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 Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Windswept Explorers

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Gengarzilla

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PostSubject: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Windswept Explorers   Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:23 pm

Here we have it, the prequel series to Azure Rescuers! New land, new group, new human!


Chapter 1: Washed up and washed clean!


It was a dark, vicious, windy, and torrential storm that gripped Treasure Town on this night, a night otherwise like any other. The winds were howling furiously, rain was fiercely falling down like bullets upon the ground, and a small Pokémon was hanging desperately by her front feet from the lower jaw of a cliff shaped like a Sharpedo.

This Pokémon, who was soaked to the bone and holding on for dear life, had a strange tale to tell. She had absolutely no inkling of why or how she ended up in this predicament, dangling perilously above a rough sea. Upon trying to pull herself into the hollow chamber she could see in the Sharpedo's mouth, during which she saw something small and green sleeping inside, one of her paws slipped off its hold and worsened her situation.

"Hey!! Help!! S-someone, please help!!" she cried out in a state of abject terror, a plea that was sadly drowned out by the elements of nature. Her last remaining paw couldn't hold her there for much longer and it soon lost its grip, the poor individual screaming as she fell down towards the churning waters.

After being violently tossed and turned around in a sequence that her fear filled mind barely registered, she was washed up onto the shore of a beach nearby. With her brown coat of fur and her bushy tail both completely waterlogged, this Eevee unsuccessfully tried to get up onto all fours. The cause of that failed attempt was a sharp pain in her back left leg, which had hit the rocky bottom of the bluff hard upon her landing.

"Ouch... Uguuuuu..." the injured Eevee moaned, quickly tearing up and crying right where she laid while the storm continued to drench her. Within a few short minutes, she was flickering in and out of consciousness with only a cold numbness in her body as company...

~~~~~

"Hrm... This is no good at all..."

The next day, close to sunset, that same green Pokémon the Eevee saw last night was pacing around in front of a small teepee that resembled a Wigglytuff. He appeared to be deep in thought. "I don't even know why I'm here without another Pokémon..." the Snivy muttered. "If I've said it once then I've said it thousands of times, I'll need a partner."

This Snivy was deeply interested in joining the Wigglytuff Guild, its entrance being just in front of him. Though he was very confident in his abilities, or rather, his determination to create said abilities because he wasn't the strongest on the block, he wanted to be joining alongside another Pokémon. He had been seeking this partner out but with no luck. Word about the guild said that it was rather strict and difficult for the apprentices.

Downcast, he took out a small chunk of seemingly ordinary rock from the shabby pouch around his shoulder. "If I don't find a partner, uncovering the secret behind my Relic Fragment is going to stay a dream. I just know it..." he said in a sigh before putting it back in. He then walked off in the direction of the beach to try and cheer himself up.

Throughout that, he had been watched by two other Pokémon. A Koffing and a Zubat, neither of whom appeared to be of a friendly disposition. "Hey, Koffing. The Snivy walking around there just now, didn't he have something that looked good?" Zubat asked. "Whoa-ho-ho, you're not wrong! Whatever that was, it could be valuable. I say we go after that chump!"

A beautiful sight met the Snivy once he arrived at the beach. Bubbles were floating all around the place, blown by all the Krabby cloistered around the bottom of Sharpedo Bluff. The bubbles were catching rays of light from the sinking sun to create a view that he had long since loved. "It's a wonderful scene but... I don't see anyone nearby." he said moments before seeing the Eevee lying motionless in the sand, her fur still a little damp from the ordeal. "Oh no, someone's collapsed? Are you alright there?!" he asked this stranger while trying to shake her awake.

That she did, pulling herself up onto all four unsteady feet with a dull pain vaguely registering in her head from the hurt leg. "W-where..." she croaked, with a fuzzy feeling in her head and the taste of salt in her mouth. "You weren't moving a muscle, it looked bad. Do you remember how you ended up out cold here?" he asked. Last night was now a total blur to the Eevee, but she hadn't responded before he spoke up again. "Anyway, I'm Basil. It's great to meet you."

She gave Basil the first smile that she could remember giving anyone, very glad that her rescuer seemed friendly enough. Perhaps, she thought, enough to believe her on this... "Huh, you say you're a human? Did you hit your head somewhere?" Basil asked, though not unkindly. "You're definitely an Eevee."

At this, she ran for the shore and, to her shock, saw the reflection of an Eevee staring back at her. "What?! B-but I know I was human before... Why can't I remember anything about that?" she cried out. Neither Basil nor anyone else could be expected to believe her based on a hunch. "You're quite an unusual one." Basil commented as he joined her on the shore, not immediately disbelieving her. What do I call you? What's your name?"

The Eevee briefly panicked, scared that she wouldn't even be able to recall that. To her great relief, a name actually did surface from the depths of her mind. "Phew, I remembered my name... I'm Alexandria, but you could just shorten it to Alex if you wanted to."

"Then that's what I'll do, Alex." Basil told her with a grin. "Yep, you seem like an alright sort to me." While he spoke, an unbidden and uninvited thought entered his head. Perhaps Alex was the very partner that he'd been seeking?

Basil didn't get any time to act on this thought however, for a Koffing had flown down upon them and struck him with Tackle, knocking the Relic Fragment out from his pouch. "Hey, what was that for?!" Basil demanded of his attacker while picking himself up and shaking off some sand. "Are you normally this slow? We wanted to mess with you!" Zubat replied with a chortle when he arrived, earning the Snivy's anger.

"Enough on that though. The little thing down there is yours, isn't that right?" Koffing suddenly said with a look at the Relic Fragment, which Basil noticed for the first time. "Heh-heh-heh, we'll be taking that off your hands." Zubat told them, grabbing it in his mouth and ending his part in the conversation. "H-hey! Give that back!" Basil called, green glowing leaves beginning to form around him.

"Whoa-ho-ho, that's the spirit!" Koffing called as he stopped Basil's Magical Leaf with his Sludge. "What's the deal with your friend though?" he asked about Alex, who'd been hiding and trembling behind Basil during their exchange. Compared to her brash and hardy new friend, Alex was a rather timid individual. "Why, I don't think I've ever seen such a chicken!"

Though he was a Grass type, Basil was almost burning over with anger once Koffing and Zubat fled into a nearby cave on the beach. "T-the nerve of those two, taking my personal treasure like that!" he exclaimed before rounding on Alex, who wasn't feeling too pleased with Koffing's insult. "You've gotta help me out here, Alex!"

Though rather disconcerted and not feeling confident at all in herself, she nodded and followed him in pursuit of the Relic Fragment. The two of them ran into the cave with Alex still feeling her sore leg.

~~~~~

Inside the Beach Cave, both Basil and Alex took some time to adjust to some new things that one of them hadn't done before. This was Basil's first time exploring a mystery dungeon with someone else, while Alex was an absolute novice at exploring in general for the obvious reason of her memory loss.

Throughout the dungeon, she was soon broken in to most of her moves. Alex knew Tackle, Tail Whip, Sand-Attack, and one other move that she hadn't tried yet, while Basil knew Leer, Wrap, and an unseen move in addition to his Magical Leaf. Now that she had been given some time to take in what happened, Alex arrived at the end of the dungeon, a sandy area surrounded by rocks and the sea, in better spirits than earlier.

Basil caught sight of Koffing and Zubat talking to each other with the Relic Fragment on the sand below them. Apparently, they were lost and couldn't find their way back out of the dungeon. "You two!" he called out and approached the duo, who turned to face them. "Well, if it isn't our old friends. The chump and the chicken." Zubat said back.

He could bear this no longer. "You both had better give back my treasure! It means everything to me!" Basil yelled, leaning forwards and dangerously staring at both Koffing and Zubat. Koffing simply chuckled, a greedy look in his eyes. "Treasure, huh? It's really that valuable? Zubat, I say we should sell it once we're out of this cave."

Something about this plan of his just... really struck Alex. "You crooks!!" she cried in outrage from out of nowhere and caught the attention of everyone "Heh-heh-heh. If you two really want it back, then try and take it!" Zubat shot back at them.

From here, the battle began. All four of them fought hard and the tide soon appeared to shift towards Alex and Basil when Zubat fell to the Eevee's Adaptability strengthened Tackle, but she landed harder than she would have liked upon the leg she hurt last night and stumbled, giving Koffing, who had just shook off Basil's newest Wrap, the chance to hit her with his own Tackle. Alex attempted her last move upon getting up, trying to fight off the pain. White ripples shot out from her body towards Koffing but her Synchronoise did absolutely nothing to him.

This flop left her utterly defenceless, and Koffing's Sludge ended her run in the fight by knocking her into the rock wall. Basil immediately went to check on her, blanking out Koffing's gloats and jabs over her screw up. "It's just you and me now!" Koffing said once Basil returned to the battle, provoking a... grin, somehow.

"That's right." Basil said while smirking, a green glow forming around his legs and beginning to sink into the ground, almost as though he was injecting it with a verdant radiance. Under the influence of his Grassy Terrain, Magical Leaf tore through Sludge this time around and pelted Koffing hard. Following another Wrap that led to him being thrown down into the sand below, he couldn't continue.

"No, no, how did rank amateurs like you fluke out a win?!" Koffing asked before he rose back up, his eyes on the still out cold Zubat. This wasn't going to work out for them now. "Ugh, fine! Take that junk but don't you forget this!" he demanded. With Zubat being carried on his body, he floated off.

Basil went towards his Relic Fragment and finally returned it to its pouch, but his attention also went to the former human whose help couldn't be brushed aside. "I... I don't think I could have done this myself." he thought truthfully, as Zubat had been giving him problems before her Tackle. It was here where he saw the bruise on her leg for the first time and felt a wave of guilt grasp him. "She was hurt all this time?" he gasped, quite upset with himself. If he'd known this then he wouldn't have been so hasty and as forceful as he was with his request for help. There was only one thing for it.

"Come on, we're going to my home. I'll help fix you up. It's the least I could do..." he spoke to the unhearing Eevee that he was supporting the body of on his back, unaware of the adventures that he would go on to have with this human turned Pokémon...

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PostSubject: Re: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Windswept Explorers   Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:45 pm

It's guild time!


Chapter 2: The new apprentices!


"Heh, you're definitely all better now!" Basil boisterously spoke out loud to Alex the Eevee, his new friend and a former human, upon brushing off a hit from her Tackle.

A full week had passed since this Snivy had found Alex washed up on the nearby beach. Following a battle against a Koffing and Zubat, in which Alex was hampered by a leg injury, Basil had taken her into his home inside Sharpedo Bluff. Her leg was healed within a few days and they were now able to practice battling.

The results of their spars were beginning to show too. Pushed on by Basil's encouragement, Alex sprung forward and used the Quick Attack that she had learned over Sand-Attack to hit Basil before he could use his Magical Leaf. The fast move knocked him out of the Sharpedo's mouth but he grabbed one of the teeth with Vine Whip, a move he'd learned over Leer, and used it to swing right back in and lash her with the other light green vine.

Alex's response was a Synchronoise that did nothing once again, just as it had been consistently doing against all of her opponents so far. This was beginning to frustrate and upset her now, exactly how would she manage to defend herself in this strange new world if she didn't know how to use one of her own moves. "Don't worry yourself over that, you'll learn soon enough. You're just new to all this." Basil consoled her once she made her feelings known.

Listening to his encouragement did much to lift her spirits. Basil wasn't wrong, Alex was indeed still learning the ropes in this world. She cast a glance at the beach where he'd found her until something about the encounter resurfaced in her head. "I never got round to asking, what exactly did those two steal from you?" she asked. Koffing's Sludge had taken her down before Basil's treasure was returned.

"Ah? Ok, I'll show it to you. I do owe you one for the help anyway." Basil replied. He strolled over to the corner nearest the entrance and brought his pouch over to her. "Here it is, my Relic Fragment." he said after taking it out for her to see. "Heh... Well, that's what I've taken calling it. I know it looks like some rock that's been drawn on but I'm certain that there's a secret behind my treasure and its really strange pattern. It's my dream to one day solve this mystery."

Looking at the pattern while Basil spoke, Alex had to agree that it was a bit too unusual to be a simple picture. She couldn't make heads nor tails of what it could mean. "Hey, can I ask you something?" Basil suddenly asked her, a flash of inspiration having struck him when he watched her studying the pattern. Alex simply turned around and nodded with a smile, inviting him to continue speaking. "Alright. There's already the Relic Fragment, but I've always been really interested in legends, lore, things like that. My big cousin often told me stories from his travels and I was soon hooked on the thought of being an explorer. A guild on the other side of town trains Pokémon who want to become explorers. I've wanted to join, but... I don't want to go at it myself. Someone's gotta keep an eye on me." he explained.

Alex quickly caught on to what he was asking her. "You want me to join this guild with you? I don't know the first thing about exploration, what if I mess things up for you?" she nervously replied. "It's ok, I'm sure you'll learn in time. Everyone starts from nothing. I... don't think I could have recovered my Relic Fragment from those two crooks without your help either." the Snivy finally told her. After the events that took place at the end of the Beach Cave, this Eevee had become his undisputed first choice for an exploration partner.

While thinking this over, she stared at the Relic Fragment's pattern. It was clear to Alex exactly how much it would mean to Basil if they were to uncover the secret behind his treasure together. She also couldn't deny that Basil was having difficulties with Zubat back there before she took him out. Alex was still nervous at the idea but she understood why Basil wanted someone with him, and having this rather confident Snivy around would certainly help with her own flagging confidence or even with discovering her past...

"Alright, I'll go with you. Look after me." she spoke with a rather timid smile. Basil was delighted that she agreed. "Thanks! Don't worry about a thing, I'll back you up and watch your back as my teammate and friend. That's a promise!" he responded quite assuredly to ease her worries. Putting the Fragment back in its pouch and wearing it around his shoulder, the two went upstairs. Alex waited for Basil once he began to cover the entrance with a mass of leaves from his Magical Leaf like he usually did, then they went through Treasure Town, passing by a Growlithe who was talking to the two Kecleon shopkeepers.

~~~~~

"Here we are, this is the famous Wigglytuff's Guild." Basil told Alex when they arrived. The sun was now beginning to set and the large torches flanking the teepee in front of them had been lit. "We'll sign up in here as an Exploration Team together, then work as hard as we possibly can until we're the best in the block." he declared confidently and walked over the grate.

"Pokémon detected!"

"Whose footprint!?"

"It's Snivy's! The footprint is Snivy's!"

Basil almost jumped in mild shock at the sudden sound of these two new voices coming from out of nowhere, while Alex actually did jump and looked around nervously. There was a moment of silence, upon which Basil realised where their unseen company might be. "I think they've below the grate." he whispered to Alex in an attempt to placate her.

"Looks good, you may ENTER! Get the next stranger to stand on the grate!"

Alex was rather startled to hear that they knew about her presence and wondered to herself if the individuals down there had heard Basil speaking with her. With his encouragement, she wandered onto the grate next as she steeled herself for Basil's sake. She didn't want to let him down before they'd even gone inside...

"Pokémon detected!"

"Whose footprint!?"

"It's...! Um... Ahh... Eevee's, I think...! I think it's Eevee's!"

"WHAT?! You THINK?! That's NOT good enough, Diglett!"

"Gimme a break, Loudred! I don't see an Eevee's footprint very often!"

"Checking the footprints of the guild's visitors is your JOB! GET IT IN GEAR!"

Basil's arms were folded by now and he was repeatedly tapping his foot on the ground, both he and Alex could hear this heated discussion taking place below them. "Are those two actually arguing on the job?" the Snivy asked with a deeply bemused look on his face. Perhaps this Loudred had heard them, for he was next to speak up after some minutes of relative silence.

"Sorry to hold you UP! Our sentry's right, Eevee aren't a common sight in this area. You don't appear to be on our Outlaw Notice Board though, so it looks like you're CLEAN! ENTER!"

Alex let out a deep sigh of relief once she heard this decision, she hadn't known just how fast her heart had been fluttering when the Diglett struggled to identify her. "That was a little scary, but I'm glad we're both allowed in..." With her legs now possessing the consistency of jelly, Basil took the lead again and Alex followed suit, through the entrance and down the ladder in front of them.

"Wow... I never thought there's be such a big room here...!" Basil stated in awe as he stared around at the said room. It was wide open, with two boards on each side of them both. Plenty of Pokémon were here too, a Slowking, Crobat, Machamp, Murkrow, Shuppet, Meganium, Golem, Wurmple, Swellow, Togekiss, Hariyama, Seedot, Pidgey, Yanmega, Skarmory, Bidoof, Sunflora, Typhlosion, Leafeon, and Mienshao. The sheer variety of Pokémon, all clearly explorers and united under this occupation, was simply awe-inspiring.

From behind the two came the third new voice of the day. "Excuse me? It was you two that just entered, right?" it asked them. They swivelled around to see who was addressing them and came face to face with a Chatot. "Yeah, that's us. I'm Basil and this is Alex." Basil introduced themselves to the inquiring bird.

He looked rather stern, Alex immediately got the impression that this Pokémon wasn't one to be angered if you didn't want to be on the receiving end of something unfortunate. "I'm Chatot, those here would know me as the guild's head of intelligence and the right hand Pokémon to Guildmaster Wigglytuff!" he told them, his eyes taking on a steely look next. "Now, please leave the premises! If you'd read the sign on the floor above then you'd know that we don't humour agents, survey takers, nor silly salespeople."

"Ah? No, that's not why we're here...! We wanted to form an Exploration Team together so we arrived to get proper training!" Basil had to quickly reply, thinking that this Chatot could very easily force them out. Some heads turned at his words: the Leafeon stopped a discussion with her Typhlosion partner about the Southeastern Islands dungeon that she'd discovered to watch, and the Slowking eyed Alex with a genuine interest before entering into a hushed conversation with his Mienshao compatriot. The Crobat and Machamp duo looked mildly interested, as did the Yanmega and Skarmory. Meanwhile, the Bidoof and Sunflora looked surprised yet happy, in addition to the Togekiss.

Chatot, on the other hand, was quite taken aback. "New recruits?" he said, looking at Alex and Basil as though they were a pair of legendary Pokémon. He turned around and began muttering to himself. "My, my... it's unusual to see kids like this wanting apprenticeships here, especially considering how tough our training is... Just a few months ago, one rather like them fled..."

Alex heard the whole thing, the butterflies inhabiting her stomach being instantly replaced with snakes. "P-Pokémon run away? The training's that intense...?" she stuttered. Chatot immediately whipped back round to address her. "Why, no! Absolutely not!" he insistently claimed, looking jumpy at his monologue being heard. "I assure you, our training program for fledgeling Exploration Teams is so very simple!" Basil didn't really believe him, but he said nothing.

The rest of the explorers, Murkrow, Shuppet, Meganium, Golem, Wurmple, Swellow, Hariyama, Seedot, Pidgey, and Typhlosion, all had seen his attempt at reassurance too and were similarly disbelieving. Chatot said nothing to this sceptical bunch and instead went down the next ladder. "You're joining this guild? Good luck, I hope you have fun~!" that Togekiss called to Alex and Basil as they followed Chatot, with his Hariyama teammate waving them off with a hand the size of a dustbin lid.

The floor below had a room just as big as the last one, but it appeared much bigger due to it playing host towards much less Pokémon at present; only a Loudred and Croagunk were here. Two corridors also led off from this room, one to their left and another to their right. "This floor is mainly where our apprentices work." Chatot told Alex, who was looking around. "Team registration is this way, follow me."

A short walk put the three of them right next to a wooden door. "Beyond here is Guildmaster Wigglytuff's chamber. Now... on no account... I repeat, on no account should you ever be disrespectful towards our Guildmaster. Understand?" Chatot spoke, as if to drum this into their heads. "Yes, understood!" Basil replied.

Giving the Snivy a slight nod of approval, Chatot faced the door. "Guildmaster! It's Chatot! I'm coming in!" he called to the Pokémon on the other side and moved through the door, the prospective new recruits in his wake.

Guildmaster Wigglytuff was a big, pink, plump Pokémon with large green eyes that were now staring at his company. "Good evening, Guildmaster! I have with me, Basil and Alex, two Pokémon who wish to join our guild as apprentices." Chatot said. For his side in comparison to the other three Pokémon with him, Wigglytuff was a cheerful looking character. "Hiya~! I'm Wigglytuff, the Guildmaster of this guild! You want to form a team and train here? Yay, that makes me happy~!"

Though disconcerted at first, Alex felt a massive amount of her nerves suddenly evaporate into thin air. Something about Wigglytuff put her at ease. "Let's get started then! Have you two got a team name ready?" he asked. "I do have one idea, I'll just run it through my teammate first." Basil told Wigglytuff. "Alex, how about Viridian?"

The Eevee let that name do a sort of dance around her head as she considered it. The more she thought, the more she warmed up to it... "Sure thing, I like the name." she finally replied with a big grin on her face.

"Then that's that! I'll register you as Team Viridian right away! I'll give you some things to mark the occasion~!" Wigglytuff replied with a bigger smile. He retrieved a bright golden box from the cupboards behind him and set it down in front of them. "It's a Pokémon Exploration Team Kit, containing everything that a new team needs. Quick, open it!" he told them, appearing just as excited as Alex and Basil.

They did so, and indeed discovered a selection of goodies which Wigglytuff described in succession. "First, your Explorer Badges! They're your official team identification!-" Basil noticed that his badge bore the inscription of his own footprint, with Alex's badge displaying her paw. "-Next, your Wonder Map! It's a wonderfully wonderful wonder of a map~!-" Basil unrolled it and looked at their local area, utterly delighted to have this. "-Finally, your Treasure Bag! To hold all the items and treasures that you collect! Take a peek inside!"

Inside the bag, to Basil's further joy, was a Power Band and a Special Band. "Two items for you to wear, one for each of you. Ooh, you look like an Exploration Team already~!" Wigglytuff excitedly observed once Basil had put the Special Band around the base of his tail, just before the leaf shape, and wrapped the Power Band over Alex's back left leg, the same one she'd hurt a week ago. "Thanks, we'll work really hard and do our best!" Alex spoke for only the second time since they entered this room.

"Yup, but remember that you're just apprenticing right now." he told them, coming back down from his state of friendly admiration for their stylish accessories and now watching them gather the Wonder Map and Exploration Badges. "Do your best in your training, Basil and Alex. Alright?"

Both of them assured him that they will, and with high spirits in addition to a happy feeling in their heads, they followed Chatot out of the Guildmaster's chamber and down the corridor on their left, leading towards a comparatively smaller room with a window and two beds of hay. "This is your room. You will both live here while working with us. I do insist that you get an early night, we rise early every day for training. That is all."

Once Chatot had left them, Basil looked out of the window to see that the sun had set. They both decided to indeed turn in now and chose a bed each. "How are you feeling, Alex? I'm glad I finally got myself in here with someone." Basil told the Eevee next to him. She still had a little grin. "I thought Wigglytuff would seem scary, but he's really nice. I do like him." Alex recalled, a yawn soon following this.

Basil lightly chuckled and began to coil up on his bed. "We'd better go to sleep now, let's not give Chatot any reason to scold us on our first day." he suggested. Alex settled down on her bed and the two were soon fast asleep.

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PostSubject: Re: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Windswept Explorers   Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:51 am

The rookies of Team Viridian get their first task.


Chapter 3: Breaking in with the bluff!


"HEY! HEEEEY! GET UP, YOU TWO!"

From out of nowhere, in the middle of their slumber, Alex and Basil were assaulted by a sudden, horrible din. Both of them were laying on their beds with looks of discomfort. "W-what in the...? What...?" Basil sleepily mumbled as the voice shot through them again. "RISE AND SHINE, ROOKIES!"

This voice belonged to a blue Pokémon with a big mouth, who was standing by the entrance to their room and belting out an infernal racket in front of the guild's new recruits. "I'm Loudred, one of your fellow apprentices!" he told the two bleary eyed Pokémon once they had pushed themselves up onto their feet. "You'll need to do MUCH better than this in future, the morning briefing's just about to start! If you don't want to see an angry Guildmaster then GET MOVING NOW!"

Now with his point having been well and truly made, Loudred left their room behind to attend the briefing. Basil immediately let out a yawn upon looking around at his surroundings, he truthfully wasn't very good this early. Chatot wouldn't be too delighted, he thought.

Thinking about Chatot immediately brought him back to yesterday... Yesterday... "Ah, no! We've gone and overslept already?!" Basil suddenly called, startling Alex. "Let's hurry!" he stated before leaving their room in a swift and hurried dash with Alex hot on his tail. This wasn't a good start for the newly formed Team Viridian.

Judging from the absence of Guildmaster Wigglytuff, Basil and Alex fortunately weren't too late after all. This wasn't good enough for Loudred however, who bellowed out a resounding "YOU'RE LATE!" while they took places in front of Chatot and waited. Alex looked around at the gathered apprentices after Chatot silenced Loudred. In addition to him and the Bidoof, Sunflora, and Croagunk she had seen yesterday, there was also a Corphish, Chimecho, Diglett, and Dugtrio. "Good, we're all in attendance." Chatot said.

Wigglytuff left his room in short order to address the apprentices, but Alex thought that there was something wrong with him. He appeared a bit vacant and not exactly... there, a concern which was quickly explained by the sound of a sudden snore. Basil apparently wasn't the only Pokémon here to not be an early bird. "Is the Guildmaster... sleeping with his eyes open?" he couldn't help but whisper.

He wasn't alone in hearing Wigglytuff's slumbering utterance either, some of the other apprentices were also looking amongst themselves and speaking out hushed sentences under their breath. Alex distinctly heard one of them say "Y'know, Guildmaster Wigglytuff is brilliant. He never ceases to amaze us all..." Chatot was none the wiser to the apprentice's discussions, instead choosing to move things forward. "Um... Thank you, your words of wisdom are always valued... Apprentices, let's begin the morning cheers!"

"ONE! DON'T SHIRK WORK!"

"TWO! RUN AWAY AND PAY!"

"THREE! SMILES GO FOR MILES!"

With that, Chatot had taken everyone's attention as they recited the morning cheers. Basil and Alex said nothing since they hadn't heard the words before, but no eyes went towards them. Brand new apprentices evidently weren't expected to know this on their first day. "Ok, now get to work!" he commanded, followed by a resounding "HOORAY" from the eight apprentices who dispersed afterwards to begin their duties.

"Ah yes, you two. Follow me." Chatot said when he finished watching the sleeping Wigglytuff stumble back into his room. The two newcomers went up to the level containing the two boards and were led to the one on the left, where one of the teams from yesterday soon arrived to join them. "This is Phyrelio, and here's Autumn. They apprenticed here once as a new Exploration Team just like yourselves and successfully graduated a few years ago." Chatot introduced the Typhlosion and Leafeon, respectively. "Both of them will mentor you through your first assignment. I expect good news." he continued before leaving them to it.

Basil knew exactly what Chatot was doing here by leaving the assignment to be given out by a seasoned duo who had their beginnings in this very same guild instead of himself. He was using them as an example to inspire and motivate the new apprentices, and it seemed to have worked very well if Alex's relaxed composure was any indication. "Alex and Basil? I saw you both talking to Chatot yesterday, it's nice to meet you both!" Autumn warmly greeted them. Phyrelio had his arms folded and appeared more gruff than his longtime partner. "As Chatot explained, we're Phyrelio and Autumn. Our Team Solaris started here. Now, are you aware of the time distortions that have been plaguing this continent recently?" he inquired.

Alex was quietly startled by this news for the obvious reasons of her memory loss and the transformation from human to Pokémon, but Basil knew from overhearing snippets of talk in Treasure Town about the situation Phyrelio described. "I am, it's all creating complete havoc and driving many Pokémon feral. I've also heard that this could also be the cause of a mystery dungeon outbreak." As he spoke, Basil realised something that he had completely overlooked last week. The Beach Cave must have been a mystery dungeon.

"That is correct." Phyrelio spoke, impressed by how well informed the young Snivy appeared to be. "Behind us is the Job Bulletin Board, where Pokémon of this area post job requests for explorers to perform. Being on an Exploration Team isn't all about discovering new lands, Rescue Teams here simply aren't numerous enough to manage the bulk of these tasks without our assistance. Team Moss, Flo the Meganium and Rocke the Golem, are easily the most well known of these groups in this land." he explained. Autumn had begun examining the jobs posted on the board while he'd been talking. "Chatot's assignment for you two today is to take on one of these tasks, and we're to choose one suitable for a rookie team." she told them. "Yes... Phyrelio, I think this one will do."

He strode over to look at the task she suggested, gave it an approving nod, and took it from the board to show Basil. He took it in his hands and started reading it out loud.

Hello, my name is Spoink.

An outlaw stole from me two nights ago. My most prized possession was taken from me, the pink pearl that must stay upon my head at all times. Team Quadrus apprehended the crook but my pearl was lost in the struggle.

Word has just reached me that the pearl was sighted in a mystery dungeon called the Drenched Bluff, but I'm too scared to go there. Won't you kind readers please recover it from me?

Basil immediately sympathised with this Spoink, drawing up parallels between that pearl and his own Relic Fragment. Within a mere few seconds, he and Alex had accepted the mission.

~~~~~

Team Viridian's twosome, having wasted no time at all through Basil's preparations, were soon embroiled in battles within the dungeon and making solid use of their training from the past week. Basil's Grassy Terrain and his two Grass type moves were stopping many of their would-be adversaries right in their tracks, while keeping Alex safe and refreshed.

Contributions from the Power Band and Special Band given by Wigglytuff could also be felt, Basil had noticed more of a bite to his Magical Leaf than before and Alex's Tackle and Quick Attack moves also got a boost. A new move each had soon been picked up over their Tail Whip and Wrap too, a Chingling which had been causing Alex problems before was defeated in short order by her Bite once Leech Seed bound and sapped off some of its strength.

"I just don't understand this..." she muttered after freeing herself from the Chingling's own Wrap. It was yet another failed Synchronoise that gave her foe the opportunity to grab her, Alex still hadn't got the hang of how that move was supposed to work. Basil had one suggestion to give her. "You could ask Chatot about that tomorrow. I remember him saying that he's the guild's head of intelligence." he said with an encouraging grin. "Don't let it get you down today, you're doing good."

Alex truly couldn't stop herself from smiling as he spoke. She wasn't the bravest, human or Pokémon, but there was something about Basil building her back up after a disappointment that made her feel on top of the world. Going onwards with feelings of adoration for her partner welling up inside, she and Basil reached the end of the dungeon.

They had arrived at a small rocky platform next to a small stream and Basil's eye caught a pink spherical object in the water. It appeared as though Team Quadrus battled the pearl thief at this very location. With great care, Basil's Vine Whip managed to recover the pearl.

~~~~~

"Oh, t-thank you both so much! I feared that I might never see my pearl again!" Spoink blubbed, almost tearful with joy and relief. Said pearl was now back at the guild with him, Alex, Basil, Chatot, Phyrelio, and Autumn, back upon his head where it belonged. "Here you go, my grateful reward for your splendid job.

To everyone's surprise, Spoink presented the apprentices with a small bag containing... "2,000 Poké?! That's a lot, are you saying it's all for us?" Basil asked. Spoink happily bounced in place when speaking. "Of course it is, this is nothing compared to the value of the pearl you've brought back to me today. I won't ever forget this, kind explorers!" he cheerfully exclaimed, springing on his way in a delighted mood.

Spoink's delight had fierce competition in that of Alex and Basil, who were both over the moon. Phyrelio was pleased for their success, but once he saw Chatot approach the Poké, he recalled something about monetary rewards for apprentices that he'd overlooked earlier. "Very well done, you two." Chatot proudly said as he took the bag of Poké right out of nowhere.

"Apprentices of the Wigglytuff Guild keep any item rewards, but most of the money they earn from a board job goes to the Guildmaster." he said, ignoring the utterly scandalised expressions of Team Viridian. "Your team's share comes out to this much." Without the briefest flicker of hesitation, he handed them back a much smaller amount.

Basil was finding it very difficult to suppress his disgust. "Only 200 Poké? Is this actually a real rule?" he quietly asked. Chatot had gotten very similar reactions from many a new Exploration Team in the past. "Hee hee~! Unfortunately so! I'm afraid you'll just have to take this as part of your training here."

By the time Chatot left with that 1,800 Poké, Phyrelio wasn't able to hide a guilty grin anymore. "I completely forgot to tell you, the guild takes a 90% cut with money from jobs. They were doing this when we apprenticed here too." he remarked. Autumn approached them, feeling their plight. "I know it feels really unfair, but Chatot and the Guildmaster have a very good reason for this. All guilds in the continent answer to an organisation called the Exploration Team Federation and must pay dues for their operation." she told them.

"I have great respect for the hardworking apprentices of the Wigglytuff Guild." Autumn went on, looking around at the Pokémon present. Sunflora and Corphish were both happily discussing their own successful jobs. "You're the lifeblood of this place, the guild would undergo a financial struggle if all of you stopped working for just one day. I'm glad I could be here to set off your apprenticeships. Good luck in all your explorations!"

Autumn's speech had completely vanquished their indignation over the money rule and replaced it with a sense of guild pride, Basil reflected later as he and Alex settled down into their beds for the night. Alex went to sleep rather quickly but Basil laid awake for a bit, thinking about how happy he had been when Spoink thanked them.

Undoubtedly, he was most eager to see what was in store tomorrow for the team. He could hardly wait...

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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon fanfiction (Azure Rescuers/Windswept Explorers)
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Gengarzilla

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PostSubject: Re: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Windswept Explorers   Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:57 pm

Many new faces, good and bad, all arrive on the scene.


Chapter 4: Following a scream!


"You're certain that the criminal is here, Bela?"

It was just past midnight and everyone at the Wigglytuff Guild were fast asleep when an intensely focused Growlithe asked this of the Crobat fluttering silently at his side like a sentinel, while he sniffed at the ground with his sensitive nose. He and Bela the Crobat from Team Quadrus, an Exploration Team renowned for its focus on and skill in apprehending outlaws, were traversing through the Tiny Meadow, a dungeon just east from the Drenched Bluff.

Bela looked at the Growlithe in mock disquiet, as though she were upset to have her capabilities questioned. "I'm absolutely positive that your quarry is hiding somewhere, Blaise. My echolocation is faultless." the four winged bat assured him. "In fact-" she murmured, detecting a presence in their area with a soft chirrup and identifying its source. "-he's hiding up in that tree ahead of us."

Just as she said, concealed within the leaves of a large and unassuming tree, was a Drowzee. Blaise the Growlithe was also determined to bring outlaws in for arrest and he had been tracking this particular one for a couple of weeks. A few days ago, he had visited Treasure Town and the Wigglytuff Guild to get assistance from Team Quadrus's leader Bela in capturing this persistent mark. He heard about the guild welcoming two new apprentices while talking to the Crobat but it was of little personal consequence to him.

Knowing that their opposition was a Psychic type and therefore likely to have noticed them too, Bela immediately took the initiative with her Brave Bird and flew powerfully towards him, cloaked in a deep blue glow and possessing the ferociously of a bird of prey. Drowzee leapt out from the tree before she struck him, and his Forewarn let him slip aside when Bela attempted to pin him down with Leech Life.

"Guh! Go away, I haven't got time for this!" Drowzee burst out upon sidestepping Bela's X shaped Cross Poison slash and used Psybeam to stop Blaise's swirling Fire Spin, knowing that the Crobat would overwhelm him if given enough time. Blaise pounced forward to get him with Bite and took a slam to the gut from a Headbutt for his efforts, this knocked him straight into the approaching Bela and sent the two sprawling, which gave him just enough of an opportunity to escape from them.

Blaise got up and growled in frustration at the spot where Drowzee previously stood, but Bela appeared less perturbed once she regained her position in the air. "Drowzee's good at escaping, but he's not Melody. You'll have him eventually." she spoke softly to her company. "I'll check in at the Wigglytuff Guild with Atlas tomorrow and find you some fresh leads as to his movements."

Though he was rather cross, Blaise recognised Bela's offer of further assistance. "Thank you, that would be very helpful." he graciously responded.

~~~~~

The very next morning, after doing a little better with getting up in accordance to the guild's schedule, its two new recruits were being called upon by Chatot for their next assignment. One of them had a question for him however. "Chatot, there's something I want to ask you first. How do I use the move Synchronoise right? It's always done nothing against every Pokémon I've fought." Alex spoke up.

Chatot was surprised for two reasons. One, he had already identified Basil as the more assertive of the duo and the most likely to speak out with a problem, the reason why Phyrelio and Autumn were brought in to boost Alex's confidence. He always made it a point to become acquainted with the visible personality traits of each apprentice, so as to bring out their best work in each of them. Two, that she just happened to also know that move, Synchronoise was one of his own four moves too and he found the coincidence astonishing. "I see~! I know that it can a unwieldy move for one with little experience. Synchronoise is a Psychic type move with a peculiar trait, only those Pokémon who share a type with you will take damage."

Listening to Chatot, it all suddenly made sense to Alex. Koffing, Zubat, Basil, and that Chingling, none of them shared any types with her. She was relieved to know that this wasn't her own fault and privately agreed on it being, as Chatot said, peculiar. Alex gave her thanks and stood back in line to let him continue with giving out their task. "Now, follow me." he said, leading them to the boards again.

In a moment that caught Basil's interest, he took them towards the other board this time. "Huh? We did a job on the board over there yesterday." he observed with a gesture towards the Job Bulletin Board. "Is there some sort of difference here, Chatot?" Basil asked, his eyes scanning the posters on this new board.

"There is, go take a closer look." Chatot simply responded. The posters were all showing face portraits of many different Pokémon, one in particular appeared to be placed in such a way that it was the most prominent of them all. An Altaria was staring out from this poster in a manner vicious enough to make Alex go terribly weak at the knees. "That Pokémon is really scary... W-who are they all...?" she asked him. Chatot looked at what just frightened her on the board and immediately understood her reaction. "Yes, she's an unrepentant menace. All of these Pokémon are outlaws. This is the Outlaw Notice Board, to be posted here is to be wanted for committing crimes."

While Basil was just startled, Alex was absolutely terrified, but both of them listened to Chatot continue. "They all have bounties on their heads, which means that there is a cash reward for those who capture one. Our law enforcement has its hands full with the problem so the Officer gladly accepts help from any able explorers." he told the two, but this didn't help Alex out one bit.

"You're actually expecting us to go out there and catch some?!" Alex squawked in fright, immediately hiding behind Basil, her rock, and imagining herself actually encountering that Altaria. "N-n-no, I can't do that...!" she somehow managed to say. "Ahh, there's a little more to it. The outlaws out there come in many shades and varieties. We have Melody, a highly dangerous felon, but we also have those outlaws who are little more than simple petty thieves. There's nefarious to naughty, and everything between. We can easily target one suitable for our own abilities." Chatot attempted to reassure her.

Judging from her return to Basil's side but still with a nervous expression, this had mild to moderate success. "S-sorry... You say that some of them are weak, but aren't they still bad Pokémon? I don't feel brave enough to fight a weaker one..." Alex stated. The Eevee wasn't confrontational by default and also remembered being completely thrashed by Koffing when she blew a casket against this naughty Pokémon.

"You'll work through this, I'm certain. It's all part of your training here." Chatot spoke in a kind and understanding tone. Alex wasn't the first new apprentice to panic at the thought of confronting a wanted criminal, nor would she be the last to do so. "It wouldn't help your chances if you were to go after any of these Pokémon without preparing, so I'll have someone give you a tour of Treasure Town first. Bidoof!"

At his call, a small and plump Pokémon headed towards them from the lower level. "Yup, you called?" Bidoof asked, looking curiously at Alex and Basil. "Bidoof, these are the two apprentices that just joined us. I want you to show them around Treasure Town so they can prepare for choosing an outlaw from the board. That's their assignment for today." Chatot explained.

Once Chatot left, Bidoof began to have serious problems with composing himself as he looked at the two rookies. "Gosh, new apprentices..." he blubbed. He could still remember that day clearly, as though it were yesterday, when he met and fought with Jirachi at the end of the little known Star Cave dungeon before wishing to have some new buddies to guide. Bidoof inwardly thanked Jirachi for granting his wish and then returned to reality. "I was the most recent arrival before y'all turned up. By golly, I'm just very happy to be helping some new buddies!" he said to explain his spacing out.

Alex liked Bidoof already, she reflected while the threesome left the guild and took a right turn into Treasure Town. He was an eager and enthusiastic guide even when Basil claimed to already know a fair deal about each individual service, Kangaskhan Storage, Duskull Bank, and the Kecleon Market. In addition, Bidoof also offered to give Alex and Basil a hand with choosing a suitable outlaw. "I'd really love that, thank you. It takes a load off of my mind." Alex remarked.

"Don't sweat it, Alex. I know what you're both going through. The first days are a challenge but you all be sure to tough it out." Bidoof encouraged her with a grin before leaving them be. Basil looked pleased to see how much more at ease Alex appeared to be at this point compared to when Chatot told them about outlaws. They were both in the middle of Treasure Town now and had a short conversion with two older apprentices nearby, Sunflora and Corphish, following which Alex followed Basil to buy some items from the Kecleon.

"Good morning, welcome to the Kecleon Shop!" one of the Kecleon greeted these customers. This one was green, while his brother had more of a rose colour to him. With a look at the green Kecleon's stock, Basil decided to buy three Oran Berries after asking about their effect, expecting them to come in very useful during their battle against a chosen outlaw. Once their purchases were finished, two other Pokémon rushed in to do their shopping and they appeared to be favourites of the shopkeepers. "Ah, Marill and Azurill? How delightful to see you both!" the rose Kecleon exclaimed.

Basil and Alex watched the two kids make their purchase of one Apple and walk off to a fond farewell from the Kecleon. "You see those wonderful youngsters? They're Marill and Azurill, both brothers." the green Kecleon told them. "Their poor mother has been feeling a little sick recently, but they've volunteered to do the shopping for her. It's quite remarkable to see those young children stepping up to take charge."

Marill and Azurill then hurried back, with looks of slight concern on their faces. "There was an extra Apple here, Mr. Kecleon, we didn't pay for this many." Marill explained to the green Kecleon, but their expressions quickly shifted to delight when he told the two that the second Apple was a gift from himself and his brother, an action that made Alex feel warm and fuzzy inside.

She snapped out from this however, when Azurill tripped over a pebble and dropped this free Apple in front of her. Almost asking without thinking, spurred on by the acts of kindness she'd seen from Bidoof and the Kecleon, Alex caught the Apple by its stalk with her Bite and placed it in front of Azurill before going to help him up by using a friendly paw. "Are you ok there?" she asked in concern.

There was no way that she could have said anything else, as a strange dizzy sensation tore straight through her head and whole body once she and Azurill made contact, almost causing her to collapse right there. As if that wasn't surreal enough, Alex then began hallucinating, seeing a mountainous scene instead of Treasure Town and witnessing an unfamiliar Pokémon threatening Azurill, demanding that he get inside the hole in the wall next to them. She soon regained her senses but Basil and Azurill were both looking concerned for her.

Alex managed to convince those around her that she was just tired, but Basil remained a little skeptical of this claim once Azurill ran off after Marill. The two apprentices began making their way back towards the guild when Alex witnessed a sight that made her even more uneasy, Marill and Azurill were both talking to an unfamiliar Pokémon. Yellow on the top, brown on the bottom, and with a trunk in place of a nose, it was the same Pokémon species she'd seen in her vision. Alex froze in a sort of paralyzed fright as she heard them talking about this Drowzee finding Azurill's lost item on a nearby mountain and seeing them leave together.

Remembering the mountainous scene she'd witnessed earlier, Alex led the worried Basil off the main path and to the closed doors of the currently in renovation Marowak Dojo and confessed to what really happened before. The Snivy was understandably astonished. "Eh?! Alex, you say you had a dizzy spell and saw Azurill being threatened by a Drowzee just like that one at the top of a mountain?!" he asked, which she confirmed immediately. "Yeah! I'm worried about that Azurill, he could be in a really dangerous situation!" she called.

Although Basil agreed with how worrisome this was and made this perfectly clear to Alex, two things were standing in their way. "It's not like I don't trust you, Alex, but that Drowzee you saw in your vision isn't necessarily the same one they're with now. Look at the two shopkeepers, they're both Kecleon." he attempted to talk her down. "We're also apprentices, neither of us can just run off based on this alone. Chatot would be cross."

This didn't entirely quash her distress over Azurill and Drowzee but Basil still had a point. They were only apprentices, not guild graduates like Phyrelio and Autumn are. Alex made some attempts to calm herself down to a socially inconspicuous level while she followed Basil back to the guild.

Unbeknownst to them, they had been overheard by one of the worker Cubone inside the dojo. This Cubone wandered outside on the pretense of an early lunch break and he looked oddly triumphant to see the two of them there before his body took on a black glow and returned to its usual form. "Heheh, Alexandria joined the guild after all? Amusing..." the Zoroark muttered, a malicious glimmer in his eyes. "Now, which mountain could she and her companion be referring to...?"

~~~~~

Returning to the guild and heading towards the Outlaw Notice Board, Alex and Basil saw that Bidoof had been talking to a Crobat and Machamp while waiting for them. "Golly, she sounds mighty terrifying... Oh, hey there!" Bidoof said when he saw them approach. "I was just talking to Bela from Team Quadrus, that famous outlaw catching team. Have you met?" he asked her and Team Viridian.

"No, but I knew about this guild taking a pair of new apprentices. Nice to meet you both, I'm Bela. The big guy with me is my teammate Atlas." Bela introduced them both. Atlas, a rather quiet Machamp with an iron hard sense of justice, simply nodded in acknowledgement. "Bidoof tells me that you'll be taking on your first outlaw today." Bela spoke.

Alex didn't reply, now finding her gaze drawn back to the same Altaria poster from before. Bela saw what had caught her attention. "Ah... That's Melody, the most vicious and persistent outlaw in this land. I've encountered her many times before, she's beyond the level of any guild apprentice." the Crobat explained ruefully. What she hadn't said is that she and this Altaria even had some personal history together. "Why, look at her bounty. 25,000 Poké and it's been steadily increasing with each criminal action she performs. Officer Magnezone is desperate to have Melody brought in for arrest, she's been at large for over two years now..."

Basil's eyes weren't on this poster though, he'd spotted one of a much lower priority with a bounty of only 3,000 Poké. One that he'd glanced over earlier without a second thought. Yellow top, brown bottom, trunk instead of a nose... It couldn't be a coincidence anymore... "Alex! Drowzee's up there, he's a wanted outlaw! Azurill's in trouble!"

He couldn't explain how or why Alex saw what she saw, but that didn't matter now. Basil stormed out of the guild with Alex hot on his tail, leaving Bidoof bewildered. Bela looked at Drowzee's poster and let out a small gasp before also departing to inform Blaise as she promised.

~~~~~

Just at the crossroads outside the guild, Basil and Alex ran into Marill on his own, who explained in a scared voice about being separated from Azurill and Drowzee. Now that they'd seen Drowzee on the Outlaw Notice Board, Basil fully shared and supported Alex's rush to save Azurill and so they had asked Marill to take them to where Drowzee was going to go.

Following the group at a safe distance in the innocent guise of a Taillow was the Zoroark from before, who landed nearby to listen in on the apprentices once they arrived at Mt. Bristle. Thinking that they were alone now with Marill waiting outside, Basil began speaking. "Alex... You said that your dizzy spell vision of Azurill and Drowzee took place in a mountainous area, didn't you?" he attempted to confirm, which Alex did with a nod.

"Then I think they're at the top of this dungeon. Let's get moving." Basil suggested. The Taillow watched them walk onwards before resuming his usual Zoroark form again and getting out a handheld device that somewhat resembled a walkie-talkie. "Constantilum. I have tracked the target, Alexandria, to Mt. Bristle. She has joined the Wigglytuff Guild with a Snivy called Basil and is here on a mission. Orders?"

The voice of Constantilum, the Pokémon on the other end, was a knowledgeable and cruel sounding one. "You do nothing, Esplictral. The order was clear. Don't concern yourself with that girl..." he stated. Annoyed, Esplictral hung up on him and cast one more look at Alex and Basil before begrudgingly leaving. He knew enough about the nature of Alex's vision to know that there could indeed be cause for concern, regardless of whether Constantilum or their superiors agreed with him...

Unaware of the conversation that had just taken place behind them, Alex and Basil continued scaling the dungeon. Mt. Bristle was certainly home to tougher foes than Drenched Bluff and the two explorers were immediately coming to notice this fact. With the exceptions of Geodude and possibly Machop, every other species was causing Basil a rather obvious amount of grief through their Grass resistances alone.

The worst part of this fiasco came in the shape of a Starly who kept avoiding Basil's Vine Whip and Leech Seed attempts through an aerial advantage and holding out against Magical Leaf until Alex, in a desperate act, emitted her spread Synchronoise once Basil took a critical hit from Wing Attack. The white psychic wave did something it had yet to do, damage an opponent. It struck the Starly like an expanding solid wall and pitched it backwards, upon which Alex pulled off another move instead of Tackle. The move Swift, a stream of homing star projectiles, pelted towards the Starly and finished the battle.

Once Basil had one of their Oran Berries and Alex had the time to feel proud for the successful Synchronoise and new Swift, they moved onwards and reached the peak. Azurill was there with Drowzee and Alex hung back to hear some of their ongoing conversation, wanting to see if this was indeed what she saw. Truthfully, she was quite nervous.

This was nothing compared to Azurill, who was absolutely terrified. "I want my big brother!" he cried out in an attempt to flee, with Drowzee blocking his path. "Geez, kid! I did say that I'd get you back home afterwards! Get in that hole, bring back the thief treasure trove, or there will be trouble!" the annoyed outlaw demanded.

"Basil, t-this is exactly what I saw... D-down to every word...!" Alex whispered as she shivered, but she wasn't sure if Basil heard her. Glaring daggers at Drowzee, the Snivy ran towards him with a furious "HEY, YOU! DROWZEE!" that immediately got Drowzee's attention, as Alex followed him while trying not to betray her nerves. The moment was here. "We're not going to let you do that, you horrible bully!" Basil went on, unleashing waves of fury over what he'd witnessed.

A far cry from the dominance he displayed with Azurill, Drowzee suddenly seemed a lot more nervous over this new company. "Who are you?! How did you find this place?!" he asked. Azurill recognised them and suddenly seemed much happier now. "We're an Exploration Team, do you know what that means?!" Basil asked back. He was truly on a roll.

"...Haha! An Exploration Team? Then why is your friend quivering like a leaf?" Drowzee suddenly shot back when he saw how much Alex was visibly shaking. Their foe was suddenly a lot more confident now. "I've been chased by lots of explorers, even by one of Team Quadrus, but never by such a coward as your friend there! You've got that confident look down so why couldn't you find anyone be-"

Drowzee's taunt suddenly got cut off by a harsh Vine Whip to the face from an absolutely livid Basil who was seeing red by this point. If there was one thing guaranteed to set him off, it would be jabs towards his partner's timidity. He accepted that Alex wasn't the bravest or the most courageous of individuals, but he'd fast grown to deeply value both her company and good heart over their time together so far. Drowzee staggered back from this first hit but he soon found a good rhythm to perform some Forewarn dodges, during which Azurill backed up against the wall to cower.

Alex, too, was upset at the unfinished suggestion that Basil could have found someone better than her for explorations and flung a Swift at him, boosted by Adaptability, that even Forewarn couldn't help against. Drowzee instead met and powered through her attack with Psybeam, which she narrowly avoided with a Quick Attack maneuver. Basil set up his Grassy Terrain and used Magical Leaf against another Psybeam, which proved an even match but gave Drowzee time to send him to sleep with Hypnosis.

Amidst this concentration, he conceded a super effective hit from Alex's Bite and then from her Quick Attack, the Eevee was working solely on desperation now that it was a temporary 1 on 1 brawl. She attempted another Bite but got slammed down hard by Headbutt and was already struggling. Grassy Terrain wore off and Drowzee tried another Headbutt when a spinning wheel of fire flew in from behind Alex, this Flame Wheel striking him down.

"Not you again, get off my back!" Drowzee demanded once he saw who was within the flames. "Are you alright back there?" Blaise asked Alex, which she replied affirmatively after getting up. The two of them teamed up to corner and hit him with their combined Bite attacks upon evading a Poison Gas. Basil woke up afterwards and used Grassy Terrain once more with the feeling of something new inside him.

His tail quivering, Basil unleashed from it the Leaf Tornado move which had just replaced Vine Whip, the whirlwind of leaves engulfing Drowzee just as the maelstrom of flames from Blaise's Fire Spin did the same. Once Alex added in a Swift, she served the last hit with Quick Attack. Her speedy attack knocked him right into the wall.

Almost as though to add insult to injury, this part of the wall collapsed and revealed that the rumoured thief treasure trove didn't exist.

~~~~~

"ZZZT! I am Magnezone, the primary officer of this region! ZZZT!" Officer Magnezone introduced himself to Alex and Basil when everyone was back at the mountain's base. Bela and Atlas had both arrived at the top of Mt. Bristle immediately after Drowzee's defeat and called for the officer at once. Drowzee was now behind Magnezone and flanked by two of the Deputy Magnemite while Blaise, Marill, and Azurill were also watching.

Because the two guild apprentices arrived before him, Blaise had waivered any reward and insisted that they should have the full 3,000 Poké bounty on Drowzee's head, an action considered deeply heartening by them. "ZZZT! We will send the reward to your guild! We owe you many thanks for your assistance today! ZZZT!" Magnezone stated, following which he and the Magnemite took Drowzee away with them.

Basil looked at them go before turning to Blaise. "You're sure about this? Alex says that you really saved the day up there..." he asked the Growlithe. "It's no trouble at all, Alex and Basil. I've been tracking Drowzee for a few weeks but you two found him here before Bela and I did. You've earned this and I hope we can battle together again sometime." Blaise stated proudly. "I agree. Considering how this is the first outlaw you've confronted, I'm very impressed." Bela added.

"You've got the makings of real explorers, kids. I expect great things to come." Atlas finally spoke, which Bela jokingly claimed was high praise on its own even if he was delivering criticism. Meanwhile, Marill and Azurill had just finished hugging each other in deep relief.

"We're never going to forget what you've done for us, ever... Aren't we, Azurill...?" Marill asked, followed by Azurill's reply of "Yes, never. Thank you for saving me!"

With a safe hiding place in which to listen to these exchanges, Escliptral also learned of what happened. He once more felt that Constantilum and the others were underestimating Alexandria.

~~~~~

Team Viridian's duo were still in high spirits when they returned to the guild shortly after, where they were greeted by a delighted Chatot. "Officer Magnezone's given us the bounty for that captured outlaw. Very well done, you two~!"

Indeed, they were so pleased with themselves that they didn't even bat an eye at how only 300 Poké was given to them as per that guild rule. "I do wish we could have gotten a little more, but I'm alright this time. We still managed to save Azurill." Basil told Alex after Chatot left. He still remembered what Autumn told them yesterday. "You know... It's all thanks to you, Alex. We knew about Drowzee's true intentions with Azurill only because of your... vision of the future." he thought out loud.

This did give Alex a lot to ponder, like why she even had that vision in the first place and what it meant, but her thoughts were interrupted by a bodily function originating a bit lower down. "Is that your stomach asking for food?" Basil asked, barely stifling a giggle. "Come on, let's see if Chimecho's finished making dinner. We can think about your vision after you've been fed."

With another growl from her belly, Alex was inclined to agree. Now was the time to eat.

~~~~~

"This started to get old months ago, Officer~!" Melody tauntingly trilled towards Magnezone as she strafed around his Thunder Wave through an earlier Dragon Dance and repeatedly stomped on the ground, the Bulldoze move that she learned solely for combating Officer Magnezone serving to knock him out again in addition to his Deputy Magnemite.

It was a dark and stormy night, just as it was when Alex arrived in this world, and this notorious Altaria outlaw was fleeing from the law enforcement for what felt like the millionth time to both parties after she committed yet another robbery. The sack around her neck contained a hefty amount of Poké. Looking around for any explorers, particularly her hated foe Bela, Melody chose to hide the night away in the Treeshroud Forest, which was very close by, before returning to her safe hideout.

Once she arrived though, she could hear someone sprinting lightly across the rain soaked path towards her and immediately went on her guard. This Pokémon green, agile, and clearly unwilling to be seen from the body behavior that Melody observed, stopped in front of her. "Nice night~!" Melody exclaimed with an air of innocence.

When he didn't speak but instead looked at the path she was blocking, Melody felt that her hunch was right. "You're a thief too, right? I can tell. What are you after~?" she questioned him. His answer was highly unexpected.

"A Time Gear... I know it's in this forest, I must have it..."

Melody was shocked to the very core of her being by this Pokémon's intention. She might indeed be a highly feared outlaw with a 25,000 Poké bounty on her head, but there was one thing even she wouldn't steal...

"A-are you nuts?! No, you can't take that! I WON'T LET YOU!!" she screeched, the golden flames of a Sky Attack enveloping her defiant body...

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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon fanfiction (Azure Rescuers/Windswept Explorers)
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PostSubject: Re: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Windswept Explorers   Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:59 pm

The duo of Team Viridian begin their first real exploration and encounter their first recurring opposition.


Chapter 5: Washing away a stench!


"Grrgh..." Melody growled furiously as she looked at the temporally frozen Treeshroud Forest, following her encounter with an evidently mad thief who sought the Time Gear within. The clash between her Sky Attack and his Acrobatics had merely served as a trick and the Pokémon was able to slip past her and deeper into the forest.

Their meeting created an instant dislike for him within the Altaria, she reflected from this safe distance, and it was also a massive inconvenience towards her future activities as an outlaw. Since the forest's Time Gear had been stolen mere moments after she defeated Officer Magnezone just outside of it, Melody knew full well that she would be the number one suspect in this crime when truthfully, she had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Normally she wouldn't be too ruffled, but this thought infuriated her. She would be seen by those in this continent as a Time Gear thief. A Time Gear was the one and only thing that she wouldn't ever steal, yet now she would have the heat upon her like never before. For the first time in her life, she would be wanted for a crime she didn't actually commit. Her 25,000 Poké bounty would likely skyrocket, virtually every Exploration Team would hunt her down, and she wouldn't have a single chance to protest her own innocence in this matter without being arrested anyway... "Perhaps... this is what that unbelievable crook intended...?!" she murmured.

To be used as a scapegoat... by the one and only thief brazen enough to actually steal a Time Gear... "N-next time we m-meet... I'm... g-going to completely... destroy you..." Melody swore to that individual in the stormy night, so furious that she was actually struggling to string a sentence together. She would need to lie low for an unspecified period of time, but this wasn't over...

~~~~~

The next day, during the Wigglytuff Guild's morning briefing, Chatot told the ten apprentices about the shocking events that took place in the Treeshroud Forest last night. His words were greeted by nothing less than complete pandemonium from the listeners. "WHAT?! THE TIME GEAR WAS STOLEN?!" Loudred shouted out, the most vocal one in his surprise by default. "Yes, quiet!" Chatot called, both of his wings over his ears.

"Officer Magnezone fought Melody in the vicinity of the forest that same night and has already begun an investigation centered around her whereabouts, so that her present location may be discovered. It stands to reason that the other Time Gears, wherever they are, may be in danger if one of them can be stolen." Chatot told the group. Despite not being of this world, Alex was as worried as the rest of them. Basil had coincidentally told her everything he knew about the Time Gears and their purpose just last night in relation to their time troubles. "He asked to be notified immediately if any of our apprentices were to uncover Melody's movements. That is all, let us know if you notice anything." Chatot finished.

When the other apprentices left to perform their daily duties, Chatot approached Alex and Basil to give them today's assignment. "You two... I must admit that your success yesterday has impressed me greatly, Officer Magnezone told me yesterday that you also saved a young Pokémon who Drowzee abducted in addition to apprehending him." he confessed. The help of Blaise had gone uncredited, just as the Growlithe wanted. "So! Today, you will both be given a task more fitting for an Exploration Team. Open your map, please."

Basil was very delighted to hear this, but he kept himself composed in order to take in the details while Alex got their Wonder Map and spread it out for Chatot. "Over there, do you see?" he asked them, a wing pointing at the location of a waterfall not very far from the guild. "The guild has received intelligence from two explorers that this rather ordinary waterfall may be concealing a secret of some sort. Alex, Basil, I'm assigning you to investigate that location for us and discover whatever lies undiscovered within." Chatot summarised. Alex appeared excited, albeit a little bit apprehensive, and Basil was extremely psyched at the prospect of making his first big discovery.

Both inside the guild and outside, when they visited Treasure Town to prepare for their task, the topic of Melody and her alleged theft of the Treeshroud Forest Time Gear was coming from the mouths of every Pokémon they passed. Most of them were fearful and frightened by the thought, but one, Melody's old foe Bela, was somewhat skeptical of Melody's role in this whole event.

"I just don't get this, what could have possibly driven her to think about stealing a Time Gear? It goes against so much that I've seen from Melody..." she could be heard telling her teammate Atlas when Team Viridian was nearby. Like Blaise, whom had already set off, Bela and Atlas were getting ready to search for Melody. The Crobat had a fair idea as to her possible whereabouts but knew her all too well to really believe that she could have committed the unthinkable...

Further along the path, at Sharpedo Bluff, Alex and Basil saw a Yanmega and Skarmory engaged in a different topic of conversation with Phyrelio and Autumn of Team Solaris. A damp piece of paper was in the Typhlosion's hands as he read it to himself. "A treasure hidden in the lake, hm? It surely couldn't be referring to the Fogbound Lake, nobody's ever found that. Try looking at Lake Afar and see if you can rule it out first." he suggested. "That lake in the distant south? Good call, I'll begin searching there." the Yanmega replied.

Autumn spotted the watching apprentices following this and welcomed them over. "Alex and Basil! Nice to see you both again, how's guild life treating you? We were just helping Larcer and Orion of Team Trove locate a treasure that they're hunting." the Leafeon spoke with a warm smile as she introduced the Yanmega and Skarmory. Basil greeted the four and told Autumn about their job for today. To his relief, he could see that the Magical Leaf cover concealing his home was undisturbed.

"You're investigating that waterfall? Oh, Larcer and I were the ones who told the guild about that place! You simply must tell us later on what you find!" Orion the Skarmory suddenly chipped in. As a treasure hunter alongside Larcer, his excitement at the thought of treasure somewhere in the vicinity of the waterfall was palpable. "Yes, my eyes tell me of a secret being concealed at this location. We'd have done the search ourselves but Orion isn't great around water and this Treasure Memo I found in a bottle at the beach yesterday is a higher priority at the moment." Larcer explained. "Good luck today, Alex, Basil. I'd be interested in hearing all about this." he said.

After all this encouragement, Basil thought, they simply had to strike it lucky in their investigation today...

~~~~~

The duo soon arrived with due haste at the waterfall speculated to contain a secret and were blown away by the spectacle of the fearsome, raging rapids crashing down right before their eyes. "Yikes, I wouldn't like to fall underneath that waterfall..." Alex thought out loud, a sentiment that her far more confident teammate had no problems emphasising with. "I'm all up for discovering this waterfall's secret, especially after what Teams Solaris and Trove said, but... where do we even begin looking?" Basil wondered.

Though he was stumped, he immediately began looking around for a hidden entrance of some form that could be hidden within the rocky walls near the falling water, an idea that came to nothing once the Snivy deduced that Larcer's apparently exceptional vision would have found such a trick earlier. He wished that they had Blaise's nose to help them out today. Meanwhile, Alex was looking closer to the waterfall with her side to it when she turned around and got a face full of it, the force alone sending her staggering back into Basil.

"Are you ok?!" Basil asked as he caught her, a moment of close eye contact occurring between the two. Alex felt a certain strange feeling awaken within her at this which was entirely different from a familiar dizzy sensation now going through her head. She could see a pink Pokémon jump straight into the same waterfall and... amazingly tumble into the cavern hidden behind it. "B-Basil, I think I just had another vision... Someone jumped into the waterfall and found a cave behind it..." she admitted to the Snivy watching her from above as she laid on her back.

Though stunned, Basil said nothing as he helped her back up on her feet and stared at the waterfall. If Alex's vision could be believed, which he absolutely did after the events of yesterday, behind this cascading water was a cave. He looked at the Eevee and noticed just how much she was shivering. "I know what's ahead now but I'm... still scared to actually do it myself..." she admitted to him with some degree of shame. Drowzee's unfinished words about how Basil would have been better off with someone else had cut more deeply into her than was apparent at face value.

Basil understood where she was coming from and placed a comforting hand on her back as he spoke. "You won't be going for it yourself, we'll jump in together as a team. I really do trust you and your lead." he assured her with a perfect mix of infectious confidence and genuine sympathy. Alex stared at him, overcome with gratitude at his words to the extent that, before jumping at the wall of water on the count of three, a blush had to be concealed from him just like the hidden cave was concealed from the world. They tumbled into the said cave just like Alex's vision dictated.

"It's... a cave...? A cave! Behind the waterfall, just like your vision said!" Basil excitedly spoke upon picking himself up and looking at their surroundings, delighted that her vision was correct again and thrilled to be within an unexplored location for the first time in his exploration career. "Come on, Alex! Let's see what this Waterfall Cave holds!"

As one might expect from this newly christened dungeon, Water types were highly prevent, a very favourable situation for Basil as he used Magical Leaf and Leaf Tornado to blow through them. Alex went along in his wake and covered for him against the occasional Tangela and Grimer with her choice of Quick Attack or Swift. Once Basil got past a Whiscash in their way, they arrived in a room that was nothing short of dazzling.

"No way... Look at all of these gems...!" Basil spoke in a spellbound tone, looking around at the gems poking out of the ground and walls at frequent intervals. However, the obvious feature presentation of this area was a gigantic gem, larger than them both, which was partially embedded in the wall furthest away. "Look, that gem over there is so huge! Chatot and the others would be so pleased if we brought it back." Alex said, walking over and attempting to pull it out with her front paws.

She found that it was wedged extremely hard into the wall but kept pulling nonetheless, until another dizzy sensation rang through her head and caused her hold on the gem to slip. While Basil took over for her, Alex could see in her mind's eye that the same pink Pokémon from before was approaching the gem and tripped over one of the smaller ones. They fell forwards into the big gem and inadvertently pushed it, which appeared to cause a large wave of water to come in from the right and wash them away.

Coming back to reality, Alex's heart froze when she saw Basil, tired from his pulling, accidentally lean against the gem in a tired slump. "Ahh, no!" she called out once a deep rumbling noise started to echo through the entire room. "I had another vision when I touched the gem!" she responded to the questioning look Basil gave to her cry. "Pushing it causes... that!" Alex finished, for the same wave of water was gushing powerfully towards them.

Though they tried to run back from where they came, neither Alex or Basil were fast enough to avoid the water trap that swept them along in its wake...

~~~~~

"Huh? Who are those two?"

"I've seen those kids before, they're the new guild apprentices Alex and Basil! Are you both ok?"

It was this second voice, a kind and concerned male one, that brought the dazed and drenched Pokémon back round. They soon noticed just how warm they felt in the water where they'd landed. "I think we're ok..." Alex replied to whomever asked. In the group of Pokémon who had witnessed their landing were a Vigoroth that they recognised from Treasure Town, a Teddiursa and Ursaring duo, a Torkoal on the rocks surrounding the water, and a Togekiss and Hariyama that they somewhat remembered.

"That's good. You dropped down from out of nowhere and really startled everyone here." the Togekiss told them, his voice being the one that asked about them. "I'm Pax, my Hariyama friend and teammate is called Kammie, and these Pokémon are Teddiursa, Ursaring, Vigoroth, and Torkoal." he introduced everyone. Basil looked at their surroundings, seeing nothing but trees all around and the warm water that everyone but the Torkoal was standing in. "Where are we? I don't recognise this place." Basil asked everyone.

The one to answer his query was the old and wise looking Torkoal, who approached the rocks at the edge of the water. "This is the Hot Spring, youngsters." Torkoal told them. "As Pax said, I'm Torkoal. Many Pokémon visit here became of the wondrous effects this Hot Spring has on a tired and exhausted body. Do either of you have a map?" he asked. "A map...? Oh, yes!" Basil exclaimed, finally managing to reclaim his bearings from the dizzying journey through the flood. He took out their Wonder Map and laid it in front of Torkoal as Alex, Pax, and Kammie went for a closer look.

With one stare, Torkoal picked out their location and pointed it out to them, a fair distance east from the waterfall. "Ok... We were exploring that waterfall over there-" Alex began recalling to their new company. -when... Basil, that water's carried us quite a bit!" she gasped in shock. Pax and everyone else also appeared rather astonished by the tale too. "You were blown here through the underground water tunnels? Dear me, the two of you must be completely exhausted! A good, relaxing rest here before returning to the guild should help. Right, Torkoal~?" Pax cheerily asked.

"Hohoho, indeed! You're more than welcome to stay as long as you need, there's always room for one or two more in the Hot Spring!" Torkoal replied joyfully, always happy for some additional company in the area.

~~~~~

After some time soaking and unwinding in the Hot Spring, a place that both of them agreed to revisit someday if they ever felt overcome by their guild training, Alex and Basil accepted the gracious offer from Pax and Kammie to escort them safely back to Treasure Town, a task which Kammie explained was their speciality as an Exploration Team. Indeed, Pax's use of Follow Me to redirect the attacks of their occasional foes was unmatched and it paired well with an After You that sent Kammie's Close Combat at them with alarming haste.

Reaching the guild in good time thanks to this help, they bade farewell to their help and wasted no time in delivering their findings to Chatot outside the Guildmaster's room. "I see, a cave behind the falling water led to a room with a large gem inside. Pushing this gem triggered a trap that flushed both of you all the way to the Hot Spring. That's your report?" he asked. Neither Basil or Alex could tell what he thought of this.

"Yes, sir. I'm still rather disappointed that we weren't able to bring that gem back here..." Basil started, but Chatot cut him off. Far from sharing that disappointment, he was delighted. "No, no, no, never mind the gem! This is quite remarkable! You discovered a dungeon that none of us knew about, after all! The Guildmaster must be told at once." Chatot explained rather happily. This cheered Basil up immensely, but Alex wasn't celebrating.

The mere mention of Guildmaster Wigglytuff had got her thinking back to her visions earlier and gave her a sudden suspicion regarding the identity of that pink Pokémon she watched. Alex decided on the spot to take a guess at this. "Alex, what? You think Wigglytuff's been to that dungeon before?!" Basil called once she put her hunch to words, which also stunned Chatot. "S-surely not, right? Why would he even assign someone to investigate the place if that were true?!" he demanded.

Alex persisted however, and Chatot relented, going into the Guildmaster's room to ask him. "What's this about?" Basil asked again, just downright confused by this turn of events. "I think he's the Pokémon I saw in my visions today, jumping into the cave and tripping that gem trap. It looked just like him." she answered. Chatot returned afterwards, looking completely put out and, to Basil's surprise, confirmed Alex's thoughts. "...He took some time to remember, but it's just as Alex suspected. The Guildmaster has indeed been to this dungeon before." he told them.

Much of Basil's excitement was instantly deflated like a popped balloon at this news. "Aww, I really thought that we'd made a new discovery on our first exploration. Why didn't the Guildmaster tell us this from the start?" he glumly asked in an upset moan. Chatot truly was struggling for words at the sight of this scene. "It... appears that he genuinely forgot about the whole thing. He can be rather... erratic sometimes. We've worked together for many years but even I'm not completely certain about what goes on in his head..." the two were told.

It appeared to them that they still had much to learn during their apprenticeships at the guild...

~~~~~

A happy evening of scary stories and socialising with Bidoof, Corphish, Diglett, Dugtrio, Sunflora, Chimecho, and Croagunk soon followed after Sunflora's return from arresting an infamous Haunter trio of outlaws. From what Alex and Basil gathered, Loudred ran off from his sentry duties earlier to help her and was presently gathering food for the larder in Apple Woods as punishment, though Sunflora had ensured that he would get recognition. Alex saw that she was wearing a new orange scarf.

Everyone soon retired to their own rooms for some sleep, but Basil's head was too full from Team Viridian's first exploration to get any of this. "We had quite a busy day today, didn't we?" he absentmindedly asked Alex, who was looking out of the window. "I enjoyed every minute of it though, even if Wigglytuff already got there long before us. Today made me truly realise something... I made the right choice forming an Exploration with you, Alex. I never would have found the entrance by myself." he admitted.

Alex could feel another blush coming on as he complimented her. It felt very good to hear that from him, she thought to herself as she continued listening. "What Drowzee said yesterday about how I should have teamed up with someone braver? Don't let it bother you. It's your heart which I respect, and I'm sure you must have been a good person before you came here." Basil spoke honestly, the high praise he dished out just now being enough to draw out some overwhelmed tears in the former human when she turned around.

"T-thanks, you're just the best..." she simply said, feeling a sudden upswing of admiration towards him. Basil stayed silent for a few moments until he marshaled some different thoughts into words. "Speaking of, there's two things about your visions that I've noticed. You've always been touching someone or something when they happen..."

Now that Alex recalled her three visions so far, Basil was absolutely right. They had occurred as soon as she touched Azurill, the waterfall, and the gem. Basil soon continued talking afterwards. "Also, you saw the future yesterday, Drowzee cornering Azurill, but this time you've seen the past, Wigglytuff going in the Waterfall Cave and finding that big gem." he said, another point that Alex was astonished by. "What this all means is that you can see the past or future of whatever you touch! This is an incredible advantage for an explorer!" Basil marveled, getting very excited by the limitless possibilities.

At this point, Alex felt the need to bring him back down to a realistic level by brushing a paw against him. "Look, I'm not feeling dizzy. It does sound great when you talk like that but I don't think I have any control over when I get a vision-" she said, her words trailing off into nonexistence once she noticed Chatot arrive in their room to say that the Guildmaster wanted to see them. They followed him to Wigglytuff, Alex expecting trouble for them and wishing that Basil hadn't gotten too excited with her unusual ability.

As it turned out, she was wrong in her thoughts. "You're both probably wondering why I called you here so late, right?" Wigglytuff asked them. "At the morning briefing tomorrow, we will be announcing an upcoming guild expedition!" he happily exclaimed, to mild confusion which his right hand Pokémon Chatot was on hand with a summary. "This is when the Wigglytuff Guild explores a very distant location. Because it's considerably more difficult than exploring our local area, the Guildmaster must pick the most promising apprentices for the journey." he told Alex and Basil.

"You see, we normally never consider rookies for these expeditions-" Wigglytuff began to tell them. "-but because you two have been doing wonderfully so far, even somehow finding out today that I once explored that hidden dungeon, I'm making an exception this time and including you in the list of expedition candidates!" the Guildmaster revealed, delighting both of them. "Ooh, thanks!" Alex and Basil responded in unplanned unison. "You should both know that we don't set off immediately, there are still several days before then. If you can't impress us in that time then you may not be chosen." Chatot piped in.

Despite Chatot's warning, an encouraging smile from Wigglytuff left the two apprentices feeling warm, fuzzy, and confident. They silently agreed to keep up their good work and get chosen.

~~~~~

Meanwhile, on a completely unremarkable island off the northern coast that was presently experiencing a savage thunderstorm, not far from a mysterious and undiscovered white tower. Melody was engaged in a fierce clash with two Pokémon who were predictably confronting her for the alleged Time Gear theft. One of these explorers in particular was a familiar face that enraged her. "Leave me alone, sister!! I didn't steal that Time Gear!!" she cried out to the four winged individual and their canine companion, feeling the bruises from an earlier Stone Edge. Unlike last night, thunder and lighting were both present, both of which still terrified her to this day.

Bela and Atlas had discovered Melody's hideout on this remote island and Blaise was joining them for the bitter exchange. Atlas, despite his well placed Stone Edge hit, had already been defeated. "I believe you, Melody! Come with us and we can clear this up!" Bela called back, desperately trying to reach out to her wayward adoptive sister, who had been taken in by the Crobat's parents after a freak thunderstorm just like this one in that natural disaster ravaged continent had tragically left her orphaned. "You might be this land's most notorious outlaw but even you wouldn't do this, I know it!"

Melody was having absolutely none of it, especially when the rumbling noises and the flashes of light were bringing back distressing memories. In these surroundings, she couldn't be expected to think rationally. "D-don't lie to me!! I don't trust you, and they'll just have me arrested anyway!! I'm... not... stupid!!" she screamed, in addition to actually crying a bit. This was, without any doubt, the worst night of her life. More to escape the weather than them at this point, the panicking Altaria began flying south towards the ocean but saw the unwelcome sight of Blaise chasing her through his Agility and firing a Dragon Rage to cut off her escape, the hot blue fireball narrowly missing her.

"She just wants to talk! Control yourself!" the Growlithe bellowed, but Melody was beyond reason in her hysteria as she turned to strike both of them while covered in the royal blue glow of her Dragon Rush. Watching this display was an ordinary Chinchou, who swam back to the mainland and turned back into Esplictral.

"That's the outlaw who Grovyle framed, to conceal his tracks? She could be useful for our ends too..." the drenched Zoroark thought to himself. "Constantilum and the superiors surely can't ignore Grovyle..."

~~~~~

Just as Wigglytuff said last night, today's morning briefing contained that exciting announcement of an upcoming expedition and a recommendation for the apprentices to work hard and stand out if they wanted to be chosen. According to Sunflora, Basil heard, it had been such a long time since the last expedition.

With the assignment from Chatot to look over both boards and take whichever jobs they were capable of, Basil and Alex went upstairs to do just that but they saw an unexpected duo already searching the Job Bulletin Board. "Hold on, Alex. Aren't they...?" Basil stopped her and muttered. They were Koffing and Zubat, the two Pokémon who stole Basil's treasured Relic Fragment when he and Alex first met.

Koffing heard him and turned around to see them, he and Zubat displaying equal amounts of surprise at this duo being here too. "You're the two from back at the beach! What are you both doing here?" Alex asked. Zubat gave her the usual laugh before responding. "We happen to be in an Exploration Team too, didn't you know? What's so strange about us checking the boards?" he almost demanded, a hidden look of glee appearing on his teammate's face when Alex backed off a few millimeters. At the other side of the room, a Golem eyed Koffing and Zubat with a look of deepest loathing before starting conversation with his Meganium teammate.

"Whoa-ho-ho! That's enough about us though, what could you possibly-" Koffing began, before a startling thought struck him. "You're both apprenticing here as a team yourself, aren't you?!" he guessed. Basil's face confirmed that guess as, nodding at each other, Koffing floated in closer. "You, Snivy. Come here for a sec." Basil really didn't have any option with Koffing pushing him towards the far side of the room with himself and Zubat.

Alex could hear, and they both knew it. "Heh-heh-heh... Alright, don't go taking this the wrong way now, but you should definitely ditch that wimp and go with another Pokémon." Zubat suggested. Behind them, Alex felt that old wound reopen and it took an extraordinary effort to not show how deeply cutting that suggestion was. "She's really timid and scares easily, don't pretend like you haven't noticed. A little coward like her has no hope of making it in a real Exploration Team." Koffing added, as if to twist the knife.

Again, it took a lot of restraint to stay calm in the face of these words. "Do you not think I've been asked that before?" Basil stiffly spoke in a voice oozing with suppressed anger. "You can say whatever you want about Alex but I'm never going to abandon her. We still beat you in the Beach Cave even when her leg was hurt." he brutally told them, right to their faces.

Before anyone else could speak, an eye-wateringly bad smell wafted in from the entrance upstairs which brought great joy to Koffing and Zubat. "That was a fluke because the leader of Team Skull, our Chief, wasn't there then... unlike now. He's brutally strong." Koffing replied ominously. On cue, their Chief arrived in the room and he appeared to be in a rather bad mood today. "Move it!!" the new arrival demanded to the Eevee who just happened to be in his way, aggressively blasting her aside with a Smog before she could clear off.

Panic flooding his brain, Basil ran off to her side instead of challenging the brute, while the Meganium and Golem from before joined them. "Oh no, not that horrid Skuntank again..." Flo lamented as she looked at his latest target, out cold in one hit...

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