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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 ★★★
    Chapter 19: Despair

    “This place… no, it can’t be the future,” mumbled Thali in disbelief. The desiccated landscape lay around them, blanketed by a gray sky. “Those boulders over there, they’re floating! It’s horribly dark out here… What kind of future is this?”

    Aru held his head, trying to take in this bizarre world. He looked all around him. Though his aura vision was still untrained, even he should have been able to see the life essence of the world around him. But when he looked out, his eyes glowing gold, he saw nothing but emptiness. “It’s like… like everything here has stopped.”


    Thali gasped and looked over at their shady, temporary ally. “What do you mean by that?”

    But before he could answer, noise resounded from within the prison. It was the characteristic cackle of the Sableye on the hunt for escapees. “Those Sableye are still behind us,” concluded Grovyle. “We have to keep running.”

    And so they did, taking off without another word.

    They ran swiftly along the precipice. It lead like a path up towards a mountain range.

    They were running; but at a dangerous pace. “Grovyle...” huffed Thali as her steps began to falter. “I can’t go any further. I’m exhausted.”

    “We don’t have time to rest,” Grovyle barked. “If they catch us, we’re dead. Tough it out and run.”

    Aru groaned as they hiked further uphill at an accelerating pace. Easy for you to say, he thought. His head hung down from exhaustion, and when he looked at his belly, he saw his skin matted with blood. Blood loss and injury are taking a toll on all of us. Even you, Grovyle.

    “Up ahead,” Thali panted. “There’s an alcove. Surely we can rest there.”

    She was begging now, but Grovyle took note of the indent in the mountainside and hummed. There was a cave there that would likely lead into a mystery dungeon. They could afford a break. “Good eye, Eevee,” he said. “We’ll rest here for a bit.”

    They huddled up near the rock wall to hide from view. Thali collapsed on the stone, spent and exhausted. Aru leaned on his knees. Grovyle, though, refused to show any ounce of exhaustion, though he was panting clearly. “After a quick stop,” he mumbled, “we’ll get moving again.”

    “Wait just a minute!” Thali shouted, looking up from her collapsed form. “When we escaped, we cooperated with you because had no other options. But we never promised to go with you afterward.”

    Thali, what are you doing? Aru thought, frowning. He didn’t like Grovyle either, but there was strength in numbers. Still, he didn’t want to argue with her. Not after all they’d been through.

    Thali’s glare was as fierce as ever. “A criminal Pokémon like you… I can’t trust you.”

    Grovyle returned a fierce gaze in kind. “Oh, I see,” he said sarcastically. “So I’m the bad guy, right? And Froslass, well she must be the good guy.”

    “Well…” Thali mumbled, but weakly.

    “Explain Froslass’ actions earlier,” Grovyle demanded of her. “It wasn’t just me. They were going to kill you too!”

    “Yes… but that doesn’t mean I can put my faith in you either,” she replied, though she was still disheartened by everything.

    Grovyle was silent for a moment as the two held a stare. Aru stood by, praying that this would be resolved peacefully.

    Grovyle huffed a sigh and chuckled. He was at a loss. “Earning your trust is no easy task. I respect that,” he admitted. “I thought forming allies with you might help, but there’s really no point in continuing like this without trust between us.

    “We’ll go our separate ways. You two should get moving soon. I wouldn’t want to see you get caught. Good luck.”


    Aru could almost see the annoyed look in Grovyle’s face when he turned around. “You tell us to leave soon,” said the Riolu, “but it’s dark right now, and I can hardly see anything in that cave. Shouldn’t we wait till morning?”

    “Morning?” Grovyle turned around and sighed. “I’m sorry to break this to you, but… morning never comes.”


    Grovyle massaged his forehead, unsure of how to proceed from there. “This world—your future—it’s a world of perpetual darkness,” he said. “The sun never rises, so morning never comes. The darkness persists eternally.”

    “But why?” Aru asked.

    “Because, the planet is paralyzed.”

    “Paralysis?” Thali looked around and frowned. The death of a world, just as Froslass had described to them not too long ago. “I don’t understand. This looks like the world Froslass described in the past, but how can this be?”

    Grovyle just shrugged. “You can believe or reject what I’m telling you,” he said. “Makes no difference to me. Either way, I suggest you leave soon. I’m going now.”

    And then, without another word, Grovyle left for the cave.

    “Aru…” Thali mumbled once Grovyle had gone, “I just… I don’t know what’s going on.”

    “Neither do I,” he mumbled as he sat beside her, rubbing her shoulders.

    Thali pondered and said, “Wasn’t the world’s paralysis a result of the Time Gears missing?”

    “That is what Froslass said,” Aru mumbled, sighing. “But I’m starting to think that she may have been wrong. Or worse… she was lying.”

    “You think so?”

    “Yes,” he mumbled. “Perhaps it’s best not to think about it right now.”

    “I know, but…” she began to shake and cry, shuddering. “I don’t know who or what to believe anymore. Everything’s gone upside down. I just don’t want to be here anymore.”

    But then, that vile noise rose up from the valleys: the sound of hunting Sableye cackling in the distance. “Come on,” Aru said as he helped her up. “It’s not safe here anymore. We have to keep moving.”

    That’s all we can do, thought the Riolu as they approached the cave, just keep moving.


    ...Syaoron the Fox presents…
    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 19


    After three days of travel, trekking over treacherous mountains and through confusing forests, the sight of Fogbound Lake was a welcome reprieve for the three muses. After so many years of not seeing each other—at least not physically—they had decided to travel together to put the first Time Gear back into place.

    They had just stepped into the boundary of the frozen time when Uxie spoke: “The happenings these past few days still disturbs me. Mesprit, Azelf, what say you of that kidnapping?”

    “I sensed something suspicious about that Froslass from the start,” Mesprit mumbled, huffing in thought. “Her emotions were strange and unreadable; they never correlated with how she expressed herself.”

    “Yes, but the other two were unusual as well,” said Azelf in thought. “So much bravery and potential in both of them. They’re meant for great things.”

    Uxie sighed and looked around. Each of them carried a Time Gear, and just holding it in their hands somehow felt soothing, like a heartbeat. “Something is indeed wrong here,” he mumbled. “But we ought not worry ourselves too much with this.”

    The climb up the steam caves was empty. All around them, Pokémon sat frozen. A Magmar with its Magby sitting frozen, greyed, lifeless statues by a river of magma that had since lost its heat. “Can you imagine a whole world like this?” Mesprit asked.

    Sitting in the corner was another Magmar. For a while, it was staring at the other Magmar and its child. “That Pokémon over there,” Mesprit mumbled, biting her lip. “He’s sad.”

    “He’s the father of that little family,” Uxie concluded shortly. The Magmar had an empty look in his eyes, devoid of nothing but despair and madness. It turned around and faced the corner, and then it began to do something strange: It leaned forward and began knocking its head against a wall.

    Mesprit gulped down a breath. “We should do something,” she mumbled. She could see blood on the walls now. “Azelf, please…”

    “Right,” mumbled the blue muse. He floated forward to the broken Pokémon and put his hand on the back of its head. “Calm yourself, and hold strong. Let not your will be broken so easily.” Azelf’s eyes glowed a vibrant gold, and shortly, the Pokémon calmed down.

    It did not speak, but it revered Azelf and bowed before leaving to find a place to rest its head.

    “He should be fine,” mumbled Azelf. “Let’s keep going.”

    It wasn’t long before they reached the plateau of the lake. The Illumise and Volbeat were floating in midair, their lights stationary, and the geyser of water itself a frozen pillar. Before the gear was stolen, there was such a beautiful glow. “Go on. Uxie,” Mesprit said. “Put it back in place.”

    Uxie nodded and floated forward, placing the gear back within the runes at the middle of the lake. He watched as it began to glow brighter; he backed away and waited. They all waited.

    Nothing. “Nothing?” Azelf wondered, frowning. “Something’s not right.”

    “This wrinkle in time is like a scar,” Uxie said. “Perhaps it will take time to heal.”

    Azelf was not confident in that though. Time had not begun to move again. A strange darkness still prevailed. “Perhaps,” he mumbled. “We will wait and see.”

    So they waited, and waited a timeless wait in that shadowy place.


    Team Unity, or what was left of them in this so called future, shoved onward. Following in Grovyle’s footsteps, they entered the cave. It was a treacherous place that simply seemed to descend without end. A pervading darkness rose up from the chasm below, as they walked along narrow bridges deeper into the cave complex.

    “I don’t like this place, Aru,” Thali mumbled. “Something about it doesn’t seem right. It seems…”

    “Dead,” completed Aru. Even among this stone, Aru could sometimes sense the life of the earth. But everything around them now was just that: dead.

    “Right,” Thali mumbled, looking around. “Careful. You don’t know what we might find here.”

    They walked deeper, descending into the seemingly endless chasm. Among narrow halls and corners, they crept. And then, they saw it.

    “Watch out!” Thali shouted as she dived over Aru, avoiding a gusty swipe from above, some cold, lifeless threat that whooshed overhead.

    “What was that?” Aru gasped.

    “A Haunter, I think,” Thali mumbled. “I just barely caught sight of it. Look there—it’s coming back around!”

    Floating from across the chasm, the Pokémon flew in, lunging at them with its shadowy fist. Before it could land the blow, Thali pounced with a ferocious Bite, sundering the creature into gas.

    Thali coughed a bit when the Haunter dissipated. “Gross,” she mumbled.

    “Careful there,” Aru mumbled as he helped her up. She looked a bit sickly, so he handed her a Pecha Berry from the bag. “Here. That ghost Pokémon must have been part poison.

    “Yeah,” she mumbled. Now that she looked around, there were dozens of other ghost types floating around the chasm. “Strange. Why are there so many of them?”

    “Best not to think about it,” Aru rushed her to her feet. “Come on. Let’s keep moving.”

    Aru looked ahead beyond the corner. In the next room, just before the staircase, was an odd looking Pokémon, like a blimp with a small cloud over its head. “We’ll have to beat it,” he said.

    “I think it’s a ghost type,” Thali said. “You know anything to take it out with?”

    “I learned Shadow Claw a while back,” he mumbled in thought, gathering shadowy energy into his paw. “Will that do?”

    “Should do the trick,” Thali assured him. “Let’s go!”

    Thali rushed out, shouting to draw the Pokémon’s attention. Its gaze suddenly leered toward them, and the Pokémon let out a withering noise before launching a Shadow Ball toward them.

    “Protect!” shouted Thali, creating a ward to block the powerful attack. “Now, Aru!”

    Leaping out from behind her, the Riolu swiped up with his paw, slicing into the blimp Pokémon with ghoulish energy.

    Then, the new Pokémon did something he did not expect. Upon slicing, the ghastly blimp began to inflate rapidly. “Thali, get back!” he shouted.

    Without another second to react, the Pokémon exploded violently, blowing Aru back and into the air. He waited, a second, then two. But his back didn’t meet the ground. He looked over his shoulder and gasped: he was falling over the edge of the chasm. “Thali!”

    “Aru!” she lunged for him, reaching her paw out desperately to catch him. When they swiped their paws, they missed by centimeters.

    And he fell down, down into the black abyss. She waited, tears in her eyes as she watched him disappear into the depths. “Please don’t,” she pleaded as she listened to his screams. She waited, her heart pounding with every passing moment.

    She heard a thump at the bottom, and then a groan. There were words; she couldn’t hear them, but that he spoke at all was a sign that he was fine. She sighed and looked through the pack she had. Maybe she had an item that could help.

    Ah, yes! Right in the seed pouch, she fisted a small, green germinated seed. It was a pure seed, and she could use it to descend the next few floors. Even planted in this hard earth, the seed quickly took hold and sprouted vines down the chasm.

    She gulped. Even though the vine could easily suspend her weight, the darkness at the bottom still bothered her. She took hold of the vine, carefully climbing down it and forcing herself not to look farther than the next foothold.

    “Please let it be over…

    She took another step.

    “Please let it be over…

    Descending, she had her eyes squeezed nearly shut. She prayed that none of the ghost types found her.

    A cackle overhead. She looked up and gasped when a Haunter came flying right at her. She screamed as it attacked the vine, forcing her to fall, down and—

    “Oof!” She blinked when she hit the ground after not falling more than a foot. “I think I’ve found the bottom… You there, Aru?”

    Looking around, she noticed her partner had fallen not much further than she was. “I’m here,” he mumbled, staggering to his feet. “Ooh, that smarts.”

    “You aren’t hurt?” she asked, confused.

    Aru sighed and pulled her onto all fours. “I used a Focus Blast to slow my descent,” he said. He staggered into a hobble, correcting himself, “It mostly worked.”

    “You think we put enough space between us and those Sableye?” Thali panted

    Aru looked behind them and sighed. He couldn’t hear their laughing anymore at the very least. “We lost them in the dungeon, I think.”

    They proceeded to an opening at the end of the dungeon and looked around. “Look at that, Aru!” Thali suddenly gasped, pointing.

    A waterfall came down from the ceiling of the cave, except it wasn’t coming down exactly. All the water was frozen, but not ice; suspended in air. Thali ran up to touch it and frowned. “It’s solid.”

    “Yeah. That is strange.”

    Thali clapped her paws together and smiled. “I know! Aru, use your Dimensional Scream,” she said. “Maybe then we can figure out what happened to this place.”

    “Right,” Aru mumbled. He walked up to the waterfall and closed himself off, focusing. His paw hit the cold surface; a shiver shot up his fingertips and into his shoulder. He waited… and waited…


    The Riolu sighed. “Nothing,” he said. “Not even a whisper.”

    Thali sighed and sat down by the edge of the waterfall, trying to clean off her dirty, mated fur. “Your ability peers through time, right?” Thali asked.

    “Yes, I—I hadn’t thought about that.” Aru seemed suddenly interested in his feet.

    “Maybe Grovyle was right,” she mumbled. “Time really is frozen in this future.”


    Aru didn’t want to state the obvious conclusion, but from the look of despair that came over Thali’s face, he knew that she had already come to the same revelation. “She couldn’t have…”

    “Froslass lied to us, Thali.”

    “We don’t know that yet!” she shouted, biting back tears. “This could all just be a—an elaborate ruse against Grovyle.”

    Aru sighed. That was the weakest stance she could have affronted him with. “Thali, please…”

    “She saved our lives, Aru!” cried Thali, desperately fighting back tears. “Not once, but twice. Don’t you remember?”

    “That doesn’t mean anything.”

    “It means everything!” she shouted. “Don’t you remember? Grovyle tried to kill us!

    “Yeah? Well so did Froslass!”

    Aru cleared up from his burst of frustration and looked down at her. Tears mated down her cheeks and she began to back away. “Thali… I didn’t…” he mumbled, trying to approach her.

    His heart beat cold in his chest when she stepped away.

    He took another step. She retreated another step.

    “Thali, please.”


    Then she sprinted away, out through the cave. “Thali, wait.

    The cave somehow seemed even colder now, like the walls were closing in. He watched her sprinting, crying form disappear into the growing darkness. “Please, stop.”

    But she didn’t stop. She never stopped.


    Far away, at the top of a high plateau outside of Treasure Town, a hot spring lay. There, Pokémon could relax after days of hard work, and come to have a casual conversation.

    On this day, a young Snivy relaxed in the warm waters, overhearing a conversation between an Ursaring and a Teddiursa. “Ursaring, when am I gonna get to evolve and be like you?” said the young bear.

    The Ursaring sighed and pat the young one’s head. “Not sure, little buddy,” he said in a deep baritone. “You know how things are.”

    “But why can’t I evolve?” he asked.

    Ursaring just sighed and scratched his chin in thought. “Well, there’s a place we Pokémon go to evolve, you know,” he said. “To the east, there is a place called the Luminous Spring.”

    “Yeah, you told me about it in one of my bedtime stories.”

    “Well, Pokémon go there to pray to Arceus sometimes,” said Ursaring. “And sometimes, a voice will speak back. Some say it’s Arceus, others say it’s a voice from beyond. But there in the Luminous Spring, if the voice speaks to you, and you meet its requirements, you can stand in the light of the spring and evolve.”

    Teddiursa looked up with hope. “So, why can’t I evolve then?” he asked.

    Ursaring sighed, trying to find the words. “Well, lately the light isn’t there in the springs, I’ve heard,” he said. “It’s not just you. No one can evolve.”


    Accalia stopped listening and frowned. Seemed everyone was losing hope lately. Instead, she waded through the relaxing, warm waters to an old looking tortoise huffing steam out its noise. The magma in its shell was cooling with old age, she noticed, glowing a dim red. “You must be elder Torkoal,” she said.

    The old tortoise smiled with its eyes it seemed. “And you’re Accalia, that new species,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot about you. You must be here to ask a question of my immense, elderly wisdom.”

    Accalia smiled softly, though she thought his comment was conceited. “Well, more to pique your curiosity,” she said as she sat on a small stone. “Word has come back from the Muses. The scars in time aren’t healing as fast as they were hoping.”

    Torkoal raised his brow and settled down on his perch. “Is that so?”

    “Yes,” Accalia said, looking off in the distance. If she looked long enough toward the northeast, she could see a small, grey blip at the edge of the horizon. “I came today to ask your opinion on the matter.”

    Torkoal sighed and looked off into the sunset, away from the grey. He breathed a steady flow of steam. “There is much we don’t understand about the nature of time and its master,” he said simply. “It is too early to tell if this is the intended way.”

    Accalia padded her feet in the water. She couldn’t help but think about her friends at a time like this. “But what if things don’t get better?” she asked.

    “Ah, I wouldn’t be so quick to lose hope, child.”

    Hope? She crossed looked at her reflection in the water. Her best friends were gone. The guild members were struggling. The Guildmaster was on business elsewhere, leaving Chatot to reign in the chaos. Lose hope? Hope was all she had left. “It’s not that,” she said. “But we should be prepared, shouldn’t we.”

    “Yes… I suppose you’re right.”

    “Chatot tells me that you’re old,” Accalia said curiously. “Older than anyone else. You’ve lived for ages, he says, and that if anyone would know some mysticism about this, you would.”

    Torkoal waited silently, thinking about how to answer this question. “Have you heard the legend of Dialga the Timekeeper?”

    Accalia remembered; Thali had told her and Aru that story one night months ago. “Yes, I’ve heard it,” she said. “Creator of the Time Gears and whatnot. What of it?”

    Torkoal was quiet again. “Something is very wrong,” he huffed as his gaze drifted east to that grey speck on the horizon. “You’re right… things should be getting better.”

    Now why would he change his attitude so quickly like that? “What are you trying to say?” Accalia mumbled. “This doesn’t have anything to do with that old fairy tale, would it?”

    “Eh?” said Torkoal, huffing as if tired. He gave her a confused look. “What fairy tale? Are we still talking about the same thing?”

    Accalia sighed. She had hoped Torkoal wasn’t as senile as he originally appeared to be. “Never mind.”

    “Forgive me, child. I’m an old Pokémon, you know,” he said, trying to excuse himself. He glanced over to the Ursaring, and his squinty eyes narrowed even further. “You there! You must be from the war!”

    Deeming the conversation to be over, Accalia waded out of the hot springs. It seemed Torkoal’s mind was flighty, in almost a different place. She had gained nothing from this conversation, and would have to return to Chatot with no information.

    “Oh, child!” Torkoal suddenly called out. Accalia stopped. “If any new information comes up, be sure to come back and tell me. I would so dearly like to know.”

    Accalia waved him off. “Of course. I’ll be back!” She left the hot spring, a smile on her face. It seemed Torkoal knew more than he was letting on just yet.

    She couldn’t wait to find out.


    Aru had never rushed through a dungeon so fast. He must have left dozens of Pokémon lying unconscious in his wake from how fast he hurried. Every step burned him inside; not from pain, but sorrow and longing. He had to find her. Every heartbeat was a stab reminding him of how desperately he needed to find her.

    He saw it finally. Is that the end? He wondered as he made a mad dash for the cave opening. He practically launched himself out.

    When he landed outside, Aru looked around: he was standing on a precipitous, wide walkway of cold stone. On either side extended an abyss to which he could see no bottom. There was a lone, dead tree on the walkway, petrified. At the bend…

    At the bend was his partner, sitting down and looking over the edge.

    He approached her quietly, not really sure what to say. There are no words I can say that will make this better, he thought, subjected to torment himself with silence.

    “Hey,” he said pointlessly.

    She didn’t reply. Just kept a hopeless gaze fixed on the place below. Tiny lights could be seen come from far away in the abyss. “Grovyle was right,” she mumbled. “This future really is a world of total darkness.”


    “That cluster of lights,” she interrupted him. “You see them? They’re beautiful. But… that’s where the stockade is.”

    Aru couldn’t see where she was going with this. He sat down beside her, overlooking the edge. The only thing that separated the dark abyss from the sky was a grim haze. Seeing it, a seed of despair began to sprout.

    “Froslass… she was kind and knowledgeable,” Thali whispered, pawing at the stone, wishing it was dirt so she could scrape it into a pile. “She saved us more than a few times. And she taught us a lot about what exploring is, and about solving conflicts. That’s why I… I came to really respect her.”

    Instead of speaking, Aru patted and rubbed her back. It spoke much more than words. He felt that small despair become bigger. His vision was watery now.

    “Was she really deceiving us the whole time? Even after all this… I don’t think I can believe it. I don’t know what to believe. Everything’s all mixed up inside.” Aru watched her closely. Tears began to well in her eyes, like her hope falling away.

    “What do we do? What can we do?” she asked, sending her questions off to their air, knowing there was no answer coming back. “How far must we run? Will we ever go back to our own world?

    “I wonder how the guild is doing. Wigglytuff, Chatot, Accalia… everyone. Are they worried about us?”

    Aru balled up a fist, trying hard to clench back his own emotions. This was how things were: Thali was struggling now, and she needed his help. So he bit back his own tears and hugged her, pulling her into his chest. “Let it out,” he whispered.

    She broke out into a wet, defeated sob, clutching onto him. “I m-miss the guild,” she wailed. “I want to see everyone again. I want to go back home. I just want everything to go back to the way it was.”

    She cried and cried. Her wails echoed endlessly through the valley of the night.
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  2. Syaoron the Fox

    (Zapdos Egg)
    Level 5
    Apr 19, 2017
    Poké Ball ★Dawn Stone ★★★★Reaper Cloth ★★★
    Chapter 20: Soul Searching

    They sat there for the longest time, it seemed, staring into the abyss with solemn eyes. Aru patted her shoulder and sighed. “Come on. Let’s get going,” he said. “If we hurry now, we can catch up to Grovyle. From there, maybe we can get some answers.”

    Aru got up to leave, scouting the path ahead. It was a winding, narrow road, but at least it was straight-forward. He knew where they needed to go. “We should hurry,” he said to her. “Those Sableye will show up anytime now. We need to stay one step ahead of them.”

    “Aru… wait just a minute.”

    The Riolu turned back and stopped, watching his partner slowly approach him, her eyes red with tears. “What’s the matter? Still don’t want to look for Grovyle?” he asked.

    “No, that’s not it.” Through those red eyes and dampened cheeks, she managed a meek smile. “I just want to say thank you.”

    Aru waited, feeling those words echo in his heart. He clenched a bit. “Thank… you?” he said, confused.

    “You picked me up, even though I was feeling down. Even though… you’re just as scared as I am,” the Eevee mumbled, scuffing her paws against the dirt. “Earlier, when I ran away from you, I ignored the fact that you were grasping for hope just like I was. While I was out here waiting for you, I realized that I’d forgotten something very important.”

    “And what is that?” Aru asked, feeling his heart trembled.

    Then, she gracefully walked over to him and leaned up, kissing his cheek. “That you’re my closest, most precious friend,” she whispered. “That you’re the one person out of everyone else in this whole world that I can rely on the most. Even if no one else is there for me, I know that I’ll always have you. And for a while… I’d forgotten that.”

    Aru felt tears well up; not of sadness, but of a fulfilled longing to hear those words. “Thali,” he whispered. He knelt down to hug her tightly, words lost to him.

    Though it was terrible tight, Thali patted his back with her forepaws and smiled. “Thank you. I needed that pick-me-up,” she said before releasing the hug. “Come on. Like you said, we need to find Grovyle.”

    She seemed to be almost a different person from before. Aru was captivated by the courageous grin, and smiled in agreement. “Right,” he said. “Let’s go.”


    Beyond the Sky
    Chapter 20
    Soul Searching


    In the middle of Treasure Town, guild mates were eagerly at work. They had a mystery to solve, and while not pressed for time, they worked as though its heinous whips were at their backs all the same.

    Accalia walked down the dirt road to the town square, striding alongside Chatot. “Anything new?” she asked Croagunk and Chimecho.

    Chimecho sighed. Croagunk was scraping up the ash from the dimensional hole. “Nothing quite yet,” she said. “We still can’t determine the portal’s origin. Even Froslass herself couldn’t conjure an energy field so strong. It’s not a move that we can think of.”

    “Might I remind you that this portal was used in Time Travel,” Chatot pointed out. “Perhaps the Pokémon who created it had control over time somehow?”

    “But how is that possible?” Chimecho asked, shaking her head. “The only Pokémon who have control over time are the legends Celebi and Dialga.”

    Croagunk snapped his head up and croaked, staring at Chimecho. “I think you might be onto something,” he grumbled.

    “What? But that’s preposterous,” Chimecho exclaimed. “The legends have all gone away; they haven’t shown their faces for centuries. And certainly they wouldn’t reappear just to help someone like Froslass!”

    Accalia shook her head in thought. She remembered the conversation she’d had recently with Elder Torkoal; about Dialga the Timekeeper. Perhaps there was more to this than met the eye. “Maybe, Chimecho,” she finally replied, “But Croagunk has a point. I think that Dialga and his Time Gears may have something to do with this whole plot.”

    “The Time Gears again?” Chatot squawked. “Did we not return those artifacts post-haste? This plot with time halting should be finished.”

    “Is it though?” asked Accalia, prodding the question as she paced through the square, staring at her leafy feet as though they held the answers she’d been looking for. “We thought it was when Grovyle was captured. But then Froslass took Aru and Thali as well. Something about that is suspicious.”

    Chatot shook his head. “It will do no good to speculate,” he said with an honest shrug. “Accalia, we’ve run our leads into the ground. Until something else surfaces, we have nothing to go off of.”

    Accalia slumped down in the dirt, run ragged from the last few days. With dead ends abound, she was beginning to feel that they were on some sort of wild goose chase, with no truth in sight. “We still don’t know anything,” she mumbled.

    “That’s not true, child.” Chatot leaned down and pecked her head. The Snivy winced, rubbed her head as she met the parrot’s gaze. “We know for certain that a legendary Pokémon like Celebi or Dialga is involved. And if it is Dialga, then we can safely say that the Time Gears may also be involved.”

    But he could see that she was not cheered up by his words. Chatot looked over to Chimecho and Croagunk; those two seemed to be at wits’ end as well. “You two, head on up to the guild,” he dismissed them. “You ought to get rest and sustenance. You’ve earned it.”

    Though wistful and eager, they were tired. Chimecho and Croagunk exchanged a look, then headed down the road, up the stairs to the guild.

    “Chatot… am I being naïve?” asked the despairing Snivy. “Was I wrong to hope?”

    Chatot shook his head. He could see it in her eyes, her hope draining away. “Child, hope is all we have,” he said, using his wing to caress her cheek. “If we can ever bring back those two, it will be through hope that we find our answers.”

    And then, out of the corner of his big eyes, Chatot caught sight of the answers he needed. In a burst of light, the three muses teleported into town, their faces lacking that auspicious flare Chatot might have expected. “Look, see what your hope has rewarded you,” Chatot beheld, patting Accalia’s back.

    The girl looked up, and instantly her eyes lit up. “Uxie! Mesprit! Azelf!” she shouted as she ran up to them. “I’m so happy to see you. You see, we’ve a bit of a problem on our hands, and I was wondering if…” she trailed off when she met their sad gaze. Something there seemed genuine and forlorn. “What’s the matter?”

    Uxie looked to Mesprit with a knowing glance, a cocked eyebrow that told her to handle the delicate words. So Mesprit glided toward Accalia, anxiety evident in her fidgeting hands. “We’ve run up against a problem ourselves,” she mumbled. “Well, more than a problem, really.”

    “Okay,” Accalia said in rising tones. She looked at them and sighed impatiently. “Well, go on then. What’s the matter?”

    There was another pregnant pause for a moment. Chatot fluttered beside Accalia for assurance, but the look on Mesprit’s face suggested she was more in need of comfort. “We placed the Time Gears back where they belonged, and as we expected, time did not immediately heal,” she said. “We waited a day. Then the next came. Then the next.”

    Accalia pondered, trying to find the silver lining between their words. “Well, it can’t be all bad,” she said. “The paralysis zones are shrinking, right?”

    Accalia could see now the sidelong glances Mesprit kept shooting out. The brothers Uxie and Azelf were behind her discussing something in quiet. But if she looked closely, Accalia could see that one of Uxie’s twin tails was grey and frozen in place. “Mesprit, what’s happening?”

    Finally, Mesprit spoke: “The paralysis zones are not shrinking, Accalia.

    “They are expanding.”


    “Quickly! On your left!”

    With renewed vigor and a vicious battle cry, Thali leaped up and batted at their vine covered enemy with her ferrous tail. “This thing sure can take a beating,” Thali groaned as she flipped away from it, keeping some distance as it lashed out with a thick, thorny vine.

    The enemy was a Tangrowth, a monstrous mound of inky, blue vines that covered a concealed body within. It lashed out with its whips to strike Thali, but she jumped back.

    “Come on, Thali!” shouted Aru.

    The Eevee shook her head, feeling irritation rise as she watched the enemy. She dodged another vine whip and then snapped her gaze upward, watching her precious friend dangle as a captive of that creature. “Would be easier if you hadn’t gotten yourself caught.”

    “Really? This is when you want to have this conversation?” Aru shouted, struggling to pry himself free of the beast’s hold.

    “I’m just saying,” Thali laughed, rolling to one side to dodge a blast of energy. Thankfully, the thing had ingrained itself, and though its vines could lash quickly, Tangrowth itself was lumbering and slow.

    She rolled to dodge, and then quickly threw a Shadow Ball at it. The Tangrowth seemed to stagger, and weakened. It almost dropped Aru. Almost.

    “Thali! Leap up and bite off this vine!” Aru shouted.

    So stupefied was she by his order that she let the next attack hit her, and it sent her flying into the walls of the desolated ruins. “What?” she called up to him.

    “I’m serious!” he shouted. “I can deliver the final blow if you cut me loose.”

    Thali wasn’t pleased with it, but it was a good idea. Gathering herself, she waiting…

    Another vine came whipping right at her. Using that moment, she flipped over it and jumped as high as she could, teeth barred for a Bite. Gnashing, she tore the vine in two, cutting Aru loose.

    Aru began to freefall directly onto Tangrowth. He landed on the mass and grabbed a hold of its tendrils so he would stay still, then pounded down his fist with a mighty Force Palm, smashing the Tangrowth in with critical blows until the creature fell still.

    Heaving his breath, Aru leaned on his knees and panted. The cold air mixed with his lungs, making him feel heavy. “Thanks,” he said gratefully.

    Thali, on the other hand, was spitting out gross bits of vegetation. “Ugh. If you ever make me do that again, I’m disowning you as most precious friend,” she groaned, spitting and gagging.

    “Come on,” he said, brushing off the dirt and blood from his matted fur. “We’ve come down far enough. I think we’ve almost hit the bottom.”

    Thali stretched out her legs, a little sore still from the fight, and followed along with him. “Ooh, what I wouldn’t give for a bath,” she yawned.

    “Yeah. I know,” Aru mumbled. “A warm bath.”

    “It’s not a bath if it’s not warm, I say.”

    Aru chuckled a bit. “I can’t wait till you the day when you’re so desperate for a bath that you take a cold one,” he mocked.

    The back and forth banter was pleasant, but as they descended into the chasm, that delight decayed into nervous curiosity. “Grovyle must know this land much better than we do,” Thali mumbled, sighing. “He must be miles ahead of us.”

    “I don’t think so,” Aru mumbled to her. “You know how mystery dungeons work: the mazes are always different. Even you said once that they were removed from time and space in a way.”

    “I suppose,” Thali thought. “Still, Grovyle is a skilled, powerful Pokémon. It would take a lot to slow him down.”

    “Yes. But there’s only one of him,” Aru said with a confident smile. “There are two of us. We’ll catch him in no time!”

    All that bravado drained when a tug on his tail dropped him on his rear. He grunting from impact. “Hey! What’s the matter with you?” he hissed.

    Thali put her paw over his mouth and pointed with her other down the hallway. At the end, it seemed to blossom into an open cavern with water that used to be flowing coming down on either side. Green light seemed to be blooming within.

    “Look closely there. Isn’t that Grovyle?” whispered Thali.

    She must have had sharp eyes. Aru had to squint his eyes to see through the light contrast: That green was indeed Grovyle, lying on his back.

    “We should go to him!” shouted Thali.

    Aru hooked her hind leg when she went to take off. “Not so fast,” he whispered to her. He stood up and focused his gaze, his eyes glowing golden as he focused his aura vision. “Something’s not right. Let’s be careful.”

    They approached, coming out into the wide cavern. When they adjusted to the less dim area, Aru noticed that there were thinning columns of stone that came down from the ceiling. Something like water dripped from the ceiling, but its color and odor was off.

    Grovyle was sprawled out in the center of the floor, lying in front of a stone with carved symbols in it. Surrounding his body was a mysterious, ethereal glow, and he was wracked with injuries. “He’s hurt,” Thali mumbled.

    They padded forward to help him.

    “Get back, both of you!” boomed Grovyle. He tried to get up or form a fist or anything, but his skin felt like an immense weight crushing him down. He couldn’t move. He could hardly breathe.

    “Why?” answered Aru, looking around in a panic. “What happened to you?”

    “I got ambushed by a powerful Pokémon,” Grovyle huffed, trying his best to speak. “You need to leave now!”

    We haven’t known him for long, but I’ve never seen Grovyle shaken up like this, Aru thought. Boldly still, he stepped forward. “We’re going to help you!”

    Then, almost immediately, the room began to fill with a black and purple haze. Thali dashed up to stay at Aru’s side, priming herself to strike. The two stood together, and Aru noticed Thali begin to shake. She was scared. So was he.

    Then… voices began to fill the room.

    Help, it says?”

    “How dare it approach so daringly?”

    “Does it not know its place?”

    “Does it not know ours?”

    “It angers us! It mocks us!”

    “Kill it!”

    Throngs of shouts and ghostly hollers echoed through the cave and repeated in wicked mumbles, and slowly, a glowing mass coagulated above that carved stone. Purple and green swirling smoke, with a crooked grin and crazed eyes that seemed to drill straight through them.

    It cried with the sound of a screams; screams of pain, suffering, anger—all those tumultuous emotions released like a bottleneck explosion. And then it attacked.

    Shadowy energy swirled and filled the air, blowing at them in an Ominous Wind. Aru gasped and felt it cut through his soul. Thali seemed mostly unaffected though, and the Eevee tossed him an Oran berry from their pouch. “Take this,” she said before launching a powerful Shadow Ball at their enemy.

    The ghostly mass took a stunning blow and recoiled with a ghastly shriek. Angered, the spirit took to flight and dashed towards them. “Careful Aru!” shouted Thali as the spirit rushed towards the Riolu.

    The mass extended a smoky limb into a Shadow Claw and swiped. Deftly, Aru ducked under the strike and reached up with his own claws, calling on the same hollow power. He slashed up. When the creature reeled, he knew that was their time to strike. “Go, Thali!”

    The She-Eevee, though scared, lunged forward. She sprung off her hind legs, attacking with a Bite. What she dug her fangs into was barely malleable gas, but the creature recoiled anyways.

    It rushed away, still cackling with the voice of a thousand lost souls. It fired off dark energy like a rocket. A Shadow Ball? He wondered. It was pitch black, with a tint of green ochre in it.

    It was much faster than a normal Shadow Ball.

    Thali tackled Aru instantly, shoving him out of the way and ducking down. “You okay?” she asked, tugging him up by his bandana.

    Aru groaned. The impact with the stone wasn’t pleasing to his back, but it was better than that deathly attack that went just overhead. “Be careful,” she said.

    The strange spirit prepared another attack.

    “Speak for yourself,” Aru advised her as he directed her away from the spirit’s aim. Narrowly, she dodged the bolt. “What is this weird attack anyway? It’s not Shadow Ball.”

    “Not sure, but just avoid it,” she responded quickly before firing off a Shadow Ball of her own at the creature. It recoiled and gave a ghastly shriek before dashing away.

    This time, Aru followed it while it was dashing around, looking carefully. It was surrounding something, absorbing energy from it. She squinted her eyes to look closer.

    That stone from earlier, he noticed, remembering the carved stone lying before Grovyle. The spirit hovered away from it now and seemed to be circling it, charging up its dark energy. “Thali!” he called out to her.

    It was almost like she had read his mind; she had noticed the same thing. “I see it, Aru!” she responded. “I’ll draw its attention. You destroy it!”

    Thali ran around, sprinting and firing Shadow Balls to draw the creature’s attention. It was her most powerful attack, but it also drained her more than anything else. It was working though; the creature, frightened and aggressive, chased after her and berated her with ghostly attacks. Thali took the hits full force, but was mostly unaffected.

    Aru, with his open opportunity, rushed towards the stone. Only at the very last moment did the spirit look back, and it screeched an ugly and terrifying howl. With full force, Aru struck the stone with a Force Palm just as the spirit was rushing towards him.

    The stone shattered, and the thing screeched, warped, and suddenly exploded, shooting out blasts of that same, dark energy it was firing before.

    Aru was too close; he couldn’t dodge energy. It impacted him with the weight of a thousand boulders, with a sound like bones snapping. He heard voices all around him, screaming and crying and begging for help. He was launched and skidded along the ground, the voices still crying and begging. They latched onto him and crept into his heart. Before he knew it, he passed into darkness.


    Thali nudged him and shoved him, but Aru just couldn’t come out of this spell. He groaned, but never responded. “Come on. What’s the matter? Please get up,” she pleaded, shoving him, hoping he would say something, anything.

    “Your friend won’t wake up. Not like that, anyway.”

    She pivoted to find Grovyle standing up, slowly and carefully. He looked her over with an analyzing gaze. “Let me take a look at him,” he said in a deep, gruff voice.

    Thali didn’t trust Grovyle, not yet anyway. But still, seeing the look of sickness and pain in her partner’s face swayed her. She needed help, so she moved aside and let him have a look. As soon as Grovyle checked the Riolu’s wrists and neck, a grim veil passed over his face, indecipherable.

    Thali’s worry flooded out. “What’s the matter with him?” she said. “H-he doesn’t look hurt.”

    Grovyle shook his head and heaved the limp body into his arms. The Riolu was surprisingly light. “His body is in no danger,” he said. “But his soul… We must hurry.”

    Grovyle made his way to the cavern exit, the Riolu in his arms, but paused when Thali didn’t immediately follow him. Irritated, he turned back. She was a stubborn one. “Like I said before,” he mumbled. “There is no point in continuing together if there is no trust between us.”

    “I understand,” Thali said breathlessly, shaking. “And I still have a hard time trusting you. But I cannot deny that what you said before makes sense… And you’re the only one we have left. The only one I have left. So, I choose to trust you.”

    It wasn’t much, but it was more than he’d expected from her, so Grovyle accepted. “Good. Then follow me.”

    The cave turned off into another series of hallways, but she could see grey grass beginning to sprout the stone cracks. “What kind of monster was that thing?” the Eevee asked, glancing over toward the shattered stone.

    “A Pokémon,” Grovyle answered, looking around. They came to a junction of four paths. “I have never met it before, but stories of my youth told of its tortured past. It is a Pokémon called Spiritomb, a conglomerate of Pokémon souls.”

    “Pokémon… souls?”

    Grovyle nodded. He could see the fear in her eyes and shook his head. “It’s not a campfire horror story, little one. It’s a sad tale, but not mine to tell, unfortunately,” he said.

    When they came out of the cave, they were on a grassy path in the bottom of a valley. “At last,” Grovyle breathed in his deep voice. “Out of those damned caves. After all that, even I’m a little tired.” He noticed Thali’s shaky legs again and sighed. “You must be as well, I see. Sit with me. Let’s take a break.”

    They sat down together, lying the Riolu in a bed of grass and dead flower while they leaned against the stone face of the valley wall. They took a quiet huff, looking up at the grey sky. “Grovyle?”

    Grovyle looked down at the Eevee and nodded. “Yes, young one?”

    “So, what actually caused the planet’s paralysis in the future?”

    Grovyle laughed and put a hand on his knee, propping himself up. “I thought you didn’t trust me.”

    “I told you before,” said the Eevee firmly. That energy she lacked seemed to have returned, and she sat up, attentive. “I choose to trust you. So please, tell me what you know.”

    Grovyle hummed and narrowed his gaze, his brow furrowed in thought. How frustrating now to remember just how close he was… “Everything I know about the planet’s paralysis begins with your time,” he admitted. “And the collapse of Temporal Tower.”

    He spotted a glimpse of familiarity in the Eevee’s eyes, a twinkling of knowledge when he said that name. “Ah, you know the legend?”

    “Of course! I love myths and tales like that,” Thali said. “Temporal Tower is Dialga’s dwelling. The backbone of time itself. You’re saying…?”

    “Yes. It exists,” Grovyle said. “And Dialga as well. Back in your time, the supports of Temporal Tower began to crumble. Its collapse, as according to myth, would mean the end of time and the planet’s paralysis, resulting in the future you see around you.

    “Now, the world is a mess. Dialga, intertwined with time himself, was corrupted by the abolition of time. He became a darker and more malevolent being. He became Primal Dialga. Now he rules over the population like a tyrant, forcing humans and Pokémon to work to the bone, while the rest of us have to survive in the wilds and make do with what little we have. I was depressed by this, and I took it upon myself to fix this mess. That’s why I went back to your time.”

    Padding at the ground, Thali felt the despair in Grovyle’s tale of woe. He suffered greatly, she could tell not only by his sad voice, but by his lithe figure, sharpened by hunger. But something still didn’t add up… “Grovyle, if you went back to fix the planet’s paralysis, why did you start stealing Time Gears? That only accelerated it.”

    Grovyle shook his head. “That’s not true,” he said. “Remember, I said that the collapse of Temporal Tower caused the cataclysm. Not the Time Gears. I discovered that if I could retrieve five Time Gears from all over the land and return them to Temporal Tower, I would be able to reverse the damage done, and time would be restored to normal. Time stopped for a time in those areas, yes, but it was only temporary. I had almost acquired my fifth one, when…”

    When you captured me, was the unspoken end to that sentence, and Thali knew it in her heart, but she still couldn’t bring herself to believe everything just yet. Instead of thinking about it now though, she hovered over her partner, watching his unsteady breath and frowning. A black and pale green mark had formed on his shoulder where he was struck, black veins spreading over him. He didn’t have much time, she thought.

    “Rest your feet for now,” Grovyle said, looking off into the distance, as if he could see a plan forming before his eyes. “In a few hours, we run again. He won’t live long if we don’t get him to my friend. Then…”


    Wistful Grovyle continued to mull over plans unrealized. “We make our way back to the past to finish what I started.”
    #22 Oct 10, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017

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