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Old 09-13-2020, 09:46 PM   #526
Missingno. Master
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Ginny's rather ferocious first impression didn't have much impact on their guests. The Lunatone seemed hesitant, but the pair of Ghost-types didn't seem unnerved in the slightest. The eye contact from Lapis was met unflinchingly by Ginny, who had no problem killing the dead if it came down to that, preposterous as the prospect might seem on the surface.

Once Ginny had backed off, Lapis assured Meowth that it was alright, that she was good with most any kind of confrontation. Her change of demeanor at the mention of Alex did not go unnoticed, and Meowth started to get the impression that something serious was afoot.

With the invitation to enter extended to the trio, they did just that, though beforehand, Lapis extracted a pair of Poké Balls from a satchel she was carrying, handing them to the Sableye. Morgul and Nuhoko began to wander around, while the Dusknoir headed for the door Meowth had indicated.

Inside the living room, Keith and Willa were indeed to be found. The couple was sitting on one of the couches, and Willa was flipping through the TV channels with a remote control. "I know it's gonna be on one of these channels in a little while," Willa was saying. "And mother was in this one, too."

"That's good enough for me," Keith responded. "Once you get the right channel, I'll go make some popcornn. Or Peeves, maybe you- uh- you- you are not Peeves," Keith said, turning around; he had seen the Dusknoir out of the corner of his eye, and had momentarily mistaken the Ghost-type for one of his own. "Wh... Lapis?" he murmured after a moment, recognizing the Dusknoir.

Willa turned to look. "...I've heard you mention that name before," she said. "This is... Alex's Dusknoir?"

"I think so, yeah," Keith nodded.

"Yer tinkin' right," Meowth said, following Lapis into the living room. "I get da feelin' movie time's gonna hafta wait. Buncha Alex's Pokémon just showed up at da front door witout warnin-"

"Oh, geez, what did Ginny do to them?" groaned Keith. He got up out of his seat. "How many Full Restores are we gonna-"

"Chill out, dey ain't lost so much as a single hit point by her doin'." Meowth assured Keith. "Though dat ain't fer lack o' tryin'," he added fairly.

"I'll bet," Keith sighed. "So... Bunch of Alex's Pokémon show up... is Alex here, too?" he asked.

"It don't seem so," Meowth said seriously. "I dunno wat all's happenin', but I get da feelin' we's about ta find out."

"Well, then, by all means," Keith said, nodding to Lapis. "Make yourself comfortable, Lapis, and let us know what's going on." He didn't know whether Lapis could speak human language like Keith's pair of Dusknoir (among others), but if this wasn't the case, that wasn't gonna be a problem- Meowth was prepared to translate as necessary.

~~~~~

"Wow, maybe Ginny's losing her touch, George. Only one out of our three guests were even close to being scared by her."

"Nah, Fred, they just don't know that Pawniard. After all, you and I know she's really a... cut above the rest!"

"Maybe, George, but as far as scaring that Dusknoir and Sableye went, she didn't stand a... ghost of a chance!"

The Pincurchin and Pyukumuku howled with laughter after this exchange of really bad puns, the duo having seen everything from where they sat in the doorway to the pool room, right across the hall from the living room door. Though they would then hear an amused chuckle from... directly beneath them? The cause of which became much more apparent as a grinning Gengar poked his face up out of the floor. "This Attila itching for a good battle, from what I heard?" he inquired. "I would suggest the Battle Room. It's just up the stairs, and once you get that far, just follow the sounds of battle." With that said, Chuck sank back down into the floor, though at the same time, strange shadowy arrows appeared on the floor, walls, and ceiling, all pointing in the direction of the stairs leading to the second floor.

And they would find Chuck to be true to his word- before they even reached the top of that staircase, they would already hear the sounds of various ongoing Pokémon fights coming from the first door to the right when they reached the second floor corridor. Inside, a number of Pokémon had paired off and were sparring on a large elevated battlefield while a number of other Pokémon sat in the chairs and watched. A Slurpuff materialized from a warp panel in the back of the room, having brought in large bowls of assorted berries for the spectators to snack on. On the battlefield itself, a Seviper squared off against an Eelektross, the former keeping up with the latter's Levitate by way of Magnet Rise- though unlike the Pawniard they saw before, the Seviper's Magnet Rise looked decidedly more festive, with red and green light, as though he was hovering through Christmas magic rather than electromagnetism. A Flapple was having to dodge its own Seed Bomb as the Timburr it was attacking had swatted the projectiles back at it with its log. And a Chesnaught put up a Spiky Shield to repel the Rapidly Spinning Hitmontop coming at it.

One of the spectators, a rather enthusiastic Drapion whose cheering had been especially vocal, noticed the newcomers, and walked up to them, with a small Kakuna clinging to one of his arms with String Shot. "Heheh, hello!" the Drapion greeted the Sableye and Lunatone. "Ain't seen you two around here before. You, though, I've seen," he added to the orange Lunatone. "Saw that battle on TV where you took on Meowth. That was damn close and I loved it! The name's Scorpius, and this little guy here is my son, Albus."

"Hello," Albus greeted the guests, quietly yet politely.

"So, what's up? You guys here for some battling?" grinned the Drapion. "Cuz it looks like those battles up there are gonna die down soon enough, so if either of you want in on the next ones, might be a good time to say so."
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Old 09-16-2020, 02:26 PM   #527
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Shroomish A fungal family

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The fungi Pokemon looked like tiny water droplets on the horizon as they swelled into a sea of ‘shrooms – it was time they beared the fruits of their labour. They had been sewing spores in the apocalyptic clearing all day and soon enough, in one concerted effort they would see out the mushroom season with a bang. Increase stretched out a spindly hand which Psilo cupped in his, pulling himself up and breaking into a romantic stroll. The night rolled over shortly thereafter, shedding no illumination on the bleak clearing other than a few choice flashes of lightning. Underfoot bioluminescent mushrooms had started to sprout in kaleidoscopic hues; many shared their colouration with Shiiontic. They followed the flickering bulbs like signal lights on an airport runway, growing in abundance as they reached the height of the commotion.

They were greeted by mushrooms of all shapes and sizes: Foongus huddled together like discarded Pokeballs, scrappy Shroomish butting heads in play-fight, Paras scuttling atop one another for a better view and Morelull bobbing like fireflies against the cloudy night. Several Breloom had formed a drum circle, beating on the heads of their Shroomish brethren while a choir of Shiiontic sang along to the rhythm in perfect harmony. The air was as filled with festivity as it was with spores, Psilo inching closer to Increase and inviting her into a dance. The music seemed to slow as they held each other in a waltz, no longer bound by nerves nor hesitation. Soon enough Psilo caught Six and Amanitin in his peripheral, reluctantly breaking from the dance to check in on his sparring partner.

“I’m glad you’re holding up alright”, Psilo started, “And you must be Amanitin, it’s great to meet you!” The four fungi caught up for some time, recalling their respective days until the ceremony reached its start. The drumming and song shifted tempo as the group gathered in a fairy ring around the epicentre of the clearing, an area cratered by a devastating shadow move long ago; with its base chock full of decomposed plant material it would be a fertile spot to spread their spores en masse. The mushroom Pokemon linked hands, Increase’s touch still enough to send tingles down Psilo’s spine, before expelling their powders sky high. The Breloom shook his club-tail to and fro like a rattle, painting the black night canvas in green-red spores. Increase added her pink spores to the mix and soon enough the sky was a dusty blend of every colour and by morning the land would be overrun with mushrooms. Psilo leant his cap against Increase’s and for that moment his heart was full – and then, something crazy happened. The couples’ spores cross-pollinated…
Mushroom season had reached its apotheosis; Psilo and the others would party the whole night through, the effects of their sporous concoction ensuring not a wink of sleep was had. Unbeknownst to festivalgoers, the courtship of Breloom and Shiinotic was taking physical form through a swirl of spores overhead. While most of the powder cocktail would be sewn into the soil to produce ordinary mushrooms, theirs had somehow cross-pollinated and created a new lifeform unto itself. The fungi would rise with the morning sun in great abundance, and with them a newborn Morelull, face dappled in morning dew as it opened its beady eyes for the first time.


Psilo and Increase hadn’t left each other’s side all night, huddled close together as their fatigue began to catch up with them. Sitting among the fruits of their labour seemed to evoke a sense of satisfaction, the damp and loamy soil dappled with mushrooms of all shapes and sizes. The meadow was made up of all fungal of varieties phosphorescent and dull, from beech and gypsy to oyster and shiitake. The drumming of the Shroomish had stopped long ago to leave the pasture in tranquillity, until the coos of the newborn baby broke the silence. The noise seemed to trigger a paternal instinct in both mother and father as they rushed down the incline.

Breloom felt his whole body clench in a mangle of confusion and anxiety, “How could this have happened?” The feelings of apprehension seemed to ebb away completely the moment Increase passed the Morelull to her father. “She looks just like you,” smiled Psilo, locking eyes with the shroomling and knowing in that moment that he would do everything in his power to protect her.

Psilo knew Emp and the island’s proprietor would be floored when they arrived on the scene, even moreso that their league of fungal friends had seemingly multiplied overnight: “Thanks again for putting me up, Keith! I’ll just grab Psilo and we’ll be on our-“ The Mushroom Pokemon’s prediction wasn’t far off the mark, the traveller dropping his supplies (and jaw) upon stumbling on the mushroom meadow. “Woah, you’ve been busy.” Emp remarked, “… Really busy!” he added, upon seeing the shroomling cradled in Psilo’s arms. The Breloom had never considered himself the parental sort but after some discussion with Shiinotic it was decided the girl would join him until the day they met again. Sharing a fist bump with his new friends and a tight embrace with his holiday romance, he hoped that day wouldn’t be too far away.


Feel free to fill some of the gaps in conversation but I’ll probably close out this story here. Just wanted to say thanks for allowing this all to happen, MM! I’ll apologise if I got a bit carried away with driving the story toward the end, it’s been a joy fleshing out my oldest (and newest!) Pokemon in your secret base. If you ever want to complete the fungal family with a baby Shroomish of your own, you know where to find me!
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:55 PM   #528
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emp View Post
Mushroom season had reached its apotheosis; Psilo and the others would party the whole night through, the effects of their sporous concoction ensuring not a wink of sleep was had. Unbeknownst to festivalgoers, the courtship of Breloom and Shiinotic was taking physical form through a swirl of spores overhead. While most of the powder cocktail would be sewn into the soil to produce ordinary mushrooms, theirs had somehow cross-pollinated and created a new lifeform unto itself. The fungi would rise with the morning sun in great abundance, and with them a newborn Morelull, face dappled in morning dew as it opened its beady eyes for the first time.


Psilo and Increase hadn’t left each other’s side all night, huddled close together as their fatigue began to catch up with them. Sitting among the fruits of their labour seemed to evoke a sense of satisfaction, the damp and loamy soil dappled with mushrooms of all shapes and sizes. The meadow was made up of all fungal of varieties phosphorescent and dull, from beech and gypsy to oyster and shiitake. The the drumming of the Shroomish had stopped long ago to leave the pasture in tranquillity, until the coos of the newborn baby broke the silence. The noise seemed to trigger a maternal instinct in both mother and father as they rushed down the incline.

Breloom felt his whole body clench in a mangle of confusion and anxiety, “How could have this happened?” The feelings of apprehension seemed to ebb away completely the moment Increase passed the Morelull to her father. “She looks just like you,” smiled Psilo, locking eyes with the shroomling and knowing in that moment that he would do everything in his power to protect her.

Psilo knew Emp and the island’s proprietor would be floored when they arrived on the scene, even moreso that their league of fungal friends had seemingly multiplied overnight: “Thanks again for putting me up, Keith! I’ll just grab Psilo and we’ll be on our-“ The Mushroom Pokemon’s prediction wasn’t far off the mark, the traveller dropping his supplies (and jaw) upon stumbling on the mushroom meadow. “Woah, you’ve been busy.” Emp remarked, “… Really busy!” he added, upon seeing the shroomling cradled in Psilo’s arms. The Breloom had never considered himself the parental sort but after some discussion with Shiinotic it was decided the girl would join him until the day met again. Sharing a fist bump with his new friends and a tight embrace with his holiday romance, he hoped that day wouldn’t be too far away.


Feel free to fill some of the gaps in conversation but I’ll probably close out this story here. Just wanted to say thanks for allowing this all to happen, MM! I’ll apologise if I got a bit carried away with driving the story toward the end, it’s been a joy fleshing out my oldest (and newest!) Pokemon in your secret base. If you ever want to complete the fungal family with a baby Shroomish of your own, you know where to find me!
With mushroom season in full swing, the fungal festivalgoers partied all throughout the night, getting less sleep than the average Vigoroth. Psilo and Increase had been by each other's side all through the night, and were huddled close together as they rested, both of them having been thoroughly worn out.

Until, that is, the sound of a cooing newborn met their ears. The Breloom and Shiinotic perked up simultaneously, and raced down the incline to what they both seemed to just instinctively know to be their newborn daughter. Increase smiled as she cradled the newborn Morelull in her arms, and as she passed her over to the Breloom, Psilo smiled as well. Increase's smile widened as Psilo remarked on how much the newborn resembled her mother.

"...really no trouble at all, Emp," Keith was saying, walking with the man who had spent the night. "It's what we got a guest room for in the first place, after all," he chuckled. "You're welcome back anytime you like, and maybe next time you can even take part in a Colosseum challen- whoa," he murmured, spotting the field full of fungi before him. And then he spotted the Breloom cradling a newborn Morelull in his arms, and then he spotted Terri's Shiinotic not too far away, and it all clicked. "Heheh, oh, wow," he grinned. "Terri'll love to hear about this, I'm sure."

Increase embraced the Breloom as their goodbyes were said. "You can bring her to visit whenever you like," she said. "And if I learn that there is anywhere I could go to visit you, it shouldn't be an issue for me to convince my Trainer to do so. Either way, I am confident we will meet again," she smiled. Then, after a moment's thought, she produced a Grass Gem and gave it to Psilo. "For our little girl," said Increase. "If she grows up to be even half as strong as her father, I'm certain she'll find use for it someday."

Following Emp's departure, Increase watched their boat until a few minutes after it had ceased to be visible. As she turned, she saw Terri standing beside her, and a simple look was all it took for Increase to realize that Terri had already worked out what had happened. Or maybe Luna told her, that was an equally valid possibility- that Swoobat had a way of knowing far more than she was told. Either way, Increase smiled, knowing that regardless of who visited whom, this newly-founded fungus family would someday reunite. It was strange- even though Increase had only met Psilo the night before, already she knew she could trust him to raise their daughter right.

Six and Amanita, meanwhile, were nowhere to be seen at the moment- they had, as it happened, retreated to their Trainer's house, where news of their new relationship was met by unanimous congratulations, followed by numerous smug "I told you so"s from various teammates of theirs to other Pokémon with whom they had made bets on whether this would happen. Was a child in their future as well? Maybe someday. Not right now, though, and they were fine with this- they had a lot more thinking to do, and they were also content to let this be Increase's moment.


(It was no problem, Emp, this was cool. I'm glad I could help make this happen, and I'm totally fine with you having kinda taken control near the end. A little baby Shroomish, I'm not opposed to the idea, though it'll have to wait until I... actually have breeding slots again LMAO)
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:27 PM   #529
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With the feline's escort, Lapis entered what seemed to be the main living room of the palace where the fellow she sought out sat with a woman the Dusknoir wasn't quite familiar with. While she had heard about Willa from Alex, she hadn't personally met the Poison type master's other half, and while Keith intially mistook her for his own Dusknoir, this case of identity was very quickly rectified. "Indeed," she replied in common human. If there was one pro about this whole situation, it was that the ghost had ample time to properly learn their language, and aside from the rare blip here and there, it was all but a secon language to her now, without the need for telepathy.

The next tidbit came from Meowth, who explained to Keith that she and a couple of others had shown up suddenly, and with the seriousness of the tone, the phantom gave a nod as the man inquired.

"Yes, it's best I start from round about the beginning. As you know, with our old base cordoned off due to some nonsense about soil subduction from some group of people who really should keep their nose out of others business, Alex and the rest of us have been on the move a bit, when the elite contacted him regarding a power spot on an old lakebed," she began to explain. "This of course would be the site of our current base of operations, Loch Bygone, and for a couple of months things seemed to be going well enough. Well, as well as infrequent flare ups at the site go. During our downtime, Alex has been busy looking for a proper place to settle down, and we seem to have found a reasonable location that fits several criteria for us, and we would have shifted over there by now. Would have, being the operative term..." Lapis paused for a moment, before the air around her grew a little darker.

"Around a couple of months ago or so, something peculiar happened. Alex stated he was heading outfield for a bit to give his Ralts some training, to try and help little Asclepius overcome what mental troubles are with him using some therapy. As a Dusknoir, my kind receives some form of communication with the hereafter, but with sufficient time around another, one can attune oneself to the frequency of the soul of a trainer. In this way, I could keep a track on Alex's location, and would know if he was in trouble or otherwise, as well as whether he was alive or not. And yes, in the latter case his signal would change and I would venture into the underworld to initially laugh at him before punching whatever pompous psychopomp was trying to claim his soul before returning him to the living through...less than savoury methods. I digress though, for therein lies the issue."

"A couple of months ago, his signal went cold. Completely and utterly dead. Alex has all but vanished."

The Dusknoir crossed her arms in thought, pausing for a brief moment for the fact to sink in to Keith. "I've been searching myself, tuning myself to his soul signal, but haven't felt a trace of it, even with a bit of a signal boost. I'm somewhat certain that he's not in Fizzytopia now, and as long a shot as it is, wondered if you knew anything about where he could have gone. From what I heard through the Grepavine, it would have been around the start of a couple months back, and it was a sudden drop of signal, almost as if he fell out of the world..."

---

The other two pokemon of Alex hadn't heard the comedic exchange of the two urchin pokemon, but through the guidance of the spectral arrows found their way into the midst of a massive training ground. "Hm, impressive..." the Lunatone hummed, before the pair were greeted by one of the spectators, a pokemon whose form they were familiar with, and a Kakuna hanging by a thread from his arm. Introducing himself as Scorpius and the cocoon pokemon as his son Albus, the Drapion asked the pair of their interest in battling.

"Not me personally, but a couple of our companions had some interest," the rock pokemon replied. "My name is Nuhuko, and my mischievous flunky here is Morgul."

"Not too shabby this place, beats the dump we're sitting in!" Morgul piped up, to the Lunatone's rolled eyes. "Whaaat? The lake's still gettin' done up, it's still rundown enough to call a dump. But sure, I'll let the kiddies out to play while Spooky the cyclops does whatever she's gotta do..."

With a bit of an awkward fumble, the Sableye's claws scratched at the two orbs, before releasing their occupants. The two shapes eventually coalesced into a reasonably sized seahorse pokemon and an unreasonably large basalt monster, who rubbed her eyes having been suddenly awoke from her slumber. As the Kingdra quickly hopped up and became slightly airborne with a flap of his fins, the Tyranitar gave something of a reminiscent grin.

"Ah, I recognise this place. Looks a bit smaller than last time I was here back when the place was done up for halloween," the Armor pokemon grumbled with a hint of nostalgia in her voice. "I even recognise the Seviper I tussled with back then, hah. I owe 'em a rematch, if memory serves," she chuckled as she stood there, her full thirteen foot height double the average Tyranitar.

"My first time here, wouldn't mind a bit of a battle in water though, the air's a bit of an arse to traverse," Napier responded in return, quickly hitching his tail around the shoulder of the black rock pokemon.

"I'll stick here and watch you two get spanked first before I think about a battle, methinks," Morgul grinned in response, scuttling back and looking for a spectator seat, leaving the Lunatone high and dry to the pumpkin moon's chagrin.
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:01 PM   #530
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Lapis, as it turned out, needed very little translation at all, and was able to get right into the heart of the matter. It all started with something Keith remembered Alex mentioning once before- his old Secret Base being deemed unsafe to continue living in, and thus, his search for a new home. Subsequently, this led to him being contacted about a Power Spot on a dried-up lakebed, which Keith knew to be the site of one of Fizzytopia's Pokémon Gyms. Willa nodded, knowing it well, still vividly remembering her Skiddo landing the finishing blow on a Dynamaxed Runerigus there, triggering the Grass-type's evolution into Gogoat. But apparently, several months ago, something odd happened. Alex had gone to give his Ralts some training, some therapy, trying to help him overcome whatever troubles he still possessed. At the mention of Asclepius, the slumbering Alolan Muk in one of the corners awoke, opening a sleepy eye and keeping an ear on the conversation, remembering having made friends with the little Ralts back in the Park that one time.

Lapis went on to explain that she was able to attune herself to the frequency of Alex's soul. Keith nodded- owning two Dusknoir himself, he was well aware of this capability they possessed. Essentially, Lapis would know if Alex was in trouble, and if he was dead, which would allow her to go in after him, have a laugh at his expense, and then rescue him. But the important thing to take away here was that if Alex was dead, the signal his soul gave off would be different, sure, but it'd still be there, Lapis would still be able to detect it. However, a couple of months ago, the signal vanished completely. Keith and Willa exchanged looks at this as Lapis paused to allow the gravity of what she'd just said to sink in. Following this, she stated her certainty that Alex was no longer in the Fizzytopia region, and while admitting it to be a long shot, she was wondering whether Keith would know anything of where he might have gone.

Keith and Willa were still looking at each other. "A couple of months ago?" Willa repeated.

"The Wigglytuff raid!" Keith breathed. "That was definitely the last time I saw Alex, too."

"Likewise," Willa nodded. "And with that being said, I think we can guess where he went," she added.

"Yeah- he had to have gone after that Ninetales," Keith nodded. "The one who had cursed Totsuka." He, of course, was unaware that the former Seviper had been renamed following the battle against the Dynamaxed Wigglytuff. "Where did Marv say she said this took place? Some landmass off the eastern coast of Fizzytopia? With, like, some curving land bridge connecting it to the mainland, I think he said?"

"That does indeed ring a bell," Willa nodded.

Keith and Willa turned back to Lapis. "I wouldn't be surprised if Alex went there, to try and do something about Totsuka's curse," he said to the Dusknoir. "That seems like as good a place to start as any. And I think it goes without saying, but we'd be willing to help however we can."

"Indeed," Willa agreed. "In fact, since we're on the eastern coast of the region as it is, perhaps the Banette's Revenge would be useful in getting us there?"

"I was thinking the same thing," Keith nodded.

"Youse can count Me-owth in, too," Meowth purred.

~~~~~

It was quickly clarified that Nuhoko wasn't there to battle, though Morgul had the Poké Balls of a few of their teammates who were more likely to want in on the action, and the Sableye subsequently sent them both out. One was a Kingdra, pretty much what you'd expect from a Kingdra. The other was an absolute colossus of a Tyranitar, towering over everyone else present, and clad in black armor. Nobody seemed concerned for the place- every room in the Poisonous Palace was built to accommodate large Pokémon, and Attila was no exception here.

True to what Scorpius had said, the battles seemed to die down. Marvolo cackled triumphantly as Eelektross floated wearily off the battlefield, though the pair of serpentine combatants grinned at each other, wordlessly agreeing on how good a battle they'd had. Flapple and Millicent likewise stepped away, having agreed to call their match a draw in the end. And the Chesnaught and Hitmontop were shaking hands, both looking rather battered from their own bout.

Marvolo was the first to approach the newcomers, looking up at the colossal Tyranitar. "You seem somewhat familiar- have I threatened you before?" he hissed. "Heheh- the Larvitar from Halloween, several years ago, if I had to guess?" He gave a chuckle, eager for action. "Either way, it's clear to me you'd give me a good battle, so what say you?"

Meanwhile, a Qwilfish Teleported right next to the little group. "Pardon me," he called up to the Kingdra. "I couldn't help but overhear that you're up for a battle in the water? I'll be happy to oblige, though we'll need to take it to the indoor pool downstairs- that's plenty big enough to accommodate a good battle."
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Old 10-05-2020, 05:07 PM   #531
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As the spectre stood there in thought, she listened to the hypothesis of the two human allies of Alex, and at the mention of the Wigglytuff raid, the Dusknoir seemed to furrow her brow, or at least the impression of doing so. Continuing, Keith spoke about the Ninetales and the curse on the ghost pokemon's fuzzy fiend, before offering his aid.

"Hrrrm..." she grumbled, dismissively. "Not very likely. Alex can be headstrong, but even he would know better than to snoop around something capable of bringing ruin to entire species. At least, I hope he would be...but I digress. The reason this is unlikely is because he disappeared quite a bit after that. In fact, if I were to guess, it would have been about a couple of weeks before that irritating Gengar created a ruckus at the Loch..."

She paused briefly, trying to rack her brains, before recalling something.

"Oh, she doesn't go by Totsuka now. I believe Alex had discussed with our former Seviper her condition, and part of the support we have for her was a change in name. Visha. Historically, a group of feared Nihan assassins specialising in poisons to perform their duties. That aside, there was one peculiarity. About ten minutes or so after Alex's signal dropped, we felt some unusual burst of energy, as if something of tremendous size had collapsed in on itself..."

As she spoke, Lapis looked at the two, curious if they had any clue what the source of the phenomenom was.

---

Watching the ongoing battles dying down, the group of Alex's pokemon saw the conclusion of each skirmish, with the Seviper prevailing over the Eelektross while the Timburr and Flapple called it a draw, as did the Chesnaught and Hitmontop, the latter giving the Lunatone a bit of a wistful look in his eye. "Ah, I don't quite miss old Arondight, I do wonder how that shiny rogue's getting on these days..."

The Seviper was of course the first to approach, Marvolo quickly recognising Attila from a few years ago, keen on a proper match with the titan. The Tyranitar's response was to give a respectful smirk to the Seviper. "Heh, right. I learnt a valuable lesson back then when I was young and power hungry. I'm definitely itching for a rematch, though."

Shrugging the Kingdra off her shoulder, the rock type lumbered forward, waiting for someone to point the two of them to an arena, and while Napier was slightly miffed at being jettisoned so soon, his wait was only for a couple of seconds as a Qwilfish suddenly warped beside him, the pufferfish propositioning him for a fight in the pool downstairs.

"Certainly! I've been eager to have a proper battle, it's a bit tiring sparring from a shoulder or back," Napier responded enthusiatically, fins flapping as he righted himself unsteadily on his tail. Fully evolved though he was, the lack of proper legs was a forever curse.
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Old 10-05-2020, 06:43 PM   #532
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(Reminder to all concerned that this storyline, and all currently running storylines in this Secret Base, take place before the events of this Visionary Glade post.)

Lapis didn't seem to agree that Alex's disappearance had anything to do with what they'd learned about Totsuka. Or rather, Visha, as she was now called. Alex's disappearance was apparently several weeks after him finding out about this, not long before that Gigantamax Gengar showed up. Keith remembered that raid battle and remembered it well, having gone at it with his Drapion. According to Lapis, about ten minutes after Alex's signal dropping, there had been an unusual burst of energy. Almost as if something had collapsed on itself.

"...several weeks before the Gengar?" Willa murmured.

"Something collapsing on itself?" Keith added.

Willa looked at Keith. "The Gengar raid was several weeks after you proposed, was it not?" she inquired.

Keith nodded slowly, looking back at Willa. "And that was right after-"

"Primal Dialga!" the couple breathed simultaneously.

"Lapis, you must have heard about that, right?" Keith said. "Numerous Trainers being transported to where a corrupted Dialga was fighting, with the world about to end and everything?"

"The dimension we were fighting in seemed to have collapsed in on itself after Dialga was defeated," Willa stated. "We were only spared from this by a Gigantamax Hatterene's efforts."

"I didn't see Alex there, though," Keith frowned. "But with this happening in such close proximity to you losing Alex's signal, I feel like there's gotta be a correlation."

"I agree," nodded Willa. She looked up at Lapis. "Our offer to help still stands, however we can," she stated.

"Yeah, definitely," Keith added. "This all had to do with the temporal distortion on the outskirts of New Fizz City, as I recall, so that's the best lead I can think of. If we're gonna head out there, my Scolipede's almost certainly up to the journey."

~~~~~

"Then you came to the right place," Marvolo hissed. "Let's get on up there, then," he added, leading the way onto the large elevated platform. Thus far, the only other pair of sparring partners that had gathered appeared to be a Victreebel and a Carnivine, and they weren't taking up too much room- the Seviper and Tyranitar had the bulk of the arena to themselves. Marvolo slithered over to one end of the battlefield, with the clear indication that Attila should go to the other end. Once they'd taken their positions, the Seviper made the first move, a festive-looking red and green aura coming over his body, the Magnet Rise allowing Marvolo to levitate, be it by electromagnetic force or Christmas magic (nobody seemed quite sure which), to ensure that Ground moves wouldn't put him at a disadvantage.

"Let's go, then," Hebenon stated. The Qwilfish closed his eyes and focused, and in an instant, had Teleported both himself and Napier to the pool room on the ground floor. The Qwilfish bounded forward, jumping into the water, clearly eager for a good battle.

"Well, this is bound to make quite a splash," remarked the Pincurchin from before. Fred and George were sitting beside the pool, watching the action that was about to unfold.

"Sure seems that way, Fred," the Pyukumuku replied. "Wasn't expecting a battle in here, but hey, I can go with the flow."

"That's the spirit, George," said the Pincurchin. "I'm sure this'll go quite swimmingly."

Hebenon had taken his position at one end of the pool, and once Napier was ready, the Qwilfish gave a nod, letting the Kingdra have the first move.
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Old 10-12-2020, 12:31 AM   #533
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The grimly determined shape of a Ralts marched her way in the direction of the Sludge Wave Coast, carrying a wooden bokken and trailed by a nervous Galarian Ponyta. A Snivy kept pace above her, chatting casually with the Fletchling coasting along on air currents overhead. Following behind at an amble was Melissa with an Eevee keeping pace with her and a Cyndaquil draped over her shoulder.

“Okay, I know Tempest’s been planning to visit for a while, but why did we have to go now?” Wildfire whined, burrowing his face into the side of Melissa’s neck.

“Apparently, she, Mirage, and Annabelle felt some kind of ripple or something?” Eve tilted her head back to look thoughtfully at the sky. “Not too long ago.”

Wildfire peeked out at Eve. “Ripple? Like...temporal ripple?”

Eve shrugged. “I dunno. I don’t have anything Psychic, so I didn’t feel anything when it happened.”

“Either way, Tempest got concerned over it and she insisted we come check it out.” Melissa tilted her head. “Then again, she’s been wanting to ask Keith for advice on how best to counter Poison-types basically since she first heard of him, so…”

Eve nodded and they walked in silence for a while, enjoying the sunshine. Up ahead, Tempest slowed to a stop at the edge of the forest, pausing for the first time since she set out for the Sludge Wave Coast. Mirage stopped further back in the safety of the trees, shifting nervously and shooting glances into the clearing. Vine and Zephyr circled back to regroup with Melissa, matching the slower pace of the trio as they slowly made their way to where the pair of Psychics waited.

“By the way, how’d you get Hex to stay home?” Zephyr asked Eve, tilting her head to watch the Eevee’s reaction as the Fletchling fluttered from branch to branch.

Eve grimaced. “I got Viv to dust Sleep Powder over her and then snuck out. I’m hoping she thinks I’m just outside and not, y’know, out-out when she wakes up.”

“That doesn’t sound like it’ll work for long,” Vine said dubiously.

Eve nodded. “I didn’t think so either, which is why I asked Cosmo to run interference until we got back.”

They considered that for a moment.

“Hex’s still gonna be pissed,” Wildfire pointed out bluntly.

Vine nodded. “She really is.”

“Clingy,” Zephyr added. “Overprotective.” She paused. “More than usual, I mean.”

Melissa sighed. “We’ll...deal with that when we get back.”

“And, by that, you mean you,” Zephyr chirped, prompting a snicker out of Wildfire and Vine.

Melissa huffed an agreeing laugh. “Yeah. In the meantime…” She dropped into a crouch next to Tempest, who hadn’t moved since she’d stopped. “What’s up?”

Tempest tapped at her bokken. “We’re about to enter the territory of a Poison-type specialist you’ve only ever met in passing.” She surveyed what she could of the clearing from under the trees. “Even if he’s rumored to be friendly, I’m still...understandably concerned when you consider his team far overpowers ours.”

“Also, the echoes of those distortions are still around,” Mirage added, shifting her weight nervously.

“I’ll grant you the greater power, but every interaction I’ve had with him or heard about secondhand just reinforces the friendly bit.” Melissa turned to look at the clearing herself. “Besides, are you really gonna balk at getting advice when you led the way here?”

Tempest tapped her bokken a few more times before shaking her head and firming her shoulders. “No, you’re right. I have a good reason for coming and we can ask about the ripples that we felt, too.”

“You want me to come with to translate?”

Tempest thought about that for a beat, but shook her head. “No, I think I’ll be able to handle it.”

Melissa nodded. “In that case, the rest of us will probably be...around.”

Tempest nodded firmly, mostly to herself, and then marched into the clearing, making a beeline towards Keith Masters or his house. Whichever she caught sight of first.
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Old 10-12-2020, 01:50 AM   #534
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As Tempest wandered into the Shadow Clearing, she'd see that there were a few Pokémon here and there. A Pangoro was squaring off against a larger-than-average Scrafty on the outdoor battlefield; a Ditto was napping underneath a pickup truck; a Dhelmise was creakily chatting with a gigantic Gyarados in the sea; and a dark-grey Scolipede was curled up into a ball the size of a large truck tire, sleeping in front of the Poisonous Palace. However, it became clear that if the Ralts wanted to meet with Keith Masters, indoors was the way to go.

Once Tempest was close to the doors, however, they flew open as a young girl wearing black clothing and a brown cowboy hat with a Key Stone set into it made to run outside, only to stop short. "Whoa!" she exclaimed, hastily waving her arms to regain her balance so as to not trample or fall on the Ralts. "Oh, I'm sorry," she murmured, reaching into her bag, regarding Tempest with curiosity as she pulled out her Rotom Phone and pointed it at her.

"Ralts, the Feeling Pokémon. A Psychic and Fairy-type," said the Rotom Phone. "Ralts uses its horns to sense emotions, and takes cover if it senses even a little hostility. What a total wimp."

The girl frowned. "Rotom, that was so rude!" she admonished the smartphone as she stuffed it back in her bag. "Sorry about that," she added to the Ralts.

"Maribel, sweetie? What's going on?" came a man's voice from indoors.

"There's a Ralts out here, Dad," the girl called back. "It's carrying something- I'm not sure if it's wild or not."

At this, the man Maribel had been talking to exited the house, wearing a Mega Hat just like his daughter- this was, without question, Keith Masters. A Meowth sat on his shoulder, eyeing the Ralts curiously as his Trainer was doing as well. "Huh," Keith murmured. "Yeah, if I had to guess, I'd say this Ralts has a reason for being here," he stated. "So... hi," he added, greeting the Ralts. "I'm Keith Masters, and this is my daughter Maribel. What brings you here?" he asked. Meowth was ready to translate if necessary- he knew that Ralts as a species tended to be fairly good with telepathy, but he didn't know what the case would be with this specific one.
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Old 10-12-2020, 05:41 PM   #535
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Tempest entered the clearing, still trailed nervously by Mirage, and made her way towards the Poisonous Palace, scanning for Keith Masters all the while. She spotted a Pangoro bracing itself against a large Scrafty on the outdoor battlefield, a Dhelmise and a Gyarados out in the waters, the pink smudge of a Ditto hiding under a pickup truck, and a Scolipede that seemed to have run into the same misfortune Imp had once upon a time. But Keith Masters was nowhere to be seen.

She sighed and turned to the Poisonous Palace, determined to go through with this no matter how anxious it was making her to tread across someone else's ground, only for the doors to burst open and reveal a young girl. Tempest froze and stared up at her, barely registering that she'd almost literally tripped over the Ralts.

"She's an echo of the ripple?" Mirage hissed faintly at Tempest, sidling over to put Tempest between her and the Scolipede.

"Oh, I'm sorry," the girl in the cowboy hat murmured, pulling out a...Rotom in a phone and pointing it at Tempest.

"Ralts, the Feeling Pokémon. A Psychic and Fairy-type," it said. "Ralts uses its horns to sense emotions and takes cover if it senses even a little hostility. What a total wimp."

That broke Tempest out of her shock and prompted Mirage to stop shifting nervously to level a sharp, evaluating look at the Rotom. Tempest gripped her bokken and considered smacking it for the rudeness, before regretfully setting the urge aside. It wouldn't do to give a bad first impression.

"Rotom, that was so rude!" At least the girl agreed, stuffing the Rotom back into her bag. "Sorry about that."

Tempest nodded her acceptance and felt Mirage snort behind her.

"Maribel, sweetie? What's going on?"

A male voice! And from the Poisonous Palace? Tempest perked up.

"There's a Ralts out here, Dad." Tempest heard Mirage dance further back and away in shock. Time travel? It would fit with the ripples they'd felt not long before and explain who in the world this young girl was. "It's carrying something--I'm not sure if it's wild or not."

And Keith Masters exited the house, his English-speaking Meowth perched on his shoulder. "Huh. Yeah, if I had to guess, I'd say this Ralts has a reason for being here," he said. "So...hi. I'm Keith Masters, and this is my daughter Maribel. What brings you here?"

Tempest dipped her head in an abbreviated bow and spoke aloud. There were...rumors of a sort regarding Keith and she didn't know how much was truth. Better to be on the safe side when asking for help. "Tempest. Well met, Keith Masters." She paused and coughed, "Of the future," before returning to a normal speaking volume. "I would appreciate any tips you might be willing to part with on how to counter Poison-type Pokémon in battle, seeing as that's...a weakness of mine." She grimaced at the admittance, but it wasn't like any good trainer wouldn't be able to tell.

Mirage huffed a laugh at her, though, tellingly, the Galarian Ponyta wasn't trying to catch any attention. "Smoooth."

---

Zephyr swung Vine up to the roof of the Pokémon Center, landing beside him to watch the two Psychics make their way to the Poisonous Palace.

"You know...I don't think we thought this outing through," Zephyr commented, shuffling her wings and hopping to the edge of the roof.

"What, that we'd have nothing really to do while Tempest went to ask her questions?" Vine ambled over to a different edge and scanned the rest of the Clearing.

"Yeah. I mean, what are we supposed to do now?" She glanced over at him. "We can't interrupt Tempest while she's having her conversation and it doesn't exactly look like anything particularly exciting's happening, aside from the battle, so what do we do while we wait?"

A slow grin grew on Vine's face as he spotted the sleeping dark-grey Scolipede curled up next to the Palace. "There's a giant sleeping Scolipede that looks like Imp over near the Palace."

"What?" Zephyr hopped over to him and peered at the round, gray circle. After a pause, she laughed. "That's a terrible idea, I'm gonna go pull its tail."

"If it wakes up, we should lead it to the battle." Vine gestured to the Pangoro and Scrafty going at it and Zephyr nodded, snickering to herself as she flew over to the giant, sleeping centipede. Well, they certainly weren't gonna be bored now.

---

"I dunno if I should have expected that," Melissa said, shading her eyes as she watched Zephyr leave Vine on the Pokémon Center roof and land near the sleeping, gray Scolipede. "Or if they're getting more excitable when I take them out."

"There's only so many times you can push your teammates' buttons before you need to find something else to do," Wildfire pointed out. "Before they decide to murder you in your bed. Since they know where you sleep."

"True." She sighed and glanced over to see Eve heading for the truck. "And what're you planning to do?"

"Well, if anyone could understand having to pick one of many forms, it'd be a Ditto, don't you think?" Eve called back.

Melissa frowned. "I thought you didn't plan on evolving."

"I don't." Eve glanced over her shoulder. "I'm preparing for future kits." And she turned back to go wake up the Ditto.

Melissa watched her lie down next to the truck and reach a paw out. "Why did I not know that they were all rude as fuck?"

"Because you haven't taken them out in...ever, really," Wildfire muttered, shoving his face back into her neck. "Can I go back to napping now?"

Melissa huffed a laugh. "Yeah, go ahead. I'll just... head over to that tree, I guess, and wait for them to finish up."

Wildfire made a noise at her and curled up closer.
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Old 10-12-2020, 06:54 PM   #536
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The Ralts didn't take especially kindly to the Rotom Phone's rudeness, but that soon gave way to shock as this girl referred to Keith Masters as her dad, confirming a suspicion of time travel. As Tempest spoke up, Meowth translated for Keith- the Ralts had heard of him, and evidently also of his type specialty, for she was seeking whatever help she could get in countering Poison-types, considering that, as a Fairy-type, she was weak to Poison.

"Hm... Ralts shouldn't have that much trouble against Poison, though, right, Dad?" Maribel asked.

"It's true that Ralts would fare better against Poison-types than most other Fairy-types could say," Keith nodded. "Seeing as they're also Psychic-types. But it's not like with your mom's Mawile- Ralts are still weak to Poison attacks."

"Yeah, that's true," Maribel nodded back.

"Well, Tempest, first off, I think the most obvious solution is to make sure you got some nice powerful Psychic attacks to work with," Keith stated. "It's a good idea for most Fairy-types, naturally, but I'd think that sort of thing would come especially naturally to you. Another thing, though, is dealing with being poisoned- obviously that's always a concern, especially since Venoshock's a thing."

"Lemme see something," Maribel stated. She dug out her Rotom Phone, but instead of having it say anything, she seemed to be pulling something up on the screen and scrolling through a list of some sort. Keith said nothing, looking at his daughter, waiting to see what she'd say. "Oh- there's a few things a Ralts can learn that could help with that," she said. "Um... There's Safeguard, Substitute, and Misty Terrain- those make sure it can't be affected by any status conditions, right?"

"It does indeed, sweetie," Keith smiled proudly. "But also, Ralts can learn both Imprison and Toxic- that doesn't stop everything, but Toxic is probably the most commonly-seen move for inflicting poisoning, so it's at least something. And, of course, in case you do end up getting poisoned, Facade's always a good move to learn," he added, talking to Tempest once again.

"Oh- what about Magic Coat?" Maribel asked suddenly. "That would block things like Poison Gas, Poison Powder, that sort of thing, right?"

"Indeed it would," Keith nodded. "Though, getting back on how to deal with Poison-type attacking moves," he added. "It's best to work on either weakening them or dodging them altogether. Moves like Charm or Calm Mind would be worthwhile. Double Team, too- hard to go wrong with learning that one."

At this point, however, a woman's voice called out from inside the house. "Dinner is ready!"

"All right!" grinned Maribel, putting away her Rotom Phone and running indoors.

Keith looked at Tempest and Mirage, having finally noticed the Galarian Ponyta, who had apparently been making a quite successful effort to not draw attention to herself. "The two of you would be welcome to join us for dinner," he said. "My wife's an excellent cook, and I'd be glad to answer anything else you'd like to know while we eat."

~~~~~

The Fletchling made her way across the clearing, with the intention of carrying out the objectively terrible idea of screwing with a sleeping Scolipede. Her idea was, quite simply, to pull on the Bug/Poison-type's tail. Once this was achieved, the Megapede Pokémon tensed up for a moment. Then, he slowly uncurled himself, standing at his full and considerable height, glancing around with piercing red eyes. He seemed more annoyed than spooked, but no less imposing all the same. "Who did that?" he asked simply.

~~~~~

"Hm... zzz... mph... huh? Wha? Mewtwo? Huh- What the-" mumbled the Ditto blearily as the Eevee's attempts woke him up. He blinked his beady eyes as he jiggled into the best approximation of a standing position one could expect from an untransformed Ditto. "Oh, damn, fell asleep again," he chuckled. "Didn't even mean to, it's just so relaxing under here... Anyways, ain't seen you around here before," he said to Eve. "The name's Jack. And you?"
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Old 10-12-2020, 08:09 PM   #537
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Tempest listened intently as Keith and Maribel gave her suggestions. Psychic attacks were naturally on her list to request of Melissa, while Safeguard, Substitute, and Misty Terrain were...options. Not options she particularly liked but smart options. Imprison was another suggestion she hadn't considered, focused as she had been on gathering as many sword-based and slashing moves as she could since she couldn't evolve into Gallade, but definitely more palatable to her than the defensive ones. As was Facade. Magic Coat might be a necessity, and not just to protect from Poisoning, but she'd prefer Calm Mind and Double Team. Charm was...another option.

Tempest and Mirage tilted their heads as a woman's voice came from inside the Palace, calling that dinner was ready. Maribel immediately darted inside, leaving Keith to offer the pair of them to join the family for dinner. Tempest and Mirage exchanged looks, the latter giving a minute shrug and looking both curious and resigned. Tempest answered for the both of them, "Thank you. We'd like that. Just give us one moment to alert the rest of our teammates of our location and we'll join you."

That said, she reached out to politely inform everyone that she and Mirage would be taking Keith up on his offer of dinner, in case anyone needed them, and then looked expectantly up at Keith.

---

"Aww," Zephyr said from her perch above the Scolipede. She and Vine had been hoping it was an impulsive sort, but they probably should've expected that Keith's Pokémon wouldn't necessarily be aggressive. She briefly acknowledged Tempest's update as she exchanged a glance with Vine, who flicked his tail to signal his part of the conversation.

Zephyr glanced down at the Scolipede and raised her voice. "Hullo! You're humongous. Did you happen to go through some kind of haunted mirror some years back?"

---

Eve blinked at Jack. "Eve. I'm visiting with several teammates." She paused and glanced around at the underside of the truck, vaguely acknowledging Tempest's update. "Why under a truck? Aren't you afraid someone will drive over you or is that not really a worry since you're...squishy?"

---

Melissa actually ended up walking all the way over to the other edge of the clearing, sitting so that her legs were dangling over the water. To her left, she could see Eve lying on her belly, talking with the Ditto. Melissa turned back to look out towards the horizon, leaning back on her hands while Wildfire snoozed peacefully on her lap. Maybe she should bring some other Pokémon with her next time she visited, sending her own acknowledgement and hope-you-have-a-good-time back to Tempest while the Ralts was connected.
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Old 10-12-2020, 09:37 PM   #538
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The pair of Psychic-types exchanged looks at the offer, before the Ralts responded affirmatively for both herself and the Ponyta, taking a moment to telepathically inform their teammates of this before looking up expectantly at Keith. Keith smiled and led the way inside. The entrance hall of the Poisonous Palace was huge and spacious, and it wasn't hard to imagine why, between the Scolipede outside and the Hariyama they'd be able to see if they glanced through the first door on the left- the big, bulky Fighting-type was floating on her back in a large indoor swimming pool. More to the point, delicious smells would meet their noses, moreso as they kept moving down the hallway. At last, Keith came to the end of the hallway, turning right just before the stairs, leading the way into the dining room. Maribel was already there, and a woman with the exact same shade of green hair was setting out a platter of steaks, a bowl of mashed potatoes, and also a bowl of salad, aided by a sweet-smelling Slurpuff. The woman smiled upon seeing Keith, and the two shared a quick kiss. After that, the woman noticed the Psychic-type guests. "Who are these?" she inquired.

"Well, the Ralts's name is Tempest. I'm... not sure about the Ponyta," admitted Keith sheepishly. "They belong to a Trainer, though seem to have come on their own- Tempest came seeking me out for advice on how to counter Poison-types in battle. I invited them to stay for dinner, I hope that's alright?"

"Certainly," nodded the woman. "I made plenty."

"All right," Keith smiled. He turned back to Tempest and Mirage. "This is my lovely wife, Willa," he said to them. Willa gave a polite nod in acknowledgement of their guests, before gesturing to the table, where Maribel was already seated.

"I got some plates for you two," Maribel said to the Psychic-type. Not far from her, a Bagon and a Hippopotas were already munching on their food, the former viciously tearing into a thick steak, the latter munching on salad out of a bowl. Maribel did indeed have an empty plate and an empty bowl before her on the table, in addition to her own plate. "What would you like?" she asked.

~~~~~

The Scolipede looked up at the Fletchling as she addressed him. There was a look of mild surprise in his red eyes as the subject of a haunted mirror was brought up. "I can only surmise you know of someone who's met the same fate, then," he stated. "Indeed, as a Venipede, I approached a haunted mirror. It sucked me in, and when it spat me back out, I was colored like this. It was strange, but I was still very young then, so by this point this is just normal for me. My Trainer took an immediate liking to this color scheme as well, which definitely helped. My name is Salazar, by the way," he added.

~~~~~

"Heya, Eve," Jack said in response to the Eevee's introduction. Then, at her question, he chuckled, jiggling as he did so. "Nah, my Trainer and his wife's the only ones what that got keys to this thing, and it's second nature for them to check under here for me before they even get in," he stated. "And as for why?" He paused. "You ever hear the old rumors, about the Mythical Pokémon Mew, and trucks by the sea? I guess I take after Ma in that regard- always found this strangely relaxing," he said, looking around with a small smile.

~~~~~

Melissa, meanwhile, had sat down at the edge of the water, and was looking out at the horizon as her Cyndaquil snoozed in her lap. Before long, however, the sound of footsteps would no doubt reach her ears, and if she looked to find their source, she would see the teenage boy emerging from the forest to the south, speaking into a tape recorder that he held with one hand while his other arm cradled a large yet listless Togedemaru.

"...and was subsequently forced to abandon the capture attempt for fear for my Togedemaru's life as he was subjected to h Poké's signature move of HM02," the youth was saying. "The technique is an insidious hit point-draining move with no visual tells whatsoever- when using the move, h Poké appears to be doing nothing at all while its opponent inexplicably grows weaker." He stopped recording and stowed the device in his bag. "It's all right, Battery, you'll be just fine," he assured the Electric/Steel-type. "We lost it a while back, and I sincerely doubt it'll even attempt to pursue us- much more likely it was simply defending its territory."

"Maaaaru," yawned the Togedemaru.

"Hm... Ah! Of course- some electricity!" grinned the teenager, as he produced and threw a Poké Ball, from which emerged... a larger Poké Ball? No- as it turned around, this was very clearly an Electrode. He then placed his Togedemaru on the ground before him and backed up a bit. "Gigawatt, use Thunder Shock," he said.

"ELECTROOOOOOOOOOODE," droned the Electrode as it unleashed a jolt of electricity, the Togedemaru sucking it up like a living Lightning Rod.

The effect was immediate. Battery grinned broadly, jumping up and down with energy anew. "Togedemardemar~" he exclaimed, running around in circles. He then tackle-hugged the Electrode gratefully, causing the both of them to roll uncontrollably back, but only a few feet- they came to a stop not far from Melissa, who the pair of Electric-types finally noticed at this point. "Togede?" murmured Battery, wandering up to Melissa.

"TRODE?" droned Gigawatt, rolling up alongside.

"Oh- I hope my Pokémon weren't annoying you?" the teenager said, approaching Melissa. "I assure you, Battery is excitable but harmless, and Gigawatt here is quite tame. I... can't say I've seen you before, though?" he added, adjusting his glasses. "Edward Starmie- you can call me Eddie. I'm an aspiring cryptopokologist from Cinnabar Island, and I've set up my laboratory here in Sludge Wave Coast," he added, gesturing to the building that was visible a good ways north from where they were.
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Old 10-13-2020, 12:54 AM   #539
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They followed Keith into the building, passing through a wide, spacious entrance hall where Mirage shuffled closer to Tempest and they both glanced around curiously. Mirage sneezed as they passed by the indoor pool, both of them noting the Hariyama floating in the water through the doorway, and then got distracted by the smells of food coming from the kitchen.

They turned right, into what was clearly a dining room, and found Maribel seated at the table, a lady who had to be her mother setting food down for the family. Tempest politely glanced around the room as Keith greeted the lady.

"And that's another one," Mirage whispered to her.

"The whole family, apparently, though none of the Pokémon so far," Tempest murmured back, noting the Bagon and the Hippopotas taking their dinners in the room as well.

"Who are these?" Maribel's mother asked.

"Well, the Ralts' name is Tempest. I'm...not sure about the Ponyta," Keith replied, sounding sheepish that he was missing Mirage's name. "They belong to a Trainer, though seem to have come on their own--Tempest came seeking me out for advice on how to counter Poison-types in battle. I invited them to stay for dinner, I hope that's alright?"

"Certainly." The lady nodded. "I made plenty."

"All right." Keith smiled before turning to them. "This is my lovely wife, Willa."

Willa nodded and gestured to the table. "I got some plates for you two. What would you like?"

Tempest dipped her head in the same abbreviated bow that she'd given Keith earlier. "Well met, Willa. We appreciate the invitation." She glanced briefly at Mirage and then leaned her bokken against the wall behind a chair, physically pulling the seat out before clambering into it. She gestured at the Galarian Ponyta. "This is Mirage. And we would prefer salads, if you please."

"Nice to meet you." Mirage bobbed her head at the family, before glancing over at the Bagon with fascination. She whispered to Tempest, "I don't think I've ever seen Stella like that."

---

"Yeah, we've got a Misdreavus on the team who went through the same thing," Zephyr said. "Melissa didn't mind the color change--said at least it wasn't the bright orange some of the others ended up with--so she's been gray ever since." She glanced up at Vine's last position and spotted the Snivy up on the roof of the building behind the Pokémon Center, tilting his head curiously at the conversation. "I'm Zephyr and that's Vine. Nice to meet you!" Vine gave a lazy wave, if Salazar turned to look.

---

Eve tilted her head to one side, tail flicking thoughtfully. "No, I don't think I actually have. Maybe Wildfire has, but I've lived my whole life in Fizzytopia and Mel's never actually mentioned much about the other regions. But that's--wait. Ma? Mew?" She stared incredulously at the Ditto. It--he wasn't suggesting what she thought he was, was he?

---

Melissa glanced over curiously as the sound of someone talking drifted over to her from the forest, watching as a teenager exited the trees with a Togedemaru in his arms. He was speaking into a tape recorder and clearly hadn't noticed her yet. Wildfire stirred as the teenager's voice got louder.

She watched the Electric-type yawn and then the teenager sent out...oh, an Electrode! The Electrode shocked the Togedemaru, prompting the latter to leap to its feet and startling Wildfire out of her lap so he could flare his flames protectively. The Togedemaru glomped the Electrode, only for the both of them to roll towards Melissa.

"Hey! Watch it!" Wildfire snapped, matching his call with a snap of his flames.

"Hey, we're fine," Melissa said soothingly, reaching out a hand in her starter's direction.

Wildfire took a moment to calm down, shaking his head when the Togedemaru and Electrode only rolled up to the pair, clearly curious about the visitors. "Ugh. I definitely need more sleep." He let his flames sputter out and turned back to flop into Melissa's lap.

"Oh--I hope my Pokémon weren't annoying you?" the teenager said, approaching Melissa. "I assure you, Battery is excitable but harmless, and Gigawatt here is quite tame. I...can't say I've seen you before, though?" He adjusted his glasses. "Edward Starmie--you can call me Eddie. I'm an aspiring cryptopokologist from Cinnabar Island, and I've set up my laboratory here in Sludge Wave Coast." He gestured to the building that she thought was next to the Poisonous Palace.

Melissa waved off Eddie's first concern. "No, they're fine. Wildfire was just startled out of his nap and got a bit protective. We're visiting, me and my Pokémon; Keith's invited us over before--and I think Hyrem did once for an Eevee reunion-slash-celebration?--but I've never taken him up on the offer." She shrugged. "I kinda figured it was a bit of an open invitation, so when my Ralts insisted on coming to ask for advice from the Poison-type specialist of Fizzytopia..." She flashed Eddie a grin. "I'm Melissa. Nice to meet you." She studied Eddie for a moment. "Can I ask why here? I would've thought Cinnabar would've been better for cryptopokology, considering..." She gestured vaguely.
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Old 10-13-2020, 01:50 AM   #540
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Maribel nodded at the request, and when the extra dishes were set before the pair of Psychic-types, each one had plenty of salad on it. Everyone nodded back as Mirage stated it was nice to meet them. Then, Maribel saw the Galarian Ponyta glancing over at Bagon, who was still thoroughly enjoying his steak. "Ah, yes- these are my Pokémon- Bagon and Hippopotas," Maribel said, gesturing to them. "Right now it's just the two of them- I only recently started as a Trainer."

"And that's a perfectly respectable start," Willa stated. "It seems like only yesterday I left home with Yanmega and Eelektross."

"Heh, and for a while it was just me and Gemini," Keith added, reminiscing with a small smile. "Oh- speaking of which!" he added, as some of the other Pokémon started to make their way into the dining room. Some via the door, others via a warp panel. One of them was a Weezing, both heads of which smiled at Keith. "Guys, this is Tempest, and this is Mirage, they're joining us for dinner," Keith added, introducing the pair of Psychic-types.

"Good to meet you both," said the Weezing's larger head. "I'm Gemini, and this is Mustard."

"What's up?" chimed in Mustard, the Weezing's smaller head.

Besides the Weezing, the dining room was presently also occupied by a pair of Mightyena, one of whom had a distinct ice and snow sort of coloring to her fur, while the other was the normal coloration for his kind. There was also a pair of Muk- one Normal Form, one Alolan- a Cryogonal, a Hitmontop, a Gogoat, and a Musharna.

~~~~~

"Ah, yes, I heard some of them ended up bright orange," nodded Salazar. "Meowth actually once battled a Lunatone who had been turned orange that way- I saw the match on TV." The Fletchling introduced herself as Zephyr, and the Snivy standing on Terri's roof as Vine. Salazar looked over in that direction, saw the wave, and responded with a polite nod. "Nice to meet you as well," he replied. "Your first time here, I take it? Well, welcome to Sludge Wave Coast," the Scolipede stated."

By this point, the Pangoro and Scrafty had finished their battle, and were walking away side by side. "Man, Bart, awesome moves!" grinned the Pangoro.

The Scrafty, evidently named Bart, scoffed. "You expected anything less?" he smirked.

Then, they noticed that the Scolipede was awake. "Oops- we didn't wake you, did we, Sal?" said Pangoro.

Salazar shook his head. "Someone else beat you to it," he said. "So who won?"

"I did," said Bart and Pangoro simultaneously. Then, they blinked in surprise and turned to each other. "I did!" they repeated insistently.

Salazar chuckled at this. "So, that Scrafty's one of my teammates, and Pangoro there belongs to my Trainer's wife," he said. "Bart, Pangoro, can you cut it out for a moment? We have guests." Once the pair of Fighting/Dark-types backed down from each other (having looked about ready to start fighting all over again), Salazar spoke up again. "This here is Zephyr, and the Snivy over on Terri's roof is Vine."

"Heya," said Pangoro.

"'Sup?" added Bart.

~~~~~

As Eve started going off about how she'd lived in Fizzytopia all her life and hadn't heard much about other regions, something Jack said caught up with her, and she incredulously asked about it. "Yep," nodded Jack. "See, one of the popular theories about how my kind came to be was that we was a failed attempt at cloning Mew. And it's a popular theory mainly because it's true- Mewtwo was the end result of their second try. The first Ditto is basically Mew's firstborn, and you're looking at him. Always wanted to meet Mew," Jack frowned. "Well, maybe someday. Hell, I consider myself lucky to have been able to meet my little brother, so I'll take what I can get for now, y'know?"

~~~~~

Although Wildfire didn't take all that kindly to the commotion Battery made, Melissa was fine- she assured Eddie that Wildfire was just startled and being protective, and explained that she was visiting, taking Keith up on a long-standing open invitation, as her Ralts was seeking advice from a known Poison-type specialist. "A pleasure to meet you, Melissa," nodded Eddie. At her question, Eddie nodded. "Yes, Cinnabar Island's quite renowned for that sort of thing- generations of Starmies have studied cryptopokology there, but I found myself curious as to whether such Pokémon were really only restricted to the Kanto region. I started looking into various reported sightings and eyewitness accounts, and found that the Fizzytopia region has seen its fair share of activity, and so I set off for here along with Gigawatt. I sought out a man who'd had more than a little experience with such things as well- none other than Keith Masters- and was able to interview him to get his account on these happenings. To think he's encountered two different forms of Missingno., and even been to Glitch City!" he breathed excitedly. "...anyway, after this, I knew I wanted to look more into Fizzytopian cryptopokology, as it's such unexplored territory compared to back in Kanto. Keith was kind enough to assist me with establishing my laboratory. One of his Pokémon even expressed an interest in helping with my studies and ended up joining my team. And in my travels since coming here, I've become more and more convinced that this is the place to conduct my studies. Just now, in fact, I encountered this." As he spoke, he pressed a few buttons on his Pokédex, pulling up an entry, before showing Melissa the screen, which displayed an image of a square-shaped Pokémon, body covered in black and light purple blocky markings.

"h Poké, the Box Ghost Pokémon. A Ghost and Poison-type," droned the device. "A spectral Pokémon said to be born from souls lost to ZZAZZ. It hovers silently, draining its enemies of health with its special attack."

"I attempted to catch it, but it overpowered Battery in battle," Eddie sighed. "I didn't think much of it, and was about to send out Battery to battle it instead, when I started to feel inexplicably listless. I realized h Poké was using its special attack to try and drain us both, and so I fled. I noticed what was happening early enough that it hardly took any energy from me, but, well, you probably saw how Battery looked. Fortunately, a little electricity never fails to get him right back to normal," he added, smiling as he saw the Togedemaru wandering, looking curiously at the sleeping Cyndaquil.
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Old 10-13-2020, 05:46 PM   #541
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"Ah, yes--these are my Pokémon--Bagon and Hippopotas." Mirage startled at Maribel's voice and then flushed. Right, they were guests; people would be watching them now. "Right now it's just the two of them--I only recently started as a Trainer."

"And that's a perfectly respectable start," Willa reassured her daughter. "It seems like only yesterday I left home with Yanmega and Eelektross."

"Heh, and for a while it was just me and Gemini," Keith added, since she'd set off a minor nostalgia trip. Mirage glanced around as the sounds of more Pokémon arriving started filling the air. "Oh--speaking of which! Guys, this is Tempest, and this is Mirage, they're joining us for dinner."

Mirage shrunk back at the sudden attention, fighting the urge to flee. She didn't expect to meet so many new Pokémon all at the same time! Silently, she reached out to Tempest and then all the way to wherever Melissa was to ground herself, clinging like the foal she still was.

"Good to meet you both," Keith's Weezing said and Mirage bobbed her head in acknowledgment. "I'm Gemini, and this is Mustard."

"What's up?" the smaller head chimed in.

Mirage fought her voice so she could at least be polite before she darted under the table to hide from all the others. "H-hello. Nice to meet you," she squeaked out and then dove under the table, leaning against Tempest's chair and trying to stop herself from trembling. There were too many Pokémon! She sent her overwhelmed, anxious feelings to Melissa. Melissa sent back a pulse of concern and a question. She frantically said yes.

Meanwhile, Tempest dipped her head towards the Weezing. "Well met, Gemini. Mustard." She took a moment to glance around the room. She eyed the two Mightyena--one normal, one snow-colored, skimmed past the Cyrogonal and Hitmontop, paused again at the Gogoat, gave the pair of Muk a wary eyeballing, and tilted her head at the Musharna. She was pretty sure that was the last time-traveler, but Mirage wasn't in the state of mind to confirm for her.

She turned back to the Weezing. "I came to ask Keith about methods of countering Poison-types should I ever end up fighting against them. He invited us to dinner and I accepted." She glanced wryly down at where her teammate was trying to hide until their trainer could arrive. "Only, unfortunately, the large number of new people seems to have set Mirage to panicking. She's...not accustomed to..." She hesitated and then admitted, "She's very shy."

Turning to Keith and his family, Tempest apologetically said, "Mirage called out to Melissa, so she'll be here shortly. I can go take Mirage to her and let her in, if you'd prefer." She glanced around again. "Though, to be honest, I'm not sure if I'll be able to convince her to move..."

---

Zephyr fluttered over to Vine's perch, to make it easier on their conversational companions. "Yeah, it's our first time here. Tempest insisted on coming and Mel's been meaning to get some of us out of the house at some point, so here we are."

Vine turned his head towards the approaching pair of Fighting-types. "Huh. Looks like they're done."

The pair on the roof listened to the Fighting pair praise each other and then immediately fall into an argument before Salazar broke them up.

"Ooo, no wonder it didn't work," Zephyr whispered to Vine.

Vine sighed and waved his tail. "What can you do?"

They turned back to the trio as Salazar introduced them, Vine once again waving at his introduction and Zephyr chirping, "Hullo!"

The pair paused, did a double-take, and then both exclaimed, "Wife?!"

---

Eve's thoughts were spinning. What--? How--? Cloning? She shook her head. Nope, not gonna deal with that now. "Yeah, I can see that," she replied, belatedly recalling that Jack had asked a question. Though...it could've been rhetorical--nope. Not worrying about it now. "Sounds like traveling with Keith's an adventure," she said instead. She hummed, tail flicking in thought. "What's the weirdest thing you've ever experienced then, since you joined up with Keith? Meeting Mewtwo?"

---

As Eddie explained the series of events that led him to Fizzytopia, Melissa nodded along, making the occasional listening noise to encourage him to continue. She gamely checked out the Pokémon he showed her on his 'dex, some odd-looking, squared-off, checkerboard creature, as Wildfire turned his head to check on the situation before returning to his previous position.

"Sounds like that was a close call," Melissa said once Eddie explained what had happened to him earlier. "Is it usually dangerous to try to track them down or is it only specific ones that can do things like that?" She nodded at the 'dex, glancing down at the approaching Togedemaru in amusement.

Wildfire twisted so he could look at the Togedemaru over his shoulder, opening his mouth to say something but then snapped it shut when Melissa went stiff. He glanced up to see Melissa frowning in concern, pushing himself up and clambering up to her shoulder, as she got to her feet.

"Hey, sorry about this, Eddie, but it seems like my Galarian Ponyta is having a...uh, anxiety attack, I think?" Melissa explained distractedly, glancing towards the direction of the Palace. "I gotta go rescue her real quick, but I'd be happy to come back to this conversation once I've solved that?"
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Old 10-13-2020, 07:08 PM   #542
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The arrival of more Pokémon seemed to not sit well with Mirage. After timidly responding to the Weezing's words of greeting, the Unique Horn Pokémon dove under the table, something that did not go unnoticed by any of them. Tempest, after looking around at some of the other Pokémon, explained that Mirage was very shy, and the sheer volume of newcomers appears to have got her panicking. "Oh, geez, I'm sorry," Keith murmured in response to this.

"If she won't move, then Melissa could come in and come to her," suggested Willa. "Maribel, sweetie, could I ask you to go get the door-"

"I'm on it," came a voice from within one of the walls. "I'm inside the wall right now- was about to come in, saw what was up, didn't want to make things worse."

"Cool. Thanks, Peeves," Keith called back.

"Peeves is one of Keith's Dusknoir," Gemini explained to Tempest. "Nice guy."

"Hey, Gemini, maybe we should tell the others to hold off for now?" suggested Mustard. "Not sure how well the whole rotation deal's gonna work without making things even worse, y'know?"

"A good point," conceded the Weezing's larger head. "Keith and Willa's Pokémon tend to come in and out to eat their dinner in shifts," he explained to Tempest. "There's a hell of a lot of us, and I can't imagine seeing even more coming in would do any good for your friend." With that, the Weezing floated out the door, and already Tempest would be able to see that the Poison-type was barring a Flapple, a Kommo-o, a Wobbuffet, a Torkoal, and a fedora-wearing Camerupt from entering. Hungry though they were, they backed down easily enough upon hearing the Weezing explaining the situation, while Peeves hovered by the front door, ready to open it at a moment's notice.

Maribel had been looking at the Galarian Ponyta with no small amount of concern. She looked at the Musharna floating nearby. "Selia, is there anything you could do to help?" she asked.

I'm uncertain, the Musharna replied telepathically, transmitting the words so that Tempest would also be able to hear. My expertise lies more in dreams than in waking emotions... Helena, on the other hand, would be very well-suited for helping with such manners. However, if her teammate feels the best course of action is to simply wait for their Trainer, then perhaps that's what we should do. Maribel nodded in response to this, though still looked concerned for Mirage. The other Pokémon also seemed to be respectfully keeping their distance. The Cryogonal's ice chain mustache took hold of his plate and he floated above the floor on the other side of the room, while the pair of Muk retreated to a quiet corner where they were consuming frayed extension cords like a human would consume spaghetti.

~~~~~

Not long after the introductions were made, the pair did a comical double-take upon realizing something that was said. "Yeah, wife," nodded Pangoro.

"Keith and Willa got married... well, technically last month," said Salazar. "However, they as we know them now have been married for over ten years. It's a complicated explanation involving time distortion- I take it you've heard about the Primal Dialga incident? Time's been getting distorted here and there in the aftermath of all that, and, well, the morning after their wedding, the couple went indoors, and stepped back outside, ten years older and with a daughter."

"Would've been a hell of a bigger adjustment to make were it not for Selia," Bart stated. "She was with them when the distortion happened, so she was the only Pokémon among us to actually experience what happened. She's a Musharna, so she did this weird shit with her Dream Mist so we all passed out and had vivid dreams of all the important memories of those ten years. It was freaky as hell. Glad she did it, though- their daughter's first word was 'shit'," he laughed. "Evidently I couldn't stop laughing when I heard it," he grinned broadly.

"Willa felt quite differently about it, as I recall," smirked Salazar. "Gavin got quite the earful about swearing around Maribel after that."

"So yeah- wasn't as hard to adjust to it as you might think," said Pangoro. "They're still the same good people they were before this, and their daughter's delightful. Just started as a Trainer, too, and she's already showing a lot of talent."

~~~~~

Jack was able to pretty easily guess that he'd thrown Eve for a loop with all of this, but the Eevee seemed to take it well enough. "Oh, hell, yeah," the Ditto agreed as Eve remarked on how traveling with Keith had to be a real adventure. "Y'know, the guy at the Coins for Prizes kept telling me to quit with the pranks and the nonsense and all that, or else nobody would buy me. But I told him, screw that- I didn't want some stuffy Trainer with a stick up their ass, I wanted a Trainer I could be myself around, and Keith fits that bill. Got a lot of respect for the guy."

After that, Eve asked him what the weirdest thing he'd experienced was since joining up with Keith. "Ho, geez, where to begin?" grinned the Ditto. "Meeting Mewtwo would definitelybe one of the possibilities. That was an insane opportunity. An insane day overall, actually- I reunited with an old friend that day as well. It's a long story, though. Another time, I was helping Keith fight off a bunch of baddies that were infiltrating this one dude's home. I don't wanna get into too much detail on why, dunno how he'd feel about it, but the circumstances made it so that I was able to turn into a perfect copy of Mew, despite Mew itself not being anywhere around. And before this, I had grabbed from the guy's collection of Z-Crystals, which included a Mewnium Z, in case we needed the help in fending them off. And in one of those battles, I had Keith use that Z-Crystal so I could pull off Genesis Supernova- a Z-Move that only Mew, or something Transformed into Mew, can use. And sometime before that, after I had explained about my past to Keith, one of his other Pokémon had heard what I was saying. And later on that year, on New Year's Eve, she talked to me about it, and I learned that she was the reincarnation of a Missingno. I had met and befriended in my early days of life. And, like, all of that is just the tip of the Bergmite. Like I said, traveling with Keith is an adventure."

~~~~~

"Oh, it absolutely depends on what you're tracking down, like with most other Pokémon," stated Eddie. "h Poké is one of the more dangerous ones because of its HM02 move, and even then, there's evidence to suggest that not all of them actually act that way. Missingno. and 'M can be dangerous to go after as well- not because of them themselves, but because their nests tend to be gathering points for abnormally powerful wild Pokémon. Others tend to have a bad reputation due to reports of scrambling one's appearance, but my family's research indicates it's simply an alteration of the perceived appearance of the victim, and not altering the victim itself. Now... this ties into another reason I wanted to study cryptopokology in Fizzytopia- I've heard the Dynamax phenomeon described in a similar fashion, and I heard that Dynamaxing has become possible in this region. At this point I'm still uncertain as to whether there really is a link there, but that's one of the things I'm looking into."

Any further conversation from Eddie was cut short as Melissa seemed to stiffen, frowning in concern. She then got to her feet, apologizing as she explained that her Galarian Ponyta had called out to her, seemingly having an anxiety attack. She stated that she had to go and rescue the Psychic-type real quick, but expressed interest in continuing the conversation afterwards. "Oh, of course, by all means," Eddie nodded, adjusting his glasses. "I'll be here."

"ELECTRODE," agreed Gigawatt.

"Togedemardemar!" exclaimed Battery.
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Old 10-13-2020, 10:31 PM   #543
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Tempest watched Keith, his family, and his team all rearrange themselves to help accommodate Mirage's panic and found herself understanding where her trainer had been coming from earlier. If she'd even peripherally heard of anything like this, then no wonder she hadn't been concerned about letting the low-level Ralts and Galarian Ponyta speak to Keith themselves.

"Well met, Peeves, Selia." Tempest nodded in the approximate direction of the Dusknoir and towards the Musharna and then turned to the family. "And I apologize for not...anticipating that this might happen. I suppose I figured we'd talk on the porch or outside, but it seemed rude to turn down the dinner invitation." She tilted her head with a wry smile. "And then I...didn't quite register that dinner would involve everyone, though, in hindsight, I probably should have."

She glanced down--"Excuse me a moment."--and slid off her chair, resting her hands against Mirage's sides as she tried to calm the Ponyta down.

---

The pair on the roof nodded at the mention of the Primal Dialga incident and gave thoughtful hums when Salazar told them about lingering time distortions. They exchanged looks when Bart explained how Selia helped them adjust, Vine grimacing and Zephyr shuffling her wings uncomfortably.

"Well, that's...good at least," Zephyr said hesitantly before hitting her stride again. "It'd suck if, after all that time, some lingering time distortions messed up what's clearly a good thing."

"Think that's what the Psychics picked up a bit back?" Vine asked, flopping down onto the roof to soak up what remained of the sun. "Though, it was a bit after Mel, Layla, and Wildfire came back..."

Zephyr tilted her head to one side. "Probably. I mean, echoes in the aftermath, right?" She turned to the trio on the ground. "Mirage, Tempest, and Annabelle picked up some weird metaphysical ripples or something a bit back."

"Seemed to be originating from here-ish," Vine added.

Zephyr nodded at him. "Yeah, so Tempest decided to go check it out and get her fighting-against-Poison-types questions answered, Mirage didn't wanna let her go alone--"

"We were bored," Vine chipped in.

"--and Eve wanted some space from her girlfriend," Zephyr finished.

Vine slowly fanned his tail. "Mel and Wildfire came along to make sure we didn't cause a disaster. Though..." He turned as he caught movement at the corner of his eye and spotted Melissa and Wildfire quickly making their way towards the Palace. "...it looks like something's gone wrong, anyway."

Vine pushed himself upright and angled his Iron Tail until Melissa glanced over to see where the light was coming from. She squinted up at them for a moment and then waved them off, a little harried but not panicking, so Vine relaxed.

Zephyr sighed. "It's probably Mirage, isn't it."

"Probably." Vine gave a matching sigh. She'd insisted and Melissa'd encouraged it, but it was probably too much too soon. Melissa probably had it well in hand, though, so he turned back to the conversation they were currently having.

---

"Wow," Eve said as Jack wrapped up his tale. "Traveling with Keith doesn't just sound like an adventure; it sounds like he gets into everything." She paused. "Then again, that matches with what gets back to us at the Tower, so I dunno why I'm surprised."

Her ears went up as she heard footsteps behind her, pulling her head out to glance over at Melissa in concern. "Mel! Did something happen?"

"Mirage is panicking because there's too many new people where she is and I don't think she has anywhere to retreat too," Wildfire explained, Melissa nodding in agreement.

"I'll probably leave Wildfire with Tempest and take Mirage back out here, since there's...a lot fewer new people...once she calms down," Melissa added.

"Awww, do I have to?" Wildfire whined, draping himself over her shoulder again.

Eve didn't catch Melissa's response, though it sounded amused and a little reprimanding, as the pair passed out of earshot, so she shrugged and turned back to Jack. "Wait, so you've used a Z-Move before? Mel's actually got...four Crystals, I think, but she always seems to forget she has them."

---

"Cool. Shouldn't take more than...fifteen, I think?" Melissa gave the teenager a quick nod and then briskly set off for the Palace.

Eve briefly pulled her head out from under the truck, checking to see what the issue was, but she waved the Eevee off. And then rolled her eyes at Wildfire's whining.

"You know Mirage probably won't want to leave, even in the middle of her panic attack, if she doesn't think someone's watching Tempest's back," Melissa reminded him.

"Yeah, but it's Keith," Wildfire emphasized. "If there was anyone less likely to go bad, I couldn't name them." He paused. "Er, aside from that whole...situation he was involved in years ago that was super controversial."

"Yeah, but...babies," Melissa countered in a tired what-can-you-do tone.

"Ugh." Wildfire let his head drop. "Can we at least leave someone else?"

"Like who?" Melissa flinched back as something bright flashed at the corner of her eye, following it up to the roof behind the Pokémon Center. She shook her head and waved Vine back to whatever he was doing with Zephyr and Keith's Pokémon.

"Uhhh, maybe Ore?" he offered.

Melissa couldn't throw him an incredulous look from this angle, but her voice clearly carried that tone. "You want to leave a thief in their home?"

Wildfire deflated. "Yeah, prolly not a good idea. How 'bout Cirrus?"

"Eh, we can try." She knocked on the door and tried to wait patiently for it to be answered. "I think my 'dex can do that whole remote-access thing. Maybe."
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Old 10-13-2020, 11:48 PM   #544
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Tempest apologized for not seeing this coming- she had been thinking the whole encounter would take place on the porch or outside, and once invited to dinner, she didn't consider the fact that dinner would most certainly include the sheer volume of Pokémon owned by the family. "It's quite all right, Tempest," Willa assured the Ralts.

"Yeah, oversights happen," agreed Keith. "I'm just sorry we caused this in the first place."

"Dad," said Maribel. "Selia mentioned that Helena might be able to help?"

"Hm, now that's an idea," murmured Keith. "Though she's probably still at the Pokémon Center, I'd imagine..."

~~~~~

"Oh, some of your teammates picked up on what happened?" Salazar said. "If they're the Ralts and Ponyta I saw as I woke up, I could imagine it. Our neighbor's Swoobat actually knew this would happen before it did- she's very good with premonitions- and was able to take steps to ensure things went smoothly."

"Dunno how Luna does it, but hey, ain't complaining," shrugged Bart.

Salazar then looked on in mild concern as Melissa was hastily making her way to the palace. He relaxed, however, as he noticed she didn't seem to be in a panic. "...Mirage is one of the Pokémon I saw, I'm guessing?" he asked. "Is everything OK?"

~~~~~

"Gets back to you?" Jack repeated. "What, you hear things about him? Then again, I guess that shouldn't surprise me. Dude's done a lot over the years, really made a name for himself. And then after the whole Primal Dialga deal went down, and Diana Macks and Marv's footage aired on TV- oh, yeah, left out one of the biggest things," he added with a grin. "Dunno if you saw the footage on TV, but I was who Keith used to fight Primal Dialga. Got to Transform into the big lug and even Dynamax, and in the end it was a Roar of Time from yours truly what that finished the job."

Following this, Eve heard something, and stuck her head out to inquire as to what was happening. Following the responses she got from her Trainer and teammate, she went back in to continue talking to Jack, this time on the subject of Z-Moves. She mentioned that her Trainer had four Z-Crystals or so, but seemed to always forget about them. "Hah, Keith's the exact opposite," grinned Jack. "He's only got his Poisonium Z- used to have an Icium Z, but his wife has that now- but man, does he use it! Bunch of my teammates have gotten to pull off Acid Downpour, and he's been on the lookout for other Z-Crystals as well. Not only that, his wife's got the aforementioned Icium Z as well as a Ghostium Z, and one of our neighbors is packing a Psychium Z and a Mimikium Z for her Mimikyu. And they all take part in colosseum challenges over at Sludge Wave Colosseum a lot- whenever Keith isn't using me in his battles there, I usually Transform into someone and sit in the audience, so either way, I see a lot of Z-Moves getting used around here. Haven't used a lot myself, but that's got more to do with the right opportunities hardly ever cropping up than any thing else." He paused a second, thinking about something. "Hey, uh, your Trainer, that was, right?" he asked. "Did she understand what y'all was saying? I mean, like, I know that can be a thing- Keith can understand, like, Gastly and Seviper language, and he's friggin' fluent in Shuppet language- but I know it's not the most common thing out there."

~~~~~

Melissa didn't even need to try waiting, patiently or otherwise- almost before she finished knocking, the door swung open, courtesy of the Dusknoir floating inside. "And you're Melissa, I take it?" he said. "Dining room. Down the hall, last door on the right." And he floated aside to let her in.
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Old 10-14-2020, 01:55 AM   #545
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Tempest listened as Melissa updated her on their location and then reminded her that she could Teleport. The Ralts ducked her head and tuned back into the conversation around her, shaking her head at the suggestion. "Ah, we appreciate the offer, but it's not necessary. Peeves just opened the door for her and she suggested that I Teleport Mirage out to her." She shot the family a sheepish smile. "I'll be right back."

So saying, she wrapped Mirage up psychically and Teleported the both of them to the door, where Melissa ushered them outside with a, "Oh, poor baby girl." Melissa nodded her thanks to Peeves, trailed by Tempest, and Wildfire hopped off her shoulder to have a quick word with the Dusknoir.

"Tempest'll prolly be back in a few, but, uh, sorry for interrupting dinner," he said, rubbing the back of his head. "You guys won't mind if she comes back with someone else, will you? Just, they're the babies of the team and they were super hesitant to come visit because, y'know, Poison, Fairy." He weighed the types in each hand and shrugged. "I'm sure after this time Mirage won't be so worried about it, but, for now, for her peace of mind?"

---

Around the corner, against the outside of Eddie's lab, Melissa dropped into a cross-legged position and let Mirage brace herself against her trainer's side to shake herself out.

"So, how'd it go so far?" Melissa said steadily.

Tempest grimaced, but followed Melissa's lead, occasionally shooting Mirage concerned looks. "He's suggested filling out my Psychic attacks for direct attacks; utilizing Safeguard, Substitute, Misty Terrain, and Magic Coat to prevent Poisoning; locking the enemy out of Toxic with it and Imprison; Facade if I do get Poisoned; and Charm, Calm Mind, and Double Team to reduce the damage of the attacks or evade them in the first place."

"On top of all the slashing-blade-Gallade-type moves you want to learn, it's a good thing Fizzytopia lets Pokémon have move oceans, however it does that," Melissa replied wryly.

"Yes, but I know you plan to send me out with Mirage in most battles, so why should I have to learn moves to stop me from getting Poisoned when she's got Pastel Veil?" Tempest reached down to tap at her bokken and hit empty air, belatedly realizing that she'd left her wooden training sword in the Masters' dining room.

Melissa shot Tempest a sharp look, silently reminding the Ralts to keep her voice steady to help Mirage calm down, and pointed out, "You might not always get to fight in double battles. Or you might get separated. Or she might get knocked out before you. You don't know."

Tempest grimaced again, but conceded the point. "I can go back, though, right? I still have questions about battling and the temporal disturbances."

"Yeah, but I think you'll have to go fetch Cirrus, first." Melissa glanced down at Mirage, her voice dropping as she asked, "You doing better?"

Mirage didn't pull back, so her answer was a bit muffled. "Uh-huh."

"If Cirrus goes with Tempest, you wanna come with me and Wildfire to go talk to a teenager who's chasing down some cryptid Pokémon? I don't think he's got a lot of Pokémon, but he's only gotten a Togedemaru and Electrode out so far."

Mirage remained still for another moment and then pulled back enough to peek up at her. "Wildfire'll be there, right?"

Melissa gently rolled her eyes. "He insisted."

Mirage grinned and ducked her head. "Then, yeah, I can do that."

Melissa turned back to Tempest expectantly, who nodded and Teleported back to their base to pick up the Swablu. They silently sat outside for the few minutes it took for the Ralts to track Cirrus down, explain the situation, and return...only for her to return with another passenger.

"Prince? What're you doing here?" Melissa asked him, bewildered.

The Houndour shrugged. "Why not?"

Melissa glanced at Cirrus, who shuffled his wings. "He wants to try the steak."

"I do not," Prince yelped and turned a wounded look on the Swablu. Cirrus just gave him an amused look. Prince grumbled and sighed loudly. "You want more canids; Keith has canids. I can ask how they handle the pecking order...assuming they have one." He shrugged. "Since I'm the first and all."

"And it doesn't hurt that there's steak," Cirrus added cheekily.

Prince rolled his eyes, but nodded. "And it doesn't hurt that there's steak."

Melissa blinked at them. "Well, alright, but try not to cause too much chaos?"

The newly-arrived pair exchanged glances. "We'll try."

---

Zephyr and Vine exchanged looks before Vine grimaced and turned back to the trio on the ground.

"Tempest was the Ralts; she's the one who made this whole visit happen," Vine explained.

"Mostly by being stubborn," Zephyr commented.

"Mirage was the Galarian Ponyta. She's...well." He glanced at Zephyr.

She shuffled her wings. "She's very shy. And was super anxious about the visit. Because of the whole Poison-Fairy thing."

"And the not-really-knowing-about-Keith thing," Vine added wryly.

"Yeah. Anyway, she doesn't do too well around lots of new people at once right now--"

"--and considering it's dinnertime-ish--"

"--she probably panicked because too many new people," Zephyr finished.

Vine glanced over at the Palace and spotted Melissa leading Mirage to the corridor between the two buildings, followed by Tempest while Wildfire stopped to talk to a Dusknoir. "Yup, see? There they go now."

Zephyr studied the trio as best she could from where they were. "Yeah, Melissa's not too worried, so she must've been expecting something along those lines already--"

"--and Tempest doesn't look like she's satisfied with her answers yet--"

"--so, they'll probably swap people around and then go back in."

The pair took another moment to watch their teammates, but turned back to the trio shortly.

"Anyway, yeah. Tempest was worrying about what kind of ripples they were, but I think Annabelle--she's a Gothita who's been busily arranging things behind our trainer's back--" Both Vine and Zephyr rolled their eyes, before Zephyr continued, "She's probably taking advantage of Tempest and Mirage's distraction to get up to more things."

The Fletchling perked up as she recalled, "Hey, you've handled someone going behind your trainer's back before, right? What do you do about that?" She was looking to Salazar curiously.

---

"Yeah, though mostly by word-of-mouth." Eve tilted her head to one side. "We...actually don't watch too much TV, though that might be because Mel's still working on getting the base up to her standards.

"And, oh! Yeah, I remember hearing about that,"
she said, tail wagging. "It sounded like the accomplishment of a lifetime."

She listened eagerly as Jack covered Keith's stance and use of his Z-Crystals, nodding along as the Ditto also briefly touched on the Z-Crystals of the various other inhabitants of the Sludge Wave Coast. "I know Mel's looking for a Firium-Z, but she's got the Ice and Grass ones that got given out during the...um, group competition at the Cloud Garden and the fight against the Snorlax King. And then the Flying one from when we got Spirit off the Springtide Isle and a Dragon one from the Christmas Market at New Fizz City."

She tilted her head to one side again, tail slowly flicking, as Jack shifted the conversation to Melissa. "Yeah, Mel understands us, but...it's kinda weird. Because she only understands us. Not all Cyndaquil or all Eevee; just me and Wildfire." Eve paused and then admitted, "At least, as far as I know. I think, with Wildwing, she was mostly reading body language before capturing her? And then afterwards, it wasn't an issue?" Eve shrugged, looking lost. "It doesn't really make a lot of sense, but we haven't really tried to test it out either."
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Old 10-14-2020, 03:23 AM   #546
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Tempest, while appreciative of the offer to get Helena involved, stated it wasn't necessary- evidently, Melissa had already arrived, and suggested the use of Teleport to bring Mirage to her. And with the reassurance that she'd be right back, the Ralts did just that.

Peeves looked at the Cyndaquil, shaking his head at the apology. "No trouble," he replied. "We've had worse interruptions before, believe me." He nodded as Wildfire mentioned the whole type matchup reasoning behind their hesitance to visit. "Yeah, I can see that," the Dusknoir conceded. "Gotta be seriously intimidating to those who don't know Keith Masters personally- reality of the matter is, the guy wouldn't harm a Cutiefly. And, uh, long as the someone else ain't a Zangoose or a Durant, pretty sure nobody would mind Tempest returning with someone else," he added. "And even then, those exclusions are more for safety's sake, considering he's got a Seviper and a Heatmor." Following this, the Dusknoir kept the door open, anticipating Tempest's return shortly.

~~~~~

Zephyr and Vine explained that Tempest was the Ralts, and Mirage was the Galarian Ponyta. The latter was not only extremely shy, but also anxious about the visit due to, well, basic type matchups. Also not knowing much about Keith. Salazar nodded understandingly at the notion of Mirage not doing well around a lot of unfamiliar faces all at once. "That would do it," stated the Scolipede. "There are a lot of us. We actually take it in turns to go in and eat- there's no one room in the house that can accommodate every single one of us simultaneously, especially when you consider those two," he added, with a glance out at the sea, where the Dhelmise and the gigantic Gyarados could be seen. "Keith's wife owns Gyarados and Dhelmise over there. As you can imagine, they spend most of their time out in the sea. When they come indoors, it's generally in the indoor pool. But yes- I can very well imagine Keith being intimidating to those who don't know him personally- we Poison-types don't exactly have the most honorable reputation. That's actually something Keith's always strived to change, honestly," he added with a hint of admiration in his voice.

The conversation soon turned to the ripples from the temporal distortion, and how Tempest was worried about them. They then made mention of a Gothita going behind their Trainer's back and arranging things, before asking Salazar how to handle such a thing. "Well, that's happened on a few occasions," Salazar stated. "In some cases it was actually a good thing- Vinny, Keith's Camerupt, gets up to all sorts of shady things, but whatever influence he has, he has a tendency to use it to ensure Keith's safety, so we're generally cool with that. Luna, the Swoobat we mentioned earlier? Actually used to belong to Keith, and tends to act on her premonitions as she sees fit. Keith is actively cool with that and trusts her judgment completely. And one time, one of his Banette arranged a Pokémon trade behind Keith's back. Keith objected to this, until he sent out his new Poochyena- he's always been a sucker for cute puppies, and Noxie's been a welcome addition to the team."

"That being said," he added, his eyes darkening at the memory. "Stewie, our Ledian, used to be a Shadow Pokémon. In our old base, he had a secret lair deep underground where he'd spy on the rest of the house, orchestrate whatever shady dealings he saw fit, and work on his plans for world domination. This went unnoticed by Keith- by many of us, for that matter- until Stewie was all set to kick things off. After attaining the maximum level of power he could, and building a device that used the entire house as an antenna to amplify the effects of his Shadow Sky move, he did just that. Humongous bursts of purple light rained down from the sky, the clouds overhead billowing larger and larger, out of control. Stewie had it set so that the entire world would be plagued by this when all was said and done, and one hit from it demolished our old house, tree and all. This led to an urgent call for backup, and a climactic battle on Stargazer Island. Stewie was defeated, the machine destroyed, its effects reversed, and while I wasn't there to witness it, I was told that Keith was finally able to get through to Stewie, and managed to purify him then and there. In fact, among the destruction caused by Stewie's efforts was every tree that stood in this area. It inspired Keith to repurpose this unnaturally-formed clearing into the site for his new home, and Sludge Wave Coast was born. But I digress," he added. "My point is, we were too late to stop Stewie from trying to set his plans into motion, but if we learned one thing from it, it's that it's important to keep a close eye on anyone you have reason to believe is up to anything shady. Probably best to let your Trainer know of your suspicions, I would think, or at least any teammates that would be well-suited to keeping an eye on things."

~~~~~

"Oh, cool stuff," Jack remarked as Eve rattled off the list of Melissa's Z-Crystals. "Keith wouldn't mind a Firium Z himself- he grew up in Lavaridge Town, and while Poison-types are his passion, he's always had a soft spot for Fire-types as well, having practically grown up around 'em. Has more than a few to his name, too, for that matter," he added.

Eve then explained that Melissa seemed to be capable of understanding her Pokémon, but only her Pokémon specifically, to the point where with one of them, she was more or less just reading body language before catching it, and had no problems after. "That's definitely not something I've heard of before," stated the Ditto. "Any human I know of what that can understand Pokémon language, don't really matter whether they own it or not. It's definitely weird. But hey, everyone's got their own kind of weird to them, in my experience," he shrugged. "So what's your story, Eve? Gonna evolve someday? I know you got no shortage of options there."
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Old 10-16-2020, 01:05 AM   #547
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Wildfire huffed a laugh. "No worries about that; we don't have either on the team, but I'll keep that in mind."

Not long after, Tempest turned the corner, leading a Houndour and a Swablu to the door. The Ralts nodded at Wildfire. "Wildfire."

Wildfire returned her nod. "Tempest. Prince. Cirrus." He turned to the latter two. "Wanted to get out of the Tower?"

Prince shrugged. "Why not?"

"Well, you know why I'm here," Cirrus said wryly. "But, yeah. Beats helping the others keep Hex occupied. Though, Imp has that well in hand right now."

Wildfire winced. "Hopefully, we won't have to fix anything when we get back, but...I'll worry about that later." He straightened up and addressed the group. "Okay then. I'm gonna head back to Melissa now, so it was nice meeting you, Peeves." He turned to his teammates. "I'll seeya later." And he followed the trio's path back to Melissa.

---

The pair listened as Salazar explained how everyone managed to get to eat, glancing over at the Dhelmise and Gyarados out in the water when he mentioned them. They nodded when he agreed that Keith could be intimidating by reputation when you didn't know him.

Vine hummed thoughtfully as Salazar told them about teammates that had gone behind Keith's back, but mostly to his benefit, while Zephyr tilted her head to one side to consider that. Then, he moved on to the Shadow Ledian and the battle that they'd heard mentions of, which brought the two back to focused attention. They did glance around the clearing when he mentioned it was created during the battle, exchanging looks as they calculated how much power was probably used to uproot and-or destroy all those trees. Vine shivered and Zephyr ruffled her feathers, sidestepping nervously, as they came to the conclusion that it was way too much.

Both grimaced at Salazar's suggestion, though it was, admittedly, the most straightforward and practical solution.

"Breeze's been keeping an eye on her. Somehow," Zephyr said reluctantly. "Though, she's been keeping her head down recently since we got Tempest."

"And it's not like we can say she's doing anything particularly concerning," Vine added, a little sourly. "She really hasn't done anything particularly concerning, except for setting people up with strangers at the Hatchery. Granted, most of the Pokémon she set up didn't mind, but...one did. A lot."

"There's also the fact that none of the babies came to us," Zephyr pointed out. "So...I dunno." She deflated. "I guess we're just...weirded out about it? Concerned?"

Vine grimaced again, but directed at himself this time. "Laying it all out like that, it sounds like we're overreacting, but I don't think anyone who knows is treating it..." He trailed off for a moment before admitting, "Well, I guess it depends on the 'mon."

Zephyr was about to ask Salazar's opinion, at least of what he'd heard, but she paused, squinting at Tempest as she emerged from where she, Melissa, and Mirage had gone. "Is that Prince? And Cirrus?"

Vine turned to study the trio. "Looks like it."

Zephyr stared at them for another beat and then shrugged. She turned back to Salazar. "Does it sound like we're overreacting a bit? Or a lot? I don't think we can tell anymore."

---

Eve nodded emphatically. "Yeah! That's what I would've assumed too! But, like I said, we haven't really tried and I've never actually asked Mel about it, so that's all just from what I know or heard from the others."

Jack then turned to the conversation to her and Eve blinked. "Me? Oh, I'm...actually from the Coins for Prizes, too." She ducked her head and shot Jack a sheepish grin. "Which was apparently a good thing, since Mel wanted a girl first. That said, I know she wants a full set of Eeveelutions one day, but, to be honest, I haven't quite decided if I'm evolving or not." She shrugged. "If I do, though, I'd go Flareon, to match with my girlfriend and then someone else will have to be the Eevee." She coughed, embarrassed, as the talk of evolution reminded her of her original intent. "Which is actually what I originally came over to ask you about: how do you decide what shape to take when you Transform? Or, I guess, to be transparent, what would you tell an Eevee kit, asking about evolution when you haven't done it yourself?"

---

"You good to move?" Melissa asked Mirage as Wildfire turned the corner and trotted up to them.

Mirage nodded and peered around her at Wildfire. "Hi."

"Hey." Wildfire clambered up to Melissa's shoulder with the trainer's help. "You coming with us to go talk to the cryptopokologist?"

Mirage nodded again, sticking close to Melissa as they ambled their way back to where Melissa and Wildfire had left Eddie. "Mel said he doesn't seem like he's got a lot of Pokémon."

"Yup. And we were talking outside too, so plenty of places for you to disappear if you need to."

Mirage hummed in acknowledgement and they walked in comfortable silence across the Clearing, keeping an eye out for Eddie, his Togedemaru, or his Electrode in case the young scientist had gone somewhere else while they'd been busy.
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Old 10-18-2020, 08:02 PM   #548
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Tempest returned soon, with a Houndour and Swablu in tow, after which Wildfire said his goodbyes and headed back to Melissa. "Good to meet you too," Peeves nodded, before turning to the Ralts, Houndour, and Swablu. "So, welcome," he said to the newcomers. "I'm guessing you remember the way to the dining room, Tempest, but I'm going with anyways- rest of my family should be showing up there for dinner shortly anyways, and I like to eat with 'em." With that, the Dusknoir turned around and led the way down the hall.

Back in the kitchen, it was evident that some rotating had already taken place. The pair of Mightyena were still there, but the Cryogonal and Weezing had left. Now there was a Yanmega, a Pawniard, a Ledian, an Arbok, and an Absol munching away at their food. And at the same time Peeves approached the doorway, another Dusknoir floated in through a wall. "Oh- Peeves, who are these?" said the new Dusknoir- this one most definitely female, going by the voice.

"Hey, Lil," said Peeves. "This is Tempest, Prince, and Cirrus, I think those two are called?" he said, with a glance at the Houndour and Swablu. "I heard Wildfire call you by name? They just got here," he shrugged. "Well, Tempest's been here for a bit, she's visiting to get advice from Keith on how to counter Poison-types-"

"WHAT?!"

"Oh, geez," groaned Peeves, facepalming as the Pawniard tensed up at his words. Floating in the air courtesy of her Magnet Rise move, Ginny zoomed over to the guests, brandishing her blades threateningly. "Ginny, for once in your life can you-"

"Silence!" Ginny interrupted, glaring distrustfully at Tempest. "Coming in here and asking Keith how to counter a type he's known to specialize in! Ohhh, a bold strategy, getting your victim to hand the assassin the very tools needed to do the job, but I won't let-"

"Ginny! GINNY!" Keith interrupted, quick to notice what was going on and even quicker to intervene, stepping between Ginny and Tempest. "Stand down, Ginny. I already told you we have guests, these are our guests, and you need to calm down," he said firmly.

Ginny looked very much like she wanted to argue, but as Keith continue to stand there, arms folded, the Pawniard relented. With a quick salute to Keith, she returned to her food and whatever conversation she was having with the Ledian.

Keith exhaled in relief. "Sorry about that," he said, turning to Tempest. "Ginny means well, and she's all for keeping me safe, but as you've no doubt seen, she can be a little overzealous."

Peeves raised his one and only eyebrow. "A little?" he quipped.

"Alright, then, very overzealous," Keith nodded.

"Yeah, and FYI, she didn't take too kindly to the notion of someone asking a Poison-type specialist how to counter Poison-types," Peeves added. "Thinking like Tempest is some sort of assassin looking to find your weakness."

"Yeah, sounds like Ginny's line of thinking," Keith nodded. "Give her some time, she'll realize you mean no harm," he assured the Ralts. "So yeah, you, uh, met Ginny. That Ledian there, that's her boyfriend Stewie. And I take it you already met Liliana here," he added, with a nod to the female Dusknoir.

"I was just getting introduced," Liliana confirmed. "Chip will be down soon- he's still helping Leo with his training," she added. Keith nodded back in acknowledgement.

Maribel, meanwhile, waved at Tempest and her teammates. The plates of food were still by her, having not been touched since Tempest had Teleported Mirage out. The young Trainer was already getting two more plates, intent on getting food for the Houndour and Swablu.

~~~~~

Salazar listened as Vine and Zephyr explained that the Gothita's main thing seemed to be trying to fix up couples at the Hatchery, and while on the whole there weren't really complaints, there was apparently one notable exception. And Melissa's team didn't seem to be getting any new Pokémon out of the deal, so mostly they were just weirded out. "I'm not sure if it'd be overreacting, to be honest. In either case, it does sound strange," admitted the Scolipede. "Gothita are Psychic-types, though, so I could see it being something like with Luna, where she could be seeing a way to make a good outcome happen? I'm not sure," he said. "I'm no Psychic-type myself, so it's a bit out of my area of expertise."

"Question," Bart spoke up. "You guys are all going on about keeping an eye on Annabelle, watching what she's doing, trying to guess why she does what she does- anyone just up and ask her directly?"

Salazar raised an eyebrow. "Bart, that sounds like the most obvious thing they could think to do. Probably the first thing they tried," he argued.

"Ehh, obvious is a matter of perspective," shrugged Pangoro. "How many times do we see our Trainers missing a perfectly obvious solution to something until someone else points it out to 'em?"

~~~~~

"Hah, you too?" grinned Jack as Eve revealed that she was also from Coins for Prizes. "Wow. Small world. I don't suppose you were part of that litter of fourteen that some eccentric billionare bought up all at once, too, were ya?" Eve went on to explain that while she wasn't sure if she'd evolve, she figured she'd go for Flareon if she decided on it. And as it turned out, this tied into why she sought a conversation with him in the first place- to ask for advice on what to tell an Eevee kit who was asking about evolution. "Huh. Honestly, a good question," stated Jack. "I mean, when I Transform, and it's not, like, in battle so I obviously turn into a copy of the opponent, I just go with whatever fits what I'm looking to do. I wanna go for a swim, I turn into a Poliwrath or a Qwilfish or something. I feel like flying around, I'll turn into a Pidgeotto or a Weezing. Things like that. As for giving advice to young Eevee about evolving, though, I actually got a teammate far more qualified to give that kind of advice than me," he added. "You wanna go find Cyanide, my Trainer's Umbreon. She's a mother of two already- if there's anyone who'd know this subject inside and out, it's her. Just not entirely sure where she'd be right now... well, no, actually, she was talking about helping Leo work on his moves, so maybe they'd be in the Battle Room," he murmured. "So that'd put them in that big ol' house over there," he said, glancing at the Poisonous Palace. "Want me to get you in there?" he offered, emphasizing his point by Transforming into an Abra.

~~~~~

Melissa didn't have long to look- true to his word, Eddie hadn't moved from where he was. He appeared to have sent out all of his other Pokémon in the meantime, as well, though this only added up to a total of five; in addition to Gigawatt and Battery, they could see a larger-than-average Weedle with a blackened tail stinger, conversing with a rather friendly-looking Drowzee, while a decidedly chubby Alakazam sat on the ground a few feet away. Instead of a pair of spoons, he instead held a fork and knife, and was using them to hungrily consume a large steak.

"Ah," Eddie said upon noticing Melissa's return. "I hope all was well?" he asked. "I let out my other Pokémon, I figured they could use some relaxation," he added. "Over here is Remy, my Drowzee, and Hermione, my Weedle."

"Drowzee!" Remy greeted them jovially.

"Weedle," Hermione added with a polite bow.

"And over there is Homer," said Eddie, gesturing to his Alakazam. "I'm... honestly not sure where he got that steak," he admitted. "But in the months since I've come to own him, that seems to be par for the course with him," he shrugged.
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Old 10-19-2020, 12:24 AM   #549
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"Understandable," Tempest said as the trio followed Peeves into the Palace. Prince and Cirrus peered around curiously, the latter perched on the former's back, as they headed for the dining room.

"Nice pool," Prince commented quietly to Cirrus. "Though I think ours is bigger."

Cirrus tilted his head and appeared to listen for something. "I don't think they've got any of the under-the-floor water pathways either, but I think Mel special-ordered those."

They turned towards the kitchen, the trio glancing around at the Pokémon now grabbing their food, and pulled up short when a new Dusknoir greeted Peeves. Tempest bowed again in greeting as Peeves introduced them, Prince and Cirrus nodding that he'd gotten their names right. The male Dusknoir was explaining why Tempest had decided to visit when someone inside the kitchen yelled.

Tempest flinched back, Prince rising to his feet and Cirrus half-spreading his wings as a Pawniard zoomed over to the trio with a Magnet Rise, brandishing their blades. Peeves tried to derail them, but they cut him off, aggressively accusing Tempest of assassination, of all things.

Tempest grimly stood her ground, her fists only just barely not catching Fire as she prepared to Punch them should the Pawniard make any move towards her. Behind her, Cirrus gave the Pawniard a considering eyeballing, preparing to intercept them with an Aerial Ace as they clearly overlooked him and Prince in their haste to pre-empt whatever assassination attempt they assumed was coming. Prince only bared his Fangs; he'd never tried to bite someone, but he definitely knew how to wrap Fire around his teeth to make it hurt.

Thankfully, Keith intervened, ordering the Pawniard to stand down. The trio slowly relaxed, Tempest grimacing but accepting Keith's apology. They glanced back and forth as Keith and Peeves explained about Ginny and then introduced Stewie and Liliana.

"Well met, Liliana," Tempest said before properly introducing her teammates. "This is Prince and Cirrus." She gestured at the Houndour and Swablu respectively.

"Hello," Cirrus chirped.

"Hey," Prince added, before nodding in Ginny's direction. "So, she's always like that then?"

"I hope she'll figure out I'm no threat to her trainer," Tempest muttered, darting over to retrieve her bokken. "I'd like to avoid any battles breaking out in unexpected places when we're guests."

Cirrus rolled his eyes and then spotted Maribel going to grab two more plates. "Oh. I could probably just finish Mirage's if there's fruit in the salad." He glanced over at Prince. "Though he's going to need a plate."

---

"We've tried," Vine said darkly, glancing over at the Scrafty. "She either just says something cryptic or tells us to wait and see."

Zephyr tilted her head thoughtfully. "I think, pooling all her answers to everyone who's asked...and from Breeze, she thinks she's arranging things so that whatever she thinks is supposed to happen happens. And she thinks she's right about whatever that is."

"But it's kinda suspicious that she'd start keeping her head down and ducking Tempest when Mel got her if she's only doing good things," Vine pointed out.

"I don't think she ever specified, actually," Zephyr said after a moment's thought. "Which does seem suspicious with the way she's trying to keep it from Mel." Zephyr shook her head and ruffled her wings, turning to Bart and Pangoro. "Sorry if we've been boring you, by the way; we haven't really had a chance to ask for any outside opinions since the whole thing started and this just seemed like a good time."

---

Eve shook her head and chuckled. "No, not the giant litter. Mel got me directly from the Coins for Prizes herself, which was before the billionaire put his litter up for trade, I think." Jack then explained that he chose forms that matched what he wanted at the time and that he had a teammate that might be better suited to answering her questions. Eve flicked her tail thoughtfully. "Yeah, actually, that sounds like it'd be more help if you'd rather not. Though...how well does her name match her? So I can be prepared." She tilted her head wryly.

---

Melissa checked her step at the sight of more Pokémon, glancing down at Mirage. Her Galarian Ponyta only pressed closer, eyeing the other Pokémon warily until she spotted the Alakazam. She looked baffled then.

"Eh, it's better now," Melissa replied, turning to Eddie's other Pokémon. "Nice to meet you, Remy, Hermione, Homer." She glanced back at Eddie as he addressed his Alakazam's different utensils. "That seems appropriate with the fork and knife, but he might've gotten it from the Palace? They're apparently having steak for dinner."

Wildfire raised a forepaw in greeting. "Hullo."

"Oh, right." Melissa gestured at her Cyndaquil and then at the Galarian Ponyta peering around her legs. "This is Wildfire and Mirage."
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Old 10-19-2020, 01:18 AM   #550
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The situation had been de-escalated fairly quickly. And judging by the lack of particular reactions from most anyone else in the room, nothing Ginny had done had surprised nor worried them in particular.

Liliana gave a small sigh at Prince's question. "Ginny's actually more reasonable than that first impression would lead you to believe," she said. "She's just wary of strangers, honestly, and more than a little paranoid. In all fairness, there have been people who really have been trying to kill Keith before, people she's saved him from."

"She'll see in time you mean no harm," Peeves said firmly. "You only ever really have anything to worry about from her if you really do mean Keith harm, which pretty much all of us can plainly see you don't, so... yeah." Then, he saw that Maribel was already preparing them plates. "Ah, yeah, pretty sure there's a variety of berries in the salad," he said. "There usually is. Sitrus and Leppa, typically."

"I'll make sure Maribel knows what to do," Liliana volunteered, floating forward, conveying Cirrus's words. Maribel nodded in response and put one of the plates back, then turning to the guests and gesturing to the plates of salad already there. Then, she said something to Liliana, who thought about it for a moment, then floated back over to them. "She's guessing you'd like steak," she said to Prince. "It's what Keith's Houndoom likes. But she still wanted to ask to make sure first."

~~~~~

Sure enough, Vine and Zephyr confirmed that asking the Gothita directly was something they'd tried already, only getting cryptic responses for their trouble. "Heh, that sounds a lot like Luna," chuckled Bart. However, Vine pointed out that Annabelle was trying to avoid Tempest. "Hm, now that, on the other hand, not something you'd see out of Luna," frowned Bart. "That sounds suspicious as fuck."

"I'm inclined to agree," Salazar stated. "Luna used to be one of my teammates, and I'd never known her to keep her head down around anyone or anything, including other Psychic-types... Perhaps there may well be more to this than meets the eye after all."

As Zephyr apologized if they were boring Bart and Pangoro, they shook their heads. "Nah, we get it, you want whatever help you can get," Pangoro stated. "You saw a chance to get a little help and went for it. Absol always tells me there's no shame in that."

"Yeah, believe me, if you was boring me, I wouldn't leave you in any doubt," Bart added.

Though Eve certainly seemed to have heard of the giant litter, she was not a part of it- she was bought by Melissa directly, at some point before said litter was put up for trade. The mention of Cyanide got Eve interested, though also a bit concerned about how fitting the name was for her. "Heh. She ain't bad these days, but back in the day, she was a bitch and a half," chuckled Jack. "Still pretty sassy, but she's mellowed out a lot in recent years, between becoming a mother and making friends with this bright pink Espeon. Apparently Cyanide was the worst behaved of her entire litter- she actually came from that giant litter I mentioned earlier. But yeah- her name's more fitting in that she's a Poison-type at heart than anything else, these days," he stated.

~~~~~

As Melissa returned, she voiced the notion that Homer might have gotten his steak from the Poisonous Palace, as they were indeed having steak for dinner. "It's possible," sighed Eddie. "I might even go so far as to say probable. It wouldn't be the first time." He turned to the Psychic-type. "Homer, did you take that steak from Keith and Willa?" he asked sternly.

Can't talk. Eating, came a telepathic reply from the Alakazam, transmitted to everyone nearby.

"That doesn't apply to telepathy and you know it," retorted Eddie. He rolled his eyes as Homer gave no response to this. "I caught Homer fairly recently," he explained to Melissa. "He'll listen to me in battle well enough, but he's not shy about getting food when he wants it. Which is basically always." He shook his head. "It's a process," he said. "He does at least get along fairly well with the others. Remy looks up to him as his mentor- he's been helping Remy with his Psychic attacks. And although he won't admit as much, I suspect he has deep respect for Hermione's intellect."

Remy, meanwhile, walked up to Wildfire and Mirage. "Hello," the Drowzee greeted them in a friendly way. "Nice to meet you, Wildfire, Mirage."
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