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About Literature / Hobbyist Andrew 'Justice' WilliamsonMale/United Kingdom Group :iconpokemonfreaks: pokemonfreaks
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Apropos of Nothing: Moon Man by BlameThe1st Apropos of Nothing: Moon Man :iconblamethe1st:BlameThe1st 10 40 Electioneering by wirebunny Electioneering :iconwirebunny:wirebunny 8 2 SJW feminism in a nutshell by Neetsfagging322297 SJW feminism in a nutshell :iconneetsfagging322297:Neetsfagging322297 294 98 PMD:GTI- You're back...? by Phantom-Sugar PMD:GTI- You're back...? :iconphantom-sugar:Phantom-Sugar 18 8 Mac Tonight's Identity Theft by CountRamsely
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Pokemon: Incarnation

Chapter 22: Hiding Out


“Well, that settles it. I’m off back to Broussard!” Nisbeth said after a lengthy and uncomfortable pause.

“Aren’t you forgetting something?” Melinda replied, sounding very snappy.

“That it’s my ‘duty’ or something hokey like that? That’s not going to work. Come with me if you want to live Basil; you’ll soon die or wish you were dead if you stay here.” He said while my sister rolled my eyes.

“They have most of our money. You’d never be able to afford the trip back.” She said as Nisbeth paused for a second before angrily kicking over a stool. He swore loudly before diving onto Heinrich’s old couch looking as furious as he did terrified.

“This is what I get for chasing my old dream! I should have known! It could be my last mistake…” Nisbeth said as he stared out of the dark window.

“Well, I’ve already let one person die through incompetence, but I’ll be damned if I let someone die through negligence! Gather what you need quickly; we’re going to find Audrey and Charlie and see if we can do a thing against The Devourer! Just…well, there’ll probably be no convincing you Nisbeth, so just do whatever you want.” She said, her tone slowly becoming rather spiteful.

“If you want to become a black statue, I won’t stop you.” He replied, clearly thinking about finding a good place to hide.

“We’ll need to know roughly where they are. Murphy, where about did you get separated from them? There’s a map about a minute’s walk from here.” I said. Did I want to go looking for them with The Devourer out there? Absolutely not, but if we were strong-armed into it, I’d want to do it right. No fuck-ups this time.

“I…I can’t go back there.” He replied, still looking shell-shocked from his experience.

“At this rate, this planet will get what it deserves…” My sister said, my eyes widening at such a dark gesture. “Sorry, I just…I could really use your help.”

“Ok, I’ll point it out.” The heliolisk said as he shyly lead us out of the house to the map at the street corner. This small town wasn’t as well lit as Newer Orleans, so we had to rely on Melinda using some of her flames to brighten it up.

“That’s barely more than half an hour away. Come on, no time to lose!” Melinda said, gesturing us to follow.

“Was nice knowing you Melinda…” Nisbeth responded through gritted teeth. “I’ll tell you this again: I reckon your sister will end up getting you killed at this rate.”

“It’s absolutely foolish of her, yes, but she’s my sister. She stands a better chance of surviving if I’m with her. You can figure out the rest.” I said before Nisbeth suddenly grabbed me, holding me tight to his chest as my legs dangled as my feet left the ground.

“I’ve watched too many good folk die back home! I’m not going to…let…I’m not letting you die too Basil!” He said loudly as he put me over his shoulder and started storming off in the other direction. He completely ignored my protests as he stormed towards the way we initially entered Thalnacht, muttering about a good hiding spot. I couldn’t really do anything to slow Nisbeth down, given he was twice as tall as me and at least four times as well built. I saw Murphy follow us from behind, clearly wanting no part in all of this either.

“W-wait, with what Melinda said. We won’t be getting off this continent without their money.” He said, dashing in front of Nisbeth to speak to him.

“We can think about that after The Devourer goes away. I reckon it can cross continents anyway, so it won’t stay here forever.” He responded, keeping his quick strides as we left the town. Guess now was a good a time as any to scream in his hear to get his attention.

“And do you think they’ll give us the cash if we abandon them?!” I yelled right by his head, causing Nisbeth to jump slightly in shock. “And as for getting a job to get the money, I think the employers will be more concerned about how they and their business can survive The Devourer’s plague of statues more than looking for new recruits! So, put me the fuck down Nisbeth!”

“You really are that determined to make sure Melinda’s doing fine, aren’t you.” Nisbeth said, putting me down and looking exasperated. “Reminds me of some people I knew...”

“You don’t have to go into that right now, since I’m more worried about-“ I said, but it seemed like a certain entity was more than happy to finish my sentence. A sudden loud, droning sound came out of the blue, causing us all to jump in our skin. It sounded like sort of like glass being crushed by a bin lorry underneath a murmuring groan, as if some barely conscience animals were also being squashed to a bloody mess. A sudden bright light dispelled the darkness, now much closer to us when we last saw it. It was here, and it had gotten bold.

Murphy looked like he simply had enough of it all. His entire body was trembling, even after the sudden light vanished, although his legs seemed to stand firm. Without a moment’s notice, he suddenly turned around and dashed headlong into the darkness before any of us could say a word. I wanted to follow and help him dearly, yet he was already out of sight, and there was no way I could catch up with him. Duke was hopping madly on the spot, looking like he was about to follow suit.

“There’s little cover out there. If we’re going to hide, then we’re best doing so here.” I said, wishing I thought of that earlier before Murphy ran off. I bit my slip in stress to avoid freaking out over what could happen to Murphy or my sister, but I had no clue where either of them went off to. I couldn’t control of influence their fates at all now, and the crushing feeling of uselessness started to set in. Murphy was an extremely fast runner, maybe he could simply get to safety through speed alone. Couldn’t say the same for Melinda. If I somehow get her out of this, I’ll probably have to try and convince her to do everything I say for her own safety by this point.

The town by this point had been completely overridden by raw terror. Whether they knew exactly what was on their doorstep or not, who could tell. Regardless, they could surely tell how alien it was, and that no one had a clue about how to deal with it. Pokemon of all sizes were fleeing Thalnacht in droves if they weren’t locking themselves indoors. Nisbeth had to yank me away from some of the larger stampeding pokemon, some of them causing small cracks in the poorly made road beneath them. I saw a poor cinccino get trampled in the process, and there was nothing we could do about it. It wasn’t Melinda I guess, but it was another visceral reminder just how life-or-death this world was. Still, maybe this was an opportunity of some sorts…

“Looks like they’re all going down the road Murphy went. Murphy’s much faster on his feet than almost all of those pokemon so he’ll likely be fine. The Devourer might follow that crowd instead of investigating the town. Maybe we’ll be ok.” I said in case either Duke or Nisbeth were thinking about joining the stampede. I had no idea what The Devourer was capable of in terms of finding its prey. Could it smell, see, hear or have some unknown sense to tell where potential victims were? I assumed it had to be quite fast, given it could chase Serge around the planet, but that was everything I could speculate on. I just needed the other two to trust me here. I had to scream as Nisbeth to get him in line, but I barely know Duke. Who knows what he would do.

“Behind that house!” Duke suddenly yelled dashed ahead of us, leaping right over the fence. We quickly followed, Nisbeth giving me a leg up as he pressed ourselves against the wall.

“Did you see something?” I said quietly through gritted teeth and peered through the open window. From here, I could see a small part of the street. It seemed to be much quieter now, with only a couple of people scurrying around in a panic. That didn’t concern me. What did worry me was that kadabra. It looked way too calm for what was happening right now, as if it didn’t notice anything at all was amiss. It did seem rather preoccupied however, twiddling its moustache with his left hand while looking around him, as if he was searching for something, or someone.

“See that kadabra? I think it could be one of them.” I whispered to the other two. “He doesn’t look frantic or fearful at all, so I doubt he’s looking for a loved one.” I started to put some different sorts of powder into the weapon to get it ready. I’d surely be needing this before the night is done.

“It shouldn’t be able to detect us. Only the strongest of alakazams can tell for sure whether someone’s behind a solid wall or not using their psychic abilities.” Duke said, twitching constantly. That restlessness of his could get us exposed if he couldn’t keep it under control, and I slowly started to become grateful that I became a meowstic and not a pokemon with all these different problems.

“The Devourer can make your average pokemon do some freaky shit. Who knows what it’s capable of. See that house there?” I said, pointing to one a little further out from the town centre. “Make your way over there after I give the signal, I’m going to put this guy down. I’ll teleport after you once I’m done.”

“How do you know if he’s one of them or not? Maybe he’s just a weirdo. You could be murdering someone who done no wrong.” Duke said quietly as I shrugged.

“Better safe than sorry. I don’t want to risk this guy being a problem later. Melinda and the others are out there, and the less of these Devourer loyalists, the better.” I said as Duke looked rather disgusted, and even Nisbeth looked a little disturbed.  “Look, he probably won’t be any help, let’s be honest here.”

“Basil, just in case you need reminded…you are talking about murdering someone who, as far as we can tell, has done absolutely nothing to warrant it. You sick motherfuker.” Duke said as I took a couple of steps towards him.

“I will do whatever is needed to make sure the ones I love get out of this alive…including knowing when to back down.” I said, looking to see that the kadabra was moving on from here. Duke was right, even about the ‘sick motherfucker’ part. I was getting carried away here, and to think I even considered an unprovoked murder…Melinda would never speak to me again if she caught me in the act. Had to keep a level head, I couldn’t afford any irrational mistakes, else all three of us could be dead or worse.

Dashing behind the other house, I considered ways I could find Melinda. I know she went to the North somehow, so hiding around that side of town felt like a good idea. I didn’t even want to think about the possibility of her already being found by one of ‘them’. Suddenly, that scathing, crunching roar sounded again, sounding so loud this time that I reflexively dropped to my knees to fore my ears shut, even more than they already were. That terrible, terrible sound…it was painful, physically painful. I could feel it all over my body, and for a moment of true, distilled terror, I thought I was going to become one of those black statues. I still seemed to be my usual, fleshy self after the ordeal, as did my two comrades.

“…Think it knows we’re here?” Nisbeth whispered to me after several agonizingly tense seconds. Neither of them seemed willing to dare to take a peek, but we had to figure out where that horrific beast was heading. After our ears had recovered from that assault, I could hear the lowest of hums, which sounded like computer fans if they were highly distorted. It made my skin crawl, but that was the least of our worries. It was real close now, and I was wondering if I had made a terrible mistake by not running when I had the chance. No matter, I’d have to make the best of this somehow. Nisbeth and a fellow human decided to trust me, and I wasn’t willing to let either of them two die horribly to that fiend!

The darkness was slowly being dispelled, with some kind of light seeping through the windows. Didn’t seem like a flickering flame causing it, yet it had the faintest of yellow tinges to it. I’d say it looked like it was from a street light, yet there was something unearthly about it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. That dreadful humming was growing in volume slowly, it sounded so close by now! To my left, I could see Duke was using all of his willpower to not scream and flee recklessly. The poor guy was twitching on the spot, digging his claws into his arm out of the insurmountable stress, mouthing off words silently as he rocked back and forth slightly. Poor sod, he didn’t deserve to get dragged into all this.

If push came to shove, maybe I could jump to where the other two are and try and teleport us behind another building to confuse it, though saying it would be a long shot would be putting it mildly. If I strained my hearing, I swore I could hear the whispers of a small crowd coming from the other side of the building, only to be silenced by a barrage of an outburst of piercing static. Was The Devourer some kind of machine? What did it just do? Would I even be able if I was able to get a good look at it? Meanwhile, Duke snapped. The poor guy simply couldn’t stand it any more and dashed off between a couple of houses and out of sight. I heard those frantic, heavy footsteps clearly, which left one question that could decide the fate of my life: Did The Devourer also hear them?

I didn’t hear much aside from that terrible hum and those eerie whispers. Did it hear Duke? Was it listening out for other sounds? I wanted to follow that vigoroth so badly, just to get anywhere, and I mean anywhere that isn’t here. Then, the humming and voices suddenly faded away, as did that strange light. Was it gone? No, I refused to believe it. This must be a trick, a scheme of some kind. Yet, if I refused to move or take a peek, we could be here forever, and even if The Devourer couldn’t find me, one of its lackeys would eventually. My mouth became a desert as I slowly put my head to the side of the wall and took a look. I had no real expectations for what a creature this terrible would look like, and even now, I wasn’t sure what to make of it.

It was rather huge, which was about the only thing I expected to be, and emitted a faint, sickly yellow glow that occasionally pulsed with a stronger light every other second. Judging by the way the light shining down on the buildings, it must have been at least twenty meters tall, possibly even thirty, yet it seemed to pay no heed to gravity as it hovered in the air with the most minimal of movements. What I assumed must have been its two – no – four wings seemed almost for show, though the massive claws on its thick and somewhat darker legs surely were not, but given what that thing and its soldiers could do, perhaps you might be grateful if they impales you. The only parts of its body that moved much were its swaying tail and its head, which seemed to be looking around for something, or someone. Thankfully, not in my direction. Its entire body was horrifically jagged, with all the cruelty of a serrated dagger, but the thing that looked by far the strangest of all was the only part of its body that wasn’t covered in bright or dark shades of that putrid yellow: Those strange spikes and other twisted forms atop its head, of which they were many. They didn’t shine at all, and looked like they were a dull red in colour. They twisted and turned slightly, and straining my eyes, they look not too unlike the antlers of a sawbuck in winter, though far grander and more imposing. Few things about this alien made sense to me, and it looked far more foreign than anything I had encountered in either planet I’ve been on. No doubt about it: I was staring right at The Devourer.

It suddenly moved as it started gliding away further from us as if it had found what it was looking for, and in the distance, I could see it rear up slightly before it let out that ear-piercing distorted static as it completely covered several houses in that dark light its minions could use, except this was far more intense. Whoever was near that beast clearly stood no chance, and after it was done, it floated away quickly, right down the path where Murphy and the stampede went if my bearings were correct. I could do nothing to help Murphy now. Poor guy: I just hope the townsfolk end up being enough of a distraction to get away. After the night ends, I’d be sure to find him, one way or another.

“I’d say ‘what the fuck is that?!’, but I think I already know…” Nisbeth said, as he moved to peer into the window. “New plan: We search houses and hope they’re empty. If they have money, take it and get to any port town that’s not Südreiches, since it looks like that…thing’s heading there. Anyway, that will give us the money to get out of here.”

“Not without Melinda and Murphy. Hopefully Duke too. I agree on the first part though.” I replied as he picked me up and put me gently inside the house. The place seemed to be abandoned, as I heard no sounds coming from within, even as Nisbeth rather clumsily landed on the floor, causing a loud thud. “Go upstairs, I’ll look down here.”

“Seems like this family was kind of rich.” Nisbeth said, coming down the stairs after a couple of minutes, clutching some coins in his hand. “I’ll be honest though, I’ve no idea how much this is worth, so I could be way off the mark.”

“Shove it in your bag. With The Devourer out of town, I’m going to look for Melinda. I just hope Duke hasn’t got himself into trouble while he ran off.” I said, looking north and trying to figure out the best way to go. “I just hope she’s not desperate enough to actually follow that thing, because I wouldn’t put it past her at this rate.” I didn’t have a problem with stealing here. Their woes aren’t really my concern, and besides, they’d probably be happy to just be alive after tonight, if they hadn’t been caught by that monster by now that is.

“There’s a road we can take that takes us east to a port where hopefully we can afford to get a ride away from this chaos. It goes around the field with Raikou as well, so we’ll be as safe as houses. By the standards of Fremdesland at least…” Nisbeth said, looking at a map on a street corner as I kept watch for anyone suspicious. “Looks like it’d take us a full day to get there if we move quickly, so we’re probably looking at a ride about the morning after the next.”

“Yeah, sounds good…” I muttered, as I kept watch. Didn’t seem to be anyone around on the streets by now, though they could be hiding. I just hoped the hiders were friendly…

“This way Nisbeth.” I said quietly as we made our way quickly and quietly across the back gardens. Thankfully, the fences were bare enough for me to get through easily or weren’t present at all, so our progress travelling North was swift.

“Shh!” Nisbeth suddenly said before grabbing me and leaning against one of the house walls listening closely. A moment later, I heard something being knocked over and a bit of a struggle. A shout later, I heard frantic footsteps coming towards us, so we hid behind the corner to watch two electabuzzes dash out of the back door. However, they didn’t get far at all, as a blast of pitch black light suddenly emanated from the doorway, enveloping them in darkness. A mere second later, two black statues stood where the victims once were. One of them looked unbalanced, as if it should have fallen over, yet it stood firm in defiance of gravity itself. Neither of us made a sound, having no desire to be the next victim. However, the assailant didn’t appear and closed the door after the deed was done.

Nisbeth and I looked at each other briefly and remained as still as a corpse afterwards, trying to listen for where that freak was going. Shortly, I heard the front door open and it revealed my initial suspicions to be correct; it was that kadabra I saw earlier! I knew it! To think; I could have saved their lives if I just went ahead and tore off half of its face with the weapon, but no matter. I was considering ways I could sneak up and put this threat down for good, but Nisbeth yanked me behind the corner before I could conceive of a good method. He knew I was likely considering it, and didn’t want me risking myself like that. Nisbeth merely shook his head and pointed north. I didn’t want to push my luck regarding his good will towards me, so I let it slide this time as I lead the way.

“You do realise this will be a wild goose chase and a half Basil, right? They would have gone anywhere, and I reckon screaming their names would be a good way for one of those weirdos to find us.” Nisbeth told me, still seeming determined for me to abandon my friends. I admit, combining this with his desire to keep me alive didn’t sit all that well with me for some reason. Still, if he was one of them, he had more than enough chances to murder me or whatever happens when you become one of those statues, so I concluded it was very unlikely he was in league with The Devourer.

“I’m guessing they went down this road somewhere, though I don’t think Melinda would have walked upon it directly.” I said, pointing to the path that lead out of Thalnacht in front of us. “By then, shit was already happening, and she’d have want to stay hidden?”

“You’re sure she wouldn’t have tried to fight The Devourer by herself?” Nisbeth said back to me as I frowned at him.

“She’s not stupid. I’ve questioned a few of her decisions here, but do you really think she’d do something that brainless? No.” I said firmly as I looked around us. This all seemed a bit hopeless, given five of us had run off to fuck-knows-where, many of them in different directions. I could definitely see where the toxicroak was coming from, but I wasn’t having any of his pessimism right now.

“Ok, I suggest we go though this wooded area ahead of us. We won’t be as exposed. If we see nothing, we’ll…we’ll see.” I said, struggling to think of what to do as the feeling of helplessness started to bear down on me. I lead Nisbeth through the bushes and trees, occasionally scratching myself on a thorn or two, but far better that than being seen by that stranger walking towards town on the path. He or she didn’t seem to notice us, as we were able to remain extremely silent at a moment’s notice. I was starting to get good at sneaking around by now.

I suddenly saw a small flash of light in front of us and dived behind a bush instinctively. I felt almost allergic to the light after seeing that terrible monstrosity earlier, though Nisbeth pointed out that it was a small fork of lightning, clearly getting a better view.

“It could be Charlie, want to take a look?” Nisbeth said as we pushed forward, and shortly afterwards, we could see a familiar looking ampharos, albeit one that looked exhausted and battered. He was sitting down next to an unconscious, or a possibly dead heracross, clutching his left arm and breathing through his teeth, likely trying to endure the pain.

“Charlie, it’s just us two.” We said, walking out onto the small clearing to join him. Upon closer look, his hand had a fair bit of blood on it, suggesting that the heracross nailed it dead on with its savage horn. He looked at us and smiled slightly, looking happy to see us still alive.

“Ah, I was worried I was going to be alone for quite some time.” He said, carefully grabbing his back with this injured arm while keeping his hand on the wound. “Mind helping me bandage up this wound?”

“Of course.” I replied and helped him out. That wound looked serious, and all things considered, Charlie was very lucky his arm wasn’t broken. Regardless, this was probably the most lucid I had ever seen him, and I couldn’t even get a slightest whiff of booze off him at all. Was he putting his rampant alcoholism on hold to deal with the danger, or was he just unable to get any? Who could tell. “So, where’s Audrey? And have you seen Melinda anywhere? She was looking for the two of you.”

“This heracross wasn’t the only one that attacked us. There was a trevenant and something else that I can’t remember, and Audrey and I got separated. I think she was cut off and ran off to the west somewhere.” Charlie said, as he stood up. “Hopefully she comes back.”

“As you’ve guessed, Duke and Murphy have also ran off. They’re not together. I also take it you’ve seen ‘it’.” I said as Charlie nodded slowly, looking rather afraid.

“Some people of that human church have supposedly started praying en masse for the return of The Sound of Perseverance, and in a way, I’m almost with them. What were we thinking? What can we do against that thing? There are beings in this world that are incredibly powerful, and yet they are just as terrified of it as we are. I heard rumours The Watcher of The Skies just abandoned this planet entirely. Oh, and it seems like Serge was wrong: It doesn’t seem like there’s anything you humans can do to take that thing down, at least not compared to the locals like us.” He said, while taking out a couple of strange stones from his large rucksack before putting it on his back. “Won’t be for a lack of trying though, right?”

“You’re not chasing after The Devourer, right?” I asked as he smiled and shrugged.

“Not exactly. Well, truth be told, I’m not sure what to do. Won’t be nothing though! Come on, an adventure awaits us!” Charlie replied, looking eager to go.

“I choose life.” Nisbeth said, seeing a faint flicker of light way off in the distance.

“If you lot were feeling suicidal, I think the best way we could have a look, from a safe distance of course, about how some of these strange pokemon get the same sort of powers as The Devourer: y’know, the whole black statue thing. We would want to discover the nature of this power, then maybe we can find a way to stop or reverse it. Also, it seems likely that The Devourer forces individuals to serve it, possibly giving it the black statue ability. Finding out how this happens could be important. That being said, I’m more interested in finding Melinda. Seen her anywhere?” I asked.

“Not recently no, and do you really think studying from a distance is going to help all that much?” Charlie asked as I scoffed at him slightly.

“More than running headlong into battle with that thing. If it even sees you, you’re likely completely at its mercy, and even if you did sneak up on it, I somehow doubt you’d be able to really hurt it much.  Also, you’re not getting out of that stunt alive.” I said, dismissing the idea entirely. I didn’t even want to carry out my ‘safer’ suggestion. That being said, aside from the obvious threat The Devourer posed, there was something about it that seemed to make my very soul crawl with anxiety and disgust, something primal that I couldn’t quite tap into. Of course, I wanted to ensure the safety and prosperity of those close to me, but if I can remove this abomination from existence entirely while I do so, I’d be more than happy.

“Well, given how enthusiastic your sister is about finding a way to kill that alien and with Audrey also running West, I think we should head there now.” Charlie said, briefly searching for something in his bag. He produced a bottle and stared at it for a couple of seconds. “Empty…” He muttered before throwing it over his shoulder.

“What about Duke though?” I said, hoping he hadn’t got himself into trouble.

“You said he ran towards the East, right? It’s away from The Devourer. We can go find him later during tomorrow morning and hope he hasn’t run off too far.” Charlie said as I raised an eyebrow.

“Risking the loss of a human like that? I know you said you were losing faith that they could help you and all, but…” I said as I looked at the two of them. I could already tell what Nisbeth thought we should do: have us two split off and look for Duke. Not happening when Melinda was out there somewhere. The only logical outcome from these people was to all go search for Audrey and my sister. No point in arguing this now, since Charlie looked dead set on going East. “Fine, we get Duke later.”

“This map’s so hard for me to see in the dark…Basil, help me out.” He said after a short while of trekking through rough terrain, which snaked up and down by the mountainside. My night vision had improved in this body, and in spite of how little light there was, I could see the details on the map quite clearly.

“We’re at this side of the lake here. I can’t make it out from here, but we’d reach the shore by walking south for a few minutes. It’s likely the townsfolk ran down this path we took to get here, just south of the lake.” I said, staring south, then towards the east. Couldn’t see much of anything aside from a few nearby trees. Guess my night vision wasn’t that good. “Can’t see any sign of The Devourer, and if its goal is to turn us all into pitch black statues, then I doubt he or any of his minions would bother coming at this exact spot. They’ve gotten more aggressive, so they’ll likely sweep towns before hunting down stragglers in the countryside.”

“Well, you two know Audrey and Melinda better than I do. What do you think they’d be doing?” Nisbeth said as I thought about it briefly.

“She has been a bit reckless since she’s got here, but I doubt she’d be trying to fight The Devourer directly. I’d say she’d be trying to get some of the fleeing pokemon to safety. I can imagine she’d have found a way to catch up with them and possibly convinced them to split up, or possibly try to get them to turn and dogpile The Devourer. Doubt she’d be successful with the latter however.” I said, hoping she didn’t even think about it.

“Audrey would try to get them out of there.” Charlie said almost instantly.

“As for Murphy, he can really run. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made it to Südreiches by now. I just hope he has the sense to either hide himself really well or not stay around there for too long. Anyway, if we want to find the two slower people, we’ll want to get closer to the path, but obviously not too close. We need to stay hidden.” I said as they both agreed with me, Nisbeth obviously being the more reluctant of the two.

My mouth was slowly getting dryer the further we pushed on, my primal instincts demanding that I turn tail and go west to avoid ever seeing that terrible thing again. Besides, he wasn’t alone, and I had no idea how many servants it had accrued. The terrain started getting a little flatter as we moved ever so slightly closer to the lake’s shore as we pushed on. Nothing noteworthy happened for quite some time, but when something did appear, it got us all to have second thoughts about our plan.

“What’s a black statue doing here?” Nisbeth said, as I quickly pointed it out to Charlie before he accidentally knocked into it. I wouldn’t mind that ampharos generating some light so we could see better, but that’d be borderline suicide at this moment in time.

“Oh…oh I get it now. It’s speculation, but I think I’ve figured out how The Devourer’s operating here. It goes after the crowds, while its allies hunt down isolated stragglers. We saw in Conviction that they can be taken down like any regular pokemon if you can avoid getting turned into a stature.  They operate like assassins, while The Devourer himself acts like a squadron of bombers. Like assassins…shit, it could still be nearby, be quiet, listen closely and keep watch.” I said, slowly remembering that we were still in a life-or-death situation. Couldn’t afford to get careless again.

“Clever you Basil; maybe this is why The Guardian of Forever brought you here.” Charlie said, still being a little too loud for my liking.

“Yeah, maybe…” I said quietly, clutching the weapon tightly, gesturing for the others to stay completely silent. It was hard to tell how recently that doduo got turned into a statue, but if it was during tonight’s attack, then the perpetrator might still be nearby. It seemed like it was in the middle of running back towards the town judging by its final pose. Perhaps it was trying to sneak by the other side of the lake to get home. Whatever it was trying to do, however, it didn’t work.

I was grateful for my fairly good night vision, but it meant I had to be the eyes for all three of us. From my studies about all the different kinds of pokemon out there, Charlie would have to be our ears. I gestured for Charlie to stand at the back and listen closely for anything strange, while I’d go at the front and lead the way. There were no questions asked, and I began to wonder if Charlie had given up trying to be the head man and gave me the role of de-facto leader.

Not being able to see or hear that murderer was frightening and comforting in equal measure. Maybe he or she wasn’t around here, or maybe it was following us, waiting for its opportunity. Regardless, nothing seemed to happen as we kept making out way to the west side of the lake. Eventually, I was able to see the path ahead and decided this was close enough. We still had some cover from the nearby bushes and trees, and I didn’t want to ruin that. A flash of that pale, sickly yellow light way off in the distance ahead of us assured me that staying concealed was the right choice.

“That thing’s still chasin’ them…” Nisbeth said, crouching behind a push next to me.

“Melinda’s likely in that direction somewhere, so I suggest we-“ I said before spotting something strange from at the other side of the path, just at the edge where my vision completely gave way to darkness. There was a specific spot where it seemed a tiny bit darker than usual, and the air around it seemed to waver ever so slightly. It was this moment where I suddenly recognized it.

“Get out of here!” I suddenly screamed and turned round and dashed away. Thankfully, the other two got the idea as I heard the sound of the undergrowth being trampled on, before a small burst of a static-like noise, as if it was from a faulty television. Looking round, I could see Nisbeth beside me, but I couldn’t see Charlie past that stream of dark light, but is very quickly passed, and, thankfully, it seemed like the perpetrator missed.

“Where’d he go?!” Charlie yelled, looking around. I ducked down low behind a push, peering just to the side of it where the blast of dark light came from. Nothing. It could be anywhere! Panic and dread welled up inside me as I realised that I had no clue where that thing was. I bit my bottom lip, shuddered, and stared at different points in the oppressive darkness. I could see the ampharos, but I doubted he could see me. I needed to gesture to Charlie to follow me so that we could all stick together, but a sudden burst of flame that shot right above me made that thought go right out the window. I instinctively lied as low as I could against the ground, as I felt the heat of the fire singe the edges of my fur.

Unfortunately, Nisbeth was not so lucky as I heard him shriek in pain in a voice far higher than I imagined my good friend was capable of. I knew just how badly heat and dryness can utterly ruin a toxicroak, and seeing him writhe on the ground like that was a firm reminder of that fact. I threw caution to the wind and jumped over to him as I desperately took some water out of my bag and threw it over his burns. It didn’t do much, but it was the best I could do at the time. Unfortunately, I knew his sudden screaming would lure unwanted attention from all around. We had to act quickly.

“Hold on!” I yelled as I put a hand on Nisbeth and pointed the weapon between some trees. Just before I teleported away, I saw the eyes of a crazed looking rapidash, galloping towards us. It seemed to turn its head to the left however, a split second before I activated the weapon. After being warped, I went to check on Nisbeth, since I thought we had cover, yet it seemed like the rapidash was already charging in our direction. How did it know where we were going to be that instantly? They were hardly known for their good night vision, so how could it…

No matter. I’d get Nisbeth out of here. To try and confuse it, I teleported us to the right of the rapidash instead of directly away from it. We didn’t dare move as we kept watch from behind cover. It seemed to be fooled, as it charged past the trees and bushes, its personal fire causing them to wither slightly as it passed by. From here, it seemed like it had crawled straight out of the underworld as it galloped on by. It stopped after a while, and in the distance, I could see it start to walk slowly, clearly searching for us.

“Shh, stay quiet, I’ll see if I can bandage you up.” I said, seeing the cracked skin on the side of his face and right arm. I had no idea how to do first aid properly, let alone on a toxicorak, but it was all I could think of right now. This could at least provide some padding to the sensitive skin, at least in my mind. However, I barely had time as I saw something approaching through the gaps of the trees. I couldn’t quite make it out, but it sure wasn’t Charlie and hardly looked friendly either, given how it was tearing down bushes without mercy on its way to us.

“How the fuck are they finding us so quickly?!” I muttered to myself as I saw that Rapidash turn to look at our location too. Were there far more of them than I thought?! Or were there more to their tracking and hunting methods that I perceived? Telling Nisbeth that he’d have to run with me, I pointed the weapon away from our two pursuers and teleported us a fair distance. One more, they seemed to see exactly where we went without the slightest delay as they continued to barrel past the trees and bushes.

I wondered how they seemed to know exactly where the two of us would appear during the first and third time, but not the second, as we leapt over a small stream. I knew I didn’t have many teleports left before having to reload, two at the most. I had to make them count.

“We’ve no idea where we’re running, do we?” Nisbeth said, sounding like it was painful for him to speak. Given the side of his throat looked like it was hit by that vicious stream of fire, I couldn’t blame him for his hoarse and weak voice. He was right. Any sense of direction was lost as we went headlong into the wilderness, hoping that fortune would change. However, I soon realised that it was foolish. That rapidash and, getting a good look at it now, that weavile was far faster than us.

“Count of three, we turn and fight. I’ll swap places with the weavile, you pounded it to death once I make the switch.” I said quietly to him as we continued to run. “Three, two, one, now!” I said, spinning around on the spot and looking at the weavile about ten meters in front of me, murderous intent glistening in its eyes. I aimed at the weavile and fired a speck of teleportation powder at it, causing me to swap places. I was now looking at the rapidash, who was thankfully having difficulty navigating the forest, weapon in hand. I expected to hear a loud satisfying thud, but instead I heard Nisbeth scream once more.

“Nonono!” I yelled as I looked over my shoulder. In spite of our planning, the weavile got the first hit in, blood coating its right claw as Nisbeth clutched the side of the huge gash in his face. How did it manage that?! Then it hit me: Somehow, these two must have known about the weapon. But how?! Did they have spies? Perhaps. It’s like they knew what I was going to do. How far does this information go? It’s a rabbit hole that I pray is shallow. So what do I do now? I could try teleporting next to it, but I’d probably just suffer the same fate. Right, I simply had to use its knowledge against it, but how?

Biting my lip, I started running straight towards the agile and deadly pokemon. I assumed it knew that a point blank blast to its face would be lethal, and that I would probably try to warp in range. So I would simply not warp. Keeping one eye on the weavile and one eye on the ground next to it, I pointed the weapon just to the left of the pokemon. However, I had no intention of teleporting this time. My eyes occasionally shifted to the right, trying to trick the weavile into to striking the open air. Just before I reached striking distance, I pretended to teleport right there, and indeed, the weavile turned to swing at open air. This was my chance! I suddenly took two big steps forward before leaping up slightly, and just as the weavile turned to look at me again, bang! Its face was ruined to the point its own parents couldn’t recognize it.

My victory was short lived however as I felt something hit me hard from behind, knocking the weapon right out of my hand. Should have factored in that rapidash! I was knocked past Nisbeth who looked like he could barely stand and was using his left arm to try and stem the bleeding over my useless first aid. This was all rather hard to make out as my vision had become blurry from the force of the impact. Turning around, I saw it charge at me incredibly quickly over the bare patch of ground. I barely just had enough time to avoid its horn as I was hit hard by the side of its head. I was sent sprawling back into a thorny bush as I felt the skin beneath my fur get lightly shredded by those little spikes. Forcing myself off it, I only narrowly dodged a deadly jet of fire. I covered my body with my arms slightly, instinctively thinking it would protect me, but as I looked at the rapidash, I realised that I was truly alone.

Nisbeth seemed too injured to fight, and I no longer had the weapon. I felt completely naked in the face of such danger, as violent shivering and heavy breathing started to override my body. No choice but to try to run and hide, I couldn’t take that thing head on. I started to wonder why it wasn’t turning me into one of those black statues. Maybe it couldn’t. It’s all I had to go on right now as I forced my cut ridden body to move quickly in between, around, over and under the bushes, each one more laced with thorns than the last.

I wondered why it hadn’t attempted to turn either of us into a statue. Either it couldn’t or it didn’t want to, of course. There had been cases of weirdos just attacking others on a whim recently, so perhaps not all those working for The Devourer had the ability. I sincerely hoped that was the case this time, since the idea of The Devourer not wanting me dead was oddly terrifying, since I could only imagine what else it would have in store for me.

I whimpered slightly as I tripped and tumbled down a slope that I failed to notice, hitting my arms and body painfully on the ground as I crashed into a bush. Thankfully, it wasn’t jagged, though it didn’t stop my entire body from shooting all types of pain through every nerve. I stared up the slope in my daze to see that rapidash somewhere at the top of it, looking around. Do I continue to run, or do I stay hidden here? ‘This bush had good cover, it had to have good cover!’, my mind yelled at me as I started to become too afraid to even move. The only part of me that moved were my eyes as they shifted from left to right. The trees were more spread out this time, providing ample room for the pokemon to charge me down.

It slowly made its way down the slope, as I heard it making strange growls that made my blood run cold. Melinda used to have a rapidash, and it couldn’t make noises like that. What had The Devourer done to this thing?! However, the closer I looked, the more I realised that it was struggling and limping, and shortly after, I could see a fairly large putrid wound at the top of one of its hind legs. Nisbeth, you might have just saved my life again! It was the unmistakable mark of a vicious puncture from one of its toxin-laced claws! My pursuer would likely collapse soon, though I hardly wanted to flee right now.

Its unearthly growling started becoming more hoarse as it looked less and less stable on its feet, the poison doing its job just fine. However, it was wandering dangerously close to me by now, and a horrifying thought dawned on me: I simply didn’t know how well these things could smell, nor did I know if The Devourer had tampered with this pokemon in such a manner that it could find me more easily. I clenched my hands ever so slightly, as if to hold the weapon, but that couldn’t save me now. This was completely out of my hands now, all sense of control over my own fate being thrown to the hands of another. How could I secure the safety and prosperity of my closest friends when I couldn’t even save my own skin? How pathetic of me. Nothing left for me now. All I could do was close my eyes and pray to the god of chance, whatever that being that may be.

One footstep, two footsteps and a grunt. Silence. Another footstep and a snort. Three more footsteps. They didn’t seem to be getting any louder or quieter, so I couldn’t be sure if it was walking away. One footstep, then, suddenly, a large thud, accompanied by the cracking of twigs on the ground. I slowly opened my eyes to see the rapidash laying on the ground a short distance in front of me. Luck was in my favour this time, though I dared not sigh in relief, in case giving away my position would inspire a second wind from it. I had to be quiet now, getting out of this bush and then, well, heading to anywhere but here. Melinda, Murphy and now Nisbeth…I had no idea how they were doing, and the feeling of helplessness towards them in this most savage of nights, well, it cut deeper than anything I had experienced before in my entire life. I couldn’t be alone here, I couldn’t, I can’t! But could I really say that I won’t?

I didn’t hear much of anything now, and my surroundings looked identical, no matter which direction I turned. The night sky above offered no stars, the clouds obscuring and covering every single one. I might have been out of immediate danger, but this feeling of being completely and totally lost wasn’t much better. I had no idea where Nisbeth was now, and without him or the weapon, I felt like prey, ripe for the taking for any predator that wanders anywhere near me.

I slowly made my way up a tiny hill in this seemingly endless forest, eventually sitting beside a tall three that vaguely resembled a great oak and got a faint view of Südriches in the distance. It looked to be in a real sorry state, as the sickly glow of The Devourer coated it in its malevolence. To say that thing is an abomination would be an understatement, and if someone were to eventually put a stop to that thing, I’d happily host a party in their honour. If that thing would just fuck off and get rid of itself, I’d still be home, working on preparing Melinda for the next tournament and not having to be frightened for my life every other day.

All the cuts and bruises I accrued felt like I has needles pricking me over my entire body. Sure, they’d fade in time, yet I wonder what else could fade. I hadn’t a clue where Nisbeth was, and thinking back, I rather callously left Charlie behind. Shame, he’d have been useful to me. I guess Melinda would be near Südriches, though alive, dead, or a black statue, I had no idea. Nothing for it, and from here, it looked like it would take just over an hour.

Drinking some water and the last of my food, I slowly made my way down the small hill and onto flatter land. The trees seemed to be a lot more spread out than they used to be. Easier for those bastards to see me, but the opposite was also true, and I didn’t want to take any unnecessary detours. I shivered every once in a while as I constantly jerked my head towards any and every strange sound. Was I being followed? Did they know where I was? Wish my friends knew.

I breathed slowly and deeply through gritted teeth, trying to keep myself from panicking, trying to hold on to that logical part of my mind, as I felt it slowly try to tear away from me. Just keep focused. I kept pushing onwards, trying to fight my survival instincts screaming at me to get as far away from The Devourer as possible. In the long run, I had no chance to survive here without close allies, so it was a risk I had to take.

I didn’t see anyone or anything noteworthy for some time. Seems like I was so far off the beaten track that The Devourer’s soldiers didn’t bother looking for people this far out, probably completely pre-occupied with hunting the townsfolk. Still didn’t make me feel anything easier, as I felt my muscles starting to lock up slightly with distilled tension. A gentle breeze started blowing against my face as I continued to make my way through the thinning forest as I began to see the moon slowly appear from behind a drifting cloud. Normally, it’d be nice and pleasant, but I had a feeling that my enemies would enjoy it more than I would.

Suddenly, I saw a burst of pale green flames in the distance. Yes, that had to be her! I was no longer alone…providing it wasn’t some other marowak. Watching behind a tree, I saw the pokemon leap around, firing a couple of fireballs that exploded upon impact with the ground and trees, and shortly after, a burst of that terrible dark light just narrowly missed it. Whether it was my sister or not, it was clearly not with The Devourer. Sneaking around to get a closer look, I spotted an opportunity. Glancing over at the marowak, I confirmed that it was indeed my sister. This would be worth it.

I suddenly started sprinting at the assailant, which turned out to be that kadabra from before. A chance to help put this bastard down for good, was a chance I wasn’t going to let slip again! I opened up my ears and felt the psionic energy build heavily with in me. No chance of controlling it, I suddenly leapt right into him and let it all out in a savage burst of energy, sending us both reeling across the ground. It hurt me real good, but as I lifted my aching head slightly, I could tell that kadabra was about to get it much worse.

“Sorry that it had to come down to this.” Melinda said and brought down her flaming bone upon the kadabra’s head with crushing force. It was knocked out for sure, and from the looks of things, could possibly suffer some serious brain damage. Aw well, you’d have to be pretty mentally done for if you decided to side with The Devourer anyway, so nothing of value was lost.

“Basil!” Melinda said upon seeing me and helped me to my feet. I wobbled a bit before fully regaining balance. “Oh god, I thought you could have died!” She said, hugging me tightly.

“Please don’t run away like that again from me, it was hard enough finding you in this flaming dumpster fire once!” I said, returning the hug. “I…I got separated from the others. I’ve no idea how they’re doing.”

“It’ll be day before long, so if they’re alive, which I’m sure they will be…hopefully, we can find them then.” She said, looking around. “Come on Basil, before more of them find us.” She said, leading me further away from Südriches.

“What happened in town?” I asked as she lowered her head slightly.

“Südriches is also lost. I…I tried, but…I saw The Devourer itself. I tried to blast it with a huge fireball, but I’m not even sure if it even felt it! The townsfolk were braver than back in Thalnacht, but I think it just made things worse…” She said, sounding utterly defeated. “What were we thinking Basil…how do we stop something like that?” She said as I kept looking around for any assassins.

“…Maybe he can help us.” I said, suddenly noticing something atop a large mound in the earth in the distance. It looked vaguely humanoid, and partially wreathed in flames, and was standing rather still. It was doing something, but I couldn’t quite tell. A few seconds later, It seemed to open his arms and was surrounded by this strange lilac aura that wobbled around him. Naturally, this could bring about a lot of unwanted attention, so I signalled Melinda to find some cover with me while we kept watch.

The aura seemed to surround itself and grow wider as I tried to figure out what sort of power this was, and what sort of person could make it. And just when it had become truly bright, I saw him take a couple of steps forward, and both he and that otherworldly pinkish…stuff suddenly vanished into nothing.

“…Is that…?” I heard Melinda say as we both swiftly made our way over to where he or she once was. I think it could be him! Serge! The Guardian of Forever! And the architect of the needless murder of my people! If I had just charged at him on sight…I’d have a few choice words with him!

“I see a note here of some kind! Let’s take it and get out of here!” Melinda said, grabbing the note with her left hand and my arm with my right before running as fast as she could. I missed a few steps here and there due to her being much faster than me, so she occasionally had to drag me across the ground. Eventually, she just crouched down so I could get a piggyback ride, which was easier for both of us.

“Read the letter Basil.” She asked as I took it from her. The writing was borderline illegible, and Serge, if it was him, was clearly in a huge rush.

“Dear Marowak, I know what you are. I hope that you get this letter first. Go to the purified oasis in Mistet Ørkenen. Come alone. Trust no one. It has eyes and ears everywhere.

The Guardian of Forever.”

How brief. Guess he really was in a hurry! Can’t blame him really, since he has The Devourer and my wrath to answer to if he gets caught!

“He said to come alone…” Melinda said, thinking about it.

“I’m not leaving your side, understand? Besides, we’re both human. He’ll have use for both of us, right? Maybe we can get some real answers from him, and get out of here!” I said as I once against heard that familiar grinding roar sound loudly behind us, the terrible sound piercing our ears, inducing a splitting headache in the process. We both froze and turned around slowly, and we saw it. It was coming this way, and coming fast.

That bastard…it lead that thing right to us!
Pokemon: Incarnation - Chapter 22
3 months to write this, and I don't even like it that much. Bleh.

The Devourer now upon them, panic spreads quickly to each and every member of the group, as the struggle for survival reaches unconquered peaks

Chapter 23: Have We All Gone Crazy Yet? (Coming soon!)
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Pokemon: Incarnation

Chapter 21: The Dividing Line


“Was Duke always like this?” I asked after Duke walked off to speak to Charlie and Audrey, still looking as restless as ever.

“No, he had a very calm persona whenever I saw the occasional interview with him. I’d have never guessed he was the same guy unless he told me. Think it’s down to his new body?” Melinda asked as I kept watching the vigoroth.

“I’d say so. He sure is acting as energetic as your typical vigoroth.” I said, starting to wonder whether our new bodies were also affecting our minds.

“Well, good thing I have no children, else this new form could drive me mad.” She said, looking away from me slightly, rubbing her fingers uncomfortably. “Say, Basil, have I been…acting differently? Please just be honest.”

“Maybe a little more, well, you’ve been a bit pushier recently, but that’s probably chalked up to that alien wanting us dead.” Melinda replied as I looked out of the window. Seems like this small town nestled comfortably in this valley hasn’t been affected by all this crazy shit as far as I could tell.

“You’ve been rather finicky since we reunited here, but it’s clear that it’s still you Basil.” Melinda told me, standing by the window with me.

“Maybe I’d be a fear ridden wreck if I wasn’t turned into a rather emotionally dead species. Imagine if I got turned into a goldeen or something like that. Needless to say, I probably wouldn’t have survived long enough to meet Nisbeth, let alone flop my way all the way to Newer Orleans.” I replied. It was a funny thought initially, though it seemed likely that at least one of the trainers that got yanked into this world got stuck with a body ill suited to travel on land.

“You two!” I heard someone say in a deep, thick German accent. Must have been that Rhyperior, as his large voice was forceful enough to make my small body vibrate, as if I was standing next to a huge speaker. “Come over with us, we need to discuss everything we know to see if we can learn anything about how to deal with The Devourer.” We both walked on over to see everyone sitting down aside from Duke, who was still pacing back and forth across the room.

“…So from what I can tell, either those who have been…tampered with…either kill themselves or The Devourer does it remotely. That mienshao was beaten to an absolute pulp and couldn’t fight back. I’m assuming he died so he couldn’t give us any answers.” I said after some discussion, thinking back to the bizarre and grizzly death that pokemon suffered through.

“It’s hard to say exactly why but it does help give more credence to a theory I have. These ‘pokemon’…I believe they are proxies for The Devourer.” Heinrich said as he shifted uncomfortable in his large chair. “Shortly before I met Duke, there was a friend of mine who went looking for someone after he went missing. He said he’d be back at about midnight if he couldn’t find him. I was asleep by this point, and as expected, he just let himself in. And…he then tried to kill me in my sleep.” He said, looking rather pained.

“He wasn’t very quiet, so he ended up waking me, and I was able to kill him before he could do the same to me. I had known this blastoise for over fifteen years, and I’m confident he wouldn’t just suddenly try to murder someone like that on a whim, let alone a close friend.” He said, slouching sadly on his huge chair. It creaked slightly, somehow supporting Heinrich’s massive weight.

“And yet, he did.” I said, being rather straightforward about all this.

“I was just getting to that. Anyway, I’m fully convinced that The Devourer was involved somehow. I don’t know how it happened, but that alien must have forced Fabian to do this.” Heinrich said, still looking uncomfortable talking about it.

“I can only assume it was controlled somehow. Perhaps by a malamar in league with The Devourer?” Audrey suggested, though Melinda shook her head at this.

“Unless their hypnotic abilities vastly exceed the ones back in my world, that’d be impossible. I’ve worked with the strongest one in England, and there’s no way it could drive someone to murder unless the victim was seriously considering it in the first place. They can’t make you do things you’d never ever do; they’re simply not powerful enough to do that.” She said, as I recalled the malamar she had that got injured so badly in a tragic training accident at the start of the year that she couldn’t fight anymore.

“Well, marowaks are, according to you, very different back home, so it’s possible.” Audrey said, and while I could see where she was coming from, there was a more obvious answer to all this.

“I can only assume The Devourer does this to people directly, so don’t ever get caught out alone, or else you’ll wish you had just died right on the spot. Even worse, if it has assimilated a network of followers, maybe it could use them as a small army proxies to act on its behalf.” I suggested, which made everyone around me feel uneasy, and understandably so.

“Think that Guardian weirdo picked up some humans because they were immune to his effects?” Duke suggested.

“We can be turned into black statues. Neerav could tell you all about that if he could still speak.” I responded as Duke grumbled.

“Makes me wondered why he even bothered summoning us then!” He said angrily, though I assumed that it was partially because of his heightened emotions in his new body.

“I can only assume it was a bit of a hail-Mary, but we should still help these people. Besides, good luck getting home without Serge.” My sister responded.

“Right…speaking of Serge, that’s the summoner’s name, right?” He asked as we confirmed it. “So, did Serge tell you about The Fountain of Salmacis?”

“Fantastic song, one of my favourites. Guess my kidnapper might not be completely vile after all!” I replied with a smirk on my face. Unfortunately, Duke looked rather puzzled at this.

“…It’s a literal fountain.” Duke responded.

“Shame…” Melinda said as we smiled at each other from the corner of our eyes.

“Anyway, he was telling me about it as something that could be used against The Devourer, but he got cut off, and five seconds later, wham! New body, new world!” I looked at Melinda who just shrugged. Seemed like this was news to her as well.

“Shit…all I heard was that someone build that place a very long time ago. It helped…somehow against The Devourer back in the day, but, like I said, cut off before I could get some proper info on it. Might be worth looking for.” Duke said, bouncing slightly on the spot.

“If it’s from ancient times, then I’m sure the fountain is long gone. That continent is far beneath the waves now, and it’s been thoroughly searched. Even if it’s still there, the special water or whatever it is would have just mixed with the ocean. This is just a dead end, since there’s been no trace of any activity from the ancient civilization on the other continents.” Audrey said, clearly still thinking about it. “Wonder if it was mentioned in some of the text I had yet to translate?” She continued, taking out her notebook and looking at it in detail. From here, I could recognize that she copied down some of the ancient Greek text.

“I’m really missing the internet right now. Could translate a lot of this stuff or find out what or who Salmacis is.” I said as Melinda chimed in.

“Genesis clearly knew about who or what it is, so I think we can assume it’s related to ancient Greece and the first people to arrive on this world.” My sister said, and while this was a good train of logic, it just led us to a dead end since neither of us were well versed in Greek history.

“I really should have never made fun of Tony for taking an ancient Greek course…” I muttered to myself, realising that Audrey was our only hope for the ancient Greek clues. “How long will translating that take you?”

“No idea, possibly weeks.” Audrey said as I rolled my eyes.

“We might not have ‘weeks’ with The Devourer getting bolder, and the three of us have no intentions of dying on this planet.” I said firmly gesturing to Melinda and Duke behind me.

“Well, if none of you understand this, then you should just leave me to it and try to help in some other area.” Audrey replied, and I found that I couldn’t disagree.

“Heinrich, surely you know of something else that could help us?” I asked as the rhyperior thought about it.

“We could try and find Entei and Raikou again, and this time be a little bolder when speaking to them. We could really use some more muscle. However, if we choose our words wrong, well, they have been known to kill those who offend them. They’re supremely arrogant and see others as beneath them.” Heinrich said, and needless to say, I didn’t like this plan.

“Imagine how bad it’ll be if The Devourer recruits them?” Audrey said as my blood ran cold just thinking about it.

“If I were an alien wanting to conquer this planet, I’d be recruiting the most powerful people on this world. Those two sound like candidates.” I said somewhat quietly.

“Exactly, which is why we need to try and find them and make sure they’re working with us, and not against us. From what I heard, we wouldn’t stand a chance if they tried to murder us.” Audrey said, and while I sort of agreed with her, I’d rather not see those two at all.

“I hate this, but knowing you, you’ll just go try to find them on your own if we all vote against it, right?” I said as Melinda smirked at me.

“Basil, you know that’s impossible, because I know all too well you wouldn’t let me go alone.” She replied.

“Fuck’s sake…” I muttered under my breath. “Well, maybe I can use the weapon to bail us out of trouble if it comes to that.”

“I wouldn’t count on that working.” Heinrich said, and true to his word, I wasn’t. I knew it was just a tool that had a chance of getting us out of a dire situation. “Still, if you’re insistent on this, then I’ll come with you. There’s been rather frequent sightings of Raikou in the plains just a couple of miles west from here. We have just enough time to do so before it gets dark. Duke, you should come with us too.”

“How about all of us go?” I suggested. “If we do encounter this thing, I’d rather we’d be able to win a fight through sheer numbers if it came to blows. Almost everyone respects an adequate show of force.”

“I doubt he’ll entertain a talk with us if he recognizes us as being stronger. Raikou and his two brothers are notoriously vain and arrogant.” Heinrich said, as I began thinking for a moment.

“Think he’ll recognize and respect a human, or perhaps Serge?” I asked as the rhyperior shrugged.

“It’s why I suggested it. Then again, it’s hard to prove we’re human, but regardless, if we can at least warn him, it’ll hopefully be enough to make sure we don’t have to deal with him some time down the line.” Melinda said before looking around and counting us all.

“Well, if Melinda’s determined to do this, I’ll be coming too. I’d say taking the three of us and Charlie will be for the best.” I suggested, wanting to keep Nisbeth, Murphy and Duke out of trouble.

“I don’t want you facing that beast, Basil. Not without me.” Nisbeth said as Charlie waved at us.

“I’ll, uh, try to help Audrey then…” He said, collapsing on a chair.

“Right, so that’s four of us then. Potentially pushing it, but I think Raikou may be willing to speak to us.” Heinrich said as he showed the three of us the door.

“Make sure Murphy and Duke are doing ok you two.” I called over to Audrey and Charlie as we left them behind at Heinrich’s place. Looking back at the town behind it, it was far prettier than anywhere on Broussard, though given the natives here don’t speak English on the whole, it might have been for the best that we didn’t land here upon arrival. The path through the valley was surprisingly short as the sun started to slowly approach the horizon behind us. My feet were likely getting used to all this walking by now, as they seemed to be slowly toughening up from constantly being pressed on the ground beneath me. If anything, this ‘holiday’ has been great for my fitness so far, though I somehow doubted that would transfer back to my human body.

“Ah, does that road there lead to New Zürich?” Melinda asked, pointing down the path.

“Naw, it goes to Syrinx!” I said cheekily, pointing to the sign that she must have saw.

“Good luck getting in there though. Not that you’d want to with the prices they charge for even the most basic of necessities.” Heinrich said as I chuckled slightly.

“I guess some things really haven’t changed.” I said, and shortly afterwards I noticed another sign on the side of the path.

“So, does this Raikou live here?” I asked, pointing to said sign. “’These plains are mine. Trespassers will be forcefully evicted and, upon resistance, will be killed.’ Look, as much as I don’t want this guy hounding us later on, I especially don’t want him wanting us dead now.”

“This wasn’t here a few days ago…” Heinrich said, staring at the sign which was crudely written. “Also, Raikou doesn’t have arms, so he couldn’t have written it.”

“Well, that settles it then. We’re going back, no need to risk our lives like this. He clearly knows about The Devourer and has become paranoid, and I can’t even blame him.” Nisbeth said, already looking at the path behind him.

“Seems like such a waste since we came all the way out here, and besides, if we can convince him to join us, we can get a very powerful ally.” Melinda said, as I inhaled through my teeth. This was becoming borderline reckless of her, something that Omar took full advantage of in the finals. “Besides, he said ‘forcefully evict’ as long as we don’t resist. Maybe we can explain our case as we’re being chased out.”

“You could get us all killed you selfish cow!” Nisbeth suddenly said loudly as I glared at him.

“Don’t speak to my sister like that again.” I said firmly, glaring at him through narrowed eyes. Nisbeth looked like he was about to say something in response, but he managed to catch himself before he said a thing. It told me what I needed to know, however, and for the sake of group cohesion, it was best that we stay silent.

“…We could just walk on a while and pretend we never saw the sign. What do you think Heinrich?” She asked as I hoped that he’d help the three of us talk some sense into her.

“I’m trying to figure out why he’d try to fence off these grasslands…” He replied as I thought about it too.

“Seems like a daft choice really. All he’s effectively done is put a spotlight on himself saying ‘Look at me! I’m all alone! No one can help me if I’m outmatched!’ So either he doesn’t know, or he’s just stupid.” I said, though as I looked at Melinda as I mentioned these words, I would come to regret them.

“So we need to go there and inform or talk sense into him!” Melinda said as I shook my head vigorously.

“I’d much rather live thank you very much!” I said firmly. “Nisbeth’s right, we should just leave.”

“Look, if The Devourer can forcibly recruit people to his side, would you want to wait and deal with him when he can turn us all into black statues? He’s clearly left himself vulnerable.” She said as Nisbeth walked up to her.

“I’m not setting a foot in that field. I don’t care what you do, I’m not going to risk myself for this. I want to make this absolutely clear.” He said, speaking very slowly, annunciating every word he spoke.

“This really is just a lot of speculation Mel’. We might be off this continent before The Devourer even notices him. Besides, we don’t know if The Devourer can force Raikou to go on a rampage anyway.” I said, as she finally seemed hesitant about all of this.

“…That being said, Raikou could also contact his brothers, maybe get them on side too. We stand to gain a lot here. Besides, even if things take a turn for the worst, Basil can teleport us out.” She said as I looked at the weapon. It didn’t have the biggest range, and if Raikou was quick, then all the trickery I could pull off with this thing might not save us.

“I guess fleeing isn’t an option?” I asked as Heinrich gave a nervous smile.

“He is said to be one of the fastest pokemon alive.” He responded as I shrugged.

“Well, we’ve looked into all avenues, and it’s impossible.” I said, though Melinda had one final idea.

“Ok, fine, maybe you’re right. However, we can walk down this path and see if we can spot him in the distance. We won’t be in his field, so he has no reason to get angry at us.” She said as I glanced over at the sign again.

“That depends on how you interpret his message, but…say, Heinrich, is the guy at all reasonable?” I asked as he nodded.

“Well, I walked in here a few days ago with Duke and he just told us to leave. I can’t imagine he’d try to kill us on walking beside his field.” He said. I still wasn’t in favour of this, but I couldn’t think of a way to talk Melinda out of this. Guess we were going along with her less dangerous plan.

“Ok then, if it’s all settled then, Heinrich, care to lead the way?” I asked, knowing that he knew these lands better than I did. I suppose I’d be protesting alongside Nisbeth, but If Raikou got in touch with The Devourer, there’s a good chance that he already knew Duke was human, which could lead him right to Melinda and I. Once that happened, there’d be no talking him out of trying to murder us.

“Now, I swear, if Raikou becomes hostile…well, I just hope we’ll still be alive for me to give you a piece of my mind…” Nisbeth grumbled to Melinda as a nice cool breeze brushed against the side of my face. My sister mostly ignored him, as we kept peering around for any signs of this strange beast in the approaching twilight. The faint outline of the moon could be seen, and not too far away from it, a second one could barely be seen. I wondered where we were in relation to planet Earth.

“So…what does he look like?” I asked Heinrich as I had to duck from almost getting whacked by his tail by accident.

“Taller than me, mostly yellow, walks on all fours. You’ll know it if you see him.” He said as we kept looking. Night would soon be here, and after about twenty minutes or so of walking on this path, I began to get a little disillusioned.

“I’m with Nisbeth here, I think we should just turn back.” I said, as I began to find it hard to see above the grass, which was growing incredibly tall by this point.

“I agree. As big as he is, we might not see him in the darkness anyway.” Heinrich said as Nisbeth, who was starting to look really tense by this point, sighed quite loudly.

“Finally, some common sense and self-preservation.” He said and immediately did an about turn and started walking down the dirty path, back to where we came from.

“Well, I won’t do this alone…” Melinda said, sounding disappointed. “Still, if there’s nothing happening tomorrow, we can try again, can’t we?”

“I’d rather not!” Nisbeth said back to her, looking over his shoulder as he continued striding away from us, prompting us three to catch up.

“That toxicroak really doesn’t care at all, does he…” Melinda muttered quietly as we caught up. Thankfully, it seemed like a clear and starry night, so while we’d be walking home in the dark, we’d still have a bit of visibility. Hopefully, this meant we wouldn’t stub our feet on a rock, or get ambushed by some interloper.

“If you want to check this place out tomorrow, fine by me, but you’re doing it without Basil and I.” He said about ten minutes later as I looked up at him, narrowing one of my eyes. I agreed with him, but I didn’t want him making these sort of decisions for me.

“…I don’t think we will either.” Melinda said as she pointed to her left across the field with her bone. Looking over to where she gestured, it was unmistakable. From here, it looked not too unlike a humungous pyroar, though further details were hard to make out from this distance, aside from what seemed to be a mane streaming behind its head in the wind. Quite majestic, yet it was clearly not someone I wanted to get on the wrong side of.

We just seemed to stare at each other for what must have been an entire minute, neither of us making a move. My breathing became a little erratic as I reached for the weapon. Looking down the path, I wondered how long we had to go until we were out of this blasted field. Would Raikou follow us out? I barely knew what this creature was, let alone what it wanted. Gazing quickly from side to side, I looked at my friends. Melinda looked like she was trying to figure out what to say, and Nisbeth looked ready to make a break for it.

“…I told you not to return!” Raikou suddenly roared at us, in a gravelly, yet forceful voice. The sudden shout made me jump slightly as I clutched the weapon tightly. At least that beast didn’t know what this wooden stick could do, but given his voice was powerful enough for me to actually feel it from this distance, I doubted it’d be effective at all. Heinrich stalled slightly and poked Melinda on the shoulder. She looked up at him briefly, then back to Raikou, who was slowly approaching us.

“Sorry, Mr Raikou, but we’ve come to warn you about The Devourer.” She said, getting straight to the point.

“…The Devourer?” He replied in a slightly quieter voice, tilting his head slightly with curiosity.

“The one behind the plague of black statues.” Melinda told him. Raikou still seemed oblivious to all this, but if that was the case, why would the sign…

“I don’t like this…” I muttered very quietly to her, barely moving my head so Raikou couldn’t see that I was communicating. “We should be ready to leg it.”

“This creature may be operating through other pokemon.” Heinrich said as to not stall out the conversation too much. Nice save; I swear that large beast was starting to look a little twitchy.  Holding the weapon behind my back, I hoped there’d be a way to teleport all four of us at once a good distance away with it. Maybe if everyone held onto me, it would work. Maybe…

“We aren’t sure how it does so, but we recommend coming with us. We’re trying to destroy this thing, and we need all the help we can get. Surely, someone as mighty as you would be a pivotal asset in this fight.” I said loudly, trying to keep my suspicions hidden.

“Lower myself to helping such short lived pokemon?!” Raikou scoffed. Melinda looked rather angry at this, but wisely kept her thoughts to herself. “I will heed your warning however. You can aid me by making some signs to warn of would-be trespassers to my field. I will also request that you close off the path as well.”

“Someone already did that for you.” Melinda said as Raikou stalled slightly. The wind was slowly picking up, brushing against the fur on my body as I began to get increasingly restless.

“Well, if that’s the case, then there will be no need of your service. Please, return from whence you came.” Raikou said in an oddly polite manner. I had no plans of ever letting my eyes off this thing until we were reunited with the others. Raikou too seemed to be keeping an eye on us, keeping pace with our slow steps.

“You three…keep a hand on me, and keep walking.” I said quietly so the beast wouldn’t overhear us. Holding the weapon in front of me, I scanned for spots I could teleport us all to. That large boulder looked out of range, so I guess I had no choice but to try and aim the weapon so that there wouldn’t be a painful drop after my shot reached its maximum range. I slowly started speeding up in both my pace and my breathing as I grabbed Melinda’s arm, trusting her to make sure I didn’t wander into the tall grasses by myself. Raikou kept pace, his eyes glued to all four of us.

“Escorting us out or something?” I asked as Raikou nodded.

“Just making sure you’re actually leaving.” He replied in a low voice as his eyes narrowed. I gulped as he stared right at me, wondering how all this fit together.

“Of course we are, there’s nothing else here except for yourself, and we already effectively ended our conversation.” I said back to him, still keeping in pace with the others.

“Did you take South or East entrance to get here?” He said as I stalled for a moment. Seems odd for him to ask something like that. Surely simply telling us where the quickest way out would be more rational, but before I could conjure a response, Heinrich spoke up.

“The East, so we’ll be leaving by that path.” He replied as Raikou lowered his head ever so slightly.

“I see…” He said, his voice sounding oddly quiet now for such an imposing creature. I doubted he asked just out of simple curiosity, and I started begging internally that Heinrich gave him an answer that would pacify Raikou. However, I began to strongly doubt this when I swore that little jolts of electricity started to spark off his body. I knew all too well what he was about to try and do now, as the saliva seemed to evaporate on the spot inside my mouth.

“Hold on and run with me.” I said, my voice croaking slightly as I activated the weapon immediately afterwards. In less than half a second, I already found my feet about a meter above the ground and a good distance away from Raikou. Not bad, and the landing didn’t hurt much. However, any pain I received now could surely become very brief as I heard Raikou roar in fury from behind us. A quick glance over my shoulder saw the terrible beast wreathed in lightning that dispelled the encroaching twilight around us.

“Why’d you draw us into this?!” I heard Nisbeth screech angrily as I warped us once more, but Raikou was so fast that we were barely gaining any ground on this guy. It suddenly dawned on me that, unless our pursuer had almost no stamina, he’d catch up real soon. I don’t now how many more times I could teleport us with the weapon, but it couldn’t have been too many.

“Heinrich, throw me to the side, and throw me far!” I yelled. Maybe I could disorientate Raikou by swapping places with him. It worked before with assailants, so it could work now? I had my doubts, but it had to be worth a shot. The rhyperior, who was already starting to lag behind, put his trust in me and picked me in one of his hands. I must have weighed almost nothing to such a huge pokemon as he suddenly threw me over to the left with great force. The world spun slightly as I was flung into the air as I tried to get my bearings. As soon as I landed, I needed to be ready.

I yelped slightly as I landed hard on my back, thankful that the grass and soft earth somewhat cushioned my fall. I pushed myself up to my feet immediately and quickly spotted the four of them. I heard Nisbeth still yelling about something, even amongst the roaring of the fast approaching Raikou. I needed to make this count. Aiming the weapon steadily, I fired it right at Raikou, just as he looked ready to tear Heinrich to pieces.

My body suddenly lurched when I found myself right behind the rhyperior. I got him! Now, we had to escape! Maybe if I can teleport us all once more, would we be out of the field? Would that murderous animal just give up once we were out of its territory?

“Once more!” I said, pointing the weapon ahead of us once everyone put their hand on me.

Nothing. I was completely dry of warp powder.

“Oh no…just run!” I screamed as we all continued to flee. Sadly, Raikou figured out where we were rather quickly and continued to hound us. I couldn’t think of a thing now, I was out of options! Could we fight this thing? I could maybe still try to blast its head, but with all that electricity surrounding it, it would likely just cause the weapon to explode in my hands! I was essentially useless here!

“So, The Guardian of Forever specifically needs humans…run on ahead, I’ll slow him down.” Heinrich said, slowing to a standstill and turning around. “I guess there’s always a small chance I’ll survive…”

“Not a chance! I’ve been brought here to save you all, and that includes you!” Melinda declared also turning to face Raikou, but Nisbeth was having none of it.

“We heard what he said, let’s just get out of here!” He said, grabbing her by the arm. She looked ready to protest but Raikou was almost upon Heinrich by now, barely even being phased by the barrage of small boulders being hurled at him. This wasn’t a fight we could win, even if all four of us attacked at once. A shame it had to end like this, but the three of us had to live.

“Despicable!” Melinda yelled, though whether at Raikou, Nisbeth or herself, I couldn’t quite tell. The three of us could move much faster as a group, and while we were able to gain some ground and leave the field, we couldn’t escape the sound of screaming, thunder, and, later, what sounded like the crunching and cracking of rock. I didn’t even want to look at what Raikou did to that rhyperior. I only wanted to avoid a similar fate.

“Maybe we can lose him amongst those trees ahead.” Nisbeth said as my comparatively smaller legs started to tighten up with pain in their efforts to keep up with my swifter friends. The toxicroak in front of me noticed this as he quickly picked me up and held me over his shoulder. “I’ll get you out of here, I promise.” He said as I stared behind him at Raikou, who looked like he just finished his savage murder of Heinrich. I didn’t think this would work, but I pointed the weapon at him anyway. Maybe its protection I applied could stop it from blowing up in my face, and maybe one good point blank blast to his face could dissuade him. A fool’s hope maybe, but it was all I had.

As we left the field, it became clear that he wasn’t just zealously just defending his territory, and would catch up in seconds. I guess Serge really would have be getting us killed indirectly after all. That bastard. Guess this would be a funny tale to tell of how I died should there be an afterlife waiting for me I guess.

“Raikou! I’ll see you with Serge in whatever afterlife we end up in! Come forth and die!” I screamed at him, getting ready to fire once he was in range.

“That won’t be happening tonight Basil!” I heard Melinda said. I couldn’t see what she was planning on doing since I was far too focused on a desperate blast on the beast, though I did notice a swelling of that eerie pale green fire to my left. I felt the searing heat from it too, and as Nisbeth pulled away from her a bit, I could see her surrounded by those flames. Even at this distance, I would have gotten heatstroke in mere seconds, yet she seemed absolutely fine. How could she even tolerate such temperatures, let alone even generate them?!

I could see her speaking to herself, though the sound of the flames mixed in with the furious roaring of Raikou made it impossible to tell what it was. She suddenly leapt high in the air, and I was shocked by this display of athleticism. Ten feet, twenty feet…before she suddenly landed down right in front of Raikou, planting her bone right in the ground. As soon as she crashed onto the earth beneath her, flames erupted from the ground, rising even higher than her mighty leap. They extended to the left and extended to the right, forming a mighty, literal firewall as far as my eyes could see. The sudden blast of heat was so intense almost knocked Nisbeth off his feet, and had to use a nearby boulder to support us. Being used to wetter environments, it made him feel rather weak and ill upon a quick glance. Better that than dead at least!

Melinda turned around and ran towards us down the path, pointing down it on the way back to town without saying a word. She did however look extremely shocked, both mentally and physically, from that unbelievable stunt she just pulled off. Looking back, I couldn’t even see Raikou behind the raging flames. Seems like he wasn’t willing to leap through them, and unless he could jump over them, then he’d have a long, long way to get around them.

“How…the fuck?! Mel’ that was incredible!” I said after a short while as I was placed on the ground. Our pace slowed slightly to a jog as we began to catch our breath once again.

“This thing here…” She said, showing me that strange red crystal that Duke handed her. “It almost tore my body apart, but the dividing line I made right there…if only I thought about it before…poor Heinrich.”

“You feeling ok?” I said, seeing her stagger a bit.

“I hope so…I can see why these things are illegal. Basil, remind me to be quicker when using this again. I could have saved Heinrich if only I thought of it sooner!” She replied, sounding rather angry and upset with herself. “He’d be alive if I wasn’t so god damn slow!”

“Melinda; all four of us would have been torn to pieces if it weren’t for you. Please don’t beat yourself up too much, you’re doing an excellent job.” I said, trying to comfort her, though it seemed like Nisbeth wasn’t too impressed.

“You know, Heinrich didn’t have to die. I told you. I told all of you! I told you all that this was a terrible idea! Seeking out a temperamental beast like that for help! What did you think was going to happen?! If we just stayed where we were then he’d still be alive!” Nisbeth said, half snarling at my sister.

“I already explained why Nisbeth! What would you be doing all this time?! Just sitting indoors and hoping this whole thing blows over?!” She said, turning to look at him.

“It was incredibly lucky that all four of us didn’t die horribly back there! To think what would have happened if you didn’t get that strange stone from Duke!” Nisbeth said, moving in front of her and walked backwards, staring hard at my sister.

“I took a risk, and, yes, perhaps it backfired, but we’re not going to defeat The Devourer by doing nothing! If we did what you’d do, we’d probably all be dead in weeks!” She yelled back, getting angrier by the second.

“You know, ever since I met Basil, he’s spoken extremely highly for you. He pretty much dedicated everything he had to try and find you. To think your recklessness almost got him killed! Does that even phase you?!” He said, their conversation getting more and more heated.

“Of course it does!” She said simply as Nisbeth slowly turned to look at me.

“I wouldn’t be too sure whether to trust her or not. As much as you adore her, it’s clear that Melinda does not have your best interest in mind at all.” Nisbeth said and stormed off ahead of us.

“…And it’s clear to me that he doesn’t have his planet’s interest in mind.” She muttered as we followed the irritated toxicroak. Regardless, what Nisbeth said bothered me ever so slightly. It’s clear that she’s very determined to stop The Devourer, but how far would she go? Would she even use me as a bargaining chip if it was needed? No, she wouldn’t. She’d be at my side throughout this whole affair.

“Just let him cool down a bit. This has been horribly stressful for all of us.” I said as she looked down at me.

“Suppose it’s a good thing you two found each other. He seems to really care about you.” She said and sighed. “Just wish he cared more about our efforts to make sure he can live safely in the long term. Short sighted idiot…”

“I guess…” I muttered to myself.

“Say, Basil, I may have to unleash The Dividing Line again at some point. If my body can’t take it and it tears me apart, or if I die in some other manner, promise me you’ll continue fighting The Devourer for me, won’t you?” She said as I nodded.

“Anything for you Mel’.” I replied as she looked up at the darkening sky.

“The world’s much bigger than you or I, but when one person dies, I guess a small part of the world dies with it. I don’t want The Devourer to kill anyone more. Not you, not I, not anyone.” She said, which didn’t make me feel too good.

“You know that’s probably not going to be possible right? There are vile bastards all over this world, and you can’t be everywhere at once.” I said back to her as she sighed.

“Well, it’s no excuse to not, at the very least, try our best. I still could have done so much better back there…” She said, trailing off a bit before perking herself up again. “Don’t worry about what that toxicroak says: I’m not going to make you into bargaining chips or whatever he said. I’ll get us both home after all this is done.”

“…Only after this is all blown over?” I asked as she nodded firmly at me. Would it really be in my place to drag her home to Earth when she wanted to kill The Devourer here? I couldn’t be sure. Maybe she wasn’t in the right mind after all her time here. I was starting to lose track of how many brushes with death I’ve had by now, and I was all too aware that I’d probably have another one in the not-too distant future.

I wasn’t going to stand around and be useless for my two friends here, or Murphy. They’ve done so much for me, and I hope I’ve done great things for them too. I couldn’t stand the idea of letting any of them die! Leaving them on this danger infested world would be effectively signing their death warrant. I’d be a horrible person if I did that! I couldn’t live without them! They’re coming home, and if Melinda never forgives me, then I’ll take solace in the fact that she’d still be alive, even if she would never want to see me again! Raikou came that close to ending it all for us three! It can’t happen again.

“I think I’m gonna need some of Charlie’s booze when we get back…” I muttered to myself as we caught up with Nisbeth. It seemed like Raikou had completely given up on us, but we were still very cautious given there were many people out there who’d happily see our heads on pikes.

“So…why do you think Raikou wanted us dead?” Nisbeth asked, looking like he cooled of over the whole thing.

“Either he’s indecisively territorial or he’s in league with The Devourer. If it’s the latter, then I wonder just how far that alien’s tendrils go. Also, it would seem like he’s already got some powerful allies.” Melinda said when I thought of something.

“He didn’t seem to try to turn us into one of those black statues though. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for that, but it doesn’t quite add up.” I said when I remembered something that Heinrich said. “That being said, poor ol’ Heinrich did say that one of his friends tried to kill him in his sleep. Now we’ve seen several cases of this. It’s possible that not everyone working for this creepy bastard doesn’t have that statue power.”

“I did hear from Jirachi before you two arrived in Newer Orleans that Raikou and his two brothers are hundreds of years old. Maybe age just made them really, well, you get the idea.” My sister said, but one thing was clear: We weren’t going to interview Raikou to find out why.

“Hope nothing happened in Thalnacht when we were gone.” I said as Melinda suddenly looked at me.

“Don’t say things like that!” She said, sounding worried.

“You made the choice to drag us out here you know.” Nisbeth said, causing me to stand between them since it looked like Melinda was about to have another go at him.

“If you two don’t stop getting at each other’s throats…” I said, not able to think of a good way to finish the sentence. “Oh, look at that, we’re almost there!” I pointed to the lights of the town ahead. Seemed like nothing obvious was amiss from here, and when we entered, it seemed like business as usual. Still, I wasn’t looking forward to breaking the news to Charlie. Unlike the last time I had to break the news of someone’s passing, the recipient of this information was about three times my size, perpetually drunk and had vast electrical power. Not good.

“So…who’s gonna break the news to Charlie?” I said as Nisbeth pointed at my sister.

“She’s known him longer than us. I reckon she could find a way to not make things messy.” He said as Melinda narrowed her eyes at him.

“Or it’s because that if anyone has to bear the brunt of a grief-stricken ampharos, it should be me, simply because you don’t like me. I’m not stupid, but I suppose I’ll do it anyway.” She said through slightly gritted teeth.

“Well, we might not have to right away; the lights are out in Heinrich’s place.” I said, pointing at the empty looking building on the path ahead of us. Strangely enough, the door was unlocked, so we let ourselves in. A note was lying on the table in front of us so, naturally, we decided to have a read.

“Just checking out a rumour of some event that happened north of here. If we’re not back by the time you do, we shouldn’t be far behind. Sorry for leaving your place unlocked, I’ll make it up by getting us a drink of six.

Charlie.”

“Well, seems like they’re also helping us.” Melinda said, though I started becoming concerned for Murphy’s safety.

“What if they don’t come back within the next few hours or something. They could be in trouble, or worse, for all we know.” I suggested as Nisbeth threw himself on Heinrich’s old comfy chair.

“They said they’d be coming back. No point on going on a wild goose chase right now. Just sit tight until the morning, that’s what I think.” He said, looking like he was ready to fall asleep. “Charlie and Audrey seem tougher than us anyway, I’m sure Murphy and that human will be fine.”

“I guess you’re right…” I said, taking out some water from my bag. I didn’t feel too comfortable however, as I couldn’t help but wonder how Murphy was doing. We didn’t have to wait too long for some news to arrive as the three of us jumped in our skin at the surprise of the door being suddenly flung open.

“Duke?!” I said loudly as I lowered the weapon, realising it was safe.

“I…I’m here too!” Murphy said behind him as I ran over to give my friend a hug.

“Glad to see you’re fine! What’s the news anyway?” I asked the two scared looking pokemon.

“We were separated from Charlie and Audrey.” Duke said, looking over his shoulder.

“Well I guessed that much. What actually happened?” Nisbeth said as Murphy looked very pale.

“I think we found it…or it found us.” Shortly after he said this, I saw a brief flash of light pierce the darkness like lightning, except it seemed to come from behind the mountains as opposed from the sky. It vanished as soon as it arrived, and seeing the look on Murphy’s and Duke’s face, I began to fear the worst.

“It’s The Devourer.”
Pokemon: Incarnation - Chapter 21
Probably the biggest gap between chapters to date. Over 5 months! This could end up a bit hodgepodgey due to how long it's taken me, but here it is nontheless.

Basil, Melinda, Nisbeth and Heinrich set out to find a legendary creature in hopes that it could lend them aid, however, there are many dividing lines starting to form.

Chapter 22: Hiding Out (Coming soon!)
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Pokemon: Incarnation

Chapter 20: No One Knows


Murphy suddenly landed on me, hugging me tightly, looking like he was about to cry from sheer terror. I felt his body tremble against mine as I looked into his wide, fearful eyes. I knew the poor guy had been through a lot, but I had never seen him in a state like this. His breathing was rapid as he held me tightly, but as the shock of him pouncing me like that, I noticed something he forgot to do.

“Murphy, get off me you fool and close the door!” I suddenly yelled as he suddenly snapped out of fearful stupor as he leapt off me to run to the door. I saw no one outside, thankfully, and as such, we were able to lock up the place without any interference. Well, crisis averted, I guess.

“Right...from the start...what the fuck happened Murphy?!” I said loudly. I could hear rapid footsteps coming from the hallways, which I hardly minded. It'll save me from having to re-explain things over and over again.

“That would be a very good question!” Charlie said, glaring at the two of us. “We agreed to seal ourselves in Basil, so why did you risk opening the doors? It could have been anyone on the other side!”

“It was clearly Murphy, so relax, and no: I'm not prepared to leave him out to die. Besides, from what I seen, whatever scared him, it didn't look like it was prepared to rush this building.” I said, trying to calm everyone down once they arrived. They all stared at us, but from what I could tell, only Audrey seemed happy to see him again. The rest were either ambivalent or flat out frowning at the heliolisk, including Melinda.

“Coming back here to save yourself then? I see how it is.” Melinda said, scowling slightly.

“I'm sorry guys. Please, I know I made a mistake by leaving you, but I won't ever make it again, I promise, so please, just let me back in! I can't be thrown out there again! Not with that thing out there!” Murphy said, dropping to his knees as he flat out grovelled in front of us.

“Charlie, if he really means to stay with us this time, then why turn him down? We need all the people we can get if we want to stop The Devourer.” She said, and while I was still more concerned about securing the safety of my friends, I found myself in agreement with her.

“I'm not sure...Murphy, tell us exactly what happened. I think we need to hear his story from start to finish before we pass any judgements.” Melinda said, still staring at Murphy.

“Well, I was staying in the hostel, but just as I was falling asleep, I heard this strange droning sound. I had no idea what it was so I took a look. Seems like someone else heard it too, since one of the housekeepers was also in the corridor. Then...then that's when it happened. I heard this horrible, horrible scream, like a voice tearing its own vocal chords, complimented by a chorus of screeches of every pitch imaginable. I saw them being turned into statues: the housekeeper and one of the guests. I leapt out the open window as I heard others fall to...whatever it was. I didn't see it chasing me when I ran here, so I don't think it followed me.” Murphy said, looking highly uncomfortable talking about it.

“And you never saw this attacker?” Nisbeth asked, looking a little more understanding than some of the others.

“I wasn't going to hang around and get a look: I could have died!” Murphy said as everyone thought about this briefly.

“I reckon the attacks could still be happening right now.” Nisbeth said, gesturing to the windows nearby. “I suggest boarding each and every one of these up and attack any stranger who gets inside.”

“And do absolutely nothing about them?” Melinda said, turning to look at him.

“Charlie's the boss now, so we follow his lead, and he said to stay here. We had this discussion before. Besides, no point in risking us getting killed more than we need to.” The toxicroak replied, sounding like he had no real desire to help any of the townsfolk. “Besides, you can't get back up after being turned into one of those statues. Just takes one wrong move to fall prey to something like that.”

“We stick with our plan. If humans are as important as The Guardian of Forever says they are when it comes to stopping The Devourer, then we can't afford to risk their safety more than we have to.” Charlie said as Melinda slowly walked up to him.

“And we're completely useless to that plan if we just stay here and hope we find an answer. If all you're going to do is bury your head in the sand and just stay cooped up here, then Basil and I might as well just leave and try to find a way to stop him without you. Besides, at this rate, there might not even be much of a planet to save if you keep up your current plans. What's the point in saving the world if all its inhabitants are dead? You're all counting so hard on Serge finding us here, but we don't even know if he's still alive or not, and from what Bibarel told us, he's just being pursued by The Devourer himself, so he'll probably just end up leading that monster right to us.” Melinda said, queuing in groans of disapproval from the others.

“We've been over this Melinda...we're all staying here, and that includes you.” Charlie said, looking like he was itching for another drink, his eyes occasionally darting towards the storage cupboard.

“Being kept here against my will then? I see how it is...might as well get some more sleep then.” She said and slowly walked off to her room. The others soon followed suit, though I stayed behind to make sure Murphy was ok. He was visibly still rattled by the experience, his arms and head drooping slightly as he shivered.

“I...I can't sleep. I need to stay awake. I don't think I lead it here but...but I can't be sure.” He said, his voice still trembling somewhat.

“I'll stay awake with you then.” I said, putting a comforting arm around his back. “If you did lead it here, I can't expect you to fight it alone.”

“Thanks Basil, though I'm wondering...how come you're being so, well, nice to me?” He asked me. I smiled as I dragged a stool over to sit on.

“It's what friends are for, right? We been through a lot together in such a short time. We'll get through this shit one way or another.” I said as Murphy got a stool for himself.

“You know, we could have just walked over to the stools instead of dragging them here.” He said, smiling slightly. I chuckled slightly at this, though Murphy's mild grin faded as soon as it arrived.

“Your sister though...she hates me, doesn't she.” Murphy asked me, and I wasn't sure how to respond. I knew that she wasn't on good terms with him, but I somehow doubted that.

“Listen, the reason why she might be annoyed with you, be it justified or not, is, well, think about it from her perspective. This isn't her world, yet she's still fighting to save it. You, however, just want to try and live your life as you originally wanted to, even though the enemy is at the gates. Trust me, I get it. I'd honestly love to have just lived with Melinda and work towards winning the, uh, tournament, for next year. This is terrifying for me too, but we'll ultimately have to face all this together. Whether we find a way to return and live in my world or we find a way to stop The Devourer...well, we'll have to do one of these things. From what I can tell, that alien has become a lot more threatening now, so we can't just hide and ignore it on this planet.” I said, sighing sadly. Why couldn't this have happened to people that aren't my sister and I?

“Think I'll ever be able to be an actor?” He asked me, still looking at the door.

“Well, might be very difficult with The Devourer in this world. Still, we can make a start by boarding everything up. Regardless what we end up doing, I'd rather not be killed in my sleep.” I said, looking into storage to see if there was anything. They had plenty of nails, but had a shortage of planks. Still, might as well do what we can with them.

The hammer was huge for my small body, so I had to use both my arms to haul that heavy chunk of metal over to the nearest window. After Murphy helped me drag everything else over, I strained my mind to hold one of the nails in place to Murphy could swing at it with the hammer. By now, I had achieved a small level of competence with my psychic abilities, so I was able to make this work. Still, every time Murphy struck the head of the nail, it send small shocks throughout my body, leaving me in a slightly wobbly state after we put the first two planks in place.

“Heh, sorry Basil.” Murphy said after taking an surprisingly big swing at a nail, causing me to visibly shudder upon impact.

“It's fine, it's fine...” I said, feeling a little woozy and in need of rest. “I'm gonna need an oran berry or two in order to get through the next day...”

“Think boarding the place up would be use against The Devourer?” Murphy asked me as I shrugged.

“Might delay it long enough for the others to get down here. Besides, I've not heard anything, so I don't think whatever tried to kill you chased you here after all.” I said, peeking between the tiny gap between the large, heavy double doors of the building. Couldn't see anyone on the path leading to this place. Maybe whatever it was that attacked the hostel was going after easier targets. I couldn't see into the main part of town from here, nor could I hear any commotion, though we were a fair distance from the town centre, so who could tell. Hope there'd be others who saw what happened and lived to tell the tale so we could get some answers should we ever leave this place.

“I still don't feel safe Basil, I'm going to stay awake.” He said, as I instinctively looked round for a clock. Seems like they hadn't invented them yet, as all I found so far was the occasional crooked sundial, though from what I heard about New Australia, maybe those guys had advanced enough to invent a similar device.

“Who knows how long we'll be sitting here for though.” I said, sitting beside him and staring at the door. It was still bolted shut real good, but I knew that even some regular pokemon could probably blast it down, so I had no doubt that it'd only slow The Devourer down for maybe a few seconds at most. Still, maybe that's all we'd need to alert everyone and get out of here. Maybe.

A couple of hours later, Murphy took a couple of apples for each of us from the kitchen alongside filling up our flasks with water. Hardly a meal, but it'd do for now. They really should have had night watch rotations going on here, since I felt my body cry out for rest. The flaming torch above us hanging from the ceiling was starting to dim, and neither of us were tall enough to replace it short of some serious stool stacking.

“So, how's your night vision?” Murphy asked as I shrugged.

“Better than what it was when I was a human I guess, but I don't feel like being in the dark.” I said, seeing if the store cupboard had a ladder. There was one, but it wouldn't do either of us very good. Only useful for resting it against walls and couldn't stand on its own, and upon closer inspection, it seemed to have a nasty case of woodworm.

“Sorry Murphy, we're out of luck unless you want to risk either leaping up and throwing more wood in there. Personally, I don't think I want to risk burning this place to the ground. Clearly, this is a job for Charlie or Jirachi.” I said as the light slowly faded around us.

“Still not sleeping.” Murphy said as I sat down again on my stool.

“When I get home again to a proper bed, I'm going to flat out hibernate...” I said as the flame above me faded to embers. We didn't talk as much, as we both sleepily sat there, gazing at the door and listening out for anything odd. A short while later, we thought we heard something growl, but it just turned out to be Charlie snoring away to himself. Thankfully, it didn't last long, though the dead silence we were left with felt tense to say the least.

The growing darkness crept up on us slowly, the torch barely producing the faintest of glows as it became hard to see from one side of the large entrance hall to the other. I had no idea what time of night it was by now. Could have been anywhere between two and five in the morning for all knew, and the lack of a proper clock and no sun to reference made this night feel rather disorienting. Obviously, it didn't help that some ruckus and death took place in town during the evening, and sadly, I could never forget about that sort of danger.

“...It's here...” I suddenly heard Murphy whisper to me, causing my body to freeze. I couldn't here or sense a thing, however, and I couldn't even decide how to react to that. Was Murphy just hearing things? Was this some kind of a cruel prank? Unlikely. I slowly turned to Murphy and shrugged slowly, trying to indicate that I didn't hear anything without making even the quietest of noises. I wanted to believe that whatever it was couldn't see us in the dark, but I knew of plenty of species of pokemon with impeccable night-vision, not to mention the many other species that could find us even without sight.

My body tensed so hard I thought all the muscles in my body were about to lock up tight. Maybe this was all useless, maybe we should hide, and yet for as long as way stayed utterly motionless for, neither of us heard anything else. Seconds became minutes, and it sure felt like those minutes were becoming hours, yet we never heard or saw anything that was out of place. Was it all over? Or was whatever it was that Murphy heard still out there, waiting for us to wander somewhere where we really don't want to be.

“...What was it?” I whispered back after what felt like an agonizing eternity.

“I heard that strange droning groan back at the hostel.” He said quietly next to my ear. “I thought it was looking for me, but...maybe it's just leaving town.” I half expected to hear the sound of glass shattering and wood snapping and splintering all over the floor at this moment, imaging some infernal creature bursting into the room, yet it never happened. Just silence after more silence.

“...Think it's The Devourer?” Murphy said to me after even more silent minutes. No clue why he expected me to have any idea, though I could deduce two things from this: Either it wasn't that alien menace, or it was no longer pursuing Serge. I gave Murphy another soundless shrug and turned to look at the door again. Hopefully we could look at the town from Jirachi's room to try and assess what happened.

My thoughts on this suddenly ceased when I heard footsteps from upstairs. Murphy noticed them too, as he slowly pushed himself off his stool. Now, odds are that alien terrors wouldn't make such average footsteps, so I believed it might have just been one of the club members. I wasn't going to bet my life on it though, so I didn't move. Murphy seemed too terrified to stay still and listen as he tiptoed towards the stairs, peeking round the corner. The faint glow of a distant flame burning round the corner slowly started to illuminate the hallways, and as unlikely as this was, the fact it was a regular, orang glow and not that ominous, pale sickly green glow that Melinda could conjure.

“...It's just Audrey, Basil.” Murphy said, making more sound than he did for what seemed like the last few hours.

“Can't sleep you two?” She said, carrying a small flaming torch as she walked towards us.

“Someone's got to keep watch for any unwelcome visitors, though I thought Charlie should have assigned someone for that. We even boarded up a couple of windows for you.” I said politely as she seemed pleased to hear this.

“Thank you. I'm just off getting something to eat. Hard to sleep knowing that something's out there.” She said as Murphy quietly spoke up.

“I thought I heard that same thing that attacked me in the hostel a short while ago. Maybe it was nothing, but...” He said, trailing off.

“Well, we should stick together and make sure nothing ambushes us. I didn't see any sign that anything managed to get inside, but it helps to not take any unneeded chances.” She said as we accompanied her to the kitchen. “Also, level with me: Do you think Melinda's going to just run off? She doesn't seem to be too happy around us anymore.”

“She'll do whatever she thinks is right.” I said plainly as I got myself a cup of water.

“If she leaves us, will you go with her?” She asked as I nodded slowly.

“Wherever she goes in this world, so too will I. If push comes to shove, if you want to keep ahold of the two humans, then you may end up having no choice but to follow us. Still, I'll encourage her to stay in line the best I can.” I said as Audrey's smile faded slightly.

“Look, we need at least one human, surely. I don't know the details of The Guardian's plan, but maybe we don't need both of you.” She said as I raised one of my eyebrows.

“What do you mean by this?” I asked as she didn't seem to know how to phrase her next words.

“If she does run off, would you at least consider staying-” She said before I firmly cut her off.

“No.” I replied decisively.

“We could all die without you though!” She said, sounding rather shocked.

“You're sounding like Serge. Trust me: from what I know, none of the humans asked to be recruited. Now my sister; she's more on board with trying to fight The Devourer than I am. You seem intelligent enough: can you figure out what you have to do to keep us both with you guys?” I said as she looked taken aback, though she seemed to understand.

“...I get it now.” She said, nodding respectfully at me before leaving the kitchen and walking upstairs.

“Might seem a little cold, but I respect their efforts.” I told Murphy after she left. “Besides, if we want to make real progress with this, then the least I can do is guide the higher-ups in the right direction...don't give me that look Murphy, you wanted to hide from all this, remember?”

“I guess I was…Basil, promise you won’t leave me to die.” He said, making me feel rather uncomfortable.

“Now I can’t promise anything. I’m hardly a tough person, and you can fight way better than I can, but like I said before, just stay with me and…and hopefully this will all work out in the end.” I said, smiling nervously. “Sorry, I really have no idea what I’m doing here, and from the sounds of things, none of us really do.”

Eventually light started seeping into the building as the sun slowly started to rise above the horizon. I’d normally respect Jirachi’s privacy, but I needed a good look through that telescope to assess the damage. I couldn’t stand not knowing, as impulse drove me up the stairs with the tired looking Murphy following right behind me. Jirachi didn’t stir whatsoever as Murphy helped me carry the smaller of the two telescopes to the window overlooking Newer Orleans.

“See anything strange?” Murphy asked me quietly as I shook my head.

“Gimme a chance to align this hefty thing properly.” I said, standing on top of a few thick books to look through the telescope once I had it pointing towards the town. Searching for the hostel was rather tricky, but after a couple of minutes of awkwardly moving the telescope, I eventually found it. One lonely looking black statue of a pokemon stood there just outside the entrance. Seemed like this victim was caught fleeing that creature, as it was clearly in mid-stride. Hardly the sort of thing that would attract customers. Scanning all around town, I could barely see anyone on the streets, though it wasn’t totally deserted. Big, hefty pokemon were walking around in pairs, and I recognized a couple of them as part of the local law enforcement. All things considered, there wasn’t too much of a rampage, though after my long search was done, I did spot two other victims, both of them not too far away from the hostel.

“…It could have been worse. I, ahem, ‘only’ spotted three victims. It wasn’t the massacre it could have been. Still, there could be far more behind and inside the buildings.” I said as Murphy still looked sad to hear that.

“If I was born as a slower pokemon...” He said as I got down off the books.

“But you weren’t, and as a result, you’re alive. That’s what’s important here.” I replied, trying to comfort him. “Maybe it won’t be too dangerous to leave this building if we absolutely had to. Still, I’m not exactly in the mood to.”

“The others will be awake soon. Let’s wait for them in the hall.” Murphy said as I followed him down and waited for the others to arrive. Half an hour later, all seven of us were here, wondering what was going to happen.

“Before we start and make any decisions, I’d like to say that we’ll need more supplies if we’re going to board this place up properly, and that while there were at least three victims in last night’s attack, there didn’t seem to be a complete massacre either.” I said to Charlie, looking like he actually wasn’t hungover for once.

“Just…let me have a chance to go through the mail first.” He said groggily as he briefly flicked through the letters.

“Is there anyone other than Serge or Bibarel that could help us? Anyone else found any humans?” Melinda asked. Charlie kept his eyes firmly glued to the letters as his eyes quickly scanned them.

“…Yes, actually, though he was really reckless putting this information in a letter. Could have been intercepted by the Pale Communion. Anyway, one of my friends in Fremdesland found a strange vigoroth who claims to be human, going by the name of Duke Hackett. Are two names a thing for humans?” Charlie suddenly asked, though I was taking more interest that the American champion had been found.

“He was always a weird guy. Very creative trainer though…er, yeah, we almost always have at least two names. My complete full name’s actually Basil Harold Squire for example. Never got around officially removing my middle name after what my father done…” I said, briefly getting distracted by past events.

“Duke’s safe, right? We should go see him. We should get on a ship today and go to Fremdesland.” Melinda said firmly.

“No, we’re staying here. We already decided this together.” Charlie said, and I could tell Melinda was about to lose patience as she started breathing deeply through her nose.

“What if he knows something we don’t? Can I see the letter?” She said, holding out her hand. Charlie grumbled and gave it to her as she snatched it out of his hand quickly. “Hrm, I think I’ll read this out loud, so everyone can hear. I trust you’re ok with this.” Melinda continued, not giving Charlie much of a choice.

“Guten Tag! Hello! Charlie, I heard the Pale Communion was dealt a serious blow back in Broussard, so I deemed this letter safe to send.

Things have been getting worse here. New Zürich is still untouched, but the surrounding towns and villages all over the continent have been seeing frequent attacks. -blank- is a ghost town now since everyone fled. The mayor of New Zürich has become totally paranoid: No one is allowed to leave or exit that place, though I’m not sure I really blame him for that policy.

There’s also been talks of decriminalizing Z attacks here. The council has seized all of the crystals needed to pull one off for the past fifty years, and since they’re pretty much never found outside of Fremdesland, not many people know much about all this. Thing is, these ‘things’, since I’m not even convinced that they’re even pokemon like you and I, are already a huge threat with their ability to turn us into black statues within split-seconds. I don’t think them getting a hold of some Z crystals will make them much more dangerous, but they could provide us with a weapon to help fight these monsters. Still, they seem to operate covertly, hence why some people think that it’s a waste of time. Wouldn’t hurt to try by this stage though, since I can’t many answers.

Still, one help we could have is in the form of a human. While the Pale Communion were never that big here, they did make locals who want to masquerade as these otherworldly beings suddenly turn silent, so I believe he’s being genuine. Although he doesn’t speak in my native tongue, he speaks your language. Another reason why I’m glad my parents forced me to learn it!

As for Mr Duke Hackett, it doesn’t seem like he asked to be here, nor in his current vigoroth body, so I’m assuming that strange typhlosion brought them here against their will. He also said that during their brief conversation he had with The Guardian is that he was told that humans could be resistant to The Devourer’s many ways and methods of bringing us ruin, and that since a human helped drive The Devourer off a very long time ago, multiple humans should make it even more likely we can drive it off this planet again. Might want to ask Audrey about all that stuff since she was researching that sunken continent.

It’ll be risky making the trip across to me now, but we should meet up. Maybe we can have a shot at trying to find a solution to all this, with or without The Guardian of Forever. If not, update me on what’s been happening with you. Found any humans?

Sincerely, your good friend, Heinrich Rhyperior.”

Given how long the letter was and the pokemon’s large handwriting, Melinda had to go through several sheets of paper, each being rather crumpled. My sister looked up at the others as we gauged their reaction. Obviously, I could tell what Melinda wanted, and nothing short of physical restraint would hold her back now. As for the others, they didn’t seem as enthusiastic. Nisbeth looked like he wanted to stay right where he was, and Murphy looked borderline devastated at the idea of being forced to go on another escapade.

“Duty calls, Charlie. We know what we have to do.” Melinda said, handing back the letter. “Unless, of course, you want to let everyone around you down.”

“But we all agreed…” Charlie said, looking uncomfortable. I appreciate that he gave it a shot, but it just seemed like leadership just wasn’t his thing during tough times. I could see him glancing at the kitchen, clearly wanting to dive into his booze stash.

“That was before we know about your friend and Duke. Now, we have some actual leads. Duke, and these Z crystal things, whatever they are. Surely they can help us.” Melinda replied. Of all people, Jirachi seemed most on board with this, seeming to be more awake than his usual self.

“Serge could show up here any moment though.” Charlie said as Melinda rolled her eyes.

“So we have one person stay here to keep watch. If we stay around Heinrich’s place, then the person that stays behind will know where to send him. I’m going to be very straight forward with you here: I’m going to Fremdesland with or without you. Your choice isn’t really whether you come or stay, but more like whether you want to risk having your two humans go unprotected to foreign lands.” She said, folding her arms, and frowning slightly at the others.

Guess she was taking after me a bit, strong-arming them into compliance. They didn’t seem too determined to try and keep her here either, so it seems like Melinda won this argument. I thought this was a risky move to be sure, but given we couldn’t even be sure whether Serge was alive or not, maybe we didn’t have much choice.

“I wouldn’t put too much faith in those Z crystals. I’ve heard they end up killing its user about one in ten times, hence why they were banned.” Audrey said, which seemed a bit hypocritical, given I seen her use a mega stone before. Regardless how dangerous they were, we could sure use a hail-Mary if we end up in dire straits.

“We can find out more once we’re there. Regardless, I’ll be getting packed and ready to go.” She said, picking up a leaflet by the entrance. “According to this, next ship will be leaving in an hour. Hopefully, they’ll still be running. Oh, and before you ask whether it’s even safe to leave the building, if it’s too dangerous to even step outside by now, then, realistically, The Devourer’s already won, so we don’t have as much to lose as you might expect.” She said as she walked down to her room.

“Basil, what’s gotten into her? She’s been acting strange recently.” Audrey asked. “She wasn’t like this when we first found her.”

“She’s many things, but patient isn’t one of them. I don’t think you can talk her out of this, so in many respects, she may as well end up leading this whole affair now, and, as a result, that kind of makes me the unofficial number two.” I said, hopefully not coming off as smug. I really didn’t feel that way at all, and I was happy under Charlie’s experience in this world, but I guess that ampharos didn’t know that he’d be signing up for something as crazy as this.

“Please Basil, if she ends up insisting on doing something stupid, do everything you can in talking her out of it.” Charlie asked, half-begging with me.

“Sure, but as you can see, this is a bit of a lost cause. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to just hunker down here, but she does have some fair points.” I said, looking at any fliers that could give me some information about Fremdesland.

“I swore I’d look after you Basil, but I reckon your sister’s making that mighty hard. Just so you know, if you’re going to Mistet Orkenen, you’re going without me. Some things in life are even worse than The Devourer.” Nisbeth said, looking a little pale when he said the name of that continent.

“Nisbeth…that name sounds a little native to that desert continent.” Audrey said as he shook his head.

“Parents thought they were being clever by naming me something foreign. Still, it wasn’t the maelstrom of death it’s known to be back in those days. Got too used to this name to end up ever changing it.” Nisbeth replied, looking very uncomfortable.

“Well, I guess we need to pick someone to stay behind.” Charlie said, looking at us. “I guess Basil will be going with his sister, so that leaves five of us.”

“Wait, Audrey was studying archaeological finds, wasn’t she? And didn’t it say in the letter that Duke found out that The Devourer had been to this planet before? It’s obvious! Audrey stays, continues studying stuff from the museum, and keeps an eye out for Serge!” I said, though Audrey herself didn’t seem to want to.

“There was no mention of anything of the sort on any of the museum pieces. Maybe it was from a different time. Besides, we probably want the strongest to stay behind in case something undesirable gets too curious about what happens within these walls, and that’s certainly not me. That’d be a toss-up between Jirachi and Charlie.” I eyed Audrey curiously after she said this.

“I saw you crushing those Pale Communion cultists though. Seriously, you’re really fucking tough, and trust me, I know all about those things.” I said as Audrey reached into her bag and brought out the translucent mega stone.

“I’m only particularly good in combat with this, and it takes about seven seconds for it to complete my transformation. By that point, I’ll already be dead if my assailant has that black statue power.” She said, as Charlie seemed to agree.

“While you’re tougher than you think you are, I’d say you’re the weakest fighter between the three of us.” Charlie said, gesturing to himself, Audrey and Jirachi. “Heinrich wants to see me in particular, so I guess that makes Jirachi the one to stay.” I can’t say I really liked this decision too much, but it could have been worse.

“Don’t worry, I’ll know if someone breaks in even if I’m sleeping. I know that Basil and Murphy went to use my telescope, but I decided not to bother them.” He said, grinning at me slightly.

“Well, if that’s sorted, then we should all get ready. If Melinda’s dead set on this, then I don’t suppose we have much choice.” Charlie said, predictably grabbing several bottles of alcohol for the journey. Murphy didn’t seem to mind too much either way, since we’d soon be away from that strange creature that passed the Excursion Club headquarters.

“I seriously hope you know what you’re doing Mel’.” I said, stuffing what little possessions I owned into my backpack.

“I hope so too Basil. Not going to lie, I wish we had a more decisive group. They’ll never get rid of The Devourer like this.” She said, as she put the last book inside her large bag. “I’m guessing the natives don’t really like me anymore by now.”

“Not particularly.” I responded simply.

“Well, they’ll learn to like me once we get to the bottom of this.” She said, and sighed somewhat sadly. “You wanted to stay here, didn’t you.”

“Kind of…”

“Sorry for dragging you along with me, but, really, almost no where’s safe now. The Devourer or one of its soldiers would probably find us before Serge did if we just camped here.” She said, looking a little frustrated. “I guess it’s just that I’m used to a little more…professionalism among my colleagues and staff.”

“Pretty hard to be professional about finding a way to kill a foe this deadly. All this time here, and we’re still not really sure what we’re up against.” I said, lifting my bag, and putting it on my back.

“I’m sure you can figure it out.” Melinda said as I turned to look at her.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, between the seven of us, you’re the most likely. I’ll be honest, I don’t think the five natives are going to do it, and you always figured out the ways for me to win my battles.” She said as I gave a hollow laugh

“Pokemon, alien monstrosities, what’s the difference?” I said as she followed me upstairs as we met up with the others in the entrance hall. Charlie arrived shortly afterwards, looked at Melinda and gestured towards the door.

“Care to lead us to the docks?” He said with a slight bitterness in his voice.

“Of course!” My sister replied as we made our way through the rather empty streets. There were a few pokemon walking around, though they seemed to be on edge, and not a single one was walking alone.

“Think we should check out the hostel?” I asked the others.

“We’re taking a big enough risk leaving the building. I’d rather not poke my nose into them more than we have to.” Nisbeth replied, sounding a little grumpy. “Besides, we’d probably just see a bunch of statues.”

“Say, isn’t that one of the local policemen?” Melinda asked as Charlie nodded.

“Excuse me sir, notice anything odd about the attacks last night?” She asked as the large tyrantiar half sighed and half growled, likely being fed up with the constant questioning.

“We counted seven victims in total. One of the attackers was killed, thankfully, by yours truly. There was at least one more of them, a raichu to be exact. There may have been more, but we can’t be sure, though one of my colleagues did mention about hearing…something.” He said as Melinda nodded politely. She thanked us and after another couple of minutes, we arrived at the docks. Unlike the town, they looked a little busier than normal. Likely people wanting to flee the town after the seven were unfortunately killed.

“I don’t suppose there was any way to reduce the number of victims, was there.” Melinda said quietly to Charlie.

“Not likely. By the time we would have arrived, they’d probably have either ran off or gotten killed by the law enforcers.” Charlie said, somewhat sadly.

“We’d likely just end up adding ourselves to the pile of corpses, er, statues.” Nisbeth chimed in as we got in line for the next ship to Fremdesland. The que seemed kind of long, which made us wonder whether there was enough space for us Seems like one ship sailed each day from here, one going to Fremdesland, the other to Conviction according to the information bulletin, so if it was all full, then we’d be spending another day here. Thankfully, that ended up not being the case as we were allowed on the rather crowded ship. I was a little worried about whether it would sail well or not, but after a good couple of hours out at sea, my concerns were soon eased.

Low, quiet murmurs were rather constant on the ship, obviously about last night’s events and how people wanted to get away from them or return to their families in their homeland. They didn’t seem very bright, given it sounded like Fremdesland was getting hit just as hard, and since New Zürich had completely isolated itself from the outside world, family reunions would be rather difficult for some.

Looking around, I wondered if one of these travellers could be in league with The Devourer. It was certainly possible, as I noticed no distinct physical features on that mienshao back in Conviction that made it seem particularly odd. It’s technically possible that even some of those who I was working with could be one of its soldiers, though it seemed incredibly unlikely. I believe I had been alone with each and every one of them, so there’d have been opportunities for them to kill me if they really weren’t who they said they were. From what I could tell, it didn’t seem likely that they could turn more than one person into a black statue at once, and it took a few seconds of concentration to pull off that awful skill, so all things considered, an attack aboard this ship seemed very unlikely.

“Aren’t you a magnet for disaster.” Nisbeth said to me from behind with a cheeky grin.

“Hardly my fault though, isn’t it.” I replied, playing along with him.

“Well, you dragged me away from my home. In hindsight, probably a good thing since I’m less isolated, but given what happened last night, that might not matter too much anymore.” He said, sounding worried.

“I’d say ‘don’t worry’, but forgoing fear entire never worked out well for some of the people I knew back home. So, uh, be afraid, but don’t let yourself get too miserable over this. Like I said, I’ll make sure we’ll end up safe and sound.” I said as he smiled slightly.

“I already promised you that. Just don’t make it harder than it needs to be, and never go to Mistet Orkenen. The Pale Communion practically run that place from the last I heard of that shithole.” He said. Really hope Melinda would have no intentions of ever going there, but the way things are shaping up in this world, I couldn’t be sure. Nisbeth’s protective nature over me still felt a little strange though. I only assumed it was out of some sense of duty, but it was mutually beneficial, so I wasn’t going to complain.

The journey there was thankfully uneventful, but that creeping unease never left anyone in this ship. For all we knew, The Devourer could be on Fremdesland, and coming here with Melinda could be the decision that ends all seven of us. Mountains started creeping out of this patch of fog we entered and stood there like great pillars, reaching up to the sky. I was rather glad to leave this cramped boat as we walked onto dry land. The gravelly ground jabbed my feet slightly, but it seemed like the skin on my soles were getting quite tough, as it didn’t feel painful to walk on the pointy stones. The air around us felt a tad chilly as a cool breeze ruffled the fur on my back. Nice, perfect weather for me. Reminds me of back home in York.

“Now this is quite pretty…This is Südreiches, right?” Melinda said, looking up at the rest of the small port town.

“Indeed. Anyway, we shouldn’t waste too much time. Heinrich lives on the edge of Thaln…eh, I’m not good with Fremdeslandian names.” Charlie said as Melinda looked at a map of the continent on a board to her left.

“Thalnacht?” She asked.

“Yeah, that’s the place. Not a long walk, just about five hours.” Charlie responded, and after a quick bite to eat in a small café, we set out.

“Food’s better here, not going to lie.” I said quietly, thinking of the nice cake I had. I probably should have eaten something healthier, but it looked so delicious with the jam and chocolate coverings. Just thinking about how it looked made me swallow my excess saliva. Didn’t taste quite as good as it looked, but it was definitely good enough for me. Hoped we could try more of their desserts later during any down time.

“Look at this scenery Basil!” Melinda said, looking all around her as we soon found ourselves by pretty, steep little hills. “This so reminds me of Switzerland when we had that three-day hike through the valleys and hills.”

“Wonder why they made the capital ‘New Zürich’ then.” I said, laughing playfully at her. Regardless, walking along the lakeside path while being sheltered from the wind by the surrounding mountains really made it feel I was back in that adventurous and fun hike. Absolutely nothing went wrong during those few days, and while it was foolish to believe so, I guess there was always a chance that nothing wrong will happen here either.

The water beside us seemed even clearer than Lake Lucerne, its clarity only matched by the sky above us. Good thing the fog cleared up, else we wouldn’t be able to enjoy such a view. Nisbeth and Murphy looked utterly stunned, as if they had walked into a fairy tale. Of course, I can tell them how it really feels to be inside one of those! The trees, while having strangely shaped ferns that seemed rather disorderly, lined themselves almost perfectly together as they raced up the mountain, giving way to shrubs, grasses, rock, and, on the highest mountains, snow.

“It’s just like that painting in school…” Murphy said, slowing his pace to gaze around the picturesque valley.

“Starting to really remember why I dreamt of being an explorer in the first place.” Nisbeth said, grinning widely. “Thanks for paying for the trip over here! I’d never have been able to afford it myself.”

“Just remember why we’re here.” Charlie said, taking out his bottle and taking a fairly large drink. Not sure whether it was booze or just water, but knowing him, it was probably the former. “Though I see what you mean.”

“Wish we went mountaineering here more often.” Audrey said as we eventually took a short break to eat some snacks.

“I overheard you two comparing this place to some other location called Switzerland.” Audrey said as she ate a small sandwich. It looked really strange seeing her eat with that gigantic mouth on her head, and put me off my food quite a bit as I watched it slaver all over the place.

“See how the capital’s New Zürich? Well, regular Zürich is in a similar looking place back on Earth called Switzerland. From what I seen of the map of this planet though, New Australia is nothing like Australia. Yours is a big tundra, ours is a bit of a desert. I’d be happy to help you fill in some of the historical gaps of this place and give a few ideas what went on when these previous humans found this place. Still, makes me wonder if the human was Swiss or a German who thought this place looked like Switzerland.” I said, rambling on slightly while looking away from Audrey. It wasn’t disrespectful, but the sight of the sky-scraping mountains was a lot prettier than a mawile demolishing the rest of the sandwich.

“If we have any down time, I’d love to go over this with you!” She said, and shortly afterwards, we were soon on our way again. The mountains started thinning slightly as we left the lake behind us, and after spending a couple of hours on a mountain pass, we were greeted with the sight of a town nestled comfortably between three hills.

“See that large, pointed house just at the left edge of Thalnacht? That’s where we’re going. I just hope Heinrich and Duke can help us though, since we’re kind of exposed out here.” Charlie said, glancing at Melinda.

“I doubt this will be a total waste of time, so just relax a bit, would you?” Melinda said as Charlie took another swig.

“What do you think I’m doing right now?” Charlie said, gesturing to his bottle. “I’ll share some with you if you need it.”

“I’m quite all right thanks.” She said, and before long, we were knocking on the door of the rhyperior’s house. About three seconds later, said rhyperior opened the door with a surprised but friendly look on his face.

“Ah, it’s been to long Charlie!” He said as the large pokemon gave the ampharos a tight hug. “Please, come in! Place is messy since you didn’t warn me you were coming, so please no complaining about that.” The place didn’t seem to be the most well looked after, but given there were a fair number of us, I’m glad it was spacious.

“Right, good to see you too, but I’m more worried about The Devourer.” Charlie said, sitting down on a large sofa.

“Of course, Charlie, of course. Hey, Duke, friends of mine are here! Don’t worry, they won’t kill you!” The rhyperior called out and laughed as a vigoroth walked in quickly.

“Ah, you must be the human that was mentioned in the letter!” Audrey said as she gestured to Melinda and I. “Well, you’ll probably be glad to be reunited with some of your own kind.”

“Melinda and Basil Squire.” My sister said as she went over to shake his hand, being careful not to cut herself on Duke’s claws.

“Oh, shit! I heard the news about you vanishing just after I ‘won’ the finals back in the states! My opponent didn’t show up since he didn’t want to risk suffering the safe fate, but when I heard that it was you and not Omar that was taken here, I realised it might not have mattered!” Duke said, twitching slightly as he shook my hand. “Uh, you have no idea what it’s like to never be able to sleep. It’s…well, I can’t describe it to someone who’s not a vigoroth.”

“We’ve all had a lot to learn. Still, seems like we all got lucky to run into good people here.” I said as felt my face sag with sadness slightly. “…Not all of us were, though.”

“Heinrich’s a bit odd, but he’s friendly enough.” Duke said, constantly pacing. “Oh, before you tell me your story and shit, I’ll tell you something Heinrich and I found. I’d say it’d blow your mind, but I don’t think that’s possible anymore given what happened to us, haha!”

“Well, I don’t think we’re in a hurry.” Melinda said as we sat next to each other, though from the way Duke was acting, I don’t think he knew what seats were even used for.

“Heinrich was trying to figure out how to get into New Zürich, but neither of us are exactly stealthy, and they sealed the border real good. You, Basil…you might be small enough. Anyway, Entei…” He said, looking like he was having trouble collecting his thoughts.

“Kind of a non-sequitur there.” I said as Duke put up his hand.

“You try thinking straight with a heart that always pumps this fast! …About Entei, the two of us saw him with Raikou, though they didn’t see us. That rhyperior didn’t wanna tussle with them. Not that it mattered since Raikou saw us anyway and told us to buzz off. Crazy, isn’t it? You see two mythological creatures and you just kind of don’t care too much. I mean, this out of body experience will forever ruin all other surprises. That big dog seemed to hate me though, and if I was alone, I might have finally been able to get some sleep. He seemed to think I was one of them. I’ve not seen any of them yet though.” He said, his rapid speech getting more and more erratic as he went on.

“If it’s ‘them’, then we’ve actually killed one before.” I said as he leapt up in the air in surprise.

“Woah! Did you just smash it on the head or something?” He asked as I showed him the weapon.

“Just did what humans do best: make stuff.” I said as he looked at it closely.

“Well, remember when I said we wanted to sneak into New Zürich? Well, if you think that’s a weapon, wait until you see one of these!” He said, bringing out an odd red, ruby-like crystal from his bag. “Never seen one of these babies in action before, but from the tales I heard, these things can unleash powers so big that they’d assuredly be banned in professional tournaments…I can’t get it to work, and neither can Heinrich. That being said, of everyone here…” He continued and gave the strange crystal to Melinda.

“You’re just giving me this? Feels really warm actually.” She said, looking at it really closely.

“Just a hunch, but maybe you can cause one serious forest fire with this. Just promise everyone that you’ll be careful with it!” Duke said, his voice becoming rather shrill as his constant pacing quickened.

“Why would I never not be careful here? This is a long way from our previously cushy lives!” Melinda said as the three of us laughed briefly.

I just hoped being careful would be enough.
Pokemon: Incarnation - Chapter 20
This university term was a lot harder, hence why Incarnation was frozen for a while. Still, here's another chapter, and with any luck, I'll get another one out before the workload gets piled on once more.

With Basil and crew merely hiding from the danger, Melinda has had enough, and is determined to pursue more active solutions to this problem

Chapter 21: The Dividing Line pocket-fulla-shells.deviantart…
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  • Listening to: Queens Of The Stone Age
  • Reading: The screen
  • Watching: Wimbledon
  • Playing: Super Mario Maker
  • Eating: Saliva
  • Drinking: Saliva
This is a copy-paste from the Afterword on The Unknown Continuum/Scenes From A Memory, so if you've already read that, then there's nothing new for you here. Just thought I'd separate the part that would likely interest people the most and put it in journal form.




I am indeed planning to make a follow up to The Unknown Continuum. It'll be called Pokemon: Incarnation and it'll involve Super Mystery Dungeon this time round, although it'll be a considerably looser with the source material than TUC, and TUC was already kind of fast and loose with the games anyway.



But PocketFullaShells, a little bird told me that you said that Gates to Infinity was by far the best story of the PMD games, and that you didn't even like Super's story very much! So why are you not basing a follow up on Gates instead?”



The little bird is right. I do think that Gates had the best PMD story by a pretty significant margin (though episodes 2 and 5 from Sky were better,) but the problem with Gates in lifting stuff from it to make a story of my own is that Gates doesn't give me too much to work with. The oddity with Gates's story is that it uses a lot of tropes I typically don't like, yet because they executed them well, it ended up being quite good. A lot of the story dealt with negativity, but I already had Darkrai as a bit of a negativity entity and have Floyd criticise the very idea of 'negative emotions.' (if I were writing TUC now, I'd have put a bigger spotlight on this. Still, Floyd became the hero the world needed in spite of being full of fear and fury, so maybe it was implied. As a result, a lot of the core concepts for a potential Gates-themed story kind of get sunk. Also, I'd struggle to try my hand at writing the whole paradise thing without it getting political. I don't see how I could do it without heading down a road I don't want to go on. Even though Gates's story has its problems, there's not really much I think I could add to it. Its characters were much more well developed in general compared to the other games, so in a way, I'm not writing a Gates-esqe story because I like it.



Super's story is the exact opposite. I really liked a lot of the different directions it was heading down and the concepts used, but I thought they just fucked it all up quite badly in a lot of places. The pacing is so disgustingly terrible that it makes the other PMDs have great pacing by comparison, and it had some of the most lopsided use of its characters, such as making the likeable school kids completely irrelevant, and making the partner pretty much the sole main character was its death sentence. That being said, some of the concepts such as being treated as a child when it was implied that you were older, the partner not achieving his goal almost right away, multiple continents, possession, trust issues, poke-hell and aliens were some really great ideas. This really gives me a lot to work with and can lead to many different roads and possibilities for stories, characters, concepts, comedy and drama. I'm not planning to 'fix' Super's story by any means, since it'll be considerably more different from Super than TUC was to Explorers.



So, what can you expect from Pokemon: Incarnation? What am I aiming for here? First, I want to actually pace it well, given, like PMD stories in general, the pacing was off in TUC and SFAM. Too much arseing around in the beginning. I want to give the earlier chapters more substance and make every scene relevant to the story and helping you get to know the characters and develop them. I want to make the chapters a bit shorter too, aiming for about six to nine thousand words per chapter. Some of the TUC and SFAM chapters got pretty bloated, TUC25 getting over fifteen thousand words long. I'll aim for more distinct characters this time, and I'll probably spend a bit of time drumming the traits in outside the story so I can learn better to write them inside the story, to avoid getting another vanilla main character such as Serge. I'll also have a larger main cast this time, something I'll lift from Gates, to help lift some of the weight from the two main characters, something that really helped Gates out. In short, I want it to be better than The Unknown Continuum.



As for other details you can expect from it, I'll give you a little preview for some of the main cast.



Basil Squire: A twenty-three year old from York in northern England. A failed pokemon trainer who was constantly unable to get much from his team in spite of being a strategic mastermind, he ended up living in his sister's shadow. A fairly relaxed person, he cares about those within his circle, but doesn't really give a shit for anyone outside his friends and family, which often became a source for conflict. Very shrewd, he often plots his life events and plans out in meticulous detail, but often falters when unpredictable elements are thrown in. Still has a desire for adventure, like when he did during his trainer years. Absolutely terrified of goodras.



Melinda Squire: Basil's older sister, aged twenty-seven and professional trainer. Being great with pokemon, she was unfortunately not very good at strategies during battle, so she often gets Basil to do it for her. Extroverted, she often tries to help people with their problems as well as getting to know all sorts, almost to the extent of having a bit of a messiah complex at times, which often clashes with Basil's more insular, introverted nature. Always tries to take the good out of any new experience, whether the experience itself is good or bad. Unfortunately, her hunger for responsibility can often backfire, leading to much senseless stress.



Murphy: A local pokemon. Just graduated from school at the age of seventeen and is dying to see the rest of the world to fulfil his dreams of being an actor. Very energetic and often rather juvenile for his age, he often inadvertently causes a lot of himself and others around him, only tempered further by his distaste of any rule of regulation. In spite of this, he usually tries to do the right thing, albeit often doesn't think of others and the consequences too much. Is very fascinated about the history, legends and myths of humankind. Not sure what species he'll be yet.



Nisbeth: A laid back Toxicroak who lives in a shack at the edge of town in a swamp, aged twenty-nine. A complete slob, doing the bare minimum to get by in life. He's seen as a bit of a weirdo by the locals, but is ultimately pretty harmless providing you don't go out of your way to antagonize him. He's moral enough to not allow his laziness to harm others however, and still seeks out some company from time to time. In spite of all that, he might be keeping his eyes out for an opportunity of some kind.




However, one thing that is very important to the making of Pokemon: Incarnation, and it's not good news regarding the story. Come the end of July, I'll be on holiday for a month, and then it's off to university for me. As you can imagine, this will eat up a lot of time. Might not eat up much more time than work, at least for the first two years, but a lot of free time will end up going towards my studies, and after all that, I might feel too mentally worn out to write some of Incarnation. Now, this will depend on many factors. How will I feel when I live on campus? Will it make me feel more or less productive? How much time will university actually take? What will living next to the city do for other aspects of my life? As for now, I can't tell. I predict that I'll never stop writing Incarnation until it's over, but droughts of writing could be likely, so expect slow progress. Then again, my progress was all over the place in TUC anyway. Regardless, as long as I start it, I'll likely never abandon it, since I hate seeing a job half done. In short, I'll be very preoccupied, but I'm fairly certain there'll always at least be some time to write it.



Regardless of what happens, hearing your words and feedback always encourages me. Still, in a couple of day's time, I'll be going away for a week to walk the West Highland Way. Floyd has finished his adventure, so I think it's time for one of my own. Here's to the future, and for making Pokemon: Incarnation better than The Unknown Continuum.

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Pocket-fulla-shells
Andrew 'Justice' Williamson
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United Kingdom
Current Residence: Scotland
Favourite genre of music: Metal/Prog/Game soundtracks
Operating System: Windows 7
Skin of choice: My own skin, I'm not in favour of transplant
Personal Quote: "Gimme a moment until I can put that thought into words..."
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:iconyarrix:
Yarrix Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
Happy Early Birthday!
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:iconmysticduskastudios:
MysticDuskaStudios Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Hey, how are you doing?
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:iconexplorercyndaquil:
ExplorerCyndaquil Featured By Owner May 7, 2014
So Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were announced today, you hyped for that? Personally, gen 3 was a huge nostalgia point for me, so I'm extremely pumped.
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:iconpocket-fulla-shells:
Pocket-fulla-shells Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
To put it bluntly, if I owned a Gameboy Advance and already played one of the Hoenn games, I would not even buy it. As much as I like Pokemon franchise (the games, at least), it's formulaic to a huge fault. Still 3 starters, grass water fire, still 8 gyms, no more no less, evil team to beat up and elite 4 and champ at the end to name a few traditions that should have been twisted about or flat out ditched long before now.

Remakes only made the issue even more in your face, and I sorely regretted taking many of my friend's advice on getting Heart Gold - they didn't even try to solve some of the issues that the original gen 2 games had such as level scaling and pokemon variety. Made me wonder why I just didn't play Crystal again.

Like I said, only reason I'm getting it is because I never played a Hoenn game, but as much as I dislike the idea of remaking games in a very formulatic series of games as it is, it's entirely possible it could cement itself as my favourite pokemon game, but that mainly boils down to how good the gen 3 games originally were unless they make fairy big changes (hopefully changes that improve them) to the games.
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:iconexplorercyndaquil:
ExplorerCyndaquil Featured By Owner May 8, 2014
Really, I don't see how the formula could change for the better. A curveball in the tradition would be very interesting to see, but as for these remakes, I am looking forward to the revisit to gen 3. The remastering of the tracks, the graphics, and possible the addition of recent gameplay mechanics could take these games and make them into something really special. Gen 3 was the generation that jumped out of the old formula as much as possible. There were new teams, a new set of Pokemon, a completely separated region, and a huge change in mechanics. Instead of a series of terrorist attacks that Rocket was notorious for, Aqua and Magma essentially tried to change the world to suit their own needs. Their actions seemed much more grandiose compared to Rocket.

Aside from that, there are a few annoyances I hope they rectify this time around such as the obscene amounts of WATER and the overwhelming number of trumpets in the OST. The OST in itself was great, but the mp3 capabilities of the 3DS could really do it justice.
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:iconkurtisthesnivy:
KurtisTheSnivy Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the watch~!  :D
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:icon42dannybob:
42Dannybob Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy Birthday :)
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:iconexplorercyndaquil:
ExplorerCyndaquil Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2013
Yo, can we get an update on continuum? I've been checking back every once in awhile but nothing has happened. Just want to know the state of affairs.
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:iconpocket-fulla-shells:
Pocket-fulla-shells Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I'm in the process of editing the spin-off to fix continuity, grammar and just to generally tighten things up. After I'm done with that, I'll add a new chapter and then get on part 21. I promise I'll get 21 done before the end of the year!
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:iconexplorercyndaquil:
ExplorerCyndaquil Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2013
Ok sweet. It will be interesting to see how those two are drawn together as well. Can't wait!
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