a new year brings new expectations. civil unrest starts to manifest in the form of online criticisms that spike after the three day war. now that the region no longer has to face the threat of megalopolans, the people of hoenn turn to address smaller and more personal issues. will the league rise up to the situation? what about questionable events that have transpired, overshadowed and overlooked in the face of more imminent issues?
after the ultra beast war, hoenn begins to heal. the megalopolan invasion may have failed; however, it is clear there is much more at stake. a prophecy revolving around a cyclical meteoroid, the appearance of necrozma and a dangerous and viral alien threaten the safety of the region once more.
with rocket's new boss, the resurgence and reappearance of the crime syndicate's presence is imminent. the league has done its best to repair its reputation, and with the victory of a war under their belt, perhaps it is enough. but the seeds of distrust have already been sown in the ravaged land of this region, causing many to wonder what will grow?
So, like— there's this thing about deinos that no one seems to tell you when you pick one up, and that's kind of a big fucking mistake, if you ask Dante. Sure, yeah, they're all apparently blind, and a bit pushy, and they aren't afraid to get violent, which. Okay, fine. Dante can live with all that, because Beatrice seems to have a pretty mild temperament. You know, as much as a nightmare dinosaur can have one of those, at least. No, see, no, the big problem isn't the way his sweet little idiot occasionally bumps into things and then proceeds to try to beat the tar out of them. At the end of the day, she's a pokémon: they do what they do. Dante can respect that.
The problem is that she's always hungry. Starving, if you believed her pitiful wailing whenever he released her, which, no, he absolutely does not. Believe her, that is, not keep her in her pokéball all day, because while people say that it's perfectly nice in there, he's never actually met someone that tried it themselves, so. Yes, he lets her out. No, he isn't convinced that Beatrice is starving to death, no matter how much she yowls, keens, and cries at him.
And, sure, the whining is a bit annoying, but she almost always calms down after a ridiculous amount of petting and sweet-talking. Thing is, he can talk to her all day every day, and she's apparently still fucking hungry. To the point where she will try stuffing anything down her greedy little throat. Literally anything, not metaphorically— he's watched her try to eat her own damned tail before, okay? And he gets it, kind of. Sort of. He really does, be he also never wanted to invest energy into figuring out why nature would encourage such a trait in a living, breathing, thinking creature. It's pretty messed up, when you think about it.
Dante doesn't want to think about it. But the issue is that it's basically impossible for him to cuddle her from dawn till dusk, and that she always, always has a worse tantrum if he leaves her in her pokéball for too long. Wails and love-nips turn very quickly into roars and bites, and he absolutely cannot keeping taking days off because of it. He doesn't have time for that shit.
So basically, all that means is that once a day, every day, he has to let her out on the world's most disturbing walk. Like, she always manages to find something, and it's the most successful way he's found to keep her quiet long-term. The only successful way, actually. He's definitely fine with it, even though it constantly gets them into some sort of trouble with another trainer or the local wildlife. All because she won't stop being a little diva and just— shut up for a second and share ramen with him. God.
"Don't wander off," he calls out to her. Lazily, because he doesn't expect Bea to actually, like, listen to him. She almost never does, the little menace. It's the main reason he avoids letting her out in public areas, because she basically does whatever and there are some crazy fines associated with that.
So. Cave. Or tunnel, technically, but that's basically a cave, isn't it? It's dark and kind of creepy, and there's basically nothing here except dirt. Beatrice seems to enjoy the challenge, at least— so far she's tried rocks, sand, and what was probably some kind of precious gemstone? Eh. She spat it out. Dante's sure she's fine.
He catches up with her when he rounds the corner. And promptly stops moving, because, uh. There's something huge and metallic in the middle of the tunnel? And he'd think it's just a wall, or whatever. It basically looks like nothing. Except by the way it's moving it seems to be breathing, and his adorably stupid partner has stopped right in front of it, tilting her head in a way that he knows leads only to pain and madness.
Dante pales. "Uh, Bea, sweetie?" he tries, voice syrupy sweet. "You might want to come over here. Like. Right the fuck now."
And his deino, bless her little stupid heart, proceeds to ignore him and bite into the wall— hard.
And the wall, which actually is alive, proceeds to get up— loudly.
Apparently it was just... sleeping. And despite the fact that it is clearly made out of metal and, therefore, should be incapable of feeling much of anything at all, Beatrice's bite was just painful enough to return it to the world of the living.
The metallic beast takes exception to that, which. Yeah, no, fair, except it's shrieking so loudly that the tunnel begins to vibrate. That seems a bit excessive, honestly, doesn't it live here? He's pretty sure this could absolutely cause a cave in, and who would that help? Like, the only thing keeping Dante from falling straight on his ass is the fact that he's all ready on it— Beatrice had finally listened to him and came running back, and she did it by climbing on top of him and forcing him to the ground. Shit, if it keeps that up, Dante's going to go deaf— though Beatrice's fearful howling definitely isn't helping. Ouch.
He scrambles to his feet, cuddling the little deino close to his chest. "Calm down, sweetie," he tells her, which is definitely a mistake. Like, miraculously, it actually works— but only on Bea. The metal creature, on the other hand, is clearly still pissed off, and now it's looking at him like it wants to eat him. Which is terrifying. It's twice as big now as it was laying down, and even in the poor light of the tunnel, Dante can clearly see its sharp horns and powerful jaws.
"Oh, shi... bail! Bail, bail, bail, bail, fucking bail!" Dante barks, turning tail and bolting for the exit, Beatrice tucked safely in his arms.
although noah often spends the night in verdanturf, an early schedule forces him to return to rustboro. rusturf tunnel is no stranger to noah— but that does not dispel the foreboding angles and shapes cast by shadow and stone. whismurs may cry, their voices bending fiendish with every echo.
still, noah is brave enough to confront the unknown. he just wishes he had company.
and so, when it is the voice of a man—and not some mauve, rabbit-eared crybaby—that roars through him, noah is startled by providence and misfortune.
"hello?" noah calls out. the black-haired stranger comes into view with his deino cradled in his arms. "what's going on?"
the tunnel quakes in answer. a mega aggron, another wild pokemon shaken berserk by the residual radiation settling around the region, begins to give chase. to slow them, the steel behemoth begins to hurl boulders.
"dude, what did you do?!" noah cries out as dante nears. he tosses his machamp out from his ball, "WIDE GUARD, quick!"
his summoned pokemon raises all four arms, flexing them to endure the boulders that crumble against him.
Dante's not sure how, but he manages to book it without getting caught and pulverized. Honestly, he's a terrible runner, and he trips up while walking, so it doesn't really make sense? Apparently, having a giant, metallic dinosaur break the ground behind you on your way out was just one hell of a motivator. That's probably it, because despite the fact that he seems to end up in stupid situations all the time, this is definitely still a first for him. He should really, absolutely be dead by now.
But he's not. Dead, that is. He's scratched and bruised and maybe even concussed from all the stray shards of rock flying around, yeah, but he's still alive. Probably. He's pretty sure, anyway, because when he turns his fifth or seventh corner, there's another person standing there. Who's confused, which makes sense, and asking questions— which, like, not to be rude, or anything, because Dante totally has questions too, but now is seriously not the time to stop and chat.
Dante tells him so. "Uh, you should probably run—" he calls down the tunnel, tightening his grip on Beatrice. She's crazy heavy, for such a tiny thing. He's worried he might drop her, and her incessant wiggling isn't helping. At all. He wishes she would quit it, seriously.
He doesn't really have time for more than that, though, because the giant death beast has pretty much caught up. Which, actually, what the hell, shouldn't it weigh, like, fifteen tons and be really slow? He's not a scientist, but he thinks that's how it should work.
Except, yeah, no, it's not how it works. Because he has to dive behind the stranger and his machamp to avoid the onslaught of rocks and boulders, barely managing to keep his head on his body, where it definitely still belongs, thank you very much. He didn't do anything, and it definitely wasn't his fault he was in this mess (looking at you, Beatrice), and the boy's frantic accusation is getting Dante a little defensive.
"Hey, man, it wasn't me!" he bristles, adjusting his arms around his deino so that he doesn't drop her. Since, you know, that's becoming more and more likely. What with the walls heaving and breaking around them, and all.
He might've kept going, except the rampaging creature is, understandably, quite annoyed that it hasn't succeeded in murdering them all. Enraged, it lets out a horrific screeching noise— which, okay, ouch, why? Dante instinctively cringes into Beatrice to try to block it out. Which is about as effective as sticking a finger in your ear to deafen the sound of a trigger being pulled right next to it. Basically, it's awful, and he's a hundred percent sure he's going to develop tinnitus, now.
Dante looks up, because while the Wide Guard is effective in keeping him and Beatrice from becoming chunks of salsa on the ground, he's seriously debating going back to running for his life. The shrieking is actually that bad, and, honestly, he's not willing to bet on their chances of surviving close-quarter combat with a fucking metal dinosaur.
Except, in addition to making Dante's ears bleed, the noise also managed to cut off their only exit— the one that isn't being body-blocked by a rampaging pokémon. "Yeah, sure, why not?" he snarks, softly banging his head into Beatrice's body in sheer frustration.
"so this isn't your pokemon?" noah pales, but the dim lighting of the cave hides the hues of his concern for him. "ah crap, this is worse than i—"
the gym leader cringes. the screeching reminds him of kyle lopez's kommo-o— but when such a noise judders out from the lungs of a beast as big as a mutated aggron, no ear can be fully prepared. his machamp covers its own ears and noah's.
with their exit covered, noah wonders if he'll become salsa too.
"how are you at battling?" noah asks. a small laugh colours his voice's breath. "is your deino your only pokemon? please prove me wrong, man."
the mega aggron roars again and beats its steel plates. as it lunges for them, it swings its massive tail (IRON TAIL).
"What? No—" this thing is absolutely not his pokémon. Dante doesn't actually know what it is, in, you know, a general sense, except maybe their future cause of death. Like, he didn't even figure it qualified as a pokémon until the stranger insinuated it could, maybe, possibly belong to someone, which, seriously? What the hell, that would be sick and so insanely terrifying that he'd die.
Though, actually, he might just die right now. They all will, probably. It's looking pretty likely, at least, between their exit caving in and the giant, metallic, dinosaur pokémon absolutely losing its shit about ten feet away from them.
Dante's still gently butting his head into Beatrice's fur and muttering swears about all that, so it takes him a minute to catch up. And then another to catch up, because— okay, fine, he gets the logic, okay? Theoretically, if this fucking thing is a pokémon and not some stupid, crazy movie kaiju, then it can be beaten in battle. If it can be beaten in battle, it can faint or run away, and they don't become a fresh coat of paint inside this extremely dangerous and yet still somehow publicly-accessible tunnel. It's a best case scenario, sure, but it's also the only one that doesn't end with them tragically splattered on the evening news.
So. He gets it. Really.
"There's no way I can battle that thing, man, what the fuck?" he says, tone incredulous. He cuddles Beatrice a bit closer to his chest, just in case. "She's my only one. And, like, she's an idiot, so—" Dante adjusts his grip on the deino, ignoring her indignant squawking. Because she's absolutely a moron, and he's still pretty irritated with her for getting them into this situation in the first place, honestly. He loves her, but she's ridiculous.
The enraged wild pokémon, whose classification Dante will never get over, seriously, shrieks one more time, beats out a tattoo on its chest, and rushes them. Only instead of lobbing boulders the size of station wagons at their heads, it decides to just bludgeon them to death. With its own body. Dante has about seven seconds to hiss out a curse — "oh, shit!" — before impact, the beast's metallic tail slapping him and Beatrice several meters away from the stranger.
Dante flies for a bit and crashes, which sucks, since they're in a stone tunnel and the only things breaking his fall are rocks and boulders. Somewhere along the way he must've dropped Beatrice, too— she's not flailing and biting him in a blind panic, like she does whenever her feet are forced off the ground. But it takes him a bit even to remember to breathe, because he's not exactly adept at getting punted across fucking caves, and when he lifts he's head he's trying to look for her through the fog of what is probably a concussion, layered neatly on top of all his newly accumulated mental trauma.
He hears her, though, growling and snapping at an enemy she can't see. She's by herself, he realizes belatedly, just when the nausea kicks in. ...fuck.
the squawking accentuates how screwed they are. the cry of that small dragon is made infinitely inferior when compared to that of mega aggron's roar. he hopes that help is on the way— and although he is confident in his own capabilities, noah understands that life is not a shounen manga.
"no!" noah watches the man and his pokemon turn into blurs. as they crumple against the stone, he shouts at his machamp, the bracelet around his wrist glowing: "give us cover!"
as his machamp mega evolves, noah scrambles after dante. he's deafened to the mewing of a blind deino. frantically, his hands grasp at stones and dirt before they find dante's body.
"hey, man. hey, can you see me? can you hear me?" he waves a hand over dante's face. behind them, in the accumulated clouds of dust and kicked up earth, his machamp locks up with the aggron. "i'll get you outta here."
he's no shounen hero. no first aid attendant. noah attempts to help dante to his feet, surprisingly strong despite his stature. should he be successful, he drapes one of dante's arms over his shoulders.
something's missing. but noah does not realize it yet.