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Old 05-05-2017, 05:28 PM   #48
Brains over Brawn.
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With a roll of the dice, fates have been sealed.

The Ribcage Mall.

: Mesmerised as you are by the Pidove, your gentle cooing towards the bird as you begin to slowly inch towards it, trying to be as quiet as possible to avoid further attention. As you creep along the cracked ground, you realise that the damaged floor appears only to be on the surface, while Kakahai follows you, hidden from view behind the wall of the balcony. Only ten paces from the avian, the pigeon tilts its head slightly, still staring at you with those eyes as your heartbeat picks up, five steps away from it...

The Pidove then blinks.

As eye contact is broken, you have the feeling of sinking and as the Vaporeon squeaks out, you realise the floor in front of the bird is nowhere near as stable, the balcony giving way beneath your frame as the Pidove begins to coo repeatedly, as though laughing at your misfortune before fluttering off the barrier. Your fall is short and broken by something surprisingly solid, to a chorus of shock. Kakahai hops down after you, concerned for your welfare, and as you flop onto the ground, pain in your legs from the landing, the sensation of being looked at by a crowd sinks into you as you find yourself discovered by every one of the folk...who seem to have the same marking as outside on their person, be it clothing, tattoo, paint or otherwise handmade jewellery.

"Wha-what the hell was that!?"

Before you can do anything, you're hauled to your feet by four arms and turned around to the sorry sight of a bashed and mangled arcade machine, with one rather irked man around your age with a scruffy chin frowning at you. Kakahai makes a half-hearted attempt to defend you, but the sight of Croagunk and Emolga is enough to make the Vaporeon back down against you, both of you trembling as you try to apologise/bargain.

"God damn it, I was on a good run there and now it's busted! Again! You got some nerve, boy!" the fellow snarls, until a few voices butt in.

"You sure that's a guy? Looks like a girl to me..."

"You look a girl, more like."

"WHAT!? Wanna say that to my face, punk!?"

"Oh great, those two numpties are at it again..."

"Who knows, that kid's ambiguous as it is, could be nonbinary or fluid..."

"Does it matter, folks?" the first man barks, before looking at you and your companion, then up at the Pidove perched on a post further up, then the wrecked arcade machine. After a few seconds of pondering, the folk holding you pipe up.

"So whadda we gonna do about this sneaky little vandal, Ross?"

"Should we chuck 'em into the shark hole? Shove 'em through the Cacnea pen?"

"Nah, let 'm go," the prior fellow, now know as Ross sighs. "Kid musta wandered in out of the rain after the bird up there, given their getup. Course, can't let em get away with wrecking my console there..." he growls, before waving an arm as the crowd forms a circle around you and Ross, the two holding you having let go.

"Right, here's how things work round here with the Ribs, kid," he starts, plucking a ball from his pocket and enlarging it. "I sees you got a nice Vaporeon there by yer side. Now, we Ribs, we don't see much point in grabbing other's property when they sneaks into ours, but kudos where it's due. Point I'm making is..." he pauses, tossing the ball to the side to reveal something familiar to Kakahai, yet much fluffier with a orange and yellow coat and a huge tail that seems like a flame.

" gonna have to entertain us folks. Your Vape against my Flareon, one on one. Lose, we chuck you back out into the rain and storms. Win, we overlook your trespassin' and see about making your wild goose chase somethin'..." Ross concludes, the Rib one to listen to reason, yet eager for some form of payback. You've no way out of this one it seems, but it appears you've got a fair fight in front of you, Ross' Flareon staring at Kakahai, ready for a scrap...

Crystal Grove.

Missingno. Master
: You've been in worse situations than this, and under people far less willing to listen, so without missing much of a beat you relay your identity, which you're quick to notice raises the man's eyebrow, as though in recognition. Continuing, you explain Salazar's colouration and history, the Megapede conveying agreement to the Chespin and man. After a tense few seconds, the fellow puts hand to chin in thought, then speaks.

"Masters, hm...ah, right. I see, you do look familiar. Static Town's first Stunfisk Spelling Standoff? I was there watching when those idiot Rockets decided to show up. Kept out of sight though, not one for competitions of those sorts..." he quips, before turning his head towards the Decidueye. "You can let them go, Hawkeye, mistaken identity." The Arrow Quill pokemon breaks eye contact before waving its wing, as you feel the shackle around your leg dissipate, Salazar giving a few stomps to get feeling back in his.

"The name's Donovan. Travel around the place, but decided to stop here in the city when the Shells started to spread out more. The folks of the grove called on me to help stamp out any approach of the group, which I'm only too happy to do. A few other trainers banded together with me, we call ourselves the Vanguard. We get paid well, they don't ask questions, just want results, which suits us fine..." he pauses, giving you the impression his sense of justice is a little on the vigilante side of things, much like you and the Rockets.

"Anyways, the Chespin here's from the Marshals. Some guy offed his trainer a few months ago, he's been after them ever since as some sorta investigator. The guy in question goes by the Black Scarab, after the Scolipede they used in the murder, stained black as Darkrai." The Chespin nods, the resolute twinkle in his eye showing the determination to bring the killer to justice.

"Not much is known about the Scarab other than the black Scolipede and links to the Shells. We think he's some officer among them, possibly ex-Rocket given the rumours - sorry, fact - that some of the group reneged on their bosses and came here to try and rule the city as their own thing." Donovan spits, the man clearly not amused by the prospect of the Shells in the city.

"But anyways, enough about them, we should get you and your team down to Vanguard's outpost. That is, if you're up for investigating the Scarab. If not, then there's a job one of the nobles here had for us regarding some movement in the north."

With that said, Donovan stands with arms folded, waiting for your response, Hawkeye shrugging in response to Meowth's unamused glare, while the Chespin looks at you, as though requesting your support regarding the Scarab. What's your decision?

Crimson Sanctum.

Gemini Spark
: You may have been a spirit of vengeance given new life, but you weren't such a fool as to approach a stronghold heavily defended when you had no clue how the Shells would react. As you make your way to the hidden figure, you and Chex are thankfully unseen, and reach the figure, who happens to be considerably shorter than you, wearing an unusual mask and clad in many strips of cloth that form a makeshift jumbled robe.

"Ah, kyu reaches me-me not seen!" the figure squeaks, voice high-pitched and slightly grating on the ears to say the least. "Me-me knows ghost when me-me sees one, kyu not man-man truly!" The stranger's revelation catches you by surprise though you manage to maintain the facade without saying or doing anything, curious. Questioning the stranger, they whirl around before continuing.

"Why me-me knows? Because me-me also not man-man, silly! Me-me lost me-me self in big castle place, bang-bang squads take me-me self. Now me-me seeks to make bang-bang squads DIIIIIIEEEEEEEE!" the figure practically roars the final word, as you and Chex take a defensive posture, waiting for inevitable discovery...except nothing. Not even a cough, as though the Shells didn't notice.

"Ah, but where me-me man-man nears? Me-me am not man-man, me am Neemee! Kyu seeks castle seekies? Me-me has sneaky way in! Me-me use ghost tunnel to sneak-sneak in to castle! But me-me call kyu for super helpful task." the odd fellow squeaks.

"Kyu big and strong with hard bug and friends! Me-me sad that me-me not strong. Me-me not able to make bang-bang squads be the PAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNN! So me-me wants kyu to help me-me find self! Me-me make worth while! What kyu ask, me-me give! Help me-me?"

Neemee, as eccentric as they appear, seems to be making you an offer you would be as crazy as they are to refuse. Chex shrugs, clearly as confounded as you are at the four foot masked figure, but if the being is as honest as they state, you could have the first step towards your goal in sight. What'll you do?

The Bastion of Vacuous Dreams.

Marion Ette
: Taking precautions not to damage your belongings or hair, you decide on taking the window entrance, silently flitting across the road and climbing through the window, your curiosity deciding the path. You had faced unknown dangers and survived as a member of the Nightwatch, what was one unusual window in a mysterious and colossal building?

Clambering past the threshold, you drop into the room, looking behind you at the window to ensure you had a simple getaway plan...only to find there is no window. Indeed, your entrance had turned into a solid wall, one you confirm with a couple knocks on the stone. There wasn't any way back, but you had been in worse, and inwardly felt this would have been an inevitability. Taking in your surroundings, you find the room you're in to be rather old, both in the sense of it being abandoned for long enough, and being rather...medieval in setting.

Cobwebs and dust cake almost every surface of the oaken furniture, wrought iron chandeliers and candles perpetually lit with an unusual green light, with the mucky carpet indistinguishable from the granite floor. Ahead, a pair of wooden thrones stand near the back, with a pair of thick wooden doors that appear so heavy even a Machamp would put its back out trying to move them. However, what truly sets the scene apart are the lifelike mannequins sitting in the throne, both in present era clothing.

Something about the room feels off. The long table to the left has some unusual looking spheres, the rightmost table a feast laid out, not a speck of dust on them, while the mannequins seem to stare right at you. Well, you came looking for observation and discovery, you may as well get started on just that. The question is, though, where to begin?
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