This is a rather old story of mine, and I have the whole thing posted to my Fanfiction page (and somewhere in my Deviantart gallery in PDF format). Some things to know before reading: This incorporates some TCG canon (specifically Delta Species and Dark Pokemon) and, though it is set in the Mystery Dungeon universe, there is mention of humans (who have not been turned into Pokemon). Also, the reason that this is 2 chapters instead of just 1 is because... the whole story is only about 60 pages. The longest chapter has around 2,500 words... and it isn't this one. I hope you enjoy the story. Con-crit and reviews are appreciated. Chapters 3 & 4 coming soon. DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokemon Mystery Dungeon or any other Nintendo or ChunSoft game. Warning: This story is darkfic and angst. There is a (planned) character death closer to the end. Other than that and self-insert, this story is mostly squick-free. R&R. Enjoy! Chapter 1 “I think I heard the crash somewhere over here...” “Why does it matter? We need to leave it alone, or—“ “Look, there it is! Oh, crap... that looks scary! Wait... there’s a Riolu over there!” “Is he awake?” “...No, he’s not. I hope he’s not hurt...” “He’s probably dead then. No one could survive that wreck. Let’s go, Jess...” Damien the Riolu could hear voices. The first was a young female, probably not much older than him. The other was a much older teenage male voice. “Hey, kid, wake up! You alright?” “Jess, let’s go. You don’t need to mess with him.” Damien slowly opened his eyes to find a Zorua looking at him. She was wearing a black cloak. Behind her was a Pikachu. The Zorua smiled when Damien opened his eyes. “Told you, Mike!” “Yeah, but he’s still a stranger, Jess. We probably shouldn’t—“ “What’s your name?” Jess interrupted, speaking to Damien. He stood up and observed his surroundings. He was in some sort of clearing in the middle of a forest. He was encircled by trees of every kind. But he couldn’t find his trainer Dyllan anywhere. Damien remembered that he was in a small plane, flying out to the nearest region they could find so that Dyllan could start an occupation as a trainer. But then, he heard a loud explosion, and felt the plane going down. Damien passed out because the plane was going so fast. Damien couldn’t see the plane either. Then something came to his realization... he could sense the aura of death somewhere behind him that resembled Dyllan’s. He turned around. And his heart sank. The plane was there. It was completely obliterated, pieces of it everywhere. The propellers were nonexistent. The engine was just a few feet away from where Damien stood. There was a hole in the back that came from what hit them as they were flying. The cockpit sheltered a body. Damien recognized it instantly. “What’s wrong?” Jess asked, though Damien ignored her. He ran and started to climb the wrecked aircraft. He got up to Dyllan, hoping he was still alive. Damien placed his ear to where he could hopefully hear a heartbeat. There was nothing. Tears started to well up in his eyes. This was the person who had been with him all his life, who took care of him when he was young. And now he was gone. He took the scarf off of Dyllan’s neck. It was a long, yellow, woven scarf, with the monogram “D.B.” on the far bottom corner. He thought for a moment and wrapped it around his own neck. He was going to keep it as a memento, a memory of his best friend. He climbed back down from the plane and stood there, staring at it. Then, all of a sudden, there was a cry. “Someone! He needs help!” Everyone turned to see the Froslass floating through the woods asking for help. “What? Who needs help?” Jess asked. The Froslass stopped. “My baby! He’s trapped in the Cave of Shadows! He won’t be able to get out on his own!” “Calm down, miss, someone will—“ Mike tried to say before he was interrupted. “How can I be calm?!?” she shouted. “He’s trapped in a cave with all kinds of horrible Pokemon! There’s no telling if he’ll ever get out alive!” Jess started to think. She looked at Damien, then at Mike, then at the Froslass. Then she interjected, “We’ll get your Snorunt out of that cave, miss!” “Jess, no. We are not doing something that dangerous. Investigating this crash was enough, and I won’t—“ Mike started. “I lost my parents, Mike! I won’t let her lose her child. I don’t want anyone to feel like I did when I found them.” Damien couldn’t understand what was going on, but he felt the same way. He just lost his trainer, and he was absolutely devastated. He thought for a moment about what he would do. Then he said, “I’ll go help him.” “What, you too? Am I the only one here who thinks this is a bad idea?” Mike exclaimed. “Well, if you’re going, Jess, I’ll go too to keep you safe. Besides, I don’t think I like this Riolu too much.” “You don’t know him.” “Neither do you.” “Guys,” the Froslass interrupted. “My son’s still in the cave.” “Right, miss. Come on, guys! We gotta go!” Then Jess ran towards the forest. Mike called after her and followed. Damien was ready to follow suit when the Froslass stopped him. “Thank you. I’ll be waiting here when—I mean, if you return…” Damien smiled. “We’ll be back. You don’t have to worry.” Pretty soon, the three of them found themselves in front of a massive cave, guarded only by a sign: “Enter at your own risk.” “This is the Cave of Shadows? I’ve never been here before...it’s really big…” Jess said nervously. “It’s not too late to turn back,” Mike said. “It’s fine. We just go in, get the kid, and come back out. No big deal, right?” “Nothing is ever as easy as it seems, Jess. This cave is probably teeming with Dark Pokemon, and there’s no telling what could happen. “Let’s just go! If we don’t find Snorunt, he could possibly die. You know how this cave is.” And with that she entered the cave. Mike and Damien followed. It was a large cave, and it was very dark. The walls were eerily lined with scratches and hints of blood. Once a little further in, it started to get dark. Jess stopped. “Uh… did anyone bring a torch?” she said, a little embarrassed. Mike frowned. “You didn’t even think about that?” “…Sorry, Mike,” Jess apologized, a little downhearted. Damien decided he would help. He focused all of his energy into a ball of aura, which he held up in front of him. The Aura Sphere let off plenty of light to see by. Jess noticed, a little stunned, and said, “Maybe we should let him lead the way…” They started to move on. At every turn, either Jess or Mike would decide which way to go. “Turn here.” “Go Left.” “Stay away from that.” “I think it’s safe to go here.” Eventually they found a large space deep within the cave. The whole area was limned with bones of every sort, some of them with blood still on them. Mike took a survey of the area illuminated by Damien’s aura. He turned to them and made a motion that both of the others understood as “be quiet.” He led their way through to the center and stopped, signaling to Damien, which he did not understand. The puzzled look on his face made Mike put his face in his paw. “Make it bigger!” he finally whispered. Damien listened and increased the size of the Sphere. He found it strange that there were no Zubats or Swoobats in here. He tried to think on it, but the cave’s emptiness made him feel uneasy. Mike signaled to have Jess and Damien follow. Another hallway had led to another large room, one larger than the previous one. Damien looked around. No one was in there. But he could sense a presence. He closed his eyes and tried to sense with his powers. He found a shape lingering in a dark corner, one far enough away to not be seen with the light he was producing. He signaled at Mike to where it was, then stepped over to the frightened Snorunt in the corner. Damien looked into his eyes. He saw an expression of terror in them, as if he was afraid of being rescued. Suddenly, he spoke. “Get out… get out before he comes!” Mike was confused. “Who?” “Go! Get out of here! You won’t stand a chance!” Jess looked at Mike. “What’s he talking about? Is there someone else here?” Just then, a roar thundered through the cave, startling the group. Snorunt looked to his sides. “What’s going on?” Mike yelled, his words echoing through the cavern. “H-he’s here…” Snorunt stammered. “Who?” Mike asked. Then flames burst through one of the tunnels, lighting several torches that were hung on the walls. Jess swallowed, afraid of what was to come. “I don’t think this is going to end well…” Another loud roar echoed, and Damien instinctively brace himself for battle as a large black Charizard made its way through the tunnel. It was much larger in size than a normal Charizard, and the flame on its tail was blue and black instead of orange and red. Mike panicked. “Let’s just grab Snorunt and get out of here!” Jess stopped him. “You mean we’re not battling?” “You don’t understand! This is a Dark Charizard! Dark Pokemon are way stronger than normal Pokemon. If you try to fight it, you could be seriously hurt—if you were lucky!” Damien heard this and started to shake. He had never seen one of these before, and he did not know what power they held. But it looked like he wouldn’t let them leave without a fight... Chapter 2 Damien, Jess and Mike stared at the gigantic dragon standing before them. Snorunt was still in the corner, shaking with fear. As all this was going on, Damien was thinking about whether he should have agreed to this or not. But something told him that this was his battle too, that this was meant to happen for a reason. “Why are you all here? Why do you intrude upon my home?” Charizard bellowed. Mike stepped up reluctantly. “All we want is the kid, so if you would just—“ Before he could finish, he was whacked in his side with Charizard’s flaming tail, sending him into the far wall on the side of the cave. He fell to the ground with a sickening thud, causing Jess to run over to him. “Mike! Are you okay?” she cried, running over to him with Damien close behind. Mike laid there, unmoving for a few moments. Then he got to his feet, his lip busted and bleeding. “Why did you talk me into this, Jess?” he said weakly as he staggered about. “Gee, you’re welcome,” Jess said sarcastically, rolling her eyes. Damien managed to look behind him, where he saw the Charizard inhale and call out, “Flamethrower!” Nobody could move as blue and green flames started spewing out of his mouth. Jess closed her eyes and prepared for it to make contact. However, Damien put his power into making a shield to protect them all. The Flamethrower reflected off the shield, keeping them safe. “Hmm,” Charizard pondered. “You seem to be the strongest, therefore I should kill you first!” Damien powered down the shield and prepared a battle stance. “You’re really gonna take him on your own?” Jess asked, shocked. “Are you nuts? He’ll incinerate you!” “It’s me he wants,” he replied. “I won’t let you guys get hurt. Just let me battle and go. Remember to take Snorunt with you.” Jess stood where she was, frozen with fear that he would get killed. Mike called the other over and told Jess to follow him as he grabbed a low torch from the wall. As they left, Damien found himself a little less confident with no one else to help him. “You’re really going to let them leave you here?” Charizard roared. “They must not think of you too well,” he looked at the scarf on Damien’s neck. “And I can see why.” Damien charged up a ball of energy in his paw. The Charizard started to laugh. “It’s no use. That feeble attack of yours will have no affect on me. It’ll just roll of like water on a duck’s feathers. Besides, what match does a useless trained Riolu like you have against a Dark Charizard like me?” He bent his long neck down to Damien’s level. “You’re nothing but a wimp! A spineless, worthless piece of crap!” Damien let a growl come across his face. He pulled back the attack and called out, “Force Palm!” He threw the attack between Charizard’s eyes, which threw him back into the cave wall. He lay there, unconscious, as the cave started to rumble about. Rocks fell from the ceiling as Damien started to run through the tunnel he came in from. He put up an Aura Sphere in front of his face to help him see through the pitch black darkness. He ran through each tunnel, knowing that it was only a matter of time before the Cave of Darkness collapsed on him. He ran through tunnel after tunnel after tunnel, trying to backtrack the way he came by memory. No map would help him now, for he would not have time to look at it to help him see his way through. After a while of running, he saw a light. He knew that a light at the end of a hallway meant an exit, and he ran even faster, still holding the Aura Sphere. Suddenly, he tripped, accidentally throwing the Sphere into the ceiling. The resulting explosion ended up making the rest of the path collapse. He got up and tried to run through it, but a falling rock had caught the long scarf on his neck. He was only feet away from the exit, and he could hear Jess yelling for him. He tugged at the scarf with all of his might, but he could not get it out from under the rock. “Hurry! It’s going to collapse!” Jess yelled. But Damien was not able to retrieve his scarf from the boulder. He then decided to push the rock, trying to roll it off. After a few moments of wasted strength, he heard Mike shout. “Jess! Get back here! It’s too dangerous!” Damien then noticed Jess trying to push the rock, her front paws struggling to get it rolled over. After a bit of effort, the rock finally moved, and Damien and Jess made their way out of the cave. “Why did you do that?” Mike reprimanded Jess. “You could have gotten yourself killed!” “Hey, I’m not the one whose scarf was stuck under a rock!” “Guys, seriously? Does that even—“ Damien started, but was interrupted by Mike. “You stay out of this! Come on, you two…” Mike left with Jess and Snorunt, who was a little shaken by the whole experience. Jess looked back at Damien, who smiled and thanked her. “You saved my life. Thanks,” he said. Jess nodded back in response and left. Damien had made his way back to the site of the plane crash, carrying a couple of sticks and a piece of vine. He buried Dyllan off to the side of the shredded cockpit, and he remembered seeing a movie where someone had done this before. He tied the sticks together to make the shape of a cross, then placed it on the site where he was buried. For the next hour or so, Damien sat there at the foot of the grave, remembering Dyllan for all he had done for him. Suddenly, Jess’ voice made him jump. “I thought I might find you here! We got a good reward for rescuing Snorunt. Mike sent me to bring you your share. You okay?” Damien paused, then looked at her. He took the bag of money from her mouth and muttered thanks. “There’s something wrong with you, I just know,” she started. “I guess…the grave? What’s with that?” Damien stayed silent. He was a little irritated at the moment, but he tried to bring himself to his senses. After all, she didn’t mean to startle him in his grief. He slowly started, “He’s my…trainer. I don’t think wild Pokemon take too well to that, judging by what Charizard said.” “What exactly did he say?” Jess asked. Damien hesitated. “He called me a wimp. A spineless, worthless piece of crap. Those were his exact words.” Jess thought for a moment. “Yeah… you’re right; trained Pokemon are usually seen as unwanted here. You need to be careful, because there will be a lot of enemies against you just for that.” “I’ll keep that in mind,” Damien muttered, still staring at Dyllan’s grave. “You know, my parents died in a forest fire a while back,” Jess started. “It was awful. I was really little then, and Mike was a good friend of theirs. He decided to take me in and take care of me,” she smiled. “He’s a good godparent, but he’s a little…overprotective.” Damien stayed quiet as she continued on. “What’s your name anyway? I never got it.” He replied, “Damien.” Jess snickered a little bit. Damien looked at her questioningly. “Sorry,” she said. “I’ve just never heard that name before. It’s kinda funny!” Damien sighed and looked back at the cross. Jess stopped laughing. “Well, anyways, I’ve thought about asking Mike if we could form a rescue team. The way you beat Charizard back there… you would be great in one.” “What’s a rescue team?” Damien inquired. “Oh… I guess humans don’t have those. It’s basically a team that is paid to do missions for other Pokemon, such as escorting, fighting off enemies, and also just plain rescuing.” “Okay… I understand now, but why would you need to ask Mike about it?” “I need his approval before I can. Being in a rescue team is very dangerous work. Rescue teams have enemies and other rival teams to beat, and they usually battle regularly.” “I see,” Damien pondered. “I’ll go ahead and ask. He’s back at home waiting for me, anyways. I’ll tell you what he says afterward.” She ran off as soon as she said that, leaving Damien no time to object. He tried to think of what kind of things would happen in a rescue team. Jess said they get paid for what they do, so it could get him a little extra money. Maybe he would be a little more respected if he did. He thought some more on the topic, but then pushed it aside. He was told to wait for Jess, so that’s what he did.