Chapter 2: Runts of the Litter
The two small Pokémon stopped right outside the entrance to the large hut. Naomi was starting to get nervous again as they approached the entrance.
"Hey, you ok?" Shin'ichi asked. Naomi jumped a bit before turning to Shin'ichi, nodding. "Y-yeah, just a bit nervous." She said, turning back to the grate. "Ok, let's try this again.." She thought, stepping forward onto the grate.
"Pokémon detected! Pokémon detected!" The shrill voice called up through the grate. Naomi jumped a bit again, but then stood still on the grate.
"Alright, make sure there's ACTUALLY a Pokémon on the grate this time!" The loud baritone voice said. "Whatdda we got coming in?"
"Well, for starters we actually have someone on the grate this time," The shrill voice said. "Footprint is identified species as a Ralts!"
"Very well, she may enter!" The baritone voice said. "Hold up! Someone's with you! Get them to stand on the grate for identification!"
"I think they might be talking about you Shin'ichi," Naomi said, stepping off of the grate.
Shin'ichi looked at the grate, then nodded, stepping onto the grate. "Next visitor!" The shrill voice called up.
"Who do we got this time?" The baritone voice said.
"Footprint identifies visitor as... uh oh," The shrill voice said, a hint of worry in it. "Loudred, we might have a problem."
"What NOW?" The baritone voice said. "Is there no one there AGAIN?!"
"N-no," The shrill voice stated. "But I can't identify the Pokémon."
"WHAT?!" The baritone voice said. "And here I thought you were the fottprint master! HOW CAN YOU NOT IDENTIFY THE POKÉMON AT THE GATE?!"
"W-well..." The shrill voice stammered. "I don't know what I don't know..."
"...are those two arguing about you?" Naomi asked, staring at Shin'ichi confusedly. The Riolu shrugged. "Not even five minutes in this world and i'm already causing issues? This is a sign of things to come..."
"Sorry to make you WAIT." The loud baritone voice said. Both the Riolu and Ralts jumped at the sound of the voice. "While it's not common that our footprint expert can't identify a Pokémon's footprint, you don't seem THAT harmless. Very well, ENTER!" At that moment, the iron gate in front of the entrance opened up, shocking the Ralts.
"Okay..." The Ralts said, "let's head in.."
Both the Ralts and the Riolu walked into the entrance, only to be met with a ladder heading downwards into the ground.
"Oh! It goes down?" Naomi asked, looking at the ladder. "Well, let's go.." She said, grabbing the ladder and starting down it before the Riolu started down the ladder.
"Oh, wow!" Naomi said when she had reached the bottom of the ladder. "This place is huge!"
The Riolu had reached the bottom of the ladder and saw what the Ralts meant. The cavern they were in below the ladder was large and spacous, and a number of other Pokémon were there discussing about the day.
"Wow, and these are all part of exploration teams?" Naomi asked, her eyes lighting up. "That...that's so cool!"
"Ahem! Is there something I can help you with?" A voice said from behind them. Shin'ichi and Naomi turned around to see a parrot Pokémon sitting on the top of a ladder headed down another level. It's head and crest was in the shape of an eighth note, and a monocle was over it's right eye; a Chatot.
"Y-yes!" Naomi said, barely holding her excitement. "W-we're here to see the Guildmaster, please?"
The Chatot sighed. "Please don't tell me you're more reporters," He said. "We've been getting those non-stop nowadays for the Guildmaster."
"Oh! N-no, we're not!" Naomi said. "We're here to form an exploration team!"
"An exploration team, hm?" The Chatot asked, turning. "How they not have known about the Guild's rigorous training schedule is a mystery to me. They really seem like they want to join, but could they keep up with the training schedule?... probably."
"Um..." Naomi asked. "Does that mean the training is gonna be super hard?"
"Oh! Not for rookies like you two!" The Chatot said, looking surprised. "Training is extremely simple for rookies!"
"Uh, okay..." Naomi said, a bit unsure of this Chatot.
"Now then, it's an exploration team you want to form?" The Chatot asked. "Then just follow me, we'll go see the guild master!" He said, heading back down the ladder he was on.
Shin'ichi shrugged. "Okay, I guess this will work." He said, heading down the ladder with Naomi following close by.
"Now then, right this way!" The Chatot said, leading the two to a large door near the ladder. "I must apologize for our gatekeepers raunchy behavior earlier. They're usually not like this."
"It's fine." Shin'ichi said. "I'm just interested in this guildmaster figure you guys keep talking about."
"He's... a bit of an odd one, to say the least." The Chatot remarked. "Hm, weren't there two of you?"
"Huh?" Shin'ichi asked, before seeing that Naomi wasn't behind him. Instead, she was over by the large window, gaping out it in awe.
"Wow!" She breathed. "We're underground, but you can still see outside!"
"Oh, please!" The Chatot said. "This Guild was founded at the edge of a cliff. Of course you can see outside!"
"Still," Naomi said. "It's amazing."
"Yes,yes," The Chatot said, coaxing the Ralts back over to him and the Riolu. "Now, we're about to see the Guildmaster. A couple of pointers I must say before you meet him, just act natural and don't anger him. Last time he flew into a rage it took a week to fix the walls here."
Naomi swallowed hard. "I-is he scary?" She stammered.
"Only if you enrage him," The Chatot said. "Otherwise... well, you'll see." He said before rapping sharply at the large door. "Guildmaster! It's me Chatot! I would like to inform you that we have a couple of new recruits that want to form a team here!"
"Ooh! New recruits!" A voice said from behind the door. "Bring them in!"
The Chatot nodded before opening the doors to the Guildmaster's chamber. Within the giant walls of the chamber were two more large windows looking out, and two massive torches on either side of the center of the room. Copious amounts of treasure and nick-nacks were at the back under a large banner, and a large chair sat in the center of the room. Seated in the chair was a large pink Pokémon with a white underbelly, large cyan-teal eyes, bunny ears, and a matching pink explorer hat; Guildmaster Wigglytuff.
"Ah, so these are the new ones?" The Wigglytuff had asked. "Ooh, I just love it when we get new recruits!"
"Ahem, yes Guildmaster." Chatot stated. "Now then these two are looking to form an exploration team under the guild."
"Yes then," Wigglytuff said. "These two friends are wanting to join? Then they shall join!"
Chatot nodded. "Very well." Chatot said, turning to the two. "It's official, you two are now officially an exploration team." Naomi's heart almost leapt out of her chest.
"Now then, do you have a name for your new team?" Chatot asked.
"Name?" Shin'ichi asked.
"Of course!" Wigglytuff exclaimed. "All official exploration teams have a name! How else will you gain recognition as a famous exploration team?"
"Good point..." Shin'ichi had said, rubbing the back of his head. Then Naomi stepped forward.
"Pardon?" Chatot asked.
"Valor." Naomi repeated. "It's a name I've been saving for a while now, and I'd like to use it for the team."
"Very well then!" Wigglytuff had said. "From now on, your exploration team is officially known as Team Valor! Congratulations on your official entrance into the Exploration Federation!" Wigglytuff said before letting out a tremendous "YOOM-TAH!" with a large flash. Shin'ichi and Naomi shielded their eyes from the flash.
"Now then! Let's get your equipment around! Chatot!" Wigglytuff said. Chatot jumped at this. "Y-yes Guildmaster!" Chatot exclaimed, before rushing behind the chair and bringing out a box. "Now then! As you two are now officially a team you need supplies. Everything you need to get started is within this box."
Both Shin'ichi and Naomi stepped up to the box. "Naomi, since it is your team name, would you like to do the honors?" Shin'ichi asked.
Naomi nodded, the opened up the box. "Now, let me explain these items. This," he said, holding the bag up. "is the Treasure Bag. Loot from dungeons can be stored here for later deposits at the Kangaskhan Storage. These," he said, handing a badge to each of the two Pokémon "are your team badges. These are crucial for your missions within dungeons as they can warp you out in the case of a jam. And this," he said, handing a map to Shin'ichi. "Is the Wonder Map. This map will give you a full view of our entire world and where dungeons are located."
"Oh wow!" Naomi said, taking the bag. "Isn't this a bit too much?!"
"Not at all!" Chatot said. "All of this is necessary for an exploration team!"
Naomi nodded. "Okay then!" She said cheerfully.
"Now then," Chatot said. "If you two would just follow me for a second, your rooms are just right over here." He said, exiting the chamber. Shin'ichi and Naomi followed behind him.
"Now then, here is your room." Chatot said, standing aside the entrance into the room, it was semi-spacious, with two hay bundles in the center of the room.
"Oh wow, we get beds!" Naomi said, running up to one of the haystacks.
Chatot nodded. "Get some rest you two." He said. "You've got a long day tomorrow, so make sure that you are properly rested up." He said before turning and headed back through the hallway.
"Man, isn't this awesome Shin'ichi?!" Naomi said. "We get our own room!"
Shin'ichi shrugged. "I guess," he said. "C'mon, let's get some sleep."
"Yeah, good night." Naomi said, lying down on the hay.
"G'night," Shin'ichi said as the sun set outside the window...
Shin'ichi couldn't sleep. He was kept awake by the thoughts of what his past would have been like. Beside him, Naomi slept peacefully, Her dreams filled with the excitement of what would be coming the following day.
Shin'ichi sighed, then rolled over and looked out the window at the full moon in the sky. He sighed again. "So much has happened within the past couple of hours..." he thought to himself, eyes darting over to Naomi, who was sleeping peacefully. "At least the girl is happy with this." he thought as Naomi rolled over onto him.
Shin'ichi started to lift the girl off of him, but then an odd presence hit him, making his head throb and soon he was seeing a vision. Both he and Naomi were in a small, enclosed cave somewhere, seeing running water nearby. Naomi was saying something while holding a large pink orb in her hands. And, as soon as the vision started, it was over.
Shin'ichi laid there, dazed by what happened. He then gently lifted Naomi off of him before looking out the window at the full moon.
"Wh-what was that?"