Chapter 7 - The Waterfall
“Er, ahem. Everyone listen up. I have an important announcement to make. Far to the northeast, then further into its outer most reaches there lies a place named Treeshroud Forest. In Treeshroud Forest time has apparently stopped.”
“Huh?!” Diglett asked, puzzled.
“Eek! What did you say?!” Sunflora exclaimed.
“You’re saying time stopped?! Hey, hey, hey!” Corphish pipped up.
“Yes, that’s correct... Time has come to a standstill in Treeshroud Forest... The wind has stopped. The clouds are motionless... Dewdrops on leaves won’t fall... They just hang there, suspended. In Treeshroud Forest, time itself has truly stopped.
“T-time has stopped?!” Dugtrio stammered.
“But... How could something this awful happen? It’s unthinkable!” Sunflora said. I was wondering that myself, but then again, who was I to say? I didn’t even know who I was.
“Yes, the unthinkable has happened. Why has time stopped in Treeshroud Forest? Well, it’s because Treeshroud’s Time Gear was... stolen!” Chatot replied, answering my question, partly. Time Gears again... Pips spoke of them before....
“Huh?!” Bidoof exclaimed.
“The Time Gear was stolen?!” Dugtrio nearly yelled in surprise.
“That’s what made time stop! Hey, hey, hey!” Corphish said suddenly.
“I heard it was possible! But now it’s really happened.” The usually silent Chimecho spoke up.
“I don’t get it though! Why would ANYONE take a Time Gear?!” Loudred exclaimed angrily.
“Quiet everyone! Officer Magnezone has already started an investigation. It’s hard to believe that anyone would dare steal a Time Gear. But if one Time Gear can be stolen, the others may also be in danger. The officer asked to be notified immediately if we notice any suspicious characters. So keep that in mind. Let us know if you notice anything. That is all. All right everyone! Here’s to another day of work!”
“HOORAY!” We all shouted, though I’d no doubt not everyone was as enthusiastic as we were pretending to be. Everyone but Chatot left and as usual he approached us, I wasn’t surprised.
“Oh, you there. You two, come here. You’ve become quite good at your work. I’m impressed with your capture of Drowzee. That was very admirable! So! You will finally be assigned a mission worthy of a proper exploration team.”
“R-Really?! Hooray!” Pips said happily, I could tell he was definitely looking forward to it.
“Let me see your Wonder Map.” I handed it over to him and he pointed on the map.
“Treasure Town is here and over here is where we would like you to investigate. See? There is a waterfall flowing here. By all appearances, it’s just an ordinary waterfall. But we’ve received intelligence that the waterfall may conceal a secret. And that’s where you come in. We want you to investigate the waterfall and determine what’s there. That’s all. Do you understand what this mission entails?” We nodded. “Good! All right, I’ll leave all to thoroughly investigate the waterfall!” Pips began to tremble.
“Huh? What’s wrong? You’re shivering.” I looked at Pips, sure enough he was... and there were tears in his eyes. I wondered suddenly, was this excitement or was he scared?
“A-are you all right?” Chatot asked in shock.
“Yes. I”m OK. It’s just the anticipation that’s making me nervous. This will be the first time we get to do a real job as an exploration team. I’m feeling a little worked up....” He stopped shaking after a moment and turned to me. “Oh, I feel like I’m going to burst from excitement! Let’s do our best, Aria!” I nodded, relieved that I had been right, it was just the excitement that was getting to him. He was definitely an emotional one, but that didn’t bother me and we set off to get ready for our exploration. As we walked out of the guild, I looked at our list of jobs that we’d taken from the job board the day before.
“Pips... I know you’re eager to go on our first exploration, but I’m not sure we have enough supplies and it’s just the two of us... I mean, we don’t have anyone else to help us out if we run into trouble. I think it might be a good idea if we did a few other jobs first before we go off on this exploration.”
“Huh? Well... I guess I can understand. Couldn’t we just buy supplies from Kecelon Market though?” I shook my head.
“We don’t have enough funds yet. I mean, we’ve been saving up I know, but it’s not enough yet.”
“That’s disappointing, but I guess it wouldn’t do to go on the exploration without being prepared. Where should we go then?”
“I have a few jobs at Drenched Bluff. We’ll start there.”
“All right, let’s go then!” Drenched Bluff lived up to its name. It was a cave that was full of pools of water and all the rocks were wet. Pips was in his element, but me... It was annoying. How I managed to keep from getting soaked with every step was a mystery to me as we navigated through the dungeon. It was as I turned the corner in a hallway that I came face to face with a Shellos. I was use to seeing this pokemon. This one was pink and of course, like all other pokemon, it wasn’t just going to let me pass. It lunged at me, but missed. I slammed into it, sending the pkmn sprawling.
“You’re tough.... can I join you?” I blinked. This pokemon wanted to join us?
“Sure, what’s your name?” I asked.
“Shero.” Pips smiled at Shero as he got back up.
“Nice to meet you, I’m Pips and this is Aria.”
“Like wise. So, where are we going?” I pulled out the notes I’d taken from the job board and showed him the levels we needed to get to and the items we had to find.
“Geez, it’s like a scavenger hunt. Fun, fun! Let’s get going!” I nodded and the three of us went off, fighting our way to the next floor. I was near the stairs that would lead to the next level when an Anorith blocked my path.
“This is my room!” She said grumpily.
“Well, if you’ll move we’ll be out of here.”
“Oh no... you’re not going no where!” She lunged at me, I stumbled back from the blow, but it hadn't hurt too much. I slammed into the pokemon, sending her flying into the wall on the other side of the stairs.
“Ouch....” She flipped herself back over. “You’re a rough one.... I like that. Can I go with you?” I blinked. This was really an odd way, in my mind, to make friends, but I had to admit that it couldn’t be that bad and I smiled.
“The more the merrier! Welcome to Team Styx, what’s your name?” Pips said.
“Nice to meet you Anora. I’m Aria, this is Pips and Shero. We’re on our way to the lower floors to gather some items.”
“Lead the way.” Anora said and followed us to the next floor. Two floors later, wandering around, trying to find the stairs to the next floor, I almost bumped into a Chingling. I slammed into her without hesitation, the little bell pokemon fell head over heels, crying out a little in surprise. I’d gotten use to fighting every pokemon I saw in these dungeons now. Its cry sounded a lot like a bell, at least that’s what I thought. She stood up and brushed herself off.
“Hey... Are you an exploration team?”
“We are.” I said.
“Really?! Can I come with you?” I nodded.
“Great! My name’s Cinla!”
“I’m Aria, this is Pips, Anora, and Shero.”
“Nice to meet you!” The little bell pokemon smiled and we were on our way again. We cleared our missions a couple floors later and went back to the guild for some food and a good night’s sleep. We trained for several more days in other dungeons and gathered supplies. When we were finally ready, nearly a week later, we had three more members to our group, but as per guild regulation, we really could only have two others accompany us in missions. Anora and Cinla had been the members I’d chosen to train with us for our exploration. We met just outside the cafe on the day of our exploration.
“Today we head for Waterfall Cave. This is our first exploration as a team. Let’s do our best.” I said and got nods from the others before we headed out. When we reached the waterfall, we were astounded. It was massive and it was really roaring! Pips and I stood near the edge with the other two behind us.
“So this is the waterfall that supposedly has a secret.... “ Pips moved to get closer, but the force of air from the water knocked him back.
“Yow! That water’s coming down hard. Try getting close to the waterfall, Aria.” I moved closer. It’s true... This is incredible... I can barely stay standing near this deluge! I tried to get closer only to be knocked back by the air just as Pips had been.
“See? It’s intense. If you were to fall under this waterfall, you’d probably be battered. I didn’t think it would be pouring down this powerfully!”
“Me either.” I admitted.
“Where should we even start looking?” I wasn’t sure. Hmm... something seems familiar. It’s that dizziness I felt before. Suddenly I saw it!
A figure leapt through the waterfall during a dark evening. It was a pokemon’s shape, the pokemon rolled as it landed on a ledge behind the waterfall.I blinked as the vision disappeared. It happened again! I saw something... but what did I see exactly... ?
“Huh? What’s the matter, Aria?” Pips asked and I looked at him. I described to him the vision I’d just had.
“What?! You had another vision? This time you saw a lone pokemon leap into this waterfall?! And not only that... there’s a hidden cave behind the waterfall?!” I nodded. “Hmmm. but it looks like that water is coming down really heavily. Imagine if there was actually a solid cliff wall behind that waterfall! Ouch! If we tried to jump through... We’d be pounded badly!” That was true, if I was wrong... if what I’d thought I’d saw wasn’t true. Why would I see it though if it wasn’t true? I couldn’t doubt that it was.
“So Aria.... What do you think? IS there really something behind this waterfall? Are you really convinced that there is a cave there?” I nod again. “Well.... OK. I’m putting my faith in you, Aria! Yes! I totally believe in you.” We stepped back, Cinla and Anora had looked doubtful as well, but decided that if Pips trusted me, that they would too. We all stepped back to get a running start.
“Yikes! OK, I gotta be brave now! If I get scared and fail to leap through at full speed... I’ll be smooshed no mater what I do!” Pips was talking to himself again. I waited patiently as he continued to mutter to himself. “If I’m doing it, I have to do it without hesitating. Be brave... Be the bravest ever!” He looked at me then. “Ready! Let’s go Aria! Three... Two.... One... Now!” We ran and leapt through the waterfall, tumbling through the water and onto a ledge just behind it.
“Yowowowowow...” Pips muttered as he slowly got up.
“Wow what a trip.” Cinla said, trying to be cheerful as she got up followed by me and Anora.
“W-what is this?! Yes! It is a cave! You were right after all Aria!” Pips said, excited. “Let’s go explore this cave!” I nodded and the four of us ventured into the cave. It was a long walk, but soon we came to a room where a path of gems seemed to be a shallow island, pools of water on both sides of it.
“Wow! Look at that, Aria! Look at all the gems sparkling!” It was a pretty sight to behold, it was like a rainbow of colors with all the gems about. “Whoa, look over there! It’s a gigantic gem!” Sure enough, there it was, a pink gem that looked like it was at least as big as Pips was! He jumped up and down in his excitement. “Wow! I’ve never seen a gem this huge! This is an incredible treasure! Everyone will be amazed if we take this back.” We went over to it to get a closer look, yup... it was about as tall as Pips was, which made me wonder how we were gonna get the thing back to the guild. He tugged on it.
“Urge! Urge! Ugh.” It didn’t move even an inch no matter how hard he tugged. “Nope, it’s nod budging... It’s really stuck tight. Can you give it a try, Aria?” Well, I could try.... I went over to the gem and took a hold, I pulled as hard as I could. I pulled and I pulled and I pulled, but I wasn’t having any more luck than Pips had. Whoa! This is really stuck! It won’t budge!
“Nope, it’s no good.” I said, unable to pull anymore.
“So you couldn’t move it either... but we can’t just give up. If we try hard enough, we’ll probably get some kind of result! I’m going to give it another go!” I moved aside and Pips tried again. I just watched. Hmmm... it’s not buding one bit... I felt a little dizzy. Huh? The feeling slowly got worse and worse. Oh no... It’s happening again... It’s...
The pokemon from before stood before the gem. Pushed against it, it went “click” then there was a rumble and a wave of water swept the pokemon away. The vision ended suddenly just as it had began.
“Urge! Urrrrrrgh! It’s not good. I can’t pull it out.” Pips stopped pulling, instead he leaned against it, pushing it. There was a resounding click.
“Aaack! That’s...” I didn’t have time to warn anyone as suddenly the ground began to shake and there was a terrible rumbling. I knew what was coming next even as Pips called out.
“Huh? What’s going on?” Then he saw the water rushing towards us. “Waah! It’s a flood!” We try to run, only to be swept up. “Waaaah!” Pips cried out as we were swept by the fast moving current. The next thing I knew we were flying through the air on the water that had suddenly became warm and we hit a pool of water with a splash! Shaking the water out of our eyes, we all looked around to see that there were other pokemon about in the water as well. A torkoal was standing on the edge of the spring.
“Huh? What? where are we?” Pips asked as he looked around.
“Hi, hi! Are you two okay?” A Teddiursa asked. “You plopped down from nowhere! Oh, you startled everyone!” Everyone? I looked around and saw that besides Teddiursa, there was also an Ursaring and Vigorish in the water along with a Mankey and Primeape.
“Where are we?” Pips asked again. This time it was the Torkoal who spoke.
“This is the Hot Spring.”
“H-hot Spring?!” Pips stuttered in surprise. A hot spring? Well that explains the warm water... I thought.
“Indeed! This is the Hot Spring. The Hot Spring works wonders on tired muscles and creaky joints. Many pokemon visit here. Tell me, youngster, have you a map?”
“Map? Oh, if you mean our Wonder Map, yes, we have one.” I could have smacked myself. What other map could the old pokemon have meant?
“Unfold it for me.” The old pokemon said and Pips took the map out of the bag that hung around my neck. and unfolded the map in front of him.
“There. We are here. This in the Hot Spring’s location.” The old pokemon said, pointing it out.
“Oh. I see. The waterfall is here, so... Hey! Check this out , Aria!” He said in sudden surprise. “The waterfall carried us all the way over here.” The Torkoal blinked in surprise.
“My goodness! It was the water that carried you all this way? What a long journey that must have been! Let the Hot Spring wash away your fatigue before you make your way home.”
“Good idea. We’ll do that. Thanks everyone!” We soaked in the water for a while before starting back, Chatot was waiting for us upon our return. We told him about the waterfall’s hidden secret, the huge gem, and the hot spring.