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Fanfiction The Story of Team Fate - An Explorers of Sky Fanfiction

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by flareon71, Oct 23, 2018.

  1. flareon71

    Legegg
    (Mew Egg)
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    So uh
    Salutations
    I've been doing this writing thing for a while now so I guess it's about time I posted my FFN stuff here
    This here's my first story, looking back, it gets real iffy at parts(like super cringe iffy at parts holy crap), but still, it's am important step in my writing hobby
    Here ya go, read it if you'd like
    [​IMG]

    Chapter One - The Fated Encounter

    Author's POV

    Life can be full of surprises. With twists and turns at every corner, many happenings are bound to happen. These happenings can lead to the grand adventure of a lifetime, the creation of unforgettable memories, and much more. Of course, these happenings do not just happen to an idle individual. The journey of a lifetime always starts with a decision. These decisions can come upon anyone at a fated time, and they wouldn't know the significance of a 'yes' or 'no'. This power to change lives with a single decision is the power of fate. The power to create something beautiful or even end something strong, this power of fate even bypasses the power of time and space, further emphasizing the fact that there is no changing this fate, whether it's good fate, or bad fate…

    Now, enough of this introduction, we have a story to get to, don't we? (Actually, it's more of a fanfiction but whatever) The story of those who have the power of fate bestowed to them, and if this fate causes change for the worse… so be it.

    ?, ?'s POV

    This is it. We're almost done. We're almost done with the first phase of our plan to save our world.

    "This is it," I say. "We've come a long way to get this far. Once we go through this portal, it's downhill from here."

    "I agree, we really have gone through so much to get to this point… uh..." My partner stutters for a second. "Ha ha… Even after all we've gone through, I'm still not used to calling you by your name."

    "I tend to think it's sort of unusual… But I tend to think of it as an alias." I say, smiling.

    "Alright, the portal's ready! It's just me and you from here on out!" My partner replies.

    "Agreed!" I say.

    The key to saving the world is just a step away… Just as long as nothing goes wrong in this phase, everything should go well…

    I step through the portal, awaiting for what happens next…

    Everything else should be as easy as pie after this point…

    Something goes wrong. Some sort of unseen force starts interfering, and I can feel myself being separated from my partner.

    "Argh…Something's happening! Don't let go!" My partner calls out.

    "I… I can't! I can't hold on!" I cry out.

    The attack of the unseen force sends me speeding through the portal at an unfathomable speed, and I feel the very structure of my body being altered as I pass out.

    Outside Wigglytuff's Guild, ?'s POV

    Wigglytuff's Guild. The most successful and popular guild here around Treasure Town, a town where some Pokémon live. With the Wigglytuff head-shaped tent bearing the locked gate, a Vulpix nervously steps near the guild's security grate.

    I sigh… That Vulpix is me.

    I have always wanted to join this guild, it's actually been the main reason I came to Treasure Town in the first place. I've heard the gossip about it around Treasure Town's plaza whenever I passed by there, so I know that Wigglytuff's Guild is a place I want to go.

    I gaze down at the security grate in front of me. The guild's security grate, Wigglytuff Guild's method of having a form of security, though I do see some ways that this form of security can be easily bypassed… How do I know about this? Well, let's just say that this isn't the first time I've tried to enter the guild…

    The thing with joining the exploration guild is that to join an official exploration team is that an exploration team must consist of at least two members upon registration. Right now, while I hate to admit it… I am alone. While I could go and ask literally anyone to join me, I tend to try to avoid other Pokémon I don't know… Leaving me in a very unfortunate situation…

    "It's okay, Violet…" I mutter to myself, trying to give myself confidence. "Maybe… maybe there's someone in that guild who is willing to help me out…"

    I gaze at the security grate for a bit longer, my trembling paws refusing to move forward. I then glance down to see the little Relic Fragment stone attached to a string around my neck. My Relic Fragment, it's a little stone I've found that I consider my good luck charm. There's just some sort of unique pattern on it that interests me, plus, it's literally all I have left to myself at the moment…

    I clutch my Relic Fragment with my paw, trying to regain confidence, and manage to bring myself to move a paw forward.

    No turning back now… I hope…

    Author's POV

    Violet manages to get all four of her paws onto the grate, slightly struggling to keep her paws from slipping through the grate's gaps. Eventually, she manages to stand straight on all fours.

    A shrill voice cries out from the dark room far below the grate.

    "Pokémon detected! Pokémon detected!"

    Violet starts to tremble, both with anticipation and from nervousness.

    A much deeper booming voice replies to the shrill voiced Pokémon.

    "Whose footprint? Whose footprint?"

    Violet continues trembling, nervousness building up as the pressure starts getting to her.

    "The footprint is-" Before the shrill voice could continue, the pressure gets too much for Violet to handle and she runs away.

    "The footprint is…" The deeper voice says, awaiting an answer.

    "The Pokémon ran away…" The shrill voice answers.

    "AGAIN?!"

    "Again… Let's just hope the next visitor won't be as troublesome as some as the last few…"

    The two Pokémon below the grate continue to wait for the next visitor to come.

    Meanwhile, a hiding Koffing and Zubat come out from their hiding location and laugh to themselves, having witnessed the entire event.

    "Whoa ho ho!" The Koffing laughs. "How pathetic! She thinks she can join the guild? Get a load of that!"

    "Heh heh heh!" The Zubat snickers. "What a wimp! She doesn't stand a chance!"

    "It gets even better!" Koffing says. "You saw that little stone she has, right?"

    "You think I didn't?" Zubat replies. "That thing could be worth a fortune! Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

    "You bet I am! Because that's just the kind of thing we do!" Koffing replies.

    "Heh heh heh!"

    "Whoa ho ho!"

    Beach, Violet's POV

    I let my cowardice overwhelm me. Again.

    I immediately run without hesitation towards the beach, the only place I can go where I can comfort myself.

    "I… I failed again…" I say to myself.

    I start to gaze up at the sky, and am immediately captivated at what I see. This beach was always one of my favorite places to go. That might sound weird, especially because I'm a Fire type. But the main reason I love this beach is because of the view I can see here. As soon as I look at the sky, the first thing that catches my eye is the wonderful blend of yellow and orange in the sky as the sun is starting to set halfway, the colour of the sky casting a glow on the beach while nearby Krabby resting on some of the rocks poking out from the water were blowing bubbles into the air. These glistening bubbles reflected off the sun's glow blending well with the glistening water just leaves me speechless…

    Wow… it's not often that the Krabby come to blow bubbles very often… this must be a one of a kind view…

    I immediately snap back to reality and sigh.

    "I can't go back to the guild… Not again…" I mutter. "That's too much confidence for me today… Looks like it's back home for now…"

    However, I notice something in the corner of my eye, catching my attention. I look around to see that there's some sort of unconscious figure on the sand.

    There's someone there… should I walk over?

    Maybe… Maybe just a little more confidence wouldn't hurt…

    I take a deep breath, then manage to bring myself to walk closer to the unconscious figure.

    Is that… a Shinx? What would a Shinx be doing here?

    I… I can't just leave him unconscious here…

    I take another deep breath, and I manage to prod the unconscious Shinx with my paw.

    "H-Hello? Are you okay?"

    Shinx's POV

    I eventually manage to feel myself regaining conscious, but my head hurts so much for some reason…

    Wait, where am I? What happened? Why can't I remember anything?

    I open my eyes to see a Vulpix standing over me, who immediately backs out as soon as I open my eyes.

    "You're awake! Thank goodness!" The Vulpix says to me, female by the voice.

    A talking Pokémon?... For some reason… this doesn't surprise me… Wait… I can feel some of my memories coming back…

    "Where… where am I?" I ask the Vulpix.

    "Wait, you don't know where you are?" She asks me, tilting her head in confusion. "You ended up on the beach here… you don't remember how you got here? Do you have amnesia?"

    Amnesia? Well, I guess I don't remember much at all…

    "I… I guess I might have had amnesia…" I reply. I try to get up, but my body refuses to let me stand on two feet.

    Why can't I stand up? Wait… does this mean…

    I try to get up on all fours, and succeed. I then look at the beach water, only to see the reflection of a Shinx stare back at me.

    "I've… I've turned into a Shinx!" I say aloud.

    The Vulpix just looks even more confused. "'Turned into'?" She questions. "It shouldn't be strange that you're a Pokémon… You are in the Pokémon world after all."

    Other than what seems to be my name, another major part of my identity comes back to me…

    "Um… Okay…Well, you see…" Now I just need to explain this to the Vulpix without trying to startle her too much. "I… I know I didn't use to be a Pokémon… The only things I remember is that I remember my name and that I used to be a human."

    "A h-human?" THe Vulpix says, startled.

    "Calm down," I say. "I know that this might be a bit too much to take in all of a sudden, but you have to believe me."

    "Um… o-okay…" She says, unsure. "Well, my name is Violet. Violet the Vulpix. Do you… still remember your name?"

    "My name is Sparks. Sparks the Shinx, apparently," I say. I then notice something about Violet that catches my attention. "Hey, what's that on the string around your neck?"

    "Oh, this?" She says, detaching some sort of rock from the string and showing to me. "This is my Relic Fragment. I guess I consider it my good luck charm. Here, have a look at it."

    She holds out her paw towards me, allowing me to get a better look at it. The first and only thing I notice about the stone is that there's some sort of pattern on it… This pattern is unique and indescribable, a pattern that needs something more than words to actually describe… It's not like anything I've ever seen.

    However, before I could say anything, a Koffing comes out of nowhere and tackles Violet, knocking her to the ground.

    "Oops! My mistake!" The Koffing says, feigning innocence.

    Violet gets back to her feet.

    "Are you okay?" I ask her.

    "I'm alright…" She replies. "Wait, where's my Relic Fragment?"

    "Heh heh heh!" A Zubat perches on top of Koffing, holding Violet's Relic Fragment in it wing. "Looks like we'll be taking this!"

    "Hey! Give that back!" I say to them.

    "Whoa ho ho! Look what we have here!" Koffing says, amused. "Who are you to try to stand up for this wimp?"

    "Heh heh heh!" Zubat cackles. "Don't bother wasting your time with her! If you really want to take this thing back, then come and get us!"

    Cackling, the two Poison types dash past us and into a nearby cave.

    "Those crooks! Come on Violet, let's follow them," I say, to no response. "Violet?"

    I turn to look at her to see that she's crying.

    "Violet? What's wrong?" I ask her, concerned.

    "Y-You heard what they said, right?" She says. "Why do you want to help me?"

    "What?" I question.

    Why did I want to help this Vulpix so badly? Well, it was hard to explain, but there was something inside of me, some feeling, that compelled me to help her. And besides, while the sudden realization of being turned into a Pokémon is a bit much to take in, I might as well help Violet while I'm here.

    "I want to help you, Violet…" I say, worried. "I know I've just met you, but I know that I can trust you, and you can trust me, so I know that you're worth my help."

    Violet casts a grateful smile at me and starts to wipe her tears with a paw.

    "Thank you… Thank you, Sparks…" She says. "O-Okay… I think I'm ready now. Let's go!"

    I start to feel a warm feeling inside of me as I smile at Violet.

    As Violet walks toward the cave, I try to follow her, but as soon as I move a paw forward, I can feel my legs give way and I fall face first into the sand.

    "Ow."

    Looks like I have to used to walking on four legs from now on…

    Beach Cave

    After a little bit of help from Violet, I manage to get the hang of some of the basics of being quadruped…

    My legs tremble as I walk on the rocky terrain.

    "You're not going to trip again, are you?" Violet says, noticing.

    "I think I got the hang of this, I'm not gonna trip this time." I reply.

    I look around me to observe the surroundings of this cave. A complex system of hallways of rooms, all within the premise of a damp cave that would be expected to be found nearby a beach.

    And then I see a leading deeper into the ground shortly ahead.

    "What is a staircase doing here in a cave?" I say aloud.

    "Wait, you don't know?" Violet says to me, confused. "Oh, right, you're new to the Pokémon world."

    "What are you talking about?" I ask her.

    "Well, you see, here in the Pokémon world, some sort of phenomena has spread across the world that has started to create these places called mystery dungeons," Violet explains. "Mystery dungeons are places that have randomized rooms after every visit, staircases that lead into different floors, and hostile Pokémon that live in these mystery dungeons."

    "I guess that explains the staircase situation…" I say. "Wait, did you say hostile Pokémon?"

    As if on cue, two Omanyte suddenly fall from the ceiling and block our path to the stairs, causing the both of us to step back in surprise.

    "Hostile Pokémon like those!" Violet says.

    The two Omanyte glare us down menacingly and fire rocks out us.

    "Whoa!" I manage to step to the side to dodge the rocks, barely managing to keep my footing.

    Violet manages to dodge the rocks fired at her as well, this time with more agility than I had, then dashes at the first Omanyte and tackles it while her body is surrounded with a dark aura, an attack I recognize to be Faint Attack.

    Wow, Violet really is agile… Wait, I can attack too, can't I?

    The second Omanyte creeps towards me, then I take a step back and run at the Omanyte and Tackle it, sending it reeling towards a wall. However, because I'm not used to running on four legs, I almost fall over, but I manage to keep my footing and follow Violet down the stairs.

    I can already tell that this mystery dungeon thing is going to be more than what I expect it to be…

    On the next floor, after another mini skirmish, Violet Faint Attacks a blue Shellos away as I speed towards a reeling Kabuto and knock it out with a Quick Attack.

    "I think I'm starting to get used to being quadruped, surprisingly," I say. I then notice an object near the nearby staircase, and I walk over to it. "Wait, what's this?"

    It looks like the object is a seed of some sort. Violet walks over to my side and looks over the seed as well.

    "Oh, that's a Blast Seed," She says. "You see, mystery dungeons also have some items in them that hostile Pokémon sometimes drop. Seeds are a type of item that you can find in mystery dungeons, and this Blast Seed is one of them that lets you breathe fire."

    Breathe fire? From a seed?

    "I can already breathe spurts of fire with my Ember attack, so you can have it if you want." Violet says to me.

    Wait, if there are different types of seeds, then how did Violet instantly recognize that this is a Blast Seed? Looks like a regular seed to me… Maybe it's a Pokémon thing… Never mind. I shouldn't be questioning this.

    I think about it for a quick second, then decide that the seed could be useful later.

    I pick up the seed in my mouth and tuck it into my cheek, careful not to sink a fang into it, and then follow Violet down the staircase.

    Eventually, we head down to a dead end room where we find Zubat and Koffing backed up at a dead end.

    "There's no running now! You're cornered!" I say.

    Koffing and Zubat simply turn around and cackle at us.

    "Whoa ho ho! Looks like you two are more than you look!" Koffing cackles.

    "We're not just going to let you going to get away!" I say.

    "G-Give my Relic Fragment back!" Violet says, trembling.

    "So you two really want this thing back," Zubat says. "Heh heh heh! If you're that determined to take it back from us, then you'll have to take it by force!"

    Zubat and Koffing go into battle stance as me and Violet get into battle stance as well.

    "You'll take Zubat, I'll take on Koffing." I say to Violet.

    Violet nods back at me, and we both dash at our respective targets.

    I bump into Koffing head to head as we both try to push each other back with our Tackle attacks, but I dodge his attack and Quick Attack the vulnerable Koffing, sending him reeling to the back of the room. I look over to Violet's side to see her somersault over a Zubat's Wing Attack and then pushes Zubat to the back of the room with an Ember spurt.

    With Zubat and Koffing laying in a vulnerable heap near the back of the wall, I join Violet's side once more.

    "You ready?" I say, readying to bite into my Blast Seed still in my mouth.

    Violet nods back at me, and I sink my teeth into the seed, causing flames to erupt from the seed, filling my mouth with fire. Violet and I then release our fiery blasts as one whole beam at Zubat and Koffing, leaving them burned badly.

    "Urgh… You're stronger than you look…" Koffing says.

    "How did we lose to you two that easily?" Zubat questions.

    In an instant, the two Poison types dash past us and out of the room.

    "Even injured, those two still know how to move fast…" I say. "I'm not gonna lie, I'm impressed."

    I then notice a familiar object in a corner of the room. I walk over to it and immediately recognize it.

    "Hey Violet, I've found your Relic Fragment." I call out to her.

    She walks over to me and picks up her Relic Fragment.

    "Yes! Thank you so much for helping me get this back," Violet says with a grateful smile. She then reattaches the stone to the string around her neck.

    "So… are we done here? This place is starting to get cold…" I insist.

    "Oh, right. We should leave now," Violet replies. "Um… I should know the way out. Follow me."

    Beach, Violet's POV

    Okay… okay… We're almost out of here…

    Not going to lie, I'm not the best mystery dungeon explorer in the world… My mom does tend to remind me that I am quite skilled at that, though…

    Eventually, I manage to get Sparks and I out of the mystery dungeon and back to the beach.

    "I still can't thank you enough for helping me get my Relic Fragment back…" I say to Sparks.

    "It's alright, I don't mind at all," Sparks says to me, smiling. "Anyways, let's continue where you left off."

    "Wait, 'continue'? 'Left off'?" I ask, confused.

    "We didn't quite get to finish our conversation," Sparks replies. "You were still talking to me about your Relic Fragment…"

    "Oh, right! Right, right, right…" I stutter nervously and try to remember what I was trying to say last time. "Um… well, you see, part of the reason I consider this my good luck charm is because I think it might be linked to a legend of some sort… I've always been a big fan of legends, discoveries, and myths, and I hope that one day I might learn the mystery of this little rock."

    "I guess that's understandable…" Sparks replies.

    "You know, Sparks, back when we were in that battle with Koffing and Zubat, I felt more confident with you by my side…" I say to him. "Maybe… maybe you and I can be a team together?"

    "A… team?" Sparks questions. "Me and you?"

    "There's a guild nearby where Pokémon can register as exploration teams," I explain to him. "I've always wanted to register there… but I guess I'm a bit too nervous on my own to actually go in there myself."

    I sigh, embarrassed to admit my cowardice and nervous to see Sparks' response.

    "Well, I'll join you." I suddenly hear.

    What?

    I glance at Sparks with a confused look, but he just smiles back at me.

    "Pardon? You'll actually join me?" I ask him, my hopes rising.

    "Of course!" Sparks says. "I know that I've only just come here, but I don't really have anywhere else to go, so I know that I'll definitely be joining you in that team thing."

    "Thank you!" I say excitedly. I then grab Sparks' paw. "Come on, Sparks, it's this way!"

    "Wait wait Violet I'm still not that used to running that fast-"

    I lose my grip on Sparks' paw as I turn around to see his face back in the sand.

    "Oops… I guess I got a bit too excited…" I say, a sheepish smile forming on my face as I try to hold back my giggle.

    I walk over to Sparks and help him get back on all fours, but then he suddenly gets looks up and gazes me in the eyes. I instantly feel myself paralyzed by his gaze, and I couldn't bring myself to turn away… There was just something about him…

    I then suddenly feel the heavy blush forming on my face and we both turn away from each other, at the same time. I then look at the only other thing I could look at, and we both find ourselves staring at the sky as the setting sun slowly dipped itself into the distant waters and the sky's colours started to darken.

    "It's… it's starting to get late… Are we still going to that guild you talked about?" Sparks says, suddenly breaking the silence.

    "Right, right… We should be going now…" I say.

    I then start to walk away from the beach, often looking behind me to make sure Sparks is following.

    Chapter 2 - The Registration

    Beach, ?'s POV

    Within the safety and seclusion of being alone in my favorite little shelter, I watch as the Shinx and Vulpix leave my field of view.

    So the Shinx used to be a human. Well that's something you don't hear everyday.

    Ever since I woke up to the conversation between the Shinx and Vulpix, I was able to witness the entire event, the theft of the Relic Fragment, the introduction of names, and now they're leaving to Wigglytuff's Guild.

    Looks like the guild is going to be having some new members… Let's hope that things start going my way sooner or later…

    Other than that, the sun is starting to disappear, and the moon will arrive shortly.

    Well, looks like it's another uneventful day for me. Back to sleep I go...

    Outside Wigglytuff's Guild, Author's POV

    Here we are again, with the closest thing to third person point of view that we have.

    Violet continues escorting Sparks to the guild, walking through the path leading out of the beach, passing through the four way cross roads linking Treasure Town to several of its landmarks, and eventually to the guild's entrance.

    Despite the sudden awkwardness that took place on the beach several minutes ago, both Sparks and Violet manage to get over the awkwardness that happened and find themselves breaking the silence that haunted them minutes before, though that event still left an impact on both of them.

    Sparks and Violet stand in front of the infamous security grate of doom and gaze at the Wigglytuff tent, its gate still locked.

    "Here we are, Wigglytuff's Guild." Violet introduces.

    "I guess that explains the peculiarly shaped tent…" Sparks says. "But what's with the grate?"

    "That's the guild's form of security… and also the part I wasn't able to get past…" Violet admits, slightly embarrassed. "I… I just couldn't bring myself to stand here long enough before my cowardice overwhelmed me…"

    "Well, this time I'll be here with you through this, so no need to worry." Sparks assures her, empathy in his voice.

    Violet takes a deep breath, no longer shy to reveal how afraid she is, psyches herself up to step forward, but still finds her paws stuck in the ground.

    "Here, how about we step onto it at the same time?" Sparks suggests.

    "O-Okay." Violet agrees.

    With Violet regaining some of her confidence, she and Sparks step onto the grate while Sparks tries to keep his footing on the metal grate.

    "Pokémon detected! Pokémon detected!"

    Violet starts to tense.

    "Whose footprint? Whose footprint?"

    Sparks notices Violet's tensing. "I'm here with you this time, don't worry." He whispers.

    Reminding herself about Sparks' company, Violet manages to calm herself down enough to resist the urge to run.

    The two Pokémon observing the footprints continue their security measure.

    "Ooh! Ooh! I know this one!" The shrill voice says, recognizing Violet's footprints from her previous visits. "Erm… I'm sure it's Vulpix!"

    "Wait, there's another one! You have to identify this footprint too, Diglett!" The deeper voice scolds.

    "Another one? Um… I'm not sure about those other footprints, Loudred…" Diglett replies. "Um… Maybe Vulpix and Shinx! Maybe Vulpix and Shinx!"

    "What?! Maybe?" Loudred says.

    Diglett and Loudred continue arguing about the former's unsure answer, which goes on for a little while, most of it out of earshot of Sparks and Violet.

    "Um… I'm sure it's normally doesn't take this long…" Violet says, afraid Sparks might suddenly lose interest.

    "...Hmm… Well, both Shinx and Vulpix are uncommon around here…" Sparks and Violet hear Loudred say to Diglett. "Okay! You two up there! You may ENTER!"

    The metal gate in front of the Wigglytuff shaped tent slowly screeches open.

    "I… I can't believe it! I'm actually going to enter the guild!" Violet says excitedly.

    Sparks smiles, feeling happy for her. "So are we heading in or what?"

    Violet immediately dashes in past the gate and down the ladder in the room ahead before Sparks could finish speaking.

    Sparks can't help but smile at her enthusiasm, but then sighs as he sees the ladder in front of him.

    "I hope I don't fall on my face this time…"

    Wigglytuff's Guild, Sparks' POV

    Just one paw after the other… How did Violet make this look so easy?

    Eventually, I feel my back paw feel something that isn't ladder rung and get back on the ground on all fours, almost falling over as I jump to the ground.

    Why didn't this guild just install staircases here? Mystery dungeons have them, so I don't see a reason why this guild shouldn't have staircases... Never mind, I should just focus on looking for Violet...

    I look around the room, stepping to one side as several Pokémon dash past me, apparently in a hurry. After making my way past some more Pokémon in a hurry, I find Violet in the center of the room, apparently taking in the view around her.

    "Wow, look at all the Pokémon around here… Is this what it's like to work at a guild?" I hear her say aloud. She then remains speechless after that for some reason.

    "Violet?" I walk up to her as she takes a startled jump at my sudden appearance.

    "Sparks!" Violet exclaims, surprised. "W-Where did you go?"

    "You, uh… kinda left me behind back there." I explain to her.

    "Oh… sorry about that…" She says quietly, slightly lowering her head.

    I cast a forgiving smile at her. "No, no, it's fine. You don't have to say sorry."

    I cast a glance around the room once more and notice that amidst the many Pokémon in the room, a Chatot notices us and walks over to us.

    "What are kids like you doing here?" Chatot asks. Before I could respond for the Vulpix who suddenly dashed behind me, the Chatot starts shaking his head and continues talking. "No, never mind, say no more. We here at the guild are not interested in your sales offers, school fundraisers, or your scout cookies, so shoo!"

    "Wait, wait, we're not here for that kind of stuff," I say, interrupting Chatot. "We've actually come here to join as an exploration team."

    Chatot appears confused for a second, then cups his wing to his beak as he looks me and Violet from head to toe.

    "Hmm… Well, there are two of you, so I guess you two are qualified to join as an explanation team…" I hear Chatot mutter. He then claps his wings together in amusement. "Well, why didn't you say so? Come on now, if registration is what you're looking for, then follow me."

    I watch as Chatot heads down another ladder, then glance at the suddenly nervous Violet behind me, then carefully head climb down the ladder while Violet follows close behind.

    Now on the third basement floor, I glance at a nearby window to be amazed by the view of the darkened night sky looming over the dark blue body of water.

    Wow… this guild must be built on the side of a cliff, no wonder it's so popular.

    I nudge Violet on the side and she immediately notices what I'm looking at and takes in the view with a reaction similar to mine.

    "Now, now, let's not waste time. Registration is this way." Chatot says.

    Me and Violet manage to break away from the window's view and follow Chatot to a nearby wooden door.

    "Guildmaster? It's me, Chatot," Chatot says, knocking on the door. "I've got others with me. Are you willing to let us in?"

    The wooden door then immediately swings open and we find ourselves following Chatot into the Guildmaster's Chambers, where we find a Wigglytuff at the back of the room back turned to us.

    Chatot then turns to face me and Violet. "Now, you two. I know that our Guildmaster's appearance might seems a bit underwhelming, but that still leaves no reason for any of you to underestimate him, so I expect you to treat him with utmost respect." Chatot warns us with a whisper.

    Chatot then turns to face the Wigglytuff. "So, Guildmaster, we have some new recruits here who would like to join as an exploration team…" Chatot hesitates, presumably awaiting the Wigglytuff's response, but to no reaction from the pink Pokémon. "Er… Guildmaster?"

    The Wigglytuff then turns around to face us all of a sudden, startling the three of us.

    "Are these two the ones who want to join as an exploration team? How cute!" Wigglytuff suddenly says in a bubbly voice. "Okay, okay, before I can get you the exploration gear you need, I'll need to register your team name."

    Wait, cute?

    "Our team name?" Violet suddenly asks, stepping forward. Wigglytuff's friendly demeanor must have helped calm her down.

    "I… I never thought of a team name…" Violet says. "I guess I was just too excited to consider that…"

    As for me, there were too many thoughts suddenly flooding my head for me to concentrate. This day has already been more eventful than I expected it to be, and here I am, almost joining this Vulpix I just met in an exploration team, not that I have any problem with that. However, I just couldn't shake the feeling that this was all somewhat meant to happen, as if… as if it was… What was the word again?

    "Fate." I suddenly say aloud, embarrassing myself a little.

    "Fate?" Violet asks, looking confused. Her eyes then lighten up with realization. "That's it! Team Fate!"

    Well, that's one way to get out of a awkward situation.

    "Team Fate! Not a bad name choice!" Wigglytuff says. "Now to get you registered!"

    Wigglytuff then appears to get psyched up for something, but to my confusion, I look over to one side of the room to see Chatot covering his ears with his wings and wincing.

    "You two… brace yourselves." I hear Chatot murmur to us.

    Before me or Violet could question anything, Wigglytuff then releases a deafening Hyper Voice that impacts me so hard that my vision goes white for a second. I glance at Violet to see that I'm not the only one left wobbling on my feet from that Hyper Voice impact.

    "What was that for?" I say once I manage to stand up straight.

    "Congratulations! You two as well as any recruits of yours will now be known as Team Fate!" Wigglytuff says, completely ignoring my question. He then turns around for a split second before walking up to us and drops a box to our feet.

    "This box here has the stuff you'll need as an official exploration team!" Wigglytuff explains excitedly. "Go on, open it!"

    Violet slowly walks forward and lays her paw on the box's lid as she flips it open. I walk over to her side and observe the box's contents as well.

    "Wow! There's a Treasure Bag, a Wonder Map, and even Explorer Badges for each of us!" Violet says excitedly, tossing each of the items to me.

    Whoa, Violet, calm down!

    Slightly startled by the reappearance of Violet's enthusiasm, I quickly step to the side as the Treasure Bag's leather-like strap comes over my shoulder. The Wonder Map rolls to my feet, and I manage to pick it up with my paw and put it into my Treasure Bag.

    "Is… is that all, Violet?" I say, preparing myself for any other items that could come flying at me. I manage to catch the Explorer's Badge in my paw, and observe it. It has a little Pokéball design, with what looks like little wing symbols on the sides of the Pokéball, and a little screen where the button would be.

    'Registering user…'

    I widen my eyes in surprise as I realize that there are little words on the screen of the Badge.

    'Registration complete. User registered as Sparks the Shinx.'

    "Wow, this technology is impressive." I remark.

    I look up from my badge to see Violet walk up to me and pin some sort of accessory near my neck area.

    "Uh… what was that you just pinned on me?" I ask her.

    "Well… there was an accessory for you too, so I thought you might as well wear it," Violet explains. Now that she mentions it, I notice that she's wearing some sort of pink scarf around her neck, with her own Explorer's Badge attached to it. "Well… and I thought you might look kinda cute with that bow on…" She said the last part of her sentence a bit quickly.

    As I look down to attach my own Explorer's Badge to my light blue bow, I suddenly hear the last part of Violet's sentence and get surprised.

    Wait, did she just call me cute? Is… is this some sort of Pokémon thing?

    I shake away my thoughts and look at her to see that she's lowered her head, probably embarrassed.

    I smile at her compliment, trying not to reveal my blush. "Well, I think that scarf makes you look cute too." I admit to her.

    "Wait, really?" Violet looks up to face me, surprised.

    "That scarf looks good on you." I reply.

    "Nice to see that you two enjoy your accessories!" Wigglytuff suddenly says, reminding me that he was there.

    "Anyways, it's about time you two had dinner. We're done here with the registration sequence, so follow me." Chatot says, motioning us to follow him as he leaves the room.

    "I guess I am starting to get a bit hungry…" I admit.

    "Well, I have heard that the guild offers high quality meals to the Pokémon who work here… I wonder what's for dinner."

    "Come on, you two!" Chatot says, looking back at us through the open doors to the chamber.

    "You two should be going now, dinner is important after all!" Wigglytuff reminds us.

    As Violet follows me as we leave the Guildmaster's Chambers, I suddenly realize something.

    What am I going to be eating for dinner? What do Pokémon around here eat?

    Dining Room, Violet's POV

    "...Anyways, help yourself to the extra meals prepared by our guild's chef. Come see me outside once you're done." Chatot says as he leaves Sparks and I in the dining room.

    I jump up on the wooden stool as Sparks jumps up in his seat.

    "So um… do you want my food?" Sparks asks me, looking uneasily at his plate. "I'm not sure about my food."

    I look at both of our plates to see what's wrong with his, only to see that both our plates have the exact same platter of Apples and Gummis of a single colour, with my plate having Red Gummis while Sparks' Gummis are Yellow.

    "There's nothing wrong with your food, Sparks," I say to him. "I'm pretty sure you can eat the Gummis and the Apples, the Gummis are even Yellow for Electric types like you."

    "Well, if you say so." Sparks says, picking up a Gummi with his paw.

    I bite into one of the Red Gummis, letting its chewy texture and juicy inside satisfy my taste buds.

    It's been a long time since I had one of these… Still as delicious as I remember.

    I look over to Sparks' side to see that he's managed to finish most of his food.

    "These Gummis aren't bad," Sparks says. "Wanna try one?"

    I accept his offer as he hands a Yellow Gummi to me and eat it.

    "Your Gummi is good too." I say to him as I finish the rest of my food.

    "Well, you've finished your meal, would you like to help me finish mine?" Sparks asks me. "I don't think I can stomach all of this food on my own just yet."

    "Um… okay." I say.

    Sparks then moves his plate closer to me as we both finish what's left on his plate.

    After eating, Chatot leads us through a hallway on the same floor lined with wooden doors lining the walls of the hallway.

    "Hmm… I'm still not sure there are any vacant rooms left…" Chatot mutters. We then reach the end of the hallway where we find a single wooden door. "Ah yes! This one should do!"

    Chatot opens the door and leads us into the room as Sparks and I look around it.

    It's a nice fairly large and empty room, with a window that allows for a nice view of the outside, and two nicely made straw beds.

    Wait, just two beds?

    "Er… Are we going to sleep in the same room?" Sparks suddenly says, causing me to turn my head and hide my sudden blush.

    "Well, the rest of the rooms are taken by the rest of the guild members, and none of them seem ready to graduate anytime soon..." Chatot says.

    "No, no, it's alright. I'm okay with this." Sparks says.

    "If you say so then, I'll leave you two be then," Chatot says, heading for the door. "Remember, tomorrow if your first day, so you better get plenty of rest!"

    Chatot then leaves the room, shutting the door on his way out.

    In the silence that followed, I lay down in my bed. I look over at Sparks' side to see that he's put the Treasure Bag in one corner of the room and has been struggling a bit to get into a comfortable position in his straw bed, but he eventually manages to and lays down.

    "Today's been a big day for you, hasn't it?" Sparks says to me, suddenly breaking the silence.

    "What?"

    "Well, you've finally managed to get into the guild, for one thing." Sparks replies.

    "Oh, right, that… I still don't know how I can thank you for that… I don't think anyone would just be willing to help me that much just like that…" I tell him.

    "You don't need to thank me, really," Sparks says modestly. "I just wanted to help you, and I don't have any problem joining you on this exploration team thing… I'm actually starting to look forward to this exploration team…"

    "Regardless, I still hope I can repay you in some way…" I say.

    "Well, as long as you're happy, I'm okay with it… We should probably get some sleep now. Both Chatot and Wigglytuff did make sure to remind us to sleep early, after all…"

    "I guess you're right about that…"

    "We've got another big day for us after all… Well, good night, Violet."

    "Good night, Sparks…"

    I still couldn't get over the feeling inside me that wanted to thank Sparks for his help. His help actually meant more to me than he probably thinks… He helped me get back the only thing I have and achieve the only dream I had… I just hope I could repay him for his help in a similar way he helped me…

    And besides… I really did think he looked cute in that bow…

    Chapter 3 - Situation

    The next morning, Wigglytuff's Guild, Sparks' POV

    It took me a while yesterday, but I eventually managed to get my four legged body to get comfortable in this straw bed.

    As I sleep, several questions and thoughts of my own thoughts and questions relating to what happened yesterday flooded my mind.

    How did I end up as a Shinx? I don't remember what happened before I woke up on the beach, so I don't have much to go on...

    Is this 'turn into a Pokémon' thing permanent? It probably is… I don't see any way out of this at the moment...

    How did I go from suddenly waking up as a Shinx to sleeping in the same room as a Vulpix in the same day? Hmm...

    What if… what if all this… all this about becoming a Pokémon… was all a dream? All this seems a bit too coincidental… Or maybe that's just me… But... What is none of this ever happened, and I'm just going to wake up back in my human bed in the human world as a human… What if I only needed to wake up to snap out of this dream-like fantasy?

    I know now's not the time to start thinking about these diverse topics, but still… I can't shake that feeling inside me that to every thought I've had so far, goes 'what if?' And besides, this day is just supposed to be a day of me and Violet in an exploration team, no need to make thing complicated with my deep thoughts.

    A booming screech of a voice snaps me out of my ocean of thoughts and brings me back to reality.

    "UP AND AT 'EM! IT'S MORNING!"

    The sudden cacophony to my ears instantly causes my reflexes to wake me right up and attempt to get out of bed, only for my paw to give way as I rush and I end up with a face full of straw.

    "What… happened?" i say, lifting my face from my straw bed.

    The blur from my eyes clears out and I see that Violet is struggling to get up from her bed as well.

    "Hey you two! GET UP!" With my eyes now open, I see that it was the Loudred from yesterday who woke us up. "As my duty of a fellow Guild apprentice, it's my duty to make sure newbies like you aren't late for morning briefing, so GET UP! Argh, forget it! I'm not going to be late just because two newbies aren't waking up!"

    Before I know it, Loudred has already stormed out of our room and has closed the door with a thud.

    Well that's certainly something to wake up to...

    I shake off the impact of Loudred's wake up call and manage to stand up and walk off of my patch of straw bed.

    "Urgh… good morning, Sparks…" Violet says, putting a paw to her head.

    "Good morning, Violet… Did you hear what that Loudred said? I don't think I caught most of it…" I say to her.

    "That shout got me too… but I think he said something about a morning briefing…" Violet replies.

    "A… morning briefing?"

    The sudden realization snaps me and Violet back awake.

    "It's our first day as an exploration team, Sparks! We don't want to leave a bad first impression by being late!" Violet says, perking back up.

    "You're right, so are we going or what?" I say.

    After getting the Treasure Bag's strap back over my shoulder, me and Violet rush through the hallway and back to the main area of the floor where we join a crowd of other guild apprentices, almost bumping into Loudred in the process.

    "Hey you two! You were almost LATE!" Loudred says to us.

    "You! No talking when the briefing is about to start!" Chatot scolds Loudred from the front od the room.

    Loudred then turns away from us, mumbling angrily to himself.

    Meanwhile, Chatot and Wigglytuff stand in front of the room, with Wigglytuff still gazing at all of us with his unstirring smile and eyes, while Chatot clears his throat for what seems to be the morning briefing.

    "Okay, Pokémon! Now, as some of you might have noticed, the Guild has just recruited two new members." Chatot announces.

    Suddenly, most of the eyes in the crowd of guild members have turned to me and Violet. The sudden attention causes me to feel uneasy, while Violet crouches behind me to hide from all the eyes on us. Luckily, Chatot starts waving his wings, causing the attention to be drawn away from us.

    "Now, as much as you'd all like to introduce yourselves to our new recruits, your guild duties still await you, do they not?" Chatot says. "Now, that is all that I have to announce for today. You may now proceed to your daily guild duties."

    The crowd of Pokémon around us disperse and leave the room. Now that they were not clumped together as a crowd, I was able to recognize the species of a few of the other guild members, like Corphish, Loudred, Diglett, Croagunk, Chimecho, Sunflora, and several others.

    "Wait, so what do we do know?" Violet asks.

    "Our uh… daily guild duties, whatever they are…" I reply.

    "Ah yes, you two," Chatot says approaching us. "Follow me, I'll be giving you your assignment for today."

    Chatot then motions us to follow him as he heads up the ladder and up to the floor above.

    Up the ladder. To the floor above.

    "Sparks? Is something off?" Violet says, noticing my sigh.

    "No, no, nothing's wrong..." I say, tightening my grip on the Treasure Bag's strap.

    Somehow, I manage to climb up the ladder, Treasure Bag still weighing me down, and get to the floor above without much trouble at all… Have I finally managed to get used to my four legged stature?

    Emerging from the ladder, Chatot then leads us to one of the two bulletin boards on each of side of the room. Upon closer inspection, there are multiple different types of paper stuck to the wall, each with some sort of writing on it.

    "What's the bulletin board for, Chatot?" I ask him.

    "Good question," Chatot says, moving some of the papers on the board about with his wings. "You see, the board on this side of the room is the Job Bulletin Board, where Pokémon put up requests for explorers to see. That's where you two come in, and that's your assignment for today."

    "Wait, so what's the board on the other side of the room for, Chatot?" Violet asks, curious.

    "That one's an assignment for another day," Chatot answers, plucking a paper from the board. "Hmm… Yes, this should do. This paper should do for your first day."

    Chatot then hands the paper to me as I try to read it, while Violet looks over my shoulder at the paper.

    "Wait, this paper is just a fetch request for a pearl that a Spoink dropped!" Violet complains.

    Now that I manage to read it, the request printed on the paper is just that.

    "Well, yes. Is there a problem with that?" Chatot says.

    "Where's the exploration? The treasure to be found?" Violet asks.

    "Hmph, quite ambitious for a newbie," Chatot remarks. "But unfortunately, as your first day, you'll have to do with a fetch request for now. Remember, this is an actual Pokémon waiting for help."

    "He does have a point there, Violet," I say. Now that I think about it, don't Spoink use their pearls to power their heartbeat? And I don't think using psychic telekinesis to power your heartbeat will suffice for long… "We'll take it, Chatot."

    "Well… if you say so, Sparks…" Violet says, slightly lowering her head.

    "Excellent!" Chatot says. "By now, your Explorer's Badge has already scanned and registered the location and put a mark on your Wonder Map. I'll contact Spoink and we'll be awaiting your return!"

    "Okay, Sparks. Where are we headed?" Violet asks me.

    Drenched Bluff, Violet's POV

    Following behind Sparks, I look around me at the damp cave around us.

    Another damp cave, just like Beach Cave… probably full of Water types…

    I sigh. Just another day in the life of a Fire type…

    I somersault over an Anorith, dodging its Scratch attack, then knock it out with a Faint Attack headbutt while Sparks coats himself in electricity and sends a Shellos towards a wall with a Spark tackle.

    "Huh, I didn't know I could that…" Sparks says, impressed with his newly learned move.

    However, the Shellos in the wall behind Sparks starts to lodge itself out of the rock and rushes at Sparks with a Tackle.

    "Sparks, watch out!" I say.

    I immediately lunge at the Shellos and emit a scream at the Shellos right before it could reach Sparks, sending the Water type Pokémon back to the wall.

    "Wait… did I just learn Roar?" I say, amazed.

    "It looks like we both learned new moves," Sparks says, smiling. "Thanks for the save, by the way."

    "It's nothing, really." I say to him.

    I couldn't help but blush at that grateful smile of his… He didn't seem to mind at all, but still… I couldn't help but wonder…

    We get through the rest of the cave without much trouble, with Sparks and I doing surprisingly well, especially the former, considering that he's not completely used to being quadruped… or at least, I still think he isn't…

    We head down another staircase to end up in a room with no separate pathways or rooms.

    "It's a dead end… now what?" I ask.

    Sparks paces around the room for a bit, then picks up some sparkling object in the corner of the room.

    "This must be it, Spoink's pearl." Sparks says, putting the pearl into the Treasure Bag.

    "That's quite observant of you to find it there." I compliment him.

    "I guess you could say that some sort of instinct inside me… activated? I don't know, something that told me that this pearl was here, something like that," Sparks says, slightly shrugging. "Even I'm surprised how easy this was, so we might as well head back for whatever's next from Chatot."

    "I guess you're right," I say, agreeing to his previous statement. "Wait, why are walking back? Didn't we pick up an Escape Orb a few rooms ago?"

    "An… Escape Orb?" Sparks asks me, confused. "You mean one of those blue spheres that we found?"

    I walk up to him and take an Escape Orb out of the Treasure Bag after rummaging through it for a quick second.

    "Oh, that? That one looks exactly the same as the rest of the blue orbs." Sparks says.

    "Sparks, the other orbs in the bag are completely different orbs than this one. Can't you tell?" I ask him.

    "Well… they all look exactly the same to me… but I guess I can't argue with you, so… uh… do whatever that orb does that gets us out of here." Sparks says.

    I hold the Escape Orb with my two front paws, then slam it into the ground, causing the orb to become reduced to disintegrating shards. A light then engulfs Sparks and I as we get teleported back to the mystery dungeon's entrance.

    Several minutes later, Wigglytuff's Guild, Sparks' POV

    Luckily for us, Drenched Bluff wasn't too far from the crossroad path that led us there, so Violet and I managed to find our way back to the guild without wasting too much time. I look up at the sky to see that it's still in the middle of the afternoon.

    Looks like we weren't gone for too long…

    After going through another security measure to get into the guild, me and Violet head down a floor to see Chatot and Spoink waiting for us.

    "Ah yes, Sparks and Violet!" Chatot greets us as we come down from the ladder. "I take it that you two have managed to get the pearl back?"

    "Indeed we have." I say, putting my paw inside the bag.

    As soon as I take my the pearl out of the Treasure Bag with my paw, the Spoink hops up to me and snatches the pearl from me.

    "Oh thank you so much for your help!" Spoink says, propping the pearl on the spring on its head. "I was starting to get worn out from pumping my heart with telekinesis and not many Pokémon are willing to go through this little, so it means a lot to me!"

    Telekinesis? Bingo.

    "No problem," I say. "It was the right thing to do."

    "Wait, did you say telekinesis? On your heart?" Violet asks, suddenly surprised.

    "But that doesn't matter now!" Spoink says, suddenly handing a bag of some sort to us. "I'm extremely grateful for your help, so I've brought a reward!"

    "Wait, a reward?" Violet asks, astonished. She unties the knot on the top of the bag, allowing the both of us to get a better view of the items inside.

    "Enjoy your reward!" Spoink says, hopping up the ladder and out of the guild.

    I look closer at the contents inside the bag, with Violet gazing at its contents in awe.

    Hmm… More of those seeds and orbs that I don't recognize… But from the look on Violet's face, she seems to recognize each and every one of those seeds perfectly.

    Again, is this a Pokémon thing?

    Me and Violet then put each of the items into my Treasure Bag one by one, only for me to notice a glittering yellow substance in the bottom of the reward bag from the corner of my eye.

    "Is that… money?" I ask aloud.

    "Money?" Violet asks me, confused. "Oh wait, that's a human thing. You see, currency around here is called Poke, Sparks."

    "Well, how much of this Poke Sparks is in this reward bag?" I say jokingly.

    I can't help but smile as Violet giggles a bit at my little joke. After putting the last seed from the rewards into Treasure Bag, Violet walks back over to the bag and looks inside as her eyes widen in amazement.

    "H-How much was that pearl worth?" Violet asks.

    I back over to see exactly how much Poke is in that bag, only for me to take a step back in surprise as the glitter astounds me.

    "I guess that pearl really was worth a lot!" I say, impressed.

    "And just like that, we're rich!" Violet says, excited.

    "Yes, yes, congratulations on a good job!" Chatot says. "Ahem, I'll be taking that bag now."

    "Wait what?" Violet says, astonished.

    In a single swipe, Chatot snatches the bag away from Violet before she could get a single Poke out of it.

    "W-W-What?" Violet stutters, dumbstruck.

    "What's the big idea, Chatot?" I ask, starting to get angry.

    "Here it is!" Chatot says, handing me back a small bag while holding a much larger one in his other wing.

    I open up the small bag to see that most of the Poke that used to be in it has been taken away and only a small bit of it is left.

    "B-But why?" Violet complains, noticing the much bigger bag of Poke in Chatot's other wing.

    "You see, the guild constantly has to supply shelter, food, and all the beginner supplies for each and every Pokémon here, and as a result, the guild needs some sort of method to get actual profit," Chatot explains. "And so, most of the Poke received through reward must be given to the guild in order for us to make profit. Simple as that."

    "B-But but but-" Violet stutters, still shocked.

    "Hush! Rules are rules, so enough from you! You are dismissed!" Chatot snaps coldly.

    Slight anger and irritation starts to build up inside me, but I manage to hide my snarl as I realize something.

    "Wait, dismissed? What are we supposed to do now, Chatot? It's way too early for dinner." I say.

    "Hmm… I suppose you are right about that…" Chatot says suddenly stumped. "Well, I didn't expect you to finish this assignment this quickly, so I didn't plan anything else for you two to do…"

    "So does that mean that we have the rest of the day off?" I ask him.

    "Hmm… I have an idea," Chatot says, perking up. "Originally, I was going to let you two go around Treasure Town tomorrow to get yourselves used to being around here, but all of them are still out performing errands, so it seems that now might be a better idea to let you two go around Treasure Town today instead… Very well! That is what you two are to do! Make sure to come back here in time for dinner! Now you are dismissed!"

    I then take the Poke from the small bag Chatot gave to me and put it into a separate compartment of the Treasure Bag.

    "That settles it then. Shall we go, Violet?" I ask her.

    I look over to her to see that she's lowered her head and is still quietly muttering to herself, still dumbstruck and speechless.

    "Violet?"

    "But why?" Violet suddenly screams, startled. She then lifts her head, apparently confused. "Oh, Sparks… What happened?"

    "We have the rest of the day to ourselves, Violet." I tell her.

    "Wait, really?" Violet asks.

    "Well, we're going to go around Treasure Town but that's close enough, I guess." I say to her, correcting myself.

    "Oh… Treasure Town…" Violet says, sounding slightly disappointed.

    "Is… something wrong with that?" I ask her, starting to get worried.

    "No, no, nothing's wrong…" She replies.

    Hmm… I can clearly see that something is indeed wrong, especially after I realize that she used the same excuse I said this morning…

    But I guess I can't blame her…

    I wouldn't mind a day to ourselves, just me and Violet…

    Wait, wait, wait, what am I saying?

    I shake my thoughts away as me and Violet climb up the ladder and out of the Guild.

    Crossroads, Author's POV

    As Sparks and Violet leave through the guild's exit and out to the crossroads, they suddenly notice a certain wooden signboard that wasn't there before.

    "Since when was there a signboard here?" Sparks asks.

    "From what I know, this wasn't here last time I remember… Here, I'll read it to you," Violet says, walking up to the signboard. "Uh… 'Come treat yourself to some free drinks of your choice! Spinda's Cafe, opening soon'."

    "A cafe that offers free drinks? Neat, I'll keep that in mind." Sparks says.

    With Violet crouching behind Sparks, the two of them pass through the plaza of Treasure Town, with Violet cautiously using Sparks to hide from every Pokémon they passed.

    'Hmm… I don't think she trusts me that much just yet, so I guess I shouldn't just try to pry myself into personal business just yet…' Sparks thinks to himself, looking back at his hiding partner.

    The two then come across the Kangaskhan Storage, where Sparks finds himself storing some of the items in the Treasure Bag.

    "S-Sparks? Where are we and what are we doing right now?" Violet says, peeking out.

    "Well, I thought that the bag was starting to get a bit heavy, so I decided to deposit some items here in the Kangaskhan Storage." Sparks answers.

    "Oh, hello there sweetie!" Kangaskhan says, noticing Violet, only for the Vulpix to crouch back in hiding. "Wait, what's wrong? I'm not gonna hurt you."

    "Wait, really?" Violet asks, starting to calm down.

    Kangaskhan flashes a comforting smile at the nervous Vulpix. "I wouldn't have any reason to hurt a little one like you."

    "That's… that's good…" Violet sighs with relief, coming out of hiding.

    "Thanks, both for the storage and the kind words for my partner." Sparks says with a grateful smile.

    "You're welcome," Kangaskhan says with a motherly tone. "Your partner really does depend on you a lot, doesn't she?"

    "I guess she does, but I don't mind at all," Sparks replies. "Anyways, I think I'm done here with the storage."

    "Well, feel free to come back soon!" Kangaskhan says, sending them off.

    After a bit more strolling around, and visiting most of the shops, Sparks and Violet eventually encounter Chimecho in the plaza, levitating a box of some sort.

    "Hey Chimecho," Sparks says. "What's with the box there?"

    "Hey Sparks, hey Violet," Chimecho greets, unable to see the hiding Vulpix due to the box in front of her face. "This box here that I'm levitating has most of the food rations I've managed to get for dinner. How about you two follow me back to the guild?"

    "Well, it is starting to get late, and I feel that both me and Violet are starting to get tired of just walking around here all day…" Sparks says. "Is it okay with you, Violet?"

    "Me?" Violet questions peeking out. "Um… I guess I don't mind heading back now…"

    "Alrighty! I'm sure you two know the way by now, so let's not waste much time." Chimecho says.

    Heading back to the guild, and coming in just in time, Sparks and Violet are soon sent to bed after another quite uneventful dinner of coloured Gummis and Apples.

    "So… uh… Violet… Are you still bummed out about our underwhelming amount of prize money today?" Sparks asks, suddenly breaking the silence as he tucks himself in.

    "Well, not anymore, I guess…" Violet replies as she lays down in her bed.

    "Oh, that's good…" Sparks says. "I was starting to get worried, especially since you started getting shy while we were around Treasure Town… Would you mind telling me why you were so scared of the other Pokémon? Well, if you're okay with telling me, that is…"

    "Um…" Violet thinks about it for a moment.

    'Should I tell him about… my situation? I really, really want to tell him… I'm all alone since I'm the only one who knows about this… But I don't want to accidentally worry him too much about this or forcefully drag him into it by telling him… But I still don't know whether I'll even get a chance to tell him what kind of situation I'm in… What should I do?'

    "Um, it's nothing too major, Sparks… So no need to worry about that…" Violet lies.

    "If… If you say so, then…" Sparks says, slightly unconvinced. "So… good night, Violet…"

    "Good night, Sparks…"

    Chapter 4 - Book Cover

    The next morning, Wigglytuff's Guild, Sparks' POV

    As I lay asleep getting somewhat more used to sleeping on a straw bed, I couldn't help but think about my short conversation with Violet that previous night… I couldn't help but think that behind her answer of denial, she's hiding something…

    I don't think I can talk to her about that now… If it really is something personal, then I don't think she'll be willing to tell me if I ask her. After all, I really only did meet her two days ago, so I don't think I've reached that level of trust with her just yet…

    Wait… Why am I putting so much thought into everything that has to do with Violet? Unless…

    No, no, what am I thinking?

    With my train of thought pulling to a halt as my thoughts wander blindly, I suddenly realize something.

    If I can put so much thought into what I think of, then why haven't I been thinking about myself? I don't know anything other than my name and that I used to be a human… Is there anything I can learn about myself?

    I don't have much to go on… All I have with me is a badge and a bow… Nothing that can help me learn anything new about my past…

    "UP AND AT 'EM! IT'S MORNING!"

    Ugh… I hope I can get at least some answers soon… Until then, it'll be another day of exploration for me and Violet… I guess I can look forward to that, that's definitely something I can smile about.

    After our morning greetings, me and Violet manage to overcome the impact of Loudred's alarm fairly quickly and go through another morning briefing with the other guild members.

    "HOORAY!" Everyone in the room cheers.

    "That's it! Keep up that positive attitude!" Wigglytuff chants.

    "Okay, Pokémon! Back to work!" Chatot announces, dismissing us.

    As the crowd of guild members disperse once more to their duties, I start to notice how much of in a hurry they all are.

    Weird… I know that everyone here has duties, but I didn't expect everyone here to put that much priority into their work all at once…

    "Alright, you two! You know the drill by now!" Chatot says, motioning us to follow him.

    "What do you think Chatot is going to have us do today?" Violet says as we head towards the ladder.

    I place a paw on the ladder and manage to pull myself up a few rungs. "Well, he did say something about the other bulletin board yesterday, so maybe it's going to be something to do with that."

    Heading up to the floor above us, we follow Chatot to a bulletin board opposite to the one from yesterday, as I expected.

    "Alright, now as you can see, this board may have papers on it like the one from yesterday, but don't be mistaken, this bulletin board is completely different from the other one." Chatot says.

    Me and Violet stare at Chatot and the bulletin board in confusion.

    "Uh… Chatot… There aren't any papers on that board. There's actually nothing on the board." I tell the seemingly unaware bird Pokémon.

    Chatot then glances at the board in realization, then starts pacing, embarrassed.

    "Erm… It seems I've found myself in a predicament…" I hear Chatot mutter to himself. He then looks as if he suddenly remembered something, then turns to face us. "Ahem! Well, it appears that a small errand of my responsibility has slipped my mind, so I've decided to have this mini errand be your first assignment of the day."

    "Well… I guess I don't have a problem with that…" I respond.

    "So… what are we going to do, Chatot?" Violet asks.

    Treasure Town

    Alright, I think the shop should be somewhere around here…

    With Violet still slightly hiding behind me, we manage to get through the plaza and to the Kecleon Shop, where Chatot instructed us to pick up his… forgotten papers.

    As we approach the Kecleon Shop, I notice that there appears to be customers of some sort that have come to the shop before we have, so I decide to stand back a bit before actually heading to the shop itself.

    "Sparks? Are we at the shop yet?" Violet asks, slightly peeking out of hiding.

    "Well, we are, but they're a bit occupied with customers." I tell her.

    "Customers?" Violet says, starting to get curious.

    She slightly peeks out from behind me and we both see that the two customers are a Marill and an Azurill.

    "Here is your Apple! Thanks for stopping by!" The green Kecleon says, handing the Marill a bag of some sort.

    "Thank you, Mr. Kecleon!" The Marill says, taking the bag and leaving as Azurill follows him.

    As the two walk away from the shop, Violet comes out of hiding completely from behind me.

    "Those two seem cute…" She says, completely calmed down.

    "Oh, those two?" The purple Kecleon says, turning to face us. "Those two are brothers, I've heard that those two need an Apple to tend to their sick mother…"

    "I've also heard that they've lost some sort of special possession of theirs… quite unfortunate." The green Kecleon says.

    "That really is quite sad..." I say, starting to feel sympathetic.

    The Marill and Azurill suddenly come back running to the Kecleon, with the Marill holding an Apple while Azurill is balancing the bag from before on his head, both of them wearing worried expressions.

    "Yes, what's the matter?" The green Kecleon says.

    "We didn't buy an extra Apple… But we found an extra one in the bag you gave us." The Marill says, trying to hand the Apple back to the Kecleon.

    "No, no, no, we put that Apple in the bag for you, free of charge!" The green Kecleon explains.

    "You see, we know that you're getting that Apple for your ill mother, so consider that extra Apple a gift for you and your brother to share, straight from us!" The purple Kecleon says happily.

    "Really? Thank you again, misters Kecleon and Kecleon!" The Marill says excitedly.

    As Marill leaves while Azurill follows him, the latter trips, dropping the bag as the Apple inside it falls out and rolls to my paws.

    "S-Sorry!" The Azurill says, walking up to me and bowing his head in apology.

    "It's okay." I say to him with a reassuring smile. I then pick up the Apple and put it back into the bag it was in while Azurill props it up back on his head, with the bag secured between his ears. The Normal and Fairy type Pokémon then heads back to his brother as they both leave.

    "I really hope that things start going well for the both of them…" Violet says.

    However, before I could second to Violet's sentence, a throbbing headache suddenly comes to me, and I start to feel my paws tremble in place.

    I feel myself freeze in place as my vision goes dark and all I'm left to see is darkness.

    Darkness…

    What happened? I'm not awake, but I'm not asleep either… Where am I?

    I suddenly hear some footsteps, and some sort of energy pulsing from somewhere…

    "H-Help!"

    My view fades into white and I suddenly snap back to consciousness.

    "Sparks? Is something wrong?" Violet asks me. "You… you stopped moving for a second…"

    "I… I'm not the only one who heard that, right?" I say.

    "Heard what?" Violet asks me, confused.

    I guess I was the only one who heard that… I'm not going crazy, right?

    "Uh… Never mind…" I reply.

    Slightly recovering from my sudden… unconsciousness? I remember my original objective and walk up to the Kecleon.

    "Yes? What can we do for you?" The green Kecleon asks me.

    "Chatot sent us here for an errand… Something about papers." I tell him.

    "Ah yes! These papers!" The purple Kecleon says, dropping a large thick stack of papers on the counter, creating an audible thump.

    "That's… a lot of paper…" I say aloud.

    "How are we even going to carry these?" Violet asks me.

    "Er… I don't know…" I say.

    Crossroads

    With both the light weight of the Treasure Bag and the stack of papers on my back weighing me down, I slowly walk one trembling step after the other as Violet follows behind me on our way back to the guild.

    "Hey Sparks, Azurill and Marill are here on the crossroads." Violet tells me.

    "They are?" Because of the heavy weight of paper on my back, I've just been focused on trying not to fall down rather than focus what's in front of me.

    Looking in front of me, I can see that Violet is right about Azurill and Marill here on the crossroads, with Marill holding the bag containing both Apples. They seem to be talking to a Drowzee.

    "So you'll really help us get our item back?" Marill asks him.

    "I do believe that I can assist you in that… In fact, I might know a place where we can find that item of yours," Drowzee replies. "Here, follow me. I'll try to get a map to the place I'm talking about. You two can come."

    Drowzee then walks past us and back to Treasure Town's plaza, but with a pleased Marill and an excited Azurill following him, the literally hopping excited latter accidentally bumps into me, disrupting my balance over the papers on my back and causing most of those papers to fall over and onto the ground. Luckily, it wasn't very windy, so no papers were lost in the breeze.

    "Oh! Sorry about that… again…" Azurill says in apology.

    "No, it's okay," I say. "Uh… could one of you please help me get those papers back on my… uh… back?"

    I can hear Violet giggle behind me.

    "I've got this." Drowzee says. He then uses his psychic telekinesis to pick up every paper and put them back in their original place.

    "Thanks." I say to him.

    "No problem." Drowzee says.

    However, before I can take another step to the guild as the three leave from me and Violet's sight, a familiar headache returns while I feel my paws freeze up in place.

    Ugh… this again… why is this happening again?

    My vision goes black once more, but this time I'm greeted with a slightly blurry view of what seems to be the top of a mountain. I then start to notice two Pokémon, with the taller one backing the much shorter one into a wall.

    Wait… is that Drowzee backing Azurill into a wall?

    "You're not willing to cooperate, so you've left me no choice!" Drowzee threatens. I then see Drowzee create a Psycho Cut blade in his hand, creating the energy pulsing sound from before, causing Azurill to take another frightened step back.

    "H-Help!" I hear Azurill call out.

    I see Drowzee throw the Psycho Cut at Azurill right before my vision goes white and I snap back to reality.

    "Sparks? Sparks, say something!" A worried Violet says, trying to shake me out of unconsciousness.

    "What… what happened?" I say, almost putting a paw to my head before I remember the stack of papers on my back.

    "You… you froze up again… Is there something wrong?" Violet replies.

    So she was able to notice that I froze up… But I still can't believe what I just saw… Is Drowzee really a bad Pokémon?

    Where was that mountain top that I just saw?

    And… why did I see a flash of red right before the flash of white?

    "Er… let's just head back to the guild," I say. "Chatot must still be waiting for us, after all…"

    "Well… If you say so…" Violet replies.

    After heading back to the guild's entrance and going through another guild security check, I suddenly realize something as the gate opens in front of us.

    The ladder.

    I sigh.

    How am I going to do this?

    Wigglytuff's Guild, Author's POV

    With Chatot still alone waiting one floor below the guild's entrance still waiting for Sparks and Violet, he suddenly jumps with a start when he hears a sudden thump nearby.

    "Goodness, what was that?" Chatot says aloud.

    He turns to the source of the sound to see that a stack of papers seem to have fallen from above the ladder to the entrance, still in a perfect stack. Sparks and Violet come down from the ladder shortly after.

    "Excuse me, but do you care to tell me the purpose of… that?" Chatot says, motioning to the stack of papers that just fell from above.

    "Well, both me and Violet can't carry this stack of papers down a ladder, so I decided to just push the stack down the hole," Sparks says nonchalantly. "Both of our quadruped states prevented us from actually holding that stack of papers at all, so I didn't really have a choice."

    Chatot appears slightly irritated for a second, but shortly shakes it off and returns to his sophisticated demeanor and picks up the stack of papers.

    "So, as for your assignment for today, it will indeed have to do with these papers." Chatot says, pinning a paper onto the board.

    As Chatot pins several more papers onto the board, Sparks and Violet start to notice that the papers of faces of several Pokémon on them.

    "'Wanted'," Sparks reads off of one of the papers. "Wait, are we going to deal with criminals today?"

    "Indeed you are!" Chatot answers, hanging up several more papers. "Though, most of these criminals are far too dangerous for first timers like you, so I'll pick something once I finish hanging these up."

    As Sparks and Violet continue waiting for Chatot to finish hanging up the paper, the former immediately notices a familiar face on one of the papers.

    'Is that…'

    Sparks immediately plucks that paper off the board and looks at the face of Drowzee on the paper, confirming several of his suspicions.

    "Hmm? That one? Oh dear, I'm afraid that one is too hard for newbies," Chatot says, noticing the paper Sparks has plucked off. "How about I pick an easier one for you, hmm?"

    "No, no, we need to do this one." Sparks says, starting to get serious.

    "Do which one?" Violet asks. She then looks at the paper in Sparks' paw. "O-Oh no… Is that really-"

    "It's him. It has to be him, I know it." Sparks says.

    "Ahem," Chatot utters. "I've already told you two that this criminal is too dangerous for your level."

    "We've seen this guy not too long ago," Sparks replies. "He might be causing trouble, we don't have time to waste!"

    Before Chatot could object, Sparks stuffs the paper into his Treasure Bag and heads up the ladder and out of the guild.

    "Sparks, wait!" Violet immediately follows after her partner.

    Back on the crossroads, Sparks and Violet manage to find Marill, who seems to be worried about something.

    "Marill! Where's Drowzee and Azurill?" Sparks immediately asks him.

    "Oh, um… Well, Drowzee took us to some mountain, but the both of them seem to have disappeared while I wasn't looking," Marill answers. "And then the hostile Pokémon there overwhelmed me and I got kicked out before I knew it."

    "Oh no…" Violet mutters. "Maybe Drowzee really is a criminal like the poster said…"

    "Wait… my brother is being held hostage by a criminal?" Marill asks, unaware.

    "It seems that he is," Sparks answers. "Now Marill, do you know the mountain that you went to is?"

    "Um… I think Drowzee said it was called Mt. Bristle…" Marill responds.

    "Mt. Bristle? How are we going to get there?" Violet asks.

    'Voice command recognized.' Sparks' and Violet's badges suddenly beep out loud. 'Location detected: Mt. Bristle. Location is now marked on map.'

    "Well… I guess that's one way to get somewhere," Sparks says, taking out the map to see that Mt. Bristle's location is indeed marked there. "Okay, Marill! You don't have to worry! We'll help get Azurill back!"

    As Sparks and Violet leave through the path to Mt. Bristle, Marill picks up the poster of Drowzee that fell out from Sparks' Treasure Bag.

    "I sure hope my brother is going to be alright…" Marill mutters. He then quickly drops his worried expression. "But I shouldn't worry too much. I know my brother can handle this, even on his own."

    Mt. Bristle

    "This is the place, right?" Violet asks as the both of them stand before the mystery dungeon's entrance as they gaze upon the mountain in front of them.

    "It has to be," Sparks replies. "Let's go."

    Knowing they don't have much time to waste, Sparks and Violet manage to charge through the floors of Geodude, Spinarak, and other hostile Pokémon without much trouble and climb up another staircase.

    "Do you think we'll get up there to the top in time?" Violet suddenly asks.

    "We've come this far, of course we'll make it." Sparks replies.

    Meanwhile, at the top of the mountain, a familiar scene unfolds.

    "It's simple, so why won't you accept?" Drowzee says, backing a frightened Azurill into a wall. "Just squirm through the hole in the wall behind you and bring back the treasure inside."

    "I… I don't want to help you!" Azurill says, starting to get defensive. "You're a bad guy!"

    "Heh… You're not willing to cooperate, so you've left me no choice!" Drowzee threatens. He then creates a Psycho Cut in his hand, the blade's presence emitting the sound of energy.

    Suddenly, an Ember burst is shot from behind Drowzee and burns his hand, disintegrating the Psycho Cut blade.

    Drowzee turns around agitated to see Sparks and Violet behind him.

    "We know who you are, Drowzee!" Sparks says, glaring the Psychic type criminal down.

    "R-Release Azurill!" Violet says, trembling.

    "Heh! So you think that you two can take me down?" Drowzee scoffs. He then brandishes two more Psycho Cut blades in his hands. "I can tell from the looks of you two that you're newbies! Retreat while you still have the chance!"

    "Don't count on it!" Sparks says, determined as he and Violet get into battle stance.

    Drowzee starts off by firing a beam of blue Confusion beam from the tips of his blades at the two, but Sparks immediately steps forward and manages to deflect the beams with a shield of Charge electricity.

    "Well, that's new…" Sparks says, slightly impressed with his new move.

    While Drowzee is busy trying to block the deflected Confusion beams with his blades. Sparks manages to absorb the electricity he just generated and rushes at Drowzee with a powered up Spark tackle, sending the Psychic type reeling for a second. Sparks then tries to rush at Drowzee with a follow up Quick Attack, but Drowzee manages to send the Shinx backward with a slash from a Psycho Cut blade. Fortunately for the protagonist's side, Violet was right behind Sparks before he got slashed away to retaliate with a roundhouse Faint Attack with her energy infused tails.

    Drowzee then rushes forward at the Vulpix ready to slash at her, Sparks suddenly jumps forward with a Charge shield and blocks the Psycho Cut, and the blades' contact with the electrified shield causes them to disintegrate. Agitated and irritated, Drowzee then uses Pound to shoulder charge Sparks and Violet backward.

    "Enough!" Drowzee yells, irritated. He then creates another Psycho Cut blade in his hand. "Time to finish this!"

    Sparks and Violet get ready for whatever Drowzee might do next, and Drowzee hurls his Psycho Cut.

    But this Psycho Cut blade wasn't aimed at Sparks or Violet. Drowzee threw the blade behind him so that it's aimed at Azurill. The blade's contact with the rocky wall near the unfortunate Normal Fairy type kicks up a cloud of dust.

    "No!" Sparks and Violet call out.

    "Heh, not so tough now, are you?!" Drowzee says, a smirk appearing on his face as his brandishes two more blades.

    As Drowzee starts stepping threateningly towards the now frightened Team Fate, a Pokémon suddenly falls from the sky and lands hard on Drowzee, the Bounce attack causing the unaware Drowzee to collapse.

    "What?" Sparks says, surprised.

    "Is that… Azurill?" Violet asks.

    Sure enough, it was Azurill who dodged the Psycho Cut blow and knocked out his kidnapper with a Bounce attack.

    "Yeah! Take that!" Azurill says, weakly kicking the unconscious Psychic type.

    "A-Azurill?" Violet asks, surprised as well. "B-But how?"

    Azurill then turns to face the two with a confident smile.

    "I'm not weak! I'm stronger than you think!" Azurill boasts.

    "Well, your personality when we first met did seem to make you look vulnerable…" Sparks mentions.

    "I like to catch others off guard before showing how strong I really am!" Azurill says. "Wait, if you came here to save me, then didn't my brother tell you how capable I am on my own?"

    "Your brother?" Sparks responds. "Wait, he should still be waiting for us. We should head back now."

    "Definitely." Violet says.

    "What are we waiting for?" Azurill says, impatient.

    Violet's POV

    Sparks, Azurill, and I slowly walk back through the mystery dungeon of Mt. Bristle.

    "Are you sure that we don't have a faster way of getting out of here?" Azurill whines.

    "Violet double checked the bag; she said that we don't have any Escape Orbs." Sparks answers.

    "Oh yeah, and who was that other Pokémon back there who suddenly appeared? After I defeated that meanie back there?" Azurill asks.

    "I think you're referring to Officer Magnezone," I respond. "I know that he's in charge of apprehending criminals around Treasure Town's region. His appearance on the top of Mt. Bristle really was quite convenient."

    Another Geodude falls from the sky and blocks our way, only to be easily defeated by Azurill's Bubblebeam.

    "Yeah! Defeated another one! Who's next?" Azurill boasts confidently.

    Sparks and I both sigh.

    "We shouldn't be too far from the entrance now." Sparks says, glancing at the map.

    Thank Arceus for that…

    Wigglytuff's Guild

    After reuniting Azurill with his brother, Sparks and I head back into the guild where we find Chatot waiting for us.

    "Ah yes, Team Fate!" Chatot greets us, amused. "Congratulations on your success today!"

    "Wait… you're not going to scold us for suddenly running off?" I ask him, nervous.

    "What reason would I have to scold you? You did an amazing job today!" Chatot praises. "Officer Magnezone informed me of your success in apprehending Drowzee! It's quite impressive for new recruits like you two to defeat such a lethal criminal!"

    "Er… defeat?" Sparks questions. "Chatot, we let our clients go without giving us a reward, and furthermore, we weren't the only ones alone up there."

    "Oh, I see!" Chatot says, clapping his wings in amusement. "You two wanted to be alone up there, didn't you?"

    The thought immediately causes a slight blush to appear on my face. I'm also pretty sure that I saw Sparks blush as well… Or was it just me…

    "No, no, not alone like that…" Sparks replies.

    "Oh, right, right!" Chatot says, sounding even more amused. "Your client was there with you to fight off Drowzee as well. Azurill, was it? Well, nevertheless, I can let the reward thing pass, so good job on that! You are dismissed for dinner!"

    As Sparks and I tuck ourselves into bed, there were several things that I couldn't get off my mind.

    I hope that Azurill and Marill's mother gets better soon… Maybe one day they can get that precious belonging they lost back…

    What was with Sparks' sudden freezing up today? Should I… should I question it?

    "Good night, Violet…" I hear Sparks say to me, snapping out of my thoughts.

    Well… I don't think now's the time to ask… Maybe tomorrow…

    "Good night, Sparks…"

    Beach, ?'s POV

    Another uneventful day for me, as usual. It was just another day of me heading out and waiting for nothing while I search for food rations.

    I sigh.

    Is anything eventful going to happen to me anytime soon? I did everything that I was supposed to, so why isn't anything exciting happening to me?

    The last time I became involved in something seemingly important was when I spied on that Shinx and Vulpix from my shelter here. After all, a human turned Pokémon isn't something you hear everyday. But after that, nobody hasn't been coming to the beach lately, and it gets lonely when I don't have anyone to spy on…

    I'm not creepy. Not at all.

    Hoping for something eventful to happen, I begin to start gazing up at the sky and at the moon…

    I'm not weird. Not at all.

    I continue gazing up at the moon for several more minutes…

    ...Nothing. Should've known.

    Oh well… it's about time I hit the hay, so I can only hope that I get lucky tomorrow…

    Chapter 5 - When The Alarms Chime

    Next morning, Wigglytuff's Guild, Sparks' POV

    What was with that me freezing up yesterday? How is it on the day I just so happen to hope I can learn about myself, something does happen but it happens in such a way that I still don't understand how it connects to anything about myself?...

    Ugh… I told myself yesterday that I didn't want to make things weirder than they needed to be...

    "UP AND AT 'EM! IT'S MORNING!"

    Another day, another alarm, another exchange of morning greetings, and another daily briefing from Chatot and Wigglytuff.

    "Okay, Pokémon! You are all dismissed!" Chatot says, dismissing us all as everyone rushes to their posts, as usual.

    Me and Violet stay in our usual briefing positions, waiting for Chatot to tell us what to do for the day.

    "Ah yes, Team Fate," Chatot says, coming up to us. "The Guildmaster and I haven't quite come up with an assignment for the both of you to do, so I've decided to take it upon myself to inform you two to continue doing jobs from the bulletin boards."

    "Bulletin board jobs, understood." I say.

    "Glad to see we're on the same page!" Chatot says. "Dismissed!"

    As me and Violet make our way up the ladder to the floor above, a few of the guild members almost bump into us in their rush to work.

    "HEY! OUTTA THE WAY!" Loudred yells, just as I manage to step out of the way in time.

    "Talk about rude…" Violet remarks.

    "Er, please excuse Loudred…" Chimecho says, coming up to us. "We've all just been starting to work extra hard, and the pressure starts to get to you after a while… But now I'm changing the topic, I've actually been meaning to talk to you two today."

    "Talk to us? About what?" Violet asks.

    "Today is your third day as an exploration team, right?" Chimecho questions.

    "Our… third day? Now that I think about it, I guess it might be our third day here." I answer.

    "Now, because of your third day as an exploration team, your team has gained access to the assembly roster, which is my job," Chimecho explains. "Because of this, other Pokémon are now able to join Team Fate!"

    "Thanks for letting us now, I'll keep that in mind." I reply.

    "Well, I hope that you'll take advantage of this, I'll have to head back to tend to my duties. You should continue working hard too if you want to make it." Chimecho says.

    "Wait, 'make it?'" I ask. "Make it to what?"

    "Oh wait, you don't know?" Chimecho questions. "Hmm… Of course! You two weren't here yet when that announcement was made."

    "What announcement?" Violet asks.

    "You see, before you two were recruited, Chatot and Wigglytuff announced that there's going to be an expedition in a few days," Chimecho explains. "And you might've noticed that most of us have been working… unusually hard. This is because only a select few of guild members will be chosen to join, so that's why we're all working hard."

    "Wait, did you say expedition?" Violet says, starting to perk up. "As in, exploring unknown territory and possibly discovering treasure?"

    "That's exactly right!" Chimecho answers.

    "Well what are we waiting for, Sparks?" Violet says excitedly, turning to me. "Come on, we have a job to do!"

    Violet immediately dashes off in the direction of the bulletin board, clearly excited, only to fall to the floor when she accidentally bumps into the side of a Pokémon. As I rush over to Violet's side to help her up, the big Pokémon turns to face us to reveal itself to be a Skuntank, an angry smirk crossing its face.

    "Watch where you're going, will ya?!" Skuntank says rudely.

    Two bitterly familiar Pokémon then come up from behind Skuntank, causing me to grimace.

    "Heh heh heh!" Zubat cackles. "Look who we have here!"

    "Whoa ho ho!" Koffing laughs. "What are wimps like you doing here?"

    "Quite unusual for you to call us the wimps when you're the ones who lost in our battle." I reply, taking the two levitating Poison types aback.

    "Watch your words!" Koffing says. "This time, we got our boss with us!"

    "Your… your boss?" Violet asks nervously.

    "Are these two chumps the ones you told me about before?" Skuntank asks Zubat and Koffing.

    "They're the ones, boss!" Zubat answers.

    The sudden realization that we've made a much more powerful enemy causes both me and Violet to take a frightened step back as Skuntank takes a threatening step forward.

    As I see Skuntank's paw start to rise in a threatening gesture, I immediately jump in front of Violet to be sent reeling with an effortless swipe of Skuntank's paw.

    "Chaw haw haw!" Skuntank cackles. "Pathetic!"

    Violet rushes to my side and helps me back up.

    "Heh heh heh! Next time, think twice before even trying to mess with Team Skull!" Zubat says.

    "Whoa ho ho! We'll let you two go for now, but next time you see us, you know you're in trouble!" Koffing says.

    And with that, the three of them head up the ladder and out of the guild, leaving us sour.

    "What are crooks like those three doing here?" I ask.

    "I believe they refer to themselves as Team Skull…" Chimecho explains. "They joined here shortly after you two did… We don't like them either, but it's a good thing we don't see them here since they're usually out on the field."

    "I really hope we don't come across them again…" I say.

    "Wait, are you two going to be doing a job from the Job Bulletin Board?" Chimecho suddenly asks us.

    "Well… We didn't feel like taking on another possibly dangerous criminal, so I guess I'm planning to have us take a Job Bulletin Board job."

    "Er… I agree with Sparks." Violet says.

    Chimecho then levitates over to the Job Bulletin Board and after ruffling through several of them, hands a paper to me.

    "Just a suggestion, but how about you do this one?" Chimecho asks us.

    "A battle challenge?" I read off the paper. "Well… it is an unusual one, but I guess I'm okay with taking it. Is this job okay with you, Violet?"

    "Uh… Well, to be honest, I wouldn't really mind a battle." Violet replies.

    "I guess that settles it." I say.

    "So… Sparks, where are we going, anyway?"

    Outside Waterfall Cave, Author's POV

    Sparks and Violet stand on the rocky pathway gazing at the mighty waterfall in front of them, its presence emitting an intimidating aura.

    The waterfall, a grand structure of water, the very obstacle blocking Sparks and Violet from their entrance into the cave, but the two don't know that yet. The mighty pillar of water, other than its intimidating presence, rains heavy droplets of water on those who stand too close. However, this drizzle isn't the only danger for those willing to step too close to the waterfall, for this might pillar of water rains down with an unfathomable might, and it is even speculated that the waterfall's intensity is what created the large gap in the rocky pathway Sparks and Violet are standing on at this moment. So if one is foolish enough to dare get close enough to this mighty beast of a water pillar, the downward force of the water will pull the unfortunate victim down and down into the dark abyss where they will be meet their ultimate end…

    tl; dr, don't touch the waterfall, you'll die.

    "Are you sure this is the place?" Violet asks, looking around.

    "Well… the badge marked this location on the map, so this is supposed to be the place, but I don't see anything that seems to be of interest… other than this waterfall, at least…" Sparks says, looking up from the map.

    Seeing that there is no other object of significance in the area and starting to become caught by Violet's contagious curiosity, Sparks steps forward and prods the waterfall with his paw. Fortunately for the Shinx, he only managed to touch the waterfall with his paw, so the impact of the waterfall's touch sends the Shinx reeling back on the rocky pathway.

    "Sparks! Are you alright?" Violet asks worriedly, rushing to his side and helping him up.

    As the Vulpix helps her partner back up, the Shinx leans from one side to the other as he puts a paw to his head.

    "I… I think I'm alright…" Sparks says.

    Suddenly, another familiar headache comes to the Shinx once again.

    'Not this again… okay, what am I going to see this time?' Sparks wonders.

    Sparks' vision blacks out once more as he freezes up in place once more. He is greeted by a view of the very pathway he and Violet are on, waterfall and all.

    'Wait… who is that silhouette there?'

    A silhouette of a Pokémon familiar to Sparks appears on the rocky pathway, but the Shinx is too busy trying to focus on what's going on in this slightly blurry vision to focus on the species in it.

    The silhouette takes a step back, then takes a somewhat clumsy running start and jumps straight into the waterfall. However, instead of the figure being overwhelmed by the force of the waterfall, it jumps right through without much trouble.

    Sparks' view then shifts over to the other side of the waterfall, where he sees the figure land safely on the other side, and after shaking off the pain from the recoil from jumping through, the figure finds what seems to be the entrance into the mystery dungeon. And then Sparks' view fades into white as he snaps back into reality, a barrage of thoughts crossing his mind.

    "Sparks! Sparks!" A worried Violet tries to shake Sparks back to consciousness. "Sparks, what happened?"

    A series of thoughts suddenly rush through the Shinx's mind, and the Shinx finally realizes something.

    "Violet, I know how to get to where we need to go." Sparks says.

    "Wait, you do?" Violet asks.

    "I… I think…" Sparks replies. "I have a plan. Stay here until I tell you to, and when I tell you, make sure you get a running start before you jump."

    "W-Wait… jump?" Violet says, surprised.

    Sparks then a few steps backward, then starts to run forward, only to suddenly halt his running and walks right back over to Violet.

    "Uh… Violet, which one of the seeds in the bag is a Blast Seed?" Sparks asks.

    "It's uh…" Violet rummages through the bag for a second before pulling out a seed and giving it to Sparks. "It's this one."

    "Thanks." Sparks says.

    Other side of the waterfall, Sparks' POV

    I manage to pass through the waterfall without much trouble, and I stumble down a rocky slope and to the mystery dungeon's entrance, but after shaking off the minor recoil from jumping through, I head back up the slope to see the other side of the waterfall that I just jumped through.

    I really hope Violet's still waiting out there waiting for me to tell her to jump…

    I'm planning on finding a way to get Violet through the waterfall without having to get her hurt too much. I know that her Fire typing isn't going to help her well when she has the waterfall, so I needed some sort of way to create an opening so that she can jump through safely.

    I know that there are several questions that might stir up from this plan of mine. How am I going to be able to use an attack strong enough to create an opening for Violet? How am I going to create an opening if none of my attacks involve shooting actual electricity? Even if I somehow manage to create an opening with an attack strong enough, won't the powerful force of my attack push Violet away from the waterfall when she jumps through, causing her to be pulled down from the waterfall's gravitational pull where she'll end up obliterated by the waterfall's relentless force, ending her life then and there all because of my not-so-thought-out plan?

    I shudder at the thought.

    Then again, the booming sound of the waterfall in front of me isn't helping me think at all.

    I… I really hope this works…

    Luckily, my paw was still clutching the thing that I needed to patch this plan back together when I jumped through the waterfall. The Blast Seed.

    First off, I know this seed's fire is strong enough to create an opening in the waterfall, especially how violent the flames were when I first used them, so that's that problem solved. Next off, I know that the flames of this seed won't push Violet away, because if there's anything I know about Vulpix, it's that their Flash Fire ability lets them absorb fire attacks rather than be affected by them, so that's that problem solved as well.

    Wait, when did I suddenly start thinking so hard about this? And how do I suddenly know so much about Vulpix? Does this… does this reflect who I used to be?

    I shake my thoughts away and decide to stop wasting time and finally put this plan of mine into action.

    There's no point trying to stall this out with my thoughts, I better start… Please work…

    I put the Blast Seed in my mouth and then yell at the top of my lungs to Violet, hoping that the booming waterfall doesn't drown out my voice.

    "Now, Violet! Jump!"

    I immediately sink my fangs into the Blast Seed as its flames erupt from inside it. I release the flames at once, with the flames being intense enough to create the opening I needed. I continue spewing the flames, not letting this opening close, when I suddenly realize something.

    Wait, what if Violet doesn't jump through the right spot in the waterfa-

    My question was suddenly answered when I see Violet jump through my flames just as the Blast Seed in my mouth burns itself into nothing and my flames die out.

    Violet then stumbles right into me in her jump, sending the both of us tumbling down the slope. Before I know it, we both end up in a heap near the mystery dungeon's entrance, but we end up finding ourselves staring each other in the eyes, unable to turn away.

    Uh… This is awkward…

    I suddenly recall that one moment on the beach, where we found ourselves in a similar situation…There's just something about staring into those beautiful eyes of hers…

    Fragments of unanswered questions and mixed feelings start snapping back together, and that's when I finally realize.

    Am I…

    "S-Sparks?" Violet suddenly says, getting up.

    Reality snaps back to me as I get up as well and try to hide the sudden blush on my face.

    "Er… yes, Violet? Are you… are you hurt or anything?" I ask her.

    "Well no, not at all… That plan of yours really worked," She replies, smiling gratefully at me. "So… uh… are we going into the mystery dungeon or what?"

    I snap back from my staring trance once more and start shaking my thoughts away.

    "Yeah, we should be going now." I say.

    Waterfall Cave, Violet's POV

    I dodge a Psyduck's Water Gun attack and retaliate with a Quick Attack, sending it reeling before it rushes at me with a Fury Swipes. I instinctively hold my paw up to block it, then fuse my paws with Faint Attack energy and knock out with a pounce.

    Sparks then pushes a Poliwag away with a heavy Tackle headbutt, the steps to one side and dodges its Bubblebeam, then finishes it off with a Quick Attack.

    "How're you holding up against these Water types?" Sparks asks me.

    "I'm not doing so bad… I'm actually surprised I'm not injured at all from these Water types," I reply. "But… I guess that Psyduck's Fury Swipes might have done a little number on me…"

    Sparks then tosses me an Oran Berry, which I gratefully catch.

    "Wait, who exactly are we looking for again?" I ask between bites.

    Sparks then pulls out a paper from his Treasure Bag and reads it for a second.

    "According to this paper, our client is a Chingling, and apparently this Chingling is looking for a battle." Sparks says.

    "Where do you think we're going to find this Chingling?" I ask, finishing my Oran Berry.

    "With the little mystery dungeon logic I know, we'll probably have to head to the bottom floor of the dungeon," Sparks replies. "That, or we'll probably stumble across him or her one way or another…"

    As we continue heading through the cave of Water types, I start to realize how well Sparks is doing against these Water types… I know he's an Electric type, but I realize that he's doing surprisingly well since he used to be a…

    ...a human…

    I sigh as a slight feeling of disappointment enters my head.

    Why am I suddenly feeling disappointed remembering that Sparks used to be a human? I… I shouldn't have any problems about that, right?

    Why am I suddenly having these weird… thoughts… and feelings about Sparks?... I… I know that he's the only actual friend I have… but he still doesn't know what kind of situation I'm in… I should still be on the run if I don't want to be found…

    But I shouldn't be worrying too much about my situation, right? Sparks is with me, I have the safety of the guild's shelter too, and not many Pokémon around Treasure Town actually know who I really am or where I came from… so that's much less to worry about…

    But despite how hard I try to not let my thoughts worry me, I still couldn't help it…

    No… even if Sparks is there with me… I know that even he wouldn't stand a chance… I don't think I can do much at all either when the time comes…

    I sigh again as a slight feeling of despair hangs over me.

    All I can do is hope that things will go well when the time comes that she eventually finds me… I hope that time won't be anytime soon…

    I guess I should stop worrying for now… I… have a battle to get to…

    After a bit more traversing, we head down another staircase to find ourselves in a large empty room.

    "Empty room, bingo." Sparks says.

    "Well, I certainly didn't expect someone to accept my challenge," A voice says from the shadows on the other end of the room, the voice slightly squeaky but still clearly male. "But hey, I certainly didn't expect two fellow young mons here either! Maybe things are actually going to go well for me!"

    "Are you the one who put up that battle request?" Sparks calls out.

    "Indeed I am!" The voice then comes out from the shadows to reveal himself to be a Chingling. "Nice to see that you fellow young mons from the beach have managed to come meet me of all Pokémon!"

    "Wait… 'from the beach'?" Sparks asks.

    "Never mind about that! You came here for a battle, didn't you?" Chingling asks. "Well, come at me with all you've got! But first…"

    The Chingling then emits an ear splitting scream, causing Sparks and I to close our eyes and wince.

    "What… what was that?" I ask once the scream dies down.

    "It's even worse that Loudred…" Sparks says. "What was that for?"

    "Oh, you'll see soon enough." Chingling says with a smile.

    Sparks and I try to stand our ground as the it suddenly starts to shake, then I start to tremble in fright as countless Poliwag and Psyduck fall from the ceiling and start to surround us.

    "We're surrounded!" Sparks exclaims, taking a step back.

    "I-It's a Monster House!" I yell in panic.

    "My, aren't you a bright one?" Chingling remarks.

    Sparks and I soon find ourselves backed into a wall while the Water types step toward us, with us too busy trying to dodge their attacks to be able to charge up an attack of our own.

    "W-What do we do now?!" I exclaim.

    "I… I don't know…" Spark replies.

    Oh no… Uh… What do we do?

    Panic starting to induce me, I immediately rush over to Sparks' Treasure Bag and grab the closest item in there. Holding what I instantly recognize to be a Petrify Orb in my paws, I hurl the orb towards the ground and it shatters, sending an electric impulse across the room and petrifying every one of our enemies in the room.

    "Agh, a Petrify Orb in a Monster House," The Chingling says, freezing up with paralysis. "Well, I should've expected this, seeing how I said to 'come at me with all you've got'..."

    "Wow Violet, that was a good move on your part," Sparks remarks. "Even I don't think I would've been able to use that Orb, so I'm impressed."

    "Wait, really?" I ask.

    "I am!" Sparks replies. A confident smile then appears on his face. "Okay Violet, now that we've got the upper hand, er… paw, let's finish off the other Pokémon while they're vulnerable!"

    "Right!" I say, confidence filling me as well.

    Left and right, Sparks and I manage to finish off Poliwag by Poliwag and Psyduck by Psyduck without them presenting any form of retaliation due to their petrified states.

    "So… Uh… Is it my turn to get attacked yet?" Chingling asks.

    "Give us a second!" Sparks replies, managing to knock three Poliwag out at once with a continuous Spark tackle.

    I somersault over a crowd of Water types and let loose an Ember shower, trying to deal damage to as much possible, then take all of them out with a Quick Attack combo from Sparks and I before the Water types knew what hit them.

    "...Is that the last of them?" I ask.

    Sparks looks around the room for a second. "It appears so," He replies. "Okay, Chingling! Your turn!"

    "Finally! About time!" The Chingling says, breaking from his petrification and levitating high into the air. "And I have a name too, you know! I'm Chime the Chingling, and I'm ready to take you on!"

    "Wow, he almosts sounds like a Gym Leader…" I hear Sparks mutter.

    "A gym what?" I ask him, completely confused.

    "Er, what? Did I something?" Sparks asks, as if he's forgotten. "Never mind, Violet. Get ready to battle!"

    Sparks and I get into battle stance as Chime starts readying an attack. Chime then fires a Confusion beam at us, but Sparks steps forward and blocks it with a Charge shield. Sparks then absorbs his shield, steps back to take a running start, then jumps into the air to tackle Chime with a Spark tackle, only for the peak of his jump to not end up close to Chime. Luckily, I was dashing behind Sparks just in case something went off, and I use Sparks as a stepping stone to jump closer to the floating Chingling, then I fire a burst of Ember flames almost point blank and following it up with a midair Faint Attack headbutt.

    "Okay, okay, my turn!" Chime says. He then grabs me with one of his striped ropes with a Wrap attack, then, still holding onto me, he attempts to slam me against the rock wall. Luckily, I react quick enough to face my paws against the wall and bounce back, only for Chime to sends me back at the same wall again with even more force. This time, I focus the power of my Faint Attack on the tips of my paws, granting me the strength to push back against the rock wall, and I manage to bounce back against the wall, this time the added force sending me soaring right Chime, where I let loose a point blank Roar attack, sending Chime flying towards a wall and releasing his rope's grip on me.

    Sparks' POV

    What can I do, what can I do…

    I pace around and continue thinking to myself, but make sure to think quick about this.

    Chime has managed to grab a hold of Violet, and is then trying to slam her against the wall… what can I do? I can't jump high enough to reach Chime, none of my attacks involve shooting actual electricity, and I don't even recognize a single seed from my Treasure Bag, so I can't even use a Blast Seed to attack Chim-

    My train of thought suddenly reels to a halt when I hear a crashing sound. I look around the room to see that Violet has managed to launch Chime into the rock wall and has landed safely on her feet.

    "Impressive, Violet! I didn't know you were capable of battling like that on your own!" I compliment her.

    "Uh… Even I don't think I was capable of doing that on my own… Maybe it was just in me, I guess?" Violet replies, shrugging. "Oh, and uh… sorry for using you as a footstool…"

    "That? No, it's fine, didn't hurt at all, actually," I respond. "You're surprisingly light."

    Chime then manages to dislodge himself from the rock wall and comes levitating to us.

    "Ow…" He groans.

    "Oh… S-Sorry…" Violet apologizes.

    "No, no, no need to apologize, I'm not that hurt," Chime replies. "I was the one looking for a battle, after all."

    "Here, take this. Even after that battle, you must still need a healing of some sort." I say, tossing an Oran Berry to him.

    "Hey, thanks. For both the battle and the berry." Chime responds.

    "No problem," I say. "But if you don't mind me asking, why is it that you wanted a battle in the first place?"

    "Uh… Well, to be honest, I never really thought like I was cut out for this whole exploration team thing that a certain guild nearby accepts members for," Chime explains. "So I've been spending my time in mystery dungeons, trying to hone up my battle skills, and maybe be able to show how strong I am in an actual battle."

    Almost sounds like a certain someone I know…

    "Well… I also don't have any rewards I can give you two…" Chime continues. "How about I join your exploration team?"

    "Join our team?" I question. "Er… Is this okay with you, Violet?"

    "Well, I guess it's better to have one more Pokémon traveling with us to watch our backs." She answers.

    "Yes! Watch your backs alongside you, I can do that!" Chime replies enthusiastically.

    "Guess it's settled then. You can join us." I say.

    "Finally! I won't let you down, I promise!" Chime says happily.

    "I know you won't," I say. "So… how do I recruit you?"

    'Voice command detected.' My badge suddenly says. 'Scanning area… Scan complete. The only Pokémon in the room willing to be recruited is of the species Chingling. Do you wish to recruit this Pokémon?'

    "Uh… yes?" I say aloud.

    'Affirmative. Signal will be sent to Wigglytuff's Guild shortly to send the new recruit his badge via Pelipper Mail shortly.'

    "Well, you heard what the badge said, Chime. Looks like it won't be long until you get your badge," I say. "It's about time we leave now… Violet, did we happen to pick up an Escape Orb on our way here?"

    "Last time I checked, no… Looks like we're going back the long way…" She replies.

    "No, no. Please, allow me," Chime says. "I'm already really grateful that you've actually accepted me into your team, so allow me to repay you through teleport."

    "Wait, teleport? You can do that?" I ask him.

    "I guess even I found it unusual for me to have this ability, but I've learned that I actually use it quite well. I even live in a place near Treasure Town too," Chime answers. "Now, off we go!"

    Crossroads, Chime's POV

    I concentrate my psychic energy on Sparks, Violet, and me, then concentrate on the location of the crossroads, and before I know it, we're back.

    As soon as the flash of light generated by my teleportation dies down, the first thing the three of us do is look at the sky.

    Ah, yes, the wonderful black of the night sky. It's actually my favorite time of day, and there's several reasons for that.

    "We've been gone for a while…" Sparks says. "Well, looks like we'll be heading off for the night. See you tomorrow, Chime."

    "See you." Violet repeats.

    "See you!" I say as they walk off towards the guild's entrance.

    As soon as the two are out of earshot and sight, I turn towards the direction of the beach, and I slowly levitate over to it. I look around for a second to make sure the coast is clear, then head towards a nearby hidden bush. I peek through its leaves to see that the clearing right past it is empty. I sigh in relief.

    Good. Still secluded, all to myself.

    This bush of mine is my shelter, and as a shelter, it does serve its purpose. The bush's exterior is hidden enough from other Pokémon, the mini clearing inside is flat and soft enough to serve as a sleeping spot, and there's a little opening from the bush's interior, letting the moonlight pour into my shelter, just where I want it to be. This little opening also lets me see some… personal events that happen on the beach, and I've seen many different events as a result.

    No, I don't think it's called spying on them… Okay, maybe it is.

    But one other thing I really like about this rooftop opening is that it lets me get a clear view of the moon, where I gaze at it sometimes. Something about it just tells me that something will happen if I stare at it long enough… Well, if it's already happened once before, then I'm pretty sure I don't remember…

    Maybe… maybe this time… I'll only stare for a few minutes…

    I look up and start gazing up at the moon, hoping that something might eventually happen, but my drowsiness starts catching up to me. However, I manage to push my sleepiness aside, and after staring at the moon long enough, something finally happens to me.

    I freeze up in place, my vision fades to black, and enter a vision-like state.

    About time! I knew that ever since the day I practiced my teleportation skills that the moon was important somehow! Okay, okay, what's going to happen, what's going to happen?

    I try to look hard or at least listen hard for something in this darkness, and I eventually hear a voice calling out to me, in a guiding fashion.

    'Listen. You are unique, and you have finally managed to awaken the potential of the skills you do not realize you have. There are others who share a similar power, but only a little similar, as their powers' true potential is unique to their own, as are yours. As for tomorrow, it is another day. But let your instincts guide you, and try not to let you or your cohorts get deceived.'

    I suddenly snap back out of my vision-like state and back into my shelter.

    "Uh… okay, okay, vision! Let's see… what do I remember from it… I think I remember most of it…" I mutter to myself. "Um… I think I saw some sort of purple aura near the last sentences from the voice… But what else can I analyze from the rest of the message?"

    I yawn. "Never mind… Too sleepy…"

    Wigglytuff's Guild, Violet's POV

    As Sparks and I tuck ourselves into our beds, I start thinking about our daily expedition. We got a new recruit, went through a Monster House, and we survived jumping through the waterfall…

    I suddenly realize something.

    "Sparks? Are you still awake?" I say.

    "I still am," He answers. "Is there something you want to talk about?"

    "Uh… Well, back at the waterfall, you told me that you had a plan of some sort, the plan to get me through," I start. "But how did you know that jumping through the waterfall was the right decision in the first place?"

    "Um… It's… It's a bit much to explain… but I guess I had a feeling of some sort, a vision," He replies. "I remember seeing a vision of a Pokémon jumping through that waterfall and stumbling safely towards the mystery dungeon's entrance, I guess I had the same feeling back when I froze up the day we defeated Drowzee."

    I guess that explains the freezing up, he was experiencing visions… Wait, visions? Why does this sound familiar to me? Unless…

    Oh no… These visions can't be related to her, right?

    "Thanks for letting me know, Sparks. I'll… I'll keep that in mind," I say, ending further discussion of the topic. "Good night, Sparks."

    "Good night, Violet."

    Please… please not her…

    Chapter Six - Six-Tailed Apple of My Eye

    ?, Author's POV

    "Chaw haw haw! Those guild suckers! Can't even tell when they're food ration is being pillaged! I'm still stuffed!"

    "Heh heh heh! Hey boss, how about we do something about those two from before?"

    "Whoa ho ho! It's about time we got back at them, boss!"

    "Chaw haw haw! Okay, then! I'm in the mood to cause some trouble! Tell you what. Tomorrow, you two fill me in on what they're doing, then report back to me! Those two need to pay for trying to mess with us in the first place!"

    "You got it, boss!"

    Yeah… there's no point in hiding it. By now, we all already know who these three are.

    The next morning, Wigglytuff's Guild, Violet's POV

    "Okay, Pokémon! Back to work!" Chatot announces. "You are dismissed!"

    As everyone leaves to their respective duties, Chatot approaches me and Violet as usual.

    "So what's our assignment for the day?" Sparks asks him.

    "Ah yes, your assignment," Chatot says. "Now, you two have been doing exceptionally well for your first three days here, so the Guildmaster and I have decide to give you a much more severe mission today."

    "Severe?" I ask, slightly afraid.

    "Hmm? No, no, not severe as in dangerous," Chatot responds. "You see, our guild's food ration mysteriously decreased in quantity last night, probably because someone wasn't paying proper attention during sentry security duty!" Chatot hisses the last part of his sentence at a nearby Loudred.

    "HEY! I told you THIS ISN'T MY FAULT!" Loudred yells back.

    Chatot clears his throat then continues speaking. "Now, I've informed the other guild members about this situation beforehand, and I've told them to assist in trying to make up for the missing food rations, and we've reserved the most important section of the ration collection to you two," Chatot continues. "That's where your assignment comes in. You two are to collect Perfect Apples in Apple Woods."

    "Perfect Apples? Aren't those Apples the rare kind that isn't found in any other mystery dungeon?" I ask.

    "Indeed they are!" Chatot answers. "However, there is a forest not too far from the guild where we gather our Guildmaster's favorite Perfect Apples. The Perfect Apples are found in a tree at the last room of the dungeon, so I hope that you'll remember to get enough Perfect Apples, because our Guildmaster's craving for Perfect Apples is a very serious issue!"

    I suddenly hear a familiar beeping coming from our badges, probably registering Apple Woods' location on Sparks' Wonder Map.

    After Chatot dismisses us, Sparks and I head out to the crossroads where we find a sleepy looking Chime levitating through the crossroads.

    "Good morning, Chime." Sparks greets him. However, Chime almost sleep floats pasts us. Sparks then nudges the sleep floating Chingling, suddenly startling him awake.

    "W-What happened? How did I end up here?" Chime says, jerking awake.

    "You… uh… sleep floated here…" I explain to him. "We were heading out, and Sparks and I were just about to come looking for you, so we thought you came here to look for us…"

    "Ugh… I got so sleepy all of a sudden… I think I remember something… weird… happening last night…" Chime says.

    "Well… do you think you can still come exploring?" Sparks asks.

    Chime then instantly perks up. "Of course I am! I even got my Explorer's Badge and everything!" Chime says, pulling out an Explorer's Badge of his own and setting it on his head.

    "Alright, to Apple Woods it is!" Sparks says, pulling out the map from the bag.

    Apple Woods

    As the three of us head walk through the forest, I look up and around me to take in the forest atmosphere, the trees serving as the walls around us making it feel less of a mystery dungeon and more like a serene forest. Even after the few minutes we've been here, we haven't come across a single hostile Pokémon yet.

    "Can't we just take one of the Apples from the trees?" Sparks suddenly asks. "Those kinda look like the Apples that I've seen Wigglytuff with back in the dining room."

    "What? These Apples don't like anything like Perfect Apples!" Chime points out. "Oh, you silly, silly, Shinx."

    To be honest, Perfect Apples did look completely different than regular Apples, but knowing Sparks, maybe his former human state has something to do with him not being able to tell the differences between seeds, orbs, and apples…

    H-Human… Wait, why am I suddenly saddened by that…

    That feeling from before, that feeling when we were staring into each other's eyes… It's coming back to me…

    Why am I always starting to feel saddened whenever my thoughts bring up the fact that Sparks is a human?

    Sparks… He's still my friend… So why am I still sad about this? Human or Pokémon, I'll still like him the same way…

    But… if he used to be human… I don't know if he'll feel about me the same way I feel about him… Oh, Sparks…

    Trying to swim my way out of my ocean of mixed emotions, I take a deep breath, inhaling the fresh forest air.

    "Ah… It's been awhile since I've been to a forest as peaceful as this…" I say aloud.

    "That's nice to know," Sparks says, smiling at me. "Though, my memories are still a big unfinished jigsaw puzzle, so I wouldn't remember how it feels to be in a forest… but I have to admit it feels nice…"

    "Oh, you don't know what you're missing out on," Chime says, advancing slightly ahead. "I've been to many a forest, and even a personal favorite at that, so I've experienced peaceful forest after peaceful forest, but one thing you should still remember is that a mystery dungeon is still a mystery dungeon, and the hostile Grass, Bug, and other typed Pokémon can ambush you when you least expect it."

    "Wow, I didn't expect you of all Pokémon to make exploring this forest mystery dungeon sound like going on a tour." Sparks remarks.

    "Well, expect more of that from me, because there's a lot more to me than first glance tells you!" Chime replies, winking. "But whether that was a compliment or an insult, I can't tell…"

    I suddenly realize something. The sudden atmosphere change from the usual cave full of Water types, the Grass and Bug types Chime mentioned…

    "Wait… does that mean that here…" I say. "With the forest atmosphere and the Grass and Bug type hostile Pokémon…"

    "That's right, Violet," Sparks says, realizing the situation before I did. "You've got type advantage here."

    Excitement starts to build up inside me as I realize that I finally don't have to worry about type disadvantage of any sort.

    My excitement takes over me and I run off, ready to burn anything that comes my way.

    Sparks' POV

    I watch as Violet excitedly runs off and ahead of us.

    "And off she goes…" I say, continuing to walk forward.

    "She really is excited to uh… take on all those hostile Pokémon ahead," Chime remarks. "Judging by the blows she dealt to me yesterday, I might start to feel sorry for those Pokémon… But what's done is done, so whatever."

    "Ahem. So, Sparks, how bout you tell me more about you and Violet?" Chime suddenly says as we both continue walking.

    "What?" I question.

    "Oh, you know, it wouldn't hurt to learn a bit more about who my new employers are, right?" Chime asks. He then enlarges his eyes, starting to make me feel uneasy. "I CARE, SO SPEAK UP." When he biggened his eyes, he also deepened his voice in such a way that it sounds like the booming echo of a large hollow bell, making him seem even more intimidating.

    "Um… okay then," I reply nervously. "Well, you see, I don't really know that much about myself, I think that I might have had amnesia recently, so I've just been sticking with Violet. I helped her join the guild, and we sorta grew as friends."

    I hope I've explained enough… I still feel like there's some other specific things I've left out…

    "Hmm, 'sorta'? Interesting…" Chime responds, calming down. "So that clears up my 'are you related' theory… Okay, now onto the good stuff!" Chime then starts rubbing his hands together like some sort of evil maniac, then starts inching towards me uncomfortably, almost making me take a step back.

    'Good stuff'? Wait, please don't tell me he's planning to talk about 'that'...

    "Now, I've noticed that you two get along surprisingly well, and there's several things I've noticed about you two, but first, I have a question for you," Chime says. His eyes then enlarge once more. "SO TELL ME THE TRUTH, SPARKS. DO YOU LIKE HER?"

    In addition to the nervousness that Chime's intimidating state has given me, I start to sweat.

    Oh no, this is what he meant by 'good stuff'...

    "What? No, no, I told you, we grew to be friends, why would you think that?" I reply.

    "NOW LET'S SEE…" Chime continues. "YOUR CONSTANT SUPPORT FOR HER IS QUITE EXTENSIVE FOR SOMEONE YOU'VE MET JUST A FEW DAYS AGO ON THE BEACH. DON'T THINK I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. I COULD BE WATCHING YOU WHEN YOU DON'T EVEN THINK I'M THERE."

    Wait, how does he know about the beach thing?

    My thoughts reminisce over my time with Violet… On the beach, in our beds, exploring those mystery dungeons… That time we've spent together…

    I… I guess I have to admit… Maybe I am starting to have feelings for her…

    No wait, this Chingling is still waiting for my answer… But how does he know about those events on the beach?! What is with this Chingling?!

    Chime's POV

    Heh… I'm starting to get to his mind. Perfect.

    Being the Psychic type I am, I've become interested in the trickery of mind manipulation. Other than being extremely fun to mess with the minds of others without use of actual psychic abilities, I also might get a little secret out of it… I guess that most of what I've said were mere bluffs, so I'm satisfied to see I'm doing well.

    I've already messed with Sparks this much, so there's no point trying to halt my interrogation now. Not until he spills the beans… My shelter spying sessions have provided me with one last piece of information, and this should be the nail in the coffin.

    "FROM WHAT I KNOW," I continue. "THE GUILD HAS STARTED TO RUN OUT OF BEDROOMS, SO A NEW RULE HAS BEEN STATED THAT EXPLORATION TEAMS MUST HAVE THEIR LEADERS SLEEP IN THE SAME ROOM. HOWEVER, I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY PROTEST FROM YOU TO THIS RULE, SO DOES THAT MEAN THAT YOU ARE PERFECTLY FINE AND MIGHT EVEN PLEASURE THE IDEA OF YOU AND VIOLET SLEEPING IN THE SAME RO-"

    "OKAY, OKAY, I admit it!" Sparks exclaims. I can see his face go red with embarrassment. "I… I admit it… I like Violet…"

    "Ha ha, I knew it!" I say excitedly, shrinking my eyes and voice pitch back to normal. "Nothing gets past this Chingling!"

    "Okay, okay, you've figured me out," Sparks says, feeling ashamed. "You're not going to tell anyone about this, right?"

    "Me? No, of course not, you can trust me," I reply. "I'm a trustworthy Pokémon, I can keep a secret."

    "Thanks…" Sparks says, relieved.

    "Don't worry about it, buddy," I tell him. "I know you're a good guy, but while I can't say for sure, maybe Violet likes you too."

    "Yeah, sure," Sparks replies, unconvinced. "Other than that, promise me that you won't try any of this on Violet, okay? Well, if you haven't already…"

    "Don't worry, I haven't done any sort of thing to her, and I promise I won't." I say honestly.

    "And why did you have to make go through all that, anyway?" Sparks asks me, getting suspicious. "Why did you just suddenly make me go through that interrogation thing just for me to reveal my feelings?"

    "I told you, there's more to me than you think," I reply. "And besides, that was all for my pure satisfaction."

    Sparks sighs. "You're sadistic, you know that, right?"

    "I know I am… But uh… no hard feelings, right? I'm not getting fired or anything because of this, right?"

    "Well… I've already said you can join this team, and I guess you might be useful…" Sparks considers. "And besides, I don't think that there is any form of firing when it comes to exploration teams…"

    "So I'm staying?"

    "You're staying."

    Hooray, I didn't get fired!

    Deciding to pick up the pace, the two of us start to find ourselves in turning hallways and heading up staircases.

    "Looks like we've stumbled into the mystery dungeon section of this forest…" I point out.

    "I sure hope Violet's still all right…" Sparks says.

    "I'm sure she's still fine," I reply. "After all, you did say that she had type advantage here."

    "I guess you're right…"

    Not too long after, we start seeing the unconscious burned bodies of several Pokémon.

    "Maybe she got a bit too excited about this type advantage thing…" I hear Sparks say, jumping over an unconscious Exeggutor.

    Eventually we meet back up with Violet shortly after witnessing the first victims of her fire.

    "Oh hey, Sparks, Chime. Uh… Sorry for running off all of a sudden…" She says, slightly lowering her head.

    "No, no, it's fine." Spars says.

    "Other than that, I don't think we're too far from the last room of the dungeon anyway." I point out.

    Author's POV

    The three then come across a dead end room with a large clearing, this room's only point of interest being the gargantuan tree at the back of the room, its branches lined with the Perfect Apples they're looking for.

    "Here we are, this tree has the Perfect Apples that we need." Chime says.

    "But how are we going to get them?" Violet asks.

    "How about we help you?" A Skuntank says, coming out from behind the tree. A Zubat and a Koffing come from behind the tree as well, snickering to themselves.

    "You three? What are you crooks doing here?" Sparks asks, glaring angrily at them. Chime recognizes the two floating Poison types and starts getting suspicious as well.

    "Oh, we're not here to cause trouble," Skuntank says, feigning innocence. "We just thought that we might help you get these Apples down. I'll just headbutt the tree to try to have some Apples fall down, and my two cohorts will fly up and deliver the Apples to you. No harm, see?"

    The three still remain unconvinced.

    "Yeah no, we don't need any help." Chime suddenly says.

    The snickers disappear from the Poison types.

    "What?!" Skuntank questions.

    Turns out, ever since his psychic instincts gave him suspicion over the Poison types, Chime has been using both his telekinetic psychic abilities and teleportation powers to bring the Perfect Apples from the tree to Sparks and Violet.

    "We've got all we need, so we don't need to waste our time with you three." Sparks says, stuffing another Perfect Apple into his Treasure Bag.

    Skuntank growls, then tries to pounce on the three while their backs are turned to leave, but only pounces on air as Chime teleports him, Sparks, and Violet out of the dungeon in an instant.

    "Argh!" Skuntank growls, turning to face Zubat and Koffing. "You never told me about the Chingling!"

    "W-We didn't know, boss!" Koffing says.

    "What are we going to do now?" Zubat asks.

    "Heh, we're not done here just yet!" Skuntank says, regaining confidence. "This time, it's personal!"

    Wigglytuff's Guild

    With the sun starting to set in the sky, Sparks and Violet part ways with Chime once more and report to Chatot with a Treasure Bag full of Perfect Apples.

    "My goodness!" Chatot says, amazed as Sparks dumps all of the Perfect Apples from his Treasure Bag in front of Chatot and Wigglytuff. "These Perfect Apples are more than enough of what we collect on a daily basis! Good work, you two!"

    "Hooray! Perfect Apple, Perfect Apple!" Wigglytuff says childishly, running over to the large pile of Perfect Apples and picking up several of them. "Thank you friends! Okay Chatot, tell them the news, tell them the news!"

    "The… news?" Chatot questions. "Er… What news?"

    Sparks and Violet wait patiently as Chatot and Wigglytuff continue bickering amongst themselves, curious of what's to come next.

    "You know, Chatot!" Wigglytuff says, nudging him. "The news about the expedition!"

    After a bit more bickering, Chatot then turns to face Sparks and Violet.

    "Ahem," Chatot clears his throat. "Now, Team Fate. Due to your amazing performance recently and your success today, the Guildmaster has informed me that he would be pleased if you two are to be informed about the date of when the announcement of expedition members will take place."

    Violet suddenly perks up, excited now that the topic of the expedition has been brought up.

    "Now, keep in mind that there will only be a limited amount of members chosen, so there is no guarantee that you two will be chosen. But regardless, the Guildmaster has informed me that he will have finished his list on chosen guild members and the announcement will take place…. Er… tomorrow."

    "Wait, a list? You're saying that it takes more than a few days to write a list?" Sparks asks.

    "Well… the Guildmaster is quite indecisive," Chatot replies. "You are now both dismissed for dinner."

    Dining Room, Sparks' POV

    Since we've arrived from Apple Woods later than the other guild members have come back from their daily duties and errands, me and Violet are left alone to ourselves in the dining room.

    "So uh… How's your food, Violet?" I ask, putting the last Yellow Gummi on my plate in my mouth.

    Violet pokes at the one Red Gummi on her plate, then sighs.

    "Hey, is something wrong?" I ask, starting to get worried. "Do you wanna talk about it?"

    "Maybe… maybe not now…" She replies. "I'll… I'll tell you later…"

    At least she's being honest with me this time…

    "Well, are you going to finish your food? I'm not leaving until you finish." I say.

    "Okay, fine…" Violet then picks up the last of her Red Gummis and eats it.

    After a walk from our the dining room to the hallway and leading back to our room which felt like forever due to the silence that was present, I lay the Treasure Bag down near one wall and remove my bow as Violet lays down in her bed.

    "Wait, you don't wear your bow when you sleep?" Violet suddenly asks, breaking the silence.

    "It's an accessory, I don't wear it when I sleep," I respond. "But, I guess I can see why you would wear your scarf in bed… almost makes it look like a makeshift blanket."

    Though I don't really see the need for extra warmth considering she's a Fire type… and wouldn't the bulges from the Relic Fragment and Explorer's Badge cause even a little bit of discomfort?

    "So Violet, do you want to talk about the thing that you were sulking on about back at dinner?" I ask her.

    Remembering our previous talk that day we went around Treasure Town the first time, I'll just hope that I can get some information from that… Though I don't think it's going to have to do with that this time around…

    Violet responds with nothing but silence.

    "You're not going to tell me?" I say. "Well, how about I take a guess, instead? Would that be better?"

    "Uh… Okay." She responds.

    Okay, time to put that analytical thinking from before into action… Hmm… She was excited about the expedition until she suddenly started sulking from something…

    "Okay, I think I've got it," I say. "Does this have anything to do with Chatot saying that we're not guaranteed to be picked for the expedition tomorrow?"

    "...Yes." Violet replies.

    "Violet, you don't have to worry about that," I try to reassure her. "Chatot did say that we've been doing excellently lately."

    "I… I know… But there's still something I'm worrying about…" Violet replies. "I… I don't think I can talk about this…"

    Hmm… What can I say in this situation?

    "I know that you tend to worry, but I'm with you, and I'll always be with you, so there's no need," I tell her wholeheartedly. "Knowing you, I thought you would've at least stayed excited about this… After all, this expedition is leading us to unfamiliar land, which could mean new discoveries and all that."

    "Wait... you remember?" Violet suddenly asks me. "You remember when I told you about my interests back on that day we met?"

    That day we met… I could never forget that day…

    Shaking the recurring thought of her gaze away, I continue speaking.

    "Of course I'd remember," I tell her. "After all, I care about you, Violet. You're my closest friend, and I want you to know that…"

    "I… I feel better now… Thank you." Violet says.

    "That's good. Let's get some sleep." I say.

    The next day, Author's POV

    The day has come. All the guild members, including Team Skull on one side of the room, wait as a crowd, with only Sparks and Violet being aware of that this day is the day of the announcement.

    "Ahem! Okay, Pokémon!" Chatot starts. "While I would usually dismiss you at this point, there is something that you all should know."

    "Surprise! Today is expedition day!" Wigglytuff announces.

    Commotion and gossip begin to come from the crowd of Pokémon.

    "Oh my gosh! I hope I get picked!" Sunflora exclaims.

    "I know I'll get picked for SURE!" Loudred scoffs confidently.

    "Meh, I couldn't care less." Croagunk says.

    "Everyone, everyone! Settle down!" Chatot says, flapping his wings. The room then instantly falls silent, and Chatot then pulls out a list. "Now everyone, this list here was written by the Guildmaster and contains the names of all the chosen Pokémon for the expedition. Everyone make sure to stay quiet, because I will read it now."

    As everyone does as Chatot is told, the bird Pokémon eyes the paper, reading word by word, and then notices something off.

    "Er…This surely can't be…" Chatot mutters to himself. He then withdraws and whispers something to Wigglytuff.

    "Hm? Chatot, I'm sure there's nothing wrong with that paper. I wrote it, after all!" Wigglytuff replies to Chatot's whispering. The Normal Flying type just continues whispering. "What? Oh, so what if it's that many? Surely there isn't any problem with that, right?"

    "Uh… Guildmaster?" Chimecho suddenly speaks up. "Would you mind explaining to us the reason why Chatot is still whispering to you?"

    "Oh, that! You see, silly little Chatot here just doesn't understand," Wigglytuff replies, pushing Chatot away from him. "After all, the more, the merrier!"

    "'The more, the merrier'?" Sparks questions.

    "I'll… I'll do the explaining," Chatot says, heading back to the front. "You see, when the Guildmaster wrote his list, all he wrote… was this."

    Chatot then turns the paper so that it faces everyone else in the room. As they eye the paper, they see that the only words written on the paper were 'Everyone's coming! Hooray!' written in a somewhat scribbly handwriting with a drawing of Wigglytuff's smiley face on the top corner of the paper.

    "Wait… does that mean-" Sparks starts.

    "Yup! Everyone's coming along for the expedition!" Wigglytuff says happily. "So now that everyone's coming, we can all have fun on this expedition! See, no harm, right Chatot?"

    "I will not stand for this! Guildmaster, while your argument is very convincing, with all of us not here, who's going to watch over the guild in our absence? We need a trustworthy figure to watch over this guild, I should have you know!"

    'Trustworthy…?' Sparks thinks to himself.

    "I know a Pokémon," Chimecho suddenly speaks up again. "He isn't an official guild member, but he's a recruit for an exploration team, and I know that while he might not seem like much at first glance, but he's trustworthy. Isn't that right, Sparks and Violet?"

    With the attention turned to them, Violet seemed completely confused but uncomfortable from the sudden attention, but it took a second for Sparks to catch on to who Chimecho was talking about.

    'Oh, that's right!'

    "I do know someone trustworthy. His name is Chime, and he's a Chingling." I say to Chatot.

    "Hmm… Okay, that settles it!" Chatot says. "Now, here's the plan. The Guildmaster and I leave first and set up camp in a place that has already been marked on all your Wonder Maps. All of you are to head outside to prepare supplies for the long trip, and afterwards, immediately head out and follow your maps to the location specified. Remember, this expedition might take several days, so be sure to prepare enough! Team Fate, as for you, you two are to head out to Treasure Town as well and to inform this Chime fellow of his responsibility for the next few days. Now, you are all dismissed!"

    Everyone then leaves the guild in a hurry to get to Treasure Town, with Sparks and Violet heading up the ladder last due to the former's lack of quadruped skill compared to everyone else's.

    Treasure Town

    "Okay, okay, I managed to wake up early, so I'm ready for whatever place Sparks and Violet are going to go to!" Chime says to himself as he waits. He then notices the two walking up to him. "Well, look who's on time. Good morning, you two."

    "Good morning, Chime," Sparks says. "Listen to me. Me and Violet are going to be heading out on a guild expedition for a few days, so your job for those few days is to watch over the guild while we're gone."

    "Wait, that guild?" Chime asks.

    "Yes, that's Wigglytuff's Guild," Sparks replies. "Now, me and Violet are going to prepare our supplies and items, so while we're gone, we can trust you with the guild, right?"

    "Well, I've already told you, haven't I? Don't worry, I won't let you down!" Chime says.

    "Thanks, Chime." Sparks and Violet say.

    The two then briefly run right past him, then back past him again as they dash to put of Treasure Town and to the crossroads.

    "Wow, he's already running away with her," Chime says. "They grow up so fast."

    Craggy Coast, Sparks' POV

    Violet follows behind me as we traverse yet another damp cave, this time making through it at a quick pace since we're both used to being in this atmosphere by now.

    I move the map I'm holding out of the way as a Wingull attempts to hit me with a Water Gun, leaving my face wet. I literally shake off the water then Quick Attack the Wingull away. Violet emerges from behind me and finishes off the Wingull with a Quick Attack of her own.

    "This place really doesn't hold back on the Water types…" Violet says. "The map didn't get wet, did it? How much farther do we have to go?"

    I take a quick glance at the map once again. "The map says that we're not too far from this mystery dungeon's exit, so once we find it, we'll end up on a mountain top not too far from our next destination."

    With not much more trouble, me and Violet head up several more staircases and find ourselves in the mountain top the map mentioned before.

    "This day really went by fast…" Violet says, looking up at the sky, which is slowly starting to darken from its evening orange. "Is it okay if we just call it a day and just sleep for the night here?"

    "Call it a day? Here?" I question.

    Well… I guess I did see on the map that Chatot's camp isn't too far from where we are now… It couldn't hurt to get a night's rest before continuing, right?

    And besides… I… I wouldn't just want to pass up this opportunity to sleep with Violet…

    "Well… okay then. I guess it would be a good idea to sleep here." I reply.

    After I lay down the firewood that I've gathered from nearby, Violet finishes fixing up two makeshift straw beds. I remove my bow and bag, then lay down in my bed as Violet lays down in hers and lights up the firewood.

    We both find ourselves lying down on our stomachs, staring at the starry sky above us.

    "It's quite a nice feeling, being out here in the open…" I say.

    "I know, I understand that feeling too… It makes me wonder of what's to come the next day…" Violet says.

    "Kinda like the sky," I continue. "It just goes on and stretches across the planet, lined with the sparkling stars… Like a vast landscape with treasures waiting to be found…"

    "I… I can see it…" Violet replies.

    "Now I'm starting to get excited for the day tomorrow… the possibilities of what we'll find are limitless…" I say, amazed by the quantity of stars in the sky.

    "You said it…" Violet says, the dark blue of the sky reflecting off her eyes.

    Hesitantly, I slowly inch my bed closer towards hers.

    "And the best part is…" Hesitantly again, I wrap a paw around Violet, then pull her closer to me, my face starting to heat up as I feel her fur brush up against mine. "We'll do it together, just the two of us…"

    "Thank you, Sparks… for always being with me back then and now… Good night."

    "Good night, Violet."

    With the slight warmth of Violet's fur warming up both my body and my heart, I find myself being lulled to a peaceful sleep.

    Chapter 7 - Good Fog, Bad Fog

    The next morning, top of Mt. Horn, Violet's POV

    I open my eyes to be greeted by the sunlight. Looking up at the sky, I see that the sun isn't too far up the slightly dark bluish sky. I get up and stretch my legs to see that Sparks has gotten up before me and has already fixed his bed and discarded the firewood.

    "Good morning, Violet," Sparks greets me with a smile. "How was your first night without a Loudred alarm?"

    "Good morning, Sparks," I greet him, wiping my drowsy eyes with a paw. I then remember the embrace that happened just before I fell asleep, causing me to blush slightly. "It… it was nice…"

    I really did enjoy it… I guess I really did need that… That was… very sweet of him…

    "That's good," He replies, putting on his bow and Treasure Bag. "Anyways, I decided that we might as well wake up early since we have yet to reach the camp Chatot marked on our map."

    "Oh… Right! He should still be waiting for us, shouldn't he?" I ask, immediately jerking out of my sleepiness.

    "He must be…" Sparks answers, pulling out the map and taking a quick look at it. "The camp shouldn't be that far from here. We should leave while it's still early."

    "R-Right!" I say.

    Down the slope of Mt. Horn

    As soon as we go through the cave mouth on Mt. Horn's top, we immediately head out another cave mouth and find ourselves running down a cave slope, fearing that

    "Uh… How far are we from the camp now?" I ask, slightly panting from the run I broke into.

    "We… we shouldn't be too far now…" Sparks says, almost tripping from suddenly pulling out the map. "At least, that's what the map says…"

    I look ahead to see that we're going to end up going through a slightly dense layer of fog.

    Sparks quickly stuffs the map back into the Treasure Bag as I notice that the rocky mountain slope has started to become less steep. Eventually, we reach the bottom of the mountain slope, enter the area of the fog, and start stepping on grassy land.

    "Is… is this the place?" I ask Sparks.

    "It should be… Let's try looking around." He replies.

    Slowly, Sparks and I tread across the lightly grassed area and through the light layer of fog. While Sparks and I did walk cautiously through the area, the area wasn't too foggy, so we were eventually able to notice several sorts of domed felt tents…

    "You see those tents too, right?" Sparks asks me.

    "I do," I reply. "Do you think we've reached the camp now?"

    Sparks continues looking around, then says, "I guess we are."

    Then, as if on cue, we find Chatot ahead shortly after, who then comes up to us.

    "Ah yes, Team Fate," Chatot says expectantly. "Your arrival here was to be expected yesterday. Care to explain your alibi?"

    Sparks opens his mouth to say something, but I decide to speak up for him instead.

    "It got late while we were heading to camp, so we decided to rest up for the night."

    "But, we did get up early just to make up for it." Sparks continues.

    "Well… I guess you didn't miss much, so perhaps I might let that pass…" Chatot says. "However, everyone else has already left to look for some sort of treasure that the Guildmaster and I have heard about, including the Guildmaster himself, so you two should hurry up! Now go, go!"

    Flapping his wings dismissively, Sparks and I leave Chatot and continue walking through the light fog, and I start to notice that the grass beneath us has started to disperse, making me realize that we'll be walking on a path through this fog. Then, just before we follow the path into the area out of the camp, a little red glow catches my attention. Instinctively, I walk towards it.

    "Violet! Where are you going?" Sparks calls out, following me.

    I eventually find the source of the red glow; a tiny red stone lying on the ground. I excitedly pick up the stone in my paw, and notice that it emits some sort of warmth.

    "Look, Sparks!" I tell him. "I found something! It's even red and warm too, almost like I was meant to find it!"

    "Wow, I'm impressed!" Sparks says proudly.

    "I know, right?" I continue. "This stone might be related to the treasure, or might even be part of something bigger!"

    Slightly calming down, I stuff the little red stone into my Zinc Band scarf, where I rest it right next to my Relic Fragment.

    "Anyways, we should keep heading forward," Sparks tells me. "Chatot wouldn't want to see us dawdling here, would he?"

    "Oh, right, right…" I say.

    Foggy Forest, Sparks' POV

    Still holding the map in front of me as Violet follows behind, we both walk blindly forward on the pathway.

    This goes on for several more long minutes.

    "Um… Are you sure we're going the right way?" Violet suddenly asks me. "I don't think we're supposed to keep walking forward for this long… What does the map say?"

    I take one more good look at the map, squinting through the fog at the brownish paper material. Tracking down the location of hard to miss Wigglytuff tent of the guild to the northeast direction we took, I see that the location that we're in as well as every area past it is covered in fog, but I also see the little green drawings poking out of the top of the fog, presumably trees.

    Guess Chatot wasn't kidding when he said that we'll be exploring unknown territory…

    "The map doesn't say anything, there's nothing but fog," I explain. "I do think we might be in a forest, but the map doesn't tell us a single thing about what direction to go…"

    "Are… are we lost?" Violet asks, starting to sound afraid.

    Then, as if on cue, we start walking into a deeper area of the fog, completely bling me of anything around me.

    "We're not lost… I'm sure we'll find a lead somewhere…" I say reassuringly. I look around, but I don't see Violet anywhere. "Violet? Are you there?"

    I look behind me to see a faint small red glow floating towards me, and then I realize that the glow is coming from the stone Violet picked up earlier as she comes into view.

    "I don't like the bad vibes this fog is giving me…" She says, trembling.

    "Don't worry, I'm sure we'll find someway to get out of this fog sooner or later…" I try to reassure her.

    Looking back at my slightly trembling partner and trying to think of a way to comfort her in this area of fogginess, I suddenly get an idea when I glance at her scarf, the stone she found maybe an hour ago still tucked in there and emitting its faint red glow.

    I then decide to try something. Something with electricity. I concentrate, trying to charge up my energy like I normally would for a Charge shield or a Spark attack, but this time I hold myself back a little, so that when I release the concentrated energy, it's released as electrical energy rather than electricity itself…

    Eventually, I charge up enough concentrated held back energy and release it, causing it to flow through my body and then be released through the end of my tail. I look behind me to see that the star shaped tip of my tail has started to emit a somewhat bright but strong and apparently perpetual glow as a result, clearing up most of the area of the fog around me, letting me get a better view of Violet as well as the pathway and wall of trees around us.

    I wag my tail around, admiring my makeshift flashlight.

    "Is this better?" I ask Violet as I start to notice her calm down.

    "Much better." She replies, walking back up to my side.

    As we continue walking forward, now with a better field of view thanks to my tail, we keep following the pathway we've been walking on to find end up at a fork in the road, a tree splitting the pathway to two other identical pathways. I then recognize this forked path.

    "Now this is where we went wrong." I say with realization.

    "Went wrong? What do you mean?" Violet asks, confused.

    "You see, I remember us walking through a certain fork in the road when the fog wasn't this dense," I explain. "Perhaps the reason we've been walking directionless for so long was because we've being going in circles."

    "Well… that does seem like a possible explanation…" Violet responds.

    I look at the splitting pathways in front of me. "Now begs the question… which path is the path that doesn't lead us in a circle?"

    I look at one of the paths, then at the other, and I realize that there is no difference between the two, so I couldn't tell for sure which path is the right one.

    Violet then walks back up to my side and points her nose up in the air, then starts sniffing the humid air, to my confusion.

    "I think we should go this way." Violet suddenly says, pointing a paw towards the path to the right.

    "That path? How can you tell?" I ask her. "Both of these paths seem to just lead into fog."

    "This path doesn't lead into fog," She replies. "It's actually steam. I can tell."

    "Steam?"

    Now that I think about it, I guess being a Fire type might get you determine steam from fog… or is that just me?

    "Okay Violet," I say. "If that's the way you want to go, then lead the way! That treasure isn't going to find itself, after all!"

    With the last part of my sentence suddenly perking Violet up, she grabs my paw and excitedly drags me off towards the direction of the steam.

    Luckily, this time I'm already used to my quadruped state, so no tripping to the ground for me like that time on the beach.

    As usual, I can't help but smile at Violet's enthusiasm.

    Some time later, Author's POV

    With his tail light making it easier to see around the area, Sparks continues getting dragged away by an excited Violet through the light layer of steam. However, they soon stumble across some sort of statue lodged at a tilted angle into the ground.

    "There's a… a statue here." Sparks points out, slightly brightening his tail light.

    "Do you think it might have some significance?" Violet asks, her curiosity perking up.

    "I think it might," Sparks answers. "After all, we've been presumably walking in circles for quite a while, and then we suddenly come across a statue…"

    "Do you think it might be linked to the treasure we're looking for somehow?" Violet insists.

    "It might be so," Sparks responds. "Let's try looking around it for a second."

    As the two look around taking a closer look at the brownish stone statue, Vioparks (yes, that is my canon ship name for them and also their in-game team name, and that's what I will be using when referring to the both of them, so shut up) then identify that the statue of the Pokémon standing atop the stone pedestal lodged into the ground is a Groudon, and there seems to be some sort of ancient language on the pedestal.

    "Do you think you can read it, Violet?" Sparks asks.

    Violet stares at the carved out stones on the stone pedestal the Groudon statue is stuck standing on, but none of the carved letters ring a bell to her.

    "I can't recognize it, it's too ancient." Violet says to Sparks, who's busy investigating the other side of the statue.

    Slowly walking around the statue, Sparks finds another section of carved out words, but doesn't recognize it either. Sparks then lays a paw across the carved stone letters, letting his paw feel the slightly dusty stone material.

    'Guess this thing really is ancient…' Sparks thinks. 'Though I have to admit, it really is in quite good condition for being a statue with ancient language…'

    As Sparks withdraws his paw, he suddenly feels his paws freeze in place, and a familiar headache comes back to him as his vision cuts to black.

    'Okay…' Sparks thinks, mentally sighing to himself. 'What will this be about this time?'

    This time, Sparks' view doesn't fade into any blurry view of a scene, but remains dark with faint voices heard in the background.

    "I presume that this is the place where I put the stone, correct?" Sparks hears a voice say.

    'That voice… I have no idea who that voice is from, but why does that sound familiar?'

    Sparks continues trying to dig through his thoughts, trying to find the source of what is making him have this familiar feeling, but ends up with nothing.

    He suddenly hears what sounds like a sudden flash, then hears the familiar voice again.

    "Yes, it seems to have worked!" The voice says. "Putting the red stone in Groudon's heart has allowed us to proceed! Your analytical thinking has proved to be useful once again, partner!"

    'Wait… red stone? Groudon's heart? … Analytical thinking? Partner?'

    Before Sparks could think about it any more, he snaps out of his vision where he sees a worried Violet waving a paw in front of his face.

    "Sparks? Are you alright?" She asks him.

    "Did… did something happen?" Sparks asks.

    "Well… your tail light suddenly went out, and when I came over to check up on you, and I saw that you froze up again…" Violet explains.

    "My… tail went out? Oh, sorry about that…" Sparks says, turning the light on his tail back on.

    "Did you… did you see… uh… another vision?" Violet asks.

    Sparks thinks about it for a second, then says, "I did… And I think I know what to do now."

    "Wait, you do?" Violet asks, perking up.

    Sparks takes one more good look at the statue, and then notices that there is a hole where Groudon's chest is, just as he was implied from his previous vision.

    "Violet, I'll need you to put that stone you found before into the hole here." Sparks says, motioning to the hole in Groudon's chest.

    "This one?" Violet asks, pulling out the red stone from her scarf.

    "Yes, that one." Sparks replies.

    Violet then stares at her red stone deep in thought, then sighs. Looking at his suddenly depressed partner, Sparks starts to feel sorry for her.

    "Violet… you don't have to have to do this if you don't want to…" Sparks tells her.

    But to Sparks' surprise, Violet smiles back at him.

    "No, no, I'm okay with this," She tells him. "I know this might be a stone that I'm proud of because I found it myself, but it's still a stone. And besides, I know that this is for the sake of treasure, so I'm willing to give it up, and other than that, I've… I already have a more special and irreplaceable treasure."

    While Sparks did think that Violet was referring to her Relic Fragment when she said her last sentence, he was unaware that Violet was actually referring to something else… or rather, someone.

    Propping herself onto the pedestal, Violet steps onto it and pushes the stone into the hole in Groudon's chest, where it slides in like a perfect fit.

    "So… now what?" Violet asks.

    Shortly, the statue starts to shake as the red stone in Groudon's chest start to glow an even more intense red, and a bright flash suddenly sends Vioparks flying back from the statue.

    "Violet? Are you alright?" Sparks asks, getting back up off the grass and shaking off the impact recoil.

    "I'm fine…" Violet replies, getting up as well. She then witnesses the atmosphere in front of them. "Sparks, look! Putting the stone in the statue really did work!"

    As Sparks looks around, he sees that all the fog in the area has lifted, both in the area Vioparks are in as well as every area around that. Sparks takes a look at the map to see that the map has updated itself to show that all the fog in the area they're in has cleared up on the diagram.

    'Wow, this… uh… technology never ceases to amaze me.' Sparks thinks. "That statue really did the trick, but… where is it?"

    Sparks glances away from the map to see that the Groudon statue has indeed disappeared mysteriously after the flash of light.

    "That's not all, Sparks!" Violet says excitedly. "Look! Up there!"

    The Shinx looks up where Violet's paw is pointing to see a giant island floating in the sky, with steaming water pouring out of it and into nearby ponds, creating the source of the steam.

    "I can already tell that that's where we have to go," Sparks says. "But how do we get up there?"

    Violet responds by pointing in front of them, to a cave mouth opening that just appeared a few feet where the statue used to be.

    "Look! That cave mouth is connected to the island above us!" Violet continues excitedly. "That must be the way to get up there!"

    "Well, let's go then!" Sparks says, starting to share Violet's excitement.

    Vioparks start to take a step forward, but yet another interruption comes their way as a dark cloud of smoke comes their way, making them both cough.

    "Oh no, what now?!" Spark says, suddenly irritated.

    The smoke then clears up to reveal Team Skull in front of them, blocking their path to the cave mouth.

    "Heh heh heh! Well, look who we just happened to come across!" Zubat snickers.

    "You three?! How did you find us here?!" Sparks says, glaring them down.

    "Chaw haw haw!" Skuntank cackles. "I just knew you two would end up here! There's no running now!"

    "Whoa ho ho!" Koffing laughs. "It's about time we gave you the beating you deserve!"

    The two teams get into battle stance, one team trembling in anticipation while the other trembles in fright, each of them staring each other down, waiting for someone to make the first move.

    "Zubat! Koffing! Give 'em all you've got!" Skuntank suddenly orders.

    "You got it, boss!" Zubat says.

    The two midair floating Poison types dash towards Vioparks, and the former respond by jumping over their adversaries, but the former respond with backwards retaliation as Zubat sends Violet away with a strong backward wing flap as Koffing pushes Sparks behind him with a stinging spray of poison gas. Skuntank then follows the vulnerable Sparks and Violet midair and slashes them with brandished Night Slash claws.

    "Chaw haw haw! Don't even think that you can beat us!" Skuntanks taunts. "We made sure not to hold back this time, so don't think victory is yours that easily!"

    Sparks and Violet get back off, slightly wobbling from the combined attacks dealt to them. Sparks fishes two Oran Berries out of his Treasure Bag and quickly gives one to him and Violet.

    "Sparks… What do we do?" Violet asks, sounding hopeless as the three Poison types step closer to them.

    "We… we can't lose!" Sparks says, regaining determination. "We have to fight back with what we have… Though I don't think any Orbs or Seeds will do us any good…"

    Zubat then suddenly dashes at Violet and deals a heavy blow with a surprise Brave Bird attack, using a glowing wing to slice into Violet's side, sending the Vulpix reeling in pain.

    "Violet!" Sparks calls out, growling.

    The Shinx then lunges at Zubat and headbutts the Bat Pokémon away with a Spark headbutt, but then a glowing Koffing dashes at Sparks, readying an attack of some sort. Sparks sets up an electric charge shield, but Koffing then unleashes a devastating Explosion attack, immediately disintegrating Sparks' shield and sending the Shinx reeling with his partner.

    "Okay, okay, enough messing around!" Skuntank says, menacingly taking a step forward. "Zubat, Koffing, let's finish this!"

    Sparks and Violet manage to get back to their feet, heavily damaged, but still ready for whatever Team Skull is going to throw at them.

    "Unleash the Noxious Gas combo!" Skuntank commands.

    Skuntank then starts spraying hazy poison gas around him, while Koffing does the same. Once Skuntank and Koffing are enveloped in the unique gas, Zubat then flaps his wings to create a Whirlwind gust, blowing the cloud of now noxious gas towards Sparks and Violet.

    With Violet still wobbling in pain, Sparks is the only one aware of the cloud of gas floating towards them, then moves up Violet's scarf to her snout so that it protects her from the gas, while Sparks pulls out the map to block his own snout with. The two then take a deep breath just before the noxious gas envelops them. Even with their makeshift gas shields, the two accidentally inhale a little gas, making both of them cough.

    "Chaw haw haw!" Skuntank cackles. "You two are bound to pass out soon enough! Give up while you can!"

    Violet continues coughing violently, while Sparks glares at Team Skull angrily, the Wonder Map covering his mouth hiding his snarl. However, knowing he must act fast before the two of them pass out, he comes up with an idea and carefully whispers it to Violet. The Vulpix responds with a weak nod.

    Violet then removes the scarf covering her snout, exposing her mouth, then unleashes a Roar attack, the pushing force of her attack being enough to push the noxious gas cloud back at Team Skull.

    "Now, Violet!" A coughing Sparks instructs.

    Trying to get over the violent coughing from inhaling some of the poison gas, Violet fires a burst of Ember flames at the cloud of noxious gas, which has now enveloped a surprised Team Skull. As soon as Violet's Embers make contact with the cloud of gas, the gas gets ignited and envelops Team Skull as it explodes.

    "Wait… you never told it me it was going to explode…" Violet says to Sparks.

    "Well, I kinda had a feeling that would happen." Sparks says, giving both him and his partner an Oran Berry, healing both of them right up.

    The dust of the noxious gas explosion then clears up to reveal a scorched Team Skull, with Zubat and Koffing struggling to remain afloat, while Skuntank glares at the protagonists angrily.

    "Argh… We… we're not done yet! We're not going to let you ridicule us once again!" Skuntank says.

    Team Skull shakes off the pain, and the two get back into battle stance, reenacting a familiar situation.

    A Perfect Apple then rolls in between the two sides and rolls to a halt as it rolls into the small dent in the ground where the Groudon statue used to be, ruining the intense moment and baffling the five of them.

    "A… Perfect Apple?" Violet questions.

    Sparks thinks about it for a second. "Wait, that can only mean-"

    Wigglytuff then enters the scene and picks up the Perfect Apple from the small indentation it rolled into, answering Violet's question before Sparks could finish his sentence.

    "Yay! I finally got you, Perfect Apple!" Wigglytuff says happily, propping the Perfect Apple back up onto his head. He then notices the two teams to his side, then the cave mouth that Team Fate found. "Oh, Sparks and Violet, you managed to find a lead to the treasure! Well, what are you two waiting for, go and find that treasure!"

    Taking the opportunity Wigglytuff gave them, Sparks and Violet hurriedly dash past Wigglytuff, Team Skull, and escape into the cave.

    "W-Wait! We should go too!" Skuntank says, not willing to let Team Fate get away.

    "No, no, let them handle it!" Wigglytuff says nonchalantly, spinning around with the Perfect Apple on his head. "They did clear all the fog out, after all! Now that the fog is out, we'll just wait for everyone to meet up here, then we'll head in there after them!"

    With the authority of Wigglytuff holding them back, this leaves Team Skull sour as Vioparks get away.

    "W-What shall we do now, boss?" Koffing asks.

    "Rrgh… I've had enough of this!" Skuntank says. He then sneaks up on the unaware Wigglytuff, has his back turned, and then readies a super effective Poison Jab attack with his purple claws. "This is the end of you, Wigglytuff!"

    Skuntank brings his claws down, only for them to dig into the ground as Wigglytuff steps to the side, dodging Skuntank's poisonous attack, then turns to face Team Skull with a devilish smile.

    "You didn't think I was just going to let you catch me off guard, did you?" Wigglytuff says, his smile piercing into the souls of Team Skull, giving off an intimidating aura. "Now, now, it's about time I demonstrate why I was chosen as Guildmaster. After all, Chatot does like to mention how bad of a decision it is to mess with me!"

    The cackling smiles of Team Skull are immediately wiped off their faces as Wigglytuff readies an attack.

    Steam Cave

    Slowly traversing through the cave with floors slightly stinging Sparks' paws with its heat, Vioparks suddenly stops in their tracks when they feel a rumbling.

    "W-What was that?" Violet asks.

    "It sounded like it came from outside," Sparks points out. "Wait… what do you think Wigglytuff is doing out there?"

    "Let's… let's try not to think about that…" Violet replies. "We should just focus on heading forward, right?"

    "Agreed."

    Chapter 8 - A Pokémon's Trust

    Steam Cave, Sparks' POV

    I quickly withdraw my paw from the slightly red hot rock that stung my paw while I was walking on it, but I eventually find myself getting used to traversing across this humid cave, mind the slight sting of pain every time I take a step forward.

    Ugh… How long do me and Violet have to traverse this steamy cave? This humidity is starting to get to me… I wipe the sweat appearing on my forehead with a paw. Well… At least Violet doesn't seem to have a problem with this heat, and this steam is nowhere as bad as the fog from earlier.

    I take another look around me, taking in the colour of the slightly darkened red rock that forms the mystery dungeon of twisting hallways around us. Even what I presume are staircases slope up to higher floors and are made up of the same red rock, slightly hot to the touch like the floor like every other floor of this cave. Other than that, me and Violet haven't run into any hostile wild Pokémon here for the entirety of all the burning painstaking steps I've had to walk through while Violet just walks through the cave effortlessly ahead of me. That isn't surprising, considering that this cave was hidden by a wall of fog, but we haven't run into much hostile Pokémon for the entirety of this expedition, so another heated battle might be a nice change of pace…

    Skuntank's laugh echoes in my mind.

    Never mind… Another battle can wait…

    Eventually, the both of us walk up another sloped rocky stairway to find ourselves in a much larger empty room, this room feeling slightly cooler than the rest of the rooms we've walked through.

    "This room doesn't feel as hot or humid as the other rooms..." I point out.

    "I've noticed that too," Violet says. "Do you think the reason for that is because of how this island floats in the air?"

    "That might be the reason… We must be pretty high up if that is," I say, slightly impressed. "Well, that last battle was quite intense… How about we rest here for a while?"

    "Um… Well, I guess I could use a little rest from that battle as well…" She replies.

    Violet then steps up onto the flat face on top of a rock as I try to find a comfortable spot to sit down. I then find a cool spot to sit next to the rock Violet is sitting on top of. I fish two Apples out of the Treasure Bag.

    "I know it's been awhile since we ate, so are you hungry?" I ask her, biting into the Apple I got for myself.

    "I guess I'm starting to get a bit hungry…" Violet answers, accepting the Apple from me and biting into it.

    Another few minutes of silence pass as me and Violet eat our Apples.

    "So… are you holding up alright?" I suddenly ask, finishing my Apple.

    "Am I holding up?" Violet questions. "What do you mean by that?"

    "Well, that previous battle did leave quite a mark on both of us, does that Brave bird wound from Zubat still hurt?" I ask her, referring to the slightly open and visible wound on her side.

    "Uh… I guess it still hurts a bit, but I'm fine now," Violet responds. "Pokémon don't suffer too fatally from wounds unless too much damage was caused at once, after all."

    Interesting… I'll… I'll learn to keep that in mind.

    "How about you, Sparks? That Explosion attack from Koffing didn't leave any damage that would be a problem, did it?" Violet asks me.

    "Me? To be honest, I have to say that I did feel slightly crippled from that, but I think I would've instantly passed out if it weren't for my Charge shield. Looks like we're both in slightly bad shape… Let's just hope that we don't have to go through another intense fight like that anytime soon…"

    Suddenly, as if on cue, we feel a rumbling tremor beneath us, bringing me back to my feet as the shaking flings Violet off the rock and reeling to the ground. I then rush to Violet's side once the tremor dies down.

    "Are you alright?" I ask worriedly, holding Violet's paw as I help her up.

    "I… I'm fine… But what was that?" Violet responds, starting to sound afraid.

    "It sounded like it came from up ahead…" I say, slight fear coming over me as well. "This time, it didn't feel like a tremor… it actually felt more like a growl than anything else…"

    Unfortunately, my comment only makes Violet even more afraid. "A… a growl? I… I don't know if I can go on ahead…"

    Sensing her fear, I decide to do something about that.

    "How about you stick close to me?" I insist. Slowly, I offer my paw to her. "You… you can hold my paw while we walk ahead if that's alright with you."

    Violet slowly looks at me, then at my paw, then back at me. Then, just as slow as I offered it to her, Violet accepts my paw.

    "Well… okay."

    I cast a faint smile at her, and she smiles back at me.

    Before I could get caught staring again, I turn to look ahead of us, and paw in paw, we both walk forward, now ready for whatever's ahead.

    A few rooms later, Violet's POV

    I… I don't have to be scared now… Sparks is with me, after all…

    Holding my paw…

    I try to hide my blush at the thought as I realize that my paw is still firmly grasped in Sparks' as we continue walking.

    I know he cares about me, but what if… does he… he feel the same way about me than I feel about him? He… he has been really nice to me lately…

    maybe… maybe I shouldn't be thinking about this…

    With my paw still gratefully held in Sparks', we walk through several more empty rooms and head up another large room.

    "Another empty room?" I ask.

    "It seems like it is… Though this one isn't the same as the other one," Sparks points out. "This room is much larger than the last one… And… and this room isn't as cool as the other one… It's… it's much hotter actually…"

    Sparks then fishes an Oran Berry out of the Treasure Bag and bites into it.

    "I could use a refresher, this cave is quite humid, after all," He says. Well… being a Fire type, I guess I probably wouldn't be able to tell…

    Sparks then gets another Oran Berry out of the bag and offers it to me.

    "Want one? They're quite refreshing when they're eaten as something more than a healing method," Sparks says. "The juice inside is quite refreshing too."

    "Well… I guess I might have one…" I reply. Sparks then hands me the berry and I bite into the berry just as I realize something. "Wait, Sparks, this is the sixth Oran Berry we've had in a single day, wouldn't we be running out of items?"

    "We're not actually running out of supplies, luckily," Sparks answers. "I've been collecting much of the items scattered around the empty mystery dungeons, and last time I checked, we still have tons of Orbs and Seeds I don't recognize, plus plenty of Apples that can keep us from getting hungry, so our supply amount will still do."

    I then look around the room and immediately notice a cave mouth at the back of the room, a slightly blue glow emitting from it.

    Huh… how did neither of us notice that?

    "Hey Sparks, you see that cave mouth on the other side of the room, right?" I say, finishing the Oran Berry, letting its refreshing juice quench my slight thirst.

    "I see it too," Sparks replies, finishing the Oran Berry in his paw. "Wanna head towards it?"

    I reply with a nod, and then we both step forward, when suddenly another tremor shakes the ground, making both Sparks and I release the grips on our paws in order to keep our proper footing.

    "A-Another tremor!" I exclaim.

    "Ugh… Considering how much we've gone through, how did I not expect this?" Sparks says.

    A deep voice then booms from above.

    "YOU… YOU WHO HAVE COME TO HARM THIS PLACE, LEAVE!" The voice echoes.

    "We… we haven't come here to harm this place!" Sparks calls out. "We don't have any bad intentions at all!"

    "THEN WHY IS IT THAT YOU'VE GONE AS FAR AS TO DISSIPATE THE FOG TO GET HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE?!" The voice booms back.

    "It… It's not like it seems!" Sparks calls out again.

    "HMM… SO YOU TWO ARE STILL NOT DISSUADED ENOUGH TO LEAVE?" The voice echoes. The speaker of the voice is then revealed as a Groudon falls from the ceiling and to the ground with a large shake, immediately instilling fear in me as it growls at Sparks and I.

    "VERY WELL!" Groudon roars. "IF YOU TWO ARE NOT GOING TO LEAVE, THEN I SHALL RID OF YOU MYSELF!"

    I then realize the situation, which fills me with even more despair. "S-Sparks? Does this mean-"

    "It is… We're… we're going to have to fight!" Sparks cuts me off, his voice just as frightened as mine.

    Groudon stomps on the ground, roaring at us as he attempts to hit us with an Earth Power, causing the ground beneath us shake slightly before exploding, making Sparks and I jump to opposite sides of the room to avoid the attack, separating us in the process.

    The first thing I notice now that I've got a proper grasp on the current situation is the bright burst of sunlight shining through the small sky view at the top of the room. While I may not have the best track of time, I'm pretty sure that the sun shouldn't be shining this bright at this time of day, so if I remember the legends correctly, Groudon's Drought ability might have something to do with this sudden shining…

    Regaining confidence, I dash at Groudon and strike his side then bolt away with a Quick Attack as Sparks does the same. I then somersault over Groudon and shower Ember flames over him while Sparks attacks Groudon's back with a heavy Tackle headbutt, only for Groudon to remain unphased by our attack.

    "We barely did any damage!" I say, losing hope. "What do we do now?"

    "Just… just keep attacking!" Sparks says, starting to sound desperate as well.

    Sparks then dashes back at Groudon only to hesitate and slightly retreat as Groudon suddenly dashes forward with glowing claws, trying to Slash at Sparks only for his attacks to be dodged as Sparks jumps away.

    "And try not to get hit, either!" Sparks says.

    Glowing claws then slash right in front of my face, the Slash attack barely missing me, and I jump back just in time before Groudon could attack me with a follow up Slash attack, and then I continue dodging more Slashes only to find myself backed up at the corner of the room, with no visible way of dodging the next Slash attack of Groudon's giant claws.

    O-Oh no… What do I do now?

    Author's POV

    Sparks dashes towards Groudon and sinks his fangs into Groudon's hand, suddenly causing the Ground type beast to flinch in pain, canceling out the Slash attack. Determined to protect Violet, Sparks dangles off Groudon's giant hand, his Bite attack gripping hard into the legendary beast, while he tries to stay hanging on as Groudon attempts to shake the Shinx off.

    Then, in one swift hand motion, Groudon manages to detach Sparks off his hand and sends the Electric type flying at the wall, where the Shinx collides to the wall and falls to the ground, losing consciousness. Groudon then stomps on the ground and sends an Earth Power at the vulnerable Shinx, making the ground explode beneath the unfortunate Electric type as Sparks is sent flying into the air and then falls back to the ground with a small thud, finally making Sparks lose consciousness.

    "Sparks!" Violet calls out worriedly.

    Groudon then turns away from Violet and slowly walks toward the downed Sparks, now aware of the easier Pokémon to kill off first.

    Violet remains petrified in fear, but then realizes what's at stake and immediately regains her confidence and will to fight.

    'I… You… Don't… don't hurt Sparks! I won't let you!'

    Violet then breaks into action just as Groudon is halfway to Sparks' unconscious body, and she feels a sudden burst of energy flow through her and to her paws. Wanting to test out this newly awakened power, Violet slams her front paws on the ground, and a surge of dark black energy flows from Violet's paws and to the ground, this force slowly creeping towards Groudon. The dark energy then emerges beneath Groudon, wrapping itself around the Ground type legendary, with Violet's newly learned Imprison attack trapping Groudon in his tracks. Try as he must, despite Groudon's violent struggling, he remains unable to break free, let alone take a step closer to the unconscious Sparks.

    With the surge of powerful energy still flowing through her, Violet then runs at the vulnerable Groudon and somersaults over him, readying a Fire attack to unleash on Groudon. Then, powered up by the intense sunlight, instead of unleashing a shower of Ember flames, Violet lets loose a devastating orange Flamethrower beam which engulfs Groudon, scorching the beast. As the Imprison forces withdraw themselves back to Violet's paws, Groudon hunches over and falls to the ground, badly burned and fainted.

    However, instead of celebrating her victory or rejoicing over her newly learned moves, the first thing Violet does once she lands back to the ground on her feet is rush over to the nearby side of the wall, where she finds Sparks' unconscious body, his eyes closed and the Treasure Bag hanging loosely.

    'Please… please be alright…'

    As Violet looks over Sparks' fainted body, she suddenly gasps in shock as she sees the slight bruise on his side from the Earth Power, and even worse, the red trickle of blood dripping down from his slightly open mouth.

    'No… he… he can't be…he can't be dead…'

    Slowly, Violet presses her ear to Sparks' chest, and then takes a sigh of relief when she hears a steady heartbeat, verifying that he's still alive.

    'He… he's alive… I... I was just overreacting…'

    Now calmed down, Violet then opens the Treasure Bag, goes through it for a while, then pulls out a Reviver Seed. Slowly again, Violet gently pushes the Reviver Seed into Sparks' mouth, hoping that her partner will regain consciousness.

    Sparks' POV

    I suddenly feel my consciousness return to me as I feel some sort of food item in my mouth, which I soon find out is a seed once I bite into it. I then open up my eyes and get back up, only to slightly lean to one side as I wince in pain.

    "Ugh… What was I hit by?" I moan, falling back down. I then look around to see Violet looking at me with a worried expression.

    "Sparks! You're fine! I… I thought you were dead!" She says, helping me back up.

    "Dead? I know I'm hurt and all, but I know this is something I can recover from quickly, so why would you think I was dead?" I ask, regaining proper footing. I then become aware of the wet sour taste, and I wipe my mouth with a paw to see the slight red stain of blood on it.

    Blood? I… I guess that might explain why Violet thought that… That Groudon hit like a truck…

    I suddenly realize something. "Wait, Violet, what happened to Groudon?"

    "Oh… I think I… uh… I think I managed to beat him…" Violet says blankly.

    "You beat Groudon on your own?" I say, amazed. "You didn't get hurt or anything?"

    "Well, no, I actually managed to beat Groudon unhurt…" Violet says. Then, excitement builds up inside her as she realizes her feat. "Wait, I actually managed to beat Groudon on my own?!"

    I beam at her. "You did! I'm impressed!"

    I then walk over to the fainted Groudon and observe the burn wounds on the legendary beast.

    "Wow, you really did manage to beat him on your own… And unhurt, too." I say.

    I then prod Groudon's side with a paw, just to make sure Groudon really is down and out, only for Groudon to immediately disintegrate into dust and get blown away from a sudden gust of wind. I turn to Violet who is just as shocked as I am.

    "I… I didn't actually just kill Groudon, right?" Violet asks.

    "No." A voice suddenly speaks to us out of nowhere, with no visible source. "That Groudon was merely a creation of my psychic powers."

    "Who's there?" I call out.

    A levitating yellow Pokémon then teleports in front of us.

    "I am Uxie, guardian of this place," the Pokémon introduces itself to us. "The last thing I would want is for this place to be ruined by intruders with bad intentions, so I'm warning you, I'll have to deal with you if you don't want to leave."

    "Bad intentions?" I question. "We don't want to harm this place in any way!"

    "You… you don't? Several other places have had their beauty harmed, so I don't know if I can trust you for sure…" Uxie says, looking deep in thought.

    "We came here looking for some sort of treasure on a guild expedition, so we had no intentions of harming this place when we came here," I explain. "And what's this about other places having their beauty harmed?"

    Uxie remains silent for a moment, apparently deep in thought about something, and then replies, "So you two are unaware of the current major happenings… Well, you two seem trustworthy enough to me so far, so follow me. There is something you should know."

    Uxie then disappears into the cave mouth on the other end of the room, and me and Violet follow.

    Fogbound Lake

    Following Uxie through the cave mouth, me and Violet then find ourselves greeted by a magnificent view of a lake.

    "Wow… What is this place?" I ask, amazed.

    "This is the place I was trying to keep secluded, Fogbound Lake," Uxie replies. "I went as far as to use my trained psychic abilities to keep anyone out of this place at all costs, with the Groudon statue, the Groudon clone, and I was even willing to erase the memories of anyone who was willing to come this far to ruin this place's beauty."

    "Wait, you can erase memories?" I ask.

    "Oh, right!" Violet says, suddenly realizing something. "When I was younger, my… my mom used to tell me tales of ancient legends, and one of the legends I've heard mentions a psychic that has the power to erase memories."

    Wait… erase memories? Why does this sound so familiar?

    "Indeed. Those ancient legends are of me. You must have quite the parent if she tells you ancient legends as if they were bedtime stories," Uxie remarks. "Do you happen to have any other interesting memories with your mother?"

    "Uh… Well… I'd… I'd rather not talk more about her…" Violet responds hesitantly.

    I was still busy thinking about why the mention of memory erasing to pay much attention to the conversation around me.

    Memory… memory erasing… Wait!

    "Uxie, you said that you have the power to erase memories," I start. "In other words, you have the power to give other Pokémon amnesia, correct?"

    Violet then looks at me with realization, immediately recognizing what point I'm getting on.

    "That is correct, I have the power to do just that," Uxie replies. "I've already mentioned this before, so why do you ask?"

    "Uxie, there's something you should know…" Violet says for me. "You see, when I met Sparks, he said that he had amnesia… and…" Violet then looks back at me, apparently waiting for my approval for her to finish her sentence, and I nod at her.

    "Well, when I met Sparks, he said that he knows that he used to be a human." Violet finishes.

    "A… a human?" Uxie questions.

    "Uxie, have you ever wiped the memories of a human?" I ask.

    "Hmm…" Uxie then looks deep in thought once more. "Well, no. I have never come across a human, the only knowledge I have of humans is from legends. Sorry."

    "No… Well… I guess that's a let down…" I say.

    "Anyways, I've already mentioned that this place goes by the name and I'm its guardian," Uxie says. "Have you realized why I'm so protective of this place yet?"

    "This view really is amazing… is that why?" I answer.

    "Well, that, and there's one more thing," Uxie responds. "Do you see that blue glow in the waterfall?"

    Me and Violet then look ahead at the waterfall pouring water into the glistening lake, and just as Uxie said, there is some sort of peculiarly shaped object inside it, and it's emitting a blue glow.

    "I see it," Violet says. "What about it?"

    "Are you familiar with Time Gears?" Uxie says. "While I'm pretty sure you might be somewhat familiar to this topic due to… legends… I still find it necessary that I explain what they are to the both of you."

    Well… I guess Violet might be familiar because of her enthusiasm towards legends, but this topic is still new to me…

    "You see, every large section of this region has their flow of time maintained by what is called a Time Gear," Uxie starts. "Take this place, Fogbound Lake. The Time Gear housed here controls the time flow of a large section of the area around here. However, if this Time Gear is removed from its location, the time flow in that area slows to a halt. It's called a Time Gear, after all, it's quite self explanatory."

    I guess that makes sense…

    "However, my heavily trained psychic abilities have allowed me to communicate with other Time Gear guardians via telekinesis, and they've reported that several Time Gears of unguarded areas have been stolen," Uxie continues. "Because of this, I've made sure to put extra security here."

    "This place has such an amazing view, I can see why you want to protect this place." I say.

    "It is, and I'm quite proud of it. I would see why this place might be a popular spot for treasure hunters, other than the presence of a Time Gear here," Uxie replies. "Now, if you are done here, you two are permitted to leave now. I have to keep this place secluded, after all."

    "Er… well… is it okay if we stay here just a little while longer?" I ask.

    "Hmm… Very well. I might as well let you enjoy the view while you're here." Uxie says, smiling.

    Uxie then teleports away, leaving me and Violet to ourselves and the view.

    Shortly after, me and Violet move to another part of the large room, where we get a proper view of the view. We then find ourselves sitting next to each other, both of us staring in amazement at the whole view of the lake. Now that we've relocated to a much higher spot, I get a much better view of what's in front of us. The large lake glistens a marvelous shade of blue with the waterfall above it providing the glow with the Time Gear. With the glistening lights from what I recognize to be floating Volbeat and Illumise, and with the glistening lake accompanied by the cozy dark atmosphere of the roomy cave, it all comes together as a marvelous and beautiful view…

    Beautiful, just like her…

    I look over to my right to see Violet, her eyes glistening like the lake to glowing lights in front of us, then look back at the lake.

    "Today's been quite another eventful day, huh?" I say, inching closer to her.

    "It… it has been…" Violet replies, glancing back at me, then continues looking ahead. "I still can't believe that we would be able to find something as amazing as this…"

    "Even I can't believe it… Which is amazing…" I say. I then slowly move closer to Violet, making my face heat up as my fur slightly brush off hers. "It only feels like yesterday that we met and joined the guild…"

    That day we met… I had mixed feelings about that day… But it was several days ago when I finally realized…

    Hesitantly, I wrap a paw around Violet and pull her closer to me.

    "And the best part is…" I say. "We managed to find this place together… Just the two of us…"

    Several days ago, I finally realized… I finally realized what were causing these mixed feelings…

    I was in love.

    I can feel my face heat up even more with me holding Violet close to me, and then I feel Violet leaning her head on my neck, and then I slowly lean my head on hers.

    We continue sitting like this for several more minutes in silence, but this is the kind of silence I can appreciate.

    Maybe… maybe now. This place is perfect.

    With the warm fur of Violet's head warming up the side of my head, several thoughts were running through my head.

    This place is perfect. The atmosphere, the location, this place would be perfect to tell her…

    I have to tell her how I feel.

    My train of thought then halts to a stop when Uxie teleports back behind us, making me and Violet separate and turn around.

    "So I take it that you two are enjoying your time here?" Uxie says, smiling.

    "We are," I reply. "Thank you for letting us spend a little bit more time here."

    "No, I should be thanking you two," Uxie responds. "It isn't often that two kindhearted Pokémon like you come here to visit, it gets quite lonely here."

    We all then suddenly turn towards the cave mouth entrance we came through as we hear the sound of stampeding footsteps.

    "Oh dear, it seems like I have to create another Groudon clone…" Uxie says, frowning.

    "Wait, I don't think you have to." I say, walking over to the cave mouth so I can see outside. Considering it's stampeding footsteps, I should know who those footsteps belong to…

    Author's POV

    Suddenly, every main member of Wigglytuff's Guild, sans Team Skull for some reason, rushes into the cave. Everyone then scatters to explore the giant room, with Wigglytuff and Chatot rushing over to Uxie.

    "You… you are sure that these Pokémon don't pose bad intentions of any kind, correct?" Uxie asks Sparks.

    "I'm sure of it. These Pokémon are actually the Pokémon that are part of a guild expedition, just like us," Sparks explains. "Well, there were a few Pokémon that we're afraid might've come here, but it appears that they haven't, luckily…"

    "Hello, friend!" Wigglytuff says, excitedly shaking Uxie's hand. "Nice to meet you! You've really got a nice place here!"

    "Er… nice to meet you too. I am Uxie, guardian of Fogbound Lake." Uxie introduces himself.

    "Erm… guardian? Might I ask, guardian of what?" Chatot asks.

    Afterwards, Uxie then re explains the situation with Time Gears and whatnot to the guild. Meanwhile, Sparks and Violet try to find another spot to get a view due to the sudden crowdedness, but end up unable to enjoy the company of each other due to them no longer being alone. Shortly after, Uxie finishes his Time Gear explanation.

    "Oh… So that must be the treasure that this place holds…" Chimecho mutters to herself.

    "Hmm… So it seems that this 'treasure' is unobtainable, but this view was definitely worth the travel." Chatot says to himself.

    "Meh, I couldn't care any less." Croagunk scoffs.

    "Okay, Pokémon!" Wigglytuff announces to everyone, slightly imitating Chatot's form of announcement. "Now, as Uxie has requested, we need to keep this place a secret! We might not have discovered an obtainable treasure, but we've managed to find this view, which is the next best thing! On the honor of Wigglytuff's Guild, I declare that we are not to speak a single word about this discovery! Who's with me?"

    "HOORAY!" Everyone else cheers.

    "Okay!" Chatot announces. "Now, I think it's about time that we've left. I can say that we can call this expedition a slight success, so back to the guild we go!"

    "Excuse me, but if I may?" Uxie suddenly says, catching everyone's attention. "It has been quite a pleasure to have visitors, this place gets lonely when you have nobody but a disposable Groudon clone. Let me repay you by saving you the trip out of this cave. It might be a bit difficult for me, but I'm sure I can use my psychic powers to teleport the you all out of here."

    Then, before any Pokémon could protest, Uxie quickly concentrates a lot of psychic energy and a flash engulfs the entirety of Wigglytuff's Guild, teleporting them out.

    About an hour later, Wigglytuff's Camp

    With the entirety of Wigglytuff's Guild suddenly finding themselves outside the entrance of Steam Cave, they look up at the sky to see that many hours have passed ever since morning, and now that the fog has cleared up completely, and the sky has now become a very dark blue.

    With Chatot and Wigglytuff leading the way back, everyone gets through Foggy Forest and back to the tent-littered camp quite quickly, especially since most of the fog has dissipated completely.

    "Okay, Pokémon!" Chatot announces to everyone in the night briefing. "The Guildmaster and I have discussed it for a while, and we've decided that since it's quite late, we'll rest up at camp for tonight, then head back to the Guild first thing in the morning. Got it?"

    The crowd of guild members in front of him nod in response, slightly tired.

    "Good! Now, all of you each have your own tents similar to your rooms back at the guild, so you should know what tent is yours once you see it," Chatot continues. "Now, good night, you are all dismissed!"

    Laying in the beds in their tent, Sparks and Violet remain deep in thought, trying to sleep, with most of their thoughts being from the time they've spent at Fogbound Lake.

    Then, Sparks' train of thought suddenly stops when he feels Violet's fur brushing against his, then notices her inching closer to him.

    "Violet?" Sparks asks.

    "Oh… Sparks…" Violet stutters nervously. "Uh… Is… is it okay… if you… you know…"

    Sparks then catches on to what Violet is trying to say and pulls her closer to him, warming the both of them up with the comfort of each other's fur.

    "Is… is this better?" Sparks asks.

    "Yes, thank you…" Violet says gratefully.

    The two of them then continue thinking deep in thought, with both of their train of thoughts bouncing back and forth.

    'I still don't know whether or not this… uh… embrace is just another Pokémon thing…' Sparks thinks. 'If not, then I guess Violet is being… uh… very generous about this, asking me to do this again…'

    'It's… it's quite nice of Sparks to just let me sleep close to him like this…' Violet thinks. 'I still wonder if he feels the same way about me than I do to him…'

    'Though… I… I still feel somewhat disappointed… I never got to tell Violet how I really feel about her… And I don't think I can just tell her right now… It… it just doesn't feel right at the moment…'

    'He… he must feel the same way, right? I know for sure that I like him a lot… But I… I still don't know if he still feels the same way… he did use to be human, after all… Though…. he has been very nice to me… And things are going well for us… But maybe… maybe things are going too well… I'm suddenly starting to get a bad feeling… This is where things usually go wrong, right?'

    'Maybe… maybe Chime is right… maybe Violet might actually like me after all, like he said…'

    'I'm starting to get scared again… Why can't I stop worrying? It's always this this one thing that makes me scared… Even with Sparks, whether or not I tell him how I feel, I don't know if I'm going to be alone or with him when the time comes… What if the time comes when we don't expect it?'

    The two continue thinking to themselves in silence for a few more minutes.

    '... On the topic of Chime, I wonder how he's doing back at the guild… He better be doing well, we have been gone for quite a while after all…' Sparks thinks.

    'What if… what if she comes?' Violet thinks, afraid.

    Outside Wigglytuff's Guild, Chime's POV

    Hup two three four, hup two three four.

    I pace around the Guild's security grate, walking around in a circle in a soldierly fashion. I then yawn, bored.

    I know Sparks and Violet said they were going to be gone for a few days, but this is getting tiresome, standing around here all day.

    I then look up at the sky to see that it's become quite dark. Since I've been pacing around here today ever since I woke up early in my shelter, I realize that I've been here for quite a while, then quickly go over several of my security duties in my head.

    Note of the day, lack of visitors is quite discouraging… Other than that… Gate closed? Check. Other forms of security still intact? Check. Food supply still sufficient? Check. Alright, that's that! It's pretty late, so I guess I can call it a day and head back to my shelter to sleep.

    As I slowly levitate towards the crossroads, I suddenly notice a Pokémon walking through the crossroads, who seems to be looking for something. I then levitate towards the Pokémon.

    "Er… Can I help you with something?" I ask the Pokémon, now seeing it as a Ninetales. "It is quite late, not many Pokémon are up at this time of night, and your species isn't quite common around here… You do seem to be looking for something, and I don't think I've seen you around Treasure Town before…"

    "Yes, I am looking for something, or rather, someone," The Ninetales replies, female by the voice. "Have you seen a Vulpix come by here recently?"

    My psychic instincts suddenly activate as I suddenly receive a bad feeling about this Ninetales.

    A Vulpix? She… she must be talking about Violet, no doubt… My psychic instincts are giving me a bad feeling about this though… I don't think I should tell the truth, even though I really don't know where they are at this exact moment…

    "Well, no. There hasn't been any Vulpix coming by here recently, unfortunately." I answer.

    Ninetales' eyes then start glowing blue, glaring at me uncomfortably, and I suddenly a psychic force entering my mind and reading my thoughts.

    "You're lying," Ninetales suddenly says. "Hmm… And it appears that you also share a skill similar to mine. But back to the topic, give me a proper answer."

    "What special skill?" I say defensively. I know that the psychic force in my mind and the glowing blue eyes were from Ninetales' psychic powers, so I'm pretty much grasping for a comeback at this point since she can read my mind at any moment. "I don't know what special skill you're talking about."

    "Hmm…" Ninetales says, intrigued. "It appears you really are unaware of the special skill we share. However, enough about that. I've read your mind. I know you've seen Violet around here, so tell me where she is!" Ninetales stamps a paw in the ground, frustrated.

    So she was talking about Violet!

    "You're not getting any information from me!" I say stubbornly.

    Ninetales then calms down, to my surprise.

    "Very well," Ninetales says, slowly stepping towards me, making me back up slightly. "If you have the information I need but aren't willing to cooperate, then you leave me no choice."

    I'm suddenly cornered by Ninetales against the wall, with no visible form of escape. I then start to panic inside when I see that Ninetales is charging up some sort of Fire attack.

    I charge up my psychic energy to teleport somewhere else when I suddenly feel my psychic powers lock up, lose my levitation, and fall to the ground.

    "No teleportation escape allowed," Ninetales says. "There's no escape out of this, Chingling. Tell me where Violet is or I will be forced to end you."

    I can already tell I'm at a disadvantage, with Ninetales using psychic power to read my mind, and now I'm cornered with no form of escape. Well, no form of escape rather than spilling the beans…

    No. I'm still not giving anything away.

    I'm not giving away any information, any secrets. I know when to keep a secret, even if I'm in danger. I'm trustworthy enough, I have my honour. Even if it means taking one for the team.

    I then get blasted by an intense point blank Fire Blast as everything goes dark. I wobble back and forth on my weak feet, coughing uncontrollably.

    I barely have time to think about anything as I fall over and the darkness finally finishes me off.

    "Farewell, little Chingling. You have brought this fate upon yourself."

    Chapter 9 - Her

    Meanwhile, somewhere outside Steam Cave, Author's POV

    In a clearing next to a bush nearby the area where the Groudon statue used to be, three Poison types suddenly regain consciousness.

    "Ugh…" Zubat moans. He then faces up to the sky, where he sees the night sky. "Boss… How long were we out?"

    Shortly after, Skuntank and Koffing get up, just as wobbly as Zubat.

    "What happened, boss?" Koffing asks.

    "We got wiped to the floor, that's what," Skuntank snaps. "And that Wigglytuff took all of us out in a single blow…"

    "It's… it's coming back to me… How did that Wigglytuff manage to beat us, anyway?" Koffing asks.

    "Yeah boss… You had him right where you wanted him, so how did he manage to dodge your attack?" Zubat asks.

    "Even I don't fully understand," Skuntank replies. "He couldn't just react that quickly all at once, it's almost as if he foresaw my attack…"

    "Wait, boss, did you just say 'foresaw'?" Koffing asks.

    "It's… it's almost as if he predicted my attack the same way I foresaw where that Shinx and Vulpix were headed…" Skuntank says out loud, thinking to himself. "But other than that, this is my fault. It's my fault that we ended up beaten like this."

    "Hey, don't put yourself down, boss!" Zubat rallies.

    "But there's not denying it. I should've known when to back down from a fight," Skuntank continues. "In the same way I foresaw that Shinx and Vulpix coming to this exact spot, I also foresaw every single event afterwards… including our defeat. I got arrogant and careless. I tried to start a fight when I should've backed out."

    "What's with all of this 'foresaw' nonsense?" Koffing asks.

    "Never mind about that," Skuntank says, returning to his usual cocky self. "And enough of this 'getting beaten up' thing. We're Team Skull! We might've ended up kicked out of the guild, but we're still going to head back to our homes in Treasure Town, then come back stronger than ever! Are you with me, fellas?"

    "Whoa ho ho!" Koffing laughs.

    "Heh heh heh!" Zubat snickers.

    "Chaw haw haw!" Skuntank laughs.

    The next morning, Crossroads

    Just as Chatot announced the previous day, everyone woke up very early in the morning, went through a quick morning briefing, then all start their trek back to Treasure Town as a single group. As they soon find themselves nearing the crossroads, some of them start to notice a trail of smoke leading up into the bright morning sky. Some of them then also point out that the smoke bears a similar resemblance to that of a campfire's dying smoke.

    'Campfire smoke?' Sparks thinks. 'What, did Chime end up getting hungry and started eating at the crossroads for some reason?'

    However, as the group walk closer to the source of the smoke, Sparks and Violet immediately recognize where the smoke is coming from and they both dash forward. To their horror, their suspicions are proven right when they see the burned, wounded, and downed Chime.

    "Chime!" Sparks cries, rushing to Chime's side.

    The two walk closer to Chime to see that he's been covered in burn wounds, and also appears to have fallen over on his face, his Explorer's Badge laying nearby. Sparks and Violet continue trying to shake the Chingling awake, but to no avail. Chimecho then comes over and looks over Chime as well, appearing very worried.

    "Is… is he going to be alright?" Violet asks her.

    Chimecho then slowly lifts Chime and his Explorer's Badge with her telekinesis, using her psychic powers to check Chime's condition.

    "It's a good thing these badges are fireproof, among other things… But other than that… He… he's not showing any sign of movement…" Chimecho says grimly. "He's badly burned, and he's been out like this for quite a while…"

    'Burn wounds? Oh no… It… It can't be her, right?' Violet thinks, getting even more afraid.

    "He's not… He's not dead, is he?" Sparks asks.

    "I… I don't know…" Chimecho replies. "These burn wounds are far beyond fatal for any regular Pokémon… But I'll see what I can do. As my duty as the Guild's nurse, it is my duty to make sure injured allies get out alright… I have yet to let any of my clients down… And if anything, I won't let Chime be the first…"

    Using her telekinesis to gently carry Chime and his Explorer's Badge, Chimecho heads into the Guild, with the rest of the guild members following her. However, Sparks and Violet remain outside, because the latter was apparently busy looking around anxiously.

    "Violet? Are you alright?" Sparks asks her.

    Violet then snaps out of her trance, then looks back at Sparks.

    "I'm… I'm alright… It's nothing…" Violet says.

    However, by now Sparks could clearly tell that something is wrong, and he isn't going to let VIolet hide it from him.

    "Violet, I can tell something's wrong. You can tell me, you don't have to be afraid," Sparks says, looking at her reassuringly and careful not to pressure her in any way. "If there's anything wrong, let me know. I can help you, Violet. I care about you."

    "R-Really?" Violet responds. "Um… Well… It's a long story… I'll… I'll tell you once we're inside."

    "Well, if you say so." Sparks replies.

    Both Sparks and Violet turn to head towards the guild, but Violet cautiously hesitates and looks around her as Sparks steps forward ahead of her. Violet looks to the left to see the path to Treasure Town, and sees no Pokémon. She looks to the right to see the path they just came from to head to the crossroads, and sees no Pokémon.

    'If… If she's here, wouldn't she have come out by now?' Violet thinks, getting suspicious. 'Unless… oh no…'

    Slowly, Violet turns to face the bush behind her, only for a force of some sort to wrap itself around Violet and pulling her into the bush, muffling her mouth before she could cry for help, with the Vulpix only able to let out a short yelp.

    "Violet?" Sparks asks, looking around, hearing Violet's yelp.

    Looking around for his partner, Sparks then notices the disappearing rustling in a nearby bush, then cautiously heads into it.

    Meanwhile, Violet finds herself being dragged away through some sort of forested pathway, a dark Imprison force wrapped around her legs and mouth, dragging her along as Ninetales walks ahead of it. Violet continues struggling.

    "Don't bother trying to break free," Ninetales snaps. "I've already mastered the factor of my special skill that enhances my attack powers, like you should've done many years ago."

    'But… But I don't want to go back!' Violet screams in her mind.

    "You don't want to go back?" Ninetales says, reading Violet's mind. "Don't be ridiculous. This is what you have to do. It's for your own good, You are in charge of the clan's future, even if they all mysteriously left for some reason…"

    Violet continues trying to throw words at Ninetales to read, but she merely dismisses Violet's thoughts. Knowing she can't do anything else, Violet tries to cry for help, only for the Imprison force wrapped around her mouth to reduce them to muffled screams.

    "And don't bother trying to call out for help, either," Ninetales says. "Besides, if anyone just so happens to try and stop me, I'll just burn them down without batting an eye, like I did to that Chingling friend of yours."

    'So that was you!' Violet thinks, angrily.

    "Of course that was me," Ninetales admits blankly. "I would've thought that you'd recognize my fire's intensity."

    'But why? What did Chime ever do to you?'

    "He had the information I needed but wasn't willing to cooperate," Ninetales replies. "Had he only told me he knew you, then I would've spared him from my flame. However, he was stubborn, and you know how much I hate stubborn Pokémon."

    'But… you can't just do that…'

    After a bit more walking, Ninetales and Violet eventually find themselves at a large empty clearing, just as every forested place must have.

    "A clearing…" Ninetales says. "Hmm… It's not the first time I've seen a clearing in a forest… Unfortunately, I don't have the best sense of direction, so I can safely say we're lost…"

    'Great…' Violet thinks sarcastically.

    "Violet, as you are my daughter, I expect you to at least give your mother proper respect," Ninetales snaps. "And besides, I barely had any experience at this explorer thing, so I only came across Treasure Town by chance… You also came across Treasure Town by chance, did you not?"

    'Okay… I admit, I only did stumble across Treasure Town by chance too…'

    "However, this still doesn't change anything. We're still going to… try to find our house… and…" Ninetales stutters. "Well, other than that, I didn't really think about this through enough… It's hard to think without your father…"

    Violet rolls her eyes. She had to have gotten her unconfidence from someone, after all.

    "Nevertheless, we're going now. Your vigorous training awaits you," Ninetales says. "You still have to make up for all the years of training you never took, after all."

    'No! This isn't right!' Violet thinks. 'He… Dad wouldn't want this! Didn't you listen?'

    However, Ninetales merely dismisses Violet's thoughts, ignoring her protest.

    'I… I can't get out of this alone…' Violet thinks to herself. 'I know I can't convince her… I'm too insecure to say what I need to say out loud… What do I do?'

    As Ninetales continues dragging Violet across the floor with the Imprison force across the clearing, they both turn around when they suddenly hear a voice behind them.

    "Hey! Where do you think you're going with Violet?!" Sparks says angrily from behind them.

    "Hmm… So we were being followed…" Ninetales says, intrigued. She then sends the Imprison force carrying Violet to the back of the green clearing. "No matter. I'll just have to deal with you myself, Shinx."

    Ninetales starts off by firing a Flamethrower, but Sparks immediately reacts with a Charge shield. The force of the fiery beam slowly chips away at the electric shield, slowly pushing Sparks back, and the Shinx jumps out of the way right before he could let the fire engulf him. Then, Sparks retaliates with a Quick Attack while Ninetales is briefly vulnerable.

    Meanwhile, at the back of the room, Violet watches on, unable to do anything since the Imprison force is still trapping her, but once she sees Sparks attack her mother, she then starts to feel the Imprison force loosen up a bit. Looking at it, Violet then sees that a small crack has appeared in the dark force wrapped around her. Violet tries to struggle, but the Imprison force is still not loose enough. The Vulpix then watches on, hoping Sparks could land another hit.

    Sparks dodges a pouncing Ninetales' Faint Attack with the speed of a Quick Attack, then tries to dash forward with a Spark tackle only for Ninetales to dodge and retaliate with a Quick Attack of her own. With Sparks slightly reeling back, Ninetales takes the opportunity to charge up a Fire Blast. Seeing the dangerous attack that is being charged up, Sparks then jumps over the devastating blast of flame, only for Ninetales to jump up as well and knock the Shinx to the ground with a somersaulting Faint Attack paw attack.

    "Give it up, Shinx," Ninetales taunts. "You have no chance against me, you're up against an opponent you can't beat."

    "I… I'm not giving up!" Sparks says, getting back up with a determined look. "Not until you give Violet back!"

    'Sparks…' Violet thinks to herself, in awe. 'He… he really wasn't kidding when he said he cared about me…'

    "Enough of this!" Ninetales exclaims.

    Ninetales' eyes then glow blue, and then she fires a swift blue Extrasensory beam at Sparks, trying to blast the Shinx so that she can gain telekinesis control over his body. However, seeing the beam fired at him so suddenly, Sparks instinctively sets up a Charge shield, and the Extrasensory beam fizzles away as soon as it makes contact with the electric shield. Ninetales then appears surprised by this, however.

    "Hmm… It's not everyday that you see something that actually manages to block psychic beams…" Ninetales says.

    Now noticing the slightly distracted Ninetales, Sparks takes the opportunity to absorb his Charge shield and then strike Ninetales' side with a now powered up Spark tackle, dealing heavy damage to the Fire type and sending her reeling back. Sparks then notices the Imprison force trapping Violet shatter due to the heavy blow done to Ninetales.

    With Ninetales distracted and reeling from Sparks' heavy hitting Spark tackle, Violet then manages to break free from her Imprison bonds and dashes into a nearby bush. Sparks sees this and then follows her into the bush as well.

    "Ugh…" Ninetales groans. She then quickly shakes off the pain from Sparks' attack and looks around. "Hmm… It seems that the Shinx has gotten away…" She then continues searching around the clearing to see that Violet has disappeared as well, her former Imprison bonds now disintegrated.

    "Violet seems to have gotten away as well…" Ninetales mutters to herself. Her eyes then start to glow blue. "Very well… Let's see how they like it when I'm forced to play my psychic powers."

    Sparks' POV

    I jump into the bush to find myself in a small empty clearing where I find Violet hiding in a crouching position. Knowing that she's definitely trying to hide from the Ninetales, I crouch beside her.

    I had too many questions on my mind, and I was looking for answers.

    "What's with you suddenly getting kidnapped?" I ask hurriedly. "Why did this Ninetales kidnap you? Do you know this Ninetales?"

    "Sparks, be quiet!" Violet hushes me. "She'll hear us!"

    "Okay… But I still need my answers." I say, lowering to a whisper.

    "Put up your Charge shield first…" Violet whispers. "She's going to try to use a psychic move to try and find us, I'm pretty sure your shield nullifies psychic energy."

    I follow Violet's instructions and carefully set up a Charge shield over the both of us.

    "I got the shield, now for my answers." I say.

    "Uh… Well… I told you it's a long story… And we don't exactly have all the time in the world…" Violet stutters. "Is there… is there any specific point you want me to cover first?"

    "Well… The reasoning behind the Ninetales is something I'd like to learn first." I reply.

    "Oh… that… well, if you think about it, I don't think it's considered kidnapping… it might take a while to explain the full story, but there is something you should know," She responds. "You see… that Ninetales is my… my mother…"

    "Wait, your mother?" I ask, surprised, careful not to sound too loud. "If she's your mother, then why did she kidnap you?

    "It's as I said… it's a long story…" Violet responds nervously. "But I don't want to get you involved in this, Sparks… You heard what she said, right? There's no beating her. She's my mom, I should know that… And I don't think there's anything else we can do… Well, there is something, but I don't think I can pull it off…"

    "What do we do, then? Tell me what to do, I'll do it." I say.

    "Sparks… I said I didn't want to get you involved in this…" She answers. "I don't want you to end up like Chime… Please, Sparks…"

    "But Violet-"

    "No Sparks, you don't have to do this," Violet cuts me off. "You saw what she did to Chime, right? I… I don't want you to end up the same way…"

    However, before I could protest, an intense Fire Blast breaks through my shield and I get engulfed in its flames.

    My vision starts to get blurry and I look to see that Ninetales fired the Fire Blast, just before I stagger for a bit and fall over as everything goes dark.

    Violet's POV

    "Sparks!' I cry out.

    "And he thought he could stand up to me," Mom scoffs. "Don't say I didn't warn him."

    However, I was too busy rushing to Sparks' side to tremble in Mom's presence. I quickly look over his burned body, then check for a heartbeat, and quickly fish out a Reviver Seed out of Sparks' Treasure Bag. Fortunately, just like Chimecho said, both the bag and the badge are fireproof, so those were left undamaged. I hold the Reviver Seed in my paw, but before I could feed it to Sparks, I suddenly feel myself lifted up by an Extrasensory, and I drop the Reviver Seed on the ground in the process.

    "No!" I cry out.

    "I'm not letting you!" Mom says.

    A burst of energy suddenly reawakens inside me, then I break free from the Extrasensory's grasp and push my Mom back with a Faint Attack headbutt.

    "Rgh… So you really have gotten stronger…" Mom groans, reeling back.

    "I… I'm not the same weak Vulpix I was before!" I say, determined.

    "Very well, let's see if you can stand up to that claim!" Mom says.

    We both dash at each other with a Quick Attack, and we both try to push each other back, attack after attack. I then try to land a Faint Attack tackle on her side, only for her to dodge and push me back with a Faint Attack headbutt of her own. Reeling back, I then start to see the dark force of Imprison forces crawling beneath me. I then stamp my paw to the ground, sending out my own Imprison forces to repel the ones Mom was sending out. Then, quickly withdrawing my paw, I dash towards Mom with a Quick Attack, and I actually manage to land a hit and send her reeling back.

    "I… I'm not as weak as I was many years ago!" I say.

    I then charge up a Flamethrower attack and unleash the intense orange beam, only for my target to absorb the flames like it was nothing.

    "Violet, Violet, Violet. Being of my blood, I should've expected you to know better, especially since I'm your mother." Mom says nonchalantly.

    Oh no… Flash Fire… I forgot…

    "Did you really think you could stand up to me?" Mom says. "Violet, I can do everything you can do, but better, and I've got another trick up my fur."

    I then get fired at by an Extrasensory beam and a blue light encases me as I'm suddenly lifted into the air.

    With a swift paw motion from my mother, I'm then sent flying across the room and eventually collide with a tree and fall to the ground.

    Ugh…

    I try to stand up, but I'm suddenly overcome by fear and despair when Mom walks up to me, and I find myself petrified in place.

    "Okay Violet, now be a good girl and don't make this too difficult." Mom says.

    I then suddenly feel Imprison forces wrapping themselves around my paws, and eventually muffling my mouth, and I find myself trapped once more. I struggle again, I call out for help again, but to no avail.

    This time, I was really trapped… And this time, I'm alone… No Sparks, no Chime, no anyone…

    I can't go back… This isn't right… Dad wouldn't have wanted this…

    Chapter 10 - The Lunar Sightseers

    A few minutes later, Sparks' POV

    Where… where am I? What happened?

    I suddenly feel a burst of energy rush through me as I sink my fangs into a seed of some sort. Regaining consciousness, I open my eyes, then look around to see that I'm in some sort of forested clearing. I stagger to my feet, then slightly wince at the burn wounds I find myself covered in.

    Wait… a clearing?

    Suddenly, everything comes back to me. The attack from Ninetales left me unconscious. And Violet is nowhere to be found, either.

    Where's Violet? Did Ninetales… I mean… Violet's mother… manage to get away with her again? Wait, if Violet was taken away by her mother, then how did I regain consciousness?

    My tastebuds then ring as I feel what I recognize to be the aftertaste of a Reviver Seed. Managing to shake off the slight pain from my burn wounds, I then manage to stand up straight and look around exit the area of the bush I passed out in, which has now been burned down to dust.

    Ninetales' fire really is devastating…. Well, at least now I know who Violet gets her firepower from… But still, how did I regain consciousness? Who fed me that Reviver Seed?

    I then look around the clearing, but only for a short while until I hear a familiar voice.

    "Ah, yes, you're awake!" I then look around to see where the voice is coming from, and I'm then greeted by a familiar bandaged up Chingling, who seems to be eating a blue Rawst Berry, and is levitating several other berries near him. "I have other Rawst Berries. Want one?"

    Panic starts to rise within me when a thought suddenly comes to my mind.

    "Chime?" I ask, astonished. "Where… where am I? How are you here?"

    "Well… I guess I have a somewhat irrational reason for why I'm here, but if you insist…" Chime replies.

    Irrational reason? But if that's true… Oh no…

    "Wait… if you're here… and I just suddenly woke up without any visible assistance…" I then realize. "Is… is this the afterlife?! Have we both died and ended up here in this mythical paradise?!"

    I then snap out of my paranoia when I take a Rawst Berry to the head.

    "Calm down, calm down, Sparks!" Chime says. "We're not dead, don't worry! If we really were dead, then why do you think I'm wrapped up in these bandages? If this place really is the afterlife like you said, then the both of us should be completely healed, but the both of us have our burn wounds."

    "Wait, how did you end up here? Shouldn't you be back at the guild's emergency room?" I continue asking. "And what's with the Rawst Berries?"

    Well, after all, this day has become nothing more than endless questions, I couldn't help but ask.

    "Well, you see, the last thing I remember was getting blasted by flames, then I found myself in the guild's emergency room, alone. I guess I was in the 'he just needs a little more rest' phase," Chime explains. "I then found bandages wrapped around my burn wounds, and my Explorer's Badge nearby a bowl of Rawst Berries. I manage to levitate over to the badge and eat a few of the berries since I know they're good for treating burns, and then I discovered a function on my badge that lets me track nearby team members, and after sitting around for a while doing nothing, I got bored. So I decided to take advantage of this new teammate tracker. And taking the rest of the berries with me, here I am, where I found you unconscious in that bush over there. Luckily, there just so happened to be a Reviver Seed next to your unconscious body, so I took the liberty to use it to wake you up."

    "So you were the one who woke me up…" I say. I then remember something from Chime's story. "Wait, can you tell me that part about the Explorer's Badge again?"

    "Uh… I discovered a function on my badge that lets me track nearby team members?" Chime responds.

    "A function?" Several thoughts then start flooding through my head, and I eventually come up with an idea. "Chime, can you activate that function on my badge as well? We can use this function to find Violet."

    "Er… sure…" Chime replies. I unpin the badge from my Sky Blue Bow and hand it to him. He then taps the little blue center of the badge a few times, and then a holographic projection appears from the badge's center.

    "There we go, this is how it should work." Chime says, laying my badge on the ground.

    "It… it looks complicated…" I say, eyeing the vast projection of what seems to be of an area of some sort, then see a blinking blue light slowly moving. "That glowing light must be Violet… But how are we going to navigate the area of this diagram? It looks like something familiar… But I can't put my paw on it…"

    "Well… it took me a while to get the hang of it too, but I think I've forgotten most of how to navigate it by now…" Chime adds.

    I then take my Wonder Map out of the Treasure Bag and take a few glances between the map and the hologram.

    Wait a minute… wait a minute!

    "This hologram is a projection of the Wonder Map!" I point out triumphantly. I then pinpoint where we are on this clearing on the Wonder Map and where the Violet's blinking blue light is on the hologram. "And Violet's not too far from where we are now! We might still have time!"

    I then put my Wonder Map over the hologram so that the projection shows a more specific location of where we are on the semi-transparent map.

    "They're heading toward this mountainous area at the edge of the map!" I say. "Come on Chime, let's go!"

    I then pin my badge back on my bow and hold the map in front of me, immediately pinpointing the edge of the map mountainous area that the hologram projected.

    "Whoa whoa whoa, wait!" Chime says, teleporting in front of me before I could dash away. "I've already told you my story, so you still need to explain what happened here! I still have no idea why you and Violet somehow ended here!"

    "I'll explain it to you on the way there," I reply. "Now let's go, we don't have time to waste!"

    I dash off, following the directions where I last saw Violet's blinking light, heading through another long forested pathway, while Chime follows behind with his levitation, levitating several Rawst Berries around himself.

    "So… uh… you still sure you don't want a Rawst Berry?" Chime suddenly asks me while using his telekinesis to toss away a nearby branch before I could trip on it.

    "Well… I'm not very hungry at the moment…" I reply. "But right now I'm in the mood not to waste time, though I'll keep that offer in mind…"

    "Come on, you have burn wounds too, right?" Chime insists, levitating a Rawst Berry so that I see it from the corner of my eye. "Besides, I can't keep levitating these things forever."

    "Not now, Chime." I reply.

    "Fine… I'll just teleport these into your bag for the time being." Chime replies. The Rawst Berries then suddenly disappear, presumably teleported like Chime said.

    Uncharted side of Amp Plains' mountain, Author's POV

    'We're lost again, aren't we?'

    "Don't be too surprised," Ninetales replies, reading Violet's mind. "I've already told you I'm not quite enthusiastic in the idea of exploration, unlike you."

    Before the both of them could even notice, Ninetales and Violet suddenly find themselves out of the forested area and walking across some sort of mountainous terrain. Ninetales walks through slowly and cautiously, with the ground made up of slightly yellow rock, electric to the touch. An Imprisoned Violet is hoisted up on her back, in order to protect her daughter from getting dragged across the rocky path.

    'Where are we then?'

    "We seemed to have ended up across more rocky terrain, this time it's slightly static…" Ninetales answers. "Interesting… You don't come across such unique terrain like this everyday."

    'Well, I'm sorta used to exploring unique locations… though, I haven't explored any sort of static rocky area before…'

    "Don't blame me, I haven't done any exploring at all when I was of your level of maturity," Ninetales says. "After all, all I did was sit atop a freezing mountain alone while other Pokémon blamed me for putting curses on others. It was then that I met your father and we moved to a forest where you were born, which was the only thing I did which was even remotely close to exploration… Well, other than me wandering around aimlessly searching for you, that is…"

    A silence comes across the two as Ninetales continues walking, Violet still Imprisoned and on her back.

    'You know, you didn't have go too far to get me to go with you…' Violet thinks toward Ninetales.

    "I know that," Ninetales replies. "However, I was aware that you'd be resentful about this, and I didn't want to stir up a scene. I know you, Violet, you got your timidness from me, after all. Long before I met your father, I was alone. And many, many years later, after what happened to your father… I was alone again… I hope you understand, Violet…"

    Violet lets out a muffled sigh. Other than the slight thunderstorm raining over the top of the electric mountainous area to her right, Violet looks up at the sky to see that the sun has still brightened up the sky a bright blue. It was obviously way too early for this much to be happening at once. Other than that, Violet knew that there was still something wrong with what her mother was trying to do, but she knows that she needs help, even if her she isn't doing the right thing. However, resentful as she wants to be, one thing's for certain: Ninetales is still her mother; she couldn't hate her, no matter what. Ninetales is the only family she has, after all. Violet knew that she wasn't confident enough to even try to stand up to her mother at the moment, nor did she have any motivation to do so, so Violet couldn't do anything but give in.

    'If… if only there was another way…' Violet thinks to herself sadly. Ninetales senses Violet's thought, but immediately dismisses it, knowing it wasn't motioned towards her. 'At least… I can still hope that Sparks and Chime end up alright… I never wanted to drag anyone into this in the first place… I just hope that they end up alive…'

    "And it appears we're now at a dead end," Ninetales suddenly says. "Well… it seems I've taken a wrong turn… I guess this is what happens if you don't have a map."

    Despite her restricted state, Violet manages to sneak a peek ahead of her to see that the rocky path Ninetales has been walking on has halted to a stop with a wall of rock jutting up, completely blocking off their any form of way forward.

    'Well… what are we going to do know? Are we going to head back, or… maybe… completely give up?' Violet thinks, getting her hopes up.

    "Hmm… Well, I'm still going to go through with this plan, that's for sure," Ninetales responds, shooting Violet's hopes down. "However, we'll go back, this time I'll try to make a turn to the… the east… or was it the west? This… this is so difficult without your father…"

    "You… you're not getting away this time!" Sparks says from behind them.

    Ninetales looks behind her to see Sparks and Chime behind them, both of them looking slightly ticked off.

    'Sparks? And Chime? Oh no…' Violet thinks. 'I… I thought that I told Sparks specifically not to come follow me… I don't want them to get hurt any more than they are already…'

    "Hmm… So you two have returned to trouble me," Ninetales says, laying Violet near the wall behind her. "There's just one thing I don't understand… Violet would be too shy to even try to make a friend, so why would you go as far as to risk your lives just to come here?"

    "She… she's our friend too!" Sparks says, standing defiantly.

    "I second to that." Chime chimes in.

    "Oh please," Ninetales says, clearly unconvinced. "Don't pull my leg. I'll just have to deal with you stubborn Pokémon here and now."

    'No! You don't have to hurt them, Mom!' Violet thinks, starting to panic.

    However, Ninetales simply ignores Violet as she gets into battle stance. Sparks and Chime get into battle stance as well.

    'Well… Looks like there isn't anything I can do…' Violet thinks.

    Chime starts off by firing a Confusion beam from his eyes at Ninetales, but Ninetales easily repels it with an Extrasensory of her own, but then Sparks manages to push Ninetales back while Chime distracted her by hitting her with a Spark.

    Once again, Violet starts to feel the Imprison force loosen around her, only for it to slightly tighten up again.

    "Not this time!" Ninetales says towards Violet, retightening the Imprison by clenching her paw. She then turns towards Sparks and Chime. "Alright, no more holding back!"

    Ninetales starts to charge up a Flamethrower, then fires it at Chime who easily manages to teleport away from it, so Ninetales then directs the Flamethrower at Sparks. The Shinx then sets up a Charge shield and blocks the fiery attack, the Flamethrower slowly chipping away at the electric shield. However, unaware to the occupied Ninetales, Chime has teleported right next to her face and is readying an attack.

    "Hello." Chime says, surprising Ninetales. He then enlarges his eyes and deepens his voice. "AND GOODBYE."

    Chime then unleashes the energy he's been charging up within him and releases an ear splitting scream towards Ninetales. The Astonish attack sends Ninetales staggering backward, but despite her ringing ears, Ninetales quickly shakes it off and knocks Chime away with a Faint Attack.

    "Ow…" Chime groans, levitating back towards Sparks.

    "You alright?" Sparks asks him.

    "Of course, I've gone through much worse," Chime replies. "And besides, it's been a long time since I tried out that move, so I'd say it was worth it!"

    Ninetales then unleashes a Fire Blast at the two, making Sparks and Chime jump out of its way.

    "Okay, forget psychic telekinesis!" Chime blurts out, extending his ropes. "It wouldn't be fun if things weren't interesting!"

    Extending his ropes to whip-like levels, Chime then levitates toward Ninetales and lashes at her with his ropes. While Chime manage to make Ninetales flinch a few times from his spinning whip onslaught, Ninetales then manages to jump out of the way of Chime's attack and sets both of his ropes ablaze.

    "Okay, I'm on fire now! I'm on fire!" Chime starts to panic, withdrawing his ropes and teleporting out of the way. He then reappears with a Rawst Berry in his hand and eats it, putting the fire on his ropes out. "That's better…"

    In the time it took him to quickly retreat and teleport a berry out of Sparks' bag, Chime then sees that Sparks has jumped over an Extrasensory beam from Ninetales and tries to land a Spark, only for Ninetales to dodge it.

    Ninetales then starts to charge up a Fire Blast, only for her to be interrupted when a telepathically thrown Rawst Berry hits her softly in the head, interrupting her attack as the berry rolls to her feet.

    'A… Rawst Berry?' Ninetales thinks, confused.

    The light blue berry on the ground then starts to float slightly in the air as it glows blue and then strikes her in the face once again.

    "Yeah! Berry power!" Chime chants, his eyes glowing blue as he waves his hands, sending the berry to softly strike Ninetales over and over, starting to irritate the Fox Pokémon.

    "I've had too much of this!" Ninetales snarls. She then unleashes a point blank Flamethrower at the Rawst Berry, burning it to dust.

    "Well… talk about ironic." Chime remarks.

    In the time that Chime has spent distracting Ninetales with the Rawst Berry, Sparks has managed to set up a Charge shield, absorb the electricity, and then manages to push Ninetales back with a Spark. Shaking off the combined damage, Ninetales then dashes forward and knocks Sparks back with a Quick Attack.

    Sparks then retaliates against the Fire type with a Quick Attack of his own, and with Ninetales still staggering from the damage dealt to her, Chime then picks her up effortlessly with one of his ropes and tosses her towards the rocky electric wall. Violet then manages to break free from her Imprison bonds before she could get hit by the flying Ninetales.

    "Hoorah! Up top!" Chime says, levitating towards Sparks and offering his hand. "Come on, don't leave me hanging! … No? Okay then…"

    With Violet now free from Ninetales' Imprison, she quickly rushes over to Sparks' side, fishes a Cheri Berry out of the bag, then rushes back to Ninetales and tries to offer the berry to her staggering mother.

    "Rgh… Enough of this!" Ninetales shouts, frustrated. She stamps her paw on the ground, making a wave of psychic energy pulse out, making knocking Sparks and Violet away and levitating them into the air, with Chime getting his psychic powers locked once more and him getting levitated by Ninetales as well, rendering the three of them helpless to Ninetales' levitation. However, she then looks surprised towards Sparks. "What?! You and the Chingling share the skill too?! No… wait, Shinx. You're different…" Ninetales mutters to herself.

    "Oh come on, not again!" Chime exclaims.

    "I… I can't move!" Sparks says, struggling uselessly in midair.

    "You two have been a thorn to my side for far too long!" Ninetales shouts towards Sparks and Chime. "And I'll deal with you two, even if it means burning this place down in the process! Starting with you, Shinx!"

    Ninetales then steps toward the defenseless levitating Sparks and starts to charge up a devastating Fire Blast, her eyes glowing red with rage.

    "No! Don't… don't hurt him!" Violet cries out.

    "These two have constantly irritated me throughout this day!" Ninetales yells, turning angrily towards Violet. "I know you, Violet, you're too shy to make friends with just any other Pokémon, so don't try that excuse on me! Tell me, Violet, tell me why I should just spare this Shinx's life, if he really isn't just some stranger to you!"

    "Because… because…" Violet stutters nervously. She knew she couldn't just say Sparks was her friend, Ninetales wouldn't fall for that excuse. She knew she couldn't do anything else. She knew she couldn't say anything else.

    If Violet was to say anything, she would have to say it now.

    "Because…" Violet says, sudden confidence building up inside her as she realizes Sparks' life is at stake. "Because I… I love him!"

    Silence engulfs the area as Violet's words echoes around the area.

    "Violet…" Sparks mutters in awe.

    'She… she finally said it!' Chime thinks to himself excitedly.

    "You… you love this Shinx?" Ninetales suddenly asks, slightly calming down and putting the three Pokémon back on the ground.

    "Y-Yes… I… I finally said it…" Violet says, panting slightly from the confidence burst. "Sparks… I… I love you…"

    The silence continues, making it seem as if time itself somehow stopped.

    "This… this still doesn't change anything," Ninetales says. "This still doesn't change why I have to go through with my plan…"

    Violet takes a defiant step forward, not willing to let her confidence burst go to waste. "Mom, I've been trying to tell you! Dad wouldn't have wanted this!"

    Violet's words pierce through Ninetales.

    "I… I'm sorry…" Ninetales says, almost tearing up. "I… I've been too focused on my own wants to see what was going on around me… I'll stop now…"

    "Finally… You finally understand…" Violet says gladly.

    Sparks then slowly walks over to Violet, a look of mixed thoughts showing on his face.

    "S-Sparks?" Violet asks hesitantly, awaiting his reaction.

    "That… that was really brave of you, Violet," Sparks says, smiling at Violet to her surprise. "And… well… I've actually been meaning to tell you… I love you too, Violet."

    A faint smile appears on Violet's face as her eyes tear up with joy. "You… you really mean that?"

    "I do…" Sparks replies, now with newfound respect for Violet. "In fact, the main reason I wanted to stay with you is because… is because I've fallen in love with you…"

    "Okay, okay, we got our couples here, that's nice," Chime butts in, speaking hastily. "But I'm sure both Sparks and I have plenty have questions, isn't that right?"

    "Well… true, I guess I still have questions about all of these happenings…" Sparks answers.

    "See? I'm pretty sure the both of us still have no idea why all this is happening. So why were you kidnapped by your own mother, Violet?" Chime asks.

    Ninetales then comes up to the three.

    "Please, if I may, allow the both of us to deliver our story." Ninetales says.

    "Oh, right… I guess we all owe each other some sort of explanation…" Violet says.

    Many, many years ago, that one uncharted forest next to Treeshroud Forest

    So, while Violet and Ninetales are busy explaining their backstory to Sparks and Chime, I'll take the responsibility to discuss the exact same story to you readers out there.

    Yes, quite a convenient way to explain flashbacks, right?

    So in this distant forest that just so happens to be next to Treeshroud Forest, a vast clan of many, many different Pokémon resided. These Pokémon consisted of several Psychic types, Dark types, Pokémon with connections to psychics, any Pokémon whose species is related with the moon, and any Pokémon who just so happens to be related by blood to any of these 'special' Pokémon. However, these Pokémon aren't just some clan of Pokémon that somehow got along well, as a clan, these Pokémon are referred to as the Lunar Sightseers.

    The thing about Lunar Sightseers is that any Pokémon who has Sightseer blood nine times out of ten will have the ability to witness visions at night when focusing enough concentration at the moon. Hence the name, Lunar Sightseers. There were many different effects that a Lunar Sightseer had that differentiated them from other Pokémon. While the visions had several different complications that would be too much to explain all at once, they mainly give the envisioner a glimpse of the past, future, or the general present. However, visions aren't the only skills Sightseer blood enhance.

    The clan lived on for several years in this forest, with its two leaders, a Ninetales and an Absol, who both just so happened to be mates. With the former having special psychic abilities and connections and the latter having the special instinct to sense major happenings, the two ruled the clan fairly. After several years of other clan members having their offspring train to master the art of the vision, the Ninetales and Absol eventually bore a daughter of their own, a timid little Vulpix, and the clan rejoiced even more. Knowing that this Vulpix has qualities that both their leaders have, Ninetales and Absol knew that she had potential, in both battle power and Sightseer skills.

    However, a few years after the Vulpix's birth, something happened. One morning, while all the adult males were out searching for food rations, Absol arrived back much later than the others, empty pawed at that, and he arrived back crawling, his body covered in wounds. When he was asked what happened, he reported that he was suddenly ambushed, but by whom he could not identify. Absol was then rushed to the clan's nurses where they tried their hardest to patch up their leader, but his wounds ended up too overwhelming for them. Eventually, remorse swept the entire clan as Absol slowly started to pass, nothing anyone could do to help him. In his final words, Absol announced to the entire clan that he would like the clan to disband, and for everyone else to go back to their normal lives, as his last wish. However, Ninetales had something else in mind. She was too busy thinking about the clan's future to listen to Absol's words, so she didn't have any idea what was going on when everyone else suddenly left the next day after Absol's burial.

    Every other member of the clan left to their own lives as Absol said, and they kept their identity as former Sightseers a secret. Even the Sightseers that ended up with children kept their identity as Sightseers a secret, so the children ended up with no idea of the skills they inherited unless they somehow ended up discovering it on their own. However, Ninetales made sure that her daughter wouldn't forget about her role as a Lunar Sightseer. After all, Ninetales was too occupied with her thoughts about the clan's future to listen to Absol's last wish to disband the clan, so she devised a plan to bring the clan back together, and it involved having her daughter go through complete Sightseer training all at once so that the Vulpix might bring the clan back on her own one day. However, with every other clan member gone and being the only one left other than her mother, the Vulpix was the only one who could explain her father's last wish, but timid as she was, she couldn't bring herself to do it. Even as timid as she is, the Vulpix longed to travel the world, she developed an adventurous spirit from all the ancient myths and stories her parents used to tell her, and she longed to discover and explore, not just stay in one forest for the rest of her life. So, with the last thing her father owned which he had given to her attached to a string around her neck, the Relic Fragment which was apparently damaged during Absol's struggle against whoever ambushed him, the Vulpix ran away, in an attempt to both to escape from her mother and to follow her dreams.

    And, I'm pretty sure we all know what happened next.

    Sparks' POV

    "... I then came across Treasure Town, wanted to join the guild there… and… well, eventually I met Sparks and he helped me join the guild," Violet concludes, blushing at me with a smile. "And… and I guess that's the end of my part of the story…"

    "I… I guess that clears some things up…" I say. "Though I have one question… Does this have anything to do with the visions I've had?"

    "Um… I don't think I know the answer to that…" Violet responds.

    "Even I'm still somewhat unsure," Ninetales starts. "I happen to have the ability to identify a Sightseer when I use my psychic powers, and I was able to sense Sightseer energy from you, Chingling…"

    "Yeah, that clears things up," Chime chimes in. "I still know that I only had one vision in my entire life… and I forgot it already."

    "However, as for you, Shinx, I also sensed Sightseer energy," Ninetales continues. "However… this type of energy felt… slightly different…"

    "Well, I guess I have experienced several visions recently, but nothing to do with the moon or anything…" I say. "I got my visions from when I made contact with a Pokémon or object of importance… does this information help?"

    "Visions from objects?" Ninetales asks. "That might be a reason as to why your Sightseer energy felt different, but I don't remember seeing a single Shinx during the time when the clan was still active… and this type of envisioning is entirely new to me…"

    "Is… is there anything else you can say about that?" I ask.

    "Hmm… I do have one possible explanation…" Ninetales says. "Perhaps you were not born with this special Sightseer power, but a certain incident happened, and that incident involved you being of close contact to several other Sightseers… but an event such as that would've had to be extreme, and effects of that magnitude could cause serious brain damage, so I'm not sure…"

    "Brain damage?" Violet pipes in. "When I met Sparks, he had amnesia, so…"

    "Yes, that could be a possibility," Ninetales responds. "Though, that is the only information we can rely on at the moment, so it's the best we can go on."

    "Wait, what about me?" Chime suddenly asks. "If my fluency in teleportation and ability to witness visions have to do with my relation to the Sightseer clan, then how did I inherit them? I… I don't really remember anything about my parents… Nor do I have any memory whether I have parents at all…"

    "I'll make sure to look into that matter soon enough." Ninetales says.

    "Well, I'd normally be more concerned about this, but today I don't have a care in the world, so good luck with that," Chime responds. "Other than that, the electricity in these rocks is starting to get to me… And I'm getting bored again. I say we should be heading back now."

    I thought I was making the decisions around here.

    "Er… wait, just a little more time, please." Ninetales blurts out.

    "Yeah okay, I'll be waiting back at the clearing when you three finish your conversation," Chime says, starting to glow with teleportation energy. "See ya! And have fun walking without me!"

    And with that, Chime teleports away.

    "Thank Arceus for that," I say, sighing with relief. "He really gets on my nerves sometimes… being unpredictable and all… but I guess that's a plus as long as he's on our side."

    "So… Sparks? Should we be heading back too?" Violet asks me.

    I look up at the sky, its color a clear cloudless blue. It was still early, but I know that the Pokémon waiting for us won't wait forever.

    "I think we should head back." I reply.

    Violet then turns to face her mother. "What about you, Mom? What will you do?" She asks.

    "Well… I still have yet to find our house… That'll be my first priority." She answers.

    "You… you're not going to force me to come home with you?" Violet asks.

    "I… I'll be fine," Ninetales replies with a kind motherly smile. "This time… I want you to be happy, and even with Absol fine, I'll be okay alone… Now, what's important to me is your happiness, Violet. And I know for sure that you're in good paws."

    Ninetales then smiles towards me, and I smile back.

    "Do you… do you at least want Dad's artifact back?" Violet asks, putting her paw into her scarf and pulling out her Relic Fragment.

    "That? No, no, you keep it," Ninetales answers, refusing Violet's offer. "That stone is the last possession your father owned. It may have been slightly damaged from the day he was… ambushed… but he still believed from the day we met that the stone would serve an important purpose someday. And right now, you'd be best keeping it."

    "Well… if you say so." Violet says quietly, reattaching the Relic Fragment piece to her string and tucking it back into her scarf.

    "And Violet, one more thing." Ninetales says, walking closer to Violet. Violet then looks up to her mother, and she then gets wrapped in the embrace of her mother as she gets pulled into her fur.

    "You… you've really grown stronger, Violet," Ninetales says with a motherly tone, slightly tearing up. "You've followed your dreams, and that's what important. I know you'll continue to do great in the near future, and the last thing I would want you to do is give up… I know that even if you haven't used the full potential of your Sightseer powers, I know that you can do good. I know you can do better than me… And I'm proud of you, Violet. Very proud… I'm sure your father would be proud too…"

    I watch as Violet starts to tear up a little too, and I smile at this happy mother daughter relationship.

    Eventually, Ninetales releases Violet from her embrace, and then looks at me with a smile and says, "And Shinx, I know you mean well. You were willing to risk your life for Violet, and I respect that. Please, take care of her for me."

    "I promise." I say, smiling back.

    "So… I guess it's official now… we're officially a couple now, huh?" I say to her. "Does… does this mean I can call you my girlfriend now?"

    "Uh… 'girlfriend'?" Violet asks, astonished. "Never in my life have I thought someone would actually think of me as their girlfriend… It might be too much to take in, but… but I love you, Sparks, so I don't mind." She says, smiling at me with that smile I adore her for.

    I smile back, and from the corner of my eye I'm pretty sure Ninetales was smiling happily as well.

    "And I love you too." I say, smiling back, looking into her eyes.

    "If… if you don't mind, I'll be tagging along with you on the way back, for now." Ninetales says from behind us.

    "Sounds good to me." I reply.

    I then hold Violet's paw, and we walk back through the rocky electric pathway, enjoying the silent company of ourselves and Ninetales.

    It… it still is quite early in the morning today, yet so much has happened… And I'm glad it happened… Though… I guess my link to the Sightseers might have been too much to take in… but that's the exact same thing I said to Violet on the first day we met, and she didn't mind, both then and now, so I should do the same.

    The… the thought that now I'm officially in a relationship with Violet is still astonishing to me, but I don't care. I love her, and that's all that matters…

    That's who she is to me, my beloved companion who I finally don't have to hide my love for anymore.

    That, and she's part Absol, which I also like.

    Chapter 11 - Gummi Juice

    Near the top of Amp Plains, Skuntank's POV

    Pah! The hostile Pokémon here are pathetic!

    I swat a Minun away effortlessly with swipe of my Night Slash while my two cohorts follow me. I start to feel the static electricity in the area build up in my rough scruffy fur, but I quickly shake off the static electricity.

    This place better be worth it… I know that this is place is where the night told me to go to, but the electricity in this area is starting to irritate me…

    "Ya sure this place is the right place, boss?" Koffing asks from behind me. "I don't like it here… I'm starting to get a bad feeling about this place…"

    "I don't like this place either," I snap back, irritated. "However, I was told by the night yesterday that this is the place we need to go to, and mostly everything should go as planned as long as everything is ready…"

    "I still don't understand what you're talking about, boss," Koffing replies. "I'm just following your orders, ya know."

    "It's still a long story, but I can't be bothered to explain," I reply. "But about you two, are you ready?"

    "Er… I have the item that we found several months ago, why'd you ask me to bring it?" Zubat asks, wearing what looks like some sort of blue water tube on his head.

    "I told you two about the operation we're about to pull this morning! When we met back up in Treasure Town!" I lash out. "Okay, whatever. Zubat, you have the bait. Is the letter I asked you to write sent?"

    "Sent as you instructed, boss." Zubat answers.

    "And Koffing," I continue. "I was told that when we reach the top, we're going to have to do everything quickly. Be sure to ready that special gas of yours, and I'll ready mine, and we'll both unleash it on my signal, got it?"

    "Uh… will do, boss." Koffing replies uneasily.

    A cocky smile starts to form on my face.

    Perfect. Everything is going according to plan, like the vision instructed.

    Zubat has the weird item that my vision instructed us to have, the letter that the vision asked me to send is sent, Koffing and I are ready to unleash our special blinding gas when the time comes, and even though I never got to see what happened after that in my vision, I know for sure that things will get good after that.

    This time, instead of trying to take down that Shinx and Vulpix on our own, we'll have others do it for us.

    And this time, two other Pokémon are also going to receive a beating alongside that Shinx and Vulpix.

    Chaw haw haw!

    Somewhere in the grassy clearing, Chime's POV

    How long are those three going to talk to each other, anyway? What are Sparks and Violet doing, something romantic without me? This waiting is starting to get boring…

    Mmm… Rawst Berries…

    I have officially found my new favorite berry.

    Munching away at the Rawst Berries I've teleported away with me when I left Sparks and Violet with Ninetales, I levitate around the grassy clearing, bored out of my mind.

    "Someone… someone should really do something about that bush…" I say aloud, looking at a burnt down bush. During the few minutes that I've actually waited in this clearing where I found Sparks' unconscious body, that burnt down bush had never stopped bugging me. I don't know why, but there's just something about a charred black bush in a lush and flat clearing such as this which makes me feel uneasy…

    It's just a clearing, Chime… You're not claustrophobic, so there's nothing to worry about…

    Wait, where did I hear that word? Claustrophobic? I know what it means, but I'm pretty sure I don't remember where I learned that word.

    Wow, I am weird.

    I may be weird and sadistic, but I don't care.

    Back to something actually relevant other than who I am and what sort of weird words I have in my expansive vocabulary that I seldom ever use, I continue staring at the burned bush, its messiness continuously bugging me for some reason.

    Oh right… I sleep in a clearing, too. That's why this place makes me feel uneasy…

    That also explains why I'm not claustrophobic, either. If I was, then I wouldn't be getting much sleep, now would I?

    I have got to stop using that word.

    Managing to tear my eyes away from the bush, I suddenly hear a rustling in a nearby one.

    No one's going to ambush me this time!

    I psych myself up for whatever might pop out of the bush, my last two Rawst Berry missiles at the ready.

    The bush rustles even more, and I see a tuft of blue fur poke out.

    "Fire!" I cry out.

    I instinctively fire Rawst missile number one full force at the bush, only for it to weakly bounce off what I see to be Sparks.

    "Chime! What was that for? It's just us." Sparks says. Ninetales and Violet then walk out of the bush behind him.

    "Oh, I know. I was just bored." I reply. I then get Rawst missile number two and playfully wave it around, making my own sound effects as I slowly plummet it towards Sparks.

    "Whirrr-"

    Sparks then knocks it away with his paw, sending the berry rolling back to my feet.

    "-pbth."

    "Alright, so you three are back, have you finished? You were gone for quite a while," I then say. "After all, you three kept me waiting for a whole few minutes!"

    "We weren't gone for that long, don't be ridiculous," Sparks answers. "However, I guess you can say we're ready to head back."

    "So… we're here now, Mom, what will you do?" Violet asks.

    "There… there are still many things I have yet to learn about, particularly about you two, Sparks and Chime." Ninetales responds.

    Hey look, she got our names right!

    "And, of course, now that I know that the former Sightseers are still out there, I plan to look for some of them, but I have to head home first, that's my first priority," Ninetales continues. "However, that's where my first problem arises… I tend to get lost…"

    "Here, you can have this." Sparks says, taking the Wonder Map out of his bag and tossing it towards Ninetales, who catches it with telekinesis.

    "A map? But don't you need this?" Ninetales asks.

    "You'll need it more, it's terrible to get lost, after all," Sparks replies. "And besides, we can just buy another one."

    "Thank you, Sparks." Ninetales says with a smile, tucking the map into her fur.

    "Does… does this mean you're leaving now?" Violet asks.

    "Unfortunately, yes," Ninetales answers. "However, you needn't worry about me. After all, I know how to handle myself, and I don't have to worry about getting lost, either. I know you'll be alright without me, and you can definitely count on me returning to see you again, so I don't see a need to worry about that, either."

    "Well… okay… I still wish that things could've gone better when you came here… I wouldn't call this the best family reunion..." Violet says. "But… I'll still miss you, Mom…"

    "And I'll miss you too…" Ninetales says. The two then look into each other's eyes for a second, then they both turn away.

    "Well, hope things go well for you two! I'll be back soon, don't worry!" Ninetales says, waving goodbye and disappearing into a bush.

    "Looks like that's that," Sparks says. "Shall we be heading back now?"

    While most Pokémon who seem to know me might expect me to say something inconsiderate like I'd usually do, I actually did start to feel something inside of me while Ninetales and Violet were talking to each other.

    I… I wish I had caring parents like Violet does…

    I have feelings too, I'm not just one of those Pokémon who just doesn't care about anything.

    However, I'm not just going to expose my sensitive side right now for no reason.

    "Okay, so are we heading back or what?" I suggest.

    Near the crossroads, Crossroads, Sparks' POV

    "Chime! Chime, where are you?" I hear Chimecho's voice call out through the bushes Violet, Chime and I are walking through.

    "It's about time someone noticed I was gone." Chime says.

    We eventually find a clear light path and finally find a straight passageway to the crossroads.

    "I'm here!" Chime says, jumping out of the bush first. "You miss me or something?"

    Violet and I then come out of the bush as well, surprising Chimecho as well.

    "Chime! And Sparks and Violet too!" Chimecho exclaims. "What's with you three disappearing all of a sudden?"

    "It's quite a long story…" I answer.

    "Oh, my story isn't as long," Chime chimes in. "In fact, I can explain it in at least seven words."

    "So… what happened, Chime?" Chimecho asks.

    "I woke up, got bored, and left." He replies nonchalantly. "See? Seven words!"

    "Oh, Chime, why aren't I surprised?" Chimecho replies. "Chime, Chime, Chime, even after all of these years, you still haven't changed."

    Wait, 'even after all of these years'? Does Chimecho know Chime or something?

    Chime chuckles to himself for a second, then quickly snaps out of it and says, "I have no idea whether to take that as an insult or a compliment."

    "Anyways, the important thing is that we're back, did we miss anything?" I intervene. "Where's everyone else?"

    "Oh, right, while everyone else was in the guild, there some sort of visitor Pokémon that came, and apparently everyone else is obsessing over him," Chimecho explains. "I didn't really get to see what was so special about this certain visitor that made everybody obsess over him because I was looking for Chime, but now the three of you are here. How are your injuries holding up, Chime?"

    "Oh, that? I'm perfectly fine. And the Rawst Berries were delicious." Chime answers.

    "Anyways, I was about to head back into the guild to see what's the commotion with this visitor Pokémon, would you three like to come?" Chimecho offers.

    "Well, we were just about to head in as well, so of course we're going." I reply.

    "Yeah, I don't normally get permission to get into the guild, so special permission would be great," Chime says. "And I wanna see what's so special about this visitor too."

    "Okay, Chime, if you wanna come, you have to do something first," I respond. I then put a paw inside my Treasure Bag and pull out a small pouch of Poke. "Buy us a new Wonder Map first."

    "What? But why me?" Chime complains.

    "You are our recruit, aren't you? It's about time I gave out some orders, you know." I reply.

    "Oh, fine." Chime says. He then takes the pouch of Poke from my paw and teleports away.

    Violet and Chimecho then look at me with confused expressions, and I sigh.

    "Look, I don't hate him, don't get me wrong," I explain. "It's just that I don't want him to get too cocky around me, he is our recruit, after all…"

    "I… I know what you mean, but still," Violet says. "He may be recruit, but it wouldn't hurt to think of him as a friend…"

    "I… I guess you're right." I admit.

    Maybe… maybe it's about time I started warming up to that Chingling…

    One thing's for sure, he's definitely more than meets the eye, like he said.

    "Are you guys talking about me without me?" Chime suddenly says, teleporting back. "Oh, and don't think I didn't hear, either."

    "Wait, you were eavesdropping?" I ask him.

    "More like… overhearing, something like that," Chime answers. He then enlarges his eyes and changes. "HEH HEH HEH… CONSIDER ALL OF YOURSELVES LUCKY THAT I DON'T KNOW HOW TO READ MINDS OR USE TELEPATHY, OTHERWISE WE'D ALL BE IN TROUBLE."

    Violet and I take a startled step back from Chime's sudden change, but I notice that Chimecho seems completely unphased by this, surprisingly.

    "Anyways, no hard feelings, Sparks. I completely understand how you feel, I know… I know I'm not the most likable Pokémon," Chime continues. "Oh, and here's your map."

    Chime then hands me the map, and I put it into the Treasure Bag.

    "Thanks, Chime," I say with a smile. "Alright, shall we head in now?"

    Wigglytuff's Guild

    The four of us then head into the guild and head down the ladder to the third basement floor to be greeted by the familiar cacophony of the commotion of guild members.

    Wow, it really has been a long time since we've been here, it's surprising.

    We then find ourselves in the back of a large crowd of guild members, with Chatot, Wigglytuff, and some sort of Pokémon in the front.

    Chatot then starts waving his wings, catching everyone's attention and making some of them clear out, where we see that the visitor is apparently a Dusknoir.

    "A Dusknoir?" Violet asks. "I… I know I haven't seen a Dusknoir of any kind around here, but still, what's with all the attention?"

    "Oh my gosh, you don't know?" Sunflora asks, turning to face us. "This is the great Dusknoir! There have been rumours spreading that he suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and he's managed to explore countless mystery dungeons effortlessly, mostly on his own!"

    Now even more excited, Sunflora then heads back into the crowd of guild members.

    "Okay, okay, settle down, everyone!" Chatot suddenly exclaims. "I know that we're all excited, but please, I'm pretty sure Dusknoir didn't just come here to answer all your overwhelming autograph requests!"

    "Oh, I wouldn't mind giving out a few autographs," Dusknoir says modestly. "But back to the reason I've came here. I've heard from word around Treasure Town that your guild has recently went on an expedition into unknown and uncharted territory. Just out of curiosity, I would like to know if you found anything during your travels."

    "Nope! We didn't find anything at all!" Wigglytuff replies, surprisingly cheerful. "What findings? What are you talking about?"

    Well… so much for being subtle. At least no one is giving away our trip to Fogbound Lake. Uxie did tell us to keep our word.

    "So there wasn't anything significant that happened on your expedition?" Dusknoir responds, slightly disappointed. "That's… that's quite a shame."

    The four of us continue standing at the back of the crowd as they then continue to swarm Dusknoir.

    "I don't understand why that Dusknoir is getting so much attention, seems suspicious to me. Even I've managed to explore dungeons by myself, I still don't see what's so special about him." Chime says, unconvinced.

    "A Dusknoir appearing out of nowhere… clearing dungeons on his own?" I question, starting to get suspicious as well. "Chimecho, you wouldn't happen to know anything about Dusknoir, wouldn't you?"

    "Er… I have heard Sunflora gossip about many things, but I haven't really had much interest in mostly anything she's babbled about," Chimecho replies. "So I guess if all this excitement was caused by Sunflora's gossip, then I wouldn't know anything about it. She does tend to exaggerate. It's still surprising to me how Dusknoir's sudden appearance has made everyone else forget about the disappearance of you three. What was it that happened, anyway?"

    "We'd… we'd rather explain somewhere more quiet." I reply.

    Violet then glances at me with a surprised look, then looks at me as if there was something I said that she wished I didn't say.

    Did… did I do something wrong?

    "Well, are we heading outside or what?" Chime suddenly asks, pulling me out of my thoughts.

    "Oh, right, outside!" I blurt out. "Yeah, yeah, outside would be a better place to talk."

    Was… was it something I said?

    Back on the crossroads, Chime's POV

    Well, someone seems hesitant. And I wouldn't blame her, either.

    Here we find ourselves again, the crossroads, and I didn't even get to savor what was probably the only time I'll ever get being inside the guild, but I don't really mind. Other than that, Sparks explained the situation with Ninetales to Chimecho, while I let myself remain silent, and also notice Violet slowly trying to hide herself behind Sparks.

    "Wait, does this mean you two are in a relationship now?" Chimecho asks, amazed. "That's so cute!"

    Violet then tries to hide herself even more.

    "I… I guess we are," Sparks replies. "And this all just happened this morning, so it still surprises me."

    "Hey, just so you know, I found out Sparks liked Violet long before this happened." I interject, trying to become a part of the conversation.

    "Sure, Chime, what would you know about romance?" Chimecho says, sarcastic and unconvinced.

    I start thinking about my comeback for this question when I suddenly notice Sparks and Violet quietly snickering to themselves.

    "Okay, what's with your snickering?" I ask them.

    I then see Sparks and Violet whisper to themselves for a second, and then they turn to face us, amused.

    Okay, now I really am starting to get suspicious.

    "Well, it's just that, there's… some things we've noticed about you and Chimecho," Sparks says, smiling to himself. "We… we've noticed that you two seem to know each other in some way, so you two happen to be related in any way?"

    Hmm… The devious way Sparks is smiling and how he's questioning reminds me of something… But what…

    "You see, I've actually known Chimecho from years ago, and this isn't a lie," I answer. "Isn't that right, Chimecho?"

    I look behind me to see that Chimecho is distracted by something, distracted by a signpost of some sort, but then she quickly catches on to our conversation.

    "Oh? Right, I actually do know Chime from quite a long time ago, but that was many years ago when I was still a Chingling, and we're not related in any way at all, so I guess you could… I guess you could call us friends." Chimecho backs me up.

    Wait… she actually remembers me! That's… that's reassuring…

    "See? We know each other, but just to clear things up, we're not siblings or anything, even if we are of the same evolution line." I continue.

    Sparks and Violet then continue whispering amongst themselves some more, making me feel even more uneasy.

    "Okay, okay, that definitely clears up a few more things," Sparks says, his smile starting to make me feel even more uneasy. "But first, Chime, onto the good stuff. I have a question for you…"

    'Good stuff'? Why does this sound so familiar?

    Then it hits me.

    Oh wait. No….

    That sneaky, sneaky Shinx! He's trying to use the confession tactic I used on him against me! Okay, I need to find a way out of this. Think.

    I quickly glance behind me to see that Chimecho has once again been distracted by the signpost in the corner once again, and fortunately for me, unaware of Sparks' imminent question.

    Idea! Okay… no one is going to expect this… now to pull it off…

    Sure, I could just take the easy way out and teleport away, but that would be too easy and uninteresting, I want to do this the Chime way.

    I quickly concentrate psychic energy towards the inside of Wigglytuff's Guild, focus the energy on a chosen individual, and then concentrate where we are, the crossroads.

    Topic change tactic, go!

    In a brief flash of light, Dusknoir suddenly gets teleported in front of us, looking confused.

    "Oh look! Dusknoir's here, what a surprise!" I say.

    "It… it appears I am," Dusknoir says, looking around. "Hmm… And mere seconds ago I was just in the guild… How was it that I ended up here, anyway?"

    "We… we can explain…" Sparks says.

    Nice! Now's my chance!

    Noticing my opportunity, I sneak away.

    Sparks' POV

    "Wait, I recognize you three," Dusknoir suddenly says, eyeing all of us. "You three are part of the guild, aren't you? Have… have you taken me here to ask me for autographs?"

    "No, no, nothing like that," I say. "There's… there's been a misunderstanding."

    "Hmm… Very well, I've been done there anyways," Dusknoir says. "I still have yet to tour around Treasure Town's area, I'll be taking my leave now."

    Dusknoir then heads off towards Treasure Town's plaza, leaving only me, Violet, and Chimecho.

    "I guess I'll have to head back off too," Chimecho says. "Dusknoir's sudden disappearance must have caused some sort of panic among the guild members, someone needs to explain what happened. See you later, Sparks and Violet."

    "Later, Chimecho." Violet and I say as Chimecho heads off.

    I then look around the area for a second, I then notice a signpost.

    "Hey, was that signpost there before?" I ask Violet.

    "I… I think I remember a signpost there before… but I don't think this one is the same one as before," She replies. She then walks over to the singpost and reads it. "'Spinda's Cafe - Now Open'? Wait, I think I remember a singpost like that saying it was still under construction."

    I put that thought to my head for a second, and I smile as an idea forms in my head.

    "Now that I think about it… I think I remember a signpost saying something like that too… Well, since its

    "Wait, now?" Violet asks, surprised. "But, but… don't we have to head back to the guild too?"

    "I'm… I'm sure they wouldn't mind if we were gone for a little while," I say, smiling guiltlessly. "Maybe… maybe we could think of it as a… a date."

    "W-Wait, a date?" Violet asks, sounding even more surprised. "B-But… I… I don't know… I… I don't know if I'm ready…"

    The words suddenly strike me hard.

    "You… you're not ready? Was… was it something I said?" I ask, my smile immediately fading away. "Did… did I do something wrong?"

    "What? Sparks, no, no, nothing like that… No, no… I… It's…" Violet starts to stutter. "Well… I… I'm just shy of… making our relationship public, that's all…"

    "Oh… It's… it's not something else," I say, taking a sigh of relief. "Well, Violet, you don't have to worry. This… this is just going to be our first date, I never said anything about making it public. It's not like I'm going to announce it or anything."

    "Oh… I was overreacting again… I'm sorry I worried you…" Violet says, looking ashamed. "So… do you… do you still want to go to that date thing?"

    "Well… do you still want to go?" I ask her. "I mean, I wouldn't want to force you into something you don't want…"

    "It's okay, I'm fine." Violet says, smiling at me.

    Now reassured, I smile back at her as well. "That's good. Shall we go?" I insist, offering my paw to her.

    She looks at my paw, then back at me, then slowly but gratefully puts her paw in mine in response.

    Spinda's Cafe

    "Hellooo friends! Nice to see you here!" Spinda says, wobbling over to our table. "The table for two I see? Excellent choice! Now, may I interest you in our cafe's free drinks?"

    "Uh… yes, can we have one Yellow Gummi juice and one Red Gummi juice please?" I reply.

    "Ah yes, Gummi drinks, our cafe's specialty! Okay, I'll be back shortly with your drinks!" Spinda says, wobbling away.

    I nervously look over to Violet's side to see her nervously looking around as well, and I wouldn't blame her. Even I felt a bit nervous myself asking her to come here, and now that we really are here, I'm not exactly in the most confident position.

    However, rather than thinking about how nervous I am, I start thinking about how nervous Violet must be. I already know she's usually nervous as is, and she's even gone through so much recently, with the ordeal with her mother and all.

    And then I realize.

    That's… that's why I'm her boyfriend, after all… To support her… to help her… to be by her side… And I wouldn't mind doing all that for her, I love her after all…

    I knew that if I wanted to protect her, I need to make sure that I know as much as I can. And if there was anything I wanted to know more about, it would be the Lunar Sightseers, or rather, more about our connections to it. And who better to ask than the daughter of the Lunar Sightseers' former leader?

    "So Violet, is… is there anything more you can tell me about the Sightseers?" I ask, staring into her direction.

    "Wait, what? Where did that question come from?" Violet responds, surprised.

    "Well… I know that you've gone through a lot lately, especially with the Sightseers, and I want to be in the know next time an event like this happens," I explain. I then take Violet's paw in mine. "Next time something major happens, I don't want to be left out on anything. I care about you, and I don't want anything to happen to you, Violet."

    "I… I know… But… I didn't want to worry you, Sparks…" Violet replies, gazing down at the table. "That's why I didn't tell you… I didn't want to drag you into something I knew you couldn't handle… But I guess I couldn't stop you, and… that was a good thing?"

    I smile at her as a faint smile comes up on her face too.

    "So… do you want to talk now?" I ask her.

    "Okay," Violet says with a smile. "Well, all us Sightseers share a universal ability which lets us have us have visions when we stare at the moon, and with enough practice, our visions come more often and become more clear. However, I didn't bother trying to practice any part of the vision training, so I guess my Sightseer potential was transferred to my natural Pokémon attacks. As for you, I still don't know much about your abilities as a Sightseer, other than that your abilities are new to us Sightseers, but I'm pretty sure my mom is looking into that as we speak."

    "Interesting… didn't she also say Chime was involved with this as well?" I say.

    "I think she did… I wonder if he actually had any visions…" Violet says.

    "Oh, I have, but it was only one time, and I already forgot what it was."

    Violet and I then both jump with a start when we notice Chime sitting in a seat right next to us.

    "Chime! What are you doing here?!" I exclaim at him. "This… this is supposed to be a date!"

    "I'm Chime! I've been teleporting wherever I want since Arceus knows when, so expect me to be everywhere!" He proclaims proudly. He then pulls out what looks like a glass of Rawst Berry juice and takes a sip. "Oh, and you're supposed to call this a date? Please, this conversation does nothing to elevate your status as a relationship! Oh alright… I'm sorry. I'll leave now."

    Looking down gloomily, Chime then teleports away, Rawst Berry drink and all.

    "I… I wasn't too hard on him, was I?" I say.

    "I… I think you were… But I'm sure he'll be alright…" Violet says.

    "He is Chime, after all. There certainly is more to him than any of us think, that's for sure." I reply with a smile.

    "I suppose you're right." Violet replies, looking at me and smiling back.

    While we continue waiting for our drinks, I continue talking to Violet about several other different things, such as what she liked to do in the past, several other preferences, and other interests that we both found ourselves having a liking to. As we continue talking, I realize that I got much more used to bring around Violet, and I also felt myself get over the sudden nervousness I had when I realized that I actually am her boyfriend.

    "So all you did was stay inside your parents' house alone while all the other Pokémon were playing outside?" I ask her.

    "Well, I did say that I was too shy to socialize on my own back then, but it wasn't that bad staying by myself next to a window and a bowl of fresh berries at the ready." She continues.

    "You socialized with me, and look where you are now. But hey, you didn't eat too much berries during those times, right? I wouldn't want an overeating problem to mess with your agility." I say jokingly.

    "Don't worry, I know when to stop eating my batch of Sitrus Berries. I'm not even that much of a glutton at all," Violet says back to me with a smile. "And besides, my agility is just natural. You can do somersaults and backflips too if you tried hard enough."

    "Helloooo friends! I'm back with your drinks!" Spinda wobbles back to our table, carrying a metal tray with two glasses on it. She then puts the drinks right by us, a Yellow Gummi juice by me and a Red Gummi juice by Violet. "These juices are just the ones you asked for! And we added straws too, a favorite to the quadruped kind! Enjoy your drinks!"

    Spinda then wobbles away, leaving Violet and I to our beverages.

    I take a sip from my drink, and I watch in amazement when I see Violet quickly finish the red liquid in her glass.

    "Not much of a glutton?" I ask jokingly between sips.

    "It's Red Gummi juice, I can't help it. It is a favorite for Fire types, after all." Violet explains.

    "Well, my drink's good too. Want to try?" I say, sliding my glass over to Violet.

    "Okay then." She responds. I then watch her as she takes a sip from my drink's straw.

    "Your drink's good too," Violet says. She then looks at me with a puzzled expression. "Wait, what are you smiling at?"

    "Oh, nothing," I respond, smiling to myself. "It's just that I drank from that straw too."

    The realization hits Violet like a truck and she blushes heavily, trying to cover her face with her paws.

    I chuckle to myself, then notice two familiar Pokémon in a table in front of us. They then get off their chairs and walk towards us.

    "Violet, aren't those two Marill and Azurill?" I say.

    "Hey, Sparks! Hey, Violet!" Marill greets us, coming up to us. I notice that he seems to be holding a paper of some sort. "Have you two come here to have some free drinks too?"

    "Actually, Violet and I are here on a date," I say, answering for my blushing companion. "What brings you two here?"

    "Oh, it's great news!" Azurill says excitedly. "We received a letter that someone found our missing special item, and we came here to get some Apple Juices to celebrate before heading out!"

    "Wow, that really is nice! It's about time a stroke of luck came across you two," I say. "You know what, how about we escort you two outside?"

    "But… but we don't want to interrupt your date." Marill says.

    "No, no, it's okay, I'm fine with it." I say. I then look over at Violet and from the look in her eyes, I'm pretty sure she agrees with me as well.

    I'm… I'm pretty sure I've already made things awkward for us with the drinks…

    I probably messed up on this date...

    Author's POV

    As the four of them head up the stairs and out of the cafe, Sparks looks behind him to see that half finished Yellow Gummi juice on his table. He then quickly heads back down to the table, and after checking whether the coast is clear or not, finishes the drink through the straw.

    "You know you're not the only Pokémon here, riiiiight?" Spinda wobbles up to Sparks, surprising him.

    "Hey, I didn't want to waste a good drink." Sparks says, quickly heading back up the exit stairs.

    "Suuuure," Spinda says, unconvinced. "Hee hee hee, he definitely came back for the straw."

    Wigglytuff's Guild

    After sending Marill and Azurill off at the crossroads, Sparks and Violet then head back to the guild, just in time fo where they head down to the third basement floor to see that everyone is still panicking about Dusknoir's disappearance.

    "Everyone, everyone, settle down!" Chatot says, flapping his wings. They then do as follow, and get back into briefing position.

    And of course, it took a short date's time length for Chatot to calm everyone down with four words.

    "Now, everyone, I know you all might be panicking, but now there's no need to worry," Chatot announces. "Chimecho has informed me that Dusknoir has not been transported into a death dimension like some of you have speculated, it's all a big misunderstanding. You see, she's informed me that he's been teleported away, and is not hurt in any way, shape or form."

    Everyone then takes a sigh, calming back down.

    'Well, our timing is quite convenient.' Sparks thinks.

    "Ahem, now as for your duties for today," Chatot continues. "The Guildmaster and I have talked about it for a while, and we decided that since today's the first day we've came back from the expedition, we've decided that today will be a day off for you all. You are free to do as you want, but make sure you get back here before dinner! You are dismissed!"

    Crossroads

    "What do you think we should do now, Sparks?" Violet asks.

    "Hmm… A whole day to ourselves, what do we do?" Sparks looks thoughtful for a second. "Well… we could just relax somewhere, we could do a mission from one of the Job Notice Boards, we could try another shot at that date thing…"

    They then notice Marill walking around the crossroads wearing a worried expression.

    Deja vu.

    "Marill? Is something wrong?" Sparks asks him. "Wait, where's Azurill?"

    "Sparks! Violet!" Marill exclaims. "Um… I went to the place the letter asked us to go to, but the Electric types there quickly knocked me out! I think Azurill's still there, too!"

    "Oh no… Azurill might be in trouble!" Violet exclaims.

    Sparks quickly rummages through his Treasure Bag for a second.

    "We… we don't have much items, either. We forgot to resupply for the items used up in the expedition!" Sparks cries out.

    "Oh, don't worry, I got your back."

    Chime suddenly appears, levitating a bunch of berries and seeds around him.

    "Don't worry about where I got these items, either," Chime says, teleporting the items into Sparks' bag. "I decided I might as well help you resupply your items from the Kangaskhan Storage to make me feel useful. Your welcome."

    "Alright, Marill, so where did this letter tell you to go, anyway?" Sparks asks.

    "Uh… I think the letter said… wait, where is it?" Marill says, confused, staring at his now empty hand.

    "Oh, this letter is bad, very bad," Chime says, holding the letter in his hands. "Here, I'll read it… Or I'll just skim it…. Blah blah, missing water float found… come here if you want to get it… Yep, this letter is bad! There's even an evil laugh in the end and everything!"

    Sparks then snatches the paper from Chime and looks at it.

    "This letter says to go to Amp Plains!" Sparks says, stuffing the paper into the bag. "Come on, let's go! Don't worry Marill, we're going to find your brother, and also find this water float item!"

    The trio that is Team Fate then rush off hurriedly.

    "B-Be careful!" Marill calls out. "I… I know my brother can battle well, but I still don't think he can fight there alone…"

    Meanwhile, Dusknoir overhears the conversation between Team Fate and Marill and watches the three dash off.

    "Hmm… Quite peculiar for Pokémon like them to be heading to Amp Plains in such a hurry, especially the Shinx…" Dusknoir mutters to himself. He then looks thoughtful for a second, until something clicks in his mind. "Wait! A Shinx going to Amp Plains?! That… That's preposterous! That's suicide!"

    Dusknoir then levitates past Marill, following Team Fate at a slightly slower pace.

    Chapter 12 - Electricity

    Author's POV

    We interrupt the chapter before anything even happens for some exposition!

    Now, Amp Plains, the very place Team Fate is currently heading to, there's quite an interesting story about that place. Well, interesting among other things…

    This story takes place many years ago.

    And no, it has nothing to do with the Sightseers.

    So Amp Plains is a mystery dungeon, obviously. However, due to the perpetual thunderstorm raining above, an interesting effect has started to happen to most of the Electric type Pokémon there. Now as if Pokémon in mystery dungeons weren't already hostile enough (and let's be honest, hostile is just an overstatement, they're quite underwhelming) some of the Electric types in Amp Plains have become much more… aggressive due to the thunderstorm and have even become more savage.

    Now as for Amp Plains, a tribe consisting of Shinx, Luxio, and their leader Luxray eventually formed from this savage behaviour, and they ruled the mountain top of Amp Plains, and any other hostile Pokémon there feared their ruthlessness.

    But of course, this isn't Explorers of Darkness or Time, this is Explorers of Sky.

    Soon enough, another tribe formed, a huge colony of Electrike and their leader Manectric came together and formed the Manectric tribe, and they soon challenged the Luxray clan for control over the mountain top, and what came afterwards was a bloody massacre for the sake of conquer.

    Eventually, the Manectric clan proved superior over the Luxray clan through sheer number and power and killed off every one of them. Because of this, the Manectric clan also wiped every member of the Shinx line that still remained in Amp Plains out, making Shinx a rare sight around Treasure Town since they're technically extinct because of the Manectric clan.

    And that's not the end of it. Not only did the Manectric clan have savage behaviour, but their carnivorous instinct was also increased, so when all the Shinx, Luxio, and Luxray were dead and the mountaintop was littered with their corpses, the Manectric clan feasted on the carcasses, from fur to skin to bones. It is said that the skeletons can still be found at Amp Plains' mountain top, where the Manectric clan still wait for another foolish Shinx or any easy prey for that matter to tear to shreds and have for dinner.

    Yum.

    Amp Plains' entrance, Chime's POV

    I feel electricity coming from the ground and into me, the static gently trying to pull me down to the ground, but I manage to keep myself levitating.

    This… this electricity is surprisingly familiar.

    "Are you sure this is the right place, Sparks?" I ask. "I feel like we've been here before…"

    "This place feels familiar too, and I think I know why," Sparks answers, looking at the map. "According to the map, this place is where Amp Plains is supposed to be, but it's also right next to the mountainous terrain where we found Ninetales and Violet… What a coincidence."

    "I thought so, this electricity is bugging me… But I think I'll let it slide for now." I say, shaking off the static building up in my ropes.

    "I… I'm not the only one here feeling the electricity in the air, right?" Violet asks.

    "I guess I can feel it too, though I can barely tell, probably because I'm an Electric type," Sparks replies. "I don't know its effect on you two though."

    "One thing's for sure, it's bugging me, and I know it'll get more irritating as we go." I say.

    "Let's just hope Azurill is still fine in there… I have a bad feeling about this place." Violet says.

    For some reason… my psychic instincts are telling me that this place is bad news…

    Making our way up a few of the cave floors, I start to get bored.

    "Where's the battling? Where's all the hostile Pokémon?" I say, looking around the empty rooms and corridors.

    "The hostile Pokémon are not here for some reason… strange…" Sparks points out. "It's almost as if someone else came here before us…"

    "It sorta looks like it too… It even looks like a battle took place here recently," Violet says. I then look over to where she's pointing to see what looks like a slightly chipped rock as if something was thrown at it.

    Suddenly, my psychic instincts start to sense an incoming attack, and I quickly teleport out of the way just as a blue blur barely misses my head. I then see that the Pokémon who attempted to Bounce on me was an Azurill.

    "Hey, that attack was supposed to hit!" He says.

    "Excuse me, but you just up and tried to attack me for no reason!" I respond.

    "Oh, hey Sparks, hey Violet, what are you doing here?" Azurill asks, turning towards the other two and completely ignoring me.

    "Well, Marill told us that your lost item has been found, but he got kicked out of the dungeon with you still inside." Sparks explains.

    "Oh, that's why I haven't seen him!" Azurill says with realization. "I've always wondered why he can't take electric attacks as well as I can… It's not like there's many hostile Pokémon here either, it's as if someone else cleaned out the place."

    "The three of us came to look for you Azurill, and we also want to help you find your supposed 'lost item'." Sparks continues.

    "Wait, three?" Azurill asks, confused. He then glances back at me and back at Sparks and Violet. "Oh, that's why the Chingling I attacked was with you! Well, let's go then! That lost Water Float isn't going to find itself!"

    We then follow Azurill through the rest of the dungeon as he runs ahead.

    This kid sure is excited… How good is he at battling, anyway?

    A few minutes later, Author's POV

    Sparks, Violet, Chime and Azurill head up another set of stairs to be greeted by a large dead end room littered with large rocks.

    "Looks like this is the final room of the dungeon…" Sparks points out.

    "This room is really empty…" Chime says. "Knowing mystery dungeon logic, there's probably something awaiting us here…"

    "Hey look! There's my Water Float at the back of the room!" Azurill says. He then starts to run towards the blue object at the black of the room.

    Suddenly, the room darkens, surprising the four of them and stopping them in their tracks.

    "Who turned the lights out?" Azurill asks, taking a step back.

    "W-What's going on?" Violet asks nervously, inching closer to Sparks for comfort.

    Shortly after, the room lights back up with a flash of lightning, and the four suddenly find themselves encircled and surrounded by countless Electrike.

    "W-We're surrounded!" Violet exclaims.

    A Manectric then steps forward amongst the ocean of ferocious Electrike, eyes just as blood stricken as the Electrike's.

    "Looks like they have a leader." Chime points out.

    The Manectric growls as it inches closer, exposing its bloody fangs. The Electrike follow.

    "YOU… YOUR KIND HAS NO RIGHT TO BE HERE… WE MUST ELIMINATE…" Manectric growls threateningly.

    "Oh no… A-Are we going to have to fight?" Violet asks nervously, hesitantly getting into battle stance.

    "I know we can win this… even if we're outnumbered." Sparks rallies, thinking of a battle plan.

    "All these foes don't scare me!" Azurill says, bouncing with anticipation and excitement.

    "This should be interesting! Come at me with all you've got!" Chime says, staring down the row of Electrike in front of him and readying his ropes.

    The Electrike continue to slowly creep forward, awaiting Manectric's command to attack. They continue crawling forward ever so slowly, until the four find themselves backed up to each other.

    'Okay… this should work… I hope.' Sparks thinks, coming up with an idea. He then whispers something to Violet, Chime, and Azurill, who nod in response.

    "Everyone, jump now!" Sparks says.

    The sudden noise alerts Manectric to bark a command, making the front row of Electrike pounce forward, only to miss as Sparks, Violet, Chime and Azurill jump over their attack. Still in midair, Violet faces towards the ground and fires a Flamethrower, igniting it and clearing out the Electrike below as a few of them retreat.

    Carrying Sparks, Violet, and Azurill with his telekinesis, Chime levitates over the now even more furious Electrike.

    "I can't carry you guys forever," Chime says, struggling to keep the three of them afloat at once. "What's next?"

    "I got this!" Azurill says. He then fires a stream of Bubblebeam towards the ground, extinguishing the flames below and clearing out a bit more of the Electrike below them.

    Sparks and Violet jump back down to the ground safely. Chime, still midair, uses his ropes to swing Azurill around like a hose to hit as much Electrike with the Bubblebeam as possible.

    "Throw me!" Azurill says to Chime.

    Chime does as follows and spins Azurill around once before throwing the Normal Fairy type. With his tail pointed downwards, Azurill lands on the ground hard with a Slam attack, creating a small depression and sending several Electrike flying in the process.

    "Not bad." Chime says, joining Azurill.

    "Wow, guess Azurill really does know how to handle himself." Sparks remarks, watching on.

    The Shinx then gets tackled by an Electrike, and he shakes off the minor impact to see that three Electrike are starting to creep towards him. Sparks then responds with a Quick Attack and tosses another Electrike into another, pushing each of them back at once.

    With the coast now somewhat clear, Sparks looks around to see himself now surrounded by a few more Electrike, all of them seem ready to pounce. He then readies a shield, only for his electricity flow to immediately get sucked out of him and to the Electrike. Sparks then mentally scolds himself when he remembers the Electrike's Lightningrod Ability.

    'Looks like I can't use any electric attacks against them,' Sparks thinks, preparing to jump over the Electrike's pounce. 'But still… Why do I feel like that most of them are targeting me?'

    Meanwhile, an Electrike grabs Violet by the side a Bite attack and tosses her away, but she quickly regains control of herself midair and pounces at the Electrike with a Faint Attack, pushing it away.

    'I… I'm doing surprisingly well, for being on my own… Wow.' Violet realizes.

    Violet's thoughts suddenly get interrupted when she gets hit hard by a Quick Attack from another Electrike, sending her reeling to a nearby giant rock. The impact with the electric rock sends a painful electric jolt through the Vulpix, but she quickly shakes it off and manages to get back up.

    'Looks like I spoke too soon… At… at least something broke my impact,' Violet thinks to herself. 'Even… even if it was pointed… what was it, anyway?'

    Violet looks behind her to see what broke her impact only to gasp in shock when she sees the Luxio skeleton before her, with several little Shinx skeletons not too far from it, sending another painful chill down Violet's spine.

    'S-Skeletons? Oh… oh no…' Violet immediately realizes the situation, making her feel very uneasy.

    Managing to break free from being petrified in fear, Violet turns around to see that three more growling Electrike are starting to creep towards her. Regaining confidence, she fires a Flamethrower at them.

    Manectric watches on as his prey put up a surprisingly good fight against his Electrike lackeys. Knowing he can't just stand back and do nothing, Manectric decides to take matters into his own bloody paws, and knows exactly who to pick off first.

    Manectric barks another command to an Electrike, and they all start to swarm around and target Violet, Chime, and Azurill, leaving Sparks alone for Manectric to pick off himself.

    "Why… why did you try to attack us?" Sparks asks, taking a step back as Manectric steps closer.

    "YOU HAVE COME INTO THE WRONG TERRITORY, SHINX. ESPECIALLY FOR YOUR KIND," Manectric barks. "THERE IS NO ESCAPE FOR YOU NOW… WE WILL FINISH YOU AND YOUR COHORTS OFF AND FEAST!"

    'Feast? Is… is this Manectric going to eat us?' Sparks thinks.

    Manectric then attempts to pounce at Sparks, only for his target to jump out of the way.

    'I guess I don't have time to think about this… I have to fight!'

    Sparks tries to lunge at Manectric with a Quick Attack, but the much larger Electric type takes the attack easily and retaliates with a much more powerful Quick Attack, sending Sparks reeling backward. Not willing to let up his attack, Manectric dashes at Sparks and tosses him away with his fangs. Dodging another pounce from Manectric, Sparks then Bites into Manectric side, clinging Manectric as the large Electric canine desperately tries to shake Sparks off. Manectric then rams Sparks into the wall, sending a shock of pain through the Shinx as Sparks falls back to the ground, vulnerable.

    'Ugh… I can't hit him with any of my attacks… What do I do?' Sparks thinks, getting back up. As Manectric slowly creeps towards the cornered Shinx, Sparks suddenly gets an idea.

    With a paw trembling from pressure and fear, Sparks quickly pulls out the first seed he can find in the Treasure Bag.

    'This… this seed is my last hope…' Sparks thinks. 'I still don't know what it does… Guess there's only one way to find out.'

    Sparks stares at the Blinker Seed, a seed that causes blindness one way or another, and continues contemplating his next decision. He starts to put the Blinker Seed in his mouth when Manectric suddenly pounces at him, and due to his instinct to react, Sparks takes a startled jump back and throws the Blinker Seed at Manectric. The seed explodes as it hits Manectric in the face, blinding him as a black cloud of smoke blocks his face. Manectric struggles to wave the smoke cloud away, but his efforts only prove to be futile, leaving him vulnerable.

    'I guess that worked! Now's my chance!'

    Sparks then rushes past Manectric, managing to land a Quick Attack while doing so, then continues dealing blow by blow with Quick Attack by Quick Attack, slowly but surely reducing Manectric's stamina.

    'Alright, it shouldn't take too long to finish this!' Sparks thinks.

    The Shinx then takes a step back to get a running start, then rushes to headbutt Manectric head on. However, a violent lightning strike falls on Manectric, its magnitude sending Sparks reeling backward. With the smoke from the Blinker Seed now cleared away, a bright flash of light engulfs Manectric, almost in an evolution-like fashion.

    'What is this light? This… this can't be evolution, right?' Sparks thinks, starting to stand petrified in newfound fear. 'This isn't anything I would know of…'

    A purple aura starts to surround Manectric as several tiny rocks start to revolve around the glowing Electric type, and with another flash of bright light, the glow around Manectric disappears, revealing Manectric with different features. The yellow spiked fur on Manectric's back extends to go over Manectric's face, and he seems to have grown slightly in size, making Manectric's now even more intimidating presence freeze Sparks in his tracks.

    Oh look, Mega Evolution.

    Back to the battle, the now mega evolved Manectric pounces at the intimidated and vulnerable Sparks and grabs him by the side with his thunder cloak fangs, this time sinking the already blood-stained fangs deep into the unfortunate Shinx, making Sparks attempt to yell in pain as blood starts to drip uncontrollably, but all that came out was a bloody cough. However, Manectric doesn't let up his attack, and continues to bite into Sparks over and over, only making Sparks ever so weaker.

    "H-Help… Is… is this the end?" Sparks mutters, every word now very painful to speak due to the electric fangs paralyzing his insides.

    Manectric then tosses Sparks into the air, takes a step back, and as the vulnerable Shinx starts to fall back down, immediately cloaks himself with electricity and headbutts Sparks with the pointed end of his lightning bolt mane, launching the Shinx at the wall of electric rock with a violent full force Spark tackle.

    All Sparks could do was utter a forced yelp as the impact from the electric rock hits him hard as his vision goes dark.

    Violet's POV

    "Back! Back, you vile but short beasts, even if I don't have the right to call you short since I'm literally one-third of your height!" Chime exclaims, lashing row after row of Electrike away with his ropes. Azurill also pushes the rows of Electrike back with a Bubblebeam as I do the same with my Flamethrower attack. However, try as we must, the Electrike continue to swarm us, and we find ourselves backed into a wall.

    "We're cornered! What do we do?!" I ask, starting to panic.

    "I'm not sure either, all we can do is fight!" Chime answers, sending Electrike flying away with some sort of spinning whip attack.

    "Can't you teleport us out of here?" I ask, dodging a pouncing Electrike and retaliating with a Faint Attack.

    "There's too much going on here; I have to be focused to teleport, and I can't concentrate psychic energy that fast!" Chime replies. "I also can't seem to sense Sparks anymore, either! I think he needs help! He might still be fighting Manectric!"

    "But…I can't just leave you two here!" I exclaim.

    "We'll be fine here! Azurill and I can handle ourselves!" Chime says, tossing an Electrike into another.

    "He's right! Go, Sparks probably needs your help!" Azurill says, bashing Electrike around by swinging his tail.

    Before I could protest, I feel Chime's rope wrap itself around me and I find myself sailing through the air over the sea of Electrike. However, to my horror, I find that I'm soaring right at Manectric, except he looked… different.

    I then have flashbacks of stories my father used to tell me. My mom used to tell me legends and myths, but my father liked to tell me stories about a technique certain Pokémon could use.

    Oh no… That's… That's Mega Evolution, isn't it?

    I then remember that I'm still going to dive directly at Manectric due to Chime's throw. Regaining confidence, I ready a Faint Attack, tucking in my limbs to increase momentum.

    My attack collides with Mega Manectric and sends him reeling, and I land on the ground safely on all fours.

    Wait… where's Sparks?

    I look around for him, and to my horror, I notice something in the corner of my eye and hesitantly step towards the bloody pile of blue fur.

    "S-Sparks?"

    I start having flashbacks of the Shinx skeletons I saw earlier as I stare at Sparks, and what looks like open fang wounds on his torso pouring blood out.

    It… it can't actually be him, right? Right?

    No matter how I try to deny it, there's no denying that this Shinx is Sparks. Both the Treasure Bag and his Sky Blue Bow are there on him, all of them now stained red with blood, its stench nauseating me. I just stand there, paralyzed with a newfound fear as I feel my limbs tremble uncontrollably.

    I suddenly snap out of my terrified trance when I hear growling, then manage to tear my eyes away from Sparks to see Manectric growling, slowly creeping towards me.

    "SO YOU ARE A COHORT OF THE SHINX… HEH HEH HEH, HA HA HA!" Mega Manectric starts to laugh maniacally, his bloodshot eyes looking to the sky as he cackles. "HE BARELY STOOD A CHANCE AGAINST ME WITH HIS PATHETIC ATTACKS! AND AS FOR YOU, VULPIX, PREPARE TO DIE!"

    Manectric's intimidating words as well as Sparks' condition continue swarming my thoughts and my mind.

    "IT'S OVER FOR YOU NOW! AND SOON, WE SHALL FEAST ON ALL OF YOU!" Manectric cackles threateningly.

    I suddenly feel a burst of energy rush through me, then instead of taking a scared step back, I take a defiant step forward, and I start to feel the faint glow of my Relic Fragment resonating with Mega Manectric's powerful presence.

    I felt something inside of me… Something different, something I've never felt before in my entire life. Something that urged me to fight on, something that made me want to let loose, something that started building up to the point where I feel like I have to unleash it out on my adversaries, without having second thoughts about the consequences.

    Something that urged me to fight back and avenge, even if it means letting loose mercilessly. These emotions were rage.

    "You… you!" I lose control of myself, the rage inside me too much to describe in mere words, while tears roll down my eyes.

    Manectric tries to pounce at me, but I use Quick Attack speed to move out of the way, then use that speed to quickly tackle Manectric, pushing him back slightly. However, I don't let up, and with a speed that I've never run before, I repeatedly strike Manectric with dashing Quick Attacks, heavy Faint Attack blows, sending Manectric reeling to the wall.

    Manectric then growls angrily, then tries to lunge at me with a Quick Attack of his own, but I somersault over the attack. I then see Manectric following me into the air, but I summon an Imprison force which shoots out of the ground and grabs Manectric by the leg, then I make it slam Manectric on the ground, and continue to command it with my mind to flail Manectric back and forth, continuously slamming Manectric into the ground.

    "This is for Sparks!" I yell.

    I then shoot three more Imprison forces out of the ground, each of them grabbing Manectric by his other legs, pulling him back to the ground with a forceful impact. Taking a step back, I then dash forward with a Quick Attack, sending Manectric into the air with the impact of my increased speed, then do a short backflip, sending Manectric higher into the air with my Faint Attack infused tails. Manectric is now much higher in the air, and, with the last of my rage, I let loose a Flamethrower at Manectric, and instead of the normal orange Flamethrower beam, the fuel of my rage turns it into a white burning hot beam that engulfs Manectric.

    Shortly after, I pant, exhausted, and I start to feel dizzy and woozy, my vision going dark from fatigue for a second.

    Ugh… What happened?

    I snap back to consciousness immediately to find that I'm still in Amp Plains, tears streaming down my eyes, and I see Manectric badly burned and fainted., laying right in front of me, now back in his base form.

    Did… Did I do that?

    I suddenly feel a headache, pain that I recognize to be pain from using too much energy, and the recent memory of everything that happened in Amp Plains all comes back to me.

    Oh… Sparks…

    I then suddenly feel something touch my shoulder, and I jump back in surprise only to see that it was Chime and Azurill.

    "Violet, calm down! It's just us!" Chime says.

    "Oh thank Arceus…" I sigh with relief.

    "That battle you had against Manectric was awesome!" Azurill says excitedly. "You're battling was nothing like I've ever expected you to do before, and you even had a glowing thing in your scarf and everything! What's up with that?"

    Wait… in my scarf? My… my Relic Fragment?

    I look down into my scarf to see no glow.

    I… I could've sworn it started glowing a little during my battle… but then again, the only thing I remember is seeing Sparks, then everything after that just became vague memory…

    "It… it was probably was just some sparkling lightning effect from the rocks." I respond.

    "Oh, and is that Sparks? What happened to him?" Azurill asks cluelessly, looking past me and trying to peek at Sparks' body.

    "He… he's probably all right…" Chime says, looking at me with a solemn expression rather than at Azurill. He then quickly levitates Sparks and hides him behind me, clearly not wanting to scar the little Azurill for life.

    "Anyways, how about you two? What happened back there?" I ask, pointing towards the pile of fainted Electrike near a wall.

    "Oh that? It's nothing," Azurill scoffs. "You see, we were doing pretty well, clearing out tons of Electrike-"

    "We managed to dodge everything, but kept missing our attacks for some reason, and we soon found ourselves getting cornered." Chime corrects.

    "-Okay, we were getting cornered, but then a certain someone came in and wiped the floor with those Electrike!" Azurill continues. "He was even punching them and shooting ghostly orbs at them like an expert battler! You should've seen it!"

    "A certain someone?" I ask.

    "Yes, that would be me." A familiar voice says.

    My question is then answered as Dusknoir appears and comes up to us.

    "Dusknoir? Uh… What are you doing here?" I ask.

    "I came here as soon as possible when I heard you were going to Amp Plains, especially when I heard that there's a Shinx with you," Dusknoir explains. "This place has a dark backstory, and it's especially dangerous for Pokémon like the four of you to be here. I thought I could at least have come here to avert the crisis before anything major happened, but alas, it seems I might've been too late for the Shinx…"

    "It's… it's all right, you did what you could," I respond, hanging my head low as if I was the one to blame. "Anyways, Azurill, did you get your missing item?"

    "Yep! I went ahead and got it while you two were talking to each other. I have it right here!" Azurill says, wearing what seems like a blue water tube on his head, a special item I recognize to be a Water Float. "It was even here, just like the letter said!"

    "Well… that's good." I say, trying to think of something to keep me positive.

    "Now our business is done here. I do believe we should head back now that we've done what we needed and while the Electrike are still unconscious," Dusknoir says. "Does anyone have a fast way of travel out of here?"

    "I'll… I'll handle this." Chime says. I can hear the sadness and gloominess in his voice, as if he's starting to feel sad about Sparks too.

    A flash of light engulfs us, and the five of us, including Sparks, get teleported out of Amp Plains.

    Author's POV

    As soon as the five vanish from Amp Plains, Skuntank reveals himself from his hiding place behind a large rock, and slashes a nearby Shinx skull in frustration, breaking it into dusty pieces.

    "Argh, why didn't this plan work?!" Skuntank exclaims. "We even blinded the Manectric clan with our blinding gas so we can hide and everything! This is just stupid!"

    Zubat and Koffing nervously come out from behind the rock as well while Skuntank continues to slash at other Shinx skeletons.

    "How were we supposed to know that the Vulpix would somehow win against Manectric?! There were all supposed to receive a beating of a lifetime!" Skuntank rages.

    "Well, at least the Shinx got his share of the pain, boss." Zubat says.

    "And besides, why didn't we just ambush them when the battle was over?" Koffing asks. "Then we could've had the element of surprise and everything!"

    "You moron! They had Dusknoir with them, and I wouldn't want to try to fight them when they have someone with that much authority on their side!" Skuntank snaps. "These night visions are just stupid! It's all stupid! I hate it all!"

    Zubat and Koffing continue watching from the sidelines as Skuntank continues to destroy even more skeletons, cursing at the top of his lungs.

    "Should we uh… should we remind the boss that we're still in the territory of ferocious Electrike?" Koffing whispers to Zubat. "I… I wouldn't want them to wake up and attack us."

    "Er… Nah, maybe later," Zubat whispers back. "Sooner or later, he'll be back. He's our boss, after all. We may be dealing with uneven and surprising odds, but he's our boss, and that's not going to change. He always manages to come up with a new plan eventually, and I'm pretty sure this time's going to be no different."

    Crossroads, Violet's POV

    "Wow, you brought Azurill back and managed to get our Water Float back, too!" Marill thanks gratefully, now reunited with a happy Azurill. "Is there any way we can repay you?"

    As soon as we were teleported back to the crossroads, we find Marill there, apparently still waiting for us, while Chime levitates Sparks where the Azurill and Marill won't see him.

    "It's… it's nothing, really." I say. "You don't have to repay us, it… it…" I wince as I remember Sparks words, the very words he said back when we did our first mission. "It was the right thing to do." I continue.

    "But still, you've done so much for us. It was already enough that you've rescued Azurill from Drowzee, but now this!" Marill continues. "Please, there really needs to be a way we can repay you!"

    "No, no, it's okay. It's the thought that counts." I say.

    "Well, even if, thank you so much anyways, Violet! And… well… Give Sparks my thanks too, wherever he is!" Marill says, heading off with Azurill back to Treasure Town, still unaware about Sparks' current condition.

    "I'll… I'll be going to the guild; I'm going to see Chimecho. I'm sure she'll be able to help Sparks." Chime says, levitating Sparks out of his hiding place.

    "Yes, please do. Thank you, Chime." I say gratefully. "Today's been… quite eventful, and I appreciate your help."

    "Don't mention it, I'm just a recruit." Chime calls back, heading off towards the guild, leaving only me and Dusknoir at the crossroads.

    "Excuse me, but I heard that the Marill mentioned something about you being involved in some sort of Drowzee incident," Dusknoir suddenly says, apparently intrigued by something. "By any chance, was this Drowzee, perhaps, a high tier outlaw?"

    "Er… yes, if I remember correctly." I answer.

    "Hmm! My, my, that is quite the feat, I've heard about such a significant event via word on the wind through my travels," Dusknoir says. "It appears I've come across a stroke of luck when I decided to come to Treasure Town! Now, if it isn't too much trouble, I would like to speak to you about something. I believe I owe you an explanation about Amp Plains. If you'd like, in return you could ask me questions too, I've learned a lot as well from travels of my own."

    "Well, I guess I don't really have anything else to do at the moment, so sure." I say, my voice devoid of any enthusiasm due to the quick series of events that happened today.

    "Wonderful. Now, I would prefer it if we talked somewhere more private."

    Beach

    Shortly after I lead Dusknoir here upon his suggestion, and we find ourselves on the sand directly by the water, where he starts telling me the story of how aggressive some of the Electric types have become when exposed to the perpetual lightning storm there, and also the story of the two former clans that used to rule there.

    "...And due to these events, it would seem that Shinx have become a rare sighting around here because they're most likely extinct. Although, there is something strange that still baffles me… Shinx are a species that are pure Electric type, and pure Electric types are the types mainly affected by the lightning storm's exposure, why hasn't he become savage like the rest of the Electric type Pokémon there?" Dusknoir says.

    I think about that for a moment.

    So pure Electric type Pokémon get affected… But what if only those who are pure Electric type and also pure Pokémon get affected? Well, maybe Sparks being part human has something to do with it…

    "I'm starting to get interested, would you mind telling me more about your Shinx friend?" Dusknoir asks me.

    "Uh… Well… I met him here, on the beach, and it seems he just came out of nowhere… but other than that, he's had visions about certain stuff… Though I'm not one hundred percent sure of where his ability to witness visions came from…" I reply.

    Now that I think about it, how did Sparks get his ability to witness his special visions? I know my mom said it was partially due to Sightseer blood, but everything else is new to me…

    "He… had visions? You mean, he possessed an ability to witness visions?" Dusknoir asks, now even more intrigued. "Would you care to tell me more?"

    "Well, I don't know too much about it, but I do know that he gets a vision of the past or future when he touches a certain object of significance." I answer.

    "Hm… Peculiar. I do believe I've heard of such an ability before, and one exactly like it." Dusknoir says.

    "Wait, you do?"

    "I do indeed. You see, Vulpix, during my travels, I've heard about an ability exactly like this, and there are very few I've heard of who possess this ability," Dusknoir explains. "Just like you, I don't know too much about it or its origins, but what I do know about it is everything you've just said right now, which is remarkable. Well, the only other thing I've heard about this special ability that you haven't mentioned is the ability's name, and during my travels, I've heard that this ability has been named the Dimensional Scream."

    The Dimensional Scream… Wow, that really puts a new spin on the words 'Lunar Sightseer', no wonder Sparks' visions are different…

    But still, my mom did mention that Sparks is part Sightseer, so there's still that.

    "And one more thing," Dusknoir says to me. "I would like to know the name of your Shinx companion. Oh, where are my manners? Please, do introduce yourself too, Vulpix."

    "My name is Violet, and my… my partner, his name is Sparks." I respond.

    "Interesting…" Dusknoir replies strangely, looking deep in thought about something. "Well, thank you for the chat, Violet. Best of luck to both you, and your Shinx friend." Dusknoir then heads off and out of the beach, leaving me alone to sit under the dimming orange sky.

    I… I could've sworn I saw… a smile… or rather, a smirk on Dusknoir's face just before he left… This isn't the normal kind smile either, it felt… eerie…

    Maybe that's just me. How can I tell that a Pokémon with no mouth is smiling?

    I find myself sitting on the sand, gazing at the sky as it continues to darken. However, I didn't stay because of the sky, or the bubble blowing Krabby that weren't here, but because of the Pelipper I see flying through the sky, apparently in a hurry.

    "Strange, you don't usually see them flying around delivering mail that quickly at this hour," A voice says. I look around to see Chime levitating towards me. "Hey Violet. Looks like we're going to be receiving some big news tomorrow with all the Pelipper flocking the sky."

    "Hey Chime, how did everything go? What did Chimecho say? About Sparks?" I ask anxiously.

    I see his expression starts to droop. "Well… she said that his wounds are very severe, and that he has lost a lot of blood… But regardless, she's doing everything she can as we speak. And don't worry, Violet. Chimecho's the best nurse I know, and I do mean that when I say that."

    "I… I guess he… might still have a chance." I say blankly.

    "Hmm… Well, topic change. I'm still quite surprised about your battling back there with Manectric, I really am!" Chime praises.

    "I… I don't think I did that well… Even I don't remember that much at all about what I did during that fight." I reply.

    "That was a whole new you, Violet! I'm sure Sparks would've been proud if he saw your performance in battle back there." Chime responds.

    "Well… I guess you're right… Maybe I did do well…" I say, slightly flattered.

    Though… something tells me that I wouldn't have been able to win that battle if Sparks didn't… lose against Manectric...

    "I'm also surprised you're taking this event surprisingly well. You seemed to have… changed… and in a good way I mean," Chime says. "It's almost as if… you've gotten more confident, or maybe even braver, and that's quite a massive change from the Violet that I always used to see hiding behind Sparks."

    "I guess that's true too…" I say. "Wait, what about you? Where's the witty comment, or the unpredictable teleportation? I would've at least expected you to do more of that during this situation. Why are you being so kind? No offense, but this is quite different from the Chime that Sparks and I recruited."

    "Huh. So that's the image Sparks paints of me in your head," Chime remarks. "Well first off, none taken. Continuing on, sure, I can be quirky, or witty, but I can only be that for so long. I'm not even that sadistic, either. I wouldn't want people to think that I don't care, because I do care. I can be witty or as unpredictable as I want, but at some point I have to show that I care. After all, there is no worse feeling in the world than having someone you care about not care about you back… That makes sense, right?"

    "I guess you're right… Sorry for doubting you." I apologize.

    "No, no, please don't apologize. You really don't have anything to say sorry about, I'm the one who should be apologizing for everything I've done… All the times I stepped out of line, disturbed you, distracted you, became a nuisance… I really am sorry about that." Chime says, looking down gloomily.

    "That's… that's okay, Chime. I know that you care, and you're still a valuable friend to both me and Sparks." I say, trying to reassure him.

    "Well, thank Arceus for that," Chime says, his expression perking back up. "It's about time someone learned to appreciate me, am I right?"

    He's back.

    "Well, now I have a question for you, Chime. You're getting me curious. Who exactly in particular you care about?" I ask.

    "Good question… Let's see, I don't know too many other Pokémon, so I'm pretty sure it's just you, Sparks, and I do know Chimecho as a friend from many years ago, so I guess I care about her too."

    "I see…"

    "Well, it's getting late, and I haven't slept in my bed for ages because of the guild watch duty you gave me, so good night!" Chime says. I then look behind me to see him quickly levitate across the sand and jump into a bush. I then see his eyes peek out from an opening on the bush.

    "Don't tell anyone I'm here, okay?" I hear him whisper to me.

    "Good night, Chime!" I call out to him, responding with a smile. I then head back to the guild, with a newfound respect for the Chingling.

    Wigglytuff's Guild

    After eating dinner alone, I start heading through the hallway leading to the guild members' rooms, looking for the room at the end of the hallway that belonged to Sparks and I. On my way, I pass by the guild's emergency room, and through the slightly open door, I see Chimecho, hurriedly wrapping white bandages around Sparks, who seems to be laying on an elevated straw bed. I also see Sparks' Treasure Bag, Sky Blue Bow, and Explorer's Badge set aside on a nearby wooden table, now washed clean of the blood stains that used to be on it.

    "Please… Please don't die, Sparks…" I mutter sadly.

    I find myself laying down in my bed, curling up on my own. I glance at the straw bed next to me, empty.

    So much has happened today. The short lived reunion with my mom, Sparks and I confessing our love to each other, and now this…

    The realization of my loneliness ends up being too much for me, and I start sobbing.

    Sparks… please…. Don't die…

    I need you, Sparks…. I love you….

    I feel so alone without you….

    Chapter 13 - A Healing Wish

    A few days later, Violet's POV

    Things… things still haven't gotten better since that day…

    It turns out the Pelipper were delivering mail reporting several events of Time Gear thefts, and because the Time Gears were starting to become missing from their respective locations, several places around the region are freezing in time. They all seem to be taken by a single thief, but according to Chatot, Officer Magnezone has yet to identify the thief, so there was nothing we can do at the moment.

    "Now, while this does sound like an urgent problem, none of us have any information about this thief or their possible whereabouts, so unfortunately, there is nothing we can do at the moment," Chatot announced. "However, despite this, we won't let this get in the way of our duties! So as for your duties, you are to attend to your usual! Dismissed!"

    As Chatot said, I attended to the usual bulletin board jobs for the next few days. However, I had much more important things to worry about. Important to me, that is. Everyday after the morning briefing, I've been asking Chimecho about Sparks' condition.

    "His… his condition is still terrible… I'm honestly doing everything I can, but I don't know if he'll get better anytime soon…" Chimecho said to me today. Afterwards, she wobbles a bit, then starts to lean forward, but quickly regains her levitation.

    "Uh… Chimecho? Are you alright?" I asked.

    "It's nothing… You see, I've been staying up extra late tending to Sparks since he hasn't gotten better at all and well…" Chimecho replied. "Oh, and you don't have to worry about me… I'll… I'll just make a quick visit to Spinda's to get her to brew me some Chesto Berry juice and I'll be fine… But thanks for worrying about me though…"

    Well, after that… Chime and I have been doing jobs for the past few days… and… wait, what happened today?

    "Erm, are you alright? I've already lost count how many times you've almost tripped on a branch, and I thought I would've been the one tripping due to my condition." A voice suddenly snaps me out of my walking trance. I look around the area to see that I'm in a forest of some sort.

    "W-Where am I? What happened?" I ask, clueless. I continue looking around to see that the voice who spoke to me was the voice of what I recognize to be a short green and brown male Pokémon, squinting at me.

    "Uh… What happened again?" I ask. "Sorry, I… I've just got a lot on my mind…"

    "Well, your… 'recruit' is slightly ahead of us… and he seems to be having trouble in a sort of battle…" The Pokémon replies, squinting ahead. "I presume he's been waiting for you to back him up."

    "Oh…" I say. I then suddenly realize something. "Wait, who are you? I haven't seen Pokémon like you around Treasure Town… Have you come here from a faraway region?"

    "So it seems you have been that deep in your thoughts…" The Pokémon says, deep in thought. "Well, in case you forgot, I have indeed come here from a faraway region, but long story short, something went wrong with my… 'method of travel', and now I'm your client. Oh, I should probably tell you my name as well. I'm Macadamio the Chespin, or just Mac. I assume you're Violet?"

    "Er… yes, that's me," I reply.

    Immediately afterwards, I see get knocked back from something, reeling towards us.

    "Mac, stay back, this Exeggutor is really putting up a fight!" Chime says. He then turns around to see me. "Oh hey, Violet. Out of your trance of thoughts, I see. Care to lend a paw?"

    "Oh, right… sorry." I say.

    After easily taking out the Exeggutor Chime talked about, we find ourselves in a large grassy clearing.

    "Does… does every mystery dungeon have some sort of empty clearing?" I ask.

    "Yes. I myself have traveled through many a mystery dungeon, and trust me, they're everywhere," Chime replies, looking around. "Heck, I even sleep in one."

    "Ah, there it is!" Mac says, running towards a spot of the room. He then picks up an object and faces us, now wearing what looks like thin framed glasses.

    "So that's what you were looking for… Interesting. I was wondering about this 'unique object' you mentioned in your request paper." Chime remarks.

    "Actually I was also looking for… this." Macadamio then walks to another side of the room, into the bushes, and then comes out pulling what looks like a small red and white bird Pokémon, unconscious.

    "'This' or rather, 'he', is my method of travel," Mac introduces. "His name is Flaps, Flaps the Fletchling."

    The Fletchling instantly snaps back to consciousness upon the mention of his name.

    "H-Hey Mac! Are we going flying again?! Are we?!" Flaps says in an jittery voice. He then shakes out of Mac's grip and stands up to face us, twitching uncontrollably. "Oh look! Are those two Pokémon battling us?! Can I Tackle them?! Come on, let me Tackle them!"

    "No Flaps, these two helped us… Please excuse my companion… He's a bit messed up in the head," Mac explains. "Due to this, he tends to… crash whenever we travel, but this time, I've lost my glasses because of his crashing. Other than that, I appreciate your assistance getting me here. Your reward is back with the guild."

    "Well, good luck with your travels then!" I say.

    "Will do!" Mac then gets on Flaps, and after a running start, the Fletchling dashes towards a tree, runs up it, disappears into the tree's leaves, then reappears in the sky, soaring.

    "Looks like that's over with. Interesting for a Pokémon such as him to be around Treasure Town's region, wouldn't you agree?" Chime asks me.

    "Yeah, I guess you're right… He even came here much earlier than when Pokémon from other regions gather here…" I say.

    "But it'll still take a while before that event comes… Shall I teleport us out of here now?"

    Some more time later, Chime's POV

    "Any luck? With Sparks?" I ask.

    I wait for Violet on the crossroads to see her come out of the guild, looking worried.

    "Nothing… I asked Chimecho again, but Sparks still hasn't gotten any better… I'm starting to get even more worried.." Violet answers.

    "He'll get better; Chimecho is one of the best nurses I know, after all." I say, trying to reassure her. "Actually, she's the only nurse I know, but you get my point."

    Though… with no positive news on Sparks… I'd get worried too…

    "What if… what if he's dea-"

    "He isn't dead, don't worry," I cut Violet off. "He just needs time to get better, and I'm sure Chimecho is still working on it. Besides, if he were… dead… then Chimecho would've told you, right?"

    "I… I guess… But I just wish there was some way we could help, that's all…" Violet says, lowering her head.

    "Let's see," I start to think, digging into my mind for a possible idea. "Well, it's still too early to leave for dinner, what if… what if Ninetales knows something? Yeah, we could do that. We could head out again today, look for your mother, and maybe ask for at least some form of assistance."

    "Wait, my mom? But… but she isn't a nurse or anything, how can she help?" Violet asks.

    "Well, she's a Sightseer, isn't she? She also said that she'll be looking for answers, probably through the vision method or whatever, and what if she foresaw us asking her for help? Then we can find her, ask her for help, and… uh… profit!"

    "Uh… just find her and ask for help? That doesn't sound very simple; isn't that kind of a stretch?" Violet asks, sounding somewhat confused.

    "Yeah… Everything that I just said probably never happened… it sounded better when I first blankly thought about it in my head…" I admit. I then quickly regain my optimism. "But! Any help is good help, and we honestly have nothing else to do!"

    "Maybe… maybe you're right… But still, where can we find her?"

    "Hmm…"

    I didn't think this one too well…

    I start thinking, trying to come up with any idea of some sort, but nothing comes up.

    Darn, where's Sparks and his ideas when we need them?

    A gentle breeze blows by, relaxing me.

    Ah… this is nice. Now if only this gentle breeze had magical thinking powers or something…

    And then the breeze picks up a stray piece of paper and hurls it at me.

    Oh, of course it hits me in the face!

    "Agh, darn littering!" I remove the paper from my face.

    "Ch-Chime? Have… have you come up with an idea?" Violet asks me, startled by my sudden outburst.

    "Nah, it's just this paper," I say. I then glance at the words written on the paper. "It's not even old, either; it's Pelipper's news report on Treeshroud Forest's Time Gear theft which only happened a few days ago!"

    An idea suddenly strikes me.

    "Chime? Did an idea come up?" Violet asks, noticing my perking up.

    "Let's see, Ninetales did say that she'll be looking around for answers, so she's probably also caught up with Pelipper's news…" I say aloud. "I think I know where she could be."

    Treeshroud Forest, Author's POV

    "Hmm… So this is the aftermath of a Time Gear theft… At least, this must be the place, right?"

    Ninetales walks through Treeshroud Forest, glancing at the map, then starts looking around at the greyed out trees as her paws crunch on the blankly coloured grass and fallen leaves. The Fire type then tucks the map into her chest fur.

    She puts a paw to a nearby tree, stroking the grey bark. She then pokes at a leaf that froze mid-fall, only for the leaf to stir ever so slightly before freezing up again.

    "Peculiar… even frozen in time, this area still feels as if it's still alive, but at the same time, it feels dead… No, that doesn't make any sense, what am I saying?" Ninetales asks herself aloud. She then looks around to see if anyone is around, then sighs to herself in relief. "At least all the hostile Pokémon fled the area when it froze… I hope the emigration of hostile Pokémon doesn't cause a stir somewhere else…"

    She then walks through some bushes and comes across a large empty room, where she sees a large elevated pedestal.

    "It looks like this pedestal was used to contain an object of significance, probably the Time Gear the news told me about." Ninetales says. She then makes her eyes glow blue and scans the area.

    'I can't sense any recent Sightseer energy here, if there was, then the energy would remain here frozen in time if my hunch is correct. Looks like the thief wasn't a Sightseer…. Guess I can't get any information from this place…' Ninetales thinks to herself, concentrating around the area. '... Wait! I can sense fresh Sightseer energy!'

    Ninetales quickly turns around, expecting an ambush of some sort, only to see Violet and Chime coming out of a bush towards her.

    "Huh. Go figure. Looks like my hunch was right." Chime says blankly.

    "Chime… and Violet? What are you two doing here in a place like this?" Ninetales asks. "And… where's Sparks? Is he not with you, Violet?"

    "It's… it's a long story…" Violet says, lowering her head.

    And thus, the story of the situation at Amps Plain was told, up to the point to the battle with Manectric.

    "You… you weren't hurt? How did you manage to get away from Manectric?" Ninetales asks.

    "We… we didn't flee…" Violet answers. "We… we defeated Manectric."

    "Actually, Violet was the one who defeated Manectric," Chime corrects. "The rest of us were occupied, so Violet finished Manectric off on her own."

    Ninetales takes a step back in surprise. "What?! Violet, you weren't injured at all? How did you manage to defeat such an aggressive Pokémon on your own? You could've even gotten killed!"

    "I… I wasn't hurt at all, Mom," Violet responds. "Even I don't know or even remember much on how I won the fight… But I wasn't the only one who tried to fight Manectric. You see, Sparks tried to fight Manectric, and… he…" Violet cuts herself off, unwilling to speak of what happened afterwards.

    Ninetales takes Chime's and Violet's silence as bad news. "I… I see…"

    "Oh, it isn't all bad news," Chime says. "Sparks is currently under the hospitality of our guild's nurse, but we haven't received any good news… Well, at least he's not dead… yet…"

    "Mom… That's what we came here for… Please… do you know anything that can help us? Anything at all?" Violet asks, sounding desperate. She then starts to tear up, then runs to her mother and digs her face into her fur. "Please… Do you know anything that can help Sparks? I… I don't want to lose him…"

    "Oh no… she's tearing up again…" Chime says.

    "I… I'm afraid I can't help you at all at the moment… I'm sorry," Ninetales says with a motherly tone to Violet, looking down at her weeping daughter and stroking the little Vulpix's fur in a comforting fashion. "But I know he'll be okay soon… Violet, do you believe, with all your heart, that Sparks will live?"

    "Yes… Of course I do… I love him, Mom…" Violet replies weakly.

    "Then he will live, and I'm sure of it…" Ninetales says. "As long as you believe with all your heart that something is possible, there is always that being who will answer your plea for help and grant your wish…"

    "And this being can range from one Pokémon to another, and they will help one way or another…" Violet finishes, wiping her tears. "You… you always did tell me that many years ago…"

    "Indeed… However, right now, I don't seem to be of any assistance for this situation…" Ninetales continues. "But rest assured, I will continue to hope for Sparks' well being, and I hope you won't give up on hoping either, Violet…"

    "Thank you… thank you, Mom…" Violet says.

    "You're very welcome, Violet… I… I think you should head back now… I still need to investigate the rest of the area, if you don't mind…"

    "Oh… Sorry… I… I didn't realize…" Violet says, wiping off the rest of her tears and withdrawing from Ninetales.

    "No, it's alright. I understand," Ninetales says with a reassuring smile. "Now, off you go now. It took me a while to get here even with a map, and I'm sure that you don't want to head back to the guild late, since this place is somewhat far from Wigglytuff's Guild, according to the map… And from the looks of it, you two don't have a map…"

    "Oh… Well… it's because Sparks carries our supplies, but now they're all with our nurse," Violet answers. "I'll… I'll just leave now… Thank you for comforting me."

    Meanwhile, Chime watches on, a smile forming on his face when during the happy mother-daughter relationship before him.

    'I… I wish I had parents to comfort me…' Chime thinks. Memories of the past suddenly flash back in his mind. 'Where… where were my parents when I needed them? When… when I was alone…'

    Snapping out of his thoughts, Chime quickly hovers to the side as Violet quickly walks past him and back into a bush.

    "Wait, wait, Violet can't I just teleport us out of here?" Chime blurts, but the Vulpix was already out of earshot. "Well, there she goes…"

    "There she goes indeed… she tends to do that when she's sad, running off and whatnot," Ninetales says to Chime. "I should know."

    "You… you really did a good job comforting her; she always refused a Rawst Berry offer when I tried to get her out of her sulking," Chime says. "Nice to see someone other than Sparks cheer her up.

    "Well, I would do everything in my power to keep Violet happy now that I know my mistakes; I wouldn't want her to lose another loved one, after all… Oh, and of course she would refuse a Rawst Berry. She's allergic to them." Ninetales says.

    "Huh… I'll keep that in mind." Chime then turns away from Ninetales. ready to follow Violet.

    "Oh, and Chime, there's something I want to talk to you about, regarding Violet during her… battle yesterday." Ninetales suddenly says, making Chime turn back around.

    "Yes, what about it?"

    "Did… did you notice anything off about Violet?" Ninetales asks. "You said that she managed to defeat Manectric in a battle… That wasn't something I'd expect from her… Was anything about her… different during that battle?"

    "Um… Well, Sparks knows more about Violet than I do, but I was pretty sure Violet was more… aggressive than she usually was while she was fighting Manectric," Chime answers. "And… well… I'm pretty sure I saw something glowing inside that pink scarf of hers that she always wears… Then again, I kind of only got a few glances in since I was also busy battling off some Pokémon, and I didn't see that glow in her scarf anymore once the battle was over, so I'm not completely sure…"

    "Something… glowing in her scarf?" Ninetales asks.

    "Yeah… And from what I've heard from Sparks, she keeps an object called a Reli Fragment in there…"

    "Interesting… It never glowed when Absol showed it to me…" Ninetales mutters to herself. "Er… thank you for telling me, Chime."

    "Don't mention it. Well, I'm off now." Chime says, slowly levitating back to the bush Violet disappeared through.

    "Oh, and don't worry, Chime. I'm still looking for answers, and I'll be sure to look for your parents so that they can comfort you when you need it." Ninetales calls out to Chime.

    "Heh… Right." Chime says back.

    'Sneaky… sneaky… reading my mind when I don't expect it.' Chime thinks.

    "I heard that, Chime." Ninetales calls back as the Chingling disappears into the bushes as well.

    Ninetales then turns back to scanning the grey forest.

    'Hmm… It doesn't seem that this place has any further answers for me… Looks like I'll have to rely on Sightseer visions for any answers tonight; I just hope I'll actually get a vision, unlike yesterday…

    But still… I can't help but think about the Relic Fragment… glowing. This is nothing like Absol showed me…

    Ugh, I should stop thinking about this. I already have too many questions that I'm not getting any answers for.'

    Several hours later, Wigglytuff's Guild

    'I'm… I'm alone… again…'

    After being teleported out of the grey and now miserable place that is Treeshroud Forest, Violet parts ways with Chime once more, and after another dinner alone, Violet curls up on her bed.

    'All these days… All these days without Sparks… They've been dragging on… it's almost as if time has frozen… at least, that's how it feels like for me…'

    Violet stirs in her straw bed, starting to tear up for the umpteenth time.

    'I… I shouldn't be crying… Mom said that Sparks will get better… Just as long as I believe he will… I shouldn't give up…

    Maybe… maybe he will get better…

    Well, until then, looks like I'll be sleeping alone again…'

    The moonlight falls through the open window and onto Violet, the light shining onto her and her streaming tears. A shooting star dashes through the night sky.

    'Please… I just want Sparks to get healed…' Violet pleads in her mind, almost missing the shooting star. 'Please… I just want Sparks to get better… to get healed… that's all I wish for…'

    Even more hours later, Guild's Emergency Room

    Even more time has passed, and now every other member of the guild is asleep. Every member except Chimecho.

    A slightly drowsy Chimecho levitates back and forth around the emergency room, thinking. Sparks is still laying on a straw bed nearby, still not moving.

    'I… I've been trying to bring him back to consciousness for too many days now… to no avail… Come on, Chimecho, think!'

    Chimecho snaps back awake and continues thinking.

    'Let's see… his blood loss problem is now stabilized, his open fang wounds will heal soon enough on their own… He… he should normally be fine, right?

    Wait… no… his insides are still severely damaged and paralyzed… He can't wake up if his insides damaged and paralyzed… Guess those fang wounds were deeper than I thought…'

    Chimecho starts to panic.

    'I… I can't fix that problem! It's too severe, and I have no experience in surgery… But… but I can't just fail a patient!'

    The Psychic type continues to think, until an idea comes to her mind. Chimecho sighs.

    'I… I guess I have no choice…'

    Chimecho then takes a pencil and a note from a nearby drawer and starts to write on it.

    '... and I hope that my absence won't cause too much trouble, whoever is reading this. From, Chimecho.' Chimecho finishes writing. She then puts the note on a nearby desk, the same desk holding Sparks' possessions.

    Afterwards, Chimecho levitates to her own bed on the other side of the room. She then looks back at Sparks' motionless figure, and starts to concentrate.

    'This… this better work…'

    A light starts to engulf Chimecho, sucking all the energy out of the Psychic type, then this light comes over Sparks, and then vanishes.

    Chimecho groggily levitates to and fro, unable to remain conscious any longer. The Psychic type then blacks out and falls onto her bed.

    Chapter 14 - Forever

    Middle of the night, Ninetales' POV

    Damp. Dark. Rocky. Greyed out and frozen just like Treeshroud Forest. This is the cave I have found myself inside. However, I've gotten used to this. This isn't the first time I've slept in a cave for shelter, but that didn't stop me from wishing for a more cozy place to sleep.

    I wonder… I wonder if the house is still intact… It's been too long since I left it to find Violet… If only I could remember where it is…

    Shaking my thoughts away, I try to focus on my main objective for the night: getting a vision.

    I poke my head out of the cave where I see the moon glaring down at me. I concentrate my line of sight straight at the white orb in the dark blue night sky, hoping for a vision to appear.

    It shouldn't take too long now…

    And it indeed did not take too long. I suddenly get pulled out of my consciousness when my vision goes black, and black it stays.

    Okay… looks like it's one of these visions where I don't get to see anything… what can I make out of this?

    A voice suddenly speaks to me.

    'Listen carefully. I am a voice that has been calling out to fellow Sightseers for a while, guiding them. My identity, I cannot reveal, but you must still listen to me,' the voice echoes, sounding somewhat female. 'An event will soon come, and event that you will dread. What this event is, I cannot specify. You will, however, know it when it happens, but do not interfere, or else there will be… catastrophic anomalies. This might sound a bit much, but listen. I would tell you your instructions now, but I'm afraid I'm a bit busy now. I will not speak to you anymore until the event happens, and when it happens, I will speak to you every night to give you your next instructions. The fate of the future is important, and it will soon be your responsibility to prolong it. If you follow my instructions when the time comes, your loved one will be safe.'

    I snap out of my vision, exhausted by the barrage of information.

    P-Prolong the future?! I know that Sightseer visions can predict the future, but give instructions on how to prolong and potentially change it? This… this does sound a bit drastic… but if this voice was really a Sightseer, then I shouldn't have any doubts. A Sightseer's vision does have a chance to be false, but if another Sightseer is speaking throughout the vision, then it's guaranteed to be true, after all…

    And… protect a loved one? This… this does sound a bit suspicious… but if this event comes… whatever it is… I guess I can infer from this that Violet will need my help… And I'll do everything in my power to do that…

    But still… Violet can probably handle herself in battle; she's shown that. If… if only by following this vision I can protect Violet, whatever she needs protecting from, then I'll do it.

    Looks like I've got another responsibility. I would've liked it if I got more information as to why Absol's Relic Fragment was glowing with Violet yesterday, but I guess I can only wait.

    I shake my thoughts away, and I yawn.

    I've been staying up too late trying to get a vision… I should get some shut eye now…

    The next morning, Violet's POV

    "Follow me, Violet! It's this way!"

    "S-Sparks! Wait for me!"

    I run through the grassy plains after Sparks, the wind blowing through my fur as I try to catch up to him.

    "We're not far from it now! I can feel it!" I hear Sparks say.

    "W-Wait! Where are we going?" I call out to him, catching up.

    "You don't know? We're heading over there!" Sparks points towards a light in the distance.

    "What is that place?" I ask.

    He then turns to face me, looking straight at me with those eyes of his. "We're heading to our place, Violet. A place just for the two of us. Our forever."

    "Our… our forever?" I ask, my eyes locking with his.

    Sparks then quickly turns away from me, running back ahead.

    "We're almost there! Just jump!" He says.

    I still had too many questions, regarding Sparks unusual behaviour, this 'forever' place, but I didn't have time to ask. Quickly turning to face forward as I run, I see that the grassy plains come to a stop, a great wide pit approaching. I start to run faster and prepare to jump. The pit gets even closer, I start running at my fastest speed, then as soon as the edge approaches, I jump.

    Okay, Violet… Just… just don't look down…

    I feel the breeze brush past me as I continue to soar over the pit below me.

    After a quick moment of silence, I land back on the grass. I quickly glance behind me to cast a quick look at the pit, and see that it stretched on endlessly from where I jumped.

    Did… did I really jump that far? What is this place, anyway?

    I then remember this 'forever' place Sparks told me about, and I turn to face ahead. I am immediately amazed by the bright light ahead of me.

    Wow… is… is this forever? It's… it's amazing.

    There's just something about the light… as if there's a warm, comforting aura compelling me to step closer…

    Sparks… Sparks should see this…

    Wait, where's Sparks?

    "Violet! Help!"

    I quickly turn around at the sound of Sparks' voice to see him trying to jump over the pit, but I immediately notice something off.

    He… he didn't jump far enough! He's not gonna make it!

    I quickly rush over to the edge and reach out my paw to catch Sparks, then feel his paws grip mine as I try to pull him up. Stepping backward, I continue trying as hard as I can to pull Sparks up.

    It's… it's almost as if there's some sort of suction force coming from the pit!

    Eventually, I overcome this suction force and find myself tumbling backward onto the grassy plain.

    I shake off the recoil of the tumbling and look around for Sparks, but he's nowhere to be found.

    Sparks? Where… where is he? Didn't I pull him up with me? I… I can still feel his paw in my pa-

    I quickly step back in shock when I see what's in my paw.

    A detached bone of a Shinx's paw.

    Sparks' paw.

    I scream, throwing the bone away in shock, where it falls back down the pit. Then, realizing the situation, I slowly walk back to the edge of the grass and look down at the pit, where I'm greeted by another horrifying sight. A Shinx skeleton disappearing into the darkness.

    S-Sparks?! No!

    I feel myself tremble in place, terrified. I start to feel what used to be the grassy plain turn brown and crumble to black dirt, and I can feel a haunting aura coming from the light behind me, almost as if it's trying to ensnare me.

    I hear a voice call out to me threateningly.

    "This is your future, Violet. This future of darkness, this future of torture and nothingness, this is your future. You were doomed to suffer this future ever since you were born, and there's nothing you can do about it," the voice echoes, entering my head. "A future where you're alone, a future without any hope, a future without that Shinx…"

    "This is your forever."

    No! No!

    I continue to struggle, but I find my own fear and despair grip and petrify me. The darkness from behind me stretches towards me to form two giant hands, and they start to engulf me, the darkness consuming my entire body and min-

    "UP AND AT EM! IT'S MORNING!"

    The sudden booming voice of Loudred jerks me awake where I jump with a start. I quickly look around my surroundings, only to find that I'm on my straw bed, in my room in the guild. I let out a sigh of relief.

    It… it was just a nightmare… Thank Arceus…

    I look through the slightly opened door to my room to see Loudred rushing through the corridor, probably not wanting to be late for another one of Chatot's morning briefings.

    Well… looks like it's another day…

    Author's POV

    "Hmm… It seems the severity of the situation has gotten much worse… Even Fogbound Lake has had its Time Gear taken…" Chatot mutters to himself, reading through several of the papers he found in the mail.

    Wigglytuff, also at the front of the room with Chatot, inches to him and nudges him on the shoulder. "Uh… Chatot? Everyone is here already… They even woke up early like I did." He whispers.

    "Oh! Right, ahem!" Chatot says, handing the papers to Wigglytuff, who fumbles with the papers a bit before holding them properly.

    Chatot faces the crowd of guild members before him, all of them present, except for Sparks and Chimecho.

    "Now first off, some of you may have noticed that Chimecho is absent from today's assembly. However, you are not to worry!" Chatot announces. "Loudred found a letter in the emergency room where Chimecho was sleeping, and he delivered it to me immediately."

    Amongst the crowd, Loudred starts to wear a boastful expression at the mention of his name, while Violet seems to be interested by Chatot's announcement.

    'A… a letter?' She thinks.

    Wigglytuff fumbles with the stack of mail papers for a second before handing Chatot a small note of some sort. Chatot quickly skims it.

    "You see, according to Chimecho, her efforts to heal Sparks ended… not as fruitful as she'd hoped…" Chatot says, looking at the note. "Due to this, she used a move of hers to heal Sparks, a move that uses up a large amount of energy but greatly heals the target, a move called Healing Wish. Chimecho still needs about a full day to rest due to this, meaning she won't be able to participate in any of her duties today, but on the plus side, Sparks should be ready to go exploring again!"

    'He… he's alive…'

    Violet sighs to herself in relief and can't help but smile to herself as she feels tears of joy start to build up, as she remains completely unaware of the crowd of guild members cheering and applauding for her, who were also clearly worried for the Shinx too.

    "Now, now, everybody! I know you're all excited to hear about Sparks' recovery, but please let me continue!" Chatot says, flapping his wings. His flapping then causes Wigglytuff to drop the stack of papers, the mess floating all around the place.

    "You're picking those up this time," Wigglytuff says, glaring at Chatot. "Last time I checked, I'm the Guildmaster."

    'Oh dear, I've ticked him off…' Chatot thinks, startled. "Er… yes, Guildmaster! I'll get to it!"

    Chatot quickly gathers the papers back up into a stack, the sudden action silencing the crowd of guild members.

    "Er… Continuing on!" Chatot says, regaining his posture and laying the papers in a neat stack next to him. "Now, I would ask one of you to fill in for Chimecho, but I'm afraid that all of you guild members have your own assignments to deal with. As some of you might know, we have been receiving mail and alerts regarding Time Gear thefts, and lately the situation has been getting much, much worse. Much worse, in fact, to the point where the Guildmaster and I have decided that it's about time we do something about it!"

    "It's gotten much worse! These Time Gear thefts are getting out of hand!" Wigglytuff exclaims. "Even Fogbound Lake had its Time Gear stolen!"

    Wigglytuff's announcement about Fogbound Lake's Time Gear theft causes a commotion to rise up within the crowd of guild members.

    "Oh my gosh! What if it was one of us who spilled the beans about Fogbound Lake's Time Gear?" Sunflora asks. "That would mean one of us broke Uxie's promise!"

    "Does… does this mean FogBound Lake is frozen in time?" Violet asks aloud.

    "Hey hey! If Fogbound Lake is frozen in time, then what happened to Uxie?" Corphish asks.

    "Meh, I couldn't care any less." Croagunk scoffs.

    "Everyone, listen!" Wigglytuff shouts, silencing everyone. "I know that we might have doubts at the moment, but we must remain optimistic! As of now, we know that Uxie is currently under the safe hospitality of Officer Magnezone, so don't worry about him! Plus I know that none of you could've spilled the beans on Fogbound Lake's Time Gear, I gave a vow on behalf of my guild, after all!"

    Wigglytuff's announcement starts to calm down the doubts of the worried guild members slightly.

    "Now, from what we learned from the paper, we know that the thief who took Fogbound Lake's Time Gear is the same thief who took all the other Time Gears! Now, we have to make it up to Uxie for what happened to Fogbound Lake! Who's with me?!"

    Wigglytuff's rallying uplifts everyone, making everyone cheer with newfound excitement.

    'And this is why he's the Guildmaster.' Chatot thinks, who can't help but cheer as well.

    "Okay, Pokémon! Now, this is where your assignment of the day comes in. You see, according to Uxie in an interrogation from Officer Magnezone, there are still other places around Treasure Town's region that have Time Gears within them, but even with his extensive psychic power, he isn't sure whether or not these places still have these places still have their Time Gears. Nevertheless, Officer Magnezone, the Guildmaster, as well as I now have a list with places that might have Time Gears, or might just be places that are just regular mystery dungeons with no Time Gears at all… However, that doesn't stop us from at least attempting to look for them! The Guildmaster and I have selected a mystery dungeon for each of you to go to check if a Time Gear resides there. If a Time Gear does indeed reside there, you are to head back and report so we can inform Officer Magnezone! Are you all up for it?"

    Chatot's rallying psyches up the crowd of guild members even more.

    "We… we might actually be able to do this! For Uxie!" Violet cheers.

    "Yup yup! Now I really believe that we can get through this!" Bidoof rallies.

    "YEAH! WE CAN DO THIS!" Loudred yells.

    Chatot then starts waving his wings, signaling silence.

    "Shh! Quiet, all of you! We wouldn't want to wake up Chimecho, now would we?" Chatot says, making everyone fall silent. "Now, our next course of action. You are all to head outside to Treasure Town to prepare supplies, then come back here when you're ready for me to tell you where you're going. Remember, report back if you find a Time Gear so that we can inform Officer Magnezone! You are all dismissed for now!"

    Everyone then leaves to do as Chatot requested, that is, everyone except Violet.

    "Uh… Chatot? Earlier you said that Sparks might be able to go adventuring again…Where is he?" She asks.

    "Ah yes, Sparks! He should still be in the emergency room." Chatot answers.

    Violet's POV

    It should be this door right here…

    After the morning briefing with Chatot, I head back to the corridor and find the door to the guild's emergency room, to see the door closed shut.

    It wouldn't be locked… right?

    I lean my head forward and press my ear against the wooden door, listening. In response, I hear a familiar moaning from behind the door, and the soft sound of something falling against the door, making it move back slightly.

    I can't help but smile.

    He… he really is alive…

    Now knowing the door wasn't locked, I push it open and smile at what I see. With Sparks having bandages wrapped around his torso and legs, he tries to get back up from his straw bed, only to fall back down.

    "Ow…" Sparks groans. He then looks up to see me. "Oh… Hey, Violet. I… I didn't worry you too much, did I?"

    "You… you're alive!" I start to let out tears of joy. I then collapse onto him, sinking my face into his fur. "I…I missed you!"

    "I missed you too…" I hear Sparks say to me. The bittersweet feeling of hearing his comforting voice after so long just makes me even happier.

    "Are… are you feeling better now?" Sparks asks me. I withdraw my face from his fur and look at him straight in the eyes. I hesitate for a bit, then give him a quick kiss on the cheek, making us both blush slightly.

    "Yes… Just don't worry me like that again…" I say to him, smiling.

    Sparks smiles back at me and kisses me back on the cheek. "Well, that's good. My… my bandages still hurt."

    "S-Sorry!" I stammer, quickly getting back up at the realization.

    "It's… it's okay. I missed the feeling of your fur," He replies with a smile. He then tries to get up, but he falls back down again. "Ow… Can you help me back up?"

    I carefully hold one of his bandaged paws in mine and bring him back to all fours.

    "How did your legs get hurt, anyway? I thought you only suffered from fang wounds." I say to him.

    "Well, you see, when Manectric bit into me with his Thunder Fang, the electricity overwhelmed my insides and cripples my legs, paralyzing them… something like that… They're still a bit sore and hard to walk on now, but I'm sure they'll get better in due time," He explains as I help him put on his bow and badge. "While you're at it, Violet, do you mind helping me put on the Treasure Bag's strap?"

    "I'll be carrying it today," I say to him, putting the Treasure Bag's strap over my shoulder. "You're not carrying it, not in your condition. Er… well, if you're okay with this."

    "It's okay, I'll let you carry it if you want. So… tell me, what has my girlfriend been up to while I was gone?" He suddenly asks me, catching me with that smile of his. "How long was I gone, anyway?"

    "Er… you want me to tell you?" I ask, surprised.

    "Well, of course. You know… it's because being unconscious and all, I really missed you, Violet. I miss the sound of your voice, I want to be able to have a nice conversation with you again… you understand, right?"

    I take his words into consideration for a moment. For a second there, I started to understand what he meant. In fact, I feel the exact same way.

    "I guess I understand… Well, what do you want to know first?"

    "What will we be doing today? I heard what seemed like loud cheering from over here, so it must be something big."

    "Well, a lot has happened recently, so it might take a while to explain it all…"

    "I'm all ears."

    I smile back at him.

    After a while of explaining, it really did feel nice to speak to him again, and it stopped feeling weird and awkward for me. It felt nice. It felt like a weight was being lifted off of my shoulders now that Sparks is back. I can't help but continue smiling at the thought.

    "Hey, what are you smiling at?" Sparks asks me jokingly as we exit the guild. "Do I really look that weird while limping up a ladder?"

    "No… no, it's… it's just…" I wipe a tear of joy from my eye. "I really, really missed you too, Sparks, and I feel like I can't emphasize that enough… I love you, Sparks."

    He smiles back at me.

    Sparks wraps a paw around my neck as I help him walk due to his limp, but it almost feels like this was a gesture meant to comfort me rather than to assist him.

    "I love you too, Violet."

    I never thought I would hear those words again.

    Spinda's Cafe, Author's POV

    "One… one Chesto Berry juice please…" Chime says, barely staying awake as he tries to levitate over his wooden chair.

    "Chesto Berry juice? Brewed? Or shaken?" Spinda asks.

    "Brewed…" Chime responds drowsily. "I… I need something to perk me back up…"

    "Okay, one brewed up Chesto Berry drink coming right up!" Spinda says, wobbling away.

    Chime then falls over onto the wooden table with a thump, slightly dozing off.

    'Ugh… My psychic instincts wake me up early in the morning for what, exactly? Something about someone needing my help… saying I should go to the guild… I'll go; my psychic instincts have never failed me before, after all… Well, right after I perk myself up with some brewed up morning Chesto drink…'

    After getting his drink, Chime immediately finds himself full of energy and teleports out of the cafe to find Sparks and Violet.

    "Hey, Sparks! Nice to see you up and fine again!" Chime greets him.

    "Hey, Chime. Nice to see you too. Are you going to be heading with us?" Sparks asks.

    "Well, actually, my psychic instincts are telling me to say no…" Chime responds, sounding somewhat disappointed. "They're telling me that I have to go to the guild… something about helping someone… Is there anyone there who… uh… needs help? Assistance of any kind?"

    "Now that you say so… Chimecho is out for the day because she used up all her energy to heal Sparks… Something about using the move Healing Wish." Violet explains.

    Chime suddenly perks up. "Oh, then I guess I'd better go then! I'll have to fill in for Chimecho!" He says excitedly. He then pauses in realization. "Well… if that's okay with you two."

    Sparks and Violet look at each other for a short second, then look back at Chime and nod.

    "I guess we shouldn't be holding you back too much." Sparks says.

    "That's very thoughtful of you Chime." Violet adds.

    "Great! Don't worry, I'll be right back with you two after today!" The Chingling then levitates towards the direction of the guild, satisfied with himself.

    "So Violet, where are we heading?' Sparks asks. "What did Chatot say this morning briefing?"

    "Well… I haven't quite got to that part yet… He… he told me where we have to after the morning briefing before I went to get you," Violet responds, fishing the Wonder Map out of the Treasure Bag. "I'll explain the rest to you on the way there."

    With Violet assisting Sparks as the Shinx limps next to her, the two walk off.

    ?

    Meanwhile, in an unspecified location, a dark shadow lurks.

    'Almost… It was almost enough. Perfect,' The dark figure laughs eerily to himself. 'Now I know… if only I harnessed a little bit more power, and maybe made it harder to break out of, then I would've overcome her mind with the power of fear, and then have used her own potential against her… I'll strike again soon... That is, if I get another opportunity to strike…'

    The figure then looks around, as if checking if the coast is clear.

    'Strange… Am I not being pursued? My pursuer has been left behind for quite a while… Have I lost her? What could she be doing?'

    Then, a voice calls out, seemingly female towards the dark figure, snapping the Pokémon out of his thoughts.

    'Here she comes. I must continue to make haste.'

    The dark figure dashes away.

    Chapter 15 - Sand, Apples, Paper

    Northern Desert, Sparks' POV

    "So… during the days after the Manectric event… places have apparently had their Time Gears stolen, making them frozen in time, and right here we've come into this desert place to look for one? Did I get that right?" I ask as Violet and I walk through a sandy desert,heading down another sandy staircase. At this point, even though my paws are still somewhat sore, I find myself walking back on all fours with them on my own, but still unable to run on them properly. I've even started to feel the wounds heal themselves back up.

    "I… I think so…" Violet replies. She casts a quick glance at the map she's holding before putting it back into the Treasure Bag she's carrying.

    "So is that all I missed? So now I'm up to speed about everything?" I ask rhetorically. "Wow… Remind me never to pass out ever again. I'd rather not have to miss out on anything."

    "Agreed."

    "I still can't help but be impressed… You said that you defeated Manectric on your own. I wish I could've been there to see that!" I compliment her.

    "Well… I've gotten that a lot, but still… I don't think I would've been able to stand my own against Manectric if you hadn't… fainted," Violet says, hesitating for a second. "I… I don't know, it just felt like this… this burst of energy only activated when I saw you faint… Even I don't fully understand…"

    "So… you just wanted to protect me?" I ask. "You… you said that this 'burst of energy' only activated when I fainted… It sounds like something that would work like that, right?"

    Violet looks at me with a slightly disapproving expression.

    "Well… I guess I'm just pushing my luck at this point… I should apologize for leaving you alone for the past few days…" I say in shame.

    "No, Sparks, you don't have to apologize… It just happens, I understand," Violet replies. "It's just that a lot of things have happened lately and I feel like I'm the only who's still trying to take everything in…"

    "Don't worry, you're not alone… At least, not anymore…" I say to her. "Remember, I'll always be there for you, and in case something happens to me again, then I can count on you to be there for me, right?"

    "I… I guess you're right… Just don't go dying on me again, okay?" Violet asks, smiling back at me.

    "Just as long as you don't go dying on me, either." I say jokingly.

    Just then, a huge gust of wind blows sand at us, creating a dense sandstorm as the sand we're walking on starts to get deeper and more difficult to walk on.

    The violent sandstorm makes us both cough.

    "Oh no… a sandstorm…" Violet says, coughing uncontrollably. "Do we head back? It's… it's too strong…"

    I then slowly limp forward and put my paw on Violet's scarf, pushing it over her snout to protect her from the sandstorm.

    "Thanks… That was a good idea," Violet says, her voice slightly muffled. "But what about you? You don't have a scarf…"

    "Do you… *cough* do you mind handing me the map?"

    Violet does as told, and I use the map to cover my snout.

    "We can still head forward… There's no need to turn back." I say.

    Slowly but surely, Violet and I continue taking slow and lengthful steps through the sand, the violent sandstorm growing more intense to the point where we have to squint to prevent the sand getting into our eyes.

    Just then, through my squinting eyes, I see a gust of sandy wind form into a forceful sand hurricane and fly at us.

    "Violet, watch out!" I quickly push Violet out of the way of the sand hurricane, my legs giving way in the process as I roll through the sand.

    I then get back up on my paws and stand back up only to see a forceful gust of sand fly at me. I then quickly set up a Charge shield in front of me, but the sand phases through the electric barrier and pushes me back.

    My Charge shield can't stop this sand, what do I do?

    Picking up the map I dropped when I fell, I then look over to see Violet struggling to dodge more of the incoming sand gusts.

    "Sparks… What do we do? Why are there sand gusts?" Violet calls out to me.

    "I… I don't know! I'll… I'll think of something!" I call back.

    Come on, Sparks… Think of something… What can I use to block off this sand? It's violently swirling everywhere and pushing us back…

    An idea then comes to my mind.

    "Violet! Try your Flamethrower!" I call out into the dense sandstorm, ducking under a gust of sand whooshing past me.

    "But… but where do I aim it?" She asks, somersaulting over a gusty hurricane.

    "Forward! Just aim it ahead of you!"

    I then see an orange light form in the sandstorm area not too far from my squinting eyes, presumably Violet charging up her Flamethrower, then see the flames burst out and singe the sand. The heat of Violet's Flamethrower then solidifies the sand, turning it into a glass barrier. I then see the large glass shield fall into the ground, blocking any sandy gusts being blown at it.

    "It… it worked!" I say in triumph. I then walk over to the glass and manage to snap a piece off, resulting in me having a glass shard that's just the right size to carry with ease, while also being large enough to block any incoming sand gusts.

    "Here, Violet." I give the glass shield to Violet, who accepts it gratefully. I then snap off a glass shield of my own.

    "Whatever you did… it worked!" Violet says.

    "We… we should be able to move on now." I say, now able to put the map covering my snout back into Violet's Treasure Bag.

    Then, just as I say that, the violent sandstorm swirling around us starts to emit an aura, making us feel uneasy.

    "W-What's going on?" Violet asks.

    This aura then starts to feel like a telepathic aura, which suddenly picks us up, levitating us into the air.

    "Something's levitating us!" I exclaim.

    The telepathic force then sends us hurtling through the air, to which I then find myself face first into the sand.

    Well this is certainly a familiar scene…

    I then black out, my limbs freezing in place as my vision goes dark.

    A vision? Already?

    'This desert is known for having a powerful psychic here… I wouldn't want to come toe to toe against a psychic of that power, that's for sure,' A very vaguely familiar voice, the same voice I heard back during my vision during the expedition, calls out to me. 'If I ever had to deal with troublesome psychic forces, I'd rather cancel out their psychic force with a psychic force of my own, you know what I mean?'

    Shortly after, I get back up and look around to see that the sandstorm is gone, leaving nothing but the light desert breeze.

    Well that vision was short…

    Violet then gets up and walks over to me.

    "What… what happened?"

    "Something hurled us out… At least we're finally out of that dreaded sandstorm," I say to her. "I… I also experienced another vision."

    "So soon? What did you touch?"

    "I… don't know. It think itay have something to do with that sudden force hurling us." I reply.

    "Well, what did you see?"

    "I… I heard a voice… something telling me about a powerful psychic force in this desert, and something about another psychic force required to counter it…" I describe to her. "Or at least, that's what I understood… It was very vague…"

    "A psychic force required to counter this psychic force?" Violet questions. "Well… I don't think I can find my mom and get her to come here on quite short notice, so…"

    "I know. I guess we'll just have to wait until tomorrow since he's busy doing his deeds, filling in for Chimecho and everything." I say, obviously referring to Chime.

    "So that means we're heading back, right?" Violet asks. "I don't want this sand to mess up my fur…"

    "Well, I guess I can't say I know how you feel, but I wouldn't want sand building up in my fur either, and we also don't have anything else to do here at the moment, so let's head back," I suggest. "But let's make it a plan to come back here once we have Chime again; it feels like there's something significant in this place…"

    "Me too… but then again, it could just be a desert with killer climates…" Violet responds. A slight gust of sandy wind then brushes past her, making her shudder. "Let's… let's head back now, Sparks."

    Treasure Town's Plaza, Chime's POV

    How in the name of Arceus does Chimecho manage to deal with all of this?

    Errands, errands, errands. To the Kangaskhan Storage or the Kecleon Shop and back. And after I'd finish one errand, Chatot would give me another scrap of paper which would apparently be some sort of item reservation for Chimecho.

    Well, other than that, Chatot has told me that I've been making surprisingly good time quickly fetching the pouches of items. And I must admit, while it is exhausting and puts a massive strain on my psychic powers, teleporting back and forth from Treasure Town to the guild is a quite effective way to do errands like these.

    Ugh… I'm gonna need a long power nap to get over this teleportation overdose… It's giving me a headache…

    I levitate over to the Kecleon Shop to see the green and purple Kecleon brothers waiting for me.

    "Ah yes, Chimecho's fill in. We've been expecting you. Come here for the lunch batch of Gummis?" The green Kecleon greets me.

    "Oh, come on, you know what I want. Here's Chimecho's reservation letter." I say, tired from excessive teleportation. I then levitate over the scrap of paper Chatot assigned me to give.

    "Ah yes… Here's the pouch, filled to the brim with Apples and different coloured Gummis." The purple Kecleon says.

    "I suppose we'll expect you to come back here for dinner's batch?" The green Kecleon says, smiling as if he's amused.

    "Do you always greet Chimecho this tauntingly?" I say.

    "Oh, of course not. We're polite shopkeepers. We just thought we'd poke some fun since we're used to seeing Chimecho come by here everyday instead of a fill-in; I'm pretty sure Kangaskhan thinks so too," Purple Kecleon replies. "Plus, we thought that it'd leave quite a first impression on you, just in case you want to get used to your errands. Chimecho has steeled herself enough to hide her exhaustion unlike you, even though she doesn't rely on teleportation like you do."

    "Well, I hope I don't get stuck having to do this much work ever again… I'd rather go mystery dungeon exploring," I groan. "I'm only doing this job for a friend. Because I have those."

    As I turn away from the amused shopkeepers, I quickly teleport the bag of food back to the guild, then suddenly see Sparks and Violet by the Kangaskhan Storage booth.

    "Hey Sparks, Violet. Chatot told me you went exploring for Time Gears, whatever those are," I say to them. "What brings you two back so soon?"

    "Something… something threw us out, but I couldn't tell what," Sparks replies, Kangaskhan handing him some items. "We lost some of our items in the process… apparently the Treasure Bag's flap was open when we were thrown out."

    Violet then hands Sparks the Treasure Bag, and the latter manages to stuff all the items Kangaskhan gave him into it while putting the strap over his shoulder.

    "So you two got kicked out and lost some items? I guess that's typical and to be expected in mystery dungeons," I say. "Well, did you at least discover anything during your Time Gear search?"

    "Well… not much, but we're definitely going back there. I had a vision back there, so that desert's probably a place of significance." Sparks answers.

    The two then finish getting their items and greet Kangaskhan goodbye as she does the same in return.

    "A vision, huh? This is new. About time those Sightseer instincts started showing in you." I say.

    "He's been having these visions for quite a while, it's just that he's only been telling me about them since he hasn't had a chance to tell you about them in detail," Violet answers. "Right, Sparks?"

    "Right. We've also already reported to Chatot about our lack of findings, and then he told us that we might as well have the rest of the day off since my injuries might get worse if I go exploring for too long." Sparks says.

    "Wait, day off? Is Violet apart of this too?" I ask.

    She shrugs. "Well, I am one of the team leaders, so…"

    "Lucky you. Well, good to see that your injuries are getting better, at least, Sparks," I say, trying to remain optimistic. "I'm going to teleport back to the guild to see what else Chatot has planned for me now… I just hope no other guild member arrives so the lunch rations can be stored instead of me having to set a table."

    "Good luck with that; we'll try not to get in your way." Sparks says.

    "Well… thanks!" I say.

    And with that, teleport away I did.

    Violet's POV

    "So… where are we going now, Sparks?" I ask.

    "Let's see… well, I guess we could go for a little walk around Treasure Town… It's been a while since I actually got a good look around this place," He replies. "But what do you want to do, Violet?"

    "W-Wait, me?"

    "Yeah, I just don't want you to feel like I'm forcing you into anything, so what do you want to do, Violet?"

    "Sparks… I never did actually feel like you were forcing me into anything," I reply. I then ponder over his question for a moment. "But… since we have yet to eat anything for the day, I could go for a picnic… Maybe a place near a mystery dungeon where we can get some Apples would be nice."

    "All right," Sparks says with a smile. "Lunch picnic it is, then."

    Half an hour later, Apple Woods

    Despite Chatot's instructions not to go to a mystery dungeon, Sparks and I have managed to get through the mystery dungeon section of this area without much trouble because of my Fire type advantage.

    In the room with the big tree, I watch as Sparks takes a large sheet out of the Treasure Bag and lays it on the grass.

    "Okay, now all we need are some Apples…" Sparks points out. He then looks up at the big Perfect Apples tree, Perfect Apples lined across the branches "I wonder if there's an easier way to get those…"

    "I'll try something." I say. I then try to concentrate a bit of energy, then manage to summon an Imprison force which emerges from the ground, reaches up to the tree's branches, and plucks several of the Perfect Apples down one by one.

    "That's quite an interesting way to use the move Imprison," Sparks remarks. "Have you always knew that move? I've never really seen you use it at all."

    "Well… I have known this move for a while, but for some reason I never really get to control it properly unless in a… dire situation… I guess this is one of those rare situations where it actually does what I want it to do," I say. "It almost seems like it has a mind of its own." I say, shrugging.

    I then sit down on the sheet next to him as we eat the Perfect Apples.

    "This forest breeze is nice… I like this…" I remark, letting the breeze blow through my fur.

    Sparks finishes another Perfect Apple and tosses the core alongside the pile of the others. He then wraps a paw around me and pulls me closer to him.

    "Enjoying your picnic so far?" He says, smiling at me with that kind smile of his.

    "I am…" I reply, smiling back.

    "Good, at least I know I'm doing this picnic thing right," He replies. "They do it similar to how humans do it, right? If I remember correctly, there was a sheet on the grass and food involved, so is that how Pokémon do it too?"

    "Well, yes, but it's interesting to see that humans have picnics in a similar fashion," I respond. "By the way, now that you mention it, have you started to remember anything else about your human past?"

    "Hmm…" Sparks puts a paw to his chin and looks thoughtful for a moment. "Nope… I still don't remember anything else related to my human life other than that… Dimension Scream and how that's somewhat related to me being acquainted to a Sightseer… That's what you said Dusknoir called my visions, right? Dimensional Screams?"

    "He did call them that… Still, shame that you can't remember anything." I say.

    "Yeah, but it's been a long, long time since I actually remembered anything, but I guess I can't do anything about it." Sparks adds. We both then continue looking up at the sky, the bright blue slowly starting to fade as the clouds drift by.

    "I really like the view of the sky from here." I say aloud.

    "It's a good thing this place is one of those mystery dungeons without a Time Gear, huh?" Sparks says. "Well, those Perfect Apples got me stuffed. No wonder Wigglytuff loves them so much. Do you wanna head back now?"

    I continue looking up at the sky, enjoying the peaceful silence I have with Sparks, pondering over that one question.

    Wait… he's doing that 'not force me into anything' thing, right?

    "Okay. I think we should head back." I answer.

    "Alrighty then, I'll fix up the sheet blanket."

    As I get up and off the blanket, I help Sparks fold the sheet back neatly and put it back into the Treasure Bag.

    "Looks like that's that; we better head back and return this to Kangaskhan." Sparks says.

    "It was nice of her to let us borrow it free of charge when she heard about our lunch picnic." I add.

    Sparks' expression then shifts when he looks over my shoulder at something in the grass.

    "Was… was that paper always there?" He asks.

    I then turn around to see that there's a piece of paper on the grass, right on the exact spot where the picnic sheet was put. Curious, I walk over to the paper to get a closer look and pick it up.

    "It looks like one of those outlaw posters like the ones at the guild… except it looks like whoever wrote or drew this was in a hurry," I say, pointing out the crude handwriting and a rushed drawing of what looks to be a lizard-like Pokémon.

    "'Wanted criminal… Rank A… Goes by Grovyle,'" I read. "'Crime committed: Responsible for the thefts of…'" My eyes widen in shock at what I see. "'...several Time Gears'?!"

    "Responsible for stealing Time Gears?! Wait, let me see!" Sparks insists.

    Sparks' POV

    Violet hands the paper to me as I say. I then cast a good look at the paper, taking in all the crude details.

    It really does look like this was rushed… Though there's something about this Grovyle character that's striking me… but what?

    Just then, as if on cue, my limbs suddenly freeze in place and I black out, only half unconscious.

    Two visions in one day… this Dimensional Scream is really starting to want to show itself more often…

    I am greeted with a scene that takes place at a forest, the blinding darkness indicating nighttime. I see a dark figure dashing through the forest, running as if its being pursued by someone. Then, a green figure who's also running bumps into the dark figure, but quickly pushes it away and they both continue running separate ways.

    "Outta my way!" I hear the green figure say.

    The first thing I notice about the green figure is the bag he's carrying, familiar blue glows emutting from it.

    Are those… Time Gears? That must be Grovyle!

    Afterwards, I see the blaring lights of red and blue chasing Grovyle, and I see that Officer Magnezone and a Magneton are Grovyle's pursuers.

    "DEPUTY MAGNETON! HAVE YOU GOTTEN A GOOD SKETCH OF GROVYLE YET?" Magnezone beeps as the two continue after Grovyle.

    "I… I HAVE GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS…" Deputy Magneton beeps back, fumbling with what seems to be a metallic pencil in his magnets. "THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT I HAVE MANAGED TO GET A GOOD ENOUGH LOOK AT THE CULPRIT TO MAKE AT LEAST A RECOGNIZABLE SKETCH OF HIM, BUT THE BAD NEWS IS… IN OUR HURRY TO CHASE AND GET A BETTER LOOK AT GROVYLE, I… DROPPED THE PAPER."

    Magnezone then stops, looking disappointed.

    "MAGNETON, WE SPENT THIS TIME TRACKING DOWN THE THIEF SO THAT WE COULD VERIFY THE TIME GEAR THIEF AS SOON AS POSSIBLE ONLY TO HAVE YOUR CLUMSY MAGNETS DROP THE ONLY PAPER WE PREPARED FOR THIS OPERATION?!" Magnezone beeps angrily. "THIS COULD BE OUR ONLY CHANCE TO TRACK DOWN THIS EVASIVE CRIMINAL, YOU STACK OF BOLTS!"

    "ER… WELL, WHEN WE GET BACK TO HEADQUARTERS, I CAN AT LEAST MAKE A BETTER SKETCH…" Magneton beeps nervously. "AND AT LEAST NOW WE CAN VERIFY WHO THE TIME GEAR THIEF IS."

    "FINE, MAGNETON. I SUPPOSE WE'VE DONE ALL WE CAN… I CAN'T STAND CHASING CRIMINALS WHO ARE THAT QUICK… BUT NEXT TIME, REMIND ME TO HIRE A SMEARGLE FOR THESE TYPES OF MISSIONS."

    "Y-YES, OFFICER."

    Well this is certainly an interesting series of events… I think, amused.

    Just then, I snap back to reality, when I realize that I'm still holding Magneton's dropped paper in my paw.

    "Sparks? You… you looked like you blacked out for a second… Did you-"

    "Yeah… I had another vision."

    Afterwards, Author's POV

    After Sparks explains his vision to Violet, the two head back to Treasure Town to return the sheet Kangaskhan lent them, then to Wigglytuff's Guild to report to Chatot about the paper.

    "Hmm… Quite an interesting finding, you two." Chatot remarks, holding the paper in his wings.

    Wigglytuff then looks over Chatot's shoulder to glance at the paper, then chuckles to himself.

    "Hee hee! I can draw better than that!" He says childishly.

    "The timing of your finding is… quite convenient, actually," Chatot continues, ignoring Wigglytuff's comment. "You two said that this paper used to be in Officer Magnezone's possession, and just before you came here, the officer himself arrived to inform me about his deputy messing up on a sketch of the Time Gear thief and will be sending us the posters once they're finished."

    "That really is quite convenient." Sparks remarks.

    "It was quite unusual too… Other than his deputy, there was a Smeargle with him…" Chatot adds. "But that's besides the point. I'll make sure to discuss this paper with Officer Magnezone next time I get the chance. Now, off to dinner with you two! The Guildmaster and I have already decided to eat dinner early, and I must say that that recruit of yours did excellent work!"

    "Wait, dinner? Is it evening already?" Violet asks.

    "Looks like we were gone longer than we thought…" Sparks whispers to her. "Well, let's see what Chime prepared for us."

    At the dinner table, Sparks and Violet find themselves alone seeing as the large table meant to be for all the guild members is lined with empty plates. They then notice that other than the usual bowl of Gummis and Apples at their spots, there's also one Gummi drink for their respective types.

    "Wow, Yellow Gummi juice. Chime really did work hard on this." Sparks says, eating a Yellow Gummi and taking a sip from the drink.

    As the two continue eating, a sleepy Chimecho slowly levitates over to her seat, trying not to pass out in the process.

    "Hey Chimecho. Are you feeling better now?" Sparks asks.

    "Oh… Hey Sparks, hey Violet… I… I'm still very tired… but I'm sure I'll be able to resume my normal duties…" She replies.

    "Chimecho, thank you… You were the one who used Healing Wish to help Sparks… I'm really thankful for that." Violet says gratefully.

    "It's… it's nothing… That move takes a lot out of me, but that's just a day in the life of this nurse… I'm sure I'll be back to normal after some brewed up Chesto Berry drink…" Chimecho says. "I just hope my duties didn't end up too unorganized in my absence…"

    "Actually, Chime filled in for you, so you don't have to worry." Sparks says.

    "Wait, really?" Chimecho asks, slightly perking up.

    "He did. Chatot told me he was already dismissed, but Chime even prepared drinks for us for dinner," Violet replies, also pointing out the two drinks on Chimecho's spot of the table. "He must've thought ahead of time and even prepared a Chesto Berry drink for you."

    "Wow… Looks like I'll have to think of a way to thank him…"

    Shortly after, the three finish their dinner and head off to bed.

    Sparks lays down in his bed, Violet laying down next to him as they both inch closer to each other. With his bandages now off and his wounds now minor, Sparks wraps a paw around Violet and pulls her closer to him.

    "I… I missed this… Thank you…" Violet says, snuggling into Sparks' fur.

    "You must've been so lonely without me, huh?" Sparks asks.

    "I… I was… I even had a nightmare about you once…" Violet replies.

    "Now you don't have to worry, Violet… You don't have to be scared anymore… Everything is going to be all right…"

    Comforted by Sparks words and loving embrace, Violet finds herself doze off peacefully. Sparks then looks over the Vulpix's sleeping form, deep in thought.

    'Well, looks like a lot has happened to me today… And I thought that enough has already happened on the day I fell to Manectric…' Sparks thinks. 'Now Time Gears are starting to get stolen, and I even had two visions in one day… There's still something about the Grovyle on that wanted poster that strikes me as odd… This is too much to think about. I should just focus on remembering to bring Chime with us to Northern Desert tomorrow.'

    Snapping out of his thoughts, Sparks looks over Violet, sound asleep in his embrace, then kisses her on the cheek before falling asleep.

    "Good night, Violet…"

    Chapter 16 - Frozen Emotionless Desert

    The next day, Sparks' POV

    As it turns out, our Time Gear search group wasn't the only one to end up with unsuccessful findings. Because of this result, Chatot decided to have us search wherever we want for Time Gears this time, so back to Northern Desert it was for Violet and I, except Chime's coming with us this time.

    Alright, let's hope things go better this time around… I don't want to get kicked out again…

    "So… apparently Sparks' vision told of a 'psychic force' that needed to be brought here, and I somehow qualify as this psychic force that you need?" Chime asks, levitating over the sand as he follows Violet and I.

    "Well, there was also my mom, but you were the first one to come to mind." Violet answers.

    "Looks like that's another 'catching up' explanation done at this desert… In a way, it almost seems like as much as a coincidence as me having two visions like yesterday…" I remark.

    It almost makes me feel like they're connected somehow…

    "Wait, you had a second vision?" Chime asks. "Huh… I only had one so far, and that was before I knew about the Sightseers. Looks like I better step up my game."

    "Whoa, whoa, now you're making this sound like a competition?" I respond, half-joking.

    "Hey, I have to be good at something." He says, joking back.

    I hear Violet giggle a bit at our little argument, amused.

    "Now, now you two, let's not start a fight. We're about to head into the more dangerous part of this mystery dungeon." She says.

    "Dangerous? Well, about time!" Chime says. "I've been wondering where all the hostile Pokémon are."

    "Well, not dangerous in that fashion. Just prepare your ropes." I say, taking the map out of the Treasure Bag now that it's back in my possession. Seeing this, Violet moves her scarf up to cover her mouth.

    "My… my ropes?" I hear Chime question. "Well, whatever you say."

    We then head down a familiar sandy staircase through the broad plains of sand. I feel a breeze start to stir.

    Cue sandstorm.

    Then, right on cue, the violent sandstorm returns, engulfing us in its fury.

    "Is everyone okay?" I say beneath the map covering my mouth.

    "I'm okay!" I hear Violet say, her voice slightly muffled by her scarf.

    "I can see why this sandstorm hindered you… It's already starting to irritate me…" I hear Chime remark. I then look to my right and squint through the sand to see Chime covering his face with his ropes like a scarf, as I expected him to.

    "So… why did you need me here, again? Where's this 'psychic force' I need to counter?"

    I start thinking for a moment, trying not to let the raging sand distract my train of thought.

    Okay… now how's this all going to work out?

    Let's see… the glass shields would work again… At least, for the meantime…

    And from what I can infer… Chime can't teleport us to unfamiliar territory, so that method is out of the question… Okay, I got it!

    I can feel my analytical senses reawaken and get back to work as I come up with an idea.

    "Chime, you're going to have to levitate several objects at once while moving forward. Can you do that?" I ask.

    "I can for a while, but if you need me too, I'll try to keep it up for as long as I can." I hear him respond, the flurry of sand getting thicker as continue heading forward.

    "Good! Okay, Violet, I need you to use your Flamethrower on the sand again. Try to make it hit as much sand as possible this time!" I instruct.

    Violet then does as I say and the three of us find ourselves with a large glass barrier in front of us, shielding us from the sandstorm.

    "Okay Chime, now you're going to have to levitate this barrier while we move forward while also levitating Violet and I as well." I instruct.

    "Er… okay then." He replies.

    After levitating the glass barrier to bring with us to shield against the sandstorm, Chime levitates Violet and I shortly after, him continuing to traverse forward with the glass shield as he levitates Violet and I next to him. I turn to see Violet practicing midair somersaults in her levitated state, while I try to get my paws to touch the ground again.

    "Enjoying yourselves?" Chime asks sarcastically.

    "This shouldn't be too tiring for you, right? You levitate yourself all the time, after all." I respond.

    "That's different; while it does require use of psychic energy, my own levitation is a natural thing," He replies. "Back to what I wanted to say, why do you want me to levitate you two, anyway? Sure, the shield I can understand, being our shelter, but as for you two, I haven't the foggiest idea why you'd need to be levitated."

    I open my mouth to respond, but then suddenly stop when I see what looks like hurricanes of sand pelting themselves at the glass shield, only to leave no trace of damage.

    "Well… this desert is certainly unusual…" Chime remarks.

    "Wait… Sparks… The sand gusts have already started to come… What will we do when something suddenly picks us up?" Violet suddenly asks.

    Then, right on cue, both me and Violet's levitation start to become unstable, seeming as if it's going out of control.

    If my hunch is correct…

    "Something's trying to break my levitation on you two!" Chime says, struggling to keep levitating. "What do I do?"

    "This is the psychic force you need to counter! Try concentrating some more!" I call out.

    I see the Chingling struggle a bit, presumably concentrating as I instructed, then I slowly start to feel my levitation re-stabilizing.

    "I… I don't know if I can keep this up forever… This psychic force is too strong!" Chime exclaims.

    "Just try to hold on for as long as you can!" I say. "We need to keep moving forward!"

    "I… I'll try!" He calls back.

    Chime's POV

    Come on, Chime… You can't let this mysterious psychic force tell you who's boss! Even… even if you used up all your psychic energy teleporting nonstop when you filled in for Chimecho, you still do this!

    Slowly but surely for what seems like hours, I levitate forward over the sand and through the sandstorm, somehow managing to levitate Sparks, Violet, and the sandstorm shield at the same time, the violent sandstorm and the mysterious psychic force hindering me. With my closed eyes and focused concentration drowning me out of any activity happening around me, I can barely hear Sparks and Violet silently cheering me on.



    I then silence my thoughts, trying not to let them get in the way of my psychic struggle.

    Suddenly, silence. The noise of a the rushing sandstorm around me has suddenly died down, and there is no longer a psychic force tampering with my levitation. I slowly break out of my concentration.

    "What… what happened?" I ask, exhausted.

    "The sandstorm has died down… And that psychic force suddenly stopped. " Sparks answers.

    I open my eyes and look around to see that the sandstorm has indeed stopped to have the area turn back into the broad and seemingly endless plain of sand. I let out a sigh of relief.

    "Oh thank Arceus… I didn't know if I could have held that for any longer," I say. "I'll… I'll be walking for a while now… I need to recharge my psychic energy…"

    I then put Sparks, Violet, and the shield back down where they all land on the sand safely. I then stop my own levitation, and in my exhaustion, I fall face first into the sand.

    "That was a good job, Chime," I hear Sparks say. "Would you like to rest for a little while longer?"

    Yay… A compliment from Mr. Leader… I think, my mind as exhausted as my body.

    "I'll… I'll try to walk…" I respond, my voice slightly muffled by the sand. "Oh who am I kidding? I barely walk… I haven't even trained myself to stand on two feet…"

    Then, the sand below the three of us suddenly gives way, and the three of us fall through the ground into some sort of pit.

    Quicksand Cave

    "Is… is everyone alright?" I hear Sparks say.

    "I'm fine…" I hear Violet respond.

    "My face is still full of sand… but I think I've recharged my psychic energy…" I say, levitating back up.

    "Where are we?" Violet asks, looking around.

    "It… it seems that we've landed into some sort of sandy room… It looks more like the cave mystery dungeons we've been to before," Sparks points out. "It looks like we're actually making progress. This looks like a completely separate mystery dungeon."

    I look around to see that the place around us does indeed look like a cave themed mystery dungeon, with what looks like organized rooms and corridors around us lined with sand. The shield from before is also nowhere to be found.

    "It's…. It's a bit dark here…" Violet says.

    Sparks then brightens up his tail, making it glow, and then points towards another light coming from one of the corridors.

    "That glow… It's faint, but it looks familiar…" Sparks says.

    "It's blue… Wait, that's a Time Gear's glow, right?" Violet asks, staring ahead.

    "It appears so… That means it's still there… I think we should get a closer look." Sparks says.

    Sparks and Violet then head down the corridor, and I follow them shortly after.

    And here I am, still having no idea what a Time Gear is. I swear to Arceus there's a bit too much I don't know…

    I then look behind me when I hear an unfamiliar stepping of feet nearby. I shake my head.

    Great, now my psychic instincts are messing with me… I guess this is what I get for overusing my teleportation yesterday…

    I sigh.

    I… I did good yesterday, right? It's… it's been years since I've actually talked or did anything with Chimecho… I did good for her, right?

    Deeper in Quicksand Cave, Violet's POV

    We've been walking for a while now… How long has it been since we left the guild, anyway? We haven't even encountered any hostile Pokémon… Did someone come here before us?

    Through the dark sandy corridors, I follow the glow of Sparks' tail as Chime follows behind me.

    "How long do you think it is until we get to the Time Gear?" I speak up.

    "It shouldn't be long now… I can feel the glow getting stronger." He replies.

    After a bit more walking, the glow gets stronger, and after taking a turn in the corridor, we find ourselves in a large sandy chamber, presumably the dungeon's final room. And right at the back of the room is a stone pedestal, holding a blue levitating Time Gear.

    "There it is… A Time Gear, just like I suspected." Sparks says.

    "Wow… I never got to see one up close before…" I remark, amazed.

    "Oh. So that's a Time Gear?" Chime asks. "Looks cool."

    "You! So you three were the ones who stole the other Time Gears!" A voice exclaims from somewhere.

    "Who's there?" Sparks calls out cautiously.

    "I'm the guardian of this place, Mesprit!" A small pinkish Pokémon levitates out of the shadows near the back of the room, glaring at us. "You three are here to take this place's Time Gear, aren't you?!"

    "Wait, that's not what we came here for!" Sparks exclaims.

    "Don't lie to me! Uxie told me though his powerful psychic telepathy of Time Gears being stolen!" Mesprit yells back, sounding unconvinced.

    Uxie?

    "But… but it wasn't us who took them! This is just a big misunderstanding!" I exclaim.

    "Don't try to deny it! Why else would you have gone as far as to bringing another psychic here to cancel my psychic abilities out?!" Mesprit says, pointing at Chime. "Uxie told me of the arrival of a Shinx and Vulpix at Fogbound Lake, so you three must have come here to take my Time Gear!"

    "But-"

    Mesprit cuts Sparks off by firing a psychic beam at him, but Sparks jumps out of the way.

    "You can't change my mind! I know you three are here to take my Time Gear, so I'll have to get rid of you myself!" Mesprit says threateningly, getting into battle stance.

    "Sheesh, talk about jumping to conclusions." Chime remarks.

    "Looks like she's still unconvinced… We're going to have to fight!" Sparks says.

    The three of us then get into battle stance, waiting for Mesprit's next attack.

    Author's POV

    Mesprit starts off by firing a wide Extrasensory attack at the trio, but they all dodge the attack, making the beam hit the sandy ground instead. However, instead of leaving no effect, the Extrasensory starts to make the sandy ground stir, making a small sandy tornado rise out of the ground.

    "Oh no… What's happening?" Violet asks, trying to avoid the tornado's suction force.

    "I got this!" Chime says. He then fires two Confusion beams out of his eyes at the sandy tornado, the two forms of psychic energy canceling each other out, making the sandy tornado die down.

    'Two psychic attacks canceling out each other… I'll keep that tactic in mind.' Sparks thinks.

    The Shinx then dashes forward and hits Mesprit with a Spark attack, but Mesprit quickly retaliates with an Extrasensory to toss Sparks aside. Violet then delivers a follow up attack with a pouncing Faint Attack, pushing Mesprit back even farther. Chime then levitates toward Mesprit, ropes outstretched and ready to attack, but Mesprit pulls up a large sand pillar from the ground and sends it forward, catching the trio of Team Fate in it and sending them to the back of the room. The sand pillar turns back into a pile of sand once it collides with the wall, trapping Team Fate in it.

    "This is where you're done for!" Mesprit exclaims, focusing a Future Sight attack at the pile of sand trapping Team Fate.

    Sparks and Violet then dig themselves out of the sand pile while Chime teleports himself out, only to have the explosion of the Future Sight attack behind them send the three tumbling forward, separating each of them.

    "Ow… That stung…" Chime groans. He then feels a form of psychic energy suddenly awaken inside him.

    'What… what is this power?' He thinks.

    "Is everyone still okay?" Sparks asks, shaking the sand out of his ears.

    "I'm fine." Violet answers, walking to Sparks' side.

    "Okay, what about Chime?" Sparks asks, looking around.

    "Sparks! Give me a Rawst Berry!" Chime suddenly teleports in front of Sparks, excited.

    Sparks stands confused at Chime's sudden question when he peeks over the Chingling's shoulder to see Mesprit firing an Extrasensory right at Chime.

    "Chime, watch out!" Sparks pushes Chime out of the way and dissipates the psychic beam with his Charge shield.

    "Are you alright, Chime?" Sparks turns around to face Chime, but the Chingling is nowhere to be found. "Chime?"

    Sparks then barely dodges another Extrasensory fired at him as Violet somersaults over the gust of sand that followed flying towards her.

    "Thanks for the Rawst Berry!" Chime calls out of nowhere, reappearing with berry in hand. He concentrates a chunk of psychic energy into the berry, then hurls it at Mesprit.

    Mesprit sees the blue blurred berry sailing towards her and manages to set up a Protect barrier all around her, but the berry has already sailed into the barrier's area, trapping the berry with Mesprit.

    In the safety of her Protect shield, Mesprit starts to charge up a powerful Future Sight that covers the entire room. Seeing this, Sparks and Violet rush forward and hit the Protect shield with all they've got, but to no avail. Meanwhile, Chime waves his hands back and forth at the back of the room, making the Rawst Berry trapped inside the Protect shield repeatedly but harmlessly striking Mesprit, but this minor distraction was not enough to stop her from charging up the Future Sight.

    "This Protect is too strong! None of our attacks are doing anything!" Violet says, voice filled with despair as the Protect barrier bounces her Quick Attack back.

    Sparks also tries striking the barrier with another Quick Attack, but his blow doesn't even leave a dent.

    "Chime! We could use some more help other than your berry distraction!" Sparks calls out.

    "Yeah, yeah, I was getting to that part!" Chime says. He then stops hitting the concentrating Mesprit and instead levitates the berry in front of her face. Chime focuses on the chunk of psychic energy he infused into the berry. "Now! Future Sight Rawst Berry, detonate!"

    The psychic chunk inside the berry then bursts, dealing damage to Mesprit as the impact of both the Rawst Berry bursting and the Future Sight's force explodes on her.

    "Future Sight? When did you learn that move?" Sparks asks, impressed.

    "Just now. It was like some sort of power awakened inside me when that other Future Sight struck me." Chime replies proudly.

    "Wait… Mesprit is still charging up the attack!" Violet exclaims, panicking.

    "What?!" Sparks and Chime exclaim.

    Sparks and Chime then turn to see that Mesprit, while slightly distracted by the Future Sight Rawst Berry explosion, is still charging up her own Future Sight attack.

    "Oh for the love of Arceus…" Chime mutters to himself. "I got this, don't worry, Sparks and Violet!"

    Charging up another attack of his own, Chime concentrates on the area inside Mesprit's barrier. The Chingling then teleports into the area of the Protect, right in front of Mesprit's face, then, eyes widened and voice deepened, unleashes an earsplitting screech with his Astonish attack, the booming screech continuously echoing inside the enclosed area of Mesprit's barrier. The super effective blow disrupts Mesprit's concentration, shattering her Protect shield, but due to her overload of Future Sight energy, accidentally releases a point blank Future Sight explosion at Chime, sending the Chingling sailing across the room.

    "Chime!" Sparks and Violet call out.

    Chime then collides with a wall of sand, falling to the ground face full of sand once again as he falls into the sand pile at the back of the room.

    "Still… still alive…" Chime groans, levitating back up groggily. Sparks then tosses him an Oran Berry and Chime eats it, making him regain a little energy.

    "Are you okay now?" Sparks asks.

    "I'll… I'll just rest here for a while…" Chime says, tired. "You and Violet can go continue fighting without me… I'll join you two later…"

    Sparks nods, then heads back to Violet who somersaults away from another small Future Sight blow.

    Meanwhile, Chime relaxes on the sand pile, enjoying himself.

    'Ah… I'm so exhausted; from both yesterday and today… At least now I can relax for while…' He thinks. 'Now I'm left to the sight of my friends battling, the slightly dark and sandy enclosure of this cave, and the faint sound of footsteps behind me… It's not the best thing to relax to, but I can live with it…'

    'Wait, wait wait, footsteps?!' Chime suddenly realizes.

    The Chingling quickly perks up and looks around, cautious. The sound of footsteps on the sand then grow silent.

    "Come on… I know you're there…" Chime mutters, levitating back up.

    Chime then starts to feel his psychic instincts sense something. Something that has just dashed to hide inside the sand pile that Chime just reclined himself on. Quietly, Chime focuses a Future Sight in the pile of sand.

    'Future Sight, detonate!'

    The bursting psychic force of Chime's Future Sight makes the sand pile explode and disperse, making a green figure dash away from the sand pile and away from the area of the Future Sight's effect.

    "Ha! I knew you were hiding there!" Chime says in triumph, facing the green figure who has just revealed himself. As the green figure turns to face Chime back, his lizard like appearance reveals himself to be Grovyle.

    "Hmph! Hush, you!" Grovyle snaps coldly. He then extends one of the leaves on his arms and slashes Chime back with a Leaf Blade. The attack catches Chime off guard and sends him sailing across the room once more.

    Meanwhile, Mesprit tries to catch Vioparks off guard with Future Sights hidden in the ground, but Sparks manages to dodge all the psychic explosions and dashes into Mesprit with a Quick Attack, all while Violet manages to sneak up on Mesprit from behind and deliver a follow up attack with her own Quick Attack.

    "Enough of you!" Mesprit says, now even more agitated. "Now I'll finish you off here and now, Time Gear thieves!"

    "We're not the Time Gear thieves!" Sparks says. "We've been trying to tell you! Listen!"

    "Stop lying, you robbers!" Mesprit says, charging up a powerful attack. "Eat Hyper Beam!"

    "She… she's still not convinced!" Sparks says to Violet. He then notices Mesprit charging up the Hyper Beam and quickly sets up a Charge shield. "Violet, get down!"

    Violet does as follows and ducks behind the Charge shield with Sparks. Mesprit then unleashes her Hyper Beam at Sparks and Violet, and the attack clashes against Sparks' electric barrier. Eventually, while it has blocked most of the attack, the Charge shield's electricity dissipates from the Hyper Beam's excessive force, and what's left of the Hyper Beam engulfs Sparks and Violet. Fortunately, due to the valiant effort of the Charge shield, the Hyper Beam fails to unleash its full force on the two.

    "You… you okay?" Sparks asks, quickly recovering from the Hyper Beam's impact as he helps Violet back up.

    "I'm fine." Violet replies, shaking off the pain.

    "You… you… I won't let you take my Time Gear…" Mesprit says, now visibly exhausted due to the Hyper Beam's recoil. She then starts charging up another Hyper Beam, but it quickly dissipates due to her exhaustion, leaving Mesprit levitating, tired.

    Then, right as Mesprit desperately tries to charge up another psychic attack, Chime sails through the air and collides with Mesprit.

    However, due to the naturally tiny and underwhelming size of all Chingling, Chime merely bounces off Mesprit pathetically, leaving no sign of impact.

    "Chime?!" Sparks and Violet exclaim at the Chingling's sudden appearance.

    "Ow…" Chime groans, getting back up and putting a hand to his head. "Attacked again…"

    "What happened, Chime?" Violet asks worriedly. as she and Sparks rush to the Chingling's side.

    "Who attacked you?" Sparks asks, just as concerned.

    "I believe that would be me." A voice responds from behind them, making Team Fate turn around to see the green figure, small bag strapped around shoulder and all.

    "Oh… Hi again. Thanks for attacking me earlier…" Chime says sarcastically.

    "Grovyle?!" Sparks exclaims in surprise.

    "Who… who are you? And why have you come here?" Mesprit asks.

    "The Shinx has already stated my identity, you psychic," Grovyle snaps. "As for why I've come here… Well, I might as well get on with it. I'll be taking that Time Gear now."

    "T-Time Gear?!" Violet exclaims in shock.

    "So… so you're the Time Gear thief!" Mesprit says.

    "Bingo." Grovyle says.

    "We'll… we'll stop you!" Sparks says. He, Violet, Chime, and Mesprit then get into battle stance, blocking off the Time Gear pedestal.

    "Hah! Don't act like you're actually going to stop me!" Grovyle taunts. He then puts his hand into the bag strapped around his shoulder. Swiftly, he pulls out a Luminous Orb and shatters it by throwing it against one of the more rocky walls of the room, blinding Vioparks, Chime, and Mesprit as a bright white light engulfs the room.

    A split second later, the light from the Luminous Orb dies down. The four then look around the room, but Grovyle is nowhere to be found.

    "He's gone…" Sparks mutters.

    "Wait a second…" Mesprit says. She then turns around at the Time Gear's pedestal and gasps. "The Time Gear is gone!"

    "He must've taken it while we were blinded!" Chime exclaims.

    "Uh oh…" Sparks says, now realizing the situation they're in.

    Suddenly, the ground starts to tremble slightly, making Vioparks try to keep their footing. However,the trembling doesn't last long, and it quickly dies down.

    "What… what happened?" Violet asks. "That wasn't an earthquake, was it?"

    "No… it was only the first phase…" Mesprit responds.

    "First phase?" Sparks asks.

    Then, the area around the pedestal starts to turn grey, freezing it in time, and it slowly spreads to the ground and air around it.

    "W-What's going on?!" Violet asks, taking a scared step back from the greyed ground.

    "Time is starting to freeze here! If we get caught in the area of effect while it's taking place, we'll become frozen as well! Run!" Mesprit exclaims. Team Fate then follow Mesprit to the room's only exit, its entrance, only to see that it has also become frozen in time and greyed out, blocking it off.

    "No! We can't go through this exit anymore!" Mesprit cries out.

    The four then find themselves cornered back to back as the grey sandy ground encircles them and inches closer.

    "Chime! You need to teleport us out of here now!" Sparks commands.

    "I know, I know, but teleporting four living creatures all the way from this faraway desert to the crossroads is a bit much! I… I'm still trying though!" Chime replies.

    After a little bit more focused concentration from Chime, a bright light engulfs the four as they are teleported out of the freezing in time Quicksand Cave.

    Crossroads, Violet's POV

    We… we made it out…

    Finding me, Sparks, Chime, and Mesprit back at the crossroads safely, I sigh in relief.

    "Now that was close…" Chime says, sounding slightly exhausted. "I can't believe I actually managed I pull that off at the last second…"

    "It's just too bad that even after we found the Time Gear, it still got stolen…" Sparks says.

    "We… we're going to have to report this to Chatot, don't we?" I ask.

    "It seems so…" Sparks replies.

    "I… I just let him get away… with my Time Gear…" I hear Mesprit mutter, hanging her head in shame and burying it into her hands. "I… I failed…"

    "NOW WHAT'S THIS ABOUT A TIME GEAR?" A voice beeps.

    We all then turn to see Officer Magnezone approach us, Deputy Magneton and a Smeargle following behind him.

    "Officer Magnezone… What convenient timing," Sparks says. "You see, Chatot asked us to go search out for Time Gears and contact you if we've found any so you can secure them. Now that you're here, did any other guild member contact you about a Time Gear yet?"

    "AH, YES. CHATOT HAS INFORMED ME ABOUT YOUR TIME GEAR SEARCH PARTY OPERATION," Magnezone beeps. "HOWEVER, I HAVE YET TO BE CONTACTED ABOUT ANY TIME GEAR FINDINGS. NOW, WHO'S THIS WITH YOU?" He asks, pointing a magnet at Mesprit.

    "I… I'm Mesprit… guardian of Quicksand Cave's Time Gear…" Mesprit introduces herself, voice devoid of emotion. "Well, former guardian… It ended up stolen just now…"

    "JUST NOW?!" Magnezone beeps, sou dig slightly surprised. He then turns around to face Magneton and Smeargle behind him.

    "DEPUTY MAGNETON! I WANT YOU TO REPORT THIS TO PELIPPER! ANY NEWS ABOUT TIME GEAR THEFTS SHOULD BE SPREAD!" I hear Magnezone command.

    "Y-YES, OFFICER!" Magneton beeps back, rushing off.

    "AND SMEARGLE! HAVE YOU MANAGED TO FORM A COMPLETE SKETCH OF WHAT I ASKED YOU TO DRAW FROM THE DESCRIPTION MAGNETON GAVE TO YOU?" I hear Magnezone ask.

    Smeargle nods, then hands a paper of some sort to Magnezone, who turns back to face us.

    "NOW, DOES THE POKÉMON IN THIS PICTURE LOOK FAMILIAR?" Magnezone asks, holding the paper in his magnets and showing it to us.

    That's… that's Grovyle!

    As I get a closer look at the paper, I see that it looks a little similar to the Grovyle picture Sparks and I found yesterday, except this paper looks much less crude and more detailed and professionally drawn.

    "That's him… He's the one who stole my Time Gear…" Mesprit replies, emotionless.

    "VERY WELL! THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. THESE POSTERS WILL BE REPRODUCED AND DISTRIBUTED SOON. I SHALL BE ON MY WAY NOW!" Magnezone beeps. "BUT FIRST, I HAVE SOMETHING TO ASK YOU, MESPRIT. I ASSUME THAT YOU HAVE NOWHERE TO LIVE NOW THAT THE PLACE YOU WERE MEANT TO GUARD IS NOW FROZEN IN TIME, SIMILAR TO UXIE'S SITUATION."

    Mesprit nods silently, not making any eye contact.

    "AS OF RIGHT NOW UXIE IS SAFELY LOCATED AT OUR HEADQUARTERS. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO BRING YOU THERE TO REUNITE YOU WITH UXIE AND ALSO TO ASK YOU SOME QUESTIONS THERE," Magnezone continues. "IS THIS OKAY WITH YOU?"

    I see Mesprit nod silently again, and she slowly levitates over to Officer Magnezone and Smeargle.

    "EXCELLENT! NOW SMEARGLE, BRING US BACK TO HEADQUARTERS!" Magnezone instructs. "OH, AND DON'T WORRY ABOUT DEPUTY MAGNETON. I'M SURE BY NOW HE CAN GET BACK TO HEADQUARTERS ON HIS OWN."

    Smeargle nods once more, then grabs his own tail and starts waving it around. A bright light engulfs Magnezone, Mesprit, and Smeargle as they are teleported away.

    "Well that was weird," Chime remarks. "He barely even talked or mentioned us and spoke much more to Mesprit."

    "At least our job's done for the day… Let's just hope that after reporting to Chatot, more news about this Time Gear dilemma will start to pop up."

    I then look up at the sky to see that the sky has already darkened.

    "We were in that desert for a long time… It's already nighttime…" I say.

    "Looks like we're having late dinner…" Sparks says, looking in the direction of the guild. "Let's just hope Chimecho still left some Gummis and Apples for us."

    "Hey, at least you're getting an actual dinner," Chime says. "I have to wait in my personal shelter for Chimecho to send me a box of whatever scraps and leftovers are left through teleportation. Well, at least she's learning how to use the teleportation I personally taught her how to use many, many years ago. Now that I think about it, Chimecho using the teleportation I taught her… I… I guess that makes me feel a bit appreciated…"

    Wait… Chime teaching Chimecho how to teleport? So does this mean that Sightseers can teach non-Sightseers Sightseer exclusive special skills? The thought comes to my mind for a moment, but I quickly stop thinking about it. Never mind… This complicated topic sounds like something Sparks would think about…

    "Well, I'll be heading back too. Good night, Sparks, Violet." Chime says, levitating away.

    "Good night, Chime." Sparks and I call out, heading back to the guild.

    Chapter 17 - Just a Recruit

    Later, Wigglytuff's Guild, Violet's POV

    "Hmm… it is quite unfortunate that you failed in securing the Time Gear… However, I must praise you on your efforts on finding an actual Time Gear!" Chatot said to Sparks and I after we reported to him. "All the Guildmaster and I have gotten from the other guild members were minor and insignificant findings, so you've done great work! Now off to dinner with you two! You are dismissed!"

    Right now, Sparks and I are alone in the dining room, treating ourselves to the usual meal of respective coloured Gummis and Apples, except this time respective coloured Gummi drinks for each of us were waiting for us as well.

    As I eat the last Red Gummi while Sparks finishes off his Yellow Gummi juice, I notice Chimecho entering the room, levitating a box of some sort.

    "Hey Chimecho," Sparks greets her. "What's the box for?"

    "Oh, I just decided I'd do a little something for Chime," She replies, quickly levitating several items into the box before I could get a good look at them. "You know, just as a little thank you gift for him going through the trouble of filling in for me yesterday. I even started putting Spinda's drinks for meals because Chime took the time to do it yesterday. It's… it's been years since I actually properly got to talk or do anything with Chime, and that was when I was still a Chingling like him, so I wanted to make this a special thank you gift for him."

    "That's… that's thoughtful of you, Chimecho." I say, smiling.

    Chimecho then levitates a few more items into the box, then closes it.

    "Okay, now to teleport this… Um… where do I teleport this?" Chimecho asks. "I usually teleport this somewhere in the crossroads where he'd usually stumble across and find it, but now he's probably resting wherever he sleeps because it's really late now…"

    "Hmm… I guess I don't know where he could be right now…" Sparks says, putting a paw to his chin. "Where does that Chingling sleep, anyway? He doesn't just go to Waterfall Cave every night and sleep there, right?"

    A memory at the back of my head suddenly clicks.

    "Try the beach," I say to Chimecho. "I… I heard he… uh… usually goes there at time of day."

    "Well… okay, beach it is." Chimecho says. Her eyes then glow blue as the box also starts to glow blue, and in a small flash of light, the box disappears.

    "I… I'd say I'm getting better at this teleportation thing," Chimecho says, her eyes turning back to yellow. "I've only tried it across short distances with small objects, but I'm slowly getting used to it."

    "Chime taught you how to do that, right?" Sparks asks. "He mentioned something about teaching teleportation to you."

    "Well, yes, but like I said before, that was years ago," Chimecho replies. "Now finish up your dinner, you two. I still have to wash those plates, after all."

    "Will do." Sparks and I respond.

    'Many years ago'? I can't help but think. Wow… I wonder how long ago it was when Chimecho met Chime…

    Chime's Little Bush Shelter, Chime's POV

    No vision, again… Looks like it's going to be an uneventful night for this Chingling… Oh well. At least I've gotten used to it.

    As I ready myself to go to sleep in my little clearing, I suddenly hear the thumping of an object falling onto the beach's sand outside my bush.

    Hmm? What could be falling down on the sand at this time of day?

    I then peek out of the little opening on top of my bush to see a box of some sort. Curious, I teleport the box right next to me. As I observe it, I see that the box is made of some sort of high quality material, slightly similar to the leather used for making Treasure Bags, but still sturdy, as to be expected from a box. I also notice a tag on the top of the box.

    'To Chime'. I read, barely managing to make it out due to the night's darkness.

    Chimecho must have sent this to me, right? I was wondering where my dinner's leftovers were.

    Opening the box, I am greeted with the fresh and warm smell of food, and I see three items of interest. The first item of interest is the main source of the warm and fresh scent; a plate holding a pile of Gold Gummis, a favorite for all Psychic type such as me. The second item is what looks to be fresh Gold Gummi Juice in a peculiarly shaped cup, and I can tell from how clear the drink is that it's a drink from Spinda.

    I just want to know how the drink didn't spill when it was sent here in that cylindrical cup.

    And finally, the third item of interest I see is a paper on the side, presumably a note. I pick up the note first and, holding it under the bush's opening that lets in moonlight, read it to myself.

    'Chime,

    Thanks for filling in for me yesterday. I really didn't think I'd deserve such a kind and meaningful gesture from you, especially since it's literally been years since we last did anything together as friends. I just thought that I might offer you a kind gesture in return with this gift. Again, thank you, Chime.

    From,

    Chimecho.'

    So this note really is from Chimecho… I think. I then feel a small smile coming to my face.

    Turning over the note, I see that Chimecho has actually written more.

    'Oh, and don't get the wrong idea, Chime. This isn't one of those secret admirer notes, just a thank you gift. After all, I know we're still best friends, right? :)'

    You got that right, Chimecho…

    She… she actually remembers what I said…

    A memory, concealed within the deepest depths of my mind, flashes in my head.

    'Even… even if we both part ways, we'll still be best friends, right?'

    I sigh, having mixed feelings about the memory.

    That really was a long time ago…

    Many, many years ago…

    Back then, I still had no idea who I really was, why I just ended up waking up in a forest, and found myself wandering aimlessly from random forest to random forest while slowly grasping ahold of my psychic powers and natural teleportation ability. It was just me, alone. I didn't even know if I had any parents or not because I didn't have a single memory of having them, and this is still the exact same case for me today. Back then, I didn't even know about the Sightseers' disbanding, so I felt like I had no calling in life since I had no idea why everything was just nothing but forest, no Pokémon accompanying me.

    Then one day, while I just did the usual wandering around aimlessly, I finally met another Chingling. The same Chingling that would end up as Chimecho. She wanted me to come along with her. She wanted me to help her go somewhere.

    Of course, I agreed. I really had nothing else to do, and being alone was getting tiresome. I could've used the company.

    Outside Treeshroud Forest

    Treeshroud Forest was the last place Chingling wanted me to take her to before she'd reach the place she wanted to head to. It's also funny to think that Treeshroud Forest is still the same as it is today, but due to the Time Gear thefts, it has changed. When Chingling and I went through Treeshroud Forest, rather than starting at the usual entrance leading to the crossroads, we actually wandered into some part in the middle of the mystery dungeon, then made our way towards the forest's entrance.

    Considering the random nature of mystery dungeons, I'd rather not question the logic to that. I may know the word claustrophobic for some odd reason, but I'm not that smart.

    Due to constant wandering and Monster House encounters, nighttime was just starting to approach when it happened. Chingling and I stumbled out the forest's entrance, and I stopped to catch my breath, exhausted.

    "Now that… that was close…" I said, panting.

    "Chime, wore yourself out trying to get us out of there, didn't you?" Chingling asked me. "I know you by now, Chime. You probably used up too much of your psychic energy teleporting, right?"

    "Okay, okay, yeah, I did…" I admitted, struggling to keep levitating. "But hey, at least I managed to teleport us out of that Monster House right at the last second. If I hadn't done that, it would've taken us much longer to get here."

    "I guess you're right… I've always wondered how you did all that teleportation stuff…" Chingling said. She then took out a Leppa Berry from a pile that's she was levitating and hands it to me. "Anyways, here, eat this. You're lucky I know quite a lot about how to treat other Pokémon with berries and all that."

    I accepted her offer and ate the berry. "Well, at least put that teleportation stuff I taught you to good use, alright?"

    "Oh, believe me, I will," She replies. "I… I just haven't really gotten many opportunities to test out what you've taught me."

    "So… you've been telling me that this place is our last stop before… what was it again?" I asked, changing the subject.

    "Oh, there's this place I want to go to. Here, there should be a view of it nearby." Chingling answered.

    Chingling then levitated forward, and I followed her up to a spot where there was a view. A faraway view, but still a view. It looked like something else far different from the usual forest I was used to, so it astounded me. While the darkness of the night drowned out most of the major details, I remember seeing what looked like a town, a town that I would soon know as Treasure Town, all brightened up with what looked like lights, and what caught my attention the most were the bright lights of a peculiarly shaped tent, the tent that I would soon learn is the entrance to Wigglytuff's Guild.

    Apparently, back then, I didn't know that torches existed as light sources.

    "What… what is that place?" I asked.

    "That's Treasure Town. There's a place there I want to go to," Chingling replied. "You see that Wigglytuff head shaped tent, right?"

    I nodded.

    "I've heard that place is called Wigglytuff's Guild. That's where I wanna go," Chingling said, staring ahead. "I heard they mainly recruit exploration teams and other apprentices who're willing to help out… I hope I have a shot of making it in."

    "Well, why wouldn't they recruit you? After all, you said you know a lot about treating other Pokémon and healing them, plus you're handy to have around in mystery dungeons, so I know you'll make it!" I said, encouraging her.

    "I guess you're right… again…" Chingling said. "But Chime, what will you do? I'm going to be heading off to Wigglytuff's Guild, so where will you go?"

    The question struck my mind for a moment.

    "Er… Well, I guess that exploration team thing is interesting me… I just don't know if I'm ready for it right away… I wouldn't call myself the best mystery dungeon explorer on my own…" I answered. "I… I think I'll just find a mystery dungeon to stay and train, and maybe when I feel like I'm ready, I'll head to that guild and be part of an exploration team in the guild."

    "I… I understand… Well, at least you're considering the idea of joining the guild with me, Chime," Chingling said, smiling at me, the sky slowly darkening. "You know… It was nice to finally meet another Chingling. For the few days that I've known you, I'm glad I did. You may have gotten on your nerves sometimes with that attitude of yours, but if I'm being honest, I actually grew attached to that part about you. So… thanks for agreeing to help bring me here, Chime. You're a very good friend."

    "Thanks… You're a good friend too, Chingling." I said, smiling back.

    "Well… goodbye, Chime. Good luck with that mystery dungeon training of yours." She said, slowly levitating away.

    "Wait! I… I have a question…" I suddenly blurted out, stopping Chingling.

    "What is it?"

    "Even… even if we both part ways, we'll still be best friends, right?" I asked.

    "Of course!" Chingling replied, smiling back at me. "Well, I better get going now. I don't want to head to the guild only to find out it has been closed off for the night. Goodbye, Chime. I'll be waiting for you when you're ready to join the guild."

    "Goodbye…" I said back, right as Chingling levitated away.

    Back to present time

    Back then, I was a completely different Chingling. I was actually sensitive. Back then when I was still traveling forest after forest with Chingling, it felt different from the usual loneliness that I had to live with now that I met her. After that event, years passed, and I still had yet to join the guild officially due to my hesitation until Sparks and Violet actually recruited me, but Chingling had already become a Chimecho by then. That's right, I hesitated. Ever since I said goodbye to the Chingling who would soon become Chimecho, there was just something about the transition from loneliness to company and then back to loneliness that struck me… something that held me back… as if there was this darkness enshrouding my soul that's giving me a bad feeling… a feeling that will always make me feel sad… and pathetic… However, I still do, act, and say all the things that make me Chime, it's just… it's just that my more sensitive emotions will always be clouded by the random behaviour I act when I'm happy.

    That's me, Chime.

    I sigh again.

    Well… at least Chimecho remembered… that's one thing I can use to comfort myself…

    It's… it's not like my more sensitive feelings will matter anyway… I've just been a burden to others… a hindrance… my behaviour has probably made everyone hate me….

    After all, for all that I am, I'm still just a recruit…

    After quickly finishing off the Gold Gummis and Gummi juice in silence, I then notice a peculiar shimmering in the glass as I hold it up to the moonlight.

    Wait… this isn't glass… it's crystal!

    Wow… Chimecho actually got this for me… A crystal… just for me...

    The thought sets a warm feeling inside me. I then cast another quick glance at Chimecho's note.

    'I know we're still best friends, right? :)'

    The warm feeling inside me starts to grow more, and I smile. That's when I realize.

    I'm… I'm more than some throwaway recruit, right?

    The thought lingers in my head.

    I have friends. I care about Sparks, Violet, and Chimecho because they're my friends. I care about them because I don't want to be alone again.

    And they care about me back. While there is no feeling worse than having the one you care about not care about you back, there is no feeling better than realizing the ones you care about care about you back...

    I smile. And this time, this smile is sincere.

    It's about time I became happy again.

    ...that makes sense, right?
    More chappies later
     
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  2. flareon71

    Legegg
    (Mew Egg)
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    hey look more chappies
    Chapter 18 - Crystal Clear Operation

    Author's POV

    We interrupt this chapter before it has even started for some exposition!

    And no, this one doesn't have anything to do with the Sightseers either.

    So Time Gears are important in maintaining the balance of time, obviously. In fact, they are so important in maintaining the balance of time that not even thieves or treasure hunters who go out of their way to find them wouldn't even dare to take them away, unless they're Grovyle.

    For some obscure reason, they are only housed within areas around Treasure Town, even if Time Gears control the flow of time everywhere. Probably best not to question why only Treasure Town's area has Time Gears. Continuing on, if all of these Time Gears are removed from their places for far too long, then not only will their respective mystery dungeons remain frozen in time, not only will all of Treasure Town become paralyzed and greyed out, but the effect of Time Gear loss would eventually spread out to the point that the entirety of the universe as we know it would be frozen in time permanently.

    Well, sure, only the universe in that respective dimension would be frozen permanently so technically not everything in entirety would be affected, but that stuff about alternate dimensions is a complicated story for another day.

    Considering that the entire universe can be affected by complete and prolonged removal of Time Gears, and that all these Time Gears can be found in a tiny part of the planet's landscape, Time Gear guarding must put quite the pressure on the few Time Gear guardians there. Oh wait, there are only three Time Gear guardians, yet there are almost as many Time Gears as there are mystery dungeons around Time Gears. Probably best not to question why only the Lake Trio, who are known as Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf, are the only ones who ended up as Time Gear guardians. It's also probably best not to question why there hasn't been a higher form of security if Time Gears keep the entire universe in check. It could be that the entire universe has yet to freeze in time, so all Pokémon wouldn't know the true wrath of a Time Gear drought yet.

    Yet.

    But even that's just a backstory for another day. For now, just remember that there are only three Time Gear guardians, for some reason.

    The next morning, Wigglytuff's Guild, Chime's POV

    Okay… now what big thing am I going to get involved in this time? Considering how it started, this certainly should be an interesting day…

    I levitate in the back of the crowd of restless guild members next to Sparks and Violet, getting ready for an announcement of some sort.

    One second I wake up, the next thing you know, I get brought here to this morning briefing thing Sparks and Violet do everyday…

    "So… why did you tell me to attend this meeting with you again? I could've spent this time sleeping…" I whisper to Sparks and Violet, yawning.

    "We've called you here because we think that this meeting is more important than the normal morning briefing we go through." Sparks whispers.

    "I've heard some things about this specific from the other guild members, something about Dusknoir being present," Violet whispers. "I think he should be at the back of the room, in front of this crowd."

    I levitate over the crowd slightly and get a peek at the front of the room. Other than Chatot and Wigglytuff, Dusknoir is also there just like Violet said, discussing something with the two.

    "Well, he's there, so that that… I still don't see why I'd have any significance here…" I say.

    "Considering how long Chatot's been talking to Dusknoir, I'd say something pretty important is about to be discussed, and it just felt right to have you in on this," Sparks responds. "I still wonder why Chatot would be talking to Dusknoir about a seemingly important discussion… It could possibly have something to do with the Time Gear thefts, if you ask me… Other than that, Dusknoir himself told me to bring you here."

    Told you to bring me here? Why didn't you say so in the first place?

    My attention then gets caught by the sound of the feathered flapping of wings. I turn to the front as all the other guild members silence themselves to see Chatot catching everyone's attention with his wing flaps. Chatot then clears his throat.

    "Ahem! Now that I have all your attention, I can begin the morning briefing!" Chatot starts. "First off, I would like to announce that the Time Gear thief's identity has finally been distinguished by Officer Magnezone! As of now, the new posters have already been posted on the Outlaw Notice Board on the floor above us as well as throughout Treasure Town, so you can't miss them!"

    A commotion starts to erupt from within the crowd.

    "Looks like I'll have to rearrange the Outlaw Notice Board again…" I hear Dugtrio's three heads mumble in unison.

    "Hey hey! I'll try to keep a lookout for the crook when I get the chance!" I hear Corphish say.

    "Er… Chatot, is this all that you're going to be talking about?" Chimecho speaks up. "Why is Dusknoir here with us this briefing?"

    Chatot then flaps his wings once more, silencing the crowd.

    "Well, Chimecho, to answer your question, I'll say that there is much more that will be discussed today other than a simple outlaw poster," Chatot answers. "However, I will leave the rest to Dusknoir. He'll continue discussing for the time being."

    Chatot then steps to the side as Dusknoir levitates forward to take his place.

    "Thank you, Chatot. Now, to start off, I am pretty sure some of you may have noticed my absence around Treasure Town for the past few days. I have actually spent these days tracking down the Time Gear thief ever since the problem arose."

    Dusknoir takes out a paper from behind his back and shows it to us.

    Huh… it kinda looks like that poster Magnezone showed us yesterday… Grovyle, was it?

    "This poster is a sketch of the thief I've made, but I've been keeping it to myself since I focused my time tracking down this thief," Dusknoir continues. "His name is Grovyle, and I've actually been tracking him down for quite a while during my travels, until I finally found out that he's started stealing Time Gears here around Treasure Town, which led me to come here. Eventually, I contacted Officer Magnezone about Grovyle and, long story short, after some interrogation with every resource we have at the moment and discussion with Guildmaster Wigglytuff, Chatot, and Pelipper, we've finally managed to verify the thief, come up with a plan to finally apprehend him, and got wanted posters spread all in the span of yesterday's time. Unfortunately, Officer Magnezone would be here to join in this announcement since he covered many useful topics, his presence is requested somewhere else today, just in case you're wondering where he is. Other than that, Pelipper is out doing his usual mail duties. Are there any other questions you have on your minds?"

    Well that was a lot to take in… Especially for something I have to go to this early in the morning… I know I don't have anything to say about that…

    Everyone else in the room stays silent as well.

    "I have a question…" Sparks suddenly speaks up. "You said that you've tracked down Grovyle throughout your travels… Grovyle's activity hasn't had a major… effect somewhere else, right? Only Treasure Town's area is going through this dilemma?"

    "Very good question, Sparks. You're… quite a bright and observant one," Dusknoir says. "To answer your question, I've already mentioned that I've talked to Pelipper yesterday, and I should mention that he's been told that every other mail delivery Pelipper is doing just fine in their area. I hope that answers your question."

    "It has. Thank you, Dusknoir." Sparks says politely, ducking back into the crowd.

    "Show off." I whisper to him jokingly.

    "It's not my fault I'm as bright as my tail." Sparks jokes back.

    Violet smiles at our little quarrel once more.

    "Actually, Sparks, there was a point I was about to elaborate on, and I'd like you to come to the front of the crowd with me." Dusknoir suddenly states.

    "Er… okay then." Sparks says. He then gets up and does as Dusknoir requested.

    "Now, there is something I think you should all know before I proceed," Dusknoir says. "You see, there's this special ability that I've… heard about several times during my travels. This ability grants the user glimpses of either the future or the past through visions after making contact with an object of significance. This ability is known as the dimensional scream, and while I still have no idea about its origins, I can safely say that Sparks has this ability."

    Commotion starts to rise again.

    Arceus, how excitable is this guild?

    "Oh my gosh! The ability to gaze into the future? Wow!" I hear Sunflora say.

    "Isn't that cool, dad? One of our very own can gaze into the future!" Diglett says to Dugtrio.

    "That sure is SOMETHING!" Loudred yells.

    Levitating slightly over the crowd, I see Wigglytuff snicker next to Chatot. I try to hear what he says.

    "Almost sounds like those weird… uh… dreams I sometimes have before I sleep." I hear.

    Huh… Weird… I remark in my mind.

    "Everyone, silence yourselves!" Chatot exclaims, waving his wings. The crowd does so. "Ahem. Dusknoir, you may continue."

    "Thank you, Chatot. Now, you might be wondering where I'm going with this," Dusknoir continues. "You see, during the discussion I've had yesterday, while we have managed to talk about several matters involving Grovyle, we have yet to discover where he will strike next, and that's where Sparks comes in."

    I see Sparks' expression light up, probably realizing something.

    "Uh… Sorry, all this Dimensional Scream stuff with Sparks is new to me…" I whisper to Violet. "Do you know what's Dusknoir getting at?"

    "I… I'm not one hundred percent sure, but I know Sparks does," Violet whispers back, noticing Sparks' expression. "Let's just see where this goes."

    "Continuing on, in the discussion I've had yesterday, Chatot mentioned that while there were no Time Gear findings during the guild's explorations for the past few days, there has been at least one finding that has been done in Crystal Cave. Crystal Cave is one of the… I guess you could say… 'cousin dungeons' to Star Cave, a cave that is also shrouded in mystery, lined with crystals, and located near Treasure Town. I'm planning to have Sparks touch this 'finding' from Crystal Cave and see if a vision arises. I hope I made myself clear with this."

    Crystal clear… I think on impulse. I had to make that joke. Now what was that Dusknoir said again?

    I process the information for a second.

    I guess I can make some sense from that…

    "You got what he said, right?" I whisper to Violet.

    "I guess…"

    "Now, Chatot, yesterday you mentioned a guild member who found and took back something from Crystal Cave…" Dusknoir says to him. "Chimecho, right?"

    Wait, Chimecho?

    "Er… yes, that's right, Dusknoir," Chatot then turns to face the crowd. "Chimecho, will you please get that item you found yesterday to Dusknoir?"

    Item? Wait, something in my mind is clicking…

    "Uh… yes, sure…" Chimecho says nervously, slowly levitating towards Dusknoir.

    "Now, Chimecho. The item, please." Dusknoir says.

    "Well… about that…" Chimecho utters hesitantly, empty handed. "I… I don't think I even have it anymore…"

    "Not have the item anymore?" Dusknoir asks, sounding confused. "Are you sure about that?"

    I start thinking some more.

    Chimecho… Item… Apparently found at Crystal Cave… Wait, crystal?

    The realization suddenly hits me.

    Crystal… crystal! The glass from yesterday!

    In the blink of an eye, I teleport back to my shelter, quickly find the box Chimecho left me, and take the glass cup out. It's material shines, clearly crystal. I teleport back to the guild with the crystal back with me to my exact spot in the guild, where I find Violet confused.

    "That was fast… but what did you teleport away for?" Violet asks me. "And what's that glass cup in your hand?"

    "I'll explain later." I tell her, concentrating.

    Luckily for me, I made quick work with my item retrieval and teleported back in a split second, and I teleport the crystal cup into Chimecho's hands.

    "Uh… here it is!" Chimecho says, presenting the cup to Dusknoir.

    "Yes, thank you Chimecho. You may head back to your spot in the crowd now." Dusknoir takes the cup in his hands gently.

    While Chimecho heads back to her spot, she looks at me with a confused expression, probably realizing what I did. In response, I wink. She smiles back at me right before she hides herself back in the crowd. The warm feeling from before starts to rise within me as I feel myself smile.

    I then notice Violet looking at me with a teasing expression.

    "It's not what you think." I say to her.

    "Okay, whatever you say." Violet says back, clearly trying to hide her giggling with her paw.

    Dusknoir then continues his announcement.

    "Now Sparks, if you would…" He hands Sparks the crystal.

    Sparks does as Dusknoir instructs and holds the cup in his paw, only to quickly put it back to the floor as he starts to stagger, his paw to his head. He then stops in place, gazing ahead with an emotionless expression before snapping back instantly.

    "Does… does he always look like that when he experiences a vision?" I ask Violet.

    "Well… yes. it's a bit scary to get used to at first, but I'm used to it now." She replies.

    "So Sparks, what did you see?" Dusknoir asks as Sparks staggers and straightens himself.

    "I… I saw what looked like a cave… but I don't think I remember much of what happened next…" He responds, sounding slightly unsure. "I remember seeing Grovyle there and some sort of Pokémon being defeated by him… but I don't think I can describe more than that…"

    Is it me, or did Sparks' answer sound… off?

    Judging by her expression, I notice that Violet also sees something off about Sparks' answer.

    "Well, that's quite unfortunate… but there's something I planned just in case a scenario like this happened," Dusknoir continues. "Sparks, I presume that the Pokémon I asked you to bring here is present? Chime, was it?"

    My attention suddenly gets piqued at the mention of my name, and I instinctively teleport to the front of the room with Sparks and Dusknoir.

    "Yes, I am here! Whatever I'm needed for, here I am!" I blurt out. I then look around to see all eyes around the room looking at me with confused expressions. I realize the situation I put myself in.

    "Ah yes, Chime. I remember your fluent psychic skill from your unique teleportation ability back at Amp Plains and I requested that you be brought here for this specific meeting," Dusknoir says, explaining to all the Pokémon in the room. "Since Sparks wasn't able to understand much from his vision, I want you to try to read his mind."

    I hear a slight commotion start to stir up from the crowd only to get silenced by Chatot and Dusknoir.

    I know, even I think all this sudden information is overwhelming… Read minds? I have literally no idea how to use telepathy…

    "Now, now, I know everything that I have just talked about might be a bit much to take in, but for the sake of the Time Gears, please bear with us," Dusknoir says to the crowd. "Okay Chime, you may now do as I've said."

    "Er… read minds? Sure, I can use teleportation, but I'm not sure about that 'read minds' thing…" I say to Dusknoir. "The only advanced psychic technique I can use is teleportation, but that's it…"

    "I… I think I have an idea," Sparks speaks up. "Chime, you can use teleportation on yourself… but what about your mind? What if you use teleportation to teleport your subconscious self into my mind?"

    I start thinking about that idea for a second. It sounded ridiculous to me at first, but it made more sense to me the more I thought about it.

    Maybe I can pull that off… That actually does sound like an idea that would actually work… Looks like Sparks' ideas strike again…

    "Alright, I guess that might work…" I say to Sparks. "I'll try that. Hold still, this is the first time I'm doing this, so I have no idea what'll happen…"

    I feel the gaze of everyone else in the room fall onto me.

    "Just… uh… prepare yourself, Chime." Sparks whispers to me, sounding serious.

    I start to concentrate an intense force of psychic energy,, dulling out any sound from around me as I concentrate on my own mind. Psychic force building up inside me as I continue to concentrate, I close my eyes and focus on Sparks' mind when I suddenly feel myself unable to open my eyes again.

    ?

    Wait… what happened? Oh Arceus, I didn't mess up, did I?

    'Chime? Is that you?' I hear a voice suddenly call out to me. I try look around, but only to see darkness all around me. I try to speak, but no sound came out. I then recognize the voice.

    Sparks? Is that you calling out to me? What're you doing calling out to me in my head?

    'Your head? No, no, no, I'm pretty sure you're in my head. I guess your teleportation must've worked, because just now you I saw you faint right in front of me.'

    Faint? But how does that work? I'm right here, wherever this is, perfectly conscious.

    'Well, if you want my answer, I think it has something to do with the absence of your subconscious from your body, so you fainted.'

    I guess that makes sense… But how do I know I teleported I teleported my mind into your head and not vice versa? I ask.

    'Wait, I'll show you. Here… the first thing I think of should be shown to yo-'

    The darkness around me then gets lit up as I see what looks like several memories through Sparks' perspective, all of which involving Violet. Be it sleeping in the guild, going through mystery dungeons, battling together, I can tell from the countless memories surrounding me exactly what Sparks thought of.

    'Well… looks like now I know who I think of all the time considering I wanted to think of something right from the top of my head… I guess I shouldn't be surprised…' I hear Sparks' voice echo.

    You really love her that much… Okay, okay, now onto the main reason I did this. The vision, right?

    Sparks' memories of Violet suddenly fizzle out back to darkness.

    'Right, right, I'll just get that one real quick… Just be careful, Chime.' I hear Sparks call out.

    Careful for what? I am only going to be watching this memory right? And to make sure I find out a more vivid description that what you provided?

    'Well, you're right, but just… just see for yourself.'

    A large memory lights up in front of me, and I find myself greeted to the view of what looks like a crystal-lined cave, presumably Crystal Cave. The memory then enhances itself to reveal a large room. I notice Grovyle standing in the middle of the room over a smaller blue Pokémon. The smaller Pokémon attempts to get up via levitation, but falls back down, injured.

    Wait, you can just replay these memories in your head at will? I immediately interject, making the memory pause. Why couldn't you have just replayed this memory of the vision if you couldn't get a good enough description of it?

    'Uh… I never said that I could replay these memories at will in the first place… I only became capable of doing it now, but I'm not quite sure why,' Sparks replies. 'However, something does tell me that the presence of both my mind and yours in my head is letting me do that… Mind power, I guess? Never mind, I'll just continue the vision.'

    "It looks like my job is done here," Grovyle scoffs. "I'll just take this cave's Time Gear and be on my way."

    "No… I won't let you…" The blue Pokémon says, feebly levitating back up. "I, Azelf, won't fail… whatever the cost…"

    "I'm afraid you don't understand. I need this Time Gear much more than you think, but I'm in a hurry, so I'll be leaving with the Time Gear now," Grovyle says, turning away from Azelf and walking towards the pedestal at the back of the room. "Even still, you put up quite a fight, but I found your psychic abilities quite lacking compared to the other two Time Gear guardians I faced… Uxie and Mesprit."

    Azelf slowly levitates after Grovyle, struggling.

    "It is correct that I'm not as skilled as a psychic as my two siblings… but that's because I have a more powerful last resort in case I need it," Azelf says. A white glow then starts to surround him as the cave starts to shake. "And it appears that I'm going to have to use this last resort on you…"

    Wait a minute… What move is that?

    'I recognize a glow like that when I see one,' I hear Sparks say to me. 'Azelf is going to use Explosion.'

    Explosion?!

    The memory then continues. Grovyle notices the ground shaking and turn back to face Azelf.

    "You're trying to use Explosion?!" Grovyle exclaims, shocked. "If you use an attack with that much force, you're going to make this place collapse! The rubble would trap and kill us both and destroy the Time Gear!"

    "I told you… I'm going to stop you whatever the cost…" Azelf says, the glow around him getting brighter. "Even if it means I have to die in the process…"

    The room continues to shake violently, presumably from the charging up of the Explosion attack, as Grovyle staggers.

    "I… I guess I have no choice…" I hear Grovyle say, sounding reluctant. "I can't escape from this place fast enough, so there's only one other thing I can do…"

    Regaining posture, Grovyle extends the leaf on one of his arms, probably readying a Leaf Blade, then lunges at Azelf right as the glow brightens to engulf the entire room.

    Then silence.

    Is it over?

    'Not… not quite yet…' Sparks says. 'The part that I was afraid to mention should be coming up anytime now…'

    Then, right as Sparks said that last part, I hear the sharp sound of a slashing attack. The glow engulfing the cave's room dies down, and I notice Grovyle standing behind where Azelf used to be, blood dripping off the leaf on his elbow.

    "I didn't want to do this… I never wanted to… But I'm afraid I had no other choice…" I hear Grovyle mutter.

    Grovyle then starts to walk towards the Time Gear's pedestal at the back of the room, and my eyes widen in shock at what I see next.

    He… he didn't actually-

    'He did… This is why I didn't get a good grasp or description of this vision… This part caught me off guard too.'

    Grovyle walks past what looks like a pool of blood staining the rocky blue ground, and its source reveals itself to be Azelf's body lying limp on the ground, the cut from Grovyle's Leaf Blade leaving his head cut off.

    Oh Arceus, why did I have to see that?! The image imprints itself into my mind, scarring me. The sight of Azelf's decapitated figure starts to make me panic. Get me out of here get me out of here get me out of here get me out of here-

    In my panicking state, I instinctively attempt to teleport away.

    'Wait, wait, Chime, are you trying to teleport?!' I hear Sparks' voice exclaim.

    I can't help it! I just wanna get out of here! This is too much for me!

    Invisible psychic energy leaking, I eventually manage to concentrate in the midst of my terrified panic. Then with the bright flash of a teleportation's glow, I feel myself able to open my eyes again, and I see that I've fallen face first into the ground.

    Ugh… Am I… am I back?

    I look around me and at myself to see that I successfully managed to make it out of Sparks' head and back into my body. Never before have I felt more relieved to see several Pokémon in a room all staring at me. I levitate back up, a slight headache coming to me.

    Oh thank Arceus… Agh, but that reading minds thing with my mind teleportation really drained me… I don't think I want to do that ever again…

    "Well, Chime? What did you see?" Dusknoir asks me.

    One explanation later, Violet's POV

    "And then Grovyle attacked Azelf before he could use Explosion, defeating him, and then presumably took the Time Gear… and that's it." Chime concludes at the front of the room.

    The crowd of guild members immediately start to ask questions and gossip with each other, filling the room with commotion. I couldn't help but question several things about the situation as well, particularly about Azelf.

    Wait… Azelf? Have I heard that name before? The mention of the name gets me thinking. He's a Time Gear guardian just like Uxie and Mesprit… Just like the mythical psychic trio Mom used to tell me stories about… maybe that's where I heard that name before…

    I then snap out of my thoughts when I notice Chime teleporting back into the crowd, levitating back to me.

    "So… what happened? What was it like inside Sparks' mind?" I ask him.

    "Other than the darkness and the vision, he thought of you… A lot." He replies.

    I smile at the thought of Sparks'... thoughts.

    "Well, where is he? Is he still at the front of the room?" I ask, eagerly awaiting Sparks' return.

    "Dusknoir told me that my job there was done or something like that, and I think he, Sparks, Wigglytuff, and Chatot are using the commotion as an opportunity to plan on what to do next with the information we have now," Chime responds. "At least, that's what I think they said they'd be doing…"

    I look ahead to see Sparks, Chatot, Wigglytuff, and Dusknoir discussing something between themselves.

    "Apparently Sparks volunteered to discuss with them since he knows a thing or two about planning and ideas and all that." Chime says.

    I guess that's true… Oh well, I'll just have to wait a bit longer before Sparks comes back…

    "It looks like today's going to be one of those dangerous missions…" Chime tells me. "After all, not only are we all going to take part in the prevention of a Time Gear theft, but we also have to deal with… Grovyle," Chime shudders as he states that last part. "I just hope whatever plan is being discussed goes well…"

    "Sparks is discussing the plan too, right? Well, he is smart, observant, resourceful, and he's the one responsible for all the successful battle plans and ideas on all of our explorations," I reply. "Knowing Sparks, this plan should go well, I know it."

    "Well you sure know how to compliment and put trust in your boyfriend." Chime remarks.

    "Of course, I've trusted him ever since we met." I respond.

    The commotion of guild member gossip then silences as Chatot flaps his wings at the front of the room.

    "Everyone! The four of us have now finished establishing a plan!" He announces, catching everyone's attention. "First off, While we were discussing the newly found information regarding Sparks' vision, Dusknoir brought up the possibility that the vision is of the past instead of the future. He also brought up the point since Crystal Cave has a 'cousin dungeon' known as Star Cave, it is possible that the vision took place at the latter instead of the former. But worry not! The four of us have come up with a plan that will answer the questions to both problems! We've decided that we're going to split up into two groups with six members each to head to both Crystal Cave and Star Cave simultaneously to make the most out of the time we have. However, since there's fourteen of us present, two Pokémon will have to stay behind to watch over the guild while the rest of us head out. Now here are the groupings, so you better listen! The six to head to Star Cave are me, the Guildmaster, Diglett, Dugtrio, Corphish, and Bidoof."

    So does this mean that Sparks, Chime, and I get to head to Crystal Cave together? I think, trembling in anticipation.

    "Oh boy, Dad! We get to head to a mystery dungeon together!" Diglett says excitedly.

    "We sure do, son. I just hope I still have some fighting spirit left in me." Dugtrio's three heads respond.

    "Hey hey! Let's watch each others' backs, hey?" Corphish rallies.

    "Golly, Star Cave? Gee, even if there's the potential danger of Grovyle there, I still am quite excited!" I hear Bidoof say.

    "Now, while even I am excited to see us travel as a guild once again, we must finish this briefing before anything else, so please settle down!" Wigglytuff announces, silencing everyone. "The second group which the one that will be heading to Crystal Cave consists of Dusknoir, Croagunk, Chimecho, and the trio of Team Fate."

    "Thank Arceus, I get to be with my team… I don't think I can battle well if I'm not with at least one of my team's leaders…" Chime says aloud, sighing. "I feel like I should be excited, but I'm not exactly… psyched to come face to face with Grovyle… Oh, who am I kidding?! This mission sounds awesome, and I'm getting psyched!"

    "Er… well… I wouldn't call myself that good of a battler, but I'll do my best to support the team!" Chimecho says.

    "Meh. I couldn't care less." Croagunk scoffs, shrugging.

    "It should be a pleasure working with you all! Let's hope this mission goes well!" Dusknoir rallies.

    I tremble in anticipation, the enthusiasm exciting me as well.

    "Wait, wait, wait a SECOND! How come I wasn't ANNOUNCED?!" Loudred yells.

    "Oh my gosh!" Sunflora exclaims. "Chatot, Guildmaster, you're not saying-"

    "That's right," Chatot says. "You two are going to be left to watch over the guild today. The Guildmaster and I have noticed that you two seem to have started to not get along with each other. The last thing we would want in this guild would be to have it torn apart by a petty argument, so we've decided to have you two stay here in attempt to have you two get along."

    "OH, COME ON!" Loudred yells, Sunflora silently sulking on her side of the crowd.

    Chatot waves his wing dismissively, ignoring the two's complaining.

    "Now, that is all that we have to discuss!" Chatot continues. "For the two groups we've just stated, I want you to finish any small guild errands you might have, head out to Treasure Town to prepare supplies if needed, and set out to your assigned mystery dungeons!"

    "Remember, this may seem like a dangerous mission, but don't let that bother you!" Wigglytuff encourages. "We are Wigglytuff's Guild! My guild! I wanna see some optimism out there! Who's with me?"

    We… we can do this!

    The excitement inside me continues to grow, and I let it out in unison with the rest of the guild members in a synchronized cheer.

    "HOORAY!"

    "That's the spirit!" Wigglytuff says triumphantly. "Now Chatot, if you'd do the honours?"

    "Ah yes, of course, Guildmaster. Everyone! You are now dismissed!"

    Chapter 19 - Suspicions

    A bit of exploring later, Crystal Cave, Author's POV

    Throughout the blue rocks and curiously shaped crystals of all sizes lining the walls and surprisingly organized corridors, the trio of Team Fate, Dusknoir, Chimecho, and Croagunk walk as a line of six through the dimly lit mystery dungeon.

    "I have a question," Chimecho speaks up. "We've been traversing through these corridors and staircases for quite a while, but we still haven't encountered a single hostile Pokémon."

    "I believe it is because of how crowded of a group we are," Dusknoir answers at the front of the line. "Normally they'd get used to the group of four that come to mystery dungeons, but due to our company of six, they're just going to leave us alone as long as we don't split up."

    "Wait, if all the hostile Pokémon are going to leave us alone, then why did you ask us to try to be quiet?" Chime asks, his voice slightly echoing around the room's size.

    "Other than the added attention from too much commotion, unnecessary noise might make Grovyle hear us, and he'd be the one ambushing us instead of the other way around." Sparks answers, glancing down at his Wonder Map.

    Violet then walks over near the front of the line next to Sparks, marveling the view around her.

    "This place is so beautiful… Don't you think so, Sparks?" She asks. "Look at all these crystals… all of them lining the cave… making the entire room glisten."

    "Well, I guess this place does look amazing," Sparks responds, looking up from the map and at Violet. "This place really is beautiful… like you, Violet."

    "Oh, Sparks…" Violet looks back at Sparks in the eyes.

    "We really have shared many of these moments, haven't we?" Sparks continues. "We'd always find ourselves looking into each other's eyes, enchanted by each other's gaze, and even after we've confessed our love to each other, we still get to share these moments…"

    The two continue look into each other's eyes, while the rest of the line have varied reactions. Dusknoir finds himself intrigued at the realization at the two's relationship, Chimecho starts to get giddy at the sight of romance, Chime just feels happy for them as usual, and Croagunk…

    'Meh. I couldn't care less.' He thinks, the automatic pumping of poison through his body making him let out a soft croak as the poison sacs on his cheeks inflate and deflate.

    "There's always been something I've been curious about," Chime speaks up as the six continue heading forward. "You two have always been together, whether it's as a romantic relationship or as an exploration team… Don't either of you ever think that this everyday guild thing gets in the way of your relationship?"

    "Well, if I'm being honest, I don't mind it at all," Sparks answers. "Sure, we could be doing other things that would work better for this relationship, but both Violet and I have a taste for adventuring, and I still get to spend all my time with Violet, so I can't complain with that."

    Violet smiles back at Sparks and leans her head against his. "I feel the exact same way, Sparks."

    "Wow, you two really are perfect for each other!" Chimecho says, almost squealing.

    "Now, everyone, call it a hunch, but I feel like we should be heading into the deeper part of the mystery dungeon soon enough," Dusknoir states. "This place is still in colour and seems to be intact of any Time Gear thefts, so if there were a Time Gear here, that would mean that we might have time before Grovyle strikes to take it. Sparks, do you still have an idea of what our battle plan is?"

    Sparks nods, and the six form a huddle to be as quiet as possible.

    "Alright, so if we hurry as much as possible, I think we'd reach Azelf right as Grovyle defeats him, but not after he tries to charge up an Explosion," Sparks whispers. "Chimecho, I brought extra Oran Berries and other healing Seeds from the Kangaskhan Storage to help you heal up Azelf right away. All of them are in my Treasure Bag. With only these items, you should still be able to heal a Pokémon up, right?"

    "Sure. I can still work without having to use bandages, just as long as the wounds aren't too severe." She answers.

    "Good. Now Chime, Grovyle would probably try that Luminous Orb trick he did on us back on Northern Desert, so I want you to use your teleportation to prevent him from doing this somehow. Afterwards, Violet and I will hold Grovyle off while you go help Chimecho heal Azelf, teleporting items straight out of my bag mid-battle if needed." Sparks continues.

    "Got it," Chime says. "I could try to teleport Grovyle directly to us, but I'm not comfortable with teleporting a lethal criminal right to us. I'll think of something."

    "Now we might not be able to take down a Pokémon like Grovyle down that easily, but Violet and I will try our best to hold Grovyle off, and what we want is to stall him from taking the Time Gear until Azelf is healed, and that's when the seven of us take down Grovyle right then and there." Sparks says. Violet nods.

    "Where will my part play in this?" Dusknoir asks. "I am somewhat skilled of a battler, so surely I can help you fight Grovyle right away."

    "Dusknoir, you mentioned this morning that you've been tracking down Grovyle for a while, right?" Sparks responds. "That would mean that Grovyle would know who you are, and if you show yourself too early, the element of surprise would be ruined and Grovyle would try to flee a bit early. Grovyle has managed to slip past Violet and I on our only encounter yesterday, so he would likely attempt to battle us instead of attempting to flee if he saw that he were battling you. Besides, I'd like you and Croagunk to hide nearby and hold back Grovyle just in case he manages to get past Violet and I. Okay, that's all. Now, we need to hurry! We might still have time before Azelf gets defeated by Grovyle!"

    "We… we might actually be able to do this!" Violet cheers, confidence building up inside her.

    "Alright, time to put my teleportation skills to the test!" Chime says, feeling psyched.

    "I'll do my best!" Chimecho says.

    "Here's to a successful mission!" Dusknoir rallies.

    "Meh. I couldn't care less." Croagunk scoffs, shrugging.

    'Good to see that my Crystal Cave group is feeling excited,' Sparks thinks. 'I wonder how Star Cave's group is doing? I just hope Crystal Cave is where Grovyle went instead of Star Cave, because it's not a good thing that three Pokémon in that group are weak to Grass types…'

    As they continue, they continue heading forward in silence. However, Dusknoir has several things in his mind.

    'This plan seems foolproof enough… I must admit, I'm surprised that Sparks is this strategic of a battle tactician… Or maybe I shouldn't be surprised…' He thinks. 'No matter. This plan should work, and it won't be long until Grovyle is apprehended. After that, it'll be like defeating two Pidgey with one Geodude… Or rather, three. I mustn't forget the third.'

    Later, Crystal Crossing, Sparks' POV

    It's been… how many rooms? More than ten rooms, I think… And he we are, still yet to reach this dungeon's final room… Azelf should still be okay, I hope… He better be… I look around me to see that Violet was back at her spot in the middle of the line, looking around at the crystals lining the walls. At least Violet's enjoying the view around her… I guess I can't help but admit that this cave has a really nice atmosphere.

    "It's been… how many rooms? More than ten, right? We're going as fast as we can; Azelf better not be dead after all this cave exploring we've done…" Chime says, coming up to me.

    "I was thinking the exact same thing," I say, glancing up from the map and putting it back into the Treasure Bag. "Don't worry, I'm sure Azelf should still be okay. After all, if he wasn't, then this cave would start to freeze in time."

    "Right… He should be okay… Agh, I can't get that image out of my head…" Chime starts to groan, putting a hand to his head. "Wait, Sparks, you don't seem scarred by this at all… In fact, I haven't seen any noticeable reaction from you regarding that vision… Is everything alright, Sparks?"

    The vision? Wait, he's talking about the part where Azelf… dies, right?

    "Well… There's a part of me telling me that I found my lack of reaction weird…" I answer, recalling the event. "But what I found even weirder… was that there was, and still is, a much bigger part of me telling me that I was… used to it."

    "Used to it?" Chime asks. "To what?"

    "It just felt like I somehow… saw or experienced a violent scene like that before… Like as if I witnessed Pokémon death before…" I reply. Vague memories flash rapidly back in my head, but I can't make anything out of them. "I don't know, the feeling just felt really vague to me… but I can't help but think about it…"

    "Wait… Scarred reaction? Vision? Pokémon death? Sparks, how don't I know about this?"

    I quickly snap out of my vague memories and look around to see that it was Violet who asked that question, who has now come walked up to us.

    "Violet? Uh… How much did you hear?" I stammer.

    "The entire thing. Everyone else is staying quiet like you told them to do, so I can hear when someone is whispering, although I seem to be the only one to," She replies. "What's this about Pokémon death?"

    I look over at Chime who stays silent. He nods at me.

    "Well, Violet, I'm sorry I didn't let you know about this sooner, it just happened this morning," I responds. "When I had that vision… Azelf wasn't just defeated by Grovyle. He was killed. Decapitated."

    "W-Wait, decapitated?" Violet asks in shock, her voice slightly raising. "G-Grovyle decapitated Azelf?! O-Oh no, oh no, oh no-"

    I quickly pull the trembling Vulpix closer to my side and into my fur.

    "Don't be afraid… Azelf wasn't really decapitated, it was just a vision," I say in an attempt to comfort her, while also trying to be as honest as I can. "We still have to battle Grovyle… but if you want, I could battle Grovyle alone if you're afraid…"

    "I… I'm not afraid of that, Sparks…" Violet pulls her face away from my fur and looks at me with her eyes full of tears. "I'm going to fight with you, Sparks… I don't care if I could get hurt, wounded, or even die… I just don't want to lose you, Sparks. I'm not going to let you fight alone."

    Violet wipes her tears. "Okay… I'm done crying. Sparks, you said that you felt like you were used to the experience of witnessing a Pokémon die? Is that right?" She asks.

    "Well… that's right… I was just afraid to tell you about the whole thing because, well, it made Chime panic like crazy when he was in my head, so I wouldn't know if your reaction would be worse." I answer.

    "I… I experienced seeing a Pokémon die before, Sparks. It's… it's the reason I don't have a father anymore…" She responds. "But… you haven't seen a Pokémon die before, right? As far as I know, you haven't seen any form of death ever since we met."

    "That, and the fact that the closest thing I've seen to a Pokémon's corpse was Sparks about a week ago." Chime chimes in.

    "I guess both of you are true… But I still don't know why I feel used to this…" I respond. "Only my vision about Azelf and Grovyle was my only witnessing of an event like that… I can't recall any other event where I've witnessed Pokémon death before…"

    "It really is strange… If you can't figure that out, Sparks, then I don't know who can…" Violet replies.

    Why can't I recall an event? Why am I feeling this feeling if I can't remember a past event where it happened?

    Something in my mind suddenly realizes something.

    Wait… 'remember past event'…

    Can I not understand because I can't recall an event? Or is it because I can't remember?

    No, no, no, I'm having too many thoughts mixed up in my head… I snap out of my thoughts and try to focus more at the current situation. Alright... so this cave corridor has been getting darker the more we head through it, but not dark enough that I have to use my tail… But if my hunch is correct, then it should start getting slightly brighter if we're closer to the room with the Time Gear…

    Then, as if on cue, after heading down another staircase, we find ourselves in an open room…

    … but it's a dead end.

    "How peculiar. This room looks like it could be the final room of the dungeon, but there's no Time Gear…" Dusknoir points out. "Dead end, nothing but a room with a rock wall in front of us… You can't say this doesn't look like a final room."

    The rest of us look around, just as confused.

    Wait, wait, wait, this should be the cave, right? The dead end can't just be like this… Where's the Time Gear?

    "This place does look like a dead end…" Violet points out.

    "This is the first time I came this far in this dungeon… and it doesn't seem like there's anything here… Do we just head back?" Chimecho asks.

    "I… I guess we got the wrong dungeon…" I say, feeling defeated. "Well, at least Star Cave's team is going to end up dealing with Grovyle. All we can do is wish them luck."

    "Meh. I couldn't care any less." Croagunk scoffs, shrugging.

    You're not making this any better for me, Croagunk…

    "Well… at least we got to walk through this cave," Chime says, starting to turn away. "I guess whatever we did here was better than nothing… We got to see crystals, and that's not something you see everyday…"

    I then see VIolet walk up to me, concerned.

    "Sparks? Is something wrong?" She asks. "You look… sad."

    "I guess I'm just feeling… disappointed that this was our third uneventful exploration in a row…" I admit. "There's just something telling me that this cave is still important somehow… Or maybe it's just me…"

    "Well… Maybe there is something about this cave, but we're just missing it," Violet responds. "I guess I feel like this cave has some sort of importance to it… Maybe you can think of something, Sparks."

    "I'll… I'll try… Thanks for the support." I say.

    "It's nothing, really. You've always been there to support me, so I'll always be here to support you, Sparks. You're smart, so I know you can think of something," Violet replies. "But… just try not to take too long. Everyone else is starting to leave…"

    "I'll… I'll try…"

    Come on… think… Is there a way I can see if this really is the final room? Is there still a way that we can somehow find a way to this mystery dungeon's Time Gear, if it even has one? There has got to be more to this dungeon than just cave walls everywhere lined with crystals…

    I then realize something.

    Crystals?

    I look around the room once more, taking in the sight of the dark blue rock walls lining it.

    Bare rocky walls as far as the eye can see for the entire room. Quite the transition from the usual crystal-lined walls the rest of this dungeon had to offer.

    Several ideas in my head start to arise.

    "Sparks? I thought we were leaving; what're you still doing here?" I snap out of my thoughts when I hear Chime speak to me. I then notice the other four start to head up the staircase.

    "Everyone, wait! This isn't the final room of the dungeon!" I call out, making them stop. "I have an idea!"

    "An idea? So what is this idea all about?" Chime asks, he and the rest of the group coming back to me.

    "Let me explain. I know that the other TIme Gear guardians, Uxie and Mesprit, put some sort of trial or puzzle directly before the room to their Time Gears," I start. "Uxie… I think I recall him putting a Groudon imposter to guard his Time Gear while also using a Groudon statue to engulf the area in fog, though I'm not completely sure…" I say this part cautiously due to Dusknoir not knowing the expedition to Fogbound Lake. "As for Mesprit, she used her psychic powers to make psychic sand gusts appear, then kick us out of the dungeon. But what I'm suggesting is, what if this final room is the trial to the Time Gear?"

    "That's… quite the theory…" Dusknoir remarks. He puts a hand to his chin, and I can tell from the tone of his remark that he's intrigued. "As much as I'd like to support your theory, all you did say was a theory, and not many statements to back it up… They might as well be coincidences."

    "Coincidence? That's where my next point comes in," I continue. "You see, I was able to find the solution to these trials after a Dimensional Scream related to an object I touch, all of which happening with an object of relevance to the trial itself. It might also be another set of coincidences, the facts do line up in a fitting order."

    Like with the Groudon statue to Uxie's Time Gear, and the psychic telekinetic force hurling Violet and I out when we were looking for Mesprit's TIme Gear…

    "Hmm… I must admit you're right…" Dusknoir answers.

    "There's just one question I have," Chime speaks up. "If this room really is the trial, then what's the solution? There's nothing in this room to get a vision from; it's all nothing but rock wall."

    "That's true. But that's where my final point comes in." I say. I then walk over to the back of the room and place my paw over the wall. After a bit of paw searching, I feel a small opening in the rock.

    Just as I suspected.

    "You see, Chime, there's more to this room than you think," I continue. "It may look like a room with nothing but rock walls, and you're right. Other than the suspicious pedestal in this wall's small opening here, that's all this room is. A room with walls made of rock; it's as simple as that. However, if you haven't already noticed, this room is missing something… something that makes it feel out of place being in a mystery dungeon called Crystal Cave."

    Chime's expression then lights up, as with the other five members of my group, presumably in realization.

    "There… there aren't any crystals in this room…" Chime states aloud. "And that pedestal at the back of the room… are you suggesting-"

    "I am. There is a crystal removed from this opening, and putting it back will solve this trial and bring us to the Time Gear." I say.

    "But wait, the opening looks peculiarly shaped… it doesn't look like just any regular crystal would fit in there," Chimecho points out. "But there's crystals lined all over the mystery dungeon! The crystal that should be in there might as well be a crystal that doesn't stand out at all compared to all the others! How will we know which crystal should go in the opening?"

    "Not any regular crystal will fit in there, you got that right, Chimecho," I say. I then put my paw into my Treasure Bag, fishing for an item. "However, there is this one specific crystal that is different from all the others due to one factor."

    I take my paw out of my Treasure Bag to find myself holding the cylindrical crystal cup from this morning.

    It all comes down to this.

    "This is your crystal," I say. "Now, now, before I let any of you object, allow me to explain why. If this crystal were like, say, a key, then it would be difficult to notice its difference from the other crystals, which is where its unique cylindrical cup-like figure comes in, allowing it to stand out. So it's pretty much a lucky shot that you managed to just find this, Chimecho. Continuing on, remember how I said that I got a vision that allowed me to solve each trial by touching one of the objects related to it? This crystal is the only object related to this entire cave that gave me a vision, so I know that if I put the crystal in like this…"

    I take the crystal and insert it into the wall's pedestal, where it slides in perfectly. The wall then starts to shake for a bit, then starts to move open like a door, revealing another staircase leading downward.

    Bingo.

    "The trial has been solved," I conclude triumphantly. "The Time Gear should be ahead."

    "Well there goes my favorite thank you gift." I hear Chime say.

    I look back at my group to be greeted by their stunned and amazed looks.

    "Well? Don't we have a Pokémon to help?" I ask rhetorically to my impressed group.

    As I walk on ahead towards the newly revealed staircase, Violet comes up to me.

    "Sparks, that was amazing! Everyone else is amazed at what you did! I knew you could do it!" She congratulates me.

    "Thanks… That was one of the most difficult things to think about… I think that might be as far as I'll go in terms of my smartness…" I say, slightly groaning from the overdose of information I had to think about all at once. "At least… at least I'll get the opportunity to shake off these brain exercises with a battle…"

    I guess I really am getting smarter… I know that I'm observant, but wow…

    "Everyone… There's something you should see," Dusknoir suddenly says from behind me. "Look at this patch of rocky ground, right here.

    I turn around to see Dusknoir pointing at some rock on the ground past the open rock door, the rest of my group following.

    "What about it?" Chime asks.

    "It looks… uneven…" I point out. "Almost like… someone dug through it and tried to cover it up."

    "That's right. But there's also something else about digging that I know, " Dusknoir continues. "Grovyle knows Dig."

    The realization hits me.

    "Grovyle's already here! He must've used Dig to get past the door!" I exclaim. "Everyone, we have to hurry!"

    Crystal Lake, Author's POV

    I get to narrate in this chapter twice. Oops.

    Crystal Lake. A large room that nominated itself as the final room of connected mystery dungeons Crystal Cave and Crystal Crossing. This large room is much bigger that the room that housed Mesprit's Time Gear, but doesn't stand as large as Uxie's. It appears as another room similar to the rest of the mystery dungeon, a broad space with rocky and crystal-lined walls and ceilings lining it. The crystals glisten in this room compared to the ones found in the rest of the dungeon, and this is because the crystals found here are much, much bigger. Despite the crystals everywhere lining the room, the most major landmark of this mystery dungeon is of course, the Time Gear levitating over the pedestal near the back of the room. Behind the pedestal of this Time Gear is a clear lake that extends all the way to the back of the room. Due to the crystals lining the walls, a glistening effect is put onto the lake as it reflects the crystals' shine, hence the room being called Crystal Lake.

    Other than that, Azelf finds himself occupied trying to protect the Time Gear from a specific intruder.

    "Hmph! Is that all you got?!" Grovyle taunts, dodging an Extrasensory from Azelf.

    In retaliation, Azelf tucks his limbs into his side and dashes at Grovyle with a U-Turn attack. The attack manages to land, dealing super effective damage while making Grovyle stagger back slightly. Azelf then tries to continue his attack and knocks Grovyle back with a Zen Headbutt. Grovyle staggers a bit more, but then lunges at Azelf, Leaf Blade at the ready. Azelf responds to this by setting up a Protect barrier around him, but Grovyle manages to fake out Azelf with the Leaf Blade with a false slash and burrows into the ground, unseen.

    "Wait… where'd he go?" Azelf asks cluelessly.

    'It shouldn't be long before he lets his guard down…' Grovyle hides underground, waiting.

    Cautiously, Azelf starts to look around, slowly letting down his Protect barrier, starting from behind him.

    'Now's my chance!'

    Grovyle emerges from the ground behind Azelf with a jump and lunges at Azelf with both feet, kicking Azelf into his own Protect shield. The powerful impact shatters what's left of Azelf's shield, from both physical pain and concentration disruption, dealing severe damage to him. The shattering of Azelf's shield sends him bouncing back towards Grovyle, who responds with a powerful Leaf Blade blow that sends Azelf reeling across the floor.

    "And stay down," Grovyle says in triumph. He then takes an Oran Berry out of his bag and eats it, regaining energy. "It looks like my job is done here. I'll just take this cave's Time Gear and be on my way."

    "No… I won't let you…" Azelf says, feebly levitating back up. "I, Azelf, won't fail… whatever the cost…"

    "Stop right there, Grovyle!" Grovyle looks up from Azelf's severely weakened figure to see Sparks standing defiantly in front of him, Violet standing next to the Shinx.

    "You two?!" Grovyle exclaims in surprise. "Have you two really come here to try and stop me?!"

    "We have! We know you're here to take the Time Gear! And this time, we're not letting you get away!" Sparks responds.

    "W-We're going to take you down, Grovyle!" Violet exclaims.

    Vioparks then dash past Grovyle, closer to the pedestal, blocking him from the path to the Time Gear. Grovyle then turns around to face the two, unaware of Azelf being teleported away.

    Behind a rock near the side of the room, Chime teleports Azelf to him as Chimecho gets ready.

    "Who… who are you two?" Azelf asks.

    "We're members of Wigglytuff's Guild, and we're here to help you. Don't worry," Chimecho answers. She then turns to face Chime. "Chime, the supplies?"

    "Oh, right, that. I'll get those in a second," Chime replies. "There is something else I should do first…"

    Chime then peeks over the rock to see Grovyle slowly inch towards Sparks and Violet.

    "I don't normally use up my items, but right now I don't feel like wasting my time…" Grovyle says. He then puts his hand into his bag, fishing for an item.

    'Now's my cue.'

    Chime starts to concentrate psychic energy, and as soon as he sees Grovyle pull a Luminous Orb, places the psychic energy in the form of a Future Sight into the orb, then makes the energy burst all in the blink of an eye.

    'Future Sight, detonate!'

    The Luminous Orb explodes right in Grovyle's hand, blinding Grovyle with a flash of light that only affects him, making him agitated.

    'Score!'

    "Chime? The items?" Chimecho asks.

    "Oh, right, right," Chime then teleports several Oran Berries and different types of Seeds directly from Sparks' bag. "Here they are!"

    "Alright!" Chimecho says. "Let's get to work!"

    Meanwhile, a furious Grovyle continues to step towards Sparks and Violet.

    "Okay… I was thinking of letting you two be spared from me battling you, but after whatever happened just now, I'm not holding back!" Grovyle exclaims angrily.

    Sparks and Violet get into battle stance as Grovyle readies his Leaf Blades.

    'I now know that Grovyle is a dangerous Pokémon to deal with…' Sparks thinks. 'And if there's anything I learned from my battle against Manectric, I can't battle alone… not without anyone else making up for my slip-ups…'

    "Violet, there's a battle tactic I want to try out," Sparks whispers. "You can still focus on attacking, but I'll focus more on being defensive and backing you up rather than merely focusing on attacking on my own."

    VIolet nods at him in response.

    "Now let's do this!" Sparks rallies.

    The pair start off by dashing opposite sides from each other and simultaneously lunging at Grovyle with their Quick Attacks. Grovyle responds by backing out of the way from Violet's attack to his right, but then gets pushed back by Sparks' backup Quick Attack to his left. Violet delivers a follow-up attack at the Grovyle staggering towards her with a Faint Attack. Shaking off the impact of the combo, Grovyle lunges at Violet with a Leaf Blade. Seeing this, Sparks quickly dashes in front of the attack and sets up a Charge, Grovyle's Leaf Blade colliding against the sturdy electric shield. Grovyle slightly staggers back at the stinging collision with the electric shield, and as Sparks absorbs the Charge's electricity, Violet somersaults over Sparks and fires a Flamethrower attack at Grovyle. The powerful attack deals super effective damage to Grovyle, pushing him to the back of the room.

    Grovyle gets back up, wincing from the heavy burn damage, but still determined. He takes a Heal Seed and an Oran Berry out of his bag and eats them both at once.

    "Hmph!" He grunts. "You two are more than you look!"

    "We get that a lot." Sparks replies.

    Grovyle then readies a Leaf Blade and dashes at the two. Vioparks brace themselves, ready to jump out of the way, but Grovyle responds by dashing behind them, disappearing out of their line of sight.

    "Wait… w-where'd he go?" Violet asks, confused that Grovyle has suddenly disappeared.

    Realization suddenly strikes Sparks.

    "Violet! Brace yourself!" Sparks exclaims. "Grovyle is-"

    Sparks is then interrupted when he and Violet are launched into the air by Grovyle's Dig attack, dealing super effective damage and leaving them vulnerable. The Grass type then follows them into the air and launches them back to the ground with a strike from Leaf Blade. Sparks and Violet get back up, groggy. They both notice that the harsh combo knocked their accessories off.

    "That attack felt devastating… You okay, Violet?" Sparks asks, helping her up.

    "I'm okay…" She replies. "Wait, Sparks, where's your bow?"

    "My… my bow?" Sparks asks. "Wait, Violet, where's your scarf?"

    The two quickly look around to find their accessories on the floor nearby each other. Sparks quickly pins the bow back onto his fur, and also quickly helps Violet put her scarf back on.

    Grovyle suddenly notices the Relic Fragment attached to the string-like necklace around Violet's neck. 'Wait… that's a peculiar looking stone…'

    Meanwhile, Dusknoir and Croagunk hide behind two rocks opposite sides of each other, near the room's entrance. Croagunk leans against his rock, carefree, while Dusknoir watches the battle going on in front of him.

    'That stone that Violet has… Hmm…' Dusknoir can't help but think, putting a hand to his chin. 'I can't help but remember Violet's battling back at Amp Plains… that glow I saw in her scarf… Could that be that stone of hers? Interesting…'

    "Are you two done?" Grovyle taunts, walking closer to Sparks and Violet.

    Sparks and Violet get into battle stance.

    "We… we're not done yet!" Sparks responds.

    "Good. I was wondering when you'd be done dressing up." Grovyle scoffs in reply, readying both of his Leaf Blades.

    Grovyle dashes towards Sparks and Violet, Leaf Blades brandished and attempts to strike with a double Leaf Blade. Sparks responds by using the previously absorbed Charge shield electricity to create an even bigger Charge shield, allowing Violet to dive behind him to avoid the attack. Sparks absorbs the large Charge shield, not letting to let the electricity go to waste, only to see Grovyle out of sight once more.

    "Sparks? What do we do now?" Violet asks, realizing the situation.

    Sparks quickly finds a hole right where Grovyle was standing and motions for Violet to come over to it with him. He quickly whispers something to her.

    "R-Right!" Violet says afterwards. She then charges up a Flamethrower attack and unleashes it, right into the hole into the ground.

    Suddenly, a large fiery pillar caused by Violet's Flamethrower erupts from the ground right behind Sparks, the pillar carrying Grovyle into the air.

    'Time to finish this!'

    Sparks lets out the doubly absorbed Charge electricity and engulfs himself with it, then uses Quick Attack speed to run up the wall and headbutts Grovyle with an overwhelming Spark attack. Despite being not very effective, the attack along with Violet's super effective Flamethrower deal severe damage to Grovyle and send him sailing all the way to the other side of the room, near the room's entrance and as far away as possible from the Time Gear's pedestal.

    "Rrgh…" Grovyle grunts, getting back up.

    Then, as if on cue, Chime, Chimecho, and Azelf appear alongside Sparks and Violet, the five of them slowly inching towards Grovyle.

    "Looks like I've underestimated you…" Grovyle says. He then puts his hand into his bag. "I don't want to have to do this, but I guess I have to try this again…"

    The five brace themselves for whatever Grovyle tries next, only for Grovyle to pull out an item. Violet, Chime, Chimecho, and Azelf instantly recognize the blue Orb.

    "A Luminous Orb!" Violet exclaims.

    "Wait, a Luminous Orb?!" Sparks exclaims. "You have another one?!"

    "Of course I'd have more than one!" Grovyle exclaims. "Did you think I'd bring only of each item like those Officers you rely on?!"

    "I… I got this!" Chime says, quickly trying to concentrate on the Luminous Orb.

    "Don't you dare try that again!" Grovyle says. Swiftly, he tucks the Luminous Orb under his arm and pulls out a Blast Seed. He then puts it into his mouth, bites into it, and using a Bullet Seed attack to spit out small flaming seeds at the five. The sudden flames make the five step back from the attack while also disrupting Chime's concentration. Grovyle continues his flaming Bullet Seed assault, igniting the ground around the five, creating a large fiery pillar and blocking their path to Grovyle.

    "Oh no… What do we do now?" Violet asks.

    "I don't think I can teleport or levitate out of this fast enough…" Chime says.

    "I'm… I'm sure there's something we can do…" Sparks says, slightly backing out from the surrounding flames.

    "That should stop you. At least, long enough to use this Orb." Grovyle says.

    Grovyle suddenly finds himself getting pushed back by a Quick Attack by Violet out of nowhere. He gets back up to see the sight of the five once more. He looks around to see that he's dropped the Orb, which is now out of sight.

    "But… but how?" Grovyle asks, slightly staggering.

    Sparks takes a triumphant step forward next to Violet.

    "Two words," He replies. "Flash Fire."

    "Wait… where's my Orb?" Grovyle asks.

    Suddenly, to Grovyle's left, Croagunk leaps from behind a nearby rock and smashes a Luminous Orb in front of Grovyle's face, blinding him once more.

    "Well, I hope that answers your question, Grovyle," Dusknoir comes out from behind another rock, joining the six. "Looks like your time is up."

    "Wait… Dusknoir?" Grovyle says in realization, recognizing the voice.

    Grovyle quickly snaps out of the blinding effect of the point blank Luminous Orb and eyes the seven.

    "Yes, Grovyle. It's me," Dusknoir answers. "I've finally got you cornered."

    "Dusknoir! You have new allies now?!" Grovyle exclaims, confused. "The six of you! You're siding with the wrong Pokémon!"

    "Don't bother trying that, Grovyle! It's my word over yours, and it's pretty clear who they trust more!" Dusknoir responds.

    The seven slowly inch closer to Grovyle, making the cornered Grass type back out even more. Grovyle makes a mad dash, heading up the staircase and out of the room.

    "He's on the run!" Sparks exclaims. He tries to follow Grovyle, but Dusknoir stops him, blocking him off and shaking his head.

    "Leave this to me. I'll be able to catch him now that I'm much closer to catching Grovyle that I was before," Dusknoir says. He then heads off to follow Grovyle. "I thank you for your assistance! I'll handle the rest; you can head back to the guild now!"

    The six then stand in silence, processing the what just happened.

    "So… I guess our job is done here." Chime speaks up.

    "Looks like it is," Sparks responds. "You heard what Dusknoir said; he'll probably handle the rest."

    "I hope so," Azelf says. "As for you six, allow me to express my gratitude. I don't know what I'd do if I were defeated and my Time Gear were stolen… I hope Mesprit and Uxie haven't had their Time Gears stolen by that thief."

    "They've already been attacked by Grovyle," Sparks replies. "However, they're safe. Officer Magnezone is currently keeping them within the safety of his headquarters."

    "Their… their Time Gears are already stolen?" Azelf says. "Well, I'll be sure to use the crystals here to secure the place as much as possible, then visit them. I feel like I should know more about these… Time Gear thefts. Uh… do any of you know where Officer Magnezone's headquarters are?"

    "Uh…" Sparks stammers, just as silent and clueless as the other three. Croagunk raises his hand.

    "Ah, yes, excellent!' Azelf says, noticing Croagunk. "Looks like I'll be heading back with you then."

    "Okay then… Chime are you going to teleport us out now?" Sparks asks the Chingling.

    "Yeah, yeah, I know…" Chime replies, starting to concentrate. "It's going to take me a while to teleport six Pokémon at once, so give me a second…"

    "As for everyone else, even if we didn't technically catch and apprehend Grovyle, we at least protected a Time Gear, so I'd like to say that you've all done a good job," Sparks praises. "I wasn't actually sure if I was capable of leading a team with more than three members, but I stand corrected."

    "It was an honour to explore with you!" Chimecho says.

    "Meh. I couldn't care any less." Croagunk scoffs, shrugging.

    Violet then walks up to Sparks, looking concerned about something.

    "Sparks? You… you heard what Grovyle said, right?" She asks quietly. "Something about siding with the wrong Pokémon…"

    "I know… I couldn't stop thinking about that part…" Sparks responds. "Considering Dusknoir is the only one in Treasure Town who knows Grovyle more than any of us, I'm starting to get suspicious… But I guess all we can do is trust him and hope he manages to catch Grovyle… Other than that, we should just focus on reporting to Chatot."

    "Well… if you say so…"

    A light then engulfs the six as Chime manages to concentrate enough psychic energy to teleport them all out of Crystal Cave.

    That night, somewhere outside Treasure Town, Ninetales' POV

    'It is I again. The voice that has been trying to call out to any remaining Sightseers who still attempt to have visions. I know that I've said that I won't be speaking to you until the event that you shall dread happens, but I wanted to let you know that it will be happening tomorrow. Remember, as I mentioned in the last vision, do not interfere. You will also have to be able to reach Treasure Town by tomorrow morning if you want to know what this event is all about. But, and I cannot stress this enough, do not interfere. I will give you instructions on how to get around this event when it happens, so worry not. For now, just remember to be at Treasure Town by tomorrow morning.'

    Well… that's certainly a way to end my day…

    I recall the events from the vision. I take the map out from the fur on my chest and look at it, making my eyes glow with psychic energy to allow me to read in the darkness of the night and the forest trees around me.

    It's a good thing I wandered to this empty forest clearing… It's not too far from Treasure Town, so I should be able to head there if I wake up by sunrise…

    But that begs the question… what is this event and what does it have in store for me?

    Chapter 20 - Taken Away

    Still night, Dusknoir's POV

    Peculiar… Why is it that most of the areas around Treasure Town consist of grass and such? Or… is it that I've just been keeping pursuit in the similar areas? WHat kind of traveling Pokémon goes around plenty of areas but doesn't bother to buy a single map? Wait, no, I should focus on my chase, I can't let anything else distract me… This is the closest I've come to finally apprehending Grovyle, after all!

    Through the twisting paths of trees and the outstretched path of grass. I make chase. Even if I've found myself making hot pursuit in the night, my Ghost typing allows me to see the green blur that is Grovyle while I manually permeate through the trees in my way using concentrated Ghost type energy.

    I can't let Grovyle get away this time… This might be my only opportunity!

    As I continue levitating after Grovyle, I suddenly hear the rustling of bushes behind me, and I then see that two Sableye have run up to me.

    "Sableye? Here so soon?" I ask them, the two running by my side.

    "We decided that it's time we helped you catch Grovyle. Waiting for you to come back is boring," The first one says, carrying a small pouch of some sort. "We even got rope to help you and everything!"

    "This place is starting to grow on me… and I'm starting to not like it. Everything is going to go to plan, right, Dusknoir?" The second Sableye asks, ducking under a low hanging branch. "We'll end up dealing with Grovyle, but there's still a few more missing factors to our plan…"

    "Don't worry about those missing factors," I reply. "Coincidentally, the two other things we should be worried about have come into place and should be dealt with soon enough. In no time at all, we'll be able to contact our master so we can finally get this plan over with."

    "Wait, really?" The first Sableye asks, dodging a tree.

    "It all just fell into place quite conveniently," I respond. "Soon enough, they'll all be dealt with in one fell swoop."

    The two start to cackle by my side.

    "And now we've got Grovyle in our sights! This should be easy!" The second Sableye says.

    "That's right!" I say, starting to feel triumphant. "We've been chasing this nuisance for far too long! Both of you, dash ahead to opposite sides and try to corner Grovyle! I should be able to finish this as soon as we close up on him."

    "As you say, Dusknoir!" The two chant. They both run ahead and do just as I've instructed.

    Perfect. This plan should go on as it should just the way it should. It's just like I said, defeating three Pidgey with one Geodude.

    Except the Pidgey are a Grovyle, a Shinx, and a Vulpix, and this one Geodude is the fury of a thousand Sableye Fury Swipe slashes mincing them to death.

    The next morning, Treasure Town's Plaza, Sparks' POV

    Other than the mission at Crystal Cave, a lot has happened as well regarding the rest of the guild members. While Star Cave's group didn't end up finding a Time Gear, I overheard from some of the members that there was some sort of special finding and Bidoof made a wish or something like that… What I overheard was pretty much just as vague as Sunflora's exaggerated gossip.

    Speaking of Sunflora, Chatot's plan to get she and Loudred to 'make up' for what I heard to be an exploration mishap apparently worked. From what I heard from Chatot's summary of all yesterday's events in a night briefing, the two of them did a team operation and apprehended an evasive petty criminal that has been bugging Officer Magnezone for weeks… I think I recall Chatot saying it was a Haunter… or was it three Haunter? Was it three Poison types or one?

    And on that topic of Poison types, it's been awhile since Violet and I had to deal with Team Skull… And the last thing I'd want is to get caught off guard again.

    But that was yesterday. As for what's happening today, apparently we were woken up early because the morning briefing was cancelled in place of some sort of important announcement at Treasure Town's plaza.

    These days are starting to get full of new surprises and events… and it all started ever since these Time Gear thefts have started to happen… I think as Violet and I walk to the plaza. Everyone else was already there, including Pokémon who weren't guild members since every Pokémon living around Treasure Town got the announcement of the… announcement.

    Violet and I try to find our positions with the other Pokémon at the back of the crowd, in Treasure Town's open area plaza. As I look around from the back of the crowd of Pokémon, I catch glimpses of Marill, Azurill, and I think I might've seen Ninetales hidden within the crowd. I think. I even see Chime's ropes standing out from within the crowd, levitating next to what seems to be Chimecho's bell.

    "So Chime managed to wake up early and get here before we did…" I say aloud, peeking up from the crowd of Pokémon whose voices create the slight sound of a commotion. "You see him too, right Violet?"

    "I was just about to tell you about that, Sparks," Violet replies. "He's next to Chimecho, right? You know, I've noticed that those two have been spending much more time than I've expected them to… I guess Chimecho was right when she said that they've been friends years ago."

    "I know… I'm starting to get some… thoughts about those two. Call it a hunch… but are you thinking what I'm thinking?" I ask, smiling.

    "Well… okay, maybe a little," Violet replies, smiling back. "However, they're just friends, like Chimecho mentioned."

    "Okay, okay, I'm just teasing," I reply. "Though, it would be nice to see Chime with someone… okay, I'll stop."

    "Hey, if they're friends, then they're friends," Violet responds, still smiling playfully. "Okay, other than that, what do you think this announcement is all about?"

    I look up ahead of the crowd to see who's at the front. The crowd then suddenly silences and slightly gives way to reveal Dusknoir and two Sableye. I notice that the Sableye seem to be holding back a Pokémon of some sort.

    "Well, whatever this announcement is about, it looks like it's about to begin." I say to Violet, ducking back into the crowd.

    "Everyone, now that you're gathered here, may I have your attention?" Dusknoir announces, silencing everyone. "Yes, thank you. Now as some of you might know, for the past few days Time Gear thefts have been happening in certain mystery dungeons, all these thefts being done by a single thief. Due to this, many locations have become frozen in time."

    Dusknoir's brief explanation stirs up some commotion from the crowd, as usual. Dusknoir quickly silences them.

    "Now, now, everyone, don't worry!" Dusknoir exclaims. "You see, my companions here have come to assist me and we've successfully caught him! All the Time Gears he's stolen have been returned to their rightful places, but for some reason, time still hasn't been restored in those places. However, regardless of this, we've managed to catch Grovyle, and that's what matters. Now, Sableye, if you will?"

    The two Sableye grin, exposing their eerie smiles, and reveal the Pokémon they've been holding back. Grovyle, arms tied around the waist with rope, mouth muzzled and tied up with rope as well. Grovyle attempts to struggle, but only gets held back by the ropes containing him.

    "Mmmf! Mmmmf!" Grovyle tries to speak, but the ropes wrapped around his mouth muffle his voice.

    Wait, so Dusknoir was actually able to catch Grovyle. That was fast.

    Commotion starts to rise from the crowd, some of them consisting of cheers, but quickly get silenced by Dusknoir.

    "Please, let me continue!" Dusknoir exclaims. "Now… now that Grovyle is caught, he is going to have to be punished. However, he is not going to be sent over to Officer Magnezone. You see, you might say that Grovyle has appeared out of nowhere due to his sudden activity. I know Grovyle, and there is a special reason why. This reason also explains my sudden appearance, but you're all going to have to listen to me, since it might sound a bit much. You see, Grovyle, my Sableye companions, and I, are not actually from here. We're not actually from this time period, either. We've actually travelled here from… the future."

    Wait… the future?!

    "S-Sparks?! The future?!" Violet exclaims.

    "Even… even I'm surprised where this came from…" I reply. "Agh, I don't feel like thinking about something this complicated…"

    Commotion starts to rise, this time with much more cacophony, but Dusknoir quickly silences it once again.

    "Everyone, I told you to please listen. I guess I should've expected a response like this, but please understand," Dusknoir continues. "We are indeed from the future, but the reason why I haven't mentioned this to any of you is for the sake of your safety. Time travel is complicated, and I wouldn't want anyone of this time to be tampering with something dangerous and possibly apocalyptic, like Time Gears. You see, these Sableye and I have been sent here by our master, who is a Pokémon who is from the future who sent us here to catch Grovyle who managed to travel to the past. Now that we've apprehended him, our master should open up our path to the future right about… now."

    Then. right on cue, a large dark blue portal opens up behind Dusknoir with a flash of light. Its sudden appearance surprises everyone, making them gasp.

    "He… he really must be from the future! That's so cool!" Azurill exclaims aloud from another side of the crowd. Commotion starts to rise again, but they quickly silence themselves from Dusknoir's disapproving gaze.

    Dusknoir then appears to say a command to the Sableye, making them nod. The Sableye then push the muffled Grovyle into the portal, who immediately gets sucked up into it. The two Sableye then disappear into the portal as well, leaving only Dusknoir.

    "Wait…" I hear Wigglytuff speak up. "If you're from the future, then does that mean you're going to be leaving? Back to the future?"

    Dusknoir nods slowly. "It appears so. My master is awaiting my return, so I'll have to leave."

    "Well… even if you're heading to the future, we still appreciate your help." Chatot speaks up.

    "I thank you too, members of Wigglytuff's Guild. However, before I go, there is something that I'd like to say to some certain Pokémon," Dusknoir says. "I would like to call up the trio of… Team Fate, was it? Yes, I'd like to call them up here."

    Wait, us?

    "Sparks? He's calling us up, right?" Violet asks me, sounding slightly surprised.

    "I guess he really is calling us up… Well, let's go." I reply.

    We then move through the crowd and walk up to Dusknoir, Chime teleporting to us shortly after. Dusknoir eyes the three of us.

    I don't know why, but that stare is starting to make me feel uneasy…

    "Ah yes, Sparks, Violet, and Chime. Ever since I witnessed the three of you at Amp Plains, you've impressed me," Dusknoir says. "You three are quite the trio, and you're quite something extraordinary, which is quite a shame… I'll be having to leave soon, this time portal won't keep itself open forever."

    "Thank you, Dusknoir. And… uh… good luck with Grovyle." I say.

    Wait, why do I feel like something is off?

    "Uh… thanks for helping us." Violet says.

    Was something off with what Dusknoir said?

    "I can't help but be impressed that you're actually a Pokémon from the future," Chime says. "I guess that makes it mean much more when you called us 'extraordinary'."

    Realization then strikes me.

    Wait… why did Dusknoir say 'quite a shame' after calling us extraordinary?

    "Well, I better get going now. Looks like it's goodbye…" Dusknoir continues. Suddenly, his smile and gaze become threateningly eerie. "Or is it?!"

    Dusknoir's fist then engulfs itself in ghost energy, and it hits Chime right in the face with a Shadow Punch. Chime gets sent reeling away into the crowd from the super effective damage.

    "Chime!" Violet and I exclaim.

    I then feel Dusknoir's hand grab me, cutting off my breathing as he lifts me into the air by the throat. I cough, attempting to breathe.

    "S-Sparks!" I hear Violet exclaim, sounding slightly afraid.

    Though my vision is starting to become blurry, I manage to see Dusknoir lift Violet into the air by her throat as well. I hear Violet coughing as well.

    "You two are coming with me!" I hear Dusknoir say.

    The last thing I feel before I black out from lack of air is the rush of velocity from Dusknoir shoving me into the portal.

    Chime's POV

    Oww… I felt like I was hit with the force of a betrayal… Oh, wait!

    Even though I feel my face hurt, I quickly manage to get up, only to see Dusknoir disappear into the dark time portal with Sparks and Violet.

    That traitor! You're not getting away with this! Not with my friends, you aren't!

    I quickly pull a rope back and extend it towards the portal, only for the portal to quickly disappear before my rope could reach it.

    No!

    I attempt to teleport to where the portal just was, but the painful impact from Dusknoir's Shadow Punch was too much for me and I find myself unable to concentrate psychic energy.

    Ugh… why'd he have to hit me in a way so that concentrating was painful?

    "Chime? Are you alright?" I hear Chimecho say, coming over to my side and helping me up.

    "That really hurt… Darn that Dusknoir… But the portal is gone now… and so are Sparks and Violet…" I reply, slightly moaning in pain. "You… you saw what Dusknoir did, right?"

    "I did… I couldn't believe it either…" She replies.

    My attention then gets caught when Chatot and Wigglytuff walk up to the front of the crowd, silencing the panicked commotion from the crowd.

    "Everyone! Calm down!" Chatot exclaims, flapping his wings. "Now, now, even I have no idea exactly what happened, so I understand why you might be panicking as well. However! I know as of now that there is absolutely nothing we can do about this, so I'm afraid all we can do is… move on and hope for Sparks' and Violet's safety. You are now dismissed! Oh, and for everyone who isn't a guild member, you can go back to do whatever you were doing."

    "And no mention of the Chingling who just got punched in the face? Great…" I mumble as everyone starts to leave.

    "Well, at least I heard. Uh… Chime, you're still hurt, right? You said that the attack hurt, so how about I treat you for a while?" Chimecho offers.

    "My only employers got dragged into a portal to the future… I guess I have nothing else to do…" I reply.

    I can't get over the fact that Dusknoir dragged Sparks and Violet into the future…

    That fiend! Taking my friends away! He's definitely a villain in my eyes!

    Author's POV

    The crowd departs, with Chimecho taking Chime back to the guild. Meanwhile, Ninetales slinks away from the crowd and away from the plaza, feeling several conflicted emotions.

    'Ugh… Was that… was that the dreaded event my vision told me about?' She thinks, walking through the crossroads and towards the staircase to Spinda's Cafe. 'Was… was there really nothing I could do? What can I do now?'

    She sits on a seat near a table for one, hanging her head and feeling ashamed. A Wynaut and a Wobbuffet walk up to her.

    "Good morning, Ma'am!" Wynaut greets with a slightly shrill voice. "Welcome to Spinda's Cafe! I'm Wynaut and this is Wobbuffet; we're two good friends of Spinda. We've been receiving lots of customers since we opened up this cafe, which is good, but since Spinda has had to serve many Pokémon, we're here to help her out. Now, what drink would you like?"

    "I… I would like one large Rawst Berry-" Ninetales cuts herself off.

    'No, no, I can't resort to that… That was a stupid thought…'

    "I mean… one Red Gummi juice, please."

    Wobbuffet salutes in response.

    "Woooobbuffet!" He chants.

    "Uh… what he means is that we'll get to your drink." Wynauts explains. He and Wobbuffet then walk away from Ninetales. The Fire type puts her head in her paws, feeling more conflicted.

    'I was told not to interfere… but even if I did feel like it I don't think I could've done anything,' She thinks to herself. 'Ugh… and what was I thinking by considering ordering a Rawst Berry drink? But was that vision right in telling me not to interfere? I… I guess I should just wait for these further instructions that it mentioned…'

    Wynaut and Wobbuffet walk back to Ninetales, the latter holding a tray with a drink on it. Wobbuffet takes the Red Gummi juice and puts it on Ninetales' table.

    "Enjoy your drink, Ma'am!" Wynaut says.

    "Wooooooooobuffet!" Wobbuffet chants, saluting.

    "Thank you." Ninetales says quietly, sliding the drink closer to her. She takes a sip from it.

    That Dusknoir… If my vision didn't tell me to hold back, then he'd be nothing more than a pile of ghost ashes….

    Sparks… Violet… please stay safe.

    Ninetales takes a sip from the Red Gummi's straw, sighing.

    Meanwhile, somewhere in the future

    Dusknoir levitates over to his large group of Sableye minions. The Dark and Ghost types appear excited.

    "We've been awaiting your return!" A Sableye says.

    "The three are all unconscious and tied up, just like you ordered! When shall we proceed with… with the exciting stuff?! You know, the thing you told us to ready our claws for!" Another Sableye says.

    "The plan should go on smoothly. Currently, Master Dialga is recharging for having to open a time portal, but everything so far is going right as he planned. And as for the execution…" Dusknoir says. An eerie evil smile comes across the mouth on his chest. "Prepare your claws, Sableye! We've got three Pokémon to mince!"

    Chapter 21 - Gone For Good

    Later, Around Treasure Town's outskirts, ?'s POV

    I don't usually like being around public areas during daylight, but there was something I had to check, even if there was the possibility of me getting caught by my pursuer or getting noticed by some other Pokémon.

    I managed to get a fair distance away from my pursuer, even managing to lose her in the process in the forested paths this area possessed, allowing me to buy some time for myself.

    Perfect. Now that I've lost her for now, I can continue with the plan I've set up. I already know who my ideal target is. My job will be so much easier once I finally manage to get fear to manipulate her mind… That first nightmare was just a test, but now, I know not to hold back!

    In the forested areas near it, I hide secluded near Treasure Town, trying to find my target. Once I'd find her and catch her off-guard, it will all just go downhill from there. I wait, hiding in a bush trying to find her, but she's nowhere to be found.

    "Curses!" I mutter to myself. "Where could she have gone?! This was my opportunity to finally set this plan in motion!"

    "I am afraid she's gone now." A voice says from near a bush behind me.

    Drat…. My pursuer… She's here…

    "She's been taken away, but as to where, you will never know. Using fear to manipulate your targets has finally turned odds against you." Her voice continues. I hear a rustling in the bushes behind me, signaling me to continue fleeing, presumably from my pursuer.

    There goes that opportunity… But how did my target just disappear? This isn't some kind of coincidence, now is it?!

    As I dodge a tree in my way, the realization hits me as I recall my pursuer's words.

    Wait… she doesn't mean…! Drat! That imbecile of a Pokémon has already used his fear to set up a plan of his own! Argh… my pursuer is such a know-it-all if she managed to figure that out… I guess there's nothing I can do but wait for the opportunity to present itself again…

    And when it does… there's no stopping me!

    Somewhere in the future, Violet's POV

    Ugh… What… what happened?

    I regain consciousness to feel a slight numbing being relieved from my body.

    Wait… the last thing I remember… Dusknoir!

    Suddenly, a sharp jolt of pain strikes me when I realize that I'm slightly elevated and tied up by some rope against a stone pillar of some sort, the pain mainly being caused by the painful angle of my tails being bent against my back as well as the ropes' unforgiving grip. The sudden realization causes me to let out a sharp yelp in pain and breathe heavily.

    "Violet! Are… are you here, too?" A voice to my left calls out. I instantly recognize the voice to be Sparks', making a slight feeling of relief come over me.

    I try to look around for Sparks, but all I see around me is darkness. Endless, eerie, darkness.

    "Where… where are you, Sparks?" I call out.

    "I'm here!" I hear him say. A light then starts to glow to my left, coming from Sparks' tail, allowing me to see Sparks tied up to a stone pillar just like me.

    "Are you okay, Violet? I… I heard you yelp in pain." Sparks says to me.

    "My… my tails… they hurt…" I reply. I slow down my breathing, trying to shake off the pain. "Sparks? Do you know anything as to where we are?"

    "I… I'm just as surprised and clueless as you are, Violet… All I remember is passing out from suffocation when Dusknoir pulled me into that portal…" He responds.

    "Me too… Why do you think he did that, anyway?" I ask.

    "I don't know… I'm just wondering why we're here, and… what's going to happen to us." He says.

    "I hope we don't stay here long…" I say. "For one, being tied up like this… it's unbearably painful…"

    "Ugh… these stupid ropes…" I hear Sparks say. "I only managed to regain consciousness just now… I don't know if I can think of a way to get out of here… Wait, I just saw the Treasure Bag on the floor in front of us… Do you see it, Violet?"

    I look ahead of me, and on the stone-plated floor below, I see the Treasure Bag lying there.

    "I see it… Now what?" I ask.

    "Um… Perhaps you can try reaching it using your Imprison?" Sparks replies, sounding unsure. "Or maybe you can try using either your Imprison or even your Flamethrower to burn your ropes."

    "I'll… I'll try…" I say back.

    I try to concentrate energy, for both a Flamethrower and an Imprison, but the combined strain of the ropes and my painfully angled tails prevent me from doing so. I end up coughing in the process.

    "You can stop straining yourself, Violet… You tried…" Sparks says, noticing my desperate attempt to concentrate. "I… I'm sure I can think of another way we can get out of this…"

    "Ugh… Arceus… I'm back here again…" I hear an unfamiliar voice to my right. Sparks brightens his tail some more, letting me see that the Pokémon to my right is Grovyle, tied to a pillar with rope just like Sparks and I.

    "Wait, Grovyle?!" Sparks exclaims.

    "You two?!" Grovyle exclaims, just as surprised. "Ugh… What's Dusknoir up to now by bringing a Shinx and a Vulpix here?" I hear him mutter.

    "W-Wait, what's this about Dusknoir?" I ask.

    "Don't tell me you two still believe that he's actually the good guy!" Grovyle says harshly. "For crying out loud, if you're here, then he probably dragged you into the future with me and tied you up! Do you still believe he's the good guy now?"

    "We… we can't say for sure that it was Dusknoir who did all that!" I say, starting to get defensive.

    "I… I'm starting to get suspicious… but I can't say anything for sure… especially if it's from you, Grovyle." Sparks says.

    "Forget it… I shouldn't even bother trying to argue with you two…" I hear Grovyle mumble. "After all, knowing Dusknoir, you two are just going to end up dying here…"

    "W-Wait, dying?!" I exclaim, shocked. "What do you mean by that?!"

    Then, as if on cue, the room starts significantly, making Sparks deactivate his tail glow. I then see that the source of this light is the sparkling glow of the jeweled eyes of a seemingly endless group of Sableye, each of them glaring at us and making me feel uneasy with their grins. Just as I notice one of the Sableye snatching away the Treasure Bag on the floor, I see Dusknoir levitate forward in front of them. He eyes each of us eerily.

    "How convenient. The three of you have finally woken up right when we arrive." Dusknoir says with a suddenly dark tone.

    "Dusknoir!" Sparks exclaims. "What's with the sudden change in behaviour? Why did you bring us here?"

    "Do you really think I'd give you answers, you foolish Shinx?" Dusknoir scoffs. "You can come up with an impressive battle tactic, yet you still remain fooled by my facade. Pathetic!"

    "Wait… what you said back at Treasure Town! You tricked us!" Sparks exclaims in realization.

    I suddenly have a moment of realization as well.

    'You three are quite the trio, and you're quite something extraordinary, which is quite a shame…'

    Is… is that what he meant by 'quite a shame'?! What's going to happen to us?!

    "Tricked you? Well, what a surprise!" Dusknoir says tauntingly, clearly sarcastic. He then starts to rub his hands together. "Now, as much as I'd love to toy with your fragile and gullible emotions some more, Master Dialga's plan still has to go on." he then turns to face the Sableye. "Now, Sableye? Are you ready?"

    "Psst! You two!" I hear Grovyle whisper to Sparks and I. "Any second now, Dusknoir is going to send those Sableye at us. I can't just leave you two here to die, so I've decided to tell you how to survive. So do you two want to live, or what?"

    "Okay Sableye, on three!" I hear Dusknoir say.

    "Wait, are you going to help us? Why… why should we listen to you?" I respond.

    "Violet, wait," Sparks whispers to me. "I know we might seem to be in a very tight situation… I… I think that we have no choice but to trust Grovyle right now…" He makes his voice slightly louder. "We'll listen to you, Grovyle."

    "One…" Dusknoir starts to count.

    "Okay. So if I know Dusknoir and his Sableye, which I do, it's that they mainly like to attack using their Fury Swipes attack," Grovyle explains. "They'll try using that move to scratch us to death, but seeing as the majority of our bodies are bound in rope, they'll aim for our bodies, scratching the rope in the process. If you want to live, you're going to have to endure the Fury Swipes until the ropes eventually give way, then break free and follow me! Got it?"

    "Two…" Dusknoir continues. The Sableye continue to shake as they inch ever so closer, presumably in excitement.

    "I… I got it…" I reply.

    "I… I understand," Sparks replies as well. "But I just have one question… What if, just in case, the Sableye don't end up using Fury Swipes?"

    "If… if they don't use Fury Swipes…" Grovyle hesitates, starting to sound unconfident for a bit. "Then… then we'd have no way of escaping… or surviving… But I'm sure that they're going to use Fury Swipes. Don't question that any further."

    "Three! Now Sableye, Fury Swipes, now!" Dusknoir commands.

    "They're coming! Brace yourselves!" Grovyle exclaims.

    The ocean of Sableye in front of us start to run closer to us, and I tense myself in preparation for the upcoming blows. I close my eyes, flinching right as the purple blurs start to jump and slash at me. The shredding sound of Fury Swipes flood my ears as I feel the first slashes make their impact. I try to hold in a yelp when I feel sharp claws scratching at my stomach, almost cutting into my fur and skin. The Fury Swipes continue to slash at me, the pain continuing to build up.

    Ow… I… I don't know if I can take more of this…

    Each piercing slash leaves its mark on me in the form of a rush of pain, and I start to feel the claws dig deeper into me. After what seems like an eternity, I find myself unable to withstand the pain, from the Sableye, the rope's grip, and my tails, making me let out a scream in pain.

    "Violet… Don't let this pain get to you…" I hear Sparks' voice to my left trying to reassure me. I even hear the pain in his voice.

    "Keep… keep enduring it… I can feel the ropes weakening…" I hear Grovyle's voice to my right, the sound of his pain also evident.

    "I'll… I'll try…" I mutter.

    I open my eyes, trying to withstand gasping at the sight of the multiple Sableye using their claws to try to dig deeper into me. More pain then strikes me when I feel the skin of my stomach slowly give into the harsh slashes. I start to feel blood trickling down my front side.

    This… this hurts…

    Fortunately, I manage to catch a glimpse of the ropes tying me up, and I see that they're slowly starting to give in to the slashes as well. I even feel the ropes' grip on me start to loosen. The realization gives me motivation to keep enduring.

    Come on… It only feels like it'll take a little bit more slashes to finally break this rope…

    But at this rate…. I feel like this pain is going to make me pass out…

    I drown out the sound of the Fury Swipes threatening to dig into me with my thoughts, trying to keep myself motivated.

    Any second now… I can feel the ropes loosening… I… I think I might actually get through this…

    I… I might actually survive this! Maybe this plan of Grovyle's wasn't so ba-

    "Sableye, stop!" I snap out of my thoughts as Dusknoir's sudden voice echoes around the room.

    Wait, what?!

    "What?! No!" Grovyle exclaims, sounding just as shocked as I was.

    The Sableye slowly back away closer to Dusknoir. I feel a slightly numbing pain from the countless slashes dealt to me by the Sableye, but I still manage to remain conscious. I try to struggle and break away from the ropes keeping me bound, but their grip is still too strong.

    "You've weakened them enough now, Sableye," I hear Dusknoir say in a slightly praising tone, quietly cackling at us. "It shouldn't take much to finish them off now that the Fury Swipes left them much weaker."

    Wait… what about the ropes? What's going to happen?

    "Violet… are… are you okay?" I hear Sparks say to me, slightly moaning in pain.

    "I… I'm slightly bleeding… but I guess I'm still okay…" I say to him. "But what about you?"

    I look over to Sparks' side, but try to hold in my gasp at his condition. Through the gaps of his ropes, I see that the marks left from the Fury Swipes look and probably are much worse than the ones left on me. But unlike the small trickle of my blood staining my ropes, a whole puddle of blood has already started to form under Sparks.

    "I… I could be better… I guess having to suffer brutal wounds back to back isn't too good for me…" He responds. "I'll… I'll try to hold on…"

    Oh no…. Sparks…

    I then hear Dusknoir cackling at us and our pain.

    "Okay Sableye, time to finish this," He starts. "Now use Shadow Claw. And this time, aim for their throats."

    "No!" Grovyle exclaims, flinching.

    Two Sableye dash closer to us, one of them on the other's shoulders. The rest of the Sableye do the same, the increased height making them look even more fierce. With the Sableye now closer to the height of my elevated and tied up state, they all start to inch closer to us. Trembling in fear, I press my head and the tufts of fur on it against the stone pillar behind me, the extended Shadow Claws of the multiple Sableye approaching me barely reaching my throat.

    "Any last words before I let the Sableye loose?" Dusknoir says tauntingly.

    "Dusknoir, you scum!" I hear Grovyle blurt out in exclamation, sounding desperate. I carefully turn my head to the left to see that he seems just as injured and weakened. "You're just a deceitful coward, always hiding behind those Sableye of yours! The reason you rely on them so much is because they get to learn a more powerful Ghost type move than any move you can learn, isn't it?! After all, they get to learn Shadow Claw and you don't get to learn a good enough Ghost type move that matches up to that power! Admit it, Dusknoir! You always rely on those Sableye to do all the dirty work you do just because all the good Ghost type moves Sableye can learn are more powerful than yours!" Grovyle then continues screaming as if he were insane.

    This… This isn't making me feel any better about dying...

    Dusknoir's impression then slightly shifts, starting to look a bit offended.

    "Ahem… Let's not get too much into these… 'personal' matters…" Dusknoir says. I hear the evident embarrassment in his voice. "Ahem! I better not stall this any longer. Sableye. You know what to do."

    Well… I guess it really is over now…

    I carefully turn to my left to face Sparks, a feeling of despair coming over me as I take in the dreadfully familiar sight of his bleeding and injured condition. If I'm going to die, I might as well speak to him one last time. He must've had the same intention, because he slowly turns to face me in return, my eyes locking with his.

    "S-Sparks…" I say, tears starting to stream down my face, Grovyle continuing to scream desperately to my right. "I… guess this it it… I love you, Sparks…"

    "Violet… I love you too…" He replies, his voice filled with just as much painful agony.

    I continue looking into his eyes, trying to enjoy the last of what I have left. He closes his eyes, turning ahead to face the Sableye as I do the same. The Sableye bring their claws back, readying to bring them forward and finally finish us off.

    Right now… all I have left now… in this place… all alone… All I have left… is Sparks…

    I recall all the times he's been there for me, almost as if my life is flashing before my eyes. That time he helped me at the beach… that time I was all alone… and he was there to help me. It meant a lot to me when someone actually willingly helped me, let alone continue to stay and help me.

    Sparks…

    Then every other memory I've had with him flashes in my head. Countless of them come up, actually. The times he lead me through mystery dungeons… the times he comforted me whenever I felt down… all those times reminded me of why I fell in love with him. He's sweet, kind, smart, charming, and he's always been there for me. He's special to me. All those memories of Sparks continue to remind me of everything he's done for me. And what I've always wanted to do for Sparks was to repay him somehow. I'd help Sparks with anything, no matter what it is, when I get the chance, because he means that much to me.

    I'd do anything for Sparks… I love him, after all… but now everything about our relationship is all going to disappear once we both die…

    I snap out of my memories back to reality, where I see Sparks' fatally injured state once more. The Shadow Claws of the Sableye are mere inches away from our throats, slowly as if time slowed down, but a series of memories flash in my head once again as I gaze at Sparks. His injured state gives me memories of when he struggled in battle. Memories of when he fainted in our battle against Groudon and Manectric flash in my head. I begin to wonder how I actually managed to win in those battles without Sparks. The familiar feeling of despair without Sparks starts to come over me, but then another feeling comes over me. The urge to protect Sparks.

    I snap back to reality, the Sableye's Shadow Claws just about to reach our throats. However, I feel a familiar burst of energy and confidence quickly build up inside me. The same burst of energy I felt when I was desperate to protect Sparks. The same burst of energy I felt back at our battle with Groudon as well as Manectric.

    No! I won't let you hurt Sparks! I'm not going to lose him!

    I let the energy out, my rage taking me over once again.

    Author's POV

    Right before the tips of the multiple Shadow Claws could reach their targets, the Sableye suddenly pause when they notice a faint but suddenly violent rock-shaped glow coming from the inside of Violet's pink Zinc Band scarf, right where her Relic Fragment is. A burst of energy suddenly bursts from around the Vulpix, making a violent fiery aura engulfing her and burning through her ropes. The violent burst of Violet's fiery aura leaves the Sableye stunned in shock and surprise before they all fall over.

    'What… what is this?! Wait… no!' Dusknoir thinks, recalling Violet's battle against Manectric. 'No! How could I have forgotten to tell the Sableye to take that stone from the Vulpix?!'

    "You…. you!" Violet exclaims in anger, glaring at Dusknoir.

    The Vulpix then looks up to the air and howls. The entire room then starts to heat up from Violet's intense burst of energy, and Violet manipulates it so that Grovyle's and Sparks' ropes burn to nothing but dust. The two fall back to the ground safely on their feet. Although they're both just as surprised as Dusknoir and the Sableye are, Grovyle and Sparks quickly take action, dashing to different sides of the room.

    Meanwhile, the Sableye start to regain themselves and start to surround Violet, readying more Shadow Claws. Without batting an eye, Violet stamps a paw into the grey-bricked ground, sending dark Imprison energy surging through the ground. The Imprison energy combines itself and emerges as a jet-black colossal figure behind Violet, lashing out tentacle-like Imprison forces at any of the Sableye that dare get any closer to Violet, almost as if the Vulpix were commanding a giant Tentacruel monster.

    As any of the remaining Sableye fit to fight attempt to pounce at Violet, the giant Imprison force makes quick work of them by grabbing onto them and tossing them towards the rocky wall, lashing away as if it is its own being. The giant Imprison force even seems like it's working on its own due to Violet slowly walking towards Dusknoir without paying any attention to the dark beast beating up Sableye behind her. On another side of the room, Sparks picks up his Treasure Bag that was dropped as he looks on in awe Violet's Imprison Force makes quick work of the Sableye attempting to pounce at her.

    'Wait… that's Imprison, right? Didn't Violet tell me that she wasn't capable of using Imprison that well?' Sparks thinks, recalling what Violet said a few days before. 'Something about it having a mind of its own?'

    Before he could think about it any more, Sparks snaps out of his thoughts when he notices a Sableye getting knocked away in his direction, instinctively making him set up as Charge shield. As the Sableye bounces off from the electrified shield, Sparks shakes off the sudden recoil from having to charge up an Electric type move in his slightly limping and bleeding but still conscious and able state. Grovyle, who was previously on the other side of the room, dodges a few of the Sableye Violet's Imprison force knocked towards him and runs over to Sparks.

    "I got our escape tunnel out of this room ready, Shinx," Grovyle whispers to him, a peculiar looking bag of his own strapped around his shoulders. "We can't waste any more time here. Your Vulpix friend may look like she's got the hang of this, but she could get herself even more hurt than she already is or possibly even killed, so let's get out of here! All this sudden noise and havoc might provoke Dialga to come here!"

    Sparks nods in response. Then, even in his wounded state, he manages closer to the center of the room towards Violet.

    As for Violet, she slowly inches closer to Dusknoir, her eyes glowing with rage and energy. The Ghost type Pokémon backs away slightly from the Fire type's sudden burst of power.

    "You… you're next! This is what you get for trying to kill Sparks!" Violet screams, hatred and anger coming loose from her voice. She then starts to charge up an intense Flamethrower, powered up by the scorching heat starting to engulf the entire room, to let loose on the flinching Ghost type. Dusknoir continues backing away.

    Then, just as Violet is about to unleash the move, she feels herself being pulled away by Sparks' paw grabbing onto hers. The relieving feeling of Sparks' paw against hers snaps Violet out of her enraged state, making the Tentacruel-like Imprison force retreat back into Violet's forepaws as she feels her vision go black from the intense amount of energy she just used.

    A few minutes later, Violet's POV

    The last thing I remember is my vision going dark and Sparks pulling me away by my paw. The sudden realization of the pain that happened back in the other room makes me go slightly numb. However, I don't faint or black out. I feel my the feeling of the bricked ground on my paws transition to dirt and soon to rocky ground as Sparks continues pulling me away somewhere.

    Ugh… What happened… I… I let my rage take me over again, didn't I?

    The familiar pain, dizziness, and fatigue of having to use up intense bursts of energy come back to me. I feel my limbs give in to the exhaustion and I collapse onto the hard rocky ground.

    Oww…

    "Do you have any items? Any at all?" I hear Sparks' voice, fuzzy. "She… she's probably very exhausted from what happened…"

    "My bag is just as empty as yours, Shinx," I hear Grovyle reply. "That darn Dusknoir… looting my bag when his Sableye knocked me unconscious."

    "Well… at least he didn't order the Sableye to execute us directly bringing us into the future with that portal…" I hear Sparks reply, his voice now much clearer. "He must've decided to play safe and tie us up first to make sure that we'd have less of a chance of escaping… but still, not the best plan on his part."

    I start to feel myself slowly shaking off the exhaustion, pain, and fatigue; and I slowly get back up to see Sparks right in front of my face.

    "Sparks? Where… where are we? What happened with Dusknoir and the Sableye?" I ask.

    "Grovyle and I managed to get our respective bags away from the Sableye that took them from us, and then Grovyle made an escape passage for us using Dig. And as for where we are… I'm not completely sure, Violet… but according to Grovyle, this is the future… as obscure as that might sound." He replies.

    "The… the future?" I ask.

    I look around me to see that we're in some sort of rocky corridor-like path, except the atmosphere and everything around it seems… off. Very off. The atmosphere and the air around feels as if it were altered and unnatural. Even the rocks and the dark sky above look unnatural, greyed out and…

    I suddenly realize.

    … and frozen.

    I instantly recognize the familiar yet dreadful atmosphere from that time when Chime took me to the frozen-in-time Treeshroud Forest to look for my mother.

    "This place… wherever this is… it's frozen in time…" I say.

    "That's exactly what Grovyle told me," Sparks replies. "And I know what you're thinking. Even I don't understand why the future is frozen in time like this… Grovyle didn't really tell me that much…"

    "Wait, so where is Grovyle now?" I ask.

    In response, Sparks points a paw forward, to where I see Grovyle who appears to be patrolling the area.

    "Hmm? Oh, Vulpix, you're awake," Grovyle says, noticing me. "You really showed quite the performance back there against Dusknoir. Are you two ready to keep on moving?"

    Grovyle's sudden question catches me off-guard.

    "Wait, wait, wait, keep on moving?" I ask, tilting my head in suspicious confusion. "As in, with you?"

    "Look, Vulpix. I was the one who dug that escape passage for us out of here. I could just leave you here so you don't drag me down, but a part of my conscious at the back of my mind tells me I can't just leave two innocent Pokémon like you to die here," Grovyle responds, sounding slightly harsh. "I covered up our escape passage, so Dusknoir won't be able to follow us from that tunnel. However, there aren't many separate paths to turn, so soon enough Dusknoir will be following us through the very passageway we are in right now. Plus, I know more about how these places are laid out since I've been in this future, so I also know more about where to find the scarce number of items in places like these. So the two of you, are you coming along with me or not?"

    Uh… um… he does have a good argument there…

    "We're going with you, Grovyle." Sparks replies before I could protest, surprising me even more.

    "That's good, Shinx. I'll be going ahead now," Grovyle says. "Follow me. Or if you want, you can just wait for this Vulpix to come along with you… But don't keep me waiting for long."

    Grovyle then walks away into the distant outstretched darkness.

    "Sparks? Did you just agree to have us follow Grovyle?" I ask in baffled disbelief. "Isn't… isn't Grovyle a bad Pokémon? He is the one responsible for all the Time Gear thefts… and didn't you mention him decapitating a Pokémon in one of your visions?"

    "I… I know… but right now, I honestly don't know what to believe," Sparks answers with a serious expression. "Think about what just happened today, Violet. We woke up this morning thinking of Grovyle as a villain when suddenly Dusknoir takes us to the future and tries to kill us. Grovyle is the one who helped us get out of Dusknoir's trap with his plan and escape passage, and now he can help us get some items that we'll need for survival out here. Besides, I don't know why, but I feel like I can trust Grovyle… even if I've witnessed a vision of him decapitating a Pokémon. Maybe Grovyle can give us an explanation of everything so we can understand who's the bad Pokémon and who's not. The only way to find out is to follow Grovyle and trust him for now."

    "I… I guess maybe you're right…" I say, knowing I can't argue with Sparks' superior observance and intelligence.

    "That's… that's good… I could use some Oran Berries for these wounds… I know you do too, Violet," Sparks says as I follow him ahead. "And… you don't have to worry about this place if you're scared… I admit that I'm a bit scared myself… but I know we can get through this. I'm with you, and you're with me, and that's all that matters, right?'

    "Right." I say as if Sparks read my thoughts.

    I guess a lot has really happened today…

    One second we put all our trust in Dusknoir and now we're trusting Grovyle…

    I have a bad feeling about this place, but I'm with Sparks… If anything, I should be thankful I'm with him… I know I still have to keep an eye out for Grovyle, though…

    There's just something about this place… frozen in time… like everything we've known is gone for good… Why is it that the future is frozen in time like this? I'm scared… but I'm with Sparks… I shouldn't be scared…

    I take a second to breathe, then look to my left to see Sparks offering his paw. I gladly accept it, and paw-in-paw, we walk ahead into the outstretched dark unknown.

    Chapter 22 - Comfort Needs

    Some time later, in the emergency room within Wigglytuff's Guild, Chime's POV

    Ugh… that attack to the face still stings…

    I'm pretty sure this was not part of my contract to join an exploration team when I joined Sparks and Violet…

    Then again, I'm pretty sure there was never a contract to begin with…

    Wait… how much time has passed, exactly? Ugh… the thoughts I immediately have when I wake up…

    I then feel myself against the material of a straw bed as I get up. As I look around what I assume is the guild's emergency room, I feel a numbing feeling fade away from my body to reveal sudden pain.

    "Oh Arceus… I… I need some berries…" I moan as I continue looking around the room. I appear to be on a straw bed on one side at the back room and I notice another straw bed on the other side of the room. I then notice a wooden desk directly opposite the bed I'm sitting on holding a bowl of different berries as well as my Explorer's Badge.

    I attempt to levitate forward and reach towards the bowl with my left rope, only for the sudden pain to come back to me and causes me to collapse face first onto the wooden floor.

    Well, well, well, what a way to start up my da-

    The wooden bowl I attempted to grab falls from the desk due to my outstretched ropes and lands onto my head with a thud. I hear the rest of the berries fall to the ground afterwards.

    I then hear the nearby sound of a nearby door opening, followed by the bowl being telekinetically lifted off of me. I slowly levitate back up to see Chimecho using telekinesis to put the fallen berries back in the bowl and onto the wooden desk. She then looks at me with an amused expression.

    "Let me guess," She says. "You woke up, got bored, and tried to leave? Even if you were only napping?"

    "You know me so well." I reply, smiling back. Chimecho then levitates me back up and brings me back onto my straw bed. I then reach over to my Explorer's Badge on the table with one of my ropes and pin it onto the other rope.

    "Let me take another guess. You weren't napping, weren't you?" Chimecho continues, still sounding amused. "You passed out because of the pain of the Shadow Punch getting to you. I heard you moaning in pain before you lost consciousness while I brought you here."

    "Hmm… I'll just stick to that nap thing. That doesn't sound as embarrassing." I reply.

    Chimecho then turns back towards the bowl of berries and levitates a light purple coloured berry towards me. While confused by the sudden gesture, I take the berry using one of my ropes. I observe the little purple berry, taking note of its unique texture. It has a short brown stem and the bulk of the berry itself seems to be covered by a petal-like shell, almost looking like a flower bulb shielded by petals.

    It could also look like a banana with purple skin, but I guess the former description is more realistic since I don't think I've seen or heard of a Tropius carrying purple bananas on its neck.

    "What kind of berry is this? And what's it for?" I ask Chimecho.

    "It's a Kasib Berry. They help in nullifying and healing damage from Ghost type attacks," Chimecho answers. "You passed out because of the attack's impact, right? Eat the Kasib Berry; it's supposed to help you with your pain."

    I peel open the shell of the purple Kasib Berry in my hand, then eat the dark purple bulb-shaped berry inside. As I chew the soft tender berry, I can feel the previous shock of pain from before slightly nullifying itself.

    Is this what eating a banana feels like?

    "This is good… May I have more?" I ask.

    "I thought you'd ask." Chimecho responds with a smile, levitating a few more the Kasib Berries towards me. She then levitates a few more Sitrus Berries, Oran Berries, and these white berries that are around the size of large Seeds. "And before you ask, those white ones are Enigma Berries. Now eat up; these berries are supposed to make up for both your injuries and the fact that it's lunchtime now."

    "Lunch? Wow, looks like I passed out for quite a while…" I say. As I eat the unusual yet oddly satisfying bunch of berries from the small pile Chimecho gave to me, I suddenly recall the event that lead to me being here in the first place.

    "Wait, wait, wait, what am I going to do now?!" I exclaim, startled. "What about Sparks and Violet?! They… they got taken to the future! Aren't we going to do anything about that?!"

    "I know, Chime. We don't know what to do, either. Chatot even tried discussing it with the rest of the guild," Chimecho responds. "But from what we concluded, there is literally nothing we can do about the situation since all of this is too complex and unexpected to all of us…"

    "But… but they're my friends," I reply, slightly revealing the despair in my voice. I sigh. "Well… I don't have anything else to do… I could go back to Waterfall Cave and look for some of the hostile Pokémon I've developed somewhat of a small bond and trust with…"

    My rambling suddenly gets cut off when Chimecho suddenly pulls me into her arms and under her head, hugging me.

    Wait… I'm being hugged? Chimecho… hugging me?

    It was a good thing my rambling got cut off, because I was at the verge of enlarging my eyes, deepening my voice, and going mad again. The sudden gesture catches me off guard, making it feel slightly awkward to me, but it also gives me a feeling of missed comfort that I longed for, making me hug Chimecho back.

    I have to admit… I like this.

    "Chime, what are you talking about? You have me," I hear Chimecho say reassuringly, the both of us slowly breaking from the hug. She then looks back at me with a kind smile. "We're still best friends, right? How about this; since you have nothing else to do… well, would you like to help me out with my guild duties for the time being?"

    "I can't argue with you on that, that's for sure…" I reply. "I… I guess I need something to get my mind off of Sparks and Violet… But still… you believe that they'll come back, right?"

    "Everyone else here in the guild is trying to keep their spirits up for the sake of those two," Chimecho replies. "Even I'm trying to remain optimistic for them too. Though… for some reason… I think the Guildmaster might be planning something since his expression looked… different… but I don't know what he could planning."

    "The Guildmaster? Wigglytuff, right?" I ask. "And apparently he's planning something?"

    "Apparently so… though I guess it's just a hunch from me…" Chimecho answers, shrugging. "He might just have something else on his mind; something about Perfect Apples maybe?"

    "I see that you've got a Guildmaster with a very responsible mindset," I say jokingly. The mention of Perfect Apples start to get me hungry. "So anyway, you said something about lunch, right? Do you happen to have any Rawst Berries there?"

    Chimecho chuckles a bit. "You can bet we have those, that's for sure. I am the one who prepares food for the guild every day, after all."

    I then follow Chimecho out the door, ready for lunch.

    Looks like I'll be working in the guild again today… but at least I'm not alone. I'm with Chimecho, after all. It's a bit weird seeing how she's managed to be evolve yet I can't, but I don't mind.

    This day has just been full of surprises.

    At least this time I get some time to enjoy myself here in the guild.

    Sparks, Violet, wherever you are and whatever you're doing, I hope you're okay.

    Several hours later, somewhere in the future, Sparks' POV

    We've been walking for a long time now… I… I don't know if I can keep going on at this rate… I feel like I'm at the verge of collapsing…

    I start to feel my paws wearing out from nonstop travel, my scratched limbs desperate for rest. Ever since we barely escaped having our throats brutally slit by Dusknoir's Sableye, Grovyle has been leading Violet and I throughout place after place after place in an attempt to get away from Dusknoir, each location bearing the same eerie greyed out atmosphere. The sight of grey has become an eyesore to me to the point where I can't even tell the difference between the last forest we passed through and a giant chunk of rock that we passed by which apparently used to be a floating cave.

    Both Violet and I had our doubts about the Pokémon accompanying us, but right now, we've noticed that Grovyle knows these areas of the future like the back of his hand, so we know there was no other Pokémon we could trust to bring us around here other than Grovyle.

    And it's not like we had a choice.

    "Are you two tired already?" Grovyle asks as he dashes ahead of Violet and I, sounding annoyed. "You two are going to have to pick up the pace if you don't want to get caught by Dusknoir!"

    "Haven't we gone far enough for one day?" I respond, panting as I struggle to keep up with Grovyle's running speed.

    Violet runs up to my side, just as exhausted as I am.

    "The two of us are exhausted… At least let us have a little bit of rest… Please…" I say, my pace starting to slow down due to my exhaustion.

    "Hmm…" Grovyle starts to slow down too, coming to a halt. He then looks around, presumably to check if anybody's around. "Okay, Shinx. I see that you and your Vulpix friend are severely tired and worn out from our encounter with Dusknoir, and since I'm feeling generous today, I'll let you two rest for the time being. Get some shut eye, even. We've gone far enough for now, and I'll admit that I'm feeling tired as well, famished even. I'll just lead you two to a nearby cave where I know we can shelter ourselves. Follow me."

    Grovyle then takes what looks like a detour through the forested path we were walking on and into the bushes to the side.

    Well that was… easier than I expected.

    "Sparks… do you know where we're going now? Where'd Grovyle go?" Violet asks me.

    "We're… we're finally going to get some rest…" I reply as I follow through the bush I saw Grovyle disappear into.

    "Rest? You mean like, a break?" Violet questions, sounding somewhat astounded. "I… I guess that's reassuring… I've been wondering when we'd stop… where are we even heading to, anyway?"

    "I'm honestly not sure, either… I haven't asked Grovyle about anything yet…" I respond, coming out of the bush to come onto a rocky pathway. "All I know is that we're still on the run from Dusknoir…"

    "That's all I know, too… but Sparks, where are we going?" She continues asking. "We're both lost here in the future. Everywhere we've gone is greyed out and frozen in time, and neither of us still don't know why this place is like this… We don't even have a final destination in mind… I'm scared…"

    I then look to my right, casting a worried look at my tired and scared girlfriend. Though I feel just as scared and clueless as she is, I know that I have to be there for her, no matter what. I take VIolet's paw in mine, making sure to give it a comforting grip.

    "Don't worry. I'll make sure to ask about it next time I get the chance," I assure her. I then look ahead to see a cave not too far ahead, Grovyle waiting for us there at its entrance. "Grovyle's just ahead. It won't be too long until we can get some rest at that cave. How about this… we get some rest, then when we feel rejuvenated, we ask Grovyle about our questions. Does that sound good to you?"

    "I… I guess I don't have any problems with that…" Violet replies, holding my paw back. "I… I wouldn't mind taking a nice sleep for a while…"

    A few minutes later, Chasm Cave, Violet's POV

    After reaching the entrance to the cave that is apparently called Chasm Cave according to Grovyle, he left Sparks and I to rest in the cave while he went out to salvage for berries. While I was surprised by Grovyle's sudden gesture of kindness, I didn't question it. I was tired, hungry, and slightly wounded, so berries were definitely what we needed.

    I find myself lying on the rocky cave floor not too far from the cave's entrance opening, Sparks lying down beside me. As the feeling of lying down relieves my exhaustion a bit, Sparks slowly pulls me closer to him with his paw, and I feel myself comforted by the feeling of his fur as well as his tail's faint glow sheltering me from the cave's darkness surrounding us.

    "Are… are you comfortable, Violet?" Sparks asks me.

    "I'm okay…" I reply, snuggling closer to Sparks' side, letting my fur brush against his. "Wait, what about you? How are your wounds from before? Weren't they bleeding back with Dusknoir?"

    "I'm fine, I'm fine… I was wondering when you'd notice… I already stopped my wounds from bleeding. I even managed to deal with your bleeding as well back when you were unconscious after your… uh… unleashing at Dusknoir…" Sparks replies. "What was that, anyway?"

    "Oh… uh… I don't know how I managed to pull that off, either," I reply, slightly nervous at how Sparks would react. "I… I know I managed to pull it off back with Manectric… and I guess my Relic Fragment reacted to it somehow… though I have no idea as to why."

    "Manectric? Wow… I'm impressed. Judging from that power you showed back there with Dusknoir, you must've wiped the floor with Manectric," Sparks praises me. "And as for your Relic Fragment… I think I might've seen it glow back when you were fighting off the Sableye, though I don't know why…"

    The part about my glowing Relic Fragment in Sparks' statement suddenly gets me thinking.

    "You're battling was nothing like I've ever expected you to do before, and you even had a glowing thing in your scarf and everything! What's up with that?"

    Azurill also said something about my Relic Fragment glowing back when I defeated Manectric… is it supposed to glow whenever I… uh… lose control of myself and let my… 'rage' take over?

    "Violet?" Sparks asks me, snapping me out of my thoughts. "You do still have that Relic Fragment with you, right?"

    I take a quick peek under my Zinc Band scarf to see my Relic Fragment still hanging by the same thin string I hang it on, still hiding inside the safety of my pink scarf. As I glance at it, I notice that its shape looks different somehow, but I dismiss the detail.

    "I still have it," I answer. "Why'd you ask?"

    "I was worried you might have had that taken away somehow…" Sparks responds. "While I was unconscious from Dusknoir dragging us through the portal here, he must've looted all the items out of my Treasure Bag… Well, at least I still have my badge, my bow, the Wonder Map, and all of our Poke."

    "Wait, the map and our money?" I question. "Don't we keep those inside the Treasure Bag? I thought Dusknoir looted all of our items in there."

    "That, he did. But, I might've anticipated the event of our items getting stolen," Sparks continues. "I discovered a cleverly hidden but small inner pocket in the Treasure Bag. It was small, but just enough to hide the Wonder Map and our money. I thought of hiding those important items there in case our items get stolen, and it worked… Though… considering where we are… neither the map or the Poke would prove to be any use here… None of the places here look like anything I've seen on the map, and I doubt that we'll come across any shops here."

    "I guess it's a shame we don't have our items… but I guess we still have those two important ones." I respond, a feeling of optimism rising within me as Sparks' thinking impresses me once more.

    Another question suddenly pops up in my head.

    "Wait, Sparks, if all of our items, including our berries and seeds, were stolen, then how did you stop our wounds from bleeding?" I ask.

    I feel Sparks' face heat up, leaning against mine. "Oh… uh… about that… I… um…" He stammers. "Er… licking a fellow Pokémon's wounds is normal for other Pokémon to do, right?"

    I process Sparks' response right away.

    He… he licked my wounds?

    I feel my face heat up as well from slight embarrassment, but the thought also gives me a feeling of comfort and gratitude at Sparks' gesture, making me smile a bit. I feel my heart warm up.

    That's… that's very sweet of him.

    "Well… I guess that's normal for other Pokémon to do… you don't have to worry," I answer Sparks' question. "And… thank you for looking out for me by doing that. I appreciate that you'd do that for me."

    I hear Sparks' sigh in relief.

    "Well, good… Grovyle was looking at me weirdly while I did it, so I was afraid it wasn't something Pokémon do often," Sparks comments. "Not that I… uh… wouldn't have done it if it wasn't a normal Pokémon thing. I was worried about you and your bleeding, that's all."

    I giggle a bit at Sparks' response, the feeling of him looking out for me continuing to make me smile. If I'm being honest, I would've done the same to him.

    "When do you think Grovyle is going to be back with those items, anyway?" I ask, suddenly reminded by Sparks' mention of him. "I'm starting to get really hungry… I need a berry…"

    "Me too… I don't know how long we've been here… and I don't know when Grovyle will come back, but I just hope that he will… and with berries…" Sparks replies. "So far, the future has been greyed out… and I haven't spotted a single berry during our time here… I'm guessing they must be severely limited."

    "I… I guess so… I just hope Grovyle doesn't just leave us here to die…" I say, trembling at the thought. "We're both hungry… tired… how're we going to survive?"

    "Let's… let's not worry ourselves about that… I'm sure we'll make it through this… Let's just focus on getting rest…." Sparks says in a comforting tone. He kisses me on my cheek.

    I kiss Sparks back on his cheek. I then cuddle up closer into the comforting feeling of his fur, letting the comforting feeling drown out my scared thoughts. Despite the slightly rough feeling of being painfully famished and the cave's floor below me, cuddling up with Sparks was enough to slowly lull me into a comfortable sleep.

    I… I just hope that we survive through this… I hope we find food soon…

    Chapter 23 - Sightseer Survival Plan

    That night, present time, Author's POV

    Throughout the day, while Sparks and Violet were practically starving to death, things around the rest of Wigglytuff's Guild slowly became less lively than usual. It was as if a new burden had fell on them at the realization of two beloved fellow guild members disappearing into the unknown. Diglett didn't seem as peppy as he was during his sentry duty shift, Loudred didn't seem as loud as he usually was, Dugtrio seemed unenthusiastic during his duties, Bidoof's jolly demeanor faded into slight depression, Corphish looked as if he were hopeless, Sunflora lacked the usual liveliness her speaking had, Croagunk actually looked like he was frowning in despair for once, Chatot and Wigglytuff found themselves in sudden remorseful silence, and Chime and Chimecho found themselves feeling slightly depressed at the event as well.

    Other than that, everyone back in the present time went back to doing their usual daily routines. Besides Officer Magnezone who was unsuccessfully trying to figure out why all the mystery dungeons that had their Time Gears returned are still frozen in time, everyone else in Treasure Town went back to doing what they did everyday, trying to shake off the aftermath of that morning's event.

    Taking in the event of the potential death of a Shinx and Vulpix has really taken its toll.

    Meanwhile, throughout several of the uncharted areas in Treasure Town, two levitating Pokémon rush through, one pursuing the other. One female, one male, the former being the pursuer and the latter being the pursued; the latter would continuously manage to find an opportunity to outrun the female and attempt to pull of another step to his devious plan. Most of the opportunities that this pursued Pokémon would have to outrun his pursuer are times when the pursuer would briefly stop to call out for help.

    However, this pursuer didn't stop to call for help against the Pokémon she's pursuing. She knew she could handle this on her own; she just needed to keep the pursued Pokémon at bay until then. However, rather than explaining as to what she's calling help for, I'll just cut to the chase.

    Literally.

    Somewhere in the distantly charted areas around Treasure Town, ?'s POV

    At this point I have no idea how long I've been keeping pursuit, but I know I have to keep it up.

    Through another one of Treasure Town's strangely infamous heavily forested pathways, I keep pursuit. Even with the continuously secluded sleepless nights of chase, I've already trained myself not to fall asleep, knowing that letting my target get away would result in very severe consequences. After all, my Sightseer visions never fail me, and this time shouldn't be any different.

    Not only have my visions and first person eyewitness have made me fully aware of my target's plan, but they've also helped me come up with ways to counter his plan. And that's not the end of it either. I've become fully aware of the event of that Shinx and Vulpix getting taken to the future because of a vision, but it actually worked against my target, which has given me a temporary advantage. With the knowledge my visions have given me, I know that Sparks and Violet will be able to survive their 'unexpected' visit to the future, just as long as I manage to send the message properly when the time comes. But right now, all I can focus on is making sure I pursue my target long enough to keep him from pulling off his plan.

    Though… I still have yet to understand why he hasn't tried to attack me… but I'd rather not question it.

    As I continue to dodge and weave from a line of trees and levitate past a bush that seems to have been burnt down, through a small gap in the tree branches above I feel a bit of moonlight shine onto me. As it shines onto me, an instinct activates inside me this time, my Sightseer instincts instantly signaling me to commence the next move in making sure Sparks and Violet stay alive in the future.

    I stop in place and look up at the dark night sky, getting a good straight gaze at the moon above.

    And now to send my signal. I've already hinted at a signal to their former leader, but now I'm going to have to be more specific and have to send different messages each to multiple Sightseers at once. I have to make sure I do this quick, or else I'll be way far behind in my pursuit.

    I can't help but sigh as I attempt to concentrate.

    The work I do for those who only look up to me as a legendary Sightseer rather than a fellow Pokémon. If only they'd see me as a fellow Pokémon, then I'd stop trying to hide myself from them so much.

    I'm getting off track. I should just focus on sending this message to the other Sightseers. I'll have a small batch of them meet up first, then have give them their instructions in the form of a second vision.

    Now to pull this off.

    Crossroads, Wigglytuff's POV

    I still couldn't get over what happened with Sparks and Violet this morning. There was just something about the disappearance of our two newest exploration team recruits that got me.

    Well, actually, my most recent case of creating an exploration team were with those three who called themselves 'Team Skull' since they registered a few days after Sparks and Violet did, but I guess since I haven't seen them ever since they tried to ambush me outside Fogbound Lake, which only led to their instant defeat, they must've quit.

    Continuing on, because of the events that happened this morning, I've planned something.

    For a while I've been having these weird dream-like scenes that actually predicted the future in an unusual sort of way, but I didn't question them. So today, I was hoping that I would get another one of these 'dreams' tonight since I'm feeling at just a loss as everyone else. It was the first time an incident like this has happened around Treasure Town, after all.

    And what do you know, instead of having a normal dream about eating Perfect Apples with my parents at a picnic, I had another one of those special dreams! And this time it came in the form of a voice!

    I should really try to visit my parents when I get the chance…

    Anyway, I recall this dream saying something about meeting others and to go to the beach, which is why I'm at the crossroads, on my way to the beach right now.

    As I approach the path leading to the beach, I see the silhouettes of two other Pokémon talking to each other, one on the sand and the other in the water, the former looking vaguely familiar to me.

    Strange… Have I seen that Pokémon before?

    Then, as my feet step onto the sand making up the beach, the figures become much clearer to me, and I instantly recognize the first silhouette.

    "Ninetales!" I exclaim happily, walking over to her.

    Ninetales then turns away from the Pokémon she was talking to and looks over to me. A smile comes over on her face.

    "Wigglytuff! I know that cheerful voice of yours when I hear it! It's been years!" Ninetales cries out, coming up to me. "You've really grown ever since I last saw you as an Igglybuff! How're you and your parents doing?"

    "Oh, it's been going great!" I respond, jumping up and down on the sand in excitement. "I haven't seen them in a while, but I'm sure they're just as good as ever! Ever since I've picked up a thing for exploring, they let me move away from our cottage to Treasure Town after I evolved into a Wigglytuff, and I started my own guild! You have seen it, right?"

    "Kids these days, always into exploration for some reason. It's no wonder you're so successful in that guild of yours," Ninetales says, sounding intrigued. "I know why your parents believed in you as if you were a prodigy. Let's just say there was something… 'special' about you."

    Something about how Ninetales worded that last sentence sounded a bit weird to me.

    Special? Like, an inheritance skill or something? I know that I can harvest enough ground shaking power to use a powerful attack like something Chatot can learn, but I don't think that's enough to call me special…

    "Hmm… Interesting." Ninetales puts a paw to her chin, looking even more intrigued as if she read my mind.

    "Ninetales, who is this?" I hear a male voice speak out. The figure from the water then comes over to us, revealing to be a Lapras.

    "Ah, I should probably introduce you two to reach other," Ninetales says. "Lapras, this is Wigglytuff, the child of two fellow Sightseers I used to be with. Wigglytuff, this is Lapras, a traveling Sightseer acquaintance to my former mate Absol."

    "Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Wigglytuff." Lapras greets politely, bowing his head.

    "Nice to meet a new friend! Hi Lapras!" I say, shaking Lapras' fin like I would a hand, excited about meeting a new Pokémon.

    After the introduction, something about how Ninetales introduced me catches my attention.

    Wait… 'child of two fellow Sightseers'? What's a Sightseer?

    "Now Wigglytuff, while I'm sure you have a lot of questions on your mind, I don't think I can explain it in proper detail just yet," Ninetales' speaking snaps me out of my thoughts, almost as if she's read my mind again. "Now… I don't know if everyone's here quite yet… But I presume you're all here because of the same reason? A vision?"

    "Indeed. During my traveling around continents, a vision came by me, telling me to come here," Lapras answers. "The vision told me that I would be meeting up with other Sightseers, then would be receiving another vision once we've all arrived. How about you, Wigglytuff?"

    "Wait… a vision? Does having a weird dream count?" I ask, feeling clueless about what's going on. "Because a dream told me to come here to the beach to meet some other Pokémon. That's close enough, right?"

    "Your parents have yet to tell you about your presence of Sightseer blood, so your cluelessness is understandable," Ninetales replies to me. "Now… now I'm just not sure if we're all here… the only other Sightseer I know that's in Treasure Town is Chime… and I have no idea where he'd be at this moment."

    Chime? The Chingling who started helping Chimecho out at the guild? Is he into this Sightseer stuff too?

    "Oh, I was here the whole time. I just waited until I felt like coming out of my safety shelter before revealing myself. I can't sleep if you're all here, talking about stuff I should be involved in."

    The voice came out of nowhere, startling us, and we see its source to be a Chingling that just appeared right in front of us out of nowhere.

    "Hello everyone. You may or may not know me," Chime says, looking up at everyone. "But what's important is that I came here because of a vision. So whatever you're all planning that's Sightseer related, I should be involved in it too."

    "Ah. Chime, you're here," Ninetales says, shaking off her surprise. "I… I assume that's all of us? I don't know if there are any other Sightseers here that could be around Treasure Town."

    At this point, I decided to give up trying to piece together what this stuff about Sightseers are and just nod, pretending to understand.

    "I don't think that's all of us," Chime speaks up. "While I was hiding in one of those bushes opposite the beach water trying to get some sleep, my psychic instincts kept telling me about some other Pokémon hiding in the bush right next to mine, so I guess they might be important somehow."

    "Other Pokémon here? Hmm… Let me scan the area for a bit…" Ninetales responds. I then see her eyes glow blue, slightly brightening the night's darkness, and she looks around.

    The light in her eyes then point towards a bush.

    "I can sense the Sightseer energy of one more Pokémon in that bush. Come on out; I know you're there." Ninetales says, the light in her eyes fading back to normal.

    I hear an irritated grunt come from the bush as it rustles a bit. I hear several whispers coming from it.

    "I know you're there," Ninetales repeats herself. "I know that you're a Sightseer, too. If you've come here for the same reason we have, then you should come out."

    Ninetales' words hush the rustling and whispering come from the bush, and a single slightly familiar voice comes out.

    "Yes, Ninetales."

    Stepping out of the bush comes out not one, but three Pokémon. While dark, I instantly recognize their silhouettes, and though confused as to why they're here, I find myself grimacing at them.

    Team Skull.

    Author's POV

    Wigglytuff finds himself trying to hide a scowl at Team Skull, remembering how they tried to launch a surprise attack at him. However, Skuntank ignores the Normal and Fairy type Pokémon, and instead looks at Ninetales with a serious expression. While Chime has already forgotten his encounter with them at Apple Woods and Lapras looks clueless, Koffing and Zubat whisper to Skuntank.

    "Uh… boss? Do you know this bunch? The Ninetales, in particular?" Zubat asks, clueless.

    "I know the Ninetales. Years ago, I used to be part of a clan led by her that let me experience visions, but it disbanded a few years after Ninetales' daughter was born because of Ninetales' mate's dying wish," Skuntank whispers. He then suddenly remembers something, making him slap a paw against his forehead in sudden embarrassment. "Ugh… How could I have been so ignorant… how have I not seen the resemblance before…"

    "Wait, so is this clan thing why you said stuff about the night speaking to you or something like that a few days ago while we snooped and hid around Treasure Town?" Koffing asks. "And what's this about a resemblance?"

    "I'm so stupid…" Skuntank whispers to himself. He then turns to face Koffing and Zubat. "You two. Ya know that Vulpix we've been chasing around? That Vulpix is that Ninetales' daughter. We messed up big time."

    Koffing and Zubat immediately back out into the bush in startled surprise. Skuntank just lets out a disappointed sigh.

    "Are you done talking? It's been a while, Skuntank. Nice to see that you've managed to get over that 'anti-social' mindset that held you back because of your Dark typing," Ninetales greets. "Would you mind telling about those two Pokémon who were with you just now? I don't recognize them to be Sightseers."

    "Heh. I liked to call anti-social mindset being 'edgy'. I guess you could say I got over it a little," Skuntank replies surprisingly politely, a faint grin coming over his face as he lets out a slight chuckle. "Nice to see you too again, Ninetales. And as for those two? Let's just say that they're two cohorts of mine to my operations."

    Skuntank then looks over to Wigglytuff, who's still trying to hide a grimace.

    "I know I have attempted wrong," Skuntank says. "But for the time being, it appears we have to side. I'd like to apologize for what my cohorts and I have attempted to do."

    Wigglytuff's expression then lights up right away, to Skuntank's surprise.

    "Oh, that's okay!" Wigglytuff says with a cheerful and carefree smile. "You apologized, so of course I'll forgive you! Let's be friends again!"

    'That didn't take much convincing… Heh, now that I think about it, I should've recognized that cheery behaviour from that little clueless Igglybuff tyke from years ago.' Skuntank thinks as Wigglytuff comes over to him. Wigglytuff awkwardly shakes Skuntank's paw in forgiveness.

    "So… uh… now that that's settled with, I presume that now we're all here," Ninetales says, clearing her throat. "And now that the five of us Sightseers are here. I presume it's time for the second part of the vision that brought us here to take place. I recall it telling me that we'll have a vision once we gather here. Am I right?"

    The other four nod in agreement.

    The four then look up at the moon above, awaiting their vision.

    They all then snap into their vision-like states, all of them greeted by a similar darkness and a voice.

    'The five of you are each going to be experiencing similar visions, each with a difference, but all with the goal of helping Sparks and Violet survive in the future,' A female voice calls out to each of them. 'They're going to be encountering several situations where they'd need help in the form of several events that will carry on into the future they're in. Now, while I'm not the smartest when it comes to time travel, I'll tell you that the events have already been set in place in the future, they just need to happen in the past for the events to play there. I don't have much time, but I'll try to be concise in my explanation. You're going to have to do this right after this vision; you can't afford to waste any time. Now, as for your explanation, this is what you'll have to do…'

    Meanwhile, Koffing and Zubat witness the entire event from inside a bush, feeling completely clueless.

    "Do you have any idea what's going on, Koffing?" Zubat whispers.

    "I haven't the smoggiest idea what's happening," Koffing replies. "I've had no idea what the boss was talking about when he mentioned the 'night speaking to him' or something like that… but since he's the boss, I didn't bother questioning it much."

    The two then notice that Ninetales, Lapras, Wigglytuff, Chime, and Skuntank have snapped out of their visions. Koffing and Zubat slowly come out of hiding.

    "Now I know what I'm supposed to do…" Ninetales says aloud, blinking from the sudden vision. "Do you know what you're all going to do? I'm going to have to go to Northern Desert."

    "Looks like I'll have to go somewhere distant," Lapras says. "Since I know this place and that it's far away, I'll be going now in order not to waste time. Farewell, all!"

    As Lapras leaves, Wigglytuff recalls the events from his vision.

    "My dream told me that I'm going to need to plant some Perfect Apples for Sparks and Violet! I'll go get some from the guild's food supply!" Wigglytuff says, running off.

    "Wait, plant?" Chime questions. "My vision told me to plant some Heal Seeds for Sparks and Violet! Wait up!"

    As Ninetales, Wigglytuff, and Chime dash away from the beach, Zubat and Koffing float over to Skuntank.

    "So… uh… boss?" Zubat asks. "What do we do now?"

    "Alrighty boys, we gotta go help that Shinx and Vulpix!" Skuntank exclaims, a grin coming across his face, this time appearing excited instead of maniacal. "I know we've been trying to get back at them, but this time we're going to help them! Are you two with me?!"

    Koffing and Zubat seem startled by Skuntank's change of heart towards Sparks and Violet, but sigh in relief shortly after.

    "Thank Arceus…" Koffing sighs. "I was starting to think this grudge was getting petty."

    "We're with ya, boss!" Zubat cheers enthusiastically.

    "That's the type of response I'm looking for!" Skuntank rallies. "Now boys, let's go plant ourselves some Blast Seeds!"

    "Yeah, Blast See- wait, Blast Seeds?" Koffing questions. "Of all the jobs we get the one that involves planting?"

    "You heard me right! I'll go and ask that Wigglytuff fellow if he has any! Now follow me, we've got some planting to do!" Skuntank instructs, dashing off.

    Zubat and Koffing appear dumbstruck and mildly surprised at Skuntank's sudden behaviour, but couldn't help but follow their leader.

    "I've never thought I'd see the day where a Poison type would be taking part in planting of all things… I'm starting to wonder whether the boss is in his right mind or not…" Zubat says, almost jokingly.

    "Glad I'm not the only one." Koffing jokes back.

    Chapter 24 - There For Us

    Still night, some distant place, Lapras' POV

    I believe this should be the place my vision told me to go. I have seen my sister come by here sometimes… I guess I'm not just used to traveling across distant continents. I'm only used to traveling across barren seas.

    After departing from the rest of the Sightseers at the beach, I spent most of the night swimming to a distant continent where my vision told me to go, then traveled farther into forested territory once I reached the shore.

    Using a move I learned called 'Psychic', I use my telepathic energy to levitate myself over the dark green grassy ground below me, levitating through the forested pathway as the night sky looms above me. I continue looking for a certain place my vision to save Sparks and Violet told me to go. Ninetales told me about the both of them during our short reunion conversation at the beach. Violet is Ninetales' daughter, that fact I already know, and Sparks is Violet's… 'soon-to-be mate', according to Ninetales. I'm pretty sure it was obvious that Ninetales was exaggerating a bit when we talked, judging from the excitement in her voice when I heard her say that 'soon-to-be mate' part.

    Anyways, back to me. Using telekinetic energy, I continue looking for a certain clearing my vision told me to find.

    Now… my vision did tell me that there should be a clearing somewhere… one with a tree and a slight depression in the ground…

    And soon enough, I burst out through the bushes to see an open and empty clearing. The ground is made up of short growing flat grass, a small part of the ground extending outwards. I notice a moderately grown tree growing out of the outward stretched ground, and that the end of this small section of ground is connected to a wide crater-like depression made up of rocky ground. In return, this large dry rocky crater is connected to a slightly tall rocky wall, some loose boulders at its top.

    Hm. It's as if everything the vision told me about has fallen right into place.

    An open clearing with a single tree connected to a dry crater-like depression and a rocky wall. Everything the vision told me about is right here. I then recall the instructions my vision gave me. I levitate closer to the large crater, then look up at the pair of loose boulders sitting atop the rocky wall and concentrate an attack. I let loose a bright blue Ice Beam aimed at the loose boulders. The beam makes contact, encasing the two boulders in fragile ice.

    Okay, I froze the two boulders like the vision instructed me to do. Okay, the next part that the vision told me should happen any tim-

    The frozen boulders start to tremble a bit, then give way and shatter as water gushes out like a waterfall behind where the two boulders used to be. I watch in satisfaction as the waterfall's water fills up the dry depression, turning it into a lake.

    Okay, the boulders blocking the water are now gone and the waterfall behind it is now free to flow. The water should fill up the crater enough to turn it into a proper lake. I've done everything the vision told me to do, so it looks like my job here is done. I don't know why the vision couldn't have asked me to use my Water type attacks instead, but regardless, I know I've done everything I can here.

    Hope everything's going well for everyone else.

    Northern Desert, Ninetales' POV

    '... Now, as for your explanation, this is what you'll have to do. You, Ninetales, will have to travel to Northern Desert. It shouldn't be too hard to get there if you have a map, which I presume you have. There, you will have to find a certain Pokémon. While she isn't a Sightseer, this Pokémon will prove to be invaluable help to Sparks and Violet once you acquaint yourself with her. She's your best bet at them surviving. Prepare a spare Apple. And don't worry, once you find this Pokémon, you'll know it's her. As for the request you'll have to ask her to help Sparks and Violet, you don't have to ask her anything too complicated.'

    I recall what the voice said to me in my vision at the beach.

    For hours, I've been traversing this wide endless plain of sand. I sigh, already getting tired of wandering through this place. As if it wasn't bad enough that I'm looking through a desert during the loneliness of nighttime, this desert is completely greyed out and frozen in time, making it even more of a drag to walk through with the sour colour of grey being everywhere.

    I honestly don't know why my vision brought me here… Why would a Pokémon stay here in a place frozen in time?

    I sigh again.

    I really hope it doesn't come to me having to stay here walking all ni-

    I suddenly feel something in the ground bump into my front paw, making me trip and fall over. I then quickly recover from the fall and shake the sand off my fur. Knowing that the lump I tripped on was too big to be a rock, I cautiously look behind me for whatever tripped me, then notice the lump in the ground start to stir. The lump continues stirring for a bit, shaking the sand off itself, and I see that it's a Sandshrew curled up into a ball.

    A Sandshrew? Hm. Looks like my vision was right, there is a Pokémon here in this frozen desert… But is it the Pokémon I'm looking for?

    The Sandshrew uncurls from its ball position and looks up at me with its light blue eyes, bearing a blank neutral expression. It waves a paw at me in a friendly gestures, indicating that it's saying hello.

    "Uh… hello, Sandshrew. Are you not a hostile Pokémon?" I ask carefully.

    The Sandshrew remains silent, still staring at me.

    "So I take it that you're not a talker?" I ask.

    The Sandshrew nods slowly. Seeing this, I quickly come up with a solution, and I concentrate psychic energy at the Sandshrew.

    "Okay, this time I'm reading your mind," I explain to the Sandshrew still looking up at me. "Let's start over. I'm Ninetales, and I have come here with no bad intentions. Are you not a hostile Pokémon, Sandshrew?"

    "Um… if you put the question like that, saying yes or no will just make it sound confusing…" I hear the Sandshrew's female voice in her mind. "So… um… to answer your question, I'm not hostile. I just come by here since I don't really have anywhere else to go since I'm alone, and I like it here… Well, except now that it's… grey and frozen for some reason… My name is Sammy, by the way… and I'm a bit hungry… and lonely."

    Recalling my instructions from the vision, I pull out an Apple from inside my chest fur that I prepared. I hand it to Sammy, who reluctantly accepts it.

    "Wait, you're actually letting me have this Apple?" Sammy's voice asks, surprised.

    "You… you did say you were hungry, right? Here, you should have this. You seem to be alone here, so I might as well help you." I say.

    Then, before I could blink, Sammy reduces the Apple all the way down to its core, then eats it.

    "That Apple was good… That really helped me… Thank you, Ninetales. You know, small and kind gestures like that mean a lot to me. I guess you could say it's my philosophy. I just hope that Apple wasn't poisoned or anything… But anyway, Ninetales, since you gave me that Apple, I'd like to do something for you return."

    I'm taken by surprise by Sammy's response. "Er… well, pleasure to make your acquaintance, Sammy. If you don't mind, I have a question for you," I continue. "Just out of curiosity, how and why are you still here? This place is frozen in time; all the other Pokémon who used to be here have fled."

    "Wait, frozen in time?" Sammy's voice replies cluelessly. "Huh… Weird. I go away from this desert for a day after seeing a Shinx and Vulpix getting hurled out and this is what happens."

    "Pardon? A Shinx and a Vulpix? My daughter is a Vulpix, and she's formed an exploration team with a Shinx who's her soon-to-be mate," I say. "That means you've seen my daughter, right? Her name is Violet, and the Shinx is named Sparks."

    "Uh… noted. So… why are you telling me this?" Sammy asks. "Did something happen to those two?"

    "Indeed. However, I don't think I have enough time tonight to give you all the details," I reply. "How about this? You said you're hungry and alone, correct? There's a town nearby where I can take you; there's even a place called Spinda's Cafe where you can get free drinks and I'd think you'd like it there. I'll even explain the situation with Sparks and Violet to you on the way there."

    "A nearby town? With a cafe serving free drinks? Oh, while I'm sure that I should be having thoughts about trust and strangers and all that, you gave me a delicious Apple in a random generous act of kindness, so I know I can trust you, Ninetales! Count me in!" Sammy's thoughts cry out to me excitedly.

    Well, that wasn't too hard… I just hope that when I take Sammy to Treasure Town I don't get accused of kidnapping… I don't know what I'd do if I got caught kidnapping… For the record, it was the Sandshrew who willingly wanted to come with me… At least, I'm pretty sure that's how agreements work…

    So, managing to shake off my thoughts of how I definitely didn't do any acts of kidnapping, I look back at Sammy as she enthusiastically walks after me, the two of us starting to head back to Treasure Town. I can't help but smile at Sammy's enthusiasm.

    "You know, you remind me a bit of my daughter," I say to her. "Well, at least, during the occasion that she's excited."

    "Well, I guess I probably know what you mean when I overheard her talking to that Shinx companion she was with," Sammy replies. "I didn't know what she was talking to him about, but from all the mushy and romantic cliche words, it sounded like she was in a relationship with him. And she sounded happy to be with that Shinx, too."

    I smile at the thought.

    I just know that Sparks will be a good son-in-law when the time comes. I just need to wait unti, well, the time comes.

    "So about these Sparks and Violet characters… what did happen to them?"

    "Well… it's hard to explain all at once, but first, I'm going to have to ask you something," I say. "If you ever see Sparks and Violet, wherever they are and whenever you see them, promise me you'll do everything you can to protect them."

    Sammy looks up at me, a confused look coming across her face.

    "Er… protect? Well… that sounds like it came out of nowhere… but then again, it's not like I have anything else to do… You know what? Because you showed a generous act of kindness towards me with that Apple, I'll help you out. So… uh… about that 'protecting Sparks and Violet' stuff… I'll protect them. I promise."

    "So…. now that I've got that out of the way, do you think they'll have Apple juice at this Spinda's Cafe place?"

    "Considering I've been there several times, you can bet on that, that's for sure." I reply.

    The next day(?), the future's 'Chasm Cave', Sparks' POV

    Violet and I have been through sudden betrayal, countless painful slashes, and hours of walking through dark and unknown lands all in one day. So when we finally got an opportunity to sleep, even if it was a cave, we gladly took the opportunity and fell sound asleep in each other's arms… er… well, limbs… Even now, being quadruped is still confusing to me sometimes.

    "Psst! You two! Wake up!" A voice rings through my head, quickly pulling me out of my peaceful comforting sleep darkness.

    Slowly, I open my eyes to find myself looking right into Violet's, and I smile at her. She flashes a small cute smile at me back.

    "Nice to see you're awake." I quietly say to her. "Good… morning? Wait… we're still in the future…"

    Our smiles start to fade at the realization.

    We were still here in the future… asleep. How long have we been here?

    "Yeah, that's right. Here in the future, there is no clear determination of what's day and what's night," The voice that woke me up says, revealing itself to be Grovyle. "There's also no clear determination of how time passes here since this place has been frozen in time. Anyways, now that you're finally awake, we should leave now. Are you two fully rested and ready to move now?"

    Violet and I get up.

    "I'm fine. How about you, Violet?" I ask.

    "I guess I'm fine and rested too. Though… I haven't eaten anything in a long time, and it's killing me…" Violet answers, slightly moaning. I can hear her stomach rumble for a bit, just as mine does in return.

    "So you're both hungry then. Well, you two don't have to worry. I headed out to look for items," Grovyle says to us, putting a hand into his bag. "Usually food items here in the future are scarce, but this time, I took a slight detour where I usually go to hunt for items and found an abundance of items! I've gathered all of them in my bag, but Shinx, you can have some of them since you have a bag too. Both you and your Vulpix friend look like you need them."

    Grovyle then pulls out large handfuls of what look like Seeds and Apples and tosses them to us, the item landing on the floor next to us.

    Apples? And… and Seeds?

    "Those are Perfect Apples, Heal Seeds, and Blast Seeds," Violet points out, knowing I still can't recognize different types of Seeds and Apples. She gathers a few of them and "And there are a lot of them, too."

    "Even I thought it was slightly… bizarre, " Grovyle responds. "I found all these items at one place, the feet of a trio of trees that looked like they were planted at the exact same time. And there a lot of these Apples and Seeds, too. Anyways, you two go gather up your items and follow me when you're ready. I'll be going deeper into the cave; that's where we'll be going."

    Grovyle then walks past us and into the deeper darkness of the cave, leaving Violet and I with our items.

    "Quite a stroke of luck to suddenly have all these items, don't you think?" I ask Violet, breaking the silence as we pick up the Seeds and Apples Grovyle left us. As I pick up more of the items and put them into my Treasure Bag, I catch Violet biting into one of the Perfect Apples.

    "Uh… Sorry. I got hungry…" She apologizes, but I smile at her.

    "Don't worry about it. Now that you mention it, I'm hungry too." I say. I then take one of the Perfect Apples and bite into it, the crunchy texture and nutritious juices immediately putting my rumbling stomach at ease.

    "Ah… that's better, don't you agree?" I say, finishing my Perfect Apple.

    "Agreed…" Violet says, finishing off her Perfect Apple. "Though… even if we have food in the future, we're still here… alone… with almost no one we know here to help us…"

    "Well… I'm sure we'll find our way out of this… I'm here with you, after all." I try to comfort her, but even I can hear the hope drooping in my voice.

    As I put the last of the items, a Perfect Apple, into my bag, I feel a sudden feeling come over me, vaguely familiar. As this feeling morphs into a dizziness rushing to my head, I recognize it as the feeling of a Dimensional Scream.

    Looks like it's time for another vision…

    My limbs freeze up. I'm greeted by darkness. This darkness then clears up a bit to reveal a dark blurry scene, the darkness presumably indicating the scene taking place at night. I see the blurry figures of five Pokémon; three of them slightly hovering in mid-air while the two tallest figures stand. The five of them seem to be doing something near a wide pile of soil.

    "Aaaand done!" The bipedal figure chants in a familiar cheery voice. "We've planted the items! Good work, team!"

    Wait… Wigglytuff?

    "Finally glad to get those items out of the way… these wings can't handle holding piles of items for too long." I hear the small and winged figure utter.

    "So does that mean we're done here now, boss?" I hear the round levitating figure ask. "We need to get back into hiding… staying out in the open in public isn't good for us…"

    "Yep! We've done what we could, and I feel great! Back to hiding, boys!" The quadruped figure says, sounding in a surprisingly excited voice.

    Wait… Team Skull? What were they doing?

    The group of five then start to part, Wigglytuff and Team Skull going their separate ways, leaving only the smallest levitating figure. A figure I instantly recognize all too well and to my relief.

    "Alright, finally got done planting those Seeds and Apples," I hear Chime talk to himself. "Hopefully the Blast Seeds, Heal Seeds, and Perfect Apples should sprout and make their way into the future. Sparks, Violet, I'm genuinely worried and concerned for you two and I know that wherever you are, you're going to survive. I await your return, so you two better not go dying on me!"

    With a reassuring feeling coming onto me, the vision fades away, and I'm back in the grey cave. The colour of frozen grey still remains a sore sight to my eyes, but the last part of Chime's little speech rings in my head, giving me confidence.

    "Sparks, Violet, I'm genuinely worried and concerned for you two and I know that wherever you are, you're going to survive. I await your return, so you two better not go dying on me!"

    "Sparks? You had another vision, didn't you?" Violet asks me. "What did you see? And why are you smiling?"

    "I think I know how we got these items," I say, feeling slightly triumphant. "Though, now that we're done getting these items, we'll need to head forward to follow Grovyle. Don't worry, I'll explain my vision to you on the way there."

    Deeper into Chasm Cave, Violet's POV

    "... So that's what happened? That's what you saw?" I ask with interest, just as Sparks concludes his explanation of his vision. At the same time, I also stay cautious of the pits littered around the dark cave floor, using Sparks' tail light to guide me through the cave's darkness.

    "Yep. That's what I saw." Sparks says.

    "Wow… I'm surprised," I find myself in awe, but also weirdly touched. "I'm surprised… but in a weird way… it's comforting. There's just something about the realization that… even here, in this dark place called the future… our friends in the past were still there to help us, that's… well, comforting."

    "I couldn't agree more. So does my story about my vision help you feel better?" Sparks asks me, stepping to one side to avoid a pit on the ground.

    "Well… yeah."

    "Good. I was expecting that you'll feel better once I told you about my vision," Sparks says, his kind smile flashing at me. "Considering that we're mostly at a loss of what to do here other than survive, I was hoping the least I could do would be to keep you reassured."

    "Looks like you succeeded, then." I say, smiling back at him.

    "Then I know I did good," He replies. Then, he looks ahead and his expression shifts, as if something's caught his attention. "Violet, look! I think that could be the cave's exit!"

    I look ahead to where Sparks' was pointing his paw, then see what looked like an opening in the cave's darkness. It didn't look like an exit to me at first due to it only looking a slightly lighter grey than the rest of the cave, but then I realized that everything is greyed out, so I shouldn't expect to see sunlight. I continue trying to squint ahead.

    "An… an exit? Wait, Grovyle should still be waiting for us past there, right?" I ask.

    "He should be. We didn't encounter him in the other parts of this cave, so he should be past that exit. There, we can ask him any questions we have," Sparks replies, starting to pick up the pace. "We can't keep him waiting forever; the last thing we'd want is for the only Pokémon willing to guide us through the future abandoning us."

    I pick up the pace as well, while still making sure to jump over any of the small pits we come across as I run closer to the exit.

    Later, Author's POV

    With their bag filled with items and hunger satisfied by Perfect Apples, Sparks and Violet made their way back to Grovyle at Chasm Cave's exit. The two then find themselves being led by the Grass type once again, slightly lagging behind as Grovyle led the way.

    Through a grey forested pathway, Grovyle looks behind him to see the Shinx and Vulpix whispering to each other.

    'Those two have been whispering to each other ever since we made it out of that cave… I'm starting to get suspicious. Now I've suddenly gotten a bad feeling…' Grovyle thinks. 'Though… I could just be thirsty again… But I needn't worry. I'm heading to a water source, anyway.'

    As the group of three head further and close to Grovyle's destination mind, Sparks slowly walks up to the bipedal Grass type.

    "Uh… Grovyle?" Sparks asks cautiously. "Just out of curiosity… would you decapitate a Pokémon if you had to?"

    "Excuse me? Decapitate? I would never do that to a Pokémon, let alone kill one. Why would you ask me that type of question, anyway?" Grovyle responds, feeling offended.

    Sparks slows down his pace a bit, walking back next to Violet. "Uh… I just had a slight… premonition," Sparks answers hesitantly. "I just thought I should ask, since… well, you did remain in the image of a villain in our minds."

    "You two still think I'm a bad Pokémon, don't you? I told you, I wouldn't even dare attempt to kill a Pokémon!" Grovyle snaps, stopping his walk and turning to face Sparks and Violet. "Let me guess; you're also probably wondering why the future is all frozen and greyed out like this if all the Time Gears are back in their original places in the past, aren't you?"

    "Uh… That was actually my next question." Sparks answers.

    Grovyle then looks around the area carefully, peeking through the grey foliage for any Pokémon.

    "I think the coast is clear for now… Okay, Shinx and Vulpix. I know that being here in the unknown all of a sudden is a bit much for the both of you, so I'm sure you both deserve an explanation," Grovyle says. "I'm sure you two want your answers as soon as possible, but right now we're still out in the open in this pathway. There's a rather large clearing nearby where we can stop for a drink of water. We'll head there first, then I'll answer your questions. Agreed?"

    "Okay then." Sparks responds.

    "A-Agreed." Violet speaks up at the same time.

    "Good. Now if you can, try to be quiet until we get there. Dusknoir and his Sableye should still try to be following after us, and the last thing I'd want is for them to hear us and track us down." Grovyle says. He then turns away from Vioparks and walks ahead, the two continuing to follow him through the forested pathway.

    More steps of walking through the forest later, Sparks, Violet, and Grovyle emerge from a bush to find themselves at a wide clearing. Looking around to see the flat grey grassy ground and a tree on the opposite side, Sparks and Violet then notice the clearing's point of interest: a wide lake formed from the frozen-in-time greyed out waterfall to the lake's right. While it was frozen and greyed out, the two still recognize it as lakewater.

    "That… that's an actual lake, right? With actual lakewater?" Violet asks, her hopes rising at the sight.

    "Please tell me it is…" Sparks adds.

    "You can both calm yourselves, Shinx and Vulpix. While it is frozen in time and is probably very very limited due to a frozen-in-time and permanently disfunctioned waterfall, I come by here to drink every now and then, so it's completely safe to drink… maybe." Grovyle answers. He then goes over to the lake and takes some of the water in his hands, taking complete sips of it.

    Seeing this, Sparks and Violet rush over to one side of the lake as well. Violet dips her snout into the water, taking several refreshing licks of the water. Sparks observes, seeing as he's still not used to drinking from a lake, then follows Violet in drinking the lakewater.

    'I was starting to think this lack of hydration would kill me soon…' Sparks thinks in relief.

    'I was starting to need some water to cool down the fire inside me…' Violet thinks, feeling a soothing feeling inside her body. 'I can't let that flame get too hot…'

    This is true, by the way. Several of Vulpix's Pokédex entries mention a fire inside their bodies that the Vulpix shouldn't let get too hot. There's something new for you to learn.

    "You two refreshed and ready to listen to my explanation now?" Grovyle asks, walking over to Sparks and Violet.

    "I think I've cooled my flame down enough." Violet says, lifting her snout from the water and sitting down next to Sparks, who is still trying to drink from the lake.

    "I'm… I'm still trying to learn how to drink like this…" Sparks says, trying not to accidentally trip into the lake as he struggles to reach the water with his mouth. "You can go ahead… go ahead and continue, Grovyle… I'll be listening, just go on…"

    "Okay then, Shinx and Vulpix," Grovyle says. He then goes over to the tree nearby and sits against it, taking a Perfect Apple out of his own bag and biting into it. "I know you two are of good intentions, but it appears that you have suspicions about me, which I understand. You might think I'm a bad Pokémon, so I'll have to prove to you that I am trustworthy. I know you two are confused about many things. Things like why Dusknoir betrayed you and is the bad guy, why the future is frozen like this, why I'm the good Pokémon here, and where I'm trying to go to now. Just allow me to explain everything to you…"

    Chapter 25 - Closer to Home

    Sparks' POV

    Come on… just one sip…

    I try my best to keep my paws planted on the grass below me while also trying to reach the lake water below me for a drink.

    Arceus, how did Violet make this look so easy?

    Eventually, I manage to lower my head enough to the point where my mouth finally makes contact to the water, and I treat myself to several refreshing gulps. The water, while grey and frozen-in-time, still tastes and feels like any regular water, even tasting slightly cooler and refreshing than I remember as if some of it was made up of pieces of ice.

    Wait… then again… when was the last time I drank water?

    However, I don't let my thoughts distract me and instead try to quench my desperate thirst by continuing to drink.

    "Okay. Shinx, Vulpix, listen carefully," I hear Grovyle say from nearby. "This might be a bit to take in, so I'd rather have it that you remain quiet and instead process the information to yourselves quietly. Speak up only when I ask you to."

    "I'll be listening." I say in between large sips.

    "Got it." I hear Violet say beside me.

    "Now… where to start? Hmm… well, I might as well start with as to why the future is frozen like this," Grovyle starts. "Judging by your appearance and my… 'meeting' with you at Crystal Lake with Azelf, you know what Time Gears are and what they do, correct?"

    Indeed I do. I would reply, but right now my mouth is full, and I'm still very thirsty for water.

    "They… they keep the flow of time stable, right?" I hear Violet reply.

    "That's correct, Vulpix," Grovyle continues. "Now, as you know, I've been trying to take the Time Gears of your time period. But, I have done so in good intention. You see, it's true that when I take a Time Gear away from its location, the flow of time there will freeze, but only temporarily. To explain, you might be wondering why some of the locations in the past are still frozen even if they have their Time Gears returned. This is because in the past, time has already started to freeze due to some strange anomaly, starting with areas in Treasure Town, regardless of whether or not the Time Gears are in their places or not. Eventually, this time freezing wave has spread across the entire planet permanently, leading to this frozen future we're in now. So, in an attempt to relieve this world from the darkness of this frozen future, a good friend of mine helped bring me and another good friend to the past where you lived. However, Dusknoir's master, Dialga, didn't want the past to get fixed, so he took Dusknoir and a few of his Sableye minions to the past to try to stop me. Understand so far?"

    I think I get what's happening…

    "I… I think I get it…" I hear Violet say, sounding slightly unsure. "To get this straight, the past was going to freeze regardless of the Time Gears being in their places… leading to this frozen future… so you came to the past to fix it, but Dusknoir also followed you to the past to try and stop you, right? Wait, if Dusknoir wanted to stop you, specifically, then why did he bring us to the future? And how were you going to fix the past, anyway?"

    I was thinking the exact same thing. Violet must be learning…

    "I was just going to answer those questions, Vulpix. You still listening, Shinx?" I hear Grovyle ask.

    "Still listening." I take a quick break from my lake water sips to reply, then continue drinking.

    I hear Grovyle clear his throat, the continuing to speak. "So when I traveled to the past, I learned that there is one way to stop time from freezing in you past and turn it back to normal. I had to go take all the Time Gears around your region and take them all to a place at the top of Temporal Tower, the very tower that stands straight as long as time stays stable. But during my trip to the past, I managed to take all the Time Gears, well, all except for Crystal Lake's, before Dusknoir stopped me and returned all the Time Gears. So it appears that I'm back to square one in my operation to save the past and the future…"

    Well, this is quite a bit much to take in… but for as far as I know… I can still piece this together in a way where it makes sense…

    "Oh… um… I… I guess I understand… I think…" I hear Violet say, sounding slightly overwhelmed by the information. "I'll just try to pretend that I understand everything completely… I still have some questions, though…"

    "I told you to not speak during my explanation until I ask you to, Vulpix," I hear Grovyle chide. "Continuing on, now I was just going to get to that point. Of course, you know why Dusknoir took me to the future. For you, Shinx, my guess would be because of your tactical prowess, which would make you a force to be reckoned with against Dusknoir, only making Dusknoir want to eliminate you as soon as possible. As for why Dusknoir would want to eliminate you, Vulpix, as far as I know, you showed impressive battling potential in our encounter at Crystal Lake, but more importantly, I think it's because of that stone of yours."

    "My… my stone? You mean this one?" I hear Violet say.

    My thirst now quenched, I lift my head from the lake and wipe my mouth with a paw to see that Violet has pulled out her Relic Fragment from inside her scarf. I then see Grovyle's expression shift at the sight of Violet's Relic Fragment, lighting up.

    "Yes! That's the stone!" Grovyle says. I then see him reach for the stone, but I instinctively react and step in front of Violet, blocking Grovyle off.

    "Explanation first, stone later," I scowl, glaring at Grovyle. "Let's just say I'm a bit paranoid about others trying to take my girlfriend's lucky charm."

    My stare causes Grovyle to take a step back, just like I wanted.

    "'Girlfriend'…? 'Lucky charm'?" Grovyle questions, sounding slightly confused. He then clears his throat. "Interesting… Ahem. Remember how I mentioned that taking the Time Gears to a place in Temporal Tower will fix time? You see, Shinx and Vulpix, getting to the top of Temporal Tower isn't as easy as traversing any regular mystery dungeon. One specific part in particular requires a powerful stone to proceed. Judging from the glimpse I had of that ancient-looking stone of yours, Vulpix, I know that those types of artifact-type rocks have some sort of power in them. Much more than a lucky charm, you could say. I'm sure Dusknoir knows this as well, and wanted to take that stone from you to guarantee that Temporal Tower will never be reached, since powerful stones are rare. But luckily, you still have the stone with you, Vulpix."

    I take in the information Grovyle just said.

    "Now that I think about it, a place as important as Temporal Tower should have something to make it harder to traverse that any regular mystery dungeon…" I reply, calming down a bit. "But if we're still going to go with you, the stone stays with Violet, got it?"

    "Yes, yes, don't get the wrong idea, Shinx, I'd rather have it that the Vulpix keep the stone for now," Grovyle says in panicked haste. A confused look then comes across his face. "Wait a second… who's Violet?"

    "Uh… I'm Violet," Violet speaks up, walking up beside me. "My name's Violet. Did you… did you really think that my name was always Vulpix?"

    "Your… name?" Grovyle appears very confused for a second. He then snaps out of his trance and slaps a hand to his face in disbelief. "Ugh! How could I have forgotten?! Please excuse my ignorance, you two. It's just that I haven't met many Pokémon here in the future, so I wouldn't know if a Pokémon would rather be called by a specific name or not… This'll take some getting used to on my part…"

    "I guess that's… understandable… Might as well introduce ourselves to you since you told us your plan, seems like a fair trade," I continue to speak. "This Vulpix here is Violet, my girlfriend, and as for me, my name is Sparks."

    Grovyle then appears confused again. "Excuse me, but let me get this straight. Your name is Sparks?" He questions with a surprised look.

    Grovyle's reaction makes me slightly confused as well.

    "Uh… yes. My name is Sparks," I reply slowly. "May I know why you seem confused by my name?"

    "No, no, it's just… nothing," Grovyle replies, quickly shaking his head and turning away from us. However, I instantly recognize his tone of voice to be that of denial. I decide not to question it.

    "Anyways, I presume that you two have already quenched your thirsts by the lake, correct? That means we're done here. We should keep moving, after all. Dusknoir might still be following us, and we still have a long path to walk." Grovyle continues.

    Violet and I then watch as Grovyle walks ahead and walks toward another pathway ahead while motioning for us to follow.

    "Wait, where are we going, anyway?" I call out to Grovyle.

    "I'll explain more to you on the way there," Grovyle calls back. "Now come on!"

    Following Grovyle's command, Violet and I run up to him, leaving the clearing and the lake behind.

    Author's POV

    With Sparks' Treasure Bag dragging along the ground behind him and Violet clutching her Relic Fragment tightly beneath her scarf, the two catch up to Grovyle and head out of the room, out of sight.

    Meanwhile, a nearby rustling appears in a bush, but all that comes out of the bush is a shadow, the body invisible. Immediately afterwards, the shadow's source comes out from being invisible, revealing itself to be a lone Sableye.

    'Drat! I thought that looting only one Vanish Seed from the Shinx's bag after Dusknoir captured him would be a good idea, but the invisibility effects of the Vanish Seed have already wore off!' Sableye thinks to himself, irritated. 'And I didn't even get a chance to take that stone from the Vulpix!'

    The Sableye sighs, then walks over to the lake to get a quick sip.

    'At least I managed to follow Grovyle this far. The rest of the Sableye are barely able to get up from the damage done by that Vulpix… But luckily I still had that Vanish Seed from the Shinx's bag and managed to hide just in time,' Sableye continues thinking. 'But now that the Vanish Seed's worn off, I should probably head back to Dusknoir since I've done all I could in terms of spying… Yeah, heading back does sound like the best solution. I don't think I can take those three all at once. I'm sure that I can safely assume that Grovyle is going to try to head back to the past, and since Dusknoir knows a thing or two about how the process of opening a time portal works, he'll know where Grovyle is trying to go. I'll head back to him, tell him the path Grovyle and the other two went, and be able to catch up to them in no time! Wheh heh heh!'

    Finishing his sip, the Sableye lifts his head from the lake and looks around, something suddenly coming across his mind.

    'I should be able to meet back up with Dusknoir and catch up to Grovyle… but now that I think about it, a mysterious ally of Dusknoir and Master Dialga should be found not too far ahead of this forest's path… It would be a shame if… Grovyle and those two came across him,' Sableye thinks, the eerie grin on his face growing larger. 'Well, regardless of whether or not Grovyle, Shinx, and Vulpix survive the encounter, I'm sure Dusknoir will have already caught up to them! Wheh heh heh!'

    Sableye then leaves the clearing and heads the opposite direction of where Sparks and Violet left, somewhat satisfied with himself.

    In the present time, Night, Crossroads

    "So where are we going now, Ninetales? Are we going to get another Apple juice at the cafe? Are we going to explore a mystery dungeon or some other place like that?" Sammy's voice in her mind cries out enthusiastically as Ninetales reads it. The little Sandshrew looks up at the yawning Ninetales with her blue eyes.

    "We'll… um… I'm honestly really tired at the moment…" Ninetales mumbles, wiping her drowsy eyes with a paw as she continues walking in circles. "I have no idea where to go or what to do at the moment… I could do with some sleep."

    "Well, if you're too tired to do anything, then I guess I can understand. I'll just go somewhere on my own!" Sammy thinks excitedly. "You know, part of me has always wanted to explore a forest mystery dungeon. There's one that I really want to go to that I've heard of; I heard that a visit there can make you much stronger! I wanna go there!"

    But Sammy's words end up drowning in Ninetales' tired mind, making it hard for Ninetales to understand.

    "Y-yeah… yeah… whatever you say…" Ninetales replies tiredly, yawning again, unaware of the Sandshrew taking an item from her chest fur.

    "Oh! A map! Now I know how to get to that forest I wanna go to! Well, Ninetales, while it was a pleasure to meet you, you're too sleepy to go to a dungeon, I'll go there myself! Bye!" Sammy's voice echoes within Ninetales' head, the Sandshrew walking away.

    After another long yawn, Ninetales wipes her sleepy eyes once more, then realizes the slight silence in her head.

    "Sammy?" Ninetales calls out, looking around. With a sudden feeling of shock, she realizes that the Sandshrew is gone. The shock snaps her out of her drowsiness.

    "Ugh… Why couldn't she be overly clingy to my fur like Violet…" Ninetales grumbles to herself, sighing.

    She then walks off towards the crossroads' exit, trying to remember what she vaguely read from Sammy's mind.

    'Let's see… something about a forest… and Sammy going there herself…' Ninetales thinks. Her eyes then widen in realization at a thought. 'She… she took my map! And I didn't even notice! Now she's really in for it! When I find her, I'll make sure to give her Apple juice instead of Perfect Apple juice! That'll show her!'

    The future, Dark Hill, Violet's POV

    "Wait, Dark Hill? Is… is that what this place is called?" I ask, traversing through the forested pathways.

    "Yes. It's another forest frozen in time, but it's not as much of a hassle to go through so we should make it past here quickly." Grovyle replies to my front, using a Leaf Blade to cut through a dark bush.

    To my left, I see Sparks take out the Wonder Map from his Treasure Bag.

    "I don't see any place like this on the map… Either this place is drastically different from the past's location in terms of structure, or we've been walking for a long time… long enough to walk off this map," Sparks speaks up. He then discards the map back into his bag. "Wait, Grovyle, you said that you were going to tell us where exactly we're going and why. I'm pretty sure 'past Dark Hill' isn't a specific enough location or reason."

    "The past is still at risk of being completely frozen in time, so I'm going to find a way to bring us back there," Grovyle answers. "Remember when I said a good friend of mine helped bring me back to the past? Her name is Celebi, and I think I know where she might be."

    A memory in the back of my head suddenly comes to my mind.

    "Celebi? I… I think I've heard about that Pokémon in legends…" I say, remembering a story my mom told me about the Pokémon years ago. "Celebi is a Pokémon that can use time-based powers, right?"

    "Correct, uh… Violet," Grovyle hesitates a bit. "You see, when Celebi helped bring me to the past, she ended up staying in the future. But I know Celebi well, so I'm sure she managed to keep herself hidden from Dusknoir and Dialga. If you want a more specific answer as to where we're going, there's a certain forest here where Celebi can harness her time-traveling powers best. That's where we're heading."

    "Well, at least now I'm sure that we'll be heading to the past… I was starting to get worried of what's happening there without us…" I hear Sparks say.

    After a bit more walking, the we find our way out of the forest. We see what looks like a short grassy plain with a tall grassy hill ahead.

    "Looks like we're finally out of there," Grovyle says. "It shouldn't be too long before we find Celebi."

    "That's good." Sparks says, sighing.

    "However, we've been walking for what seems like countless hours, and I could do with some sleep. I presume you two feel the same way. Follow me." Grovyle continues, slowly walking towards the hill. Sparks and I follow him.

    As we walk closer up the grey hill, I notice that there's a large tree on the hill, and what seems to be a view past the hill.

    Once at the top of the hill, Grovyle points towards the view ahead of the hill. It is greyed out just like the rest of the places here in the future, but instead of looking like a forest, or a cave, or any natural place, this place looked like it was in ruins. Like the ruins of a civilization, crumbled and abandoned as its remains stayed stuck frozen in mid-air.

    "You see that place? Its houses and houses have crumbled due to slow decomposition as it froze in time. But don't worry. Think as you must, I know for a fact that that place isn't Treasure Town; it's structure is much much different. In fact, we've actually walked very far away from where Treasure Town is," Grovyle says, walking over to the tree. "Anyways, that place is where we're going to after we sleep. To the left of this hill is a path that'll lead us there, and past that place we should find Celebi. Anyways, I'll be sleeping up in this tree, you two better get some rest as well."

    Grovyle then climbs up the tall tree to our left, leaving Sparks and I alone. I remain standing fixed in place, continuing to stare at the village ahead. I feel a mix of emotions inside me.

    "Violet? Is… is something on your mind?" Sparks walks up to me, looking at me with a concerned look. His yellow eyes stand out to me from the grey around us.

    "I… It's just… That place reminds me of Treasure Town…" I reply. "I miss Treasure Town… I miss the colour… I miss the guild… I miss everyone there… I miss Mom… I even miss Chime… I wanna go home, Sparks…"

    I feel Sparks lay his paw on my back, stroking my fur in a comforting fashion. "I… I miss everyone there too… even Chime. But don't worry, Violet… at least I'm here with you. I know we're going to get back to Treasure Town… Grovyle said that he's going to find a way to bring us back to the past, after all." He says to me.

    "I… I guess you're right… even if we're seemingly alone here… even if we barely have a clue where we are… even we we don't have Chime to teleport us out of here… we can make it." I feel a faint smile come across my face as I look back at Sparks. I start to feel a bit reassured.

    "See? That's it," Sparks smiles back at me. "Are you feeling better now?"

    With the mix of emotions inside me being replaced by the warm feeling of happiness, I continue smiling. I give Sparks a quick kiss on the cheek. "I am. Thank you." I say with gratitude.

    Sparks' growing smile comforts me even more. He gives me a quick cheek kiss as well.

    We both then walk near the tree and lie down, my head snuggling into Sparks fur as he pulls me closer to him. I close my eyes and slowly doze off.

    "I love you, Violet…"

    "I love you too, Sparks…"

    Chapter 26 - Vision Going Hazy

    Author's POV

    We interrupt this chapter before it even begins for some exposition! Again!

    And once more, this exposition has nothing to do with the Sightseers, and will probably not make much sense right away. But regardless, exposition time!

    Every being, even if this being is not a Pokémon, has a will. A will to accomplish a certain task. Even multiple of them. This task can range from something simple to an overwhelming feat, but if there's a will, then perseverance and sheer will to accomplish will bring make this task accomplishable.

    There is also the possibility that certain tasks will remain unaccomplished due to say, death. And thus 'unfinished business' comes into play. Even with the physical form of a being taken away by death and or, say, their own body crumbling due to dangerously prolonged periods of being frozen in time, their spirit will be fired up by their will to accomplish and do whatever they can to accomplish their task.

    Long story short, you plan something, be it to protect a certain Shinx and Vulpix or plan a certain undying vengeance, but you don't achieve it and die. But if your will to accomplish this task is strong enough, then your ghost or spirit will come back to accomplish this task. Something like that.

    While this whole story might seem completely irrelevant and pointless, it's important. And will probably make more sense later on.

    Probably.

    Hours(?) later, Sealed Ruin

    After an undefinable amount of time sleeping, Sparks and I followed Grovyle down the path next to the hill and head down to enter the frozen village place, which apparently Grovyle called 'Sealed Ruins'.

    I feel my paw stepping onto the dirt path, the eerie yet familiar feeling of paths used for civilization coming to me. Slowly, the three of us walk through the place, passing by what looks like several small crumbled houses and an arched grey wooden gateway as we go. We walk into a much larger open area with more of the small crumbled structures. I start to feel uneasy.

    Why… why do I feel like we're being watched? It's… it's scaring me…

    "I… I'm not the only one who's starting to feel uneasy here… right?" I speak up, breaking the haunting silence around us.

    "You're not the only one…" Sparks replies, holding my paw.

    Past the arched grey gateway, we pass through what looks like crumbled remains of more buildings.

    "I know what you mean… Though… I have felt this eerie and haunting feeling before…" Grovyle says. "It's… familiar to me, somehow…"

    Then, as if on cue, an unfamiliar cackling voice booms through the air.

    "Hee hee hee! It's about time the hostile spirits of this place got their revenge!" The voice booms threateningly, seemingly aimed towards us. I start to feel myself tremble in fear.

    "What in the name of Arceus was that?!" Sparks exclaims, sounding panicked.

    "Curses! I should've known it was him!" Grovyle exclaims, running ahead. "Run, you two!" Run if you don't want to die!"

    "W-What?!" I cry out.

    "Who's 'him'?! What are we running from?!" Sparks cries out.

    Then, we look behind us to see several dark, hazy shadows start to form. They then start to form shapes I recognize to be Pokémon, but the sudden fear coursing through me keeps me from identifying each of them one by one. Red eyes form on all the hazy shadowy Pokémon figures, all staring at us threateningly. The hazy shadow that formed a red-eyed Gyarados roars at us, sounding eerily distorted. The rest of the hazy shadow Pokémon start to run in our direction.

    "Run!" Sparks cries out.

    We both break into mad dashes, rushing ahead as I feel sudden emotions of fear and adrenaline, mostly fear.

    What… what are these shadowy haze Pokémon?!

    I take a brief look behind me only to see a hazy Gliscor swooping at me, but I step to the side to dodge just in time. I see Sparks dodge a tackling Umbreon shadow.

    "S-Sparks! Where are we running to, anyway?" I manage to blurt out to him, jumping over what looks like a String Shot attack from an Ariados I see behind me. I attempt to fire a Flamethrower back at the hazy Ariados, but my attack only phases through it.

    I… I can't even attack them! My attack didn't even hurt it!

    I remain standing still in shock for a brief moment, but I snap back to my senses when I feel a rush of pain come to my face as the Ariados knocks me away with a painful jab of one of its pointed legs.

    "O-Ow…" I groan, sliding across the dirt ground. I quickly manage to get up, only to see a hazy Raticate behind me.

    Oh no…

    The Raticate lunges at me with its claws, and I instinctively attempt to dash away from the attack. However, I dash away a second to late, and I stumble onto the ground from the painful impact of the hazy Raticate's claws with my torso.

    Luckily, even with the damage of the attacks I had to endure, I still manage to get up. However, I find myself surrounded by more of the threatening hazy shadows.

    "S-Sparks! Help!" I call out desperately, the hazy figures closing in.

    Sparks' POV

    Where did these hazy Pokémon come from, anyway?! And why are they attacking us?!

    Cornered against a rocky wall by the onslaught of attacks by the hazy shadows pursuing me, I try to keep my Charge shield up as I feel the recoil of several hazy attacks bouncing against it. I attempt to sneak a glance past my shield, but quickly duck back behind my shield in time to avoid a hazy Razor Leaf fired at my head by a small shadowy figure.

    I find myself slowly getting pushed back closer against the rock wall behind me, getting even more cornered as my shield continues to take blows. My Charge shield starts to push against my face as my back gets closed against the rocky wall behind me, the two opposite sides threatening to come together and crush me.

    The impact of all these attacks against my shield is pushing me closer against this wall! At this rate, I'm going to get squished against this wall! I need to think of a way out!

    I start to contemplate making a dash away from my shield, but that's when I take one more quick glance at the rock wall behind me. An idea comes to me.

    It… it doesn't look too slanted… I can work with this. It's a bit of a risk, but it's all I have to work with right now… and I don't feel like getting crushed into a Shinx sandwich for these hazy Pokémon to eat… I don't feel like getting eaten, either… My encounter with Manectric was enough…

    I try to keep my paws fixated on the ground as the attacks pummeling my Charge shield push me back against the rock wall at a dangerously claustrophobic rate.

    Okay… I better pull this off quick, or else I'm done for!

    I ready my slightly hurt limbs, preparing myself, then quickly absorb my Charge shield, allowing me a quick glance at the hazy Pokémon attempting to corner me. Using the previously absorbed electricity, I immediately let out a bigger Charge shield forward pushing the hazy Pokémon back a bit and giving me more distance away from the hazy shadows. With more distance opened up for me, I turn around to face the wall. Using Quick Attack speed, I dash at the wall and manage to use the agility to run up it, then quickly jump against it and over the Pokémon attempting cornering me. I manage to perform a backflip and land on my feet on the other side of the hazy shadowy Pokémon, finally away from the claustrophobic space between my Charge shield and the rock wall.

    Huh. I finally managed to perform a backflip. Looks like Violet was right when she said that I could do one if I tried hard enough. I think, starting to feel accomplished with myself. Wait… speaking of Violet, where is she? I… I think we got separated when I dodged that Umbreon's Quick Attack…

    That's when I hear Violet's scream.

    "S-Sparks! Help!"

    "Violet?! Where… where are you?!" I call out worriedly.

    I am only answered by more screams and the sounds of Pokémon attacking, making me even more worried. I try to look around for where Violet is, only to see the shadowy Pokémon chasing me from before attempt to attack me from behind again. I step away from a Shadow Ball aimed towards me from a hazy Gengar and run away from the other Pokémon firing their attacks at me, while also trying to find where Violet is.

    Then, after dodging another Razor Leaf from behind, I find another group of hazy Pokémon ahead attempting to attack an individual, and I instantly know that's where Violet is.

    "Hang on, Violet! I'm coming!" I call out, hoping she's still alive.

    Quickly, I put one of my front paws into my Treasure Bag as I continue to run and fish out a random Seed, its type still unfamiliar to me. As I start to run closer to the group of hazy shadows attacking Violet, I toss the item into my mouth, saving it for later.

    This Seed is either a Blast Seed or a Heal Seed… I better hope I'm lucky this time…

    Using Quick Attack speed once again, I rush closer to the group of hazy Pokémon ahead and farther away from the ones chasing me from behind. Getting closer, I find myself able to clearly make out what's in front of me: A group of several hazy Pokémon attempting to lunge at Violet, who I can see is just as injured as I am and is desperately trying to dodge the attacks aimed at her.

    "Violet! I'm here!" I attempt to call out with the item still in my mouth.

    Lunging, I manage to jump in between Violet and her attackers and face the latter. I bite into the Seed hard with my fangs and open my mouth, unleashing the flames from the Blast Seed at Violet's hazy attackers.

    Except no flames came out. All I feel is the slightly soothing effect of the Seed's taste tending to my nonexistent status condition as I swallow it.

    A feeling of painful regret comes over me as I immediately realize.

    Shoot! I got the wrong Seed!

    I snap out of my trance of regret when I see a hazy Crobat and Butterfree fire attacks of Air Slash and Psybeam, respectively. I react fast and manage to block their attacks with a Charge shield. I absorb the electricity, use it to set up a bigger and sturdier electricity shield, then absorb it once again and let it out as a wide dome-shaped barrier shielding both me and Violet, wide enough to block the attacks of all of Violet's attackers while also blocking off attacks from the hazy Pokémon that were just pursuing me.

    Thank Arceus I managed to set up this dome shield in time… This should hold them off long enough for me to think of another plan… I can't believe I managed to recover from picking the wrong Seed… I sigh from the rapid series of actions I just pulled off, feeling slightly drained. I start to feel several attacks attempt to break my shield, but it remains standing.

    I turn around to see Violet lying on the ground, looking somewhat conscious.

    "Violet? Are you okay?" I ask, walking up to her and looking into her terrified brown eyes. I try to help her up, but she twitches when I try to touch her.

    "S-Sparks… help…" She says weakly. "There… there was a Butterfree… it paralyzed me with Stun Spore…"

    "You're paralyzed? Um… wait, I think I have something for that…" I reply, putting my paw back into my bag. I pull out another Seed.

    This better not be the wrong Seed…

    "Here, Violet… This should help you… I hope." I try to say in a reassuring tone, gently pushing the Seed into her mouth.

    I sigh in relief as she stops twitching shortly afterwards.

    Thank Arceus… I gave Violet the correct item… I gave her the Heal Seed…

    As I finish helping Violet up, I look into her eyes now that she's in a slightly recovered state. I smile at her, and to my relief, she smiles back.

    "Thank Arceus you're okay…" I say to her. "Those hazy shadows really did a number on you too, huh?"

    "Sparks… thank you…" Violet says. She then wraps her paws around my neck, hugging me. I wrap my paws around her neck and scarf as well, hugging her as well.

    After a few moments of relieving and comforting silence hugging, I suddenly feel the harsh recoil of several attacks attempting to pierce through my shield, startling the both of us and making us break from each other's embrace.

    "We can't stay here in my Charge dome for long…" I say, starting to think. "If there's anything I know from personal experience, it's that these shields are far from invincible…"

    "So… so what do we do now? Do… do we just try to make a mad dash for it?" Violet asks.

    "I don't think a mad dash would help either of us… Blindly running with the risk of getting ambushed by whatever these shadow Pokémon are doesn't sound like it'll end well for us… And even if we do manage to escape from this, the only Pokémon willing to guide us through the future is nowhere to be seen…"

    "Oh… Wait, where did Grovyle go, anyway?" Violet questions. "Do… do you think he just left us here to die?"

    "I hope not… I'll… I'll try to think of an escape plan, don't worry…" I say, struggling to think.

    Come on… we've come this far… I need to think of something! How are we going to get out of this?!

    My train of thought struggles to move along from the distracting sounds of my Charge dome getting battered on from the outside.

    Argh… I can't think with all this noise! And this trembling ground doesn't help, either!

    Wait, trembling ground?

    "S-Sparks! What's going on?!" Violet asks me, sounding panicked as she tries to keep her footing.

    "Brace yourself! I think something's trying to reach us from underground!" I exclaim, instinctively getting into battle stance.

    Trying to keep my footing while also trying to keep my Charge dome up, the trembling beneath us is starting to get stronger.

    With a grey cloud of dust, a figure rises up from the ground in front of Violet and I, and I feel myself calm down as I instantly recognize the green.

    "Grovyle! You didn't abandon us!" I say, feeling relieved.

    "Did you really think I'd leave you two here to die? I have a sense of morality too, you know!" Grovyle says. "I was already in the forest ahead when I suddenly noticed that you weren't following me, but I wasn't sure how to get back to find you. However, that's when this Pokémon came to help me find you. The weirdest thing is, while this Pokémon said very little and I knew nothing about her, I just had an instinct that she knew you somehow!"

    "Wait, what? Who… who's this Pokémon you're talking about?" Violet asks.

    Then, as if on cue, a second grey dust cloud erupts out of the ground, and it clears up a bit to reveal a hazy shadowy Pokémon figure.

    "Oh no! It's one of those hazy Pokémon!" I cry out, getting into battle stance once more.

    "True… but this one isn't one of the dangerous ones from before…" Grovyle says.

    The dust cloud clears up a bit more to reveal a hazy Sandslash, but instead of the usual threatening red eyes that all the other hazy Pokémon had, this Sandslash has bright blue eyes that stands out in the grey around us, the blue emitting a strangely comforting aura.

    "You're… you're not dangerous? You're not going to hurt us?" I ask carefully.

    The Sandslash then pauses for a second, then tilts its head in confusion. Oh, sorry, according to Grovyle, 'she' tilts 'her' head in confusion.

    "Uh… hi." Violet says nervously.

    The Sandslash then turns to face Violet, and then innocently waves a claw in a gesture that's saying hello.

    "So… so I take it that you're not a talker?" Violet asks, her voice starting to sound more at ease.

    The Sandslash then appears to look pleased for a moment, then nods happily.

    "Who… who exactly are you, Sandslash?" I ask cautiously.

    My question makes the Sandslash turn to face me, staring at me with her blank but strangely comforting blue eyes. She then extends a claw in my direction, as if waiting for me to place my paw on hers.

    "You… you want me to touch your claw?" I ask, slightly confused.

    The Sandslash nods slowly.

    "Listen to her, Sparks. I have a feeling that she might know something." Grovyle tells me.

    "Er… okay then."

    I do as Grovyle instructed, and place my paw on the Sandslash's claw.

    A familiar headache comes to me.

    Looks like it's Dimensional Scream time…

    The usual sensation of my limbs going numb happens once again, and I enter my half-unconscious vision-like state of darkness again. Then, sudden colourful images flash in front of my eyes, rapidly flashing but being melded into my memory.

    Then I hear voices, more specifically, two of them. They seem to be conversing with each other. The two voices are rapidly switching between one another, but like the images, they end up recognizable to my mind.

    Wait… isn't that Ninetales' voice?

    "I'm Ninetales." I hear her voice in my head as the image of her talking to a blue-eyed Sandshrew flashes in my mind.

    "By the way, my name is Sammy."' Judging from the Sandshrew being the only other Pokémon in the image with Ninetales, I assume that this Sandshrew is Sammy.

    The conversation between the two continues for a bit, and I find myself intrigued.

    Author's POV

    With the banging sound of more devastating attacks attempting in vain to break down Sparks' Charge dome, the Shinx snaps out of his vision, Grovyle, Violet, and hazy Sammy waiting in anticipation.

    "Shinx… uh, I mean, Sparks… what was that?" Grovyle asks, confused at Sparks' sudden blacking out.

    "Oh, wait… you don't know about this, Grovyle. Um… it's a long story, which I'll have to explain later. Long story short, I had a vision." Sparks replies.

    'Wait, a vision?!' Grovyle thinks, surprised. 'Hmm… wait. Maybe I shouldn't be too quick to assume. I'll ask questions later, once we're out of this mess.'

    "Sparks, what did you see?" Violet asks.

    Sparks then turns to face hazy Sammy.

    "Sandslash… your name is Sammy, right?" Sparks questions. "You were the Sandshrew who Ninetales talked to, and I'm assuming she told you about my ability to experience visions and requested you to protect Violet and I?"

    Hazy Sammy nods excitedly, pleased that Sparks knows the full story.

    "W-Wait, my Mom asked you to protect us?" Violet asks, surprised.

    Sammy then turns to face Violet and nods.

    "Wow…" Violet responds.

    The conversation then gets interrupted when a heavy blow strikes the Charge dome, creating a loud crashing sound that startles the four.

    "We better think of something quick. I can feel it… This shield is going to break any second." Sparks says, recovering from the shock of the crashing noise.

    "I know the path out of here. When the shield breaks, follow me." Grovyle speaks up.

    Then, the Charge dome dissipates from another heavy blow, and the four quickly jump out of the way from the slamming of a hazy Gyarados' tail.

    "Okay, you three! The shield's broken; follow me!" Grovyle instructs. Sparks and Violet then proceed to follow after the Grass type, but Sammy stays behind.

    "Wait, Sammy! Sammy, why are you staying behind?" Violet calls out, taking a quick glance at the Sandslash behind her.

    "Sammy, follow us! What are you doing?!" Sparks calls out.

    The hazy Sandslash merely gestures for Sparks, Violet, and Grovyle to keep on going. She then turns back to face the group of red-eyed hazy Pokémon.

    A single shrill voice cries out to Sparks and Violet.

    "I made a promise. I will keep that promise. It's the least I could do for that Apple Ninetales gave me. I hope I've done my job."

    The hazy Gyarados from before attempts to dash past Sammy towards Vioparks and Grovyle, but the Sandslash intercepts by blocking it off with a semi-hazy, semi-rocky pillar of rock. Hazy Sammy continues summoning hazy rock pillars and blocks off the rest of the hazy Pokémon attempting to reach and or fire attacks past her.

    "SAMMY!" Sparks and Violet cry out, stopping to look back at Sammy's closed off wall of hazy rock pillars.

    "She… she'll be fine!" Grovyle exclaims to the two from ahead. "Don't worry; she'll only be distracted for a bit! Now let's go! The path out of here is just ahead!"

    "B-But she… she helped us!" Violet stutters. "We… we can't just leave her-"

    A crashing sound is heard as a hazy Shadow Ball manages to topple over one of the pillars of Sammy's wall.

    "Violet… I know… I want to go back… but we still don't have any chance of beating all those hazy Pokémon… whatever they are…" Sparks says, holding onto Violet's paw.

    A hazy Fire Blast erupts behind Vioparks, toppling over more of what used to be Sammy's wall.

    "Sparks! Violet! Come on!" Grovyle exclaims from ahead, impatiently waiting for the two.

    "We… we need to go now, Violet. I'm sorry… There's nothing we can do…" Sparks continues trying to persuade Violet.

    "Well… if… if you say so, Sparks…" Violet gives in.

    Just as an Earthquake attack topples the last of Sammy's pillars, Sparks grabs Violet's paw and pulls her and follows Grovyle past another one arched gateway, the three of them managing to escape from the hazy shadows lagging behind them.

    Chapter 27 - Keystones and Partners

    Sparks' POV

    Darkness. I find myself in a state of darkness.

    It's the lonely kind of darkness, but the peaceful kind.

    I've been in deep thought long enough to know that this state I am in is the state of being in a dream. It's warm, peaceful, and relaxing.

    I also know that I am in this peaceful state because I didn't feel a headache coming to me before I slept. Sleeping sure beats having Dimensional Screams.

    I should learn to appreciate having these dark and serene dreams more often…

    "S-Sparks?"

    I open my eyes to the sound of Violet's whisper to see her next to me, already standing up. We seem to be on a cliff of some sort. However, something about the atmosphere strikes me as odd. Instead of the usual grey, the rocks bear the natural tone of a rocky brown. Though, it looks like as if grass used to grow on it but it got drowned out by the unusual atmosphere around us as well as by the cliff's steep and seemingly bottomless drop.

    That's… weird. Last time I remember, we were still in the future…

    "Hey, Violet… Do… do you have any idea where we are?" I ask, standing up.

    "You… you don't remember, Sparks?" Violet questions. To my confusion, her voice sounded dull and monotonous, and she didn't even turn to face me. "Grovyle took us to a portal while you were asleep. So here we are back in the past, Sparks. Right where home is."

    "Weird… I thought I would've remembered something like that…" I reply, confused. "But that still leaves a few questions on my mind."

    Where's Grovyle? What is this cliff place? How exactly did Grovyle find this portal which lead us to the past?

    But instead, I decide to ask another question on my mind.

    "Violet… are you okay? You don't… seem to be perked up like I'd expect you to," I say, starting to sound concerned. "Did… did something happen?"

    Violet twitches for a bit, still not making eye-contact. "Expect me to be perked up? Oh, Sparks, since when did you ever have a right to expect when I'm happy and when I'm not?" Her voice then makes a sudden change, starting to sound distorted, almost making me jump. "I am who I am, Sparks. I have my own emotions and you have no right to expect what emotions I should or should not have. You can't even stand up for yourself as a team leader; after all, you can't win a serious battle on your own even if your life depended on it. You're a failure of a leader."

    I… I'm a failure?

    I stay standing in shock for a brief second, taken aback, but I quickly manage to shake it off.

    Now… I'm starting to get really suspicious.

    "Violet… you're not…uh…" I stutter a bit, trying to collect my words. "Ahem. What exactly happened to you, Violet?"

    "What happened to me? This is what happened to me," That's when Violet finally turns to face me, and I take a shocked step back when I see Violet's eyes. Instead of the warm and vibrant amber colour, Violet's eyes were grey and emotionless, a grey I instantly recognize from my time in the future. "Do you see this, Sparks? Do you see what's happened to me?! This is what happens to someone who has spent too much time living in that frozen future! Except the difference from Grovyle is, I had to spend countless years there in fear and solitude! Now even if Grovyle managed to bring us to the past, it's not like it matters for me anyway, because now I'm going to stay like this forever!"

    Violet's yelling continues to grow more disturbingly distorted, filling my head with feelings of shame and torment. My vision just descends into darkness, darker and more haunting than any other darkness as more thoughts fill my head.

    Oh no… oh no oh no oh no…

    What… What have I done?

    Why… why is this happening?

    I suddenly shake my thoughts away when something in my head starts to get to work thinking.

    Wait… wait a second. Why is this all happening all of a sudden, anyway? It all seems so… unrealistic.

    That's when I realize.

    "Sparks! Sparks, wake up!" I suddenly hear Violet's real voice call out to me.

    And that's my cue to finally get out of this nightmare!

    Now… how do I wake up? Why can't I wake up?

    Dusk Forest, Author's POV

    'Why… Sparks is usually supposed to wake up around the same time I do… why isn't he waking up? This was just supposed to be a quick rest… what happened?'

    Violet paces around the grey clearing of the frozen-in-time forest, panicking. She continues walking around a sleeping Sparks.

    "Grovyle!" Violet calls out. "He… he's still asleep! W-What do I do?!"

    Violet looks around for the Grass type, even for a nearby bush to rustle, but she receives no response. Her call only echoes a bit before getting drowned out in the forest's density.

    The Vulpix sighs. She then looks down at her boyfriend worriedly, the Shinx still curled up in his slumber and appearing uncomfortable.

    'Looks like Grovyle's still out patrolling the area. I'll have to wait a bit longer for him to help me with Sparks… But wait, I can do something here, too,' Thoughts start to come to Violet's mind. 'Think, Violet, think. What would Sparks do? Let's see… I know he's still breathing and has a pulse; I double-checked… What about items? Wait, no… I tried feeding him Heal Seeds, but apparently Sparks' sleep is too much for Heal Seeds for some reason… Plus, I don't think Perfect Apples or Blast Seeds would help much in this situation either, because that's all the items we have left…'

    '... So what am I supposed to do now?'

    A rustling suddenly emerges from a nearby bush, slightly startling Violet due to the sound breaking the atmosphere's silence.

    "Okay, Vulpi- I mean, Violet, the area is empty, but I still think we should pick up the pace heading forward before we start getting followed… We may have managed to get away from those hazy Pokémon, but I'm still suspicious about Dusknoir," Grovyle says, emerging from the bush. He then notices Sparks. "Wow, is he still asleep? Have you tried yelling? You can try to be loud now if you want; you don't have to worry about anyone around hearing us."

    "Well, okay then…" Violet replies. "We usually wake up to the sound of yelling anyway, so it might work…"

    Violet clears her throat, getting ready to shout. Then, she tries to let out a scream, but instead a force of energy quickly builds up and turns Violet's scream into a Roar.

    Unintentionally aimed at Sparks.

    The accidental attack sends the Shinx flying across to one side of the clearing, where a thud is heard when his body collides with a nearby grey tree.

    "That's one way to do it." Grovyle remarks.

    "Oh no, oh no, oh no… I'm sorry!" Violet exclaims, hastily running towards Sparks.

    "Ugh… thank Arceus I'm finally out of that nightmare… Never before in my whole life have I been more glad to see nothing but grey," The Shinx groans, putting a paw to his head as Violet helps him up. "But what… what happened to me? Why couldn't I wake up? And… and what hit my head?"

    "I… I'm afraid I'm the reason your head hurts… I accidentally sent you flying at this tree with a Roar… I thought I already forgot that move…" Violet quickly explains.

    "I guess that explains why my head hurts… Well, at least it's a good thing I didn't get amnesia again…" Sparks responds. "Though that still doesn't explain why I had trouble waking up in the first place, but that's not important… "

    "Alright then, it looks like you two are both finally rested up," Grovyle says, picking up Sparks' Sky Blue Bow and Treasure Bag from another side of the clearing and tossing them to him. "So, since you two tend to ask them a lot anyway, any questions?"

    "I have several questions, actually," Sparks immediately replies, catching the items and putting them on. "Mostly regarding those hazy shadowy Pokémon that we ran from until we reached this forest. What were those? Why did they attack us? And who's this 'him' you mentioned when we encountered them?"

    "Hmm… I'm afraid those types of questions are the 'I'll explain more to you on the way there' types of questions," Grovyle replies. "But if you insist, from what I know, those things seem to be commanded to attack others by a single force, one I am familiar with due to previous… encounters. His name is Spiritomb, another ally of Dusknoir, and he's a Pokémon who is also an entity made up of vengeful spirits that it can control, which is what those hazy shadowy Pokémon were. But… considering that he sent those hazy Pokémon back there to attack us… I'm afraid Spiritomb might be nearby."

    "Wait, so this Spiritomb was the 'him' you mentioned, right?" Sparks replies, processing the information. "But what's this about 'vengeful spirits' you said he could control? Wasn't Sammy one of those hazy Pokémon as well?"

    "That's true. However, from what I know, whatever those vengeful spirits are, they're more 'spirit' than Pokémon," Grovyle replies. "Apparently they're created from an undying will to complete a task, with those hazy Pokémon that attacked us having an undying will of vengeance of some sort… Even I have yet to understand their motives to attack us… As for the Sandslash, whatever happened with her in the past, it must have given her an undying will to protect you two, for some reason… What was in that Apple this Ninetales character gave her?"

    Sparks shrugs.

    "Wait, Grovyle, earlier you mentioned Spiritomb being nearby… Does that mean that we'll come across him?" Violet asks. "What'll happen if he finds us and tries to ambush us with those… vengeful spirit Pokémon?"

    "Don't worry about that, Violet. We're safe… for now. We still have a chance to run. There are plenty of Pokémon here that are trying to kill us, but fighting back against all of them at once is not our main concern at the moment," Grovyle continues, sounding slightly reassuring. He then walks off into a bush and leads Vioparks into a pathway, still speaking. "Right now, the past is still at risk. We are the only ones who know the truth and how to fix the past, which is why we're going to head back there."

    "One quick second… can you go by your plan to get back to the past again?" Sparks speaks up, stepping over a fallen branch on the ground. "I was trying to drink water while you were explaining, so I wasn't at my most attentive state."

    Grovyle lets out a disappointed sigh, slashing a frozen bush in the way.

    "There's a good friend of mine- now that I think about it, she's my only good friend- named Celebi, and she has time powers," Grovyle explains. "She should currently be in hiding from Dusknoir and Dialga, and I know that deep in this forest is some sort of mystical landmark where Celebi can harness her time travel powers best. That's why we've head here. Understand, you two?"

    Grovyle then takes a quick glance to see Sparks and Violet whispering something to each other.

    "Ahem. I said, understand, you two?" Grovyle utters with more emphasis.

    "Yes, yes, I was listening," Sparks replies, breaking away from his whispering with Violet. "There's just something we've been curious about… But first, do you happen to know who or what a Lunar Sightseer is?"

    "A… a what?" Grovyle asks, sounding completely clueless. "Lunar… Sightseer? I… have absolutely no idea what that is. Why'd you ask?"

    "Well… it's just…" Sparks hesitates for a bit, sounding slightly indecisive.

    'Do… do I just tell Grovyle everything?' He thinks. 'He might know something… He seemed to react to my vision back with Sammy, but still…'

    Sparks looks at Violet for a second, hoping she can help him think, but the Vulpix just gives him an indecisive look. Eventually, as if they were both thinking about the exact same thing, they both nod at each other.

    'Grovyle is the only Pokémon we can trust the most here… There's this instinct inside me telling me to trust him, and he doesn't seem like a bad Pokémon judging from all that he's done for us ever since we came to the future…' Sparks thinks. 'Well, he did tell us his entire plan to get to the past, which means he must trust us, so it would be the right thing to do to explain everything to him…'

    "Well?" Grovyle asks, snapping Sparks out of his thoughts. "It's just what?"

    "It's a long story. But, we'll explain the entire situation to you," Sparks replies. "Both Violet and I."

    Deep Dusk Forest, Violet's POV

    "... and that's when we ended up here in the future," Sparks concluded. "I know, I know, we didn't have to end up rambling our entire life stories, but I just thought that the more you know, the more sense it'd make."

    Uh… Sparks, are you sure this is a good idea?

    As badly as I wanted to tell Sparks what I thought, part of me didn't want to interrupt him. I trust him, so I know that I can depend on whatever idea he can come up with. After all, ever since he helped me jump through the waterfall to Waterfall Cave, I knew I could trust his thinking.

    I also realized several other things that day, but right now I've already confessed my feelings to Sparks, so I got those feelings off my chest already.

    By the time Sparks and I finished telling both sides of our stories to Grovyle, the three of us had already gone deep enough in this frozen forest to reach another large grey clearing where we're taking a short break from walking.

    "Wait, wait, wait, let me get this straight," Grovyle responds, sounding shocked. "I think I understand what this Sightseer stuff is, though I have no use for that type of knowledge, but what really caught my attention here was, Sparks used to be a human but had amnesia and turned into a Shinx?!"

    Was… was that a bit too much to take in? I would've thought the fact that Sparks and I are in a relationship would've surprised him more…

    "Uh… yes. That's exactly it." Sparks replies, sounding slightly confused by Grovyle's shock.

    "Oh… Oh Arceus, I should've known…" Grovyle replies, starting to pace around the clearing in a nervous fashion.

    "Should've known what?" I speak up.

    "Wait, Grovyle… is there something else that we should know?" Sparks asks.

    "There is a lot more that you have to know… Especially you, Sparks," Grovyle replies, sounding much more serious. He then stops pacing around the room and looks ahead for a quick second. "Wait a second. Do you hear that, you two?"

    Hear… hear what?

    Then, as if on cue, a violent rustling starts to come from a bush in front of us.

    "Someone… someone is nearby…" Grovyle warns in a cautious whisper. "Whoever's there… they're moving… not towards us, but still moving , so stay quiet, you two."

    Sparks and I stay silent as Grovyle instructed, cautiously peeking at the rustling bush. Eventually, the rustling slowly dies down.

    "Okay… it's died down. I don't know what just started that rustling, but it's probably moved past us now." Grovyle says, breaking the silence.

    I let out a sigh of relief, seeing Sparks let one out as well.

    "Well, I don't know what that rustling was either, but I still can't help but wonder what that was…" Sparks speaks up. "It almost sounded like there was chasing…"

    "Wait… chasing?" Grovyle questions.

    Suddenly, a hauntingly familiar voice echoes through the air, putting me on edge and making me grab Sparks' paw.

    "Hee hee hee! It's about time the hostile spirits of this place got their revenge!" It cackles.

    The sudden echoing voice causes a chilling silence to come over the three of us, a few minutes passing before its effect dies down. Calming down, I slowly let go of Sparks' paw.

    "Wait a second… we've heard that voice before, haven't we?" Sparks speaks up.

    "Wait… that must be Spiritomb!" Grovyle exclaims.

    The realization hits me just as hard as it ht Grovyle.

    "But… but what could he be doing here?" I ask. "Could he be trying to ambush us?"

    "No… if he knew that we're here, he would've found us when the bush rustled…" Grovyle says. "Then again, that rustling sounded like the sounds of pursuit… If Spiritomb is chasing someone… then… Oh no."

    A shocked look appears on Grovyle's face, and then he quickly dashes away into the bush that just rustled.

    "Grovyle! Wait!" Sparks cries out. We both follow where Grovyle disappeared and find ourselves following him through a forested pathway.

    "Grovyle! What's going on?!" Sparks cries out.

    "It's bad enough that Spiritomb's here… but if he's chasing someone here in this forest… that'd be even worse," Grovyle replies, panting between phrases. "And there's only one Pokémon I know in this forest that could still be on the run from an ally of Dusknoir…"

    "Wait, so what does this mean?" I ask, ducking under a suspended frozen branch.

    "Celebi must be here in this forest like I suspected!" Grovyle replies. "And she must be running away from Spiritomb! She needs help!"

    "Hee hee hee!" Spiritomb's voice crackles through the air again, this time sounding much closer. "It's about time the hostile spirits of this place got their revenge! It's also about time I extracted a spirit to join them!"

    "That's Spiritomb's voice again! He must be nearby! This way, you two!" Grovyle exclaims, slashing away a bush to his left and heading down the pathway in front of it. Sparks and I continue following Grovyle in running pace.

    "Sparks… wait…" I manage to say to him, still running. "I remember something from the legends my Mom used to tell me years ago… I think one of them involved a Pokémon made up of more than a hundred spirits, and its name is Spiritomb… Do you think we're going to have to fight this Spiritomb Pokémon?"

    "I… I think so… but don't worry, Violet… you don't have to be scared for this fight… I'm sure we'll manage to make it through this…" Sparks replies, sounding reassuring.

    "I'm… I'm not scared anymore, Sparks," I respond. "Thanks to you, I know I don't have to worry about anything anymore, because you'll be there with me. I just hope we'll make it to Celebi in time."

    I then see Sparks smiling at me. "Wow… you really are starting to get braver, Violet. I'm impressed, really," I can't help but smile back and blush slightly at his compliments. "I'm hoping we make it to Celebi in time as well. Are you ready for whatever we might run into?"

    I continue smiling back as confidence builds up inside me.

    Now… now I feel like I can take anything on… because I have Sparks with me, and nothing can change that!

    Author's POV

    Meanwhile, in another distant grey and open forest clearing, a bright pink Celebi is getting pinned down onto the grass by a purple hazy force, weakly struggling as the purple hazy force keeps her limbs pinned. Spiritomb hops over to the Celebi on his keystone, a pleased look on the Ghost Dark type's face as the Shiny Celebi grows weaker from the purple haze harshly coursing through her figure.

    "Hee hee hee!" Spiritomb cackles. "Looks like I've finally caught the last of Grovyle's allies! It was troublesome catching you, Celebi, but now you're done for! I shall extract your spirit from your body and corrupt it so it shall join the rest of my vengeful spirits! Then, with the spirit of a strong mythical Pokémon added to our group, we'll easily be able to defeat Grovyle if he comes by here and take his spirit as well! All part of my masters' orders!"

    "Not if we can do anything about it!" A male voice says from behind Spiritomb.

    "Let Celebi go!" A female voice exclaims.

    Spiritomb turns around on his keystone to see the source of the voices be Sparks and Violet on the other side of the clearing, standing defiantly and glaring at him.

    "Hmm? I don't remember Grovyle being allied with a Shinx and Vulpix… Though there's something about the Shinx that tells me he's a major threat…" Spiritomb says aloud, leaving the pinned-down Shiny Celebi to hop closer to Sparks and Violet. "Well, regardless, any possible ally of Grovyle is a target! I'll just deal with you two right here, right no-"

    "Now, Grovyle!" Sparks exclaims.

    "Wait, wha-" Spiritomb questions before getting cut off by the sound if the ground shaking beneath him.

    Using a Dig attack, Grovyle bursts out of the ground beneath Spiritomb, sending him into the air. The Grass type then follows up by slashing at Spiritomb's keystone with a Leaf Blade, sending Spiritomb reeling to the ground.

    The Ghost Dark type slowly gets back up on his keystone, only to see Sparks and Violet in front of him as well as Grovyle standing behind him. The purple hazy force around the now unconscious Celebi disappears.

    "Urgh… Curses… I can't extract a spirit if I'm too far away from the body… and especially if I'm being attacked while doing so…" Spiritomb groans, glancing behind him to see his spirit extraction force leave Celebi. A furious look then comes across his face. "So the three of you insist on stopping me, do you?! Well, I might not have any of the vengeful spirits here to help me at the moment, but I'll still take the three of you down even if I'm outnumbered!"

    "I'll try to keep him distracted for as long as I can," Grovyle calls out to Vioparks. "You two go and see if Celebi is all right!"

    "Don't you dare!" Spiritomb exclaims, hearing Grovyle.

    As Sparks and Violet attempt to dash past Spiritomb, the Ghost Dark type summons a giant hazy hand out of the ground in front of him and launches two Sucker Punch attack aimed at Vioparks. Violet manages to dodge the Sucker Punch aimed at her by using Quick Attack speed while Sparks successfully blocks the Sucker Punch aimed at him by using a Charge shield. As Sparks and Violet succeed in running past Spiritomb, the Ghost Dark type then attempts to charge up a Shadow Ball attack, but he gets interrupted when Grovyle lunges at him and sends him reeling back with a Leaf Blade aimed at his keystone.

    "Nice try, but you won't get away with this that easily." Grovyle taunts.

    "I've been waiting for the day I'd be able to take you down, Grovyle," Spiritomb scoffs, levitating several Will-O-Wisp orbs. "Hee hee hee! I'll make sure to savor the moment I extract your soul!"

    "She still has a pulse… Do you have any items that can help?" Violet asks, lifting her ear from the unconscious Celebi.

    "I'm honestly not sure… I still can't recognize what these items are…" Sparks replies, handing the Treasure Bag to Violet. "Honestly, now I'm starting to wonder why I'm the one carrying the Treasure Bag in the first place if I can't recognize any of these items…"

    "It's because you're better with a map… But if you want, I'll carry it for now while we're still in the future," Violet responds, taking the bag and rummaging through it. "We… we don't have any Oran Berries or Reviver Seeds. All we have are these Perfect Apples, Blast Seeds, and Heal Seeds. Celebi doesn't look like she might have a status condition, so these Heal Seeds are useless here… None of these items look like they might work…"

    "So I guess all we can do is keep Spiritomb away from Celebi and somehow think of a way to escape here, huh?" Sparks questions.

    "Maybe… Do you think we should go back to helping Grovyle fight Spiritomb, Sparks?" Violet asks, putting the Treasure Bag's strap over her shoulder.

    Sparks then takes a quick glance behind him to see Grovyle dodging projectile attacks hurled at him by Spiritomb, the Grass type ducking under several Shadow Ball and Will-O-Wisp orbs. Grovyle then burrows under the ground and attempts to take Spiritomb by surprise with a Dig attack, but Spiritomb proves to be surprisingly agile despite his keystone when he manages to quickly jump out of the way of Grovyle's Dig attack and successfully retaliates with a Shadow Ball.

    "I think we should," The Shinx replies. An idea then comes to his mind. "Though, before we do, can you give me a Blast Seed? I feel like we'll need it just in case."

    "Uh… sure." Violet answers, quickly fishing through the bag and handing Sparks a Blast Seed. The Shinx then takes the Blast Seed and keeps it in his mouth to bite later.

    Sparks and Violet then dash towards Spiritomb and attempt to land Faint Attack and Spark attacks respectively, the two attacks simultaneously landing on Spiritomb and taking him by surprise.

    "You two?! What are you doing back here?! I thought I told you to go check on Celebi!" Grovyle says in a slightly chastising tone, getting up and joining Sparks and Violet.

    "We did," Sparks replies in a slightly muffled voice from the Seed in his mouth, setting up a Charge shield to block incoming Sucker Punch attacks from Spiritomb, absorbing the electric barrier afterwards. "But she's still unconscious and we don't have any items to help her. So we decided to help you out in battling Spiritomb."

    "So you two have decided to come battle me as well? Hee hee hee! I'm going to have fun extracting the souls from your weak little bodies once I'm done with you!" Spiritomb cackles threateningly.

    Spiritomb then continues to summon larger hazy fists and launches them towards the three, making Sparks let out his absorbed electricity in the form of a wide Charge dome which absorbs the Sucker Punches. However, when Sparks absorbs the Charge dome, Spiritomb is nowhere to be seen.

    "He's gone!" Sparks exclaims. "Where'd he go?!"

    "Spiritomb's using Shadow Sneak!" Grovyle cries out. "Prepare yourselves, you two-"

    "Hee hee hee!" Spiritomb's laugh echoes through the grey ground. A dark shadow slithering through the ground quickly comes up behind Grovyle. Spiritomb then jumps out from his shadow and swings his keystone at Grovyle's head, the heavy blow making the Grass type collapse and knock him out cold. "That Grovyle really was a troublesome one for me, but now I've finally taken care of him! So what about you two, Shinx and Vulpix? Would you two like to have your souls extracted as well, or are you going to run?"

    "We're not going to run!" Sparks exclaims, he and Violet standing defiantly. "It's like I said; we're not going to let you get away with this as long as we can do anything about it!"

    "What's that you said, Shinx? You sound like you've got something in your mouth there," Spiritomb taunts, pointing out the Blast Seed muffling the Shinx's voice. He then starts to ready several Shadow Ball orbs. "Do those happen to be the last words you're reluctant to spit out? How about I make it quick for you two so you don't have to choke on them? Hee hee hee!"

    Spiritomb then proceeds to send the Shadow Ball orbs forward at Vioparks, making the two dodge the flurry of ghostly orbs by dashing opposite each other. Sparks and Violet then dash at Spiritomb with Quick Attack speed and get ready to lunge, but the Ghost Dark type leaps up over the two and showers down several Will-O-Wisp orbs. Violet immediately reacts by jumping in front of the fiery orbs and absorbing them, her Flash Fire ability triggering. The Vulpix then looks up at the Spiritomb still in mid-air and readies a Flamethrower attack, but gets interrupted when Sparks pulls her away from Spiritomb attempting to slam them down to the ground with a descending keystone attack.

    Sparks quickly pulls Violet over to one side of the clearing.

    "Don't use a Fire attack just yet, Violet," Sparks instructs. "I have an idea."

    He then quickly whispers something to the Vulpix, who widens her eyes with realization afterwards. Violet nods.

    Sparks and Violet then turn around to see Spiritomb readying several more Sucker Punch attacks aimed at them. The two get back into battle stance.

    The Shinx and Vulpix both dash at Spiritomb, using their speed to weave away from the incoming hazy fist projectiles and lunge at Spiritomb. With the Blast Seed still tucked into his cheek, Sparks manages to reach Spiritomb first and grabs him by the keystone with a deep sinking Crunch attack. The Electric type then swings Spiritomb around with his fangs before letting go, tossing the Ghost Dark type towards Violet who follows up with a somersaulting Faint Attack tail-strike. The combo attack sends Spiritomb reeling across the ground away from Sparks and Violet, the Ghost Dark type managing to land on the ground keystone first.

    "Remind me never to do that again…" Sparks says, rubbing his cheek with a paw. "Biting into solid rock with your fangs is not a good idea."

    "I'll keep that in mind." Violet replies.

    Spiritomb then quickly summons a large cluster of Sucker Punch projectiles and sends them flying towards Vioparks. The attacks then get easily blocked by a Charge dome from Sparks, which is when Spiritomb takes the opportunity to use Shadow Sneak to disappear into his lurking shadow. Sparks quickly absorbs his Charge dome and immediately notices Spiritomb's disappearance.

    "Now, Violet!" Sparks instructs.

    "I… I hope this works!" Violet says, concentrating energy.

    Violet then unleashes her concentrated energy by stamping a paw, a slight glow emitting from her Relic Fragment as an Imprison force is let loose into the ground. The dark tentacle-like Imprison force creeps through the grey grass, then manages to grab Spiritomb's lurking shadow and pull the Ghost Dark type out of the ground, leaving Spiritomb vulnerable as the Imprison force holds him in the air by the keystone.

    With her Relic Fragment still glowing slightly, Violet charges up a Flamethrower attack, the previously triggered Flash Fire ability making the attack grow in intensity as she continues to charge it. Then, right as Violet is about to let loose the Flamethrower, Sparks sinks his (slightly sore from keystone biting) fangs into the Blast Seed in his mouth and immediately lets its flames loose, except instead of aiming it at Spiritomb, he aims the fiery attack at Violet instead, the Vulpix's Flash Fire absorbing the flames to power herself up even more. Violet then unleashes the Flamethrower, the added power from Flash Fire turning it into a scorching bright orange beam of fire that engulfs Spiritomb.

    "It… it worked!" Violet says in triumph, the glow on her Relic Fragment subsiding as her Imprison force retreats back into her paw. "I actually managed to pull off the Imprison!"

    "That was a close one," Sparks says with a sigh, still unaware of the glow Violet had on her Relic Fragment. "I don't know if I could've kept that Blast Seed in my mouth any longer."

    Vioparks' attention then gets caught when they see Spiritomb struggling to hop towards them, the Ghost Dark type's purple visage slightly wavering over his charred keystone.

    "I… I'm not done with you two yet!" Spiritomb cries out, attempting to summon Shadow Ball orbs, but failing.

    Suddenly, the ground starts to tremble beneath Spiritomb, and it breaks open to have Spiritomb plummeting into a hole. Grovyle Digs up from another nearby hole shortly after.

    "Grovyle!" Vioparks exclaim in relief. "You're okay!"

    "That pit should keep him busy for a while," Grovyle says to them. He then puts a hand to the back of his head. "Arceus, that keystone swing hit me hard… Are you two okay? You didn't get bruised up or anything, did you?"

    "No, no, we're fine," Sparks answers. "Wait, what about Celebi? Is she still unconscious, Grovyle?"

    "Checking on her was the first thing I did once I regained consciousness," Grovyle replies. "She still wasn't awake when I checked on her, but she should be able to wake up sooner or later by now-"

    Grovyle suddenly gets interrupted when a Shiny Celebi tackles him to the ground, hugging him by the neck.

    "Grovyle!" Celebi exclaims happily. "You're back! I would've expected you to be back here anyway, but you came back to save me! I'm so happy!"

    "Uh… you're welcome, Celebi." Grovyle replies hastily, quickly getting up and brushing off the recoil of landing on the ground.

    Meanwhile, Sparks and Violet chuckle to themselves at the sight of the two Grass types.

    "Grovyle was blushing when Celebi hugged him, right?" Violet whispers to Sparks.l excitedly.

    "He was," Sparks whispers back, just as amused. "There's no denying it."

    "Hey, hey, hey, what are you two whispering about?" Grovyle asks, trying to hide the red in his face as Celebi refuses to let up her hug.

    "Oh, wait, there are other Pokémon here with you, Grovyle?" Celebi questions, letting go of the Grass type's neck.

    "Yes, yes there are," Grovyle says, managing to inhale now that Celebi's let go of his neck. "Celebi, the Shinx is named Sparks and the Vulpix is Violet, his… uh… girlfriend. Sparks and Violet, this is my good friend I told you about, Celebi."

    'Grovyle thinks of me as a good friend! Hee hee!' Celebi thinks to herself, trying to hide a giggle.

    "Nice to meet you, Celebi." Sparks greets, trying to hide a chuckle.

    "Pleasure to make your acquaintance." Violet speaks up, trying to hide her giggle as well.

    "Nice to meet you too, Sparks and Vio-" Celebi greets, but she cuts herself off mid-sentence when she realizes something. "Wait a second, your name is Sparks?!"

    "Uh… yes." Sparks replies, confused by Celebi's reaction.

    Celebi then appears even more shocked and surprised, confusing Sparks and Violet even more.

    "His… his name is Sparks, Grovyle!" Celebi exclaims to him in panicked haste. "Isn't Sparks the human who gave you that weird looking bag you're always carrying around?!"

    "Yes… I know…" Grovyle replies, sounding slightly unsurprised. "I'm wearing that bag right now, after all…"

    Sparks and Violet look at each other in confusion at what they just heard Celebi say, both of them having similar thoughts.

    'She… she said human, right?'

    "Isn't Sparks the one who was really smart and good at coming up with battle strategies but kept being targeted by Spiritomb and his vengeful spirits for some reason?!" Celebi continues asking.

    "Yes… I know…" Grovyle replies, still unsurprised.

    'Good at coming up with battle strategies?'

    Sparks and Violet remain silent and continue listening, intrigued to learn more about what Celebi has to say.

    "Isn't Sparks the human who came here out of nowhere with little to no memories other than what he called an 'alias'?!"

    "Yes… I know…"

    'Little to no memories other than an alias? Alias is another word for name, right?'

    "Isn't Sparks the one who helped us with that weird vision ability named the Dimensional Scream?!"

    "Yes… I know…"

    'Dimensional Scream?'

    "Grovyle, isn't Sparks the one who tried going to the past with you, but something happened after I opened the time portal?!"

    "Yes, Celebi. I know."

    'Wait, time portal?'

    "Excuse me, but I think I've heard my name enough times to know that I'm involved with whatever you're talking about in some way," Sparks speaks up. "I'm pretty sure we deserve an explanation, because right now Violet and I are both very confused."

    Celebi then turns to face Sparks and Violet, now looking even more shocked.

    "You… you're Sparks, aren't you?" Celebi asks.

    "I am… I thought we established this already," Sparks replies. "Now do you mind telling us what you two were just talking about, Grovyle and Celebi?"

    "I was planning to, but then I got sidetracked by Spiritomb's bush rustling," Grovyle replies. "I'm also afraid that type of explanation is one of the 'I'll explain more to you on the way there' types of explanations, 'there' being deeper into this forest."

    "Wait a second… do you know something about Sparks' past?" Violet chimes in.

    "Indeed we do. But right now, we should keep moving; we have no reason to stay here in this clearing while we still have a destination in mind: the landmark in this forest where Celebi gets to harness her time travel powers best. Don't worry, like I said, we'll definitely explain more to you there. There's a lot we need to catch up on…" Grovyle then flashes a slight grin at Sparks. "... partner."

    'Partner?' Sparks and Violet think, just as confused as each other. They both decide not to question it yet.

    "Wait, you mean we get to go back to that big tree where I can use my time travel powers?" Celebi asks excitedly. She then grabs Grovyle's hand and pulls him towards a nearby pathway. "Well, what are waiting for? Let's go!"

    Sparks and Violet run after Celebi and Grovyle, leaving the clearing, Spiritomb still cursing loudly to himself and stuck in a pit.

    Chapter 28 - One Last Look

    Wigglytuff's Guild, Chime's POV

    "So… um… why did you ask me to come here early in the morning again?" I ask Chimecho, rubbing my drowsy eyes.

    "Well, I thought that it'd be a good idea to at least have you sit through one of these morning briefings since you come by here to help us all with errands so often," Chimecho replies, both of us getting into position in the crowd of guild members. "Wigglytuff and Chatot just think that you're a volunteer who likes to come by to help out with errands, but I think that you can be an actual guild apprentice, Chime."

    The last part of Chimecho's sentence suddenly catches me off guard.

    Wait… an actual guild assistant?

    "Uh… what do you mean by tha-"

    My question gets interrupted by the sound of Chatot flapping his wings, silencing everyone and focusing all attention to the front of the room.

    "Okay, everyone! Silence yourselves! It is time to begin our morning briefing!" Chatot announces at the front of the room. "Now, as a request from the Guildmaster, we're going to be reciting the entire guild cheer to lift up our spirits, this time all the way from one to ten according to the Guildmaster's rules!"

    Well there goes my question… wait, did Chatot say cheer?

    "There's a cheer?" I ask Chimecho.

    "Um… yes. But just try to listen to what we all say and you'll be fine." Chimecho replies.

    I ready myself for the cheer, preparing to mouth what everyone else is about to say.

    "One! Don't shirk work!" Everyone cheers.

    "Two! Run away and pay!"

    "Three! Smiles goes for miles!"

    Arceus, what a cheer. And it rhymes too… it even goes up to ten. Did Sparks and Violet ever have to go through any of this?

    "Four! Once you put a job on your team's list, then use Take Job! That step can't be missed!"

    "'Then use Take Job'? What does that even mean?" I ask aloud.

    "It's… something complicated that only very few Pokémon, me included, understand." Chimecho replies in a whisper.

    "Five! Restock your supplies and rations before heading out on explorations!" Everyone continues, me still continuing to mimic what they're saying.

    "Six! Before you explore, try to think about the moves you should link!"

    Link? Oh, right, that's a technique that the Electivire in Treasure Town can teach to help with battling… I really should try to visit more of those new service stations in Treasure Town… notably Marowak. I don't want my battling to feel underwhelming; there's only so much Confusion, Future Sight, Astonish, my ropes, and teleportation can do…

    "Seven! While exploring, don't you panic! Stay cool and calm, never manic!"

    "Eight! Helping all Pokémon in need is an explorer's duty, indeed!"

    "Nine! Do lots of jobs! That's truly the key! You'll reach Gold Rank. Just wait and see!"

    Gold Rank? That's a rank that exploration members have on their badges, right?

    I pull my right rope in front of me to take a look at it, my Explorer's Badge still pinned there. It's the same badge that I figured out has a teammate tracking map hologram that I used to find Sparks and Violet that time I met Ninetales that I accessed using the badge's touch screen. Looking back farther into my memory, I remember that these guild badges also have an array of voice commands, since Sparks used a recruitment voice command to recruit me.

    I made quite a first impression on Sparks and Violet back in Waterfall Cave. When I just started out as their recruit, I used phrases like 'young mons' and 'bright one' and even bluffed that I was sadistic… I really need to work in my first impressions. But now that I mention Waterfall Cave, I wonder how the Pokémon there are doing without me to keep them company?

    I take a closer look at the little blue touch screen at the badge's center. Amidst the clear blue, I notice that it has a unique shine to it, with a grey tint visible. Silver.

    Looks like the guild was really impressed with Team Fate's performance to the point of having our badges automatically update to display a promoted Silver Rank, guess those Time Gear missions played a huge role in getting ranked up quickly… Arceus, it's been so long since I've heard that name… Team Fate. How did that name come to be, anyway? Sounds like some cliché philosophical thing.

    Other than that, now I'm starting to wonder what other things these badges can do. I should experiment on that when I get the chance.

    "Ten! The money you earn is shared with the guild! That's the way our friendship will build!" The sudden cheering snaps me out of my rapid pace of thoughts, back to reality.

    "That's the spirit, everyone!" Wigglytuff praises encouragingly. "Keep your spirits up! I'm proud of you all!"

    "Okay, Pokémon!" Chatot announces. "It's a new day! Now, you may proceed to your guild errands! You are dismissed!"

    As everyone from the crowd starts to leave, I follow Chimecho as she starts to levitate up the ladder out of the room. I still had a question on my mind.

    "Chimecho? There's something I want to ask you." I tell her.

    "What is it?" She responds.

    "When you said that you think I could be an actual guild apprentice, what exactly did you mean by that?" I ask.

    "It shouldn't be too hard to understand that, Chime," Chimecho replies. "I meant exactly what I said; I can actually see you being accepted into apprenticeship. Your teleportation is much better and more useful than mine since I can only teleport objects and only teleport them away a short distance, compared to you who can teleport a large group of Pokémon back to Treasure Town all the way from the bottom of a mystery dungeon. Plus, you're one of the more battle capable Pokémon in the guild who can go through a mystery dungeon. You can even sleep here in the guild for now instead of wherever you sleep; Sparks and Violet's room is still vacant."

    "Well… true… I have been honing my teleportation skills everyday, making me very skilled at it… and I guess maybe my years of training in solitude in Waterfall Cave as well as my exploring with Sparks and Violet have improved my battling capabilities a bit…" I admit, slightly boastful. "But I am not going to sleep in Sparks and Violet's room. I… I still believe that they'll come back one day, and I'll wait as long as I can for their return. Part of me says that it just doesn't feel right to sleep in their room, which is also part of the reason why. Plus, if Sparks and Violet are dead, then they'd be haunting that room, and I can't stand Ghost types especially if I'm sleeping in a room where they're haunting" I smirk at that last part, obviously joking.

    Chimecho smiles back, catching on to my joke.

    "So what do you think, Chime? We can head over to Wigglytuff and Chatot and get you accepted as a legitimate guild member right now if you want," Chimecho suggests. "Would you like that?"

    Would I… like that?

    Chimecho's sudden proposal gets me thinking.

    Well… as much as I'd love to work here in the guild with Chimecho and everyone else here, I still don't know… I've helped all of the apprentices out here with errands long enough to befriend everyone, so maybe it wouldn't be too bad to be an apprentice myself since I know everyone here… Chimecho is already my best friend, Bidoof tends to slip up during his duties, but I admire his perseverance, Sunflora's gossip is a good icebreaker, and I find Croagunk's hobby of making special items out of other items interesting, and I like to watch him at work at his mysterious cauldron thing that apparently helps with the item making.

    Though, as for Croagunk, I still haven't the foggiest idea why he asked me to fetch a bone from the top of Amp Plains that one time… At least I managed to teleport away from there with a bone before the Electrike could notice me, otherwise I would've ended up like the other skeletons there.

    "Chime? Have you made up your mind yet?" Chimecho asks me, snapping me out of my thoughts. I quickly look around me to see that I've followed her all the way out of the guild and on the crossroads path to Treasure Town's plaza.

    "Um… Well…" I stutter for a bit, still indecisive.

    Do I really want to join the guild and have my own duties?

    Still unable to make up my mind, I swiftly extend my rope in front of me and glance at my Explorer's Badge once more.

    I… I could be start out as a guild apprentice right now if I wanted to… but… with all the different duties a guild apprentice would have… I wouldn't be able to explore as much, would I?

    As much as I'd really want to work here, I still don't want to throw away the chance to explore with Sparks and Violet…

    I don't know…

    I still remain indecisive, but my short glance at my Explorer's Badge got me reminiscing about Sparks and Violet again, and I can't help but smile.

    "Made up your mind now, Chime?" Chimecho says, noticing my grin and smiling back.

    "Well… I'll think about it." I reply.

    My memories of my explorations with Sparks and Violet continue flashing in my head. That time I intimidated Sparks to the point of his admitting his crush and love for Violet in Apple Woods, that time I helped Violet get to Treeshroud Forest to find Ninetales when Sparks was still seriously injured, and even all he battles we had together.

    You're still alive, right, Sparks and Violet?

    If you are, then I have to admit, I still miss you two.

    In the future, Author's POV

    Meanwhile, in the future, Sparks and Violet still remain walking with Grovyle and Celebi through the depths of Deep Dusk Forest's winding forest pathways. Chime would be happy if he were there, because the Shinx and Vulpix aren't dead yet.

    Yet.

    Anyways, ever since the encounter with Spiritomb (who is still stuck in a hole), Grovyle and Celebi have been explaining to Sparks and Violet about all the questions Celebi blurted out at Grovyle back after everyone introduced themselves.

    "Okay… so it appears you'd rather continue asking about the sudden Sparks questions Celebi asked rather than anything related to how Celebi and I know each other," Grovyle says, sighing. "Well, then, Sparks and Violet, what do you want to know? I've already told you about the bag, which was a straightforward enough story."

    Walking slightly behind Grovyle and Celebi, Sparks and Violet take a quick glance at Grovyle's bag, the same bag he mentioned was given to him by Sparks when he was still a human. The two used to see Grovyle slinging the bag over his shoulder like a Treasure Bag, but judging from how its material was much different in appearance to a Treasure Bag, it isn't. Though, Grovyle now that they're clear of any possible danger, they've noticed that Grovyle has slung the bag over his back like a backpack, which looks much more natural than wearing a Treasure Bag, while also allowing Sparks and Violet to get a proper look at it. The bag itself bears a single grey strap, and a design seems to be printed on the squarish white pouch. The white bag that holds the items themselves seems to have the design of a black and red stripe displayed on it, as well as a small print of what seems to be a small blue logo composed of two semicircles and a small circle, one semicircle above the circle and one below it.

    "Do you remember that bag in any way, Sparks?" Violet whispers. "That doesn't look like something that would be on a Treasure Bag… it's even a backpack too. I don't remember the last time I've seen one…"

    "Well… that still doesn't ring a bell… I don't really remember anything about that…" Sparks replies, trying to think of a memory, but failing. "Though… I'll admit something about that logo that calls out to me in some way… Must be a coincidence, since it looks exactly like the design our Explorer's Badges are based on… Interesting."

    "If there's anything I learned, it's that coincidences should always be questioned… I've made that mistake enough times to learn that lesson… Though I guess you don't really have anywhere to ask that question at the moment." Grovyle responds.

    "Oh, right, I was supposed to be asking questions," Sparks says. "Um… let's see, I remember Celebi mentioning always being targeted by Spiritomb and his vengeful spirits, coming out of nowhere only knowing a name, the Dimensional Scream, as well as something about a time portal… Oh, and that thing about me being your partner? What's up with all that?"

    Grovyle then stops for a second and looks around.

    "All right, it looks like our surroundings are silent. We're in the clear for now," Grovyle says after surveying the area. "It's going to be a long story, so I might not be able to get all my facts right. Do you want to hear the complete explanation, you two?"

    "Anything to learn about Sparks's past." Violet speaks up.

    "Likewise." Sparks adds.

    "Yay! Story time with Grovyle!" Celebi chimes in excitedly.

    "Not so fast," Grovyle says to Celebi. "You were there, so you have to tell some parts of the story as well."

    "Oh, all right…" Celebi says, pouting a bit.

    "Now, this is how the story goes…" Grovyle starts. "You see, back then, it was just Celebi and I who found ourselves stuck in this world of a dark and frozen future. Both of us didn't know how we ended up in this future away from a bright and colourful world, but we crossed paths and decided to stick together and try to survive. We learned about Dusknoir and his master, Dialga, and how Dialga's place, Temporal Tower, controls the flow of time."

    "I would know a lot about this time traveling thing, since like Dialga, I have basic understanding as well as control over time travel," Celebi proclaims proudly. "Grovyle and I have spent most of our 'surviving' time also trying to find a way to do something about Temporal Tower's collapse. Judging from the basic knowledge I have about time as well as observing Temporal Tower's broken structure, I guessed that it collapsed and made time freeze due to a disturbance in the past, which can only be fixed by taking the Time Gears of the past to the top of the past's Temporal Tower. While I still don't know what this disturbance is, I do know that by taking all the Time Gears around the region where Temporal Tower is, the time stabilizing auras of all of them would fuse to end up creating the effect where Temporal Tower would stop collapsing and everything would go back to normal."

    "Um… By now I'm used to taking in overwhelming scenarios, but I don't know if I completely understood all that you said…" Violet speaks up. "If I had to guess based on what I understood, it's just taking the Time Gears to the top of Temporal Tower, right?"

    "That's pretty much the long story made short," Celebi replies. "It's as simple as that."

    "Simple as that?" Sparks questions. "Sounds more like an 'easier said than done' phrase. Now I'm even more intrigued. How did you two do in pulling that plan off?"

    "That's the thing," Grovyle replies. "By the time the two of us finished assembling the basic objective of our time restoration plan to get to the past, Dialga had already discovered us, and sent Dusknoir and his Sableye to make sure we don't restore time, leaving us to resort to running. It was when Celebi and I were fleeing were another one of Dialga's newest allies, Spiritomb, when we discovered a wandering human being targeted by Spiritomb's vengeful spirits, with nothing but this unique clothing, the backpack I'm wearing now, and very vague memory other than a name."

    "That… that was me, right?" Sparks asks.

    "Correct. Despite the sudden scenario of finding a human, the kind of things Celebi told me can only be heard in legends, she and I managed to help him escape him escape from Spiritomb, allowing us to get acquainted," Grovyle continues. "As it turns out, this human, or should I say, Sparks, had no idea how he ended up in this future since all that could come to mind was his name, and that the vengeful spirits wouldn't stop following and attacking him. Sparks also mentioned that something about the vengeful spirits seemed very familiar to him, but he couldn't put his finger on it."

    "Wait, something about vengeful spirits seeming familiar? They didn't seem familiar to me when we encountered them," Sparks responds. "Did I remember anything else?"

    "Hmm… not quite. An alias and those vague memories were just it," Grovyle replies. "He didn't even remember how he ended up in the future, it's as if he came out of nowhere."

    "I couldn't even detect traces or any sign of him traveling through time, which made it even harder to determine how Sparks suddenly ended up there." Celebi says.

    "Wait… you mentioned Sparks didn't have any memories other than a name… That must've meant amnesia right?" Violet asks. "When I met Sparks, he barely had any memories either… Does… Does that mean that Sparks lost his memories twice?"

    "It… it seems so. One from when Celebi and I met him and one from when you met him," Grovyle answers. "I still have no idea how this was caused, but then again, there were many things to question about that fated encounter that I had on my mind… how he managed to end up there, why he had such an usual name for a human, and also his Dimensional Scream ability… Though, Dimensional Scream is just a name I came up with."

    "Actually, I think Violet and I might know something about that Dimensional Scream thing." Sparks says.

    "We… we do?" Violet questions.

    "It's a vision-causing ability, and apparently Ninetales said something about it back when I confessed to you," Sparks replies. "What was it she said again?

    "Um…" Violet takes a second to think. A look of realization then comes across her face shortly afterwards.

    '"Hmm… I do have one possible explanation…" Ninetales said. "Perhaps you were not born with this special Sightseer power, but a certain incident happened, and that incident involved you being of close contact to several other Sightseers… but an event such as that would've had to be extreme, and effects of that magnitude could cause serious brain damage, so I'm not sure…"' The memory flashes in Violet's mind.

    "You… you see, I used to be part of this… sorta unknown clan called the Lunar Sightseers," Violet starts. "It's disbanded now, but I know there are still Pokémon out there with Sightseer blood in them. From what I know, the clan mainly consists of Pokémon that are associated with the moon or the night, like Dark or Fairy types, or with those with involvement in future sightings, like Psychic types. My mom herself has mild fluency in psychics due to learning the move Extrasensory, but I know that I haven't inherited any vision related Sightseer abilities other than, well, increased battle potential, I guess. My mom also used to be one of the leaders of the clan before it disbanded, so she knew quite a lot about vision abilities. So when Sparks asked if she knew anything about his 'Dimensional Scream', she mentioned that she could sense Sightseer energy from his having of the ability, but it was a different type of Sightseer aura as if it was altered… something like that."

    "So… was she able to figure out how Sparks got his Dimensional Scream?" Celebi asks, curious.

    "Not quite… She mentioned that she didn't know much at all about how Sparks could've gotten this vision-seeing ability," Violet continues. "She mentioned that a reason Sparks has his weirdly altered Sightseer energy that gave him the Dimensional Scream is because of some certain incident involving Sparks having close contact with other Sightseers, which means that this incident gave Sparks Sightseer abilities rather than him being born with them. Mom also added that an event of this severity could cause brain damage, which could be why Sparks had amnesia when he met you, and when he met me…"

    "This is… interesting, to say the least," Grovyle comments. "So, whatever Sparks did or whatever he had to go through to end up in the future, something happened during the process, and… now he has the Dimensional Scream… It also sounds familiar to what happened to Sparks when he and I attempted to travel to the past."

    "Wait… something happened?" Sparks speaks up.

    "Yes," Celebi replies. "You see, other than the extra company Sparks provided, which got in the way of Grovyle and I's cuddle-up-and-sleep time-"

    "I never agreed to give it a name because it was never a thing." Grovyle cuts in hastily with a tone of denial and trying to hide his face.

    "Sparks was actually a big help to us in our quest to restore time to the future," Celebi continues, ignoring Grovyle. "Even though he couldn't battle since he's not a Pokémon, he's surprisingly smart and observant, and is really good at quickly coming up with battle strategies. His Dimensional Scream and his thinking actually helped Grovyle and I get out of situations where we would've gotten caught by Dusknoir or Spiritomb. Could've done without him being vulnerable to vengeful spirits though…"

    "Ahem," Grovyle cuts in, the previous red on his face back to green. "Continuing on, after a while of having Sparks' assistance in heading around the future, he eventually managed to come up with an idea, how we would travel to the past and get the Time Gears there. By traveling to many different areas here in the future, he used his Dimensional Scream to find out where all the Time Gears are in the past, which played a huge role in allowing our plan to succeed."

    "Wow… so even back then, Sparks was still incredibly smart and good at coming up with ideas." Violet comments, flattering Sparks.

    In response, the Shinx lands a quick kiss on the Vulpix's cheek, making the two of them blush slightly as they look into each other's eyes and smile.

    "I see you've developed more than just knowledge after you turned into a Pokémon, Sparks." Grovyle says in a teasing tone.

    "True. But for the record, I'm a Shinx, not a Pokémon Sparks." Sparks replies half-jokingly, amusing Violet.

    "Well then, continuing on, right when we finalized our almost full proof plan, the three of us decided to head to this ancient and primeval-looking tree in Deep Dusk Forest to help Celebi with her time traveling powers, because like Dialga and Temporal Tower, Celebi's time traveling powers are at her strongest when she's at a location strongly related to her area of origin." Grovyle continues.

    "Oh, Grovyle, you know me so well," Celebi pipes in, snuggling closer to Grovyle's neck. "You're so sweet."

    "I'm only saying the exact same thing you told me before Sparks and I went through that time portal." Grovyle responds in slight denial, Sparks and Violet immediately noticing his face redden to their amusement.

    'As much as I'd like to ask exactly close Grovyle and Celebi are as 'friends', I'd rather not interrupt Grovyle's explanation of who i was as a human…' Sparks thinks.

    "So… what happened next?" Violet asks, still wearing an amused expression from Celebi and Grovyle's interaction.

    "Well… we were heading to the tree, the same tree we're heading to right now, when we suddenly realized we were getting followed by Spiritomb's vengeful spirits. Arceus, it's as if those weird hazy figures stick to you as soon as they get a single whiff. I myself find the hazy Crobat and the hazy Weezing the most troublesome to flee from." Grovyle comments.

    "I consider the hazy Dugtrio, the hazy Ampharos that's apparently female, and even the little hazy Chikorita my least favorite. The Chikorita especially despite its small size," Celebi adds. "While I do slightly admire what looks like a flower on the Chikorita's head, I don't really have much compliments to add when its constantly pelting Razor Leaf and Poison Powder attacks at us."

    'Now that you mention those hazy spirits… I hope Sammy is still okay…' Vioparks think.

    "So because the three of us knew we were being pursued by those vengeful spirits, we didn't have time to waste," Grovyle continues. "With haste, we managed to keep those hazy Pokémon at bay and made it to the large tree in time. However, right when Sparks and I went through the portal, something happened as if something tried to disrupt our time travel… I don't know exactly what happened, but I remember some sort of unseen force rushing into the portal… causing an interference. But whatever happened, it caused Sparks and I to separate and be sent to different locations of the past, while also turning Sparks into a Shinx for some reason… Wait, Celebi, you were still there, right? Did you see anything?"

    "I did stay outside the portal, but I don't think I saw much in detail… my witness is just as vague as yours, Grovyle," Celebi replies. "Because we were in a hurry to not get caught by the vengeful spirits following us, I only had enough time to open a portal for a brief amount of time, but not enough for me to enter it once I break from the concentration to create it, I had to stay behind. As for what I saw, I think I remember seeing some sort of dark… force… I don't know… I know it's not one of the vengeful spirits or Spiritomb, since it looked far from being hazy. I think it followed you two into the portal, but I didn't think much about it since I still had vengeful spirits to flee from. I just assumed I was seeing things back then…"

    Sparks and Violet process the information for a second.

    "So… long story short, whatever this weird force did… it made me lose my memories, this being the second time I lost my memories apparently, and it turned me into a Shinx." Sparks speaks up.

    "And in addition to that, Sparks' appearance in the future came with no explanation other than memory loss and that it wasn't through time travel, but it did give him his Dimensional Scream." Violet continues.

    "That's pretty much the full story of human Sparks," Grovyle says. "Anyways, I think we should be getting to the clearing with Celebi's tree any time now."

    "I… I know it's a bit unlikely, but do you think we're being followed now, Grovyle?" Celebi asks, taking quick glances around her.

    "Uh… that's a weird question to ask all of a sudden, especially coming from a carefree Pokémon like you, Celebi," Grovyle replies. "But if you really want to know, it's all silent. Either there really is no one following us or they're just being very silent, the latter I think being way more unlikely…"

    "Oh, good," Celebi says, her cheery demeanor slowly starting to droop to Grovyle, Sparks, and Violet's confusion. "I just wanted to make sure that there won't be any… interruptions when I try to create the time portal. I want to make sure nothing goes wrong with this attempt… not even keeping the portal open long enough for me to get through is bad already…"

    Noticing the pink Grass Psychic type still lying her head on his shoulder, Grovyle attempts to comfort the guilty Celebi.

    "Actually, Celebi, I guess it's partially my fault as well… I should've stayed there to help fend off the vengeful spirits for a short while so you could keep the portal open longer… I'm sorry." Grovyle says, hesitantly but comfortingly wrapping an arm around Celebi.

    "Well… you don't have to apologize, Grovyle," Celebi's expression lights back up to cheeriness and she hugs Grovyle around the neck, making both of them blush. "You did come back to the future for me, after all!"

    Grovyle tries his best to hide the sound of his choking from Celebi suddenly cutting off the air from his throat, but can't help to slowly hug Celebi back.

    "Actually… I got caught by Dusknoir, got dragged back into the future with Sparks and Violet, and narrowly avoided having our throats ripped out," Grovyle admits, his hug growing tighter. "Not… not that I wouldn't have come back for you if I had found a way, though."

    And that's when Grovyle notices Sparks and Violet still standing beside them, having witnessed the entire event and are whispering and snickering to themselves.

    "Hey. You, Sparks," Grovyle says half-seriously. "I only said that this is 'partially my fault'. That means this is your fault too. Go apologize."

    "Well… I think it'd be better if it's all on you, Grovyle," Sparks says half-seriously back, Violet giving him an amused nudge. "Both Violet and I wouldn't want to ruin your moment with Celebi."

    Grovyle and Celebi immediately process Sparks' comment and break from their hugs, with Celebi trying to hide her usual excitement while Grovyle tries to hide his embarrassment.

    "Hey, for the record, the two of us are just close friends. You can keep your teasing relationship thoughts to yourselves." Grovyle says.

    Celebi then quickly flies over to Sparks and Violet and whispers something to them.

    "Don't worry, you two," The pink Pokémon says to them, still giddy. "It's going to happen one day; I know it will. The time will come when Grovyle cracks. I'll just have to wait until then. Hee hee!"

    "So, since you two like to think about it all the time, I'm curious," Grovyle says, continuing to walk. "Sparks, how would you say your relationship with Violet is going?"

    The topic of romance gets Celebi even more excited.

    "Oh! You two have kissed, right?" Celebi asks. "What was it like? Was it amazing?"

    "Uh… you mean on the lips, right?" Violet questions. "A-Actually, we haven't kissed like that…"

    "Not yet," Sparks quickly adds. "You see, the both of us are a bit… hesitant. On top of that, I want to make our first kiss feel special, but I haven't really found a fitting time to do it, and I want to make it feel special and memorable. So… we're just sticking to cheek kisses for now."

    Violet nods in agreement.

    "It… it will happen, right? One day?" Sparks asks Violet.

    Violet gives Sparks a reassuring smile and kisses him on the cheek. "Of course. One day. I'll just have to wait until then." She says sweetly.

    Sparks kisses Violet's cheek back and casts a warm smile at her. "I love you, Violet."

    "I love you too, Sparks." Violet responds, lying her head against Sparks'.

    "Well, you can keep your hopes up, you two," Grovyle says to Vioparks. "Shortly after we get through this pathway, we'll be able to travel back to the past, and afterwards everything should be how it was supposed to be. And this time, I promise to make sure all four of us make it through that portal, whatever it takes."

    "Yay! I get to see the colourful world of the past with Grovyle!" Celebi cheers.

    Sparks and Violet both sigh in relief.

    "That's good… I was getting tired of seeing nothing but grey…" Violet says.

    "Well, at least coming here helped us learn a lot… it's about time I learned more about human me…" Sparks pipes in. "Though I can't help but wonder why human me got stuck with a name way better suited for a Pokémon."

    "I always found that name weird." Celebi comments.

    "I personally don't mind." Violet adds.

    "For some reason, Sparks always emphasized that it was an alias rather than a name," Grovyle chimes in. "I still don't fully understand what he meant by that…"

    'So… what else was covered about human me again?' Sparks thinks, recalling the details. 'Let's see… to recap, that backpack that Grovyle is wearing used to be mine… I apparently came into the future suffering from amnesia for reasons that have yet to be determined… though it's not from time travel, according to Celebi. My method of traveling to the dark future, whatever it was, gave me my Dimensional Scream ability, I know that as well. I also was still smart and great at making battle strategies, but Spiritomb's vengeful spirits seemed to target me for another reason yet to be determined. And when Grovyle and I attempted to travel into the past, something happened that turned me into a Shinx and made me lose my memories again…'

    'Arceus, how are we going to explain all this to Chime when we get back?'

    'Celebi's Big Tree', Sparks' POV

    "Okay, Sparks and Violet, this is the place." Grovyle says as he, Violet and I enter a grassy clearing, a large tree at one end of it. We see Celebi fly into the clearing excitedly shortly after.

    "Yay! I love this place! I love opening time portals here!" Celebi chants, excitedly flying around the tree. "And now I can't wait to go to the past! I wanna see what the sky is like!"

    "I can't wait, either…" I hear Grovyle mutter. "Okay, Celebi!" He calls out. "You can start trying to open the portal now that we're here!"

    "Oh, right, that! I'm on it!" She replies, flying down closer to the big tree's base and turning to face it. "Give me some time to concentrate…"

    While Celebi appears as if she's harnessing energy of some sort, Violet and I use the waiting time to take in the features of the clearing's landmark, which is also the reason Grovyle took us to this clearing in the first place: the giant ancient-looking tree. And when I say giant, I really mean it. It's even bigger than the tree at the end of Apple Woods or the tree or that large tree Violet and I found atop a hill before we went to Sealed Ruin and got attacked by those vengeful spirits. Even greyed out, I can see how aged and ancient this tree is, or how Grovyle described it before, 'primeval'. Yet despite how ancient and frozen-in-time the tree looks compared to all the other grey trees I've seen, it still looks lush and full of life with its wide and towering trunk as well as the broad sheltering shade of the countless sprouting branches on the tree's top. Everything about the tree just comes together to create an eye-catching landmark that also feels like one giant artifact. Well, minus the shade part since there isn't any, the sky being full of grey instead of the sun's shining rays and all.

    "This tree sure is the landmark…" I marvel.

    "It feels… important somehow… like something I'd hear in a legend… except I don't remember hearing any legends about a tree." Violet remarks, amazed.

    "Well, I myself don't know about the tree, but Celebi said she knows a little bit about it," Grovyle says. "Apparently, from the little piece of information Celebi told me she knew, this giant tree played a major role in something in the past, and it looked just like this, but not greyed out."

    Hmm… Interesting…

    "Okay!" Celebi suddenly cries out. "It's almost ready! Give me a bit more time and I should be able to open a portal long enough for the four of us!"

    "Except you're not getting away this time!" A hauntingly familiar voice suddenly calls out to us threateningly.

    Dusknoir?!

    "Dusknoir must've followed us here somehow!" Grovyle exclaims, getting into battle stance.

    Guess when Grovyle said that either no one was following us or they were just being very silent, it was the latter…

    As Violet and I into battle stance as well, Dusknoir emerges from a bush opposite the large tree, a large group of Sableye following him.

    "Trying to escape to the past, aren't you?" Dusknoir taunts.

    "You… you and your Sableye don't scare us anymore, Dusknoir!" Violet says, trying to remain confident.

    "It's not just us who have followed you here!" Dusknoir responds.

    Then, as if on cue, Spiritomb comes out of a bush and joins Dusknoir's group. I try to hold back a gasp when I see a large group of Spiritomb's vengeful spirits join Dusknoir's Sableye.

    "Hee hee hee!" Spiritomb cackles. "Thought you could leave me in that hole, did you? Well, now my vengeful spirits and I are here, there's no escape! And don't think your Sandslash friend can help you, either. My vengeful spirits have reduced that being's figure to nothing!"

    Sammy…

    "Celebi!" Grovyle calls out. "Do you think you can open that portal yet?"

    "I… I still need a little more time to concentrate!" Celebi replies.

    "Now, everyone! Attack!" Dusknoir commands, sending everyone rushing at us.

    "Okay, everyone! I came up with a plan!" I exclaim. "The three of us will split up and keep everyone away from Celebi! Understand? Even if we're outnumbered, we just need to keep Celebi from being attacked! We can do this!

    "Whatever you say, Sparks!" Grovyle replies, readying Leaf Blades on his elbows as he runs ahead.

    "Got it!" Violet responds, dashing ahead.

    Okay… I just hope I do well on my own this time…

    As I run closer to the large group of our adversaries, I see several Sableye lunging at me with their Shadow Claws. I immediately let out a Charge shield to block the ones from the front, then absorb the electricity and use it to dash forward with Spark, knocking several of the Sableye away. Then, as I grab a Sableye attempting to dash past me with a Crunch attack, I toss it into the air with by swinging it away while somersaulting, where it collides with another Sableye that's been tossed in midair. The two midair Sableye then get blasted by a Flamethrower attack.

    Looks like Violet's doing fine on her own… I wonder if she saw that somersault I did…

    "Hee hee hee!" I hear a vague cackle echo through the ground.

    I instantly sense Spiritomb coming up behind me with a Shadow Sneak, and quickly set up a Charge shield to feel Spiritomb's swinging keystone bash against it. I quickly absorb the electricity, letting it form around my fangs to form a Thunder Fang attack, then use it to bite down hard on Spiritomb's keystone.

    Interesting… with the electricity from my Charge shield coating my fangs, this doesn't hurt as much anymore.

    I then see Spiritomb's figure above me start to charge up a Shadow Ball, and I instantly take action. With a forceful backflip, I toss Spiritomb away back to the group of our adversaries. I take a quick glance behind me to see that I've thrown Spiritomb right into Dusknoir. I mentally cry out in triumph.

    Then, I start to see what looks like a hazy Golem rolling towards me. I quickly set up a Charge shield, ricocheting the rolling Golem away, but after absorbing the electricity get retaliated by a Bullet Seed attack from a hazy Jumpluff. As the painful impact of the seeds push me back, I then see Grovyle jump in front of the way and fight back the Bullet Seed projectiles with a flurry of Bullet Seeds of his own. The two attacks remain in a state of stalemate. I see Grovyle cast me a gaze that says he needs an idea.

    Um… what do I do? Come on, think…

    I then look at one side to see Violet fighting against a hazy Weezing, her Flamethrower attack colliding against the Weezing's Fire Blast. While the two attacks remain pushing each other back, I notice two Sableye and a hazy Quagsire attempt to sneak up on Violet from behind. Then, before I could rush to Violet's aid, an Imprison force rises up from behind Violet, grabs the hazy Quagsire by wrapping around it, and swings at around to bash the Sableye away, throwing the Quagsire aside afterwards. The Weezing's Fire Blast then manages to overwhelm Violet's Flamethrower, but the Fire Blast triggers Violet's Flash Fire ability, which Violet then uses to unleash a powered up Flamethrower at the hazy Weezing.

    I'm glad Violet is managing to hold her own well… it's a good thing she has Flash Fire…

    Fire…

    An idea comes to my mind.

    "Grovyle!" I call out. "Use that technique you used in Crystal Lake; the one with a Blast Seed!"

    Grovyle, still spitting Bullet Seeds, nods in agreement, understanding what I mean. I then jump in front of Grovyle and use my previously absorbed electricity to let out a large Charge shield, blocking the seed projectiles and giving Grovyle time to get the Blast Seed out of his backpack.

    "Now!" Grovyle says, Blast Seed now in mouth. I absorb my large Charge barrier as Grovyle jumps in front of me and uses the Blast Bullet Seed combination to spit flaming seeds at the Jumpluff, overwhelming its Bullet Seeds and driving it away.

    "Good idea, Sparks." Grovyle says.

    "Actually, good idea on you since I got that idea when you did it back at Crystal Lake." I reply.

    I then feel a sharp pain come to my face when a hazy Ariados suddenly emerge in front of Grovyle and I with a Shadow Sneak and send me hurtling back to the tree with a sharp leg jab. I see Grovyle get launched back to the tree as well, while also seeing Violet reel towards me from a hazy Umbreon's Dig attack.

    "Now we're cornered, surrounded, and outnumbered… what do we do?" Violet asks, now sounding afraid.

    "Celebi… can you open the portal yet?" Grovyle asks.

    "I… I still need more time to concentrate…" Celebi replies.

    "Don't worry… I… I've reserved enough electricity to let out one Charge dome, so maybe we can hold out for a little longer…" I say.

    I look forward at the group of our adversaries, getting ready to put up a Charge dome. However, instead of creeping towards us, they're retreating, to our confusion. We all fall silent when we hear a stomping sound.

    "Heh… it's about time he arrived!" Dusknoir cackles.

    "Hee hee hee! This is where you're done for! You stand no chance!" Spiritomb sneers.

    The source of the stomping then reveals itself when it emerges from the bush behind Dusknoir, a large, quadruped, blue Pokémon with a red aura lining its body and the gem on its chest, the red glow of its aura matching the threatening and furious gaze in its eyes.

    "I… I've heard about that Pokémon in legends…" Violet says. "That's Dialga!"

    Dialga then lets loose a threatening roar, implanting fear into us.

    "That… that roar…" Celebi says, casting a quick glance behind her.

    "That isn't just a regular Dialga…" Grovyle says. "See that red aura of rage lining his body? Uncontrollable feeling of fear, rage, and anger have made him much more threatening and even less sane, giving him that red aura and turning him into Primal Dialga."

    "It's about time you met my master!" Dusknoir laughs evilly.

    We then notice Celebi open a portal in front of her.

    "Go! I've concentrated enough energy to keep this portal open for three, but go!" Celebi exclaims. "You need to go save yourselves! None of us can fight well against Primal Dialga! Go!"

    "Wait, what about you, Celebi?" I ask.

    Primal Dialga roars at us once more, then starts to charge up a beam attack of some sort.

    "It's… it's charging up a Roar of Time!" Violet exclaims.

    "Just go! I need to keep concentrating to keep this portal open, but don't worry about me!" Celebi replies. "You three need to go save the past!"

    Primal Dialga then unleashes a bright blue beam at us, the Roar of Time, and I put up my Charge dome. The electricity blocks the entire Roar of Time beam, but it also shatters the dome and gives me harsh recoil, leaving me unable to ready another Charge barrier.

    "Sparks, Violet, go!" Grovyle exclaims. "Primal Dialga needs to recharge after using Roar of Time! You can use this time to escape!"

    The urgency in Grovyle's voice is enough to make me and Violet walk closer to the dark portal, but we remain reluctant to step in. We both look back at Grovyle and Celebi.

    "Grovyle, what are you doing?" Celebi questions, looking as if she's struggling to concentrate. "Primal Dialga can finish recharging at any moment!"

    "I promised, Celebi! I'm not leaving you here!" Grovyle replies desperately and stubbornly I start to see tears form in his eyes. "If I leave you here, Primal Dialga will kill you!"

    "You need to leave now, Grovyle! I can't keep this portal open long enough for me to go through!" Celebi says, tears coming down her eyes as well. "Your talking with me is starting to falter my concentration! You need to leave now!"

    "I… I… I won't leave you, Celebi!" Grovyle yells out.

    I take a glance back at Dialga to see that he's almost finished recharging.

    "Grovyle, we need to leave now!" I exclaim.

    "You two go! I… I don't want to leave Celebi here again!" Grovyle yells back. "I want to make sure we both make it to the past this time!"

    "But-" I get cut off.

    "SPARKS AND VIOLET, JUST GO!" Grovyle exclaims. "I'LL CATCH UP TO YOU LATER, JUST GO!"

    With reluctance to step into the portal now gone, Violet and I glance at Grovyle and Celebi, then at Primal Dialga, then take one last look at the grey future around us. We then find ourselves looking into each other's eyes. I hold Violet's trembling paw.

    "Ready?" I ask her.

    "Ready." She replies, confidence in her voice.

    While I sensed a tone of confidence in Violet's voice, I couldn't help but notice a bit of sadness in her eyes. Sadness of having to leave Celebi.

    I… I can't blame you, Violet… I don't want Celebi to get killed by Primal Dialga, either… I hope Grovyle actually heads through the portal as well…

    Violet and I look into the portal, and with my paw still holding hers, we step in.

    I then go unconscious from the overwhelming velocity of the portal.

    Chapter 29 - Home's Relief

    Evening, Beach, Chime's POV

    'One! Don't shirk work!'

    'Two! Run away and pay!'

    'Three! Smiles go for miles!'

    I hold my Explorer's Badge in my hand, taking in the sound of the sound recording already installed into it. As it turns out, these badges have more than just a mere hologram system and a series of voice command activations. One of these voice commands allows me to record voice recordings. And once I discovered that it could do that, I definitely had some fun with it.

    One time, Chatot left the Guildmaster's Chambers holding a large pile of papers, and apparently he was looking for Croagunk who wasn't at the cauldron where he always works for some reason. At the time, I was watching the entire thing hiding against the ceiling.

    "Croagunk! You should still be here, right?" Chatot said at the time, struggling to stay upright with those papers weighing down his wings and blocking his view ahead of his. "The Guildmaster is busy doing other errands around the guild, and since the cauldron and its little station where you work is right across the room where the Guildmaster's Chambers, I was wondering if you'd be willing to give me a hand in carrying these papers… I really need the help…"

    That's when I teleported my Explorer's Badge right near Croagunk's cauldron, where Chatot would expect him to be, and played the voice recording I made of Croagunk.

    "Meh, I couldn't care any less."

    Chatot appeared ticked off after I played that recording and stormed off towards the ladder, just like I wanted.

    Messing with Pokémon's minds… messing with this badge is way too fun. I thought, teleporting my Explorer's Badge back onto one of my ropes.

    As I continue watching Chatot totter from the weight of papers in his wings, I wait until he's headed up the ladder with the papers on his back and out of sight. I really should mention how powerful those wings are if Chatot can still fly up even with a stack of papers on his back.

    Afterwards, I snickered to myself as I levitated back down closer to the floor, but as I looked around the empty room amused with my little prank, Croagunk was right behind me.

    I'll just say that despite that vacant stare he always wears, and I mean always, he wasn't very pleased with what I did. Nor was he forgiving. At all. I even had to lie to Chimecho about why I needed several Pecha Berries after that poisonous experience. And that was only caused by the poison from Croagunk's left hand.

    But that event is the past, and right now I shouldn't be lingering there, especially since I'm trying to use this voice recorder to memorize the guild cheer. The pre-installed recording continues playing out of my badge while I levitate to the beach to sleep for the night.

    Alright, once I finish this recording, I should be able to memorize the cheer by tomorrow by going over it over and over in my head…

    … 'Eight! Helping all Pokémon in need is an explorer's duty, indeed!'

    'Nine! Do lots of jobs! That's truly the key! You'll reach Gold Rank. Just wait and see!'

    'Ten! The money you earn is shared with the guild! That's the way our friendship will build!'

    An extra loud 'HOORAY' cheer suddenly erupts from my badge, making me flinch slightly.

    "Whoa, easy there," I say aloud. "You're not the only one who can emit ear-splitting screams. I can do that too, but it's my Monster House summoning technique, so I really only use it in Waterfall Cave."

    Then, as I levitate right over the beach of the sand, in the night's darkness, I can just make out three figures lying unconscious in the sand ahead of me, two of them looking very familiar to me.

    Wait… no… could it be?

    As I start to get my hopes up, I try to levitate closer to the two figures, but start to see them stir.

    Uh oh. They were sleeping here on the sand, weren't they? And my badge woke them up? I need to hide!

    I instinctively teleport back to my little bush shelter and peek out, trying to observe the three figures.

    Please be them, please be them…

    Violet's POV

    "Ugh… Where… where are we?" I groan, looking around.

    As I get up and feel my paws against the familiar texture of sand, I look around and widen my eyes at the realization that the first thing I see isn't grey.

    We're back! The time portal actually worked!

    Despite the darkness of the bittersweet atmosphere of night, I manage to look around me to see Sparks and Grovyle also unconscious on the sand. The two of them regain consciousness and get back up as well, though i notice Grovyle had a bit of trouble standing straight and seemed to be keeping his arms near his chest.

    "We're… we're finally back…" Sparks lets out a relieved sigh, looking around. "We're finally back!"

    "Sparks! Violet! You're back!" A familiar voice says from behind us. Before Sparks and I could turn around to greet the voice, we both find ourselves wrapped by ropes and pulled towards Chime in a gesture resembling a hug, with both short arms as well as his ropes wrapping around us.

    "You guys! I knew you'd be back! I missed you!" Chime exclaims.

    "Uh… well, we missed you too, Chime." Sparks says slightly hesitantly, caught off guard.

    "Have… have you been doing well?" I ask, just as surprised.

    "Oh, well, I've been fine. Stuff has still been happening around Treasure Town, but I've been a busy helping out around the guild while you were gone." Chime replies, still not letting up on his ropes.

    "Well… this is certainly awkward… especially from you, Chime," Sparks mentions, still chuckling nervously at Chime's gesture. "Who's been teaching you how to hug?"

    Recalling Chime's memorable quirkiness, I expect a reply right away, but to both Sparks and I's surprise, he hesitates.

    "Uh… well, that's not important! Don't mind that!" Chime then replies, letting us go. "Anyways, what's been up with you two? And… who's that third Pokémon with you? Is that who I think it is?"

    I look behind me to see Grovyle still struggling to stand straight.

    "Ugh… We… we are back, right?" He asks, still teetering. "Please… please excuse me… I still need some rest… For once, I'm actually tired… I'll be fine, just give me a second…"

    Before Sparks and I could question him, Grovyle slumps over and falls on the sand, unconscious.

    "Well, you heard him, whatever he said. Probably just needs some sleep," Chime comments. He then starts shaking his head. "You know what, I'm just going to calmly ask you for an explanation instead of immediately jumping to a panicked conclusion. So tell me you two, what happened?"

    Sparks takes a quick second to look around the beach's night atmosphere.

    "I don't think now would be a good time to go explaining everything…" He replies. He then yawns. "It… it looks like it's a bit late for us to be staying here… I know I'm tired as well…"

    I can't help but yawn too.

    I… I guess I need the sleep… Trying to survive in the future was difficult…

    "But… with Grovyle here with us, we can't just go to the guild where everyone will immediately jump to conclusions and doubt us…" He continues. "So… where do we sleep, or even go to, now?"

    An idea suddenly clicks in my head.

    "I… wait… I think I might know a place…" I say, thinking.

    "You… you do?" Sparks asks me.

    "Hey, you two… er, three, including Grovyle," Chime cuts in. "I should mention that if you're thinking about leaving the beach right now, then you should know that you've scattered Seeds and Apples all over the sand."

    "Seeds and Apples?" Sparks questions, starting to look around. I look around as well to see those items littered around us, just like Chime said. "Looks like they must've fallen out when we came through that time portal…"

    "Time portal?" Chime asks.

    "We'll get to that later," Sparks says, picking up a Perfect Apple from the ground and putting into the Treasure Bag. He then looks towards my direction. "Hey Violet, can you go pick up those two Blast Seeds behind you?"

    I nod back, and head over to get the Blast Seeds and hand them to him one by one. That's when I realize.

    "Wait… Sparks… you said Blast Seed, right?" I say, my expression lighting up. "You… you actually recognized what type of Seed it is!"

    "I… I did?" Sparks asks, sounding slightly surprised. He then looks around at the littered items and smiles back. "I can! In some weird way, I can somehow recognize all these items now! That's a Blast Seed… that's a Heal Seed… Um… we only had Seeds and Perfect Apples, right?"

    I nod, still smiling from Sparks' enthusiasm, and we all pick up the rest of the items on the sand.

    "Okay, now that you're done cleaning up here, I'd like to know everything you've been through," Chime says. "Violet, you mentioned knowing a place where we could go besides the guild… and I'd like to take you three there so you can get to explaining what happened, so…"

    "Oh, right," I say. I then start thinking for a second. "Well, remember when I said I ran away to Treasure Town from my mom? Well, you see, since I wasn't part of the guild there's this place past all the shops in Treasure Town, it's a little cave built into the side of the cliff above the beach."

    "Oh, that cliff? The one that looks like a Sharpedo's face built?" Chime questions. "Isn't that cliff called Sharpedo Bluff?"

    I nod. "There's a little hidden staircase covered by bushes near the edge of the cliff which leads to a little cave in the cliff's side. By the time I was in Treasure Town, it was still years before I met Sparks, so I didn't have any house or guild shelter to resort to, which was when I discovered the little staircase leading into Sharpedo Bluff's cave. It has always been secluded for the few years I've slept there, so it should still be there for us to rest awhile."

    "Sounds good." Sparks responds.

    "So it's settled then," Chime speaks up. "Near the edge of Sharpedo Bluff, right? Well, as a welcome back gift from me to you… three… Grovyle is with you, right?"

    "Yes." Sparks and I answer in unison.

    "As a welcome back gift from me to you three, to Sharpedo Bluff we go! I've been around Treasure Town long enough to know it like the back of my rope, so I'm able teleport you there in a flash!" Chime continues enthusiastically.

    As the familiar glow of Chime's teleportation surrounds Sparks and I, we can't help but smile at the feeling of Chime teleporting us again.

    We really are back home now.

    Sharpedo's Bluff, Chime's POV

    As the light of my teleportation fades away, I look around to see that we're on some sort of rocky cliff area, the path to Treasure Town's plaza to my right and the edge of the cliff to my left. I see Sparks, Violet, and a still-unconscious Grovyle be teleported next to me.

    Hm… strange. Something felt a bit… off about that teleportation.

    Shaking that sudden thought away, I look around to see Sparks and Violet head over to a bush close to the cliff's edge and push it aside, revealing a rock staircase heading downwards. Sparks looks down the path the staircase heads to.

    "There's a little cave mouth down there that looks like it leads into a room." He points out.

    Violet's expression lights up. "Yes! That's the one!" She then starts to head down the staircase while Sparks follows her.

    I levitate Grovyle behind me as I head down the staircase as well, making sure to cover it back up with the bushes.

    "We should be able to stay here for a while… at least, long enough to prepare how to explain everything to everyone… we have to head back to the guild eventually, right?" Violet speaks up as we head down the staircase.

    "Right," Sparks answers. "Um… just a question. There is enough space in this Sharpedo Bluff cave for all of us to sleep in, right? Grovyle is still with us, after all."

    The mention of Grovyle prompts to to take a glance back at him, still in the grasp of my teleportation and unconscious.

    Sparks and Violet must have gone through quite a lot in the future if Grovyle is somehow on our side… Guess that makes it even more of a story to look forward to.

    "Of course," Violet answers Sparks' question, leading us into a room. "I remember finding a lot of the spare straw material used to make the beds at the guild and using them to sleep here, so we should be oka-"

    Violet cuts herself off in surprise when she sees what's in the room in front of us. The room is a surprisingly open space for being in a secluded room that's supposed to be part of a secret entranceway, and its rock surface is surprisingly neat and cleaned up. The glow from the moonlight is even let into the room by triangular gaps in the rock well at the end of the room, these gaps resembling the open space of a Sharpedo's jaw. However, that isn't what surprised Violet. From what it looks like in front of us, apparently what made her cut herself off was seeing that the room wasn't empty like she expected, and instead the three of us see, on a large straw bed, Ninetales asleep with some brown spiky Pokémon curled up in a ball sleeping next to her.

    "M-Mom?!" Violet exclaims, making Ninetales and the brown Pokémon wake up with a jump. I see the curled up brown Pokémon roll over to left end of the room.

    Well, there goes this place being completely unknown to everyone but Violet. Like mother, like daughter.

    Ninetales quickly turns up and eyes the three of us, looking both surprised and bewildered.

    "V-Violet?!" Ninetales asks. I notice tears start to fill her eyes, presumably joy.

    "Mom! I missed you!" Violet cries out. She then runs towards her and they both enter a mother-daughter embrace, the both of them letting out tears of joy.

    "I can't help but smile whenever I see Violet happy like that…" Sparks remarks, grinning at the scene before him.

    "Well, what are you waiting for?" I push Sparks closer to Violet and Ninetales using my hands for once. "You're Violet's boyfriend, after all! You should go join that embrace as well!"

    My insistence convinces Sparks to go join Violet and Ninetales, leaving me back at the entranceway alone, but I still can't help but smile.

    Boy, I can't wait for when Sparks and Violet actually get married… or become mates… one or the other…

    But when I see Violet and Ninetales… I wish I had parents to hug me like that… Too bad I still have no idea who they are or if I even have any…

    I sigh.

    I then hear the sound of Grovyle groaning behind me, catching my attention.

    "Uh… guys? I think Grovyle's starting to wake up…" I point out, making Sparks, Violet, and Ninetales separate. "I think now would be a good time for that explanation I've been waiting for…"

    "Explanation?" Ninetales asks. "Wait, did you say Grovyle?"

    "It's a long explanation, but it makes complete sense, don't worry," Sparks replies. "We were just about to get to that part…"

    I then notice the brown spiky Pokémon uncurl itself and walk towards us, yawning and revealing itself to be a blue-eyed Sandslash.

    "Ninetales… what happened?" The Sandslash asks.

    "Oh, I believe I should introduce you all," Ninetales says. "These four here are Sparks, Violet, Chime, and… uh… Grovyle, apparently. I believe I've already told you about them," Ninetales then turns to face us. "Now, I met this Sandslash here as a Sandshrew a few days ago since a vision told me that she'd be invaluable help to you, and since you managed to come back here from the future, she must have… she used to be quiet, but ever since I followed her to this place called Mystifying Forest she's evolved into a Sandslash and has started talking much more often now. Oh, and I believe I should mention that her name is-"

    "Sammy!" Sparks and Violet cry out, excitedly running towards Sammy.

    "Oh, come on!" I exclaim, slightly irritated. "And you somehow know this Sandslash too! Can't we just get right to the explanation so I can finally understand everything that's going on?!"

    "Oh, alright, fine, fine." Sparks replies.

    One really long explanation later, Author's POV

    Throughout the lengthy explanation that went out late at night, Sammy got bored and decided to go to sleep. Curled up in a spiky brown ball, she rests in a straw bed set nearby the one where Chime left Grovyle on.

    "Do you know what happened to Celebi after that? Dead, or not dead?" Chime asks after the explanation.

    "I… I don't know. Violet and I went through the time portal before we could see if anything happened and Celebi still needed to stay there concentrating to keep the portal open long enough," Sparks replies. "We don't know whether Celebi managed to escape after we left, or if she actually did die to Primal Dialga…"

    "Wait, so not only did you almost die, but you also came face to face with Primal Dialga?!" Ninetales exclaims, shocked.

    "Y-Yes… but we're fine now! Don't worry!" Violet replies hastily. "You… you get used to these types of situations when you're in an exploration team… Not the dying part, but the escaping death by powerful Pokémon part…" She quickly adds in the last sentence.

    "So… Sparks is apparently a human from the future who came who through time travel, but how he ended up in the future in the first place is completely unknown other than it wasn't from time travel?" Chime questions. "Well that's something you don't hear everyday. So now that you're back in the… past? Present? Now that you're back here, what's your plan of action now?"

    "Well…I don't think we should be heading back to the guild just yet since it'd be too much of an explanation to deal with at this time of night… especially the whole Grovyle part…" Sparks replies. "As for getting the rest of the Time Gears themselves, I thought that we left the plan to get those up to Grovyle since he knows where exactly to get them."

    Something from before pops up in Chime's mind. "Yeah… about Grovyle, I felt something off…" He speaks up.

    "Off? Didn't we already explain that he's the good guy and Dusknoir's the bad guy?" Violet responds.

    "No, not that, I completely understand that part. It's just something else…" Chime replies. "When I teleported all four of us, including Grovyle, to Sharpedo Bluff, it didn't feel like I was teleporting four Pokémon… Instead, it felt like I was teleporting five."

    "Wait… five?!" Sparks and Violet exclaim.

    "You didn't happen to teleport some random passerby Pokémon here with us, did you?!" Sparks asks, slightly panicking.

    "No, no, I have more control over my teleportation than that!" Chime shouts back. "It's as if… someone was close to someone else when I teleported them! Like how I always teleport you and Violet at once since you're a pair! Except there was another close contact pair that I teleported other than you and Violet!"

    Sparks and Violet quickly process the information and widen their eyes at the realization. They look over the sleeping Grovyle's body, recalling the detail that he seems to be clutching something close to his chest with his arms.

    Then, as if on cue, Grovyle starts to groan and gets back up yawning, the open space of the open Sharpedo jaws behind shining moonlight onto him, slightly revealing something pink in his arms.

    Grovyle looks down at the pink Pokémon in his arms.

    "You… you okay?" Grovyle asks.

    The pink Pokémon starts to regain consciousness and looks up at Grovyle.

    "I… I'm exhausted… but… I'm okay… thank you…" She replies in a voice that makes Vioparks widen their eyes in shocked realization.

    "C-Celebi?!" Vioparks exclaim. "But… but how, Grovyle?!"

    Hearing their voices, Grovyle then looks at Sparks and Violet, looking partially surprised as well. He then notices Chime, Ninetales, and the sleeping Sammy and casts a disapproving stare at Vioparks.

    "They do know that I'm no longer the bad guy, right?" Grovyle asks cautiously. "Right?!"

    "Calm down, they know about our situation," Sparks quickly answers. "Don't worry."

    "Hi. We're your friends." Chime greets awkwardly.

    "Uh… hi." Grovyle replies, putting the now unconscious Celebi on the bed he just got up from.

    "So… how did you get Celebi back here, Grovyle?" Violet asks.

    "I grabbed her and brought her through the portal at the last second," Grovyle answers. "Lucky that I did so at that second and that second only… Had I hesitated a millisecond longer, Dialga's Roar of Time would've been able to reach the time portal and disrupt it… Had I been too hasty and grabbed Celebi a millisecond earlier, she wouldn't have had enough concentration to keep the portal open for both of us, also possibly causing a disruption…"

    "Long explanation made simpler, you got extremely lucky for something that had a high likelihood of resulting in brutal disaster?" Chime blurts out.

    "Yes…" Grovyle replies with a sigh. "But it's worth it. You'd do a similar thing if you don't want a close friend of yours to die, right?"

    "Right." Sparks and Violet immediately reply in unison, agreeing.

    "Well, while my own best friend and I haven't been into any near death situations, I'd do the same thing." Chime chimes in.

    "Yes…" Ninetales answers Grovyle, sighing wistfully as she briefly reminisces about Absol.

    "Now that you're finally conscious, what's our next plan? We have Time Gears to get, right?" Sparks asks.

    "Indeed. That is correct…" Grovyle then looks around for a bit. "We… we still have time for one night… Alright. First plan… is for me to get some sleep and tell you more tomorrow… I'm still exhausted… it's really difficult to get sleep in the future if you've been there long enough…"

    Grovyle starts to totter a bit.

    "Wait… tomorrow?" Violet asks.

    "Just let me get some sleep first…" Grovyle's exhaustion then does him in and makes him slump over, but Ninetales swiftly uses her Extrasensory and prepares a straw bed to catch Grovyle's fall.

    "Thanks for doing that," Sparks says to Ninetales. "Grovyle looked like he needed that."

    "It's no problem." Ninetales replies.

    "Hey, I would've done the same thing if I paid more attention." Chime speaks up. He then yawns, with everyone else following. "Anyways, you heard Grovyle. We need sleep. I'll be sure to meet up back with you tomorrow early in the morning. See ya!"

    "Wait, wait." Sparks says, stopping Chime from teleporting away. "You know… you don't have to go sleep alone, wherever you sleep."

    "He's right," Ninetales adds. "I've even gathered plenty of straw to make more than enough beds for all of us."

    "Really?" Chime asks, the thoughtfulness of the offer making him smile a bit. "Well… as much as I'd appreciate the company, I really, really, do, I think it'd be better if I just went back to sleep on my own."

    "Are… are you sure, Chime?" Violet asks.

    "Believe me, I'm fine. You get used to it after a few years," Chime adds. "Besides, this place is farther from Spinda's Cafe than where my shelter is, so I'm better off there since it'll be easier for me to teleport and get myself some Chesto Berry juice since I'll be waking up early in the morning. See ya for real!"

    Chime proceeds to teleport away before Sparks, Violet, or Ninetales could intervene.

    "Looks like he's gone again… and just shortly after meeting back up with him." Sparks comments.

    "I don't think it can't be helped… It's really late, and we all need sleep," Ninetales says. "Though I can't help but wonder where that Chingling sleeps… it's just another mystery that I'll have to keep wondering about… And I thought the mystery of Chime's parents was enough, because I still have no idea who they could possibly be," Ninetales then yawns once more. She uses Extrasensory to prepare straw beds for Sparks and Violet. She then lays down on the bed where Sammy curled up. "As for you, Sparks and Violet, you'll have to get some sleep as well. You did just come back from a dangerous place, leaving me worried, so you deserve the rest Goodnight, you two."

    "Thanks… thanks Mom," Violet replies, yawning mid-sentence. "Goodnight."

    As Sparks puts his bow and Treasure Bag aside at one side of the large cave room, Violet adjusts her bed so that it's closer to Sparks', and the two find themselves sweetly cuddling again.

    "It's… it's so good to be back home…" Violet whispers, snuggling her head against Sparks.

    "It sure is… I'm glad we finally made it out of the future…" Sparks says back, wrapping a paw around Violet and pulling her closer. He gives her a comforting kiss on the cheek. "We even made it out together, which I always find to be the best part… Goodnight, Violet."

    Violet kisses Sparks back on his cheek. "Goodnight, Sparks."

    With the comforting feeling of being back in their time period reassuring them, Sparks and Violet slowly start to drift off into a peaceful sleep, the night bringing them the lullaby of its gentle breeze and the mild waves of the outstretched beach water below the height of the cliff. Nature's sounds help Sparks and Violet continue dozing off…

    ...until the sound of a snoring Sandslash echoes around the room.

    Sparks and Violet immediately realize the the source of the snoring is from Sammy.

    "Does… does she always snore like that?" Violet asks aloud.

    "Yes," Ninetales replies from her side of the room, to Vioparks' surprise. "Don't worry. You get used to it after a few days. You two can continue sleeping now."

    This time trying to ignore Sammy's soft but echoing snores, Sparks and Violet find themselves in the comfort of each other's embrace and try to fall asleep, this time finally succeeding.
    Chapter 30 - Sky Watching

    Early morning, Sharpedo Bluff, Author's POV

    As the sun's slow surface starts to rise through the dark sky, its faint rays start to enter the little cave room of Sharpedo Bluff, where Sparks, Violet, Grovyle, Celebi, Ninetales, and Sammy still remain asleep. Having already finished an early morning Chesto Berry juice, Chime teleports into the room and gets ready to shout.

    "Ahem… okay, this better work…" Chime says to himself, clearing his voice. His eyes then expand as his voice deepens. "UP AND AT 'EM! IT'S MORNING!"

    While violent shout echoes through the room, the six remain asleep and unstirred.

    "Arceus… looks like my voice doesn't have the same oomph that Loudred has," Chime says to himself, his eyes reverting to normal. "It doesn't look like they're going to wake up for the next few hours. Okay… I don't want to have woken up so early for a late meeting, so looks like I don't have a choice. Time to do what I do what I do best."

    'I just hope that this doesn't summon a Monster House in the nearest mystery dungeon…' He thinks.

    Chime readies his voice once more, enlarging his eyes and deepening his voice, then proceeds to let out an earsplitting scream of unfathomable frequency.

    The violence in volume causes everyone else in the room to wake up with a jump.

    "What… what in the name of Arceus was that?" Grovyle groans, teetering.

    "Is… is this ear ringing what it feels like to be in the past?" Celebi says tiredly.

    "Now that… that was ten times worse than anything Loudred did…" Sparks says, struggling to regain posture.

    "That's better. I thought we agreed to meet up here early in the morning," Chime says. "I even got my early morning Chesto Berry drink and everything. It's quite amazing how some of Spinda's new employees are almost nocturnal in behaviour."

    "You know what, Chime… All of us are a bit tired for a meeting this early," Sparks points out, slightly snapped out of his drowsiness. "How about you get all of us some Chesto Berry juice first? Just to snap us all awake."

    "Well, I was just there, but I'll do whatever brings forth this meeting!" Chime proclaims. "I want to get involved in these exciting explorations involving Time Gears!

    One teleportation for Chesto drinks later, Sparks' POV

    "Mmm… this Chesto Berry drink is good…" I hear Sammy say, finishing her glass.

    "Just… just try not to have too much of it." Ninetales says, levitating Sammy's empty glass aside.

    "Okay, is everyone awake now?" I ask aloud.

    "I've been waiting for you all to snap awake, of course I'd be awake myself." Chime replies.

    "I think I'm fully awake now." Violet speaks up.

    "I… I could do with a little more sleep, but I'll try to stay awake." Celebi says, yawning as he hovers next to Grovyle.

    "I'm ready for today." Grovyle says.

    "Alright, now that we're all ready, what's today's plan, Grovyle?" I ask, now wearing my bow and Treasure Bag.

    "Um… let's see… all the Time Gears are back in their places, so if we want to get all of them as soon as possible we'll need to split up," Grovyle says. "But since we have to all split up, we'll need items… That's where our first problem comes in."

    "No items? No problem!" Chime says. He then teleports away only to come back with a box of some sort. "Ta-da! Everything you need is right here!"

    I walk over to the box and open the lid to see it filled to the brim with Seeds, Berries, Apples, and other items.

    "Heal Seeds, Stun Seeds, X-Eye Seeds, Violent Seeds… even a ton of Apples and Orbs… and are those maps?" I ask, amazed. "How did you get all these?"

    "I really did mean it when I said that I knew you'd come back from the future, so I prepared in case you lost all of your supplies in the future," Chime answers. "And looks like I prepared right! I spent the time while you were gone helping out with errands at the guild, and I used the Poke as well as the supplies I earned to get all these items for you! I even bought spare Wonder Maps just in case!"

    "Wow… I have to admit that's really thoughtful of you, Chime." I say in awe, taking batches of Stun Seeds, Apples, Reviver Seeds, and other items from the box and into my Treasure Bag.

    "Yay! I got a compliment from Mr. Leader!" Chime proclaims proudly.

    "That fixes that problem. You have my thanks as well, Chingling," Grovyle says, talking several items from the box and putting them into his backpack. He takes a Wonder Map and looks through it. "Let's see… I remember finding a Time Gear in Treeshroud Forest… there's also Northern Desert, Crystal Cave, and Fogbound Lake. There are also other places I remember having Time Gears too."

    "Right, so how are we going to split everyone up?" I ask.

    "I call dibs on Northern Desert!" Sammy chimes in, raising a claw.

    "I'll be having to accompany her on that one, then," Ninetales speaks up. "I'm the only one here who can keep her in check. Sammy here's a bit childish and tends to wander off at times, so I'll have to watch over her."

    "Alright, so with Ninetales and Sammy heading out to Northern Desert, that means they'll be able to speak with Mesprit, right?" Sparks asks.

    "That's right. That makes it a lot easier," Grovyle replies. "Ninetales, Sammy, when you get to Northern Desert and eventually to Quicksand Cave, you'll notice that the place is still grey and frozen in time, so you'll have to explain to Mesprit the entire situation about Temporal Tower. She's a stubborn one, so you'll have to be careful with your explanation."

    "Ugh, I hate having to deal with stubborn Pokémon…" I hear Ninetales complain under her breath.

    "Once you successfully manage to inform Mesprit and convince her to give you the Time Gear, that'll mean she'll also inform Uxie and Azelf about our Time Gear situation using telekinesis. I've noticed that you also possess competent psychics yourself, Ninetales, so you can help Mesprit hone her psychics to the point where she can perform fluent telekinesis. Once Mesprit's done explaining, Celebi and I would've already reached Uxie and we'll be in the all clear."

    "So does that mean I get to be with Grovyle? Yay!" Celebi perks up, snapping awake at the mention of her name.

    "Sparks, Violet, you two can go head to Treeshroud Forest, the first place I got a Time Gear from." Grovyle continues, almost ignoring Celebi.

    "Wait, how come they get to go to Treeshroud Forest? I know Treeshroud Forest like the back of my ropes! I should be the one to go there!" Chime lets out an outburst.

    "No. Treeshroud Forest is the closest mystery dungeon and easiest one to traverse, and since Sparks and Violet have gone through a lot in the future, I say that they go the easiest route," Grovyle responds in a scolding tone.

    "Well… whatever you say then." I say, not wanting to contradict Grovyle.

    "Where am I supposed to go then?!" Chime retorts.

    "I think that you'd be better off heading back to the guild," I answer. "If you didn't attend it today without a good alibi, they're going to get suspicious, and I don't think we're ready to tell them all the full story just yet. So it looks like you're going to have to stick to your errands and your Bulletin Board requests for today."

    "Fine…" Chime mopes. "I just really hoped to go to Treeshroud Forest again… Well, since it doesn't seem like I won't be able to provide further contribution to this Time Gear mission of yours, I'll be heading to the guild now. I'll… see you again when you're done." Chime immediately teleports away after that last sentence.

    "Right, so with that done, that should be most of our plan settled with…" Grovyle continues, but then appears as if he's forgotten something. "Wait… I almost forgot to mention Crystal Cave's Time Gear… uh… Celebi? Is it okay with you if we travel to two mystery dungeons today?"

    "Does that mean I get to spend more time with you?" Celebi responds by giving Grovyle another neck hug. "Of course I'm okay with that!"

    I can't help but snicker at Grovyle's hesitant reaction to Celebi's gesture, and I notice that Violet and Ninetales feel the same way.

    "Wait… I was asleep during that story from last night, so i don't exactly get who those two are…" Sammy speaks up, pointing a claw towards Grovyle and Celebi. "Are those two… also in a relationship or something?"

    "Well, from what Sparks and Violet said… yes." Ninetales answers Sammy.

    I notice an amused expression come across Celebi's face while Grovyle seems looks at me with a shocked and disapproving gaze.

    "Please excuse Sparks here, I'm sure he was just exaggerating. Celebi and I just friends." Grovyle says to Ninetales and Sammy, making Celebi giggle. He then walks over to me.

    "Can you not?" Grovyle whispers scornfully to me. "Arceus, even as a Shinx you still like to do that…"

    "I can't help it if the both of you are so easy to tease," I say in a humorous tone, shrugging. "Even Violet thinks so too. Then again, it's your fault since you fell asleep, leaving us to do the explanation for you."

    Grovyle sighs. "Okay, so that's everything settled. To recap, Ninetales and Sammy are going to talk to Mesprit at Northern Desert, Sparks and Violet are going to Treeshroud Forest, and Celebi and I are going to deal with the rest." He continues.

    We all nod, and we head out the cave to the edge of Sharpedo Bluff right as Celebi points something out.

    "Whoa… what's that? That's… that's the sun, right?" She speaks up, pointing past the edge of the cliff.

    The rest of us look where Celebi's pointing to see the sky brighten up to a vibrant blue colour, almost bearing the same blue my bow is, while the sun starts to rise through it. I find myself amazed by the sight, having not seen such a spectacle in a long time due to being trapped in the future. I look over to see that Violet is just as engrossed as I am with the view.

    "That is the sun… Wow, I haven't seen a beautiful sunrise like this in a long time…" Grovyle answers Celebi, gazing at the sunrise as well. "Being kept away from this sight makes you really appreciate the marvels of the past…"

    "I can definitely agree to that." I reply, walking closer to the cliff's edge to get a better look at the view.

    "I… I've never seen a sunrise before…" Celebi says in awe, leaning against Grovyle's shoulder. "It's so much more beautiful than I've imagined it to be…"

    "You can definitely say that again… Reasons like this are why… why I want to help restore the beauty of the past… no matter… no matter the cost…" Grovyle adds, seemingly not minding Celebi being close to him.

    As I continue taking in the view, I notice Violet walk up to sit beside me, watching the view as well. The breathtaking view of the sun rising up, its presence continuing to illuminate the sky in a captivating manner. I feel Violet lean her head on mine as we continue gazing, instantly reminding me of that time at Fogbound Lake.

    "Views like this are why I missed the past…" Violet says. "I've always learned to appreciate things we'd normally take for granted… because we never know when the next time we'd see them would be our last. Like getting to watch a sunrise, getting to experience sleep… and getting to be with you, Sparks."

    I break my gaze away from the sunrise to look back at Violet, once again taking in the sight of Violet's beautiful brown eyes. We both blush as we smile at each other.

    "Same here, Violet. Same here…" I reply, giving her a kiss on the cheek.

    The two of us then continue gazing as the sun continues brightening the sky to a refreshing blue.

    "Sparks! Violet! Are we going to head out or what?" I hear Grovyle call out from behind, but I quickly drown out his voice, not wanting to ruin the moment.

    Just give us a seco-

    My thoughts suddenly get interrupted when my view of the sky gets blocked off by a pair of claws waving in front of my face.

    "Hellooooo! Coming or what?!" A voice much closer to my ear startles Violet and I with a jump.

    I turn around to see Grovyle, Celebi, and Ninetales waiting for us, with Sammy being the one who shouted in my ear.

    "Uh… right, right, let's go now." I say hastily.

    If only Violet and I could just have our moment without being interrupted…

    "Right, let's… let's go." Violet says.

    "Just one problem," Grovyle responds. "Thanks to the map, I've learned that to get to the mystery dungeons we all need to go to, we'll need to go through Treasure Town… how did we even to Sharpedo Bluff in the first place?"

    "Chime teleported us here…" I reply, the realization coming to me. "But now our only form of hidden passage through Treasure Town isn't here…"

    "Hi."

    The sudden voice right behind me makes me jump again, and I turn around to see that it's Chime.

    "Uh… hi. We were just talking about you." I greet.

    "I can tell," Chime replies nonchalantly. "The thought of you needing to get through Treasure Town unnoticed came across my mind too. Lucky thing I'm so thoughtful, huh? But I'll just cut to the teleportation, I'm sure you guys don't want to waste time after all. See ya!"

    And in the blink of an eye, a flash of light surrounds all of us as we are teleported.

    A few hours later, Crossroads, Violet's POV

    Our exploration to Treeshroud Forest wasn't too… eventful. The entire place was just as greyed out as the future, so it wasn't anything too eye-catching… plus, with the place having no Pokémon inhabiting it, it was nothing exciting either… It was just bland hours of haunting silence. Sparks and I couldn't even come up with enough conversation to distract us from our surroundings.

    But at least we managed to get through and back Treeshroud Forest quickly. By the time Sparks and I made it back to the crossroads, it was still very early in the day, barely past afternoon.

    "So… you still have the Time Gear from Treeshroud Forest with you, right?" I speak up, breaking the silence.

    "I still have it." Sparks replies, lifting the flap on his Treasure Bag to give me a look at the Time Gear inside. Even if the place it came from is a deathly grey now, the Time Gear itself still has its lively blue glow.

    "Wow… just being in the presence of such an important artifact is amazing…" I say in awe.

    "Now all we need are the rest of the Time Gears from everyone else so we can finally save the past," Sparks says, lowering the flap. "Though… since we were sent to the fastest mystery dungeon to traverse, we'll just have to wait for everyone else to come back… Looks like we have the rest of the day to ourselves."

    Sparks smiles at me after saying that last part, and I can't help but smile back at the thought.

    "Wait, so what do we do now?" I ask, realizing our situation. "We still don't know if it's safe enough to head back to the guild yet, and we can't risk getting ourselves exposed in Treasure Town on the way to Sharpedo Bluff…"

    "Well, there is one other place where we can wait safely… and it's a place we can wait alone, too." Sparks replies, still casting that heartwarming smile at me.

    Before I could ask, Sparks grabs me by the paw and takes me through the southern path of the crossroads, and I instantly recognize this path to be the same path to the beach. As we do make it to the empty beach area, Sparks takes out an Apple from his bag and hands it to me.

    "Thanks," I say in reply, biting into the Apple. "I was starting to feel hungry…"

    "I was starting to think so," Sparks replies, biting into an Apple of his own. "We were just sent to a mystery dungeon immediately after waking up, after all."

    In silence, we finish our Apples and find ourselves staring ahead at the brightness of the blue sky. Sparks pulls me close to him comfortingly as I lay my head against his, putting us in a familiar situation once more.

    "Enjoying the view?" Sparks asks, breaking the silence.

    "I am." I reply, taking in the view of the bright blue sky

    "Well, good… it seems like we'll be here a while since everyone else is still out getting their Time Gears… and it doesn't seem like Chime's anywhere to teleport us to Sharpedo Bluff, so we might as well enjoy the view. You… you uh… you sure you don't want another Apple or anything?"

    "No, no, I'm fine. I've had enough food."

    "Oh. Well, I just realized something," Sparks suddenly looks me in the eyes while pulling me closer to him. "Here we are, just the two of us… alone… in the moment… now would be a perfect time to… you know…"

    I smile back while blushing deeply at the thought, catching onto the suggestion that we should finally kiss.

    However, before I could nod in reply, I notice something poking out of the bushes in the corner of my eye.

    Chime holding a Rawst Berry in his ropes, looking as if he's ready to shoot it in a slingshot-like fashion, snickering.

    "Pew!" I hear Chime mimic the whizzing sound of his Rawst Berry flying through the air.

    Then, before I could warn Sparks, the Rawst Berry weakly bounces off of his head, interrupting our moment and making Sparks turn to face where the berry came from.

    "Hey! What was that for?!" Sparks yells out.

    "I managed to convince Chatot to give me a nap break from the guild, so I came here, and here you were. I heard you needed someone to teleport you back to Sharpedo Bluff, correct?" Chime responds guiltlessly, levitating over to us. "I also heard you got Apples. I'm hungry for Apples."

    "But don't you have Rawst Berries of your own to eat?" Sparks asks.

    "Oh, I do. I've collected plenty of spares," Chime replies. "Sure, they're delicious, but berries can only keep my hunger satisfied for so long. Oh… wait…" Chime's carefree expression then suddenly fades to a slightly guilty frown. "I… I didn't interrupt anything important, did I?"

    "No, no… it's alright. You don't have to feel guilty." Sparks replies, sounding sorry for Chime's guilt.

    Maybe… maybe next time then… I think, also feeling sorry, for both Sparks and Chime.

    "I'll just… proceed to what I was supposed to do," Chime replies, slightly perking up. "Sharpedo Bluff, here we come once again!"

    Before we get teleported away, I hear Sparks sigh, presumably in disappointment.

    I feel the same way too, Sparks… maybe… maybe next time…

    Chapter 31 - (Not) Screwing Up

    A few hours later, Wigglytuff's Guild, Chime's POV

    You screwed up, Chime… you screwed up… they tried to have their moment and you just so happened to want to become involved…

    The scolding thoughts of guilt continue ringing through my head.

    Well… at least Sparks and Violet accepted my apology… But I still can't get over the fact that I ruined their moment…

    Shaking my thoughts out of my head and trying to focus on my current errand, I start to levitate over to Croagunk's little station, holding a tuft of Ninetales fur in my ropes.

    "Okay… I helped Bidoof with that Kecleon Shop errand… did part-time sentry duty with Diglett… now to hand Croagunk this Ninetales fur he asked me to get yesterday…" I mutter to myself.

    Right as I levitate to the station, Croagunk peeks up from behind his large black cauldron and immediately snatches the Ninetales fur from me, then proceeds to hide behind his cauldron again."

    "Um… you're welcome?" I say, not getting a thanks from Croagunk as usual.

    Alright… after this… oh, right, I need to help Chimecho with the dishes from lunch… I suppose being with my best friend might make me feel better about… what I did at the beach.

    I head into the guild's dining room to see Chimecho already at work gathering some of the plates on the table using telekinesis. I silently join her and gather some plates myself.

    "Hey… Chimecho," I bring myself to speak up, breaking the silence. "You're a romance enthusiast, right? There's something I want to ask about…"

    "Well, Sunflora's also a romance enthusiast too, but she's more the gossip type," Chimecho replies. "Not that I know a lot, but since I'm your best friend, I guess I can talk to you about what I know. What do you want to ask about?"

    "Let's just say… I came up with this situation in my head," I start. "Two close individuals who love each other are alone, getting a view all to themselves, you know, a romantic scene like that and everything… what's a moment like that like?"

    "Oh, that? Well, I may only be an enthusiast rather than one who has partaken in romance, but I may or may not have gone through a scenario like that myself…" Chimecho replies. She giggles a bit mid sentence. "I'll tell you what I know… let's see… Well, when you're in the middle of a scenario like that, you enjoy being in the company of that other individual and just want a moment like that to last forever… though while you know that it won't last forever, the least you can do is enjoy a moment like that as much as you can with this other individual. Gazing out at a view alone and all that… it's not that often that you spend a moment like that. It's quite special."

    Wow… I guess since it sounds like a very rare moment to partake in, it just makes it worse that I ruined it for Sparks and Violet…

    From now on, I guess I should learn to keep out of their business. I was always excited at the thought of them being in a relationship, and I wouldn't to ruin their relationship moments in any way.

    "You know, Chime, that's an oddly specific scenario you told me to describe… where did you come up with that?" Chimecho asks me, snapping me out of my thoughts.

    "I'm Chime. I'm curious and everywhere. What'd you expect?" I answer, shrugging. "And how about you? How'd you come up with such a detailed response if you're not even in a relationship?"

    "I'm a romance enthusiast. I know things." Chimecho replies, shrugging as well.

    See, it's relatable company like this that I can't help but be happy around. I can't help but smile as well.

    Now I better finish up the rest these errands quickly. I'll need to be there when Sparks, Violet, and everyone else have already gathered their Time Gears and are discussing their next plan of action.

    That evening, Sharpedo Bluff, Author's POV

    Sparks and Violet remain alone in Sharpedo Bluff's little cave room, napping on their closely placed straw beds as they wait for everyone else to come back.

    After Chime's timely interruption at the beach, the two found themselves in awkward silence from their ruined moment. Even alone with each other, the two couldn't bring themselves to reenact what should've happened at the beach. They both felt that they still should still wait longer until the right moment to kiss. Call it a 'let's wait a bit before trying again' type of thing.

    The two wake up from their cuddle naps, captivated by the first thing they see are each other's eyes.

    "Hey. Enjoy your nap?" Sparks greets sweetly.

    "Of course I did… When I'm with you, when haven't I?" Violet responds, nuzzling into Sparks fur.

    "I'm glad you did then… I hope this makes up for what happened at the beach…"

    "It's okay… I think I'm better now…"

    Still remaining in the comforting embrace of each other, the two continue looking into each other's eyes, their silence growing romantic.

    "Wait, how did we even wake up at the exact same time?" Sparks suddenly asks.

    "No idea." Violet answers with a shrug.

    "So you two are finally awake."

    Violet and I get up at the sound of Grovyle's voice to see him, Celebi, Ninetales, and Sammy there.

    "Oh… I didn't know you were here already," Violet says to them. "H-How long were you waiting for us to wake up?"

    "We just arrived," Ninetales answers. "Celebi and I used our telekinesis to get everyone here so we didn't have to wait for Chime. Everyone's here except him."

    "Did all your Time Gear missions go well?" Sparks asks.

    "For my side, they did," Grovyle replies, granting all of us a quick peek at the two Time Gears in his backpack before closing it. "Even if things got a bit… awkward at several points." He adds.

    "Awkward? Care to talk about it?" Sparks continues.

    "No." Grovyle immediately answers.

    "Uh… okay then… how about you, Celebi? Wanna talk about what happened on your explorations with Grovyle?" Sparks questions.

    "Well, I would, but I don't want to upset Grovyle…" Celebi replies, sounding slightly hesitant.

    Okay then… weird. I wonder what happened there that made Grovyle want to keep it to himself? Something involving Celebi, no doubt…

    A few hours ago, Crystal Lake, Author's POV

    In the center what used to be the magnificent view of Crystal Lake's former majesty, Azelf waits amongst the deathly silence caused by the Time Gear's taking, levitating over the lake in circles. Even if the Time Gear was put back into its designated position over the lake, the entire mystery dungeon remained frozen in time for reasons not even Azelf could find out in his idle thinking.

    "I still have yet to find out why this place is still frozen in time…" Azelf muttered to himself in slight frustration, still levitating in circles. "I also have yet to deduct why Magnezone would excuse me to come back here even if it's still frozen…"

    Azelf's attention then gets caught when he notices two figures entering the room to his anticipation.

    The two figures then revealed themselves to be Grovyle and Celebi, who have already gotten Uxie's Time Gear at Fogbound Lake and have arrived to take Azelf's.

    "Oh, Grovyle and Celebi, right?" Azelf asked. "Uxie and Mesprit both told me about the entire situation. They both told me about a Grovyle and Celebi couple I should be waiting for to give my Time Gear to."

    Azelf's mention of the word 'couple' caught both Grovyle and Celebi off guard, with the former slapping his hand to his reddened face in disbelief while the latter merely let out a sheepish chuckle and a slight blush.

    'For the love of Arceus… why does everyone keep thinking that?!' Grovyle thought. 'This is why I don't like Celebi to neck-hug me when other Pokémon can see us… Though I am afraid to hurt her feelings by turning the hugs down, but still!'

    Present time, Sharpedo Bluff, Violet's POV

    "Well… if you managed to take get both Uxie and Azlef's Time Gears, then the exploration to Northern Desert must've been successful, right?" I say after Sparks' questioning of Grovyle's exploration. I turn to face Mom and Sammy. "Did everything go well on your side?"

    "Yep! I did great on my part! It was easy!" Sammy answers eagerly.

    "Er… While I can say it was a success, it wasn't exactly the most… expertly performed… We did end up getting the Time Gear at least," Mom adds, briefly showing the Time Gear tucked in her chest fur before handing it to Grovyle. "Sammy just got a bit… carried away when we got to Mesprit."

    "Carried away?" Sparks asks.

    A few hours ago, Quicksand Cave, Author's POV

    As Ninetales and Sammy entered the room to Mesprit and her Time Gear, the Psychic type immediately reacted by getting into battle stance.

    "Here to take my Time Gear?" Mesprit retorted, jumping to conclusions as usual. "Well, even if my desert home is completely frozen in time, I won't let you have this Time Ge-"

    "Hiyaaaaaa!"

    Mesprit's opening talk gets interrupted when Sammy decks her across the face by swinging the flat side of her claws at Mesprit, launching the Psychic type into a nearby sandy wall.

    "And done! Mission accomplished!" Sammy boasts. "That was easy!"

    Ninetales reacts by simply chuckling a bit at the Sandslash's hastiness.

    'I don't remember being told to attack Mesprit… but at least that'll make it less of a hassle explaining the situation to her.'

    Present time, Sharpedo Bluff, Violet's POV

    "... but of course, I apologized for Sammy's sudden attack and then proceeded to tell Mesprit the full story," Mom explains. "Still, Mesprit gave us the Time Gear in the end, meaning our mission was a success."

    "Sounds like all of your explorations were quite eventful," Sparks comments. "Meanwhile our exploration on the other paw wasn't nearly as exciting. While we did get Treeshroud Forest's Time Gear, the entire trek there was just plain uneventful. The rest of the day off was appreciated, though… even if…" Sparks trails off during his last sentence, but I know exactly what he means.

    "Even if…?" Grovyle asks.

    Sparks quickly glances an unsure look at me, presumably unsure of how to reply. I simply shake my head in response.

    Let's just keep this to ourselves for now…

    "It's nothing. Never mind," Sparks answers Grovyle. "Here's Treeshroud Forest's Time Gear, by the way." He continues, taking the Time Gear out of the Treasure Bag and handing it to Grovyle.

    "Okay… good. That's everything settled for today's missions," Grovyle says to all of us. "We got the Time Gears we need for Temporal Tower, so we should be set. Violet, do you still have that stone thing with you?"

    Stone thing?

    I recognize the 'stone thing' Grovyle mentioned to be my Relic Fragment, and I look down my scarf to see that it's still there, safely attached to the string around my neck.

    "I still have it." I reply.

    "Good. I heard we'll need it to get to Temporal Tower." Grovyle says.

    "But we still don't know how to get to Temporal Tower," Celebi speaks up. "Sure, Grovyle and I managed to head there in the future, but the layout of the area is drastically different here than it is in the future."

    "How about you, Mom?" I ask, coming up with an idea. "You know lots of legends, right? You even told me about Dialga in one of the bedtime story legends you told me years ago."

    "Well, it's true that I know about a lot of legends, but I don't know anything about a place called Temporal Tower… sorry." Ninetales replies.

    Oh… I think, my idea getting shot down.

    Then, a sudden flash of light appears in the room, revealing itself to be Chime, but everyone in the room isn't' surprised at this point.

    "Sorry I'm late. I voluntarily spent extra time helping Chimecho with the dishes," Chime says upon his entry. "What did I miss?"

    "All our Time Gear explorations were a success. We have everything we need to get to Temporal Tower and restore the past once and for all," Grovyle explains. "Problem is, none of us know how to get to Temporal Tower."

    "Oh. Sorry, but I don't know anything about a place called Temporal Tower either… nor do I know anyone who might know of a place…" Chime says afterwards. "Is… that everything you discussed?"

    "Yep. We'll probably just try to do some searching around tomorrow," Grovyle replies. "Though… we don't have any leads as to where to search first, but it's the best we can make do with."

    "Oh… shoot. Well, is that really it?"

    "That's everything." Sparks answers.

    "So… I don't have any reason to stay here anymore for the day?" Chime asks.

    "I guess… You can go sleep now wherever you go do that…" Sparks answers again.

    "Okay then… sorry that I couldn't be of that much help today…" Chime says, too all of us, but I can tell from his slightly unconfident tone of voice that he was speaking to Sparks and I. "I hope I can somehow make it up tomorrow. Ahem…" He clears his throat, his voice slightly perking up. "So… see ya!"

    As usual, Chime teleports away afterwards.

    "Okay. So like I said, we'll be searching for a way to get to Temporal Tower tomorrow…" Grovyle announces. "Might as well get as much sleep as we can since we don't have anything else to do. Good night everybody."

    "Good night." We all say.

    Somewhere around Treasure Town's outskirts, ?'s POV

    My chase still goes on. Days after days, nights after nights, all without a second to rest. At least, not without a premonition that I'm allowed to rest.

    I cannot allow my target to get away. His escape would give him more time to put his plan into motion, and I'll do whatever I can to divert him from any free time he could have.

    As I continue levitating after the dark figure that is my target, I get a glance at the grey trees around me.

    Time is slowly starting to freeze around the entirety of Treasure Town… though right now that isn't too much of my concern… at least, not now. My visions from nights before have told me that it'll all be fixed on its own without my involvement. Sparks and Violet should be able to fix this without having me to lift a wing.

    All I'll have to do is keep this chase of mine constant to delay my target as much as I can.

    All I have to do is continue this chase without having to stop and send out a vision again-

    I feel a sudden ray of moonlight shine down on me, and a sudden thought comes to my mind, almost like a command.

    Looks like I'll have to briefly stop to send the details about Temporal Tower, and to multiple Sightseers at that… I haven't done this ever since I told those five Sightseers to help Sparks and Violet in the future, so I hope I'm still not rusty. Here goes nothing.

    I briefly stop my chase to stare up through the open space of the grey trees at the moon above, taking in the rays of its moonlight. I concentrate.

    I better make this quick. I can't let my target get away, after all.

    A few minutes later, Chime's Little Bush Shelter, Chime's POV

    I find myself levitating around the small space of my shelter in a pace-like fashion, my thoughts from before still bugging me and preventing me from sleeping.

    As if what you did on the beach wasn't bad enough… you just had to be late for the plan discussion that happened afterwards, didn't you, Chime… Even if nothing much was even talked about during the discussion, tardiness still isn't an excuse…

    I sigh, feeling disappointed in myself.

    It's the first day Sparks and Violet went out on an exploration here after escaping from the future, and even if you didn't get to go exploring with them, you still messed up even if it was easy not to!

    Well… I don't really have anyone to blame… This is all on me.

    I sigh, this time in defeat, and find myself staring up at the sky through my shelter's opening, feeling the urge to yell "WHY ARCEUS WHY" at the sky. But instead, I feel this odd yet familiar energy being emitted from the moonlight shining down on me.

    Wait a second… isn't this-

    I suddenly fade away from consci