Chapter 1: I Thought I Knew You
A young Piplup stood by the shabby sink, washing the dishes with Bubbles and Water Guns. There was a faucet, but it had been a long time since they'd used it. It was rusty and browning around the opening. Scrubbing the last of the dirt off the plates, he returned to the table to eat desert, a strange, mushy, dough-like thing. The rest of his family was there: his mother, Rosetta, his little sister, Storm, and his two older twin brothers, Trevor and Toby.
"Can we get an apple, please?" begged Storm. Rosetta sighed and shook her head, trying to soothe the baby Piplup as she burst into tears.
Apples were pricey these days, around $21, too much for their family to spare. They barely had enough to pay their house rent, and were already in debt by hundreds of dollars.
Trevor, a Prinplup, sighed and pushed away his plate, announcing that he was full and that he was leaving for his friend's house. Toby followed, as the two were inseparable. Rosetta was left with her two youngest children. Wearily, she brushed a wing across her son's head, smoothing out the crease.
"Welkin, I suppose you'll be leaving me as well, now." The male Piplup shook his head, devastated at the thought of leaving his mother alone to care for his two insane older brothers and demanding little sister. If he wasn't there to help earn the money, he didn't know who else would. There was even a slight chance that the landlord, Talbot, might even take away their house.
There was a knock on the door.
Speak of the devil he comes, Welkin seethed in his mind. Rosetta gestured to the door.
"Go see what he wants," she suggested softly.
The Piplup opened the door sharply and stood face to knee with the menacing, towering, 798 lbs. Aggron. The giant, metal-plated monster bent down. Welkin could feel his hot, bitter breath fanning his face, smelling like something alcoholic. Beads of sweat were already trickling down his beak because of the humid, rancid stench.
"You gotta move outta dis house," he snarled, another wave of the alcohol hitting Welkin square in the beak. "You ain't got no money to pay rent, and I'm sick o' waiting. I want ya offa my property by nightfall."
Rosetta suddenly began crying, and, annoyed at the lack of attention, Storm began crying as well. Welkin stared at them for a minute, then turned back to Talbot.
"Isn't there something else I can do?" he begged, something he revolted in. The Aggron thought for a moment.
Yep, definitely on a high. Usually, he'd smash me with a rock if I ever tried this.
"Okay. Fine, but ya have ta form a Rescue Team. All da money ya earn goes ta me, an' until ya fully pay off da rent, ya'll keep sendin' me money." Welkin exploded.
"Who am I supposed to do it with? My little sister? My mother?" he screeched, waving his wings wildly. Talbot shrugged, his heavy armor clinking as he said,
"Not my problem." Then, he teetered away on unstable feet, swaying and hiccuping. Welkin turned to his mother, a furious glare plastered on his normally calm face. He sputtered angrily, trying to form words, but his rage overtook them before they could leave his mouth, giving Rosetta a bunch of nonsensical words she could never unscramble if she tried.
Welkin strutted across the beach in an aggravated manner. The waves, which, in a normal situation, would have calmed him down had no effect on him today. He stamped his foot down in irritation, and then again at his childish behavior. The sky began to darken, pinks, golds, and reds streaking across the blue velvet like a banner.
"What to do," he moaned softly. There was a sudden screech. Then, something swooped by and ripped something off his wrist. He nearly screamed.
He dashed after the figure, blinding pushing ahead. The Piplup could see the dark shape swoop into a cave and followed quickly.
There was something behind him, he could hear it, though just barely; a quiet, hovering noise. He whipped around to see a blue-and-white serpent floating around three feet above the ground. It cocked its head inquisitively, tail (or body, or whatever it was) flicking from side to side as it studied all one-and-a-half feet of him.
"You don't happen to know where my locket is, would you?" it asked in a distinctly feminine voice. Numb, Welkin shook his head. He gazed at the female Dratini in wonder. Here was the answer to all his prayers. Just, where exactly did she come from? Dratini certainly weren't the native species around Basil Island.
His thoughts were rudely disrupted by snapping sound and a shriek of terror. The snapping noise had been made by the Dratini cracking her body to allow a weak jolt of blue thunder to escape. Evidently, her aim was right on, and the exact location of the thief had been pinpointed by the squeal. The Dratini glided over, her body twisting as the muscles in her stomach and back pulled her through the air currents. She rummaged around in his sack for a bit, then came out with her golden locket and a green polka-dotted bandanna. She lifted the piece of cloth and said,
"Well, looks like I can return this to whoever it belongs to as well now." Welkin coughed, trying to catch her attention. It worked, and she turned, her scales taking on a pinkish hue. "Sorry, I didn't realize it was yours."
There was a long awkward silence. Then, Welkin turned to leave, dragging the blue serpent with him.
"Wait!" she protested, tugging against his iron hold. "What about him?" She gestured to the winged scorpion who had stolen their items. The Piplup shrugged.
"Dunno." The Dratini was appalled.
"You're just going to leave him there?" she hissed. Welkin nodded. She snorted, lifting her head up haughtily. "That's wrong, though. In ..." Throwing a determined glare at him, she floated back to the Gligar and balanced him on her back. His frame was obviously much bigger than her lithe, slender, serpentine one, and she staggered under the weight.
"Help," she croaked. Welkin contemplated the thought. If he wanted her to help him, then he should at least give her something in return.
Sighing, he nodded. The two managed to lift the purple winged scorpion to the next floor. "I can't do this anymore," he gasped. The Dratini shot him a look that said 'wimp' but said nothing and dropped the heavy load off her shoulders. She looked thoughtful, then said decidedly,
"Fine. We'll leave him here, but with food and supplies." From the short period of time that he knew her, it was obvious that once she made up her mind, there was no use changing it. About as stubborn as a Tauros. Another problem came to mind.
"Where are we supposed to find food and supplies?" he snapped. The Dratini looked at him pointedly. He shrugged and extended his wings to show that he had nothing. The serpentine Pokemon hissed in annoyance.
"You are an IDIOT! Why in the name of Celebi would you come here without being prepared?"
"Well, you aren't either, are you now?" he shot back. The Dratini looked away icily.
"I'm a different story," she muttered. Welkin seethed but didn't press further on the subject. The awkward silence stretched longer before the blue-and-white Pokemon finally broke it. "So we'll split up. Meet back here with food and supplies." Welkin nodded stiffly, still fuming about the previous subject.
You think your life was hard? Try mine. But he never voiced his thoughts. As much as he hated to admit it, there was something intimidating about the serpent.
Basil Cove F3 - Welkin
The Piplup stayed low, trying to keep out of the sight and hearing range of other Pokemon. Once in a while, he'd stumble across some sort of Berry and he'd pick it up and attempt to carry it. Since he hadn't even thought to bring a bag along, the task was even more tedious, since all the fruit had to be held. They diverted his attention from the Cove's Pokemon and left him vulnerable for an attack.
"Stupid Dratini," he growled, picking up another blue Berry. Suddenly, it moved, causing him to fly backward and scatter all the Berries he'd collected. The 'blue Berry' turned and leaped up, revealing a spiral stomach, two large eyes, and a transparent, tadpole-like tail. It screamed,
"Poliiii!" Quickly, Welkin smashed the blue tadpole with a Pound attack. Then, he squirted a line of bubbles at the fallen tadpole. To his horror, it seemed to be healing faster. He shot more and more Bubbles at it in an attempt to blind the Pokemon. The Poliwag just kept regaining health.
Its bruises fully healed now, it glared at him and retaliated with his own Bubble. They splashed in the Piplup's eyes, rendering them temporarily useless.
A weak lightning attack struck the tadpole out of nowhere. As his eyes cleared, he noticed that the Dratini was back, tail/body wrapped around a bundle of Berries.
"Idiot," she snapped, and, sulkily, Welkin admitted it to himself in his mind.
"Thanks," he whispered. The Dratini looked surprised by the gesture of kindness but dipped her head. The two started on their way again, depositing the serpent Pokemon's load of supplies beside the unconscious Gligar, hoping to make it out of the cave alive. What they didn't know was that they had accidentally stumbled upon one of the aptly named Mystery Dungeons.
Basil Cove F4
Welkin was suited for the long journey ahead, having been forced to walk five miles to school because they were unable to pay for a school bus. The Dratini, although she didn't complain, wasn't in the same situation. Her speed and grace were rivaled only by a Linoone, but her stamina wasn't as astounding. She often found herself eating the Piplup's dust.
For the fourth time that day, the penguin Pokemon paused to let the Dratini catch up. She didn't show any outward signs of strain, but he knew it was painful.
"We're resting," he announced. The Dratini gave an audible sigh of relief and immediately dropped to the ground in exhaustion. Occasionally, her body would twitch as she tried to get rid of the numbness that came with the exhaustion. Fully rested now, she lifted herself off the ground and was suspended in the air again. Her eyes were brighter and she looked more alive.
The duo were on their way, stuffing Berries in their mouths to help regain energy when a particularly vicious Pokemon attacked.
The Pokemon they'd seen already were Psyduck, Clamperl, Poliwag, Magikarp, Feebas, and Carvahna. The Carvahna in particular was savage, and they were the ones Welkin stayed away from. The Dratini usually fried anyone that came close, but the Carvahna's rough skin prevented full paralysis.
"Stupid things don't die," snarled the serpent in frustration. Welkin snickered quietly, earning him a sharp glare.
From the rocks above, light filtered in. It kept getting more intense until they were at the entrance from which they started. The Dratini stared back down the dark hole in amazement. "We just ended up back here again!" she whispered, eyes widening. Welkin was distracted by the thought of how he'd get her to join. He had three ideas.
The first was to kidnap her.
The second was to blackmail her into doing it.
The final one was to attack her until she promised to do it.
All three required him to pin her down first. He lunged suddenly, hoping to catch her off guard. It was swift and decisive, but somehow, as if she'd read his mind, she leaped aside, her body twisting agilely in shapes that he thought were impossible. Once she'd reached a height where he could no longer reach her, she glared down hatefully at him.
"I thought I knew you. I was wrong."
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