Pokémon [SWC] Where We Live And Work

Started by Venia Silente August 7th, 2020 8:12 PM
  • 1 replies

Venia Silente

Inspectious. Good for napping.

on the second floor's nest
Seen 6 Hours Ago
Posted 23 Hours Ago
1,011 posts
12.2 Years
You were warned that I would publish another story, and you still come here! Good because, well, I have another story.

As part of my participation in Get Together 2020's "Small Writing Contest" I am publishing this entry, for the prompt "home". Unlike previous stories of mine, this actually has one of the franchise's games as a basis, using Gates to Infinity as the world of choice.

The aforelinked thread has the scorings by the judges; "Where We Live And Work" scored in the 3rd place. Seek the thread listing for other threads starting with the [SWC] tag to find some of the other entries, they seem to be good reads! In particular, take a look at the winner's story, literally titled "Home".

There's very light content warning for colorful swearing in foreign languages, used only once.

Without further ado...

“Where We Live And Work”

Summer had come and gone across the Mist continent; Volyrina the Fraxure and her team of half-hopeful partners and recruits explored the rocky slopes and gray mountains west of Project Idiljo heading to new, distant wildlands covered in the mist that gave the land its name.

This morning, Feremiz the totally‑a‑Tepig‑and‑not‑a‑Human had taken the lead on the expedition for no particular reason – after all, they did not know exactly where they would be going. As his Fraxure partner had stated, so long as they followed the map to the west, they would reach some place called the “Redlands” and everything would be okay.

The Tepig hopped from one rocky protrusion to the next, already somewhat familiar with the landscape surrounding the Stony Caves. The two more recent recruits, a Sandile and a Woobat, excitedly went from one place to the next and looked around, impressed that their first foray outside of their homes was taking them far off into mysterious lands.

Feremiz leapt from one rock to a lower one, noticing the rocks were getting smaller and the ground was now closer, giving way to a steeper slope of grainy terrain.

“...How would we know when we get there?” he asked as he sniffed the air.

Behind him, Volyrina and Cosito, the Woobat recruit, were examining the map the Fraxure was holding.

“I think… when the land turns red,” replied the Fraxure, eyeing all across her map with a frustrated expression. “This map doesn’t make much sense.”

Cosito fluttered around the Fraxure. “I think we are going on the right path!” he exclaimed.

“...You can’t see anything,” muttered Volyrina trying hard to avoid coming off as mocking in her tone. She folded the map, took a step back on her ground and leapt to the next protrusion and then the next one, following after Feremiz.

Below them, Crana, their Sandile companion, had taken advantage of the various crevices and smaller protrusions on the terrain to move around, trailing Feremiz’s path closely and every once in a while letting them know via growls that he was still close.

A few minutes later the team of four began climbing the grainy path to the west, and continued that arduous task for a while, accompanied by a soft wind. Volyrina would grumble every time she checked the map, Feremiz checked every once in a while for other Pokémon around, and the two newer recruits were too enthralled by their adventures to worry much about anything.

Feremiz looked down at the ground and noticed his shadow had become shorter. Still, something seemed iffy about the situation as he raised his head and followed the trail up and around the mountain.

“Hey, what happened?” asked Crana as he crawled to the Tepig’s side.

Feremiz fumbled. “I’m wondering if we should be heading west,” he answered.

The Sandile looked back and forth. “I think we already are!” he answered, cheerily.

Feremiz did not feel so sure. With a hint of nervousness, he decided to flicker his ears in search of any sounds, and once again nosed up to search for anything in the air – yet all he found was the breeze coming from behind them and a soft rumbling of the gravel; so he called back to Volyrina and Cosito.

“Shouldn’t we be heading west?” he yelled.

“We are!” the Fraxure growled before pointing a claw up towards the Sun. “And we did leave the Stony Caves behind.”

Cosito pirouetted around Volyrina. “We are heading the right way!”

“Didn’t you say you can’t read the map?” she growled back.

For an answer the Woobat simply repeated himself and flew past the Tepig and Sandile. Volyrina watched him go, frowned, and reached up to Feremiz to put the team bag now.

“Don’t tell me… you think we are heading the wrong way,” she inquired, eyeing the Tepig cautiously and prompting him to stumble. “What, one of your not-a-Tepig moments?”

Feremiz stumbled and fidgeted for a moment. “Nah, just...” he pointed his nose to the hill ahead. “It’s just we should be heading down, not up.”

The Fraxure looked at the hill ahead, followed the incline upwards with her eyes, and held her breath for a moment. “No argument there”, she finally offered.

The three Pokémon pondered the situation and discussed their options briefly. Going back was always on the table, but it was barely noon so there was still a small window of useful time they felt they couldn’t miss.

Volyrina pointed out that the hill they were on could very well be the last one. “But I wouldn’t bet my tusks on that,” she added.

Feremiz guesstimated that worst case scenario they still had about half the afternoon to fall back to find shelter in lower ground. “And we can always explore tomorrow.”

Crana meanwhile dutifully noted that he had found long crevices back in the rocky area. “Good enough for all of us to hide inside, unless it rains.”

The three Pokémon reached agreement to give this hill its last chance. They nodded, buckled up and continued the path uphill after their cheery Woobat companion, with Feremiz taking the team bag. Fortunately for them, the slope was not excessively steep, though it was still steep enough that the falling gravel forced them to stop and dig for more secure footing every once in a while.

Feremiz led the others as they continued, with Cosito flying right behind using Volyrina as a cover from the wind. All went well for the following next few minutes, with the breeze turning into a stronger wind and the random shaking of the gravely slope becoming more prominent as they got closer to the summit. Since they were so close, they continued walking.

Until they didn’t.

Suddenly they were walking over nothing as the gravel gave up under them, the already precarious road falling with thunderous noise on the face of the hill, all the loose material of gravel and rocks, plus the three Pokémon walking there, being dragged downhill.


Volyrina tried to claw herself on the walls, to no use – the entire face of the hill was going down.

“Watch ooooooooo-!”

Feremiz and Crana tried as they could to stand their ground, but there was nothing to be ground as the entire road turned into a sort of grainy slime under their feet. The two were hit by a couple of rocks and boulders; Feremiz felt something slice across one of his legs and he cried, losing focus and balance. A second after, he and Crana were rolling down the mountain.


Cosito meanwhile remained hovering on the road, turning left and right and wondering just what had happened as the landslide slowly subsided. It took a few minutes for the noise to finally fade until the Woobat could hear some calls for help from below, and he floated down.

“Damned mountain… Is everyone... okay?” asked Volyrina, trying to free herself from a boulder.

“My leg...” cried Feremiz.

The Fraxure managed to use her tusks as leverage and, with great pain, tried to push herself free. While she did not succeed, she inched closer to the team bag which had somehow been spared any damage.

“I take it that’s bad?” she asked the Tepig.

Feremiz tried to stand up and instantly fell to the ground.


“F*ck all this we’re going home. Where’s Crana?”

“mmfmfjfmfmfmf!” came the voice of their Sandile companion, apparently buried somewhere nearby. Feremiz heard Volyrina spew out what he was sure were colourful expletives in draconic language and focused himself on trying to listen around for the Sandile.

Cosito floated around Volyrina and finally placed himself in front of her.

“You’re okay!” The Fraxure quickly pointed the little bat-like creature to the team bag. “Find something in there to help us.”


The Woobat proceeded to dance in the air and flutter about the bag, chittering and talking to himself; eventually he reached for the opening and started pulling at it, poking it and just looking for ways to open it. All while Volyrina fumed more and more as she continued to try and free herself.

Finally, the Woobat spoke.

“Uuuuh… how do I open this~?” he inquired.

Realizing finally the folly of asking a Pokémon without hands to operate the team bag, and realizing that there was still half the entire day to go, Volyrina roared in exasperation..

“Why the… wedi cachi arna ni…” she muttered one or two times, banging her head on the ground between the lines.

Feremiz flattened his ears, not wanting to ask what all that was about. “...Can we go home now?” he asked.

For his part Cosito was happy with the new puzzle in front of him.

“Exploring is fun~!”

The return to Paradise had been an adventure of the laborious and painful sort, requiring help from another exploration team, and reception had not been much better. By dusk the team was at Lady Swanna’s getting some quick medical attention before each of the members went their own way. Only Feremiz had to stay for longer treatment due to the severe cut on his leg, not to mention a splitting headache that all the ruckus and mess of the day had only worsened.

There were many Pokémon in the room, including Feremiz’s own team, La Signora, Quagsire and a few Starly from a news carrying flock, writing down notices for other explorers around, and the team that had rescued Feremiz and co., in the Tepig’s eyes aptly named Best Wishes. La Signora and some other Pokémon were tending to Feremiz and Crana; Dunsparce and Volyrina were seated nearby with the other team’s Dwebble and Oshawott, discussing the payment; and finally the other team’s Pikachu and Tirtouga were busy downstairs, delivering their report to Quagsire and a flock of Starlys that passed the news around.

Still, Feremiz’s headache was getting somewhat worse and soon it became clear that the excessive amount of noise was making him uncomfortable. Emolga and Dunsparce knew enough not to speak when they looked at his face.

A sort of mixed blessing eventually arrived: Volyrina and Emolga made their case that Feremiz would be returned to the hut at Paradise, where he could rest better. Feremiz sighed and cursed his leg, their little Paradise was well outside of town, and while going back and forth on a normal day was an enjoyable walk, he really did not want to have to make the trek on a wounded leg.

“Well,” spoke Volyrina, arms crossed, “we’d have to find a way to carry you.”

“That’s no problem,” the Pikachu leader of the team said, climbing the stairs together with the Tirtouga and Quagsire. “Maybe we can do it… Crush?”

The Dwebble stepped in. “Since we are already here, I think we can do it if we can find a cart. For an extra.”

The team’s Oshawott pounded on the table. “Aha! Simple as that!”

Volyrina and Dunsparce looked at each other and narrowed their eyes; though at least for Volyrina the problem was not about having to pay more, no; she was just used to making all the way back and forth from the Idiljo by herself.

“Uhm… well, I guess,” Volyrina said in between grumbles. “That’d be nice, Mijumaru, thanks.”

The Oshawott called the rest of the team and they organized themselves to help. Mijumaru would call the shots to have his colleagues procure a cart from the Kecleon shop in town and use it to transport Feremiz, whereas Crana would remain under La Signora’s care.

By the time Mijumaru’s team found their vehicle and carted Crana and Feremiz to the hut, the sun had long set and everything was covered now by the night sky.

Emolga and the rescuer Dwebble helped Feremiz get off the cart while Volyrina opened the door and hurried inside to shove aside some boxes and bags lying all around the base. Emolga and Feremiz frowned at the scene since they did not remember the place being so much of a mess in the last few weeks. Then again, they conceded, they had been all away for a while.

“This is a nice place,” the Dwebble commented as she looked around. “We don’t really have much stuff back at home.”

“Uhm t-thanks I guess,” offered Feremiz, not even sure what had just happened with their own place.

Before the Tepig could, Emolga started with the questions. “So what happened here? What’s all this for?” asked Emolga, picking up some fruits and papers.

Feremiz eyed a small box with fruits in it and another box filled with various dusty notices brought from who knew where. He mulled over the fact that these two kinds of things were just tossed all around the hut in disarray and made mental note to find better storage for food… someday.

“...Are these old outlaw bounty notices?” asked Feremiz as he noticed the crude drawings of some Pokémon in most of the notices.

Volyrina rushed about the place shoving the various boxes aside and did not immediately answer. Only after she got all the edibles off the ground did she explain.

“Uh, sorry, these-” she kicked one box, sliding it under a table, “are some archives I wanted to work on. But since we were exploring...”

The Tepig snorted confidently. “Eh we’ll be back to it soon.”

Mijumaru, who had to come pick up his teammate, ventured a look inside and happened to hear part of the conversation. He chuckled as he saw the various boxes.

“You guys do outlaw missions? Wow… that must be an adventure.”

Feremiz stepped in cautiously. “It’s less adventure and more public se–“ He winced in pain, and sighed. “Public service. There’s quite the bad people lurking out there.”

The Dwebble seemed to ponder Feremiz’s words. “I cam imagine. We tried ourselves, a couple of times, but after some really close calls Mijumaru decided exploring just was better for us,” he offered, pointing to the Oshawott.

Emolga and Feremiz stayed in silence while Volyrina cleared the room so the Tepig could move comfortably to their bedroom – a small hidden room in the back of the hut past a wooden door pane. With the task taking long enough, The Oshawott and Dwebble gave their goodbyes and best wishes, and went back to the crossroads to return to their own place.

It took a few minutes for Volyrina to tidy things up, and when she decided she was mostly done she asked Feremiz how he was feeling.

“Really, I’m fine,” Feremiz lied, trying to ignore (and hide) the pangs in his leg while when walking. “I’m just… surprised that there is so much stuff in here,” he added, with a tone that showed patent displeasure before he could realize, and that fortunately the Fraxure did not seem to pick up on.

“Yes, we will sort all this out,” replied the Fraxure, picking up the last remaining box on the ground and placing it with the others, “and all that out.”

“It better be,” Feremiz muttered.

Emolga crossed his arms. “But didn’t you say there were more and more mountains?”

Volyrina and Feremiz turned to each other and shared an annoyed look; really, who knew if they had been on the verge of succeeding? That lasted for a short while until Feremiz flinched from a sudden, stinging pain in his head. The other two Pokémon looked at him but he waved them off, not wanting to pursue the matter for today.

“Eh, I’m sure that was the last one,” Volyrina said, unamused at the subject of the conversation. “In any event, now it’s sleepy time and tomorrow it’s work.”

Feremiz headed to the back door, annoyed at the amount of boxes and materials in the hut. He buffed as he got a bit too closer to a food box. “Yes I need to rest. In a house, not in a storage office!” he complained through his headache.

Emolga and Volyrina stood behind Feremiz for a moment, in silence. As the Tepig inched closer to the door, Emolga swiftly moved in to slide the door pane, revealing the small bedroom in the back that served as the Tepig and Fraxure’s accommodations.

The room was orderly and devoid of boxes and random loot laying around, as Feremiz noted in silence. But he was not in the mood for being grateful for what he considered the last, basic remaining decency in his mind.

Feremiz muttered a good night to his teammates and slid into the room, closing the door behind him.

Emolga returned to where Volyrina was, the Fraxure tilting her head in response.

“Crana and Feremiz had a rather rough day,” Emolga hushed.

Volyrina yawned. “Feremiz will be better tomorrow. Help me move the other boxes so we can go and sleep.”

“...Other boxes?”

Emolga watched as Volyrina turned and left the hut; he then looked at the door to Feremiz’s room for a moment and pondered if it was good to be making more noise during the night.

In the end he decided the earlier the better he and Volyrina were finished, the better it’d be for everyone, and glided after her.

Feremiz woke up as some sunlight got through the window and instantly tried to get up.

A pang from his leg reminded him he should stay at home for the day, La Signora’s orders, for… he ran a mental count. Two days already, so two more days.

The idea that he was only “half-way there” bounced back and forth in his mind.

His eyes and nose flared trying to pick anything up past the bedroom, but the hut seemed to be deserted.


Feremiz rolled his eyes. He frat about the room for a moment, taking careful steps and noticing that despite the apparent severity of the slash, there didn’t seem to be issues. Pokémon healing fast (just not that fast) was sometimes a blessing sometimes a curse. He let himself breathe in and out a few times, eyeing the door pane nearby, until he decided that today it was a curse and headed back to his bed, listening to the breeze rustling the leaves and planks covering the roof.

After all, what use was healing fast if it was not fast enough to spare him the boredom?

Morning went so slowly that at times the Tepig wondered if he had actually woken up from his dream… or if he was in a dream-within-a-dream, still trapped in this “be a Pokémon, have adventures” showcase of the strange that his life had turned into.


The Tepig’s ears flickered, wondering if he had heard someone speaking – but no, he was alone trapped as a Tepig in a hut itself trapped in the middle of almost-nowhere, the other side of the road from the only town around and where he did not really know better.

He closed his eyes and pressed his head on the bedroom, willing himself to sleep.

He tried.


He wondered if he was doing that wrong and instead he had to try to not sleep. It made sense in his mind.

He tried.

It was worse.

His stomach soundly and painfully joined in commiseration.

Feremiz rose again to notice the sun had moved somewhat. He heard the wind again and also that strange “eeeueee~” coming from outside. He cursed the winds in foul enough language that he was glad he was alone.

Still bored, the Tepig ventured out of the room. As soon as he slide the door pane open he was greeted with the view of an empty hut, well adorned with various rocks and trinkets. More interestingly, he saw a few boxes with little coin bags and various old notices in them, but did not mind to read them. He approached a box with some fruits and berries to eat in it and nosed about for a berry.

As he munched, he wondered what was all that about the boxes. He approached a wooden desk where he saw some such boxes and climbed up to a log besides it serving as makeshift chair.

The Tepig eyed the boxes and idly poked one of the paper records with his good front leg. Volyrina was always very energetic and took note of various things down and treated the entire Idiljo idea of hers with utmost seriousness. She had, as Feremiz reminded himself by simply tapping his feet on the ground, managed to actually buy a plot of land and hire a bunch of workers to build upon after all.

Heck, she had brought him in into the whole idea while he was supposed to be busy trying to find the evil Hydreigon.

He shuffled through some of the documents and realized they were to be old bounty notices taken and completed by various teams some time in the past. He could not recognize any of the names and had never heard anyone back at Post Town mentioning the specific names that showed up in the lists.

As he picked one of the documents, Feremiz raised an eyebrow. This was like the tenth notice already that made mention of searching for an outlaw Pansage. Pansage here – captured but escaped. Pansage there – untracked. Pansage this – female, long scar on her arm. Pansage that – last seen somewhere around the “Wisomething Savanna”, he could not make the writing clear.


The weird calling distracted Feremiz from his little investigation however, and before he realized what he was doing he jumped down from the log. Pain was swift to come, and the Tepig yelled in exasperation, though he was glad – and took ready notice – that the pain had still been lower and the sensation gone away much faster that in the previous days.

He was able to walk to the door of the hut without much issue, and peeked out of the place wondering what was going on.

He blinked as he saw three Pokémon floating in the air. Unsure of exactly what he had just seen, he shook his head and looked again.

Emolga, Dunsparce and the recruit Woobat – Cosito was it? – had gone kiting on the autumnal wind… using themselves as the kites. The three Pokémon were tied to ropes, with the other ends tightly anchored to the various posts on the fence of Volyrina’s land.

“Feremiz!” he heard Dunsparce yell from above. “Hey! Come have fun with us!”

“eeeeeeee~” continued to screech the Woobat. “We didn’t do things like this back at home!”

“I-” the Tepig interrupted himself, wondering if he should also yell louder. “I don’t think that’ll work?”

“We can always try!” was Emolga’s answer, the Pokémon having an easy time thanks to his flaps.

The Tepig looked down to the ground, then back to the three Pokémon, thinking of how they were having fun. He rolled his eyes. It seemed like the day was going to be long.

Decided to try and ignore everything around, Feremiz returned to the inside of the hut to start working on sorting out some of the documents. If Volyrina was not going to do it, he’d have to be the one to.

So the day went, with Feremiz sorting through the boxes in a half-trance state, just hoping that the day would at some point end.

That night, sleep was much better than what had previously been.

Morning of the third day of convalescence, when Feremiz opened his eyes, the first thing he noticed was the silence in the house. A bit of ear flickering told him that Volyrina had already left – or had not even bothered to spend the night in the hut.

The better news came when he tried to move, as he got to his feet feeling much less pain than before, to the point he could move and turn more comfortably.

“Oh great, it’s working now,” Feremiz announced raspy at no one in particular as he tried to move his leg. Carefully he took a step, then another and another; growing more excited, he moved out of the bed and took ano– ow, he winced, but he managed a step nonetheless. More would definitively come if he wanted something to drink.

He looked out the window and wondered if Emolga had any success in getting through to Volyrina to help finish faster the paper sorting tasks any faster. He would find out on his own later, he decided. “It better Voly be in the mood for breakfast.”

He carefully walked from the bed to the makeshift wall of wood planks separating the resting room from the rest of the hut; his ears flickered as they picked the sounds of some activity the other side of the wall – more than one mon it seemed. Wondering who was visiting so early, he used his wounded leg to side the door pane open.

The door plank bumped onto something, there was a rustle of leaves and the sound of something crystal shattering and then a stack of leaves, papers, pieces of bark and a few coins came down into a mess right in front of him, a few of them hitting a certain Archen on the wing.

“...Chaaaaw!” cried the Archen recruit as he hastily scurried behind a shelf.

“Oi I was just done sortin’ all that!” chimed someone from behind some shelves, Feremiz could not clearly make the identity of the speaker out.

“Ow wha-?” Feremiz asked, his eyes trailing a few still rolling coins amidst the mess “Hey, what’s all this?”

The Tepig looked around the hut noticing that what had been a mess of boxes and bags in previous days, was now a neat arrangement of boxes, all cleanly stacked against the wall of the house, and accompanied by a few bags of coins. While it still seemed that someone had granted Volyrina too much freedom in setting up office in their shared house, everything was starting to look more orderly than before. He buffed at the various pieces of bark and coins loose on the ground, unsure how to move next.

“...Eh? I’m s-sorry,” piped the Archen from behind its hiding spot, looking anxious.

As Feremiz was about to speak, from behind the other shelves came the newest Blitzle recruit followed by Volyrina, the Fraxure holding a few painted markers. Volyrina stared blankly at the mess just done in front of her for a moment before her semblance finally betrayed what Feremiz was not entirely willing to bet it was not intense desire to eat well-done pork.

“Hey you,” neighed the Blitzle, “I’ve been doin’ those since dawn… what gives?” He stomped on the ground to punctuate his displeasure.

Volyrina made what appeared to be a defeated gesture. “You can’t just up and go do something like this,” she spoke softly, not noticing she had lost her grip on some of the markers, that now added to the mess on the ground.

The Archen inched closer to the Blitzle and gave a pleading look at the various Pokémon around.

“I was j-just checking the coins, please don’t fire me,” spoke the Archen.

The Fraxure seemed to stumble. “Wha-? No, er...”

“Ugh no Tracer, it was me I think,” Feremiz said shaking his head. “I just woke up and wanted to get out…”

“You could have used the door,” spat Volyrina not looking at him.

Feremiz tensed. “That’s what I did. What’s with the door pane anyway?” He did not really notice himself snarling that.

Now Volyrina was looking at him.

There was a moment of uncertain silence with the Blitzle looking back and forth at Volyrina and Feremiz, pointing his ears at the Tepig with some trepidation, until the horse Pokémon finally ventured to speak.

“Well, I-” he started.

Volyrina grumbled and interrupted. “You remember Centella, eight?”

Feremiz looked at the Blitzle for a moment and nodded, prompting him to continue.

“Uhm… I stacked the notices and bounties on the wall by the door like you said,” he explained, looking at Volyrina and then the loose coins on the ground as he noticed the Archen shyly hopping closer to them to nab them.

“I wanted to get all this,” Volyrina continued, waving her tusks as a gesture to point to all of the surrounding house, “done for when we took more cases. I thought we could use the wall… I...”

Feremiz saw her sight wander ever so slightly to the Tepig’s own feet.

“...kind of forgot you were hurt.”

“...Forgot?” Feremiz felt a tinge of exasperation at that.

“I thought you’d slide the door pane to the left…”

Feremiz gave the Fraxure a hard stare and buffed at her. He wondered briefly, how can they – how can she – forget how their friends are wounded? It was only three days ago! Feremiz was half annoyed and half confused, as she was not so forgetful or so self-centered that she would not take notice.

Volyrina would return his stare, but would also let it wander for a moment to his wound, and Feremiz could feel his exasperation subside as he realized the strange, inquisitive tone in his partner’s eyes.

Had something happened in the last few days?

Had it been Emolga?

The Tepig watched as Tracer picked up one of the coins and bit it a few times, as if to confirm that it was okay. The Archen and the Blitzle shared accusing looks at each other as the bird inched closer to another coin and the Blitzle moved stealthily to block the way.

Something in Feremiz’ mind clicked as he watched the two Pokémon silently argue while Volyrina was just standing there, staring at his bandage in a weird middle ground between – if he interpreted it well – berating him and berating herself.

The wound itself was not serious, Feremiz thought. He could open the door without issues, maybe also work the item chests outside. It was just walking that was an issue. And of course, he would prefer to do that with his wounded leg to not sta–

...Feremiz mentally facepalmed. Of course anyone would expect him to have used his healthy leg for things.

He tapped the ground and in response both Volyrina and the Blitzle hummed as if expecting the move.

“Eh, I can move things… I guess I can return to action soon?” he offered to the two of them, tilting his head.

The Fraxure’s eyes lit up, she quickly spread her arms and let out a sort of roar of contentment. “Like you would actually do that, nosey!” she growled in a more amicable tone. She turned and pointed to the various papers spread around. “You said you wanted the paperwork gone? That’s right you just got yourself a job.”

“...Wha? But I can totally–”

Volyrina raised a finger.

“Look, I’m running quests with Dunsparce for the next two or three days and in the meanwhile you have to check these, got it?”

Feremiz swallowed his complaint. He was supposed to be the co-founder of this thing. “I guess so,” he offered in exchange.

Volyrina motioned for Feremiz to follow and the Tepig carefully stepped over and around all the loose material on the ground. He stopped by the side of the Blitzle, who looked at him for a moment and also turned to follow; though before the Blitzle could do so, Tracer hopped in and grabbed a coin from the ground, scurrying with it back to behind his shelf before the Electric type could do much more than neigh in annoyance.

“I take it you were busy since morning,” the Tepig asked noticing the various paper stacks. “Why were you sorting all these out anyway?”

Volyrina pointed to the Blitzle recruit. “Well, Centella had a very good idea and I had to test it.”

“I uh...” the Blitzle seemed to be uncomfortable with the attention given to him. “I mentioned that back at home our herd leader would count us to make sure we would be fine.”

Feremiz tilted his head. “Count?… Like a census?”

“Exactly,” answered Volyrina adding a smirk. “So he was teaching me how to count people, from what he remembers back at home. It’s a bit difficult, since the mountainrange Pokémon don’t learn to read or write… but we can manage.”

The Tepig remembered the boxes, and the certain Pokémon that he had seen mentioned repeatedly in the reports. “So if we wanted to find a Pokémon… how does that work?”

Volyrina walked to the Tepig and pat him. “See, we want to find your Hydreigon. We don’t know where he is, but someone out there has seen Hydreigon, and Deino. They have to live somewhere. So we ask everyone else, ‘hey, where are your Deino?’”.

Feremiz was left speechless that Volyrina had been thinking of that. The idea did not make much sense in his head, but it was true that the team themselves had barely made any progress on locating the Hydreigon or the Munna that Feremiz saw in his dreams and they did not have much to go on anyway.

...But someone, somewhere, had to know about them.

“So,” he ventured, “in the boxes I’ve seen some notices about a Pansage...”

Volyrina grumbled. “That’s an old case. I’ve been using it to learn the mechanism.”

Centella neighed. “Emolga said this was something uuuh, adventure something, detective something. I did not really get more details.”

Feremiz nodded, understanding of the explanation but still not not content. At least he understood now why the boxes were in the house… and where would they be going next.

The other two Pokémon returned their attention to closing the boxes and moving them to the wall for the day where they could remove them, and Feremiz followed them for a while as the three Pokémon chated about the events of the last few days. Feremiz learned from the conversation that a few recruits, mainly Centella, had volunteered to help with sorting the various materials around the house and, under Emolga’s suggestion, Volyrina had agreed to let them stay for the day as well so they would not tire out going to and from the land plots.

“...So, the documents I was sorting these days… what was I doing that for?”

Volyrina could not help but laugh for a moment, and gave the Tepig a pitiful look.

“What, you did not expect that I was to leave you to brood alone for three days!”

Feremiz felt himself blush. “I- I don’t brood!”

“Of course you don’t, we took care of that!”

Feremiz huffed at the mockery, though he was admittedly not angry at Volyrina nor any of the others. In the meantime, she motioned for Centella to go on his way to continue working on the boxes.

“Plus,” added the Fraxure as she grabbed a box, “I did need to use this place for something.”

“...Oh?” inquired the Tepig. “What for?”

“...I don’t know,” Volyrina answered with a shrug. Feremiz noted that she sounded like she had been the one to do some brooding. “But we only mostly sleep here at night… only Quargsire guard the area to the south… and I realized...”

The Fraxure and the Tepig took a look around the house. With the boxes and bags it felt kind of small and cramped, but the two Pokémon still remember the early days of construction when the place was huge, for them, and empty except for two heaps of hay.

“We made this first stone of Paradise with lots of effort,” she stated in a mystified state. “It’s not good to feel alone here. And it’s unfair that our first achievement has itself to stay alone.”

Feremiz remained in a long silence.

Only a good moment after, he turned to Volyrina and found a matter in his mind so to speak.

“Well… maybe we can fix that.”

Volyrina looked at him and blinked.

“I mean… you already started fixing it, yes?”

It took a moment for Volyrina to realize what was Feremiz talking about, and she smiled in agreement.

“Yeah… it’s our place,” she answered. “We can continue our Paradise from here!”

The sun was high in the sky and the wind was more forgiving and humid than during the previous days. The various recruits went from one lot of land to the other, inspecting the place. All in all, spending time in the Idiljo was slowly becoming more tolerable.

Outside the hut, Volyrina and her team were chatting about their plans for the future, agreeing that the best thing to do was to resume work as soon as possible, and collect more bounties from various missions so they would build up their reputation and obtain not only better materials, but also, as Dunsparce had pointed out in their meetings, better access to information including maps to hidden lands.

Volyrina looked around the place, the hut now surrounded by a few budding bushes. “You were right,” she said assuredly, “this is a much better use of this place.”

Feremiz and Dunsparce only nodded. For his part Emolga crossed his arms and coughed a couple of times to remind everyone that it had been his idea. And to punctuate, he tapped the glass jar he had set aside.

The two team leaders had Cosito, the happy-go-lucky Woobat, go around summoning some of the recruits from the plots of land that made their little Paradise still in the works. After a few minutes of work, the Idílljrot was accompanied by a number of their recruits such as a Spoink, a Venipede, and the Sandile and Blitzle from the last few days.

Volyrina fumbled for a moment before she could start. “Well, uhm… everyone,” she gave a look at the assorted recruits, “we had a few rough days but now we have good news.”

“Thanks to the Best Wishes we could return, and also we could learn more about the lands to the West and South.”

Feremiz snorted. “Yeah they are a no-go… they are very rough. So perhaps later.”

Volyrina resumed. “Knowing that, now we have decided to explore the eastern side of the continent.”

There was some commotion in the group as they discussed briefly what they knew from the eastern land. There were caves, mysterious passageways with locked gates, a view of a remote island, and a hidden lake somewhere if the rumours were to be believed.

“That sounds like adventure!” sang Cosito fluttering around Centella, much to the Blitzle’s chagrin.

Watching the commotion grow and the group discussing pretty much anything that came to their minds on the subject, Dunsparce nudged Feremiz for the Tepig to assume control of the conversation.

Feremiz stepped forward. “So, to start the day, uhm… we were thinking,” he nudged Emolga, who also stepped ahead with the glass jar, “that while we run various quests around, you could use the hut to rest and sleep.”

Emolga moved closer to Tracer. “You could use some of our stuff, even. Like, say, Tracer...” He then offered the jar to the Archen in the crowd.

“...Oh?” the Archen piped, unsure of what to do with the object.

“It’s for these,” Volyrina said.

She produced a coin and deposited it inside the jar. Tracer’s eyes lit as the Archen heard the coin clattering inside the jar, and the Pokémon gleefully examined the jar from various angles. Centella also approached, humming something as he watched the jar.

“You’ll take care of loose coins from now on,” Volyrina said.

The Archen bat his wings and looked back at the other Pokémon. “Thanks, really!” he said to them. He moved back to his position and sat contently with his jar, watching it with his beak open, occasionally leaning in for a curious peck. Centella was about to follow when Feremiz poked him, prompting the zebra to turn around.

“Quagsire rewarded us with this, but I think you can make better use of it,” the Tepig explained as he and Dunsparce brought the larger item bag. Dunsparce also produced a wooded pen.

“Hmmm? I… can put things inside this?” the Blitzle asked.

Dunsparce hovered in front of him and danced around. “You can keep many notes inside! Maps, reports, anything you want...”

The Blitzle opened the bag and took a look inside, and soon he was joined by some of the other recruits – including Cosito, who appeared to be just as surprised by the team bag as he was the first time; after that the Blitzle turned to Dunsparce and Feremiz and shook his head as a gesture of appreciation.

“I know!” he suddenly neighed, jerking for emphasis. “I can use these to track the Deinos! Like my herd used to do!”

Feremiz beamed a smile in response, he could not hide the surprise as his ears and tail shook. “I... appreciate it! But if you need it for anything else...”

Centella nodded in understanding, and took the bag with him to get back to where Tracer was already.

Volyrina then turned to the assembled group.

“All in all… you can use our place. It’s not too big, it’s still full of stuff lying around… but you’ll think of something.”

Feremiz nodded. “Just be mindful of that door pane.”

The recruits nodded in understanding and took turns giving thanks to the four core Pokémon for giving them a place to stay or work in.

Of all of them it was the energetic Woobat who first inched closer to Feremiz and Volyrina.

“And you?”

The other recruits fell into silence and gave inquisitive looks at their leaders, still not well used to living in this kind of community, perhaps wondering in the back of their minds if such benevolence came with a price. Even Cosito seemed to have fallen into a solemn hovering, devoid of his usual humming.

Emolga and Dunsparce remained silent, waiting for the Tepig and Fraxure to answer. It was Feremiz who in the end decided to speak.

“We are not leaving you if that’s what you’re asking. It’s just we have work to do.”

“This is still our home,” Volyrina spoke, giving a long look at the construction she had paid for with years of her own sweat, “and it’d be a shame for it to go unused. Centella has good ideas, so we need to go out and find where do the Deinos live.”

“Not to mention do our jobs,” added Feremiz, gracefully noticing that Volyrina had put his needs first.

Centella gave a content neigh and craned his head. “I would like to help. I would like to learn to write,” he said softly.

“You will,” Emolga interrupted. “Helping the town is how we can make this last. We teach you,” he added, grabbing Dunsparce for a hug, “and you help us build all this.”

Feremiz stomped the ground to call for attention.

“And even if we’re not around sometimes… we also want you to feel at home.”

The word resonated with some of the recruits. Pokémon from the wildlands, for whom home was a place that had to be fought for every day. But here, things seemed to be different. Sure, Crana found the place too humid and Centella would rarely see other Blitzle like him, but at least here they were safe to try and learn more about the world for later.

Feremiz looked at the assembled group. He hoped if he kept searching and if Volyrina’s plan worked he would eventually be able to return to his own home, but he still needed one in the meantime.

So did everyone else. And so did everyone help, for everyone else.

Author's Notes

Thanks to the judges of the Small Writing Contest for the event as per usual, a kind of yearly staple in my eyes.

Of course, commentary from other people is welcome. If the deadline for replying to this thread passes, by all means drop me a word over VM, I don't currently eat internet denizens! :p

The story is basically built up around my own gameplay of Gates..., given a bit of more life of its own. The team name, "Idiljo", is an adaptation to how "Idilio", the Esperanto word for idyll or paradise, would be pronounced. You can learn more about the team here, although there's not that much info at the moment.

Characters in Gates... don't have gender so I made my own when I made them into their own characters, though Feremiz is technically a preexisting character as he is an NPC of mine from We Are All Pokémon Trainers who here got Isekai'd into the PMD World. Other than the fact that she is the Gates partner, Volyrina is basically entirely original.

Now, that covers only the main characters. Further credits and meta:
  • Admittedly the lead characters did not debut here - my published story "Making the World go 'Round" on AO3 was the one to debut the two leads.
  • Tracer the Archen is named after Tracer Bullet from WAAPT, aka Fobbie from Serebii, of Fledglings fame.
  • Guest Starring Team Best Wishes is (c) by hop! / Ash, who was so kind to let me have at them and adapt the team used in their own Gates save. For posterity. The team features Ash the Pikachu, Mijumaru the Oshawott, Crush the Dwebble and Jet the Tirtouga.
  • Emergency betareading goes to Umbramatic from Serebii, Tracer from WAAPT (after whom the Tracer in this story is also named!) and a few others.
  • Planning and advice general was given by the kind people at the PMD Writers United community.
  • "wedi cachi arna ni" is somewhat colorful Welsh swearing for something like "we're up in muk"; the idea being wanting to express that it was going to be a long and mukty day. Idea and rough translation thanks to help from Fobbie.
  • The story mentions and hints to a few post-game areas in Gates. Since these characters still have not beaten the endgame, they were fated to fail here.

Should be published on AO3 shortly (and will link when that happens). Official wiki article also in progress in the meantime.
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