’re coming with us.”

    “H-hey!” Thali tried to protest, but they were already upon them. The Sableye blindfolded and bound them, before leading them out into the dangerous world of the future.


    …Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 18
    The Future of Darkness


    After the event, it was hard for the townsfolk to get back to work. What transpired weighed heavy on their minds, striking worry into the hearts of those living in Treasure Town. But no one in the town felt the ache as badly as Wigglytuff’s Guild.

    “Guildmaster,” peeped Chatot as soon as they’d returned to the guild. “May I speak with you privately?”

    “Uh huh! Come on.”

    The parrot Pokémon frowned; the cheery cadences of his friend’s voice was tainted by a melancholy key. Even he was having a hard time saving face in lieu of this shock. Quickly, they hurried into his chambers. Wigglytuff was notably rushed about locking the door so that no one could enter behind them.

    “Wigglytuff,” spoke Chatot, his air of formality lost. “Froslass, she… she kidnapped two of our finest apprentices. I’m not sure what to make of this.”

    “We all saw what she did, Chatot,” Wigglytuff grumbled as he sulked, slumping on his chair. “But why? What did we miss? Is there something that I didn’t notice?”

    “Wigglytuff, self-deprecation is an unbecoming trait for a guildmaster,” Chatot said as he fluttered up to his shoulder. “What could you have known? What could any of us have known? Thali, Aru, and Froslass were all mysterious Pokémon with faraway origins. Perhaps there is something that we didn’t know.”

    Wigglytuff sighed and rubbed his temples in frustration. “Well, what do you suspect?” he asked.

    “Me? Well, Team Unity was always very close to Froslass for some reason,” Chatot observed, “I originally thought that they might be criminals fleeing from Froslass as well, but… With how friendly they acted, that would make no sense.”

    “I agree,” mumbled Wigglytuff.

    “Then, I wondered if perhaps Aru’s memory loss had anything to do with this,” Chatot said. “You know, we hardly know a thing about that boy. What if he’s been hiding something this whole time?”

    “Chatot,” Wigglytuff said with a firm gaze. “I’ll ask you not to doubt the fidelity of our apprentices.”

    “But Wigglytuff, he claimed to be human! It is a possibility that you cannot ignore.”

    “I don’t care!” he shouted, tears welling in his eyes. “These are my apprentices, Chatot. My children. I could never condemn myself to think that way about any single one of them.”

    Chatot sighed and looked away. “Right. Of course, Wigglytuff,” he mumbled. “Anyway, perhaps we should—”

    Their discussion was interrupted by a knock at the door. Chatot fluttered over and answered, revealing a concerned Chimecho at the doorway. “U-um… pardon me,” she said shyly. “Is now a bad time?”

    “Nuh uh!” said Wigglytuff, masking himself with a cheerful façade, though the grievous undertones still remained. “What do you need, Chimecho?”

    Chimecho sighed, jingling a bit as she quivered. “It’s Accalia, sir,” she mumbled, worried. “She’s drinking down at the café, and she’s causing an uproar. We tried to get her to stop, but she’s inconsolable. We thought that maybe you could go down there and control her.”

    Chatot and Wigglytuff exchanged sad looks. The cause was obvious, but they had no idea she would react in such a way. “We’ll be right down,” Wigglytuff said with boisterous energy.

    Making haste, Wigglytuff scurried out of the guild with Chatot on his shoulder. A few of the guild members followed behind, curious and anxious to see how the situation would resolve. Down the stairs to the crossroads, Wigglytuff waddled with half the guild in tow.

    Slowly, they entered the porthole to Spinda’s café. The restaurant was nearly a disaster: Bar tables were strewn into splinters against the walls, and patrons rushed out to escape the danger. Spinda himself was hiding behind the counter of his juice bar, while Wobuffet and Wynaut tried to usher their patrons out.

    In the center of it all swayed a woozy, half-aware Snivy, hiccupping and laughing while she swirled around. Heavy Vine Whips spread out from her with prehensile might, hurling objects against the walls. “Oh, hey everybody!” said Accalia slurred as she looked up to the Wigglytuff and the others. “Guildmaster, Chatot, you’re all here!”

    Chatot stepped forward while the rest of the guild stayed back. He approached Accalia warily. “Accalia… What is the meaning of this behavior?” he asked.

    What?” she asked, spinning around one more time and crushing a chair with her whips. “I’m just having a bit of fun. Get my vines flowing, you know?”

    In all his years, Chatot had never seen a Pokémon so deeply in distress that she lost herself. “Child, surely you see that your actions are erratic and illogical,” said Chatot, though his attempts at empathy were moot.

    Accalia sniggered, strolling along the perimeter of the café now. “Everyone needs to let loose every once in a while, ya know? Just forget about the past and live in the present.”

    “Young lady,” Chatot chastised her, “I don’t think Aru would have approved of such an ideology.”

    “Shut up!”

    A chair crashed into the wall, splinters flying out toward Wigglytuff and the guild members. Accalia’s rage dissipated shortly, and she was shortly back to spinning, her words loopy. “I-I mean, so what?” she said, her words shaky now, as if she wasn’t quite sure of herself. “They were always so uptight. I can let go once in a while, just escape from myself and this life for a little while.”

    “Well, I—”

    Wigglytuff put a hand up to Chatot’s beak to silence him. “Don’t,” he whispered aside before speaking up, “Accalia, please calm down and come back with us. You’re upset, we can see that, but Thali and Aru wouldn’t want to see you like this.”

    This time, a glass cup came flying at Wigglytuff. Faster than eyes could see, Wigglytuff reached up and caught the glass, unfazed by the hostility. The Snivy’s eyes were wild and wide, and her vine’s flailed about erratically as her breathing intensified. “They won’t see me like this,” Accalia growled. “Do you know why? Because they’re gone, Wigglytuff! They’re gone!”

    Accalia’s rage grew and she began to tear up, thrashing her vines violently. Some whips even struck Wigglytuff, drawing blood from each strike. “Guildmaster!” Chatot squawked with worry as Wigglytuff, stony-eyed, approached Accalia in spite of her rage.

    “The people I love most in this world are gone!” shouted Accalia, her glare focused on Wigglytuff. “How dare you claim to know them better than I do? I spent every moment with them. I loved them like family! And now they’re gone!”

    Still, Wigglytuff approached, even as every ounce of Accalia’s anger lashed out. She was like a whole other being, something incomplete and unholy, like eldritch abominations from ages long past. “Time and time again, the things that I love are taken. Betrayed by the explorer I looked up to! My best friends, gone!”

    Stoically, gently; this is how one faces the onslaught of a friend’s tirade. Wigglytuff wrapped his arms around Accalia, pulling her in for a sudden hug. “Shush…” he assured her, holding her tight.

    Very briefly, Accalia’s vines flailed at Wigglytuff as she wailed. But after her tantrum, she calmed down, and her vines receded. She sniffled and cried, sobering up as her tears dampened Wigglytuff’s fur. “It’s not fair…” she whimpered. “I love them…”

    “And we love them too,” Wigglytuff whispered to her. “We will do everything in our power to get Thali and Aru back. But in order to do that, we must remain calm and vigilant. Most of all though, we must not lose our spirit.”

    Wigglytuff knelt down and looked Accalia in the eye. She held her cheeks so she could not turn away. “Come back with us, Accalia,” Wigglytuff whispered soothingly. “We must be brave during this difficult time. Brave like Aru and Thali are. Now here, I promise you something: I will bring this matter to the Council, and we will discuss the meaning of Froslass’s treason.

    “I’m not sure what to expect from here on out,” Wigglytuff pondered, “but we know that something is not as it seemed, and we will continue our investigation thoroughly.”

    Accalia sighed, gripping onto Wigglytuff’s fur as if it were a lifeline. “You don’t think,” she paused to sniffle, “you don’t think Aru and Thali are criminals too, do you?”

    Again, Wigglytuff shushed her and hugged her in close. “No, Accalia,” she whispered, caressing the back of her head. “I am confident in them, and I trust in them. The problem must lie elsewhere. And we will figure it out. Now come on back to the guild so you can sober up before dinner, okay? Chimecho is making a stew, and I’m super excited to try it!”

    Wigglytuff was back to his old self, and that made Accalia giggle a bit. He was goofy, and Accalia wondered if he did that to keep morale up. “Sure,” she whispered as she began to feel faint. “Just let me rest…” As the words left her mouth, she passed out in Wigglytuff’s arms, fast asleep.

    Wigglytuff turned to leave, smiling at his apprentices. “She’ll be alright.”

    They cheered even louder now, hugging each other in jubilation. Chatot though was still a bit unsettled. “Guildmaster, how ever will we compensate Spinda for these damages?”

    Wigglytuff just laughed. “Take it out of the guild funds,” he assured Chatot. “She’s my apprentice. We take care of our own.”


    “I am sorry to have kept you waiting, Master Dialga,” spoke a gentle voice. “The deed is done. I’ve finally succeeded in the capture.”

    In the ruins of a scarred world lay the floating, broken remnants of an antiquated, anachronistic tower. The stone was grey, bleached of the life and color they once bore, and the air outside seemed thick and stale and chilly to the lungs. Standing at a precipice in the tower, gazing into the dark abyss within was Froslass, her gaze firm and her stance reverent.

    The silhouette of some great being shined within, but not with light. Outlining its terrifying form was a darkness so great that it seemed to shun the pitch black surrounding it, glowing with radiant evil. The silhouette of the great being grunted, its red eyes shining with a distinctive glare.

    “I… I understand,” mumbled Froslass. “Those who would threaten to alter history must be erased.”

    Then, without another word between them, Froslass turned and left, and the silhouette slipped away without another word.


    There was a cold walk along a stone floor, and then they were lifted from their paws, their backs bound to more cold stone. But where they were, Thali could but guess.

    The blindfolds came undone first, but still Thali saw nothing in that impenetrable darkness. And then, a spotlight shone directly on her from above, bathing her in bright light. She was bound by rope to a huge column in a black room. “What’s going on?” she whimpered, squirming inside her prison. “I’m all trussed up!”

    A flash; another spotlight was put on, showing Aru tied up similarly on a pillar just next to her. “Oh thank goodness, Aru!” she cried out, relieved. “At least you’re okay.”

    Aru nodded as much as the restraints allowed him. “Yeah,” he mumbled. “Hopefully we’ll get out of here just fine.”

    “Humph. You fools are clueless about what’s going to happen. You can afford to be nonchalant about it for now.”

    The third light turned on, revealing a third column. Roped and bound was the very enemy of their own ire, the leaf on his head slicked back like a ponytail, an analyzing look in his yellow eyes. “Grovyle!” shouted Aru, glaring at the thief.

    “The two of you,” Grovyle said, calculating with a sidelong glance. “Do you have even the slightest idea where we are?”

    “Well… no,” mumbled Thali.

    “This is a stockade,” mumbled Grovyle in his deep voice, looking around carefully. “They’re preparing to execute us.”

    “E-execute?” panicked Thali, looking around. “But… why us? You’re a thief obviously, but us? We didn’t do anything!”

    Grovyle grunted in disdain. “I couldn’t care less,” he grumbled. “Obviously you did something they can’t tolerate.”

    “Don’t be snide with me!” shouted Thali, getting angrier by the second, though Aru tried his best to shush her. “We’re not filthy criminals like you, you cheap—”

    “I don’t care,” interrupted Grovyle. “Instead of losing your cool, calm down and watch carefully. They’re coming.”

    The doors to the stockade broke open, allowing in six Sableye lackeys. “Those are the jailers around here,” Grovyle whispered, his words begetting experience. “They do all the dirty work around here.”

    Aru remembered now; Froslass had similar henchmen back in Treasure Town. “But whose dirty work are they doing?” asked Aru.

    “Ah, now you’re asking the right questions.”

    Floating in effortlessly behind the Sableye came Froslass, all her majestic composure still intact, but somehow a rather fiendish aura lingered under her cold shell.

    “F-Froslass! It’s you!” Thali shouted, her eyes filling with tears. Aru could only shake his head though. His partner hadn’t accepted it yet.

    “Madame Froslass,” said one of the Sableye. “The three have been tied to their stakes.”

    “Good,” she replied shortly. Her glare was as sharp as a dagger and colder than the snow she wore on her skin.

    “Froslass, please!” cried Thali, struggling as much as she could. “It’s me, Thali!”

    Froslass seemed to pause for a moment, but only briefly, as if tripped by a question of morality. But she ignored it. “Sableye: those three… we must be rid of them immediately. Do what must be done.”

    “Wheh-heh… Absolutely, Madame Froslass,” said one of the Sableye. The six Pokémon began cackling, dragging their claws low to sharpen them on the ground. Then they separated into groups, two for each column. No remorse could be seen behind those sharp fangs and devilish gazes.

    “No, wait!” cried Thali, but it was useless. Froslass was no longer listening.

    Grovyle grunted. “Keep quiet,” he said. “And keep your voices low. We don’t want them hearing us.”

    “I…” Thali wanted to be angry, but she couldn’t. Not now anyway. “What is it?” she mumbled.

    “Here’s what’s going to happen,” Grovyle mumbled. “They’re probably going to execute us by grinding us away with their Fury Swipes. If that happens, then there’s a good chance that the binds holding us will be cut before we pass out from blood loss.”

    “Okay,” Aru mumbled, sighing. In this bleak situation, he felt oddly like he could trust Grovyle. “Go on.”

    “When the ropes weaken, that’s our chance to do something,” Grovyle said. He kept his eye on the Sableye as they approached, the scraping sound of their claws filling the chamber. “I’m not sure what this situation calls for though.”

    “What do you mean?” hissed Thali. Her heart pounded in her chest. The Sableye were getting closer. “What are we supposed to do then?”

    “We could use an item,” Aru said.

    “What item?” grumbled Grovyle. “Even if we knew, not enough time.”

    “Then it’s probably best to just attack then, right?” Thali mumbled, gulping down a breath. Their cackling was getting louder and closer.


    “Well… Grovyle, what if they don’t attack with their Fury Swipes,” mumbled Thali, fear creeping inside her like it used to long ago. She was quaking. “What if they attack us with something else?”

    “Best not to think about that. Here they come.”

    The Sableye’s cackling filled their ears now, assuming a stance of professional, clean murder. When Aru looked at them with his aura sight, all he could see was the black intent to kill.

    “Be vigilant,” ordered Froslass coldly. “Don’t take your eyes off them for even a second. Especially not that Grovyle.”

    They moved quickly. They slashed at them through the ropes with blinding movements and fierce strikes. Aru cried out from the sudden pain of it, his chest bursting open with blood and cuts from the wounds. “Ung,” was the only noise Thali let out, though it was clear she was blinded by pain as well.

    “Endure it!” shouted Grovyle, his hardened expression cracked by the pain. “You must endure it!”

    Through the stinging, cutting, blood-slinging pain, Aru looked down over the evil Sableye and caught sight of his ropes beginning to fray. “Look!” he cried out over the pain.

    Grovyle and Thali came to the same realization in an instant. Then, Grovyle refocused himself on the enemy. “Now!” he ordered.

    With all the effort they could muster, they kicked off of the columns. Their ropes snapped, and they threw themselves at the Sableye, knocking them back. “What the blazes is going on?” cried Froslass angrily.

    But in the instant before she could get an answer, Grovyle swept up Thali and Aru and whipped out an orb. “Let’s go,” he grumbled to them before smashing the orb on the ground, releasing a blinding light.

    The Sableye cried from the light and cowered, shielding their eyes. “Hold firm!” Froslass ordered them as she squinted through the light. The whiteness everywhere was almost as blinding as the impeccable darkness everywhere else. “It’s just a Luminous Orb. The effects will pass.”

    The light dwindled after a minute of activity. Froslass froze up; she swept her gaze over the entire stockade and couldn’t find a trace of them. “Dammit! They bolted while we were distracted.

    “Spread out, and search the grounds!” she ordered to her lackeys menacingly. “If you find them, kill them!”

    They left quickly to catch their prey, hastily rushing out the door.

    But when they left, and all was silent…

    A mound rose out from a hidden hole in the ground, and from it came Grovyle, Thali, and then Aru. Impressive, thought the Riolu as they clambered out of the cramped, dirty hole. He even knows Dig. Grovyle must know all sorts of useful escape techniques.

    “Ugh,” Thali grumbled, spitting. “I got dirt in my mouth.”

    “Better than claws in your gut, I reckon,” Grovyle mumbled as he dusted himself off. “We got out of that scrape, but we’ve still a ways to go before we’re in the clear. Let’s go.”

    Grovyle took off in a run, knowing that he was their only hope for escape, and that they would be running along after him. “Come on you two,” he huffed to them as they sprinted down the corridors of the winding, eerie prison.

    There was no time to capture the strange décor; they had to escape immediately.

    “Pick it up, you two!”

    “We’re going as fast as we can!” shouted Thali angrily. “Quit ordering us around!”

    Aru breathed heavily as they kept sprinting. Thali’s attitude wasn’t helping anyway. “Look, Grovyle,” she mumbled again, panting. “Are we… really in the future?”

    “You catch on quickly,” he remarked. Aru noticed that there was no sarcasm in his tone. “Try not to worry about that for now. Just keep going!”

    “You make it sound easy… I’m exhausted,” groaned Thali.

    “We’re almost there!” Grovyle shouted. They turned down another hallway, and the thief smirked when he found a cracked set of double doors at the end. “See, look. The exit is in sight!”

    They heaved every breath, forcing themselves to take stride after stride, sprinting towards their freedom. Every step caused pain to shoot through them, but they overcame it and took another and another until they crashed through the gates.

    “We did it!” exclaimed Thali.

    But what they saw silenced every exclamation or cheer they could muster. It was a grey landscape of mundanity, except nothing was normal about it. The skeletons of trees remained, branches broken and spiny in some places. The path leading out from the prison was crumbling, and a precipice on each side led into an abyss of impossible darkness. The sky was black, though a cracked moon still shone through. Most odd though were the stones in the air that never fell. In the far distance, they could see a crumbled grey tower with an ominous, lingering presence like Barad-dûr.

    “What… what is this place?” Thali mumbled.

    “It’s like you said earlier, young explorer,” Grovyle grumbled, peering off into the bleak horizon. “This is the future.”
    #20 Jul 15, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017

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