Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Overthrown

Hello, I’m a relatively new face in the fan fiction world, and this is my first attempt at a story.
I’ve been working on it for a while now, and there will be many rookie mistakes on my part, but those can and will be ironed out as I get more practice.

Rated PG-13 for violence in later chapters.

Disclaimer: I own nothing concerning Pokemon, or Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.
That honor resides with Nintendo and others.

I do however own this story, the plotline and the characters in it. Characters and other things from this story are not to be used anywhere without my expressed permission.
Thanks for reading all that.

I would appreciate reviews, constructive criticism, and advice to improve the quality of this fic.

Let’s get started.
Chapter list:
[spoilerChapter list:37t31qwl]Chapter 0.5: System Failure
Chapter One: In Which the Story Begins
Chapter Two: A Slight Discrepancy
Chapter Three: Calibration
Chapter 4: Injustice
Chapter 5: Interference
Chapter 6: Severence
Chapter 7: Interlude
Chapter 8: Extradition


PM List:
[spoilerPM List:37t31qwl]NA


Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Overthrown

Chapter 0.5: System Failure
“A king, realizing his incompetence, can either delegate or abdicate his duties. A father can do neither. If only sons could see the paradox, they would understand the dilemma.” Marlene Dietrich

A young man in a white lab coat stood over a desk typing seemingly random numbers into the sleek computer that sat on it, inputting the necessary codes needed to cheat death. 

He looked up from his work and out of a conveniently placed window in the rock wall to peer into the chamber below.
Another scientist, this one older and balding, was dashing about the inner perimeter of the concrete walled chamber. 
He was connecting the last few wires that were chaotically laced from the ebbing power supply to a strange metal ring embedded in the wall that made it seem like a tunnel; a tunnel full of live high-voltage energy conductors and spinning metal gears that is.

Large rectangular computer monitors were placed at nearly every open space available, their screens occasionally flickering to life, and then returning to a monotonous black. The lab light fixtures mounted on the walls and ceiling where forced from the brilliance of an artificial sun down to a dull orange due to lack of power. 

A deep rumble from under their feet shook the entire facility, and caused both men to pause their actions. Concrete dust gently floated from the ceiling like a grey mist, coating both scientists’ lab coats with a layer of the chalky grey substance. 
The man from the lower room spoke, the advanced communication system ensuring that both men could hear each other, even through meters of concrete.

“Are you certain we should have stayed? I should have left with the others when the evacuation order went out, not fiddle with that machine!” the older man yelled as he pointed to the metal device behind him.

The man in the upper room sighed, as he mopped the sweat off his forehead with the sleeve of his lab coat. 

“I’m not sure of anything anymore, Henry. I can’t tell if anything will work. But I do know one thing; I will do the duty I was charged with. The duty we were both given by the board,” 
he spoke to his comrade, trying to seal off the other man’s feeling of doubt with a heavy layer of guilt.

The older man, Henry, returned his attention to the amateur job we was doing with the set of wires that came out of the tunnel-like machine. 
[i]This was a job for an electrician, not a scientist[/i], Henry thought to himself. 

“It’s true that we were given orders to watch over the boy, but we also have contingency orders that say that in case of a catastrophic situation-and this is one- the complete evacuation of company personal and important data is to be given first priority over the welfare of others.” 
He paused to see if the man he was talking to in the upper deck was paying attention; he was barely. 

“Even over the life of the president’s kid, Doug. We’re both defying direct orders by staying here, and I know that you heard the alarm, so you can’t use that excuse.” 

He then looked over to the center of the concrete walled chamber where on a metal lab table laid a boy of about fifteen with brown hair that was cut short nearly military style; he was unconscious, most likely from the operation earlier. 
He was wearing a light blue T-shirt with a single circular hole torn through the center of it in the lower right torso; a dried dark red stain blossomed from around the tear in the fabric.

A grim reminder of the violent coup d'état that had taken place only a few hours before.
Doug thought inwardly, [i]he wasn't a traitor, the Republic was, not them[/i]. Now those same traitors had succeeded in destroying their refuge- the sabotaged reactors would overheat any minute now.

“I’m not going to stand aside and let him die like the others. I have the ability to ensure his survival, but if we leave then we seal his fate. Please Henry, I need your help, we don’t have much time left,” Doug said as he continued typing.

The building rocked again, small pieces of concrete fell from the ceiling along with the powder. A spider web of creaks spun its way across the entirety of the roof and the floor.
Henry moved to one of the flickering computer screens beside him. 
The screen flickered to life to show six vertical cylinder-like items in a row; three of the six were flashing light red. 
The screen then dissolved into static.

“Turbine numbers two, three and six are down, and four has almost reached capacity.” He broke his analysis of the flickering screen. 

Henry looked up to the observation deck once more pleading with the younger scientist, “Doug. We have to leave. Now. If you won’t go, then I will leave without you. I swear I will.”

The man at the receiving end of the plea exhaled, “Henry, if you wanted to leave, you would have left with the others when the alarm first went off. Is the device connected?”

Henry groaned in frustration, the only thing keeping him from throttling his fellow researcher was the thought of what “murder” would look like on his employee records. Rogue Industries was merciless when it came to imperfection in its staff. 

“Henry, we’re working on a time limit. A very explosive time limit I might add,” Doug chided the man, but the seriousness of the situation couldn’t be masked. 

Henry nearly lost it, but he forced himself to take a deep breath before allowing his mouth to speak. 

“Yes, everything is connected to the best of my ability. I even managed to patch it into the room’s emergency reserve power grid, are you happy now? Can we please just go through with your scheme and then get out of here?” Henry promised himself right then and there that he would see the surface world again before he died. He shook away the images of his wife's sobbing at his demise. 

“Great. Now I can get the program started, hopefully it will work even if the main network is offline. Get in here before I initiate it.” Doug announced as a small metal door slid open in the wall opposite the tunnel device and the teen on the table.

Doug continued clicking away at the keys when Henry appeared in the room from the small concrete staircase which connected the two. The building shook once more, bringing a cascade of concrete dust and small pebbles of the stuff to fall in both rooms.
Henry watched over Doug’s shoulder, trying not to breathe in the dust as the scientist started up the computer program that ran the experiment. 
The screen showed a symbol of a metal gear with a hammer and sword crossed over it like an “X”. Then the picture was replaced with white words on a black pixilated background.

[b]Rogue Industries Employee Login: Accessing….
Load Completed/ Error 354: Local Network Connection Offline...
WDES/ 67564=2-453?:\674
01000101011110000110100101101100011001010010110000 10000001101001011101000010000001110100011000010110 10110110010101110011001000000111100101101111011101 01011100100010000001101101011010010110111001100100 00101110001011100010111001100001011001110110000101 10100101101110///456282810029
Continue? Yes/No.[/b]
“You do realize that this very experiment has been attempted before, right? And that every time it failed…miserably.” Henry reminded Doug as he simply shrugged off the comment and kept on typing.

The building shook again, being twenty floors underground didn’t make the situation any better; in fact, it only seemed to get worse as every rumble was akin to an earthquake.
The computer screens flickered slightly. 
Processing Error 23: Opening Login. Please Wait…
Login Page Successfully Loaded.
Username: DougStrickland1498
Employee Number: 1498
Company Issued Password: **** *******
01001001011101000010000001110100011000010110101101 10010101110011001000000111100101101111011101010111 00100010000001101101011010010110111001100100[/b]
A deep rumble caused the chamber to vibrate for a moment. Several of the other monitors in the upper chamber started flashing red accompanied by an alarm siren.

Processing……… Completed.
(RogueIndustries.3246/ Test/ Sub-level Router?# = 3346)
Welcome To Rogue Industries Research Facility Employee Network. 

Warning: Access Limited. Server Connections Have Been Interfered With.

Code 3: Main Network System Experiencing Difficulties.

Warning: Nuclear Turbines Maximum Heat Capacity Reached. Please Engage Emergency Emissions Exhaust Vents- Please Note That Rogue Industries Mainframe Viral Announcement System’s Previous Use Of Alliteration Is Entirely Coincidental. 01100001011001110110000101101001011011100010111000 10111000101110 
[/r450-security system compromised@#=] 

Initiate Trial Experiment Number 501? 
01011001011011110111010100100000011001110110111101 11010000100000011100110111010101100011011010110110 01010111001001110011001000000110110001110101011000 1101101011 
Yes/No: Yes.[/b]
“Doug, I was here when they first created that machine. I had to modify the personal files so they wouldn’t show all the test subjects that were disintegrated by the energy blasts. I can personally tell you that whoever enters that machine will die.” Doug continued typing oblivious to Henry’s protests. 

[b][Encoding Complete/ 4536277728830WWEDSCSD
01001000011000010111011001100101001000000111100101 10111101110101001000000110011101101001011101100110 01010110111000100000011101010111000000111111[/b]

“Why do you think it will work when so many others have failed?” 
Henry scolded the man on the computer. Doug continued typing, oblivious to Henry’s commentary.

The building rumbled again, shaking the underground portion of the Rogue Industries Research Facility. 

[b]Reboot Complete: Commence Experiment Number: 501/D.T.T/325…Yes/No[/b]
“How are you going to make this different than all the others? What reason do you have to think that this time the device will work correctly?” Henry desperately asked as Doug hit the “Yes” option. 

[b]Trial Number 277 Initiating…. 
01000100011011110110010101110011001000000110100101 11010000100000011001100110010101100101011011000010 00000110110001101001011010110110010100100000011000 01001000000111010001110010011010010110000101101100 00111111[/b]

Henry glanced at the crumbling ceiling every few seconds. As he watched Doug select another selection on the start-up screen, pebble-sized debris clinked against the metal machines down below. The boy on the lab table in the testing chamber remained unconscious, oblivious to the destruction that whirled around him. 

[b]Trial Options- Safety- Fail Safes- Test Subject Retrieval System 

Disengage Selected Safety Option? Yes/No…

Please Confirm Selection: Yes/No… 

[i]Yes[/i] 01000100011011110110010101110011001000000110100101 11010000100000011101000111001001101111011101010110 00100110110001100101001000000111100101101111011101 01011100100010000001101101011010010110111001100100 00101100[/b]

Henry’s eyes widened in disbelief, “You can’t be serious. Disabling that is asking for death.” He warned as he looked toward the boy down below.

[b]Warning: Any Testing Protocol Modification Must Be Approved By An Authorized Rogue Industries Employee. Please Wait Until A Supervisor Arrives Before Continuing. 

Testing Procedure Bypass Code Required: 
Doug backed away from the computer station and wordlessly motioned for Henry to input the required code.

Henry scoffed, “Why would I change the protocol? You are the one trying to save that boy-who we could have easily left here and evacuated with the others! And now you want to deactivate the one testing factor that just might keep him alive when this trail fails? I won’t do it!”

“Henry, how many test subjects actually survived this experiment?” He continued without waiting for a response from the older scientist.

“I already know the answer. None. And all of them had that failsafe option activated, didn’t they?” Doug answered as the older scientist quickly realized that what he said was true.

“It’s time that we try something different. Now put in the code.” He asked as a chunk of ceiling fell in between the two bickering scientists, slamming into the crumbling floor with a thud.

Henry silenced his protest when he saw the murderous look in Doug’s eyes, and the clearly decreasing time limit for the facility and his life. He quickly shoved Doug to the side and bent over the flickering monitor.

[b]Testing Procedure Override Code Required: **********
Processing…..Internal Override Complete.
27364011101000110100001100101001000000111011101100 00101111001001000000111100101101111011101010010000 00111010001110010011011110111010101100010011011000 11001010010000001101101011010010110111001100101001 11111[/b]

“Commencing Testing With Modified Procedure:” The automated announcement system’s voice boomed above the blaring alarms and screeching metal and concrete. 

“In 3..


A rumble of machinery started then abruptly faded. Red flashing alarm lights appeared from the roof of the lab.

“Warning: Power Level Insufficient To Begin Experiment. Please Repair Damaged Rogue Industries Electricity Supply Cables Or Activate An Approved Rogue Industries Alternative Power Source Power Generator. 
Emergency Operational Code Number: 332.” 
The automated announcement system warned as the facility entered its final stage of collapse. 

Doug didn’t even have to consult the computer for the problem. He dashed over to the wall on the other side of the observation deck where other pieces of computers and wiring crisscrossed the wall.
He reached a large metal lever, and quickly pulled it into a down position.
The entire room shuddered, a few of the computers sparked with the sudden influx of reserve power.
Henry watched as the computer screen automatically registered the addition of power.

[b]Power Levels Returning To Optimal Operational Conditions. Experiment Can Now Be Initiated.
01001111011010000010000001111001011011110111010100 10000001101101011001010110000101101110011101000010 00000111001101101111001000000110110101110101011000 1101101000
>>>>>>Experiment Will Commence In Five Seconds<<<<<<

01001000011000010111011001100101001000000111100101 10111101110101001000000110011101101001011101100110 01010110111000100000011101010111000000111111
>>>>Four Seconds<<<<
01000001011100100110010100100000011110010110111101 11010100100000011010100111010101110011011101000010 00000111010001101000011010010110111001101011011010 01011011100110011100100000011101000110111101101111 001000000110011001100001011100110111010000101100[/b]

Doug watched with baited breath as the inside of the machine started to hum as every last volt of available power was fed to the metal monster. 

[b]>>>>Three Seconds<<<<<<
01111001011011110111010100100111011100100110010100 10000001101100011010010110101101100101001000000110 11010110000101110010011000100110110001100101011100 11001000000110111101101110001000000110011101101100 01100001011100110111001100111111
“Are you absolutely certain that this is what he would want?” Henry inquired as the ceiling released another rain of dust. 

[b]>>>>Two Seconds<<<<
01010110011010010110110001101001011001100111100100 101110001011100010111000101110 [/b]

“No I’m not, but even if this doesn’t work,” He stopped to try and look through the ceiling, to the outside world. 
“Death might be a better alternative then letting him return to the surface. They won’t be able to find him wherever he ends up.” Doug answered as the floor cracked visibly underneath their feet.

Doug whispered a prayer to anyone who was listening that the floor would hold just a little longer.

[b]>>>>One Second<<<<0100010001101111011011100010011101110100 00100000011001010111011001100101011011100010000001 11010001110010011110010010111000101110001011100101 01100110100101101100011010010110011001111001[/b]

“Commencing R.I Experiment Number: 501/D.T.T/325. In Case The Energy Emissions Accidentally Causes An Explosion Or Somehow Rips A Inter-Dimensional Rift In The Fabric Of Space Itself: Please Evacuate Testing And Observation Chambers And Hope For The Best. If You Are Unable To Evacuate Due To A Structural Malfunction Or Other Reactor Meltdown Related Cause: Do Not Panic, Pray To Your Desired Deity For Salvation, And Calmly Accept Your Impending Doom.” The system warned one final time as the metal tunnel sparked with electricity and its many inner gears and components activated.

A bright white light started to glow from the interior of the tunnel; several of the computer monitors that surrounded the machine sparked dangerously.

[b]>>>>>Experiment Online<<<<<<01000100011011110110111000100111011101 00001000000110010101110110011001010110111000100000 011101000111001001111001[/b]

The white light in the tunnel grew brighter as the many gears spun around with ungodly speed creating a high pitched whirring noise as the energy charged. The sterile bright lab light fixtures flickered as their limited power was sapped by the device. 

The whirring noise projected itself over the rumbling and groans of the facility’s death throws. The brightness of the circular opening nearly blinded Doug as he strained to see what was happening. 

Meanwhile, Henry was looking at the status of the trial on the monitor, and immediately knew what to do when he saw the warning sign.

[b]Error 34765/b/b’’g/b’’h’’//;]’[][‘[‘;: Fatal- ERRORRRREDRFESSEDCGT!@#!@((09437269440]]01011001011011110111010100100000011001110110111101 11010000100000011100110111010101100011011010110110 01010111001001110011001000000110110001110101011000 1101101011[/b]

“Transfer CompleteBZZZZZZZRTDDT ErrorErrorErrorError. SSSSSSSSELF TESt FaiLUReeee.” The system announced through its garbled voice

Henry looked through the window at the growing intense light; the whirring sound was almost at deafening levels. He squinted to try and get one last look of the boy they were doing all this for. 
He looked down at the flickering screen once more.

01001000011000010111011001100101001000000111100101 10111101110101001000000110011101101001011101100110 01010110111000100000011101010111000000111111[/b]
With that message, Henry turned toward Doug, who was still entranced at the bright time bomb. Without warning Henry tackled the other scientist to the ground. 

“Get down! Now!” Henry yelled as he rolled off of Doug, and flattened himself against the crumbling floor. 

Then a roar louder then anything either of the men had ever heard quickly drowned out the sounds of falling building foundations.

The observation windows were flooded with an overwhelming amount of the bright light, everything was painted as blinding stark white. 

The glass in the windows blew apart, unable to take the energy pulses. Shimmering shards of window rained down from above.

The resulting explosion threatened to shake the room to pieces, but-miraculously- it stayed intact, for the moment. 

Doug shakily climbed to his feet, Henry right behind him. The floor was no longer stable; total collapse was nearing.

The younger scientist slowly peered over the shattered window into the ruined room below. The metal portal was an inferno, flames belched from the interior of the metal device. Electricity sparked from the burnt monitors and melted wires.

Doug coughed from the smoke and fumes rising from the burning room below, the smell of burning flooded the upper chamber filling his lungs with the stinging substances. 

Doug squinted at the center of the furnace where the table and the boy once existed.
His eyes widened in horror as he saw one half of the twisted remains of the metal table embedded in the concrete wall, and the other half nowhere to be found. The several computer monitors that decorated the room where either smashed and on fire, or no where to be found at all.

No, Doug thought, [i]it didn’t work. I’ve… failed[/i].

Despair had almost overwhelmed him when Henry yelled for his attention through the cloth he was holding to his mouth. 
The senior scientist pointed at the blackened computer screen beneath the observation window. Struggling to keep his balance, he hobbled over to the desk. 

There on the ash covered screen read the words no Rogue Industries scientist ever expected to see:

[b]Experiment Number 501/D.T.T/325, Trial Number: 227 […///…]
Result: Success. Test Subject Was Successfully Transported Via The D.T.T Device. Transmitting Data….. Complete.01000100011011110110010101110011001000000 11010010111010000100000011001100110010101100101011 01100001000000110110001101001011010110110010100100 00001100001001000000111010001110010011010010110000 10110110000111111
01000100011011110110010101110011001000000110100101 11010000100000011101000111001001101111011101010110 00100110110001100101001000000111100101101111011101 01001000000110110101101001011011100110010000100000 01110100011010000110010100100000011101110110000101 11100100100000011110010110111101110101001000000111 01000111001001101111011101010110001001101100011001 01001000000110110101101001011011100110010100111111[/b]
Henry slapped Doug on his back with a grin that could have broke all world records.

“For fifteen years we’ve sacrificed scores of test subjects to that machine in hopes we’d achieve success. Until now, I thought it was impossible; a fool’s dream. You did what no one else could have. You’ve done-” 
Henry’s speech stopped when another message sounded over the intercom system.

“Warning: Reserve Power Supply Depleted. No Alternative Power Source Detected."Any feelings of success quickly disappeared. 

“In Accordance With Emergency Procedure Number 463999999999999999ERROR ERROR ERROR ERROR Protocolololollllll evvvvvvvacaterunforyourlife bzzzzzzzzzt” 01000100011010010110010000100000011110010110111101 11010100100000011001100110000101101100011011000010 00000110011001101111011100100010000001110100011010 00011001010010000001110011011000010110110101100101 00100000011001010110110101110000011101000111100100 10000001100001011011100111001101110111011001010111 00100111001100100000011000010110011101100001011010 010110111000111111 
The building shook again. 

“Structural Integrity Compromised: Building Collapse Imminent. Please Evacuate Allllll Vitttalll Rogue Industries Personalllll. A Fatal Error Has Occurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreddddddd” The voice fizzled in and out with static.

ERROR NUMBBBBER: Nine, Nine, Nine, Nine, Nine, Ninnnnnnnneee
Disk Operating System Has FAILED SHUTDOWN Now.
Rogue Industries Wishes You A Happy Annnnnd Productive Apocalypse. Goodddd-Byeeeebzzztztzztt” 
Then the room’s power failed, plunging the entire chamber into smoke choked darkness only broken by the occasional spark and the dim flares from the ruins below. 
It was a few seconds later that the dull red glow of the emergency lights flickered on, barely providing enough visibility to see. 

A bowling ball sized chunk of ceiling broke off and crashed onto the powerless computer, sending shards of glass and metal flying through the air. 
Doug looked at his colleague, and nodded; it was finally time to go. 

As if the building had heard their plea to escape, all movement stopped. 
The floor ceased rumbling, the ceiling stopped trying to pelt them with pieces of itself, but the fire still raged in the floors beneath them.
Not taking time to examine the situation, they both ran to the metal security exit hatch of the observation deck.
Doug strained to get the stubborn handle to click open, but it finally did with a harsh screech. 

The concrete hallway in which they appeared was in ruins.
The metal pipes that lined the interior of the passage had ruptured in the destruction and now were busy emptying their contents onto the crumbling floor. 
Water from a overhead duct soaked the two scientists as they exited the hatch and scrambled to their feet. 
The dim overhead floodlights were nearly blocked off completely by the smoke and dust clouding the air. 

Research papers littered the floor along side the abandoned supply crates and dropped briefcases. 
Ash stained the sides of the hallway and the debris on the ground with a flakey black covering. Documents containing vital company information lay half burnt among the wreckage. The men had to walk carefully to avoid the small fires that dotted the hallway. 

“Flash fire,” Henry noted as they climbed over the fallen pieces of concrete ceiling. 

“All the gas from the pipes must have ignited from one of the fires; torched everything like a furnace all within a few seconds.” Doug reasoned as he shoved a blackened metal crate to the side; it fell with a clang.

Henry found a small map mounted on the side of the tunnel covered in soot. He rubbed it clean with the sleeve of his lab coat.

“Alright, there’s an elevator area straight ahead that leads to the surface, they don’t have power, but there might be a stairwell we can take.” Henry told Doug who was listening while scouting the obstacles ahead.

“That’s great and all, but how much time does the reactor failsafe have until the turbines come back online and discharge?” Doug asked as he motioned to the senior scientist to keep moving with a wave. 
That particular procedure only initiated when a catastrophic event occurred: shut down all power generators and reactors to ensure data files cannot be stolen, for a limited time that is. 

“About twenty-five minutes, give or take.” Henry reasoned as he trudged his way after Doug through the ruins, silently thanking that he had stayed in shape throughout his many years. 

They arrived in the elevator lobby with little time to spare.
Heat fumes vented upwards from the massive fire raging in the nuclear turbines in the bowels of the facility. Only a few feet below, Doug could see actual flames from the burning machines. 

[i]How could one person orchestrate an entire disaster[/i], Doug thought as he looked around at the wreckage trying to find any viable exit.

The alarms where still blaring, but their noisy warnings fell on the deaf ears of the two fleeing employees as they carefully treaded their way around the gaping cracks in the floor and the fallen debris from the collapsed ceiling above.
Doug’s face drained of color as he finally saw the true nature of the damages caused by the enemy’s successful sabotaging efforts. 

The glass tubes that housed the elevator were shattered in thousands of jagged pieces that shimmered in the light of the fires that leaked from the reactor rooms below.

Among the flame lit wreckage were bodies-dozens of them all dressed in singed Rogue Industries white lab coat uniforms. Their features where burnt making recognition almost impossible. 
Doug didn’t know many of the people who worked in the massive facility, but he felt a sort of sympathy for his unknown fallen co-workers. 

He wasn’t sure how long he had stood there with his head bowed, or when Henry had decided to stand beside him. 
Doug slowly looked at the sixty or so year old man; he was muttering some sort of silent prayer only interrupted by the occasional groan of the metal support beams that held up the ceiling or a coughing fit from the man himself.

Henry ceased his prayer and simply turned toward his much younger colleague and said after another smoke induced coughing fit “Thank you”

He took as deep of a breath as he could before continuing, “This could have easily been my fate: burnt and dead. But you convinced me to disregard every order I know to help you try and save an innocent life. Even now I believe that he is indeed alive, and by your efforts alone. You did a good thing today Dr. Strickland.” 

Doug smiled on the inside, glad to know someone was thankful for his work. 

Fate, had other plans however, as the two men held their memorial the clock had continued to tick away the precious seconds. The safeguard had run out.

The room suddenly lurched violently; a loud metal groan echoed throughout the dim chamber. In an instant floor of broken glass and bodies began to crumble into the burning depths of the Rogue Industries Advanced Testing and Research Facility.

The two scientists cut their vigil short as they searched desperately for an exit, any exit-even a poorly lit, rickety, twenty-three story metal stairwell to the surface. 

Henry went in first to test if the stairs would hold, while he did Doug gazed across the giant fire filled chasm that filled the area where there had been a room seconds before, and down into the dim red hallway from which they came from as far back as he could.

All his thoughts where on the boy: if he made it, whether his decision to send him had truly been the “best” for him, how would the revolutionaries take the news that the closest lead they had to breaking through the Seal was gone. 
Gone someplace beyond the Seal itself-if the experiment really did work-unreachable by the rebels.

Henry was yelling, probably that the stairway would hold and to get moving, but Doug stayed put watching as the fires grew in intensity.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper. He quickly unfolded it and took once last glance at the flattened document before crumpling it again and throwing it into the nearest fire pit. Destroying the last shred of proof that the boy had ever come to Rogue Industries. 

“Good luck” He whispered as he whirled around and dashed up the metal stairs, the loud creaking sounds growing less and less as he and Henry ran upwards towards relative safety in the torn world above.

Meanwhile, in the middle of a wheat field long after the sun retired beyond the western horizon for the day, a sudden flash of bright blue punctured the darkness. It lit up the dark stalks like lightning.

Immediately after the flash died down, a single soft thud resonated off the tall stalks of grain.
A muffled groan echoed throughout the darkened field, as the small figure slowly lifted his head.

He attempted to push up on his right arm slightly, but as soon as he contracted the muscles in said arm to move it, a sharp pain sparked from his chest to every single nerve ending in his body.

Spots danced before his already blurry eyes as pure pain lanced across his entire being.

The pain was too much; his damaged body couldn’t take it.

His hazy vision quickly faded to black as his head dropped back towards the dirt with a similar sounding thud. The last thing he heard with certainty was the soft crackle of a small flame.

Jumbled thoughts and shattered memories quickly flashed into his mind before disappearing entirely.

Memories of running, of pain, of a voice of someone important to him, but unable to remember who, of a key, of shouts and unfamiliar voices, of fear, of loud sounds and rumbling, of a circle of bright light followed by fire, and a phrase whispered from far away through all the chaos:

“Good luck”.

End Chapter 0.5

Author’s Notes: 

This is the first fanfiction I’ve ever written. I’m asking for reviews and constructive criticism to help be get better. 

I know that the paragraph formatting is a little weird, but I assure you that future chapters will look more normal. 

Here’s to success! 

Knightfall signing off…

Chapter One: The Story Retold

[Time: 19:34 Hours] [Date: REDACTED] [Location: REDACTED] [Begin Transmission]
“Operation: Sky’s Edge failed. Artifact lost. Captured two members of the science team at Gate A. Interrogation and disposal will commence at forward command post at 2000 hours. Await further orders.”[End Transmission] [Source: REDACTED]


There was no wind. There was no wind, yet the tall, golden fronds of grass swayed like waves on a fabled sea. The shimmering plants tossed their grainy heads around in the nonexistent breeze, almost glowing in their unspoiled splendor. Sunlight, floating down from the great orb in the heavens, caressed the massive field like a giant hand stirring the surface of a still pond. It was the picture of perfect calm.

Below the upper layer of swaying gold was the ground. It almost wreaked of the smells of earth and fertile topsoil. Unseen creatures beneath the dry surface relished the cool and pleasant dirt. However, there was one oddity within this realm of calm and tranquility that did not fit in. An anomaly in every sense of the word.

Visions swirled about his head. A vicious hurricane beating upon his skull from the inside. He felt himself, his skin, his arms, his hands, and his legs pressed against the cool, dry earth. Sensations of heat, light, and stillness washed over him, reawakening his senseless nerves and consciousness. Signals shot from his mind, through his synapses, and all around his body.

Through his closed eyelids he could see something bright. The glowing orb appeared to illuminate the entire world. He was curious. He wanted to know. Above everything else, he needed to see and find out what was causing the nearly painful feeling beneath him. It took several tries, but soon after this mental resolution, his eyelids flickered open and he nearly had a heart attack from the explosion of light and color that flooded his senses.

Shimmering gold, a vast, vivid blue, a rich, dark brown, a flash of fiery red were all that he could discern as his eyes painfully dilated in the harsh bright light. He instinctively lifted his arm to shield himself from the painfully strong glare, but was stopped when the limb twinged as if he had a pinched nerve. He hastily straightened his left arm and let out a cry of slight agony as he tried to work out the knot in his muscles.

His back arched in pain as he dug his feet into the ground, hoping that the pain would soon subside. During this, only a small part of his mind registered that not all was normal about him. As the shooting throb in his arm slowly dulled, he became more conscious that something had changed. Something that was not supposed to change. Once again moving his feet, he tried to press them into the ground as he grasped at the dry earth in order to pull himself into a sitting position.

His head spun madly as his brain had to adjust to the sudden change in alignment and blood flow. Both hands sprang to the sides of his skull as he cradled it while he rocked slowly back and forth on the ground. He wanted nothing more than the world to stop its breakneck rotation, but was only rewarded with a strong wave of nausea passing over him. His body lurched forward, and he was only barely able to hold himself up on his shaking arms as his stomach tried to clear itself of all previous contents.

The bitter taste remained on his tongue as he once again tried to gather where he was as the earth slowly stopped swaying. He forced his lungs to take a deep breath in an attempt to concentrate. He continued to hold his head steady as the gyrations that revolved around his head faded into the aether. When he finally gained the fortitude to open his eyes once more, he blinked rapidly to counteract the bright ball in the sky that was shooting light down at him.

He couldn’t remember ever seeing such a sight before. Nowhere in his foggy mind was the memory of a blue sky with this glowing circle that emitted heat in it. Deciding that the mystery of this strange object in the atmosphere was too much for him to deal with at the moment, he turned his attention to a mystery that was much closer proximity and perhaps of much more importance. Like how his arm was a deep crimson instead of whatever color it had been before.

Curiosity got the better of his distorted senses, much like the unfortunate cat, as his gaze slowly traveled up his red scaled arm to rest on a hand fused with four claws that gleamed as polished bone in the daylight. He blinked again while he forced his legs to stand up next to the golden, swaying plants, Somewhere within his hazy mind, he knew this was wrong. That something was horribly wrong with him. That he shouldn’t be this way, yet he couldn’t prove it.

Something about the seemingly new transformation seemed slightly off. The small part of his mind went into overdrive as his stare moved down his arm once again to his now-standing form. His chest, from the skin it possibly used to own, had changed to a coating of tawny beige scales that fused into a crimson coloring when it reached his legs and thighs. A quick feel of his head revealed it to have a large horn-like protrusion extending from the back of his skull.

His feet had been pushed into some reptilian shape and had gained three thick claws made of the same substance as the ones on his hands. He was about to reach down and examine the changes when he felt something brush the ground as he moved. It was hard to describe, as he swore it was his own body, yet nothing in his memory served him as to what could cause such a thing. He twisted around, trying simultaneously to find some sort of mirror and to see what was causing the strange sensation behind him.

Based upon the other seemingly shocking discoveries he had made in the last few seconds, seeing that he now had a tail fashioned from the same crimson and beige scales as the rest of his body. He was sure that the limb had not been a part of him before his recollection ceased, but he could not be certain. Though, the most alarming of the string of self-discoveries was that the very tip of the appendage was covered in a cheery orange flame that seemed to jump as he held the tail in his claws.

“Not possible. This isn’t possible…” he mumbled as his mind tried to make sense of the scene. It was a futile attempt, for while he had tried to remain calm and collected, thoughts raged in his head at the irrationality of it all. His jaw unconsciously clenched as his arms shook with anger. He didn’t know anything. He remembered nothing. And he couldn’t stand it.

“No. No! This. This isn’t possible! This isn’t me!” he shouted, even though his mind failed to produce any viable evidence that the statement had any sort of credence. He refused to accept that he was so helpless, that he was in the middle of some field in a body he had no idea whether it was his or not, or that there was nothing he could do about it. He had to do something. His eyes hastily scanned across the featureless dirt patch in search of a target. The form of his tail was the only thing that came up.

Hissing and choosing to ignore the steam exiting the nostrils on his snout, he grabbed the fleshy limb and held it in front of him. He bypassed the strange and instinctual feelings that screamed for him to stop as he lifted his stumpy foot and stomped down on the flaming tip in an attempt to extinguish one of the unknown mysteries that plagued him.

Within an instant, he was slammed with sensations of pure pain. Every nerve on his body activated and sent their most powerful signals to his brain, nearly overloading it with anguish. His body acted without his consent as his foot immediately jerked back from his tail, kneeing himself in the gut with the same action. He was already breathless from the initial pain, but the secondary input almost sent him to the ground again.

Both his eyes squeezed shut in reaction to the wave of agony that shot through him. Though he could not see, in his mind’s eye the world spun violently and threatened to make his stomach heave. Breathless, he finally collapsed to his knees and fell forward on his arms, barely managing to hold his head above the ground. He spat and coughed as air slowly decided it was worthy of entering his mouth and lungs.

Cautiously opening one eye, he saw that what he previously saw was no side-effect of a dream or nightmare. His body was still a strange reptilian form and his tail, his evil, treacherous tail, still lay behind him, the tip burning merrily once again, apparently forgetting that its owner tried to strangle it.

“No… No-!.” His vocal cords cut out suddenly as they adjusted to being used after a slight atrophy. He clutched his claws to his throat, unintentionally piercing the scales coating his neck. It wasn’t the disbelief of his change in appearance that shocked him, but it was the fact that he could not remember. Memories, wayward thoughts, personal information went out the proverbial window the more he tried to recollect them. Snorting in frustration with the ineptitude of his mind currently, he let his legs fall underneath him as his hind hit the dry earth with a cloud of dust, and he ignored the shooting pain coming from his now-bent tail. Thoughts raced around in his head as if trying to put out the multiple fires that had suddenly blasted through it.

What happened to me? Why am I here? Why can’t I remember? I need to focus… He thought as he tried to align his observations and muscle his way through the pain. He had scarcely woken up, yet he was fairly certain he was in a place he had never seen before even in his clouded memory. Closing his eyes from the bright light of the odd orb in the sky, he tried to sort through the utter chaos that was brewing inside his head. He took a deep breath and slowly exhaled as he dealt with the rocketing tangents of thought one by one.

The first one his psyche threw at him was the question of his name. Not necessarily important in the grand scheme of things he reasoned quickly, but worth looking into for the future. He immediately began scraping at the distant, dark mountains that rose as a barricade to his past, in hopes that his measly scratches at pebbles would trigger an avalanche. He dug and dug and dug for several minutes that stretched on for an eternity before something finally surfaced in the form of an adult voice.

He couldn’t make out the memory, except that it was definitely male. It sounded disappointed in something, but what it was eluded him. The very words the faraway voice spoke seemed disjointed and unintelligible. He would have passed them off as a pointless ramble if he hadn’t caught the final utterance of a name at the cessation of the monologue.

“… Leo.”

Leo. Leo. Leo. Leo, He mouthed with his changed jaws, testing out every aspect of the name with them.

Not a bad name, but it’s nothing too exciting either, he mused while he lay on the ground. However dull the name might have been, it was all he had, so he went along with the three-lettered identification for himself.

My name is Leo. My name is Leo. The more he said it, the more possessive he became over it until he could call it his own. He let his mouth stretch into a slight grin as he congratulated himself on solving the first mystery that his mind threw at him. Yet, he was not done.

The secondary question that projected itself far above the others was of what he used to be. Certainty was not with him while he mulled over the newest question that came to him. He wasn’t sure what to make of it. On one side of his mind, it was shouting that something was very wrong with this scenario, but on the other, it was taking a hard neutral stance in failing to see why exactly he was worrying. There was nothing in his memories to prove that he was ever anything other than what he currently was --this oddly red-colored reptilian being.

He slowly rocked to his feet, working out several of the remaining aches and pains in his stiff legs as he did so. He knew he needed to be conservative on this attempt of staying upright on his feet. While the neutral side of his mind claimed nothing was really wrong because it had no proof of anything otherwise, the other half screamed that there was proof.

Since when does amnesia lead to forgetting major parts of your own body or how it functions? That isn’t natural! He nearly cringed at the loudness of the thought, but still paused to consider the claim it was making. There was a certain trueness that hung about the thought, lingering questions that challenged his tranquil demeanor.

He knew next to nothing about amnesia or whatever dissociative fugue state he was currently experiencing, but he wanted to give his assertive mind some amount of trust with its stance. It stood to reason that he would remember the critical fact that he had a tail and an inseparable fire atop it, or that his skin was a near-blood color, or that he was some sort of lizard creature. He couldn’t even remember what his species was called. That drove the final nail in the neutral side’s fragile case.

Leo, still training his mind to accept the name as his own, huffed with an air of finality and nodded. He decided to believe in the radical shouts coming from his pressured mind. He knew that he currently wasn’t normal. He had been something else before his memory had cut out, but what that something else happened to be, he didn’t know.

“Come on Leo, think. Think. You have to think,” he told himself, exercising his rusty vocal cords at the same time. He wracked his mind as he thought back to the strange voice he had uncovered in his mental excavation earlier. Analyzing it as best he could, he determined that it indeed was some sort of adult male, but who it was still eluded his grasp.

“Who is that? Who could be saying my name? How do I know them? How do they know me?” All valid questions, but nothing was forthcoming from the thick fog that obscured the path to his past memories.

“Who is he? My father? A relative? A friend?” None of the answers he suggested triggered anything in his mind and he gave up the endeavor with a dejected sigh. As if sensing that his attention was currently unoccupied, his stomach let out a furious growl that startled him, making him jump slightly.

Leo now realized that he was starving. His aching belly yearned for something to eat, and he couldn’t remember the last time he had ever eaten. Any thoughts of finding out clues to his past were pushed away as his body and mind immediately shifted all focus to finding some sort of food to fill his stomach.

Taking another sweeping look across the clearing he was in, he saw nothing but a continuous wall of shimmering gold. He took a step forward on the brown dirt and listened to the crunch of dry dirt clods shattering beneath his feet. He vaguely wondered why he could not hear the rustling of the plants even though they were plainly swaying in some sort of unfelt wind. It was as if they obeyed some other laws of nature besides the regular ones Leo was accustomed to.

Being cautious, Leo walked further in the clearing and found that several clear-cut paths branched out from the “room” he was in. He scratched the back of his head lightly, making sure not to cut his skin with his new claws. Leo wasn’t sure which path he was going to take, but something on the ground forestalled his decision.

It was subtle, barely a glimmer of dull blue in the dust, but it caught his attention. Leo bent down to examine the artifact, the sore tendons and muscles in his thighs and legs contracting as he did so. His claws grasped the top of the blue object, trying to dislodge it from its partial burial in the dirt.

Leo grunted as he tugged at the handle until it broke free with a shower of earth and sent him tumbling backwards. He let out a pained yelp as he crushed his tail during the landing. In a feat of agility he never knew he possessed, he somehow flipped over and was on his feet in what felt like an instant in time. Almost instinctively, he was rubbing his smarting tail tenderly, going over the red-scaled surface while inspecting it carefully for bruises or dents. Fortunately, there didn’t seem to be any immediate injury, though that didn’t dull the sensation of pain that still emanated from every one of his nerves.

He looked down at the spoils of his archeological efforts in his claw. The artifact was not what he was expecting to find in the middle of a wheat field. His gaze poured over the stunning icy-blue form of what appeared to be some sort of key. Leo had little knowledge in the art of cutting crystal, but he knew it must have taken some immense skill to slice this magnificent work from a single block of colored stone.

He held it in his outstretched claws, dangling it from the thin golden chain that looped through it. The back was a single six-toothed gear perched atop of the carved stem that split into two separate parts, each with its own keyward at the point. Each facet of the key seemed to be marked with some sort of intricate lines along its surface, only adding more to the mystique of it all.

As much as the object was a delight to his eyes, it did nothing to help Leo alleviate either of his problems of identity or starvation. However, that hardly meant he would leave it here to be found by someone other than himself. He didn’t quite know what “others” might be out there waiting for him, but he slipped the golden chain about his neck and grasped the cold key for courage. Taking a deep breath and trying to ignore the deep rumbling coming from his aching stomach, Leo stepped forward onto the rightmost path of the clearing.

Immediately, his sight was obscured by the waving walls of wheat. He did what he could to brush the stalks out of the way, but it didn’t seem to do any good as his path was narrowed down to a corridor barely wide enough for him to pass. Leo held his tail to his chest, partly in fear of starting an inferno in the dry field, and partly because he was still trying to accept it as a part of himself.

His body still seemed to be acclimating to moving about and functioning while conscious, meaning his legs stumbled and nearly collapsed on more than one occasion in the middle of the thin dirt trail. His lungs burned and stomach ached as Leo struggled to march through the field. The scorching heat of the great ball of light in the sky beat down on his shoulders.

The key bounced lazily on his scaled-chest as he tromped over the fertile earth. Leo sighed as he tried to ignore the hunger growing in his stomach and continued to look for anything to break the monotonous gold and brown of the strange field. But, there was nothing. Absolutely nothing. Only the muffled stomp of his newly clawed feet on the dirt, his frustrated breath that went with the rhythm of his footsteps, the pained grumble of his stomach, and the slight clinking of his key.

As the path continued to wind along, the more he sought to keep himself from falling into a boredom-induced madness. He tried to focus on organizing and digging more into his jumbled thoughts. During the endless minutes of his walk, Leo could not help but be pleased with how much of his previous knowledge he did manage to recover.

Most elements that comprised the Periodic Table, the equations for finding out the velocity of a projectile and the length of its trajectory, the metabolic processes of a eukaryotic cell during an energy consumption cycle, the ability to find the solution for algebraic problems, and an surprisingly in-depth knowledge of the legal proceedings of a republican government structure. Leo cracked a smile with his dry lips. He was happy. As happy as he could be while still in his bleak situation, but genuinely happy for the first time he could remember. His mind hadn’t abandoned him completely. It might have stowed away his personal information out of his reach, but it didn’t leave him without some tools for survival.

His stride was noticeably longer as he held himself slightly higher. His confidence rode the badly needed boost in his own abilities, and he continued to hold his smug grin as he pressed on into the field. Determination flashed in his eyes as he scanned through the sea of stalks for anything that looked even remotely like an exit. Smells of the earth and wheat stained his pointed snout and permeated his senses, making him aware of even the subtlest changes in his organic prison.

His mind chose to wander back to the question of what he was, as he passed by a lone, roughly-shaped stone on the ground. He instinctively kicked it with his foot and it rolled ahead on the path, ready for him to come along and repeat the process. The oiled cogs of his brain whirred like clock-work as it viewed and reviewed the facts it had access to. He went back to the voice he remembered, the knowledge he dredged up from the depths of his memory, and the instinctual knowledge that he used to be something other than this fire-lizard thing.

He closed his eyes and kept his tail above the wild grasses as he concentrated once again on settling this persistent matter for good. There wasn’t much to go over, admittedly. The same facts kept shoving themselves to the forefront in his mind’s eye, but that was it. There weren’t any apparent revelations or truths revealed, and the swagger in his step suffered a setback. Closing his eyes tighter was not helping the results any, so he reopened them and took another breath of stagnant, heat-polluted air.

He looked up and had to shield his eyes with his claws from the rays of light coming from the bright ball in the sky. The sphere did not seem to have moved in the slightest, even though he was certain he had been walking for more than an hour. Leo shook his head, he knew he had to keep going, despite whatever strange laws of nature and physics governed this realm of eternal wheat.

What am I? What was I? The question swirled around in his head in a whirlpool of neurons firing across their synaptic gaps. Leo stopped and sat on the ground beneath a bank of tall stalks of wheat. His body was exhausted, hungry, and very eager to take a small rest in the thin shade of the plants in the midday heat.

Human. Leo shot up like a rocket. He had no idea whether the sudden word was a memory loudly breaking free of the shackles of his dissociative fugue, or a whisper into his ear from an unseen being. His body no longer felt the pangs and hurt of his experiences. He was primed by the swift realization.

“Human… Human. I’m… Human? Is that what I am?” Leo slowly asked himself, processing the classification in his head. He wasn’t sure, much like everything else he had gone through today. It seemed just as plausible as anything, though something unnerved him at how quickly the answer came through. He never even got a chance to sit down before the word soared into his consciousness, or range of hearing, he still wasn’t sure which had detected it.

“There has to be more to it than that. There has to be…” Leo muttered, but, as he had come to expect, there was no follow-up answer for him to pounce on. While this frustrated him to no end, causing him to grind his sharp teeth against each other and blow errant steam from his nose, Leo pushed back the desire to simply torch the field and burn himself a way out of the odd area.

A fierce grumble broke the relative silence as Leo clutched his ravenous stomach snarling for something to eat. Like before, he had to force all thoughts of the impossible situation he was in to the back of his mind while he renewed his search for food. Despite seeming like a lush field, there was no sign that anyone had ever harvested the grain or been in the field aside from the perfectly cut maze he was wandering inside.

He began to develop a grim pattern in his travels through the timeless field. Walk along the path, dig into his mind and try to discover more secrets, rest against the stalks when his feet could no longer carry him, hunger for food, continue his search. Walk, think, rest, hunger, search, walk. However, no matter how many times he repeated the process, nothing seemed to change. He still felt just as tired and hungry at the end of each rest, never getting any worse. The persistent heat from the odd glowing orb in the sky never waned or worsened, just remained an annoying inconvenience on his shoulders, The field just simply never changed.

There was no wind, but the stalks, he observed, swayed as if there was something they felt but he could not. His memories may have been skewed, but Leo was certain there were supposed to be life other than wheat in a field. There was no care-free twitter of birds, no hum of insects, or even the rustling of an animal. There was nothing. Nothing except him, the plants, and the sky. And as he marched onwards, the looming cloud of despair that hung over him only grew larger and larger.

“I’ve got to get out. I’ve got to get out of here…” he told himself, but his resolve was slipping. He didn’t know what he did to deserve this fate. This eternal cycle of hunger and exhaustion. Was this a punishment? A way for him to pay for his unknown transgressions? Leo didn’t know. He did not know. Nothing in his mind gave him an answer. After all he had found out, all he had organized and logically deduced, he was still trapped in this forsaken field. Nothing had changed.


His legs still moved forward, but it was an unconscious movement, a habit programmed into him by the ceaseless paths. He had no idea how far he had come since he first woke up, but it hardly mattered. He might as well have continued to sleep where he was and never woken up. He would have never had to endure the sensation of his stomach trying to digest itself, or the pitiful attempts of foraging had brought upon him.

Hunger had soon reached the point of torture. Leo wasn’t sure when it was, but he ended up pulling down some of the flexible stalks and picking off the nearly-ripe kernels and stuffing them into his mouth like a glutton. Despite his tongue’s warning about the bitter taste of the wheat, Leo forced himself to swallow the raw grains.

Almost immediately, he was faced with the urge to throw it back up. It took an effort that made his lungs burn, but Leo managed to muscle through the reflex and get some sort of sustenance into his body. His stomach was slightly quelled after that, but it refused to be pleased about the poor variety it had to choose from, and continued to berate Leo for it. He had just about given up on finding anything by that point.

Leo didn’t remember if he was a strong person, but couldn’t help the tears beginning to well up in his eyes. He just wanted to leave. He was tired with following the maze. Leo huffed in defeat as he laid against the stalks, their rough exterior irritating, but no match for the scales on his back. Holding his limp tail in his hands, he idly waved his claws through the small flame spouting from it. A warm sensation spread from his hands up through his arms and comforted the distressed being.

It was then that he saw it. A difference, a clear distinction, an anomaly in the golden walls of his prison. A flash of bright red in between the swaying reeds. Intrigued, Leo crawled forwards on his hands and knees to the opposite side of the path. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. Even more so than the key he had pried from the dirt. An apple, red as his own skin, and looking ripe, lay on the ground just on the other side of the “wall”.

It can’t be more than six feet wide, I could easily make it through there without igniting anything, his thoughts assured him as he clumsily got to his feet. The fruit was definitely there, not some cruel hallucination brought about by the kernels. He knew that nothing would stop him from getting it.

He was trembling with excitement as he pushed his right arm through the stalks with the intention of pushing them aside to make a path. However, that notion was crushed and thrown away as his arm suddenly felt the air around it ripple and press on it. Without any warning, his arm was forced out of the grass with the force of a cannon and his fist slammed into his ribs. Leo stumbled backwards and held his chest. The hit hadn’t been too painful, just enough to knock the wind out of his lungs, but if anything his mind was the most jostled of all.

“What? … What the hell was that?” Leo tried to process just what had happened while he attempted to control his gasping lungs. He thought that transforming was the strangest part of his trek in this world, but this --an impassable wall of flimsy plants-- was on course to take the cake. Plants, as much as he recalled, were not supposed to be comprised of a magnetic field that repelled flesh.

However, the laws of nature in this world seemed to disagree and the reeds seemed to laugh hollowly at him in their silent wind. Gritting his teeth, he stood up once again, brushed the dust off his body, and stuck his arm into the grass for the second time. Now, he was slightly more prepared for the sudden activation of the strange magnetic field around his flesh. His arm wobbled as pulses rained down on it, trying to force it back.

Leo refused to allow himself to be beaten by a wall of plants. If he failed here, he was certain he’d never find a way out of here. This was his chance. He dug his feet into the dirt, feeling the earth scratch beneath his white claws as he plunged his left arm into the wheat. That proved to be a less than fortunate decision, as the odd energy field surrounding him seemed to double in strength and easily sent him barreling backwards onto the path.

The reptile’s head spun as if it was caught on a haywire gear on a machine. Leo slowly untwisted his crumpled form on the ground, taking great care to remove his tail to open air before it suffered. Leo groaned as he slowly pushed his legs out and used his sore arms to get off the dungeon floor. His mind and will were bruised, but far from defeat, though, he wasn’t sure how much more his weakened and enfeebled body could take before it simply collapsed.

Gathering what little courage he had left and sucking in a deep breath of putridly-hot air, Leo slammed his entire self into the wall, his feet scattering dirt and dust as he pushed against the repulsive field. Scathing curses and swears were unleashed from his mouth as he slowly drove a wedge in between the stalks of grain.

The tranquil field seemed unwilling to let him go, and pushed against him with all its unnatural might. Leo screamed as he pushed back against the force field and sending the majority of his body into the grass. His mind wasted little effort in observing his surroundings, but he swore that the six feet of grain had lengthened to six miles once he was inside of it.

Like the current of a rushing river, the energy beat against Leo’s face and chest initially. He swung his arms out to grasp a claw-full of stalk in order to pull himself completely inside. He felt his tail be engulfed by the wheat and immediately subjected to the same pulling force as the rest of him was. His tail brushed up against the stalks, and, while he dared not look behind him to be certain, he smelled the smoke and heard the slight crackle of something burning.

The acrid emissions not only urged him to dig his heels in harder to escape a fiery death, but it also triggered a memory locked away in his head.

He was on his back. Covered in sweat, cold, and weak. Smoke poured in from the world, attempting to smother him with its gray mass. His barely-functioning lungs failed, and he felt no more as the heat of the flames licked his sides.

The flash of memory only lasted for a split second, but it felt real enough to throw his legs off balance and sent him crashing to the ground. He hit with the force of a bullet, and was instantly pinned underneath the weight of the pressure pressing down on his body. His arms and legs were immobile, stuck against the dry ground and unable to move an inch.

His head was pressed awkwardly against the smashed remains of a pointed stem that dug into his cheek, and the cold crystal key was imprinting itself on the scales of his chest as the pressure increased on his body. His breaths grew more and more labored as he struggled to find the strength to lift his chest and open his mouth against the titanic force beating down on him.

His mind was more than panicked as it simultaneously picked up growing traces of smoke from behind him and the threat of imminent death via either implosion or asphyxiation. His last reserves of energy were long gone by that point, and not even the emergency chemical signals his mind sent out could change that fact.

His eyes were forced to close and he was certain that it would be the last time he would ever see the world. Leo took one final, rasping breath as he prayed to whatever forces governed this world for salvation. And apparently, one of the forces heard his inane gibberish and acted upon it for at the moment, the field snapped.

The mass of hot, stale air about it seethed with terror as distinct cracks shot through its fabricated reality. Fissures ran through the sky as the clouds fell through like sand in an hourglass, spelling out the time of destruction. The wheat shrieked as a fierce wind shot through the forlorn glade, drenching the heated world in a bath of chilled air. Leo pushed his arms up the second the pressure faded. The ground heaved in the dungeon’s agony as Leo attempted to navigate the swaying, burning stalks to escape.

Fire sprang forth from unseen angles as if hurled down from the sky by vengeful giants. The field seemed to hiss in pain as the kernels of wheat popped like miniature explosions. Leo was pelted with bits and pieces of flaming shrapnel from the shells as he dashed through the wheat. His tail only spread the fire more as he rushed past the dried grass, the flames jumping and catching onto it like a flea on a stray animal.

Fissures opened in the once-calm soil. The world was trying to swallow him whole for his wrongdoings against the demonic force of nature. Leo ran faster than he thought possible on his shortened legs. Flames licked at his sides as if deciding which part of him to consume first. His claws became blurs in his sight as he swung and chopped aside the impeding, writhing grass that stood in his way. His lungs constricted and tried to expel the invading smoke, but failed to do so in the polluted air.

The crunch of snapping grass beneath his feet was nothing compared to the splintering of reality happening just inches beyond his fleeing form. Leo sprinted over the wavering stalks and jumped a small dirt ridge. His steps nearly stumbled upon landing, but he remained true as he ran for his life from the collapsing field. Ovals of bright, shining blue appeared out of the corner of his eyes --gates leading to some unknown, terrible place-- for an instant before vanishing with a section of the world, leaving oddly shaped craters in their wake.

Leo tried to keep a clear head as he breathed in mouthfuls of floating embers and ashes with every feeble attempt at alleviating his burning lungs. His vision was swaying from side to side more than his own body was, and he struggled to keep his balance amid the explosions and faults that rattled the earth under him.

Flecks of dirt and burning material battered him from all sides, stinging his eyes and the fire on his tail, both causing him acute amounts of discomfort to combine with his starving belly, sore body, and fatigued mind. Just as he wondered when he was going to reach the exit, his body suddenly felt like it was combusted in a furnace from hell as his vision became nothing but bright, blinding blue.

He was knocked to the ground and at once the world fell silent. Leo dared not move, in fear of causing another apocalypse. He only breathed slow, ashless breaths as he hugged the ground until the electricity numbing his body tapered off. Leo felt as if every nerve in his body was shaking in place, making his skin crawl uncomfortably. His mind was spinning far too fast for him to possibly make sense of what had just happened over the last twenty seconds.

There was an earthquake … In the air … How? Much like before, asking questions only left him with more questions than before. Fortunately, the lightning seemed to find tasing his body to be distasteful and dissipated into the ground, leaving him with full control once again. Claws scraped against the dirt as he pushed against the force of gravity. Leo’s body was feeling the full effect of his battle against the barrier: his limbs felt as if they were going to pop off at any moment, his muscles were sore beyond belief, and he was certain that his head would never be clear again from the dizzy spell that held him firmly.

His eyes fluttered open, blinking rapidly to dispel the dust and bright light breaching them. Sitting in with his legs clumsily crossed across his lap, Leo lacked the energy to do anything but look up at the vastly changing scene before him. The field, the once lush and golden prairie was withering like leaves of a sere tree. He was mesmerized by the transformation, at how the stalks and earth itself seemed to growl in pain as they crumbled into dust. Wind whipped through the area, creating a massive cyclone of plant ashes and soot above the perimeter of the demonic meadow.

It was both beautiful and terrible. The young fire reptile was certain that the awesome image would be imprinted in his mind forever. The swirling mass of thick, ash-blackened clouds roiled in their skyward march, throwing lightning, and other astronomical phenomena down at the doomed plain. The fire raged as suddenly everything vanished. For a split instant, there was nothing, only white. Until the light in the sky returned and forced him to blink.

When his sight was restored, Leo was slightly more than shocked to find that the world had changed while he was blinded. In an instant, the giant seething pillar of ashen cloud was replaced by a deep orange light traced with light blue and pink clouds. The smoke-ridden wheat field had inverted upon itself and returned to the golden, shimmering ocean it had been before its sudden conflagration. Everything was normal, yet, everything had changed.

Leo was barely able to keep himself upright as he propped his shaking arm against the hard ground. While his attention was sought by the treasure of light in the sky, he found his sights set on the crimson skin of the apple laying on the earth, nestled in the roots of some long-dead tree. He wanted to lick his lips and lunge forward at the fruit, but his body had other opinions.

The tingling sensation started in his legs, turning them into stone as his body seized up on him. His arms were unable to support the deadweight of his torso and slid forward, scraping up topsoil as they did so. He was unable to move, exhaustion rising up from its position from disgruntled soldier to become a cruel dictator over his actions.

Leo’s body was paralyzed --a last ditch effort to keep him from exerting himself to death. His form went limp, arms and legs numb to the world even as his mind screamed for him to inch forward and seize his prize in the rich, red fruit. He was so close to it, he swore he could smell it with his unmoving nose. Anger coursed through his veins, unable to act upon his desires. Leo wanted nothing more than to let the twisted field alight again and slash away every last stalk until it was trampled into the dirt. As the dust settled on his unblinking eyes, Leo was distracted from his fuming rage by a noise he had not heard in his memory. Voices. Distorted by the distance.

The far corner of his vision caught their sources and his eyes widened in surprise. He may have still been unsure of what he was and where he came from before his amnesia, but he was certain he had never seen anything like the two beings slowly approaching him across the dirt clearing.

Floating dust pooled about the feet of an yellow and white furred fox while next to it walked some sort of mutated blue and black dog. His pulse quickened as they seemed to take notice of him, though he was unable to act on his screaming instincts to run away. His rapid breath began to hitch against his unmoving chest, bringing his fatigued body closer to complete shutdown. Against the will of his mind, his vision darkened as his eyelids slid down and closed shut.

Leo knew this was the end of him as he floated in the empty void of his visionless consciousness. Those two creatures would eat him alive or something horrible like that and leave him for dead. He wished he still had the ability to curl his fists at the thought that he was going to die after he had fought his way through the hardships of the field.

“… Did you see that?”

“… shot right through the wall!”

Their voices did not seem right. They sounded almost normal, not belonging to hell-creatures of this strange dimension.

“… active the badge! We’ve got to get back!”

No. It’s not possible. It can’t be possible. It can’t be.


A single light burned against his bruised face. The man, the scarred, broken, demoralized man rested in his torment against the cold metal of the interrogation table. Blood trickled from his possibly broken nose onto the recycled steel platform and pooled under his mouth where it was agitated by his slow, heavy breaths as he drifted along the vague edge between nightmarish consciousness and blissful unconsciousness.

A loud metallic click echoed throughout the room, followed by a slight whir of magnets as the chamber door slid open. His barely open eyes flinched at the sounds of the familiar clunking of military boots marched with the same strength their owner’s fist used to smash his nose.

The soldier’s lightweight metal armor clanged against the table as the man only squeezed his eyes shut tighter as he hoped the world would disappear as an infant would mistakenly believe.

“Douglas Strickland. Poor, poor Douglas. Is he too tired to answer any more of my questions?” Doug gritted his bruised jaw as he endured the woman’s mocking insult.

He wasn’t sure how long he had been out, but he remembered Henry shaking him awake in a holding cell in the impromptu military barracks near the wastelands outside of the Pewter industrial complex. His head throbbed like a metal foundry as he was then dragged away by a helmeted soldier to this dim interrogation room. A metal-coated glove suddenly embraced his throat, its chilled surface snatching the breath away from his exhausted lungs mid-breath.

“Answer me, Dr. Strickland. You’re done with this interrogation when I say you are. Now, traitor,” She placed considerable pressure on her grip. Doug futilely clawed at her impervious hand like a dog chained to a post as he gurgled and wheezed for air. In his struggle, he saw a wicked smile spread across her strict face. A single strand of her brunette hair --a genetic rarity among the population-- fell from the tight bun she had on the top of her head. The only imperfection he saw on her cruel face.

“Where are Senators Readly and Few? They were airlifted to Celestial Range during the capitol siege. We saw it on our scanners, so don’t deny it. I’m going to give you three seconds of air before I go back to crushing your throat. Use them wisely.” Hardly a muscle in her face moved aside from her taut jaw as she loosened her iron hold around his windpipe enough for him to suck in a breath. His lungs were burning like the facility he recently escaped, but he knew he had to answer the woman otherwise he’d never survive.

“They … Evacuated … Location … Secret from me…” he reported in between pained gasps. That much was technically true. While he had the clearance to be given the info, he had simply been too occupied with his assignment with the boy to act on it. He was thankfully, unintentionally ignorant. Unfortunately for his continued use of oxygen, the officer did not seem to like his answer very much as he felt her steel-plated fingers dig into the fleshy portions of his neck.

“Wrong answer, Douglas. Let’s see how you handle a bit of force behind my tactics.” With that, she leaned over the table, pulled up on his neck, and swung her free fist deep into his now-straightened chest. Doug’s world split into fragments as light and darkness alternatively battled for his vision. Guttural noises escaped from his mouth as his body convulsed against her hand. He felt as if his insides were on fire, his ribs and lungs being consumed by the inferno.

She let go for an instant, enough for him to inhale a fraction of a breath before she closed off his throat once again. Her jaw was beginning to loosen into an even more sinister smile as several strands of her hair broke free of her bun to dangle limply on her flawless, emotionless face. Doug could only brace with whatever was left of his will as she drew her fist back again.

His eyes closed in preparation of the end. The researcher was content. He had succeeded in the basics of his mission and had escaped death’s claws against the stacked odds. To die here would be immensely damning to his moral, but it beat sudden total conflagration or withering away under raining clouds of radiation. This would be a different way to go. It would be under the premise of a war not seen since the First Days.

Except the devastating punch never collided with his torso.

“What? Sir? Are you sure? … Of course, sir. Not an issue.” Doug managed a quick glance at her face as she switched off the communicator built into her suit. That instant she let go of his neck completely, letting his weak body drop to the table like a stone. His chest shuddered as he sucked in as much precious oxygen as he could as he tried to move his shaking hands against their restraints.

Silence fell over the room like a smothering wave as if the woman was waiting for a sign to continue. Faintly through the walls, the sounds of yelling and distinct plasma discharges entered his ears. His heart dropped in his wheezing chest as he knew exactly what was happening. His fears were only confirmed as he heard the sound of a button unclasping and metal sliding on metal.

Far away, the whir of mechanical doors graced his ears, but found it increasingly useless to keep paying attention. A small click echoed through the chamber as she drew her weapon on him. It was like the others he had seen on the bodies of the soldiers in the facility: grey, lightweight, functional, and lethal. About as purposeful as a weapon could get.

She raised the gun to be level with his head, both of her powerful arms gripping it tightly. He stared straight down the barrel, its personal abyss telling him to be unafraid and jump into its depths. Her fingers rested for a moment on the handle before jumping around the trigger. Doug drew a deep breath, savoring the air as it passed through his crushed nostrils and filled his bruised lungs. He drew his chained hands close to his bowed head in a final prayer. He heard a door open. He heard a trigger click. Then, the discharge.

He heard a body slump, metal striking against metal, and a secondary discharge. The smell of burning flesh hit his nose like the woman’s fist. He opened his eyes and raised his disheveled head. Standing in the doorway was his savior, still holding the smoking gun in his wrinkled hands. A slight grin etched its way across his exhausted face as he pushed his glasses back up onto the bridge of his nose.

“This is number eight, Doug. Come on, let’s get out of here.”

Yes. We’ll leave this place behind. Just like he left…

End Chapter One v2

Author’s Notes: Well then. That didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would.

So this is it. The long-advertised rewrite of Chapter One, now to my satisfaction. I managed to keep most of the events in the original the same, and changed a few things to reflect a newer plot and my writing skills, which have grown considerably since the first iteration of the chapter.

I chose to reflect a lot more on Leo’s development as a character and his thought processes as he first wakes up. I also took some liberties with how a dungeon reacts when someone doesn’t play by its rules, but I think it turned out well.
And, finally, I vastly extended and retconned Doug’s scene. Now, that is to reflect a vastly changed plot, and to give a character that I really like an ending he deserves more than he previously had.

I do hope you all enjoy it.

Knightfall signing off…

…This. Oh my Arceus, this. It’s one of the most amazing PMD Fanfic I’ve ever read, if not the best. It’s very well-written, with lots of vivid descriptions and just enough dialogue to keep it interesting. I found myself on the edge of my seat in the laboratory part! I am kind of curious as to what’s going on in the human world, but I’m sure that’ll be revealed eventually. I can’t wait for more!

Also, I DID notice one typo, although it could have been on purpose. During one of the errors, it says “evacate” instead of “evacuate”. Other than that, though, I didn’t see any errors. I’d give you some constructive criticism, but I’m not sure what I could say bad about it… I can’t find anything that could be improved ^^;

Keep writing! X3

I was hoping someone would reply, I was thinking I was being ignored for some reason. I’m kidding of course. :)

Anyways, I’m glad you enjoyed it, I spent quite a bit of time writing it. And the human world, in short, is…[explicative]-ed up. And yes, it’s true state will be found out much later in the story.

Hmm, I’ll fix that typo. Errrr, I thought I finally got all of them this time…, oh wait. That error was one purpose, the computer was crashing so it’s Spellcheck wasn’t working too well at the moment.
Thank you for replying, I posted my fic here with hopes of getting some different feedback then some of the other places were it’s posted (Serebii, and Fanfiction.net), and after running the gauntlet of the reviewers at Serebii, I wanted this place to get the less rough drafty version of this fic (and you still find mistakes :), I guess there’s always something that needs fixing).

And trust me, I won’t stop writing, not for a long time. I’m currently writing Chapter Four of this, and until it’s done and polished, I’ll upload Chapters Two and Three (eventually).

Again, thanks for replying and the encouraging words.

Knightfall signing off…

You say you’re new to the Fanfiction world with a piece like that? I sense you are lying, or you just have a great skill at writing. Enough description to keep me occupied! I feel like I’m an beginner when reading this, and I’m supposed to be an editor! And I love your power of willingly pressing on no matter what happens! Let me explain this comment in two words:
So… Awesome…

Why thank you, and this is my first fanfiction. Ever. I have never even attempted to write anything like this before, so yeah, I’m not lying when I said that. But I’ve have some help editing and removing mistakes on some other sites so I guess it’s not right to take all the credit.

I’m flattered by all the positive replys this is getting, and I will most likely post the next chapter sometime this week.

Thank you again, and to all those who are reading this, feel free to share your opinion. If you think it’s great, if there’s something you think I can improve on, please tell me. That’s the only way I’ll ever get better.

Knightfall signing off…

Chapter Two: A Slight Discrepancy

[i][b]“…For their greed, they were stripped of their wealth. 
For their misuse of knowledge, they were sentenced to live lives of ignorance. 
For their most heinous of crimes they committed under the light of the sun, they were condemned to a world of darkness. 
Never to see the true light of the sun again. 
For the war they fought, for the blood they shed, for the lives they destroyed, for the land they soiled, for the balance they usurped, for the peace they shattered, for the world they tore apart … they were banished. 
Banished by the gods from this world, forever imprisoned behind a Seal created by the gods. 
Exiled, for eternity.”[/i][/b] Excerpt from the manuscript, [i] Legend of the Great War [/i]. 
Courtesy the Trinity Isle Research and Archives facility. (T.I.R.A)  

Leo had realized that this was a playback of his forgotten life, a dream of sorts; mostly because he never remembered waking up from when he passed out.
A flash-back; somehow dredged up from the bottomless abyss that held his past life.

He stood-- well, it was more like observing from above, like a phantom. He watched from a short distance as a group of figures ran down a narrow metal catwalk inside some sort of darkened concrete building.
He could see himself, as a human. He couldn’t remember his face, but he knew it was him. The other adults were unrecognizable though.

He was running-- clarification-- his human self was running. From what his other self was running from, he was not entirely sure.

He heard the sounds of their heavy shoes click on the metal catwalk as his human self followed the adult figures in front of him. Leo saw that his human self wanted to catch his breath, but he knew he couldn’t; he had to keep up with the others.

As to reaffirm his other self’s unknown reason for not stopping, Leo heard an explosion. The blast was muffled by the concrete walls of this building, but it didn’t stop the acrid smell of smoke and burning furniture from reaching Leo’s phantom nose.

His human self ran even faster, propelled by fear.
Suddenly one of the figures in the front of the group opened a metal door, light poured in from the outside. Leo felt himself blink as the bright light made the dark hallway visible.

From his outsider viewpoint Leo was amazed at what some of the figures looked like.
A couple of the adults, comprised of both men and women were dressed in formal black business suits that where soaked in sweat and had more wrinkles and tears than a tailor could ever hope to fix.
Aside from these “official” people, the few others were clothed in some sort of strange armor and helmets. Each of these armored people was gripping some sort of black handheld machine, their faces set with an unreadable look that betrayed no emotions or fear.

He looked at his human self with an air of detachment; he couldn’t believe that he originally was one of them; it seemed so unreal.
His human self also looked out of place with the adults; wearing only a simple T-shirt and jeans.

As if opening the door triggered some sort of signal, the men in the armor sprung into action. Clutching the black devices with both hands, they rushed out of the door, followed quickly by his human self and the others.
Leo couldn’t move as his other self ran out into the bright light of whatever was outside.

Suddenly there was a sharp cracking of thunder, lots of it, coming from directly outside the open door in short rapid bursts. He heard yelling, the roar of the thunder blasts grew louder and more rapid.
Than everything was enveloped in the bright light; the light had all but blinded him, but his hearing remained intact.

He doubled over as the sounds amplified themselves louder; he covered his ears with his claws in a vain attempt to block out the ear shattering noise.
Just as he thought his head was going to burst from the noise, he awoke with a start.

Gasping for air, he looked around at the room he was in. He was laying on a pitiful excuse for a bed-a small circle of damp straw- in the middle of a stone walled chamber. There was only a single heavy wooden door and it didn’t have a handle. The only source of light aside from his torch of a tail was a small glowing crystal fixture on the ceiling.

Leo’s pulse quickened. Where am I?
He quickly got to his feet, and than almost instantly was broadsided with a dizzy spell. His body stumbled and he found himself holding onto the cool stone wall for support.

The gnawing pain of hunger he felt from before had decided to rear its ugly head once more.
His stomach decided it was the right time to remind him of its existence and the fact that it hadn’t been filled in recent memory.
He was about to slide down the wall to the floor in defeat when his eyes caught a flash of metal.

He slowly turned his head to face the source of the glint as not to provoke another dizzy spell. It was a small metal plate; however it wasn’t this that had Leo’s attention.
It was the two small red apples that rested on the platter.

He willed the little energy his body had left into the form of a clumsy dive. The rough slide across the stone floor didn’t seem to hurt as much thanks to his new scaly skin.

His sharp teeth made short work the soft apple flesh; he tore through both of the fruits with lightning speed. He tried to savor the juicy flavor. As he finished the fruit, he attempted to jog his memory as to when he had last enjoyed them.
He couldn’t, and he again cursed his amnesia.

Licking his lips, Leo finally felt almost happy, despite his shortfall recollecting his memory. He tossed the two apple cores back onto the plate.
He wasn’t completely full, he was still in some sort of prison, and he was suddenly feeling very drowsy.
His breathing slowed, his eyelids suddenly became heavy, and soon he found himself laying on a slightly damp pile of straw on the floor.

Why am I sleepy? I just woke up, didn’t I? Leo tried to reason, but his mind also was getting sluggish. I should be trying to find -he let loose an involuntary yawn-a way out … of … here.

And with that last thought, he drifted off to a sleep. Thankfully this time there were no dreams he was forced to watch.

Leo woke to the screeching of the door to his cell opening. 
As he groggily sat up, two things happened at once. 

The first being that what looked like two metal spheres with magnets attached to their sides floated into the room. 
The second being that the metal sphere things talked. 

“BZZZT! Looks like he’s awake. Finally. BZZZT!”
Leo could only stare as one of the spheres zoomed close to his face. This caused Leo to franticly claw his way backwards, only to have a wall crash into the back of his head. 

Leo winched in pain and tenderly rubbed the back of his scalp- still noting the fact that he now had a horn. 
However this made the two magnetic abominations burst into fits of what Leo could only assume was laughter. All he could hear was the sound of harsh static and metallic screeches coming from the two guards. 

Wanting to preserve some of his dignity, Leo quickly got to his feet and angrily swiped his claw at one of the spheres. He was rewarded with a hit, even if it only made the sphere bob slightly in the air. 

That said sphere returned the favor with a small burst of electricity from his magnet appendages aimed at Leo. 
The voltage wasn’t enough to permanently harm him; the Magnemite wasn’t stupid and he needed this job. 

Leo felt like his body was on fire, yet he stood up and faced the twin guards with a look of pure repressed anger. 

“BZZZT! Don’t look at us like that! BZZZT!” the first sphere shouted, his higher tones sounding like an out of tune microphone. 
“BZZZT! Yeah, you kind of deserved it for making us work overtime. If it wasn’t for you, we’d probably be back at the Hub recharging by now. BZZZT!” the second sphere continued the first’s rant. 

Leo didn’t respond, he only focused more of his anger into his glare. [i]Maybe if I concentrate hard enough they’ll both explode. Who knows what I can do in this body?[/i]

They didn’t explode, much to his dismay. They did however shackle both of his wrists together with some sort of magnet chain, and tried to lead him out of the room to somewhere else in the underground building. 

 The word “tried” meaning they attempted to walk him out of his cell, but after being thrown in prison, drugged, bruised, laughed at, and shocked, Leo wasn’t in the mood for compliance. 

“ZT! Stop resisting! Our chief wants to talk with you. ZZT!” one of the guards groaned.

Leo simply dragged his feet on the packed dirt floor, a procedure which worked well now that he had claws. Not impressed with his little show of defiance, the guards continued prodding him with small electric zaps while muttering about his species stubbornness. 

At last they had arrived at their destination, a small room cut from the stone. Inside as only a wooden table and a small chair made of the same substance.

The guards entered with Leo and instructed him to sit down. He carefully made sure his tail wasn’t in the way before completing the action while the guards waited. 

A short time later another creature much like the guards floated through the doorway. 
It was a much bigger identical form of the guards and had an air of authority as it started talking to the guards. 
The guards reported on the recent events to the, what Leo would assume was their chief officer. 
They were being very secretive about it, talking in hushed tones; it wasn’t like Leo could glean any information from their conversation even if he wanted to. They were talking in a series of beeps and tones, a language that most sentient beings not acquainted with radio signals couldn’t understand. 

As soon as they were finished giving their version of the report, the officer turned to look at Leo. 
Leo gave a weak wave to the one eyed creature, careful to let him see the small blackened areas on his scales from when they had zapped him.

The ovular magnetic creature suddenly shouted at the guards in a language that sounded like the unholy combination of metallic screeches, high pitched static, Morse code, and other unpleasant mechanical noises that threatened to make Leo’s ears bleed. 

This sudden outburst made the both of the guards zoom out of the room in sheer terror. The larger creature than aimed one of his magnet hands at the metal door and pulled it shut with a magnetic pulse. 

While Leo stared in mixed awe of the creature, it floated over to the opposite side of the table and started to talk.

“Let me be the first to apologize for their behavior, I had absolutely no idea of their actions. BZZZT! They were acting completely out of the orders I gave them. BZZZT! I specifically told them to escort you to this chamber, and [i]not[/i] to damage you in the process!” He buzzed angrily as his apology came to an end. 

“It’s alright; I’ll be fine in no time.” Leo responded with forced cheerfulness, but he couldn’t hide his look of utter confusion and hatred of the guards from the creature. 

“Ah. You’re wondering why you’re here, aren’t you? BZZZT!” he asked knowingly, as Leo nodded, affirming his answer. 

“You were brought here two days ago suffering from severe malnutrition and sleep deprivation as a side affect of your time in Tranquility Fields. That’s why we had to coat your meal with sleep seed extract, by the way. BZZT!” 

[i]Wait, two days? How long was I out? Where exactly was I?[/i] Surprisingly, the only part of what he said that made any sense to Leo was why he was drugged.   

“BZZZZT! I know you’re wondering why you’re here, being interrogated by me to be more specific, aren’t you? BZZZT!” Leo had no idea that the officer was able to read minds. He gave him a silent look that said, “No, I want to know why the sky is blue”.

Apparently not seeing Leo’s glare, the officer continued, 
“BZZZT! I haven’t seen you around here before so I’ll introduce myself. My name is Auxiliary Gear Magnezone; you may call me Officer Gear; I’m in charge of Loyalty Square’s prison. BZZZT! I’ve been in charge of this prison for te-” 

“Why am I in prison in the first place?” Leo suddenly interrupted; irritated with the lack of real answers and abuse he was receiving in this place. 

The creature, Officer Gear, was silent for a moment; the only sound in the chamber came from the faint sounds of the surface world above and the quiet whirring noise that accompanied the Magnezone’s constantly turning magnets.  
“BZT! You want to know why you are here? You are here because the rescue team that found you passed out in front of the Fields was required to bring you here by law. BzzzzT! No one is allowed near the Fields without permission. No one. You’re guilty of trespassing. BzZt! That’s why you’re here! Don’t act like you don’t know; everyone without a death wish knows to stay away from the Fields! bZZttT!” Gear shouted; the mechanism that controlled his voice failing to remove the static tones in his speech. 

Leo wasn’t expecting that, he’d been through a lot the past couple days, but he wasn’t expecting to be yelled at; much less charged with a crime. 

He stood up, nearly knocking the chair over in the process. He leaned over the table and got close to Gear’s single red eye.
“Listen, I woke up in the middle of that field with no idea of who I was, or how I got there, much less that I was committing a crime. I was concerned with finding a way out of that place, and eventually I did. I don’t really care for your rules about trespassing. I just want to leave, now.” He said the last word with such iciness, it surprised him. 
It wasn’t the only thing to surprise him; Leo swore he saw actual smoke exiting his nostrils as he ended his rant

It felt good to let that built up rage out, he hadn’t had much of a chance to let it out earlier. He knew that he’d have to face some sort of punishment for talking back to the officer, but it felt great to finally get it off his chest and stand up for himself.

After what seemed an eternity, or maybe it was just a couple of seconds, Gear spoke.
“BZZZT! You got guts, Charmeleon, and a temper to match. Tell you what, you deserve to know what’s going on, and I’ll tell you. BZZZT! As long as you tell me what I need to know, alright? Seem fair? ZT!” 

Leo wasn’t to keen to take his offer, but took a mental note on what exactly he had turned into, [i]a Charmeleon is it? Strange name for whatever I am [/i].  
He slowly nodded, hoping that he could answer the officer’s questions. Otherwise, he could be here for a while. 

“ZZZT! Good. Now, you claim you have no idea who you are or how you got inside the dungeon known as Tranquility Fields. Could you please explain what happened? BZT!” 

Leo shifted in the chair, “I don’t know exactly what happened myself, I’m not sure how I could possibly explain it to you. I have no ide-” Leo began to say, before Gear interrupted.

“ZZT! Just tell me to the best of your ability, alright? ZT!” Gear told Leo, getting slightly irritated with him.

So began Leo’s most uncomfortable experience in this new world yet. 
He went over every detail in his escapade from when he first woke up to when he last blacked out, even including his loss of memory and how he escaped through the barrier leaving nothing out of the narrative. 
Except for his memories of being a human that is; he decided it was best to leave that little detail out of his story until he knew a lot more about what was going on.

When he finally finished his tale, Gear said nothing for a few minutes; his mind processing and going over every aspect of what was just told to him. 

“BZZZT! You’ve got to be the strangest Pokemon I’ve ever had to interrogate, and I’ve run this prison for ten years. You’ve just made my job slightly easier, if anything. They’ll never believe this down at the Federation. BZZZT!” Gear laughed loudly. 

Not knowing what Gear meant by the comment, Leo decided to speak.

“Remember your part of the deal; now please tell me what I want to know, Officer,” he demanded, quickly adding the last word to the end. 

Gear glared at him, his single red eye glowing with slight irritation. At long last he said, “So I did. And now I know why what you want to ask, and the answer, simply, is the Fields are dangerous.”

Not stopping even for Leo’s confusion, he continued, 
“The dungeon you came out of is off limits to everyone.  BZZZT!  Even after the Restoration of Time, the dungeon never recovered from the effects of the Crisis. It turned into a black hole of sorts, anyone who went in was never heard from again. ZzzT!”
Gear stopped his explanation suddenly, and grew quiet for a moment. 
To Leo it was if he was reminded of those he had known who didn’t return from those fields. He also gave a thought to the terms Gear had mentioned, [i]Federation? Crisis? Restoration of Time?  Obviously they are important, but I have no idea what they are[/i]. He made a quick note to eventually find out what these events were.   

Gear’s words also brought up an eerie thought; [i]back in the Fields, what if I couldn’t break through the barrier? [/i]
Leo shuddered at the grim possibilities of what might have happened.   

As Leo was processing his own thoughts, Gear found his voice again.

“The Federation called off the rescue efforts and erased Tranquility Fields from its maps. They gave us orders to guard the entrances and to punish those who got too close. That’s why you’re here, because technically you crossed the boundary, and the law states you must face the consequences.” 

Leo tensed, he wasn’t sure what made up the punishment in this world, but he didn’t want to find out anytime soon.  

“Fortunately for you, the odd circumstances of your escape will be enough to simply write this off as an unusual incident. Mostly because- to the extent of your knowledge- you never went into the Fields, you only came out of them. BZZZT!”  Gear explained, much to Leo’s relief. 
His claws slowly released from the wooden seat of the chair, as he processed the officer’s about-face in punishing him. 
[i]I’m getting out of this place, finally, out…[/i]

The Magnezone continued speaking, “Sorry about imprisoning you and all that. However, procedure must be followed; otherwise, there’d be no order, so to ensure order we had to at least question you on your little “adventure” in Tranquility Fields. BZZZT! Please understand why we had to do what we did.” And with that statement Gear used a radio tone to signal one of the Magnemite guards to enter the room.

The guard was not one of the guards from earlier, much to Leo’s satisfaction. If he ever got his hands on either one of them again, they would be the ones on the ground in pain, not him. 

Returning to this guard, he was carrying a metal crate with his twin magnets. He gently set the crate down on the wooden interrogation table and with Gear’s nod of dismissal; he floated out of the room.

Gear hovered slightly higher off the ground and reached inside the crate. He pulled out a folded wad of paper pinched in his magnet-like appendage. 
He placed the folded paper on the table and gave it a push. 
It slid across the rough wooden surface, stopping right in front of Leo. 

Leo carefully unfolded it, and laid the flattened document on the table. It had no words or letters at all, only some sort of code printed on the entirety of it; various couplings of dots and dashes made up the print on the paper. 
Either way, Leo had no way of reading it, much less any idea of language what it was. 

Fortunately, Gear chose at that time to provide an answer. 
“BZZZT! That is your ticket out of this place; please don’t lose it.” 

Leo stared up at the oversized floating magnet with a look of suspicion. He didn’t believe that he’d be given permission to leave this easily. 

Gear couldn’t read minds, but he could read Leo’s look of disbelief as clearly as a book. 

“You can leave, if that is what your question is. We have no further need for your presence here; you have been cleared of the charges against you. ZTT!” he explained as he motioned toward the door of the chamber, opening it with a magnetic pulse. 

“So were do I go now?” Leo asked uncertainly, he didn’t want to get lost in this maze of a prison by accident. 

Gear pondered his question over for a moment. 
[i]How hard can it be to tell me the way out your own prison?[/i] Leo thought as Gear’s lack of answering stretched on.      

When Gear finally spoke up, Leo was about to fall asleep, his head pressed against the table. “BZZZT! Well, I’m not sure exactly what you should do next. Until you recover from your amnesia, you can’t exactly go off on your own, can you? BZZZT! I guess I can talk to the Guild and see if you can stay there for a few days…” he trailed off suddenly; an idea just hit him.

Leo sighed and put his head down again, this wasn’t what he meant by his question, he just wanted directions out of here, but he took mental notes of the places he mentioned. 
It was only a few seconds this time before Gear started speaking again, 
“BZZZT! In fact, I might not need to trouble the Guild with you after all. Please wait a moment.” 
As he finished Gear suddenly emitted a series of beeps and tones. Almost instantly another guard zoomed through the open door and into the room. He hovered over to Gear and handed him a blank piece of paper. 

Gear silently dismissed the guard and laid the paper on the table in front of him. Without warning his right magnet started spinning, generating sparks of electricity as it spun faster. 

Than Gear aimed the electricity, in a single, thin beam of energy, at the paper and quickly moved the beam across the paper much like a pen or pencil. 
Leo vainly tried to associate a face or a name with these items from his past, but as said, it was a vain attempt, his amnesia was still too powerful. 
[i]Pens and pencils. Just another useless shred of memory.[/i] He sighed inwardly as he gave up trying to remember.
Leo decided to pay attention to Gear and his activity once more. 
He watched in curiosity as Gear finished his work; burning the last few lines into the paper. Gear than stopped the energy beam and picked up the smoking paper. From what Leo could see, an entire letter had been composed from the burnt lines in the paper. 

Gear than used his magnets to gently fold the paper into a simple square, he than slid it across the table like the release paper before. 

“Just give those to the guard at the front sentry post on the surface floor, alright? BZZZT! That should take care of your problems, for now at least.” Gear said as Leo placed both folded papers in his claw, and stood up. 

Leo was about to walk out of the room into the hallway Gear suddenly shouted for his attention. 
He turned back around to face the officer, [i]what now?[/i] He thought as Gear reached inside the metal crate again. 

“Figured you didn’t want to leave this behind” he said as he pulled out a familiar small crystal key on a golden string, “It seems pretty valuable.”

Any thoughts of irritation for Gear vanished as Leo meekly made his way over to the floating Pokemon. Gear gently turned over the artifact to Leo, who than slowly slid the golden thread over his neck. 

He sighed as relief flooded him, if he had lost it he didn’t know what he would do. It was the last thing he had of his past life; he needed to keep it safe.

“Thank you, sir.” Leo whispered, still in shock of the officer’s kindness in returning the key. 
Something told Leo that Gear could have fetched a good deal of money if he were to have kept and sold it someplace.

“BZZZT! You’re welcome, Charmeleon. Unfortunately not all of us in this business share my principles when it comes to matters like these.” Gear told a still stunned Leo cheerfully. 

“It’s Leo,” Leo quietly told Gear.

“Ahh, Leo is it? Alright, well good to know your name in case we ever meet again. BZZZT!” Gear said as he floated past Leo and into the hallway. 

“Just go along the other path, and you’ll eventually reach the surface. Remember to give those papers to the guard, or else.” Gear called from down the hallway, and than he was gone. Off to deal with other matters deeper inside the prison. 

Leo snapped out of the semi-stupor he was in and walked out of the chamber. He made sure that he went along the hallway opposite from where he had last seen Gear. 

The hallway smelt strongly of wet hay and damp earth, something that, as a creature with a live fire burning on his tail, he didn’t find too comfortable.    
His clawed feet made a slight clicking noise when they touched the stone floor, as he quickly walked through the winding hallways, always heading upwards. 
He was careful not to accidently turn down one of the many side hallways that lead back down into the unpleasantness of the prison. 
After he walked for about five minutes he noticed the walls of the hallway change from stone to packed dirt, and the dim light slowly get brighter.

Soon he reached a three-way intersection, two of the paths lead elsewhere in the prison, while the third path he had all ready traveled. In wall in front of him was a pair of rectangular metal doors which lead to the lobby and outside. 
Normally this wouldn’t have been so much of a problem if they had some type of knob, but they didn’t. The doors where completely smooth and appeared impossible to open. 

Leo tried knocking loudly on the smooth metal, but no one seemed on the other side to answer him, or maybe they were just ignoring him.
Not about to give into defeat to a seemingly impassible barrier, he employed the same tactic that he successfully used in an earlier battle against a certain wall of wheat. 

He awoke shortly afterwards to the sounds of static buzzing, and looked above him to see a Magnemite above him. He winced as he slowly got to his feet, he felt sore all over, and had a splitting head ache.
He made a painful mental note never to tackle a solid metal anything, especially at a full sprint.

The guard apparently didn’t want to get involved in Leo’s dilemma and simply used his magnetic pull to easily open the door.
Shielding his adjusting eyes from the light from beyond the door, he thanked the Magnemite who nodded in reply and flew off elsewhere in the prison.

Leo cautiously walked through the doorway into the lobby; the term lobby could only be applied if taken very loosely. The room was much brighter than the rest of the prison, considering that it had a few windows covered in sticks in the clay walls.
Other than the brightness there was little to it, there was only a small wooden booth with a Magnemite that floated behind it located by the open entrance way, and many wooden bulletin boards were mounted on the walls, each covered in posters that showed a colorful drawing of a certain Pokemon.

Leo now noticed why the guard hadn’t heard his knocking on the door earlier; he was busy talking with two creatures on the other side of his booth.
It took Leo a few seconds, but he realized that he recognized the two creatures. They were the blue and black dog and yellow and white fox from outside the Field.

No, he didn’t have the time to deal with them; his full focus was on the opening in the wall that led out of this place. He couldn’t risk his freedom with talking to the guard, for all he knew they would charge him with another crime.
He’d have to be quiet, and slowly sneak around the two Pokemon while the guard was distracted.

He flattened himself against the wall, and slowly began edging himself along it. It was incredibly slow going, but he was making progress, slowly but surely.
About halfway to the opening, Leo took a tentative glance at the guard.

The Magnemite was still conversing with the dog and fox Pokemon.
Good, he’s still talking with them, Leo thought as he continued to slide his way across the wall.
He was almost to the opening, he could turn the corner and be outside, that’s how close he was to freedom, but the booth was directly beside his target destination. He couldn’t go past without getting spotted unless he was extremely lucky.

Seeing no other alternative Leo grabbed his key and took a deep breath.
He ran directly behind the two Pokemon and into the opening as quick as his reptilian feet would allow.
He was almost in the clear, he couldn’t believe his apparent luck that the guard didn’t see him; he applauded himself for finally turning his streak of bad luck around.
It is at these times reality reminds us, often painfully, that some people or Pokemon aren’t made to succeed at certain things, like escaping unnoticed from a prison for instance.

Leo was halfway down the stone steps of the prison when suddenly he felt something metallic wrap painfully tight around both his ankles.
Leo soon found this pain was rather insignificant when compared with the pain of losing his balance and falling down half a flight of stone steps, face first.

He laid there for a moment, in quiet agony at the bottom of the steps, his entire body fighting to assess and mend the many bruises he had sustained in his misadventure.

Unfortunately for him, his rest was interrupted by the familiar whirring sound of a Magnemite. He could have sworn that it hid an almost inaudible laugh under its buzzing, as it attached one of its magnets to the metal cords around his ankles.

Leo soon found out that the only thing more painful than falling down half a flight of stone steps, was being quickly dragged up an entire flight of stone steps after doing the former.
With each step Leo was dragged up, he had to hold back an even greater amount of tears. At the top step, Leo uttered a small whimper. The guard didn’t even look at his captive as he continued to drag him back inside the prison foyer.
Leo watched the feet of the two creatures quickly shuffle out of the way, as he was dragged into the middle of the room, both his body and pride greatly bruised.

Once at the guard’s destination, the Magnemite shot a magnetic pulse at the tight metal cords that secured his feet. They instantly loosened and unwound, freeing his now slightly numb feet.
The guard quickly took the cord and stashed it behind his desk again. He than returned to the hurt Charmeleon and told Leo to stand, while the other two Pokemon silently stood and watched.

Leo painfully complied as the upset guard muttered words that Leo was sure were unfit for regular conversation.
As soon as he was finally standing, the guard started to spin both of its magnets, generating many sparks as he aimed the magnets squarely at Leo’s torso. Leo braced for the inevitable pain, his eyes squeezed tight, and his body as tense at he could make it without feeling pain.

After a few seconds he dared to open his eyes. The guard was no longer charging for a stunning shot, but instead looking at the crumpled papers clenched tightly in the claws on his right hand.
He had forgotten about them, they had been in his hand the entire time.
Silently swearing to himself, he cursed the fact that he had forgotten about the release papers that he was given and his own stupidity. He could have just handed over the paper and have been on his way, but no. Of course that didn’t happen. Maybe that concussion from his day in the Fields was still clouding his judgment.

The guard apparently saw what Leo was thinking and snatched the papers from his claw, and quickly scanned them both.
He took the first of the papers with the strange code on it and put it in the booth, and than gave the second paper to the blue and black dog.

The dog Pokemon slowly accepted the paper, not knowing what could possibly be on it.
He lowered the paper slightly so that his fox partner could get a good look at it as well.

While they read the content of the paper, Leo and the guard simply had engaged in a silent staring contest. The guard wishing he could zap Leo upside the head for his stupidity, and Leo busy closing one eye and imaging he was squishing the guard’s metal ball body between his claws.

As soon as the blue and black dog Pokemon was finished reading the letter he simply crumbled it into a ball and returned it to the guard, who zapped it into ash with his magnets.

“BZZZT! Well, than. Now you both know what’s going on, I’m most regrettably required by royal law and Gear’s mandatory “moral obligations” to ask if you have any questions or concerns about your new “addition” to your team. ZTTT!”
The guard sighed, apathetically addressing the other two Pokemon. Wait, new addition?

It was the dog who answered the guard, “Is this legal? Can Officer Gear do this? He never asked us, or told us anything!” he yelled at the guard.

The guard angrily zoomed over to the dog, “Listen, Riolu, and listen well; I don’t care. I honestly don’t. ZZT! Now, shut up. ZT! In fact, Gear can do this. Royal decree number five-hundred and seven, section two, sub-section three. ZZT!”

The Riolu crossed his arms, “But it isn’t fair! We didn’t ask for a new teammate when we rescued him, why can’t he just go to the Guild or something?”

The guard rounded on him, “BZZZT! Do I need to repeat the decree to you? In the case of a national emergency, and this is one, the Chief Officer has the authority to assign rescue and exploration teams temporary members as to not burden the Guild’s functions during said national emergency. What part of that isn’t clear? BZZZT! Now leave! I don’t want to have to charge you with resisting an officer’s order. Go! ZT!”

The Riolu wasn’t done arguing yet, and was about to talk when the Jolteon stopped him.

“Just stop, Jay. We can’t do anything about it now, and arguing won’t help. Let’s just go.” She told the upset Riolu, apparently named Jay.
He reluctantly complied and muttered something about the guard under his breath.

The guard looked pleased for once, “BZZZT! Thank you, Jolteon! At least someone here has proved that they can listen to reason, unlike some others. BZT!” he said, directing his last enunciated word at both Leo and Jay.

Leo silently observed as the three Pokemon argued over his fate, a conversation not comfortable to listen to in the slightest.
Jay and the Jolteon both turned to exit the prison, the guard quickly told Leo to follow them.

“BZT! You’re with them now. Have fun with your new teammates! BZZT!” The guard laughed, a horrid static buzzing sound, and shoved Leo out of the lobby, onto the top steps where he left him.
Confused with the events that made up the past few minutes, Leo continued down the steps, thankfully without tripping.

He stopped at the bottom of the stairs, taking in his surroundings. He saw the other stone and clay buildings of the town, as well as a multitude of creatures simply milling about, going on with their daily lives.

Leo twisted around in a circle, taking in the wonderful strangeness of it all, the colorful buildings, as the equally colorful creatures that walked, crawled, floated, and flew around him. Many of them were totally unlike any animal he had ever seen before; wow.

Before he was done marveling the scenery, Jay and the Jolteon found him.

“Well, I guess I’m with you guys for now. Right?” Leo said uncomfortably, as tried to get on their good side. He didn’t want to be hated by them, just because Gear took matters into his own hands.

“Yeah, you’re with us, Charmeleon. Just stay close.” Jay told him as he and the Jolteon started to make their way down the dirt street.

“It’s Leo. My name’s Leo.” Leo called to them as he followed the two.

As they moved past the various shops and buildings of the square, Leo tried to contain his curiosity as he took in the colorful wares of the vendors.

He saw berries and fruits of nearly every shape and size, from a small red one the size of a marble, to apples about the size of one of the Magnemite guards.
Along with the many fruits, he saw various metal goods, bags of small red colored seeds, and blue glass orbs stocked on the shelves and counters of the shops.

As he was looking, he realized that Jay and the Jolteon were both far ahead of him.
Leo ran forward to catch up with the Jolteon. Since she seemed the nicer of the two, Leo started to chat with her.

“Hey, it’s been a pretty hectic day so far, hasn’t it?” Leo asked, trying to make small talk with her. He sighed inwardly since at least he didn’t ask her about the weather.

“Yeah, it’s been pretty confusing so far. We really weren’t expecting Officer Gear to assign you to our team like that,” she said, as they turned off of the main street and onto a smaller dirt path.

“So that’s why he’s in such a bad mood, because of me?” Leo asked, jerking a claw toward Jay, who was walking a few strides ahead of them, and didn’t notice their conversation.

“I don’t think it’s you personally, he just doesn’t like it when he doesn’t get a warning of some sort when Gear or someone pulls these sorts of things. Like I said earlier, Gear never told us anything, except to be at the station this morning.” she explained, but Leo still had unanswered questions.

“So what’s your name? I got Jay’s, but not yours.” Leo inquired, wanting as much information as he could get.

The Jolteon looked somewhat surprised at this, “My name’s Kelly, and yours is Leo, right?”

“That’s right.”

“So what’s your story? I know you must have something to tell, since most Pokemon don’t just burst out of a dungeon wall, and then pass out. And now with your episode at the prison entrance, I really want to hear it.” Kelly asked Leo after a minute or so of relative quiet.

Leo had been somewhat expecting her question, the fact that they might to hear his story. It was a reasonable request, after all he was getting to stay with them, even if it was forcibly ordered, it was still the least he could do.

He glanced down at the key, which hung limply around his neck, his only link to whatever happened before he woke up in the middle of the Fields.
All of the things that had happened to him, from waking up until now, they were all so strange and new to him. He had all ready told Gear his slightly altered story, and now he was going to get the chance to tell it again.

He looked over to Kelly, “It’s a long, complicated story.” he said with a small chuckle, after all when he looked back on it, it was a little funny at times.

“Well, you’ll get the chance to tell us once we get to our base. And than afterwards, you’ll get the grand tour of the place. Sound good?” Kelly explained as Leo noticed that they weren’t in the town anymore.
They were on the edge of a small wooded valley, and the sun was starting to set.
The scent of the woods and the fact that he wasn’t in the prison anymore calmed him.
It perhaps the calmest Leo had felt yet in this place, and to him passing out and being drugged to sleep didn’t count as being calm.

“Yeah, that sounds good,” he said as they continued down the path, leaving Leo to his thoughts.

This is going to be interesting. He thought as he made a note to find out exactly what a “rescue team” was, and what was going to happen to him tomorrow.

They were questions Leo could only hope would be answered.

End Chapter Two

 [b]Author’s Notes:[/b] 
This chapter was slightly more difficult to write for me. I wanted Leo to meet and join his team differently than the normal “partner asks main character to join his team” scenario. 
Therefore, after a bit of brainstorming I came up with the idea that the Fields are very dangerous and that led to the idea of a prison, Gear, and some very irritated Magnemite guards. It also gave me the opportunity to add to Leo’s character and insert some humor into the chapter.     
I felt that it was different enough, but that’s just my opinion. Please tell me yours. I’d like to hear your comments/opinions on the story so far. 

So, as usual, please feel free to comment, critique, and correct my work. 
Again, please point out all the mistakes in my chapters, don’t worry, I can take it. 

Also, got a new banner for the fic. I think it looks pretty good.

Knightfall signing off…

Chapter Three: Calibration

[i] [Bypassing Security Encryption][Begin Transmission Playback] [File Addendum Found] [Hexadecimal Encoding Complete] 
Republic Capital Prison, 
Time: 8:47 A.M 
Prisoner: #037 
Name: David M. Radic 
Occupation: Ex-President 
Crimes: High Treason 
Current Status: To Be Executed
Comments: [REDACTED]
 [Unauthorized Access Detected: Disengaging File][Transmission Ended][/i]
[b]Transmission recovered from computer hard drives by Rogue Industries Counter-Crisis Unit (CCU) personal approximately twenty-seven hours after the destruction of the Dawson Mainland Research Facility. [/b]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The team, with their new addition in tow, arrived at the base shortly after leaving the square, via a short trail through the forest that led to a large grassy clearing near the foot of the small valley. 
The base wasn’t the only structure in the valley; there were several other dwellings made up of a mishmash of logs and other materials seemingly held together by sheer will and rope. 

Leo had taken a moment to admire the base when he first saw it; a jumble of log planks and stone fitted together made up the exterior of the single story structure, it was definitely unlike anything Leo remembered seeing before. 

Entering the base, Leo saw that it was completely different from the outside. It was much neater than the rough exterior; there was a small center room that linked to several other rooms that Leo barely got a glimpse of; a few had either a hammock hung from the log wall or a simple straw bed on the floor with a few blankets messily piled in the corners along with several wooden chests apparently used for storage. 

In one of the unoccupied rooms Leo spied a small shelf crammed with books. He made a note to look through those when he got the chance.     

It was the only tour he got of the place before he found himself sitting in the center room of the base, with Jay and Kelly prodding him to tell his story. 

Leo gulped, he knew he needed to chose his words wisely or else things might get more complicated for him than they already were. 
He took a breath and began, “The first thing I can definitely remember is waking up on the ground with the sun glaring down on me…”

It was well past sunset by the time Leo had even gone half way with his tale. When the darkness fell, Jay stopped him for a moment; he got up, went over to the wooden wall, and tapped a dull blue crystal shard in a metal container on the wall.
As soon as his blue paw hit the jagged surface of the shard it burst into a small shinning light. He went all around the circular room lightly touching each of the shards until he thought the amount of light adequate.
When Leo questioned him about what they were Jay replied,
“Luminous Orb shards.”
He said it as if every being with a pulse knew what a Luminous Orb was, unfortunately for Leo, the Riolu didn’t elaborate on the strange fixtures.

With some convincing, Jay eventually got Leo to continue with his story.
It was a late hour by the time the Charmeleon was finished. A time when ghosts of the deceased are said to roam the land, leaving behind trails of dew, mist, and fog.

With his story completed, Leo wondered what his new teammates would think of him.
They both appeared to be attentive to his narrative, but Leo couldn’t fathom was the thoughts were processing through their heads.

He wasn’t worried about how they would react to the fact that he used to be a human; he taken too many risks in the past few days, and had decided to leave that little detail out of his account.
It isn’t the right time or place to tell them. Besides, I have no idea what they’ll think of me if they find out, I need to find out more about this place before that happens. He reasoned while he feigned the account of what had happened when he first woke up in the Fields and his realization that he was no longer human.
He felt somewhat guilty about inadvertently lying to them, but he told himself it was for the best.

Jay was the first to break the relatively short silence.
He commented nonchalantly while waving a blue paw at Leo’s words that hung in the air.
“The Far Reach frontier explorers’ stories are more believable if only slightly, and most of them are certified insane.”

“What?” Leo shot back at the Riolu. He doesn’t believe me. He just dismissed by story, just like that!

Jay didn’t miss a beat, “I’m sorry, but you story sounds just a little unbelievable. Just ‘waking up’ in an inescapable dungeon and escape it? It just doesn’t happen; not that it couldn’t happen, it doesn’t happen!”

Leo shot up from the wooden stool he’d been sitting on, and glared at the Riolu. His red eyes hidden behind his “mask” of black fur didn’t even blink.

“You saw what happened! You saw me crash through the barrier of that place with your own eyes! Kelly too!” Leo shouted at his annoyed leader, who simply turned away from him.

“You don’t believe me, everything I went through?” Never mind the fact that the story you told them is a lie in itself, his conscience whispered to him.
He ignored it and returned his full attention back to the canine Pokemon.

Jay took a deep, calming breath and slowly faced the fuming lizard.

“Look, I’m sorry for yelling. I’m still a little irritated from the stunt Gear pulled earlier- not that you’re not a good Pokemon and all, but he was stepping beyond his bounds.” He explained, slowing his heavy breathing and continued his apology,
“But there’s no use crying over it; you’re here now and I can’t easily change that. So for now, we’ll wait until tomorrow to find out what it is you can do now that you’re here,”

Surprised by Jay’s sudden attitude shift Leo noted to try and remain on his new leader’s good side.
“So, do you believe what happened to me?” he asked, his own anger with the Pokemon diminishing slowly.

“I’ll admit that the waking up inside one of the most dangerous dungeons this side of the Kingdom and escaping it, is slightly far-fetched, but we did see you break out of it, so I’ll take it that you’re telling the truth.” Jay said as he walked past the Charmeleon into one of the rooms that branched off from the center chamber.

“Thank you,” Leo said quietly.
Suddenly a thought surfaced in his mind. “Jay, you said something about finding out what I can do tomorrow. What are you talking about?”

“You’ll find out in the morning,” the Riolu shouted from his room without looking back at Leo.

He pushed his clawed hand to his forehead, how am I supposed to know anything when he’s so confusing all the time?
“Is he always like this?” Leo asked Kelly, who had remained relatively silent since he started his retelling.

She got to her feet.
“I’ll admit he can be a little frustrating at times, but he isn’t usually like this, at least not that I’ve seen since I meet him. I’ll tell you something I’ve found out about Jay: he likes knowing what’s going on at all times, and with what he doesn’t know…well, you saw how he reacted. It’s not you; it’s the system he’s mad at. Gear’s actions were perfectly within his power, but he didn’t give us any warning,” she answered him, finally giving an explanation to the deserving Charmeleon.

I guess that makes sense, Leo thought, I understand liking knowing what’s going on, too.
“Wait, what system? Is it Gear and the others?” He asked prying her for any shards of information he could get from her.

“It’s them, and the fact that the king gave the police teams virtually unlimited power across The Kingdom, because of the state of world lately.” She told him, lowering her head with a sigh that one makes when no matter what they do, it can’t change the world.

Genuinely concerned now, Leo asked again.
“What’s going on? What’s going on with the world?”

She raised her head and gave him an incredulous look.
“You really don’t know?” she asked in disbelief.

“I kind of don’t remember anything about…well, anything.” Leo said sheepishly as her look softened as she understood his dilemma.

“Oh, yeah. Your amnesia.” She said with a tired yawn. “Listen, Leo. I promise I will explain to you everything you need to know, but right now it’s pretty late and we’ve all had a long day.” She started to slowly walk past him into the same hallway Jay had went down.

She stopped at the entrance to her room opposite of Jay’s, “Pick a room, and try to get some sleep for tomorrow.” She let out another soft yawn, “Goodnight, Leo.”

And she went into her room; Leo was left standing in the middle room. Shrugging his shoulders he tried to find the room with the bookshelf he saw earlier.

With minimal mishaps, he located the room he desired. With a better survey Leo found that the wall held two hooks for a hammock, which he found stuffed in a small trunk along the wall. He dragged it out of the chest and hooked the two ends to the wall.
Impressed with his work hanging bed set up, he made his way over to the book shelf. It wasn’t high up on the wall so Leo could see every book’s title without much effort.

Their covers were worn and slightly torn, and the once bright lettering on the spines faded. Leo struggled to translate the titles as their letters were written in some sort of script that resembled Standard*, but the letters didn’t exactly match.

With a little more effort he was able to make out the titles, he scanned across them all trying to find something remotely helpful. He read the titles as he grabbed the books.
“The Psychic Pokemon’s Guide to Reading Minds and Influencing the Weak-Minded”, no, I don’t need that. He placed the book on the floor.

“The Complete History of Blast Seeds: High Explosive Edition”, not what I need right now. He put the book on top of the last book on the floor.

“Royal Genealogy: The Rulers of the Kingdom and the Royal Lineage”, interesting, but no. He put it on the pile with the others.

“This Lasting Feud: The Enduring Conflict Between The Kingdom and its Renegade Colonies”, I’ll look at that later, but not now. He placed it with the others as he looked at the next book.

“Magmortar’s Guide to Making Anything and Everything Combustible”, just leave it alone, Leo. He thought before throwing the book on the growing pile of discarded books.

Finally he found something of reasonable help, “Common Knowledge: A Comprehensive Guide to the World-(compiled by the Trinity Isle Research and Archives facility)”, this might be what I need! he thought excitedly as he slid the worn book out from between its brethren and hopped into the hammock, his fiery tail hanging off the side of it.

He gently pulled open the cover looked flipped through the pages until he found a chapter that looked interesting.

“Chapter Eight: Mythological Creatures……”He said with a yawn.

Scanning through the pages of the chapter he stopped when he saw the heading: “Humans”.
All thoughts of sleeping left him as he read the opening paragraph.
Puzzled at why his original species was listed as a myth he read the entry processing every word like it was gold.

“Humans are beings that we have little information on other than that they are the focal point of several popular legends. The most commonly known of these ancient stories is “The Legend of the Great War” in which the human nations begin a fierce war between themselves and Pokemon. The legend has been corrupted by generations of retelling so it is not entirely clear on why the war was started in the first place; however most versions have that the human nations were eventually defeated by the Dragon Trinity who banished them as eternal punishment.”

Leo was fascinated with the partially informative passage. Eager to find out more he continued reading.

“Though it is not clear if humans existed or are a true myth, these legends are popular among Pokemon as the supposed fate of these beings. To find out if they did, in fact, exist at one point in time; several T.I.R.A sponsored archeological teams are preparing to travel to the islands thought to be closest to the lost civilization to look for evidence.”

Leo was rather disappointed that the book did not go into detail with the legend, but was content that he found some information within the context.

He flipped through several other chapters, “Chapter One: The Kingdom. Chapter Two: Rescue Teams. Chapter Seven: Mystery Dungeons”, he murmured to himself before finally falling asleep.

Leo woke when the smell of burning paper reached his nose. 
He flailed in the hammock until he fell over the side of it onto the packed dirt floor. 
Ignoring the sore pains in his limbs he found the source of the acrid smell: it was a book, “[i]The Complete History of Blast Seeds[/i]” to be exact. 
He had placed it along with several other discarded books in a pile beside his hammock, only now it was on fire. 
During his few hours of sleep he got after reading, his tail had apparently brushed up against the pile and set the top book aflame. 

In alarm, Leo snatched the blazing volume and threw in on the floor. He got to his feet and quickly stomped on the book repeatedly until he was satisfied that the fire was out.  
He inspected the other books in the pile to make sure the fire hadn’t spread to any of them, and to his relief it hadn’t. 
The “[i]Complete History[/i]” wasn’t as lucky as its companions; the front cover and the first couple chapters were charred beyond hope of repair. 

[i]Not good. Burning a book is definitely not a way to make a good impression[/i]. With that thought in mind, he decided that is was best that he disposed of the novel.

Looping his key around his neck he took a quick look out of the doorway of his room. After make sure it was clear, he quietly took the blackened book in his claws and tiptoed into the hallway, which was no small accomplishment considering he was still getting used to the new shape of his feet. 

The hallway was still lit by the soft bluish glow of the Luminous Orb shards, allowing Leo to not accidently stumble into the walls and wake Jay or Kelly. 

Successfully navigating through the Luminous Orb lit base, Leo pushed open the rough wooden door and snuck outside. It was still dark, but the faint glow on the horizon told him it wouldn’t stay that way for long. With the destroyed book in hand, he quietly walked through the dew stained grass until he came to a small knoll that overlooked most of the valley. 

Winding back his arm, he chucked the book. The novel soared through the air over somewhere deep in the lower half of the gorge. 

After listening for the tell-tale “thud” that resonated from the impact, Leo took advantage of the peace and quiet to sort through the all the events that had befell him in the days before.
 His strange transformation, his complete amnesia, his adventure in the Fields and all the trouble it brought him, being wrongly arrested than interrogated by Gear and his deputies, being dragged back inside the prison by the Magnemite, getting assigned to the team, all of it still painfully fresh in his mind. 
Unable to remember his previous life, not knowing anything about the world, finding out that humans were nothing but myths; it was enough to make anyone frustrated beyond the point of anger. 
Going over the events that had made the last few days less than ideal made his tail flare to coincide with his feelings.  
Cursing his so-called “luck”, he shattered the morning tranquility with an infuriated yell.

The sound of his shout carried throughout the valley and all its inhabitants, causing a startled flock of Pidgey to flee their tree in alarm and making more than one house’s windows to light up with the flicker of torchlight. 
He screamed until he couldn’t any more, venting every one of the emotions he that had built up over the last few days.  
Gasping for breath, it felt like a heavy burden was taken off his shoulders. 

“I hope you have a good reason for waking me up like that,” a voice asked from behind Leo. 
Startled, Leo swung around to face the unwelcome intruder, his right clawed hand curled into a fist ready to strike. 
Just as he was about to clock the unknown Pokemon, he held his fist back. The growing light revealed the intruder to be none other than Jay. 

“God, don’t do that!” Leo told him with a small sigh of relief that it was Jay and not a ticked off local wanting revenge for their interrupted sleep. 

“Than maybe the next time you decide to let off some steam, you make it that it doesn’t wake everyone in the province,” Jay scolded as he dropped a satchel he was holding to the ground. 

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to do it, but I was just so … frustrated with everything.” Leo apologized, watching as the scattered Pidgy reformed their flock and returned to their tree. 

“You really were telling the truth last night, weren’t you? This amnesia of yours and everything else that you said happened, I guess you weren’t lying after all.” Jay realized, as the Riolu crossed his arms. 

“You actually believe my story now?” Leo asked his uncertainty ebbing away with the night cold.

“Might as well, because no normal Pokemon just starts screaming at sunrise for the fun of it, except maybe Vigoroth, the guy’s insane. And besides, if I was stuck in that dungeon for a day, I’d probably start screaming like an insane Pokemon too.” Jay answered the Charmeleon, as the sun’s glow started to make its way over the mountains that bordered the eastern end of the valley.

Leo pondered his teammate’s words while turning the on his neck key over in his claws. [i]Who knows? Maybe that place really did affect me after all.[/i] 

The brief silence that followed their conversation was interrupted by the sounding of a loud, single, cheerful trumpet note that carried across the morning air from the direction of the town. 
Jay’s ears twitched upon hearing the noise, “That was the signal that the markets are open. I need to take care of some business there while it’s still early. 
You can come along if you want; it’s up to you.” He said with a shrug. 

Shaking away his previous thoughts, Leo nodded.
“What about Kelly?” he asked, pointing a single claw at the structure they called a base, and he now called his home, at least for now.  

Jay waved the question away, 
“Don’t worry, she’ll get the supplies together, than she’ll meet us in the Square like usual. And we kind of need to hurry if we want to get there before the crowd shows up.” 

He bent down and picked up the small, worn satchel off the ground. It was colored light brown--or at least that was the color it had faded to-- and it had a faint golden insignia embroidered on the front flap of it-the symbol itself was, unsurprisingly, not recognized by Leo as the royal seal of The Kingdom. 

Jay slid the satchel over his shoulder and with a quick “come on” motion of his paw, took off running down the path leading to the Square. Leo stood blinking at the Riolu’s speedy departure and shook himself back to reality. He ordered his legs to run to catch up with Jay. 
He sprinted down the tree lined path, trying not to trip and fall comically on the roots that stuck up from the ground. 

He saw Jay many yards ahead of him, striding with ease over the roots and fallen leafy boughs, while he barely managed to maintain a running pace with his new feet, much less not stumble into branches along the way. 
Before long the dark canopy of trees gave way to the flicker of flaming torches from the square. 

Leo emerged from the forest path breathing hard, but not nearly as scratched up as he thought he would have been after barreling through several low branches. 
He glanced down at his scaly skin; [i]there might actually be some advantages to this body after all,[/i] he thought. 
He saw Jay giving him a smug look from a few feet up the street; he looked like he’d been waiting there for a while. 
“Forgot how to run?” he taunted, making Leo pay for his interrupted sleep.
Leo growled, while it was true hadn’t run that fast in… well, recent memory, but he hadn’t forgotten [i]that[/i] much.  
Pushing the sudden desire to slash at the Riolu away, Leo managed to ask Jay what sort of “business” he had to take care of so early. 

“You’ll find out in a few minutes, but for now just follow me while we pass through the checkpoint,” was all he told him before he started walking toward the town.
Leo walked behind Jay as they approached the outskirts of the town. There, built across the middle of the street were two torch lit booths made of wooden planks. 
One booth on each side of the street, each blending in perfectly with the dwellings of the Pokemon that lived in the Square; one reason why Leo never noticed them yesterday. 

Inside the security booths were two Pokemon, whose species he’d hold a grudge with for a long time yet, possibly forever.

The two Magnemite floated lazily at their posts, but suddenly gained an alertness they lacked before when Jay and Leo walked into their sight. The guards zoomed out of their booths and hovered over the two early visitors.
“Just let me do the talking,” Jay whispered to Leo as he turned to the guard on the right
“Hello, [i]sirs[/i]. My friend and I have to get through. Would you please-“

“ZZT! Please,” the Magnemite on the left said.

“for the love of Arceus,” added the one on the right

“shut up so we can verify both of your citizen IDs. ZZZT! ” they both droned, yawns of static emanated from both of the sentinel units.
Reluctantly, Jay shut his mouth.

“Now, please present some form of [i]valid[/i] identification; emphasis on the “valid” part”, the guard on the left ordered, holding out his horseshoe magnet appendage. 

“Alright,” Jay answered, pulling open his satchel. After a few seconds of searching, he produced a small, circular, metal badge that sported a pair of wings on each side.  
As soon as he held the badge up it suddenly flew from Jay’s paw and landed with a metallic “clink!” on the guard’s outstretched magnet. 

“Verification in process,” the guard said boredly, even though he didn’t appear to actually [i]do[/i] anything with the badge except stare at intensely with his single eye.

“Now, Charmeleon. Your badge please,” the Magnemite on the right asked while his comrade continued to stare at the badge. 

Leo was at a loss. “Umm, I don’t have a badge.” 

The guard buzzed in annoyance. “Well than, where is your citizen ID?” 

“I don’t actually have one either.” Leo slowly told the guard, unsure of what was to happen next.

“An unregistered citizen, eh? ZT! Do we have a fugitive from the Colonies, maybe? Well, rebel scum, we have some space for you in the town prison. Rho, come help me with him!” 

“Wait! Wait! Wait! I’m not-” Leo stuttered as the right guard hovered toward him, his magnets sparking with stunning energy. 

Before Leo could turn tail and run, Jay stepped in between him and the guard.
“Wait a minute! Wait a minute! He’s not from the Colonies! He got clearance from Gear yesterday.”

The guard paused, his magnet’s energy dissipating. 
“Clearance? From Gear? I’ll need to verify this. Please wait a moment while I contact Chief Officer Gear.” 
The guard fell silent as he used his screw-like antenna to contact the Magnezone. 

As the guard on the right was doing this, the guard on the left, Rho, had ceased his staring contest with the badge and magnetically levitated it back to Jay, granting him permission to enter the town. 
 Seconds after Jay got his badge back, the guard on the right started talking again.

“You may pass; turns out Gear actually [i]did[/i] give you clearance. He also told me to [i]apologize[/i] for my rash treatment of you and your friend Jay, or else I’ll be reassigned to the Sawgrass Town patrol.” the Magnemite on the right shuddered like the mere uttering of the words “apology” and “Sawgrass Town” caused him physical pain.   

The guard took a deep static filled breath,
“I, Deputy Officer Ion, am sincerely sor…”he stopped in the middle of his forced apology. 
His frame shook and his magnets spun and sparked erratically,
“ ...ry and you are an [i]outstanding[/i] citizen” he finished. 
As soon as the final part of the word came from his speaker, a spark shot from his spherical body and he dropped like a stone to the street with a metallic clang, a thin trail of smoke coming from his body. 
His counterpart, Rho gave a static filled sigh as he hovered over the fallen officer and attached one of his magnets to his fried friend. Swinging around to signal that they could pass, he than started dragging Ion elsewhere to recover while muttering
“…we weren’t made to show emotions”.

“That was …odd,” Leo stated; slightly confused over what exactly had just occurred. 
Jay shrugged and motioned for him to follow as he started walking away from the checkpoint into the predawn Square. 

Once they were a good distance away from the checkpoint and any eavesdropping police, Jay finally spoke.
“We didn’t always have them guarding everywhere, you know. It was one event that caused this,” He whispered as the two walked further away from the sentry posts.  

“It was two months ago. A group of refugee Pokemon suddenly showed up in the town one day, nothing wrong with that- we’ve been receiving refugees even since this civil war started. But over the next few days strange things started happening: item rations going missing, Gold and Silver Poké disappearing out of the bank, and important war messages from the Federation never arriving.” 

“What happened with them? Those Pokemon?” Leo asked, intrigued by the story behind the abundance of security forces.

Jay went on, 
“Well, after a few days of observing the new arrivals and finding them guilty of the rash of crime, Gear and the Guild combined their teams and raided the entire Western Quarter of the square. They arrested a good deal of the outlaw Pokemon, but not without razing half of the Quarter to the ground.” He pointed his paw down a side street. 

It was hard to distinguish in the faint light, but Leo could see the evidence of the disastrous fire. Focusing on the area, he saw that behind the clay and stone buildings of the town lay an expanse of blackened buildings and charred rubble.

 “Turns out that they were Colony spies smuggling information back to them. Naturally, our king was beside himself with anger, he overrode the Federation and decreed that all towns and cities are to be constantly guarded by police, no exceptions.” Jay concluded as they approached the open market area of the square, which was still bathed in a gray light from the retreating night.
“It’s not like we enough problems to worry about, anyways,” the Riolu sighed as they entered the center square of the Square. 
The waving colorful banners attached to the buildings Leo saw yesterday now hung limply, occasionally fluttering in the weak morning breeze.  
The tarp covered shops were still for the most part quiet, except for a select few. 
There were only five or so other Pokemon that milled around the deserted marketplace- looking for early deals or more often than not, information that only a select few can give at this time of morning. 
One of the few shops that happened to be operating at this early hour was a small lantern lit stand tucked into the side of the street among the other currently closed stands. 

Jay motioned for Leo to follow him as he approached the stand. The small wooden sign on it read simply: “Aleck’s Goods” 
On the wooden table were several small glass containers filled with some sort of viscous liquid and fragments of colored crystals that seemed to change their coloring every time Leo blinked, but they weren’t the oddest items on the stand: on the back area of the surface were several small piles of dirt.  
The stand also appeared to be empty, but that fact didn’t seem to deter Jay. He reached his arm over the cart and all of its odd merchandise until he came to the piles of dirt. 

He lightly touched the nearest pile of earth with the tip of his paw. As soon as the few grains of soil moved, a small rumbling sounded from behind the counter. 
Leo leaned forward to get a closer look at the miniature earthquake, but he immediately jumped back out of shock when a small purple blur shot up from the ground with a fountain of displaced pebbles and soil. 

The little purple goblin creature turned to look at them with its eyes, which, much to Leo’s mixture of fascination and repulsion, were a pair of cut diamonds. 
“You. Have. [i]Disturbed[/i]. The. Dirt,” It hissed softly, its words slipping between its razor sharp teeth. 

Jay cracked a smile. “Aleck, we need your help with somethi-” he started to ask before he was abruptly cut off by the feral shop owner. 

“You have disturbed the dirt!” he shouted, slashing his claws erratically in the air. 

“Aleck!” Jay shouted, swinging one of his paws at the shopkeeper’s head. He avoided the sharp claws and landed a direct hit on the side of the Sableye’s head, right underneath the Pokemon’s short, spiky ear. 

The purple creature’s flailing actions halted, and he shook his head slowly. He coughed twice, and looked up again from across the counter at his two customers. 

“Ahhh, my valued customers! Good morning! What can I do for my most privileged of patrons this fine dawn?” the shopkeeper wheezed, his voice completely lacking the violence he had a moment ago. 

Undeterred, Jay attempted to ask the Pokemon again. 
“Aleck, we need your help with something.” 

Aleck sighed. “Thank you, Jay. Not many folks stop by my old shop anymore, not since those darn Kelcon brothers built one of their stores here and with the war rationing going on; I’m amazed I’m still in business! If it weren’t for my few customers, I’d have-” 
Jay tapped once on the rough wooden counter to stop the Sableye’s rant on his financial woes.  
“Aleck, we need your assistance with an item of ours; we’re not buying at the moment unfortunately,” Jay said, watching the old Pokemon give another sigh. 

“Fine, let’s get this done quickly. Let me see the hunk of crystal you’ve brought- me along with every other rescue team in the business has for the last thirty years,” he said, holding out one of his small purple claws. 

Jay shook his head, “It’s no ordinary hunk of crystal; Leo, if you would give him your key for a minute.” 

“What? Why?” Leo asked, clutching his treasure defensively.

“Think of it as a way of me saying sorry for treating you like garbage yesterday. Just hand it to him.” Jay insisted, as the shopkeeper’s diamond eyes stared at the artifact. 

Reluctantly, Leo placed his key on the counter, and it was almost instantly snatched by the purple Pokemon. 
Aleck held the key up close where he went over it with his small claws. 
“Hmm, interesting. Very interesting,” He mumbled as he continued analyzing the object as Leo watched him like a hawk for any attempt to harm his treasure. 

“Well, what’s it made of?” Jay asked, as the Sableye handed the key back to its original owner. Leo quickly took it and placed it around his neck with a deep sigh of relief. 

Aleck muttered anxiously to himself as Jay inquired again as to what it was made of. 

Aleck finally answered the two. “I’ll be honest with you; I’ve never seen anything like that key before. It’s as hard as diamond, has energy like an Orb crystal, and its craftsmanship is unlike anything else. Also, the necklace itself unfortunately isn’t gold, but it’s a strong metal nonetheless.”  
He explained as he read off the mental list he’d made when he observed the key.

Leo was amazed at the results of the Pokemon’s analysis, while Jay asked what the thing was worth. 

Aleck rubbed the back of his neck, “I dunno, it’s hard to say really. I’d buy it from you for three thousand Gold Poké right now.” 

Jay’s eyes went wide. “Three. T-thousand?” he asked, struggling to believe the amount the Sableye offered.   

Aleck turned towards Leo who answered his question before he even asked it. 
“Not for sale, sorry.” 
Aleck sighed in disappointment as Jay squeezed his mouth shut to keep from screaming at his teammate. 

“Understandable, quite understandable,” He reluctantly agreed as he turned to Jay, “Any more items of value that need to be appraised?” 
Jay took a deep breath and answered Aleck, “No, but we do need one more thing; he needs a badge, and we can’t get one from the Guild for [i]certain[/i] reasons,” Jay told Aleck, jabbing a paw toward Leo. 

Aleck started muttering to himself again, after a few seconds he answered Jay. 

“I might be able to get one by tomorrow, and that’ll be two Silver Poké when I get it.” Aleck informed them. 

Satisfied with the answer, Jay thanked the Sableye, who than burrowed back into the ground, off to do what ever it was he did in his free time. 

“Well, I wasn’t expecting that. Not three thousand. Personally, I’d have sold it, but it is yours. Better keep that thing safe, Leo,” Jay said, walking away from Aleck’s store towards the opposite side of the marketplace. Jay continuing to talk about what they’d be able to do with the small fortune of gold coins. 

“Is that why we’re here? To have my key appraised?” Leo asked, wondering if that was why they he had run all the way into town. 

“I came to get you a badge, to keep another incident at the checkpoints from happening again. And I wanted to do something to make up for yesterday, but we’re not quite done yet. We still need to choose a job request over by the Post Office,” Jay explained as the square suddenly lit with the full brilliance of the morning sun as it came over the mountains. 

“Wait. Job request?” Leo asked as Jay said nothing and dragged him over to an older building made of stones cracked from age and ivy, its rough wooden sign read: “Post Office” and under that: “Established: does the date even matter? It’s old, really old.”  
Adjacent to the ancient looking post office, were several depilated wooden boards all covered with multitudes of posters and looked like even the slightest breeze could reduce them to splinters. 

As they got closer, Leo saw that only a portion of the posters were new while most were yellowed and torn from rain and age. 
Once they were standing directly at the boards Leo saw that one of the boards had posters that contained images of vicious looking Pokemon and boasted descriptions and rewards for their capture. One poster showed a picture of a light purple bulldog Pokemon with a single broken fang. 
[b]Trounce the Granbull: wanted for smuggling illegal items and other thefts against the crown. Location: Solitary Forest, near Area Three. Reward: 580 Copper Poké [/b] 
He caught another description of an outlaw; this one seemed much larger than the others and had a painting of a regal looking cream colored fox sporting a look of pure wickedness.
[b]Raiss the Ninetales: wanted for numerous crimes against the Kingdom in the Far Reach territories near the Oresville settlement. Note: all pursuing Tracker teams must exercise caution as this Pokemon is cunning and is possibly working with an unidentified accomplice. 
Reward for capture: 1,500 Silver Poké.[/b]
Another poster, another picture, another reward promised in exchange for capture. Amid the sea of posters, were several newer looking  posters plastered on top of dozens of outdated jobs. 
They advertised phrases like: [b]“Rebellion will not be tolerated! Fight for The Kingdom!”[/b], [b]“The Colonies will not triumph against us!”[/b], and finally [b]“The Kingdom will not be split in two! Take back the Colonies!”[/b]    
As Leo gazed over the posters and propaganda wondering what exactly was wrong with this world, Jay handed him a single poster.  
“Take a look.” Jay ordered.

Taking the paper, Leo saw, much to his relief, that it wasn’t an outlaw job. 

[b]Client: Pidgeotto
Location: Spore Meadows Dungeon, Area Six
Reward:??? [/b]

“Oddly sparse with the info. Usually rescue requests are full of pleas for help, but this one, not much of anything,” Jay commented on the unusually empty poster.
Leo gulped not really hearing the Riolu’s remark; his tail flickered slightly as he reread over the request. 
“A dungeon? We’re going willingly into a dungeon?” 

“Where else would we go?” he said with a laugh. 

Leo and Jay had rendezvoused with Kelly at the outside of the Square where she handed Leo a satchel similar to Jay’s and on she had around her neck.
The Spore Meadows Dungeon wasn’t too far from the Square; an hour long hike though the southern side of the valley led them to the entrance. Surrounded by forest, the Meadows stood out significantly against the trees with its towering grass and weeds.

The wall of field plants seemed eerily similar to the that of Tranquility Fields; however, Kelly repeatedly assured Leo that it was nothing like that hell.

Without another thought, Jay walked through the wall of green grass and abruptly vanished behind it, not even a rustle could be seen on the outside. Before Leo could react to Jay’s disappearance, Kelly motioned for him to follow as she too disappeared through the weeds.

For a minute, Leo stood there trying to gain the courage to follow. He took a deep breath to calm his racing heart. You heard Kelly, there’s nothing to worry about.
Before he could even begin to doubt her words, Leo squeezed his eyes shut and ran full speed through the dungeon barrier.
It felt like he passed through a wall of freezing water, and as quickly as it started, the sensation ceased.

When Leo finally opened his eyes he saw that he was standing in a small clearing, surrounded by the walls of grass and weeds. He also saw that he was alone; Jay and Kelly were nowhere in sight.
“Just great, I’m lost. What do I do now- What the heck was that?!” He yelled as he heard the wall of grass rustle violently.
Not looking back, he grabbed the strap of his bag, and sprinted through the tall grass into the dungeon.

[b]Spore Meadows: Area One [/b]
Crashing through weeds taller as he was, Leo ran. As he ran, his claw brushed up against an oblong pod attached to a weed. As soon as he touched it, the pod burst into a cloud of colorful spores. 
Leo gasped for breath as he passed through the cloud, running into another clearing. Stopping for a moment to catch his breath, Leo heard the grass behind him rustle again. 

Leo slowly turned around to face what ever horror popped out of the dungeon. 
Much to his relief, he didn’t see a snarling monster about to maim him, but instead, a small green creature with a flower on its head that drifted lazily along in the air. 
Leo smiled as he approached the creature, “You don’t look so bad.” 

The creature in question turned toward him, only now sensing his presence. It stared at him with its small red eyes, and twirled once in the air landing a few feet away, a plain smile etched on its face. 
Convinced that the strange Pokemon wasn’t going to harm him, Leo went up to it again.  
“Could you help me? I’m trying to find my teammates.” 

Suddenly the creature let out a loud shriek that caused Leo to hold the sides of his head where his ears normally would have been. 
The creature yelled with a voice in an incomprehensible language that sounded like wind blowing through trees during a storm.
The creature used its ears to direct a small gust of wind at Leo, propelling itself further away from the stunned wayward explorer. 
As soon as the creature stopped its shrill alarm, Leo turned to run for the safety of the grass overgrowth. The creature moved through the air as quickly as a hurricane’s gale, and shot a single glowing seed from its flower at the moving Charmeleon. 

The seed caught Leo in his back; it burst in a spray of syrupy, sweet smelling substance that clung to Leo’s scales. 
While Leo was distracted by the new coating on his body, the small creature decided to pelt the intruder with another barrage of seeds that burst into a cloud of gaseous spores when they hit.  

As Leo struggled to dodge the flying seeds and clouds of spores, he dove into the tall forest of weeds that surrounded the clearing. 
The creature stopped its attack when it saw that its target was missing. As lazily as a summer island breeze, it floated down to the ground and looked around for the missing intruder.
Thankfully it didn’t appear to be even remotely intelligent, because it seemed to have forgotten where Leo dove into the grass, despite having seen it a few seconds earlier. 
As the creature scanned the clearing for Leo, he was busy trying to find some way to get rid of the thing. [i]Fighting isn’t the greatest option; through I do have claws now. There’s got to be something I can do. [/i] 

Watching the Pokemon float around the clearing, being gently pushed along by the breezes, he got an idea. [i]Could it really be that simple?[/i] He laughed to himself darkly, this was going to be fun. 

Leo waited until the Pokemon was directly in front of his hiding spot, as soon as it landed Leo pounced from the grass with a battle cry. 
The creature turned around and shrieked in alarm and prepared another attack, but it was too late. Leo reached the creature and swung his foot upwards and kicked the Pokemon’s underside as hard as he could. 

“Skiploooooooom!” the Pokemon screamed as it was propelled high into the air. Leo watched as the winds carried the stunned Pokemon away. 

Leo smiled, this counted as a victory in his book despite the fact that he still smelled like a flower and was bruised from the seed bullets. 

Suddenly, he heard more rustling from the grass as more Pokemon appeared. Small round pink Pokemon with two leafy sprouts attached to their heads and several more Skiploom.  

Now that he knew how to deal with them, Leo grinned, [i]Game on.[/i]
With a battle cry, he charged into the small group of Pokemon.

Spore Meadows Area Six
If one had the ability to see past the temporal anomaly that is Spore Meadows, they would have seen an extraordinary sight: scores of angered Hoppip and Skiploom raining down from the sky over every area of the dungeon.
This event would have easily have been classified as an adverse change in the wind currents, but another reason was the true cause.

Leo had been busy; as he had advanced further into the mystery dungeon looking for any sign of his teammates he had somehow become the target of every Hoppip and Skiploom in the area.
Punching and punting away every enemy Pokemon slowly exhausted him, but thankfully the cottonweed Pokemon only came in groups of two or three at a time.
They were somehow drawn to him like a magnet, and immediately started to bombard him with spore seeds once eye contact was made.

Crouching in the grass out of sight from the roaming Pokemon, Leo rested, using his satchel as a pillow. Suddenly, he realized that he had forgotten that he even had the bag completely until now.
He slung his bag Kelly had provided him with to the ground and opened it. Inside were items he wished he’d remembered he had earlier.
An apple glistened in the noon sun for an instant before Leo chomped into it, hungrily devouring the fruit. Other than the apple was a curious, round, blue berry he’d seen in the market yesterday, and two round stones. He ate the berry in one bite and left the two stones alone as he hefted the bag back onto his shoulder.

Feeling completely rejuvenated from the apple and little berry, he traveled through the grass- the laws of physics not applying as his flaming tail didn’t torch the entire dungeon.

With the scores of Hoppip and Skiploom drifting helplessly in the air behind him, Leo carefully peered into the next clearing.
At first he didn’t see anything, and then he heard voices coming from the far corner of the glade.
“…Please get me outta here; I’ve been here for three days. Doesn’t that thing work?” A voice said, followed by a round of coughing.

Another voice spoke, which Leo identified as Jay.
“Don’t talk, or else you’ll pass out again. We’ll get you out of here, don’t worry.”

The voice mumbled something before going silent. Slowly coming out of the grass, Leo made his way through the clearing over to where he last heard the voices, watching out for any other enraged dungeon dwellers.

As he rounded a turn in the glade, he saw Jay, Kelly, and a Pokemon he’d never seen before crouched near the ground in pain. It was a large beige raptor with a head-crest of curved red feathers.
Jay and Kelly appeared to be attending to the bird, and didn’t notice him approaching from behind.

“Hey, you two. Is that your missing guy over there?” the Pidgeotto coughed, as Jay and Kelly turned around.

“Leo! You made it! I was worried when you weren’t with us when we went entered!” Kelly exclaimed.
“I told you he’d be alright, this dungeon isn’t that difficult,” Jay stated, as the Pidgeotto grunted in obvious disagreement as he gingerly lifted his bloodied left wing that Leo knew wasn’t supposed to bend that far backwards.

“Wait, didn’t you have to fight through swarms of Pokemon to get here?” Leo asked, looking away from the bird Pokemon’s clearly broken wing.

“What? No. In fact we hardly saw any Pokemon at all, that’s why we got here so quickly. What happened to you?” Kelly asked, puzzled over Leo’s previous question.

Leo briefly explained what had befallen on him since he was separated from them at the dungeon entrance.
“That’s just some straight up bad luck you got right there.” The Pidgeotto commented as he grunted in pain as Jay poured clear liquid from a small glass vial over the Pokemon’s wound.

“Wait, who exactly are you?” Leo asked the battered Pidgeotto.

“Name’s Icarus. I’m the one your teammates are supposed to be rescuing. By the way, why’s that taking so long?” Icarus answered, directing the latter question to Jay.

“The badges aren’t working right, I already told you that; just give us a few minutes to fix them, ok?” Jay growled as he continued pressing a small raised button on the center of his badge.

“Kelly, what’s going on? What do badges have to do with rescuing this guy?” Leo inquired, wondering what the heck the small metal badges possibly could do.

“They have the ability to instantly teleport a Pokemon out of a dungeon, or at least they do when they actually work.” She grumbled as she jabbed the center of her own rescue badge again, nothing happened.
“Those things can teleport? Why isn’t it working? They are supposed to work aren’t they? Aren’t they called rescue badges for that reason?” Leo asked, beginning to worry now that their escape route out of this place was possibly gone.

Kelly answered, taking a break from the malfunctioning badge.
“Lately the Federation has been commandeering the Psychic Pokemon that oversee and control the all the teleportation channels that come from all of the badges, and decide when to open them. So, until one of them comes back to work, we’ll have to wait or find our way out ourselves.” she grumbled.
In frustration, Jay threw his badge to the ground of the dungeon, “The one time we actually succeed in a mission, and we can’t get out of the dungeon!”

Suddenly Icarus spoke while pointing his good wing at the opposite end of the glade, “Eh, you guys? I’m sorry to interrupt, but what in Moltres’s holy name is that?”

“What are you …? Mew, mother of Arceus …” Jay swore as he looked across the clearing.

Continued on the next post.

Chapter Three-- Continued

“That” turned out to be scores upon scores of Hoppip and Skiploom appearing from the grass, all of them wearing looks of hatred one does not normally expect to see on sentient weeds.

The group of Pokemon was stunned into silence by the sheer amount of the native Pokemon except Icarus who let loose a quiet yet lengthy explicative.
The Pidgeotto suddenly sniffed, “Wait a sec,” he sniffed again.
“I thought I knew that smell; Charmeleon, you’ve been Stained by one of them. You led ‘em straight here.”
Icarus noted as the advancing wall of Pokemon abruptly stopped moving forward.

“W-what’s going on?” Leo stuttered as the crowds of pink and green Pokemon parted to reveal a small spherical blue Pokemon with two large tuffs of cotton on its arms and one on its head.
The blue Pokemon spoke, its booming, bossy voice totally unfitting of its small form.
“So, you all are the intruders that have got my soldiers running around like the idiots they are? State your names and what business you have inside my dungeon. Now.”

“We’re Team Salient; we accepted a job to rescue this Pidgeotto,” Kelly said, beating Icarus’s string of curses, and Jay’s own response.

“A rescue team, are you? Well normally I wouldn’t have too much of a problem with that, but the Pokemon you’re rescuing is my prisoner. I can’t have him going to the king about my little smuggling operation in this dungeon,” The boss Pokemon told them while Icarus grunted in disgust.

“Prisoner? Ha! If my wing wasn’t broken, I’d kill you right now, Jumpluff!” the injured bird shouted as Jumpluff chuckled, an action Leo would have found slightly adorable if the Pokemon didn’t hold their lives in his evil, cottony hands.

“Shut up, Pidgeotto. I can’t help but be impressed that you actually managed to send out a distress message, but that now leaves us with the matter of what to do with your rescuers. I obviously can’t have them going off and telling their Guildmaster about my operation here, it’s just not good business,” The dungeon boss explained as he pondered the situation.

“But we’re not part of a-” Jay started before Jumpluff cut him off.

“Unfortunately, I don’t know whether I can trust you all to keep your traps shut. I’ve found that the best solution to a problem is usually the easiest, and killing you all seems pretty easy right about now,” Jumpluff said.

“Wait, we’re not part of any guild-thing! We won’t tell anyone about whatever you have here!” Leo shouted in vain to the boss.

“Gas them. Make sure they never get the chance to tell anyone all we’ve done,” Jumpluff ordered as he backed away behind his minions, who chattered with glee at the prospect of a something new to murder.

Backing up against the dungeon wall, Leo knew they only had a few seconds to act before the hoard of Pokemon unleashed their seed attack. Jay quickly gathered them together.
“Alright, Kelly, keep trying to get the badge to work and guard Icarus. Hopefully we’ll get lucky with it. Leo, you and I will hold them off until something happens. And Icarus?”

The bird Pokemon sat up hearing his name, “What?”

“Just shut up. You’re the reason we’re here in the first place,” Jay quickly listed as the Hoppip and Skiploom mob suddenly screeched in a single, horrid voice.

Wait, hold them off? With what exactly?
“Jay, what are you talking-” was all Leo got to say before the mass of enemy Pokemon launched glowing seed-like projectiles into the air. Leo stared with his mouth hanging open as the simultaneous attacks arced in the sky and fell through the sky like bombs from overhead.

Leo barely had time to snap out of his trance and raise his arms over his head when the glowing seeds hit like a storm of hail. The seeds exploded with their many small clouds of poison spores merging into one giant cloud of thick purplish gas that instantly diffused throughout the entire dungeon area.

His eyes watering, Leo struggled to breathe as he stumbled around the gas covered clearing, tripping more than once into a band of charging Hoppip.
Trying to remain focused as the amount of breathable air diminished; Leo clumsily slashed his claws at the Pokemon, who screeched in pain when he successfully landed a hit.
The other Hoppip panicked and either shot off small rapid bursts of seeds at their own comrades or simply crashed into each other.
If there was any advantage Team Salient had in this fight it was that their enemy, though barbarically brutal, were definitely among the more idiotic Pokemon in the land. They were a fairly effective force when calm, but if startled they broke down faster than the countless attempts at peace between the Kingdom and the Colonies.

Through the chaos of nauseating gas, stray Hoppip and Skiploom, and the occasional rapid burst of seeds cutting through the gas, Leo saw the shape of Jay with one of his fists glowing bright; punch one of the Hoppip in its pink body.
The creature went crashing into the dirt. The Riolu turned to do the same thing to a Skiploom when it fired several seeds that landed at his feet, detonating with a sudden plume of gas.

Jay stumbled backwards, until he was face to face with an overwhelmed Leo.
“Why aren’t you fighting? A Flamethrower would be really useful right about now!” he said, gasping with nearly every other word.

“I-I have no idea what you’re talking about! What flamethrower?” Leo said before going into a gas induced coughing fit.
Jay’s adrenaline fueled battle ready expression changed to one of disbelief.
“What flamethrower?! Your attack moves! What else do you think I’m talking about?!” he yelled as a strong gust of wind brushed past us.
It seemed Icarus wasn’t content to lay low this battle, and was using his undamaged wing to blow some of the foul gas away temporarily before stopping from the pain it caused him.

Leo took a few precious seconds to breathe the unpolluted air, “I don’t remember how to do any attacks!” he countered as they moved to dodge a Hoppip’s barrage of high speed seeds.
Just as Jay was about to speak, he and Leo were forced to duck to avoid a sudden bolt of lightning that shot inches of their heads.
The attack shot directly into a group of Skiploom, causing them to screech in pain, and their leaf green skin to blacken as their smoking unconscious forms crashed to the ground.
Leo took a quick look behind him to see where exactly a bolt of lightning had come from. He saw Icarus breathing hard from his position on the ground, directing more of his Gust attacks at the surrounding gas cloud, he also saw the dozens of scattered Skiploom and Hoppip, but they weren’t the source of the attack.

Than he saw Kelly still guarding the collapsed Icarus and trying to activate the badge. She was wobbling with exhaustion and her spiky, yellow and white fur still cackling with electricity from the lightning bolt she had generated and launched.

She did that? “Wow,” Leo said in awe his teammate’s power.

His thoughts of admiration were interrupted when Jay punched him in the arm.
“Leo, what do you mean that you can’t remember any attacks?” he asked as the cloud of poison slowly enveloped them again.

“I just don’t remember how.” Leo explained as he gulped one last breath of clean air before the haze returned.

Jay wasn’t convinced. “No matter how bad your amnesia happens to be, you don’t forget instincts! That’s why they’re called instincts!” he yelled through the fumes as a Skiploom crashed between them.

The sentient weed spit a volley of seeds at the two arguing Pokemon. The seeds pelted Leo, bursting on impact into even more clouds of the poison to appear and sting his lungs with every breath. The attack knocked Leo off his feet; he landed hard on the ground where he watched as Jay quickly raised his fist, somehow glowing with energy again, and punched the attacking Pokemon away.

Jay moved to where Leo had fallen and offered the Charmeleon a paw. His mind dizzy from the gas and fatigue, Leo slowly grasped his clawed hand around Jay’s.

Once he was standing, he turned to tell Jay thanks, but as soon as he did he was assaulted by another wave of gas. He couldn’t take much more; whatever was in this gas obviously wasn’t for his benefit health-wise.
Suddenly there was a large flash of light to his right; he turned to see that where Icarus had been was now absolutely nothing. Their client had simply vanished into thin air.
He looked around for Kelly, but she was nowhere to be found among the clearing.

His vision starting to blacken around the edges; he turned to his side where Jay had been a moment ago, but instead found an enraged Skiploom charging at him full speed through the air. Jay was gone too.
He tried to move out of the way, but his everything he did seemed to be stuck in slow motion as the green Pokemon barreled into him.
Leo crashed to the ground clutching his side in pain as the Skiploom screeched in triumph. He tried to breathe, but by then the air had effectively stopped being even remotely breathable.

In his agony Leo looked up at the crowd of Pokemon that had surrounded him. Jumpluff appeared above him charging some sort of green sphere of energy to finish him off.

“Don’t take it personally, it’s just good business,” He sneered, as the attack was almost completely charged and definitely lethal.

He weakly closed his eyes as he waited the inevitable pain that was to come. It’s probably better than dying from this gas his mind told him as some sort of depressing silver lining to this situation.
In his fading mental state he wondered where had the others gone, if they had been killed by the heartless crime boss or had simply abandoned him while they fled to safety.
Both thoughts made him boil with anger, the weak flicker of fire on his tail suddenly ignited as if it was doused in gasoline.
He felt like some last reserve of energy had been found: his mind cleared, the pain from his wounds numbed, and his lungs ignored the searing pain they felt with every quick, adrenaline-fueled breath he took.

Not wanting to die just yet, Leo pushed off the ground and quickly rolled to the side as Jumpluff launched his Energy Ball attack into the spot of dungeon floor where he just had been a half-second before.

Before the boss’s army could converge on the Charmeleon, he leapt up and tackled the stunned crime leader. The wayward rescue team member and the dungeon boss both crashed to the ground as Leo swung his claws at the every inch of the pinned Jumpluff’s face he could reach, leaving large cuts under both of the Pokemon’s small, beady, red eyes.

More of the gas seed attacks were pelting him from all around, bursting into clouds of purple, yellow, and grey gas that mixed with the already saturated air.
Leo stopped his slashing frenzy for an instant to deliver a swipe to a Hoppip who’d gotten too close. In this split second, the pinned boss charged up a small Energy Ball attack at Leo.
“Dasvidaniya, Charmeleon!”
Leo squeezed his eyes shut as he braced once again for the possible end of his existence.

Whether or not the lethal point blank attack actually impacted, Leo didn’t know as all he felt was something pulling quickly him through a wall of extremely cold water and suddenly he was standing on a hard stone floor inside of a civilized building.

Not even trying to understanding what sort of miracle had just occurred, his legs gave out from under him as the small reserve of energy had burnt itself out.
He tried to laugh realizing he was safe-and partly from exhaustion, but instead coughed out a small cloud of purple gas from his burning lungs.

As he closed his eyes from sheer fatigue, he heard the jabber of faint, frantic voices that grew louder with every passing second.

“…I found him! Get someone! Hurry!” Leo heard Jay shout as the trample of footsteps grew closer and as he found himself passing out-once again- for the fourth time since he arrived in this world.

[b]End Chapter Three[/b]

*Standard language= English
[b]Author’s Notes:[/b] 
Wow, what a long chapter, in my opinion at least. Didn't intend for it to be over a post long, sorry.
The beginning part of the chapter seemed a little choppy and not as well written as some of the things I have written before. I’m just not as happy with the first part as I am with the other half.
In speaking of the second half, I found the inspiration for Leo being left behind when I noticed that in the PMD games when a mission is completed the client always leaves first, than the leader than the second team member than the third and than fourth. I took that a step further with a delay between the time when Jay left the dungeon and the time when Leo left the dungeon.

Moving on, the character of Raiss the Ninetales belongs to my friend, Azurus on Serebii, as does the name Oresville. 
Thank you to everyone who reads this, I hope to continue writing quality chapters for you to enjoy. 

Seriously, a reply from one of you would be fantastic. 
As usual, reviews are much appreciated as is constructive criticism. 

Thanks again, 

Knightfall signing off…

Chapter Four: Injustice

“I’m…not sure what’s going on anymore. Things are changing: guards are everywhere, He is always here, and they’re not telling us anything anymore. They’re hiding something, the administrator, I’m certain he’s in on it …. I’m going to find out what it is … I’m not sure what will happen to me, but I can’t go back. Not now, they know. Somehow, they know that I’m on to them, so it’s no use playing dumb. Not anymore.
I’m going to go …. into the restricted areas tomorrow, to see what I can find. 
If I don’t come back ... whoever is reading this needs to make sure that what they’re doing is exposed … whatever that may be.”
[i]Last known entry from the private journal of Ian the Breloom, former member of Team Frontier. Confirmed missing the day after this journal entry and has not been heard from since[/i].  

Leo knew the dark expanse he stood in was the result of a dream, not simply the effects of unconsciousness. The darkness seemed too vivid, if possible, to be anything but a dream.

“Is this kind of thing going to be a regular thing every time I pass ou—What the heck is that?!”

Within the darkness of the dream, something stirred. At first, they sounded like distant voices, but like a tidal wave approaching shore, their soft whispers grew until they resembled the tortured screams of the damned.
Leo clutched the sides of his head in an attempt to block out their screams, but they broke through this barrier as their amplified voices circled around him.

“Reality is the story the mind tells itself. A truth so strange it can only be lied into existence and our minds can lie. Never doubt it.”

“What’s this? Real, or just my lying mind again?”

“Shut up! Stop it!” Leo screamed, but the voices only grew louder.

“You can always ignore your conscious …”

“I was promised salvation. I was told that I would be free. He told me that my imprisonment would end. I can’t live like this … Maybe I’m already dead. Does that make this my hell?”

“Please stop! I don’t want to hear you!” Leo pleaded, but the voices didn’t heed his order.

“Death might be a better alternative then letting him return …”

“Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Please stop!” Leo cried, tears welling up from the pain. Suddenly the screaming voices ceased, and a single, cold voice started talking.

“Unless you wish for your mind’s descent into madness to accelerate, I suggest you wake up, Leo. Wake up … and see past the corruption.”

Flailing his arms around in panic, Leo effectively shredded the soft blankets covering him. Panting heavily, his eyes darted around the room he was in for the strange voices from a few seconds earlier. 

After confirming that the room was empty of everyone but himself, he began to worry. 
[i]I-I’m hearing voices inside my head. Am I going crazy? I must be, because no normal person hears things like that.[/i]  He glanced at each of the corners of the room to make sure no one was pulling a prank on him. His psyche wasn’t in the best state to handle someone’s cruel attempt of a joke the moment.  

He shook the thoughts of potential insanity away and truly observed the room he didn’t remember being in before. It was a small square room with brick walls, and wooden ceiling with several small bunches of dried herbs tied to the rafters, their purifying scents purged the air of foul smells and left a sharp, minty aftertaste in Leo’s mouth every time he took a breath.  
Aside from the herbs on the ceiling, the only other things in the room appeared to be the hay bed he was sitting on and a small wooden door. 

Deciding that nothing productive would come of his staying in bed, he swung his legs over the side of the haystack and he hopped down. It was as soon as his legs hit the packed dirt floor that he realized that his body wasn’t as recovered from yesterday’s fiasco as he thought. As his weak legs fell out from beneath him, he clutched the wall nearest to him to keep from collapsing. 

Just then, he heard the squeaking sound of the wooden door opening behind him, and not even a full second had passed when he heard another voice.

“Just what do you [i]think[/i] you’re doing, Charmeleon?!” Leo didn’t have time to process who the voice belonged to when a pair of leafy arms picked him up from under his shoulders and dropped him over the bed. 

Leo looked up at his rescuer, she (at least it sounded feminine to Leo) appeared to be a walking plant blub with a red, oversized, hat-like flower set almost sideways on her leaf green “hair”. Her pale white face was looking down on her renegade patient with a mixture of concern and disapproval. 

“You’re not cleared to be out of bed yet. I’m not surprised that you nearly fell. Those poisons you inhaled yesterday haven’t dissipated from your body yet,” she scolded as she went over to a small brown bag she brought with her, pulling out a pink, heart-shaped berry. 

“Here, eat this. It’ll help your body break down the last of the poison’s toxins much faster then it would normally,” she said as she handed Leo the berry. 
Leo looked at the berry suspiciously, it didn’t seem bad, but, as Leo had learned yesterday, looks can be deceiving.   

“Go on, eat it. Honestly, you’re acting like you’ve never seen a Pecha Berry before,” the nurse urged as Leo cautiously took a bite of the berry. 
He wasn’t expecting the explosion of sweetness that the berry contained; he stared in awe of the fruit as he swallowed the bite. It took approximately two and a half seconds for Leo to shove the entirety of the small berry into his mouth, chew it, and swallow it. 

The plant-bulb Pokemon chuckled at the scene. Leo looked up at her with a small dribble of Pecha juice remaining on his lips, which he cleaned with a swipe of his tongue. He didn’t care if she thought him as ill-mannered, odd, or just plain weird; that berry was perhaps the best experience he’d had so far in this world, and he wasn’t going to let anyone ruin it for him.   
“Now that you’ve finished with that, the last of the toxins should dissipate shortly,” The nurse informed Leo.
Suddenly a thought hit Leo, pushing away all the good feelings he had. [i]What happened to Kelly and Jay? And I guess Icarus, too.[/i] 
“Excuse me, nurse…” he trailed off, not knowing what name to call his caretaker.

The nurse sensed his confusion. “I’m a Lilligant; my species aren’t normally seen around here, so I’m not surprised that you don’t know. You may call me Rosaline.” 

Armed with her name, Leo again asked his question. “Nurse Rosaline, what happened to the others who were brought here with me?” 

The Lilligant paused. “Who are you talking about, Charmeleon?” she asked, confused.

Leo pushed himself up on the bed. “Kelly and Jay. They were with me yesterday, along with Icarus.” 
“I’m sorry, Charmeleon, but I don’t know any of those names. Forgive me,” Rosaline apologized, as Leo began to panic. 

“My friends, Kelly and Jay! A Jolteon and a Riolu, where are they?!” Leo shouted at the nurse. In the midst of his alarm, he realized that he had just referred to them as his friends. It was true they were the closest things he had to friends in this world. 

The nurse spoke, “Calm down, Charmeleon! I-” 

“My name is Leo! What happened to them?!” Leo yelled, cutting her off abruptly. He hopped down off the bed and strained to stand. This was arguably not his best move as he nearly fell to the floor again, but panic had firmly gripped his mind and was not letting go. 
Just as the nurse was about to resort to using a Sleep Seed she carried on her for such a situation, the door opened and in walked Jay, Kelly, and to Leo’s surprise, Icarus. All of them looking healthy and happy, except Icarus who seemed displeased with the sling his right wing was set in. 

“We leave you for an hour to discuss a reward with Icarus, and you get into a shouting match with the nurse? Maybe we [i]should[/i] have them examine your head,” Jay said, walking in between Leo and the nurse, who still firmly held the Sleep Seed in her hand, ready to throw it if needed. 

Leo’s heart flooded with relief. “You’re all right, that’s … great,” he said, his breaths slowing as his fear induced heart rate returned to normal. 

“I was about to tell you that I saw your friends earlier in the guild’s lobby. I didn’t treat your friends, so that’s why I didn’t recall who you were asking about,” Nurse Rosaline huffed, stowing the seed back into her bag. 

Sheepishly, Leo turned to the annoyed nurse. “I’m sorry I overreacted. I didn’t mean to.” 

The Lilligant smiled. “It’s alright, I forgive you. You’re hardly the first Pokemon to yell at me in a panic. And I think it shows how much you care for your friends,” she said, as Leo was suddenly thankful his scales were already colored crimson. 
“So, would someone tell me what happened yesterday?” Leo asked, abruptly changing the subject. 

“Well, shortly after Jumpluff attacked us, I managed to get a connection with the badge. I activated it and it worked as expected: Icarus and I instantly arrived at the guild with Jay appearing a few seconds later,” Kelly explained, as Jay continued. 

“Then our luck ran out, again. You weren’t showing up. As soon as we saw that, Kelly and I ran into the guild and found the Kadabra who ran the badge extraction, and we calmly and rationally explained what happened, and he kindly reopened the passage to get you out of the-” Jay told Leo as Kelly interrupted him. 

“What he [i]actually[/i] means is that he barged into the restricted area of the guild and threatened the overworked Kadabra until he got you out of th-” Kelly revealed as Jay cut her off. 

“Don’t act all innocent, you were about to fry the poor guy by the time I got the-” Jay shot back, as Rosaline cut both of them off by wrapping her leafy hands over both of their muzzles. 

“This is a [i]hospital[/i]. Not an arena. If you wish to carry on your argument, you will do so [i]outside[/i]. Do you understand?” she scolded as she slowly let go of their mouths. 
“Now, I must inform you all that your stay in our guild is almost over. The Guildmaster requests that your entire team vacate the premises now that all of your wounds have been stabilized and treated. You have fifteen minutes to gather your things and leave,” Rosaline informed the reunited team. 

After that, Jay, Kelly, and Leo busied themselves with gathering their items from the guild’s storage and helping Leo regain strength in his legs. While on their errands, the group passed a golden, mustached, humanoid Pokemon. Once the Pokemon saw them, he instantly jumped to the side and flattened himself against the wall. Leo thought his behavior odd until he saw both Jay and Kelly shoot him a piercing glare. 

[i]He must be the Kadabra-thing they threatened earlier[/i], Leo realized as the Pokemon fled down the hallway as soon as they passed. Leo smiled at the thought. [i]Serves him right[/i]. 

 After they had recovered their satchels and items—Leo’s key wasn’t taken, to his relief-- they found Nurse Rosaline and said their good-byes. 
“It was nothing, and I’m sorry we have to ask you to leave, but that’s the rules,” she said, as Jay suddenly remembered something. 

“Hey, nurse, when you were treating Leo, did you find out anything about his memory loss?” 

Rosaline stopped her good-bye, “Beg pardon, I wasn’t even aware that Leo was suffering from amnesia. Was this from yesterday’s events?” she inquired, concern spreading throughout her face. 

“No, I’ve had it for a few days now. At least, that’s as far back as I can remember,” Leo admitted with a sigh. 

The Lilligant walked over to Leo, she put her hands on the sides of his head and gently inspected it. “You don’t appear to have any noticeable injury to your skull; was it a Psychic type that did this to you? Or was it something else?” she asked after completing her observation of his head.  

Leo shook her hands off his head, “You’re asking the amnesiac if he remembers anything. That makes perfect sense,” Leo said with a laugh. 

“Well, excuse me for trying to help,” she huffed, “Anyways, there are a few options I know of that might—[i]might[/i], mind you-- help restore his memory, though they would require much effort on your part,” she told them. 

“Before Jay says something out of line, I’ll be the one to ask. What can we do to help our teammate, Nurse?”  Kelly asked. Jay shrugged his shoulders as he let her comment go. 

“Well, a Psychic Pokemon who’s very developed in his abilities could delve into Leo’s mind and attempt to remove the amnesia, but if one thing goes wrong, it could land your friend with a much bigger problem then missing memories,” she elaborated. 
Leo shook his head in disagreement, he didn’t want some Pokemon messing around in his head, he already had enough going on up there. 

“If you don’t want to use that method, there is a talented aura user I know of; Madam Lucario is her name, I believe. She is well known for her abilities, and has reported success with patients like you, though I’m a bit skeptical. Last I heard she was in one of the frontier towns, that’d be at least a week’s travel if you wanted …” she trailed off, sensing that the offer had fallen short with the team. 

“Thank you for your help, but we simply can’t go off to find this Madam Lucario. We’ll just have to make do with what we have,” Jay told her, as they exited the hospital section of the guild. 

The main floor of the guild was huge, to say the least. Leo couldn’t even imagine such a room existing in this world. As Jay would tell him later, the lobby was ten feet in height, and wide enough to allow even the longest Onix to fit comfortably. Along the brick walls of the room were placed several long boards each with dozens of posters on them. They made the Post Office’s board look superfluous by the amount of job requests they could hold. 

Before Leo could observe the entirety of the guild’s foyer, he found himself being pushed along by Jay. A few minutes later, he, Jay, Kelly, and a disgruntled Icarus were standing near the edge of Loyalty Square’s now-bustling marketplace. 

“Well, at least we got time to breathe in there,” Leo said snidely to Jay, who was looking very much relieved now that they were out of the guild. 

“Believe me, it’s better now that we’re out of there,” he replied, giving no indication of what that might have meant. 

“Icarus, I think it’s time you gave us that reward you insisted on not talking about earlier,” Jay said to the Pidgeotto, changing the subject from the guild. 

Icarus clawed the stone street with his talons, “Yeeeah, about that …You see, I don’t have a reward for you guys,” he slowly said while keeping an eye on Jay. 

“What do you mean, Icarus?” Jay said, his voice betraying no trace of the anger Leo was sure was building up inside of him.  

“W-what I mean, is that I don’t have anything of value to…you know, give you guys. I’m only a messenger, I don’t get paid much,” Icarus answered the Riolu, as he kept his distance. 

“So, nothing? You have nothing to give us for all of our work yesterday getting you out of that Arceus forsaken meadow?!” Jay asked, his temper breaking through his calm exterior. 

Icarus backed up as Jay took a step forward. “H-hey! L-let’s not get h-hasty, Jay. W-we can talk something out….Leo, Kelly, would you two [i]please[/i] help me out here?!” Icarus squawked, once he backed into a wall of a building.  

“You know, Kelly, I’m not really in the mood for rescuing right now. How about you?” Leo asked, as Kelly laughed. 

“No, me neither. Actually, I am in the mood for something to eat. You want to come, Leo?” she answered as panic filled Icarus’s eyes. 

“G-guys? C-come on, I’m sorry! Please don’t leave me here with him!” Icarus pleaded. 

“Sure, I’m starving. Do you know some place that has some of those Peachy berries?” Leo asked as he walked off with Kelly into the Square. 

Kelly laughed, “Pecha berries, and I know a place that’s great. Come on.” 

Jay smirked as he cracked his knuckles, “Let’s have a little …chat, Icarus.” 

“Zapdos, save me …” Icarus whimpered. 

The shop they entered was a small structure that appeared to be built out of an amalgamation of tree trunks and cut rock lashed together with rope. The fact that it was standing was probably breaking several basic laws of physics.
Inside were several small circular tables, each occupied with a group of Pokemon either eating or just chatting. As Kelly and Leo walked in through the doorway, Leo looked around, not too optimistic about getting a space for both of them at a table.

Just as they were about to give up on finding a seat, a large red and yellow creature with red flames erupting from its shoulders looked up from his conversation and noticed their dilemma. He grinned and waved them over with one of its yellow tubular arms.
As Leo and Kelly walked over to the already crowded table, the large Pokemon who invited them pushed a horse-like Pokemon with fire for a mane aside to make space for the two.

“Thank you, Magmortar, sir,” Kelly said gratefully, as they took a place at the table.

Magmortar laughed, “No need to be formal; name’s Blaize, and this here is my crew,” he said, as he gestured at the other Pokemon surrounding the table.

“Thank you for letting us sit here, but why? I don’t think we’ve ever met before,” Kelly asked Blaize, puzzled at his generosity. The Magmortar gave no reply to her, but instead Blaize pulled out a small bag, fished out a few copper coins, and tossed them the air.
Leo was surprised when the coins all suddenly vanished in a small blast of light.

Not three seconds after the coins had vanished from sight, two glasses of liquid appeared in twin flares of light on the table in front of Leo and Kelly.
Leo shot back from the table and covered his head with his claws, bracing himself for whatever explosion was about to happen.
After a moment of nothing even remotely like a detonation occurring, he slowly opened his eyes and lifted his head. The table was still intact, though every Pokemon at it was staring at him as if he’d completely lost it, Blaize and Kelly in particular.

Leo laughed weakly as he slowly returned to the table. Ignoring the stares of the others, he nonchalantly took a sip of his drink. He was amazed at the taste of whatever this mixture was called; he couldn’t even imagine something that came even remotely close to being this good. The Pecha Berry he had earlier palled in comparison to the fiery flavor of this drink. He barely kept these emotions to himself, as the rest of the table returned to their conversation.

“Blaize, sir. You didn’t have to buy us anything, we can afford our own,” Kelly told the Magmortar, as he grinned.

“Don’t worry about that, and if the rumors are true, you and your team deserve it after what you all did in the Meadows. I swear, you all are more competent then the legions of Magnemite they got patrolling everywhere. Exposing a major Colonial smuggling ring and surviving to tell the tale; that’s not something that every team does. You deserve the drinks,” Blaize explained as Leo downed the rest of the red liquid in his glass.

“How did you know about that? We only got back yesterday,” Kelly asked as Leo discreetly reached for Kelly’s glass and took it while she was distracted.

Blaize let out another hearty laugh, “I guess some folks overheard talk in the guild and told the town all about it. Good thing too, since that’s what led us to take the job of arresting Jumpluff and his cronies,” he told them as the other Pokemon at the table nodded in agreement.
While they talked, Leo carefully took a sip of Kelly’s drink—some sort of electric yellow liquid—and nearly gagged on it. Overriding the urge to spit it out, he quickly swallowed the drink. Disgusted with the revolting drink, he swiftly passed it back to Kelly’s spot before she noticed it was even gone.

“Well, good luck with that. He’s not a pleasant Pokemon, that’s for sure. Be careful, and don’t breathe the air,” she warned as Blaize and the entire group laughed—Leo noticed that they did this a lot.

“Don’t go worrying about us, lass. A couple Fire Blasts from us and they’ll be begging at our knees!” as he said this, he suddenly lifted his right arm up in the air and shot a small burst of flame out of it.
It seemed as if the entire restaurant turned and stared at their table after Blaize’s display.
After the audience slowly went back to their private conversations, Blaize announced to his team that it was time to get going.

“Management here don’t like attacks going off on the premises, so we’re going before they get onto us. We can’t get banned from here, it’s the only place left in town that hasn’t locked their doors to us yet. See you both around, and good luck with your future rescuin’,” Blaize told them as he and his group hastily exited the building before said management could get onto them.

Leo was just starting to enjoy having the entire table just to him and Kelly when he looked up at the back corner of the restaurant. He saw past the groups of conversing Pokemon to see a strange purple creature. It didn’t have any arms or legs that Leo could see, it just silently floated. It wasn’t the lack of limbs, or even the large witch hat it seemed to wear on its head that captured Leo’s attention. It was its stare. The creature’s golden eyes gleamed from under the brow of its “hat”, and Leo saw a wicked smile form on its face. Just as Leo was about to go and confront the observer, a group of three Pokemon approached their table, blocking the staring contest.

“You both mind if we sit here? We’ve been looking around for a place to sit for a while now,” one of the newcomers inquired, a large green gecko with a thin leaf growing from the top of its head that went down to its feet.

Coming out of his trance-like staring contest with the creature, Leo shook his head. “I’m sorry, we’re out of room,” Leo sarcastically told the group, motioning for them to take a seat.

The green gecko grinned, “Thanks mate, appreciate it,” he said as he called for his two companions to take their places at the table. One was a regal looking creature with white fur and a sharp black crescent attached to the side of his head, and the other was a dragon with large red eyes and a pair of diamond-shaped wings on its back.

The Grovyle leaned over the table, “So, anything interesting happen to you all today?” he asked, trying to initiate a conversation.

“Well, we just finished recovering from our job at Spore Fields yesterday, and our teammate is getting our reward from our client,” Kelly responded, not even phased at the fact that Jay was probably threatening Icarus with another broken wing.

This got the Absol’s attention, “Spore Fields? Where you the team that exposed that smuggling ring I’ve been hearing about?”

The Grovyle put his clawed hand on the Absol’s shoulder, “Don’t be so rude, Elliot, we just met them,” the Grovyle scolded, as Elliot started grumbling something unsavory about his leader. Leo craned his neck to see past the Grovyle and saw that the golden-eyed creature has vanished without a trace.

“Yeah, I guess that’s us. I didn’t know we’d become this well known just for doing that,” Kelly replied, as Jay walked through the doorway of the café. After looking around a moment, he found the table where Leo and Kelly were, and joined them.
To avoid disclosing anything Jay did, or might have done to the other patrons, Leo decided to play it safe and ask a vague question.

“Any luck?”

Jay shook his head. “He really didn’t have anything to give us, and believe me, I made sure.” He looked at his teammates puzzled faces.
“Don’t worry; I didn’t hurt him or anything. I just scared him a bit,” he answered their unspoken question.

“Even though I didn’t get any reward from him, I made him a deal that he owes us a big favor whenever we might need one. And he accepted that without a second thought, and then I let him go,” Jay said as he finished his explanation of his “chat” with Icarus.

“Is that how you treat all of your clients?” Elliot asked, grinning, “If so, then I’d hate to ever be rescued by you all.”

The Grovyle jabbed the Absol with his elbow, “Elliot, shut up! You’re not helping anyone with your jokes,”

The Absol shrugged it off, “Oh, lighten up Blade, not everything has to be so serious. I mean, I can sense when disasters are about to strike and I smile more then you do!” Elliot argued. The Grovyle, Blade, shook his head in disapproval.

“This is why we don’t get higher level missions, because you and Sonic don’t take things seriously,” Blade shot back, directing the comment to Elliot and the Flygon, Sonic.

Jay leaned toward Leo and Kelly, “Did I miss anything?” he asked as Kelly filled him in on what happened while he was with Icarus.

“See past the corruption …” Leo jerked his head up, suddenly alert.

He quickly looked around the table: Jay and Kelly were talking, as were Blade, Elliot, and Sonic, and no one was behind him. Who said that?, Leo pondered, as his thoughts were suddenly cut short by a loud burst of familiar static.

The entire café went silent as a squad of seven Magnemite burst into the dining area. They all spun around, quickly scanning the entire room. Suddenly, one of the units screeched as it pointed towards a blue duck Pokemon that was sitting two tables away from Leo.

“ZZT! There he is! Get him! ZT!”

Five of the Magnemite instantly surrounded the table, while the other two turned around to address the restaurant patrons, who were beginning to panic and get to their feet.
“BZZT! Remain calm, citizens, official Loyalty Square Police business. Stay back,” one of the units said. Leo wasn’t paying attention to him; he, along with everybody else in the room, was looking around the Magnemite to see what was going on.
The five Magnemite that had surrounded the table had swarmed the stunned blue duck Pokemon. They tried to electrocute him, but he managed to dodge their charge by jumping to the side.

“What are you doing?!” the Pokemon yelled as he stumbled away from the table.

“ZT! Cease and desist, citizen!” one of the units yelled, as the five Magnemite surrounded the Golduck in the circle.

The Golduck desperately looked at the other Pokemon, “I haven’t done anything wrong! What are you doing?!” he yelled as the Magnemite tightened their circle around him.

“ZZT! Surrender now, Jack, and we won’t have to use force. ZT!” another of the units said, as Jack’s webbed hands started glowing.
Without warning, Jack lunged forward and punched one of the Magnemite. The attack sent the unit flying into the rock wall where it shattered in an explosion of electricity and metal fragments.
Before the other officers could react, Jack punched another unit into the floor where it met the same fate as the one before.
Jack turned around, shot a burst of water from his mouth at the other Magnemite, and made a break through the gap in the circle. The other units were no longer stunned, and immediately fired bolts of charged electricity at the Golduck.

“ZT! Units Four and Seven down! Units Four and Seven down! Remaining units detain suspect! ZZT!” one of the units shouted as they fired off several more bolts. Jack was nimble enough to dodge the electric bolts; he jumped over the chairs and landed on Leo’s table.
The units continued firing their attacks despite the risk of hitting the other patrons. Jack’s hands glowed again and this time he sent a wave of psychic energy at the police units, knocking the remaining five units backwards.

Leo ducked from his seat, as a bolt of energy flew inches above his head.
Jack released several more of the psychic blasts, deflecting the electric bolts and disorienting the units.

“This has to end before someone gets hurt,” Blade whispered as he prepared to strike.

Before Jack could attack again, Blade hopped up onto the table directly behind the Golduck and shot a pair of glowing leaves at Jack’s head, instantly knocking the Pokemon down onto the floor before he could react. The remaining units took advantage of the opportunity and fired several bolts directly at the Golduck.
Jack cried out in pain as he collapsed to the ground, his body twitching as the electricity continued to course through it.

Leo was too stunned to move at this act of police brutality as several yells of “Jack!” came from the Pokemon of the café.
Before anyone could make a move to help him, the Magnemite quickly surrounded the unconscious Golduck. Two of them clasped their magnet appendages around Jack’s wrists and started dragging him out of the restaurant, another two units made a barrier around their prisoner, while the last one attached his magnets to the smoking piles of wreckage that were units Four and Seven and dragged them away.

“BZZT! Have a nice day, citizens. Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in detaining this felon. ZZT!” the last one said as it left the restaurant, the last comment directed to Blade.

After the Magnemite left, the patrons started murmuring and conversing once more. Leo could hear only snippets of their hushed dialogue, “… again, it’s happened again.”, “Jack never did anything …”, “… third raid this week …”, “… too far this time …”

Leo snapped back into focus when Jay tapped him on his back, “I think it’s time we go. We don’t want to stay here too long, otherwise we’ll be the next ones offending one of their asinine laws,” Jay warned and Leo nodded, taking a last look at the overturned table and the many smoking scorch marks in the walls and furniture.

“Your friend is right, we should leave now,” Blade said as he motioned for Leo to move.

[b]Silent Foothills: Second Area[/b]

Even though it had been a few hours since the incident in the café, Leo was still trying to make sense of what had happened. Jay explained that this was only one of many similar incidents happening all across the Kingdom: Pokemon being rounded up and arrested at the slightest sign of doing anything considered “treasonous”. 

Once they had departed the café, they parted ways with Blade and his team, who told them to watch their backs as they left. Apparently, Jay had also been to the job boards while he was dealing with Icarus and had accepted a mission, though he never got the chance to tell them in the restaurant.   

Though Leo was not too psyched about going into another dungeon so soon after the last one, he reluctantly agreed to go since Jay assured him that this was nothing like the Meadows. In hindsight, he remembered that was exactly what Kelly had told him about the Meadows yesterday. 
Their mission was simple: find an Oren Berry a Weedle used as a good luck charm. It didn’t pay too much, —only thirteen Copper Poke--- but it was an easy mission, and that was exactly what they needed. 
Leo turned his badge over in his claws, it was worn down and scratched, but Aleck told them that it was top quality. Leo remembered when the eccentric shopkeeper called them over to his shop right after they left Blade and his team. Jay and the Sableye haggled for a few minutes about a price before agreeing to four Silver Poke.  

When Leo asked where he got the badge, Aleck cryptically answered, “Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies,” he said with a shady chuckle. 
As they walked away from the shop, Kelly whispered to him that Aleck never says where he gets his merchandise, though everyone suspects that he had contacts in the black market. 

The dungeon itself wasn’t anything too remarkable, as the name “Silent Foothills” suggested, it was fairly quiet in terms of both noise and Pokemon. Except for a few wild Zigzagoon and Rattata that fled as soon as they came into view, the dungeon was empty, and that was fine by Leo. 
The Oren Berry in question was supposed to be on the third area of the dungeon, and at the rate this mission was going, they’d be there in no time. 

“Hey, Jay, what did you mean by what you said earlier? When you said that the same thing was happening all over?” Leo asked as they walked through the tree-lined path within the dungeon. The Riolu slowed his pace and walked beside Leo, letting Kelly take the lead. 

“Ever since the Western Quarter incident, the entire police force has been stepping up their efforts to prevent history from repeating itself on a bigger scale. Not to sound paranoid or anything, but they have spies set up in every city to watch for any signs of treason. Gear hates that they have to do it, but it’s not his decision,” Jay explained as they continued to move through the dungeon. 

“So, Jack was innocent?” Leo asked. 

“He probably got caught talking bad about the government or something like that. It’s horrible, but it’s better then living in the Colonies, at least that’s what I’ve been told,” Jay sighed. 
Leo had thought as much. [i]It’s bad, yes, but like he said, it could always be worse, right? [/i] Unfortunately, he didn’t have an answer to that question. 

Suddenly, Jay spoke up. “I know what we need to do, Leo. This place is an excellent spot to try and teach you some attacks,” he suggested. 

“What do you mean by ‘attacks’?” Leo asked.

“What you weren’t able to do yesterday against Jumpluff. Hopefully, we can jog your memory and get a move or two back,” Jay told him, as they all stopped in the middle of a clearing ringed by trees. “This should be a good place.” 

“Alright, so where do I begin?” Leo eagerly asked, the thought of performing some of the moves he saw yesterday excited him. 
Jay stopped, “Umm, you got any ideas Kel?” 

Kelly thought for a moment, “Well, since none of us know how to breathe fire, I guess we could start you off with something involving your claws,” she reasoned, as Leo looked over his claws. They were definitely sharp, but was there more to them then that?

“That’ll work,” Jay agreed as he motioned for Leo to stand in front of a particularly large tree. 
“Now pretend it’s an enemy and attack it!” he ordered, as Kelly groaned in disagreement. 

“That’s not how it works, Jay! You have to let him figure it out his own way. That’s how I learned,” she told him. 

Their arguing didn’t change the fact that Leo was still facing a tree with no idea of what to do. Shrugging his shoulders, he decided to wing it. He raised his right arm and concentrated on slashing through the bark like butter with his claws. 
He swung his claws down onto the tree. He immediately knew it hadn’t worked when he felt the jarring pain spread throughout his limb. He clenched his hand as he hopped around in pain.

As soon as the pain subsided to a tolerable level, again he faced the tree. Ignoring Jay’s snickers and Kelly’s advice to take it easy, he took a deep breath and closed his eyes. 
He imagined his claws easily slicing into the first few inches of bark, tearing through the layers of xylem and phloem. That’s when he felt it, his claws suddenly became energized in a way. Not knowing if that was a good sign or not, he swung his claws into the tree again. 

He felt his claws make contact with the hard bark, but then it felt like he was dragging his hand through water. He opened his eyes to see that his claws were indeed glowing and embedded deep within the bark, a long slash mark trailed from where he first made contact with the tree. 

“That’s great, Leo! You got it!” Kelly cheered. Her sudden yell caused Leo to shift his concentration slightly, and that was all that was needed to stop the energy flow to his claws. 
His claws instantly stopped glowing and his steady cut through the tree was brought to a halt. Leo felt his claws jar on the bark. He tried to pull them out to try again, but they were stuck fast in the wood. 
Grunting, he used his free hand to try to yank his claws out. He overheard Jay’s laughter, not even trying to hide it anymore. Even though he couldn't turn around to prove it, he was certain that he heard Kelly’s laugh mixed in with Jay’s. 
He huffed in annoyance, planted his feet on the base of the tree, and pulled once more to no avail. 

[i]Forget this,[/i] Leo thought as he jumped up and put his feet on either side of his stuck claw so that he was perpendicular with the tree. Leo pushed off with his feet as hard as he could, straining to free his claws. 
He didn’t stop pushing even when he heard a loud “crack” in the wood, though perhaps he should have since it was only a few seconds after that noise when his claw came free and he shot off of the tree and tumbled onto the ground. 

“Are you sure you weren’t a comedian before your memory loss?” Jay asked, barely containing a laugh as he offered his paw to the downed Charmeleon. 
Leo accepted the hand up, and climbed to his feet, pulling his tail off the irritating dirt. 

“Don’t listen to him Leo, you had it. I think that was a Slash attack, a pretty useful move to have in your arsenal,” Kelly said as Leo examined his right arm for any injury. 

“Though we probably should get going and finish this mission before it gets too late,” she suggested, looking up at the sun, which was slowly edging its was toward the western horizon.  

“Agreed,” Leo said, not wanting to spend any more time in this dungeon then he all ready had. It wasn’t because it was challenging, he just didn’t like the feel of being inside of an unstable spatial anomaly.    

Just as they were about to start moving deeper into the Foothills, he heard the voice again.
[b][i]“Their aggression would never fade with the passing centuries. Their hatred would grow and increase until the resonance could be felt throughout the world.”[/i] [/b]  

Leo nearly jumped a mile high when he heard the voice from earlier again in his ear, but before he could tell his teammates about it the ground started rumbling. 

“What’s going on?! Dungeonquake?!” Jay yelled as the ground continued to heave. They all struggled to maintain their foothold on the ground as the quake worsened. 
The trees shook and swayed. Leo saw a few birds flee their nests in terror, as their homes threatened to topple. 

As suddenly as it began, the ground stilled and the quake ceased. “D-did it stop?” Kelly asked. 
Unfortunately for them, that was only the calm before the storm as the rift appeared. 

It was as if someone got a knife and sliced the air between two of the large trees at the opposite side of the clearing, leaving behind a glowing blue line in the air. The line slowly grew in width, revealing a space between the now circular portal. 

Leo was mesmerized at the sight of the strangle enigma. 
“What is that?” Kelly said as images began to take shape inside the portal. 

At first it looked like an Impressionist era painting, but then the blurry landscape on the other side of the portal cleaned up to reveal a dense swampy area covered in moss laden trees and fog. 
There was no way that marsh could have existed anywhere around the steep and dry Foothills. This was a portal to another place in the world. 

Leo was about to turn and flee the anomaly when his entire body went numb, as if some unseen force was holding him still. He turned his head slightly to see that both Jay and Kelly were experiencing something similar. 

From the other side of the rift, Leo heard the thudding of footsteps, heavy, mechanical-like footsteps. The thudding grew increasingly louder as whatever creature they belonged to got closer to the opening in the air. 
Leo was just about to think that the situation couldn’t get any worse when a cold feeling washed over him. It was as if his mind was suddenly stuck in a freezer. 
Leo would have rather put up with the mental cold then hear the voice. 

[i]“Warning: Biotics detected in target destination. Threat level: Indefinite. Code: Trace, Identify, Nullify, Dispatch, Depart. Proceed with biotic-sterilization protocol.  Procedure: Engaged.”[/i]
The voice was cold and emotionless, like a machine. Leo was almost certain that this was some sort of fever dream produced by his broken mind. [i]If that’s what this is, then I don’t have to take this seriously,[/i] he reasoned as a strange feeling of calmness came over him. 

“What in the name of Mew [i]was[/i] that?!” Kelly yelled as the portal glowed bright white and exploded.  

In a place unseen by all others, a raspy voice chuckled.
“The variables are in place, and the candidate has received the notice of possible employment. All that is needed now is his… confirmation of acceptance. I must report this development to my …employers. They will be happy to know things are …moving in their favor finally, but first I feel compelled to inform my other …client that his …investment is starting to … pay off …in a manner of speaking. My employers do not see that their gambit for freedom will lead to … consequences unforeseen. Their actions will be felt across the entire realm.”

[b]End Chapter Four[/b]

Author’s Notes:
Finally done! Wow, this chapter took a while to write (even though it was shorter then the last chapter …)
I decided to not have much happen action-wise in this chapter due to what happens next chapter. Instead, I tried to show a bit of what’s really going on in the world, bad stuff, indeed. Speculation as to what exactly the voice is to begin in three … two … one …
And yes, I meant “Oren Berry” with an “e” in the job description.

So, Leo has used his first move, Slash. Even if it was horribly done, it’s still a milestone for him.
Some parts of it weren’t too fun to write and delayed me quite a bit, but I worked through them in the end.
Anyways, this is the first chapter where I can say with full confidence that things are starting to happen. That’s right, we’re nearly out of the first arc of the story!

Moving on, I’d like to thank my beta readers for going through this chapter and helping me fix the errors in it. Without them this would not be nearly as enjoyable for you to read. So again, my thanks to them.

And finally, I still like hearing from my readers. So feel free to comment on anything that you find interesting, or anything you want to point out in the story.
Chapter Five will be here eventually, as will the resolution to the cliffhanger I left you all with. So, until then,

Knightfall signing off … (Is anyone even reading this story?)

You put Chapter 4 as Chapter 5 in the last subject. Better fix that! ;D

Well, at least I got a responce. :) I fixed that, thanks. I completely didn’t see that I had it listed as Chapter Five.

Edit: Normal Rank, sweet!

The rank system: When you post in a topic (besides the forum games), you will increase your post rank. Once you hit a certain number, you’ll rank up. (10 posts = Normal Rank)
Also, I hope you don’t mind that I took your banner for a bit. I’m just wanting to experiment and see if you will get some more viewers. It’s also my little gratitude for making a great story! Keep it up!

Okay, that’s good to know.

Anyways, it’s alright. Thank you.

Author’s Warning: This chapter does contain some content that actually reaches the PG-13 rating I put on this story. It’s only for a few scenes, so I think it’s all right for most people. Just keep that in mind.

Chapter Five: Interference

[i]“… In short, the Intradimensional rifts appearing between the spatial anomalies known as Mystery Dungeons are a phenomenon of unexplained proportions. Commonly known as Dungeon Links, these tears in the dimensional fabric occasionally appear within dungeons, serving as temporary spans across time and space variants allowing for instant traveling between dungeons that are far in proximity from each other. 
As far as we can tell, these Links follow a set pattern, appearing in the same dungeons every time. It is unknown how these rifts were created, though several theories are in circulation, which will be discussed at another time. 

We thank the esteemed explorer, Dusknoir, for sharing his vast knowledge on this matter, and his strange knowledge of next week’s lunch schedule. And as a note to all employees, if anyone knows of this “Grovyle” Pokemon he’s talking about, then please by all means, contact an administrator, it’s getting annoying….”[/i]
Excerpt from the report of Trinity Isle Research and Archive associate, Alakazam, on the enigmatic Dungeon Link. Published approximately five and a half years ago.    

Leo found that the paralysis on his body had lifted, as was blown backwards from the shattering portal. As he tried to get his bearings in his dizzied state, he was suddenly greeted with a grating, mechanical voice.

“I refuse! They can’t possibly be that much of a threat!” the clearly masculine voice said. Leo cringed as the shrill sound of it was equal to a dozen chalkboards being scratched by razor blades.

“Priority code: detain, disinfect, dispose,” the cold feminine voice was completely opposite from the prior voice.
Leo’s vision slowly cleared, as it did, his jaw dropped at what he saw. An unholy lovechild of tank and crab stood in front of where the portal used to be, its sturdy, blue legs stretching up to give it a view of the area.

“Lugia’s storm … w-what is that?” Jay asked, fear penetrating every syllable of his question. Neither Leo nor Kelly had the answer to his question, or had time to give him one, as the creature started to move again.

The giant crab tank swiftly turned around to face the stunned team, his blood red eyes looking at them for a moment before shifting to another object.

“You didn’t say this would happen! Why didn’t you tell me I’d have to do this?!” It wasn’t a normal question, it was a crazed plea to an unknown entity.
In the midst of his confusion of nearly everything that was happening, Leo found an answer as to who “you” was when the cold, feminine voice from earlier spoke again.

“Infestation detected within proximity. Code: Sanitize, Expunge, Relocate.”
The emotionless voice seemed to resonate from within the creature’s discus-shaped head, seemingly acting as a guiding voice to its lost host.

“I-I can’t! I can’t kill them! Don’t make me do it! Please!” the creature cried, its red eyes almost in tears.

“Malcompliance behaviors within Metagross: Wire unit will not be tolerated. Code: comply, control, counter, cauterize.”

Leo cautiously backed away from the steel monster, which seemed to be in the midst of a mental breakdown. He gave a panicked glance to both of his teammates, who had the same idea as he did: get out of here without getting his attention.

“Contagions escaping containment area! Infection imminent! Code: cull, cleanse, clot,” the voice shrieked as the Metagross shook his head in deranged disagreement.

“No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I won’t do it! Don’t make me!” the giant Pokemon shrieked, pleading with the voice inside his head.

[i]“When your mind has trapped you within itself, what else can you do but scream?”[/i]

The voice sent shivers down Leo’s spine. He looked quickly to his teammates, shaking away the voice and the bad omens it brought whenever it spoke. It was time to leave, and no voice inside his head was going to stop them. With a nod from Jay, they all turned away from the malfunctioning Metagross and began to sprint to the nearest dungeon path out of the room.

“Biogen breach! Code: override, containment field initiate!” the controlling voice shouted as Wire gave one last, agonized scream.
Not one of the team turned around to look, though they didn’t have a choice as they all ran face-first into a wall of invisible energy. The transparent wall rippled slightly as it bounced the members of Team Salient backwards, sending them sprawling on the ground.

Rubbing his sore nose, Leo dizzily turned around to see why they were trapped this time.
The Metagross unit shuddered, its four, metal legs stumbling around inside the ring of psychic energy it had created. Leo, you can’t escape the psychopath who’s trying to kill you by running away, that’d be too easy. How silly of me to forget, Leo grimly thought as the Pokemon who trapped them spoke.

“Testing, testing, one, two, three. Good, that’s still functioning. Overriding my counter-part isn’t always this successful. Now, what do I do with you three? Killing you is logical and disposing of your bodies has a ninety-two-point-five percent chance of success,” the Metagross said, its voice, however, not sounding anything like the slightly crazed, male tone they’d heard seconds before.
Swallowing her fear, Kelly took a step forward to the Pokemon that was now possessed by it’s own mind.

“What do you want? Why did you trap us here?” she asked, as the Metagross carefully eyed her.

“Your actions are causing complications to arise within our benefactor’s campaign. We have been dispatched to neutralize the threat … well, at least I was. Wire wasn’t so keen on accepting this mission, as you can tell,” she said with indifference, as she began to circle around the team.

“Please don’t! Please don’t! Nexus, please don’t!” Wire’s distant voice continued to cry as Nexus repressed him further within his own mind.

“We haven’t done anything though!” she exclaimed as the Metagross narrowed its eyes, clearly bypassing what she’d just said completely.

“You have willingly cooperated with enemies of the Colonies, and now feel free to take a look through the swiftly closing aperture that remains of your life. Engage!”

As soon as the last word passed through her voice processors, Leo, Kelly, and Jay were somehow lifted into the air by the Metagross and thrown violently against the energy barrier she had created.

He was sure he heard something inside his chest crack as he slid down to the ground, but he didn’t have time to properly examine himself as Nexus charged at him at a speed Leo thought impossible to achieve.

He quickly ducked to the side as a giant steel-spiked foot planted itself in the barrier where his head was seconds before. Unable to grab his exploration bag on the ground without getting flattened, he continued to play chicken with the rushing Nexus.

“You are aiding the corruption! Can’t you see?! You’re collaborating with traitorrraaaaaaaaahhhh!” Nexus screamed as her body became enshrouded with electricity. She stopped her efforts to reduce Leo’s skull to a waffle and shifted her attention to Kelly.

Kelly let loose another lightning attack from her charged fur as Nexus attempted to crush her with her legs. Leo groaned as a panting Jay quickly helped him to his feet.

“What’s going on?!” Leo yelled as Kelly was psychically thrown into the barrier by Nexus, making her issue a pained yelp followed by a curse to Thundurus. She yelled in pain as she tried to run, lifting her left hind leg above the ground. Out of breath, Jay quickly mumbled something about his badge and escaping to Leo as he dashed to the opposite side of the death-ring.

Jay ran and scooped up his bag off the ground while Nexus was occupied with trying to permanently incapacitate Kelly, who was somehow able to still dodge the attacks despite her fractured hind leg, though the pain it caused her was sure to be immense.
As Jay turned his bag upside down and fervently looked for his badge, Leo tried to concentrate a Slash attack and simultaneously ignore the shooting pain in his chest.

Within seconds both sets of his claws became energized with the same feeling he felt before and he ran directly at Nexus, who was about to flatten an exhausted Kelly.
Whatever remained of his sane mind screamed that this was a horrible idea and that he was going to die in his foolish attempt to help her, but he pushed it aside as he leapt past Nexus’s armored legs and onto the center of her head.

His claws still glowing with energy, Leo gripped onto the silver, X-shaped mustache on Nexus’s face, holding on as he prayed that Kelly got herself to safety.
This action didn’t go unnoticed by the possessed Metagross, who halted her execution of Kelly and proceeded to try and buck Leo off her head, screaming unsavory curses at him all the while.
All through this, the faint cries of Wire still emitted from the Metagross as he tried to regain control of his body.

Just as Leo felt as if he was going to see the apples he ate earlier again, Nexus raised one of her legs, used the spikes on the ends of it to pinch Leo’s leg, and detached him from her face. His Slash-powered claws fading as his grip failed.

She dangled Leo in the air for a split second, as if deciding the most efficient way to break every bone in his body, before she raised her leg back and hurtled him at the psychic barrier.

Leo heard another audible crack as his ribs lit on fire. Yeah, definitely broken. Hu-rah, he thought morbidly as he painfully picked himself up.
He got to his feet and walked, thankful that his body was producing numbing adrenaline as he looked over to his teammates.
His rodeo with Nexus had lasted only a few seconds, but to Leo it felt like it had lasted hours.
Jay held his badge in his hands as he jabbed the center button repeatedly, but he was interrupted when Nexus’s leg slammed into his back, knocking him to the ground and sent his badge skidding across the dirt.

“A predictable move for a Fighting type, taking the cowardly way out instead of facing up to the danger that threatens you and your teammates. I thought it would be the Charmeleon who tried to abandon ship first, but apparently I was wrong,” Nexus sneered as she psychically picked up the Riolu and his badge until he was level with her face.

“There is no place in the world for cowards like you,” she stated as she focused her mind to blast Jay backwards into the wall. She dropped his badge to the ground and smashed it with her spiked foot, the remains sparking slightly. Not sure of what he was doing, Leo leaped at Nexus, claws ready.

“Nexus, stop! No!” Wire screamed from inside his own mind, as he watched his body produced a psychic field and tossed around the innocent Riolu like a kit’s toy. 

[i]“You refused to cooperate and accomplish the task at hand, so I took the liberty of doing it for you. My guidance wasn’t enough for you, it seems. You know how draining overriding you is on me, so don’t think I’m doing this for my own reasons. It’s for the best,”[/i] Nexus responded to the trapped Metagross personality as she slammed his foot down, almost crushing the limping Kelly. 

Wire said nothing as the Charmeleon ran forward to protect the Riolu, he watched as his front left leg straighten out and swing at the fire type’s head. 

Wire growled, “You can’t kill them, Nexus. This is my body, not yours.” 

Leo had just enough time to help Jay off the ground before he heard another roar from the steel crab. He turned around to face the creature only to catch a brief glimpse of one of its legs swinging toward his head.

Before he could react to the imminent threat, the limb connected. To Leo, it felt like a freight train had collided with the side of his head, or any other simile of intense pain.
Leo thought he would see stars, but an entire galaxy of supernovas filled his vision.

He couldn’t hear anything beyond the intense ringing in his ears, and his own heartbeat. His heartbeats, combined with the flashes of white-hot pain from his skull were the only sensations telling him he wasn’t yet dead.

Maybe it was his body’s ability to heal remarkably fast, or just the adrenaline numbing the pain—Leo suspected the later—, but after what only seemed a minute, he recovered most of his senses of sight and hearing. His head still hurt felt like it had been used as a wreaking ball on a building filled with primed dynamite, but he staggered to his feet regardless.

The first thing he saw was Jay playing a deadly game of chicken with the Metagross’s iron legs, deftly sprinting and changing direction as he ran around the beast. He suddenly stopped and slammed a glowing fist in the center of the “X” formed on its face.

The living computer let out a primal screech and let loose a Psychic attack at Jay. Leo watched his teammate get shoved into the dirt at sonic speeds. Nexus raised leg over Jay, and with no warning, she slammed it down.

It took all of his remaining strength, but Wire managed to regain control of his front leg, and halt its downward trajectory centimeters from the bracing Riolu’s face.
He managed to shove his limb away from the rescue team member, as a wave of agony washed over him. He felt his body’s psychic powers activate as an infuriated Nexus hurtled the Riolu across the arena into the barrier. He fell to the dirt for a moment, as he tired and failed to get back up, refusing to give up the privilege of consciousness. 

[i]“This is treason, you know that? Of course you do. You may be the weaker of the two of us, but I know for a fact you’re not defective. An incompetent moron, yes, but not defective. Our benefactors will not be pleased when they find out about your decision to forego their orders,”[/i] Nexus scolded her counterpart, as Wire ignored her, and concentrated on forcing his body’s Bullet Punch attack to miss the fatigued Jolteon by a hair. 

[i]“You can’t keep this up, you know that, right? By the time my override of your body wears off, these pests’ corpses will be picked clean by passing Mandibuzz. There is nothing you can do, Wire. I’m not bragging, it’s an objective fact,”[/i] she said, as she tore his leg away from his control and swung it at the Charmeleon. Wire wasn’t able to stop it, but he managed to make the hit land hard on the Charmeleon’s stomach instead of lopping his head clean off as Nexus had intended. 

“You can’t fight two battles at once, Nexus. I’ll defeat myself if I must,” Wire grunted, as he attempted to make his body fall to the ground.

[i]“We’ll see about that, you half byte program,”[/i] Nexus growled, as her body shuddered slightly. 

Leo doubled over, as he stumbled out of range of the Metagross. Collasping to his hands and knees, he couldn’t hold back the burning bile from his stomach, as he heaved most of what he’d eaten that day onto the dirt. Coughing hard, he tried to coax air back into his lungs. 
He had no time to register the amount of pain he was in, as he saw a circular shadow rise above him. His mind shut down and his body took over, instinctively forcing him to roll to the left on the ground. 

The ground shook slightly as Nexus rammed one of her front legs into the spot where Leo’s body had been a second before.  
Just then, a bolt of lightning shot over his head. He heard Kelly let out a war-like cry and tackle the Metagross full force. She collided with the steel exterior of the Pokemon, her charged fur sending waves of electricity through the monster tank.   

Nexus let out an involuntary yell as the energy coursed through her extremely conductive, steel body. Kelly fell to the ground in a heap, grimacing as she landed on her injured hind leg. 

“Leo, … run,” she gasped right before she was psychically hoisted into the air and brutally slammed into the barrier. Her limp form slid to the ground, she barely kept conscious as she slowly tried to get back up again. 

Nexus surveyed her surroundings, apparently pleased at seeing both Jay and Kelly barely conscious, she turned her attention to Leo. He felt as if his body was paralyzed, he couldn’t move, he couldn’t flee, he couldn’t help his friends, he couldn’t do anything, but stare as Nexus slowly approached him like the grim reaper. Her precise movements and cold, locking, stare proved more then capable then turning causing Leo’s legs to instinctively step backwards until his back was against the barrier. 

[i]“Charmeleon, you and your comrade’s crimes merit capital punishment. My benefactor was very much displeased with the news of your team’s actions in exposing one of our most successful espionage rings, and rescuing our prisoner of war,”[/i] Nexus said, as she slowly closed the gap between them. Leo gulped in fear. 

[i]“I would have very much liked to converse with the Riolu instead, but I sense something … different about you. It’s an intangible quality that makes you different then nearly every other Pokemon I’ve threatened before.”[/i] She got close to him and lifted her body up. Her face soon became only inches away from his, her fiery eyes boring into his skull. 

[i]“Tell me, what makes you so different? Wait. Why don’t I just take a look inside your mind and find out for myself?”[/i] she said as her eyes flashed golden for an instant. Leo shut his eyes and braced for whatever she was about to do to him, but after a few seconds of relatively nothing happening he gained the courage to open his eyes. 

As soon as his eyes made contact with hers, he knew he fell for her trap. He couldn’t move at all, but he could feel her, casually browsing through his memories and the events of the past few days, unable to do anything to stop her. She ignored his efforts and occasionally mumbled to herself as when she came across something interesting. 

[i]“My, my, you have some serious issues: major amnesia of the cerebrum, potential schizophrenia, and countless other problems. I think I might be doing the world a favor by killing a developing psychopath like you,”[/i] she said dully as he felt her leaf through through the pages of his mind 

[i]“Ah. Here it is,”[/i] she said wickedly as she found what she was looking for. Leo fought one last time to force her form his head, but Nexus merely chuckled. 

[i]“What’s so horrible that you can’t even trust your own teammates with it? Did you murder someone? You did, didn’t you?” [/i] she guessed with a metallic laugh. 

Leo felt his anger rising. [i]The only people allowed in my head are me, and a chorus of haunting voices! No one else![/i] 
As if something heard his thought, he felt the paralysis of his right arm fade just enough for him to regain control. Not about to waste the opportunity, he quickly produced a sloppily made Slash attack, and brought his energized claws down onto her armored face. 

The possessed Metagross screamed in pain as she backed away from the Charmeleon slightly. With her concentration broken, Leo was freed from her psychic paralysis. He tried to run, but his legs wouldn’t respond out of sheer exhaustion. 
Nexus yelled and immediately grabbed Leo with her Psychic and slammed him against the barrier. She raised her left leg and pressed it against his chest. 
If she could, she would have smiled as she pushed her leg into him, squishing him between the barrier and her foot. 

[i]“You know what’s funny? I’m possibly the most advanced collection of knowledge on the entire planet that’s ever existed, and I’m stuck doing a filthy bounty hunter’s job catching you idiots. Even though you’re about to die, I feel compelled to impart some of my knowledge onto your pathetic mind before you go,”[/i] she said, enunciating each syllable with pure loathing. 

[i]“Did you know? Pressure,”[/i] she said as she pushed Leo against the field.  

[i]“is the ratio of force,”[/i]  Nexus pressed harder against the pinned Charmeleon, 

[i]“to the area over which that force is distributed. Interesting fact, no?” [/i]Nexus gloated as Leo’s entire chest began to feel the surface of the sun as Nexus continued to ramble on how he and his worthless friends would soon be destroyed. 

His ribs sent lightning to his nerves, forcing tears into his eyes as he tried not to pass out. 
Air swiftly became a luxury he could no longer afford as the Metagross slowly crushed the life out of him. He faintly heard someone --- Kelly, possibly --- yelling his name in the distance, but he knew she was in no state to fight, let alone save his life. 

His as lungs began to suffocate; he felt his heart speed up, using his remaining oxygen to power his mind for one last time. All this time the fire in his chest kept building up until it felt like someone has ignited a furnace inside his lungs. 
The heat grew hotter and expanded in his lungs. In his weakening state, he didn’t know what his body was doing, but simply went along with it. An instant later, the fire in his chest ached to be released; it rose from his lungs and burned in his throat. 

Not caring about the potential consequences, he opened his mouth and exhaled the remaining air from his lungs. 
The heat suddenly forced its way from throat and out his mouth, combusting into a ball of fire as it touched the air. Leo’s head jerked back from the recoil as the newly formed Ember attack collided with Nexus’s face, exploding in a flash of fire and ash. 

Nexus screeched, both inside and outside of her mind, as she staggered backwards from Leo, releasing her death grip on him. She swung her head side to side trying to alleviate the burn. 
Wire would have grinned if he had a physical body to do so, the Charmeleon had preformed better then he’d thought. [i]I can still end this on my terms.[/i] 

He’d had enough of this fight. He had to end it before she killed one of them. Wire concentrated his psyche and tackled his distracted counter-part with every bit of his mental strength. Nexus was broadsided by the onslaught from her physical and mental fronts, she couldn’t repress Wire any longer as his psyche rushed at her.  
Wire wrestled for control of —what was rightfully his— body. He felt his limbs swing about in all directions as control over them quickly shifted from him to her and back again.    
He heard Nexus scream and felt her resisting to give up her influence over his body. Just as he almost tipped the balance of the battle against her, she pushed him back in a fit of hellish fury. 

Wire felt was she ripped control of his legs, and charged forward at the Charmeleon who was still recovering from his last altercation with her. There was no warning, no “any last words?”, no threats, no chance of a miraculous escape, as the spiked appendage slashed downwards onto the Charmeleon. 

Wire let out an enraged, feral roar and lunged at Nexus. She’d made him kill the Charmeleon in cold blood. She’d taken an innocent life, now she’d pay for his blood.

Surprisingly, Leo didn’t feel the initial attack, it didn’t seem real. Only a faint twinge of discomfort reminded him that he’d been hit at all. He put one foot forward, his lungs unable to breathe for some odd reason.

He planted his left foot next to his right, his legs felt like they were being turned into gelatin. He heard someone shrieking his name, or at least he thought it was his name, he couldn’t really tell as all the sound gradually turned into a annoying ringing noise.

He looked around for where the shout had come from. Straight ahead was a Metagross busy having a spasm as electricity laced its form, now why was it here? Was he friendly? Leo couldn’t remember.

He turned his head to the left. He saw Jay dizzily getting up from the ground. Wait. Why was he on the ground? Had he been attacked by something?
He shrugged his strangely heavy shoulders in confusion; he would ask him about that later when they got back to town.

Finally, he looked to the right where Kelly was shouting at him, or at least, he thought she was. Her mouth was moving, but no sound came out. She suddenly started running toward him … in slow motion? Why was she running in slow motion? That didn’t make sense, only Jay was allowed to slow down time since he was the team leader, that was his job. She’d probably get into trouble with the Magnemite for disobeying the team rules.

Leo saw that she was trying to say something to him again as she slowly made her way across the area to him, ignoring the pain her back leg brought her. Why was she in such a hurry? Why was her leg broken? What was her problem?

That’s it! She just wants to congratulate me on winning the flying contest! Jumpluff never stood a chance against me, Leo thought as his body suddenly felt a lot lighter. He felt like he was a cloud, free of the imposing law of gravity.
He waved to Kelly, a grin plastered on his face as he felt his legs disappear. He floated down until his knees touched the ground. Who needs legs when I can fly? Leo thought giddily as he let out a laugh at his own joke.

Leo felt something wet and sticky pooling around his knees. Looking down, he saw that it was only a growing puddle blood. He was glad it wasn’t Kelly’s drink he’s sipped at the café, that’d be horrible.

Then it struck him. Is that blood? He slowly lowered his gaze downwards to his chest. That’s blood. A long, jagged, gash made it’s way across Leo’s chest like a serpent. That’s … blood. Upon closer inspection it seemed to run from his lower ribcage to his stomach, it was deep, and it was leaking a constant waterfall of crimson. That’s my blood!

As soon as it became real to him, the fragile air of calm his brain struggled to project to keep his heartbeat low shattered. Leo’s pulse nearly soared as he clutched the wound with his claws, trying to attach his torn scales and flesh back together.

Adrenaline could only numb away so much pain and give so much false energy before it failed like everything else. The true pain of being brutally sliced open and the sudden weakness of major blood loss hit him like one of the Metagross’s legs. Shock firmly gripped his body as Leo fell face first to the ground, unable to move a muscle.

Time seemed to catch up with him as Kelly suddenly appeared at his side and gingerly turned his head so that he was looking up. He felt his entire body suddenly become cold; shock was taking its toll on him.

Leo faintly saw the color in her yellow-furred face drain into a dull grey, as the world around him fade to black and white. Kelly seemed to be frantically looking around for anything to stop the bleeding, but there was nothing close to them except a battered pink scarf from her satchel.

She gently placed the scarf on the wound, and vainly tried to stabilize the gash, bloodying it and her paws up in the process.
As his sight began to fade to black, he saw her eyes well up with tears. She screamed something at him, but he couldn’t hear her.
His head fell back onto the dirt with a thud. The last thing he saw before his vision turned black was the flame on his tail flicker weakly and go out with a puff of grey smoke.

[b]End Chapter Five[/b]

Author’s Notes: I’m really impressed at how this chapter turned out. I mean, I really think the battle went well considering it was my first time attempting…………

I’m kidding, it’s not really the end, not even I’m that senselessly cruel.
Enjoy the rest of the chapter.

To say Leo felt surprised when he opened his eyes again would be a gross understatement. He gingerly looked around, making sure this wasn’t some sort of fever dream his brain decided to inflict him with as his body died. 

If it weren’t the fact that everything in the area was still black and white, and that nothing was moving, he would almost say it was real. 
Oh, and the fact that he was looking at his own bleeding body on the ground made him think it was slightly unreal. 

Looking over the scene, he was just what a dire predicament they all where in: Jay, barely standing, about to be squished by the out of control Metagross, and Kelly, her hind leg definitely fractured, looked seconds away from passing out from exhaustion as her frozen body leaned over his. 

[i][b]“It’s a sad sight to see, isn’t it? Your friends need your help, but here you are, dead and of no practical use to anyone. How disappointing, but it’d be a lie to say I wasn’t anticipating such a poor performance from someone of your species,”[/i][/b] the cold voice chided as Leo looked around the frozen arena for the source of the demon who haunted his mind. 
He didn’t have to look far; directly in front of him a ball of purple mist formed out of the air. As quickly as it appeared, it dissipated, leaving only a floating, purple, witch hat-wearing Pokemon in its wake. 

The creature turned to face him and flashed a sly smile, [i][b]“Hello, Leo. It’s rare that I get the pleasure of conversing directly with one of my candidates, but I’m afraid there is no time for pleasantries,”[/i][/b] the Pokemon told him as it chanted a few strange words, distorting the frozen world around it until it was a completely different place. 

From what he could see, he and the ghost were standing in the middle of a frozen, city market place, far bigger then anything he’d seen in Loyalty. The scores of Pokemon around them stopped in place as the ghost floated around them. 

[b][i]“Do you know why I recommend you to my employers? I’ll spare you the process of guessing the wrong answer. It was simply because you had certain … desirable qualities that others … lacked. It wasn’t because you had any special powers, intelligence, or anything remarkable about you at all, because you are, in all aspects of the word, average. Nothing special. But, it was because you somehow arrived in this world, that you proved you might be of use to my plan, human,”[/b][/i] the ghost went on, changing the landscape once again. 

This time they’d arrived on top of a ice capped mountain. Time may have been frozen, but Leo could still feel the utter cold of the peak. 

[b][i]“Your performance so far has been decent; make no mistake, my friend. The … intrusion with that Metagross was unplanned, but you failing wasn’t the outcome I’d foreseen. And believe me, you failed miserably,”[/b][/i] he revealed as he forced the world to distort and reform again. This time they were in the middle of a large grass courtyard, with tall stone buildings all around. 

[b][i]“However, your performance is still better then your … competition, whose observations were, for the most part, terminated due to … regulatory issues.”[/b][/i] The Mismagius stared at him, his eyes glowing an eerie golden. 

[i][b]“It is in that context that I have argued with my employers to … preserve your team members and yourself … for a time,”[/i][/b] he vaguely “explained”, though Leo couldn’t understand what the Pokemon was going on about. [i]Candidates? Employers? What the heck is he talking about?[/i] 

Leo shut his eyes as the courtyard around them flashed white. Suddenly, he was back, inside his own body once again. Kelly was still leaning over him, and he still had a bloody gash running across his chest. He couldn’t see his “friend” but he could still hear him. 

[i][b]“Don’t expect, Leo, that I’m going to be playing guardian angle for you again, because the next time an incident befalls you, I’m just going to close the observation and terminate your application of potential employment. I’m sure my employers would understand if I said you failed again,”[/i][/b] the invisible Pokemon warned as another flash blinded his eyes. It felt as if his chest was plunged into an icy bath as a white aura enshrouded it. The wound slowly closed itself together, leaving only a faint white line running across his scales. He saw the same happening with Jay and Kelly’s injuries. 

[b][i]“I must go now as many matters still require my attention. Someone will be along for you shortly. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to be careful, otherwise I will have to … terminate your observation prematurely. I’d rather not have to perform another direct intervention like this again. Before I leave you, there is still one virus that I have to … sanitize,”[/b][/i] he said, as he chanted another string of words.  Leo fell unconscious as soon as they hit his ears. 

Wire was in pain, no doubt about it. He and Nexus had been fighting for control for about five straight minutes, a small amount of time normally, but an enormous length to have your mind continually fight another.

He sometimes wondered how they’d become merged in the first place. He had memories of being a normal enough Metang, but then something happened. Something he couldn’t, rather, Nexus wouldn’t let him remember. He’d remembered flying through the air as a Metang one moment, and the next moment, a smoking heap in a crater as a Metagross with her talking to him in his head.

He’d constantly clashed with her ever since she’d proven herself to a highly narcissistic, sadistic, and psychopathic personality. She’d influence his mind when he disagreed with her demands, repress memories of his family and loved ones, shut off his sense of direction, and threaten to delete his personality completely, however she seemed incapable of taking complete control for a extended period of time.

Her powers of influence “guiding” him, was what lead him to blindly working for this Pokemon she referred to only as “our benefactor”. This wasn’t his first mission on behalf of her benefactor, but he’d never had to kill anyone before.

As cold and calculating as their species were known to be, he had a sense of morality, and refused to go along with her wishes for once.
That string of encompassing thoughts was what brought him to this very moment, with his personality clashing against hers for complete, undisputed control over the body.
He’d often dreamt of this moment when he would finally get the chance to overthrow the monster that shared his mind.
Wire wondered why he’d had enough time to think about all these things that had happened to him since he in the middle of preparing yet another psychic attack to go against Nexus. Something isn’t right here, he thought as time seemed to slow.

[i]“Well done, it only took you two minutes to figure that one out. Perhaps you aren’t as simple minded as your friend over there has you painted out to be,”[/i] a bone-chilling voice said, a chorus of slow clapping echoed throughout the Metagross’s headpiece, mocking him.

“Who are you and how are you in here?” Wire asked. Suddenly, the clapping ceased.

[i]“Very astute of you, Wire, but you and I both know I can’t answer those. However, you may call me your mutual friend, as it were. I’ve come here with a simple offer from my employers, one that has almost no negative consequences on your part. You’ve proven yourself a rational and resourceful Pokemon, so I don’t think you’ll have any trouble in realizing that you will never get this kind of offer again.”[/i]

“What’s the catch? There’s always a catch. Tell me.” Wire asked, trying to maintain the false appearance of confidence.

[i]“Hmmm, you really do have a brain after all. I’ll tell you what, Wire, I will sweeten the deal for you. If you accept the offer, I will do you the favor of … relieving you of the … conflicting ideals that plague you. I cannot guarantee this offer for long, so I suggest you think very carefully about your decision.”[/i]

“I accept. Just, get rid of her. Please.” Wire sighed inwardly; he just knew this wouldn’t end well.

[b]“I will do my best, my friend. Patience is a virtue you must have in this line of work. Before you get your extreme psyche makeover, I need a favor do be done.”[/b]

“Well, what is it?” he asked, wanting to get this thing’s “favor” out of the way.

[i]“You are skilled with teleportation, correct? If so, then I ask you transport your former combatants to a location, I will disclose shortly.”[/i]

“What?! You want me to teleport them?! They’re almost dead! If I’m going to teleport them somewhere, it better be to the best healer in the world!” he shouted.

[b]“Your concern for them is unnecessary. I have taken care of that problem beforehand; you do not need to worry. Now, do as I say, Metagross.”[/b]

“Y-yes, of course.” Wire stuttered, if this was what it took to be free of Nexus forever, he’d do whatever he needed to do.

Needless to say, that many of Loyalty Square’s populace who happened to be in the market mid-afternoon panicked when a sudden white flash overtook the entirety of the square. When the flash dissipated, it became clear that there were three unconscious forms lying on the ground that weren’t there before. 

Some called Gear and his units, some went for the guild’s healers, some just watched in morbid curiosity from the sidelines as the dramatic scene unfolded in front of them.   
The Magnemites were the first to the spot, all too eager to drag them away to prison for no sound reason. Fortunately, a team of Pokemon made up of a Grovyle, an Absol, and a Flygon kept the units from carrying out their corrupt deed until Gear himself showed up. 

After promising punishment to his units, he reluctantly got their help, as with the Grovyle’s team to carry the injured Pokemon into the more comfortable rooms in the jail under Gear’s supervision, where they could recover undisturbed by the citizens and Magnemite alike until they were well enough to answer the many questions he had for them. 

End Chapter Five

[b]The Real Author’s Notes[/b]: Sorry about that earlier, I’ve got to a little fun every now and then.  

Anyways, this chapter was a tricky one for me in terms of the content and how I was going to handle it. Especially, how I ended the fight and the emotional scenes. 
I’ve never written a battle scene that long or complex before this, so if there’s some issues, feel free to point them out. 

On to the chapter itself. I kind of got the idea for Wire/Nexus was the Pokedex entry for Metagross. It says it was made by a high speed collision of two Metang. I wondered, what if one of the Metang wasn’t right in the head, so to speak, and it snowballed from there. 

This may be one of the most important chapters yet in terms of plot, there’s just so much that’s happening. 
I’d like to thank my beta readers once again for fixing and suggesting things to improve in the chapter. And I’d like to thank my friend, Azurus on Serebii, who gave me some of the concepts to use in this chapter. 
Oh yeah, I think I owe myself a pat on the back as well, since this is the quickest time I’ve written and posted a chapter. Almost three weeks! Not a month and a half like usual! Whooh!

Also, on the subject of time between chapters, this may be the last one for a while since school is starting up again in a few days. I will continue to write, but the pace I finish a chapter will be much slower then the past few, hypothetically. 
So, please bare with me during these next few months, because it might seem like I’m dead, but I assure you I won’t be. Hopefully, I can find the ideal balance between school work and writing so I don’t run into too many problems. 

So, tell me what you thought of the chapter, if it was great, good, or downright horrible, leave me a comment or review. 
As always, thank you for reading my story. It means a lot to me as a developing author. 

I’ve probably been talking for longer then I’ve needed to.

Knightfall signing off …

Chapter Six: Severance

[i]“The sector sweep of Experimental Items Testing chambers in Area Four remains inconclusive. Employee number 286 is continues to evade apprehension by unknown means.

 A more extensive search will be conducted within the hour and will include ventilation ducts as well as maintenance areas. Porygon drones have been launched to patrol food and water sources  to ensure # 286 will be brought out by whatever means--- BZZZZT!”
[b] [Warning:P-Z Disk Operation System_Offline][P-Z Drive System _Online][/b]   

“He won’t get far, not while the lockdown is in affect. He can’t escape; everything we have worked for will be compromised. Protocol must be upheld, and if that means sacrificing lives, then so be it. Operation security must be kept; otherwise, we are all going to die…die …dying…death… kill… murder …. Lies…………………………………….. 

Kill them all …killthemallkillthemallkillthemall!  KILL THEM ALLLLLLLL!  ZZT!” 

[b][Warning: P-Z Drive System Failure]
[Location_ Redacted][Time_ Date: Redacted][Report_ Nature_ Undisclosed][/b][/i]      

They were tired, she knew it, and she was certain Jay and Leo knew it too. Kelly wasn’t sure how they’d arrived in the middle of Liberty Market, or even if Gear was telling the truth to begin with on the means of their arrival.

The last thing she remembered before waking up in Gear’s quarters in the jail was standing over Leo trying to heal his wound. As they walked through the Square she shot a glance at her strange teammate.

The only indication that she wasn’t dreaming when it happened was the thin, jagged scar that ran over his chest scales.

It doesn’t make sense, she thought as they ignored the sideways glances of the townsfolk and their whispered gossip, we were all injured by that Metagross, but now here we are and none worse for the ware. Even my leg is fixed, and I’m certain it was broken. Not even a Chansey can heal bones that quickly.

She wasn’t going to complain, whatever had happened, she was glad it did. She thought back to the battle. She had stood in shock as Leo jumped on the beast’s head, giving her a chance to run. Jay almost being crushed as he tried to land punches on the Metagross while she wandered around in a daze. Her heart had stopped when she saw Leo waving to her without a care in the world while blood was pouring profusely from the wound in his chest.

Her body shuddered involuntarily, not at the thought of the blood, but at the thought of losing him. She might have only met him a few days ago, but they’d been through a lot in a short period of time.

As far as she was concerned, Leo was as close of a teammate and friend as Jay, and she was not about to lose a friend.

The group finally broke free of the town and started down the forest trail to their base. As her tired paws dragged along the ground, she wondered why Gear had arrested them in the first place.

She knew those mechanical spawns of royal decree had something to do with it, but with all the looks they were getting from the citizens of the Square, she assumed they must have made a big disturbance. Gear had taken them into custody to protect them, not to harm them.

His “interrogation” of them was merely asking them if they knew what happened. When they’d answered that they didn’t, he’d taken the liberty to recount to them eye witness reports of the incident.

They then told him of the Metagross; Gear assured them that wanted posters were already being put up at all nearby stations. After Gear was finished with his questions, he suggested that they lay low and relax for a couple days, and Kelly agreed completely.

They had been attacked and beaten in the last two dungeons they did a job in, so she felt that a break was exactly what they needed. Gear, possibly purely out of pity, decided to give them all badges to replace the ones lost the day before free of charge.

She looked at Leo again; unlike Jay who just wore a tired expression, he seemed … almost jumpy. His eyes darted around, looking at each and every tree and shadow as if a ghost were going to pop out from behind one of them at any moment.

Had her legs not felt like they were going to fall off at any moment, she would have gone over to him and asked what the matter was. Though he didn’t seem like the type of Pokemon that opened up easily, she would at least ask what was troubling him. She reminded herself to do this first thing tomorrow.

She let out a sigh of relief when she saw their base after leaving the forest trail. It may not have originally been theirs, but it seemed thoroughly abandoned by the previous owners so she and Jay quickly took up residence in it.

She felt like she was cheating someone every time she entered it, she and Jay would have had to do three month’s worth of jobs to even begin to afford a home like this, but instead they got it free.

Most citizens worked and worked, but were only able to live in the wooden shacks scattered around the Square and the valley.

Every night she whispered a prayer to Raikou that fate wouldn’t come back to haunt them for taking advantage of this, or if it did, at the very least it haunt Jay.

Regardless of her guilty conscious, she dragged herself inside ahead of Leo and Jay. Even though it was not yet late in the afternoon, she groggily mumbled something that sounded like “Good night” to them and went to her room.

She staggered to her bed of hay and plopped down on top of it with a sigh. She heard the sound of paper crunching underneath her and fished around with her paw until she found the source of the noise. Holding it up, she looked at it in the glow of the Luminous Orb shards.

[i]Kel? Please write back.
We can only hope this letter reaches you.

I’m- we’re sorry about everything. You have no idea what is like as a father being unable to do nothing but write letters knowing his daughter is alone somewhere in the world. I can’t possibly express how badly we miss you. Your mother cries every night believing it was her fault that you’re not with us.

I’m sorry. I know you think we failed you as parents, and I think the same way. We were putting our own interests ahead of our only daughter and for that, I will never forgive myself, nor will your mother for that matter.

We wish terribly that you were with us, but we can’t leave the Colonies. The Pokemon here need us, we must do our duty and lead them through this crisis. Though if the general would let us, we’d have you here at Latios speed. We try everyday to secure passage for you, but the war is making it difficult as you know.

Kelly, we love you. I will do whatever it takes to make it up to you, even though you probably hate us now. For one and a half years, we’ve been away from you, and for an entire year and a half it’s broken our hearts to be so far away from the joy of our lives.

I can only pray to Arceus that you are healthy and are happy with where you are. I am certain that you have grown into the strong Pokemon I’d always hoped you would become.
I promise you we will be together again as a family. Even if we have to commit treason to do so, we will see you again. Please, Kelly, forgive us.

Your loving parents.[/i]

She shook her head, that letter was six months old and she still hadn’t written back. Why would I? They left me for the Colonies. They made their choice, she thought bitterly as her fur bristled with electricity.

Tears welling in her eyes, she held the letter in her paw as the minute charge flowed up her forearm and into the letter. It began to smoke and blacken as it quickly turned to ash. Without another thought she closed her eyes.

As she slept, memories from two years ago resurfaced.

Her parent’s large home formed inside her head, too realistic to be a mere dream.
Every item was as she remembered it, not a piece of furniture out of place. Even the minute crack in the front window she had caused when she was practcing her newfound attacks.
As she wandered through the house, she saw herself. The smaller Eevee kept anxiously looking out of the window as if waiting for some important delivery.

Then she remembered, she remembered this day perfectly. Suddenly she was the nieve Eevee at the front window, and the memory took it from there.

Her parents had been gone for a week now, but that was usual.
Their business in the Colonies often kept them away, but they had always returned before now. She never knew what they did during their trips to the Kingdom’s northern annexes, but whatever it was, it paid well.

Kelly was desperately hoping to see her parents figures suddenly appear in the yard via her mother’s Teleport, but the tell-tale flash signaling their return never happened. After waiting by the window until well after midnight, she fell asleep to the sounds of her own sobbing.

She repeated this routine for two agonizing weeks, with occasional trips into Solace Town using her parent’s money to buy food.

After two weeks of no news, nothing at all, she overheard conversations that spoke of reignited civil war between the Kingdom and the Colonies.
It was at that moment that she knew her parents weren’t coming back for a long time.

She spent the next few months in a state of disbelief as she continued her routine, still hoping that what everyone said was untrue, that her parents were somehow apart of the Colonies’ treason, that they were … traitors. Her parents, traitors? Impossible.

She wasn’t sure when she woke up from her delusion, but when she did, she gathered a bag of supplies, left a letter in case her parents ever returned, and set off away from Solace and everything she had ever known.

She didn’t know why she was leaving, but she knew that she couldn’t stay. She traveled for the next few months through the backland highways that wound through the heartland of the Kingdom until she arrived at Loyalty.
She never planned to stay, but then she met Jay in the café and they found out that they came from similar situations. How the subject of forming an independent exploration team came up or how they both agreed to it, she couldn’t remember, but she was glad it happened.

Their team, Team Salient on the official records, made a small living doing small jobs for Gear and the various shops around town, and later took the job of patrolling the boarder of Tranquility Fields.

She was happy, just as her parents hoped she would be, and she didn’t need them.

Leo woke the next morning grateful that he didn’t torch another piece of literature, but that was the only positive thing about it. His body may have rested slightly, but his mind never stopped racing. He continually went through all of the experiences he'd had ever since joining this Team Salient, and with each one, he grew more and more uncertain of his well-being. 

He had been bruised, slashed, beaten, and even killed, though subsequently brought back to life by that … thing. All within the last few days.  Any sane person would have pieced together the puzzle by now that staying here provided few health benefits. 

He was relieved that both Jay and Kelly shared his idea of not doing a job today, though the relief didn’t last long, as his thoughts from the night before continued to plague him. He was so engrossed in his mind that he refused to eat breakfast or lunch.  

He couldn’t bring himself to talk to his teammates at all, even while he was training with Jay to gain more control over his attacks, he remained distant. When Kelly had come over to him and asked him what was troubling him, he reluctantly brushed her away. Reading the collection of books in his room brought him little respite from the memories. 

Every time the thoughts came back; he was unable to keep them away. It was as if his mind wasn't acting right; he didn't want to leave. Yet it seemed to go against him and showed him the memories regardless.  

The more he went through them and analyzed them, the more he came to the conclusion that he couldn’t remain here. He hated the very idea of leaving his teammates, but it was as if his basic instincts for survival had kicked in and were now guiding him. 

That was why, while they were eating their dinner of Berry soup he spoke for the first time that day.  

“I’m done.”

Kelly’s ears perked up as she heard the phrase. Leo was sitting there, his face downcast, looking at his untouched bowl of soup. She had asked him if something was wrong earlier, but he’d refused to answer. There was no denying it though, something was up with him.

“Done? You haven’t eaten anything though,” Jay pointed out before emptying his bowl’s contents into his mouth.

Leo slowly raised his head, as Kelly nearly gasped. He looked horrible. His eyes looked more sunken then they were yesterday even though he slept longer than her. If she wasn’t convinced that something was wrong before, she was now.

“I’m done,” he repeated emotionlessly as his gaze slowly shifted from Jay to her.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Jay asked, tilting his head in confusion.

“I’m leaving,” he said before reaching down and taking something out of his bag. He slapped his replacement badge Gear had given him down on the small wooden table.
Then he turned and began to walk away.

Jay shot to his feet before she did, ran to the Charmeleon, and tried to grab onto his shoulder. Leo suddenly spun around and grabbed the Riolu’s paw in mid air, his eyes burning with the emotion he lacked earlier.
He threw Jay’s arm to the side with an angry huff.

“Don’t try to stop me, Jay,” he said coldly, narrowing his eyes at his teammate.

Jay wasn’t fazed in the slightest. “Just where do you think you’re going, Leo?” He asked calmly.

“I don’t know, but anywhere’s safer than here,” Leo shot back.

“What are you talking about, Leo?” Kelly asked, wondering if what was troubling him had finally gotten the better of him.

Leo slapped his forehead in frustration. “I’ve been bruised, arrested, beaten, shocked, gassed, slashed, and nearly killed on multiple occasions! I’m done! I’m leaving!” he screamed as he turned tail and stomped out of the base.

Jay just closed his eyes. "Damn it …” he muttered.

Kelly quickly looked to her teammate. “What are you doing standing there!? Come on! We’ve got to go after him!” she yelled as she tugged on Jay’s arm.

Jay pulled his limb out of her grasp. “Why should we? You saw how adamant he was about leaving. He obviously doesn’t want to stay here,” he countered, crossing his arms.

“Are you really that shallow, Jay!? Something’s wrong with him! We can’t let him leave, he’ll get himself hurt, or worse!” she exclaimed as the horrible scenes from the battle with Wire flashed through her mind.

“Fine. Let’s go find that undeserving piece of –” Jay nearly swore, but was cut off as Kelly dragged him out of the base.

Leo ran out of the yard as fast as he could, he had to get as far away from here as he could before something nearly killed him again. He sprinted onto the dirt pathway that lead into the woods, not quite sure were he was going, but he didn’t care. 

He felt guilty at the way he yelled at them, but there was no turning back now, guilt or no guilt. He ran through the low undergrowth of the forest, trying to keep his tail aloft as to not ignite an inferno. 

He mentally slapped himself for not having a better plan of leaving, [i]no supplies, no map, no bag, nothing. I really let my emotions get ahead of me back there, didn’t I?[/i] 

He was just about to figure out where to go next when his head suddenly felt like it had been hit with a brick. He went sprawling to the ground, as the headache grew more and more painful with every passing millisecond. 

[i][b]“Hello, my friend. Whatever are you doing on the ground? Oh yes, I remember: I put you there.”[/i][/b] Leo just groaned as the voice invaded his ears. 

[i][b]“I’m afraid that as a candidate you cannot leave. Your absence would be felt deeply since you have shone a very small glimmer of success in this operation. My employers would not be pleased if I let you continue on this path,”[/i][/b] the voice told him. 

Leo gritted his teeth. 

“Oh yeah? Just try and stop me. You and your employers can go die as far as I’m concerned,” he said as he forced himself to his feet and continued walking despite the increasing sensation of pain in his head.  

[i][b]“It would be unwise for you to underestimate my abilities, Leo. My generosity in … reviving your worthless corpse was not free. You still have a debt to pay. I suggest you think carefully before answering.”[/b][/i]

“Bite me,” Leo growled as he stumbled further along the path. 

[i][b]“So be it. Praestigiae!”[/i][/b] 

A hallway lined with clinical white panels, an equally white light shining from the ceiling, and a strange mechanical humming. Leo was puzzled, and rightfully so. He didn’t remember entering this place. 

Holding his tail close to his body for warmth in the cold facility, he started walking down the hallway. 
Suddenly, the panels on both sides of the corridor started to shift. They slowly moved closer to each other, sealing off the hallway. 

Leo gasped and started sprinting down the path, but his steps were halted as the floor opened up beneath him, sending him down to a place forsaken by even Giratina. His screams went unheard by sentient ears. 

Dazed, Leo looked up as the small chute connecting to the hallway directly above disappeared. 
He looked around; dark, cracked concrete slabs walled him in on three sides, leaving only a single exit to the strange room. Groaning as he got to his feet, he held his tail out in front of him to light the dark passage.  

Faint sounds of screeching metal mingled with the occasional echoing drip of some forgotten faucet, but even the subtle background noises couldn’t hold back the oppressive silence that permeated every inch of the decrepit building.   

It wasn’t the lack of any signs of life in the place, or even the haunting sounds that resonated from beyond the walls that scared him, it was the murals. All along the wall, hundreds of them painted there. 

Some were abstract, showing faceless figures running from some unseen threat, but it was the vivid paintings that could lay the foundation for nightmares. 

A man laying in a puddle of his own blood, crushed by a cloud of green. Blurs of colors fused into a gigantic rainbow vortex that consumed an entire wall. 

Words of unknown origin were scrawled in some sort of insane pattern, each phrase accompanied by screaming figures or ominous red eyes. And the worst one of all was when he saw himself among one of the prophetic murals. 

He traced a claw across a painted Charmeleon figure was backed up against a wall of darkness with the phrases [i]“Nowhere to run!” , “Too Many Variables!”[/i], and [i]“Can’t Escape!”[/i] Leo was perplexed at how it was only the words seemed to float, shift, and flip until he could read them. 

There were other countless murals on the wall that he couldn’t understand, but had no time to ponder why that was as the hallway violently lurched, throwing him to the ground. 

Maybe it was his mind playing tricks on him, but Leo realized that he saw a light at the end of the passageway that hadn’t been there before. He hopped to his feet and started running towards the glow, not caring about the danger. 

Another rumble shook the building, slamming Leo into the hard wall. Stars danced in his vision as his head knocked against the concrete. Aside from his aching skull, he didn’t feel nearly the amount of pain he expected. 

He got to his feet and noticed that an odd smell was in the air along with a weird hissing sound. He wasn’t sure what the strange smell was, only that it smelled strongly of rotten eggs and it seemed to appear where ever the hissing was. 

[i]CH4 + 2 O2 → CO2 + 2 H2O[/i], he wasn’t sure what to make of the numbers and letters his brain had decided to show him, but he knew he was in for a bad time regardless. 

It was then that he noticed that the small glowing light at the end of the tunnel was growing closer and brighter. He couldn’t figure out why this was until an immense wave of heat washed over him. His eyes widened as his mind finally managed to put the puzzle together. The glowing light was fire, and that smell was none other then methane gas. 

His feet froze as he clutched the wall in fear. He stared at the growing flame as the seconds counted down until it ignited the pocket of gas around him. In the final moments before incineration, muttering voices from the murals all bore down on him, screaming insanity as he squeezed his eyes shut and plugged his ears in a vain effort to block them out. 

He wasn’t sure why, but suddenly it felt like his body wasn’t under his control anymore. He removed his clawed hands from his ears even though he wanted to press them in farther. His eyes opened and his legs moved until he was standing in the middle of the hallway, the inferno growing ever closer. 

He had no chance to brace himself, or even utter a quick prayer to anyone who might be listening. There was only a loud hissing noise as the flames caught onto the gaseous fuel and combusted the entire cloud of methane. 

Leo shut his eyes as he waited for the inevitable heat of the flames to embrace his skin, only to have his body convulse in near shock as a frigid blast of air and powdered snow blew past him. After blinking a few times to ensure he wasn’t dreaming, Leo turned around in a circle. 

All around him was a vast plain of ice and snow that extended farther then he could see. There was no sign of the mysterious hallway and the fire, and no explanation as to how he got to this wasteland. He stood in awe of the magnificent ice desert, the harsh Arctic sun glinting off the smooth deposits of ice. 

The small falling flakes of snow fizzling into steam as they encountered Leo’s tail. 
Taking a tentative first step forward onto a patch of ice, he felt his heartbeat stop when he heard a deep, ominous cracking noise from far below him. 

In the blink of an eye, the pristine field of ice shattered into a million shards of ice. The ground he was standing on gave way to thin air and he fell into the massive crevasse. The frozen wind sliced through his scream like butter as he raced the ice shards to the black bottom of the abyss.    

He twisted his body around, clawing wildly at the air as he hoped against hope that a handhold would appear. As soon as he brushed up against something metal embedded in the side of the chasm, his instincts kicked in and he dug his claws into the cold metal wall. 

Leo saw sparks fly as his body was brought from terminal velocity to a screeching halt within the span of a second. Even though the forces of speed and gravity had temporarily relinquished their hold over his body, inertia had over plans, sending his head smashing into the hard steel at breakneck speeds. 

Everything went dark as the abyss, the wall, and the ice all faded. 

“Wake up, scum!” The order cut across Leo’s unconscious mind as he slowly returned to the realm of the living. 

Leo tried to yelp as a painful electric shock forcefully woke him up. He looked around the darkened room; he was sitting in a chair with his wrists secured to the arms. 

A strange muzzle wrapped around his snout, making speech impossible. His breaths grew quicker as he looked up across the table in front of his chair. 

Barely discernable from the darkened walls, two figures stood against the wall watching him intently. A third figure walked out from behind his chair to the other two, twirling a strange, black machine in his fingers. 

Leo was able to catch a glance of his captors when he briefly stepped into the dim light. He was a human. 
Leo’s mind went into a tailspin. [i]Humans!? How!? What is this!?[/i] his mind shrieked as his body went numb. 

“I don’t know, ‘ow about we just kill ‘im now? He isn’t important to anyone af’er all,” one of the leaning figures asked. Suddenly a voice came from an unseen speaker on the ceiling. 

“Fine, just make it quick. We’ve got fifty-three more prisoners to ‘interrogate’, and there’s a shipment of a dozen new freshies captured from the riots down in the Steel Province.” 

The human smiled as he casually walked up to Leo, his fingers unholstering a different, sinister device from his belt. Unable to talk, Leo shook his head violently as the human male pressed the device to the side of his head. Leo’s eyes grew wide in terror, as the human put a strong foot on the chair, keeping it and Leo secure. 

“One less freak in the world now,” the prison guard said smugly as he pulled the trigger and in a blast of white light the world cut to black and he knew no more.


Leo landed on the dirt floor hard. Groaning, he slowly got to his feet, unsure of what sort of thing he’d have to go through next. 

Wearily looking around, he saw that he was in a large, circular pit with a high stone sides, a dirt floor, and a strange white light shinning from above the entrance of the pit. After what seemed minutes of absolutely nothing happening except the routine passage of time, the ground started vibrating. 

After being nearly incinerated, frozen, crushed, and shot, Leo realized he was getting somewhat jaded. He barely flinched as the center of the floor exploded in a shower of dirt and pebbles and a rather familiar, sentient blue tank crawled out of it. 

[i]“Oh, it’s you,”[/i]  Nexus said quietly before letting out a primal, static-filled war cry and charging at Leo. 

Leo sighed, unfazed at the spectacle, he knew it would just pass through him like all the others did and he’d be transported somewhere else. The illusion Nexus came to a screeching halt inches away from the bored Charmeleon. 

Her phantom circuits nearly shorted with the thought of an unafraid enemy, but she quickly got over herself and grabbed the unsuspecting Leo with her front foot, squeezing him tightly.

[i]“You do know that courage is not the absence of fear, right? Wait, that can’t be right. You’re not courageous, you’re just stupid.” [/i]

Leo felt like his ribs were going to explode; he let out a pained yell, hoping someone would hear him. Nexus chuckled as she threw the Charmeleon into the ground like a bouncy ball, except he didn’t bounce when he hit the floor.    

He didn’t have time to register the fact that his entire body was screaming in pain as the “illusion” Nexus picked him up once more and slammed him down again onto the packed dirt. She continued to repeat this process, while Leo hoped that he would slip into the painless bliss of unconsciousness. He didn’t. 

He wasn’t sure how Nexus wasn’t going deaf from his screams, or indeed, how he was still able to scream when his neck should have snapped long ago. Somewhere in the deepest recess of his mind, he was wondering how his mind was still conscious even though his threshold of tolerance was crossed long ago. 

Leo screamed, not stopping as the possessed Metagross’s blows continued to rain down on his battered form. Somehow, his screams became even louder for an instant as he felt his right arm break, and again when every bone in his legs shatter into tiny fragments as Nexus smashed them with her leg not unlike what a hammer does to nails. 

Even if he could, he was unable to stop the one-sided beating, as his muscles seemed to be paralyzed by some unknown force — probably shock. Unable to do anything else, he continued to scream while Nexus laughed as she splintered what remained of his left arm with a crushing blow.  

Leo didn’t remember if he passed out during Nexus’s carnage, but he was glad he couldn’t feel anything anymore. Leo couldn’t see; anything outside of his immediate proximity was complete and utter darkness. 

[i][b] “There were others. Others who failed to comply. Their fates weren’t pretty, but you must learn through example it seems. Study their faces well.”[/i][/b]

The darkness rippled and distorted as colors filled the void. Red and gold hues blended together to build a dying sunset, grey and steel slithered over each other like vines, becoming a oppressing wall, and in the center of the courtyard, a single figure of blue was being dragged onto a pedestal in the middle of the yard. 

The scene came into focus; the Golduck, escorted by a squad of Magnemite was bound to one of the several stone pillars that jutted from the pedestal floor. He seemed to not to struggle as the floating spheres fastened the metal cords around his body. 

Leo wasn’t sure how he was watching this scene; he could see the guards but they showed no signs of acknowledging his existence. The Golduck closed its eyes as the final cord was tightened; it looked like any chance of escape was extinguished.  

The Magnemite chattered amongst themselves for a small moment before lining up in a single, uniform line exactly ten feet away from the base of the pillar. At the direction of a large zebra like Pokemon, the Magnemite units eagerly began spinning their magnet arms, charging up tremendous amounts of very lethal electricity. 

The Golduck simply lowered his head, his will to prove himself innocent apprently long since broken in the two days he had been in this prison. As if drawn by a morbid part of his brain, Leo couldn’t his turn his gaze away from the impending execution. 

The Zebstrika let out a quick whinny and stamped the ground three times. The Magnemite calmed their charging and took aim at their prisoner. 
The commanding Pokemon stamped the ground twice more as sparks flew from her hoof. The Magnemite went silent as the Golduck looked up one last time. 

The Zebstrika stamped the ground one last time. Just as the executors were about to fire their volley of electricity, time seemed to slow down like it had been replaced with frozen molasses.  

[b][i] “Good evening, Jack. I sense that something is troubling you. Whatever could it be?”[/b][/i]

“Go away. P-please. I-I’m done, finished,” the Golduck’s strained voice croaked. 

[b][i] “Oh, believe me, my friend. This will be the last time I burden you with a visit. Since I know you are not a Pokemon to ‘beat around the bush’, as it were; I’ll get straight to the point.”[/b][/i]

“W-what?” Jack asked as the Mismagius continued to float around the piller. 

[b][i]“You have proven to me that you are clearly unqualified for the generous employment opportunity my superiors  offered you. They have given you many chances to change this view, and they now agree with me that your time is up.[/b][/i]

“You’re telling me that you’re done following me? R-really?”

[b][i] “I am done being the Deus Ex Machina for you; saving you from an imminent demise . I regret nothing, Jack. Standards must be upheld in this business, and you have failed to do so.” [/b][/i]

“F-finally! I’m free! I’m free!” Jack screamed in insane joy as the frozen Magnemites began to move once more. Their bright bolts of electricity arcing through the air as they homed in on the captive water type. 

“Kyogre, Lugia, Suicune! Thank you! Thank y--!” The electricity hit him square in the chest. It coursed through his body, amplified by the metal cords. His agonized screams were drowned out as the scene blurred and another took its place.

[i][b]“I’m afraid …” [/i][/b]

A small, blue and white squirrel clung to a thin branch of a tree, an abyss stretched out beneath it. Unable to take the creature’s weight, the limb snapped, sending the Pachirisu downward.

[b][i] “… that your observation …” [/i][/b]

With those words, the world changed once again. A small, purple and cream colored cat was backed into a dark alley, several larger figures snarled as they surrounded her. Without warning the figures launched separate beams of ice, fire, and green energy at the cowering Pokemon.  As they collided with her, the landscape dissolved and reformed again.
[b][i] “… has been …” [/i][/b]

Two figures, one small and one large, hugged each other as a loud, insane growl shook the ruined tower around them. They instantly became enveloped in a bright, white light as the world ended. 

[b][i] “…terminated.”[/i][/b]

A battered Ninetales and equally worn brown fox skidded to a halt as the cliff-side path ended abruptly, leaving only an uninviting abyss beyond. It looked to the path behind it, a large mob of Pokemon blocked off their escape. Magnemites and a score of Pokemon Leo had never seen before all closed in on the fleeing duo. Suddenly, a streak of shadow rushed out and knocked the Ninetales off the side, where it hung on only by the efforts of its smaller companion. 

Without warning, the Magnemite fire off a volley of lightning, hitting the duo directly. The Ninetales’ companion couldn’t hold on and they both fell into the crevasse. Their screams are cut off by a dim flash of blue from within the gorge as the ground started vibrating. 

[b][i] “Effective …”[/i][/b]

A white-furred Pokemon with a patch of red fur around its claws swiped at a large, black snake. The snake retaliated by swinging its razor-sharp tail at the Zangoose’s neck. It was a direct hit. The Zangoose fell to the ground clutching its neck as its life bled out of the wound. 

[b][i] “… immediately.” [/i][/b]

An electric yellow mouse braced itself as a wall of water crashed down on top of it. 

A small, brown creature with a mask of bone on its head smashed its bone club onto its attacker, to no avail. 

A tiny blue, penguin slipped on the wet rock of the cave as its bloodthirsty pursuers caught up with it. Its screams of terror were amplified by the acoustics of the cave system.  

[b][i] “Good luck in the afterlife, former candidates.”[/i][/b] 

As before, the blackness was soon pierced by a voice colder then the wasteland he was in earlier.  

[i][b]“Shall we continue? There are – or rather, there were--- one-hundred and fifty-eight candidates when I began this operation on behalf of my employers. As you can see, a … considerable amount of your comrades have been … disposed of.  I can assure you that continuing on this path of yours will result in immediate termination of potential employment and all future work opportunities. I won’t be vague with you, Leo. You comply with standards, or you will die in every possible meaning of the word. If this isn’t a ‘compelling reason’ for going along with my employer’s plan then I don’t know what is. This is your final warning, Leo.”[/b][/i]

[b][i]“Wake up, Leo. Wake up, and face the consequences.”[/i][/b] 

“Wake up, Leo!” Jay’s voice shouted from above his unmoving form. 

“This doesn’t look good. Leo, can you hear me? Oh no, oh no, oh no …” Kelly’s worried tone sounded after Jay. 

Leo groaned softly as feeling returned to the vast majority of his body. He slowly struggled to move his legs as pinpricks of pain shot through his nerves. 

“Thank Arceus, you’re alright!” Kelly exclaimed as he nearly collapsed to the ground again she as hugged him in joy. A pained groan from the Charmeleon caused Kelly to break her embrace. 

“So, what happened to you? One minute you’re intent on leaving us, the next you’re on the ground screaming like Giratina himself came for your soul. Mind telling us exactly what happened?” Jay asked as he grabbed Leo’s arm and forced him to his feet. Leo winced in pain at being jerked upwards. 

“Nothing happened. I’m … fine,” Leo huffed as he tried to take a step forward. Instead of moving ahead, he ended up clutching a nearby tree for support as his legs almost gave out. 

“No. You’re not fine, Leo. You’re going back to the base, and you’re going to tell us everything. Whether you like it or not,” Jay stated as he grabbed Leo by the shoulder and peeled him off the tree. 

The sudden change in momentum and position proved to be too much for the traumatized Charmeleon as he fell to his hands and knees and threw up whatever remained in his stomach on the forest trail.

“Leo! Jay, help me with him!” Kelly yelled as the Riolu reluctantly hoisted Leo to his feet. Using Kelly and Jay as support, Leo gingerly walked back towards his temporary home, uncertain what the next day would hold for him. 

“I-I’m sorry. For everything.” Leo whispered as he slowly limped along the trail. 

[b]Two Hours Later[/b]

In a small booth in the darkest corner of the café in Loyalty, a group of Pokemon conversed. The loud chatter of the late-night patrons all around them providing more then enough noise pollution to keep their affairs from potential eavesdroppers. 

There where three Pokemon at the booth, to be precise. Two of them sat scrunched up against each other on one side of the booth, while leaving a respectable amount of space for their superior on the other half.  
 “Didn’t your team gain a recruit recently?” the authoritative figure said to his two subordinates.
The two he was addressing looked at each other for a second before answering. 

“We thought best not to include him in this business until after we could trust him.”

Their superior chuckled, “Wise choice, now why I’ m here…” 

“There have been only two instances, though they’ll straighten out on their own. We do have three teams on the threat list though that need to be … you know… dispatched as soon as possible … before the damage worsens that is,” the figure on the right of the booth reported.

“That will put a strain on our available resources, but you’re sure they pose a threat to the general’s plans?” 

“We’re certain, especially team Beta. What’s happened to them is too much of to be a coincidence. They, Alpha, and Gamma need to be disposed of quickly.”

“Of course. It that it?” the superior asked. 

“Sir, the king, he’s tightened security, as I’m certain you’ve noticed. It’s going to be much harder to get anything done with them in the way.”   

“Never you mind about them. There are contingency plans in place to take care of ‘his royal highness’ when the time is right. Now go, your positions cannot be compromised. Not when we’re so close to the end.” 

“So, the rumors are true then? About the war. It’s almost over?” 

“….. Yes. It will all be over soon. Now get back to your positions.”

“Yes, sir. For the Colonies.”

“For the Colonies …”  

The figures then left as unnoticed as they entered; not one of the patrons even knew they were there. 

[i][b] “Sir, I’m sorry to intrude on your … solitude. However, I believe I have received enough optimal data from my observations. I can firmly say with upmost confidence that I believe Phase One is over. The time to initiate Phase Two is nigh …”[/i][/b] 
[b]End Chapter Six[/b]

Author’s Notes: 

Wow, this took longer then I thought it would, but it’s still what I consider “timely” do to school now constricting my time like an anaconda does pray, 

I really tried to give Team Salient a “relaxing” chapter, and I did in a way since they weren’t really injured by a dungeon boss or anything. 
I want your thoughts on how I handled Leo’s “illusion trip”, was it “weird” enough or not? Or was it just something else entirely? 

I told you all this before, but I can honestly say that the next few chapters are where the great plot gears in this machine of a fanfic finally start turning. Expect action. Expect the unexpected. Expect school related delays. 

Thanks to everyone who reads my work, silent or not. From the bottom of my heart, thanks. You’ve all shown so much support for this even though it’s not even ten chapters old. I promise you all that I will always strive to make each new chapter better than the last. 

Knightfall signing off …

I’ve found myself in the odd position of wanting to thank you for writing one of the best stories I’ve read in a LONG time, and being furious at you for setting the bar so high for literature on this site. Everything from Jack’s unsettling demise to the expertly crafted characters has been phenomenal, I am eagerly waiting for the next chapter!

Heh, thanks. I guess?

No really, thanks. I’m glad you’re enjoying the chapters (even though the swear filter on here is annoying. “Caramba”, it threw off everything…).

Thanks, it’s my goal to make this fic my masterpiece. Even though it’s my first foray into the writing world. I sort of surprised myself with how well it’s turned out.
Hey, take it as a challenge. You got to make your story even better then mine, it shouldn’t be too hard since you’ve got a great start. I look forward to see what you come up with for Walker and Aven, while I’ll continue to write out the trials of Team Salient.

Knightfall signing off …


I just. I am in love with this story! And I scorn those who are silently reading, you really need to know how amazing you are at writing. I’m totally hooked in… Need more! :heart:

Thank you so much! You have no idea how much that means to me.

I love it when readers post, so criticism, praise, or anything in between. I’m not picky.

Unfortunately I have no idea how no transfer my writing skills to you. Sorry about that. :)

I’m working on Chapter Seven, so hopefully I’ll make some more progress on it soon.

Oh, and I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, if anyone is a fan of this story and is artistically gifted I’d love to see some fan art. If someone does, they will receive my infinite thanks.
Eh, just a personal wish if mine.

Knightfall signing off…