Notes: For anyone who hasn’t read Pokémon Adventures, the character Arrester is also known as Blake. His game counterpart is Nate from BW2. Thanks for reading!
We’re caught. We’re caught. We are so caught.
Lines of sweat ran down Penny’s back. But the closer the two figures got, the more her fears eased. The figure on the left was much younger than he seemed from a distance–a teenager himself. He must be some kind of trainee. Or maybe the uniformed woman walking beside him was his mother, and this was one of those take your kid-and/or-Pokémon-to-work kinds of days.
If so, the kid was taking it with the utmost seriousness. His clothing looked normal enough at first–a white visor, baggy white shorts, and a blue half-zip jacket with short sleeves. But all of it went over what appeared to be a black cyber suit with electric blue highlights. His hair was wild, standing out in all directions, yet never obscuring his features. It was like he was role-playing at “regular kid.”
His expression remained stone-faced as he walked up to the group. “Your Pokémon appears to be in distress,” he said in a commanding presense that made everyone turn his way and listen. Even Tinkaton stopped its howling to watch him.
“U-um, yes,” Juliana squeaked.
The kid motioned to the woman beside him. “I believe your Excadrill can handle this.”
“Yes, sir!” the woman said. She called out the Pokémon in question, a familiar mammalian creature Penny hadn’t seen since she was last home in Galar. The blades protecting its head gleamed in the sunlight.
“You call him ‘sir’?” Arven asked skeptically.
The other officer straightened to attention. “Indeed. This young man is my superior, Codename Arrester, an S-ranked member of the International Police tasked with rounding up the final remnants of the notorious Team Plasma.”
Seriously? Penny began to sweat again.
Arrester nodded. “Word is a local gang known as ‘Team Star’ may be collaborating with them. Heard anything about it?”
“Uh…” Penny was completely flustered, but thankfully Excadrill provided the perfect distraction. With a fierce roar, it aimed its blades at the ground near where Tinkaton was stuck. The fairy-type made a nervous gurgle as Excadrill spun itself like a top. Within seconds, it dug a circular trench around Tinkaton, churning up the earth and spraying dirt everywhere. At first, Tinkaton sunk even lower. But then, to everyone’s surprise, she was able to walk forward, right through the dirt mounds like Arven or Ortega might when their strange abilities acted up.
Arrester glanced at his phone and stepped away for a moment, bringing it up to his ear.
Now free of the ground, Tinkaton gave her hammer a practice swing, showing herself to be back to normal. The adult officer thanked her Excadrill and called it back into its Poké Ball.
Arrester lowered his phone but kept his gaze on it. His fingers moved almost as fast as Penny’s, tapping and sliding windows across the screen as he returned to the group. “Mark this area as volatile and keep civilians away from it,” he instructed his apparent underling. “We’ve got a lead. And a bit of a situation. Some Paldean celebrity is a Team Star sympathizer. There’s a mob of followers staging protests by the lighthouse.”
“Sir!” she said and took off at a run towards the rest of the officers in the distance.
Arrester glanced up at Arven. “I take it you three were traveling through here to reach the tera raid?” he asked, pointing back the way they had come.
The trio turned and sure enough, up a short hill to the right of the forest sat a sparkling amber-colored crystal.
“Oh! I mean–yep!” Arven said. Way too loud and forced. “One hundred percent. That crystal right there you’re pointing to? That is the exact spot we were trying to find. Our map confused us, you see, but now you’ve unconfused us, and we’re super-grateful for it!”
Penny winced. There was no way any sensible person would buy Arven’s story.
But either Arrester was bad at reading people or he was in too much of a hurry, because he nodded and waved them off. “Get going then. But for your own safety, don’t re-exit here.” He made several more taps on his phone screen. “Seems this crystal connects to a dragon-type crystal near the Pokémon League. If you walk farther into the tunnel once you defeat your foe and take your first left, you’ll reach it soon enough. I hope it’s not too far out of your way.”
“N-no, but…you can do that?” Penny asked. “Walk between tera raid crystals?”
“Well, my data says you can,” Arrester said. “So I don’t see why you couldn’t.”
Penny nodded. Far be it for her to argue with data. She watched as Arrester finally turned his back to them, and the trio hurried towards the raid crystal. It would be tricky, but with Atticus’s help and the tree cover, they should be able to sneak everyone through.
“Guess Grusha was right, huh?” Penny said once they’d made their plans. “No one older than us does anything important around here.”
The group nodded in solemnity, the full weight of their duty to Paldea on their shoulders. It was one thing to take a wild shot at a task. It was quite another to know you and your friends were the only ones capable of completing it.
The group split into two: Arven, Mela, Eri, and Giacomo in the first raid party…Penny, Juliana, Ortega, and Atticus in the second. Penny wrung her hands as Giacomo took the lead and guided his three teammates through the opening in the crystal’s side to the strange cave within. Atticus kept himself and Ortega hidden from view until the last possible moment. The police presense had certainly thinned out thanks to Iono’s distraction, but that didn’t mean they were going to risk running back in front of them. I should look on the bright side, Penny thought. Everyone is safe for now. And raiding with friends could be fun. Right?
Or so she tried to assure herself as she descended into a sparkling chasm of powered-up Pokémon and suffocating uncertainty.
The electric-type raid crystal contained a Raichu. This became obvious immediately. The moment Penny’s eyes adjusted to the cave’s low light, she saw a dozen Raichu eyes reflected in the faceted walls. So it would have actual electric attacks for its tera form to power up. They’d have to be careful. Not that Penny was worried. The moment their feet hit the ground, everyone nodded at each other, grabbed a Poké Ball, and threw it forward. Traditional, yes, but it did not feel like something they could skip.
Juliana sent out Tinkaton, of course, calling for one of its classic Slam attacks. The fairy-type bolted forward before anyone else’s Pokémon, halfway to Raichu while the rest of them were still throwing their Poké Balls. It seemed waiting for the raid to officially start was for mere mortals who didn’t have a giant hammer.
Much to Penny’s disappointment, ground-type Eevees still weren’t a thing, so she went with Jolteon for the type resistance. Plus, she wanted to try out some battle items while they weren’t fighting for their lives just yet. Curious, she glanced over to see what Ortega had sent out. All she saw was her Sylveon forming from a ball of light with no trainer behind it.
“Ortie!” she cried out, heart pounding. Did she put him in danger by bringing him into the cavern? Did Arven have the same reaction when he entered here?
Once Sylveon fully emerged, however, Ortega blinked back into existence. “I’m okay!” he shouted.
Penny placed a hand on her chest and waited for heart rate to slow. She didn’t have the stamina for this. “Pin Missile!” she called to Jolteon before they all forgot there was a large Terrealtized Raichu about to attack them.
“Shadow Ball!” said Ortega.
“Protect!” commanded Atticus.
Surveying an opponent’s moves first, huh? Typical Atticus. Penny leaned forward to see what he had brought. It wasn’t a large Pokémon. In fact, with the two of them at opposite ends of the battle line, she could barely see it at all.
“Aw, so cute!” squealed Juliana. Not at Atticus or his partner. Instead she pointed to the decorative balloon Jolteon had tied around his left paw while the group of Pokémon rushed forward, firing off their first attacks.
“Ah, it’s a battle item, actually,” Penny explained. “An Air Balloon. Prevents all damage from ground attacks.”
“Really?” Juliana cocked her head. Penny couldn’t blame her. The balloon was no bigger than Jolteon’s paw, and it certainly wasn’t giving him any lift. If anything, it was impressive it didn’t pop on one of Jolteon’s spikes while he was running.
“Really,” Penny assured her, then looked towards Atticus again. Since his Pokémon had held back while the others rushed in, it was now much easier to see. A small, light brown bug type with something like a halo floated unmoving in front of him.
“You didn’t tell us you had a Shedinja,” Ortega said.
Atticus crossed his arms. “I felt its Dig attack would serve nicely here. Moreover, by its own moniker, it is a ninja Pokémon. I cannot help but feel a bond with it.”
While Penny did want to listen more to Atticus, she also had an eye on the battle. The results were…concerning. Raichu didn’t appear damaged by their attacks at all. First round jitters, no doubt. She’d heard of it happening even to skilled raiding parties. Their next attack would do damage for sure.
“What’s so special about Shedinja?” Juliana was asking. “Oh, yeah, and Ice Hammer, Tinkaton. You know the drill.”
Tinkaton laughed maniacally and charged forward again.
“What’s special is that it has only one hit point, yet that is all it requires,” Atticus said proudly. “For its ability will not allow it to take damage from anything short of a super effective attack.”
“Wow,” Juliana said as shards of ice flew everywhere from Tinkaton’s attack. “Hey, what happens if Ortega uses Sylveon’s Ability Swap thingy on it?”
“It’s Skill Swap,” Ortega corrected right as Sylveon returned to his side for more instructions. She straightened and flicked her ears, watching him intently. “And on Shedinja? Wouldn’t work.”
Sylveon purred and began to pulse with a soft white light. She faced Shedinja, whose hard shell of a body mirrored the rhythmic glow at a slower pace. The tempos shifted, and then their bodies then returned to normal.
Did Sylveon just…? Penny was pretty sure that looked like an executed move, but before she could give voice to her thoughts, Raichu put them on the defensive. It set its sights on Jolteon–bolting in, striking him on the leg, and withdrawing with the Air Balloon in its mouth.
“If I’m going to Skill Swap anyone, it’s going to be that Raichu,” Ortega went on, pointing forward.
Sylveon looked very confused at this point, but she shrugged and began to light up once again. Shedinja did not change, but it sure did look like Raichu was shining a bit brighter behind its tera crystal coating.
Raichu’s ears twitched as it watched Sylveon with a perplexed look. When Sylveon stopped pulsing, Raichu flicked out its tail and looped its stolen prize around the crystalized lightbulb atop its head. The balloon held fast, though it stuck out to the side a bit, giving the impression of a Raichu with two tera types at once. Raichu’s cheeks pouches sparked, ready for a new attack.
“Tink? Ti-tink!” Tinkaton said, making a come-at-me motion with her hammer.
“Chuuuuu!” the mouse Pokémon screeched. Waves of electricity pulsed out of its body and fanned out to all its opponents. A Discharge attack, then. The waves weren’t terribly strong, spread thin as they were. Jolteon and Tinkaton barely reacted. Sylveon winced but held strong. Shedinja gave a high-pitched cry and plummeted to the ground.
“Fie!” Atticus yelled. “What mockery is this?”
“I thought so,” Penny moaned. “Something’s weird with this raid. Skill Swap is working on everything.” She turned to Ortega. “And you keep saying stuff that sounds like an order and getting my poor VeeVee all confused!”
Ortega went pale. “You mean…both times, Skill Swap worked?” He pointed to the Raichu. The one that he’d handed Shedinja’s ability to ignore any non-super-effective moves. The one that had stolen Jolteon’s Air Balloon, so it couldn’t be hit by ground-type moves, either.
To her credit, Tinkaton did try to swing her hammer at Raichu anyway. The weapon bounced back like it was made of rubber. Her target didn’t so much as blink.
The Raichu looked at the balloon sticking off the side of its light bulb, then at the group attacking it and seemed to piece its situation together. A grin worthy of a Banette on a rampage spread across its face.
“S-so what does this do for our strategy, m’lady?” Atticus asked with an uncharacteristic stumble.
Penny swallowed hard. “It means we run!”
Nobody needed to be told twice. While the now-untouchable Raichu giggled with its newfound power, the group bolted down the tunnel Arrester had described, hoping the dragon-type raid wouldn’t be such a nightmare.
Running through the tunnels connecting the tera raid crystals was an…unusual sensation to say the least. At first, no such tunnel seemed to exist. Running in the opposite direction of the entrance only led to a dead end. Atticus patted the wall as if searching for a secret switch. Just when Penny was sure the Raichu was going to charge at them, he located a ledge to their left. When he reached out to feel the underside of it, his hand disappeared into nothingness. He inspected the space further and found he could climb up and through the strange portal with little difficulty.
“The tunnel lies here!” he called to the others. “Make haste!”
Penny had many concerns about going through a dark hole of nothingness. Not the least of which was that they were taking Ortega, and she had no idea how it would affect things if he lost his temper in there. But she had worse concerns about the unstoppable, megalomaniacal Raichu frying them like overworked computer chips. She took Atticus’s hand and let him pull her up and into the void.
It was not pitch black inside as she expected. Shafts of light fell in from random angles, though the sources remained unclear. The tunnel’s black crystalline walls were high but incredibly narrow, forcing the group into single file. Atticus, being the fastest, went first. Juliana went next, sprinting at full tilt and still barely keeping him in sight. She was soon so far ahead that the only visible part of her was a pair of pink glasses bouncing through the dark.
Penny tucked her arms in as she ran for fear of smacking her elbows on the high, shimmering walls. This place was creepy–no outside sounds of wind or Pokémon cries, no smells of damp earth like a normal cave might have. Only their own footfalls echoed around them. And every once in a while, when Penny glanced up, she could swear she saw a flash of endless sky through the wall. It felt like they had found some secret path through the underside of Paldea itself. Dizziness swirled in her head the farther they went. At the moment she felt she might pass out if she had to keep going, Juliana’s strong hand grabbed her wrist and pulled her to the side. The world felt like a roller coaster, dipping then yanking her up with its momentum. She stepped through another strange portal and found herself in a normal tera raid cave once again. Only this time, instead of the yellow sheen of an electric-type raid, the walls glistened with the aqua tone of a dragon-type raid.
“The tunnel did go farther,” Atticus said as Penny caught her breath. “But it contained a sudden drop into what appeared to be a vast ocean. I did not deem it safe for travel.”
Good call, Penny thought. I wouldn’t want to be traveling through a mysterious void ocean, either.
“Everyone, look!” Juliana said, pointing.
Penny glanced up. The tera Pokémon residing in this cave gave a loud bellow. It sounded like a baritone Oinkologne, the deep pitch vibrating throughout the small space.
It was an Appletun. Which did not have any visible eyes. So instead of covering the faceted walls with images of bouncing eyeballs, Appletun covered then with bouncing flaps of apple skin.
Charming, Penny thought as she brought out Umbeon. The crown atop Appletun’s head showed a fierce dragon face and wings. Just in case she needed a reminder that she had no particular type advantage. Again. Still, her teammates had Tinkaton, along with a full team of fairy-types. And they were no longer traveling along a void tunnel through reality.
Penny put on a confident smile. She’d take her wins where she could get them.