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Encounter: Tanosian Flygon

by StellarWind Elsydeon

StellarWind Elsydeon A small fanfic set in @Keleri's Gods and Demons universe, inspired by a very clear mental image I received after asking them about this particular species.
The sandstorm hit us three days in, almost out of nowhere. Not to be unexpected in a desert - sometimes the local mineral-elementals get touchy. We were geared and supplied up well enough for this sort of expedition, our Pokémon were rested up and ready for the road. Didn't expect any problems. Just a regular survey expedition to a newly spotted Oasis.

That's how it always starts in the right sort of movies, isn't it? Just a regular run of the mill expedition, nothing out of the ordinary, suddenly the entire Reverse World breaks loose? That's pretty much exactly what happened here.

The storm really ate our visibility, so we had to fly on instruments for a while. Everything was going smoothly... at first. By the time the satnav system finally gave out due to elemental interference, we were far off our intended course. Some of it was necessity. The rest of it? the system probably de-synched long before it entirely lost signal. Don't ask me, I'm a prospector, not a satellite technician.

Probably should have been. would have saved me a lot of trouble.

The Pokémon were holding up fine - keeping the barriers up to protect the lot of us from being sandblasted. Navigation-ways, though, they were just about as efficient as the satnavs. Elemental sense or not - they just confirmed what we've already suspected. This was not a natural storm, and there were elemental traces in it that were blocking the view like a blanket - we were as blind as a Zubat and twice as in the dark.

It's a good thing we've had the tracker with us. She was a local, knew her way around the sands. One thing I've learned about this sort of thing is that it's utter madness NOT to have some kind of a local guide with you - new grounds to explore or not, people who live in places like this generally know what to expect and what to do when the shit hits the fan. My team and I surveyed deserts before - on a Rapidash with no name or off one - but at that moment all these dunes looked the exact same to us.

Not to her, though - she stood there and listened, putting that walking stick she carried into the sand and just observing it for a while, before she pulled it out again and pointed in a certain direction. We followed. Anything was better than staying still, and those not-quite-human silhouettes that seemed to follow us through the storm - staying just on the edge of our vision - were getting quite unnerving.

Damn Cacturne. Thought I was done with them back in Hoenn.

We walked - without rhythm, the old cliché about creatures drawn to rhythmic vibration was only a cliché because it was true - for an hour or so more in the direction she pointed out - and found a rocky outcropping that seemed to provide adequate shelter. It wasn't exactly an oasis, but it was protected enough to allow our Pokémon to rest and stop projecting the shields, and for us to stop for food and water. The menacing figures in the distance were gone. Things seemed quiet.

Should have known that probably wasn't as good a sign as we thought it was.

The tracker did her thing again. Took her longer to figure out what exactly her staff was telling her this time, and she did not look happy when she told us what was coming next - she said that we may have veered off course, but the oasis we were looking for was nearby - but to get there, we'd have to cross a wide expanse of open dunes; it would be quite the walk and there would be little shelter from the storm aside from the shields. It was probably safer to wait the storm out here - or at least camp out the rest of the day. It would have been a setback for sure, but this wasn't our first rodeo - better necessary delays than needless deaths.

We made camp. What could we do? It seemed safe enough. Which, if you may remember my comment earlier about the right sort of movies, should always be a sign that it probably isn't. But it's not as though we were in a movie, or some story put together by a second-rate author with nothing better to do - this was real life, right?

Of course, that is the part where someone simply has to tempt fate. "Relic Castle" had the dude who just had to open the ancient sarcophagus, only to be engulfed by the Cofagrigus it truly was and come out possessed by its vengeful spirit, ghost ribbon-arms floating on its back. "Ronin Lycanroc" had the girl who thought she was safe from the beasts because it "wasn't even close to midnight". And we had Arceus-Damned Ramirez who figured out he'd take out the spectrometer and conduct some Arceus-Damned measurements to pass the Arceus-Damned time.

Ramirez. He even had the right sort of name to blunder into this trope like a chump.

First readings came in as nothing but static. We knew this was no natural storm, but the sheer magnitude of how unnatural it was only came to light now - You've had your generic air and ground-rock energies and the sort of counter-elemental interference that comes with that - but it wasn't the only sort of energies trapped in this particular storm. This one has been building up for a while - and there was an undercurrent that the spectrometer just could not get a grip on - and this was a very expensive piece of kit. The baby's-first-aura-reader you get in Pokédexes to this spectrometer was what a Fletchling was to a Moltres* - and it still spit out estimates that were about as useful as wings on an Onix... Not that I’d be surprised if one of the blighters actually developed wings in some region or another.

Here's the thing, though - whatever these readings were, they were getting stronger. Still frustratingly vague - but the 'trace amounts' we got in the initial reading were building up. And frustratingly enough, they were moving, making it harder to get an exact lock - which meant that whatever it was, it was probably some kind of a Pokémon, and that it was hidden well enough to keep its signature from being easily detected - probably masked by the storm.

Somehow I started getting the sinking feeling that we were herded here and whatever did it was circling this outcropping, just waiting for the right moment.

Something pinged on the 'meter, and Ramirez figured that he should follow the source. I had a bad feeling about this - tried to stop him, but he was already on his way, too damn focused on the spectra to really pay attention. He was like that, Ramirez. Grade-A mind, Grade-Z awareness of his surroundings when he was engrossed in something. Tunnel vision was a useful trait sometimes, but now was NOT one of those times.

Here's the thing about Dragon-type energy. It is notoriously fickle. It has a certain primordial nature that resonates with the very fabric of the world - even more so than other forms of elemental energy. There are legends about the world being crafted by dragons. And when the energy in question is buried deep under a earth and air energies? In retrospect, we probably should have guessed this was the nature of our phantom, but wasn't the entire point of expensive instruments to reduce guesswork to the minimum necessary?

Something shifted under the dunes. Subtle, but there. Getting closer and closer.

And Ramirez left the safety of the rocks.

The Tracker yelled something in a language I could not make out - but all it took was one look at her - recognition, terror - to know that she was trying to warn us of something very dangerous. It was only sheer luck that I managed to grab his shoulder and pull him back right before the fissure appeared and swallowed him whole.

And then we saw it.

Mandibles - sharp, jagged, grasping - burst out of the pit with a loud screech, followed closely by clawed hands that grasped the edge of the fissure and pulled the rest of the creature up - a terrible, hunched creature covered in thick, sand-blasted plates. It looked like a cross between a Trapinch and your worst nightmare, and the worst nightmare was the major parent. Even through the thick lenses that covered the creature's eyes, we could see it focused its gaze on us - ancient, predatory, amused? Small frills - perhaps reduced wings of some sort - fluttered against its back plates, and a puff of air, heavy with sand, was blown out of its vent-like nostrils as its mandibles closed, then opened again.

Then it spoke.

"My, my. What have we here?" came the creature's voice - a raspy, deep buzz, like the sandstorm that travelled in its wake. "You are a long way from your places of power, little humans. But that does not give you leave to intrude on MINE."

Being snapped out of absolute tunnel vision, being saved from the brink of death only to be menaced by an unfamiliar desert Pokémon in quick succession was more than Ramirez's nerves could handle. He fainted. Evidently, it was super effective.

* In so much that both are fire and air type birdlike creatures - except one is far cheeper than the other.
  1. Psycho Monkey
    Psycho Monkey
    This is great Stel! Do you have plans for a part 2 or are we left to imagine the outcome of this one-shot?
    Feb 18, 2019
    PrincessPika likes this.