Welcome to another exciting installment of Spacemon, the tale of a Pokemon TRPG campaign! This is a spinoff of the sci-fi space epic played using the Pokemon Tabletop United (PTU) system, this time GMed by yours truly. You can get caught up on the entire Spacemon saga here!
“How strange. I’ve never heard of anyone— especially a child— being able to commune with ghost Pokemon in such a way.”
“That’s not even the craziest part,” Gaster told Adrian Avallach, ghost type Gym Leader of Sector 33. Along with his two Maverick crewmates, the former smuggler sat with Adrian around the fire at the Gym Leader’s makeshift camp outside the entrance to the underground pyramid. The four investigators were sharing a meal made from the supplies the members of the Maverick’s crew had brought from the surface while they filled him in on what had happened.
“Yeah,” Ace said, nodding in agreement. “She seemed to imply that a blood sacrifice was necessary to activate the artifact— the bone charm, as she called it,” the android continued, referring to the encounter with the strange little girl in town.
“Hmm. Interesting,” Adrian responded. “I’ve encountered references to ‘blood magic’ in my travels; perhaps there’s a connection.”
“Interesting is one way to put it,” Gaster said. “I’d say it’s bullshit, but I’ve seen this guy summon a curse by cutting his hand and bleeding,” he continued, motioning at Taraka. “There must be something to what that girl said, as crazy as it sounds.”
“My studies of the occult have introduced me to many things most would call impossible,” the Gym Leader replied. “I see no reason not to pursue this possibility … but, first, let us finish our meal.”
A smirk crept onto Gaster’s face. “Can’t argue with that.”
Taraka took a deep breath as he held the knife to his palm. “Here goes nothing,” the monk said, tightening his grip on the handle. Without any further hesitation, Taraka pressed the blade into his flesh. He winced in pain as the blood began to flow from the fresh wound.
Pulling the knife away, Taraka clenched his fist, then held it out over the bone charm laid out on the floor of the ancient pyramid in front of where he sat. Slowly, the monk’s blood dripped down onto the artifact, staining crimson the pale fragments of bone of which it was comprised. Steadily guiding his hand over the bones, Taraka made sure to evenly distribute the drops of his blood. He wasn’t sure if it was necessary to do so, but he felt it better to err on the side of caution instead of risking needing to wound himself again. Once he was satisfied, Taraka retracted his arm and proceeded to bandage up his bleeding hand.
“Do you think it worked?” Ace asked, peering over the monk’s shoulder.
“We’ll find out, won’t we?” Taraka replied, glancing up at the android.
With his hand securely bandaged up, Taraka picked up the bloodstained bone charm, then got to his feet. Gripping the old, fraying string that held the thing together, the monk placed it around his neck. Unlike when he had his Gourgeist target him with Trick-or-Treat, the effects of which had long since worn off, Taraka noticed no immediate difference.
“Well?” Gaster inquired, looking at the monk expectantly.
“I don’t feel any different,” Taraka told his crewmate.
“It likely doesn’t work in the same way as Trick-or-Treat,” Adrian said. “Instead of infusing you with ghost energy, this artifact must trick whatever presence lurks here into thinking you’re a ghost in some other way, one that may not be readily apparent.”
“Assuming it works at all,” Gaster said.
“I guess we’ll find out if it does,” Ace said, gazing into the swirling fog that blocked their progress. “Try walking through and see what happens,” he continued, turning back to Taraka.
Taraka nodded and reached out to his companions. “Let’s all hold hands on the bloody necklace train,” he said as he locked hands with Ace and Gaster.
“Lead the way,” Adrian said, joining the chain.
Taraka took in a deep breath, then stepped forward into the fog.
Wisps of fog swirled around Gaster as he followed Taraka through the fog, an iron grip on the monk’s hand to make sure they wouldn’t be separated. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to stop whatever unnatural forces were at work in these ruins. Only a few moments after they had entered the fog, Gaster felt Taraka’s hand vanish from his grasp. A quick look around confirmed that he was back in the four-way intersection they had been blocked from proceeding past along with Ace and Adrian. Taraka, however, was nowhere to be seen.
“Damn it!” Gaster cursed in frustration. “It didn’t work.”
“No, I suspect it did,” Adrian said.
Ace nodded in agreement. “I think he’s right,” the android said. “Taraka isn’t here so he must have made it through. I guess we all just needed to bleed on the bone charm.”
“Or perhaps we each need our own,” Adrian theorized.
“Or that,” Ace replied.
“Alright,” Gaster said. “So where’s Taraka.”
“Right here,” the monk’s voice answered from the corridor they had gone down. Gaster turned in that direction to see him emerging from the fog. “I made it through to the other side, but it seems that you did not.”
“Yeah,” Gaster said.
“We think we might each need to have a bone charm in order to get through,” Ace informed the monk.
“Can we break the one we have apart to make more?” Taraka asked, glancing down at the charm hanging around his neck.
“That might destroy the magic,” Adrian cautioned.
“So we need to find more,” Ace said.
“Or make more,” the Gym Leader responded.
“Either way, we need to return to that mausoleum,” Gaster said. “There might be more bone charms there and, if not, there’re plenty of bones to make more.”
Adrian nodded. “Alright then. Let’s get going.”
“That should do it,” Adrian said as he pulled the final knot tight.
Gaster looked on as the Gym Leader set down the last of the three bone charms constructed using the bones they had brought back to the pyramid from the mausoleum. While he certainly wasn’t an expert in the occult, the former smuggler felt that the charms Adrian and Taraka had assembled looked much like the original one Ace had found. The question was whether or not they would function the same once bled on. Gaster very much hoped they would as they had been unable to find any other intact bone charms they could use.
With the charms completed, Taraka removed the bandage from his hand, revealing the wound on his palm. It was still fresh enough that the monk was able to bleed on the bone charms to activate them.
While Taraka bandaged himself back, Adrian placed one of the charms around his neck, then handed one to Gaster. The third was for Taraka and Ace was already wearing the initial one. The android had been doing some experimentation with Gaster while the other two had been working on making the charms. The two of them had confirmed that the charm would work for anyone, no matter whose blood was on it. That was good news for Ace as he had no blood of his own. Gaster was still unsure how this place knew Ace was a sentient being, but he had a feeling that was a question he would never learn the answer to.
“Let’s do this,” Taraka said as he placed his bone charm around his neck.
“After you,” Gaster said, motioning toward the fog-shrouded corridor.
The monk nodded and took a step forward. Gaster and the others followed close behind as he led the way. This time, all four of them were able to proceed. The new bone charms, it seemed, worked just as well as the first.
“Ha ha!” Taraka exclaimed. “Stupid fog, you cant stop us now!”
A slight chuckle escaped from Gaster’s mouth. He was glad to have passed this obstacle. However, he wasn’t about to let his guard down. This place still made him uneasy and he had no idea what else might lay in wait for them.
After several minutes of walking, the corridor opened up to a huge chamber with a high, vaulted ceiling. The walls as well as the walkway leading from the corridor entrance were lined with statues and columns, many of which had collapsed from ages of abandonment. The walkway led to a large tiered stone platform in the center of the chamber upon which stood an ornate altar of some kind.
As Gaster stepped further into the chamber, his eyes were drawn to a dark mass on the steps leading up to the altar. Moving closer to investigate, he saw that it was a Human skeleton garbed in a set of old and tattered robes.
“Who do you think they were?” Taraka asked, walking up behind the former smuggler.
Gaster glanced back at his crewmate. “Not sure, but our friend here has definitely been dead for a very long time.”
“He must be from the time of the ancients,” Taraka said.
“The what now?” Gaster asked.
“The teachings of the Congregate speak of the ancients who came before us, a great Human civilization spread across the stars,” the monk explained. “The one from our visions. They are said to have joined with the Angels of God and ascended.”
“Well I guess this guy here didn’t ascend,” Gaster said, glancing back down at the skeleton at his feet.
“That or the ancients left their mortal bodies behind when they ascended,” Taraka replied.
“Seems like a bit of an unceremonious exit,” Gaster commented.
“As impressive and invaluable as the psionic archives of the Congregate are, they are prone to some inaccuracies. As is any record,” Adrian said.
“Don’t let the other monks hear you say that,” Taraka chuckled. “You’re lucky I left the order.”
The Gym Leader laughed. “I’ll try to be careful.”
“So what else do we got here?” Gaster asked, turning his attention forward, to the altar at the center of the platform. Ascending the remaining stairs, the former smuggler approached the altar to get a better look at it.
Upon the stone altar lay another body of a person long dead. This one, however, appeared to be in a state of partial mummification. The upper half was well-preserved for its age, but the lower half was no better off than the robed skeleton. It was as if the job had been left half-finished.
“What do you guys make of this?” Gaster asked his companions, turning to face them.
Ace stepped up to the altar and took a quick look at the incomplete mummy before focusing back on Gaster. “Do you think this place is a crypt of some kind?” he asked.
“If I were to guess, it’s more likely a temple,” Adrian offered his own opinion. “I’ve read about ancient Earth civilizations that practiced traditions of preserving bodies after they were deceased as part of their religion. This strikes me as being very similar.”
“I guess that makes our friend on the stairs a priest of some kind,” Gaster said, glancing back toward the other body.
“It is likely,” Adrian replied.
“They must have been important then,” Ace said. “They might have something important on them we can use.”
The android walked back to the skeleton on the stairs and crouched beside it. Carefully, he began searching its tattered robes. After a few moments, Gaster saw him pull something from around the skeleton’s neck.
“Found something!” Ace called out to the group, holding up what appeared to be a large metal key.
“A key, huh?” Adrian said, approaching the android to get a better look.
“What do you think it opens?” Ace asked.
“It surely must unlock something in this place,” the Gym Leader replied. “Some door we haven’t yet discovered.”
“There were two other ways we could have gone back where we got stuck before,” Gaster pointed out. “Maybe one of them leads to a locked door.”
“That’s a good point,” Taraka said, nodding. “We should go back and take a look.”
With a new plan of action in place, the group made their way back to the chamber’s entrance and into the foggy corridor. Gaster hoped they found a way forward soon. He didn’t want to linger in the ancient pyramid a moment longer than necessary.
“Find anything?” Gaster asked as he emerged from the fog.
Ace took another glance around the room he and Taraka had been searching before turning back to the former smuggler, then shook his head. “Nothing but more tattered robes,” the android said, pointing out some ancient, worn garments strewn across the floor.
“I hope you two had better luck than we did,” Taraka said, addressing Adrian and Gaster. The group had split up into pairs back at the corridor intersection to cover more ground more quickly, but it was beginning to look like their search hadn’t turned up anything useful.
“I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but no,” Gaster replied. “The corridor was a dead end that only led to a room full of supplies for making more mummies.”
“Gross,” Ace said. If he had the capacity for such a reaction, the android would have shuddered. The idea of preserving Human remains in the fashion those who built the pyramid appeared to have done made him uncomfortable, though he wasn’t quite sure why.
“Yeah,” Gaster said. “I’d rather we found the door we were looking for.”
“If there was no door in either corridor, what does the key open then?” Ace asked.
“I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say the room with the big altar might contain a secret we might have missed,” Gaster replied. “It certainly seemed like the place we needed to be. Let’s go take another look.”
With that, the group departed the empty room and made their way back to the altar chamber. This time, they made sure to take a much closer look at the environment. Sure enough, they soon discovered a series of grooves along the top of the altar platform, leading from the edges to a central round indentation in the floor.
“What do you think this is?” Ace asked.
“It looks like something goes here,” Gaster offered a possible explanation.
“But what?” Ace replies. “It’s round, maybe a Pokeball?” The android immediately shook his head at that idea. “No, that doesn’t make sense. The key, perhaps? It’s not the right shape though.”
“What about the Spiritomb?” Gaster suggested. “The keystone might fit here.”
“That didn’t work before so I don’t see why it would now,” Ace said.
“Fair point,” the former smuggler responded.
“I’m pretty sure that it’s a basin for collecting blood,” Taraka interrupted the pair’s brainstorming.
“That would make sense given the method needed to get here,” Adrian agreed.
“Well if we need more blood to proceed, I’m done bleeding for the day,” Taraka said.
“That’s understandable,” Gaster told the monk. “But there might be a way to get by without bleeding. If there’s a blood basin in the floor here, then maybe it triggers the platform to open up or something. Look there.”
The former smuggler pointed toward the stairs leading up the platform. Ace looked at the exact spot his crewmate was pointing to and noticed signs of the stone slabs that the platform was constructed of showed signs of grinding past each other. There was no noticeable mechanism, but it did look as if that section of the stairs could move in some fashion.
“It looks like a way in,” the android finally said.
“Exactly,” Gaster said. “And I can just have my Tyranitar smash it open.”
“You shouldn’t,” Ace warned him “We don’t want to anger the spirits any more than they’ve already been.”
“To be fair, they hate our guts already as it is,” the former smuggler replied.
“But we might be able to fix that,” Ace countered. “Maybe we can put them to rest.”
“Fuck it,” Gaster said. “I’m done with waiting around.” He then pulled out the Pokeball containing his Tyranitar and released the Pokemon inside. “Hrodulf, bash these stairs open!”
With a mighty roar, the former smuggler’s huge Tyranitar began punching the stairs in the spot where it seemed they might open. After several moments, Ace heard something give way. A loud thud rang out as a section of one of the steps dropped. It was followed by a second and a third. As a section of each step lowered, a staircase leading down into the altar platform was formed.
“See,” Gaster said triumphantly. “All problems can be solved with the application of more violence.”
“I’m not so sure about that,” Ace replied as he gazed down into the darkness beneath the altar platform.
“Well it worked this time,” Gaster said, recalling his Pokemon. “Now let’s get moving. The sooner we’re done here the better.
Ace nodded. “Right.” With that, the android took a step down, beginning the descent into the depths of the pyramid.
Taraka kept a firm grip on his staff as he and his companions made their way down the dark corridor that they found at the bottom of the hidden staircase. They were close now to the heart of the pyramid; he could feel it. The ominous feeling that hung in the air seemed to grow stronger with each step forward.
Soon enough, the group came to a large stone door that blocked them from proceeding any further. It was formed from two slabs, each etched with a runic pattern. They came together in the middle of the doorway with such a tight fit that not even a slip of paper could have slid between them. At the center was a hole carved in a very specific shape.
“I guess we know what the key is for now,” Gaster said. “I have a feeling that whatever’s on the other side is not going to be friendly.”
“Agreed,” Taraka replied. “But we must press on. Ace, get that key into that hole.”
Ace nodded and stepped forward, procuring the key from his cloak. Taraka looked on as his crewmate moved the key to the hole. As it drew near, the key appeared to rip itself from the android’s hand as if pulled into the keyhole by some unseen force. Ace cautiously stepped back as the key turned on its own and the door began to open. With a deep, rumbling grind, the two stone slabs slowly pulled apart, revealing what lay beyond.
Two gigantic statues flanked either side of the dim entryway, looming menacingly in the darkness. A path from the door led between them across the large, shadowy chamber to a pentagonal-shaped pedestal on the far side, upon which rested an ornate stone sarcophagus. A lingering fog danced in the dark and seemed to recede back and away from Taraka and his companions as they advanced into the room.
Gaster hung back, cautiously scanning the room with his rifle sights while Taraka and Ace approached the pedestal. As the pair stepped up onto the platform, Taraka noted the entire surface was covered in intricate runes much like those on the door. As for the sarcophagus, it was made of smoothly carved grey stone, ornately decorated with runes and inscriptions in a language Taraka did not recognize.
“I wonder what this says,” the monk voiced his thoughts.
“Who knows?” Ace replied, looking from the sarcophagus to Taraka. “But it doesn’t matter. Let’s get this open. Whatever’s been causing the ghost attacks is inside and we need to destroy it.”
“What happened to not angering the spirits any further?” Taraka asked the android.
“I’m beginning to think it’s too late for that,” Ace answered. “This place just feels evil.”
Taraka nodded in agreement, then stepped back to give his crewmate room to open the sarcophagus. Ace was right. The monk could feel the evil radiating from it. Tightening his grip on his staff, Taraka watched Ace reach out to the sarcophagus.
As soon as Ace’s hand made contact with the smooth stone of the sarcophagus, the runes covering its surface began to glow an intense shade of violet. The android quickly removed his hand, but the glow persisted. As the glow began to intensify, the pair backed up toward their companions. Taraka could feel the lingering unease he had been feeling rapidly growing stronger. He instinctively reached for the Pokeball containing his Togekiss and released her. The others quickly followed suit, sending out Pokemon of their own.
“What the hell did you do?!” Gaster shouted as he released his Krookodile.
Before either could answer, a black spectral figure rose up through the sarcophagus. It was hooded and cloaked and radiated an aura of pure malice.
“Who dares to enter my domain?’ the phantom spoke with a low, creaking voice that seemed to echo throughout the chamber, reverberating off of every surface.
Against his better judgment, Taraka raised his hand. In response, the phantom reached out toward the monk. A ball of ghostly energy then began to form in the entity’s palm. Growing in size, the glowing violet sphere started to extend out and take shape, morphing into an ethereal scythe.
“Then you shall be the first to die,” the phantom said, aiming the weapon at Taraka.
The scythe blade’s glow increased to an almost blinding intensity before a beam finally shot out of it. Before Taraka could even react, the beam pierced through his chest and kept going, striking Ace behind him, passing right through the android and into his newly caught cofagrigus. All three were left momentarily dazed. Reeling from the pain, Taraka stumbled backwards, then he threw up a protective psionic barrier to protect himself and his companions from another such attack.
Meanwhile, the others who hadn’t been hit ordered their Pokemon to attack.
“Jimothy, use Scary Face on that thing!” Gaster commanded his Krookodile. The sand croc stomped forward and took on an intimidating stance, but the phantom was unfazed. It was, however, distracted just long enough to give Adrian an opening.
“Shadow, use Shadow Ball!” the Gym Leader ordered. His Gengar conjured up a ball of ghostly energy and lobbed it at the Phantom, landing a direct his.
Now that he’d had a moment to recover, Taraka turned his attention to his own Pokemon. “Sirius, use Thunder Wave!” the monk commanded his Togekiss.
Shrugging off the stunning shock attack, the phantom waved its hand, causing five orbs to manifest from the fog hanging in the air. These orbs formed into Gastlies that descended upon the trespassers of the crypt. One blasted Taraka’s Togekiss with a Night Shade attack while a second attempted to do the same to Adrian’s Gengar. A third sent a ghostly flame hurtling toward Ace’s Cofagrigus, but it too missed. Meanwhile, the final two hung back and began to glow with an eerie light.
“Those glowing ones might be a problem,” Ace cautioned. Brandishing his laser sword, the android charged one of the glowing Gastlies, which had drifted down toward Adrian’s Gengar. With a decisive slash, he cut through it, but it was not enough to take the Gas Pokemon down.
As he turned to strike again, Ace issued a command to his Cofagrigus. “Tombstone, Hex that one!” the android shouted, motioning at the Gastly hovering near his Pokemon. Then, focusing back on the one he had attacked, Ace readied for another swing.
“Wait!” Adrian called out a warning. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you!”
“Why not?” Ace asked, hesitating.
Before the Gym Leader could answer, the phantom came swooping in. Moving right past Ace, it slashed through him with its spectral scythe, dealing a powerful blow.
“Leave the Gastlies alone for now! That apparition is the real threat!” Adrian shouted in response to the phantom’s powerful attack. “Shadow, hit it with Sludge Bomb!”
As Adrian’s Gengar shot a blob of sludge at the phantom, the Gastly Ace had cut through moved to intercept it. Despite resisting the Gengar’s attack, the Gas Pokemon had already been weakened enough by Ace for it to take it down. As soon as the attack landed, both the Gastly and its evolved form collapsed.
“What the hell?!” Gaster reacted to the sudden defeat of Adrian’s Pokemon.
“Destiny Bond,” the Gym Leader explained. “As I suspected … but I must admit that I didn’t see that suicide strategy coming.”
“So it sounds like we do need to take down those Gastlies,” Taraka said. “But only when they are not glowing.”
Adrian nodded. “Precisely,” he said before recalling his Gengar and switching to his Dusknoir.
“Alright then,” Gaster said. “Jimothy, use Crunch on that Gastly!” the former smuggler commanded his Krookodile, pointing out the ghost Pokemon that was furthest from the one that was still glowing. Jimothy charged the Gastly and clamped his powerful jaws around it, taking it out. With one last spiteful flash of its eyes as it faded away, the Gastly left the Krookodile unable to use any more Crunch attacks.
Seeing the Krookodile take out one of its minions, the phantom focused its menacing gaze upon the Pokemon. It slashed through the air with its scythe, sending a shockwave of spectral energy flying across the chamber. The attack landed with pinpoint precision, delivering a critical strike. Jimothy roared back in rage and pain, but managed to stay standing.
“You’ll pay for that!” Gaster shouted at the phantom, taking aim at it down the sights of his tesla coil rifle. As the ethereal entity turned to face him, the former smuggler squeezed the trigger, letting loose a powerful arc of electricity. As the shot hit its mark, the eyes of a nearby Gastly flashed red and the rifle shorted out. Gaster grunted in surprise, nearly dropping the weapon.
Just then, two of the circling Gastlies descended down upon Taraka and his Pokemon. The monk instinctively hopped back and focused more of his strength into his barrier. “Sirius, use Dazzling Gleam!” he then commanded his Togekiss. Sirius fired a cone of blinding light at the two Gastlies, but both managed to evade. One quickly shot back a ray of energy that left the Togekiss stunned, while the other began to glow, preparing for another Destiny Bond.
Meanwhile, a third Gastly swooped down at Ace’s Cofagrigus and stunned it like Sirius. Ace slashed at it with his laser sword, but the Gas Pokemon caused the blade to dissipate, rendering the weapon useless. “Damn,” the android grumbled, dropping the weapon on the ground. Stepping back, he drew his Honedge then took up his combat stance again.
“Pitiful,” the phantom taunted before suddenly vanishing from sight. It quickly reappeared beside Taraka’s Togekiss. The ghostly entity then slashed through the Pokemon with its scythe, dealing a nasty wound.
“Tombstone, hit that thing with Night Shade!” Ace reacted, commanding his Cofagrigus to attack. Snapping out of her dazed state, the Coffin Pokemon blasted the phantom with ghostly energy, drawing it away from Sirius.
Meanwhile, Adrian and Gaster kept their focus on the remaining Gastlies. Adrian attempted to burn them with psionic flames while Gaster had his Pokemon attack. “Jimothy, use Sand Tomb!” the former smuggler commanded. His Krookodile conjured up a powerful spinning vortex of sand around one of the Gastlies, but it merely swirled harmlessly around it.
“Ground attacks won’t work on them!” Ace shouted before charging in and slashing through the Gastly with his Honedge.
“Damn, you’re right,” Gaster said, realizing his mistake. “Well, that means Jimothy’s useless in this fight now.”
As his crewmate swapped out to a different Pokemon— specifically, his Tyranitar— Taraka focused on strengthening his barrier even further. Once he was satisfied, the monk ordered his own Pokemon to attack: “Sirius, use Fairy Wind on that Gastly!” Snapping back to alertness, Sirius struck the Gastly that had dazed her with a blast of air. The Gastly fired back with a Night Shade attack, but the Togekiss managed to dodge at the last second.
The Gastly Ace was contending with similarly launched an attack on the android’s Cofagrigus. This one, however, was successful and took the Coffin Pokemon down. With the Cofagrigus out of the way, the phantom shifted its attention back onto Taraka’s Togekiss. Floating over to the Jubilee Pokemon, the ethereal being slashed through her with its scythe, knocking her out.
“Your pathetic creatures are weak,” the phantom’s otherworldly voice rang out as it moved on to attack Gaster’s Tyranitar. The Gastly that still glowed with the energy of Destiny Bond floated along behind, as if warning against reprisal.
The other two Gastlies, however, were wide open targets. “Wraith, use Shadow Punch!” Adrian ordered his Dusknoir after the one that had taken out Ace’s Cofagrigus. With the strike of a ghostly fist, another Gastly was dispatched. Now, only two remained.
While the Dusknoir kept the Gastlies busy and the Tyranitar did the same with the phantom, Taraka took the opportunity to recall his fainted Togekiss. “You’re up, Tezeren,” the monk said, sending out his Sceptile to replace Sirius in the fight.
Before Taraka got the chance to command his newly sent out Pokemon, the phantom came flying in out of nowhere. It had been fighting Gaster’s Tyranitar one second and then it was in the monk’s face the next. He felt pain in his gut as the ethereal blade of the phantom’s scythe collided with his psionic barrier. He strained against the force, but the barrier soon shattered.
Taraka stumbled back as the phantom pushed forward. It swiped its weapon next at Ace, but the android blocked with his Honedge. After parrying the scythe blade away, Ace rolled away as the phantom came in for a second strike. He quickly rose to one knee to block a third. With his free hand, Ace grabbed his laser sword off the ground beside him and reignited the blade, then thrust upwards. The phantom let out a low, demonic grunt as the blade pierced its chest and the sound seemed to shake the entire room.
Unfazed, Taraka commanded his Sceptile to attack. “Terezen, while its occupied, use Hone Claws, then strike with Night Slash!” Sharpening his leaf blades, the Sceptile moved in, then he struck viciously, tearing into the phantom.
With a horrific, piercing shriek, a pressure wave erupted out from the spectral apparition, knocking its attackers away. It then floated up into the air, glowing with energy. As the phantom rose, the two remaining Gastlies descended, inflicting curses upon Adrian’s Dusknoir and Gaster’s Tyranitar.
Gaster was quick to react to the attack. “Hrodulf, drive them back!” the former smuggler barked at his Pokemon. “Use Rock Slide!” With a fierce roar, the Tyranitar stomped down, shooting chunks of the floor up at the Gastlies.
Adrian then followed up with a command of his own, “Wraith, use Thunder Punch!” The Gym Leader then fired off a blast of psionic energy alongside his Dusknoir’s attack as Taraka focused back on the phantom.
Taking a few steps back from the fray, Taraka applied a hyper potion to his wounds before ordering his Sceptile to attack. “Terezen, hit that thing with Pursuit!” the monk called out to his Pokemon.
Moving swiftly after the phantom, Terezen struck with his leaf blades, but the ghostly apparition seemed to shrug off the hit. Turning to face the Sceptile, the phantom slashed through him with its shadowy scythe, then moved on to Gaster. The former smuggler dodged backwards as the phantom swiped its weapon at him, then raised his laser rifle and lined up a shot. A flurry of laser fire pelted the Phantom as Ace came up behind it and thrust his Honedge into its back.
Ignoring the Sword Pokemon piercing through its ethereal form, the Phantom lunged forward, sweeping its scythe through Gaster and into Adrian’s Dusknoir. The Gym Leader’s Pokemon collapsed to the ground from the hit, defeated, and Gaster dropped to his knees, blood dripping from his fresh wound. Laughing, the phantom turned and waved its hand, inflicting a curse upon the former smuggler. Fortunately, Adrian was quick to ignite a cleanse tag, lifting the curse before recalling his fainted Pokemon.
While Adrian saw to Gaster, Taraka commanded his own Pokemon to attack, “Terezen, use Dual Chop!” The monk’s Sceptile slashed at the phantom, but the ghostly entity phased away. With another demonic laugh, it faded from sight.
In the temporary reprieve, Taraka turned to his wounded crewmate. “Are you alright?” the monk asked.
“I’ll live,” Gaster grunted back, slowly getting to his feet.
“Heads up!” Adrian soon interrupted, pointing out the Gastlies as they came in for another attack.
“Oh no you don’t,” Taraka said, noticing one had begun to glow, signaling that it was preparing another Destiny Bond. Thinking quickly, the monk pulled out a Pokeball and chucked it at the glowing ghost. The ball hit dead on, capturing the Gas Pokemon instantly. Now, only one Gastly remained, but Ace soon dispatched it with a slash of his Honedge.
“You fight well,” the phantom’s voice rumbled all around as the last of its minions fell. “But you will die here,” the apparition continued reappearing behind Adrian. It then brought its scythe down on the Gym Leader, dealing a nasty wound.
“Not if I have anything to say about it!” Ace shouted, raising both his blades to strike. The android bravely charged the phantom, slashing through with his laser sword. He then spun around and struck a second time with his Honedge.
“Hrodulf, back him up. Use Dark Pulse,” Gaster commanded his Tyranitar. With another roar, the Armor Pokemon shot a beam of dark energy at the phantom, driving it back. Waving its hand as it rose, the specter summoned five more Gastlies— one directly below and the other four in a circle centered around the first. With new minions to do its bidding, the phantom vanished from sight once more.
“Damn,” Gaster cursed in response before firing at one of the newly summoned ghosts, piercing a hole through its gaseous form.
“Terezen, finish it with Pursuit!” Taraka followed up his crewmate’s attack with a command. The monk’s Sceptile swiftly moved to his target and took it down with a decisive slash.
Meanwhile, Adrian managed to send out his next Pokemon. “Ghast, use Tailwind,” the Gym Leader instructed the Drifblim as it emerged.
Feeling newly inspired, Taraka set aflame a cleanse tag, purging the curse that had been afflicting Gaster’s Tyranitar. He was not a moment too soon, as the phantom reappeared in that moment and shot a blast of energy at Hrodulf. No longer plagued, the Armor Pokemon managed to pull off a last second dodge.
Following up their master’s attacks, three of the Gastlies converged on Hrodulf. The minion ghosts fired off their attacks, but the Tyranitar shrugged them off. As for the final Gastly, it started to radiate with a telltale glow.
“Hrodulf, stop that thing,” Gaster reacted, directing his Pokemon after the glowing ghost. “Grab it!” the former smuggler stomped over to the Gastly and lunged to grapple it, but the ghost phased right through him.
Laughing at this display, the phantom waved its hand, inflicting curses upon Taraka’s Sceptile and Adrian’s Drifblim. It then descended down upon Gaster’s Tyranitar, landing a critical strike. Miraculously, the hulking green Pokemon managed to stay standing.
“Alright, no more messing around!” Ace suddenly shouted, pointing his laser sword’s blade at the phantom. “Sentinel, Swords Dance!” the android commanded and his Honedge began to glow in his hand.
“I agree,” Taraka said, nodding. “Terezen, hit that Gastly! Use X-Scissor!” the monk ordered his Pokemon before running over to Gaster to provide healing.
“You too, Ghast! Shadow Ball!” Adrian commanded his own Pokemon as well.
As Taraka rejuvenated his crewmate and healed his wounds, his Sceptile struck one of the Gastlies. Adrian’s Drifblim then hit it with a shadowy ball of energy, nearly taking it down.
“A feeble resistance,” the phantom taunted before lunging for Gaster’s Tyranitar once more. With a swing of the Scythe, the former smuggler’s Pokemon was rendered unconscious. As the specter moved on in search of its next target, the damaged Gastly hovered over Hrodulf’s body, putting itself between its master and its attackers, and began to glow.
“Shit, that’s gonna be a problem,” Gaster said as he recalled his fainted Pokemon.
“It’s okay, I have a plan,” Ace assured him, sending out his Gallade as he spoke. Stepping forward, the android swung his Honedge and let go at the end of the arc, sending the Sword Pokemon flying at the glowing Gastly. “Sentinel, use Pursuit!” The Honedge struck true, piercing through the Gastly to finish it off. Their destinies bound, both Pokemon collapsed. However, as a parting gift, the Gastly left a curse upon Ace’s newly sent out Gallade.
The others, meanwhile, had their own problem as the phantom suddenly came flying at them at incredible speed. The apparition got to Taraka first, cutting through him with its scythe before Gaster drove it off with a volley of well-placed shots. Taraka grunted in pain, but he was drowned out by a horrific shriek emanating from the phantom.
A shockwave of shadowy energy erupted out from the angry spirit along with the deafening sound. It passed over all that were near, shaking Taraka to his core and nearly causing Gaster’s laser rifle to explode. Its scythe now radiating with a far more intense violet light, the phantom cast its malicious gaze over them all.
“You’ll need to do better than that, fiend,” Adrian addressed the phantom as he set alight another cleanse tag, removing the curse from Taraka’s Sceptile. “Now, Ghast! Thunder Wave!” the Gym Leader continued, commanding his Pokemon.
Adrian’s Drifblim shot a pulsing wave of electricity at the phantom, stunning it and giving the others an opening. It was an opening Taraka was quick to take advantage of. “Terezen, use Dual Chop!” the monk shouted, commanding his reinvigorated Sceptile to strike.
As Terezen made his attack, the other two members of the group got themselves back in the fight. Gaster switched out his fainted Tyranitar for his Salazzle while Ace had his Gallade use Heal Pulse to revive his Honedge.
“So that was your plan. Not bad,” Gaster complimented Ace before turning to his newly sent out Pokemon. “Sakuya, use Smog!” the former smuggler commanded the Salazzle.
With a hiss, Sakuya spewed out a burning toxic cloud at the phantom. Seeing an opportunity, Taraka blasted the apparition with psionic energy, causing it to erupt in an explosion of fire and poisonous fumes. The phantom shot out of the explosion like a bat out of hell, its spectral form alight with flames. It fired a beam of dark energy in a wide arc, passing over Taraka and Gaster, but both managed to stay standing.
“Alright, let’s finish this bastard off,” Gaster said, raising up his tesla coil rifle.
“Agreed,” Adrian said. “Ghast, use Hex!”
As the Gym Leader’s Pokemon fired off its attack, the three remaining Gastlies closed in around the phantom in a tight triangle formation, each glowing brightly. One intercepted the Drifblim’s Hex, causing both Pokemonw to go down. While it was a loss for the team, it gave Gaster an opening. The former smuggler squeezed the trigger, sending a arc of electricity shooting across the chamber at the phantom.
With a violent shriek, the phantom flew at the group, scythe lined up to cut through all of them. Taraka braced for the impact, but it never came. Right before the phantom struck, it faded away into nothingness, leaving behind a small tendril of smoke that soon dissipated. As their master faded, so too did the Gastlies. They vanished back into the fog as it receded from the room. And with that, a silent calm filled the air.
“Well, good work team,” Gaster said, breathing a sigh of relief. “Please tell me that’s the last of it.”
“There seems to be a calm aura surrounding this place now,” Adrian informed him. “The spirits are at rest.”
“Good,” the former smuggler replied. “Now I’m gonna go have a long bath.”
Taraka nodded. That was a sentiment he could get behind. Now that the battle was over, the monk just wanted some rest. “Yeah,” he said. “And I need sleep.”
“That’s right, pal,” Gaster said. “The mine is now one-hundred percent ghost-free.”
“Good,” Mr. Phillips replied. “Now we can get back to business.” A wide grin appeared on the portly mining executive’s slimy-looking face as he folded his arms over his gut.
Though they were worn out and tired, Ace, Gaster, and Taraka had returned to the mining company headquarters in Devil’s Landing after reporting to the local authorities that the ghost problem had been dealt with. After all their hard work, the three members of the Maverick’s crew were hoping to get some compensation for their efforts. They were also low on patience.
“Money,” Taraka said bluntly, getting right to the point.
“Ah, yes. Now we can make money again, of course,” Mr. Phillips said, clearly having misunderstood what the monk had meant.
“Our money,” Taraka said. “In my pocket. Please.”
“That’s not my problem,” Mr. Phillips replied indignantly. “Aren’t you supposed to be paid by the Gym Leader?”
“Look mate, we’ve had a rough day and we’re all in a really bad mood,” Gaster told the executive, giving him a fierce glare.
“Money or I’ll flood the place,” Taraka said, releasing his Wailord into the office.
Approving of his crewmate’s thinking, Gaster followed his example and sent out his new Spiritomb. “We took this away from your mine,” the former smuggler said. “We have the power to bring it back and worse ... much worse. So you are going to compensate us for doing you the service of clearing out your ghost infestation.”
“This is extortion!” Mr. Phillips exclaimed, spit flying from his mouth. “I’ll report you to the colonial security forces for this!”
Gaster narrowed his eyes. “And what are they going to do?” he asked. “They hate you just as much as the rest of the citizens of this colony do.”
Mr. Phillips frowned, considering Gaster’s words. “Fine,” he finally spat after several moments. “You win, but I won’t forget this.”
With a grin on his face, Gaster stepped outside with his two crewmates, each of them two-thousand credits richer. It wasn’t a whole lot, but the former smuggler knew it was the best he was going to get from a man like Mr. Phillips. He knew when it was best not to push his luck. Now it was time to get off this world.
“Thanks again for all the help.”
“You saved our town.”
“I’m sorry we couldn’t do more to reward you than giving you a discount at the local shops.”
Amidst a chorus of thank yous from the grateful people of Devil’s Landing, the members of the Maverick’s crew prepared to depart from Omen.
“Good luck on your future ventures,” Adrian said, extending his hand.
“And to you as well,” Taraka replied, shaking the Gym Leader’s hand. “What’s next for you?”
“I’ll be staying here for a while to research the ruins,” Adrian said. “And to study these,” he continued, holding up one of the bone charms. “I’d really like to know what they are.”
“You do that, man.”
“You might want to start by asking her,” Ace chimed in, nodding in the direction of Alyna, the cute-but-creepy little girl they had encountered, who was standing with her parents a short distance away. “She’s the one who told us we needed to bleed on it.”
“I see,” Adrian said. “Thank you.”
Seeing the group looking in her direction Alyna flashed them a smile. “Bye bye now,” she said, giving them a wave.
Ace waved back, but Taraka shuddered. Something about the girl deeply unsettled him. “Come on, let’s get off this planet,” the monk said.
Gaster nodded. “You don’t need to tell me twice.”
Notes: At long last, this chapter is finally done. It took me forever to finish this thing and not just because it was super long. I had a lot of things come up over the several months since the last chapter and worked on it off and on over that period of time. I did consider splitting it up into two chapters to get it out sooner, but I couldn’t find a place to do so that really made sense. That and this was already the 5th chapter of an arc that was originally planned to be 4 chapters in length. In the end, I thought it better to just make it one chapter and power on through writing it.
Anyway, this chapter covers the events of session 49, picking up with returning to the underground with newly learned info. I added in a bunch of new conversations and details to make everything flow better. I did the same with the exploration just to make it more interesting to read. The real meat of the session was the fight, which was a ton of fun. I came up with a really cool boss and it worked just as I’d hoped. It was a tough challenge for the party but I knew they could do it. Ace almost got taken out by Destiny Bonded in the first round. They had to figure that mechanic out on their own, but for the writing it made more sense for Adrian to provide some hints. Other than that near mishap, Ace really got to shine in this fight, dual-wielding his laser sword and his Honedge like a boss. As for Gaster, unknown totally forgot Gastly gets levitate and can’t be hurt by ground moves. I felt a little bad because that Sand Tomb was a crit too! The fight ended with some real tension too. The phantom missed its final attack and then died to burn and poison damage so I improvised that intense final moment on the spot! And with that, the Halloween arc was completed … after a few wrap up scenes. There was some good RP in there so I didn’t need to do much more than add some extra polish. Overall, I think this 5 chapter arc is one of my favorites from the entire Frontier series, but I’m glad to be done working on it.
That does it for this chapter. As always the Spacemon gang and I will be monitoring the comments to foster discussion and answer any questions. Feel free to give feedback and critiques of the writing so I can improve it for the future, or just leave a comment with what you think about what went down in this chapter or what you think might happen next! You can also revisit past chapters, check out the rest of the Spacemon saga, join the Spacemon Discord server, or like our Facebook page to stay updated on all things Spacemon! Click here for the next exciting installment of Spacemon: Frontier!