House Delphox: Truth is in the Flames
Merneith: [squinting] So this is the place?
Ruby: Seems to be. Why else would anyone put a bunch of those giant mushroom domes out here in the middle of nowhere? This shouldn’t take long; we just need to take care of things here for Lavoisier and then we’ll be on our way back to Lumiose City by tomorrow morning.
Merneith: Typical of humans to inflict a blight like that on the landscape. It’s probably putting out mind-altering energy waves or mutating radiation or something. I’d tear down every last one in Kalos if I had the chance.
Ruby: Mmm; well, it’s not exactly easy on the eyes, but we won’t have to look at it for long; let’s get on with it.
Martial: I for one am glad to be engaged in a task of righteousness again – even if only briefly. This group spends too much time as it is pursuing your self-aggrandising fantasies of power.
Ruby: Hey, pursuing my self-aggrandising fantasies of power is just about the only damn thing this lot will ever amount to; don’t knock it. Now, there must be an entrance around here somewhere…
Spruce: Over there! See that little building on the other side of that outcrop?
Ruby: …no, Spruce, because the outcrop is in the way and the rest of us are on the ground.
Spruce: …oh. Right. Hey, I think there’s a fight going on over there! We should get over there and see if someone needs our help!
Ruby: Oh, for goodness’ sake, Spruce; you don’t- …and he’s already gone. Nidoking, you with the life-debt or whatever; go and make sure he doesn’t get himself killed or something.
Martial: Hmph. I need none of your instruction, witch.
Merneith: Come on; let’s go already! We have a job to do!
very important question: if you had to fistfight one of the middle stages of any of the starter pokemon, which one do you think you could beat and why?
Well, out of the ones that have fists, I would probably pick Braixen ‘cause no way does she have the upper body strength to throw a decent punch.
Ruby: Spruce, I am now almost 100% certain that she was not challenging you to a staring contest.
Ruby: Well, all right; to be honest, I was almost 100% certain of that before you started. It’s just stopped being amusing now.
Ruby: …he’s going to keep doing that until one of them blinks, isn’t he?
Fisher: Your magical sense did indicate that the stone we seek is in this Slowpoke’s possession, did they not? As odd as it seems, a staring contest would not be entirely out of step with the other trials presented to us by the various heathens of this island.
Ruby: If by ‘trials,’ you mean the group of Binacle who demanded an arm-wrestle, the Chatot who made Spruce sing for them, the Inkay with the overgrown hedge-maze, and the Exeggcute village that inexplicably challenged us to a riddle contest, then they prove only that life on this island apparently provides the indigenous creatures with no entertainment whatsoever. Well… and possibly that Azure Bay is home to a hitherto unknown Chatot subspecies that has tragically and against all probability been struck tone-deaf.
Fisher: Yet only after they heard of our goal did they pose these challenges. And the final riddle offered as a parting gift by the Exeggcute may yet prove important.
Martial: That lingers on my mind as well. What creature is it that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at midday, and three legs in the evening?
Ruby: Bah; the answer is plainly a male human. The question asks what creature can have three different numbers of ‘legs’ in a single day. In the morning he crawls out of bed on all fours, suffering from a hangover, by midday he has gotten to his feet, and in the evening-
Merneith: Don’t be ridiculous; the question is phrased to trick us. They never said it had to be the morning and evening of the same day! A two-legged Roggenrola might evolve into a three-legged Boldore one evening, and then again into a four-legged Gigalith the next morning.
Martial: Yet I was certain the riddle would refer to the stone’s guardian, and it seems she is neither a human nor a Boldore – nor do either of those species appear to be indigenous to this island.
Slowpoke: Oh… hello… I’m sorry; I didn’t see you there.
Ruby: See-!? We’ve been standing around you talking for over ten minutes!
Slowpoke: Well, that’s a relief. For a moment I was worried you’d been waiting a long time.
Spruce: Does that mean I win?
Merneith: …yes. Yes, you do.
Ruby: Don’t encourage him. You! Slowpoke! Reveal your identity to us!
Slowpoke: Hmm… For a long time I remember many Pokémon called me Hypatia… you may use that name if it pleases you… though it has been a while. I may only have imagined it… What do you believe you are called?
Ruby: …Ruby the Braixen, fiery jewel among Pokémon, sorceress supreme; perhaps you’ve heard of… oh, forget it.
Hypatia: Forget what?
Amaldos: Forgetting is a privilege reserved for those who are forgiven.
Hypatia: Oh… hello there, honoured master. How go your duties?
Amaldos: Every subject’s duty is his own soul, but no master’s soul is his own.
Hypatia: I see… And your exalted mentor? I trust he is well?
Amaldos: [sadly] He is banished from himself… a joyful thing for us, we who are wedded to calamity.
Merneith: You killed him. You literally killed him in front of us. Remember?
Amaldos: Remembering is a privilege reserved for those whose loss will be regretted.
Ruby: Argh; you’re all as mad as each other. Look, Slowpoke; you have a Mega Stone in your possession. Hand it over.
Hypatia: The stone…? But it was only just given to me to guard… only four or five generations have passed among the Exeggcute since I was left here by master Amaldos.
Spruce: Four or five… generations? [To Amaldos] …how old are you?
Amaldos: Enough to have seen mighty oaks grow from old chestnuts.
Spruce: Oaks grow from acorns. Um. Don’t they?
Amaldos: There is a time and a place for everything…
Ruby: Whatever; whatever; just hand it over.
Hypatia: …I remember once these stones were freely bought and sold as curiosities. And in another time, I think perhaps they were feared as terrible weapons. At one point they were considered an ideal base for a number of salads and chutneys. But I think I was left here because there was a time we thought them sacred… worthy of protection. Have our beliefs shifted once again?
Amaldos: Seeing is believing, and we who are blinded by the light see precious little…
Hypatia: Very well… I will trust your judgement, master. Sorceress… take the stone, and use it well…
Ruby: Ah… at last… and now we shall see what arcane secrets this mighty artefact can unlock…
Ruby: …right now.
Amaldos: If there is no time like the present, then only the absent have time.
Ruby: …no one wants to object?
Martial: I would rather save my breath for someone wise enough to listen.
Merneith: To be honest, I kinda want to see what this one does.
Ruby: Okay… here goes nothing…
Ruby: Look, it’s perfectly simple; as my personal minion, everything you know about the Mega Stones now belongs to me.
Amaldos: And so the stars belong in the sky, yet the sky never sought to constrain the stars to wait out the dawn.
Ruby: Yeah, but… that’s not… that analogy makes no sense.
Amaldos: Of course not; for my senses have taken leave of me.
Ruby: If you’re not going to help me find the stones, then why did you want to come along with us in the first place?
Amaldos: There is something new under the sun, old tricks learned again on borrowed time… and soon, a bolt from the blue. In a matter of life and death, sometimes a Liepard must find more than one way to skin a Purugly in order to change its spots.
Ruby: …okay, sure. And… the reason I can’t try using yours is…?
Amaldos: It is mine.
Ruby: Ah. Well. Fair enough, then.
Amaldos: When you despise something, keep it close; if it leaves you, it was never worth your hatred in the first place.
Spruce: But if the journey is more important than the destination, then why is the road less travelled… um… always blocked by construction workers?
Amaldos: [long silence]
Spruce: And how does someone who walks off the beaten path find their way up the garden path?
Amaldos: An Accelgor can never catch a Torkoal that has been given a head start. There is a place nearby where moss gathers on the wrong side of the trees. Come, blinded one; let us find your stone and set it rolling.
Ruby: [to Spruce] How the hell do you even do that?
Spruce: [shrugs helplessly]
Chris: Gosh; that tower’s incredible, isn’t it, Ruby? I’ve read about it but it’s even more amazing to actually see it!
Ruby: Mmm, I suppose even I must admit it’s rather impr- wait, hang on, you can read!?
Chris: Come on! Korrina said that’s where she hangs out most of the time; let’s go see her!
Ruby: Yes… yes, the human who travels with those two Lucario. They’ll not escape me this time. Whatever secrets they hold will be mine! MINE! HA-hahahahaha-HAH!
Fisher: …my lady, I must confess you frighten me sometimes.
Ruby: So… this is what that Lucario meant by “through the looking-glass,” I suppose. Load of cryptic nonsense… And there’s no other way to Shalour City, Nidorino?
Martial: None that I know of. But there may be a benefit to travelling through these caves. Somewhere within lies a Moon Stone that will allow me to evolve into a Nidoking. I was questing in search of it when I was attacked outside. [to Spruce] I would better be able to serve you in a greater form. However, you must not delay your own tasks on my account. It is your decision whether to search for the stone, my saviour.
Spruce: Sure, we can look for it! Right, Ruby?
Ruby: [raised eyebrow] He’s your minion, Spruce. What do you think? Is making him more powerful worth the investment of your time?
Spruce: Um… y-yes?
Ruby: Is that an answer, or another question?
Spruce: Uh… I… yes. Yes! We’d be a lot stronger with a Nidoking on the team, even if it’s only temporary! Let’s do it!
Ruby: As good a reason as any. Lead the way.
Boreas: If the asking be not injurious, what was thy former quest, good sir? To what end didst thou seek after thy lunar gem?
Martial: That is irrelevant now. If and when I am able to repay my life-debt, I will return to my former duty. Until then, it must be as though my life were forfeit.
Spruce: But maybe if you tell us, we can help-
Martial: I will not speak of it! If I had been killed, my cause would surely have been abandoned and lost. As things are, it is merely delayed. For that alone, my debt is almost beyond reckoning. I cannot and will not allow you to do more for me until it is repaid.
Ruby: [muttering] Hmph. Doesn’t know how lucky he is. What I wouldn’t give for minions like that…
Spruce: What was that, Ruby?
Ruby: Nothing, nothing. Let’s get moving, shall we?
Fisher: Truly, this place is a wonder… these marvellous crystal panes… like the great mirrors of ice in which Burrito the Lightbringer is said to have seen, reflected, the true soul of the Lazorgator, and the path for love to conquer hate…
Ruby: Don’t stare at those too long.
Fisher: My lady?
Ruby: There’s powerful magic here. Old magic. You shouldn’t play with what you don’t understand.
Spruce: But you do that all the time.
Ruby: …well, yeah, but…
Boreas: Thy care for thy fellows is admirable, milady, yet they are but mirrors.
Ruby: Hey, who said I care!? Fine, gaze into whatever you like for as long as you like, just don’t come crying to me when your soul gets sucked into a gemstone or something…
Ruby the Braixen, self-styled “fiery jewel among Pokémon” and “sorceress supreme,” talks life and mortality with Boreas, the recently reborn Amaura.
Ruby: You have something you want to say. Say it.
Ruby: Even if you were a difficult person to read, which you’re not, I possess psychic abilities that make sensing surface emotions trivial. Speak your mind.
Boreas: Milady… by thy power alone was I drawn back into this world.
Ruby: True, but there’s no need to thank me. Your continued service is compensation enough for my necromantic assistance.
Boreas: Er… quite. I…remember my death, faintly, brought on in the merest instant by some celestial calamity beyond my mortal ken. Countless of my kith and kin did fall; whether any did survive, I know not. Verily, ‘twould be no surprise to learn that this were the final close of our age, as some of our prophets did forescry.
Ruby: Mmm. Probably was. I have heard Lavoisier talk about this in the past. Your “celestial calamity” was likely the impact of an asteroid that struck the earth almost seventy million years ago.
Ruby: Million. A thousand thousands.
Boreas: …years? Oh, alas my world, alas my fallen kin…
Ruby: Yes, yes, it’s very tragic, but hey, you’re alive. Could be worse.
Boreas: But wherefore my new restoration? What purpose serves my rebirth, and that of the mad Tyrunt we did face? Thou hast said that thou intended it not. ‘twas it then the mere whimsy of unthinking Fate?
Ruby: Would that be so bad?
Boreas: I confess thy meaning doth escape me, milady…
Ruby: Look, fate dealt you a bad hand the first time around. You died, apparently through no fault of your own, and so did everyone you ever knew; it was a bad day.
Boreas: …’tis putting it rather light, milady.
Ruby: Whatever. But thanks to my awesome power, you’re back in the game. New hand. New fate. More than most people ever get. You can either sit around feeling sorry for yourself, or you can make the most of it. Either way, you have to make your own reasons.
Boreas: And… the memory of my people?
Ruby: Dead. Gone. No good to you now. If you think you’ll be stronger by honouring their memory in whatever primitive way you find appropriate, then fine, whatever. If you’re just going to mope about them, you’re better off forgetting.
Boreas: Milady, in mine era, service to one’s tyrant was an all-consuming duty – ‘twas the reason we did the works of labour, and war, and even love. To be beholden to no tyrant was to be a- a- a lowly vagabond, naught but a base cullion. Thou knowest no such devotion to any cause but thine own. How canst thou understand?
Ruby: [rolls eyes] If it makes you feel better, then think of me as your tyrant. I know you don’t want to cling to the laws of your old world, though. You’re smarter than that. Though just barely, it would seem…
Boreas: Thou speakest true, but…
Ruby: [sigh] Look at Spruce [points skyward]. Spruce is an idiot. But he’s an idiot who knows what he wants, which is apparently to inflict his idiocy on the world in general, and me in particular. He is dedicated to his goal, and he is so far achieving it with gusto. No one told him to be the way he is, or at least I fervently hope no one did; he simply is.
Boreas: Then thou dost counsel me to seek mine own purpose, for mine own good? And thus to emulate thy gentle companion?
Ruby: …let’s not get carried away here.
Boreas: Milady, I… I would serve thee gladly, as though thou wert my tyrant true, for thou didst bestow upon me this… ‘new hand.’ But I will think on what thou hast said, and haply I may find my purpose as we travel.
Ruby: [shrug] It’s a start. Come on; we should catch up with the others before one of them does something incredibly stupid.
Ruby: Look, human, just give me the Holo-Caster and- good. Thank you. Now leave me the hell alone; I have a call to make. Let’s see… ah; here we are…
Lavoisier: Ruby! You look… different.
Ruby: As do you. Evolution is treating you well, I hope?
Lavoisier: Weeeell, I’ve lost some of my boyish good looks, but I got some really sweet dragon powers, and I can reach the textbooks on the third shelf now, so I’m not gonna complain! Anyway… what do you need?
Ruby: What do I need? Can’t a girl place a holo-call just to chat with her little brother?
Lavoisier: …sure, but you wouldn’t.
Ruby: Mmm. Point taken. All right; I need more leads. I tracked down the second Mega Stone you pointed me to, and the results were quite interesting.
Lavoisier: Interesting, as in…? [sigh] How many people died, Ruby?
Ruby: To my knowledge, the net deaths resulting from the experiment were zero.
Lavoisier: That’s… that’s a concerningly specific answer, sis.
Ruby: Would I lie?
Ruby: To you?
Ruby: …again, point taken. Anyway, where can I find more stones?
Lavoisier: Ruby, I have no idea. We’ve just barely finished repairing the lab, and we’ve been having… other problems. Disappearances, and… Look, hunting for references to the location of Mega Stones is just not something I have time for right now.
Ruby: Hmm. That’s unfortunate. You haven’t heard rumours about any other sorcerous artefacts, have you? I could always return to Lumiose City and take a look at your library myself, I suppose…
Lavoisier: [alarmed] No! Uh… I mean… no, there’s no need for that. I, uh… if you want to pursue information on the Mega Stones yourself, you… could go to Geosenge Town. I guess.
Ruby: The hick town up north? Why?
Lavoisier: Well, I used to sort of know a couple of Pokémon who are there at the moment and… could help you. Maybe. Experts on the Mega Stones, who know a lot more than me about what they’re actually for.
Ruby: We know what they’re for. They’re incredible sources of arcane power.
Lavoisier: Okay, but you know you’re supposed to use them together with your human, right?
Ruby: What, that idiot? [points at Chris] If that primate gets his hands on anything remotely resembling a magical artefact, he’ll vaporise himself in seconds. I wouldn’t terribly mind that, of course, except that there’s a good chance he would take me with him.
Lavoisier: I… see. Well, you could at least try Geosenge Town. Look for two Lucario. Their names are Amaldos and Lelanthion.
Ruby: I suppose that will have to do. It’s better than nothing, anyway.
Lavoisier: You’re welcome, Ruby.
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?