Chapter 3- The Road of Trials
The Underground was bustling busily as members scurried across the main hall. Merchants counted their profits so far, Rouges discussed tactics to doing their missions, and Explorers talked about recent mystery dungeons that had begun popping up. Echos bounced of the walls of the caves and sounded like a lot of commotion.
Sandy and Wott woke up with a yawn and ready to start the day. Today, they would officially begin life with the Underground. Wott couldn’t contain his excitement and began, literally, bouncing around the room. Sandy, no matter how excited she was, remained rather calm. When they walked outside their room, they were met with the Guild Leaders. Marusaki gave them a soft smile, but Aaron and Seth still seemed a bit uneasy with them around.
Marusaki walked over to them. “We’ve been waiting for you to wake up!”
Aaron nodded at what she said. “If you’re still unsure of which guild to join, Zygarde has given you a mission to do.”
“Here’s what you have to do,” Seth added. “There’s a member of the underground, a little Eevee, and lately his older brother had begun wandering around outside the caves. He hasn’t returned and that’s where you two come in. Find the Umbreon at all costs.”
“He was last seen around here,” Aaron pulled out a map and set it on the ground for the young ones to look at. “A dungeon called Emerald Cave is where he was last seen heading toward. You need to go to the depths and search for him throughout the cave.”
Wott and Sandy nodded, “Understood!”
With that, they took off in the direction they had entered the Underground.
“There’s no need for that.” Marusaki said.
The new recruits paused, looking back at the Gardevoir. She lifted her hands, and her eyes glowed with psychic power. A light engulfed Wott and Sandy.
“This is usually how we get members to and from the caves,” She explained. “That way you don’t have to go through all that mess of a labyrinth.”
“Thank you, Marusaki!” Wott said.
Suddenly they vanished.
Seth looked at the other guild leaders. “Now it’s our turn. We’ll set up our ‘traps’ and see what they do. If they pass one, then that automatically makes them a part of that guild!”
“I’m not sure I like Zygarde’s plan,” Marusaki said quietly. “I seems a bit unfair those two little ones…”
“Don’t forget, Marusaki. We’re also following them to make sure they’re not working with Xerneas or Yveltal.” Aaron said.
Marusaki nodded. Using her psychic powers, she teleported the guild leaders and herself out of the cave system.
When the light disappeared, Wott and Sandy could see again. But the bright light from the sun affected their vision for a bit. They had become so used to the dim light underground, it felt almost weird to be outside again. They appeared right next to the cave where they had entered.
Wott pulled out the map from his toolbox and spread it on the grass. Sandy looked down at the little pictures, trying to locate Emerald Cave again. She pressed her paw to the picture of the cave when she found it. With a nod, Wott placed it back. He looked at Sandy with much courage in his eyes.
“This will be how we prove to The Underground that we’re on their side,” Wott exclaimed. “And then they’ll trust us!”
Sandy smiled. “I certainly hope so, Wott. We’ve come so far from Grassroot Town. It can’t all be in vain,” She stopped for a moment and sighed, glancing back at Wott. “Now let’s go rescue that Eevee’s big brother!”
They began running off in the direction of the cave. Both had big smiles covering their faces. Finally. This was their first step to becoming an A-class Exploration Team.
A little ways from Emerald cave, the three guild leaders sat behind some bushes, planning their traps. Marusaki felt her trap would get them to join the Merchants. Now it was just a waiting game. When the leaders heard the duo walking up the path they ducked down into the bushes and waited to see what happen.
Seth whispered to Marusaki, “What exactly was your trap?”
Marusaki giggled. “You’ll see~.”
Wott and Sandy approached Marusaki’s trap slowly and when it was within sight, Wott squinted his eyes to see what it was. Sandy ran over and sniffed the ground. On the ground, they saw a pile of money just sitting there! Wott’s eyes widened. Sandy backed away, a little cautious.
“Who on earth would just leave 10,000 Poke here?” Sandy asked.
Wott shrugged. “Who knows.”
Wott reached down towards the pile of money. Marusaki giggled from behind the bush. ‘Yes! They’re going to join the merchants! More members means more treasure and money!’
Sandy place her paw on his hand. “Wott, use your head! No ones going to just leave money sitting in the middle of the woods. It’s obviously a trap!”
Wott sighed knowing it was probably true. It was a lot of money though…
They continued on and Marusaki become angered. She turned around in the bush, crossing her arms. Seth laughed at her and Aaron shook his head.
“Looks like I’m getting some new recruits!” Seth said happily.
With that being said, the three leaders took off, following the duo into Emerald Cave. That was also where Seth’s trap lay hidden.
Inside, the cave was lit up by tons of illuminating emeralds and all kinds of other crystals and gems. It was so beautiful. And yet, it felt ominous going inside this place. Even more so than where the Underground was located. Maybe because wild Pokemon wouldn’t leap out at you and just attack you?
Now the guild leaders hid behind giant boulders. They watched as the new recruits turned the corner of the cave and Seth couldn’t stop smiling. Aaron looked at him, just a bit scared.
“What did you do,” Aaron asked. “And should I be scared?”
Seth smiled evilly. “Maybe just a bit.”
Seth made the turn, following them and the other guild leaders crept from their hiding place, following Seth. Hiding behind stalagmites, they watched in awe when they spotted Seth’s trap.
Wott and Sandy shared the same expressions as the hidden guild leaders. Awe, confusion, and terror. Before them, a small pond full of Carvanha and Basculin. Above the pond, stalactites hung from the roof of the cave. And on the side walls, sharp rocks came out. It certainly looked like a mess.
Aaron and Maru glanced back at Seth and gave him a shared expression.
“You really went all out this time.” Aaron said. He was actually quite impressed.
“How did you even do this?” Marusaki asked.
Seth smiled proudly. “I have my ways.”
Wott looked at Sandy’s pleading eyes.
“Please don’t drag me through the water…” she said quietly.
“I won’t.” Wott said, a bit sadly.
Wott paced around, thinking of ways to get across. The walls on the side looked really slippery. If they fell in the pond, well… ouch. And Wott can’t use surf to get them across, because he’ll be torn limb from limb.
Seth couldn’t help but brag. “You see, if they have the skills and technique of a rogue, they’ll make it through that mess outstandingly.”
Marusaki frowned. “I feel bad for the poor things.”
Wott finally had an idea. “Sandy! I know dig! We can totally avoid everything in our way!”
Sandy smiled. “That’s right! Good thinking. But, the water. What if we dig too close to the pond?”
“I’ll be careful,” he began digging fast into the ground. “Follow me, and stay close!”
Sandy hopped into the hole after him.
Seth’s jaw dropped and he fell backwards, landing in a fetal position.
Marusaki looked back at him and snickered. “Poor Seth.”
“Well, since both your traps failed,” Aaron stood up and used dig himself. “Looks like they’ll be joining the Explorers guild.”
Wott and Sandy finally made it to the end of the cave. In the back of the cave, they saw a figure tied with rope to a stalagmite.
“That’s Umbreon,” Wott cheered. “Let’s go!”
The duo ran at the Umbeon. The Umbreon said nothing, but looked them in the eye.
“Sir, we’re here to rescue you! Are you injured at all?” Sandy asked calmly.
The Umbreon said nothing.
"Um, sir?’ Wott asked, tilting his head to the side.
There was something off with this Umbreon. Finally Sandy sighed angrily.
“We’ve been tricked!” she yelped.
“What’re you talking about!?” Wott asked.
Sandy walked over to the Umbeon and bit into the head. She ripped the head off and stuffing fell out. The cotton fell to the ground.
“It’s a Pokedoll!” she yelled.
“What!?” Wott asked. ‘How could I have been fooled by that!?’
“That’s right, it’s a dud.” a voice called out.
Sandy and Wott glanced around the room, trying to pinpoint the voice. It sounded familiar. But it echoed off of the walls, making it seem just a bit different. Finally, from the ground, an explosion.
Standing before them, a shiny Lucario. But this Lucario had on a Marowak skull.
Marusaki and Seth looked at Aaron in disgust. ‘Really!?’ they thought. Aaron wasn’t fooling anyone with that disguise…
“Aaron…?” Sandy asked.
Aaron gulped. “No! I’m the kidnapper of the Umbreon!”
Wott pointed behind him and when Aaron turned, he saw the Umbreon’s stuffed head had been ripped off. He connected his head with his hand, making a face palm.
Marusaki bore a bored expression. “No matter how serious Aaron may appear, he can’t do anything right…”
“Agreed…” Seth said.
Aaron sighed. “Looks like you guys have beaten even me…” He pulled off the Marowak skull and smiled.
“Wait, this was set up!?” Sandy roared furiously.
Marusaki rose up from behind the stalagmites. “Yes. You see, Zygarde had a plan for seeing which guild you belonged in. So, we decided to set up these ‘traps’ and see if you passed them.”
Wott turned to the Gardevoir. “Passed?”
Seth followed Marusaki. “If you picked up the money that Marusaki had left, that means you would’ve been a possible Merchant. If you had made it through my little obstacle course back in the cave, you would’ve joined the Rouges no problem.”
“And you saw through my disguise. So that means you’ve defeated me.”
“It’s not that hard, Aaron…” Marusaki said.
“But I don’t get it! Why would you set this up…?” Wott looked down sadly.
“We also did it to see if you were trustworthy,” Aaron Explained. “If you had said anything about Xerneas or Yveltal, we would’ve shown ourselves.”
Wott and Sandy paused.
“So our mission… was in vain…?” Sandy asked.
“Of course not. It was for us to help you pick a guild. Have you decided yet?” Marusaki asked.
Sandy and Wott looked at each other. They smiled and with a nod, they turned to the guild leaders.
“We came here to help Pokemon. To figure out why Xerneas and Yveltal started this all in the first place. And to try and decrease the uprising of so many Mystery Dungeons.” Sandy said.
“So we choose…” Wott began.
Both Sandy and Wott finished his sentence. “Explorers Guild!”
Aaron nodded. “If Zygarde trusts you are not with the legendaries… then so will I.”
Marusaki smiled at her friend and Seth nodded to him.
Aaron looked at the new recruits.
“Wott and Sandy,” He paused for a moment and then smiled at them. “Welcome to the Explorers Guild.”