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 Project SOLO (DNA's Explorers of Sky run) - Int 1B Up! 
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Chapters posted thus far:

Foreword: The Torture that Led to This Day (Post #1)
Chapter 0: How Low Can I Go? (Post #9)
Chapter 1: I Kept Getting Sand in my Mouth (Post #16)
Chapter 2: In Which I Shoot the Messenger (Post #23)
Chapter 3: I've Become a Babysitter (Post #28)
Chapter 4: Where “Because Rayne” is the Reason for Everything (Post #31)
Chapter 5: Dedicated to The Black Glove (Post #38)
Chapter 6: The Grindstone for Newbies (Post #43)
Chapter 7: Time Skips are Helpful Filler (Post #51)
Chapter 8: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA (Post #55)
Chapter 9: My Imagination is Healthy (Post #59)
Chapter 10: The Lightning Hero (Post #71)
Chapter 11: We Are Not Rich People (Post #75)
Chapter 12: Brothers-In-Arms (Post #78)
Chapter 13: We’re Nearly There, I Swear (Post #80)
Intermission 1A: It's Very Dialogue-Driven (Post #86)
Intermission 1B: Oh, Sure, Pick on the Fat Guy (Post #88)

~~~~~

Project SOLO
(or, DNA Gets High as he Explores the Sky)

Foreword: The Torture that Led to This Day


I feel that this is enough of a grand undertaking that I should explain it with a little backstory.
...said no one ever, but I’m going to do it anyway.

The events that have led me to this point are a combination of humor, boredom, disenchantment, encouragement, drudgery, irony, and – of course – hypocrisy, the biggest one of all. As some people who know me might be aware, I used to be a big part of the official Pokémon sphere, but I severed all formal relationships with it on 21 January 2014. The people I worked with had known since September that I was ultimately going to leave, so the event, although quite sad to everyone involved (myself included), was not unexpected.

Elsewhere, on the Internet, the plan there too was the same, but unlike in real life, I kept that a secret, telling only a trusted few. The final strand there wasn’t cut until 1 February 2014 (about a week and a half later), but (aside from the people I told) no one saw it coming. I pulled up my roots and retreated back to the land of Skype, which became my main haunt. I was going to leave behind everything, but due to the insistence (read: nagging) of some of my friends, there was one lone forum I stuck around.

This is where the irony comes in. The last thing I did before quitting was to do a CMT (choose-my-team) run of Pokémon Pearl – and I announced this after I told people I was quitting. (I told everyone I was quitting, but few I was actually leaving.) It was based largely on the story of DOLO (an acronym that stands for “Drunks only; live once” – yes, the semicolon is required), in which an old friend of mine logged into an IRC chat I used to frequent, while drunk as a skunk, and challenged one of the regulars there to a fight on Pokémon Showdown. Later on, one of the other regulars drank some Bacardi rum to match the guy’s drunkenness, and the two drunk guys later battled it out as well.

It’s about as hilarious as it sounds. We were all good friends as well, so we had a fun time spectating the matches also. You can find the replays here and here (be warned, they both contain a fair bit of colorful language and are thus NSFW).

‘DNA dolos his way through Pearl’, or Dolo Pearl, as it came to be called, was a fantastic success. I had made an otherwise horrid game extremely entertaining to watch, even though it consisted largely of inside jokes. Still, I knew my audience, and they knew me, so it was enjoyed by all. Several of the regular readers of the topic also had cameos in the run, as my sort of thank-you to them for putting up with me.

Then 1 February happened, and I disappeared, only a few days after I put up Dolo Pearl’s final chapter. Of course, I had finished the main content of the game long before, but what was I doing then? During my Pokémon days, I had made a joking bet that I would play Pokémon Y if I could get it for $20 – a goal essentially impossible due to how Pokémon prices their games. The reason I said this is because 1) that was its worth to me, and 2) setting the bar so out of reach would essentially ensure I’d never get it.

(To be accurate, the announcements in September regarding X and Y, in particular the alterations to Steel-type’s matchups and the horrid mess now known today as Mega Evolution, were what spurred me to quit, that enough was enough, and I wouldn’t put up with Pokémon’s horrible attitude anymore.)

During the days leading up to Thanksgiving weekend, my good friend Mike (known to most as Elemental Knight) made known to the Skype room I hang out in that Toys R Us was doing a 3-day sale in which Pokémon X and Y would be sold for $20 plus tax – half price, at the joking level I never thought possible. “Well, crap,” I thought to myself. “Now I have to make good on my stupid bet.”

This also coincided with when Wal-Mart was offering the Garchomp and Scizor codes with new copies of Pokémon X and Y respectively. Since I absolutely loathe Toys R Us, I scrounged around Wal-Mart’s site to see if they had a price-matching guarantee. As it turns out, they did, so I printed out a copy of the TRU ad, plus a copy of Wal-Mart’s policy, just so I’d have everything I would need, in case trouble arose. In the end, there was no trouble whatsoever (though the Wal-Mart employee and I weren’t able to find the coded copies for a while, but it turned out they were just upside-down and somewhere else, and we had a good laugh about it). Only too happy to play TRU and Wal-Mart off against each other, I purchased Pokémon Y from them for $20 plus tax. Then I put it off to the side and left it alone, never to open its plastic wrap until late December.

Now, why am I telling you all this if it has absolutely nothing to do with where I’m going? Well, it’s mostly to get it off of my chest. Throughout this whole ordeal of dragging myself away from Pokémon, I have been a gigantic hypocrite and masochist every step of the way. It’s given me an incredible amount of self-loathing as well as even more loathing for Pokémon itself, both of which to levels I don’t think are healthy. The loathing has dissipated (mostly), but the disdain remains. It’s also partly explaining why I hate Pokémon so much now, and why I’m actually justified in my hatred, not just some angsty teenager who craves attention. The tabletop however, specifically PTU, remains very fun and enjoyable for me, due to its flexibility and the awesome people I’ve met through it. I love you all. <3

Plus I like telling long and elaborate stories that take forever to get to the punch line. It’s a sickness.

Okay, back to the story. The main reason I let it sit there for a whole month is because of school. I’m a college student and I have priorities, and video games I know I’ll hate are not one of them. So I didn’t actually get around opening up and playing Y until late December. But while doing so, I was trying to think of ways to enjoy this game, because I knew I’d hate it.

And in the process, ‘DNA’s Blind Run of Pokémon Y’, or Y run for short, was born. Like Dolo Pearl, it was written in the same style, with IRC-like comments interspersed throughout (a style I got from my friend’s Yellow Nuzlocke), but unlike it, I didn’t cast anyone as anybody I knew, since I was going through the whole thing essentially blind. Thus, I created a PC (Ingrid) to play for me, while I would be the Omnipotent Sky Voice, guiding her to my whims. Fletchling, one of the fans of Dolo Pearl, followed me to Y run, and was the one who encouraged me to go through with it in the end. He stuck around for the tasteless Fletchling+/vp/ jokes, but that’s neither here nor there.

Y run ran (somewhat) concurrently with Dolo Pearl, though as far as I was concerned, Y run didn’t exist. I hated the game before getting it, and now, having played it, I hate it even more. It was without a doubt the biggest waste of my time I’ve ever had that wasn’t my childhood itself, and I’ve lost $20 that I’m never going to be able to get back. I put pretty much everything on hold to get that game finished and out of my life for good. Since finishing it (and this was in mid-January or so), I haven’t touched it once.

Fast forward a few months and I suddenly get this urge to play a Gen 3 game. Hoenn was my favorite region, and Emerald my favorite Pokémon game, during my plays through the years, and I wanted to see if a friend had a spare copy of a Hoenn game I could use for this purpose – because I didn’t want to delete my Emerald save. As fortune would have it, one of my former Pokémon league friends (the only one I still contact regularly) had a Ruby he’d be willing to lend me. Deciding to go back to the old pattern I did with Pearl, I went back to my old haunt of Psypoke way way WAY back (the first real Internet forum I joined, actually) and presented them with the opportunity to help me make a CMT run. The result was Dolo Ruby, with the official name being ‘DNA and Ray’s Excellent Adventure’.

Much like Dolo Pearl, Dolo Ruby was also a fantastic hit – though less so than Pearl because, while I kept the inside jokes and cameo opportunities, my audience was smaller and different, and very few knew the history behind DOLO – the ones who came closest were some older fans from Dolo Pearl days, whose names were ChillBill and Haunted Water (the latter of whom will be important), so I had to dumb it down a bit. Regardless, it became a fantastic success, and was my shortest of those runs (13 chapters, compared to Y’s 15 and Pearl’s 17).

The next segue was really weird, honestly. Back when I was planning Ruby, I was talking with Fletchling on whether I should do a run of Ruby or of SoulSilver. I ultimately did Ruby as that would be a lot less expensive (I would have to buy SoulSilver), plus Ruby is the better game – SoulSilver has the problem of Johto having extremely wonky difficulty. With that in mind I put SoulSilver on the back burner, intending to do it later – Ruby’s intent was to be done in the original Dolo Pearl style, while SoulSilver was going to be done in the Y style (and thus bring back Ingrid).

Later on, somehow, when I was in the old Skype room, the topic of Mystery Dungeon came up, and that made me start thinking of Explorers of Sky for some odd reason. This led Kaori Sakura, the room’s owner and an old friend of mine, to say “DNA, if you dolo Explorers of Sky, I will read the s*** out of it” – yes, those were the exact words. It’s a bit hard to argue with that – I decided, at that moment, that, were I to do this, its official name would be ‘DNA Gets High as he Explores the Sky’ – because the opening sequence features a multi-colored aurora that gives you a personality test, and I can’t explain how that makes sense without alluding to drugs. Plus, it goes with the DOLO theme, somewhat. Don’t think about it too hard.

I later brought the idea up with Fletchling, again presenting the EOS vs SoulSilver dilemma, and he instantly went with EOS. I posed the same question to Haunted Water, and he did too, even going so far (after hearing the official title) to call it #SOLO, standing for ‘Stoners only live once’, a fairly obvious allusion to DOLO. I liked the idea for his name so much that I decided its short unofficial name would be Project SOLO. (Yes, I am posting it on 2 forums, but the content is the same – only the audience is different.)

About this time I announced in the Dolo Ruby topic that I was working on a new project, but that those who knew what it was had to be quiet. Only HW and Fletchling knew what it was – that project being Project SOLO (or, as HW called it, SOLONODOLO). By now Dolo Ruby had been long finished, and all I would need to do is post the last few chapters and I’d be on my way.

Yeah, so much for ‘a little backstory’. This is turning into a term paper. It’s almost over, I promise.

Now that I was serious about going through with this, I had to think about who I would be, who my partner would be, and how I would choose to write this. Unlike the past 3 runs I did (Dolo Pearl, Y run, and Dolo Ruby), I would be writing this like an actual story/fanfic, with no IRC-like interjections to be seen. I might insert a few pictures here and there, to set the mood (some off the Internet, some potentially drawn myself), but it would essentially be written as a story, played to the tune of a game, how I would be playing it.

Then, of course, the team planning – something I always do. Recruiting in Mystery Dungeon is a bit sporadic, and the only characters you have total control of are you and your partner. As with my past runs (excluding Y, to an extent), I would be playing the part of myself, so that was easy. The thing is...who would be my partner? I definitely didn’t want it to be Ingrid or any imaginary character, because that would be asking for nothing but trouble, and the story would get really stale really fast. No, it would have to be someone I really like and respect, and willing enough to go off on wild and wacky adventures with me.

I then realized one of my friends meets those requirements perfectly, and the starter species would be a no-brainer. Then I’d just work backwards to pick someone for myself. Who I’ve chosen for the both of us you will find out when the story begins. I brought this up with my friend, explaining it all with a highly condensed version of the story you see here (yes, you all get to suffer), and outlining all the details. The response was a “yes” that was much more enthusiastic than even I was expecting. After asking a few more questions for specific minor flavor details (like the color bow you get at the beginning of the game), I then had everything I needed to get this story going.

And with that, I have come at long last to the start of the 4th run of mine through a Pokémon game done upon request – something I had never done before until I was getting ready to quit, and something I have, ironically enough, kept doing long after my ties were severed. The newer games may keep to themselves, but I will remain with old favorites. And that is the result of what you see here.

Yes, Kaori. I will hold you to your promise. You WILL read this, and I will not take no for an answer.

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I'm about to mess with this game in ways you never even thought possible.


Project SOLO – Coming soon to a topic near you.
(The initial chapter should be posted sometime within the next few days.)

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Last edited by DNA on Sun Sep 28, 2014 8:30 pm, edited 17 times in total.



Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:27 am
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IT BEGIIIIINS
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Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:06 am
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oh baby yes

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Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:08 am
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DNA wrote:
It’s about as hilarious as it sounds. We were all good friends as well, so we had a fun time spectating the matches also. You can find the replays here and here (be warned, they both contain a fair bit of colorful language and are thus NSFW).

Because I've already seen these (blame Teapot's bio DNA) I will only say that the second battle has possibly the most hilarious Abomasnow quote that is, was or will be. Pride owns even when drunk and losing.
I'll be keeping tags on this SOLO, DNA.

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Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:20 am
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ChillBill wrote:
Because I've already seen these (blame Teapot's bio DNA) I will only say that the second battle has possibly the most hilarious Abomasnow quote that is, was or will be. Pride owns even when drunk and losing.
I'll be keeping tags on this SOLO, DNA.

IGOT PREICTZ
amaboma snow will destroy u

I'm pretty sure those are the two greatest Pokemon battles of all time.

It's funny, because I think I might actually have found a good role for you. I don't know if it really works all that well (I'll have to see where the story goes), but I honestly think you might like it.

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Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:57 am
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DNA wrote:
The newer games may keep to themselves, but I will remain with old favorites.

Omg I'm glad to hear you say that! :D These old games will indeed remain classics, while Pokemon will slowly die. Everyone plays Leafgreen and Emerald on their cellphones anyway.

So this is epic, you will DOLO one of my favorite games, just behind PMD1. (A serie that Gamefreak obviously had to kill. Seriously, playing Gates to Infinity was one of the worst experiences in my life) And unlike the main games, you have potentially more stuff to build your story, with all these characters and Easter Eggs... I simply can't wait.

Ps. You'll have to do PMD1 someday. Articuno is like "lololol snow"

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Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:24 pm
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GhostPony750 wrote:
DNA wrote:
The newer games may keep to themselves, but I will remain with old favorites.

Omg I'm glad to hear you say that! :D These old games will indeed remain classics, while Pokemon will slowly die. Everyone plays Leafgreen and Emerald on their cellphones anyway.

So this is epic, you will DOLO one of my favorite games, just behind PMD1. (A serie that Gamefreak obviously had to kill. Seriously, playing Gates to Infinity was one of the worst experiences in my life) And unlike the main games, you have potentially more stuff to build your story, with all these characters and Easter Eggs... I simply can't wait.

Ps. You'll have to do PMD1 someday. Articuno is like "lololol snow"


And Groudon is like "lol I'm Groudon"
The legendaries act the same in both PMD1 and 2, essentially. However, PMD1 has a lot less to do, and the plot is essentially over when you beat the final boss Rayquaza - PMD2's postgame is another whole plotline. On top of that, I beat Rayquaza just recently in a Blue Rescue Team run and I think I can only bear it so many times :P

I played PMD3 Gates to Infinity's demo. It was horrible. No one could give me a legitimate reason as to how GTI could be good. One guy bought GTI new and he was disappointed so I offered to buy it off him for $15. He never took the offer in the end. It is a shame, because I heard the WiiWare one was really good, and Mystery Dungeon was my favorite of all the Pokemon games.

But old games get older, and become classics, which is what they now are. EOS was an incredibly solid title and the only bad thing about it is that it made Time/Darkness look horrible by comparison - not that T/D are to blame for this. I almost picked up Emerald the other day, but as I booted it up, I received the message that the internal battery died. While that's not normally a big deal, I did abuse Secret Bases a lot. Maybe one day...

I do hope you enjoy. I don't have any plans to do any more (but that's what I said the last several times, so we'll have to see!), though if I do, PMD1 is not a very likely candidate.

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Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:39 pm
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DNA wrote:
IGOT PREICTZ
amaboma snow will destroy u

Those were exactly the quotes I was referring to.
And I'll like the role? It isn't like you to be so nice. Thank you DNA.

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Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:55 pm
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Project SOLO
(or, DNA Gets High as he Explores the Sky)

Chapter 0: How Low Can I Go?


I honestly don’t remember how I got here, or even where I am. I remember going to sleep one night, with everything perfectly normal for me, and the next thing I feel is I’m lying down on air. Everything feels numb; I can’t move anything, and my joints fail to respond. I can’t even tell if I’m dreaming or dead. I know in my dreams my senses are drastically reduced, but at least I have some control – not like this. I can’t open my eyes, move my limbs, wiggle my fingers...even talk. Nothing. The only thing I can control is my mind, and that’s fully occupied with the thought of not having a clue where I am. At this point I hope this is nothing more than a dream, and I’m going to wake up soon.

The dark and deathly silence is broken soon thereafter by an echoing cry of “Welcome!”

“Welcome?” I murmur. “Welcome to what? Death? Limbo? Torture?”

“Why don’t you open your eyes, to see where you are?”

“Open...my eyes?” I’m skeptical at this point, since I tried to open my eyes before and got absolutely nowhere. But anything is better than this insensate nightmare I’m trapped in, so I try again. Sure enough, this time it works, and the sight that now floods my retinas is a multi-colored aurora, transitioning between colors, as if viewing a rainbow in panorama and greatly zoomed in. The rest of my body still refuses to respond, so I’m still not much better off, but at least I know where I am.

Wait a sec. No I don’t.

“Am...Am I dreaming?” I ask.

“No, not at all!” the voice returns. I can hear where the voice is coming from now – it seems to be the aurora itself.

“If I’m not dreaming...then I’m clearly high and I don’t even know it.”

“What? Why would you even suggest that?”

“Well: I can’t feel any part of my body; I’m stuck in a dream-like state; I can’t see anything around me except for bright and changing colors; and to top it all off, the colors are talking to me. If that’s not being high, I don’t know what is!”

“I can assure you that you are not high, though now that you mention it, that would be very convenient...”

“The Light of Dolo!? Is that you!? It’s me, DNA!”

Image
...Not quite.


“Ha, not quite, my friend. Though, like the Light of Dolo, I am here to take you on a wonderful and fantastic adventure!”

“A future that seems to be neither blind nor excellent.”

“It’s as excellent as you choose to make it. You see... You are standing within the portal that leads to the world inhabited only by Pokémon. Beyond this gateway, many new adventures and fresh experiences await your arrival!”

“Oh, please, no.”

“No?”

“You would surround me with a plethora of things I hate, despise, and want to get away from as quickly as I can. I really want nothing to do with this, so if you could take me back home to where I was before, that would be great.”

“Is there nothing I can say to convince you to stay? Nothing at all?”

“...You seem like a respectable enough fellow, even if you might just be a drug-induced hallucination. I’ll hear you out, but on one condition. If your explanation fails to satisfy me, I want you to send me back home and never bother me again. Is that fair?”

“I suppose I will just have to use my words to convince you? Very well...”

“Start talking.”

“Not too long ago, I talked with someone who claimed to know you very well. I stated that I needed her help for something in my world, and she jumped at the chance, because she loved the chance of both adventure and helping those in need. I came to you because I believed your presence would make her adventure more enjoyable.”

“Is that all?”

“Yes. If you have any questions, ask them.”

“Permit me to think a bit in silence, if you would.”

My first impression of this High Voice’s offer was that it sounded a whole lot like blackmail. It claims to have let someone else into its world, who coincidentally is someone I know very well. To me, it sounds like it’s trying to use my friend as a bargaining chip. The worst part is that it didn’t even give me a name, so as far as I can tell, it’s just making stuff up. The whole thing reeks of a trap, to be honest.

But what if it’s true? What if it really is one of my friends out there in the Pokémon world? It would be my duty to go to help in whatever capacity I could, and our reunion would most certainly be a happy one. The incentive to go in this case would be great, but... I need more information. Looks like it’s time for me to ask the Voice a few more questions.

“This friend... How did you come to know that this person knew me very well?”

“I actually found out just by chance; she volunteered the information quite by accident. I believe she said something along the lines of ‘DNA would love to hear about this!’, and dove right in.”

“So the only reason I’m here is because of a hint my friend gave... You said it’s a female, and that doesn’t exactly narrow it down. Did you get her name?”

“Unfortunately I did not.”

“Did you suggest to her at all the possibility that I’d be coming along shortly as well?”

“I did not. I would have to ascertain the possibility of your arrival...and I don’t even have that. All I’m telling you is what I know. It’s honestly a stroke of fate that I found you. And...whoever your friend is, I think this would make her really happy.”

“...Very well, I’ll entertain you for now. But if I find out that this is just a trap, I will find and kill you, and nothing will stop me from doing so, even if you are incorporeal.”

“Fair. Before you depart for adventure, however, you must answer some questions. This is standard fare for everyone I try to bring here, so I’m sorry if they bore you. Be truthful when you answer them! Now, are you ready?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be, I suppose. I just want to be able to move my body when this is all over.”

“Everyone around you is laughing hard at something you think is pretty boring. What do you do? Do you do nothing, do you laugh along, or would it depend on the situation?”

“...what the hell kind of a question is that? That’s one of the vaguest things I’ve ever heard.”

“I don’t make the questions; I just give them. Whoever developed this system was probably being vague on purpose, and I wish they’d just let people choose for themselves, honestly.”

“Ugh, fine...I’d probably do nothing.”

“Do you prefer to be busy, have a lot of free time, or somewhere in between?”

“Being busy, definitely. The beginning of boredom is where good intentions go to die.”

“Do you think blaming something you did on someone else is sometimes necessary?”

“No way! What kind of sick bastard would do that!?”

“Once you’ve decided something, do you see it through to the end?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Do you like karaoke?”

“No, I don—who the hell writes these questions.”

“I only wish I knew. Okay, to hurry this up – you’re at a movie theater; what kind of movie are you there to see?”

“An action movie, I guess? I rarely see movies and I only go when invited, which is about twice a year.”

“Have you ever accidentally called a teacher Mom or Dad?”

“No.”

“Have you ever purposefully called a teacher Mom or Dad?”

“No; stop being a jerk.”

“Everyone’s sharing a dessert, and you find there’s an extra piece. What do you do? Do you not tell anyone, do you let everyone know, or do you go for it yourself?”

“Don’t tell anyone, honestly. I don’t like blurting things out and I know someone will notice eventually.”

“Are you male or female?”

“Male, as if my gravelly voice wasn’t a dead giveaway.”

“And now your aura will be analyzed. Your aura is the energy you radiate!”

“I swear, if you are actually Kaori in disguise, I will drink every tear you ever produce.”

“I’m not; I’m just interested in the color.”

At these words, a small bow, like what one would see on a wrapped present, materialized in front of my eyes. Its color was a purest white, yet it was incredibly unassuming, so generic. It floated in front of my gaze, as if waiting for energy to be poured into it.

“Relax, calm yourself...” the voice requested of me, “and now press your fingertip gently on the bow.”

I felt my arm being able to move again. With each new thing required of me by this voice, a piece of my body became once again capable of responding to stimuli. I tried lifting my right hand up to touch it, and though it was a slow task, I found myself able to do so. Yet I was unable to see my own hand, or any other piece of me – in this aurora world, I was completely invisible, but I could feel myself touching the bow’s center. It seemed to be moving in response.

“That’s right... Stay perfectly still...” the voice continued. “Take a deep breath...” I inhaled. “...and then exhale...” I completed my breath. As I did so, all became black for a moment. The voice remained, however: “Your aura has been analyzed. Remove your fingertip from the bow.”

I did so, slowly lowering my arm back to its original resting position. “Your aura is... a mystic purple!” the voice finished, with the rainbow-colored world once again materializing into view. The bow was there as well, but instead of its lifeless white, it was now a deep shade of purple – a shade I’d been very familiar with in the past, and was very close to my favorite color (itself being a specific shade of purple).

“...Thank you for asking all those questions,” the voice went on. “Most people would go mad from that.”

“Oh, trust me, I already have,” I answered. “Now, what was the point of all that? Don’t I get the results of my test?”

“That you do, and I’ll tell you right away. You seem to be...the brave type! You don’t know the meaning of fear! You’re not afraid to keep moving forward in the face of danger. You also have a strong sense of justice and can’t turn a blind eye to someone in trouble. But you sometimes push your own personal sense of justice too hard. Be careful that you don’t get too pushy!”

“Hmm, that sounds a lot like me, honestly. I do like standing in the path of danger to protect those whom I care about. But still, what was the point of that exercise?”

“It was to ascertain what Pokémon species fits you best. So, a brave type like you...”

“Go on...”

“...will be a Pikachu!”

Image
I just told you that I DON’T like karaoke.


“NO,” I shouted, attempting to spring to my feet and walk out the door, while forgetting that I could neither move my limbs nor find a door to walk out of. “None of that crap. If I could move right now, I’d kill you repeatedly and drain every last tear from your body before drinking it.”

“Hey now, don’t be so hostile! I don’t write the results of this test!”

“Fine, how about this. You want me to play along with your game, you want me to enter your world...you play by my rules. What I want is what I get, because there’s no way I’ll put up with some Pokémon adventure garbage if I’m miserable and self-loathing every step of the way. I’ve already had quite enough of that over the past few months.”

“Very well, what do you suggest?”

“We’re going to go through this test a thousand times if I have to, before I get both the species I want and the color bow I want.” At this, the purple color completely drained from the bow that was before my eyes. “And I will do whatever it takes to make sure that I get that result.”

“But why not just tell me the results you want so I can just give you that?”

“Because you said I was a Pikachu, and I intend to make you pay for your sin with psychological torture.”

“But won’t you be tortured just as much?”

“Time doesn’t pass here. Once I leave this place nothing will have really happened, while you will have to suffer with these memories for a veritable eternity.”

“...You are a horrible, horrible human being.”

“Your fault for bringing up Pikachu. Now let’s get this going, drug light.”

And so, the repetition of the personality test began. I don’t even know how much time I spent in that infinite void, but at least I knew that, one day, I would be escaping from here and would do so with a mission. If I knew I’d be staying here forever, I would go absolutely bonkers, even with the voice being as amicable as it was. I’ll spare you the boring details, but I will bring up some of the things I said of the test I got on some of the retries:

“Darnit, that’s the wrong shade of blue. Let’s try this again.”

“I find out I really like someone and I’m not sure how to tell anyone? What kind of a question is that? What, do I look like a shy lovesick teenager to you?”

“Dude, this is pink. This is the complete opposite of blue. You’re clearly slipping.”

“For the umpteenth time! How many times do I have to tell you – I am MALE!!”

“Yes, I’m lying on some of the questions so I get the result I want. Stop making the bow pink!”

Until finally...

“You seem to be...the sassy type! Or at least somewhat sassy! You don’t like taking orders. You’re a little rebellious and like to disagree. You’re a lone wolf. You like to keep your distance from groups and go off to do things on your own.”

He was dead wrong, of course, but I had fallen asleep from boredom at this point.

“Older folks may be the ones who find you the most disagreeable, even selfish. But people younger than you tend to really admire you! So, a sassy type like you... will be a Riolu!”

“Yes!! Finally!!” I shouted, suddenly alert, attempting to jump and raise my arms in the air, but at that point I was reminded that I’m still technically numb. I was able to raise one arm, at least – the arm I kept raising to touch the color-changing bow, which was now a very nice cobalt blue.

“But...there’s a catch...”

“Oh, what now!? You can’t seriously intend to keep me here! You wanted me to leave!”

“No, I do intend to send you on your way. It’s just that...there’s been a shortage of Riolu lately. People were so excited about it at first that all the Riolu got taken up really fast, so we had to put a system in place. It’s not as bad now, but we could only send people in once the previous owners were done with the body.”

“Hold on a second. You’re telling me that I’m going to be inside a Riolu body that was previously inhabited by someone else?”

Image
Well, as long as I don’t end up looking like this...


“It’s been refurbished and it’s ready for use – it’s just technically used, but it’s in good condition!”

“Do you seriously imply that Pokémon bodies are like used cars? This universe makes absolutely no sense. Well, this wouldn’t be the first time I had to inhabit someone else’s body for the sake of a play-through...”

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you. Did you just hint at a hentai joke?”

“If I could move right now, I most certainly would kill you for that comment alone. Now get me out of here.”

“All right. OK! That’s it! You’re all ready to go! You’re off to the world of Pokémon! Be strong! Stay smart! And be victorious!”

“You don’t need to tell me twice. Let’s get this over with.”

With those words spoken, I fell asleep instantly, once again into an insensate state. The aurora faded, the voice faded, the atmosphere around me faded – until all was in darkness. I don’t know when or where I’d be waking up again, but I knew it definitely wouldn’t be here again. Thank goodness.

It was time to enter this world of Pokémon...and find my friend.

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Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:50 pm
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You had the same reaction than me when I got a Machop! xD (Am I the only one who didn't pick a Riolu in Explorers?)

It's only chapter 0 and it's awesome. It's going to be great! :)

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Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:41 pm
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I knew you were going to get Pikachu. I knew it.

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Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:07 am
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@HW: Irony is painful. But it is also funny, and that's why I decided to include the detail.

@GP750: I did something similar when I got Meowth on my first try in PMD1. I retried it and got Charmander instead. Charmander consistently remains the most common result choice for me. He's amazing in PMD1, though - Heat Wave yesplz

I wanted to pick someone different in EOS this time around for a change of pace, so I planned ahead and thought about who to pick. Treecko was a good candidate but isn't all that amazing against a few things - sure he gets Agility and Quick Attack, but not much else of note. The thing that most drew me to Lucario (not Riolu, Lucario) is that you can have Aura Sphere, Extremespeed, Dark Pulse, and Dragon Pulse all at once - all of those moves are a different type, and all have a different range. For me, that's just ludicrously good. Charizard still gets Heat Wave and Raichu/Shinx get Discharge still, but room-wide moves have been considerably weakened in PMD2 so I didn't want to go for it.

words words words tl;dr I like Lucario in the end because awesome movepool

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Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:02 am
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Yea, Lucario is very good. If you can get past Drowzee ofc. xD

I played these games so many time that if I take a different team then what I usually pick, it just feel empty. I always pick Charmander and Chikorita, which I named Zephyr and Solanum (potato in latin). I like charmander mostly because he can learn smokescreen. That thing is really, but REALLY useful for everything. While Solanum spams her bullet seed on everything.

But I always end up with a Salamence anyway. Fy deals around 2500 damage.

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Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:04 pm
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GhostPony750 wrote:
Yea, Lucario is very good. If you can get past Drowzee ofc. xD

I played these games so many time that if I take a different team then what I usually pick, it just feel empty. I always pick Charmander and Chikorita, which I named Zephyr and Solanum (potato in latin). I like charmander mostly because he can learn smokescreen. That thing is really, but REALLY useful for everything. While Solanum spams her bullet seed on everything.

But I always end up with a Salamence anyway. Fy deals around 2500 damage.

bite pls

From my experiences in PMD1, I know exactly how good Smokescreen is. ;P

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Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:43 pm
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Pikachu, lol.
And also, the final results you got are exactly me... well, maybe a bit toned down. Too bad I never played EOS (I had Darkness). Lucario is among my favorite Pokemon.

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[Back to Top]

From henceforth with each chapter, below its name, you'll see a G followed by a number and a name. This corresponds to the chapter in the game where I'm at. If it's an S instead of a G, it's a Special Episode. Just in case you want to follow along. If it says 2-1, it means it's chapter 2, part 1, for example. Most chapters will be split up into parts, so keep your eyes peeled!

Project SOLO
(or, DNA Gets High as he Explores the Sky)

Chapter 1: I Kept Getting Sand in my Mouth
(G1: A Storm at Sea)


The next thing I remember is being tossed around as if by strong ocean waves. I could feel my body, mostly, but it felt strangely numb now. I couldn’t open my eyes either; they were shut and I couldn’t force myself to open. I felt like I was dreaming, since I don’t feel a sensation like this unless I’m dreaming. But then suddenly, my arm was grabbing someone else’s, gripping it like there was no tomorrow, and the rest of me was being pulled downward. Rain was assailing me all about, and the sound of thunder occasionally broke through my ears. I must be in some kind of storm, possibly about to fall off a boat into the ocean. Then suddenly, a voice.

“Are... Are you OK?!” it yelled out. I could tell it was talking to me. It was probably the one who was holding onto my arm so strongly.

“I... I don’t know!” I yelled back, instinctively. Another peal of thunder rang through the air.

“No! Don’t let go!” It was trying to pull me up, away from whatever I was about to fall into.

“I’m trying! I’m holding on as hard as I can!” It’s true; I was. Were I alert I might have been holding with even more strength, but in my strange dreamlike state I could only do so much. Nevertheless, with the one arm I was holding on with, it had a death grip.

“Just a little longer...” it continued, pulling me towards it still. “Come on! Hang on!” I was trying to work with the voice, but then suddenly I felt my arm slip. My hand, which had once been grabbing an arm, was now grabbing a wrist. Not good. Not good at all.

“N-N-No! I can’t... hold on...!” I spat out meekly. Was this death? Was this just a dream? It was more real than any dream I’d ever felt; though my body behaved like it was in a dream, the thunder was incredibly loud and the rain batted against me hard, like each drop was a little tiny bullet tearing into me.

Then it happened. My grip slipped entirely. I let out a scream as I was pulled down into an inky darkness, continuing to fall, but strangely never hitting bottom. I blacked out completely only a few seconds later, not knowing where I was, who was trying to help me, or even why I was placed into such a predicament. It couldn’t all be over this quickly, could it?

No, it was not. As before, I don’t know how long I was out cold for, but my next feeling was that I was lying flat on some wet sand. A beach? Possibly a shoreline? Did I indeed fall into the storming ocean and was later washed to shore? I could also hear the sound of the tide soon thereafter, so I was definitely on a shoreline somewhere. I didn’t feel or hear any rain, though. Maybe the storm had long passed?

I was in much the same situation as when I entered that strange aurora’s realm, except this time I felt things; I wasn’t insensate like before. Unfortunately, I don’t think there would be any voice to bail me out this time. I was definitely on my own. I had to get up. I tried willing myself to move, but my body was too exhausted. I tried moving my arms; they wouldn’t rise. Same with my legs; they refused to move. I couldn’t even roll over to try shaking myself around. I started drifting off, and my eyes, still not having opened, faded from the blackness of sleep to the darkness of unconsciousness.

I then had a dream. No, not a dream – a vision. I was being shown something, most likely a real event. Before my eyes, there was a rather large structure that looked like a hut, though the door was caged and the top was modeled to look like a Wigglytuff’s body. On either side of it were two totem poles, each with images of various birds in the appropriate style. Further out from those were two torches, burning brightly against the sky, which told me that this event took place at a sunset. Ten feet away from the hut’s door was a grate, like one that might collect rainwater, but fairly large, about five feet across. Ten feet even further than that was standing a lone Vulpix. All this appeared to be situated on the edge of a cliff, albeit a very large one. Seeing all this, I assumed the vision would be about this Vulpix, and my assumptions were confirmed when it began to speak.

“Hmm... They told me this was the place,” it began, its voice distinctly female. “I know this place is supposed to be for teams, but honestly I need a place to stay...” The Vulpix took a deep breath and then tensed herself.

“Well, nothing to it but to go up and knock!”

Image
I’m not sure if you can knock on this...


She began to walk forward towards the door, but as she did so, she was interrupted by a voice crying out “Pokémon detected! Pokémon detected!” I couldn’t tell the gender of the voice, since whoever said that was very young. I did notice, however, that the timing of the voice coincided with when the Vulpix stepped on the grate. The Vulpix, obviously surprised, jumped in place and stopped walking. She was now standing directly over the grate.

“Whose footprint? Whose footprint?” another voice called out. This voice was male, but noticeably louder.

“The footprint is Vulpix’s! The footprint is Vulpix’s!” Back to the first voice.

The Vulpix then jumped backwards off of the grate, with a yelp of surprise. I don’t think she was expecting voices from underneath a grate to suddenly yell out. My guess is it was some sort of security system the hut used to identify visitors. Well, not quite a system. More like two people working in tandem.

“That was kinda shocking...!” the Vulpix said, taking deep breaths to regain her composure. “Aw man... That didn’t work at all. Maybe I should ask if there’s any other place to stay...” The Vulpix then left the area, and the vision faded away to black. I’d been told all the vision wanted it to tell me. I stored the information in my memory, in case it would become relevant later. Visions tend to do that.

Next thing I remember is hearing someone’s voice ringing in my ears. “Hey!” it called out, probably not more than five feet away. “Hey! Ollo! Can you hear me!?”

“Argh, not so loud...” I responded groggily. I tried waking up again. Much to my delight, my eyes began to blink a few times before finally opening wide. I was looking straight up towards the sky, and it was sunset. A few bubbles were floating through the air, the sunlight passing through them, causing them to light up like miniature rainbows.

“Gimme a sec,” I continued. “I need to get to my feet.” My limbs were fortunately responsive, as was the entirety of my body at this point. Pivoting on my hips, I attempted to leap up and forward to land on my feet. It worked for the most part, but I then fell forward and tripped, getting sand in my face. The owner of the voice giggled.

“You’re so silly,” it said.

“Yeah, I know, I know,” I answered, trying to shrug it off. I then tried to get up again, this time pushing my arms forward in front of me to lift myself up. This time, it worked. I spat the sand out of my mouth. Now, having most likely been knocked unconscious by a wave and carried off to a strange new land, I did the most natural thing I could think of: I checked myself for injuries.

I glanced down at my right arm. It was covered in blue fur, with a white round bit on the back of my palm that looked and felt like a callus. My hands had three fingers and a thumb, so that would take some getting used to. I wiggled my right arm back and forth, and it seemed to be responsive. I then looked over to my left arm (which looked the same as the other) and did the same, with the same result.

“Looks like the arms are still attached,” I thought aloud. “That’s a good start.”

Then I looked down to my legs. They were covered in black fur instead, and like on my arms, there was a small beige circle on the back of each one, by the calf. Each foot also had three toes with a round beige nail on the bottom of each for padding – another thing to get used to. I stood on my left leg alone, shaking my right, and that shook just fine. I then repeated the process with the opposite foot, and got the same response.

“My legs are working fine too,” my spoken thought continued. “Yup! I’m fine!” I then used my two arms to brush as much sand off of me as possible. I quickly learned getting sand out of fur is not easy whatsoever.

Image
Image
A Golden Sun reference already? My, that didn’t take long!


“You’re silly,” the voice from before replied, giggling a bit. It was coming from my left, so I turned to my left and saw a Vulpix standing there on the beach, staring at me almost expectantly.

“I suppose I am,” I responded with a smile. “You’re the one who woke me up, right?”

“Yep!” came the chipper reply. I discerned for sure it was the same Vulpix I saw in that vision – the voice was the same.

“So, looks like we’re on a beach,” I commented. I looked around me to ascertain the nature of my surroundings. The tide was low, only coming up about a foot or so at a time, and I was standing at least double that away. The shoreline, to the north, appeared to be bordered on either side by rocks, upon which a bunch of Krabby were standing blowing bubbles. Off to the west was a small cave, and off to the east it appeared to head back to the mainland, as the sand began to disappear, being replaced by grass and dirt.

“Well, now that I know where I am,” I went on, “I can —” Then I suddenly froze. Not physically, just mentally. I came upon a very startling realization. Something that was said earlier... wasn’t that...

“What was the very first thing you said to me?” I asked the Vulpix, turning to her, making eye contact.

“I think it was ‘You’re silly’,” she answered. “Why?”

“No, before that. Before I woke up. You said ‘Hey!’ and then something else.”

“Oh, right! It was ‘Hey! Ollo! Can you hear me?’”

“Did you just say ‘Ollo’? Isn’t it supposed to be ‘Hello’?”

“Well, yeah, but I like being different. It’s fun! Haven’t you ever had the urge to just be different for the sake of being fun?”

“Yes, I have, but I don’t see how that’s releva—” I froze again. My eyes went so wide from shock and surprise I thought they were going to burst out of their sockets. There’s one person I know that greets people with ‘Ollo’ instead of ‘Hello’, and this person’s a very good friend of mine. Perhaps this is the ‘close friend’ that the voice mentioned, but it couldn’t be... could it?

“Wait, you’re, it, but...really...is it...” I started spouting words in an attempt to form a coherent sentence, but at first it came out as nonsensical gibberish. Finally I was able to construct a sentence – it was short, but enough for me. “Rayne, is that you?”

The Vulpix’s eyes then went so wide from shock and surprise I thought they were also going to burst out of their sockets. So that’s what I looked like for about five seconds. Clearly, she was just as surprised as me, since it looks like my assumption was right...and what an assumption it was!

“H-H-How!?” she stammered. “How do you know my name!?”

“Rayne, you’re not going to believe this, but...” I answered, pausing for effect. “I’m DNA.”

“R-R-Really!?” She was physically shaking at this point. I had the sneaking suspicion she was going to explode. Maybe not physically, but definitely emotionally.

“Yeah,” I nodded. “It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. If you want, I can say something to prove my identi—”

“Big bro!!” she yelled, jumping forward to hug me. I stood my ground; the sudden force almost made me fall backward. That went smoother than I thought it would. All I could do really was hug back.

“Yeah,” I answered. “Shame I’m not wearing The Shirt, but at least I—”

“It’s you! It really is you! I thought I’d be here all alone, but it’s really you!!”

“Indeed. If you don’t mind, could you let go of my neck? I need that to breathe.”

“Oh! Sorry, sorry!” she responded, releasing the hug. “I was just really surprised and all...you know how it is.”

“I’m mostly surprised at why you’re here. How’d you get here?”

“Well, I had this dream...I think last night? I was surrounded by this talking light that said it needed me for something. It had me answer a bunch of questions, said I would fit best as a Vulpix, and then I woke up here. Before that, though, it asked me if I had any friends, and I named a few people. You were one of them. Wait! That’s why you’re here? Is it because I said your name?”

“That light did use that as leverage to get me here...or blackmail. It said there was a close friend of mine somewhere in this world. Never would I have imagined it was my sister! But this makes this adventure all the more exciting.”

“Yup! You bet!”

At about this point, a Zubat and a Koffing came running (well, flying, I suppose) out from near the beach entrance and collided with Rayne. She fell forward and hit me, and a stone fragment flew out off to the side. Perhaps something Rayne had been holding?

“Yowch!” she yelled, hitting me. “Sorry, DNA...”

“Well, I do beg your pardon,” the Koffing answered.

“You call that an apology?” I spoke. Before I could continue, Rayne turned around to face the pair, her fur bristling. “Hey! Why’d you do that?!” she yelled.

“Can’t figure it out?” the Zubat cackled. “We wanted to mess with you! Can’t face up to us, can you?!”

“Ugh, a bunch of cowards,” I remarked, taking a few steps forward. My legs felt a bit shaky as I wasn’t used to them, but they were responsive. “If you’ve nothing better to do than to go around hitting people, you can just shut up and leave.”

“That’s yours, isn’t it?” the Zubat spoke, turning towards the stone fragment that had fallen to the ground. “Sorry, kiddo. We’ll take that!” It began to fly over to pick it up. Instinctively, my eyes lit up red (well, redder, I suppose) and darted for the fragment before the Zubat could get to it. It was only about four paces away just by walking, but halfway there and I tripped and fell flat on my face, getting sand in my mouth again.

“Of all the times to pratfall...!” I yelled in frustration. I spat the sand out of my mouth and could only watch as the Zubat and Koffing took it and left towards the west, retreating into a cave within one of the rock formations. I could do nothing but just struggle to my feet and brush the sand off. Again.

“DNA! Are you okay?” Rayne called out, rushing over to make sure I was fine. There were no bruises, thankfully – sand is a good shock absorber – but my dignity had taken off into the cave and I would have to go take it back.

“Oh, those guys sicken me!!” I shook myself about and was back on my feet. I knew I was fine this time – I had already checked myself for injuries and had not received any more. “Rayne, can you fight, or at least defend yourself?”

“I could try, I suppose, but I’m probably as used to this body as you are, even though I’ve been here for about half a day longer.”

“Then just stay behind me while I take the lead. Don’t stop following me for an instant; it’ll be easier that way.”

“But if you’re not used to this, then...”

“Just trust me,” I retorted, cutting her off and making eye contact. I barely even blinked, I was trying so hard to hold my gaze. Rayne flinched at first, caught off-guard by me staring, but when she realized how serious I was, she met my gaze. She took a deep breath and a long blink, and nodded.

“Okay DNA. I trust you.”



The cave itself was actually quite pretty on the inside. It was like being inside a giant tide pool; the walls were blue, reflecting the patterns off the small puddles of water, brought forth by cracks of light shining in through the ceiling. The floor was a bright pink, as if constructed entirely of coral, and even felt like coral as we walked over it. It was a lot more beautiful than I was expecting, and my eyes, ears, and brain were taking everything in. The object was simple – find the two thugs who assaulted Rayne, get that fancy piece of rock back, and leave.

On the way down, I found myself instinctively biting some of the hostile Pokémon that jumped us. The feel of sinking my teeth into another living being was a strange one, though I had peace of mind that the hostiles instantly fainted whenever I did so. Whether it was from shock or from wounds I don’t know, but I choose to believe it was shock. And since I kept myself in the front, Rayne made the journey through unscathed.

“Agh, this feels...weird,” I remarked, opening and closing my jaws, listening to the ‘clack’ noise they made as the teeth touched each other.

“I guess so,” Rayne commented, “but aren’t we both going to have to learn how to defend ourselves if every place we go through has hostiles jumping at us?”

“It’s not that. I’m fine with defending myself. It’s just using my teeth to do so feels...alien and barbaric. I’m going to try and see if I can practice other ways, like punches and kicks—ooh, a berry! This might come in handy later.” Specifically, it was an Oran Berry. I had a free hand, so I held on to it, just in case.

“That might work. What do you suggest I do?”

“You breathe fire, you adorable cheater,” I replied, turning around and mussing up the curls atop her head. “Now let’s keep going. We don’t want the thieves to slip out of here behind us. If we’re lucky, this cave will dead-end.”

The cave pathway down probably went on for about 800 feet in all. While that may not seem like much to a human (and it really isn’t), understand that we’re both currently inhabiting the bodies of Pokémon, and 800 feet on stubby little legs like those would take a very long time – it’d be even worse for quadrupeds, having to take twice as many steps. On the way down, I happened to notice a seed lying on the ground. It seemed really unassuming, but I decided to investigate it.

“Hello, what’s this?” I said, walking over to it and picking it up.

“Found something, DNA?”

“Yeah.” I sniffed it, attempting to identify it by smell. It smelt vaguely of poppies, and felt like a depressant; while its odor entered my nose, I felt slightly less alert.

“What is it?”

“I think it’s a Sleep Seed.” I didn’t have room to hold both, so I left the Oran Berry on the ground. Neither of us needed the berry; we both felt fine. As for the two ruffians... “This will definitely come in handy later,” I finished. “Come on, let’s keep going. Less and less light is reaching through; we must be getting close.”

I was right; it was only another 100 feet or so before we reached the end of the cave. The coral floor had given way to sand, forming a small shoreline soon thereafter. Rocks surrounded the area, creating an enclave, but light was still able to shine through. The cave must have come back up again, since the water was at a reasonable height and wasn’t flooding the area – we were back at sea level. The Zubat and Koffing were there too, facing out towards the ocean, backs to us. It mystified me as to why they would come here, unless they didn’t know it was a dead-end. Regardless, we were here too, ready to confront them.

“Hey!” I yelled, to get their attention. “Ugly and Uglier, right? Is that why your backs are turned so I don’t have to see your faces?”

“Well, well,” the Koffing remarked, as they both turned around to see us. “If it isn’t our old friend, the comedian.”

“You smile now, but you won’t when I’m done with you. Now I’ll cut you guys a deal – you give us back that fancy treasure rock you stole from her, nice and easy...and I won’t beat the crap out of you. Sound fair?”

“Treasure, you say?” Zubat chimed in. “So that thing really is valuable, huh?”

“It could be worth more than we’d hoped for, I’d say,” Koffing agreed. “We ought to try selling it. Who knows? It might get a good price. Whoa-ho-ho! All the more reason not to give it back!”

“Heh, what’s the matter?” I chuckle. “Not going to take the deal? Are you ugly and stupid?”

“If you want it back that badly,” Zubat taunted, “come and get it! Heh-heh-heh!”

“Fine.”

Without wasting time, I flick my right wrist with a strong motion, pointing towards the Koffing. The seed I’d been holding on to flies straight through the air, making a small whistling noise as it tore past the molecules, and lodged itself solidly in the throat of the Koffing, who was out like a light. The Zubat freaked as it tried to approach me.

“Yes, I’m actually used to this body now,” I taunted, grabbing the Zubat and biting it. It let out a screech, as you’d expect a bat to emit, yet this screech was mixed with pain and desperation. It probably wasn’t actually expecting a fight at all, a mistake it was now paying for. The feel of its body was still strange, but the bite felt personally satisfying. I was finally getting a chance to show those thugs that harassed Rayne a piece of my mind.

“Rayne! Stay close by me!” I yelled, and she obeyed. Zubat tried to bite me in response, but its jaws were so small it barely even bruised. Rayne managed to flick her tails across the Zubat, not wanting to actually hurt it, which was enough for me to tell the Zubat “is that all?” before biting it a second time. It screamed again, but this time it was much shorter, as it fell unconscious.

“One down,” I murmured.

“That...That was actually pretty cool,” Rayne said. “Wasn’t expecting a bite could be so powerful.”

“Neither was I, but it works.”

“The other one’s starting to wake up. Let’s surprise him! I bet he’ll be shocked to see his friend is already down for the count.”

“Same strategy as before; that cool by you?”

“Cool by me!”

We stealthily snuck up to the Koffing, trying not to alert it to our presence. It worked – when it woke up, I was staring it right in the face. With a wink, I bit its side. It yelled “OW!” while Rayne was distracting it with her tails, diverting the attention from her and to me. The Koffing tried to ram me, but it barely hurt. I managed to bite it again, and it fell back, exhausted and surprised.

“Owowow...” the Koffing murmured, lying on the ground, gasping for air.

“Ugh... We got roughed up...” the Zubat sputtered, now only just waking up.

“You should have taken the deal,” I replied, crossing my arms and shaking my head. “I did warn you. And I’d say you’d be running away with your tails between your legs, but you appear to have neither.”

“B-blast it... How’d we get wiped out by wimps like them?” Koffing spat.

“Wow, if we’re wimps, what does that say about you?” came my retort.

“Bah! Here you go,” Zubat yelled, clearly irritated. “Take it, then!” It tossed the stone piece, which I cleanly caught in my hand, earning the Zubat a “Thank you very much” from me. They promptly skedaddled, muttering some nonsense about our victory being a fluke and we’d better remember that. I asked if they’d like to test that theory again, and they high-tailed it even faster.

“Yay! I have my Relic Fragment back!” Rayne exclaimed, rushing over to pick it up.

“That’s what you call it?”

“Yeah. It has to sound cool, you know? It must be important! And thanks for helping me get it back, bro. I don’t know what I’d have done if you hadn’t been here!”

“Probably the same thing as me, though it might have taken a bit longer. Now let’s get out of here; we can talk on the way back.”

Image
It has a strange symbol on it! It MUST be important! #raynelogic




At this point, the sun was just gently touching the horizon, and was gradually sneaking underneath. Back when we entered the cave, it was about a couple inches higher than the horizon, from our perspective. Did it really take that long just to apprehend a pair of bumbling ragamuffins?

“I wish the Koffing could have seen the look on the Zubat’s face right when you threw that seed in its mouth!” Rayne chuckled. “You looked so cool the way you flicked your wrist like that. It was like you were a real pro!”

“It would be something to preserve for a memory, wouldn’t it?” I responded. We were still walking casually and were slowly exiting the beach, headed back towards the mainland. “So, sis, what were you doing before I got here?”

“Well... To be honest... I don’t think I can really count on going back to our world any time soon, and I guess neither can you. So that means we’re probably stuck here for a while.”

“That’s very true, which means we’re going to need food and shelter. Without either, we won’t last very long, especially if there are hostiles everywhere. Our first priority is to find that, and fast, since it’ll be nightfall before long.”

“That’s what I was doing, actually...or at least trying to do. There’s a small yet bustling town near here, with a bunch of shops and stuff. I asked some of them if there were any places for travelers to stay, and they all mentioned a place called the Wigglytuff Guild that’s further up the hill.”

“The Wigglytuff Guild, huh... Wait, weren’t you there right before finding me on the beach?”

“I was, actually; how’d you know?”

“Right as I blacked out, I saw this vision of you trying to get into a hut with a Wigglytuff’s face on it. You were walking up to the door, then heard a voice and got really surprised, and went off to see if you could find someplace else to stay.”

“Yeah. That place is technically supposed to be for exploration teams, but... I could at least try to join up with some other team. Anything to get a roof over my head, honestly...”

“Well, what if we both went? They might be more impressed if you show initiative and bring someone with you. Besides, that way, you have more freedom over your teammate! And anyway, aren’t we just a totally awesome team anyway?”

“Of course!” She giggled. “I might feel a little better if we ask together anyway. I’ll have you to back me up after all! And hey, maybe I might find out what this stone is for!”

“I’ve been meaning to ask, where’d you get that?”

“When I woke up this morning, in this world, I was sleeping right next to it. I think that aurora left it for me, since one thing it said is that it would leave me a gift. At least, I really hope this isn’t supposed to belong to anyone else...”

“For now, let’s just go up by this guild and see if we can’t get in, yeah? First things first – make sure we’re alive. Then after we do that, assuming this rock is someone else’s, we can return it later. Though, I do think you’ll be fine. Look, it even says it’s yours.”

“What?”

“In little tiny letters carved around the edge of it, you can see the words ‘Property of Rayne’.”

“Are you serious?” She examined the rock where I pointed to it. “Wow. Neat.”

“Now, shall we?”

Image
Can we do it? I think we can.

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Last edited by DNA on Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:58 pm
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Rayne?!? Rayne is your partner in this?

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Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:23 pm
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And that's why I forbade shipping. Because no.

To answer your question, though - yes she is. She's also always the first to read the new chapters because I always post them when she's online.

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Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:28 pm
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It's more difficult to write isn't it? Well, I'm sure you'll get used to it, in a few chapters. :)
It will be awesome when you reach difficult dungeons.

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Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:38 pm
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The shipping rule makes sense now. Give Rayne my regards.
inb4 HW is Skuntank.

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Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:59 am
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ChillBill wrote:
The shipping rule makes sense now. Give Rayne my regards.
inb4 HW is Skuntank.

I will.
Definitely for the 1st one, possibly for the 2nd one too.

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Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:59 am
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Knowing you, it'll be skanktank.
oh well, idgaf.

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Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:20 am
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[Back to Top]

I have noticed that I forgot to put G1 as a sub-header for the first chapter. I have now fixed it. And now for your viewing pleasure, I bring you chapter 2.
...which is somehow slightly more insane than chapter 1.
Starting with this chapter I also plan to put the banner at the top of each post. Just to make sure that I'm in the right place.

Image


Project SOLO
(or, DNA Gets High as he Explores the Sky)

Chapter 2 – In Which I Shoot the Messenger
(G2-1: The New Guild Recruits)


I was surprised to see that our destination wasn’t that far off. The sand gave way to dirt, a steadily ascending path that made its way further and further up. At the halfway point, it gave way to a crossroads, which I was eager to discover more at some point in time, but right now, ‘food and shelter’ was the only thing on my mind, so first and foremost we had to deal with that.

I was a bit skeptical about how this exploration team thing would go down. Granted, they probably have a system for that, but I had this kneejerk aversion to the whole idea. I really shouldn’t, though. This is an entirely new world for us both, and if we’re going to get anywhere, we’re going to have to work for it. And a team is a good form of work, so the benefits would outweigh the costs in this case.

Plus...I had two other things on my mind as well doing this: Rayne, and her Relic Fragment. I know how much she loves adventure, and this would be a perfect avenue for her to do so. On top of which, she loves writing. All the places we’ll go will only serve to give her a plethora of ideas for stories later on...or just funny occurrences while exploring. And that Relic Fragment... If that psychoanalyst aurora gave that to her, it’s probably important for something. The pattern is probably a big hint.

What benefit would I stand to gain from all this? That is simple: First, I would have shelter and a means to continue living here; second, I would be able to protect Rayne. I really don’t need any other reason; that’s enough for me. And it’s always better to have a friend nearby (or sibling in this case) than to go it alone. It is settled – I am fine with this.

Only a few minutes of walking elapse before we’re facing the Wigglytuff Guild’s front door. The torches are still burning bright, the totem poles are still upright, and the face of Wigglytuff atop the hut entrance is imposing and lifeless as usual. The gate to get in is currently closed, so I assumed most business was done for the day. That left the question of how to get in, since I didn’t see any knocker or doorbell...

“So, this is it?” I asked Rayne, looking up at the image of Wigglytuff’s head. The longer I stared, the creepier it got.

“Yeah, this is the place.”

“Looks like it’s built into the side of a cliff. Convenient. That would also explain the spiked wooden fence behind it. A bunch of crisscrossing wooden spires, lying next to each other in a single unbroken row...”

“Hey, doesn’t that bit of wood have a bit of red stuff on the tip? Looks like it’s been there a while...”

“I’m trying not to think of how it got there. Say, Rayne, how did you get their attention the last time you came here?”

“Well, I stepped forward onto this grate, and...”

“Wait, the grate? That one with wooden bars? What kind of...”

I stomped forward a few paces until I was kneeling by the edge of the grate, and stared straight down into it. It looked like it went down about 20 feet, and there was nothing but dirt and various plant matter strewn about on the way down. I think I saw someone at the bottom, but I wasn’t sure as it was small and far away.

“Hey! Who’s down there?” I called down with a somewhat angry shout.

“P-P-P-Pokémon detected...?” came a response. It was a small soft voice, quivering with fear, as if not used to being asked questions.

“Stand up straight, soldier!” I barked. “You’re the doorkeeper, yes?”

“Y-Y-Yes...”

“And this is the Wigglytuff Guild, yes?”

“Y-Y-Yes...”

At this point, I could tell whoever was down there was probably going to collapse from fear...or throw up. Plus, whoever it was seemed like a well-meaning yet timid individual, so I softened my tone a bit.

“My friend and I are looking for a place to stay. I understand you guys are for exploration teams, but if you have rooms available, we’ll do what it takes.”

“Um...”

“Please. I may not sound it, but I’m a little desperate and don’t know where to go.”

“What’s the matter?!” boomed another, much louder voice, also coming from below the grate, though exactly where I couldn’t ascertain. “Sentry! Sentry?! What’s wrong sentry Diglett?”

“Umm... Er...”

“Checking the footprints of visiting Pokémon... That’s your job, ISN’T it, Diglett?”

“B-but...I’m not seeing any footprints...”

“What?! NO footprints?! Then who are you talking to?!”

“Excuse me,” I interjected, “but I assume you’re also a gatekeeper? Have you heard anything we’ve been talking about?”

“Something about a place to stay, right?”

“That’s correct.”

“We need to identify who comes to visit us! So stand up THERE on the grate and—”

“One Riolu, one Vulpix. That’s all.”

“Can you prove that?”

“Rayne, come over here, if you would.”

“Sure,” she responded, “what do you need me to do?”

“Just sit at the edge of the grate, lean your head forward, and look straight down, just as I am.” She did so without complaint. “Now...it’s Diglett, right?”

“Y-Yes...” Back to the Diglett with the quivering voice.

“Can you see our faces? Can you confirm we are who I said we are?”

“Umm...” A bit of a pause. No doubt he was scrutinizing our faces for a bit, planning to report back to his much louder partner. There was about 15 seconds of silence before he spoke. “Well, that’s definitely a Vulpix, and that’s maybe a Riolu...”

“Maybe? Ouch.”

“What?! MAYBE?!” The loud one again. I think they’re going to have a falling out.

“B-but... It’s not a Pokémon that you normally see around here...”

“UGH! That’s pretty crummy! Didn’t you check their footprints?”

“They didn’t show their footprints... They showed their faces... I know what a Vulpix face looks like, and a blue face with red eyes, black highlights, and floppy dog-ears I’m pretty sure is a Riolu...”

There was a pause as he waited for the loud one to answer. While I was waiting for them, I mumbled to myself, “Floppy dog-ears?” I grabbed the ends of my ears each with one hand, and held them out. “Are they really that floppy?” I let go and both ears swung back, each one hitting me in an eye. I lost my vision for about a half-second as Rayne giggled at the antic. “...Apparently they are.”

“...Sorry to make you WAIT,” the loud one spoke shortly thereafter. “Well, it’s TRUE that you don’t see any Riolu in these parts... But you don’t SEEM to be bad...” A slight pause again, as if thinking. “OK, good enough! ENTER!”

At those words, the grate at the entrance to the hut lifted, granting us passage. Yes! We were granted permission to enter. Now to find whoever the head honcho was and ask about living here, or something like that. I walked around the grate until I was standing by the entrance.

“All right, that’s the first step,” I said, crossing my arms and feeling somewhat pleased about myself. “Now let’s find whoever’s in charge. Hopefully he’ll be understanding.”

“Hey DNA, I’m wondering,” Rayne asked, “they usually use footprints to determine who’s visiting them. Why didn’t you just step on the grate so he could tell?”

“I’m not really fond of people staring at me from directly below.” The pause lasted for about one second before the revelation registered as a decidedly loud gasp and a paw placed over her mouth. “Sometimes Pokémon can be so uncivilized. Now let’s go inside.”



Before us there’s a wooden ladder that leads down. The rungs are large and easy to grab, thankfully, so getting down shouldn’t be too hard. I start climbing down the ladder myself going first, until halfway I realize Rayne’s not following me. She’s still at the top, staring down.

“You’re afraid you’re going to fall, aren’t you?” I ask.

“Yeah. I’ve never had to climb down a ladder on all fours before.”

“Tell you what.” I finish descending the ladder and stand at its base. “I’ll stand here and catch you if you fall. You just climb down nice and easy.”

“Promise? You’re not going to pull your arms away at the last second, are you?”

“Maybe.” A mischievous smile came over my face.

Rayne sighed, smiled, and began climbing down the ladder. Granted, she had a harder time than I did as quadruped hind legs aren’t quite suited to that sort of thing, but it wasn’t exactly strenuous or impossible. My arms were still held out in front of me just in case she took a rather nasty dive. However, she made the climb without incident, and as soon as she touched down on the lower floor, I quickly moved my arms behind my back.

“What was that for?” she asked.

“I pulled my arms away at the last second.”

This remark earned me a giggle and a light jab to the arm.

The room here below was surprisingly spacious. It appeared to be a main meeting room of sorts, elliptical in shape, and the walls look to be made of tightly packed dirt and rocks. Not surprising, given how this place is within a cliff face. There’s a lot of Pokémon in here talking, crowded around one another, looking at the two bulletin boards I notice stuck to the wall...

“Excuse me!”

I don’t recognize the voice, so it’s probably someone here. I dart my eyes around, rotating as I do so, to find the source of the voice. I then notice this Chatot that I didn’t see in the room before, who climbed up from the floor below. That, and it’s the only other Pokémon making eye contact with me.

“You meant us, right?” I ask calmly.

“It was you two that just came in, right?”

“Yes, that’s us. A pleasure to meet you, sir.” I bow slightly, as does Rayne.

“I’m Chatot!” he chirps. “I’m the Pokémon in the know around these parts! I am Guildmaster Wigglytuff’s right-hand Pokémon!”

“Check it out!” Rayne whispers to me. “We’re talking with Riker!”

“Now, shoo! Leave the premises! We have no time for salespeople or silly surveys. Off you go, if you please!”

“Hold it!” I shout, pointing my finger forward almost like a reflex. “That, my good sir, is NOT why we’re here!”

Image
Without thinking, I just blurted out “Hold it!” And I yelled it at the top of my lungs, finger outstretched, ready to take on my opponent!


“We’re actually just looking for a place to stay, honestly. I know you only deal with exploration teams, so if we have to do that to stay here, then...we’ll do that.”

“W-What?! Exploration team!?” the Chatot exclaimed, taken aback. I’m not sure if it was because of the nature of my request or if I became Phoenix Wright for three seconds. Deep in thought, he turned around and began mumbling to himself.

“It’s rare to see a newcomer like this want to apprentice at the guild...especially given how hard our training is! Surely the steady stream of Pokémon that run away from our rigorous training proves how true that is!”

“Um...” Rayne chimed in. “We can hear you. That hard, huh?”

“What?!” Chatot responded in shock, turning back around to face us. “Well...no! No, no, no! It’s not true in the slightest! Our training program for exploration teams is as easy as can be!” As he said this he was fluttering his wings like mad, as if caught out in his own thoughts. Technically, he was. I don’t think he was expecting us to have good hearing...or for him not to use his indoor voice.

“OK!” he continued, seemingly back to normal. “Let’s get you set up. Follow me, please!”

Chatot then hopped off towards the lower staircase rather quickly and enthusiastically, not even noticing we hadn’t started to follow him. And, in truth, we weren’t going to, not just yet. When he noticed, he turned around and beckoned again, adding “Quickly please!” to his request.

“Do you mind if we think it over for a bit?” I asked him. Not really waiting for a response, Rayne and I did the closest thing to a team huddle as you can do with just two people. It mostly just amounted to us lowering our heads next to each other and speaking in whispers.

“What do you think, sis?”

“I’m not sure, bro. I mean, yes it’s a place to stay, but this honestly sounds like a bit of a bumpy ride. If they have this training program that’s as hard as he says, it’ll probably involve waking up at the crack of dawn every day...and you know how I am about waking up early.”

“Yeah...you don’t.”

“What do you think, bro?”

“Well, beggars can’t be choosers. While I would prefer an as-you-please approach, there’s no guarantee there’s any other place open. Plus, an exploration team is a fairly profitable – and very exciting – line of work. You like visiting new places for story ideas, right? This should be perfect for you.”

“That’s true! I’m just not exactly sure what to expect.”

“Tell you what. Let’s give it...a week or so. During that time we can look around to see if there are other places to stay if you don’t like this. And hey, it might not be as big and scary as the parrot is making it out to be. The pros are far outweighing the cons. If anything goes wrong, I’ll take full responsibility for it, so you’ll be fine. Sound fair?”

“Well, when you put it like that...”

“Are you just going to go get into trouble so I’ll get punished for it?”

“Maybe.” A mischievous smile crept across her face. It broke out into a laugh when I gave her a light jab to the arm. With our huddle done, we turned back to the Chatot.

“All right, we’ve decided. Lead the way,” I declared, and Chatot was only too happy to do so. He led us down another flight of steps (Rayne didn’t fall off this ladder either) and in front of a closed door. Right next to this door is a window that gives a phenomenal view of the outside. I look out it for a moment and see the cliff face extending onward, the ocean below, and the sun an orb of bright yellow hanging in the sky. This was one long sunset.

“I assume you will be joining as an exploration team?” Chatot asked us.

“If that’s what it takes to get a room here, sir,” I responded matter-of-factly. “If you are willing to accommodate us, then we are willing to accommodate you.”

“Very well.” He gestured to the closed door before us. “This is Guildmaster Wigglytuff’s chamber. On no account... I repeat, on no account should you be discourteous to our Guildmaster.”

“Fair enough. Understood!”

Chatot knocked on the door, and chirped. “Guildmaster! It’s Chatot! I’m coming in!” He opens the door, very slowly, and after entering motions for us to follow, which we do. The Guildmaster’s room looks very much like an office. There are various posters and pictures strewn about the walls, and the windows offer an even better view than the ones in the room outside. A bright yellow swivel chair is at the far end of the room, and its back end is facing us, so we can’t see whoever’s in it. I do notice two pointy pink ears poking up over the top, though...

“Guildmaster!” Chatot announces, hopping on one arm of the chair. It’s so large it seems to dwarf him, and he’s about the same height as us. Whoever’s in the chair must be huge. “Guildmaster! I present to you two Pokémon who wish to join our guild as apprentices.”

That wasn’t exactly what I remember agreeing to, but if it’ll get his attention...

There’s an awkward silence as there’s absolutely no response. Chatot looks a bit unnerved too, like he was expecting something but wasn’t getting it. “Guildmaster...um...Guildmaster?”

Quite suddenly, the bright yellow swivel chair does a half-rotation almost instantly, as its inhabitant turns to face us. Yep, it’s definitely a Wigglytuff, and in comparison to us he’s definitely a really big guy.

Image
Man, is he fat.


“Hiya!” came its exclamation, which had a slight hint of a British accent. “I’m Guildmaster Finch! You want to form an exploration team? Then, let’s go for it!” He was speaking extremely fast and with such enthusiasm it was very hard to follow what he said.

“Wow, that was fast,” I thought aloud. “Wasn’t quite expecting that. So, you say your name is Guildmaster Finch? It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir, I’m DN—” I stopped myself mid-bow as I realized what I just said. “Wait, Finch? You can’t be... No, not that Finch...”

As I said this, the Wigglytuff’s eyes became bigger (or at least appeared to) and the corners of his mouth began to turn upwards more and more, giving his smile the appearance of a U-shape. If I had to express it with symbols, it would look like an O u O face.

“Finch!!” I yelled near the top of my lungs. “What the hell are YOU doing here!?”

“Being Guildmaster, what else?” Finch responded. “It’s so very much FUN!” He was giggling like a madman (he is a madman, but that’s beside the point), while Chatot was sitting on the chair, just watching this whole exchange take place, looking like he was about to, or just had, a heart attack.

“This is beginning to concern me. If you’re here, then who else is here that I know?”

“I can safely say that no one already in the guild is anyone you know.”

“Ah, good. That would about drive me insane.”

“Good! Now, back to the fun of teams! First we must register your exploration team’s name! So tell me your team’s name?”

“Before I do any of this... Is this what we’ll have to do to get a room here? That’s my primary goal right now. I’m willing to jump through hoops if necessary, but I want a guarantee that this will be a place for us to stay.”

“You have my word as a tea-drinking gentleman and aspiring astrophysicist.”

“When you put it that way, it’s really hard to argue,” Rayne commented. “C’mon DNA! He’s a tea-drinking gentleman and aspiring astrophysicist too! And he’s British! That sounds really cool! We should sign up!”

Image
I am now more inclined to believe him, because I have replaced him with a picture of Spiderman.


“All right,” I decide. “Hit me.”

“I can’t,” Finch answers. “My arms are too short.”

There’s a small pause before I audibly facepalm and say “I meant to sign us up.”

“Do I look like an insurance salesman to you?”

“Now you’re just doing this on purpose.”

“I’m not a dolphin either.”

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH”

“To be honest, we didn’t actually think of a name,” Rayne interjected. This distracted me enough so that I stopped screaming. “We need a cool name, something unique, something special, something that shows that our name was the product of many hours of careful thought...”

She stroked her chin, as if trying to think of a name. The silence became so thick it could probably be cut with a knife, and spread onto a sandwich, as one would do with very delicious mustard. Then, suddenly, she broke the silence, as if to take that proverbial mustard out of silence and on to the sound of sandwich bread, as much as sandwich bread can make noise.

“DNA! You pick!”

Image
Dangit Rayne, look what you did to the mustard.


“Me!? I’m worse than you at naming things!”

“Are not! C’mon, pick something!”

“But I’ll probably just think of something strange and weird that will turn into a giant inside joke!”

“You can at least try! I’m too lazy to be serious; you know that!”

“It’s sad that you managed to convince me. That actually made sense.” I think for a while. It only took me a few seconds, because that’s how long it takes the first thing to pop into mind, regardless of whether it’s good or not. “How about SOLO?”

“SOLO? Does that stand for something?”

“Stoners Only Live Once. Look, we were both psychoanalyzed by a rainbow-colored aurora in a dreamlike state. I really don’t know how to explain that unless we were both somehow drugged.”

“That...makes sense. A lot of sense, actually. Team SOLO sounds good to me!”

“You’re...you’re joking. You actually think that’s a good idea!?”

“Yep! I like it! It’s a good name! It’s perfect for us! I trusted you to come up with a cool and unique name, and you delivered stupendously! And think about it – how can you be a team and solo at the same time? It’s crazy! In other words, it’s right up our alley!”

For those curious as to the contents of this conversation, and the meaning thereof – yes, Rayne and I did actually have this conversation. It went almost exactly like you see it, too, though not quite in the same order.

“I...um...” I was totally at a loss for words. I wasn’t expecting that to go as well as it did. I wasn’t expecting that to go well at all, actually. Clearing my throat and attempting to regain my composure, I turned to Guildmaster Finch. “Team SOLO, please.”

“All settled, then! I’ll register your team as SOLO,” Finch responded. He ran behind his desk and took out a laptop, and began to furiously tap the keys on it, typing in all the necessary information. It was somewhat humorous to watch, because at times he would pause looking around for the right key, others he would go really fast, and occasionally he would just look out the window and completely forget what he was doing for about five seconds.

“Um...are you all right over there?” I asked. “If it’s a trouble to type, wouldn’t you rather have someone with fingers type for you?” I wiggled my fingers and thumbs in front of me to emphasize my point.

“No! Hush! This is super secret secret squirrel stuff! Registering...Registering...”

“How do squirrels factor into—never mind, I don’t want to know.”

“All registered!” He folded his laptop up and put it away, grabbed a nearby box that was about a foot square, and with a yell of “YOOM-TAH!” leapt over his desk and landed right in front of us. Chatot was still panicking, though breathing easier than he was before. I wondered if the poor chap was going to be all right. Maybe he asked us to be courteous so he wouldn’t be constantly freaking out.

“Congratulations!” Finch exclaimed. “From now on, you’re an official exploration team! I present you with this box in commemoration!” He took the box he’d been holding earlier and set it down in front of us. It seemed to be made of some sort of cardboard. The lid was very easily removable, and the box itself looked really old, as if it had been re-used over and over for the same thing. On the side of the box, the words ‘Pokémon Exploration Team Kit’ were written.

“A Pokémon Exploration Team Kit?” Rayne asked, reading the words on the box.

“Yup,” Finch answered. “It’s what every exploration team needs. Quick, open it up.”

We did so, removing the box’s lid. There were quite a few items inside, but rather than leaving them inside the box, I set out each item in turn separately, so I could get a good look at everything. Among the items were a badge, a map, a satchel, two small books, and what looked like a rolled-up poster.

“Wow, this is a lot of stuff,” I noted, scrutinizing everything. I went first to examine the little badge. It had a Poke Ball pattern in the middle with a pink center, a small bit on the top, and two wings on its sides, presumably for decoration. “This is the teleporter, right?”

“Yes! Teleporters are fun! You just press it and BAM you’re back here at the guild! Isn’t it magical? But it only works if you finish a job, if you reach the end of a dungeon, or if you’re in big trouble – otherwise it won’t work.”

“And how does this teleporter know that?”

“We’ll be watching you.”

“Wow, it’s almost like Big Brother. Or Star Trek.”

I hold the badge in my hand for a bit, examining it and feeling its weight. With this, I thought, I could make something of myself. I would be a somebody. I would be...a hero.

Image
/me flex


“Um, I think there’s something wrong with this map,” Rayne said, who had gotten a hold of the map and opened it. “It’s blank.”

“Ah, the Wonder Map!” Finch explained. “Wonder Maps are magical. They fill themselves in once you travel off to new places! We’re not sure the secret behind it all, but legend says a wizard did it!”

“The more I hear, the more the SOLO moniker makes sense.”

“These books appear to be blank,” I stated, flipping through their pages. They were very simple things, two spiral-bound books held together with leather and knots. The pages turned with a remarkable smoothness, though, that surprised me quite a bit. “Do these automatically write things in them too, Finch?”

“No, they’re personal journals. Write whatever you want in them! Records of your adventures, details of places you visit, pranks you plan to pull on Chatot... All of the above, really!”

“I like the sound of that last one.”

“I don’t!” Chatot chirped.

“Hey, DNA, you might want to take a look at this poster,” Rayne called to me. She had unrolled the poster and was looking at it presently. It was four feet long and half as tall, made to be hung on a wall. I walked on over to take a look at it myself, and was quite surprised. It had a black-and-white motif with a picture of an angry Wigglytuff and 10 rules listed down the right-hand side. It wasn’t the rules that were so striking; it was the image of the Wigglytuff itself.

“This, uh...this is something, isn’t it.”

“Fair warning, every morning you’ll be asked to recite the first three with the rest of the apprentices,” Chatot announced. “You’d do your best to remember them!”

Image
Wow, it really IS like Big Brother.


“Then that just leaves the satchel,” I said. “It’s not too big but it’s better than nothing.”

“That’s the Treasure Bag!” Finch explained. “Your successes as an exploration team can lead to bigger and bigger space for your Treasure Bag. It’s a very wonderful bag! Have a peek inside it.”

I did so, and was pleasantly surprised. There wasn’t much in there, but what was in there was...well, I’ll just explain it for you and you can guess my reaction. The first thing I saw was a small pink scarf, with small letters spelling out ‘Defense Scarf’ along the hem. The next item was something I’d seen before...

“Finch,” I asked with a pause, taking out the item and holding it up. “Where did you get this?”

“That’s...a Cobalt Bow, isn’t it? That’s strange. The bows are standard for all new teams, but...they’re always white. I even checked that very bag this morning, and it was white.”

This was incredibly strange. This was the exact same bow that the aurora had me touch to give it a color. I could even see on the bow itself small ruffles from where I touched it, left in the same pattern. Without a doubt, this was the same – not even a replica; it was the genuine article. What was going on here? Did Finch somehow know about this? Did he know the aurora? I wouldn’t put it past him, given how random he is, but I had to know, so I asked him some questions.

“What do you normally put in these kits?”

“Just what you see before you. As throw-ins, the Treasure Bags have one Defense Scarf and one White Bow, but that’s it...”

“Well, I think someone’s been inside this box, because this bag has even more stuff in it... You’re not just being nice to me, are you?”

I didn’t get an answer as I was rummaging through the satchel, which didn’t instill me with any confidence at all. I began to worry about what I might find there, but fortunately it wasn’t anything bad. There were six more items and I took them out one by one – two of them were hats, one looked like a beekeeper’s hat while the other was more stylized, like a Panama hat that tapered to a point in the front. The other four were two sets of clothes, shirt and shorts, looking very similar to what a jungle explorer might wear. They had fancy pockets, light fabric, exactly what you might imagine. And, of course, they were all a beige or brown color.

“Yes!!” I yelled with excitement. “Now we don’t have to be uncivilized!! ...Wait a bit. Finch, did you put these here? Or Chatot? Either of you?”

“No, I’ve never seen those before in my life.”

“Nor I!”

“Hmm, strange. Stranger still is that they seem to be a perfect size for Rayne and I. Two matching outfits, a color-changing bow, a box that hasn’t been tampered with... I’m getting a very strange feeling from all this.”

“Perhaps someone’s looking out for you two!”

The only thing I could think of was that psychoanalyst aurora, but it wouldn’t be nice enough to custom-make us clothes, would it? Even now, was it still reading my mind? What was the motive for its niceness? Were the clothes secretly poisoned so that if we put them on we’d eventually die in our sleep? Wait, it said it needed help with something. Poisoning would not help. I packed up all of the items in the box, as neatly as I had found them, to rearrange and use later.

“Thank you very much, Guildmaster Finch. We shall do our best to prove ourselves.”

“Yup. But you’re only apprenticing right now. So do your best...to train! Chatot, please show them to where they’ll be staying.”

The parrot then escorted us out of the guildmaster’s office, back into the lower hallway, and off to an eastern corridor. His walk, or rather his hop, was consistent and rhythmic, not deviating for even a fraction of a second. To be expected, honestly. He wasn’t exactly fast; I was walking not far behind him, carrying the box in my arms, but even with that I was still moving about the same speed as he was.

The corridor was wide enough for three to walk abreast, so while it wasn’t spacious, neither was it constricting. It split off into two other rooms in the middle, presumably where other apprentices would stay. Chatot went all the way to the end of the corridor, whether another room awaited – undoubtedly ours.

It was small, yet quaint. It was circular in shape, with a layer of decorative rocks bordering it on the edges. A single round window had a view of the ocean below. As far as furnishings were concerned, there were a few pegs mounted on the wall to store various items (I’d be hanging the satchel there for sure), a long rectangular mirror off to the side for preening, and two round straw beds lay in the center of the room. It’s not much, but it’s a place to live, and that’s fine by me.

“This is your room!” Chatot chirped. “You will live here while you work for us.”

“The apprenticeship and such, right?” I ask. “I assume you’ll be telling us more about that tomorrow?”

“Yes. Things will start getting busy for you tomorrow! So rise early and start living up to our code!”

“The code? Oh, you mean the poster. Yeah, I should probably hang that somewhere.” I inwardly think of how creepy the poster looks.

“Don’t stay up late. Get to sleep early tonight! That is all.”

With that, he left the room, allowing us to get ready for sleep and prepare for the day ahead. I think it’s a perfect opportunity to look through the box and sort out all the various goodies we were given. Let’s see...a badge, a satchel, a map, a poster, two journals, two scarves, and two sets of clothes. I don’t think I missed anything.

I make a beeline for what I think is the most immediate concern – I grab the clothes and stand in front of the mirror so I don’t screw up. The shirt apparently buttons up and has about a jillion pockets, and the shorts are fairly self-explanatory and have deceptively large pockets. The hat’s also a nice touch; I feel really swanky after putting the get-up on. This will make me look like a genuine explorer-type person. I look over the outfit and everything looks fine, but it looks and feels weird to have the tail pop out of the back of the shorts like that. I also take the badge and pin it to the shirt on the left lapel.

“Huh, not bad!” I remark out loud. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think I was pretty cool! Rayne, how are you doing with yours?” I turn around to see Rayne sitting on the ground, with the shirt on her head, the shorts hanging limp on her front legs, and the hat using her tails like a coat rack. I clutch my chest and start laughing like crazy.

“Little help?” she asks, her voice muffled by the shirt.

“Sure, sure, just...that was hilarious. I wish I had a camera or I’d take a photo of this.”

“I think my head is stuck.”

“All right,” I walk on over. “First of all, you’re supposed to button up the shirt, not pull it over your head.” I start undoing all the buttons, and when I’m done, she suddenly shuts her eyes tight.

“The light! It burns!!” she yells.

“Oh, stop being melodramatic,” I reply with a small smile. “Shorts are pretty easy – just button the shirt up first. You go do that while I figure out how to hang this poster.”

I turn around and look for a good wall to hang it on. This is problematic since the room is technically round. I could mentally divide it into three quadrants with my brain, but that wouldn’t...wait, why not just put it in the middle, facing the hallway? That way I won’t have to do math to figure out the proper angle. Thankfully, the poster came with some pins that I use to affix it to the wall. It looks good, although it looks like it’s looming over my head and I swear the eyes are following me around the room. By the time I’m done, Rayne has – somehow – put the outfit on without a hitch.

“Wow, you look nice. I was expecting you to screw up at least two more times, possibly involving putting your shirt on upside-down, and then on your hind legs, before getting it right.”

“I actually did both of those, but I figured you’d be proud of me if I did it by myself without having to ask for help again.”

“...I think you need to work a little more on using those thumbs of yours.” A snicker escaped me.

“So, I have to say the first three at the meeting tomorrow? It’s kinda hard to concentrate, I think the poster is staring at me.”

“It just looks like that because it’s dark outside and the moonlight’s making weird shapes. For example, it just looked like the poster blinked.”

“That’s not any less creepy.”

“...you’re right. Either way, you need to go to sleep now. If we’re getting up early, you need to get to sleep as early as possible.”

“What about you?”

“I need to do something before I forget, then I’ll go to sleep as well.” I reached into the box and pulled out one of the two journals we’d been given. “You like stories, right?”

“Of course I do, silly.”

“I want to record all of what we do in this book. That way, later down the line, we can look back and recount all of the things we did – all the triumphs, all the failures, and especially all the funny moments.”

“You’re going to write down that I couldn’t figure out how to dress myself, aren’t you?”

“Maybe.” There’s that smile again. “Sleep well, sis; see you in the morning.”

“You too, bro. Just make sure I don’t have to wake you up – that would be a total inversion of the natural order! G’night.”

With that she was out like a light, or so I’d like to think. I took the pencil that came with the notebook and started feverishly writing words down. Every detail, every action, every moment, every word...I scribbled it down in this book. This book would be our legacy, a trip through a world that, although I hated it, called me to a purpose, and in so doing I would protect my closest friend. I intended to make this record last forever, and keep it for us and future generations to read and marvel.

To whoever reads this book, know that I, DNA, together with my sister Rayne, will challenge everything this world has to offer and travel to the ends of the earth, for the sake of adventure, treasure, creative inspiration, and history.

And know that you are reading through the many adventures of Team SOLO.

Image
Not quite as meta as this, but it’s close.

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Last edited by DNA on Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:03 pm
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Amazing! ^_^ (You do realize that this will take like 70 parts aren't you?)

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Still searching for shiny Rapidash, hatched 1000 eggs!
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Thanks DragoBoy for this awesome sig and Mektar for the astonishing avatar!!!


Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:42 pm
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GhostPony750 wrote:
Amazing! ^_^ (You do realize that this will take like 70 parts aren't you?)

yes

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Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:54 pm
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