Author's Note: Trying something new by putting these notes before the story. Could end up putting them at the end, I'll see how it goes.

Thanks to EmpoleonDream for the beta and to anyone reading this.

Aimée

A story based on the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Series.

Prologue

Le commencement

The cave's crest hung heavy behind them, seeming to seal the entrance to the hidden dungeon-like abode they had discovered. Within the cave, where the light could not softly bless the ground, it was cold. There was no light, save for that which was trapped outside, unable to provide its healing warmth, and that of the harsh, mechanical torch whose brightness flickered changeably from one state to the next. With no light and no warmth, the cave began to resemble, more and more, the mouth of a monster.

Droplets of water dripped delicately from the ceiling, disturbed by the many chattering creatures that hung from it. The rocks around the cave were perfectly smooth and rounded, so much so that it seemed to be an unnatural phenomenon. The further they moved into the cave, the further they were plunged into darkness, with the dank floor posing an increased danger to their safety. The path they followed became steeper and steeper as they descended into some sort of pit, a pit in which the torch's light was dwarfed.

"I don't like this."

Sharply, the human turned around with a distinctively unique expression on its face. Mouth curved slightly into a subtly smug smile, one eyebrow was raised as though questioning something and the other sunk, as though upset by something. Their eyes glistened with a playful, adventurous nature and their entire body burned with youthful energy. It was noticeably the sort of person that sought out mysteries, sought out danger and always came out the better for it. Though, this time, the winds of fate were blowing against them.

"Oh, come on," she snapped, her voice echoing around the cave powerfully, "You never like wandering around dank, dark, smelly caves."

The human turned back around to focus on where they were walking and what, if any, threat lay before them. A shoulder length mop of brown hair was tied neatly into a ponytail which flopped from side to side as she moved forwards. Upon her back was a rucksack of offensive and geometric proportions which contained within every supply that could ever be needed for wandering and ambling through caves in which, very probably, horrible things lived. As such, the rucksack had very little in the way of character besides its battered brown leather skin.

"Well if you stopped taking us to dank, dark, smelly caves and getting us into trouble," came the response, "Perhaps I wouldn't hate them so much."

Pausing, the human turned around again and approached her partner. Her battered, barely blue jeans, which had begun to turn a mistreated colour of grey, had so many pockets that a pickpocket would carry the expression of a child in a sweet store upon seeing her. Her belt, obscured by an oversized charcoal hoody, carried a three, virtually unnoticeable, balls of red and white. Her charcoal hoody had been several sizes too big for several years, but the girl had grown quite attached to it and so ended up having to safety-pin the sleeves up to elbow height just so she could move her arms in what would be regarded as a normal way. Despite always wearing the jacket, beneath it, a white t-shirt could be seen in all of its clean glory.

"You need to clean those jeans at some point." observed her partner.

"I know," she replied, "Look, this cave is said to have a legendary pokémon inside. Aside from that, it's a convenient shortcut to get to the dock on the other side of the island."

"Which is?"

"I don't know, I haven't actually checked."

"So how do you know we're even going the right way!?!" exclaimed the partner, "Why would they have two docks on this god-forsaken island anyway? It took you a full two hours as it was to convince that sailor to give us a lift over here."

"Just, trust me," she requested, her sky-blue eyes glistening with an honesty that was impossible to refuse, "Okay?"

Grumbling, her partner nodded its head. Smiling, her human friend turned forward once more and began to trek through the darkness of the cave. A sudden, freezing wind shot through the cave, whistling and whispering, whispering and whistling. Shivers engulfed the pair of trepid explorers and they stopped walking, taking the time to observe the suddenly foreboding area. Closing the gap between them, they huddled closer to each other for warmth and protection.

"I don't suppose that could just be the wind?" asked the partner.

"I don't think we should stop moving," advised the young girl, who, by her youthful, not-yet-grown-into face, was little over seventeen years old, "We should carry on. How do you feel about a little bit of jogging?"

The two began to jog along the cave, only to find that, rather than running towards an exit engulfed in light, they simply progressed deeper into darkness, the torch rapidly finding itself useless against the blackness. The pounds of their feet against the damp cave floor echoed around the full length of the never-ending tunnel. Droplets of water continued to fall, seeming to do so with greater urgency as the two victims hastened towards the obscured ending.

Suddenly, the torch flickered out and died. The battery had failed on them and they were now running blind towards an exit they weren't even sure existed. They weren't even sure what great terrifying thing they were running away from but, to them, it was of little consequence. The wind died down, ceasing to even whistle once, and they came to a slow stop, breathing heavily and loudly: panting and gulping down the air as though it were the most sacred, valuable life source on the planet.

Hands on knees, the human straightened herself and tried to peer into the darkness. She cursed her vision, which, for all the ability of her optician, just wouldn't see beyond the edge of her glasses. She even tried taking her glasses off, but then found herself plunged into a blurry blackness even more unbearable than the one before. Placing her glasses back on her face she turned to face her partner, whose location she could identify by the panting to her right.

"Can you see anything?" she asked.

"Nothing," came the reply, "You?"

"The glasses aren't helping at all," she replied, "Can't see anything past my nose."

"I'll see if I can…" though being unable to see her partner, the human was convinced that their eyes were closed and that they were opening their senses to the cave to see if there were any threats. A sudden, sharp, invisible movement caused concern within the human who took a step forward and placed a hand on the soft, moist skin of herr partner.

"What is it?" she asked.

"Sssh!" snapped the partner suddenly. Both of their muscles were tense and from them, a feeling of apprehension and fear flooded. Their skin had turned cold and the wind returned with vengeance as it cascaded through the cave with the strength of a tank. The duo planted their legs deep into the soggy earth below, fighting to stay together despite the wind's suddenly awesome power. The wind, for all of its strength, quickly died down.

"What was that?" queried the human.

"Wind, duh."

"I know that," retorted the girl, offended, "What I meant was, 'what was with you'? You're all tensed up. Is there something nearby?"

"I thought so, but the only other life forms I can detect are the zubats and golbats."

"No gligars?" she questioned, "Odd."

"How so?"

"I got reports saying this cave was inhabited mostly by gangs of gligars," she explained, "I guess my sources got it wrong. Shall we get moving again? I'm not sure how long we've been in here and it could be dark outside."

"Sure," replied the partner, taking a step forwards before stopping suddenly after an acute, whirring sound penetrated their ears, "Did you hear that?"

"Hear what?"

Whirr…

"That!" exclaimed her partner, "That just then, that whirring sound!"

"Yeah, that's odd," she stated, "I wonder what it could –"

Suddenly, the ground below them disappeared and they were plunged into a pit. Above them, their entrance sealed up. The walls were slippery and coated with a thick, damp liquid that prevented them gaining any grip with which to escape. Fearing of a pit of spikes, poison or ravenous pokémon of some kind, they cried out, yelling throughout their fall. Eventually, they landed into a body of water with a thick plopping sound and swam to the surface for the air they had used up crying out for help.

"Aimee?" asked the partner, looking around the basin of water frantically, "Aimee!?! Aimee, are you okay?"

A figure broke the surface of the water suddenly, spluttering and coughing, gasping for air. It swam over and held onto the more capable swimmer for comfort against the freezing, unfriendly liquid into which it had fallen. Smiling, the girl's partner nodded, reassured that her friend was as safe as could be despite the ordeal they had faced so far.

"I'm fine, you?" asked the young girl, whose name had been identified as Aimee.

"Alive."

"Oh good." exhaled Aimee, relieved.

Closing her eyes, and feeling comforted by Aimee's grip around her neck, she opened up her senses. It took little over five seconds for her to identify a hole in the bottom of the basin. Informing her human friend of this hole, she recieved her consent for the pair to dive into it and follow it wheresoever it happened to end up. This turned out to be a poorly judged and bad decision.

They were quickly caught up in the vortex. Their downwards swimming was violently twisted into them being dragged. Aimee's air was rapidly depleting and her body began to panic, frantically punching at the water as though it would make a difference. Deeply concerned for her friend, Aimee's partner unleashed a sudden burst of energy that allowed them to emerge from the water tunnel before the vortex completely destroyed Aimee's ability to keep her mouth from breathing in water.

Emerging from the end of the tunnel, they flew downwards about five metres before colliding with a shallow lake of water. Whilst her partner had landed safely and survived the fall very well, Aimee had hit the ground with her entire body and the bones screamed out in disagreement. Though grateful for air, five fractured ribs leant her only a burning sensation when she inhaled the reviving element. Helped to her feet by her partner, the two walked onto the hill that banked the shallow puddle.

Sitting up, and holding her sides, Aimee examined the room. It was double the size of a football pitch and the roof was far higher further up the bank than where they had fallen from. There was also, strangely, light. Iridescent, peaceful green light danced as fire atop torches fastened to the wall by ancient screws. The flames flickered delicately, lighting the midnight blue water with a turquoise tinge that took away the apprehensive mysteriousness of it.

The ground upon which they sat was dry and sandy, yet cobbled as though it had been touched and created by the hands of humans many eons ago. The walls, inevitably, were black as night as they dripped with the water from above. Deciding to climb the sandy bank, the pair hoisted themselves upwards, Aimee cried out as she did so, concerned that her ribs could be hiding a far more dangerous injury. The steep sandy bank of the hidden room became a plateau at the top, revealing an altar.

Torches sat fastened to every side of the walls at a precise height with exactly a metre between them. Yet two spears, which, strangely, carried green flames as spikes at the end, hugged the altar. The altar itself was a knee height table upon which only a green crystal sat. Nearing it, Aimee felt a sudden fear engulf her heart and she backed away. Her partner, equally as wary, refused to progress further for fear of angering the unseen force that the pair could both sense.

"Aimee?" asked the Pokémon partner quietly, "What do you think it is?"

"I'm not sure," she replied, "But it doesn't seem too friendly."

"We should leave."

"I totally agree," nodded Aimee before gesturing to the room, "But how the hell do we get out of here?"

You don't.

Frozen in place, the two friends turned to face one another. Fear and deeply seated concern for one another was as clear as a Summer's day upon their faces. Aimee smiled, faking confidence, and placed a warm but shivering hand on the shoulder of her closest friend. Although taking the reassurance, the Pokémon realised, with a disheartening sadness, that this was a situation they might not get out of alive.

"You heard it too then?" asked Aimee, seeking the answer she already knew.

"Yup," replied her friend, "Can't say I wanted to though."

You are two of many to trespass upon this cave system.

"Then I'm sure you won't mind if we just leave, right?"

Silence, human! spat the voice venomously, You are the first to have uncovered my secret abode. You have trespassed where humans are forbidden. This cannot go unpunished. You and your partner shall die together.

"Wait!" begged Aimee, leaping to her feet with careless vigour and disregard the injuries to her ribcage, "Please, just wait, hear us out! We didn't mean to come here!"

I heard you when you entered, heard what you were planning. It was your wish to see me. I shall grant that wish, though it shall be your last, retorted the voice, You shall suffer together.

"Run, Aimee!" screamed the pokémon as the terrific monster appeared from the shadows, "I'll hold it off!"

"There's nowhere to run to!" roared the reply, "Besides, I am never going to leave you!"

Enough of this! I have no interest in your petty ideals. You have disturbed me, threatened the safety of my abode and therefore you must die. This is the Law of the Land, hissed the voice, Do not try to avoid the inevitable. It will only prolong your suffering.

"RUN, AIMEE!" roared the pokémon, "It's charging an attack! RUN!"

"I've already told you!" screamed Aimee, "I am NEVER going to leave you!"

Fighting will only make the end more painful. Please, do not resist.

"WATER, GET OUT OF THE WAY!" yelled Aimee, leaping despite her injuries into the firing line.

"NO! AIMEE!"

Darkness engulfed the room.