Welcome, dear friends, to the Tale of Ghost, the Prism Eyes, and Jubilee, the Golden Comet.
So long as you pose no threat and offer no disturbance, you are welcome in Ghost's Grotto. But please, do avoid diving too deep.
Transient pressed her hand to the pale fish's forehead. She could feel the scales shift and flex beneath her fingers; raised ridges that shifted direction slightly with the creature's movements. She cast her eyes along the Magikarp's rounded body. Its body moved in a swaying motion; graceful despite its floundering state upon land. Its fins were so thin, it was difficult to believe it could keep itself propelled forward, but despite the resistance it clearly felt, it managed to keep itself afloat.
Unlike its rather vibrant cousins, its normal citrus brethren, this fish was completely colorless- as colorless as the water through which it swam.
Transient felt a smile touch her lips. She had always loved these fish. Despite their rather useless nature upon land, she saw a certain sort of beauty in their glistening scales, the way their bodies flexed and swayed through the water.
And this Magikarp was special in another way.
As Transient drew her hand across the bumpy scales lining the fish's back, the fish's shadowy aura was disturbed, the glow shifting to accompany her fingers. This was a Dark fish.
Transient drew her hand back to realize the Magikarp had suddenly frozen; it had lightly bumped into the land at the edge of the pool. Transient, kneeling on her knees at the edge of the pond, leaned a bit closer, trying to see what might have happened through the darkness of her own reflection.
In the end, she resorted to lowering her face below the surface of the water. The cool waves tickled her skin in the moments before she pressed her face beneath them, feeling her hair trickling down her shoulders to trail across the surface. She was glad she had cut it recently. She felt so many sensations in that moment- the warmth of the sun cascading down her back, the stiff, supportive dirt beneath her hands and knees, and above all, the cool embrace of the water.
She opened her eyes and turned them, sapphire blue beneath the rippling pond, toward the fish, examining its face. It was then she saw what must have been the cause of the fish's collision with the edge of the pond.
A ray of sunlight penetrated the pool and fell across the fish's face, reflecting off of its eyes. Where there would have been dark irises in any other fish, this Magikarp had only a stretch of milky whiteness that flashed dully.
Transient was barely able to halt her gasp of recognition until she removed her face from the pool, after which she lifted her face toward the sky and closed her eyes.
After a moment, she lowered her hand to the water again and pressed her hand to the fish's forehead.
"Don't worry, friend," she murmured softly, gently applying pressure to the place where she pressed as the fish attempted to push forward, toward the edge of the pool, again. "You are still a champion to me."
"Why keep it?" the others asked, astonished.
"It can't even do Scour Missions accurately," the reminded her. "It'll get lost."
She never listened, never believed. Instead, she chopped his Berry food finely, feeding him directly with her own hands to keep him from having to search in the murky depths of the pool. She cleaned his scales, watching them glisten in the sunlight. They were almost more beautiful in the moonlight, when they seemed to glow, white blending with the inky blackness of his Dark aura.
She told him things, many things. About her adventures, about the other Pokemon on the Farm, about his beauty and strength. About her belief in him.
And always, always, his pearly eyes stared forward.
One day, he grew.
Transient was feeding him, stroking her hand across his flashing scales as always, when suddenly she felt his body tighten beneath her fingers. He was surrounded with a light brighter than even his own moonlit glow, and she watched in awe, slowing rising to her feet beside the pool, as his body stretched. Teeth punched through his gums, his mouth agape. A crest, like a pearl crown, hardened on his forehead. The bumpy scales along his back rose, becoming spiky spines. His tail forked and fins stretched between them.
One might have expected a triumphant roar upon completion of the transformation, but when it had finished, the shining sea serpent merely lowered his head and gazed at the girl standing upon the shore.
Her heart was thudding in her chest. His eyes.
No longer simply pearly plates set within their sockets, they were now more akin to diamonds. When they caught the light, they reflected tiny rainbows. His eyes were like prisms.
The great creature shifted a bit in the pool; it was too small for him. A rainbow traveled down his back as his pearly scales shifted.
Unafraid, the girl raised her hand to touch it to the fish's forehead, as she always had. To her surprise, he lowered his head to press his bony crest to her palm.
"Ghost," she spoke his name, awe and pride in her voice.
The Gyarados growled, almost a hum, in the quiet breeze that blew over the grasses.
The tall, thin man stumbled up the hill after his squat companion, panting as he joined the other man at the top. Pressing his hands to his kneecaps and leaning down, he panted, trying to catch his breath.
"It's supposed to be around here somewhere," the shorter man said, peering around the hillside in the gloom.
It was well after midnight, and a late-night breeze rustled the leaves of the foliage at the side and bottom of the hill. In the distance, the cries of nocturnal Pokemon could be heard. Something rustled in the bushes at the bases of the trees, and the thinner man jumped.
"L-Look," he said quickly, his voice high-pitched from nervousness. "There's definitely something in the bushes over there-"
But the other man cut him off with a wave of his hand.
"You're being superstitious," he said, putting his hands on his hips and gazing around at the weathered stones situated in a loose circle around them. "Now pay attention. The Pokemon we're here for should be right around here."
"What was it again? A Mesprit, right?"
The squatter man nodded, reaching into his pocket to remove a rather ruffled-looking handkerchief and dabbing his forehead.
"Yes," he said, returning it to his pocket. "And a special one, at that. A rare one. Nabbing it and pawning it off will make us rich.
Stinkin' rich. So-much-money-we-won't-know-what-to-do-with-it rich."
"That sounds good to me," the thinner man said with a smirk, rising to his full willowy length and casting a subtle glance over his shoulder at the treeline below. He thought for a terrifying second he saw a pair of eyes glowing in the darkness before he blinked and they seemed to disappear. "But where?"
"According to Spearow, it should be over-"
At that moment, the shorter man took a step foreward and the ground crumbled beneath both men, sending them careening downward, into the depths of the hill.
There was a crash
of confusing noise and the thinner man felt himself splash down into a pool of water. Instantly holding his breath, he felt himself tumbling head-over-heels downward until his momentum ran out. When he finally came to a halt, he realized he couldn't tell which way was up. Opening his eyes and casting them about, he finally located the glow of moonlight shining through a hole far above his head. He propelled himself toward it until he broke the surface of the pool, gasping for air. Not far from him, his companion did the same, water cascading down his hair.
The thinner man shook the water from his hair and coughed, expelling droplets of water from his lungs.
"Where are we?" he coughed to his companion after a long moment.
The other man gazed around.
They appeared to have fallen into a deep cavern beneath the hill. It looked like a cave, with stalactites clinging to the ceiling and an uneven rocky floor. The circle of moonlight above their heads appeared to be the only entrance.
"It looks like some sort of cavern beneath the hill," he grunted, turning slowly in the water, paddling with his thick hands.
"How do we get out?"
"We can worry about that after
we find the Pokemon we're here for," the other man spat.
The thinner man found himself cut off yet again as something caught his attention in the corner of the cavern.
"Look! Over there!"
He pointed, water dripping from the sleeve of his cotton checkered-pattern shirt, toward a thin line of glistening gold spreading between two stalactites. It was as thin as the gossamer thread of a spider's web, and faded even as the other man turned to look at it.
"What do you think that was?"
The thinner man had barely asked the question before a soft noise echoed through the cavern, bouncing off the rocky walls. It was a soft mewing sound.
"Do you think it's the Mesprit? Do you think this is where it lives?"
"I've heard it's pretty reclusive," the larger man replied with a nod. "And the gold threads would make sense. They call it the Comet for a reason, it probably leaves a trail."
The noise echoed through the cavern again, and to the men's surprise, this time was accompanied by a tiny face peeking out from behind one of the stalactites. The face had a pink forehead with a tiny red jewel set in the middle. Its eyes were gentle and shy, and nearly as soon as it realized it was spotted, the Pokemon retreated behind the stalactite again.
"That's gotta be it!" the shorter man proclaimed, beginning to swim toward the creature. The taller man could see tiny gold stars flicking from behind the stalactite where they had seen the small creature, as though something were hovering there.
The other man had barely begun moving, however, when there was another sound, a low grumbling. The water around the two men vibrated with it, a low hum that shook even the equilibrium in their ears. The thinner man's eyes widened.
"W-Wait," he said. "We need to be careful."
"Why? It's just a Mesprit."
"At least let me check the water first."
The other man waited impatiently as the taller man removed a Pokeball from his pocket and released a small, red crayfish-like Pokemon with a flash of white light that lit the cavern for a moment. The Corphish paddled in the water and stared toward its Trainer with wide, unknowing eyes.
"Corphish," the taller man said. "Can you dive down into the pool and check to make sure this water is safe?"
With an obedient grunt, the Corphish dove into the water, sending thick ripples waving toward the two men. The taller man watched the small Pokemon disappear into the darkness, and it was then he noticed they were not alone in the pool.
He pointed to the edges of the water.
"Look," he said. "Magikarp."
And so there were. There were at least a dozen, perhaps more, of the orange fish-like Pokemon, clustered around the edges of the pool. Even more surprising, each Magikarp glowed with a different-colored aura. There were red, yellow, pink, blue and even brown and black auras.
Hauntingly, the fish were all gazing toward the new arrivals with something akin to warning in their eyes.
"What do you think they want?" the shorter man asked, joining his companion once again to get a better look at the fish-like Pokemon huddled at the edge of the pond.
"I'm not sure," the other man said, feeling a shaky, uneven feeling growing in his gut. "It almost looks like they're...warning us or something."
At that moment, the Corphish reappeared.
"Oh good," the shorter man said. "It's still okay. That must mean that-"
He was cut off as he realized the Corphish was paddling furiously. Something had utterly terrified
the small creature.
As the Corphish broke the surface, flinging itself from the water and toward the shore, the men shared a look and covered their ears as a massive roar filled the cavern.
It shook the water, sending tiny waves splashing into the men's faces. The stalactites shook, and tiny pebbles and rocks crumbled from the ceiling.
"What is it?"
But the thinner man didn't have time to answer before a massive shape appeared from the murky darkness beneath the men's feet.
It was slithering and serpentine, horrifyingly bright in the darkness. Like a monstrous beast, it rose from the depths with a roar, its entire terrifying length uncoiling from the bottom of the pool.
Its mouth was agape, showing massive knife-like teeth. Its body rippled with muscle. It glowed with a pitch-like aura. The Magikarp at the edges of the pool began thrashing in a frenzy as the Albino Gyarados rose from the depths, sending another roar crashing through the cavern.
The Gyarados's eyes flashed, reflecting moonlight from the gaping hole in the cavern's roof.
Terrified, the men cried out as waves, cast forth by the appearance of the monster breaking from the surface of the pool, washed over them, knocking them backward toward the edge of the pool.
The massive creature slammed its body back into the water, sending another wave of water crashing over the men. It reared up once again, its entire horrifying length towering over them. It gazed down upon them with its alien pearly eyes.
it shouted, seemingly inside their very minds, and they didn't need telling twice.
Pushing themselves from the pool, the men raced toward an opening that seemed to form of its own accord in the side of the cavern. They barely caught a glimpse of a tiny golden-and-pink creature watching them from behind a pillar of stone at the very corner of the cavern before they pounded out of the cavern.
After the men had exited the cavern, Jubilee raised his tiny paw to his mouth and giggled slightly, waving to the men's backs as he closed the gap in the side of the hill again.
Thank you, friend.
Ghost lowered himself back to the surface of the pool, his antennae waving softly in the current formed by the movement of his immense girth. Below and around him, the rainbow gradient Magikarp swam in a slow circle.
Slowly, Ghost began sinking to the bottom of the Grotto again.
I hope you liked it! This was my first time attempting to write something for a PFQ audience and I wrote it kind of fast since I need to go to bed soon, but I've been thinking about writing this for a long time so I had an idea of what story I wanted to tell. I'm hoping to tell more about Jubilee in the future as well, if people are interested.
Feel free to comment here if you'd like, I'll reserve a few posts for if I decide to add more to Ghost & Jubilee's story.
Thanks for reading! ~Transient/April