That was when he awoke. He shot up from his “bed,” panting heavily. His eyes were wide open. He was shaking. Terrified. It took a moment to get his bearings, and he realized he had suffered from a horrible nightmare. A nightmare that felt all too real.
Gunpowder realized he was not at all in his bed, but rather on the floor, against a wall. In front of him, lying in the middle of the room, there was a crack in the floor. The same crack from his dream. Was it the same cave, then? It seemed like it was. Gunpowder realized that his nightmare consisted of memories, some of which he was unaware he had. It felt so unnatural. The events that he actually remembered were distorted in the dream, too. It felt like.. like someone had warped his memories into a nightmare. It felt fabricated.
He tried to imagine who could do such a thing. Who would want
to. Reliving those events, even through a dream, was complete torture. The list of potential culprits in his head became smaller and smaller, and he felt a sinking feeling in his stomach when he realized it had to have been someone he trusted. There was no one else with knowledge of such events.
His dismay soon turned to rage. It was an anger more intense than any he had felt before. Or perhaps not. There could have been more memories locked inside his head that he was unaware of. He felt disjointed, split apart. His mind was in disarray. His careful deliberation had reduced his assailant to one possibility. He didn't want to admit it, but it was the only thing that made sense.
Gunpowder stood up and bolted down one of the tunnels. Fortunately, unlike in the dream, the passages were now lit up, at least partially. Devonshire had made an effort to add a lighting system, which consisted mostly of holes in the ceiling. Perhaps it was more elaborate, due to the depth of some caves, but Gunpowder never really cared.
Not like he needed the light. Due to having lived around the caves for so long, he was very familiar with the network, and knew the way to Devonshire's office from anywhere inside of it. It was the fastest and most convenient way for Gunpowder to travel, but he always preferred the outside route. He had always thought it was because “he enjoyed the scenery,” but he knew now that it was due to repressed memories.
More than anything, though, Gunpowder focused on the name of that single Pokemon. The one who could wrong him, the one who could torment
him so. It constantly echoed in his head, as if his mind were a great, empty hall. Every time he pictured the name, and the Pokemon belonging to it, his anger became increasingly intense.
That name was “Devonshire.”
It was actually a short dash to the underground of the law firm, which came as a surprise to Gunpowder. Normally when furious and heading to confront someone, it would feel as if time had stopped. Not this time. This time was different. Gunpowder figured it was because the culprit was someone he trusted. The only
person he trusted.
The area around Devonshire's office was different from the rest of the caves. It was darker, colder, and more twisted. Gunpowder had never really concerned himself with such trifles, but his nightmare served as a wake-up call. The environment was so fitting for someone like Devonshire, so much so that Gunpowder could see the ghost's face on one of the walls. The more he thought about it, the worse he felt.
He had to stop and take a final moment to think. It all felt too unreal. He was always so selective of the people he genuinely trusted, but the few that he had were long gone from his life. Gunpowder pushed Anana away due to his inexperience, and he still had no real idea why Bluegill had left. Now, Devonshire's number had come up. Gunpowder figured it had to be some sort of curse.
Amongst his anger was a torrent of other emotions. Sadness for yet another loss and regret for having trusted Devonshire in the first place. Due to their relationship, there was also doubt and hope. Doubt about Devonshire being the culprit, and hope that Gunpower's doubt wasn't dumbfounded. He was conflicted, and briefly, thought about asking Devonshire for advice. Such an idea turned all those other feelings into fuel for his anger.
Gunpowder poked his head around the corner. Devonshire was sitting at a desk, working away on something, with crumpled paper scattered about the floor. He appeared tense, at least somewhat, and seemed to be mumbling, though Gunpowder couldn’t decipher it from his distance. An unusual thing for the ghost, but it seemed to put the situation in the pirate's favor. Many mocked Gunpowder, but one of the skills he was fluent in was combat. He knew how to sneak, and he knew how to get an advantage. Especially against Devonshire, a Pokemon he knew very well. Or at least, he had thought he knew.
Gunpowder had begun to tiptoe around the corner and towards Devonshire. Despite the dragon's large size, he was capable of being quiet. It helped that he was so familiar with the floor of that office. It would have been impossible to hear him coming, even for someone like Devonshire, who was almost within Gunpowder's reach. So close...
Unfortunately, the tiniest pebble thrown into a lake could create a wave. Or, in Gunpowder's case, a pebble kicked across the ground. Despite his great care, he had alerted Devonshire to his presence. The ghost turned around and looked at Gunpowder, that creepy smile on his face. Gunpowder hated that smile. Rather, he was mad enough at Devonshire—and now the world—that he'd hate just about anything. It seemed Devonshire felt the opposite.
“Ah, Gunpowder. I was hoping you would come. I needed to tell you—”
In a twist of irony, Gunpowder was quick to betray Devonshire's trust, swinging his claw at the ghost. He really didn't expect it to have any impact, since Devonshire had a tendency to phase through everything. To Gunpowder's surprise, an impact would have been a gentle way of putting it. The hit had sent Devonshire flying out of the chair and into the wall. Adding to the bewilderment was the loud sound created by the impact. It echoed throughout the cave-office. Gunpowder would never have been able to predict such an outcome.
He pondered the gravity of his actions, albeit briefly. He was fully aware that Devonshire appeared to trust him, and that he had betrayed that, but rationalized it as Devonshire deserving it. He was also aware that Devonshire was actually stronger than him, but he wanted answers, and violence was the best way to show his seriousness.
Devonshire appeared to pick himself up ever so slowly. Gunpowder knew it was a product of the moment, of his imagination, that Devonshire was actually moving at a normal speed, but that was how he saw it all. He wanted to see Devonshire weak, he wanted to see him suffer. He was so bitter, and angry, and confused.
Devonshire appeared to understand the situation no more than Gunpowder. After all, he had just been attacked by his partner of many years. Especially odd since Gunpowder had always been so respectful of Devonshire. Anyone would have been able to tell something was up, and Devonshire was always sharp and had a way with words.
“It seems you have something to say to me, first.”
To Gunpowder, it sounded like a sick and twisted joke. It seemed like he was being mocked. Thus, he responded in kind. The setup was throwing the chair in front of him at—and through—Devonshire, while the punch line was the desk. Gunpowder flipped it over, sending papers flying. As is typical behavior, Gunpowder laughed at his own wit, but it was unlike his usual yar-har. It was more of a cackle.
“Were you not interested in what I have to say at all, then? Without my papers, it will be more difficult to tell you.”
Part 14 of "Well of Memories" by