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Jerichi 06-07-2013 11:15 PM

The Rehabilitation of Orlando Aquino
Quest Log

Returning to the Viridian Forest after all these years was a bittersweet feeling for Orlando. It was strangely nostalgic, returning to a place where he spent the earliest days of his childhood. His memories were fond, yet fuzzy. Much of his young life was lived among the resurrecting ruins of Olivine, and although he hoped to return to his adopted home one day, now was not the time. For now, he sought his past elsewhere.

Only a few months on the boat and on the wagon, Orlando hadn't exactly lost his sea legs. With only a handful of provisions that he could rustle up, he looked north, towards the mountains he once called home.

But before he could get there, he'd have to figure out where he was.

"Dammit, this damn map is totally useless. We should have been in Viridian hours ago," he grumbled, smacking his PokéGear with his palm.

A buddy of his who ran a small boat to the Seafoam Islands had agreed to give him a ride to the edge of Pallet and to drop him at the edge of the forest en route to Vermillion. He had assumed that he'd be able to make it the rest of the way without a hitch; after all, he was a fairly competent navigator and had lived here before. What he didn't anticipate, however, was the wild growth and inaccuracy of his map, and he quickly found himself turned around. He knew he was close, but the inconsistent and overgrown paths kept screwing with his sense of direction. After an hour of frustration, he slumped against a tree.

"What the hell am I gonna do? I've got maybe two hours until sunset and not a single Pokémon. That's it. I'm done. Over. Doomed."

Head hung low, he barely noticed when his pack was being dragged off, only realizing that it was gone after a grimy spare Poké Ball he had found in the swamp had rolled out and bumped his knee.

"H-hey!" he exclaimed, scrambling after the thief.

He quickly swiped at the strap, tugging the bag back, and noticed the culprit. A spiny little purple lagomorph had his buck teeth firmly clamped on the pack's fabric, clearly looking to get at what's inside.

"Man, let go!" Orlando yanked the bag away, finding little resistance from the Poison Point Pokémon. Instead, the Nidoran simply sat there, staring at him quietly.

Orlando glared at the rabbit for a moment, but he continued to sit and stare, only twitching his nose.

"I guess you don't mean any harm..." Orlando reflected, "I bet you're just hungry."

He reached into his bag, bringing out a small chunk of leftover bread he had stashed from the boat. It was a little stale but he was sure the Nidoran wouldn't mind. He offered it to the Nidoran, who soundlessly accepted, chomping at the crusty roll. Orlando pet the Nidoran's head, careful to avoid the spines.

"What're you doing out by yourself, little guy? I didn't think Nidoran traveled alone." The little rabbit twitched his ears and nuzzled Orlando's palm, "You by yourself, too, huh?"

The Nidoran shifted around, looking a little restless. Without warning, he hopped over to the Pokéball that had escaped his pack, curiously nudging it. Before Orlando could react, the ball popped open, sucking in the little rabbit.
Orlando watched curiously, fully expecting it to burst open again. But, after three shakes, the ball settled, marking Orlando's first (although inadvertent) capture since his childhood. Scratching his head, he picked up the Poké Ball, wiping the dust and dirt on his jeans. He tapped the center button, releasing the Nidoran.

"So you want to go with me, huh? You're rather quick to choose, aren't you? I give you a little bit of stale bread and already you're looking to commit?" The Nidoran looked back unflinchingly. "Well, okay then. I suppose I like that. I'm Orlando."

Orlando knelt down, offering a hand. The little Nidoran sniffed it and nuzzled his palm again.

"I guess you'll need a name, since you clearly can't give your own... How about... Maximilian. Or maybe just Max. Either one." The Nidoran nodded, climbing into his open hand. The new trainer picked up his newfound partner, and the two started north once again, hopefully in the right direction...

Marion Ette 06-11-2013 01:09 AM

Daylight was fading fast from the skies of Kanto, and despite Orlando's warm childhood memories of Viridian City, he could not rely on nostalgia alone to direct him. Orlando had grown quite a bit since those early days when he used to vall the forest home, and the forest apparently had grown as well, so much so that the woodsman finds himself disoriented by overgrown paths and a completely useless, inaccurate map. Fortunately for Orlando, a little thief-turned-companion in the form of a young male Nidoran consents to be Orlando's partner, swayed by a bit of food and a bit of empathy... after all, they were both all alone. At least now, they would be able to travel together, even if it might not necessarily be in the right direction.

As Orlando makes his way through the forest, the rhythmic sound of an axe blade cutting wood draws the young man's attention; a small distance away, it seems as if a rather short, muscular man about Orlando's age is splitting wood, as a taller man with a naturally thin frame sets up a ring of large rocks, presumably for a campfire. The man chopping wood looks up the moment he feels Orlando's gaze on him, and after a moment's appraisal, the man gives Orlando a friendly smile and a wave.

"Good evenin'," the man calls out in a jolly, clear voice as he uses his free hand to wipe the sweat from his brow. Looking for a moment at the map that Orlando has in his hand, the man chuckles a bit. "You lost, friend? Might be able to give you some assistance, iff'n yer lookin' to go anywhere in particular... Or, y'can join us for the evenin' if yer so inclined. We could use the company, right Paul?"

The man chopping firewood turns to the man who is setting up the base of the campfire, who gives Orlando a quick look before nodding his head and returning to his work. "Ain't nothin' wrong with some company," he mutters as he puts the last stone in place.

Jerichi 06-11-2013 10:27 PM

The sound of axe to wood was strangely enticing to Orlando, a sound he hadn't heard in quite a number of years. It definitely attracted his attention, leading him to a campsite in progress in the process of being built by two younger men, who he judged to be about his age.

"Well, lost is one way to put it. I like to call it creative navigation," Orlando joked, "I wouldn't mind some pointers, though. My creativity hasn't exactly been the most efficient method, admittedly.

"I'm Orlando. This right here," he followed, patting the Nidoran's head gently, "is Max. We just met ourselves, in fact.

"It's probably a little late to really do much more traveling," he continued, glancing at the setting sun, "but I wouldn't mind spending the night here, if it meant I don't have to bother with any of that survivalist crap. It's been a while since I've been on land so my fire-making skills are a bit rusty. Aside from that, though, is there anything I can help with?"

Marion Ette 06-19-2013 05:42 PM

The shorter man laughs heartily at Orlando's "creative navigation" joke, while the taller man merely gives an amused half-smirk while he piles the kindling for the fire, sprinkling pine needles over the kindling for tinder. The shorter man offers his hand for Orlando to shake. "A pleasure to meet you, Orlando n' Max! The name's Lockhart, and over there's my brother Paul."

"Step-brother, more like," Paul says, "But we ain't in the business of splittin' hairs."

"Nope, just splittin' wood," Lockhart adds with a laugh. "C'mon and sit down, you two! The fire should be ready soon. By the way, y'all can call me Lock. Everyone does."

Paul strikes a match and lights the tinder, which quickly catches fire. After piling on a bit more kindling, Paul motions for his step-brother to add some logs to the fire while Paul blows on the infant flame to keep it alight. With a bit of time and patience, the two men soon have a nice, warm campfire for everyone to sit around, and just in time; sunset already stretches across the skies of Kanto, painting the earth with its gorgeous pinks, oranges and reds. Paul and Lock admire the sunset for a few moments as it fades into the darkness, before peeling the label off of a few cans of beans, puncturing holes in the tops and proceeding to cook them in the campfire. "Hope y'all like beans, since that's all we got," Lock comments with a smirk. "Say, Orlando... Maybe y'could help us out." His face breaks into a smile. "Know any ghost stories? Lock n' I used t'love tellin' each other stories 'round this fire, but we've plum run out of stories to tell. We ain't creative types like you, har har!" Lock's jolly laughter is as warm as the campfire. "Would be nice if you could tell us a good 'un. It'd be like old times."

"Like old times," Paul repeats wistfully. "Whadda y'say, Orlando?"

Jerichi 07-10-2013 03:59 PM

"Ghost stories, huh?" Orlando asked, taking a seat on a log and slinging his pack in his lap, "Well, I can't say I know many, but there is one I have heard before..." He whipped a flashlight out from his pack, holding it under his chin and flicking it on to cast a shadow over his face.

"It's called The Red Man... Long ago, before the disasters, possibly before any of us were even born, a young trainer took the Kanto League Challenge. He was the best trainer the circuit had ever seen, beating all the Gym Leaders in record time with little effort. His team was said to be made of some of the rarest Pokémon from the region, but his signature Pokémon was a little Pikachu, whose looks and stature hid its fearsome power. On his journey, however, there was always another boy, his childhood friend, always one step ahead. These two were fierce rivals. Their rivalry was so vicious that some claim the boy killed his rival's Raticate in battle, and the ghost of the rat still haunts the S.S. Anne, even today, beached in Vermillion Harbor. The boy's rival managed to beat every Gym right before he did. When the boy finally faced the Elite 4, he found that the champion had been dethroned, and his rival was in his place. They say that the boy, so enraged by his rival's new position, fought him in a brutal battle that brutally injured his rival's Pokémon, outright killing his starter. After the boy's victory, he disappeared into the mountains, never seen from again...

"They say that, on the mountain, you can still hear the ghost of the boy's rival, calling for his trainer. Some say that the boy still lurks there, waiting on the peak for the day when the cold will finally take him. They say that he will take any challengers that will face him, but he is without mercy and will always fight to the death. If you refuse to fight him, he'll chase after you, and kill you outright.

"If you ever find yourself lost on Mt. Silver, look out for a man in a Red hat... If you see him, you better run, because if he or his Pokémon catch you, it's lights out."

With that, he dramatically switched the flashlight off and chuckled.

"It's something my mom used to tell me to keep me off the mountain. I always thought it was scary as a kid, but not so much now.

Marion Ette 07-16-2013 04:34 PM

Orlando takes a seat by the fire, the smell of baked beans tickling his nostrils as the warm flames bathe his body with a cheerful orange light. As the sunset fades to blackness, the eager brothers' request for a ghost story reminds Orlando of a tale recounted to him long ago by his mother. Strategically using his flashlight to illuminate his face in such a way that his eyes are eerily cast in shadow, Orlando's voice takes on an ominous tone as he tells the two woodsmen the tale of the Red Man. As he narrates the story of two young boys whose shared desire to become Pokemon Master turned quickly led to the tragic deaths of one boy's beloved Pokemon and fueled his desire for vengeance, which caused the other boy to retreat into the mountains. It was a tale likely told from necessity by Orlando's mother, as spooky stories like this often acted as better deterrents for young boys than simple commands, and the mountains were no place for a child, haunted or not. Even so, Paul and Lock lean in excitedly as Orlando tells his tale, hanging on every word with childlike, wonder-filled eyes. The pair clap approvingly as Orlando dramatically shuts off his flashlight, grins plastered across both their rugged faces.

"The Red Man's a classic! Paul's Mama used to tell us that one, too, back when we were young n' achin' for adventure. Haven't heard that one in years. Brings back some memories, huh Paul?" Lock remarks with a smile.

"Mama didn't tell it half's well as you did, though. 'Sides, Mama couldn't get 'er voice real low like you can." Paul sighs wistfully, as Lock nods once in agreement.

"You betcha. She was too sweet a lady to conjure demons at the campfire like my Papa could." Lock chortles as he turns back to Orlando. "Then again... Her version had a little twist to it that yours didn't have. Some part about when the moon disappears from the sky er somethin'..." As Lock racks his brain, Paul holds up a thin, bony hand, and straightens his spine into an ominously rigid position. In the campfire light, the lanky young man with his dark, scraggly hair looks downright sinister.

"They say the Red Man never eats or drinks, and that he has no need for food or water. Despite his desperate wish for the mountain air to freeze his lungs, the gravity of his sins keeps him breathing, a monstrous living corpse until the gods see fit to release him from his torment. When the moon disappears from the sky, and the world is pitch black, the Red Man lets his Pokemon travel down the mountain in search for food. The Red Man has his guilty conscience feedin' him. But y'know... Those Pokemon a' his still gotta eat. And they got a nasty appetite." Paul grins. "There ain't a lot of food on the mountain. So they say that ol' Red's companions learned to feed on other Pokemon... and humans." Paul pauses dramatically, letting that thought sink in. "Red can't let his old friends go. They say they kill and cannibalize all who oppose him... but there ain't enough people and Pokemon on that mountain to sustain that team. So every month, when the moon disappears from the sky, his Pokemon travel down the mountain... and they spend the night feasting."

Paul chuckles a bit, as Lock regards his brother curiously. "Say, Paul... Ain't it a new moon tonight?"

"That it is, Lock," Paul responds with a smirk. "That it is..."

Lock sniffs the air a moment, and suddenly turns to the campfire with some urgency in his expression. "Damn, almost forgot 'bout the beans! Hope they ain't burnt," he uses his thick, calloused hands and some sticks to gently remove the beans from the fire, which fortunately have retained their heavenly aroma. "Just in time," he exhales with relief, before carefully prying open the tins and handing two piping hot cans to Orlando and Paul. Apologetically, Lock explains, "We ain't got silverware, Orlando, so you kinda have to eat the beans outta' the can like drinkin' soup. It ain't all that refined, but hey, no one can see us, right?"

As Paul and Lock blow on their beans to cool them, the sight of a rustling bush catches Orlando's eye. As the bush fills with movement, he hears the sound of a little stomach rumbling, and a mournful, almost unearthly cry, as if the creature was not simply hungry, but starving to death... To the men's horror, the cry is distinctly rodentlike. As Paul and Lock turn towards the bush, both seem to be attempting to conceal the slightest bit of fear underneath their manly exteriors.

"Say, Orlando... Er, looks like some varmint's caught the scent of our beans! Heh, wanna see what it is? We'll give you dibs if you wanna catch it!" Lock makes a motion for Orlando to investigate, while Paul nods vigorously in agreement. Looks like these big babies aren't too inclined to see what Pokemon might be in need of their help...

Jerichi 03-16-2014 12:33 PM

Gingerly holding the can of beans as not to burn his fingers, Orlando takes a small sip of the sweet legumes, the sugary sauce lightly burning his tongue. He pulls it away, hissing a little at the pain.

"Whoo, hot," he winces.

He blows on it a little, unintentionally wafting a bit of the steam towards the bushes. There's a squeak in response, something rather rodent-like coming from the bushes. After that story, the two brothers leap at the sound of the cry, but Orlando is unfazed. It does catch the attention of Max, however, whose ears perk up the moment he hears it. The little rabbit is the first to act, hopping over slowly to the source of the sound. The cry, a little fainter, continues, accompanied by some rustling and a growling stomach.

"Something there, Max?" Orlando asks, gently patting the rabbit's head. The Nidoran's nose twitches in response.

"Oh, man up. It sounds like a helpless little 'mon looking for food." Orlando chuckles, "If you guys aren't willing to check it out, I will. Maybe he'll like some beans."

Orlando holds out the bean can towards the bushes, making a gentle clicking noise. "Come on out, it's okay. We'll give you a little something to eat, yeah?"

Marion Ette 03-18-2014 11:35 PM

In contrast to the rather fearful expressions on Paul and Lock's faces, Orlando maintains his composure, reasoning that the rodent-like cry is likely to have a very mundane explanation despite the supernatural story that preceded its arrival at the campsite. Little Max regards the uninvited visitor with great curiosity, which bolsters Orlando's confidence even further. After lightly chiding the two step-brothers for acting like children, Orlando holds his can of beans close to the bush, encouraging the creature inside to have some. A long moment of hesitation and a few muffled cries follow, as if the poor, nervous thing isn't sure whether to risk revealing itself for the sake of some food... Eventually, however, a tiny yellow face with red cheeks emerges from the bush, looking gaunt and tired. The little black nose sniffs the beans, and takes a very cautious nibble before darting back into the bush. The two men are immediately startled by the emergence of the Pikachu's face, letting out a simultaneous gasp and flinching backward.

"It's... it's just like the story," Lock finally says, with Paul nodding in agreement. "But I guess it ain't no demon Pikachu... I ain't heard'a no demon that likes baked beans."

The Pikachu head emerges once again, giving Orlando a deep, meaningful stare before suddenly gobbling up the entire can of beans; hunger seems to have gotten the better of the Pikachu's timidness, and the little creature practically licks the can clean. Once it is finished with its meal, it turns to the Nidoran at Orlando's side. After a moment of consideration, the Pikachu decides to speak.

Pika-pika, pi-pikachuuuu... Pikaa. The creature communicates in a quiet, nervous tone, but Max's gaze seems reassuring. With a nod from Max, the Pikachu fully emerges from the bush, and points in the direction of the dark forest, looking straight up at Orlando. Max also looks up at Orlando expectantly. Both Lock and Paul shake their heads, turning towards the two Pokemon as they speak.

"You lil' critters need to wait until mornin' if yer plannin' on goin' out there... It's dangerous at night." This statement from Lock only makes the Pikachu even more insistent, and it gives Lock a sad, pleading cry. It was enough to make one's heart break in two... but Lock has a point. Going out into the darkness, regardless of what Pikachu wants, could be a dangerous endeavor indeed. Plus, the little Pikachu looks as if it could use some sleep in a safe place.

What will Orlando do?

Jerichi 03-19-2014 08:39 AM

Orlando was conflicted. The poor Pikachu seemed desperate for assistance. But wandering around the forest at night was probably not advisable. It was definitely far more prudent to wait out the night and see what the problem was when it was light out. Even with his reasonable survival skills, Orlando was still not much of a trainer, and defending himself against any malicious Pokémon was probably not going to be an easy task, even with his eager little rabbit at his side.

But Orlando wasn't much of one for prudence.

"I'm just gonna take a look," Orlando replied, grabbing a nearby stick and lighting it in the fire, "If it gets hairy, we'll turn back."

He grabbed a fistful of thick, glossy leaves from the bush nearby, clutching them in his fist to drop them as a marker of the way back.

"We shouldn't be long," Orlando turned to the Pikachu, "You ready to go, buddy?"

Marion Ette 03-20-2014 06:44 PM

Though Orlando is aware of the all too likely possibility of being outmatched by any hostile creatures lurking in the forest due to his relative inexperience, he knows that exercising caution will not soothe the desperate Pikachu's pleas. Using glossy leaves as a method to mark his trail, he assures the brothers that he is only taking a quick look, and that he will turn back the moment that danger rears its ugly head. The two brothers give each other a slightly worried expression, but with a slight nod from Lock, Paul stands up.

"Sorry, but it ain't right lettin' you go alone, kiddo. Lock'll man the fort for us. I've got yer back." Paul gives Orlando a reassuring smile, reaching for his Pokeball. From the red and white device, the silhouette of a rather large ant emerges, gleaming silver in the campfire light. The Durant clicks its jaws, its red eyes focused on Max. It seems to be sizing the Nidoran up.

"Play nice, Bullet," Paul warns, and the Durant looks away. It seems somewhat disappointed. Paul turns to Orlando and nods. "Lead the way."

Orlando, Paul, Max & Bullet carefully follow the Pikachu through the forest, leaving behind a trail of glossy leaves, which Bullet further helps identify by marking them with his distinctive mandibles. Eventually, the Pikachu lets out a cry and darts forward into the underbrush. As Orlando turns in the direction the Pikachu is running, he notices human and Pokemon footprints that seem to be a few days old, which are marked with smears of a dried, brownish substance. Paul looks down and grimaces.

"Somethin' real bad happened here," he comments. No sooner than he finishes his sentence do you hear a horrible cry coming from the underbrush. It sounds like it came from the Pikachu!

What will Orlando do?

Jerichi 03-20-2014 11:52 PM

Orlando's stomach churned as he realized what he was looking at. These tracks may not be fresh, but he had little doubt that whatever foul play was committed here a few days ago had not ended yet. His fears were only confirmed as the Pikachu disappeared into the leaves, only to hear its cry a few moments later. Whoever or whatever it was laid just beyond the bushes, and Orlando needed to act now before the Pikachu found itself in any more trouble. He turned to Paul, speaking in nearly a whisper.

"I'm going after the Pikachu. Max and I will lead," he turned to his Nidoran, now speaking nearly inaudibly, causing Max's ears to instinctively perk. "You come in from down low. You see anything that's not the Pikachu and you give them a Sucker Punch."

Looking back again at Paul, he raised his voice slightly, "You're my backup. Come around from the other side," he instructed, pointing a little to the right of where they were standing, "If you here anything go south, pounce."

Orlando extinguished the stick in the dirt, and turned towards Max again. "Keep your ears up, you're taking the lead now, Max." With that, the two of them followed the sound of Pikachu's cry.

Marion Ette 03-26-2014 07:55 PM

There was no doubt in Orlando's mind that the cause of the bloodied tracks had not finished with its terrible deeds; surely, this must be the work of some kind of monster, though it is not entirely clear whether said monster is a clawed, fanged behemoth or a well-armed human with a twisted heart. Speaking in hushed tones so that the perpetrator cannot detect his presence, Orlando turns to Paul and explains his plan to go after the Pikachu. Paul's expression betrays his reluctance to let his new friend put himself and his trusted Pokemon in danger, but ultimately gives Orlando an understanding nod.

"Bullet n' I have your back," he responds quietly and reassuringly. Bullet's eyes swivel toward the underbrush, his body tensing with eagerness to confront whatever happened to be causing the terrible disturbance. With that bit of support from his new companion, Orlando extinguishes his makeshift torch, and encourages his bunny-like poison type to keep his ears perked for any sign of danger. The quiet, yet brave Nidoran leads the way, cautiously at first. Without the torch, it is difficult to see, though beyond the thicket, the dull gleam of swamp water creeping through the forest. Though the water does not seem very deep at this point, beyond the thin slick appears to be a much deeper concentration of water, spreading beyond Orlando's vision. The presence of the water surprises Orlando and Max, but not near as much as the smell of death that assaults their nostrils. By the water, there appears to be a pile of human bones that are eerily clean, as if the flesh had been consumed; beside it, a yellow backpack with a Pikachu face and tail lies bloodied and partially open with a giant gash across it that appears to have been made by large claws, and it seems like there might be some Pokeballs inside. A disturbing sight, indeed... but there is nothing that can be done for the dead, and judging by yet another terrified yell coming from the water, a member of the living is in dire need of Orlando and Max's help.

In the direction of the shout, both Max and Orlando can easily see the sudden burst of light, as further into the swamp, poor Pikachu attempts to Thundershock what appears to be a small, pink Jellyfish with a tiny crown on her head that is making a clear attempt to drag Pikachu into the water with her. The thundershock certainly seems to have an effect on the princess-like Pokemon, but she refuses to let go of her prey, determined to drag Pikachu into the swamps with her. Oddly, though she continues to drag the poor Pokemon, she does not seem to retaliate against the super effective shock. Max is quick to make his way through the swampy water towards Pikachu; thankfully, the Frillish and Pikachu are still in relatively shallow waters. Though Max is somewhat at a disadvantage considering the arena, his Sucker Punch is brutal enough to force the Frillish to let go of Pikachu for a brief moment, particularly after Pikachu's thundershock weakened it. The frightened rodent Quick Attacks and makes a break for it, and though the move does not seem to have much of an effect on the Pikachu's kidnapper, the electric rodent is able to gain some distance and move closer to Orlando. With big, sad eyes, it scurries toward Orlando and clings to his leg, shivering with cold from the swampy water and from fear.

The pink Pokemon's eerie eyes flare with rage at Max, who permitted her victim to escape. The water type unleashes a flurry of Bubbles, which pop with surprising force against Max's skin, and though he winces in pain, he seems to muscle through it fine, and will be ready and willing to act on Orlando's next order. Orlando can see that, wading in the water on the opposite side of the bushes, Paul and his Durant are watching carefully. It seems like they are trusting Max to handle the Frillish, and are keeping their eyes peeled for larger threats. After all, that Frillish seems unlikely to have caused the bloody scenario spread out on the swamp's edge...

What will Orlando and Max do?

Jerichi 04-07-2014 09:18 PM

The sight of the cleaned bones sickened Orlando even greater. Some poor child had been mauled by some monster and what little remains had been left by their attacker in a makeshift memorial, as if out of some twisted sense of respect for the dead. However, he had little time to reflect on that, as he heard a shout and saw a flash, undoubtedly from Pikachu. As ordered, Max sprung into action, though Orlando feared his orders may have been premature... He was relieved to see that the Pokémon that spooked the poor Electric was nothing more than another young wild. He quickly pulled out a Pokédex, a dusty old model he had received ages ago, and quietly scanned it. The 'dex identified it as a Frillish, barely a threat. However, it was enough to scare the Pikachu once again. Orlando protectively bends down to guard the Pikachu, putting his hand against the soft rodent's head. "It's okay, stay with me," Orlando comforted. Glaring at the tiny tentacled creature, Orlando gave more orders to Max.

"Peck it to weaken its grip, then another Sucker Punch, Max!"

He then turns towards Bullet and Paul, making a slight motion to beckon them a little closer, staying silent as not to reveal their position.

He wasn't sure what was lurking out there, but he needed to deal with this nuisance first...

Schadenfreude 08-31-2014 04:57 AM

Quest: Blood Moon
"Peck it to weaken its grip," you command. "Then another Sucker Punch, Max!"

Nodding, Nidoran leaps into action. He lowers his head and barrels into Frillish, whose eerie eyes bulge with shock. Spinning, Max's horn stabs the ghostly jellyfish, Pecking and striking. As Frillish staggers backwards, she takes a deep breath and hones onto her opponent. Wreathed energy garners, and Frillish discharges another slew of shimmering Bubbles at Nidoran. Max darts and tries to swerve around the watery assault, but Frillish is relentless. The soapy stream follows Max, before lancing his right flank. Choking, Nidoran burrows the surge of pain, trying his best to ignore. While Nidoran catches a moment of reprieve, Frillish swivels around and cast her blank gaze at the exhausted Pikachu. Immediately, Frillish rushes towards the battered Electric-type, extending her arms. Her obsession with drowning the poor Pikachu startles you.

Before Frillish can reach Pikachu, Max jumps back on his feet. Scuttling in front of you and glaring at Frillish, Nidoran lifts one of his paws and swaddles it with a swirl of energy. Dark lights scintillate like fireworks, and the Ghost halts, Suckered and entranced by the luminescent display. Distracted, her eyes fixate on the lights. Max smirks. This is the moment. Quick to exploit this opportunity, Max drives his other paw into the jellyfish's amorphous body. Thrusting, the Punch slams into Frillish, ricocheting her into a nearby tree. The battle is not finished that easily, though. Indeed, Frillish peels herself off the ground and hovers again, seemingly unaffected by the attack. If anything, she seems more powerful than before, unfettered by the injuries that she should have. Her vacant expression transfixes itself on Pikachu again, fuelled by some supernatural preoccupation.

Shouldn't that Frillish be battered by now? What is going on? For some reason, you start to believe that this is no ordinary battle. An unearthly and sinister underbelly underlies this entire situation...

"My dear child, you must figure out the truth behind the illusion. Until then, this ordeal will not end," resonates a clear voice.

When you wheel around, an elderly woman steps out of the mist. Although her body is hunched over a sturdy walking stick, the defiance and resolve in the woman's pale eyes belies her enfeebled age. Crisscrossed wrinkles weave stories of experience on the woman's face, while her shock of grey hair remains pulled into a tight bun. The crimson pleats of her traditional skirt contrast against the long, white sleeves of her gown, which appears to be part of a traditional kimono. Indeed, the incense tags hanging from her waist, along with the rosary beads around her neck, confirms your suspicions that this old woman is traditional medium. Overall, the woman's craggy skin and mysterious demeanour evinces the eldritch nature of her appearance, reminding you of the ancient fairytales that your parents once read to you.

"My name is Marion," says the medium calmly. "The spirits have led me to this clearing. A dark energy permeates this place. Until it is exorcised, a veil between the mortal and spiritual worlds will be tattered, liable to be torn asunder. “

Confused and cautious, you ask the medium to clarify. She knits her brow with concern.

“I sense that a great tragedy has occurred here,” says Marion, massaging her temples. “A great loss… A debt that must be paid. For now, we must weaken that Frillish, but we must pay tribute to the spirits. If you can hold down that Frillish, I will conduct a ritual to ascertain our next step.”

What do you do? Do you trust this medium? Her words don’t appear to be lies, but do you have any choice other than to trust her? Perhaps this Frillish is no ordinary creature, but for now, all you can do is fight to protect Pikachu.

What are your next orders to Nidoran?

Jerichi 09-03-2014 04:07 PM

Something didn't quite add up... This Frillish seemed awfully persistent, more so than your average wild Pokémon. He had some experience with these kinds before, expelling stray Tentacool and Rattata from the boat's lower decks. But this one was transfixed; something was drawing it to that poor, trembling Pikachu like a magnet. It barely seemed like a Pokémon at all...

"My dear child, you must figure out the truth behind the illusion. Until then, this ordeal will not end," spoke a voice, almost as if to confirm his suspicions.

Orlando whipped around to see the source of the almost ethereal voice. This woman, hunched and elderly, looked like a witch from an animated movie, decked out in beads and tags and other supernatural paraphernalia, supporting herself with a hobbling cane and speaking in a wispy voice.

"My name is Marion," she continued, again, seeming to answer his unspoken question. "The spirits have led me to this clearing. A dark energy permeates this place. Until it is exorcised, a veil between the mortal and spiritual worlds will be tattered, liable to be torn asunder. “

"What do you mean? Exorcised?" Orlando asked, more confused than ever. He had some dealing with Ghost Pokémon in the past, but he had found the moniker of "ghost" to be an overblown relic of the spooky stories of the past. This Frillish was strange, but it couldn't be anything other than an irritated Pokémon... right?

“I sense that a great tragedy has occurred here,” the medium continued, hardly clarifying. She looked rather pained, in fact, as if something was pressing down on her head, and began to rub her temples as she continued to explain. “A great loss… A debt that must be paid. For now, we must weaken that Frillish, but we must pay tribute to the spirits. If you can hold down that Frillish, I will conduct a ritual to ascertain our next step.”

At this point, Orlando had little choice in the matter. Whatever that was, it was coming for Pikachu - and for him. If he didn't at least attempt to subdue it, this could end poorly. And if the medium knew how to help, then all the better. For now, all he and Max could do is protect the poor Pikachu from the advancing... thing, whatever it was.

"Max, stay sharp!" he called out, turning back to the battle, "Catch its attention with a Leer, then give it another Sucker Punch!"

Schadenfreude 09-05-2014 10:39 PM

Quest: Blood Moon
"Max, stay sharp!" you command. "Catch its attention with a Leer, then give it another Sucker Punch!"

Maximillian glances back at Frillish, who floats and drifts towards Pikachu again. A petrifying portent permeates the ephemeral jellyfish, as she remains transfixes on Pikachu. Her stare on the shivering Electric-type never breaks, even when Nidoran pulls together his most irate Leer. Obsessed with something else, Frillish pays little attention to Max, stymying his strategy. Instead, Frillish discharges another slew of burgeoning Bubbles at Nidoran, blasting him into a puddle. While Max sputters beside the murky mud, Frillish swivels around. A sinister smile unfurls across her face, when Frillish opens her tentacles towards Pikachu in a distorted facsimile of a familial embrace. The distended ghost careens. Hurtling into Pikachu, she wraps herself around Pikachu, who yelps and clasps her own neck in a vain attempt to breathe. Suffocating, the Electric-type grapples for oxygen.

Alarmed, you burst into action, prying Frillish's cold tendrils as best as you could. Your efforts are abortive, though. The Frillish's chokehold on Pikachu clasps like iron. While Pikachu writhes and chokes, a strange look glazes Frillish's face. A joyous one, mingled with feverish fervour. Something almost familiar... The realisation strikes you like a gong: the expression reminds you of your own, when you first encountered Maximillian. That shoal of safety and intimacy. But why would a Wild Pokémon feel that way towards Pikachu? That aspect of this conundrum still makes little coherence or sense. One piece of the puzzle eludes you, a final piece that would pull the whole story together. What is it, though? What could it be?

"Child, stand back," calls out Marion, withdrawing an incense tag from her sleeve. "Clear out a space. We need to start the ritual now, before the blood moon reaches its apex."

Fumbling backwards, you oblige the old medium. Marion raises the tag and taps her fingers against it. Instantly, the paper scroll ignites and illuminates, dispersing the thin fingers of mist which press against your vision. Shielding her eyes against the sudden fire, Frillish hisses and loosens her grasp on Pikachu, who gasps and collapses. Concern floods you. Despite the prone form, Pikachu heaves with thin, raking breaths. Urgent medical attention would be required. While Pikachu flickers between consciousness and unconsciousness, Maximillian straightens himself out of the mud. He charges at Frillish, coating his horn with a veil of mauve light which entices and Suckers the jellyfish's attention. When the ephemeral creature meanders towards Nidoran, Maxillian smashes his head into Frillish with the force of a freighter. Frillish laments, quivering with more desperation than pain.

Marion starts chanting. A warble of unrecognisable words string in euphony, and you feel the hairs on the back of your neck bristle. The ancient chorus refrains, while its cadence rolls across the fog, as though each syllable flits with fairy-like wings. Even though these incantations hail from a tongue foreign to your own, the primordial lit and accentuation to every vowel exudes familiarity. When Marion raises her voice, Frillish convulses. Screeching, she clutches her head. The withered medium does not relent, though. Indeed, Marion rasps her tone into something more gruff, which exacerbates Frillish's paroxysms. Frillish claws for Pikachu, crying aloud in a raw scream that is almost more human than animal.

Straining with visible effort, Marion addresses you.

"The spell is almost complete," she says, gritting her teeth. "This is definitely no Pokémon. In order to finish, we need to call out the creature's true identity. Reveal it for what it really is, instead of this mortal guise."

How do you respond? What is the true identity of this 'Frillish'?

Jerichi 09-09-2014 09:05 PM

Orlando felt helpless, the most helpless he had been in a while. This Frillish - or whatever it was - just wouldn't let up, and anything he did to attempt to stop it just seemed to egg it on. Max's best efforts proved futile as the ghastly apparition blew him away effortlessly. This let the jelly approach Pikachu unfettered, wrapping her in an almost familiar embrace. Attempting to free her, Orlando pried at its strangling tentacles, but with little success. If anything, it only makes its grip tighter, holding firm as a calm, almost motherly expression crosses its face. It almost seemed as if it cared for this poor Pikachu that it was slowly suffocating... What was this thing...?

"Child, stand back," Marion warns, producing a tag from her clothes, "Clear out a space. We need to start the ritual now, before the blood moon reaches its apex."

Orlando stumbles backwards as Marion begins her incantation, setting the tag ablaze. The light causes Frillish to recoil, dropping her victim in the mud. Max manages to recover at about the same time, charging the ghost for some revenge. Orlando sees Pikachu heaving in the mud, desperately clinging onto shreds of life. She needed help. Orlando needed to do something. But hte Frillish had to be dispatched first.

Marion's incantation began in earnest, the arcane and esoteric words floating through the air wistfully. It was almost like a sweet song, a lullaby, but Frillish clearly didn't think so. The ghost began to cringe and wail, screaming with a voice robbed from the dead. Marion's sweetness melts into a growl, causing the Frillish even more pain as it continues to reach for Pikachu.

"The spell is almost complete," Marion calls, "This is definitely no Pokémon. In order to finish, we need to call out the creature's true identity. Reveal it for what it really is, instead of this mortal guise."

Not a Pokémon... at least not anymore... Orlando thinks, watching it desperately claw for the Pikachu.

"You!" Orlando calls, "Why would you do this to your child?! Why would you make her suffer?! Just because you've lost your life, doesn't mean you should take hers too! Have mercy!"

Schadenfreude 09-11-2014 06:55 AM

Quest: Blood Moon
"You!" Frillish turns around. "Why would you do this to your child?! Why would you make her suffer?! Just because you've lost your life, doesn't mean you should take hers too! Have mercy!"

Frillish does not respond, and for a moment, you wonder if your ploy has worked. And that you've identified Frillish for what she is. Your illusion of hope shatters like glass, though. After a second, the jellyfish starts screaming. A terrible scream that rends the crisp air, reverberating like a string on a rotting violin. And the scream continues going, loudening and resonating with each shrill, supernatural syllable. A harsh cadence rolls over the Frillish's voice, and you are reminded of an human-like wail. Everybody reaches to cover their ears, wincing. As her tentacles splay out in a grotesque facsimile of a crucifixion, Frillish convulses and twitches. Her pupils dilate, and Frillish rises above the ground, creeping through the thin mist. She shudders and belches a seam of Bubbles, which glisten the dark red colour of blood.

When the crimson liquid careens towards you, Maximillian cries out with protective bravery and vaults in front of you. The bubbles burst against Nidoran, eliciting a tremulous whimper, but Maximillian does not capitulate. Indeed, he grits his teeth and pushes his feet down. Pushing past the pain, Maximillian resists the rouge deluge, as he lowers his horn and rams forward. The preternatural water swerves away from Maximillian, and the horn parts the Bubble, sending splurges of red outwards and away from you. And you remain clean and unharmed, despite the Frillish's assaults. The inner dam inside of Nidoran bursts, and emotions reach a crescendo, which amplifies Maxillian's previous experiences and disinters a new pool of power.

BURST: Maximillian has gained a Level! Nidoran is now Lv6!

While Maximillian savours his renewed fortitude, Frillish shrieks the song of a spiteful sprite. The jellyfish gyrates, and her eyes bulge out of their sockets like tumours. Marion recoils, straining and sweating, when the incense tag in her fingers almost falls to the ground. Resounding ancient voices battle against Frillish's screeches, as euphonious incantations clash against the cacophonous screams. When Marion nearly stumbles, you realise that her exorcism spell is verging on breaking. And her skills may not be able restrain Frillish any longer. The Medium breathes heavily, trying to contain herself. Trembling, she turns to you with a gimlet gaze.

"We need to determine Frillish's actual identity," says Marion, wincing. "She's not the Pikachu's mother. If we don't act now, the schism between the mortal and spirit worlds will continue to widen. We need to contain it now."

You don't know what to do. Marion's voice tightens.

"What are the current clues? This Frillish must have emerged here recently. What is the great tragedy that has occurred here?" whispers Marion, lifting another incense tag. "The source of the spiritual rift originates from this mist. Frillish's true identity lies within the fog... within the mist... However, we must hurry to complete the ritual."

How do you respond? What is the true identity of this 'Frillish'?

Jerichi 09-20-2014 10:33 PM

His first guess was a flop. The feeling of helplessness grew even worse. Orlando swallowed. What was this... thing? Time was running short. Maiya was straining to hold it off, as it continued to writhe and screech and spit bloody bubbles. He tried to remember what he had just seen before chasing Pikachu into the swamp...

"That's it!" he exclaimed under his breath. Everything clicked. The bones, the Frillish's obsession with Pikachu.

"Those bones! That was you! You're the girl whose bones were picked clean!" Orlando shouted, "Why are you tormenting your poor Pikachu? Leave her be!"

Max's nose twitched.

"Keep your guard up Max, I think she's trying to take her old Pikachu with her. If she gets near again, Peck to keep her off."

Schadenfreude 10-03-2014 09:41 AM

Quest: Blood Moon
The horrific realisation spreads across your mind, descending like heavy rain. As you confront the truth, you almost feel nauseated. How could this even happen? How is this even possible? That girl from before... with her clean corpse and the fetid smell of meat... Thick fingers of mist pervade your vision, while the whirling wind almost sounds like distant giggling, which rings in eerie peals. The truth is brutal, and you cannot stomach it. The identity of the Frillish evinces itself, as you steel your resolve and address the shrieking Ghost in front of you. Everything fits into place, as though you've finished assembling a jigsaw puzzle. Imbued with new cognisance, you take a deep breath to steady yourself.

"Those bones! That was you! You're the girl whose bones were picked clean!" you bellow. "Why are you tormenting your poor Pikachu? Leave her be!"

When you say those words, the incense tags around Marion start to glow. Fluttering unbidden from the medium's hands, the paper scrolls rise and illuminate. Each corner of the tag ignites in a blaze of fire, which burnishes not in the familiar orange or blue but in a satiny white. Marion mutters an incantation under her breath, as the flickering flames orbit the Frillish. After the tags burn to a crisp, the remaining orbs of incandescent power spiral and careen towards Frillish, who screams rawly. White embers coil into Friliish, whose form because more and more ephemeral with each sphere of heat. Indeed, Frillish's form starts to become translucent, almost see through. Dropping her wail into a raspy whisper, Frillish closes her eyes and splays out her limbs. If you did not know any better, you'd almost say that the Ghost is somehow enjoying this experience.

You decide to play it safe rather than risk what you've built so far. While the white flares smoulder, you turn to Maximillian and order something as a contingency. After all, you can never be too careful. Especially in the face of the supernatural, which you've now accepted is what you're dealing with.

"Keep your guard up Max, I think she's trying to take her old Pikachu with her," you say to Nidoran. "If she gets near again, Peck to keep her off."

Maximillian adopts a fighting stance, wary and chary of the sight before him. His hesitation is not required, however. Indeed, the Frillish glows in a faint sheen of amber, as she gains transparency. When Marion directs her fingers at the last, unburnt incense tag, the paper scroll kindles and produces a scorch of white flame, which corkscrews into Frillish. What happens next is immediate. A flash of blinding light blasts, making you shield your eyes reflexively. A soft sigh echoes and reverberates, while a strange whooshing rolls outwards. All of a sudden, you feel lighter, as though an entire weight or presence has been lifted from the mist. The haze starts to part, and you squint against the stark scintillations. Instead of a Frillish, a shimmering figure of a young girl hovers. Her long hair flows under an invisible wind, and she wears a sad, solemn smile. When you notice the Pikachu insignia on her polka dress, you identify this figure as Pikachu's deceased Trainer.

As Marion lowers her arms with fatigue, the ghostly girl turns to face you. She spreads her arms with an odd mixture of melancholy and gratitude. You sense that this is your cue to respond.

How do you respond? What do you say to the ghost?

Jerichi 10-18-2014 09:57 PM

This was entirely surreal. Ghosts. Real live ghosts. And not just Pokémon, not just Ghost-like, but actual ghosts. Orlando didn't believe it. The Frillish, that was one thing. An incensed Pokémon preying after an innocent was something he had seen more than once. It was disturbing, sure, but it was hardly the worst thing he had seen. This, though, this beat anything he had seen before. The girl - or image of a girl - that stood before him filled him with a numb dread, but also a twinge of sadness. Something had killed this girl in cold blood, and forced her young soul to wander this swamp...

He stepped forward hesitantly. His voice shook as he spoke, unsure as to if this was even going to work.

"Young miss... let us take care of your Pikachu. We'll keep after her. We'll make sure she's in good hands. Just... relax. Let yourself go..."

Connor 04-24-2015 10:04 AM

With the apparition having been correctly identified, the forlorn figure of the girl continues to hover in mid air, the spectral presence persisting in her awkward stance. As she begins to draw near the Pikachu once again, the small rodent this time seems to bear no fear, recognising her trainer and if anything wearing a distinctively saddened expression. Her gentle cries seem to cause the girl some pain, but as Orlando addresses her, her expression becomes hardened once again. Turning towards the trainer, her features become almost infuriated, before pausing for a brief second. With one final sigh, she locks eyes with Orlando.

"It ... it happened all so fast. I never stood a chance. I don't even know who ... what did this to me. My Pikachu almost died trying to save me, and was forced to flee when she realised she couldn't. I wasn't strong enough to protect myself or her. I only wanted to make sure she was never put through that again ..."

Her eyes drift downwards, her demeanour becoming more sheepish with every passing moment. Awkward moments pass, the tension in the air building, before she turns back towards Orlando.

"I ... I can trust Pikachu to you, right? You'll ... you'll protect her?"

Jerichi 04-25-2015 10:25 AM

Orlando felt a twinge of sadness for this poor girl, fallen victim to whatever vicious creature had so heartlessly taken her life, and for her Pikachu who had to endure it all, only to be haunted by her trainer's spirit. He watched on as the girl's form came to comfort the poor Pikachu before her attention was brought to him. In a brief moment, he recoiled instinctively as she turned towards him, but as her countenance softened, he stood down. With a forlorn sigh, she looked him directly in the eyes.

"It ... it happened all so fast. I never stood a chance. I don't even know who ... what did this to me. My Pikachu almost died trying to save me, and was forced to flee when she realised she couldn't. I wasn't strong enough to protect myself or her. I only wanted to make sure she was never put through that again ..."

Orlando stood, still not entirely processing what had happened, wary of what was to come. He felt the air thicken before the girl spoke up again.

"I ... I can trust Pikachu to you, right? You'll ... you'll protect her?"

Orlando did not hesitate to reiterate. "Definitely," he replied resolutely. Wanting to affirm his promise, he reached into his pack and pulled out a single Oran Berry, kneeling down to offer it to the frightened Pikachu.

"Here, this will make you feel better."

Connor 04-25-2015 01:59 PM

As Orlando kneels down to present the Oran Berry to the Pikachu, the small rodent apprehensively comes forwards, small ears twitching in the air. Taking a small nibble of the berry, she stares blankly for a few moments, before voraciously biting at the rest of the fruit, juices dripping onto the floor. As she finishes her small meal, she looks back up towards Orlando, clearly quite satisfied, her small wounds beginning to heal already. The girl smiles warmly at the sight, before a much more serious expression comes across her face.

"It ... it's coming back."

Her voice begins to break as activity in the nearby trees becomes obvious, crashing noises piercing the dark, cold air. Foliage can be heard being torn apart, and Pikachu begins to tremble wildly, a definite fear being put into the body of the young Electric type. Panicked cries ring from the girl as Pikachu edges nearer Orlando for protection.

"You ... you have to go. Quickly."

Jerichi 04-26-2015 09:51 AM

Watching the little mouse devour the fruit, Orlando cracks a soft smile, gently brushing the Pikachu's face, feeling the static tension on its fur as the girl watches on with a smile. For this split moment of warmth, he feels at ease, but this ease is quickly shaken as the girl's expression changes. A chill falls over the dark woods again. Orlando stands at attention as he senses the shift.

"It ... it's coming back."

Orlando's attention snapped to sound of breaking branches and rustling of rented leaves. Max's ears slowly pull back, the Nidoran bearing his teeth as it draws near. Instinctively, Orlando sweeps up the injured Pikachu, holding her in his left arm. He kneels down, and nods towards Max, who hops up his arm and burrows into his pack, ears poking out to keep alert.

Before turning away and booking it back towards the campsite, he paused for a moment, looking into the girl's eyes.

"Miss, before I go, tell me one thing so I can put you to rest and your family at ease: what is your name?"

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