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Once for the Bright Sky

Chapter Text

Four pokemon had gathered in Pokotho's Pass. Each of them were exhausted from the harsh dungeon. The cold mountains of the Hoppipfield region were no joke, even to beings as powerful as those four. Deep in the valleys, however, was a cavern where they all agreed to meet up. 

No one missed a Team Grey meeting. No matter what. 

They were silent at first, simply standing around a rock which served as a table. Some were eating oran berries and apples like they hadn't had food in weeks. One of them, known as the Mother, didn't need to eat. They spoke first.

"Why are we meeting up so soon? As far as I know, we haven't found any new information. Especially not with you three getting all caught up in the problems of the people who like you."

"We can't just let people down!" Another, known as the Watcher, reasonded. "We do have lives, you know..."

"You're the only one who chose to be here," yet another, known as the Reverser said, "you had time to leave your loved ones behind..."

"They'll be fine! I don't get why it's such a big deal."

"Don't you have children...?" The Watcher asked

"I  had  children."

"We're getting off topic." The last pokemon, known as the Whisperer, ended the conversation between the other three. "We need to find out the identity  of the last chosen one. Have we found any clues?"

"Hm... I have something. It's a little bit of a stretch, though."

"What is it that you found, watcher?"

"Well... I saw this bit of ice outside. It was shaped a bit like a bergmite."

"That WAS a bergmite! And it almost killed this bastard!" The Mother said, gesturing towards the Reverser

"Wha- no! She's exaggerating!!" The Reverser protested

"Are there any REAL clues you three found?" The Whisperer asked.

"Me! Me, I found one!"

"What was it, mother dearest?"

"That minior who lives on the edge of town in their bunker said they felt a cosmic presence coming closer. They said they think something is coming towards Hoppipfield."

"What if it hits Peanuts?!?" The Watcher shouted

The other three pokemon began panicking at the mere thought.

"... Peanuts can move, you know." The Mother reminded them.

"Oh, that's right!"

"Phew!"

"Anyways, that minior said they predict it'll land in Starlight Lake. I'm wondering if it's a sign from Pokotho. That Pikachu from the cafe hangs around there an awful lot."

"You mean Paul...?" Asked the Watcher

"Or I could mean catalyst. Isn't that exciting?"

 

 

"Watch you step! It's a little rocky over here!"

Tim took note of his father's warning, looking down at his paws as he followed behind Hannah, Deb, and Tom. Being a growlithe, he assumed that it wouldn't be too hard to explore some of the warmer parts of Hoppipfield. He didn't know that they'd be in the caves though.

"Mr. Houston...?" Hannah pawed at her teacher's side before gently nudging a seed that was on the ground. "What's this do?"

"Let me see..." Tom knelt down. Even when he wasn't standing, he was very tall compared to the rest of the group. He was an arcanine, after all. He wasn't huge in the grand scheme of things, but he definitely was compared to an eevee like Hannah. "That's a blast seed. You can put it in your bag, but don't eat it unless we're in trouble, okay?"

"Like reviver?"

"In a way. That one's used in battle, though."

"Oh, yeah, I've heard of those!" Deb said. "Isn't the flavor so intense that it feels like you're breathing fire?" She asked as she picked up the seed. Having Deb around was useful. She was a Treeko, making her the only bipedal pokemon on the team. She was a huge help when it came to managing items, since she could pick them up.

"Well, it feels like you're breathing fire because you  are  breathing fire." Tom told her.

"No way!" Deb and Tim both shouted.

"Yes way."

"Mr. Houston?" Hannah called, "Webby says we need to be careful on the next floor."

Webby was an albino Joltik who Hannah had befriended. She was quite a bit strange, but Hoppipfield had accepted her as one of those special creations of nature. Most of Hoppipfield, anyways... Webby sat on top of Hannah's head, looking around. She never left Hannah's side, always ready to help her in battle and give her advice.

"Is something on the next floor?" Tom asked.

"Hm... We need to be careful with where we walk." Hannah answered.

"Does she know anything more specific?"

Both Hannah and Webby shook their head.

"Alright, then... You heard her. Tim, Deb, you stick close to me, okay?"

"Yes, Dad."

"Got it, Mr. Houston."

"Alright. Let's get going." 

Tom led his three students through the paths and rooms, defending them  at all costs and taking any opportunities he could to teach them about the wonders of the mystery dungeons, of the world they were in. Soon enough, the group was gathered near the staircase.

"Okay, are we all good on items?" He asked.

"Lemme see..." Deb looked through the team's bag. "We have a good amount of space left, still, but we have some useful items."

"What do we have?"

"Hm... Five, no, six oran berries... Three elixirs, one max elixir, three apples, two tiny reviver seeds, one blast seed, and six... Um... Orbs. And two of these fancy sticks."

"Hm... Orbs and wands are always tricky."

"What do they do?" Tim asked.

"Exactly! You don't know until you use it. Or if you have a really good eye. The differences between different orbs or wands are extremely subtle." Tom answered. "Some pokemon like the risk of them, but I play it safe. I don't use them unless I'm in trouble. Wands are a bit less risky, but orbs can get you in a bad situation if you use them at the wrong time."

"How so?" Deb asked.

"Well... We could look at a totter orb as an example. A totter orb will confuse pokemon who are in the same room as the user. So far so good, right?"

The three students nodded.

"The thing is, it can also affect your teammates. A team like us, who stays in a group, can get really thrown off. We might even hurt each other."

"Oh, yikes..." Deb said, putting the orb and wand she was holding back into the team's bag.

"We ready to go upstairs?"

"Mhmm!"

Hannah simply nodded.

"Tim, how about you?"

"I'm a little scared..."

"We'll be okay, I promise. We just need to be a little more careful. You guys  can stay as close to me as you need."

Tim nodded.

"Now, let's go."

The four of them went up the stairs, to the next floor. Immediately they were relieved to see that the next flight of stairs was just across the room

"I love when this happens!" Deb went forward, smiling.

"Hey, be careful! There might be other pokemon nearby that we don't know about." Tom warned.

"... No dangerous pokemon near." Hannah informed. "Still be careful, Webby says."

"Alright, I'm being careful." Deb said, before continuing towards the stairs. "Come on, let's get through this place already- WOAH-!!"

A grey tile appeared underneath Deb as she walked, stopping her in her track. It had some symbol on it that glowed pink, but she couldn't process what it was before she was warped away from the group.  

Tim quickly ran towards the tile. "Where did she go?! What did it do??"

"Tim, don't touch that!" Tom ran towards his son, while Hannah hesitantly followed.

"It's kinda like a wonder tile! But... Pink and also not a wonder tile."

"That's a warp trap. Deb is somewhere else on this floor right now, and we need to find her. Don't run off on me like that again, okay? You could get hurt!"

"But Dad! I'm getting stronger! I can hold myself up in a fight! Really!"

"Something bad could happen to you!"

Hannah peered past the two of them, into a narrow passage. "Look out!" She alerted.

Tom immediately was ready to defend Tim, leaping up to take a place in front of him. Instantly, he was hit by a psybeam from the ralts in front of him. His head started to swirl, and his thoughts became scattered. Tim and Hannah backed away. It was clear from the way he was trying to attack the ralts, which was just causing him to miss it horribly, that he was confused.

"What do we do...?" Tim asked Hannah timidly.

"... Find Deb..." Hannah answered. "Then a persim berry."

"But Deb has all of our stuff! What if one of us faints before we get to her? She has the reviver seeds."

"... Have to try to find her."

"What if Dad ends up hurting himself?!"

"He's strong. Much more stronger than the pokemon here."

"Okay... I believe you. I bet Deb is already on her way."

 

Deb was lucky enough to find herself somewhere safe. She had decided to stay put and wait for the team to find her. It wouldn't take long for Tim or Tom to smell the batch of berries that were gathered in the shop Deb had landed in. "I didn't know you set up your shop in dungeons!"

The familiar Kecleon from Hoppipfield village didn't give much of a reaction to Deb's comment. He was probably used to people saying that. He seemed to be open everywhere and anytime. No one knew how he did it. "Well..." He said, his voice cracking like it always did, "someone has to."

"How do you do this stuff? You're like my age!"

"I just need to support my family. It's all worth it."

"But how are you everywhere at once??"

He simply shrugged.

"And what's this little pink berry here?"

"Oh! That's, ah..." The kecleon adjusted his glasses. "I think that's... Uh... Oh! That's a persim berry. I think it heals... Confusion? That sounds right."

"How much is it?"

"It's about... Uh... 25 pokè, I think..."

Deb nodded, taking a pile of pokè coins out of the bag and putting it next to her. She took the persim berry and put it in her bag. "Keep the change."

"I can count it! It's fine." The kecleon sat down by the pile of coins, and started to do what earned him the title of Obnoxious Kecleon: counting the coins one by one, out loud.

Deb tuned out, looking around at the other items. She spotted a few orbs out on display, which had been labeled. "Hey, did you label-"

"Five... Six..."

She waited in silence. As he continued his counting.

"... Yeah... Seven. Wait- let me double check-"

"NO! I mean- you don't- you don't need to double check. Seven is good."

"Alright. Should I-"

"Just put it in the bag."

"Okay, okay!" The kecleon did as told.

"I was gonna ask, though. Did you label these orbs yourself?"

"Yeah, I did. Why?"

"How can you tell them apart?"

"Oh! I can't."

"Darn it..."

"I have a book at home on items for dungeon explorers. It has a guide on orbs and wands, but I haven't quite memorized it..."

"Ah. I guess that makes sense."

They both nodded and found themselves with nothing more to say. Deb just hoped Tom would be there soon...

 

Tom came stumbling into Hoppipfield village. He knew how risky it was to leave his pupils in a dungeon, but it was less risky than just waiting on a whole different floor than them that you don't remember going to and hoping they'd be okay. They needed help. He was still a little dizzy, too. From the confusion and hunger. He couldn't take another step once he reached the plaza. He dropped himself onto the ground, laying there as the villagers stared in silence.  He caught his breath. The run to the village wasn't good on his nearly empty stomach, but he needed  to be fast.

A few pokemon gathered around him. He couldn't quite see them, but he recognized the voice of Charlotte, a Gloom who was in the plaza often. "Oh... Oh Arceus, Dialga  on Spear Pillar..."

"Mr. Houston?!?" Lex's worried voice was next. He could recognize it anywhere. She was one of his former students, and Hannah's older sister. She had only recently evolved into an Espeon, so she hadn't quite gotten the hang of her psychic powers yet. When she did, she'd constantly be checking in on the team, no doubt. "Is Hannah okay?!? Are you okay?!"

"Calm down! He's still breathing." That voice instantly relieved Tom. It was Becky Barnes, the village nurse. Some of the villagers underestimated her, since she was just an Audino, but Tom knew better. He knew she could probably do anything. She was like a ray of sunshine. Bright and happy, but persistent too. Her warmth would get through, and it had the power to regrow even the most barren places into lush forests. "Tommy, are you okay...? Are you hungry??? Do you need a place to rest?"

Tom managed to look up at Becky. "I'm starving... But that's not important. There's three of my students in a dungeon without me, and it's all my fault..."

"It is important if you're starving! You need to eat if you want to go back out there and save them." Becky kneeled down by his side, making sure he didn't have any open wounds before looking back at the pokemon gathered around. "Everyone, I'm gonna need some help. We gotta get Tom to the hospital. I'll need help carrying him. I'll need some others to get help from a rescue team  so we can get the kids help. Tom, do you remember what dungeon you were in?"

"We were in the Charred Caverns. We were pretty far in."

"You hear that, everyone?? Someone get a rescue team to Charred Caverns!!"

"What's going on?!" Two more pokemon ran over. It was easy to tell by the gentle ringing of the bell on the cafe door that it was Paul and Emma, the owners of Hoppipfield  Coffee. 

"What happened to Tom?? Who are we rescuing?? Is everyone okay???" Paul was brimming with worry, looking around the plaza frantically.

"He had Tim with him, didn't he?" Emma asked. She might've not been the closest with her nephew, but she would go out there to save him without hesitation.

"Yes, he did..." Becky told her.

"You said they were in Charred Cavern, right?"

"Yes." She said again.

"Then I'm going."

"What??" Paul looked at Emma, shocked. "We don't have much experience with dungeons, though! You're just a Snivy, you'll burn up in there!"

"I'm not letting him faint in there without his family, and no one is changing my mind."

"But what if-??" Paul stopped himself mid-sentence. "Well, I guess I'm not strong against fire types and stuff but I'm not weak... I'll go with you."

"Paul, Emma, are you sure?" Becky asked. "I'm sure Tom has taught the kids well, and they'll be able to keep themselves from fainting for at least a few hours. And Paul, you told me your tail was still hurting from the surgery."

"A sore tail isn't gonna stop me. If anything, I feel stronger with this tail." It was true. Ever since Paul had gotten a lightning-bolt shaped tail he had been much happier. It still didn't change the fact that he was only a pikachu with little experience with mystery dungeons.

"Then I'm coming, too." Tom said, trying to stand.

"You need to rest!" Becky insisted. "You can't go back in there right away!"

"I just need some food and some berries. By the time we're at the caves, I'll probably feel better."

"I can't stop you, but it's not a good idea..." She warned.

"Sometimes you need to take risks. I think now is that time. I'll get some food, but then we're going. Paul, Emma?"

Emma nodded. "What is it?"

"Can you guys check out what Kecleon has in stock right now?"

Paul and Emma went over to the shop.

"Tommy, I'm still not sure about this..." Becky said. "I know how you feel. I know you wanna be there for Tim, but sometimes you can't and you need to look after yourself, too. I promise you, he's not gonna go missing like Jane-"

Tom stood up, though his legs shook. "I  need  to   be there for him."

Becky nodded silently. "I'll get you some apples. Good luck out there."

"I'm gonna bring everyone back unharmed if it's the last thing I do, and that's that. A little luck might help, but I don't think I'll be needing it."

Paul and Emma waited by the gates to the village, with a bag full of whatever items they thought they could possibly need.  "We're ready to go when you are." Emma told Tom.

"I'll lead you through the dungeon. I'll keep all of you safe, I promise."

"I believe you, Tom."