Welcome to my sequel. I suggest if you haven't read my novelization already, please do so as I will be making reference to events from there in this story. Reading it will make certain events clearer.

Disclaimer: this story is mostly original to me (something I bet some people have been waiting for). The main characters and many others are my own invention though the pokemon they are, are the property of Nintendo and all of them who made the series. I have no relation to any of the companies. Believe me, for Nintendo: suing me wouldn't be worth any dirt on their shoes.

The cover-art is by Sunshineikimaru from DeviantArt who is quite a talented artist if I do say so myself. She is one of my favorites there.

With that out of the way: Please enjoy this opening bit to my story.

PMD: Life in Flames

Prologue: Decisions, decisions

Elisa was aggraviated. For her, this state of being seemed pretty regular as she seemed to live in a state of aggravation half the time. Several things aggravated her and she had little patience for inconviences. In general though, if her parents were honest, she was typically moody (though she could be nice). They knew the source of her attitude but attempts to confront the issue had ended... badly. Thus, the most her parents could do was teach her to have patience with others.

She and her parents lived in an apartment in Jubilife City, top floor. Her parents worked at Jubilife TV and on occasion, they would need to go out of town. Not that often though.

Elisa had always considered herself mildly pretty. There were plenty of other girls in school that she figured were plenty more attractive than herself but appearance wasn't something that particularly worried her and she kept herself clean and presentable under most circumstances.

Elisa was usually seen wearing a crimson shirt (the latest fashion) and designer blue jeans around town and had a length of thick, dark-red hair (nearly matching her shirt) that seemed to avoid split-ends and other hair-issues on its own. All she had to do was brush it, and it took care of everything else about itself. She always wore her favorite beret, which was a deep black like it had been charred.

Elisa felt her life would be perfectly live-able if it weren't for one thing her parents had done. She had continually thought they had to have it in for her when they took in a stray Riolu from a local professor at the man's request. Okay, so taking it in wasn't so devious but they expected her to take care of the Pokѐmon when they were away. After so many years, they had to know that she did not care about Pokѐmon or what they had to do with anyone's lives, least of all hers. So why was it they had left her to take care of the little… thing, when they had to go to some meeting for the entire day? An entire day with her least favorite form of life. They wouldn't be home again until the next day. Was there not a daycare somewhere in the world?

For starters, the Riolu was always following her about the apartment. It wasn't enough it looked like a bizarre, black and blue, two-legged dog; it had to act like one too. Whenever Elisa tried to ignore it (this, she considered a mercy to it) she would get the weirdest feelings and would end up looking at the freaky animal.

Must be one of those common abilities you see in these Pokѐmon…

So ignoring it was forcibly prevented by the animal itself somehow.

It seemed to want something from her every now and then but she never had any idea what. This was another thing she disliked about Pokѐmon: they wanted stuff and they often couldn't make it clear to you what without hurting you. She usually tried food but it tossed the food aside and continued its demands, which did not help Elisa's mood toward it.

After some hours of dealing with this, she finally stormed out of the building, fed up with trying to cope with it.

She was greeted by the sight of a local stray Growlithe inspecting one of the bushes planted in front of the apartment. It was only too clear what it was thinking.

"Shoo, mutt!" She hissed at it and, being shy towards human beings, it yipped before running away.

She visited the local store, checking out the selection of snacks for people. Afterwards, she went for a walk around town, chatting with friends and enjoying herself.

However, evening rolled around and she knew she'd have to go back home sooner or later. The blue doggy awaited…

She returned to the apartment and wasn't surprised to find the Riolu looking to her for something yet again. Oddly, it didn't seem angry with her, rather it seemed sad (though Elisa wasn't sure how she'd determined that from its face).

Well boo-hoo… look to someone else for sympathy. Elisa thought miserably. She felt she wouldn't mind the company there (the old saying about misery after all…)

She noticed it had eaten one or two items of food that it had tossed aside previously.

When it pestered her for a complete hour straight, the teenager decided then, enough was enough. Her patience was spent.

She took it by the paw and led it outside. She then slammed the door on the Riolu, leaving it outside the building and headed back to her apartment room.

I'll let back in tomorrow… I've had enough of it today. It's had something to eat so I'm sure it won't starve.

She spent the remainder of the evening looking through her favorite fashion magazines for anything she might ask her parents about when they got back. She then went to bed.

o0o

That night, Elisa found herself experiencing an odd dream. She seemed to be in a wood-paneled hallway of her apartment building, lined with doors at regular intervals. She walked down the hallway, which was dark as all the lights were off, there were no light-switches she could see, and there were no windows to be seen either, yet somehow, she could see in the dull gloom. She found the hall seemed endless as she walked several feet and still saw no sign of an end to the hallway; not even a turn, just doors. She tried a door every now and then, finding them to be locked. This wasn't to say they were all locked, but many of them just didn't look interesting to Elisa and so she passed them. Others seemed to suggest a room that Elisa wouldn't care to visit so she avoided them as well. They all looked alike, but just looking at them, Elisa got the odd feeling of what awaited on the other side. She couldn't explain it.

After some unknown amount of time, she started to notice she was feeling rather warm and things were getting hotter. It wasn't long before she was sweating and she started to jog down the hallway, now hoping to find a door that might suggest a colder room. However, it seemed that the doors had decided to stop appearing and now she was half-running down a straightaway with no branching paths.

Oh c'mon… she muttered in her head Where are all the doors now?

Then she glanced back, hoping to check one of the previous doors... to find a dead-end directly behind her. No way to go but forward.

Things continued to get hotter and Elisa was finding it so hot she was having difficulty breathing. Fire started to pop up on the sides of the hall, embracing the wood paneling. She began to forget she was dreaming.

No wonder it's so hot if the building's caught fire! Where's the exit?

As if to answer her prayers for an exit, what appeared to be the door out of the building appeared and she promptly gripped the handle, hoping it wasn't also locked or she might have to try kicking it down (she was no athlete and was tired just from the run).

The handle turned freely and she wrenched it open, to suddenly be blasted with intense flames from the other side of the door! She screamed and staggered back but the flames seemed to grab her like arms and pull her towards the door.

"Who are you?" A voice spoke. It was a soft voice… one that almost reminded Elisa of her own mother.

"I should be asking that. Who are you?" Elisa responded, trying to wrestle away from the flames and put out the fire licking at her clothes. She didn't even know why she was bothering to talk to anyone when she was on fire. She didn't even notice events seemed to have slowed down while she talked with the unseen speaker.

"No… you do not know yourself. You have given up great potential…and now it will be the end of you."

"What? I'm going to burn to death?" Elisa screamed again as her skin started to char and undeniable pain shot through her every nerve. She tried to remind herself then that this was a dream but it felt so real she couldn't assure herself through this.

"Unless you are willing to embrace those who look to you for the same friendship you extend to your fellow people… you will be doomed…"

"What the heck are you talking about? How about saving me instead of just talking?" Elisa cried.

"You wish to live then?"

"Yes! Anything to avoid burning like this!" Elisa yelled desperately, her lungs choking on the burning air.

"Find me again. You must rely on friends or you will fail. I am she who embodies life and rebirth."

Elisa was then completely swallowed by fire and she blacked out, hearing only one last phrase echo in her head before darkness claimed her.

"Find me…"