Spruce: …but we should still make sure we didn’t get turned around in those caves! I hate not being able to see the sky!
Ruby: Argh. Fine. If it will shut you up, I’ll ask for directions. You there! Meditite, Inkay! This is the Muraille Cliff Road, is it not? We are heading in the direction of the Glittering Caves?
Inkay: Yes on both counts, traveller, but if the caves are your destination I must advise you to rethink your plans.
Meditite: Aye, there’s a right lot o’ Barney brewin’ down there. ‘tid be Mae if you’d just turn round and ‘ead for Pope, mate.
Ruby: I have no idea what you just said and I think I’ve somehow become stupider by hearing it.
Meditite: Wot, don’t understand me chitty? It’s well Glenn if you keep yer Donalds open.
Inkay: [sigh] He says the Glittering Caves are dangerous and you’d be better off returning home.
Spruce: …are you sure?
Inkay: Members of Sid’s… erm… ‘order’… speak a sort of patois based on rhyme. They claim the constant wordplay keeps their minds sharp. We’ve known each other a few months now and I’ve… gotten used to it.
Meditite: An’ yer a right fruit for it, Rommy, even if you do waste all yer grease ‘n’ grime on starin’ at the lah-dis ‘stead o’ thinkin’ ‘bout wot’s Isle and Pete.
Spruce: Order? Just who are you, anyway?
Inkay: Oh. Yes, of course; where are my manners? My name is Andromeda, and my… friend, here, is Sid Arthur.
Sid Arthur: Wotcher, mates.
Ruby: And I am Ruby the Braixen, fiery jewel among Pokémon, sorceress supreme. Perhaps you’ve heard of me.
Sid Arthur: Aw, we don’t really ‘ear of much at all up my way, not for donkey’s.
Andromeda: Both of us are too immersed in our respective studies to keep up with current events. I am an astronomer, and Sid is part of a monastic order of sorts, making their home in these mountains.
Sid Arthur: Aye, we be seekin’ to rid ourselves o’ corruptin’ worldly things like bees an’ ‘oney, an’ give up our Jekyll ‘n’ ‘yde to reach an ‘igher two-an’-eight.
Ruby: Yes, yes, and I’m sure you do that very well, whatever it is, but what’s this about the caves? If you mean to stand in my way, I promise you won’t be standing for long.
Sid Arthur: ‘ere now, there ain’t no need to be so Jodie; it’s just a bit o’ friendly advice is all. You lot’ll be son-an’-daughtered if’n you take to read-an’-writin’ wit’ those ‘eapies wot’re takin’ over down there.
Andromeda: What Sid means is… human scientists have worked in the caves for some time without troubling the inhabitants. I have ‘spoken’ with them a few times in the course of my studies, as far as one can speak with humans, and they have always been cordial, but recently they’ve started moving in heavy machines that have been threatening the caves’ integrity and frightening the local Pokémon.
Spruce: Ruby, are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Ruby: I try not to.
Spruce: We’ve got ourselves a new quest!
Ruby: [sigh] Well, if nothing else, I can’t allow the humans to get their sweaty pink hands on my Mega Stone first… since we’re going there anyway, we may as well incinerate those responsible for this nonsense.
Sid Arthur: Oh, we don’t want no-one Simon! The locals need ‘elp, and that’s eyes o’ blue all right, but a mince for a mince leaves the ‘ole world bacon; that’s wot I say.
Ruby: …yes. Quite. Come, minions. There’s work to be done.
Andromeda: Good luck! And be careful!
Sid Arthur: Aye, Friar Tuck to ye!
Spruce: Um… lamb shanks!
Sid Arthur: …you wot, mate?
Yvonne: Ah ‘ope you do not mind if Ah continue to trhavel in your destrhuctive wake. Zere are sure to be many opportunities to prhofit from ze devastation your passing will brhing, and zis rhegion is known for its rhare ores and minerhals.
Luna: Of course not, chérie; your presence enlivens and enriches us all.
Yvonne: Ah was not asking you, putain.
Spruce: Well, I don’t mind! Um. As long as you don’t open your mouth too wide.
Yvonne: Nor do Ah care much for your opinion, petit plumeau. To be honest, Ah was mostly asking as a, ‘ow you say, courtesy?
Sandile: Travellers! Stop for a few minutes; I need to speak with you!
Ruby: If you need to grovel before me you can do it at my leisure; we’re busy.
Sandile: Um. It’s really rather important!
Ruby: Then keep up and keep talking, peasant; who are you and why am I not vaporising you?
Sandile: Uh. My name is Merneith; I represent the Sandile community in this area. Who- who are-?
Ruby: Ruby the Braixen, fiery jewel, et cetera et cetera. Congratulations; you have answered question number one to my satisfaction. Keep going.
Merneith: We need your help! It’s so rare for anyone strong or capable to come this far out from the main roads, and my people are too weak to repel invaders on their own. It’s their dreadful diet, you see…
Ruby: Diet? What- what are you wittering about?
Merneith: Well, they eat meat, the fools.
Ruby: [rolls eyes] Obviously, you did say you represent a group of Sandile, did you not?
Merneith: Yes, but Sandile don’t have to eat meat!
Ruby: [bored] Oh?
Merneith: Not at all! That nonsense about our teeth being evolved for tearing flesh is just lies and propaganda spread by deceitful humans to keep us weak! I myself am vegan!
Spruce: Um… Ruby?
Ruby: …I… look; I can’t deal with this, just… Spruce, Yvonne, Fisher, I don’t even care; someone find out what she wants so I don’t have to talk to her.
Spruce: Okay, um… Merneith, right? You mentioned invaders? Are you talking about the human scientists? We’re actually here to investigate that-
Yvonne: You are ‘ere to investigate zat, plumeau. Ze rhest of us ‘ave far more sensible rheasons… [glances at Fisher] for ze most part…
Spruce: Um… right.
Merneith: The scientists! Yes, I’m sure it’s their fault somehow! They encourage the Pokémon in this area to take awful human medicines that are full of toxins, and they keep stopping me from convincing my people to give up their sinful and self-destructive carnivory. I hope whatever they get out of those damn fossils is worth it to them!
Fisher: Fossils? My good lady, did you say that there are fossils in the Glittering Caves?
Merneith: Um. Well. Yes. The humans study them.
Merneith: Yes – yes, the scientists come from Ambrette Town to break the fossils free from the rock. Then they take them home to experiment on them.
Merneith: I’m… afraid I don’t know exactly what they do or why. Probably treat them with chemicals to make them toxic; that’s what they do with everything else.
Fisher: Listen to me very carefully, my lady – have you ever seen a fossil in the shape of a spiral? One that, when you looked upon its splendour, made you feel a sense of deep, perfected ease and fulfilment?
Merneith: I… don’t think I’ve ever felt anything like that from looking at a fossil. Mostly I get that by aligning crystals along my chakras. But… there might have been some spiral ones? I guess?
Fisher: [gasp] This changes everything!
Ruby: Now you’ve done it…
Fisher: [to Ruby] My lady – this- the actions of these humans are an affront to all that I believe in! This is UNHOLY! We must confront them, and- and PURGE them from this cave!
Merneith: So… you’ll help me?
Ruby: Apparently. Fall in line, peasant. We may as well get some use out of your… vegetarian super-strength.
Merneith: Vegan. Dairy is poison.
Mawile: Hold your position, travellers. If you know what’s good for you, stay away from- Merneith? Oh, great… Merneith, is that you? For the last time, Sandile, we can’t fight the humans with organically-grown vegetables.
Merneith: Well, I have a better plan now, Umber. I’ve, um… brought the cavalry, so to speak. But just for the record, none of this would have happened if you’d been paying attention to my public service announcements about the dangers of vaccines and gluten. I told you we couldn’t trust those scientists.
Umber: The scientists have nothing to do with this, you mad lizard! They’re hostages, just like our own people! It’s the new group; it’s this ‘Team Flare’!
Luna: The plot thickens… who might ‘Team Flare’ be, mmm?
Umber: A syndicate of humans and Pokémon that showed up a couple of weeks ago. They mined fossils out of the rock in huge quantities – enough to endanger the structure of the tunnels – and started abducting Pokémon when we tried to stop them. We don’t know where they take their prisoners or why. We just know they’re organised and dangerous.
Merneith: Wake up, Umber! They’re obviously part of the same conspiracy as the scientists, taking advantage of how weak and pliable you and your people have gotten from exposure to their so-called ‘medicine.’
Fisher: Their intentions matter not; if they have despoiled sacred fossils, then they are heretics, and their taint shall be cleansed from this place by the divine light of Anarchy!
Umber: Hmph. Well, enemy of my enemy, you’d better be the real thing. If we can’t take these caves back soon, it might be time to cut and run.
Spruce: But isn’t this your home? Aren’t you going to defend it to the last?
Umber: Eh… not if it means more of my people being imprisoned and shipped off by Team Flare for who knows what. ‘Home’ isn’t worth that.
Ruby: And what about Mega Stones? What are those worth to you, Mawile?
Ruby: Small, spherical, iridescent stones? I have reason to believe one may have been found here recently. I intend to claim it. Will you stand in my way?
Umber: I’ve never heard of a “Mega Stone,” and I don’t care what you do with it, but I heard one of the human scientists found something matching that description not long before all this started. Team Flare probably has it.
Ruby: Well, it seems you are in luck. My almighty magic will reduce them to cinders, and you will have your dank little cave back. Come, minions. Glory awaits, or riches, or… whatever else it is that motivates you idiots.
Houndour: Halt! Who goes there? Answer, in the name of Team Flare!
Ruby: I am Ruby the Braixen, fiery jewel among Pokémon, sorceress supreme! Perhaps you’ve heard of me?
Houndour: Ruby!? You- you were responsible for the explosion at Sycamore Labs two weeks ago! You were present when Route 6 was devastated by the parasite swarm! You murdered your former trainer!
Ruby: Ah, so you have heard of me? [To the others] They’ve heard of me.
Houndour: You will not interfere with our work here. With our human partners by our side, we will bring you to justice, criminal! For the glory of Team Flare!
Ruby: [sigh] Everyone’s a critic… so, you want to play with magic? Fine. Burn, dog.
Houndour: Fire cannot harm me, witch! Your sorcery is annulled!
Ruby: Hmph. We’ll see about that. PSYBEAM!
Houndour: Yeah, I’m actually immune to that as well.
Ruby: …minions! DEFEND ME!
Fisher: These fossils you have plundered are sacred and inviolable! In the name of the Helix, I WILL STRIKE YOU DOWN!
Yvonne: And zese ‘eaps of gemstones you ‘ave uncovered are shiny and invaluable! In ze name of naked prhofit, Ah will engulf and digest you!
Luna: That’s the spirit, chérie! For loot, plunder, and viscera!
Merneith: Before we destroy you, have you considered the possible health benefits of an all-soy diet? I have some pamphlets you could look at!
Spruce: Am I the only one here who just wants to help people?
All others: YES!
Spruce: Well, maybe I’ll just sit this one out, then. See how you like that!
Luna: Suit yourself. More for me!
Spruce: …all right, fine, I’m helping!
Fisher: Are these all the fossils you have found!? ALL of them!?
Croagunk: I- I think so! Except for the ones back at the scientists’ lab in Ambrette Town, and the ones we already shipped to headquarters! Why do you even care!?
Fisher: Bah! You ask why I care about the most sacred relics of my faith!? I shall sear holy chaos into your very soul! CONFUSION!
Croagunk: EEEEAAARGHrrrglglgl! [thud]
Fisher: Blessed Helix… guide me… there is power in some of these fossils still, but not all of it is holy… the Dome’s influence is here as well. I know we must seek balance, but… is it truly your will that I wield such dark essence alongside your light?
Electrike: There’s one of them! Come on! Let’s get him!
Fisher: [shrug] Caution to the wind, then. Fossils, I implore you, give me strength! Let your power flow through me! [Fisher erlernt Dunkelklaue!] SHADOW CLAW!
Ruby: Argh… where is it, where is it?
Fisher: My lady, please… these are sacred relics, and you toss them aside like worthless rubbish in your search for the stone. This place ought to be a hallowed temple. Take a little care, if only for my sake.
Ruby: It’s not here! Curses! Gulpin! Did you swallow my Mega Stone while gorging yourself on loot?
Yvonne: If Ah ‘ad your prhecious rhock, sorcière, Ah would now be selling it to you at an exorbitant prhice.
Ruby: Damn it! All this work for nothing!
Merneith: Not nothing, sorceress – my people are saved, and all the other Pokémon of this cave as well! They’re still brainwashed, of course, but I’ve done all I can to lead them… if you’re going to keep travelling and fighting to overcome the limitations put on us by the humans, I’d be honoured to join you!
Ruby: All this work for nothing!
Luna: Ah, there you all are! I suppose we’ll be heading for the lab in Ambrette Town now?
Ruby: The lab? Why? What are you talking about, Luna?
Luna: Oh, you didn’t know? I… persuaded one of the scientists’ Pokémon to reveal the location of the stone – the humans call it an Aerodactylite, by the way. He said it was taken back to the lab before this business with Team Flare ever started. I felt sure the whole cave must have heard his screams.
Spruce: You tortured him for information!?
Luna: No, bird, I tortured him for my personal amusement. The information was largely incidental.
Luna: I don’t understand how you keep being surprised by this sort of thing.
Fisher: I sense little of the sacred power of the Helix within most of the fossils here… though it pains me somewhat, they can be left to the humans. But this one… what did they call it?
Merneith: A Sail Fossil.
Fisher: Yes. This one has great spiritual energy. I will have to bring it with us, so I may guard it myself on our journey.
Merneith: You’re not going to stay here, then? Set up that temple you were talking about?
Fisher: It is tempting, I admit, but such an existence, while peaceful, would be much too… orderly… for a Blessed Apostle of the Helix such as myself. No, now that the immediate threat is dealt with, I must continue my journey, and send an epistle to my church to request that more priests be sent to see to the fossils’ ongoing protection. What of you, my lady? Am I to understand you will be joining our group?
Merneith: Eh. I’ll reach more people on the road. My people just don’t want to hear what I have to say about the huge benefits of the organic, gluten-free, homeopathic lifestyle. And maybe by travelling I can get closer to the heart of the great human conspiracy that’s convinced Pokémon to guzzle toxins with every meal. Just, um… make sure your human doesn’t take me to one of those ‘Pokémon Centres.’ Those things are deathtraps; I’ll take care of my own injuries and sicknesses with traditional methods, thank you very much.
Fisher: I will strive to see your wishes respected. It is good to have you with us.
Ruby: [Elsewhere in the building] AH-HAHAHAHAHAHA!
Luna: Sounds like she’s found it…
Ruby: [Enters the room] Ah… finally… the Aerodactylite… now to unlock its power. You should all probably stand back. Um. Not that I particularly care what happens to you, just… it’s so hard to find competent inferiors. Now… watch in awe as my pure will channels the inner wellspring of magical energy within this artefact!
Spruce: [to Merneith] You should probably duck.
Spruce: Just… seriously, duck. And uh… maybe don’t look directly at her. Actually, I might just leave the-
Ruby: [Fizzle-BING] …huh. Well… that felt… disappointing. Do… do I now possess unlimited arcane might?
Yvonne: ‘ow should we know? You are ze sorcerhess.
Ruby: Try hitting me or something, and see what happens.
Luna: [grins] With pleasure.
Ruby: NOT YOU. Fisher, come here. Just try to hit me.
Fisher: As you will, my lady.
Ruby: OW! Not so hard, idiot! Bah! This stone is useless. This has all been a waste of-
Spruce: Ruby… Ruby, look – the… the fossil…
Ruby: What about the- oh. Oh.
Amaura: …I… I live? What… what strange new dawn is this? What pallid day breaketh now upon mine eyes, beyond the doors of oblivion? Hark, thou brilliant creature of flame – art thou my saviour, or yet further torment?
Spruce: [nudges her] Your line, Ruby.
Ruby: I know, I know! I- ah- I am Ruby the Braixen, fiery jewel among Pokémon, sorceress supreme!
Spruce: Perhaps you’ve heard of her.
Ruby: I really doubt he has.
Amaura: Sorceress? Then… then by some dev’lish magic thou hast snatchèd me from death’s embrace?
Ruby: I… think so?
Fisher: You… you are magnificent… a vision of the Helix’s glory, a fossil reborn into this world! Radiant one, will you grace us with your name?
Amaura: Shall my true name bind me to thy mistress’ will as though some contract of base servitude?
Ruby: …probably not?
Amaura: Then you may know me as Boreas. How… how long is it since I last did breathe? Why hast thou done this?
Ruby: Well… to be perfectly frank with you it’s not quite what I expected to happen.
Merneith: Ruby! All the bone fragments from the humans’ lab have been reanimated! They’re- by the gods, the chief researcher just got clubbed to death by a flying tibia!
Ruby: …ah. Yes, this… this is much more in line with our previous experiences. Well. Our work here is done. We’d best get going. Quick now! Out the back door!
Yvonne: Wait…where is Luna?
Merneith: The Skitty? She was just here a moment ago…
Yvonne: ‘As no-one been watching ‘er!? Putain de merde! Check your pockets, all of you!
Spruce: We don’t have-
Yvonne: Zen check ze ‘uman’s pockets, crétin! Must Ah explain everyzing to you?
Spruce: Hey! I was sure we had a nugget and a star piece in here!
Ruby: The Aerodactylite! It’s gone! Why, that thieving little-!
Merneith: I don’t want to alarm anyone but, uh, there’s an awfully large skull massing a force of ribs and vertebrae on the other side of this door…
Ruby: Argh! Come on; we have to move. We’ll deal with Luna later…
Chris: Okay, okay, I get it; we’re going out the back way! Gee, Ruby, you sure are bossy! Don’t you even want to say goodbye to the nice scientists? Ow! Fine, okay; I understand – you’re just excited about getting to Cyllage City for our next gym battle! Let’s go!
Ruby the Rutena (Braixen)
Female, Bold nature, level 20, Großbrand (Blaze)
Kratzer (Scratch), Psystrahl (Psybeam), Nitroladung (Flame Charge), Jauler (Howl)
Spruce the Tauboga (Pidgeotto)
Male, Rash nature, level 20, Adlerauge (Keen Eye)
Wirbelwind (Whirlwind), Sandwirbel (Sand Attack), Windstoß (Gust), Ruckzuckhieb (Quick Attack)
Fisher the Enton (Psyduck)
Male, Brave nature, level 20, Wolke Sieben (Cloud Nine)
Aussetzer (Disable), Dunkelklaue (Shadow Claw), Konfusion, Aquawelle (Water Pulse)
Yvonne the Schluppuck (Gulpin)
Female, Rash nature, level 20, Wertehalter (Sticky Hold)
Pfund (Pound), Gähner (Yawn), Amnesie (Amnesia), Schlammbad (Sludge)
Merneith the Ganovil (Sandile)
Female, Bashful nature, level 20, Hochmut (Moxie)
Biss (Bite), Lehmschelle (Mud Slap), Folterknecht (Torment), Sandgrab (Sand Tomb)
Boreas the Amarino (Amaura)
Male, Mild nature, level 20, Frostschicht (Refrigerate)
Natur-Kraft (Nature Power), Bodycheck (Take Down), Weißnebel (Mist), Aurorastrahl (Aurora Beam)
I’m not going to keep updating you on the status of my “currently inactive” Pokémon anymore, because there are now more of them than are in my party and it’s going to become ridiculous. You’re not missing out on anything, really. I assume that they have their own lives and adventures happening in the background, which may become relevant if they ever (re)join the team, and accordingly I train them against wild Pokémon to keep them at a comparable level to the main party – it simply wouldn’t make sense for them to be staying static this whole time, particularly for characters like Bodkin or Luna who obviously have quite adventurous lifestyles normally, or Temperance, whom we last saw going off to fight the parasite swarm unleashed by Melissa’s death. Besides, the level grinding gives me something to do while the story catches up with the events of the game (I prefer not to know what’s going to happen very far in advance). I’ve adopted a rule that Pokémon cannot die ‘off-screen,’ though – Ruby isn’t going to get a Holo-Caster message about Lavoisier randomly being blown up in a lab accident because I wasn’t paying attention while grinding. That privilege is reserved for the active party!
Melissa the Bibor (Beedrill)
Female, Jolly nature, level 16, Hexaplaga (Swarm)
Giftstachel (Poison Sting), Duonadel (Twineedle), Energiefokus (Focus Energy), Furienschlag (Fury Attack)