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"Okay…I found a spot to let you two enter.  Just…be careful, alright?  There's something…something ROTTEN about this dream.  Something VERY wrong.  Your darkrai might still be IN there with how bad this thing feels."

"But we can go in?"

"Yeah…one other warning.  Don't faint in there.  You'll be COMPLETELY inside the dream.  Not just mentally like I KNOW you're thinking.  You're physically entering the place."

"…"  Gareth gave Samuel a look, "You can't be serious."

"I am.  It's the only method I have of ENTERING dreams.  You are going to physically go IN.  So be REALLY careful, alright?!"

"…alright…"  This already sounded WAY too strange to be real.  But…a purple and black ray enveloped them, and the next moment they were in a dark and dismal place…and Samuel called to them from somewhere far off.

"Grathiam!  Gareth!  Can you two hear me?"

"Yeah, we hear you!"  Grathiam called back.

"Good.  Sounds like you made it to the spot I aimed for.  Just making sure.  You DO remember the risks.  Right?"

Gareth nodded, "Yeah, we remember!  We won't faint in here!  I don't intend to get stuck inside someone's head and turn into little more than a memory!"

"Good.  Then just remember to keep an eye out for that darkrai.  It honestly feels like he's in there somewhere."

"Will do."  Grathiam called back, "See you again soon!  Tell Tyler we're going to make sure his brother is safe, alright?"

"Alright.  Good luck."  And the connection died off.

Gareth looked around, shivering a little, "Wow…this place gives me the creeps."

"It's a nightmare."

"I KNOW.  That isn't what gives me the creeps.  We're IN the dream, Grathiam.  Separate from it but still IN it.  This defies so many laws of nature I just don't know where to start."

"Well…we have a path right ahead of us.  I say we follow it."

"…alright."



A long ways in, they found a large, flat area and decided to rest for a moment to get their bearings.  So far they hadn't found Ken OR their darkrai.  Once the two had caught their breath, they kept forward.  The had one advantage.  The spot they were in only went the one way so there wouldn't be any searching involved.  They—What the…everything flashed BLACK, and then all the light of the place VANISHED, submerging the team in total darkness.  Grathiam had grabbed Gareth's shoulder the instant before so they'd know where the other was, "What's going on?  Why did the place go dark?!"

"You…how…how did you get here?"

Gareth blinked, "I know that voice!  Mayn!  Mayn, show yourself!  Listen, we can prove our innocence!  We—"

"SILENCE!  How did you get into this dream?!  Did Taent help you?!  You're in league with him, aren't you?  That would explain why you two are causing the distortion!"

Grathiam shook his head, "No!  We came here with a drowzee's help!  His name is Samuel!  We—"

I SAID SILENCE!"  The lights came back on and she was right in front of them, looking ready to attack, "At the very least, this saves me the trouble of tracking you down on the physical plane.  I can stop the distortion here and now by ending YOU!"  She paused, eyes saddening, "…I do hate to do this, you know.  But…it's the only way to save everything. If you two continue to exist, this nightmare you two are waltzing through will spread wider and wider until the entire planet is consumed by it.  I don't have a choice.  I'm sorry."  She started something, but then a voice made her pause again.

"Hey!  HEY!  Gareth?  Grathiam?  You guys in here?"

"…drat…I was so CLOSE…"  She gave them a look, "Another time, then.  I'll have to track you down in the physical world."  She vanished.

Grathiam heaved out, sitting down to catch his breath, "That was WAY too close…I…I don't WANT to die, Gareth…"  He shuddered, "Us existing can't cause this much damage…"  He got back up when Samuel, who had just been calling to them, walked up.

Gareth looked at him, "Why'd you enter the dream?"

"…you two were taking a while.  It's been two days outside the dream.  I got worried.  Both of you okay?"  He looked around, frowning, "I could have sworn I felt it around here…"

"…felt what?"

"That darkrai.  His vibes were getting stronger and stronger the closer I came this way."

"…really?"  Gareth looked at Grathiam with a frown.  He sighed, "Well…anyway, how's Ken?"

"…doing better, actually,  I think he's even about to wake up."

Grathiam's eyes lit up, "REALLY?!  That's GREAT!  Let's get out of here and check on him!"

Samuel nodded, "I hear that."  He sent them all out again and they ended up back in the guild room.  Everyone was waiting for them.

…and…Ken wasn't waking up.  Drat.  They explained MOST of what they found out to the guild members…leaving out the parts where Mayn had been saying the two of them had to DIE to make things right, but…eventually, they all got the gist.

Samuel made them JUMP with one question, though, "Did she say anything about how to stop the distortion?"

Grathiam turned to him and shook slightly, "N…no.  She didn't.  Sorry."



That night, when the two were back in their beds, Grathiam sighed, "Ugh…I had to lie to everyone…"

Gareth nodded, "But if you hadn't, we'd probably be DEAD right now, and something still doesn't add up.  Samuel said he felt our darkrai close…but we only ever saw Mayn.  I…hey, didn't she say his name earlier?"

"Huh?"

"She was talking about the darkrai….um…Taent I think it was?"  She shook his head, "We need to find Taent and clear our names.  Until then, don't let on what she said about us.  We can BEAT this."

Grathiam frowned, "But…if we die, this will all be stopped."  He looked out the cliff edge, "All I'd have to do is jump, and then everything would be better for everyone…"

Gareth's eyes went WIDE and he grabbed Grathiam's arm, "Don't you DARE say stuff like that.  You remember the last time we saved the world?  We alteredt he FUTURE for crying out loud.  Remember what happened to me?  I changed the world KNOWING I'd vanish.  I didn't have a choice in the matter.  But I did it anyway.  We have a CHOICE here.  We don't HAVE to die.  There's GOT to be another solution."  He frowned, "Now…I want you to SLEEP, Grathiam…and if you aren't there in the morning I will bring you back JUST to deck you.  Got that?"

Grathiam chuckled, "Fine…I…I won't do anything.  But we NEED to find a solution SOON,   Gareth…"



The next morning, the two woke up in time to watch the sun rise, and that gave Grathiam the boost he needed.  He smiled at Gareth, "You know what?  You're right, Gareth.  There's GOT to be another way to fix this.  Something hasn't added up since we first found out.  Let's find out what it i—"  Both were suddenly knocked off their feet and looked over at a massive dragon that was glaring at them.

A palkia.  He growled, "You two…you're the reason."  He stepped toward them, "Mayn came to me in a dream and told me EVERYTHING.  Once I'm rid of you two, my realm will finally go back to normal."

Grathiam winced, "Wait!  We haven't done anything to CAUSE the distortion!  Please just give us a chance!!!  We're the ones that helped your brother TELRICK!"

The Palkia glared at them.  He roared again and the three of them were enveloped in a bright light…they lifted off the ground and were carried away somewhere.



Gareth grabbed Grathiam's arm and PULLED.  The two of them fell from the orb of light and dropped down into a dark place.  They only heard the palkia roaring in anger behind them.  When they landed, it was quiet.  Gareth looked to his partner, "Okay.  TIME TO RUN!!!"

Grathiam shook his head, "We can't.  We have to face him…have to make sure he UNDERSTANDS!"

"He wants to KILL us!  How much of a mood do you think he's going to be in to listen?!"

"We need to try!  At worst, he kills us and that sets things right!"

"But what if it DOESN'T?!  What if someone's lying and our deaths only make things worse?!  This is the first time I've had a choice about whether I want to exist or not to save the world, and I want to live!  We'll find a different solution that DOESN'T involve us getting KILLED!"  He tugged harder, and Grathiam finally gave in.  The two hurried into a maze of stone, Gareth hoping that they'd lose the palkia so hot on their trail.

They traveled for a LONG time, but…eventually came to a large dead end.  The two looked around for a place to hide, but the palkia chasing them was already in sight.  He roared and closed the distance between them, cutting off the way they'd come in, "Stop running.  This is my realm.  My home.  This is Spacial Rift.  It doesn't matter where you go here.  I'll find you.  I don't LIKE killing others…especially those who my brother regards so highly, but your mere EXISTENCE is destroying the world.  Please understand."  He got into a fighting position, "I have to do this."

Gareth scowled, "You're not even going to TRY to listen to us, are you?"

"… … …"  The palkia gave them both a look, then sighed, "If you can defeat me in battle, I will hear you out.  If not, we already know the ending.  I feel I should warn you, though.  I'm the one who taught Telrick how to fight.  He's STILL learning from me."

Grathiam winced, "Great.  The stronger brother.  This ought to be fun."  He sighed and got into his own fighting stance, "Ready partner?"

"Ready."



And…GOT HIM.  Gareth jumped back after that last hit, watching the large palkia slowly start to collapse.  He roared and fell on a knee, then tried to stand up, but he was obviously faltering.  He started to lean just a little too far back and then there was a sudden flash and…the palkia was frozen where he stood…like time had just stopped.

Gareth walked up to him, looking around, "This is weird…the PLACE doesn't look like time froze."

A feminine voice called out, "That's because Grathiam isn't frozen in time.  He's been enveloped in the nightmare…just like your friend Kenny."

Grathiam looked around, "Mayn?!  Wait, Mayn you have to listen to us, please!"

Mayn's voice sounded angry, "Listen to you?!  This is the proof I needed!  You two are the EXACT reason the nightmare is spreading!  He fought you and you won!  When he fainted, the nightmare poison you're spreading took hold of him!"

Gareth scowled, "Send us into HIS nightmare.  Let us try to fix it.  That's why we were in Kenny's dream!"

"…you are being fools.  But fine.  If that is your wish."  The purple light that had enveloped them before came again…but this time, instead of a long pathway, they were sent directly to a large, impassable area that Telrick's brother was waiting in.

Gareth smiled at him, "Grathiam!  Great, now we get to talk to you!"

He groaned, "Wait…I…why am I dreaming?  We fought and…did I lose consciousness?"

"Yeah."  Grathiam nodded, "Sorry.  Didn't mean to hit you that hard."

"…any less and I would have kept fighting anyway.  You fought well."  He actually smiled at them, "So…since we're all here, you said you wanted me to listen to you, right?"

Gareth nodded, "Look.  We know that Mayn said we needed to die to save the world, okay?  But we both feel like there's GOT to be another way.  When I helped save Telrick's Tower, I didn't have a choice in my disappearing.  I was completely changing my future.  The only reason I still exist is because your brother brought me back.  Time is still okay, and I get to keep living.  I don't WANT to give up that gift…"

Grathiam nodded, "Yeah, and besides. You CONTROL space, right?  Couldn't you fix whatever's happening?"

The large dragon shook his head, "I've been trying.  Normally, I have NO problem keeping space the way it should be, but there's a portion of it that will NOT bend to my will, and it's been getting bigger every day.  Then Mayn came to me in a dream and told me WHY.  The two of you traveled back and forth between timelines.  That's EASILY enough to mess up space SOMEWHERE, so…by getting rid of you, I'd fix the problem."

Grathiam shuddered, "Then…then there really is no other way…"

Gareth scowled at his partner, "Grathiam, come ON.  That can't be—"

"Your name is Grathiam?!"

Grathiam looked up at the palkia, "Yeah…just like you.  Crazy, isn't it?  But—"

"I almost…"  He growled, "This creates an even WORSE problem.  I can't.  But I have to."

Gareth perked up, "Say what now?"

"If I'm going to keep the flow of the world CORRECT, then Grathiam, at the very least, needs to exist.  Not because of my brother or anything like that.  There is a hero born every other generation that doesn't even need to be a HERO.  He simply needs to exist in the world.  Grathiam is that person, but by keeping him alive, the distortion of space will continue to grow, which will end the world, ANYWAY."  He shook his head, "I don't know what to DO now…"

A flash of light, and then Mayn appeared, "That's simple.  Kill them.  The distortion of space will engulf EVERYTHING if left unchecked, but Grathiam being dead for the world won't destroy it, merely ruin it for a short time.  The ruins so many exploration teams have explored at because past heroes had fallen.  It is sad, but at the very least the rest of the world will continue."

The palkia grimaced, "…I can't do it."

She sighed, "Very well.  I'll take the blame for the results.  Please step aside."  Telrick's brother did so with a sad look in his eyes.  Mayn came closer to them, ignoring the fact that they took a step back, "I'm sorry.  This has to happen.  However, before we finally END this…"  She moved closer.

Grathiam winced and took another step back with Gareth, "We didn't give up, partner.  All the way to the end, we did everything we could."  Another step back as she came closer, "After EVERYTHING…all that effort…saving Telrick and just…why?  Was it all for nothing, Gareth?  Did we just waste our time?"  Another step back, and they were against the wall.

Mayn sighed, "Are you two ready for the end?"

Gareth shook his head, "No."

Grathiam winced, "Mayn…please…just…tell us one last thing?  If we die.  If we let this happen and we die, will the world REALLY go back to normal?"

She nodded, "It will.  I understand your worry.  You risked so much before to save everything…it must hurt to know that you're making it worse.  I promise that your deaths will make SURE the world returns to normal."

Grathiam sighed, "…okay then.  I…I'm ready."

Mayn looked at Gareth, "And you?  Are you finally satisfied?"

He shuddered, clenched his fists, and relaxed, "No.  I'm not…but at this point I guess it doesn't make a difference."

Mayn nodded, "I promise the world will be fine."

Telrick's brother frowned and stepped forward, "Mayn, this CAN'T be the correct course of action.  They've done absolutely NOTHING that shows me they're the cause.  I know you told me they needed to be stopped, but Grathiam is the hero for this generation, and Gareth is his partner.  The two saved my brother's LIFE.  I…I'd be willing to look for another way.  I don't want them dead."

She gave him a look, "Do you think I want them dead?  This is THE only option I have, Grathiam.  My sole purpose is to banish the darkness Taent, the darkrai I've been CHASING, has created.  He's manifested it in these two pokemon.  If I end them, the darkness and the nightmares that have been spreading will END."

Gareth scowled.  Now even the palkia was doubting them needing to die.  It sounded like this whol scenario was just because Mayn had said it needed to happen.  He gave Grathiam a glare, "Don't you DARE give up on me now, partner."

Mayn shot her gaze back to them, "Don't.  Try.  Anything.  This has to happen."

"WHY?!"  He snarled, "NO ONE but YOU has said we needed to die!  I won't give up!  I won't lose hope!"

She scowled, "Enough.  Take THIS!!!"  And everything went black.

A softer version of Mayn's voice broke through the blackness, "That's exactly right, Gareth.  Never lose hope."  Light came back, and Grathiam's eyes were WIDE.

There were TWO cresselia in there…Grathiam rubbed his eyes, "I…I'm not crazy right?  There…there really is a SECOND Mayn standing in front of me?!"  That new one suddenly flashed BRIGHT, and instead of a cresselia standing where the first one was, it was a darkrai.  He looked in pain.

Gareth found a small smile, "I KNEW IT!!!!  I KNEW something wasn't right!!!!"

Mayn dashed forward and slammed HARD into the darkrai, sending him REELING.  She sighed, "I'm in time.  Thank GOODNESS."

Taent slowly picked himself up, "…blast you…I was so CLOSE…I would have finally been RID of those two!  I would have had a clear shot at my world of Darkness!"  He winced and half collapsed again.

Mayn sighed, "Team Dragon…Grathiam.  Listen closely.  The cresselia you've been listening to so far has been a trick.  Taent's been leading all of you on.  HE'S the reason there's a distortion in space.  Not team Dragon.  He infiltrated your dreams, appearing as me to lead you along, feeding off of your doubt and anger and FEAR."

Grathiam suddenly got very angry, "Speaking of WHICH."  He stepped forward, heading for Taent, "What did you do with Kayli?!  I know it was you!"

He laughed, "And you want her back, do you?  Well, Gareth knows where to find her.  Join him next time.  You might find something…INTERESTING."  He laughed, "You want to stop me so badly, Mayn?  You know EXACTLY where I'm hiding.  I'll be waiting for you in Dark Crater, just like before!"  He suddenly leapt backwards, into a large, black portal.

Gareth snarled, "NO!"  And jumped after him.  He made it into the portal, but no one else did.

Grathiam was just…shocked.  He took a cautious step forward, "G…Gareth?"



Mayn came back with Grathiam to Treasure Town, and helped wake Kenny up.  They explained the entire story to the guild.  At one point, Samuel, who was still with them, sighed, "I just don't get it, though.  Why go through all that trouble?  Why not just face them straight on in a fight?  It'd be EASIER.  No offense, Grathiam."

"None taken."

Mayn nodded, "It would be, but he did what he did out of FEAR."

Grathiam blinked, "Wait…so…Taent is afraid of me and Gareth?"

"Exactly.  You two saved the world once before.  Temporal Tower.  Remember?"  She smiled, "Who do you think STARTED the collapse?"

Sean frowned, "You can't be serious.  THIS WHOLE TIME has been because of one pokemon?!"

Mayn nodded, "And he didn't want Gareth and Grathiam messing him up again…so he tried an elaborate trick to dispose of them."

Daein frowned, "We need to head to Dark Crater then.  Gareth'll need help!"

Mayn shook her head, "No.  Only Grathiam and I will go.  We need to keep the group small to help avoid all of the traps I'm SURE Taent has waiting for us."
Everything you see is based off the game, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon-Explorers of Sky. I don't own any of it except the names I gave the characters. ^__^
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