It Shall Begin and End With Pain chap 5
I have begun college! Literally as I'm typing this, I'm relaxing in a dorm room and doing nothing at all. (Classes start tomorrow, so that won't last long!)
Disclaimer: I own Ryan and that's basically it! Though I do have a Pokeball that my sis crocheted for me that I love!
It's Magma, Not Lava
"Those two really seem to be hitting it off," I grinned and turned back to Alvero.
He finished his sip of the steaming hard cider before answering, "To be fair, I think part of that is because Blaize is hopelessly drunk. Or on his way."
I turned and took a closer look. Blaize was grinning stupidly and hunched over in his seat, some liquid spilled on himself and the table.
"I thought he got himself something that's really weak and then watered it down even more?"
I shook my head at our esteemed leader's lack of alcoholic tolerance.
"Didn't he also get Rookie something that was pretty dang strong?"
"The same kind that knocked Blaize out after two sips? Yeah."
One drink. Not even the full drink, seeing as he spilled a little. That's all it took to make Blaize begin to get tipsy and slur his words.
That meant a conversation was hardly possible between the two of us and it was infuriating me to no end.
I had just found out that he was from Earth and that had been there for "Since before you were a speck in ya pappy's pants." I grimaced at that mental image while he continued to tell me how he appeared in the middle of nowhere, met Alvero, then met Alvis, then the rest was hardly understandable. He was well and truly drunk after consuming a single drink.
I really should have stopped the Spinda from wobbling over and refilling his cup and laying a new one down for me, but I was too busy wondering how such a chronically dizzy Pokemon managed to not spill drinks all the time.
Yet another mystery of the world that would remain unsolved.
To pass the time between his muttered half-whispered words, I would drink from the not-yet-drained mug in front of me. I was careful and kept watching for signs that it was beginning to mess with my judgement. Now and again, I would try to ask him questions. Aside from anecdotes that usually didn't make sense or he didn't finish, I got nothing.
"We'd better get him to bed," Alvero walked up to the table a minute before I was going to try to escape. I was on my second cup and almost finished, still not feeling anything, when he came over.
"Ah, are you okay?" He looked pointedly at the two cups, one with just a little bit of liquid left in it, and back to me.
"I feel fine. He must've got me something really weak."
Judging by his surprised look, whatever I was drinking might have been stronger than I thought. Did I have a natural high alcohol tolerance?
Nah. Must be something else. I was tiny and had never drank before.
It was when Alvero was hauling a snoring, out cold Blaziken over his shoulder that I remembered the last member of team Baal.
Just in time to see a bone spike appear in my left peripheral and someone appear very close behind me.
"Any chance you are intoxicated enough to simply let me go?" She had a mug in front of her before. Maybe she had a strong drink as well?
Arms wrapped around me and a giggle was the only answer I got before being held against her chest while carried out of the restaurant.
At least it wasn't by Ben's sheath. Not an improvement, but it was something.
"Why the name Baal? What does it stand for?" I knew I wasn't going to escape, so I decided to suck up my pride (what little I had left) and talk. I mostly ignored her petting of my head as she followed Alvero, who was still carrying a drunken Blaize.
"The first three letters are the first letters of our names. Blaize, Alvis, and Alvero-"
"I think you mean 'Blaize, Alvero, and Alvis,'" Alvero piped up from ahead.
"Nope, I'm pretty sure I got it right."
"Ah, not exactly-"
"Okay!" I interrupted them quickly. "What does the 'l' come from?"
"It's the second letter of all of our names," Alvero provided from ahead.
I thought about it for a moment and nodded.
"Smart, I guess. Can you let me go now?"
"I haven't got my fill of you, yet," Alvis stated simply before squeezing me a little tighter.
If I ever found the one who put me in this world within a hundred miles of Alvis, I was going to kick their ass. This was especially cruel! Inhumane! Or should it be called inpokemane?
Damn you, unnamed bringer of this suffering!
"So what did he order for me and what did he get himself? I want to avoid whatever he got." The hangover was bound to be a bitch when he began to recover. If his drink managed to take down a Pokemon of his size, I wanted to keep well away from it.
But, despite my desire to keep away from alcohol, the thing I was drinking tasted pretty good. And if it didn't even give me a buzz after two whole cups, it couldn't have a very high alcohol percentage.
They both claimed to not know what the drinks were called while sending amused looks back and forth. They went over my head both literally and metaphorically. What was so funny?
My claws clenched along with my teeth and I delivered a finishing kick that sent my sparring partner across the room and through the paper walls. She joined the pile of sparring partners that had fallen to me in the last ten minutes.
I was beginning to relax, just a little.
"You good now?" Axe asked from the sidelines, wisely keeping well out of my range.
"Next!" I barked and turned to the next partner, a Sandslash whose back spikes were shaking and who was sweating bullets.
"I'll take that as a 'No.'"
I went into The Circle and, after Machamp said 'Begin' yet again, we exchanged attacks. He lasted for three minutes before I was able to make him stumble and kick him in the belly, sending him into the pile. He had a nice and soft landing, if a painful liftoff.
"How about now?"
I thought for a moment. Right then, if I saw Blaize, I would probably try to break a few of his bones.
"I'm good," I said and walked out of the training hall. It was an improvement from when I had gone it, seeing as what I had originally desired to do to the fire type was illegal in most known civilized places and a great many uncivilized locations as well.
I heard sobs of relief as I left and elected to ignore them. I had a teammate to find.
"I think this is yours," I barely held out my arms fast enough to suddenly find Ryan in them.
I squeezed him closer, on reflex, and said, "Where's bird-brain?"
"Out cold. Cutie here drank him under the table," Ryan batted away Alvis' paw when it came close to petting him. Judging by the fur on top of his head, he had already been petted for awhile before being deposited to me.
Alvis, after a short giggle, disappeared in what I recognized as Extremespeed, leaving me with my two teammates.
There was a short pause.
I dropped Ryan at once.
"Oh stop whining!"
I rubbed the base of my tail and wished, not for the first time, that Sin was a bit more gentle with how she cared for others. Was dropping me really necessary?
"She's been blowing off steam in the training hall," Axe said as he helped me to my feet.
I cringed and asked, "How big was the pile?"
"A Snorlax could've relaxed on it comfortably."
"Ouch. Anyone break anything?"
"One or two got some bad sprains."
"Oh...that's an improvement on last time!"
Sin twitched next to me and I was suddenly aware of the claws that were rubbing against each other.
I had some self-preservation instinct, and quickly dug out the Silver Rank badge that Blaize had given me.
"Ah, it looks like I'm the same rank as you guys!"
Sin seemed to relax just a little at this new distraction.
"Freakin finally. Now we can tell Tock to begin counting our points again."
I was confused until Axe told me that they had asked Tock to wait until I was the same rank as them to begin counting their points for the next rank. Something about not wanting me to feel like I'm holding them back.
Sin told me that I had better not give her a sappy hug when I smiled at their thoughtfulness. Sin grumbled something else and headed towards the Guild.
"Let's go take a mission!"
So we went back to the Guild. We checked out the Wanted Side and found that everything available was either too low level to be worth it or too high to chance.
"What about this one?" I pointed to one with a ?-ranking. I had only seen those once or twice before and hadn't bothered looking at them.
"Those are always a mystery. Tock isn't sure about what to rank them, so it's really just up to whoever sees it to decide whether it's too much for them or not," Axe explained while I scanned the information at the top.
"Hmm?" Sin looked to me.
"This mission is in a place called Cinder Mountain. I think I heard someone say it's sort of a volcano on the inside." It was weird when I saw Mystery Dungeon that didn't make at least a little sense. From what I was told, Cinder Mountain had no giant hole at the top. There were volcanic vents all around it that let out gas and sometimes magma to the surface, but no hole at the top that made it an actual volcano.
Then again, I wasn't a volcano expert. For all I know, there are volcanoes that are like that.
"That place is bound to be tough-"
"But are usually full of valuable stuff," Sin said with a thoughtful tone.
"That makes sense. Volcanoes bring in gems from under the surface with the magma and some would be left behind." Like most times, the two of them gave me an odd look at the sudden piece of trivia before turning back to the matter at hand.
"What's the mission itself?" Sin had a look in her eye that told me she was becoming really interested. Though we took lower ranked missions, Sin made it a point to find the ones that had chances of stronger Pokemon to fight in them. Unless a Pokemon was obviously beyond our level, there were a horde of them, or we were weakened, Sin would focus on the stronger opponents immediately. Axe and myself had to bail her out of a bad situation on more than one occasion.
Axe slipped the paper off of the board and read aloud, "It says, 'I know that there's a Golden Chamber on the 27th floor. Go get the treasure for me!' The reward is not stated."
"Didn't we stumble on a Golden Chamber that one time? The one with all the Reviver Seeds?"
I remember that mission because the two of them had been ecstatic when we found nine Reviver Seeds in the middle of a chamber that seemed to be made of pure gold. I was crushed when they told me that anything that was taken from the room that wasn't the obvious 'Treasure' would disappear upon leaving the floor. So if I had broken a chunk of the gold out of the floor or walls, it wouldn't be with me when I went to the next floor.
We still had those Reviver Seeds. Each of us carried three in our bags at all times now instead of just one.
I had never seen one in action. We were almost always careful in Mystery Dungeons and used Escape Orbs when we were afraid of being overwhelmed or we weren't prepared.
From what I was told, they would revive you if you were knocked out or, in the worst case scenario, killed.
"Let's do it!" I jumped at Sin's sudden exclamation. I had zoned out again and missed some of the conversation.
"Ah, we might want to wait until tomorrow," I pointed outside at the shadows that were stretching out in front of the Guild. It was a pain to exit the Guild in the morning and have the sunlight hit you right in the eyes.
The fire in Sin's eyes died a little before she nodded.
"Fine. Let's go see if Ivysaur has some heal seeds in stock."
We may have made a mistake choosing this mission.
"I knew we were headed into a volcano, and I realize that there are supposed to be a lot of fire types. But why, for the love of all things holy, must they all know Flamethrower!?"
Though I had little reason to complain, seeing as both of my teammates had a weakness to fire, I was still panting like a dog and had a decidedly singed look on most of my body.
Sin held out a paw and crushed a small flame that was burning some fur on my arm out of existence with a nearly inaudible hiss.
"Thanks," I said, not for the first time. Though Sin was weak to fire, the very short fur that she had didn't seem to burn as easily as mine. Axe, being a Treecko, had scale-like skin. He looked dried out in the oppressive heat of the magma that seemed to be everywhere.
Considering that all the light in the Dungeon came from magma alone, we were all looking forward for this mission's end.
"Which floor are we on?" Axe asked as he sat on a boulder of obsidian close to the center of the room. Most of the floor and walls were made of the black rock. The areas that weren't seemed to be made of a rock that glowed red hot in the heat. We made it a point to avoid getting near those.
"Seventeen," I said, having carefully kept track of the floors we had finished. Unlike most other Mystery Dungeons, we had gone down instead of up when we located stairs.
It felt like we were steadily making our way down into some form of Hell each time we went down them. The fact that it got steadily hotter as we descended didn't help dispel the idea.
"Ten more to go," Sin muttered, taking a swig of her water. I checked mine and found it about three-fourths of the way full. Glancing at Axe and Sin, both who were taking slow but deep drinks from their canteens, I became a little worried. They had been drinking far more than I had.
"Are you two alright on water?"
"I'm fine," Sin said, putting her canteen away as she said it.
Axe took a moment to look at his remaining amount before he said, "I should have enough. Let's go."
We stood and I took the lead. The tunnels seemed to be hewn from the obsidian by precision tools and were, aside from occasional cracks or chunks missing, perfectly smooth. They were about four meters wide, ten meters high, and we walked in a triangle formation with me at the front. We had all agreed that, with their weaknesses to fire, it would be best if I was the one to possibly get blasted first as it wouldn't hurt me as badly.
My fur protested the treatment as well as my nerves.
"Something's up ahead!" Through the dim lighting of the tunnels, I was able to see a shape coming our way. My ear twitched when I heard a flapping sound and saw that the Pokemon was a Butterfree when it came close enough.
"Oh thank Arceus!" The Butterfree flew over to us after taking a moment to look at us. He had a panicked visage before he took a second look and relaxed.
"Are you the exploration team I sent for?"
We gave him a blank look after exchanging confused looks between ourselves.
"Sorry, we just stumbled onto you. Do you need help?" I said politely. The guy was a potential client and, despite my urge to simply push past him and get to the stairs as quickly as possible so we could leave, that would look bad for the Guild.
"Yes! Are you with the Guild?"
"We are," I pulled out my Ivycross Guild badge and showed him it. "If you want, we can get you out of here and you can wait with Andy, the one who brought us here."
"Yes! That would be marvelous. I've been stuck here for two days, unable to get close to the stairs."
This perked our interest and Axe asked, "Why can't you get to the stairs?"
"A huge group of Camerupt are lounging in the lava-"
"Magma," I corrected. "Magma is lava that hasn't reached the surface yet. We're underground, so it's still magma."
There was a moment of silence where everyone stared at me.
"Anyways," Butterfree began. "A large group of them are lounging in the magma and attack anything that gets close."
Sin frowned and I felt the same. We had not run into very many Camerupt thus far, and avoided the ones we did find. They were strong enemies that we couldn't afford exhausting ourselves against.
"We'll find a way," Axe said before turning his badge towards Butterfree.
"Andy, we've got someone who needs to be rescued."
"Understood. They ready?"
Butterfree flashed for a moment and was gone the next. He would wait with Andy until we were ready to get out of there.
"Let's go find the stairs and see how bad it really is," Axe walked past the two of us, taking another swig of his dwindling water supply.
We found the room-cavern, actually. It was a large cavern and there were pools of magma strewn throughout it with at least a dozen Camerupt lazing about. The stairs were in the middle of the cavern, magma making the air around it hazy.
Just seeing living Pokemon in those pools made me sweat and I felt phantom burns from the multiple injuries I had taken from various fire types.
We retreated a little ways into the tunnel before speaking.
"What's our options?" I asked them. Despite our ranks being the same, they had more experience than me in these matters. I had no problem delegating the power to the two of them.
"There's always the combat option-"
"No!" Both of us, Axe and myself, barked at the same time. Sin huffed but did not push the option any further.
"What sort of orbs do we have?" I asked Axe, who held most of the team's supply.
"We're almost out. We've got two Escape, two Blowback, one Evasion, and one Rainy Orb."
"Will the Rainy Orb even work here?" I asked.
"Yeah. Don't ask why-"
"Wasn't going to." I had long since stopped trying to figure out the eccentricities of Orbs. I already had enough of this world to try, and ultimately fail, to figure out.
"Let's keep the Rainy Orb for later, just in case there's a river of l-magma in the way." I smiled at Sin's correction and she rolled her eyes.
"I think an Evasion Orb might be useful," Axe said, staring at the ground in deep thought.
I felt a shiver run up my spine at the small smile that came to his face.
"For the record: I hate this plan," I said very quietly, cradling the orb in my paw.
"Just make sure to run fast and don't get killed," Sin growled. Her way of encouragement, I'm sure.
"Yeah, put that on my gravestone," I muttered before crushing the Evasion Orb in my paw and feeling the energy that was released make the world come into hyper focus to my eyes. Anyone that didn't have their accuracy buffed, artificially or otherwise, would view me as a slightly indistinct blur if I moved quickly enough. My Detect Band helped as well.
And I was planning to do just that, become a blur, I mean. I dove to the right to dodge a Lava Plume from a Camerupt that glared angrily at me from the side of a pool of magma.
More fire attacks were blasted my way. Earth Power was a bitch to dodge as the only indication I got of it about to hit was when the earth bubbled beneath my feet.
I ran around the room, waiting for an opening. I used Force Palm a few times to lessen the blows from some attacks and knock a few Camerupt away when they got too close for comfort.
There! I slid under the belly of one Camerupt and sprinted for the stairs. I bared my teeth, doing the closest thing to a grin that I could manage in between sucking down magma-baked oxygen.
Too slow. On the first step of the stairs, flames surrounded my left arm from my paw to elbow and I shrieked in pain. Hugging the limb to my body, I stumbled up the stairs and felt myself being dragged up the rest of the way by my teammates. I lay on the ground, holding my agonized limb against my body and resisting the urge to look at the damage.
I knew it wasn't pretty.
"Eat!" I had my eyes closed, gritting my teeth against the pain, and opened my mouth when I felt something poking on my lips. I recognized the taste of a Heal Seed and forced myself to swallow, despite nausea threatening to make me send everything up. A clawed paw held me up a little so a backpack, probably mine, could be slid under me and sit me up a little.
"Here's an Oran Berry," Axe said and I felt the texture of one pushed against my lips. It was shriveled from the heat, and I still felt like throwing up, but I still took a bite out of it.
"Axe, get the bandages," Sin told him and I heard the sounds of him doing so.
"Ryan, we need to bandage your arm," Sin told me gently, but firmly. The reason was due to me still holding onto it with my good paw. The flesh had no fur on it and felt like it had been boiled in hellfire. I felt some bubbles under my fingers and tried not to picture my limb too vividly.
It didn't work.
I knew it would hurt. I held out my arm and felt fresh pain when linen began wrapping around the limb.
I won't lie. I had tears leaking out of my eyes the whole time. It-
"-gone to such a high level place with not one, but two members having weaknesses like that!"
I shot up at the shout and yelped when Hap pushed me back down. She wasn't rough. It was just that it moved my arm-
My arm was mummified. The bandages around it were damp and tightly wrapped so that not a single strand of fur could be seen. Not that there would be any to be found.
I found that I had, along with a slight headache, a burning sensation that ran up and down my arm in waves.
It took a minute to ask, "What happened?"
There was a moment of silence before I looked to my left and saw Sin, Axe, and Blaize standing a little ways away while Hap messed with some stuff that lay on a table with wheels that was rolled up next to my bed.
"You passed out, so we decided that you needed to get back to Hap," Axe provided, pushing off from the wall he was leaning against. He seemed a little green-pun really not intended-and I assumed that we hadn't been there for very long if the teleportation sickness was still messing with him.
"You shouldn't have been there at all," Blaize growled suddenly, causing me to pause from what I was about to say.
"Tock said-" Sin began, only to he cut off by Blaize.
"Tock only stops you if he knows what you want to do is beyond your level. This was within acceptable parameters, so he left the judgement up to the leader: You. It was up to you to decide whether you thought that two members that are weak to fire types and one rookie should go into a BLOODY VOLCANO!"
I winced, both from the obvious anger that was coming off of him and from the loudness of his anger. My headache throbbed and I couldn't hold in a slight moan from the ache.
The silence that came after was almost as painful as the yelling. The burning made me cringe further and I resisted the urge to grab at my arm, knowing that would only cause more pain.
"The two of you, out," Hap turned towards them and, from their paling faces, I assumed that she sent them a scary look.
No, not the move, Scary Look. But a scary look™. The kind that sends chills down the spine of men and women, and especially children, everywhere.
I even shivered a bit and I didn't see it. I just felt it secondhand.
Hap turned back to be, thankfully no longer scary faced. The other, previously arguing, occupants of the room left while Hap held out what I recognized as a Sleep Seed.
So I ate.
What? You think I'm going to argue with the person making sure that I got better?
A tree burst apart into so many splinters under my fist.
A boulder was ripped out of the ground and sent flying. It was taking too long to break against the cliff face I stood at the bottom of, so I jumped and smashed it myself with a powerful kick.
Why did that stupid Sneasel go there!?
Another tree was brutally incinerated under an Overheat.
And where was I during this? I was shitfaced! Passed out and unable to do anything!
"What!" I yelled back up the cliff, where my teammates were sitting. A few flames flickered out of my mouth, and the air shivered from the heat I exuded, but I felt no desire to send anything towards them. Not anymore, anyways.
"We should head back!" Alvis shouted down, sunlight gleaming off of her Kamina glasses.
"Why?" I asked, crossing my arms.
"Because you've been at this for two days straight and the Rookie is probably healed up by now," Alvero said at a normal pitch, his voice carrying down to where I stood.
"Yes," Alvero pointed to his left and I turned around.
The cliff face that I stood at the bottom of was actually at the edge of its own cliff. It was the entrance to a Mystery Dungeon called Abysmal Canyon and one could not see the bottom if they looked over.
For the last two days, I had fought wild Pokemon and generally destroyed the flora and fauna around the Mystery Dungeon to blow off some steam. Flames and ash still dominated most of the landscape.
Was I feeling guilty? Nope. Plants grew faster around Mystery Dungeons and all the plants would be replaced in maybe two or three months. The Pokemon I fought would be fine.
"We're headed back. See you there."
I nodded at the two and they were beyond my line of sight a moment later.
My mood, the one I had been holding up for two days, had been broken. I felt some fatigue from the lack of sleep and constant movement and move usage, but it wouldn't keep me from getting back to the Guild.
"The Rookie better be okay," I growled before making my way back to the Guild. It would take me five or so hours at a dead sprint. Alvis and Alvero would have teleported back, knowing that the run would be good for me.
"You're off the mission roster," Hap said, her tone final and far more damning than one would expect.
"What!?" I was shocked at her words, seeing as they were contradicting her previous statement.
"You said that I would be able to get back to work tomorrow," I said, carefully. I had seen Hap a little annoyed. No way did I want to see her angry.
"That's before I remembered the great Daring contest four years ago."
"Ken broke several bones throughout his body and was stuck in here for a few weeks. The lights all throughout the Guild would flicker and sometimes shatter. I thought he was okay, and his aura would just calm down, but it turns out that he was still injured. He had several minor fractures that I missed that got him back in bed for another couple weeks."
"But what does that have to do with me?"
"Crystals all over the place are flickering. It's hardly noticeable, but more than what is normal. You're still injured, so you're still off the roster."
I collapsed and let out a groan.
"You can leave, but you will come to me every five or so hours and are not allowed to do any training. None."
"I understand," I sighed and got off of the bed I had hardly moved from since laying down on it.
"Your supplies was put in your room."
"Alright." I left the room, arm still bandaged. Blue fur stuck out from under the bandages in some places, but I still avoided unwrapping it.
Some members of the Guild asked me how I was doing and cringed in sympathy when I told them I was not allowed on missions or to train. Just about everyone has been in my position, so they knew how so very bored I was going to be. A few passed me Rawst berries with hopes that I got better soon.
You would expect me to be happy to have a legitimate excuse to be lazy. But no. Forced relaxation does not have the same feeling as being lazy when there's something better to be doing.
It's just how it's supposed to be.
I cursed the technicalities of Reviver Seeds. Apparently, me passing out from the pain wasn't enough to activate the Reviver Seed. If I had died from it, then I would have returned to the same state I had been in before I was injured. But because the attack did not knock me out outright, or kill me, the Reviver Seed wasn't able to help. It was the same situation as if I was put to sleep by a Sleep Seed. Since it wasn't killing me, the Reviver Seed wouldn't engage.
Axe and Sin got me out of there the moment I passed out and teleported straight to the Medical Area. Technically, Andy broke the rules doing that, but wasn't punished too harshly.
I was walking into the mess hall for lunch, having wandered about until that point, and saw Alvis and Alvero sitting at a table inside.
I grabbed my plate and got a seat next to Alvero. I wasn't openly inviting an opportunity to Alvis.
"Blowing off some steam."
I visibly shivered and they agreed with my reaction with a nod.
"You alright?" Alvis asked, eyeing my bandaged arm and obvious reliance on my right paw.
"It's not too bad. I'm off the Missions Roster, though."
Alvis flinched while Alvero gave me a pitying look. I think he understood my plight regarding forced laziness.
We made small talk and Alvis did not jump me when she finished.
Poor Ken, however, had the misfortune to be right in the path of Alvis as she was leaving and was plucked up before he or Lilly could react.
I finished and decided to go for a walk. I dropped by my room and grabbed Ben and his sheath before I left, finding an odd sense of completeness from his now-familiar weight. I headed in a direction opposite of anywhere I had been thus far. Even if I couldn't train, maybe I could find a nice place to relax.
I made my way through a forest, a different one than the one that I had come into the world from. The well-beaten path was traveled at a relaxed pace and I turned around after what felt like two hours to begin heading back. Hap had ordered me to be there every five hours and I would be arriving at around the time I needed to get there.
I was leaving the woods and entering the outskirts of Ivycross Town when I felt the sudden urge to stop, turn around, and take the walk again. A faint premonition of something to come?
I shook the idea off and continued onward, wondering what had caused the feeling.
I didn't have to wait long for the answer.
Yes, I know that it has been a pretty darn long time since the last chapter. My apologies for that!
I'll be getting this out on my first day of college, so tell me how you liked it! My update schedule will be erratic and controlled by what I need to do in college. My apologies.