In Cold Blood

Being a hero has always been hard. But for the Dex Holders, it's about to become a hell of a lot worse. What they aren't expecting is for one of their own to turn on them. When a suspicious chain of deaths begins, it's a sure sign trouble is ahead. You can't trust anyone in this game of death. One wrong move and it's game over. Will anyone survive? Or will they all suffer a tragic death at the hands of a twisted hero?

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1. [1] Snow

The bitterly cold winds clawed at the cruel, jagged peaks of the mountain. The blizzards relentlessly tore into the landscape, cruel and unforgiving. The howling of the wind sounded like a tormented animal, crying out in desperate pain. Other than the furious sounds of the vicious weather, there was no sound. The mountain was almost completely silent.

No life dared to brave the elements and scale the peaks, which was entirely the sane option. If one was to attempt to climb the infamously dangerous Mt. Silver, they'd surely end up dead. Maybe they'd be caught in an avalanche. Perhaps they'd fall and shatter every bone in their body. Maybe they'd freeze to death. Whatever the cause, it would surely be painful.

The mountain was not, though, entriely desolate, even as the deadly storm attacked. Its wild inhabitants- Pokémon of all kinds- huddled together in the rough network of caves that carved a dark path through Mt. Silver. And somewhere in the depths of the mountain was a sole human being.

He was someone who should be used to storms like this by now, as he had frequently ascended the mountain for training. Those who knew him could only stare at the storm and hope he'd adapted well enough to this. Nevertheless, good at survival or not, he was needed back in civilisation. And so, someone had been sent to search for him.

The Exchanger stood at the peak of the mountain, the merciless winds threatening to throw him off like a ragdoll. He stood his ground and marched on forwards, gritting his teeth and vowing to never do this again. He'd only been sent to search for Red because nobody else was available. Blue, Green. Yellow, Gold and Crys, all the other people who were nearby, had all been busy with one thing or another. And so, Blue had asked him to go and find the Fighter.

Red had not made contact with the outside world for several months.

Normally, this wouldn't be much of a concern to any of the Dex Holders. Red knew how to take care of himself and had devised a selection of tactics to keep himself and his Pokémon safe while on Mt. Silver. Once, he'd not appeared for around six months. When he did come back, he was windswept, exhausted, but alive. So there was no threat that he would be harmed.

But the annual Dex Holder's meeting was coming up next week and Green had stressed that it was compulsory attendance. Every Dex Holder so far would be coming. It would be the second year with the Sinnoh and Unova Dex Holders and would be a chance for all of them to discuss important stuff, like protecting the population, collecting data and ensuring that the next generation of Dex Holders would be well-informed. Silver personally wouldn't have wanted to bother with it, but since he was being forced into it, he didn't have much more choice. His memory returned to yesterday and his conversation with Blue. He'd come to visit her, just to check up on her, and it had resulted in him being dragged into something again. He couldn't step out- this was Blue asking him.

“Silvy... you have to go search for Red!” She'd been pouting again, trying to guilt-trip him. Silver had raised an eyebrow in confusion.

“Why?” he'd asked. “Couldn't Green go? Or Gold?” Or anyone else, really.

“Everyone's busy.” Blue had argued, shrugging. “I'm... shopping, Yellow is looking after a buncha Pokémon, Green's in his gym for once and Gold 'n' Crys are doing whatever they do. You're the only one available.”

“Isn't he answering his Pokégear?”

“Nooo! You know Red! He'll never answer when he's busy training.”

“Why does he have to return anyway, then, if he's so busy?”

“Because!” Blue had sat back, suddenly looking (slightly) more serious. “The annual meeting of Dex Holders is coming up and all need to be present! Especially Red. He's supposed to be a rolemodel, being the Champion and all.”

“Ugh... I suppose I'll have to attend, too...”

“Yep! But first you gotta bring Red down from Mt. Silver! ...Heh, the mountain's even got the same name as you!” Blue had grinned at this, evidently finding it far more amusing than Silver did.

The conversation had progressed from there. It was mainly Silver attempting to protest and Blue refuting his claims. Eventually, the younger boy relented and set off that same hour, wrapped in several layers of wool and utterly exasperated. It hadn't taken long for him to reach his destination, but it had taken a great length of time to ascend the mountain. He'd been attacked several times by vicious wild Pokémon (which Weavile had taken care of pretty quickly), lost his way a couple of times and had to stop for rests to ensure his energy didn't deplete to the point where he allowed himself to freeze to death.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, he'd managed to navigate the vast network of caves and make it to the peak, where Red should be.

He expected to hear or see some sign of Red, either here or along the way. But he'd seen no crumpled food packets, or discarded Pokéballs. And there was no noise of battle like he'd expect. Even though there was a terrible storm raging on, Red wouldn't cease his training. Perhaps the wind was just too loud to hear anything.

He stood, shivering despite the vast amount of clothing he was swathed in (courtesy of Blue), knee-deep in snow and wondering whether he'd freeze to death. He trudged forwards, slowly but surely, across the peak. The area had begun to darken and the first signs of dusk streaked the skies, so he knew he had to be quick. He quickened his pace, trying his best to traverse the thick snow. There was no sign of Red. Perhaps he'd sheltered himself in some sort of cave and Silver had just missed him. It would certainly be the logical option, but that wasn't the route Red usually decided to take. He had to be around here somewhere.

He looked around a bit harder, until he found something that made him freeze in his tracks- not literally, of course. A small trail of sticky crimson through the snow. Scratches in the now bare rock. The snowfall had been disturbed. In fact, most of it seemed to have gone. There was some fresh snow dust coating it, but even that couldn't hide that something was up. Silver cautiously made his way to the edge and realised that part of the rock had broken away from its place. He peered over the edge and found a massacre.

The aftermath of an avalanche covered the ruined side of the mountain and, without looking much further, he knew Red was underneath the wreckage. This was not an instinctive guess but a deduction. He could only guess that Red had been caught in it and attempted to hoist himself back up the mountain, catching his hand as he did on a sharp bit of rock and scratching the surface of the peak in the process. Hence the blood and scratch marks. But that was not what had led him to his conclusion.

There was a small ledge jutting out of the mountain, almost buried in snow. He sent out his Honchcrow and managed to lower himself down. Returning his Pokémon, he went to examine what he'd seen further, hoping that he'd been wrong. Stepping over the pile of snow that obscured the ledge and trying not to slip, he edged along. And then promptly stopped, this time with shock rising through him.

There, covered in a layer of frost, was a bloodied, severed arm.

He knelt down, gritting his teeth and fighting back the revulsion that hit him. He reached out a gloved hand, unsure of whether to examine it or not. It would probably be difficult to identify whether it really was Red's, but since he was sure there was nobody else on the mountain, he could make a logical assumption. His mouth was set in a grim line. He'd seen death before, once or twice, but it hit harder when it was someone you'd known.

Silver stood up again, wondering how he'd tell the others. Admittedly, he was shaking a little. But it was just a horrible accident, there was nothing to worry about.

Something warm and sticky dripped onto the back of his neck. Instinctively, he whirled around, almost falling off the unstable ledge as he did. And when he saw the inscription on the roughly hewn surface of the mountain, he swore aloud.

Because painted onto the face of the rock was a bloody 'R', the eternal symbol of Team Rocket and a sure sign that nothing good was ahead.
 

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