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 What the forest taught me

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PostSubject: What the forest taught me   Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:15 am

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Another morning had dawned over Grassveil Town, and like always, most of its residents were awake and setting about their usual routines...  It seemed that today would be another peaceful day.

In one of the quieter parts of town, filled mostly with homes and beautiful gardens, a certain Skitty found herself sitting alone at the edge of a path.  She was wearing a blue Trap Scarf around her neck instead of her usual badge and ribbon.  She wouldn't need the scarf's effects today, of course, but it was fluffy and warm...  And it felt good to be out of her uniform for a change.  Working at the guild had been full of ups and downs, and while she didn't exactly regret the time she'd spent there, a chance to take a break and visit her home was exactly what Darcy needed.  She had never been away from her family for this long before...  Though it had only been a couple of weeks, the thought of seeing them again left her absolutely burning with excitement.

And as if she wasn't eager enough already, one of her best friends had agreed to come with her.  Cirrus the Togepi, the doctor-in-training that she had met back in Pecha Forest.  She wanted to meet Darcy's mother, an expert on medicinal plants, and the Skitty couldn't have been more delighted to have her along.  They would finally be able to just talk and relax, free from the worries of guildwork and dungeons that had characterized each of their meetings so far...  She had wanted a chance like this ever since the day they met.  She couldn't help but smile and wag her fluffy tail just thinking about it...

...In fact, she had been so excited that she'd arrived at Cirrus' house somewhat earlier than they had arranged.  She had promised to pick the Togepi up late in the morning, but she had been waiting outside of her house for at least twenty minutes now, and calling the time "late" still seemed like a stretch...

...And she didn't think she could make herself sit still for much longer.  She didn't want to intrude, but it seemed harmless to show up a little early, right..?  Maybe she could help Cirrus get ready.  They had a long walk ahead of them, after all.  Giddy with anticipation, she finally got to her feet and bounded up to the Togepi's front door, then paused and gingerly nudged it ajar with a forepaw.  "Um...  Excuse me, Cirrus?" she called, a hint of enthusiasm leaking into her voice.  "Are you there?  It's Darcy!"

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PostSubject: Re: What the forest taught me   Sun Oct 23, 2016 3:20 am

"I'm glad we're friends too. I may not have much experience with Pokémon and this world but I know you've got a good heart." Cirrus replied sweetly. She normally wouldn't have used her ability so frivolously otherwise, a Togepi used that stored happiness as their own source of energy. Her action could very much be taken as a form of trust.

Returning Darcy's cheerful glance with one of her own and a smile to boot, Cirrus trotted off in her wake. She didn't exactly know what to expect when they would both arrive at the house where the Skitty's family lived but she was eager to meet them and happy that her friendship with Darcy was beginning to open some doors.

More than that however, she was grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to learn.

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PostSubject: Re: What the forest taught me   Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:40 am

The rest of the trip went smoothly and peacefully, with Darcy leading Cirrus farther from the center of town.  The cobblestone roads gradually faded, giving way to simple dirt trails that snaked through the pleasant fields that gave Grassveil its name.  Though the two of them only stopped to rest once or twice, it took three or four hours to arrive at their destination on the distant outskirts of town--a tiny footpath that branched from the main road and led towards a small patch of trees, just on the eastern edge of Pecha Forest.

Though she was tired from the long walk there, seeing all of the familiar trees and bushes and hills left Darcy feeling flightier than ever.  "Our house is just up ahead," she said as she trotted forward, regarding the scenery with a giddy look on her face.  "It feels soooo good to be here again, Cirrus.  When I left for the guild, I didn't think I'd miss home this much...  I like living in Grassveil Town but I guess my family really means a lot to me."

She paused for a moment to stretch her body and enjoy the warm afternoon sun.  It sure was a picturesque day...  It felt perfect in every way.

...Though now that they were so close, she realized that there was one small concern she had overlooked.  "Um...  Could you do me a favor though, Cirrus?" she asked, turning around and sitting on her haunches.  "...Um...  If anyone asks about how we met, please don't tell them that I was in Pecha Forest by myself, okay?"

She looked down and kneaded the ground with her forepaws while her tail twitched back and forth uncomfortably.  "...My mom and dad actually didn't want me to join the guild at first.  It took a long time to convince them, and when I did, they made me promise to never go into dungeons alone.  I wasn't going to, but I just...  Um..."

She glanced up again.  "I was really scared that my teammate wouldn't like me, and I didn't have anyone to look for a present with.  I won't do it again.  Do you think...  Do you think that's okay?"

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PostSubject: Re: What the forest taught me   Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:21 pm

Although Cirrus continued to follow in Darcy's wake, she was now looking around more often in wonder at her surroundings the more they changed from the bustle and hustle of Grassveil into the simple dirt trails that they walked upon.

"In here?" Cirrus asked when they reached that small patch of trees. It looked like a peaceful place to live. She smiled at the sight and listened to the Skitty reminisce.

Shortly after this came Darcy's own confession. The Togepi listened attently to the situation her friend was also being faced with and made the easy decision to back her up. "That's ok. We met in Grassveil and you were looking for a Pokémon to come with you. Does that sound alright?" she whispered.

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PostSubject: Re: What the forest taught me   Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:02 am

At Cirrus' words, Darcy smiled again and gave the Togepi an appreciative nod.  "Yeah.  Thank you," she said warmly...  She knew she was right to confide in Cirrus.  She didn't want to lie to her parents, but...  She couldn't stop working at the guild just yet, either.  It wasn't a pleasant situation for her, so having Cirrus' support meant a lot.

She was broken out of her thoughts by the sound of voices not too far ahead.  Familiar voices, at that...  A grin broke across Darcy's face and an excited shiver ran through her body as she returned to her feet.  "Do you hear that?  I think it's my dad!" she said as she took off at a full run towards the clearing up ahead.

She emerged into a vast grassy meadow, dotted with colorful wildflowers and ensconced in a loose ring of trees.  Built into a craggy hill at the far side was a very familiar two-story house...  It was surrounded by herb gardens, and had a path hemmed with fences that allowed safe access to the top.  The view from there was beautiful, she knew from experience...  She could hardly wait to see it again.  ...Especially now that she had a friend to share it with.

But what presently held her attention was the small crowd of Skitty at the meadow's center, seated at a handful of simple desks.  Sure enough, there was a Delcatty at the front...  Her father.  It looked like they had arrived while he was giving one of his lessons.

But that didn't slow Darcy down at all.  And when one of her little sisters caught sight of her, she didn't seem bothered either.  "...Oh, Darcy!" the wide-eyed Skitty said while turning in her seat, and before long she and the other two Skitty had noticed their big sister too and were rushing up to meet her.  They reached each other, and the group of Skitty was quickly caught up in a cascade of long-overdue hugs and laughter and questions.

Their father sprouted a bemused smile at the sight, and closed a book before pacing towards them.  "Okay, okay.  I suppose that's enough for today.  Welcome home, Darcy!"

"Dad!" Darcy simply replied as she bounded up to her father and buried her face in his fur with a hug.  "I'm so happy to see you all again, dad...  I'll visit more often from now on, okay?"

He settled prone on the ground and hugged her in return.  "I'm glad to see you, too.  I hope that working at the guild hasn't been too taxing on you..."

"Um...  Darcy, is this your teammate?" one of her siblings said, having taken notice of Cirrus.  She quickly drew the attention of the others and soon all three of them had bounded towards the Togepi with curiosity in their eyes.

"Oh, right!" Darcy said as she pulled away and trotted beside her friend.  "Everyone, this is Cirrus.  We're not teammates, just friends.  She's training to be a doctor, so I invited her along so that she could talk to mom."  She turned to face Cirrus with a cheery smile as she continued speaking.  "And Cirrus, this is Amber, this is Kyra, this is Heather, and this is my dad!" she finished while pointing to each of her family members in turn.

The Delcatty nodded his head and smiled as he regarded Cirrus.  "You can call me Rosa.  I'm glad to see that Darcy's made a new friend!  Please make yourself at home."

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PostSubject: Re: What the forest taught me   Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:50 am

A smile quickly made itself very prominent upon the Togepi's face as she stared at all the sights around her. Between the meadow, wildflowers, and trees, the surroundings were wonderful to behold. This was to say nothing about the house and herb gardens either. Cirrus was caught in amazement as she followed behind Darcy and also heard those voices. The little group of Skitty being taught by a Delcatty soon came into view.

Cirrus then watched the family reunion that spontaneously commenced right before her eyes before one of Darcy's siblings drew the attention straight towards her the way a Steel type Pokémon would be to a Pokémon with Magnet Pull. She found all three of them to be so very adorable and smiled happily at them.

"Hi Rosa! It's great to meet you and everyone!" Cirrus cheerfully replied to the Delcatty in turn after he introduced himself. Darcy's siblings and dad had done a great job at making the Togepi feel welcome in their home. "Darcy's been great and I'm glad to be here." she added.

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PostSubject: Re: What the forest taught me   Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:30 am

"I'm glad to hear that!" Rosa said with a cheerful smile, seeming genuinely pleased.  "Why don't you two come inside?  You must be tired.  And I'm sure your mother will be happy to see you again, Darcy," he continued as he turned to lead the way towards the house.

Darcy eagerly trotted through the grass alongside him.  "Yeah!  I hope she's starting to feel better.  And I want to make sure Cirrus gets a chance to talk to her before we do anything else," Darcy said, thinking back to the Togepi's confession as they were leaving Grassveil Town...  She didn't want to lose track of time and cause Cirrus to take any less away from this trip than she deserved.

...And so she turned to face the little entourage of Skitty that had curiously been following behind them.  "...Whiiich means we're going to be busy for a little while.  Be patient, okay?" she said, and was met with a few resigned groans as her little siblings ran off to play among themselves for now.

She gave Cirrus a shy glance as she resumed walking.  "Um...  We don't get visitors very often, so it's always a big deal when someone has company over.  I hope you're okay with being a celebrity for a while..." she said.  Until now, it hadn't occurred to her that this might be a problem.  She sure hoped that Cirrus wouldn't find it bothersome...

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PostSubject: Re: What the forest taught me   Sun Nov 20, 2016 8:37 am

She really and truly couldn't help it, cracking another smile as she followed Rosa to the house alongside Darcy. Cirrus was almost simmering over with excitement by this point. Seeing Darcy's shy little glance after her Skitty friend left her siblings to their own devices was enough to capture her attention though. "Is something up?" she quietly asked before Darcy spoke to her.

Cirrus found it understandable that she'd be concerned over this, the Togepi had been living alone since getting herself settled in to Grassveil Town. Shelving a potentially wonderful and joyous thought away for a more appropriate moment, she looked at the other Skitty behind them and recalled her days in the nest at the sight of those kittens. "It's all fine. I'd be happy with that, don't worry." Cirrus responded. "The way I see that, it's great that you're all so open and welcoming." she then added on.

It was already beginning to show too, the positive reception she'd witnessed from Darcy's dad and siblings towards her had added a spring to her step.

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PostSubject: Re: What the forest taught me   Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:30 pm

"I'm really glad to hear that," Darcy said with a relieved smile.  "It'll mean a lot to all of them.  It can get kind of lonely out here since we're so far from town.  They might be overbearing, but it's just because they're excited.  I know how it feels..."

The trio arrived at the house, and Rosa pushed his way through the front door.  Inside was a large, circular room, with hallways on the left and far sides and a staircase set into the stone wall on the right.  Windows near the door and in the hallways kept the room warmly lit during the day.  There was a table in the center and a massive rug covering most of the wooden floor, and the room was full of small bookshelves and potted plants.

Many of the books were off of the shelves and scattered throughout the room, though, giving it the appearance of some kind of library.  Next to a particularly large stack of books was another Delcatty, curled up within a pile of blankets, her face lit by a sunbeam shining through one of the room's windows as she slept soundly.  She looked much like Rosa did, except that her left foreleg was thickly wrapped with bandages.  Darcy's father approached her and carefully nuzzled his head against hers while he spoke softly.  "Darling...  Someone's here to see you..."

"Mnngh..." she murmured as she yawned and rubbed her face with her good paw.  She blinked her eyes open sleepily...  But her face lit up with energy and joy the moment she saw the Skitty standing in front of her.  "O-Ohhh, Darcy!  I didn't know you were visiting today!  How are you doing?"

"I'm doing great!  It's really good to see you again!" Darcy said with a giggle as she bounded forward and gave her mother a hug.  "I should be asking you the same thing, though...  I've been worried about you too.  Is your leg feeling any better?"

"It's still not perfect.  But I'm sure it won't be much longer before I'm up and about again," she said with a smile as Darcy pulled away and sat on her haunches, her tail swishing back and forth.  The Delcatty was clearly just as happy as Darcy was, fidgeting as if to stand up but then thinking better of it.

But she froze in place the moment she locked eyes with Cirrus.  "A-And, um.  You...  Brought a friend?"

"Yeah!" Darcy said with a smile as she nodded at Cirrus.  "I hope that's okay.  I met her while I was in Pecha Forest, and--"

Instantly Darcy covered her mouth and stopped speaking, her blood running cold.  Already she'd given away their secret...

"O-Oh, so she isn't your teammate?" the Delcatty asked with a frown.

And Darcy sighed with relief as she put both paws back on the ground.  "R-Right.  I wanted to bring him too.  But I didn't think I should invite more than one guest without asking first, and Cirrus has wanted to meet you for a while."

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PostSubject: Re: What the forest taught me   Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:14 pm

"Yep, Darcy's told me a little about you after I ran into her and her teammate in the forest." Cirrus started after Darcy had finished speaking. She'd done the best she could to stitch together Darcy's dissolving plan and keep her out of hot water, and so continued in the hope that it was enough. "I... um, really want to be a good doctor myself someday, so Darcy invited me along." she continued to speak.

In all truth, she was feeling a little nervous now that they'd actually arrived, now that the Delcatty's eyes were on her, and her Skitty friend's innocent slip up had rather surprised her. She kept a smile throughout all this however, not betraying any blatantly obvious signs of the butterflies flitting about inside her stomach.

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PostSubject: Re: What the forest taught me   Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:43 am

"O-oh!  Really, now..." Darcy's mother said, her frown replaced with a tiny smile.  "That's wonderful!  I wouldn't call myself a doctor, but I do know a thing or two about medicine.  I'd be glad to share what I've learned.  Darcy, could you fetch my notes..?"

"Yeah!  Of course," Darcy said with a smile, glad that Cirrus had helped cover her mistake.  She trotted to the other side of the room and put her paws up on a bookshelf, eventually pulling out a thick book that had clearly seen a lot of use...  Its cover was very worn, perhaps because Skitty and Delcatty had to carry things with their mouths, and some of its pages had clearly fallen out in the past and had been stuck back in...  

"My name's Thiana.  You can just call me Thia though," the Delcatty said as Darcy set the book down in front of her.  She pulled the cover open with her good paw, and briefly scanned through its table of contents, her gaze thoughtful...  "...I guess we'll start with the basics of gathering herbs, and then I'll teach you about some of the more useful plants that grow around Grassveil, and how to prepare them.  And if you think you'll make good use of it, I suppose you can keep this book once we're finished.  I had a copy made not long ago."

She looked up again, her eyes sparkling.  "Um...  I'm glad that Darcy decided to bring you along.  I thought about being a true doctor when I was younger too.  I really am happy to help, if even just a little."

Darcy watched all of this with a pleased expression on her face, her tail swishing back and forth.  Her mom could be shy, but it seemed like this was the perfect icebreaker!  The Skitty had been a little worried that Cirrus would end up seeing this trip as a waste of time, but from the looks of things, that wouldn't be a problem...  Cirrus could talk to her mom as much as she wanted, and then they could just focus on having fun for the remainder of her visit.

"Well...  I suppose I'll go clean up our classroom outside, then..." Rosa said as he stood up and stretched out his body, then began pacing towards the door...

"Oh, can I come too?" Darcy said, smiling and instinctively jumping to her feet...  It had been such a long time since she'd gotten to be together with her little siblings...  And as much as she liked to be with Cirrus, the Skitty didn't think she would be able to help her much when it came to medicine.  Still, she gave Cirrus a shy glance, not wanting to put her Togepi friend in an uncomfortable situation...  "Um...  Would that be alright, Cirrus?  We'd be right outside if you need us."

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PostSubject: Re: What the forest taught me   Mon Jan 23, 2017 1:52 am

That their story had gone down well, that Darcy appeared happy for this, and that she was even being allowed to keep the book, all of this came together to simultaneously quash her nervousness entirely. Cirrus already appeared rather more relaxed as she listened to Thia while looking at the book. Even now, she knew it was something that she would come to deeply treasure. "Any help is great. I'm going to look after this, truly..." she almost murmured with a joyous and touched look to her eyes.

As a result, when Darcy then asked if she could go and help clean the classroom, Cirrus found that she had no objections to this. "Sure thing, we'll be just fine~" she replied rather happily.

Of course, the Togepi thought as she watched Darcy, this Skitty was to thank for the warm introduction to Thia. Very grateful for the opportunity provided to her on this day, Cirrus turned back to face Thia and calmly told her "I'm ready to learn.". Undoubtedly, she was attentive.

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PostSubject: Re: What the forest taught me   Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:31 am

Darcy gave Cirrus a grateful nod, and with a spring in her step, she turned around and bounded alongside her father as the two of them went back outside.  She called out to her siblings as she dashed towards the simple little classroom they were still clustered around, and her voice was soon joined by a chorus of excited kittens, all of them so eager to talk and play and make up for lost time...

Thia watched through the front window with a smile on her face, then turned back to Cirrus after a moment, her eyes sparkling with energy.  "Alright.  Now that we're by ourselves, let's begin.  I'm not sure how much you know, and what you still need to learn...  But the basics are the most important things to understand.  I think we should start there, if you don't mind."

"First things first..."
she said, her tail swishing back and forth as she gave her Togepi visitor a gentle smile...  She seemed relaxed, but still full of energy, like she had experience teaching this kind of thing and that it was something she enjoyed.  "There are three rules that you should follow whenever you're gathering herbs.  They're very important to know if you plan on making your own medicine, but they aren't written anywhere in my notes, so please pay close attention.

"Um...  First: Never pick anything that you don't recognize,"
she said.  "You should only look for herbs that you're certain you can identify, and you should be aware of any lookalikes that grow in the same region.  Pokémon have gotten sick, and even lost their lives by eating plants that they mistook for food or medicine...  Using the wrong plants can be worse than doing nothing at all.

"Second...  Only pick as much as you need.  If you take too much, then there will be none left for others, and whatever you were searching for might have trouble growing back.

"And third...  You shouldn't go by yourself.  If you get hurt or lost, the last thing you want is to be far from any help..."


She trailed off as she spoke that last sentence.  Her tail's swishing came to a stop, and her purple, fur-tufted ears flattened a little as she glanced away...

"I'm...  Well...  To be honest, I'm guilty of breaking that third rule.  For a long time, I thought that I was above it, but being by myself is why I broke my leg, and it's why it's taken so long to heal.  You should always have a friend come with you.  Or you could ask some of the apprentices at the guild to come along if you're going somewhere more remote." She returned her gaze to Cirrus, a hint of shame or embarrassment in her eyes.  "Um...  Have you ever worked with them before? I can explain how the guild works if you'd like. I... Want you to be safe."

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