• Welcome to The Cave of Dragonflies forums, where the smallest bugs live alongside the strongest dragons.

    Guests are not able to post messages or even read certain areas of the forums. Now, that's boring, don't you think? Registration, on the other hand, is simple, completely free of charge, and does not require you to give out any personal information at all. As soon as you register, you can take part in some of the happy fun things at the forums such as posting messages, voting in polls, sending private messages to people and being told that this is where we drink tea and eat cod.

    Of course I'm not forcing you to do anything if you don't want to, but seriously, what have you got to lose? Five seconds of your life?

Frontier Town Drungfield's Remedies

"Scriven," Astrid echoed. "Rings a bell. Was gonna head down there to see about a job, but there was enough demand in Frontier Town for now. Not trying to make too many commitments when so much is... confusing still.

"Used to know a girl who you really remind me of some years back. She'd have all these tonics scattered around her space in no obvious pattern, but she knew where everything was and what it did, even if it was some new mixture she'd just come up with. She just loved to try new things and really cared about keeping people alive... even worked under an eccentric GP too. A real good friend..."

The Vulpix chuckle-sighed. "Sorry. Just in a rambly mood today. You know what the craziest thing is? Some of the newcomers--" they really needed a name for themselves, huh, "--have actually been to other universes. Where I'm from, there's nothing like that. So I'm still processing it, and I guess... trying to look for parallels to home. Or... mm, what was once home. All seems like a dream."

She stared into Ghaspius's eyes with an unspoken invitation--the gentle weight of curiosity. It seemed Astrid was an explorer in more ways than one.
Ghaspius's eyes widened at Astrid's story. "What was her name?" He asked, intrigued by someone who he might've shared a kinship with. He opened his mouth to speak again, but then chuckled. "Sorry, guess that's not really a good question. Chances of seeing her would be slim pickings 'round here."

He cleared his throat. "Really, though? But didn't the Voice say we'd..." His brows furrowed as some of his hair strands crossed one another in contemplation. "Well, can't say there's anything like that where I'm from, either. Unless you wanna believe the theory that humans disappeared 'cause they flew off into space."

He dismissed the musing and then tilted his head. "Even we're here for awhile, your home's still your home, ain't it? If you consider it as such, I mean. Like home for me's back at the shop, or with my sis." He scratched his check with at tassel. "Having memory troubles? It ain't been that long since we got called."
"Her name was Ashley," Astrid said with a tiny smile, eyes to the floor. "She's dead."

Eager not to let a heavy silence dominate the room, she kept her mouth running. "But um. I dunno. My memory's been... fine, I think, but y'know, I've been having these dreams. Like I'm living a whole lifetime in a single night's rest, and then I wake up and I can't remember much of anything. I've always gotten those, but I thought maybe in a new body they'd go away. Guess not."

She had forgotten what her point was. "...Soo. You had--sorry, you have a sister? Mind telling me about her?"
Ghaspius's expression soured as the conversation turned dour. He closed his eyes in respectful condolence for a moment as he listened to the rest of Astrid's continued speech.

"Might be somethin' to ask Drungfield herself about if it's stressful," he advised with a slight somberness to his voice. "Dreams aren't my expertise, but maybe there's a medicine that could help ya out. Make it not be so much of a weight."

Once Astrid asked her question, he opened gently opened his eyes and proceeded to do a mid-air front flip. He had to readjust his ectoplasm of a brain after all. "Sure do! Luxray Roya," he said as a proud smile etched onto his face. "Found her abandoned out on the streets one day when she was just a lil' lass. And Fearow of a feather gotta stick together, you know?"

A nostalgic chuckle escaped his lips. "She's gotten way ahead of me though in both toughness and smarts. Gal's even made it in with the Association. Big ol' organization 'bout studying whatever's left of mankind. A teen gettin' in as a researcher's unheard of." Yet despite the point of pride, his face fell slightly as he bit his lip anxiously.
Astrid felt a spike of guilt at first; had she made Ghaspius feel uncomfortable? But soon enough it seemed clear that the silence was borne out of respect. Her appreciation was evident on her face.

And Fearow of a feather gotta stick together, you know?

"Mm," Astrid hummed, deep in thought. "Maybe... that's true here too. For all of us, but als--did you say mankind?"

She blinked. "Huh. So, one of my old mentors was a big history nerd and we'd talk at length about mythology! She had these 'human' artifacts in her office collecting dust for a little while." Then a shrug, though its nonchalance couldn't betray the deeply genuine nostalgia building in her eyes and voice. "We didn't have any organizations pouring resources into that stuff, even back when it might've been viable. Was kinda our own little nutcase niche, ahaha."

Instinct briefly pulled her to comfort this fellow. Ghaspius had no limbs, so his body language was limited to his floating and his local facial expressions, and Astrid couldn't help but assume things she had no facts on about his sister that she'd never met. But she didn't want to be rude, and something else was on her mind anyway.

"Speaking of that, uhm," she said a little lamely, checking the door for any possible eavesdroppers. "I'm not human myself. Feels weird clarifying that, but it's... sensitive here. And a lot of us are, y'know... anyway, you don't have to tell me if you are one or not. Just, if you are, it's good to keep each other safe in a place like this. Fearow of a feather, right?"
Ghaspius let out a chuckle. Though it didn't have as much energy as when the conversation started, it was more sincere. "You'd get one big ol' a tongue-lashing if you called peeps like that nutcases. 'Specially when they helped reproduce lots of the stuff we started using all around Crason."

His eyes followed Astrid's gaze as he let out a curious hum. Doc wasn't in the house, thankfully. He looked back over to Astrid and shrugged. "I know we got a few among us, but I ain't got much of an idea what'd signal that or not. Can't say I've ever met one myself before all this. Rather just assume 'mon 'til proven otherwise myself." He scratched his cheek with a tassel. "Sensitive though, huh? I'll keep that in mind. I remember a few that landed in Scriven were— well, we're all in this together now."

He smiled. "Let's meet up again sometime and see what we can do 'bout this gala thing. Hopin' we can at least persaude that cool cat to not get smoked, yeah?"

He held out a tassel for a bump. "Fearow of a feather."

Ch03: Venomous Hangovers
It was well past any reasonable 'mon's waking hours. Then again, being jostled awake to be attacked by a frenzied shadow was anything but reasonable. The battle had left everyone exhausted and if anyone hadn't passed out by then, then being gently carried away by the maus to the sound of the pitter-patter of their paws and their tiny squeaks would almost certainly do the trick.

Those who managed to jostle themselves awake found themselves in Drungfield's Remedies, as promised, though it was impossible to tell how much time had passed between the battle and now. The maus were long gone at this point, likely doing their best to tidy up the mess left behind.

From another room, they could hear Bellatrix's quiet, muffled voice. While it was impossible to tell what she was saying, it was quite obvious that she was speaking to someone, most likely Drungfield. It also sounded like a rather long conversation, meaning that there was a bit of time to discuss among themselves in order to understand what happened. Or just for the sake of entertaining themselves if they so desired, of course.
Steven's eye fluttered open and he gave a hollow groan. His whole body ached, especially his left side which tingled and burned with a thousand pins and needles. It felt like he'd gotten into a fistfight with Groudon and lost.

His eye drifted partway shut as he mused at the ridiculous analogy. No, not a Groudon. A...? Why did his brain keep landing on 'skorupi'?

Squinting, he wracked his memory. The Haus, his room, a pokemon, a shadow pokemon?! The others--?! Finally, his mind caught up to the present, and he jolted where he lay, earning another groan as his side flared in discomfort.

Not a skorupi. A drapion. A drapion that was... nowhere to be seen? In his frenzied attempt to find the shadow pokemon, Steven realized he wasn't at the Haus any more. For one, things were warmer, brighter, and he was laying on something notably softer than floorboards.

He rolled his head, trying to get a better view of his surroundings, but found it hard to move much more than that. Was it over? Were they safe? First things first, though...

"Where... where am I?"
The sound of nearby voices roused Kimiko from her slumber. Something external rather than a nightmare for once, which was a nice change, although honestly she still would have preferred the sleep. She still felt like she'd been gut-punched by a cactus and then forcibly drowned in venom for good measure.

It was dark, wherever she was. Though she kept her eyes closed, she noticed a spot of orange, probably a candle or a lamp. Had she been out for an entire day? Longer? There was no way this was the same night, was it? Only having gotten an hour of sleep would account for her exhaustion, but she probably would have felt the same at least for the following night...

She attempted to roll over, hoping to find a new comfortable position and drift back to sleep. Instead, the motion aggravated a sting in her side, causing an involuntary wince and accompanying startled "Ah!" that came with it. Her vine reached out for the spot to find it covered... some sort of bandage, maybe? She couldn't tell by feel alone. Either way, that was still a problem. The pain had dulled somewhat noticeably, at least, but she probably wasn't shifting positions any time soon.

"Where... where am I?"

Another, somewhat closer voice spoke up as she settled back down, indicating that she wasn't alone. She opened one eye halfway. She couldn't see enough of her surroundings to identify her unfamiliar location, but spotting the beldum from the hallway at least provided a reasonable guess. (As if anyone would have just dumped her back in her own room as she bled all over the bed. The Maus certainly would have appreciated cleaning that.)

"You alive over there?" she asked, her voice low and flat to avoid disturbing the rest of the squad, who she assumed were probably nearby. "Good."
All things considered, Archie’d gotten off pretty light. A few cuts and punctures, bruised ribs, probable concussion. It hurt, a lot, but not like how the others hurt. Especially the ones who’d been poisoned. Especially Steven. Would the Beldum ever be able to recover fully from an injury like that? A whole chunk of him was missing! Unlike some of the others, the Oshawott had managed to walk to the infirmary mostly under his own power. Not fully, he’d stumbled here and there, and he’d needed help down the stairs, but he’d managed it.

For a while, he’d sat awake on his cot, his scalchop sitting next to him – a Maus had been kind enough to return it to him before they’d left – his coat sitting in his lap, as he idly fingered at one of the holes in the back left by the Drapion’s pins. His back had a matching hole, now bandaged, for each. He’d have to repair the jacket, thankfully Spencer had taught him some of the basics of mending. Once he’d gotten back to his room in the Haus, it shouldn’t take too long. But, that wouldn’t come until later. He was being kept for observation same as the others. Eventually, he’d slumped over and nodded off in his seated position.

The Oshawott’s sleep wasn’t particularly deep or restful, and he was eventually roused by the sound of voices. He straightened, reactivating dulled nerves and sending a jolt of pain up his torso. He gasped, and the sharp intake of breath came with a second stabbing of pain. This time he bit down on his tongue before the cycle could repeat, reminding himself to breathe lightly and gently. He took a few practice breaths, before speaking.

“Who’s awake?” Archie asked, softly, “Are you guys okay?”
"You alive over there?"
A voice! Steven tried to look where it had come from, but the speaker was just out of his field of vision. A smudge of green was all he could make out.

"Well, I'm still a beldum, so unless this has all been an elaborate dream, yes, I suppose I am."

He waggled his claws just to be sure. Only slightly stiff and achy. Barely jittery at all. Yup, he was alive.

“Who’s awake? Are you guys okay?”
This time Steven could see who had spoken. The oshawott from the Haus. Thankfully, he looked relatively unharmed. Steven sagged in relief, only to tense up again (earning him a wince) as he realized that the only reason the oshawott was here was because of him.

A mixture of gratitude and guilt welled up in his chest.

"I'm sorry," he began, "you risked yourselves to come to my rescue and I don't even know your name."
Last edited:
Wes had stubbornly refused assistance from the Maus on their way to Drungfield’s. He was still standing, after all, and he was fine. Nothing a few choice berries couldn’t fix, or whatever.

So when he found himself blinking awake in a warm, quiet medical bay, resting in what seemed to be a cot or bed, he first felt a flash of panic. Where, how—

Then he recognized the whispered tones of Bellatrix and Drungfield, the shapes of his teammates on beds around him came into focus, and he inwardly cursed. He must have collapsed on the way here. Dammit.

You should not have been summoned. The words burned fresh in his mind. Now that he knew this was a side effect of Shadow exposure, he could dismiss it a bit more easily, but it was still…unsettling. Something told him there had to be a real person behind the voice on the other end, but he didn’t much like that thought. Maybe it really was just a weird hallucination brought on by…Shadow poisoning? Or something?

He decided he’d worry about that later. There were more pressing things at the moment, like making sure nobody had up and died on them since the fight. A glance around told him that at least some of the others were awake and well enough to speak. Wes recognized Steven, Archie and Kimiko among the voices. That was a relief, especially considering how worse for wear they’d all looked back at the Haus. He felt a tinge of worry about the absence of the others’ voices, including the kid. But surely Bellatrix wouldn’t sound as calm as she did if anybody was on death’s door or beyond it…right?

Wes was too agitated at the thought to sit still. He made an effort to roll over and raise his head, but he didn’t get very far before a twang of pain sliced through his head and shoulder, and his side burned. He flinched and hissed involuntarily at the discomfort. “Shit!”

Maybe not the most eloquent of responses to Archie’s question. He couldn’t really bring himself to care at the moment, though.
Last edited:
Odette had made it pretty far considering her injuries. She'd insisted that the maus didn't need to help her. However, when she caught an accidental glance at one of the pins sticking out of Jawile, she ended up on the ground from the weight of her own phobia-triggered nausea. She was shaking too badly to tell the maus to leave her alone as they carried her the rest of the way.

She honestly wished she passed out. At least she wouldn't have been awake for all those pins to be pulled out. Deep down, she knew it was necessary, but that didn't stop her from involuntarily bursting into tears when the one treating her came at her with a pair of tweezers. She did get some light sedation after that, but for fucks sake, it'd have been nice to just skip straight to waking up with no pins sticking out of her.

All she could say was thank the gods that she was in her own room for that ordeal. Nobody needed to see her in such a state. It was bad enough that she was certain her sobs could be heard for miles, and might have been loud enough to attract that drapion's friends. Wouldn't that have been great?

But, at least she was alive. And by the sounds of it, everyone was going to be okay. No casualties.

No casualties.

But Beelzebub was certainly around to remind them how lucky they were.

She woke with a start, sweat building on her brow. She was sore. She was covered in more bandages than she had been the first time she encountered that stupid fucking bug. And she had a longer, much more potent warning ringing in her ears.

With a shaky breath, she pushed herself up to sit, gritting her teeth through the collective achiness in her body.

"No, Guzma," she said to nobody in particular as she kicked off her blanket and hobbled for the door to the room, which she practically begged to stay in until she stopped crying like a baby. Obviously that hadn’t happened before she fell asleep. "Bugs are not the best fucking type in the world."

She nudged it open with her foot, and poked her head out to see just about everyone starting to get up. There was no room to harp on her own embarrassment when she had that Other Voice ringing in her ears.

“I would say good morning,” she said in a heavy breath, “but then I’d be lying. Who else heard Beelzebub last night?”
Last edited:
A sharp, suddenly cry drew Kimiko's attention towards the rockruff - and it caused another wince in herself as her body stretched and her head turned. Gods, she was jumpy...

“Who’s awake?” Archie asked, softly, “Are you guys okay?”

She turned far more delicately at the next familiar voice. Archie looked a little ragged, but otherwise he appeared to have been one of the luckier of the squad. "I'm fine," she lied quietly, ignoring the never-ending tingling sensation under her bandage. She rested her head back down, staring straight ahead at nothing in particular. "You?"

"I'm sorry," he began, "you risked yourselves to come to my rescue and I don't even know your name."

At that, she bit her lip. She really didn't have juice in the battery for socialization right now, but ...was this guy blaming himself? "Yes, how dare you mind your own business and get jumped by a shadow 'mon, in a place we all considered safe no less, how inconsiderate of you."

Was that snarky? That was probably snarky. Maybe it would have sounded more properly teasing if she felt capable of injecting any energy into her voice. She turned to eye the beldum again.

"C''mon, you're part of the team. Are you surprised we didn't just let you get torn in half? Where would the rest of us be now in that case?"
Dave was fine, really, just really fucking exhausted. But after the checkup Drungfield had insisted he not go anywhere, because of the whole Shadow thing, so now he was just sitting around twiddling this thumbs while Bellatrix took fucking ages to explain what'd happened to the doctor. How long could it take to say 'a Shadow Skorupi appeared out of nowhere and tried to kill everyone in its path'?

So he lay restlessly on one of the beds in the office, shifting, half the others unconscious, really wishing he had a stiff drink right about now. Maybe he dozed off briefly a few times, but he jolted back awake before it could become proper rest to speak of, once with the alarming realization he'd had yet another sinister dream about how they weren't supposed to be here.

Finally Steven stirred. He looked the worst of them, large fucking holes gouged in scorched metal, but at least he was alive. Kimiko, too, not much better. The Oshawott. Steven apparently didn't know his name either, which would hopefully save Dave the trouble of asking.

"I'm awake," he said, sighing. "Don't know what I'm still fucking doing here but apparently Drungfield doesn't want me to leave and is very busy chatting up Bellatrix. You all get the dream message?"
Last edited:
The first voice, he was able to identify as coming from the Beldum, Steven. He caught sight of the Pokemon’s single red eye looking his way and gave him a slight wave. They’d managed to save him, after all. Another small victory. Though, Archie was surprised to note that, in fact, he and Steven had never properly met. Something about the man seemed almost familiar somehow, like Archie had at least known of him.

“My name’s Archie, I’m…” he paused for a moment, wondering how he’d best introduce himself here. Eventually, he figured simplest might be best. “I’m Koa and Wes’s friend.”

Speaking of Wes, it sounded like the Rockruff was awake. That was a relief, even if it sounded like the blue puppy Pokemon wasn’t having the greatest morning of his life. He scanned the room for Wes’s figure, but was soon distracted by the others speaking up one after another, two - the Mawile and Poochyena - both asking about being spoken to in dreams. Come to think of it, Archie had had such a dream himself.

“I had… A nightmare? I guess?” the Oshawott said with a shrug, “Someone was talking to me, but I’m not sure who. Said something about how I wasn’t supposed to be here?”

Was this what Koa had meant when he asked about Archie’s dreams? He’d have to ask the Electrike about it next time he had a chance. He'd kind of figured that maybe it was just a standard stress related nightmare, but if the others were having them too... Best to keep an open mind to other potential sources.
“I had… A nightmare? I guess?” the Oshawott said with a shrug, “Someone was talking to me, but I’m not sure who. Said something about how I wasn’t supposed to be here?”

“You’re not the only one,” Wes rasped. We all got it. Or I suspect so, anyway.” He exchanged a knowing glance with Odette; he was extremely grateful they’d chatted about this earlier, otherwise he’d have been far more freaked out about this second dream. “Don’t really know who’s behind it, if anyone, but it seems to be connected with Shadows. Specifically when you, uh…make contact with one.”

Get mauled by one was more accurate, but Wes figured not everyone present would appreciate that word choice.

He was relieved to see and hear both Odette and Dave; it seemed they’d all made it out of the fight in one piece, then. One battered, bruised and shredded piece, but alive, regardless. With some effort, he managed to push himself upright to get a better view of everyone here. “How long d’you think doc will keep us here?” He asked the group. “And…where exactly are we gonna sleep after this?”
Who else heard Beelzebub last night?”
You all get the dream message?"
“I had… A nightmare? I guess?” the Oshawott said with a shrug, “Someone was talking to me, but I’m not sure who. Said something about how I wasn’t supposed to be here?”

Naturally, it didn't take long for that topic to come up. Kimiko lazily raised a hand, then, realizing likely no one could see it, stuck a vine up in the air for a few seconds, instead.

It hadn't been much of a nightmare to her, but it was still creepy and unsettling. Given the previous track record, she'd been expecting it to happen again. She had, of course, heard the same message, but she didn't have a clue what to make of it. If someone had a problem with them all being summoned, they'd need to take it up with the summoner themselves.

“How long d’you think doc will keep us here?”

"How long were you here after the charmeleon attack?" she answered, hoping she didn't sound as dull and confrontational as she had earlier - despite the fact that, of all things, he was worrying over their bedrooms? Surely the Haus has other rooms available until the Maus got the hallway cleaned up... or was he worried that they were vulnerable there?

"If a shadow could sneak into town and attack us in the Haus, I don't think we're really safe anywhere," she added after her pause. "Unless you wanna bring some bedding down to a jail cell."

Gods, she did not have the willpower for this right now, but she might as well offer her two cents while she was running her mouth. "As for the anti-Voice, there's pretty much gotta be someone behind it. If they were just a miasma of nightmares or horrifying images, maybe you could write them off as side-effects of the shadow corruption, but the messages are too... direct. Too focused. Not to mention, in each case, everyone involved heard the same message. Someone very clearly wants to intimidate us."
Ridley had been less hurt than most of his companions, but the aftershocks of the adrenaline left him feeling shaken and fidgety. Every few minutes he'd get up and pace the length of the room, which he was sure was infuriating for everyone else to watch, but he couldn't sit still. His body didn't seem to have realised the fight was over yet; he had to move.

"You all get the dream message?"

"Well, at least they've made it obvious what they want from us," Ridley said. Why couldn't whoever was behind this just fucking talk to them, instead of setting monsters on them? Unless they were like Betel, and contact through shadow pokemon was the only way they could communicate at all. Had the shadow skorupi been intentionally set upon them - and if so was there some meaning to it being the same one they'd seen in Blaguarro, or was the supply of shadow pokemon so limited that whoever controlled them didn't have a choice? - or had it stalked them back to Frontier Town driven by nothing but its own aggression and the other voice was just taking advantage of that? Ridley brought these questions up as he paced, talking less to receive an answer and more to burn off some of the nervous energy humming under his skin.

As his pacing brought him past Steven Ridley remembered suddenly that he was still carrying the notebook he'd picked up earlier. He pulled it out from under his disguise, offering it back to Steven. "I'm Ridley, by the way," he added. He'd seen Steven at the gala, when they'd stolen the notebook in the first place, but he couldn't remember whether they'd bothered to introduce themselves in all the chaos.
“Don’t really know who’s behind it, if anyone, but it seems to be connected with Shadows. Specifically when you, uh…make contact with one.”
Odette felt blessed to hear the sounds of everyone’s voices. Everyone sounded more or less okay. Disheveled and raspy, but more or less okay.

She nodded in Wes’s direction, clearly recalling back to their conversation not a couple days ago.

“I had a hypothesis that this Voice was coming out of the Shadow ‘mon that struck us themselves. Some kind of warning to ward us from suffering the same fate,” she said. “However, given the depth of last night’s message, I’m far more inclined to believe that getting struck by a Shadow move opens up a node to listen in to some Shadowy hivemind or something alike. Some core that’s the heart of all this bullshit that certainly doesn’t want us getting too close to stop it.”

“How long d’you think doc will keep us here?” He asked the group. “And…where exactly are we gonna sleep after this?”
"If a shadow could sneak into town and attack us in the Haus, I don't think we're really safe anywhere," she added after her pause. "Unless you wanna bring some bedding down to a jail cell."
Now she was leaning against the doorframe of her room, and she crossed her arms over her chest. Not without grimacing through the dull soreness in them.

“Not long, I hope.” It was safe, yeah, but the vibe of hospitals or hospital-like settings put her on edge. She’d truthfully rather be tossing and turning on a park bench in the sun right now.

“As for lodging,” she huffed, “I don’t know how much of the Haus was destroyed, but if it’s too much to where we might need to move indefinitely, the owner at Sun Stone will give us all a break on rooms.” As sweet as she thought the maus were (especially after carrying her over because Jesus Christ, she’d been shaking like a leaf), moving to Sun Stone would also do wonders for her commute. Paired with the fact that now she was likely going to feel on edge if she ever tried to sleep at the Haus again.

“Probably a discussion for after we check out of here,” she muttered. “Maybe grouping up in one living quarter makes us more susceptible to ambushes, but I can’t imagine splitting up would be any better…”

Maybe they really were just SOL now.
Top Bottom