"G-G-God d-d-damn it's c-cold," I said freezing my ass off on Mount Oktori. It was unusually cold up here and naturally, I was improperly dressed to be on a mountain.
I had been assigned to the task of escorting an archaeologist or something like that on a trek around here. It was a sudden request and I hadn't had any time to get my coat and such. The only thing keeping me warm right now was my Typhlosion, which was walking right on all fours, beside me to the place where my Trainer was supposed to be. Sadly, I was early, like usual, and had time to kill.
So there I was, walking around with no destination, but staying near the place at the base of the mountain where Khai Scarvender was going to be. Burnage kept stomping along beside me trying to melt as much snow as he could. As a Fire-Type Pokemon, his disgust towards water (solid, liquid, or gas) came with no surprise. His mane of flames roared wildly as his body had to work more than usual to regulate his body temperature. If only I could have done that...
I ended up just laying on Burn's back feeding off of his body heat. I looked up at the sky and saw a shadow of something huge soar across the sky, just above the clouds. It must have been one of the legendary Pokemon, Mt. Oktori has quite a few of those around here. It's a shame that it wasn't visible and I didn't have a camera. Those pictures usually sell for quite a bit.
Burn let out a low growl of sorts, something he only does when someone is nearby. I sat up and straddled the Volcano Pokemon and looked where he was glaring. Was this my trainer?
Name: Khai Scarvender Location: Mt. Oktori Area Effects: Cold. Very, very cold. Snowy too. Did I mention cold? Items: 1 Ice-type Repellent | Poképlayer | 5 Poke-Doll | Uncommon Sigilyph Voice Disk | Uncommon Scraggy Voice Disk | Intermediate Skarmory Voice Disk | Intermediate Riolu Voice Disk | 4 Lava Cookie | 5 Energy Powder | 5 Hyper Balls | 2 Park Balls | 1 Calming Fragrance Plus | 2 Soothing Fragrance Super | Encounters Remaining: 15 Pokemon Encountered: N/A Pokemon Captured: None MCR: N/A
Female | Defeatist | Calm | 100%
EMs: (TM26: Earthquake) (TM50: Substitute) (TM59: Hidden Power [Grass]) (TM64: Protect) (TM78: Sandstorm) (TM95: Taunt) (TM101: Rock Tomb) (TM102: Aerial Ace) (TM125: Rock Polish) (TM126: Stone Edge) (TM140: Hone Claws) (TM144: Smack Down) (TM161: Dragon Tail) (MT Aqua Tail) (MT Iron Defense) (MT Outrage) (MT Roost) (BM Bite) (BM Head Smash) (HM02: Fly) |
Aerodactylus oktoriensis FOSSIL FOUND BY 20 YEAR OLD ARCHAEOLOGIST.
Those words spread a heavy line of black on a piece of newspaper, old and yellowing, which I had just taken out from the inside of my cargo jacket. Underneath the headline was a fading picture of a young man smiling proudly as he leaned on the fossilized remains of an ancient, winged beast, savoring what the article called ‘the most remarkable archeological find of the century’. The man in the photograph might as well have been me: we had the same short, black hair, the same sandy skin and the same green eyes. I was currently dressed like him too, jacket, slacks, gloves and all. And yet he could not have been me, because this man was dead.
That 20 year old archaeologist was my father, Gerald Scarvender. He was famous to anyone who cared about Ancient Pokémopolis; he had written several books about the subject and some others whose contents were equally as dull. He was the victim of a tragic accident, specifically the caving in of the Tanobian Viapois Chamber in the Sevii islands. He had always been quite a fool…
I was left his fortune and his relics, both of which I had no interest in. I was alone with only our mansion’s caretaker to keep me company, as my mother had divorced my father some years previously (Who could blame her?).
But despite all of this, I face myself today a living reflection of my father. I decided to continue his legacy, but not before destroying my father’s prized assortment of bones and antique vases. I regret that now more than anything, but in my defense I had just lost another parent, and no matter how he neglected me, left me all alone in a dusty Driftveil mansion, he was ultimately my father.
I found some notes in a journal he placed inside a drawer, and in it he wrote of his fascinating adventures. A Seviper attack in the Ajawii Jungle… A freak dust-devil in Rhyperior Range… Booby traps in the Lake Temple… But that wasn’t all he had written, for in each entry he would write how much he missed me, how he wanted to take me someday on one of his expeditions (he only feared that I was too young to be exposed to such dangerous conditions), and how he wished he had done things right with mom.
And with that, at the age of eighteen, I set out to recover what I had destroyed of my father’s collection. It would be a herculean effort—some artifacts, like The Tablet of Creation, were one of a kind—but nonetheless I made it my goal to find what my father had when he was roughly my age.
The next thing on the list was the Oktorian Aerodactyl, which was the first big find my father discovered. He was only twenty then, and I wondered if he and mom already knew each other. I shook off the thought, replaced the cut-out in a pocket, and shoved the snow off my shoulders. I looked up, and a giant of a mountain greeted me ominously.
I was in Mount Oktori, the place my father had once visited years ago. It was still as forbidding as my father’s notes described it: rocky terrain and unforgiving winds that cut like an icy blade. It was a good thing I had an extra layer of clothes on; otherwise things would have been unpleasant.
I’m going to find it for you,Dad, I thought, absentmindedly clutching the yellow Luck Amulet which I wore around my neck.
I came to my senses and summoned my Infernape from his Ultra Ball. Right before me a tall primate Pokémon materialized. Volkran, as I’ve named him, was the Torch of a pack of Snow Infernapes I encountered during my last visit to the mountain regions of Johto. A billowing streak of flame erupted from his head, as he pounded his chest with his furry knuckles. Being a Snow Infernape, Volkran had a thicker volume of fur than the average Infernape, so that he could readily adapt to harsh environments.
“Infer-nape,” Volkran announced as he turned to me, the great battle scar which diagonally spanned his chest still distinct.
“Yes, soon,” I told him, and without any desire to stand around in the icy wind we began to walk.
I was to meet the Ranger known as Halas Mordecai.
We trudged on a path covered with slush on the mountain’s foot, but it wasn’t long until I saw a warm glow beside the figure of a person. Volkran’s flame illuminated my surroundings to some extent, but the falling snow was becoming more condensed. At last, I saw the Ranger with his Typhlosion, extended a gloved hand and said,
“I’m Khai Scarvender, and you have a really cool last name.”
In the distance, I could just make out a small light coming closer and closer. I squinted my eyes trying to see who it was holding up the light. Not once did it occur to me that my trainer had brought along a Fire-Type Pokemon until I saw a large ape coming through to my line of sight. A great flame blazed on the top of its head and a man walked out along side of it. He was smart and was wearing more clothes than I, but hey. I have a Typhlosion right next to me, what more do I need?
“I’m Khai Scarvender, and you have a really cool last name.” The trainer said extending his arm. He had black hair, green eyes, and skin that appeared to be that he was always tan. I quickly noticed a necklace around his throat, but took no interest in it. Probably just a family treasure...
"Halas, and thanks. I don't really get that complement too often," I replied while shaking his hand with my own. I looked at his Pokemon. An Infernape with the flames as bright as two. Thick fur covered it too, I had befriended an Infernape before, but it was nothing like this one.
Burn let out a quick puff of smoke from his nose while heaving a loud sigh. For some reason, I hadn't noticed the temperature drop. It was probably due to the fact that there were two Fire-Type Pokemon in a small space surrounding me.
"Shall we begin?" I asked Khai.
When he nodded his head, I motioned for him to follow me towards the great mountain ahead of us. We made it to a commonly used path for Pokemon and Rangers alike used to reach the summit of the mountain, I knew there would be an abundance of interesting Pokemon around here, but the hard part would be getting up to them. Even Burn had to stand on his hind legs and walk forwards due to the lack of room for walking on all fours.
These trails were pretty small and tough to navigate, but even with the threat of falling and limited visibility, Khai and I made it up the first serious slope which led to the peak. Many Pokemon had traveled here even since this new layer of snow. I could see countless amounts of footprints imprinted into the pure, white snow.
Out of the blue, the snow came down faster and I could barely see Khai standing right beside me. I had to think of something quick to allow us to continue the journey ahead. "Burn, use a weak Flamethrower to try to light up around here."
Being my first Pokemon, naturally he obliged. A stream of fire shot out of his mouth about three yards or so out. It was just enough to give us a better view of the area. We had found ourselves on an open space about the size of a gymnasium. With nothing but snow around, I thought it was a dead end, but suddenly I heard the deep voice of something not too happy.
A large, red Pokemon with a white robe and black belt appeared to walk out of the side of the mountain. My Typhlosion stopped his flames immediately, knowing that this was Khai's Pokemon to battle, and the area became slightly harder to see.
"Thro-Throh!" It yelled at us, clearly angry for us interrupting it and its business.
"Khai, want to battle that Throh?" I asked the Trainer.
Name: Khai Scarvender Location: Mt. Oktori Area Effects: Heavy snow falling from the sky. Limited visability. Items: 1 Ice-type Repellent | Poképlayer | 5 Poke-Doll | Uncommon Sigilyph Voice Disk | Uncommon Scraggy Voice Disk | Intermediate Skarmory Voice Disk | Intermediate Riolu Voice Disk | 4 Lava Cookie | 5 Energy Powder | 5 Hyper Balls | 2 Park Balls | 1 Calming Fragrance Plus | 2 Soothing Fragrance Super | Encounters Remaining: 14 Pokemon Encountered: ??? Throh ??? Pokemon Captured: 4,472/25,000 MCR:
Female | Defeatist | Calm | 100%
EMs: (TM26: Earthquake) (TM50: Substitute) (TM59: Hidden Power [Grass]) (TM64: Protect) (TM78: Sandstorm) (TM95: Taunt) (TM101: Rock Tomb) (TM102: Aerial Ace) (TM125: Rock Polish) (TM126: Stone Edge) (TM140: Hone Claws) (TM144: Smack Down) (TM161: Dragon Tail) (MT Aqua Tail) (MT Iron Defense) (MT Outrage) (MT Roost) (BM Bite) (BM Head Smash) (HM02: Fly) |
Halas shook my hand as the clouds peppered us with snow. His Typhlosion, sable-furred and mane ablaze, caught Volkran’s eye, to which the Infernape responded with a nod and a scratch at his scar. As the two Fire Pokémon acknowledged each other’s presence, Ranger Mordecai briefed me on elementary climbing safety, though having previously climbed similarly harsh peaks they were hardly necessary; of course, common courtesy demanded I make no mention of this to Halas.
“…and if you’ve got some Repellent with you, now would be the time to use it,” Halas said, as the snow continued to fall.
After a moment’s worth of fussing over some Ice-type Repellent the Ranger asked me if I was ready to begin our excursion. I replied with a nod, and just as quick as the fall of temperature we soon found ourselves on a mountain path to Oktori’s summit. The Typhlosion called Burn assumed an erect stance, adapting to the path’s lack of space. Volkran walked close behind me.
As we walked snow fell heavily, so that we could not see anything beyond fifteen feet of our position. Despite this, our foursome made it safely up a tricky slope. By this time, our path had been covered in a blanket of white slush, patterned in all directions with various footprints.
Without much warning, the snow rained on us so heavily and so suddenly that I could not have been sure where my Ranger had gone to if it weren’t for a streak of orange that could only be Burn’s mane. I heard Halas’s voice and saw fire stream out from the Typhlosion’s direction. The Flamethrower issuing from the Ranger’s Fire Pokémon illuminated the area just enough to see that we had come to a wide clearing, the snow creeping over the earth everywhere you looked.
Before I could ask Volkran to use his flame like Burn was doing as to give us even better vision of the environment, a deep, angry voice which did not belong to any of us four called out.
Red-skinned and clothed with some kind of crude fabric, the Throh yelled again. Perhaps this clearing was its domain, and that it saw us as unwanted intruders?
Halas asked me if I wished to battle the Fighting-type, but seeing as Throh wasn’t exactly the reason I was here in the first place, I declined the offer. Immediately I rummaged through my backpack, looking for my choice method of escape. As soon as I felt something soft, I took out my hand and produced a green stuffed doll which looked like a baby Rhydon, except that it wasn’t made out of cold rock. I also took out a Poképlayer in which I had inserted a Riolu Voice Disk much earlier.
I gave the player to the Infernape for him to hold and thinking aloud, I said to Halas, “Throh look so much like the clay figurines people in Ancient Pokégyptia used to make… They would always leave out an eye or a limb though—they feared the sculptures would become real if they looked too lifelike. I think it’s best if I left this one alone, it doesn’t look like it wants to be disturbed anyway.”
Intent on escaping the Judo Pokémon, I threw the Poké doll towards where the Throh’s voice had come from. Snow was falling even thicker now, so I had Volkran raise his flames, so that he looked like a great, fuzzy torch. Volkran passed me the Poképlayer.
I couldn’t be sure if the Fighting Pokémon would take the bait, but as soon as it did, I thought, I’d turn the Poképlayer on and get out of his way.
Zorayda watched the other Ranger and his Trainer as she stood atop the mountain with her Ninetales, shivering in her boots and jacket. She wasn't too used to the icy weather of the mountaintop, but Viola's warm fur and body kept her from freezing too badly. The fox in question swished her tails lazily, feeling at ease in the icy weather. She naturally kept warm with the fire that burned inside her own body. The Trainer--Khai, from what she'd read of his profile--was quite prepared for his Park run, it seemed. He threw out a little Rhydon doll and the huge Throh that was threatening them was distracted by the lifelike doll. It turned to look at the thing, giving the humans and their Pokemon time to get away. Zor followed the pair, the path enlightened through the blizzard by an Infernape's fiery blaze atop its head. She finally caught up with them, the cold air making her lungs feel tighter than usual.
"Halas," she started, getting the Ranger's attention. "You're needed elsewhere. Sorry to interrupt your run," she apologized, grimacing. The other Ranger looked surprised, but nodded and left them, taking his trusty Typhlosion along. She could see Halas's Pokemon's mane burning as a bright orange speck for about fifty feet until they both disappeared in the snow. Zor turned to Khai, pushing up the band of her earmuffs.
"I'm very sorry about that," Zorayda apologized, shaking her head. "I'm to take over for Halas and take you through the mountain. My name is Zorayda. This is Viola," she introduced, sticking out a mittened hand and gesturing down to the cream-furred fox. "You still have quite a ways to go into the mountain. Don't worry, though; I'll take you through them safely," the blonde promised, smiling warmly. Viola's scrutinized Khai and his intimidating Infernape, which seemed to have a ruff of fur a bit thicker than normal. It must have lived in icier temperatures, where the extra fur was needed for warmth.
"Well. Shall we continue where Halas left off? You look like you're prepared for everything," she noted, taking the recorded disc in Volkran's hands into account. The Trainer certainly knew what he wanted and how he wanted to go about doing it.
@TheProtobabe; Sorry this took a week, I guess I just wasn't inspired until today (though to be honest, this isn't my best post either...) Trying to get back into roleplaying, so yeah. Oh and thanks again for claiming this run :D
Thank Ra the Poké doll had distracted the Judo Pokémon so that our group of four managed to escape it. I said a silent word of thanks in Pokégyptian, brushed the Amulet around my neck with my fingers, and then continued to walk up the snowy path.
Volkran continued providing some light and warmth as we walked against the blizzard. I turned to the Snow Infernape to thank him, but Volkran seemed distracted.
“What’s the matter?” I asked the primate, and then saw that my Ranger’s Typhlosion seemed equally drawn away by something neither of us humans could sense.
“Burn thinks something’s following us,” said the Ranger, and Volkran seemed to agree.
We stopped walking and listened. I half-expected a Pokémon to come out from the blizzard. Maybe it was lost and cold, and was attracted to my Infernape’s flame?
We didn’t have to wait long before our pursuer chose to come out. It was definitely not a Pokémon, and it was definitely not an ‘it’ either, but a she—for a blonde, female Ranger had emerged from the chaotic snowstorm. Accompanying this new Ranger was an elegant-looking Ninetales.
“Halas, you’re needed elsewhere.” said the blonde Ranger. “Sorry to interrupt your run.”
Ranger Mordecai understood and left with his Typhlosion. The pair vanished from sight as the new Ranger turned to address me, apologizing for the sudden change of events.
“I’m to take over for Halas and take you through the Mountain,” she said. “My name is Zorayda.”
“Khai Scarvender,” I responded.
Zorayda introduced her Ninetails partner, which she had named Viola, and then assured me I was in safe hands (not that I doubted the Ranger for a second anyway). I noticed that Volkran and Viola were exchanging rather cold looks, so I nudged the Infernape and told him to stop being rude.
“Sorry, Volkran’s just a bit grumpy today…”
When everything was set and done (I made sure to press the Poképlayer, so that echoes of “Ri-Riolu!” followed us as we walked), our group set off once more, traveling further up the mountain path and into the wild blizzards of Oktori.
Zorayda's eyes dropped to Khai's hand as he touched a trinket he wore around his neck--an amulet on a chain--as he introduced himself. It seemed to be a nervous habit of his. Perhaps it had some sort of significant value to him? Looking back at the Trainer's face, she smiled reassuringly and adjusted her jacket. Khai seemed polite enough; she didn't foresee any future problems with the Trainer. Maybe he'd even take her advice when she gave it, unlike many she'd taken through the Park before... the memory almost made her roll her eyes in exasperation.
"Mm, it's nice to meet you, Khai," she responded, giving him a quick wink. She turned towards their two Pokemon when Khai mentioned them, and indeed, his Infernape seemed to regard Viola with a bit of a cold shoulder. The fox seemed indifferent towards this behavior, though, and it didn't look like it dampened her mood at all. She gave Volkran a foxy grin as if agreeing with his Trainer and perhaps taunting him a bit. Zor hid a sudden grin, trying not to laugh; the Ninetales was always a bit mischievous.
They moved on, weaving around the mountain and shielding their faces from the harsh, icy winds. Viola and Volkran seemed to lead their Trainers through the snow as they went, unmoved by the freezing temperatures. The echoes of the voice recorder sounded off, but the noise it made was snatched away by the wind and it didn't seem to attract any of the prized Riolu that Khai seemed to be set on catching. Eventually Zorayda led them to a sort of pass in the mountain, where two jutting rocks surrounded them on either side and temporarily blocked the wind. Zor breathed a sigh of relief and loosened her scarf. Now the voice disc was really audible, and made Riolu cries echo through the rocks. Viola flattened her ears at the sound; it was meant to be a distress call, and so it bothered her to hear such a recording. The Ranger and Trainer held their breaths and waited to see what it would attract...
Apparently, it attracted everything--including Pokemon that weren't exactly the type Khai'd been looking for.
A noise from behind them made all of them turn, Viola's ears perking back up again. A short, blue Pokemon was clambering up to see what the commotion was, apparently curious--only to come across humans with their Pokemon. The vaguely humanoid Pokemon let out a shriek and pounded its chest in a challenging gesture, ready to get down with whoever dared to trick it into coming close to them.
"Ahh. Machop," Zor said automatically, always wanting to identify each Pokemon aloud for her Trainers. "A very tough Pokemon to have in your party. Would you care to catch it?" She asked Khai, standing a bit to the side.
@TheProtobabe; I'll attempt an escape, if it doesn't work I'll use a Poké doll. Pressing the Player too.
"Chop-Machop!" cried the Superpower Pokémon as it pounded its gray chest, reminiscent of territorial Primeape behavior.
Volkran, being the arrogant Pokémon he was, pounded his scarred chest in return, and I could have sworn I saw my Ranger’s Ninetails shake its head.
The crested Fighting-type instantly brought back memories of my trip to the Pyramid Wastes some months ago, where a team of these Pokémon helped in building our campsite. Despite their size, they are really strong Pokémon, but Machop, unfortunately, was not the object of my quest.
Zorayda then asked me if I wanted to catch it, but seeing as I did not want to waste my Park Balls on the Machop, I declined. They are fairly common Pokémon, too, so I reckoned I would be able to encounter another one outside the National Park.
“I think we should move along,” I told my Ranger, “hopefully the Machop won’t pursue us, but if it does I’ll give a Poké Doll a try and use the Poképlayer again.”
The Ranger giggled at Volkran's display of male strength, the fit only getting louder when Viola seemed to disapprove of the ape's macho-ness. The Machop only puffed up further in indignation, willing to compete in a battle of show. Zor walked close to Volkran and gently touched his shoulder as if to tell him to stand back. She was sure the Infernape was intelligent enough to understand that she wanted to handle this professionally... by doing the same thing. Almost.
"Watch this," Zor muttered to Khai, and stood up tall to face the Machop directly. She called out in a similar sound to its cry and pounded her own chest, staring it in the eyes. The Pokemon lowered its fists slightly, confused as to how a human was using familiar body language. It calmed down significantly as the two had a stare-down, which Zor won when the Machop finally looked away in defeat. The little blue Pokemon scampered off to go throw Geodudes elsewhere. Sighing, Zor dropped her pose. That trick worked on certain Pokemon; you simply had to have the right kind of nerve to face them and they respected you... most of the time. The Ranger turned around, pulling her jacket tighter around her shoulders.
"Ri-Riolu!" The voice disc cried. The repetitive noise was slightly annoying, but necessary. Khai wanted to catch that Pokemon fairly badly, it seemed. "Ri-Riolu! Riolu!"
The Ranger cricked her neck and got ready to move on.
"...Olu?" She froze when she locked eyes with the fighting type Pokemon that had appeared in curiosity right behind them when their backs were turned. Apparently it had come to investigate its species' cry, wondering if one of its own kind was distressed...
"Um, Khai..." Zor smiled, pointing. "I think we found what you wanted."
@TheProtobabe; Male Riolu, please. Also, I know this post has little sense to it at the moment, but I promise Khai’s story develops in my subsequent posts…hopefully xD
It turned out that I didn’t have to resort to using another Poké-Doll to escape from the Machop, because my Ranger had it all under control, even if she did handle the situation in a very, shall I say, unique manner. Upon seeing how my Snow Infernape was trying to scare off the Machop by pounding his chest, Zorayda walked up to Volkran and placed a hand on his shoulder. I saw a look of disapproval form on the Infernape’s red face: Volkran never really liked it when someone touched his fur; he had made that point very clear when I first battled him long ago. I was going to tell the Ranger about my Infernape’s issues on personal space, but she seemed intent on scaring off the Machop herself. Then the blonde Ranger went to face the muscular, blue-bodied Pokémon.
“Machop! Machop!” called out the Ranger, gazing at the Fighting-type with full conviction in what she was doing.
She started pounding her chest, too, and at that point the Machop had lowered its guard. The Superpower Pokémon was clearly taken aback by Zorayda’s unexpected behavior, and I began to wonder if she had learned all this in Ranger School (Or, come to think of it, was there even a school for Rangers?). For some minutes nothing happened, and it even seemed that Zorayda and the wild Fighting-type would be staring at each other for all eternity. Volkran yawned impatiently, probably thinking he could have scared the Machop better himself.
Fortunately, the Machop backed down and retreated. It was probably off to tell the other Machop about its strange encounter with humans today. Zorayda sighed as she regained her posture.
“That sure was something,” I said to my Ranger as I pressed the play button on my Poképlayer.
Zorayda gave me a smile, as resounding cries of Riolu filled the air around us once again. Most people cross their fingers when they’re hopeful or anxious, but I find myself touching my luck Amulet in those cases, and my Ranger seemed to notice.
“That’s a nice looking talisman you have,” said Zorayda.
“Oh-Thanks,” I said, dropping my hold of the amulet. “It was my father’s; he was a famous archeologist you see. He wore this to all of his expeditions… Left it to me in his will among other things…”
In spite of the incessant wails of Ri-riolu! emanating from the Poképlayer, I found myself lost in thought. The death of my father had always been a tough subject for me.
It was a good thing that I came back to my senses when a familiar touch fell on my shoulder. Volkran understood me well.
“Nape,” said the Fire-type tonelessly, comforting me.
My Ranger looked genuinely sympathetic, too, so I managed a smile and told her I was really okay, though in all honesty I wasn’t too sure about that.
“Shall we move on?” I asked, as the Voice Disc droned on.
Ranger Zorayda nodded as her Ninetales got up to follow, but then something broke the monotonous cries that were coming from the Poképlayer.
The cry was not mechanical. It did not issue from the device I was holding, and in that instant I knew it had to come from a real Riolu—safe to say that I wasn’t disappointed.
“Um, Khai, I think we found what you wanted,” said my Ranger, smiling.
The lupine Fighting-type seemingly emerged out of nowhere, poised and standing on its dark toes as if ready to help the false cries the Poképlayer emitted. Standing at a height of just over two feet, the blue and black-bodied Fighting-type Pokémon had a mysterious air about it; with its red eyes and canine-like features, the Riolu barked again.
I wondered if their evolved form would have fallen for the same trick, such Pokémon being prodigies in Auracraft and all. I reckon Lucario would have sensed the cries weren’t real, so I’m grateful that this Riolu fell for it—this tells me that this particular Riolu hasn’t mastered its ability to sense Aura, though I’m not going to let this theory get my guard down.
With some quick thinking I decided to use Quetzal, my Xatu, to battle the wild Pokémon. Judging by type alone, Quetzal had a tremendous advantage against a Fighting-type such as Riolu, but I’m not one to dismiss a battle by solely looking at type advantages. Still though, I know my Xatu’s strengths and trust him enough to handle the situation.
“Prepare yourself, Riolu!” I announced as I produced a small, yellow ball with a red V on its cap from one of my pockets.
I clicked the Level Ball so that it enlarged to full size, and was on the verge of calling out my Xatu when the Riolu looked into my eyes directly, the red pair piercing my own set of green eyes, and at that precise moment everything became a chaotic whirlpool of color and shadow.
It seemed like an eternity had passed before any conscious thought began flowing back into my head, but if one thing was certain, it was that I had left the National Park. Gone is the mountainous terrain that was Mt. Oktori, for everywhere I look there stretched a sea of golden sand. Perhaps I was dreaming… If I was, then this would probably be the most vivid dream I’ve ever had. Volkran had also vanished, and Zorayda and her Ninetales were nowhere to be seen.
My solitude would not continue, however, for a figure erupted from the sand before me. Blinding light radiated from the figure, so I had to avert my gaze and shield my eyes, preventing me from seeing whatever it was. Then the figure spoke.
Qh’ai sekhmar amet end’ri.
The light had gone, and I knew that the figure had also passed. I did my best to remember the words—somehow, I knew they were important. After repeating the phrase a couple of times, I realized that it was Ancient Pokégyptian—the sand figure had spoken and told me, “Do not forget your goal.” What’s stranger is that I knew I’ve heard that voice before.
* * * * *
Feeling flooded my being a second after I deciphered the sand figure’s message; I opened my eyes to see myself back with my Infernape and Ranger in Mt. Oktori, as if no time had passed at all. My free hand somehow found its way holding my Luck Amulet. With the words firmly stored at the back of my mind, I let go of the chained talisman and threw Quetzal’s Level Ball.
A great, green plumed bird Pokémon materialized in front of us. White-winged and exotic, Quetzal fixed the Riolu a stare of equal or even greater mystique. Two slender, red feathers erupted from the back of its spherical head, and was adorned with yellow and red markings.
I remember the day I encountered the Tiny Bird Pokémon very clearly (he was still a Natu then), not only because Quetzal was the first wild Pokémon I caught, but also due to the disaster that would have otherwise befallen me had Quetzal not saved me.
It was during my first expedition, where I ventured deep into the lush tangles of the Ajawii in the Orange Islands. I came there in order to investigate the nearby city of Dunspoctli, where everyone had been suffering from severe migraines and nausea. The village huntsmen escorted me to an ancient ziggurat in the middle of the jungle, where they claimed a winged demon roosted. They believed this demon to be the cause of their illnesses, so I was greatly surprised when the ‘winged demon’ turned out to be a mere Natu. The Tiny Bird sat on the peak of the ziggurat so that it looked like a green cherry on top of a dusty sundae. The huntsmen clearly did not share my enthusiasm for the sight, so they refused to go anywhere near the Psychic Pokémon. Thusly, I ventured alone (though I had an Archen, my starter Pokémon, in my bag) and explored the ziggurat, with the Natu following close behind me. My father, Gerald Scarvender, had also been to Ajawii in search of the Mindstone—and this is what I believe was causing the villagers head sickness. My father never found the artifact, but I did. And it was disastrous, to say the least.
After hours of exploring the ziggurat (thirty minutes in I realized the path lead to a subterranean tunnel) I finally reached the end, each step I took I could feel the stone’s power. In the middle of the last chamber there formed a mineralized crown of stalagmites, at the center of which a coconut-sized amethyst floated ominously. Curiosity got the best of me (and the intense headache I was now coming down with) and just like my father would have done, I recklessly took the Mindstone.
That was the first time I felt like a Rattata that had just taken cheese off a mousetrap. Several things happened in quick succession—the ground shook wildly, causing the path I used to enter the chamber to cave in, as rocks fell from the temple ceiling; the Mindstone shone and crumbled into dust, as one block after another crashed onto the floor. I was dead. Like my father, I was to be the victim of a temple cave-in. Would my death be as well-publicized as my father’s? Surely not—I wasn’t nearly a successful archaeologist as him. Just as all hope seemed to be lost, though, the Natu pecked my leg (I had almost forgotten it was following me), leapt onto my head, and Teleported me out of the chamber and back into the village. I had to explain the whole thing to the denizens of Dunspoctli, and soon enough they realized the Natu was not, in fact, a demon. They were convinced since everyone started feeling better. And so I left Ajawii, and some years later, here I am, in Mt. Oktori facing a Riolu—Quetzal now the mystical Xatu that stood dauntlessly before me.
“All right, Quetzal, we’re going to try and weaken down this Riolu before I catch it, understand?”
The Xatu hummed an almost inaudible response. Like most Xatu, Quetzal didn’t really talk much—or move for that matter, except when he executes attacks he would raise and flap his wings in a variety of movements as though spelling out words in semaphore.
Just as expected, the Psychic type raised his wide-spanning wings, as a faint, purplish aura began coating him. That was Synchronize, Quetzal’s ability that reflected most status inflicting moves—useful if the Riolu tries anything tricky.
“Quetzal, use Future Sight!” I said, commanding the Xatu. It is believed that these Pokémon move so still because of the horrors they see in the future, but right now I’m just relying on Xatu to perform the attack. “Follow it with a Hidden Power, too!”
Again the Mystic Pokémon raised his wings, getting ready to perform the attacks I’ve ordered him to do. I held my breath in anticipation.
I stared at the Riolu and noticed it was assuming some sort of battle stance. When I think about it, Riolu looked so wolflike, Anubian even…
Qh’ai sekhmar amet end’ri.
Do not forget your goal, Khai.
I must not get distracted from my goal any longer. I have to catch this Riolu. I must, if I’m going to bring my father back.
Zor quickly took her hand off of Volkran when he growled a little at her. Viola did not think this was okay and growled right back at the Infernape warningly. The primate could be quite intimidating when he wanted to be... but Zor's actions drove the Machop away successfully, so it didn't really matter much in the end. But the Ninetales' attitude was a bit colder towards Khai's Pokemon now. She sniffed and flicked her tails at him in a very displeased manner.
“That sure was something,” Khai commented. The blonde-and-purple-haired woman turned and gave him a lopsided grin, her eyes landing upon the necklace that he was currently playing with again. Curiosity finally got the better of her and she said something about it to hopefully prompt him to inform her about it.
“That’s a nice looking talisman you have,” she complimented. He quickly dropped the amulet, looking momentarily stunned at the comment and then thoughtful. He lowered his gaze somewhat and his voice took on a quieter tone.
“Oh-Thanks. It was my father’s; he was a famous archaeologist you see. He wore this to all of his expeditions… Left it to me in his will among other things…”
Zor immediately cringed a bit when he mentioned his father's will... damn her and her big mouth, asking about something that obviously bothered him. She apologized, not really knowing what else to say; Zorayda was terrible at comforting people, so often she didn't really say very much in these circumstances. Instead, something came up that changed the subject, leaving her very much relieved (and then guilty for feeling so) at not having to try and say more to comfort Khai. Knowing her, she'd just make it worse. But now, a Pokemon had finally answered the calls on the disc--a Riolu, exactly what he was looking for! Perhaps that would make her Trainer happy. She always loved it when the fickle things worked for her Trainers--she believed that every Pokemon Trainer deserved to have the types of 'mons they loved.
The Ranger noticed that Khai had suddenly taken on a distant look in his expression--had he zoned out, or frozen up at seeing the Pokemon he wanted? Why wasn't he moving...? But the dreamy look disappeared in a few seconds, and the Trainer looked as if he was now thinking of which Pokemon to use in battle against the wild Riolu. The wild Pokemon lowered its head, looking up from two crimson eyes to size up the Trainer. It didn't move a muscle, instead waiting for Khai's move, as if testing the Trainer's actions. The wind blew its dark fur and black ears--it really did look quite majestic for such a small Pokemon, especially an unevolved one. The glimmer of challenge and intelligence in the Riolu's eyes made Zorayda think that it heard the cries over the recorder, recognized it as being a trick, and came to meet the humans anyway, eager for a challenge. She would have believed it of this wild Pokemon, so intense was the short silence between it and Khai.
When Khai threw out his Xatu for battle, the Riolu made no move but to calmly widen his stance and focus his gaze, paws up in a prepared pose that allowed for easy attack, defense or parry. After the Trainer came out of his momentary trance, the lupine Pokemon closed its eyes and did a series of quick, focused stretches in a strange and graceful dance. Its large feet went from heel to toe then switched feet in a choreographed sequence. Then the odd dance stopped and the Riolu looked sharper, looser and more able-bodied. As the Xatu's eyes gleamed with the attack it predicted in the near future, the Riolu swept in quickly, surprisingly silent and skilled. The strength of the attack came from the bipedal Pokemon's momentum rather than sheer force--a smart fighter. The energy of its movement went from feet, midsection, shoulder, and then to its suddenly outstretched arm and flattened palm, striking the Xatu with perfect accuracy. Quetzal was stunned by the blow and staggered back, though it didn't affect him as harshly as a normally-damaging attack type. The totem-bird was startled, and hesitated badly with its Hidden Power. However, the pulse of energy landed, making the Riolu push backwards on a weak, invisible wind of Psychic current. Its left paw went to the ground, right arm tucked into its body and stance widened to prevent falling as it skidded backwards, eyes narrowing upon its target. Still it remained silent, putting forth a serious effort and taking no nonsense from its oppenent.
If one thing was certain, it was that this Fighting-type beheld great power despite its size. Perhaps I was too quick to judge this Riolu as a novice. With its motions as fluid as river water, it performed an Agility with impressive nimbleness. So graceful was its footwork that it reminded me of a ritual dance I had witnessed months ago, in the Pyramid Wastes…
There was a flash of bright light and I had phased out of reality once again, completely having no choice in the matter. The last thing I saw was Quetzal, getting ready to unleash his would-be super effective Hidden Power, and the wild Riolu charging at the totem bird with some attack. Without any other option I gave into the invisible power that was carrying me into the world of the unreal.
* * *
Formless as Gastly, I hovered in space without feeling. It was a very odd state to be in, floating around as though you were nothing but air, so it took me a few seconds to realize where I was—I have somehow found my way to the place I’ve been thinking of just moments before I lapsed out. I was in the vast, barren expanse known as the Pyramid Wastes in Sinnoh. It was only then, too, that I realized that this was also where the shining figure spoke to me the first time I blanked out… Are these dreams—if that’s what they are—connected? What was happening to me, I wondered, although something in my currently nonexistent gut told me that I’d soon find out the answer.
I began travelling; flying perhaps, crossing the sun-burnt desert until I reached what first appeared to be a settlement of some sort: some people dressed in linen were digging something up, as Machop and Machoke busied themselves either by setting up tents or carrying slabs of stone here and there. Upon closer investigation, however, I have figured it was a camp site—in fact, it was the same excavation site that I was part of back in August… Maybe this dream wasn’t entirely unreal after all.
I must be reliving a memory in this daydream, or else have travelled back to the past, because I was now watching myself trying to decipher a papyrus scroll inside one of the tents. Strangely, I recall very little of this from ever happening. I find myself forgetting an awful lot recently…
Then, out of nowhere, one of the local volunteers attacked my unaware self from behind, rendered me unresisting with a Sleep Powder attack from the assailant’s Tangela, and dragged me away from camp. With my fellow researchers busy unearthing various artifacts, it seemed that no one noticed my being abducted. I tried following my abductor, but before I could come close, the scene dissolved into blackness as though a great tide of ink submerged the environment.
Before I knew it, I found myself watching a group of hooded men performing a ritual dance, all clad in black clothing and wearing golden hoops or otherwise carrying curved, wooden staffs emblazoned with symbols. Around them, torches hung from dusty walls, and judging from the hieroglyphs, this place was the crypt chamber of a pyramid. One more hooded figure entered the chamber, and this was none other than my captor. Then I saw myself, now conscious, but fully bound by the Tangela’s Constrict. The other men ceased the ritual dance upon my arrival, and memory of these events suddenly came back to me like a gush of unleashed thought.
“This is him,” spoke my captor, talking to what looked to be the oldest of the group.
“Good,” replied the man with a voice as cold as Ice Beam, “release Mr. Scarvender, he looks uncomfortable. I wouldn’t worry about him escaping; I doubt he would want to leave when we can tell him his father’s biggest secret, or perhaps ‘lie’ would be a better word for it…”
In that instant I remember feeling a stab of pain in my chest, as if my Luck Amulet burned at the aged man’s words. The blue vines of the Tangela that held me immobile eased up on its trainer’s command. I watched myself get up to my feet, as the old man removed his hood.
Gnarled and bald, the old man pierced me with his crimson eyes and shot me a devious smirk. Silence hung in the humid chamber air, one which I eventually broke:
“You say you knew my father.”
It was, more than anything, a dare, as anger unnatural of me laced each syllable, and the old man caught on to this.
“I know who you are too, Khai Scarvender,” he said, grinning as he spoke. “We have waited for you.”
“Who are you people?” I asked, fury rising from within me; I clutched on my Amulet to keep myself controlled.
“We? You can say we are your father’s associates, or at least, we were until his unfortunate death… Such a shame…”
My grip on the Amulet tightened. “Answer me!”
“My, this isn’t very typical of you is it? I was informed you would have been quite timid—Very well, Mr. Scarvender, allow me to introduce ourselves. We are the Cult of Luca’r…”
I didn’t do a very good job at hiding my surprise when he said that. The Cult of Luca’r was supposed to be a group of necromancers in ancient Pokégyptia, thought to have long since disbanded over hundreds of years ago.
“…and I am the Archmagus, Zeshkir.”
“What do you want with me?” I said, still furious but guilty of curiosity.
“On the contrary, Mr. Scarvender,” said the Archmagus, voice still cold and forbidding, “it is you who will want something from us.”
The torchfire caught my eye, as if the flames knew my rage. “I have no business with you people.”
The hooded man who was my captor nearly ordered his Tangela to restrain me when I attempted to leave, but Zeshkir waved him off.
The Archmagus’s tone shifted to being stern. “Certainly, but I assure you, your father has everything to do with our Cult… He was, after all, one of us.”
I saw myself stop and turn back, to the Archmagus’s delight.
“He can’t have been,” I spoke, when speech came back to me.
“What makes you so sure, Khai?” jeered Zeshkir, each word he let out felt like daggers of ice stabbing my chest. “There’s a real reason Gerald’s wife left him, and why he’s always been so lucky with finding Pokégyptian artifacts…”
I said nothing, so continued the Archmagus’s speech. “I take it that you know what our Cult is all about, then? I must tell you now, however, that all of it is real…”
Words failed me again, but soon found strength to ask, “You can raise the dead?”
“There are…costs to be paid, and requirements to be met,” said the Archmagus, grinning, “but in essence, by Luca’r, yes.”
And there ended the dream, one by one the torches went out and the crypt chamber melted into shadow, as strange phrases in the Archmagus’s cold voice filled the darkness…
You will need four… They open the Way… Four of Luca'r’s envoys…
* * *
The mountain air filled my lungs and I knew I was back in Oktori. Quetzal had been hit by the wild Riolu’s Force Palm, but at least the Xatu was able to retaliate with Hidden Power.
I turned to look back at Zorayda, who looked concerned; I tried to smile but failed. No longer hesitant to ask, I spoke:
“I had six Pokémon with me before entering the Park, I would have deposited the other three back at the entrance. Is there a way for me to check which Pokémon I’ve left there?”
The Ranger was taken aback by my rushed tone, and now she looked more concerned for me.
“Uh, yes, there is—I can log on to the Ranger Database and check your records with my Styler. Are you all right though, Khai?”
I nodded without really thinking about it.
“Here,” said Zorayda, presenting me the device, “looks like you left… three Riolu.”
There was a hint of suspicion in her tone, but I had no time to explain.
“Thank you,” I said to her, my heart pumping quite fast.
I turned to focus on my battle with the wild Riolu. It gave me another piercing stare.
“We have to do s-something about its speed, Quetzal,” I addressed my Xatu, my voice quavering a bit. “Thunderwave it.”
As I waited for the Xatu and the Riolu to do battle, I found myself, yet again, clutching my Amulet involuntarily.
[What, I haven't posted in a month, you say? Preposterous, ridiculous lies! How could you say such things.]
When Khai went through another one of his absent-minded trances, Zor began to wonder if the young man was just a bit daft, or perhaps always had his head up in the clouds... But then his body began to sway oddly, like he wasn't quite all there. The Ranger cried out in alarm as Khau sways a bit too far, nearly toppling over. But nothing, not even shouting his name or the harsh grip on his arm, was bringing him back to his senses. The two fighting Pokemon even paused momentarily in their battle as Khai had hit... strange fit. Suddenly he snapped to again, as if nothing had happened... though the young man made a strangely urgent request to know what Pokemon he'd left in his PC.
“I had six Pokémon with me before entering the Park, I would have deposited the other three back at the entrance. Is there a way for me to check which Pokémon I’ve left there?” His voice was rushed, not entirely frantic, but simply eager. It was very odd... Zor nodded dumbly before pulling out her Styler, a device the Rangers used in the park to keep track of Pokemon numbers, trainer data, and many other useful things.
"Uh, yes, there is—I can log on to the Ranger Database and check your records with my Styler. Are you all right though, Khai?” Zor found herself asking, her brows knitting with worry for the trainer. He simply waved her off and nodded as if his health was unimportant. Shrugging, though the concern tugged at her mind, the Ranger checked her Styler to see... No, that couldn't be right. What... what did this information mean? She looked up at Khai sharply, her concern suddenly replaced with suspicion.
“Here,” she said, showing Khai. “looks like you left… three Riolu.” This information made Zor suddenly doubt this trainer's credentials. Was he some sort of collector, a poacher? Was Khai out to simple make a set of all the same Pokemon, and show off his rare finds to the world? Was he a mass breeder, perhaps looking to sell eggs or young Pokemon on the black market? Dark thoughts chased one another in Zor's head. What if Khai wasn't as kind as he seemed?
He clutched his amulet nervously and thanked her before turning back to give his Xatu directions in battle once more. Zor decided to let it go, for now... but after this battle she was going to thoroughly interrogate him and make sure this trainer was not some kind of evil poacher.
The Thunder Wave struck Riolu true, though it attempted to dodge--the wave was simply too invisible and wide. Paralysis racked the dog's body in shivering muscles that would not cooperate with its demands. It howled a complaint, the first noise of despair it had made so far. With a bark it attacked wildly, this time for retaliation. With a fierce force it hit Quetzal quickly--it may have been slowed by paralysis, but a simple Quick Attack was something it could still muster, and with flair, it seemed.