After three days of grueling travel through the Tower Mountains and Fugue Swamplands, relief is finally in sight. The treacherou mud pit and slimy pools of water have become less and less common. You are still surrounded by weeds and mangroves, and the ground is still loamier and muddier than you may prefer, but it’s now at least mostly solid beneath your feet. More importantly though, you have returned to civilization… sort of.
Those of you who are unfamiliar may find that the term “civilization” is a bit of a stretch for Fugue Village. Even upon entering the town, you can easily see the other end of it not far away. The buildings here are largely ramshackle and made of ageing wood, built up on stilts so homes and businesses don’t sink into the ground when it rains particularly heavily, which it thankfully isn’t. The weather remains overcast, but the rain has died down to fairly light drizzles.
There is no Pokemon Centre here and only a single small lodge, but the locals are friendly and you should be able to find someone to take you in once the lodge fills up. You also quickly discover that entertainment options are limited to the point of being practically non-existent. Other than learning some useful information about medicinal herbs, exploring the marshes around the village or visiting the narrow beach nearby, there’s not a lot to do. However, being in such a small village in close-quarters does at least provide you with shelter and the chance to relax and talk to your fellow competitors passing through.
Fugue Village is very small and out of the way, and it isn’t really set up to accomodate large numbers of visitors for any length of time. As such, most trainers passing by will only stay for a day or two.
With little else to do during your short stay in Fugue, and with everyone in close-quarters, this would be an ideal time to interact with fellow competitors, either player characters or NPCs. Keep in mind, that even if you don’t directly interact with the other PCs, chances are very high that you would have at least seen them around. Remember, ideally we don’t want to spend more than roughly a week on this chapter.
No evolved Pokemon can be caught in this chapter, but there’s ample space around the village to explore and make catches.
Matthew "Matt" Callista
Location : Dolce City
Partner Pokemon :
Chapter 3 - 8 Memories of Old
“Ah… I see...That makes sense.” Amy nodded.
“Yeah, it’s basically that. It’s a bit daunting if you not used to remembering these details. But it’ll help a lot in the long run.” Matt pointed out at one of the lines from the book, he managed to multitask between teaching Amy and taking notes of his own.
“You’re a genius, aren’t you?” Amy envied how Matt not only able to understand the contents of the book but also manage to simplify it so she could understand.
“No, definitely not. I’m just used to it, I guess… And I’m finished, phew.” Matt closed the book he took from one of the racks. He was finished with his note-taking.
Amy’s jaw dropped at the sight. “You… Are you trying to humblebrag in front of me?” She squinted her eyes as she was in disbelief with what Matt said. He easily finished writing notes about a book that's not easy to summarize, not to mention the fact she bombarded him with questions in a quick pace, the feat was definitely not normal.
“Absolutely not, it’s just that if you trained to do the same thing almost every day, you bound to be adept in it eventually. My mentor was totally strict about planning almost every single aspect, you know? So I'm already used to this.”
“Wait, you have a mentor? Tell me about it!” Amy enthusiastically asked.
“Shh!” A woman from nearby table reprimanded Amy for her loud noise.
Matt held back his giggles before continued. “Yeah, back when I was still living at Castelia City. She was my neighbor, I vandalized her wall and she caught me. Well, due to certain circumstances we become close eventually and I become her apprentice.”
“I see... So, what kind of a teacher she is?”
“She was a stern teacher, didn’t help that I was a naughty kid at the time. She taught It was fun, although she swept the floor with me countless times. She even beat a few powerful delinquents”
“Wow, so she’s pretty strong… No wonder you easily beat Bruna.”
“O-oh… Actually… When I said swept the floor...It’s not just metaphorically speaking haha… Not that I didn’t deserve it though.” Matt awkwardly explained to Amy.
Amy was confused with what answer should she said. She eventually did a last-ditch effort to break the silence. “A-Ahaha… I-Is that so? She must be proud of you right now.”
Matt turned silent by the sudden statement, a slight sadness painted in his face. “I wish that she actually felt that way, I never managed to know what she actually think about me until her last breath.p l”
Amy didn’t understand what Matt said until it suddenly clicked in her mind. “Sorry, it wasn’t my intention…”
“It’s okay, I know you didn’t mean to bring that up, she passed away a few months ago. Honestly, the biggest reason I’m here is actually to honor her last wish. She asked me to succeed her as a Pokemon trainer, the funny thing is I never really asked anything about her life… Even in her last breaths, I didn’t know a lot of stuff about her…”
Matt took a deep breath to compose himself before continuing. “When she died, I realized that I took our time together for granted. Unconsciously, I thought we will be able to continue as a student and teacher for quite a while. It really hit hard when she passed away haha.” Matt smiled, but the hint of his sadness was quite visible for Amy.
“You don’t have to continue if you don’t want to.”
“Oh, it’s actually quite the opposite. I’m kind of glad that you didn’t find this story boring… Well right now, I’m stuck with her only inheritance.” Matt pointed at Sherry who was sleeping on the table.
“I see, so you’ve been with her for a long time?”
“Yeah, from when she was just a baby to be exact. Believe it or not, she used to be shy and cute. I can’t believe from all the things she could’ve emulated, she now resembled me back when I was a spoiled brat. Now, I’m the one stuck pampering this little princess.” Matt rubbed the back of his head, a small smile came out from his mouth.
Amy smiled before rising up from her seat. “It’s been nice to hear your story. Shall we go outside now?”
“Whoa, hold on just a minute… You haven’t told me your story yet. It’s a bit unfair to do that you know.
“Um… but I never said that I would share mine if you told me yours. Ah, I have a great idea. If you really want to know about it, I’ll tell you then. If you can beat me in a battle that is.” Amy winked playfully as she tried to goad Matt into a battle.
“Never mind, then.” Matt stood up after he inserted Sherry inside her Pokeball. He tried to keep a straight face as possible to avoid breaking his act. He was more than happy to battle the girl but teasing her was also fun.
“H-hold on! Are you running away? As I thought you must be scared to face me.”
“Wow… I’m so scared.” Matt said flatly while making both of his hands shake in a mocking manner, with an uncaring expression still plastered to his face he finally walked out through the door.
His walk was interrupted when Amy frantically grabbed the sleeve of his shirt. “Wait! Come on… I’m just joking… I really want to try a battle against you…”
Instead of an answer, the only thing Matt gave to her was a look of confusion as he shook his head in disbelief. The girl knew it was a joke, but it’s still infuriating.
“Matt!” Amy finally loses it with Matt’s jokes.
“Yes, I am Matt, may I help you?” Matt pushed his glasses upwards using his right hand still with a straight face plastered in his face annoying the brown-haired girl.
Amy pouted in anger as her patience already ran low. This, however, elicited Matt to slowly smile while holding his laugh. “Pff...Mphh… Bwahahaha…” Matt finally couldn’t hold his laugh.
“So, I guess there’s truth when people say that you are cruel.” Amy couldn’t hide her mad expression as her joke eventually ended up backfiring to herself.
“Oh, come on, I was not the one who started all of this. Besides, it was kind of funny seeing you pouting like that… Sorry, it’s been a while since I teased someone other than Charlotte.”
“You don’t have that many friends aren't you?”
“... You sure don’t butcher your words. Anyways, you still up to the challenge?”
“You bet I am. Prepare to wipe off that creepy grin from your face as I show you what I can do.” Amy pointed her index fingers towards Matt’s face, confident at her chance of winning.
Matt smirked at the declaration Amy made, he loved the confidence she exuded but in the end, he was confident that his strategy will triumph whatever the girl brought to the table. “Fine, fine, you can try all you want, if you can that is.”
After parting ways with Janice upon reaching Fugue, Elleni had been pleased to discover that the two of them had reached the village early enough for her to nab a room at the local lodge. She had rested up there for a couple of hours and then made her way down to the beach nearby.
It wasn’t anything at all like the impressive beach back home in Vivace. The sand was more grey than white, and it wasn’t as soft, becoming muddy in a few places. Overall though, the view of the water was nice and it was pleasant enough. Elleni had quickly come to appreciate Fugue’s charm. It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the word, but it was superbly peaceful, especially after the trek through hell to get there. She didn’t think she could live there permanently, but she was more than happy to stay for a day and recuperate.
Perdito was sitting by her, quietly enjoying her company. A little way away, Rana, her new Froakie, was doing his absolute best to try and ignore Ladrona who was bounding around him playfully and happily yipping at him. He seemed quite intent on having as little fun as possible… or was Ladrona why he wasn’t enjoying himself? It was hard to tell and no matter how many times she looked over there, it wasn’t getting any easier to determine.
“Play nice, will you?” Elleni scolded gently. The end result of this was that Rana scoffed, turning away from Ladrona again, while Ladrona stopped for a second and tilted her head quizzically. Clearly, she thought she was already doing that, because a moment later she was pestering Rana again. If Rana had eyebrows, Elleni was certain one would be twitching. “Looks like you’re the grown up of the three of you,” she said to Perdito.
The Cubone dropped his bone, his eyes shooting up to Elleni and his mouth agape. He did not find the prospect of that kind of responsibility appealing, to say the least. He quickly gathered himself though, scooping up his bone and straightening himself up. If that was what Elleni wanted, he’d just have to do it afterall
“Maybe more of an older sibling then. Elleni laughed, knocking playfully on the side of Perdito’s skull and scratching his neck below it. He instantly relaxed again, returning his gaze to the water. That was until a loud yelp caused him to just about jump out of his skin, his bone hitting the sand again.
Elleni whipped her head around to see a now dripping wet Ladrona picking herself up and shaking sand from her fur, growling at a very annoyed looking Rana.
“Okay, that’s enough of that!” Elleni interjected, leaping up and placing herself between them. “You two are going to have to learn to get along. For now though, back in your balls, I’m too tired for squabbling.”
Elleni returned both the Pokemon before they got much time to complain, sighing deeply before stretching and turning to Perdito who was once again collecting himself and trying to preserve some of his dignity.
“Alright then, I’m taking that as my queue to go into town for some medicinal herbs. Break time is over for now I guess. Come on, Perdito.”
“Ugh… she really did hit herself very hard there.” a voice said in the middle of the rain.
“Is she alive?” another one asked.
“She breathes. Lucky…! I think so… This wound could’ve kill her.”
“The rain probably washed the blood away.” the other one added “I’ll call the rest of the team to help with transportation and first aids.”
“No,no, no! I’ll do it! I was the one that carried the last corpse, so it’s your- Ouch! Okay, okay! No more jokes like that! You’re still going to carry her.”
Rescue Center, Tower Mountains - Evening
Carmen wasn’t in the same place as before by the time she woke up. Was that a dream? Sadly, no. The battle and the explosion were as real as her headache and the unbearable sound coming out from the videogame of the young woman sitting by her side.
“Can you turn that thing off?” Carmen asked, raising her voice as much as she could to the other woman who didn’t seem to realize she had gotten up.
“Goddammit, you’re alive!” she exclaimed just as she saw her.
“Pardon?” she asked indignantly, but tried to pay no mind at that offensive and poor choice of words. “I- W-what happened?”
The other woman mumbled something about losing the last of her money before accommodating her glasses and clearing her throat. “Sorry… uh… I didn’t think you were going to wake up yet -I didn’t even think you were waking up, to begin with. A Gigalith exploded on your back. You hit your head with a tree. You should’ve died there. What are you even made out of? Well it doesn’t matter, because Fabio and I found you and saved your life. I would expect some kind of payment for that, but I can’t because it’s my job and that’s against the rules. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt me if you gave me something for that, y’know?”
Carmen didn’t answer, she just stared at her with the same look she had on Bruna during her speech. Just after the woman stopped talking, a man, with the same orange uniform as her, entered the room. He looked less dumb than his workmate and also like a man of a few words. Carmen was right about that.
“Nora, leave her alone.” he said just as he entered, holding a clipboard which seemed to be important. “And please stop playing video games while you are at work. I shouldn’t be telling you that at this point.”
“Fabio!” she exclaimed surprised, putting her console down. “I wasn’t playing, I swear!” Fabio simply stared at her, clearly listening to the music coming out from her console. Nora got up and rushed to the door. “What’s more. I was just about to leave! I have to hand over P100 to Laura because…” she pointed at Carmen “... I lost my bet.”
“Sure.” Fabio sighed and walked to the same chair Nora was in. “You are… Carmen Sylvia, right?” he asked, looking at his clipboard. “How are you feeling?”
“My head and my legs hurt.” she said.
“Good. At least you are feeling something.” Fabio sat down and sighed a second time.
“What’s with that weirdo?” Carmen asked looking at the door.
“I’d be a more respectful if I were you.” he reproached. “Nora may not look like the brightest soul, but in the end she was the one who rescued you.”
Carmen rolled her eyes and looked around the small room she was in right now. Fabio was quick to change the topic of conversation, though. “In case you’re wondering, we are Pokémon Rangers. You’re in the Fugue Swamp and Tower Mountains Rescue Center right now. Your bag, Rotom Phone and two Pokémon are safe with us, too.”
He took a look at his clipboard and started reading. “You don’t seem to have any broken bones, as rare as it may sound, considering your situation. You do have many injuries, though. One on your forehead, another one on your back and a few ones on your legs. Your arms seem to be intact. Now about your Pokémon…”
“What about my Pokémon?! Did something happen to them?” Carmen exclaimed, quickly turning her glance to the Ranger. She asked for both of them, but she was more preoccupied about Presto who got a good beating by that Gigalith.
“Calm down. I’m getting there.” Fabio said pushing his hand forward. “Your Karrablast is fine, it just needs some rest. I can’t say the same about your Noibat, though…”
“No! What happened to Presto?!”
“Its right ear was wounded. It won’t be able to listen properly for a while, very problematic for a Noibat, as I guess you may know.”
Carmen grimaced and looked away. She took a deep breath, trying to stay calm. “Will he recover someday?”
“If you take proper care of it, it could recover in a week or two.” he said, taking another look at his clipboard. “I’d recommend you not to put it in many battles. If possible, any. Sadly, we don’t have medication for its ear here, but if you’re lucky you could find some herbs in Fugue, where I suppose you’re going right now. In short: Be more careful from now on.”
There were some seconds of silence between both of them, which Carmen took to feel remorse for the situation she put her Pokémon in, constantly trying to blame Echo for being the one who chose the path, but eventually blaming herself for everything, until Fabio finally got up and walked to the door. “Since you’re going to Fugue now, I think it’s better for you to stay here for the night and leave tomorrow morning. The swamp isn’t that far away from here, and the weather is very bad right now.” Carmen had trouble sleeping that night, but eventually it was morning already. At her side, there was Nora… again, with her eyes stuck to her console and furiously pressing its buttons. Just as the other day, she didn’t seem to realize Carmen had woken up, until she lost.
“Psyducking hell! Not again!” Nora starting swearing quietly but her words progressively grew louder and louder until Carmen cleared her throat. “Oh…! you’re finally awake! S-sorry for that… Please, don’t tell Fabio. How was your sleep?” Carmen just stared blankly at her, too tired to answer, and hoping her expression answered the question. “It doesn’t matter. All of your stuff is right here, by the way! Get ready, so we can get going soon!”
Carmen nodded and Nora left the room. She washed her face calmly and then she realized. “We?”
Edwin woke up to a big, pink wall-eyed face staring back at him, inches from his nose.
"Ghg—!" he exclaimed, jolting to an upright position. "Oh, right, you're here..."
He rubbed his eyes and looked down. Still groggy from a less-than-ideal sleep, Edwin had momentarily forgotten about the Slowpoke that he "caught" the night before. But Major was yawning next to him now, rolling around on his back. He looked like he was trying to get at an itch. Theodore nudged the Slowpoke until he was standing upright again, before hopping on his back and gently scratching it with his talons. Major closed his eyes, enjoying the little massage.
"Ah, good, you're getting along." The Rowlet chirped in response, continuing to stamp his feet on Major's squishy, pink back. Edwin smiled at them. "Alright, I need a shower. You guys keep doing... whatever this is. Bonding. Yes. Be right back!"
A little over thirty minutes later and in a fresh set of clothes, Edwin sat at the breakfast table, waiting to be served. The previously bustling lodge was eerily quiet at this hour, but it seemed that Edwin had just woken up very early because of the poor sleep he had gotten the night before. Not too long after he sat down, the old caretaker of the lodge walked by briskly to grab something, but he turned to give the boy a funny look when he saw him sitting there by himself, doing nothing.
"Good morning, sir!" Edwin flashed him a big smile. Maybe they got off on the wrong foot last night. He can't be so unpleasant all the time... right? "Are you still serving that hot meal you offered?"
"Serve—uh, yes." The man grabbed a box that was sitting next to the refrigerator and plopped it down in front of Edwin. "Here's some oatmeal, knock yourself out. There's Moomoo Milk in the fridge, maybe even some berries and stuff you can mix in. Stove's over there." He disappeared back up the stairs before Edwin could squeeze in another word with him.
Slightly annoyed that this bed and breakfast neither had beds for him nor breakfast, he was still determined to leave with a full stomach, so Edwin grabbed a pot and poured some oats and milk in. Ten minutes of fiddling with the stove later to little success, a large flame suddenly burst from the gas stovetop, catching Edwin by surprise.
"Trying to burn down the lodge 'cause you couldn't get a room last night?" a voice coming from behind Edwin made him jump. He turned around to see Adam and Beverly walking down the stairs, looking far more rested than he did. He was relieved to see their smiling faces, and grinned back at them.
At they sat around the table, Edwin quickly glanced around to check for the old man in case he was still lurking nearby, then wasted no time recounting his awful experience at the lodge last night and this morning in a hushed voice, with Major being the only highlight of his stay here. They laughed at his dramatic retelling of events, before getting up to finally make breakfast. Edwin sighed.
"Man, this place—"
"—is really all we got all the way up these mountains, so appreciate it," Beverly finished for him. "Go sit down, kid, I'll serve you some oatmeal in a few minutes."
☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀
Edwin spent most of the next day following Adam and Beverly through the rest of Tower Mountains. They really did know what they were doing, and made the journey a lot faster, as well as more entertaining with their chatter. The boy followed Flint closely for warmth—the Charmeleon really did not appreciate this, and he kept darting ahead whenever he noticed Edwin trying to siphon his body heat, or getting too close to his tail.
No more than fifteen minutes into their journey did they find out Major was a terrible hiking companion. Slowpoke, as it turns out, are, well, slow. He padded along at an extremely leisurely pace, with Theodore on his back, before Edwin decided the speed was not going to cut it, and returned him to his Poke Ball.
They were almost to the swamp, but near the base of the mountain, they found a small cave opening that provided some shelter from the wind and rain. The sky was barely starting to darken, but Adam announced they would be stopping to camp for the night.
"Really?" Edwin frowned, peering ahead. "We still have lots of time before nightfall, maybe we can just take a short break here and power through, get a good hour or two into the swamp before settling—"
Adam barked a laugh. "Maybe you can power through, but we'll be staying here for the night. I'd rather get a good rest now and make our way through the swamp tomorrow without stopping anywhere in between." Edwin stared at him dubiously, clearly contemplating what he had said and whether or not he should power through on his own.
"You're gonna get your clothes all muddy if you camp in the swamp instead," Beverly said, pulling out their two-person tent with Flint's help.
"Ah. True." Edwin replied. He shrugged as he finally set down his bag to do the same.
Adam rolled his eyes. "Really, that was your deal breaker?"
"Boy's been stopping every 20 minutes or so to check the soles of his shoes or fix his hair under his hood." Beverly said casually. "I can tell what makes him tick."
Flint and Adam headed out to find suitable tinder, while Edwin and Beverly were tasked with setting up their campsite and finding rocks in the cave that will be suitable for constructing a fire ring around their would-be campfire. They chatted casually as they they worked on this.
"So, have you ever been to Fugue?" Beverly asked, turning over some stones.
"Oh, it's great. Cozy little place."
Edwin shrugged, not looking up. "I hear it's kind of a dump."
"Nah, I mean it's no Largo, but it's got its own charm. You really feel one with nature there." She paused, as she watched him pick flecks of dirt out of his shoes. "...Though I have a feeling you're not all that big on nature. Where did you say you were from again?"
"Dolce City. My mom's working as a Professor there." He was a little surprised how easily that came out, but continued without hesitation. "She's always conducting cool experiments, interviewing people and Pokemon, stuff like that."
"Ooh, really? You must have a lot of interesting and fun stories to tell about that."
"Oh yeah! Just the other day, actually... she was interviewing this oafish blonde girl, and her Pokemon was like a savage, crashing into windows and almost breaking priceless artifacts. Really embarrassing stuff." Theodore quietly hung his head in shame, kicking at a rock. Edwin quickly flashed him an apologetic smile when he noticed. He stooped down and nudged him gently. "Kids will be kids though, right?"
Just then, echoing footsteps and a faint but growing amber light visible in the back of the cavern signaled Flint's return, with Adam following closely behind him. It didn't look like they had any logs, but were carrying enough dead leaves, dried up plants, sticks and branches to start and sustain a fire with one of Flint's fire moves.
"Alrighty! Who's ready to cook up another hot meal?"
Rowlet ♂ // Theodore
Magikarp ♂ // Pyrite
Egg // ???
It appears to move occasionally. It may be close to hatching.
Nora walked by Carmen's side, video game in hand and with her Zebstrika behind. According to Fabio, she was meant to accompany Carmen to Fugue, by his own words, ‘to make sure she doesn't come back again.’ After he said that, he shook his head and just said ‘Never mind that.’, and went back to his own work. After seeing how Nora clumsily tripped many times for looking at her video game, Carmen knew what Fabio meant by that and that made her headache return to her.
“Y'know? I’m so glad I have the chance of traveling with you!” Nora cheered shifting her attention from the video game to Carmen and from Carmen to the steep paths of the mountains. Carmen didn’t answer and just limited herself to stare at her and hope they got to Fugue soon, so she can finally be on her own again, there was the option of running away, but her legs didn’t like that idea too much. “Not because I like you or anything. I don’t even know you. But it’s nice being free from Fabio’s rules.”
“Why are you still in this job, then?”
“It’s not as if you can find a lot of jobs around here, y'know." She answered “And... I like the adrenaline in this job."
Carmen nodded. She started noticing just now how the Pokémon Ranger had the habit of massaging her neck after she was done playing.
“You like adrenaline too, don’t you?” she asked. “If not, why else would you pick a fight with a Gigalith with only a Bug and a Flying type Pokémon? It’s either that you love adrenaline or you’re very dumb.”
“I don’t like adrenaline.” Carmen answered. “I wanted to get through quick.”
“So you’re just dumb. Got it!” Carmen shot a fierce glare at her, but the Ranger paid no mind since she had her eyes locked on her console. “Speaking of adrenaline. Do you want to know something fun to do here?”
“Riding Zebi!” she ignored. Carmen took a deep breath and as much as she tried not to hear the rest, she was unable to. “Specially during thunderstorms! She runs faster for each thunder that lands over her. I suppose you can die if one hits you instead, but other than that it’s perfectly safe, I've done it many times! You can even get across Tower Mountains in less than one day if you-!”
“Nora, was it?” Carmen interrupted, feeling how her stress went to higher levels and her headache suddenly getting worse for each word that came out of her mouth. Nora nodded. “You know what? I was thinking about what you said yesterday.”
“I said a lot of things.” Nora added.
“Yeah, you're right.” the other woman answered. “I was talking more specifically about what you said about paying you somehow. Fabio told me. You saved my life out there, didn't you? I suppose this job must be very stressing too, am I right? I mean, going outside, saving lost people and Pokémon; it should be a hard chore.”
“Where are you trying to get with that?” the Pokémon Ranger asked with a more concerned look and walking backwards. “When I said that I was joking, y’know?”
“It doesn’t matter.” Carmen replied with a forced smile. She walked behind her and placed her hands between her neck and shoulders and pressed hard. It wasn't until now that she realized how short Nora was compared to her. “Take this as some kind of payment for what you are doing right now.” she added in a double take “Is ₱500 enough for you?”
“Ouch! Don't do that!” she exclaimed, shrugging as an initial reaction “I-I guess it’s fine for- I-I mean, it’s against the rules! I can’t accept any kind of gift from other people, specially money. If Fabio finds out, he will fire me.”
Carmen tsked and shook her head, massaging even harder. “Fabio has no reason to find out. It’ll be a secret between us. Of course, I’ll need something else from you. I hope you understand.”
“Ugh… sure?” she said, shaking herself attempting to get Carmen off her shoulders. The Trainer just pressed harder in response. “What do you-?”
“I don't feel comfortable with people following me, so I'd like it if you leave me alone!” Carmen interrupted pressing even harder and letting her loose. In that moment, she felt how all of the stress she had accumulated since yesterday faded away. “Will you?”
Nora walked away from her, touching her neck with a painful expression. “... How sincere.”
“You’re one to talk!”
“I can’t do that.” she continued, massaging her neck with her right hand. “I am responsible of making sure you get to Fugue alive. Y’know, that’s my job.”
“I’ll be fine! I have a Rotom Phone to guide me and I still have another Pokémon with me, you don’t have to worry at all.” And honestly I don’t feel safe walking with a weirdo playing some video game as she walks. she wanted to add, but she thought that her massage was enough of being rude. “Say, what about ₱700. Is that a better offer?”
To Carmen’s surprise, Nora was actually considering it. She honestly didn’t think persuading her would be that easy, but that was for the better. However, as interested as Nora was on the money, she still took a lot of pride on her job… or at least enough to hold on until Carmen raised the offer to ₱1000.
Nora smirked, regaining the same colorful expression from before. “Deal! Uh… only if you let me take you to the swamp at least. Y’know, it would be really bad for me if you die here.”
Carmen sighed. She would prefer to take her out of the way, but she couldn’t win all the time. The swamp was still very close by now so it wasn’t really much of a difference.
“To the swamp it is. But since you’ll still be with me for another while, I’ll ask you for another favor: Can you keep quiet?” Carmen said. “You know, I’ve had this… annoying headache since the morning, and what I need the least right now is… listening to your neverending chatter. No offense, of course. I hope you understand.”
“Yessir! No more talking, got it!” Nora yelled which caused Carmen to grimace at her. “By the way, you don’t mind if I’m playing while walking, right? It’s not dangerous, I swear. I have the way to the swamp memorized, so I can assure you there’s nothing to fear.”
“Uh… I’d prefer it if you don’t. But I think I could bear with it if you don’t take me to a bottomless pit.” she answered, putting a finger over her lips to tell her to stop talking when Nora tried to answer. Nora was right, it wasn’t dangerous walking with her while she was playing. The few times she tripped, she didn’t hit herself very hard. About twenty minutes after Carmen made her offer, the air started getting more humid and the ground got each step more muddy. That signaled for both women that they made it to their destination.
“Well, here we are!” the Pokémon Ranger confirmed. “This is where we part ways. You know what that means, right?”
“Yeah.” Carmen said as she took out her wallet. She was used to bring only ₱3000 with her in case she ran into a no credit card situation, but most of her money was in the cards her aunt gave her. After defeating Bruna, she had to transfer all of that money into one because she hadn’t spent anything at Crescendo, so she still had those ₱3000 with her. “Here you go; the ₱1000 I promised. Now if you excuse me-”
“Wait!” Nora called, holding Carmen’s arm as she walked away into the swamp. She was holding a small paper between her fingers and quickly put it in Carmen’s hand.
“What's this?” she asked.
“Instructions from Fabio.” she answered “I was supposed to buy what was in there for you, but since you're paying me to go away, you gotta do it yourself.” she started walking away, but she suddenly turned back. “Thanks for... the neck thing, by the way. It feels better now for some reason.”
“That's what massages do.” she said “I'm good at that. Take it as a small favor. Did it hurt?”
“Yes, a lot. Don't do it again.”
Good. She thought, but only nodded and turned away and started walking into the swamp. Suddenly, Nora rushed towards Carmen and pressed her shoulders, clearly not with the intention of returning the favor, forcing Carmen to bend down, letting out a mild ow. Before the Trainer could react, Nora left.
Carmen wiped her shoulders (although they were totally clean) and took a look at that paper. It only said, with an excelent handwriting: Buy Heal Powder medicine from Fugue’s local Herb Shop. Follow explanations from the herbalist. Carmen shrugged and put the paper inside her pocket and started walking her way across the swamp now with Gareth and Echo by her side.
The door creaked open, but cooking noises and idle chatter seemed to have masked the sound, and no one noticed him stepping inside. Edwin frowned. He supposed it was generally safe enough in their small neighborhood that no one would randomly come in without knocking or anything, but they should really keep this door locked. He clicked it shut behind him as he took off his muddy boots by the "Welcome!" mat. Rain thudded dully on the wooden roof, and the smell of vegetables wafted through the narrow hallway as Edwin made his way to the kitchen.
"—home in time for dinner, hopefully, but you know how fussy your brother gets. Wouldn't be surprised if he tried to wait out the rain before making his way back or something."
"Maybe he's stuck in the swamp."
"Oh, hush, Lily—have a little faith. Come, help me set the table."
Edwin was mildly offended that they thought he wouldn't make it back in good time, or at all, but couldn't help smiling anyway. It had only been a couple days, but he had never been away from his family for that long. He missed them. Edwin cleared his throat, but they had their backs turned to him as they scurried about to set up dinner, and their old kitchen hood was as noisy as ever.
"Let's try giving him a call in a few minutes. If he's gonna be a while, we can always eat first and just set some food aside for him."
"Oh, I know, I just don't want his soup to get cold, I made his favourite—"
His clearing of throat was a little louder this time, which finally caught their attention and was met with a squeal as his sister dashed over to him... before plucking Theodore off his shoulder and cradling him in her arms.
"Hello, hello, Teddy! How have you been?" Lily cooed, as their mother embraced an indignant Edwin.
"Hi, Ma. I missed you. Hey, stranger." The boy retorted.
"I think your brother's jealous you're only glad to see Theo." Ma giggled, as she pulled her children closer for a group hug. "You know we missed you, too."
Just then, they heard a ding coming from the oven. "Oh! That's the spinach-artichoke lasagna. Come, I made your favourite garden vegetable soup, too!"
It was really nice to sit down with his family and enjoy a home-cooked meal once again. They chatted about his adventure so far and his Pokémon, all of whom also got a bit of soup and lasagna for dinner. Edwin wanted to spend more time with them before going to bed, but was more tired than he realized and passed out pretty soon after dinner, and getting his three Pokémon settled in. They would have all day tomorrow together, anyway. His bed was small, old and creaky, like everything else in their home, but it definitely still beat sleeping in a tent. And sleeping in his own bed again was comforting, even if it was super crowded, with Theo on his left and Major on his right.
The next morning, a loud "EDDIEEE!" coming from across the hall woke him up, but judging from the voice and where it was coming from, he had a pretty good idea who was calling him and why, and put a pillow over his head to block out the noise. The family only had a single shower-and-tub combo in their shared bathroom, after all.
Moments later, he heard a rustling next to him and peeked out. Lily was hunched over his bag, towel in one hand and her other hand rooting around his supplies.
"What are you doing?"
"Getting your goldfish out of the tub, I need to shower." she said matter-of-factly, as she rummaged around and pulled out a Poke Ball.
"Give it here, you don't know how to use that." He finally jumped out of bed and tried to wrestle it away from his sister.
"The hell I don't—it's got one button on it, how hard can it be?" she sidestepped Edwin and bounded back across the hall with him in tow. "Why is he even in the bathtub? That's super weird."
"He hasn't been able to swim freely in days. Come, Pyrite, I'll take you down to the river later," he said. He drained the tub as Lily figured out how to work the Poke Ball.
"It's gonna have to be a lot later. You're coming to the market with us today."
"I don't remember agreeing to that."
"Well, Ma brought it up last night, and you didn't disagree, so... You're coming with us."
"Huh." He'd say he didn't hear her say anything of the sort, but truthfully he does zone out and tune her out sometimes when their mother starts to get really chatty. And he was really tired last night, so it's possible he just missed it. But surely I can talk my way out of this. he thought to himself as his sister shooed him out of the bathroom.
🍏 🍏 🍏 🍏 🍏
About 45 minutes later, all three of them were awake, showered and dressed, but Edwin was not having much luck talking to Ma.
"No more 'buts', son. Now, help your sister with those crates, we're gonna need all hands on deck—I'm expecting more business today, with all you Amateur League kids passing through Fugue."
"But Ma, I didn't come back to work in the market," he complained. "What kid's gonna be buying fruits and vegetables, anyway?"
"I'm sure some will appreciate fresh, home-grown produce, but yes, I did think of that and I'm way ahead of you there. I prepared extra batches of my oven-baked apple chips, some fruit-and-nut trail mix, and banana cookies, for lazy kids like you who just want to grab a quick snack on the go. Ooh! Maybe you can introduce me to some of the friends you made so far, if they come on by."
"He's a celebrity now, Ma, won't be caught dead selling produce with us." Lily teased.
He wasn't going to say it out loud to their mother, but Lily pretty much said what he was thinking. What would the other challengers think if they saw him selling berries and apple chips in the market?
"Oh, nonsense. Go grab a coat, it's a bit chilly out. We're leaving in five minutes, I don't want to open late."
He wanted to protest, but recognized the finality in her tone. "Alright," he sighed. He dashed into his room for a coat, but also pulled on a hat, and grabbed his sunglasses as well for good measure. "I'm ready, let's go."
"Okay, secret agent." Lily nodded at him, before giggling at his getup. He rolled his eyes at her behind the sunglasses.
"Eddie." His mom called out, as he reached for the front door.
"Oh. Right, right. I got it."
Rowlet ♂ // Theodore
Magikarp ♂ // Pyrite
Egg // ???
It appears to move occasionally. It may be close to hatching.