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Old 09-26-2017, 02:29 AM
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Default Crater Dreams

Third fic of the Yangverse, written for Serebii's Alpha and Omega one-shot contest. An exercise in Sootopolis worldbuilding.

Crater Dreams

The Sootopolis gym was closing for the day. Workers were leaving for home, and Trainers were heading towards the Pokemon Center for the night. At the Gym's master bedroom, a young man with a white shock in his hair was talking to a young boy with turquoise hair and a white beret.

"Wallace," said the young man. "It's time for a bedtime story."

"But I'm not tired yet! I wanna train my Pokemon some more, Juan!" Wallace replied, his face in a visible pout.

"Now now, Wallace," said Juan. "This story is about your ancestors. The ones who founded this very city."

"...So?" said Wallace, crossing his arms. "They're dead now. Why should I care?"

"Tell you what, if you listen to my story, I'll let you train your Pokemon a bit more."

Wallace glanced warily at Juan. "I suppose..."

"Alright!"

The two sat down.

"Long long ago," said Juan, "On an island far off the coast of the Hoenn mainland, there were two children, one much like you..."

------

A small island village was winding down for the day as the rays of the setting sun licked the thatched rooftops of its huts. Farmers returning to their houses and mothers were calling their children inside. One green-haired girl and her young Tropius, however, stayed outside and moved towards the edge of their village.

"Come on, Blanca!" said the girl. "I wanna explore some more!"

The Tropius, who at the time wasn't much taller than the girl, plodded along behind her, giving small, contented "Pi"s.

The girl noticed a turquoise-haired boy sitting beside a small pond, watching a Feebas swimming about.

"Hey, you!" said the girl.

The boy looked up in surprise.

"What kinda Pokemon is that?"

"She's a Feebas!" said the boy. "Her name is Thetis!"

"She's ugly!"

"No she's not!"

"Yuh-huh!"

"Nuh-uh!"

In the background as the string of "yuh-huhs" and "nuh-uhs" continued, Thetis and Blanca took notice of each other.

Blanca nudged Thetis with her nose, causing the Feebas to attempt to hop out of the water and nuzzle back. The two Pokemon then began making bellows and burbles at each other in a sort of conversation.

The two children eventually turned and noticed.

"They... like each other?" said the girl.

"I guess?" said the boy.

The two looked at each other a bit awkwardly before the boy spoke up.

"I'm Apollo! What's your name?"

"...Narissa."

"Narissa!" said a voice from the huts. "Time to come in!"

"Gotta go!" said Narissa, running back to the huts with Blanca. "See you!"

"See you!" said Apollo, waving back.

----------

A skinny young man with turquoise hair sat at the edge of a seaside cliff, gazing out into the ocean. It wasn't long before a Milotic slithered up next to him and began nuzzling him.

The young man smiled. "Hey Thetis! Good to see you, girl!"

He petted the Milotic, who cooed in response.

"Apollo! There you are!"

The young man turned to see a young woman with green hair and a Tropius approaching. Thetis immediately slithered over to the Tropius and began a Monese conversation.

''Narissa!" Apollo said cheerfully. "Good to see you here too!"

"I've searched the entire village and the whole island looking for you!" Narissa replied, putting her hands on her hips. "We're supposed to harvest Cheri Berries today!"

"Come on, Narissa," said Apollo. "You know this is my favorite spot."

Narissa sighed. "Fine. I suppose you want me to join you?"

Apollo nodded. Narissa sat down next to him and gazed out to sea alongside him.

"... It is really pretty," she said after a while.

Apollo smiled. "See why I said it's my favorite spot?"

Narissa smirked. "Yeah."

"But you're right," said Apollo. "We should be-"

"Tropiiiiiiiiii!"

"What is it, Blanca?" said Narissa.

Blanca and Thetis were pointing out to sea with a foot and tail, respectively. Apollo and Narissa looked to see a trio of ships with Absol footprints painted on their sails. Their expressions changed to ones of abject horror.

"The Absol Paw Tribe," said Apollo.

---------

The four rushed back to their village, where people and Pokemon alike were running around in a state of panic. Apollo, panting heavily, ran to one particular hut, where men were gathering weapons and armoring their Pokemon.

"Father! Where are you?!" yelled Apollo, looking around frantically.

"Apollo!" said a man with similar turquoise hair and a necklace of Sharpedo teeth around his neck. "This isn't your fight! Get to the boats on the other side of the island!"

"But Father-"

A tremor rocked the huts.

"Now!" yelled his father.

Hesitantly, Apollo turned and ran back outside to Narissa.

"Apollo, are we-" she said.

"We have to get to the boats, now!" he replied.

With that, the two and their Pokemon ran south as more raider boats came ashore.

-----------

The two young adults and their Pokemon trudged through a mangrove swamp, looking about hurriedly for any boats.

"We should be getting close..." said Narissa.

Apollo noticed something out of the corner of his eye heading straight for Narissa. His eyes widened in horror, andhe immediately tackled her to the ground just as a Fire Blast passed over their heads. Just as quickly Thetis and Blanca pulled them into the undergrowth and concealed them amid the mangrove shoots and roots.

Soon after, a man alit within the mangroves atop his Salamence, scanning the area.

"You see 'em, boy? I didn't see 'em." he said.

His Salamence growled and started scanning and sniffing the area.

In the undergrowth, Apollo, Thetis, and Blanca held deathly still. Narissa, on the other hand, didn't even dare to breathe. instead shaking in fear at the large, vicious carnivore approaching their location.

The Salamence moved closer. Narrisa's heart pounded at a rapid pace.

Quickly, Apollo grabbed a rock and threw it as high and far as he could. The rock landed with a loud splash a fair distance away.

"There they are! After them!" yelled the man.

The Salamence roared and charged after the source of the noise.

As soon as they had moved off a ways Thetis scooped Apollo and Narissa onto her back and charged out to sea, Blanca following close behind.

-----------

Out to sea, Thetis and her passengers drifted aimlessly as Blanca circled overhead.

"Do you see any boats?" said Apollo.

"All I see is storm clouds ahead..." replied Narissa.

The two grew silent for a moment.

"I don't think anyone made it..." said Narissa, shaking her head.

"No, no, someone else has to have made it..." muttered Apollo, his voice wavering.

Thunder cracked from the oncoming storm.

"Blanca!" said Narissa. "Try to find dry land! The rest of us are going under!"

Apollo nodded. "Thetis, Dive!"

Thetis blew a massive bubble encapsulating herself and her riders; she then dove underwater as Blanca flew east.

-----------

It was dark and featureless beneath the waves, and Apollo and Narissa huddled close as Thetis moved their bubble along.

"...The storm isn't that bad judging from when we've surfaced for air," said Apollo. "Do we have to stay down here?"

Narissa shook her head sadly. "It's likely to get worse."

"Good point."

"We've lost our families and our home already. Losing our lives is not something-"

"Narissa. We're going to be OK. I promise you that." His voice wavered slightly as he said it.

Narissa paused for a few seconds before embracing him, sobbing.

Apollo hugged back for a while before opening his eyes and realizing the darkness around them had grown deeper.

"Thetis... Where are we?"

Thetis cooed uncertainly, then spotted a pinprick of light above.

"Tic!"

She quickly shot upward, taking her passengers along for the ride.

-----------

The three emerged in a lake within a massive volcanic crater. Around the lake were patches of volcanic soil where Berry trees grew, which gave way to cliffs of white rock with their own patches of soil further up the crater's slopes. The storm seemed to have bypassed it, as the moon and stars were visible above its lip.

Narissa gasped. "It's beautiful..."

Thetis quickly came ashore, where Apollo ran his fingers through the dirt.

"It seems rich. No wonder the berries are growing here!"

He looked around, the faintest cracks of a smile forming on his caught himself and shook his head, his expression becoming more serious.

He then noticed Narissa climbing the cliffs.

"Narissa! Be careful!"

"I'm fine!" she replied, smiling and heaving herself up onto a cliff.

Apollo sighed and followed.

The two, after much climbing of cliffs, eventually reached a cave entrance, pausing to stare at it a while.

"M-Maybe we should get Thetis before we go in..." said Apollo, beginning to back up.

Narrisa stared at him for a second before her expression hardened and she clenched her fists

"Hey! You can't back off like that! You wouldn't let me do that, right?"

Apollo nodded nervously.

"Well, I ought to do the same with you. Now come on!"

She stood back patiently.

"...All right," said Apollo. "Let's go."

They headed into the cave together.

--------

The darkness of the cave was punctuated by blue and red crystals glowing with geothermic clustered above, Zubat and Golbat sleeping soundly as Apollo and Narissa made their way through.

"Wow..." the two said in unison.

Apollo's foot bumped into a small object on the cavern floor.

"Hmm?"

He picked up a small, flower-shaped blue crystal.

"Looks like this one got dislodged."

He handed it to Narissa.

"Here! It's yours!"

"Oh! Thank you!" said Narissa.

~Now now dearies,~ said a voice in their heads. ~If you want to take it that's fine but it's best you ask first!~

"...Who was that?" said Narissa.

"I... don't know..." said Apollo.

They hesitated for a few seconds before heading deeper into the cave.

---------

Upon entering the deepest part of the cave, Apollo and Narissa saw that a pool in the middle of the cavern contained the massive, sleeping form of Kyogre.

"I... I don't think we should wake her..." said Narissa.

"Well, she seemed friendly..." said Apollo uncertainly.

Kyogre's eyes snapped open.

~Humans!~ she said. ~I haven't seen humans in this spot in... well, ever! Of course me and Groudon made this crater long long ago, so maybe you just overlooked it. What brings you here, dearies?~

"Well..." said Apollo. "We... kind of lost our home."

~Oh? How?~

"The Absol Paw Tribe." said Narissa. "They're these zealots, ruffians... They took over our home, killed everyone..."

Kyogre snorted. ~Oh, them. Giratina's been telling me about them. Says they're giving him a bad name! Well if you've run afoul of those creeps you're more than welcome to stay in this crater!~

Apollo started. "We can?"

Narissa bowed profusely. "Thank you, thank you!"

~No problem, dearies. And keep ahold of that crystal! It's a very nice one. But if you see a blue orb with an Alpha symbol on it, keep it away from me! It makes me go berserk and sends my powers out of control!~

"...Noted," said Apollo.

Apollo and Narissa exited the chamber and started heading outside.

"Apollo?" said Narissa.

"Yes?"

"...Do you really think we can start a new life here?"

Apollo paused.

We've lost everything. We have barely a chance of survival even here. Who knows how it'll all turn out?

He clenched his fists.

And yet... We've both made it so far... Mabye...

He relaxed and smiled, much more naturally than any other smile in their whole ordeal.

"I think we can."

-----------

The morning after the Kyogre encounter, Apollo and Narissa were sleeping next to each other on an island in the middle of the crater, Thetis curled up beside them.

Narissa was awakened by a nudge to the face.

"Zzzz... Wha?"

She opened her eyes to see a familiar Tropius staring down at her worriedly.

"Blanca! You're OK!"

She jumped up and hugged the Tropius tightly, stirring Apollo and Thetis awake.

"Oh! Blanca!" said Apollo. "...What's she holding in her mouth?"

Narissa plucked the object from Blanca's mouth.

"It's a piece of cloth... My mother used to love weaving this pattern..."

Apollo stared at the cloth for a few seconds, his eyes widening in recognition. He hurriedly grabbed Narissa's shoulder.

"Narissa! Do you know what this could mean?"

Narissa stared back at Apollo for a few seconds before the realization hit her like a Salamence's Outrage.

"Blanca! Take us to where you got that cloth!"

Blanca bellowed as the two hopped on to her back and began to fly off, with Thetis looking on and giving a series of sad "tics" in response.

---------

Blanca soared over a mainland beach where a crowd of people had gathered, and landed amidst them. Apollo and Narissa were immediately swarmed by the overjoyed crowd, and were embraced by two women in particular.

"Mother! I thought I lost you..." said Narissa.

"We thought we lost you all!" said Apollo.

"These are all that managed to make it ashore before the storm," said Apollo's mother. "And your father..."

Everyone grew silent for several moments. Apollo forced himself to stand tall and face the others.

"We've lost many..." said Apollo, still wavering. "But Narissa and I found a place where we'll be safe from the Absol Paw Tribe and anyone else that tries to hurt us!"

"Apollo," said Narissa, frowning. "How in Rayquaza''s name are we going to get everyone to the crater?"

Apollo looked around at the various Pokemon scattered amid the humans in the crowd.

"We're going to need as many swimming and flying Pokemon as we can get."

------------

The crater was now bustling with activity, with humans and Pokemon working together to build small shelters amid the cliffs. Meanwhile, flying and surfing Pokemon carried people, smaller Pokemon, and supplies into the crater via the sky and secret entrance

"Keep it coming!" said Apollo, directing the surfers and flyers with waves of his hands.

Beside him Thetis was doing the same with her tail, letting out "tics" and coos.

Above everyone, Narissa and Blanca flew around the lip of the crater, keeping an eye on incoming Flying mons.

Then, she noticed a Flygon decorated with Absol Paw warpaint circling the crater. Her eyes widened and her gut clenched in panic at the sight. She then shook her head and barked out an order.

"Blanca, u-use Air Slash!"

The Tropius quickly fired a blade of air at the Flygon, but it dodged and flew off into the distance. Narissa cursed under her breath.

"We need to warn the others!".

She and Blanca dived into the crater below.

--------

The villagers and their Pokemon had all gathered around the crater lip and in the lake below, each group armed with makeshift weapons. Apollo and Narissa were in separate groups, but keeping an eye out for each other from a distance. All were completely silent.

Then...

"They're coming!"

A Huntail with an Absol Paw rider clinging to its back emerged from the lake below, only for them to be peppered with a volley of attacks and forced back. More Water Pokemon riders soon emerged, however, and Apollo and his allies often found themselves split between multiple opponents.

Meanwhile, Narissa and her fellow air-mounted villagers engaged flying invaders as they attacked the edge of the crater, doing their best to prevent them from landing and attacking from above if they did, as well as attacking the three ships gathered around the crater.

Narissa was in the process of knocking the rider of an Altaria off his mount when Blanca yelped and ducked a Fire Blast.

"Hehe... And you thought you escaped me last time."

A familiar man flew into view on a familiar Salamence. Narissa's stomach clenched again and her heart started racing.

"I don't think you'll escape this time," said the man, smirking.

Narrissa paled and gulped, but stayed at the ready.

The Salamence lunged at Blanca's throat with a Crunch. Blanca veered out of the way, only to get singed by another Fire Blast. Meanwhile, Narissa was trying to get a hit in with her spear to no avail, while the chieftain was getting dangerously close with each strike of his.

Down below Apollo looked up and saw the commotion, his eyes widening in shock.

This time, however, he just as quickly gritted his teeth and clenched his fists.

"Thetis! Ice Beam, now!"

Thetis looked up and shot a ray of cold into the sky.

The Salamence yowled in surprise and quickly veered out of the way of the Ice Beam.

Narissa saw the display and her expression hardened, her hands clenched around her a spear.

"Blanca, Air Slash!"

Blanca took the opportunity to send an Air Slash at his face, disorienting him and causing him to flare his wings in shock. Narissa quickly thrust her spear as hard as she could at its left wing, hearing an audible crack and seeing gushing blood.

The Salamence yowled again in agony, bucked its rider, and fell to a cliff below.

Still atop her mount, Narissa looked around at the chaos below, at her people being pushed back into a corner.

Even with the leader down they're still coming... she thought. How are we-

Then, she felt the crystal in her pocket and realized what she had to do.

"Everyone!" she shouted as loud as she could. "To the cave!"

Every villager turned tail and ran to the caves, the Absol Paw Tribe members in hot pursuit.

-------

A contingent of Absol Paw Tribe members were pushing their way through the cave, squeezing one at a time through narrow openings.

"Bah!" said one. "Damn scrawny villagers getting through this faster than we can..."

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" said another. "I think they took down the chief..."

"If so," said a third, "It's our duty to avenge him! We'll take those heretics and gut them like-"

They all stopped in their tracks upon reaching the end of the cave.

Illuminated at the end of the cave were the villagers- all sitting astride the back or riding water Pokemon beside the massive form of Kyogre.

~Excuse me?~ said Kyogre. ~You said you wanted to hurt these people?~

"We're not afraid of you, false god!" said a tribe member. "The One Beyond will overcome you!"

~False God? How dare you! You are fools if you think you've won Giratina's favor. He does not like you, and quite frankly neither do I.~

"We don't care how powerful you are. We'll take you on!"

~If you insist.~

She opened her maw and blasted the tribe members with a torrent of water, pushing them back through the cave and out the entrance.

The villagers all cheered, embracing their fellows and Pokemon in celebration.

"Thank you, Kyogre!" said Apollo, patting the massive Pokemon from astride Thetis.

"But..." said Narissa. "What if they don't leave?"

~Oh, I have a solution to that.~ said Kyogre.

--------

Storm clouds began forming over the crater, causing the Absol Paw tribe to look up in , strong wind and waves started buffeting the ships outside the crater, knocking people overboard. Thunderbolts began striking within the crater, causing tribe members and their Pokemon to scatter. A whirlpool formed within the crater lake, pulling anyone still in it under and spitting them out outside the crater.

It didn't take long for the tribe members to leave en masse.

-------

After the Absol Paw tribe had fled, Narissa, Blanca, Apollo, and Thetis emerged from the cave in the pouring rain and looked around.

Good riddance to the Absol Paw tribe, thought Narissa. Let's hope they never bother us again.

It's finally over, thought Apollo. I almost can't believe it.

He closed his eyes and felt the rain splashing down on his body, smiling.

Almost.

The two looked at each other and nodded before returning to the cave, their Pokemon following.

-----------

The next day the crater village was busy once again, this time with people and Pokemon repairing the damage from the attack and tending to the wounded and deceased. On the central island Narissa was tending to Blanca when Apollo and Thetis approached.

"Oh, Apollo! How's it going?"

"Good, good. The repairs are going smoothly!"

He looked over to one hut, where a certain Salamence with a splinted wing was eyeing Narissa warily.

"The chieftain left his Salamence behind. He's still scared of you."

"Good!," said Narissa, crossing her arms and smirking..

She then turned to Apollo with a smile on her face.

"But I heard you're becoming chieftain! Congrats!"

Apollo gulped audibly.

"Actually," he said, shifting nervously, "I was talking to the surviving elders and we agreed..."

"...Oh?"

"...That you should be chieftain."

"Huh?!"

"Look, we've stuck together through this whole thing. And you weren't the only one who was scared. I was terrified and paranoid and trying to hide it the whole time behind fake optimism. But that final battle proved you handled that fear better than I did."

"I... I..."

"I know, it's a lot, and if it's too much I can- Mmph!"

Apollo was interrupted by Narissa kissing him passionately on the lips, Thetis and Blanca giving a "Tic!" and a "Tropiiiiiii!" of approval in the background.

When Narissa broke the kiss she and Apollo stared at each other sheepishly.

"So... " said Narissa. "If I'm chieftain I have my first duty for you."

"Oh?"

Narissa gestured out to the rest of the crater.

"Name our new home."

Apollo gazed around the crater and thought. His mind thought back to its early days, belching lava and soot.

"Sootopolis."

---------

"Is the story over?"Wallace asked with a frown.

Juan smiled. "This story? Yes."

"Awww."

"What's this?" Juan asked with a tilt of his head. "I thought you didn't like the story."

"That story was so cool!" said Wallace, bouncing up and down.

"I'm glad you liked it!" said Juan, grinning.

"Wait," said Wallace, frowning. "How do we know it actually happened?"

"Funny you asked..." said Juan.

Juan pulled out an unusually shaped crystal rock that oddly resembled a rose.

"The rose!" said Wallace in amazement.

"Yep. It has been passed down through your family for generations!"

"Can I..." Wallace yawned. "Can I have it?"

Juan patted his head and smirked.

"Someday, little one. Someday. For now, appreciate the great heights your ancestors went to!"

"Will I reach great heights, Juan?"

Juan smiled wider, knowingly.

"Perhaps! But for now, you can always dream!"

Juan switched the lights off, tucking Wallace in for sleep.

--------

In the dark depths of the Cave Of Origin the sleeping Kyogre smiled.

~~~
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