[Ichi - Pikachu ♂ - Lv. 7 - HP: 53/53]
“Rei, I’m not buying you fifty Escape Orbs. Why the hell would you need so many, anyway?”
“To make a ‘tactical retreat’, obviously! Why else?”
“...I’m pretty sure our badges let us leave after we complete a job.”
“But what if we don’t complete it?”
“Still, we don’t need fifty…”
“Ugh, fine… Just one, then…” Rei groaned as he took a single Orb from the shelf. “What else do we need?” He rummaged through our shopping basket. “We’ve got Oran Berries, Elixirs, a Health Orb, and now an Escape Orb.”
“Um…” I scanned the dungeon items aisle. So far, we’ve browsed for berries, medicine, and now Wonder Orbs. We already have enough healing items… What else is here? Never really had to shop for stuff like this…
Rei snapped his fingers. “Wait, I remember… Pretty sure this guy sells hand grena—er, Blast Seeds.” He stepped over to our left, to the store’s stock of seeds. There were a lot of seeds on the shelf… just not a lot of different seeds. Most of them were Totter Seeds, Sleep Seeds, and Reviver Seeds. “You know… I don’t really know how to tell these seeds apart, hehe… I’ve seen all of ‘em before, I just forgot which is which.”
“It’s not that hard to memorize them,” I said. “Their shapes usually correlate to what they do.” I picked up a Totter Seed. “Uh, this one’s a Totter Seed. Totter Seeds confuse a Pokemon when you throw it at ‘em or if they eat it. This seed’s shaped like a spiral, and usually people associate spirals with confusion, so…”
“Ah. I think I got the gist of it.” Rei nabbed a crescent-shaped seed wrapped in purple vines. “This one’s shaped like a moon, so wouldn’t this be a Sleep Seed?”
“Uh, no. That’s a Stun Seed,” I corrected him.
“Eh?” Rei raised an eyebrow. “How the hell is it a Stun Seed? Shouldn’t a Stun Seed be shaped like a lightning bolt or something?”
“Okay, firstly, this is a Sleep Seed.” I showed him a seed that looked like a pink rose. “Secondly, Stun Seeds don’t shock and paralyze someone, they petrify them, rendering them unable to move.”
“THEN CALL THEM PETRIFY SEEDS!”
“Hey! What’s with all the ruckus?!” King the Kecleon stormed over to the two of us. “Is there a problem—oh. It’s just you two.” His eyes narrowed in disdain.
“S-Sorry, we’ll be quick, don’t worry!” I assured him.
“Hey, King. I know you have Blast Seeds in the back, mind if we get some?” Rei asked, gesturing a thumb to the storage closet.
“I was in that closet four days ago restocking for you, I know you have a crate of ‘em, and there’s no way you’d sell out in under a week.”
“I refuse to sell my merchandise to you two.” King stubbornly crossed his arms.
“Sir, we’re licensed to use these items, we have rescuer badges,” I explained as I pulled out my badge. “We need these for a job we’re about to head out for.”
“No, what I mean is that I refuse to do business with you specifically, Ichi .” He scowled like a petty brat. “I don’t do business with my competitors.”
“Oh my fucking—I knew this would happen…” Rei sighed. “Listen, shopkeep, we are literally helping you by buying your stuff, you’re really gonna be a dick about it? We didn’t even do anything to you—”
“Rei.” I held up a paw to him, gesturing for him to stop. “I got this.” I walked closer to King. I know just the thing to convince this guy… “Us business rivals gotta help each other out from time to time, y’know?” I gave him a smile as I held up my sack of Poké. “I don’t mind paying a little extra if that’s what you want… Think of it as a gift! From one business owner to another!” I lightly shook the bag, the coins making a metallic jingle.
King’s eyes narrowed even further at the sight of my money. C’mon, take the bait… “Hmm…” He paused for a moment, fixing his apron. “One grand. Upfront.”
“Eh?! You’re seriously giving him that much?!” Rei protested.
“It’ll all be worth it, trust me,” I told Rei, winking.
Six Oran Berries. Two Max Elixirs. Four Heal Seeds. One Escape Orb. Three Stun Seeds. And ten Blast Seeds.
In retrospect, we didn’t need to buy that many Blast Seeds, but since Rei can’t use any moves, he needs to rely on those for now, I suppose… The rest, however, is absolutely crucial, considering the two of us alone are most likely at a disadvantage against Machoke.
“This is fine,” I said, trying to keep up a smile as we walked out of the store, a receipt totaling almost 2,000 Poké in my paws. He really had to jack up the prices for some of these too, huh…? Combined with the “gift”, I really hope that Machoke still has the money… I'm not even sure at this point.
No, no, he’s gotta still have the cash! I just know it! I don’t want this money to go to waste, after all!
“Still think it was worth it?” Rei chuckled. “We got a pretty big haul, I’d say. I dunno how I’d fit it all in my bag, but whatever.” He shrugged as he held two shopping bags’ worth of dungeon items.
“Definitely worth it. I’m sure,” I nodded firmly.
“You sure, bud? Three thousand Poké down the drain… That’s a lot, isn’t it?” He smirked.
“Gotta spend money to make money, I always say! We’ll still have a net gain of twelve-K when we beat up Machoke.”
“If he has the cash, that is. What’re you gonna do if he doesn’t?”
“...Fine by me. Still gonna be worth it, taking him down!”
“Heh, I suppose that’s true…” Rei looked at the plastic bags. “Did you really think it was a good idea to bribe the guy, though?”
“It was the only thing I could think of at the moment, ‘kay? If he were anything like me, he’d give in to the prospect of Poké easily, which he did. His business is kinda struggling if you couldn’t tell. Probably because of how shittily he treats his customers.”
“‘Anything like you’? Don’t tell me you’d do the same in his shoes...”
“Heh, ‘course not. I may be greedy, but I’d at least have my pride come first,” I laughed. “Money may be precious, but it ain’t everything.”
“Never thought I’d hear someone as materialistic as you say something like that…”
The trek to Ragged Mountain was fairly quick. We’d actually passed by this area before when Rei and I first arrived in Post Town. Water cascaded down the pale brown face of the ridge, creating rivers that divided the valley. Bridges were lined up for easy travel, thankfully.
Keyword being “were”, as the center bridge had collapsed. That was the main reason why we had to take an alternate route, actually… I was in a rush and the only other way past was the Mystery Dungeon inside the mountain, so I just decided to go around it. Luckily, the river ended not too far from the mountain, so it didn’t take up too much time to get past.
Yes, we could’ve gone through the dungeon, since it would’ve taken a lot less time, but at the time Rei seemed severely injured after his, well, “skydive” of sorts, and going into a dungeon unprepared is practically a death sentence, so… Better safe than sorry!
“So… Machoke is apparently hiding on the fourth floor.” Rei gazed at the ledge of the mountain, punctured by two cavern entrances at its base. Two more holes were atop said ledge, most likely connected to the entrances. “But it only looks like there're two floors…?”
“There are actually five floors here,” I corrected him. “We’ve already entered the first floor, in fact. Some dungeons have open areas where the layout doesn’t warp, but Wild Pokémon still roam.” I spotted a feral Minccino and pointed it out to him. “See? There're already some enemies here.”
“Aw, but it’s just a cute little chinchilla—” Rei’s smile promptly faded as he witnessed the Minccino bare its sharp teeth and growl at him, its empty red eyes sparking fear in him. “—Okay, never mind! I-I’m gonna have to put that thing out of its misery…” The Snivy dug through his satchel as the wild Minccino crept closer, its nose twitching.
Rei plucked a Blast Seed out of his bag, its crimson, flame-like exterior heating up his palm. “Take this!” He chucked the seed at the Pokémon, and upon hitting the poor little Minccino, the seed burst into flames, creating a vivid explosion that propelled it backward. A flash of orange and red quickly expanded and dissipated, and the knockback instantly caused the Minccino to faint, leaving behind burn marks on the ground where the blast took place.
“...Jesus fucking Christ.” Rei’s tail dropped as he realized just how powerful the seed was. “H-hehe… These are absolutely devastating…” His paws began to tremble.
“Those seeds pack even more of a punch if you eat ‘em, y’know!” I said. “Fire starts spewing outta your mouth, literally!”
“Er… I think I’ll stick with throwing ‘em… I cannot handle spicy foods. At all.” Rei closed his satchel. “Still, I can’t believe they’d be that potent… Then again, they are essentially hand grenades…”
“What even is a hand grenade? You keep mentioning ‘em as if I’m supposed to know…” I scratched my head.
“Oh, uh, it’s a type of explosive made by humans. Think of a Blast Seed except you aren’t supposed to eat ‘em, and instead of bursting into flames they just cause a regular explosion.”
“So you guys don’t have Blast Seeds and stuff like that?”
“If bombs like that grew on trees, or fields, or wherever the hell they grow, we’d all be extinct killing ourselves with them… There’s a reason stuff like that isn’t so easy to just buy from your local 7-Eleven.”
“...okay then… Let’s just move forward…”
As per usual, the torches that are lined up along the interior of the dungeon light up as we step foot into the cave. Rei yelped as the entrance closed in, the dirt walls sealing our way out. “Gah, I will never get used to that…”
The walls looked like they were made of coarse brown clay or soil, cracks plastered all over. Patches of grass were littered across the dungeon floor, despite the lack of sunlight. Leaves were even bursting out of the walls and ceiling.
“Hopefully you don’t collapse like last time, Ichi…” Rei sighed.
“I’ll be fine. From what I’ve heard, this place should be easier than Stony Cave, so fewer enemies to take care of!”
“Last time you said you’d be fine, you fell face-flat on the ground and we had to resuscitate you with a Chesto Berry,” he frowned.
“Well… I’m not gonna overwork myself again, so I’m sure I won’t!”
“With Stella gone, you know you’re gonna have to carry, right? All I can do is Tackle, and these Blast Seeds aren’t gonna last for long.”
“Don’t worry!” I gave him a thumbs up. “This time, I’m extra motivated! I want my Poké back, after all!”
“Just… take it easy, alright dude?”
Further into the dungeon, there weren’t that many Wild Pokemon that ambushed us as we marched onward. I had taken out a Woobat with a Thunder Shock, zapping the scruffy little thing with a jolt of electricity and making quick work of it thanks to my type advantage; and Rei quickly dealt with a Gothita using another Blast Seed. I was afraid the explosion would cause the place to collapse, given the dilapidated and crumbling walls, but apparently they were stronger than I thought, as the blast merely caused dust to fly all over as it burst in front of the Pokémon.
Honestly, I would’ve preferred the former. “S-Shit! I can’t see!” The dirt in my eyes stung like crazy…
“Maybe… it’s not a good idea… to use these indoors…” Rei muttered in between coughs.
I rubbed my eyes and blinked rapidly, tears dripping out a little as the stinging subsided. “Arceus… That was a lot of dust…”
“You… you okay?” Rei huffed.
“I’ll be fine… I just gotta cover my eyes next time we use those, hehe.”
Rei took a deep breath. “Whew… Not gonna lie, besides the huge mess that comes after, using these Blast Seeds is starting to feel really great for me. It’s so satisfying to see shit get blown up, y’know? Granted, these are potent explosives and it’s a really bad idea to just fling ‘em around since I could easily kill myself with them… Still kinda invigorating though!”
“I gotta agree, yeah, it is pretty fun.”
“Still a little unsettling how we’re killing all these Pokémon…” Rei was swinging back and forth like a pendulum from excitement to trembling fear as we neared the staircase.
“ Fainting , you mean. And it’s fine, they’re feral and they’re out to get us anyway. Better them than us!”
“You know, I’ve always wondered, what makes Wild Pokémon so different from normal Pokemon?” Rei raised an eyebrow.
“Wild Pokémon are just Pokémon that have been raised in dungeons. They aren’t domesticated like us, so they can’t speak and they hunt down regular Pokémon for food.”
“But… isn’t it weird how there are some Pokémon that can talk and think and stuff, and there are others that are essentially rabid animals?”
“...Not really?” I tilted my head. “How is it weird?”
“Dude. Wouldn’t you find it unsettling to see a feral Pikachu running around trying to bite your face off?”
“Meh.” I shrugged. “It’s not that unsettling.”
Rei stared at me, dumbfounded. “I really doubt that… Like, you guys are all Pokémon… isn’t it strange how some of you are normal and others aren’t?”
“Nope. Never really questioned it, actually.” I shook my head.
Rei blinked. “I… I’m just…” He began walking a little faster, already starting to rush up the stairs. “Let’s just go on already…”
I looked at him, confused. What’s so weird about that? It’s so easy to distinguish normal Pokémon from feral ones… It’s like comparing apples to Oran berries!
Humans have really strange concerns...