Aaaaye! This is a sequel to Firestorm Origins, so if you haven't read that one, you'll probably be a bit confused, but if you have already read it, then I'm going to just drop you right in!
Spoiler Warnings for people that haven't played PMD: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky.
Also, I'm trying this thing where I put a little bold number next to certain things throughout the chapters, then at the end, provide an explanation of why that specific instance happened, kind of like an author's notes file. Anywho... Hope you enjoy! The wait will be worth it! Much Love!
(Sorry for all the pre-notice stuff. Here's the story.)
-Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: The Light in the Storm-
"Connor… You're back…" I hugged him so tightly that he gasped, "Hey… You're choking me, man..."
I let him go, and stared at him, not believing he was there. "This isn't a dream, right?"
Connor smiled, tears in his eyes, "No… It's not..."
I grinned, tears of joy still streaming down my cheeks, "I missed you so much…"
He simply stood there, and I gave him another crushing hug.
Bidoof smiled, "By golly, I'll let the guild know that you're back!"
Connor shook his head, "No. We need to talk to our team first. We already skipped out on them when we returned from the future the last time. They deserve to know before anybody else."
Bidoof nodded, "Alright… Well, I'd bet that you're hungry, no doubt! Dinner's going to be ready in an hour or less, Chimecho was sayin'!"
Connor nodded, "Thank you, Bidoof. Just… let us tell them we're back."
He nodded, and took off back to the guild.
Connor looked at the setting sun on the horizon, then at the bubbles refracting the light, "What a perfect evening to have your best friend return from the dead."
I punched him jokingly, "Shut up… I'm so glad you're back… Heck, the whole team will be glad to hear it!"
"I just… can't believe it. How did I… Come back?"
I shrugged, "I don't know… and quite honestly, I don't care. All that matters is that you did."
He continued gazing out to the sea, "Wow… It's so much more beautiful than I remember…"
I turned to him, "So… What was it like, disappearing?"
He shrugged slightly, "I don't remember anything after disappearing. I was suddenly just… here. Straight from Temporal Tower."
I tilted my head, "Nothing? Like, no memories in between or anything?"
I stood still for a moment, "...Well, let's go tell the team you're back!"
He nodded, and we walked to Team Firestorm's base of operations, the tent. It's kind of a simple name, but simple is good.
When we got in front of it, I said, "Stay back… Surprises are so much fun." He nodded and stayed back as I walked in, and from what I saw, the team was mulling around. Vincent and Atlas were playing some card game, Rose was coiled up, watching. Mirage and Nocturne were betting on who would win using berries and seeds, and Magnus was sleeping on one of the bottom bunks.
Atlas looked up, "Hey, boss. Got any new missions?"
I smiled as I shrugged, "Meh. No new missions right now. Sorry."
Vincent looked up, "Yo, what's with the smile, man? I haven't seen that big of a grin on your face since-" Suddenly, he stopped mid-sentence, staring behind me. I turned, and Connor was standing at the entrance. Vincent dropped his cards, "Connor…?"
As everybody else looked at him, all of their eyes widened. He smiled sheepishly, "Geez, you guys look surprised to see me or something."
Atlas tackled him with a hug first, picking him clean off the ground. Connor grunted, and Atlas laughed with so much joy, "You're back! By Arceus, I thought we'd never see you again!"
Vincent gave him a hug as well, and Rose slithered up to him, and the others followed suit until he was pushing them off. He grinned, "It's good to be back. What did I miss?"
Mirage spoke up, "The only thing you really missed was the team getting promoted to Diamond Rank."
Magnus added, "And we're all really strong. Atlas has been riding our ass about staying in shape. Been pissin' me off, but whatever. At least I get a good fight in the mazes."
Connor seemed impressed, and Vincent looked at him again, "Wow… Three months… You haven't aged a day since I first met you!"
Connor shrugged, "It's that disappearing treatment, man. It rejuvenates my water-type skin."
Vincent chuckled, then Connor said, "What're we still doing here? Let's celebrate! I'm dying for a blue gummi smoothie!"
We all cheered, and went to Spinda's cafe. We all ordered an oran juice, and each one of us got a gummi smoothie of our type. We didn't have a drinking contest, but we informed him how much he'd missed, and how we were looking for that pokemon mafia group with Team Core.
He simply nodded and listened while drinking his smoothie out of the straw.
After that, we went back to the Guild, and everyone was so excited to see Connor back. Wigglytuff just nodded and welcomed him back. The entire guild freaked for the next few days, still not believing that he had returned.
A few nights later, I rolled over to face Connor, feeling pretty rested since I'd gotten a couple days off to catch up with him. I'm glad that they gave me that time with him.
"Well, tomorrow, we get back to training…"
Connor nodded, "I want to get to platinum rank, man."
I smiled, "We just got to diamond!"
He spoke slightly louder, still smiling, "Well, let's get to platinum!"
I scoffed, "I don't think that's a real rank," and he chuckled, "I'm serious. We're going to work our butts off to get there. The whole team. We'll do shifts at the dojo to get eight missions every day."
I shrugged, still in disbelief that he was back, even three nights later, "That's a bit overkill, but whatever. Goodnight, Connor."
I growled as I turned around, "What is it this time, Nagini?"
"That Mudkip… He's back. Vulcan and him are back together."
"We're not sure… We've checked Treasure Town, and aside from there, there aren't very many other places for those two to hide safely. We will have them located swiftly, sir."
I took a deep breath, controlling my rage, "...Then how do you know that they are back?!"
"Koumori had spotted them in a Mystery Dungeon, but she lost them after they were transported out."
I tilted my head, "Would these two pokemon… Vulcan and the Mudkip… Would they happen to be the same two that foiled my plan to steal the Time Gears from that Grovyle? The same two that you ran from when they beat your 'powerful' team so easily?"
"Y-yes, sir… But I can guarantee, Fornax is devising a plan to find them and take them down. We will not disappoint you again."
"You would do well not to test my patience. We must think extensively on how to deal with them."
"When do you propose we move out, master? Immediately, or…?"
"No. This team is a crafty bunch. And directly assaulting any pokemon that is part of an exploration team would prove troublesome with the authorities… We will bide our time for a long while. Continue about your business, and do not bother me again about this subject until I say so."
Nagini stuttered, "B-but-!"
Mordred, my right-hand pokemon, extended the metal blades on his arms menacingly, and I stepped forward, "Did I stutter? We will bide our time." and he gulped, "Y-yes, sir!" as he slithered away.
I chuckled as I looked at my map of Immanis, "This is going to be fun…"
-Chapter 1: The FINAL Final Test-
Wow… It was good to be back. We made it to platinum rank in four months after we resumed our training. We did so much training, the whole team felt like they could (probably) take on Dialga, after it was all said and done. Then, after another two months of comparably lax training, what Chatot said during the morning briefing caught me completely by surprise.
"Huh?! Graduation?!" I shook my head, making sure I heard him right.
Chatot nodded, "That's right! Graduation from the guild! If you graduate, you can leave the guild, be officially recognized as an independent exploration team, and on top of that, you'll be rid of the harsh daily training program too! Of course, that all depends on your passing the graduation exam."
"Hey, hey, hey! Chatot!" Corphish called out, "We've been around a lot longer than those two. Hey, hey! Why do Connor and Vulcan get to take the graduation exam before we do?"
"They've already proven themselves worthy several times over. After all, Connor and Vulcan did save the world. It's only natural that they've earned the right to be tested." He turned to us, "So that is how it goes. We will soon conduct the graduation exam. I expect you to be prepared for it!"
Everybody faced us, and Sunflora said, "Loudred took the exam last year."
"And promptly failed! Hey, hey!" Corphish added.
Loudred scoffed, "G-g-get LOST!"
I looked at Chatot and Wigglytuff, "So… What are we supposed to do for this graduation exam?"
Wigglytuff smiled, "I'm glad you asked! First step: Done! I want you to explore the depths of a wood named the Mystifying Forest. You should find a place called Luminous Spring there."
I tilted my head, confused at the location, "Luminous spring? Why haven't I heard of it?"
Wigglytuff smiled, "Well, it was a place where pokemon once went to evolve. But maybe because of the time troubles we had… No sunlight shines on the spring now. Now nothing can evolve there."
I perked up at that statement, Can I evolve? Does it count, since I was a human and all that?
I shrugged, telling myself maybe I could, but not to get my hopes up.
Chatot went off of what Wigglytuff said, "We want you to travel to Luminous Spring and return with its treasure. If you can bring that treasure back to the guild, you pass the exam. You will then be recognized as a fully independent and trained exploration team and graduate from the guild with full honors!"
Vulcan and I both nodded. I smiled, "Sounds easy enough. You ready, Vulcan?"
He nodded, but Wigglytuff cut in, "But…" We both looked at him, "You have to watch out for one thing. There, you will find… a frighteningly strong enemy. The grandmaster of all things bad lives there."
Vulcan seemed shocked, but I raised an eyebrow.
"The Grandmaster is terribly wicked. It's a horrifying presence that nobody would ever want to meet. So… Good luck with that!"
He said that last part with such a straight face, which for him was a corny grin, that I was caught by surprise, "Whoa, wait… What?"
Chatot called out, "That will do for the morning briefing! All right, everyone! Let's get down to work!"
Everyone left to their posts while Vulcan and I talked plans. He seemed really worried. "What are we going to do? What if we run into the grandmaster of all things bad?"
I shook my head, "Something doesn't add up. Wigglytuff was too… Calm about it. But if it'll make you feel better… Hey, Loudred!"
We walked up to him as he was on his way to the sentry post, "You took the graduation exam last year, right? We have a question. What was the grand master of all things bad like?"
Loudred sweat a bit, "Ugh… I'm sorry, but I'm NOT allowed to talk about it. It's the guild rule. I CAN'T talk about it. But… I will tell you this… You're in for… a dreadful, terrifying time. What I went through…" He started quivering, "Even now, when I let myself remember it…" Then he ran away screaming.
I tilted my head, "What would the guild be trying to hide? Wouldn't it be dangerous to go if we couldn't ask about this grand master?"
Vulcan shrugged, "I don't know. But we need to tell the team what's going on."
I nodded, and we hit up Treasure Town. We stopped by our Team's tent, and we told them that they could just stay on standby, train at the dojo or something since we had the exam today. They all agreed, although Atlas was really keen on some lead that Maris had told him about the pokemon mafia group they'd been pursuing while I was 'gone'. But he eventually crossed his arms and huffed, "Fine…"
Vincent put a hand on his shoulder, "Don't worry about it, muscles. It's only one day."
Vulcan and I both left the tent and I said, "We're in the blind about what kind of enemy we're facing… Let's hit up the Dojo and get supplies for majorly tough enemies."
Vulcan nodded, "Sounds good."
Going off of our previous experiences with trying to use orbs on 'bosses', we stuck to seeds, only packing two petrify orbs in case of monster houses. We organized them into a 'bag' inventory in the storage for easy access, and we were about to go to the dojo when we ran into Teddiursa and Ursaring.
Teddiursa waved at us, "Oh, Connor and Vulcan! Hi!"
Vulcan waved back, "Hey! What are you guys up to?"
"We're going off to Mystifying Forest now."
Vulcan gasped, "What?! Isn't it dangerous there? The grand master of all things bad is supposed to be there."
They both tilted their heads, and Ursaring said, "Um… The Grand master of all things bad? I've never heard of anything like that. You sure you're not making a mistake?"
Teddiursa added on, "We go play there all the time! We've never seen, or even heard of a grandmaster!"
Ursaring said loathingly, "But there was that one team… What were their names?" He contemplated for a moment before nodding, "Oh, Team Veros! They poisoned the spring a long time ago. Teddiursa and I both saw it. That's why she isn't evolved yet."
He quickly dismissed the statement, "You must have just misheard a bad rumor or something. We haven't seen them in over a year." He turned to Teddiursa, "Let's go."
Teddiursa waved goodbye as they walked off, and Vulcan crossed his arms, "That… Was weird. If there really is a grandmaster… Why haven't they heard of it too?"
"Do you think that the team that they mentioned is the grand master?"
"No… 'Team anything' is usually not a master of evil, unless you're team Skull or something…"
Then he tilted his head, "Speaking of them, we haven't heard anything from them since Brine Cave."
I pieced the pieces together, trying to get back on topic, "Well, Wigglytuff warns us of this scary, wicked villain, but the pokemon in Treasure Town don't know him."
Vulcan gasped, "Do you think it could be a hoax to try and scare anyone who takes the exam?"
I shook my head, "Naw, Loudred was definitely scared of something. Let's stick with our old plan."
So that's what we did. We dropped our items off in the storage, and went to the Dojo. Atlas and Magnus both wanted to come, so we just said that they could tackle the other mazes. While we were in there, Vulcan learned Inferno, officially. I learned Blizzard with a TM, and as we made it through the mazes, I figured out how stinkin' useful that move was. When we hit the monster houses, I used it, and almost every time, the pokemon were all knocked out, except for maybe one or two that the attack missed. but Vulcan just finished the remaining ones off with fire punch or flamethrower. Each time we made it through, Vulcan went and checked for missions while I shopped for seeds and items.
We kept training until we felt like we could hold our own. After that, we picked up our items, which consisted of two petrify orbs, blast, stun, totter, violent, and reviver seeds. I packed all of them. Better safe then sorry. The last two items on the list were my stamina band and Vulcan's blue bow. We adjusted them, and I filled some more space with a few apples and oran berries. There was still a good amount of space left in the bags for treasure, TMs and stuff we found in the dungeon itself.
We ran around to a couple shops, Vulcan wrote in the adventure log at the well to finish, and then set out for Mystifying forest, which magically marked itself for us on the map.
When we got there, Vulcan looked up at the trees, "Well, it's definitely a forest… Not near as creepy as dusk forest, though."
I chuckled, "Not even close. Let's boogie."
We moved to the forest, and when we entered the treeline, the branches solidified around us, forming a wall, signaling a mystery dungeon.
Okay... None of the author notes yet. but it's good to be back! Hope you enjoyed, as always! Be sure to leave a quick review or PM if you enjoyed, or if you didn't, tell me what you didn't like, or whatever!