Captain Mauru’s drinking game had been completed, and both Nikosi and Alex had selected their tankards. On the count of three, both of them downed the contents. Almost instantaneously, Alex began a desperate search for something which could quench the flames inside his mouth. In his scramble, the mysterious Ultra Ball on his belt became dislodged and fell into the whirlpool, which was getting ever closer to its goal of devouring the ship and its passengers.
“No!” shouted Alex, as the ball fell into the ocean. A look of anguish appeared on his face as he thought of losing his pokemon to the depths.
“Don’t worry. You can have that pokemon safely transferred to a new ball once we get back,” said Lemia, attempting to console the future officer.
“Yeah, that’s the least of our worries, Alex!” cried Justice. The pokemon was correct. In the time since the riddle had started, the ship had come perilously close to the edge of the vortex. The force of the whirlpool had become too great, and now escape was impossible.
“What are we going to do?” worried Laetus. “I can’t breathe underwater you know!”
“Not to worry!” said Lucid cheerfully. “I’m sure the Captain won’t let any harm come to us. At the very least, he shan’t allow his vessel to be destroyed.” In fact, Lucid knew more about their situation than he had led the others to believe. When one is as old as he, one tends to hear a wide variety of rumors and legends. One such legend was the tale of the “sunken city,” a marvel of human engineering hidden deep below the surface of the sea. If the legend held true, the maelstrom, while certainly dangerous, could be tamed. During such an event, the way to the city would be opened.
As the ship sank lower and lower into the waters, the current seemed to lull, and the ocean itself seemed to part before their very eyes. The adventurers passed through what could only be described as a magical barrier and soon laid eyes upon the fabled city.
“So the legends were true,” pondered Lucid.
“Aye… That they be,” replied Mauru, awestruck.
“You knew this was going to happen, didn’t you?” Lemia questioned.
“Aye! That I did! What kind oh a seaman would I be ifin’ I couldn’t get me crew, an’ cargo across the sea aye? YAR HAR HAR HAR! I know ye be worried by ye were in no dangers not when I’m around YAR HAR HAR HAR!” The city was a marvel to behold. The entire bubble of air was aglow with a deep blue hue, and the same tone could be seen emanating from the local wildlife. Everyone stood in awe of such a sight.
The vessel was slowly and gently guided to a sandy bank. When it stopped, the Captain had his crew tie up the ship so it didn’t float away, and the trainers began to explore the beach. A little farther inland they could see a immense wall encasing the legendary city. Within the wall stood a door guarded by two stone arcanine. The door bore a crest of two dragon type pokemon both unique from each other yet very similar. One dragon was light and airy, it had feathers all over its body and looks almost angelic. The other one on the other hand had a sinister look about it and was almost demonic.
Lemia stood on the sand just before approaching the door. She looked behind her and shrugged. “I guess we should knock.” She approached the door but was met before she could touch it.
“Halt travelers.” Came a gravelly voice, almost as if it hadn’t been used in years. The voice originated from one of the statues with a golden orb in its paw. “Before you enter Aresentis, you must pass a trial to prove your worth.”
“All who enter must do so,” continued the the other statue.
After getting over the shock that a statue had spoken to her, she then turned and asked the statue what task they would need to complete. They were instructed to find the shards of a tablet and piece them back together.
“Oh. My. Gosh,” said Lucid. “Does this mean we get to solve another puzzle?!” The ancient one’s eye sockets lit up in anticipation. “You three!” the undead addressed his pokemon companions, “Help the others locate the fragments. I will remain here and do what all skeletons do best!”
They made up two teams, Alex, Messorem, and Husani were one, and Nikosi, Justice, Heruki, and Leatus formed another. Maeror decided to venture off on his own.
Alex was immersed, looking for fragments in the sand when Messorem called him over. “Hey, Alex, isn’t this yours?” she poked at a drenched Ultra Ball, unable to pick it up. Alex grabbed the Ultra Ball, desperate to check on it’s inhabitant but was shocked and dismayed to find it was empty.
“No! He’s not here!” He yelled in dismay.
“I’m sure he’s alright.” Husani tried to comfort him. “If his Pokeball is here, we should be able to find him here as well.”
“He’s a fire type, if he got out of his ball while it was in the whirlpool he’s going to be in bad shape.” Alex was worried for his pokemon, they may not have bonded yet but he still cared for his well being.
“We’ll keep a look out for him.” Messorem assured him before they went back to searching.
Maeror was flashing around the shore, teleporting from place to place as he sifted through different parts of the sandy beach. Laetus spent more time playing than searching, but he still managed to find his fair share of fragments. Heruki searched frantically, but mostly served only to refill the holes Justice was digging. After a short time, all of the pieces of the tabled had been collected, and Lucid began piecing them together in earnest.
After the tablet was finally reconstructed, the group was ready to present it to the statues.
“Who would like to do the honors?” asked Lucid.
“You put it together Lucid,” Nikosi said. “You can give it to them.” Alex nodded in agreement.
“Very well! Let us proceed. And Alex,” Lucid pulled him aside. “We’ll find him.” With the tablet in place, the doors to the lost city rumbled open.
Lucid Blackwater was a lonely skeleton. Although he was the friendly sort, many of his fellow islanders were uneasy in the presence of an ancient one such as Lucid. Therefore, he was very pleasantly surprised when he met Alex. The undead had, against his better judgement, attended the island’s recent festival, and there he met one who saw past his outward appearance and treated him like any other person. Better yet, the lad was interested in becoming a swordsman. The skeleton smiled as he thought back on the first lesson he and Alex had shared.
Lucid was on his way to surprise Alex with a gift--and the subject of their next lesson. The revenant had decided that if Alex was to become a proper fencer, he would need a sword of his own. Vorsu and Laetus tagged along on the errand, eager to spend some time in the city. Lucid had invited Alex to join him at Blackwater Keep for their upcoming training session. Soon they would be studying the saber. You’d swear you could see a gleam of anticipation in the skeleton’s eye, if he had eyes.
“Do you think Ichabod will be there?” asked Laetus with a wide grin across his face. “I like him. He’s funny.”
“Oh, don’t let Ichabod hear you say that,” Lucid smirked. “He might lose his head.”
“That’s just wrong,” Vorsu said shakily, trying to keep her composure. She was certainly laughing on the inside.
As the three rounded the corner of the street on which Jaz’s bar was located, the ancient’s senses put him on alert. Something was amiss.
“Hold,” he ordered. As the undead peered around the corner, two Riolu exited the building, similar to each other, yet unique.
“Well that’s about it Husani, do you have anymore questions for me?” The Riolu hybrid said to the other riolu.
“I think I’ve got it Ms. Justice.” The Anubis riolu said.
In the blink of an eye-socket, a figure appeared. His appearance was beastly, yet he carried himself in a way that was distinctly “human.” The beast-man sent out his pokemon, though Lucid could not tell what species it was as it was obscured by its trainer, and ordered it to use hypnosis on the unsuspecting Riolu. With the young pokemon unconscious, the vagabond returned to the shadows, lying in wait for his next victim. The wait was short, as another being soon exited the bar.
Alex! thought the revenant. I have to warn him. However, before Lucid managed to give the boy a signal, the beast struck again. With that, Alex’s assailant absconded with the skeleton’s young friend. “Vorsu, stay here and keep watch over the establishment. Don’t let anyone who doesn’t belong here inside. Laetus and I will chase them down and see if we can’t figure out where Alex is being taken.”
The undead warrior gave pursuit and tailed the attacker through the city. The wolfman was careful to obfuscate his true destination, twisting and turning enough to lose even the most determined pursuer, but the old bag of bones had been around for far too long to be outsmarted so easily. Not bad. He certainly knows how to get rid of a tail. It’s impressive for one with such unusual appearance to blend in with the crowd so seamlessly. Before long, the destination became clear. The harbor… If they get on a ship, I may not be able to find them again. Lucid elected to run ahead of his quarry. If he could get to the harbor first, he could stow away on the kidnapper’s ship. Then, when the time was right, he would mutiny. “Laetus, make haste. I need you to return to the keep and tell Maeror and Messorem to meet me at the docks. There is no time to waste.”
The young Eevee sprinted through the city, jumping from rooftop to rooftop in order to optimize his route. “I have to get there yesterday!” the fox thought to himself. “Alex could be in serious trouble.” He picked up the pace in a desperate scramble to rescue his friend. A cone of compressed air formed in front of Laetus and with a thunderous crack, he launched into a Quick Attack. “Woah,” said the stunned Eevee. “When did I learn to do that?”
The fox continued toward the keep with newfound determination, using his new ability to gain short bursts of speed. Soon, his home was on the horizon, and before he knew it, he burst through the doors of the barracks, leaving a Laetus-shaped hole in the doorway.
“What the hell?” demanded Maeror. “What do you think you’re doing? Do you know how much it will cost to fix--” The hybrid trailed off as he noticed the look of desperation on his comrade’s face. “What happened?”
“No time… to explain. Teleport. Docks.” gasped Laetus, trying to catch his breath.
“The docks?” asked Messorem. “I thought you three were going to visit Alex.”
“Alex has been kidnapped! We need to go now,” the fox explained. A brief look of shock flashed over Maeror’s face before he grabbed both Laetus and Messorem by the arms. There was a bright flash, and the world seemed to melt away. Soon the three found themselves standing on the coast near the docks. Messorem and Laetus took some time to reorient themselves. Teleportation can be jarring for non-Psychic types. Messorem quickly got her bearings, but Laetus seemed sick to his stomach. His long sprint combined with teleportation sickness was taking its toll. From a nearby ship, the three pokemon heard their mentor beckoning.
The ancient arrived at the docks and boarded what must have been the abductor’s vessel. What happened next was something even one as old as he could not have anticipated. An enormous whale appeared off the coast bearing several passengers, Alex included. Each of the unwilling travellers must have met the same fate as the boy, as all of them were bound. What’s more, the whale was unmistakably wearing the same hat as the figure Lucid saw earlier. The revelation weighed on the skeleton’s mind as he struggled to come to terms with what he had just witnessed. In all his years, the only shapeshifters he had seen were Ditto, but none of them had mastered human speech.
There was a brilliant flash of light, and revenant watched as three figures emerged. “You three, over here. We must board the ship before our target spots us.” Still somewhat disoriented, the pokemon made their way toward the ship. “I’m glad to see you made it on time. Good work, Laetus.” The fox nodded, with a faint smile.
“You can count on me sir… But, do we really have to go on that boat? My stomach doesn’t feel too good,” the Eevee muttered weakly.
“I’m sorry, little one. I know the journey must have been difficult for you. Eat this. It should help to settle your stomach.” Lucid stretched out his arm and handed the young fox a Lava Cookie.
“Thank you!” said Laetus as he quickly devoured the treat. “Whmt mbout Vorsu?” he asked, mouth full. “Shouldn’t we go get her, too?”
“I wish we could,” replied the ancient. “But we cannot leave Jaz’s bar unattended. Who knows what sort of miscreants would cause trouble their without Vorsu’s watchful eye?”
Vorsu was beginning to become restless as she watched over the bar. She knew she had an important responsibility here, but it would have been a lot more fun to go on an adventure with Lucid. Still, what kind of friend would she be if she let Alex get in trouble by leaving the place unattended? The Sandshrew began looking for ways to occupy her time. During her time at Blackwater Keep, Vorsu had done her fair share of chores. Lucid treated them all as equals, and in return for his mentorship he asked that they all contribute in keeping the castle clean. As long as she had time, the least she could do was help out Jaz and Alex by doing some chores around the bar. She started by using Powdered Snow to restock the ice. She wiped down the bar and tables, and she swept and mopped the floor. Eventually, the shrew ran out of things to do and became bored once again. Suddenly, the music stage caught her eye, and she was filled with the irresistible urge to sing. As she belted out her best rendition of Mezase Pokémon Mastuā, she heard a key turn in the door.
Soon, Laetus was right as rain, and the four hid themselves away among the ship’s cargo. Messorem gathered some material from the floor of the rarely-cleaned ship, and managed to work out how to use Stealth Rock to trip up any brigands who might be searching for stowaways. Remaining vigilant, she kept watch on the stairs leading to the upper deck.
“There. Now, if anyone comes down here, we won’t be caught off-guard.” After some time, Lucid noticed that another person had arrived at the docks. This one looked like an average person, at least compared to the wolf, but something about her told the undead that she was important. From their concealment, the four unwanted passengers heard two voices, though one was too distant to make out.
“What! Have! You! Done?!”
“I’ve captured and brought trainers as ye have requested! YAR HAR HAR HAR!”
“No! No NO!” I gave you a list to go ask for their help not to kidnap them!”
“Madam! I be ashamed at such an accusation! I would never kidnap these trainers! YAR HAR HAR HAR! They reluctantly followed me out ta sea YAR HAR HAR HAR!”
“I am beginning to regret this.”
“Aye! Regret nothing lass! YAR HAR HAR HAR!“
“Fine ok release them to me, I’ll take care of debriefing and getting them caught up on what's going on. “Can you please just go get your ship ready?” As the muffled voice drew nearer, it became clear that it belonged to the assailant.
“Aye! That I Can! YAR HAR HAR HAR!” the wolfman replied. With that, the four heroes knew that they were in for a long journey. They could only hope that Alex would remain safe long enough for them to intervene.