“Hey! How come you have spikes on your back and your servants don’t? Why are you taller than them?”
The Captain snorted a bit, obviously amused at Merlot’s choice of wording. He made a bit of an effort to make her laugh, as she had recently worked up the courage to leave her room. Couldn’t let that bravery appear unappreciated.
“I believe you mean my soldiers, Merlot. I don’t have any servants.”
She laughed. Her sense of humor was a bit strange, but that didn’t matter much to him. She thought it quite hilarious that he didn’t have any servants, even though he did belong to a family line as equally aristocratic as hers.
“But! Since you are so small, I will answer your question. My family comes from a far away region, where we all have these spikes. Their families come from an area where they do not have them. It is as simple as that. I’m still the same as they are, I assure you.”
Merlot nodded. This answer was good enough for her. Wait..
“I’m as big as you, you know! That’s hardly small. How did that have anything to do with answering my question?” She wasn’t quite used to people playing around with her, as they were all afraid of provoking her temper. That usually accompanied her father being very angry, which no one wished to face.
“It had everything to do with it! Were you any bigger, I wouldn’t have been able to answer your question.”
She thought about this for a moment. It didn’t quite make sense, but he did say he was from a far away place. Maybe they had different customs. She wasn’t going to judge, though. She rather liked him.
“What if I get bigger than you? Would you still answer my questions?” She was a bit worried. Her dad certainly dwarfed him by a very large margin.
“Well.. I don’t know. I guess I could make an exception just for you. You have to come to lunch with me though, as payment.”
He struck a hard bargain, but she gave in.
Part 2 of a story about Merlot's triumphs over tyrannical question-masters, by
“Merlot, what are you doing up so late? I’m usually the only one awake at this hour.” The Captain asked this question quietly. He felt this hushed tone was necessary, as the tranquil silence of this night was beautiful to him.
He was sitting along the edge of the castle’s walls, which allowed him a very beautiful, if not somewhat lonely view of the forest spread out beneath him. He wasn’t worried about falling, as there was no wind tonight.
She sat next to him on the wall, looking out into the night sky before answering.
“He’s really gone, isn’t he?” He knew what she meant. He delivered the news to her a number of years ago, but she was a bit too young to fully understand the implications at that time.
“I wouldn’t say that I never lie, but I wouldn’t lie to you, Merlot. I plan to finish what he started.”
This was true. He did his best to be somewhat of a role model for her, as her former one had vanished without a trace. If one were to ask what he thought of Merlot, he wouldn’t be able to easily answer them. Initially, he had seen her as someone he had to take care of out of duty to his family line. However, she had long ago proved she was perfectly capable on her own. She did have some weird habits, though. He was glad he wasn’t a servant.
“Well, at least I got to meet you and your servants! I’m very happy for that.”
Were those tears? He couldn’t really make them out in this light, but it didn’t really matter to him. Emotions were always good to have, even sad ones. It was important to be able to feel strongly about things, even if the cause of them was less than desirable.
“Merlot, I don’t intend to leave once I’m done! I’ll be back when I’m finished, and we can have lunch together.”
For a while into the night they sat on the wall and looked out on the forest, talking about whatever thoughts that happened to cross their minds. Sometimes, there was laughter. Mostly, there was just talking. It had been a good few years since he and his brigade came to the castle, and he was very glad to have done so. He did like her a lot. She would grow up to be even more beautiful than she was now; he knew it. She blushed, then dismissively agreed with him.
He laughed. He would return to Merlot, for certain. There was nothing more important to him.
Final part of this side story about the Captain and Merlot, by
After a stressful day, there was only one thing Gunpowder could think of to unwind: drink his sorrows away in the Spinda Cafe. It was no secret that he enjoyed to drink almost every offering from their menu. It was also no secret that his tab has gone unpaid since he arrived, and the only reason he continually managed to get away with it was his association with Devonshire.
On the way to the Cafe was that blasted ice beast. Like most of the residents, Gunpowder was sick of the cold it had brought, despite the advice it offered. Since he was currently in quite the rut, he had no problems expressing his distaste directly to it.
"Hey, you. Ice thing. Yeah, I be talkin' t' ya."
Sorbet casually turned its head towards Gunpowder. It was known to do things on its own time.
"Oh, it's you. The one noisier than the purple one. Escaped from that ghost's realm, I see?" Even its speech was slow.
"Hah! Devonshire'd never send me that far. I ain't talkin' t' yerself t' be talkin' 'bout me, though."
The dragon's interest had been piqued. "Oh? What is it you require of me, then?"
"I'm tired o' this cold! The hell be wrong wit' ya, anyway?! Can'tcha see the rest of us ain't suited to this? I'm tired of you, too. What with yer'.. omnipotence."
"I am many things, but omnipotent is certainly not one of them. I am just very observant. It's hard not to be when I perch myself here in the middle of the village. It is the most comfortable spot, after all." The dragon strolled off its roost towards Gunpowder - a rare sight indeed. "Like you. I saw you over there, at the hut. The only reason you are confronting me is to have someone to express your anger towards. That's fine, I suppose."
"Eh? Well... About that... It's all that Shroomsworth's fault. He always be--"
Sorbet was quick to interrupt. "Don't give me that. I know full well it was your fault. You were late. You always tend to be. Like I said, I observe many things, especially the rumors. I've heard you tend to not pay much attention to detail."
More criticism? Gunpowder was growing rather tired of hearing such slanderous filth. "Hey! What's the big idea, mate? Why're ya insulting me s' damn much?!" He stomped right up to the other dragon, putting them nose-to-nose. "I think ya might be wantin' t' tangle."
Sorbet raised his head, putting it out of reach of Gunpowder, who was noticeably smaller. "Hah... No, no, I don't want that. I am just telling you as it is. You can try to deny it, but it doesn't change the facts. You are irresponsible. That much is clear from how you are acting toward me alone."
Sorbet was not unwise, and seemed to hit the nail right on the head, despite how badly Gunpowder didn't want to admit it. He looked away from the dragon, not wanting to show further signs of weakness.
Fourth excerpt about a snowy adventure for pirates by
Mike held his position like a statue for a good ten seconds, he was trying his best to not slam PK. Finally, with what seemed like an eternity, Mike snorted and calmed down. "...okay, I'll just take my business elsewhere."
PK was puzzled. "What? Business elsewhere? Who else do you have to see? No one's got the money to loan to you!"
"Well. There's always a good story to sell to Chuck and Kathy." Mike exhaled after saying that, tensing up.
"What? Story? What the heck are you talking about?" PK was still puzzled.
"Oh, just informing them about your brand new citizenship fee of half a million poke... and not just that..." Mike reached into his scarf and pulled out a familiar slip, with one side covered with nothing but spirals. "But I bet Chuck would just love to hear how you ran off without paying for very expensive tea?"
"Grrkkkt!!" If only PK had any teeth, she would be gnashing at them now. PK knew exactly that Chuck would eat up such a simple story like that and turn it so that it would be printed that the Merchant head was no better than a thief.
There was a good long silence for a minute. Mike was the first to be impatient, and turned around, ready to leave. "Well, I best be on my way..."
"WAIT!!" PK gasped out.
"W..w-w-w--w-w-w--w-w..." PK was stuttering like mad. Every utterance of the letter signaled for her body colors to slowly shift to many hues. Red, blue, black, green, teal, violet... plaid... all until she finally transfixed her colors back to its regular purple. "What do you want for that?"
Shroomsworth couldn't help but slightly smile, as he knew Mike was attempting to solve this problem in a non-violent way.
"Let Maple stay with me in Tao Village, and let her be friends with Sandy! Deal?!" Mike turned around to look at PK straight in her face, clenching to the bill as hard as he could.
"...deal." PK collapsed to the floor in defeat. And with that utterance, the paper in Mike's claws suddenly burst into flames, burning whatever proof of a 'theft' PK had done.
"Okay... well, I guess I'll see you when the sun's about to set to pick up Maple. Bye!" Mike turned around towards the door, opened it, and left. Even if he ended paying for the tea, he didn't mind. A price to pay for this victory.
Second to last part of 's story in which he makes a horrid deal.
“Captain, we’ve been here for days now. Why is there no one else here? Where are all the guards?”
The question was directed to a rather large Marowak, who was seated at the end of a table in the middle of an equally rather large library. Aisles of bookshelves stretched as far as one could see, with plenty more aisles stretching further than one could see. Hundreds of chandeliers served not only to light the room, but to fight off an almost innate ability of libraries to appear rather dull and boring.
Maybe “rather large” was a bit of an understatement. This place was absolutely massive. It’d take years to find what they were looking for, if they were lucky.
The aforementioned creature looked up from his book after a moment, and brightened the room with wisdom.
“There’s a librarian here. He guards the books, you know. It’s a very important job.”
The smaller Marowak sighed as he heard snickers come from behind some rows of bookshelves near him. He should have known he would have received such an answer, really. If the Captain knew the situation with the Castle’s guards, he most likely would have informed the entire brigade.
“Sorry, Captain. I guess I’m just a bit flustered, is all. When we were called way out here away from our home, I was expecting more.. I don’t know, fighting, I guess.”
Normally when a lower ranking member of a highly successful fighting squadron expresses his dissatisfaction with a mission at hand to its leader, consequences would be rather dire, and the outcome of the lower ranked member’s fate would not look good at all. This was not a normal squadron though, so he was lucky. This time. Probably next time, too.
The Captain closed his book and set it down. With a large yawn and an even larger stretch, he got up from the table and started to head towards the exit to one of the castle’s hallways.
“I’m going to take a break for today. I can only take so many consecutive hours of reading, and I’m sure all of you are in the same boat. For the love of everything holy, make sure you check out with the librarian before you leave. I literally went through torture to get all of you library passes.”
He didn’t literally go through torture, but he thought it made it sound like more of an accomplishment. It didn’t really fool his men, though.
Part 1 of a story about ye olde Marowak and 16 dollar muffins, by
"Um... is everything alright?" Maple's voice came from the hallway to PK's room, her head poking out from the door.
"Yes, yes, everything's fine. Your brother had to leave for the moment, but when he comes back at sunset to pick you up, I'll treat the both of you to a hearty dinner and some ice cream! So just go back to playing with Sandy."
"Oh, okay!" Maple sneaked back into the room and shut the door, and a faint stream of giggling from both Sandy and Maple could be heard.
"...Shroomy..." PK gurgled from her lying posture of 'defeat' on the floor. Shroomsworth lifted PK up from the floor into his arms.
"Yes, my dear?"
"What the hell was that?" PK said this as if she expected any kind of answer from Shroomsworth.
"Well... I'd say you took a good dose of strong medicine. Jealousy did get the better of you... Do you ever take a look at yourself after you read one of your sister's monthly letters?" Shroomsworth expected an answer from PK.
"Well, before you would have a response written for her, you'd waste about three papers' worth of replies... all ripped to pieces by your very fountain pen." Shroomsworth cradled PK into his arms.
"So?" PK was very fussy.
"Well, what I am saying is that you almost denied our dear Sandy a friend just now! That wouldn't be very nice of you, would it?" Shroomsworth started walking towards a pair of chairs, and sat down on one. He set his cane to rest upon a coffee table, and continued to cradle PK in his arms.
"I guess not... I'm..." PK was trying her best to say one specific word. "...sorry."
"Good! Now then, if you would apologize to Mike and Maple, then I'll treat you to cake night after dinner!" Shroomsworth slowly poked and tickled PK's tummy with a single claw.
"Hey now, that's not a very good deal... how about..." PK started to whisper into Shroomsworth's ear... his expression slowly changed from understanding to disagreement.
"No deal." Shroomsworth flatly stated and put PK down to her own chair.
"Aw c'mon, your deals always suck... how about...." PK continued to bargain with Shroomsworth for hours and hours...
Backing away from the window with a start, she made sure not to make any noise as she scrambled out of the room, closing and locking the door behind her. She ran to the end of the hall, stopping at the entrance to the kitchen. For the most part, the room was dark. Faint light made its way into the room by the moon and the stars from the skylight, which was merely a glass panel that could not be opened. She had always enjoyed that skylight, but now it brought her no comfort. She couldn’t help but feel that something was staring down at her from outside in the darkness, and she didn’t particularly want to hang around in the kitchen to find out if she was right. Her hunger would have to wait until morning, where she would take a look outside to see if anyone truly was creeping about her home.
Backing out of the kitchen while never taking her eyes off the skylight, she quietly went down the hall and made her way to the living room, where the only door in and out of her house resided. This room was small, and pitifully lit by an even smaller candle. Her bookshelves, which at one point in time were filled with books, and her only chair and table cast eerie shadows along the wall. They danced and bobbed to the flicker of that small flame. She wanted to extinguish the candle, but there was a window in this room, and she felt very exposed.
Why did there have to be a window next to the door?
A silly question, she told herself. She loved windows. They gave her a sense of being outside even when she wasn’t, which was often. She knew the window wasn’t what she was afraid of.
She was afraid of what was scratching at the door.
Wanting very much to shriek, she bit her tongue and remained quiet. A surge of adrenaline rushed through her as she ran as quietly as she could to the candle and snuffed it out, hastily drawing the curtains along the window. Whatever was outside couldn’t see in anymore. This also meant she was unable to see outside; she would be unable to see what the thing was doing! Struggling not to panic, she made sure the front door was locked and, for good measure, took out a key and locked the deadbolt on the top of the door. Now there was no way in without breaking a window or that key, and she’d be able to hear a window breaking.
Second excerpt of 's story about what happened to Palette the night Kyurem came to the village.
He was almost there. A few more sections of shelves, and he'd be free. He reached out a clawed hand...
Something was wrong.
The floor in front of him stretched out longer and longer. The doors seemed to drift casually into the background. But they were still... they were still right there.
He grunted and leaned forward, running as fast as he could. His back throbbed, and his legs strained to push him forwards. He could feel the air rushing past, he could see each long stride if he glanced at the ground, and yet the other side of the room loomed in the distance, inching towards him at a snail's pace. As he stared at the approaching exit, the carpet and the surrounding shelves seemed to twist and curl sideways, skewing his perception further.
Still he ran, his calves cramping, his lungs straining for air; the doors were moving slowly, but they were still coming closer, and closer, and he was there, and—
Lexy appeared from the periphery, positioning himself squarely in front of the wooden doors. His tail was visibly frizzed, fur sticking out in all directions. "I believe you have something of mine."
The Sneasel snarled and changed course, aiming to veer around the unimposing Pokémon. Lexy casually stepped in front of him once more, crossing several feet of floor in a single stride. He held out a small hand. "Please return it."
Skive screeched to a halt and scrambled in the other direction. Whatever that Eevee was doing, he knew he was still faster; he could skirt the perimeter, find another exit. The place was huge; surely there'd be more than one way out. It took him a moment to notice Lexy was strolling along next to him, not even jogging yet keeping pace perfectly. Skive snarled and swung wildly with outstretched claws, but hit only a brown blur as Lexy ducked and stuck out a foot.
Skive tripped and went sprawling, clutching his prize close to his chest as he tumbled across the carpet, each roll on his injured back feeling like another fireball hitting him. He climbed to his feet, hurt and panicked... and Caldera loomed in front of him.
The Sneasel held the binder out in front of himself in the first strategic act of his life. "Get back, or ya'll burn this too!"
Only a couple feet behind him, Lexy barked out a laugh. "This is an invaluable collection. You think we wouldn’t fireproof the books when one of the curators is on fire?"
This hadn't occurred to Skive, whose grasp of the elements was tenuous at best. But he made up for it in experience; without a second thought, he flung the binder towards Caldera. The incoming Flame Burst hit it in midair and popped in a bright orange fireball, giving the Sneasel just the moment of confusion he needed; he ducked under the collision, grimacing and biting back tears as the heat seared his back anew, and crouched below the hovering ghost. Shadows clung to his claw even in the bright light, and he leaped upwards with a snarl, grasping the chandelier Pokémon from underneath and punching with all his might.
The Dark-shrouded fist shattered one of the panes of glass, plowing the full force of Faint Attack directly into Caldera's flame. There was a sickly, empty noise, the sound of the wind blowing out a candle amplified many times over, and Caldera crashed to the ground, flames flickering weakly.
The library lay quiet. Skive limped over to the Deino binder, which lay open on the floor. Sure enough, it seemed to be in perfect condition. He looked towards the doors and saw nothing; Lexy had disappeared. A grin spread across the victor's face; another big talker had proved to be a coward.
He jogged for the doors and strolled out of the library with his stolen binder.
"Aah.. ah.." PK was slowly walking back, step by step... but Mike was clenching his claws into a fist-like shape. He was about to strike at PK... here came the swing and--!
"Mike, this is not what gentlemen do!" Shroomsworth loudly tapped his cane onto the wooden floor, startling Mike and stopping him from connecting the fist to PK's face.
"A..aa... a...ahahaha. That was REALLY STUPID OF YOU! You have any idea what would happen if you hit me, the town's favorite? Chuck and Kathy would be all over this and then everyone would hate you, idiot!" PK was laughing, but this was the best she could to try to hide her apparent fear. In fact, half of her body was camouflaged, out of instinct that gave way to Mike's attack.
Part 10 of 's story in which he attempts to commit homicide.