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Old 05-21-2019, 02:18 PM   #92
Missingno. Master
His name is Goggles. :)
 
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Virbank City
Posts: 6,017
The Bug You Knew Will Be No More



"Ahh, what a day," Keith smiled. "Beautiful weather, surrounded by my Pokémon, and we'll be competing in the Unevolvedathon battle tournament in Greenmuk City before we know it!"

"I dunno," Meowth piped up, seated on Keith's shoulder as usual. "I ain't neva heard o' dis tournament before."

"Me either," admitted Keith. "I guess it's something new they've cooked up."

"Paras! Paras!" chimed in the Pokémon on Keith's other shoulder. Amanitin, his Paras, had eagerly agreed to take part in this tournament, the better to live her life to the fullest.

"Pawn..." muttered Ginny. The Pawniard was floating behind the group, keeping aloft by way of Magnet Rise, and looked deep in thought, even as she glanced warily around. Something about all this seemed very suspicious- none of them had ever heard anything about this tournament before, and Keith didn't even hear about it from some public venue such as a Pokémon Center or the TV news- rather, he'd received a personal invitation in the mail. The whole thing was very sketchy, as far as Ginny was concerned, and she insisted on coming along. The fact that, as an unevolved Pokémon, she qualified for the competition was merely a bonus- her intention in accompanying Keith was to ensure everything was on the up-and-up with this competition.

"Aha," grinned Keith, as they reached the top of the hill they'd been climbing. "Take a look, guys- Greenmuk City's just ahead!"

"Den let's get movin!" Meowth purred.

"Paras! Paras!" chattered Amanitin. And judging by the intermittent changes in her tone of voice, it was safe to assume Amanita was trying her best to voice her excitement at the same time without completely taking control from the bug host.

As they proceeded, Keith consulted the directions included in his invitation. As he hadn't perused them earlier, he was rather bewildered to find that they did not in fact lead him to the same stadium where Greenmuk City's annual Shiny Battle Tournament had taken place, but rather to what seemed to be... an old, abandoned warehouse?

"Huh," Keith murmured, looking up at the place. "This... is not the location I was expecting.

"Pawn Pawniard pawn!" Ginny was saying. The time for quiet wariness, in her opinion, was long past- her tone was one of urgency, and indeed, she was now more sure than ever that something wasn't right here.

Keith gave a small nod. "Yeah, you're probably right, Ginny," he conceded. "Something ain't right here..."

"Ah, screw it!" came a voice from behind them, and before Keith knew it, he was being forcibly shoved through the warehouse's doors. Inside the warehouse, Keith could see a group of young adults all dressed in red, all eyeing him with expressions ranging from mild intrigue to utter contempt. "Well, he almost caught on, but here he is!" came that same voice from behind Keith. "I give you Masters!"

"Secure his Pokémon," snarled one of the men Keith could see glaring at him. "Underestimate none of them, and confiscate his Poké Balls."

But of course, Meowth, Ginny, and Amanitin weren't about to just let this happen. Amanitin let loose a cloud of Poison Powder as the man behind Keith attempted to shove her into a burlap sack, and this was Meowth's cue to jump off of Keith's shoulder and give this man his daily dose of vitamin Fury Swipes.

"Gah! Fuck!" swore the man as he tried vainly to get Meowth off his face. At this, the others made to approach Keith, but Ginny positioned herself between them and him, blades brandished threateningly, and a crazed look in her eyes that told them in no uncertain terms she had no trouble Cutting their throats if she had to.

"Well," Keith panted. "Not exactly the warmest welcome I've ever gotten. We doing introductions, then? Cause I get the feeling you all know me."

"Not personally, no," said one of the women. "Just by your reputation."

It was then that Keith realized where he'd seen these garish red outfits before. They looked just like the uniforms worn by the pair of thugs Keith had taken on back in Grandio City. "Team Turnback," he breathed.

"I see our reputation precedes us as well," smirked one of the men. "Yeah. Word has it two of our guys never came back after tangling with you in Grandio City."

"Hey, last I saw them, they were running away," Keith stated. "I didn't pursue them." This was, of course, true, but Keith neglected to mention that the Garbage Queen seemed to have ordered them hunted down and executed for their actions. "Whatever went down after that had nothing to do with me."

"Yeah, but you fought them," stated the woman from before. Her tone of voice was hard to read- Keith found himself wondering whether she was disgusted or impressed with him, or even both. "Tried to stop them from restoring Grandio to its former glory."

Keith snorted. "There was no glory to Grandio City in the first place," he stated. "Besides, by that point, hundreds of Poison-types had made it their home. It's by far the most useful Grandio's ever been. And all for what, huh? You really want the old Elite Four back? The ones who ruled Fizzytopia with an iron fist, enforced laws in extremely arbitrary ways that hurt more than they helped, and turned tail like Wimpod and just abandoned us all?" He looked around at the Turnback Grunts. A few of them looked deep in thought at this, including the woman who had been addressing Keith. Most of them, however, shook their heads.

"Enough of your lies!" snarled one of the male grunts. "Willa, hold him!"

Willa, as it turned out, was that same woman. She nodded and produced an Ultra Ball. "Yanmega!" she exclaimed, sending out the Ogre Darner Pokémon. And just like that, Keith's arms were pinned to his sides as Yanmega wrapped its powerful legs around his torso. Keith struggled to break free, but Willa's Yanmega was too strong.

"Gah!" grunted Keith. "Ginny, help!"

"Pawn!" nodded the Pawniard, springing into action.

Willa, however, was faster, and threw a second Ultra Ball. "Eelektross! Thunder Wave!" she commanded as the hovering eel materialized. Eelektross was quick to zap Ginny with a mild jolt of electricity that made the Pawniard's muscles lock up. Meowth sprang into action as well, but Yanmega blasted him with an Ancient Power that sent him flying into a corner. Her expression unreadable, Willa looked at the Grunt who had given the order. "Now what?" she asked.


"Heh," chuckled the Turnback Grunt. "Guess." As he spoke, he tossed an Ultra Ball of his own, sending out a Fearow. "We're not like Team Rocket, Masters. We won't just do our own thing while letting you run loose. You're a danger to our plans, so you must be dealt with early on."

"Wait, what do you mean?" Willa muttered to her colleague. "You don't mean you're going to-"

"That's exactly what I mean," snapped the man.

"But wait- I thought we were a force for good!" argued Willa. "What are we doing killing-"

"SILENCE!" roared the man, cutting off Willa's attempts at speech. "We have our orders from the boss to eliminate all that threatens progress towards our noble goal! You're new to this region, you don't know Masters- that man is relentless. Fearow! Drill Peck!" he roared.

Keith tried to stay calm, but as the Fearow's beak drew nearer to his head, he knew this was it. He didn't want to give these complete assholes the satisfaction of knowing they'd gotten to him, but there were tears in his eyes nonetheless. He cast desperate looks at Willa- Her expression had been fairly unreadable thus far, but right now she looked heavily conflicted. As their eyes met, Keith knew- he'd gotten through to one Grunt at least, even if she couldn't bring herself to go against the others.

And the tears weren't just in Keith's eyes, either. So soon after befriending this man, Amanitin was going to be the one to lose her Trainer rather than him losing her, and it tore at her. Part of her, the part of her responsible for her previous bitterness towards the whole situation, knew that this was exactly why she'd initially decided against making friends, because loss was too much for anyone to deal with. But the rest of her, the parts of her who knew that friendship was important, who knew that friends were what made life worth living, knew that she had to stop that Fearow. It was all up to her.

"PARRRRRRRRRRAAAAASSSSSSSS!" screeched Amanitin. Amanita was too surprised to even try and seize control, but she didn't even know what she'd have done in this situation anyway. But Amanitin did- jumping up, higher than she normally could thanks to the power boost from Swords Dance, she drew level with the Fearow and blasted it with a point-blank Stun Spore. And while the yellow powder made contact and had its intended effect, Amanitin saw Fearow continue to close the gap, felt a piercing, excruciating pain, and then everything went black.

~~~~~

Amanitin woke up. A cursory glance at her surroundings confirmed that she wasn't in the warehouse anymore. At first, she thought they'd been spared somehow, that they were recuperating at the Pokémon Center, but no- this wasn't like that, either. She was on somebody's bed, a bed laden with Pokémon plushes, with ones such as Phione, Pumpkaboo, Drilbur, and Mareanie scattered near her.

She examined herself. No wound seemed to have been sustained from where she felt that pain, and upon further inspection, she did not seem to still have her tochukaso mushrooms. As bewildered as she was by this, she continued to look around the room. Someone's bedroom, and a somewhat cluttered one at that. Not unclean, but clearly containing more items than the room was meant to accommodate. There were a number of bookcases and shelves containing various items, such as book, binders full of Pokémon trading cards, and in a few cases, video games. A Nintendo Switch and a GameCube were hooked up to a modestly-sized television, and plugged into a charger of some sort was what appeared to be some kind of Poké Ball. And then, Amanitin saw that she was not alone- sitting at a small tray table in a cool-looking chair, typing away intently on a laptop, was a man who looked extraordinarily like Keith Masters, but with definite differences. This man was a great deal heavier, and possessed decidedly more facial hair, and wore a wristwatch where Keith would sport his Z-Ring. On a table beside him sat a black Z-Ring, but it looked more like a plastic toy, as did the Poisonium Z set into it. And while he had no hat on, a hat that bore a remarkable resemblance to Keith Masters's Mega Hat (minus the Key Stone) sat atop a vase colored to resemble a Poké Ball.

Almost as though sensing the bug's eyes on him, the man looked up from his work, seemingly unsurprised by the Paras's presence. "Hello, Amanitin," he said.

"...Where the hell am I?" Amanitin asked.

"Well... I guess you're here," the man shrugged. He seemed unsurprised by his ability to understand Amanitin's words, and Amanitin found, strangely, that she wasn't surprised by his understanding of her words.

"And who the hell are you?" Amanitin demanded.

The man gave a chuckle. "Just... call me a writer," he said cryptically.

Amanitin stared at this man. "...Are you Arceus,?" she asked meekly.

At this, the man burst into laughter. "Oh, goodness, no!" he laughed. "I'm flattered, though. No, no... Though that being said, I can certainly see why you'd jump to that conclusion," he added fairly.

"So, wait, what's going on here?" demanded the Paras. "The last thing I remember, I was..."

"Yes?" prompted the man.

"I... I was... jumping up to use Stun... Stun Spore on the... on the Fearow..." she trailed off. It all clicked at that moment. The still-moving Fearow. The piercing agony. Everything going black. Waking up in this strange place with a strange man who vaguely resembled her Trainer and who understood exactly why she'd think he was Arceus. "...I'm dead," she whispered. "The Fearow... the Fearow gored me, didn't it? DIDN'T IT?!?!" she added hysterically, for her first attempt at the question had elicited no answer. "Oh, geez, what... what's gonna happen to Keith? I was the only one he had left to stop that thing from murdering him! What's gonna happen to Meowth and Ginny? And- wh-what's gonna happen to Amanita?"

The man raised an eyebrow. "And what about you?" he asked.

"Bitch, please- I've made peace with my lot in life by now," Amanitin responded. "I... I knew I wasn't much longer for the world. My level was getting up there, I knew it was all numbered... but not like this," she whimpered.

The man continued to eye Amanitin, regarding her with an unreadable expression.

"H-hey," Amanitin added. "You, you might not be Arceus, but you got some kinda influence, don't ya?"

The man raised an eyebrow once more. "If you're asking me to revive you-" he began.

"Screw that!" interrupted Amanitin. "If I gotta die, so be it- I already told you, I've made peace with all that by now. Just... please, help my friends," she pleaded. "I been a bitch for much of my life, so I got this coming, but they don't. Please," she begged.

For several seconds- or possibly hours, it was hard to really tell, even with that strange backwards clock hanging on one of the walls- the man and the Paras maintained eye contact, the former's expression never changing... until his mouth curled into what had to be the most reassuring smile the Paras had ever seen. "You really do care about them," he said. "You've come so far, Amanitin. I remember when you and Keith first met... you are not the same bitter bug you were back then. You put your own life on the line for your friends, and continue to do so even now. Very well." He turned back to his laptop and continued typing. "I will, no doubt, catch a lot of flak for this, but I think I can do this just this once."

"So... you'll help my friends?" asked Amanitin hopefully.

At this, the man grinned broadly as he typed away. "And then some," he responded. At this point, the room around them blurred. How she knew it, Amanitin wasn't sure, but she knew that their moment of parting was at hand.

"One more thing," the Paras called out, her voice starting to sound strangely echoey. "Is this real, or has this been happening inside my head?"

The man locked eyes with her, and even as he too vanished from sight, his single word of response still echoed in the Paras's ears; "Both."

~~~~~

Back in the warehouse. Keith was shaking, tears streaming from his eyes as a paralyzed Fearow tried to remove the lifeless Paras that it had inadvertently skewered. Meowth was in tears as well as he lay weak and practically immobile on the ground, and even Ginny was tearing up, knowing then and there that any lingering misgivings about Amanitin's change of heart had just been thoroughly discredited, albeit a little too late. The Turnback Grunt known as Willa was shaking from a combination of horror and fury, but she still couldn't bring herself to give Eelektross and Yanmega any orders.

But then, everything seemed to happen all at once. Somehow, incredibly, Amanitin's eyes flew open. and she wriggled her way off of Fearow's beak, her grievous wound closing up miraculously as she fell to the floor, and before she even landed, a familiar glow came over the Paras.

The Fearow's Trainer growled. "It's not possible!" he exclaimed.

"Amanitin...?" Keith murmured wonderingly.

"Sh- she's evolving," Meowth added shakily, still very weakened by Yanmega's Ancient Power.

Indeed, the Paras had not only apparently come back to life, but was now evolving before their very eyes. The claws and legs lengthened, and whatever changes were happening to the main body were quickly obscured as the tochukaso fused together and bloomed into one big fungal shell. And the glow faded, revealing the very much alive and well whose seemingly blank eyes were unmistakably glaring up at the Turnback Grunts and their Pokémon.

"So it evolved. Big deal," scoffed the Fearow's Trainer. "Fearow, dispatch it with Drill Peck."

"Amanita! Metal Claw!" Keith ordered, knowing that the mushroom's personality must now be in total control.

And the Parasect lunged! Her brief stint with death did not seem to have diminished the Swords Dance boost, and with a swipe of a metallic claw, she fended off the paralyzed Fearow's fresh attempt at murder. Moreover, this knocked the Fearow clean out.

"Oh, enough of this!" the man grunted in disgust. "Everyone, just attack!"

With that, the remaining Grunts all sent out a variety of Pokémon, but at that moment, Keith found that Yanmega had relaxed its grip, and he was able to get to his Poké Balls. An all-out melee ensued, with the goings-on becoming increasingly harder to keep track of, but one thing Keith noticed was that Yanmega and Eelektross were at no point ordered to attack Keith or his Pokémon. Indeed, whatever whispered orders Willa was giving them seemed to prompt them to "accidentally" interfere with her colleagues' attempts. And then, at one point, the air was thick with Yanmega copies, Yanmega having used Double Team, but this served to interfere with the other Grunts more than with Keith. Before Keith could remark on this, he saw Willa approaching, heedless of the Pawniard brandishing her blades threateningly. "Go," she whispered urgently to Keith. "Now, before they break through the Double Team."

Keith was at a loss for words at this. But now was not the time to let that hold him back. Willa was right- he had mere seconds. His only response was a brief nod and a grateful smile as he hastily withdrew his Pokémon and fled the building.

~~~~~

Once they were back home and starting to relax from their ordeal, the Parasect was looking down at herself. "...I'm alive? But how?" she murmured.

"...Amanitin?" Meowth asked incredulously. "Wait a sec- I thought Amanita was takin' da wheel fer good when youse evolved?"

"I thought so, too," the Parasect muttered breathlessly. And then, there was that subtle shift. "And so did I," chimed in Amanita. "Somehow... we still share a body. That Metal Claw and Dig back there, that was all Amanitin, but I had taken over for the Poison Powder." Floored by this development, Meowth hastened to translate for Keith.

"...So we still have both Amanitin and Amanita?" he murmured wonderingly. "But how? I've never heard of a Parasect where the mushroom and the bug host continue to share the body after evolution."

"Neither have I," added Hermione. The Weedle, of course, was part of Keith's intended team for the fake tournament. "This is most fascinating."

"Amanitin tinks it's a miracle," Meowth stated. "Afta Fearow gored her, apparently she saw some weird stuff. So I guess she's gonna be in control fer da big attackin' deals, and Amanita's gonna take control fer da more supportey kinds o' situations? At least dat's wat Hermione's hypothesis is."

"That would suit their respective battle styles," Keith nodded. "And honestly, if that's the case... y'know what? Who cares why it happened? All that matters is that we're all OK, we all still have each other, and that now we know that Team Turnback has it out for us, so we know to be more careful around them. Y'know," he added. "That one grunt who helped us... Willa, I think? I hope she gets out," he stated. "It's clear as day she wanted nothing to do with any of that, and I hope I get to repay her for helping us out like that." This statement was met with murmurs of agreement all around. Except from Ginny, but of course, rampant suspicion on her part was pretty much to be expected.


Code:
What? Paras is evolving!



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Congratulations! Your Paras evolved into Parasect!
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