Wow, an update *pokes update*! These are extremely rare for us, you know.

Ether, stop goofing off and apologize to whatever readers we still have left.

Alright. Anyway, we are really sorry for taking so long to update. How long as it been?

Over three months…

Oh… Anyway, we're really sorry. We sort of lost interest for a while, but we're back now. I promise that the next update won't take nearly as long. Really…

Just get on with it.

Disclaimer: We. Own. Nothing. Is this even necessary? Ah, whatever.

Chapter 7: Before the Trip

~Crescent Moon Castle~

"Alright, time to begin our next meeting!" Flare said as she bounded into another room, Aurora following behind her. The two went over to a table in the middle of the room, where a couple other teams waited.

Aurora glanced over the assembled Pokémon and frowned. "Is this it? You four are the only ones who showed up?" True to her question, there were only four other Pokémon, all five stars; an Aggron, Houndoom, Ninjask, and Banette.

The Banette shrugged casually. "Most of them are off on missions or training the lower-ranks. We're the only free ones." She said.

"Seriously, Ebony? I didn't think we were that busy." Flare said.

The Banette, Ebony, shrugged again. "Me neither, but… surprise."

"I wish Cole and Jackie could be here, but I suppose it's too risky at the moment." Flare said. "We'll have to make do with the six of us."

"By the way, how is Telek's condition?" The Houndoom asked.

"Not good, he's still in a terrible state." Aurora answered.

"Do you think he'll recover?" He asked her.

"What do you think?" The Ninjask asked, entering their conversation. "His left lung is all but useless, his heart is in danger of failing due to the residue electricity, and he's lost a lot of blood from his wound. Not even the nurses are healing his body fast enough. He's as good as dead!"

Aurora frowned slightly at the Ninjask's words. "Nygus-"

"No, Nygus is right." Flare interrupted, growing solemn. "It's very unlikely he'll survive."

"It's rather sad, really." The Aggron said. "Telek lost his partner only a few months ago, and now we're losing him, too, after such a short amount of time."

"I know, Cavern. I know." Flare nodded. "But that's why what we're here to discuss is so important. I spoke with the three-stars in charge of watching our prisoner, and they told me that her escape may have been assisted."

The Houndoom gave her a quizzical glance. "Another Nightmare member?"

"It's possible, Embrose, and our best guess at the moment." Flare said. "We're assuming it's a spy for now, so we have to catch him or her before they cause any more problems."

"And how do we plan on doing that?" Nygus asked. "Any ideas?"

"I've got one, if you're willing to hear it." A voice called out.

The six five-stars turned their heads to the doorway, where a Zoroark stood in the entrance. His eyes were closed, but there was a mischievous smirk on his face.

Flare glared at the newcomer. "Zephyr, what are you doing here? This meeting is for five-stars only."

Zephyr's smile only widened, and his eyes remained closed. "Well, considering that there are only six of you and you seem to be stuck for a solution, I decided I'd lend my support."

"Do you have any ideas on who it may be?" Ebony asked, hopeful for any leads.

The Zoroark chuckled quietly. "I've got my theory. What about you, though? Can any of you figure it out?"

"Are you going to give us any hints?" Flare asked sarcastically.

"Sure, I'd be happy to." The four-star grinned. "It's really quite simple. Our spy needs to be able to get around without attracting too much attention, right?"

"Yeah, that's right." Nygus agreed.

"But at the same time, they would need to be able to access most areas of the castle and not draw suspicion while doing so, along with other freedoms, such as, let's say, walking about at night." Zephyr continued.

"One-stars and two-stars are forbidden to be out past midnight, and three-stars need permission from higher members to do so." Cavern said. Everyone there knew this; he was just voicing the information.

"Correct. So, were any three-stars given permission to be out last night?" Zephyr asked.

"Not as far as we're aware, but we may need to ask the rest of the five-stars here later on." Aurora answered.

"Exactly, but until that's confirmed, our guesses are that either one of our three-stars snuck out last night, or-" His eyes opened ever so slightly, revealing bright amber irises as he spoke. "-It's someone higher up."

The Zoroark turned and began to walk away. "There, I believe I've given you enough help for you to figure the rest out. Good luck."

After Zephyr left, the group was quiet for a while before Nygus broke the silence. "I don't trust him."

"I don't either, Nygus, but you have to admit, he brings up a good point." Flare sighed. "So, it's likely a four or five-star, huh?"

"Or a three-star that snuck out, like he suggested." Embrose said. "It's not a far-fetched idea. We haven't had an attack for so long before now that our security has begun to slacken."

"Yeah well, dwelling on the possibilities for too long won't help us. We need an idea!" Nygus yelled.

"Well, obviously the six of us aren't going to come up with something anytime soon." Flare growled, growing impatient. She turned and started walking towards the exit. "Meeting adjourned, we'll come back later when more teams are free and get their thoughts on this. Until then, do your own thing."

Aurora sighed, but said nothing as she followed her partner out. When the two had left, the remaining four Pokémon turned to each other.

"I'm going to get two of the students to help with this and see if they notice anything." Ebony said. She turned to her Ninjask partner. "Nygus, meet me outside near the training grounds."

With that, the Ghost-type faded out of view and her partner flew quickly out of the door, leaving the last team alone. Soon, they left as well.

~Crescent Moon Castle Grounds~

Leon and Draik stepped out onto the castle grounds, the training area where three-stars were battling close by.

"So, we need to find Trey, Ruru, Soru, and Nina, right?" Leon asked.

Draik nodded. "Yeah, that's right. Looks like training's almost over though, so we should just wait until they're done. No point in joining now."

"Yeah, I guess you're- huh?" Leon stopped when he heard an excited voice call out his name. He looked to his right just in time to be bowled over by an overly-emotional Glaceon.

"Leon, I'm so glad you're alright! We were so, so worried when we heard what happened! You got called up by Flare and Aurora, right? How was it?" Gracie asked him in a hurry, and Leon wasn't even sure she had breathed once during her speech.

"I'm fine, Gracie, really." Leon assured the Glaceon. Kita then walked up to Gracie, took a hold of her scarf, and tugged on it, pulling her off of the Buizel.

"How many times have I told you not to tackle Pokémon when you see them?" The Furret scolded her partner.

"Uh… five, seven, possibly eleven times?" Gracie guessed, trying to remember.

Kita looked at her questionably before giving her the answer. "Twelve times."

"Oh." Gracie said, looking somewhat embarrassed. The look quickly gave way to a smile, however, as she turned to face Draik. "So, what happened? We don't know that much, but we did hear something about Right. Where is she?"

"Gone." Draik growled, a dark glare on his face. "She escaped last night."

Gracie and Kita looked shocked, then swapped glances with each other. "Do you think Right's the one who attacked Murtag?" Gracie asked.

"It's possible…" Kita nodded.

Draik's eyes widened at their words. "Wait, what about Murtag?"

Kita gave him a solemn look. "Last night, someone got into Murtag and Lisa's room, attacked Murtag, and took Merty."

"What?" Leon gasped, shocked. "Is he hurt?"

"No, not really, he was only paralyzed." Gracie said, her sadness evident in her tone of voice. "Of course, the physical pain's probably nothing compared to the emotion pain of having his brother pokénapped. He said the attacker was a Pichu…"

Leon nodded, while Draik, who seemed to be in thought, asked, "Where is he now?"

"The infirmary. Like Gracie said, he's not hurt, but better safe than sorry." Kita answered. "Lisa's with him."

"Uh huh, okay." Draik muttered.

"Excuse me, but Gracie, Kita, may I have a word with you two?" A voice asked. A Banette, Ebony, quickly appeared before them. "It's important."

"Okay, sure. What is it?" Gracie asked.

"We have to go some place private first." Nygus said, flying over to hover beside her partner. "We'll tell you when we get there."

"Alright. Hey Leon, Draik, you guys going to see Murtag now?" Kita asked the two three-stars.

"Yeah, we will, but after that we need to find Trey, Ruru, Soru, and Nina. Field Exploration Week's coming up soon." Leon answered.

"Oh yeah, it is, isn't it?" Gracie giggled. "You may see them at the infirmary. Training's almost over, so they may go visit him."

"Okay, we'll keep that in mind." Leon said. "Thanks!"

Gracie smiled brightly. "No problem! See you later!" With that, the two four-stars walked off, following their superiors.

Leon turned to Draik, who was still in thought. "Hey, Draik, you there? Hello, earth to Draik!"

Draik, surprised at being addressed, snapped out of his thoughts instantly. "Huh? Oh yeah, sure. Now come on, we have to go see Murtag, make sure he's okay."

Leon looked at his friend oddly. "What were you thinking about?"

Draik just smirked at the Buizel. "You'll see. Now c'mon, let's go!"

The Charmeleon turned and ran back into the building. His partner, still giving him a curious stare, followed behind.

~Nightmare Castle~

"Yay! Field Exploration Week is coming up in two days! Yay! Yay!" Nyx screamed out loud, half-flying, half-jumping through the halls with glee. Her partner, Fate, was behind her, hopping along at a much slower pace. She wasn't in any rush because the Natu actually looked at what was ahead of her, so she knew the Swablu would be stopping shortly.

True to Fate's prediction, Nyx, not looking where she was going, crashed into the back of something very hard and fell to the ground. When she recovered, she found herself looking up at the face of a very large and scary-looking (at least to Nyx, anyway) Tyranitar. She backed several feet away from the Pokémon.

The Tyranitar glared down at the Swablu as he quickly recognized her. "You! You're that two-star that landed my partner in the infirmary!"

Nyx was shaking like a leaf again by this point. "I'm sorry! Don't eat me- wait, who's your partner, again?"

"The Ambipom you shot with your Legend Attack a few days ago." The larger Pokémon's glare intensified.

Nyx was silent for a moment before it hit her. "Oh yeah, him! …Ahh! I'm sorry! Don't eat me!"

Fate finally caught up to her partner, who was back to cowering in fear again. "We're sorry for injuring your partner without authorization. We'll take whatever punishment you give us for our actions." She told the Tyranitar.

Nyx's eyes widened in fear at the thought of being punished. "Fate! I don't want to be punished. Punishment is bad!"

Fate eyed her friend calmly. "Nyx, we have to take responsibility for our actions."

"Those scary Pichus never do." Nyx muttered, sounding depressed.

"They're not two-stars who still have to listen to everything the five-stars say." Fate reminded her.

Nyx just sighed loudly. "Fine. Meanie."

The Tyranitar rolled his eyes at the two Pokémon and began looking around. His eyes fell on a certain room, and a vicious smile crossed his face. He turned back to the two-stars and said, "You see that room down at the end of the hall? Go clean it, then I'll put this behind us."

Nyx, looking past the Tyranitar at the room in question, gasped loudly. "But that's Right and Left's room!" She practically shrieked.

"So? They'll be leaving in two days anyway. You'll have plenty of time to clean afterwards." The Tyranitar said, chuckling darkly. Walking away from the two, he called out "Good luck," before disappearing around the corner.

"Ahh! See what you did, Fate!" Nyx yelled at her partner. "Now we're going to die!"

"Calm down. It's not that bad." Fate replied. "They'll be gone for Field Exploration Week in just two days. We can clean a room within a week."

"But they'll know someone was in their room when they get back!" Nyx cried.

"True, but they won't know it was us." Fate reminded her.

"Oh yeah. But they'll find out someway! I know they will! They're scary like that!" Nyx panicked.

"I promise that nothing will happen to you. If worst comes to worst, I'll just teleport us out. Okay?" Fate said.

"You promise?" Nyx asked.

"I promise." The Natu confirmed. "Feel better now?"

"I suppose so. I just wish we didn't have to miss Field Exploration Week for this." Nyx sighed.

"Nyx, you do realize that as two-stars, we don't leave for Field Exploration Week until after the three-stars come back, right?" Fate asked.

The Swablu was silent for a long while for exclaiming loudly, "Ah, pecha berries!"

Fate just closed her eyes and sighed before teleporting the two away.

~Author's Note~

Yeah, yeah, the long wait and you get this short chapter that's probably not long enough to make up for the wait. Deal with it.

We're kind of lacking on Crescent Moon five-stars that we want to use, aren't we?

I suppose so.

Yeah, we're not sure which story will be updated next. Probably whichever one we get inspiration for. Please don't flame us over how long this took, though…

Just say goodbye already.

Okay. Bye…