Crap. Crapcrapcrapcrapcrap.

He ran and ran and ran, not stopping even when his lungs threatened to give out, not when his legs shook and his vision blurred. At last the cavern was behind him. A shudder. That monster was behind him. Thank Groudon. Thank Arceus.

For a moment he crouched on the stone floor, heaving gasps becoming steady breaths until he could stand. The world spun around him as he moved onto his feet, swaying. One hand groped on his belt for his communicator. It was too dangerous. He couldn't let this go unnoticed.

A few dry coughs and a shudder. He collapsed onto the rock, fingers pressing the buttons with fevered speed. A beep sounded. He spoke.

"This… is 34," he moaned.

A voice crackled through, sharp and commanding, disrupted by the rock walls but clear enough to discern. For once he was glad that Magmacoms were designed to send signals through sheer rock.

"Report, thirty-four," the voice said.

The boy gathered his breath to answer. "Need to speak with… Maxie."

The voice seemed slightly perturbed by his statement. "Are you sure, thirty-four?"

"Yes." Another gulp of air, and he pressed the button. "Send down Squad Eight. All my Pokemon are down." His breath started to return. "This is urgent. I need to speak with Maxie."

"Sending Squad Eight. Be aware that you're losing your rank if this is a sham," the voice said warningly. "Your location?"

"The forbidden passage."

A silence. Then, "Squad Eight departing. You will speak with Maxie aboveground."

The boy sighed and lay back down, chest still heaving. Blood pounded dully through his brain. It would all be right when he told Maxie. Everything would be fine. He would tell his story, and they would deal with it. That... thing. The monster. Yes.

Everything would be fine.

~blood~~~~~~