Chapter 43: Titans

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I have been having a blast with the Tsum event and I have come to an understanding that Leona may tolerate me. He never puts up much of a fight when I'm going for SSR cards. Everyone's really hit or miss. Anyone else have that kind of character? Since we're nearing the end of Chapter 6, get those Shenanigans and Event requests in! Though I already have a pretty good idea for one.
Anyways, I own nothing.
Chapter 43: A Dive in the Underworld

(Team Vil)
The interior of the room beyond the giant doors was half flooded and bathed in an eerie red light. The walls were lined with cube-like structures, many of which seemed to have been dislodged from the positions. Metagross, Vil, and Rook went first, scoping out for potential danger.
"This is...the Phantom Asylum." Vil stated.
Epel's eyes widened. "A-are all the Phantoms inside the square boxes around us?"
"Yes!" Ortho's voice answered. "Isn't it amazing? It's a monster house that's filled with Phantoms we gathered from around the world!"
The door behind them snapped shut. Swampert and Metagross immediately tried to pry it open, but to no avail.
(Y/N) gritted her teeth. "We're not getting back that way. Ortho, come out now!"
The hologram reappeared, smiling. "Hiya! Are you having fun with this mission? This is the second trial. In order to get down to the next floor, you will need to go through this asylum first. On top of that, you will need a special ID card or password to open the door of the asylum. Oh and the ID card you received from the staff won't work since I terminated the identification. Can't have you cheating or it won't be fun! Also, I doubt you'll be able to use Rotom to get the doors open."
"Well thank you for the unnecessary concern." Vil snarked.
"So the challenge for this stage is...a treasure hunt! The rules are simple: the Phantom trapped in one of these cages has the ID card you need. Find it and obtain the card."
"No way!" Epel whined. "There are so many cages! It would be impossible to check them all!"
"Fufufu! I knew you would say that. Since this is the first level, I'll give you a hint: please remember the cages I'm pointing at right now. That one, that one, and this one." All three that he pointed to were partially submerged. "The ID card is in one of these three. Good luck!"
Ortho vanished and Vil tested out the ID card on the door. Unsurprisingly, it didn't work.
"Just as he said."
Growling filled the room as (Y/N) clicked her tongue. "There's noise everywhere. Fortunately, we have only three targets Ortho generously put in the water." She dismounted Swampert, Epel following suit. "Showtime, buddy."
The water type banged his fist and dove in without hesitation. He forced the cage open and a Phantom shot out. Rather than fight it out, Swampert put it into a headlock and forced it under the water. For a long time, they stayed under, before the starter jumped out as ink stained the liquid. He looked quite pleased.
"Nice one, boy." (Y/N) praised as the boys we quite shocked.
"Brutal." Epel said as Vil nodded his head.
"But effective. And the ID card?" Swampert shook his head. "I see. Then let's keep moving."
"Yes, sir!" They all said.
Epel tried to force the next door open, but it wouldn't budge. "Ugh, they won't open! I know it's solid because there's a monster inside...! All right, I must succeed this time!"
With a cry, he finally busted it open, only for Vil to give him a look.
"Epel! If you go all out from the beginning, you will get exhausted in the middle! We need to be efficient!"
As they argued, the Phantom growled. Metagross forced them back.
"Lecture later, Phantom now!" (Y/N) yelled.
The poor creature emerged, only to be met with a deadly flurry of blasts and fists. (Y/N) almost felt sorry for it. As it was reduced to an ink puddle, Rook shook his head.
"Looks like this Phantom did not have the ID card."
Vil nodded. "Let's Check the last cage. Epel, I like your motivation, but pace yourself. It would be troublesome if your magic ran out at a critical moment. Save your energy."
"We all should." (Y/N) pointed out. "Now, what's behind door number three?"
"(Y/N)-san, Epel, please stay behind us." Rook urged.
"I don't need protecting!" Epel snapped.
The hunter chuckled. "Listen Epel, hiding behind someone doesn't only mean you are being protected or escaping. If the person in front of you fails, you have the element of surprise to defeat your foe."
"Being strong does not always mean standing in front, little apple." Vil said.
"Ugh..."Epel groaned. "I understand...leave the rear to us!"
"Very well." Vil said. "Metagross, if you would be so kind?"
The steel type ripped the door open with his psychic powers, unleashing the Phantom within. Again, the creature didn't stand a chance and dissolved. Metagross caught something that fell and brought it to the group.
"The ID card!" (Y/N) said, patting the Psuedo-legendary. "Good work, Metagross! Looks like Ortho isn't trying to lie to us. That is both a comfort and a bad omen."
"Très bien!" Rook declared. "The power of belief has opened the path for us!"
"He didn't give us the hint out of kindness." Vil said. "They were just killing time by rolling us on the chessboard....maybe not..."
Just then, a loud bang and growl rumbled through the room. (Y/N) got back on Swampert.
"That's our cue! Let's get out of here!"
They all raced out.
"Made it." Vil sighed in relief as the doors closed behind them.
Rook looked troubled. "The Phantoms housed here were small entities."
"I reiterate my point: let's get through this before the big ones wake up." (Y/N) said urgently before something caught her eye. "Wait, what's that?"
Epel squinted. "Hmm? Something is walking down those steps. The size...could it be Grim? Hey! Gri-!"
Rook covered his mouth. "No Epel! It's not Grim. That thing is 10cm shorter than him!"
"Your dark talents come in handy far more than I'm willing to admit, Rook." (Y/N) sighed. "Also it heard us."
Vil nodded. "It's running really fast. Get ready!"
The Phantom leapt at them, jaws wide. Unfortunately, it leapt right at Metagross, who caught it and kept its jaws wide open for the boys to blast magic down its throat. The steel threw the Phantom over the edge before it dissolved.
(Y/N) blanched. "Ew..."
Epel sighed. "It wasn't Grim at all."
Vil shook his head. "Really, be careful not to do such a thing again."
Rook was a bit more focused. "We have encountered Phantoms on the outside of the asylum. It seems like the lower floors are starting to melt as well."
The Pokémon trainer looked down. "Grim, please be okay...Vil, you said you didn't see Grim while you were here."
The model nodded. "Yes. I didn't even know he was here until you told me. They suspected that the reason he attacked (Y/N) was caused by the effect of Blot. If he was originally going to be released with us tomorrow morning, it could mean there isn't a relation between Grim's violence after the VDC and the Blot."
"Grim is a magical beast." Rook pointed out. "No matter how tame he is, a beast can suddenly become wild again. You can't prevent it from happening, because they were born with such an instinct. Yet, the same could be said of us humans. Our sense of reason is as fragile and unreliable as thin ice. Which is why when Grim attacked you, (Y/N), it was likely not 'his' intention, but 'its'."
"I know." She said firmly. "I've been attacked by wild creatures enough times to know that. I'll trim his claws when we get back."
Epel chuckled. "I'm sure we'll find him. He's part of your beast pack after all."
The journey to the second asylum was less grueling, but that didn't make their entrance less spine chilling. It was more or less identical to the previous one, if a bit chillier.
"So quiet." Vil noted. "And colder than the other one."
"Perhaps the Phantoms in this asylum are still frozen." Rook suggested.
Epel moved forward. "I'll try to open the door with the ID card we have!" The door immediately rejected it. "It's not working. Looks like we'll need a new card."
(Y/N) pursed her lips. "Course it couldn't be that easy."
"Oops..." Ortho's voice said. "Adventurers! Welcome to the third trial!"
Vil narrowed his eyes as the hologram appeared. "Here you are, Ortho."
"Am I late? I'm many things to do...I'll place a NPC guide at the next entrance."
"You keep messing with us every time you appear!" Epel growled. "Just come out and fight with us already!"
"I want to, but it will take time."
"Oh, you seem busy." Vil mocked. "If your hands are full with evil schemes, why don't you ask for help?"
Ortho chuckled. "All right, I'll explain your next trial. It's called 'Let's save the person in trouble!'."
You could hear a pin drop.
"Ortho." (Y/N) growled lowly. "Tell me you didn't put other lives in danger."
He just smirked. "Listen carefully."
"! Help me...!" A voice cried.
The girl glared at the robot boy. "Young man, when this is over, you and your brother are getting a serious talking to. Face-to-face."
Ortho ignored the threat. "A staff that has the ID card is trapped in one of these cages. The inside of the cage is not in a suitable temperature for humans so, if you don't hurry up, they might freeze to death! Fufufu!"
"Are you crazy!?" Vil yelled.
"A hero must help people! Well then, good luck everyone!"
As soon as the boy disappeared, (Y/N) whistled.
"Swampert! Metagross! Seek!"
The two Pokémon immediately fanned out in search of the staff member.
Epel called out. "Hey! Please yell so we can find you!"
"...I'm here...please...!"
The room then rumbled with roars.
"They're waking up!" (Y/N) said urgently.
"The walls of these cages are thick." Rook pointed out. "If we could here the staff member's voice, they can't be far."
As the Pokémon searched, the students all grouped together, picking off Phantoms that began to emerge. Eventually, Metagross let out a call, luring everyone over.
"Hey, can you hear us!?" (Y/N) yelled.
"Yes...please help..."
"Stay away from the door and crouch down!" Vil warned. "Here I come!"
Vil blasted the door open.
Epel ran forward as mist emerged from the cage. "Are you okay!?"
"Ah, I can finally get out..."
"Epel, get out of there!" (Y/N) screamed as she realized it was a Phantom in the cage.
"I'm free! Hahahaha!"
The Phantom lunged at the first year, only to get a mouthful of Metagross's steel hide. It shrieked in pain as its teeth broke on impact and was knocked in the head by a follow up Bullet Punch.
Epel was sweating bullets by then. "Thanks for the save, Metagross..."
"Epel, stand back!" Vil ordered.
The Phantom rounded on them, but by then, Swampert had raced over to them and tackled the creature to the ground, pinning it long enough for Rook and Vil to finish it off.
"...I thought...I finally could"
The creature dissolved and Swampert brought something back to his trainer.
"Whatcha got there, Swampert?" She held it up and blinked. "The ID card!?"
"That Phantom was speaking...was it trying to lure us by pretending to be the staff member?" Epel asked.
Vil looked disturbed. "I didn't think Phantoms were capable of speech."
Rook nodded. "There are plenty of beasts and birds capable of mimicking sound to lure prey. Phantoms are entities created by powerful wizards. It's not strange for them to have higher intelligence."
(Y/N) nodded slowly. "Yeah...let's go with that. I really don't want to ponder the other possibility. It really is getting more dangerous the deeper we go."
"We have the ID card." The Pomefiore leader said. "Let's get out of here."
The group fled as fast as they could, not wanting another mimic to trick them, and caught their breath once the asylum doors were shut behind them.
Vil shivered. "We escaped the asylum, but the temperature keeps decreasing."
"Even with the uniform, it's still cold." Epel agreed.
(Y/N) seemed to have the worst of it, chattering teeth and all, but she seemed to push forward. "I just hope Grim's okay."
"He has thick fur, so he should be fine." Vil said. "I'm more concerned for you, (Y/N), you're used to tropical climates."
"I'll be fine."
"Then stop slouching! Grim won't come out if you have such an uneasy expression! Straighten out your back!" Vil slapped her back, causing her to yelp and straighten out, neither of her Pokémon interjecting due to being vigilant of Phantoms. "You are the prefect of the Ramshackle Dorm, correct? Be confident!"
She sighed. "I appreciate the advice, Vil, but this really isn't the time."
Just then, the ground began shaking violently.
"An earthquake!?" Vil yelled.
"We're gonna fall off at this rate!" Epel yelped as Rook grabbed his collar to keep him from falling off as Swampert propped up his trainer.
Metagross anchored himself into the ground, giving Rook extra support as he narrowed his eyes at the edge.
"This isn't an earthquake. It sounds like..."
(Y/N) listened more closely. "Footsteps?"
Two enormously, rocky hands appeared over the side of the steps as a ink bottle head was hulled over to roar at them. The two Pokémon scrambled to try and dislodge the creature's hand before it could pull itself up. The monster tried to lunge at them, only to get blasted in the face with magic by the Pomefiore boys. Still, the creature stubbornly held on.
"Swampert, Metagross, don't try to push it over, break the ground beneath the hands!" (Y/N) ordered.
The two Pokémon nodded, striking at the ground and slowly causing the staircase to crack. The creature soon caught on, raising one of its hands up to squash Swampert first.
Seeing her partner in danger, (Y/N) opened the lid of her bag. "Rotom, Thunderbolt!"
The Plasma Pokémon shot out, darting at the creature's face and letting out a massive surge of electricity. The monster roared in pain, its loss of balance giving the team the perfect opportunity to dislodge its remaining hand and sending it plummeting to the lower floors. Once the danger had passed, everyone got their bearings once again.
"What was that giant rock monster!?" Epel demanded.
(Y/N), combing over her Pokémon for injuries, didn't even look up. "I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that was the Earth Titan."
Rook nodded. "It certainly matches the description we heard in the control room."
The Titan roared again as it sounded as if it were climbing back up.
"It's coming back!" Epel nearly screamed.
The Titan then began speaking, somehow even more ominous than its roar. "JUPITER! WHERE ARE YOU!?"
Vil pursed his lips. "Let's retreat for now! According to the map, the hanger that houses the Lightning Spear is just ahead!"
Swampert and Metagross didn't give anyone time to respond, scooping up the humans and bolting for the hanger."
"There!" Vil directed as the Titan roared behind them.
The Pokémon dashed into the hanger, the door thankfully closing behind them. Still, the room shook as the Titan began to bash against the barricade.
"That door isn't going to hold for long!" (Y/N) warned.
"Where is the Lightning Spear!?" Rook asked as they combed the room for it.
Rotom let out a beeping noise as the sounds of panels moving filled the air. A spark caught the eye of everyone as a golden spear appeared before them.
"Good work, Rotom!" (Y/N) praised as Vil examined the weapon.
"So, this is the Lightning Spear."
"S-so big!" Epel stuttered. This thing is taller than Vil! How are we going to carry it!?"
A Titan interrupted with more banging and screaming.
(Y/N) yelled. "Swampert, Metagross! Prop the spear up! Vil, turn it on!"
With great effort, the two larger Pokémon heaved the weapon into place as Vil inserted the drive. The spear sprung to life.
"Code: Titanomachy. Identified as sudden emergency level A. Releasing all magic circuits. Battery: 100%. Activating Lightning Spear."
The room surged with electricity as a halo of light surrounded the tip of the spear as it glowed.
"Amazing..." Rook marveled. "The magical power of the spear tingles my whole body!"
"Registering the fingerprint of the operator. Please touch the screen panel."
The door finally gave in as the Titan clawed its way through. Metagross, Swampert, and Rotom began firing off Psychics, Earthquakes, and Thunderbolts to keep the beast at bay, but it refused to be stopped.
"Vil, hurry!" (Y/N) yelled.
"I know!"
"Registration completed. Releasing safety lock. Support mode activated."
The spear then began to float, nearly knocking Vil off of it. The model flinched under the immense pressure of the spear's power."
"HUMANS! WHERE ARE YOU!?" The Titan roared as it pushed through the Pokémon's attacks.
"It's in the hanger!" Rook yelled as Vil gritted his teeth.
"Ugh! Even if I tried to control it with my magic, the power emitted from the spear is too strong!"
"Together then!" (Y/N) jumped in. "Epel, you, me, and Vil support the spear! Rook, aim! Rotom, keep it from going crazy on us! Swampert, Metagross, keep the Titan back as long as you can!"
"Oui!" Rook yelled as everyone took their positions. "As a hunter, I can't fail. Now, it is time to hunt down the Earth Titan!"
Inch by inch, the Titan pushed forward, forcing Metagross and Swampert to grab its hands and dig their heels in to try and stop it. Slowly, they were pushed back. Finally, as the Titan sent them both skidding, the spear roared to life.
"Take this!" Vil declared as the Lightning Spear blasted the Titan with a force that left everyone temporarily blinded.
It shrieked as it was sent flying back into the hole and began a long descendant back into Tartarus. Epel cheered.
"We did it!"
Vil looked more tired than the rest. "W-we won? Did we win?"
"Yes!" Rook cheered. "Victory is ours!"
(Y/N) sighed in relief. "Thank Arceus...Are you guys okay?"
Rotom floated up, looking a little dizzy, but mostly okay. Swampert and Metagross had a few nasty scraps, but nothing a potion or two wouldn't fix. As (Y/N) began working on her Pokémon, the Lightning Spear's AI spoke again.
"Battery low. 10% remaining. Please install at charging station."
Vil looked disappointed. "It's already low on battery? We only used it once. It consumes too much energy!"
Rook shook his head. "It can't be helped."
Vil conceded. "We don't know where we'll be able to charge it later, so we should leave it here for now."
Everyone hauled the spear back into its port as a timer began.
"Is this the remaining charging time?" Rook asked.
Epel pouted. "We're in a hurry! We don't have time for this!"
"But, the attack just now...I don't believe it affected the Titan. I doubt it was killed in one blow."
"Agreed." (Y/N) said.
Vil also nodded. "The staff said we can't fight the Titan without the Lightning Spear. I know it's frustrating to wait, but it's too dangerous to move without the spear. We also should try to recover our strength. We'll wait until it's fully charged."
"We should also check in with everyone else." (Y/N) suggested as a growl interrupted her.
Vil jumped. "What was that!? Is there a Phantom nearby!?"
Epel blushed. "Ah...I think that was the sound of my stomach."
"Huh!? What kind of sound was that!? Unbelievable! I thought the Titan had returned!"
Everyone began laughing, and (Y/N) hoped the others were also fine.

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