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Old 05-27-2017, 04:34 PM   #8
Ex-Admiral Insane
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Ex-Admiral Insane: Despite mentions of a disappearance piquing your interest, your sights are still set further up the volcano. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to learn more about the situation. You purposefully skirt around the small group, doing your best to look interested in the altar itself, but it’s not entirely necessary. Most of the people in the group are trying to reassure and calm the woman down, while the others look tired, a few even fighting off yawns.

“Ma’am. We’ve already searched the entire area. No one has seen a person matching your friend’s description recently.” The local sounds like he’s repeating himself for the fifth or tenth time.

“I heard you the first five times,” she snaps back, looking ready to tear her hair out. “And I’ve told you that I saw him come this way!” She gestures sharply at the altar. “He wouldn’t shut up about the stupid altar for the last three days and then I wake up to find him sneaking out of the room we’ve been renting for our trip. I followed him here, waited behind that curve, since this entire area’s flat, and when I turned the corner, he’d vanished. My Kirlia’s convinced he’s around here somewhere, so that means he’s around here somewhere. We just have to find him.”

A couple of the locals closer to you mutter between themselves as the woman relates her story.

“Three days ago? Wasn’t that the full moon?” one says.

“Yeah. Why do you think I’m not expecting to find this guy?” the one next to her replies.

“It does sound like he fell under the full moon’s curse.”

You don’t catch much more of their conversation as you begin climbing the steps, though the woman’s insistence that her friend has to be nearby follows you all the way up to the altar. As you take the last step, your vision wavers for a moment, day turning to night. A priest of some sort, with a feathered headdress and some kind of metallic necklace, gestures imperiously in your direction and you find your gaze drawn to the stone altar, glowing white in places under the moonlight. You blink and sunlight blazes down on you and the clean stone altar as the familiar sounds of your young Dragons reaches your ears.

You turn around and watch as Rags herds the three youngsters your way, your Pokémon accidentally plowing straight through the people at the base of the stairs. You see the woman finally notice you at the top of the stairs; she glances at the locals and narrows her eyes before following after your Pokémon. It doesn’t take long for everyone to arrive where you are and the platform is beginning to feel a little cramped. Clearly, this space wasn’t meant for this many individuals, which means it doesn’t take long for something else to happen.

The woman is just making her way towards you, looking intent on talking to you, when you spot one of your dragons tumble into another, roll into the back wall, and vanish.

What will you do?

(Declared: Gallade, Wailord, Gible, Axew, Bagon)
Lucas intently eavesdropped on the conversation as he passed the group of locals and the bickering woman.

“And I’ve told you that I saw him come this way!” The woman gestured towards the altar. Apparently her boyfriend of sorts had decided to sneak out at night to look at the altar, only to have vanished from existence. The words ‘cat’ and ‘curiosity’ entered Lucas’ mind though he wasn’t sure why. His ears focussed on what the remaining few locals whispered to one another as he made his first few steps on the stone stairs.

“Three days ago? Wasn’t that the full moon?” one says.

“Yeah. Why do you think I’m not expecting to find this guy?” the one next to her replies.

“It does sound like he fell under the full moon’s curse.”

’A moon’s curse?’ Lucas amused himself with the thought. While he was aware of Pokémon with strange powers such as the Ghost, Dark and Psychic types, Lucas in no way believed in mystical forces like magic and curses. He did his best to stymie a chuckle when he heard it. Cortoza was known for its tribes and their long-held beliefs in volcano gods and their wrath. It seems their belief system wasn’t fully washed away from the land with their last eruption. The locals still seemed to want to hold onto their religious superstitions.

Still, a disappearance out here at night was an interesting incident and one that warranted caution on how Lucas would proceed further. He wasn’t too interested in helping out though. ’Let them sort out their own problems,’ he thought. ’Although, I wonder if she’d be willing to pay for help…’

Lucas’ thought processes were momentarily stunned as his eyes adjusted to the dark night-sky that had veiled his surroundings, like a curtain had been drawn before his eyes. Lucas reeled back, shocked, and desperately sought his surroundings for an explanation. None was found at first, though a local appeared to have substituted the small crows from earlier. He was dressed like some kind of tribal priest, adorned with a feathered headdress and metallic necklace. “Who are you?” Lucas shouted out towards him, trying his best to drop the fright from his voice and replace it with frustration.

The priest merely indicated past him towards the stone altar up above the final steps. Spots of moonlight bounced off of it in a mesmerising pattern, and Lucas stared intently at the glowing white before the familiar sound of three bickering dragons reached his ears. The night sky’s curtain was lifted and the hot Cortoza sun showered down on him once more. Looking back, the priest he saw had disappeared, and instead he saw Hai and Sar being chased by Sal with Rags vigilantly sauntering behind them. The three little dragons paid little attention to the crowd they plummeted through, as Lucas’ previous subtle entrance was torn apart by their rambunctious appearance and all eyes looked towards them and Lucas. The girl in particular, the one who had lost her friend, squinted glances at the locals and back at Lucas before following the Pokémon up the stairs.

’Oh no,’ he really wasn’t interested in helping out. ’Can’t she do something herself?’ He had only a few seconds left to ponder the situation before all four of his Pokémon had joined his side, cramming themselves onto the stairs. Hai, the Gible, ducked behind Lucas leg while Sal, the Bagon, was chasing her; apparently a game of tag or so, or perhaps they had taunted the Bagon into giving chase. The woman was just about to close in on them, Lucas and Rags gave each other a confident stare of understanding, when Sal managed to twirl around her trainer’s legs and headbutt Hai. The land shark Pokémon tumbled back and her rotund, little body rolled towards the stone wall – where it vanished.

The remaining four of them stared, dumbfounded at what they just witnessed. Lucas didn’t have much time to think and called out after his Pokémon, apparently faulting her. “Oi! Hai come back here!” Lucas clearly wanted to test the theory and wondered if the wall was in fact a fake of some kind; an illusion?. Rags too, understanding his trainer’s thoughts, found it necessary to go after Hai in an effort to not lose sight of her. The two of them reached out for the wall to see if it was in fact only a mirage of some kind, and if so, pass through it directly. (If not… well then find a switch or a crevasse or a hole or something. In the most extreme of cases, Rags would just use Fighting-type attacks against the rock until it opened.)

Lucas called out to his other two dragons, Sar and Sal, loud enough that even the woman who was hurrying towards him could hear. “Stay close and follow us.”
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