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New Fizz City: The Metropolitan Zone

Maskerade

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OkikuMew:

It seems there’s no going around it – quite literally – if you want to find out the truth. The Toxapex dome seems impenetrable from every angle, and risking making them violent just to pass through is a huge gamble. So, with few options left, you attempt victory through diplomacy, but not without first ensuring your protection with mimicked instructions to your two companions.

Healing items in hand, the clearest sign of peace you can think of, you carefully approach the zombified creatures. You attempt to reach out to them, but they remain completely oblivious to your approach, wholly disinterest in your item. However, when you utter the words “I’m here to understand”, the entirety of the dome seems to shake, from the seabed to the very top. For a moment you fear you might’ve awakened the entire school of Toxapex, but after a short while you realize they remain in their comatose state – however, a few of them directly in front of you lazily move to the side, as if instructed to do so by some strange invisible entity, and a “gate” of sorts opens on the dome wall, inviting you inside.

It’s dark as night inside the area. Carefully, you proceed, afraid that the Toxapex will suddenly wake up and devour you, as this could very well be a trap. However, nothing seems to happen when you enter the living dome, and up ahead, there seems to be nothing… except a round hole on the ocean floor, leading down into pure blackness.

You cautiously approach the opening, and a migraine starts to creep up. You feel lightheaded, but nothing you can’t handle. However, it becomes noticeably worse the closer you get to the hole… Olivia and Lucette seem bothered as well, but none of you can quite put the finger on the actual problem. And with nowhere else to go, you peer into the hole on the seabed… and you’re sucked in!

Grabbed by some powerful, invisible grip, you feel your body being dragged down into the depths. You can no longer control your motions, as if ethereal chains bind you. If not for the diving gear, you’d have no chance of survival. As you descend, eht dheaache etgs wroes, yoru tohhugts beemoc a jmbuled essm, earlyti ltisfe eocbmes mosiipbsle to ciedrphe. Nad logn ftaer uoy tops ibeng lludpe dan yoru fete ifnlaly iht iolsd rongud aanig, lal you nca od is eclos oyru eyse ni an atetpmt ot otps oyur heda ofrm sninnipg wlildy. Awth’s ongig on ehre?

Uoy idfn yursofel in a lrneia, tawer-lfilde drcoriro, hiwch is bahdet ni a sratneg eivlto ltihg fro msoe resona. Hte olny wya ot go is rfwaord, or abkc pu ot the asrcufe trohguh eht saem tunlne ehwre uoy ujst lfel htgoruh.

Wtah lilw oyu od?
 

King Ghidorah!

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King Ghidorah:

It seems as though confrontation is inevitable if Pawniard is to have his revenge. Bud's Rhyperior is looking, but so is yours, and the stalemate can only end one way. After all, Bud and Terrence are almost done.

When you can no longer bide your time, you finally shout your instructions. After that, everything happens at once, and almost too fast to register: Rhyperior spins in place and shoots a beam of freezing energy straight at his rival; Bud's partner retaliates with the same move, and the two ice chains entwine and explode in a swirl of mist and snowflakes. Amidst the haze, the red soldier charges forth with blades glowing purple. Bud and Terrence, startled, barely have enough time to turn around - Pawniard has already closed in on his prey. And then you realize that, despite your precautions, negotiating with a revenge-fueled creature is nothing more than an invitation to a web of loopholes and dead-ends.

Crimson liquid splatters the ground, the cables and Pawniard's blades. He kept his promise, but...

You'd seen this scene play out before in that one movie, but there was a lot less blood then. Maybe because the glowing sword that caused the grievous wound also cauterized it, but this is not the case - Bud's right hand and Terrence's left one have been cut clean off, and the two are on their knees, yelling in pain, while the red pool beneath them gets larger.

Pawniard turns around and faces you with a look of eerie tranquility, his yellow eyes reflecting an unsettling inner peace. He needed that more than anything in the world, and you helped provide it. What happens to the two men, however, is none of Pawniard's concern - you both kept your end of the bargain.

A roar suddenly feels the room, filled by the ear-splitting sound of a power drill piercing a brick wall. You're not wrong in the comparison: looking away from Pawniard and towards the source of the noise, you see Bud's Rhyperior overwhelmed by rage ramming his Horn Drill into your own rhyno's chest, rock splinters flying everwhere. Your partner tumbles forward, clutching his chest, and the berserker then turns his attention to you, eyes red with mad fury for what you did to his lifelong companion...
Hugo’s stomach dropped as he watched Rhyperior fall to the One-Hit KO. He certainly didn’t account for all this, and he was kicking himself for being so shortsighted. But there wasn’t time for regrets. If he didn’t act quickly, he was going to be smashed into a pulp by Bud’s Rhyperior, and Hugo knew he wasn’t going to act mercifully. In one swift movement, Hugo recalled Rhyperior into his Pokeball and tossed two more onto the ground between he and Rhyperior.

A wall of scale and muscle now stood between Hugo and his would-be assailant. Nidoking pounded his chest and let out a powerful roar, and next to him, Nidoqueen slammed her heavy tail onto the ground, her green and pink hide sparkling marvelously upon her entrance. While the royal duo was fierce, Hugo could see that they were both dwarfed by Rhyperior. Their only realistic shot was to work together.

“NIDOKING, SMART STRIKE! NIDOQUEEN, SUPERPOWER!”

Meanwhile, Ponyta anxiously paced behind Hugo, her eyes fixated on Bud and Terrence. The men’s screams of terror and agony filled the room, and the pool of blood beneath them grew larger and larger.

“Shit. They’re going to bleed out,” Hugo said to himself. Hugo reached for another Pokeball and released Venomoth. The poison moth fluttered nervously around Hugo’s head, distraught by all the chaos.

“Venomoth, use Sleep Powder on those two. We need to knock them out cold. The more they panic, the faster they will lose blood. Ponyta, when they’re out, cauterize the wounds with Ember.”

And despite all the pandemonium, Hugo certainly took notice of the contentment in Pawniard’s eyes. The Sharp Blade held up his end of the bargain; he technically didn’t kill Bud and Terrence. At least not as directly as he could have. He took it just about as far as he could, maximizing his vindication in the process, leaving Hugo to do the cleanup. Hugo wasn’t even angry. He didn’t want his revenge to be fatal, but he respected Pawniard for his cleverness. But despite Pawniard’s feeling of satisfaction, his work wasn’t done.

“Look,” Hugo said to the Pawniard. “You got me good. Well played. But you can’t bail now. If that Rhyperior gets through Nidoking and Nidoqueen, I’m toast. And after that, he’s not going to stop until he gets to you and I won’t be there to stop it. Please. I need your help.”
 

Maskerade

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King Ghidorah:

Pawniard looks at the scene before him with apparent indifference. He has achieved all that he wanted in life, and now, devoid of purpose, the fate of either men, your Rhyperior or even yourself seem to be completely irrelevant to him.

Your two companions, Nidoking and Nidoqueen, stand as your last line of defense. Even though each is considerably large and powerful in its own right, neither can individually measure up to the rampaging Rhyperior, and as such working in tandem seems to be the only option. Nidoking moves first, charging energy in his horn which enlarges to the size of a glowing spear; the attack finds its mark, piercing Rhyperior's left thigh. Nidoqueen follows up immediately, ramming the full weight of her body against the rock rhyno and causing several bits of his stone armour to fly in every direction. Visibly wounded, the giant stumbles back wincing, but does not fall.

*Nidoking gained 2 Levels!*
*Nidoqueen gained 2 Levels!*


Meanwhile, you realize the need of tending to Bud and Terrence as fast as possible, despite your negative feelings towards both men. They're on the verge of bleeding out, but their state of panic makes it almost impossible to approach them - that's where Venomoth comes in. Flying overhead, it releases a wave of glimmering dust which, fast as propofol, induces a much-needed coma on both patients before Ponyta can cauterize the grievous wounds.
The horse is quick to get to work once the two fall asleep, releasing a gentle swirl of embers towards the bleeding cuts. The scent of roasted meat fills the room, which you try your damned hardest to ignore, and before long, the blood stops running. Bud and Terrence are safe for now.

*Venomoth gained 2 Levels!*
*Ponyta gained 2 Levels!*


Your other partners, however, are not safe. Rising to his feet, Rhyperior locks eyes with the two defiant foes; his two arm-cannons take aim, and simultaneous Ice Beams are fired, which hit each Nido ruler on the chest, propelling them back several feet with the force of the blast! The rhyno's attention then shifts to you, and the titan charges...

Heeding your words, your request for aid, Pawniard seems unfazed at first. Then, calmly, he removes one of the metal plates on his chest and tosses it at your feet, in what you quickly realize is a cruel joke - as if the 1x Metal Coat could ever protect a full-sized human.
But just when you think you can't rely on the Steel-Type, the red warrior charges forward with blistering speed, running straight towards the charging enemy! He leaps up, way higher than Rhyperior, and dives down while black energy surrounds his blades - and just when the colossus is about to skewer you with its rotating horn, Pawniard delivers a vicious Assurance from above, stopping the beast in its tracks!

Stunned, Rhyperior stumbles back, the combined pain from Smart Strike, Superpower and Assurance becoming too much to bear. Overwhelmed and broken, the living tower finally collapses, falling to the side with a loud, floor-shaking thud!

Pawniard gets back to his feet and once more turns his attention to Bud and Terrence, now fast asleep and out of danger. His eyes are empty, contemplative; it's almost impossible to tell what he's thinking.

The crisis seems to have been averted, although things played out vastly differently from what you had in mind. Was letting Pawniard have his revenge worth it in the end? And what do you plan on doing now?...
 

myahoo

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Myahoo:

Unsurprisingly, the door unlocks once you input the code on the paper. Cliché as it all might seem, there is no turning back now, and none of this seems staged: it’s actually happening, and you’re in the thick of it.

The bartender gives you a playful pat on the shoulder, encouraging you to go inside, before returning to her post handing out drinks; all in a day’s work for her, it seems. The opened door reveals a downwards metal staircase, leading to the bar’s basement no doubt. Curiously, there seems to be a lot of noise coming from down there, which explains the heavy door to block out the sounds. Hesitantly, you walk down the stairs… to find that Black Velvet’s basement is several times larger than the ground floor!

The sight before your eyes is both unsettling and not entirely unexpected. The basement is dimly lit, with a scarce number of lamps hanging from the ceiling; some twenty people are gathered in a circle, shouting all manner of orders and obscenities. Every now and then, you see blue flashes of light emanating from the center of the circle, which cause the crowd to cheer even louder. It doesn’t take you too long to realize what’s happening, even from where you’re standing now, but the voice behind you confirms it anyway.

“Enjoying our little tournament?”

You’ve heard this voice before. Turning around, you see the shady man from the alley walking up to stand beside you, smiling with pride.

“Took you long enough to make up your damn mind,” he continues. “Come on, stop being a wuss, take a look for yourself.”

He grabs you by the arm and approach the crowd; seeing the man, they step aside to let you get closer to the action, but you kind of wish they didn’t, because the display is sickening: a Politoed and a Machoke stand at the center of the makeshift battleground, both looking on the brink of passing out. Each of them has a collar, which periodically discharges a current of blue electricity, causing each Pokemon to cry in pain before resuming the fight. One thing you notice is that the collars stop discharging while the Pokemon battle, but quickly shock the users if they remain idle for too long…

“Now, let’s talk business.”

Shady Guy steps away from the crowd and waits for you to rejoin him before finally explaining everything to you. The eagerness with which he speaks, visibly more at ease here than he was on the street, shows how desperate he is to find someone reliable …

“What we do here is battling in its purest form. People who gather here do so because they want to see Pokemon fight with everything they got, and what we do is provide the optimal conditions for those glorious battles. The quality, the heart of fighting here is miles ahead of what you’ll find anywhere else, even in the Indigo Plateau. Why? Because we figured out what makes Pokemon fight at their full potential.”

He guides you to a door on the wall away from the action, and lets you in. A small makeshift infirmary has been set up, but it’s a shoddy reconstruction of an actual Pokemon Center.

“Pokemon fight with all their power when the stakes are highest. And nothing is as powerful an incentive as pain. So what we do is develop those little collars, which… encourage Pokemon not to stop fighting until they win. You’ll be amazed once you see how much more fierce and relentless they become once the collar is on – they fight like gods! But the downside is, of course, lingering injuries from repeated discharges. An unfortunate consequence that we have been able to resolve in here, but the more often Pokemon come here to fight, the more injuries pile up, and we’ve been unable to provide optimal treatment to our clients. Which is… problematic.”

He also walks inside the infirmary and closes the door behind him, clearly wanting to talk to you in private now.

“Our business model is thriving, but it’s not ideal yet. Our battle-loving clients are encouraged to bring their own Pokemon for maximum enjoyment; since we have only developed electric shock collars for now, we advise our clients not to bring Ground Pokemon, of course, and suggest Water and Flying ones for maximum effect. And while they provide the Pokemon and the money, we provide the collars, the arena and medical treatment in turn. So you can imagine the catastrophic consequences of not being able to heal our clients’ Pokemon, especially those of our regulars, our best paying customers. This is where you come in.”

He exits the infirmary and leads you to another room nearby. This one he makes no effort to conceal, instead triumphantly opening the door to let you inside. There’s a small desk with a laptop on the wall to your left, with cables connecting it to a large machine on the wall directly in front of you. Stored in several dozens of slots of this wall-sized mechanism are collars like the ones you saw earlier.

“Here is where we program and charge the collars. The laptop is used to regulate voltage and discharge frequency of every collar, and it’s connected to this machine which you can look at as a giant charging dock” he says, before closing the door behind him like before. His tone then lowers once again. “Either our medical equipment is outdated, or the collars are in some way defective and discharging more than we program them to. I don’t know why, but clients’ Pokemon are accumulating more injuries than we can fix. I don’t really care what you choose to do, but I hope you can help us out. Of course, you’ll be rewarded.”

He finally exits the room and leaves you with a final request.

“Take a look around if you want. I’ll be back in, say… ten minutes to hear your answer.”
He didn't need the bartender's pat on his shoulder to head through the door, but she did anyway before heading back to...probably the bar. Nothing out of the ordinary for her, he supposed with a roll of his eyes as he started down the stairs. Quietly, or as quietly as he could. Not that he really needed to from the sounds that were coming up from somewhere down there.

Listening curiously to the noise, Aiden immediately glanced around as he hit the bottom of the stairs, eyes going wide with surprise. This was a hell of a lot bigger than he expected, even if he couldn't quite tell exactly how big it was because of the shitty lighting. Of course, he didn't really need too much light to see that some of his suspicions were correct. Underground, probably illegal, Pokémon battles. Although...he wasn't quite sure what those blue flashes were. Some kind of lightning or electricity, definitely, but attacks...? He grimaced and looked away from the center of the fight as another one of those flashes went off.

"Enjoying our little tournament?"

He glanced back to see Shady Guy walking up to him, smiling with pride and clearly either not noticing or not caring that Aiden didn't exactly look happy to be there.

"Took you long enough to make up your damn mind," Shady Guy continued. "Come on, stop being a wuss, take a look for yourself."

Aiden's grimace deepened as Asshole grabbed his arm and dragged him towards the crowd, but it wasn't like he could afford to pull away or do anything to piss him off. Even when the battling Pokémon came into view and the source of the blue flashes became clear. Shock collars. He tried not to let his lip curl, but...well, shock collars.

"Now, let's talk business."

Piece Of Shit headed back out of the crowd and Aiden wasted no time getting out of there.

"What we do here is battling in its purest form," POS explained. Aiden fought down a snort. "People who gather here do so because they want to see Pokémon fight with everything they got, and what we do is provide the optimal conditions for those glorious battles." Optimal? He scoffed internally. "The quality, the heart of fighting here is miles ahead of what you'll find anywhere else, even in the Indigo Plateau." Got a high fucking opinion of your shit, don't ya? "Why? Because we figured out what makes Pokémon fight at their full potential." Desperation? Or pain? More like fucking torture.

Aiden followed the fucker to a door on the wall away from the action and led the way into a makeshift Pokémon Center. A shitty version of one, but...urgh. On the one hand, at least it was something, but...he couldn't exactly say he was happy with what he was seeing. Although, he supposed that was the whole fucking point of recruiting some dumbass off the street to act as a nurse.

"Pokémon fight with all their power when the stakes are highest. And nothing is as powerful an incentive as pain." This was new? "So what we do is develop those little collars, which...encourage Pokémon not to stop fighting until they win." Greaaaat, those were homemade shock collars. "You'll be amazed once you see how much more fierce and relentless they become once the collar is on - they fight like gods!" Aiden once again fought the urge to snort or scoff. "But the downside is, of course, lingering injuries from repeated discharges." No, really? He never would've guessed. "An unfortunate consequence that we have been able to resolve in here, but the more often Pokémon come here to fight, the more injuries pile up, and we've been unable to provide optimal treatment to our clients. Which is...problematic." Again, no really?

Piece Of Shit closed the door behind him. Aiden...took a step back and eyed the...eyed him warily.

"Our business model is thriving, but it's not ideal yet. Our battle-loving clients are encouraged to bring their own Pokémon for maximum enjoyment; since we have only developed electric shock collars for now, we advise our clients not to bring Ground Pokémon, of course, and suggest Water and Flying ones for maximum effect. And while they provide the Pokémon and the money, we provide the collars, the arena and medical treatment in turn. So you can imagine the catastrophic consequences of not being able to heal our clients' Pokémon, especially those of our regulars, our best paying customers. This is where you come in." Was it?

He led Aiden to another door and triumphantly threw it open to reveal a wall filled with dozens and dozens of shock collars, all hooked up to some kind of machine. Probably a charging and programming station. Most likely controlled by the laptop on the desk.

"Here is where we program and charge the collars." Guessed right. "The laptop is used to regulate voltage and discharge frequency of every collar, and it's connected to this machine which you can look at as a giant charging dock." Full points. Shitstain closed the door behind them and lowered his voice. "Either our medical equipment is outdated, or the collars are in some way defective and discharging more than we program them to. I don't know why, but clients' Pokémon are accumulating more injuries than we can fix." Aiden felt the tiniest hints of curiosity, but...shock collars. "I don't really care what you choose to do, but I hope you can help us out. Of course, you'll be rewarded."

Piece Of Shit headed back to the door, clearly planning to leave him here. Alone. Aiden couldn't help raising a questioning eyebrow at the guy.

"Take a look around if you want. I'll be back in, say...ten minutes to hear your answer."

Aiden glanced around until the asshole left, then waited a few more moments for the guy to leave through the outer door before heading for the laptop. Pulling out the burner phone at the same time, he dialed C's number and held the phone to his ear with his shoulder to leave his hands free to poke around the laptop. He honestly wasn't expecting anything decent, or even good, if it could fuck up so easily, but maybe he could get some idea of how they programmed the collars from here. And ask C what exactly they wanted him to do with the USB.
 

Ex-Admiral Insane

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Ex-Admiral Insane:

The Mayor runs a hand through his glorious moustache, visibly relieved that you agree to help, in whatever capacity. It seems he places the highest of hopes in you, even if you are mostly unsure of how on earth you could help out in such a terrible mess. You’re neither a detective nor a policeman, after all. What you do have are a very particular set of skills, skills you have acquired over a very long career.

Loffley clears his throat before speaking. The hesitation in his voice conveys a feeling of shame over not being able to provide more details.

“Well, you see… I haven’t been on the job long enough to know anything in depth, I’m afraid. But I know someone who can provide the necessary clarifications,” he says before approaching one of the officers. “Commissioner Morton, could you come here for a moment?”

The man walks over with a frown on his face. His grizzly hair gives away his age, despite his athletic physique, and his light gray eyes reveal a mixture of tiredness and frustration. Judging by the way he looks at you, he either doesn’t know or simply doesn’t care who you really are.

“Commissioner, this is Lucas of the Elite Three,” explains the Mayor. Morton’s expression doesn’t change one bit. “I was hoping you could explain what happened, what’s been going on lately, and the reason for it, so he can try and be of assistance to us. Please, do everything he asks – from now on he is your de facto superior as long as he agrees to be on the case.”

The Commissioner nods rigidly before pointing to the corpse.

“Dead woman. Third this month. Shot.” After that, he falls silent, and you have to admit that, in a way, he did answer all three of the Mayor’s questions, though perhaps not how you would have liked…

“W-well Commissioner, I was hoping you could… hum, be somewhat more specific so that Lucas could…”

“With a bullet.”

With that, he turns around and returns to the crime scene to oversee his unit’s work. Loffley rolls his eyes before looking at the ground, defeated; you can’t help but feel sorry for the man, who clearly cares a great deal about his city even though he’s only been in charge for a very short while. A poisoned gift for sure…

You won’t be able to dive deeper into the case unless you can somehow breach Commissioner Morton’s ice-cold shell. Can you get him to cooperate?
The mayor was visibly relived at Lucas’ response as he brushed his signature moustache. While he himself couldn’t provide much in specifics on the case, he knew someone who could. He called over one of the men of the police force, grizzled old man by the name of Commissioner Morton. Lucas had to shake his head as he almost thought he heard a very different but similar name. The commissioner himself looked athletic, but his eyes betrayed a tiredness that only unsettled Lucas more in light of the recent happenings. He got a sense this had become a far too usual routine for the man, and slightly worried about the senior’s motivation.

“Commissioner,” Loffley started, “this is Lucas of the Elite Three.”

’Elite Four,’ Lucas exclaimed, but only in his mind, deciding to drop the subject quickly.

“I was hoping you could explain what happened, what’s been going on lately, and the reason for it, so he can try and be of assistance to us. Please, do everything he asks – from now on he is your de facto superior as long as he agrees to be on the case.”

Lucas calmly nodded with the Mayor’s words, right up until this last point, and briefly betrayed a worried glance. A superior was one of the last things he wanted to be. Surely the commissioner would be a better leader in an investigation? But the old man nodded, and Lucas almost thought he was agreeing with the mayor. He pointed towards the corpse and gave his detailed report. “Dead woman. Third this month. Shot.”

Lucas frowned seriously at the man’s words. He turned a glance at the mayor, almost insulted that this might have been some sort of a joke.

“W-well Commissioner, I was hoping you could… hum, be somewhat more specific so that Lucas could…”

“With a bullet.”

Mr. Morton faced his back to the group and returned to the scene of the crime. Mayor Loffley on the other hand seemed almost defeated about the entire event. Lucas clasped a hand on the Mayor’s shoulder in reassurance. “Don’t worry sir, we’ll do our best,” he said, making sure the ’we’ stood out.

With that, he left the mayor behind to join the police officers at the crime scene. He had no idea what he was going to do first. Lucas reckoned the Commissioner was either one of two people. The first being a man who doesn’t care about what’s occuring and is letting it happen without any remorse. The second being the stoic, conservative man for whom actions speak louder than words. Names, promises and lofty titles like ‘Elite Three’ were nice and all, but if the trainer couldn’t prove his worth in the investigation then he wouldn’t blame the Commissioner for his blasé attitude towards him. In any case, calling him out here and now in front of his juniors won’t bring about anything positive. Either the Commissioner ór Lucas would end up ridiculed in front of the police force if he did, with the added bonus of the trainer looking like a brash kid. The commissioner would come later, when Lucas could perhaps narrow down what kind of person the commissioner really was.

He was interested in the forensics of the investigation himself. Where was the woman shot? Was she robbed or mugged? Was there a fight? A murder requires two important aspects (as any television show would tell you): motivation and opportunity. He wanted to narrow down both as much as he could before making any decisive action.

Still, he wasn’t an expert in this, and he though perhaps he should let the police investigate first before taking a look himself. Which left Lucas with one other task he wanted to do. He scanned across the crowd of police officers and tried to locate the most separated one of them. His starting plan was to first win some information on the previous happenings, questioning the most isolated officer first and gradually working himself towards the closer-knit groups. If murder was starting to become such a common theme in this area, perhaps there were some clues to be derived from its past. After that, question whoever was doing the forensics, and then take a look at the body himself. With gloves of course. Arceus! Where was he going to find latex gloves? One thing at a time though.
 

Maskerade

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Myahoo:

((I'll try to streamline things a bit since I want to see your adventure through to the end before real life forces me away from updating in the near future.))

The wait is agonizing. Why isn't C picking up?! It feels like an eternity, and all the while you can't shake off the fear that the man will return prematurely and bust your cover. Fortunately though, after much longer than you'd have liked, the voice on the other side finally speaks up. Thank Arceus.

"Good, you're still there. What're you seeing?"

As quickly and succinctly as you can, you explain your current situation and what you've already discovered in your brief time in Black Velvet's underworld.

"Knew it. I knew that bastard was into something like this, but I could never get close enough to prove it." C sounds both triumphant and outraged at the same time. "So you're on the laptop that programs the collars... That's where the USB comes in."


The other item she gave you, besides the phone you're using right now. Seems like she really thought things through in detail - she must have been investigating the man for a long time now. You don't like this situation any more than you did ten minutes ago, but at the very least, you get the distinct impression that C is someone - possibly the only one - you can actually trust right now. Which is just as good, because she's also the one responsible for you being here in the first place.

"There's something in that USB drive that can help us in two ways. Plug it in and you'll see what I mean."

You instinctively peer over your shoulder to make sure you're not caught red-handed, before retrieving the item from your pocket and inserting it into the appropriate slot on the laptop. At first, nothing happens... and then, a blue screen. Lovely, perfectly inconspicuous, you find yourself thinking with no small amount of sarcasm. But it gets worse:


The screen shifts from blue to orange, and a smiling face appears on it. Mercifully, audio seems to be turned off.

"Meet Rotom, our trump card. It should be in full control of the collar program by now, as well as the charging dock by extension. I can pick up its energy readings from where I am." C sounds confident enough that you wonder if this might actually work. "All you gotta do is give our friend some time to work. Rotom will drain away all the charge from the collars as long as the USB is plugged in, and as long as the energy transfer is ongoing, I can trace its location and convince the Police Department to follow our lead. We'll catch the monster running those illegal battles right in the act - your mission will be to make sure the process isn't interrupted!"

With that, she ends the call on her side. Just then, you see the door handle begin to turn, and your heart skips a bit. Thankfully, Rotom forces the screen to switch off, just as Shady Guy reenters the room. Surely it hasn't been 10 minutes yet?!

"Sorry kid, forgot to search you. Formalities, you see - our patrons sleep better at night," he says with a faint smile. "Well, get over here and let's get to it. Then you can tell me how you want to help our thriving business."



Ex-Admiral Insane:

Commissioner Morton comes across as anything but an approachable individual. You may be a regional authority, but that doesn't seem to matter to him in the slightest. Deciding that warming up to the Commissioner doesn't need to be a priority, you shift your focus to one of the younger, less-experienced looking policemen who's standing a few feet away from the corpse. By the look on his face, he's really not into dead bodies.

"O-oh... Mister Lucas! Or is it Master Lucas? Master Luke? No, not that one.. S-sorry," he stammers haphazardly as he straightens his back and hesitates between saluting and offering you a handshake. "Just between you and me, I... I'd like to apologize for the Commissioner's... erm... bluntness. He's very, uh... to-the-point. It's nothing personal."

Realizing you're looking for more information than Morton wants to give you, the policeman pulls you aside - all too content to move away from the corpse - and starts explaining what little he knows.

"It's been happening more and more often as of late. We started out by trying to profile the perp, but it wasn't long before we realized it wasn't the work of a single person. Violent gangs have been sprouting like mushrooms lately, with no qualms about killing if someone resists a hold-up. They robbed that woman for what little stuff of value she had on her, and when she struggled, they offed her," he declares. The look on his face tells you he's indeed seen plenty of these cases recently and he knows what he's talking about. "Criminality has always existed in New Fizz, but murder was never a concern, the one line criminals wouldn't cross - because we had him."

He looks a bit embarrassed, but clearly decides he's already said too much to back out now. The officer pulls out his wallet and shows you a picture: a man in his thirties wearing a police uniform, grinning and bumping fists with a strange creature, bipedal like a human but with gray, scaly skin, a long, flowing dark cape and a hood covering its face.

"We had Hakama-an!"

You have to actively prevent your eyes from rolling all the way to the back of your head when you hear what people have decided to call the caped hero. Still, there's a story here, and you try your best not to lose focus.

"Grant and Hakama-an were the greatest duo the New Fizz Police Department - any Police Department anywhere, really - has ever had. Their mere existence was enough to dissuade gangs from committing violent crimes. But Grant was shot and... died during a hostage situation a few months back. And well... Hakama-an quit. He simply vanished, never to be seen again, and since then, we completely lost control over organized crime in the city. What NFPD lost in motivation with the loss of Grant and Hakama-an, criminals gained threefold, and now they just take what they want and kill if they have to."

He finally stops talking and stares pensively at the photo of those who were clearly his lost idols...

What will you do?
 
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OkikuMew

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OkikuMew:

It seems there’s no going around it – quite literally – if you want to find out the truth. The Toxapex dome seems impenetrable from every angle, and risking making them violent just to pass through is a huge gamble. So, with few options left, you attempt victory through diplomacy, but not without first ensuring your protection with mimicked instructions to your two companions.

Healing items in hand, the clearest sign of peace you can think of, you carefully approach the zombified creatures. You attempt to reach out to them, but they remain completely oblivious to your approach, wholly disinterest in your item. However, when you utter the words “I’m here to understand”, the entirety of the dome seems to shake, from the seabed to the very top. For a moment you fear you might’ve awakened the entire school of Toxapex, but after a short while you realize they remain in their comatose state – however, a few of them directly in front of you lazily move to the side, as if instructed to do so by some strange invisible entity, and a “gate” of sorts opens on the dome wall, inviting you inside.

It’s dark as night inside the area. Carefully, you proceed, afraid that the Toxapex will suddenly wake up and devour you, as this could very well be a trap. However, nothing seems to happen when you enter the living dome, and up ahead, there seems to be nothing… except a round hole on the ocean floor, leading down into pure blackness.

You cautiously approach the opening, and a migraine starts to creep up. You feel lightheaded, but nothing you can’t handle. However, it becomes noticeably worse the closer you get to the hole… Olivia and Lucette seem bothered as well, but none of you can quite put the finger on the actual problem. And with nowhere else to go, you peer into the hole on the seabed… and you’re sucked in!

Grabbed by some powerful, invisible grip, you feel your body being dragged down into the depths. You can no longer control your motions, as if ethereal chains bind you. If not for the diving gear, you’d have no chance of survival. As you descend, eht dheaache etgs wroes, yoru tohhugts beemoc a jmbuled essm, earlyti ltisfe eocbmes mosiipbsle to ciedrphe. Nad logn ftaer uoy tops ibeng lludpe dan yoru fete ifnlaly iht iolsd rongud aanig, lal you nca od is eclos oyru eyse ni an atetpmt ot otps oyur heda ofrm sninnipg wlildy. Awth’s ongig on ehre?

Uoy idfn yursofel in a lrneia, tawer-lfilde drcoriro, hiwch is bahdet ni a sratneg eivlto ltihg fro msoe resona. Hte olny wya ot go is rfwaord, or abkc pu ot the asrcufe trohguh eht saem tunlne ehwre uoy ujst lfel htgoruh.

Wtah lilw oyu od?
At first, the Toxapex didn’t even care or seemed to be aware that a human was talking to them, yet along being there near them. Heck, Mélina was surprised they hadn’t done anything with Olivia yet. But as soon as the woman garbled out the word “understand”, the underwater fort started trembling, and while the “bricks” were still very much out of it, a few in front of her moved just enough to open a door of sorts.

“...Well, I found the magic word, it seems,” she thought, blinking in surprise.

Without entering the dome yet, she peeked inside. Unsurprisingly, it was very dark due to the walls sheltering the area from the rays of the sun. After turning on a handy waterproof flashlight, she motioned to Lucette and Olivia to follow her. Both water Pokémon were still unsure and fearful, especially the Corsola who was shaking in fear for being around so many of her evolved predators, but witnessing how inoffensive the Brutal Star Pokémon were acting gave them just enough courage to join their trainer in the exploration of shell and find the source of this whole adventure.

...Although whatever it was, it wasn’t anything that anyone has expected.

Mélina had tried to imagine what was being protected. She thought the most likely was perhaps an elder or otherwise important living creature to the Mareanie line that was injured or dying, and they were trying to protect it and give it as much food as possible at all cost, explaining the ravaged Corsola. Her imagination went as far as something to do with Hank’s brother, Edmund, or about some kind of evil-doer using the poison types to conquer the world.

But something that would be best shortly described as a black hole into the ocean floor? That wasn’t something she hypothesized.

With nothing else that stood out within the dome, the underwater trio slowly started their descent, approaching the strange crater. The closer they get, the more physically uncomfortable they become. Notably, Mélina was starting to have a migraine, which then turned into lightheadedness. It wasn’t the first time she experienced either of those, but a sense of dread started to creep over as the lightheadedness went stronger. Whenever she wanted it or not, she associated that feeling of her head wobbling with panic attacks she used to have; in consequence, she often had a hard time to discern from her psychological agitation to actual physical pain.Taking a deep, slow breath into her breathing apparatus, she shook her head to recalibrate her balance, and told herself she was ok; it was most likely her head not being used to the pressure yet. Her thought was more or less confirmed after looking over her Corsola and Feebas, as they too didn’t look comfortable either, but otherwise fine.

They continued their descent into the hole, slowly but surely… but abruptly, something pushed them in. It was so swift, there was no way for any of them to know whenever it was a strong water current or what. Whatever it was, it was so powerful that none had a chance to struggle their way out, and Mélina bet that if she didn’t have her gear, she wouldn’t have last this long. As they’re helplessly pulled into the darnkess, her haed hrtus eevn mroe, and mroe tahn she eevr expneireced in her lefi, her mnid bmacee comtelpely juelbmd, abstuloely ulbane to tnihk stgiarht to the pniot of bleray eevn undtsreand her own ththguos. She was sekcud dwon for waht flet lkie foeverr, uitnl she lednad on the gnuord bwole. In a dearepste atmetpt to clam heesrlf dnwo, she cesold her eeys and hled her haed as she soohk it smoe mero. Her iennr conitasrevons and her monemevts has getton a bit mroe cootanidred, but olny bleray eguonh to fuoitcnn.

The mnemot tehy did thguoh, she sttraed to skahe in torrer and loikong fraacitnlly anuord hre. Wrehe did her Pomékon go!? Was she gniog to be totnemred hree by helesrf? To her coelpmte reeilf, she spttoed Lutecte and Olivia, screttaed anuord fuhtrer ayaw, but loikong mroe or lses unemrahd. Ovelehwrmed of jyo, Mniléa sawm as qukcily as she cluod to the clesost one - her Coosrla - and heggud her tilthgy, asomlt cuilrng her wlohe bdoy anuord hre, mcuh to the pnik colar’s awawkrd susirpre. As the wonam’s traes mexid in to the ocnae’s wreta, the Fabees gltney pekod hre, btoh as reaarussnce and to ask atitneton to the imets she brhguot; tsohe taht wree in the trrenia’s amrs eaeilrr.

Aetfr caimlng dwon smoe mero, reivomng her emarbce on Olivia, thiknang for her llttie fsih frdnei’s wrok and puittng the imets bcak in her bga, Mniléa filanly sttraed to pay mroe atitneton to tiehr new surnidnuorgs. Cursuoily, tehy wree in a coodirrr, wcihh stegnarly rednimed her of one form a vedio gema, but obsuoivly sugrembed in wetar adn, the msot peilucar difnerefce, gliwong in a veloit heu. Trehe was olny two pecals to go: dwon thuorgh the coodirrr, or bcak up itno waht apaeprs to be wrehe tehy flel thguorh.

Mniléa insvitcnitely jsut wetnad to do lkie a tere and get out of hree at tihs ptnio. The ligndedaehthess was driving her lilaretly cyzar, and had a feileng taht waht th’yell unvocer is too mcuh for one hamun and a clpuoe of Pomékon cluod haldne. Yte… she d’ndit konw if it was the miiargne suiudbng her seltavreserp-fion or wtah, but she wetnad to go itno the codirror anyawys. Tehy hvae wnet so fra, why wluod tehy bcak out nwo? Tehy mhgit not get anhtoer ccnahe to go thuorgh the Toepaxx. Whvetaer hvae let tehm in prbaboly wluod look dwon at gnivig up so qulkciy, espaicelly aetfr shiwong how mcuh she wetnad to hlep eaeilrr. On top of tsih, daoregnus or nto, she flet taht it was for the grtaeer gdoo: snivag the Coosrla form oveitnuh-rng, snivag the Manaerie form taht braihsawning. Tihs was it, and trehe was no tuinrng bcak nwo.

Gnivig detimrened ndos to btoh Lutecte and Olivia, the terhe sawm thuorgh the corrodir…
 

King Ghidorah!

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King Ghidorah:

Pawniard looks at the scene before him with apparent indifference. He has achieved all that he wanted in life, and now, devoid of purpose, the fate of either men, your Rhyperior or even yourself seem to be completely irrelevant to him.

Your two companions, Nidoking and Nidoqueen, stand as your last line of defense. Even though each is considerably large and powerful in its own right, neither can individually measure up to the rampaging Rhyperior, and as such working in tandem seems to be the only option. Nidoking moves first, charging energy in his horn which enlarges to the size of a glowing spear; the attack finds its mark, piercing Rhyperior's left thigh. Nidoqueen follows up immediately, ramming the full weight of her body against the rock rhyno and causing several bits of his stone armour to fly in every direction. Visibly wounded, the giant stumbles back wincing, but does not fall.

*Nidoking gained 2 Levels!*
*Nidoqueen gained 2 Levels!*


Meanwhile, you realize the need of tending to Bud and Terrence as fast as possible, despite your negative feelings towards both men. They're on the verge of bleeding out, but their state of panic makes it almost impossible to approach them - that's where Venomoth comes in. Flying overhead, it releases a wave of glimmering dust which, fast as propofol, induces a much-needed coma on both patients before Ponyta can cauterize the grievous wounds.
The horse is quick to get to work once the two fall asleep, releasing a gentle swirl of embers towards the bleeding cuts. The scent of roasted meat fills the room, which you try your damned hardest to ignore, and before long, the blood stops running. Bud and Terrence are safe for now.

*Venomoth gained 2 Levels!*
*Ponyta gained 2 Levels!*


Your other partners, however, are not safe. Rising to his feet, Rhyperior locks eyes with the two defiant foes; his two arm-cannons take aim, and simultaneous Ice Beams are fired, which hit each Nido ruler on the chest, propelling them back several feet with the force of the blast! The rhyno's attention then shifts to you, and the titan charges...

Heeding your words, your request for aid, Pawniard seems unfazed at first. Then, calmly, he removes one of the metal plates on his chest and tosses it at your feet, in what you quickly realize is a cruel joke - as if the 1x Metal Coat could ever protect a full-sized human.
But just when you think you can't rely on the Steel-Type, the red warrior charges forward with blistering speed, running straight towards the charging enemy! He leaps up, way higher than Rhyperior, and dives down while black energy surrounds his blades - and just when the colossus is about to skewer you with its rotating horn, Pawniard delivers a vicious Assurance from above, stopping the beast in its tracks!

Stunned, Rhyperior stumbles back, the combined pain from Smart Strike, Superpower and Assurance becoming too much to bear. Overwhelmed and broken, the living tower finally collapses, falling to the side with a loud, floor-shaking thud!

Pawniard gets back to his feet and once more turns his attention to Bud and Terrence, now fast asleep and out of danger. His eyes are empty, contemplative; it's almost impossible to tell what he's thinking.

The crisis seems to have been averted, although things played out vastly differently from what you had in mind. Was letting Pawniard have his revenge worth it in the end? And what do you plan on doing now?...
Hugo’s pulse was pounding in his ears, his breathing heavy, his shirt soaked with sweat. He was inches away from being pulverized. His heart pounded, the adrenaline surging through his body, and the smell of burnt flesh lingering in the air. He felt like he was going to be sick.
He surveyed the damage that surrounded him. Bud’s colossal Rhyperior unconscious in front of him; Bud and Terrence comatose, their…displaced…hands nearby; Nidoking and Nidoqueen slowly inching their way back to their feet, recovering from the brunt of the Ice Beam assault; Venomoth and Ponyta nervously eyeing everyone; and Pawniard. The Steel type was enigmatic to say the least. It was his emotion that led him to seek revenge for his fallen partner, but he was now seeming devoid of any sort of feeling. Did Terrence’s betrayal damage him so significantly that he was now completely incapable of mercy? Hugo couldn’t read him.

But there wasn’t much time for a personality evaluation. Bud and Terrence were out for now, but it was only a matter of time before they would be roused from their slumber and remember what had happened. Could they prove that Hugo had been involved? Technically, he didn’t order Pawniard to exact his revenge in the manner that he had. All they could prove was that Hugo ordered his Rhyperior to attack Bud’s. But then again…could they even prove that? Hugo thought back to something Terrence had told him at the beginning of this ordeal: Bud was too cheap to install cameras. But cameras or not, sooner or later, somebody would come looking for them. Hugo could try to rewrite history. But he would need to act quickly. He recalled Nidoking, Nidoqueen and Ponyta, leaving only Venomoth fluttering about. The Poison Moth gave its trainer a quizzical look to which Hugo responded “’Not just yet.” Pawniard looked to Hugo, it’s eyes seemingly devoid of feeling.

“Venomoth,” Hugo said. “Use Supersonic. On all three of them.” Hugo didn’t know if it would work, but if he could confuse Bud and Terrence and Rhyperior, even if they were asleep, perhaps they would forget how they ended up in this situation. And then, before they woke up, Hugo could escape and could be as if he was never there. But he couldn’t leave through the door. He would surely be seen by someone. But the vents. Pawniard was maneuvering through the ventilation system without being seen. Hugo was certainly larger than Pawniard, but he wasn’t a huge person. And this ventilation system had to be big to keep the generators from overheating. Or at least that’s what Hugo reasoned.
After Venomoth had shot its supersonic waves into the ears of the fallen, Hugo recalled it to its Pokeball and turned to the Pawniard, but not before collecting the 1x Metal Coat from the floor and placing it in his backpack.

“Like it or not, you and I are in this together. We need to get out of here through the vents. You know the path better than anyone.”

Pawniard stared expressionlessly.

“I’m sure you’re thinking that I’m dead weight, that you don’t need me or anyone and can get out of this on your own. And I understand that you’re the one with blades for hands. But no one out there knows your story. No one out there knows the loss you’ve experienced. And you won’t be able to tell them when they find you. Not if, but when. But I know. I understand. I can help you. I want to help you get out of here. So please. Work with me. Help me get out of here.”
 

Maskerade

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OkikuMew:

Seipedt the intense inmd-srbcanlgim porperites fo hwtaeevr lies heada, uoy'ev emco oto arf ot ivge pu onw. Evne if it cstso uoy yrou asinty, eth otughth fo rtnunig acbk raodun ealnivg eth mteyrsy usvnelod is ton oen oyu acre ot teertinan - oehvwer let oyu past the Otaxpxe kliely eepxstc omre of uoy too.

Nahnggi no ot ruyo tow reupiosc firensd, ryou noyl usrcoe of opeh ihgrt own, yuo msleuc onradw deeper iont het crorodri atth ersttcesh eaahd. The reeie violet ilgth ebemosc srtonger sa yuo gorrpess, btu ont nloy si the ilngenrig essen of nocfsuino tgtegin woser, eenv your yesgteih semes to be tgtenig oodpmrmcies.
Alfshes of lcouor nedvai yuor filed of ivosin, the acve lwals emes ot twist and contotr sa you amke oryu ywa loang hte path. Hte irmgaine tegs owres oot. Orbeef nlog, you don't vene owkn if uoy're iwalkng farword fo bacwradks. Lal you onkw is thta teehr are... bubbels?

Srwiling febo
er your esye, a rsetma fo bublsbe filsl eht apth - noly to be leereldp yb a rhwliopol pu ahead. In ouyr atset of ediniosrtaonti, it ktaes uyo ewhil ot elareiz hatw's apneihpgn, ntuli uoy see Iiovla and Lcuttee gnule ta one anohetr itwh Acltesk tufrerh pu eahad. Tehy're gifigthn noe ornthea ni hrtie won nooufcins!

Yuo ytr to cerah yro
u two mcopaionns, btu hte afster uoy mwsi, hte fatrehr waya tehy prpaea to be. Ahtw emesed to be a arnorw orcidror onw olkos more leik a vcaren, dwei and icsaopus, btu athw od uoy veen oknw anymeor?

Hte ehacadeh nefiisinetd nev
e mroe, adn you feel no the rbikn fo aspsing otu. Wath rae you noggi to od?!



King Ghidorah:

Your only choice of avoiding some lengthy jail time is to ensure there is no proof of what happened here today. To that end, you must ensure two things: that neither Bud nor Terrence remember the tragic events that led to the loss of their hands, and that nobody sees you leaving the building. That way, it'll be impossible to pin anything on you. You hope...

Venomoth targets the slumbering men and the unconscious rhino, and unleashes a supersonic wave to scramble their minds as thoroughly as possible. Pawniard too seems bothered by the auditory assault, but is fortunately standing far enough away that he remains unaffected. However, despite your best laid plans, sticking around to see if they worked is not an option - you'll have to risk it, and leave this place as soon as possible - and that's where you absolutely must convince your apathetic new acquaintance to help.

*Venomoth gained 2 levels!*

Pawniard listens to you with an empty expression, but at least he stays put to hear you out to the end. When you're done, the critter's yellow eyes turn to the air vent; he understands what you want to do, and how you cannot do it without him. However, being caught is not a concern of Pawniard's - enacting revenge on Bud was all he had left to look forward to in his life. It's not that you're "dead wight" to him, it's that he cares about the consequences of his assault a lot less than you do.

After a long moment of silence, you wonder if you lost him, if your bargain fell on deaf ears. But Pawniard finally nods, walks over to the duct and leaps inside. From the entrance of the vent he motions for you to follow him - he might not care what happens to him, but it seems he at least realizes you don't have to share his fate. This could well be his show of gratitude for giving him his shot at vengeance.

You climb in after the red warrior, just narrowly fitting inside the duct while clutching your backpack, now made significantly heavier with the addition of the Metal Coat. Unflinching, Pawniard proceeds along the winding path of tunnels; after all, he's done this countless times before while he toyed with Bud. Often he has to slow down to allow you to catch up, but after what feels like an hour of crawling, the exit comes into view. Pawniard kicks the metal lid off its hinges, allowing light and fresh air to fill the vent.

When you finally crawl out of the duct, you realize you're now outside. More specifically, Pawniard brought you to a side exit that led to the truck parking area just outside the Power Plant. You had your worries about being double-crossed at the last moment, but it looks like the Steel-Type came through and has in fact guided you to freedom.

Pawniard stands with his back turned to you, staring at the sun. It seems he hasn't been outside in months. Has he misse dit? Does he regret leaving? WHo can tell?

The coast is clear; against all odds, you can leave any time you want. Is there anything left you want to do?
 

myahoo

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Myahoo:

((I'll try to streamline things a bit since I want to see your adventure through to the end before real life forces me away from updating in the near future.))

The wait is agonizing. Why isn't C picking up?! It feels like an eternity, and all the while you can't shake off the fear that the man will return prematurely and bust your cover. Fortunately though, after much longer than you'd have liked, the voice on the other side finally speaks up. Thank Arceus.


"Good, you're still there. What're you seeing?"

As quickly and succinctly as you can, you explain your current situation and what you've already discovered in your brief time in Black Velvet's underworld.

"Knew it. I knew that bastard was into something like this, but I could never get close enough to prove it." C sounds both triumphant and outraged at the same time. "So you're on the laptop that programs the collars... That's where the USB comes in."


The other item she gave you, besides the phone you're using right now. Seems like she really thought things through in detail - she must have been investigating the man for a long time now. You don't like this situation any more than you did ten minutes ago, but at the very least, you get the distinct impression that C is someone - possibly the only one - you can actually trust right now. Which is just as good, because she's also the one responsible for you being here in the first place.

"There's something in that USB drive that can help us in two ways. Plug it in and you'll see what I mean."

You instinctively peer over your shoulder to make sure you're not caught red-handed, before retrieving the item from your pocket and inserting it into the appropriate slot on the laptop. At first, nothing happens... and then, a blue screen. Lovely, perfectly inconspicuous, you find yourself thinking with no small amount of sarcasm. But it gets worse:



The screen shifts from blue to orange, and a smiling face appears on it. Mercifully, audio seems to be turned off.

"Meet Rotom, our trump card. It should be in full control of the collar program by now, as well as the charging dock by extension. I can pick up its energy readings from where I am." C sounds confident enough that you wonder if this might actually work. "All you gotta do is give our friend some time to work. Rotom will drain away all the charge from the collars as long as the USB is plugged in, and as long as the energy transfer is ongoing, I can trace its location and convince the Police Department to follow our lead. We'll catch the monster running those illegal battles right in the act - your mission will be to make sure the process isn't interrupted!"

With that, she ends the call on her side. Just then, you see the door handle begin to turn, and your heart skips a bit. Thankfully, Rotom forces the screen to switch off, just as Shady Guy reenters the room. Surely it hasn't been 10 minutes yet?!

"Sorry kid, forgot to search you. Formalities, you see - our patrons sleep better at night," he says with a faint smile. "Well, get over here and let's get to it. Then you can tell me how you want to help our thriving business."
Sounds good. I'll try to reply...quicker than I have been. |D

He waited anxiously and impatiently for the call to connect, darting glances at the door all the while. He would've thought C would've been prioritizing his calls considering...but who knew what else they were working on at the same time. He shouldn't be surprised; it wasn't like he was working for them directly or anything, so if he got caught, it would probably just be inconvenient.

"Good, you're still there," C's voice finally came down the line. "What're you seeing?"

Aiden relayed the situation as shortly and succinctly as he could. He didn't exactly have a lot of time.

"Knew it. I knew that bastard was into something like this, but I could never get close enough to prove it." C sounded triumphant and outraged, which he could totally understand. "So you're on the laptop that programs the collars... That's where the USB comes in."

Aiden pulled out the USB, turning it over in his hand as he listened to C.

"There's something in that USB drive that can help us in two ways. Plug it in and you'll see what I mean."

He glanced again at the door before plugging the USB in, watching intently as the screen turned blue. Because that wasn't inconspicuous at all. The screen quickly turned orange with a smiling face on it and Aiden squinted curiously at it. That...looked kinda familiar...?

"Meet Rotom, our trump card." Ohhhh. A Rotom. Aiden couldn't help the pang of envy. Lucky bastards. Though...if they had a Rotom, why couldn't they get to this place themselves...?

"It should be in full control of the collar program by now, as well as the charging dock by extension," C continued. "I can pick up its energy readings from where I am. All you gotta do is give our friend some time to work. Rotom will drain away all the charge from the collars as long as the USB is plugged in, and as long as the energy transfer is ongoing, I can trace its location and convince the Police Department to follow our lead. We'll catch the monster running those illegal battles right in the act - your mission will be to make sure the process isn't interrupted!"

C then hung up without waiting for any kind of response. Aiden pulled the phone away from his ear with a glare and rolled his eyes. Of course. And then, because, of course, he'd literally walked himself into the lion's den, why shouldn't everything happen at once, Fucking Asshole came back and made his heart decide to leap into his throat. At least the screen flickered black before he noticed.

"Sorry kid, forgot to search you. Formalities, you see - our patrons sleep better at night," Asshole said with a smile. "Well, get over here and let's get to it. Then you can tell me how you want to help our thriving business."

Aiden made a show of rolling his eyes, but stepped up to the shit, trying to block his sight of the laptop. "You search them too? I would've figured they'd be more likely to be smuggling shit in, but hey, what do I know?" He shrugged and hoped the shitface didn't recognize the number in the burner phone.
 

King Ghidorah!

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King Ghidorah:

Your only choice of avoiding some lengthy jail time is to ensure there is no proof of what happened here today. To that end, you must ensure two things: that neither Bud nor Terrence remember the tragic events that led to the loss of their hands, and that nobody sees you leaving the building. That way, it'll be impossible to pin anything on you. You hope...

Venomoth targets the slumbering men and the unconscious rhino, and unleashes a supersonic wave to scramble their minds as thoroughly as possible. Pawniard too seems bothered by the auditory assault, but is fortunately standing far enough away that he remains unaffected. However, despite your best laid plans, sticking around to see if they worked is not an option - you'll have to risk it, and leave this place as soon as possible - and that's where you absolutely must convince your apathetic new acquaintance to help.

*Venomoth gained 2 levels!*

Pawniard listens to you with an empty expression, but at least he stays put to hear you out to the end. When you're done, the critter's yellow eyes turn to the air vent; he understands what you want to do, and how you cannot do it without him. However, being caught is not a concern of Pawniard's - enacting revenge on Bud was all he had left to look forward to in his life. It's not that you're "dead wight" to him, it's that he cares about the consequences of his assault a lot less than you do.

After a long moment of silence, you wonder if you lost him, if your bargain fell on deaf ears. But Pawniard finally nods, walks over to the duct and leaps inside. From the entrance of the vent he motions for you to follow him - he might not care what happens to him, but it seems he at least realizes you don't have to share his fate. This could well be his show of gratitude for giving him his shot at vengeance.

You climb in after the red warrior, just narrowly fitting inside the duct while clutching your backpack, now made significantly heavier with the addition of the Metal Coat. Unflinching, Pawniard proceeds along the winding path of tunnels; after all, he's done this countless times before while he toyed with Bud. Often he has to slow down to allow you to catch up, but after what feels like an hour of crawling, the exit comes into view. Pawniard kicks the metal lid off its hinges, allowing light and fresh air to fill the vent.

When you finally crawl out of the duct, you realize you're now outside. More specifically, Pawniard brought you to a side exit that led to the truck parking area just outside the Power Plant. You had your worries about being double-crossed at the last moment, but it looks like the Steel-Type came through and has in fact guided you to freedom.

Pawniard stands with his back turned to you, staring at the sun. It seems he hasn't been outside in months. Has he misse dit? Does he regret leaving? WHo can tell?

The coast is clear; against all odds, you can leave any time you want. Is there anything left you want to do?
Hugo thought about making a break for it, but he hesitated. Despite Pawniard’s seeming apathy, Hugo could commiserate with the Steel type. He knew what it was like to lose someone abruptly, in a way that could have – and should have – been prevented. And he knew how he grieved and how he had closed himself off from the world for such a long time. Even today, he was still learning to process that kind of grief, perhaps he never truly would get over it. And perhaps that’s why he reacted so harshly to Bud and Terrence, and why he was already beginning to feel the pangs of regret in his heart. Like Pawniard, Hugo saw an opportunity to seek revenge, even on people who had nothing to do with his situation. He realized he was trying to live vicariously through Pawniard. If he could help others who had experienced the same kind of loss that he had, and lessen their pain, perhaps it would help him move on as well.

“You know,” Hugo said to Pawniard whose eyes were still fixed on the sky, “life is still worth living. I can’t say that I know exactly how you feel. The bond that you shared with your former partner…that’s something that cannot be replaced. It was something special that only the two of you would ever truly understand. But what I can tell you is this. I’ve experienced my own loss in the past. I know the kind of pain and agony that I’ve experienced and that I still struggle with sometimes. I can’t tell you that it will happen quickly, but from my own experiences, I know that it hurts less in time.

But that doesn’t mean you forget. You never forget, and you shouldn’t forget. You will carry that person in your heart with you forever. But in time I think you will think less about your loss and more about how happy you are when you think of the memories you had with that person.

You’ve shown that you’re more than capable of keeping yourself safe and defending yourself. You don’t need my help with that. But I worry that if I leave you here alone, you will shut yourself off even further, build more walls, and it will become all the more difficult for you to pull yourself out from the dark space you’re in now.

That worries me. I want to help you. I won’t force you, but I implore you: come with me. I can’t replace your old partner, and wouldn’t try. But I know how cold the world can be when you’re in it alone, and I don’t want that for you.”
 

OkikuMew

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OkikuMew:

Seipedt the intense inmd-srbcanlgim porperites fo hwtaeevr lies heada, uoy'ev emco oto arf ot ivge pu onw. Evne if it cstso uoy yrou asinty, eth otughth fo rtnunig acbk raodun ealnivg eth mteyrsy usvnelod is ton oen oyu acre ot teertinan - oehvwer let oyu past the Otaxpxe kliely eepxstc omre of uoy too.

Nahnggi no ot ruyo tow reupiosc firensd, ryou noyl usrcoe of opeh ihgrt own, yuo msleuc onradw deeper iont het crorodri atth ersttcesh eaahd. The reeie violet ilgth ebemosc srtonger sa yuo gorrpess, btu ont nloy si the ilngenrig essen of nocfsuino tgtegin woser, eenv your yesgteih semes to be tgtenig oodpmrmcies.
Alfshes of lcouor nedvai yuor filed of ivosin, the acve lwals emes ot twist and contotr sa you amke oryu ywa loang hte path. Hte irmgaine tegs owres oot. Orbeef nlog, you don't vene owkn if uoy're iwalkng farword fo bacwradks. Lal you onkw is thta teehr are... bubbels?

Srwiling febo
er your esye, a rsetma fo bublsbe filsl eht apth - noly to be leereldp yb a rhwliopol pu ahead. In ouyr atset of ediniosrtaonti, it ktaes uyo ewhil ot elareiz hatw's apneihpgn, ntuli uoy see Iiovla and Lcuttee gnule ta one anohetr itwh Acltesk tufrerh pu eahad. Tehy're gifigthn noe ornthea ni hrtie won nooufcins!

Yuo ytr to cerah yro
u two mcopaionns, btu hte afster uoy mwsi, hte fatrehr waya tehy prpaea to be. Ahtw emesed to be a arnorw orcidror onw olkos more leik a vcaren, dwei and icsaopus, btu athw od uoy veen oknw anymeor?

Hte ehacadeh nefiisinetd nev
e mroe, adn you feel no the rbikn fo aspsing otu. Wath rae you noggi to od?!
As teyh sawm erdpee into eth orricdro, rmeibancg each toher, otn oyln Ménila’s rimginae was gteintg rowes, ubt erh visnio eiedcdd to noji the isnitnay aols. The utnlne arettsd to itswt dan runt ni many icndtiores, eminrding hre tey taohnre ptar fo a edovi game, but eyvr ucmh wsroe. And nthe eth aryzc colors ckiedk ni. Fi esh anws’t htat umhc in apin, hse rpobalyb owlud avhe ugalehd and ghohtut ihts whta eopepl saw nhwe eiatng tohes umsohroms. At htsi ponit uhtgoh, reh idmn aws istwnigt adn iutrnng just sa uchm as hte rciroodr. Ehr nesse fo nitoerotain swa tou fo whack; hse odsen’t nkow what’s up or nwod, eltf or grith… ehck, hse nidd’t evne nkwo fi she aws alwkign in teh ighrt tiredinco. Aiwt, osunlhd’t it eb smwmiing? Seh ndid’t oknw nyormae. She truegglsd to keep ehrself ofrm slipnipg ywaa tuo of ncorlto ro nifat. Ehs idtre ot at saetl ctrtneocaen on ekpe mvogin frwoard, ekpe her esey neop, dna ctonasntyl isahkgn erh eadh, rhe nloy aphyscli erifle she enkw in imtes hse eflt nfati ni eht spta.

Ta some piont, it tefl ilke rhe ivinos lgistlhy tenw acbk to morlan. She psoettd ubblsbe ni nrtfo of ehr. Nfially, sometihng olcgila to see hielw ndwuaetrer. Erh eyes took a omnmet ot djasut, aprialtly ridttacsed by hte bulbbes, ubt nthe ntoicde ohw htey rewe vimogn in a siwrl foebre iwihsgsn aawy. Teafr a fwe emor sedcosn of aaadptoint, seh was finlyal ot see smoetihgn eels: Lceuett and Ovliia ni onftr fo her, no olngre ruend hre arsm.

“Hye,” she jiogkn easkd, ”hwta are you odign h-”

Her pipusl enwt ediw as hes wetenisds eth sneeaakpbul: her wto edar Pokémon, hwo weer esbt firnesd iaelrre otady, weer ni a tatbel with caeh ohert, atking runts ta Actkling noe another! Esh quciykl ierdt ot moev rtawods htem, utb ti epaearpd as tyhe were vnmoig enve uftrher away.

Hse ucodln’t od ti nmoayre. Hes ulcndo’t od ti ynoeamr. Erh biran swa rascbmdle. She aws gvinli a nigthamre. Ehr rfidnes eewr figinhtg for no raseon. Hse was ni aipn. Hes swa oislng hrseelf. With hte tltile noclotr hes dha left, she ritde cllaing reh Sorcaol adn Sefaeb akcb nito theri Kopéallbs, tbu her iam swa so ertrbile, hte sbema imsdse and idflae ot lupl them ni.

“Stpo… ospt…! OTPS!”

Tisll dohignl the Pkoélblas in her hiskgan hsand, seh smcreade ni gonay sa esh lcoesd ehr yese and urclde heresfl up into a ball, snobbig. All hse elft wno saw naip. She fetl kile she wsa diygn.

Tub hes idd ton tawn ot eid. She nkwe hse adh to go no. Ehs knwe ehs dha ot ekpe ggion. Omhseow.
 
Last edited:

Maskerade

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((Alright guys let’s speed things up, for your sake and mine. I really wanna see these through to the end, so we might have to hurry the plots along!))


Myahoo:

Just when things seem to take a slight turn for the better, they instantly get worse, and the “fun” thing is, you’re practically used to this cosmic alignment at this point. This whole ordeal has caused you to roll your eyes so many times it’s honestly surprising they haven’t gotten stuck yet.

Fortunately, Rotom seems to be wise enough to avoid detection, although you’re sure it’s still working in the background. Concealing your own intentions, however, might prove harder.

“My patrons know the house rules; I don’t deal with common smugglers and criminals, only esteemed battle enthusiasts, and I’m not sure I like what you’re implying. Which brings me to a question… why exactly do you need two phones?”

Shady Guy finds your cell phone, the one you’ve been using to text your brother, as well as the other, noticeably older one given to you by C.

“I’ll be keeping these,” he says as he pockets the items. Then, he walks over to the door and locks it from the inside. “Trusting you might have been a premature decision. Let’s have a little talk.”

He grabs a PokéBall from the confines of his coat and tosses it at the ground. From inside materializes a large red creature in a kimono – a serious-looking Throh – who proceeds to grab and hold you in a bear hug!

“You’re a smart kid, I can tell. I’m the one at fault for being… over-trusting.” He walks up to the collar stand and picks one up. “We might yet be great business partners, but I’m starting to have doubts about your honesty – comes with the trade, really. But all we need to do to put my mind at ease is use a little insurance.”

He puts the shock collar on you as you fruitlessly try to break free from Throh’s grasp.

“Now, back to business. Have you chosen how you’re going to help me?”



King Ghidorah:

It’s been a long and strange journey inside the Power Plant. In the end, you managed to solve the problem with the generators, but might just have ended up creating a new problem in the process – the two best and oldest workers in the facility have been mutilated and might not be able to recover. But that’s an issue for another day, and hopefully for someone else to handle altogether. Your priority right now is helping someone else to recover.

Pawniard keeps his eyes firmly locked on the sky as you try to reach out to him. You still can’t quite understand the Steel-Type’s troubled personality – you can tell he adored his old Trainer, and that his death shattered Pawniard’s heart and mind to a possibly irreparable state. What was left was a remorseless, apathetic warrior who cared only for Bud’s misery; it can be argued that his relationship with Terrence was born of nothing other than mutual benefit, which was why he had no trouble hurting him as well. And when his revenge was concluded, he was left with nothing to look forward to anymore. How do you get through to someone this damaged?

“In time I think you will think less about your loss and more about how happy you are when you think of the memories you had with that person.”

Pawniard blinks, and then tears up. You can tell you struck a chord; the Steel-Type must really have loved his time with living alongside that Power Plant worker. So, he can still recall the happy times in his life with fondness… maybe not all is lost?

After a while longer, the metal-covered creature turns around and finally faces you. You half expect him to turn violent again, confronted with all the memories he’d been trying to repress… but he then walks up to you and drops to one knee, head lowered, in a show of warrior’s respect. He accepts your offer!

Congratulations! You have been joined by a Level 34 Male Pawniard with the Egg Moves Pursuit, Revenge and Psycho Cut!

It might take a long time to mend his broken spirit, but something tells you that, down the line, you and Pawniard will grow very close. After all, you know exactly what he’s feeling, and you might be the only person left in the world who can and wants to help him.

Whether Pawniard will recover, and whether or not your actions inside the Power Plant will have repercussions… only time will tell.

((Your adventure is now over! Just make sure you assign Pawniard to a PokeBall in your inventory to make the capture official ;) I had a lot of fun updating you, especially towards the end with your surprising decisions! Hope you enjoyed it too. Cheers!))



OkikuMew:

Ti semes sa hothug heret’s thonnig oyu nac do renmayo. Ehrmvdleweo by het elrnlteess asusalt on your esness, oryu scarmblde nmid nad shifintg rabiown of olucosr feerbo your yees are all too mhuc to abre, adn oyu afynlil barke nehw you izaeerl yuo ucldon’t neev eptotrc yuor pcomanoins rfom het mesa afte. Hte ghsit fo Ultceet dna Iolvai gifhgitn eon aeonrth eikl tbiter eenimes shrtesat oyur siprit and, too nudcofse ot even efycuscsulls eralcl htme, oyu vieg up iteernyl, abnndinoga oyursefl to aewvhter eatf het tmsamrendi fo tsih wtitsed amge sha in tsroe orf you. Not onlg freta uyo rcul oyersufl up nito a labl, het coolsur rae eparcdle by cmpolete aenrdssk, and ahexutsoin overwhlesm uyo, orfgcin ouy ot leesp.

“I’m here to understand.”

“I’m here to understand.”

“I’m here to understand.”

The words you spoke before ring repeatedly within your head, a faint echo at first, then louder and louder. Words you can understand, words that make sense… an anchor of reason in a sea of confusion. You hold on to those words, to your purpose, to the mission that brought you here – all things you begin to remember again. The Mareanie raids, the dead Corsola, Hank passing out on the boat. All of those is why you came here, you remember.

You open your eyes again. There is a cave, bathed in purple light and no longer every damn colour known to man. It seems you can think straight again, mercifully, and the migraine is gone. Olivia and Lucette are nowhere to be seen, however. What’s going on here?

Up ahead, on the far end of the cave, there seems to be… a person? You swim over, and the closer you get, the more familiar the figure seems. And when you finally come close, you finally understand the familiarity: it’s you.

Floating in the water with a peaceful expression and, more notably, without any diving gear at all, a mirror image of you greets you with a faint smile. When she speaks, however, she does so in Hank’s voice, and although she appears to be uttering perfectly constructed sentences, all you can hear is a string of seemingly random numbers. Because of course everything in this damn cave is random!

“Two thirty-one three twenty-nine five twenty-three seven nineteen eleven seventeen…”

She finally stops and motions her hand for you to speak, smiling all the while. She wants an answer.

An answer… She wants an answer; you want an answer. What do you want more than anything right now? Could it be reason? A thread of logic to guide you and keep you sane? If so… are these numbers really random?

What is your answer?
 
Last edited:

King Ghidorah!

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King Ghidorah:

It’s been a long and strange journey inside the Power Plant. In the end, you managed to solve the problem with the generators, but might just have ended up creating a new problem in the process – the two best and oldest workers in the facility have been mutilated and might not be able to recover. But that’s an issue for another day, and hopefully for someone else to handle altogether. Your priority right now is helping someone else to recover.

Pawniard keeps his eyes firmly locked on the sky as you try to reach out to him. You still can’t quite understand the Steel-Type’s troubled personality – you can tell he adored his old Trainer, and that his death shattered Pawniard’s heart and mind to a possibly irreparable state. What was left was a remorseless, apathetic warrior who cared only for Bud’s misery; it can be argued that his relationship with Terrence was born of nothing other than mutual benefit, which was why he had no trouble hurting him as well. And when his revenge was concluded, he was left with nothing to look forward to anymore. How do you get through to someone this damaged?

“In time I think you will think less about your loss and more about how happy you are when you think of the memories you had with that person.”

Pawniard blinks, and then tears up. You can tell you struck a chord; the Steel-Type must really have loved his time with living alongside that Power Plant worker. So, he can still recall the happy times in his life with fondness… maybe not all is lost?

After a while longer, the metal-covered creature turns around and finally faces you. You half expect him to turn violent again, confronted with all the memories he’d been trying to repress… but he then walks up to you and drops to one knee, head lowered, in a show of warrior’s respect. He accepts your offer!

Congratulations! You have been joined by a Level 34 Male Pawniard with the Egg Moves Pursuit, Revenge and Psycho Cut!

It might take a long time to mend his broken spirit, but something tells you that, down the line, you and Pawniard will grow very close. After all, you know exactly what he’s feeling, and you might be the only person left in the world who can and wants to help him.

Whether Pawniard will recover, and whether or not your actions inside the Power Plant will have repercussions… only time will tell.

((Your adventure is now over! Just make sure you assign Pawniard to a PokeBall in your inventory to make the capture official ;) I had a lot of fun updating you, especially towards the end with your surprising decisions! Hope you enjoyed it too. Cheers!))

This was a blast, Mask. Thanks so much. I admire your creativity.

Assigning my new Pawniard into Steel Ball (1/2)
 

myahoo

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((Alright guys let’s speed things up, for your sake and mine. I really wanna see these through to the end, so we might have to hurry the plots along!))


Myahoo:

Just when things seem to take a slight turn for the better, they instantly get worse, and the “fun” thing is, you’re practically used to this cosmic alignment at this point. This whole ordeal has caused you to roll your eyes so many times it’s honestly surprising they haven’t gotten stuck yet.

Fortunately, Rotom seems to be wise enough to avoid detection, although you’re sure it’s still working in the background. Concealing your own intentions, however, might prove harder.

“My patrons know the house rules; I don’t deal with common smugglers and criminals, only esteemed battle enthusiasts, and I’m not sure I like what you’re implying. Which brings me to a question… why exactly do you need two phones?”

Shady Guy finds your cell phone, the one you’ve been using to text your brother, as well as the other, noticeably older one given to you by C.

“I’ll be keeping these,” he says as he pockets the items. Then, he walks over to the door and locks it from the inside. “Trusting you might have been a premature decision. Let’s have a little talk.”

He grabs a PokéBall from the confines of his coat and tosses it at the ground. From inside materializes a large red creature in a kimono – a serious-looking Throh – who proceeds to grab and hold you in a bear hug!

“You’re a smart kid, I can tell. I’m the one at fault for being… over-trusting.” He walks up to the collar stand and picks one up. “We might yet be great business partners, but I’m starting to have doubts about your honesty – comes with the trade, really. But all we need to do to put my mind at ease is use a little insurance.”

He puts the shock collar on you as you fruitlessly try to break free from Throh’s grasp.

“Now, back to business. Have you chosen how you’re going to help me?”
"My patrons know the house rules; I don't deal with common smugglers and criminals, only esteemed battle enthusiasts, and I'm not sure I like what you're implying."

Aiden grimaced to himself. Greaaaat. His patrons were probably rich people.

"Which brings me to a question...why exactly do you need two phones?" Fucking Asshole waved the burner and Aiden's own phone between them.

Aiden raised his eyebrows. "You're the one who decided to recruit some sober-looking kid off the street. And you don't? So all your shit's on one phone? Isn't that a bit...insecure?"

Not that Fucking Asshole seemed to listen as he pocketed the phones and headed over to the door. Aiden's gut immediately clenched at the sound of the asshole locking the door. "Trusting you might have been a premature decision. Let's have a little talk."

Aiden warily stepped back as Asshole tossed a Pokéball at the ground, releasing some kind of red Fighting-type who easily swept him up into a bear hug.

"What the fuck?" he yelped, struggling to free himself, but the Fighting-type barely seemed to notice his struggles. "What the fuck is this?"

"You're a smart kid, I can tell," Asshole said, not that Aiden was paying all that much attention to him. What the fuck was this Pokémon's muscles made of, fucking steel? "I'm the one at fault for being...over-trusting. We might yet be great business partners, but I'm starting to have doubts about your honesty - comes with the trade, really. But all we need to do to put my mind at ease is use a little insurance." Wait, what?

Aiden glanced around for the Asshole and spotted what was coming bare moments before he slipped the shock collar around Aiden's neck. Ice ran down his spine and started spreading like frost as his heart began racing. Wait. Waitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwait. Fuck, did he just--shit, did it work on humans without killing them? How did it--wait, no. He said it "encouraged" fighting, but this couldn't be programmed for that or it would've fucked this entire thing up already and Fucking Asshole would probably be out of luck.

Aiden had to focus to take a deep breath. Shit. He breathed out as evenly as he could. Fuck. He forced himself to pay attention to what was going on around him and barely managed to marshal his thoughts enough to make sense of what Fucking Asshole was saying now.

"Now, back to business. Have you chosen how you're going to help me?"

Aiden carefully took another even breath and said, "Well, there's definitely incentive to make sure the collars are working properly, so I'll take a look at that, if you don't mind." And I'm gonna burn it all to the ground, he added with a silent snarl, trying so hard not to tremble. Barely a minute ago, he was planning to just hand the whole thing over to the police the moment he could get out, but now, well. Now, he wanted to ruin this guy.
 

OkikuMew

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OkikuMew:

Ti semes sa hothug heret’s thonnig oyu nac do renmayo. Ehrmvdleweo by het elrnlteess asusalt on your esness, oryu scarmblde nmid nad shifintg rabiown of olucosr feerbo your yees are all too mhuc to abre, adn oyu afynlil barke nehw you izaeerl yuo ucldon’t neev eptotrc yuor pcomanoins rfom het mesa afte. Hte ghsit fo Ultceet dna Iolvai gifhgitn eon aeonrth eikl tbiter eenimes shrtesat oyur siprit and, too nudcofse ot even efycuscsulls eralcl htme, oyu vieg up iteernyl, abnndinoga oyursefl to aewvhter eatf het tmsamrendi fo tsih wtitsed amge sha in tsroe orf you. Not onlg freta uyo rcul oyersufl up nito a labl, het coolsur rae eparcdle by cmpolete aenrdssk, and ahexutsoin overwhlesm uyo, orfgcin ouy ot leesp.

“I’m here to understand.”

“I’m here to understand.”

“I’m here to understand.”

The words you spoke before ring repeatedly within your head, a faint echo at first, then louder and louder. Words you can understand, words that make sense… an anchor of reason in a sea of confusion. You hold on to those words, to your purpose, to the mission that brought you here – all things you begin to remember again. The Mareanie raids, the dead Corsola, Hank passing out on the boat. All of those is why you came here, you remember.

You open your eyes again. There is a cave, bathed in purple light and no longer every damn colour known to man. It seems you can think straight again, mercifully, and the migraine is gone. Olivia and Lucette are nowhere to be seen, however. What’s going on here?

Up ahead, on the far end of the cave, there seems to be… a person? You swim over, and the closer you get, the more familiar the figure seems. And when you finally come close, you finally understand the familiarity: it’s you.

Floating in the water with a peaceful expression and, more notably, without any diving gear at all, a mirror image of you greets you with a faint smile. When she speaks, however, she does so in Hank’s voice, and although she appears to be uttering perfectly constructed sentences, all you can hear is a string of seemingly random numbers. Because of course everything in this damn cave is random!

“Two thirty-one three twenty-nine five twenty-three seven nineteen eleven seventeen…”

She finally stops and motions her hand for you to speak, smiling all the while. She wants an answer.

An answer… She wants an answer; you want an answer. What do you want more than anything right now? Could it be reason? A thread of logic to guide you and keep you sane? If so… are these numbers really random?

What is your answer?
“I’m here to understand.”

“I’m here to understand.”

“I’m here to understand.”

Just when she was about to physically and mentally give up, these words resonated in Mélina’s head, clear as day, as a reverse echo through the caves of her skull. The words she had garbled through the salty water of the sea that have opened the door to the center of the problem. The problem being the Mareanie being out of control; being overly aggressive and overhunting Corsola including Olivia's family and attacking boats even humans like Hank. All those memories floated back to the surface of her mind.

That's when she realized she was thinking straight again. Well, correctly anyhow. No more messed up words, no more psychedelic colors either, but best and most important of all, no more migraines and lightheadedness. It was just her, and the purple cave. Wait, just her? Her emotions on overdrive again, the trainer frantically turned her head left and right, wanting to spot her two Pokémon friends that may or may not have fought each other earlier. They were nowhere in sight, but she spotted…
something up ahead. With nowhere else to go and nothing else around, she swam over towards the oddity. As her eyes focused more, that something turned to be someone. Getting more curious, she approached the person, and things got curiouser and curiouser as that person was clearly saying something (despite being underwater) and actually felt familiar to Mélina. Hank’s brother, Edmund? Too feminine-looking, although admittedly that wouldn't be enough to identify a person. A family member? Could’ve been her sister, but she knew for a fact she’s still at their hometown, working as a Pokémon nurse; no way she would've ended up here. An old friend? That was possible, since it’s been more than a decade since she last saw most of them, but something was just... off. She swam closer, and closer… until she suddenly stopped as she went nose to nose with that mysterious being.

“What. The. Heeeee-”

She felt like looking into a mirror. It was her. It… she… looked exactly like her. A perfect copy. Mélina - the real one (?) - was flabbergasted. The only things that made her realize it wasn’t a mirror’s reflection was it wasn’t wearing any swimming gear like she was, and yet she looked amazingly serene and relaxed as she floated around in the water - compared to her, geared up in diving gear head to toe, and her jaw was dropped down to the sea floor.

“Uuuuuuuuuh… Hi?” Mélina bubbled to… whoever that is, unsure how to react. Was she dangerous or harmless? Why and how did she look just like her? How was she able to breathe underwater? Is that really what she looked like in person? Was she really that fat? Where were Lucette and Olivia? Is she going crazy again? Mélina didn’t want to give another permission slip for a bad trip again.

The doppelganger greeted her back by widening her smile, then started to speak to her… with Hank’s voice. Mélina recoiled in shock. She never thought of going face to face to a real life example of the uncanny valley. Was she hallucinating all this or what… was she really going crazy? On top of that, although what she (or he?) spoke were indeed words, and sounded like nice, articulated phrases, it was all nonsense. Numbers, it seemed. The trainer had a hard time understanding exactly which ones she was saying, but her QA pattern-recognizing senses were tingling. There was a sequence. A bunch of numbers, followed by a pause. At one of these pauses, the double presented her hand towards her. Mélina tilted her head like a Growlithe, then had a realization: As much as she was questioning herself, that person, whoever she or he was, was asking a question themselves. Wait, was she just asking
herself a question? The woman shook her head again, not wanting to confuse herself further. That living reflection was the only thing that was around, and if somehow there was some logic into what she was saying, maybe, just maybe, she will finally make sense out of everything…

She jokingly wanted to answer “forty-two” right away, but she knew it couldn’t be that easy. Instead, she hurriedly pulled her backpack (still on her, whew!) and took out one of the few things she grabbed from the Hank Tank before diving: an underwater writing slate.
“Can uh… can you repeat? Slowly?” she grinned sheepishly while getting the marker ready then using it to point at the board. “I want to write it down.”

To her delight, the person nodded and started to recite again, still in Hank’s voice, but in a more comprehensive cadence.

“Two, thirty-one, three, twenty-nine, five, twenty-three, seven, nineteen, eleven, seventeen…”

Finally getting somewhere with a visual of those numbers, Mélina stared at them and started to think, tapping the marker on her cheek. It was a bit hard for her to put aside her joy of finally think critically again… despite her doubts of being completely sane at this point. First thing she noticed was yet another pattern in that sequence: a small number, followed by a bigger number, followed by another small number but bigger than the first, then continued with another big number but was smaller than the second one. Her first thought was to subtract the little number with the following big number, which appeared to work at first as it resulted the next big number… but then that logic crumbled as the third subtraction didn’t equal twenty-three. She tried addition, and nothing came to it. Multiplication, division? Didn’t make sense. A bit at loss, she decided to try arranging them in order: Two, three, five, seven, eleven, seventeen, twenty-three, twenty-nine, thirty-one. The spacing wasn’t regular additions (she sure hoped it wasn't some kind of algebra puzzle)... but for some reason, that rearranged sequence, just like that doppelganger seen from afar, was familiar. She was sure that putting her nose against the board wouldn't help in this case. She did her best to find where that group of numbers came from… something from school, maybe? Do they have something in common?

Something in common…

Her head jerked back as something from math crossed her mind. Last time she heard of it was probably around second grade, when she learned about them. Two times one and one times two… one times three and three times one… That was it! The name of that type of numbers was long lost in her memory, but she recalled their special property: without taking account decimals, they can only be the result of a multiplication with one and itself, and cannot be divided by any other number than 1 or itself to turn into another, non-decimal number! At that breakthrough, she scrambled around to process and write each number that can be one of those… but then stopped as she reminded herself of the original sequence. Was it hinting at something, with that small-big number pattern…? What if it was a number smaller than seventeen, but bigger than eleven? Starting with twelve, she calculated again… and didn’t take long to get a “hit” that fit that mathematical property. She smiled, but frowned a bit as she was afraid that was incorrect. She started testing the following numbers… Nope. All was left, the only one that worked, was the infamous unlucky yet lucky number. She looked up at her strange copy of herself, fearful yet hopeful.

“...Thirteen? Is it thirteen you’re looking for?”
 

Ex-Admiral Insane

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Ex-Admiral Insane:

Commissioner Morton comes across as anything but an approachable individual. You may be a regional authority, but that doesn't seem to matter to him in the slightest. Deciding that warming up to the Commissioner doesn't need to be a priority, you shift your focus to one of the younger, less-experienced looking policemen who's standing a few feet away from the corpse. By the look on his face, he's really not into dead bodies.

"O-oh... Mister Lucas! Or is it Master Lucas? Master Luke? No, not that one.. S-sorry," he stammers haphazardly as he straightens his back and hesitates between saluting and offering you a handshake. "Just between you and me, I... I'd like to apologize for the Commissioner's... erm... bluntness. He's very, uh... to-the-point. It's nothing personal."

Realizing you're looking for more information than Morton wants to give you, the policeman pulls you aside - all too content to move away from the corpse - and starts explaining what little he knows.

"It's been happening more and more often as of late. We started out by trying to profile the perp, but it wasn't long before we realized it wasn't the work of a single person. Violent gangs have been sprouting like mushrooms lately, with no qualms about killing if someone resists a hold-up. They robbed that woman for what little stuff of value she had on her, and when she struggled, they offed her," he declares. The look on his face tells you he's indeed seen plenty of these cases recently and he knows what he's talking about. "Criminality has always existed in New Fizz, but murder was never a concern, the one line criminals wouldn't cross - because we had him."

He looks a bit embarrassed, but clearly decides he's already said too much to back out now. The officer pulls out his wallet and shows you a picture: a man in his thirties wearing a police uniform, grinning and bumping fists with a strange creature, bipedal like a human but with gray, scaly skin, a long, flowing dark cape and a hood covering its face.

"We had Hakama-an!"

You have to actively prevent your eyes from rolling all the way to the back of your head when you hear what people have decided to call the caped hero. Still, there's a story here, and you try your best not to lose focus.

"Grant and Hakama-an were the greatest duo the New Fizz Police Department - any Police Department anywhere, really - has ever had. Their mere existence was enough to dissuade gangs from committing violent crimes. But Grant was shot and... died during a hostage situation a few months back. And well... Hakama-an quit. He simply vanished, never to be seen again, and since then, we completely lost control over organized crime in the city. What NFPD lost in motivation with the loss of Grant and Hakama-an, criminals gained threefold, and now they just take what they want and kill if they have to."

He finally stops talking and stares pensively at the photo of those who were clearly his lost idols...

What will you do?
‘Oh dear Mew, no.’ was Lucas’ first thought at seeing the picture and hearing the name Hakama-an. New Fizz City apparently had an idol in the form of a caped crusader. The loss of his partner, Grant, seemed to have demotivated the mysterious figure from continuing his crime-fighting spree. Or at least that’s what Lucas gathered as much from the nervous officer. Lucas didn’t quite like the idea of a city having to rely on vigilantes to uphold the law. Long-lasting peace in a city was going to require reforms that would allow New Fizzy City’s own police force to tackle the situation.

Still, there was a certain respect to be had for people who’d put tackle danger head-on like that. More so if they were successful at it. Even more so if they managed to dissuade gang’s from committing horrendous acts in the first place. The absence of this hero seemed to have been the catalyst for the increase in violent crime. Lucas took another better look at the picture of officer Grant and the mysterious figure. Like most vigilantes, this person seemed to dress up as a Pokémon and hid himself in caped hood to hide his identity further. ’Grey scales? His own personal theme perhaps? Probably based on a Pokémon which would explain the name.’ He didn’t spend much time focussing on the details and dropped the name entirely. It didn’t matter too much to him he thought.

“Thank you for the information,” he told the officer. He know understood the situation better. Gangs were responsible for the muggings and the murders that followed if their victims didn’t cooperate. Which meant that finding them might be the next step. But finding them was a task of the police force and they’ve been tackling for weeks. Perhaps, he though, I should focus on prevention. He mulled the thought over in his head. Perhaps he should patrol the neighbourhoods at night, see what he can find. Hakama-an’s presence alone might deter delinquents. Lucky for Lucas, Hakama-an wore a cape. “Can I borrow that picture of yours officer…” ’Oh crud, I forgot the man’s name.’ He let the word officer linger as if it were the last word, hoping the policeman wouldn’t notice. Where there are idols there are fans, and were there are fans there is merchandising. Finding a cape of sorts might not be too hard. A close exactness to that of Hakama-an might be tougher. He asked the officer if there were any such ‘fan’ shops in the city that might have information on Hakama-an.

Once he got whatever information he could from the policeman, Lucas went over to Commissioner Morton. He ran potential scenarios through his head on how to approach the man. He had to be firm in his actions, but not dictatorial. ’I would like to ask. No, too soft. I demand? Absolutely not! I want to? No, too childish. I need? Ehhhhh. I request? Maybe.’ Time ran out as he was already up close to the commissioner. He couldn’t linger or stammer in his words right now.

“Commissioner Morton,” he blurted to catch the old man’s attention. “What can you tell me about the patrols you have in the area? I need to join the night-time surveillance group to see the city and problems for myself.”

(’Nailed it.’ He hoped.)
 

Serverus Snope

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Serverus Snope:

Slowking looks down at you clutching Meringue in your arms. This time, he does not smile.

"This is a consequence of battle, is it not? An outcome you must learn to handle." With that, he raises a hand in goodbye; his eyes glow blue, and both Slowking and Abra vanish, leaving you all alone with your fainted partner.

Clearly, the one you hope will be your mentor is not going to make things easy for you. You reckon he hasn't gone far, since he has agreed to give you a second chance, but no doubt finding him again will be part of the test in the near future. For now, you're tasked with finding this other soul whose "fire burns with frustration"... But where to even begin?!

You look around, finding nothing of note on the beach. The occasional Wingull flies overhead, the sea lazily bathes the sand in a back and forth motion, and there seems to be nobody around to disturb this peace. Then why do you feel a lingering sense of anguish? Is it just because of your recent defeat, or... something else? Maybe the suppressing bracelets prevent you from finding the true answer, but you can't shake off the feeling that this is somebody else's suffering you're feeling. But how could you possibly establish such a link with someone you've never even met?...

Then, you see it. It lasts only a fraction of a second, but you're sure you saw it: a flash of orange light just behind a collection of boulders to your left. You head towards it, having nowhere else to go at this point, and once you make a turn around the stone, you see the beach has become a battlefield for a very uneven clash.

Three Krabby look rattled, snapping their pincers together in warning. Smoke rises from the ground between them, as if a bomb has just gone off, alarming them. Across the group is the apparent culprit, the creature responsible for irritating these Krabby: embers dancing around its golden fur, a
stares defiantly at the three Water-Type opponents, as if to show them it's not afraid. But this is quite clearly a reckless behaviour, and logic dictates if anybody is going to get hurt, it won't be the Krabby...

Should you intervene?
Makoto stops at the scene to assess the situation. A small vulpine pokemon and three krabby were facing off, it seemed. But from the looks of the rising smoke, the krabbies didn't seem to be the instigators. he hesitated, yearning to get out of there before any more chaos breaks out and before any more harm comes to these krabbies or the yellow pokemon with flame-like fur coming from its ears...

...Wait, flame-like fur? And that pattern on its tail! But was that really enough to confirm this unknown pokemon as the one he was supposed to look for? Slowking mentioned a fire burning within, not necessarily a pokemon with literal control over fire.

But then he noticed the subtler details. The pokemon staring down those krabbies like it had something to prove. Some kind of... frustration? It seemed to at least work for that short moment. But retaliation could come at any moment...

That confirmed it. This was the one Slowking spoke of. And Makoto had to somehow defuse this situation without any pokemon to help him. After returning the unconscious Meringue to his ball, he approached the scene of the soon-to-be brawl. "Wh... What's going on here? Please show me... so this doesn't have to get violent." His legs shook slightly as he began predicting the worst.
 

Maskerade

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Myahoo:

Your employer grins at your totally voluntary decision to help out with the collars. Even then, Throh’s grip doesn’t loosen up in the slightest, which probably isn’t a good sign.

“Smart decision. But you know what? I’d like to watch you work your magic, so I think I’ll stay a bit longer.”

Obviously, the second you turn on that computer screen, Shady Guy will realize what you’re up to – Rotom hasn’t revealed itself yet, but how much longer can you keep it hidden with the man peering right over your shoulder? Busting your cover seems all the more inevitable now… and then, things take a turn for the even-worse.

A loud ruckus suddenly comes from the other side of the locked door. You can definitely hear panicked screams and angry shouts coming from the arena hall, and then, a very familiar voice issuing instructions with the same cold precision as you’ve grown used to.

“Arrest them all, interrogate whoever you have to. We’re not leaving without the one responsible.”

That is the unmistakable voice of C. She found this place! But before you can even think of alerting her to your presence, Shady Guy walks up to you and slaps you across the face with a look of sheer ire rather than his usually collected expression.

“You son of a bitch. I’m going to make you regret this!”

Throh suddenly moves, spinning in place with your helpless body still in his might grasp, before effortlessly tossing you like a ragdoll across the room! For a brief moment you fly through the air, but the trip is short-lived as you soon crash into the wall next to the laptop. Pain courses through your body, your chest feels like it’s about to burst from impact, and it’s a miracle you didn’t hit your head! But even in this moment of agony, you can’t help but notice one fundamental detail – there was no shock…

Clearly puzzled by the absence of a discharge too, the man hesitates for a moment. Could it be that Rotom drained the collars already?

“How the hell… This is your doing too, isn’t it?! Well…” he shakes his head, attempting to appear conflicted and failing spectacularly – he plans to enjoy this. “They won’t lay a finger on me as long as I have a hostage. And since you’re working with them, it won’t take them long to figure out you’re trapped in here with me… So if I’m going to have some fun at your expense, we better hurry!”

Throh quickly rushes toward you, looking to finish what he started. You try to get up, but the pain in your ribcage prevents you from even taking in a deep breath, let alone exert your body in any way. The monster dashes in your direction, ready to pummel you… until a sudden electrical discharge from the laptop zaps him, paralyzing him in his tracks!

Rotom materializes in front of you, after a swirl of blue sparks burst from the monitor. The ghost positions itself between you and the stunned Throh, intent on protecting you despite receiving no orders to that end… *You are now accompanied by a Level 25 Genderless Rotom with MT Signal Beam.*

“I see what you did… You used that Rotom to tamper with the collars and send an electric signal to the NFPD to track this place down. Smart… but not really.”

Throh cracks his knuckles, ready to make you pay for that little stunt. Still unable to move, let alone flee, what do you plan on doing?



OkikuMew:

Only one answer comes to mind. It’s astounding that you could even piece it all together, given your earlier state of confusion… but you persevered, clinging on to that remnant of reason, and are now able to provide the solution to end this madness. Thirteen.

As you utter the word, your mirror image’s smile widens, and she bows gracefully in gratitude. Then, the violet glow that fills the cave coalesces on her, enveloping her in a bright purple sphere, which proceeds to burst in a blinding flash of light. All you can see is purple for a few seconds, but when your eyes readjust, the scene before you has changed again. Only this time, it all looks – and feels – more authentic than ever before.

You are still in the same submerged cave, floating around in the saltwater. However, the cave walls now bear countless hieroglyphs, each of them radiating a faint purple glow. Except, these aren’t hieroglyphs at all; in fact, they are much more similar to… letters?

You then begin to look around, searching for your mirror image, but she is nowhere to be found. In its place, however, is something else… A small black creature, staring back at you with a single, expressionless eye. Merely gazing upon it fills you with questions, a lingering sense of disorientation. The creature’s shape, appropriately, is the embodiment of doubt: a living question mark. It’s a
!

Orbiting around it, like a star-turned-satellite, is a violet crystal brimming with power – the source of light that has flooded this cave with such an unnatural glow. Upon closer inspection, your now-clear mind easily identifies the stone: it’s a
Psychium Z!

This combination must be the source of the widespread madness you’ve encountered thus far: the irrationally violent and hungry Mareanie that live in this part of the ocean; the apathetic Toxapex all bundled together like a living dome, protecting the cave; the out-of-the-blue tsunami that rose out of nowhere, threatening to destroy the Hank Tank; your own overwhelming confusion the closer you got to the centre of the cave… All can be explained by the heightened psychic energy of this Unown, empowered by the Z-Crystal! So if you can break the cycle here, maybe…

What will you do?!



Ex-Admiral Insane:

The fact that the NFPD relied on a caped crusader to uphold the Law effectively was, simply put, embarrassing. But there was no way around it: without Hakama-an, the Police were in over their heads with violent crimes all over the city. Whoever this vigilante was, he was good enough at his job that his mere presence dissuaded criminals from going too far. Was he worth pursuing?

“Well… ever since Hakama-an disappeared, shopkeepers have pretty much stopped selling his merch,” says the officer with the disheartened look of a die-hard fan recently denied more collectibles. “New Fizz inhabitants in general didn’t take kindly to being abandoned like that by their hero, y’know.”

He points to a nearby store with the lights still on inside – although the front door was understandably locked from the inside once the Police arrived on the scene and set up a perimeter. The shopkeeper probably wants nothing to do with the open street with a dead body lying around and all.

“Those guys used to sell a ton of Hakama-an stuff, actually. Not sure if they even stock any of it anymore though.”

With this new information, you thank the nervous policeman and then turn your attention to Commissioner Morton, the least approachable man you’ve met in quite some time. After going through several possible approaches in your head, you finally decide to keep it simple and let the man know you intend to get involved, whether he likes it or not.

See the problems for yourself? Some talent you got there, predicting murders.” He doesn’t even look straight at you; his eyes are locked on the corpse, and they look tired… defeated. “The few men that still agree to work night shifts leave HQ at 9 pm. Do with that what you will.”

He motions for the corpse to be carried into the ambulance that arrived meanwhile, then signals his men to spread out and search, in a gesture he knows is entirely symbolic: the policemen are too afraid to actually seek out criminals, and the criminals are too well organized to be caught right after a murder. Still, it looks professional when the Mayor and an Elite are watching. You fully expect him to get back to his car and leave, but at the last moment Commissioner Morton stops and turns back around.

“Listen, these men are useless cowards, all of them. Either you bring back their hero or find them a new one, I don’t care which. But nothing’s gonna change if you just plan on seeing.”

He finally enters the vehicle and speeds off back to HQ, leaving you and a very flustered-looking Mayor Loffley alone on the street.

“W-well… that was… eye-opening,” Loffley finally manages to say. “Erm…. Any plans?”



Serverus Snope:

Whether you are motivated by the kindness of your heart of the certainty that this meeting is Slowking’s prophecy playing out, you bravely decide to step between the two sides of this quarrel before everything goes south. Clearly the Fennekin is the one in need of protection here, even if it was the one to cause this whole mess in the first place…

The Krabby snap their pincers frantically as you approach, a clear sign to “stay the hell away, or else”. Fennekin, too, seems upset at your interference, pacing around to find a clear angle at which to hit the Krabby again, but your legs are in the way…

The three Water-Types grow agitated as well. Torn between attacking you and hesitant to do so due to the massive difference in size between them and you, they approach slowly, pincers opening and closing repeatedly; you were half-hoping they would just let bygones by bygones and return to the sea, but they are actually making their way towards you, which reeeally isn’t a good sign…

Instinctively, you take a step back, having no Pokémon to protect yourself with… but just then, Fennekin runs ahead through your legs and blocks the Krabby’s path, growling as menacingly as it can. And then, you feel it – an unmistakable surge of mental energy welling up inside the tiny fox, as it prepares to launch a Psychic-Type attack! Fennekin focuses, eyes glowing a myriad colour in preparation for a Psybeam…. But nothing happens. It can’t use the move!

Realizing Fennekin is actually not as much of a threat as it pretended to be, one of the Krabby jumps forward and strikes the fox with its Vice Grip! Thankfully it doesn’t seem to have learned Water attacks yet, but Fennekin is still clearly hurt by the move… The golden fox focuses its mental powers again, and this time around summons a dome of Psychic Terrain…. Which disperses and vanishes as soon as it begins forming. It can’t use that move either…

This is going from bad to worse… Fennekin is completely reckless and will end up severely injured if things keep going like this! what will you do?!
 

myahoo

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Myahoo:

Your employer grins at your totally voluntary decision to help out with the collars. Even then, Throh’s grip doesn’t loosen up in the slightest, which probably isn’t a good sign.

“Smart decision. But you know what? I’d like to watch you work your magic, so I think I’ll stay a bit longer.”

Obviously, the second you turn on that computer screen, Shady Guy will realize what you’re up to – Rotom hasn’t revealed itself yet, but how much longer can you keep it hidden with the man peering right over your shoulder? Busting your cover seems all the more inevitable now… and then, things take a turn for the even-worse.

A loud ruckus suddenly comes from the other side of the locked door. You can definitely hear panicked screams and angry shouts coming from the arena hall, and then, a very familiar voice issuing instructions with the same cold precision as you’ve grown used to.

“Arrest them all, interrogate whoever you have to. We’re not leaving without the one responsible.”

That is the unmistakable voice of C. She found this place! But before you can even think of alerting her to your presence, Shady Guy walks up to you and slaps you across the face with a look of sheer ire rather than his usually collected expression.

“You son of a bitch. I’m going to make you regret this!”

Throh suddenly moves, spinning in place with your helpless body still in his might grasp, before effortlessly tossing you like a ragdoll across the room! For a brief moment you fly through the air, but the trip is short-lived as you soon crash into the wall next to the laptop. Pain courses through your body, your chest feels like it’s about to burst from impact, and it’s a miracle you didn’t hit your head! But even in this moment of agony, you can’t help but notice one fundamental detail – there was no shock…

Clearly puzzled by the absence of a discharge too, the man hesitates for a moment. Could it be that Rotom drained the collars already?

“How the hell… This is your doing too, isn’t it?! Well…” he shakes his head, attempting to appear conflicted and failing spectacularly – he plans to enjoy this. “They won’t lay a finger on me as long as I have a hostage. And since you’re working with them, it won’t take them long to figure out you’re trapped in here with me… So if I’m going to have some fun at your expense, we better hurry!”

Throh quickly rushes toward you, looking to finish what he started. You try to get up, but the pain in your ribcage prevents you from even taking in a deep breath, let alone exert your body in any way. The monster dashes in your direction, ready to pummel you… until a sudden electrical discharge from the laptop zaps him, paralyzing him in his tracks!

Rotom materializes in front of you, after a swirl of blue sparks burst from the monitor. The ghost positions itself between you and the stunned Throh, intent on protecting you despite receiving no orders to that end… *You are now accompanied by a Level 25 Genderless Rotom with MT Signal Beam.*

“I see what you did… You used that Rotom to tamper with the collars and send an electric signal to the NFPD to track this place down. Smart… but not really.”

Throh cracks his knuckles, ready to make you pay for that little stunt. Still unable to move, let alone flee, what do you plan on doing?
Even after he said he'd do it, the fucking Pokémon didn't let him go.

"Smart decision," Fucking Asshole said. "But you know what? I'd like to watch you work your magic, so I think I'll stay a bit longer."

Aiden glowered at the shit, but didn't bother to complain. Wasn't like he had much choice now, did he? Not that he was too worried about the Rotom because, well, it was a Rotom. If it didn't know how to make everything look normal, he...he'd be very surprised.

A loud ruckus suddenly started up on the other side of the locked door, panicked screams and angry shouts drifting to the four of them. A somewhat familiar voice raised itself over the clear panic and Aiden couldn't help the vindictive triumph blooming in his chest.

"Arrest them all; interrogate whoever you have to. We're not leaving without the one responsible."

His head abruptly snapped to the side. Right. He was still stuck, wasn't he.

"You son of a bitch." Fucking Asshole looked downright furious and Aiden's fear and anger came rolling back in. "I'm going to make you regret this!"

The Fighting-type moved and Aiden suddenly found himself flying through the air, slamming his back into a wall. He cried out at the impact and bit down on a whimper as he fell into a pile on the floor, struggling to catch a breath. Although...no electricity? Aiden cracked open eyes he hadn't realized he'd closed and spotted Fucking Asshole hesitate. Huh. Rotom did fast work.

The surprise didn't stop Fucking Asshole for long, though. "How the hell... This is your doing too, isn't it?! Well..." He shook his head, failing to pretend that he wasn't eagerly aiming to beat the crap out of Aiden. "They won't lay a finger on me as long as I have a hostage." Fuck. "And since you're working with them, it won't take them long to figure out you're trapped in here with me... So if I'm going to have some fun at your expense, we better hurry!" Shit.

The Fighting-type leaped forward, clearly sharing the same sentiment as Fucking Asshole, while Aiden struggled to get upright. It hurt, sharp enough to take his breath away, and Aiden slumped back against the wall to try to get his breath back before he'd even gotten halfway up. Broken or cracked ribs probably, which meant he wasn't going anywhere for a while. Aiden braced for impact, reflexively closing his eyes, and entirely missed the sight of a bolt of electricity shooting from the laptop to the Fighting-type, paralyzing it in its tracks. His eyes snapped open at the sound, though, and he blinked at the Rotom that materialized in a swirl of blue sparks between him and the Fighting-type.

"I see what you did..." Fucking Asshole just had to open his fucking mouth again. "You used the Rotom to tamper with the collars and send an electric signal to the NFPD to track this place down. Smart...but not really."

"No?" Aiden wheezed, fighting the urge to cough and wincing as pain lanced down his chest. "It got them...to kick over...your bullshit...like an ant's nest. I'd say...that's good enough."

The Fighting-type cracked its knuckles threateningly and Aiden winced again. Right. That's probably what Fucking Asshole meant.

Aiden took a breath. "Hey, Rotom. Think you can...distract them...and bust the door open...so your people...know where to go?"
 
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