Diamond 98: Give me Care
Diamond 98: Give me Care
The sound of a helicopter just outside the Viridian gym caught Ash's attention. He was heading back after parting ways with Misty for the time being. He had watched as the taxi disappeared in the distance, knowing that the situation at the Cerulean gym would not remain a secret for too long. He still respected her wish to not want to add worry to that which was already present and didn't speak of it. After all, the need for a cure was already urgent enough for Team Rocket to pool all its resources towards finding it. As for the mysterious Zoroark, Ash wanted to join the search but realized that he couldn't risk his pokemon catching the virus. Besides, Team Rocket probably had enough personnel to conduct a detailed search anyway. Wherever Zoroark was, they would find her.
Boarding the helicopter were Giovanni, Delia, Luke and Comet. Ash quickly approached it, as it seemed that it was about to take off. "Where are you going?"
Delia revealed the news, knowing what that would cause. "We're going to find Zoroark. We're not taking the pokemon; they'll be staying here with Jessie, James, Pixel and Laiki." A lot could be concluded by reading between the lines. Despite Binks' faith in Aayla having the cure, there was no guarantee that an antidote could be produced from her cell samples. She would exhaust her energy quickly healing countless pokemon one after the other. Just in case, it was best to keep the pokemon safe. The Rocket agents that reported to Viridian were tested for the virus and sent away to an isolated underground area to be healed before having access to the rest of the base. The way to remove the virus from humans, who carried it but were not affected by it anyway, had already been discovered. However, the medicine didn't work for pokemon. By sneaking the serum into food supplies the human population was quickly being healed. Yet the virus no longer needed humans to spread, it was enough for it to spread from one pokemon to another.
"I'm going too!" Ash joined the group in the helicopter just as Delia guessed he would. His voice left no room for argument, albeit no one had any intentions of refusing his presence in the mission anyway.
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The helicopter landed atop Mount Silver and its passengers quickly exited the flying vehicle. Giovanni had ordered Cassidy and Butch, referring to him as Botch, not to approach the Zoroark. If she teleported away again, valuable time would be wasted searching for her and no progress would be made. If she truly was Aayla, maybe seeing people she was once familiar with would make her stay and cooperate. Capturing her by force had been proven useless in the past, before her identity was discovered. Attempting to overpower her was useless with her confusing illusions that had allowed her to slip away. With teleportation being added to her list of abilities, it didn't matter if she was as powerful as a regular pokemon, more, or less, she was simply too sneaky to be caught. It fit her in a sense, she had been a thief and criminal in the distant past, able to make close escapes and slip away from almost any situation.
A short way just beneath the summit of Mount Silver, there was a cave where they hoped to find Aayla. She was indeed there, the same majestic black pokemon with a deep violet mane. Number ten was no where to be seen and Aayla was exhausted and injured. It looked as if she had fought the mutant and was unable to defeat him. However, there was a look of peaceful accomplishment on her face, as if her purpose had been fulfilled.
"Aayla!" Delia rushed to her friend. She had never been able to let go of the guilt she felt for that time Aayla was apparently lost at sea. It was perhaps better that way, for her to finish her transformation away from Team Rocket's evolution.
Aayla stumbled forward, holding a glowing glass orb in her paw. The base with the words written in ancient language was no longer attached to it, but the swirling colors inside it were the same. That orb had been found by archeologists, dug out from the deep ground like a mysterious hidden treasure that would later become lost once again. The priceless ancient artifact was stolen from a museum by an unknown thief. The unidentified thief then sold the artifact to a mysterious lady. If the lady knew of the orb's power or not is anyone's guess. In the end, she passed the artifact to her son. He knew not of its power and could not remember it after the first time he experienced it.
As Aayla fell forward, unconscious, Delia rushed to catch her. The orb that Giovanni had thrown away years ago slipped out from Aayla's grasp. The item hit the rocky mountain cave ground and shattered upon impact into four inexplicably nearly equal parts. Four wisps of light escaped from the encasement red, blue, yellow and gray. In a split second, the light collided with Giovanni, Ash, Luke and Comet. The four succumbed to an irresistible sleep and collapsed, leaving a worried Delia to wonder what in the world was going on.
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One second Ash, Giovanni, Luke and Comet were at a cave in Mount Silver and the next they were freefalling through the sky. A bright light shot out from the air near by, where Ash should have been. The light reached out for the skies as if wanting to tare apart an invisible wall between dimensions. The light was far too bright and the other three had to close their eyes.
When Giovanni opened his eyes again he was alone, still falling towards the rapidly approaching ground covered in trees. It was certainly not Mount Silver that he was falling towards and it wasn't the Viridian forest either. He moved on instinct, not realizing what he was doing. As a result, the fall somehow slowed down, allowing Giovanni to safely glide into a clearing. "What happened?" His surroundings felt completely alien to him and he had a very strange sensation in his body that he couldn't push away. "Delia? Ash? Luke? Comet?" No one replied when he called. "Aayla? Did you do this? Are you out there?" There was still no reply. Uncertain of what to do, Giovanni began to walk.
As he walked, Giovanni became more aware of how different his body felt and started to remember a dream. Delia was in his dream, but she was a Mew. Upon examining himself more closely, having awakened from the daze he was left in by the harsh fall, he noticed that he was no longer human. "How is this possible?" He stared at his red-orange claws then spun around in circles until he caught his flaming tail. Was that strange dream that suddenly came into his mind a hidden memory? Was Delia transformed into a Mew? He had not seen her falling, perhaps she was still back at Mount Silver with Aayla. "Maybe I'm still at Mount Silver too, in a coma of crazy dreams after somehow hitting my head."
On the bright side, at least he was no longer a little Charmander. Giovanni extended his wings, stretching them out. He was sure he saw Ash, Luke and Comet falling, but after that light faded, they were gone. He felt as if the light had created a sort of shockwave that pushed him away. Maybe they had all been pushed in different directions and turned to pokemon, hopefully pokemon that could fly. Regardless of how strange and random the situation felt, Giovanni concluded that it was best to regroup and hopefully, figure out a way to get back home in the process. Dream or not, he might as well try to do something.
Thinking about having a better look at the surrounding area from the air, under conditions in which imminent death wasn't a distraction, Giovanni spread his wings and tried to fly. Unfortunately he could not. He flapped his wings madly and managed to hover, but flying like that would be terribly exhausting and ineffective. He tried to let his instinct guide him to fly, but it didn't work. Annoyed, Giovanni resigned himself to walking through the forest. He was careful with his tail so as to not cause a forest fire and get caught in the middle of it.
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After a long walk, Giovanni finally made it out of the thick forest. He spotted a somewhat familiar looking village ahead and hurried towards it. The village seemed rather empty, but he heard a multitude of voices near by, so there had to be someone around. He followed the sounds past the central plaza towards a pond, where he recalled that a Whiscash resided. He couldn't see Whiscash at the moment because of all the other pokemon gathered around the pond, obstructing his view. They seemed to be fussing about something. "What's going on?"
"It's that Pikachu!" A near by Granbull replied, his voice almost lost among the multiple conversations going on. "A Pikachu fell from the sky and no one knows who he is. We've gathered here to talk about what should be done about him. That poor Pikachu seems to be badly injured."
Giovanni felt as if he had frozen, despite being a fire type pokemon. The flame on his tail was slightly reduced as he urgently inquired, "where is he?"
"He's in the home of Team Chiray," the Granbull replied, then took the time to notice that he wasn't talking to one of his village neighbors. "You're new around here, aren't you? Wait a minute, I think I've met you before, did you happen to visit this village before you evolved?"
Granbull received no answer, Giovanni was already hurrying away from the pond and past the plaza. He headed for the little hut just outside the village. It was near there where he and Delia had appeared during their first trip to that strange world.
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The door to the hut burst open followed by the sound of Giovanni bumping his head on the doorframe. He lowered his head and entered the hut to be greeted by an angry shout of, "you can't just rush in here!" The owner of the voice was the same female Pikachu with pale yellow fur and pink cheeks that Giovanni and Delia had met before. The Charmeleon was there as well, he looked as though he was strong enough to evolve, but resisted evolution. There was also a Leafeon present, whom Giovanni had previously met as an Eevee.
Giovanni's attention was focused on the Pikachu that lay unconscious in a pile of soft leaves in the center of the little hut. "Ash?" He approached the Pikachu. The light that came from Ash had been similar to an aura sphere that became mixed with thunderbolts before he could no longer look at the brightness.
"Do you know him?" Charmeleon asked, before the female Pikachu picked a fight with the somewhat familiar newcomer that had rushed into their home.
"He's... my son," Giovanni concluded, too focused on the current issue to think about the irony of a Charmander and a Mew somehow breeding a Pikachu. The logic of the living world seemed to be lost to the mysteries of that world of souls.
"He is?" the female Pikachu seemed to back down for a moment and observe the Charizard. "Wait a minute, I know I've seen you before, but I can't quite place it." She didn't question the part about a Charizard being the father of a Pikachu, since she herself had raised an Eevee, who later became a Leafeon, with a Charmeleon as the father. They were not Leafeon's biological parents, but that didn't matter to any of them.
"Giovanni, the human," Giovanni automatically revealed, with the past memories of that world becoming more vivid as time passed. Simultaneously, the sense of who he was in the plane of existence of Team Rocket became a little more blurry, but he held on to it as strongly as he could.
"So it was you," Pikachu recalled, "your mate, she was called Delia, right? Is she with you too? She must be worried about him as well... Ash, was it?" She glanced at the unconscious Ash. "Unfortunately he won't wake up, so we can't feed him any berries to help him recover."
"We've patched up his injuries the best we could, but his energy seems to be dangerously low," Charmeleon revealed.
"I still say evolution will wake him up," Leafeon voiced.
Charmeleon shook his head in resignation, "there are no thunder stones left in the village. They appear in the land now and then, but they're not in season."
It was obvious that Ash couldn't wait much longer to be healed. He had nothing to rely on but the rustic methods of that world. "I'll find a thunder stone," Giovanni decided. He had no idea how he would accomplish the task, but he knew Ash's life was in danger and a thunder stone might be his only hope.
"Not to be pessimistic, but I honestly doubt there are any left," Charmeleon voiced. "Maybe Ash will wake up and eat some berries to feel better. If you still want to try to find the thunder stone, we could go see the Kecleon brothers and ask them for some clues."
"Did someone call us?" Two Kecleon, one green and one purple stood at the open door to the hut. "We came to see if you needed more berries to help your guest get better," the green one explained.
"It looks like he's still sleeping," the purple Kecleon observed, "he won't be able to eat berries like that."
"Do you two know where I can find a thunder stone?" Giovanni quickly asked.
The Kecleon brothers unanimously shook their heads. "We don't have any in stock," the green one informed.
"The customers that bought this year's supply of thunder stones have already used them by now. The stones gave their power and became like normal rocks," the purple one explained.
"Unless he is still collecting them," the green Kecleon theorized, "never mind, it's just a rumor."
"Who? Where?" Giovanni urgently insisted.
"Some time ago a very mean Drapion came to the village," the purple Kecleon narrated. "He had been hiding away for some time in a distant part of the world, getting ready to attack. When he came, we fought back and drove him away. Team Chiray was there too and all the teams from the village. Even if the village was saved in the end, some damage was still made and things were stolen. There were rumors that Drapion was trying to collect many evolutionary stones to give as payment to pokemon who would help him fight. Also, he wanted to make those pokemon that battled in his behalf stronger. He was defeated, but many of the things he stole were never recovered and might have not been used."
The green Kecleon continued the story, "there's a rumor that Drapion has a hideout somewhere and is waiting for the right time to attack again. We'll be ready for him if he comes." Realizing that the story was getting off topic, he returned to the subject of the thunder stone. "There might be a thunder stone in Drapion's hideout, but no one knows if that's true or where the hideout is."
"Except maybe Skitty," Leafeon mused aloud. "I'm not sure if it's true or not, but I heard Skitty saying she once followed Drapion to his hideout. She also said Drapion had no more allies so he probably wouldn't try to cause trouble again any time soon."
"Where is this Skitty?" One small clue led to another as each pokemon had a little information to contribute.
"She's probably in the flower garden at the plains northeast of the village. I'm not really sure if she truly followed Drapion. She did seem like she would be easy to miss, so maybe she was able to follow him without being caught," Leafeon explained.
"Even if the information isn't confirmed, it's all there is," Giovanni had no choice but to follow the available clues. "I'll leave Ash here and fly to Drapion's hideout," if he could figure out how to fly, it would certainly speed things along.
"We'll take care of Ash," the female Pikachu assured. "If you find the hideout and want backup, throw a fireball to the sky and we'll follow the signal," as usual, she was ready to jump into battle.
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The plains northeast of the pokemon village had many flowers, but Skitty was nowhere to be found. 'This is hopeless, is it even truly real? Why do I remember things I didn't remember before? There's something else, another memory in the back of my mind fighting to come out...' Setting the thoughts aside for a moment, Giovanni called out to the pokemon he hoped had the next clue of his unusual journey, "Skitty! Skitty, are you here?"
"I'm here," a small feminine voice came from the ground. Giovanni looked down between the pink flowers to where a Skitty was almost invisible among the flora. She really was easy to miss. She reminded him of someone, small, quiet and sneaky.
"I need to find Drapion and get a thunder stone. I heard you knew where his hideout was," Giovanni got right to the point.
The small Skitty shyly nodded, "yes, it's true. It was because of Liepard," she revealed. "He got hurt during a cave in trying to keep me safe. For a time I thought I had lost him, but later I heard he no longer remembered who he was. He ended up helping Drapion without knowing what he was doing. During the battle of the village against Drapion, Liepard recovered his memories and turned against that mean Drapion. The pokemon of the village still distrusted him even after it was over, so he left. I lost track of him, so I followed Drapion to see if Liepard had gone back there, maybe to get revenge on Drapion for tricking him. He wasn't there and I don't know where Liepard went, maybe he started over somewhere far away, but I have no idea where he is. You are not from here, have you seen him? Do you know where he could be?"
"I haven't seen who you're looking for," Giovanni had seen Liepard, but that was in his own world. He didn't think any of those were the specific pokemon Skitty was searching for. "I need to get to Drapion's hideout and get a thunder stone fast."
"You sound like you really need it," Skitty observed. "If you cross the forest towards the south and keep going southeast, you'll find a waterfall. There is a cave behind it where Drapion was hiding when I followed him. It's a long way from here."
"That's no problem, I'll fly there," Giovanni flapped his wings to no avail. "I just need to find a good spot to use as a runway."
It didn't seem like the Skitty fully understood his flying troubles since she herself didn't know anything about flying, "good luck."
"Leah?" Giovanni paused and shook his head to clear it, the Skitty looked confused, albeit she had an expression of familiarity on her face, "never mind..." It was odd, but the pokemon really did remind him of Leah, who had passed away all those years ago. If the story was more than a coincidence, then that would make Liepard similar to Han. It was only a general similarity anyway and it made little sense to someone who didn't have a full understanding of that world. Only an exceptional few could hope to begin to understand the mysteries of that plane of existence.
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A small distance further to the northeast, Giovanni saw a cliff with another little hut on it. Pelipper came and went from the little hut as if it were some kind of post office. Giovanni stood at the edge of the cliff and looked towards the distance. No one tried to stop him, since the Charizard's actions seemed harmless enough. Taking a deep breath, he jumped from the cliff and spread his wings. The wind of the fall pushed his wings up causing him to glide. Trying to keep his wings stretched out, he flapped them rhythmically until he got the hang of it.
Stretching out his neck and tail in the most aerodynamic position he could muster, Giovanni sped through the skies towards the south. He hoped to see the waterfall Skitty mentioned as soon as possible. Flying by his own power was an amazing feeling, though he had no time to bask in it given his haste to find Drapion's hideout and hopefully a thunder stone.
Some time later, Giovanni spotted a waterfall on a mountain side that looked like it could be the one he was searching for. He landed in front of it, finally resting his wings. He looked at the flame on his tail and at the water. It gave him a bad feeling, akin to a warning of survival instinct, just by looking at it. "I'm a fire type and that's water, this isn't good, but there's no other choice." Shielding his flaming tail as much as possible, Giovanni rushed in behind the waterfall. He was glad to find, not a solid wall behind it, but a secret cave. Unfortunately, water kept dripping from the cave's ceiling, which made him very uncomfortable.
Giovanni went deeper into the waterfall cave until he heard an angry voice calling out, "who's there?" The voice was somehow familiar, but the memory was distant. Without replying, he hurried towards the deeper area of the cave, where he heard the voice echoing from. As he arrived he saw Drapion. "I knew I heard someone, have you come here to join my gang?"
"I'm here for a thunder stone," there were several evolutionary stones in a small pile behind Drapion. Giovanni couldn't see if there was a thunder stone among them or not. There might be one under the others, he had to make sure.
"A thunder stone wouldn't make you stronger," Drapion stated as a matter of fact. "Just now it sounded as if you wanted to challenge me. Look around, you're at a disadvantage in this cave where water leeks out from the ceiling all the time. It's like being under the rain."
"It's only light rain and I am challenging you for a thunder stone," Giovanni threatened, "I will win."
"I'll show you true power!" Drapion shouted angrily.
'Venom, that's who he reminds me of, but it doesn't look like he knows anything beyond being a Drapion. Maybe their similarities are only a coincidence,' Giovanni thought as he got ready for battle.
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Aside from Ash and Giovanni, Luke and Comet were also thrown into that mysterious world. After that strange light that came from Ash faded, the group was separated while still falling. Comet saw a Gligar heading towards him as his shape changed into that of an Absol. Since the orb was broken, their souls in their out of body experience went through a harsher entrance into that world. Comet, completely turned into an Absol, was falling fast. Fortunately the Gligar was able to catch him and get him to the ground safely.
"You saved me, thank you," Comet told the pokemon. "How did I end up falling?"
"This is another place, a good place, but I don't think you're supposed to be here. Your body is still back in the other world, isn't it? Not mine, mine is gone, dissolved into nothing, it was her doing. I don't hate her for it, because it means I can stay here. Nothing scares me here; I don't feel angry anymore, this place is peaceful." Gligar looked as if he had been waiting for such peace for a long time.
"I don't understand what you're talking about, but a talking pokemon is really rare. I've only seen one other like that." Comet was referring to the Meowth who was always with Jessie and James.
"Take a good look at yourself," Gligar waited for the reaction that soon came.
"I'm a pokemon? How did this happen?" Comet poked the horn sticking out of the side of his head with his paw. He wondered if an Absol would feel out of balance with one. Yet the long thick white fur on his other side seemed to balance things well enough, since the horn was lighter than he imagined.
"I don't understand it myself. I only know that you're not supposed to be here if you still have a body back there," Gligar seemed to speak in riddles that left many questions unanswered. "It's your business if you want to go back. I don't know why I caught you. I guess I don't completely blame you for being luckier than me, but I'm still jealous because you were absolved from everything that I had to suffer," Gligar began to leave.
Confused by his words, Comet quickly followed. "Who are you? Can you at least tell me that?"
"I was never given a name there. I'm starting to forget it all. I'm sure I'll forget about it entirely eventually. That's alright, I don't want to remember that time anyway," Gligar started to fly. "It was like waking up from a nightmare. I won't be going back and I won't think of that world anymore. Unlike me, it looks like you do have a place there. I don't, so I'll just have to forget about it, the world, the pain, the fear and you too, my so called brother." Extending the wings under his claws, Gligar gained altitude.
"Ten, you're the one known as number ten. When you said it was her doing, you were talking about Aayla, right? Then she must know what all this is about," Comet concluded. "How do I go back, how do I become human again?"
"You're on your own, I have a new life to live," Gligar flew away and disappeared in the distance.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. Surprise, surprise, another little visit to the Mystery Dungeon world! XD The Granbull in this chapter is the evolved Snubbull from Diamond 34. The members of Team Chiray are the same as in the past Mystery Dungeon chapters.