"Go to the Underground! Talk to people!"
These were the words that rang within her head. With her team of five pokemon Cynthia decided to see what the newly built tower kept within its walls.

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Xxx Years Later

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No one really knew about Cynthia.
That is, they knew she was a pokemon trainer, sure, and that she came from Celestic Town, but aside from that the Champion was secretive about her past. What people in the league knew though was that she had an unmatched knowledge of pokemon folklore and mythology; and during the Galactic Incident she always seemed to be a step ahead of the nefarious team. When questioned about her actions during this time by reporters, Cynthia did not talk about her own experience, but rather moved the attention to Dawn and her spunky rival Diamond. Although the Hoenn regions Champion, Steven, had an interesting comment once he was pulled aside by a reporter in a train station.

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"I recall once I challenged her to a match" he seemed to be distant during the interview, as if he had had trouble remembering exactly how everything had played out "We were down to the wire; my Metacross against her Spiritomb. I ordered my trusted pokemon to use Bullet Punch… and not even a second later Cynthia recalled Spiritomb and forfeited the match." he paused again, "what struck me as odd was when I shook hands with her afterwards out of good sportsmanship… her hand was cold- not clammy or anything, just… cold. It was as if I was shaking hands with a gho-" he caught himself and didn't continue. He looked back at the camera, "Aha, never mind, I guess I lost my train of thought… and I will be missing this train if you keep me here any longer, please excuse me."

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"So, you want a rematch?" Cynthia looked across the arena to the young trainer.
"Yes," Dawn replied adamantly, "I want to show you how strong my team has become!"
"Then let us not delay" Cynthia held out an ultra-ball and dropped in in front of her, "Garchomp, I choose you!"
"Let's go Empoleon!"
The battle between champions was grueling; Empoleon and Garchomp got into a fist lock. The great penguin however pushed his opponent back and struck with an ice punch; falling the dragon. Cynthia countered with Lucario and Empoleon was blasted back by an aura sphere.
The steel fighter went down in a flurry of fiery hooves as Dawn sent out Rapidash, but the galloping steed was soon washed away by Milotic. The water serpent was no match for the leaf storm of Cherrim, but even the tiny pokemon was struck down by a dastardly poison jab by Roserade. Cynthia was surprised as Dawn sent out Lopunny seconds later and roasted the masked plant with a well-aimed fire punch. Togekiss was brought out and again aura sphere made its mark as it slammed into the rabbit. Frosslass flew out with a cry and rained a blizzard down on Togekiss.
It was at this moment Dawn noticed Cynthia showed reluctance, but the original champion steeled herself and sent out the one pokemon that had always given Dawn trouble; Spiritomb.
"Spiritomb!" Cynthia called out "Shadow Sneak!" Dawn panicked as the dark pokemon reared up; that attack would ravage her delicate ghost pokemon, "Quick! Use Ice Shard!"
Despite the moves being so fast to the naked eye, it seemed the next events played out in slow motion. Spiritomb had thrown itself out and was connected to its keystone by a hair. Frosslass created a large icicle and flung it in haste.
For that second Dawn saw absolute fear in Cynthia's visible eye.

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"Who are you?"
"We are Spiritomb."
"Are you a pokemon?"
"One could call us that"
"then why don't you take form; challenge me."
"We cannot do that, we are missing one."
"One? One what?"
"Our kind is constructed out of souls not willing to leave this world; 108 souls to be exact for any chance of our kind to take a physical form."
She lowered her oil lamp "and?"
"Our count is 107, we are one short like we mentioned before." It paused, as if waiting for an answer.
"You…. Are ghost pokemon, bound together, are you not?"
"Yes, we are."
"Then, if I…."
"Yes!" it seemed to become eager, "But we would not take your favor and not bestow anything on you in return, no, no, we shall make you deathless, just like us, and then you can have all the time in the world. All the time in the world to research legends, to obtain unsurpassed knowledge, to possess the strongest pokemon in existence."
There was silence as the lamp dropped and shattered, scattering the last remnants of embers everywhere as darkness seeped back into the tower.
"You will become a God."

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There was an earsplitting crunch as the ice crashed into and ripped through the keystone. Spiritomb gave off a horrific scream as its swirling body was torn asunder and broke into fragments- each becoming a ghost pokemon and flying off in every direction from the room. Cynthia dropped to her knees as Dawn gasped in shock of what had just happened.
"Your….. your Spiritomb… I… I didn't mean…" Dawn choked.
"What have….." Cynthia forced her words "What have you done?" she screeched at the other trainer; her visible eye looking crazed with an animalistic trait. "What have you done!"
"I didn't- I" Dawn fumbled with her words as she tried to fathom the fact that she had just killed Spiritomb. Although the next thing the younger trainer did was scream in fright as she looked back to the original champion.
Cynthia was shivering as dark oily ooze was pouring from her hidden eye; it didn't stop there. The champion curled in out herself as the ooze erupted from her body; covering her entire form in black. Soon the figure caved in and ebbed away entirely- leaving five pokeballs and one broken one.
Dawn fought for words before she fainted.

Dawn woke in the hospital shortly after, her parents and friends by her bedside. She felt like what she had witnessed at the Pokemon league had been a nightmare. Dawn told them that she had only seen something break in and abduct the champion; she even hid the truth from Diamond. As they talked they were soon ushered out by a scruffy looking man in a trench coat. It took a moment for Dawn to recognize him.
"Looker?" she asked weakly.
"Yeah, it's me." He sat next to her and looked down at her concerned. "I didn't want to intrude, but this can't wait…" he took out a small notebook and pen and now had a grim expression, "Interpol is diving into this incident blind. All of Cynthia's relatives have disappeared into thin air. Are you positive that you can't give us any answers? Not even a lead?"
She shook her head.
"… I see" the man sighed and stood up, but as he went to the door he paused and looked back, "I don't know if this might jog your memory, but we did some looking into in the dead pokemons pokeball. That thing was an apricorn, and it was dated to be over 200 years old"
Dawn gave no reply.
"….. Come on" he tried to smile, "We will find her, just you wait and see."

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A few days had passed and Dawn was allowed to leave. The trainer had become quiet and barely spoke; her parents and Diamond attributed it to the shock of whatever had happened in the champion's room.
Days turned to weeks.
The search continued.
Weeks turned to months.
The search dwindled.
Months turned to a year.
The champion of Sinnoh was pronounced dead.
Dawn read the headlines and nearly tore the paper to shreds. She sighed and leaned back in her chair; her parents were out for the evening and it was late.
She didn't even think twice when she heard a knock on the door. Figuring it was her parents or Diamond Dawn went and opened it.
She was greeted by a white orb- a single eye, the rest of the creatures body was hidden in the darkness of the night. A gale blew as Dawn screamed and slammed the door in the things face. Stepping back, she saw doing that had been pointless; familiar ooze was pouring from under the door and groping about inside the house. The lights in the room flickered as Dawn tripped in the brief darkness and fell over backwards. The thing sensed Dawn's presence and began to collect itself into a tall lanky form; it loomed over her as she cried out and put her hands up to shield herself. Dawn had to go it alone, having left her pokemon up in her room.
But it did not attack. Peeking over her hands her jaw dropped as she looked at the thing that had invaded her home.
Its body was comprised of the oily darkness and was completely black save for one visible white eye. It was vaguely human shaped but lacked arms or conventional legs; instead it was reared up like an Ekans or Seviper. Trailing off of its head was what Dawn could only guess was hair, hair that flicked and coiled like many little tails wrapped together. On either side of its head were odd baubles that looked somewhat like Umbreon ears. It continued to stoop over her as a white slit appeared beneath its wide eye and curled into a crescent moon; it was smiling.
Dawn lowered her hands and looked at it for a good moment. Her own eyes widened as she realized what was- namely who was in front of her.
"Oh my… God…" she felt a cold shiver run down her spine as she reached a hand out and touched it- it was cold as death and smooth as a piece of obsidian. "I… I'm sorry…" tears started to fall as the thing wrapped part of its hair around her in effort to comfort her, its smile turning into a frown.
"I'm so sorry… Cynthia…."

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Ten years had passed. Dawn was a hardened trainer who had traveled every region of the world and barely rested a day. Many came to know her as a trainer of few words- and if she ever spoke, it was to the point and blunt. Titles were given to her, Silent Walker, Ghost Slayer, but most prominent was a longer title, "The Exorcist with the Smiling Shadow".
Dawn had marched through the region of Unova during the Plasma incident and easily lay waste to the sages who had supported N and Ghetsis. She had spent most of her time in Unova however going to the various abandoned ruins and catching what researchers could only call "abnormal ghost pokemon". It was nearly impossible to catch her for an interview, even when called into radio shows she turned the offers down. The only words she had ever spoken were to an inquisitive Professor Oak, and even then it had only been a tape recording sent to Goldenrod.
"If this can silence your grating requests, then perfect. I am searching for ghost pokemon. 107 of them. Only I and I alone know exactly which pokemon these 107 are, and this is the task given to me."
Oak was not able to broadcast this tape on the air, for when it was played, it caught fire shorty after and black oil bubbled from out of it.
Due to this reporters had to rely on second hand witness accounts for anything they could hope to learn. When Dawn graced Johto with her cold presence at the burned out tower in Ecruteak City, a medium had gone into hysterics upon seeing her and demanded that someone record what she had to say regarding the ghost catcher.
"That woman has sold herself to the devil! Mark my words, anyone with powers such as mine knows it to be true! You can see that woman's shadow smile back at you if you are foolish enough to lay eyes upon it!"
It was shortly after this, the title "Smiling Shadow" was used instead of Dawn's real name. To the people of all the regions, she was mysterious and dangerous, and only the most foolhardy ever tried to find her.
And those people and trainers usually returned babbling in shock; covered in black ooze that seemed to be a mark for those who got too close.

"Are you okay?"

"Figured as much…." Dawn held out a poffin for her "shadow". It popped up and inhaled it with a single gulp.
"We caught one more today."

"This makes number 47…." She sighed and looked out to the setting sun as they stood atop the chilly peak of Mt. Silver. Dawn was quiet for a few moments as the shadow sniffed the air- it sensed a powerful trainer nearby and pulled itself closer to Dawn.
"Oh…. Him?" she looked up at the shadow and then back to the horizon. "Don't worry, he will only challenge us if we bother him…." Silence graced the two of them as Dawn pulled her scarf up to cover the bottom half of her face.
"…." It cocked its head inquisitively.
"… you helped me so much during my journey" she let her voice break the howling of the icy winds. "I don't care how long it takes, this is my fault, and it is my mistake to fix. I don't know what will happen once we find all 107 of them… but I would rather have an answer than subject you to a life being… this."

"I knew you would say that," she placed a hand on the shadow and despite her scarf covering her face it could tell she was smirking "Let's go to Lavender Town, I'm feeling lucky."
The shadow regained its crescent moon grin.

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Spiritomb – No.442 – Forbidden Pokemon
A pokemon that was formed by 108 spirits. It is bound to a fissure in an odd keystone.



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