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Old 11-01-2018, 04:16 PM   #134
Missingno. Master
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Virbank City
Posts: 5,806

Alright, let's get this show on the road! I will, of course, still update anyone who posts between now and the event deadline, so don't think you missed out by not posting by this point.

TheKnightsFury: With no Trainer to accompany him, Odysseus the Magneton ventures forth, first into the Pokémon Center of Terror. At first, all seems OK... until a TV mounted on the wall flickers to life, in the midst of a disturbingly convincing TV news report, featuring even more disturbingly convincing footage of Odysseus's library burning to the ground! An ominous cackle resounds in response to the Electric/Steel-type's reaction, but Odysseus braves the terrors that Myrtle's illusions show him, and soon, the Front Door Key is in his magnetic clutches.

Following this, the Magneton floats across the deck of the S. S. Bloodbath, powering through a frigid and ominous Mist that seemed to be everywhere. Creepy grins, red eyes, they seem to show up from every direction, and even when there were no eyes visible, it always seemed as though somebody was watching... And the same held true down below. Even though Magneton was by no means the ideal snack for an Ariados, Aragog did not let this impede his role in all this, made sure to keep things good and ominous, right up until the Magneton had obtained the Library Key.

The Loony Loopy Lighthouse was downright crazy. Up was down. Left was right. Not very effective was super effective. Slow was fast. And every so often, a Shedinja seemed to come from out of nowhere, seemingly Sneaking all over by way of the Shadows, and just stared, so creepily, while discreetly employing Telekinesis to make objects move that by all rights shouldn't be moving, add to the overall atmosphere of strangeness. But in spite of all this, Odysseus managed to activate the switch to open up the stairway to the second floor. Not only that, he managed to get up to the second floor, and secure the East Wing Key.

This left the craziest challenge of all- using those keys to navigate the Petrifying Palace. Hovering down the hall was pretty straightforward, right up until a Dusknoir rose up out of the floor in front of Odysseus. Arms outstretched, Liliana made to Bind the Magneton and drag him back to the entrance, but between still being a Magneton as opposed to the slower Magnezone, and a strong desire to get out as fast as possible, Odysseus was able to evade Liliana's grasp and make it to the library. Once again, his nature as a Steel-type meant that he'd be in even less danger from certain predatory Bug-types than others, but once again, Fatale didn't let this deter her. With her pride as the vampire of Cadaver Forest at stake, the Shiny Beautifly kept up the pressure, intent on inducing enough fear to feed a Misdreavus for a week. The Magneton lucked out upon reaching the Battle Room- nobody was performing for the Fright Extravaganza just yet, so nothing in there was trying to scare him. Of course, the judges were there, and as one of them included a dark grey Scolipede with piercing red eyes, one could argue that they didn't need to try- Salazar proved an imposing presence from the very start.

Taking the warp panel to the kitchen, this was the first time Odysseus might have had legitimate concerns over the possibility of ending up someone else's dinner. A larger-than-average Weedle and a Slurpuff were working on something that smelled delicious that was being cooked in a huge pot, and being stirred by a big wooden spoon that seemed to move on its own. As this happened, Hermione and Cotton made no indication that they noticed Odysseus, but seemed to be deep in conversation about how they were all out of Durant corpses, and that maybe, just maybe, some deep-fried Magneton might make for an interesting substitute. Whether Odysseus stuck around to listen to the speculation on how the electricity would affect the flavor remained to be seen- the other warp panel was right before Odysseus, so he had no need to stick around any longer than the few seconds it took him to hover to it. Once in the dining room, he was faced with three hungry faces- those of a Carnivine, a Seviper, and a Druddigon. And as the Seviper mentioned as they saw Odysseus, they'd all tried eating Durant before and wound up enjoying them once they found out how to properly eat them, and this prompted the Carnivine to wonder if Magneton would make for a similar culinary experience. This prompted the trio to rise from their seats and slowly advance on Odysseus, though they did not follow him through the door that the East Wing Key unlocked, letting him into the living room. He'd made it! A young girl and her Medicham watched silently as the Magneton took a single Rare Candy, before aforementioned Medicham Teleported the Electric/Steel-type back outside. Keith smiled and nodded to the Magneton, wishing him a happy Halloween.

*Odysseus obtained a Rare Candy!*

Emi: Keith couldn't help but grin appreciatively as the woman who introduced herself as Mircalla seemed to like what she was seeing so far. It wasn't too surprising to Keith that she knew him already- Keith Masters knew full well he'd managed to make something of a name for himself in the Fizzytopia region. "Charmed to meet you as well, Mircalla," he said in response. He didn't seem daunted at all by her assertion that she didn't scare easily. Indeed, he looked quite pleased that everything he worked on would get to be put to such a challenge.

Mircalla and Scylla's first stop was the Pokémon Center of Terror, whereupon the woman proved remarkably adept at incapacitating a zombie nurse. Indeed, rather than afraid, at most she was annoyed that the fake zombie seemed to have left real blood and brains on her umbrella. Except not really- much later on, the illusory blood and brains would vanish, but for now, it would stay there. Myrtle was rather proud of herself for thinking of that little touch. But Myrtle was also somewhat annoyed, considering how hard it was proving to get any sort of fearful response out of this visitor. Ghosts wailing about dragging her to the Distortion World got Mircalla dreaming of a vacation where physics didn't work the same. And when the illusory ghosts vanished, Mircalla didn't seem too impressed.

"Try har-der?" Myrtle murmured to herself, zipper teeth twisted into an ominous smirk. "Chal-lenge ac-cep-ted, Mir-cal-la..."

The entire center changed right then and there, the floor suddenly changing, becoming quite ill-suited for high-heeled boots, to say the least. It was as though Mircalla was standing on living flesh, to the point where blood spurted out of the holes her heels were making. But that wasn't enough, no- a massive, hulking beast was pursuing her as well. This prompted Mircalla to break into a run, her smile unable to mask the wave of terror that washed over her. There was no masking that from Myrtle, and it was delicious! The Banette's sadistic, gleeful cackle echoed all around as she kept on distorting and messing with the environment, adding little touches that could be attributed to her past life as a Missingno., to her knowledge of the screwier and scarier aspects to the world, the glitches in the very fabric of reality. If Mircalla glanced at Scylla at any point, she wouldn't see her Inkay, but rather a disagreeable yet powerful-looking Bulbasaur, who would appear to explode gruesomely if given any instructions. A closer look at the charging beast would reveal it to look like a Charizard, except much bigger than what was normal for the species, and also not quite right somehow, as though it was a more sinister species of Pokémon taking on the appearance of a Charizard. And if Mircalla had a Trainer Card on her, or any form of ID that displayed her name, she would find that her name appeared to be replaced with an impossibly long line of Zs with the occasional random letter inserted.

And then, Mircalla grabbed the Front Door Key, and just like that, the illusions were broken. Her way out of the Center was quite unimpeded from this point, and Myrtle heard her parting words loud and clear. "I like her," the Banette remarked to nobody in particular.

The S. S. Bloodbath was their next destination. Crossing the deck of the ship, Mircalla's only real concern was that she wasn't dressed any warmer for this. The sight of the Froslass lurking in the Mist did nothing to unnerve the woman, and the source of said Mist saw this. The Cryogonal lurking up at the helm decided to rattle its ice crystal mustache, see if the sound could add to the ominous atmosphere. And if Mircalla neared the railing on the port side of the ship, she would witness the School Form Wishiwashi jumping out, disturbingly close to the ship. But in any case, Mircalla made it down below, where she discovered to her surprise that the cobwebs were not cobwebs, but rather sturdy Spider Webs. These made the hallway a veritable maze, but it was especially prevalent in the captain's cabin. Unseen by the visitors, Aragog watched as Mircalla donned a pair of cheap leather gloves, and stuck them deliberately to one of the webs, calling out the Ariados to eat her. Of course, Aragog wasn't going to eat her, but if she was going to make light of his contributions like this, he was going to try and put at least a little fear into her. He charged, giving this all the Agility he had while the Inkay went and grabbed the key. However, it was almost as though Mircalla had figured on Aragog being this fast, and she was able to take her hands out of the gloves just in time. Of course, Aragog didn't really bite through the gloves, but he still did get a taste of the crappy leather, and he hissed in disgust. He hoped Crabbe would come and clean this up later- it reminded him of that one time he felt movement on one of his webs a few weeks ago, only to find out, to his great disgust, that a wild Trumbeak had merely crapped on it.

With two keys down and one to go, Mircalla's next stop was the Loony Loopy Lighthouse. And she... fell down. For someone who didn't fear the Distortion World, she couldn't handle a little Malamar-made madness all that well. However, Scylla was faring quite a bit better, but then, being an Inkay, this was to be expected. The Inkay was the one to navigate the lighthouse, activate the switch, go up to the second floor, and she did all of that unimpeded. However, as she reached the East Wing Key, she was beaten to it- a Murkrow swooped down, clutching the shiny key in her talons as though to show who was the better Thief of the two. Want gave a derisive, mockulatory caw. Eyes flashing, and with the speed of a professional Prankster, the Murkrow let loose a Confuse Ray... but it failed. Scylla was able to yoink the key away from Want, leaving the Murkrow bewildered, having not been aware of the fact that Dark-types such as herself were immune to moves that had been augmented by Prankster. It was likely that Scylla was unaware of this herself, perhaps attributing the failed Confuse Ray to an impossible stroke of luck, or her good fortune in fleeing when she did. Anyhow, the Inkay was rattled by the experience, and both her and Mircalla seemed only too glad to leave the lighthouse.

Finally, the main attraction. The long walk down the entrance hall... nothing showed up. Was Mircalla starting out with a good stroke of luck, or was this a conscious choice of the residents, to build up some suspense? If it was the latter, it seemed to be working- once Mircalla reached the library, she felt a cold chill, and seemed compelled to make sure nothing was coming up behind her. Fatale let loose a sadistic chuckle- potential prey already so frightened? Beautiful. The Shiny Beautifly flitted about, keeping concealed, hoping to make some noise with her wings to further unnerve Mircalla. She was under strict orders to not actually drink anyone's blood, but by no means did this mean she was about to reassure the visitors with this fact. She was a bit surprised to see Mircalla produce a bottle from her purse, open it up, and leave it on the table along with a note. Once she'd found the secret switch and exited, Fatale approached what the woman had left. A note suggesting that their tastes were not so different, and a bottle of... wine? Or, no... if the note suggested what Fatale believed it to, then surely this was...? The Shiny Beautifly unfurled her mouth and cautiously dipped it into the bottle, intent on taking a sip of its contents...

Once Mircalla made it to the kitchen, she found herself drawn to the scent of the food Hermione and Cotton were cooking, only to find herself caught in a Sticky Web. As she cursed her having fallen for this, the Weedle and Slurpuff turned around to face their visitor, deranged grins on their faces as they slowly made their way closer to Mircalla. Cotton began to emanate an ominous Chill as he charged up a Shadowy attack, while Hermione's Horn-like head stinger began spinning like a Drill. Mircalla, however, was able to free herself from the Sticky Web and take the warp tile to the dining room. Once she was gone, Hermione and Cotton stopped charging their menacing attacks, and the Slurpuff instead set to work reapplying the Sticky Web.

In the dining room, however, Mircalla's adventure was far from over. Now she had a hungry Carnivine, Druddigon, and Seviper to contend with, and she did not feel like contending with them. Mircalla and her Inkay took off, making a mad dash for the door. In a nice display of teamwork, Mircalla passed the East Wing Key to Scylla, who was able to unlock the door, and they were able to get through with no trouble, Mircalla even blocking the doorway with her umbrella to try and buy them time. And then, there was another chill down her spine, this time with a visible cause- Peeves the Dusknoir was bearing down on them about to drag them back to the entrance and make them start all over again. But Scylla did not let this happen. Whether due to a sudden influx of bravery, or a desire to not have to go through that scary house a second time, the Inkay made to Constrict Peeves's face to impede his vision. Peeves, of course, wasn't bothered by this, but the close proximity of the Inkay did in fact impede his view, and Mircalla was able to move forward, evading the male Dusknoir's attempted Bind, and grab herself a Rare Candy. At that point, Observe the Medicham stepped forward, and Mircalla found herself back outside by way of Teleport.

"One-up me, huh?" grinned Keith. "I gotta say, I'd like to see that. He bowed back to Mircalla, before she'd noticed that her Inkay wasn't by her side. "Hoo, boy... I sure hope she's not," Keith remarked. "By the way, if you want a quick and easy way to get the rest of those webs off, I can ask my Crobat to use a light Defog- they'll slide right off."


Having previously used Confusion to open a window during its mental mechanical monologue, a Bronzor zoomed forward, ramming into Scylla with the intention of pushing her out the open window, moreso than causing damage. And as this happened, Scylla would have heard another derisive, mocking caw from the Loony Loopy Lighthouse, almost as though Want had seen the whole thing and was further convinced that she was the superior thief of the two.

*Mircalla obtained a Rare Candy! Just the one! No more than one!*

King Ghidorah: Keith couldn't help but chuckle as Hugo proved quite vocal about the time his event would take. "Heh, what can I say? This place has so much potential for this kind of thing, I didn't want to squander any of it. Besides, it won't take you that long." Regardless, however, Hugo sent out a Scizor, and began to brief it on what it had to do. And this briefing was anything but brief. Keith found himself checking his PokéGear's clock once or twice as Hugo explained things, and was wholly unsurprised when the Scizor turned out to have fallen asleep at some point during his Trainer's explanations.

Keith turned to Hugo as Scizor bolted for the Pokémon Center. "...You might have actually been able to make it through the whole thing by this point," he pointed out.

Scizor's first impression of the Pokémon Center of Terror was... that the whole freaking place was on fire! Myrtle's ominous cackling echoed throughout the phony flames- the easiest ones to scare were the ones with quadruple weaknesses. Had she not been able to tell that that one Magneton's greatest fear was some library burning down, then her illusion of choice against it would have been that of a devastating earthquake. However, this quickly lost its macabre charm when Scizor reacted to the "fire" by grabbing a very real fire extinguisher and going crazy with it.

"Oh, for the love of Ar-ce-us, stop al-rea-dy!" Myrtle exclaimed, flying up to Scizor and throwing a Front Door Key in his face. "Just take the key and get out! Stu-pid stin-king Sci-zor be-ing all good in an e-mer-gen-cy and..." she trailed off, grumbling at the prospect of having to clean up the place and get the extinguisher refilled and things of that nature.

Oh, yes, Scizor felt eyes on him as he boarded the S. S. Bloodbath. And as he made his way across the deck, he didn't just feel them- he saw them, too. Big, red eyes, positioned right above a positively Gengaresque grin. Which made sense- this was, after all, the actual face of a Gengar. And he wasn't the only Ghost-type present, either- the Mist nearly thick enough to activate her Snow Cloak, Laugh the Froslass hovered nearby, and generated a Will-O-Wisp, causing three spectral fireballs to ominously circle the Scizor, while the Gengar cackled. "No fire extinguisher to save you here, hmm?" came the Gengar's voice, though the mouth the Scizor could see wasn't moving. The fireballs began to dive-bomb Scizor, though as he dodged them, they always topped short of igniting the deck. And they abandoned their pursuit as soon as he'd gotten below deck. Moving at such high speeds, it wouldn't be apparent until after he left whether he'd deftly evaded all the Spider Webs or outright powered through them. Regardless, he grabbed the Library Key and left without any further problems.

The Loony Loopy Lighthouse looked as though it might be problematic for Scizor. The blinding speed he'd relied on to get through so far was reduced to nothing in the Trick Room, and everything was all screwy. It looked as though it'd be a serious impediment to Scizor's progress, until he got the idea to use the screwiness to his advantage, instead of fighting against it. And it worked- in here, heavy was light, so now rising up was easy. Of course, he still had to get to the switch and press it to open the way to the staircase, but once he'd done that (and been confronted by a creepy Shedinja and mocking Murkrow in the process), he was able to get to the second floor with no problem and obtain the East Wing Key.

Finally, the Petrifying Palace. Unlock the front door, step inside, see the Rare Candies, grab one, and leave. If only it were that easy. None of the keys Scizor had acquired would work on the door that led from the entrance hall to the living room, and the door couldn't be forced open, no matter how hard he tried. Nothing to it but to go the long, long, long way around. And Scizor managed to be stealthy about it, avoiding the attention of Liliana as she popped into the entrance hall, and thereby not getting dragged back to the entrance by the Dusknoir. Likewise, he was not met with much trouble by Fatale in the Battle Room, though that didn't stop her from trying to intimidate the Scizor any way she could.

The first real instance of terror the Scizor would encounter was in the kitchen, where he was warmly greeted by Hermione and Cotton, and met with an explanation that they were all out of Durant for the Heatmor's dinner, and had just been on the hunt for an adequate substitute, with the clear indicator that the Bug/Steel-type that just arrived was decidedly more than adequate. As if to drive the point home, Cotton took the liberty of setting up a few extra Sticky Webs, though Scizor was able to find an opening to escape into the dining room. No Heatmor was in there, but the hungry predators in there did not seem picky. Fang in particular was actually salivating- Bug-types were a staple of his diet, and a big one had just wandered into his midst. But in the end, Scizor was able to evade them all and make it into the living room, where he grabbed a Rare Candy, and was subsequently Teleported back outside by the Medicham.

"-the gros-sest o-ver-re-ac-tion to my il-lu-sions I have ev-er seen, Meat Sack!" Myrtle was practically screaming into Keith's face as Scizor reappeared. "I am NOT clea-ning that up!"

"Hey, you made the place look like it was on fire for a well-trained Bug and Steel-type," Keith retorted to Myrtle. "What did you think was gonna happen?"

"I knew we should have put the fi-re ex-tin-guish-er a-way for the night," Myrtle grumbled.

"Yeah, no," Keith shook his head. "Fire safety is no joke-"

"Blah, blah, blah," interrupted Myrtle. "Yes, yes, your dad is a fi-re-fight-er, we have heard it alllll be-fore. Just get some-one to clean that crap up!" And she floated away in a huff, though not before shooting a menacing glare at Scizor.

"Sorry about her," Keith shrugged apologetically. "You made it through in pretty good time, though," he added to the Scizor, before turning to Hugo. "You've clearly trained yourself a skilled Pokémon," he added approvingly, before wishing them both a happy Halloween.

*Hugo obtained a Rare Candy!*

Gemini Spark: Keith was quite happy to see Kinana again, and explains the rules to her. By the end of it all, the young Seviper is confident she can navigate it all without a problem, relying on her father's intimidation to keep the others from making things too tricky for her.

"Oh, dey ain't really gonna hold back on her just cuz dey's scared o' Marv, are dey?" Meowth asked Keith once Kinana had slithered off toward the Pokémon Center of Terror.

"Oh, I don't think so," Keith smirked. "Kinana's going to learn sooner or later that her father's influence only stretches so far..."

Once inside the Pokémon Center, all seemed quiet. To Kinana it might seem as though her way of thinking was proving to be correct, but it all seemed a bit... too quiet. Like, ominously so. Indeed, the way across the lobby to the door leading to the back room was free and clear, but once she got to the door, a creepy cackle echoed throughout the building, not seeming to come from any one direction in particular, which would send a chill down the coils of even a fully-grown Seviper. For a moment, that seemed to be it, but once Kinana got the door opened, any hopes to that effect were swiftly dashed- beyond the doorway was absolutely nothing. A void of nothingness that no light source would be able to illuminate. And upon looking back into the Pokémon Center, Kinana would see that same void of nothingness all around her- her entire surroundings, seemingly transformed. The eerie silence from before was back, its eeriness almost certainly more pronounced. Any cries for help, any screaming for her parents, it would all go unheeded. But eventually, Kinana would see several... things in the distance. Two red dots, and one thin golden line. Very far off in the distance at first, but she'd soon realize they were closing in on her, by which time she'd see they were moving much faster as they closed in, leaving just enough time to identify them as a pair of Banette eyes above that eerie zipper grin, coming straight for Kinana-! And then, just before the creepily disembodied Banette face would be able to make contact, there was a Dazzling Gleam of light, and once it subsided, all was normal again, save for a reprise of that eerie cackle. albeit interrupted by what sounded by someone munching on a Cheri Berry. Had that Glare really worked?

Next up was the S. S. Bloodbath. The chilly Mist Kinana had to slither through would surely hinder her progress- Seviper weren't all that good with the cold, but surely she'd remember the stories her father would tell her at Christmastime, about a heroic Seviper who braved the cold and saved Christmas, and draw inspiration from them. But such inspiration would only do so much, especially when an eerie grin appeared out of nowhere, but with nothing else visible, let alone eyes of any kind, would a Glare even work? Any attempts at Wrap proved horribly futile, the reason becoming quickly apparent- the grin slowly faded away, only for the entire Gengar to suddenly become completely visible right before Kinana's eyes! Of course Wrap wouldn't work on a Ghost-type! A sudden splash, and Kinana would see, if she looked up, the formidable form of a School Form Wishiwashi jumping clear over the ship. As she made it down below, she could hear, behind her, the clanking and rattling of a Cryogonal's ice crystal mustache. Down below, her plan to Wrap anyone thinking of messing with her was looking less and less viable- the Spider Webs strung all over left precious little room to maneuver. If anything was thinking of making trouble, Kinana would surely get entangled in the webs just trying to use Wrap. In any case, no Ariados made itself visible, but for sure Kinana would hear creepy scuttling sounds, and if she turned in the direction from which she heard it, nothing would actually be there...

Third stop was the Loony Loopy Lighthouse, for which Kinana had perhaps the most flawed plan. Haze was a great way to reset any stat modifications, true enough, just... not so much effects such as Topsy-Turvy or Trick Room. Indeed, as she let out the black mist, it swirled harmlessly away from her, the dark clouds billowing larger and larger, taking shape as they did so, become gigantic Zangoose with deranged grins and overly long claws, gliding across the floor in pursuit of Kinana. And the faster she moved, the quicker the Haze-Zangoose seemed to catch up to her. But if she moved towards them, they seemed to get farther away. Either way, it wasn't that much longer before they vanished in harmless puffs of black smoke that would nevertheless make her think twice about trying to use Haze as a quick fix in this lighthouse again. And by that time, Kinana would surely realize she was somehow on the ceiling. It took her a while to get to the switch, get up to the second floor, and grab the key, what with the gravity changing on occasion, but she managed it. She did have to contend with a Shedinja barring her way at one point, completely unresponsive no matter what she did (barring, of course, any sort of super effective attack), just floating there, staring creepily at her, but in the end, she got all three keys.

Finally, Kinana had to go through the Petrifying Palace. She made it across the entrance hall before a Dusknoir caught up with her and took her back to the entrance. Any complaints on Kinana's part were met with Peeves's insistence that the days of Marvolo being able to intimidate him were long past. Following that, Kinana's way was not impeded any further until she made it to the second floor. This time it was Liliana who tried to bring the Seviper back to the entrance, but Kinana was able to evade this one. In the library, Fatale pulled out all the stops just as she would for anyone else, trying to scare the crap out of Kinana, and laughing sadistically whenever she seemed to succeed in this. Once Kinana got as far as the kitchen, she would hear the Weedle and Slurpuff talking loudly about all the Zangoose they needed to cook for tonight, and lamenting how they were one Seviper head short of what they needed for their signature stew. Only in the dining room was there any semblance of special treatment. The Seviper, Carnivine, and Druddigon all rose from their seats in response to their guest, but rather than hungry pursuit, they warmly greeted Kinana. Marvolo in particular hugged his daughter in his coils, and commended the bravery it took her to get this far, considering he was unable to intimidate everyone else into easing up on her. Some of the involved Pokémon, he added, weren't even on Keith's team, and he'd never had the chance to meet them in his life. But, considering the bravery Kinana had to have possessed to get that far, Marvolo couldn't be too upset about the situation- he was too proud of his daughter. Finally, once Kinana made it to the living room, she was greeted by Terri, and once she took a Rare Candy, Observe the Medicham Teleported her back outside, where Keith would be waiting to tell her what she might have already learned by that point- that relying on her parents wouldn't work for everything.

*Kinana obtained a Rare Candy!*

Maskerade: Althea's reluctant presence did not go unnoticed. Not by any means. Keith Masters and his Meowth took notice of her, standing apart from the others, clearly wanting no part of the holiday or any celebrations thereof. And yet, there she was, as though compelled, forced, to participate in that which she thought beneath her. And that which compelled her quickly became easy to guess, as a Gengar, laughing madly, dissolved into the shadows and made to participate in the festivities himself. Keith had a look of intrigue on his face. He had a feeling that scaring this Gengar wasn't gonna be easy, if it was even possible at all. But he also knew that if there was one thing Myrtle relished, it was a challenge.

The Pokémon Center of Terror was THE DEVIL's first stop. As the formidable Gengar entered, he would see the Center to be bustling, full of people going about their business. A room full of easy targets for those in the business of scaring, and likely more temptation than THE DEVIL would be able to resist. And yet, if the Gengar did in fact attempt to put the fear of Arceus- or perhaps the fear of Giratina- into any of these people, he would find their reactions to be shockingly lackluster. A lot of "Eh"s, "Meh"s, and "I've seen better"s, a lot of nonchalant shrugging, and even a bratty little kid telling him he looked stupid and spitting on him. Should this get him to redouble his efforts, he'd only be met with more of the same. A sign that maybe, just maybe, THE DEVIL was losing his touch?

As soon as this possibility might feasibly cross THE DEVIL's mind, everyone froze in place, as though the world was a DVD and someone had just paused it. Except, that is, for the ratty old doll that the bratty little kid was dragging along the floor. That doll came to life at once, hovering beside the Gengar with an unmistakable grin on her zipper lips. "You are a chal-lenge," Myrtle said, sounding quite delighted by this. "I could sense that right a-way. You... are not or-di-na-ry. Far from it. Spea-king as one who re-li-shes in the fla-vor of ter-ror, I have much re-spect. And so, I think it on-ly pru-dent that I show you the ful-lest ex-tent of what I can make you ex-pe-ri-ence. The things I have seen. The things I know. The glit-ches in re-a-li-ty it-self, that are all too real. Let me show you... my side of the world of Po-ké-mon." No sooner had Myrtle concluded this ominous statement than she produced a Poké Ball from seemingly nowhere. "Come for-ward, 'M," cackled Myrtle, throwing the ball.

In a flash of light, with a screech that sounded as though it belonged to nothing less than the legendary Zapdos, there appeared a hideously distorted Charizard, much larger than its species' norm. But what was a Charizard to ZZEZZEZZLZZ, right? Well, if ZZEZZEZZLZZ was to look at himself at this point, he might be in for a surprise- rather than his usual Gengar form, he would look like a Bulbasaur! And a hideously distorted one, at that, the body looking so choppy, so scrambled, he looked like he ought not be alive. And yet, there he was. Any effort to turn away from the heart-stoppingly freaky Charizard resulted in ending up facing it again somehow, and melting into shadows or flying above it somehow had ceased to be options. What was there to do but fight? And yet, if ZZEZZEZZLZZ tried to attack, not only would he find that three quarters of his move knowledge seemed to be replaced with an irrational and frankly scary urge to use Explosion, but also that any attempt to use a move resulted in all senses being suddenly and shockingly obscured. A dead silence meeting the ears, the body seeming to feel nothing, and the eyes beholding naught but a strangely eerie greyscale pinstripe pattern. After a moment, all senses resumed, and it seemed to go back to the beginning of this "battle", for lack of a better term. Eventually, ZZEZZEZZLZZ would spot a Poké Ball lying on the ground. Grabbing that and throwing it at this abomination of a Charizard seemed the only option, but once that was done, both ball and beast vanished completely. For that matter, the Poké Ball Myrtle sent it out of seemed to be gone as well.

With a snap of Myrtle's cloth fingers, the crowd in the Pokémon Center resumed moving about. "See how long you can last, ZZEZZEZZLZZ," she cackled, pronouncing the strange name in a way that almost sounded like electronic static- syllables no living being could hope to pronounce without leaving their tongues horribly disfigured. And yet, ZZEZZEZZLZZ found that that name... sounded right, almost, even though in the back of his mind he knew that it was not. As though his past, his very being, was being corrupted.

Moreover, Pokémon battles were breaking out all over the place. And in every instance, one Trainer was using a similarly hideously distorted and not-right-looking Charizard, while the other side had a choppy-looking, very powerful, and highly disobedient Bulbasaur. None of them were actually being referred to as Bulbasaur, either- one of the Trainers called out, "Scyther, use Slash!", only for his Bulbasaur to respond by using Explosion. And all the while, ZZEZZEZZLZZ got the horrible, nagging feeling that if he at any point just took a break and called it a day, he would cease to exist.

And then, as soon as that dreadful feeling made itself known in ZZEZZEZZLZZ's mind, there came that eerie greyscale pinstripe pattern obscuring all else, along with an earsplitting, booming voice, echoing, "THE SAVE FILE IS DESTROYED!" And then, in a brilliant blast of white light... everything went back to normal. The Pokémon Center was empty, THE DEVIL was THE DEVIL again, and Myrtle was right there, zipper grin right in place, handing him the Front Door Key.

Aboard the S. S. Bloodbath, THE DEVIL would find something of an easier time. The resident Gengar did his best to frighten THE DEVIL, but seemed unsurprised by his lack of results. This, however, only seemed to spur him to redouble his efforts, make full use of Confuse Ray and Night Shade to try and make him see horrible things and convince him that they were real and very much worth being scared of. Untold eldritch abominations intent on eating the ship and everyone aboard. Being boarded by invincible zombie pirates with legions of horribly powerful legendary and mythical Pokémon at their beck and call, one of them even riding into battle on the back of a Giratina, entering through a portal to the Distortion World that appeared out of nowhere. Chuck pulled out all the stops he could think of, but far from disappointed with the lackluster results, he seemed to have no small amount of admiration for his fellow Ghost/Poison-type. In stark comparison, Aragog's webs were woefully underwhelming, and the Library Key was retrieved with no trouble at all.

The Loony Loopy Lighthouse, on the other hand, proved to be a very strange experience indeed. As soon as THE DEVIL entered, he found himself floating in midair whether he entered that way or not. Looking down at himself, he'd see... nothing! No body whatsoever, be it Gengar, Bulbasaur, or otherwise. Maybe a wisp of purple gas, though... And that would clue him in- rather than the mighty and powerful Gengar, THE DEVIL was now a tiny and feeble Gastly, at the mercy of but the slightest breeze. Which a certain Murkrow was more than happy to provide. Want flapped her wings, blowing THE DEVIL around amid a flurry of down as she unleashed her Feather Dance with the speed and skill of a professional Prankster. And the more THE DEVIL resisted, the easier it was for Want to push him around. Any attempt to Teleport away would draw him nearer to the Murkrow, any attempt at a super effective move would fizzle out uselessly. Of course, THE DEVIL being not without considerable intelligence, would soon surely figure out the trick to this place. Teleporting with the intention of getting closer to Want would create great distance. Using a stupidly ineffective move would result in calamitous damage. Making no effort to resist the Feather Dance would result in the move losing its effectiveness. In fact, THE DEVIL would find that the move had been steadily increasing his Attack power. One Teleport later, with the intention of getting as far away from the East Wing Key as possible, and he would have his key, and upon exiting the lighthouse, he would find himself a Gengar once more.

Finally, the Petrifying Palace. Of course, THE DEVIL could just pass through the walls, get to the living room, and cut straight to the chase, but where would the fun be in that? The main attraction was right here, should he not explore it as intended, see all it had to offer? The first thing he was confronted with was the sudden appearance of one of the resident Dusknoir, up on the second floor corridor. He didn't make himself visible right away- no, THE DEVIL's first hint at his presence would be the Foresight he was hit with from behind, leaving him susceptible to Peeves's Bind, allowing the Dusknoir to drag the Gengar back to the entrance. No doubt THE DEVIL would put up a commendable fight, but so, it must be said, would Peeves. Then came the library. Fatale knew right away that this would not be one to fear such creatures as vampires. What blood did Gengar have to lose? But still, she did her best to unnerve THE DEVIL. Whether she was successful was another matter altogether. And as for getting through the kitchen and the dining room... well, those scares were likewise not intended to be too terribly effective against Ghost-types, but by no means did that stop the involved Pokémon. They just had to get a little bit creative. Liliana, who had been observing THE DEVIL as he moved through the house, teamed up with Hermione and Cotton. She didn't know quite as much about illusions as some of her other teammates, but by practicing with Peeves, she'd gotten quite good nonetheless. Therefore, when THE DEVIL entered the kitchen, she was able to make it look as though the Slurpuff was inhaling the Dusknoir, swallowing her whole as she struggled helplessly, begging and pleading for mercy. And then, Cotton turned on THE DEVIL, a look of deranged hunger on his face as Liliana created the illusion of an unnatural yellow gleam in the Fairy-type's eyes, and then further augmented Cotton's appearance in an illusory fashion, giving the impression of Cotton mutating into some kind of eldritch abomination, something not only capable of devouring even ghosts, but more than willing to do so. Meanwhile, the Weedle continued to use Psychic to stir whatever she was cooking, throwing her voice as best she could to make it sound as though ghostly wails were escaping the cooking pot. And Peeves, having seen this and gotten the picture, managed to convince the others in the dining room to play along to this effect, creating illusions to make THE DEVIL think that Cotton was the tame one of the bunch in comparison, as the Seviper declared in an unnatural, otherworldly voice that dinner seemed to have been served.

Finally, THE DEVIL made it to the living room. Upon accepting a Rare Candy, Observe the Medicham Teleported him outside, whether this was necessary or not, where Keith gave the Gengar a smirk. He fixed the Ghost/Poison-type with a surprisingly Mean Look, and spoke up in Shuppet language; "We hope to scare you again next year."

*THE DEVIL obtained a Rare Candy!*

Median Dia: Keith was happy to welcome Amicae to his Secret Base, and once he explained the rules to her, she was off. The Pokémon Center of Terror was her first stop, and by no means did Myrtle squander her opportunity to shine. Amicae departed the Pokémon Center, Front Door Key in hand, though it hadn't come easily- so brimming with unpleasant past experiences was she that Myrtle found it an easy manner to do her job this time. She was proud of how she'd saved the one Amicae couldn't actually remember for last- leave her not only rattled, but burning with uncertainty as to why that last one affected her so. Made for an exquisite, if somewhat morbid, combination of flavors.

The billowing clouds of Mist would have proven a noticeable detriment to Amicae's progress were it not for the pair of Swoobat she'd brought along- the various Flying attacks let them cut through the fog with relative ease. But Amity and Nadie would quickly find that their attacks were being actively opposed by blasts of Icy Wind as a Froslass, mostly obscured by aforementioned Mist, attempted to keep their vision as obscured as ever. That said, she wasn't completely successful in impeding them, and though Chuck the Gengar made an effort to scare them, they still made it down below. Having once had a Swoobat for a teammate, Aragog knew full well that Swoobat were hard to fool, but he gave it his best effort nonetheless, performing intricate tricks to mislead them with movements of his webs, with a dose of Night Shade thrown in here and there as a diversionary tactic. Ultimately, however, it was the efforts of one Sandygast that stopped Aragog in his tracks and allowed Amicae to collect the Library Key and make good her exit.

Out of everyone who attempted the Loony Loopy Lighthouse, few could be said to have done it better than Amicae. Naturally it threw her for a loop at first, but with her pair of Swoobat to help, she was able to circumvent the shifts in gravity, and while the general screwiness interfered with the usually and naturally high Speed of a Swoobat, they made it to the second floor with little trouble. Their biggest hindrance en route was the sudden appearance of a Shedinja, Sneaking up on them from the Shadows before emerging to land a quick strike. However, Vanish did not stick around for very long- the Shedinja was no fool, knowing full well that the Swoobat posed a significant risk to its continued consciousness if allowed to retaliate, and thus, Amicae got the East Wing Key with little trouble.

Finally came the Petrifying Palace. Amicae's tactic for this was speed over all else- get through the place without giving the residents a chance to do their thing. And initially, this worked beautifully, as a Dusknoir emerging from the floor in the entrance hall just barely missed grabbing hold of her. The Library wasn't hard for her to move across in no time, but the time Amicae spent seeking out the secret switch on the bookcase gave Fatale time to at least try and unnerve her guest. An ominous fluttering sound here, a sadistic cackle there, followed by the vampire of Cadaver Forest herself making an appearance and diving down at Amicae, though timed meticulously so that she was able to make it through the door just in time to avoid being impaled by the Shiny Beautifly's sharp mouth. Not that Fatale would have done so, of course, albeit only because of her Trainer's orders, but she contented herself with knowing that Amicae didn't know that.

Amicae's speed tactics were stopped cold in the kitchen as she stepped on a Sticky Web. And as if on cue, the Weedle and Slurpuff wheeled around. They ominously circled Ami, talking among themselves in a way that, if either of the Swoobat were to translate telepathically or something, most definitely implied an intention to cook and eat their newly-trapped guest. Fortunately, half a minute of persistent tugging would prove sufficient to separate Ami's footwear from the floor, and if she were to bolt for the warp panel at that point, she would not get caught. Her speed tactic was proving useful once more, and even moreso in the dining room, where she was able to make use of the East Wing Key before the Pokémon present could even begin their pursuit. At last, Ami's reward was before her, and the coveted Rare Candy was hers for the taking. Following this, the one Pokémon in the place she didn't need to worry about outrunning- Terri's Medicham, whose only job was to Teleport those who have earned their Candy back outside.


Meanwhile, up in the Battle Room, a trio of judges awaited their first performance of the night, and were soon treated to it in spectacular fashion. First came the creepy flute music. Everyone present undoubtedly heard it- it sent chills up the spines of one of the judges, Shiny hunter Gavin Golurkson. Salazar the Scolipede, who was quite difficult to frighten, if not impossible, peered at the battlefield expectantly- if he was unnerved by the flute music, he didn't show it. Bart the Scrafty, the third judge, folded his arms and glared at the battlefield in apparent boredom, trying desperately to mask the feeling of dread the music gave him.

And then came the creature, spinning in, scattering leaves all around as the flute music increased in tempo, the Nuzleaf donning a mask as it danced in. Gavin was simultaneously unnerved by the performance thus far and intrigued by the fact that the Nuzleaf's coloration seemed to be off. He didn't consult his Poké Radar then and there, keeping his eyes on the performance, but he'd be willing to bet his Shiny Charm that this performance was being given by a Shiny.

From the scattered leaves, however, numerous beasts gave rise and marched along with the Nuzleaf, some of them adding onto the flute music to further add to the tension of the situation. Bart was visibly shaking, and even Gavin's hairs were standing on end. Salazar couldn't be said to look scared. Wary, certainly, though. The scene progressed, the music growing and progressing along with it, as the Nuzleaf absorbed the shadowy figures, seeming to increase in size as a result, the song ending just as one shadowy demon remained. Once the final one was absorbed, there was a harsh glow... and all was gone, save for a vile cackle that echoed all around, leaving a stunned silence in its wake. The first performance of the night, and things were off to a strong start indeed, all three judges could agree.

*Amicae obtained a Rare Candy!*

*Amicae obtained a Goodie Bag! It contained the following;*

Spoiler: show
  • x2 Rare Candies
  • 250
  • x1 Spell Tag
  • x1 TM13 Ice Beam
  • x1 Poison Ball
  • x1 Skeleball
  • x1 Plague Doctor Mask
  • x1 Dusk Stone
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