A/N: Well, I haven't done these for this story before, but if you've read The Light in the Darkness, I like to talk about things in a little introduction called the Author's Note (A/N for short).
Now, I'm sure some of you are asking, "What the heck took PokemonHero so long to post this chapter?" I want to apologize. I've been busy with school (mainly drama stuff). Not to mention I've been hard at work on The Light in the Darkness, which has become popular fairly quickly. So I have been working on this on-and-off for the past few months. But now, I'm happy to say, I've gotten it done.
I have been considering a new PMD story, but I've like the characters and all in this story that I felt like I should continue. But perhaps I'll stop talking and let you read. So here we go:
Chapter 9: A Long Day's Night
Zach sat on top of a hill not far from Team Twilight's base. He looked out upon the landscape that lay before him. The red-orange evening sun was beginning to dip below the western horizon. A cool evening breeze wafted across the fields, causing the tall grasses to sway to and fro like waves in the ocean. The sounds of the Kricketot and Kricktune warming up for their evening concerto filled his ears. It was a great way to find solace after such a long and arduous day.
"I was wondering where you had wandered off to."
Zach turned around. Bulbasaur came walking up the hill behind him. "So what have you been up to?" Zach asked, noting that his teammate seemed a little bit tired.
"Well, I've been practicing my new move," he said as he sat down next to Zach. "But so far, it's been pretty tough. I just can't seem to get the right amount of energy into it." He seemed a little disappointed in himself.
Zach tried to cheer him up. "Come on, did you expect to learn that move in one day?" he said jokingly. "I'm sure you'll figure it out. Just give yourself some time."
"Yeah, I guess so," Bulbasaur conceded. "I didn't expect it to be so hard." He sighed. "So, what are you doing up here?"
"I was thinking about everything that happened today," Zach replied, looking back out over the fields below. "It was different from what I expected."
"Yeah, same here," said Bulbasaur. "But you really kicked some butt today. I've never seen someone take two big hits like you did and still be able to fight. It's a good thing your Blaze kicked in, or you would've been a goner."
"Blaze?" asked Zach, a puzzled look on his face. "What's Blaze?"
"You don't know what…Oh, right," Bulbasaur cut himself off after seeing Zach incredulous look. He thought for a moment of how to explain it. "Well, Blaze is a special ability that some Fire Pokemon have. Sometimes, when a Pokemon with such an ability gets into a very difficult situation, Blaze activates and they become temporally stronger."
Interesting, Zach thought to himself, remembering the battle earlier that day with Kabutops. He definitely felt a surge of power after he had taken some powerful hits. Especially when he had gotten up after that Aqua Jet. "So it's like a self-defense mechanism," he said, believing that he understood his ability.
"I guess you could say that…" Bulbasaur replied. "So Zach, you think you're getting the hang of being a Chimchar?"
Zach thought for a moment. "I guess so," he said in reply. "It's hard to get used to having all these awesome powers…"
"…And a flaming butt."
Zach shook his head and sighed. "I was trying to avoid the obvious."
"Right…" Bulbasaur said regretfully. "Probably shouldn't have gone there."
Zach couldn't help but chuckle. Bulbasaur always seemed to say the first thing that came to his mind. Yet he was as industrious a worker as Zach could ever recall meeting, even though he didn't have any memory past yesterday. But he could sense he had never met anyone that worked harder than Bulbasaur.
Zach decided to bring up a new subject. "So, how exactly does a TM work?" he inquired, wondering how the strange disk they had received as a reward was actually used.
Bulbasaur had to think for a moment. "It's hard to explain," he said in reply. "Well, first you have to be able to learn the actual move. Most Pokemon can only learn certain moves, mainly limited by their types or physical characteristics. I can learn moves like Energy Ball and Giga Drain by use of a TM. However, you can't learn these moves because you're a Fire-type. On the other hand, you can learn moves like Overheat and Will-o-wisp through a TM while I cannot. You with me so far?"
Zach nodded although, to be perfectly honest, he really had no clue what Bulbasaur was talking about. "So what do the disks actually do?" he asked.
"Well, the disks are infused with the knowledge of how to do the move," Bulbasaur explained. "How that works, I really don't know. But if a Pokemon comes in contact with a disk that contains a move they can learn, the knowledge is transferred from the disk to the Pokemon."
"So, it's that simple?"
Bulbasaur shook his head. "Not really," he answered. "Even if you have the knowledge to do the move, you still have to train yourself to be able to use it at will. It's almost impossible to master a new move in one day."
That would explain Bulbasaur's nonstop practicing, Zach concluded, thinking about how hard he had been working since they had returned.
Zach's ears perked up. That must be Eevee, he concluded, guessing by the feminine sound of the voice. He looked over at his comrade with a smile. "I guess dinner's ready," he said.
"That's good, I was getting hungry," said Bulbasaur, smiling as well. "Race you back to the base!"
With that, the two friends charged from the hill back toward Team Twilight's base, leaving the setting sun behind them to continue own its silent journey beneath the horizon.
Not this place again.
Zach found himself standing in the same place he found himself the previous night, amongst the green mist. He looked around, trying to find his bearings in this strange dream world. Once again, he heard strange murmurs floating waywardly around him. For some reason, these undertones greatly troubled him.
The voice resonated about him. "Who's there?" Zach shouted. There was no immediate response. Angrily, he swiped a cloud of green mist that had floated in front of him. "Your shenanigans have gone on long enough! Show yourself!"
"Shenanigans?" the voice responded curiously. "I'm sorry if I've not been very courteous, but do you know how hard it was trying to contact you?"
Zach nearly tripped over backward, so much surprised by getting a response. "Uh…"
"Don't answer. I've been trying to connect to your mind now for three days, and now that I've finally achieved full contact, you treat me like this? Perhaps I should leave…"
"No!" Zach exclaimed, surprised by the voice's shift in attitude. "I'm sorry. I was just a little annoyed by having a voice popping up in my head."
"Well…all right. I accept your apology."
A small pulsating ball of light drifted up from amongst the mist. Zach cautious approached the new presence, curious about what it could be. Suddenly, the ball expanded exponentially in size and luminosity, causing him to recoil in fright. What the…? The sheer brilliance of the light blinded Zach, causing him to divert his eyes.
When the light had fade, he looked back found himself staring at an interesting creature floating in the air before him. She was a gray fairy-like creature, not too much bigger than he was. She had two tails, the ends of each encrusted with a red jewel. Her face was more of a magenta color, and had long, drooping appendages. In the middle of her forehead was yet another red gem. She looked over him with her bright yellow eyes.
"Hello, Zach," she greeted me cheerfully. "I am Mesprit, the Being of Emotions."
"How…how do you know my name?" Zach asked, still in shock of the appearance.
"Well, I know of you because of your past," she answered. "I know that you were human at one time."
"I knew it!" Zach exclaimed excitedly. "I knew I wasn't going insane!" But then, a new question arose in his mind. "But how exactly did I become a Chimchar?"
Mesprit shook her head. "Unfortunately, I cannot explain fully how that happened," she conceded. "At least, not in the time I have been allotted tonight."
"But you know…"
"Yes, I know. But that is for another time, my young friend. There's something else that is much more concerning at this time."
Zach was becoming progressively more annoyed with each response. He was this close to knowing why he was turned into a Chimchar and he was being refused the answer. "Then why have you contacted me?" he inquired bitterly, trying his best to cover back his discontent.
Mesprit opened her mouth to speak, when suddenly she started to fade in and out of focus. "I'm…sorry…the connection's…fail…" Then, almost as suddenly as she appeared to him, she disappeared.
Suddenly, Zach woke up, breathing heavily. He put his hand to his forehead, wiping off the sweat that had formed on his brow. He glanced around the dark base. Both Bulbasaur and Eevee were still asleep.
Still somewhat in shock of what just happened, Zach pulled himself to his feet and walked over to the table. Silently, he reflected on everything he saw. Tonight, he had gotten close to getting some sort of answer about his past. Had Mesprit not been so insistent on delivering her message, he could've gotten at least some useful insight on his past.
But why is she trying to talk to me in the first place, he wondered to himself. Was it because he had been human? Zach recalled Bulbasaur and Eevee's reactions when he had claimed of being human. It definitely was not a common event. But still, that didn't explain Mesprit's appearance.
Zach looked over toward Bulbasaur and Eevee. Maybe I should tell them what I saw, he contemplated to himself. However, he realized that if he did tell them about what had happened, he would end up having to confess everything. He shook his head. I cannot do it, he concluded morosely. Maybe they could believe the dream, but everything else…
But then, he thought about how friendly they had been to him. For some reason, he sensed the hospitality that they had shown him was unlike anything he had experienced before. And they seemed to believe that he was actually human at one time. Or at least that's what they said.
Zach buried his head in his arms. He couldn't decide what to do. Frustrated, he walked back over to his bed. It took a long time for him to get to sleep, indecision still plaguing his mind.
The next morning came all too early for Zach. Just as he felt like he was going to sleep, he found himself being awoken by Eevee (it was apparently Bulbasaur's turn to prepare for the mission). He was barely able to get the food in his mouth before he found himself being dragged out the door down to Treasure Town.
They met up with Bulbasaur just outside Kangaskhan Storage, storing excess items from their last mission. "So you were able to get him up," said Bulbasaur jokingly. He and Eevee chuckled a little at Zach's expense. Zach just shrugged it off.
"Okay, Bulbasaur, why don't you show Zach how to select a mission?" suggested Eevee. "I wanted to do something before we left."
"Good idea," Bulbasaur conceded. "Zach, come with me."
Bulbasaur motioned for Zach to follow her into the large Pelipper shaped building nearby. Zach followed, wondering what was inside the structure. Walking across the threshold of the doorway, he found himself in a large circular room. A few Pokemon were in the room camped around two bulletin boards on the opposite side of the room in particular. Between the two boards was a large opening leading outside. Every once in a while, a large white feathered bird would flutter into the room, waddle over to one of the boards and started tacking sheets of paper onto them.
"Over where those Pokemon are would be the Job Boards," said Bulbasaur. He pointed to the one on the left. "That board is for missions where you have to do things like rescue someone, escort a Pokemon to a certain location, or deliver something. The mission we did yesterday came from there." He then gesticulated toward the other board. "That board is for missions that require a team to capture an outlaw."
Zach looked over at Bulbasaur a little curiously. "Outlaws?" he asked.
He nodded. "Most outlaws are just thieves who steal things or cause a nuisance. But there are some that are a little more volatile. But we're not going to worry about them. For now, let's just get another rescue mission."
"How do we do that?"
"It's simple. First we choose a mission off the board. Once it's in your possession, it's your mission."
Zach and Bulbasaur made their way over to the board. Zach got there first. He was amazed by the number of sheets of paper that were covering the bulletin board. "There sure are a lot of choices."
Bulbasaur came up next to him, also looking at the board curiously. "That's odd," he said, ignoring the other Pokemon reaching around him to grab jobs off the board. "There's a lot more jobs than usual."
"Could that mean something has happened?" asked Zach.
He shook his head. "I don't know. I would think we would've heard something about it if that were the case." He looked over the board, trying to find a good mission.
As he watched, Zach remembered something that Mesprit said in the dream the previous night. There's something else that is much more concerning at this time. Did Mesprit want to tell him about something that happened that no one else knew of?
"Here we go!"
Bulbasaur took a piece of paper off the board and came over to Zach, who was still lost in thought about the dream. "Hey Zach, are you okay?" he asked, nudging him gently on the arm.
Zach quickly returned to reality. "Oh, what? Sorry Bulbasaur, I was just thinking," he said, trying to reassure him. "So, you've got a mission."
He nodded. "Yep, a fairly simple one actually. We would just have to go to Lush Prairie and rescue a Shuckle that's lost out there," he said, smiling. "We would be back before lunch time."
"Heh-heh. Sounds like a good mission to me."
Suddenly, someone reached out and ripped the mission from Bulbasaur's grip. "Hey! Who did that?" he snapped angrily. He and Zach turned around to find themselves facing Nuzleaf and Sneasel.
"Thanks for the mission, losers," Nuzleaf taunted, waving the mission in front of their faces.
Bulbasaur glared angrily at him. "Give us back our mission," he growled.
"Wrong, pal," Sneasel chided, trying to provoke. "It's our mission now. Consider this payment for taking our mission yesterday."
"Wait a minute," Zach interrupted, standing between Bulbasaur and Team DarkBlade. "What do you mean we took your mission?"
"Well, we took a job that called for us to rescue an injured Starly in Drenched Bluff," Nuzleaf began, keeping the mission well out of everyone's reach. "We get there and there's no Starly. We figured that perhaps it was outdated or something. But guess who we find helping a Starly back into town?"
Zach swallowed hard. They had indeed rescued Starly, even though it wasn't their mission. "Look, we're sorry, but we found Starly badly hurt and we couldn't leave him behind."
Sneasel chuckled. "A likely excuse. We will consider a free mission fair payment for taking our mission." He looked at his partner. "Come on, let's get out of here." With that, he and Nuzleaf left with their ill-gotten mission.
Bulbasaur shook his head. "Man, I hate those guys," he spat, trying to keep his composure.
"Why do you guys not get along?" asked Zach. "I mean, aren't they supposed to be a rescue team as well?"
"Well, yeah, they are," said Bulbasaur. "But they're more bullies than anything else. Except for Shuppet. She's actually pretty nice."
Just then, Eevee came in to the Post Office and spotted Zach and Bulbasaur. "Hey guys," she said as she approached her teammates. "Have you chosen a mission yet?"
Zach shook his head. "We had one, but Sneasel and Nuzleaf took it." He explained what had happened moments before.
Eevee sighed disappointedly. "Well, that's no surprise," she said. "They think they have entitlement to do whatever they want." She now looked over to Bulbasaur as well. "Let's just try to get a mission before everyone else takes them all."
Zach and Bulbasaur nodded in agreement and they all went to the Job Board. Now then, what mission to choose? Zach contemplated, looking over the bulletin board. He remembered what Bulbasaur told him about job ranks the previous morning, so he kept that in mind.
Just then, he spotted a fairly interesting mission. It was a B-ranked mission, a much more difficult mission than the one they had done already. But it was only to the seventh floor of a dungeon called Apple Woods. He didn't think it would be likely that they would get into major trouble in just seven floors.
"Hey Bulbasaur, Eevee," he said turning to his teammates. "How about this one?"
Zach's teammates came over and looked over the mission themselves. "This looks like it could be a tough one, Zach," Eevee said skeptically, handing it back to Zach. "Do you think we could do this?"
Zach nodded. "We'll be fine," he replied confidently. "I mean, it's not like we're going to be running into a Kabutops again."
Bulbasaur and Eevee looked at each other for a moment, but they nodded in agreement, Eevee a little more reluctantly than Bulbasaur. "I guess we could give it a try," Bulbasaur said. "Besides, we would have an advantage there against the Bug and Grass type Pokemon there."
"So what are we waiting for? Let's go!"
And thus, the three friends began their second mission. Bulbasaur and Zach burst out of the Post Office, extremely confident and ready to conquer Apple Woods with ease. However, Eevee lagged behind slightly. She wasn't sure it was such a good idea to go into those woods. Something told her it wasn't going to be an easy day for her.