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Spinda Cafe

Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
"Oh..."

Cynthian wanted to say more, but his mind drew a blank. He couldn't help but look down despondently, creating another awkward silence between them. Though a flicker of curiosity flashed in his eyes when Skara set her lump right into the juice bowl.

"How are you getting used to that lump thing so far? Looks to me like you've tamed your shade quite well," Cynthian said with a nervous laugh. By that point, he begged for anything that could lift the mood.
 

Phoenixsong

the world's scariest violinist
Partners
  1. custom/skiddo-steplively
Limax settled into the bowl with the tiniest of splashes, and sat stock still for several seconds, as though unsure of what to make of its new environment. Alien emotions brushed against Skara's own: confusion, worry, calming down, confusion again, curiosity. A little bubble floated to the top of the wepear juice and burst, as though maybe the shade had taken a sip. More confusion, recognition, excitement. Limax wobbled energetically, splashed more juice onto the table, and then set about absorbing its drink.

"Not sure whether 'tamed' is the right word," Skara said idly, grabbing a napkin to wipe up the splashes and then watching the liquid level in the bowl recede bit by bit. Good enough. "It's calm, at least. I think. It thinks? I dunno. Did you know these things can project their thoughts or emotions or something into your head once they've settled into a stone? It's bizarre." She sighed again. "Good news is that it's a little easier to understand, and at least it can tell me when it's not going to answer questions anymore. Bad news is it still doesn't know the answers to any of the questions I want to ask, so I'm lost, have a weird shadow parasite linked to my brain, and am no closer to finding a solution to any of this than when I started.

"Still... I guess at least Limax here is friendlier than the first one I tried studying. As long as it gets its snacks, anyway."
 
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Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
Did you know these things can project their thoughts or emotions or something into your head once they've settled into a stone? It's bizarre."

"Whoa, I didn't know about that at all. It does sound bizarre. How does that even feel like? Is it like hearing a little voice in your head? Or just some sort of... mental tug?" Cynthian asked, his eyes widened in amusement. He reclined in his stool and sighed. "Sorry, I'm struggling to quite understand such a weird experience. Please carry on."

"Still... I guess at least Limax here is friendlier than the first one I tried studying. As long as it gets its snacks, anyway."

"Which one did you try studying the first time?" Cynthian asked with a head tilt. He furrowed his brows and pursed his lips for a moment before his expression cleared again. "And come to think of it, whatever did you do with the one that... latched onto me?"
 

Phoenixsong

the world's scariest violinist
Partners
  1. custom/skiddo-steplively
"I don't know that it makes sense to anyone who's had it happen." Skara allowed herself a bemused click. "I dunno, Owen seems like he's taking it in stride, from what little I've seen. It's definitely not a voice, not usually—" that one, uh, outburst notwithstanding "—even though they seem to understand words when we use them. As far as I can tell, it's mostly like... emotions, I guess? Like feeling something content or confused or annoyed inside your head, even though that's not what you personally are feeling at that moment. Or it can kind of get across 'yes' and 'no', a sort of sense of assent or confirmation or denial." She huffed. "Sorry, I'm not sure how much that clears it up for you, but like I said, it's... weird."

"Which one did you try studying the first time?" ... "And come to think of it, whatever did you do with the one that... latched onto me?"

"Ah, yeah." Skara paused again, only now realizing how strange this was and feeling a smidge uncomfortable. "That was actually the one I'd been trying to talk to at first, since it was the first one I actually had in my... possession, I guess. I've actually got it with me now, in a jar." She made as if to fish it out of her satchel, but then stopped, unsure whether Cynthian would actually want to be face to face with the thing that had attacked him. "Limax can be fussy sometimes, but this one doesn't seem to like me at all." Clearly, after what happened before. "I was thinking Chip might want to try looking at it instead, since he's supposed to have some kind of lab or something in Destiny Village."
 
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Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
Cynthian closed his eyes and tapped on the table with a rose thorn. In truth, he wasn't sure whether or not he wanted to meet the shade. The thing he had experienced thanks to it were... unpleasant, and even that was putting things lightly.

Cynthian wore a focused look. He couldn't force himself to smile as he made the request even if he wanted to. His heart drummed in his chest, and he repeatedly reminded himself that the shade was contained and there was no reason to be so afraid of it anymore. And besides, the shade wasn't the first thing that had possessed him in his life anyway.

"Let me see the shade. If you'd please."
 

Phoenixsong

the world's scariest violinist
Partners
  1. custom/skiddo-steplively
Skara blinked. "Really? I mean... if you're sure..."

She set the satchel on the table and poked her head under the flap, coming out again a second later with the jar in her pincers. The creature inside hissed as she set it down across from the roselia. Then she watched, eyes flicking between Cynthian and the shade, ready to stow the jar again if it looked like he'd had enough.
 

Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
Cynthian's heart spiked when Skara set the jar on the table. His breathing all but ceased for a moment, but it only took a moment longer for his chest to relax again.

His eyes were fixed on the shade. He observed the amorphous creature closely as it hissed and tumbled around in its confinement. There weren't any traces of the sleep powder Cynthian had showered the shade with before. Either it had absorbed it all or Skara cleaned it up, though the latter seemed unlikely.

The shade continued to hiss at Skara, but it must've felt the piercing gaze on it as it turned around to face Cynthian. Cynthian flinched when their eyes met, but he otherwise remained frozen. The shade hissed lightly and crawled in its jar towards Cynthian. It tilted its head this way and that as though curious about the Roselia.

"H-hi!" Cynthian blurted. He struggled to keep his composure, and he wondered why he was even subjecting himself to what he was doing.

The shade hissed again and drifted its gaze towards Cynthian's drink. It pressed its face towards it, but Cynthian couldn't parse what it wanted or what its behavior even suggested...
 

Phoenixsong

the world's scariest violinist
Partners
  1. custom/skiddo-steplively
Cynthian had tensed almost immediately, and Skara seriously considered stuffing the jar back into the bag, but then the roselia relaxed slightly and the shade, in turn, seemed to settle down. Just a bit. Hm. That was different.

Without being connected to it Skara couldn't be sure what it actually wanted, but it was worth a shot anyway. "They like normal food and drinks and so on," she offered. "If you really want to, uh, greet it, you could try pouring a little of your drink in the jar for it? It seems to calm most of them down." She gestured toward the bowl, where Limax was still rocking cheerfully (?) away and the wepear juice was now about half-drained.
 
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Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
"I didn't even know they needed to eat?" Cynthian asked while scratching his cheek.

Out of curiosity, he shifted his cup an inch closer to the jar and that got an immediate reaction from the shade who had begun to press itself against its transparent barrier even harder.

Cynthian stared at that speechless. Should he really try feeding it? The thought scared him enough to show visible fatigue in his eyes, but Cynthian's curiosity won out in the end.

With movements as graceful as an intern thrown into an A star restaurant to be the head chef, Cynthian picked up the juice and held the lid of the jar with his other rose.

"This is crazy... I can't believe I'm actually doing this..." Cynthian muttered as he slowly opened the jar lid. He had planned to pour just a smidge of the juice into the jar, but a stool dragging against the ground behind Cynthian startled him. He leapt in his seat and lost grip on his cup, emptying its entire contents into the jar and submerging the shade into the cheri shake.

"Oh no!" Cynthian began to panic, but he didn't need to for long. The shade sponged up all of the juice in a few seconds until there was absolutely nothing left. That seemed to satisfy it because it let out a joyous and loud trill for them to hear.

"Wh—how???" Cynthian asked, so surprised that he forgot to close the lid.

The shade seized its moment, climbed right out of the jar and landed on the table with splat. Time froze for what felt like an eternity as warning bells rang in Cynthian's mind, and yet all the shade did was make more squeaky noises with no indication of hostility any time soon.

Cynthian shot a glance at Skara with tears forming in the corners of his eyes and a face clearly saying 'please help?'.
 
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Phoenixsong

the world's scariest violinist
Partners
  1. custom/skiddo-steplively
In retrospect, adding 'And then close the jar immediately after you pour the drink' to her suggestion might've been helpful. But. Well. Here they were.

"Just stay calm," Skara hissed, well aware that that was often completely useless advice. Her thoughts jumped to the questions she'd asked back out in the woods, the mudkip's bizarre little fit and how upset Limax had become. (From the stone: confusion, annoyance, distress, no, fuck, calming, satisfaction, point made, back to sipping at the juice.) "They actually don't seem to like negative emotions, from what I've seen. Try and stay neutral if you can, and it shouldn't do anything." Hopefully.

And then what? Just let it continue to sit right in front of him? Let it wander around as it pleased? It was completely unreasonable to expect Cynthian to be as okay with that as Owen seemed to be. She certainly wouldn't have let Limax do that, at least not before the stone. Yes, they were thinking, feeling creatures, yes, apparently they were docile when not actively possessing someone, but that didn't make them any less dangerous when things went wrong. However that worked, considering they didn't appear to enjoy it. Whatever.

Doing her best to ignore the headache that line of thought was fast producing, she reached for the jar again, slowly, without any sudden movements. "I can try to scoop it back up," she whispered. "Try" being the operative word, of course. Last time she'd gotten close to that shade it had objectively not gone well. "O-or you could try, if you want," she added quickly. "Or if you have one of these lumps of stone, I guess you could try seeing if it wants to go in there... I'd definitely understand if you didn't want to be linked to... that, though. It'd be connected to you, and you wouldn't even be able to go far from it if you wanted to get away. Probably the jar would be better for now. I can— or you— but of c-course, I can take care of it, probably, if you j-just..."
 
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Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
There were so many thoughts going through Cynthian's mind that most of what Skara said came to him in the form of inaudible mumbles and echoes. He was only a step away from fainting, and barely clinging on.

'lump of stone', that phrase was what stuck out to Cynthian in all that jargon. His mind drifted back to previous major battles they'd had and he distinctly recalled hearing something about the lumps being able to contain the shades.

Without skipping a beat, Cynthian withdrew his lump from his satchel and presented it in front of the shade. He sealed his mouth and took deep breaths in an attempt to calm himself down. The shade hadn't done anything so far, and it appeared to keep its distance from Cynthian up until he brought out the lump. Could it tell Cynthian was afraid?

"What is it doing?" Cynthian forced himself to say when the shade approached the lump. It nudged, climbed over, tossed it around a bit. And finally, it pushed itself against it until it's body gradually sank into it. The shade was gone.

"Eh?"
 

Phoenixsong

the world's scariest violinist
Partners
  1. custom/skiddo-steplively
"Ah— no, I didn't mean that should be your first choice— oh." The shade vanished from the tabletop and took up residence in the stone. Damn it. Why hadn't she moved faster? It hadn't even been doing anything, and she'd hesitated, and now Cynthian was probably stuck with this thing.

"It's, uh... it's in there," she said at last. "That's what happens when a shade is okay with going into one of the stones." She gestured gingerly at Limax again. "It shouldn't be able to possess you or anyone else or anything like that while it's inside, and so far it doesn't look like they can get out on their own. But now it's probably linked to your mind, and..." She sighed. "I'm so sorry I wasn't faster with the jar, though. The stone was a stupid suggestion for a shade that you're not comfortable with. Are you feeling all right?"
 
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Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
"It's linked to..." Cynthian heaved a defeated sigh and buried his face in his flowers. The heavy lump bobbed ever so slightly as Cynthian gathered his bearings.

"It's not your fault. I was too busy being an absolute wreck to heed your warnings anyway," he said with a groan. What should he do now? The lump wasn't nearly as scary now that he couldn't see the shade anymore, but it still left him with a growing unease—

And then Cynthian discovered what Skara actually meant before. A faint presence, something foreign that wasn't there before creeped up into his mind. If he had to describe the feeling, it'd be excitement, curiosity, and perhaps worry?

The heavy lump rolled towards Cynthian till it made contact with his crest leaf. A semblance of words resonated in Cynthian's mind. Words that surely weren't his...

"Um... this is weird... I think it's trying to cheer me up, but why?" Cynthian asked, his fears dissipating while confusion took their place.
 

Phoenixsong

the world's scariest violinist
Partners
  1. custom/skiddo-steplively
Why indeed. Skara sighed, clicked a few times, thought about it. She couldn't say she'd ever noticed anything like that from Limax when she'd felt frustrated. She certainly hadn't ever thought this particular shade would be the sort to cheer someone up. All it'd ever done was hiss at her.

"I don't know, unfortunately. Like I said, they seem to be mostly docile if nothing agitates them. The stones might mellow them out a little more, maybe? But 'cheering up'..." Why? All it'd ever done was hiss at her, but after Cynthian had fed it... well, Cynthian had been terrified, and understandably so, but the shade hadn't actually done anything other than trill and run around. More energetic than most of them seemed to be after they'd been fed, at least. It didn't dislike him or feel threatened by him, then. And if the shades didn't like negative emotions... "Maybe it doesn't want you to be scared? They feel calmer around positive or neutral emotions, so if it's linked to you it probably doesn't like it when you're upset." "Cheer up" seemed oddly specific, though, oddly positive, not the flashes of "calm down" or "stop it" or "fuck" she got from Limax. So why...?

This was the shade that had possessed Cynthian before. Did that have anything to do with it? Did it remember him? Since they were linked now, could it tell that that was specifically why the roselia was upset? "Maybe it's... apologizing? I dunno, that's probably silly, but I can't say I've heard of one coming so close to friendly. Outside of whatever's going on with Owen's, maybe."
 
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Phoenixsong

the world's scariest violinist
Partners
  1. custom/skiddo-steplively
"Really? Are you sure?" Skara tilted her head slightly, confused. "I mean, that's good if you are sure! But at least let me know if it ever stops being okay, all right? I'm not really sure what I'd do, honestly... but I do still feel bad that I let this happen, and I'd like to help if it comes to that. Properly this time."

She looked from Cynthian's now-occupied stone to Limax, now sitting in an empty bowl. She didn't sense much coming from it other than a general sense of contentedness. Nothing cheery, certainly. How bizarre.
 

Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
"Yeah... I will need some help to process all of this." Cynthian sighed in relief and wiped the drying tears on his face.

"I never would've expected comfort from the same thing that tormented me before. These shades are weird little things, aren't they?" Cynthian said as his lump continued to echo encouraging sentiments in his mind. "Should I give it a name?"
 

Phoenixsong

the world's scariest violinist
Partners
  1. custom/skiddo-steplively
"If you want to. It's an easy way for me to specify that I'm referring to Limax as opposed to a different shade, at least. Or, well, I guess some of the other team members just got attached to theirs." Still such a strange idea. It was like the others thought the shade-stones were pets, or like the animals raised on farms back home, except that a goat or chicken wasn't exactly much threat to a pokémon so Skara could understand why you'd keep them around. She'd just wanted to do some more claws-on research, for her part, but as docile as the things seemed, there was still no real telling what they were capable of. With an irritable goat you knew what you were getting. But shades?

She sighed and looked at Limax again, now wobbling away in its empty bowl. It was pretty hard to imagine it as dangerous in its current condition. Definitely not a pet, though. Why get invested when they were going to forget everything after returning home anyway?
 

Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
"I'll think over what to name it in the morning," Cynthian said, resting his head against the lump with a yawn. He then slid off his stool with the lump held between his flowers.

"Thank you for your time today, Skara. I'll be retreating for the night." He bowed and then bid her farewell.
 

Phoenixsong

the world's scariest violinist
Partners
  1. custom/skiddo-steplively
"It was good talking to you," Skara said, waving as Cynthian left. "I'm glad you're all right."

Just her and her own stone, then. She watched Limax for a little while, still wobbling contentedly (?) in its bowl. Innocuous as anything. Apparently so was the other one, so long as it was with someone it liked (?). Baffling. Slightly disconcerting. And... she found herself consciously substituting the word "fascinating" when her mind tried to jump to "cute". Nah. Still a little too out there for that.

Ah, well. Packing was all done, and now she had one less passenger to worry about. No reason not to head to Destiny Village.

<><><><><><><>​
 
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