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Pokémon The Retelling of Pokemon Colosseum

#1
Rated - PG. Warning - There is a high possibility of a random person possessing a large flamboyant afro.

I've started this story on a whim after playing Pokemon Colosseum and thinking that some things didn't make sense. For example, why did Wes destroy the Team Snagem hideout in the first place? Why did Rui just ‘accept’ the fact that Wes was part of Team Snagem in the first place as if it was a minor detail? How come do the NPC’s whom you snag shadow Pokemon off not give a second thought about the loss of their Pokemon? What’s up with Miror B’s hair anyway? And so forth.

So in short, this fic is a lightly-written parody I've done in my spare time which also gives some explanations for those (albeit some are just jokes in themselves).

If you want to know how the story goes in the first place, the setting, etc, you could either play the game Pokemon Colosseum (more details in this should make more sense at any rate and a few jokes may be noticed as well, but it isn't necessary to have played it to read this, I feel) or at least read a brief walkthrough of the game. I have included a brief explanation for what characters and events are included in the chapter and game alike in each chapter in a spoiler after each chapter, so those who haven't played the game, or can't rememeber, can freshen up their memories. =)

This fic is also finished btw bar possible edits of earlier parts; it's 25 chapters long plus a few extra bits and pieces. Like this prologue!




***
The Retelling of Pokémon Colosseum
Prologue - Rebellion



Somewhere in the middle of the vast expanse of the Orre desert, a wild Skarmory was flying back to his nest, battling against the harsh, howling wind which carried with it clumps of sand, tumbleweed and small children. The bright grains of sand which gave the air a yellow hue pelted the Skarmory's hard body but he ignored it, being used to such conditions. Once again, he had been hunting for his breakfast, and once again, he had been unsuccessful in his never-ending quest for food.

It was not because this silvery, metal-plated bird was no good at looking for food. On the contrary, it was an achievement that he had survived for so long in the barren region. However, the population of wild Pokémon had recently decreased even further below the modest number it had been, and all due to one newcomer.

Team Snagem.

In Skarmory’s humble opinion, all the trouble started when that good-for-nothing, stupid man with funny, pointy hair coming out from around his nose and eyes showed up near his nest and started constructing that big, grey building. And then he brought in Pokémon and…

No, that didn’t bear thinking about. The wild Skarmory tried to focus his mind on other things. Like how to impress that female Skarmory near his territory…

Suddenly the bird spotted something. A small and almost insignificant bright-orange object was wandering around below, sticking out against the pale-yellow sand. Skarmory grinned, his eyes suddenly gaining a glint of triumph. Circling once, he suddenly dropped like a stone towards the object, his steel body making it all too easy for him to accelerate towards earth and his target.

“Skarr!” (You’re mine!)

With a quick couple of jabs with his razor-sharp beak, he made quick work of the baby Trapinch which had strayed too far from its nest. The Skarmory then scooped up the squealing Pokémon in his mouth, and with another cry of ‘Skarr!’, he flew off with renewed energy towards his nest, pausing every so often to retrieve the Trapinch he kept dropping clumsily.

***

Meanwhile, two people stood inside a plain building hidden inside the mountains and rocks that made up the tall and narrow passageway called Eclo Canyon. They were well protected from the persistent wind that threw itself at the windows. They ignored the sounds it made though, choosing instead to focus on the other.

One towered over the other in stature, with the facial expressions one might expect to see on a rampaging Tauros rather than a person. This alone prompted many of the members of Team Snagem to address the man with ‘Sir Honourable and Super-Smart Leader-Guy Gonzap please don’t hurt me’ – it was hard to disagree with a man built like a weightlifter and with a personality like Gonzap’s. More noticeable though than the muscles the man sported was the lack of hair he possessed on the top of his head, which seemed to have migrated down for unknown reasons. A large pair of eyebrows and moustache jutted out from his face for quite a rather remarkable distance. Nobody made jokes about that though. Leastways, nobody would have dared when Gonzap was around – the members of Team Snagem considered it fair game when he was elsewhere, and so did the teenager who was currently talking to Gonzap.

"So that's all you could muster? Two Voltorb? First Jacob comes back and brings a Dunsparce of all things – who honestly trains or wants one of those things? - and now this!" Gonzap bellowed at the adolescent. The youth grimaced slightly as he scratched his silver-tinged hair, and then brushed off some sand his blue trench-coat had gained before he came inside the building to report back to Gonzap. An annoyed glare aimed directly at Gonzap was hidden behind a pair of blue glasses.

"Sorry, but that's all I could find in the house. The trainer must have left a while ago, and those were the only Pokémon there," replied the teenager. "I can't snag something the trainer has when he and his Pokémon simply isn't there, you know. Something for free has got to be better than nothing." He then proceeded to wipe sand from his face now, away from long, white streaks of white sunscreen were clearly visible below his sunglasses. The teenager was of the opinion that it made him look cool.

“But I specifically told you to snag that Charmander! Or didn’t you know the difference between those two?” sneered Gonzap, ignoring any logic offered up by the teenager. The teenager’s Umbreon - a black fox-like creature - started to growl at Gonzap.

"Umb, Umbreon!" (Shut up, Mr Moustache Eyebrow man!)

“Quiet, Umbreon,” the teenager said softly. Meanwhile Gonzap looked thoughtfully at the Dark-type Pokémon, twirling his moustache between his fingers.

“Hmm... on second thoughts, they can be the new Shadow Pokémon.”

“Huh - what?” the other replied, unsure by what Gonzap meant.

“Espeon and Umbreon. They certainly would do better than a couple of Voltorb that probably don’t even know Spark.”

“But, but…” the teenager stuttered, frowning at Gonzap. The Umbreon stared at Gonzap as well, wondering if biting his leg or his eyebrows would prove more effective in defending himself if he needed to.

“I expect to see you hand them in to my desk in ten minutes when I finish my lunch - plenty of time to say farewell,” Gonzap said with a smirk. “You can dispose of the Voltorb, Wes. Unless you want to keep them!” With that Gonzap laughed and departed towards his office.

How could he do this to me? thought Wes. After my years, well, months of service, after all the things I helped them with, he still insults me! True, I don’t snag that much, and I’m not much of a criminal here, but I’m honestly better than the rest of the lot, and now he simply expects me to give up my two and only Pokémon to become Shadow Pokémon? And for what? I don’t even know what they do with these Shadow Pokémon! He clearly doesn't know me well...

Wes angrily punched a wall, then winched in pain as his hand throbbed. He gazed at Umbreon, and then through the window at his other Pokémon, Espeon. He was outside sitting in one of Team Snagem's few methods of transport - a motorcycle-looking object that everyone just called a 'Zoomer'. Team Snagem got it at a bargain price as nobody understood its rather odd infrastructure - it had one wheel and the rest 'hovered' with the machine when used. But since it was cheap, and it didn't break down… well, that's all that mattered to Team Snagem.

No way I’m giving up my Pokémon. They’re the ones I’ve had from the beginning, and I’m sticking with them. Even if Espeon’s tongue is sharper than a knife, and Umbreon’s... well, ditzy at times. I guess I can just leave...

Then Wes looked at the Voltorb, the Pokémon often mistaken for Poké Balls, only these were more common than that rare item - for the region of Orre, anyway. It said something about the land when many people relied on the Pokémon for electricity to power their homes, despite the risk of the Voltorb exploding. They looked back with frightened eyes.

Wes smiled. He had an idea.

***

Meanwhile, the Skarmory landed in his nest after a long struggle with the surprisingly heavy Trapinch. This one was plumper than the others he had managed to find over the last few months, its stubby legs waving frantically about as it tried to run away out of the Skarmory's grip. Skarmory unceremoniously dropped it with a small thud into his nest; it wasn't much more than a rough bundle of sticks put together, hidden by a small, spiky bush perched on top of a steep cliff. The Skarmory didn't mind though - the sharp thorns in the bush did nothing to his steel hide. And it kept out the majority of intruders. Settling down to eat, he glanced around to make sure that nothing else was to come to try to steal his meal, before it grinned at the young, flailing Trapinch.

KA-BOOM!

The Skarmory fell out of the nest, and had to flap hard to pull out of his descent to avoid hitting the ground or the cliff's face. Startled, he flew around his nest several times, screeching about the indignity of being so greatly disturbed before he could eat his meal.

After he recovered from his shock and returned to his nest, he glanced towards the source of the sound, and cocked his head. In the distance, a thick cloud of dark smoke flew into view, billowing upwards above the canyon, closely followed by the harsh smell of the smoke and fire.

Hmm. That's somewhat different from usual, Skarmory thought. He cawed and then flew in the general direction of the smoke cautiously to investigate, leaving the Trapinch where it was, upside-down and still flapping its legs about in a ridiculous attempt to walk upside-down away from the nest.

***

Wes waltzed back into the room he had been standing in only minutes ago, having hidden to protect himself from the blast. He looked around quickly, admiring the ‘renovation rescue’ of sorts he had given Team Snagem, such as the large gaping hole where a wall used to be. Blazing clusters of flames were materializing around the area, and spreading as they licked at the remaining pieces of the section of the building. Smoke billowed out of the building. Alarms went off.

“If you can hear this alarm, then something has gone wrong. Current analysis – the building is currently: ‘ON FIRE’. If you can hear this alarm...” one above Wes’ head blazed uselessly.

“Thanks, Voltorb,” said Wes, kneeling down and glancing at the pair of Pokémon, but they didn’t reply - they had fainted as a result of using Selfdestruct to aid Wes.

Wes quietly stood back by the large, new opening the building now sported to appreciate the damage he racked up, as a smile steadily widen upon his face. Walls were crumbling before his eyes as they failed to hold up any longer. A small section of the ceiling suddenly gave way and landed near Wes, piling up and forming a heap of rubble.

Serves them right, thought Wes. Although I better watch out that nothing falls on my head... Meanwhile, Umbreon looked inside, softly gasping with amazement at the damage.

Wes quickly grabbed a few items lying on some broken shelves near him and stuffed them into his bag; mostly healing items for Pokémon, such as a couple of Max Revives, and a packet of Full Heals. In an afterthought, Wes turned to the Voltorb and administered the Max Revives.

“You can leave now,” smiled Wes. The Voltorb didn’t wait around, hastily rolling through a door and off into the distance, glad to escape from the place.

Wes looked at his watch and glanced outside. He never planned on blowing up the hideout when he had joined up - he was just in it for the money after all - but no doubt it was as good a way to quit as any other. Firstly, though, he had something else to do.

I might as well go the full distance, but if so I better act now.

He hurriedly ran off towards another room, one which he knew was restricted from most Team Snagem members. Wes ignored the large sign upon the door stating that the penalty for anyone caught in there would be a two hour lecture on basic reading skills - such warnings didn’t seem to apply to him anymore.

Another minute of work, and he was ready for his grand exit. His heart pumping, and with a newly-acquired device in his pocket, he made his way back towards the scene of the explosion, and approached the door that led to the way out.

Then he noticed something out of the corner of his eye.

In one small, ruined area of the room, the big Snag machine, made especially to steal Pokémon from other trainers that Team Snagem used for major operations, was in ruins. It was basically used to fire Snag Balls by the dozen at the target. But the smaller Snag machine – which was made to fit on a person’s arm – was right where he had left it before talking to Gonzap, and was still, amazingly enough, intact as far as he could tell.

Why not? I might as well take it…give them something else to worry about. Wes picked up the Snag device and placed it upon his arm, clipping on the shoulder pad to his left arm and attaching the rest down his arm, the ending extending a touch beyond his wrist. The colour suited his coat, being a similar dark-blue. Red lines spiralled down the machine, masking the wires between the control pad hidden within the shoulder pad and the slot for putting Poké Balls in.

Seems to still fit more or less too... Wes pondered, as he held his arm out for Umbreon – and himself - to admire. Although it’s not much use without any Poké Balls – but is there enough time to grab some of those as well?

Just then, Gonzap showed up, granting Wes the answer to that question. For once the man looked uncertain and indecisive. When he caught sign of Wes that changed however, as he quickly put two and two together.

“WES! What is the meaning of this?!?” he shouted in fury.

Wes paused for a moment, pretending to think about his actions. Finally, he smirked. “Let’s just say that I’m leaving, and I’ve left you a farewell present.”

***

A strange and glorious scene greeted the Skarmory as he came upon the ruins. Flames were everywhere, people were pouring out of the building and the stupid man with pointy things was chasing a smaller man and an Umbreon.

Many others were in the chase, but the younger man kept himself a good distance from the rest. He jumped into a strange object with an Espeon sitting in it, which then made a large noise and shot off at an incredible speed. The pointy man still kept chasing despite his sudden disadvantage.

KA-BOOM!

“SKARRRRRR!”

The Skarmory shot up faster than he ever had; flying up and away while crying in pain and surprise as the flames from the explosion scorched his body. Meanwhile, the smaller man was happily waving a black object with a bright-red button in the centre of it at the stupid man.

The Skarmory was very confused by the events - after all, it wasn't often that a building would suddenly burst into flames once, let alone twice. But he knew that if something bad happened to Team Snagem, and it certainly was judging by the reaction of the stupid man, it must be good.

“Skarr! Skarr!” proclaimed the Skarmory to the world, despite his injuries, spreading nonsensical celebrations with his shrill calls.

Shoomp!

Suddenly, the Skarmory experienced a weird sensation - as if he was being sucked into something. He looked below, and with a sinking feeling realised what was happening to him. He struggled but the explosion had already weakened him to the point that his efforts were in vain, and so was forced to submit to the force and shrink into oblivion.

***

Gonzap grimly picked up the Great Ball and glared at it.

”You thought you’d laugh at me, would you? I’ll show you who’s laughing.... when I’m in the mood for it,” he muttered, before he stuffed it in his pocket. He glanced at the base, which was now blazing wildly as people poured out of the building. Twisted metal rained upon the ground, appearing like bright mini meteors against the smoky background of the sky. The second explosion had caused even more widespread damage than the first, and it was clear that short-term repairs would be futile.

That's the last time I'm letting just anyone attend a 'How to Use Explosives' class, Gonzap thought grimly. And it’s the last time I ever put off fixing the lock on that room to next week and letting some fool of a grunt tell everyone about it as well.

In the distance, a faint siren sounded. The police were on their way. Not that was surprising; nobody would possibly miss such a large explosion. It felt like it had the force of a minor earthquake behind it. It had thrown him off his feet when he had been pursuing the dratted boy. And the smoke given off would be a dead giveaway to where the source of the explosion was.

There's nothing else I can do, Gonzap decided quickly. The hideout is gone, but if we linger, we'll all be caught. Pocketing the Great Ball, Gonzap turned and shouted orders at his incompetent gang - many which were now running around madly in circles - and then ran for it.

Very smart, Wes.

You’ve destroyed our main Snag machine, and stole the other one. You took our Zoomer. And to boot, you used those explosives we had been planning to use as well to utterly destroy our base.

AND half my moustache has burnt off, and I don’t have any eyebrows anymore.

You’ll pay for this.

***


Hope you enjoyed that!

And the list for what the characters/events in the prologue are based on:

Show ContentSpoiler:
[Image: suisdbsf.png]
By TwilightBlade of PC. =D
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#2
Seen this around on... quite a few forums, actually, and seen it recommended by people as well, but never really sat down to read it before now... guess the review exchange spree thing is as good a reason to start as any! I'm looking forward to this. :)

Quote:However, the population of wild Pokémon had recently decreased even further below the modest number it had been, and all due to one newcomer.

Team Snagem.

In Skarmory’s humble opinion, all the trouble started when that good-for-nothing, stupid man with funny, pointy hair coming out from around his nose and eyes showed up near his nest and started constructing big, grey buildings. And then he brought in Pokémon and…

Interesting! It's been a while since I've played Colosseum, but I thought I remembered seeing something about the wild pokémon population being in decline for a good while... but then, I suppose we don't really know how long Team Snagem's been there, do we? And problems are always better when you actually have someone to blame, so... I am okay with this!

Quote:Meanwhile, two people stood inside a plain building hidden inside the mountains and rocks that made up the tall and narrow passageway called Eclo Canyon, protected from the persistent wind that threw itself at the windows.

Something I notice a few times in this story so far: some of your sentences tend to get a little run-on-ish. By the end of this one I'm not really sure what it is that's protected from the persistent wind (I pick it up again when you mention "windows", but it still meanders up until that point). It probably would've been enough to say "...plain building hidden inside Eclo Canyon", and then find another way to toss a bit of the canyon's description in later if it's still necessary. Something like that, anyway.

Quote:“So that’s all you could muster? Two Voltorb? First Jacob comes back and brings a Dunsparce of all things – who honestly trains or wants one of those things? - and now this!” he bellowed at the adolescent, who grimaced slightly as he scratched his silver-tinged hair, and then brushed off some sand his blue trench-coat had gained before he came inside the building to report back. An annoyed glare aimed directly at Gonzap was hidden behind a pair of blue glasses.

Here it's a little difficult to tell who you're describing toward the end, especially if you don't already remember what Wes and Gonzap look like; just watch out for that sort of thing.

Quote:The Umbreon by him stared at Gonzap as well, wondering if biting his leg or his eyebrows would prove more effective in defending himself if he needed to.

Go for the eyebrows, Umby! The eyebrows!

Quote:No way I’m giving up my Pokémon. They’re the ones I’ve had from the beginning, and I’m sticking with them. Even if Espeon’s tongue is sharper than a knife, and Umbreon’s... well, ditzy at times. I guess I can just leave...

Hm. Now you mention this... are the translations of Poké-speak just for our benefit, or can Wes (or people in general) actually understand them? That probably becomes clearer later in the story, but I'm curious.

Quote:screeching about the indignantly of being so greatly disturbed before he could eat his meal.

"Indignity", I think you mean.

Quote:“If you can hear this alarm, then something has gone wrong. Current analysis – the building is currently: ‘ON FIRE’. If you can hear this alarm...” one above Wes’ head blazed uselessly.

Deadpan alarms are a go, woot.

Quote:He hurriedly ran off towards another room, one which he knew was restricted from most Team Snagem members. Wes ignored the large sign upon the door stating that the penalty for anyone caught in there would be a two hour lecture on basic reading skills - such warnings didn’t seem to apply to him anymore.

That is the most beautiful penalty I've ever heard of. Restricted areas around the world should enact this penalty immediately.

Quote:Suddenly, the Skarmory experienced a weird sensation - as if he was being sucked into something. He looked below, and with a sinking feeling realised what was happening to him. Struggling but in vain, he submitted to the force and shrunk into oblivion, the flames that stained his body leaving him with little strength to resist and escape.

Ah, riiiight. Totally forgot Gonzap had a skarmory, and I was wondering what you were doing with those scenes. Very nice.

Quote:That's the last time I'm letting just anyone attend a 'How To Use Explosives' class, Gonzap thought grimly to himself.

*snrk*

Quote:AND half my moustache has burnt off, and I don’t have any eyebrows anymore.

You’ll pay for this.

*bigger snrk*


I do like where this is going, I must say! The little things (like the skarmory's capture) are especially amusing and "a-ha" worthy. Team Snagem threatening to shadowify Wes's old friends is a great explanation for his blowing up the hideout; it's also nice that it's not just the straight-up "change of heart, oh no what am I doing to all these innocent people's pokémon" thing you'd expect. I mean, I'm sure Wes isn't completely heartless, but this way makes it a bit more interesting.

Aside from the occasional run-ons or mildly unclear passages, I'm enjoying this so far! Hopefully you'll post the rest of it soonish... or, well, I guess I could go find it somewhere else where's it's already further along/complete, but since the thread may well be locked in those places, it'd be nice to have it here where I can still comment as I read!
Altered Origin
fanart, fanfics, fan rambles and assorted random crap

The Phoenixdex
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#3
(29th Sep 2012, 07:04 AM)Phoenixsong Wrote: Seen this around on... quite a few forums, actually, and seen it recommended by people as well, but never really sat down to read it before now... guess the review exchange spree thing is as good a reason to start as any! I'm looking forward to this. :)
I like the way you think. =p But yeah, this is the sort of thing I always liek to have, so thanks a lot for the review. (And when one rereads what they've already looked a bunch of times before quickly it's easy to miss one's own mistakes. Especially if that is me. =p).
Quote:Interesting! It's been a while since I've played Colosseum, but I thought I remembered seeing something about the wild pokémon population being in decline for a good while... but then, I suppose we don't really know how long Team Snagem's been there, do we? And problems are always better when you actually have someone to blame, so... I am okay with this!
I personally feel it was in fairly poor shape in the first place (what with it being a giant desert and all), but Team Snagem and etc's arrival and step up in operations only made it worse.
Quote:Something I notice a few times in this story so far: some of your sentences tend to get a little run-on-ish. By the end of this one I'm not really sure what it is that's protected from the persistent wind (I pick it up again when you mention "windows", but it still meanders up until that point). It probably would've been enough to say "...plain building hidden inside Eclo Canyon", and then find another way to toss a bit of the canyon's description in later if it's still necessary. Something like that, anyway.
Yeah, that's a habit I'm trying to slowly get out of nowadays. I'll fix that bit up soon.
Quote:
Quote:“So that’s all you could muster? Two Voltorb? First Jacob comes back and brings a Dunsparce of all things – who honestly trains or wants one of those things? - and now this!” he bellowed at the adolescent, who grimaced slightly as he scratched his silver-tinged hair, and then brushed off some sand his blue trench-coat had gained before he came inside the building to report back. An annoyed glare aimed directly at Gonzap was hidden behind a pair of blue glasses.
Here it's a little difficult to tell who you're describing toward the end, especially if you don't already remember what Wes and Gonzap look like; just watch out for that sort of thing.
I'll keep that in mind as well with keeping track of description of people/things and mentioning them as well then. (And I bet it doesn't help people who haven't played the games in the first place, huh.)
Quote:
Quote:The Umbreon by him stared at Gonzap as well, wondering if biting his leg or his eyebrows would prove more effective in defending himself if he needed to.

Go for the eyebrows, Umby! The eyebrows!
Sadly they are not very tasty and lack in nutritional value. =(
Quote:
Quote:No way I’m giving up my Pokémon. They’re the ones I’ve had from the beginning, and I’m sticking with them. Even if Espeon’s tongue is sharper than a knife, and Umbreon’s... well, ditzy at times. I guess I can just leave...
Hm. Now you mention this... are the translations of Poké-speak just for our benefit, or can Wes (or people in general) actually understand them? That probably becomes clearer later in the story, but I'm curious.
Good question! It's actually covered in the first chapter (so the next installment), but I might as well mention it here in a bit more detail. In most cases with my head canon, people won't understand what Pokemon say unless they know about them enough (particularly their own) in the general gist of what they are saying (e.g. understanding that when they make that sound they want to eat already or the such).

In this case however Espeon helps provide a translation of what he and Umbreon says to Wes when he wants/is needed (yay telepathy), so Wes can usually know what they are saying there anyways. Poke speak as such is just for the reader alone, but one can usually assume Wes gets what they say when they address him directly.

Quote:
Quote:screeching about the indignantly of being so greatly disturbed before he could eat his meal.

"Indignity", I think you mean.
Whoops, that is correct. Darn you spell check and own proofreading of my own work! *shakes fist*
Quote:
Quote:He hurriedly ran off towards another room, one which he knew was restricted from most Team Snagem members. Wes ignored the large sign upon the door stating that the penalty for anyone caught in there would be a two hour lecture on basic reading skills - such warnings didn’t seem to apply to him anymore.

That is the most beautiful penalty I've ever heard of. Restricted areas around the world should enact this penalty immediately.
And they mean the full two hours as well!
Quote:
Quote:Suddenly, the Skarmory experienced a weird sensation - as if he was being sucked into something. He looked below, and with a sinking feeling realised what was happening to him. Struggling but in vain, he submitted to the force and shrunk into oblivion, the flames that stained his body leaving him with little strength to resist and escape.

Ah, riiiight. Totally forgot Gonzap had a skarmory, and I was wondering what you were doing with those scenes. Very nice.
I always wondered why the game involved a flying Skarmory in the first place, haha. Then at the end I saw him with one and just decided they were one and the same. That Skarmory is also used to explain other stuff later in the story too, so it works nicely for me. =)
Quote:
Quote:AND half my moustache has burnt off, and I don’t have any eyebrows anymore.

You’ll pay for this.

*bigger snrk*
It's probably one of my favourite parts of the story in fact, if only because it was one of the first actual jokes I thought of when I innocently started this fic, thinking it wouldn't take too long to do. Hah.

Quote:I do like where this is going, I must say! The little things (like the skarmory's capture) are especially amusing and "a-ha" worthy. Team Snagem threatening to shadowify Wes's old friends is a great explanation for his blowing up the hideout; it's also nice that it's not just the straight-up "change of heart, oh no what am I doing to all these innocent people's pokémon" thing you'd expect. I mean, I'm sure Wes isn't completely heartless, but this way makes it a bit more interesting.
Good to here that; the main purpose of this was always to entertain after all as that's what I like to do, as well as to offer explanations for parts of the game (some silly, haha). And it did interest myself as well after all with why Wes did do that after all, as it was never explained properly. (The closest one gets is what Rui says about it, and she's not necessarily a reliable source!).

Quote:Aside from the occasional run-ons or mildly unclear passages, I'm enjoying this so far! Hopefully you'll post the rest of it soonish... or, well, I guess I could go find it somewhere else where's it's already further along/complete, but since the thread may well be locked in those places, it'd be nice to have it here where I can still comment as I read!
I will certainly post the rest of it here; part of it is to do edits and also hopefully get more feedback on it like so as well, especially older parts which are over four years old now, haha. In fact I might post the first chapter here tonight if I do enough to satisfy myself with this assignment atm, and do other writing stuff as well. Planning to stick to a chapter posted here every week or two at worst too (roughly the same as what I am doing with the LP as well on that note, as that also has a lot of pre-written stuff too thanks to silly imageshack.) And it's also a good reason for me to then follow up and set up that e-reader version of the story in Jax's thread as well if I can get it to work with something shorter first.

Thanks again for the review! I hope you'll enjoy the rest when I get to posting it. =)
[Image: suisdbsf.png]
By TwilightBlade of PC. =D
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#4
Sorry for the long wait... but I had homework/camp/other stuff going on.
But to celebrate the release of Diamond and Pearl in Australia, here's the second chapter!

On a different note – keep an eye out for a pastry-or-pastry-related food item to be mentioned in every chapter (not including the prologue) – it’s a random thing I’ve put into the chapters.



***

Chapter 1 - A New Beginning



After driving through the desert for an hour, having emerged from the rocky walls of Eclo Canyon a good while back, Wes decided he had put enough distance between himself and the remnants of Team Snagem's base. Former base, Wes thought to himself as he cautiously tested the brakes, slowly bringing his vehicle to a halt. It had taken him a while to figure out the controls of this Zoomer which hadn't been helped by Umbreon trying to chew them. He disembarked tenderly, checking that his footing was steady after such a bumpy ride.

"Umbreon Umb!" (We sure left that place with a BANG!) Umbreon said happily from a side seat on the Zoomer, only to quieten as Espeon who was sitting next to him glared silently at him. Wes merely grinned as he stretched his arms and legs, pondering what would happen now.

Right... if anything, I did this region a good turn. Snagem at worst will be out of action for a while, but they may come after me. Gonzap isn’t about to forget this, and sadly I doubt I’ll be forgetting his face anytime soon. I’ll have to watch my back, but I doubt they’ll come looking for me today.

Wes then turned back and looked back towards Eclo Canyon. A satisfying cloud of black smoke sat at the edge of the horizon, prompting another smile from Wes. After the recent event, he felt…. free.

Free from Team Snagem. Free from having to sneak around towns to steal Pokémon. Free from the guilt he felt whenever he had to hand in a Pokémon that he knew would end up becoming a Shadow Pokémon. Free from Gonzap’s ugly face. And free from the poor quality food that Team Snagem could muster. Whoever heard of sandwiches that actually contained sand?

Wes’s stomach rumbled at the relief of not having to eat such poor fare. Speaking of which...

“How about some dinner, Espeon and Umbreon?” asked Wes.

“Espi!” (About time you said that!) acknowledged the Psychic Pokémon. The elegant light-purple cat gave a small sniff of disdain, as if Wes should have suggested it earlier. He then yawned, and twitched his forked tail. A small crimson ruby situated in the middle of Espeon’s forehead sparkled in the scorching sunlight, also seemingly in agreement.

“Umbri!” (Bacon for me!) cried Umbreon, in a more enthusiastic manner. The pitch-black Pokémon was sillier than Espeon, and also far more easygoing. His tail was of an ordinary size and shape compared to Espeon’s elegant forked one, and unlike his brother, he didn’t possess any psychic powers – only an immunity to it, being a Dark-type Pokémon. Upon his body were numerous yellow rings, which mysteriously faded out and reappeared again, over and over.

"Ok, then. I guess the Outskirt Stand should be the closest place," Wes replied. He had a decent idea on what his Pokémon said; he had known them for a good while now, and his Espeon also helped out a fair bit with translations if it was ever needed.

“Umbri! Umbreon!!” (I don’t care where, just get there NOW! I’M HUNGRY!)

“All right, calm down, calm down,” Wes said as they clambered onto the Zoomer again. Wes gunned the odd engine and continued on the same route. As they travelled, irregularly shaped rocks sprung out of the sandy ground as they navigated through them. The region of Orre was for the most part desert, and the only objects of interest to see in parts like these were the rocks and cacti.

“Umbre!” (Are we there yet?) Umbreon asked presently.

“Oh, quieten down,” grumbled Wes. “At any rate though, I can see it now.”

Espeon and Umbreon looked into the distance and made questioning growls at the sight of a dull red train - of all things - standing in the desert. Wes merely grinned at their bewilderment and pulled up by the train. It had been the beginnings of a grand transportation scheme set up for Orre, which fell apart after a few weeks. The only part of the railway system ever created was the train itself, which had now turned into an inn by the current owner. It served as a rare sight-seeing object for tourists who got lost and found themselves in Orre somehow, an event which occurred every now and then.

Parked by the train there was another smaller vehicle, resembling a ute and far closer to a car than the Zoomer. Wes glanced at it. A large sack was sitting on the back part of the pale-green vehicle. Two men - one had a flame-like colour-schemed hair that was spiked up, while the other had dark blue hair - were by the car, clearly bickering to each other.

“So you’ve done securing that knot, Folly?” asked the blue-haired one. He brushed some sand from his bright orange jacket, hunching over to check the bag within the car.

"Yes I have, Trudly," responded Folly. Wes noted that this one seemed to have a slightly better sense of style – his hair looked somewhat cool to the teenager, as did his blue singlet and glasses.

“Good. Let’s go now! We’re in a rush, remember?”

Wes observed them enter the vehicle curiously, as Umbreon glanced up at the train with confusion, ignoring the activity from the strangers. Espeon did the same; it was a rare action for the Psychic type to mimic his brother, but an announcement that suddenly rang from a loudspeaker hanging from the train informing them it was due to depart in ten minutes for Hoenn helped hold his attention.

How does a train with no train tracks get to a region an ocean away? Espeon pondered. This region sure is broken...

“Umm, Folly? Why aren’t you driving?” asked Trudly from inside after a lengthy pause.

“I, um, seemed to have misplaced the car keys...”

“WHAT!?!”

Wes quietly laughed to himself, and turned to the train. As he went to enter it they snuck in close behind his heels. Inside the train, a large man behind a counter noticed Espeon’s and Umbreon’s cautious looks and laughed merrily.

“Never seen a train in the middle of the desert, have they? Oh, where are my manners? Welcome to the Outskirt Stand. What can I do for you, sir?” he asked.

“Any chance of dinner perhaps?” asked Wes. The man chuckled again enthusiastically, his warm personality spreading like a blanket.

“Of course! Sit down, sit down. By the way, people call me Kirk.” Kirk promptly pulled a hamburger out of nowhere and two food bowls for Wes’ Pokémon. They quickly forgot their worries and began consuming their meals.

Wes took a moment to observe his surroundings before consuming the burger. It was a unique place, with a mini-shop set up by the counter, and a few people sitting around watching the small, dusty television and chatting about the velocities of different Swellow. Nearby a man was playing a harmonica, the simple tune seeming to loop over and over without any sign of ending.

Wes stopped eating to look upon the man further. The entirely bright-pink hair looked disturbing to say the least, and the sideburns didn’t help the matter either.

“Oh never mind him,” said Kirk. “That’s just Pinky.”

“Don’t call me that!” exclaimed the person with annoyance, ceasing playing to glare angrily at Kirk. “My name is Willie and before you ask, this hair came about from a hairdressing accident…”

Umbreon looked upon the person with a questioning look.

“Someone’s Kecleon freaked out the hairdresser and she spilled this dye in my hair,” Willie explained. “So I guess I’m stuck with it until it fades out - it doesn’t wash out for some stupid reason…”

“Man that’s unlucky, Pinky…” muttered Kirk with a grin. Willie just glared at him and resumed playing, as the wind outside picked up.

***

Later that night, Wes was settling down to sleep on a cushioned seat like the rest of the people inside. He had been watching a boring news investigation about a coffee shop, which was typical of the average television programs only available in Orre.

It was starting to get interesting when one of the reporters, Mary, was ‘assaulted’ by a random old man. He had started shouting about how he couldn’t get coffee and how that was such a tragedy. He wasn’t letting Mary past into the shop to interview the owner and was about to start throwing coffee mugs everywhere, when suddenly the investigation got interrupted.

“We interrupt this, eh, interesting news investigation with a special bulletin with some, uh, news. News, people! Police has confirmed that the notorious criminal gang Team Snagem has had their base destroyed in an explosion.”

Willie stopped playing his harmonica as everyone clambered around the T.V. Images of the building - or what was left of it - were shown in quick procession, as Wes watched from his seat, remaining quiet.

“E...Espi…” (Wow... didn’t think we did that much…) Espeon quietly commented to Wes, in awe of the destruction.

“Umbre Umb!” (Ha, it looks cool! Go us!)

“The location of Team Snagem’s hideout was previously unknown but now police have gotten into the act and have made arrests. They are currently interrogating these people. The cause for the explosion is currently unknown, but we assume that something explosive is at fault there. We will now return to our program.”

With that, the T.V program returned to Mary running away from the man who was yelling “WHERE’S MY COFFEEEEE!” as he gave chase with surprising speed, stopping only to throw a coffee mug at the camera.

Kirk broke the silence that followed by opening a bottle of champagne and announced that the drinks were on him. Everyone cheered in response, moving to the bar counter with astonishing speed, as Wes quietly smiled to himself before joining in the celebrations.

***

The next morning after a small breakfast, Wes departed the Outskirt Stand and stood on the ramp leading from the train’s entrance, with no real idea on what he should do next. Deciding to not worry about it for the moment, he decided to look at Folly and Trudly who to his amusement had seemed to have been unsuccessful in their search for the car keys as the two were still scrambling around in the sand muttering under their breathe. Suddenly Wes heard a soft cough from behind him - Willie had followed him out.

“Hey, Wes - want to have a battle?”

Wes thought for a moment. He didn’t really like Willie as he wouldn’t stop playing the same annoying tune over and over again on his harmonica throughout the evening. But it would be good practice for Espeon and Umbreon, and Wes loved nothing more than a good battle.

“Sure, you’re on."

They quickly moved off the ramp and onto a dusty clearing in front of the train as Wes’s Pokémon hopped down from a window and raced in front of Wes, eager for the battle to begin.

“Right, I’m pumped!” Willie began, grinning as he adopted a pose.

“That’s... good, I suppose,” Wes responded. “But maybe you should-”

“Yeeeeeeaaaah! I’m burning now! I’m on fire!” Willie continued, as Espeon exchanged glances with Umbreon. “It’s full-throttle time! Vrum! Vrooom!”

Silence followed, save for an encouraging shout from Kirk of ‘Go get him, Pinky!’.

“Stop calling me that!” shouted Willie. “Go! Moltres and Mewtwo!” he called as he sent out two Pokémon.

Wes stared. Surely…he didn’t call his two Zigzagoon after Legendary Pokémon.

“Um, ah… oh dear...” muttered Kirk in disbelief, looking on to the two identical brown-and-white striped raccoons. They stared back at Espeon and Umbreon with small, black, beady eyes.

Quickly recovering from that oddity, Wes flew into action. “Espeon, attack with Confusion on, eh, Moltres, and Umbreon, Bite on Mewtwo…”

“Ok, Moltres and Mewtwo, Tackle the both of them!”

Right, thought Wes, this will be over soon, as he watched the two Zigzagoon take heavy hits. Espeon shrugged off one of the Zigzagoon’s Tackle attacks, and responded by staring intensely at it, sending a wave of psychic energy at his opponent. It cried in pain as it crumpled under the mental strain. Meanwhile Umbreon evaded the other Zigzagoon’s Tackle with ease, before counter-attacking by biting the side of the body of the other unfortunately named Zigzagoon.

“Finish off with Return and Secret Power!” commanded Wes. Before Willie could shout at his Zigzagoon to dodge, Espeon rapidly charged in and struck his Zigzagoon with his body, sending it flying straight into the train. It gave a pathetic whimper as it fell, and promptly fainted. Umbreon merely moved away and sent a ball of electricity at his opponent, which succumbed to a similar fate as its friend.

“Aw, man…return,” said Willie sadly in defeat as returned his two Zigzagoon to his Poké Balls. “You’re pretty good!” he conceded with a grin.

“Yeah, you made quick work of Pinky!” exclaimed Kirk. But Willie was too busy playing the same old tune on his harmonica again to notice.

Suddenly, Trudly give out a shout of delight, as all turned to look at him.

“I found them!” he said happily, holding up the keys in the air.

“Great, and about time! Let’s go!” said Folly gruffly as they hopped in the vehicle. “Oh, by the way, where were they?”

“Umm, it doesn’t matter,” said Trudly quickly. Folly frowned - he answered a little too quickly for his liking.

“No, really, where were they?” he asked.

“Well, they were…” Trudly paused, then in a much smaller voice continued, “in my pocket...”

“What the…”

A loud onslaught of words flew out of Folly’s mouth, as everyone moved outside to look at what the commotion was about.

“You’re telling me that we spent more than AN ENTIRE DAY looking for those keys, when they were…” screamed Folly in frustration, as his words started to disintegrate into unintelligible shouting.

As Trudly drove off while trying to ignore Folly’s shouting, Wes noticed something odd – as he continued watching, it appeared that the sack in the back part of the vehicle was moving.

Hmm, there’s something odd about that, thought Wes. And given the size of the bag and all...well, I’ve nothing better to do, so I might as well follow them. Wes climbed onto the Zoomer along with his Pokémon, and with a hasty ‘bye’ to Kirk and Willie, he followed the tracks of the car.

***

After a while of driving and following the strange loop-the-loops the tracks seemed to make – Wes assumed that the two men hadn’t really known where to go - Wes pulled up next to their vehicle by the region’s artificial oasis in the form of a town. Both the men and the strange sack had disappeared, but footsteps made in the sand led towards and into the town’s front entrance. Wes hurried inside, noticing that water was an evident theme of the town - troughs of water could be seen flowing within the white walls of the town. A large fountain took up a large part of the town’s square, placed symbolically in the middle of the town. The architecture was rather astounding, with magnificent, pure-white buildings arrayed symmetrically around the fountain, and with stones arranged simply yet effectively for the patterned pavement. Towering palm trees dotted the settlement as well, accompanied with various other water features, such as small waterfalls, and a cascading spherical building near the rear of town, spouting the wet substance - probably the town’s well-renowned Colosseum, Wes pondered. It all looked modern and sophisticated - overall the city was a sight to behold, especially for desert-dwellers who didn't see much of water anywhere else.

“Umbreon!” (This must be Phenac City by the looks of things!) declared Umbreon.

“Esp…” (Well duh…) Espeon said tiredly, noticing a large sign stating ‘Welcome to Phenac City - the town of water, water and… well, water!’ by the entrance.

“Well, what’s happening here?” Wes murmured as he approached a group of people. Among them was Trudly and Folly. It seemed that the two men were trying to bring the sack – which was now shaking violently - within the city, and were failing in fantastic style. A lady and a man, the latter dressed like a marathon runner and with a small, gray Castform floating behind him looked on worriedly.

“What’s… in there?” she asked nervously.

“We’re not robbers, I swear! We’re just kidna-” Trudly began, before stopping himself.

“Um, ahh…” stammered Folly, sweating from more than just the heat.

“It’s a, um, a rabid crazy wild Pokémon! Stand back - it’s vicious and needs to be taken to the Pokémon Centre now!” claimed Trudly hurriedly, before he tried to walk onwards.

“Get me out of here!” shouted the thing inside the bag. Wes and the others glared at Trudly, who scratched his head nervously.

“Um… it’s so crazy it can… talk?” offered Trudly weakly.

“You’re a kidnapper!” shouted the lady.

Folly winced. “Yeah, well, you never stop us. We’ve got Pokémon ready for battle!”

“Well actually you only have Pokémon, I left mine with…” began Trudly, as he and Folly clumsily set the bag down.

“Shut UP!” Folly shouted, anxious to quieten down his inept teammate.

“I’ll take you on!” cried the athlete, as the Castform floated forward and gave an attempt at a terrifying squeak with little success.

“Are you serious? Your Castform against…” Folly paused for a moment, thinking. “Aha! TWO Pokémon? You’ll never win!” he boasted.

Wes decided to take action, as nobody else in the town seemed to register the fact that there was a kidnapping occurring despite all of the shouting going on. “I’ll battle,” he said as he signalled to Espeon and Umbreon to get ready.

“Ah…you… will?” Folly asked, sounding amazed. He probably hadn’t had to deal with someone actually accepting a battle before, Wes noted.

“Sure.”

“Well… fine then! Prepare to lose!” said Folly, trying to sound confident. “Go, my Whismur!” He fumbled for his Poké Balls and sent out two cute-looking pink Pokémon. They were minute in size compared to Espeon and Umbreon, had large, adorable ears and didn't look capable of putting up a good fight any more than the Castform.

Right… he thinks he can beat me with those? thought Wes. This’ll be a piece of cake.

***

A mere piece of cake later, Folly and Trudly were running out of town in defeat. Espeon and Umbreon growled at their retreating backs, ready to take them down as well if needed. As Wes watched them leave, the athlete got to work on the knot of the sack.

“Huh… this knot is tough to undo…”

Wes frowned. Why bother with untying a knot when you could do it the easy way?

“Umbreon, Bite the rope!” he ordered, as his Pokémon leapt at the bag and bit the rope into pieces. A moment later a girl struggled out of the sack, breathing in large amounts of fresh air. She was small and dainty, and had the odd combination of blue eyes and orange hair.

“Now then, are you all right?” asked the woman.

“Yes… I think so,” said the girl, stretching her arms and grimacing in mild pain. The teenager then brushed dust off of her clothing – a blue jacket with pink trimming which covered up a purple shirt, a white skirt and pink Ugg boots. Wes raised an eyebrow, noticing this odd sort of choice of footwear for the desert.

“Good. After being tied up in a sack, you're lucky you didn’t suffer any mild…”

Suddenly the girl smiled oddly and waved her arms about, and shouted “MY NAME’S ROMARIO AND I LIKE CHOCOLATE PIE!”

“…It seems I spoke too soon…” said the woman.

“Hey - where did she go?” asked the athlete.

“ZROOM ZROOM!” shouted the confused person, who was aboard Wes’s Zoomer. She then attempted to drive the Zoomer, but looked confused by the various handles and the absence of a steering wheel.

“Don’t touch that!” cried Wes.

Fortunately the girl abruptly fell out of the Zoomer in comical fashion. She lay on the ground and started spinning around and around, smiling idiotically.

“I’m scared,” muttered the athlete. “Being in that bag without much oxygen mustn’t have done much good on her…”

Wes considered this. “I have an idea. Espeon! Use a gentle Confusion on her to get her...acting normal! Be careful though…” he warned, before realising how odd his command must had sounded.

Espeon stared into the girl’s eyes, and focused his mind onto hers. After a moment, the girl seemed to calm down.

“Wha… what happened to me?” she asked, seemingly confused as to why she was lying on the ground in a strange position.

“Oh, good, you’re all right now,” soothed the lady, helping the girl to her feet. “You were being kidnapped by two men, but this young man saved you. You were a bit, well, out of it a moment ago though…”

“Why, what did I do?” she queried.

“Umm… never mind,” said the woman hurriedly. “Anyway, what’s your name?”

“It’s… Rui,” she said quietly.

“Any idea why they kidnapped you?” asked Wes, as he wondered that very thing. She looked rather harmless – leastways, when she hadn’t been running about screaming nonsensical words. And oddly, despite having being just kidnapped and rescued, she seems less panicked than Wes imagined she would have been.

“Well, actually…” began Rui.

***


So, there we have it. Please review, good or bad, and I hope you enjoyed the chapter. *shifty eyes*

And here is the spoiler containing what characters in the chapter are like in the game:

Show ContentCharacters and Events in Game + chapter 1::
[Image: suisdbsf.png]
By TwilightBlade of PC. =D
Reply

#5
I love Pokémon Colosseum, and this is a great retelling so far. Please keep working on it!
Reply

#6
(18th Apr 2013, 05:47 AM)Richard Fightmaster Wrote: I love Pokémon Colosseum, and this is a great retelling so far. Please keep working on it!

Side note - it's already finished! But not older (slight) edits and reposting it here/elsewhere, which is suddenly beginning again because I said so. So! Nice to hear that you are enjoying it thus far though. =) Hopefully that will still be the case with the rest too!




***

Chapter 2 - The City of Water




“…It’s hard to explain,” Rui began, frowning as she recalled the incident. “I was on my way to Agate Village when our bus stopped for an hour or so in this smelly town called Pyrite. When I was walking about I saw a… peculiar Pokémon. It was short and stout and chasing another Pokémon, and then it attacked a person. Then, when I shouted out for help… I was suddenly chased, grabbed and thrown into a sack,” she explained, smoothing out her small ruffled jacket. “Hey, did those kidnappers use an odd Pokémon themselves?”

Wes looked at Rui with puzzlement as he pondered her words. She saw a peculiar Pokémon that was attacking people? Could she have seen a Shadow Pokémon? Maybe she got kidnapped because Team Snagem didn’t want her spilling the beans... but those people didn't look like Team Snagem members to me, he continued to muse grimly.

“You saw a Pokémon attacking people?” questioned the athlete. He wiped his brow and left his mouth a little too open wide, and tapped his foot on the pavement as he considered her words. “But why would they kidnap you because of that? And no, they didn’t have any odd Pokémon… just incredibly weak ones.” The man snickered at the thought of two Whismur being a threat to anyone over the age of five.

“I have no idea what they wanted to kidnap me for. Maybe they didn't want to have people knowing about that Pokémon,” Rui said. “But the important thing is that I got rescued.” Rui turned to Wes and beamed at him. “Thanks you, my gallant prince!” she exclaimed loudly, making Wes cringe. He quickly tried to hide his reaction by turning around and acting nonchalant.

“Espeon!” (The girl seems to be embarrassing Wes…) remarked Espeon.

“Um, Umbre.” (Heh, it seems he has a weak spot.) Umbreon silently wondered if it was due to the fact Rui was female. After all there hadn’t been many female people at Team Snagem, and the ones that were there also had to have their hair shaved as per the team’s outfit policy.

“Ah, can you escort me for now, please?” Rui continued suddenly.

Wes was surprised by this question, and the suddenness of it. “Umm, no, I’m busy and have… um, no idea about this city. I don’t know where things are…”

“Only I’m a bit worried, what with being kidnapped and all. Please, Mr…?” Rui pleaded, ignoring Wes’s protests before giving him the infamous puppy dog look.

“Oh jeez…” muttered Wes to himself. He glanced around at the two onlookers but they didn’t seem forthcoming in offering help themselves. He sighed before giving up. “Ok, I will, although I won’t be much of a guide. My name’s Wes, by the way." Not like I have much better to do now than this anyway.

“Yay! Thank you!” Rui said with a smile. “I thought you’d say that.”

“Espi…Es,” (She’s… persuasive,) Espeon said, scrutinizing the conversation as Wes groaned quietly.

“Umbreon,” (This could get interesting,) replied Umbreon.

“I know what you can do!” said the lady, destroying the uncomfortably silence that had followed to Wes’ relief. “You should see the mayor. He’ll know what to do!”

“Okay!” said Rui happily. It seemed that she already forgot about her ordeal - she was smiling more than ever before. “Only, I don’t know where it is…”

“Oh it’s…” began the athlete. But Rui had already run off into the distance, singing happily.

“Hurry up, Wes!” she called as she ran into a nearby house.

“Oh dear… she's energetic, isn’t she? Well, you better catch up to her then. I’ll go back to practicing for my race!” said the athlete as he ran off back to the fountain in the middle of the town before beginning laps around the magnificent water feature.

“You look like an attractive couple,” smiled the lady, who also seemed to have forgotten the recent kidnapping. She walked off as well, leaving Wes alone with his Pokémon. He scratched his head and muttered to himself about the whole situation. A kidnapped girl who didn’t seem affected all that much by her ordeal, odd people who had Shadow Pokémon – which the girl saw - and Whismur, and an athlete which seemed to have a liking for running around fountains. Bewildered by that and the sudden presumption that he and Rui, whom he had just met, were a couple, he stumbled off to find Rui. At least the house Rui had gone into appeared to be the right one as there was a large sign proclaiming just so outside it.

But when Wes got inside the house, he found Rui was already talking to the people inside who appeared to be merely regular citizens.

“This isn’t the mayor’s house… is it?” asked Rui. “Only I need to talk to him about a kidnapping that was occurring here.”

“No, but one day... one day, I shall be the mayor!” proclaimed a woman in reply. Rui stepped uneasily away from her before she continued. “But wait - a KIDNAPPING?!? Huh - wait - come back!” she shouted in dismay as Rui decided it was a good idea to leave.

“Sorry about that,” muttered Wes as Rui ran past him and nearly trampled on Umbreon in the process.

“Well, just make sure she votes for me!” the woman replied, throwing a pamphlet at Wes before walking off into a separate room. A teenager, seemingly oblivious to the recent occurrences within the house, turned to Wes and started commenting about the lack of anime programs around recently.

“I mean, there’s all these news reports about a person blowing up Team Snagem’s base… it’s not THAT interesting…” he said, as Wes decided to leave.

What a very odd place this is, he thought, before silently bemoaning the fact that nobody knew it had been him who had blown up the base. He then scanned the city and caught sight of Rui who had already run off a fair distance; she was approaching a large building in the centre of the town. Sighing once more to himself, he ran to catch up to her.

***

Rui burst into the building, with Wes panting shortly behind her. “Is this the mayor’s house?” she asked.

“No. This is the Prestigious And Highly-Esteemed Preparation Training Facility. Or Pre Gym for short,” answered a person standing by the door.

Rui and Wes looked around to observe their surroundings. There was an elevated, rectangular platform in the middle of the room which appeared to be the battle arena, albeit a small one by usual standards. By the battling arena there was a glass lift leading to a level below. On their right, there was a control room with a man clad in a clean, white uniform sitting by a large panel of buttons and switches, and to the left was another room in which a lesson on Pokémon appeared to be proceeding. Given the fact the teacher appeared close to tearing out her hair it didn’t appear to be going well. Naturally, Espeon and Umbreon trotted off to satisfy their curiosity while the man at the controls noticed Wes and Rui’s arrival and marched down to greet them.

“Hello there!’ he said warmly, as he offered a handshake. “My name’s Justy. Interested in taking part in a Pokémon battle challenge? It’s four trainers in a row in the usual double battle format.”

“I WOULD LIKE TO BATTLE!” shouted Rui happily causing Justy to flinch at the unexpected enthusiasm. “But… I have no Pokémon,” she added, suddenly downcast. Wes raised an eyebrow at her; her mood swings were unsettling to say the least – maybe Espeon’s Confusion was still having minor effects on her.

“You have no Pokémon?” Wes inquired. “You should get some, if only for protection...”

“Yes, I guess you’re right,” sighed Rui. “It probably would have helped me out in Pyrite after all.”

“Well,” said Wes to Justy, “I guess I will take part in the challenge – unlike her I have a couple of Pokémon of my own. The mayor can wait, Rui,” he told her. His legs already were feeling sore from the running about after her.

“I guess so,” answered Rui. “I can watch after all, and see how you saved me!” she added with a grin.

“Great!” replied Justy. He grinned widely. “It’s been a good while since someone has come to try out some battles here so I’m afraid all the trainers here have been pretty bored with battling each other. When you’re ready, step up to the battle area. I look forward to watching some enthralling battles.” Justy smiled and walked back to control room. Wes realised it must have external controls for the lift as well as a viewing platform – it certainly wasn’t a bad set-up for a battling faculty given it was Orre.

“Okay, Umbreon, Espeon, get ready! ...Where are they?” Wes said suddenly, looking around.

“I’ll get them,” said Rui, as she marched off towards the room they had walked into. Wes sighed and followed her.

Meanwhile, Espeon and Umbreon were observing an interesting class in maths. Espeon was entertaining himself by levitating some pieces of chalk above Umbreon’s head while the two regarded the teacher with a look of pity.

“Now then,” the teacher began with a strong hint of exasperation in her voice. “Pokémon battles are an important part of life because unlike people they can do amazing things like breathe fire. However, if you want to be a good battler, you must be able to do a bit of simple mathematics.” Collective groans were made at the last remark but the teacher continued on. “Now, we’ve been at this for the last week, and we need to make some progress. Jimmy! Here’s an addition question. If I had two Pokémon, and then got two more Pokémon, how many would I have?”

Jimmy blinked at the teacher as he attempted to understand what she had asked, mouthing the words to himself before answering.

“Umm… you would have some Pokémon.”

“Yes… and no. Look here,” she said as she drew some circles on the blackboard to resemble Pokémon. “Now, one, two, three, four. So how many are there?”

“Let me think..." answered Jimmy. “There are three…and that one.”

“Three and that one,” repeated the teacher with a sigh. “So if I add THAT one to the other three, what will I have?” The teacher went as far to hold up four fingers in front of Jimmy’s face in a desperate attempt to have him get the answer.

“OH! Um… Some fingers.”

“Espeon…” (He’s rivalling the two idiots we saw before in stupidity...)

“Umbre!” (And winning!)

“Ah! There you are!” shouted Rui. She quickly scooped the pair up and handed them to Wes.

“ESPI!” (Put me down!) Espeon cried, surprised that Rui would simply pick him up like a lost toy.

“Hello!” greeted the teacher. “Don’t worry, those Pokémon were well behaved. And what fine evolved Pokémon they are! Jimmy! What do YOU think of these Pokémon?

“Um… well behaved, fine evolved Pokémon?” answered Jimmy, struggling to keep up with the sudden subject change.

“No, that’s what I think. What do you think? Try to have a thought of your own, Jimmy, thinking is so important. What do you think?” explained the lecturer patiently.

“I think...thinking is so important,” replied Jimmy.

The teacher sighed and turned to Wes. “Never mind Jimmy, he’s been like this for years. Hmm, do you have a P*DA?”

Wes frowned. “Yes. I am a trainer, as you can see.” He held his P*DA – Orre’s somewhat less-than-inspiring equivalent of a Pokédex - for the teacher to see. It was a small gadget that could fit in one’s pocket but it didn’t give much in the way of detailed information beyond moves known by Pokémon in the trainer’s possession, and wild speculative rumours about the species. Nobody was quite sure why the star needed to be mentioned in its name but everyone just went along with it.

The teacher frowned a bit upon seeing the P*DA set up. “You don’t have a Strategy Memo, do you?”

“No, I don’t,” admitted Wes. Personally he thought he could rely upon his own memory and knowledge to know which Pokémon were good against others. He also felt confident about knowing that water beat fire and ice moves tended to be rather cold without the help of the add-on.

“Tell you what, if you beat the Pre Gym challenge, I will upgrade your P*DA,” said the tutor. “It’s a typical reward we give out, although I can’t say it’s very, uh, extensive.”

“Well... I guess if I ever have to lend this to a young child who doesn’t know his left hand from his right it may be useful, so might as well. I better get started then…” Wes said with a shrug before walking back to the battle arena, deciding to take his position on the left hand side. Espeon and Umbreon trotted out in front of him, prepared for battle.

“I’ll cheer for you, Wes!” shouted Rui loudly.

“OK! First challenge is… Botan! You’re up!” shouted Justy from the control room, before pressing a button and summoning the lift. Another teenager walked out and took his battle position.

“Wes, Wes, beat Botan, if you can’t do it, no-one can!” cheered Rui.

“Rui, could you please pipe down during the battle?” Wes yelled back.

***

All in all, the pre-gym challenge was a cinch. Even Jimmy would have beaten it, Wes reflected, despite the enthusiastic and somewhat distracting shouting from Rui.

After Botan proclaimed his love for all things green and grass types, he sent out a Sunkern and a Hoppip. However, when his Pokémon caught sight of the far larger Espeon and Umbreon who towered over the tiny creatures, the small pink Hoppip jumped back into Botan’s Poké ball while shrieking in fright with its squeaky voice. Its partner however could not dive into its own Poké ball, due to being a small, weak seed lacking legs or the ability to jump. Left without any other options, it resorted to waving its leaves as viciously as it could at Espeon. Shortly before Wes even ordered an attack, the Sunkern fainted out of pure fear.

The second battle was against a girl by the name of Liqui, who boasted that nobody liked water types as much as her. Wes suspected by this point the trainers’ names weren’t real but then again, strange names were common for citizens of the region. Her Pokémon were at least considerably better than Botan’s (consisting of a Marill and Surskit) in that it required an attack from Wes’ Pokémon. However it only needed one; Espeon’s powerful Return had struck Marill right into the small water spider which was squashed by the other’s weight, knocking both out instantly.

The third battler was a posh looking boy with the slightly less classy name of Dugo. He had a Trapinch and a Swinub, the former being quite fond of dancing about as soon as it was sent out. This seemed to help it, as while its partner had dug underground Wes’s Pokémon were unable to target it and so they focused on the Trapinch instead. They failed to land a hit on it as it successfully evaded both Espeon’s Return and Umbreon’s Bite attacks, swaying its body just out of reach. Unfortunately, instead of attacking Espeon and Umbreon from below, the Swinub ended up burrowing underneath and hitting the dancing Trapinch, knocking it upside down. In the confusion (which hadn’t been helped by Dugo shouting at his Pokémon about docking their salary for their mistake) the two Pokémon were both promptly jumped upon by the two Eeveelutions and a mere moment later they had also been defeated.

The last battle was a relatively straight-forward one. The final battler, an uppity Lady Gwin, sent out two defensive rock-typed Pokémon in Geodude and Ryhorn. The Geodude begun with a Magnitude attack which shook the room slightly and sent all nearby onto the ground. Rui gave a sudden shriek when she fell, while the teacher muttered a bit as she scrambled to recollect pieces of chalk and blackboard dusters while ignoring any fallen children. However the attack dished out severe damage to its partner in Ryhorn thanks to the type disadvantage, causing it to bellow in pain before charging straight ahead right out of the door. With the departure of the rhino, Geodude stood no chance against the combined forces of Bite and Confusion. Oddly enough, Lady Gwin after the battle huffed at Wes distastefully.

“Uh... well, my battle style must have been too sophisticated for you!” She struck her nose to the air, and walked off towards the stairway to search for her Ryhorn.

Odd comment to make after losing, thought Wes. Meanwhile, Rui ever so causally stuck out her foot, resulting in the woman giving a startled shout and acquiring a squashed nose.

“Great work!” smiled Justy, commenting upon the battles as he made his way to the arena. “You beat the Pre Gym Battle Challenge!” He tried to make it sound like a fantastic accomplishment, but both Wes and Rui felt that Justy knew how ‘challenging’ it really was. Nonetheless, the man continued on. “As an award, you win… this WHITE HERB!” Justy handed a small white herb to Wes, with the same level of fake enthusiasm, if not more.

“Ah… thanks…” said Wes as he scrutinised the small white leave, wondering if Justy had been joking by offering this as a price. Justy’s wide beam suggested it wasn’t, and so he stuffed the small object to the depths of his bag, figuring that he would probably forget about its existence by tomorrow.

“I would like you to battle me, Wes. But only when you get a full party of six Pokémon,” Justy continued in a similar fashion.

“If you insist I suppose,” Wes said, thinking that wasn’t too likely he would get himself any more Pokémon any time soon – he was quite content with his current small party. On his way out, he got the upgrade for his P*DA from the teacher, who seemed to be using this as an excuse to stay away from her students. Wes didn’t blame her. She even gave Rui a P*DA, even though she wasn’t a Pokémon trainer, or have any Pokémon in the first place.

***

The moment they walked out of the Pre Gym, Rui started to rush off again into the depths of the white stone city towards a long alley, eagerly eying the numerous water features crowding the street. Wes however grabbed her jacket before she could progress.

“Stop running off!” he said sternly. “If you want some help from me, you’ll have to stop rushing off into every house. From now on, just follow behind me. OK?”

“Yes…” said Rui somewhat reluctantly.

“Good,” said Wes, confident that he got the hyperactive Rui under control for now. He started walking towards a house to the left. He had talked to someone upon leaving the Pre Gym, so he now hopefully knew the location of the mayor’s house. Rui started walking directly behind him.

“Rui…” he said at length.

“Yes?” replied Rui innocently.

“Can you please stop walking directly behind me?”

“But you said to follow behind you,” answered Rui mischievously.

As Wes went to say something impolite to Rui, he suddenly bumped into a man who had walked out of the mayor’s house.

“Hey!”

“Oww! Sorry…” apologised Wes, before stopping short as he gazed at the man. Rui let out a gasp and Umbreon looked up uncertainly.

The man was a tall, skinny person, who didn’t have much of a dress sense – his cold eyes didn’t do much to distract from his long, white hair and unattractive purple clothing, save for a red, skirt-like piece of garment which gave him the appearance of an ugly, poisonous flower. The man smiled oddly at Wes, causing him to shiver on impulse.

“You are a travelling trainer?” he asked. He smirked at Wes and Rui’s looks of bewilderment. “I like your expression. Fufufu, I have a feeling we will meet again somewhere.” The man then abruptly turned around and walked off.

“Well…” said a bemused Wes as he scratched his head. Normally people would say ‘that’s all right’ or more likely say something rude at being walked into rather than say... well, that, before leaving suddenly. “That was… odd.”

“And… scary,” added Rui.

“Umbreon, Eon?” (People in this town are strange, aren’t they?)

“Espeon Espi.” (Change ‘town’ to ‘region’ and I’ll agree with you on that one.)

“Well, I hope you don’t have to meet him again,” Rui said uncertainly before giving a small shrug. “Let’s go in,” she added, not one for waiting around.

As they entered, they saw the complete opposite to the man they just encountered. The person seated before them was a fat, short rounded figure, with a brown suit that somehow managed to contain his entire mass within. This, along with possibly having to talk with his previous visitor, didn’t seem to detract the mayor to welcoming them with a wide smile.

“You must be travellers! Welcome!” greeted the man. He waddled up to Wes and Rui. “I am Es Cade, the mayor of this town. Is anything the problem?”

Why do they keep assuming we’re travellers anyway? Wes thought to himself. Rui took the opportunity to step forward, banging her hands on the table as she began her recount.

“I saw… IT!” she answered.

The mayor looked blankly at Rui.

“Oh… sorry. Well, I saw a peculiar Pokémon, no, that’s not quite right,” Rui said quickly, somewhat grasping for words.

“Well, what was peculiar about it?” asked the mayor.

“Well," began Rui hastily, "I was walking around Pyrite Town when I saw two people having a Pokémon battle, and one of them had this Pokémon and it was giving out a black aura, and it was very odd, and then the man told it to use a strange move that sounded something like ‘shadow rush’, and I didn't think that was a real move, and then the Pokémon attacked the other Pokémon, and it looked very evil and I said ‘why does it have a black aura’, but nobody could see the black aura, and the Pokémon attacked someone, and they ran away screaming, oh and I like cake, and it looked like a fighting machine, not a Pokémon and then the man asked me what I saw and I ran away but then I was kidnapped by the man and this other man, and they put me in a bag took me here, and then I was rescued by Wes who had very strong Pokémon, and I’m really scared, and yeah.”

The mayor blinked at Rui. “I think you need to explain that again, slowly, and more clearly… much more clearly…”

***

“Well, then. So basically, you saw a scary Pokémon with a black aura? And it attacked people, and some shady characters kidnapped you because you could see it. If that is true, it would be scary. But I do admit I find it hard to believe at face value…" The mayor said a good ten minutes later. Wes smirked silently to himself - the mayor didn’t seem so disbelieving of the idea of Shadow Pokémon to himself, but then again it was a known problem within the region, or at least worse parts than Phenac. There was no doubt that that was what Rui had seen after all given her descriptions.

“But it’s true! MISTER MAYOR! It’s the truth!!” protested Rui rather loudly.

“No, no, I didn’t say I DON’T believe you,” said the mayor hastily, holding his hands up to stop Rui’s outburst. “I’m just saying that it is quite the story… anyway. I will investigate this…”

“Thank you!” gushed Rui.

“Don’t thank me! It’s my job and I cannot allow this,” the man assured the teenager in a soothing voice as he offered her a glass of water. “Give me time to investigate and I will get back to you with information on how we are going later via those P*DAs of yours! By the way, you are Pokémon trainers, no?"

Wes nodded. “Well, I am anyway.”

“Well then, while you’re here, why not go to our Colosseum, and take up a challenge? It’s state of the art, and the pride of our town. We also have our highly esteemed Pre Gym!”

“Well, all right. I already beat the Pre Gym challenge but I’m always up for more battles,” Wes answered with a grin as his Pokémon nodded in agreement. “Thanks for your time – we might as well check it out now.”

“Sure thing,” the mayor continued, standing as they left to leave. Wes turned and left the building with Rui following him happily behind him, pausing only for a moment to turn back. Wes swore that that he had seen something in the mayor’s face - a look of contempt? Anger? Hate?

But the mayor simply beamed back at him happily with a wave.

Nah, I probably was just imagining it, thought Wes. Too darn jumpy after the whole Team Snagem business I suppose...

***



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#7
***

Chapter 3 – Enter the Afro


“What do you mean, no challenges?” asked Wes, drumming his fingers on the desk.

“Sorry, but the current challenge is already underway. I guess you will have to come back later if you want to try the Phenac Colosseum challenge,” the receptionist said in a matter-of-fact manner.

“Alright then... thanks anyway,” Wes grumbled. “Odd, isn’t it?” he said to Rui as they walked out, with Espeon and Umbreon following behind. “You’d think the mayor would have remembered that the challenge started a day ago…”

“I guess he just… forgot,” offered Rui as an explanation, admiring the architecture of the Colosseum which had even more water features than the town itself within the white structure. “It IS a nice stadium though, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, I guess so…” Wes said, taking one last glance of the interior of the vast Colosseum before they left. It truly was the highlight of the town, with water clinging from the spherical ceiling and flowing down to the moat surrounding the building rather than falling onto their heads. The building was simply staggering in beauty, but Wes wondered how much money could have been saved on other parts of Orre, which from what he had seen while working with Team Snagem was struggling in retrospect. As they stepped back outside onto the bridge over the moat, Wes squinted his eyes at the blazing sun before putting on his shades.

“So, what do we have here?” a sinister voice…voiced, bring Wes out from his musings.

“Hey, Wes!” another cried. “We found you, you filthy, double-crossing traitor! You wrecked Team Snagem’s base, and stole the Snag machine as well? You have some nerve!”

Wes frowned as his looked across the bridge to confirm the sources of the voices - a pair of Team Snagem grunts.

Had they been in a town they would have stuck out like a sore thumb to anyone. Nobody else wore that attire composed of jet-black jeans and gloves, a dark-red jacket, and even the same kind of odd hairstyle - a ring of hair at the back of their heads was all that remained from the free haircut that Team Snagem offered to new members. Wes had declined this sort of outfit, choosing to stick with his appearance, not being a fan of Gonzap’s choice of uniform. In turn Gonzap wasn’t a fan of Wes’s sense of fashion - Wes thought that Gonzap didn’t appreciate his clothing but hadn’t cared, instead pointing out that the fact he went on operations not dressed up like Team Snagem tended to help him remain unsuspicious. Not that it mattered anymore anyway.

“Who are they?” asked an oblivious Rui, failing to notice the words ‘We’re Team Snagem!’ stitched upon their jackets, or their menacing tone of voice. Espeon rolled his eyes - even he and Umbreon knew that Team Snagem’s outfit was recognised across the region, despite having only arrived in Orre a few months ago. Rui had a lot to learn.

“Err, don’t you know?” asked one, confused. He scratched his head. “We’re Team Snagem!”

“Team Snagem?” Rui shouted as her eyes widened.

“Yeah, that’s-” the other continued before Rui proceeded to kick the nearest one in the shin.

“Arrgh! What was that for?” asked the criminal, grabbing his leg in anguish. He looked in bemusement at the girl who glared angrily at him; he was clearly not used to having people stand up for themselves.

“For kidnapping me!” cried Rui.

“Kidnap you?” asked the member, blinking with surprise. “Pttf. Why would we waste our time kidnapping some nobody? No, our beef is with Wes.”

“Umbre…” (Mmm… beef,) Umbreon muttered. Espeon rolled his eyes again at his partner’s comments before lightly slapping his head with his tail and mentally conveying to him to be prepared for a battle.

“But I was kidnapped!” Rui cried. “And what do you mean by traitor…” she added as an afterthought as she turned to Wes. “Wes, you mean…”

“Yep! He was from Team Snagem! Not only that - he was a Snagger! He was snagging Pokémon without fail! Well, okay, he wasn’t perfect, but he sure was one of the better ones!” he said, leering at Wes. “And then he went and blew up our base and stole our Snag Machine.”

Rui looked astounded and chose not to speak straightaway, opting instead to catch her breath before turning her glare at Wes.

“IS THIS TRUE!?!” she demanded, glaring at Wes.

“Umm… yes?” answered a nervous Wes. Rui’s face at this answer made him wince - it was a mixture of anger and sadness rolled into one.

“Well, well, look what you did now, Wes, breaking people’s hearts,” the first member sneered. “I’d love to stay and chat, but we need to get going. Give us the Snag machine now!”

“What’s a Snag machine?” asked Rui, seemingly on auto-pilot now.

“Oh, a Snag machine is that mechanical contraption on Wes’s arm,” said one of the Team Snagem members, pointing at the object Wes had stolen. Wes wondered why Rui hadn’t noticed the snag machine in the first place, nor anyone else for that matter. It was clearly situated upon his arm and would have been one of the first things people noticed about him, he imagined. Then again, she probably hadn’t been paying attention, what with her running off in every direction. Furthermore, Orre was filled with oddities, and several residents of Orre had stranger things than a machine on their arm. No wonder she didn’t mention it - she probably knew at least that much about Orre.

“...It converts Poké Balls into Snag balls, which overrides a trainer’s possession of the Pokémon within the Pokémon’s original Poké Ball data, and thus allows it to be stolen…” continued the Team Snagem member.

“Shut up!” warned another.

“Oops.”

“Enough talk! We’ll take it by force!” shouted the first Team Snagem member. “Get him, Corphish and Koffing!” he continued as he hurled two Poké Balls at Wes and Rui’s feet as the two Pokémon materialised. The former - a small, orange crab-like Pokémon - quickly jumped forward and tried to latch onto Umbreon’s snout but the Dark type was alert and twisted his body to deflect the attack. The Koffing merely watched and waited for a command as gasses emitted from various crater-like bumps upon its body.

Wes smirked upon noticing the poison-typed Pokémon; he had dealt with these Pokémon before. “Espeon! Use Confusion on Koffing!”

“Espi!” (This is going to be fun!) Espeon said, looking sadistically excited before staring at the ball of gas. As he applied his psychic powers on the Koffing, it began shivering violently.

“Koffing...” (I don’t feel well...) the Pokémon said before burping out purple sludge.

All at once, the Koffing started expanding, before Umbreon joined in and applied his own attack which gave rise to sparks which engulfed the Pokémon.

“What the…” said the Snagem member, taking a tentative step back. The others decided to do the same, worriedly looking at his partner’s Pokémon which was now several times its previous size. Satisfied, Wes quickly ordered his Pokémon to summon up a quick wall of light around them which they did promptly.

Then the Koffing exploded.

The two Team Snagem members were sent flying several metres down the stairway leading from the Colosseum. Their outfits were covered in black sludge while the Corphish flew through the air and landed in the moat, clearly fainted from the explosion. Some sludge fell harmlessly on Espeon’s and Umbreon’s barrier of light and slid to the ground.

“Blast you! Don’t think this is over! We’ll get the machine!” shouted one of the Team Snagem members, before they limped off into the distance, one dragging the Corphish with them. Watching them leave, Rui then turned to Wes.

“What do you know, Wes. You’re from Team Snagem,” said Rui.

Wes sighed as he put his hands in his pockets. “Well... yes, I am; no point denying that fact.”

“Well, that’s okay.”

“It is?” replied Wes, surprised.

“NO! WHY DIDN”T YOU TELL ME?” shouted Rui, stomping a foot on the ground.

“Esp.” (Oh dear.)

“HOW COULD YOU HAVE BEEN A SNAGGER?!? DIDN’T YOU STOP TO THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU WERE DOING TO THOSE POKEMON?”

“Umbreon, Umb?” (She has a good Screech attack, doesn’t she?) Umbreon remarked to Espeon quietly.

“That’s why I quit! Well, partly, anyway. Besides, I can’t be all that bad - I did rescue you…” countered Wes.

“Well… I’ll give you that,” admitted Rui, who began pacing back and forth, “But still… for all I know, you could be stealing Pokémon for yourself!”

You know, that’s not a bad idea in itself if it didn’t increase my chances of getting caught by Team Snagem or landing in jail, Wes mused for a moment, but he wisely decided against voicing that line of reasoning. For some reason, he didn’t feel like upsetting this girl any further.

“If I was stealing Pokémon I would have taken those guys’ ones instead of...”

“Espeon,” (Exploding them,) Espeon offered.

“That. At any rate, I wouldn’t say that- WATCH OUT, RUI!”

However it was too late - Rui, while interrogating Wes, didn’t notice that she had walked close to the flight of stairs nearby.

Too close.

Wes, Espeon and Umbreon observed Rui bounce down stair after stair until she came to a stop at the bottom. Startled, Wes ran down to her.

“Umbre…” (Ouch.)

Rui groaned and looked to Wes, looking a bit confused at first before her thoughts gathered.

“I’m...all right.”

Wes breathed a sigh of relief.

“Let’s go rest at the Pokémon Centre. Here, I’ll help you,” Wes offered, taking her hand and pulling her up gingerly to her feet.

***

“All your Pokémon are healed to perfect health. And your friend, besides a few bruises, is going to be all right.”

“Thanks,” acknowledged Wes. He was a bit bewildered about being in a Pokémon Centre again. He hadn’t entered one for years, and he couldn’t help but wonder why everything was so strange. Each nurse seemed to look just like each other, and most of them seemed intent on spoiling Espeon and Umbreon non-stop with a pet or treat. Not that they minded much. Espeon constantly gave a look whenever one of the nurses had to pause and stop petting him, while Umbreon simply walked up to every staff member that entered the room.

And then there were the people who seemed to live inside the centre. There was an old man that earnestly kept telling Wes that he could use the PC for storing his Pokémon, and the girl who asked every person whether they were Pokémon trainers or not. She even asked a bemused Justy, who had entered the Pokémon Centre to pick up some Pokémon. It was obvious, thought Wes, that the best trainer in town, picking up Pokémon from the Centre built around Pokémon, WAS a Pokémon trainer.

There was also a kid who seemed obsessed with the 3-D holographic map of Phenac City displaying from a table. What disturbed Wes was that he was seemingly to be drooling over it, muttering senseless technical terms.

Shaking his head at the group of weirdos, Wes sat down next to Rui.

“By the way? It’s... it’s okay, Wes,” Rui begun in a quiet voice.

“Huh?”

“I’ve thought for a bit, and... it doesn’t matter to me who you were. After all, you’re my gallant price who rescued me…” she added with a smile. “Besides, you quit, so can’t be so bad anyway.”

“Well... okay then…” Wes said with a shrug.

Umbreon gave Espeon a glance.

“Umbreon? Umbre?” (You didn’t have anything to do with Rui’s sudden acceptance about Wes’s past, did you? Especially not when she fell down those stairs?) he asked quietly.

“Espi…” (Well…)

“Anyways, Rui… something is rather odd about this…whole thing,” he began.

“What is it?”

“Well, firstly… didn’t you think it odd that those Team Snagem members didn’t know anything about your kidnapping? And those people who did kidnap you… well, they didn’t look like Team Snagem. For one, they weren’t wearing the generic ‘I’m-from-Team-Snagem!’ uniform.”

“Yes…” mused Rui. “That is… odd. But then who kidnapped me?”

“I’m not sure… maybe those people somehow got possession of a Shadow Pokémon, and didn’t want you spilling the beans.”

“That’s an idea… that poor Shadow Pokémon…” added Rui to herself. “I mean it looked so… unlike how a Pokémon should be like. Really angry.”

“Which reminds me - what do you mean by seeing a black aura? I never saw any aura around a Shadow Pokémon. In fact, nobody I know who worked at Team Snagem could distinguish Shadow Pokémon from normal Pokémon easily, beyond the whole ‘they’re trying to kill you!’ fact. Which makes me fairly interested as since I was fairly new, I didn’t really know much yet about how they made Shadow Pokémon and all. I was just told to steal them.”

“I honestly don’t know. I guess nobody else could see it… but I’ve seen loads of Pokémon before, so I was pretty spooked when I saw the aura around this one. Besides, I came up with an idea,” smiled Rui.

“Okay… what’s that?” Wes asked, raising his eyebrows.

“Well, you have a stealer thingy from there, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do...” Wes said, already suspicious of the way the conversation was going.

“Well, we get ourselves some Poké Balls, and then steal back that Shadow Pokémon with them! And then we help them!”

“Um… Rui, remember, you bumped your head on the stairs. Your ‘great idea’ may need some reconsideration…”

“Why, what’s wrong with it?” Rui asked, somewhat disappointed. Wes sighed and counted off a bunch of reasons on his fingers.

“Firstly, that Shadow Pokémon could be anywhere. Secondly, it is unlikely Trudly and Folly will show up again so we can find the one they have. And thirdly - where will we get Poké Balls? None are kept anywhere I know in Orre as there’s rarely any wild Pokémon anyway, and Team Snagem imported them from other regions, as far as I know. And they weren’t cheap.”

Rui blinked. “Well… it’s still a good idea,” she answered adamantly.

Wes sighed as he leant on the desk. Well... it’s not like I have anything else to do, he thought silently to Espeon.

No, I assumed that blowing up their warehouse isn’t something that means you can still keep your job, Espeon thought back drily. After all... to be frank, Umbreon and I were never keen on the whole Shadow Pokémon thing anyway, and who knows, finding out more about this whole deal could be... interesting.

“Ok, whatever. I’ll help you, but I don’t think we’ll get far. Where do you propose we go looking for Poké Balls?” Wes asked Rui.

Rui smiled. “Let’s go SHOPPING!"

***

“No Poké Balls?” repeated an anguished Rui.

“Sorry, but we haven’t had any in the last few years - there’s been no need for them,” answered a young shop assistant. “You know, with the whole lack of wild Pokémon thing.”

“Well, where can we get some?”

“Umm, try Silph Co. It’s only in Kanto,” suggested the assistant with a roll of his eyes. This proved to be a fatal mistake as the assistant received a slap to the face, before Rui marched out in a huff as Wes followed.

“I did say,” Wes pointed out.

“Psst!” said an old man to Rui as she walked by, ignoring Wes’s comment. “They may have some Poké Balls in the Outskirt Stand…” he offered, before tapping his nose exaggeratedly and abruptly walking into the Poké Mart.

“Huh… um, thanks?” Rui said to thin air.

Wes merely shrugged. “He acted the same way when I asked him where the Mayor’s house was.”

***

A bumpy ride on the Zoomer later, they arrived at the Outskirt Stand. Rui had complained about making the trip by the machine in the first place, but soon got accustomed to the transportation vehicle. Espeon and Umbreon had been annoyed that she had taken up a lot of space in their usual seat. When they arrived Willie greeted Wes as they jumped out of the loud machine, running up to the two.

“Oh, I was worried about you…” he said, panting slightly.

“Why?” asked Wes, surprised that the pink-haired person would have worried about him.

“Well, recently some tough-looking characters came asking around about you. They had a Koffing, and it looked like they were from Team Snagem… hey, who’s the chick?”

“Excuse me!” exclaimed Rui as she glared at the man. “And… why is your hair…”

“I’ll explain later,” said Wes hastily, as he dragged Rui into the train, ignoring Willie’s cries of ‘Wait!’ - after all, he already had dealt with these Team Snagem people, if they had a Koffing with them. Still, he’d have to be on his guard so that the same thing didn’t happen again.

“Hello there, Wes! Brought a stranger?” asked Kirk as they entered the train with his usual wide grin.

“That’s right,” Wes nodded.

Rui smiled. “My name’s Rui, sir,” she told him.

“Well, what can I do for you today?” Kirk asked warmly.

“Well, sir… we heard you may have some Poké Balls…”

“Poké Balls? There’s been no call for these things around these parts for ages… where’d I put them?” he mumbled as he walked off to look in the storage. He immediately came back with a whole box full of them to their surprise.

“Here they are! They are a bit dusty, but they should work fine.” Kirk blew the dust off the red and white orbs into Wes and Rui’s faces, causing a mass coughing fit.

“Umm...sorry. I’ll give you some for free for that. How about five?” offered Kirk as he winced at their response.

“Thanks... I think I’ll buy another ten, for safety’s sake,” Wes said after he recovered. And so with a significantly heavier bag full of Poké Balls and a considerably lighter wallet, Rui and Wes made their way back to Phenac City for lunch.

***

Outside the mayor’s house, an old lady stood, observing the happenings in the city. She was well known for being a gossip, and spent most of her time spying upon others. People went to her if ever they wanted a chat about the latest in the town, such as news about any interesting newcomers or whether anyone had fallen in the fountain again.

Recently she had turned her attention to the mayor’s house. She could tell something interesting was happening there. She had the same feeling she was having now as well before; the sort that itched at you and refused to go away until it was attended to. The last time that happened, it turned out Jed’s overcooked apple pie HAD been the source of the burning smell that had caused a mass evacuation of Phenac City.

But what was up? The old veteran was thoroughly perplexed by the recent events around the Mayor’s house. First, that man (if he deserved such a title; he had looked more like an alien with poor dress sense) showed up in the Mayor’s house, and then the young man and that girl went in too… it was all very odd.

Then the lady had observed an explosion of sorts from near the Colosseum during a confrontation between that same boy and girl and a group of other people. After that, three people looking remarkably like Team Snagem members had ran past, looking the worse for wear and covered in black goo. Then the girl fell down the stairs without warning… all very peculiar. And then there was the gossip going on about a girl being saved from a kidnapping only hours beforehand, one of the many stories springing about every since news about Team Snagem’s hit on their base reached the media. There was a smell of change in the air, what with the reputed criminal gang suffering badly - and as a result that was all that was being talked about on Orre’s TV stations currently.

The senior sighed. Whatever it was, she sensed it wasn’t good, and probably won’t go away as easily as Jed’s apple pie had. Not that anyone else in town seemed to notice much, if at all. Recently she heard a man discussing that he ‘heard that a scuffle was going on at the town’s entrance’, but that he ‘couldn’t be bothered to find out what happened’…

That man is as naive as a Slakoth at times, deliberated the old woman to herself. I bet he didn’t notice the explosion either… then again, he wouldn’t even know the time of day. Either way… kidnappings and explosions don’t seem right when Team Snagem should have by all rights gone on the back foot. Something else is up.

Suddenly, the lady saw a strange shadow upon the ground. It jolted her out of her reverie and back to the present. She blinked at the shadow - it looked like it belonged to a rather large circular object… with a head attached to it.

Shakily, she turned around, to face… it. The ‘it’ in question gave a dazzling smile and bowed to the lady.

“Hello madam! Is this the mayor’s house?” it asked.

Unfortunately, ‘it’ received no answer as the woman gave a soft moan and promptly fainted in shock.

“Umm… Sorry? These poor citizens aren’t accustomed to my grace I fear...” it said to itself.

***

As Wes and Rui entered Phenac City, their attention was grabbed by the lady who was with them during Rui’s kidnapping.

“Oh! It’s you two! Something terrible is happening!” she said, panting as she ran to them and waving her arms about as if she was on fire, looking flustered and flurried. “Some scary looking men came here - including the two people who kidnapped you!”

Rui instantly tensed up at this news. Wes glanced at her before looking back at the lady.

“Where did they go?” asked Wes.

“Towards the mayor’s house, I think. Maybe the mayor is in trouble!” answered the lady.

At this Wes nodded. “Ok, I’m going to see what’s going on. Rui, you stay in the Pokémon centre till I come back.”

“No! I mean… I’m going with you,” said Rui.

“What?” Wes asked, surprised. “I man... it seems odd you want to go and risk yourself after these folk, and the same who had kidnapped you to boot.”

“I’m not letting those two away, and I’m certainly not letting you have all the fun,” smiled Rui. “So there.”

“Umm, ok then. Be careful though,” answered Wes. Didn’t expect her to be this confident.

She certainly did look more confident than before as she walked along with Wes towards the mayor house, up a set of white stone stairs flanked by a pair of small waterfalls. Wes hoped that all was well, and that the mayor was safe, but it didn’t seem to be good news that the two people had reappeared again and went about that area.

As they drew close to the mayor’s house however, they noticed a still figure by the mayor’s house.

“Hey… that’s an old woman! She’s unconscious!” shouted Rui as she poked the body with her foot.

“Shh! Can you hear that?” Wes chided, ignoring the lady for now. Something else had caught his attention. Rui, Espeon, Umbreon and Wes stood quietly for a moment and listened. There was a noise coming from the mayor’s house. It sounded almost like…

“Music?” asked Rui incredulously.

“Umbre!” (And from the sounds of it, good music too!)

“Maybe… the mayor’s having a party?” offered Rui, but even she didn’t believe that idea.

“Only one way to find out,” said Wes, barging into the house. Espeon and Umbreon ran in afterwards.

“Wait for me!” cried Rui. She too followed in, only to collide straight into Wes as soon as she came in.

“Hey, what gives…” asked Rui as she stood back up and looked at the still form of Wes. Then she realised what Wes was looking at and gaped at the sight.

“What is that?” she whispered.

The strangest scene was in front of them. Wes quickly recovered from his shock and surveyed the room just like he had been taught to while he had been with Team Snagem, mentally telling himself to keep focused on the task at hand.

There was no short chubby mayor to be seen, but both Folly and Trudly were present in the room. Three other men stood at the side of the room - one clad in green, one blue, and the last in red flashy uniforms. Not one looked like a member of Team Snagem.

But the strangest oddity was in the centre of the room. A tall man was dancing to very loud salsa music, clearly having fun as he spun and grooved across the carpeted floor. The man was in bright yellow, had odd disco-styled glasses, and looked like a relic from the seventies. But most noticeable was the fact that his considerable height was increased due to the large orb-like thing on his head. Wes first took it to be a Voltorb but quickly realised that it was actually an afro - and a very odd one at that. One side was dyed red, the other half white - rather like a Poké Ball.

“Espeon!?” (All right, who the HELL is this!?)

Umbreon however was the only one to take the look of the strange man in his stride, still nodding his head in time to the music.

“Master Miror B! It’s him! He’s the one that took the girl from us!” shouted Folly, pointing at the two as he noticed Wes’s and Rui’s appearance. Suddenly the man also seemed to take notice of the recent entrance of the two and ceased dancing, assuming a straight posture as he looked down at the newcomers. Luckily, the ceiling was just high enough to accompany his hair.

“Oh, aren’t you two pathetic!” he said to Folly and Trudly. “You couldn’t beat these infants? Trudly, song change! Something more suitable for the situation, if you will!”

Trudly grabbed a nearby radio and hit a button, changing the jovial music to a more grim, sinister tune.

“Umbre!” (Hey, I was enjoying that!) Umbreon cried in protest.

“Darling, did you say your name was Wes?” the man asked.

“Well, I didn’t actually say that it was my name, but yes, it is Wes,” he replied uncertainly. “And you are… Miror B?”

“Correct. And, well, I don’t like saying this, but we’re not at liberty to keep you lady friend at liberty,” he replied with an unfitting, dazzling smile.

Rui frowned at both the meaning implied behind the sentence, and the poor wording of it. Nevertheless, Miror B continued.

“She sees… things that ordinary people aren’t supposed to see. That won’t do… not at all.”

“Why not?” Rui demanded, but Miror B just turned to Folly and Trudly.

“Boys! Oh boys! I shall return to Pyrite town. Remember, I will wait for you with the little lady, and Wes as well. Am I making myself clear? I won’t accept failure from you two…”

Folly and Trudly gulped. Maybe it was strange that a man with a giant Poké Ball-themed afro and a snazzy, bright, yellow outfit with matching shoes was threatening them, but it worked to perfection.

“Ye…Yes, sir,” stammered Folly.

Clearly this…person holds power of some kind, thought Wes.

“Good!” Miror B sung happily as he then struck a dance pose that made all in the room cringe. “Let the music play! Let’s get it on!”

At this, Trudly obediently picked up the radio and changed the grim tune back to the previous salsa song. With that, Miror B ducked down and danced out as he took the radio with him, so that his afro could fit through the door. The three coloured men glared at Wes, before following Miror B as well. Slowly the music faded away.

Wes gave a questioning look to Folly and Trudly.

“What…who was that, exactly?”

Folly smirked. “Why, none other than Miror B, an administrator of none other than the Team Cipher!”

Wes grinned. Then Folly realised that he just revealed classified information.

“Damn it! You, you... you! You caught me off guard…”

“…Again…” added a frustrated Trudly.

“…but that won’t happen again! Go! Whismur and Lotad!”

“Oh no, you’re not going to kidnap me again!” Rui yelled angrily.

“Oh, I wouldn’t worry too much about that,” Wes said with a grin. “Remember; I’m here!”

“Espeon...” (Not very modest of you...) Espeon drawled.

One of the small pink Whismur that had been sent out last time Wes and Folly battled appeared, accompanied with a small blue creature that wore a deep-green lily pad upon its head. It let out a tired yawn and glanced at its trainer.

“Whismur!” (I hope I win… not you two again,) it added, catching sight of its opponents, Espeon and Umbreon.

“Lo...tad...” (Yawn… I was sleeping…)

“Umbreon! Attack the Lotad with Bite!” commanded Wes. Umbreon quickly darted forward and chomped on the small Pokémon’s leaf. It was seemingly attached to it as it was lifted into the air along with the lily pad.

“Lotad!” (Arrgh! Hey, what gives?) it cried in protest.

“Umbre!” (Hey, it’s like a Frisbee!) Umbreon proceed to toss the Lotad through the air to Espeon. His brother grinned before applying his Psychic powers to the Lotad, spinning it around in circles through the air and ignoring the further protests from the Pokémon to put it down so it could go back to sleep. Suddenly, the Lotad’s continuous path around the room took a sudden change and ended abruptly as it hit the Whismur directly in the face hard, knocking both out.

“Return…” said Folly sadly, summoning the two Pokémon to their respective Poké Balls. “I failed… again.”

“See?” Wes said to Rui, who smiled back weakly.

Trudly stepped forward. “Oh no you don’t! It’s my turn now! I’m not going to end up like Folly - and NOW I have my Pokémon! Go! Duskull and Spinarak!” Two new opponents appeared before Wes’s Pokémon, one a black floating skull-shaped ghost, the other a small green spider that started scurrying around straight into a wall.

“Espi…” (What, we have to beat these two as well? What a waste of energy,) Espeon smirked as he made this comment understandable to all in the room. Wes managed a grin.

“Okay, Spinarak! Attack with Spider Web!” Trudly shouted, trying to ignore the sarcastic comment.

“Spinarak!” (Web power for the win!) said the Spinarak as it dashed at the Eeveelution and spat out a large clump of sticky web at Espeon, only for Umbreon to quickly dart behind it and knock it flying back with a strong Tail Whip. The spider found itself colliding with its own attack in midair, and then the wall as Espeon ducked his head away from the attack. While it struggled to break free, Umbreon pounced once with another Bite attack which was enough to knock it out.

“Uh,” Trudly managed as Folly face-palmed. “Duskull, do... something!” His Pokémon glanced uncertainly at his trainer before waving itself at its two opponents.

“Dusk! Skull! Duskuuuul!” (Oooooh! I’m a ghost! Ghosts are scarrrrrrry!) it shouted.

The Eeveelutions exchanged glances before they sprang forward and struck the Pokémon simultaneously, and despite Duskull’s best attempts at continuing to scare them away it was predictably knocked out as well.

“Looks like you lost again,” grinned Wes, his grin widening. To his surprise, however, Trudly also grinned.

“Not quite. Go, Makuhita!” At this, a short, fat fighting-type Pokémon was sent out. Upon seeing his opponents, he brandished two large blue gloved hands in the air at them and waved angrily.

“Makuhita!” (Prepare to DIEEEE!) he shouted loudly as it stomped its feet.

“Espi?” (Come again?)

Wes frowned. This Pokémon, unlike the others that Folly and Trudly had offered up beforehand, looked rather capable, and also a little mad. But a two-on-one battle shouldn’t be too hard, thought Wes.

“Espeon! Attack with… what is it Rui? Stop tugging at my coat!”

Rui’s eyes however startled Wes - they were wide open - wider than before, if that was at all possible. She pointed a shaking finger at the Makuhita.

“Sh… sha…SHADOW! IT’S A SHADOW POKEMON” she screamed.

“Well… you didn’t have to shout in my ear,” winced Wes. “Hang on… shadow?” Wes gazed at the Makuhita. “Let’s see...yes, of course! I remember this Makuhita!”

“You do?”

“Espeon! Esp,” (Yeah, we have seen this one before! It was the one who had nearly escaped about a month back,) Espeon explained to the two.

“Umbreon!” (He gave Gonzap a sore leg!) Umbreon added with some respect.

“Yes, someone at Team Snagem stole it, and it was meant to made into a Shado-”

“Watch out!” cried Rui. Wes brought himself back to the present only to see Makuhita attack him with an Arm Thrust attack. Startled, Wes could only tense himself and cover himself with his arms to lessen the impact but was nevertheless sent flying towards a wall, remembering all too late that Shadow Pokémon didn’t mind attacking trainers. Fortunately, his crash was softened considerably - unfortunately for Rui.

“Umm, thanks Rui…” he said sheepishly.

“Gfttham frmhth nefhte!”

“What was that?” he asked.

“I said get off me!” Rui yelled.

Wes jumped off the somewhat squashed Rui, and mumbled an apology. Umbreon and Espeon glanced at the two worriedly for a second, and then glared angrily at Makuhita.

“Anyways, Wes… That’s the Pokémon I encountered earlier. And I can see a black aura! Can you see it?”

“Well… no, I can’t,” answered Wes.

“Oh, shut up with the yapping. Makuhita! Use Shadow Rush on Umbreon!” ordered Trudly.

“Shadow Rush?” inquired Rui.

Wes grimaced. “It’s a Shadow move… well, basically the only one there is. Shadow Pokémon can use it, and it hits - hard. Umbreon! Dodge and counter with Bite!”

“Umbreon!” (Easy!) Umbreon replied, and as the Makuhita charged at Umbreon, he nimbly jumped to the side just as the Fighting Pokémon swung a fist and bit Makuhita’s arm.

“Maku!” (Oww how dare you! You must die!)

“Makuhita! Use Arm Thrust!” Trudly shouted.

Makuhita primed its other arm to attack Umbreon, who was oblivious to the impeding danger, still clinging on to Makuhita’s arm.

“Espeon! Confusion!” Wes shouted in defence, prepared for this counter with his own. With a cry Espeon let lose a blast of energy at Makuhita. Shouting in response, Makuhita stoped focusing on hitting Umbreon, and clutched his own head. Umbreon realised something was up and released his hold on Makuhita’s arm, jumping away as the angry Pokémon started bashing his own head in.

“Hita! Hita! Hita!” (Die! Die! Die!) he shouted with each successive strike.

“Espeon…” (He must have anger management problems or something…)

“Damn! It’s confused… stop that! You stupid Pokémon!” shouted Trudly. At that, Makuhita glared at Trudly, and punched him.

“Oww!’ Trudly cried in pain, finding himself the target of Makuhita. He started running around the room, with Makuhita chasing him ferociously.

“You know, this is pretty amusing when he isn’t punching me,” Wes said as he watched.

“Wes… look! It’s getting tired!” Rui said.

Wes glanced at Makuhita, who was taking deep breathes in-between shouting insults as his running slowed.

“Good point. I guess now is as good a time as any!” With that, Wes grabbed a Poké Ball from his bag, and put it into the Snag Machine on his arm.

“What the… NO!!” cried Trudly, realising what Wes was about to do. With the grace of an experienced Pokémon veteran, Wes threw the Poké Ball at Makuhita which struck the preoccupied Pokémon in the head and proceeded to suck his form inside of it. Within a second Makuhita was gone from sight and all that remained was the Poké Ball as it landed on the floor.

All in the room stared at the lone capsule in the centre of the room. It wobbled once. It wobbled twice.

It wobbled a third time.

“Come on,” Wes said under his breath.

To be continued…





























…right now.


The Poké Ball… wobbled a fourth time.

And a fifth time.

“Huh?” everyone said.

Then it stopped. Umbreon trotted over to the Poké Ball, picked it up between its teeth, and walked back to Wes, dropping it at his feet.

“You… you snagged Makuhita!” gasped Rui.

“My Pokémon!” whinged Trudly. “You’re too good! And now I lost my Shadow!”

“What are we supposed to do now?” lamented Folly. “Miror B will punish us for sure…we won’t even get that salsa lesson he promised us!”

A pause followed as the two pondered their options. Wes raised an eyebrow at the last comment.

“ESCAPE!” shouted the pair suddenly, and they blitzed past Wes and Rui out of town faster than a raging Tauros.

“Yes! You did it, Wes!” cried Rui happily as she jumped in excitement. “You snagged it! And you defeated the kidnappers again!”

“Espeon? Esp!” (What about us? We did all the fighting, and all he did was chuck a Poké Ball at it!)

“Umbreon!” (Keep quiet, and we might get a pat on the head!)

“Espeon…” (Well, a good point, I’ll give you that…) Espeon conceded.

“But I’m sure there are others like it… Let’s get them all from the baddies!” added Rui. She beamed at Wes who looked at her questioningly.

Great. NOW she wants us to snag all the Shadow Pokémon?

***


And thus the greatest character in all of Pokemon has showed up. \o/


Show ContentSpoiler:
[Image: suisdbsf.png]
By TwilightBlade of PC. =D
Reply

#8
Late with editing, but a new chapter for here nonetheless!



***
Chapter 4 – The Wonders of Pyrite


As Wes stared at Rui and regarded her statement, the mayor walked into the house.

“Hello... what happened here?” he asked with a soft, painful moan as he observed the overturned flowerpots. He poked at a painting lying against the base of the wall which had snapped clean from its hinge. It promptly broke into two and clattered on the battered carpet.

“Umm… well, there was this thing inside with a Voltorb - I mean hair, and some random people in colours, and then the two men that kidnapped me were there as well and a Shadow Pokémon-” began Rui, before the mayor cut in.

“Mi…ah… who were here? And what’s this about Shadow Pokémon again?”

“Oh, Wes has it now,” answered Rui, grabbing the Poké Ball containing Makuhita from Wes’ hands.

“Hey!” retorted Wes.

“I wonder what this button does…” wondered Rui, examining the object in her hand curiously. Upon pressing it, Makuhita came out of the Poké Ball, to Rui’s surprise and Wes’s bemusement that Rui was unfamiliar with the workings of a Poké Ball.

The Makuhita glanced at his surroundings, then back at Wes, only to realise that he no longer belonged to Trudly. Not that he cared - Trudly had been too dumb to know his left hand from his right. Stupid Trudly. Makuhita glared at his new owner and a girl with big fat eyes and a bewildered expression as she examined a Poké Ball, before his eyes widened.

“Maku…. ta!” (Who are you…DIE!) he exclaimed, catching sight of the mayor. He gave a loud bellow and charged at him. However, the short fat mayor nimbly dodged Makuhita’s attack just before contact was made, with unusual grace for one of his size and shape. Makuhita collided headfirst with a bookshelf which then fell down and tipped a large number of books upon the floor, distracting the Shadow Pokémon from his intent.

“Maku!” (Stupid books! You must suffer!) he cried, before proceeding to tear the pages of a particularly expensive-looking book. Wes shakily grabbed the Poké Ball off Rui, and directed it at Makuhita.

“Return, Makuhita!” he commanded, before a ray of red materialised around Makuhita, sending the angry Pokémon back into the Poké Ball.

“Umm…Sorry?” apologised Rui.

“That’s… a Shadow Pokémon,” offered Wes. “As you can see, it’s unusually angrier than normal Pokémon.”

“I see…” answered the mayor, blinking at the further mess that Makuhita had caused. He then glared at Wes and Rui.

“Please leave,” he said evenly to them. Wes didn’t blame him - he too would be angry if someone trashed their office.

Poor guy - he’s got a lot to deal with at the moment, thought Wes, as he walked out the door with Rui and Espeon, as Umbreon trotted behind with a book in his mouth. They ignored the fainted woman outside the mayor’s office.

***

After a delayed and slow lunch in a small takeaway joint, Wes and Rui headed to the Pokémon centre. Ignoring the girl who yet again questioned him on whether or not he was a trainer, Wes sat down at a table and looked at Espeon.

Well... what do you and Umbreon think? Wes thought to Espeon, deciding it would be best to ask silently. About going and snagging other Pokémon and helping them, I mean.

Well, Espeon communicated back, you DID help steal them in the first place. We just got one we saw earlier, no?

Yeah, but... Wes began.

Could have been one of us, Espeon added mildly.

Especially me! Umbreon added.

...True, you have a point, Wes admitted. And I’ve nothing else to do... Guess you’re going to get some new friends then.

But that one is all...punchy, Umbreon complained back.

“So…” said Wes to Rui, “what do you make of what happened there, anyway? Or this?” he added, holding up the Poké Ball containing Makuhita.

“I’m thoroughly confused by the recent happenings…” confessed Rui, tugging at one of her ponytails. “Especially that man, with the hair…”

“Ah, yes, the Man with the Hair,” repeated Wes. He moved towards a nearby PC and started typing. “What was his name…Mirror B? What kind of name is that?”

“And Cipher? I never heard of them,” Rui said.

“No, neither have I,” answered Wes after a few minutes. “And I can’t find any information on them anywhere… very secretive. However, there is some on Miror B - and his name is spelt M-I-R-O-R… odd. Maybe his parents couldn’t spell or something…”

“Really?” exclaimed Rui excitedly as she leaned over. An article was displayed on the computer screen written few years ago featuring a large picture of the man with an enthusiastic Ludicolo in the background. Accompanying the article was the headline “Weirdo Wins Dance Competition”. Nothing much was available in the article about Miror B himself - only that his addictive Salsa music and unique dance style had taken the competition by storm. After a few more searches, which pulled out similar articles about Miror B winning dance competitions and contests, Wes gave up, seeing that he wouldn’t find much more about the enigma.

“Festive sort of person,” commented Wes as he logged off the P.C., and turned to Rui. “So, the big question is… why is…Cipher - whoever they are - interested in you?”

“Well,” began Rui, “either Cipher could have something to do with Shadow Pokémon, or those three just didn’t want me ratting on them having a Shadow Pokémon.”

“I’m leaning towards the second option,” said Wes. “Firstly, it’s tough to keep a large criminal syndicate secret - and I’ve never heard of this group. Team Snagem is known by nearly everyone and they deal with stealing and then making Shadow Pokémon. This may just be some small wannabe team that did a deal with Team Snagem concerning Shadow Pokémon."

“You may be right… but to kidnap me? And raid the mayor’s office?” Rui frowned slightly and wrangled her hands.

“Maybe they knew that if news about Shadow Pokémon got leaked, then Team Snagem would come after them. So they got desperate, and went for desperate measures. And between you and me, Folly and Trudly ain’t that bright…"

"Espeon!" (Understatement of the year!)

“What gets at me,” continued Wes, “is that why would Team Snagem give out a Shadow Pokémon…”

“Umbre!” (To celebrate Christmas!) Umbreon offered, earning a slap from Espeon’s tail.

“I think what may be more likely is say doing it as a test to see how it would act outside of their control with normal people, but then I wouldn’t know.”

“I thought you worked with them?” inquired Rui.

“I did. But I was simply a Snagger - they wouldn’t tell me what they did with the Pokémon I stole. I honestly have no idea how they even made Pokémon Shadow - only that they ‘closed the heart’ or something…”

“I think we should go to Pyrite Town,” butted in Rui bluntly. “We have the Shadow Pokémon, but no real idea why I was kidnapped…”

“Aren’t you a bit worried for your own safety?” asked Wes once again struck by how brave Rui acted in the region of Orre, despite already getting kidnapped in what must have been record time.

“…Nope!” answered Rui with a smile. Not with you near me, she added silently to herself.

“Alright then,” Wes said. “Let’s go investigate. It’ll be an interesting trip - never been there myself yet although I’m fairly sure I know the way. We’ll take the Zoomer if you’re ready to go now.” When Rui nodded Wes stood up only for the old man by the PC to leap out at Wes and grab his arm.

“You can use that PC, you know,” he began.

“Oh not again,” moaned Wes, smothering out his blue trench coat that the man had wrinkled. “Didn’t you see me just use it five minutes ago?”

“Did you know that you can save the game by using the PC as well?” the man continued enthusiastically, ignoring Wes’s comments and grinning up at the tall teenager.

“Save… the… game?” repeated Rui blankly.

“Why yes! Better save often, otherwise you could lose your game data!”

Right, he’s crazy, Wes decided.

“Save the game,” prompted the man.

“Um… I have to go now…” said Wes, desperately searching for an escape route past the man, but the only one was blocked by the persisting figure.

“Save the game NOW!” demanded the man in a deeper, more serious tone, as his grip on Wes’s arm tightened. Wes looked at Rui with worry who shrugged.

“Uh...Umm, look! A distraction!” said Wes, pointing in a random direction.

“Where?” asked the man, turning to stare at a wall, but before realising his error Wes and Rui had made a dash for the exit successfully, knocking over the “Are you a Trainer?” girl on their way out.

“Stupid region,” Wes grumbled as they ran towards the entrance. “Full of... flaming weirdoes... Arrgh!” he shouted as a man clad in a blue similar to Wes's coat from head to toe jumped out at them from the pool of water by the exit.

“Sorry to break it to you, but you may not pass!” he yelled over-dramatically as water dripped from his clothes onto the tiled pathway.

“Sure, whatever, blue man…” muttered Wes. He walked on past the man. Blue’s a good colour, but there’s such a thing as too much blue.

“Do you have any idea who I am?” the man said slowly but loudly, beginning to pace about. “You dare to walk by and insult the wonderful colour of blue by ignoring it? You bear the same colour, yet you scoff at it? You ruined our plans for now, but I, yes, I will seek redemption for us! Yes, there is no getting out of this town now! The only way that you will be allowed past is if you can beat me in a battle… HEY!” shouted the blue man. He only realised now that Wes and Rui had already gone a good hundred metres out of town, blatantly ignoring him.

“Damn,” muttered the man to himself. “This always happens. I start to trail off, and then I get onto a totally unrelated subject, like when will I get a pay rise, or when it will rain. It’s an interesting dilemma for Orre as the annual rainfall for the last ten years has not been lower since… well, ever, but nevertheless if the drought doesn’t end soon… damn, I’ve done it again…” he muttered to himself. He quickly ran up to Wes and Rui, who were already by the Zoomer.

“Hey! Stop there, and prepare to be… stopped!” he shouted. He then grabbed a Poké Ball from his pocket, and chucked it in front of the Zoomer. A purple creature with the appearance of a deranged kindergarten’s attempt at making something out of play-dough materialised.

“Grimer!” (Everyone hates me, so I hate you!) it shouted at Wes and Rui.

“Ugh!” said Rui, gagging slightly as a wicked stench hit them from the small Pokémon.

“Grim…” (See what I mean?) it sadly said, placing an arm on a small nearby plant that had denied the harsh desert conditions to reach the modest height of a couple of inches. Upon contact with the Grimer’s arm, the plant instantly withered and died.

“Grim! Grimer!” (OH NO! Sorry plant, sorry!) it cried.

“Espi-Espeon…” (Is it just me, or is it odd that a Grimer cares for the environment?) Espeon pondered sarcastically, amused by the irony of it.

Wes frowned at the newcomer, thinking for a moment before realisation set in. “Weren’t you in the mayor’s house?”

“Yes! And now we shall do battle, because otherwise I may get a pay cut if I let you get away, and that wouldn’t be good, because I don’t get paid enough as it is…”

Wes and Rui exchanged glances.

“Whatever,” said Wes. “I’ll battle you. I’ve had it with Cipher as it is.” And by the looks of that Grimer, this will be a pushover, much like the other Pokémon they have, he thought.

“Umbre? Umbreon?” (We have to battle AGAIN? Are we getting paid for this?)

“Aha! So battle we shall! Yes, I the mighty Bluno shall take you down!” he shouted, before glancing at his Grimer who was crying murky tears which dissolved the ground they landed upon. “Oh, you’re feeling blue again!?” the man said to it before pausing for a moment. “Get it? Depressed... feeling blue...?”

The Grimer continued to cry.

“Well, uh...go, Spoink and Croconaw!” proclaimed the blue man, tossing two Poké Balls towards Espeon and Umbreon.

“Bluno?” asked Rui incredulously. Wes ignored the name though and focused on the new arrivals. One was a gray pig-like creature with a pearl on its head, and a notable absence of a body or legs. Instead it had a spring, of all things. It started bouncing up and down upon it in a repetitive rhythm. The second Pokémon was a fat yet ferocious-looking blue crocodile Pokémon; large teeth exposed as the Pokémon open its mouth and chomped on air aggressively.

“Spoink!” (Bouncing is fun!)

“Croconaw!” (You shall die!)

“Umbreon!” (Bacon!) he cried upon seeing the pig-like Pokémon. Before Wes could issue a command, he had already charged forward excitedly, preparing for a Bite attack.

“Spoink!” (Oww!) cried the Spoink as Umbreon bit hard, before leaping a good twenty metres into the air. Umbreon was left dangling on, desperate not to let go. Espeon decided to watch on, amused.

“Espeon! As funny as it is, don’t just sit there! Attack with…” started Wes.

“Wes!” Rui cut in. “I’m afraid…" Rui gulped. "Croconaw is also a... SHADOW POKEMON!!! ARRGH!” Rui was clearly scared out of her wits, although she seemed to be acting a bit overdramatically with expansive arm movements synchronising with her shouting.

“WHAT!?” said Wes. This can’t be right… This Cipher has two Shadow Pokémon? Why...

“Use Shadow Rush!” commanded Bluno. At his request, the Croconaw charged at Espeon with surprising speed, with Espeon giving a sharp cry before leaping to the side and diving into the dust as Croconaw narrowly missed his target. Espeon attempted to hit back by throwing itself at his adversary with a Return attack, but he instead bounced off Croconaw’s body upon contact. Espeon charged at Croconaw again, with similar results to the previous effort.

“That’s one tough Pokémon,” Wes said quietly, tugging at his ear while trying to think up a battle strategy.

Meanwhile, Spoink kept on bouncing up to extreme heights and back down to Earth, with Umbreon still hanging on and repositioning himself so he wouldn’t hit the ground. Then Spoink suddenly jerked its body, causing Umbreon to lose his grip and fall a considerable distance – only for him to land right on top of Croconaw’s head. Umbreon bounced off and landed clumsy with a squeak before springing back up to his feet. The Croconaw groggily looked around to see what hit him so suddenly and rubbed his head.

“Espeon and Umbreon, use Return and Tackle on Croconaw now, simultaneously!” shouted Wes. The two Pokémon dashed forward and hit Croconaw high into the air as it gave a groan and flailed its arms in surprise.

“Oh no,” Bluno said. Everybody watched Croconaw approach Spoink’s path of movement, the pig Pokémon still bouncing in relief of having survived Umbreon’s Bite. Too late, it realised the danger.

“Oink… ” (This is gonna hurt.)

It was right. The two collided in midair, and unsurprisingly, Spoink came off second best and fainted, falling to the ground. Croconaw then plummeted towards the ground as well, still conscious but rather dazed.

“Croc!” (Bugger!) it moaned, crashing just as a Snag Ball struck it and instantly engulfed the Pokémon. After such a big fall giant hit Wes was unsurprised when after a few shakes the Poké Ball quickly pinged in announcement of the successful Snag.

“Oh no! You snagged by Croconaw - my Pokémon which had been a team-mate ever since I got it. Which wasn’t for very long but anyway… damn you!” shouted Bluno. “Get ‘em, Grimer!” he commanded, pointing squarely at Wes.

However Grimer was still too distressed over the dead plant to attack, as it sat there and continued to bemoan the loss of life he had caused. Wes nodded and got to leave, climbing onto the Zoomer along with Rui. Casting one last look to the oasis of water in Phenac City, Wes turned around and headed out to the parched dry desert that awaited them.

Bluno sighed. “Folly and Trudly can’t be blamed for losing…you won convincingly! But just because you have my Shadow Pokémon, it doesn’t mean that this is over! No, I will take my revenge on you, and it shall be sweet, like candy! Sweet, sweet candy! But for now I must begin plotting. Or maybe I should first find someplace to sleep…”

Bluno, yet again absorbed in his own words, failed to notice that Rui and Wes had long gone, leaving him outside Phenac city chatting to a fainted Spoink and a depressed Grimer.

***

In the meantime Wes and Rui sped towards Pyrite Town, dust clouds forming behind them as Wes learnt how to make the Zoomer move faster.

“So what do you think about Bluno and him having another Shadow Pokémon?” shouted Rui over the roar of the Zoomer.

“It’s left me confused,” admitted Wes. “It is possible the Team Snagem gave them two Shadow Pokémon, but… something doesn’t seem right. Anyway, what’s Pyrite Town like?” inquired Wes.

“Smelly,” answered Rui. “And rather messy as well. Nothing like my home town – but it’s my first time in Orre, after all. I was on my way to Agate Village to visit my grandparents.”

“Explains a few things,” Wes said. “Well, no surprises about Pyrite being messy; surely shouldn’t be all that different to where I came from. What were you doing there in the first place anyway? Before you got kidnapped?”

A long pause ensued, as Wes waited for an answer while making sure he didn’t direct the Zoomer into any rocks that popped up in the trail to Pyrite every so often.

“Rui?”

“Espeon!” (Can’t you see that she’s having flashbacks?) asked the psychic Pokémon.

“Well you could tell me next time...” Wes grumbled.

***

“Alright, get off de bus! We’re gonna refuel it, so get outta da way!” shouted a disgruntled and uneducated bus driver. A tired group of people wandered off the bus as Rui bounded after them.

“When’s dinner?” asked Rui curiously, twirling a finger through her orange hair.

“Later,” answered the bus driver.

“What’s your name?” persisted Rui.

“Umm…” began the bus driver, trying to remember.

“You’re boring,” announced Rui, and with a grin, hopped off the bus. It was fun to annoy that bus driver, and doing so had provided her entertainment for the long trip to Agate Village. It had been her parents’ idea for Rui to go alone to Agate this time, and Rui was looking forward to meeting her grandparents.

Rui walked around town, wondering what to do to make time go by. She didn’t think much of Pyrite Town personally and hoped that Agate was still better than this place - it stunk, and in more ways than one. Although she had to admit that the buskers by the side of the street did play some pretty catchy music.

“Hey look! Is that Tailow… wild?” someone exclaimed. Wild Pokémon were rather rare for the harsh Orre desert, so a wild Pokémon was a find indeed.

That someone was Folly.

“Out of my way - I’m going to catch it!” cried Trudly, as he pushed Folly out of the way. “Go Makuhita! Shadow Rush!”

Trudly threw the Poké Ball at the Tailow as Makuhita materialised from it, pumping his arms in the air angrily and glaring venomously at the tiny bird with squinty eyes.

“Maku!” (I will eat you up, little bird!) it shouted. It was at this point that the Tailow decided to fly off, not at all appealed by the statement made.

“That was your fault, Folly!” blamed Trudly despite the fact that Folly hadn’t done anything, walking up to his friend.

“Bah. The Tailow was probably scared off by your own face…” said Folly. “Hey, what are you looking at?” Folly asked Rui, noticing her look aghast at Makuhita start to chase a random passer-by. Trudly noticed what Makuhita was doing and started yelling at it to stop.

Rui meanwhile gaped. Despite not having a Pokémon or any sort of Pokémon item for that matter, she knew enough about them, and she knew that an angry-looking Pokémon giving off a violent violet aura wasn’t right.

“Why… why does it have that… aura?” she asked.

“Aura? What are you talking about?” said Trudly, before realization appeared on his face.

“Umm… nothing,” said Rui, walking quickly back to the bus. However Trudly and Folly quietly followed her just as quickly. Rui broke into a run - maybe if she could reach the bus, she’d be safe -

It was then when she ran headfirst into a lamppost.

She lost consciousness, and Trudly and Folly quickly put her into a conveniently nearby sack without anyone noticing or caring – after all, in Pyrite, it was important to look out for yourself and yourself only. Trudly grabbed a phone from his pocket and dialled a number.

“Boss? We seem to have caught a girl who recognized our Shadow Pokémon without knowing it was one … whoops, wrong number, damn,” he said, hurriedly hanging up on a confused pizza delivery service man.

As they slunk out of town, the bus driver called back the passengers, not noticing that Rui was missing.

***

“What’s that?” asked Rui, snapping out of her flashback and noticing a large white tower near them. She blinked at it, having not expected to have seen this in the middle of the desert.

“That? That’s… um, some new Colosseum,” answered Wes, deciding to ask Rui about Pyrite Town at some later date. “Want to go have a closer look?”

However, there wasn’t much to see there - although the tall, state-of-the art proud tower was visually stunning against the clear blue sky, the mess around it wasn’t. Nor were the lazy grubby workers, who at first were intent at keeping them away.

“Get out of here! This is a construction site, not some tourist attraction!” protested one worker. Wes and Rui blinked at the outburst.

“Oh, I give up,” said one worker, as Rui and Wes peered at the clutter of bricks, wheelbarrows, steel frames and half-eaten remains of sandwiches.

“I’ll be glad to go home after this,” sighed one of the workers, rubbing a cloth over his dirty sweaty face. “It’s been a long time since I was home - but we’re nearly done.”

“Who exactly owns the tower?” asked Rui.

“Oh, he wouldn’t reveal who he - or she - was. We got approached by some people ‘representing’ him,” replied the worker. “But whoever the person is, that person had a lot of cash…” he added as he grinned, happily thinking of the large bag of money given to them.

“Well, let’s get going,” interrupted Wes, put off by the sight of the worker’s rotting teeth. “Better go to Pyrite and find somewhere to sleep - it’s getting dark.” The sun was getting closer to the horizon, and due to the lack of urban build up and thus pollution in the sparsely populated Orre region, the sunsets were nice to watch, one untainted feature Orre had to offer over the larger regions.

That was until they reached their destination. It wasn’t without reason than Pyrite Town attracted the fewest tourists to it for any part in Orre.

Pyrite Town only looked marginally better than the mess outside the new tower, albeit the appearance was spread around the entire city. The town could only boast of having the worst waste management system, a sole shop that smelled like cheese, a shabby Colosseum and a few low-profile houses. The ‘highlight’ of the town was the large windmill that was the town's only source of power. Random artefacts littered the faded, cracked concrete ground, and the buildings looked rather small - smaller than what houses normally were at any rate, but there was evidence that these were residential buildings.

By the entrance a police officer was interrogating an aloof man. Wes grinned – he knew of the man as Officer Johnson, infamous for being the village idiot of Pyrite around the region, and few came close to stripping that title from him. Not that Johnson shared that opinion; he truly believed the opposite, and displayed his navy blue uniform proudly as he yapped to the man about the importance of not breaking windows.

“Aw, Mr Johnson, give a man a break here. I tell you - I don’t know anything!” protested Cail, before glancing at his watch and showing it to Johnson. “Look, I got to go and do some, uh, lawful stuff. Real lawful, and I’m going to be late.”

“That better be true - if you are trying to con me, I’ll know about it!” claimed Johnson, in an overly-loud voice. A distant cry of ‘shut up!’ could be heard.

“I wouldn’t think about lying to you! You’ve got to believe me!” Cail said, in an overly-fake voice, complete with eye roll. Johnston seemed oblivious.

“All right, fine… I’ll let you off easy today. But don’t forget… if you find out anything about the...” Johnson then paused, trying to remember what he had been talking about. “Yes, the... theft of the cookie from the cookie jar, to tell me about it!” With that Johnson nodded and left, chanting ‘Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar’ to himself, looking for some opportunity to be the town’s hero.

Cail chuckled to himself. “Heheh, what a nitwit. Of course I haven’t got a thing to tell him! And the fact that he ended up believing that a cookie was stolen…” Cail continued chuckling until he noticed Wes and Rui.

“What are you looking at? Are you tourists or what? If you don’t want to get hurt, get lost, and quick, for the good of your health,” he addressed, before walking off arrogantly.

An old man came up to the bemused pair. “Never mind him - he gets all protective of his turf. Welcome to Pyrite - town of earth, wind and money.”

“It’s also smelly…” added Rui, wrinkling her nose at the smell.

“Oh, you’ll get used to it in a few days,” replied the old man brightly. “Though beware - there are ne’er-do-well sorts here,” he warned, as Wes and Rui delved into the town to find a place to sleep, navigating through various pieces of garbage. Wes quickly located a hotel, and walked in.

The place looked mildly decent – it was markedly cleaner than the street outside for a start, although the person behind the counter had an obvious drinking problem, and looked at them with bloodshot eyes.

“Hello,” began Wes cautiously. “We’d like a place to stay…”

“$100,” interrupted the man. “Each.”

“What?” demanded Wes. “$100 each? That’s crazy! Nobody charges that much!” Wes shook his head at the high price – it more suited a five-star hotel in a tourist destination in the Pokémon world, rather than a humble motel in a slum like Pyrite.

“Well I do,” slurred the drunken hotel keeper. “Seeing as I own the only hotel in this dump!”

“Well, we’ll see about that!” announced Wes, walking out. Rui followed behind. As Wes walked out, he noticed the large neon sign over the hotel. It read:

Pyrite Hotel - the ONLY hotel in town!

“Doesn’t that say…” began Rui.

“Probably a typo. It can’t be the ONLY hotel in town,” reasoned Wes.

However an hour later, Wes admitted that there was a lack of hotels in Pyrite. Wes had even tried asking some people for a bed for the night, but they had all declined. One particular occupant had chased Wes and Rui out with a broom, thinking that they were trying to sell her a hotel instead.

“Shall we go in and pay? I’m sleepy, and I’ve had enough of being chased by crazy residents,” Rui said.

“But I’m stingy, and proud of it!” declared Wes, who was giving evil stares through the window at the hotel keeper, who was on his fifth bottle of wine. “Besides - I think I’ve found a way in,” he added with a grin.

A minute later, the innkeeper ran out of the hotel and out of town screaming, with various floating objects following him.

“Nice work, Espeon,” Wes, said, kneeling down to give Espeon a pat.

“Espi!” (It’s fun to scare people!)

“Umbreon…” (How come I didn’t get psychic powers…)

“I don’t quite agree with your methods… but I guess they work,” admitted Rui, as they walked in, and looked for a bed of their choice. Satisfied with a room nearby the entry, they settled down into two low-lying beds. “’Night,” she added.

“Goodnight,” replied Wes. “Hopefully we’ll resolve this whole thing tomorrow,” he added with a yawn, before settling down to sleep.

***


Hurrah for a new location in the game! This is our new setting for quite a while.

Stuff in the game/chapter:
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[Image: suisdbsf.png]
By TwilightBlade of PC. =D
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#9
***

Chapter 5 – The Stench of Pyrite Town



Wes yawned as he woke up, groggily sitting up as his bed creaked nosily in response and stretching his arms out. Unknown to him, he had bumped an alarm clock off the desk besides him onto Umbreon who yelped and jumped a metre into the air as the clock rung obnoxiously loud.

“What’s wrong with you?” asked Wes sleepily. Umbreon glared at Wes.

“Hungry?” asked Wes. He rummaged through his bag and pulled out a can of food for his Pokémon he had picked up at the shops back in Phenac. “Here you are,” he offered, placing it by Umbreon.

“Um... Umbreon!” (Um… that’s not it, but good enough!) he said happily, as he deftly bit open the can and started eating. Meanwhile, Rui also sat up and rubbed her eyes as she looked at Wes from her bed on the other side of the room.

“Sleep well?” asked Wes.

“Sleep well?” she asked back with an eye roll. “What with you snoring and that bloke next door talking in his sleep…”

“Umm… sorry…” Wes apologised. He scratched his head and tried to remember the last time someone commented on his sleeping behaviour. “But what do you mean someone was talking in their sleep?”

“Uh huh. Something about a Zigzagoon using Tackle… but I took care of him,” grinned Rui.

“Espeon!” (You bet she did! Poor guy…) yawned Espeon, waking up and slowly stretching out his legs. Seeing Umbreon eating, he used his psychic powers to get a can of Poke food from Wes’ bag to float to him. He neatly separated lid from can, and discarded the lid in a nearby bin.

“Sure whatever, serve yourself…” mumbled Wes. He decided that he really didn’t want to know what Rui did to the sleep talker next door for the moment. He was simply too tired at the moment to worry about that.

“What’s the time?” he asked Rui.

”Well, it’s…” Rui began, consulting her watch, “almost eleven o’clock,” she answered mildly.

Wes sat upright. “Eleven o’clock?”

“Uh huh. Guess yesterday’s… occurrences really took it out of us.”

“Fair enough. Man, I’m hungry…” muttered Wes, watching Espeon and Umbreon chow down their food. “I guess Makuhita and Croconaw are also hungry. What say you give them a formal welcome, Espeon and Umbreon?”

“Umbreon…” (Fine… hope they’re not all crazy like before,) said Umbreon, as Wes took two Poké Balls off his belt and glanced at them for a short moment. He then directed them towards the ground, and pressed the button on the red-white colour split that decorated the spherical capsule. Multicoloured beams of light shot out of the Poké Balls, travelling in a jagged line towards the ground, illuminating the room. Upon contact with the ground, the beams of light diverted into two separate 3D shapes. Almost instantly, Makuhita and Croconaw emerged from the kaleidoscope of coloured illuminations that had materialised on the floor.

“Esp?” (Why does he always try to make that process exceedingly spectacular?)

Wes ignored this comment and observed the two Shadow Pokémon. He was still uneasy about them, especially as Makuhita had attacked him before he was snagged. Then again, Makuhita didn’t seem that aggressive against him right now. Perhaps attacking trainers was a concept that Shadow Pokémon didn’t disrespect in their altered state. Wes shuddered. Just how did Snagem make Shadow Pokémon anyway? And where?

Meanwhile, Makuhita glared around at his surroundings. Upon seeing Croconaw, it gave a low grow. The blue wide crocodile stared coldly down at the stouter Makuhita in response.

“Strange…” muttered Rui.

“What is?” asked Wes.

“Makuhita’s aura seems slightly smaller than before… or maybe I’m just imagining it.”

“Maku! Hita Hita!” (How dare you glare at me! I am far stronger than you!) shouted Makuhita loudly, waving his arms in the air menacingly.

“Croc-naw,” (I have no interest in what you say,) sniffed Croconaw disdainfully.

“His aura is smaller? Maybe… I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but one never knows…” Wes trailed off uncertainly.

“What do you think… could they become… normal again?” asked Rui.

“Maku!” (You’re just jealous of my strength!)

“Croc? Croconaw?” (What’s there to be jealous of? Your stupid squinty eyes, or your exceedingly large mass?)

“MAKU!” (That’s IT!) cried Makuhita, launching himself at Croconaw. Croconaw deftly dodged the attack, but Makuhita anticipated this and quickly changed direction, charging at Croconaw. Just before a full-on brawl ensured, both Pokémon found themselves frozen on the spot.

“Espeon…” (Behave, you two,) warned Espeon sternly.

“Maybe… but it’s probably too early to tell. However there’s the fact that you can discern Shadow Pokémon from normal ones, which means the shadow process is imperfect. And who’s to say that the shadow process is permanent?” said an oblivious Wes.

“I hope that’s the case,” replied an equally ignorant Rui, not noticing the scuffle between Wes’s new Shadow Pokémon.

“Maku!” (Stupid Espeon! Can’t you let me finish him?) Makuhita said. He tried to shake his fist at the Psychic type.

“Croc…” (Quiet, you annoying incompetent thing,) Croconaw said with a sniff.

“Umbreon, Umbreon?” (Why can’t we be friends, why can’t we be friends…?) the Dark type tried to reason. The off-key singing from the Pokémon did attract Wes’ attention again, who knelt down and turned to them.

“Hello, you two. As you may have guessed, I’m your new trainer. This is Espeon and Umbreon,” he said, nodding to Espeon and Umbreon. He tried a smile, but it fell slightly when Makuhita responded by giving Espeon a death stare, and Croconaw folded his arms and looked the other way. Espeon gave Wes a look of mild amusement.

“Umb...Umbreon!” (Oh calm down... you’re all acting like new born Bonsly!)

“Croc!” (You can talk, Mr. Moan-a-lot!) retorted Croconaw. Umbreon growled in response.

Wes sensed something was not right. He knew his own Pokémon well enough to get the gist of what they were saying - Espeon in particular was quite the translator being a Psychic Pokémon. And although he was unfamiliar with Makuhita and Croconaw, he knew that his new Pokémon wouldn’t be winning the Nobel Prize for Peace anytime soon.

“I guess I’ll have to resort to the language of all Pokémon then,” he said, grabbing his bag. “Hungry?” he asked Makuhita and Croconaw, as he pulled out another couple of cans of food. Immediately the tension in the air evaporated, as Croconaw and Makuhita promptly forgot about their argument.

“Maku? Hita hit!” (Food? Stupid Trudly never fed me!) Makuhita exclaimed, grabbing the can and squeezing it until the lid popped off. “Makuhita,” (And he wondered why I kept punching him,) he added.

“Croc Naw!” (Finally somebody’s talking sense here!)

Wes smiled. He knew just how to solve a quarrel between Pokémon. He turned to Rui as Makuhita and Croconaw quickly finished their meals.

“How about we go for a late breakfast?” he asked.

“I was waiting for you to say that,” said Rui. “Although wouldn’t it be an early lunch?”

“No, I still say it’s called breakfast,” claimed Wes, recalling his Shadow Pokémon into his Poké Balls, not quite trusting them to walk the streets of Pyrite without causing mayhem. After all, they were Shadow Pokémon, and he didn’t want the goons from Cipher to see either of them in his possession.

“What’s wrong with calling it lunch? It’s late enough as it is,” queried Rui, as they left the abandoned hotel.

“What about… ‘brunch’?” offered Wes.

“‘Brunch’? That doesn’t sound appealing at all!”

***

Yet again, Pyrite town presented problems to Wes and Rui. Wes resorted to using his Pokémon to help search for a place to eat. They had split up with Rui and Espeon one way, and Wes and Umbreon the other way. They met up outside a closed Poké Mart with a sign on the door proclaiming that the owner had ‘Gone Fishing’ - where the owner would fish in the desert Wes had no idea. It didn’t seem that he would be back yet at any rate.

“Any luck?” asked Wes.

“No,” replied Rui. Wes noted that Rui was strangely distracted by a tall nearby lamppost randomly placed in the middle of town.

“What’s up with this place?” grumbled Wes. “No restaurants, no fast food takeaways - heck, there’s not even a shoddy kebab stand in sight!”

“Let’s ask,” decided Rui, walking towards a bystander with his hands in his pockets. “Excuse me…” she began.

“ARRGH! Get away from me!” the man shouted, running several paces away from the girl. “You’re trying to hit me up for money, aren’t you?” he accused.

“Umm… no, I just want to know…” continued Rui, slightly frightened by this outburst herself.

“Well I’m NOT giving anyone any more money!” declared the man, running off. Rui blinked.

Just then, the old woman that had chased them the night previous opened her door to her house, shouted “Stop trying to sell me money!” and slammed the door shut.

“This town is… weird,” exclaimed Rui.

“Espeon,” (This region is weird,) Espeon corrected.

“It seems most people here are on edge. I don’t particularly blame them - judging the mess this town is in - and the police service…” Wes said, referring to Johnson. “Is there anyone who is in charge here?” he wondered.

“Hey! I found a place!” declared Rui, reading a sign by a house near the town’s entrance. Wes went up to the notice which stated in large print:


PYRITE’S MOTHER’S FORTUNE TELLING
Have your future told - if you dare…

Special deal - free meal* with first reading
[SIZE=x-[/size]small]*meal may be of questionable quality and variable quantity[/SIZE]


Wes scrutinised the sign. Frankly he did not go into the mysteries of the future all that much - especially after Espeon had once told him he would have been a good violinist. How very wrong was he. He also didn’t like the sound of the disclaimer at the bottom of the sign, but a meal was a meal.

“Espeon…” (I HAD told him ‘guitarist’, not ‘violinist’, but how he misunderstood me…) moaned Espeon, reading Wes’s thoughts, but commenting to no one in particular.

Rui was much more positive about the find, taken in by the mysterious dark interior of the house she could see through the windows.

“Doesn’t this look great? A meal and entertainment!” exclaimed Rui excitedly.

“Umm, yeah, sure - seems, um, ok…” muttered Wes, unable to cover up his lack of enthusiasm. Rui ignored this as she entered the house.

“GADZOOKS! Who dare enters this place?” demanded an elderly lady, clad in a brown cloak and overly-large glasses.

“Great, another weirdo…” muttered Wes. The woman noticed Wes, and stared at him, before letting loose a few profound metaphors.

“To find what you seek, you must first stop looking,” she declared.

“Uh-huh…” said Wes, unconvinced. “What about an Itemfinder?” challenged Wes.

“Umm… And to be truly strong, one must be truly weak!” stated the woman, avoiding Wes’s question.

“Uh-huh. Sure…” said Wes, with a look of disbelief on his face. Personally, he thought, to be strong, it takes a lot of training and perseverance. Or have a really powerful Pokémon. That also works.

“Night is day, and gravity pulls things up,” continued the prophetic woman.

“What?” retorted Wes.

“Shh, Wes, she’s a clairvoyant - she knows what she’s saying,” whispered Rui. “We’re here for the special deal…” she said, more loudly to the woman.

“Indeed. Welcome to my humble house. Please, sit down and eat.” The woman nodded to two chairs, which Wes strangely did not remember seeing before. He shrugged off that fact and sat down and devoured the offered meal of eggs and bacon, followed by a few croissants. The food was sufficient enough for both the hungry teens.

“Yes, you see, one seems to get more customers in this town if you offer food…” said the woman. “And one gets a more accurate reading if the customer is satisfied.”

“Sounds about right,” agreed Rui, feeling better already.

“Hmm… do any of you have any psychic Pokémon?” queried the woman.

“Espeon!” (That’s me!) exclaimed Espeon, who trotted forward and jumped elegantly onto the table with an air of superiority. Umbreon merely glared.

“Aha! I knew I felt some other presence here…” mumbled the woman, holding her forehead dramatically. “Now before we begin…” the woman coughed and made the ‘give-me-money’ hand sign.

At least she has her priorities set straight, reflected Wes, slightly amused as he paid the wrinkled hag, who scrutinised the amount given to her. Satisfied, she promptly pulled a crystal ball out of nowhere and set it on the table.

“Is that a giant pearl?” asked Rui, amazed at the size of the colossal shiny object.

“Yes. It was found nearby here with a deceased Spoink - works better that way,” stated the woman mildly. “Now, both of you, hands on the pearl. Do you mind if I, ahem, use your Espeon for this? Only one gets a better reading with one’s psychic Pokémon helping and all.”

Wes shrugged - he didn’t particularly mind. He and Rui placed their hands on the smooth cold pearl.

“Through the power of the great Mew, I utter the words of great magical power: Abra, Kadabra, Alakazam!” cried the woman. Wes raised an eyebrow at the choice of words claimed to be words of ‘power’. Then he jumped - the pearl’s see-through surface was suddenly clouded with swirling shapes.

“Hmm…” muttered the woman. She suddenly gave a loud gasp.

“What is it?” asked Rui curiously.

“Umm… oh, you will meet a tall dark stranger,” said the seer weakly. “Umm… that is all… you may leave now.”

Outside, Wes and Rui looked at each other. “That was a waste of a ‘reading’, but at least we ate well!” declared Wes.

“I’m a bit disappointed with it,” agreed Rui, as they went into town to explore, and hopefully solve the trouble with Cipher.

Inside the diviner’s house however, the woman was still staring at the pearl, seemingly trying to recover the secrets it held.

“So, they stand a decent chance to clear up this nasty business in this town,” muttered the woman to the empty air. “So be it - and I do hope they succeed…”

***

Unaware of the fortune-teller’s knowledge of their quest, they walked on back through the town to their hotel rooms for a short rest. The hotel keeper was still absent.

“What shall we do now?” asked Rui. “Ask people about Team Cipher?

“Are you crazy? Nobody marches up to someone asking if they know anything about a criminal gang! What if they are part of Team Cipher? We might as well tie ourselves in a sack, paint it bright orange and go up to them shouting ‘Look at me! We have your Shadow Pokémon!’”

“All right, all right then!” interrupted Rui. “I get the picture. But how are going to find out about them?” she demanded.

“By being subtle and not arousing attention,” answered Wes. “We’ll just go sightseeing in the town-” Rui smirked at the thought that Pyrite had much to ‘sightsee’ “-for now, and see what we can pick up about Cipher the safe way. Listen to talk on the street, and lie low for the time being. Besides, I’ve worked with Team Snagem - I know how to do these things,” stated Wes.

“Fair enough - but what are we going to ‘sightsee’ today?” she said, raising an eyebrow.

“I guess we could have a look at the windmill and the Colosseum here. That should take up whatever is left of the day,” offered Wes.

“Ok then - lead the way, Wes,” commanded Rui jokingly. They walked out only for the two to be met by a shapely female teenager who eyed Wes approvingly.

“Look what we have here. You’re quite the hottie! Why not lose that wallflower with you and be my sweetie?” drawled the female. Wes with unease stepped back at this sudden approach, when Rui charged forward glaring at this newcomer.

“Wait a second! Who are you to call me a wallflower? What makes me a wallflower?” she demanded.

“Aha! She’s all serious! Uncool! I’m only teasing out of boredom. A guy like him - not my taste,” mocked the teen.

Hey, not your taste? Wes thought impulsively.

“Gah! What is it with you? He’s my… I mean Wes! Be a man - stomp her down!” shouted Rui.

“Stomp? Who, me?” retorted the newcomer. “Ahaha! That’s a laugh! I’ll go easy on you... Hang on, where’d he go?” asked the girl. Rui turned - there was no sign of Wes, who had evidently chosen this moment to leave the dispute. Frowning furiously, she turned around, abruptly kicked the girl in the leg and marched off through a Pokémon battle, ignoring the cries of protest from the trainers and Pokémon alike.

“Hey! What’s that for?” demanded the girl, but Rui was already well on her way to the windmill.

***

She perfectly intercepted Wes at the entrance of the windmill, both of them arriving at the same time.

“Why did you leave then?” asked Rui, grabbing Wes’ arm.

“Umm… well, you see…” began Wes, wondering if Rui would let go or kick him if he said something else had caught his interest. He had a feeling it would be the latter.

Luckily for Wes they were suddenly interrupted by some off-key singing emitted from the windmill. Wary of the slow-moving blades of the windmill, they entered.

“Thirty long years I’ve spun these gears! Thirty more years I’ll spin some more!” sung an aged grey-haired worker. His clothes were dirty and in tatters. Behind him a large arrangement of gears were spinning in an almost hypnotic fashion, the man controlling them with grubby hands.

“Umbre…Umbre…Umbre…” (Round and round and round…) muttered the Dark type Pokémon, moving his head in circles while trying to keep up with the speed of the gears.

The off-key singing worker then noticed the two newcomers and literally jumped at them in greeting.

"Hello! They call me the Chief around here! I monitor the gears here in the windmill!” boomed the employee.

“Erm, hello,” Rui said uncertainly.

“Come on, put some ‘oomph’ in that ‘hello’!” demanded the man. “And remember, it’s CHIEF!” He then turned to Wes, cutting off any protest from Rui. “Welcome to the windmill!” he repeated, and he offering his hand for a handshake. Almost instantly, he pulled the hand back giving Wes no time to move.

“Hahaha, TOO SLOW!” laughed the man heartily, as if that was the most original and funniest joke in the world. Wes and Rui exchanged glances, and Espeon tilted his head as he regarded the so-called Chief. He then glanced at Umbreon, who was still observing the moving gears.

“Espi Espeon?” (Don’t you pay attention to anything that happens?) scorned Espeon.

“Umbreon,” (Hey, simple minds are easily amused,) Umbreon said, before turning back to the gears. Espeon sighed and gave Umbreon a push. With a squeak of surprise, Umbreon found himself seated upon the gears and rotating at an incredible speed.

“Umbre!” (Arrgh! Getmeoffgetmeoffgetmeoff!) cried the Pokémon. Espeon merely laughed to himself and watched in amusement.

“Hey, are you interested in a job here?” asked the man suddenly.

“Not really,” admitted Wes.

“Chief,” added Rui hastily.

“Of course not! It takes a real expert to control these gears!” boasted the man, pointing at himself with an air of pride. “If you change your mind ‘bout having a career in gear spinning though, try for this job after twenty years of experience or so!” boomed the worker. To Wes’s and Rui’s dismay, he began to sing again.

“Thirty long years of cranking gears, thirty more years I’ll spin some more…”

Covering their ears, Wes and Rui walked out, with Espeon trotting behind.

“Umbre!” (Hey, don’t leave me!) cried Umbreon. Just then, the Chief increased the speed of the machinery. With a cry, Umbreon went flying off the gears, through the door, narrowly missed one of the blades of the windmill, and mercifully had his landing softened by an unknowing Espeon.

“Espi!” (Arrgh! Get off of me!) cried the startled Pokémon, as Umbreon staggered to his feet.

“Umbre-Umbreon!” (Well it’s your fault… ah, look at all the colours! Wee!) replied the dizzy Pokémon, stumbling into Espeon again. Wes heard the commotion, and seeing the two Pokémon, laughed.

"Oh dear, you two keep getting tangled up in something don’t you? Well, I’m not letting you cross the bridge in that state,” Wes told them, tilting his head in the direction of a shaky looking bridge of dubious quality. With that, he pulled out two Luxury Balls and returned Espeon and Umbreon to them, to the protests of both Pokémon.

“Where did you get those?” asked Rui in awe of the glittering Luxury balls. They were the image of comfort for Pokémon belonging to trainers – basically a better version of the Poké Ball - but these were rare for any part of the Pokémon region, let alone Orre.

“I got them a while after I got those two,” responded Wes. “I had to… well, I mean, it cost me a fortune,” he added quickly, catching himself; he wasn’t keen on getting lectured on things done in the past again. “Come on, let’s go see the Colosseum - with luck maybe we can catch some battles,” urged Wes, never one for waiting around too long.

***

The bridge was in fact rather stable, if only a bit wobbly. Wes strode confidently across it with Rui following, with a bit less poise.

“Scared?” asked Wes, smiling at Rui’s worried look.

“Well I wouldn’t be if I could at least see what’s underneath me!” confessed Rui, as she safely reached the other side. She was right - whatever was underneath the bridge was hidden in the pitch-black void. Wes peered down the crevasse in awe of the sheer depth of it.

“There’s a town down there,” said a person standing nearby, approaching the two curious travellers.

“A town?” repeated Rui doubtfully.

“No, no, I’m not crazy,” denied the man hurriedly, seeing Rui’s and Wes’s faces. “There really is a town down there - it’s called ‘The Under’.”

“Pretty bad name,” observed Wes.

“Makes sense though,” said Rui, risking a look down the crevasse.

“You see, Pyrite was an old mining town,” explained the man. “But that was years ago - now there’s nothing left down there. However some people decided to stay down there. What’s it like down there is anyone’s guess…” he muttered, before walking off.

“Do you think there is a town down there? Who would live there?” Rui asked Wes.

“Hobos,” Wes absentmindedly answered. After a moment of staring at the invisible crack in the ground, he raised his hands to his mouth and hollered ‘Echo!’. The sound bounced off the rocky walls, giving a ghostly feel as the word came back to them and faded into the darkness below.

Echo.

Echo.

Echo.

Then a new sound emerged from below.

Shut up…

Shut up…

Shut up…

“Guess he was right,” said Wes.

***

They next explored the town’s Colosseum. Inside the run-down building was a small reception area blocking off the entrance to the main battle arena. At least the floor was tiled, but the colour of them appeared to have faded away, and through the entry to the Colosseum Wes spied a run-down battle arena with patches missing from the roof of the building.

“Seems it’s closed for the day,” said Wes dejectedly.

This was confirmed a moment later as Wes overheard a conversation between a receptionist and a large towering man.

“So the next tournament will be on in three days, right?” asked the lady.

“I guess so. But I don’t like this business. What with all the rumours and all… Well, I’d better be going,” replied the muscular man with a grim frown plastered on his face.

“So will I. See you later, Duking.”

The man named Duking turned around and seeing Wes gave an even bigger frown before leaving. Wes returned the favour despite the man’s superior size. He would have matched Gonzap in stature, Wes mused. The lady left a moment later, leaving Wes and Rui alone save for a random bystander left in the reception area.

“Nothing here - I think we’ll go back for now,” offered Rui. Just then, the bystander approached them. The tall ungainly man stumbled over to them, a large grin upon his face.

“Ya knowy that big guy there? Yah, he’s Duking,” he slurred.

“Are you drunk?” asked Rui, as the smell of alcohol reached her.

“That’s a silly-hilly question. I never drinks da stuffs,” denied the man, before he staggered and crashed into a wall. “Okay, maybes a littles bits…” he confessed.

“Yeah, well, good for you,” replied Wes.

“Yar, Duking runs the colomesum thingy,” added the man.

“Really?” asked Wes. “That’s interesting… do you think I should try this tournament? After all, they did mention that something strange is going on…” he questioned Rui.

“I hope we don’t have to stay in this dump for so long,” replied Rui.

“Yar know, if you zoant to comply - I mean compel - I mean compliss… compete! That’s the word… anyways, you sees Duking, and he’ll makis it alls,” stuttered the drunk.

“Well, thank you,” said Wes politely.

“No problem-ey. Yes, Duking is da owner, and he had somnething to do with weighthifting as well. He could mift an entire Snorlax!” insisted the man.

“Somehow I doubt that… strong as he seems,” answered Rui.

“Well maybe a Pichu… I wish I could wins this… you know, the the the thingy…the…”

“What?” asked Wes, slightly annoyed now.

“Ah yes, the liage cash prize but espicallys the strongily Pokémon they gave you…” blabbed the man, still unable to form words properly. His face suddenly brightened up. “Do you livey in a house? I livey in a house.”

“Pokémon?” asked Rui, ignoring the man’s ramblings.

“Cash prize?” asked Wes.

“Oh yess, they gvve pokemans to winners recently. They was said to be straighter and butter... Cail won it last. Stupid Cail and his win-win Mc victories...”

“What?” asked Rui, confused.

“I think he meant ‘stronger and better’,” guessed Wes. “What about the money?” he added, before getting a poke from Rui.

“Oh, it’s three grand… or four grand, or something-and-rather.” Wes’s eyes light up. “’Coursa, the entry cost is five hundred smazzules…” added the man, to Wes’s dismay, who assumed ‘smazzules’ meant ‘money’.

“Well let’s go,” said Rui. “Cail is that guy by the town’s entrance, right? Let’s ask him about it.”

“Ok. Thanks, man,” said Wes as he bade the drunken man goodbye. “I doubt it could be a Shadow, but it might mean something big is going on…”

“Hey, I know who you are!” proclaimed the drunk. Wes froze. If he knew what he did to Team’s Snagem’s base then it’s bad news for me.

“…You’re what’s-his-face… I nows! Superman!” stated the drunk, still finding it hard to walk or talk straight.

“Okay…” said Wes relieved and annoyed at the same time. He and Rui continued on their way back to the entrance of the town to confront Cail.

“Bust gets meself hime,” said the man, before falling unconscious on the spot - alcohol had gotten the better of him. It was just as well, as in his past state he would have never been able to cross the bridge without falling.

***

“Hey look, the shop’s open now,” remarked Wes as they neared the Poke Mart on their way back to the hotel.

“Better go there later though,” commented Rui, noticing the long line of customers by the shop.

‘Hey, HEY! You two! Stop walking through the square!” shouted a bystander.

“Oh, sorry,” apologised Wes. He and Rui had walked right through the middle of a large painted circle were some Pokémon trainers were jeering at each other, occasionally having battles. Rui noticed that she had earlier walked through here as well after she had kicked that girl in the shin, and blushed slightly at the memory.

“Yes - sorry for that. I’ll try to pay more attention,” vowed Rui.

“Hey, come on now - that isn’t how you apologise here!” retorted the man. Seeing Wes’s and Rui’s faces, he continued, “Are you new here?”

Wes nodded. “Yes - we’ve come for - umm, for a short while. Just arrived yesterday…”

“Oh well. Well, this is what we call Pyrite Square - or Duel Square. Here is where the Pokémon battlers turn up. And if something happens that somebody doesn’t disagree with something - it’s resolved with a wager and a battle,” explained the man.

“And interrupting our battles by walking through the middle is one of those disagreeable things,” added another nearby person, none too friendly.

Wes grinned - he was familiar with the ways of street life, especially the ‘codes of law’, as they were commonly known as in such towns across various regions, especially in Orre. He hadn’t encountered it for a while, as he had been with Team Snagem until recently and so had avoided towns like Pyrite, but it came rushing back to him.

“What can I say?” Wes shrugged. “I’ll battle then - how much are the wagers here?”

“Oh, about three hundred - plus any extra from the crowd if they’re impressed,” answered the man with a grin.

“You’re on,” said Wes. When wagers and battle were concerned, he didn’t care about the price, especially as he ended up winning more often than not. Noticing that Rui was confused, he moved to reassure her. “Never mind - it’s just a battle,” he reassured. “Better just stay to the sides and watch - I’ll win soon enough. Then we’ll use the winnings for dinner,” he instructed confidently. Rui nodded and moved off as Wes walked into one half of the circle - the man into the other.

“My name’s Vant by the way. Yours?” asked his opponent, taking off a gray jacket.

“Wes.”

“Ok. I’ll even give you an advantage - three Pokémon for you, two for me, though you can only have two out at one time. Double battle. Agreed?” challenged Vant.

Wes grinned even more - clearly Vant was confident of a win. “All right then, your loss. Go, Umbreon and Espeon!” he cried, sending out his respective Pokémon.

“Nice Pokémon,” remarked Vant. “Go, Zigzagoon and Misdreavus!”

Zigzagoon, the ever-so-common normal type gave a small growl anticipating the battle. However, Wes surveyed the Misdreavus, which would normally be considered more of a threat. Ghost-types were generally tough fighters, and as a rule they were not to be underestimated. This particular Pokémon was made up of a levitating black and purple head and neck - the typical scary look ghost types had. It oddly enough also had a necklace around its neck, which twirled around the neck of the Pokémon.

“Zigza!” (We’ll beat you smelly Pokémon!)

“Es? Espeon, Es?” (Smelly? You’re original with your taunts, aren’t you?) ridiculed Espeon.

“Misdreavus.” (You have no chance of winning…) giggled the Misdreavus softly in a bone-chilling way.

“Umbre…” (Ok-ay then… you might be disappointed though,) retorted Umbreon.

“Zigzagoon, start off with a Tackle on Espeon!” declared Vant after the Pokémon had finished taunting each other. The small Pokémon charged forward at a quick speed towards Espeon, or as quickly as its short stubby legs would allow it at any rate.

“Block it, Umbreon!” countered Wes, without missing a beat. Umbreon intercepted Zigzagoon’s run with ease, and roughly bumped it back into the opposite direction. Wes decided to go quickly on the counter-attack, when suddenly he and Vant were interrupted by Rui.

“Wes - the Misdreavus - it’s… it’s… SHADOW!!!” cried Rui, to the dismay of the spectators who covered their ears in pain at the volume of Rui’s screech.

“Shadow? What?” asked Wes. Another Shadow Pokémon? What’s going on?

“Bugger - how did you know it was a Shadow?” asked Vant. “I was planning on giving him a surprise…Never mind - I’ll win anyway! Misdreavus, Shadow Ball on Espeon!”

The black and purple ghost type gave a hiss and gave a midair somersault, summoning a black sphere of energy. In a matter of seconds the black blob had grown to the size of the ghost Pokémon, spinning in front of Misdreavus. Suddenly it flew at an astonishing pace towards Espeon.

“Quick, dodge!” cried Wes, still distracted by the news that Misdreavus was a Shadow Pokémon. However Espeon was caught out by the attack before it could jump to safety and cried out in pain as the ball of dark energy engulfed him, before dissipating away.

“Misdreavus!” (Haha, direct hit! No chance!) Rui gave out another gasp.

“Wes, Misdreavus’s aura… it’s turned… red?” shouted Rui confused at this change.

Vant smiled. “Zigzagoon, use Tackle again!” he commanded.

“Umbreon - block it!” shouted Wes. Umbreon dived right in front of the smaller Pokémon and blocked it again.

“Now - Misdreavus - Shadow Rush!” yelled Vant. With a sense of despair, Wes realised that Zigzagoon’s attack was a trick - with Umbreon pulled in, Espeon was left exposed.

“Espeon, Confusion!” ordered Wes, hoping to make Misdreavus reel back in pain of the psychic attack. Espeon tilted his head and directed its psychic power at the charging Misdreavus, scoring a direct hit. Despite this however the Shadow Misdreavus continued and made direct contact with Espeon with its charge, knocking it out.

Wes was shocked. “But it was… Espeon damaged it…”

“Ah yes, but it was in Hyper state,” pointed out Vant. “You may not know it, but if a Shadow Pokémon enters that state, it gets stronger and doesn’t notice much, such as an attack. That’s why she went going, and as she was in Hyper State; its attack was more powerful. You’ve got a long way to go to beating me!” taunted Vant. “All in this instruction manual,” he added, waving a ‘How to Care for Your Shadow Pokémon’ pamphlet at them.

Wes frowned - he remembered now. Shadow Pokémon tended to do that sometimes. But Vant seemed to know too much about Shadow Pokémon, and the fact he had one was frankly suspicious. Team Snagem people knew about such technicalities, but the general public should – by all rights – know only that Shadow Pokémon existed. Wes decided to venture the dangerous option.

“Do you work for Cipher?” Wes asked. The crowd began jeering, bored by the conversation and eager instead to watch a battle.

“Cipher? Who are they? No, my Shadow Pokémon was a prize. Since I won the Colosseum challenge and all,” explained Vant.

“Wait, hang on a second… the Pokémon prize you get… is a Shadow Pokémon?” asked Wes.

“Oh sure. Most of us have one now though,” claimed Vant. Many of the bystanders nodded their agreement. Rui looked shocked at this new development. “But hey - stop talking, and get on with it!” urged Vant.

“Um… sure,” answered Wes. So Team Cipher has multiple Shadow Pokémon… and they give them away to strong trainers? Something’s wrong… very wrong… Wes thought, before shaking his head. Snap out of it… I need to win this and get that Misdreavus… who should I use? Makuhita may hurt someone in his rage. Like myself. And I don’t want that…and the Croconaw isn’t much better but at least it wasn’t trying to punch the first thing it saw.

"Go, Croconaw!” he commanded. He threw the Poké Ball out onto the field, and Croconaw emerged, giving a rough growl and kicking up dirt.

“Croc!” (A Zigzagoon? Pfft!) stated Croconaw, glaring arrogantly at the opposition.

“Okay, Croconaw… try a Water Gun!” ventured Wes.

Croconaw stared at Wes blankly.

“Umbre…” (Oh dear - you can’t do that?)

“Cro! Croconaw! Naw!” (Quiet! I cannot remember such a move! Your trainer’s probably crazy!) Croconaw yelled as it made a rude gesture at Umbreon.

“Umbreon!” (Don’t you DARE insult Wes!)

“Calm down, you two! You don’t know Water Gun?” asked Wes. Croconaw shrugged as he dodged an attack from Zigzagoon and managed to swipe it with its claws.

“Okay then, follow up with another Scratch!” urged Wes. Croconaw gave the same blank look.

“But you…” began Wes, glancing at his P*DA to see Croconaw’s attacks. The gadget quickly scanned Croconaw with a red ray, and returned the results of the analysis as Croconaw blinked in annoyance. “Hey - only one attack? Oh well… Croconaw, Shadow Rush on the Misdreavus, Umbreon, Bite on Zigzagoon!”

“Dodge it, Zigzagoon!” cried Vant, but Umbreon’s attack was too quick as he bit Zigzagoon in the leg and tossed him away into a wall. Meanwhile, Croconaw lumbered forward and charged right at Misdreavus. His target gave a ghostly laugh and disappeared, reappearing behind Croconaw before it used a Shadow Rush of its own. Laughing, it gave a wicked grin as Croconaw fell down from the impact.

“You have a Shadow Pokémon too?” asked Vant, confused. “Never mind - it’s doesn’t seem to know anything but Shadow Rush, so it’s no match for my one! Misdreavus, finish it!” instructed Vant. Misdreavus gave another ghostly laugh as it fired up another pulsing Shadow Ball.

“Umbre!” (Get up, Croconaw!) cried Umbreon. Noticing that Croconaw was too limp to move, he shook his head and decided to take matters in his own hands. He charged at the Zigzagoon head on.

Wes realised what was going on. “Ok then. Croconaw! Jump up and get near Zigzagoon!” he urged desperately.

At Wes’s order, Croconaw struggled and jumped a short distance into the air and landed clumsily on his feet, lumbering towards Zigzagoon unsteadily. The movement distracted Misdreavus, and delayed its attack as it turned directly towards Croconaw. Meanwhile the hurt Zigzagoon tried its best to limp away from Umbreon, but Umbreon anticipated the Pokémon’s weak effort and picked it up between his teeth like a rag doll. It then in one movement sprang in front of Croconaw.

“Croc…” (You’re risking yourself to protect me?) asked Croconaw in surprise, stopping short.

Umbreon gave a muffled response, due to Zigzagoon’s leg being in his mouth, but Croconaw got the gist of the reply. Croconaw nodded his head and assumed a battle pose.

Vant nodded his head in acknowledgement of the move. “Nice idea. Misdreavus, hold back the attack!”

But Misdreavus was too enraged as it fired the ball of energy. It struck Zigzagoon directly, narrowly missing Umbreon. The raccoon Pokémon gave a small weak yelp of pain - normal types could survive ghost-typed attacks, but from such close range from an angry Shadow Pokémon, it didn’t stand a chance. Misdreavus gave a look which might be interpreted as a twinge of regret, but it quickly vanished as it glared angrily at Umbreon and Croconaw.

“Zigza…” (But why…) it moaned, before fainting. Vant shakily returned it to its Poké Ball.

“Wes… now Croconaw’s aura turned red!” said Rui warningly.

“Must be in hyper state then…” muttered Wes, making the link. “Umbreon! Croconaw? Ready to win?”

“Umbreon!” (Oh yes - this’ll be revenge for hurting Espeon!)

“Croc Naw!” (Gonna smash that ghost!)

“Good - Croconaw - Shadow Rush!” instructed Wes. Misdreavus laughed, and merely relied on its previous tactic of disappearing once the Croconaw got close. It soon emerged behind it as Croconaw snorted angrily and turned around.

“Now, Umbreon!” shouted Wes. Misdreavus felt the teeth of Umbreon in the back of its neck and shrieked in pain. He held on for a few seconds, before letting go, just a split second before Croconaw clashed with Misdreavus head on with a Shadow Rush attack from the opposite direction. The Ghost Pokémon gave another cry of pain as it fell to the crowd limply, losing its levitating ability. It was still in the battle, but only just as it struggled to rise from the ground.

“I think that’s enough…” began Vant conceding defeat, but stopped mid-sentence as he noticed what Wes was doing. A few of the more attentive members of the crowd also looked puzzled as Wes removed a Poké Ball from the machine upon his arm, and then gasped as he threw the Poké Ball…

…right at Misdreavus.

As the ball made contact, Misdreavus was sucked into the small capsule and the ball started wobbling. A few seconds later, it stopped and as the ball gave a small flash, it came to rest.

Wes moved to bend down and pick it up. As he stood up, he noticed that all of the audience were staring at him, especially Vant who had an angry scowl on his face. It dawned on Wes that maybe snagging someone’s Pokémon in a public place was not the best idea - especially an innocent person’s Pokémon. He smiled weakly at the crowd.

“Guess the wager’s off, then?” he asked. Then, to Rui, he added “Run!”

***

Johnson was glad with himself. He had successfully kept Pyrite in order single-handedly for another day, defeating numerous ruffians and scoundrels alike – he didn’t even have to fight them, as they had cowered away in fright of his sparking blue police uniform. Not to mention that he had told off that small kid who had dropped a small apple core. Oh, that boy sure did get a good lecture on money and littering…

The police officer walked up to a small statue lying in disarray by the sides of the main pathway. He looked around carefully before speaking to it.

“So, do you know what happened yesterday in the Poké Mart at five pm?” he demanded.

The statue unsurprisingly was silent.

“Oh yeah? Nothing to say?” persisted the officer. A person walking past glanced at him, rolled his eyes, and walked off.

The statue remained quiet.

“Well, I’ll let you off. I’m watching you though!” said Johnson, brushing his hands. Yep, I sure am the best policeman around here, he thought to himself. He began to walk off to harass another piece of rubbish, when he noticed a pebble shaking on the ground.

“What’s wrong with you?” asked Johnson. The pebble to his horror ignored him and started shaking harder, and even jumped a few centimetres from the ground. Johnson realised that the ground was shaking as well, before falling to his knees.

Then he heard a noise from behind him - quiet at first, before it grew louder. He turned to see two people being chased by a mob down the street. Unintelligible words were shouted in his direction - something about ‘stealing’, ‘Snagem’, and ‘kill him’.

Johnson put on a brave face and stood up straight, facing the angry mob which had been gaining on the two victims. He raised a hand towards them.

“Stop!” he shouted.

A moment later, the mob collided with him, and the world went topsy-turvy.

***

“Sorry for causing the mess and all. It’s my fault,” began Wes.

He and Rui were now in a prison cell. They had been caught by the crowd, who had gone mad in anger and outrage at him. If there was a golden rule in the Pokémon world it was this - never, ever get caught stealing someone’s Pokémon. That’s why Rui and Wes had been chased, mistaken for part of Team Snagem. And, as Wes grimly thought, who would believe that they had done it for a good purpose, not a bad one?

They had been in the lead but already that had been shortened significantly. Wes had recalled his Pokémon to his Poké Balls - he knew that they would be no match for an angry mob after that battle. They were caught by the crowd near the entrance - Wes vividly remembered that the inept Johnson had been caught up by the mob as well, and unsurprisingly was also a victim of the mob’s rage.

He and Rui had gained a few bruises in the first few seconds, but luckily before it got any worse, Wes faintly recalled a man commanding ‘Stop!” in such a way it had froze everyone in their tracks. Then everyone had shifted away quietly and quickly. Wes didn’t remember much after that, only that now they were imprisoned, and would now have a criminal record added to their names. It looked like it was all over.

“Never mind - it’s not your fault,” sighed Rui softly. “Remember - we’re in this together,” she added more firmly, giving a weak smile to Wes. Wes returned it and squeezed her hand - more to comfort her than himself, of course.

Wes’s Pokémon had been confiscated and placed in the police force’s hands - Wes was surprised that there was actually a ‘force’ that kept the town in order. Seems it had finally made itself evident – just as well for them then, but maybe not for the not-so-distant future.

“Well, looks like it’s all over, unfortunately,” Wes sighed. “So much for us stopping Team Snagem and Cipher… man,” Wes chuckled. “If one heard our story…”

“Oh, I’m listening,” a voice sounded from the darkness of the shadows surrounding the cell. Wes jumped up in surprise, trying to make out the shape before him. “So, you know something about Snagem and Cipher, eh?”

***





I hope you enjoyed it. And for those who played that games - did you see the last part coming? Tell me what you think of the chapter please, and have a nice day!

Show ContentSpoiler:
[Image: suisdbsf.png]
By TwilightBlade of PC. =D
Reply

#10
That. Was. AWESOME!!!!!!
Reply

#11
Any chance for more specifics on that? =p


Anyways here's the next one.



***

Chapter Six - Prison Cells




“Who… are you?” asked Wes, still peering at the man to get a better look. Suddenly the room was flooded with light. Wes covered his eyes and grunted a little as the pain of burning retinas slowly subsided. His eyes recovered in due course, and a moment later he was able to look up to see the stranger’s face.

The man before him was aged. Wes guessed that he was in his fifties, maybe even his sixties. The evidence that the man had passed his use-by date was evident in his gray, disappearing hair and a thick bushy pale-gray moustache that looked as though a thunderstorm had recently passed through that region. However, this man’s frame did not in the slightest suggest that he was old and frail - everything about his posture said that here was a man not to be messed with.

“Err... hi there,” Rui said as she fiddled with her fingers subconsciously.

“So, what’s with this stuff you’ve been talking about Team Snagem, eh?” replied the man gruffly, ignoring Rui’s attempt at a friendly greeting. “You do know that stealing other people’s Pokémon is a criminal offence, hm?”

“Well, you see…” began Wes, only for Rui to intervene.

“Well, two days ago I was walking in Pyrite town because I was on a bus trip and I was to see my grandparents - they live in a tree - and then I saw this Pokémon and it had an aura and it was scary and purple and then I said something and then two people chased me and I collided with a- well never mind about that - they caught me and kidnapped me and put me in a sack and they took me to Phenac city where Wes - that’s him - he rescued me and he used to work with Snagem but he’s good now and then we saw the mayor of Phenac city and we said he would help us and then later we saw Team Snagem people and then Wes beat them and their Pokémon went boom and then I was angry at someone - funny, I don’t remember much then - and then we went back to the mayor’s house and we saw a crazy man who had a lot of hair and he danced a lot and had salsa music and he said we worked for team Cipher and then the two people who kidnapped me were there and they battled Wes and he won because he’s a wonner - I mean winner - and then Wes snagged a Shadow Pokémon - they are the Pokémon with the funny aura - and then we left for Pyrite and battled some guy who spoke random things and…”

“Slow down Rui…” interrupted Wes.

“… and then Wes battled him as well and he also had a Shadow Pokémon and Wes snagged it too and it was odd that Team Cipher - whoever they are - have two Shadow Pokémon so we went to Pyrite and the next day - that’s today - we walked around and then Wes battled a trainer and he also had a Shadow Pokémon and I went ‘SHADOW!!!’. And Wes snagged it and then they chased us and now we’re in jail and please don’t reprehend us because I hate getting reprehended and what would my parents say and we didn’t want to steal Pokémon but it was Shadow and we’re trying to stop Cipher, and… yeah.”

Wes sighed as Rui panted after her long speech. The man’s face was warped into confusion as he tried to figure out what Rui actually said. Wes would have laughed at the situation were they not in a jail cell that smelt worse than Pyrite’s streets.

“All right then…” said the man at length. “Might as well give you a chance to properly tell me your side of it,” he said, as Rui blushed at this remark, “because from what I can make out of that tale, it’s an interesting one. Not to mention that the fact that you having the Snag machine that’s gone missing from Team Snagem’s base is intriguing. Come to my office.” He unlocked the jail door, and motioned for Wes and Rui to follow him.

“Name’s Sherles, by the way. I’m the sheriff of this dismal excuse of a town,” he added.

***

After a lengthy interrogation involving a lot of talking, questioning and the occasional toilet break, Sherles was satisfied with the tale.

“Well,” he began, sticking his head into the room after having left for a coffee, “looks like your story holds. I’ve contacted some, ahem, people in Phenac and the Outskirt Stand, and it seems that there’s truth in it. Ah, who did you say kidnapped you, young lady?”

“Oh, their names were Folly and Trudly,” she answered.

“Yes, that’s right. My memory sometimes fails me…” trailed off Sherles. Wes doubted that there was anything wrong with his memory, and his thoughts were confirmed when two men walked through the door, with Sherles in tow.

“I’m telling ya, we didn’t do nothing…. YOU!” gasped Folly, seeing Wes and Rui. Trudly and Folly were escorted by Sherles into the room. Sherles gave Folly an amused look.

“I mean… YOU…. Um… aren’t you on T.V. or something?” stuttered Folly weakly.

“Hello, Folly,” replied Rui, grinning. Folly frowned, and then winced as Trudly whacked him in the head.

“Why couldn’t you keep your trap shut…” began Trudly.

“Quiet!” commanded Sherles in a no-nonsense voice. Trudly and Folly immediately fell silent. “Now,” he continued, “I want you to tell me all you know about Snagem and Cipher. Spill the beans!”

“Um… but we don’t have anything to tell you about Cipher or Snagem or Miror B…” began Trudly.

“Aha! So Miror B’s on this, is he?” advanced Sherles. It was Trudly’s time to receive a knock on the head.

“You know of Miror B?” Wes asked Sherles suddenly, confused. “But I thought…”

“Well, that’s where you’re wrong, son. And from your story, it seems much worse. However,” said Sherles, turning to Folly and Trudly with a small smile appearing on his face, “we can start fixing things by turning these two in. I guess Miror B will be displeased to hear that you have failed him.”

“OK WE GIVE IN!” cried Folly and Trudly as one.

“Please don’t do that!” pleaded Folly in desperation.

“All right, alright, calm down…” reassured Sherles. “You’ll be kept here and we’ll keep it quiet - only you’ve got to tell us about Cipher and Snagem, and anything else relevant. Or else,” he finished. Folly and Trudly nodded. They may have the intellectual capabilities of a Magikarp between them, but they understood a threat when they heard one.

With that, Sherles led Folly and Trudly out of the room back into their cells. He returned a few minutes later.

“Interestingly enough, those two had turned themselves in for stealing a vehicle. Despite the fact it belonged to them, they insisted upon being arrested so it was obvious they were frightened of failing Miror B... so, where to begin. You know that Snagem steal Pokémon, and that they turn them into Shadow Pokémon, right?” began Sherles, wasting no time.

“Yes, although I don’t know how or anything like that,” Wes said.

“Well, here’s a shock for you - it’s actually Cipher that does the whole shadowing process.”

It took a moment for the news to sink in for Wes. “But that can’t be right…” he begun, scratching his head as he mulled this news. “I mean… even Gonzap said…”

“Ah, that’s the thing,” continued Sherles. “You see, the police service near Team Snagem’s base actually caught one of the higher-ranking officials of Snagem - partly thanks to you, might I add. Didn’t want to talk much, from what I heard - although after getting some truth serum, he opened up pretty quickly.”

Wes raised an eyebrow. Truth serum potion was known to be created from acids produced by the poisonous plant Pokémon Gloom. It was also known to be only used for high-profile cases, due to the possibility of side effects taken place, such as nausea, loss of bone density and uncontrollable episodes of impromptu break dancing.

“Anyway,” continued Sherles, “it turns out that instead of acquiring Pokémon themselves to make into Shadow Pokémon, this Cipher group had a partnership with Team Snagem who did that job for them. You didn’t know, because you were just a… grunt, let’s say, and Snagem kept this information from all but the most trusted.”

“Who the hell are Cipher anyway, then?” Wes asked.

“Unfortunately, we don’t know,” sighed Sherles. “They’ve just... appeared out of the blue. However it seems that they’ve been biding their time and only chose to appear now, giving Shadow Pokémon left right and centre. Why I don’t know, and how they managed to hide resources from us is also a mystery. And all this time we’ve thought that Snagem were doing small-time stuff - oh sure,” he added, seeing Wes’s face grow in puzzlement, “we thought they might be making Shadow Pokémon – and everyone suspected it, but we couldn’t find any evidence. Seems that it had lied with Cipher all this time.”

“Fair enough,” began Rui, “But why do innocent people have Shadow Pokémon?”

“Well, recently, Team Cipher moved into Pyrite, along with Miror B, who might be a high-ranking official, or even the boss, I don’t know. Things changed then.” Sherles’ face was for a moment sad. “Cipher hides somewhere so we can’t find them, yet they’ve practically taken over the town. And Duking’s never been the same since as the Colosseum’s gone out of his hands, and all I’ve got is that idiot Johnson.”

Just then, ‘that idiot Johnson’ burst into the room and collided with Sherles, Rui and Wes - an impressive effort considering they had been in different parts of the rooms. Johnson leapt to his feet and turned to Wes.

“Owowow… I’m sorry boss, but there’s trouble afoot! There’s talk of thieving of Pokémon and Shadow Pokémon and I hurt my head because people ran over me…. HUH? You’re not the chief…” commented Johnson, realizing that he was talking to a complete stranger. He stared at Wes in astonishment, who stared back in annoyance as he picked himself off the ground.

“I’m right here Johnson… I’ve heard it over and over again already. Where were you anyway?” said an annoyed Sherles.

“Oh chief, there you are! You’re such a kidder. Ahaha. Well, I had been talking to a stat… I mean, the Poké Mart owner, when…” began the officer uncertainly.

“Quiet, Johnson.”

“Sorry, sir.”

“Now, these two people are the ones who got arrested over the alleged stealing. But they’ve been cleared.”

“Who?”

Sherles sighed.

***

“So, they’re good guys. Or are they bad?”

“NO! I told you for the twelfth time!” cried Sherles. Wes and Rui were currently watching the whole conversation from a couch for the last half-hour, seeing just how far Johnson’s thinking capabilities stretched. It wasn’t very far; Wes mused that had one compared it to a gap between a train and a station platform, Johnson would have tripped long before he managed to get out of his house.

“So they are bad?”

Sherles slapped his own head in exasperation.

Eventually though, after another pain-stalking hour filled with sock puppets and verbal threats, the man soon comprehended the situation to a satisfactory level.

“So… what’s going to happen with Wes and Rui?” asked Johnson.

“Wow, Johnson. I’m impressed. An intelligent question,” muttered Sherles under his breath.

“What was that, boss?”

“Err, nothing. Anyway, it is a big dilemma… on the one hand; Wes did destroy the Team Snagem building, putting many people’s lives at risk, and was caught in the act of stealing someone’s Pokémon, a high court offence no matter which way you look at it. Pity that Pyrite has no real legal system to speak of.”

Wes gulped.

“However… we may drop charges, IF he and Rui agree to help us on this case regarding Cipher. After all, they did get told some classified information.” Sherles gave Wes a long deep stare, which Wes matched.

“Oh, no need to bother, boss. Me and my trusty Magikarp will save the day!” Johnson announced loudly. Needless to say, neither Sherles nor Wes bothered to point out that a Pokémon that only knows Splash would probably not be able to stand up to a single ruffian, let alone two criminal syndicates.

“Well, I guess that we have no other choice, do we?” answered Wes at length.

“Good. Welcome aboard,” replied Sherles, glancing through the small window. “We do have one glaringly large problem however. It seems that the townspeople want justice of some sort… we can’t just simply drop charges and set you free, as you’ll won’t be much help here if half the town wants to kill you… I mean, just run you out of town,” he added, seeing Rui’s horrified face.

“Maybe... they should give everyone a BIG hug and say sorry over some hot chocolate? Usually works,” offered Johnson.

“Johnson?” Sherles sighed.

“Yes?”

“Shut up.”

“Maybe…” Rui said. “Maybe we can convince them that we’re innocent.”

“How?”

***

Outside the prison, a large crowd was gathering despite an impending storm cloud looming over Pyrite. News of the theft of Vant’s Pokémon had spread and soon enough everyone who had heard the story had come to the initial hearing.

Initial hearings in Pyrite town involved a summary of what the offending party was charged with, often accompanied with overly loud booing from the audience. Then the audience would decide what the harshest penalty could be given for the offender if proven guilty. The person would be sent to court in a few days time, and in the meanwhile kept in dull shabby prisons with nothing to accompany them but the occasional Rattata which scourged the town for scraps. Leastways, it was intended that they would go to jail for a few days – sometimes the people who had been convicted of harsh crimes didn’t make it there directly.

To the dismay of some who lived in Pyrite, the death penalty was considered null and void but many older ones still remained.

“I hope they get all that they deserved,” muttered Vant to someone who was the kind to be only seen when something interesting was happening.

“What’s the maximum punishment?” he asked.

“Loss of a limb,” replied Vant.

“Ouch.” A moment of reflection insured. “Which one?”

“Oh… probably the left arm, since it’s the one with that strange machine upon it.”

“Hmm, I see. In that case, I call dibs on it.”

“No way - I called for it first!” cried another. Soon enough, the whole crowd was arguing over Wes’ left arm - not even a loud cry of ‘Stop selling me arms!’ from the paranoid lady down the street calmed them down.

The appearance of Sherles did however. Wes, looking from a window within the police station, noted that Sherles held the town’s respect, which was further proof that the old man knew what he was doing as sheriff.

“People, lend me your ears,” he said gruffly as he looked down at the crowd from the front steps.

“Eh, wot?” asked one. “Tis’ attached to me, they are.”

“It was a figure of speech, son,” said Sherles coldly. The man mumbled something and then shut up as Sherles continued to stare at him.

“Now then, I know why you are here. The answer to why and how this injustice came to be,” several cheered for a few seconds, and then piped down, “is right…there.” Sherles pointed to two Pokémon which walked out of the prison office next to him. The whole town stared intently at the two in confusion.

“Now!” said Sherles, but the crowd ignored his sudden command. Instead they found themselves staring at the Pokémon themselves, before their eyes were forced towards the heavens. As the two Pokémon merged powers, they directed their own focus towards the sky. Gradually, distortions of the air dissected the hanging clouds, resulting in giant waves of colour rippling across the dark night sky. The stars glistened in the light show, enhanced by a drizzle of rain which resulted from the merging of clouds.

“Ohhhhh… shiny…” droned the crowd as one. Sherles observed the light show in silent awe. A few minutes later, the rippling slowly ceased as the two Pokémon collapsed to the ground out of exhaustion. Soon after, the large crowd broke out of its trace.

“Wha… where am I?” muttered one.

“Strange… I feel that I should be… angry about losing something…” said Vant. “But that’s silly - hmm, I don’t remember anything since this afternoon…”

“I have a strange lust for someone’s left arm…” remarked another.

After a few murmurs of confusion, the crowd fell silent as they tried to figure out where they were, and then why they were gathered around the prison in the rain. They mused over this while Sherles ushered the two Pokémon by the prison back inside.

“Hey, let’s go eat some quiche,” one suggested at length.

“I like quiche!” agreed another.

The crowd soon wandered off to get some quiche - an idea that greatly appealed to the citizens of Pyrite. Quiche was the town’s emblem, as the original founders of the town hadn’t been able to think of anything more relevant to use.

Meanwhile, Wes recalled his Espeon, while Sherles recalled his Psychic Pokémon, an Alakazam.

“I must say, your Espeon was quite good at holding out for so long. Must have been quite a drain on them to convince the whole town that you and Rui never existed,” commented Sherles with respect.

“I can say the same thing about your Alakazam,” replied Wes. “I think they’ll just need a good night rest.”

“Wasn’t my idea great, Wes? To wipe the town’s memories? I hope they’re all right but… both the town and Espeon, I mean,” Rui said.

“Um, yeah, great idea. I’m sure they’ll be fine,” comforted Wes, as Rui beamed happily.

“Umbre…” (They don’t know half of it…) commented Umbreon to himself, recalling that Espeon had done the same thing to Rui, who did not seem to recollect the event. He looked over Espeon until he was satisfied to see that the strain had not been too much on his brother.

***

“Strange… did you see that?” comment a young woman from a window in a tall building. She rubbed her eyes and stared at the sky, certain that she had seen a glimpse of bright lights fade away a mere moment ago.

“What? No, I didn’t. Be quiet, Ferma - you might interrupt… him, and we want that promotion, remember?” hushed the other. They glanced to see if he heard, but Miror B was too absorbed in his dancing. From a nearby radio a loud salsa beat played, which it had done for the last hour. However neither minded; in fact it strangely hadn’t even come close to sounding bland yet.

Suddenly, a large TV behind them that occupied the width and length of one of the walls gave a few beeps, and then flickered.

“Great! That’s probably him!” cried Miror B. “Quick - song change!” Silently, the second female by the name of Reath walked over to the nearby radio and with a sigh changed the song to a tune that was a mix of meditation and typical elevator music. It strangely gave a peaceful yet catchy sound compared to the once upbeat party-like atmosphere.

Miror B nodded his appreciation at the song change. He grabbed a remote from a table and selected a button which turned the television screen red for a brief flash before it faded away into a blurry transmission of a man. He wore a red, skirt-like thing, had long white hair and had the appearance of an ugly, poisonous flower.

He was the same man who Wes had bumped into outside the mayor’s house in Phenac city.

“I trust things are going according to plan, Miror B?” he asked with a frown.

“Oh yes, Master Nascour,” answered Miror B, nodding enthusiastically in time to the music. “Our plan is coming along in a lovely peachy-lemon way.”

“Eh, what was that? And what’s with the happy music?” asked Nascour. He shifted uneasily, while Miror B continued to groove slightly.

“Honestly, don’t you ever have to not have things spelt out to you in a means other than depressive?” replied Miror B. He used the remote to change the music to something more suiting to Nascour’s taste, a darker tone of music engulfing the room. Ferma and Reath shivered, but Nascour seemed to enjoy it more.

“We have broken Duking’s spirit. We can do as we please at the Colosseum without his meddling. And now we’ve given Shadow Pokémon on the sly to challenge winners for gathering data,” translated Miror B in a bored drone.

“Good. Others also appear to be doing their part to implement their plan. Our Shadow Pokémon plan is falling to place quickly, and the final phase is not far off. Ein for instance has managed to turn even more into Shadow Pokémon. Oh, and your Shadow Pokémon is due tomorrow - I hope you… enjoy it.”

“Fwhohoho - this is perking up my spirit, baby! Oh, I almost fell like… dancing! It’s afro-tastic!” cried Miror B, before pulling of a dance move, making Reath, Ferma and Nascour cringe. Worse yet, he even began to hum the tune of ‘You should be dancing’ by the Bee Gees - many a person who heard a rendition of that song by Miror B ended up having the tune stuck in their head for days.

“Save your dancing and your singing until our plan succeeds, please,” interrupted Nascour hastily. “Besides, we’ve had a minor setback, as I’m sure you know.”

Miror B snorted. “If you call Team Snagem’s base blowing up a minor setback, I suppose you’re right…” he muttered. “All over the news! It even replaced the regular culture section I liked to listen to...”

“Anyway, reports are that he was a former Team Snagem member, by the name of Wes. He destroyed one Snag Machine, and stole the other, so until we regain it, we basically cannot rely on Team Snagem. A major problem, as I’m sure you’ll agree.”

“Oh, whatever. I actually encountered him,” continued Miror B to himself. “But what about my-”

“WHAT!?” shouted Nascour, making every hair in Miror B’s almighty afro quiver in fear. “Why did you not capture him? You stupid, music obsessed…”

“Erm, when I said ‘I’, I meant ‘Folly and Trudly’, sir,” said Miror B hurriedly. “I wouldn’t let him walk away, knowing how dangerous he is to our project, of course.”

Nascour scrutinised Miror B for a moment, then seemed to accept his explanation grudgingly.

“But what of them? Were they successful? I’m guessing not, considering otherwise you would have mentioned it by now.”

Miror B smiled uneasily. “I do not know - I have not heard back from them since yesterday. I did, um, hear, that that girl they said they had had, um, escaped with Wes…”

Nascour’s face was one of displeasure and distaste, as if he had bitten into an overly-bitter Durin berry. “This will not do. Firstly, the man who destroyed Snagem’s base has escaped, and worse, that girl who can somehow see shadow Pokémon is with him? What if they discover us next? What’s more, I have not heard from Bluno either…”

“Well, I - I mean, my assistants - have told me an accurate description of the two…”

“Really? That’s something I suppose…” growled Nascour. “I likely won’t get a good one from Gonzap for a while unless I’m lucky after all. Do share.”

“Well... what did they say...” Miror B put a hand to his chin and pretended to try to recall what he knew perfectly well. “He’s kinda thin... if he is then he should use a bit of food - who can dance when they’re so undernourished? Okay, okay…” muttered Miror B as Nascour shot a warning look. “Well, he’s got the Snag machine, he’s a teenager - probably in his later teens. He had white streaks on his face, has a stylish blue coat - I don’t think it would rival my snazzy outfit, wouldn’t you think? ...Nascour, are you alright?”

Nascour’s face had turned white, and his lips trembled slightly. I saw someone just like that outside the mayor’s office myself, he thought. And that girl that was with him would have been…

“Damn it!” Nascour said aloud, before realising Miror B was still listening. If he had known, he would have had the rebel imprisoned instead of deciding to say some stupid sentence to keep up the illusion of being intimidating and save himself from speaking to others unnecessary… no, Nascour had the opportunity to turn him in and have Cipher’s problem’s averted. A chance gone begging.

“Oh, never mind Miror B… carry on…” he stammered, before aborting the televised transmission to Miror B’s bemusement.

Well, obviously the boss couldn’t have done anything about it - I assume he realized who they were, Nascour thought to himself as he breathed deeply to collect his thoughts. After all, it would have raised a few eyebrows - too many eyebrows. That girl would have no doubt cried about being kidnapped, and although people may not question arrests in say Pyrite, they do in blasted Phenac. Still, I must warn the others, and make measures for myself… I’m not going under, and neither is Team Cipher, not now!

Meanwhile, Miror B was continuing staring at the screen in bemusement.

Oh well, he shrugged. Not my problem that he’s weird. Probably not in the position to call anyone else weird, but he certainly is.

“Ferma! Reath! I shall soon return to my hideout with my Pokémon. You keep things in order for then - make sure you give out the next Shadow Pokémon for the upcoming Colosseum battle. But first… we dance!”

Ferma and Reath sighed as Miror B turned on the music to full blast, and started tapping away. They retreated to another room quietly, so not to disturb the man.

“At least those two fools are out of the picture for now!” whispered Ferma to Reath. “I bet they did something stupid like drive off a cliff.”

“Yes, great news. At this rate, promotion to their position will be a cinch!”

“Indeed... although this Admin is quite strange, it’d be no doubt useful to be his most useful underlings...”

Miror B, meanwhile, twirled one of his many Ludicolo about the room, ignorant of his two whispering underlings.

Who cares about that silly boy and girl anyway? Or the project? he thought to himself, trying to dispel his fears. They’ll never find us here… and even if they were, they’re not going to stop me dancing.

And so he danced.

***


And chapter/game notes as usual:

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By TwilightBlade of PC. =D
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#12
***

Chapter 7 - Gotta Snag Them All


Wes was in one of the drab streets of Pyrite. He glanced about as he walked through. He didn't know what it was that he wanted to find, but still he looked. Not watching where he was going, he walked straight into a lamppost. Wes looked at it - strangely, the light bulb looked just like Miror B's afro, and the lamppost was covered in a purple and black aura.

"Gah," spoke the lamppost grumpily. Wes took an uncertain step backwards, and suddenly he was falling, the ground parting behind his feet. Pyrite was gone and replaced by nothingness, save for the pastries floating around him.

"What the…" began Wes, before he felt something hit him in the head. "Ow!"

"Naughty words are bad," said the lamppost which had somehow joined Wes in his descent. Seemingly it was the one which had hit Wes.

"I guess I must be dreaming. Ow! What was that for?" cried Wes, as the object hit him again. The teenager rubbed his aching head and gazed at the attacker.

"Silence - you will bow down to me instead of being aware of being in a dream!" the lamppost boomed.

"What are you?" tried Wes, careful to choose his words.

"Luke, I am your Father!"

"But wait, I'm not Luke…" began Wes. "And don't tell me that you're my father!"

"Oh, yeah." A moment of silence followed. "I'm not your father… because YOU DON'T HAVE ONE!"

"No…no…" mumbled Wes, before he paused in thought. "Wait, I don't care about that."

"You don't?" the lamppost asked.

But Wes did not answer, for suddenly a large bear which had appeared wearing a top hat was shaking him, yelling 'wake up'...

***

"Wake up, youngster! How long do you sleep in bed for?" shouted Sherles in his rusty, gruff voice, as he roughly shook the startled teenager out of his slumber. Wes moaned before getting up. He rubbed his head, trying to get the remnants of what remained of his dream out of his memory.

"I was having a dream… what time is it?" he mumbled.

"5:30! Come on, look sharp!" replied Sherles, before marching off to his office. "We've got work to do!"

For crying out loud, it's 5:30! Nobody's supposed to be awake at this time! thought Wes grumpily to himself as he dragged himself out of a makeshift bed. After a quick check on Espeon who looked fully rested, he walked into the office where Sherles and Rui were waiting. Does 5:30 even exist?

"About time, you two…" huffed Sherles.

"Oh calm down," replied Rui. She clutched a mug filled with frothing, brown liquid in her hand. "Not everybody wakes up at the same time as you, and I'm sure we don't have to rush right now… Arrgh!" she cried, as she took a sip.

"What is it? Too hot?" asked Wes curiously.

"No - I thought this was hot chocolate!" cried Rui, turning to Johnson with a scowl.

"Er, sorry?" Johnson offered feebly.

"How the heck can you mistake coffee for chocolate… but wait - it smelled like chocolate!" she added, smelling the cup of questionable contents.

"Maybe I used both…" Johnson muttered as Rui took another sip.

"And it's salty! Don't tell me you didn't… oh." Rui trailed off upon seeing two identically sized and shaped tubs of white, grainy substances. "Never mind, I'll make myself another one…"

"Anyway," interrupted Sherles, "we have a lot of work to do with regaining those Shadow Pokémon."

"But aren't you forgetting something?" asked Wes, taking a bite from an apple. "We were kinda chased by the whole town, and stealing - I mean, snagging another Shadow Pokémon will just get the same result. And I'm not sure we want to go through that again…"

"Espeon!" (Too right! I still have a headache!) agreed Espeon, trotting through the door. He sniffed in distain at the thought of having to do the same again – even Psychic Pokémon had limitations.

"I haven't forgotten about that. No, after we go meet someone who may help us, you two are to try to regain as many Shadow Pokémon as you can, and see if you can locate Cipher's hideout, wherever that may be. Unfortunately, it seems that Folly and Trudly genuinely cannot remember where the hideout is located – my Alakazam made sure of that… Now, let's go!" ordered Sherles, before marching off outside with a spring in his step.

"Well, at least he's enthusiastic about the whole thing. Not really surprised about Folly and Trudly's forgetfulness… they don't seem much like criminals," remarked Wes. “Good ones, anyway.”

"Espi Espeon! Espeon!" (They don't even know what Cipher's trying to do! A bit like how you didn't know anything about what Team Snagem were doing!)

"…Shut up," Wes retorted, feeling tired. He gave a sigh, and rubbed his forehead. What did I get myself into this? First I was with Team Snagem, and now I'm fighting two criminal syndicates!

"Hey, Wes, you're looking glum. Everything all right?" asked Rui.

"What? Oh, yes, just had a… bad dream," replied Wes tiredly.

Rui suddenly sprang forward and gave Wes a quick hug to comfort him, surprising both him and herself in part – she hadn't planned on doing so, but she felt it was the right thing to do.

"Suddenly, I feel much better now…" Wes mumbled.

"And Johnson, you come along too! You're helping Wes and Rui!" Sherles called from outside the door.

"Ok!" exclaimed Johnson happily as he followed Sherles out.

"What did he just say?" queried Wes. "Because I could have sworn that he said that Johnson was helping us."

"….Damn it!" remarked Rui.

***

"Want a blueberry muffin?" offered Johnson to Wes as they walked through Pyrite.

"…Yes," accepted Wes reluctantly. To say the least, Wes still felt rather dismayed by the fact that he would be stuck with Johnson for a while. He looked around carefully to check that a repeat of what happened in his dream was avoided, no matter how strange it was, and gave the lamppost a wide berth.

"Hey, what's going on over there?" called out Rui suddenly. Wes looked ahead. The man named Duking they saw at the Colosseum and a young teenager seemed to be arguing outside a house.

"Duking! How much more are you going to take from those people?" shouted the young man. He was short, yet he had a pose and stance that expressed power, and his head held high. His loud voice carried through the town and got the attention of the few others outside at this hour.

"That's… unexpected. There's trouble at the Colosseum - right? So who's causing it?" whispered Rui. "And who's that young fellow?"

"Oh, that's Silva," replied Johnson with a smile. Wes frowned – he still hadn't gotten quite used to the fact that Orre's citizens had odd names, or bluntly obvious ones. Silvia's name seemed to be of the latter kind give the boy’s uncombed, silver hair.

"Look, it's not what you think…" replied Duking. Surprisingly, he looked meek despite his towering stature, and appeared intimidated by the average-sized Silva who looked as if he was about to explode in a rage of sheer fury.

"How can it not be how it seems? They're using you and the Colosseum! What's the matter with you? They suck the spirit out of you?"

Duking offered no reply, choosing instead to look at the ground.

"Tch. So you just clam up. I've lost faith in you!" shouted Silva, before running off past the group, ignoring Johnson's good-natured offer of a blueberry muffin. Sherles sighed and walked to Duking, then put a hand on his shoulder.

"Duking, I know that something's up, and in all honesty this just confirms it. Do you need any help?"

Duking sadly looked down at Sherles. "N…No, I… can't…I have to go to the Colosseum now. Don't… need help," muttered Duking, putting on a weak smile, before walking away with his head bent towards the ground.

"Oh dear…" began Rui. Sherles shook his head.

"I don't like this one bit. Normally Duking would not even let anyone intimidate him. But as Silva said, it seems the spirit has been sucked out of him. And I wouldn't be surprised if Miror B has something to do with this. Maybe they know a thing or two…" Sherles said, trailing off as he fell into deep thought.

"Who?" asked Rui.

"Oh, you'll see in a moment," replied Sherles, before approaching a locked door of the nearby house and began picking at the lock.

"Umm… sorry to intervene right here, but… what are you doing?" asked a worried Wes. He wasn't against picking locks in general, but a sheriff doing the sort didn't seem quite right.

"Relax. It's Duking's house," replied Sherles with a grin.

"Err… okay then?" Rui said, scratching her head.

"Espi!" (Let me help you with that,) offered Espeon, before making the lock click and the door open for Sherles.

"Why thank you," said Sherles, motioning for Wes and Rui to enter. They exchanged glances and peeked in. The main room greeted them - and strangely enough it was the only room in the house as well. Cramped walls ensured the size was modest at best, and dozens of pieces of furniture littered around the floor only served to add to the already-excessive 'cosiness' factor. There were a dozen mattresses laid next to each other; a sink, fridge, desk, bookshelves and even a toilet in the corner. Wes pinched himself as he looked around nervously.

One being was inside - a small child leaning against a bookshelf nearby, seemingly asleep on his feet.

"Aww, isn't he cute…" Rui said.

"Esp…" (Shh, you'll wake him,) warned Espeon, a bit unsure of the situation himself. Suddenly the kid woke up.

"Halt! Begone!" shouted the kid, alarmed to see strangers in his home.

"Espeon." (My bad.)

"You'll never get past me and find the secret switch upon the side of this bookshelf which is labelled 'secret switch' and enter the secret room behind it!" continued the kid, before he realised his error. "Not that there would be a secret room with anything of importance… oh, it's you," he added after trying to cover up his blunder, spotting Sherles.

"Young scallywag, don't you know anything about the art of concealment? The very fact that you positioned yourself by the secret entrance raises suspicion over why you would do such a thing! Tactics, child, tactics!" lectured Sherles.

"Yes, Sherles," said the child, not really sure what Sherles just said, but going along with it.

"What's going on?' asked Rui.

"Es, peon! Esp!" (Yeah, who the hell built such a bad house? And what's with the kid?)

"You'll see in a moment," replied Sherles mysteriously, looking at the side of the bookshelf. "Ah, here it is." Sherles pressed something on the side of the bookshelf, and stepped back as the bookshelf shifted to the right revealing a dark hole where it had been.

"Espi!" (Now that's high-tech! And odd too…)

"Umm… okay then… this is a weird house…" muttered Wes as they walked through. The narrow passageway was only mildly brightened up by the occasional lamp, each lamp mounted together with a picture of a Plusle. After a while the number of both lights and pictures added up into double figures.

"You like… Plusle?" asked Rui.

"Oh yes," replied the kid enthusiastically. "We all like him as he's daddy's Pokémon and he's very lovable and cute and cuddly and huggable and he's very sweet and his favourite food is potatoes and I love him and my father loves him the most and his name is Plus."

What an original name - Plus the Plusle, thought Wes to himself sarcastically. And that's why I stay as far away from nicknames as I can. Still, I've seen worse – I once met a Golduck called 'Yellow', because it had been called that as a Psyduck...

"When I grow up, I want to be a Plusle," continued the child.

"That's nice," said Rui absentmindedly.

"Espeon…" (He's going to be bitterly disappointed then...) Espeon remarked.

"Umbreon? Umb. Umbreon?" (Yeah, who wants to be a Plusle? That's stupid. Why not an Umbreon?)

Suddenly the passage brightened up considerably as it expanded outwards. A small cave-like room greeted them, a lower ceiling making them have to stoop to avoid bumping their heads. A small waterfall trickled down a wall into a pool of water at the end of the cosy cave.

Wes ignored the unique room however, and focused his attention on the occupants of the room - a bunch of kids. Two girls, maybe eight or nine years old at the most were chatting to each other, one in a light-blue dress, and the other in white. A boy with geeky-looking glasses, a few years older than the females, was seated in front of a computer. His eyes quickly darted from the screen to survey Wes and Rui, before they returned back to the computer.

"Hang on, Sherles - you've got kids helping you?"

"Hey, what's wrong with us?" retorted one of the girls, returning Wes's glares right back at him indignantly. "Who are you anyway - a friend of papa's?"

"No, they don't really know your father - nevertheless, they're here to help. Remember about the Team Snagem's base blowing up?" Sherles asked.

"Who doesn't? It's still all over the news," said the boy at the computer, sounding bored. “I wish the network people were better at their jobs...”

"Well, Wes here was the one who caused it all."

"He did?" exclaimed the boy with sudden interest, letting his attention of whatever was upon the computer screen lapse for now. "Wow!"

"Can I have your autograph?" asked one of the girls.

"Err… ok…" said Wes, unsure how to act with this sudden interest. The girl quickly tore a page out from a magazine about railway tracks and held it up, beaming brightly.

"Anyway," interrupted Sherles, "Rui here can actually identify Shadow Pokémon from normal Pokémon, and both she and Wes have got a few Shadow Pokémon."

"Oh, my. That's… amazing! But…" trailed off the boy, seeing the Snag machine on Wes's arm. "Is that…."

"Yes," answered Wes.

"Oh, that's great! Now we can hit them back!" he said.

"Calm down, Secc," said one of the girls. "And... what are Shadow Pokémon anyway?" Secc sighed.

"I've told you, Marcia, that they're Pokémon turned… bad by Cipher. And if we can get them back, we can make them good again... somehow… so how did all of this happen?”

Another long recount of the story began again for Wes and Rui, briefly going over what had happened over the last few days for the benefit of the children.

"So, you have - how many Shadow Pokémon?" Secc asked.

"Three - two from Cipher, and one from a civilian of Pyrite - Vant, I believe," Sherles said.

"Wait, you actually got one that had been given to… but how?"

"Well, luckily they escaped the wrath of Pyrite - with a bit of assistance from me, of course - we wiped their memories!" said Sherles, with more than a hint of pride in his voice.

"I see - with that Espeon here, you mean?" asked Secc, raising an eyebrow. Espeon also snorted, giving Sherles a confronting stare.

"Yes. Only, that's the problem - we can hardly expect to get all of the Shadow Pokémon in the same way, as the strain will be too hard on him and my Alakazam."

"And that's why you came here?" asked Secc.

"Yes."

"Ok, I'll see what I can do. You'll have to wait, though. Wes, can I see those Shadow Pokémon to check up on them? And Espeon too - I have an idea."

"Um, sure," answered Wes, surprised at the kid's sudden role of authority.

A long wait ensured, with Secc scrutinising every detail of Wes's newly gained Shadow Pokémon one by one, much to their displeasure.

"Maku! Hita Hita!" (Stop poking me! Stop it or I'll… OW!)

"Espi Espeon? Espeon," (Does being a Shadow Pokémon make you stupid as well as moody? Behave - he's trying to help you,) Espeon said as he gave Makuhita a short, sharp headache.

"Hita…" (Stupid Espeon and his psychic thingy…) grumbled Makuhita.

"Croconaw. Croc..." (Stop moaning, you fat lump. This is annoying though…)

"Misdre!" (Shut up, both of you!) cried Misdreavus in frustration at hearing the two bicker.

"Maku!" (You shut up!)

"Mis!" (No, you shut up!)

"Maku!" (You shut up!)

"Mis!" (You shut up!)

"Croc!" (Shut up, the both of you!)

"Maku!" (You shut up!)

"Mis!" (You shut up!)

"ESPEON!" (Everyone just SHUT THE HELL UP!) shouted Espeon suddenly, losing his patience. All the Pokémon fell silent and kept still obediently, as Secc analysed them and entered data into a computer.

"Esp." (Thank you,) added Espeon, surprised that his demand worked.

Meanwhile, Wes and Rui were forced to wait and be entertained by the two younger girls, as Sherles left to retrieve something from the police station.

"I want to play house," demanded Marcia, folding her arms and pouting.

"But I want to play shops!" argued the other girl.

"Aren't they basically the same game?" asked Rui quietly.

"No!" exclaimed both girls, turning simultaneously to gape at Rui.

"Ok, ok…I didn't play those games…" Rui hurriedly backed down.

"Wes, what do you want to play?" asked Marcia. "House or Shops?"

"I don't know, it's an impossible choice. House or Shops. I'll just have to hope that when I flip the coin it somehow explodes and kills me," replied Wes sarcastically. "Okay, Shops it is…" he continued, catching Rui's warning glare.

"Marcia, where's the thing?" asked Secc suddenly.

"It's on top of the thing next to the other thing!"

"…Where?" asked Secc. "Never mind, I see it," he remarked, rummaging through a pile of black books.

Sherles walked in at that moment, carrying a large cardboard box.

"Lots of Poké Balls here. Got a large supply too."

"But where did you get them?" asked Rui as she eyed the small red and white capsules. Wes’ eyes widened as he ran to the box.

"Well, I am the Sherriff of Pyrite. I simply ordered some from Silph Co., and they came via the PC. There's some Great Balls there as well, which should make snagging even easier."

"That's great!" Wes said, holding them and peering at each one closely.

"And good timing too," added Secc. "I'm just about done now. Come over here - I'll explain. Wes, you might as well take back your Shadow Pokémon."

"Right," answered Wes, as he recalled his three Shadow Pokémon into their respective Poké Balls.

"Good," answered Sherles. "Sit up straight," he added to Marcia.

"Okay, first the Shadow Pokémon. From my observations, they've seemed to have been put under a lot of stress - maybe due to the process that made them into Shadow Pokémon. It's hard to pinpoint exactly, but I think that the door to their heart has been shut."

His statement received blank stares from all.

"Well, what I mean by that is, they've been pushed to their mental limits - maybe stressed out, or tortured," - Rui gave a gasp – "or something like that. Badly treated. Pokémon can be quite sensitive creatures and if ill-treated, can change their personality, mood or even their movesets."

"Too right," whispered Wes to Rui. "Espeon once didn't talk to me for three days after I had accidentally used the wrong type of shampoo on him…"

"Espeon!" (That shampoo smelled like rotten lemons! I stunk!)

"Umbre," (Yes, you certainly did,) snickered Umbreon.

"I think that's how they became Shadow Pokémon. These Pokémon have literally forgotten their normal moves, as Wes's P*DA shows, and instead only seem to know Shadow Rush - which is quite a powerful move actually. I guess it is what you could call a side effect of becoming a Shadow Pokémon…"

Man, that Secc knows his stuff... Wes thought to himself. What a nerd.

"Those poor things. I wonder what they went through," said Rui. "What about their auras?"

"Ah, good question. I guess Shadow Pokémon are more prone to anger - you could see how they behaved when I was examining them. As a result of being Shadow Pokémon, their emotions are easier to show themselves. In truth, all Pokémon - and people - give out an aura, only we can't see them. However, as Shadow Pokémon's auras would be bigger, it would be easier to notice."

"But why can I only see them?"

"I'm guessing that you are a, well, a rare case. I've heard that people have been able to see the auras of regular Pokémon, although they are few and far between. You probably can also, but not as well - and thus, why you can only see Shadow Pokémon's auras as they would technically be more visible and easier to see. It's only an educated guess, but it's the best I can come up with. I think it's the same deal when they enter 'Hyper State' - their emotions go off the edge, Shadow Rush gets stronger and they get even more dangerous. And as such their auras would be affected - hence the red colour."

Yep, he's a Pokémon nerd all right, Wes thought again, smiling slightly at the kid’s rambling explanations.

"That's sounds about right - it was as if they went on fire," said Rui. "And when Misdreavus and Croconaw's auras went red, they seemed… angrier."

"Sounds feasible," offered Johnson. Wes was surprised that he comprehended all that information of all people, before realising that Johnson had been commenting on a book on UFO sightings he held in his hand.

"Anyway, I've checked all three, and I've managed to get a program up and running that checks to see how their emotional state is. It seems that Makuhita's and Croconaw are actually better than Misdreavus - maybe because you've had them for longer, and travelled with them. Some Pokémon thrive on just spending time with people - maybe Shadow Pokémon can make a recovery, provided they get treated well again."

"Aha!" cried Rui. "So if we get them happy, they'll recover?"

"That should be the case. It might be different for each Pokémon though, depending what they like, and how long it takes for them to recover. Maybe battles would help too? Pokémon tend to like battling... Anyway, I've added the program to your P*DA Wes, so you could get a rough judgement on how they are going in that respect. I wouldn't be surprised to see them slowly regain their moves as well."

"Ok then. I might have to use them in some battles and see if it makes a difference for them."

"Now, for snagging the other Shadow Pokémon without raising attention. As the memory-wipe thing worked, I think we might as well stick with that - and make it easier in the process."

"How?" Wes asked.

"Well, firstly, I took this Itemfinder here - we have dozens," said Secc. He picked up one of the objects which were commonly used to find items in a nearby radius. Trainers often used them to find objects dropped by other careless travellers, while they had a use to the general public of Pyrite in looking for stuff in trash. "I took it apart, gave it way more power, and changed the way the signal is transmitted. Now we attach it to Espeon here…" Secc put on a strap to the machine and attached it to Espeon's neck like a collar. "And he's good to go!"

"Wait, that's it?" asked Sherles curiously.

"Yep. All he has to do is focus on the transmitter with what he wants people to forget, and it should be transmitted in roughly a 200 metre radius around him, affecting everyone within that radius. I think you may have to battle for those Shadow Pokémon without Espeon however, Wes."

"What about us?" asked Wes. "Wouldn't we also get affected?"

"Not with this," responded Secc. "As you know, dark-type Pokémon share a sort of… 'immunity' to psychic powers, so you would say – their fighting style and tactics just outwit Psychic types."

"Umbre Umbreon!" (And being immune to psychic stuff annoys Espeon.) He stuck out his tongue at his brother who sniffed and turned away in reply.

"So, Umbreon, could you please assist me? Use Secret Power on these." Secc gestured at another bunch of Itemfinders.

"How did you know he knew that move?" asked Wes.

"Checked your P*DA."

"Fair enough."

"Umbre…" (Here goes…) Umbreon said, before focusing on the machines intently. For those who paid attention (which didn't include Johnson), small sparks seemed to travel from Umbreon into the Itemfinders, which shook for a moment before falling silent.

"Umbre?" (Did it work?)

"Only one way to find out - Espeon, try to communicate with one of us," commanded Wes, quick on the uptake. He grabbed one of the Itemfinders.

Espeon stared intently at the Itemfinders for a while, but nothing happened.

"Try using the transmitter," offered Secc. Espeon started to comment and it was only until Wes removed his Itemfinder that he could understand what Espeon was saying again.

"Espi! (That was what I was doing!)

"Great - it works!" exclaimed Secc once Wes relayed the answer. "For these I've made the signal weaker - it should only protect you if you are within a radius of a few metres. I'd suggest you'd stay away from people that you want to be affected. There's one for each of you," he added, giving one to each person in the room. "Now don't lose them!"

"Well, thanks for that, son," said Sherles sincerely. "You've done a good job, and with luck we can take down Cipher. By the way... what's happened with Duking?"

Secc's smile faded. "I don't know. But I think that it's Cipher that's making him act all different. I heard Silva shout at him about it too just before you came - normally Duking would have done something about it. That's why I'm helping, you know," he added.

"Well the sooner we can find where Cipher's hiding, the sooner we can help your dad. For now though, let's get those Shadow Pokémon!"

"Great! Let's go already!" cried Rui.

"What's the deal with Duking's house?" asked Wes as they stepped back outside.

"The same thing with everyone's house in this town," answered Sherles. "Yep - most people's homes in Pyrite are like this - it's all thanks to the Loan Sharks."

"The Loan Sharks?" Rui asked, interested.

"Yes - a bank business that also loaned money. Pyrite by all accounts should be better off than this - there was a lot of money to be made from the mining business back then. Many people when building their homes here needed to borrow money, and most chose the 'Happy Friendly Money Lenders' as the source."

"What went wrong?" asked Rui.

"They went under new management, and thus they changed to the name of Loan Sharks. Clearly the interest rates and conditions changed - by the end of it most could only afford their house by slapping everything together in one room."

"But wouldn't that be illegal to do that?" asked Wes. "Change the rates like that?"

"Yes, but we haven't been able to pin them down as of yet. It's one of the things that Duking has been fighting against. I remember him telling me that he had borrowed at something like five percent, only he found out that the interest rate was basically triple that, and that he could only make payments yearly - no earlier. When he went to them to tell them otherwise, they said 'no, you can't do that', and began to eat every part of his body."

"What?" Rui frowned.

"Not literally - it's a figure of speech."

"Oh." She grinned sheepishly.

"Anyway, good luck with getting those Shadow Pokémon. Johnson, you might as well make yourself useful - you watch for people acting suspiciously, and help Espeon if you can."

"Ok!"

"Espeon! Esp!" (I don't need help! Especially from him!) Espeon insisted.

"Well, I'm off - still have to see if there's a way to get into Team's Cipher's hideout."

"Ok Sherles - see you soon!" Wes called.

***

Over the next two days, Wes' Pokémon were hard at work as Wes went into battle after battle to root out a Shadow Pokémon. He stuck to a simple plan of finding someone who wanted to battle, luring them to a quieter place in town so that they would have less people to 'memory wipe', and commencing with a battle, usually pairing Umbreon with a Shadow Pokémon of his own. Meanwhile, Rui watched from the sides, keeping her eye on the opponent's Pokémon, while Johnson and Espeon also looked on.

Most of the town's trainers did not have a Shadow Pokémon, as they discovered while Wes tore through their Pokémon teams time and time again. They made the occasional trip to the Colosseum's healing machine to allow his Pokémon a rest every so often, ignoring Duking's suspicious stares while feeling sorry for the man. Wes mused as he watched Duking; if he could help people like this through his actions, well, maybe it would be worth the trouble and be a neat bonus to not being in jail.

The first Shadow Pokémon that Wes encountered was a Quagsire which belonged to a trainer by the name of Divel, who wore a classy bandana around his head. Wes had begun with Umbreon and Makuhita, the latter being the one to pulverise Divel's Psyduck with little effort as it spent most of the battle waddling about clutching its head and moaning. Rui had pointed out that Quagsire was a Shadow Pokémon the moment it had been released, as well as that it looked 'dumb and ugly too'. Even Wes had not been prepared for the Pokémon's look - a light-blue Pokémon with a blank stare, and extremely tiny eyes which gave it the appearance of someone born with the same amount of brain cells as Johnson.

"He's a Shadow Pokémon? Well, have a look at mine!" Divel cried in dismay as Quagsire took a heavy hit from Umbreon. "Quagsire - use Shadow Rush!"

"Quagsire!" (Dah, no, water is better!) Quagsire responded in a dumb voice before summoning water from the ground.

"What? No - not Surf!" cried Divel in despair as the Shadow Pokémon purposefully disobeyed him and formed the mass of water pouring from the ground into a wave, knocking over some spectators who were too slow to react.

"Espeon - use Light Screen!" ordered Wes. With everyone ducking for cover, nobody noticed Espeon summon a wall of light in front of Wes' Pokémon and divert the wave back onto Quagsire. Wes quickly slotted a Poké Ball into the Snag machine, and then successfully caught the weakened Quagsire. Espeon immediately focused his psychic prowess onto the transmitter, and in half a minute, part of the town of Pyrite was standing dazed and confused, no longer knowing who Wes was or what he did - nor for that matter why they were gathered around a battle area, hiding behind buildings and soaking wet.

The next Shadow encounter occurred soon afterwards, this time the opposing trainer being a young kid on roller blades continuously singing about how battles gave him a lot of joy and calling Wes a 'little boy'. Wes was bemused to why Cipher had given such an odd kid a Shadow Pokémon - despite having a decent Swablu that gave Makuhita a hard time with his flying-typed attacks, when commanding his Shadow Slugma to use Shadow Rush, he left his Igglybuff wide open to a powerful attack which sent the blob high into the air.

"Igglybuff!" (Help!) it cried, as a breeze picked up the light balloon-shaped Pokémon and carried it away from his trainer.

"Oh no - come back!" cried the boy as he ran after it. Espeon made sure that he didn't come back for his Slugma, as the sluggish flame waste of a fire-type charged at Umbreon at a surprisingly and ridiculously slow pace. The snag was relatively easy as the dim-witted Pokémon had nobody to instruct it.

Another Shadow Pokémon encounter occurred within the hour as a female trainer revealed her Shadow Skiploom which proved to be a far more formidable Pokémon this time around. The grass-flying type Pokémon lasted for far longer than the trainer's Oddish and Dustox, as Skiploom fired off Leech Seed in every direction it could, causing Wes's Pokémon to have a tough time as they were continuously drained of energy (along with a few unfortunate onlookers). Eventually though, Skiploom incredulously managed to accidentally Leech Seed itself. This was soon followed by Misdreavus Biting Skiploom's head, and Umbreon firing a Secret Power, and so Wes took the opportunity to snag the Pokémon. His opponent found herself congratulating Wes on his victory instead of strangling him for stealing her Pokémon, which she had promptly forgotten had ever existed.

Every so often, Wes made frequent trips with Rui, Johnson and Espeon to Duking's house and Secc, who analysed Wes's new Shadow Pokémon and uploaded them to Wes's P*DA's new program, dubbed the 'Shadow Metre'. It became increasingly clear that the more battles the Shadow Pokémon had with Wes, the happier they became as they slowly accepted Wes. Some started to regain their previous moves, which gave Wes more options to use in battles. As Wes's Pokémon count went past six, he was forced to leave some behind to be examined by Secc, and then put into the PC systems for the time being.

The rest of the Shadow Pokémon were quickly dealt with by Wes the next day with all of them seemingly severely angry with everything. The first obtained a Shadow Flaaffy. The normally mild-tempered Pokémon was much more vicious than what the sheep-like Pokémon would normally be like but this had made the battle easier as Flaaffy in its rage failed to look where it was charging and took out its own partner in Shroomish. It in turn released dust pollens which landed on the Shadow Pokémon, promptly making it fall asleep and allowing the snag to be a much simpler task.

Another Shadow Pokémon was a Noctowl - an overgrown bird Pokémon of the owl species - which had tried attacking several of the spectators during the battle. It then turned on its own trainer who clearly was unable to control his own Pokémon. He chose to run off. While he recalled his Ledyba and Wingull to their Poké Balls, he abandoned the angry Noctowl after it deflected his ball and swooped at the trainer. Wes after a long struggle managed to catch the violent Pokémon without having to use the Snag machine, but Espeon still gave the frightened onlookers a memory wipe, just in case.

The last Shadow Pokémon Wes could find was a Shadow Furret. It belonged to Cail, the aggressive individual who had been standing by the front of the town's entrance when Wes and Rui arrived. Unlike the other trainers, Cail had seemed accepting that his Pokémon was snagged by Wes, saying that it was a waste of a Pokémon. Wes personally disagreed with this - the elongated white and brown ringed Pokémon had put up a decent fight, slashing at Wes's Pokémon with long, sharp claws. Cail had also confirmed that Cipher was indeed the people supplying Shadow Pokémon to winners of the Colosseum challenge, but refused to reveal more after seeing Wes snag the Furret.

Unfortunately for Cail Espeon still gave him a necessary memory wipe - Wes didn't want news of him and Rui’s actions to leak.

Fortunately Wes also found out that only seven people had been given Shadow Pokémon thus far - meaning that for now he had all the Shadow Pokémon in Pyrite belonging to innocents.

"Well, that's a relief. So many battles… and some of the trainers believed that battling was a turn-based thing! What kind of a battle is it when you take turns? Almost like some game, not a battle!" Wes told Rui as they relaxed in Duking's cave-like room.

"Umbreon... Umbreon..." (You don't say… at least most of the battles were easy…)

"Espeon!" (At least it only took a couple pages of summarising!)

"Hita? Maku! Makuhita!" (You've had enough of battling? I want more battles! I shall defeat many more Pokémon!) shouted Makuhita in protest.

Suddenly, the power went out in the room, leaving all in pitch black.

"Power failure… that's never happened before," muttered Secc. "I'll get some candles going."

“Maku!” (I’ll punch the darkness!)

"Help me!" a distant voice suddenly called from outside.

"Did you hear that?" asked Rui.

"Someone's in trouble!" cried Johnson. "I'LL SAVE YOOOUUU!" he shouted, running out of the room and straight into a wall, forgetting that he couldn't see anything. "Oww!"

"Guess we should go after him, make sure he doesn't do anything stupid, right?" asked Wes.

"Probably."

"I hate babysitting that guy…" Wes sighed as he got to his feet.

"Espi esp..." (At least you didn't have him following you offering dumb advice all the time…) grumbled Espeon.

***

It turned out that the commotion had occurred inside the windmill. Wes immediately noticed that the windmill was not in operation when he walked in. He heard Rui gasp as they saw both a worker and 'Chief' - the gear spinning man – lying on the ground wheezing for air.

"What happened?" asked Sherles, who had reached the windmill first. Wes was amazed that the old man could run so fast. The Chief took a moment to catch his breath before launching into his explanation.

"I was spinning the gears, as I always do, when suddenly I was attacked, and knocked to the ground! When I came to, one of the gears were gone! Now I can't spin my gears anymore! I WANT MY GEAR BACK!" cried the 'Chief'. "Oh, and both the Colosseum and the town would be without power, I guess," he added as all stared at his outburst, "but what about ME?"

Duking then appeared, looking even more worried than usual. "What's going on?"

He slammed an arm against the door frame after the news was relayed to him. "I'm sorry I let this happen. Now the town and Colosseum suffers! Who did this?" he shouted, before catching notice of Wes standing next to Sherles. "Was it you, you suspicious runt?" he growled.

"No, he's innocent - Wes here is working for me," added Sherles hastily.

"It was… Silva, I'm afraid," said the Chief.

"It was - what? How could he?" cried Duking.

"I saw him with my own two ears," garbled Chief, frightened of Duking's face of rage. "He came in, attacked me, and took the gear while shouting anti-war slogans, and trying to explain himself."

"Such as?" prompted Sherles.

"He was ranting on about how the Colosseum can just close down or something, and that this is for the good of the town…"

"But why do this? This affects the whole town, damn it! And I'll be put under a lot of pressure if the Colosseum challenge can't go ahead tomorrow…"

"Since when?" asked Sherles curiously.

"Er… since recently," Duking answered, looking at his feet and shuffled them uneasily.

"Well, I think," began Chief, "that he wouldn't have done it unless he thought it was the right thing to do…. Silva wouldn't ever do such a thing normally, especially to you. No, I reckon he agonized over this and did it 'cause he thought it right. Why though is beyond me, and maybe he could have done it a bit less roughly… would you know why?" he asked Duking.

"Um, no…." began Duking, looking more nervous by the second.

"Err, Chief?" began Wes, piping up. "What if we just used one of the gears lying around the town? There's dozens, and some would probably fit…"

"NO!" shouted Chief, jumping up and down and making wild gestures. "I want MY gear back, not some crummy substitute!"

"Does it... really matter, Chief?" asked Sherles.

"YES!" he screamed.

"Ok, ok, calm down, I know how upset you are about losing your… gear, but sometimes we have to make… hang on, I'm getting a phone call," Sherles said, taking his P*DA out of his pocket and putting it next to his ear.

"What if… you spun the windmill by hand?" offered Johnson, trying to impress. Wes took one look at the heavy metal gears, and recalled how slowly the windmill had spun even with the help of machinery. It would be impossible to make the windmill's blades budge an inch.

"Johnson, who's using the family's brain cell at the moment?" asked Wes.

"Uh huh, who's this?" said Sherles through the P*DA. "The construction site...? What, oh that's good, we need that…. No, I know that your place isn't a tip… I know, I know. Someone will come to pick it up right away." At that, Sherles switched off the P*DA.

"It's the gear - seems that Silva let it roll all the way down the hill from Pyrite to the construction site. The guy there wants it out of there ASAP, and saw that the gear had some writing on it stating that it was the property of Pyrite."

"Hurrah! Let's go get it!" cried Chief.

"It's not going to be that easy…" said Sherles. "After all, it's a long trip uphill from there, and it'll take ages to get it back up here. It's rather heavy, remember?"

"I'll lug it back if it takes me all day!" Duking said confidently.

"Hey, Sherles, suppose I went to get it with the Zoomer? I'll just drag it back carefully. It'll be quicker and easier as well,” Wes suggested.

"Good idea, Wes," replied Sherles.

"Really? You'd do that for me?" asked Duking. He paused for a moment. "Well… thanks."

"Think nothing of it," answered Wes. "I'll be back soon."

***

After a few hours of lugging the gear back to Pyrite, Wes tiredly unattached the gear from the Zoomer and rolled it back to the windmill. It had taken longer than he had expected - the Zoomer had been reduced to a far slower pace than what it could normally go at and the gear was enormous. It has been boiling hot in the desert too - the ground had shimmered in front of his eyes only a few metres before him. It was a wonder Silva managed to get it out of town in the first place.

However he was surprised to see that Duking was once again angry when he had arrived, glaring angrily at two new arrivals - two females of average height. One had an aggressive posture, while the other looked meeker.

"Look, we're just curious about when this windmill will get fixed. I know that some… people may not be happy if it doesn't get fixed," said a woman, with a hint of menace in her voice.

"Oh good, you're back!" exclaimed Rui, who a moment ago had been staring daggers at the two.

"There you are!" cried Duking happily. "See, I told you it's under control," he said to the two women. "Now you may leave."

"…Fine, whatever," said the woman. "Come, Ferma." They both began to leave. Ferma looked somewhat puzzled while Reath pretended to look laid back but failed to suppress the sense of annoyance showing through her forced smile.

"Hey, where's the gear?" asked Wes suddenly, noticing it was no longer next to him. Then the windmill started up - Chief had in his excitement already taken and fitted the gear.

"Woohoo! Thanks man - now I can spin these gears!" cried Chief happily, as he manned the machine that controlled the gears.

"Well, all's well that ends well," summed up Sherles, as Wes wondered how Chief had managed to lift such a heavy object by himself, never mind the fact that it had surely been too hot to handle by hand.

"Yes, the brave Johnson has solved the case of the Missing Gear!" boasted Johnson.

"Johnson, you didn't do anything."

'Um, well…"

"Even though the Chief was knocked out, I'll be spinning gears some more! Thirty long years of cranking gears, Thirty more years I'll spin some more…" began Chief with his off-key singing. "OH YEAH BABY! This is the way it should be! Thirty long years…" he continued, singing louder this time.

"Oh dear - once he's started, he'll never stop…" muttered Duking. "At least he's happy. I'll ask you to excuse my behaviour - you can be trusted. You have my sincere thanks."

"No problem," answered Wes, although he felt that it had been a bit of a trouble bringing back the gear. It was odd to be helping people, instead of helping Team Snagem, or helping only himself before... but the change felt nice.

"Anyway, I have a… favour to ask of you. You too, Sherles. Maybe it's best we go to my house…"

***

Outside the windmill, Ferma tugged Reath's arm. "Did you notice that guy with the gear?"

"Um, yes. Good looking or what?" Reath replied, distracted by some flies buzzing around her head.

"No, not that!" cried Ferma. "That guy was Wes!"

"Who?"

"The one who blew up Team's Snagem base!"

"Really? Are you sure?" Reath hissed. Ferma nodded. "Oh god… this is bad news… we've got to go to Miror B about this right away! We can't let the Shadow…."

"Shadow?" asked Johnson, popping up suddenly.

"Go away, nitwit," replied Reath.

"Not without making you forget!" Johnson waved his arms at the pair.

"…Whatever are you talking about?" asked a confused Ferma. "Can you let us go now?"

"Espeon - they know something! Wipe their minds!" Johnson ordered, now pointing at the Psychic type.

"Espi!" (Okay!)

"But you don't have an Espe…." began Reath, before her face went blank, as did Ferma's, as they found themselves staring into Espeon's glowing eyes.

"Espeon! I know it must be fun, but stop erasing people's minds!" shouted Wes from afar.

"Esp…" (But Johnson… oh, never mind…) Espeon said.

"Coming!" shouted Johnson, racing Espeon to Duking's house. As he left, Reath and Ferma came back to Earth.

"Reath… what are we doing here?" asked Ferma, confused.

"I don't know… something about the windmill, although it appears to be fine… whatever, let's go back," said Reath, not as worriedly as Ferma. "Hey, look, Johnson's dropped something," she pointed out as she went to pick it up. She shook the object and peered at it curiously. "A weird looking Itemfinder…"

“Maybe he tried to invent something smarter than himself,” Ferma remarked, and laughed.

***

"So, what's the problem?" asked Sherles. Duking's children were seated next to Duking on the floor, while Wes, Rui, Duking and Sherles had seats. Johnson had been relegated to the floor as well by unanimous vote.

"I think you may know already," said Duking with a sigh. "I've been pressured by Miror B and his stooges. They've been… taking control of the Colosseum."

"I knew it!" exclaimed Sherles. "But… why have you done nothing about it yet? You're not the kind to be pushed around."

"It's because of Plusle," explained Duking, with a heavy sigh.

"Plusle?" asked Secc. "But what…"

"They took Plusle…" finished Duking.

***


Hope you enjoyed that. Sorry about the end - couldn't resist. :)

As for the events and characters in this chapter:

Show ContentSpoiler:
[Image: suisdbsf.png]
By TwilightBlade of PC. =D
Reply

#13
Neat fact - this is the 10th anniversary of Pokémon Colosseum since it was released in English (i.e. its Northern America release). How about that.


***

Chapter 8 - Shopping for Victory


There was a short pause before everyone reacted to the news. Even Johnson looked astonished - he actually seemed to have understood what Duking had just said.

“So... Plusle isn’t at Super Happy Fun Time Camp?” one of the children said quietly.

"So that's why you've been acting so restrained!" Sherles said before a loud wail stopped him from continuing.

"You m-mean… P-P-Plusle is… gone?" stammered Marcia.

"NO!" bawled the other girl. "THEY TOOK PLUSLE!"

"Oh dear…" Rui said moving to try and comfort the girls with hugs. "But how could Miror B use such a dirty trick? Somehow, he doesn't seem the kind to do that."

"Yes, but we've only encountered him briefly…" said Wes. "Can't really judge him on one encounter."

"Umbreon..." (Poor Plusle…) muttered Umbreon.

"Yes, you see what kind of a situation I'm in," Duking said. "I couldn't even appear to be investigating the Colosseum, as otherwise they could…" Duking trailed off, leaving the sentence unfinished.

Everyone fell silent, pondering the dim situation.

"Could what?" Johnson finally said.

"Espeon?" (How dumb can you get?) Espeon cried out in frustration.

"Oh yeah, sorry, Duking," apologised Johnson. "But don't worry, I'm sure it's fine."

"Plusle was a 'she', not an 'it'," corrected Nett, looking glum.

"Sorry," Johnson said, before he realised that the children seemed to him somewhat upset by Plusle's disappearance. "Don't look so sad! Hey, I have some advice that'll help cheer you up!" he added.

Wes looked at Johnson, wondering what advice the children would have to suffer.

"Be on the lookout for things that make you laugh," he recommended. "If you see nothing worth laughing at, pretend you see it, then laugh."

"Maku," (Sounds about right,) Makuhita exclaimed, looking around the room for something. Seemingly unable to find it, he turned to Johnson and gave him a punch in the gut, causing Johnson to cringe in pain.

"What was that for?" asked Johnson.

"Maku!" (Hahaha!)

"Anyway…" continued Duking, somewhat distracted by Johnson's gems of wisdom, "I've decided to take action, instead of letting Miror B and his goons walk all over me. That's why… I need your help. I can't do anything - but maybe you can."

Ws thought for a moment, before nodding. I’m still not used to this helping business, but I would want help if my own Pokémon were kidnapped. He then tried to ignore his brain helpfully remind him he had helped steal Pokémon himself. "Ok… but how?" asked Wes.

"I want you in the Colosseum challenge, and then to find out what's going on - how, when, anything. Even better would be if you actually won the challenge - then you could get some Pokémon that's rumoured to be given out to the winners. I’m fairly sure they are behind it, and something crooked is going on with that."

"Not a bad idea. But Pokémon get given out? How do you know?" asked Sherles. Wes noticed that Sherles was trying to appear as if he hadn't been helping out Duking behind his back. Makes sense, Wes thought as he looked at the large man. Wouldn't want to make Duking angry.

"Sherles, I know perfectly well that you already know that," replied Duking. Sherles looked slightly surprised, but took it in his stride, shrugging his shoulders in reply.

"Well, then… you do?" asked Sherles.

"Why yes," answered Duking. "And I also know that my children have been helping too," he added, turning to them. "I do have at least some idea on what you do back in that cave. Not to mention that you've left a file open on the computer."

"Dad…" began Secc, but Duking held his hand up for silence.

"And for that, I'm proud of you. The fact that you decided to act - something I should have done a long time ago. So, Sherles," said Duking with a slight tone of happiness and pride in his voice, twisting his head to him, "anything else I should know?" he queried, with a wry smile.

"Yes, I'm afraid so," responded Sherles.

A long and lengthy summary of the present situation followed, detailing Cipher's and Team Snagem's growing power, which had been averted by Wes and Co. To say the least, Duking was shocked.

"I'm shocked!" said Duking. "All this has been happening in our town? And they've been making Shadow Pokémon - those lousy, low-life… loafers… they'll rue the day that they dared enter this town…"

"Calm down, Duking," warned Sherles as Duking picked up a stress ball and gave it a run for its money.

"Don't worry, I'll try and find out what I can through the Colosseum challenge," assured Wes.

"Yes… you're right. I can tell from a glance you are no ordinary trainer, Wes."

"So," coughed Sherles, "I've been thinking - you sure that with the more time spent with a Shadow Pokémon and the correct treatment given to it, the less… Shadow-like it becomes?" asked Sherles.

"Yes - there's no doubt about that," answered Secc.

"Well, the thing now is that Wes has… nine Shadow Pokémon. So how can he purify them at the same time? I think it's best that we purify all the Pokémon as soon as possible."

"Well, I can't, can I?" answered Wes. "Unless you can bend the law saying that I can be excluded from having more than six Pokémon at a time, but I doubt that," he continued. A shake of the head from Sherles confirmed this. All in the room fell silent, pondering this dilemma.

"Ahem," coughed Rui quietly.

Still the room was silent. Rui coughed again, slightly louder.

"You have a sore throat?" asked Wes.

"Espeon! Espi Esp," (I'm thinking that Rui wants to suggest that she should take care of the other Pokémon-)

"Oh, be quiet, Espeon, can't you see we're trying to think?" asked Secc.

"What about me?" asked Rui eventually, slightly annoyed that nobody had caught her drift yet.

"What about you?" asked Johnson, confused.

"What about if I took care of the Pokémon? Seeing as I don't have any and can take up to another six and so then all of the Shadow Pokémon can be purified at once until we get some more?"

"What a good idea!" said Wes at length. "Why didn't you say so before?"

"But I…"

"But Rui, wouldn't you need a trainer card or a P*DA to authorise you with the right to have Pokémon for training?" asked Sherles.

"But I have one!" cried Rui. "The teacher at the Pre Gym gave me one - remember, Wes?"

"Well, that's great!" said Sherles with a smile. "Might as well give her some of the Pokémon now, Wes."

And so within a few minutes, Rui officially became a trainer and the new owner of Quagsire, Flaaffy, Skiploom, Furret and Slugma.

"Wow… I have Pokémon! And five to boot!" Rui said happily. "I wonder if I should nickname them?"

"Um, maybe later, Rui," Wes said quickly, not sure that the Shadow Pokémon deserved nicknames that Rui could come up with. “Besides, they’re hard to command as it is and may have had nicknames before – best to address them by species name for the time being.”

"Well, now that's sorted out, I'll just give you a free ticket to the Colosseum challenge," said Duking. “Don't lose this - just show it to the receptionist tomorrow and you'll be good to go. Best of luck!" he called, as Wes and Rui departed.

"Thanks!" replied Wes.

***

Wes and Rui decided to head over to the Poké Mart to stock up on supplies and buy some food for the next day. To their dismay, Johnson followed them, still eager to 'help', but Wes thought that at least shopping would distract him.

However, Wes immediately regretted stepping into the shop. The moment he stepped in the teenager wrinkled his nose at the overwhelming smell of cheese. The state of the shop reflected the state of the town. Food was stacked in illogical order, with the store seemingly housing multiple climates within it - one side of the store was producing cold air from the fridges storing the refrigerated stock, while the opposite side of the store was overwhelmingly hot, like a humid rainforest.

"Weird things they sell…" said Rui, eyeing some of the products."Hey, look, books!" she cried, spotting a tray of books. She ran to examine them.

"Hey, Wes, I've been wondering," Johnson began.

"What is it, Johnson?" Wes sighed.

"Is it true that when you die in your dreams, you die in reality?"

"No…"

"Ok, only I heard it from someone, and I had a dream in which I died, but I hadn't really died…" explained Johnson.

It's true that you should die… considered Wes.

"Oh dear…" Rui said, still glancing at the books.

"What?" asked Wes curiously, craning his neck to look at them.

"These books seem rather odd…" muttered Rui as she picked up a few. "Look at this one - 'The Adventures of Rondam and Fiends'?"

"Ok then… that IS an odd title…" agreed Wes.

"'The Official Game Guide to Pokémon Colosseum'? That's odd, didn't think Pyrite could have any games, let alone game guides - hey, it looks like Espeon is on the cover! And look that this one - 'Curious George and the High-Voltage Fence'…" Rui's voice trailed off as she reread the title of the last story.

"Wonder what happens in that story?" Johnson asked.

"Johnson… how about you go look for some ice cream?" said Wes.

"Yay!" shouted Johnson, bounding over to the refrigerated section.

"However did he get to that age with such a small amount of brain cells?" said Wes, scratching his head.

"I don't know."

"Neither do I. But I'm sure he'll go far one day."

"You sure?" asked Rui.

"Yes - and the sooner he goes, the better," Wes added, causing Rui to laugh.

"Aha! Ice cream!" cried Johnson triumphantly, before opening a fridge door and stepping instead to get some. He failed to notice the fridge door close behind him until he tried to get out.

"Hey! Little help here, people?" a muffled voice sounded from the fridge, as Johnson tried to open the door – unfortunately, it wasn't budging one bit.

"What's that? Sorry, can't hear you," replied Wes, blatantly ignoring Johnson's dilemma. "Hey!" he added, as a bystander tapped him on the shoulder a bit too hard. He rubbed his shoulder and frowned. Right in a pressure point too...

"Psst, guy!" the stranger whispered to Wes and wiggling his eyebrows.

"Um, what is it?" asked Wes while glaring at the earnest old man, who didn't seem to have noticed what he had done.

"If I was to offer you ten Poké Balls for ten dollars, would you take it?"

"Umm, yes?"

"If I knew of such a deal, I'd keep it to myself!" the man chuckled.

"Oh, very funny…" muttered Wes, not at all impressed by the joke. Meanwhile, the man went over to view Johnson struggling to break free from his icy prison.

"How about if I offered you ten Poké Balls for ten dollars?" asked the man, ignoring Johnson's pleas for freedom. Johnson then resorted to banging on the door to get the man's attention.

"Hmm, you seem to be of the suspicious sort," the man finally remarked, before walking off.

"You done yet, Rui?" Wes called.

"I guess so," she answered, appearing from an aisle with a large number of items in her arms. Wes's eyes burgled at the sight of the pile, which appeared to be several food items with a pair of legs. Even the shop keeper looked surprised that Rui could ruffle out so much food in so little time, and fresh normal content at that.

"Ok, we'll just have some bread, butter, ham, this yellow cheese, tomatoes, lettuce… potatoes, three Super Potions - actually, make that four - a couple of carrots, a packet of peas, , a bunch of bananas, an orange, apple juice, a pineapple, some rice - ahh, Uncle Ben's rice - biscuits, pretzels, two packets of chips - I believe they're on special - some food for the Pokémon, window cleaner, more bananas, a box of chocolates, a turkey, this stylish toaster…”

"What next, the kitchen sink?" murmured Wes.

"Hey, look, baklava!" cried Rui, spotting a small packet of the aforementioned item of food on a nearby shelf. She immediately dropped everything and went to examine it - unfortunately for the shop keeper, Rui had dropped the majority on his head.

"Hmm, I'll think we'll just take this actually," Rui said. She then jumped back in surprised upon seeing the owner's angry face. "What?" The shop keeper just gave her a furious glare as he went to put every item back from where Rui got them, as Wes and Rui waited patiently. As the shopkeeper came back, he noticed Rui staring intently at the baklava.

"What is it?" he asked.

"I think we'll pass on the baklava actually. Could you please bring everything back?" asked Rui sweetly.

"You mean to say," began the shop keeper none too happily and in a slow, annoyed voice, "you dropped stuff on my head, decided to make me take all of that stuff back, and now you've changed your mind? You seriously want me to go back and get all of those things?"

"Err… pretty please?" tried Rui.

"OUT!" commanded the shop keeper.

"Stupid shop…" grumbled Rui as she and Wes walked out of the store. "At least I still have the baklava," she added, producing the packet of pastries from behind her back, causing Wes to slap his head in sheer bemusement. Meanwhile, the shopkeeper returned to his counter fuming angrily about dumb customers, only to get struck by a fridge door. Johnson stumbled out of the fridge, shivering cold and the worse for wear.

"I see," he muttered, "I was opening the door the wrong way… hey, why are you sleeping?" Johnson asked the shopkeeper who was out cold on the dirty shop floor.

***

Ferma and Reath - please report to Master Miror B's office immediately.

"Oh great," complained Reath as she heard the announcement in her communicator. "Now we have to see the crazed man now!" she continued. "There are two things that I hate - people who are constantly late, and people who have giant afros and strange obsessions with Ludicolo, dancing and music that just loops!"

"Well, personally I like the music…" mumbled Ferma as they walked into Miror B's office, with the aforementioned music blazing in the background.

"Can you explain why you are late yet again for the report I requested?" asked Miror B as they entered.

"We're not late…" began Reath.

"Actually, we are," Ferma said, glancing at her watch.

"Well, whatever," hurried Reath. "What is it?" she asked Miror B.

Miror B frowned slightly and turned down the music. "What do you mean?" he asked.

"What is this about?" asked Reath, impatient. "Has the music gone to your head?"

"Well, correct me if I'm wrong," began Miror B, "But didn't you say that there was something wrong with the windmill, which is required to power up the Colosseum?"

"What do you mean, something wrong?" retorted Reath. "When did we say that?"

"Okay…" muttered Miror B, a small frown growing on his face. "Let's see. The power went out all over town for several hours - luckily this radio can run on batteries - and you came in saying that the windmill had stopped working, and that you were going to investigate only a few hours back. Clearly it's working now, but I got no report, did I not?"

"Uh...when did we say that?" asked Reath again, clenching her fists as she spoke faster. "Are you trying to mess with our minds? We never said such a thing - you're out of your mind."

Wordlessly and with an expressionless face, Miror B pulled out a tape recorder, re-winded it, and played. Reath's voice was clearly recognizable.

"And it seems the windmill has stopped working… me and Ferma are going to investigate this," Reath's voice sounded from the machine.

"…Ok, maybe I did…" conceded Reath, scratching her head in confusion.

"Honestly, believe us, Miror B - neither she nor I remember that conversation, sir," stated Ferma.

"Oh, whatever, the important thing is - is it going to work tomorrow for the Colosseum challenge?" asked Miror B.

"I… guess so," answered Ferma.

"Good - that's what I wanted to hear," said Miror B with a stunning smile. "Reath, what's that you have there?" he asked curiously, spotting Reath twist the black altered Itemfinder in her hands.

"Oh, some junk," she answered. "That fool Johnson dropped it. And it doesn't seem to work… and I really think that that music is not good for you," she added.

"Why, what's wrong with the tune, don't you know that I need to, listen to my music, even if you hate it!" retorted Miror B.

"Well, for starters, you just said that sentence to the song's tune!" pointed out Reath.

"No I didn't do that… hang on, I did…" admitted Miror B.

"Anyway, see ya!" Reath finished, placing the Itemfinder on a desk, only too eager to leave the office that had been recently turned into a dance floor by Miror B. "Come, Ferma," she commanded. Ferma sighed and followed her out of the room.

"Hey, I don't want it!" shouted Miror B, but they had already left. "Oh well, off to the bin it goes," he conceded, picking up the Itemfinder and throwing it over his shoulder towards the bin. The object never made it though - instead it collided with Miror B's afro and sunk into it, disappearing from sight. Miror B strangely seemed not to notice this. Instead he gave a sigh and thought to himself.

The man, who had been once considered the greatest dance prodigy since John Travolta, was having second thoughts over the whole deal. Sure, he got his own dance floor, and having a town under his control was nice, but he missed the shows and the contests he had partaken in with his Ludicolo. He wasn't particularly keen on the whole Shadow Pokémon thing either, and secretly hoped that he didn't have to resort to going ahead with dealing with the Plusle. The whole business reeked of something smelly, like the fish he sometimes fed his Pokémon. And being a criminal certainly wasn't what he had wanted to be in the first place.

I guess that's what you'd expect if you work for a guy with world dominance as one of his primary aspirations, Miror B conceded to his distrust. But that's why we're on his side, is it not? However Miror B knew that it was not quite right. And to boot, the Shadow Pokémon that he had received couldn't even perform a simple dance move! No amount of music or help from his Ludicolo helped in the slightest. Some Shadow Pokémon - the other Administrators got way better Pokémon than him.

Oh well, at least I have my music.

***

The following day it dawned on Rui that the Colosseum Challenge was a popular event for the vast majority of the town. A flood of people of all shapes and sizes flocked up to the old run-down building that housed the battles frequently made there. Most lined up for a seat in the audience, while only a few were gathered separately around the reception area. Wes concluded that this was where the participants were meant to assemble.

"Ok Rui, you go get yourself a ticket and a seat, and enjoy my victory," joked Wes. "I think I'll use Espeon for battle - if there is a Shadow Pokémon being used, I don't think that it'll be wise to try wiping everyone's minds and snagging it there and then after all. We might as well do it later on the off-chance that we encounter a Shadow," he added, taking the Itemfinder - now dubbed the 'Mind Wiper' - off of Espeon.

"Espeon... Esp, Espi, Es…" (But I liked using that… oh well, battling is still fun, I guess…) Espeon sadly said.

"Good luck!" called Rui as she promptly ran to the end of the line. However in her haste she bumped into the last person, who in turn bumped into the person in from of him, causing a domino effect as a wave of falling people collided with the reception desk.

"Oh dear…" murmured Wes to himself. He shook his head and suppressed a laugh before he joined the small group of participants and started paying attention to the receptionist's instructions.

Half an hour later, the Colosseum was filled to the brim with spectators, all priming to cheer or boo the trainers set to compete. A few ordered greasy foods from the occasional passing hot dog man, and took to their seats gingerly. Many a person had fallen after the seat had simply collapsed underneath their weight; once a battle had been held up as a person had landed right on top of a Pokémon.

Rui looked around as she walked through an aisle, searching for a seat. She spied one next to a group of people, and happily bounded towards them.

"Is this seat taken?"

"Well, yes actually…" began one of the people.

"Oh, good, thanks!" exclaimed Rui, clearly not having waited for an answer as she sat down in the seat. "Do you like Pokémon?" she asked.

"Uh…"

"I love Pokémon! I got my own yesterday and I'm so very happy! Anyway, are you cheering for anyone, any friends in the Colosseum challenge?" Rui asked. The man looked uncertainly at her for a moment, waiting to see if she would go on. Rui simply stared right back, seemingly waiting for a response this time.

"Well, my friend is…"

"MY friend is in it too! His name is Wes and he's going to win!" announced Rui.

"Right…"

Duking just then walked onto the middle of the hard, dusty battle arena, causing all in the Colosseum to erupt in cheers.

"Ladies, Gentlemen, Children and Others, I welcome you to the 428th Colosseum challenge!" Duking's voice boomed across the massive building, not requiring the assistance of a microphone. The crowd responded with even more cheering.

"This time we have scrambled up enough competitors for a four round competition - that is, sixteen competitors to try and impress you in Pokémon battles for you to enjoy! First up, we have…" Duking fell silent as he looked at a palm card, "…Hoks? What kind of a name is that? Anyway, we have 'Hoks', and Wes!"

"Woo! Wes! Go Wes!" shouted Rui, causing the person next to her to cover his ears.

"Ok folks, this will be a simple two-on-two battle," concluded Duking, walking off to the side as Wes and Hoks walked on. "Best of luck," he muttered to both, with a wink to Wes as they both assembled at opposite sides of the stadium.

"Ok, release your Pokémon!" commanded Duking.

"Barboach and Sandshrew! I choose you!" shouted Hoks, who was bizarrely dressed as a hunter of some sort, threw two Poké Balls at centre stage. He released both a Barboach - a small blue worm-fish-like Pokémon that started wiggling in the dirt- and a Sandshrew - a small shrew with thin lines crossing all over making patches upon its yellow parched back.

"Oh, come on - that phrase is so overused it's not funny," replied Wes, eager to get on with the battle. "And your Pokémon are a little on the small side. Come on, Espeon and Umbreon! Make this quick!"

"Espeon!" (This will be easy!)

"Umbreon!" (This'll be a walkover!)

"Oh yeah?" retorted Hoks. "You're just jealous that I said it first!"

"Yeah, whatever," mumbled Duking, glancing at his watch. "This battle will now begin!"

"Ok, Sandshrew - use Sand Attack!" commanded Hoks.

"Sandshrew!" (I like sand! Sand Sand Sand!) the small shrew Pokémon shouted, sending a bundle of sand towards Espeon and Umbreon with his arms and legs as it dug up the grainy substance from the ground. However the majority of the clumps of sand fell short of the two Pokémon.

"Pttf. That's all?" asked Wes. "Espeon - show them your Sand Attack!"

"Espi!" (Will do!) acknowledged Espeon, before he concentrated his psychic powers on the ground. Slowly, millions upon millions of grains of fine sand rose from the ground and wobbled in the air.

"Es…pi…on!" (Here...we...go!) shouted Espeon, and with a flick of the head, the sand particles all zipped right back at the Sandshrew.

"Shrew!" (I hate sand!) protested the small Pokémon as the particles started merging into bigger clumps just before they collided with the unfortunate shrew Pokémon. Some grains on the other hand remained separated, giving shorter yet sharper stinging sensations to Sandshrew's body. A few hit the Barboach on the way too, but it simply wiggled deeper into the ground, safe from the onslaught.

"Arrgh!" shouted Hoks as some sand inadvertently hit him as well.

"And what a Sand Attack from Espeon!" Duking said grandly, invoking cheers from the impressed crowd that hadn't also received some of the attack in their faces and food.

"Oh yeah? Try this for size!" shouted Hoks. "Barboach - use Surf!"

The tiny Pokémon summoned up a small trickle of water from the ground, water seeping from the ground. Adding some burst of water from its mouth as well, it then sent the liquid as a wave towards its opposing two Pokémon, waving its antennae threateningly.

"Umbre!" (That's… it?) asked Umbreon incredulously, as the small wave of water reached his and Espeon's ankles in height.

"Espeon…" Wes began.

"Espeon!" (Way ahead of you!) Espeon said, already sending the water right back at Barboach. The small Pokémon was carried high into the air by the water, before being submitted to an accurate Secret Power from Umbreon, the attack combining with the water and inflicting further pain to the small Pokémon. Umbreon follow up by charging at the Sandshrew, who had also been flung up by the water and Tackled it. The Eeveelution’s opponents, like so many Pokémon fought before, succumbed to their attacks and fainted.

"And the victory goes to… Wes!" announced Duking, as the crowd cheered.

"Yay! Wes won! I told you he was good!" cried Rui.

"Yes, you did…" mumbled the person next to her, still rubbing his ears.

Soon enough, the first round of battles was over and the second round - the quarterfinals - commenced. Once again Wes was in the first battle of the round, and waited for his opponent to come onto the arena.

"Next up, we have… Tom!" shouted Duking. "A normal name for a change," he added to himself as he slipped the paper containing the draw into his pocket. After a moment, Duking looked around.

"Hey, Tom? You're up!" he called.

"I'm a coming!" a voice sounded from the entry point.

Is that who I think it is? thought Wes. His fears were confirmed as the person stumbled out of the tunnel.

"Yus…Yis…. Yes! Yes, I'm heard, I mean here!" shouted Tom. "Hey, I knows you! It's Superwoman…. Thing!" he remarked upon seeing Wes.

"Oh dear, it's you - and you seem intoxicated again…" muttered Wes.

"But… you were perfectly sober in the previous battle!" remarked Duking.

"Well, a lot cun happeny in a wek," defended Tom. "But didn't worry - I con still battle - yes, old Tommy-tom-tom boy… Tom can win!"

"Somehow I doubt that…" said Wes.

"Well, whatever," conceded Duking with a shrug. "Being drunk isn't breaking any rules here! Again, this shall be a two-on-two battle! Begin!"

"Ok, go, Croconaw and Makuhita!" Wes shouted, sending both Pokémon out respectively.

"Ohh, they look putty…" remarked Tom.

"They're… putty?" asked Wes, confused.

"Maku! Hita Hita!" (Where's the other Pokémon! I want to bash their heads in!) shouted Makuhita as he waved a fist about.

"Croc?" (Or do we attack that thing?) Croconaw asked Wes as he tilted his head and looked at Tom who was now inexplicitly doing a little dance.

"No. Leastways, not yet," answered Wes.

"Oi! Drunk guy! Get on with it!" shouted Duking.

"Whas? Oh, rightio!" said Tom who had now progressed to Morris dancing. "I'd bun sund out mi Pokeymans, right? Lets sees…." he mumbled, rummaging through his pockets.

"Whee...Why were them?" he muttered. "Oh dearilys, I think…"

"What?" asked Wes impatiently.

"I forgot my forgot something."

"What?"

"Oh, waity, it's in the mother rocket, no, clock, no, my pocket! That sit!" Tom announced, pulling out two Poké Balls from his other pocket. The crowd was already booing at the delays, and some of the audience pondering whether to throw their food at Tom or not.

"Go, Spinydah, and Spineti!" stuttered Tom as he sent out two Spinda - panda-like Pokémon with many red spots randomly placed on its head and body. The two Pokémon, identical if not for the spots, swayed uncontrollably upon being released.

"Espeon!" (They seem drunk too!) exclaimed Espeon, who was sitting on the side of the match, watching on.

"No, Spinda are often like that - they do some sort of swaying motion that can be used to confuse you. Don't get caught in the motion, Croconaw and Makuhita!" warned Wes. Espeon however sniffed the air cautiously.

"Espi…" (No, they really are drunk…)

"Umbre…" (I wonder what beer tastes like…) Umbreon wondered.

"Ok, my mini, min, midgetions!" slurred Tom. "Try Teetering Dance!"

The two Pokémon tried to obey, but ended up fall over upon one another as they stumbled. Almost instantly, sounds of snoring could be heard from the Pokémon.

"Er… I guess, Wes wins then," announced Duking, seeing that the Spinda were in no state to battle.

"Oh noes, I'm lost!" conceded Tom with a dazed look on his face.

"Don't you mean 'I lost'," asked Wes.

"No, reallys, I don't now where I be…" sniffed Tom. "But you're a wonner! Now I can't win all of the smazzules and the… thingy! Oh, it's ok, you're alllll riiiiggghhhttt…." started Tom, before falling unconscious.

"Maku!" (I wanted to battle!)

"Croconaw!" (Now can we hit him?) asked Croconaw as two men came and dragged Tom off the ground. Tom was still muttering in his sleep on the way out.

"Yes, I wiuld luke some orange sheeerrrbeeeet…" he garbled.

A few more battles of little consequence followed before the semi-final round. Wes ended up having a bye into the final, with his opponent found in the bathroom unconscious. Tom had ended up in an argument with him and got into a fight, strangely coming out as the winner.

"I shossed him! Nowsy he won’t never mever call me a catfish again, if myn ame's nit… Kevin!" shouted Tom at the organisers of the tournament in protest as they dragged him away.

"Yay, Wes is in the final!" celebrated Rui upon hearing the news that Wes had a bye. "He's going to win, I know he is, and then we're going to save the world - oh, I shouldn't have said that - it's classified information," she finished.

"Ok then…" acknowledged the man, before he turned to his friends. "You want to switch places?" he whispered to them. They all responded by shaking their heads vigorously.

"So, do you like stuff?" interrupted Rui.

"Ok folks, the final battle awaits!" announced Duking. "Musicians, if you please?" he asked, and a band on the side started into a flowing piece of music.

"Umb, Eon!" (Oh, epic!) remarked Umbreon.

"The final battle is between Wes and Mirez! This will be a four-on-four battle, two Pokémon out at one time! Let the battle begin!" shouted Duking.

"Nothing's going to stop me!" shouted Wes's opponent. He was overly buff and had an unfitting stylish choice of clothes to match his girth.

"Go, Bagon and Goldeen!" Two Pokémon were sent out from the towering opponent. One was a Bagon, a small blue dragon Pokémon which waved its short arms and legs. The other in Goldeen instantly summoned a small pool of water from the ground so that it wouldn't be left flopping on dry land helplessly.

"Ok, go Makuhita and Croconaw - now you can have a good battle!" commanded Wes. "Hopefully, anyway..."

"Maku!" (Prepare to suffer!) Makuhita cried - Croconaw merely sized up his adversaries with his eyes and snorted with disdain.

"Ok, Makuhita, give Bagon a Shadow Rush!" commanded Wes. "Croconaw, Bite the Goldeen!"

"Bagon, stop it with Headbutt! Goldeen, Water Gun!" shouted Mirez. As Makuhita charged at the Bagon, it ran back with surprising speed with its head tilted towards the chubby fighting Pokémon. However it never noticed Makuhita change direction, and after it missed Makuhita sent it flying into the air with a powerful hit with his fist.

"Bagon!" (I can fly!) it shouted, before colliding head-first into the audience. As shouts of protest came from the crowd, Croconaw ducked to dodge the Water Gun attack from the Goldeen and lunged forward to Bite it viciously, before tossing it onto dry land. Makuhita then followed up with an Arm Thrust attack, striking the poor fish multiple times until it gave in and fainted. Meanwhile Bagon was subsequently sent flying from the throng of people after it had been whacked by multiple pieces of food and landed head-first in the dust, also fainting after the fall.

"What? You fainted them both so quickly?" gasped Mirez in amazement, his arrogant demeanour somewhat diminishing. "Now I'm angry! Go, Delibird and Magnemite - use Supersonic!" he shouted. He sent out a red and white penguin which strangely held its tail over its shoulder as if it was a sack, and a small levitating magnet-like Pokémon. Upon its appearance it rotated its magnets and emitted shrill, sharp sounds, causing both Croconaw and Makuhita to cover their ears and wince, along with the crowd.

"Ok, Delibird, use Present!" yelled Mirez, and on cue the Delibird grabbed a wrapped-up box from her sack-like tail.

"Delibird!" (Merry Christmas!) the penguin squawked, as it threw the present at Croconaw's feet.

"Croc…onaw?" (For me?) Croconaw asked, staring at the present. Then it exploded in his face. Croconaw clutched his head for a moment, before falling to the ground and fainting.

"Damn," commented Wes quietly as he returned the fainted Croconaw to his Poké Ball. "Still, it's three on two… Makuhita - take it easy out there," Wes instructed.

"MAKU!" (DIE!) shouted the Makuhita angrily, charging at the Delibird furiously. Before either trainer or Pokémon could react, Makuhita was hitting the bird in rage with an array of vicious punches.

"Oh, Makuhita's aura is red. Must be in Hyper-mode," Rui said to herself, getting a strange look from her neighbour.

"Maku! Hita Hita Makuhita!" (Dirty trick! Exploding presents must suffer!) Makuhita shouted, smashing the bird in the head before grabbing the presents out of the bird's tail and throwing them away right onto the Magnemite. The impact caused the multiple wrapped boxes to explode. Normally the magnet Pokémon would have been able to withstand the attack but the resulting flames engulfed it and so it beeped loudly before it too fell, losing its levitation abilities.

"Deli…" (My presents…) Delibird moaned before Makuhita resumed punching the bird before it fainted. This didn't stop Makuhita from continuing to thrash it until it had been recalled.

"Well, that ended with an explosion! Wes is the winner!" Duking announced, the crowd getting to their feet to applaud the victorious trainer.

"…Nice work, Makuhita," praised Wes.

"Maku!" (Presents go boom!) said the Pokémon proudly.

***

"Ok, here are your prizes for winning, Mr… Wesley," stated the receptionist. "You get a coupon for dance lessons at the newly opened dance school, a key ring promoting anti-drug messages, and this bag of money containing a total of $4949."

"Ok… thanks!" Wes responded, grabbing the money bag first. Odd amount of prize money… but, whatever!

"Wes, you won!" shouted Rui, coming through the door and hugging Wes tightly.

"Yes, I know…" Wes weakly said when Rui let go of her.

"Ahem," coughed a person, suddenly sliding up to Wes. He was dressed in black, and wore an odd helmet upon his head. "I take it that you were the winner of the Colosseum challenge?"

"Um, yes, I am," Wes answered slowly. He smiled slightly as he realised who this might be.

"Brilliant. My… boss is the kind of person who likes to reward strong battlers. Could you please follow me to obtain an extra special prize?"

"Certainly."

"Excellent. Follow me, please," ordered the thin man, and so Wes and Rui followed him out.

"Ok, let's prepare for anything," whispered Wes to Rui. "I have a feeling that things are going to get rough soon…"

***

Here's the spoiler for people and events in this chapter:

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[Image: suisdbsf.png]
By TwilightBlade of PC. =D
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#14
***

Chapter Nine - The Music-Man’s Fortress


“Yes, you will get a fine prize indeed,” the man muttered quietly as they crossed the bridge over the gorge. “Miror B, our boss, the town’s true mover and shaker, wishes you to have a gorgeous gift.”

Aha! So Miror B is in this! Wes thought to himself smugly.

“Wes, look,” whispered Rui, as the man led them down some dark alleys. Leastways, darker than most streets in Pyrite, Wes mused. After some wondering around a maze of lanes, they came up to a large building with an enormous metal roller door the only visible sign of entrance. Above the door was a sign titled:


Dance House - Learn to Dance!
Free teddy bear for every membership purchased!


“Now I’m positive that we’re on the right track,” Wes muttered as he recalled Miror B’s dance moves when they had encountered him. Miror B must be using this place as his cover.

“So, we stay here until Johnson or Sherles show up?” Rui asked quietly.

“Yep, that was the plan… but where the hell are they?” replied Wes, looking around for any sign of them. Meanwhile, the man knocked on the door.

“Open up!” he called.

“First say the password,” said a voice from inside. It seemed to be feminine but it wasn’t easy to tell due to the barrier between them. The guide for the two teenagers stared at the door for a moment.

“What password? There is no password!”

“There is now. I thought there should be one, so I made it up about five minutes ago.”

The man sighed. “So how the hell would I know it then?” he growled.

“…Fair enough,” conceded the voice. “It’s ‘open sesame’,” it added. A long pause followed the statement.

“Well, are you going to let me in, or what?” he asked, tapping a foot.

“Are you going to say the password?”

“Oh, for crying out loud… OPEN SESAME!” shouted the man. At that, the door opened wide for him.

“Well, why didn’t you say so?” queried the person. It had indeed been a woman, who was dressed in a remarkably similar style as the man.

Cipher must be a big team to have outfits like that, Wes thought, looking them over quickly. Team Snagem only gave you a crummy red jacket - which I never really wore - and a free haircut.

“What the hell was with that password nonsense, Sema?” the man demanded, tapping his head to indicate his opinion of the idea.

“Well, I thought it was a good idea, Nore…” began Sema. “We had an intruder come in not so long ago… some kid with silver hair.”

“What, really?” His voice dropped noticeably.

“Yep - he was spouting some stuff about how we were jerks or something and that he wouldn’t allow us to take control of this town. Anyway, Ferma and Reath have him taken care of.”

Wes and Rui exchanged glances. Silva is here? That may change things… Wes considered.

“Well, that’s good,” answered Nore. “I’ve got the Colosseum Challenge winner here. Let’s present him with another Shadow Pokémon, and watch chaos be unleashed upon this pitiful town!” With that, the man laughed melodramatically. Wes raised his eyebrows. Clearly these Cipher agents weren’t above announcing their plans in front of bystanders. It seemed that they had forgotten all about him and Rui.

“Hang on…” began the woman, frowning at Wes. “That’s… that’s that Wes guy that Miror B has been harping on about!” she accused, pointing at Wes.

“It is?” asked Nore. He regarded Wes and scratched his hair.

“Um, surely there’s some sort of mistake…” Wes said, raising his hands. Rui anxiously eyed the door.

“YES! And you were stupid enough to let him in here!” cried Sema, grabbing a piece of paper from a nearby desk with Wes’s picture upon it. The words ‘WANTED BY CIPHER’ were printed underneath the image.

“Uh-oh,” Wes managed, slowly moving his hands to his belt where his Poké Balls.

“EVERYONE! GET DOWN HERE! WE HAVE A SITUATION!” Sema screamed. At this, a wave of people stumbled down a nearby flight of stairs.

“We have an intruder here!” shouted the female. “He brought down Team Snagem! Take him down!” she ordered.

“What, you hired all these guards?” Wes asked, trying to delay the inevitable. Where the hell is Johnson? Or Sherles for that matter? “I thought this was a dance school!”

“So you’d think!” exclaimed the woman. “But these are no customers – despite Miror B’s efforts, nobody here wants to learn how to dance! No, these are just a bunch of guards that we’ve employed so that this wouldn’t happen. Until someone let him right in!” Sema added, glaring at Nore.

“Hey, it’s not my fault!” retorted Nore. “I was just doing my job!”

“But… I’m here to learn how to dance…” one of the newcomers mumbled. “What’s going on here?”

“Silence!” she ordered, assuming charge. “If you get him, you can get a free lifetime membership!”

“Okay!”

“I’m afraid to say, Wes, that you aren’t going to get very far,” she concluded confidently, turning back to Wes.

“I’m not too sure about that,” replied Wes. “Go, Espeon and Umbreon!” he said, tossing two Poké Balls into the space in front of the crowd.

“Umbre!?” (Umm… why all the people?) Umbreon asked as he materialised and glanced about, recoiling slightly at the sight of all the people glaring at him.

“Never mind that,” said Wes. “Espeon – wipe their –”

Just then, Wes’s command was cut out by a shout and a person running straight into the room.

“There you are, Johnson! And about time too.”

“Yes, I’m here to save the da-” cried Johnson, wrecking the moment as he tripped over one of his shoelaces. As luck would have had it in these sort of moments for the heroes, almost as if fate was attempting to create more drama out of the scene, the incoming Johnson clattered directly into Espeon.

“Esp-!” (What-) Espeon said, before Johnson’s knee hit his head. Espeon slumped to the ground in pain, and gave a small surprised moan before passing out.

“Oh, sorry, Espeon…” Johnson said, staggering to his feet. A few guards stepped backwards slowly, unsure what to do about the sudden police presence; even if it was Johnson.

“For crying out loud, you knocked him out!” cried Wes, grabbing Espeon and pulling him away from Johnson. “That’s just great.”

“Sorry…” apologised Johnson.

“What took you so long? And where’s Sherles?” Rui yelled.

“Sherles… I don’t know where he is,” began Johnson. Wes slapped his head in frustration as Johnson tried to explain himself. “I got held up – I had to tie up my shoelace,” he insisted, pointing at his shoe. “Hang on, it’s untied again!”

“…Hang on, why the heck is Johnson here? Wait… first you turn on Team Snagem, and then you join the police?” cried the woman. “Absolutely bloody fantastic. We’re stopping you now – I’ve had it with all of these intruders! Guards, send out your Pokémon!”

They all obliged on that command, instantly making the otherwise large room appear cramped. A few dozen creatures faced Wes, who in turn sent out the remainder of his party. Wes gave a quick count – five against twenty-odd creatures of varying size and shape. This was looking like a very one-sided affair.

“Great, I love a challenge,” Wes sarcastically announced. “Rui, try to get Espeon awake.”

“Ok,” answered Rui, as she knelt down next to Espeon and pulled out a Revive out of her bag.

“Oh, I’m having none of that!” cried the woman. “And that’s our Shadow Pokémon you’ve got there as well!” she declared, recognizing the extra Pokémon Wes had sent out. Croconaw looked up at the woman and glared.

“Croc!” (And you’re the annoying person who kept on whinging!) he remarked, seemingly recognising the woman.

“Makuhita!” (Prepare to die!)

“Ready guards? Att-”

Just then, a silhouette of a tall ungainly man appeared by the door. All looked at the newcomer as he sung in an overly loud and off-key voice.

“The wheelys on the busy… busier… bus goey mound and round…”

“…Tom?” Wes asked incredulously.

“Hey-hey, dis isn’t my hiuse…” Tom stated, confused. Then he noticed the tension between all in the room, and noticed the full-scale Pokémon battle about to start. “Did I com at bad time?”

***

“So, Gonzap, finally decided to explain yourself?”

The image of a large man with the lack of any sort of facial hair scowled back at Nascour. The fool looked exhausted, and seemed to have set up camp somewhere far away from where Team’s Snagem’s base lied... or leastways, what was left remaining of Team Snagem’s former base.

“I told you before – it’s not my fault!”

“Oh really? I’m under the impression that your organisation - which you are in charge of - let one of your recruits single-handedly destroy your entire base. Not to mention that the vast majority of your group are either arrested or running for their lives, while both Snag machines are destroyed.”

Gonzap growled. “Only one is destroyed – the other is simply in possession of that blasted boy.”

“Which is as good as destroyed, if not worse!” shouted Nascour. The tension between the two men was incredible. It was lucky they were communicating over a televised relay, as otherwise more than just strong words would have been exchanged.

“Do you know that the boy has weakened our stranglehold on this miserable land, because of your team? Because of your mishaps, our plan is now being delayed! You’re lucky that Cipher has decided to keep our ties with you, else you would no longer be functioning.”

“I’m well aware about your losses, Nascour. Believe me; I didn’t exactly plan to have my base blown up. We suffered far worse than you,” Gonzap replied, subconsciously rubbing his head where his eyebrows used to be. “At least they’re starting to grow back…” he muttered to himself.

“Did you at least manage to get the rest of the Pokémon out of there, or did they get lost too?” sneered Nascour.

“Of course! Mind you, maybe they would have been better off dead, considering where they’re being sent. I’ve sent the last batch we got to Ein – including a Skarmory that I got. That’s to be my Shadow Pokémon, understand?”

“Sure, whatever,” Nascour answered dismissively. “Talk to Ein about that. At least you didn’t let one teenager destroy everything. Just your base, and the Snag machines, and your reputation. Well, whatever reputation there was to begin with…”

“Now look here, you’d better pipe down,” responded Gonzap, shaking a fist.

“And what position are you in to say such things? It’s not me who’s struggling, it’s you. And you’d better hope that he doesn’t come back to finish his job.”

“If I were you, I’d be worried about him too,” snapped Gonzap.

“Oh? How so? In all likeliness, that Wes fellow has no idea about the existence of Cipher, let alone where our hideouts are located. I think we don’t have to fear much from him.”

“So how come he had been interfering with your operations in Phenac?”

That hurt. Stunned, Nascour’s confident attitude changed into one of shock, much like one a Wingull would give if it had been hit with an electric attack.

“But...well, how did you know about that?”

Gonzap chuckled. “Oh, I have my ways. I also know that you still have no idea on his whereabouts, and that he rescued that girl that you were after as well,” Gonzap summarised, enjoying the look on Nascour’s face. “The thing is, I wouldn’t dismiss the kid - he may be as thin as a stick, but he thinks well on his feet, and it doesn’t take much to push him into retaliation.” Gonzap winced as he thought back to the lead-up of the moment that his base had been destroyed. He had misjudged Wes, and had suffered the worst consequences imaginable.

Well, sure, he could have died, but life without Team Snagem at its former glory, or his prized eyebrows, just wasn’t the same.

“Right. I’ll be sure to think of that the next time he blows up one of our hideouts,” Nascour said dryly, trying his best to cover up his surprise at Gonzap’s knowledge of Cipher’s going-ons. “Bye.”

With that, Nascour closed the transmission. He had enough of talking to Gonzap. Cipher had placed their trust in Team Snagem, and they had let all hell break loose within their base, allowing a mere teenager take them down in one fell swoop. And that same teenager had been messing up with Cipher’s doings.

And it didn’t sit well with him. Cipher’s very beginnings had been similarly hampered by such an event, with a group used for support by Cipher being brought down from an equally, if not more unlikely, source. It had taken Cipher a good while to recover from such an incident. But what happened to Team Snagem wasn’t going to affect Cipher this time, let alone occur to Cipher – such an outcome was too terrible - and probably too unlikely - to occur.

He’d make sure of that.

***

Meanwhile, in a certain building in Pyrite that belonged to Cipher, all hell was breaking loose.

Tom’s arrival had surprised Cipher’s guards, not to mention his drunken behaviour which resulted in him hiding behind a nearby chair.

“ARRGHH! INNA WORLD WAR FIVE!” he screamed, startling Cipher’s agents with the shouting and the act of attempting to throw a table into the air. Wes, being somewhat more used to Tom’s antics, recovered the quickest, earning himself a few valuable seconds to command his Pokémon team sans Espeon.

Makuhita started off the proceedings. He charged in fearlessly, and with a cry of ‘Die!’ punched the nearest opponent to him in the gut. The man doubled over in pain; surprised by the fact a Pokémon had attacked him.

“Good work, Makuhita,” acknowledged Wes, not minding whether human or Pokémon were taken out for the time being – either way, both were against him. He could worry about the consequences later. “Rui, can you send out your Pokémon?” he asked, as Umbreon and Croconaw caught on and sprang forward into attack, exploiting the distraction that Tom had provided. Misdreavus gave a ghostly giggle and joined the battle, latching onto a Hoothoot’s head. The unlucky bird Pokémon hooted in surprise and tried in vain to shake off the Ghost type’s Bite attack.

“Sure, just a sec,” Rui called, applying the Revive to Espeon. She reached down into her bag and pulled out a handful of Poké Balls.

“Go, get them!” she called, before pulling off one of the most uncoordinated Poké Ball releases ever performed. Five orbs flew wildly in the air in random directions. Wes instinctively ducked one that was centimetres from taking his head off.

“Fools! I’ll annihilate you myself with my Tyranitarrgh!” screamed the woman as a Poké Ball hit her square in the nose. “Hey, watch where you’re throwing that!” she cried, before she stopped short, noticing a form materialise from the Poké Ball that had just hit her.

Right above her head.

“Arrgh!” she managed, before a large overweight Quagsire found itself standing on top of a struggling and unfortunate person, with a furious battle occurring around it. Try as she might, Sema could not budge the fat blue Pokémon off of her, nor reach for her Poké Balls.

“Quag…sire” (Dah, you smell like peanuts,) Quagsire stated, leaning forward to examine the peon’s face. One look at Quagsire’s beady eyes and blank face, added to having it sit on top of her was simply too much for Sema, and she promptly passed out.

“Err… just stay there Quagsire,” Rui advised, peering at the woman’s downfall before turning back to Espeon. “Sorry about that!” she called to Sema.

“Quag!” (Okay!) Quagsire responded, before deciding to take a little nap where it was, paying no attention to the battle around it.

Meanwhile, Johnson had decided to join the fray himself. As Croconaw barged an unfortunate guard out of the way, Johnson strode up to him and two Pokémon that had moved in to check if he was okay after the attack.

“I’ll beat you!” he cried confidently. The man looked up and smiled.

“Right. You think you, Johnson, can beat me? Attack, Magnemite and Remoraid!” he commanded, as a small Magnemite beeped in response, and a thin blue fish, nestling in a small puddle it had summoned up, glared at the foolhardy policeman.

“Oh yeah? Go, Magikarp!” replied Johnson. A fat flimsy-looking fish came out of Johnson’s Poké Ball and flopped on the ground. The orange Pokémon appeared to be a sad excuse for any sort of Pokémon battle.

“Whe… it Karpador!” exclaimed Tom, still somewhat confused by the whole situation. He has somewhat recovered from his initial fear that the end of the world was nigh, but had decided to stay behind the safety of the chair. That didn’t last long however as a Pineco that had been thrown to the side by Makuhita flew right into the chair and reduced it to pieces.

“Oh no! It’s a…. thingy!” cried Tom before vigorously kicking the poor helpless Pokémon back in the opposite direction into someone’s head. “Why fighting dis on fis go?” he wailed nonsensically in fear.

“Erm, Johnson?” Wes began, noticing Johnson’s somewhat bold move of using a Magikarp in battle. “Eh, whatever. Try to hold him off for a few seconds at least…” he continued, seeing Johnson’s determined face to do something right. Wes turned back to his Pokémon and rallied them.

“Okay, that’s ridiculous - a Magikarp? Remoraid, use Water Gun!” shouted the guard, as the small Pokémon shot out a ball of water straight at Magikarp.

“Magikarp, use Splash!” commanded Johnson. Magikarp flopped even harder than before as the heavy ball of water approached. Within a split-second of impact, Magikarp randomly jumped up high into the air, surprisingly evading the attack.

“What? Oh, you just got lucky. Remoraid, again!”

Once more a Water Gun attack was fired, and again Magikarp completely avoided it.

“Now that’s not possible… Fine then, Magnemite, use Supersonic!”

The Magnemite emitted a sharp array of sounds and focused the waves of reverberations right at the Magikarp. Whether they had any effect or not was unclear, as the Magikarp seemed oblivious to the attack and continued to flop on the ground.

“Okay… oh, whatever. Use Thundershock!”

“Magnet!” (Destroy, Destroy!) beeped the small Pokémon, unleashing an impressive orb of electricity at Magikarp. It zipped right at the fat fish Pokémon, but once again Magikarp evaded the attack with another sudden show of Splash.

“What the… Thundershock again!”

“Now, Magikarp, use Tackle on Remoraid!” Johnson shouted.

It was unclear whether Magikarp actually used Tackle and had charged at the Remoraid, or that it simply had randomly flopped forward at a surprisingly fast speed at the right time to knock Remoraid into the path of the Thundershock attack. The opposing trainer didn’t take to this outcome too kindly, letting loose half a dozen profanities that were appropriate for one who was getting beaten by a Magikarp.

Meanwhile, Umbreon faced down three of one of the guard’s Pokémon at once - a small olive-coloured Larvitar and two water types in a Carvanha and Barboach.

“Carvanha!” (I’m going to eat you!) announced the red-and-blue fish, baring its teeth.

“Larvitar!” (I’m going to poke you!) the Larvitar shouted. He stomped his feet in a show of confidence with the three-on-one advantage, despite Umbreon’s size compared to the trio.

“Barboach!” (I’m going to…shake my tail at you!) said the Barboach, earning a glance from the other two Pokémon.

“Umbreon!” (We’ll see about that!) retorted Umbreon. “Umb!” (Take this!) he cried, before firing a Secret Power attack at Carvanha. Still distracted by Barboach’s comment, it gave a cry of surprise as the sparks sent from Umbreon’s glowing rings made contact. Electrical pulses spread across the fish’s body, and as it shook them off, it got hit by Umbreon’s charging Tackle and slapped straight into a wall. The impact knocked it out.

“Umb!” (One down!)

“No way! Larvitar, Bite! Barboach, distract Umbreon with Water Gun!” commanded the Pokémon’s trainer. Larvitar snarled and charged at Umbreon, as Barboach charged up a Water Gun attack.

“Umbreon!” (Oh, too easy! Maybe you’d want to not announce your tactics to me,) drawled Umbreon. He then responded by running to the side, forcing the stubborn Larvitar to change routes but unwittingly move into the line of attack.

“Bar Barboach!” (Hey, get out of the way! I’m charging my Water Gun here!) shouted Barboach.

“Lar?” (I am?) asked Larvitar, glancing back to see that Barboach was right. When he turned back to Umbreon however, he was gone.

“Lar…” (Where is he?)

“Umbreon!” (Right behind you!) answered Umbreon, before striking the Pokémon headfirst. He followed up with a crunching Bite attack to the Pokémon’s lower body, leaving Larvitar down for the count.

“Umb!” (Two down!) announced Umbreon, before jumping to the side to avoid the rushed Water Gun attack from Barboach. “Umbreon!” (You’re mine!) he shouted, suddenly charging at the trembling Barboach.

“Makuuu!” (Dieee!) shouted Makuhita from nearby. From nowhere, Makuhita sprinted at Barboach first and punched it, knocking it out in one hit.

“Umb!” (Hey, that was my one!) cried Umbreon in protest as the Pokémon’s trainer sadly returned his Pokémon to their Poké Balls, defeated. Then he cried in pain as Makuhita punched him in the shin.

“Maku! Hita Hita!” (You were too slow! Now, OUT OF MY WAY! MUST KILL!) shouted Makuhita, charging at another Pokémon.

“Umbreon…” (Well, I’d give him an ‘A’ for enthusiasm, that’s for sure,) murmured Umbreon, before joining the fray once again. The battle continued, and although Wes’s Pokémon were outnumbered, they were steadily wearing down their opposition, while desperately trying to avoid taking any more major hits.

“Good work, Croconaw!” cried Wes, watching as an unfortunate Taillow succumbed to a tremendous Shadow Rush attack, the small swallow squawking in pain as it fell.

“Croc?” (Really? Wow…) replied Croconaw, surprised at the compliment he just received.

“Yep - that was great. Keep it up!” encouraged Wes. Croconaw stared at Wes’s unexpected praise, ignoring the battle around him for the moment. Bluno hadn’t said such things to him - instead, he talked about interest rates and lawyers. Bluno always got easily distracted… Suddenly Croconaw’s mind was made up. Wes wasn’t so bad. But the other Pokémon... they were far more irritating right now.

“Croconaw!” (This is for making Wes angry!) cried Croconaw.

Suddenly, the ground started shaking as a rush of water erupted from deep below the ground. Wes glimpsed a large hole in the floor appearing before his view of it was obstructed by water flowing freely from it, spreading across the floor and merging into a massive wave. Wes’s Pokémon either noticed the looming danger or were alerted to it by Wes, and quickly scampered to the other side of the room, as the wave built up size and speed from behind Croconaw. Luckily, Makuhita was busy tormenting a Cacnea behind the wave, for otherwise he probably wouldn’t have noticed the impeding danger. A few other Cipher agents and their Pokémon were also safely out of the way, including Johnson’s rival, but the majority were in the wrong place in the wrong time, and were too tired to move out of the way.

“Croc…o….naw!” (Water!) Croconaw shouted, before the wave caught up to him and swelled in size. Croconaw comfortably rode it, before letting the wall of liquid fall straight on top of Cipher’s goons.

“Umbreon!” (Now that’s a Surf attack!) commented Umbreon, watching the swirling mass of fluid drench all within range of the attack. Most of the remaining Pokémon that hadn’t fainted from the battle lost consciousness right then and there.

“Oh no! It’s a…. a… watery mortery… wet!” cried Tom as he too got caught by the water. “Splish splash sploshy!” he cried. Just then, the door opened once again.

“I have a delivery of extra-glazed raspberry-flavoured jam doughnuts here… oh c-” began another newcomer. The delivery man was cut short as the mass of water escaped through the opening right into him.

“Fantastic!” cried Wes. “That was… brilliant!” The battle field had been practically cleared up now, with all of the guard’s Pokémon defeated. Croconaw beamed with pride at his new attack, although something told him that he knew it beforehand.

“You can stop punching things now, Makuhita,” Wes said, as his weary Pokémon regarded a still enthusiastic Makuhita.

“Maku…” (Do I have to?) Makuhita asked, as he slowly ceased punching a defenceless door.

“How… dare you!” cried Nore who struggled to his feet coughing out water, interrupting Wes’s thoughts. “You may have won the battle, but… well…” trailed off Nore, realising that there wasn’t much of a way to put a positive spin on things. “Well, damn you! I’ll go to my last resort - go, Yanma!”

Nore managed to send out a Pokémon, spitting out water as he did so. It resembled a giant overgrown dragonfly, with massive bug-out eyes. It darted quickly from side to side very rapidly - it was astonishing that a thing that size could move so quickly.

“Yanyanayanma!” (I-must-win-I-must-win-win-win-win-win-win!) it jabbered.

“Umbre?” (What did you say?) asked Umbreon, unable to catch on to what Yanma just said.

“Maku!” (I’ll destroy you!) cried Makuhita, charging at it before realising that it was gone. “Maku!” (Where’d you go?)

“Yanma!” (I-go-fast-so-I-can-win-win-win!) buzzed the Yanma, as it zipped around the room bumping into Wes’s tired Pokémon one at a time.

“Umb!” (Ow!)

“Croc!” (Ah!)

“Maku!” (Ouch! Stupid buzzy thing!)

It’s so quick… thought Wes. It’ll be hard for my Pokémon to hit it…

“Wes!” called Rui suddenly. “It’s a Shadow Pokémon - I can see its aura flying around!”

“It is? Well, that makes things even harder…”

“Oh, you won’t be snagging that Pokémon for a long while,” laughed Nore. “See, I had given it some coffee beforehand. It’s so hyper, you’ll never catch it!”

“Yanma!” (Coffee-coffee-coffee-coffee-coffee!) confirmed Yanma, flying even faster than before. It literally looked like a blur moving from one end of the room to the other, striking Wes’s Pokémon with each new cry of ‘coffee!’.

“Get them Yanma!” called Nore. “Wait… don’t stay in one place… what?” Nore wringed his hands and squinted heavily, trying to make out why Yanma seemed to be stuck in a small confined space, bouncing off an invisible wall.

“Yan? Yananyanyanyan!” (Oh-no-it’s-like-a-force-field-I-hate-force-fields-maybe-now-ow-maybe-now-ow-maybe-now-or-now-or-now!) Yanma jabbered, bouncing off in every direction.

“What the… that’s odd,” commented Wes. “Who did that?”

“Espi!” (I’m feeling better now! No thanks to Johnson though…) exclaimed Espeon, getting to his feet.

“It took him a while to come to, but he’s been okay for a while now,” Rui said. “Johnson must have hit him rather hard on the head with his knee there.”

“Esp…Espeon!” (Too right… it was like a super-effective hit!)

“Oh, you’re better now! Well, good work on trapping that Yanma,” complimented Wes, watching Yanma bounce off the Reflect attack over and over again. Within half a minute it slumped to the ground, exhausted.

“Yan…” (Coffee…) it moaned in pain.

“Esp! Espeon!” (Well, what are you waiting for? Snag it!) urged Espeon, as he tiredly removed the field, still feeling a faint reminder of Johnson’s knee.

“Okay then,” Wes said, inserting a Poké Ball into the Snag machine.

“No!” cried Nore, but it was too late – a straightforward throw and three shakes of the Poké Ball later and the Yanma was in Wes’s possession.

“Yes!” Rui yelled. “We’ve done it!”

“Not if I can help it!” shouted Nore, diving to grab the Poké Ball. Just before he grabbed it however, it moved out of his reach, hit him firmly on the head, and travelled straight into Wes’s grasp.

“Esp!” (I’m definitely feeling better now!) announced Espeon.

“Now that is cool…” muttered Wes, impressed with the trick. Nore however wasn’t, as he clutched his head and moaned.

“Hang on,” interrupted Rui, “is Johnson still battling?”

Wes looked into one deserted corner of the room - Johnson indeed was still battling the same trainer he had been before.

“Why won’t you just die!?” shouted the guard in frustration. “I’ve had enough of this! Magnemite - Spark! Remoraid… just try to hit it!”

Both Pokémon, looking rather battered, charged at Magikarp with their respective attacks.

“Now, Magikarp - jump up and use Flail!”

Impossibly, Magikarp again jumped at the right time to evade both Magnemite’s and Remoraid’s simultaneous attacks as they collided with each other.

“Magnet! (I am error!) beeped Magnemite as Remoraid’s tail struck it.

“Rem!” (Pain!) cried Remoraid as the electrical pulses on Magnemite’s body transferred to Remoraid.

As Magikarp returned back to the ground and landed on top of the two Pokémon, it flailed its entire body vigorously, slapping both Remoraid and Magnemite multiple times with its tail. Whether it was the pain, or the sheer humiliation of being bested by a Magikarp that did it remained a mystery as both Remoraid and Magnemite succumbed and fainted.

“Johnson… did you just…” began Wes, his mouth gaping at the remarkable victory.

“I told you that I’d save the day,” boasted Johnson. “Good job, Magikarp!”

“Magikarp!” (Flopping is fun!)

“Oh, that’s beyond ridiculous!” cried Nore. “You’re telling me that we got defeated by a Magikarp? And JOHNSON’S Magikarp to boot? I’m outta here!” he exclaimed, making a run for the door. Unfortunately for Nore, he found the door blocked and ran straight into a person. Before he knew what had happened, he found himself firmly handcuffed.

“Err… well, hello there, Sherles,” Nore began uneasily.

“About time, Sherles,” greeted Wes. “What took you so long?”

“Well, Duking and I had lost sight of you two for a moment, but Johnson spotted you. The trouble was that he ran after you so quickly that we lost sight of him too. He didn’t even tell us where you went! We had no idea where you where,” confessed Sherles, with an occasional glance to a blushing Johnson.

“How did you find us then?” Rui asked, quietly rummaging through her bag to pick out a few items, and gradually healed Wes’s Pokémon one by one.

“Oh, just a hunch,” Sherles said, glancing through the door. Wes followed his gaze and saw where Sherles had gotten his ‘hunch’ from. A bunch of Cipher guards and Pokémon had been spewed outside by the Surf attack, which had created a mini-lake just by the door. Duking was outside, dragging the Cipher guards to their feet and none too kindly handcuffed them all himself.

“Oh dear…” whispered Rui, realising at some were more than a bit ruffed up.

“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about them,” Duking said. “After they kidnapped Plusle, they deserve everything they get, the dirty foul smelling…”

“Yes, yes, that’s enough,” hurried Sherles. “Get them safely into the cells. We can question them later. Me, Johnson, Wes and Rui will move on, and try to clear out the whole bunch.”

“Okay then,” Duking gruffly responded. “Just make sure that Plusle… doesn’t get badly hurt or anything.”

“We’ll try our best,” answered Wes.

“Appreciate it, Wes. Hope to see you soon,” said Duking, as he frog-marched the bewildered and battered Cipher guards.

“So… what did happen here?” Sherles asked. “Decided to renovate Cipher’s place as well as Team Snagem’s?”

“You could say that…” Wes shrewdly smiled.

“Ah! It’s you, Sherlock!” cried Tom suddenly, appearing from behind a staircase. He ran up and hugged Sherles in relief that the Sheriff of Pyrite had arrived.

“Err… hello there,” Sherles responded, somewhat surprised.

“Oh, it wis horribles! There wus a lotto persons, and a lot of Pokeypeople as well, and their was flighting and hen her was a giant pineapple as well! Lots of… thingys happened! And then wet stuff mappeared! It made me very berry wet,” sobbed Tom.

“Yes, that’s very nice,” interrupted Sherles “but what are you doing here?”

“He just… randomly walked in,” answered Wes.

“Wait - he just walked into Cipher’s hideout - just like that?”

“Oh, Sherley, it was the wurst tim of me life! I swear, I’ll never mever hever kever sleaver mrinky drink again! Ever! I swore it on all of teh smazzules in da world!”

“Espeon!” (Oh, I wouldn’t make a promise I can’t keep…) Espeon muttered. “Espeon!” (Hey, did you hear that?) Espeon added suddenly.

“Umbreon!” (Yes, we heard your ever-so-intelligent comment,) Umbreon answered.

“Espi…” (No, not that… listen closely!) Espeon urged. The room fell silent, with the exception of Tom who kept moaning about his terrible time that he had just experienced. Wes frowned - a faint cry of ‘Help!’ could be heard several floors above.

“Hey,” began Sherles, “that sounds like… Silva?”

“Oh no - he must be in trouble!” cried Rui, as she sprinted off and up the staircase.

“…Guess we’d better follow her,” shrugged Wes, doing just so after giving his Pokémon one last check-up. Sherles followed, with Tom right behind him, seeking safety behind the gruff sheriff. Tom stopped for a moment however when he approached the stairs, grabbing a bottle of alcohol from his pocket and grinned at it happily.

“I’m coming too!” called Johnson, before scooping down to pick something up. “What’s this... a CD? An Ein File? Eh, whatever,” he mumbled as he wiped off the water from it and stuffed it in a pocket before continuing up the stairs.

***

As usual:

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[Image: suisdbsf.png]
By TwilightBlade of PC. =D
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#15
***

Chapter 10 - Singing Galore!


A lone guard on the fourth floor of the building woke up with a jolt. He looked around anxiously, before relaxing against the wall that he had leaned on. He had been taking a quick power-nap, but had been interrupted from a dream – which strangely enough involved giant slabs of cheese wanting to teach him the polka – by loud noises from the lower levels.

Stupid dancers… why do they have to make so much noise? One would think that they were having a massive Pokémon battle, not a dance lesson… pondered Doken as he glared downwards, as if he could see through the multiple floor levels below.

The set-up here was very odd. After all, what kind of dance school needed guards? Doken knew at least twenty other people had been given the same job as him - to guard the premises and make sure that nobody without ID were allowed past into the cave.

The guy - at least, Doken assumed it was a guy - that employed them was strange as well, and that was putting it mildly. He always walked with some music playing out loudly from a radio, often sung out instructions to the tune, and possessed a large ball of hair on top of his head. Talking with him was very odd, as Doken found himself talking to the tune of the music as well if he didn’t try to resist, and the afro that Miror B - what the guy insisted was his real name - sported was somewhat distracting.

At least the weirdo had a good choice of music.

And more importantly, he paid generously as well. That was the golden rule of business, as Doken had learned in his days as working as a guard - if you wanted your employees to keep quiet, give them money. There was no arguing with that sort of logic, and Doken stuck by that rule. There was no point finding out things that you didn’t want to know.

He had even been given a special ‘Shadow’ Pokémon as a ‘bonus’. It was some apparently stronger and superior Pokémon, although Doken wasn’t all that impressed by it. It was a Qwilfis, a small ball-shaped fish Pokémon that instantly puffed itself up at any sign of danger, revealing a large array of small yet sharp and poisonous spikes. However, it was just too aggressive. The Pokémon insisted on trying to attack any Pokémon that it saw, including Doken's own Pokémon during the battles that he and the other guards had during the breaks, with bets made to make it that much more interesting. Which was somewhat annoying, as having your own Pokémon attack themselves wasn’t much of an advantage in battles. Already Doken had earned a nickname amongst his work mates, thanks to Qwilfish’s contributions: The Moneymaker.

Not that it particularly mattered. Doken’s pay far exceeded his losses, as he had a higher role than most of his fellow workmates. He had control over the lower part of the building’s guards, and it was so much easier to let them do the work instead of doing it himself.

The guard’s thoughts just then were interrupted by the sound of people racing up the stairs. Sounds like the dance class is over, thought Doken.

“I.D. please,” said Doken in a bored tone. He blinked when, instead of seeing one of his workmates appear, a young yet determined teenager stomped up the stairs and faced him down.

“Where’s Miror B?” demanded the girl.

Oh dear, this isn’t good… thought Doken worriedly. Whenever someone asked for someone in that tone of voice, they also meant ‘or else’. But coming from such a person as this girl…

“How did you get through here? Halt, or we will take action if you come past this point!” Doken said. He moved his hand to his back pocket where an walkie-talkie that each guard had was inside, and pressed the ‘silent alarm’ button upon it.

Heh, soon a whole bunch of guards should show up and do the work for me, thought Doken confidently, leaning back against the wall. I love modern technology. The girl didn’t seem all that intimidated by Doken's self-assurance however, and continued forward.

Yep, they’re going to show up any second now.

...Anytime time – I mean, now.

Still the girl kept coming.

Um… where the hell are they?

“Out of my way!” she yelled, suddenly striking out with her foot and making contact with the guard’s shin.

“Oww! Hey, stop that!” cried Doken. How dare she attack me! he thought furiously. He reached back and jabbed the silent alarm button a few more times for good measure, keeping his eye on the crazy girl all the while. Doken decided that it would be wise to stand a bit away from her, and his throbbing shin wholeheartedly agreed.

“I’m warning you – you’d better leave now, or the rest of the guards shall show up and give you a reason to!” he tried, trying the good-old scare tactic again. The girl just frowned at this however.

“Um... there are ghosts ahead!’ he tried. “Oohhh!” He backed up his statement by making wild scary gestures.

“Maybe you should be the one that should leave,” she retorted with a smile.

“I doubt that,” snapped Doken, but deep inside doubt began to creep in. His contingent was never this late for anything, even if half of them were lazy slobs. And anyway, how did this girl get past them without being noticed?

Then Doken heard more running steps come.

“Aha, I told you… you!?!” Doken said in surprise as Tom came up the stairs and into view.

“Ayeiei… look an all the antsys!” slurred Tom, looking over the edge of the building to Pyrite Town below, pointing at the people walking around minding their own business.

Ignoring Tom’s comment, Doken continued to gape at him, as he took a swing from a bottle.

Tom. The town drunk - well, one of them anyway - had come here. But how… surely the other guards wouldn’t have failed to notice him, the loud rambling fool. Unless…

Doken's fears were confirmed as another figure came into view as well, approached him, and flashed the police badge.

“You’re under arrest.”

“Oh, breadcrumbs.”

***

Meanwhile, Silva was starting to rethink his plan on taking on the criminals.

In its original form, it had basically it had consisted of walking in and kicking those people’s butts. In slightly more detail, he had planned to come in, shout at them, beat them up, go in further, take on ‘The Leader’ (whoever he was), own him, tell him to leave Duking alone, and then help Duking bring the town back into order again.

Unfortunately, it hadn’t gone quite as he had hoped it would have.

He got in easily enough all right – he had slipped through the door when one of the guards went in. He got past him as well effortlessly, and had succeeded in breaking a random machine by kicking it.

However, it seemed that shouting at them to stop taking over the town hadn’t been one of the smartest things to do. All it had achieved was getting their attention, which turned out to be a bad thing.

And falling over a vengeful and badly-beaten machine, and twisting his right ankle, hadn’t help matters in the slightest.

In the end, Silva had been captured in far less grace than what he had envisioned it to be like – two guards ended up carrying him up and throwing him in this room with two stupid women who kept on asking him questions.

“I asked you - why did you come in here?” asked one of them for the umpteenth time. “And don’t just yell ‘Help!’ again.”

“Because you’re stupid,” answered Silva. He knew that the key to surviving interrogations was to either change the subject, or deny everything.

“Fine then, Silva, what are we going to have to do with you?” continued the woman.

“That’s not it,” retorted Silva.

“What’s not it?”

“My name’s not Silva,” said Silva with a grin.

“Oh, I give up!” exclaimed the woman in exasperation.

“No you don’t,” Silva said.

“He’s so annoying!” she said, trying to ignore him.

“No, you are.”

“Maybe we should let him go,” suggested the other woman. Silva’s heart lifted – maybe he would get off scot-free.

“No way!” the first woman shouted. She glared at the other is if she was a dim-witted fool, causing Silva’s heart to sink right back down again. “If we do that, he’ll just blab out all he knows, and the whole town will know we’re here then! And personally, I don’t fancy being captured by Sherles and thrown in jail.”

Suddenly the door flew open as a bunch of people charged into the room. Silva and the two women turned around to face a group of people, led by Sherles.

“…Well, this sucks,” muttered the first woman.

***

Wes quickly took in the features of the room subconsciously. The room was of a medium size, with a large bookshelf spanning a wall of the room, and a large television screen covering another. There were a few pieces of furniture around the room, and a set of stairs. The main thing that caught his attention however was Silva wrapped up tightly with a rope, with two women beside him.

“I told you that something was going on downstairs, Reath…” one of the women began.

“Oh, shut up, Ferma!” Reath yelled back, clenching a fist.

“I think I’ve seen you somewhere,” said Wes, interrupting the two’s bickering. “Weren’t you two at the windmill?”

“What do you mean, at the windmill? And who are you, anyway?” Reath demanded, staring angrily at Wes.

“Yeah, you look familiar…” mumbled Ferma.

“Um… I’m Wes.”

“…Who?”

What - they don’t know who I am? Despite that I had disrupted their plans, to put it plainly? Wes contemplated.

“Eh, whatever,” shrugged Reath. “Take one step further and Silva gets it.” With that, Reath grabbed Silva and held him close, a smile of pure malice growing upon her face.

“Uh... Reath, isn’t this too far…” Ferma said.

“Shut up!” she shouted.

Wes’ group tensed, quickly thinking a response to this new threat. One move and Reath could severely hurt Silva.

“D…dee… do whatsi?” asked Tom, walking into the room while throwing an empty bottle behind him.

“What are you doing here?” asked Reath in surprise.

“I thaught it is was me hise!” Tom indignantly said, oblivious to the current situation. “See, I wis... was... no wis! I wemp into this door and them the was lots of…” he said, approaching Reath.

“Hey… get back!” Reath said. Tom however was oblivious.

“…but thenss the was this hig duck called Simon! And le wemp ‘quack mack dack’ and…” he slurred.

“Reath, please, let’s not… a duck called Simon?” questioned Ferma.

“… and thuh I says, I saddy says, ‘Let mer be… jammy tarts! And then there there there was… there something, and I was happy,” concluded the rambling Tom, waving his arms about.

“I said get back!” shouted Reath. Deciding that Tom had crossed the line, she started to move her fist back and curled it, preparing to strike Silva.

Espeon, stop her! Wes quickly thought to his partner, trusting that he would be listening. Reath’s fist started moving at an increasing velocity towards Silva’s face, only to suddenly freeze in mid-air only centimetres from Silva’s head, who gave an exasperated sigh of relief.

“Hey, what the…” began Reath, before her fist moved again and connected with her own face.

“Espi Espeon!” (Why don’t you pick on someone with psychic powers!) said Espeon, before lifting Silva forcedly away from Reath and placing him next to Rui and Wes. Next, Espeon began focusing his influence into the transmitter upon his neck and built it up. The transmitter started humming, and began glowing a dark blue. In an afterthought, Espeon also moved Tom towards the group.

“Espeon!” (Keep Silva next to you!) he shouted. Understanding what was about to happen, Rui grabbed Silva and pulled him close. Noticing this, Espeon put a bit more energy into the transmitter and released it, as a glowing wave of energy pulsated from the tiny device and engulfed the room.

“What are you doing now, you little-” snarled Reath, until the wave hit her. Her face of anger was promptly frozen into that expression. Ferma too was affected, only her face was plastered into a look of shock, her mouth gaping open.

“What… just happened?” asked Silva finally in awe, having watched all of these events unfold before his eyes.

“Wiped their minds,” answered Sherles gruffly, as if such an event was a common, everyday part of being a sheriff.

“Pineapples,” commented Tom. Wes sighed – it didn’t seem that the drunk had really noticed the event, nor being transported by Espeon to a different part of the room in the process. But he seemed unaffected by the memory-wiping wave. Tom must have been within range of the transmitters he and the rest had. And at least Johnson seemed silent for once.

“So, Espeon,” began Sherles, ignoring Silva’s confusion over the turn of events, “any way to be able to get them to talk about the whereabouts of Miror B?”

“Esp! (Sure!) Espeon said.

“Good. So then,” Sherles began, turning to Ferma and Reath, “where is Miror B?”

“I don’t know,” answered Johnson suddenly in a monotonic voice. Sherles sighed.

“I know that you don’t know, you idiot. That’s why I was asking them. So shut up. And use your brain for once.”

“That’s not possible,” answered Johnson.

“What, you’re capable of making a joke about yourself?” enquired Sherles, scratching his head. “Whatever, just pipe down. So, where is Miror B?” he asked, turning to Reath.

“He is in the cave,” answered Reath.

“What cave? The one outside this room? Is it easy to get there?”

“Yes. No.”

“You spokes funnis,” said Tom suddenly. “Ikes a Robert.”

“Well, Tom, could you please-” began Sherles, before the blank television screen occupying a wall flickered on into a blurry, multi-coloured image. Slowly, the pixels upon the monitor rearranged themselves to form a more definite shape. Sound started to filter through as well – a faint salsa beat could be heard.

“It’s you,” muttered Wes, observing the revelation of the figure. “Miror B.”

“What’s going on here?” Miror B crossly asked. His eyes behind his yellow disco-styled glasses widened as the afro-wielding man realised that something wasn’t quite right.

“Bla… shud… swha?” cried Tom in fear, noticing the newcomer on the screen. “It’s…. arrghh! Scary wary! SAFE ME, MUMMSY!” he screamed, diving for cover from the abomination into a wall, before running out of the room.

“Um…” sounded Miror B, at a loss for words. “Why did… what scared him?”

“Umbre…” (Talking about ignorant…)

“Ferma, Reath, tell me what’s going on!” Miror B demanded.

“They won’t answer – we’ve got them under our control,” Sherles said, when they simply stood and blinked at the mass of hair in front of them.

“What… but how, and why…. Oh, this is bad, bad, bad!” cried Miror B, running his hands through his afro. “Sherles shows up, they’ve taken over the building, and…” he muttered, before stopping as his eyes picked out Wes. “You’re here! That explains it! And you too!” he cried, spotting Rui as well and pointing at her. “Oh dear, Nascour is going to chew me out!”

“Who’s Nascour?” asked Sherles.

“...Pretend you didn’t hear that. Ah, whatever, I’m already in dire straits,” said Miror B.

“Serves you right! Now, what have you done to Plusle?” said Rui angrily.

“I haven’t done anything to him!!” cried Miror B in protest.

“How could you… wait, what? So why did you kidnap him?” Rui asked, surprised.

“Look, I didn’t want to get involved in this! I just wanted a place to be able to dance in peace! All those people in the other regions kept on bugging me for autographs, and free hugs, and a piece of my hair… it was too much! I travelled to this region, ended up with this job here, and before I knew it, I was in charge of all this! Then I was ordered to get the upper hand over Duking all of a sudden, and what could I do? I was told to kidnap that Plusle, to keep Duking quiet.”

“Wait, you didn’t really want to be a part of this?” asked Wes.

“Well, not initially, no,” admitted Miror B, “and I still don’t. But the set-up was oh-so-lovely!”

“So then,” Sherles said, scratching his head, “if you want out of this, why not turn yourself in? We can get you a greatly reduced jail sentence if you come willingly and help us,” he offered.

“What? No no no no no! I still think I have a chance!” defended Miror B. “After all, first you’ll have to find me within the cave! And I assure you, you’ll have a hard time getting through there with all of my guards to get by!”

“Whatever – your loss,” said Wes.

“Oh, confident are you?” asked Miror B amusedly. “Maybe this will make you think twice!” Miror B danced off the screen for a moment, and appeared again with a radio in hand.

“W-What are you going to do?” asked Rui, taking a step back.

Wordlessly, Miror B opened a slot in the radio, inserted a tape, and closed it, before he hit the play button. Music blazed from the radio instantly, with an all-too-familiar tune. Smiling mischievously, Miror B began singing.

I want to be the very best,
That no one ever was,

“Es. Pi. On.” (Oh. GOD. No.)

To catch them is my real quest,
To train them is my cause!

“Make it stop!” shouted Rui, clutching her head to try to block out the sound, but to no avail. Even Ferma and Reath in their mind-wiped state seemed to flinch.

I travel across the land,
Searching far and wide,
Each Pokémon to understand,
The power that’s inside!

Just before Miror B got any further with the song however, Tom came charging into the room.

“More any not mich too fir stood up with hiss I not will! Die singing this!” he shouted, as he picked up a book titled ‘Dancing and You! How to dance the steps to the top!’ from a bookshelf and hurled it at the screen.

“NO! That’s my book – no, not the tel-” Miror B shouted, just before the book made contact and split the screen into a million glistening fragments, the music breaking off into a violent shatter. Rui slumped to the floor and gave a sigh of relief.

“Tom, I don’t usually say this,” Sherles said, “But… thanks – I’ll buy you a round for this!”

Tom’s face brightened up at this, seemingly forgetting his terror just moments ago. “Goody! Maybes cans I haves the stuffis froms… heoptin? They hive a verys good wine there…”

“Um, sure,” answered Sherles.

“It tastes like yellow!” Tom continued brightly. “It had a name.... I knows! It was called Jimbo the hippotootomas. No, what, it was...” struggled Tom, trying to get his tongue around the difficult yet irrelevant word. “Hi... hip... hippietopotnyus! Hyperjelotomus! No, th it’s nit sit...”

“Anyway,” Wes said, taking deep breaths in an attempt to recover from the recent ordeal. “We’d better move on then and stop him. And get Plusle too,” he added.

“Yes, let’s,” Sherles agreed. He turned to Reath and Ferma. “You two – you are to lead the way to Miror B’s hiding place.”

“Yes,” they droned.

“H...H...Hypotenuse!”

“Ok then – Wes, Johnson and Rui, you go ahead and confront him with Espeon. Brainwash any guards and send them up here, I’ll arrest them.”

“Espeon.” (Fair enough.)

“Hang on Sherles, I’ve just had a thought,” interrupted Wes. “Ferma and Reath, do you have any Shadow Pokémon? If so, hand them over.” To Wes’s delight, the two nodded, and handed two Poké Balls from their belts to Wes.

“Good thinking, Wes,” praised Sherles. “We better do the same for any other guards we encounter - after I arrest them, of course.” Sherles then turned to Silva. “Silva... just stay there for the time being.”

“No fair! I want to help!” protested Silva, getting to his feet, only to clutch his ankle and yelp in pain. “Fine then,” he grumbled.

“Hyperbolela! Heppolehitutas!”

“Tom, go home,” Sherles ordered shortly.

“Yay! Homey, tasty hippo! Hi hose, Hi hose, it’s off to home I go!” he chanted, walking out the door.

“Sherles, are you sure…” began Rui, as distant shouts of ‘Home!’ could be heard from below.

“Oh, he’ll be fine. I end up dealing with him a couple of times a week,” Sherles said offhandedly. Wes had his doubts about Tom’s ability in getting home - after all, he had stumbled here mistaking this place for his house. But now wasn’t exactly the time to worry about that, I suppose.

“Let’s keep moving,” said Sherles. “The sooner we get Miror B, the better. Besides, we don’t want him to hurt Plusle. We need to bring him down as well - he knows something about some Nascour guy, so it’s of utmost importance!”

“Yes, let’s get a move on,” agreed Rui, thinking back to the singing she had just experienced. The four turned to make for the cave, with Ferma and Reath left to follow against their will. Just as they approached the door however, a large figure appeared by the door frame.

“Ok, I’ve thrown those rascals into jail now,” began the figure. “There was the drunk stumbling down the stairs as well, shouting about going ‘ova da Mountain’ or something. I let him be. Anyway, any more for me to… Silva?”

“Oh, hi Duking,” began Silva weakly.

***

“Hey there! Yes, you! Stop now, or I’ll-” began a guard, before he conveniently lost the ability to speak, along with the ability to remember who he was.

“Yes, very nice,” Wes said offhandedly. “Please proceed to the cave entrance, and get arrested by Sherles. Then follow his instructions.”

“Yes,” droned the now tame guard as he obeyed Wes’s commands.

“Good work, Espeon,” Wes said as two more guards they passed followed suit.

“Ess, Espeon,” (Oh, it’s nothing, you’re welcome,) Espeon replied offhandedly as they ploughed deeper into the cave, following Ferma and Reath who were forced to lead the way. Umbreon merely rolled his eyes.

“Well, luckily for Silva, Duking didn’t bite his head off,” said Rui.

“He had been trying to help him,” agreed Wes. “Just… maybe not quite in the right way. Wonder what would have happened if we didn’t find the gear anyway? Oh, you - cave entrance - get arrested - obey Sherles,” Wes told to another immobilized guard.

Wes, Rui and Johnson - still oddly quiet, Wes noted - continued on their way down a steady slope into the maze of large winding cave paths, following the two women lead the way to Miror B. The pathway was illuminated by many small torches hung on the wall, lighting up even the furthest corners of the hideout. Occasionally Wes and Rui encountered a staircase, some which they went down, and some which they ignored. All the while Wes ordered guards back in the opposite direction to Sherles and Duking with Espeon’s assistance. This process went on for a good twenty minutes or so, until Rui began to wonder if they were going the right direction.

“Oh look - water now,” commented Wes as they climbed up a staircase, to have an array of bridges - some broken - greet them. The bridges spanned over a large underground lake of surprisingly blue, clear water. Wes guessed it was the town’s water supply.

“Umbreon!” (There’s more water here than Phenac City!) remarked the Pokémon. Wes had to agree - despite the large resources of water the city had to boast to run over fifty-odd water features, there was a mass of the stuff right here as well. It must have been how Croconaw had been able to get the water to use for a Surf attack as well earlier.

“Hang on - can you hear that?” Wes asked. Rui stopped for a second, and then grinned at Wes.

“That’s Miror B’s music!” she exclaimed. Wes nodded absentmindedly.

She has a nice smile, he thought.

“Wes?”

“What? Oh, yes, let’s, ah, move on,” Wes swiftly said before moving on.

As the two moved onwards, crossing the bridges and sending more guards back the way they came, the music slowly got louder, and before long they found themselves in front of a lone cave entrance, the music louder than ever.

“Al right - you two can go back to Sherles now,” Wes said, as Ferma and Reath obediently turned and left.

“Espeon?” (Couldn’t we have had some fun and give them a quick swim beforehand?)

“There’s no time for that, Espeon - it’s time to deal with Miror B,” Wes said, before taking a big breathe. “Ready, Rui?”

“Yep.”

“Well, let’s go.” With that, the two walked in and gradually approached a large door. Wes peered through a keyhole. Although it was hard to see, he could make out the shape of Miror B dancing upon a raised platform in the middle of a large spacious room. Dancing with Miror B were two other forms that appeared to be the duck-like Pokémon Ludicolo. The Pokémon had wide beaks, a yellow-and brown zigzag pattern on a large part of their bodies, and sporting festive-looking hat upon their heads, similar to the leaf that Lotad bore. They were keeping up to the pace of the music and seemed to dance effortlessly, despite having short, stubby, green legs and a chubby, pineapple-like body.

“The door’s open!” Miror B said suddenly, continuing to dance.

“Eh, how did you know we were here?” Rui asked as they warily walked in.

Miror B motioned to a small screen by a wall, showing Espeon and Umbreon stroll in after them. Wes turned around to see a video camera pointing at their previous position.

“Oh.”

“Where’s Plusle?” Rui asked.

“He’s fine, I assure you! I must admit, you kept me waiting for a frightfully long time, my darlings! So I decided to work up a little sweat while dancing,” he said, as he pulled out a remote from his pocket and reduced the volume of the salsa music that was previously blazing from a radio. He ushered the two Ludicolo near to him, as they quacked in response and took a protective stance around him. “I must say, I do wonder how you got here with such ease, and how you persuaded Ferma and Reath to help you… I’m disappointed in them - I was going to give them a raise as well, despite their ineptness at dancing!”

“You want to know what we did to them?” Wes asked. “This. Now, Espeon!” he shouted.

“Espeon!” (Your mind shall be wiped!) he said grandly and confidently, before using the transmitter and sending out a wave of energy. It dissipated around the room and hit Miror B, who looked surprised at this move. A moment passed.

“What was that?” Miror B asked finally.

“What?” asked Wes in shock. “How come you aren’t… any idea why, Espeon?”

“Espeon! Espi…” (It doesn’t make sense! Hang on, give me a sec…) Espeon said, before sending out a much smaller wave of energy that once again engulfed the room.

“Espeon! Espi… Esp?” (Hang a tick… Miror B has something that’s blocking the signal! And it seems to be coming from… his hair?) Espeon asked incredulously.

“Something from his hair is blocking the signal?” Wes asked blankly.

“Umbre!” (I told you there’s something about his hair!)

“Something in my hair? Never! It must be something odd with your Poke- hang on,” Miror B mumbled as he stuck a hand in the aforementioned afro. “Hey, what’s this?’ he asked, as he pulled out a black object.

“That’s the Itemfinder Secc made! But how does he have one?” wondered Rui.

“Espeon, Espi!” (It appears that Johnson’s one is missing - but that means he’s been under my control all this time to a degree!) Espeon suddenly cried, before sending another pulse of his Confusion attack into Johnson. Johnson suddenly sprang up straight, and looked generally confused about his current location.

“Johnson, where’s your Itemfinder? Did you lose it?” Wes asked, dreading the answer he though Johnson would give.

“Oh course not! It’s in my pocket, right…” Johnson started, rummaging into a pocket. Then he froze, and forced a smile. “Uh... Oops.”

Wes slapped his forehead. “So you’re telling me that you lost it, and now Miror B has it?”

“Wait - you’ve been brainwashing my guards?” asked Miror B, putting the pieces together. “How frightfully… awful!”

“Hey look - it’s Miror B! I, Johnson, shall take him out!” Johnson proclaimed, charging at Miror B who was upon the platform. Just before making contact, Miror B stylishly danced to the side and dodged his charge, and sent him flying off the platform with an elegant sway to the side.

“Fufufu… nobody is going to get at me with my dance steps!” remarked Miror B.

“Great,” muttered Wes. “If he gets past us he can make a run for it! Espeon, have you tried taking out the Ludicolo?”

“Espeon! Espi Espi! ” (You think I haven’t already? I don’t think this works too well on Pokémon, and they’re close to him as well!)

“Well, I can tell you, if you want to arrest me, you’ll have to challenge me to a Pokémon Battle. Seems fitting - your Pokémon against my Ludicolo. It’ll be a lo-ver-ly finale, that I can assure you!”

Well, we’ll just have to beat him the old fashioned way, Wes thought. “So,” he began to Miror B, “may I ask before we battle - what is with your hair anyway? And your name?”

Miror B laughed at the question. “Fair enough - I got that a lot already. Well, my name came about as a typo when it was written by some inept person on my birth certificate - instead of ‘Mirror Ball’, it ended up missing an ‘r’ in ‘mirror’, and ‘Ball’ - my family’s last name, was shortened to B. For some reason or another, it never got changed back.”

“But… why would your parents name you Mirror Ball?” Rui asked with a frown.

“That… I still don’t know. I think they thought it funny or something. As for my hair - well, strangely enough - it’s natural.”

“N-Natural?” asked Rui uncertainly, eyeing the red and white ball of hair.

“Yes, even the hair colour, and the equal divide of the two colours. It’s true!” he cried, noticing that Wes and Rui didn’t quite seem to believe him. “It’s a rare hair condition I was born with - so I decided to make the most of it and turn it into an afro! It is, as you can see, plainly afro-tastic!” Wes and Rui cringed at the joke - Johnson on the other hand, laughed at it.

“Please don’t say that again… and what’s with the music?” Rui asked.

“Umbre.” (Good music, may I add.)

“Well, it all began a long time ago, when I was little. See, I had…. Hang on, I feel a song coming on!’ Miror B exclaimed.

Wes and Rui quickly backed off towards the exit.

“No, it’s not the song I did before!” pleaded Miror B as he inserted a tape into the radio and began switching songs. “That was just me warning you not to take me lightly. This is a spur of the moment thing - hopefully it’ll come off.”

“Oh… fine,” gave in Wes, before leaning to Rui. “If it’s that other song, cover your ears and run - I’ll rather he gets away than endure another rendition,” he whispered.

“Good,” answered Miror B happily, finding the song he wanted and pressing the play button. Wes immediately recognised the tune, as a worker in Team Snagem used to play it over and over again while Wes was working there. It started to get annoying after a while, but the song was pretty good, despite the treatment it received at being played over and over again, much like the over-usage a song often got on the Orre Radio station - the only working and active station which took to playing the same three songs of the month repeatedly.

However, the words were different this time, as Miror B started to sing and incorporate a dance routine to boot - even his two Ludicolo joined in.

I remember when, I remember, I remember when I bumped my head,
When I tripped and fell down a flight of stairs.
I had been running to get to dinner,
in record time.

And, at the time,
when I fell,
From my dad’s stereo,
This addictive salsa beat was playing through the house,
And then I blacked out.

Mum rushed like crazy,
She thought I’ll turn crazy,
Would I become crazy?
Possibly.

Luckily I awoke but there was something not quite right,
For I needed, to hear a marvellous beat.
I’m afraid, said the doctor, that you have, that you have, that you have an sickness,
What? What? What? Asked my mum - he said,
He can’t endure no music.

Now,
Normally I’m not crazy,
Music stops the crazy,
I have not turned crazy,
Music’s my remedy.

My heroes were the kind, that break-danced on T.V.,
And all I remember is thinking, I wanna dance like them,
Ever since I was little, ever since I was little I’ve been dancing for fun,
And I’ve been listening to these tunes since I bumped, my head,
And I can dance when I'm done.

But maybe I'm crazy,
Maybe you're crazy,
Maybe it’s just me,
Probably.

At the end of the song, Miror B spun thrice, and struck an unorthodox pose, with his two Ludicolo joining with a loud ‘quack’.

“That was… good!” remarked Rui in surprise.

“And I came up with it on the spot!” claimed Miror B, before quickly changing the song to a quiet and calming tune. Wes wasn’t sure if Miror B’s song had been inspired right then and there, as the choreography was a bit too good to be true.

“So, basically, you bumped your head, and developed another rare condition, meaning that you have to listen to music, or you start acting up.”

“Yes, that’s another less entertaining way of putting it… and because of it, I decided to get by with it the best I can, with music, dance and my precious Ludicolo.”

Like dance contests, mused Wes, thinking back to the news article about Miror B that he found.

“I too bumped my head at a young age,” declared Johnson unexpectedly. “Only, I don’t think I suffered any ill effects…”

All in the room exchanged glances.

“But that’s enough of this stalling - I shall proceed with my last frantic dance. I say - let the music play!” cried Miror B, changing the song and hitting the play button, before striking a pose.

A different, yet still enjoyable disco-themed music started playing.

“What, wait, that’s the wrong song…” mumbled Miror B, fixing his error. Soon enough, the previous and familiar salsa music blazed from the radio. “Aha! That’s it! Let the music play!”

***




AHA! That’s right - the Miror B battle is in the next chapter! AHAHA!
…anyway, hope you liked it. Please review with comments and the such.

With Miror B’s song (the second one), it’s a song parody of ‘Crazy’, by Gnarls Barkley. One I'm fond of and made alternate lyrics for all those years ago.

The spoiler now of how this links in with the game:

Show ContentSpoiler:
[Image: suisdbsf.png]
By TwilightBlade of PC. =D
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