Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of the Stratosphere (INCOMPLETE)

Chapter 4: Harsh Outlaws

"C'mon, Shin'ichi, wake up!" Naomi said, nudging the sleeping Riolu. "If we get out there first, it'll really make us look good! Come on!"

Shin'ichi groggily opened his eyes after a long night of sleep. He sat up on the hay that he had stretched on and blinked for a couple of seconds, just to get the haze out his eyes.

"C'mon, let's go!" She said, grabbing Shin'ichi by the arm and dragging him to the main hub. Oddly it was rather quiet given the normal time before role call. A half-hearted yawn was heard, and soon Chatot came down the ladder, rather surprised to see Team Valor up so early.

"My my, a little enthusiastic this morning, aren't we?" Chatot said when he saw the two. "I wasn't expecting you two up so early."

"We're ready for another day of training, sir Chatot!" Naomi piped, giving a salute. Shin'ichi rolled his eyes at Naomi's gestures.

Chatot chuckled at this. "Now now Naomi, we're not quite THAT strict." He said, flitting up to the podium. "If anything we're a bit more lenient than most guilds."

"CHATOT!" A loud voice boomed from the halls to the guild rooms. Out of the halls rushed Loudred, panting heavily. "THE TWO NEW ROOKIES ARE G- oh, there they are."

"Yes, and I'm pretty sure everyone appreciated your best ocean liner horn impression." Shin'ichi commented, holding his head to stop the ringing in his ears.

"Aw shut up!" Loudred commented, taking his place as the other guild members filed out into the main hub, some sleepy-eyed, others upset at Loudred for his 'rampage'.

After morning announcements were over and everyone began to head out for their duties, Naomi turned to Shin'ichi again.

"So, we should probably go deposit our earnings from yesterday. Last thing we want is to lose this." She said, holding the small sack of money.

Shin'ichi nodded. "Better tell Chatot first, don't want him to fly into a fit."

"I heard that!" Chatot said, landing next to Shin'ichi. "But in all due respect, yes, you may cover anything that you may need in Treasure Town before your task for today."

Naomi nodded. "Thank you Chatot. We'll be back shortly!" She said, heading up the ladder.

"Just meet with me on the first sublevel of the guild!" He called. "I'll give you your assignment then!"

As the two strolled into Treasure Town, Shin'ichi couldn't shake the slightest feeling that something was...off. He didn't know what, he just felt it, especially after that odd 'daydream' yesterday...

"Hey, Shin'ichi!" Naomi said, snapping him out of his thoughts. "Are you daydreaming again?"

"No, just thinking." He replied, not telling her about what he was actually thinking.

"Well, just relax, we're here." She said, turning to the counter of another stand. This stand again had a large tent over it, but large treasure chests were behind the counter and in the tent as well. A lone bell sat on the counter. Naomi rang the bell. "Uh...hello? Any service?" She asked, but got no answer.

"Maybe no one's here?" Shin'ichi asked. Naomi turned to answer him, but then a ghost Pokémon materialized right in front do her face, the only identifying features being a white skull mask and a single, unblinking red eye. Naomi shrieked and fell backwards while the specter laughed.

"Not funny Duskull!" She said, getting back up.

"Oh, on the contrary! It was quite humorous." He said, floating back behind the counter. "So, what can I do for the couple of kids like you?" He asked.

"We're here to make a deposit." Naomi said, setting the bag of Poké on the counter.

"Ah, a deposit! Not a problem!" The Duskull said, taking the sack and putting it into a large, yet empty chest. "So, will that be all for today?"

Naomi nodded. "Very well, come again later!" He said, waving to the two as they left.

"Well, that was simple." Shin'ichi said as they started their way back to the guild. Naomi started to speak, but was interrupted when Azurill and Marill came rushing by, knocking Naomi over. Naomi lay dazed in the ground before she was helped up by another Pokémon, a large, yellow colored creature with a brown lower half and a short elephant-like nose. He always appeared to be squinting; a Drowzee.

"Hey, you alright kid?" The Drowzee said, helping Naomi up.

Naomi nodded in response. "Thank you sir." She said, dusting herself off.

"Please, it was nothing." He said. "Just trying to help those two find their lost item."

"Lost item?" Shin'ichi asked.

The Drowzee nodded. "Apparently the young one had lost an item that was important to her. Luckily, I managed to see something like that along the way before I came here, so we're on our way to where I saw it."

"Oh, that's so sweet!" Naomi said, her eyes glistening. "The world needs more kind-hearted Pokémon like you!"

"Eh, it's nothin'," The Drowzee said. "Just trying to help a young kid out, that's all. Well, better be on my way with those two. Good day." He said, starting off. He bumped into Shin'ichi on the way. "Oop, my bad." He apologized, before continuing on his way.

Shin'ichi started to fell his head pounding again, and a "Not again..." was muttered before a vision triggered again. This time, it was shown of a Drowzee and an Azurill in a mountainous region, with the Drowzee threatening the Azurill to cooperate or else, before the Azurill screamed the same cry for help as last time. And just like that, it was over.

"Wh...what did I just see?!" Shin'ichi thought.

"It does feel nice to know that there's other Pokémon out there that want to help." Naomi said. "Hey, Shin'ichi, you ready to head back?"

Shin'ichi snapped out of his trance and turned to Naomi nodding. "You ok?" Naomi asked, tilting her head slightly.

"Yeah, but..." Shin'ichi started. "Had another midday blackout."

"After the odd one from yesterday?" Naomi asked. "What happened?"

"Wh-what?!" Naomi cried. "You saw what?!"

"Drowzee, it looked like, threatening Azurill." Shin'ichi repeated.

"B-but how?!" Naomi asked. "He seemed like such a nice Pokémon..."

"Look, I'm just as confused as you are." Shin'ichi said, crossing his arms.

"I'm sorry Shin'ichi, but I can't believe that." Naomi said, sighing. "Drowzee seemed to nice..."

"Look, we'll talk it over once we get back from our mission." Shin'ichi said. "Now let's get back to the guild before Chatot tries to send out a search party for us..."

"Ah, there you two are!" Chatot said as Shin'ichi and Naoko re-entered the guild. "What took you two so long?"

"Sorry Chatot," Naomi said, rubbing the back of her head. "We ran into a bit of traffic on the way back."

"Well, had I known you had ran into some traffic on the way back, I wouldn't have fretted so much." Chatot said, flitting over to a board on the right side of the room. "Now, if you would just come over here for a moment..."

"But, isn't the Mission Request Board on the other side of the room?" Shin'ichi asked, motioning to the other side of the room.

"Yes, but today you will be choosing missions from this side of the room." Chatot said, rapping his wing sharply on the board.

"Who are all these Pokémon up here?" Naomi said, noting the various pictures strewn across the wall. "Are they like famous explorers or something?"

"Far from it, my young rookie," Chatot said. "These are outlaws, a shady bunch of characters from all backgrounds, each wanted for a different reason."

"Oh..." Naomi's heart sank. "So, you want us to go out and catch all of these criminals?"

"Goodness me, Naomi! I wouldn't send you straight forward into danger so mindlessly!" Chatot sqwacked. "Bear in mind you two are important to the guild! The last thing we want is for you two to go missing!"

Naomi winced. "S-sorry..." She apologized.

"Now then," Chatot said, rapping the board with his wing. "Since this is your first time dealing with something like this, I'll choose the outlaw so you do not end up over your head." He then turned to the board and began scanning over it, becoming slightly irritated.

"Oh, well here's the problem, these outlaw notices are all outdated." He said. "Dugtrio, get these boards updated!"

"Right away sir!" A triad of voices spoke from behind the board. Soon a short rumbling occurred and the board flipped a complete 180, showing the bare backside.

"So, what's going on?" Naomi asked.

"Ah, let me explain." Chatot said. "What Dugtrio is doing right now is updating the outlaw list for this day. Outlaws often change or others can pop up, so we need to stay on top of current events."

"Update complete! Please stand back!" Dugtrio said from behind the board. Another short rumbling occurred before the board flipped again, covered with the listing of new wanted criminals. "Now, let's find you a simple weak one, shall we?" Chatot said, scanning over the board.

Naomi's eyes widened as her whole body started to tense up and shudder.

"Something wrong Naomi?" Shin'ichi asked, noticing her condition. "It doesn't seem cold in here."

"Shin'ichi, l-look at the notice board!" She said. "Top right corner!"

Shin'ichi directed his attention to the top right corner of the board and almost gasped. There, on a wanted poster in the top right corner of the board, was Drowzee.

"It-it's Drowzee!" Naomi exclaimed. "We just saw him in town earlier today!"

"That means little Azurill is in trouble!" Shin'ichi said, grabbing Naomi's arm. "Let's go!" Shin'ichi and Naomi rushed out of the front of the guild, leaving a very confused Chatot to try to piece together exactly what was going on.

"M-Marill!" Naomi cried as soon as the two got to the crossroads. "What happened?! Where's Azurill?!"

"They already left!" Marill said, worried. "They took off ahead of me! I tried calling to them but they kept going!"

"Shin'ichi!" Naomi said, tense. "That vision had the two pictured in a mountainous area, right!"

"Yeah!" Shin'ichi said. "I think I might know where they're headed!"

"Then let's go!" She said, the two taking off after Drowzee...

"Mister Drowzee, how much further to the item?" Azurill asked as she bounced ahead, nearing the top of the mountain.

"Not much farther kid," Drowzee said, smirking as he followed behind the young girl. "We should be almost there."

Azurill rushed ahead, only to halt at the sight of a large rock face with a small, Azurill-sized hole at the base. "Oh?" She asked, turning back to Drowzee. "Mister Drowzee, the item isn't here... Do you think you know where it might have moved?"

"Your item?" Drowzee shrugged. "Sorry kid, ain't here."

"Wh-what?" Azurill asked, tears forming. "M-my sister... my sister is coming, right?"

"Sister? Nope." Drowzee said. "Sorry kid, but it's your help alone I need."

"Wh-what?" Azurill stuttered on the verge of tears.

"See that hole in the wall behind you?" He said pointing at the hole. "I've heard rumors of a valuable treasure horde behind that hole, but as you see, I'm too large to fit through that hole. That's where you come in."

"Wh-what?!" Azurill cried.

"Now look," He said. "Just go through the hole and get the treasure, and everything will be just fine..."

"I-I want my sister!" Azurill cried, rushing past Drowzee before he grabbed her by the tail.

"Jeez kid, cooperate!" Drowzee said, pulling up Azurill by the tail. "If you don't cooperate, there'll be big trouble for you!"

"H-h-h-HELP!" Azurill cried.

A dark lump smashed the ground a few feet away from Drowzee's feet. Drowzee, in shock, dropped Azurill, who then ran and hid behind a rock. Drowzee looked over to see Shin'ichi, paws smoldering from the recently fired Shadow Ball, Naomi standing behind him.

"The facade is up Drowzee!" Shin'ichi said. "Hand yourself in, now!"

"Gah! How'd you two find me?!" Drowzee panicked. "No matter, I'll deal with you two myself!"

Drowzee charged up a white ball of energy and fired it straight at Shin'ichi and Naomi. Shin'ichi, with blinding speed, dashed off to the side, out of the way of the orb with a Quick Attack, headed straight for Drowzee. A dull thud sounded as Shin'ichi collided with Drowzee's chest, knocking Drowzee back.

Naomi stepped back and shuddered slightly, before raising a Reflect, bouncing the energy blast off of it. She hesitated before firing off another energy blast of Confusion at Drowzee, narrowly missing him.

"Focus Naomi!" Shin'ichi yelled. "We gotta take him down now or never!" He then delivered a sharp Jump Kick to the side of Drowzee's head.

"Why you little..." Drowzee grumbled, before grabbing Shin'ichi with a powerful Psychic, restraining him in place and sending painful pulses throughout his entire body.

"Naomi!" Shin'ichi yelled through painful gasps. "Do so-omething!"

Naomi hesitantly looked between Shin'ichi and Drowzee panickedly, unsure of what to do until, out of her sheer panic she unleashed a bolt of electricity from her horned helmet, striking Drowzee and launching him backwards face-first onto the ground.

Shin'ichi fell face-first to the ground before weakly getting himself back up, breathing heavily. "What... the heck... was that?" He asked.

"I... I-I don't know..." Naomi breathed. "I seriously don't know!"

"Oh! You're that Riolu from Treasure Town!" Azurill said, rushing over to Shin'ichi and Naomi. "Thank you for saving me!"

Naomi's heart warmed a bit as Azurill thanked them. "Oh, it's no problem Azurill." Naomi said. "Shin'ichi and I are a team. It's what we do."

"Very, very well done young team!" Officer Magnezone said at the bottom of the mountain. "This criminal has escaped our grasp for far to long! Thank you for your assistance in capturing this outlaw! ZZZT!"

"Reward profits for the outlaw should be donated to your guild after this criminal has been processed." Magnemite, one of Officer Magnezone's deputys said. "We will handle things from here!"

"Now you come with us!" Magnezone said, turning to Drowzee. "You have a lot of explaining to do..."

"Aw, come on..." Drowzee said, before being led away by Officer Magnezone.

"L-little sis!" A voice cried. Azurill turned to see Marill, and almost immediately tears started forming in her eyes.

"B-big sis!" Azurill cried, rushing over to Marill, sobbing. "Oh, it was scary! I never thought I would see you again!"

"Relax sis, I'm here..." Marill said, hugging her sister, before speaking to Shin'ichi and Naomi. "Thank you so much for saving her!" She said.

"Well, I must say I am rather impressed with you two heading out and stopping a criminal on such a short notice!" Chatot said, flapping his wings. "Your work ethic is surely a true charismatic sign of the guild!"

Naomi rubbed the back of her head, blushing embarrassedly. "I-it was nothing Chatot," Naomi said. "I guess you could say it was pure dumb luck that we managed to run into Drowzee earlier in town."

"Nonono, but this is so good for the guild's and your image!" Chatot sqwaked. "Just think of the credentials of how amazing your image would be that you managed to take down a decent rank criminal!"

"What about Officer MAgnezone said about sending the reward cash for the guild?" Naomi said. "I'm guessing he wasn't worth much?"

"Oh, on the contrare!" Chatot said. "About your share was 2000 Poké alone!"

"Wh-what?!" Naomi said. "2000 Poké?!"

Chatot nodded. "Very good work you two! Dinner will be ready shortly, so just relax!"

"Whew, talk about a day, huh Shin'ichi?" Naomi asked, flopping down onto her bed after dinner.

"Yeah, a lot of craziness." He said, sitting down on his bed. "You ok? That electric burst took a lot out of you."

"Yeah... I'll be fine." Naomi said, touching the horn on her helmet. "Sometimes I can't control that too well..."

"But doesn't that mean you have stored power?" Shin'ichi asked. "Think about it! You have potential!"

"Yeah, I guess..." She said. "Let's get some sleep now, we've got a long day tomorrow..."

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