=Author's Note=

        Hi, all! I decided to do this story a little different than the others, seeing as how none of you seem to want to wait the three to four months it takes me to complete one of my gi-normous stories. So, we'll be updating in little chunks, at least for this story. If you like it better this way, make sure to let me know!

=Legal Disclaimer=

        Pokémon is a registered trademark of Nintendo Entertainment Inc., or whatever it is they're calling their company. As a big business, they are inherently evil, but fair is fair, so I'm not allowed to make money using their characters. As such, those of you who would like to purchase any Dixie merchandise or memorabilia are welcome to send random amounts of money to:

        Cyberwraith T. Nine

        666 Spooky Road

        Ghostland, TX 00666

BadgeQuest

The Big Goodbye

=Part 1=

Catching Up With Old Friends

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The coarse rock face crumbled beneath fingers that were once soft and delicate as she scrabbled her way up the side of a cliff she had never seen before, and probably wouldn't see again once she left. Tiny pieces of the mountain fell into her eyes, bringing stinging tears to both clean and cloud her vision. She paused a moment to let her eyes blink the refuse out. After all, when she was suspended three hundred meters above the ground, she wanted to make sure she was good and secure and one hundred percent on the ball.

A year ago, had someone told her that she could climb mountains, she would have laughed at them before returning to her fashion magazine. However, it had been an enlightening year for her; not only could she climb mountains, she could jump from an airliner with nothing but an emergency chute, fight off a hoard of hungry Onix, freestyle down a triple black diamond slope on a makeshift board, and ignore the nails that she broke while doing so. Never, in her entire life, had she thought herself capable of such incredible, demeaning physical acts. After all, servants were meant for such things…hired muscle, goons, and the rest of the ilk her parents weren't fond of employing. But she had a powerful driving force that kept her going on the longest, coldest of nights…

She was the one.

Not him.

Her.

"You need to turn back, child…" A voice hissed from all around her, echoing off of the twilight-lit canyon she was in the process of scaling. The spectacular light show that nature was putting on set the entire valley on fire. It was a pity she couldn't stop to enjoy it.

"Not on your life, Missingno," Giselle hissed, gaining another hand-hold and hauling herself higher. The top of the cliff was just a few meters away, and she wasn't about to let the creature get away again. She had come too far, worked too hard to let that bag of gas slip through her fingers. He had managed to dodge her a half a dozen times over the past twelve months. She had watched him suck entire villages dry, dropping people faster than she could count. He had taken down entire farms of livestock, farmhands and all, in the blink of an eye. But tonight, it was over. "Tonight," she promised the monster, "You're mine!"

"So you say," Missingno's hideous tone hissed from all around her, murmuring sweet nothings of death and torture into her ear, "But you've said that before, haven't you? Remember that family you said you'd protect? The one I devoured before you could even scream in horror?"

"Shut up," she growled, finding another hold.

"You were unconscious for nearly an hour. And do you know what I did?"

"I said shut up…"

"Absolutely nothing," the demon cackled gleefully. I watched you as you slept. I whispered into your dreams…but you remained unscathed. And do you know why?"

"STOP IT!"

"Because I knew it would be absolute torture," Missingno murmured, "To have lived to see those hollow, empty shells."

Giselle's hand finally found its way to the top of the cliff, scrabbling for a firm hold among the jagged rocks. "I swear to you, monster," she snarled, "I'll destroy you myself if I have to." With another grunt, she was on top of the cliff, high above the valleys and mountainous channels that ran near the sea just south of Pallet Town. She pulled a pair of Pokéballs from her pocket, expanding them to full size. She may not have collected the complete set yet, but two elemental titans were far better than none. "Get ready, Zapdos, Moltres…" she murmured.

Missingno's cackling laughter echoed all around her as the last rays of the sun slipped down below the rocky peaks. "Those two again?" he sneered, "Didn't you learn your lesson back at Cinnabar Island?"

Despite her earlier bravado, Giselle could feel a modicum of fear creeping into her; she had fought Missingno long enough to know that he was strongest when it was dark. Already, the top of her lonely cliff had grown cold without the radiant touch of the sun, and a dense fog had begun to seep in around her feet, rising slowly as she searched about. "This time will be different, Missingno."

"I agree," Missingno's ominous voice replied cheerily. "This time, you won't be getting away."

"That's my line." Giselle's eyes darted about, searching for the familiar wisp of black smoke that signaled the demon's approach, but there was no sign of him. The fog had grown too thick to see anything, and even the rising moon's circle of light was beginning to fade. "Where are you?"

"Right here."

The fog suddenly took on a life of its own, wrapping around her. She could feel the darkness pressing in on her from all sides, immobilizing her in a cold, perverse embrace. The fog entered her through every orifice, every pore in her body, seeping into her and tainting her soul. Giselle screamed, but the fog moved to choke her, forcing its way inside of her. Just as her consciousness was slipping away, as the demon began devouring everything that she was, she heard a tiny murmur enter her mind;

"Gotcha."

=To Be Continued=