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Luke smiled when they gave him the Perfect Apple, "You passed the graduation exam!!!!  Congrats!!!!"  When they didn't smile, he paused, "…what's got you two down?  This is a GOOD thing that you passed!"

Gareth shook his head, "Sure we're HAPPY about passed, but…it doesn't feel like we DID anything, to be honest."

Luke gave him a smile, "But you DID do something!  You went into Mystifying Forest and found the treasure there!  And besides!  You beat the Dark Master, right?  He's supposed to be right on the path TO Luminous Spring."

Grathiam frowned, "That's part of what we don't get though.  Why did everyone jump out at us like that?  What were you guys HOPING to do by attacking us?"

"…attacking you?  What are you talking about?"

Gareth rolled his eyes, "Oh, COME ON!  It was OBVIOUS it was all you guys!  And even if it WASN'T, how could you have KNOWN we beat the Dark Master unless you WERE him?"

Luke frowned ever so slightly, "Um…because…we…heard it somewhere?"

"Yeah?  Where?  From who?"

"Uh…Dana?"

"Dana wasn't there, Guildmaster.  We were.  This guild was."  Grathiam shook his head with a sigh, "Just forget it.  You guys obviously aren't going to fess up."

Frederick cleared his throat, "ANYWAY.  The two of you have officially graduated from the guild!  From now on, you won't be held back by all our regulations!"

Gareth's eyes lit up a little, "…does this mean we don't have to give you guys any of the reward money we get?"

"…actually, that part stays the same."

"Oh COME ON!!!!!  We EARNED IT!  EVEN MORE SO NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!"  Gareth scowled at him, "Can't you even just let us have MORE of the money?  Like fifty percent?!  Come on!"

Frederick sighed, "You're still affiliated with the guild.  You can't operate without us being here.  Therefore, you still need to give the same monetary contributions."

"But we won't even be LIVING here anymore!  You won't have to feed us or shelter us or ANYTHING!!!"

"I'm sorry, but that's the rule."

Grathiam scowled, "This STINKS.  First you guys try to mug us in Mystifying Forest, then when we get to Luminous Spring we find out we can't change forms and NOW to top it all off we don't get to keep ANY extra of the money we earn?!  It doesn't feel like ANYTHING has changed!"

Jade gave them a look, "Are you KIDDING?!  Graduating from here is INCREDIBLE!"

Mike nodded, "Yeah!  I tried and I couldn't do it, but you two did without a problem!  You guys are a REAL exploration team now!  Not just apprentices at the guild!"  He smiled, "And besides, as a reward, Laura's been busy in the kitchen all DAY!"  He gave her a look, "Right?"

"Exactly!  We're gonna have a party for the two of you!  Enjoy your last night here at the guild with us!"

Grathiam smiled, "…well…okay.  Just one thing, alright?"

"What's that?"

"I REALLY need to get back to my home and talk to someone.  It'll be quick, and I want her to share in the party."

Gareth smiled, "Kayli?"

"Yep!"  He grinned, "It's high time I asked her anyway!  See you soon!"

Luke watched him go, then turned to Gareth, "Kayli?  The lapras?  She and Grathiam…?"

Gareth nodded, "I didn't know until this morning.  Apparently Grathiam wants to pop the question to her."

Luke's eyes lit WAY up, "OH!!!!  Oh, this is gonna be SO much more fun, then!  WOW!  I had no idea!  Laura?  Do we have ANYTHING that'll work for that kind of party?"

Laura shrugged, "Not really…but that just means I get to plan for another party!  We'll need LOTS of white and black gummies and TONS of fruit.  Sean?  Will you help me get the stuff ready after tonight's party?"

Sean grinned and nodded, "Absolutely."



Grathiam trotted down the stairs, happy as could be.  He walked into the place, "Kayli?  Kayli, I need to talk…to you…not here."  He sighed, "…nuts.  I was hoping."  He looked at the water stone in his hand and sighed again, then out at the water, "…well…I guess it can wa…what the…"  He blinked and looked at the writing.  In the dim light of the evening sun it was hard to make out but…his eyes widened.  He laughed a little.  She loved him!  SHE—wait.  He frowned and followed her tracks.  She'd left scuff marks in the dirt—nothing new, considering it was how she walked, but…the odd thing was that her tracks stopped RIGHT in the middle of the floor and then vanished.  He looked around, hoping for some other clue as to what was going on and…found a tuft of…white…hair?  Fur?  Something.  White and wispy…like cobwebs but not made of the same stuff.  Frowning, he left the place.  Dana was out in front of her shop, sweeping up a little, "…Dana?  Have you seen Kayli today?"

She shook her head, "Not since this mornin' hun.  She went to your place and hasn't come out at all.  I got to worryin' she might be sick or something.  She okay?"

He shook his head, "That's just it.  She wasn't home."

"What?!  But she would have HAD to pass through here to get back to the beach and I've been out here all day!  Didn't see her once!"  She called over to the keckleon brothers, "Curtis?  Nathan?  Either of you see Kayli after this morning?"

Both answered no.  Grathiam frowned a little deeper…"…I'm gonna need to talk to the guild about this one."  He shrugged, "Thanks, Dana!"

"Anytime, hun!  Hope you find her!"

He flashed the water stone in front of Dana, "Me too!  Or I'll never get to ASK her!"

Dana's eyes got HUGE at that remark.  She clasped her hands together and SQUEALED as Grathiam ran off.



When he got back, he went right for Gareth, "Kayli wasn't home."

Gareth frowned, "Well, you'll see her tomo—"

"No, listen.  She WAS home.  Dana and the others saw her head to my place in the morning.  Remember?  I even said hi to her before we left for Mystifying Forest.  No one saw her leave, but she WASN'T there just now.  When I went in, I saw her tracks stop right in the middle of the floor, and THIS."  He showed Gareth the white stuff he'd found, "I think it's some kind of hair or something."

Gareth took it and frowned, bringing it closer to his eyes, "…weird."

Frederick noticed them pouring over the heair and glanced at it himself.  He puffed a little and watched the air play with the stringy stands, then nodded, "That hair belongs to something that's ghost type."

Gareth looked up at Frederick, "How?  How do you know?"

"The way it moves in the wind.  That's OBVIOUSLY not webbing, but it blows about like it.  Only ghost type pokemon with HAIR have that same quality.  That hair belongs to a ghost type of some sort."

Grathiam frowned, "So…what ghosts have white hair?

"…of the ones I am aware of?  Only one.  A froslass.  They also favor the cold, so I don't expect you'd find one out here.  In the mountains, probably."

Grathiam frowned, "…then I have to find a froslass."

"What for?"

"Kayli is missing, and I think she was kidnapped.  This hair is my only real clue."

"Oh…oh dear.  I see.  You won't be staying for the party then, will you?"

"No.  I have to make plans and find a place a froslass might BE."



The next morning, Grathiam went all over the town, asking people if they knew a place froslass liked to live.  No one seemed to know.  Eventually his searching took him down to the café near the guild.  He stepped inside and noticed a crowd gathering near Claurice, who was beaming, "Has anyone ever heard of a place called Sky Peak?"  No one had.  Claurice's excitement grew, "Well!"

A Mr. Mime suddenly chimed in, "I've heard of it."

Claurice gave him a frown, "Hey, no FAIR!  I was supposed to tell everyone, Reggie!"

Reggie chuckled and shook his head, "It's a HUGE mountain to the east…tall enough to reach beyond the sky itself.  The thing is, it was in the middle of a next-to impossible mountain range, so whatever route that used to be there, no one can find.  There's supposed to be quite a bit of treasure hidden there from an ancient race of shaymin pokemon."

Claurice smiled, "But the route has been FOUND.  Isn't that right, Reggie?"  Reggie nodded, and Claurice laughed a little, excited, "THIS is what I had hoped for when I opened this café!  Word of mouth can travel SO much better in a place like this!  Everyone!  This café is undertaking an expedition to Sky Peak, to reach its summit!  Any explorers who wish to join us may come along!"  He grinned wide, "There's a small village at the base of the mountain FILLED with shaymin!  We'll be making base camp there!"

Grathiam frowned and went up to Reggie, "…are there froslass on Sky Peak?"

"…uh…I don't know?  Possibly.  It gets cold near the top.  Why?"

"I need to find one that could have kidnapped a DEAR friend of mine."

"…oh.  Oh WOW.  I had no idea."  He shook his head, "Well, Sky Peak is a good place to check, at least.  And hey, if I think of any other spots I'll fill you in, alright?  You live here, don't you?  Team Dragon?"

Gareth nodded, "That's us."

"Well!  It's a pleasure to meet you!"  He held out his hand to shake theirs, "I've heard a LOT about you two!  An INCREDIBLE team if I do say so.  I will do my BEST to help you, alright?"

Grathiam nodded, "Thank you.  I appreciate it."



Gareth and Grathiam went to the village in a hurry.  People who had volunteered to help Claurice's little stunt were there getting stuff set up for the big expedition.  Gareth looked around, smiling a little, "So…this is the shaymins' village?  Cute.  Look at them all.  They're like little cute bushes walking around!"   He chuckled, but the chuckle died down when he looked at Grathiam…who wasn't even smiling, "Partner, we'll FIND her, okay?  Relax a LITTLE.  We WILL find her."

Grathiam sighed, some of the tension finally leaving his body, "…I'm so worried about her, though…"

"And you SHOULD be!  But getting tense like that isn't going to help!  You need to relax and go about this expedition like our other adventures.  You were always looking at every little thing whenever you got relaxed.  You NOTICE more things when you're less tense."

"But how can I calm down knowing she was KIDNAPPED?!"

"Kidnapped?  What happened?"  Both turned to see a small shaymin looking up at them.  Gareth had to HEAVILY resist the urge to reach out and pet the thing like it was a small, cute dog.

It WAS cute, and that was the biggest problem.  Still, he controlled himself, "Grathiam is searching for froslass.  His girlfriend was kidnapped, and we think a froslass might be the culprit."

"Oh.  Wow, I'm sorry to hear that.  Perhaps I could help?  It gets VERY cold the higher up the mountain you go.  Froslass could EASILY be living on this mountain, but you'll need a guide if you want to reach the top.  There are so many diverging paths up the mountain that you could just as easily wind up at the base on the other side and not realize it until you've already worn yourself out."

Grathiam gave the little shaymin a look, "…and you know the fastest way up?"

"I sure do!  All the shaymin know the fastest route up!"

"And you'll guide us?"

"If you'll let me!"

Gareth nodded, "You got a deal, friend.  What's your name?"

"I'm Vale."

"…that's a boy's name."

"I would hope so.  I AM a boy."

Gareth winced, "…sorry…you…you don't have a boyish voice."

Vale grinned, "No worries.  Happens a lot, really.  Anyway, who are you two?"

Grathiam introduced them, "I'm Grathiam, and the totodile is my partner, Gareth.  We're the exploration team Dragon."

Vale's eyes went WIDE, "Wait…THE team Dragon?!  You…you're seriously THE team Dragon?!  I…ever since the other pokemon found our village we've been getting FLOODED with stories about your team!  Is it true you REALLY stopped time ITSELF from collapsing?!"

Gareth chuckled, "…heh…yeah, actually."

"WHOA!  And…and I get to be your guide?!  Oh this is so COOL!  Oh WOW!  I never…WOW!!!!"  He hurried toward a path, "Come on!  The path up the mountain starts here!"

Gareth chuckled, "Cute little guy, isn't he?"

Grathiam ACTUALLY smiled back, "He is.  I think I might even enjoy this trip."  And the trio set off up the mountain.  A short trek later, they found a clearing with lots of pokemon resting up in.

Vale smiled at Gareth and Grathiam, "Sky Peak is so large, we built resting areas along the way up.  This is the first of TEN of them."

"…ten?  So…how high IS this mountain?"

"Hey, it's called Sky Peak for a reason, sir Grathiam."

Grathiam blinked, "W…hey.  Hang on.  Did you just call me SIR?"

"Y…yeah…that's…that's polite, isn't it?"

Grathiam laughed, "Vale, I've never been called sir in my life!  Please!  We're friends here!  Just Grathiam, alright?"

Gareth nodded, "And Gareth.  Don't worry about the whole sir thing.  You don't need to act so polite around us."

"Y…you…you're sure?  I don't want to offend."

"You won't!  Promise."  Grathiam smiled wider.

Vale eyed him almost in awe, "Well…thank you…Grathiam…and…G…Gareth."  He shuddered a little, "Wow…"

Gareth changed the subject, hoping to get Vale back into something more comfortable, "Anyway, I think Grathiam and I are more than ready to head toward the next rest area.  If you aren't tired, could we keep going?"

Vale grinned, "Tired?  ME?  I've scaled this peak all in one go without EVER stopping to rest!  Just TRY and keep up!"  He laughed and ran on ahead with Grathiam and Gareth chasing after him.  THIS felt better.  This felt right.  Gareth was glad Grathiam was actually ENJOYING himself again.  Seeing that bitterness on his face just…just didn't work.  It didn't FEEL right.  Grathiam didn't need to get that upset.  Ever.



They found something interesting at the second clearing.  People from Claurice's group had set up a few special things.  A breloom walked up to them, "Hey!  I'm Mark.  We're team Frontier!  Claurice asked us to set up some special bits where we could, so every other clearing we're putting in small shops and an airlifting service.  That drifblim over there uses this mountain as his home anyway, so he's fine with this.  He gets paid for his services.  At any rate, the shops only have a small selection in them at the moment.  More ought to come as time passes."  He blinked and glanced up, "Oh!  I'd better get moving!  We'll need to set up shop at the fourth clearing so our drifblim friend over there can actually do his JOB!"  He laughed, "see you around!"  And he, a machoke, and a mawile all headed off up the mountain.

Grathiam shrugged, "…hm…might be helpful later."  He smiled, "Well, let's keep going!"



When they reached the fourth clearing, the trio decided on a small break to eat.  It was all well and good at first—the shop at the fourth clearing even had apples for them to munch on, but…

An octillery suddenly ran into the clearing calling for help, "SOMEONE!  ANYONE!  HELP!!!!  My friend was ambushed by a bunch of carnivine near the fifth clearing!!!!"

Vale's eyes went wide, "Carniv…oh, GREAT."  He sighed, "Calm down, lady!  Calm down!  Speak slowly and calmly!  What's your name?"

She shuddered a little, I am Sara.  My friend is a sneasel name Patrick and he's—oh please help!"

Vale nodded, "Don't worry.  We'll get there."  He turned to Gareth and Grathiam, "Sorry about this…I know the group that's attacking Patrick.  It's probably just a misunderstanding.  Could you come with me and help me straighten them out?"

Grathiam nodded, "We'd be GLAD to.  Right partner?"

Gareth chuckled and nodded, "RIGHT.  Let's go."  They hurried ahead, making their way to the fifth clearing as FAST as they could.  Team Frontier was hurrying behind them, only slightly slower because Sara needed to be with them to guide them up.

When they got there, Patrick was indeed surrounded.  He looked bruised up and afraid.  Vale shouted out, HEY!  Carnivine!  CUT IT OUT!"

Before they could answer, Team Frontier lunged forward and started hitting them, scowling.  The Carnivine scowled and fought back, giving Patrick time to RUN.  Vale frowned, "Wa…wait!  No!  Stop FIGHTING!"  He growled and let loose a bright flash to get everyone's attention.

The Carnivine blinked and looked at Vale, "…oh!  Hey Vale!  It's been a while!"  He smiled, "We still owe you for what you did for us.  How've you been?"

Vale scowled, "You guys haven't changed at ALL!  You're not even in your TERRITORY right now!  What's the idea of attacking that sneasel?!"

"…well…uh…see, we…got lost?"

A different one sighed and moved forward, "I'LL explain.  Our spot at the summit?  The place you showed us that was all grassy and NICE?  Something happened to it and it just got worse and worse…it's all filled with POISON now…"

"So…you left?  You tried to make a claim for yourselves?"  Vale sighed again, "Look, just wait the rest of the day out and PLEASE don't keep attacking people!  I'll get the summit problem fixed up, alright?"  The carnivine all nodded and said goodbye, moving on.  Vale rounded on team Frontier, "And YOU three!  Why did you rush in and attack without warning?!"

"Well…Patrick was—"

"You don't live on this mountain, I do!  If you see a shaymin ahead of you, LET the shaymin act FIRST!  That was a fight you didn't need to start at ALL!"

Sara frowned, "Where's Patrick?"

Vale sighed, "He ran ahead.  Why?"

Her eyes were wide, "When I left him he was in NO condition to keep going!  If he gets into another fight in his condition he could…"  Her eyes widened further, "PATRICK!  WAIT FOR ME!!!!"  She RAN ahead, eyes filled with worry.

Vale sighed, "…so much for a pleasure trip.  Come on.  Maybe we can head him off at the next clearing…"



No one was at the sixth, but they found team Frontier gathered around something in the seventh clearing.  Patrick.

Vale rushed up to them, "What happened?!"

The mawile shook her head, "We don't know.  We just got here and found him like this."

The machoke nodded, "And whether it's because he ran out of items or because of the cold, this is NOT good, but we don't want to accidentally hurt him further."

Vale nodded, "I know someone on the mountain who can help.  He's farther ahead.  Team Dragon and I will get him for you."

Gareth nodded, "Who are we after?"

"An ampharos I know named Steven.  He's a medic that's been helping out the village at the base for as long as I can remember."

"Sounds good."



"…Steven?  Steve, are you home?"

The ampharos in question smiled and waved at them from father back in his cave, "Hello there!  What can I do for you?"

Vale sighed, "The clearing behind us has a sneasel who's on his last legs.  We could use the help."

"…a sneasel…fair enough.  I'll head down and being him here.  You haven't MOVED him, have you?"

"No sir."

"Good.  I'll bring some mild restoratives so he can make the trip back to this cave.  This way I can REALLY help him."  He picked up a small bag and hurried out.  It took nearly an HOUR, but he came back soon with team Frontier, Sara, and Patrick all with him.



…Ugh…"Wh…where…what happened?"

"He's awake!!!"  Sara shouted happily.  She leaned over toward Patrick, smiling brightly, "You're safe, Patrick."

Patrick groaned again and looked around, "…huh…cozy cave…where…"

"Just relax…okay?  We nearly lost you back there.  Take it easy and once you feel better, you and I are heading back to Treasure Town to get you that smoothie you enjoy so much at the café."

He smiled softly, "You promise?"

"Of course I do.  Just rest for now."

Patrick smiled and sighed, closing his eyes, "…it's a promise, then…"



At the ninth clearing, Grathiam couldn't take it anymore.  He sighed, "Vale?  I haven't seen one froslass yet."

Vale nodded with a frown, "Neither have I…and we passed through the icy stuff already.  Sorry…"

Gareth sighed, "It's alright.  We DO appreciate the help."

"But I didn't REALLY help, and you've been helping out more than I have with problems that have been happening on the mountain!"

Grathiam nodded, "Hey, that much is in our job description.  Thanks for TRYING to help us as much as you have, and hey, we still have something at the summit to take car of."

Vale smiled gently, "And once it's taken care of, I'm going to show you the treasure this mountain is famous for.  It's not something you can USE though, so…you'll be leaving empty handed I'm afraid."

Gareth shrugged, "Wouldn't be the first time and probably won't be the last.  The view's nice up there?"

"Heavenly."

"Sounds GREAT then.  What do you say, Grathiam?"

Grathiam was frowning again, "I say that as soon as this is done we start searching out a place that froslass LIVE."

Gareth sighed, "…Grathiam…"

"Quiet!  I'm WORRIED about her, alright?!  I LOVE HER!  I'm GOING to be like this!  A LOT!  Don't blame me."

Gareth shook his head, "I wasn't going to.  You're my FRIEND and I want to do everything I can to help you, and right now, that means keeping you out of this mood.  Stop OBSESSING over this.  We WILL find her, alright?!  We WILL!"

"But what if she's—"

"Grathiam, don't.  Alright?  Just don't.  If you start thinking like that then we might as well just give up."

But I'm WORRIED…"

"Well, worry when we get home.  That's where you can focus on her."



At the top, the place was filled with a terrible purple cloud in the air, and frightful puddles of ACID lay on the ground.  Vale winced, "Wow…those carnivine weren't kidding.  This…this is BAD."

"No…this…good…"  A bunch of grimer and muk suddenly oozed out toward them, "This place nice…like home…"

Vale scowled, "But this ISN'T your home!  This isn't even your mountain!  Your people PROMISED they wouldn't come here!!!!"

"This IS our mountain…"

Vale scowled, "…leave before I get angry."

"Not going anywhere, little bush."

"… … …alright, THAT'S.  IT!  I have been up and down this mountain HUNDREDS of times!  I have been, TODAY, dealing with problems at almost every single clearing!  I am SICK of this!  Get out before you get FORCED out!  I KNOW you know where your home REALLY is!  You're all being JERKS!"

A muk shook his head with a wide grin, "We're staying."

"…Team Dragon?  Could you help me get RID of these guys please?!"

Gareth nodded, "We'd be happy to."

"I need a chance to work out some aggression ANYWAY."  And all three got themselves ready for a FIGHT.



Vale shouted at them as they ran off.  It hadn't taken much to convince them to flee…and when they were gone, he looked around, "Well…nothing else for it.  Time to clean this place up."

Gareth frowned, "Um…can I ask HOW?"

Vale chuckled, "All shaymin have a special ability, Gareth.  We can absorb dirt and grime and stuff that isn't supposed to be there.  Here.  Watch."  A small whirlwind moved around him for a moment, then the thick fog LITERALLY started getting sucked into the bush on his back.  As it cleared, the puddles of acid started to evaporate as well, and GREEN started to show through all the sickness of the place.  His fur was nearly black…and then…a swirling vortex of light centered on him, calmed, and then he FLASHED.  Everything went green and healthy again in an INSTANT…even Vale.  He smiled at them, "Congrats on reaching Sky Peak's summit, you two!  Now come check out the view!"  They walked up to the edge of a small clif, and Vale laughed as their eyes went wide.

Grathiam was the only one who could speak at that point, "Th…this is…this is breathtaking!"

Vale nodded, "Isn't it, though?  You can see for MILES, and it all looks like an ocean of cloud.  You can only just barely see the tops of some mountains, and if you're lucky enough to find a BREAK in the clouds?  MAN what a view that is…"  Vale smiled a little more, letting them take the view in for a while.  After they'd had a small meal, he gave them another grin, "So, ready to go back down?"

Gareth winced, "…oi, that's gonna be a long trip back."

"…actually, it won't be.  The treasure I was talking about earlier?"  He motioned around him, "It's these flowers…and only shaymin can use them.  Watch what happens when I eat one."  He did, and his form suddenly changed!  He laughed at their expressions, "It's only a temporary change, but I can FLY while I'm like this, which means you've got an easy and QUICK trip down the mountain."
Everything you see is based off the game, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon-Explorers of Sky. I don't own any of it except the names I gave the characters. ^__^
:iconpowerofmu:
powerofmu Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012
The Grandmaster of all things bad is..... Wigglytuff?!!
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