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Blaze Caverns

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MintyMimix

Otherworldly Dessert
Location
Florida
Pronouns
They/Them
Partners
  1. lurantis
  2. noivern-astrea
Nate's face settled into a scowl as the girl went on. Thou? Pray? What the hell was this Shakespeare bullshit? "The fuck is a Trousselin?" he asked.
Violet narrowed her eyes as the heat battered down on her lips to form a frown. "The S.S. Trousselin, good sir, was the ship we were on," she said, her usual cadence making way for a flatter tone. "Truly, it is a blessing to this discussion that your Mightyena is so well-spoken," she added as a back-handed compliment.
Then the weavile was all up in his face, shoving the music player at him--some kind of fancy phone? He glanced at it, but the screen didn't have anything on it but a few lines of text. "What?" he snapped. The hell was up with these two? It felt like they had to be putting on some kind of show, and Nate had less than zero patience for that shit right now.
Hazel winced at the man's response. Perhaps her approach was too forward? Or maybe... Ah, that must be it, Hazel thought before lowering the volume on her phone. She recalled how some people and Pokémon were particularly sensitive to loud noises to the point where they could not concentrate if had assaulted their eardrums. The man in front of her must have that condition. The music became a soft, subtle background noise than overpowering the conversation. Even so, the acoustics of the caverns still made it echo throughout, if just slightly more softly.
Mightyena, on the other hand, didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. "It is really hot! I'm surprised you didn't go back to your pokéball." It was disappointing that the weavile and her trainer hadn't found anything, but if they were looking around here, too, maybe they could all look together! That would definitely make this more fun. "We have some water, too, if you want more."
"Oh no, we couldn't possibly accept such a nice gift from someone we just met, but thank you!" Hazel replied to Mightyena, waving her claw and smiling. She rubbed the back of her head as she responded to the unspoken question, "I... don't really like being inside a Pokéball." She looked up at her trainer as she added, "Besides, someone has to take of her."

Turning her head back to her phone, Hazel wrote and spoke as she did so, [Our goals may be aligned. Perhaps we could search the caverns together?] She then showed the message to Violet — who rolled her eyes but nodded in agreement — and then showed it to Nate once more, hoping that the softened music would create a more cordial response.
 

Negrek

Bruminating
Staff
Nate narrowed his eyes right back. "Oh, so you're one of those people who can supposedly understand pokémon, is that it?"

The weavile was jabbing the phone at him again. Nate looked down at it, but all it was showing was more text. Was she playing the world's most boring game on there, or what? Nate sighed. "Sorry, I dunno what you want me to do with that thing," he said.

Mightyena tilted her head slightly--she'd heard of pokémon who didn't like pokéballs much, but it was rare to meet one. She could understand not wanting to miss out on things, though. And of course, "That makes sense! We have to look after our trainers even more now, if there's someone out to get them." She glanced up at Nate. He looked like he wanted to fight the other trainer. Typical. "We should go with them!" she said. "We'll be able to search this place a lot faster with four of us instead of only two."

Nate only spared her a glance, radiating suspicion at Violet and Hazel.
 

MintyMimix

Otherworldly Dessert
Location
Florida
Pronouns
They/Them
Partners
  1. lurantis
  2. noivern-astrea
Nate narrowed his eyes right back. "Oh, so you're one of those people who can supposedly understand pokémon, is that it?"
Violet quirked a brow and met the man's suspicious gaze, "That's preposterous; if you can find such a mythical figure that could understand Pokémon speech, I would love to hear about it." She shook her head and looked down at the Hazel, who seemed to have better luck in her conversation. "Hazel here has been translating the conversation, if you had even bothered to read her texts."
The weavile was jabbing the phone at him again. Nate looked down at it, but all it was showing was more text. Was she playing the world's most boring game on there, or what? Nate sighed. "Sorry, I dunno what you want me to do with that thing," he said.
Hazel slowly lowered her phone as she gave a confused, almost distraught meow in response. Her brows lowered as her eyes darted back and forth between the phone and the person in front of her. What was going on? There was already proven evidence that others in the multiverse could understand her text just fine, and she and Violet had no issues reading what was aboard the ship as well. Was it possible that that the situation changed? No, because then Violet wouldn't be able to hold a conversation with the man. There were too many variables to consider, she needed to rethink her hypothesis...

Violet, however, had realized the implication immediately. Whether it was due to her era or simply because she hadn't overthought it, the answer was crystal clear in her mind: the man in front of her was illiterate. At first, her eyes shot up in surprise, but then a devilish grin smeared onto her face as arrogance seeped into her voice, "...Oh, please excuse my earlier rudeness. The heat has been rather bothersome..."

A mischievous glint in her eye sparked as she added, "...I suppose I will have to read up on the effects of a hot environment on a person's emotions. Have you perchance looked into any books on the subject?"
Mightyena tilted her head slightly--she'd heard of pokémon who didn't like pokéballs much, but it was rare to meet one. She could understand not wanting to miss out on things, though. And of course, "That makes sense! We have to look after our trainers even more now, if there's someone out to get them." She glanced up at Nate. He looked like he wanted to fight the other trainer. Typical. "We should go with them!" she said. "We'll be able to search this place a lot faster with four of us instead of only two."

Nate only spared her a glance, radiating suspicion at Violet and Hazel.
Hazel tilted her head at Violet's sudden change in behavior, but decided not to remark on it. Instead, she put her phone back in her lab coat's pocket, turned to Mightyena and nodded. "Precisely. Now more than ever we should be at their side and cover their weaknesses," She said, smiling, "And agreed! We'll cover more ground together than separately. I think it's a wonderful idea, Miss..."

She placed a claw near her mouth. "Oh, I'm sorry! I don't think I caught your name — if you have one, I mean!" Realizing the cap on the flask was still open, she picked it up and twisted it closed as she asked, "What should I call you, Miss?" Before waiting for an answer, she appended her question, "And don't worry, I'll let Violet know about your idea. I just hope our trainers can get along..."
 

Negrek

Bruminating
Staff
Nate sensed a trap here somewhere and took a drag of the vile coffee to give himself a moment to think. "Well, I already had one kid try to convince me she spoke pokémon, and she did a damn better job of it than you are with the fucking phone."

"She definitely did know what I was saying!" Mightyena confided in Hazel. "I've never met a human like her before. And I'm Mightyena! That's what everybody calls me."

"I mean, there's some nutjobs out there who go on about talking to pokémon and all," Nate went on, "But pokémon fucking texting? You've got to be shitting me. People've been trying to get pokémon to read and write for ages, and it ain't ever worked."

Mightyena could certainly recognize the tone in Nate's voice. "I'm sorry," she told Hazel. "My trainer isn't having a good day today. I don't think he wants to make friends right now."
 

MintyMimix

Otherworldly Dessert
Location
Florida
Pronouns
They/Them
Partners
  1. lurantis
  2. noivern-astrea
Violet waved her hand dismissively, "Believe what you want, mate; I have no reason to lie about this." Seriously, what kind of fool would think a performer would be practicing in a lava cave of all places?" "If I had wanted to try to impress you, I would not have chosen something so... mundane," she said, carefully adding in that last word as a light jab to his reading ability.

"Really now!" Hazel replied in a mixture of fascination and frustration to Nate and Mightyena's comments. "Well, first of all..." She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, unclenching her claws before responding.

"...It's really nice to meet you, Mightyena, and... I get it," Hazel replied with a pitied smile of understanding, "Violet is the same way sometimes. She's a lot more..." she rolled her claw in a circle, trying to find a polite way of putting it, "...Mocking, when she's in a bad mood."

Hazel tugged on Violet's pants to get her attention. She then looked at Violet with pleading eyes — turning her head back and forth between the two trainers and Mightyena to signal that she does still want them to walk together.

With an exasperated sigh, Violet's eyes dropped as she acted as though her mother had just told her to 'play nice' with her brother. "Listen, if you want proof of the matter, I would be more than happy to provide you have an example... but I suppose that is not the important matter here."

She cleared her throat, giving a proper bow and greeting as she introduced herself. "Mine name is Violet, and my Weavile is Hazel. It's... nice to meet you," she said, gritting her teeth at the phrase 'nice', "As someone who was also aboard the second ship, it has been proposed that we ought to... stick together in our search for the kidnapper's victims. Or hideout, if fate is kind."

When she lifted her head and back upright once again, her expression was one of both irritation and fatigue. The bags under her eyes were apparent in even in the lower light of the caves, and her typical smug smirk was absent. "We need not converse if it is not your perogative. It is simply to make our Pokémon happy. You can at least agree to that, no?"
 
Last edited:

Negrek

Bruminating
Staff
Did Nate particularly care to see whatever canned "proof" the girl had no doubt prepared in advance to back up her texting trick? Not really. In fact, this entire conversation felt like it wasn't enriching his life any. The girl and her weavile could enjoy smugging at each other, alone, as far as he was concerned.

Of course Mightyena had decided she liked the pair of assholes, or at least the weavile. Nate would be plenty happy to leave her to explore with her new "friends" if she was so fucking keen on it, but being caught on his own in the middle of a volcano on Murder Island sounded even worse than getting stuck with this pair. "You want to search, then search," he said, gesturing down the tunnel with his coffee cup. "I ain't the one sitting on my ass."

Sure would have been nice to take a load off for a few minutes, though. Dammit.
 

Panoramic_Vacuum

Hoenn around
Partners
  1. aggron
  2. lairon
worried.png
"Hayes! Hayes? Hello?"

Only the echo of Steven's voice replied as he called after the young man he was supposed to be meeting in the caverns today. He had already screwed up their arrangement by oversleeping, and only once Aggron shoved a plate of breakfast in front of him and glared at him until he ate did he realize that Hayes had never specified a meeting place.

If Hayes had been waiting for him at breakfast, he wasn't there any longer. So Steven finished his breakfast as quickly as he could, despite feeling out of sorts from the night before (even coffee didn't seem to bite back at the haze of fatigue hanging over his head), and hustled toward the caverns in the hope he might catch up with Hayes there.

Of course, that also turned out to be a futile effort. Steven's heart sunk for every step that took him further into the caves with no sight of Hayes or his Nosepass. Maybe Hayes had given up and left because Steven had been so tardy? Or in his sleep deprived state had he taken a wrong turn and ended up somewhere else entirely, and missed where Hayes was waiting for him? Or, worse yet had something happened to Hayes in the night?

Steven shook his head. No, that couldn't be it. He had to stop thinking like that.

"Hayes?" he called again, straining to hear any kind of reply.

grumpy.png
Aggron trudged behind Steven wearing a look of permanent concern. He knew exactly where his trainer's mind was going with every twist and turn that came up empty. Truthfully, he didn't want to think of anything bad happening to the little nugget of a Nosepass, either...

surprise.png
Suddenly, Aggron pulled up short and turned to look in the direction of a tunnel off to one side.

Steven heard the sound of his partner's footstep stop, and came to a halt himself. "What is it?" he asked.

Aggron raised a claw to his ear. Voices.

thinking face.png
"Hayes?"

Aggron shook his head no, and Steven frowned.

thinking face_angry.png
"Then... Who else could be down here?" He didn't fancy anyone else for people who would hang out in a cave for fun. (Most people told him he was the strange one for doing that.)

Aggron shrugged, but remained on alert.

angry straight ahead.png
"You're right, we should be careful. Lead the way, I don't know who or what we'll find down there."

With a huff, Aggron nodded, and made his way as quietly as he could down the tunnel. The sound of voices growing stronger as they got closer. But when he stopped with an amused snort rather than anything more alarming, Steven stepped around his partner to see what they'd stumbled upon.

Sitting in the middle of the cavern was a girl and her Weavile (interestingly enough wearing a white lab coat), and a more familiar face. Code Name: Okay, from the boat, and his Mightyena. Steven gave a sigh of relief, and chuckled at his own overactive imagination. (Or maybe that was the fatigue again...)

hehe whoops.png
"Oh thank goodness, I don't think I could have handled any other kind of surprises right now," he said, partly to himself. He cleared his throat and continued. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to interrupt, but you haven't happened to see a young man with a shiny Nosepass around here, have you? We were supposed to meet up, but I may have taken a wrong turn somewhere."
 

MintyMimix

Otherworldly Dessert
Location
Florida
Pronouns
They/Them
Partners
  1. lurantis
  2. noivern-astrea
"You want to search, then search," he said, gesturing down the tunnel with his coffee cup. "I ain't the one sitting on my ass."
Violet sprung up from her seat, scowling. She took a step closer to the man, as she chastised, "Now see here—"
"Oh thank goodness, I don't think I could have handled any other kind of surprises right now," he said, partly to himself. He cleared his throat and continued. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to interrupt, but you haven't happened to see a young man with a shiny Nosepass around here, have you? We were supposed to meet up, but I may have taken a wrong turn somewhere."
Before she could conduct her verbal assault, a new element had been unearthed. Taking a step back, she turned and observed the man with her tired eyes. Cleanly dressed, confident posture... even a well-placed cravat. Er, no, what did Hazel say they were called these days...

"Well now, here's a fellow with a classy ascot," Violet remarked, finishing her internal thought. "I'm afraid we have not seen anyone by that description. That is to say, we," she tilted her head to the Weavile and then back up, as if to emphasize that the man next to her was not involved, "Have been searching through these caverns all morning and have found naught but steam, sadly."

Violet took a few blinks as she processed the man's words further. His verbiage was more refined, yet had a sense of genuineness to his voice. Perhaps he would be more cooperative? "Forgive the discourtesy," she said, taking a bow, "Mine is Violet, and this is Hazel," she said, gesturing to her Pokémon, "A pleasure."

Hazel, however, sat there, staring bug-eyed at the man in front them. That... that was the champion of Hoenn and next in line to inherit Devon Corporation, in the flesh! The Aggron that followed in tow radiated power befitting of a man of his status, no less, and Violet was talking to the champion as if he's just some guy!

Oh, oh no, this would not do. Hazel scrambled her way to standing position — occasionally tripping on her own lab coat as she did so — before clearing her throat and saying, "S-Sorry for the mess! We just needed a break before we started searching again," her nervousness sped up her usual cadence of speech, "B-but it's nice to meet you both! I'll make Violet is aware of who is speaking with! Sorry again!"

Hazel pulled out her phone and began furiously scrolling through, trying to search up an article on the man in question. However, the poor signal within the caverns made the page sit there... and load... and load... She tapped her foot anxiously as she waited for something to happen, before she gave up and simply shoved in Violet's face the words, [HE IS THE HOENN CHAMPION.]

Violet shrugged and simply responded, "Neat."
 

Negrek

Bruminating
Staff
Nate smirked as the girl leapt to her feet, apparently ready to give him a piece of her mind. This was gonna be good.

Except the words died on her lips, and following her startled gaze, Nate saw--oh. Shit. That's right. This was some kind of wacko places where you could be getting chewed out by a Renaissance Fair wannabe and the fucking Champion of Hoenn could just saunter over and say "hi." And with everything he'd heard over the past couple days, Nate had to reluctantly accept that this probably actual was Steven Stone, or at least a Steven Stone. This was cool. This was fine.

"Uh, yeah, me and Mightyena've been looking around here, too, and we didn't see nothing," he mumbled. "No guy, no nosepass, nothing." He took another long drag of coffee to give himself something to do with his hands, and also to prevent himself from saying anything stupid, like So are you REALLY Steven Stone, then? or That's your aggron? That's the aggron who defeated Cynthia's togekiss and lucario in the World Tournament finals two years ago?

Mightyena, apparently oblivious to Nate and Hazel's distress, gave Aggron a couple companionable wags. A friend! She was glad they'd gotten another chance to see each other. "Hello! I didn't expect to see you here. Are you looking for missing people, too? Maybe you and your trainer can join us!"
 

Panoramic_Vacuum

Hoenn around
Partners
  1. aggron
  2. lairon
"Well now, here's a fellow with a classy ascot," Violet remarked, finishing her internal thought. "I'm afraid we have not seen anyone by that description. That is to say, we," she tilted her head to the Weavile and then back up, as if to emphasize that the man next to her was not involved, "Have been searching through these caverns all morning and have found naught but steam, sadly."
hehe whoops.png
"Ah, that's a shame," said Steven. "I was really hoping to run into him here." He kept his growing worries to himself, though. No need to alarm anyone else. It was a little easier to bury his unease, too, because he was sure--somewhere-- some version of Wallace was screaming about that ascot comment.

Violet took a few blinks as she processed the man's words further. His verbiage was more refined, yet had a sense of genuineness to his voice. Perhaps he would be more cooperative? "Forgive the discourtesy," she said, taking a bow, "Mine is Violet, and this is Hazel," she said, gesturing to her Pokémon, "A pleasure."
straight ahead smile.png
"Violet and Hazel, well met," he said, returning Violet's bow with a slight one of his own. He hoped his smile didn't look as foreign as it felt, for how the last twenty-four hours had gone. He was determined to be polite, though. "My name is Steven, and this is my partner Aggron. Apologies again for interrupting your, uh, conversation."

For a brief second, his gaze flicked over to Mr. Okay and Mightyena, wondering if perhaps they might introduce themselves as well. He hadn't exactly gotten the friendliest vibes from the discussion he'd accidentally barged into, but there wasn't open hostility either (certainly nothing like the boat, anyway.) When he did speak, though, no names, just the same affirmation that Hayes hadn't come this way, at least not while they were around. Still, there was a strange air of nervousness to him, and Steven couldn't hide a skeptical look aimed his way.

Mightyena, apparently oblivious to Nate and Hazel's distress, gave Aggron a couple companionable wags. A friend! She was glad they'd gotten another chance to see each other. "Hello! I didn't expect to see you here. Are you looking for missing people, too? Maybe you and your trainer can join us!"
neutral face.png
Aggron, though, was regarding the Mightyena with a less than guarded look. The tip of his tail tap-tapped on the ground as he spoke. "Oh, it's you. From the boat. Nice to see you again." His tail tap-tapped a bit more; he didn't think Mightyenas liked being in caves. Maybe this Mightyena did like to talk about mountains after all.

thinking.png
But she said something about looking for missing people, too? Maybe this wasn't the time to talk about rocks, then. "Yeah. I hope no one's lost down here. It's kind of big. And there's Steelix around. They can get kinda grumpy if you disturb them." Oops, he was talking about rocks. "Teaming up is smart. If your boring trainer wants to, that is."

Oh, oh no, this would not do. Hazel scrambled her way to standing position — occasionally tripping on her own lab coat as she did so — before clearing her throat and saying, "S-Sorry for the mess! We just needed a break before we started searching again," her nervousness sped up her usual cadence of speech, "B-but it's nice to meet you both! I'll make Violet is aware of who is speaking with! Sorry again!"
surprise.png
Aggron jumped as he heard a new voice. The little Weavile was nearly tripping over herself for some reason. "Mess?" Aggron rumbled. "Caves are always like this." He thought a moment as she rambled on, something about 'who they're talking with'? He glanced over at his trainer. No that wasn't important. Not here, anyway.

Aggron shrugged. "You talk too fast. Take a breather."
 

MintyMimix

Otherworldly Dessert
Location
Florida
Pronouns
They/Them
Partners
  1. lurantis
  2. noivern-astrea
"Violet and Hazel, well met," he said, returning Violet's bow with a slight one of his own. He hoped his smile didn't look as foreign as it felt, for how the last twenty-four hours had gone. He was determined to be polite, though. "My name is Steven, and this is my partner Aggron. Apologies again for interrupting your, uh, conversation."
Violet returned her own tired smile. "Not to worry, we were just abouts finished," she said as she brushed two fingers through the side of her hair. It would be far too embarrassing to admit she was about to explode on the older gentleman, even if he was anything but gentle.

She quirked a brow as she added, "In fact, we were on a search of our own. Specifically for the ne'er-do-wells who have dared to threaten the sanctity of our Pokémon's safety." And our own. "Mayhaps you could accompany us along? Six pairs of eyes ought to be more effective at uncovering any signs of people — be it the kidnappers or the ones you are looking for."

Is she serious?! Hazel mentally screeched as she began frantically tugging at the blanket they had been sitting on, hoping to quickly fold it and stuff it into Violet's bag.
Aggron jumped as he heard a new voice. The little Weavile was nearly tripping over herself for some reason. "Mess?" Aggron rumbled. "Caves are always like this." He thought a moment as she rambled on, something about 'who they're talking with'? He glanced over at his trainer. No that wasn't important. Not here, anyway.

Aggron shrugged. "You talk too fast. Take a breather."
She managed to barely shove it in and zip it up as she let out an exhale. The backpack was clearly straining to keep in the hastily placed blanket, but that could be rearranged at a different time. For now, there were two VIPs that needed to attended to.

"No no, I mean I apologize for our setup—" she turned back to address the Aggron, waving her claws in front of her face as she did so. "I—It's—Okay." Better not to anger the Pokémon that could flatten her with just a single paw.

Hazel inhaled, holding it for a few seconds, and exhaled. She repeated this a couple of more times before looking back at the Aggron, sweat pouring down her cheek. "Sorry again," Hazel managed to say with a much clearer voice, "I don't know who Violet thinks she is, but we do not need to burden you two like that. If anything, we should be offering you our assistance to help you find the pair we're searching for." Hazel proposed, managing to force a nervous smile as she looked up at the towering Steel-type.

Mightyena's own eagerness had made her smile twitch, but she let that one go more easily. Mightyena just seemed like the excitable type is all. She definitely wasn't jealous of the confidence, no sir.

"Psst, oi, what are they saying?" Violet whispered to Hazel, side-eying the Weavile.

Hazel bit the underside of her lip, but relented as she pulled out her phone again. Rather than a full transcription, she merely relayed the suggestion that Aggron and Mightyena made of sticking together.

"Seems even our Pokémon agree with the idea," Violet remarked, staring at the phone screen and clicking her tongue.

[Let the record show that we are not trying to be disrespectful, we just want to be courteous!] Hazel typed and put up for the other trainers to see, hoping to at least save some face in front of the champion of all people. Violet rolled her eyes at the extraneous message of excessive politeness, but was too tired to remark on it.
 

Negrek

Bruminating
Staff
Nate blanched under Steven's skeptical look. Great. Just fucking great. The absolute last thing Nate needed was some fucking champion taking any sort of interest. It was time to be gone. Steven and the girl could team up, become great friends, woo, awesome, and he and Mightyena could go find someplace less crawling with assholes.

Except now the kid was all going on about "six pairs of eyes," and what, really, was she actually going to suggest they all join up and search. She didn't want him there, he didn't want him there, and that was fucking stupid anyway.

He was momentarily distracted by the weavile, who frantically stuffed the blanket into her trainer's backpack, then unleashed a frantic burst of growls and chirps at the aggron. Definitely something weird going on in pokémonland. "We'll cover more ground if we split up," he said. "Between the three of us we've probably seen most of the outer tunnels, right? If we each take a section, we can probably get the rest of them done real quick."

"Oh, we were going to go look with Hazel and Violet anyway," Mightyena told Aggron cheerfully. "I'm sure my trainer would love to team up with someone who has a pokémon as powerful as--"

But it was exactly that moment that Nate suggested splitting up. "What?!" Mightyena whirled around. "We should go together! It's safer that way!"

Nate tried to keep his expression neutral in the face of Mightyena's unhappy whines. It's not safe, is what he wanted to say, but there was no way to have that conversation in front of the others. "You can play with your friends later," he said instead. "Right now we want to do everything we can to find the people who went missing. Right?"
 

Panoramic_Vacuum

Hoenn around
Partners
  1. aggron
  2. lairon
She quirked a brow as she added, "In fact, we were on a search of our own. Specifically for the ne'er-do-wells who have dared to threaten the sanctity of our Pokémon's safety." And our own. "Mayhaps you could accompany us along? Six pairs of eyes ought to be more effective at uncovering any signs of people — be it the kidnappers or the ones you are looking for."
thinking face.png
Steven quirked a brow at Violet's interesting speech pattern. 'Ne'er-do-wells'? He knew he could be a bit too formal at times but he was pretty sure no one had uttered that term in the last twenty years. Then again, they were dealing with trainers brought here from different universes. How interesting that someone so... er, antiquated... was paired with a partner who knew how to use a phone.

"Psst, oi, what are they saying?" Violet whispered to Hazel, side-eying the Weavile.

Hazel bit the underside of her lip, but relented as she pulled out her phone again. Rather than a full transcription, she merely relayed the suggestion that Aggron and Mightyena made of sticking together.

"Seems even our Pokémon agree with the idea," Violet remarked, staring at the phone screen and clicking her tongue.

[Let the record show that we are not trying to be disrespectful, we just want to be courteous!] Hazel typed and put up for the other trainers to see, hoping to at least save some face in front of the champion of all people. Violet rolled her eyes at the extraneous message of excessive politeness, but was too tired to remark on it.
Wait a second...

shocked.png
"Is your Weavile typing?" he blurted out suddenly, catching a glimpse at what was displayed on the phone's screen. "That's fascinating."

When he realized what he'd done, Steven coughed into his hand, looking sheepish.
hehe whoops.png
"Ah, I'm sorry. It's just that I've never seen that before. This island has been full of surprises of all kinds. And don't worry, you haven't been disrespectful in the slightest. To your point though--"

He was about to agree that working together would be an ideal solution when the trainer who was definitely not named Okay piped up:
"We'll cover more ground if we split up," he said. "Between the three of us we've probably seen most of the outer tunnels, right? If we each take a section, we can probably get the rest of them done real quick."
neutral straight ahead.png
"--I was going to say," Steven began, giving the young man an even stare, "more eyes would cover more ground, though I'm not sure that splitting up is a good idea. If there is anyone down here who would rather not be found, if we stay together, there's less chance of something happening to one of us that happened to Reena. She tried to fight back and lost, and she was alone with her partner. I'd rather that not happen to anyone else if we can avoid it."

eyes closed pensive.png
"I haven't mapped much of these tunnels yet. Hayes and I were hoping to do more exploring today, which brought me down here in the first place. I can't help but notice you said "kidnappers." Do you suspect there is more than one culprit? That would indicate there are multiple people on this island who are working in concert. Which is an... unsettling thought. All the more reason to stick together."

---
Hazel inhaled, holding it for a few seconds, and exhaled. She repeated this a couple of more times before looking back at the Aggron, sweat pouring down her cheek. "Sorry again," Hazel managed to say with a much clearer voice, "I don't know who Violet thinks she is, but we do not need to burden you two like that. If anything, we should be offering you our assistance to help you find the pair we're searching for." Hazel proposed, managing to force a nervous smile as she looked up at the towering Steel-type.
thinking.png
"Burden?" Aggron repeated, clearly confused. "You're so small, I could carry you and your trainer no problem." Though, the Weavile named Hazel was looking rather sweaty and tired. "I gave a ride to that little Oshawott person the other day. Do you want a ride, too?" he ventured.

"Oh, we were going to go look with Hazel and Violet anyway," Mightyena told Aggron cheerfully. "I'm sure my trainer would love to team up with someone who has a pokémon as powerful as--"

But it was exactly that moment that Nate suggested splitting up. "What?!" Mightyena whirled around. "We should go together! It's safer that way!"
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Aggron grated out a laugh as Mightyena's trainer said the opposite thing of what they all wanted to do. "Ha, looks like he's not so boring after all. Pretty brave move, wanting to wander around here by himself. Hope he doesn't stumble into a Steelix nest by mistake."

He snorted at his joke.

"I don't mind staying in a pack. That way when one of you gets lost, we don't have to try to find you, too."

A little part of him didn't mind hanging out with Mightyena more, either. She was pretty cool.
 

MintyMimix

Otherworldly Dessert
Location
Florida
Pronouns
They/Them
Partners
  1. lurantis
  2. noivern-astrea
"Maybe you ought to read the room," Violet quipped to the man at her side with a sly smirk on her face. "It is as Sir Steven says; we stand a better chance of dealing with surprises if we are to stick together. Strength in numbers."

Looking back to address the champion, she addressed the question, "Ah, kidnappers was an assumption of mine. It's not yet proven, but I theorize there are at least two members involved — a Pokémon and a trainer to accompany them."

Hazel clapped in response to Violet's deduction. She then typed, [Hypothesis, not theory! But I'm so proud! You're using the scientific method!]

She then turned to address Aggron and said, "Ah... I appreciate it, but I don't want to impose!" She let out a nervous chuckle as she twiddled a claw near one of her ear feathers. "Though I don't think the other trainer is suggesting that out of bravery..."

After shaking her head, the Weavile decided to respond to an earlier comment. [Yes! Father first showed me on an keyboard tied to a CRT monitor, but then Rotom phones started coming in from Galar and the rest is history. It is a honor to meet you, Mr. Stone!] She bowed her head while holding her arm up for Steven to see. She hoped it worked this time, and then maybe the other trainer could read it, too!

While bending down, she tilted her head over to Mightyena and whispered, "Sorry if this sounds rude, but does your own trainer know just who he's talking to...?"
 
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Negrek

Bruminating
Staff
"Maybe you ought to read the room," Violet quipped to the man at her side with a sly smirk on her face. "It is as Sir Steven says; we stand a better chance of dealing with surprises if we are to stick together. Strength in numbers."
Nate's eyebrows rose faintly when the kid emphasized the word "read." Okay, so that was definitely a dig, and also, just what in the fuck was it with people on this island and fucking reading? It was weird as shit. He could very well fucking read, for fuck's sake, and he was tired of people assuming he couldn't for whatever fucking reason.

He favored the kid with a brief glare before turning his attention back to Steven. She thought he'd let shit slide just because some champion was here? Think again, asshole. He almost, almost wanted to start shit over the whole "multiple kidnappers" thing, but nah. A minimum of a trainer/pokémon team seemed pretty likely to Nate.

"Strength in numbers, maybe," he grunted. "Dunno that you really got shit to worry about, with that aggron by your side." (The aggron? Nate was kind of thankful that he was too tired to feel all that excited about it.) "But whatever. We're burning daylight. Together, apart, if we're going to get looking, let's get looking."

Annnnd then they were off on the "pokémon texting" bullshit again. Nate scowled and drained the rest of his coffee, then crushed the cup between his hands. Ordinarily he'd chuck it in the nearest thermal vent, but he had a strong suspicion that any littering in a cave would be a good way to find out how fast Steven's pokémon could turn somebody into a pancake.

View attachment 3535
Aggron grated out a laugh as Mightyena's trainer said the opposite thing of what they all wanted to do. "Ha, looks like he's not so boring after all. Pretty brave move, wanting to wander around here by himself. Hope he doesn't stumble into a Steelix nest by mistake."

He snorted at his joke.

"I don't mind staying in a pack. That way when one of you gets lost, we don't have to try to find you, too."

A little part of him didn't mind hanging out with Mightyena more, either. She was pretty cool.
Mightyena's ears were pinned back, her tail tucked low with embarrassment. She didn't understand why Nate couldn't be friends with other trainers. She thought Violet was being a bit mean to him, but aggron's trainer (Steven?) seemed really nice. Just like aggron! "He's not... boring, no. Not right now," she agreed. In a low voice she added, "I don't think he'd mind meeting some steelix."

While bending down, she tilted her head over to Mightyena and whispered, "Sorry if this sounds rude, but does your own trainer know just who he's talking to...?"
"Well, they kind of met on the boat, but not for very long," Mightyena said. "So not really."

It felt like the trainers might be done fighting now? Maybe? Mightyena hoped they could start working together soon. She only hoped Nate could stay quiet for a while. He wasn't a lot of fun when he was like this, and Mightyena didn't expect him to feel any better until he at least got some sleep. She tried to muster up some enthusiasm, raising her tail as high as she could and unflattening her ears. "We can be a pack, then," she said firmly. "There's nothing in this cave that'll be able to deal with all of us!"
 

Panoramic_Vacuum

Hoenn around
Partners
  1. aggron
  2. lairon
"It is as Sir Steven says; we stand a better chance of dealing with surprises if we are to stick together. Strength in numbers."
[Yes! Father first showed me on an keyboard tied to a CRT monitor, but then Rotom phones started coming in from Galar and the rest is history. It is a honor to meet you, Mr. Stone!]
Steven blinked. Did... Did he just get "sir'd" and "mister'd" in about thirty seconds? He wasn't that old.

hehe whoops.png
"Please, just 'Steven' is fine," he insisted. Though, he supposed, this was the only occurrence he had to deal with thus far on this trip; which was nice.

"That is a rather handy skill, though," he said to Hazel. Of course, Rotom living in a handheld device would make interfacing between humans and pokemon much easier. It still didn't discount the fact that Hazel could type words all on her own. "Consider me impressed."

Looking back to address the champion, she addressed the question, "Ah, kidnappers was an assumption of mine. It's not yet proven, but I theorize there are at least two members involved — a Pokémon and a trainer to accompany them."
thinking face.png
"Ah, forgive me, that's my mistake; I misspoke. I assumed a trainer and pokemon pair to be one entity, one culprit. At this rate I doubt we'd run into them separate from one another anyway. Though that does raise an interesting point. Could our culprit have more than one pokemon at their disposal? It could explain why they were able to overpower several trainer and pokemon pairs already."

"Strength in numbers, maybe," he grunted. "Dunno that you really got shit to worry about, with that aggron by your side." (The aggron? Nate was kind of thankful that he was too tired to feel all that excited about it.) "But whatever. We're burning daylight. Together, apart, if we're going to get looking, let's get looking."
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Steven resisted the urge to be pedantic and remind this still-unnamed trainer that there was no daylight deep in the caverns, but instead he sighed and fixed him with another stare. "There is always something to worry about when psychic types are involved. Consider yourself fortunate you have that Mightyena with you, though even that isn't foolproof protection considering a Scizor was also one of the victims."

"I agree, though. We should get moving. I didn't have much of a plan when I was wandering through here by myself. I'm happy to follow your lead if you've got a better idea of where you want to search."

----

She then turned to address Aggron and said, "Ah... I appreciate it, but I don't want to impose!" She let out a nervous chuckle as she twiddled a claw near one of her ear feathers. "Though I don't think the other trainer is suggesting that out of bravery..."
neutral face.png
Aggron chuckled. "You're not imposing. Now if you were three times taller and part poison type or something, maybe. Still not that imposing though. I can give you a ride if you want to take a break. The caverns here are nice and tall. No chance you'll bump your head even from up here."

He stuck one arm out and held it low to the ground.

"Feel free to climb up any time. Just make sure you've got a good hold on your fancy phone. Wouldn't want to drop it by mistake."

Mightyena's ears were pinned back, her tail tucked low with embarrassment. She didn't understand why Nate couldn't be friends with other trainers. She thought Violet was being a bit mean to him, but aggron's trainer (Steven?) seemed really nice. Just like aggron! "He's not... boring, no. Not right now," she agreed. In a low voice she added, "I don't think he'd mind meeting some steelix."
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Aggron gave Mightyena a sidelong glance as he waited for Weavile Hazel to climb aboard. She seemed sad. He didn't like that. "Sorry," he said. He wasn't entirely sure what for, he didn't think being boring was a bad thing. And anyone who wanted to hang out with Steelix was okay by him. (Just maybe not sneaking up on them in their tunnels unannounced...) "We probably won't run into Steelix in a group. Probably won't find any bad guys there either. Steelix wouldn't want them around."

She tried to muster up some enthusiasm, raising her tail as high as she could and unflattening her ears. "We can be a pack, then," she said firmly. "There's nothing in this cave that'll be able to deal with all of us!"
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Whoa, what a mood swing! He liked it more when she was confident though. He slammed his tail on the ground in agreement, and grinned a toothy grin. "I don't get to smash stuff in caves very often. But if we run into these bad guys, they're never gonna know what hit 'em."
 

MintyMimix

Otherworldly Dessert
Location
Florida
Pronouns
They/Them
Partners
  1. lurantis
  2. noivern-astrea
"Please, just 'Steven' is fine," he insisted. Though, he supposed, this was the only occurrence he had to deal with thus far on this trip; which was nice.
"Suit yourself, Steven," Violet replied, shrugging. "In that instance, just Violet for mineself. Not that I held any titles worth mentioning, but may as well extend the offer back. I know not what cultural customs are abound in this multiversal madness, after all."
"That is a rather handy skill, though," he said to Hazel. Of course, Rotom living in a handheld device would make interfacing between humans and pokemon much easier. It still didn't discount the fact that Hazel could type words all on her own. "Consider me impressed."
Did someone just compliment me for texting? Did Steven Stone just compliment me? Did Champion Stone just say he was impressed by me?!
Aggron chuckled. "You're not imposing. Now if you were three times taller and part poison type or something, maybe. Still not that imposing though. I can give you a ride if you want to take a break. The caverns here are nice and tall. No chance you'll bump your head even from up here."

He stuck one arm out and held it low to the ground.
Hazel stared bug-eyed at Steven and Aggron as her mouth opened and closed like a Magikarp. She was complimented by a champion, and now she was being offered a ride by Aggron. The Aggron. Steven Stone's Aggron was going to carry her.

"O-okay!" She beamed, starry-eyed as she hastily pocketed her phone. She carefully placed a foot onto his arm before retracting it, looking up to check that it wasn't rude before finally settling it on top. Her next foot followed as her right claw gently wrapped around the Steel-type's arm, while her other clutched pushed her lab coat towards herself to hold the phone in place. An awestruck smile remained firmly on her face from then on.
"Well, they kind of met on the boat, but not for very long," Mightyena said. "So not really."
"We can be a pack, then," she said firmly. "There's nothing in this cave that'll be able to deal with all of us!"
"W-well, to clarify, Steven Stone is the champion of the Hoenn region!" Hazel tilted her head and said to Mightyena as excitement seeped into her voice, "And yes, I wholeheartedly agree! And I'm so sorry that Violet has been acting so grumpy. We'll have a chat later about it."
"Ah, forgive me, that's my mistake; I misspoke. I assumed a trainer and pokemon pair to be one entity, one culprit. At this rate I doubt we'd run into them separate from one another anyway. Though that does raise an interesting point. Could our culprit have more than one pokemon at their disposal? It could explain why they were able to overpower several trainer and pokemon pairs already."
"Ah, certainly a respectable stance. Still, that is a concerning possibility," Violet hummed, crossing her arms. "No doubt though that we'll be safer together if such were the case. I still cannot for the life me figure out the pattern between the victims, though..."

The girl shook her head before turning around towards the caves many branching path. "Well, I suppose we ought to get going then. Let us venture forth and see if we can find any suspicious looking nooks and crannies."

@Flyg0n
[Foresight]
 

Negrek

Bruminating
Staff
Nate watched the weavile clamber aboard the aggron, looking absurdly tiny atop his broad shoulders. She was still acting kind of erratic, apparently swooning from something more than the heat. The three pokémon were all chattering away amongst each other, thick as thieves already. For a moment he really wished he actually could understand what they were saying, whether the ability came to him via school or through fucking text message. Pokémon seemed like they had it easier, sometimes.

"We should get moving. I didn't have much of a plan when I was wandering through here by myself. I'm happy to follow your lead if you've got a better idea of where you want to search."
"Not really. I'm guessing you probably know the caves better than anybody. But Mightyena'll find a path if there's anything interesting around. Hey, Mightyena!" He slapped the side of his leg to call her over.

"W-well, to clarify, Steven Stone is the champion of the Hoenn region!" Hazel tilted her head and said to Mightyena as excitement seeped into her voice, "And yes, I wholeheartedly agree! And I'm so sorry that Violet has been acting so grumpy. We'll have a chat later about it."
"Oh, then my trainer must know him after all," Mightyena said. "He knows all about the champions! But you don't have to be sorry. My trainer's grumpy today, too."

Whoa, what a mood swing! He liked it more when she was confident though. He slammed his tail on the ground in agreement, and grinned a toothy grin. "I don't get to smash stuff in caves very often. But if we run into these bad guys, they're never gonna know what hit 'em."
"That's right!" Mightyena wagged enthusiastically, really starting to feel the excitement now. "But wow, your trainer's the champion? Does that mean you've fought in a lot of big tournaments? Have you fought other champions? Did you ever fight a mightyena before? My trainer's almost a champion himself, you know!"

She was prevented from asking more by Nate calling her over, and she bounded forward, ready to take the lead. Truth be told, the volcanic gases overwhelmed her sense of smell, so she wasn't sure she'd be able to find much. But she'd do her best! And she had Hazel and Aggron with her, too. Surely between the three of them they'd be able to spot something.
 

Panoramic_Vacuum

Hoenn around
Partners
  1. aggron
  2. lairon
"O-okay!" She beamed, starry-eyed as she hastily pocketed her phone. She carefully placed a foot onto his arm before retracting it, looking up to check that it wasn't rude before finally settling it on top. Her next foot followed as her right claw gently wrapped around the Steel-type's arm, while her other clutched pushed her lab coat towards herself to hold the phone in place. An awestruck smile remained firmly on her face from then on.
neutral face.png
Aggron was totally unperturbed by the way Hazel clambered aboard. He waited until she was settled atop his head before standing all the way upright. "How's the view?" he asked. "See anything good?" He always had wondered what it was like to see things from someone else's shoulders. But there weren't too many people who would want to pick an Aggron up. He'd have to settle for second-hand accounts.

"If you do, point the way we should go. You're our lookout."

"That's right!" Mightyena wagged enthusiastically, really starting to feel the excitement now. "But wow, your trainer's the champion? Does that mean you've fought in a lot of big tournaments? Have you fought other champions? Did you ever fight a mightyena before? My trainer's almost a champion himself, you know!"
neutral face.png
Aggron looked down at Mightyena as she bounced about his feet, carefully so as to not jostle Hazel.

"Yeah, he is," he said, casually. "He doesn't like to tell people that, though. They start wanting to challenge him to a battle all the time. I wouldn't mind it, but he's a busy guy."

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"I guess it's no fun if the only thing people talk to you about is battling. If all they wanna know is how hard Metagross can punch, just watch the matches on tv. There's a lot to choose from. They play them on the lobby tvs at the League sometimes."

neutral face.png
"Wait, your trainer is almost a Champion?" Aggron inspected Mightyena's human for a moment. "Huh, don't think I would have guessed. He needs to work on his smile for the camera. The only let Lance get away with the grumpy stuff because he's got dragons. You seem pretty strong, though, so maybe he's got a chance."

But just as he was about to say more, Mightyena got called away. Oh well, they'd be walking around here for a while longer. They could chat more then.

----
"Not really. I'm guessing you probably know the caves better than anybody. But Mightyena'll find a path if there's anything interesting around. Hey, Mightyena!" He slapped the side of his leg to call her over.
neutral look down.png
"Unfortunately, I don't. Usually I would be fine taking the lead, but I'm a bit rusty on volcanic cave navigation. If I had time to brush up on my reading I'd be more confident in it. That, and I originally had been planning to explore with Hayes today. His Nosepass would have been an invaluable navigator for us given that it would be able to better interpret the fluctuating magnetic fields caused from the magma circulation beneath the--"

He stopped, realizing that both trainers were now staring at him with what was probably a mixture of confusion and annoyance.

hehe whoops.png
"Ah, I'm sorry, I was rambling. I'm a bit out of sorts today. My apologies."

He watched as the Mightyena began to sniff around the cavern, but was uncertain if she would be able to pick up much with how much trace metal was in the surrounding rock. "Aggron," he called to his partner, "Can you help us out?"

neutral face.png
Aggron rolled his gaze up to where he knew Hazel was standing and cracked a smile. "Your time to shine, lookout."
 

Flyg0n

Flygon connoisseur
Pronouns
She/her
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. swampert
  3. ho-oh
  4. crobat
  5. orbeetle
  6. joltik
  7. salandit
  8. tyrantrum
The girl shook her head before turning around towards the caves many branching path. "Well, I suppose we ought to get going then. Let us venture forth and see if we can find any suspicious looking nooks and crannies."

@Flyg0n
[Foresight]

Violet used Foresight! Violet searched the area!

After much poking and prodding, and initially finding nothing, something turns up. Faint scuffs of footprints, possibly made by fancy shoes. And then, a little further ahead in a narrow tunnel, a scrap of a suitjacket that seems to have been torn off after getting caught on a rough bit of rock. There's a good chance they belong to Xavian. After all he did come here yesterday.

Other than that there doesn't seem like there's anything more to be seen.
 
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