This is based off of my last playthrough of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness, so I apologize if the storyline seems similar. The game and original storyline are property of The Pokemon Company.
Other than that, enjoy! =)
POKEMON MYSTERY DUNGEON:
THE TALES OF TEAM SOLARTIDE
"Come on! This way!"
"Are you out of your mind??"
"Don't be such a wuss! Think of what they'll say when they find out!"
"I have a pretty good idea already…'What were you thinking?! You could have gotten yourselves killed!'"
"Oh, knock it off. We'll be fine! How else are we gonna impress them if we don't do some first-hand exploring first?"
"Well…I suppose that makes sense…"
"Of course it does. Now come on!"
Two lone figures streaked their way into a dark cave, its mouth wide and gaping, as if swallowing in the air around it. One was a Growlithe, frizzy-furred and smirking, his face displaying all signs of recklessness and self-assurance. The other was his close friend, a Shinx, padding along warily, turning his head this way and that, trying to discern spooky shadows on the walls with his gleaming yellow eyes.
"I have no idea how I let you talk me into this…" he muttered.
"Because you want to be a Explorer, just like I do, remember?" replied his friend.
"I do…but shouldn't we wait until we're actually part of a team before we explore?"
"That's what Pokemon would want you to think, but I say this increases your chances of exceeding quickly! It shows that you know your stuff long before other new teams!"
"But does anyone even know we're out here? Madam Blissey won't be too happy if she finds us missing."
"Her place is full to the seams, you know that, Shinx!" Growlithe snapped, rather harshly. "Madam Blissey won't notice one or two missing…she never does…" Shinx sighed, having heard this story time after time, but putting up with it for the sake of their friendship. As they progressed on, they came to a pool of water, and they could hear the steady drip-drip-drip of stalactites from the ceiling above. "I say we need a little more light," Growlithe observed, his moodiness bypassed. "Give us a Flash, Shinx."
"B-But what if there's something lurking nearby?"
"That's the whole point, dummy! How are we going to make ourselves known if we don't accomplish anything spectacular? I can see it now, old pal of mine…'Shinx and Growlithe Conquer Beach Cave Single Pawed!"
"Heh…" Shinx chuckled, "I figured your name would come first."
"Aw, come on, would I do that to my best pal?" He cuffed Shinx on the shoulder with his paw, and the two laughed. With a nod, Shinx tensed, and his blue body gave off a whitish glow, as if he had swallowed a light bulb. The cave was illuminated all around them, and they had just enough time to marvel at the amethyst-purple stalagmites and stalactites when-
"What's that?!" Shinx yelped.
"Golbat!" Growlithe shouted. He was too right. A flock of the grotesque blue bats, more mouth than anything, was swarming around them, flapping their wide wings, glaring down with their tiny eyes. With a snarl, Growlithe opened his mouth and sent a stream of flame up at them, catching one in its leathery wing. It shrieked and lost control, falling flat on its back by the pool, its wing splashing into it with a loud hiss. Shinx sent a blast of electric sparks up at them from his body. A few, paralyzed by the shocks, plummeted like the one with the burnt wing. Enraged at the resistance being put up against them, the rest began to swarm closer, their eyes glowing green, which meant only one thing to the terrified Pokemon…Giga Drain. They cringed and closed their eyes, ready for fangs to sink in…but it never came.
Instead, there was more mad shrieking and a sound like ringing wind chimes made them open their eyes again. The Golbat were being knocked away by a shower of golden stars. A Swift attack, guaranteed to never miss! They looked in the direction from which it had come, and saw, in the darkness, a crouching, long-bodied and slender Pokemon, its red eyes glistening in the dark. The Golbat, angered even further by this intrusion, turned their attention on the newcomer and began their attack on it, but they stopped short in horror as the mysterious being suddenly emitted an eruption of fire from its head and rear, and sent a jet of flame, even larger than the one Growlithe had used, straight at them. Shrieking and yelping, the fled away from the battle scene and vanished into every dark corner of the cave. Growlithe and Shinx were still gaping, open-mouthed, after the defeated Golbat, amazed.
"Are you all right?" The voice that came from the shadows was young, as if a teenager was speaking it, but calm.
"W-We're fine." Growlithe answered, tentatively.
"You s-saved us…Thanks," gasped Shinx.
"Don't mention it," said the stranger, "but I have to ask what you're doing in here. A cave, let alone an old Mystery Dungeon, is no place for idle exploration, especially at night." The speaker stepped out of the shadows, and the two kids were somewhat relieved to see that it was a Quilava, frowning slightly at them.
"We were…We were hoping…to join an Exploration Team at the Academy…" Growlithe's ears lowered.
"And decided you'd get some first-hand experience?" The Quilava asked, shrewdly. Growlithe's ears went even lower as he sadly nodded.
"Y-You won't tell Madam Blissey, will you?" Shinx asked. "W-We lived at her orphanage, but we…"
"Ran away?" The Quilava asked, but in a softer tone. Shinx nodded.
"We wanted to make a name for ourselves…stop being just part of the crowd…" said Growlithe, humbly. He looked up at the Quilava, and was surprised to see that he was smiling.
"I know just how you feel," he said. "In fact, so do my friends, in our days as members of the Academy." Growlithe and Shinx gasped.
"You were part of the Academy??"
"That's right. Kindle of Team Solartide, at your service." He bowed his head.
"Team…Solartide…" Shinx looked quizzical. "It sounds…kind of familiar…"
"Well, to explain it would take quite a long time. And I reckon you two little scamps need a place to spend the night. Well, come on. I'll take you to headquarters." Looking thrilled at the thought of "headquarters", the two boys followed Kindle out of the cave and off down the beach, where the moon was still hanging high in the sky. Kindle pointed with his head to an odd formation in the cliffs: shaped like an enormous whale, its mouth gaping, as if swallowing.
"Wailord Rock. That's where we're headed. Look sharp, now." He went off at a sprint, and the two, fast though they were, were hard-pressed to keep up with him. Down the beach, up a sloping path, and down a street through what looked like a deserted village square. At last, they came to the edge of the cliff, and a wide hole with a ladder leading down into it. "Down there," he said, and the two youngsters went tentatively down the ladder. They found that a cheery, crackling fire was set in the middle of the wide room in which the rock's "mouth" was set. Quilava came down the steps next, and ignited the flames from his head and rear.
"Flora! Irwin!" He called. "We have company!" With sleepy grunts and yawns, two figures raised themselves up from a pair of large straw beds on the cave floor. One was a Meganium, rather stout, her belly spread out on her bed beneath her thick legs, but very motherly in appearance. The other was a Feraligatr, lean and muscular, a red cut across his chest, but his alligator-like face was strangely boyish and young, as if he were an overgrown kid.
"Guests or intruders, Kindle?" the Feraligatr, the one the two boys assumed was Irwin, asked.
"A bit of both, actually," Kindle replied, wryly.
"Children!" The Meganium, Flora, exclaimed. "What were they doing on your patrol, Kindle?"
"Trying to sneak a peek at the wonders of Beach Cave."
"Dear me…were they hurt?"
"No, just a little shaken. The Golbat nearly got them, but I scared them off."
"Golbat?? Oh, what COULD you boys have been thinking? Going into a cave in the dead of night!"
"I dunno, Flora," said Irwin, smirking, "in our times, you would have strode bold and sassy into a Gyarados' mouth if you had to."
"Only because YOU were foolish enough to go in first," Flora replied, a bit snappishly, but she still smiled at him. "Who would keep your neck safe otherwise?" Irwin chuckled and turned to the boys.
So what's your story, kids? What's got the exploring bug biting at your tails?" Shinx looked at his tail, curiously, as Growlithe said,
"We ran away, and wanted to join the Academy."
"Is that so?" Irwin asked, pleasantly surprised.
"Oh, don't be silly," Flora said, "they're much too young."
"Now, Flora, unless memory fails me," Irwin replied, in a wry voice, "you and I were no older or higher in level than these two here. In fact, I suspect Kindle was younger." Kindle nodded with a grin.
"Oh…I suppose, but even so, with that level of recklessness-"
"You worry too much, Flora. One may call it recklessness, but I'd say it was more 'ambition', really."
"I only worry so much because of all the times YOU got into danger, Mister Ambitious," she retorted, nudging him with her leg.
"Most of those dangers were to keep you safe, I'll have you know," he retorted.
"I know," she said, an almost dreamy look on her face, as she nuzzled her head on his shoulder. He smiled warmly and put an arm around her dinosaur-like neck. Even Kindle smiled. Shinx, who was done inspecting his tail for 'exploring bugs', piped up,
"Please, Mr. Irwin…can you tell us about when you were an Exploration Team?"
"Yeah! Please?" Growlithe asked, eagerly.
"Well, I dunno," said Irwin, "it's a really long story. Might take all night."
"We don't mind! Please! We want to hear! We've heard so much!" they said, excitedly.
"Oh, why not, Irwin?" Kindle asked. "I did sort of half-promise them we'd tell them."
"You owe me for that then," Irwin said, but he winked at Kindle. He then heaved a sigh of preparation, and Flora settled herself in more comfortably. Irwin, in his position, looked much like a wise grandfather, ready to tell his grandkids a tale of his youth. Growlithe and Shinx settled down on the floor, gazing with rapt attention at him. "Well, boys…the story, unsurprisingly, starts with Flora and me…but most importantly…it starts with a human…"
The Boy Who Wasn't
It had begun when Flora was just a Chikorita. Like all Chikorita, she was light green with four stubby legs, a stubby tail, shiny red eyes (more like a ruby than like blood), a ring of green stubs around her neck (which were actually the tips of vines), and a large green leaf extending from the top of her head. She was perhaps a little bit plumper than a normal Chikorita, but she hardly minded. What was of greater interest, however, was hung around her neck like a necklace. Attached to a rope slung around her thick neck was a small, curious stone, hardly larger than a skipping stone, engraved with odd white symbols, that resembled a swirling vortex with long tongues of wispy smoke curling from its center. She had never been sure when she had gotten this stone, or where it had even come from. She had just picked it up one day when she was near the sea, and had pondered about its meaning ever since…
It's safe to say that discovering this rare, unusual treasure spurred her on to selecting a path in life she knew had been destined for her: becoming an Explorer. Ever since she was very young, she had heard tales and stories of brave, strong Pokemon who had directed their steps into the deepest trenches, the darkest caves, the highest mountains, and the hottest deserts in search of rare treasures, or even for Pokemon in need of rescuing. To be an Explorer…that was what Flora wanted the most in the world. However, in order to become one, she would need to apply alone or form a team with an organization that dealt with exploring. There were several in the Pokemon world, each with a varying amount of reputation. The Wigglytuff Guild near Treasure Town, for example, was noted for its high rate of successful expeditions and rescues, but also famous for its strict rule that guild members must relinquish at least 90% of their profits to the Guildmaster. The Dragonite Organization, situated near a forest off of Sapphire City, had graduated some of the most legendary and skilled explorers in the current century, though the training was extremely rigorous. However, the closest exploration establishment that Flora could reach was the renowned, well-spoken Gardevoir Academy, an establishment well spoken of for its generous payment, diverse assignments, and high graduation rate. It was the perfect middle ground for an explorer starting out, just like Flora.
So, on that particular day, around sunset, shivering with nervousness, Flora looked up at the building in front of her. It was something like a log cabin, made of wood with a tin roof, but inside, through the barred gate, Flora could see a ladder leading down into the ground, where the true academy must surely lay. Next to the door was a neatly polished bell with a dangling chain. A nearby sign, posted by the door, read, "The Gardevoir Academy" in bright golden letters. A pair of stone statues shaped like sitting Arcanine, the wolf-like evolved form of Growlithe, flanked the sides of the cabin, looking proud and majestic, and eerily lifelike. Flora looked from one to the other, unsure of exactly what she should do. Finally, she said to herself,
"Ok, Flora, get a grip on yourself. You are NOT going to chicken out of this. Today is the day you become an Explorer, no matter what!" So saying, she extended a vine from her collar and rang the bell. The bright jangling sounded somewhat alarming in the quiet dusk. At first, there was no answer, and Flora was just on the verge of ringing again when a sharp voice snapped,
"Who's there?! State your business!" Something like a purple and black gas oozed out of the mouth of the nearest statue, and what looked like a purplish shadow with glaring eyes, a fanged mouth, pointed ears, and floating hands loomed in front of Flora, gazing at her suspiciously. With a shriek of terror, she turned tail and sprinted back down the path she had come up. The Haunter looked after her for a little bit, perplexed, sniffed at his invisible armpits, as if afraid he had offended her, shrugged, and vanished back into the statue.
Flora didn't stop running until she reached the beach that ran along from a side path off the main road to a cave at the far end. She sat, panted, and then lowered her head, tears brimming in her eyes.
"It's no good…I can't do it…I just don't have the nerve…I'm not meant to be an Explorer…and I thought having my Relic Fragment would help me…" She held the small pendant-like stone in one vine, a tear splashing onto it. "I'm just a coward…a fat little coward…" She started to sob quietly, her tears falling like raindrops onto the soft sand, but as she looked up, her eyes misty, she could have sworn she saw something lying on the beach some distance away…something that looked like a body. She gasped, got to her feet, and sprinted over to where it lay. The body was that of a blue alligator with a spiked back and large jaws full of small, sharp teeth; a Totodile.
"Hey…" she whispered, nudging him. "Hey, are you all right? Wake up! Please tell me you're ok!" The Totodile groaned, and his red eyes opened slowly. Flora stepped back as he got up and rubbed the back of his head, looking pained.
"Ugh…my head…" he groaned. "What the heck have I been doing?…" His eyes opened fully as he gazed around. "…How'd I end up on the beach?" At last, his eyes met Flora's, and he jumped back in surprise, which caused her to jump back herself and land on her behind. He looked her up and down from his position, from the leaf on her head to her stumpy little tail, from her ruby-red eyes to her four stubby paws, and from her ring of vine stubs to her pudgy middle. "…Whoa," he said at last, "wherever I am, the Chikorita must be pretty huge." Flora's face quickly went from concern and curiosity to indignation, her forepaws going to her hips.
"Excuse me?" she asked, sharply, "That's hardly a thing to say to the one who discovered you out here! 'Pretty huge'! Of all the nerve…"
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry…" said the Totodile, caught off guard by her attitude, "I didn't mean to offend you! I just don't remember seeing one as big as me before!" Though she still glared at him, her tone softened,
"What are you talking about? All Chikorita and Totodile are nearly the same size." It took a few moments for this response to sink in, during which the Totodile just stared blankly at her, with a look of what looked like disbelief on his face.
"…What did you just call me?" he asked.
"A Totodile?" Flora responded, looking at him with a mixture of suspicion and confusion. "It's what you are." The silence that followed seemed even longer, as the Totodile just stared at her again, as if she had just uttered a swear word. Then, he started chuckling, which seemed to alarm her even more. Clearly, she believed this Totodile must be a little nutty.
"What, am I on some kind of gag show? Where are the cameras?" He looked around, expecting to see a film crew hiding among the beach rocks. Then, he spotted a Krabby sitting placidly on a rock nearby and picked it up, staring into it. "I'll bet this Krabby's one of those hidden video recorders." He spoke loudly into its face, making it cringe. "Hello there! You almost had me, but you can't fool me that easily-OW!" The Krabby, irritated at this unwelcome behavior, had clamped its pincer onto the Totodile's snout, making him drop it onto the sand. It scuttled away as the injured Totodile clapped both hands to his snout. Flora came over to him.
"You must've bumped your head pretty hard there, Totodile. You're acting kind of funny."
"Look, I don't know what kind of trick you're trying to pull, but…uh, but…why does my face feel so long?" He began feeling his snout all over until he reached one of his protruding fangs and pricked his finger on it. "Ow!" He brought his hand to eye level to see if it was bleeding…and was horrified to see that, instead of a hand he had known, it was small and blue, with little clawed fingers. Still looking aghast, he brushed past Flora and ran to the edge of the water. He peered down, just to see the face of a confused, terrified Totodile staring right back at him. He just stood there, staring at his own reflection, and then he let out a yell of terror and anguish. He stumbled backwards, jabbering incomprehensibly, and reeling as if about to faint. Flora whipped out a pair of vines and caught him before he fell. "This…this can't be happening…it's impossible…I can't be a Totodile! I'm not SUPPOSED to be a Totodile! I'm a human!"
"A…human?" Flora looked more concerned than ever. "Are you sure you're not just imagining it?"
"No…I swear, I was a human! …But…"
"But…it's funny. Everything's all blurry in my mind. I can't remember a thing…except that I was a human…and what my name is."
"What IS your name?"
"Irwin?…It's a nice name. Not bad for a Totodile." Irwin cringed at these words. "I'm Flora."
"Flora…that's pretty nice too…" He got to his feet, looking at her. "Listen…I'm really sorry about all of this. I must seem like a raving lunatic to you, but I swear, I'm not lying. I wasn't a Totodile before now!" He collapsed against her and began sobbing against her shoulder. She nuzzled his cheek with hers and patted him on the back consolingly.
"It's all right…it's ok…"
"…What am I going to do now?…Where will I go?"
"I…I don't know…" She racked her brain, trying to think of a solution. Irwin did seem to have a desperate situation: alone in an unfamiliar world, memory gone, turned into a Pokemon…she really felt sorry for him, and really wanted to be able to help him…and then…it came to her! She gasped, looking excited. "I've got it! Irwin, I've got it!"
"W-What? What is it?" he looked up, hopefully.
"You can come with me, Irwin! We can form an Exploration Team together!"
"…Exploration Team?" he asked, looking perplexed.
"Yeah! They get to hunt for treasure! Rescue lost Pokemon! Catch dangerous criminals! It's the best! I've always wanted to be one, ever since I found this!" She held up her Relic Fragment on its chain. He looked down at it, interested.
"What is it?"
"My Relic Fragment. I found it long ago, when I was young. I have no idea what the pattern means, but that's the point! I want to go out and see the world, find the answers behind this discovery of mine! Oh, Irwin, it'd be wonderful!" Her eyes were shining with an intense enthusiasm. Then, almost instantly, she sounded pleading. "So what do you say? Will you become my Exploration Partner? Please? It'd mean the world to me, and you wouldn't have to be alone!", she added quickly, seeing the skeptical look on his face. "Please, Irwin?…" She braced her front paws on his shoulders and looked imploringly into his eyes. Irwin looked slightly uncomfortable. Here he was, being recruited on the spot by a complete stranger! And yet, she had a point. He had nowhere else to go. And she seemed really nice and sweet, and even understanding…So, with a small sigh and a smile, he said,
"Of course, Flora."
"REALLY??" she squealed, overcome with joy. "Oh, Irwin, THANK YOU!" And then, before he could react, she had kissed him right on the snout! He was still blushing a deep red as Flora said, "Come on! While there's still time!" She had whipped one of her vines around his arm and was rushing him along down the beach, back toward the Academy.