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Old December 16th, 2017 (5:02 PM).
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Sweet Dreams Sweet Dreams is offline
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A Helping Hand

In the night, a haunted white dress clutched at its hem and hurried in the shadows. With no moon and only scattered twinklings in the sky, hardly any light caught Anarchy's body. She sprinted freely down the steep terraces that ran up against the city's wall, and in the distance, she saw the towering structure shape the channel and support the lighthouse at its end. As she leapt off of ledges and landed from drops that would fracture any creature with bones, one thing raced in her mind with her: help.

But I can't see a single soul at these docks, she thought to herself, her brass track for a mouth creased into a frown. This is nothing like Liverte. The night bustled as much as the day. I can't see how these folk tire out so easily. Maybe if I get closer.

After one good vault off a ledge, her small leather boots sunk into sand. Blinking away the cloud of dust that plumed over her, she immediately set off down the stretch of beach. As her head scanned the pier for signs of life, her eye caught the faint glow of floating lights that ebbed beneath the water. The memory of Chinchou lights drifting beside her raft as she rowed her crew to port made her smile. Before long, the water lights became few and far scattered, and her downward eye caught the massive hull of a ship.

The shipyard! She lifted her gaze to see a sight filled with vessels. It was crowded with all kinds, and all of them anchored and silent. No, don't tell me here, too. There has to be someone doing something somewhere, else the visitors are just as lazy!

After a few cursory glances here and there, she wandered a few steps onto a pier and beheld the standard merchant ship before her. She put her hands on her hips. Well, it's time to do a thorough check. She took a seat up against a piling, letting it prop her body up as she grabbed at the tag on her zipper.

Hurtling was a violent sensation, but one with which the shot of spectral energy was all too familiar. As it ripped from the gaping mouth of her lifeless body, it streaked through night sky as a tint of violet color. It gained control and awareness of the structures that surrounded it, attuning itself to the natural frequencies that radiate off the world below. It zipped up hulls, matched starboards and portsides, spiraled around decks and peaked over masts before something resonated with it. A steady, inviting beat. A singular action of moving life. When it found itself circling the iron chase of a cannon and phasing over black wood, it jettisoned itself right back across the sky. In seconds, it approached the abyss of a slacked jaw and prepared to breech.

Anarchy jolted awake, and like instinct, immediately zipped her mouth shut. Ooh, I still have that falling feeling in my head. After she staggered just a bit in getting on her feet, she picked up the hem of her dress once more and burst into a sprint. After she rounded the pier and passed ship after ship, her tireless legs stumbled to a halt. Before her was the boldly black ship, her eye bright as she took in its shapely contour. It was certainly intended to be luxurious, and as she stood there, another thought crossed her:

This was the ship I saw docked when we first rowed in....

She recalled now how she thought a small, sophisticated joyride voyager like that could have only belonged to the Admiral Charles Gallagher himself. She could feel a chill in her core as she stood there now, doubting herself. She had no way of knowing if this ship did belong to him. If it did and she unknowingly waved down a Gallagher Pirate, she'd put herself in immediate danger. She had to think of her options and weigh her risks.

A gruff voice interrupted:

"Can I help you?"

Freezing up, Anarchy's eye shot up at the distant call. Tens of paces down the hull, something starkly white hanged out of a gun port, replacing the muzzle of a cannon. The Ghost narrowed her gaze at what looked like a blanched mask. She didn't know if it was some pirate fashion or an unusual Pokemon. Just as she was about to frantically debate herself on how she should answer—if at all—she realized that her inquirer asked an actually helpful question, and in a helpful tone.

If they were a Gallagher Pirate, word would have already spread among them to lookout for certain Pokemon. It sounds like this one doesn't even know me, a— Well, she didn't quite know what species she was, herself. —A Ghost type. And well, I only wear the dress out of the bunch, too.

Anarchy crossed her arms. The nail driven through her cranium must've looked like some sort of monocle from the head-on angle, but the thought didn't cross her mind. Thankfully, she didn't cant her head when she called out, "Yes! Whose ship is this?"

There was a momentary pause. "This ship belongs to Captain Jon. Why do you wanna know?" The other 'mon was beginning to sound more wary.

Not Gallagher. "I need help, my friends and I! But I can't keep shouting like this! May we meet?"

Another pause. They were probably considering their options. "I can throw you a ladder, meet you up on the deck. No funny business."

"Don't worry!" With a big sweeping glance around the beach to make sure there were no other passing eyes, Anarchy gave herself a running start. She jumped into the air, and as if innate to a Ghost, she began to soar. As she twisted and twirled in the air towards the stranger, the faint pink lining of her own Psychic exertion became apparent over her body. Coming face-to-face with the masked Pokemon, she whispered through her brass teeth, "I'll just squeeze by right here."

The mask remained as impassive as ever as the 'mon moved back to make space, somewhat begrudgingly, but their tone grew sharper. "Flyin' maybe ain't funny business to you, but you ought to know that it ain't no small thing to invite a stranger onto your ship," she said bluntly. "No more powers."

"Well, I'll walk when I'm inside," cheeked the Ghost. In one motion, she glided in headfirst and graciously landed on her feet. She gave a salute as if to say all is well.

Now that Anarchy could get a closer look, she noticed that the other's mask—if it was a mask—seemed almost fused to the rest of the 'mon's body. The other 'mon reached up a gloved hand to lift up the goggles that had been covering their eyes. The 'mon's gaze scanned her up and down, lingering on her pins and whatever metal thing made up her left eye.

"...Well. What did you need help with?" the 'mon asked, obviously skipping over the elephant in the room.

Anarchy didn't notice. "Right, yes!" she hurried in rushed nerves. "My crew, we're castaways who washed up on this island. We need to get back to Liverte, where we come from. I'm up and about looking for anyone whose line crosses those ports, and has the space and the heart to let ten Pokemon on for the voyage. Oh, but we also pay." The last bit she quickly added, and she just as readily stipulated, "Well, not anyone in the crew since we're castaway, but the traveling doctor in this city, Doctor Keahi! She said she'll pay on our behalf if we can find someone fair.

"So how about it? Are you the captain of this here lovely ship?" Anarchy's eye wandered all over the artillery, drinking in the interior.

The masked 'mon blinked, before gesturing at themselves and their oil-streaked apron. "Do I look like a Captain Jon to you?" they asked wryly, continuing on before Anarchy had the chance to reply. "No, I'm just her engineer. I'd take you to see the captain, but how do I know this ain't some sort of trick? All I have right now is your word, and I don't know you for squat."

Anarchy shrugged. "All I have is my word. Truthfully, everything else has been taken from me." There was a distant look in her eye for a moment. After the brief pause, she asked, "What does Captain Jon look like?"

The 'mon looked at her considerately for a short while before finally sighing. "Well, it ain't like I don't know what it's like to wash up ashore with practically nothin'," they said, sounding almost friendly. "I'll take you to see him." As they spoke, they began to strip off the heavy apron, folding it up and stowing it away in a bag by the floor when they were done. The 'mon grabbed a large spanner that looked to be made up of solid metal and was almost as tall as they were, lifting it effortlessly onto one of their shoulders before grabbing a small lantern that was set up next to the cannon.

"Follow me," they said, jerking their head down the corridor and moving in that direction. Their boots thunked strangely against the wood as they began to walk, stepping over loose timber and strewn nails left over from the ongoing construction.

The 'mon cast a look back at the Ghost. "What's your name?"

"My name's Anarchy! Anarchy Anne!" Her brass teeth twisted into a broad grin as she crossed her arms. "I used to be a Navigator for a crew. What about you?"

"Name's Kayri," they said shortly. They both skirted around a giant wooden structure with a number of wooden spokes jutting from the center, the light from the hooded lantern throwing deep shadows over the walls. "What even happened to that crew of yours?"

As they walked, Anarchy recounted to Kayri her crew's entire ordeal, from their vessel out of Liverte ports, to the ramshackle raft that washed up on Kuai. She felt secure enough even to divulge about the whole situation with the Admiral, though she left out Gallagher's name and rank, just in case. If there was a bounty on her head, she didn't want to give anyone any ideas.

Throughout it all, the other 'mon kept silent and listened with an attentive ear. "That's quite a tale," they said when she was finally finished. The 'mon didn't sound completely disbelieving, but rather like they were filing the information away in their minds. "A storm out of nowhere. You sure you didn't just miss it somehow? It's dangerous and unpredictable out there. Wouldn't blame you."

Anarchy's smile faltered, and her stare grew sharp. "I couldn't miss a storm for miles of clear sky," was her retort. "I'm the best Navigator the guild put up, but you don't have to be any good to see if they're black clouds out in the sun."

"Ah, a craftsmon's pride." For the first time during their encounter, it looked like the other 'mon was smiling, though perhaps that was just a trick of the flickering light. "You know, there's been strange things happenin' all over the place. Somethin' must've gone wrong somewhere."

They made their way to a ladder that climbed up another level in the ship. "Strange things like that ghost storm?" She canted her head. "Have you braved through one, too?"

"Not a storm, no," the 'mon said. They popped the handle of the lantern in their mouth and climbed up the ladder. "But there's been things everywhere. Signs of wrath and chaos, or somethin' broken in the core of the world itself. Plagues, corruption... Some 'mon disagree, they say it's just natural, and that's a fair call." They almost sounded more like they were talking to themselves than addressing her, but then they blinked it away. "Still. Ain't nothin' I ever heard of that can explain the second sun that me'n the rest of the crew saw out in the waters."

"Second sun?" Anarchy's eyes lit up with awe and trepidation as she climbed after the mechanic. The masked 'mon held out their hand to help Anarchy up after themselves.

"It ain't like nothin' I'd ever seen before," they continued. "In the middle of the night, not even close to dawn, the second sun just lit up the whole sky. No sunrise or nothin'. Wasn't there one moment, and there it was the next."

The 'mon shook themselves out of whatever memory they were reliving and lifted their spanner off their shoulder and pointed it to a door just a few paces away. "That's our captain's quarters. I should probably introduce you so he ain't gonna think a stranger's just been wanderin' through his ship unattended," they suggested. Anarchy gave a firm nod and stayed by Kayri's side as they approached.
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