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The Arcane Realm: Land of Freedom and Magicks

~¤Sea Priestess¤~
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Liltwick – Before the desperate prisoner can even begin to make a dent in its escape tunnel, it finds itself abruptly lifted off the ground by a disorienting invisible force. Its tiny legs flail in helpless panic as you smile softly and speak to it in a smooth tone, which only serves to unsettle the dangling hostage further. At the thinly veiled threat to permit your Snorlax to swallow the seed whole, Pie takes the cue to grin and open his mouth up big in demonstration, letting out a large yawn that reveals the two sharp teeth in his lower jaw, and wide waiting tongue which he uses to lick his lips with a smack. A pink bubble floats simultaneously forth from his drooling maw, popping on the Seedot’s snout and showering it in saliva. It shudders as the sickening liquid seeps into its skin, at the same time acting as a sedative to strangely calm its nerves, like a snake’s poison paralyzing its prey. Slowing movements, its drooping eyelids hold its handler’s hypnotic gaze at it starts to squeak again, albeit sluggishly. You can sense the Kadabra beside you listening intently as it nods, before turning to translate the slurred speech.

“It seems today is the Birthday of the Forest King’s daughter, and his subjects were ordered to find suitable gifts for her to organize a surprise party. It was thought such a sparkling jewel would make a perfect present for the princess. Your companion has thus been taken to the King’s court, where its gems will subsequently be harvested and carved to create a splendid crown of crystal.”

As before, Uxie repeats the information with utterly deadpan delivery, relaying such disturbing details without batting an eye. Yet, it surprisingly continues on under its breath:

“Such fools, no better than those poachers who thought they could claim our stones as mere ornaments…”

It snaps up suddenly from its reverie as the Seedot pipes up again, and Uxie nods once more in understanding.

“The little one is now offering to lead us to where its cohorts are holding Carbink captive, in exchange for sparing its life. While my powers may be diminished, I can determine its words are at least trustworthy. Seeing as we have no other recourse or guidance to rely on at the moment, and time is of the essence, I suggest we follow its direction if you wish to save your friend.”

What will you do?
 
Wistful
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Maskerade: Decision made, you head back to Umberto for a brief detour, seeking to learn the location of the kitchens. The palace was a large, almost labyrinthine structure - getting lost would spell all sorts of trouble, far beyond the scope of simply lengthening your investigation. You find the guard drilling new recruits, his commanding tones obeyed swiftly by those participating. Spotting you, he instructs the trainees to continue their impressively synchronised movements. After a short consultation and another warm response to your obvious progress, you stride with affirmed purpose towards the kitchens. As you briskly walk, most of those you pass smile warmly, nodding their heads in friendly acknowledgement - no doubt comforted to see someone wearing the royal blue patrolling so eagerly - but something begins to gradually nag. A sparse few, just barely enough for it to register as odd, were much frostier; never enough to elicit much more than a ponderous frown, but certainly put off by your presence.

You smell your destination far earlier anything else. A faint, tantalising malt hanging in the air, followed by a hearty meaty broth punctuated gentle hints of light spices. Gigas would have a field day, though the disciplined Snorlax would focus foremost on the task at hand. You prepare yourself for a picturesque spread laid out, but as you draw nearer you hear elevated noises, shouts drowned out by crashing kitchenware. Spurred on by the commotion, you rush to the scene - and what you witness is part comical, part disastrous.

A humongous brass pot has been overturned, resulting in a gushing stew drenching the kitchen floor. Chefs lay spread-eagle, having slipped in their desperation to catch the culprit. Weaving with expert agility, a Growlithe holds a string of sausages between his jaws. With a haughty grunt, the lithe Fire type rushes past you, belting down the nearby corridor much to the chagrin of the robbed staff. Another decision lays before you: question those suffering the chaos, or give chase to the escapee?

===


grassyglide: As you make your way deeper into the forest, you get an overwhelming sense of being encapsulated by the surrounding trees. They tower over you, their gnarled and knotted trunks twisting round one another in a beautiful yet foreboding way. Earthy tones fill your nostrils, a mixture of rugged earth and the gentle aroma of enticing of green smells - dew soaked grass and hearty oak The dappled light peers through the overhead canopy, creating an ethereal hue which perfectly heightens the whimsical atmosphere of your surroundings. For a moment you are lost in this scenery, both literally and figuratively, your fate completely surrendered to the fickle fancies of the encroaching natural world. After walking for what feels like an eternity, swathed by the strange juxtaposition between the captivating beauty and worrying robbery of personal agency offered Fortune's Woods, you come across a small clearing. Without warning, your legs feel much heavier than they previously had, and with a frown you move towards a nearby upturned log to take the weight off.

As you rest, you begin to be plagued by the unshakeable feeling you are being watched. That nagging, uncertain tugging in your mind, desperate for you to confirm your suspicions but never quite imposing enough to act upon. As you wrestle with this sensation, your thoughts are soon torn asunder by another stimulus. Loud shouting emanates from further within the woods, just beyond the treeline. It seems to be a bunch of boisterous children hollering at something - but first impressions are often fatal, and it is clear Wisewoods is somewhat perturbed by the situation, shifting uneasily on his talons.
 
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As you make your way deeper into the forest, you get an overwhelming sense of being encapsulated by the surrounding trees. They tower over you, their gnarled and knotted trunks twisting round one another in a beautiful yet foreboding way. Earthy tones fill your nostrils, a mixture of rugged earth and the gentle aroma of enticing of green smells - dew soaked grass and hearty oak The dappled light peers through the overhead canopy, creating an ethereal hue which perfectly heightens the whimsical atmosphere of your surroundings. For a moment you are lost in this scenery, both literally and figuratively, your fate completely surrendered to the fickle fancies of the encroaching natural world. After walking for what feels like an eternity, swathed by the strange juxtaposition between the captivating beauty and worrying robbery of personal agency offered Fortune's Woods, you come across a small clearing. Without warning, your legs feel much heavier than they previously had, and with a frown you move towards a nearby upturned log to take the weight off.

As you rest, you begin to be plagued by the unshakeable feeling you are being watched. That nagging, uncertain tugging in your mind, desperate for you to confirm your suspicions but never quite imposing enough to act upon. As you wrestle with this sensation, your thoughts are soon torn asunder by another stimulus. Loud shouting emanates from further within the woods, just beyond the treeline. It seems to be a bunch of boisterous children hollering at something - but first impressions are often fatal, and it is clear Wisewoods is somewhat perturbed by the situation, shifting uneasily on his talons.
Argyle wasn't sure what he was expecting when he took that first step into Fortune's Woods, but it was definitely not this. Argyle was no stranger to strange forests. After all, he did spend quite some time walking in Ilex Forest, a forest supposedly under the auspices of Celebi, a Pokemon known to manipulate the very fabric of time. However, no breath he took in Ilex Forest felt as mystical as even the first breath he took when he stepped into Fortune's Woods. Argyle could feel that Wisewoods, who had made his home in Ilex Forest prior to meeting Argyle, also felt as if he was in a completely different world now. With each step that plunged the duo deeper into Fortune's Woods, they had felt themselves getting swept farther and farther into a new world. When the duo came upon a clearing in the woods, Argyle could not help but think that he did not end up there on his own. It seemed as if some magical force had entranced him as he and Wisewoods walked about. Or perhaps it was as if the woods were playing around with Argyle's fate, not unlike how a cat might play with its prey, and eventually seeming to decide to grant him and Wisewoods an opportunity for some rest by opening up a clearing. Try as he might, Argyle could not muster up the energy to think hard about the potential forces at work. He was too consumed with the heaviness in his legs and his desire to rest. Typically, Argyle would be quite anxious in such a situation, but he seemed to have resigned himself to whatever fate had in store for him. Thus, he supported himself on a log and sat down. Wisewoods stood on the edge of the log, trying to keep watch as vigilantly as possible, though it was hard to keep one's guard in a forest that seemed to use its enchanting beauty to disarm all who roamed its grounds.

As Argyle was about to dose off to what might have been a deep slumber, he jolted up. This sudden movement startled his Rowlet, who looked at him inquisitively. Argyle quickly scanned his surroundings but couldn't see anything out of the ordinary. "I couldn't help but feel someone or something's piercing gaze on me as I was about to drift off," Argyle explained to his partner.

"Row," the Rowlet chirpped and then positioned himself towards the direction to which Argyle had his back to when he was resting. Wisewoods was looking with a quiet intensity in his eyes, as if he sensed something in that direction. Argyle knew that his Pokemon was much more perceptive than him. Perhaps he had also picked up on the same feeling of being watched and also had a strong sense of where it was emanating from. As he mulled over whether or not to walk in the direction of Wisewoods' gaze, Argyle heard a sound. Wisewoods shifted his focus, trying to figure out where the sound was coming from. Though it seemed like the sound was coming from every direction, it did seem particularly strong straight ahead of the duo, beyond the treeline.

Argyle looked at his Rowlet. Clearly, Wisewoods was alarmed by this situation as was Argyle. However, it didn't seem like the two had a choice in the matter. They could obviously wait in the clearing, but sooner or later they would have to start moving. Argyle was not so sure the woods allow him to return home so easily. It seemed like the place that would hide the path back home until it decided not to. Argyle knew going in that he would be surrendering himself to whatever Fortune planned for him, so there did not seem a point in resisting. It was clear the forest wanted Argyle to start moving and Argyle thought he had no choice but to indulge the woods' whims. He looked at Rowlet and beckoned him to take his perch on his left shoulder. "I guess we should check out what those sounds are," Argyle said in resigned tone.

"Let," the Rowlet chirpped uneasily. That was the end of the discussion and the two slowly walked straight ahead and back into the woods. Soon, the clearing disappeared behind them and they were surrounding once again by the trees.
 
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I'm gonna blow your mind
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Kekoa took a deep breath as he watched the long road ahead of him.

In the distance, he could see a large castle and the luminous glint of gothic mosaics in the sunlight, and a snow-capped mountain range. To one side, he could see the border of a woods, who seemed to go on forever. To the other, he saw a large tower by the coast, piercing the clouds without sign of stopping.

He broke into a grin. There was so much to see in this place, but yet it was … somewhat nostalgic. It reminded him of his first adventure into the wild so long ago.

“Kong,” Kekoa said, stopping Grookey’s attempt at performing a drum solo with nothing but a stick and a couple of rocks “where do you think we should go?”

Kong looked at the landscape before tilting his head and chattering. “You also don’t have a clue, huh?” Kekoa said, laughing a bit as he stretched. Scratching his chin, he thought about the issue for a while before defaulting to the age-old method of hard decisions.

“Eenie meenie miney moe …” he recited the nursery rhyme, before stopping at the castle. “I guess that’s as good as place as any.” he shrugged before breaking into a lazy walk towards it.

The monkey quickly put away its stick and climbed up to its shoulder. They continued in their way, humming a little ditty without a care in the world as they awaited for the next big step in their journey.


(OOC: Member thread since apparently I don't have enough posts for a signature yet)
 
Fizzy Bubbles Resident Bird Keeper
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@mespritchaser
Having travelled across the Arcane Realm for so long that you and your party had lost all sense and track of time, it soon became apparent to each of you that you must be arriving in the area known as the Desert of Stars. Since pressing North, the terrain had become more desolate and craggy, littered with boulders, hardy shrubs and small rocks that glinted in the sunlight as you passed them by. The ground itself was made up of a course sand mixed with tiny fragments of stone, making the walk feel like twice the exertion.

Pressing on with the mountains at the side of you, Chachi and Alfie, the three of you follow a slight sloping incline in the terrain to the top of a wide mesa. Reaching its flat top, the three of you are taken aback at the sheer amount of boulders that seemed to have accumulated there. Wanting to get a closer look, Chachi points a flipper and you choose to walk in and amongst the rocks. Every last boulder was an ashy grey colour against the sand, each one roughly the same size and shape as the next: almost perfectly rounded.

As you walk between the many spherical boulders, you start to get the funny feeling that something is watching you. After encountering nothing but your Piplup and Appletun on your way here, it could just be your mind playing tricks on you but you can shake the peculiar feeling nonetheless. Pressing onwards across the mesa, your suspicions that something has been following the three of you are confirmed when a flash of pink darts between several boulders to your right before dashing in front of you as you turn around to look.

"Clef!" a small squeak of a voice comes from behind a boulder to your left that looked to be a slightly darker shade of grey to the rest, prompting Chachi to take off and investigate. In a moment, the Piplup quickly reappears with what could only be described as a puzzled look upon his face. Following the plucky penguin behind the rock, you are surprised when you see what your Piplup had encountered: a small square door made out of metal was built in to the rear side of the boulder.

What will you do?
 
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Maskerade: Decision made, you head back to Umberto for a brief detour, seeking to learn the location of the kitchens. The palace was a large, almost labyrinthine structure - getting lost would spell all sorts of trouble, far beyond the scope of simply lengthening your investigation. You find the guard drilling new recruits, his commanding tones obeyed swiftly by those participating. Spotting you, he instructs the trainees to continue their impressively synchronised movements. After a short consultation and another warm response to your obvious progress, you stride with affirmed purpose towards the kitchens. As you briskly walk, most of those you pass smile warmly, nodding their heads in friendly acknowledgement - no doubt comforted to see someone wearing the royal blue patrolling so eagerly - but something begins to gradually nag. A sparse few, just barely enough for it to register as odd, were much frostier; never enough to elicit much more than a ponderous frown, but certainly put off by your presence.

You smell your destination far earlier anything else. A faint, tantalising malt hanging in the air, followed by a hearty meaty broth punctuated gentle hints of light spices. Gigas would have a field day, though the disciplined Snorlax would focus foremost on the task at hand. You prepare yourself for a picturesque spread laid out, but as you draw nearer you hear elevated noises, shouts drowned out by crashing kitchenware. Spurred on by the commotion, you rush to the scene - and what you witness is part comical, part disastrous.

A humongous brass pot has been overturned, resulting in a gushing stew drenching the kitchen floor. Chefs lay spread-eagle, having slipped in their desperation to catch the culprit. Weaving with expert agility, a Growlithe holds a string of sausages between his jaws. With a haughty grunt, the lithe Fire type rushes past you, belting down the nearby corridor much to the chagrin of the robbed staff. Another decision lays before you: question those suffering the chaos, or give chase to the escapee?

===
Kou wasn't oblivious to people's reactions as he made his way across the venerable halls of the castle. But it was the stark difference in silent hospitality between each encounter that intrigued him. Still, he had to remain focused for the moment, and so decided to put that uneasiness to rest.

Even I don't need Gigas to tell me I'm on the right path. The scent is unmistakable.

Kou had never cared much for food. It was a necessity, of course, but rarely more than that. It was fortunate, then, that he had his Snorlax; the bear was often the one who handled the leftovers from Kou's half-eaten meals. But even the Kantonian could tell whoever had been assigned to work at the royal kitchens knew what they were doing, judging simply by the lovely smell that permeated the halls as he approached.

However... as he approached, commotion stirred up ahead. He hastened his pace, only to almost trip on a dog rushing past him, with a string of sausages in its jaws.

A Growlithe?...

His immediate instinct was to give chase, but he stopped himself. Looking across the large kitchen, the scene before him was nothing less than a comical mess. But there were people in need here; he might lose track of the canine if he lingered here, but something told him luring it back out would not prove too troublesome if more food was made conveniently available. And so, he approached the staff.

"Here, take my hand. Are you hurt?" Taking care not to slip on the spilled broth himself, Kou tried to help the nearest cook back on their feet. "That dog... Is this the first time it happened? Can you perhaps tell me more about it? I was entrusted by Sir Umberto with resolving this... situation."
 
Wistful
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grassyglide: With the strange noises interrupting your reflection on the captivating, uneasy beauty of the forest, you begin to gradually make your way towards the source. As you duck and push your way through low hanging branches, gingerly easing your way through the bushy undergrowth, the sounds only grow louder - and more identifiable. It was definitely hollering of some sort, distinctly male - and there wasn't just one voice. Finally, you come to the edge of another clearing, with the problem at hand laid bare.

Centred at the far end of the clearing is a small but ornate shrine, two intricate Torii gates flanking a humble wooden construct. The visuals are rather enamouring, even to one familiar with this kind of architecture... which only serves to worsen the sight before you. A group of three males were whooping as they take it in turns kicking the Torii, each arching blow met with a pained splintering of wood, not quite enough to fully fell the gates but certainly testing the limit of their tensile strength. The boys were clearly young teenagers, caught in that awkward period between child and adult. Wisewoods, living up to his name, jumps to your shoulder and pecks gently at your hair, using a wing draw your attention. Following his indicated line, you spy - hiding within the dense foliage, much like yourself - a huddle of Pokemon, most prominently headed by a pair of worried looking Kirlia. They wince with every scathing assault on the shrine, their desperation palpable, but their unwillingness to engage with the boisterous teens understandable.

===


Maskerade: Deciding to let the Growlithe escape for now, confident that you could lure it back out if needed, you enter the kitchen to offer support. Announcing yourself and your task, you stroll to the nearest upended worker. He was strikingly large - both in height and girth. His jacket seemed to strain somewhat with the pressure being applied to it, his facial features ruddy but solemn. As he gratefully accepts your offered arm, you steady yourself so as not to meet the same slippery fate. The man grunts as he heaves himself to his feet, and it is only now that you understand the true size of the chef - he towers easily over you, to an almost comical degree. His authority is apparent, both in his stature and the way the worried looks of his co-workers settled upon him, stuck between disbelief and apprehension. Dusting himself off, he nods in your direction, before addressing you gruffly.

"I appreciate the assistance laddie. Umberto sent you, eh? He's a meddler, but not an unwelcome one, I suppose."

Sighing heavily, the man walks towards a nearby stool, propping himself on the edge while stretching his legs, presumably trying to soothe some awkward twinges from his fall. With curt tilt of his head, two porters rush to the spilled stew with ready mops, swiftly beginning to clean up.

"As for the rascal, can't say I've seen that one before. Things have gone missing at a fair rate, but it stopped for a while recently. We've only caught glimpses of the culprits - all of them small Pokemon - but this is the first time seeing a Growlithe. They're pretty rare round these parts, so I'd have recognised it immediately. None of them that bold either. Poor thing looked desperate. I'd have been happy to help. Contrary to how I look I can be a bit of a sweetheart."

He pauses at this, the other workers uneasily avoiding his gaze. This seems to bring him amusement, a booming laughter echoing from him stomach.

"Right. I'm a softie to everyone but these lot. Can't have that when you lead a kitchen. Anyway, I'm not sure I have much else to tell you. The storage room is just next door if you want to check that out. If you do manage to track down that Growlithe, fetch him this way. If he's that hungry, I'll feed him,,, after a stern talking to."
 
Märchen Meines Lebens
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lilblue-

Kanna reaches forwards and takes the lamp, and feels the entire corridor start to shake. The pedestal was on begins to sink into the floor, and she could hear some sort of machine start to activate. Looking around, a grate appears behind her, trapping her in the room. She sees two clay orbs drop down from the ceiling, and then unfurl to see two Baltoy before her. They seem to be the guardians of the lantern and are ready to fight for it. What does she do?

---

Kief, grabbing the key, feels the entire labyrinth he was in have its walls collapse down. Looking around, he saw a pedestal with a green lantern rise within the center of the now once gone maze. Looking around, there seemed to be nothing besides that and the door. Well, this was obviously trapped, but he could feel a pull coming from the lamp. Whatever this lamp was, he could sense he needed it to continue.

---

Yufi tries to play nice with her doppelganger, but the shadow is having none of it. Her charming words and baby-doll eyes massive lowering the opposing Zigagoon's attack. It doesn't really care, standing there unspeaking while it watches her. She then extends a helping hand as a peace offering, but that turns out to be her first mistake.

The shadow Yufi lets out a massive Hyper Voice, its distorted voice piercing through the normal one's ears. She then goes in and tickles the Zigzagoon senseless, lowering some stats and making it so she is buzzed a little bit. Lastly, she lets out a Swift, the stars crashing into the normal type. This wasn't going to be an easy battle.

What do they do?
 
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grassyglide: With the strange noises interrupting your reflection on the captivating, uneasy beauty of the forest, you begin to gradually make your way towards the source. As you duck and push your way through low hanging branches, gingerly easing your way through the bushy undergrowth, the sounds only grow louder - and more identifiable. It was definitely hollering of some sort, distinctly male - and there wasn't just one voice. Finally, you come to the edge of another clearing, with the problem at hand laid bare.

Centred at the far end of the clearing is a small but ornate shrine, two intricate Torii gates flanking a humble wooden construct. The visuals are rather enamouring, even to one familiar with this kind of architecture... which only serves to worsen the sight before you. A group of three males were whooping as they take it in turns kicking the Torii, each arching blow met with a pained splintering of wood, not quite enough to fully fell the gates but certainly testing the limit of their tensile strength. The boys were clearly young teenagers, caught in that awkward period between child and adult. Wisewoods, living up to his name, jumps to your shoulder and pecks gently at your hair, using a wing draw your attention. Following his indicated line, you spy - hiding within the dense foliage, much like yourself - a huddle of Pokemon, most prominently headed by a pair of worried looking Kirlia. They wince with every scathing assault on the shrine, their desperation palpable, but their unwillingness to engage with the boisterous teens understandable.
Soon after Argyle and Wisewoods had left the clearing they had rested at behind them, Argyle found himself feeling the magic imbued in the ground with each step he took and could not help but feel enchanted by the bouquet of scents that filled up his lungs with each breath. The forest was truly beautiful, save for the constant cacophony of shouting that pierced the captivating atmosphere. Argyle could feel that they were inching closer and closer to the source of the sound. Argyle knew he had to maintain focus on the source of the sound while also carefully navigating the obstacle course-like forest with the low-hanging branches and the bushy undergrowth. Yet, a part of him wanted to simply get caught up in the magical feeling that was swirling all around him.

Argyle found himself sitting at the base of a tree. The tree didn't seem like the ones in Fortune's Woods, where he was just walking moments ago. The air felt different too. How could this have happened? He was walking moments ago, trying to get to the source of the yelling. He tried listening and initially could no longer hear the cacophony he could hear so clearly a couple seconds ago. He tried a bit harder and ever so faintly, he could hear the sound again. At least he wasn't completely removed from the forest. Next, he tried to stand up and start walking, but his body refused to obey his brain. Yet, on a deeper level, he could sense that his body was still moving. What kind of magic was this? Had a part of his consciousness drifted off into some magical dream zone? At least, his initial panic had partially subsided. This allowed him to survey his surroundings more carefully. These trees were not from Fortune's Woods, yet they felt much more familiar than those of the magical forest in Fizzytopia. They reminded him of home. That was it! He had managed to dream up a scene from the Ilex Forest. Not that he was going to complain, but it seemed quite out of place to suddenly find himself feeling so nostalgic that he'd start reminiscing about the Ilex Forest. He realized that Wisewoods wasn't with him in this dream, which he found strange. The duo had been inseparable ever since meeting in the Ilex Forest. Then, as if on cue, a Rowlet started chirpping on a branch above Argyle. Argyle looked up and coming to an apparent realization regarding the nature of his dream, he quickly opened his backpack. As he guessed, there were ripe Oran and Pecha berries. He meticuluously emptied out the berries and laid them out. Not much long after that, the Rowlet came flying down to take the berries that were offered to it. This wasn't a dream after all, it was a dramatically real flashback to how the duo had met. A sense of calm and appreciation washed over Argyle as he started to rest his back on the tree behind him. However, instead of meeting with a solid surface, his body seemed to phase through and a sense of falling into a pit took over.

The part of Argyle's consciousness that had floated off into a fond memory had returned back to the present. Argyle still could not completely understand why his mind had decided to replay that scene from his past all of a sudden. Was it the doing of the magic that permeated the forest? Regardless, he did not have the time to wax poetic about how fickle the mind was; he and Wisewoods were now all but upon the source of the shouting. They slowly approached a clearing, but remain hidden among the dense foliage to observe what was happening. Argyle was aghast with what he saw: three teens, maybe 7 or 10 years younger than Argyle, were kicking the Torii gates. Sure these were just teens still understanding themselves and the world around them, lord knows Argyle had made mistakes at those ages, but this behavior wasn't really something that Argyle could let slide. Argyle never liked senseless violence and always respected and cherished life. Throughout his short life, he had learned that the world works in mysterious ways. All one could really do was count their blessings and uphold life. Desecrating a shrine erected to show appreciation to the wonders of life, in the middle of Fortune's Woods no less, was the exact opposite of that. Argyle was considering the best course of action to take when confronting the teen trio when the ever-perceptive Wisewoods grabbed his attention with a couple gentle pecks. Wisewoods was pointing out a group of Pokemon cowering together in a huddle in the dense foliage. This shrine was their home and the teens had disturbed their peace. Argyle's priority was now confirming the safety of the Pokemon. After having checked up on them, he would confront the trio.

Argyle nodded to his partner and slowly made his way to the group of Pokemon while making sure not to be heard or be seen by the children. It seemed like they were too wrapped up in their kicking and hollering to notice anyway. Once Argyle was relatively close yet still far enough to not further startle the Pokemon, he motioned for Wisewoods to assume the role of the diplomat. Wisewoods was to approach the group and check on their well-being while comforting them. He was to tell them that they were here to help and that the group might want to consider moving slightly deeper into the forest for the time being since it was not clear how violent of a turn the confrontation would take. After relaying this message, he was to fly back to Argyle and launch a gentle Leafage attack, aiming at ground at the feet of the teens so as to grab their attention. At which point, Argyle would confront them verbally at first. Hopefully that plan would be enough.

Argyle and Wisewoods locked eyes and nodded in agreement. Wisewoods took off and approached the group as Argyle watched from a distance. Two Kirlia assumed the leadership roles for the group and accepted Wisewoods with slight apprehension. Argyle could barely hear his Rowlet chirpping, "Row Rowlet," calmly as he began conversing with the group. Argyle found himself hoping all would go according to plan.
 
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~¤Sea Priestess¤~
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lilblue-

Kanna reaches forwards and takes the lamp, and feels the entire corridor start to shake. The pedestal was on begins to sink into the floor, and she could hear some sort of machine start to activate. Looking around, a grate appears behind her, trapping her in the room. She sees two clay orbs drop down from the ceiling, and then unfurl to see two Baltoy before her. They seem to be the guardians of the lantern and are ready to fight for it. What does she do?

---

Kief, grabbing the key, feels the entire labyrinth he was in have its walls collapse down. Looking around, he saw a pedestal with a green lantern rise within the center of the now once gone maze. Looking around, there seemed to be nothing besides that and the door. Well, this was obviously trapped, but he could feel a pull coming from the lamp. Whatever this lamp was, he could sense he needed it to continue.

---

Yufi tries to play nice with her doppelganger, but the shadow is having none of it. Her charming words and baby-doll eyes massive lowering the opposing Zigagoon's attack. It doesn't really care, standing there unspeaking while it watches her. She then extends a helping hand as a peace offering, but that turns out to be her first mistake.

The shadow Yufi lets out a massive Hyper Voice, its distorted voice piercing through the normal one's ears. She then goes in and tickles the Zigzagoon senseless, lowering some stats and making it so she is buzzed a little bit. Lastly, she lets out a Swift, the stars crashing into the normal type. This wasn't going to be an easy battle.

What do they do?
The moment Kanna touched the lamp, the entire corridor once again began to shake, and the pedestal which her prize previously occupied started to sink. As the dais descended into the earth, Kanna could simultaneously hear some sort of mechanism activate behind her, and whirled around in horror to witness a gate slam down, trapping her at the end of the hall. A pair of brown balls suddenly dropped down from the ceiling, seemingly composed of clay. The ceramic spheres unraveled to reveal two toy-like Pokémon, crudely carved yet clearly resembling a child's spinning top. Their stone-faced expressions were anything but playful though, staring menacingly at the trespasser through sealed slits, unblinking and unnerving. Their attention was fully focused on the stolen article in her paws, evidently prepared to fulfill their roles as acting guardians to fight for the artifact.

Kanna gulped as her first instinct was to immediately Run Away, in her panic performing a U-TURN and bouncing off one of the Baltoy as a buoy. However, not even her innate ability for escape could get her out of this predicament, as she simply bumped straight into the waiting grate. She scrabbled and scratched desperately at the obstacle, searching for any weak faults or avenue she could fit through, but the barrier refused to budge. Meekly, she turned around and tremblingly held out the trophy with her head bowed in terrified deference, hoping the porcelain protectors would accept the item in return as a peace offering (and subsequently let her go without tearing her to shreds).

"I- I'm so sorry. Please forgive me. I promise I won't do it again!" She babbled senselessly in her flustered state. "H- here, you can have it back now."

The frightened Furret groveled pitifully as she placed the penance on the ground and backed away slowly, before COILing up into a CURLed position of DEFENSE in the corner as she cried softly and continued to mumble apologies, whole body quaking with petrified dread whilst trying not to make direct eye contact with the suspicious sentinels.

-

Upon collecting the key, Kief sensed his surroundings start to shift all of a sudden, as the walls themselves seemed to fold and collapse, flattening into the floor until there was nothing left but an empty expanse between him and the doorway, aside from a platform risen in the center. Atop the podium a green light glowed, luring the Linoone to approach. Curious but cautious, he sniffed the strange object all over, which obviously looked important somehow. While he couldn't discern anything outwardly dangerous, he had a feeling there must be some sort of trick associated with it. Still, he figured he needed such a blatantly indicated MacGuffin in order to make progress, and so reached out for the required relic, bracing for whatever booby trap may be triggered as a result...

-

Yufi's shadow merely stood silently as she attempted to sweet-talk it into joining her cause, remaining so still and motionless to the point she waved her extended paw in front of its red, dead gaze in an effort to entice a reaction. ...It succeeded - but not in the way she had hoped, for at that moment the emulation opened its maw wide, exposing even deeper darkness as it emitted a high-pitched shriek like a banshee, so shrill and strident it nearly damaged poor Yufi's sensitive hearing. The raccoon winced whilst raising her paws to her ears in order to block out the deafening din, as she elevated her own HYPER VOICE to try and compete:

"HEY, WHY ARE WE SHOUTING?"

She yelled in genuine confusion over the noise, which instantly ceased as the first source of the screaming abruptly leapt on her, tickling relentlessly. The raccoon giggled and squirmed as her replica pinpointed all her most vulnerable spots, teasing until the target was practically tipsy from laughter, gasping for air as she frantically tried to twist free. Her foe then followed up by firing a number of sharp ninja stars at her skin, causing Yufi to yelp in surprise and pain as the small sparks sliced through fur.

"Hey, that hurt!" she whimpered, frowning in frustration as she struggled to make sense of the stranger's actions. "C'mon, now's not the time to playing around." She took on an annoyed tone as she shoved the bully back with a TACKLE, HEADBUTTing a bit more roughly to try and get it to stop so they can concentrate on the more urgent task at hand.
 
Sea Slug Pokémon
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So sorry for the long wait, school has not been kind.
@SpinyShell -

You head down the path towards the Chalice of Sun. You immediately notice that the area starts to warm up as you continue down the path. Despite the volcano being dormant for who knows how long, it still has left a last effect on the area.

Another thing besides the heat that you notice is that the area slowly becoming more and more sparse of vegetation. Compared to the grassy plains and sprawling hills you traversed on the path, this was arider. The Chalice filled your vision, and everything paled compared to the ever-looming mountain. It was all-knowing, all-consuming, and all enlightening.

After what felt like hours you finally see something on the horizon. At this point, it was dusk fall. The sky was vibrant pumpkin orange, with hazy violets and mute pinks melting into the horizon. You could start to see the beginnings of the brightest stars peek through the veil of the ozone, looking down on the Arcane Realm with all their glory. And this celestial waterwork painted your gaze to a small shack at the base of the mountain. A plume of smoke rose from the building, and you could smell burnt earth.

An Indeedee held a broom, sweeping away at the outside of the shop. You could tell by the shape of its horns it was a Male, and it looked that he was quite fussed with the work he had to do. He'd make large sweeps with the broom, look around quickly, and then use his psychic powers to disperse the piddling dust pile he just made. Why'd he started over the work he was so obviously annoyed with? Perfectionism would make sense, but from the behavior, you could see it was definitely being haphazardly done at best.

His head perked up as he heard you approach, and he quickly dropped the broom and ran inside. Was it worried you'd report its behavior if you caught it? You didn't know, but you could see the Pokemon poking its head out every so often to check if you were still there. You could always check it out, or move forwards.

What do you do?
Soon, Sil’s and Hailstone’s backs were flecked with sweat and water-ice, the heat becoming increasingly intense. Despite its slumber, it seemed the volcano still burned beneath the earth, turning the surrounding area into an arid desert, the lush greenery of the Fool’s Path replaced with hardy shrubs and brown dried out weeds. Eventually, the plant life faded entirely, leaving only rocks, the burning sun, and the looming Chalice to rest the eyes on. It filled their vision, drowning out almost everything else as it stood like a sentinel on the horizon, keeping watch over the desolate area below.

They trudged through the land for hours, the bright blue sky slowly faded to a soothing canvas of pink and orange and navy freckled with glittering stars as dusk began to settle. Sil felt a twinge of unease settle in her stomach--she hadn’t planned for a night-long stay in the desert. However, before she could fret over it anymore, something on the horizon caught her attention--and broke the monotony--a small shack with a curl of smoke rising from its side, the scent of burnt earth filling the area.

At the front of the shack, which appeared to be a shop, was an Indeedee, his croissant-shaped horns pointing upward to the heavens. In his paws he held a broom, which he made wide, haphazard arcs with. However, to Sil’s and Hailstone’s surprise, he quickly undid all his effort with a wave of his paw and a flash of pink Psychic energy, scattering the dust he had just collected. Behavior expected of a perfectionist, but judging by the Indeedee’s annoyed expression and haphazard sweeps, that didn’t seem to be the case. And, when he saw the two approaching, he dropped the broom and darted inside. Occasionally, they could see his horned head peep out from the doorway, most likely checking to see if they were still there.

It was a strange situation, all around, and Sil still felt uneasy. But, at the same time, she was intrigued by what was going on. And, of course, she'd rather not spend the night out in the open if she could avoid it. With Alolan Sandshrew in tow, she made her way to the shack.
 
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Märchen Meines Lebens
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Liltwick – Before the desperate prisoner can even begin to make a dent in its escape tunnel, it finds itself abruptly lifted off the ground by a disorienting invisible force. Its tiny legs flail in helpless panic as you smile softly and speak to it in a smooth tone, which only serves to unsettle the dangling hostage further. At the thinly veiled threat to permit your Snorlax to swallow the seed whole, Pie takes the cue to grin and open his mouth up big in demonstration, letting out a large yawn that reveals the two sharp teeth in his lower jaw, and wide waiting tongue which he uses to lick his lips with a smack. A pink bubble floats simultaneously forth from his drooling maw, popping on the Seedot’s snout and showering it in saliva. It shudders as the sickening liquid seeps into its skin, at the same time acting as a sedative to strangely calm its nerves, like a snake’s poison paralyzing its prey. Slowing movements, its drooping eyelids hold its handler’s hypnotic gaze at it starts to squeak again, albeit sluggishly. You can sense the Kadabra beside you listening intently as it nods, before turning to translate the slurred speech.

“It seems today is the Birthday of the Forest King’s daughter, and his subjects were ordered to find suitable gifts for her to organize a surprise party. It was thought such a sparkling jewel would make a perfect present for the princess. Your companion has thus been taken to the King’s court, where its gems will subsequently be harvested and carved to create a splendid crown of crystal.”

As before, Uxie repeats the information with utterly deadpan delivery, relaying such disturbing details without batting an eye. Yet, it surprisingly continues on under its breath:

“Such fools, no better than those poachers who thought they could claim our stones as mere ornaments…”

It snaps up suddenly from its reverie as the Seedot pipes up again, and Uxie nods once more in understanding.

“The little one is now offering to lead us to where its cohorts are holding Carbink captive, in exchange for sparing its life. While my powers may be diminished, I can determine its words are at least trustworthy. Seeing as we have no other recourse or guidance to rely on at the moment, and time is of the essence, I suggest we follow its direction if you wish to save your friend.”

What will you do?

Leo simply blinked at the situation, trying to understand the situation. A party was happening, and they took Carrot to grind him into gems? That would just ruin the mood of the celebration, wouldn't it? Sure jewelry and trinkets were definitely things princesses wanted, but they hadn't the need to do that to a poor Carbink now, would they?

He shakes his head, his determination once again reigniting. He could feel violent tendencies to go down, the lost kid within him returning to his older, sweets loving self. He ignored the sadness in the Uxie's tone, he was only focused on one thing and one thing alone.

"Custard, there's a party going on! And you know what we do with parties we weren't invited to right?" Leo shouted with giddy glee. Though, it wasn't a tone of childlike wonder. There was a toothy grin creeping up on his face, plans of mischief were afoot. The Togetic let out a happy squee, before starting to stir up a Nasty Plot.

The two looked at the Uxie, the legendary most likely discerning their true intentions. Pie looked confused, still holding the drowsing Seedot. The Snorlax could tell he wasn't going to be eating the Seedot at least, and let the Pokemon down.

"Well, we need to rescue Carrot now, don't we? After all, we can't crash a party if we don't have everyone with us right? Come on boys, let's go!" Leo exclaimed, picking up the Seedot and holding the acorn.

"Let the way little guy, and if you know where some chestnuts are please take us there too, okay?" Leo asked as he patted the Seedot on the head. While it was presented as a sweet question, there was an underlying tone that implied this was more of a direct command.
 
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@mespritchaser
Having travelled across the Arcane Realm for so long that you and your party had lost all sense and track of time, it soon became apparent to each of you that you must be arriving in the area known as the Desert of Stars. Since pressing North, the terrain had become more desolate and craggy, littered with boulders, hardy shrubs and small rocks that glinted in the sunlight as you passed them by. The ground itself was made up of a course sand mixed with tiny fragments of stone, making the walk feel like twice the exertion.

Pressing on with the mountains at the side of you, Chachi and Alfie, the three of you follow a slight sloping incline in the terrain to the top of a wide mesa. Reaching its flat top, the three of you are taken aback at the sheer amount of boulders that seemed to have accumulated there. Wanting to get a closer look, Chachi points a flipper and you choose to walk in and amongst the rocks. Every last boulder was an ashy grey colour against the sand, each one roughly the same size and shape as the next: almost perfectly rounded.

As you walk between the many spherical boulders, you start to get the funny feeling that something is watching you. After encountering nothing but your Piplup and Appletun on your way here, it could just be your mind playing tricks on you but you can shake the peculiar feeling nonetheless. Pressing onwards across the mesa, your suspicions that something has been following the three of you are confirmed when a flash of pink darts between several boulders to your right before dashing in front of you as you turn around to look.

"Clef!" a small squeak of a voice comes from behind a boulder to your left that looked to be a slightly darker shade of grey to the rest, prompting Chachi to take off and investigate. In a moment, the Piplup quickly reappears with what could only be described as a puzzled look upon his face. Following the plucky penguin behind the rock, you are surprised when you see what your Piplup had encountered: a small square door made out of metal was built in to the rear side of the boulder.

What will you do?
“Spheres,” Revel whispers to herself in awe. They were more boulders than spheres in themselves, but it still left the three of them amazed. Is this it? Or, where are we? Are these the ‘stars’? Even Chachi’s eyes are glued to the weird, almost perfect round shape, and doesn’t move an inch.

Alfie is the first one who comes to his senses, carefully walking ahead of the group. Chachi then catches up to him and points to a path among the boulders. “Pip! Pip!” Revel affirms the Piplup. “I knew you were onto something, Chachi.” Alfie looks towards the direction of the path and agrees with a low “Tun.” “Even Alfie thinks so,” Revel chuckles. “Let’s check it out.”

As they walk, the trio observes the boulders surrounding them: each one about the same shape as the last, and all with about the same grey color. What landed here that made all these boulders look almost perfectly alike? Revel already formed that thought in her head earlier, but seeing them up close made her wonder even more.

A tingle goes down the Trainer’s neck, and she quickly looks around her. She expects someone (or some thing) to be watching them, but she doesn’t see anyone else. It’s just her and her two Pokemon companions. Maybe it’s just the vibe I get from this place that’s all sorts of weird, Revel thinks to herself. What do I expect? She momentarily shakes off the feeling and continues walking.

“Tun!” Not even a long while later, Alfie gasps in surprise when a flash of pink darts speeds across them from the right. To the left, where the flash headed toward, the trio hears a small squeak. “Clef!” All three are surprised, but Chachi runs to investigate the sound, which seems to come from a boulder that was a darker shade of grey from the rest.

“Pip..?” Chachi returns from his quick investigation, looking confused. “What is it, Chachi?” Revel asks as she and Alfie run to his spot, and her question is immediately answered by the sight of the small square metal door built on the boulder’s rear.

“...Tun?” Alfie asks Chachi, unsure of what to make of what he was seeing. “Pip… Pip?” Chachi is at his most puzzled in their trek so far, looking around for whatever the flash of pink was. Revel did not even have time to process that the weird feeling she had earlier was right, because her view now raised more questions than answers. The flash of pink that they saw earlier was nowhere to be seen either, but… could this door be the reason why?

“I think…” Revel begins, her Appletun and Piplup looking at her for their next step. “Okay. I think we’re really onto something here.” She looks at Chachi, who has been constantly insistent on looking at the boulders. Chachi’s eyes sparkle upon realizing that he can touch the boulder this time. Revel nods. “Alright, peck lightly at that door three times, like we’re knocking. If nothing answers after a while, try opening it. Alfie, stay next to Chachi and get ready in case anything comes out.”

Nodding at his Trainer, Chachi’s determination returns and he inspects the door for a bit. Alfie, inspired by his companions, also nods at his Trainer and stands firm next to Chachi and anticipates whatever happens next. Revel watches the events unfold, keeping an eye on both her Pokemon.

Then, Chachi lightly pecks at the door thrice.
 
Märchen Meines Lebens
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Yuki-

Figuring out that she had no way of escape, Kanna curled up into a ball. She pleaded with the two Baltoy, saying she'll return the lantern if they'd let her go. Things weren't all that simple, and the Baltoy just floated there. They were watching, waiting. Escape wasn't a possibility, so what exactly were they trying to get out of this?

This was supposed to be a test, and the words of the chained spirit echoed in Kanna's mind. In order to free it, she'd need to pass her trial. Was this too part of her own trial? She had to figure that out, or she'd never escape this room.

---

Heading towards the pretty obvious trap, Kief headed towards the pedestal and grabbed the lantern. The room shook, and the platform once again shifted. Kief could feel himself being lifted as the floor below him rose towards the ceiling. He could see that other parts of the floor were now missing, a pure void awaiting him if he fell off. He heard the flapping of wings and could see a Sigilyph descent from the ceiling. Seemed he needed to fight the guardian of this lantern.

---

Yufi, realizing her shadow self wasn't playing around, retaliates from the vocal moves with more physical ones. She tackles into her doppelganger and then proceeds with a direct headbutt. Her dark version flies through the room before landing perfectly. It stood completely still, its eyes of pure darkness reflecting Yufi's being.

"Flesruoy tpecca ot deen uo. Yawa nur ot gniyrt pots. Nword ot si etaf ylno, ton fi," the shadow screeches out, its voice completely distorted and maddening to Yufi's ears. It sounded like her's but completely distorted beyond proper comprehension.

As its words finished, the water levels in the room began to rapidly rise. She needed to figure something out, now.

What do they do?

@SpinyShell -

Heading into the building, you notice a small kiln immediately. It felt warm, and the smell of baking clay instantly hit your nose. Was this the reason the Indeedee seemed to stall out its work? You could see it watching you intently, standing close to the door to try and escape.

"Hello?" you hear an older voice state, and see an elderly man appear from behind a curtain.

"Ah, hello. It's rare we get visitors," he states with a weak smile. It was obvious he had been living a long life, with his smaller stature and wrinkly skin. His hands were clutching heavily to a cane, and they looked almost leathered.

"What do we owe the fine pleasure of your visit today?" He asks, sitting down at a small table and grabbing a tea kettle from underneath. The Indeedee heads over and grabs it, seeming happy to get out of the heated room. The old man just smiles at you to sit down and join him.

Before you could make your decision, the smell of tea began to permeate the room. There was a certain smell to it that was calming, but also cleansing. You couldn't even smell the clay anymore, just the sweet aroma of the tea. The Indeedee rushed back into the room and poured two cups, one for you and one for the old man. It then poured a cup of ice water for Hailstorm.

Once that was all done and over with, the Indeedee grabbed the broom and ran back outside. The old man didn't seem to mind the Pokemon's behavior and just smiled as he sipped the tea. Well, it would be rude to refuse his hospitality.

What do you do?
 
Fizzy Bubbles Resident Bird Keeper
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@mespritchaser
With no sight of the pink flash that you had recently spotted amongst the boulders, you have a hunch that the peculiar door you have encountered might hold the answer to its disappearance. With Chachi commanded to deliver a polite knock to the strange portal, you collectively hold your breath as the plucky penguin gladly steps forward to rap upon the door thrice. The seconds that follow Chachi's knock seem to stretch out with nothing until you hear a faint clattering noise coming from behind it. Despite this, no answer comes to the Piplup's knock and he proceeds with the next step of your plan.

With no knob to speak of, Chachi steps up to the door and slides his flippers along each of its sides. If it was a door, it would have to have some way of opening and it wasn't long before the young penguin found the solution. Along one side of the door, a small button was hidden in an indentation in the metal and, upon spotting this, Chachi gives it a quick poke with his beak. With a metallic whoosh, the door swings outwards and a familiar squeak rings out from within.

"Please don't hurt us!" Another voice, strangely human, comes from within the sphere and a small turquoise hand feebly attempts to pull the door closed but appears to retreat at the sight of Chachi. Not planning to harm whoever the voices belonged to, your Piplup gets closer and peers into the dark within the boulder and you carefully approach the doorway yourself. In front of the space, you suddenly spot the cause of the pink blur. Inside the boulder looks to be what you can only describe as the sophisticated trappings of a spaceship, with levers and contraptions aplenty as well as a pair of small Pokémon: a cowering Cleffa and a young Elgyem.

"We come in peace. My friend and her sister came here in search of a gift for their mother... but we got separated." The human voice before appears to be coming from the Elgyem, his beady eyes aglow as the words apparently form directly in your mind. The Cleffa corroborates this, hopping forwards to vaguely point out into the distance beyond the plateau. Given that you and your Piplup are not posing a threat to you, the Elgyem steps forward into the doorway, albeit still nervously:

"We're smart but we're not exactly tough so... we really could do with some help."

"Clef?" The young Star Shape Pokémon peeks out from behind the equally sheepish Elgyem. Though she was shy and quite clearly scared by yours and your Piplup's intrusion, it seemed that she was imploring you with her eyes from the safe spot behind her friend. Looking up to you with similar eyes of his own, Chachi chirps up at you and awaits your decision.

What will you do?
 
Doesn't Like Change
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Missingno. Master - Having cleared out the room, you opt to take the route of healing up your squad, an apt decision given their current state and the known foe that awaits you in the next room. Chuck and Dennis are promptly revived, and berries are distributed throughout to maximize your chances at winning. As you recall your Pokemon, all aside from Meowth, that is, your traveling companion bravely steps through the hole in the wall before you, signaling for you to do the same.

Meowth now perched comfortably on your shoulder for the moment, your hat is adjusted in preparation as you step through the boundary. But what awaits you is far from what you had expected. No child on the brink of collapse to be found her, let alone the Dusknoir that had taunted you so. The Mage turns towards you, his toothy grin wide beneath his hood. "You still haven't figured it out, have you?" he chuckles, slowly turning to a raucous laughter before shedding his cloak entirely. Ghostly wisps and wind fly throughout the area, and a loud series clicking sounds can be heard from your belt. Your Pokeballs take a grey tint and become unresponsive to the touch. It would seem your other allies will do you no good here.

Looking back at the Mage reveals a shadowy mirror of yourself, with bright eyes and a smile that reaches from ear to ear. "You're dead asleep, you all and everyone you brought here! You never even left the cave!" The shadowy form disperses somewhat, forming a large ball of purple gas with a pitch black center, staring at you with the same white eyes and a smile bearing two sharp teeth. "And now I'm free to take what I've been longing for all this time. The body I've been forced to share with you!"

The form flashes for a moment before becoming enveloped in a bright white light, rapidly changing, condensing into a singular purple shadow, one that you are more than familiar with at this point. The Gengar hovers before you, eyes aglow and baring the same smile the Mage has flashed at you multiple times over now, ready to finish the job.


ConnorFB - Moving swiftly out of the way of the fleeing Durant, you take a moment to survey the area and make a choice. Whether to stay and discover as much as you can here, or follow the Durant before they can make a proper escape, that is the question here. After a moment's thought, your Slowking is recalled while Atlantis the Kabuto quickly scuttles back up your back. Tossing out another Pokeball as a replacement, the multicolored feathers of your Chatot, Joss, take flight.

The bird is quick to respond to your command, taking high to the sky to best keep an eye out on the Durant as they flee, leaving a bit of a trail behind them but covering their exact location thanks to the sheer amount of sand they begin to kick up. Giving chase to them, it's obvious they are much more suited to this environment, as they slowly form a gap between your positions, even Joss barely able to keep sight of them after some time as they lead you deep into the desert.

A bit later, the Chatot lets out a loud Hyper Voice into the air, the sound losing much of its potency thanks to the distance, before making a slight bank to the left and swooping towards a bit of a sandstorm kicking up in the area, just barely within eyesight at the horizon of your vision. The trek there is devoid of contact with flora nor fauna, despite the sizable distance, and as you come to the very edge of the storm, you spy a mass of strange shapes within.


ChrisClark13 - With Annahime now comfortable and the old man more or less shut up about the state of the camp, despite himself being the one that came unprepared, it's time for some rest. After giving the Eevee a bit of decoration, Annahime stubbornly refuses to move as you finish actually setting up to sleep, having been rather comfortable atop the sleeping bag alone. Regardless, she does decide to cozy up after you actually finish setting up, and nods off to sleep in a timely manner.

"Hey kid!" A shout jolts you quickly from your slumber. "Get up already or we'll be late!"

Looking about, it's still decidedly dark out, though the stars in the sky are beginning to fade, so it's likely to be dawn soon enough. Despite the fact that it is still incredibly early, however, the old man seems completely prepared. He chews on what appears to be a soft jerky of some sort, taking tally of the items in the cart as he prepares to leave. The Eevee pokes its head playfully out of the cart, still adorned in small stones, before jumping out and rushing over to you, pouncing directly onto your stomach as further warning not to be left behind, the resulting impact startling Annahime somewhat and causing her to lazily roll out of the sleeping bag to check the surroundings, only to stare about bewildered as to why it's some gods forsaken early.

"It's a half hour trek to our next stop and I want to be there before dawn!" The old man shouts once more at you. "That means you've got about ten minutes to get ready and get some food in you before we're back out on the road."

The Eevee confirms this timeframe, hopping back towards the cart playfully before pulling what appears to be a Sitrus Berry out of the man's pack and letting out a happy squeal of a "Vee!" before slowly nibbling on the food as it waits to get back on the road.
 
Poison-type Trainer
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Missingno. Master - Having cleared out the room, you opt to take the route of healing up your squad, an apt decision given their current state and the known foe that awaits you in the next room. Chuck and Dennis are promptly revived, and berries are distributed throughout to maximize your chances at winning. As you recall your Pokemon, all aside from Meowth, that is, your traveling companion bravely steps through the hole in the wall before you, signaling for you to do the same.

Meowth now perched comfortably on your shoulder for the moment, your hat is adjusted in preparation as you step through the boundary. But what awaits you is far from what you had expected. No child on the brink of collapse to be found her, let alone the Dusknoir that had taunted you so. The Mage turns towards you, his toothy grin wide beneath his hood. "You still haven't figured it out, have you?" he chuckles, slowly turning to a raucous laughter before shedding his cloak entirely. Ghostly wisps and wind fly throughout the area, and a loud series clicking sounds can be heard from your belt. Your Pokeballs take a grey tint and become unresponsive to the touch. It would seem your other allies will do you no good here.

Looking back at the Mage reveals a shadowy mirror of yourself, with bright eyes and a smile that reaches from ear to ear. "You're dead asleep, you all and everyone you brought here! You never even left the cave!" The shadowy form disperses somewhat, forming a large ball of purple gas with a pitch black center, staring at you with the same white eyes and a smile bearing two sharp teeth. "And now I'm free to take what I've been longing for all this time. The body I've been forced to share with you!"

The form flashes for a moment before becoming enveloped in a bright white light, rapidly changing, condensing into a singular purple shadow, one that you are more than familiar with at this point. The Gengar hovers before you, eyes aglow and baring the same smile the Mage has flashed at you multiple times over now, ready to finish the job.
Keith had healed up as much of his team as he could. He'd prepared to the best of his abilities. He was ready... right?

Nope. Not even a little bit. No enemy waited for them in the next room, but before Keith could comment on this, he had the Mage's chuckling to react to. Chuckling that turned to out-and-out laughter as he removed his cloak. Keith took a step backwards, but ghostly wisps and wind were flying all around, and Keith could hear a series of loud clicking sounds. And judging by where said sounds were coming from, he had a sinking feeling. And sure enough, try as he might to send out Chuck or Dennis, the balls on his belt were utterly unresponsive. The Mage looked a mere shadow of himself, grinning maniacally as he told Keith he was asleep- he and all the Pokémon he had with him. He'd never left the cave to begin with!

Keith's mind reeled. He'd been asleep this whole time? Since he tried to leave the cave, it all had been a dream? No- before even that. Since he inexplicably collapsed during that increasingly unfair battle that was looking utterly impossible to win. Or hell, even before that, maybe, considering how that battle appeared to defy, among other things, the laws of physics? It was impossible to tell. Was that Dusknoir real? Was Yohan real? And the Mage... the Mage was changing form, having threatened to claim the body that... that he'd been forced to share with Keith? But as the changes completed themselves, that too clicked into place- the Mage was a Gengar. That was the implication- that he was supposed to be a manifestation of the quarter of Keith that was Gastly DNA. That surely couldn't be real, right? And yet, all that had transpired thus far had felt so real. His Pokémon being present, that felt real, the items he'd used on them felt real, how could this all just be some sort of drea- wait a minute.

"Gah... we gotta fight, don't we?" Meowth hissed.

"...this might not take long, Meowth," Keith murmured. "There's one thing that might work, but I really don't know if I'm on the right track."

"Hey, it's just you and me against dis crazy Gengar wat dat seems ta want youse dead, and yer crazy ideas have worked fer youse before," Meowth pointed out. "Just tell me wat ya needs me ta do!"

Keith nodded, swallowed, and took a deep breath. This really was a risky idea on so many levels, but right now, it was the best shot they had. But if Keith really was asleep this whole time, then what else could any of this be? All he knew was, he had to wake up, and wake up soon, and right now, this was the only option he could see that could conceivably do the job.

"...Use Dream Eater!!" Keith bellowed, gesturing dramatically to the Mage/Gengar.
 
You should go to bed
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Ironthunder

Desolate was the first word that came to mind. There was nothing here, nothing grew and the wind hardly made a sound. It seemed absolutely deserted, no signs of life anywhere around you, yet only one question clearly rang out in your mind: where were you? Your memory was in a slight haze, remembering falling asleep in the valley but now you were here, no sign of your tent or the belongings that were in it. All you had was your Pokeballs and bag, and no clue as to where you were or how you got here. Hope seemed happy enough, making your skin crawl slightly... had the ghost had something to do with it? Actually, you could see her floating around, seemingly looking at things that were invisible to your own eyes. A shudder crawled down your spine, hoping it was just Hope trying to scare you.

You decided that you had to find something in this wasteland, just standing here would do you no good and would make it easy for the angered buzzards above you to swoop down and pluck you and your Pokemon, one by one. As you stood, you noticed something far into the distance. You couldn't quite make it out, but it towered above everything else. You decided that this would be a good starting point to figuring... something out. You set forth towards it, slowly wandering over the scorched Earth.

Your walk was long, uneventful. Occasionally Hope would giggle as if something funny had just been whispered, always doing so after a chill made it's way through your body. Both Carl and Crimson Fandango didn't seem to notice however, keeping their eyes on the sight in front of you, which was slowly becoming much clearer than before. It was tremendous, and almost breathtaking too. You broke out into a sprint to get a better look, coming to a head directly in front of it: a massive angelic statue. Her face was blindfolded, holding a sword in her right hand and a set of scales in her left. Although her face was blindfolded, something about the way that the statue looked down on you sent chills through your body... you felt as though every ounce of your being were being weighed, judged in a sense.

As you stared at the statue, Carl suddenly cawked, his beak dropping slightly as he began to salivate. He leapt off your shoulder before you had a chance to turn around, flying towards whatever had caught his eye. You turned, watching him flutter towards a Grubbin that had wormed it's way out of the scorched Earth. It seemed like your trek had made the bird rather hungry, as he swooped down to try and Pluck the creature off the ground. You should probably make him stop, as the creature showed true terror on it's face...

What do you do?




Circus

A castle on the horizon, almost sounded like something out of a fairy tale. You chuckled to yourself at the thought, making your way towards it with your trusty Grookey by your side, perched atop your shoulder. Life was but a carefree romp, and you were excited to explore anywhere and everywhere that you could muster. You wondered what sights the castle would have in store, what the halls would have to learn, what smells you could siphon from the aged rock walls. You closed your eyes, tossing your arms behind your head as you kept walking. Maybe they had a fantastic kitchen... you could practically feel yourself drooling as you walked, you had been totally clocked it if it wasn't for the sudden monkey screech in your ear.

You opened your eyes fast, seeing you had stumbled into the middle of some sort of training. A Rapidash glared at you angrily, stomping towards with with eyes set to kill. Your eyes widened, cowering slightly before watching the Rapidash get pulled by reigns. "Woah there!" A sudden shout came, the Rapidash being pulled away as a stocky man in chainmail armour approached you.

"It's a little careless to wander onto the battlefield, lad." He murmured, glancing at you and your Grookey. "You lost?" He eyed you closely, your mouth tried to form words but it couldn't, your heart still practically pounding out of your chest after the Rapidash. He eyed you again, but suddenly his eyes seemed to gain a sort of recognition. He quickly pulled out a piece of old parchment, looking at names. "Ah, I'm sorry." He chuckled, "They told me to look for someone with a Grookey, I just didn't expect ya to be so young!" He let out a mighty laugh, patting you on the back. You were very confused, trying to open your mouth to protest as he shuffled you along.

"Come now, let's get you fitted into your gear." He shuffled you towards the castle, signaling to the rest of the knights to follow. As you were shuffled along, Kong spotted an older man with a Grookey behind him slowly walk into the training grounds you were leaving. He looked slightly confused, glancing around as your troupe faded from sight. Kong clung to your shoulder, afraid of what would happen next. Do you speak to the guard and tell him there's been a mistake, or go along with whatever they're doing?

What do you do?
 
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Heading into the building, you notice a small kiln immediately. It felt warm, and the smell of baking clay instantly hit your nose. Was this the reason the Indeedee seemed to stall out its work? You could see it watching you intently, standing close to the door to try and escape.

"Hello?" you hear an older voice state, and see an elderly man appear from behind a curtain.

"Ah, hello. It's rare we get visitors," he states with a weak smile. It was obvious he had been living a long life, with his smaller stature and wrinkly skin. His hands were clutching heavily to a cane, and they looked almost leathered.

"What do we owe the fine pleasure of your visit today?" He asks, sitting down at a small table and grabbing a tea kettle from underneath. The Indeedee heads over and grabs it, seeming happy to get out of the heated room. The old man just smiles at you to sit down and join him.

Before you could make your decision, the smell of tea began to permeate the room. There was a certain smell to it that was calming, but also cleansing. You couldn't even smell the clay anymore, just the sweet aroma of the tea. The Indeedee rushed back into the room and poured two cups, one for you and one for the old man. It then poured a cup of ice water for Hailstorm.

Once that was all done and over with, the Indeedee grabbed the broom and ran back outside. The old man didn't seem to mind the Pokemon's behavior and just smiled as he sipped the tea. Well, it would be rude to refuse his hospitality.

What do you do?
The heat of the day was long gone, replaced with frigid cold. While Hailstone found the chill a welcome change from the sun’s unfriendly glare, Sil couldn’t help but shiver a little as the two of them walked to the shack. As they got closer, the scent of burnt earth grew stronger. Sil hesitated at the entrance, worried for a moment about barging in. However, the warmth and light that emanated from the hut was very inviting in contrast to the cold and dark of the outside. She’d rather not spend the night out in the open. And, she figured (and hoped), that anyone living out in such isolation would appreciate having visitors stop by.

Eager to get out of the cold, she stepped into the shack with Hailstone in toe. The first thing they noticed was the smell of baked clay, the scent so strong it was nearly overwhelming. Then they saw the small kiln tucked in one corner of the shack, no doubt the source of the aroma. Near the door was the Indeedee, watching them and the door, his eyes darting rapidly between both; perhaps the reason he was trying to stall his work was to get some fresh air.

“Hello?” a feeble, old voice called. An elderly man appeared from behind a silky curtain, his withered hands clinging to a twisted wooden cane and his back hunched.

He smiled weakly when he saw the two. "Ah, hello. It's rare we get visitors. What do we owe the fine pleasure of your visit today?" he said as he sat down at a small table and pulled a kettle from underneath. The Indeedee seemed eager to get out of the stuffy room, swiftly grabbing the kettle before disappearing into what Sil could only assume was the kitchen. The old man smiled, ignoring his partner’s behavior, and gestured at them to sit down.

Before she could even accept his offer, the smell of tea began to spread throughout the room, becoming even more overpowering than the scent of clay. The Indeedee appeared from the kitchen and hastily poured them two cups: tea for Sil and ice water for Hailstone.


Finished with his task, the house fairy grabbed his broom and rushed outside; the old man just smiled and sipped his tea, unfazed by his Pokémon’s behavior. Sil found it odd, but it was rude to pry into the matters between a person and their Pokémon partner. She pulled a chair out from the table and, relieved to rest after a long day of walking, graciously took his offer before pulling out a chair for Hailstone who hopped up beside her.

“If it gets too hot for you, it’s fine if you want to get some fresh air outside. Just don’t wander off” she said, giving Hailstone a pat on the head before turning to the old man.

“Thank you for your tea and kindness,” she said, Hailstone squeaking his thanks as well. “I’m Sil and this here is Hailstone.”


“We’re fairly new here to the Arcane Realm and Fizzytopia at large. We had decided to explore the Realm starting with the Fool’s Path however, we encountered an odd magical spell of sorts. As we walked, we noticed that we kept seeing the same scene over and over again; the same trainers, the same Pokémon, the same areas--and it couldn’t have just been us going in circles as the people and Pokémon we saw repeated the same exact action every time. Eventually, we came to a fork in the road leading to either the Magician’s Hamlet or the Chalice of the Sun. Before we could even discuss anything, Hailstone took off running towards the Chalice--perhaps he was a bit sick of anything to do with magic. At any rate, we walked for quite some time until it got dark and then we spotted your house and decided to stop by.”

“Sorry, that was a bit of a novel” she said, and waited for the old man’s response.
 
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ChrisClark13 - With Annahime now comfortable and the old man more or less shut up about the state of the camp, despite himself being the one that came unprepared, it's time for some rest. After giving the Eevee a bit of decoration, Annahime stubbornly refuses to move as you finish actually setting up to sleep, having been rather comfortable atop the sleeping bag alone. Regardless, she does decide to cozy up after you actually finish setting up, and nods off to sleep in a timely manner.

"Hey kid!" A shout jolts you quickly from your slumber. "Get up already or we'll be late!"

Looking about, it's still decidedly dark out, though the stars in the sky are beginning to fade, so it's likely to be dawn soon enough. Despite the fact that it is still incredibly early, however, the old man seems completely prepared. He chews on what appears to be a soft jerky of some sort, taking tally of the items in the cart as he prepares to leave. The Eevee pokes its head playfully out of the cart, still adorned in small stones, before jumping out and rushing over to you, pouncing directly onto your stomach as further warning not to be left behind, the resulting impact startling Annahime somewhat and causing her to lazily roll out of the sleeping bag to check the surroundings, only to stare about bewildered as to why it's some gods forsaken early.

"It's a half hour trek to our next stop and I want to be there before dawn!" The old man shouts once more at you. "That means you've got about ten minutes to get ready and get some food in you before we're back out on the road."

The Eevee confirms this timeframe, hopping back towards the cart playfully before pulling what appears to be a Sitrus Berry out of the man's pack and letting out a happy squeal of a "Vee!" before slowly nibbling on the food as it waits to get back on the road.
Curtis half-cracks his eyes open, groaning like a zombie, "Huuuuwhaaaaa?" His half-awake brain pushes through the fog surrounding it just enough to register that... it's not that bright yet outside. The trainer's eyes drift back shut as his mind starts to sink back into unconsciousness.

Unfortunately, it seems that the Eevee he'd been trying to befriend has other plans.

Curtis is caught completely off guard by the ball of fluff that catapults itself into his stomach. In reaction to the air being forced out of his lungs, his body flips onto its side curls itself into a ball. He starts coughing and gasping for air, his body thinking that he was suffocating for just a moment there. His mind takes a few seconds to catch up as he groans from pain, "Augh why.... I'm up, I'm up..." Unfortunately, he was no stranger to being woken up by impatient Pokemon- at his parent's house had been a particularly impatient Mightyena that would wake him up in much the same way... and if that didn't work it would literally drag him out of bed.

Annahime yaps unhappily as she's sent tumbling off to one side, but she's quick to pick herself up. Luckily, she didn't really see what just happened otherwise she'd be mad at the Eevee for waking them up. Well, angrier than she already is that the thing seems to be a morning Pokemon. Hadn't it ever heard of the concept of... well, beauty sleep or just that it's actually unnatural to be that full of energy this early in the morning?

Blearily, she looks to her human to see that he seems to be getting up too now with many a groan and a moan- like a normal person instead of whatever that Eevee is. Grumpily, she yawns and stretches out.

As Curtis peels the sleeping bag off of him, he nods along at the old man's words, "Give me a minute." Ten minutes? Why hadn't the geezer gotten them up earlier? It's gonna take all of that, maybe more, to pack all this up. Looks like it's trail mix and jerky for breakfast- which well, isn't all that bad really.

Annahime waddles over to join the Eevee as they all pack up. Seeing as it got its breakfast from the old human's pack, maybe there'd be something in there she could eat too? A berry or two does sound nice about now. She attempts to simply walk up and shove her face into the pack, sniffing and looking for something yummy to eat. She does spare a glance back at her Trainer, just to confirm that he's too busy taking down camp to stop her from sticking her nose in where it doesn't belong.

Curtis packs up as quick as he can as he stuffs some food in his pockets for later. As soon as he's done, he walks up to the old man, "Alright- all ready to go! Don't worry, I've got some stuff in my pockets I'll eat along the way."
 
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