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Destiny Village ~ Central Crossroads

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Dragonfree

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Staff
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Iceland
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she/her/hers
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  1. butterfree
  2. mightyena
  3. charizard
  4. custom/scyther-mia
Dave blinked. He hadn't really expected Soda to agree. Guess they were doing this fucking thing.

He rolled his eyes after Maple, grabbing another mozzarella stick. "Fucking gods," he agreed. "Guardian of Telum with Flesh, huh?"
 

Dragonfree

Moderator
Staff
Location
Iceland
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she/her/hers
Partners
  1. butterfree
  2. mightyena
  3. charizard
  4. custom/scyther-mia
Dave took a deep breath and accepted the calzone, biting into it and chewing it slowly. He'd miss the X-Eye's food. You know, in the hypothetical where he wasn't about to lose all memory of it.

Beside him, Shadow congealed out of the air, sidled closer to Soda, laid his head on his shoulder and wrapped a paw around him. God. Soda'd better not be able to feel that.

"My guess is Team Spectrum would've found a way to save you anyway. Big bunch of goody-two-shoes. Never met a villain they didn't want to redeem and become besties with."
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. charizard
  3. milotic
  4. custom/zoroark-soda
  5. sceptile
"Guess that's just how this world works," Soda remarked, looking down. "Gah. I guess that's something I shouldn't be bitter about. Pop's... alright. He knows how to run things and he's not some tyrant or whatever." He sighed between bites, breathing through his nose. "Guess if Telum is the same way, I wouldn't mind protecting a place like that I'll keep an eye on your kid, too. She'll be fine."
 

Dragonfree

Moderator
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Location
Iceland
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she/her/hers
Partners
  1. butterfree
  2. mightyena
  3. charizard
  4. custom/scyther-mia
"My ki... oh, Mia?" Dave raised his eyebrows, shaking his head. "You'd have to ask her. Dunno if she's got any interest in staying in Telum. Hell, she's probably looking forward to finally not having any parental figures telling her what to do." He paused, looking off into the middle distance. "But thanks, I guess. Would say it'd be good to know somebody's making sure she's okay, but, you know. I won't know."

He took another bite of the calzone, glancing over at Shadow. He'd released Soda, thank God, but was still sitting there with shoulders hunched, ears flat, looking down. In a way it was worse when Soda couldn't see him, because it meant he had to just ignore whatever the fuck he was doing.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
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Partners
  1. flygon
  2. charizard
  3. milotic
  4. custom/zoroark-soda
  5. sceptile
Soda glanced at Dave, following his eyes, and then looked toward the general direction of where Shadow was.

"He's still there, eh?" he asked. "...Y'know, I thought I felt something for a while. Thought it was the wind. I can't see it all too well, but maybe if I focus..."

Swirls of darkness formed around Shadow. Little motes of spectral light clung to his fur, and then, to Dave and Shadow, nothing seemed to have changed.

"Hey, look at that. Something is there." He smirked. "Old trick I use for tracking Ghosts that go transparent. Guess it's a similar concept." He rubbed his nose with a claw. "I guess if I was actually on your side, I'd've suggested trying this... heh. Damn." He glanced at Dave. "How have you two been, anyway? Must be revealing, having someone like him to show how you feel. That damn 'zard make fun of you for it?"
 

Dragonfree

Moderator
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Location
Iceland
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she/her/hers
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  1. butterfree
  2. mightyena
  3. charizard
  4. custom/scyther-mia
Dave sighed in exasperation. "Just won't fuck off," he grumbled. "And last time I talked to Owen he made a big flowery metaphor about why I'm a particularly trashy pile of ash, so that's how that's going."

Shadow winced. "That wasn't the point."

"Went to therapy, too. You know that? Fugu, the battle therapist. Starts by asking lightweight questions and then suddenly kicks her desk into the wall and busts out a goddamn sword. Fucking nuts."

Shadow's eyes stared at him. Dave ignored him, taking another bite of the calzone.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
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  1. flygon
  2. charizard
  3. milotic
  4. custom/zoroark-soda
  5. sceptile
"Goddamn, he even did some symbolism on you?" Soda asked, scoffing. "Guy tried that on me, but I don't care how many centuries he has on me, he's an idiot." He tapped his arm with his free hand, then took another bite. "...Still, I dunno if that guy would say something like that deliberately. He usually has some kind of optimistic twist to it to make you feel better or some crap. What'd he say specifically?"
 

Dragonfree

Moderator
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Location
Iceland
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she/her/hers
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  1. butterfree
  2. mightyena
  3. charizard
  4. custom/scyther-mia
Dave waved a paw vaguely. "It was all a big thing about, you know, some shot-in-the-dark attempts to psychoanalyze why I'm not happy enough, and it's all a defense mechanism or something, and that's why I'm like this ugly flower that doesn't bloom, and sure, both flowers'll end up as piles of ash, but the ash pile of the one that bloomed sure is more likable, isn't it."

"He talked about why your Shadow is speaking against you."

"And yeah, he went off about how his Shadow nods along with everything he says. Very helpful."
 

Dragonfree

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Iceland
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she/her/hers
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  1. butterfree
  2. mightyena
  3. charizard
  4. custom/scyther-mia
Shadow looked up at Soda. "I'm the part he hates."

Dave snorted. "The part I hate. Right. Yeah, that about sums it up."

"The part that's vulnerable. The part that feels things. The part that needs people."

Dave rolled his eyes and stuffed another mozzarella stick in his mouth.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
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  1. flygon
  2. charizard
  3. milotic
  4. custom/zoroark-soda
  5. sceptile
"The part you hate, huh." Soda hummed. "Yeah. I'd be pretty pissed about that side of me following me around... but it's also me. Kinda funny to think about. Shoving that guy around is just hurting yourself in a roundabout way." He scratched his ear, thoughtful, before looking down at Shadow. "What do you want, huh?" He glanced at Dave. "Y'know, for the bad side, he's pretty docile."
 

Dragonfree

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Location
Iceland
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she/her/hers
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  1. butterfree
  2. mightyena
  3. charizard
  4. custom/scyther-mia
Dave sighed, rubbing at his face. "I mean, it's not like he's evil. Some people's Shadows are running around as their 'dark impulses' or 'demon alter-egos' or whatever the fuck, but he's just..." He waved a paw vaguely at Shadow.

"Pathetic," the other Mightyena suggested in a murmur. "Scared. Weak."

"I don't know what he wants. He's just sometimes there and has no fucking filter and I have to try to rein him in so he doesn't do something stupid, like... like a fucking kid."

He stopped, his gaze lingering on Shadow.

"I want to be loved," said the other Mightyena, staring up at him. "By anyone."

Dave exhaled, his grip tightening on what remained of the calzone. Hot tomato sauce dripped out of it onto the ground. "Fuck!" He rifled through the takeout bag for a napkin.
 
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Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. charizard
  3. milotic
  4. custom/zoroark-soda
  5. sceptile
A divine gust of wind washed over some of the fallen sauce, disappearing it completely. Soda lowered his hand from the subtle motion.

"Hey," he said, "forget it. No big deal." He looked skyward. "Man. That makes me wonder what my Shadow would've said. Or maybe I became him for a while..." He shook his head and gave Soda a little smile, one that Dave had never seen before. It was actually kindhearted and soft; it was almost--after everything one knew about the Zoroark--unfitting.

It may have occurred to Dave just then that Soda hadn't put up an illusion this whole time.

Sighing, he looked ahead. "Gonna miss you, Dave."
 

Dragonfree

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she/her/hers
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  1. butterfree
  2. mightyena
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Shadow actually smiled back, miracle of miracles, ears perking. And then leaned into Soda's side, just to make it weird again. Maybe he was less like a kid and more like just a goddamn dog.

"Yeah, well, I would say I'll miss you too, but you know. Memory wipe."

Shadow's face fell, his ears flattening, and Christ. Dave sighed. "Then again, you know, maybe the fucking 'Hero's Aura' is a real thing, and one day I'll magically remember everything. Rave about my BFF Soda the Zoroark while they take me to the loony bin. Wouldn't that be great?"

He put a paw on Shadow's head and just ruffled his fur a bit. He felt it on his own head, and it was fucking weird, but whatever. Shadow leaned into the touch, eyes closed contentedly.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
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  1. flygon
  2. charizard
  3. milotic
  4. custom/zoroark-soda
  5. sceptile
"Heh." Soda looked up. "Chances are, I'm gonna be dead by the time you remember me. I'm old, Dave. I just aged gracefully, but I'm still mortal. Just treat me like an old friend who's moved on, I say." He looked between Dave and Shadow and there was that genuine smile again. Peaceful, despite everything before.

"Maybe you won't remember, maybe you will. But fuck it, it's happening now. I think that amounts to something." He looked down the street. Distantly, Cal was having an argument with Diyem about something, who knew what. Based on how she was pointing at the yard it was probably something petty.

Soda took one more mozzarella stick. "Good luck in the fight," he said. "Not really either of our things, but hey. When in Rome." He raised it. "To bullshit battle culture."
 

Dragonfree

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Iceland
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  1. butterfree
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Well, wasn't that fucking sobering. Dave finished the last of the calzone silently as Shadow pressed closer to Soda.

He picked up a mozzarella stick of his own and raised it with him. "To bullshit battle culture. We'll see how it goes."

<><><><><>​
 
Epilogue - More savings than a bank vault

Ambyssin

Gotta go back. Back to the past.
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. silvally-dragon
  2. necrozma-ultra
  3. milotic
  4. dreepy
"I have literally saved twice the number of eternatus I've tried killing."

Bahamut moved a keldeo knight piece so it was one move away from a black palkia piece. "Pretty sure that means I'm a failed reproduction. Do I change my name, then? Check, by the way."

The silvally sitting opposite him had his gaze fixed on the chessboard, eyes darting from his king to a bronzong rook. "I'm... not entirely sure that's how it works. Also, like, nobody necessarily needs a reason to change their name? Wouldn't you know that? You lived on Earth at one point. Humans change their names all the time."

Nero settled for moving the palkia piece one space to the right.

"Yes, but humans are weird." Bahamut wrapped a lower wing around a white bisharp piece and diagonally moved it to take a black pawniard piece. "They made multiple mewtwo across different dimensions... all with the same blasted test tube nonsense."

Nero's electronics turned blue. "I'm not sure that's a path you want to go down."

"... hrmph. That's between me and the mewtwo." Bahamut lay on his side. "I could and should tell off that one mingling with deoxys. Those things are devil spawns." He paused. "Also, checkmate."

Squawking, Nero looked down at the chessboard. His head crest drooped and he, too, slumped onto his belly. "You're going to have to find someone else for this. I'm not good at this game."

"Why did you agree to play, then?" Bahamut held up a wing. "Don't answer that, because I assume it's some variation of 'taking pity' and that'll make things more awkward."
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. charizard
  3. milotic
  4. custom/zoroark-soda
  5. sceptile
Black ooze slithered toward, under, and then past Nero and reappeared next to the chess board. The ooze abruptly grabbed all of the pieces and, in a flurry of motions, replaced them back to their starting positions before making the first move.

Two golden embers for eyes squeezed out from under the board.

"Hey," Cal said, her embers gleaming mischievously. "Big brother."
 

Ambyssin

Gotta go back. Back to the past.
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. silvally-dragon
  2. necrozma-ultra
  3. milotic
  4. dreepy
Bahamut gripped the chess pieces with his telekinesis and put them into a felt bag.

“What do you want?”
 
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