It’s been one week since we were commissioned by Professor Juniper to help excavate Dragonspiral Tower. The trip was long, partially due to us getting lost in Twist Mountain, but we’ve been working for a solid three or so days, assisting with what little knowledge I’ve gathered about the Reshiram legend.
On arrival, Professor Juniper introduced us to the rest of the excavation team, including her father, Cedric Juniper, well known for his discovery of the Abundant Shrine and thesis on the Forces of Nature, and a familiar face in Doctor Fennel. Together, alongside a group of dedicated locals and staff who look after Dragonspiral Tower, we have managed to piece together the largest parts of the legend, with substantial evidence to appeal for further funding. Anyway, Aurea makes the best lasagne and we’ve had it five days in a row.
My own research team has helped tenfold: Orla has been helping direct the Pokémon in construction, excavating soil and revealing a pathway into the Tower itself. Terran is our morale and bodyguard, helping fend off against the hordes of Sawsbuck and Vanillish who get a little too territorial for our comfort. Warren's our healer, helping Refresh and Heal Pulse any worker Pokémon who overexert themselves. Elle is our moodmaker, she’s entertaining us in the evenings and our main source of cheer. Finn works alongside Cedric and Aurea, validating the theory we’ve been cultivating with what he remembers of the two heroes of Unova. And Drayn is the biggest support, comforting everyone, aiding in the security of the area, giving a helping hand whenever he can. It’s been a pleasant experience, and I feel like I’m finally being respected and treated as the researcher I’ve always wanted to become.
“Alec! Mind coming over here for a sec?”
“I’ll be just a second!” Today we’re making our big move. We’re entering the Tower for the first time. I run over to the excavator who called for me, a spritely young man who has been getting very familiar with me, named Nial. A fairly handsome lad clad in the same overalls as the rest of the hired excavators, fit with a broad and built figure, he’s always approachable despite his awkward demeanour.
“Can we borrow Drayn? We need to make sure that the bridge we’ve built is stable enough and he’s the heaviest Pokémon around right now.” I beckon him over at Nial’s request, I let him know the situation and he complies, smiling warmly. Nial shivers, despite the pleasant aura.
“Glad to see you two are getting along. You said he only evolved a couple weeks ago, right?”
“Yeah, it was a whole thing. Almost burned down Celestial Tower because he saw his name on the cenotaph there. But evolving helped snap him out of it!” I found out not long after leaving Mistralton that Skyla sneaked her last Rare Candy into Drayn’s mouth as we left her office.
“Well, he’s certainly…big. Thanks again though, we’ll be right back!” I wave him off. Might ask him out after the job’s over.
I return to my makeshift desk in the research tent, where I find Cedric and Finn discussing the Legendary Dragon and heroes.
“So, if I’m not mistaken, you’re suggesting that there were not just one Legendary Dragon, but there came a point where there were two of them? And each hero from legend commanded one?”
“Interesting...but how come we’ve only ever heard the name ‘Reshiram’?”
“Nee?” Listening in is fun. I don’t know how Cedric gets half the things he does out of Finn. Despite his age, Cedric is just as spritely and chipper as the Joltik we’d left behind with Hannah. Speaking of, we checked in with her last night, she’s still staying in Mistralton for another week alongside Prim and little Joltik. They’re all fine!
“Ten minutes ‘til we go in, boss. All sorted?” I blare from the other side of the tent.
“Of course! Just getting what I can from Victi- Finn. Any little helps when it comes to Dragons!”
When we arrive at the bridge the construction workers built, there’s this sense of awe. Ahead of the group is Cedric, followed by myself and all six of my Pokémon, then the rest of the excavators. Aurea and Fennel are staying behind as external intel in the tents.
“Are we all ready to go?” I ask and an excitable roar follows.
We walk our way into the building, through the naturally exposed entrance, guarded by parallel lines of pillars.
As we enter the chamber we are met, and threatened by, residential Golett, to which Orla and Elle negotiate. The inside of the chamber is sparse, maintained by the Golett themselves for the thousands of years nobody has entered.
“So, Alec. Your Pokémon really don’t like fighting, huh?” Nial taps my shoulder as we make our advance.
“Some of them. Terran’s a little rowdy but he’s fair. I’m not really a battler so it’s not too big of a deal.”
“I thought so.”
And without warning, I’m knocked out.
When I come to, I find myself tied up alongside Orla and Terran. When my eyes focus, regaining vision, Elle, Warren and Finn are tied to Drayn’s coffin. None are awake. I try to call out to them, or my colleagues. But I get no reply.
The chamber is dank, damp and cold. Judging from the window shape, we’re high up, probably halfway up the Tower itself. The wooden door containing us swings open, revealing a familiar face.
“Good afternoon, Alec.” His overalls have been replaced with a memorable light blue uniform.
“Who are you? What are you doing?” I mutter, mustering the limited strength I can.
“Me? I am a scion of Truth and Ideal. A member of the esteemed renaissance, the masters of the unseen world of tomorrow. I am Nial Greyman of Team Plasma. And I’m afraid our lord monarch needs Dragonspiral Tower more than pathetic try hard scientists.” From behind his visage approaches a jagged, scarred creature coated with scarlet and navy scales. A Druddigon. “I’m afraid your usage has expired, Alec. A shame, all things considering.”
I’m so confused. Just a few hours ago we were friends, comrades and colleagues.
“Who else is with you?”
“What do you mean? I thought you were meant to be smart. Professor Aurea Juniper, the poor idiot, hired a fake excavation company. Team Plasma needs an actual alibi y’know? It was the lord monarch’s idea.” This ‘monarch’, too archaic to be taken seriously. Nial points at me.
“Druddigon, make what you will of these pawns.” The beast roars, reading its claws. I’m too weak to move, too weak to defend myself. Too weak to call for help. It thrashes against us. Clawing, scratching, bashing. I’m too weak to even scream.
Nial stands over us, watching, smiling. When his colleague storms in.
“What are you doing!? You know the king needs him!”
“He was resisting.”
“You can’t keep doing this with every damn prisoner, Nial. Especially one of such import.”
“Fine, fine. You get your way again, Frederik.” The Plasma member approaches me, lifting me by the neckline of my jumper. When my vision clears up I get a good look at his face. Stout, with glasses, and auburn hair. He beckons for another three members to enter, two taking Elle, Warren, Finn and Drayn, while another one helps Frederik transport me, Orla and Terran.
They take us higher up the tower, dragging us by the ropes we’ve been tied in. The higher we go, the more the steps hurt my back. I begin contorting myself so I can protect Orla.
“Stop struggling. Or I’ll have to take you back down to that unruly Nial.” I comply.
As we finish climbing the last set of stairs, Frederik pushes us into the entrance.
“Don’t upset him. He’s very much looking forward to seeing you and your friends.” Considering he’s the tyrant behind this whole operation. I’ll comply with what I can, as long as the team isn’t hurt.
“I’ll go in if you tell me the rest of the Pokémon and people are okay.”
“Of course, we’re not murderers...not on purpose at least.” With that ominous statement, he kicks my ankles. “Good luck, Hero.” Frederik unties my bounds as the other members surround me and my Pokémon.
“Go on, stop making the king wait.”
When I manage to clamber my way into the room, nursing my injured arm, my jaw drops.
“Oh it has been a while, hasn’t it, Alec. Look what I have!”