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Old 07-14-2011, 11:34 PM
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Default Descent Into the Unown

{I REALLY have to finish that next chapter of MGA...}

So, I'm a member in the Poke-fanclub on deviantArt, and I'm currently taking part in their Poke-Venture event that runs all summer. Their premise is "Descent into the Unown." There are four rounds, two of which are paired with another deviant. I decided to do my entries written rather than the normal comic form.

The official premise, as found in their journal:

Two months ago, a team of Johto archeologists discovered a new chamber within the underground chamber of the Ruins of Alph. Until recently it has been closed for research, the archeologists believing that the chamber could have clues to much larger discoveries in the Ruins -- a prevailing but unconfirmed rumor says that there is a great treasure involved -- but no news of a big discovery followed.

And so, two days ago, the chamber was opened to tourists. Curious trainers and Pokemon have come from all around to explore, and in greater numbers than the Ruins of Alph has ever seen!

Then, on the third day, disaster struck within the ruins.

The peaceful sunny morning turned to chaos when Unown appeared in great numbers and in a rage. The stone doors to all known entrances and exits to the underground chambers in the Ruins of Alph mysteriously slammed shut, trapping many Pokemon and trainers inside, in many cases separating friends from friends and trainers from Pokemon... However, on the inside of the chambers, many new doors were also opened to strange dark passages, some for the first time in thousands of years...

Will those Pokemon who are trapped be able to survive in the ruins until help appears? Or will they go in search of a exit? Get to the bottom of the Unown's strange behavior? Or will they even take this opportunity to search for that 'great discovery'? What will your Pokemon characters do?

'Venture on!
My characters, who we needed to make both written and visual profiles of.

The main character (Pokemon are the main characters in the Poke-Venture):

Dustin Evans - Meowth

History: It's interesting to note that Dustin has not always been a Pokemon. Dustin had once been human. Dustin Evans had moved from Hoenn, a region that excels in technology, to Johto, a region mixed with normal humans and those who practice magic as a way of life. It seems Dustin's luck was not with him because he winds up in a part of the region that almost exclusively hosts these wizards. Wanting to fit in, he attempts magic, but due to having no magic in his blood, his spells always fail. In his school he is picked on, sometimes jinxed, due to his attempts at witchcraft. Dustin only has a handful of friends, all as ordinary as him, but he still wishes to be accepted.

One night he sneaks out of his house and into the local woods to try a new book of spells he has come across. However, this books is not just full of any spells. The book contains dark magic, tabooed magic only those in secret practice. Not realizing that this brand of magic is much more powerful than the one he is used to, Dustin succumbs to the magic and is brought to the brink of death. When he comes to, he finds himself not only in the company of a strange girl but also in the body of a Meowth!

The girl is Angela Robbins, a witch at his school that had bullied him from time to time. She explains that she has saved him with her own dark magic. In order to do that, she has turned him into her familiar, a being that is forever bound to serve its warlock. Dustin can still become human but only when she wishes it. Dustin is allowed to go back to his normal life while Angela summons him for whatever she wants (spell testing, hunts for potion ingredients, etc.)

In an ironic twist of fate, Dustin has gotten what he had wanted to begin with; he now has some small magical powers due to becoming a familiar.

Nobody except Angela knows about what he has become and his new duties.

Appearance: As a Meowth, he is a bit leaner than most of his species due to playing sports as a high school student. His ears (and consequently the tip of his tail and his back paws) are purple, a trait he has carried from his human hair. This is because the purple in his hair resulted from a spell that had backfired on him during one of his first tries at magic.

Personality: Dustin is pretty stubborn. Once he sets his mind to it, he will not give up on something, even if it seems impossible. He is also Rash, sometimes jumping into situations without thinking things through. This lead him to his predicament with Angela, and it's Angela that helps him from getting into even more trouble. He is a natural leader and cannot stand being looked down upon. Despite his flaws, Dustin deeply cares for his family and the few friends he has. He hates lying or betraying them, something he has done on a frequent basis after his ordeal with Angela.

Attacks: Dustin's attacks as a Meowth are for a defensive side rather than an offensive one, keeping true to his nature as a familiar protecting its master.

And the supporting character:

Angela Robbins - Witch

History: Angela Robbins is a witch that practices dark magic in Johto. She was born and raised in Johto but has traveled to different regions with her parents. Angela has gone to her school for magic folk and normal humans without nothing really happening. That is until Dustin Evans came. She bullied him just like everybody else, finding his determination to fit in annoying. Later, though, she saved Dustin from killing himself with a spell he couldn't control, and he is now her familiar.

Personality: Angela is headstrong and hardly listens to others. She likes keeping to herself for the most part and anybody who talks to her is a trustworthy person indeed. She looks out for herself and is always interested in what she will gain. Although she is stubborn as a mule she is smart and is quick to think on her feet. She loves all that is magic, whether be it light or dark. Angela has stinging sarcasm but is able to mellow down with Dustin once in a while, showing that even though she can be cold she cares for the people who have earned her trust. (Although when she wants to, she pretends to be nice and sincere.) She has learned to be civil towards him and finds herself seeing him as more of a friend than a familiar.

So there we go. Sorry about the long read. And now, let's venture on!

(I apologize if the mind-speech, normal speech, and Pokemon speech formatting is hard on the eyes.)


Round 1 (Part 2)


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Last edited by Phantom Kat; 07-14-2011 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:38 PM
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Default Re: Descent Into the Unown

Round 1

Within the Walls of the Ruins

"So, what is this trip you were talking about?"

Dustin looked to his father and felt a nervous lump form at his throat. He hated lying to his parents, but looking at his father (his police officer of a father) in the eye while doing so made his stomach churn in apprehension. The teenager swallowed and ran a hand through his mismatched black and violet hair before straightening in his seat. Across the dinner table his mother also awaited his words, ever the patient woman. Through it all the clock above the fireplace mantle in the living room sounded with ominous tick-tocks, as though quieting everything else so it could hear Dustin's words.

"It's to Johto, but it's all expenses paid," Dustin began. He found himself drumming his fingers on the table, and he fisted his hand to stop the nervous tic. "It's a research-type of a trip, where we catalogue Johto Pokémon and compare and contrast them to the ones here."

Dustin mentally cringed. That was the excuse Angela had given him to recite to his parents, but coming from him it sounded just like that, an excuse. If Angela was here he knew, without a doubt, that she would be able to convince his parents and wrap it up in a matter of minutes — no dark magic necessary. He himself had already spent half an hour just telling his parents he would be gone away for most of the summer, to another region no less.

"Who else is going?" his father asked.

"Oh, friends," Dustin said off-handedly, already getting out the slip of folded paper that was the all-important permission slip. "It's mostly teachers and some students."

"Like Angela?"

The permission slip fell from his fingers. Dustin looked up at his mother in alarm. Bells were going off in his head. Red flags were popping up, telling him to run or deny it all.


His mother smiled knowingly while his dad's expression was a mix of surprise and understanding. "She'll be going, too, right?"

"Yeah…" he drawled cautiously. At least that was one truth he'd told them.

"She's nice and responsible," (Dustin had to muffle a scoff), "and I'm sure she'll keep you out of trouble."

It took him a while to understand her words. When he did, Dustin frowned, momentarily forgetting his nervousness. "What do you mean by that? I don't get into trouble."

His parents pointedly looked at the purple coloring his dark hair. Dustin ran his hand through it again, remembering the spell that had backfired and left its mark. Well, how was he supposed to know the archaic pronunciation of "blood"?

His dad reached for the dropped permission slip on the table. Dustin watched the taking out of a pen with bated breath. Was he actually going to sign it? Were his parents actually falling for this hair brained-scheme? His hand gripped his pants leg nervously.

"Now just because I'm signing this," (Dustin's heart skipped a beat), "doesn't mean you can just go off and forget about us." His father leveled a gaze. "We expect a call every day from you."

"Su-sure" he readily agreed, trying to keep an incredulous chuckle from bubbling out. He couldn't believe it; he was going to Johto! His parents had actually bought Angela's lame excuse!

Dustin took the signed piece of paper and immediately felt heavy guilt. Tracing his father's signature he looked up, wishing they could see his turmoil of feelings. But his father had stood up to answer a call, and his mother was already in the kitchen, cooking up something for the family. Dustin let his head drop to the table. His hand ached to crumble up the permission slip and throw it in the nearest trashcan. His heart hurt at the lies he had just said.

Through it all Angela's wicked smile cut through his thoughts, reminding him that he was forever bounded to her.

I guess I'm going to the Ruins of Alph after all.


As the sky began to gain its first blues of the day Dustin felt it was much too early to be awake. Angela seemed to be in a rush and had hurried them from their inn at Violet City right after nearly devouring their breakfast in the lobby. Actually, now that he thought about it, Angela had been in a rush ever since she had announced their sudden trip to the Ruins of Alph, all the way in neighboring but still foreign region of Johto. Angela had given him a day to break the news to his parents. She had nearly thrown him and their minimal belongings from the S.S. Anne the moment it docked (or had they just jumped?).

And now they were out in the outskirts of Violet City at the wee hours of the morning. Dustin smacked his lips together, already feeling thirsty. While Johtonian weather wasn't as bad as the blazing summers he had spent in his home region of Hoenn, the humidity was suffocating. It pressed on his face and made each intake of breath slightly deeper than it should have been. Dustin mused that at this rate it would take them longer to get to the Ruins. Unless Angela was immune to things such as thirst, which with her dark magic, might be possible.

"Hey! Don't slow down!"

Dustin looked up and suddenly found himself five feet off the ground. His heart stopped in momentary panic until he looked down and caught sight of purple-tipped paws and a hanging tail. A short mew, a Meowth's form of a chuckle, escaped him before a tug on the loose skin on his neck reminded him that he was currently at the mercy of Angela, dark witch extraordinaire. The Pokémon looked up.

Green eyes bore into his, hard as emeralds, while the dark face they were set into contorted into a scowl. From this close Dustin could smell the fragrance of the shampoo she had used nestled in her black, curly hair. Though it was currently pulled into a thick ponytail that laid over her shoulder and half covered by a red bandanna it was still strong. That, coupled with the essences she always wore for her spells and potions, made him slightly dizzy. Really, did she have to dangle him so close?

"Hey, Dustin," came her voice again. "You need to get it together and focus. We still have quite a ways to go."

Upon hearing the steel laced in her voice, Dustin lowered his ears and frowned. I know. Your smell is just distracting.

Through their witch-familiar bond Angela heard his thoughts loud and clear. Her expression morphed from shock, to fury, until it settled on amusement. It seemed that after three months of hanging out with someone so brash she finally learned how to let Dustin's frankness slide. Instead of just dropping him to the floor as her familiar expected Angela acquired a teasing grin.

"I'm glad I turn you on."

If Dustin was human he would have turned ten shades of embarrassment. Instead his jaw dropped open, and his purple ears perked up in surprise. Angela laughed and shook the slack-jawed cat one more time before releasing him. Dustin regained his senses fast enough to land on his paws. He glared up, schooling his features. It was during these times that he wished he could just yell and raise his voice; telepathy (or whatever Angela called it) was never as satisfying.

Never mind that, he quickly 'said,' turning away and looking towards the path they were walking on. It was nothing but dirt, trotted and worn by trainers and Pokémon alike. Dustin noted with the raising of an invisible eyebrow that the grass around it was just as trampled. Everybody is going to these Ruins, it seems, but you still haven't told me why we're going there.

Angela had apparently deemed the conversation not that important and had resumed her walking. Dustin huffed in exasperation but obediently followed at her heels. He didn't want her to suddenly grab him by the scruff of the neck again. Meowth or not it still gave him goose bumps being so high off the ground. What if she wasn't so nice the next time?

The witch absently fingered the strap of her shoulder bag. "Yeah I did. You just don't listen."

I listen fine, Dustin snapped, irritation making his curled tail swish. He picked up his pace, making his footfalls as noticeable as possible. He saw Angela give him a cursory glance. You just never mentioned the specifics. You're vague like that, you know.

When Angela didn't seem anywhere close to giving him the information he wanted, he added in Meowth-speak, <"You can never seem to make any sense.">

Though Angela had never mentioned it outright she hated not being able to understand his Pokémon tongue; it was the only way Dustin could think without having his thoughts violated every moment of his day. Just like now, he noted with no small amount of satisfaction, she wanted to say just that. The hand that had been on the bag strap dropped like a stone. (Was she going to choke him with that ref scarf around her neck?) Her own steps began to get heavier until they resembled stomping. Still, he waited.

"Like I told you," his master began, most likely through gritted teeth, "we're going to the Ruins of Alph in order to research the strange Pokémon and the energy that reside there. Nobody knows how those Pokémon got there or when. As for the Ruins themselves, we don't know who could have built them. Maybe some kind of dark magic was involved."

And you want to find out this dark magic and use it, he finished lamely.

Angela turned to shoot him a pointed look. "Not necessarily. I'm not stupid enough to use magic I don't understand."

Dustin caught the accusation. A dark frown had replaced his playful grin. Yeah, he thought to her. He felt the fur on his back rise, but he forced down his anger by telling himself that, yes, he had been pretty stupid, and it was exactly why he was in his current situation. No use getting his fur roughed up because Angela decided to remind him. I guess you're not.

There was a moment of silence that stretched for who knows how long. Dustin spent it ignoring Angela's stinging words and enjoying the view. While the path may have been stamped with the presence of trainers and travelers the view was gorgeous. Beyond the leafy trees that lined the path one could see the dip of a valley. If he closed his eyes Dustin could imagine a running river and probably a herd of Pokémon. Wouldn't it be nice to take a detour from the dusty, and probably uneventful, Ruins to take a look?

Black eyes fluttered open before Angela accused him of snoozing on the job. Dustin dared to glance up at her. From that determined frown etched on her face it wasn't likely a detour was anywhere in their plans. How unfair, after being dragged all the way here, but it wasn't like he could just take off. For one, only Angela could turn him human. He wasn't a Pokémon. If something bigger came to attack him all he could do was turn tail or use Protect.

< "And what if a trainer saw me…?"> Dustin pondered aloud. Horror suddenly made his paws weak. Angela had never told him if their bond or his human side prevented him from being caught in a Poké Ball. Instead of dwelling on it, the familiar focused on the other reason why running away would be bad idea.

Angele could make his life a living hell, simple as that. From revealing what he was to his family to testing some particularly nasty potion on him, Angela controlled him like a puppet.

<"At least I'm out of the house,"> he mused, unaware of the witch's thrown glare. <"The most exciting thing I thought I would do was football camp."> (Which, now that he thought about it, he might potentially miss due to Angela.) <"Who would have thought I would go to Johto, of all places! Even if Angela doesn't take us anywhere else at least I'll be able to enjoy the view.">

"You know," the aforementioned teenager called from upfront, "you sounds like a deranged Meowth, meowing to yourself like that. Since we're getting close to the Ruins, we'll be running into other trainers, and I would like them to think my Pokémon are sane."

Other trainers? Dustin echoed. You're not a trainer. All those Poké Balls in your bag are empty. Also, I'm your only 'Pokémon.'

"It's all a disguise," Angela told him exasperatedly. "Most of the people there will be trainers, so it would look weird if I'm the only who isn't. We avoid less questions."

And what if you're challenged?

"Then we use the excuse that you're the only Pokémon I brought with me, for convenience sake."

Dustin muttered something about how even though it didn't seem like a good excuse people would still eat it up. He changed the subject. And I wouldn't have to keep talking to myself if you changed me back to human. It's not like a guy and a girl traveling together is going to be seen as weird. Plus, he continued, looking down at his paws with something akin to disgust, I hate being like this for a long time.

Especially around others, went unsaid. It wasn't so bad when it was just him and Angela somewhere in a forest, but with humans it was just...different. The feeling of literally being lower than everybody else, treated like something less intelligent, made him feel physically ill. In some ways it was worse than whatever Angela made him do as a familiar.

"What if a wild Pokémon shows up?"

Dustin looked up, confused by the seemingly random question. Angela rolled her eyes and elaborated. "That's why you're a Pokémon. So if a Pokémon attacks, you can defend me. Plus, we have to keep up the appearance of trainer and trainer's Pokémon."

Whatever her familiar was about to say was lost when Dustin heard the rising commotion of groups of people. The dirt path began to end until Dustin felt hard earth beneath his paws. The footsteps of dozens of people reverberated and made the fur along his spine rise. Even without looking up he knew the place was packed. Flattening his ears against the noise of meaningless chatter and Pokémon noises, he fixed his eyes on Angela.

She didn't seem at all bothered by the sudden amount of people. Angela ignored them all with practiced ease. Her attention was entirely devoted to the stone structures that towered above them all, tall and mysterious even in the daylight. At first glance they seemed like cakes with tiers, all of them different sizes. Some tiers were completely intact while others had entire chunks scattering the ground. Trainers gazed at these fallen pieces in awe; their Pokémon seemed content on sniffing them or playing on them.

Dustin spotted one and walked towards it, cocking his head as the inscriptions on the stone became clearer. They kind of looked like letters, if he ignored the eyes.

<"Kind of creepy."> He put a paw on the stone's jagged edge but only felt warmth. Dustin slid his paw to the odd letters. Nope, he didn't feel anything. Maybe Angela was wrong about the magic thing. He turned towards where she was still standing.

A thoughtful smile played on her face. Dustin knew that smile, and it made him cringe every time he saw it. That was the same smile she had on when he had woken up as a Meowth and learned that his life was going to get a bit more interesting. Then again, though, he wasn't the object of that smile this time.

He watched her turn this way and that on her heels, seemingly oblivious to the people that made their way around her. It wasn't until Angela disappeared into a crowd of particularly loud trainers that Dustin felt a sudden unease. Taking his paw off the uninteresting piece of stone he began to walk to where the witch last stood, hoping she hadn't gone far. Unfortunately the throng of people and Pokémon began to thicken.

Dustin tried his best to not be in the way, he really did, but he still managed to bump into people's legs. If that wasn't bad enough most of the Pokémon were small enough to notice when he would bump into them. As he dodged the swipe of a particularly angry Scyther Dustin cursed his predicament. He hated being so dependent on Angela. If he could turn back human right now none of this would be happening.

"You lost, kitty?"

(Banner by the epic Neo Pikachu) TAC Challenge: I'm learning Finnish! ^-^

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Old 07-14-2011, 11:40 PM
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Default Re: Descent Into the Unown

For the second time that day Dustin found himself being dangled high off the ground. This time he was face to face with a particularly fat man whose smell of dirt and sweat almost made him sneeze. Dustin narrowed his eyes and restrained the urge to hiss. The man (who was in a desperate need of a shave) continued to analyze him like a piece of meat, turning him this way and that.

"What odd coloring," the man mumbled, the stale smell of sweat somehow becoming stronger. Dustin wrinkled his nose, contemplating whether he should swipe the man or not. Would Angela really care if such a guy was hurt?

The world shifted. Then it stopped. The man was further away, his expression now stark surprise.

"He's mine." (Angela!) "And I would appreciate it if you didn't just grab him off the ground."

The man seemed like he wanted to say something but stopped midway when he caught sight of Angela. Dusting guess she just used a particularly effective scowl, but from his vantage point he couldn't tell. By the time Dustin was dropped back to the floor, the man was gone and Angela was going somewhere again. This time Dustin was right at her side.

Can you turn me back now? he sourly asked.

Angela did not say a word. Instead she pointed up front. Dustin followed her finger and found the giant structure they were going to enter. Unlike every other tower of stone this one seemed to be in pretty good shape. Of course, though, the closer they got the more he could see of weather erosion. It was a shame, really. Those odd letters were now almost indistinguishable and looked more like crude carvings.

"I'll need your help when we're farther in," Angela told him, stopping at a table set up before the entrance of the temple. When she said no more and began to chat with the guy in charge of the station, Dustin glanced around. Just like Angela many trainers were signing up to gain entrance to the Ruins. At least the people in charge of providing entrance to the Ruins were organized.

So you'll turn me back once we're in deep? he asked, just to clarify, when the witch was given her pass and allowed to enter.

He was given a nod, but Dustin hardly noticed it. The moment they walked through the stone entrance and left the sunlight behind, Dustin felt a wave of shivers run up his spine. A harsh gasp was forced out of him, and out of instinct, he looked around for any predators. Nothing but thick darkness met his eyes. Still it took him a couple of heartbeats for him to ease himself out of his tense stance.

<"Wha—what was that?">

"What are you blabbering about?"

Dustin tore his eyes away from the shadows. Angela was already turning a corner, one hand on a wall he was starting to make out. Why was the darkness here so much more difficult to see through?

Didn't you feel that? Shooting one last glance at the sunlit entrance Dustin joined Angela, body unusually low to the ground. It gave me the creeps!

"You're just jumpy," Angela said, dismissing him by beginning to walk farther into the Ruins. She trailed one hand on the wall, motioning for Dustin to take the lead. Dustin was not one to complain since he was the one with the night vision, but it was still unnerving to be in the front lines. Feeling the last of the daylight's warmth leave him he took the lead, raising his head and perking his ears for any sounds.

Faintly, at the edge of his hearing, Dustin made out the travels of other trainers. Chatter echoed like chirping, rising and falling and then eventually dying out, leaving them alone. Dustin looked at the walls that seemed a bit too close for comfort. Little by little the engravings began to get clearer, yet they were still as odd as the ones outside. Down here, though, there were hundreds of them, seemingly covering every space his eyes happened to land on. With a prickle of fear the Meowth looked towards his paws. They were even covering the floor!

Soon, despite the fear that laid like acid in his stomach, Dustin tried to make sense of the not-letters. Some not-letters began to appear more than others, like vowels in the English language. Others were sometimes always paired with another, like the English letters Q and U. Despite himself Dustin found it interesting. He almost forgot he was deep underground, separated by tunnels upon tunnels of stone from other humans and Pokémon. Almost. He still found it unsettling that there was no sound except their breathing, which seemed to get shallower with each step.


Dustin jumped and nearly tripped on his paws. Turning around, walking backwards now, he glared at Angela. What the hell was that for?

"I told you," she simply said, cocky smile shining through the darkness. "I told you there was magic involved."

Really? he drawled out, still turned around. And how do you know that?

"I can feel it in the walls." Angela turned her nose up, as though the question was too dumb for her to answer. "It's not much, but there's definitely magic in here. I don't know what kind, though. Who knows? It might be a whole new type of magic!"

Dustin flinched as her voice bounced off the enclosed tunnel. Scowling and happy that the gloomy surroundings hid it, Dustin surmised that he could care less. The whole place gave him the creeps; even his tail was twitching more than usual. The air was stale, empty of life and full of something ancient and forbidding, making it hard to breathe if he stopped to think about it. From the way Angela casually walked, eyes searching and full of curiosity, she didn't seem to feel it. He wanted to tell her, one last time, that this did not seem like a good idea, then thought better of it. Perhaps she didn't feel it because it a was a Pokémon thing, some inbred instinct that manifested itself as alarm bells in his head.

That's great, he intoned in a bored (mental) voice, but say, mind changing me back now?

"A little farther up," she replied, once again ignoring him as she dug through her bag for a flashlight; she wanted to see these not-letters for herself.

A little farther up? Dustin echoed, incredulous. If he wasn't on four paws he would have motioned to the suffocating tunnel and the thick stone. We're deep enough where they wouldn't hear us scream, let alone see us!

"Do you want people to see you?" she snapped, switching on her flashlight and enveloping him in a wave of pale yellow light.

Of course I don't! he thought back. But there's no on—!

One of his backpaws stepped on nothing. Dustin only had time to gasp before he fell head over heels backwards, down, down a slope of rock. A second later he heard Angela's scream, eerily far away.


Dustin had the wind knocked out of him as stone met flesh. He groaned and faintly felt Angela land next to him. What the hell happened? Blearily he looked up, managing to detect the slope they had tumbled down from. It seemed stories high, like the mouth of a giant serpent. Another groan, this one of frustration, left him. It was going to be impossible to make it back up. Sensing the feeling of defeat he laid back down, ears and tail lank. Now would Angela listen to reason?

"At least we got out of the tunnel." Angela sounded winded but no worse for wear than him. He heard scraping, a clatter, and then the light of the flashlight was back. Standing but still feeling as though they had dropped to the center of the Earth Angela began to walk around. "This looks like some kind of chamber."

Really? Now that he thought about it the air was suddenly not so intoxicating. His whiskers trembled as though realizing that the place they landed in was much, much bigger. Dustin pushed himself up to his paws, walking up beside Angela and using the flashlight's brilliance to take stock of his surroundings.

The room was a chamber. The ceiling was at least twenty-feet above their heads while the opposite wall seemed a football field away. Looking down Dustin saw there was no writing on the floor. Oddly enough that made his insides curl. Surely the lack of not-letters meant something.

"Look, there's writing on these walls, too."

The moment Dustin saw Angela drifting off to the strange words, his blood ran cold. Those alarm bells were clamoring his head, shrill and out of control. He felt his claws slide from his paw pads in preparation for something he couldn't quite see yet. Dustin followed almost in a crouch.

Angela, please, come back.

He was surprised by his pleading words, and by the way Angela stopped she was, too. The familiar reached her side, eyes never leaving the wall. It was feet away now, tall and foreboding. The shadows on it shifted and wiggled until even Angela saw them. She stepped back, flashlight now held in a deadly grip.

Something dark and without a definite form detached itself from the writing. Then another, and another, until at least a dozen shadows bobbed before their eyes. Dustin bared his fangs and felt his claws scrape against the rock underfoot. Angela, on the other hand, found herself taking a couple of steps forward. Dustin was about to shout at her to get out of the way until he looked up and saw the shadows for what they really were. The words died on his tongue.

These were the not-letters! Flabbergasted, Dustin straightened. They must have been no taller than a foot, and if it wasn't for those lone, unblinking eyes each one had they would have been sort of cute. Each one was contorted into a shape that resembled a letter of the Roman alphabet, but unless they stood still long enough they were far from familiar. The alarm bells rang again.

"They seem to be Pokémon," Angela mused to herself, holding out a hand. Dustin felt the fur along his spine rise at the motion. One that looked like an R whose legs weren't exactly the same size came to bump its head, if it could be called that, against the witch's fingers. The others began to revolve around Angela. Their black forms began to blur, their eyes still unblinking.

Dustin wasn't particularly unnerved until they began to sing.

Or hum, if he wanted to be technical. While Angela's expression creased into thinking mode, Dustin wanted nothing more than to cover his ears. Their humming bounced from one end of the room to the other, swirled in the corners and flew up the slope they had fallen from.

"Hey, what are the saying?" his master asked. She was still entranced in the Pokémon's movements, and the song was giving Angela an uncharacteristic smile.

I don't know, Dustin told her. If these were Pokémon, why couldn't he understand them? Those alarm bells were clamoring again, louder than ever before. They're just...singing.

And with those words, everything stopped. The humming evaporated like smoke. The not-letters froze and simultaneously blinked, bringing a red aura to the sclera of their eyes. Dustin hissed and immediately got in front of Angela. Wisely she retracted her hand and retreated back. Though she still held her flashlight its light wasn't necessary. Blood-red brilliance lit up the chamber, throwing their shadows aside and mutating them into something unrecognizable.

Angela, you better run, Dustin warned her.


The not-letters moved again, their own shadows like demons against the wall.


The letters attacked. Dustin crouched down and enveloped Angela and himself in a shimmering Protect. The Pokémon bounced back against the appearing dome of light like rocks, momentarily dazed. Angela tore off from the battle, the light of the flashlight weaving in and out of the red-tinted darkness. Dustin, despite his racing heart, stood his ground as the not-letters peeled themselves off the wall, ready to fight again.

A rumble shook the ground, and dirt began to rain down them. Dustin watched the approaching not-letters and readied a Shadow Ball. The shadows swirled around his frame, collecting in his fangs and manifesting themselves into something much more sinister. When a not-letter came in, its red aura brighter than ever, the Shadow Ball was launched and hit the group of enemies. For a moment, the world went black. By the time the not-letters rose again Dustin was off running after Angela.

"There's a doorway over here!" Angela's voice was tiny in the vast chamber, a whisper among the sudden humming the not-letters were voicing again. Dustin dared to glance behind him. He didn't like what he saw.

They're gaining!

A not-letter sped ahead of the group, heading for Angela. As quick as her familiar she turned on her heel and held out a hand. White blinded all of them for a second, but Dustin could somehow tell her spell was weaker than it was meant to be. Not-letters were knocked back, some falling to the floor with a distressed cry. Angela continued on running, Dustin finally catching up to her.

Was that door opened before? Dustin wondered as Angela's mentioned exit was within sight. It didn't matter. Hopefully it lead to somewhere where they could lose the not-letters.

The moment they passed into the dark tunnel darkness fell. Angela froze in shock, letting Dustin charge right into her legs. They both stumbled, almost falling into a pile, until Dustin scrambled back. He was about to breathe out an apology (if he could regain his breath) until he noticed Angela was already walking deeper into the Ruins, her eyes on her still glowing hand; her flashlight was in the other hand, its beam illuminating their path.

"That spell was pathetic," she said aloud. Waving her hand, the glow disappeared.

Dustin looked back at the stone that now blocked the entrance to the tunnel, fur on end. It probably has something to do with the magic going on around here, he offered, though he knew Angela's mind was already on that thought process. Looking over his shoulder again, hoping that those moving shadows weren't really there, he said, That's probably why those letters came alive.

"Or maybe they were Pokémon all along."

What are you—?

The ceiling rumbled again, just like when the not-letters had begun to attack. This time the trembles grew into a deafening roar. Dustin flattened his ears and looked up. His heart stopped in his chest.


Rock fell. Dustin jumped back just as a cloud of dust swarmed into the tunnel. Then the floor jumped, making him fall onto his side. Somewhere far away Angela yelled and cursed. There were words, probably directed at him, but they were muffled beyond recognition. Dustin forced himself up, legs still shaking. When he blinked away the dust, he saw nothing but stone.

<"What the…?">


Was that Angela? Dustin padded closer and put an ear against the rock. Somebody on the other side was pounding on the wall with all they had.

Angela? Are you okay?

"As okay as I can be," she voiced with irritation. The pounding stopped. Moments passed where Dustin heard words muttered in Latin. Then, "My spells suck. They can't break through the stone. Go ahead and try a Shadow Ball from your side."

Dustin frowned. A Shadow Ball? With how unstable the Ruins seem to be?

"My spells are doing nothing. I doubt you're going to bring the roof down us."

Though he still had his doubts Dustin told Angela to get back before he gathered the shadows around him. Somehow they seemed darker, more malicious. Was it because they were now basked in complete darkness, no flashlight to disrupt them from their slumber? Shouldering that thought for later, Dustin continued to make the sphere bigger and bigger. The Shadow Ball was hurled, it struck, but nothing but dust fell at his feet. Another one of Angela's curses floated from the other side upon noticing the small, but insignificant, tremble of the wall. Dustin stalked back to his original spot and sat, waiting for his next (and hopefully) better order.

"Look, let's try this: I'll turn you back human, and we'll try using our powers together, at the same time. Two magics will probably work better than one magic and Shadow Ball."

Dustin perked up at the idea. Go for it!

More Latin whispered through the tunnel. Though he waited as patiently as he could, after five minutes of still being a Meowth, Dustin had to speak up. Angela…?

"...You're still a Meowth, aren't you?"

Dustin felt his heart plummet to his stomach. ...Yeah.

"I guess my magic is being effected more than I thought."

So you mean you can't turn me back? He noticed he sounded whiny, like a spoiled child that didn't get his way, but this wouldn't be happening if Angela had turned him back when he had suggested. She was so stubborn like that.

"No, I can't, now stop complaining about it," she barked at him. Dustin stuck his tongue out at her and turned away from the wall. Yep, so stubborn.

He didn't know how long he sat there as Angela, from the sound of frustrated curses and strings of Latin, tried all the spells she had up her sleeve. She was persistent, he'd give her that, but she was just going to tire herself out. Growing bored and just irritated with the entire situation, Dustin laid down and rested his head on his paws. That's when he noticed the shadows on one part of wall seemed different. Squinting, he saw a possible way out of their predicament.

Angela, he began, a new tunnel opened here on my side. Since it seems we can't destroy the wall, (Angela growled something about how she almost had it), we can try meeting up somewhere else.

"You want to separate?" was her incredulous response. "With those Pokémon around?"

If you haven't noticed, Dustin cut in harshly, we're already separated. Staying in the same spot is not going to do us any good.


Getting up Dustin began to enter the new tunnel. The shadows seemed to thicken, as though happy to welcome another victim. So we're splitting?

This time Angela's voice was merely a whisper; he guessed she was already making her way further in. "We don't have any other choice."

Good luck.

Then he heard nothing.


A/N: As the prompt mandated, Round 1 ends with our characters trapped. I chose to separate them, but Angela will come back when the time is right.

(Banner by the epic Neo Pikachu) TAC Challenge: I'm learning Finnish! ^-^

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Last edited by Phantom Kat; 07-14-2011 at 11:42 PM.
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