Chapter 27: VDC

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Sorry guys, but I've been swamped with work lately and November is just a super busy time for my family. I'll try to get back on it.

Chapter 27: Fairest One of All
It was a calm, peaceful night at the Ramshackle Dorm. A serene atmosphere fell over the usually rowdy dorm so completely, that even the Ghost and Dark types weren't up to their usual mischief.
So of course another weird dream which seemed to be heralding trouble plagued the dorm leader.
"Is someone...singing?" (Y/N) thought through the peaceful vigil of unconscious.
She opened her eyes to reveal a mirror, not unlike those in the Mirror Chamber. There was no reflection in it though, only blackness.
"A mirror of darkness?"
Suddenly, a reflection of a beautiful and regal looking woman appeared and she began to speak.
"Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"
Her image faded and a white mask appeared, it's lips moving as it answered.
"Lips red as the rose. Hair black as ebony. Skin white as snow."
"Ha! Snow White...."
The scene changed as now a beautiful and clearly younger girl was peering down a well and speaking to no one.
"This is a well that grants your wishes. I wish for the one I love to find me"
A young man suddenly appeared.
"Hello." The girl jumped and raced towards a door to the castle. "I'm sorry. Did I frighten you? Now that I've found you, hear what I have to say...I have but one song, one song only for you."
The girl seemed very charmed by his sudden declaration, but (Y/N) saw the woman from earlier glaring at them from the window.
"That's a face someone makes when they're ready to kill." (Y/N) thought darkly as the dream ended. "Still, she was beautiful."
Blinking her eyes open to the light of morning, the trainer felt Grim curl into her side, purring madly.
"Brr! It's so cold! I want to go to school wrapped in blankets." He then looked up at her as she stared at the mirror in their room. "Hm? What's wrong? You look fine, so stop checking yourself out. Come on, let's get going!"
(Y/N) yawned and gave Swampert his pets. "Right."
The two got ready for the day, and (Y/N) decided to have Vulpix accompany them today since it was cold. Properly bundled, they headed towards Main Street and were stopped by the familiar calling of Ace.
"Hey! (Y/N), Grim! Good morning!"
"Good morning, you two." Deuce greeted, though shivering, not helped by Vulpix rubbing her head up against his leg. "It's pretty cold today, huh?"
The group of Freshmen passed by the statues of the Great Seven, discussing their plans for the day, when the statue of the Beautiful Queen caught the girl's eye. Instantly, she recognized her, stopping dead in her tracks.
"I that person in my dream last night...!"
Grim then smacked into her legs.
"Ow! Hey, don't just stop out of nowhere like that! You hit my nose with your leg!"
"What? You're staring at the Great Seven Statues." Ace pointed out. "What's up?"
(Y/N) walked down the line of statues, noting that four of them corresponded to the strange dreams she had started having when problems began in their respective dorm. The thing was, the Great Seven in her dreams weren't respected individuals, they were the bad guys.
"Hey, (Y/N)?" Deuce tried to get her attention. "You keep spacing out...are you feeling okay?"
Grim huffed. "You've been acting weird since this morning."
(Timeskip)
(Y/N) spent the whole way to class explaining her dreams to the boys and why she had been so caught up at the statues.
"You've been having dreams about the Great Seven reflected in the mirror in your room?" Ace repeated as they all took their seats and Vulpix jumped into the trainer's lap. "Well, you do see the statues everyday, so they might pop up in your dreams."
"The dreams felt so real, like I was in a movie. Besides, there's been a pattern to them."
"I fell asleep during a quiz once and I mumbled their names..." Deuce said. "But, I think your situation is different."
"Yeah, every time a new dream set starts, trouble always happens in the dorm the person I dreamed of represents." (Y/N) sighed. "Then there was someone named 'Mickey' with round ears in the mirror."
"Mickey?" Ace repeated as Deuce shook his head.
"I don't think they go to our school."
Grim tapped his head. "Oh, now that I think about it...was that when you stepped on my tail in the middle of the night?"
She nodded.
"Hm, if it wasn't a dream, then maybe it was the ghosts or your Pokémon?" Deuce suggested.
"No, it didn't feel the same."
"Okay, then." Ace said. "Next time 'Mickey' appears in the mirror,  why don't you take a picture with the ghost camera the headmaster gave you? It's a magic tool that captures the shape of a soul, right? Even if it's a ghost, it will capture it."
"That's...actually a really good idea, Ace. Good job." She patted his head mischievously as he pouted.
"No need to be condescending."
The bell began to ring as Professor Crewel appeared.
"Sit in you seats, puppies. For today's homeroom, we're gonna tighten up that leash after you all ran loose during the holidays. As you are all aware, the National Magic School Joint Culture Festival is coming in February. It has been decided that the festival will take place here at Night Raven College this year."
"Fnya?" Grim hummed as everyone began mumbling. "We're having a festival?"
Crewel snapped his teaching rod. "All you puppies are noisy! I see none of you read the annual school calendar! Since discipling you pups is my job, let me explain it to you bad boys again. The National Magician Training School Joint Cultural Festival is a gathering of student representatives from different magic schools across the nation. It's a two day festival where students perform music, magic, art, give speeches, and present research. In other words, it's an Inter-High of cultural activities. Our 4th year students are dispatched all over the country for training and research. During the festival, the 4th year students come back and present their research."
Ace rubbed his head. "Oh I see...I never really paid attention to all that, but we haven't met any 4th year students since we started school."
"I only knew they would go off to do research." Deuce noted. "We need to show more respect to our seniors."
(Y/N) glanced down at Vulpix. "I guess we have only seen 3rd years."
"The Cultural Festival is held by the Magic Board of Education, the Magic Agency, and the Magic University." The professor went on. "All of these Magic corporations and research facilities and even celebrities come to the Cultural Festival to discover the next generation of talent."
"Or in (Y/N) and the Pokémon's case, an entirely new subspecies to introduce to Twisted Wonderland." Ace joked only to be bonked on the head by the girl.
"Hush."
"To all you puppies who are participating in the cultural festival, be sure to brush your fur to perfection."
"Hmm." The red head hummed. "So it's a festival of all the cultural clubs."
His counterpart shrugged. "I don't think there will be a lot for us in the sports clubs to do."
(Y/N) blew hair from her face. "Knowing the crow, he'll want me to do a petting zoo with my Pokémon."
"Hey hey!" Grim said, excited. "Do you think there'll be food stalls like at the Magift Tournament?"
"All you think about is food." Ace deadpanned.
The rest of class was spent with defensive magic training and Vulpix got plenty of battle experience by training with the professor, under the watchful eye of her trainer, Glaceon, and Gardevoir, who occasionally interjected to demonstrate moves from their type specialties. All went well, and the rest of the day was uneventful. Of course, Crowley once again forgot to invite (Y/N) to the Dorm Leader Meeting, but oh well. A few days passed normally, and the gang was in the cafeteria to enjoy lunch with Decidueye and Corviknight as company (the girl had felt she had been neglecting her birds a bit and wanted them to stretch their wings).
"Fnya!" Grim moaned. "I'm so hungry! It feels so much longer when we have PE in the morning."
"Aren't you hungry everyday whether we have PE in the morning or not?" Ace jabbed before his eyes wandered. "Hm?"
Deuce and (Y/N) also noticed the large crowd gathering on one side of the cafeteria.
"What's going on?" The blue haired male decided to ask. "Everyone is gathering at the wall over there."
The walked over and Decidueye managed to slip through the crowd to bring back a flyer. (Y/N) patted his head and took the piece of paper.
"Thanks, Decidueye."
"Dueye!"
She then began to read out loud. "National Magic School Cultural Festival: Vocal and Dance Championship performance audition."
"Ah, it's that music competition that's being held at the cultural festival." Deuce noted.
Ace nodded. "It's aired on TV every year, so I've seen it a few times, but I didn't know the people in it were selected through auditions."
"How else would they be?"
He ignored the girl and kept reading. "Come join! With pride for music and dance, this is your chance to make your professional debut! Be the star out of all high school students nationwide! If your team is selected as the winner, you will receive 5 million madol that will be divided amongst all team members."
"5 MILLION MADOL!?" the boys all screamed, causing the bird Pokémon to hiss, though that could also be explained by the arrival of the headmaster.
"Indeed! It's wonderful, isn't it?"
The boys all screamed, clinging to Corviknight and Decidueye for protection.
"Headmaster! Can you not pop out of nowhere like that!?" Ace yelled.
"Oh my, excuse me. I didn't mean to startle you. There is a reason why the price for the Vocal and Dance Championship is 5 million madol. And that is because many companies are sponsoring the competition. The VDC is different from any ordinary school music competition. The finalists will receive debut offers from a variety of entertainment agencies and music labels. Becoming a top ranked performing artist will no longer be a dream. It's not just for the school, it's a serious music battle for your future. The reward must be glorious to spark interest for the elites to attend."
"I see." Ace said. "For sponsors, they have a chance to find their next star...so 5 million madol is probably pocket change to them."
"If I had 5 million madol, I could buy a lot of high quality 300 madol canned tunas!" Grim dreamed out loud as his dormmate deadpanned.
"I'd just make sure the dorm doesn't fall on our heads."
"Wait wait!" Deuce butted in. "It says that the prize money is equally divided between team members. So for a team of 4 people...you divide 500 by 4...1000...100..."
"1.25 million madol." (Y/N) finished.
"She's right." Ace agreed. "You could buy 4,000 of those 300 madol canned tunas."
"Wooohooo! 4000 cans! Hey (Y/N)! I want to be in the championship!"
She immediately crossed her arms. "Oh Arceus no! I hated any sort of performance shows I had to put on as champion. You want it, Grim, you have to pass the audition."
"Some schools choose participants by representatives of chorus and music clubs, but Night Raven College allows all students the opportunity to audition." Crowley stated proudly.
Deuce smirked. "A real, fair competition where the strongest man comes out on top, huh?"
"Of course, there are students who've been preparing since last year for the audition, but I wanted to give everyone the chance to chase that dream of becoming a star. Fufu, what do you think? How kind of me, huh?" Corviknight glared at him, making him act a bit more humble. "Anyways, any student can audition. I'm looking forward to seeing who will be the representatives this year."
The headmaster then went on his merry way as Ace began to read off the audition criteria.
"The song for the audition will be Piece of My World. Submit your applications to Rook Hunt in classroom 3-A. Heh, that sounds like fun. During festivals, the sports clubs are always having to work behind the scenes, so why don't we try out? And if we make it, we don't have to help with setting up the venue and all that."
Deuce seemed to consider it. "If we win, that money would really help my family...Ah, but...I'm good at sports, but I've never done singing or dancing before."
"The song Piece of My World was a very popular song last year. I'm sure there's plenty of dance tutorials on Magicam. It's a simple dance, so it will be easy to learn."
"(Y/N) also sings really well, so she can help us with that!" Grim volunteered as the girl's face went red.
"No I can't!" Corviknight and Decidueye snickered. "Hey, knock it off, you two! You're suppose to be on my side!"
The cat ignored her protests. "All right! I'm gonna practice my tail off and audition!"
Deuce rubbed his head. "Well, I'm not going to do it. I don't think I have a chance of passing the auditions."
"Eh? You're no fun." Ace taunted.
"First of all, we shouldn't even be auditioning if we aren't going to take it seriously."
"I don't like that we need to be perfect just to audition."
"Hmph! Well you're gonna need a shoulder to cry on when you fail the audition, right?"
"Oh come on! Don't act like you know we're gonna fail! We'll make it, you'll see!"
"Oi, you two! Play nice!" (Y/N) warned, shutting down their "playful" jabs.
Deuce cough. "Right, anyways, we have alchemy class next. Today I have class duty. So I have to go to lab and prepare the equipment. If we just sit around we aren't going to have time to eat. Let's go get food."
"Agreed!" Grim cheered. "I'm so hungry!"
(Timeskip)
After a long meal, the gang started walking to Alchemy class, Grim complaining the whole way.
"Going to class after eating a big lunch always makes me sleepy."
"Don't start dozing off and letting our experiment explode." Ace warned as (Y/N) shivered.
"I can still hear the professor yelling at us."
As they passed the courtyard, a lovely voice stopped them in their tracks, Decidueye drifting away with a blissful look (I feel like the Decidueye species as a whole is very animated).
"Hmm?" Grim hummed.
"What is that?" Deuce asked. "Singing."
"Whoever it is, they're really good." (Y/N) complimented.
The singer continued, but as they crescendoed, their voice unceremoniously cracked, causing them to cough and Decidueye's eye to twitch and close his hood tightly.
(Y/N) flinched. "And that's why you always warm up properly."
"Yeah, that ended pretty badly." Ace said.
"Even though I was told to keep singing, I just can't..." a voice said sadly.
The group was curious and followed the voice, finding a familiar pretty, lilac haired boy they had seen around.
"Who's there?!"
"Ah, sorry for disturbing you." Deuce apologized. "We heard singing and...huh? I'm positive you were the one I bumped into on Main Street on the first day of the new semester."
"Ah." The boy flinched. "I'm sorry about that."
"No, it was nothing. Anyway, you're...Epel, right?"
Epel looked surprised. "Eh? How do you know my name?"
"Jack told us. You two are in the same class."
He nodded. "Yes, and you are Deuce and Ace...and that's Grim..." He then turned to the girl and the grass/ghost type. "And you're (Y/N) Stone, the beast tamer."
She nodded with a smile as Decidueye raised his head proudly. "That's us. This fellow here's Decidueye. Don't let his prideful looks fool you, he's a big goofball at heart."
The giant owl's feathers were immediately ruffled as he began huffing like a child at his trainer, who simply grabbed his cheeks and scratched his face.
"Aw, you may act all prim and proper, but you'll always be that adorably goofy Rowlet I met!"
The bird blushed but surrendered to scritches.
"So you know us." Grim boasted. "We're pretty famous!"
"Infamous."
"Same difference!"
Epel smiled and giggled. "It was a lot of fun watching your exhibition match at the Magift Tournament. Your monsters were incredible."
"So, why were you singing by the well?" Deuce asked as (Y/N) finally let her Pokémon go to sulk over being overpowered by scritches.
"I can hear my voice a lot more clearly if I sing by the well." The small boy explained. "That's why my dorm leader, Vil, told me to practice singing here."
"Is there a rule at Pomefiore that states you have to be good at singing to be in the dorm?"
Ace sighed. "It's not like our dorm. There's no way they'd have weird rules like that."
Epel shifted. "It's not a dormitory rule, but...I'm going to audition for the Vocal and Dance Championship."
Deuce smiled. "Heh? That's amazing!"
"So...I want to sing with a beautiful sweet voice." He sighed and began mumbling. "...I wish this tournament would just disappear."
"Eh?"
Another voice then appeared. "Oh my, Epel. Are you skipping your singing lessons to talk to these pigeons."
Epel gasped. "Vil-san...!"
A blonde male appeared, the one (Y/N) believed was the second coming of Wallace. Deuce fidgeted uncomfortably.
"Pomefiore's dorm leader, Vil Schoenheit."
"Wow!" Ace said. "When you get a closer look at him, he seems so proper and powerful."
"This guy's legs are longer than yours, (Y/N)!"
"Grim, I'm not that tall. Also, why do I need sunglasses to look at this guy?"
The senior gave them a harsh look. "And you there, sacks of potatoes!"
"Fnya? Is he talking about us?" Grim asked.
"Who else would I be talking about? Our Epel is in the middle of much more important matters. There's less than 2 months before the VDC. We don't have time to spend with potatoes that haven't even been cleaned. Don't even try to disturb him in the middle of his lesson."
"Hey!" They all growled, Decidueye narrowing his eyes and notching an arrow.
"What's you problem?" Ace asked aggressively.
"We weren't even disturbing him!" Deuce argued.
Epel stood between the two groups as (Y/N) told her Pokémon to put the arrow away. "Vil-san! Stop talking like that to them! This is my-,"
"Epel, how many times have I told you not to speak so improperly? We have nothing to discuss if you can't maintain your composure and start acting out on emotions. You will never become the Poisoned Red Apple at this rate."
"...but, I really don't want to do this!"
"Have you forgotten the promise you made to me? Now come, let's go."
Before anyone could react, (Y/N) snapped her fingers and Vil found himself face to face with a furious Decidueye. The owl shrieked, causing the dorm leader to back away. (Y/N) stepped next to the grass type.
"He said he doesn't want to do it. You've got no right to force him, dorm leader or not."
"Yeah!" Ace agreed. "She's right!"
"And I didn't forget that potato comment you made either!" Grim added.
"Hey! You guys! Headmaster told us to stop picking fights!" Deuce reminded them.
(Y/N) brushed him off. "The crow has a job not to do. Besides, he never told me not to pick fights."
"You guys, wait!" Epel pleaded. "I'm fine!"
Vil smirked. "Fm, quite bold of you sacks of potatoes to talk to me like that. This will be the perfect exercise after my meal. So, come forth. I'll turn you into mashed potatoes."
They all went in, but the boys didn't last long, getting knocked out by Vil in one hit each. However, the blonde dorm leader had no such luck with Decidueye, who's ethereal nature and flight allowed him to evade the attacks.
"Decidueye, Phantom Force!"
The Arrow Quill Pokémon dove at the ground, vanishing in a shadow, before reappearing behind Vil and kicking him with his talons. Vil fell as the owl-like Pokémon jumped back.
"Spirit Shackle!"
Decidueye then notched an arrow and fired. It passed through Vil, causing him to flinch, before lodging itself his shadow. He got back up, glaring at Decidueye, who looked quite pleased. Vil struck out, but Decidueye jumped onto a branch of a tree.
"I suppose there's some elegance to the way your bird moves, not that I can say the same for your companions."
"Big words for some getting their butt kicked!" Grim yelled, still dizzy.
"Everyone please...this was all my fault." Epel interceded.
(Y/N) huffed. "No, Epel, this happened because blondie over here was an arrogant jackass."
Vil rolled his eyes. "Oh I'm the bad guy now? However, it is Epel's fault for skipping lessons during the holidays. There is still much to do if you want to become a finalist in the VDC."
"Do you have wax in your ears?!" (Y/N) growled. "He said he doesn't want to do it!"
"Stay out of this, potato."
"Get over here and say that to my face, pretty boy!"
"Oh I...why can't I move?"
(Y/N) grinned evilly as Decidueye joined her, cackling. "Because Spirit Shackle prevents you from doing so."
"What!?"
"Oh it'll wear off." She turned and began walking off. "When we feel like it. Epel, are you okay?"
"Y-yeah." He said hesitantly. "Thanks, but it's okay. I'll be fine."
She nodded. "All right, if you're sure. But don't hesitate to ask if you need help. Come on, boys."
"What? You're letting him off easy!" Grim protested as they went on their way.
(Y/N) turned back once and she and Vil glared at one another. She was wrong, this guy didn't match up to Wallace at all. Ace was fuming.
"Is there some rule at this school that if you're a bad person, you can be a dorm leader!?"
"Oi." (Y/N) shot.
"Obviously not you!"
"We really need to stop picking fights with other dorm leaders." Deuce insisted.
(Y/N) rolled her eyes. "I'll pick a fight where it's needed." She then patted her Pokémon. "Good job out there, boy."
"De!"
Suddenly, the owl became rigid, glancing around in search of something.
"What's up with him?" Ace asked as (Y/N) patted down his feathers.
"I think someone's watching us...let's just keep going."
Decidueye glared up at one of the trees before they finally went on their way, not noticing another blonde watching them.

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