Chapter Three: Team Spectra's First Mission
Afterwards, Chatot presented the team with a room of its own. It was a small, but functioning cave of sorts with a window to the outside and two straw beds. "You'll live here while you work for us," he chirped. "Yes! We get beds!" Ruby cheered, jumping on his. "What were you expecting, a moss-covered corner?" Tracey commented dryly. Chatot twittered; Ruby blushed.
"Anyway, things will get busy for you tomorrow, so rise early and start living up to our code!" he whistled. "Don't stay up late; you'll need plenty of rest, so get to sleep early tonight! That's all!" With a final whistle, he hopped out of their room.
Ruby carefully examined the Joy Ribbon as Tracey did so with the Sky Blue Bow. "You know, Ruby, I get the feeling that these will be a big help on our adventures," Tracey mused. "Of course they will!" Ruby laughed. "Look, the Joy Ribbon lets you earn experience while taking damage, and the Bow boosts all your stats at once! But just by a little." Tracey smiled at him as she put the Bow back in the Treasure Bag, curled up on her bed, and closed her eyes. Ruby followed suit with the Joy Ribbon.
A few hours later, Ruby wasn't having much success getting to sleep. "
Tracey? Are you still awake?" he whispered. "Yeah," he heard her say from the other bed. "What's up?"
"My heart's been racing over every little thing
know the feeling?" "Uh-huh," she whispered. "I'm glad I finally made myself come here," he said. "I thought Wigglytuff would be scary, but he seems pretty friendly."
"I thought the same thing, Ruby. We're going to do all kinds of things tomorrow
are you scared?" she asked. "Not very. I'm super excited! What a shock, huh?" he joked. Tracey giggled. "Cute, Ruby, but I'm tired and we need rest for all those adventures. Let's give it our all tomorrow!" "OK, goodnight," Ruby replied. Tracey could hear his breathing slow down.
He's not the only one who's a little scared, Tracey thought. I have no idea what being an apprentice at this guild will be like
but it's pretty exciting to be on a team, and I like being friends with Ruby.
who am I? she wondered silently. How did I turn into a Pokémon and end up unconscious on that beach?
I'm sleepy too. I guess I'll figure it out later, she told herself, curling into a tighter ball. Better focus on the guild's work for right now.
The next morning
"HEY! HEY THERE! RISE AND SHINE!"
Tracey was awakened by the pleasant sound of Deep Voice screaming at her. Ugh! she thought, brain fully scrambled. My head's pounding! That ridiculously loud voice practically burst my eardrums!
do I even have eardrums? she wondered impishly.
"Why are you still ASLEEP?!" he shouted, definitely angry. "WAKE UP!" Evidently, Ruby was having the same reaction as she had. "M-my poor ears
" he moaned. "C'mon! Snap OUT of it!" Deep Voice shouted again. "By the way, I'm Loudred. I'm also an apprentice!" Well, that explains the loud wake-up call, Tracey thought sarcastically. "If you're late for our morning briefing, you'll be SORRY! So MOVE it! Guildmaster Wigglytuff has a BIG temper. If you make him lose it
" Loudred shuddered. "Anyway, come ON! I'm not getting in trouble because you rookies got up LATE!"
"OK, OK, give a girl a break, will you?!" Tracey shouted back as she opened her eyes and struggled to her paws. Loudred's expression softened. "MUCH better. Now GET IT IN GEAR!" And with that, Tracey's new least favorite apprentice stomped out of their room. Tracey prodded a quivering Ruby with her front paw. "Come on, Ruby," she yipped. "We want to get a good start to our first day, don't we?" "Ohhh, I hope he doesn't do that every day
" Ruby mewed. "My ears are still ringing
What'd he say? Something about getting ready?"
Tracey, already cranky from the wake-up call, was in no mood to be indulging. "Ruby, I'm in a really bad mood now because of Loudred's screaming, so if you like yourself without charred patches of fur, get your tail out of bed and follow me!" she snapped. That got his attention. "Oh, yeah! Waaaah! We totally overslept! LET'S GO!" he said in a panic. By sprinting out of their room, the two made it to the main room on B2F.
The second floor now had a neat arrangement of Pokémon in front of Wigglytuff's door; a Croagunk, Chimecho, Bidoof, and Sunflora in the first row, and a Dugtrio, Corphish, the Loudred from earlier, and Diglett the sentry in the second. Chatot was waiting patiently by the window. Tracey rushed to stand by the Sunflora, and Ruby by Diglett. "You're LATE, rookies!" Loudred bellowed. "
is this where the briefing is?" Tracey asked in her best please-don't-hurt-me voice.
"Correct," Chatot chirped. "And you hush!" he squawked angrily at Loudred. "You're ridiculously loud!" He doesn't know the half of it! Tracey thought bitterly. Loudred mumbled something noncommittal. "All right, everyone seems to be present," Chatot said. "Let us conduct our morning address!"
He turned to the Guildmaster's door. "Guildmaster!" he whistled. "The guild is in full attendance!" The door opened and Wigglytuff walked out. He certainly seemed awake. "Thank you! Please address them," Chatot tweeted. An awkward silence followed. "Zzz
Then, the apprentices and/or employees of Wigglytuff's Guild all figured out that he wasn't awake at the exact same time. "The Guildmaster never ceases to amaze me," someone whispered. "Got that right," someone else commented. "Eek! His eyes are wide open, but he's asleep!" a higher voice chimed in.
Chatot, clearly desperate to pretend something had actually taken place, nodded his head. "Thank you, sir! We appreciate your
words of wisdom!" he faltered. Turning to the guild, he flapped his wings once. "OK, Pokémon! Take our Guildmaster's words of wisdom to heart!" he whistled. "What "words of wisdom"?" Ruby whispered, poking Tracey in her back leg. "Quiet!" she hissed.
"Finally, let's not forget the morning cheers! All together now!"
"A ONE, A TWO
A ONE-TWO-THREE! ONE! DON'T SHIRK WORK! TWO! RUN AWAY AND PAY! THREE! SMILES GO FOR MILES!" the guild cheered as one. "OK, Pokémon! Get to work!" Chatot chirruped. With a final "HOORAY!" everyone but Team Spectra and Chatot went off to do something.
"We'd better record this," Tracey said to Ruby. "OK," he replied. They headed in the direction of their room when Chatot stopped them with a squawk of "Hey, you two!" They turned to face him. "Yes, sir?" Ruby asked politely. "You shouldn't just be wandering around there," he said. "You two come here." He hopped off to the left. Tracey and Ruby exchanged meaningful looks, then scampered after him.
The three met up again on B1F, in front of one of the message boards. "Since you're only beginners, we'll start you off with this assignment," he whistled. Turning to the board, he went on: "This is the Job Bulletin Board. Pokémon from various regions post job requests here. You're aware that bad Pokémon are cropping up in greater numbers, right?"
"Yes," they said at the same time. "Because the flow of time is getting messed up. It's wreaking havoc, right?" Ruby added. "Which is why lots of bad Pokémon are appearing!" The flow of time is getting messed up? Tracey wondered, thoroughly confused. Time? As in hours and minutes? Do they mean it's getting messed up here? And bad Pokémon are popping up because of that? What?! Ruby, catching sight of her confused expression, said "I'll explain later. It's REALLY complicated."
Chatot nodded approvingly. "Precisely. Time's getting knocked out of whack has produced an outbreak of bad Pokémon. Because of that
we've noticed an increase in the number of jobs. In addition
and we don't know whether this is because of time's influence
" He paused there and took a deep breath, then continued. "There's also been a mass outbreak of, for lack of a better word, mystery dungeons."
Whoa, what are those?! Tracey thought, even more confused now. Ruby seemed to understand. "Tracey! You know how we got my Relic Fragment back yesterday?" "Yeah," she said. "The place we found it was a mystery dungeon. A mystery dungeon changes every time you go into it. The rooms are connected differently, and there are also different items. Even the stairs to the next floor change location!" he explained.
"Geez," Tracey commented. "It gets weirder," Ruby said. "If you faint in the middle of one, you lose half your money
You can even lose half your items or more
Finally, you get kicked right out. They're very strange." "Well, thank God we didn't faint in Beach Cave or against Koffing and Zubat," Tracey quipped. Deep down, she was scared. Even as inexperienced as she was, she knew that the other mystery dungeons they found would be nowhere near as easy as Beach Cave had been.
"But there are always new things to discover when you go into one!" he said, a familiar glint in his eyes. "They're really fantastic places to go exploring!" Tracey smiled. Ruby always managed to cheer her up
Chatot whistled approvingly. "Well, you're quite the informed apprentice," he chirped. "That makes everything easier for me to explain! Thank you!" Ruby grinned. "Anyway
jobs all take place in mystery dungeons. So, let's look for one that you can perform!"
He stared intently at the pieces of paper covering the Board. Finally, he plucked one from the center and handed it to them. "Maybe this one will do," he chirped. "Let's read it!" Ruby said. They spread it out and began reading.
The request was from a Spoink whose precious pearl had been taken by an outlaw. Spoink graciously explained that the pearl boosted its psychic powers, and was, in a sense, its life. Someone had seen the pearl on a rocky bluff somewhere. However, the bluff was unsafe, and Spoink wanted whoever happened to be reading it to go and get it back.
Ruby stared at the letter. "Wait a second
we're going to go get an item that someone dropped?" he hissed angrily, claws out. "I'd rather do something that's more of an adventure. You know, look for treasure or explore unknown places. Things likeow!" Tracey had jabbed him very sharply in the back with her paw. "Ruby. We're. Just. Beginners," she yapped. "If we try anything harder than this, we'll probably fail!"
Chatot nodded. "She's right, you know. It's important that you rookies pay your dues!" he squawked. "Now pay attention!" "OK
" Ruby grumbled. Chatot preened his somewhat ruffled feathers before he spoke again. "I'll repeat the warnings to make sure they stick! You'll be forced out of a dungeon and sent back here if either of you faints. You will also lose half your money, and could lose at least half of your items. You'd best be careful!" These were spoken with increasingly ruffled feathers. "If you understand all that, I suggest you get on with the job!" he finished.
" Ruby said, sweatdropping. Tracey nudged him in the arm encouragingly. "Everything's going to be fine, Ruby," she said cheerfully. "After all, you're working with me now!" Without further ado, the two friends went off to Drenched Bluff (which had mysteriously appeared on their Wonder Map).
"Well, here's the entrance," Ruby said once they'd arrived. "Spoink's job description said the pearl is deep on B7F. It sounds like a dangerous place
Let's be careful. Ready?" he asked. "Always," she said with a grin. "Then let's go do our best, Tracey!" he cheered. With a nod, they entered the bluff.
Like Beach Cave, Drenched Bluff had a lot of water in it. Thankfully, the bluff was better lit than the cave had been. The local Pokémon, while still (usually) Water-types, were a little more varied; within four minutes, Team Spectra had defeated two Lileep and a pink, spiky-backed Shellos.
The first two floors passed without anything too terribly important happening (other than finding two Apples and five Geo Pebbles for the first time). It was on B3F, where the Chingling began appearing, that things got interesting, and fast.
"Ha! These Chingling are pushovers!" Tracey laughed as she knocked one down to half health with a single Ember. "A pushover, am I?" the Chingling rang angrily. "Well, let's see how you like my Wrap!" At that, the Chingling's striped head-things reached out, grabbed Tracey's front legs, and lifted them into the air. "Yaaaaaa!" she screamed, trying to reach the ground. Then they squeezed her tightly, dealing 6 damage points.
"Hurts, doesn't it?" Chingling taunted. "Of course, I can't do anything either
but what the heck, I'm still winning!" "No, you're not!" Ruby hissed, jumping in for a Bite attack. His fangs practically engulfed the poor Chingling, who released Tracey and hobbled away in fright. "Thanks, Ruby," she said, trying to make her gratitude visible in her eyes. It must have worked, because Ruby blushed and muttered something along the lines of "well, what would you have done?" "We really should watch out for the Chingling!" Tracey declared. "You're right. By the way, I think the stairs are this way," Ruby commented, gesturing down a corridor to the west. "Let's go!"
The major discoveries of B4F and B5F were a Heal Seed and a Max Elixir, respectively. Also the fact that all the wild Pokémon but the Chingling could walk on the patches of water throughout. On B6F, Tracey grew a level and learned Roar, which she very much enjoyed. Ruby grew a level too, but he had yet to learn another move.
Drenched Bluff B7F was, like Beach Cave Pit, not at all what they were expecting. There were so many plants everywhere, for one thing. Also of interest was the small rock from which several waterfalls sprang. And, in front of that rock
"Hey, look over there!" Ruby meowed. Tracey followed his lead, and saw a single pink pearl. "That's probably Spoink's pearl," she yipped. "Let's get that sucker and hurry home!" And so they did.
Back at the Guild
"Th-thank you!" Spoink said happily. "The pearl simply must be placed on my head, you see. I missed it so much!" "We're happy we could help," Tracey grinned.
"Me too!" Spoink said matter-of-factly. "I was bouncing and sproinging all over the place before I got it back! Now I'm covered in dings and bumps
but thanks to you, all that's over! My sincere thanks!" Spoink happily bounced toward Tracey. "Here's your reward!"
"WOW!" Tracey yipped in joy. "A Protein, a Calcium, an Iron, and 2,000 Poké?! What an incredible present! Is all the money for us?" "Uh-huh!" Spoink cheered. "It's nothing compared to how valuable my pearl is!" "Yaaaaay!" Ruby cheered.
"Bye now!" Spoink called as it bounced its way out of the guild. "Tracey, we're rich! We got rich just like that!" Ruby meowed, waving his paw through the air for emphasis. Chatot cleared his throat. "Well done, team! I hate to interrupt your celebrating, but
"But what?" Ruby asked. "We're going to need your money," Chatot said frankly. Ruby's jaw fell open. "But
we just earned all this!" he burst out, a "why are you doing this to me?" look on his face. "Yes, yes, but the guild has to keep itself up somehow," Chatot chirruped. He then sectioned out all but 200 Poké with his beak and tucked his winnings under his wing. "This isn't fair!" Ruby blurted, clearly feeling wronged. "Fair or not, it's the guild's rule. You have to accept it," Chatot said bossily. Ruby pouted all the way down to the second floor.
Just then, a cheerful "Dingly-ding!" sounded throughout the guild. "OK, I finished making dinner!" Chimecho rang. "Come on! It's chow time!" The guild members let out a hearty cheer and proceeded to the mess hall, where they stuffed themselves full of apples, berries, and other nutritious goodies.
That night, Tracey and Ruby stared out their window at the moon. "Wow, Tracey, wasn't today hectic?" Ruby asked. "So much happened! I'm happy our first job was a success." "Me too," Tracey yipped quietly.
"I still don't think it's fair that Wigglytuff's Guild took most of our prize money," he fumed. "Oh, well, I guess it's just the cost of training." "We can't do squat about it," Tracey agreed.
"But you know what? The thing that made me really happy today was getting thanked by Spoink!" Ruby mewed. "Seeing the light in his eyes
it was just so satisfying!" "I know the feeling," Tracey responded. Then she let out a jaw-cracking yawn. "I'm getting sleepy," she whispered. "OK, we'll give it our best again tomorrow. Goodnight, Tracey," he whispered back. Tracey felt his tail stretch out to touch some of hers, and then pull back in towards his body. She returned the favor.
Selected Quote from Chapter Four:
"They'll beat us to a furry pulp!!"