BIG HUGE DISCLAIMER O' DEATH TYPE THINGY: First of all, be prepared for tons of violence, naughty language (Scourge-sama likes the word naughty, okay, geez), depictions of drunkenness and other things that small children shouldn't be exposed to. Not that the URPG is allowed to be within 100 yards of small children anyways, but that's beside the point... Um. Well. This colab fic started way back when as a colab between me, Scourge of Nemo, and Hide In Plain Sight, but then we kind of abandoned it because we're all unreliable and lazy (who would've guessed) and then HiPS left and yeah... But recently me and Scourge decided to do a colab and this happened. More chapters are coming. Eventually. Probably. HiPS gets some credit for plot ideas and character ideas, but he didn't actually write any of it, just thought I needed to give credit there... Well... I should end this note before it gets longer than the actual story. ENJOY.
Scourge's Note: POWER ABUSE. AHAHAHAHA.
Pokemon Captures: Natu (Mine) and Cubchoo (Scourge-sama's)
Needed Characters: 20000
Actual Characters: 23016
Scary monsters, super creeps
Keep me running, running scared
-Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), by David Bowie
My eyes slowly blinked open. I immediately closed them. The light was too bright. It seemed to burn through my closed eyelids into the back of my skull.
“Shit. Turn that off,” I muttered.
“What the hell are you talking about? It’s dark out,” a much too loud voice protested.
I rolled out of bed and landed with a thunk on a hard, metal floor. Wait? Metal? I forced my eyes open and looked around. I groaned involuntarily and stood up. “Wha…?” I managed to get out. I stumbled and fell to my knees.
“C’mon, kid, get up. I don’t want to have to fill out all the forms if you die in here.” Then he muttered something like, “Not that I would.”
My head was still spinning, but I attempted to get up one last time and succeeded. Slowly but surely, everything was growing clearer. I remembered shooting pain in my head and a bright light. It felt like I had been struck by lightning. My tongue lay heavy and thick in my mouth, but I forced it to move. “Where am I?”
“Relax, kid. You’re at the Outskirt Stand.”
I felt that it might be easiest to just repeat whatever he said. “Outskirt Stand?”
“Yeah. You came wandering out of the desert talking to yourself.”
“Talking to myself?”
“I think so. You’re not after anything… illegal, are you? We don’t do that anymore.”
“God, no,” I slurred. Then, I heard a loud crashing sound coming from a different room.
“Be right back,” said the man who had been in the room with me. For a split second, I had a perfect image of him. He was wearing a large apron, a sweaty white wifebeater and a pair of filthy khakis. I wish I hadn’t seen that, I thought to myself, right before the crashing sound came again.
I suddenly felt an odd mixture of fear and anticipation. I limped out of the dark room. The sight that greeted me was not what I expected. It looked as though I had walked into a bar. A completely trashed bar. Broken glass and splinters of wood were scattered everywhere. Several people lay on the floor, unconscious. In fact, the only two people in the room still standing were a huge biker in a leather jacket and a smaller guy dressed like a pimp and looking like he’d just made the biggest drunken mistake of his life—and gotten away with it.
A few feet away, a girl with dirt-encrusted blonde hair and a ragged brown cloak three times the size of her body claimed the title of only sitting person in the room. She did the only logical thing with it, which would be to drink a glass of milk and stay out of the mess. Both men breathed heavily and glaring at each other, while the girl looked on in quiet amusement.
“Erm. Hello?” All three people turned to stare at me.
The moment their attention centered on me, their emotions hit. From both men, rage and frustration engulfed me; from the girl rushed, a quiet, sullen anger that had nothing to do with the present situation. I stumbled. The large biker blinked at me stupidly. The smaller man next to him tried to take a drunken step forward, ended up falling back, and crashed into the girl. Her stool tipped. Her eyes widened. Her milk spilled.
There was a moment of complete silence.
Then the girl started screaming. Pure, black hatred emanated from her. She pushed the guy off of her and tackled the bulky one. My brain seemed to twitch with an image of a huge needle jamming into my arm, veins spidered and pale. My head fogged over. This wasn’t right; this wasn’t the right sort of hatred. Distracted from it, I felt fear, someone else’s blood thrumming through my body, suffocation. Then a mixture of hatred and anger and confusion from the rest of the room.
Shaking it off, I jumped into the fight and began punching and kicking at everything I could. The crazy, out of place emotions kept sneaking into my mind, but I forced them off with each hit. I couldn’t see anything and all I could hear was shouting and cursing. Finally, I struggled free of the scuffle. I looked over and was surprised to see the biker passed out a few feet away. The only people still fighting were the girl and the other guy. The girl was winning….
“I’ll teach you to mess with MY milk!” she yelled, and slapped him. He seemed slightly dazed and not at all aware of what was happening.
“Miss?” I said quietly. She didn’t seem to hear me. “Miss?” I said a little louder. Still nothing. “MISS!?”
She turned to look at me. For a split second, I could see the fury in her eyes. Then it disappeared and in its place, I saw the blank, calculating stare of a snake watching a mouse.
“I think you won.”
She smiled a cold, detached smile and looked around at the wreckage of the bar. “It would appear that I have.” She started to walk away, clanging as she went as various talismans and random scraps of metal hanging from her neck and belt banged against each other. I watched her walk out the door cautiously before approaching the guy she had been fighting. He was sitting up and leaning against the wall. His eyes were totally bloodshot and glazed over.
“Dude,” I said, “are you okay?”
As if in response, he slumped over and lay on the ground, staring at the ceiling. Not knowing what else to do, I ran out of the bar and tried to find the girl who had just left. As soon as I stepped outside, the hot desert air seemed to suck all the water out of my lungs. I stared in every direction, but I could see nothing in the dark. With no other option, I turned around to go back inside.
“Looking for me?”
Somehow, the girl had managed to get in-between me and the door. She leaned back against the frame and locked eyes with me. The effect was like being hypnotized. I felt myself slipping away into her deep, brown eyes…. I shook my and broke our eye contact. Her mouth turned slightly downward in a frown.
“I was looking for you, actually,” I began, but she cut me off.
“You want me to help you.”
“Well… I was kind of hoping....”
“What, precisely, do you need me for?”
“Could you tell me where I am?”
She paused and then cackled in delight. “You are in a lawless waste land, inhabited by the dregs of society: a bleak, endless desert, where our only exports are despair and stolen goods. That is, Orre.”
“That was helpful.”
Without another word, she turned and walked back into the bar. I had the distinct impression I should follow. Once inside, she walked over to the guy she had fought with earlier. She clicked her tongue impatiently and muttered something under her breath. As if by magic, he sat straight up.
“Where am I?” he muttered.
The girl giggled. “You are in a lawless waste land,” she began, but she noticed me staring at her with my mouth wide open. “You might want to close your mouth,” she told me. “Otherwise it’ll get all dried out.”
“Did you just bring him back to life?”
“He is, unfortunately, not near dead enough for that. Perhaps next time. No, I just removed the toxins from his bloodstream.” Lacking a stool, she sat down cross-legged on the floor.
The guy jumped up and looked around wildly.
“Why in the name of God am I wearing a jacket?” he said and threw off the black monstrosity he had been wearing.
“You might want to keep that,” the girl told him. “It gets below freezing at night.”
The man ignored her and began pacing back and forth. “Everything is so clear…” he mumbled.
“Sobriety is a new experience to you, I see.” She turned her head to look at me. “And you. How are you doing?”
“I’m okay,” I told her. “It feels like I got hit over the head, though.”
“You probably did. I found you out in the desert.”
“But I thought that’s what that other guy said….”
“You mean the one I possessed?”
I stared at her incredulously and her mouth twitched, as if she were trying very hard not to smile.
“You… possessed him?”
“Hmmm.” She seemed to think for a moment. “Yes.”
“I,” she said simply, “am a witch.”
I shook my head. “I don’t think so.”
She raised her eyebrows. “Why not?”
“I think that I am on a very, very bad acid trip. That guy is my dealer,” I said, pointing at him as he watched us curiously, “and you are either a hallucination or a fellow druggie.”
“How disappointing. You chose such a common explanation.”
“Who the hell are you people?” the guy suddenly asked.
We both turned to look at him.
“I,” said the girl, bowing until her oversized sleeves reached the floor, “am Kora.”
His gaze shifted to me.
“Um, sup? I’m Silva.”
“And you?” Kora asked him.
“Oh. I’m Xavier.”
“Fantastic,” she said, and snickered.
“It’s too early for this,” he said and walked over to where he had thrown his jacket. He shivered and put it back on.
“Actually,” Kora said, “it is around eight o’clock at night.”
“Like I said: Too early for this. This isn’t an eight o’clock thing. It’s a three in the morning ‘don’t drive fast so we don’t get pulled over’ thing.”
Kora rolled her eyes. “Well, my business here is done. Come, Silva.”
Without thinking about it, I followed her outside. She started walking off into the desert. That’s when I stopped. “Wait. Why am I following you?”
She turned back to me and smiled. “Where else are you going to go?”
That seemed to make sense, and yet…. “What about that guy back there?”
“What about him?”
“Erm… Should we leave him here alone?”
“What else would we do with him?”
I rubbed my arm nervously. “We could… take him with us….”
She laughed. “You want to take the drunk that SPILLED MY MILK along with us?”
“He does have a car,” I said nervously.
“Superfluous. He’s still useless.”
“But he has a car.”
“Then why don’t we just take his keys?”
We walked back into the bar again, this time to find Xavier looting the bodies and sticking anything he found in a large garbage bag.
“Lovely,” Kora said.
I walked over to the garbage bag and peered inside. “Oh look, a Pokéball!” I grabbed the red and white sphere out of the bag and scurried away.
“Hey,” Xavier protested, “stop stealing the stuff I just stole.” However, he didn’t actually try to get the Pokéball back. I cautiously pressed the button in the center and dropped it in surprise as it grew larger. The Pokéball hit the ground and popped open.
“Never used a Pokeball before?” Kora asked and looked over as she pulled a belt of Pokéballs off of a drunkard, probably curious to see what Pokemon came out. In front of me hopped a tiny, green chick-like Pokemon. I had never seen anything like it before.
“It’s a Natu,” Kora told me. I gazed into the small bird’s eyes and immediately felt as though it were staring into my soul. I looked away quickly. Suddenly, one of the larger bikers began to stir.
“Get his keys!” I shouted.
“That’d be my cue to get out of here,” Xavier said, and ran for the door.
“Smooth move, x-lax.” She ran after him.
I scooped up the Natu in my hands and chased him and Kora out of the bar and towards his car.
Xavier jammed the keys in the ignition and tried to start the car, but it only made a loud gasping noise. This gave Kora a chance to hop into the passenger’s seat.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck,” he muttered.
I opened one of the rear doors, jumped in, and slammed it shut before he could drive off without me. Next came the huge biker, who stopped appropriately in the doorway to look muscular. He glared at us and started walking towards the car.
Finally, the engine caught and the car started. He put the car in reverse and hit the gas. I sighed in relief. As soon as we were twenty feet down the road and had already crossed the median four times, Kora reached over and pulled up the emergency break.
“Shit!” Xavier slammed on the breaks.
Kora took the opportunity to shift the car into park and yank out the keys. “I’m driving. You’re incompetent.”
“Are you even old enough to drive?”
She dangled the keys out the window. Begrudgingly, he switched places. I half expected Kora to drive off without him, but the engine took four chugs to rev back up.
“Scrap metal,” Kora muttered.
We sat in silence for a moment and I was just about to ask if anyone had any ideas when I noticed something very odd. Xavier had just lit a cigarette without a match.
“Xavier, what the hell was that?” I asked.
Xavier shrugged and puffed on his cigarette. “Where are you taking my car?”
“Good question,” Kora said. “I have no idea.”
“Phenac City is nearby,” Xavier told us, “They probably have a motel or something.”
I leaned my head against the window and fell asleep, the Natu still resting in my hands.
This was an interesting situation. Months of wandering listlessly through sandstorms and bars, alone and (mostly) unnoticed… and now, with just the innocent motives of a confused girl barely younger then myself, I was stuck. With people. In a car that smelled like rotten milk and had probably been purchased off a pimp, judging from the furry seatcovers.
And I had almost hit six boulders. Driving in the dark had never been my strong suit, and the desert roads were notoriously ill marked. Plus, one of Xavier’s headlights was out.
Xavier… My companions were, at the very least, intriguing. The boy summoned fire from the air, not unlike the accidents I had when first coming into my own powers; the girl cringed with thoughts that she did not know she had, and that probably didn’t belong to her. I could see both of them, their energies, their composition—soul, geist, whatever—in the fuzziness around their faces, and there was nothing proper about either. Their elements were screwed around, active and uneven—and the witch had taught me that anyone with too much color in the blur was someone worth watching out for.
Years of nothing, and then… Two, in one night. It could not be coincidence. The boy, I had thought the spirits had taken—too much booze and anyone’s face could look off—but now that I had seen the fire… Yes, I would have to watch the stars more closely, in the following nights.
My ponderings took me over miles of terrain, skirting a few more boulders and a police barricade or two (not that those did any good, anymore—not with Team Snag’Em and the bandits). My companions slept through the night. Neither snored, but the man’s hands occasionally spat sparks, and the girl twitched, knocking her Natu on the floor a few times.
The heap of junk must have had an augmented gas chamber, or something, to carry us from Outskirt Stand to Phenac in one piece without a refill—but thirteen hours of driving later, and we were there. (The gas gauge still said full. Go figure.)
I kicked Xavier awake, but decided to let the girl catch her rest.
“You,” I said, pointing viciously, “are going to go find us food. I have business. If I come back and there is no food, or you are gone, you will be plunging head-first over that waterfall.”
Blunt enough to get the point across, exaggerated enough to make him think I was joking. Perfect. Hopefully, I’d get to teach him a bit of a lesson.
The drunk blinked blearily, running a hand through his shaggy hair and pulling a pair of sunglasses from God knows where. “Right on it, lady,” he muttered, and stumbled off. I could assume it wouldn’t get done.
Phenac was a particularly ostentatious city. All of the water-blessed portions of Orre were, really, but Phenac especially. “OH LOOK AT US,” screamed the city center, “WE HAVE WATER. IN FACT, WE HAVE SO MUCH WATER THAT WE CAN AFFORD TO LEAK IT ALL OUT INTO A MASSIVE WATERFALL. YAY US.” Pathetic. Overblown. But highly convenient for travelers sneaky enough to avoid getting caught by their police force, which had its own division just for water thieves.
Yeah. Like I said.
Point being, I had a belt full of stolen Pokéballs and six empty canteens inside my cloak. There was work to be done. So I moseyed on over to the nearest Poké Mart. The place was just as gaudy as the fountain—too much money in the cushions, not enough in the stock. Its people appeared equally substanceless (dull auras, vapid gazes, mouths that hung open, a willingness to spend double the market value on a Potion).
“Sir… Are these rocks custom made?”
A man turned and gaped at me, forehead scrunching. I screamed.
“Look! A strange creature of abnormal proportions!” Grabbing his shoulders, I whirled him around to face the opposite direction. “GET IT AWAY. IT’S GOING TO EAT ME.”
As the entire store paused, staring in confusion, I scrabbled around under my cloak in search of a bag of Soft Sand. I pinched some between my fingers, then scattered it. My senses flowed through the grains, reaching for the land. For a moment, the desert seared within me—the heat of the rain-parched plains, the scavenging of the sickly-plump Mandibuzz, the dry wind and the unrelenting sun. Its essence spoke to me in whispers of a rounded, blunt language long forgotten; its people cried out as its oases dried and its creatures withered. The land ached. Help me, it pled.
My mind turned away and fed from its essence, coaxing it forth with words in turn. I only need a little, I said; the land’s language slipped through my thoughts, filling them with faded memories of the ancient days. I can not help. But you will rest soon. Only grant me this boon.
And before me a golem rose, the land’s gift.
People shrieked. Children giggled. I fainted. (Or appeared to, rather.) The golem dripped mud as it raised its blunted limbs and roared. Toothless maw to the sky, it struck at the nearest bystander, bewildered. It had been summoned full of nutrients and water to return health to its mother. The land had given me its best. You really think it would have learned better than to heed a witch’s call.
The sights and sounds of urban chaos shuddered around me. Shelves crashed to the ground; soda cans rolled; mud splattered across the far walls. Someone’s Torkoal lit a human on fire… and belched lazily. I shoved as many nearby items as I could grab into my bag, then strolled to the cash register. A few thwacks with a large rock dispatched it neatly. More shoving was followed by a casual sidle to the doorway. Sneaking a look over my shoulder, I saw the golem was doing its job—a store clerk dangled by his belt buckle, flailing.
The sun was too high in the sky for comfort, and the wind held too many whispers already. The upset the earth had spoken of had been building for too long. Now, it seemed, it was reaching a crescendo. Somewhere, the land was dying.
I turned my senses off with a twist of my mouth.
The police hadn’t bothered to arrive yet (their salary was probably used to polish the town square’s tiling, or something). That left me time to examine the belt of Pokéballs I’d swiped in the bar fight earlier. I plopped down at the edge of a fountain that overlooked our car, wondering vaguely, as I removed my boots, why the hell I’d parked in the middle of town. Then I spent a few seconds staring at smears of unidentifiable brown goop on my hands and wondering why the hell I’d just touched my boots. Rifling through the folds of my cloak, I found the belt… and, lo and behold, discovered that the moron owner had bothered to put locking mechanisms on all but one of his precious Pokéballs.
Tonight was really not my night. First I didn’t get milk, then some sideways compulsion of guilt forced me to take on traveling companions, then I had to drive… and now I couldn’t even steal Pokémon properly. Gah. You’re losing your touch, witch.
…The golem was a nice touch, though.
I gave a half-hearted poke at the unwarded Pokéball. It wobbled, glowed a little… and spat out a furry blue thing with a runny nose.
“Oh, hell. Fuck Arceus and god damn my guardian Chansey.” A parent looked at me with wide eyes and ushered their child over to the other side of the pathway. “What the hell kind of payoff is this? You saddle me with a drunkard—who, by the way, do you see that down there? He just stole a hobo’s liquor bottle—where was I? A drunkard with pyro fingers and a child who obviously has some sort of PTSD, and when you should be apologizing me and begging me to do the right thing and maintain the balance of the earth, blah blah blah, you give me a freaking teddy bear that could maybe give me frost bite, at best. UNIVERSE, YOU HAVE A LOT OF MAKING UP TO DO. DON’T MAKE ME REJECT PANTHEISM. I WOULD MAKE A MISERABLE THEIST. YOU’D NEVER ESCAPE MY PRAYERS.” I pointed dramatically at a pile of dirt.
The bear-thing blinked sadly at me, black eyes watering and widening to pitiful, weepy proportions. I whipped out my Pokédex and pointed at it.
“Cubchoo—” I snapped it shut.
“Gesundheit.” Giving a wary glare at my Pokédex, I reopened it slowly.
“Cubchoo, the Chill Pokémon. Its nose is always running. It sniffs the snot back up because the mucus provides the raw material for its moves. Yes, that’s just as disgusting as it sounds, but no, my disgust of that thought does not even begin to rival my distaste for you.” Its ears flicked. My nose twitched. Yick.
I’d picked the Dex up off a smart-ass trainer a few years back, unaware of the fact that he’d apparently imprinted his personality in it. He must’ve been one of those desperately lonely narcissistic types, or something, who needed a witty banter partner. An electronic witty banter partner. With a Kantonese accent. (He was clearly a weirdo. Dexter is in better hands, now.)
The Cubchoo was just sitting there sniffling, not even remotely disturbed by the fact that I was not its master. Something that awfully trained—not worth owning, usually. But its eyes were just so large and glistening… Insert bad pun about Ice type melting my heart.
Beaten, I placed my hand on its forehead. Its language was gruff, barking with the crack of glaciers in brisk air. Will you serve me? I asked it, reaching for its essence in the freezing of lakes and the frost on window pains.
Yes, came the simple answer of a simple creature.
I smiled softly and pulled away from the Cubchoo, shivering with the chill. Down below, Xavier had managed to fall headfirst into a fountain. Something in me pouted. I’d wanted to push him. Removing one of the locked Pokéballs, I slammed it against the stone walkway for good measure. Breaking the locks could be more trouble than it was worth. Metal had no life to it, and only the vaguest sense of essence—communicating even with Steel Pokémon on a visceral level was nearly impossible without a complex set of runes and incantations. So that meant no witchcraft; only tools. And Pokéballs were meant to withstand the sort of damage only a Pokémon could inflict: thousand degree temperatures, blizzards, bolts of lightning, earthquakes…
I was not going to get in there without some technology savvy.
The police tromped in behind me and were starting to wear the golem down. Xavier looked like he was drowning.
I retrieved my boots and headed down over the tiled archways and staircases to the car, smiling bemusedly. A police man stomped up, hands on his belt and chest puffed up. It looked like Silva and Xavier were in for some trouble. Of course.