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TEEN: 108 Reunions (a shiny-based writing challenge)

KatrinaSForest

Helping Penny Save Paldea
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
79
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86
Pronouns
  1. She/Her
Plot Summary:
Spiritomb is meant to be 108 spirits justly bound and punished. But this time 107 of those spirits are innocent. When tracker-turned-medium Indigo accidentally binds himself to the Odd Keystone, he sets off to connect each ghost with the descendent of their beloved Pokémon. How will he recognize these Pokémon? Well, they might have a certain...sparkle.

Challenge Rules:
I wanted to challenge myself for NaNoWriMo, so for this fic, I'll be going out to whatever Mass Outbreaks appear at the village exit in Legends: Arceus and using the first shiny I find to determine the next chapter.

1. The chapters will be connected, but each one should also be complete and stand on its own (with the exception of the opening and closing stories, of course.)
2. The chapters must be short--around 1,000 words (or no more than six minutes to read aloud).
3. I cannot write any material ahead of time.
4. No two stories can be about the same Pokémon. If I get a repeat outbreak for a Pokémon that can evolve, I will center the chapter on its evolution. If it has no evolutions (or I've written stories for all of them), I'll move onto a different outbreak. When 107 chapters are complete, I will create a conclusion centered around the game's fixed shiny encounter: the shiny Ponyta. (Or Rapidash if I've done Ponyta already.)

Rating:
T for some ghostly, dark-ish themes.

Audiobook:
An audio version of this chapter is available for anyone who wants/needs it. (I've skipped past the section that explains the challenge rules.)

Spoilers:
Spoilers for the quest "Eerie Apparitions in the Night" from Legends: Arceus. (I make Vessa straight-up evil in this fic.)

#

~~Chapter 1: Spiritomb~~

Sixty years had passed since the strange events involving Arceus, and no one could deny Jubilife Village had grown quite a bit over the decades. But the wilderness of the Alabaster Icelands? That never changed much. And Indigo liked it that way. While many people had embraced the growing advancements in technology, he was not one of them. Not at all. This was one blue-haired teenager who held fast to the Pearl Clan's traditional ways, and he was proud of it. In a few years, he would take over the clan. Perhaps when that day came, he could help them remember their roots.

In the meantime, he had to make a living somehow. Thankfully, it turned out that people who didn't go out into the wilderness anymore were still pretty fascinated by it. When Indigo offered his services, they were often happy to pay him to find a favorite Pokémon. Thus his rather successful Pokémon-tracking service had begun. The jobs were straightforward, even a bit boring at times. Today, however, had come with a much more unusual request.

Stars sparkled overhead as Indigo made his way down the quieter streets of Jubilife, a folded paper in his hand. He checked it again. His client said to meet here on the edge of town, where most of the streets still looked the same as they did half a century ago. It brought him comfort, knowing not everyone was in such a hurry to change.

"Finally, you made it! You're the grandson of Warden Ingo and Commander Cyllene, right?"

Indigo jumped at the voice. It was rare for someone to sneak up on him. He turned, and his eyebrows rose. The "client" sounded roughly his age, but she looked like a small child. Still, he couldn't act unprofessional. "The name is Indigo, but yes, that's correct."

"I see. So that must mean you're very reliable." The girl narrowed her eyes at him. "Are you reliable?"

"Generally speaking, yes. Do you...have an actual request or did you just want to chat about my family history?"

"I have the most important request you will ever get. See that wisp over there? I need you to find one-hundred-seven of them!" She clasped her hands together. "Please! If you don't, something terrible will happen!"

"Terrible? What, specifically?"

"Just...it'll be terrible, okay?" The girl huffed and crossed her arms. "I asked some other teenager to do this once before. She said, 'I will definitely go hunt all those wisps for you!' Guess how many she brought back."

"Um..." Indigo had no clue how to answer, but his pint-sized client stomped her foot and saved him the trouble.

"Zero! Absolutely zero!"

"I'm sorry to hear that. How long ago was this?"

The girl staggered back like he'd pulled a knife on her. "Th-that doesn't matter! It was a while ago but not too long ago, because that wouldn't make sense. Because I am Vessa, a perfectly normal seven-year-old girl who wasn't born then!"

Right, exactly what every seven-year-old I've ever met says, Indigo thought.

Vessa regained her composure and stepped towards him again, shoving a strange rock into his hand as she did so. It was a blunted pyramid shape, with engravings that vaguely resembled a frowning face. "The wisps will enter this stone if you touch it to them," she explained. "It's like their Poké Ball. Please say you'll do this for me. And then actually follow-through, will you?"

Indigo tucked the...odd stone into his pocket. "I'll see what I can do, Vessa," he said and left it at that.

#

Indigo didn't think much about Vessa's stone at first. But once it came into his possession, he couldn't help but notice the strange purple flames floating out in the wilderness at night. They were never far from his destinations, and he found himself drawn to them--a kind of unease in the back of his mind until he directed Sneasler over and pulled the stone out. The strangest thing was, whenever he did so, he could swear he heard a voice. Felt an emotional presense. Like someone mumbling frantically to themselves as they passed him, gone too quick to catch specific words. It was a different voice each time, like each wisp had its own unique background and personality. But...that was impossible. Wasn't it?

By the time Indigo had gathered three dozen wisps or so, he began to dig up more research about Vessa's peculiar stone. He had always been a history buff, and a few stories from his childhood were now floating to his memory.

By around sixty wisps, he had not only identified the stone, he had become quite versed in the old legends surrounding it.

By around ninety wisps, he stopped taking any new tracking jobs. This was getting finished. And the moment it was, he had some questions for Vessa.

The night the one-hundred-seventh wisp entered the stone, Indigo met Vessa outside of town. No letter, no message...she simply waited there in the vacant field like she could sense exactly where he would approach from.

"You have it?" she asked as he approached.

Indigo gave a shrug. "Perhaps. Let's chat a bit first. I've learned so much in all my travels looking for these."

"Oh?" Vessa shuffled her feet. He couldn't say for sure, but she looked several years older now, even though her request had only taken a few months to complete. "What have you learned?"

"Plenty of things. But at the top of that list is a legend about a certain ghost Pokémon. One said to be made up of mischievous spirits, all bound together in something called an Odd Keystone." He held up the rock she'd given him nearly a season ago. "Where and when did you get this?"

Vessa frowned. "I-I just had it, is all!"

"Funny thing with this legend. It's 108 spirits exactly." He stepped forward. "I've run all over Hisui tracking down 107 of these things. I know they're not Pokémon, but I could feel emotions coming from them like I've never felt before. It varied each time, but now it feels like their emotions are all in sync. They're scared of you. Why is that?"

"None of your business!"

Indigo sighed. Expecting Vessa to be forthright with him was obviously too much. But two could play that game. He put the Odd Keystone back into his pocket. "You know, I think I'll hold onto this."

He turned his back to her. That was a mistake. Her nervous, girlish voice morphed to that of a powerful, fully-grown woman. "Drop it right now or I will kill you."

"Excuse me?" He expected her to react badly, but this was over the top. Then his hair stood on end as he realized what sort of creature he was speaking to. He'd taken her for an avid collector with some obvious illusory powers on her side...concealing the one-hundred-eight spirit somewhere on her person.

He did not take her to be that spirit herself. And so he was completely unprepared when she fired a Dark Pulse into his back and through his heart. For a brief moment, Indigo saw nothing but a soft, bluish-green light around him. Then he had the strange sensation of an invisible hand grasping him by the wrist and yanking him forward. He fell onto his hands and knees, disoriented. The ground had no blades of grass, no dirt or rocks, not even the scent of the outdoors he was so familiar with. Tightening his fists felt like grasping at watery dough--everything slipping through his fingers.

He leapt to his feet, but Vessa was nowhere to be seen. There was a teenage girl in front of him--holding his wrist, in fact--but she and Vessa couldn't have looked more different. Vessa's childish eyes were large but crafty. This person's were smaller and farther apart but filled with genuine shock and fear. Her hair was long but scraggly, like she never had the time to properly care for it. But her most noticeable feature was the aura of magenta flames surrounding her.

She released his wrist with a gasp and backed away from him. "Oh, no," she whispered. "I didn't. Oh, no-no-no-no."

That voice. I've heard it before. But where...?

The strange girl held her face in her hands, muttering to herself. "I was just didn't want her to hurt you! I didn't mean to...oh, no. I can't believe this! Oh, nooo!"

"I'm sorry," Indigo said, not sure what he was apologizing for but hoping to calm her down. "What's going on?"

Her face shot up, and she looked him in the eyes for the first time. "You need to go back. Your body can't live without your spirit for too long."

"It can't what?"

She walked up to him--or perhaps floated to him was a better word--and nudged his shoulders, urging him to move. "Your Pokémon aren't strong enough to face her yet. When you wake up, just...run, okay? I'll explain later!"

Indigo turned around, but where was he supposed to go? The whole field had filled with a glowing aqua-tinted fog. He couldn't see anything through the fog...except, perhaps, for a few glowing, magenta flames. From each flame came another voice, urging him to leave. And all of them sounded so familiar.

Several hands pushed him forward, and as the fog cleared, he finally remembered where he'd heard the girl before. The one-hundred-seventh wisp he'd collected...this was the voice that had come from it. And the other voices were all the ones he'd heard on his journey.

But the wisps were all part of the same Pokémon. How could he have been speaking to any of them individually? Unless that place he had been standing was...

Indigo looked down at his hand, surrounded with magenta flames that didn't burn. His arm...no, his whole body appeared translucent. Like he was an illusion. Or...a ghost?

In that moment, the girl's words made much more sense. Horrible, gut-wrenching sense.

Spiritomb had been one spirit short of its true form. Vessa should have been the final addition. But somehow Indigo had been yanked into her place. And she was not happy about it.

In place of where the child-like Vessa had been standing earlier was a fully grown version of her, eyes bright with fury, her hand poised for another attack.

All Indigo could hear was a voice in his head, urging him to run. And so he did.
 
108 chapters? That is a lot.
True, but since I'm aiming for them to all be under 1000 words, the whole fic will likely still come in at less than 100k. Which isn't small, but it's shorter than the last fic I wrote. ^_^;;

I'm also going to try to make the chapters stand alone as much as possible, so it'll more be a collection of stories that are loosely connected, with the bookend chapters being the must-reads as far as the larger plot goes.

Basically, if a flash fiction about X Pokémon intrigues you, feel free to have a read, but if not, feel free to skim ahead to a Pokemon whose story interests you more. :)

(The first two Pokemon are going to be Vulpix, then Carnivine; I've gotten that far.)
 
I'd love to do a story about one of the Eeveelutions. (Though by my own challenge rules, I'd need the RNG to deliver 2 shiny Eevees for that.) Also really hoping Zorua and/or Snorunt make their way onto my list.

But also looking forward to the unexpected Pokemon like Carnivine that I wouldn't normally write about.
 
#002 Vulpix
~~Chapter 2: Vulpix~~
Audio version is available here.

#

"Hello? Hello, can you hear me?"

Indigo sat up, his head throbbing. He remembered very little of the past few moments. Someone had attacked him from behind...why was that, again?

"If you can hear me, then get up and run!"

A Dark Pulse attack connected with the ground at his side. Indigo did not like that he was hearing voices right now, but he liked the idea of sitting still while somebody attacked him even less. He sprang to his feet and took off, not looking back for a second. Adrenaline pumped through his tired muscles as he sprinted off the road to the Cobalt Coastlines and into a long tree line. No one seemed to be following. Indigo slowed down, gasping to catch his breath. Not to mention his bearings. The guard at the gate had said something about an outbreak of Vulpix around this area, hadn't he? Not exactly a threatening species, but a flurry of Ember attacks would light up the area and draw the attention of anyone trying to follow. Better to be cautious and stay alive.

"There you go! See, I knew you wouldn't die so easily!" said the voice--a young, feminine pitch. Strange and foreign as it was, the voice lifted Indigo's spirits with its encouragement. Or...at least...it did for the first thirty seconds.

"I mean, I'm pretty sure you didn't die. You were only out of your body for a little bit, and your heart is still beating and stuff."

Indigo stopped and leaned against a tree, his jaw slack to take in more air. "Wh-what are talking about?"

The voice went silent a moment before it echoed in Indigo's mind once again, "Y'know, I don't think I ever introduced myself. I'm Prima."

"Indigo. Now what's this about being out of my body?"

Prima gave a forced, uncomfortable giggle. "Oh, that," she said. "I, um, might have pulled you in and bound you to the Odd Keystone with us."

"Us?"

Now Prima huffed. "Did all your research on Spiritomb get knocked out of your brain when you were attacked? 'Us' meaning me and the other one hundred plus spirits that have been trapped all these years."

Indigo began to walk forward. Not in any particular direction, but if he kept moving, he could imagine Prima as a traveling companion who perpetually walked behind him, rather than one of 107 telepathic spirits bound together inside a magical rock.

"108," she said.

"Pardon?"

"There's 108 now. Including you. To re-iterate, I pulled your spirit in before Vessa could join us."

"Wait. So you tried to murder me?"

"Of course not! Vessa tried to murder you when you wouldn't give her back the Odd Keystone, you dummy!"

Indigo was about to argue her point when an aggressive Beautifly swooped down and tried to bat him on the head. He called out his Rhyperior, hoping to quickly knock it out before it made too much of a scene. Rhyperior, despite its bulk, could be surprisingly stealthy when it needed to be.

"If it makes you feel any better, you're a much better companion than Vessa," Prima continued. "Don't let her innocent little girl illusion fool you. She's straight-up evil."

"Hmph," Indigo replied as Rhyperior shooed Beautifly away. "The legends say you lot aren't exactly a bunch of innocent Starlies yourselves."

For a long while, Prima didn't answer. And when she did, it came as no surprise that she completely changed the topic, "You know, I had a Vulpix when I was younger. A very strong one. If she was here, I bet she could face Vessa, no problem."

Indigo seriously doubted Prima's pet could stand up to the terrifying woman he now remembered fleeing from. That Vessa...whatever she was...wasn't a normal human. She had some powerful abilities--both her attacks and her shapeshifting--even without any Pokémon at her side.

And all of this was besides the point, given that Prima's request was impossible.

"The legends say Spiritomb is hundreds of years old," he said. "No offense, but would your Vulpix still be around?"

Prima didn't say anything right away in reply, but Indigo could feel her sadness welling up inside his own chest. "No, I don't suppose she would. But maybe...we could find one of her descendants? I'm sure I would recognize one! I could point them out to you!"

Indigo considered this a moment, then paused. The air around them felt warmer. A chorus of playful gurgles and growls could be heard not far through a break in the trees. The outbreak had to be close. If Prima lived in this area, perhaps her Vulpix's descendent was here too? It didn't seem a useful quest, but it did seem a kind one. It might be worth doing for that alone.

Indigo crept to the clearing, and sure enough, a large group of the red fox Pokemon were gathered around. As he crept closer, though, one of them let off a kind of...sparkle? And it had a golden glow the others didn't.

"There! See it?" Prima whispered. "That one! I'm sure of it!"

Indigo tapped into his muscle memory, pulled out one of his crafted Ultra Balls, and tossed it. The odd-colored Vulpix went immediately into the ball with no issue.

"Well, of course it did," he muttered aloud. "It's just a Vulpix, after all, not a Garchomp or....

He started back up the path, only to spot a different Vulpix. It was the same colors as most of the others, and Prima didn't seem to recognize it. But its eyes glowed red with incredible power. It locked eyes with Indigo and gave a deep-throated growl. Like it had heard him mentally disregard its smaller fellows and was here to remind him its kind were not to be trifled with.

"Vulpix are very prideful," Prima said to him. "And they watch over their own. They won't stand for even one member of the group being insulted."

Indigo held up his hands. "Okay, okay, I admit it," he said softly. "I underestimated you and your friends. I'm sorry. Would you do me the honor of a battle?"

The Alpha lowered its head, not exactly pleased, but willing to settle this through the proper channels. A battle it would be then. Indigo felt the familiar rush of excitement as brought his own Pokémon out against his opponent. The fox Pokémon may have looked sweet and helpless, but seeing the Alpha stand its ground? Indigo had clearly underestimated how powerful a bond of friendship could be.

If he was going to face off against Vessa again someday, he might do well to help the other spirits find their old companions too. And to leave his stupid assumptions behind.
 
Hold on... If Indigo is Spirit 108, then would it make more sense for there to be 107 chapters, or am I simply missing something?

No, you're not missing anything. Indigo got chapter 1, and I keep mentally removing the bookend chapters from the final count. Sorry about that! >.<

I was planning on the last chapter being focused on Vessa, who isn't part of the group anymore, but maybe it would be better to make the final ghost tied to her and Ponyta somehow so I get a nice, clean 108 chapters, bookends included?

Hmm...now I'm going into brainstorming mode again. ^_^
 
Chapter 3: Carnivine
~~Chapter 3: Carnivine~~
Audio version is available here.

#

Rain trickled from the eaves as Indigo held out a warm rice cake to his newly-caught alpha Vulpix. She sniffed it tentatively.

"Hey, Indigo!"

"Wha--?" Indigo startled, and the cake fell to the ground, where Vulpix was more than happy to gobble it up.

The greeter was a new stylist training at Arezu's, and she cocked her head at his overreaction. "Sorry. Just wanted to say you've got a...uh, bold style choice there. Very nice." The woman pointed to her own elaborate hairdo then nodded a quick good-bye.

Indigo stood up and ran his hand through his hair, trying to figure out what she was talking about. He thought his style was pretty basic, but now...wait. What was this? His hair was way longer than before. Also it seemed to be disregarding basic laws of physics.

"What the...?" he muttered when an elderly voice broke spoke into mind.

"Hey, there, sonny! You gonna sit there scratchin' yer noggin all day? Thought you were helpin' us sad spirits find our old Pokemon again."

Indigo closed his eyes and sighed. He didn't resent the presense of Spiritomb's other 107 spirits exactly. After all, he was one of them now. But the feel of talking to them was still an adjustment.

"I can help you find your old Pokemon's descendent, he corrected, pulling out a rice cake for himself as he watched the rain fall. After the weather clears up."

The elderly voice gave a huff. "Hogwash! My old Carnivine loved the rain. Was pretty helpful in it, too. So get off yer tush and go lookin' already!"

Indigo was about to tell the old spirit to at least wait until he was done eating...only to look down and notice that his hand was now empty except for a moist patch of Vulpix saliva.

Seemed it was a hunt in the rain after all.

#

Indigo's new hair didn't care about humidity any more than it did the force of gravity. But it had one major drawback. Namely that every wild Pokemon on his way to the Carnivine nest could spot him no matter how well he hid. One alpha Psyduck gave him a particularly difficult time and almost forced him to turn back. His Vulpix wanted a battle with it, but with the weather against her, he preferred to avoid what fights he could.

"Name's Root, by the way," said the voice in his head.

Indigo gave a grunt in reply. He didn't mean to be rude, but with the fog clouding his view and his hair screaming, Here, attack this weird human! he wasn't in a chatty mood.

"Hmph. Pleased to make yer acquaintance too, then," Root muttered, his hurt palpable through their psychic connection.

Indigo did feel bad and tried to make up for it once he reached a taller patch of grass. The thick blades were soaked with rain, and when he crouched down, they bent in as if to dry themselves on his Pearl Clan uniform.

"Sorry. I'm, uh, used to being alone when I'm tracking."

Root gave no reply. He obviously heard, but the hurt was still there.

"So..." Indigo continued. "When I found Prima's Vulpix, she was able to make it...sparkle? I'm not sure how else to describe it."

This time Root did answer, though he went out of his way to sound unimpressed. "Eh, she used some ghostly power on yer eyeballs. Not that hard. Can do that if ya want."

"Well, it would make this quest a bit easier, so yes, please."

No sooner had he said it, something glimmered to the side. He stole a cautious glance out of his hiding spot and sure enough, there it was. A Carnivine that sparkled. Its leaves glowed with a yellower shade than its fellows, despite looking just as healthy. Maybe even more so.

"There she is! What a beauty of a descendent, eh? Now run up beside her and she'll help ya right out."

"Uh..." Indigo found this to be pretty awful advice, but he also wanted to make up for mentally pushing Root aside earlier. He tried the old spirit's approach. He really did. But each time he got near, the Carnivine lunged forward, forcing him to jump back. He lost his balance and fell smack on his behind. His soaked clothes were now even wetter and muddy to boot. Indigo at last lost his patience and made the catch.

Then, at Root's insistence, he brought her out again and took one more step towards her. This time, he would not jump back. His muscles tensed, ready for another meet-up with the mud. Except, it didn't come. She leaned forward. The raindrops pattered loudly above his head, cascading off Carnivine's wide, leafy maw. She grinned down at him and winked.

Oh...she's shielding me from the rain.

Like before, Root said nothing in reply. But instead of hurt or rejection this time, Indigo could feel the man beaming with pride.
 
Chapter 4: Eevee
A/N: YES! I found Eevee! (I was way more excited to write an Eevee chapter than about the fact that I had a shiny Eevee.)

Also, a couple new spoiler warnings, as I'm giving Spiritomb a bit of history with Pecharunt:
Pecharunt 1) seems fixated on gaining affection from humans--which it typically coerces out of them with its purple mochi, 2) used to live with a human couple, who sent it to fetch Ogrepon's masks, and 3) appears to have passed through Hisui at some point.


~~Chapter 4: Eevee~~
Audio version is available here.

#

If Indigo had to pick any day to be pranked...

Well, he wasn't sure what would constitute a good day but it sure as the Distortion World wasn't today.

His uniform was damp with half-dried rainwater as he dragged himself into Jubilife. Mud clung to his boots, and to top it all off, Prima Vulpix--as he'd nicknamed the alpha he'd caught--had stolen his lunch.

He wasn't normally one for eating out, but he soon gravitated to a colorful storefront that advertised "Mochi Man's Meals!"

"Hi, there! Welcome!" the lady manning the store said, with the full enthusiasm of someone who was neither wet nor hungry. "Fine day for a Mochi Man Meal! Would you like to try the new MMM rainbow special?"

"Huh?" Indigo asked groggily, his hand half in his pocket as he fumbled for some cash.

She grinned and splayed out her fingers. "It's our half-off promotion! Five colors of tasty mochi in five yummy flavors!"

Indigo didn't care what color his mochi was, but he did like the part where he got five pieces for the price of two and a half. The meal arrived quickly and it looked...interesting. A line-up of mochi dyed red, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

Indigo scooped up the rightmost one. Its warm, doughy texture made his mouth water. He opened wide and...

"DON'T EAT THAT!" screamed a voice in his head.

Indigo yelped and not only dropped the food in his hand, he knocked over the little basket balanced on his lap. Multi-colored mochi rolled across the ground, coating themselves in dirt.

"What..." Indigo inhaled sharply through his nose. "...was that about?"

He didn't get an answer right away, but he could sense the collective spirits in the Odd Keystone hotly debating.

"Uh...sorry about that," the voice finally replied. Female, around his older sister's age. "I'm, uh...a prankster. Yeah, that's it."

"You don't say." It was the simplest explanation, of course. So why would she debate how to answer him? Indigo didn't like it. "Do you have a name or should I just call you 'Prankster'?"

"O-oh! Name. Yes. It's Eve. And you're Indigo. I know that. And you're tracking the descendants of our old Pokémon, right? Wow, I sure would love to meet the offspring of my dear, um...Eevee."

"Hold on." He didn't want to accuse the spirit of lying, but he couldn't ignore her evasive behavior, either. Or the way it sounded like she'd named the first Pokémon she could think of. "Your name is Eve, and your old companion was an Eevee?"

"Y-yes! At least one of those things is definitely true! Now let's get moving!"

Indigo felt the sudden urge to jump up from his seat, like an invisible hand was shoving him off the bench. Hopefully he'd at least get some answers on the road.

#

Eve guided him to the Alabaster Icelands. A place he felt at home in any normal day. But today there was just enough mud left on his clothes to freeze up and make moving uncomfortable. He had two goals: get the Eevee and get some answers.

Okay, and get some warm, dry clothes. So three things.

He soon spotted a whole group of Eevee frolicking in the snow. A rare sight for so many to gather in one place. But they were playful little creatures, and the fresh powder was too much for them to resist.

Indigo threw a few tempting berries to encourage them to stay in the area then waited for Eve to clue him in as to which one she sensed a connection with.

And he waited.

And waited.

After several minutes of mental silence, he gave Eve the telepathic equivalent of clearing his throat.

"Huh? What's that about?" she asked.

"Well, we're staring at a bunch of Eevees. Can't you make one of them stand out so I know which to capture?"

There was a long pause, and Indigo thought for a moment Eve was chatting with the others in Spiritomb without him again.

If she was, she came back much more quickly than before. "Oh. Okay. Like make them appear a different color, right? Yeah, I uh...I did that already. Don't you see it?"

Indigo surveyed the scene again. His stomach was growling, and watching the Eevees nibble up the berries didn't help. "They all look the same to me."

"Well, it looks much different to me. How about you just hold up a Poké Ball, and I'll tell you when to throw it?"

Indigo didn't want to brag, but he'd spent years perfecting the art of sneaking up on a Pokémon and throwing the ball with precision angles and timing. He did not trust a random spirit to replicate those skills, even if she was watching the world through his eyeballs.

The compulsion to grab a Poké Ball seized his mind anyway.

"All right, fine," he thought to her. "Just tell me when to throw, and I'll do it."

"Gotcha. Okay..." Eve's voice flipped tempos quick as a coin toss. "Oooookay...wait for it. Waaaait forrr--oo! Throw-it-now!"

He did so. The Poké Ball bounced off a nearby tree with a loud thunk. Several Eevees looked up in confusion, but since his aim was so far off, none of them looked concerned enough to leave their snowy playground.

"So close!" Eve told him. "Let's try again! Reeeady...now!"

Another ball went nowhere.

"And...now!"

Then a third.

"Nooow.... Oo! Now! Nowity-now-now-now!"

Indigo dutifully threw ball after ball. He soon dipped into his stash of rarer varieties, including some Ultra Balls it had not been easy to scrape together the resources for. He had just about lost his patience when one ball finally connected. His eyes caught a flash of red lit up against the Eevee's fur right before it went inside.

The Eevee's sparkling, white-as-snow fur.

Well, Indigo thought as the ball sparked to confirm the catch was complete. Now I know why I couldn't see the thing.

He trudged over, picked the ball up, and stashed it inside his bag. "Hey there," he thought back to Eve, struggling to keep calm. "Care to explain why you made your Eevee look white against the WHITE snow?"

"S-so I could see it and you couldn't!" Eve replied. "Oh, and then I told you to throw the balls the wrong way! Wasn't it hilarious? Totally prankster-ific?"

Indigo couldn't see the humor. And he got the distinct sense neither could Eve. He didn't know her well, of course. But whatever her usual personality was, this felt off. Same as when she glossed over her outburst about the purple mochi earlier. But why? What was the point?

"Listen. I don't know what's going on. But I've lost my lunch and half my Poké Balls. You understand I'm not rich, right?"

"Yep. I mean, no! I mean, uh...yeah, see? Total prankster! That's me!"

Indigo shook his head and started his trek home towards the Pearl Settlement. The awkward force behind the ghost's laughter really made him want to believe her. For his own sanity, if nothing else.
 
Oh, wow! It didn't occur to me that the video had enough reach for anyone here to have already seen it. ^_^;;

I've been trying to make the chapters stand on their own as much as I can, though I know I can get wrapped up in the continuing story, too. And Pecharunt fit in so well with the backstory I'd already planned--almost creepily so--that I couldn't not use it.

Anyway, thanks a lot!

Saw the last one in YouTube without context but now I get it. Great idea, and good luck with the remaining 104!
 
Chapter 5: Shinx New
A/N: Not sure how I got a chapter behind on here, but standby for a double post. ^_^;;

~~Chapter 5: Shinx~~
Audio version is available here.

#

"We should tell him. He's one of us, after all."

"He's different. He can still be physically hurt."

"More info means more safety, right?"


It was bad enough to have voices in one's head. Worse still when those voices came from terrified, centuries-old ghosts who wouldn't tell him what they were scared of.

Indigo knew one thing about his fellow Odd Keystone spirits. They really didn't want him--the only one who still had a physical body--putting any weird-colored mochi into said body.

And when someone wouldn't give Indigo answers, he found them himself.

After a painfully late lunch at home, he donned a set of dry, clean clothes and headed straight for the Coronet Highlands.

"Looks like there's outbreak of Shinx this way," he told the spirits. "Any one of you looking for a Shinx?"

"Oo, me! I had a Shinx!" an elderly woman's voice answered through the telepathy.

There was some muttering in the group about Indigo's overeagerness, but mostly they let the woman and Indigo converse without interruption. Her name was Benita, and if Indigo would be so kind as to locate the Shinx outbreak, she would identify the nearest relative of her old companion. To make the catch easier, she'd make it glow a bright, sun-shiny yellow.

It was quite possibly one of the quickest requests Indigo ever filled.

Which was a good thing, because the space-time distortion appeared directly afterwards. Its iridescent surface glistened in the setting sun. Though from this distance, it more resembled a strange, pulsing rainbow.

Thought I sensed one on the way, Indigo thought as whipped out his flute and summoned Braviary. The ride Pokémon could be finicky in the best of times, but right now, he needed the speed.

The ghosts grew more uneasy the closer he got.

"It's said time-space distortions can be mirrors to the past," he said aloud once they landed. "Our histories and memories can manifest there. I wonder, if we go in together, will I learn what the group of you have been hiding from me?"

A cacophony rose in his mind as several dozen spirits expressed their disapproval at once. But Benita's voice spoke above them and quieted them down.

"If you don't, I'll tell you myself. Or at least what small pieces Shinx and I can remember. Go, child. Learn what you can."

Indigo forward. A strange fog blossomed into his face. The outside world became muted. Indigo had the strange sensation that he was stepping into someone else's mind.

A...Pokémon's mind?

The woods filled with dangerous things at night. Creatures that ran back and forth and nearly trampled her. They roared and clashed, testing their strength against one another. Pecharunt trembled in her shell, hoping she was small enough to ignore.

She could only convince others not to hurt her through her powers. Psychic powers, briefly, if she strained herself. But mostly she protected herself through her nectar.

The humans had called it "poison." Was she poison? Did it matter? She was too drained to make more nectar now. Too exhausted to even try. She had lost everything in her battle with Ogrepon. All because she had tried to please some greedy humans.

The worst part was...deep in her heart...she knew it would do it again...

If another human found her...if they cared for her and showed her affection...she'd do anything to keep that. Anything to feel loved, safe, protected. To be part of a family.

Something growled and nudged at her shell. Pecharunt hardly dared to peek through the seem. She psychically reached out and connected their thoughts, hoping they could bond enough to avoid an confrontation.

His fur was light blue, his body feline and muscular. Electric power sparked off his tail. Then there were his claws. This Pokémon could pry her protective shell right if it wanted. And yet the others treated him like a runt.

Maybe that was why he empathized with someone even smaller.

Ever so gently, he lifted Pecharunt in his maw and carried her away from the deep woods where Pokemon loved to fight. He found a clearing and set her down in the soft grass. There was a stream nearby, shadowed by bushes, where other meek creatures came to drink. She would be safe here. Safe until someone else found her.

The fog faded, and so did the images with it. Indigo was so engrossed, he barely had time to defend himself against the sudden attack of a Dusknoir and an alpha Magmar. His Umbreon stepped in and fended them off. But he also sensed some battle drive from his newly-caught Pokémon as well. He'd have to make sure to give them some extra training later.

"My Shinx was such a kind soul," Benita said longingly once Indigo moved on from the battle. "He did the right thing. We couldn't have known who would find the Subjugation Pokemon next."

Indigo kept to the edges of the distortion, alert to the possibility of other attacks but unable to hold off his question.

"Who was it?"

Benita gave a long pause. "Some say she could mimic the powers of Pokemon. Others say she could outright steal them. Unfortunately, this is where my first-hand knowledge ends."

As her words echoed in his mind, the space-time distortion faded, and the world returned to normal. Indigo was left with a strange ache in his chest. Was it a side effect of this...Pecharunt's memories, as felt by Shinx? He did want to hear more, and of course, there were plenty others within Spiritomb he could ask.

But first? He really, really wanted to go home and see his family.
 
Chapter 6: Misdreavus New
A/N: Okay, now we're caught up. The audio version really stretched my narration skills this time. I thought I was good at voices until I had to figure out what Ingo and Cylenne sound like in their 90s!

~~Chapter 6: Misdreavus~~

Audio version is available here.

#

Dinners at Indigo's household were a big deal.

The Pearl Clan home was all but silent during the day, with everyone out and about, but when it came to their evening meal, his mother did not tolerate absences.

And no, it did not matter that two of her children were adults now. At a measly fifteen years old, Indigo was by far the baby of the family. His brother Jasper and sister Citrine could easily start families of their own now. But whenever the topic came up, they redirected it. Most recently to Indigo's weird new haircut.

Tonight's meal was dumplings with roasted vegetables, and the delicious scent had permeated the house for an hour before everyone sat down--Indigo's mother at the head of the table, his father to her right, with him and his siblings and grandparents filling in the rest.

Indigo tried to soak in this moment as his plate was set before him--the comfort of routine and familiarity. The mix of voices young and old as everyone shared their day's adventures with half-stuffed mouths. Indigo had almost tricked himself into feeling normal when:

"Hey, sounded to me like you were looking for some info on your last hunt," whispered one of Spiritomb's ghosts into his mind. The man had a slick tone, like someone who'd sell the Pearl Clan some new-fangled ice boxes.

"About Pecharunt, maybe? If you want to know more about spooks like that, old Reynard here's got you covered. Whatdd'ya say to trackin down my old Misdreavus, huh? I got a feeling he's still around here."

Indigo said nothing and shoved another dumpling into his mouth. Just because he and some hundred other spirits were bonded by the Odd Keystone did not mean they all had to trust each other. In fact, since the Keystone was meant as a punishment, he probably should have been more suspicious of them than he was.

"Whoa, whoa," Reynard said. "Judgey, much? I'll have you know every last one of us is innocent as a newborn Cleffa."

"Really?"

"Well, innocent of the crime we all got punished for, anyway."

Indigo sighed. The man had a point about Misdreavus, at least. And now that the sun had set, if he wanted to look for one, it was the best time for it. He picked up speed with his dinner, enough to draw his grandmother Cyllene's attention.

"What? Do you not eat during the day, boy?" the retired commander said.

Indigo swallowed hard. "Sorry, grandma. I just...remembered a tracking request I need to finish, so--"

"Don't call me 'grandma.' It makes me sound old."

"You are ninety, my dear," his grandfather Ingo reminded her. "Quite sure by anyone's standards, that's old." He smiled at his youngest grandson. "If you've got work to do, get on ahead with it. Your mother will survive."

"Dad!" Indigo's mother cut in. "Don't encourage him to run off like that!"

"Thanks, Grandpa!" Indigo said and shoveled the rest of the food in his mouth before heading out the door. He did notice his grandfather frowning as he went. Not his typical deep-in-thought frown, but an actual frown.

Like he knew all about the conversation going on in his grandson's head.

#

"Sure is a sweet little family you've got," Reynard said as Indigo worked his way through the Coronet Highlands. "Must be nice for ya. Wish I'd had that."

"Just point out the Misdreavus you're looking for," Indigo muttered. "In a helpful color that will actually stand out at night?"

"Yeah, yeah, I've got you covered," Reynard said. "But I'll tell you what, hanging out with ghosts can really make you a loner." He gave a calculated pause before he added, "The girl who first found Pecharunt in the forest...she knew that better than anyone."

Indigo crept towards a cluster of long-forgotten ruins--huge blocks of stone blanketed with moss. The Misdreavus loved this place. And sure enough, he soon spotted one that sparkled in a yellow-green tint. He readied a Poke Ball.

"You do know that we're a pretty powerful ghost-type ourselves, right?" Reynard whispered. "Reach out with your mind. Bet you could connect to his memories right from here."

It sounded a bit far-fetched, but then again, the conversation itself was pretty out there. Indigo sighed and focused, mentally reaching beyond his familiar group of ghosts to the one floating in front of him.

The moment he and Misdreavus locked eyes, the scenery changed. He could see the Pokémon's most distinct memory playing out before him...

#

It was difficult to say how long Pecharunt stayed in her forest clearing. Perhaps weeks. Perhaps months. For ghost-types, time had a way of blending all together. In daylight, Deerling drank their fill from the stream. At night, the shy ghost-types came out to play. They enjoyed Pecharunt's company. And apparently, so did the first human to find her hidden in the tall, soft grass.

#


Indigo's heart picked up speed, though he couldn't explain why. He crept closer and threw the Poké Ball. It founds its mark with ease, but it didn't stop the memories from playing.

#

Misdreavus and Pecharunt had been playing all night--both of them the closest they could each call a friend. Tonight they were enjoying each other's company so much, they barely noticed the dawn.

Until the grass shifted, and a tiny branch snapped under the weight of someone's foot.

A human!

Pecharunt was both thrilled and terrified at once. Misdreavus was mostly just terrified. He hid in the shadows to see what would happen.

The footsteps were full of youthful energy, as was the human's childish voice. And there was a strange aura about her. She was powerful...likely more powerful than either of them. At least right now. Pecharunt had heard of some humans having psychic powers, but never thought she'd meet one.

"Hi, I'm Vessa," the girl said as she lifted Pecharunt up. "Let's be friends!"
 
Chapter 7: Monferno New
~~Chapter 7: Monferno~~

Audio version is available here.

#

Indigo of the Pearl Clan was sick and tired of...well, pretty much everything.

Of tracking down whatever Pokémon someone told him to. Of nearly getting mauled by angry alphas. But more than anything, he was sick of hearing voices from 107 creepy wisps all over Hisui. If he had his way about things, no one would ever mention Spiritomb or that creepy lady Vessa ever again. Maybe she had been an innocent child at some point in her life. But as far as Indigo could tell, that time was long, long past. It was also none of his concern.

So tonight, when he woke up disoriented in the middle of the Coronet Highlands, he did not look to the wisps for where he should head next. Instead he took off running for home. He had no idea what he'd do when he got there. But it was where he wanted to go, and no one else would dissuade him.

"Whoa, whoa, where are you running off to?" asked yet another voice in his head. A nervous, middle-aged man from the sound of it.

Indigo didn't reply. The road was opening up now. He still saw some angry alphas here and there, but as long as he didn't engage with them and kept far enough out of sight, they didn't see him as worth chasing down.

"H-hey, I get it. We weren't talking to you before and now we're talking to you...um, all of the time. It's a lot. But please don't shut us out, okay?"

Indigo kept going.

The voice tried again. "M-my name's L-lino, by the way." If the spirit thought introducing himself would slow Indigo down, he was wrong.

What did slow Indigo down, however, was shifting too much of his focus to the voice and away from the road. He soon found himself surrounded by a group of less-than-pleased Monferno.

Great, just what I need, he thought. And despite several attempts to dodge and weave away, the Pokémon weren't having it. This species was always eager to test their strength, and the past few decades had shown them that humans were perfect for exactly that.

A human running through here without so much of a challenge was, in their minds, just plain rude.

I'll let Vaporeon make quick work of them, then call Wyndeer to get out of here, Indigo thought. But when he called the Eeveelution out, he noticed something slightly different about their firery opponent.

"Wait...why is it pink?" Indigo stuttered. Even though he already had a pretty good idea. He addressed Lino. "Did you make it look like that?"

"K-kinda, yeah? Is pink bad? I think it's a nice color. And that Monferno reminded me of my old partner, and he was also very nice, so--"

"Pink is fine," Indigo snapped. Which wasn't like him at all. He knew the stress was getting to him, but he didn't realize how much until he heard his own sharp voice echo off the trees.

If this Pokémon was special to one of his fellow spirits, he should catch it rather than knock it out. They'd do the same for him if they could. But Vaporeon was bulky and powerful with a huge type advantage. A knock out was inevitable.

Unless...just throwing a ball would work?

Indigo gave it a shot, and no, it most decidedly did not. Monferno growled at the insulting attempt. It was kind of scary.

"You had a fierce Pokemon like this?" Indigo asked, surprised.

He could feel a tinge of warmth, like the psychic equivalent of a nod, run through him. "Monferno was so eager to rush into things," Lino said. "I always wanted to hold back and be cautious. Between the two of us, I guess you could say we were the perfect balance."

A balance, Indigo thought. Like water and fire. He watched as Vaporeon patiently kept Monferno at bay, taking the hits, growling and spitting water near but not on its opponent, giving Indigo more chances to throw his Poké Ball again. He tried and failed, but this time, it felt worth trying again.

"I was very lucky," Lino said. "My family was friendly with our local Pokemon and three of them were willing to partner up with me. My parents let me choose for myself who it would be. I wanted someone who wouldn't always agree with me. Then they could cover my weak spots, and hopefully, I could help cover theirs."

Indigo considered this as he continued his throws. He'd heard of a young woman who'd come to Hisui seemingly out of nowhere...five, maybe ten years after his grandfather had done the same. Supposedly, she'd also been given three Pokemon to choose from as a partner after she'd displayed some competency with catching them. Of course, they'd been Pokemon that the late Professor Laventon had brought with him from his travels. Not nearly common enough to offer them to every young person aspiring to work with these creatures. But their typings reminded him of the battle in front of him: Fire and Water...and then there was Grass. No one with an obvious advantage in battle. Each a perfect balance for the others.

"M-maybe your village could do something like that," Lino went on. "Not all the time, but once in a while, you know?"

"Maybe," Indigo agreed, as he continued throwing Poke Balls with no success. His body was falling into a rhythm now. If outbreaks like these were anything to go by, perhaps populations were growing large enough that Hisui could begin to make these "starter" Pokemon available. At least to anyone who showed enough promise.

At last one of the balls connected and held. Indigo sucked in a breath as he watched it shake...two, three, four times. Then the spark of success from the top of the ball.

You know what? I can find a balance, too, he thought as he stepped forward. I don't have to push myself so much, but I shouldn't give up on my goals, either.

He smiled as he picked up the ball. Starter Pokémon, huh? He'd have to mention it the next time he stopped by the Galaxy Team headquarters. But for now, he was content.
 
Forgot to ask before: What Pokémon are you NOT looking forward to doing a chapter for?
Had to think about that one for a bit, because honestly, I probably would have said Remoraid at first. It's such an oddball Pokemon, I'm not a big fan of it, and being limited to water would restrict what I could do with the story. Then I ended up finding it, and it wasn't nearly as tough as I expected. (I found Kricketune first, so it'll be Kricketune next, then Remoraid.)

I guess I'd have to say Bidoof, only because it's hard to write a heartwarming standalone short story around Bidoof when Bidoof's Big Stand exists. What can I bring to the table when perfection already exists? ^_^
 
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