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 Solitary Setbacks

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PostSubject: Solitary Setbacks   Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:16 am

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Cattail Marsh was not a pretty scene. It was hardly a tourist attraction and it was most assuredly not a popular hotspot. The air was muggy, humid and uncomfortable, the flatlands were mushy and heavy, and the waters that flooded the flatlands were rife with muck and grime, to say nothing of the many bug, poison, and water Pokemon that made their homes there. The dungeon itself was merely a passageway to the infinitely more deadly Misty Mire, harsher swamplands that were home to much more dangerous Pokemon. Cattail Marsh was the sort of dungeon you went to only if you had to go there for something.

Goro the Croagunk called it home. Croagunk themselves were not an uncommon sight in the swamplands, but ones that weren't feral certainly were. Goro himself made his home in the Marsh not because the conditions were particularly favorable, but because how little traffick the area saw. If anything could be said about Goro the Croagunk, then it would be that he valued his privacy. A mercenary by occupation and a hermit by nature, the Marsh was a natural sanctuary for him. After setting off on his own, he'd stumbled into the Marsh on his way to Rainfront Town, and had instantly fell in love with the desolate population and unpleasant environment.

Only one or two ferals been pokin' 'round here today. Good 'ta see they're learnin' their place. Goro liked to spend his time in the Marsh patrolling his territory, a stretch of swamp deep within the dungeon that he claimed for himself. There wasn't anything particularly special about his flatlands, other than an abandoned run-down shack perched up on a gloomy embankment of water. It was dour and damaged, with heavy cracks in the aged wood, empty windows and a missing door-- he loved it. Goro counted himself very fortunate to have found it, and immediately set about beating back any and all feral Pokemon in the area, establishing the area very firmly as his.

Which is what he was doing now. The Croagunk prowled through the swamplands back to his hovel with a satisfied air about him, having discovered only a few Pokemon still lingering in the area. They were learning quickly not to come anywhere near his residence, lest they find themselves on the wrong end of a harsh beating.

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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:53 pm

As Alki began bouncing forward, Darcy shrank back again, glancing away and trembling softly.  The Skitty couldn't bring herself to even look at her.  No matter how hard she tried to reassure herself, she couldn't escape the feeling that this was the end.  That Alki had finally decided to stop lying.  Darcy blinked the tears out of her eyes, and they were quickly replaced by more.  ...Even if it all had been fake, she wished...  She wished in spite of herself that it could have lasted for just a little longer.  She would never want to hurt Alki, to keep her somewhere she was unhappy, but...  She would miss the little Igglybuff.

Alki leaned against one of Darcy's front legs, the Igglybuff's weight feeling gentle and soft against her fur in spite of the night's events.  It made her tremble harder.  It took all of the self control in her body to keep herself from breaking down in sobs, or to turn around and run away, or anything at all that might alleviate even a little bit of the regret forcefully welling up inside of her.  ...But...  Alki didn't deserve that.  She didn't deserve to feel guilty just for telling the truth.  She didn't...

Darcy shut her eyes as Alki began talking.  Her gentle, comforting voice was almost unbearable as she explained that she was grateful to have someone that was so worried about her...  And as she placed her hands on the Skitty's paw while explaining her true reasons for coming here.  ...She had wanted to postpone this conversation.  Silently, Darcy began crying in earnest.  Her breathing was shallow and no matter how many times she blinked her eyes she couldn't get her vision to clear up through all of her tears.  She nearly fell to pieces in anticipation of what was to come next.  The moment seemed to drag on endlessly.

...But at last, before her regret and grief and guilt could overwhelm her, Alki did something unexpected.  She...  Instead of turning away, she came closer, giving the Skitty's foreleg a tight hug...

Darcy looked at Alki for the first time in a while.  Her eyes widened, her breathing was shallow, and she felt dizzy.  What was the Igglybuff doing?  C-couldn't she just let things go?  The sympathy that the Skitty was being shown felt torturous.  It wasn't something she deserved...

...Although...  Deep in her heart, she still harbored hopes that it was genuine.  That Alki really did care.

...And every word that Igglybuff spoke next made those hopes grow stronger.  Instantly, powerfully stronger, overwhelming all of her fears and resignation until her heart was full of nothing else.  "D-do you really mean that..?" Darcy squeaked.  But...  As she noticed the tears forming in Alki's eyes as she hugged her leg tighter...

...She knew Alki was being honest.  Against all odds, all evidence to the contrary, and all of the mistakes Darcy had made...  Alki...  Alki still loved her.

Darcy let out a half laugh, half sob and shook her head.  "Y-you mean the world to me too, Alki," she said right away.  "M-maybe you don't realize it.  But...  Y-you're the best friend I've ever had.  You gave me a place in the world too."

She gently pushed Alki away and settled prone on the ground so that she could look into Alki's eyes, the Skitty wearing a smile in spite of the tears staining her cheeks.  "I-I don't like to talk about it very much.  B-but...  You know...  Ever since I left home and joined the guild, I've been really, really scared.  Scared that I would do a bad job, and that I wouldn't fit in.  B-but..."

She looked down, perhaps a little shyly.  "W-when I'm with you, I don't feel that way anymore.  W-when I know that there's someone around that I care about, and that cares about me too...  It doesn't feel scary.  It feels...  I-it feels like a second home.

"I never thought I'd ever feel that way without my family around.  But you're my teammate, and...  I-I feel like I belong in Grassveil Town now, thanks to you.  I-it's a gift that I don't think I could ever thank you enough for."


She looked up again, and fidgeted with her paws for a moment.  Eventually, even though both of them were mud-caked and filthy, Darcy gave Alki a clumsy hug with her forepaws.  "I-I know that we haven't been friends for very long.  That's why I was so scared that...  That I had been mean by wanting to be together so much, and by following you here.  But... I-I really do love you.  I would be honored if I could be your big sister."

She stayed there for a long time, breathing deeply, letting the sensation of relief and peace flow through her and replace the maelstrom of other feelings that had been tormenting her for so long.  ...Alki was a wonderful Pokemon.  She could never have asked for a better teammate.

But the moment couldn't last forever.  Gradually, Darcy became aware of the Croagunk, still present a couple of meters away, but making a point of ignoring them both.  He clearly hadn't signed up for this.  In spite of everything she had been through, Darcy couldn't help but laugh a little bit.  "U-ummm...  My name is Darcy, if you didn't catch it earlier..." the Skitty said as she stood to her feet and took one or two paces towards him.  "I-I'm sorry again about barging in and throwing out accusations like that.  I was just...  Scared, I think.  It sounds like you were actually keeping an eye on her,  so...  W-well, um...  T-thank you."  She still couldn't stop smiling, but she felt herself blushing somewhat.  In hindsight, she had made quite a display of things, hadn't she.  She hoped that her apology would be enough.

But in any case, she turned to face her friend and teammate once again.  "Umm...  Alki...  Did you, plan on staying with him tonight..?" she asked.  "I have to go home and tell my sister that everything's okay.  B-but, well.  If you two know each other, and you feel safe, then I'll trust you if you want to stay with him.  He was right.  I'm not your boss, and I don't want to keep you away from your other friends."

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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:07 am

The Igglybuff listened as the trembling, crying Skitty spilled her heart out to Alki. And in a way, the words the Skitty was saying helped her too. She knew she mattered to Darcy, at least a little. Otherwise, she wouldn't take the time to teach her to read, to teach her anything, really. But to this extent? Alki never knew that anybody cared about her this much. But Darcy was sincere about this; she knew this, in spite of the waterfall of tears, or perhaps because of them.

As Darcy's speech wound down, and she stood up to say something to the Croagunk… No, apologize to the Croagunk, Alki yawned. The tenseness had drained her of any energy she might have had before hand. Perhaps it was time for her to sleep; judging from the moon in the sky, it was far later than her usual bed time at the guild. She didn't really mind though, in fact, given time, maybe she'd be able to get used to being up so late.

But not now. She smiled as Darcy turned back to ask whether she -- Alki -- wanted Darcy to stay. Alki nodded. “Y-Yeah, um… usually, I'd say we should probably head home, but… well. He promised me he'd help me, help me be stronger! She began to explain. It wasn't every day an opportunity like this came along: an opportunity to make her miserable self just a tad bit better, but here it was, handed to her on a silver platter.

“He said we'd train a bit in the morning… after that, I could head over to your sister's house, and then head home? Or… maybe you should stay. It's dark… more ferals, right? She mumbled, the thought coming back to her. It wouldn't be safe for either of them, to go out there. “I-If you'd be ok with her staying, that is, Goro…” She said, turning back to look at the annoyed Croagunk, the coy smile returning to her.

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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:07 am

To say that Goro felt uncomfortable was... an understatement. He heard the conversation behind him more than saw it, having turned away from the two Normal-types, eager to let them sort out their issues now that it was established that Darcy was someone Alki knew. For his part, the Croagunk was largely indifferent to the exchange, as long as Aki was willing with whatever solution the Kitten Pokémon put forward. But the sound of sniffling and snorting, short little gasps and tired little moans told the story well enough; One of them was actually crying. His shoulders hunched up defensively, arms crossing in a little show of unease, wary around the emotionally raw Pokémon behind him. God, he hoped it wasn't Alki sobbing- he didn't care for the furball, really, as long as she didn't look so pathetic.

But if it was Alki, he wouldn't know what to do. He could give the pussycat the boot easily enough, but it was well established that the Igglybuff was too... bouncy. Pink. Fluffy. Young. Whatever it took to justify it, he wasn't about to turn her loose in Cattail Marsh, and he had no other alternative with dealing with a crying girl. By the legendaries, it seemed so complicated. All he did was get a little heated with the kitten, and she took once glance at Alki behind him and broke down into waterworks. Fighting was so much simpler than this. What was so hard to process about socking your problems in the face? At least that way, he knew why they were crying. It was because he just gave them a bloody nose, not-- not because their feelings were hurt!

The Croagunk tensed up further when Darcy veritably broke down in front of the Igglybuff behind him, confessing feelings of friendship and sisterhood and homeliness and... a lot of other complicated stuff. His belly was turning over inside, twisting into knots as he heard her words, unwilling and unable to proccess what it meant. Goro knew that's how most families felt for one another, but to hear them say it like that, out loud and in the presence of a stranger, no less. It was more than his family ever did, and he knew those feelings were never there in the begin with. Or, perhaps, he was too dull to notice them, in the first place. Either way, he knew enough that he thought Alki should feel grateful for what she had; It seemed she was rich in the way of family, in a way that Goro wasn't. At least, not anymore.

The words died down, both Pokémon growing quiet behind him, obviously sharing a moment of bonding together. He was tempted to look behind him, but a part of him never wanted to see something like that and not be able to have it for himself. He didn't need family, anymore. No point in gawking at what other people had. His breathing was quiet and raw, arms wound tight across each other, shoulders hunched up as high as they would rise, the Croagunk the picture of discontent and tenseness. A part of him dimly realised how vulnerable he seemed, but it seemed a whisper among the chorus of screams in his rejection of these feelings.

Eventually, he heard the queerest little giggle behind him, followed by words from the hairball. Darcy, huh. He hadn't caught her name, actually, being too high-strung and furious from before, whatever Alki having said washing right over him in his state of duress. He turned slowly, taking in the Skitty pacing towards him, pausing a safe distance away. Goro listened quietly and dutifully, a certain amount of rigidness in his posture, not completely willing to settle down after having to pacify his fists. Of course, there was no chance of him throwing punches now, but he was worked up regardless. His poisonous fingers itched as his arms were crossed, clenching his biceps painfully.

"Keep yer worries and yer thank-yous, pussycat." He sneered disdainfully at her, his tone contemptuous and rude, still emotionally raw after the confrontation and having to listen to them hash out their feelings. His eyes shifted, training themselves on Alki as she yawned cutely in the distance, after comforting her friend. Brat. "I ain't so far gone that I'm gonna turn some kid loose in a mystery dungeon after she shows up on my doorstep."

As stiff as he was, he managed to tense up further when Alki turned right back on her friend, confessing about how he mentioned-- mentioned, dammit, not promised! -- that he'd help her train. As excited as she was about it, he couldn't really grow angry at the picture of her looking up at her friend, as if she was spilling a grand secret. His jaw dropped as the Igglybuff rounded on him with that same simpering, bashful little smile she used to pry training out of him with, asking if her and her friend could stay the night of all things. He was silent for a moment, jaw working listlessly, unable to say no outright. What the fuck was he supposed to do? Tell her no?

"Fine. S'probably dark enough that you morons would get lost on yer way back, either way. But I ain't got much room, so... I'll take a blanket and snooze out by the fire, I guess. Feral around here are smart enough by now to leave me alone, so y'all can take the shack. Should be snug. There's some stuff I should probably do 'fore I turn in for the night, anyways." The Croagunk sighed morosely, tearing his eyes away from the sickly sweet Fairy-type Pokémon in front of him, stubbornly staring at the ground. He'd learned his lesson. No more staring at that cute little face-- she knew how to use it.

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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:54 pm

The Croagunk turned to face Darcy, sneering down at her and barking a response to her apology with just as much venom as before.  But all that the Skitty could do this time was tilt her head sheepishly and try not to smile too widely.  She couldn't bear any hard feelings towards him.  She really was grateful that he'd taken Alki in for the evening.  Who knew what might have happened otherwise...

And Alki seemed fond of him too, in spite of his temper.  Darcy's ears perked up as the Igglybuff mentioned that he'd promised to help her train.  The Skitty wagged her tail a little.  Even if it made her feel somewhat worried and self conscious, she didn't want do drag Alki away from a chance like that.  If there was one thing that she couldn't help Alki with...  Well, it was fighting.

...She hoped he would be gentle about it though.  What kind of training did he have in mind?  Sparring?  Pokemon at the guild did that all the time, but maybe it was too soon for Alki to try anything so harsh.  The Skitty was about to speak up and ask what Goro was planning, but before she could, Alki proposed a solution.  She asked if it would be alright for Darcy to stay the night as well...

And in spite of herself, she couldn't help but smile as she saw his reaction.  Alki's words had surprised them both, but Goro even more so, judging by the way his jaw dropped.  But perhaps even more surprising was that he accepted, after some thought, even if he didn't seem too happy about it.  "T-thank you.  That'd be wonderful," Darcy said, sitting down and sighing heavily.  Without the urge to find Alki pushing her forward, she became keenly aware of just how exhausted she felt.  "A-and you're probably right.  I got a little turned around on my way here.  Waiting until tomorrow sounds like a good idea."

She turned her head and took a good look at the shack for the first time.  It had clearly been in bad shape when she had first laid eyes on it, but now that she looked more closely it seemed even more dilapidated than she had thought.  Still, it was kind of the Croagunk to let two complete strangers stay in his own home, especially if it meant that he would have to sleep outside.  ...He seemed like a good Pokemon.

Darcy wanted to offer to sleep outside instead, since she felt like the biggest intruder here.  But if the other Pokemon in this dungeon really might decide to attack her...  Well, maybe there was some wisdom in keeping herself and Alki hidden.  ...And besides, she didn't want to leave Alki's side tonight if she didn't have to.  "Ready to go?  You're probably tired.  Our bedtime at the guild was a long time ago..." she murmured to Alki with a tiny smile as she stood to her feet.  She affectionately brushed the tip of her tail against the Igglybuff's back, still overflowing with gratitude towards the Pokemon she was with.

The Croagunk included, very much so.  "U-um, what do you need to do before going to sleep?  Is it anything we can help with..?" she called to him.  "A-and what's your name, by the way?  I'd like to know, if, um, you're okay with sharing."

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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:35 am

Alki’s bashful smile remained plastered onto her face long after the Croagunk had acknowledged her. There was nothing about him that seemed annoyed or tense; he was definitely, without-a-doubt, very annoyed. And yet, he was still willing to accept her, and more importantly, he was still willing to accept Darcy into their home. She yawned again, feelings of gratitude and ecstasy flowing through her. When she'd found this little run-down hut in the middle of a mystery dungeon, she definitely didn't expect for her stay there to turn out like this !

    But it had. She'd met a new friend, and she'd managed to keep an old friend. She'd received advice and knowledge that she didn't think she'd have found anywhere else, and most importantly, her old feelings of self-hate and permanent dissatisfaction seemed to be, well, at least partially gone. She was a far cry away from perfect , that was for sure; but if the friends she'd made since leaving the small pond, if Yooka or Darcy or Yigo or now, Goro, had taught her anything, it was that she was a far cry from the horrible Pokemon she'd ​thought she was too.

     She'd have to work hard, certainly. To be better, to always improve, to keep her friends and to make new ones. But knowing that, no matter what happened, she'd always have someone in her corner? That was a heavy burden she would no longer have to deal with.

   The comforting feeling of Darcy’s tail lightly brushing her back brought her back to this reality. She uttered a  soft, tired “Huh?” before looking around with bleary eyes, first at the Skitty, then at Goro. “Y-Yeah, bedtime… t-that sounds nice. I’m… honestly, I'm really tired… just… gimme a second.” she murmured softly, the Igglybuff already half-asleep. She looked up at the almost-full Moon in the sky above her. She wondered what time it was. One? Two? Maybe it was later, or perhaps earlier? She yawned again. How was she supposed to know? And honestly, at that moment, she had difficulty caring too. She bounced slowly towards Goro, intending to speak to him one final time before falling asleep.

   But once there, she was at a loss regarding what to say. She'd never been great at talking to friends like this. Perhaps that was because, until recently, friends were a rarity for her? She'd been around Darcy for quite a while now, and there was a rather big difference between comforting someone, and thanking them. Whatever the case, she wanted to make an effort for Goro.   “Erm… W-well, first off… Sorry I went into your house… that was hardly the proper way for us to meet, but… you were awfully nice to me, considering that. And then… y’know, you gave me advice and tips and help that… well, that no one had given me before. My parents…

  She paused, hesitating. Should she share that with him? He was a friend, but she hadn't known him long at all. On the other hand… what was a friendship without trust? She nodded ever so slightly, steeling herself. “W-Well, my parents never cared much for me, I guess. They didn't really like me, and that meant I never really… well, they never really helped me with anything. I ended up running away a while ago, and… I found myself at the guild not too long ago. Sorry for rambling. But… my point is, Darcy was the first person to really bother to care for me, and give me advice. And I believed that was just a fluke, that there was bound to be someone in the world to take pity on me. But now… now you're the second Pokemon to do that for me, care for me, and give me advice and help me, and now I know that's not a fluke and…”


    She paused again, both for breath and to recollect herself. She was blushing, rather strongly too. She brought a hand to her eye, and was relieved to find that at least she wasn't crying. She took a shaky breath before finishing her unnecessarily-long speech. “and I'm ​really, really grateful for that. More than you know. She hesitated again, before giving him a quick hug. She paused for a second, before looking up at him, wide-eyed. Oh, that wasn't such a good idea, was it? She withdrew from the hug as quickly as she'd started it. “G-good night!” She managed to squeak, bouncing towards the bed as quickly as she could. She'd gone and made a fool of herself! That wasn't necessary at all… even if she had meant those words. She lay down on the bed and closed her eyes, hoping for sleep to take her before her silly speech brought her any consequences. Soon enough, sleep was successful.

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Last edited by Mada on Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:53 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : I didn't copy paste everything from my doc. This post lacked rolls so I hope that's ok.)
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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:32 am

The Skitty's words of thanks sparked a thrum of annoyance in the Croagunk, his lip curling in an obvious tell of irritation. Did she not listen when he said not thank him? Despite how he treated her, despite how he treated both of them, really, the two girls were vexingly soft-spoken with him, treating him almost like a friend. And that was something that he'd never really had, traveling so much during his childhood, drifting from seedy town to seedy town while his parents looked for less than legitimate work. It certainly wasn't something he was keen on experiencing. Goro took in the interaction between Darcy and Alki with a sour face, his fists curling tightly against his crossed arms while the Kitten Pokémon brushed her tail up against the Igglybuff, the affection and tenderness emanating from the Normal-type almost palpable in the air. How much more disgustingly sweet could these two get? Why not just hold hands and skip on to bed together, at this rate?

The Croagunk had been actively looking for a scrap when the day began, even before he first started tailing Alki back to his little shack. He'd been eager for a fight since the start of the day, and once the Skitty had nearly snuck on him, he thought he might have had one on his hands. When she snuck around his shack, he was expecting anything but the little Igglybuff's friend, or big sister, or whatever they were to each other. He'd hoped for something that he could take his frustrations on. But instead, the fighting-type was forced to still his fists, and his blood was still hot in his veins, his heartbeat still thudding in his ears, yearning for some kind of violence. One thing was for sure; he couldn't practice with Alki in the morning, like this. He had control enough not to hurt her, but he didn't want to snap at her or be too harsh during the lesson. Or sparring session... or whatever the hell the Igglybuff asked for. The long night was certainly wearing on him at this point.

"I'm Goro. And it ain't somethin' ya want to help me with - I'll be done in a jiffy. You'll catch me snoozin' right outside the shack in the mornin', promise." Truth be told, he was just ready to throw his hands up in the air and go find a Goomy or a Poliwag to beat on, at this point. While the girls went to bed, he could take an hour or two to hunt down some unlucky feral Pokémon and work the fever out of his system, and when morning came around he'd be much more equipped to handle Alki and her helicopter big sister, while she wrung whatever practice or advice she wanted from him. Speaking of the little brat...

His eyes trained themselves on the minuscule Igglybuff as a mighty yawn rocked her frame, just before she bounded forward to him, a look of tired resolution marring her features. It'd be cute if he wasn't suddenly wary of what she was about to ask for this time around. He waited with bated breath as the Balloon Pokémon gathered herself in front of him, trying to find the words to speak. What followed was perhaps the last thing he expected from her, at this point - apologies, thank-yous, a long-winded explanation as to why she was here, how she got here, and everything he didn't want to know about her. No, he didn't need to know that the cute little girl in front of him had a pair of shit parents, and he didn't need to know that she ran away from such a shit situation. He especially didn't want to think about how long she must have been on her own before she ended up at this guild, and the last thing he wanted was to experience feelings while she thanked him for not running her off and spouting off a few words of advice.

The Croagunk was veritably speechless, tense and motionless as the younger Pokémon actually wrapped her dainty little arms around him in a razor-quick hug. It felt like ants were crawling around on his stomach, a dumbfounded silence emanating from the Croagunk, Alki abandoning the contact almost as quick as she made it, squeaking off a bashful goodnight before bounding away to bed. His mind was blank and panicking, just before a crystal clear thought pierced through his befuddled mind. That was the first time someone hugged me. He glanced down at where Alki just was, where her little arms had wrapped around him before another thought surfaced. What the fuck is wrong with that brat.

His eyes tracked her as she bounced away to his run-down hut, disappearing through the doorless entryway. As much as he wanted to snap at the fucking furball Skitty for losing this kid in the first place, he was mystified, utterly bewildered by the effect the Igglybuff just had on him. The dumbfounded silence quickly turned into an embarrassed one, a dark-blue flush rising all the way up the Croagunk's face as he realized the Skitty was still present. Goro rose a hand to his mouth, croaking roughly in an attempt to clear his throat before speaking. "You should, uh... it's late. You should go to bed. Don't-- uh, don't worry about any wild ones. I'll be out here."

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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:04 pm

"O-okay.  It's nice to meet you," Darcy said as Goro introduced himself, giving him a tiny smile.  She wondered briefly what he needed to do, and why he didn't want help, but before she could think too much about it, Alki spoke up.  As the little Igglybuff yawned and gazed up at the moon, asking for just a little more time, the Skitty smiled down at her and gave her a nod.  Slowly but resolutely, she bounced over to Goro's side, perhaps hoping to speak with him one last time before going to bed.

She began talking, in a hushed voice that Darcy couldn't quite hear over the gentle white noise of the marsh, soft wind rustling cattails and the distant trills of bug Pokemon.  The Skitty sat down while she waited, but her smile never disappeared from her face.  Something about the scene unfolding in front of her left the Skitty feeling deeply happy, like a fervently held wish was finally coming true.  ...Alki had come a long way since joining the guild.  Only a short time ago, she was so timid that even leaving their bedroom left her nervous and shaky.  But now here she was, brave enough to explore a mystery dungeon by herself, and to befriend a stranger as cold and hermetic as Goro...  The Skitty exhaled and gazed at the two of them fondly.  Alki had always deserved a chance to be happy, and well...  Perhaps, after leaving home, she had finally found such a thing...

Darcy's ears perked up as Alki made a sudden move, leaning forward and wrapping her tiny arms around Goro with a hug.  It was a short gesture, lasting only a moment before the Igglybuff stammered out a few last words before bouncing inside, but it left Darcy rooted in place with a surprised, toothy smile on her face.  Those two were certainly close!  She wondered how they had bonded so quickly, but, well...  As long as Alki was happy, it didn't matter too much.

She sat there for a moment, smiling and wagging her tail, feeling thoroughly at peace under the ethereal beauty of Cattail Marsh.  ...Until she noticed that the Croagunk was...  Blushing, a dark blue just barely visible in the light of the fireflies.  He glanced up at her and she quickly brought her tail to a stop and tried to hide how happy she was.  She found herself blushing somewhat as well as he tried to shoo her away, perhaps wanting some time to hisself.  

"O-okay.  I will soon.  But, ummm..." Darcy said.  She kneaded the ground with her paws for a moment, deep in thought, but eventually she stood to her feet and trotted closer to Goro's side.  "Umm...  If you ever want to, maybe...  Come visit us sometime, or send us a letter..." she said, coming to a stop and staring shyly at the ground.  "We live at the guild in Grassveil Town.  It's a little ways outside of the northern gate.  Y-you don't ever have to come if you don't want to, of course.  But...  I think Alki would like it."

She stood up suddenly, feeling that perhaps she had gone a little too far.  But it had been something she needed to say.  If those two were as close as they seemed...  She didn't want them to drift apart if they didn't want to.  "U-umm, goodnight, Goro!  Sweet dreams, okay?" she stammered quickly, giving him a bow before trotting off towards the hut.

She yawned quietly as she stepped inside, taking in her surroundings.  It was dark, but gaps in the roof allowed some light from the fireflies to shine through.  It was a small room, like Goro had said, and it was every bit as run-down as the outside...  But to her aching body, none of that mattered very much.  She was just grateful that Goro was such a kind Pokemon.  As delicately as she could manage, she stepped onto the straw bed, doing her very best not to awaken Alki...  She settled prone on the soft hay and closed her eyes, nestling into the bed and finally letting sleep overtake her...

And without quite realizing it, she gently wrapped her fluffy tail around the sleeping Igglybuff, holding her close and safe as they drifted off to sleep.

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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:35 am

Alki had never been a particularly early riser, but that day seemed to be an exception. She awoke to the sounds of silence, the stillness of the marsh. She felt the familiar brush of the Skitty’s soft, albeit dirty tail on her back. They were both dirty. They were in the marshland though, could that really be helped? When she turned around, she saw the Skitty, still there, still sleeping, and she smiled. It wasn't usual for Alki to wake earlier than Darcy, but today, that had been the case. She was excited for the lesson later. She'd learn to be a better guild member, more skilled and stronger, and if she didn't do too miserably, maybe she'd even get to impress Darcy!

Alki rose up from the bed noiselessly, careful to not awaken her friend still sleeping next to her. But now that she was up, the one-sided exchange she'd had with Goro came back to hit her like a rock dropped on her head. Alki hadn’t had any reason to go on like that, giving him a speech about her gratefulness, let alone her life story. Still, when she thought about it, whether she'd had a reason or not, she'd gone and done it anyways. It was pointless to try and hide from it. With any luck, Goro just wouldn't care.

She bounced outside, all the while careful to not make a single noise. Slow, low bounces ensured that neither the Skitty nor the Croagunk would wake up. It wasn't usual for Alki to be the first one awake, and if it had happened to her, by some miracle, then by Arceus, she'd enjoy that morning time she'd woken up early for!

The cool, morning air greeted her, as did the still, drab landscape of the marsh. Alki sat down on porch, staring off into the distance. The bug Pokemon had put on such a beautiful light show, like mini-stars, or floating fires, but now that they were gone, the marsh was back to being disgustingly wet and stinky and gross.

Ew.

The Igglybuff gagged in disgust. Why anyone would make their home here was beyond her understanding. Sure, it was solitary and quiet and peaceful, to a degree. But it wasn't exactly pretty, and there were a lot of beautiful places that offered the isolated atmosphere of the marsh, but it also wasn't a smelly, wet, stinkhole. Then again, who was she to judge? Maybe she was just wired differently.

Alki’s thoughts began to stray back to her request for training and lessons. She wondered what she'd be taught. At least she knew it'd be useful. After all, she lacked even a single clue about battle. No knowledge would be old knowledge for her, and she had so much to gain and so much to learn! The excitement was too much for her! She began to giggle, before reviewing the moves she knew to herself. She began to form a small, protective screen around herself, on and off and on and off, defense curl, before moving onto her next move: Flamethrower. She'd only recently learned it the move, and she’d still barely learned how to actually use it or control it. It was rather simple, really. She didn't breathe out air, instead, she could breathe out fire! Like those dragon type Pokemon Goro had talked about the day before. The only difference was that Alki was much smaller, a lot less intimidating, and leagues less powerful. She blew out a small stream of fire, and off it went, in a jet much further away than she'd meant for it to go. She tried again, weaker this time, but now the stream of fire barely travelled any distance after leaving her mouth. She sighed. “I'll get the hang of it at some point…”

And finally, Sing. She was thankful everyone was already sleeping, otherwise, the move might be more than a bit annoying for them. She began to sing a lullaby, very softly to herself. If only it could make her fall asleep too. Some nights, she'd certainly like the easier method of sleeping. She stopped singing, bouncing up eagerly. She could hardly wait anymore! She went off in search of Goro, and quickly located him sleeping right outside the shack. She approached him nervously. Hopefully he wouldn't be annoyed with her after her speech yesterday… “Hey, Goro! S-Sorry… sorry to wake you, but… it's morning! And, well… I was hoping we could train a bit? She said. Without waiting for an answer, she went inside and called for her sister. “D-Darcy! Wake up!” She called out loudly.

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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:20 am

Goro jolted forward at Alki's voice, jerking out of his dozing state. He'd been laid up against the front of his shack, his head resting against the rotting wood frame while he laid on the muddy ground, sleeping fitfully for what time he could. Immediately, he sat upward, head swinging forward groggily as the Poison-type tried to gain his bearings. The Igglybuff's voice startled him something fierce, as Goro was half on his feet before he caught a glimpse of his guest, turning right around back to where she came from. He stared at the back of the Balloon Pokémon for a long moment, her identity and reason for being on his non-existent porch escaping him momentarily. What the fuck?

The Croagunk stood shakily, turning his head to take in the scene. He was in front of his house, it seemed, having slept outside for... some reason. The soggy marshlands greeted him, looking just as disgusting and inhospitable as they always did. He was fortunate enough, he supposed, that he found the shack in such an area. There was actually ten to fifteen yards of dry-ish land stretching forward in front of his shack before it dipped down into shallow, murky waters that the rest of the swamp looked like. I 'spose that's why someone stuck a shed here, though. He scanned his front yard wearily, taking in the remains of the long abandoned campfire, now a pile of ash and half-burnt wood. That was-- that was him, he remembered. He built it yesterday... after he found a kid in his house.

The Croagunk turned back to his guest, taking in the sight of her bouncing quietly into his shack before waking her companion rather loudly. Alki, he remembered her name being. She was a member of the Guild in Grassveil, and had gotten lost in the Cattail Marsh after a particularly rough day. Goro still wasn't sure why the hell she'd chosen the mystery dungeon as a place to escape to, but she was fortunate enough that she wandered into his territory and found his house before too long. An absent croak escaped him as he recalled tailing her to his home, the Igglybuff bouncing right into his house for a nap as if she owned the place. And then her sissy showed up. I 'member now.

The kid was young. Very young. Young enough that while she was a Guild member, she hadn't been at his place for longer than a few hours before another Pokémon tracked her down, looking for the Normal-fairy hybrid frantically. He remembered Darcy, too, the Kitten Pokémon who damn near snuck up on him while he was about to go to sleep. She hadn't just frightened him, but she'd gotten right in his face, misinterpreting the situation and accusing him of kidnapping, of all things. The situation had been resolved, sure, but Goro remembered feeling furious and on edge even after that, fists itching for something to beat on for the rest of the night. He didn't want to recall the words Alki spoke to him, and the hug she gave him afterward. Little brat.

It wasn't until he registered Alki's voice loudly waking up her friend that he processed the words she spoke to him; he wasn't even awake yet and the little shit was looking to cash in on the training session he promised. He supposed he had gotten ahead of himself last night, giving the younger Pokémon a lecture about typing and battles and specialties and everything in between. What the hell had gotten into him?

Goro heaved a mighty sigh as he recalled the events of the previous night, arcing his back to illicit a series of grotesque pops and cracks. For his part, he largely ignored Alki as she was preoccupied with her friend, focusing on himself for a few moments. He was still very groggy and hadn't gotten much rest, in the end; the Croagunk didn't immediately go to bed, instead wandering the swamps for an hour or two in search of some stress-relief. The Croagunk stretched languidly and minutely, bringing both arms across his chest before meandering forward toward the shallow waters at the edge of his metaphorical front-yard. He needed to wash his face and be awake for a moment before this kid was gonna order him around all willy-nilly...

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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:27 pm

Darcy slept well that night.  Her rest was long and dreamless, the kind that often follows a busy and exhausting day, but it was permeated with a peace and contentment that the Skitty could only remember feeling in her bed back at home, surrounded by family...

And so a smile was still on her face when a familiar voice roused her from her sleep, rather soft and gentle in spite of its efforts to be loud.  It was Alki's voice, of course.  The Skitty blinked her eyes open and saw the inside of Goro's shack, lit with beams of sunlight pouring through the patchwork roof.  Memories of last night came flooding back to her...  Her hours-long slog through the marshland, her encounter with Alki's scary Croagunk friend...  And of course, the words that she and Alki had shared together.  Words that Darcy didn't think she would forget anytime soon.

"Good morning, Alki," Darcy said with a yawn, regarding her closest friend with a warm smile while she stood to her feet and stretched out her body.  She was still sore from her trip here, even after resting so well.  And head to toe, her fur was still matted and filthy.  She wished she could find some clean water and groom herself, but...  Being with Alki made those worries feel unimportant.  She had wanted to stay here for a while longer, right?  To receive fighting lessons from Goro?  The thought filled Darcy with a sudden rush of excitement.  She hoped she could pick up a thing or two from Goro as well.  Everyone at the guild surely knew she could use the help...  

She cheerfully trotted over to the doorway, ready to join Alki outside.  "You look like you're in a good mood!" she said with a small giggle as she paused in front of the Igglybuff, swishing her tail back and forth happily.  "I'm usually the one to wake you up, aren't I.  Are you excited?"

She let her gaze drift outside, taking in the swampy area surrounding Goro's house.  She barely recognized it in the light of day.  Last night it had seemed so shadowy and foreboding, but now...  It was still murky and mazelike, but it seemed so much less scary.  Wet and dirty, perhaps, but some Pokemon probably liked it that way.

Her gaze drifted a little longer before coming to rest on Goro, his back turned to the two of them as he crouched in front of the water flowing a dozen or so yards from his house.  The Skitty's tail wagged some more as she spotted their host.  They had gotten off on the wrong foot last night, but he had proven to be a kind Pokemon in the end, generous enough to let them stay in his house...  Maybe there was something she could do to repay him?

She hopped from the porch down to the slightly damp ground and cantered towards the Croagunk, humming softly to herself the whole time, eventually taking a seat right beside him at the edge of the water.  "Good morning Goro!" she said, her fur almost brushing against his side as she leaned forward to get a look at his face.  "Ummm, did you sleep alright, outside of your bed?  If you're still tired, you can go in and have a nap.  Alki and I could sing you to sleep!  We're good at that!"

She leaned back and gave Alki a smile, welcoming her to come join them both.  "And are you hungry?  Um, it isn't very much, but I brought some nuts and dried fruit with me from Grassveil Town.  I think I have enough left for all of us.  We'll need lots of energy if you're going to show us how to fight, right?"

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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:24 am

Alki grinned, looking up at Darcy. She didn't know the half of it! She mumbled a quick good morning, before beginning to talk about what was to come. “Yeah, Darcy! I am! I told you, when Morty joined and things… uh, things calmed down, I told you! I'd work harder and get smarter and stronger and I'm gonna get to start doing that today! She exclaimed, breathless by the end of her explanation. She hadn't noticed she'd started to bounce in place, and she most certainly didn't know how shiny and excited her eyes had gotten at the mere prospect of impressing Darcy. “I'll be the best teammate you could ever ask for!”

   Alki bounced along, a bit behind Darcy as they began to move. A wide smile had rooted itself on her face, and it would prove to be quite difficult to wipe away. She couldn't wait to impress them! Now that she thought about it, Darcy didn't know about the new move she'd learned. She didn't know about either of the new moves she'd learnt. She'd tell her, then! Better late than never!  Although… she'd just started to talk with Goro, and Alki, lost in her thoughts, had no clue what they were talking about. She began to sing a song softly to herself, although it was a bit louder than she intended it to be. All the while, she looked at the Croagunk and Skitty, waiting for her to be invited to join the conversation.

And that invitation came in the form of a smile. At least, the Igglybuff certainly hoped so, because after the Skitty had sent a smile her way, the child slowly bounced up towards the two older Pokemon, and waited for anything she could provide input on. And what they happened to be talking about was singing! “Oh yeah, Goro! If you're still tired, we could sing you to sleep! I'm good at singing, you know! It's one of the few things I'm good at. Like, actually good at… then again, my species is naturally good at singing, so… I'm not that special, huh.” She paused, searching for the proper words to say next. That hadn't been very happy of her, had it? She began to blush, a small, nervous smile talking the place of her wide grin. “S-Sorry… optimism isn't my strong suit, and… well, I'm not used to being happy, I guess.”

Alki looked up at the cloudy sky, the blushing of her cheeks only intensifying. It would probably be for the best if she just let Darcy talk. She searched for anything at all to distract herself from her words, and focused again on the clouds in the sky. They'd been there for quite a while. Come to think of it, they'd been there… at least since she'd come to Grassveil, although she could recall the sky being cloudy during her time at the pond. At least a few months straight of just clouds… why was that?

She groaned, frustrated at the lack of progress. Why couldn't they just go? Alki paused, scuffing at the dirty ground with her foot. She didn't want to be rude to the Pokemon who'd helped her so much. Despite her quiet, almost inaudible apology, the Igglybuff was still, rather clearly impatient.

“G-Guys, I… Uh, erm… I know! I learned… learned a new move, recently! A couple, actually but… I can't really show the other one, but… um, I'll show you the first one!” She exclaimed, eager to redirect the conversation back to the subject of battles and fighting. The Igglybuff turned away from the group, and began to breathe out a small stream of fire. It was so pretty! Albeit, also rather draining… she grinned, the orange flames giving her confidence. The fire was directed towards the water, almost completely opposite of the rotting, wooden shack. It certainly wouldn't do to burn her friend's house down. She turned back towards the two Pokemon, smiling, and looking up at them eagerly, almost expectantly. “So what did you two think? Pretty cool, right!?

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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:40 pm

Sluggishly, Goro dipped his hands in the murky-brown swamp water before jerking them backward, splashing the dirty, lukewarm water onto his face harshly. His face pinched sourly at the sensation, but he repeated the motion several more times, washing whatever dried muck and mud remained on him from the previous day and night. While he hadn't found anything worth fighting in the past few days, even just traveling his mystery dungeon tended to leave someone caked in filth. He didn't mind it, personally, since it had the benefit of masking his scent from anything that could pick it up, and he was never afraid of getting dirty. His leathery skin was easy to clean, to boot, as after only a few rinsings Goro found himself relatively spotless, if a little ripe, from the dirty swamp water. It probably wasn't the smartest thing to clean up before he caved in and did whatever Alki wanted him to do since it was possible she'd drag his ass off to fight whatever wild Pokémon struck her fancy, but the rinsing did serve to wake him up a little bit. It had been truly peaceful around his territory the past few days, but not exactly quiet.

Case in point, Goro thought, his ears picking up the sound of Alki's friend humming while she padded around behind him. The tune was light and jovial, carrying through the area easily amidst the natural sounds of the marsh, distant splashes and buzzing of the various insects hovering nearby. Whatever leftover feeling of annoyance he had at the Skitty surfaced again as he realized she was a morning person. Legendaries save him. Alki seemed bad enough, so far, bouncing from the Croagunk to the Skitty, waking everyone up in her excitement for the day, but if he had to tolerate jolly singing and dancing at the same time, he might just go crazy.

Thankfully, it stopped when the Kitten Pokémon came to a stop beside him, sitting alarmingly close to the Poison-type, her fur only a hair's breadth away from touching his side, chirping a loud good morning in greeting. He was aware of her in his peripheral, the feline peering forward curiously to get a good look at his face for whatever reason. He'd thought they'd seen enough of each other last night, but apparently, she'd missed something, or she was trying to figure out why the hell Alki was befriending him. If she finds out, I hope she fuckin' tells me why. Crazy brat.

"Mornin'," His reply was curt, only barely polite, not even glancing at the friendly Skitty next to him. For his part, Goro busied himself with digging between his eyes, trying to rub away the morning fatigue. He wasn't tired, exactly - more like restless. As much as he appreciated the solitude and peace that his life in the Marsh brought, the lack of anything to really do did wear on him. Aside from training and fighting whatever wild Pokémon he happened upon, Goro didn't do much these days, and while he was fine with that, it did leave him feeling a bit fidgety when he was unable to find a feral to occupy himself with. Fortunately (or, perhaps, unfortunately) he could focus on playing host, or teacher, or trainer, or whatever the hell Alki persuaded him to do for now. It'd be something to do, at any rate. "I slept good. Breakfast sounds nice, though."

He jolted, despite himself, when he heard Alki's voice chirp from behind him. The energetic Fairy-type had offered to sing him to sleep, of all things, in her excitement. He was less interested in the offer than he was in how she was so happy this early. He raised his gaze to take in the Marsh as Alki twittered on, eyes searching for the sun's position in the sky, but still found it blocked by the perpetual cloudy skies. He supposed he couldn't be too surprised, as the weather hadn't really changed for some time now, but it sure would be helpful to know the time of day around here. It was likely mid or late morning, at any rate.

He frowned as Alki trailed off with a pessimistic comment, the Igglybuff apparently not used to being so happy. He knew she must have drawn a bad hand, if she was escaping from her problems by running to mystery dungeons, of all places, but at least she was making an effort. He didn't say anything in response, as that last thing he would want in her situation was pity or false sympathy. She'll be alright. Got herself a sissy an' everythin'.

His eyes widened when the Balloon Pokémon spewed forth a small stream of flames over the waters, eager to show her friend the new move she learned. It wasn't but last night that he'd mentioned that Normal-types were the jack of all trades when it came to Pokémon types, able to learn a little bit of everything, but it seemed she knew a little bit about that already. Obviously, her fire attack wouldn't be as powerful as a Fire-type's, but it was still, well, fire. Against an Ice or Grass-type Pokémon, she'd have a powerful weapon to defend herself with. For the first time that morning, Goro's perpetual frown turned into a crooked grin at Alki's prowess. "That's a start, kiddo. Remind me not to mess with Igglybuffs, lest they decide they fancy frog legs.

"But let's not go too crazy. I dunno about you two, but I'm hankerin' for some grub. Practice after breakfast sounds good to me." At this, Goro glanced at the Skitty to his side. Honestly, he was looking forward to something, well, nutritious, rather than whatever he could scrounge up around the marsh lands. For the first time since she'd arrived, Goro felt a thrum of appreciation for the Kitten Pokémon at his side. Living on fish and old berries tended to get dull after a while, and the trek to Rainfront was a little bit too long to justify traveling to town for a bite to eat.

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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:57 pm

Alki's passionately excited mood was infectious.  Darcy couldn't help but feel a little euphoric as well.  It was wonderful to see her little sister so happy, not to mention deeply, deeply touching to hear how strongly she wanted to be a good teammate...  The Igglybuff trailed off after a little while, perhaps slipping into some old habits, but it still didn't banish the smile on her face...

Her excitement seemed to take precedence over eating breakfast, though, with her interjection about wanting to demonstrate her new skills.  "Sure, Alki," said, smiling and giving the Igglybuff a patient nod.  She didn't want to keep Goro waiting, but they weren't in a big hurry, right?  And she truly was curious about what kind of technique Alki had learned.  The Skitty reviewed the moves she knew Alki could use...  Sing, Heal Pulse, and Defense Curl.  Perhaps this would be something in a similar vein?  Something peaceful and defensive, like most of the Skitty's own moves.

So with those expectations in mind, her eyes widened and she stumbled back as Alki exhaled a steady stream of fire out over the water, a wave of heat quickly rushing over herself and Goro.  She sat there, stunned for a moment as Goro voiced his thoughts.

"A-Alki, that was incredible!" Darcy said, taking a few steps forward and gazing at her friend with wide, starry eyes.  Goro was right--they really ought to eat before any training.  She was feeling hungry too.  She forced herself to sit back down, but even so, she couldn't quite wipe the impressed smile off of her face.  "I had no idea you could learn fire moves.  That's really wonderful.  I know I can't do anything like that."

The thought made her shrink inward a bit as she looked down at the ground.  She was still smiling, but she flattened her ears against her skull, perhaps a little embarrassed.  She hoped she wouldn't be out of place during their training today.  She was proud of Alki, of course, but her own moves all felt so simple and childish in comparison to something like Flamethrower.  She knew that she wasn't the best team leader, but being presented with proof like this still made her feel shy.  Who knew?  Maybe Alki would be the one in charge, someday...

"Ummm...  Goro is right, though.  We should eat first," the Skitty said, ears perking up a little as she nosed her bag open and poked her head inside before emerging with a large basket in her mouth.  It had once been heavy, making it difficult to even lift her bag off of the ground, but now it was lighter than she would have liked...

"Here we go!  I know it isn't a lot, so I hope it's enough for everyone..." she said after putting it down and opening the lid.  She reached in and took a dried berry for herself with her mouth, staring up at the clouds and slowly swishing her tail back and forth as she chewed.  "So, ummm...  Mister Goro, what are our plans for today?" she asked after a while.  "I might not be able to keep up, but, ummm...  If you're going to teach Alki...  I would be happy if I could learn a few things too..."

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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:18 am

Alki looked up at her two friends, eyes sparkling with excitement, masking her exhaustion even after a mere demonstration. Still, she'd put a lot of effort into this target-less attack. She wanted to impress them, and it would seem that she'd accomplished that, as both of them were praising her! Goro was smiling, and Darcy seemed to be as excited as Alki was! Alki beamed proudly, relishing the sudden increase in warmth and heat. Fire had done a lot for her those couple of days. It kept her warm and danced for her, it put on such a pretty light-show, and now it was even helping her impress her friends! Alki felt a surge of gratitude towards the machine she'd learnt the move from.

   She kicked at the murky water, laughing softly. She'd never even gotten so much as a word of praise regarding her abilities before, and to suddenly have both of these Pokemon praising her felt no different than if Arceus himself had shown up and complimented her.

    “Sure, breakfast sounds good!” She said, more jovial than ever. The last time she'd felt this happy had been when she'd finished her first mission, and she'd gotten to play with Plusle and Minun. But even that felt different, it was plenty of fun, but she was celebrating then because she was thankful not to have failed too badly. Now though, she felt like celebrating because things were finally changing, and they were changing for the better. All of a sudden, the problem she'd run away from felt miniscule and insignificant.

   As Darcy opened a basket which contained the food, Alki bounced back and sat down, picking a berry out of the basket. She began to nibble on it, hoping the others would take more food for themselves. She was a bit hungry, but Goro didn't like going to Rainfront, so he must not get the chance to eat food like this very often, and Darcy had been traveling through the marsh for a long time, looking for her. They deserved it more.

   Alki looked sideways at the Skitty who'd just given her food. She'd been very eager to impress Darcy, and still felt giddy that she'd succeeded. At the same time, Alki hoped she hadn't overdone it. Darcy had told her before, that she believed she wasn't a very good team leader. Alki knew that if she were the team leader, and one of the Pokemon she was supposed to be leading went and performed a move she couldn't learn, well, she wouldn’t feel all too great.

“Darcy, it's… the food is really good. Uh. You're… I'm sure Skitty can learn moves like this too, like… erm, Skitty are… t-they’re normal t-types too… r-right?” Alki said, her attempt at cheering her friend up quickly turning to acute embarrassment as she realized she didn't know her friends typage. It wasn't like anyone had told her, and until recently, it wasn't like she could read it in a book or anything. Even knowing this, she felt more than a bit ashamed at her lack of knowledge she was clearly supposed to have. “A-A-Anyways, m-my point being… Y-You can learn pretty cool moves yourself, y’know? T-That’s… erm, yeah… She finished. Alki took a second berry, and began to chew on it rather hastily, eager to let the two other Pokemon talk about whatever they pleased. The Igglybuff was perfectly content to sit down, close her eyes, and eat the remainder of her breakfast peacefully, and much more important, silently.

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PostSubject: Re: Solitary Setbacks   Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:39 am

The ever-present frown on Goro's face abated, giving way to a rare peaceful smile as Darcy gushed over Alki's prowess happily, showering the Fairy-type in generous praise. It was good for her that she had such a supportive friend. He'd never had anything of the sort, and it looked like this was Alki's first time with a close friend in her life like this, as well. For not the first time, Goro felt a thrum of something run through him at the sight of the two girls interacting with each other, a palpable sense of closeness between them. It was still shaky, as they cast nervous, disbelieving glances at one another each time the other had something good to say, wearing giddy smiles every time conversation ran over smoothly, but it was fast-forming and he was sure they'd only grow closer and more comfortable with time.

He remembered the heart-to-heart conversation that the two Pokémon shared last night. It'd been tense and dramatic, the two Pokémon shouting at him, at one another, before the confessed their feelings for one another and broke down in emotional tears. He could barely stand to look at the pair of the two of them sobbing on one another -- and, in fact, he hadn't. He'd turned away as the spilled their hearts to one another and traded secret, comforting whispers. Whatever happened between the two Pokémon was obviously something private and binding, a promise and affirming of something more than just companionship. Goro's chest became tight just thinking about it, an uncomfortable blanket of nerves washing over him while his stomach tied knots in itself. The Croagunk wasn't sure what the feeling was, exactly, but he knew he didn't like it and he wasn't about to think on it.

Instead, he busied himself with observing his morning companions.The Skitty muttered something affirmative before nosing deep into her bag, pulling out a large woven basket and setting it on the ground between the three Pokémon, before removing the lid and helping herself to a berry, chewing listlessly on it while she enquired to him as to what they'd be doing this morning. He took a moment to think on the matter - he honestly had no clue what he was going to do, either. He'd been trained the way most Fighting-types were trained. That being how to physically fight; learning how to properly throw a punch, how to incorporate his moves into physical attacks, and so on and so forth. Seeing as how Alki was, well, a balloon... he doubted she'd have much use for his way of battling. Anything more basic than that he'd had to infer for himself, and anything he could figure out, the other two had probably done as well. Honestly, he didn't think he had too much to teach them.

"I ain't too sure," Goro's brow was furrowed as he admitted this, deciding honesty was the best policy for this situation. Once Alki had helped herself to a berry, the Croagunk leaned over the basket to peer inside, taking in a variety of dried fruits and berries. He didn't really recognize any of them, but that was more his fault than theirs. He didn't know much besides how to throw a punch, and any of the berries that grew locally in the Marsh didn't seem to be present in the picnic basket. Still, he very much doubted there'd be anything bad in Darcy's bag; as long as nothing was too spicy. Eagerly, Goro reached in and plucked... something, out of the basket. It appeared to be some kind of dried fruit, but he was at a loss as to what it was. He was more fond of juicier snacks, something you could taste and slurp on, laden with juices and moisture but something like this made a lot of sense for a trek through Cattail Marsh. Resolutely, Goro brought the fruit to his mouth and bit in deeply, tearing a chunk out with flat teeth, chewing silently while he thought on the matter. What could he teach Alki? She seemed grateful for the simple advice he had to offer last night, so perhaps stepping down to a more basic level was worth a try. "I dunno how good ya gals are, so I ain't sure where to start. We'll cross that bridge when we get there."

He fell silent when Alki chirped up from her side, complimenting the Skitty on the food she brought and reassuring her that she was just as amazing as her flamethrower. Hah. She trailed off nervously while she said so, but the reassurance belied a small measure of confidence in her abilities. He smiled for just a moment at the thought, watching Alki trail off into a series of embarrassed stutters before falling silent. Ironically, she wasn't wrong - if this Skitty was a Normal-type, then she probably could dip into a lot of different kinds of moves. He'd told Alki as much last night, and unless she doubted him the advice would stick with her; it might even lead her into suggesting her partner try out a few different techniques. Who knew? He didn't bother to back up Alki's statement, as he was sure the Skitty knew what she could and couldn't do, and Alki already knew where he stood on that matter. Instead, he waited for a few moments into the silence before piping up for the first time.

"So... are ya both explorers? Or are ya just friends?" He wasn't exactly curious about the Skitty's day job as much as he wanted to know if she was on Alki's team - from what he'd seen from the kid so far, she could use someone to look out for her while she did... whatever it is explorers do nowadays. But he couldn't deny his interest in the profession, either. The idea of exploring new dungeons and lands, fighting all sorts of different wild Pokémon and arresting outlaws - it had a certain appeal. If not for his wariness around other people and habits of isolation, Goro could have ended up going that route, rather than camping out in the Marsh and beating up anyone that looked at him funny.

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