Chapter 6: The Scum of the Earth

Azrah sent his queen out to capture Ho-Oh's bishop.

"This early?" she asked.

He said, "It's best to be forceful early on."

Rational, John knew his team didn't intentionally abandon him. With the giant stampede, who would notice his tiny self? The rational thought reigned in his mind. But mix that with several emotional parts of wondering whether he had a good relationship with his new friends remained ever-so present, creating a compound of irritation towards both himself and them.

Surviving alone in the woods proved more severe issue-wise, but he didn't uncover any enemy Pokemon. The most powerful Pokemon in the vicinity of the bioluminescent forest were Caterpies.

"I can do this," he repeated under his breath while trekking the thinning dirt trail escorting him up a mound. For a few minutes. Legs stabbing him, threatening him to rest, he retired by a log. John desired, no, needed a way to find his team.

Climbing, without question, proved his most useful asset. But supposing he got to a tree's top, he'd need x-ray vision to see Torchic and Bolt with leaves obscuring his line of sight.

Maybe he could smell them? He was a Dragon-Type. Everyone said Dragon-Types had a good nose. Personally, he never noticed more smells compared to his previous existence, but to be fair, he never took a good sniff. He inhaled with his nostrils, trying to intake the nearby scents.

Forest scents rushed into his nostrils, and confused him the first second with their varying scents. Putrid scents, like spoiled milk, stank the joint up only a few yards away, meanwhile he could also smell the fragrance of flowers. But their intensity rendered them sickly in scent, nauseating John instead. Add dirt and dust, and the new irritation in his nostrils - either he sniffed too hard, or wasn't used to it - and John became overwhelmed by his newfound natural ability.

But he did capture scents of Pokemon. The odor of something gross behind him, and it was approaching him. Meanwhile, for the other dozen scents, the ones he thoughts might've been friendly would be the chicken scent. Bolt's scent remained unrecognizable.

Eyes returning from normal size due to dilation, John stood. He walked in his acquaintances' direction, but despite his brisk pace, his peripherals caught a blur. One that stopped him, forcing him to examine the creature upon a branch. A giant white bird, at least three feet tall, with golden markings on its wings. Bright blue eyes adorned its head, which aimed at John.

The creature didn't seem Pokemon, but if it was, it wasn't menacing. John put his paws up in a warning gesture. Never knew.


That voice came elsewhere. John swiveled his head to locate the source. No other organisms around, but it sounded like headphones, like it was inside his head. Maybe a Psychic-Type?

"John is here."

John realized the telekinesis had little merit threat-wise. Doubting the bird was Psychic, he thought. Only, like, two Pokemon knew who he was beyond initial meetings. If he added the rebellion leader, or Haxorus, or Team Breaker-Ice, he accounted no Psychic-Types, so unless they had other means of telepathy...

He slid his head forward, at the white bird, locking eyes with her (at least the voice sounded vaguely feminine).

"If you can speak, what are you?" John asked.

She answered. "Spirit. A Spirit."

Spirit? A synonym for Ghost. Playing safe, John blasted the Spirit with Dragon Rage, bathing her in blue flames. She shrieked, then exploded into white particles.

Wait, who was she talking to with the whole "John is here" message? She implanted the message in his head, so that must've meant her telekinesis was like a broadcast. Everyone nearby heard it. The stilted syntax implied a lack of intelligence.

John resumed his walk, a new lesson ingrained of not attacking without all answers from the enemy. Maybe he'd write that lesson down. In a notebook. Pink, with some orange splotches.

"John is here."

Behind him. Feminine. Sultry. Within a second, a Seviper coiled John, and put their snouts together. His reflexes had nary time to kick in, leaving him with the option of giving a dumb look. Kickstarted, his brain informed him of optimal screwedness. Unnecessary adrenaline flooded his system as his heart convulsed.

A Zangoose and older Seviper came up from behind.

"What are you waiting for?" the older Seviper asked. "Take him out."

"Don't know, he's kinda cute," the younger said while staring into his eyes. "He has beautiful blue eyes."

John gulped. That Spirit gave away his presence, or they smelled him out.

"He could clean up some Spectres for us, too!" the younger added before uncoiling. She slipped her tail between his legs so he could ride on her back. "My name is Melody, by the by."

The older Seviper grimaced at John, and he shrunk like laundry. "Don't be quick to let a potential enemy run free. If you don't want to do this, I will!"

The Zangoose shook his head. "C'mon, Melanie. Let her have her fun with the kid. Besides, they're both the same age, and do look kinda cute together."

Melody snickered while John blushed. He was terrified about this group beating him up at any point, and perhaps after throwing him to Spectres. The embarrassment originated from the idea of being Melody's new boyfriend. Meanwhile, abandonment to this situation spurred his irritation. Hopefully his friends were okay, but had been injured in some way that, while not impeding them, left a pain that lasted a long time.

"Guess we lost him," Bolt said, sat down by the cliff side. They spent the first ten minutes running, the next five gazing at nature. The trees pulsated vibrant glows of all colors, and some of them grew tall enough to nearly graze their feet.

Torchic plopped down next to him, eyes half-lidded.

"What's the matter?"

"I thought teams stuck together. He could get hurt. Or worse, he could faint."

Bolt rested his chin on his paw. "We have to get him, but that could take a lot of time."

"We don't get him, we do not get a team." Simple logic of children.

Bolt, for once, thought tactically. If they waited a year, they could start again with a different team member than John. Obviously that option was off the table, if only because neither of them were patient enough for that. Besides, John was kinda interesting. Sure, he didn't know many customs, but he was somewhat silly. Dorky, maybe. The second option was to get back John, but lose a lot of time. The third option was to go to the Obsidian Caves, and hope John came. Possibly by using scent, John could discover a trail to them.

"We have to go get him. He's too precious to survive alone," Bolt said. "And after we get him..."

"If we do."

"Don't talk like that," Bolt said. "It reduces morale."

"Morals, Bolt."

"No, it's morale."

"No, it's flor-al!" Before Team Plasma registered the voice, a Solar Beam blasted Bolt, burning his flesh and pushing him down the cliff.

Bolt gripped onto a ledge with one paw, and looked over.

Torchic gawked at the source, and watched a familiar Bulbasaur and Totodile walk out from the bushes. Wasn't that the Totodile Bolt fought with a few days ago?

The Totodile shot the Bulbasaur in the face with a Water Gun. "Puns out, Guns out."

Delilah shook her head. "Sorry, Sarah, but it was a good pun, you have to admit."

Sarah growled, and snapped her jaw. "No puns are good!" She faced Torchic, making the little chicken sweated slightly. "Where's the moron?"

"Sounds like my cue." Bolt pulled himself up and jumped into the air. An orb of dark and bright yellow formed at his tail-tip. He batted the Electro Ball with his tail, spinning it to the spot inches ahead of Sarah. The explosion launched her into the air while she screamed.

Torchic capitalized her advantage. When Delilah checked on Sarah, she launched Ember at the Bulbasaur. Delilah winced as tiny balls of fire struck her side.

Sarah stood and shouted, "That's it!" Water manifested around her person, a sign of future of a future Aqua Jet. Delilah shot powder from her bulb, which Sarah inhaled. The Totodile's eyes drooped before she collapsed several seconds later.

Team Plasma blinked at Delilah, watching her smile. "If only she thought before attacking."

Spectres lurked towards John at zombie-like pace. Only several yards away, he still felt he had plenty of time.

Melody had set him down to fight the Spectres and he felt stupid. Who'd be afraid of these slow sludge like monsters? His Absol savior could take one down easily. With the ease of the task at hand, John felt empowered to fight.

"Never seen a horde this big," the Zangoose, who John discovered to be "Zak" during one of the numerous conversations the team had, said.

John did. In fact, how could it be considered an overpopulated herd with only seven? He already faced a mob of dozens, maybe even a hundred.

He burned the closest one with Dragon Rage. No effect. It slunk past the flames. John took a couple steps back, launched a second Dragon Rage. The beast didn't slow.

John stepped back to Zak's area, prompting the Zangoose to spring forward with Crush Claw. He pierced the Spectre hard enough that his hand went into the abdomen, and came out the back. The Spectre wailed like a tortured prisoner before collapsing into sludge.

The two Seviper sisters lacerated the others, even decapitating a couple. Dozens more came to replenish stock, covering the horizon with tar-like beasts.

"Where are they coming from?" Melanie demanded as she nearly bisected one.

The hulking monstrosities came from every depth of the area. The constant rustling of trees and leaves alerted the four's collective attentions to the exponentially increasing mob.

John, smart enough to realize the situation, turned tail and ran. He could've sworn he heard the trio shout for him, but he didn't care. His legs tensed and the bottoms of his feet barely grazed ground before being used to push him forward. The little Pokemon arched his back, threw his arms to the wind, attempting to streamline himself for speed. TV told him he'd be faster.

As his arms and legs went weak and sore, and his chest hurt, he slowed his run to a jog to a walk to a halt. John collapsed onto his front. It took several breaths before he could function again. Taking a deep sniff of the area, he smelled a concentration of rotten garbage hundreds of yards away. Maybe more. Good, more time to kiss his cute new tail goodbye.

The fried chicken smelled closer. Also he sniffed others smells. One smelled distinctly of flowers, different than neighboring ones. He found the third scent familiar when coupled with the fried chicken scent, so he assumed he got Bolt's scent (who he would inform needed an immediate bath).

Then a final scent, one only a bit off his path. Avocadoes. He could go for a snack.

He sat up, before rising to his feet. Each step afterwards required a bit more effort than usual. John checked the tree, sniffing lightly, and got Vine Whipped on the nose.

"Who are you!?" A Snivy hissed. The little snake had a deep gash on his side. Not fatal, to John's shallow knowledge, but certainly bad.

John put his paws up. "I'm John. I'm only an Axew." He leaned his head closer to the ruby wound. "How'd that happen."

The Snivy looked down. "My partner and I got separated when Spectres came at us. There was three of them, if you can believe it."

"I can," John said, looking towards the clouds.

"Wait, you're that one Axew, aren't you? The one who got mobbed by Spectres a few days ago?"

Am I famous? John thought.

"Yeah." He rubbed the back of his head, right beneath the horn. "I feel like a magnet for them, somehow." At least, he figured he had to be a magnet. Or the problem got worse with his arrival. Wait...

The Snivy asked, "Can you handle them? I need someone to find my partner. And maybe some medicine."

Mind reeling back from discovering a connection between himself and Spectre mobs, John's remaining capacity doubted he had time for someone else. Sure, it'd be nice. But with maybe forty or thirty minutes left, it wasn't a wise investment.

On the other paw...

A bigger group meant superior protection, particularly from Team Peace. And other Elimination Teams. It could take them less time to trailblaze, with Torchic and him providing the actual blaze.

"Yeah, I can help you find your partner," John said.

The Snivy nodded and said, "Her name is Holly. She's a Tangela. I don't know where she went, and Tangela's don't have much of a scent on them."

"Okay," John said as that made things ten times harder. He may have to ditch. "Also, I smelled some avocadoes around here."

The Snivy blushed. "Snivies have Avocadoes as a close relative."

"They are?"

"Yeah, that's why Snivy tail-leaves are so good for your skin and- Wait a second! Get off your butt and find my friend!"

"Fine, you snot," John spat back. By this point, who hadn't been rude to him? Ironically, the Spectres.. The worst they did was interrupt him. For the rudeness, John figured it morally acceptable (and understandable) to search for his "friends" first.

The forest, as John ascertained, must be boreal, as the constant chills and tree-types informed him. Learning about types of biomes was a phase he underwent. Perhaps in this world, it'd serve him nicely.

Taking the path of least resistance, he walked past any shrubs and kept at least three feet away from trees in case Spectres lunged for him. Spectres were obviously resiliently, because if he was simply weak, he wouldn't have destroyed a Spirit so easily.

Or maybe Spirits were wimps.

Disregarding the thought to preserve his slight amount of dignity, he trudged on. High hills didn't bother his new form.

At the top of a hill, he sniffed deeply. More aromas of flowers and shrubs, smells of Spectres and Poison-Types, and the scents of fried chicken and rodent. John headed to the last of the three. However, he thought of something. What if he could ward the Spectres away from something by using himself as a lure?

He shook his head. It probably wouldn't work, and he'd have to try it later. No proof Spectres even wanted him anyway, as opposed to him being paranoid.

But if his friends didn't care much about leaving him behind. Would they force him to leave behind the Snivy and Holly?

He'd cross that bridge when he got there.

Elliot Riviluzione looked over the cliff. His team hadn't done poorly getting to the Obsidian Caves. Not that Spectres would bother them anyway.

For the final test, in the Obsidian Caves, there'd be three tunnels. Choose the right one, and you got into the guild. Choose poorly, and hopefully you corrected yourself before time ran out.

Honey the Garchomp stood behind him.

"Azrah said Hyperion Lust was here," Elliot said.

"Yes," Honey said, confirming as she waited for the Delphox and Bisharp of their group to appear. "Do mind he'll need coaxing."

"And you're sure he won't try to eat me?" Elliot asked.


Elliot took a deep breath.

"What are you waiting for, little one? Don't you want your power?"

Elliot clenched his fists as he stared down the third tunnel. His chest heaved.

"Reveal your use."

Elliot walked down the cave, with his flame illuminating part of the passageway. Within ten minutes, he would approach the maw of a cave, and warm air blew on him. That was where the beast roamed, and the prison from which it needed to be freed.

The creature's stupidity, for lack of better word, prevented it from seeing in the darkness, to where Pokemon were. Most Spectres had to use their sense of smell, but this part of the caves had been so abandoned that no scents came to it.

Elliot used Ember to light up the room and a giant hand smashed open the small maw of the cave.

Honey appeared behind Elliot and said, "Look at what you've unleashed. Isn't it glorious?"

The creatures kept climbing out in its goo-like form. As black and sludgy as tar, and it kept breaking parts of its cage.

"And this will kill Ho-Oh's servant," Elliot said, doing his best not to trip over the word "kill".

"Yes," Honey cooed. "Yes."


Author's notes:

I think I kept my promise somehow! It's only been two weeks!

Originally, this chapter would be vastly different.

In the very first draft, when Bolt and Torchic meet Delilah and Sarah, Sarah was supposed to knock Bolt off a cliff along with her. Both of them would get stuck in the web of an Ariados. I deemed this as possibly cliche, particularly if they got them instant friendship. On the plus side, the chapter was named "Hanging Out".

In the next draft, John would save himself from Team Peace by trickery. He would pretend to get struck by a Spectre, then pretend to Faint. Team Peace would continue to fight the good fight and he'd sneak away. He would also lure the Spectres towards him at some point.

Otherwise, most of the main ideas have been followed, except that Elliot was supposed to have a Gardevoir and Gallade as his team initially, possibly Shinies, but I deemed against it because Delphox and Bisharp fit the Theme of Azrah's minions better as you will see.