Pokemon: The Unknown Continuum

Chapter 1: The Rudest Awakening Ever

"Floyd, oh god Floyd!"

"Floyd, I'm not letting you go! Fact!"

"Just a little longer, it's almost ready!"

"Dammit! It's...NO! FLOYD!"

"I'll find you again, I promise! You here me? Dialgan honesty, I WILL find you again!"

I never wanted this...

To those who may be watching – this is Floyd Munro speaking. That is, if anyone can see me where I am least, which I really don't think is possible right now. Anyway, a lot of things happened in my life over the past year or so that, well, let's just say I wish they never happened. It's just been one bad event after another, where I discovered many things I wished I could just forget about, yet forget them at my peril – there are things beyond conceivable importance I really have to do soon, and I don't expect to succeed at them. Still, this brief moment in time is at least allowing me to reflect upon my past, but past this point, I'll have little idea what will happen – maybe it will turn out for the best, maybe it won't. I don't have complete control over my own fate – I can only apply some influence to what happens to be, and even less to those around me, and it's probably only due to that and sheer luck that I got this far. I really don't have much to lose now, if you come to think of it, all manner of disasters and tragedies...

I'm starting to feel weak now, with...er, what did I just say twenty seconds ago? Mind's going blank...what's that on my body, err...can't tell right now...can't stay awake...and Dialga couldn't help me now...

...I'll see you on the other side, friend...

"Glurgh…." I groaned to myself. I had been drinking quite heavily after the band gig I played at last night, and I most likely passed out from all the drinking, or at least that's the way it seemed. The last thing I remembered was staggering home with my best buddy, Omar. My headache was throbbing, feeling like my brain was throwing punches at the inside of the skull, and my whole body felt it was being pinned in this awkward position that I was lying in. Clutching my head with both my hands, I rolled onto my front as my body protested with violence. I squeezed my eyes shut and face planted on the gritty ground beneath me – gritty ground that most certainly wasn't a carpet or floorboards.

"Wh…what's this…?" I thought out loud to myself. It felt like I could taste sand in my mouth – I must have threw up from all the drink, and due to the strange pains all over my body, I must have said something very wrong to someone. I forced my eyes opened, and saw the reason why it felt like I had sand in my mouth – there actually was. It seems like I was lying in some kind of sand pit, so I must have been dumped here after I was assaulted.

"Ok, I will never drink like that again! I hope nothing got stolen…" I said to myself as I slowly raised my head. Turns out it wasn't just a sand pit, but a rather small beach, or at last I thought it was through my blurry vision. I suddenly jerked fully awake – Portobello Beach?! I was at the South side of Edinburgh where I was in the pubs drinking, not the North! How did I end up here?! I spat out the sand in my mouth and pushed myself to stand on my feet. It took a mammoth effort, but straight after I done that, my the agony in my head spiked, and my vision became a blur of grey, blue and yellow. I stumbled and rested against the cliff edge – except there was no cliff at Portobello! I was a long way from home for sure now, yet I was too tired and in too much pain to physically panic. Mentally, however, I was terrified! Too shattered and exhausted to move any real distances, I had no choice but to stick it out for now.

About an hour passed of trying to deal with my hangover and injuries, but they didn't feel like normal injuries. They were literally all over my body, and it felt more like I took a run through wildfire than being punched and kicked. The beach was spinning slower and slower, and I could begin to make out a few details. There were quite a few rocks on the beach, and while it could just be my vision messing up, I could see some bubbles floating across the sea – very bizarre indeed.

A small while later, I felt healthy enough to move. I walked very slowly across the beach, using the cliff edge like a hand rail to support. Not only was my body in pain, it felt oddly disfigured, which was bewildering, since the pain was slowly subsiding, but the feelings of disfigurement remained. I must have pissed off a pretty powerful drug dealer in a bar or something for me to be beaten up so badly like this and dragged to some unknown place by his goons.

"I wonder if someone is around…." I mumbled. Looking around brought the headache shooting back, so I kept my head level and kept walking very slowly onward, taking each step as carefully as possible to keep my body perfectly balanced to minimize the pain.

"HEY!" I yelled, clutching my head with my left arm. It felt very odd and quite a bit shorter than usual. I couldn't even feel the little hairs on it, and my arm felt like it was shaped a bit differently. "ANYONE HERE?" I continued to yell. Perhaps someone could find me and tell me where I am, because it was very difficult to tell from my situation.

"HELLO?!" I yelled again, and this time, I could have sworn I saw movement in front of me. A strange figure was moving towards me, but the weird thing was, it didn't seem all that human. Matter of fact, It wasn't human at all – it looked like a strange animal of some kind. I focused my eyes on it, and it slowly became clearer – there was no mistaking it. It was a pokemon, a cyndaquil for that matter. I staggered backwards, realising the potential danger. Was I invading its territory? Would it try to burn me? In this state, would I even be fit to run?!

"Don't hurt me, please!" I said at the approaching pokemon. It carried on advancing towards me, fear starting to infect my mind. Clearly I wasn't thinking straight – a domesticated cyndaquil couldn't understand the English language, let alone a wild one! I never even liked pokemon – the creepy things always scared me with their curiosity of people and their rather lethal abilities that made any one of them a potential threat to me, yet society loved the damn things! But just when I was about to turn around and flee out of terror, it did something I did not expect.

"Calm down buddy, I'm not going to hurt you!" It spoke, and seemed to chuckle. I was in awe – this pokemon seemed to have intelligence more along the lines of other human beings rather than other animals and most other pokemon – I guess speaking to it wasn't that ridiculous after all! I remember seeing another pokemon who could speak, but I had no idea when and where I saw this it. It seemed like a false case of déjà vu, so I ignored it.

"You OK?" It asked again. "You seem a bit dazed and lost, can I help at all?" Its speaking unsettled me slightly, but it didn't seem like it had any intentions of harming me.

"N…no." I replied. Speaking to a pokemon like this just felt bewildering. I was aware that many people who worked with pokemon spoke to them, but to me, it seemed daft. Yet, here I was speaking to this cyndaquil. It acted human, so I might as well treat it like one for the time being.

"I'm lost, I have a splitting headache, I feel dull pains all over my body, and it seems like my sanity has been messed around with a bit, for I am having a conversation with a cyndaquil. I sure hope no one slipped some acid in my cider…" The cyndaquil looked at me with curiosity and bewilderment – he clearly had no idea what to make of the situation either. I noticed the cyndaquil was almost the same size as me, but even I knew they were very small compared to humans. Seeing this strange and bizarre incident, I couldn't help but force a smile to at least try and salvage a little positive emotion here.

"…Is that some kind of costume you're wearing, because it's very well made! I genuinely thought you were a cyndaquil for a moment." I said. It make sense – I'm looking at a talking, human-sized cyndaquil. It would make perfect sense if a human was inside a costume talking to me.

"…You're…strange. Are most snivys that odd?" he replied in puzzlement. I spluttered at this remark.

"What snivy are you referring to?" I asked him, feeling a bit frustrated as I looked around to see if there were any snivys about, of which there were non that I could see.

"Aw come on Snivy – you can't possibly be this delusional. I mean, who do you think you are?" It said to me, sounding amused by all this. I grumbled – it was relishing my current predicament, I was sure of it. Raising my hand slowly, I pointed at him to bring his full attention. My arm looked really blurry, unable to focus on closer objects.

"Stop calling me that! My name is Mr Floyd Munro – if you want to continue talking to me then you'd better damn well refer me by my name!" I said, getting a wee bit pissed off at him. Was he calling me a snivy? This confused me to no end.

"I'm just saying…" The cyndaquil said. "You know, I don't think you are OK – you should come with me." He said. He didn't sound like he was mocking me, but I took it the wrong way.

"Look you stupid bastard, I was just asking where I bloody was! I drank too much, and I somehow wound up on this beach, so could you just tell me where I am and leave me be?" I said in a headache-induced rant.

"…Wow, you're a bit of an asshole, you know that? I hope the rest of your kind aren't as rude as you." The cyndaquil said, though he somehow didn't seemed to be all that bothered by what I said. "You're on the beach just south of Treasure Town...er, that didn't look like it meant much to you."

"Sorry, I have a splitting headache, and I am lost and confused, forgive me for my bad attitude." I said apologetically. I could see that he wasn't trying to annoy me now, and I really shouldn't be antagonizing the only one who could be a guide of some kind to me. "By the way, why on earth do you keep calling me Snivy? I'm a human being you silly man!"

"Well…that's obvious, isn't it Floyd." He said gesturing to my body. "I mean, you certainly look like one, and nothing like a human, not that they have ever been seen around these parts. They're just legends themselves from another world, whatever that is. You sure you're not a bit delusional?" He looked quite concerned.

"I'm sorry buddy, but YOU are the delusional one!" I said arrogantly to him. "But I'll humour you – I will look into the rock pool over here..." I said and started walking over to it. "And I will see my beautiful, human face…" I said, and stood by the small pool. In spite of the cyndaquil's words, nothing could have prepared me for what I saw next.

"And I will see a nice looking...HOLYFUCKBULLSHIT! WAAARRGGHHH!" I screamed when I looked at my reflection and fell backwards in shock, breathing very heavily our of complete horror – either my eyes pulled an extremely cruel joke on me or it was...

"Man, what happened to you?" The cyndaquil said behind me, obviously trying to hide a chuckle. Hyperventilating, I slowly got to my feet and had a very slowly looked at the pool again. I stared at it for five seconds, before screeching very loudly, looking right at myself. I was covered in shades of green, had gigantic eyes, and a highly elongated nose, with some kind of leaf flopping on my head that seemed attached to it. All traces of my hair on my head and face were all gone as I clasped my hands over my very large nose. They were green, three fingered and not remotely human. There was no point denying it now, I was a snivy, exactly as he said.

"No, no, NO!" I yelled, panic surging across every single nerve fibre in my body. "THIS ISN'T REAL!" I said, moving seemingly randomly in shock in panic – I found the pokemon scary enough as it was, and now I WAS one! Regardless of outcome now, this quite possibly had to be the worst day of my life!

"THIS ISN'T FUCKING REAL! NO! My...my body! My own self! I...I loved it..." I then pointed at the cyndaquil with an accusing finger, scowling angrily and approaching him until my hand almost brushed his nose that would give mine a run for it's money in terms of size.

"You CUNT! You did this to me, didn't you, just so you could see my reaction!" I yelled at the stunned cyndaquil.

"No, of course not, I just found you li…" He said before I cut in again.

"Stop talking shit! You WILL help me get home, and this body – ugh, I want it back to the way it was! You will help me get back to my human self again as well, got it?!" I said, looking down at the rest of my body – it was a disgusting sight, seeing myself as a pokemon.

"Wait…so let me recap…" The cyndaquil said, looking like he was trying to piece things together. "You passed out, ended up on this beach, and got turned from a human to a pokemon."

"In essence, yes. If you don't believe me, I don't blame you – I'm finding it hard to believe it myself." I said to him, starting to mellow down a bit. Sitting on a rock I sighed and looked upwards into the dimming sky, seeing the gradient of colour from the dark east to the brighter west. "By the way, do you have a name? I don't want to just refer to you by your species."

"That would be Serge, but most people prefer to call each other by our species name unless they know them very well. Oh, and while I don't think you're lying, I am finding this whole story of yours very hard to believe. Humans are considered mythological entities in these parts – some people believe they only exist in another world, and there's certainly been no reports of humans becoming pokemon." This unsettled me even further, sending the panic that once briefly subsided back with a vengeance.

"So, Serge, you're trying to say I went to a completely different world?!" I said, looking extremely fearful. "So, not only do I have no idea where I am, it could also be the case I ended up in a completely different world, and I got turned into a pokemon as well!" I then ran to the part of the beach where the waves just touched my feet and held my arms in the air as I dropped to my knees in despair.

"Is this some kind of sick cosmic joke?! Arceus, Palkia, Giratina?! You got me good! You win! Now just send me home..." Dialga would never approve of such a thing – he actually had a good sense of right and wrong unlike the lies the other three gods spewed to mankind. To make matters worse, I don't think there'd be a fellow Dialgan to confer with here, or at least that I guessed about this place, wherever it was. In hindsight, I probably looked ridiculous to Serge, but stress and fear was currently overriding any feelings of potential embarrassment.

"…I'm sorry Floyd, I don't know how to respond to that. Tell you what, I'll stay with you for a day or two, and see how you feel afterwards." He said, sounding a bit sympathetic, but most likely thinking my sanity was lost, rather the believing my predicament.

"Y…yea, I'd like that." I said and looked around sadly. "Thank you for staying with me like this, and sorry for going a bit, well, loopy at you. It's not your fault I ended up like this, you didn't deserve me screaming and hollering at you. I don't see how this horrible incident happened though – perhaps someone or some pokemon with some crafty powers did this to me when I passed out drunk. Perhaps it was because on of the deities hated me, as I mentioned later in my panic-ridden rant." I bowed my head in sorrow, and the leaf fell in front of my head. I grabbed it and it was indeed attached to my head, hanging there being very narrow and pointy at the end.

"Well, at least they remembered to keep my hair with me in some sort of form, if that's not scraping at the bottom of the barrel too much." I said, giving a very hollow, half-hearted laugh. It looked like Serge was in deep thought, hopefully trying to console me in some way.

"Nope, I can't think of anything remotely this strange happening, sorry. I mean, unexpected discoveries happen all the time, but this...if you're spot on accurate, has to be the strangest thing! Humans have apparently only appeared here once, and that was over a hundred years ago, according to old folks tales and legends and whatnot."

"Gee, that's polite. The strangest thing indeed..." I said bitterly.

"Nonono, that not what I meant at all – I didn't saying that you coming here was a bad thing. Well, to you it obviously is, and that's totally understandable. As for myself, I'm not doing too good either – I got laid off, and I'm unemployed, and I'm having trouble chasing the career of my dreams." Serge said, sounding a bit down.

"Gee, that's a pressing issue." I said sarcastically before back-pedalling on what I just said. I did want this native to help me after all, and antagonizing him wasn't going to help the chances of that happening at all. "Sorry, that came out badly, I'll try again – What is this career of your…wait, you pokemon have jobs?! Have you built civilizations?!" I said in wonder.

"Yes we do – do they not in your world? Anyhow, I've always wanted to be an explorer, but I don't have the skills yet, so I want to be trained at The Wigglytuff Guild, and eventually go independent." Serge seemed quite passionate about this. "You see, being a shop assistant was so very boring, and really, I only moved here to become an explorer." He brought what seemed like a strange rock with strange, yet somehow familiar markings on it.

"You see this? I found it when I was sixteen. I'm nineteen now, and ever since then, it really brought those childhood dreams of becoming a great explorer to the foreground! I remember this floaty green being that seemed to usher me towards a tree stump when I was taking a walk through the woods nearby Chaud Town during an evening, and I found little thing right here as soon as it left. I guess part of the reason for wanting to become an explorer is this – this must have been put there on purpose, and maybe even specifically for me. It's been bugging me ever since, and I have to find out more about this rock here – no, it's more than a rock – I'm convinced it's some sort of fragment left from some ancient ruins or relics." Serge finished his story, which to be honest, I didn't really care about, but this was about getting home! I had to at least try to feign interest to get him on my side.

"Fascinating...I really wish I could help you with that, but I've no idea about that...symbol..." I said slowly, looking at Serge's rock and inspecting the symbol on it carefully. Perhaps it was from some ancient pokemon civilization or something like that, or from some foreign one. I'm sure it wasn't from a local modern one, as surely Serge would have found out its origins by now.

"…Anyway, I really don't know what to do now. I mean, I have no clue how I got here, and no clue how to get back to my home world. Still can't believe I'm a fucking pokemon…" I said miserably. "Anyway, I wish you luck on your future as an explorer. Of course, I will accept your offer to stay with you for a bit, since there must be some pokemon out there who knows about what happened to me. I was pretty demanding earlier, but if you can at least point me in the right direction, I'd be exceedingly grateful towards you."

"Indeed so Floyd, perhaps someone in the guild can-yeeeargh!" He said, as I saw two pokemon smash him from behind – a koffing and zubat, both hovering and flying in the same spot respectively with mischievous intent.

"Now, now, what was that for?! Serge and I were having a nice conversation, and you just recklessly crashed into him like that?! Watch where you're going next time!" I said to them both and helped Serge up. "I would apologize if I were you – its good manners, but I suppose you've never heard of them." I continued on, my human superiority starting to seep through.

"There it is! Nab it and get out of here!" The zubat screeched as he koffing went forward and picked up a strange looking rock with his mouth before they both fled into a nearby cave.

"…Oh, no! My relic fragment! I can't just let them take it from me!" Serge said, running after them for a few seconds before slowing to a stop.

"But…I can't." He said sadly, looking like he was trying to muster the courage. "Floyd, I could really use some help here." This startled me – I wasn't totally surprised, but on the other hand, I was bewildered. Fighting for someone outside of one of my close friends was never my thing in spite of religious obligations to do for others with righteous duty. I just wasn't that brave or tough, and besides...

"But what can I do?! I've got no idea how to fight as a snivy! I wasn't even good at the whole fighting thing as a human! Can't you just blow fire on them or something?!" I said, my voice becoming a little bit shrill.

"Please, just come with me!" Serge said, thinking to himself. "Look, you don't have to do any fighting, just make sure I get out of the cave safely if things go badly."

"But, I just got here, I just got a new body, and I am hopelessly confused and baffled about this whole scenario! Got way too much on my mind! My friends and family are surely worried sick, and..." I trailed off, putting aside panicky thoughts for more rational ones. "Right, if I do this for you, you will pledge to give me additional support, within reason of course, in this new world and help me get home, got it?! Within reason, like I said..."

"...Deal, just please back me up – it'll be the best for the both of us. Now hurry, let's go!" Serge said, ushering me to follow him.

"Ok, fine, but you will have to protect me if I get attacked – I haven't a scooby on how to defend myself from pokemon, as a pokemon. You should really have built up more courage if you really want to be an explorer Serge! If you can't deal with a couple of run-of-the-mill jerks, how will you deal with exploring the unknown, full of dangers you won't be able to see coming?" I said as we ran together into the fairly small looking cave.

It smelled pretty bad inside, like the stench of a particularly smelly seaside, covered with seaweed. The rock walls that formed the cave's walls and roof were heavily covered in foreign looking lichen and moss, adding to the smell. The crashing waves from the beach echoed hypnotically inside the cave, and little scuttling noises cold be heard occasionally be heard.

"Ugh, this stinks! How big is this damn cave? It feels like the stench itself is making me feel dirty – I'm so getting a shower when I get to your civilization…you pokemon do have showers, right?" I complained to Serge, continuing to whine and moan.

"Nope, this is a tiny cave. Fortunately, it's a dead end, so they can't escape us when we get down there – probably a stupid mistake on their part. Oh and there's a…"

"Serge!" I said to him and pointed dramatically into the cave, and hid behind Serge. "Something moved!" I couldn't quite tell what it was, but I'm pretty sure it was a pokemon, something I didn't want to see. Those that live in the wild were surely far more likely to be hostile.

"Oh, calm down, it's just a shellos." Serge said. "Shouldn't pose a threat…" He said, but the shellos started moving towards us, not looking to happy.

"I think we kind of ran into his house, I don't blame him for being annoyed – can we just go back before it does something nasty?" I said, being a bit worried – I had no idea how I would take a pokemon attack, should I get hit by one.

"Ok, now, let's see…." Serge said, and dodged the incoming bubbles that the shellos shot at him, and ran right at the creature, hitting it with a full-force headlong barge. It fell back, and with a scared look, it fled under a rock. "Ok, that was easy!" He said, looking pleased with himself.

"Well done! I think you'd make a good explorer – you seem to know how to defend yourself just fine, you just need to work up the balls to fight for your artifact thing!" I said and stumbled a bit. "Ugh, kind of awkward walking in this new body, and hopefully I won't stay long enough to get used to it." I said, trying to adjust to my shorter legs and my vastly different body shape. Serge smiled and shook his head.

"Oh, quite complaining, you!" He said, chuckling. "Wait, I hear voices up ahead…" He said and listened in. I could hear them as well – I'm pretty sure it was koffing and zubat.

"Wait, so this is a rare artifact we nabbed Koffing?" The zubat asked him with excitement in his voice as we eavesdropped on them carefully.

"Oh yes – I think this could sell for a few grand! Now, if only we ran the other way instead of this cave..aw well, the cyndaquil looked incompetent, and the snivy completely insane – we shouldn't have any problems getting by them if they are still at the be…"

"Give that back, now!" Serge said, as I cautiously followed him from behind, seeing the two of them "It's not yours, now, hand it over!"

"Let's see…how about…no!" The zubat said, and started laughing hysterically, as if he heard the world's funniest joke. "It's ours now, and you can't do anything about it!"

"Well…" Serge said, trying to muster courage. "Well, I won't let you leave the cave without giving me the relic fragment!" He said, standing in front of the only way out of the cave.

"So, that's how it's going to be?" The koffing said, chuckling a bit. "In that case, well, we'll just have to knock you aside, then we'll leave – this should be nothing more than a mi…."

"Of, for the love of...just give him the fucking rock back! I did not come here through all this bloody lichen and stench to not see Serge get his artifact back – now give it to him!" I said loudly, showing off a lot of bravado that I didn't really have. There was something infuriating about the pair of them – their voices were a high screech and a low, stupid sounding one to Zubat and Koffing respectively. It was exactly like the sort of voice that people would use if they were imitating someone stupid and annoying.

"Ok, have it your way – let's go Zubat!" The Koffing said, and they slowly moved towards us, with caution.

"Oh no…" Serge said, looking a bit worried "What if they're stronger than me?"

"Serge, if you can't have the courage to take them on, then how are you going to have the courage to explore dangerous and unheard of lands? I like you, and I would want to see you doing well as an explorer. You can do this, they're probably just a couple of good who are all talk and no substance." I said, trying to motivate him, which seemed to work. He looked at me and nodded.

"Yeeaarrhhh!" The zubat yelled and charged towards Serge. Serge didn't seem like he was going to get out of the way in time, so I pushed him out of the way of Zubat's attack, and saw him crash clumsily into the wall, and ended up being completely dazed.

"Oh, zubat, you idiot! Well, I'll teach you both a lesson as I choke you with my fumes!" Koffing said, and smoke leaked from his pores. Nice of him to announce the attack for us!

"Serge, use some kind of fiery attack here, and you've practically beat him!" I said to Serge quickly.

"It will be quite a display." Serge responded, and blew flames at him – it didn't seem to be that strong or hot, but when the flames connected with the smog, there was quite a bit explosion that rattled my ears, making me crouch instinctively. Serge staggered back, but Koffing stood no chance, and was immediately sent unconscious.

"And there you go Serge! That wasn't too hard, right? Like I said, just a couple of idiots who didn't know what they were up against, haha! Oh, your wee, uh, ruin piece, it's over there." I said, pointing to it, lying on the floor by itself as Serge went to collect it.

"Good, it's not damaged." Serge said, inspecting it. "Let's head out of this place – I can now see why you were complaining about the smell." We both walked out of the cave, to see that the day was drawing to a close. A rather beautiful sunset was decorating the sea, as the sun started sinking below the horizon, making the sky even more picturesque than the last time I looked.

"Say…Floyd, I was thinking about this recently." Serge said, and I turned to look at him. "I wouldn't have had the courage to stand up to them, and with you there, I think you also allowed me to beat them and reclaim my fragment."

"Even though I didn't actually fight?" I said, giving him a look of curiosity. "It was all on you, you're far braver than I am. Well, you had more motivation at least..."

"Well, in short, I couldn't do it if you weren't there." He said and shrugged. "Besides, it's not exactly something that I want to do alone – matter of fact, it's often advised that you shouldn't explore alone. If one pokemon gets badly injured or knocked out, the other one can help the injured one get to safety. Not to mention the guild have recently started accepting duos into their ranks, instead of pairing up people randomly for assignments." I already knew what Serge was going to ask me, so I just decided to beat him to the punch and get it over with. The answer to him would be an obvious, but a nice 'no'.

"Hey Serge, I appreciate your concerns about exploring and wanting to form a team with me, and I while hate to sound arrogant or selfish, I have my own problems to figure out. I really need to discover how and why I became a pokemon and ended up on this world, and how to get back to my good old life. I'm sorry Serge." I said firmly, although I avoided sounding too mean thankfully. While I stand by my words, I did ultimately feel a wee bit sorry for Serge. He was a nice guy, and I felt a little bit bad for turning him down, but I had no plans to stay in this world for long, and I would be conducting a full-on investigation of what happened tomorrow. Serge looked deep in thought once more.

"Well, Floyd – do you have anywhere to stay? Or any starting point on how to figure out how to get back?" Serge asked me.

"No…." I said sadly. He was right – I mean, I can investigate all I like, but if the locals of the civilization can't help me, then I would be at a total loss.

"I was thinking…if in this guild we go exploring, we can travel across distant lands and unknown territory." Serge said, looking enthusiastic about this.

"I'm not following this." I said forcefully. "Explain why throwing myself into lethal danger on a frequent basis could possibly help me. I mean, I hate being a pokemon, but it's better than dying."

"I was just getting to that." Serge said, and continued calmly. "Well, what if we end up making a discovery on these explorations that could help get you home? I mean, it's very possible that on one of our explorations, we find information on how to get you home. It's unknown territory, and the answer will be in this world one way or another…I'd say it's your best shot."

"Fine!" I said, grumbling. It felt like a psychological defeat, but he was right – it was the best chance of me going home, and among the discoveries that the guild makes, I can quite possibly find my answers that way. A discovery that answers my questions could be right around the corner! "I can't exactly refute your logic, though where are we going to stay? I am not sleeping rough like a common pokemon! I am civilized you know!"

"Don't worry, we'll be staying at The Wigglytuff Guild, should we get accepted as apprentices. They'll also provide food and the like, so you don't have to worry about that either." Serge continued to explain of what to expect of the guild.

"Wait, that sounds not too different from joining the army. It seems to be based around getting in danger to protect people staying in the barracks, er, guild, and you get fed there. I never liked the thought of joining the army, or anything like that…but it's my only real option. I'm in. I just hope you're happy that you talked me into it." Serge looked very pleased.

"I can't begin to describe how grateful I am for this! I feel as though I will achieve far greater things when you're with me to support me and the like." Serge said, smiling broadly. I could tell he was waiting for someone to form an exploration team for a long time, perhaps even before this guild announced that it was opened for duos.

"Keep in mind, Serge, the first opportunity I get a chance to return home to see my family and friends, I will, and I'll have no intentions of ever coming back – understand?" I said, being as blunt as a sledgehammer. Perhaps not the best thing to say, but I think it would be kinder being blunt now, instead of giving very subtle hints about my strong desire to return home, and suddenly leave him in his time of need. Serge's smile faded very slightly.

"Of course." He said and nodded "Now…" he said and sat down on the sandy beach, and I sat on a rock next to him. "I think they require a team name for duos for easier referencing."

"Team Conviction." I said on a whim without really thinking about it much, but after a few seconds of Serge looking at me oddly, thinking I was referring to criminals most likely, I came up with a explanation. "Well, I mean, we really have to have real big convictions if we are to follow through with this – I strongly believe that if I am to get home again, this will be the starting point, and the belief that there is a way home for me and that I can make it there – that conviction will never falter. I need to see my people back home, and they probably need to see me again as well. I got in here, I can surely get out – I trust your conviction to become a top of the class, rich and famous explorer is also there?"

"You know what, I think I like that too Floyd." Serge said, looking at his ruin fragment or whatever the damn thing was called. "This has been nagging me for too long now, and I'd say with you, it's about time I really did something about it." A bunch of krabbies had started blowing bubbles on the beach, thankfully leaving us alone. It made the setting sun look incredibly pretty, but why they were doing that, I had no idea. Some kind of mating ritual probably, as they didn't seem to be quite attentive as Serge was.

"Well, we might as well face up to joining the guild Floyd – let's head and make Team Conviction a reality, eh?" Serge said and started walking towards town, with me just behind him. Indeed, I hardly expected things to turn out like this, even after discovering I was a pokemon, but this was at least a start I guess. I could save my whining and moaning for now at least, unless we get turned down from the guild – it sounded a really picky and intimidating place from the way Serge was talking about it, and I was already a bit worried about how they'd receive us.

"Haha, what sort of self-indulgent twat would have the building of his guild literally built in his image?!" I said, looking at the building in front of me. Standing by the side of them were two massive flaming torches that lit up the guild from the side. It was becoming quite necessary, as it was beginning to get dark, and it would probably close for the night soon. The building itself seemed to look like a tent at the bottom half, and at the top half, was built to look like the top half of a wigglytuff. In all honestly, it didn't look at all like an exploration base, let alone one of a high standard, and more like something you'd see in a theme park. I guess getting home wasn't as likely as I expected.

"That's it? It looks like a candy stall at a carnival, and it's tiny! How's that supposed to be the host of a famous guild?! You really think your hopes and dreams of becoming an explorer lies in there?! I'd look elsewhere, seriously." I said, feeling quite dismissive of the owner.

"Don't most people build buildings in their image in the human world?" Serge asked. Of course – it was an entirely different culture here in this pokemon land, so I could hardly expect them to live by the Scottish culture at all. Perhaps this was considered the norm here, so I might as well warm up to it, because I could be here for a while. The thought of that made me shudder.

"Very rarely…" I said to Serge, pausing for a bit, inspecting the building in front of me. "So…do we knock on the portcullis, or just wait until tomorrow?" I said, pointing to the entrance of the guild.

"We'll get their attention with this buzzer here." He said, walking over to a fairly large red button, yet refusing to push it.

"You think they'll be pissed at us buzzing them so late?"

"Err..." Serge turned around somewhat nervously, resting his hand on the buzzer until he was fully turned around. "Probably, oh...I'm not sure about this actually."

"Oh come on! I mean, just look at the damn place – I highly doubt they'd be that brutal and serious!" I said, being a bit cockier than usual. "And besides, if you don't have the guts to buzz a simple buzzer and take their potential pissed off rants, then I don't know how you'd make it as an explorer. Nothing terrible will happen, they'll just yell at you at the very worst. Just do it man!"

"...Alright then I will!" He said and pushed, making a very faint buzzing sound, that I assumed was louder inside the guild building itself. There was some kind of periscope to my right that I didn't notice before, and I soon figured out that it was used to check people at their front door.

"It's, err...it's am immigrant, Loudred." A young voice heard through the periscope shaft faintly, obviously not having the means or common sense to be able to shut out the noise properly. "An immigrant and a cyndaquil."

"Must have came from thousands of miles away. Go tell him to get lost or something – he's probably just blundering around not knowing what's what here." A deeper and far louder voice said, who didn't seem to be too happy about this. Their voices didn't have particularly defined accents, but like Serge, it seemed to blur between English and French, but I could only guess that the other factor was due to different vocal structures that was distinct to their species. "Well, go tell them that we're not a hotel or a tourist information booth!"

"I already heard you, and we know what this place is." I said out loud, wondering if they could hear us.

"The Wigglytuff Guild only accepts those from the main towns of the land – country dwellers and foreigners are not allowed in at this moment." The deeper voice said, which I assumed was the loudred. I did wonder if using first names was only for referring friends to in private, and mentioning the species name was the formal way in this world – sounds even more like the military than I thought!

"Err, there's not a rule against that, it says here that anyone who is thirteen or over can at least be-" But the softer voice was suddenly cut off my Loudred yelling.

"Hrm, I see, but I want to speak to the cyndaquil." Loudred said loudly as he sounded frustrated – he sounded paranoid as hell to say the least.

"Er, yes?" Serge said, still sounding nervous. I gave him an encouraging tap on his shoulder to try and keep his confidence. "Well, I'll just state our business now."

"If you're a salesman or survey taker, then you can fuck off. It's for your own safety, really – the guildmaster is sick to the teeth of them, and I don't know how much longer before he completely snaps at them." This seemed a little unprofessional of him dropping a curse like that. It was starting to give me even more second thoughts about this.

"No, we're applying to join as a duo as explorers." Serge said, finally breaking the proper news to them.

"Gah, one second..." He said and I heard footsteps that gradually grew fainter, before Diglett piped up again.

"Never mind him, he's had a pretty bad day. Though coming this late? Not cool!" He said to us before a third voice sounded below.

"What's going on here?!" For some reason, I could imagine a talking bird speaking like this – it had quite a similar voice to the school parrot that was in my primary school many years back.

"We have two potential recruits here, but one of them isn't from around here, to say the least." Loudred said. "I wouldn't recommend it Chatot."

"You do not decide who gets in and who doesn't, but I can see where you're coming from...oh, it's a snivy!" Chatot said, sounding a lot older than the other two, almost being as old as my dad! "Look, I agree with you, this is really kind of risky, give me a moment to consider precautions for myself if I am to escort him into the guild."

"Wasn't 'better safe than sorry' one of your important phrases that you taught us?!" Loudred said, clearly not wanting me in at all, but Chatot did sound like that he had a position of power in the guild, maybe second in command or something.

"In moderation, Loudred! You do realise that working with the guild is highly dangerous in its self?! Look, I don't exactly trust him either, but he's not carrying anything alien on him – barely a threat. Besides, they'll probably get turned down, no reason to worry!" What a back handed compliment – I don't think I liked Chatot either, but at least he was remaining professional.

"I'm right here you know!" I called down, but got no response. Loudred continued to protest with Diglett staying very quiet until Chatot eventually snapped.

"Ok, that does it!" He yelled. "I'll check with the guild master – I would agree that it's a risky move, but there has never been an immigrant who has wanted access inside the guild. The guild master will know what to do! It's his guild after all." I waited a few tense moments, until I heard a warm voice speak, that sounded just a little bit crazy somehow.

"Well, I think you are paranoid." It said, sounding very friendly, almost to the point of being creepy "After all, this could be a fantastic move for my guild – who knows what skills he will bring from abroad?"

"Guildmaster, Loudred has a point – how can we know if they are trustworthy?"

"Just let him in, I'll speak to them personally." The warm voice said, presumably belonging to Wigglytuff, but I couldn't decide if he was more friendly or creepy sounding. I'd say it was both, and in equal measures too.

"Fine, but I will keep a close eye on him, and I'm sure Loudred will be happy to do so as well." The bird-like voice said, somewhat smugly. I looked in front and saw the portcullis open up slowly in front of me. "Just until he settles in, and maybe a bit more after that."

Well, it seems like I was about to enter a building with a racist, walking mouth, an paranoid bird, a young teenager who looked sounded like he barely just joined, and a kooky guildmaster. Fucking brilliant. The portcullis soon opened and we were called in by Chatot, and as we soon saw, the guild headquarters were far bigger than it looked. It was all underground by the looks of things as we climbed down together, which was tough with these stubbier limbs.

"Struggling down a ladder? You'll have to by physically more able than that if you want to stay here! Chop chop!" Chatot said, flying past us as we landed on the floor.

We walked inside, and down the ladder together; it wasn't a comfortable experience at all. It seemed far more serious and intimidating than I initially thought with the unfriendly reception we received. I landed on the first basement floor just after Serge, and saw a couple of pokemon talking – a sunflora and a corphish – who looked like they had been working very hard today, and looked exhausted.

"Oh my gosh!" The sunflora said, sounding surprised, but in a happy way. "Are you two applying for the guild?" She seemed to be the first guild member I properly met, excluding Chatot who just flew past us, and she seemed friendly enough – hopefully the majority would be as welcoming as her.

"Yes we are! I'm Serge, and this is Floyd." Serge said, gesturing to me. "We're Team Conviction, according to Floyd here."

"Hey hey! Good to see more recruits coming in!" The corphish said happily, clicking his pincers a few times. "By the way, mid if I have a quick word with Floyd?" He said to Serge politely.

"I guess…" He didn't seem to have lot of confidence in the corphish, and neither was I. I walked over to him anyway, wondering if he wanted something from me, or to give me some passive racial abuse. I then decided to not tell anyone else about my former human status. I already felt out of place as it was, and the last thing I wanted was people thinking I was insane, since I was doubting whether I even convinced Serge.

"Hey Floyd…just to let you know, that a few guild members might not be so…accepting of your current status. Y'know, coming from way overseas and stuff. Especially Loudred – he has had a seething hatred towards immigrants such as yourself. Chatot and Dugtrio are also quite paranoid around them." He said to me, though he didn't show any of that hostility towards me personally.

"As I experienced. Still, I'm picky about who I talk to, so I don't think it'll be a problem."

"Everyone else should be very nice to you. Please to meet you though, and I hope you get in – you seem nice enough." He said and held out his claw, which I promptly shook, and shook Sunflora's hand...leaf as well.

"Come on over Serge!" Corphish said, and we had a brief discussion together. Listening to the sort of stuff that Corphish and Sunflora do was actually quite interesting, but nor was it what I really wanted to do. I felt forced into applying for the guild, due to my circumstances, which didn't make me happy at all. It all sounded so dangerous, being attacked almost daily by less civilized pokemon that acted like common animals. I couldn't bring myself to believe I'd actually die here – I'm not even twenty-one years old yet! My birthday would be in about four month's time – to think I might have to celebrate it with these guys!

"Ahem!" I heard that bird-like voice behind me, which turned out to be Chatot, who Corphish mentioned to me as being the duty manager of the guild. "The Guild master will see you now." He drawled, clearly thinking that we were unworthy of setting foot inside the guild building. I scowled just a little bit, as he escorted us into the Guild master's quarters, receiving a nasty look from Loudred along the way. I shot him a puzzled look back at him, feigning to not know why I wasn't liked by him as we walked slowly into Wigglytuff's room.

Upon seeing Guild Master Wigglytuff, it looked quite difficult to take him seriously – in all honestly, he looked more like a circus performer rather than a top-of-the-range explorer. I was perhaps being a bit judgemental of him, but I just couldn't imagine him going into perilous situation, and coming out on top. In the room was vast amounts of treasure and artifacts and all manner of wealth – maybe he was the real deal after all if he was this rich!

"Welcome friends..." Wigglytuff said, in a loud but friendly showmanship style. "...To the Wigglytuff Guild! I heard you pair wanted to form an exploration team! Makes me very happy!" Wigglytuff continued to say, with an unshaken cheeriness in his voice.

"Er…yes, yes we have – we are Team Conviction." Serge said. Even he seemed to think Wigglytuff was odd as I saw out of the corner of my eye that he had to put effort into keeping a straight face. "We heard that you were looking for more recruits and started to accept duos to consistently work together."

"That we are!" He said happily. "Come now friendly friends, just sign this charter and you'll be an official exploration team of The Wigglytuff Guild!" I thought this was suspiciously easy.

"And there's…no catches or tests?" I said to Wigglytuff. I was never the best at telling what people were thinking, but trying to tell what Wigglytuff was thinking was like trying to punch down a steel wall.

"Not at all! You're work will be starting tomorrow!" He said, and took Serge's signed charter. "Ok, that's it official! YOOM-TAH!" Wigglytuff yelled and jumped in the air, and put the charter in a cabinet, and I started to really wonder if this was some sort of strange joke by him.

"Here is your official Wigglytuff Guild Exploration team starter kit!" He said, and handed us a fairly large box, which I promptly opened. Inside, there were two rucksacks, and I tried on one – it seemed to fit perfectly. A nice surprise really, and the other one seemed to fit Serge – it was almost like as if Wigglytuff specifically selected the rucksacks for us.

"Ok, there's a map here – now I can see this entire shitehole world I landed in." I mumbled, not really thinking too much about what I said, and instantly regretted it for the sake of letting terrible manners slip. Fortunately, only Serge heard, but he didn't seem happy either.

"Shh! Trust me, if they heard you, would not be welcome in this town ever again!" He whispered aggressively to me. "We are here – Treasure Town." Serge said and pointed to it on the map. I picked up the two badges that remained in the bag, which were, like the building, made literally in Wigglytuff's image – narcissistic disorder perhaps?

"What are these for Wigglytuff?" I asked politely, wondering if they served beyond mere trinkets.

"Ah, those signify that you are an official exploration team – going exploring and beating up criminals without one of those isn't legal. Fortunately, I can hand out licences in the form of those badges. Now, let's all be friendly friends!" Wigglytuff said, smiling very broadly.

"Is he high?" I whispered to Serge, trying not to laugh at the hilarious juxtaposition of Wigglytuff acting all friendly while talking about beating up criminals.

"Apparently, he's on a permanent one." He replied to me and chuckled.

"Come now, I will show you to your rooms." Chatot said from behind – he seemed politer and happier than usual, but I was guessing that was just due to being around Wigglytuff. We followed him out of Wigglytuff's 'office' and down a corridor into a room with two neat plies of straws and a window that I could see the moon when I looked out of it. It was hardly flattering, and I missed my bed at home already.

"Ok you two, this will be your room while you work for us." He drawled, sounding quite uninterested. "There is some food left in the mess hall – Croagunk wasn't very hungry, so if you're hungry right now, you can eat Croagunk's meal." I immediately started heading to the mess hall upon hearing this. I was starving, and I can't sleep on an empty stomach. On the way there, I only saw Loudred, unfortunately.

"Damn, standards really are lowering. Snivy, why did you actually join the guild, what are you up to?" He said to me bitterly, which I replied with a smirk.

"Well, unlike your parents, I was given an actual name, and it's Floyd – pleased to meet you." I said, and snickered a bit and walked into the mess hall, where I ate Croagunk's unwanted dinner – It was a lot nicer than I thought it'd be in all honesty. Perhaps pokemon make for being good chefs after all. The mouth-watering steak and vegetables were delicious, and it made me feel just that little more at home here. I relished this, since it would probably end up being one of the few things I would enjoy in this world, but I couldn't help but wonder where the steak came from. Perhaps there are regular animals here as well, that apparently only existed to serve mankind according to the Arceus followers. I really wanted to find out, but was too busy eating to bother asking Serge. One full stomach later, I returned to my room to meet up with Serge, who didn't eat nearly as much.

"Ah, you're back. Good thing they gave us beds, eh?" He said, fairly happily. "They're quite comfy."

"You call those beds?" I said, somewhat bewildered by Serge's lower standards. "Trust me, in the human world, we have proper beds, that I can sleep for over twelve hours a day on! Not just a pile of straw." I said, sounding arrogant once again, but I don't feel that it was misplaced or anything.

"Anyway, something I wanted to ask you – do you genuinely believe I was a human before?" I asked, I wanted to know if Serge was just playing along with me, or actually believed it.

"In all honesty Floyd…I'm finding it very hard to believe that's the case." He said to me, somewhat sadly. "But, you seem rather insistent on it, so for the time being, I will treat you like a human who's recently turned into a pokemon. Besides, a lot of weird stuff happens here, so it's entirely possible, even if it has been unheard of – I mean, who am I to say what's possible and what isn't?" Serge continued to tell me and rolled on his back. "I do wonder what will be in store for our first day of training?"

"Hopefully nothing too dangerous – I mean, taking down criminals would be really satisfying and please my lord Dialga to legally help to carry out justice on a larger scale, but I'd get my ass kicked if I tried it now. Just because we're qualified doesn't mean we're capable right now." I said. I was worried about what would happen tomorrow, and I wasn't trying to hide it.

"Dialga?" Serge said, leading me to believe that this society hasn't even heard of Dialga, and possible even the other gods. I couldn't fault them per se, but religious discussions with other Dialgans, usually my dad, usually gave me moral guidance and comfort, but I'd find none of that there. I paused, looking at Serge, really not sure how to explain him well, but try I did.

"The lord and master who governs and maintains the flow of time itself and hands down moral guidance to us – well, to the human kind it seems. Maybe this civilization is really young, is it Serge?"

"Apparently over a hundred according to historians. And this Dialga guy...I'd really need to see him for myself." Serge said as I tried not to scoff. 'Over a hundred years' still sounded incredibly young to me compared to other civilizations.

"Let's not go down that road." I said before I'd start getting annoyed and dive head first into zealously defending my faith.

"You still seem worried about tomorrow Floyd. Look, I'm sure it'll be just fine – I doubt they'll throw us into the deep end." He said, trying to reassure me.

"I suppose so. Well, I'm going to want all my strength for tomorrow, so I'm going to sleep now...well, that moon shining in our window, and the fact that there's not even single glazing never mind double is going to make it harder for me to sleep, so I might as well try now. Goodnight Serge." I said, and rested on my 'bed' and tried to sleep.

I did notice that ever since I met Serge, he seemed to be hiding his rock from view for whatever reason most of the time – it obviously meant more to him than I thought. There were also two things on my mind as I slowly lost consciousness and fell into a deep sleep. One, how was I considered an immigrant? Were snivys foreign to this land? Yes, that was probably it, and I could just ask Serge to make sure.

The second thing was far more troubling – a very short, but vivid memory of voices. One of them was mine, and I didn't recognize the other. I was yelling at him not to let go in this memory, and he was telling me that he won't, but eventually, he wasn't strong enough as I remember feeling myself get sucked into somewhere. I could remember how things felt and heard, though I couldn't remember what I saw. I remembered myself holding very tightly onto this mystery person's hand, and the strange force that was pulling me in. The scary thing was, it seemed like it was after the post-show drinking I had with my band. I didn't recognize the voice belonging to any of my band members, or anyone that I even remotely knew or recognized. Perhaps he had something to do with this, but I've got no lead on him, so I might as well forget it.

Eventually, I fell into a deep sleep, which was quite an achievement with all the things on my mind, which seemed to make the open window and shining moon obsolete. I would say that this had been one of – no – THE worst day of my life so far, and the grim thing was, that many more bad days would likely come after this, and all I could do was to hang on to what I still had. At least I'm not dead. Never thought Id be saying that for genuine comfort...