Sorry for the long delay in updates, people. Been really busy and on the DA portion of this story, I've run into loads of trouble due to extremist fans demanding EoF instead of any of my other art and stories. It's awful to the point where I made an EoF-only DA account for them on April 1st called SlavetoEoF (link on my profile page here on ) as a joke, but real, account for them to do whatever and keep their stress-inducing comments over there where I'm not going to pay attention to them. Thank God such people aren't over here, doing that. Feel free to check it out but beware, it's not a very pleasant account due to the twisted persona I created for it…
Anyhow, I uploaded this on DA before April 1st…but realized with the most recent comment that I had yet to post it up here too. My bad! So here it is for you lovely people! I hope you enjoy it!
Chapter 61: Truth Exchanged for Answers
A loud boom of thunder erupted from overhead. Gingerly easing his eyes open, Carlos blinked. The spheres of lightning were gone. Luxray and Manectric were both backing up, teeth bared yet…somehow reluctant to attempt to attack again. Even their tribes were retreating slightly, almost…afraid?
"Stop this instant! Manectric, Luxray, listen to me! Though they indeed trespass, these children speak nothing but the truth to you! Their intent is not to claim your territory!"
A large ghostly figure hovered before the group, arms outstretched in defense. Team Legend shakily got to their feet again.
"What happened to that attack?" Sandra wondered.
"Dusknoir? What is he doing here?" Lucar asked.
"The great Dusknoir saved us! I can't believe it!" Sunburst realized.
Blackie shrank back. "How did he find us?" he squeaked.
Luxray bristled. "Who are you? State your name and purpose, trespasser!" he demanded.
"I am the explorer Dusknoir!" Dusknoir explained, not budging from his place. "I've come here in order to defend these young explorers from your wrongful judgment. You both have every right to be angry. This territory is very important to both of you. You've suffered dearly on these grounds, especially at the hands of one another. It is only natural that you will not tolerate trespassers here. But please, do not drag these children into your war!"
"They dragged themselves into this! They attacked us first!" Manectric barked, teeth bared.
"They meant you no harm. They came here to complete a very important errand. It was bad timing that they happened to arrive here just as you both did. I offer the sincerest of apologies and beg you to pardon them of this incident," Dusknoir replied, bowing deeply before them. "Please, allow them to finish their errand. It will only last a few minutes. Then we shall all be gone, never to return to this place again. This I swear on my name as an explorer!"
"Never to return?" Manectric repeated, smirking. "I like that."
"…Complete your errand. If you are still here when we return, you will not be leaving at all," Luxray threatened.
"We will be gone," Dusknoir guaranteed, straightening. "Thank you truly for showing us mercy."
Luxray turned to Manectric. "We will finish this at another time."
"Hopefully, without any interruptions," Manectric nodded, stepping back. He swung around to his tribe. "Move it! We're leaving!"
"Pull back!" Luxray ordered, looking to his own tribe. "We shall return shortly!"
Manetric led his tribe away into the depths of the plains, back where they came from. Luxray and his tribe scaled the cliff face, vanishing over the edge. The clearing was empty and silent once more, as it had been before the wrathful tribes had appeared. All that remained was Team Legend, Dusknoir…and the Water Float.
Sunburst sighed. "Glad that's over! That was awful! I really thought we were going to die!"
"Dusknoir, sir," Carlos said, looking up at the Ghost-type. "How did you find us?"
"I encountered Marill and Azurill in the square. They informed me of your mission and I came running," Dusknoir explained, facing them. "You see, this time of year is very dangerous in this region. This place in particular is warred over between two separate nomadic tribes led by Luxray and Manectric. The tribes always stay on the move but during this time of year, they both converge here and try to claim this place as their territory until they move on."
"Why don't they alter their migrations so they don't encounter each other then? I'm guessing this happens a lot," Lucar pointed out.
"I believe it is more of a test between them, to see which tribe is stronger and who deserves to dwell here more," Dusknoir theorized. "This place is full of thunderstorms this time of year, making it very hospitable to a group of roving Electric-types. The fact that both tribes are still alive and that the leaders know each other so well is an obvious sign that there is no interest in killing amongst themselves."
"So they fight over this place on purpose," Lucar muttered, frowning.
"They sure didn't like us being here," Sandra noted.
"From what I know, both tribes were ambushed in this plain many years ago by Ground-types. They both suffered terrible injuries from that day. Since then, both tribes have been sensitive toward the idea of trespassers in this area when they are here," Dusknoir admitted. "It's likely why their relationship is more competitive than violent in nature. They have a shared link with this place. Neither wishes to see this place trespassed on and thus they strike first in cooperation with one another, to avoid a similar situation to the ambush they fell victim to back then."
"That must be why they all got up after we beat them," Sandra realized.
"They saw us as intruders, no different than the ones that attacked them back then," Carlos continued. "I suddenly feel bad, attacking them like that. We should've backed off."
"But the Water Float! We couldn't go back without it, Carlos! You said that yourself!" Sunburst exclaimed.
"Well, they're both gone now. Let's get it and leave before they come back!" Lucar declared.
"Oh yeah! That's right! They'll be coming back soon!" Sunburst yelped in panic.
The group dashed toward the cliff. Carlos picked up the item. "Is this really it?"
"That is, without a doubt, a Water Float," Dusknoir confirmed.
"Good! At least we didn't come after a fake!" Sandra sighed in relief. "Let's get this back to Marill and Azurill right away. I'm sure they'll be happy to finally have it back."
"What about that note? Someone obviously knew it was here and I doubt this got left here by accident," Carlos reminded them.
"Oh, yeah! I forgot there was a note," Sandra recalled, ears lowering.
"This was left here on purpose. Whoever took it obviously had no intentions on giving it back to Marill or Azurill," Lucar stated coldly.
"But who could have done it?" Sunburst asked.
"Someone who knew Manectric and Luxray would be here today," Dusknoir pointed out. "They knew there would be a confrontation between the tribes here and planted the Water Float in this place before either tribe arrived. The rest was left up to how quickly you got here and how you reacted to a tribal war taking place between you and your objective. You were obviously set up."
"That laugh at the end of that note… I know I recognize it from somewhere," Lucar admitted. "Chaw-haw-haw… Who laughs like that?"
"The scoundrels watching us at this very moment, no doubt," Dusknoir declared, turning to look over the clearing. "Why don't you come out now? We know you're here!"
"What? No way!" Sunburst yelped.
"I thought I sensed something strange. Those tribes weren't the only ones here," Lucar muttered darkly.
"But where? I don't see anyone," Sandra said, looking around.
A voice laughed, echoing around the stony plain. "Chaw-haw-haw! Well, I'm impressed! So you knew we were here this whole time?"
"It wasn't very hard of a guess," Dusknoir stated, hands fisting. "You knew there would be a confrontation between Team Legend, Luxray, and Manectric. It likely would be a spectacular show. Who would want to miss that, especially with seats like yours atop those cliffs? Far enough away to avoid the backlash and stay out of sight, but close enough not to miss any of the action."
"Well, it was a pretty good fight! Up until you showed up, spoilsport! It was just getting good, chaw-haw-haw!"
A trio of forms skidded down the far cliff, landing lightly on the ground below. The dust cleared, revealing a familiar poisonous trio—Team Skull. Skuntank approached, stopping short and eyeing Dusknoir nervously. Zubat and Koffing hung back, chuckling.
"You guys?! You did this?!" Sandra barked, fur bristling in anger.
"Been a while since we last saw you guys," Lucar admitted, tensing. "Fogbound Lake, right?"
"Who are these guys again?" Sunburst asked.
Blackie shrugged. "Bad guys," he guessed, stepping back.
"So you took the Water Float," Carlos deducted. "Just what kind of stunt were you going to pull this time?"
"Well, if you're that curious!" Skuntank snickered.
"Heh-heh-heh! We were gonna watch Luxray and Manectric stomp you into the dirt!" Zubat laughed.
"Whoa-ho-ho! Then we were gonna come in and clean up afterward," Koffing finished.
"Kick us while we were down, huh? Too bad we didn't go down in the first place," Carlos pointed out coldly, cheeks sparking angrily.
"Only 'cause this guy got in the way!" Zubat hissed, glaring at Dusknoir the best way an eyeless bat could.
"Well, since I am indeed here, why don't we finish what you started?" Dusknoir asked, moving forward menacingly.
"You wanna fight? No deal!" Skuntank spat, backing up. "Maybe if it was just Team Legend, sure. But against the world famous explorer Dusknoir? I'd rather not."
"Coward!" Sandra hissed.
"We know how to pick our battles. We ain't stupid," Skuntank declared. "Move it, boys! We'll finish this later."
Team Skull promptly fled, racing into the crags and vanishing into the plain.
"Those guys sure know how to run fast, huh? Bet they do that a lot," Sunburst smirked.
"Probably," Lucar agreed. "I guess now we all remember that laugh. It was Skuntank."
"But why would they take the Water Float?" Sandra asked.
"Because they knew you'd never let Marill come here alone," Dusknoir replied, turning back to the group. "They were counting on you taking the initiative and facing this mystery dungeon yourselves in his place. They counted on you losing to Luxray and Manectric. They did not expect me to arrive here."
"Sandra said it correctly—cowards!" the Quilava spat viciously.
"Those cowards sure cause us a bunch of trouble, though," Carlos admitted, ears lowering. "There's no point in trying to chase them down now, though. We'll see them again one day, knowing our luck."
"Yeah," Lucar agreed. "They'll be back. We're not done with them…and they're not done with us."
/Team Skull wouldn't be done with us for a good while. Though they definitely aren't as frightening or as strong as Thrax and his gang, they make up for it with having quite a stubborn grudge and even more persistence. If only all of that wasn't targeted at us…/
"Enough worrying about those scoundrels," Dusknoir suggested. "Let us return this Water Float to those young boys. If what you say is true, they've been waiting a very long time to get it back."
"They have, Dusknoir, sir. They have," Carlos promised, holding the item close. "Let's get it back to where it rightfully belongs, guys. Time to go home…"
"Our Water Float! You got it back!" Azurill cried, bounding forward to claim the item.
"I knew you could do it! Thank you so much!" Marill said, eyes watering happily.
Team Legend and Dusknoir stood before the Kecleon brothers' shop, the two young brothers happily reuniting with their long-lost item. The shopkeepers wiped tears from their eyes, equally overjoyed to see the siblings so happy again.
"Don't thank just us," Carlos corrected. "Thank Dusknoir. If it wasn't for him, we might not be here. He was the one that saved the day."
"I merely diverted an attack and convinced the tribes to stand down from their positions," Dusknoir reminded, wagging a finger. "You did all the hard work, going through the mystery dungeon and fighting off the tribes by yourself."
"Thank you anyway, Dusknoir, sir," Marill said, smiling up at the Ghost-type. "You help Team Legend get back our Water Float. That means a lot to us."
"I have been told you've been looking for it for a very long time now. I am glad it has finally been returned to you," Dusknoir replied.
"My, Team Legend sure is doing an incredible job lately!" the purple Kecleon declared. "First they rescue Azurill, pinpointing the child perfectly, and then they manage this. Another difficult job completed successfully, don't you think, brother?"
"Indeed! I'm amazed at how quickly they found Azurill back then!" the green Kecleon agreed, smiling at his sibling. "It was almost as if they saw into the future or something!"
Carlos flinched. Saw into the future… I guess that's pretty much what I did back then. Those visions…
All the chattered died. Everyone's attention turned to Carlos. The Pikachu looked up, swallowing back his fear.
"Carlos? What are you doing?" Sandra asked, suddenly nervous.
"…I guess I did kinda see into the future," Carlos admitted. "I saw where Azurill would be in a dream. That's how we knew where he would be when he was kidnapped."
"A dream?" Marill repeated.
"…I was kidding!" the green Kecleon yelped.
"Are you serious, Carlos?" the purple Kecleon asked.
"A dream? Could you possibly explain that better, Carlos? What do you mean by that?" Dusknoir questioned, interested.
"Carlos, what are you talking about?" Sunburst asked, confused.
"You can see into the future?" Blackie blinked, amazed.
"…Yeah, Carlos can," Sandra admitted. "He gets visions..."
"Dreams, visions, which is it?" the purple brother asked.
"Dusknoir, sir, Sunburst told us you knew a whole lot. Maybe you know what this is that Carlos has," Lucar commented, looking at the Ghost-type.
"I'll get dizzy spells when I touch stuff sometimes. A person or an object usually, like a wanted poster," Carlos explained, resting a paw on his forehead. "I'll black out for a bit and then…I see or hear things that either just happened in the past…or are about to happen in the future."
"That's happened with Azurill," Lucar said.
"Sunburst, it happened with you too. We would've never gone to Labyrinth Cave if Carlos hadn't heard you call for help in a dream like that," Sandra admitted.
"What? Really?" Sunburst yelped, looking at Carlos in shock. He knew I was in trouble…and came to save me…
"Dizzy spells? Visions of the past or future? Why, that must be…the Dimensional Scream!" Dusknoir declared.
"Dimensional…Scream?" Sandra repeated.
"What can you tell us about it?" Carlos asked, curious.
"If it has a name, then Carlos can't be the only one that has it," Lucar noted.
"It is a very rare phenomenon. Would it be all right if we discussed this in private?" Dusknoir requested.
"Sure," Carlos nodded.
"Guys, can you keep quiet about this? Please? It's important," Sandra pleaded, looking at Marill, Azurill, and the Kecleon brothers.
"Our lips are sealed!" the shopkeepers vowed.
"We won't tell," Marill promised. "You saved Azurill and I so much. Thank you."
"You're welcome," Sandra smiled.
"Blackie, Sunburst, can you guys head back to the guild. I'll tell you everything later," Carlos promised.
"…Okay, Carlos," Sunburst agreed. "Come on, Blackie."
The pair departed, heading up the stairs toward Wigglytuff's Guild. Reaching the crossroads, Carlos sighed. You can do this. Just ask…
"Dusknoir, I've got something else to ask you," Carlos added as the group headed away from the shop. "Something…more personal…"
At the beach, an hour later…
"So, you awoke here once Lucar found you," Dusknoir summarized, looking down at the sand where Carlos had been found washed up on so long ago. "You had no memory except your name…and the fact that you were a human?"
"That's correct," Carlos nodded. "I know it sounds unbelievable…but it's true. At least as far as I can remember, it is."
"Well, you do certainly appear to be a Pikachu in every obvious way," Dusknoir admitted.
"I know," Carlos sighed. "I guess even you can't really understand it, huh?"
"Forget about that then," Lucar decided. "We're trying to find out how he lost his memory. Though finding out how he turned from a human to a Pokemon would be nice too."
"Are you sure you don't know anything about this, Dusknoir? Anything at all?" Sandra asked, concerned.
"A human…with the Dimensional Scream ability…" Dusknoir muttered, hand on his chin as he thought. "And your name is Carlos, correct?"
"Yes," the Pikachu nodded. "Do you…know that name?"
"Do you think you knew each other before, Carlos?" Sandra guessed.
"I don't know. Dusknoir doesn't seem familiar to me," Carlos replied.
"I'm sorry to say but I do not know anyone like what you've described to me. Nothing important or relevant is coming to mind," Dusknoir admitted. "I'm sorry, Carlos."
"How unfortunate," Lucar muttered, frowning.
"Are you sure?" Sandra pressed.
"I think I'd recall seeing a human. My apologies for the lack of help in that particular area," Dusknoir stated. "However, I think I can help with that ability Carlos possesses."
"Well, that's better than nothing," Carlos smiled.
"Indeed," Dusknoir nodded. "How the Dimension Scream is acquired is unknown. Sounds and images can slice through the boundaries of time, breeching objects and reaching into Pokemon, manifesting themselves as visions. It may not be much, but that is all I know about the Dimensional Scream."
"It's more than we knew before," Carlos reassured. "Thanks, Dusknoir."
"Maybe the Dimension Scream is tied in with Carlos becoming a Pokemon," Lucar suggested.
"Perhaps," Dusknoir agreed. "I have a feeling fate destined us to meet and become friends. I may not know much now, but I surely wish to be of assistance in this puzzle of yours. To unravel how your friend became a Pokemon…would be a spectacular accomplishment."
"You want to help us? Really?" Sandra cried, amazed.
"Of course! I can't stand knowing there is something in this world that I do not have the answers to!" Dusknoir declared proudly. "I offer you my full cooperation, Team Legend. We will get to the bottom of this mystery, no matter how long it takes."
"Wow! Thanks!" Carlos exclaimed with a grin. "I'm sure with your help, we'll find my memory in no time!"
/Dusknoir would definitely be a big help. With a famous explorer like him on our side, it should have been a cinch to find Carlos' memory. If only it had been as easy as we thought it would be…/
"Mysteries aren't solved overnight, Carlos. But with enough time, this puzzle of yours will surely unravel before us," Dusknoir vowed.
"I hope so," Carlos said. The Dimensional Scream… Now I know what I've been experiencing this whole time. Could it be tied with my lost memory? I hope we can find out soon. I'm so close to finding out who I really am!
"Hey! What's with all the Pelipper?" Sandra asked, looking up at the sky.
Everyone craned their necks back. There were indeed dozens of Pelipper flying through the sky.
"…There are more than usual. Something must be happening," Lucar guessed.
"Hey! Carlos! Team Legend~! There ya all are!"
"Bidoof! What are you doing here?" Lucar asked, turning to greet the Normal-type as he huffed and puffed toward them.
"Great golly! I've been looking everywhere for ya, guys!" Bidoof complained, gasping for breath. "You gotta get to the guild immediately! Chatot put a call out! It's bad, guys, bad!"
"What's bad?" Sandra asked, instantly worried.
"Has something happened?" Dusknoir added, drifting forward.
"Oh boy, something happened! Come on! Hurry!" Bidoof prompted, darting back up the slope toward Treasure Town.
"What do you think is wrong?" Sandra wondered.
"Who knows but it's gotta be big if the guild's calling all of us apprentices in. Let's go, guys!" Carlos barked.
"I shall come with you. Perhaps I can lend a hand," Dusknoir insisted.
"Sure!" Lucar nodded. "Come on. After Bidoof!"
The group of four abandoned the beach, chasing after Bidoof toward the guild.