A Pokémon Trainer is You! XXXIX: Down the Rabbit Hole

[Catch up on the story so far here!]

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

Where do you want to go?
– Follow Jane’s lead

What about Miguel?
– Persuade him to join you

There’s really no question here – even after hearing the transmissions he picked up, you’re not convinced that Miguel’s rambling about “the Enemy” represent an urgent threat.  It’s just a bunch of code words and static; you have no reason to think it’s connected to the mysteries you’re here to investigate.  Jane… well, you don’t know what she’s found, but she clearly thinks it’s worth investigating, and as a Pokémon trainer you feel like you have to trust your Pokémon’s instincts.  Besides, the palaeontologists probably have Blue and Squirtle with them.  They can handle anything that comes up, right?

…you promise yourself you’ll be quick.

Miguel is clearly itching to get moving.  You tell him to hold up and take a look at the back tunnel with you.
“What!?!?  Didn’t you hear a word I said!?  The Enemy will be here any minute; we have to move!”  This… is going to take some finesse.
You remind Miguel that you’re only here and involved in any of this because you’re trying to help the dig crew, who have had their equipment and supplies stolen.  For all any of you know, Miguel’s “Enemy” might be behind it and could be targeting them too, so you need to work together (you also haven’t ruled out the possibility that Miguel is behind the thefts, and want to keep him where you can see him, but you don’t say that part out loud; you’re not a moron).  Besides, you can help him if he’s attacked.  You admit you’re not sure what Jane has found, but you’re sure she’s onto something.
Miguel’s face contorts as he makes a series of strangled groaning noises, torn between following his original plan and sticking with you.  “Gnnnnnyyyyyrrrrrrhhhhggggghhh—???  Argh!  No!  I have to get to my safehouse, where I’ll be safe!”  By ‘safehouse’ you assume he means his next dark, damp cave hidden somewhere on this Helix-forsaken mountain.  “Gahh- but- ack, look!  The nearest human-sized entrance to that cave system is on the way to my next base camp.  I’ll show you where it is, I’ll help you get there!  But that is it, little friendo.  I’m not sticking my neck out for you!”
Well, it’s better than nothing.  Without help or directions, and with your limited wilderness skills, it could take hours to find the cave entrance you need.  You make one more effort: maybe he won’t take any risks for you, but Lexa’s his friend, isn’t she?  Sort of?  A little bit?
Miguel grumbles something incoherent, then throws his hands in the air.  “Fine!  Whatever!  But I’m not coming with you; I have to at least try to follow some semblance of basic op-sec!  Once my new position is secure, if I can move undetected, and if I can observe the tactical situation and develop an action plan, then maybe I’ll try to join you at their camp.  And frankly Lexa had better appreciate this!”

Miguel has already packed almost everything away, but that one lantern is still hanging next to the tiny tunnel at the back of the cave, and he hasn’t picked up the little square of embroidered cloth sitting on the cave floor either.
“It was here when I moved in,” he says distractedly when you ask him about it.  You’re about to press the subject when he hauls his massive hiking backpack onto his back, stuffed with all his worldly goods, and declares: “Right – move out!”
Jokingly, you ask whether he’s packed his tinfoil hat.  He suddenly becomes incredibly grave and explains to you, in a low voice, that tinfoil actually focuses the thought-control waves.  How do you think tinfoil hats ever became a stereotype?  It’s because They want you to wear them.  Think, kid!

To be clear, that’s me paraphrasing, not agreeing; this guy is a fµ¢£ing nutcase.

True to his word, Miguel leads you along a hidden, twisting path through the dense, thorny mountain vegetation, under a spur of rock jutting out of the hillside, and finally stops at a deep, ominous-looking fissure in the stone.  Jane yips excitedly when you peer down into the darkness.  Apparently she can smell whatever it is she found down that other tunnel.
“It opens up as you get further down,” Miguel says, pointing.  “Pretty tricky for an adult, but…” he looks you up and down, framing you with his hands to try to get an impression of your scale.  “How old are you, anyway?”  You start to answer, but he cuts you off.  “Whatever, whatever; you’ll be fine.  You have rope, right?”  You do not have rope.  Again, Miguel cuts you off when you start to reply.  “Arrgghh!  Here, take this rope; tie it to a rock so you can climb back out and don’t die in a cave like a moron.  But don’t you dare tell anyone I gave you this, or they’ll all want one.  Adiós!”  Before you can say goodbye, Miguel takes a flying leap down the hillside, crashes into a thicket and vanishes instantly into the brush.

Well, he… happened.

You use Miguel’s rope to anchor yourself to a big boulder near the entrance to the fissure and clamber down into the darkness.  Jane, smaller and faster, hops down from one ledge to the next, barking impatiently as you squirm downward with your feet and back braced against the rock faces.  It takes a good 15 minutes, wiggling bit by bit, to descend a few metres to where the cave opens up and you can stand and walk.

It’s darker than the inside of a Muk’s butthole in here.  Your Pokédex has a torchlight; it’s not made for spelunking but you suppose it’ll keep you from tripping over a stalagmite and killing yourself.  Why the hell did you let Blue catch that wild Charmander, anyway?  Wouldn’t some fire have been nice, right about now?  It’s all right for Jane, she can see in the dark… I assume.  What would even be the point of being a Dark-type if you couldn’t see in the dark?  She’s been running ahead, yapping impatiently for you to follow, but just as you start to worry about finding your way back out again, Jane suddenly goes completely silent.  You feel her brush against your leg, then hop up onto your shoulder, where she quietly mews in your ear.  You suppose you’re meant to stop and pay attention – and be quiet.  Waving your Pokédex’s light around, you just see rocks, cave slime, dripping water… yeah, just rocks.

…just rocks.

You haven’t seen any Pokémon here.  Every other cave on this mountain is infested with Zubat, and most of them with a range of other cave Pokémon like Geodude and Paras.  Where are they?

You think you hear… giggling?  Somewhere up ahead?

Oh.  Oh, right, okay; I see where this is going.  Um.  Kid, you should turn around and leave.  Like, now.  Right now; just recall Jane and turn around and climb back out of here. You’ve already done plenty to satisfy her curiosity.  You have $#!t to do anyway, and frankly I can’t imagine this ending well.

9 thoughts on “A Pokémon Trainer is You! XXXIX: Down the Rabbit Hole

  1. The last time we ended up in the center of some full-on horror movie bullhonkey, it turned out that the “monster” needed our help dealing with literally the exact same woman we’re probably dealing with now. Just saying, the narrator is being pretty Wrong Genre Savvy.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. If Anonymous is correct and it’s a Clefairy, I suggest we catch it (unless it has Cute Charm, that’s not worth our while).
    If Herald of Opera is correct* and it’s a Team Rocket Grunt, I suggest we just leave (unless it has Magic Guard, then we should catch it and see what it evolves into).

    *and I remember things correctly as well

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yveltal claim me, this update really illustrates a devious side of the fact that, in the pokémon world, anything can be your friend. Like.
    If I were out in the pokémon world, in a dark cave, barren of the usual critters of the environment, and I heard giggling? My immediate thought process would be “Boy, I hope I find a sableye, those are so cute!” And off I’d go hurtling towards danger.

    In our world, you can teach a kid that wild animals are always bad news, and you should never play with them. And that you should never approach animals like king cobras or bears. But if trying to pet a wild cobra were not quite guaranteed to be a bad idea there would be so many more accidents, especially with friendly, sociable house-king-cobras going around and your neighbor’s being just the sweetest little guy for positive association.

    It’s sinking in why little kids aren’t allowed in the tall grass at all. Too likely that they’ll try to befriend aggressive pokémon.

    Liked by 1 person

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