"Good luck..." whispered Brea. "Good luck."
"I suppose Xavian announced what happened with Clink and Orzo?" Nurse Joy asked, looking up at Wallace. "It's just awful! First kidnapping, and now poisoning! What kind of terrible monster would poison a pokemon?" She shook her head. "Xavian came to me and asked for some remedies."So much for battling Risoni with a Hydro Pump.
Wallace didn't want to assume bad faith from Xasagne. As a former "Always sick with something" kid, he didn't want to assume that the Hoopa was feigning illness.
But he had to be doubtful. How convenient was it that they fell ill just as suspicions were pointing towards them?
Now Wallace had three options:
1. Break his code of morals—and Runekyō law, and after the whole Manafí deal, too—by being a hypocrite and feigning illness
2. Try to visit the ill Pokémon, pretending to be worried about their health
3. Wait until he actually got sick or injured and hope he became roommates with Risoni
For the former two, he could break Runekyō law, because a life was at risk—several were at risk. For the latter third, it would be... painful at best and a waste at worst.
So here he was, carrying a bouquet of assorted flowers (Winona would know the name of every one of them...), standing at the infirmary desk, faking sympathy.
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"It's such a shame what's happened with Clink and Risoni." A beat. "Orzo, my most sincere apologies. I..." What's the most believable story you can come with? "...I knew a Hoopa named Risoni." You didn't even know what a Hoopa was until a month ago. "And Clink... Victoria has told me many wonderful stories about Clink. I wish them a speedy recovery."
[[ @Flyg0n ]]
"A mix of Pecha with other curative herbs. The thing is, I'm not sure what kinda of poisoning it is yet... Normally Pecha will work for typical post-battle poison healing but this seems different. I can only pray they recover quickly so everyone can go home.""What kind of... remedies do you use for poison, if I'm permitted to ask? Probably Pecha berries, I assume, if it's Pokémon poisoning. I worry about my own partner in case something befalls her."
Nurse Joy nodded in understanding. "It breaks my heart as well. You would have to speak to Xavian but they're staying in his private quarters, naturally. He's very distraught about it."There you go, you fucking genius.
"Do you... Do you know where they're staying? It breaks my heart knowing they're unwell, and I feel the need to send my wishes of good health to them in person."
"Well, when he's not with his pokemon I know he spends time around the lounge reading. You might look for him there. Although don't be surprised if he's not very talktative." Her brow wrinkled with worry. "I hope he's handling all this alright..."Wallace swallowed.
Tziráchi, To Astéri, please let nothing befall my beloved Victoria.
"Do you happen to know where Xavian is? I assume he left the banquet hall."
Wes raised an eyebrow. “You sure you don’t want to go in? You look like shit.”Again, she went back to rubbing them. “I know I’m literally the last person you want to be interacting with right now, but we’re still on the same side here, so you should be aware of what I managed to find out today. Between the Trousselin-ers only, of course.”
Odette stared at him for a while, deciding if she wanted to take offense or find it funny. Her gut went with the latter, and she laughed just a little.You sure you don’t want to go in? You look like shit.”
The moment the words left his mouth, he mentally kicked himself. Idiot. You’re an idiot, Lycas. He pinched the bridge of his nose. “That…came out…sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. You just look unwell, is all.”
Wes relaxed a little, relieved she decided to let this one slide. He shrugged at her response. “Fair enough. Can’t say I blame you. Not a fan of them myself.” Though he had to admit, there was merit to seeking medical attention. He’d probably never have come to that conclusion were it not for Rui all but forcing him to receive treatment when necessary. “Still though, maybe you can get some medicine to take back to the room or something.”“No, you’re good,” she snickered. “I’m well aware. I just don’t…do doctors.”
Wes stared. “You—what?”“I saw Jirachi today. They told me about their theory about who’s doing this. Some myth about a malicious mythic or legendary dubbed vaguely as ‘The Golden One.’ They have a huge problem with strong Pokemon-Trainer bonds, so we’re hypothesizing that’s who this motherfucker is going after.” She was suddenly scratching her cheek again.
He nodded. “You mentioned that earlier. And you said this dye is the weird smells some of us have been picking up at the kidnapping sites?”“Some other Trousselin-ers and I met in the lounge to discuss some things, and Steven apparently found Jenny’s notebook. He and Wallace deciphered a coded memo she’d written, I guess, that hypothesized that the culprit is dyeing themselves with berries, and something about mythical ‘mon, whom she was going to investigate…and now she’s gone.”
She then shrugged. “And some other little girl mentioned that the berries in question were pink, yellow, and gray—otherwise Orzo’s colors. And after what we just heard from Sigmin, my head’s full. Either Orzo is our guy with Clink in tow, and Irene gave them a taste of their own medicine, or somebody’s trying to do some insane framing and was able to utilize Roserade’s poison. Just theories, but…Wallace helped Steven decipher the code in the journal, and now he just got fucked up. Though I don’t know, now it might be partially my fault…”
Finally, she locked eyes with him. “I’m rambling. Sorry. I know it’s a lot to take in, but that’s not even it.”
Wes’ mind had started racing through different theories and strategies and methods on how to get into the room that held that damn ghost, but it all came to a screeching halt as soon as Odette mentioned Mitch’s name.She nodded her head toward the infirmary. “I made a wish with Jirachi. To bring back a missing trainer. She said it would work best with a person I knew, and…that ended up being Mitch. And it worked. She like harvested the bond my partners and I share and was able to keep us hidden while we went to wherever and got him. Bonds are powerful like that here, I’m thinking,” she said. “But, he’s fine. He and Mightyena looked physically unharmed, aside from being unconscious. But they’re in there. So yeah, whAtever you heard? It’s them.”
Odette shrugged. “I showed up with a pharmacy in my backpack, it’s whatever.”“Still though, maybe you can get some medicine to take back to the room or something.”
She nodded along. “Yeah, I’ve been wracking my brain down to the damn stem trying to narrow it down, but nothing’s coming to mind. And I know a thing or two about malicious fucking legendaries.”“The only ‘Golden One’ I can think of is Ho-oh, but that doesn’t line up. All I’ve heard in the myths about Ho-oh sure don’t say anything about holding a grudge against…bonds, or whatever. The opposite, really.”
Odette nodded to that. “Yeah, it was mentioned in that group chat we have. The grey flakes have a weird…chemical-y and fruity smell to them, and we think it’s from the dye. I wasn’t finding them myself, that was a white lie, but I know about it.”He nodded. “You mentioned that earlier. And you said this dye is the weird smells some of us have been picking up at the kidnapping sites?”
A scoff erupted her at that. “Glad we’re on the same page there; planning to ask around until I can get a trail of where exactly these ‘private quarters’ are so I can bust down the fucking door. No offense to Xavian whatsoever but if his partner is doing some bullshit under his nose, I want to know. And if he’s being framed, well…I’ll owe them a new door.”“Yeah, I’m convinced that that little ghost bastard is involved somehow. Cornering him needs to be everyone’s top priority, I think. Xanthian can’t keep everyone away forever.” His face darkened. “I’ll force my way into that damn room if I have to.”
She eyed him knowingly, then gestured to him. “This exact reason,” she answered. “Best to get the less important stuff out of the way so you can digest it while you sink your teeth into that pivotal info.”“I—what? Are you serious?” He stared at her in disbelief. “Why didn’t you start with that? Gods, this is—that’s huge. He might be able to tell us where they were taken. He might have seen the attacker! If we got one person back, then maybe we can get all of them back somehow, right?”
Wes smirked. That was the kind of thinking he could get behind. “Looks like we’re on the same page, then. So, which of us should do the sweet-talking?” He paused, then laughed a little at that. “Okay, I guess I haven’t exactly made the best case for myself. But if it came down to sympathizing with someone who worries about their Pokémon…”A scoff erupted her at that. “Glad we’re on the same page there; planning to ask around until I can get a trail of where exactly these ‘private quarters’ are so I can bust down the fucking door. No offense to Xavian whatsoever but if his partner is doing some bullshit under his nose, I want to know. And if he’s being framed, well…I’ll owe them a new door.”
Wes was about to propose that they do just that—march on in to the infirmary and demand to speak with Mitch and Mightyena—until he noticed how low the sun was in the sky. He felt his chest tighten.Another shrug. “Truth be told, that’s the reason why I would even consider going back in there. I’m really aching to talk to him and just…make sure he’s okay. There wasn’t any outside damage, which leads me to believe everyone else is in a similar state, and you know,” she held up her hand and hovered her index finger over her thumb, “small things to cling to here. Maybe they’re all just in some crazy hypersleep. No clue. But it’s worth feeling like shit right now.”
Pursing her lips, Odette gazed up at the overhead leaves. “I wouldn’t say I made a good case either; my anger problems don’t necessarily give a good first impression,” she said sheepishly, twirling one of her braids around her finger.Wes smirked. That was the kind of thinking he could get behind. “Looks like we’re on the same page, then. So, which of us should do the sweet-talking?” He paused, then laughed a little at that. “Okay, I guess I haven’t exactly made the best case for myself. But if it came down to sympathizing with someone who worries about their Pokémon…”
He looked down at his two Pokémon, and they both blinked up at him. Neo and Novo. His family. His tethers to sanity. His reasons for living.
“…I think I could handle that just fine,” he said quietly.
As he spoke again, Odette also turned to eye the setting sun. Fuck, how was it already so late? “Say no more,” she said. “After what happened today, I’m not down to be out when that sun goes down.”“I’d suggest we go in there, but it’s getting a bit too late for my liking.” He shifted his stance and glanced in the direction of the dorms. “Say we do this first thing tomorrow? I’d like to be back in my room well before dark…just to be safe.”
Well, now that sounded like quite the story. Wes offered a small, yet bitter smile. “Well, you’re not the only one who has lied for personal gain. Though my case was…well. I’m not exactly known for making the best decisions, I guess.”“But,” she continued, “rest assured that I acted for upwards of five years. I managed to make an,” her face suddenly contorted into a look of disgust, “ex of mine think I was in love with him for information. And it worked.” Too well.
Her tone was unexpected, but…not unwelcome. His smile became more genuine. “I wouldn’t say no to that.”“We can play it by ear. Or tag team again,” she suggested earnestly.
Wes nodded. “Agreed. Don’t know what sort of shape he’ll be in, but if he’s up for it…he might be able to lend us a hand in getting into that room.”She turned back to him and nodded. “Sounds good. I do also want to try to run down Xavian as well; see what I can get out of him. But speaking to Nate is definitely a top priority. We’ll figure it out.”
A peace offering. Wes couldn’t say he’d been expecting one at all, but he wasn’t about to complain. With an amused huff and a soft grin, he straightened and faced the dorms alongside her. “Why not? Besides, that thing you said about you and your ex is quite the story. I’ve got to hear it.”With a motion toward the dorms, she pushed herself off the tree. “Wanna walk back? To make up for the shitty tense walk back we had yesterday?”
As Victoria ranted, Brea stroked her soothingly, letting her vent out her frustration. "You're right to be angry," she said, once Victoria had finished. I once thought that anger was evil. Somethin bad to hide away, pretend I wasn't angry. Especially as a healer, I told myself anger was bad, that I should be kind."("I'm worried about Wallace. I'm scared I'll never be able to get home. I'm angry at whoever is responsible for this. But above all, I'm angry. I'm angry at our attacker. I'm angry at Xavian. I'm angry at...") Victoria shook her head. ("...forgive me for saying this, but I'm angry at the gods for letting all of this happen. Letting Wallace go through years and years of suffering only to let this happen. Why? Why? Why?")
Victoria Looked back up at Nurse Joy. ("And to tell you the truth, I'm beginning to feel homicidal thoughts for the third time in my life. Not towards the gods, but towards the culprit.")
Wallace stood up and half-walked, half-stumbled to Nurse Joy.
"Honey, I need to go to the post office to return the hell this dastard has put me through."
With that, he all but fell out of the room. Victoria followed close behind, both to get righteous revenge and to make sure Wallace didn't get killed.