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Pokèmar Episode 1: The Gates to Infinity

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by Alex Russet, Nov 17, 2015.

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  1. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Alex's life is changed when he is mysteriously taken to a world inhabited by creatures known as "Pokémon" and is thrust into events that threaten the very existence of life on this world... (An adaptation of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity)

    This is the first episode to my Pokèmar series, a series that takes place in a variation of the Mystery Dungeon universe. I hope you'll enjoy.

    The Gates to Infinity (Current)
    Munna's Retribution
    Thunder's Past
    Explorers of Time
    Servine (incomplete)
    A Clone's Destiny (incomplete)
    Search and Rescue (incomplete)
    Distortion (incomplete)
    Broken Bonds (incomplete)
    Darkness Falls (incomplete)
    Apocalypse (incomplete)

    Ch1: Lost and Confused
    Ch2: New Home
    Ch3: Contractor
    Ch4: Stone Hunt
    Ch5: Thief
    Ch6: Compassion
    Ch7: First Mission
    Ch8: Cold Heart
    Ch9: Sorrow
    Ch10: Engagement
    Ch11: New Hope
    Ch12: On the Map
    Ch13: Puzzle Pieces
    Ch14: In the Shadows
    Ch15: Umbreon
    Ch16: Entercards
    Ch17: The Crags of Lament
    Ch18: The Rescue
    Ch19: Heart to Heart
    Ch20: Wrench in the Works
    Ch21: The Decision
    Ch22: The Great Glacier
    Ch23: Frisms
    Ch24: Guardians
    Ch25: World in Peril
    Ch26: Rendezvous
    Ch27: Escape
    Ch28: The True Threat
    Ch29: A Friend in Need
    Ch30: Springing the Trap
    Ch31: Dogfight
    Ch32: Fleeting Hope
    Ch33: The Battle For Survival
    Ch34: Infiltration
    Ch35: Motives
    Ch36: Kyurem
    Ch37: The Bittercold
    Ch38: Home Again
    Ch39: An Unsung Hero
    Ch40: ????????

    Have something you want to say about the series? Follow this link to go to a feedback topic: http://lakevalor.net/topic/14403-pokémar-series-feedback-post/?p=322983
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
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  2. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 1: Lost and confused

    Another long day. Every Monday is a pain in the neck. You relax for the weekend, when suddenly, all your responsibilities pounce on you. Where'd all the free time go? Oh yeah... Social networking. Still, as much time as G+ eats up, I doubt I would give it up without a fight. So many amazing friends are on there. I couldn't imagine myself without them anymore. But... Now, it's late. I've got a paper to start tomorrow and I need rest. I send out my "goodnight everyone" post on G+, plug my phone in so it's ready for tomorrow, and get under the covers. It's not long before I find myself drifting off... My tired eyes closing, my body relaxing, my mind conjuring up dreams...

    ...Where am I? Last thing I remember I was going to sleep. Now... What is this place? Whatever it is, I can only describe it as psychedelic. Colorful. Is this a dream? But... It feels real... And yet...
    A voice calls out. "H—hello? Can anyone hear me?" I try to respond, but I find myself unable to speak. "If anyone is out there and you're listening to this, please, we need you. This world is in danger. We need—"
    Need what? Why did you suddenly cut out? What's going on?
    The entire landscape shudders. The voice is back. Louder and more urgent than ever. "HELP!" For a moment everything goes black. Then, I see something. A vision of sorts. A floating, pink, four legged creature is "running" from something. A large, navy blue, three headed dragon. The dragon roars as it chases down its prey. The pink one is desperate to escape, not wanting the monster to devour it. It reaches the edge of a cliff. It's trapped. There's no where left to run. Terrified, it turns to look at its assailant. The dragon lunges forward, jaws open. Then... Black again.
    I'm back at the psychedelic world again. The voice speaks once more. "Please... Save our world... We will die without you... Please..." How am I supposed to do anything? I'm just a collage student for pete's sake! How the frick would I be able to save an entire world? I notice something in front of me, a pond. Why is there a pond here? What the heck?
    For some odd reason, I feel compelled to stare at my reflection in the pond. I decide that I might as well. But what I see makes me jump. It's not the face of a young adult with glasses and brown hair staring at me... It's... I... I don't know what it is. Some sort of green serpent like thing with arms, legs, a leaf and the end of the tail and a neck that really shouldn't be able to support a head that size. Wait... Is... Is that me? I look at my hands. Green. Three fingered. No separation of the hand and arm. Just like the pond snake. That's me! I've been turned into this... Thing! What's happening to me?!
    A flash of light. And... Where am I now? I'm... Falling! Somehow I appeared high up in the sky and am now falling at terminal velocity to my death! No... No it's just a dream... It's all a dream. I try the "pinch myself" Technique to wake my self up. ...nothing... It's not a dream... It's real. I'm going to die. There's no way to save myself. I'm going to die! With nothing left to do, I wait as the ground grows closer and closer, counting down the seconds until impact. 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... I feel the pain of the impact, then nothing.

    "Hey? Snivy? What happened? Are you ok?"
    A groan escapes my lips. Did... Did I live?
    "That was a nasty looking fall. You're lucky all you got was a bruise."
    I did! I lived! I open my eyes and am greeted to the sight of a yellow mouse-like creature with red cheeks. I jump, a bit from fright.
    "Oh! Sorry! I didn't mean to startle you!"
    I take a second to regain my composure. Whoever this was, they're sentient. And concerned for my well being. I might as well be polite. "Uh... It's—it's fine."
    "Do you have a name?"
    "Yeah. Alex. Alex Russet."
    "Alex? That's a strange name."
    "Strange? How so? Where I come from, it's perfectly normal."
    "And where do you come from?"
    "Wisconsin. United States."
    "United... States? Where is that? Kalos Minor or something?"
    "Kalos Minor? What's—" I notice something. My arms... Still like that pond snake. That wasn't a dream. "Agh! What happened to me?!"
    "Alex? Are you ok?"
    "I think I'm losing my mind! Am I even on Earth anymore?!"
    "Earth? What are you talking about? Did you eat a rotten Berry or something?" Well... That answers that question. I'm not on earth anymore. I'm on an entirely different planet. Then... That makes this guy... Have I just made first contact with an alien race?! "Look, try and calm down. Tell me what happened."
    "You wouldn't believe me."
    "Try me."
    "...you're sure." He nods. "Well... Ok then. I'm a human from a planet known as Earth. I was getting some sleep after a long day and... I woke up in this really weird place. This voice said that I need to save this world from... Something. They ported me in the sky, I fell and... Now I'm here."
    "See? I told you that you wouldn't believe me."
    "No. I believe you."
    "Wait... Really?"
    "Yeah. There have been rumors of it happening before. Though most Pokémon think humans are the things of myth and fairy tales," Pokémon? Is that what they call themselves? "But I think that there's truth behind it. So yeah. I believe you."
    "I... Thanks..."
    "Thanks, Pikachu. So what are you doing out here?"
    "Oh, I was on my way to... Oh! No! I'm going to be late! Come on!" Pikachu grabs my hand and starts running.
    "Woah! What a minute! What's going on! Slow down!"
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  3. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 2: New Home

    "Pikachu! Hold up! Where are we going?!"
    "No time. We need to go!"
    We kept running. From what little I can gather, Pikachu is late for... Something. A date? A job interview? Work? Why is he taking me with him? I'd follow him anyway. He's my only guide to this strange new world. Without him, I'm lost.
    Eventually, we reach a gap in the path. It's far too large for us to jump and if we fall, well... Let's just say that it wouldn't end like my skydive.
    Pikachu looks at the pit, panicking. "No! No, this is the only way there! We need to get across!" He looks around frantically for a moment, then holds his gaze on a cave entrance. Looking to the other side of the chasm, there's another cave entrance. "Thats it's! That's how we'll get across!"
    "Do you even know if the two tunnels even connect?"
    "Only one way to find out. Oh, and be on your guard. Who knows who we'll run across."
    Which those words, I feel an anxious feeling in my gut. Like being given a test you had no idea was coming and never studied for. "On my guard?! What are you— and he gone..." With no choice, I followed him into the cave.
    It isn't long before we encounter what Pikachu was probably talking about. I couldn't believe my eyes. Two gears, 90 degrees from each other, moving. And it has a face. It's alive.
    "Klink. Not a problem. We'll just fight past."
    "Fight? Fight?! I've never fought someone in my life!" Of course, he was already attacking the "Klink." But... How he did it was what shocked me the most (no pun intended). Those red cheeks started sparking with electricity. Then a huge discharge of electricity arcs between him and the Klink. The Klink, somehow still alive after that passes out. All I can do is stare, jaw agape. "H—h—how—"
    "I'll explain later. Let's keep moving." So we do. Eventually, we do indeed make it to the other side of the chasm. "See? It worked. Come on! We're almost there."

    Ahead there is a barren wasteland. It looks completely uninhabitable. Why are we going there? Is there some significance to this place?
    Pikachu calls out. "Quagsire! I'm here! I'm sorry I'm late!" A blue aquatic creature, I'm guessing another "Pokémon," approaches us.
    "Hmmm... I see. Hmmm... I was close to leaving. Hmmm... But I figured I'd stay for a little while longer."
    Pikachu looks at him, relived. "Thank you. I was worried for a moment there."
    "Hmmm... Not to worry. Hmmm... So you brought the money?"
    "Yeah. 1200 Pokè." Thunder takes out a bag filled with golden coins and hands it to Quagsire, who takes out a roll of paper and hands it to Pikachu.
    "Hmmm... I should be thanking you. Hmmm... I've been trying to rid myself of this plot for a while now." Wait... Pikachu bought this barren plot of land? Why? The cost to renovate it enough for it to be a viable plot would be staggering. "Hmmm... Pleasure doing business with you. Hmmm... Farewell." With that, Quagsire leaves.
    Now, time for answers. "Ok. Pikachu, I have a lot of questions. And number one is this. Why did you buy a plot of land that looks like the essence of life itself abandoned this place?"
    "Mostly because of its close proximity to mystery dungeons."
    "Proximity to what?"
    "Mystery dungeons. Areas that have some mysterious properties. Always changing, always exciting to travel through. Though, looking back... I'm not sure if it was worth the cost. That was almost all my money."
    Ok, well I'm not going to badger him about questionable real estate choices. "So... That... Thing. That... Electric... Thing... Back in the cave. How did you do that?"
    "It's just a natural ability of mine. Me cheeks generate and store electricity that I can discharge at will. All Pikachu can do it."
    "That's... Actually pretty cool. Is there anything I can do?"
    "You're a grass type so your moves are mostly plant based."
    "Like vines and seeds and such?"
    "Yeah. Perhaps later I can show you the ropes of combat."
    "Fighting is an important aspect here?"
    "Heck yeah! It's a sport to most. Though it's also used in defense."
    "Interesting. Also, what do you plan to do with this land?"
    "Oh, this? I'm planning to create a haven for Pokémon interested in adventure. I'll call it Pokémon Paradise."
    "That's an ambitious project... How do you plan to do it?"
    "I... I never actually thought that far ahead... But we'll figure something out."
    "Yeah. We. You don't have a place to stay. You may as well live with me." Uh... Stay with a stranger I just met? Is that safe? Well... He's right. I've got nowhere to stay. I guess... I might as well. Besides. He seems nice enough.
    "...good point. I suppose you're right. I'll stay." I swear, he looks like he looks like a kid on Christmas Day. He's so filled with joy.
    "Yeah! We're going to have so much fun!" I'll admit, it's slightly infectious. I can't help but smile.
    "It's starting to get late. Where do we stay?" Almost immediately, his smile fades.
    "Oh... Oh... Uh..."
    "Didn't think that far ahead?"
    "No. No I didn't." Well... This is brilliant.
    "Guess we're sleeping under the stars."

    We got a fire going and made some rather primitive sleeping bags. It's not much, but given the circumstances, I'm glad we have something.
    "Hey... Alex?"
    "I wonder... In legend, humans liked to give familiar Pokémon nicknames that they'd call them. Since we're going to be living together... Would you like to give me one?"
    "Sure. Uh... Let's see... Shock? no. Static? Nah. Sparky? Mh, maybe... Oh! I got it. Thunder. I'll call you Thunder."
    "Thunder... I like it. Yeah. It sounds powerful. Alright. From now on, I'm Thunder.
    I smirk a little and yawn. "I suppose we should rest up."
    "Yeah. You're right. Goodnight Alex."
    "Goodnight, Thunder." And with that, we drift off to sleep.
  4. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 3: Contractor

    "Hmmm... Had a good night's rest?"
    Thunder groaned. "No..."
    I was just waking up myself. The night was long, cold, and very uncomfortable. It appears that Thunder fared no better. "Quagsire?" I yawned. "What are you doing back here?"
    "Hmmm... I was just checking up on you. Hmmm... It appears that you don't have a home yet." Yeah. No duh. Why else would we be sleeping exposed to the elements. Also, forget your bad hair day. Thunder looks like a mess. His fur going every which way. Man, grooming that must suck.
    "Do you have any idea how to build one? Or maybe some who does?"
    "Hmmm... Yes, actually. Hmmm... In the nearby town of Post Town, there is a Gurrdur who has a long history of construction. Hmmm... If there's anyone that can build you a home, it's him and his team."
    "Can you take us there?"
    "Hmmm... Absolutely."
    "Great! I'll get washed up in the river and get ready to go!"
    "Hmmm... Sounds good. Hmmm... I'll just meet you back here."
    "Sounds like a plan. Come on, Alex. Let's go."
    I get up and stretch, still groggy from my sleepless night. But, we need a home so I'll just have to deal. We make our way to a nearby river and wash up. Sadly, the river is not warm. Quite the opposite. It's fricking frigid! Well, on the bright side, it woke me up. It did that very well.
    With both of us cleaned (and Thunder's fur back in order) we return to Quagsire.
    "Alright. We're ready to go." Thunder says.
    "Hmmm... Good. Hmmm... Let's go then."

    A short while later, we arrive at Post Town. It's a cozy little place. Not much there, but still. The main feature was the inn built into the side of a hill known as Swanna's inn. Apparently, that's where we're meeting up with Gurrdur.
    I notice how primitive everything here is compared to back home. No electricity, no running water, none of the amenities that I would take for granted back home. Still, it feels... Simple. No need for convoluted repairs, things are so much more peaceful. I could get used to this. Part of me just wants to stay in this world for the rest of my life. But I can't. I have a family and friends back home. I couldn't just abandon them. Maybe I could—
    "Hey! Rockhead! Watch where you're going!" My thoughts are interrupted by the sound of an argument between a duck and a rock... I can't believe that's actually happening...
    "Maybe you should be the one to watch out! I'm the small one here! You should be watching out for me!"
    "Ugh! Get lost you little piece of stone!" With that, the two angrily part ways.
    "What was that all about?" I asked.
    "This world is slowly becoming colder and more callous. People are looking out for themselves more than they are others. It's getting really bad in some places. Some are even comparing it to the hostilities from the Great War."
    "Great War?"
    "I'd explain, but we really need to get that house built."
    "Fair enough." We enter the inn. The first floor appears to be a food court. And a rather graceful looking swan (I'm going to guess that's Swanna) is serving the residents. At one of the tables there's a rather muscular Pokémon holding an I-beam. He's probably the most human—like Pokémon I've come across yet.
    "Hmmm... That's him. Hmmm... That Gurrdur." My stomach starts growling. I suppose I haven't eaten anything yet. I probably should.
    "I'm a bit hungry. Mind if I go get something to eat while you work out the details with Gurrdur?"
    "Sure." Thunder replies. He hands me a few Pokè. "Remember that we are a bit tight on cash. Try not to get anything too expensive." And he's trusting me, some guy he just met yesterday, with his money? Even when he's so tight on his budget? We're he back on Earth poor thing would be taken advantage of left and right.
    "Alright. I won't." I tell him honestly.
    I walk up to the main counter. One of the first things I notice is that there are no meat based products. Mostly berries, seeds, and greens. Thinking about it, considering the huge diversity of Pokémon out here, there are probably not any forms of livestock. And eating other Pokémon would be cannibalism. So it makes sense.
    So I look over the menu and find a nice looking cheap Berry platter. Now for something to drink. Oh... Ok... They all have unique names. Flamethrower, aeroblast, dragon breath, heat wave, very nice sounding names, but the descriptions depict ingredients that don't exist on earth. How do I know how they taste?
    "Need some help?" Next to me, a monkey—like Pokémon that looks like he's a fan of fire chimes in helpfully.
    "Uh yeah. I'm kinda lost. What drink should I order? Nothing too expensive, please. Budget constraints and all that."
    "Sure. Let's see..." He looks over the menu. *If you're a fan of spicy, I'd recommend you go with the Heat Wave. Word of warning, though. It's Got a little kick to it." Spicy? Yeah. Back on earth I've been growing fond of spicy foods. I say it's worth a try.
    "Right. Thanks Pansear." I turn my attention to the server. "I'll have the mixed berry platter and one small Heat Wave, please."
    "Coming right up." Swanna said cheerfully. After a few minutes, my food arrives. I'm quite curious as to the flavor of the Heat Wave drink so I take a sip. That was a mistake. That thing was hot. Like volcano hot. Like surface of the sun hot. And... Did I just breathe out fire?! What is in this thing?! The fire coats my berries and Swanna ducks out of the way, almost as if she knew it was going to happen. After the first fireball I cover my mouth, not wanting to burn down the inn. Swanna casually sets out a glass of milk which I immediately gulp down to quell the flames.
    With the painful ordeal over I turn to Pansear, who looks about ready to burst into laughter. "A LITTLE kick?"
    "So I underestimated it a little."
    "Ugh. You and I have very different definitions of 'little'." With that I eat my now toasted berries as Pansear finally gives and doubles over in laughter.
  5. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 4: Stone Hunt

    "What was all the commotion back there?" Thunder asked as we departed the inn.
    "Just some stupid prank pulled on me." I replied. "I swear, my tongue is still numb from that. Anyways. You got everything with Gurrdur sorted out?"
    "Yeah. He says that we need to get a bag of shiny stones from Stony Cave as payment."
    "Not to be rude or anything, but if he wants these stones, why not get them himself?"
    "I assume it's because he injured his back so he's not in the best condition."
    "What wrong?"
    "Something doesn't add up. He's a construction worker. If his injury is as bad as you say, why is he offering his services to build our home? That sort of work would be bad for anyone trying to recover from an injury."
    "So... What are you saying?"
    "I'm saying keep an eye on him. Something feels off."
    "...if you say so."
    "Anyways, what can you tell me about Stony Cave?"
    "It's one of those mystery dungeons I told you about. Not a very dangerous one, thankfully, but still, keep your wits about you. Wouldn't want you to be hurt by a hostile Pokémon."
    "So I might get my first taste of combat?"
    "It's likely."
    "Alright then. Lead the way, I suppose."

    Stony Cave itself looked pretty ordinary and unassuming. By all accounts, it was just a cave. "I expected a mystery dungeon to be more... For lack of a better word, mysterious." I said.
    "Never judge a book by it's cover, Alex. There is more to this place than meets the eye. Come on. Let's go." Thunder leads me into the cave. The journey is mostly uneventful. Just exploring and trying to head deeper. Then we came across another Pokémon. A Drillbur, according to Thunder. "It's your time to shine Alex. Give him what for!"
    "You're serious? You're just going to drop my into a fight?"
    "Don't worry. Combat comes naturally to a Pokémon. You'll see. Besides. I'm here if something goes wrong."
    "...Alright." I take a deep breath. "Let's do this." I move up the the Drillbur, who looks absolutely ready to fight. How did I get myself into this? No... No. I need to do this. I need to fight this guy. Let's go. I rush him and deliver a right hook. In response he bares his claws and swipes them at me. I stay just outside of his strike range. It dawns on me that punches and kicks are not going to do it for me. Wait... Thunder said I was a grass type. So... I have abilities like that... I think about vines trying to get them to extend. All the while the Drillbur continues to try to get me. Soon he gets too close and swipes. But something defects it. What? Was that Thunder? Wait... No... They were vines. Green, slender vines extending from my "shoulders." How did I...
    Never mind, I have them now I might as well use them. I bring my vines to bear on my opponent and crack them like a bullwhip. It definitely hurt him. And it definitely hurt me. Note to self, striking like a bullwhip is a painful idea. I wrapped my vines around the Drillbur, pinning his arms to his sides. I then toss him across the room. He smacks hard against the wall, knocking him out.
    "You did it! Your first victory!"
    "I... I did. I won. Heh... That was actually sorta fun."
    "But you're only just starting. You still need a lot of practice."
    "One thing at a time. I want to enjoy the moment"
    "I know exactly how you feel. But we still need to keep moving."
    "Right. Lead on, Thunder."

    Soon we reached the deepest point of the cave. What we saw there was... Well... It was really something. There were reflective stones everywhere. They looked almost like jewels.
    "Woah..." I said to no one in particular. "This is amazing."
    "I know, right? Hold on while I nab a few stones."
    So I waited patiently for Thunder to finish gathering the stones. I couldn't help but wonder, how many places like this existed on this planet? (Which everyone seems to refer to as "Pokèmar) And just how many Pokémon are there? There must be hundreds of species that roam the surface. This world is beyond anything I have ever seen in my life. It almost feels like a utopia. But... Then there's what Thunder said when we entered post town. He talked about how the world was becoming more and more callous. It's sad, really. No mater where in the universe you go, you can't escape the cruelty of life.
    My train of thought is interrupted when I glance at one of the larger reflective stones and see my reflection. The sight makes me jump. It took me a moment to realize that it was me. This new body is going to take some getting used to.
    "Alright, Alex. I got our stones. Let's head back."
    "Ready when you are. Let's go build ourselves a home."

    It didn't take us long to get back to post town. We were just about to enter the inn when a yellow lizard-like Pokémon dashes for the door, knocking over Thunder in the process.
    "Oh! I-I'm terribly sorry! I'm j-j-just in a hurry!" And with that, he dashes away.
    "What was that all about?" I said as I pulled Thunder back up.
    "I don't know, but he sure needs to look where he was going."
    "You ok?"
    "Yeah. I'm fine."
    "Then let's go."
    We enter the cafeteria area, where Gurrdur is waiting for us.
    "Ah! There you two are!" He called out. "I was starting to get worried. You got the stones I asked for?"
    "Yeah." Thunder replied. "I'll just get them..." Thunder reaches into his bag. His expression changes to one of surprise, then of mild fear. "What? I... I knew I... Where did..."
    "Thunder?" I questioned. "What's wrong?"
    "It's the stones. They're gone."
  6. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 5: Thief

    "Gone?! What do you mean gone!?" I asked surprised.
    "They're just gone! The bag's empty!"
    "How? I know you put the stones in. I saw them!"
    "I don't know... Gurrdur, I'm sorry. I swear we had the stones."
    "Well I can't help you if you don't bring me the stones." Gurrdur said. "That was the deal. But nothing's stopping you from getting more. That cave is full of them."
    "True," Thunder replied. "But..."
    "I'm sorry. No negotiations. We put the deal in place. I'm not changing it."
    "Thunder, let's go." I spoke up. "His mind is set. We should go again before it gets dark."
    Thunder thinks for a moment. "...You're right, Alex. We should go." With that being said, we leave the inn and start back towards Stony Cave. "I don't get it. I had the stones. I knew I had them!"
    "What about that lizard Pokémon?"
    "The Scraggy?"
    "Yeah. Him. Maybe when he bumped into you they fell out?"
    "I'm fairly sure that I'd have seen that if it happened. But it doesn't hurt to check."
    We return to the entrance to the inn where we come across two Timburrs that work for Gurrdur. "Hey guys." I said. "Mind seeing if you can't help us find the stones?"
    "Actually..." The first one started. "We have something to tell you..."
    "Those stones you're looking for..." The second continued. "They were stolen."
    Thunder looked at them, shocked. "Stolen?! By who?!"
    "The Scraggy..." I answered. "He pickpocketed us."
    "He what?"
    "It's a covert way that some thieves use to steal from people. You pretend to walk into them or pass behind them and then take something from them. If they're skilled enough, they will never realize before it's too late."
    "Well we need to get them back. We can't let this sort of thing go unpunished."
    The first Timburr chimes in. "He was headed to Hazy Pass. If you're fast you might catch him."
    "Well then what are we waiting for?! Let's go!"

    Mystery dungeon names sure are... Well... Accurate, actually. A perpetual thin layer of fog coated the caverns and cliff tops that made up this treacherous path. One wrong step and it will be the last step you will ever take in this life.
    "Stay alert, Alex." Thunder said. "Wouldn't want you to fall."
    "Don't worry. Falling is the last thing I plan on doing."
    We continued forward, battling the occasional hostile Pokémon. The ones here were much more dangerous than the ones back at the cave so having Thunder with me was a great help. It reminded me how thankful I was that I came across him. There is no way I'd have survived for longer that a day without his guidance. Once we're done here I should probably tell him that.
    We exit another cavern section and step onto another cliff top
    "Alex!" Thunder said in a hushed voice. "There he is!" Sure enough, there he was. Just standing around.
    "It looks like he's waiting for someone. Probably to sell of those stones."
    "Probably some client he was hired by. So... How should we take him?" At that moment, I heard something. Footsteps. Coming from behind us. We couldn't risk getting spotted. I grab Thunder and got him and me behind a rock, out of view of either of the two. "Hey! What are you doing?"
    "Quiet. I think our 'client' has arrived."
    Who the "client" was neither of us could have expected. It was Gurrdur. I had to cover my mouth to avoid giving us away. Why is Gurrdur here? Why is he dealing with a thief? What's going on here?
    "Hey, Gurrdur." The Scraggy said. "The lift went off without a hitch. They were none the wiser."
    "Excellent." Said Gurrdur. "I just sent them on another run. They'll be back in an hours or so with more stones."
    "How long will we do this?"
    "We keep going until they stop falling for it." Wait... What?! This whole thing was a ruse?! They lure us in promising to give us what we asked for, but instead use us to give them easy money?! Unbelievable!
    "Thunder, I say we show them a piece of our mind." I tell him.
    "That's not exactly a good idea. We should just go and find someone else." While his argument is logical, I'm too upset to just leave this matter unresolved. I leave the hiding spot and confront them.
    "So, you just take advantage of those that ask for help? Is that what I gather from this?"
    "What?!" Gurrdur exclaimed in surprise. "But you were off to Stony Cave! I saw it!
    "You were listening in?" The Scraggy said "Then you know too much. We need to be rid of you." Oh... Thunder was right. I should have just left it alone. Gurrdur lifts his I-beam up, preparing to hammer me with it. However, Thunder shocks him, causing him to fall over stunned. I take advantage of this. I latch onto him with my vines and launch myself at him. However, rather that hitting him in the face, I was hit by his fist in the gut, sending me flying backwards.
    Meanwhile, Thunder was fighting Scraggy. Scraggy tries to ram into Thunder with his head, but Thunder is quick on his feet and dodges expertly. He retaliates with his tail, smacking into Scraggy and disorienting him. Thunder then charges up a sphere of electricity and fires it as scraggy, who tries to dodge, though unsuccessfully. Thunder then prepares to deliver the knockout blow. Using his electric abilities, he summons a small thunderstorm that strikes the Scraggy, knocking him out.
    Meanwhile I'm still trying to evade Gurrdur's I-beam. But I spot a weak point. The wound from his back injury is exposed. I could probably do some damage by hitting that. Thunder, apparently thinking something similar, hits Gurrdur with a thunder wave, inducing a temporary paralysis. With Gurrdur unable to retaliate, I smack the wound with my vine. As expected, Gurrdur doubles over in pain. And with one strike from my tail to his face, he falls over unconscious.
  7. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 6: Compassion

    After a short while, the two outlaws started waking up.
    "Ugh..." Gurrdur grunted. "What happened?"
    "We beat you." I reply. "We got into a fight and you lost."
    "Oh... Yeah... I remember now. I guess you runts want your stones back."
    "No. We have no reason to keep them."
    "Why?" Thunder asked. "Why did you use us like that?"
    "Because in today's world, honest working folk are left behind. These days it's about success through any means necessary, no matter how immoral. It's take or be taken advantage of."
    "The 'nice guys finish last' mentality... I'm all too familiar with that..." I mused.
    Gurrdur slowly gets himself up, having some trouble staying steady. "Then you should know that you two don't stand a chance in this world unless you harden your hearts and do whatever it takes to win." Suddenly the two Timburr rush up behind us, looking over the scene that presents itself.
    "So you found them." One of them said. "I hope you didn't have to hurt Gurrdur too badly."
    Gurrdur looks at them, angry. "What?! You told them where to find me?!"
    "We're not putting up with this any longer. We want the old Gurrdur back! The one we enjoyed working for!"
    "That Gurrdur is dead. He died long ago. I'm all that's left. And I don't tolerate betrayal!" With that he smacks them both with his I-beam and leaves. Scraggy, unsure of what to do, simply sneaks away in the commotion. Thunder and I rush to the Timburr's aid.
    "Are you hurt?" Thunder asks.
    "No. We're ok." One replies.
    "You said you wanted the 'old Gurrdur' back." I say, curious. "What did you mean by that?"
    "He wasn't always like this. When we first met him he was jolly, kind, and so much fun to work with. He loved his work. Building was his passion. Even after that debilitating injury he pushed forward and kept working. But... That changed after a certain project. Someone asked him to build him a house. Gurrdur was in a very good mood that day. He poured his heart and soul into that building. He was so proud. Then the client just... Destroyed it. Burned it to the ground. All that work was just... Gone. Something snapped in him that day. He changed. His heart grew cold, he stopped building all together. He resorted to scams like this to make a living. For a while we just went along with it but..."
    "We can't do it anymore." The other interjected. "We need him back to his old self. Sadly I don't think that's possible anymore." Wow... That has to be hard. Having someone you care about change like that. That's heartbreaking.
    I turn to face Thunder. "I wish there was something we could do..."
    Thunder thinks for a moment. "...Maybe there is."
    "What are you thinking about?"
    "The turning point was the destruction of that home that he put so much effort into, right? So what if we insist for him to build ours? Get him doing what he loves again."
    "Would he even listen to us?"
    "Probably not. But he might listen to them." Thunder gestures to the Timburr. I'm a slight bit skeptical. I'm not entirely confident that this will work. But... On the other hand, maybe the voice of reason is exactly what he needs.
    "You two willing to try?" I ask.
    "Yes. Yes we are."
    "Then let's go."


    Eventually we find Gurrdur. We pick up the pace to catch up.
    "Gurrdur! Wait!" Thunder called out.
    He turns around to look at us. "Not you four again... Let me guess. You're here to rub salt in the wound?"
    "No. Not even close." I reply. "We're here to ask you to help build our house."
    "So you are here to mock me. Why would you want someone like me to build your home? There's no reason to trust me."
    "They know, Gurrdur. They know what happened." One of the Timburr says. "We miss the old you. The one that loved his job. The one that cared for those around him. The one that suffered a debilitating injury and still kept going because he loved what he did. Please..."
    "I've already told you. That part of me is gone. It died when they destroyed my work."
    "He's not gone." Thunder replied. "He's still in there. I understand. You were heartbroken. You saw your work go up in flames. But you can't let that destroy who you are. You are Gurdurr. The builder who loves his work. The man who won't let anything get between him and his passion. You are not a thief. You are not a scammer. You are a builder."
    "We care too much to let you stay like this." A Timburr adds. "We can start anew. So what do you say?"
    Tears are welling up in Gurrdur's eyes. "You... You actually care that much? For someone who just tried to manipulate you?" With those words, the dam broke. Tears flooded forth as he sobbed. Not very manly, but at this point, who really cares? This isn't a tough guy moment. This is a tender heart moment. "Thank you... I... I've never been treated with compassion like that. I'm sorry. You're right. This is not me."
    "All is forgiven." I reply.
    "And you two." He looks to the Timburr. "Thank you for holding out hope for me."
    "We're just glad you're back, boss." We let him cry it out. No use rushing things.
    After a while, he gets himself under control. "So... Enough of me crying like a hatchling," wait... Hatchling? "Let's go build a house!"


    We set to work building the house. Needless to say, it's tiring work. But with all five of us working on it, we're making progress. After a few days, our work is completed. The house may not be the most aesthetically pleasing one out there, but it's got a homely feel to it.
    "Sorry that it's a bit rubbish. It's been a while since I've actually built something."
    "It's perfect! I love it!" Thunder exclaimed. I'd probably have said something similar, but he beat me too it. Besides, Gurrdur needs his self confidence back. If there's one person who can elicit positivity, it's Thunder.
    "It's getting late. We should rest." I say.
    "You're right." Gurrdur agrees. "Goodnight, then. Enjoy your new home."
    "I'm sure we will. Come on, Alex."
    Exhausted from a long, hard days work, we plop into our beds and quickly nod off.
  8. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 7: First Mission

    "Rise and shine, Alex! It's a new day!"
    I get up and yawn in response to hearing the cheerful voice of Thunder. That was the best rest I've had in a few days. I never thought that straw nest beds could be so comfortable. Course, then again, we've been using those archaic sleeping bags for the last week. Anything will feel like an expensive King-size bed after that.
    "Morning Thunder. Sleep well?" I asked.
    "Absolutely. A roof over my head, a warm bed to sleep in, it was so peaceful compared to before." He replied.
    "No argument there. So, what's the plan for today?"
    "Follow me. I'll show you."
    At the entrance to Paradise, things have changed. There are a few basic buildings manned by various Pokémon. "When did this happen?" I asked.
    "It's been going on for a while. You were so busy with the house that you didn't notice it." Thunder replied.
    "Well, look who's up and about." A familiar voice rang out. Gurrdur? I turn to the right to face the source of the voice. Sure enough, there he was. Him and his team. The had build their own residence here. The structure itself was rectangular in nature and has I-beams framing the outside.
    "Gurrdur! Good to see you again." I replied.
    "Your friend asked is we would be willing to help build Pokémon Paradise. After everything you've done for us, how could I refuse? Besides, I need to get back in the groove."
    "That's awesome, Gurrdur! Thank you! But... How will we pay for your services?"
    Thunder chimes in. "That's where the request board comes in." He gestures to the notice board behind us. It was covered in flyers asking for assistance in some way, shape, or form. This is updated daily by Azumarill here," the blue, spherical, rabbit eared Pokémon manning the desk to our right waves in response. "with requests from Pokémon in need. Be it rescue, recovery, escort, or even outlaw takedowns."
    "Can we even handle outlaw hunting?" I ask.
    "With practice, sure. Each request has a reward attached to it. So essentially, we get paid to help people."
    "Sounds like a good deal."
    "Yeah. I can't wait to actually have a team to help us."
    "A team?"
    "That's right. A team. There's an organization called HAPPI that can supply us with equipment should we qualify as a team."
    "What qualifications are those?"
    "Not much, really. Just a minimum of four members, an agreement to help those in need, and a base to operate from."
    "So we're two members short. Maybe we'll find someone while on a mission."
    "That's the hope." Thunder takes a flyer from the board. Apparently it's from an "Emolga" asking for help to find his "Dunsparce" friend at Stompstump Peak.
    "That's the one you want to do?" I ask.
    "Yeah. Sure the reward's a bit small, but it really doesn't matter. I just want to help someone." That's quite the selfless attitude. I like it. "Ready to go when you are."
    "Let's go rescue a Dunsparce."


    "I'm starting to get a hang of this combat stuff." I say as I force a Bagon into a retreat. Stompstump Peak is far from a safe place. Despite this, early indications pointed to this place being a public recreational area of sorts. Visitors were challenged to make it to the peak. Guess fighting is nowhere near as big a deal on Pokèmar than it is on earth as we have been battling enemies left and right in these caves. Though most of them were unable to do any significant damage. Still, I'd expect a bit more in the way of safety in a location that's open to the general public.
    "Good to hear. The better you can fight, the better off you'll be." Thunder replied.
    "Hang on... I think I found something."
    "Huh? What its it?" Thunder dashes over to me. What I had found were two blue bandanas. They were a bit dusty, but were in good shape.
    "Might these have been dropped by our Dunsparce?"
    "Hard to say. These things have a tendency to just appear in dungeons. Best hold onto them. Just in case." He picks them up and puts them in his bag.
    "So these bandanas just... Appear?"
    "Pretty much."
    "I'm pretty sure that would be a violation of the Law of the Conservation of Mass." Thunder just stares at me, confused. Guess he doesn't study science like I do. "Never mind. I'm friends with someone who can summon thunderstorms. I'm in no position to say what is and isn't possib-holy crap..." My words were cut short after encountering an incredible sight. A massive crystal formation. Sky blue crystals jutting out from the wall reflecting light and bathing the cavern in a blue glow.
    "That's amazing... I've never seen anything like it." Thunder says in awe of the spectacle.
    "I kinda want a, piece as a keepsake."
    "Same here." Thunder grabs onto one of the smaller crystals and yanks it free. "Now comes the trouble of where it'll go in our house."
    "One step at a time, Thunder. We still have a rescue to finish."
    "Oh yeah! Sorry, I got sidetracked. Lead on."


    "I think I see someone ahead." I say, spotting what looks to be a cream colored snakelike Pokémon.
    "Dunsparce?" Thunder asks.
    "It's likely. Come on!" We pick up the pace, soon reaching the Pokémon, who seems somewhat timid from our presence.
    "What do you want? Don't hurt me!"
    "Relax." I say. "We're here to help you. We're getting you out of here."
    "Who sent you?" He asked.
    "Someone named Emolga. He sent out a request for asking for someone to find you." With that, he relaxes, breathing a sigh of relief.
    "Good old Emolga. Always looking out for me. Best to not keep him waiting. He can be a bit impatient."
    "Then let's not keep him waiting." Thunder says. "Let's go." We start back towards the entrance with Thunder and I acting as escort for Dunsparce.
  9. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 8: Cold Heart

    When we got back to paradise, Emolga was there, waiting for us. He vaguely resembles a flying squirrel with his rodent-like appearance and thin membrane under the arms. He also sported yellow cheeks that were not unlike Thunder's red cheeks. Their species must be related in some way.
    "Emolga!" Dunsparce called out. "I'm here! I'm alright!"
    "Dunsparce!" Emolga responds. He runs to his friend's side. "I was so worried! I'm so glad you're safe!" He turns to Thunder and me. "Thank you. Both of you. You have my gratitude." I smile in response. I've always loved helping people. There's just something about hearing their gratitude or knowing that I made their lives easier in some way that makes me feel good. And this is my job!
    Emolga hands us the promised reward. It's not much, but, like an old saying goes, "virtue is it's own reward."
    "I wish I could give you more for this. But we're a bit low on money." He says.
    "I know what you mean." Thunder replies. "And it's just fine. We're just glad he's not hurt."
    "What was he doing there in the first place?" I ask.
    "I don't know." Emolga responds. "He left without letting me know."
    "I was looking for one of those crystals that grow in those caves." Dunsparce answered. "Sadly I didn't find any." Crystals? Like the ones we found? Thunder and I exchange glances. I could tell he was thinking the same thing.
    Thunder takes the crystal out of our bag and shows it to them. "You mean this?"
    "Yes! Yes! That's what I was looking for!" He exclaimed in excitement.
    "Wait... Why do you..." Emolga started to say, then he apparently put two and two together and figured it out in his head. "Ohhhhhhh... You cheeky little land snake! I should have guessed."
    Meanwhile Thunder and I just stood there, confused. "Does, does someone want to fill me in on this?" I ask.

    Well... Let's just say that I get what they were referring to. Dunsparce appears to be smitten with a really attractive Pokémon. Her name is Virizion (no relation to the wireless service provider). And fricking heck, if she isn't one of the most stunning creatures I've seen in my entire life. She's quite a bit larger than us, a quadruped, green, and graceful to top it off. Apparently, she's a legendary. Legendaries apparently are among the most powerful Pokémon on Pokèmar. Sheesh, is there anything this gal isn't?!
    As she strolls through Post Town, everyone becomes captivated by her beauty.
    "Oh... I'm not so sure about this..." Dunsparce says nervously.
    "Come on." Emolga says. "You've been waiting for this forever. I'm not going to let you fail because you're nervous." As Virizion enters the inn, Emolga starts pushing Dunsparce into the inn as well.
    "No! Wait! Emolga! Stop! I'm not ready!"
    "I'm not letting you wuss out on me, buddy. It's time to do this."
    With nothing else to do, we decide to follow them.
    Inside. Virizion is ordering a drink. Here's hoping she doesn't make the same mistake I did. That Heatwave's a menace.
    "Emolga. I can't do this. Please, I can't." Dunsparce begs his friend.
    "Relax, Dunsparce. I'm here for you every step of the way." Emolga says, smiling.
    "...alright... I can do this... I can do this..." Nervously, he bounces over to her. "V-Virizion?"
    "Hm?" She turns to look at him, causing the poor Dunsparce to sweat with anxiety. Emolga walks up to Dunsparce's side, resting his hand on his back. Feeling his friend's presence, he calms down somewhat. "I have s-something for you." He takes out the crystal and gives it to her. The entire dining hall goes quiet, everyone watching this go down. "Please accept this as a token of my... My... My friendship!" He finally gets the words out. "I want you to be with me. As a friend, companion, and maybe even something more." We wait in bated breath for the response. Finally, after what felt like forever, she responds.
    "...No. I will not."
    "What?! B-but..." Dunsparce stutters.
    "How am I to trust you? For all I know you would stab me in the back the moment you got the chance. You're not even strong enough for me to even consider you as a potential ally. I have no interest in doing anything with you." Oh... Wow... That was so callous! Her words went deep. They tore him to peices. And she doesn't even care. I watch, saddened as Dunsparce fights to hold in his tears and dashes out of the door.
    Emolga's shock turns to rage. "How could you be so cold-hearted! Do you know how much your words hurt him?! He opened his heart to you and you just, spat in it without so much as an apology! I can't believe this!"
    "I don't see why I should care. He let himself be affected by my words. It's no one's fault but his own."
    "Right. And I'm sure that if I thunderbolted you right now, it wouldn't be my fault you got hurt!" He turns to look back towards the entrance. "I've got to go after him now. Thanks to YOU! I don't want to ever see that face of yours ever again!" With that, he runs off to find his friend.
    The cafeteria is punctuated with an awkward silence as everyone tries to absorb what had just happened. Eventually, though, everyone just goes back to what they were doing.
    "I feel so sorry for the poor fella. The least she could have done is be polite about it." I said.
    "I know... Come on. Let's go help find him." Thunder replies.

    "You hear that?"
    "Yeah. He certainly looks heartbroken."
    "And desperate. The best part is he's new here. He hasn't heard of us. He's naive. The perfect target."
    "I like the way you think. So, what's the plan?"
    "We take him to where no one can hear his screams and..."
    "No need to continue, my partner in crime. I know what you mean."
    "Then let's get to it."
  10. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 9: Sorrow

    I give the little guy this, he sure can hide. We've been searching for over half an hour and found nothing.
    "For goodness sake, Dunsparce," Emolga muttered. "Where on Pokèmar are you?"
    "Maybe we should be asking around. Maybe someone around here has seen him." I suggest.
    "Good idea, Alex." Emolga gestures to Quagsire to ask him about his friend's whereabouts. "Have you seen a Dunsparce around in the last half hour? Probably holding a crystal?"
    "Hmmm... I believe so. Hmmm... He was talking with some Pawniards who said they could help him."
    Thunder became nervous. "Pawniards? How many were there?"
    "Hmmm... Two, I believe."
    Thunder's concerned expression grew. Is there something wrong with Pawniards? "Did one of them have a scar on their left arm?!"
    "Hmmm... I believe so."
    "Oh no... This is not good..."
    "Thunder?" I ask. "What's wrong?"
    "I know who they are. The Pawniard Brothers. Leaders of a team of thieves. And if they have Dunsparce..."
    "They'll rob him blind." Emolga interjects. "We need to help him! Quagsire! Where were they going?!"
    "Hmmm... To Desolate Canyon, I believe."
    "Of course. A remote area in the middle of nowhere." Thunder said to himself. "No one will be there to help him..." He turns to us. "We need to hurry. Get your things and let's go!"

    Virizion quietly sipped her drink, thinking about what had just happened. People looking for her affection was far from anything new. Quite the contrary. It's hard for her not to get asked by someone. Of course the response was all the same. No. She made it clear and blunt. It hardly mattered to her if it hurt them. She doesn't trust anyone but herself. Not after what he did to her. She refuses to risk that sort of pain again. But... This time feels different. She feels guilty. She players the Emolga's words over in her head. "He opened his heart to you and you just, spat in it without so much as an apology!"
    He was right. She did do that. She unapologetically tore into the Dunsparce's heart without even acknowledging the damage she caused. Just like him. What was she doing?! This isn't like her! She was better that this. Than him. Unfortunately the damage was done. An apology won't heal a shattered heart, but it's the best she can do. She left the inn and encountered Quagsire.
    "Hey... Quagsire?"
    "Hmmm... Yes?"
    "Have you seen Dunsparce around? I have something to say to him."
    "Hmmm... Alex, Thunder, and Emolga all asked me the same thing. Hmmm... Two Pawniards took him to Desolate Canyon." It didn't take long for her to work out why that was bad. She considered abandoning the plan, but thought about it and realized that this was her responsibility. She caused this. So she needs to resolve it.
    "Wait... Desolate Canyon?!" A voice from behind them announced. "That place is a breeding ground for unsavory characters!" Virizion turns around and sees Gurrdur walk up behind her. "If Dunsparce is there, odds are he's going to be dead in the following week. You're going to need some help. Let me and my crew come. We'll make short work of anyone who stands in our way." Virizion hesitates. Can he be trusted? After all, he was a criminal for a long while. He could very easily turn on her. But... He's right. Desolate Canyon is dangerous. The more firepower she has on by her side, the more likely it is that she will live through this.
    "...alright." She finally says. Let's go."

    "Thank you two for helping me. I really appreciate it." Dunsparce told his Pawniard companions. About half an hour ago, they came up to him in post town and offered to help him woo Virizion. How could he say no? That's all he's even wanted. To be with her. They told him that they'd have to go to their base of operations out here in Desolate Canyon.
    "It's absolutely no trouble at all." One of them said. "We're happy to help." As happy as Dunsparce is, having a chance to try again with Virizion, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong...
    "How far is it?" He asked.
    "It's not far now." The Pawniard replied again. "We're almost there." Eventualy, they stop. "And... We're here."
    Dunsparce looked around. There was nothing. Just barren rock. No buildings, no people, nothing. "Uh... Are you sure? I'm not seeing anything..."
    "Oh yes... We're sure..." The second said in a menacing tone. "I'm afraid that you've been lied to."
    "What? Lied to?"
    "That's right. Now, hand over everything of value you have. Now."
    "W-what?!" Were... Were they robbing him?!
    "You heard my partner. Hand over your Pokè. Or are we going to have to cut you down a bit?"
    "N-no... Please don't!" Dunsparce shook in terror. There was no way he could fight the both of them. "I don't have anything on me! I swear! Please! Let me go!
    "Is that so? Then we have no more use for you." The Pawniards approached, blades ready. This is it... They were going to kill him... He begged for someone to recuse him. But that was unlikely...

    "Fricking heck, they went way into the canyon." I said aloud.
    "We can't be far now. Keep going!" Thunder said.
    "Wait... I see him! They're going to kill him!" Emolga cried out. "Try and kill my best friend, huh? Well I'll show you!" Emolga carelessly dashes headlong into them.
    "Emolga!" Thunder calls out. "Wait!" But it was too little too late. Emolga gets jumped by a yellow... Oh no... Not a spider... Why spiders?
    "We're not your run of the mill petty thieves, here. We come prepared." One of the Pawniards tells us. I hear footsteps behind us. Turning around we see more spiders and some red beetle bugs.
    "Galvantulas and Venipede... This is not good..." Thunder said. We were surrounded. And there are far too many for us to fight. We're doomed.
    "Kill them." One of the Pawniards say, and they all move in to attack.
  11. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 10: Engagement

    "Anyone have any ideas?" Thunder asks in desperation. "I'm open to suggestions." Our opponents are closing in fast. Emolga was still pinned down by one of them, and Dunsparce is still in harms way. It's not a good scenario.
    "Just stay on the move. Don't let them land a hit." I said. Thunder is fast. And I'm agile. We could outmaneuver them easily, but they could easily take us down if they get a good strike in. Tactically, my greatest concern is the Venipede. Thunder tells me they are poison types. The last thing I need is venom pumping through my veins.
    "What about Emolga?"
    "See if you can distract that Galvantula long enough for him to get free. We're not going to win this fight, so our best chance is to escape with everyone in tow."
    "Alright. Let's do this." One of the Galvantulas lunges at us. We quickly dodge the attack and start weaving through the enemies. Thunder breaks off to engage Emolga's attacker. He fires off a bolt of electricity at the spider, causing it to turn its attention to Thunder. Emolga, recognizing the opportunity for escape, pulls himself free and uses the membrane under his arms to get airborne, pulling off several strafing runs on the Pawniards. The Pawniards duck and cover, giving Dunsparce the opportunity he needs to escape.
    "Alright! Now let's get out of-" my words are cut short as I was tackled by a Venipede. Frick! I should have been paying more attention! The Venipede sinks its teeth into my back and injects me with venom. I manage to shake him off, but it's too late. I could feel the effects of the venom already. I felt dizzy and numb where the bite was. I unceremoniously tumble onto the ground, weakened and dying.
    "No! Alex!" Thunder cried out. He tries to run to my aid, but is ensnared in what I can only describe as an electrified spider web. Emolga is hit by the same spider silk shot from another Galvantula and comes crashing down. Any hope we had about surviving this battle was snuffed out almost immediately. One of the Pawniards chuckles.
    "Well now. That was a valiant effort. But you're not leaving here alive." He readies his blade and prepares to kill Dunsparce.
    "Dunsparce! No! Don't do this! Please!" Emolga begged. Not wanting to watch his friend perish. We did everything we could. But it wasn't enough. This canyon is our grave... Suddenly, a projectile of some form cuts through the air from behind us. It cuts through the web that has ensnared Thunder and hits the Pawniard in the face, knocking him backwards. We turn to see where this thing came from. We couldn't believe our eyes when we saw it. Virizion, Gurrdur, and his Timburr workers.
    Thunder wastes no time. He runs to my side and gets a pecha berry from his bag. "Hurry Alex! Eat this! It's a detoxifier!" I grab the berry and take a bite, not bothering to chew it. As soon as it hits my stomach, my dizziness begins to subside. But it's not enough. I still need more. "We need protection! Alex needs a moment to recover." Virizion nods in acknowledgement and attacks a Galvantula, slamming her horn into it and knocking it aside.
    Soon, the toxin has been purged from by body and I'm feeling much better. Meanwhile, our rescuers are driving the enemy back.
    "We need to get out of here!" One of the Pawniards says. "Retreat! Retreat!" The enemies began to fall back.
    "That's right! Run, you cowards!" Gurrdur yells.
    And just like that, the battle was over. I breathe out a shaky sigh of relief. "That... That was too close."
    "You can say that again." Thunder agrees. He turns to address our rescuers. "Thank you, guys. You saved our tails there."
    "Yeah... If you'd been a second later, at least one of us would be dead." I say.
    "I am so grateful for all of you. You put your lives at risk for me. I will never forget that." Dunsparce says.
    "Thank you Gurrdur. You and your crew came in the nick of time." Emolga says.
    "What? No thanks for Virizion? I ask Emolga.
    "Absolutely not! It's because of her we were in that situation in the first place!" I let out an exasperated sigh. He seriously is going to hold that against her even after she came to our aid?
    "You know... In spite of everything, we actually worked well together." Thunder said. "Alex, you were able to coordinate us before things went sour. Emolga, you were able to get Dunsparce out of harms way. Gurrdur, Virizion, you two were able to back us up when we failed. So... Do you guys want to for, a team?" The question caught all of us by surprise. We hardly even knew them, yet Thunder was asking to join up with them.
    "I'd love to, but I have a job. I can't just abandon that." Gurrdur replied.
    "Of course we would!" Emolga said. "Though only if she isn't allowed to join." Not this again...
    "I do wish to join, but if it would be better that I didn't, I'll stay behind." Virizion replied.
    "We can't just exclude her." I say. "That would be unfair."
    "Like I said. She joins, we go." Emolga says. "Right, Dunsparce? ...Dunsparce?" Dunsparce was currently staring off into space, daydreaming. "Dunsparce! Snap out of it! I need your support here!"
    "...huh? Oh! Sorry. I was just thinking how much I would enjoy being with Virizion." I had to fight the urge to chuckle there.
    "Seriously?! You too?! Come on! Thunder! Just tell her to go jump off a cliff or something!"
    We wait for a short while as Thunder ponders it. "...you can join us, Virizion."
    "What?! I... Are you all crazy?! After what she did?!"
    "She cared enough to come try and rescue Dunsparce. I'd say she deserves a second chance."
    "...well... Dunsparce is staying so... Fine! I'll stay... In not happy about this, though!"
    "Yeah!" Thunder exclaims. "We have a team now! This is going to be awesome!" There's that infectious enthusiasm again. We have a team of five now. More than enough to be recognized officially. The future looks bright. But... I can't shake this feeling... That a storm is brewing... And we're going to get caught in the middle of it...
  12. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 11: Team New Hope

    "What a piece of junk! Seriously! How much did you pay for this place?!" Is Emolga's first response to seeing Pokémon Paradise for the first time. Sure it's a wasteland. But he could at least be tactful about it.
    "It's not much, but it's what we call home." I respond. "In time, I'm sure this place will rival the likes of Paris or Rome. I exaggerate, of course."
    "Paris? Rome? Where are those?" Dunsparce asks. Oh... Right... Earth cities. Not on earth. Should I tell them? No... No, that's a bad idea. Thunder said that humans are mythical beings here. If someone back home claimed they were a unicorn or dragon in human form, they would be quickly dismissed as crazy. I see no reason why it wouldn't be different here. The last thing I need is the team to question my sanity.
    "Uh... They're... Actually, I can't remember. Maybe I got mixed up with someplace else." I say in an attempt to cover up my mistake. Thankfully, they seem to have bought it.
    "Geography not your strong suit?" Emolga asks.
    "No, not really." I respond. Whew... I just saved myself from a rather unpleasant conversation there. "So, Thunder. How do we contact HAPPI about our new team?
    "Simple. We mail the information to them." He replies. "Come on. Let's head over to our home."


    "Right. First off, we need a team name. Any ideas?" Thunder asked us all.
    "Ooh! I know! How about 'Emolga's Enforcers!'" Emolga butted in. Sheesh. Got a bit of an ego, I see.
    "I don't think that would work." I respond. "I think that the team name shouldn't be made to show off a particular member. It seems unfair." Emolga just grunted in disappointment. "How about... New Hope?"
    "New Hope?" Thunder echoed.
    "Yeah. You said it yourself, Thunder. Pokèmar has become callous. What this world needs is a beacon to shine through the darkness of the evil in this world. Something to look up to. Something to rekindle the fires of hope. Hope for a better future. Hope that things will change. I saw we become that. The new hope for the world."
    "Aren't you setting your expectations too high?" Virizion asks, skeptical. "We're only five people. How could we change the world in any meaningful way?"
    "Yeah. Especially when one of them is an ice cold monster of a person with no regard for other's feelings." Emolga said, making a verbal jab at Virizion. Though she hardly flinched in response.
    "Sure we are only a small group." I respond. "But some of the greatest people in history were just that. People.
    Just ordinary people who wanted to instigate change. And they did. We're no different. And while it's true that we may not ever reach out across the whole planet, we can at least make a difference here and now. No matter how small."
    "You're right. Alex." Said Thunder. "We can. All it takes is one spark to start a fire. Let's be that spark."
    "I second the motion." Virizion chimes in.
    "I'm all for it." Dunsparce replies.
    Emolga hesitates before finally answering. "Oh, what the hey. Why not?"
    "Then from this day forward, we are Team New Hope." I say. "We will shine as a beacon in the darkness, give hope to those who have none, and protect those who cannot protect themselves."
    "That might make a good mantra." Thunder says. Yeah. It would. I like that.
    "So. What else do we need before we send our application in?"
    "Let's see... A team badge design if we want a custom one and our signatures."
    "Got ideas for a custom badge?"
    "Yes, actually." He picks up a pencil and starts sketching an image onto a sheet of paper. And he's really skilled. The end result looks like some sort of yellow Phoenix with flames under the wings, covering the tail feathers, and on the top of the head. What... It couldn't be a Phoenix. The legend of the Phoenix is from earth. They couldn't have that here.
    "What is that, Thunder?" I ask.
    "That is a Moltres. The Flame Pokémon. Part of the elemental bird trio. When she's injured, she will fly into a volcano and incinerate herself, to be reborn fresh and new from the ashes. It's a sign of hope. That no matter what you go through, there's always something to look forward to after your hardships. There's always hope." Wow. Very similar to the Phoenix legend.
    "Cool. That would be the perfect emblem for our team. Also, where'd you learn to draw like that?"
    "It's a side hobby of mine. I sort of trained myself."
    "Well, you've gotten good at it, clearly. Oh! I almost forgot!" I pull out the bandanas from our bag. "Thunder and I found these while searching Stompstump Peak I was wondering if they belonged to you, Dunsparce."
    "No." He responded. "I've never seen those before. Guess they just appeared in the dungeon." So they belong to no one? Hm. I decide to put one on. I tie the ends around my neck, letting the front drape over my chest.
    "How do I look?" I ask.
    "Pretty good." Thunder replies. "It suits you. May I try the other one?"
    "Be my guest." I hand the bandana over to Thunder who puts it on in much the same fashion. "Not half bad. Looks good."
    "Thanks, Alex. Now, let's get our signatures on this and mail it out." Thunder writes his signature on the sheet. As he writes, it dawns on me that his writing is not in English or any earth written language. But rather, it looks like a string of footprint marks. I follow suit. What's weird is I actually know how to write in that same written language. It was like I knew my whole life. This was strange... After I finish, the others do the same. "Now then, let's get this thing sent." He leads us to the "Pelliper Postal Service" who happily take our application to HAPPI.
    "How long until we hear back from them?" I ask.
    "Probably midday tomorrow. They respond fast." Thunder replies.
    "Well it's getting late anyway. We should probably get some rest."
    "You're right. I guess we'll see you guys tomorrow." Thunder tells the others.
    "Goodnight Thunder. We'll see you tomorrow." Emolga replies as they leave. With that done, Thunder and I return home and sleep after a hectic day.
  13. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 12: On the Map

    "It's here Alex! Our team stuff is here!" I got started awake by Thunder shaking me awake and shouting at me. Well... If it wasn't clear already, now I know for certain that I'm never going to be able to sleep in. Best adapt around that...
    "Ugh... Just give me a moment... I'm only half awake..." I drowsily respond.
    "I'll meet you outside in Paradise Center when you're ready." Paradise Center is what we called the area that we first see when we enter our barren plot of land. It makes it sound like a city center. Which I guess Thunder intends to make this place.
    "Sounds good, Thunder." With that, Thunder exits the house, leaving me to get myself awake and ready for the day. I splash my face with cold water from the sink (or the variant thereof in this lower tech world) which definitely does the job. I put on my bandana and head outside to meet with Thunder.
    "Ah. There you are, Alex." Thunder replies in his infectiously cheery voice. He and the rest of New Hope were gathered around what appeared to be a sort of package. "Come on. Let's open it up."
    "Want to do the honors, Alex?" Dunsparce asks.
    "Sure." I reply. Using my leaf tail, I cut open the box and open it up. And inside were five badges, a nice looking shoulder bag, and a note. I take the note and read it aloud. "Congratulations, Team New Hope. You are now officially recognized as a team by the Helping Adventurous Pokémon Prosper Institute." Oh, so HAPPI was an acronym? Huh. Not something I'd think of for an acronym but hey, whatever works. "Enclosed in this package are your five team badges and your treasure bag for holding loot you may find during your adventures. Your badges are capable of a special move called a 'Team Attack.'" What? Team attack? What are they talking about? "When in combat, your badges charge up. When they start glowing you can execute an attack that will take out most threats with ease. Don't worry about how to use them, you'll know when it's time to use it. Now go and explore, New Hope! Have the adventures of your wildest dreams."
    "Woah! This is so cool!" Emolga exclaimed. He takes out the badges and passes them out. (Of course being a little less kind to Virizion when he got to her.) the badges themselves had a bit of weight to them. The badges closely resembled Thunder's Moltres sketch, the yellow bird with orange flames, with an added red gem on the bird's chest. It was a nice design.
    "I'm curious what this 'Team Attack' is all about." I say.
    "Yeah." Thunder Agreed. "We should try it out. I remember seeing an item acquiring mission for Forest Grotto. Someone wants us to bring a bunch of Nanab berries that grow in that area. That should let us give it an adequate test."
    "Sounds like a plan. Are we ready to go?" The unanimous response was yes. "Alright. Let's head out."


    "Out of curiosity, what brought you to Post Town, Virizion?" Thunder asked as we strolled through the forest. "You don't usually go to this area of Unova Minor."
    "Are you familiar with the Rainbows of Hope?" She asks.
    "I've heard them referenced, bit I've never heard about what they were."
    "They were an intricate set of rainbows that could be seen from Post Town. It is said that whoever views the rainbows was instilled with a powerful feeling of hope. Sadly, though, with all the rampant distrust, they seem to have vanished." Wait... Rainbows? Out of all the things, rainbows? Guess they don't carry the same connotations that they do on earth. Ah well. No reason to get worked up about it. "Wait... I hear something." We all stop as Virizion scans the area for dangers, readying ourselves in the event of a fight. And sure enough, there was one. A Vespiqueen emerged with a swarm of Combee that all came right for us.
    "Bees... Of course it's bees..." I muttered silently to myself. Then we all got to work fighting the swarm off. I used my tail as a fan, creating gusts that knocked several of them off course. Thunder started shocking them, the electricity arcing from Combee to Combee. Virizion send for the Vespiqueen, firing leaves shrouded in energy that honed in on her target. Emolga took to the skies, zapping them like an aggressive storm cloud. Dunsparce... Well... To his credit he was trying... They were just to fast and nimble for him to hit. Unfortunately I was finding myself in a similar situation. But overall, we were doing well.
    That's when it happened. The badge pinned to my bandana started glowing. As did everyone else's. And I know it was time to try out our trump card, the team attack. What happened next felt like a scene from an anime. I take the badge of my chest, pointing it skyward as green energy from everyone's badges converges into mine. "Team..." I found myself shouting. I then brought the arm holding it across my chest, then the pay out. I thrust the badge forward. "...Attack!" I finish the yell and an explosion of green energy expands from the badge, throwing back all of our attackers, knocking them out instantly. Once this had concluded, we all just stared, dumbfounded by what had just happened.
    "...that was awesome!" Emolga cried. "Incredible! I've never seen anything like it!"
    "I'll admit. It was quite the spectacle. And extremely effective on top of that." Virizion agreed.
    "That was awesome, Alex! Great work!" Thunder said.
    "Thanks... I guess... Well, one things for sure. This will come in handy in the future no doubt." I agree. That was an incredible experience. I wouldn't mind doing it again. "Now, come on, everyone. We've got a mission to complete."
    "Lead the way, Alex." Thunder says. So I do. The rest of the trip is uneventful. We continue through the forest, find the berries, return and deliver them to the client. It was Team New Hope's first successful mission. Hopefully the first of many.
  14. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 13: Puzzle Pieces

    Over the past few weeks, much has happened. Renovation of Pokémon Paradise has begun, slowly turning the crappy abandoned wasteland into actual lush, green, land. Let's just say the changes were welcome. Very welcome. Waking up to grass and trees versus rotting wood, boulders, and dead earth- oh, sorry, dead Pokèmar, was much more pleasant and invigorating. Plus the sound of wind in the trees beats the sound of wind running through the wasteland it was by a mile.
    Even better, with a much more pleasant plot, other Pokémon have actually asked to move in. We actually have the start of a town! Though through out it all, one thing sticks in my mind. Those words that I heard when I first arrived. "Please... Save our world... We will die without you... Please..." Save their world... Where do I even begin? What is it that threatens the world? And how do I fight it? Why was I recruited to fight it? I've never thrown a punch in my life before arriving here. So many questions, so few answers. I guess I can only hope that the answers reveal themselves to me before it's too late...
    "Hey, Alex? Thunder?" Dunsparce's voice snaps me out of my little internal monologue as I'm whisked back to reality. Thunder and I were in Post Town doing some shopping for supplies for our missions. Dunsparce had decided to tag along.
    "Hey, Dunsparce. What is it?" I ask.
    "I heard you can get a good view of the Great Glacier from atop the hill in town. Wanna take a look?"
    "Really? The Great Glacier? Of course!" Thunder replies. "First let's finish our shopping." Great Glacier? Sounds like a landmark if I ever heard one. I'll have to ask about it. Here's hoping it's not the equivalent of Mt. Everest where pretty much everyone knows about it. I'd rather not have that conversation...

    The hill on the northern end of Post Town is surprisingly high. High enough to peer over the trees that populated the landscape. It was a really good view. And in the distance to the north was what appeared to be a mountain. But... This mountain looked completely white. I saw no sign of rock anywhere on the elevated land. It just looks like... Ice. Nothing else. And judging by the fact that both Thunder and Dunsparce were looking at the same thing, that has to be the Great Glacier.
    Problem is, I know very little about its significance. Sure, it's a pretty sight, but the way that Thunder reacted to Dunsparce's mentioning of it indicated something more...
    "So, because I'm not from around here, I don't really know what this "Great Glacier" is." I say to them. "Would you mind filling me in?"
    "Well... It's an area that no one has ever been able to go." Thunder replies. "A chasm surrounds it, preventing traversal on foot, and powerful windstorms prevent flying types from getting through without being blown away. For this reason, there's a lot of mystery behind it. Many people have tried to reach it, none have ever succeeded."
    "So it's basically an unexplored, unreachable region?"
    "Basically, yeah." Wow. That's pretty intriguing. What is it that lies on that glacier? Why is it so unreachable? And... Why does it feel like it's involved in my being here? I guess it doesn't matter right now. "Someday I'd like to reach the Great Glacier. If there is a way, I hope I'm the one to find it."
    "Never stop dreaming Thunder... Though this may be a bit... Well... Unrealistic. But you never know."
    "Thanks for the support Alex."
    "No problem. If there's one thing I learned, it's that nothing is impossible." Including being warped to an alien planet being told that you're the last hope for their world. Because that's what happened to me. So getting over a chasm or braving gale force winds to explore a glacier seems like child's play in comparison.

    Where am I? I just went to sleep and... Oh! It's that psychedelic world! Am I being taken back?
    "Alex..." There's that voice again. I try to respond but just like before, nothing is spoken despite my strongest efforts. "This is ... desperate ... Help ... Russet. ... only hope." The voice is weaker than when I first heard it. It's almost as if its fighting through heavy static, garbling the message. Why is it desperate? The only hope for what? What is threatening this planet? Just tell me! I can't help if I don't know what I'm supposed to do! "HELP!" Well... That part's as loud as ever... The world shakes and slowly a white glow envelops everything...

    I wake with a start. My heart is pounding in my chest and I feel overheated. Guess sweat isn't an option for a reptilian Snivy like me. Observing my surroundings I find myself in me bed, Thunder snoring quietly next to me. It was just a dream. But... It was so vivid... I'm so confused... What do I do... Maybe the cool night air will help calm my nerves...

    "Alex?" Thunder asked tiredly. "What are you doing up so early?" I was looking out of the window when Thunder woke up. The walk helped but rest eluded me all night.
    "I couldn't sleep." I admit. "There was this dream, I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep..."
    "What sort of dream?"
    "The same thing that I saw when I first arrived here. The psychedelic world, the voice, everything. Though the voice was decidedly weaker this time."
    "I wonder... Could someone be trying to sync up with you?"
    "Sync up?"
    "Yeah telepathic sync. Someone might be trying to communicate with you through dreams. They're just having trouble syncing up." Telepathic communication? Another outlandish concept, but again, I do not know what is and isn't possible. For all I know, everyone here is telepathic. "Anyway, we should get going. It's another great day! Let's make the most of it!" Thunder happily dashes out the door, with me following behind. But... I couldn't shake my mind of what Thunder had said. Telepathic message? From who? And what did they bring me here to stop? I need answers. But... If Thunder's right, it'll be a while before I get them. Sadly, patience has never been my strong suit. Still, doing missions with Thunder should help keep me occupied until then.
  15. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 14: In the Shadows

    Post town is... Unusually nervous today. There is an atmosphere of fear and tension as everyone is discussing... Something... Naturally, Swanna's Inn is the hub for this odd activity. Everyone is nervous and on edge.
    "I don't like this..." I say aloud. "Something's going on here. Everyone's jumping at their own shadow."
    "Yeah... Should we ask around?" Thunder asks.
    "That would be the logical step." We seat ourselves at the counter and order breakfast, Occa berries and a Leafstorm Drink for me, and Shuca berries and a Thunderbolt Drink for Thunder. "Hey, Swanna?"
    "Yes dear?" The swan Pokémon responds.
    "What's with the town? Everyone looks like they're paranoid about something."
    "You two haven't heard?"
    "Heard what?" Thunder interjects.
    "About the sightings of the suspicious Pokémon. Over the past few days, people have been claiming to see a figure lurking around in the night. With sightings growing more and more frequent, people are starting to worry."
    "Has anyone tried to talk to it?" I ask.
    "No. Whenever someone looked its way, it fled." Huh... Hardly seems like a threat. It's acting like a scared animal.
    "It sounds like it's more scared of us than we are of it. I see no reason to be suspicious."
    "Fair point, but it appears to be watching us. For what reason, no one knows. A few fear mongers stirred up some trouble and now everyone thinks they're being spied on 24/7." Ah. Now it makes sense. Leave it to a mischievous group to escalate a previously semi-docile situation.
    "Does anyone know which Pokémon it is?" Thunder asks.
    "No. No one is certain. That's another reason why everyone's paranoid. There so little we know about it. Or if it wants to harm us. Still. Keep an eye open."
    "We will. Thanks Swanna." With that, we finished our meals and left.


    "So, what is the plan for today?" I ask Thunder as we make our way back to Paradise.
    "I was thinking doing a few training battles." He responds.
    "Training battles?"
    "Yeah. We'd fight each other to build up our strength and tactics."
    "So sparring."
    "Yeah. Basically the same thing."
    "Sound like a pla-"
    "Hey! Alex! Thunder! Wait!" We hear Emolga's voice crying from behind us. When we turn around we see him, Dunsparce, a cream colored canine Pokémon about our size and a tall, insect-like Pokémon that looks like she's dressed in leaves.
    "Emolga? Dunsparce? What's wrong?" Thunder asks.
    "Guys, this is Leavanny and Lillipup." Emolga points to the tall insect and the canine respectively.
    "You two are from Team New Hope, right?" Leavanny asks in a desperate tone.
    "Yeah." I respond, becoming concerned. Why would she need New Hope unless she needed our services? "Why? Is someone in trouble?"
    "My son... He went missing." I see now. That explains it.
    "Where did you last see him?" Thunder asks.
    "Well... He mentioned going to Inflora Forest when I last saw him." Lillipup says. "I didn't think much of it since we go there all the time."
    "What?!" Leavanny looks like she's going into a mental breakdown. "You and Swadloon went to Inflora Forest?! You know that your not allowed to go there! Especially when this suspicious Pokémon is out and about! Wait till Herdier hears about this!"
    "Ack! No! Please don't tell him! I'm sorry!"
    "Right... Sorry, Thunder. Guess training is postponed. We have more urgent matters at hand. Dunsparce, Emolga, you're with us. We're going to track down your son, Leavanny. I promise."
    Her face lights up as if she has a semblance of hope for her son's safety. "Good luck then! Please... Bring him back safely."
    "We'll do everything in our power to bring him back." Thunder assures her.
    "Right! Let's move out!" I say, leading the team to Inflora Forest.


    Inflora Forest... This place is lush with plant life. It's quite pretty. But... It's also easy to get lost in. Thunder is charring the grass in places with his electricity so that we know where we've been so the rescue team doesn't end up needing rescue themselves.
    "Wow. This place is dense!" I observe. "How on earth do those two ever find their way around?"
    "Probably the same way we are. By leaving breadcrumbs." Thunder responds, shocking another patch of grass into a smoldering black patch.
    "I hope we find him soon." Emolga interjects. "I have a bad feeling about this place. Like we're being watched."
    Suddenly, a scream echoes through the forest. The scream of a child! "That must be Swadloon! Pick up the pace everyone! We need to get to him before it's too late!" I say. We start running at full speed towards the source of the scream, praying that he's still alive...


    "There! I see him!" Dunsparce cries. Ahead there's another Pokémon, a face wrapped up in a leaf that for some reason, looks perpetually stuck with the expression of "I'm so done with your crap."
    "Swadloon! Are you hurt!?" I cry out.
    "No. I'm fine." He responds quietly.
    "Come on." Thunder says. "Your mother's worried sick about you. We should get you home."
    "Ok." Is his response. Huh...isn't this the same kid that was screaming a short while ago? Thing is, he doesn't look shaken or frightened. Well... Actually... He does seem nervous. But in the way that makes it seem like he's hiding something.
    "You sure you're ok?" I ask. "We heard you screaming a short while ago. We feared the worst."
    "No. Really. Everything's fine. I just got spooked by something. That's all."
    "No one tried to hurt you?"
    "...very well. Anyways, we should get you back to Leavanny and Lillipup. Let them see that you're ok."
    "Sure." Ok. I seriously think he's hiding something from us. Course, him being a kid it could just be some petty thing that he wants to keep under wraps. Plus I'd rather not "interrogate" a child.


    "Swadloon! Thank Arceus your safe!" Let's just say that Leavanny was... Grateful... For our help. "I can't thank you enough! You have my thanks."
    "Don't worry about it, Leavanny." Thunder replies. "We're just glad he's safe."
    "It's getting dark, we shouldn't some sleep." I say.
    "Yeah. You're right Alex." We say our goodnights and crawl into bed, tired from the day's exploits.
    "See you tomorrow, Thunder."
    "Sleep tight, Alex."
  16. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 15: Umbreon

    Loud knocking on the door broke my attention from the history book I was looking at. I had been attempting to better understand this world, seeing as I'm probably going to be here a while. And just like how the past is referenced often on earth, it surely will be on Pokèmar. Plus I'm genuinely curious. But that's going to have to wait. I open the door to see Emolga, who looks like he had been sprinting the whole way here. Which would not be a surprise.
    "What is it Emolga?" I ask.
    "You... You know about... About that suspicious Pokémon." He says between tired breaths. He now has my undivided attention.
    "What about it?"
    "They found him.... Unconscious, battered, and bloody. It looks like he's been through a war." Huh? Did someone hurt him? And why?
    "Where is he now?"
    "At Swanna's Inn. Thunder and Dunsparce are already there."
    "Go get Virizion. I'll head over as soon as possible." His expression immediately turns sour at the mention of Virizion's name. "Emolga... Just let it go! She's trying to change!"
    "She nearly got us all killed. Why should I forgive her?"
    "Because it's the right thing to do. Holding onto your resentment will only create problems in the future. Now please just go get her."
    "...fine..." Emolga grumpily leaves to get inform Virizion. Now... Time to get to Post Town and introduce ourselves to our mystery guest.


    Holy crap. When Emolga says he looked like he was in a war he literally meant he looks like he took a frag grenade at point blank range. The Pokémon in question is a quadruped. Looks like a dog or a fox. Maybe a mix of both. There are yellow rings on his body that give off a faint glow. The bed he was lying on is stained red with blood. As is his jet black fur. His form is covered with cuts of various sizes. And there's one long, deep laceration that runs across his shoulder. Needless to say, he's hurt. Bad. And, of course, being the squeamish type, I start feeling nauseous. I was never good around wounds and blood. Except my own of course. Now I'm trying to keep breakfast in my stomach where it belongs rather than spewing it everywhere.
    "I... I keep telling... You! I-I-I mean... No harm!" The wounded creature manages to say. Apparently Gurrdur's days as an outlaw made him a bit more... Aggressive... When it comes to questioning. Why he's even interrogating him would be the better question.
    "So you say. But you've been spying on us for days now. Probably pegged us as an easy target for your underground team of yours. So tell me. Who are they?!"
    "I just... Told you! There's... No one but... My missing sister! I'm not-"
    "Umbreon?!" Virizion's voice rings out from the doorway. "Oh my Arceus... What happened to you?!"
    "Virizion?!" Umbreon says shocked. "What are... you doing here? And... Where's Ke-"
    "Stop. I'd rather not talk about him. At least... Not in public. But as for what I'm doing here, I joined up with these guys. Alex, Thunder, Emolga, and Dunsparce. We call ourselves Team New Hope."
    "You know him, Virizion?" I ask.
    "Yeah. This is Umbreon. He and his sister Espeon are dungeon researchers. We met some time ago."
    "Oh... So you're a friend of Virizion?" Gurrdur says. "...my apologies... I... Was a bit harsh."
    "Don't worry." Umbreon responds. "No hard feelings. But... I need to find Espeon before they do..."
    "Not like this you can't!" Virizion says. "You've lost a lot of blood. You're in no condition to go anywhere!"
    "I can't just abandon my sister! She- Ow!" Umbreon tries to get up, but only succeeds in putting himself in more pain.
    "Umbreon! Stop! Don't stress yourself. You're only making it worse."
    "Umbreon," Thunder interrupts. "I promise that we will help look for your sister. Right, Alex?"
    "Of course we'll help. Isn't that what we're here for?" I respond.
    "Thank you... That means a lot to me." Umbreon says. "Now... I'm quite tired. I need some rest..."
    "Yeah..." Virizion agrees. "We hope you get better soon.
    "Right." I say as we exit the room. "Ok, everyone. Let's see if we can't find any leads. Hopefully we can find her soon."


    For some reason this Umbreon and Espeon duo intrigues me. Umbreon's resting and recovering from whatever bleeping happened to him so I can't ask him about what. But I can ask Virizion.
    "Virizion? I'm curious. What exactly do Umbreon and Espeon do?"
    "Well, they research mystery dungeons. Their job is to learn why they behave the way they do."
    "Sounds an awful lot like science. I'm a fan of science."
    "Then you'll probably get along well with Espeon. She's the brain of the duo. But Umbreon's the builder. He can create some pretty incredible things if given the time and resources needed. Last I saw them, they were working on this project together. A big project. Something revolutionary. It appears that they attracted the wrong type of attention, though,"
    "So... Robbers looking to sell the research on the black market?"
    "That's the most likely explanation I can think of. I don't exactly remember what it was they were working on but I remember that ke- ...er... I was impressed by what they had come up with." As much as Virizion didn't want it, we all could tell she was hiding something. And while most of us decided to respectively drop it, Emolga didn't.
    "There was someone else with you, wasn't there? A boyfriend?"
    "Emolga..." I warn.
    "No! I... I don't want to talk about it." Virizion replies.
    "Aw... He broke your heart, didn't he?" Emolga mocks. "He decided to get in bed with someone else?"
    "N-no! We didn't ha-"
    "Or, more likely, you dumped him because he couldn't do it for you! He wasn't able to sate your-"
    "Emolga! Enough! You've taken it too far!" I finally shut him up. Making assumptions like that about someone's love life and mocking them about it is where I draw the line. "You need to stop this! It's setting a poor example for the team!"
    "Ugh... Fine..." He stops his little mocking session. For now, at least. Now that Emolga has some serious ammo to throw at her, things are probably going to heat up between them. But, of course, Emolga couldn't resist one last insult. "You're a dirty, filthy-"
    "Emolga, I better not hear you finish that sentence..."
  17. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 16: Entercards

    "Well, well, well... Look who's up on their paws and out of bed." I say with a lighthearted chuckle. Umbreon has been recovering quite fast. Faster than anyone should have when there was a laceration that went into the muscle tissue should have. From what I know, they used a salve with the juice of Oran berries and applied it to the wound. And my goodness that stuff is some sort of miracle gel. Seriously! It's only been three days! And he's walking around with only a slight limp! Can you imagine what we could do with this stuff back on earth?! Anyway, the whole team had arrived at his room as we were all interested in what had happened to him.
    "Yeah. Nice being back up on my feet again." Umbreon replied. That wound on his shoulder has been bandaged up. And judging by how clean the bandage is, it's fair to say that the bleeding stopped a fair while ago. "Any word about Espeon?"
    "No, sadly." Thunder answers. "But we're still searching. It would be easier to find her if we also knew who was after her and why."
    "They were a Purugly and a Toxicroak. Whether they're affiliated with another criminal organization or working on their own I do not know. But they said they wanted to destroy our research." Destroy? Well there goes the "sell research on the black market" theory. Also, Purugly? Toxicroak? Is there some codex or something for Pokémon? Because there are so many different species out there that keeping track of them all on my own is next to impossible.
    "Did you make any enemies in the criminal underworld that may have held a grudge against you?" Virizion asks.
    "None that would go to these great lengths to screw us over."
    "What research were they after? What was it that you discovered?" I ask. Almost immediately, a smirk appeared on Umbreon's face.
    "Something We've been cooking up for a long time. Virizion probably knows what I'm talking about."
    "But when you told me it was all theory and conjecture." Virizion says. "That's hardly worth... Wait... So... You had to have made significant progress on it to garner this attention."
    "Oh we did. We actually built it. And it works."
    "Built what?" Emolga asks.
    "A Magnagate generator. And the Entercards to go with it. You see, mystery dungeons are the intertwining of ley lines. Strings of energy that crisscross the universe. The way they are connected to each other warps the land in those mysterious ways. And each part of the connection influences a different aspect of the dungeon. But what if you could make them intertwine. What if you could manipulate them to make a dungeon just like you wante-"
    "Huh? Why'd you stop? It was just getting interesting." I ask. Then the reason becomes apparent. Everyone fell asleep. Like students listening to a dull, monotone lecture. "Oh. That's why."
    "Perhaps... A more visual demonstration would work better..."


    We reach the hill in post town. A nice, open space where we won't interrupt anyone. According to Umbreon, the perfect conditions for a demonstration. He brings out a rather interesting device. It's about the size of a tablet. A grey tile with a large purple boarder around it. The tile had an a square indentation in it and had a sort of mystical circular pattern in it. He also had two smaller tiles. These ones had ornate images of the sun and the moon on either side of it. It looks like four of these things would fit in the larger device.
    "Ok, so, this, is a Magnagate Generator." Umbreon shows us. "And these are Entercards. Now, you put the Entercards in the generator like so." He puts the Entercards on opposite corners of the square indentation in the magnegate generator. There is an audible "click" as they snap into place. "Now, to activate it, you just press the center, stand back, and watch the magic happen." He puts his paw where the corners of the Entercards meet and presses down. I can hear some sort of energy inside. Per his instructions, we take a few steps back, not wanting to be incinerated or torn apart at the molecular level or whatever this thing will do.
    All of a sudden everything darkens, like a cloud passing in front of the sun. But there isn't a single cloud in the sky. How the... Then something happens. From the magnegate generator a red ring expands outwards. Inside the ring a flash of white, and a portal like thing appears, filling the inside of the ring.
    "...holy fricking... What the frick is that?!" I exclaim in shock.
    "That, Alex, is a magnegate. A gateway created by the Entercards that leads to an artificial mystery dungeon. One that I can fashion to be how I want it. Or... Are you familiar with wormholes, Alex?"
    "Wormholes? Yeah. I know about them. Theoretical points in space that are connected in spite of their distance. You go in one end and come out the other."
    "We can do a similar thing with the Entercards. I can choose to have the mystery dungeon lead almost wherever I want. Like a tunnel between two points. It all depends on how I place the Entercards."
    "No way! That's awesome!" Thunder cries out. "Where does this one lead?"
    "Nowhere. To create a working dungeon you need four cards. I only have two. Espeon has the others. When we were attacked we both took half of the cards and split up." Suddenly, the magnegate collapses, creating a small vortex of air that dissipates after a few seconds. What remained was an intricate circular pattern where the gate once was, and the magnegate generator and Entercards. "I had thought that we would be able to find each other. We were going to rendezvous at Forest Grotto, but she wasn't there..." He lets out a shaky sigh. "It was a horrible idea to split up. Now she's probably out there somewhere, her lifeless body rotting away... Brutally murdered by those... Fiends!"
    "Hey..." Thunder puts his hand on his leg. I assume it's the same gesture of putting his hand on his shoulder, but their size difference prevents that. "Somethings tells me she's tougher than that. I think she's still alive. And we intend to find her and bring her back safely." I swear, Thunder has the softest heart of anyone I've ever met. All he wants is to help. Is it any wonder I consider him a good friend?
    "I second that." I agree. "The moment we hear about her whereabouts, we're going after her."
    "...thank you." Umbreon replies. "All of you. I guess you call yourselves New Hope for a reason."
    "That's the idea."
  18. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 17: The Crags of Lament

    Wherever Espeon is, she certainly knows how to stay under the radar. There has been nothing to go off of to find her. No rumors, no sightings, nothing. Dang it... There has to be something! I've been coming here to the inn and loitering around eavesdropping on people to try and get an idea of where Umbreon's sister is every day. And it's yielded nothing. It's so infuriating.
    "Alex." Thunder whispers me. He has been aiding me as well. He's like my shadow. And I don't really mind it. In fact I prefer when he's around. "There's someone over there that might know something." He points to the Rampardos at the adjacent table. "He keeps talking about seeing something off at the Crags of Lament. Seeing a" Well, it's better than most leads so far.
    "Right. Let's check it out." Thunder and I get up from our seats and casually walk over to the Rampardos, who seems transfixed by a Cinccino on the other end of the dining area.
    "My sweet Cinccino..." He says quietly to himself. "You're the most beautiful Pokémon on Pokèmar... I... I just wish I could be brave enough to talk to you... Feel your soft fur in my arms as we embrace. My-" he cuts his train of thought short as we approach. "Ah! Uh... H-hi! I didn't see you there. What's the occasion?" Hehe... Poor guy. Wish I could give him advice. That is, if I had any to give in the first place.
    "Thunder tells me that you saw something at the Crags of Lament. See, we're looking for someone. Any information you can provide would really help us."
    "Oh? The Crags of Lament... Oh yeah! I remember. I saw this Pokémon with pink fur, a forked tail, and a gem on her head. I can't remember what species that is... But she looked nervous and exhausted." Wait... Pink fur... Forked tail... Gem on the forehead... According to Umbreon, that's what an Espeon looks like! The trail just got warm.
    "Was there anyone else?"
    "Yeah, now that you mention it... There was a Purugly and a Toxicroak searching around. They might have been looking for her." That's it! We know where she is! We can get her. Once she's inside Post Town she should be safe. I look to Thunder, whom definitely is thinking the same thing as me. We nod to each other and start to leave.
    "That's all we need to know. Thank you." I say to the Rampardos.

    "Umbreon!" I call out as we enter his room. "We know where she is!"
    He immediately turns his attention to us. "Espeon?! Where?!"
    "The Crags of Lament." Thunder answers. "The Toxicroak and Purugly are there too. We need to move fast."
    "I'm coming with." Umbreon relplies.
    "No!" I say. "You're still recovering. I'm not taking any unnecessary risks. Not when someone's life is at stake."
    "But she's my sister! I can't just-"
    "Umbreon..." Thunder interrupts. "Just trust us. We'll bring her back, safe and sound."
    "...well... Alright. Good luck out there."
    "Thanks, Umbreon." I respond. "We'll be back soon."

    I just noticed something. Since I've been here, there's been a lot of me either falling or facing the danger of falling. My skydive to Pokèmar, the gap in the path when I was following Thunder for the first time, Hazy Pass, and now this. Following a jagged, uneven, rocky path elevated quite a ways up, the risk of falling was high. Why would anyone come here? Then again, it's isolated and remote. A good place to hide when being hunted.
    "You know, there's something I was wondering." Emolga says from behind us. He had volunteered to come with us. As did Virizion. You could tell I was hesitant to allow those two in such close proximity with such a dangerous mission. But they are two of the stronger members of the team so I went with it. "Why are they called the Crags of Lament?"
    "You know how Giratina betrayed Arceus when he created the first world? And how he destroyed it?" Virizion spoke up. Huh? Arceus? Giratina? Are these mythical figures? So... I guess this is the second world since the first was destroyed?"
    "Yeah. But what does that have to do with the Crags?"
    "Legend has it that Arceus mourned the loss of his world and the betrayal of his son and stowed his sorrow and lament in this area. Some people claim that at night, you can hear his cries echoing through here."
    "Huh." I say. "That's interesting. Thanks, Virizion."
    "My pleasure. But we need to focus on the matter at hand."
    "That's true. Ok, everyone. Eyes open. Keep a lookout for her.

    Espeon runs as fast as her legs will let her. She's tired and exhausted from this extended chase. But she can't stop. If she stops, they will kill her. She just hopes that Umbreon is alive and safe. Then she notices something ahead. Or, more accurately, the lack of something ahead. The was nowhere to jump to and falling was certain death. She skids to a stop before she has a chance to go over the edge. She turns around and sees the one thing she didn't want to see. The Toxicroak and Purugly are there. She's trapped.
    "Well now..." The Purugly chuckles. "That was quite a run you sent us on. But, everything must come to an end at some point. Including your life. Now, hand over the Entercards and you'll die quickly."
    "Screw you, you overweight, son of a Ditto!" She retorted. The fur on Purugly's neck stood up in anger.
    "You dare call me that?! Toxicroak. Search her."
    "With pleasure." The Toxicroak responded. He began an invasive search of her body to find the Entercards, only to come out empty handed. "Nothing. She doesn't have them"
    "That's right. I don't. But I know where they are. If you let me live, I might tell you."
    "Ah, bargaining for your life, are we?" Purugly chuckles. "Well it hardly matters wether you tell us or not. You are the only one alive that knows how they work." Wait... Only one alive?! Then...
    "Umbreon... What have you done to my brother?!"
    "Oh, he's long gone." Toxicroak taunted. "Don't worry. My venom made sure of that." No... No they're lying! He can't be dead! He can't be!
    "No... Please no... Not Umbreon... No..." She tries to hide the tears welling up in her eyes, but inevitably fails as the tears start to leak out and drip from the fur around her eyes.
    "Aw, don't cry, sweetheart. You'll see him again in the spirit world soon.
  19. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Episode 18: The Rescue

    "Guys, good news." Emolga says. "I found her. Bad news, they found her first." Sure enough, there she is. Cornered and about to be killed. We cannot let that happen.
    "Thunder, hand me a blast seed." I say. He immediately reaches into the bag and pulls one out, handing it to me. One of the many things I learned about this world was that there are a metric ton of seed types. These things have unbelievable properties when ingested or thrown. There are seeds that can put someone to sleep, teleport them, make them breathe fire, cure ailments, pretty much everything. This blast seed it the fire breathing one. Same stuff that was in the flamethrower drink I had the misfortune of gulping down so long ago. But I came up with a better use for it. A grenade.
    "Fire in the hole!" I yell to grab the attacker's attention and keep it away from Espeon. And if that didn't work, the blast seed absolutely will. I sling the seed right at them. And the one thing I take particular note of was the moment that they realized what I just did. The "oh crap" look on their faces. Priceless.
    The blast was small, but effective, throwing both of the assailants away from their wounded prey.
    "V-Vrizion?!" Espeon sputters, surprised. Where did-"
    "We'll have time for pleasantries and explanations later." She replies. "Right now, stay low."
    "Thunder, Emolga, you take the Toxicroak." I say. "Virizion and I will handle Purugly."
    We split into two groups to take on our attackers. "Did no one ever teach you numbskulls to keep your noses out of the affairs of others?" Purugly growled.
    "I consider that concept null and void when someone's life hangs in the balance." My reply angers him. Good. More anger means more impulsive actions and more mistakes.
    "Null and void. Interesting choice of words. Because that's what you and your little ragtag team will be when we're through with you."
    "I hear a lot of talk and not a lot backing it up. So let's cut to the chase." I dash at him, sliding under he's legs, emerging behind him. He turns to face me, but also turns away from Virizion in the process. She slashes at him with her horns, doing some damage in the process. I leap onto his back, extending my vines and wrapping them around his neck, trying to get him unconscious. He does a good job banging me around trying to get me off. But inevitably he succumbs to the lack of oxygen (I assume oxygen. I mean, we could be breathing argon for all I know).
    Thunder and Emolga appear to be keeping their distance, repeatedly shocking him from two completely different directions before he collapses on the ground. It still amazes me just how much punishment a Pokémon can endure without long term effects. One of those bolts would probably cripple a human.
    "Thank you. All of you." Espeon says. "I owe you my life. Care to introduce yourselves?"
    "Of course. I'm Alex. This is Thunder and Emolga. I know you and Virizion have met before."
    "Come on. Let's head to Post Town. Umbreon's worried sick." Virizion says.
    "Umbreon?! But... They said they... They..." Espeon says in disbelief.
    "They were just messing with you. He's the one who told us you were missing. So we came to find you."
    Espeon's face was one of confusion. She has heard two conflicting stories about her brother's fate. She must be deciding wether to trust her attackers or her aquaintence. "... Alright. I trust you. Lead the way."


    "Espeon! Thank Arceus you're alive!" Umbreon darted full speed to his sister, in spite of doctors orders to avoid strenuous activity. But what the hey. He just learned his sister is alive and well. I'm sure we can let it slide this time.
    The two made contact, wrapping their forepaws around each other in a hug. Both are crying tears of joy. "They told me you were dead... I was so worried..." Espeon manages to choke out.
    "It's ok. We're together again. And we have all four Entercards again."
    "About that... I don't have them. Someone else does."
    "That's ok. They got them, we can make more."
    "No, not the thugs. Someone-.
    "Excuse me? Miss Espeon?" A young voice calls out from behind us. To our surprise, it was Swadloon. And he was carrying two Entercards! Behind him was his confused mother. "I kept your promise. Here's your things back." He sets them down in front of her while the rest of us look in confusion. How did he get ahold of those?
    "I suppose you want an explanation for this. Well... I'll tell you. I was trying to lose my pursuers in Inflora Forrest. I dug a hole for my cards and a gem that I carry with me and buried them so I wouldn't risk them. When I thought that I'd lost them, I came back to find that he dug them up. In my haste to get my things back, he screamed, which would most certainly alert my pursuers. He wanted the gem to give to his mother so I struck a deal. He keep the cards safe and hidden away until I cam to get them and he could keep the gem. I told him not to tell anyone. By the expressions on everyone's faces, it appears that he kept his end of the deal. But..." She turned to Leavanny with a sorrowful look in her eyes. "...I'm sorry for putting your son in the firing line like that. If they had figured out that he had the cards... I am so, so sorry. I put him in danger... Can you forgive me?
    There is a moment of silence as Leavanny contemplates her words. "...I would have rather he not be in danger, yes. But nothing happened to him, thankfully. And I'm proud of him for keeping his word. So... I forgive you."
    Espeon lets out a sigh of relief. "Thank you. You have no idea how much that means to me. Anyway, we should probably continue our research."
    "Yeah." Umbreon agrees. "Thank you, New Hope. We are forever in your debt."
    "Don't worry about it. It's what we do." Thunder replies.
  20. Alex Russet

    Nov 16, 2015
    Chapter 19: Heart to Heart

    "Are these sorts of things everywhere on earth?" Thunder asks me as we make our way to Post Town. We're going to check on Umbreon and Espeon to see how their project is coming along. The ability to traverse any distance like this is ground breaking and has piqued my interest.
    "You mean the Entercards? Absolutely not. That's not something I think humanity will create for many centuries. Especially since they seem to be a combination of technology and mystical energy. We don't have mystic energies on earth."
    "Well... You still have technology. What have humans made with that?"
    "Lots of things. Vehicles of all forms, handheld devices with so many different abilities and features, a global network of electronic information, even vehicles that escape the gravitational pull of the earth itself."
    "You mean you've been in space?!"
    "Well, not me personally, no. Only a few have. But it's still exciting to think about." I'm actually on the fence about if I'd actually want to go to space. It's always fascinated me, but with all the inherent risks involved... I'm just not sure. As we approach the town, we end the conversation. Just like always, I'm trying to keep my true nature as a human under wraps. I'd rather not think about what sort of asylums or mental institutions exist here. Or if they're any better or worse than on earth. Soon, we reach the eeveelution duo (Thunder taught me about evolution of Pokémon. A very strange concept to be honest.) on the hill in post town.
    "Hey guys." Thunder says cheerfully. "How's the Magnagate stuff going?"
    "Very, very well." Espeon responds.
    "We're just fine tuning a few things." Umbreon adds. "In a few days, we should be ready to use it."
    "Where will you go for your first actual use of it?" I ask.
    Espeon starts to explain. "We're planning on going to the Great Glacier to-"
    "Woah! Hold up!" Thunder interrupts. "Did you just say that you're going to the Great Glacier? THE Great Glacier? The one the no one has ever gotten to?"
    "That's the one. Rumor has it that there's something called the Great Crystal there. Reportedly able to levitate objects by its mere presence."
    "Forget the crystal!" I exclaim. "We're talking a major historical event here! We will go down in history as the first to reach this place! Our names will be in the history books for years to come!"
    "'We?'" Umbreon asks.
    "Well, I'm sure that New Hope would want to come, right, Thunder?"
    "Heck yeah!" Thunder responds. "Of course we would!"
    "...what do you think, Espeon?" Umbreon asks. "Could they come?"
    "I don't see why not." She responds. And just like that, Thunder went nuts.
    "Yes! Yes! Thank you! Thank you so much! Woooo! We're going to the Great Glacier!" Well... Now the entire continent knows. Not that it mattered. Word would spread regardless.
    "We should get the others informed." I say. "It's a big trip. We'll need to be ready."

    This morning Alex and Thunder had announced the big news. We were going to the Great Glacier. Everyone was ecstatic. Himself included. He was excited. So much so that he couldn't get to sleep no matter how hard he tried. It is late and he's up on the hill, gazing and the silhouette of the Glacier against the starry backdrop of the night sky. How could anyone expect to sleep after hearing this?! It's not possible.
    "Is there room for one more?" A feminine voice asks from behind him, making him jump. It was Virizion. Dunsparce felt himself blush.
    "Agh! Uh... Virizion? What are you doing up this late?!"
    "I couldn't sleep. Too much energy."
    "Same here, actually. You're welcome to stay." Virizion smiles in response and lays down next to him.
    "You really want to go, don't you?
    "Absolutely. I... I've always wanted to do something like this since I was a hatchling. Do something big. Historic. Important. But... I've never done much... And when I try I always botch it up. When I first met you, I was so afraid that I would mess up."
    "I could tell. And... I wanted to say... I'm sorry. I shouldn't have acted the way I did. I hurt you so badly with my words."
    "It's fine. I mean, you're with me now. Er... Uh... I hope that didn't sound... Uh..." He begins stuttering nervously, unsure if he acted too forward with her and ruined his chances. Virizion merely chucked quietly in response. "W-Well... I noticed something else as well." He says, desperate to change the subject. "Ever since I joined New Hope I've felt more... Confident. Like being around the creative Alex and the upbeat and optimistic Thunder makes me feel stronger. More capable. Able to do things I would have thought impossible before. Joining the team was the best thing to ever happen to me. No doubt. And now... I'm about to make history with them...
    "I'm glad to hear. And whatever happens, I guarantee you that I will back you up. We will back you up. You have our support. We're here for you whenever you need us."
    "You mean that?"
    "Absolutely. You're a part of the family. And in a family no one is put aside."
    "T-thank you Virizion... You have no idea what this means to me."
    "I can certainly guess." With that, the two of them sat quietly, staring out over the horizon, imagining what they will find when they make the journey.

    Emolga couldn't sleep either. He was just too excited at the prospect of actually going to the great glacier. To try to work off some of that energy, he decided to take a short walk around Post Town. That's when he spotted Dunsparce and Virizion. Hiding behind a shrub on the hill, he eavesdropped, catching the tail end of the conversation. Dunsparce is right. Ever since they Joined, Emolga noticed his more positive attitude. And it took him by surprise that Virizion gave him her support. Of course Emolga would show support. He wouldn't be a very good friend if he didn't. But Virizion? Maybe Alex is right. Maybe she is trying to change. Trying to make amends. That doesn't mean he's going to let up on her, though. Not after what was done to Dunsparce...
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