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  #21  
Old 06-20-2010, 02:06 PM
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Default Chapter 20

Chapter 20: A Recess

Now that Zeke and his friends had dealt with the mafia threat, they wanted to relax for a bit before moving on. Zeke decided to pay the building that they were teleported inside a visit. Zeke and his friends had left the police station to do just that. When they made it over to the building, the very same woman who gave everyone directions to the police station was found just outside the door, folding her arms with a smile.

“So, how did everything go with the police?” asked the woman.

“Mission accomplished,” replied Zeke. “Soon, the city should be safer.”

“And no goons will follow us around anymore,” added Austin, looking to the side and folding his arms.

“And the sweet thing is, they don't know we went in there,” added Samuel. “At least not until it's too late.”

“We also found these,” added Alice, opening her bag and showing the various gemstones. “Don't worry, the sources were legitimate, unlike half of the other stuff we found in that place.”

“We found these in what used to be a buried treasure chest,” Zeke explained.

“Brandon, you can talk now,” said Austin. “But please...don't embarrass yourself.”

“Neat!” shouted Brandon.

“I think this calls for a celebration,” said the woman, smiling. “Don't you think?”

“Slumber party?” asked Brandon, smiling.

“No, not quite,” answered the woman, “but definitely a party.”

“Well, I'm all for it,” Zeke spoke. “How's it going to work?”

“I'll tell you,” she replied.

The woman went inside and told everyone that was in the building the news. She explained the celebration in detail and asked Zeke and his friends to be part of the events. The party began with music and some dancing, which Zeke was having a hard time getting used to, especially since his dance partner was Alice. At first, he blushed at the thought of dancing with a girl, seeing as he was a lucario. After some encouragement from the people, especially Alice, he agreed to dance with her. The dance that was going to be performed was similar to what one would expect in the Victorian upper-class population. The music began to play and Alice made the first move. Everyone in the building watched with amazement. They could not believe what they were seeing; Zeke was dancing with Alice. It took a while for Zeke to get used to that, but he eventually managed to get the moves right and did not blush as much after a while. Samuel, Austin, and Brandon were watching with just as much interest as the other people. As the music played on, Zeke became less bashful, and after a while, he began to enjoy himself.

After nearly ten minutes of dancing, the music ended, with applause from the audience. Afterwards, one of the cooks announced that the food was ready. It took a while for everyone to finish, but the food was delicious. Once again, Zeke had problems with using knives and forks, but so did all the other pokemon due to the shapes of their paws. The vegetable soup seemed to be enjoyed the most. There were various fruit pastries and cakes that Zeke liked very much as well. After everyone was finished, Zeke told everyone about his adventures with his friends, his past, and how he became a lucario. He also gave a brief description of the world of Pokemon. He claimed to not know everything about it, but he knew a little. He also said that he personally disdained the use of pokemon in battles. Samuel began telling everyone how he and other pokemon learned to speak English, stemming from a certain trainer who taught his charmander how to speak it. Everyone asked Zeke and the others some questions at the end, relating to personal experiences. Once the questioning was finished, everyone in the building resumed to their normal activities. Only the woman who gave Zeke directions decided to stay. Zeke and the others were now at a large round booth near the wall.

“You have our thanks, Zeke,” the woman spoke.

“It was nothing,” Zeke replied. “However, I do want to ask you one thing.”

“And what's that?” asked the woman.

“How did you set the party up so quickly?” asked Zeke.

“Let's say I had faith in you from the start,” answered the woman. “You did a really impressive job uncovering that crime center.”

“Thanks,” Zeke responded.

“I also found the fact that an animal danced with a girl to be impressive,” Quince commented. “It takes a lot of courage to dance in front of all these people, given the vast differences between you two.”

“Well, we're close enough friends, we've been through a whole lot together, and he's saved our skins many times. I thought it'd be nice to return the favor.”

“Do I detect a bit of romance here?” asked Quince, grinning.

Zeke and Alice both blushed immediately after that statement.

“Now let's not get carried away,” Zeke spoke, cringing slightly.

“Okay,” replied Quince. “So, now that you guys have the mafia under arrest, now what?”

“We look for the wizard,” Zeke simplified. “Then, we find out what's with these portals.”

“Sounds good to me,” Austin responded. “Right, Brandon?”

“Uhhh...what are we doing again?” asked Brandon, unsure.

“Not this again...” Austin complained. “You and I are going to follow Zeke, understand?”

“To where?” asked Brandon.

“To wherever the wizard lives,” replied Austin.

“Why?” asked Brandon.

“So we can go back home,” Austin responded.

“How?” asked Brandon.

“How should I know? Teleport?” replied Austin, getting a bit impatient.

“Really?” asked Brandon, oblivious to Austin's rising frustration.

“Yes, now stop with the goofy games,” ordered Austin.

“Is that the reason we should all be glad he didn't talk while we were in the mafia hideout?” asked Zeke.

“Exactly,” replied Austin. “Although he can be a pain with his whys and hows, he can't cope on his own, so I have to look after him.”

Brandon began kicking his legs against the table leg.

“Glad we cleared that up,” said Samuel. “So Zeke, when do we get started?”

“Right now if you want,” replied Zeke.

“If the rest of you don't mind,” answered Samuel.

Everyone agreed to Samuel's proposal.

Zeke got up off his seat and walked towards the front door. He opened it and walked out, with everyone else following him. Zeke saw something very familiar when he was about to walk further. A blue oval opened up before his eyes. The oval was about half the size of the building they just came out of. Zeke recognized it almost instantly.

“All right everyone, this is our cue to move on. I've managed to find a pattern with the portals now.”

“And what's that?” asked Alice, walking with Zeke towards the portal.

“It seems that every time we accomplish something major, a portal opens up,” Zeke noted. “Do you think maybe these are being summoned deliberately?”

“I won't lie to you, I think that's a possibility,” replied Alice.

“Remember everyone...no matter what happens to us, I think we're smart enough to come out okay. All right...here goes nothing,” Zeke concluded.

Zeke and his friends entered the portal. Everyone knew that the world of Pokemon was a very unlikely place for the portal to deposit them. And right they were, for behind the portal lied a place where special attention must be paid to detail. That, and how to rescue someone who would soon be in grave danger would test everyone's brainpower once again.
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  #22  
Old 06-20-2010, 02:07 PM
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Default Chapter 21

Part 4: The Test of Awareness

Chapter 21: A Beautiful Friendship

Zeke and his friends had made the city safer by robbing the criminal organization of its secrets. Zeke thought the whole idea of robbing robbers to be very interesting. But now, everyone was in another place, not too far away from the city. The portal that they entered deposited them in a forest. Zeke could see the city from here, although it looked to be about the size of a small dinner plate at arm's length.

“Well, there's the city,” Quince spoke. “Hope you enjoyed it.”

“I did,” replied Zeke. “I liked the adventure, the treasure we found, from the evidence to the buried form of it...and I also liked the dance.”

“You two deserved it,” Quince remarked.

“Usually, I'm a complete klutz when it comes to dance moves, but Alice, you helped me through that,” Zeke spoke. “Also...”

“Yes?” asked Alice.

“I've never felt the way I did towards a girl like when we were dancing,” Zeke spoke at last, blushing slightly.

“I think I understand why,” Alice responded. “My belief is...it doesn't matter what's on the outside...it's what lies inside that really matters. You're a really nice guy...you saved my life, along with the others'. You led us to victory against the mafia, the undead, and you reunited a ghost with her family. That's something you don't see every day.”

Everyone was watching with a lot of interest to see where this conversation between Zeke and Alice would lead.

“I couldn't have done those things without your help,” began Zeke. “You helped me and Samuel fight what surely would have killed us in a few seconds. I expected a girl your age to run in terror from the enemies we faced so far. Courage is very admirable in a teenage girl, especially in life and death situations. You might not know it it...but you gave me confidence when we were in danger. You saw how I panicked in the cave entrance just before I saw you. I didn't know it was you in the shadows and I thought I was going to die.”

Brandon was about to ask about the situation in the caves, but Austin silenced him.

“Your company alone gave me the courage to go through the mines. The truth is...although I seem to be a courageous hero...I'm only human-ish. I'm actually still afraid of the dark by myself. You're a great help to my plans and ideas, but on more of an emotional level. You help me cope with my fears, my worries, and my suspicions. You're the best friend a pokemon could ever have.”

Alice walked towards Zeke.

“Zeke...” Alice spoke.

“Yes?” asked Zeke.

Alice put her arms around Zeke; her head resting on his shoulder.

“You're the best friend anyone could ever have,” she answered.

Zeke blushed, but smiled as he hugged her back.

“I never thought I'd live to see the day,” Quince spoke to Austin.

“I think I agree with Alice,” replied Austin. “Doesn't matter what's on the outside; it's what's inside that's important.

Samuel made a gesture at Quince, asking him to let Samuel whisper something in his ear. Quince bent down and listened.

“Is it close friendship I'm seeing? Or is it something deeper?” asked Samuel.

“Not sure,” replied Quince. “Haven't seen this kind of relationship between a girl and an animal before.”

“Are you ready for this adventure?” Zeke asked Alice.

“Ready when you are,” she replied holding Zeke's paw.

“All right, everyone,” began Zeke. “The wizard's home should be along this road. If you find anything unusual, let me know and we'll deal with it. Also, keep a lookout for any other pokemon. We need to help them find their way home as well. Let's go.”

Zeke began to walk up the path leading away from the city. Everyone else followed him. Everyone enjoyed the environment and the atmosphere. The sky was overcast, but it did not look as if it was going to rain. Zeke didn't like the sun too much; he preferred calm, cloudy, and cool weather. Today was perfect for him and he really enjoyed it.

“Peaceful, isn't it?” asked Zeke.

“It is...” replied Alice. “Let's hope it doesn't rain.”

“I don't think it will,” added Quince. “We shouldn't get too comfy, though. I heard rumors about two hunters roaming around here.

“Are they dangerous?” asked Alice.

“Yes,” replied Quince. “Skilled with their crossbows, fast runners, and their favorite targets are exotic animals.”

“I hope they don't find us then,” added Samuel.

“I also heard that they're the unsavory type,” Quince continued.

“Then I really hope they don't find us,” Samuel responded.

“I don't want an arrow in my head, thank you,” said Austin.

Zeke caught a glimpse of something moving in the distance. It was moving very quickly.

“Hey, you see that?” asked Zeke.

“Yeah,” replied Austin. “Wonder what it is.”

Then Zeke noticed that it seemed to be moving in his direction. Zeke had very good eyesight, and was able to make out the long tail of an animal.

“Hold up...I think I know what that might be...” Zeke spoke.

“What is it?” asked Alice.

“It's a yellow-orange thingy,” replied Brandon.

“You think?” asked Austin, sarcastically.

The figure was close enough for Zeke to identify it.

“That's a Raichu,” Zeke spoke.

“A what?” asked Quince.

“That's another pokemon. Basically, a Pikachu that's all grown up,” Zeke explained.

“Wonder why it's running,” Austin noted.

The raichu continued to run until it saw Zeke and the others, then it stopped, panting.

“Huff...huff...hey...huff...I need help...huff...two mad people with crossbows are trying to kill me...huff.”

“Where are they now?” asked Zeke.

“They're not far behind,” replied the Raichu, terrified. “You've got to help me; I don't want to be skinned!”

“Don't worry, we'll help you,” Alice spoke. “Are you hurt?”

“No, thank goodness,” said the Raichu. “First, they tried to shoot me with a poisoned arrow. Next, I nearly got skewered by a spear. Then finally, they tried to throw gas bombs at me. I dodged every one of their attacks, but I'm not sure how long I can keep this up.”

“We've been through worse,” Zeke responded. “We'll get through this alive. Come with us if you want to live. Alice, keep your wand ready. Samuel, Zap the hunters if they try to get up after we knock them down. Raichu, try and pull the hunters to the ground with your tail if you can. I'll knock them out with my staff.”

“I've got my bow and knockout gas arrows ready, just in case,” added Quince.

Zeke immediately saw two figures running towards them.

“Here they come again!” shouted the Raichu.

As soon as the figures came within shooting range, the Threat Detector began to play battle music. Zeke rummaged through his bag for the Hypervelocity scroll. He opened it, placed his paw on the center, made the required movements, and fired at one of the hunters. The projectile moved so fast that it ripped through the air, much like a jet does, only quieter. It hit one of the hunters and knocked him to the ground. Everyone ran forward, with Quince readying a gas arrow. He fired and warned everyone to stand back.

“Hey, stay away from the gas everyone!” he ordered.

It took only a few seconds for the other hunter to drop to the ground, unconscious.

“Okay, let's get out of here before they wake up,” Quince advised.

“Before we do, I have an idea,” Zeke countered. He walked over to the crossbow one of the hunters was holding and crushed it with the bottom of his staff.

“Break every single weapon they're carrying, gas bombs included,” ordered Zeke.

No one had thought of this idea, but they thought it was a good one. They took everything the hunters could use as a weapon and destroyed them.

“That should take care of that problem for now,” Zeke spoke.

“You saved my life! Thanks a whole lot,” replied the Raichu. “I owe you one.”

“What's your name?” asked Zeke.

“Jacob,” answered the Raichu.

“I'm Zeke,” Zeke spoke. “Say hi to Alice, Quince, Austin, Brandon, and Samuel.”

“Hi everyone,” replied Jacob.

“We're on our way to see someone,” said Alice. “Would you like to come with us?”

“After being chased by pokemon murderers, I don't see how I could refuse,” replied Jacob. “I'll come with you.”

Zeke and his friends had just rescued a Raichu who was being chased by hunters. Why these hunters were targeting a Raichu had yet to be discovered, but everyone agreed that it was because pokemon had only recently come to this world, and these two hunters wanted the fame and fortune of being the first to hunt down a pokemon.
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  #23  
Old 06-20-2010, 02:08 PM
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Stealthy Floatzel Stealthy Floatzel is offline
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Default Chapter 22

Chapter 22: The Wizard

Zeke and his friends now have a new threat to deal with. The two hunters, according to Quince, are trying to hunt down exotic animals, which likely includes pokemon. However, the threat had been dealt with for now and it was time to move on.

“Where do you think the wizard lives?” asked Alice.

“Shouldn't be too far away from the city,” replied Zeke. “The woman back where we had the party implied that it's within walking distance. I only hope he doesn't try to kill us out of fear.”

“That's where I come in,” Quince interjected. “I know Rupert. He likes his guests, but he doesn't like the city for some reason. I know where his house is. How about I go and tell him you're coming?”

“Will he be shocked to see pokemon?” asked Samuel.

“Not when I explain things,” Quince responded.

“Quince, I think that's a great idea,” Zeke spoke. “Though, how will the rest of us find his house?”

“I'll leave markings on various objects, telling you where to go,” said Quince. “Actually, no...I've got a better idea. Do you remember the Quasi-phone?”

“I still have it,” answered Zeke. “Both parts.”

“I'll need one of them,” Quince requested.

Zeke rummaged through his bag for part of the Quasi-phone. He handed it to Quince, with Quince saying,

“This thing can work at surprisingly long distances.”

He ran off into the distance down the road. Zeke and the others began to follow him.

“I guess we follow him until he's out of sight, then take directions,” Samuel spoke.

“Right,” Zeke replied. “But still, keep an eye out for those hunters or anything else unusual. We don't have Quince for now as a marksman.”

“Why not?” asked Brandon.

“Because he's helping us get to the wizard's house,” replied Austin.

“How?”

“Giving us directions,” answered Austin.

“What directions?” asked Brandon.

Austin did a face palm, while Alice giggled.

“Were you even paying attention to Quince when he told us?” asked Austin.

“No,” replied Brandon, grinning and closing his eyes.

“After many months of questions, you'd think he'd know the answer to some of them by now,” said Austin, who was referring to Brandon.

“I know someone who acts like Brandon at school,” Zeke added.

“Wait, you go to school?” asked Jacob, curious and surprised at the same time.

“Yes, I go to school,” answered Zeke. “Pretty interesting experience, considering I'm the first pokemon to go to school.

“That makes you a one-of-a-kind Lucario,” said Jacob.

“What's it like at your school?”asked Alice.

“It's pretty interesting,” Zeke replied. “I went to three different schools; each for a different level of education. I'm on my way to graduating high school right now. I'll tell you what all three schools are like. The first one I went to was elementary school. There, you learn the alphabet, how to speak English, how to do math, basic stuff. Also, there's a lot more playtime than the other two schools. At lunchtime, we had very good food, although mine had to be prepared so that I didn't need a fork or a knife to eat it with. We'd have dessert afterwards. I had to use a fork to eat some of the desserts, but using a fork alone isn't too difficult, once you get used to it, and if you use both paws. There was always something to do for fun at the elementary school, although I hated the lyrical songs they played in class. I hate listening to people sing; it drives me insane. I had to cover my ears because my brain can only take so much baloney. Apart from that problem, elementary school was fun. I was a Riolu at that time.”

“You looked like Brandon at that time?” asked Alice.

“Yes,” Zeke replied. “Middle school was a big wake-up call for me. The stuff we learned got harder but it was still fun. There, you learn more advanced math; maybe a bit of algebra.”

“What's algebra?” asked Samuel.

“One of the most difficult languages to learn in the world of Pokemon,” Zeke replied, pressing both sides of his head with his paws and looking up. “It's not really a language, just expanding on basic math a whole lot, which then branches off into a lot more versions of algebra than I care to go into.”

“Is algebra that hard?” asked Jacob.

“It can be,” Zeke replied, “but it really depends on whether or not you can do math. For me, it was a nightmare. I kept finding illogical answers to my algebra questions. My answers got as silly as two, plus two, equals two-hundred and seventy-five.”

“You didn't actually say that, did you?” asked Austin.

“No, but I did get a number once that was over twenty digits long,” Zeke responded.

“Oooo dear,” said Austin.

“My teacher said that I think too hard and oversolve the questions,” Zeke commented. “Ooookay, back on topic. Middle school was where I met some of my now high school friends. I was still a Riolu back then. Only once, someone tried to bully me, but there's no problem that duct tape can't solve.”

“Oh, yeah, I think I remember that day,” said Jacob. “Weren't you that Pokemon that put duct tape over the bully's mouth?”

“You actually knew about that?” asked Zeke, interested.

“You'd be surprised how much I can mix in with the humans,” Jacob replied, smiling. “I also remember the jar of marbles you spilled for the bully as well. I heard a lot of laughter when that guy apparently slipped on some.”

“That was self-defense at its finest,” Zeke responded, grinning.

“Hey Zeke, you there?” asked Quince through the Quasi-phone.

“I'm here,” Zeke replied. “Where do we need to go?”

“Have you reached a fork in the road yet?” asked Quince.

“No, not yet,” answered Zeke.

“When you do, take the path on the left; it leads directly to the wizard's house,” Quince instructed.

“Okay, be right there,” Zeke responded.

“So, what's high school like?” asked Jacob.

“That's the real eye-opener,” Zeke replied. “In high school, the classes I take get a lot more advanced. Also, when you reach high-school, you need to worry about your grades. Your grades basically tell you how well you're doing in your classes. If you have an A, you're doing great, as you can't get better than an A. I'm now two years away from finishing high school. When you finish high school, or 'graduate' from it, you get to wear what's called a 'Cap and Gown', with a scroll in your hand, which is a diploma. A diploma says that you have done well enough in high school to graduate.”

“I've seen how graduation is celebrated,” added Jacob. “All people who are graduating get together to stand in front of this strange device called a 'camera'. A bright flash takes place and soon after, another flash happens as the graduates throw their hats in the air. The hats look strange, maybe because they're square.”

“Interesting shape for a hat,” Alice commented.

“That square hat is a tradition that goes back many years,” Zeke responded. “So there, now you know a bit about my school.”

“That's really interesting,” replied Alice. “Some of our schools hold graduation ceremonies like that.”

Zeke saw a fork in the road and turned left. He could just barely see a large house through the vegetation.

“Hey, Zeke...I see you now!” Quince shouted.

Zeke and the others came to a large house. Quince and another man were standing outside the entrance. The man looked to be in his late fifties. He had a long white beard, and wore a sparkling blue robe.

“You must be Zeke, the one who helped unite the living and the dead,” said the old man.

“That's me,” Zeke replied. “You must be Rupert, the one who we've been trying to find but ran into problems while trying to do so.”

“Come on in,” said the old man. “I've been waiting for all of you.”

Inside the wizard's house was a very interesting sight. The house looked elegant. Books, covering all kinds of subjects were found in a bookcase next to the stairs. Little statuettes of creatures were found on shelves that were suspended from the walls. The living room looked very comfortable, with padded chairs and a thick carpet. The wizard had a lit fireplace, which had a guard around it so that the fire would not burn the carpet. Zeke was glad that the guard was there, as he was somewhat pyrophobic.

Everyone took a seat.

“All right, Zeke, what's your situation?” asked the wizard.

Zeke was about to explain how he ended up in this world. He was about to asked what was happening with the portals and what would happen before Zeke had a chance to leave. The wizard's answer would change how everyone understood how the portals work. What the wizard was going to say next would not be taken lightly.
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Old 06-20-2010, 02:09 PM
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Stealthy Floatzel Stealthy Floatzel is offline
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Default Chapter 23

Chapter 23: A New Agenda

Zeke was about to retell the events that took place since the beginning of Zeke's adventures. He knew that everyone did not have too much time on their hands so he decided to tell an abridged version of his story.

“Okay, first I want to say that I was once a human; it's just that something happened to me in my childhood that changed by body,” he began. “It began with a trip into a forest. Nothing unusual; I do it all the time.”

The story spanned between five and ten minutes. The wizard was paying close attention to Zeke's adventures.

“Your story reminds me of my youth,” answered the wizard, with a faint smile on his face. “Your adventures sound a lot like my own. Now for my side of the story; the real reason why you've been dragged into this world.”

The wizard cleared his throat and breathed deeply. Zeke's heart began to beat a little faster in anticipation.

“You're part of an experiment...an evil one,” the wizard said at last.

“Considering what we've all gone through, I'm not surprised,” replied Samuel.

“No,” countered Rupert. “This is something much more serious than facing a few undead in a castle. It involves your world as well. Someone is planning to invade your world as we speak.”

“Why would someone want to pick trouble with the world of Pokemon?”asked Samuel, not realizing how powerful the 'invader' could be.

“He has the forces, resources, and micromanagement skills to try such a feat,” replied Rupert.

“Then we've got to thwart his plans somehow,” Zeke responded. “Little does he know that he's actually given us good practice. We managed to get through the mines, the castle, and the mafia. We can get through this guy too.”

“Just be aware that after this challenge, there's only one more before they really start to get tough,” warned Rupert.

“Challenges?” asked Alice. “Are you saying that we've been tested on our survival skills all along?”

“Precisely that,” replied Rupert. “The first five challenges are tests to see whether or not you can survive on your own...and so far, you've done well for yourselves. Right now, you're on the fourth one. When you reach the sixth one, you had better be aware of the degree of danger you'll be in. It won't just be a matter of avoiding enemies and solving puzzles anymore. When you reach the sixth challenge, you have to prove that you can survive on your own. Otherwise, you know what might happen.”

“How do you know all this info?” asked Zeke, leaning forward.

“It takes a wizard to know a wizard...that's my saying,” replied Rupert.

“The enemy you may face is a wizard like myself. What's interesting about him is that he's not your typical slave-driving, tyrannical-”

“Goon?” interrupted Austin, impulsively.

“Yes,” replied Rupert. “He actually treats his subordinates and his prisoners with respect. The problem is that he has a split-personality. He's nice on the outside, but I've actually seen him correct himself in a somewhat violent way. Banging his head on his walking stick for example.”

“He might need therapy,” Zeke remarked, turning his head to one side and smiling, amused.

Brandon started to mimic the enemy's personality problems with a few head bangs in the air, making explosive noises. Alice thought this was cute and funny and giggled. Even Austin smiled at this act, trying to contain his laughter by putting a paw over his mouth.

“Carry on,” said Zeke.

“The point is...if you want to get home alive, you have to go through him first,” replied Rupert.

“I see...well, maybe we should get going and see if we can stop this guy,” Zeke spoke.

“Not before I train each and every one of you how to use magic,” began Rupert. “If you'll stay with me for a while, I can teach you some particularly interesting spells, and remove the need for scrolls for the ones you already use...like that Hypervelocity scroll.”

Alice's eyes practically lit up with excitement.

“Really? You'll teach us?” she asked with a rather large grin on her face.

“Wait, how do you know which scrolls I use?” asked Zeke.

“How do you think I know?” asked Rupert.

Zeke looked around the room until he saw Quince.

“Quince told you, didn't he?” asked Zeke.

“Very good,” replied Rupert. “Keep thinking like that and you'll be just fine on this challenge. Don't worry about food, shelter, and security; I've got that taken care of.”

“Great,” said Jacob, smiling. “So what's first?”

“First, since all of you have been through so much recently, I'll teach you a spell which you might find useful...and interesting. It's called Transfigure. Zeke, Alice...I want you two as volunteers.”

“Okay,” Zeke responded. “If that's all right with you, Alice.”

“If this spell does what I think it does, then let's see it!” replied Alice.

“Okay you two, stand in front of each other; you have to be close to one another,” instructed Rupert. All right...now both of you stare into each other's eyes.”

Zeke and Alice did as they were told. Alice was smiling at Zeke, eager to find out what it is like to be a pokemon. Zeke on the other hand, was slightly nervous, unsure of how everything would work out. Zeke nearly always thought realistically.

“All right...Alice, take Zeke's paw and focus,” began Rupert.

Alice held Zeke's paw and closed her eyes, with Zeke doing the same. Suddenly, a soft, whirring noise began to show that the spell was working. Soon after, two white streams of energy, one from Zeke and one from Alice, traveled to each other's bodies.

“All right...you two can let go now,”

Alice opened her eyes, looked down, and was amazed at her new self. She began twisting her arms left and right and spoke,

“I never thought the day would come.”

She still had her voice, which the others found very interesting. What looked like Zeke, now had Alice's voice and spirit. Alice crossed both arms across her chest and grinned with excitement. Zeke was also fascinated by what happened to him. He now had Alice's body. He was so used to having fur that his new body felt strange not having it. Like Alice, he twisted his arms left and right. He moved his fingers and found it strange that he was not able to do it so well as a Lucario. It was so easy; maybe because of the fact that he was once a human.

Alice experimented with her new body. Stretching, spinning, rubbing her paws together, and rubbing the spikes on the backs of her paws together were some of the things she did. Eventually, Rupert decided to change them back to normal again, so he had them perform the same ritual to return them back into their original selves.

“That was really interesting,” Zeke noted. “I haven't had that kind of experience in thirteen years.”

“That was so much fun,” Alice spoke, still trying to get used to her own body. “You're so lucky, Zeke! You have fur to keep warm, and a tail too. I never had anything like that.”

“Hey, you have fingers so that you can actually hold stuff without having it slip from you,” Zeke complimented, once again being realistic.

“I wonder how I would feel as a Floatzel,” Jacob spoke, curious.

“All right, who's next?” asked Rupert.

There was a bit of an uproar over who wanted to go next, given Alice's reaction to having Zeke's body. Everyone was interested to see how it would feel to be a different pokemon. Alice of course was always eager to try out the spell again.

Zeke and his friends had just discovered their mission in this world. Apparently, a new, possibly power-hungry enemy was getting ready to invade the world of Pokemon. But that goal lost its priority somewhat, as Zeke, Alice, all the pokemon, and even Quince were having too much fun changing into each other, just to see what it would be like as another person or pokemon. The training continued into the evening, with no one being left out.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:40 PM
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Default Re: Lucario and the 10 Ordeals

Chapter 24: Mysteries of the Past

Zeke and his friends were busy training in the art of spellcasting. Most of the projectile spells, such as Hypervelocity Bolt, Contorted Blast, and some others, were practiced in a space outside of Rupert's house. All the pokémon, except Zeke, were practicing some of their pokémon-specific attacks on training dummies. Alice, Quince, and even Rupert were impressed by the pokémon attacks. The wizard looked at Jacob and said with a smile,

"I didn't know you had your own magic skills."

"It comes naturally to us," replied Jacob. "Literally. Our bodies are made to make and use them. We call them 'poké-powers.'"

"Sad thing is I don't even have those," added Zeke. "That Ditto didn't just mess with my body, it messed with the way my body works. I can't launch an Aura Sphere like Brandon can. I have two friends at school who ended up like me, only one of them is a Floatzel, and the other is a Raichu."

"Zeke, I've heard that your two friends had adventures of their own in the past, like this one," Jacob spoke.

"I know they have," Zeke responded. "I was in a few of them."

Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked directly at Zeke, interested with this new detail.

"You've had adventures like this before?" asked Alice.

"Yes," replied Zeke. "Although I'm the first one in my town to be turned into a pokémon by that Ditto, my two friends hold the record of having the most adventures. The Floatzel's name is Daniel and the Raichu's name is Simon. You should have been to some of the places we've been. Beautiful forests, magic mountains...it's amazing what these portals can take you to."

Everyone was astonished when Zeke mentioned the portals. The wizard, however, gave a look that suggested that he knew something.

"You've been to this world before?" asked Alice.

"Seems like it," answered Zeke. "The portals for each of the adventures were exactly the same."

"But what about the enemy wizard?" asked Austin. "Didn't he make these portals?"

"Allow me to explain," began Rupert.

He sat down in a rocking chair on the porch.

"First off, the wizard didn't make these portals; he simply redirected them."

"Then who made the portals?" asked Zeke, moving his head to one side while still looking at Rupert.

"I was just getting to that," replied Rupert. He stared at the sky. "There is an ancient legend surrounding the portals."

"Tell us what you know," Zeke suggested. "It may help us."

"Very well," answered Rupert. "Back when the enemy and I were students at a magic school I know, one of my teachers was an expert on mythology. His name was Dr. Nerblinngher. He studied ancient civilizations for over 60 years."

"That's impressive," Simon commented.

"He told me that at the age of 12, he had a highly unusual dream. He also said that it was a message from an ancient god."

"Everyone gets those dreams," said Alice.

"Not like the one he had," Rupert continued. "I'll show you a copy of the pages from his journal that involve the dream."

He went inside his house for a minute.

"Let's hope this guy isn't a weirdo," Austin spoke.

Brandon sat down on the ground and began to walk around upside-down, on his front paws.

"Will you cut that out, Brandon?" ordered Austin. "Driving me crazy."

Brandon sat down.

"If the wizard is showing us pages from his teacher's diary, we'd better pay attention," Zeke suggested. "I don't think his teacher was crazy."

Rupert returned with a small green book, some pictures, and a key with a portrait of him on the handle. He showed everyone the first picture. The picture contained a photo-realistic picture of a ruin. There was an entrance to a building in the distance. Pillars lined the area before the entrance. The ruins were dark, but there seemed to be an eerie dark blue glow that lit the area.

But what caught everyone's attention was the figure on the far left. An anthropomorphic jackal was next to the person who took the picture. The jackal seemed to be staring at the entrance. It seemed to be similar to the type of jackal that the ancient Egyptians worshiped, back in ancient history. No one could believe what they saw, not even Zeke. Brandon was too busy analyzing the jackal to feel any surprise, however.

"Wow...just wow," said Jacob.

"That guy looks like you," Brandon mentioned to Zeke.

"He does," added Zeke. "Was this in the dream?"

"No, what you're seeing is real," answered Rupert. "He knows a spell called 'Envision.' That spell, when used, captures a perfect image of everything within sight, then when the caster puts his finger on a blank piece of paper or such and clicks his fingers, the picture is transferred from his mind to the paper. I've kept this picture for over twenty years in a frame to protect it. The spell in its purity never lies."

Everyone except Zeke and Brandon were lost for words. Even Quince had a surprised look on his face.

"When was this taken?" asked Zeke.

"Back when he was fourteen years old," replied Rupert. "The jackal in the picture is actually an ancient god that very few people know of."

"So a kid who's younger than me was contacted by an ancient god?" asked Alice.

"Yes," Rupert responded. "And not just that, but the Jackal gave Nerblinngher an important mission to carry out."

"Which was?" asked Zeke.

"Five things," began Rupert. "One...to keep his secret identity away from the public eye."

"Secret identity?" asked Samuel. "Like a superhero?"

"No, more like a hidden messiah. A representative. Like a trusted soldier to a general," answered Rupert.

"At the age of fourteen?" asked Quince. "That's a pretty young age to be considered a holy entity."

"He was more than capable of carrying out the mission, despite his age," countered Rupert. He sat back in his rocking chair.

"Two...to learn more about the world of Pokémon," Rupert continued.

"Our world?" asked Samuel. "How would an ancient god of an ancient civilization know about a world that nobody in this world knew existed? Especially that long ago."

"Only the Jackal knew that back in the day," replied Rupert. "Just before you came to this world, there were only a few from this world that knew about the world of Pokémon. The Jackal, Nerblinngher, myself, and the Family."

"Family?" asked Zeke. "As in your family?"

"No, not my family," answered Rupert. "The Family is a nickname for a large group of people who work with the Jackal, both living and undead. The undead who are part of the Family have emotions, personalities, and a conscience."

"It's nice to hear that the living and the undead can live together in peace," Austin commented.

"You mentioned that Nerblinngher was supposed to learn about our world, right?" asked Zeke.

"Yes, I said that...why?" asked Rupert.

"Where is he now?" asked Zeke.

"He's in your world, in your house, explaining to your parents why you're not at their house," began Rupert.

"What?" asked Zeke, caught off guard. "How does he know where I live?"

"That brings us to the third part of his mission," continued Rupert. "Informing those who would notice Zeke's disappearance."

"Does the Jackal know me personally?" asked Zeke.

"Yes, in every way," answered Rupert.

Zeke stared at Rupert in alarm at first, but then he began to calm down.

"Don't worry, he thinks very highly of you," Rupert reassured. "In fact, he wants to take you and your friends under his wing."

"What? You serious?"asked Jacob, showing a surprised look that seemed to match everyone else's.

"Wait, jackals don't have wings," said Zeke.

"Your Asperger Syndrome will help you in your mission to stop the enemy wizard," Rupert responded. "You just have to learn more figures of speech."

"How do you know about...ah...I see," replied Zeke, finally understanding why Rupert knew about Zeke's disorder.

"Wait, Zeke has what?" asked Austin.

"I'll explain later," answered Zeke. "Continue, Rupert."

"Zeke, the Jackal's real name is Revesto," began Rupert. "He provides us with information he feels we need to know, including your disorder."

"So we can safely assume that Revesto knows all?" asked Zeke.

"Correct," replied Rupert. "Even the Ditto that turned you into a Riolu at age three."

"Don't tell me the Ditto was part of his divine plan as well," said Samuel.

"As frightening as it may sound...yes," answered Rupert.

The moment he spoke that sentence, there came a pause in the conversation. No one could believe what Rupert had just revealed to Zeke and his friends.

"So that means my friends from school are also involved with Revesto in some way?" asked Zeke.

"That is correct," replied Rupert. "However, their missions are not as significant as yours. The safety of the world of Pokémon lies in your paws, Zeke. Revesto has hand-picked you to save the world."

After a moment of silence, Zeke spoke,

"I am honored."

"Hey, look at that cloud," said Brandon.

Everyone looked up and were amazed to see a cloud in the shape of Revesto's head and neck. When everyone saw it, the Jackal smiled. The cloud then began to disappear.

Words could not describe how Zeke and his friends felt when they saw Revesto's image in the sky.

There came a long silence. Emotions rushed through everyone's minds, but one remained the most prominent, pride. Just as Zeke was about ready to continue the discussion, a ray of blue light shone on the ground behind everyone. After a few moments, a figure began to appear.

"It's Revesto..." said Alice, amazed. "In the flesh!"

Everyone stared in awe at the six-foot Jackal. He was in many ways similar to the ancient Egyptian kind of jackal. He had dark blue eyes and ears that pointed the same way Zeke's ears did. He was wearing something like a pair of vibrantly blue shorts, only the shorts seemed to extend to the area near his feet, which were similar to those of a real jackal. The shorts seemed to shine in the sunlight. Revesto was also wearing a golden belt, a pair of jeweled bracelets, a strange blue head-cloth that covered both sides and the back of his head, held together at the forehead with a band made of gold. The silver staff he carried had an ankh shape at the top, a twisting pattern from just beneath the ankh to the bottom of the staff, a sapphire in the middle of the ankh with emeralds at the bottom of it, and green, blue, and silver stripes that coiled upwards around the staff. It was a beautiful sight.

Revesto began to walk slowly towards Zeke. Everyone stepped backwards so that the Jackal could have some space. Zeke looked up at Revesto.

"You must be Zeke," began the Jackal.

He had a soft, relaxed voice. Zeke could not tell whether it was an adult voice or a teenage voice.

"I am," Zeke replied. "You must be Revesto."

"How do you do?" asked Revesto.

"I'm doing all right," answered Zeke. "And you?"

"Couldn't be better," Revesto spoke, smiling. "Now that I have you and your friends to help me."

"Defeat the wizard, you mean?" asked Zeke.

"And promise to keep my existence a secret?" asked Revesto.

"Your secret is safe," answered Zeke.

"Good," said Revesto. "I know all of you can keep a secret...if you couldn't, then you wouldn't know I exist right now."

"Pardon me for asking, but what's the purpose of this visit?" asked Zeke.

"I came to give you three things," began Revesto. "Let me start with this staff."

He held the staff on its side and presented it to Zeke.

"Are you sure I can have it?" asked Zeke, wanting permission.

"It's a gift for you," answered Revesto. "For saving Alice."

"I appreciate the gift," Zeke responded, taking the staff. The staff was perfect in terms of weight for Zeke. It had Zeke's two favorite colors on the design, green and blue. He felt a pleasantly warm, tingling sensation run through his body when he touched the staff.

"And you're welcome...Alice helped me out too when I was in trouble."

"I didn't know you had such a strong interest in me, Revesto," Alice spoke, smiling. "Thanks for the concern. Zeke and I have become very fond of each other in the time we've spent together."

"I had to worry about you in the mines, all alone," Revesto responded. "You're a direct descendant of me after all."

Alice looked up at the Jackal with an honest, serious look on her face and asked,

"Really? Me? A descendant?"

"You are my granddaughter, with an unbelievable number of greats," replied Revesto.

"Wow..." said Alice, feeling special inside. "What are the chances? I couldn't see myself having royal relatives, let alone divine ones."

"Feels kinda weird, doesn't it?" asked Revesto.

"Now that you mention it," Alice responded. "So this means I'm not human anymore?"

"Nope," answered Revesto. "You never were. Neither was your mother. You're both part canine. Remember when you went to the hospital for an injury and the nurse could not find a blood type that matched yours?"

"Back when I was twelve?" asked Alice. "Yes, I remember that."

"You still have jackal in your blood," replied Revesto, smiling. "Same as mine in fact. You also have my desire to learn, especially in the field of magic."

"So this makes Alice a living legend," Quince spoke.

"But she will remain a human to the public eye," Revesto responded.

"Got it," everyone spoke, simultaneously.

"Moving on...what's the next item?" asked Zeke.

"Your poké-powers," replied Revesto. "Every Lucario has them. Now, it's time you received yours."

"Thank you," Zeke responded, smiling.

"Alice, as my descendant, and Quince, as an honored guest, how would you two like to have poké-powers of your own?"

"That would be nice," answered Quince with a grin.

"I'd love that!" replied Alice, excited.

"Okay, you three," began Revesto. "Choose your pokémon."

"Lucario," said Zeke.

"Lucario," Alice spoke.

"Buizel," said Quince.

"All right," answered Revesto. "Alice, hold Zeke's paws. Quince, you stand close but not right next to them."

Zeke, Alice, and Quince did as they were told.

"Ready, you three?" asked Revesto.

"Fire away," Quince signaled.

Revesto raised his arms. Zeke, Alice, and Quince rose into the air a few feet. Then he folded his arms across his chest, like a mummy in a sarcophagus, and focused. Then, blue, misty energy began to rise from the ground and envelop the three. Soon after, green and blue sparkles began to float around them. When enough sparkles gathered around them, the sparkles began to spin around them. Those who didn't participate in the ritual watched in amazement at what was happening. Zeke, Alice, and Quince absorbed the sparkles into their body, then they began to glow their colors. The glowing continued to grow brighter until a certain point. Then the sparkles exploded outwards, onto the ground. The glowing faded and the mist began to disappear until they were no longer visible.

Zeke, Alice, and Quince, waited for the Jackal to give the word.

"Okay, you now have all the poké-powers of the pokémon you chose," Revesto concluded. "You just have to learn them."

Zeke turned to face a training dummy and focused. He then created a ball of blue energy and launched it at the dummy. It exploded, confirming that the ritual was a success.

"That's called an Aura Sphere," he spoke. "Alice, you try."

Alice followed the same procedure, made a ball of energy, and hurled it at the exact same dummy. She grinned when it exploded.

"All right, let me try," said Quince.

Quince breathed in and shot a powerful jet of water out of his mouth. The water hit a different training dummy.

"Hmm..." he muttered. "Very interesting. I might just sell these water bombs I use to douse torches."

"Thank you so much," Zeke spoke, feeling happy and complete.

"If anyone asks...you learned them in an adventure...nothing more," Revesto replied.

"We understand," said Alice.

"And last but not least, the third gift," began Revesto. "Enhanced memory."

He walked around and put his hand on everyone's head, making his hand glow blue each time.

"So you don't forget everything I've told you," Revesto continued. "Memory is useful on so many levels, so I'm giving you the power to remember or forget whatever you like. Have fun in your dreams."

He turned to Zeke.

"Remember...the wizard is out there. I can't damage his plans for the world of Pokémon directly," he said, looking a bit more serious. "That would put my secrecy in danger. If he can redirect my portals, even just a bit, he's no ordinary wizard. I've kept your whereabouts hidden from him, so he can't pull any kind of magic trick on you, apart from the ones already set. When the time comes to face the wizard, don't let him know you're there. He never saw you coming and never will, if you listen to my advice. Well, I'm off now to take care of other matters."

"Thank you, Revesto...for everything," Alice spoke.

"You are all a great team," replied Revesto. "Zeke...thanks again for rescuing Alice."

"Any time," Zeke responded.

A beam of light began to shine on Revesto. He began to fade.

"I'll see you in the ninth challenge," he spoke. "When the guards see you, they'll want your identification. Raise the staff I gave you and they'll understand. When you defeat the wizard, there is something special waiting for you at the end."

"Got it," answered Zeke.

"Rupert will tell you what you need to know on this challenge," continued Revesto, as the glittering from the beam became more intense. "In the meantime, I want to wish all of you, the very best...of luck. Goodbye."

Revesto vanished into the air, along with the beam of light.

No one spoke for five minutes. They were still somewhat confused after what happened, but both proud and amazed after talking to a god and receiving his blessings. Then Brandon stood up and asked,

"What was the fourth thing Nerblinngher had to do?"

"I'm glad you asked," answered Rupert. "Nerblinngher's fourth goal was to monitor access to and from this world and the world of Pokémon."

"Sounds simple," Zeke commented.

"And his last objective...to help all of you reach the Ruins of Kaladorn," Rupert finished.

"Where's that?" asked Austin.

"That's where you'll end up when you take the exit portal from the eighth challenge. You'll be right outside the ruins on the picture."

"That's really interesting," Alice commented. "So where do we meet Nerblinngher?"

"During the fifth challenge," answered Rupert. "It's the same guy as the one that Samuel heard was turned into a Ninetales."

"That guy?" asked Samuel. "But he's over sixty years old! Last week, he looked twenty!"

"He was given immortality," corrected Rupert. "His body never aged past twenty-three years. Never will."

"So we have a Ninetales to look out for," Zeke spoke.

"What's a Ninetales?" asked Alice.

"Basically, a fox with nine tails, cream-colored fur, and red eyes," answered Zeke.

"If you see him, don't pull any of his tails," Austin warned.

"Why not?" asked Alice.

"They leave a thousand-year curse on whoever pulls them," Austin explained.

"Sounds scary," Alice responded. "Want to practice, Zeke? Try out our new poké-powers?"

"Sure, why not?" said Zeke in agreement.

Zeke and his friends have had their lives changed completely in a span of less than one hour. They all had poké-powers at their disposal, their memories were more accurate and detailed, and they had all been contacted by a jackal god who is in fact one of Alice's ancient ancestors. Piles upon piles of questions built up in Zeke's head; the same happening for everyone else. They would all be answered in time, but now Zeke wanted to test his new abilities and his new holy staff.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: Lucario and the 10 Ordeals

Chapter 25: Zeke's Disorder

Zeke and his friends had a lot to think about that day. What started as a chance meeting in a haunted mine had turned into a mission to save Zeke's world from an invisible threat. So far, the nature of the threat was unknown, but Zeke was beginning to think that there was more to it than just an invasion.

While at the dining room table for lunch the next day, Zeke was discussing his experiences in his dreams with Alice and Quince. Samuel, Jacob, Austin, and Brandon were talking about their own experiences in this mysterious world.

“So I went through this double door and went into a massive room,” Zeke continued. “Then I saw a body on the ground, about ten feet away from me.”

“You didn't go near it, did you?” asked Alice.

“I'm not stupid,” answered Zeke. “As soon as I went through the door, I started to hear these thumping noises, sounded a little bit like someone banging on a door.”

“Did the body do anything?” asked Quince, his head resting on his fist.

“No,” Zeke responded. “It just lied there...doubt it was really dead, though.”

Meanwhile, Jacob was about to briefly tell his experiences from where he ended up in this world.

“Well, I was in the forest, searching for my favorite kind of berries, when I saw this weird blue shape open up in the distance. I decided to take a look inside, thinking it was a portal, and I ended up in another forest. It wasn't long until I ran into those horrible hunters. As soon as they saw me, they scrambled to get their weapons. Then that started the long chase. That was when I ran into you guys. Those hunters have a lot of stamina to run as fast as I did for that long.”

“I don't think we've seen the last of them yet,” Austin warned. “But you're not alone. We were hunted by a big mafia in the city we just came out of. Zeke's a really smart guy. We found enough evidence to prove them guilty of all kinds of stuff.”

“We even sneaked into their base of operations and took both their wealth and their secrecy, right from under their noses,” added Samuel.

“Wait, isn't that stealing?” asked Jacob, puzzled.

“We checked the source of the treasure we took,” answered Austin. “It was buried treasure. As for the evidence, all we had to do was show enough of it to the police and they swarmed the place.”

“Glad all that got sorted out,” Samuel commented. Austin began to giggle.

“What's so funny?” asked Samuel.

“Hn hn hn, I can just imagine a thug sleeping in a dark room, and a guard decides to be mean. He creeps into the room and lights it up. Then when the thug wakes up, the guard shouts, 'you're under arrest!'”

Austin put his paws together in a way that signaled sleep and closed his eyes. Then he opened his eyes wide and looked to the corners of them. He did this with a smile that made him look as if he was going to laugh, while at the same time, trying to exaggerate a frown. He then uttered what sounded like,

“Ooh hoo!” Everyone involved with the conversation laughed at this performance.

“Zeke, you have some interesting dreams,” Quince commented. “Mine aren't nearly as vivid as yours.”

Austin muttered something in Samuel's ear. Then Samuel spoke up,

“Hey Zeke...what was that As-perr-jers or whatever it's called? Rupert said you had it.”

“Well...since we've got some time to spare, I might as well tell you about it,” answered Zeke.

“I've never heard of it,” said Quince. “This'll be interesting. What is it, Zeke?”

“It's a disorder,” Zeke replied.

“Is it serious?” asked Alice.

“Depends on how you look at it,” Zeke responded.

“What does it do?” asked Austin.

“Basically, it causes people to have major problems with socializing, along with some other things,” answered Zeke.

“You've been doing great with socializing,” countered Alice. “I didn't see any problems from you.”

“That's because I learned how to,” Zeke replied. “Sometimes, people with Asperger's Syndrome have to learn things that others would normally pick up. As a Riolu, I used to have some serious problems with figures of speech. I didn't know what some meant.”

“And that caused problems for you?” asked Jacob.

“Here and there, but most of the time it wasn't anything serious,” Zeke responded. “One that I had a really hard time figuring out was the word 'jackpot'. I mean at the time, when I heard someone say that, I was like 'well who's Jack? And why is he in a pot?'”

“I can see how that would confuse you,” Alice spoke.

“I didn't really have any serious problems with that...until I laid eyes on my first poem,” said Zeke, looking up with his eyes and jokingly making a frown.

“Uh oh,” Samuel giggled.

“My first thought when I read the first verse was 'someone's messed up in the head...there are mistakes everywhere,'” Zeke continued. “Black cloud of doom? I could understand if a tornado was coming, but why is there a cloud of doom to begin with? As if we didn't have enough things to doom us, back in the day.”

“Oh boy...life must be...interesting for you, Zeke,” Quince commented, shaking his head and smiling.

“I think the worst day for that was on my 7th birthday,” Zeke began. “Back at my elementary school, there was an annual contest to see who knew the most in school. I was the winner about...eighty percent of the time. It was called the 'Smartypants competition.' The finals took place at another school, so only a few people knew me. However, everyone was talking about me, and being the first pokémon to attend school, it was an interesting experience. We were on the school stage, answering a bunch of literature questions. I was doing very well with the grammar and spelling, when I was handed a poem.”

“I bet that was fun,” Austin remarked, sarcastically.

Zeke began to smile.

“The whole thing was caught on video, and I happen to still have a copy of it at home.”

“Video?” asked Alice. “Is this another gadget from your world?”

“Video is like using the Envision spell sixty times a second. Technology is quite advanced in our world,” Zeke clarified. “Anyway, I was up on stage, in front of about 200, maybe 250 people...when I got this poem. I was asked to point out all the mistakes in it...and you can guess what happened.”

“You corrected the wrong things, didn't you?” asked Quince.

“No, I got all the spelling and grammar and other things, but the audience got quite a few laughs when they saw me correcting the poem's figurative language. I was saying things like 'well first off, you can't embrace darkness. Darkness isn't a physical object, and flowers can't dance because they don't even have a brain to learn how to dance.' Then I got up on stage and started moon-walking, saying 'you don't see daisies or daffodils doing this across the road, do you?”

Meanwhile, Austin's group couldn't stop laughing. Alice was giggling as well.

“I knew some figures of speech back then, but only some,” Zeke continued. “I have a slight problem with them today, but I know just about all the commonly used ones.”

“Moon-walking is a slang term from the human society, referring to a certain kind of dance where you slide your feet across the floor, making it look like you're moving so smoothly, it looks like you're floating or using a conveyor belt,” Rupert explained.

“Alice, please don't try that with your robe on,” Zeke warned, but jokingly at the same time. “For one thing, you'll trip and fall. That kind of dance takes a lot of practice.”

“So is there anything about Asperger's besides what you described already?” asked Alice.

“Well, there's the sensory problems and fixations on things. That's just the tip of the iceberg, but that's all I will talk about for now,” Zeke answered.

“Sensory problems?” asked Jacob. “Doesn't every pokémon have a weakness to something?”

“Not like I do,” countered Zeke. “You should never ever touch me with fire. Being a Lucario, I already have a natural weakness to fire. Add the way my brain handles fire on top of that, and it's the most painful thing in the world. It's like putting salt, vinegar, and acid in an open wound.”

“Eww,” said Austin, cringing. “Okay, we get it. Don't touch Zeke with fire. Can we move on?”

“Okay,” Zeke responded. “As for the fixations, sometimes we get absolutely obsessed with a favorite object, or subject. I have this really intense interest with architecture and interior design. I have this secret bathroom in my house that can be only be reached by pulling a specific book from one of the bookcases in my room. That leads to a very extravagant bathroom that I designed with my own computer, yet another gadget from my world. During my adventures in the past, I always collected rare and valuable objects from haunted houses and abandoned places...things like that. Anything from gemstones, like some of us remember, to relics, to valuables like candlesticks, goblets, and even a crown one time.

Well, when I got home after the adventures, I'd give the items to mom, she would take them to a professional to find out how much they're worth, and she would sell them to collectors and the like. Well, we had enough money, and one day, I decided to design my own secret room. I got on my computer and used it to create blueprints for my bathroom. The whole project took a couple months for the builders to construct, but once it was done, I could call it the envy of my schoolmates. I showed a few of my friends my secret bathroom and they almost fainted because they never expected anything like this. News went around quite quickly in school and then people started to get into architecture for some reason. I didn't let people take pictures of my bathroom because I wanted the bathroom to be a surprise.”

“High risk and high reward, I guess,” Jacob commented.

“I've made a number of small changes to it since,” continued Zeke. “But it still looks the same. Since I love the sound of running water, I had a number of fountains put into the bathroom, big and small, as well as a complex system of running water. My bathroom is so relaxing, I almost fell asleep in the jacuzzi a few times. A jacuzzi is like a bathtub, but different in a number of ways, one being that it's made for more than one person. Of course, you don't take your clothes off in the jacuzzi. I also had a sound and speaker system cleverly installed to give a more relaxing feel. I've actually been thinking of a career in architecture and design and all that, but I'll wait until I'm older.”

“Looks like you have a bright future ahead of you,” Alice complimented. “When this whole ordeal is done and over with...I might join you in the jacuzzi. We can talk about our pasts...and our future. Your secret room sounds like a wonderful place.”

“Maybe someday,” Zeke responded. “All that will depend on if we survive this or not. For now, let's enjoy ourselves. This is our moment of peace in the events to come...might as well make the most of it.”

After that conversation, everyone suddenly felt different about themselves. The mission now meant something more than stopping a wizard bent on invading the world of pokémon. Now, it was like a story. A story about learning from their experiences. Everyone couldn't help but think of the saying that wisdom came with age and began to doubt it. Wisdom to them came with experience. Everyone was in a close-knit group now that would need each other in the future, when more perilous challenges would arrive. They needed each other, not just for the practical skills everyone possessed, but also for a feeling of unity no one could easily grasp.
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