Sorry for the wait friends, took longer than expected but this chapter is the longest thus far and ends what I call the newbie trilogy.
I'll be answering comments at the bottom, now it's time for the legal. I neither own Pokémon. or chaotic, that privilege belongs to their respective companies that own them. I also do not profit in anyway from the use of their characters.
Ash could tell immediately that it worked even before he opened his eyes, there was wind blowing against his clothes and exposed skin compared to the indoors he was just in. The air had a slight chill to it and carried the scents of pine trees and grass, his shorts weren't exactly meant for these conditions but he would survive and the feeling was one he grew to enjoy on his travels. Sound of waves crashing onto the beach could also be heard, he could feel the faintest of spray hitting the back of his legs, making him shiver slightly due to how cold it was compared to the tropical waters he had grown accustomed to in Alola over the year.
He would finally open his eyes and take a deep breath of the cool air, taking in the sight of the forest line filled with some form of pine trees he's never seen before, though honestly he barely knew the names of any back home either. Turning around, he saw the beach he appeared in and the slightly dark waters of Lake Morn that reminded him quite a bit of the lakes in Sinnoh. He could honestly mistake this place as one of the lakes in that particular region except for its large size and the ominous island that sat in the middle of it. A massive face looked back at him with flames spewing out of it and around it, with countless other smaller faces carved into the sides of it that had looks of terror or anguish sculpted onto them.
"Hard to believe any creature would want to live there, looks like a volcano about ready to blow…" Ash mumbled to himself eyeing the foreboding island, remembering the target of this whole quest actually lived on that island. Though he shouldn't really judge, Pokémon at home can survive the most extreme of environments, he saw a magmar get dunked into lava and came out relatively fine afterwards. Gronmar must be fine with those conditions, he is a powerful creature after all.
Ash would gently lean down and grab a handful of grass from a small patch growing along the shore,gently rubbing his thumb on the familiar object. This could just be fake, the Drome he just battled in could create environments that merely seemed like they were real, something to keep Chaotic players invested by creating fake adventures for them to live out alongside the battles. But the raven haired teen had something than only a select few did that confirmed its existence. Aura.
Ash wasn't an adept aura user, never really had a reason to improve that skill since it didn't truly correlate with his ambitions and dreams, but he could passively sense it. The aura that flowed through these plants in his hands confirmed they were alive, unlike Brimflame and Heptadd in the drome battle which had none which revealed their artificial nature. He could sense aura all around him, in the trees a few yards away, the fish swimming in the cool water in the lake, and his new friends approaching from behind him.
"Just enjoying the feeling of how real the place is?" Peyton asked with a knowing smile, bending beside his latest acquaintance and plucking out a hair of grass from his hand. "I remember my first time I ported to Perim; It was in the Mipedian Desert and I was so welmed at feeling everything around me and how real it is, I just grabbed the nearest thing and hugged it!" He reminisced with a look of nostalgia, and seemed he was quite fond of the memory.
"Didn't you hug a Mipedian cactus?" Sarah told him with a deadpan look on her face, recalling the story she told him a few weeks after they met.
"Indeed I did! That's how I got my Mipedian cactus scan! Sure it hurt -a lot!- but the pain made me realize it was real too, so it was a great experience!" Peyton said with a wide smile, pulling out his scanner and staring at the scan of that battlegear almost lovingly.
Kaz couldn't help but shake his head at the scene in front of him. "Only Peyton could find getting stabbed by hundreds of needles as a 'great' experience." He said cringing slightly, imagining himself in that scenario that Peyton seemed fond of. Thank goodness most minor injuries like that didn't transfer over to your real self outside of some residual pain.
"Hehe, you'll have to tell me that story later. I'm convinced this place is real now, so let's go find us a creature eh?" Ash said getting back up, letting go of the grass in his hand which was immediately scattered by a strong gust of wind. The place was certainly cool but he's explored his world quite a bit, the environments were not what he truly wanted to see. He came here to scan a creature, sightseeing can come later. "Peyton, you said you had a friend who lives here?"
Peyton shook his head at being called out, putting away his scanner and filing that memory for another time. "Yup! Garv is a caretaker. He's like a doctor for the place, whenever she gets a stomach ache or gets clogged up in some way, he's the one who puts it all straight again. Gronmor is a guardian, he deals with any nasty attacks from the other tribes they might send this way. The two work together to keep the place clean, so they know each other well. If anyone knows where the metallic lizard will be, it's him." Peyton explained, the wellbeing of this location was the duty of these two, in their own ways.
"Where would Garv be than Peyton?" Tom inquired, filing the information about caretakers for later, maybe it could help him with another problem he's been fruitless in solving…
Peyton pointed in the direction just southwest of where they currently were. "His place is just beyond the tree line, he lives in one of the largest trees in the forest, though he might not be in. If he ain't, he's likely collecting stuff for his medicines and bizarre alchemic concoctions. Meaning he could be anywhere in the forest or even on the lake bed." He explained scratching his chin, he had no idea where his good friend could be, he didn't exactly have a phone that he could just call him up on to see if he was at home.
"Guess we should split up then. Peyton, you check Garv's place. Kaz and I will check the forests. Sarah and Ash will patrol the shore." Tom suggested, not noticing something slowly rising from the water right behind him, the water masking his body as he arose from the depths.
"Or just look behind you." Ash simply said, pointing behind Tom and the figure now standing behind him, causing Tom to jump forward and hastily turn around, getting into a fighting stance. A poor one one at that in Ash's eye, his footing was all wrong and he could easily be tripped up if someone pressed an attack on him. Luckily, the creature in front of them wasn't looking for a confrontation with humans.
Standing right in front of them was a creature that looked like an anthropomorphic Hippowdon, well if that particular pokémon was a water type rather than a ground type. Which sounded ridiculous to Ash. His skin was a light brown and had black tattoos on his shoulders wearing nothing more than black skin tight shorts, bracers with wrappings underneath, and a rope necklace with three blue uncut gems woven into it. In his three finger hands, he carried a makeshift staff and handwoven bag which seemingly filled to the brim with various underwater plants from the lake.
Peyton would place a hand on Tom's shoulder to ease him, before immediately pushing him to the side to make room for him to walk up to the new arrival. "Garv, my magical healing man! It's great seeing yah again! How's the Lake? She's been staying calm enough for you?" The brunette joyfully greeted his friend.
Garv merely chuckled softly at his energetic human friend. "It's been a few weeks since the last storm and none of the tribes have launched an attack in the area for the time, so things have indeed been calm. However that does not mean we must let our guard down, I've been taking the interlude to gather ingredients around the lake and helping Gronmor patrol the underwater tunnels." The creature explained while rubbing his chin, things have been mostly quiet around the Lake but they must always be diligent, a false sense of security could lead to ruin. "What are you doing here with such a group however, Peyton? I doubt they are all here to give this old caretaker a visit." The creature said with playful suspicions.
Peyton laughed before giving Garv a playful slap on his surprising firm forearm. "You may be old but you're sharper than most. These are my friends. Tom, Kaz, and Sarah!" He introduced his friends, pointing behind him to the individual that the name belonged to with Ash walking up beside him. "And this is my new bud, Ash Ketchum. He's completely new to the whole Chaotic scene, thought it would be good to come with him on his first trip to Perim because you know it can get a bit too radical down here." He explained, introducing the newest inclusion into their group.
Ash walked up to Garv and merely offered him his hand in a handshake, hopefully a gesture that was known in Perim. "It's nice meeting you, Garv. I gotta admit; it's quite the experience meeting you in person when I've only seen you in pictures in the game." He greeted with a warm smile, quite calm given he was meeting a creature that he thought only existed in a card game less than an hour ago. He just adapted to the situation easily, a bit too quickly to sum. He was just slightly embarrassed that he actually owned this creature's card but never used it, would it be disrespectful if he knew that?
Thankfully Garv understood the gesture, taking Ash's hand with his own giving it a handshake. "I can only imagine. You've met good people early on in your journey, Perim can be a treacherous place for even those who have lived here their entire lives. You must watch your steps constantly." The caretaker warned softly, he was not ignorant to the countless dangers his home had. Animals and plants, tribal politics, and even the environment itself could prove lethal to even the creatures native to Perim. Living a truly peaceful life was difficult to say the least. "Despite the danger, I'm sure you'll find great beauty here." He reassured, not wanting to dissuade the young man from visiting Perim, he merely wanted him to be cautious when he took action in this land.
Ash let go of the Overworlder's hand and merely smirked. "Sounds just like home then." He stated confidently without a hint of fear, he was well accustomed to a life that was constantly endangered. His poor mother would likely have several heart attacks if she ever knew about how many times he was nearly killed, he's survived situations from megalomaniacs to Pokémon gods well enough. Hopefully that trend will continue here too.
With introductions outta the way, Peyton took control of the conversation once more. "So Garv, I'm gonna be real with you; we are actually here to do some scanning and really, really need your help for it. Is your old pal Gronmor home at the moment?" The brunette finally asked, informing Garv their true intentions of being here and pleading for his aid, he seemed about ready to get on his knees and beg if need be.
"Gronmor?" Garv repeated the name, rubbing his chin in thought at the question, taking a seat on a nearby rock. "I believe so. He's quite the diligent guardian and takes his role seriously however, he's constantly patrolling the lake and inspecting any potential routes that connect the lake to the Underworld. He rarely stays at home for long." The caretaker informed, not having too much issue at helping these Chaotic players getting scans of his friend. Peyton was a good soul and had a good sense of character, he doubted he would associate with anyone that would see ill come to his friend.
Peyton thrusted one arm upwards in excitement while the rest murmured in eagerness to themselves. "We are in business!" The jovial teen shouted, even doubting that the robo lizard would even be home, luck was certainly on their side at the moment. "So we should just chill on the island until he arrives, though we'll need a teny, tiny other favour… do you have a boat that could get us to the island? Ash doesn't have a scan of Stronghold Morn so he can't port there like us." He explained, though technically they could just port there and get a scan for him, it was more adventurous and exciting doing it like this! Well to him anyway.
"Indeed, follow me." Garv answered, getting up and walking across the beach to the east, gesturing for the group to follow them.
The group would merely shrug and follow the lead of the portly creature, walking in step behind him. Ash would take the time this walk would offer and pull out his scanner, inspecting it and trying to understand what Klay mentioned before about the small object having far greater functionality in this world than his. "So… how am I supposed to scan a creature? I thought my scanner only scans cards?" He asked his fellow Chaotic players, breaking the silence between them.
"It's real simple; just use your scanner just like you would in the real world. But instead of using it on cards, you can use it on anything in Perim." Tom explained, grabbing his and pointing at Garv's back right in front of him and activating it. From the camera on the back, blue lights appeared and moved over Garv for about ten seconds until suddenly stopping. Tom's dark screen suddenly lit up and revealed the card of Garv, showing all of his disciplines, energy, what elements he could use, mugic counters, and his ability. Exactly how it would happen with the cards. "The only problem is that you can only have one scan of each type of card on it at once. Only one creature, one battlegear, etc, etc." He finished, heading his explanation by deleting his new Garv scan, obviously saving his only creature scan for Gronmor.
Ash nodded in understanding, though that raised a question. "Does the creature's health play into its stats while I scan it?" He questioned, recalling that the cards had random stats depending on a range of what they could be, maybe that was reflected in these scans as well?
Kaz nodded at his question. "Asking the right questions. A creature's health does reflect in the scan when you take it, so it's always better to scan them when they're healthy. But that doesn't just go for creatures though! Battlegear that's modified when you scan it keeps those changes, making it really rare and stronger than in the card game." He explained knowingly, he's got quite the collection of cards under odd effects or conditions, like his Underworld City card that's literally on fire. He's really gotta use that one in a drome one day!
Ash nodded but moaned mentally at that information, this made the game even more complicated than it already was. Seemingly scanning new cards in Perim would be extremely necessary to keep up competitively in the dromes, which he supposed was an incentive for players to keep coming to Perim. "Sounds complicated…" he merely said rubbing his chin with a finger, good thing there were two separate selves of himself, he doubted he could really do both Chaotic and Pokémon training at the same time.
Sarah could merely shrug at his words, he had a point. "It is, but you'll get used to it. Though here's a tip; have multiple scans of a location but from a different place in it. We're here at the southern shore of the lake, but if you scanned the north of it you could teleport there instead of here. Getting a cheeky scan of say the inside of an armory would let you port inside of it freely, making it easy to get scans of battlegear in that example." She advised, it might be difficult getting into said places in the first place, but once you had that scan you'd freely get in and make getting scans so much easier.
Before Ash could say anything else, Garv finally spoke up. "This is it." He stated, stopping the group just at the treeline of the forest, at what seemed to be nothing more than a giant pile of leaves and sticks. However Ash could tell there was more to it, seeing the faintest indents in the sand leading from this pile to the water, like something was sizable was dragged across it at one point but time wore down those marks. His suspicions were confirmed once the Overworlder grabbed onto the pile of leaves and easily removed it to reveal a small wooden rowboat, enough to comfortably half dozen people at once, likely more if you crowded a bit.
"On occasion, Overworlders come here and wish to be taken to the island to pay their respects to the fallen. Sadly, such occasions are quite rare." Garv informed them, it would explain why he had a boat despite obviously being a creature equipped for swimming. Grabbing a rope connected to the front of the boat, he would begin dragging the rowboat towards the water.
"Oh yeah… The Stronghold was built as a memorial for a terrible war long ago by the tribes… lots of people got permanently coded…" Peyton said solemnly, recalling the sad history of the island they were heading to. "Some say the reason any creature can use every element there is because of the spirits of the countless creatures who fell during that time. Some freaky, spooky stuff that." Though that was only rumors, seeing a ghost there would be wicked cool though. In a scary and sad way. So not really cool then…
"Indeed, it was supposed to honor the dead and bring peace to the tribes to prevent such conflicts again. Unfortunately, memories don't last long." Garv sighed sadly, he truly valued peace above all else but even he knew that he would have to fight to prevent even greater suffering. He'd rather not fight Underworlders that attempted to invade Lake Morn, but knew if they succeeded in taking it they would use it to launch further attacks in the Overworld and cause even more suffering. Sometimes, you have no choice but to fight despite your wishes.
It would take only a few minutes for the boat to hit the water, everyone getting on board one by one with only Ash and Garv still not on. "Will you join us, Garv?" He asked curiously, he had been extremely helpful so far and seemed like quite good company. It would be a shame if he didn't.
Garv merely shook his head. "I appreciate the offer however the plants I've gathered will quickly go bad if not properly stored." He told him, raising the bag filled with aquatic life up to explain his point better. "It would be a waste spending hours gathering them merely to let them go bad. Don't worry about returning the boat, just make sure it's secured and I'll retrieve it myself once I'm finished with them. And be careful, the weather has held for the time being but she can turn deadly quickly. It was a pleasure meeting you all." With those words of warning, the Overworlder turned around and headed eastwards, in the same direction Peyton said his home was.
"So who's rowing? Because I'm not." Sarah stated just as Ash got on, she wasn't much interested in needless exertion of energy on this.
"I will." Ash stated, grabbing one of the oars and spinning it once in his hands before taking a seat in the middle for the two paddlers. They were helping him with showing him around, might as well do some of the work getting them to their destination.
"I'll join yah, always willing to workout the guns!" Peyton said with a grin and quickly flexed his biceps, grabbing the other oar and taking his seat eagerly, rocking the boat quite a bit with the action.
With the two in position, they started to row the boat forward to their destination. It was a slow and steady pace, the waters rougher than one would like with small waves crashing against the side of the boat, splashing them on occasion with the cold water of the lake. Luckily, the choppy water didn't get so bad that they were threatened with the boat tipping over and tossing them into the cold waters of the lake.
"Good thing Garv had a boat, swimming in this would be awful." Kaz complained, holding his exposed arms closer to himself to protect his bare skin from the occasional spray of water that assaulted them, obviously regretting his choice in wear. He was more used to the heat of the Underworld than the coolness of the Overworld. "Ain't you cold, Ash?" He questioned, pointing to his shorts and T-shirt, which was even worse than him yet he seemed completely fine!!!
Ash merely shrugged as he continued rowing, looking at the island in the distance to figure out how long it would take. Half an hour he would say. He was completely useless with a map but he was decent at telling distance with his eyes. "I travel a lot. So I'm used to the cold and heat, these conditions aren't even that bad to what I've experienced." He explained, he's been to the Desert Resort in Unova and experienced the frost of northern Sinnoh, compared to that this was mild. Though he had grown a bit too accustomed to the tropical weather of Alola, even he was feeling the cold a bit.
"You've traveled? Where have you been? I'm dying to go to Paris myself." Sarah asked curiously, always wanting to travel to the city of love. Sadly, her parents haven't budged on that idea despite her incessant attempts to get them to go.
Ash opened his mouth to speak, however he was stopped when the boat was rocked harder than ever causing it to nearly flip. The entire group looked up and noticed the sky starting to get dark, worse yet a cyclone seemingly started to form in it and was beginning to descend towards the lake.
"Globe Storm!" Peyton yelled in shock, all too familiar with this natural -well natural for this location- phenomenon and how dangerous it could be, especially since they didn't have Garv here to deal with it. "Paddle with everything you got!" He urgently ordered, beginning to paddle with the fever of an Olympic athlete. This little dingy ain't gonna survive once it hits, the real question is what's gonna take it out, either the harsh waves or getting hit by a ball of lightning.
Everyone urgently went to work, Ash matching Peyton's more frantic paddling, if they didn't match then they'd be only going in circles rather than forward. The rest forced their hands into the water and started paddling with them despite the cold water to add even the tiniest amount of forward momentum, cold hands were better than getting killed by lightning. The raven haired teen looked over his shoulder every ten seconds, watching a condensed ball of a cyclone descend onto the lake with balls of lightning spiraling around it dangerously, a few of the lethal balls escaping the sphere of wind and flying in random directions, exploding on impact with the water.
"Get down!" Ash yelled, throwing his paddle onto the boat and grabbing Sarah who was right in front of him, forcing the both of them down. The rest followed suit just as a ball of lightning flew over their ducked forms, crashing into the water just two meters to their left.
"We need to port outta here, it's getting too dangerous!" Tom shouted in concern, already grabbing his scanner to get his scanner to leave. It would take only one of those orbs to take them out, they couldn't risk it.
"Wait! It's heading towards the beach, if we keep heading towards the island we'll be outta reach of the lightning globes soon! Just keep going!" Peyton told them, pointing at the storm which was inching towards the opposite direction of them.
Heeding his words, the group continued to press on to Stronghold Morn, battling the rough waters and occasionally dodging any globes that flew by them. Just like Peyton said however, the closer they got to the island the threat of getting hit lessened, by the time their boat crashed into the shore of the island, the orbs of death merely crashed harmlessly several meters away into the water. They were safe.
Peyton would take a seat on a nearby stone and stretch his sore arms while Ash and Tom dragged the rowboat ashore, tying the rope of the boat securely to a nearby rock to keep it secure so Garv could pick it up. Kaz and Sarah meanwhile tried their best to warm up their hands from their earlier efforts.
"Well that was exciting, and we haven't even found our target yet!" Ash said joyfully, not bothered at all by the near death experience from mere moments ago. To him, it was just another day being Ash Ketchum. "Best scan this location for use later, right?" He pondered to himself, grabbing his scanner and pointing it at the large face that made up the front of the stronghold. Mimicking Tom's actions from earlier, he began scanning it and eventually, taking much longer than Tom scanning Garv, his new location card appeared on the screen. "You guys should scan the lake. I'm sure that Globe Storm could be a useful surprise in a battle." He suggested, just imagining dodging all those orbs of plasma as a variety of creatures. It would certainly favour creatures with the speed and reaction time to dodge them.
"Totally. Coded a guy by using Paral-Eyes on his Magmon in my Lake Morn scan, once he was stuck the storm lit him up like a Christmas tree. Got play of the day with that one, good times!" Peyton recalled with a laugh, it was certainly enjoyable using only one attack to code a full health creature, especially when it's the location that does most of the work. He already had a scan though, but having an extra wouldn't hurt. "You guys better scan it quickly, Garv is gonna notice it and work his magic on it than you'll just have a lake and no storm." He warned them, once Garv came around that storm was gonna become a soft breeze in seconds.
"Hmm." Tom hummed to himself and scanning the Lake as Peyton suggested, he learned that the most unexpected of cards could turn the tide of any battle. If Bodal could take down Tangath Toborn using mostly Kiru City itself as his weapon, he was sure he could find a scenario to use this scan. "Now that we're here, it's time to find Gronmor! Let's split up, call each other if you find him." He planned out, now that they were here they could properly start to look for their target. How hard could it be to find one creature on a small island?
Everyone nodded in agreement and went in their own direction, enthusiastic that they'd find the Overworlder in quick order. That enthusiasm was chipped away as the seconds turned to minutes and those minutes turned to hours with no sign of their target, walking several laps around the island without a footprint or any other sign that anything lived on this island. The only sign of life were shrubs and a few other hardy plants that would dare claim the desolate island as home and some birds that occasionally pecked away at them. After nearly two hours and forty minutes with little to show for their efforts, they needed a break.
The group was currently on the eastern side of the island, the many stone races staring down on them. "We've wasted hours for nothing, no hide nor hair of Gronmor. I don't even know how he lives here, no hut or any trace that he actually lives here." Sarah complained, watching Kaz and Peyton skipping stones on the Lake while Ash and Tom seemed to be the only ones bothering to continue the search for the slippery lizard, scanners held high looking for anything outta place.
"Wouldn't it be 'hide nor scale' since we're dealing with a lizard? They're sorta hairless, I should know, been every Mipedian under the sun. Haha!" Peyton joked to lighten the mood, only getting a glare from his old friend in the group, causing his laugh to awkwardly peter out. "Well you can't win them all, sometimes scan quests are a bust. I gotta head out, my match is up soon." He told them, throwing his last stone across the lake and it skipped five times before sinking, beating Kaz's four skips much to his annoyance. "It was nice meeting you, Ash! Let's do this again sometime!" He exclaimed, grabbing his scanner and porting out back to Chaotic.
"I'm heading out too. I'm all for adventure, though this has stopped being one at this rate. I'm gonna watch Peyton's match, see you around Ash." Sarah said, grabbing her own scanner and porting out as well to support her old friend in Chaotic.
"How about you, Kaz? Gonna head out too?" Tom asked his best friend, looking down from his scanner and sighing a bit in annoyance. He was willing to keep at it with Ash for a tad longer, getting a scan of Gronmor would really boost his Overworld deck by quite a bit. However he wasn't gonna subject his best friend to waiting for hours on end for a scan he'll likely not use, since he mostly used Underworlders and rarely deviated from them.
Kaz opened his mouth to reply, but his scanner going off cut him off before he could answer. "I got a message?" He asked confused, noticing that Tom's scanner had also gone off at the same time. Strange. They'd both open their respective messages and read it, their eyes widening before looking at each other. "Tom, did you also just get a-"
"I did." Was Tom's quick response, looking towards Ash who looked out towards the ocean, fixed on what seemed to be a few bubbles arising several meters away. "Sorry Ash, but something just came up. Me and Kaz gotta go back to Chaotic. Will you be okay on your own or are you heading back as well?" He asked, he didn't feel comfortable leaving him alone despite how calm things were at the moment, but he wasn't gonna force him to come with them. He was their own age after all, he can make his own decisions.
"I'll stick around here. Thanks though, for helping me out and teaching about this place. I'll see you back at Chaotic." Ash told them with a smile, he'd rather stick around here for just a bit longer. Despite their need to leave, he did enjoy the time they spent together and made his adjustment to this brand new world easier. They were his friends.
The two smiled at him before porting away, Ash already knew how to return Chaotic and even how to return to his real world self. The group had nothing better to do for the past few hours so they caught the raven haired teen up to speed, just in case Klay tried to take advantage of his ignorance a second time.
Alone, Ash merely looked over at the air bubbles, noticing that they've come closer to his position. "Something is happening out there…" he mumbled to himself, noticing that whatever was making those air bubbles was starting to get closer and closer towards the shore. He turned on the scanner's radar system and pointed it towards the bubbles, the function could detect life signs from creatures in a limited radius, ignoring non-scannable life like fish and the like. He noticed a blip on the very edge of his radar, meaning that a creature just entered its range.
"Gronmor?" Ash asked curiously, however his curiosity turned into worry once he saw strange lights from under the water and the water churning violently as if being disturbed by some unknown force. He would refocus his eyes onto his scanner and noticed the blip get even closer to him, but worryingly he noticed two more blips appearing on the edge of the radar, which meant two other creatures had just entered into range. Was there a fight going on just beneath the waves?
Like Arceus himself was watching and answered, a pillar of water exploded out of the surface and sent a body flying towards the shore, right at Ash!
Ash quickly took four steps to the side, the body flying right through where he was and slamming into the rocky island harshly, the creature groaning in pain. It had blue skin and had various cybernetics across its entire body, alongside its reptilian features it could only by one creature. "Gronmor!" The raven haired teen shouted, rushing up to the downed creature as he struggled to get up, grabbing one of his arms and helping him get back on his feet. Being so up close, he noticed several bruises across his organic body and a number of his mechanical pieces were dented, though luckily none were outright broken.
Gronmor looked at the human trying to help him, before finally pushing him to the side and standing up straight on his own. "Get out of here, Human. This is my battle." He ordered harshly, his voice surprisingly not robotic but more muffled and obviously irritated that a human was at his home.
"Are you dumb? You're obviously hurt! You need to get outta-" Ash told him, but was cut off by Gronmor harshly grabbing him by the collar and pulling them both onto the ground, just a wave of flame flew over them and hit one of the stone faces. The pokémon trainer would look up and gasp, seeing the two creatures that just emerged from the water.
One creature seemed to be made of jelly and his body was partially see through, luckily not see through enough to truly see his organs or else Ash might be sick. To top off his foul appearance was the large jaw filled with razor sharp teeth that could swallow him whole. The other creature was a large reptile with bronze colour skin, spikes running down his entire back to his tail. It was Nauthilax and Ornathor, two Underworlders.
"Ah cute, the mighty Gronmor found a human to help him. Adorable." Ornathor teased mockingly, his hands lighting up with fire as he drew near the duo.
"Don't underestimate him. Humans can be troublesome despite how weak they are." Nauthilax snorted out, seemingly knowing that the human could be problematic if they were allowed to. "Though in your condition, Gronmor, that human might actually be more of a threat than you. Haha!" He barked out, his voice nasally and he chortled at his enemy's current stat of weakness.
"Mocking me when the two of you had to ambush me to actually get the best of me this far, you Underworlders are even lower than the place you call home." Gronmor snarled out getting back, the human helping get up much to his own chagrin that he was still here. "Leave human, you'll only get in the way of this fight…" he whispered, just low enough for the human to hear, knowing of their ability to teleport away in a moment.
The two Underworlders couldn't help but laugh at his statement. "You Overworlders and your honor. We are at war! We will do anything to make sure we end up winning, even if it means using 'unsatisfactory' methods in your words! Once you're gone, we will take over Stronghold Morn and use it as a base for the Underworld, it will be a perfect place to launch attacks against your kind. So please just roll over and die already!" Ornathor shouted, throwing two orbs of flames towards the duo of Overworlder and Human.
"I can't leave you by yourself, you'll die!" Ash shouted just as Gronmor intercepted the attack by fire off a stream of water out of his hand, taking out the orbs of flames before it reached them. He wasn't one to get involved in politics or the like, he just wanted to live his life and pursue his dreams, but he wasn't gonna let someone die while he could do something about it, even if that person wasn't a human or pokémob. It was just how he was wired.
Gronmor couldn't help growl in annoyance, pushing himself off of Ash's support and pushing him behind him. "If you want to help so badly… One of the stone faces has a pupil with the Overworld Tribe symbol on it, press it and the mouth of that face should open. Inside is my home, you'll find mugic and battlegear there, bring it to me while I hold them off..." He explained silently, if the human wanted to aid him so badly, might as well put him to use. "Go now!" The cyborg lizard shouted, raising his fist and slamming into the ground, causing vines to explode out of the rocky ground around the Underworlders and wrapping around their limbs and waists, seemingly trying to pull them under the earth itself.
With Nauthilax and Ornathor temporarily held down, Ash quickly bolted towards the mountain with the stone faces covering it. "Okay… pupil… pupil…" he mumbled to himself, scanning the eyes of the faces to find any that matched the description Gronmor offered. Eventually his eyes landed on a stone face just to his left, one of its pupils having a symbol carved into it, since it's the only one like that and some stones positioned as makeshift steps, that must be it.
"That human is up to something! Ornathor; deal with him while I'll deal with the future corpse!" Nauthilax ordered, lighting up his hands once more before firing a stream of fire at the ground, burning up the vines holding them down and freeing the both of them.
"Fine..." Ornathor mumbled, obviously not understanding why his partner was so worried about some human who can't even do attacks. He pointed his hands towards the smaller creature and fired off a beam of blue energy towards his back.
"Look out!" Gronmor warned, firing a smoke surge at his enemies to slow them down, blocking their few of his impromptu ally. Despite his confident words, he was hurt and exhausted since they ambushed him in the water tunnels, he couldn't use more powerful attacks. Stalling his enemies was the best strategy.
Ash quickly ducked, the power pulse attack flying overhead and hitting the statue in the eye, hitting the pupil he was supposed to hit. Suddenly, the mouth of the stone faced opened up to reveal a large and spacious room. "Thanks Ornathor! Made my job easier!" He mockingly thanked the muscular reptile, he just saved him some time running up those rocks and actually pressing the pupil. How nice of him! With the way now open, the pokémon trainer quickly ducked inside.
"You idiot! Go after him!" Nauthilax roared, firing a cyclone of wind to gather up the smoke, returning their sight, before slamming the cyclone into Gronmor knocking him on his back once more. "Surprised? All creatures can use every element here, your mastery of three elements doesn't matter here. Ironic, isn't it? Haha!" He chuckled darkly, Gronmor was arguably the second greatest elemental master in the Overworld, second to only Heptadd. But the place he protected granted all the elements to whomever was near, making his natural abilities irrelevant.
Ornathor growled at being insulted and ordered around, but compiled to his partners orders and gave chase to the human.
"A cheap imitation to true mastery…" Gronmor growled out, sitting up and raising a hand to attempt to stop Ornathor from intercepting the raven haired human. However, Nauthilax stomped his foot on his chest stopping him from attacking his comrade. The aquatic Underworlder raised his arm which lit on fire, but before he could attack Gronmor the lizard slammed his hand into the earth causing a pillar of stone to shoot out from the side and slamming into him. The attack launched him off the guardian, freeing him from his weight and allowing him to slowly get up. "You have much to learn on how to truly utilize the elements!" He roared, glaring at him as electricity seemed to ooze out of his glowing eyes before suddenly firing dozens of small iron balls which pelleted Nauthilax as he got up.
"What should I grab..?" Ash said to himself, examining the quite spacious room he now founded himself in which seemingly contained everything one needed to live in it. Cookware, a bed, some pantries and such for storing whatever he needed resided in this one room, seems he didn't care for much more space. What really mattered was a large spread of battlegear and several heptagon shaped mugics that laid in front of him near the entrance. A Torrent Krinth, Vlaric Shard, and Torwegg, all battlegear that increases attack power for a specific element, which makes sense since you can use all elements at Stronghold Morn. A Liquilizer doesn't do good if you can use water attacks.
"Guess I'll just grab everything!" Ash grabbed a nearby burlap sack and began stuffing it with mugic and battlegear, he didn't have time to choose! He had no idea what mugic was what and Gronmor could use all the battlegear in the real world compared to the game, so why not just take it all? Better than leaving him alone for too long and the invading duo taking him out! Once he grabbed everything of use, he threw the bag off his shoulder and ran towards the exit, just as Ornathor appeared at the entrance blocking it, his large body leaving no gaps for him to slip by.
"Going somewhere human?" The Underworlder asked, staring down the human like he was an insignificant bug that was about to be squashed. "I'm feeling generous, so hand over the bag, grab your scanner and leave befor-'' he threatened, expecting the human to just give in, though he didn't expect what the human actually did.
"No!!!" Ash shouted without a hint of fear, despite how outclassed he arguably was compared to this creature, but he didn't need to beat him to win. In one fluid motion, he swung the heavy burlap sack towards Ornathor head like a makeshift mace with all his might, the battlegear and mugic inside giving it a lot of weight. The blow would connect and caught the bulky Underworlder by complete surprise, stunning him temporarily and causing to stumble to the right a bit. The raven haired human doubted that the blow actually hurt him much, these guys did take fireballs and boulders regularly afterall, but his small stumble made just enough of an opening to let him run past him.
Which Ash took eagerly, running between the gap between the door and the large reptile with the bag, noticing Nauthilax and Gronmor engaging in close quarters combat a few meters away. "Gronmor catc-!" He attempted to yell, readying to throw the bag towards the Overworlder, however he felt a sudden pain strike his shoulder which caused his throw to go wild and went flying in the opposite direction, though it wasn't the only thing that went flying. The blow sent Ash flying himself, landing on the floor harshly a few feet from where he was, knocking the breath out of him.
"You damn brat!" Ornathor growled in anger, luckily he was able to swing his tree trunk sized arms to catch the kid before he got that gear and mugic to his enemy, but he was still very upset at how much of a fool this human was making him. He was gonna kill this little bastard!
"Forget about him! Get the gear!" Nauthilax shouted at him, taking a blow to the face from Gronmor which caused him to stumble back, how can this damn Overworlder still have so much fight in him still?! Gronmor made a break for the gear but was caught by Nauthilax's own vine snare attack, the aquatic Underworlder was actually concerned that he might turn things around if he got that bag.
"Fine!" Ornathor shouted, running off towards the bag while leaving the human to slowly get up.
Ash had to catch his breath, staring down at the floor while Ornathor left him be for now, though he was in no shape to try and get the bag before he did. 'What can I do…?' He thought to himself in mild despair, though he was distracted when a small circular object started to roll away from him. "Oh a pokéball, how did that get here…?" He asked himself, noticing four mores slowly starting to roll down towards the water, one of them was even a beast ball. They looked so much like his own…
'Wait those are my pokéballs?!?! ' Ash mentally shouted, quickly grabbing at his belt to feel for his pokéballs which weren't there. They must have been knocked off when he hit the floor by Ornathor, he was so distracted about going to Chaotic he didn't even notice he had them on him! We're his pokémon inside? Only one way to find out!
Ash quickly got up and ran after the Pokéballs that were rolling away, the complete opposite direction of the bag and Ornathor, if they reached the water it would be difficult to get them. He would leap and catch the beast ball and another normal one, the remaining three rolling too far away for his injured body to get. Slowly getting back up with the balls in hand, Gronmor was knocked down in front of him with some new bruises and burns.
"Haha! You lose Gronmor! Seems your human friend couldn't keep his eye on the prize, and you'll be paying for it!" Ornathor cheered with malicious glee, holding up the bag filled to the brim with battlegear and mugic while walking up to Nauthilax who was worse for wear than before. "Guess I should thank you human, this little haul will get me in good with Chaor after we kill him." He boasted, maybe he'll be elevated to the rank of Conqueror after this mission, or at least overtake Ilx as the most important creature in Everrain!
"Oh I kept my eye on the prize. You talk big double teaming on someone, but let's even up the fight, eh?!" Ash countered, holding up the two pokéballs in each hand for them to see, expanding them which caught the creatures by surprise. "Come on out!" He shouted, throwing the two spheres into the air, all the creatures looking up in confusion at what he was up to, the balls splitting open and white lights shooting out of the openings and slamming into the ground, causing the Underworlders to tense up. The lights slowly started to take shape forming an outline of the creatures before the white lights scattered, revealing what was underneath.
A large and bulky creature appearing to be made out of molten metal now stood before them, golden gears making up his head and hands with a levitating black goo forming its eye. The other creature was even more odd, its lower body was like a syringe while it had the upper body of a dragon which was predominantly pink and purple in color, levitating off the air despite not flapping its wings at all, it stared at the new creatures with blue visor like eyes which lacked pupils. It was Melmetal and Naganadel!
"What in the world are these things?!" Nauthilax shouted in confusion, never seeing creatures like these before in his life or heard anything about them? More importantly, where did they come from? We're inside those small balls that kid through out, but they were much larger than the small spheres. Confusion was certainly on the minds of all the Perim natives about these new beings, and the same could be said about them, who look just as confused by them.
However, that air of confusion was broken by a simple order. "Naganadel use dragon pulse, Melmetal use Double Iron Bash on those two!" Ash ordered to his pokémon, the looks of confusion on the pokémon, though incredibly hard to tell with Melmetal since his 'eye' was the only way he could emote, turned serious and angry. If their trainer was ordering them to attack these strange pokémon that meant they weren't good news, and the fact he was holding his shoulder in pain likely meant they hurt him. They weren't gonna get away with that!
Naganadel would raise its two side syringe up and aim them at Nauthilax, ominous purple energy started to gather inside the tubes before being fired out like cannons. The heads of the beams would take the shape of a snake or more likely a dragon, which opened their mouths wide to seemingly bite into Nauthilax as they neared, like a predator about to rip into their prey. And Nauthilax was the prey. Unfortunately for the aquatic Underworlder, he was too damaged from fighting Gronmor to try and counter it, the beams engulfing before an explosion sent him flying back a few meters, the creature groaning in pain as he slowly got up from the harsh fall. He was also a lot more crisper than earlier.
Melmetal began spinning his hulking body, once, twice, but on the third spin it launched its two mighty fists towards Ornathor. Unlike his partner, the large reptile raised up his arm which held the bag to block to the first metal fist, though he grimaced in pain as he was pushed back a few inches by the sheer power and weight behind the blow. The Underworlder opened his mouth to retaliate with his own attack, however was stopped when the second fist collided with face head on, stopping his counter and throwing the creature into the air, forcing him to drop the sack in the process. He would land on his feet however, though holding his face in pain from the attack.
"What are those things?" Gronmor asked in utter confusion, Ash helping him get back on his feet despite the pain they were both in. The Guardian had seen and experienced many things, but these new arrivals were certainly new and the attacks they used were nothing like he had seen before either. Though they were powerful, which made it odd that they seem to be taking orders from a weak human, what control did he have over them? Why had he not heard that humans had this ability? Maybe they did, he just never interacted with one until today.
"Pokémon obviously." Ash said simply, like that word alone somehow explained everything going on. "Keep up the attacks! I'm gonna get that bag!" He ordered his pokémon, remembering he needed to get that bag to Gronmor, maybe it had healing mugic that can get him back into fighting shape. He was confident that his pokémon could hold them off without his constant input despite being somewhat inexperienced fighters, they were doing fine already. The raven haired trainer would quickly run towards the bag, trusting his partners.
"No you don't!" Nauthilax snarled, throwing a flame orb attack towards the human as he neared the bag, only for the fireball to be intercepted by the dragon type, who merely swatted it away using its largest stinger that glowed. Ornathor fired off a power pulse attack as well, however this was countered by another beam of silver fired from Melmetal's black 'eye'. The intervention merely angered the Underworld duo, who refocused their efforts on the new arrivals, firing attacks at them instead.
"It won't be necessary, the tides have turned in our favour!" Gronmor shouted, raising his hands and unleashing a swarm of burning embers towards his enemies. Like a swarm of angry bees, they swarmed the two Underworlders and striked all over them, distracting the duo as another dragon pulse and a flash cannon slammed into sending flying back towards the water. Now numbers were on his side!
"This is getting too hectic, I'm outta here!" Ornathor complained, seeing this as a losing battle not worth continuing.
"Don't you dare you cowar-!" Nauthilax threatened while turning his head, noticing he was threatening nothing but thin air as the large reptile just vanished. He was really hating Ornathor's ability to teleport back to Everrain whenever he chose. "You win this day, Overworlder! But I'll be back!" He roared one last time, spewing smoke from his mouth that covered the area, with the sound of a splash soon following.
Gronmor fired a wind slash to clear the smoke cloud, revealing the Underworlder had disappeared under the water, to retreat back from once he came. "Cowards, they won't be getting away so easily!" He shouted, running towards the water to five chase but stopped and took a knee, a wave of pain striking him.
"I don't think that's wise in your condition." Ash told the guardian, raising up the two pokéballs and pointing them at his two pokémon, who were celebrating their victory, Melmetal flexing his mighty arms while Naganadel flew circles around him and screeched happily. "You guys did great work, return." He told them, red beams of light coming from the orbs and striking the two, who broke down into energy and returned to the balls. He would quickly gather his remaining pokéballs and the sack, returning to Gronmor's side. "So what does what in here?" He asked, opening up the sack and rummaging through the mugics for something to help him.
However, the sound of footsteps nearing could be heard and the both of them tensed up. Did the Underworlders have reinforcements? Both of them stared where the sound was coming from and got ready for battle, Gronmor raising a hand and Ash grasping a pokéball. Luckily their fear of attack was unfounded.
"Gronmor! Are you alright?! I heard the sound of battle!" Garv shouted, running over a nearby hill towards them, causing the duo to ease up. Noticing the injuries of the guardian and the bag full of mugics and battlegear, it was obvious his answer. "Seems I missed the battle. My apologies Gronmor, I came to retrieve the boat my human friends used when I heard the commotion. I should have been quicker. Do you still have the song of Resurgence I gave you?" He asked Gronmor, joining Ash in scouring the bag for the powerful healing mugic. "Seems I missed quite a bit. Care to explain?"
Gronmor nearly nodded in confirmation though didn't seem willing to tell the story, odd to Ash. With Garv's knowledge of mugic, he easily found their prize and held it up high. Soon the small object started to float into the air by itself by an unknown force, soon a blue spirit arose out of Garv and entered the mugic. "Song of Resurgence! Heal my friend!" The caretaker yelled, causing a rainbow like light to shine on down from the sky and striking the guardian. Unlike Ash's earlier experiences with mugic, this one did not hurt the guardian but caused his cuts and bruises to all but disappear before his eyes. He looked good as new except for a few dents in his mechanical sections once the light ended.
Ash raised his scanner and quickly scanned the now fully healed Gronmor in a few seconds, it was what he was originally here to do after all before getting wrapped up in all this. "It was nice meeting you both, but I gotta head out! See ya sometime other time, bye!" He waved his hands in goodbye before disappearing in a blue light back to Chaotic.
"An odd and dangerous human that one…" Gronmor said to his friend, causing Garv to raise an eyebrow in confusion at his friend who didn't deliberate further.
"Come on Peyton, hit him with a Turbulent Funnel attack!" Kaz shouted at the screen, Sarah and Tom cheering on their friend in this close match, both players down to their last creature.
"How's Peyton doing? Seems like an intense match." A voice cut in, taking the free seat usually occupied by the one currently battling. It was Ash!
"Hey! You finally came back, had any luck after we left?" Tom asked, he nearly missed all of Peyton's match, hopefully he didn't come back totally empty handed. Would be a real bummer if he actually did scan much on his first scan quest.
"I scanned Gronmor once he was healed up after Nauthilax and Ornathor ambushed him, my shoulder still a bit sour after the latter got a swing in on me. But I'm heading home, just wanted to let you guys know. Bye!" Ash explained, not making a big deal of getting quite the powerful scan and what was obviously an exciting adventure. Without explaining further, he disappeared from their sight by porting back to his home, leaving a group of new friends with open jaws in shock, missing the very end of Peyton's match.
"Well that phone call was useless..." Ash mumbled to himself, putting the phone's receiver down after his phone call. Stupid company didn't tell him nothing to actually fix his stupid scanner, just some weird run around. It was getting late, he needed to head to bed anyway, maybe he should just buy a new one…
Just as Ash was heading towards his bed with Pikachu on his shoulder barely holding onto consciousness, he heard his scanner beep inside his pocket. Pulling it out, he noticed that the Chaotic symbol on top of the still black screen was blinking red. Odd, he didn't even know that could do that, the manual never mentioned it. Out of curiosity, he would press the glowing symbol.
Suddenly, his mind was flooded by memories, memories of another self that had a completely different adventure than his own. The battle, Perim, his new friends, and everything between was seemingly downloaded into his brain. He stumbled back a little, nearly causing Pikachu to fall off.
"Pikachu… you'll need to go into your pokéball in the near future." Ash told his partner, who gave a very annoyed and displeased look at the request, he hated it there. The trainer merely smiled and stroked his head. "Trust me, I'm gonna show you a whole new world for us to explore!"
Sorry for the long wait! Work had me transferred around somewhere new and it's been kicking my ass harder than usual, which saying something since it already kicked my ass before! I also just got monster hunter rise and I've been playing that on what time I had off work, which decreased my writing time. Hopefully my longest chapter yet is worth the wait.
Now to answer a few questions I've read in the comments, sorry if I'm not speaking to each individual but too many guest reviews without distinct names makes it a tad harder, so I'm gonna answer in a more general sense.
The romance in this story won't be quick, I personally hate when people fall in love in one chapter or less unless it's a one shot which needs to pack things up more. Ash will build a relationship of respect and friendship with people first which then might evolve into romance. However currently romance is in the backseat at this moment. To add to this, I'm not limiting the romance to just purely human characters or human-esque characters like Aivenna, mostly just because I like to have options open. If you are uncomfortable with that, I'm sorry. Though like I've mentioned, nothing is set instone just yet.
I did think about Ash being able to scan pokémob to use in chaotic battles but I'm also sorta against it. Mostly due to how much research I do already on the chaotic side of things, scouring the wiki for everything on just the card game it can at times get tedious. Adding how the pokémon and their stats attacks would transfer to the game would make research even more. The pokémon would be something purely for the exploration of Perim side of Ash's adventures than the drome parts, just to free up my time.
Also someone asked me why I don't answer pms, well i actually didn't know I was getting them! I mostly type my fanfictions and check up on them on my phone, I type much faster on it than on a keyboard. However I've noticed that I'm seemingly unable to do certain stuff with the phone version of the site compared to others, like I seem unable to make polls.
Also I kept Ash's pokémon still a secret to his new 'human' friends for the moment, just for a bigger surprise later on. I hope all of you have enjoyed this chapter!