Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Linked Team

Chapter 1: Curiosity

Part 1: Initiation

"Mystery dungeons, things that plague the world." A blue hand flipped over the page of a tome. "Twenty years ago, more mystery dungeons appeared, marking all corners of the world, bringing corruption, anger, hatred, division. Treks to other lands became treacherous."

"That's when Pokemon invented guilds, places that sent people to explore these dungeons so others didn't have to."

The figure closed the book and set it aside, before staring at Ho-Oh. A chessboard laid on the table between them. Both moved their pawns. E4, E6.

"You may think your guilds can purify dungeons and protect others. But in the end, the true denizens, coming from 'malice itself', will return."

Ho-Oh glanced at him serenely. A bubble appeared overhead, showing another point in space. It showed a teenager, black hair, brown eyes. The teenager gawked at a rainbow sparkle in front of him. The sparkle was three feet tall, and five feet wide.

"What helps protect us is people with curiosity, those thinking outside the box," Ho-Oh explained.

The teenager poked the sparkle, creating a rippling effect where his finger touched. He took his finger back.

"They will figure out a new solution, a new path! They will enlighten others, and heal those chaotic pockets of space," Ho-Oh said.

The figure gave a grin full of yellow teeth. "Alternatively, they'll question everything, and ultimately, they'll learn the truth behind your machinations, then rebel."

The teenager stuck his arm, elbow-deep, into the sparkle. The ripple effect greeted him again. He tried jerking his lanky arm out, but it was stuck. He shouted for help, only to get dragged in further. His mouth went agape, his eyes went wide. The sparkle, a portal, sucked him in.

Ho-Oh sighed. "You think yourself smarter than you really are." Ho-Oh squinted towards the cobwebs in the dusty home.

"Interesting. Is this place supposed to be cluttered by old books and webs, or is that a reflection of your miserable, grimy soul?"

The figure laughed. "You're hilarious."

Ho-Oh said, "I suppose you won't answer?"

"You won't care. Like always."

John saw black. A falling sensation overtook him, but he couldn't see anything. The falling sensation halted as he felt a fiery pain through his body, the force focused on his front.

He opened his eyes, his vision blurred, but immediately he could tell he was stomach-first on some grass. As his vision sharpened, green shapes transformed into discernable ferns and grass.

"Ughhh…" Pain throbbed in his head, potentially an aftereffect of the fall. He pushed himself up - his arms were shorter. He was shorter than the fern by a foot.

"Huh?" He examined his hands, discovering, instead, that they were paws. Green, with three digits.

To help with the search for a reflective surface, John rose up to two legs. He was still naturally bipedal. Sighing in relief, John thanked his lucky stars that he didn't need to learn how to walk like a quadruped. He pushed a couple bushes of rawst berries away and stumbled over to a pond.

In the reflection of the rippling, black pond, he saw a silhouetted figure. Peering deeper, he made out some details… and found out he was an Axew.

He backed up with a gasp. "What the-?" He took in his surroundings. He was shorter than the fern he was standing next to. He looked up. The leaves of birches and aspens covered the sky, and he could spot a half-moon. The thick darkness only let him see a few feet in front of himself.

John gulped.

"Calm down," he reassured himself.

Edging back over to the pond, he said, "Calm down, John. You've got to calm down."

Shrubs shook.

He shivered. "Just a dream. Just a dream." For confirmation, he pinched his wrist. Wincing at the sharp pain, he noted he had sharp claws.

He closed his eyes, counted to ten, and opened them again. "This isn't so bad." He turned around and checked out his tail, finding it an interesting new addition. He shook it around. "I could have been a Magikarp, or a Hoppip."

He strode away from the pond and glanced up. When he thought about it, the place didn't look that bad. Sure, the trees and bushes dwarfed him, but they were a good hiding spot - if he needed it - and the forest didn't look so bad. Maybe the darkness and the vegetation was thick, but it would become daylight at some point.

He could get used to this new perspective. He walked across the grass that reached up to his ankles.

Something, however, was off. It was night and he wasn't home...

Two blurs of black jumped from vegetation. He cringed, and watched a Sneasel and a Weavile approach him. Both smirked.

"Hey there," Sneasel said. "Mind you and I take a walk back to town? Maybe get a smoothie, or two?"

"Uhhh…" John tried to keep his breathing even, despite his pounding heart, and the adrenaline running through his veins. He tried repeatedly to formulate proper words, but none came.

"Ooh, better make sure Jade here doesn't fight," Weavile said. John blinked. Jade? She unfurled her paw, flaunting her sharp claws.

John backed up further while the two inched towards him. He turned around and ran.

He was really glad he didn't have to learn how to run on four legs.

Glancing back, they were just standing there, talking, with those same smirks.

"Sissy, can I be hot this time while you're cold?" Sneasel asked.

Weavile patted her on the head. "Of course. Anything for the birthday girl."

"Yay! Thank you!" Sneasel smiled, and dashed forward.

John focused on dodging the thick shrubbery, leaves, and branches, which continuously scratched his side. An errant root snagged his foot.

"Ow!" He stumbled, fell on all fours, only to rise up. He had to keep running.

The pursuers were quick and silent. Sneasel was closing the gap, and John ran as fast as he could. Pain entered the upper part of his ribs, then it spread to the lower parts, and entered his ankles.

Weavile, standing on the tree branches, launched a blue beam, and froze a section of the forest's floor.

John tried to halt himself, but ended up on ice anyway. He slid and kept his arms out for balance.

"W-woah!" he shouted while he moved his body around, trying to manipulate his momentum so he wouldn't fall. Fruitless. He collapsed onto his back anyway, sending a literal chill up his spine.

Sneasel moved around the icy field expertly, while Weavile jumped branch to branch.

At the end of the makeshift skating rink, John jumped off and spun to Sneasel. She glared, and jumped up. Her claws glinted in the moonlight, and for a brief second she was stuck in space. She came down, claws ready to strike him heightwise. He held his paw up defensively… and it glowed white.

The claws collided, making a clinking sound.

"Huh?" John asked, surprised. He knew how to do Scratch already?

"Hiya!" Sneasel charged with two more swipes, but he blocked with Scratch twice more.

"Stop it! What do you even want?"

"You're coming with us, Jade. Hya!" She nicked his shoulder with her claws, and he yipped. No blood, but he felt a searing pain where hit.

"Wait, stop!" Weavile hopped onto the grass from the tree branches. She cast John a suspicious look.

Sweat ran down John's forehead. He kept himself tensed, ready to attack if necessary.

"Your eyes."


"They're blue. Jade's are red."

"Yeah, I'm not Jade, I'm John-"

"Shut up, don't care." She made a "zip-it" gesture and sighed. "Looks like we've got the wrong person."

Sneasel frowned. "Aw. I wanted to have some fun."

"Sorry. Maybe later." Weavile turned to John.

"Sorry for bothering you. We mistook ya for someone else. Speaking of which, have you seen Jade around here?"

"No." John rubbed his arm. All pokemon of a species looked identical to him, so he couldn't blame them, but he didn't like the idea he was going to be mistaken for a criminal while wandering through the woods.

"You should be careful," Weavile said. "Dangerous people wander Forlorn Forest."

I can tell, he thought. Do they happen to have sharp claws, icy powers, and attack without asking questions first?

Weavile and Sneasel walked away. Weavile waved. "See ya!"

John was about to ask them about their village, only for them to run off deeper into the woods. He followed, slowly. After running so hard and so long, he couldn't muster the strength to do it again.

He walked through the, now sinister-looking, forest. Shadows flowed in the moonlight like water.

Moonlight. It was morning last he remembered, not night, evening, or even afternoon.

That was his realization. He was knocked out for a long time. At least most of the day.

He sighed, collapsed onto his rump and contemplated matters. He said, "Okay. I need to get back home."

Jordan was coming over for the weekend from college, because it was his birthday, and John needed to see him. He needed to cook Bobby and Jill dinner. Mom and Dad were gonna worry. He had to get home.

He shook his head. "I've already been gone too long. Probably calling police as I speak. I've been out for over ten hours. I need to get back to…"

He paused.

He didn't need to get back to anything.

Bucket list? Never made one.

Prepare for college? Like he even knew what he was doing with his life.

Cook dinner? Please, instructions were on the back of the box.

He was going to miss milestones. Jordan would graduate and become a pokemon vet. Bobby and Jill would figure out what they wanted to be. But John himself never had dreams like that. He had all the time in the world to figure out what he would be.

He used his time excellently.

He woke up, ate breakfast, went to school, tried to get the best grades he could (always nearly flunking History), came back home, talked to Jordan on the phone, did his homework, did whatever else, then made everyone dinner.

He liked a lot of things, but nothing clicked with him as something he'd do for a living. He could cook, but didn't want to be a chef. He could dance, but never sought that as a passion. He could draw, but he was no artist. He was aimless.

And now it didn't matter. He had his chance. He was stuck, in another world, incapable of returning to his previous life.

He leaned against the back of the tree, sinking further to the ground. He put his paws over his face. "Oh… Arceus. I messed up, I messed up so bad," he said breathlessly.

The bushes rustled more. He said, "I'm not Jade, I'm John, go away!"

"John." The voice was hollow, and sounded like it was in his head.

John's head swiveled rapidly, threatening to pop off with all the twisting. "Who is it, who's there!?"

It oozed out of the bushes, now standing only ten feet away from John. It was dark gray and sludgy. No mouth nor nostrils visible, only red eyes with a narrow muzzle ending at a smooth point. Using its bony hands, it made a grabbing motion at him with its three elongated fingers. The fingers dripped slime, and the slime slithered back to its bird-like feet.

John retreated into some bushes. "Go away!" he shouted. He grabbed a rock, and tossed it at its snout, but the rock glanced off. The creature pushed its head past two trees, revealing massive, moose-like antlers. A long, thick tail followed it.

John got to his feet and bolted. He screamed. The behemoth chased him, but slowly.

He wasn't taking any chances, slow or not. He ran through the bushes and the woods, screaming. Two more ooze-monsters emerged from shrubs, making John pause in his tracks. He took a sharp turn right, only to avoid bumping into another monster by inches. He gasped, turned around, and ran again. The familiar aching pain from only five minutes prior reintroduced itself to his legs and ribs.

After half a minute of running, to his left was a steep decline, with a rushing river to the right. He had to keep moving forward.

Another obstacle. He saw a steep incline that was fifty-feet high, and at the top of the incline was a fallen tree log. One of "them" could've lurked behind it.

"HELP!" he shouted at the top of his lungs.


An Absol was next to him. The parts of her body that were supposed to be black were purple instead. He entertained the thought of her being shiny, but he doubted it.

"There are these things in the woods, these sludgy, slimy creatures, and, and, they have these antlers and-"

"Say no more. Sounds like you've got Spectre issues." The Absol stepped forward and watched as several Spectres appeared. She smiled at John. "Don't worry, they're easy."

John nodded. The air felt unbearably cold at the moment, something he attributed to these Spectres. They might've had Ghost-Type properties.

The Absol charged up a black and purple ball in her mouth before launching it. The sphere collided into the chest of one of the spectres, obliterating its abdomen, bisecting it. The two halves of the spectre withered away into smoke.

"Wh-what happened to it?" John asked.

"It's gone. They're mindless, magical constructs."

"Magical constructs," John repeated.

"You should leave. I'll hold fort." She fired more Shadow Balls at them. He had a few other questions, but he wanted to get the heck out of there first.

"How do I get up the hill?" he asked.

"Just climb. You're an Axew. You know that, right?" she teased.

"Uh… yeah! Yeah." He rubbed the back of his head. He turned to the incline and sunk his claws into the dirt. He found purchase easily.

Struggling up, he took a few deep breaths. He glanced at the fallen log, which was getting closer. He hoped Spectres couldn't climb.

Stress built up in his arms as he ascended, but the stress wasn't that bad. Halfway through, he even got a second wind, and he took full advantage of it by getting to the log. He lodged his claws into it, and hoisted himself onto his belly. Then he stood up.

He felt good for the few seconds until it rolled out from underneath him.

His eyes widened, and he lunged forward. The log rolled down the hill, forcing Absol to jump over it. The incoming log knocked several Spectres over.

"Sorry!" John shouted.

"It's okay!" she called back.

No Spectres in the immediate area. They were all behind him. He took a deep breath, and entered the dark woods once more.

He wasn't sure how long it took. Two minutes, two hours. Whatever it was, he wasn't bothered by Spectres anymore, and he found a town.

The town seemed dark. Every building was made of wood and dirt, grass and twigs. No windows had any light seeping out. He walked on a pokemon-made dirt path, with firs and birches growing around the edges, all trees three feet apart.

"Guess I came at a bad time." He snuck past the first dirt building. He didn't want to be spotted, or to spot anyone. Not too many nice people - or things - were out in the dark.

He facepalmed.

Mentally, he scolded himself over trying to hide from people, then going into a town. He associated civilization with safety and food, so it was natural to head there, but now that he was there, he realized he didn't want to be there. Wasn't this directionless thinking the same reason why he was headed nowhere in life?

"Hey!" The shout was nearby. He peered past the corner of a building.

He saw a Torchic tear past the streets, gasping. She spotted him and ran over to him.

"Hide me, hide me, hide me!" she said.

"What's going on?" John saw Houndooms, a Nidoqueen, and a Nidoking come around a corner, only a couple blocks down.

"I-I snuck out at bedtime, and now the police are after me, and you don't look familiar so I hope you don't tell anybody about this please!" She talked quickly.

He huffed and grabbed her wings "You better not be attracting police to me." He sulked over, past the street, to a maple tree, and led her to the space between the trunk and some ferns.

"Keep absolutely quiet," he said.

"You sound like you know what you're doing," Torchic whispered.

"Yeah, well, when I was younger I snuck off all the time," John muttered.

"Really? I do too."

"Shh," John said.

The police walked down the road to town. John and Torchic held their breaths. The houndooms sniffed the air.

"Nah, don't smell a thing. Brat dodged us," one houndoom said.

Nidoqueen shrugged. "Just a kid anyway." Her group left.

John released his breath. "Let's get some sleep."

"But I still wanna play-"

"Sleep," John ordered.

"My friend will wake up and notice I'm gone, then he'll tell the police, and I'll be in trouble, and it'll be all. Your. Fault." She pouted.

He smiled. "For one, you're the one who left. For two, my big brother covered for me all the time whenever we snuck out, so I know how to lie."

"Isn't lying wrong?" she asked.

"Isn't sneaking out after curfew wrong?"

"What's curfew?"

John sighed. "Never mind. Anyway, let's take a snooze."

"Fine." She frowned. "I need to register for the guild tomorrow morning anyway."

As curious as he was about the guild, he needed sleep. Apparently, being in a coma for most of the day didn't do anything to his sleep schedule. John laid back against the tree, placed his paws on his chest. Torchic nuzzled up against him.

"Good night," Torchic said.

"Night," John said and closed his eyes.

The therapist looked at his patient. He stroked his long chin and said, "Welcome. It's time we begin today's session." He put his hands on the table.

"Which is worse: Hands or feet?"

The patient responded that feet were worse.

"So, you think the feet that follow all evil are worse than the hands that direct all evil." The therapist wrote that down on a note. "Thank you." He presented to him a color wheel.

"Now, which of these colors would you say best described your morality?" The wheel had no black, white, or gray, and instead had varying shades of different colors. Greens, blues, oranges, yellows.

The patient pointed to pale purple and said that that represented his morality best.

"Excellent. So, you're logical like blues, but you still run by emotions like reds. You're a link between blue and red, logic and emotions. You think that we shouldn't trust authority blatantly, and that we should judge based on what would logically produce the most happiness. Still, you're not zealot, and acknowledge your belief system can be false."

The therapist dismissed his patient, and the patient woke up.

Author's notes:

This story is a test. The test is how hard is it to write a story and update it weekly. I see all these authors saying they'll update weekly… and they don't. They miss a week, and they quit permanently. Then they drop off the face of the earth.

Perhaps they fell into a portal like our unfortunate protagonist.

I've gotten preconceived notions, but I've realized I have no clue what it's like to update weekly and if it's a sound way to write a story. However, it does have the benefit of more immediate praise and criticism. And the more scientific, but reckless, part of my mind said it could be a fun experiment.

(It's ironic I'm saying most of this will take a week since this chapter alone took 2 - 3 months of development. But that's mostly because of a procrastination that I'm hoping to tackle these upcoming weeks. If one week is too drastic, it will become two weeks.)

Finally, this fic has the potential to be very long, and I'm dividing it into five parts. Whether those parts are story-only, or if I choose to make them into "books" (different fanfics) depends on how long this first part is. If it's twenty to thirty chapters, then it will be five parts. If it's well over thirty, then it will be in books.

P.S. For those of you curious, being in a coma really wouldn't affect your sleeping schedule.