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The Festival of Masks

ShiniGojira

Multiversal Extraordinaire
Location
Stranded In The Gaps between Multiverses
Pronouns
He/him/they/her
Partners
  1. froslass
  2. zorua-gojira
  3. salandit-shiny
The big pokémon barked a hearty laugh in response to Evie's taunts. Oh? Well, if it's a fight you want, I accept your challenge! There's nothing more invigorating after a long rest. In the meantime, I must thank you for this generous offering. It finished eating Carmine's berries and scooped some from Gen and Evie's table, now, to continue snacking. Though the pokémon gave Gen a sidelong look when he stammered out a "no," it seemed to dismiss the response as unimportant and merrily continued eating.
Her fur bristled and shook in anger before she forcefully calmed herself with a couple deep breaths. She fucking despised people who thought they could do whatever they want. But before she could do something that would make the big Pokémon regret his behaviour, Carmine came over and started fangirling all over the now-named Okidogi.
At that moment, a bronzong wearing some kind of full-body human-shaped mask swept down the slope, eyes flashing wildly. It let out a loud droning noise, a burst of psychic energy slamming down on Okidogi and knocking him facedown in the dirt.
Evie smirked, taking no short amount of joy at seeing the thief eating dirt.
Over in the field, Unami follows the directions they had been given. TARGET: THIEF they drone aloud, acting as though they're simply participating in Ogre Oustin'. Of course, the word thief might have a different connotation to Okidogi. The Bronzong's eyes are momentarily illuminated with an eerie blue light that seems to have no other effect. However, Evie and Gen receive a psychic transmission in their minds: Requesting and offering assistance.
The poking in her mind was rather unpleasant but the message came clear when she realised the Bronzong wasn't much of a threat and she lowered her mental shields. She sneered, muttering, "Warn a gal next time you try that. It could save you a lot of trouble."

She spun around and got in between Carmine and the Bronzong. "Look, I don't understand the story behind all of this. But why don't we settle things in a more civilized manner? And you, tubby," she said to Okidogi who was now on his feet. "I don't get what your deal is but I would prefer if you didn't ruin our game and steal all of our hard work."
 

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 ogre was never one to hide, but it doesn't look so different from a young human. It may simply be trying to blend with the crowd, hoping its mask will hide its true nature. [...] Of course, if we simply let it run around and do whatever it wants, who knows how many people it might hurt? Fezandipiti spread his wings in a gesture of defeat. What can one do with someone who meets each slight with violence?

Marcel remained steady as Fezandipiti scrutinized him, wondering for a moment if he might try something. He relaxed one the strange bird recognized him as human.

He nodded along as Fezandipiti spoke, keeping a vaguely sympathetic but interested expression. "Of course, of course," he said, understandingly. "It's good to be cautious." His gaze shifted to the crowds of people already acting on this pokemon's suspicions. Great. He had no real authority to act here, and he was on vacation, but he had to try and do something before it either became a mob or innocent people got hurt. Or kids too, judging by the possibility of mistaken identity. The thought brought a rush of anger to him, but he quelled it.

"It is very strange that it would be trying to blend in, if it is truly such a violent and dangerous adversary. Nobody has gotten attacked by it yet," he mused, pointedly. "If it wanted to cause harm, I might have expected it to attack by now." Especially if it had been this long and it had managed to win last time.

At least he had his team, in case it came to a fight, though given the circumstance he preferred not to provoke one. Maybe he could find Ogrepon first... Assuming it was here; though instinct told him it was likely. "Have you considered that Ogrepon may no longer be here?"
 

canisaries

you should've known the price of evil
Location
Stovokor
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. inkay-shirlee
  2. houndoom-elliot
  3. yamask-joanna
  4. shuppet
  5. deerling-andre
As the bird and the ape from the play showed up in the flesh, Kohath raised his brow. This was an unexpected development. They'd come back from the dead? That shouldn't be possible. Not unless they had come back as ghosts who had now taken on their old appearances, and at that point, who's to say they really were who they claimed to be?

But perhaps this world worked with different rules. Perhaps beasts here really could rise from their graves, their souls returned to them and all their decay reversed.

But we are weak yet, and the ogre has outmatched us once before. I fear that we must call upon the warriors among you for aid.

The word "warriors" awakened in him a sense of pride. Surely no one here was more of a warrior than him. However, he didn't know if he wanted to offer his services. These were matters of a foreign land, not his. He would only feel the need to fight were it crucial to his own survival. And even then... this ogre was powerful enough to kill three other beasts. Kohath likely couldn't stand up to one, if the beast was fully charged. And this ogre had surely charged up during the time it had spent hiding in the festival. Not to mention Kohath had left his weapons at home in order not to cause alarm in the other festivalgoers.

It then stood to reason that by "warriors" the bird must have meant the beasts in the audience and their trainers. Since Kohath didn't have Tsayedet with him, that took the responsibility off him. He would simply watch and see how this situation developed. Although as everyone else had stood up and begun to move around, he supposed he might as well do so himself. Sitting down, he couldn't see a thing, but as he got up, he returned to towering over everyone. That's more like it.
 

FauxFox

Wandering Fool
Location
Somewhere, surely.
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. zorua
"Of course you're a human. Unless my intuition is wrong. I think I'm right, but you could well just have a very human-like heart! Do you consider yourself one?"
“Depends on how I try to stand up when I get out of bed.” Theo chuckled, admittedly not having thought of the question too deep in recent times. “I’ve kinda accepted my new form, mostly because I'm usually unable to transform into a human due to some kind of interference where I'm from, but it doesn't seem to be present here. Though you spend enough time with other Pokemon, that have entire civilizations, that you can talk to, and even relate to, and the line between the two begins to blur a little anyway."
"Also, yes, your tail is showing too."
"Figured. That tends to happen with more complex forms, or with ones that I'm not used to taking. Guess that includes who I used to be, so maybe I'm not as human anymore as I'd like to believe."
"I trust you can get her to safety, Theo?" she says, looking like she's about to head to the Ogre Oustin' course. "I apologize, but there's a doggy that requires my attention."
"And you can count on me. No one will lay a hand, paw, or feather on her if I have anything to say about it." Theo stated confidently. "And worse comes to worst, I've got a potential backup plan that's sure to stir up some chaos."
 

Negrek

Play the Rain
Staff
[[ Congratulations to Dragonfree for being the first to fulfill her hidden objective! ]]

@Dragonfree

It wasn't hard to catch up to the boy in the Ogerpon mask; he was presently held up by what looked to be a group of kids around his age, who seemed to find the situation more entertaining than anything. As Jean approached he finally shoved his way past them, tearing off his Ogerpon masks to general hilarity from the other kids. Even with the mask gone his face was still mostly obscured by long, dark bangs.

He stiffened when he caught Jean waving at him, clenching a fist, but then he seemed to recognize her. "O-oh," he said, lowering his eyes. "You wanted to come, too? Well..." He seemed to gather himself, putting on a fierce scowl. "We have to find Ogerpon before anybody else does! We can't let those jerks send it away again!"

Amidst all the confusion of the festival, it looked as though someone had dropped something quite precious. A bright glint would catch the corner of Jean's eye--a sparkling crystal trodden into the ground beside a nearby candy apple stand.

> You received the Crystal Cluster!

@FauxFox

The child seemed surprised by Satomi's departure, and perhaps even more so by the conversation that preceded it, but they couldn't dwell on it for long. They spent a moment stroking the long feathers of their new mask, distracted, before Theo's question brought them back to attention. For a long moment, they were silent. At last they said, Yes. I... am Ogerpon. Thank you for your help. Most of what the villagers believe about me isn't true, but there's no time for that story now. I can't stay here. She looked back and forth, the crowd on three sides of her, and only the steep slope down the mountainside on the fourth. But I don't know where to go, either.

@Flyg0n

Who can say what the ogre's planning? I imagine it's waiting for an opportune moment to strike. Even a powerful pokémon could be overwhelmed by the number of warriors here. That's what we're hoping, anyway. Fezandipiti scratched at the stage beneath him, a nervous tic that ripped splintered furrows in the boards. It's always possible that the ogre has moved on, yes, he said. But why leave without its prizes? He gestured to the Cornerstone Mask, still sitting abandoned by the side of the shrine. A few of the performers had formed up around it, apparently guarding the heirloom. I suppose if the ogre's nowhere to be found here, we'll have to check its lair.

@canisaries

Kohath's height and position by the stage meant that he had a sweeping view of the entire festival. The appearance of the Loyal Three (or Two?) had certainly shaken up the festival, and while there were plenty of people going about their business, ignoring whatever was going on near the shrine, many more were working their way through the crowd, on the lookout for anyone who struck them as ogreish.

On the outskirts of the festivities, a boy with a tail was conversing with someone wearing a green poncho and an elegant bird mask. There was some sort of commotion near the Ogre Oustin' ticket booth--a rider on a stantler was giving a breathless account of something to a skeptical audience. And dead ahead an old man was trying to force his way forward through the crowd, intent on Fezandipiti and the stage--but he looked distraught, not happy, to see the reincarnated legend.
 

FauxFox

Wandering Fool
Location
Somewhere, surely.
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. zorua
I can't stay here. She looked back and forth, the crowd on three sides of her, and only the steep slope down the mountainside on the fourth. But I don't know where to go, either.
“I could probably try to transform into something that could climb up the cliff, but it’s unlikely. The, Munkidori, I think it was, will probably recognize you, and I don’t we could fight it, so I our best bet would be the northern exit. It’s just the three actors guarding it, and if we can make it up there, I’ll bet I can get them to let us out of the village.” Theo suggested. “We’ve just got to push through the crowd a bit, maybe act like we are lost children trying to reach a meeting spot with our parents, maybe just stick together and push through. As long as we don’t draw too much attention, we should be fine. You can grab onto me to make sure we don’t get separated at easily if you want, that's up to you. But we're getting out of here one way or another, and the fewer of those "Loyal Three" we deal with on the way, the better. You ready?"
 
Partners
  1. suikaibuki
Posting this a bit earlier than I want to since my power is going to be off for an indeterminate amount of time tomorrow, and don't know exactly when either. Systems upgrade, they said. Wanted to get this out just in case, and there was no follow-up on this scene in the latest post, so. EDIT: Or so they claimed. We'll see at this point.

“Depends on how I try to stand up when I get out of bed.” Theo chuckled, admittedly not having thought of the question too deep in recent times. “I’ve kinda accepted my new form, mostly because I'm usually unable to transform into a human due to some kind of interference where I'm from, but it doesn't seem to be present here. Though you spend enough time with other Pokemon, that have entire civilizations, that you can talk to, and even relate to, and the line between the two begins to blur a little anyway."

"Yes, humans and Pokemon aren't so different from each other. That's one of our shrine's tenets, in fact! Well, I do hope you can return when you're done with whatever whoever brought you wherever for. I'm sure your loved ones miss you." She presses a hand to her heart, and involuntarily clenches a fist. She had heard of people going missing without a trace and the existence of worlds without humanity; it was long known that there was a connection, obviously kept out of public ears. Why their gods felt the need to kidnap humans from other worlds and turn them into Pokemon was beyond anyone.

"And you can count on me. No one will lay a hand, paw, or feather on her if I have anything to say about it." Theo stated confidently. "And worse comes to worst, I've got a potential backup plan that's sure to stir up some chaos."
The elderly priestess smirks and claps her hands. "Chaos, eh? Sounds fun." She turns. "Alrighty then, off to stir up some of my own." Hopefully, she thinks, this would throw them into disarray. "Good luck! Toodles~!" And Priestess Satomi races away, weaving through and even going over stuff to get there more directly. Along the way, she catches sight of an old man going up to the stage and smirks to herself. Things were about to get even spicier.

#####

Probably a small argument happens. Gen hasn't reacted yet and we haven't gotten one from Carmine/the GM. Play that out in part of your responses, don't assume this bit happens right away! The Bronzong wouldn't really say much during it except giving basic and terse responses. That is, until...

"Now, now," eventually comes a strong and powerful voice. An elderly woman in a violet and silver kimono with a starry sky pattern strides onto the scene.

"I was telepathically told what happened," she states. "Priestess Satomi Kurusu, of the Kannagi Shrine. This Bronzong has been my faithful companion for over eight decades! Now, in regards to your issue. It's not against the rules to drive off a Pokemon stealing berries from your stall in Ogre Oustin'." She gives Okidoki a smirk. "No matter who or what that Pokemon happens to be."

She chuckles to herself and wags a finger at her Pokemon, who turns away in shame. She begins to ramble, not giving anyone a chance to speak up. Her eyes keep going to Okidoki throughout her spiel. "But I do apologize for Unami's behavior," She bows. "They seem to have misunderstood how to go about participation here. You can't simply choose to join someone's team while something is in progress, you silly bell. You will have to register to play at that stall over there!" She dramatically points to it. "But it is an understandable mistake to make. I am the one at fault for not telling you everything. Forgive this old lady and her poor memory!" She slaps her forehead and cackles. "I do know you were eager to get into this. And I can absolutely assure you that it is just as much fun as it looks! Me and Otohime regularly score over 9000! However--"

She is interrupted as the Future Sight attack from earlier triggers - that was what the blue flash in their eyes earlier really was - detonating over Okidoki, wherever he may be at the time. To extinguish doubt, she snaps her fingers and points, non-verbally ordering another powerful Psychic a moment later, bypassing any Pokemon interposing.

"--however, you did as I asked. Knew I could count on you!" she continues, without missing a beat. The elderly woman turns to the others, the act dropped. "Sorry if you're confused. But this Pokemon is not what he seems!" She glances back, her hands going behind her back. Did the attacks land true? Is the doggy out for the count?
 
Last edited:

Negrek

Play the Rain
Staff
@FauxFox

“I could probably try to transform into something that could climb up the cliff, but it’s unlikely. The, Munkidori, I think it was, will probably recognize you, and I don’t we could fight it, so I our best bet would be the northern exit. It’s just the three actors guarding it, and if we can make it up there, I’ll bet I can get them to let us out of the village.” Theo suggested. “We’ve just got to push through the crowd a bit, maybe act like we are lost children trying to reach a meeting spot with our parents, maybe just stick together and push through. As long as we don’t draw too much attention, we should be fine. You can grab onto me to make sure we don’t get separated at easily if you want, that's up to you. But we're getting out of here one way or another, and the fewer of those "Loyal Three" we deal with on the way, the better. You ready?"

Ogerpon hesitated a moment, but then reached out to take Theo's hand and let him lead the way through the crowd. It was tough, staying together when the crowd was in such an uproar, but with a bit of judicious shoving, they were able to make good progress. Once or twice someone came up to them, Ogerpon's horns having attracted attention, but they took only a little convincing before they moved on. It seemed people found it more easy to believe that Ogerpon was just some kid than that she was the ogre of legend.

As expected, the Loyal Three performers were hanging around the northward path. They were still in their Loyal Three masks, the magnificent handcarved ones having been taken from them earlier. One leaned on a quarterstaff, and there were a couple of pokémon with them as well: an ekans and a sinistcha.
 

IFBench

Rescue Team Member
Location
Pokemon Paradise
Partners
  1. chikorita-saltriv
  2. bench-gen
  3. charmander
  4. snivy
  5. treecko
  6. tropius
  7. arctozolt
  8. wartortle
Gen was shaking like a leaf. He hesitated, then took his scalchop off his chest, pointing it at Okidogi.

He didn't look intimidating one bit.
 

Sinderella

Angy Tumbleweed
Staff
Location
In Guzma's Closet
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. sylveon-shiny
  2. gothitelle
  3. froslass
  4. chandelure
  5. mimikyu
As far as what happens when we confront the ogre... Well, that's largely up to our monstrous friend, isn't it? I do fear that, based on past experience, the ogre isn't likely to give up what it stole or accept banishment without a fight. Of course, if we simply let it run around and do whatever it wants, who knows how many people it might hurt? Fezandipiti spread his wings in a gesture of defeat. What can one do with someone who meets each slight with violence?
“Well, lets look at our options here…” she mused. “How have you decidedly approached the past experiences? Based on the show we just watched, it seems like the ogre attacked first, but were there incidents prior to that? Have you always come face to face just to get physical, or have there been opportunities to approach things from a more cordial standpoint in the past?”

She looped a strand of her hair around her finger. “If what I know of the legend here is, in fact, true, the ogre’s less-than-savory response certainly couldn’t have come without some buildup. Envy typically doesn’t result in such beatings without time to fester. That said…have you considered simply approaching the ogre from a neutral standpoint to try and understand why it feels the need to react with violence? Where all that buildup has come from? From there I imagine it’d be easier to determine why it’s acting so Wrathfully and perhaps put a stop to it without much bloodshed.”

But why leave without its prizes? He gestured to the Cornerstone Mask, still sitting abandoned by the side of the shrine. A few of the performers had formed up around it, apparently guarding the heirloom. I suppose if the ogre's nowhere to be found here, we'll have to check its lair.
Vienna quirked her brow as she averted her eyes in the direction of the mask. If this ogre took down the Loyal Three, what the fuck are a bunch of squishy humans going to do? she thought as she pursed her lips.

“Who knows? Perhaps it’s tired of feeling like it needs to act out to be heard,” she suggested. “Or, on a darker note, perhaps it’s an intentional lure…”

Her eyes moved back to the bird before her. “And where, pray tell, is the lair?”
 

FauxFox

Wandering Fool
Location
Somewhere, surely.
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. zorua
As expected, the Loyal Three performers were hanging around the northward path.
One leaned on a quarterstaff, and there were a couple of pokémon with them as well: an ekans and a sinistcha.
Still a little ways away, Theo’s voice dropped to a whisper. “Alright, I’ve got a plan, it shouldn’t be too hard.” He said, slipping into an alleyway after making sure he would be unseen, or as unseen as possible. “We probably shouldn’t take them on directly…” Theo let his illusion slip away, returning him to his usual Zorua form as he began to weave a new illusion around himself. “…so we’ll just have to trick our way through.” Theo finished creating his illusory disguise, that of Fezandipiti, his Vulpix mask appearing as the Hearthflame mask. However, Theo’s actual tail was still visible in this form too, due to his lack of familiarity with Fezandipiti. “Alright, I’m going to try and convince them to open the gate. Play along, and whatever you do, don’t touch my tail. Got it?” Theo asked, looking at Ogerpon. “And I promise that I’ll drop this form as soon as we’re out of that gate, but this is what I think will work best.”
“Here goes nothing…” Theo gestured for Ogerpon to follow as he confidently strode up to the gate. “Ahem, warriors.” Theo started, trying his best to mimic Fezandipiti’s voice. “The Ogre has been found back at the square, my associates and I have dealt with it. So you are, uh, permitted to leave this post and return to the festivities. This child,” He gestured to Ogerpon, “was separated from her family earlier, so I’m helping her return to them. I have no doubt that they are worried sick, and since they live a little ways away, I would not in good conscience be able to let her walk back alone. However, I must do so with haste, so that I may return before the Ogre recovers, as it is unlikely my associates could deal with it without my help.” Theo did his best to add as much flair to his act as possible, not too worried about overplaying his part.
 

ShiniGojira

Multiversal Extraordinaire
Location
Stranded In The Gaps between Multiverses
Pronouns
He/him/they/her
Partners
  1. froslass
  2. zorua-gojira
  3. salandit-shiny
"--however, you did as I asked. Knew I could count on you!" she continues, without missing a beat. The elderly woman turns to the others, the act dropped. "Sorry if you're confused. But this Pokemon is not what he seems!" She glances back, her hands going behind her back. Did the attacks land true? Is the doggy out for the count?
"You mean he's not an arrogant thief who looks like they could give Snorlax a run for their food?" Evie drawled, shaking her head with a sigh. "Let me guess, he's some sorta villain or tyrant?"

Guess the fun was over for now. Charging up a weak Thunder Wave, she launched it at the downed Okidogi, bored eyes watching the arcs of electricity crawling all over his body. "Really hoped that this vacation was gonna be a somewhat normal one but oh well, at least I'm the only one here that has to experience this."
 

Negrek

Play the Rain
Staff
@Sinderella

She looped a strand of her hair around her finger. “If what I know of the legend here is, in fact, true, the ogre’s less-than-savory response certainly couldn’t have come without some buildup. Envy typically doesn’t result in such beatings without time to fester. That said…have you considered simply approaching the ogre from a neutral standpoint to try and understand why it feels the need to react with violence? Where all that buildup has come from? From there I imagine it’d be easier to determine why it’s acting so Wrathfully and perhaps put a stop to it without much bloodshed.”

Hmm, prior incidents, Fezandipiti said thoughtfully. Well, nothing like murder, not that I know of. More mayhem, general rabble-rousing, that sort of thing. You must understand, the villagers were all terrified of the ogre. It's noble to want to suggest a more gentle solution to all this, very noble indeed. I have no appetite for violence. However... Fezandipiti's eyes gleamed with anger as he leaned in close to Vienna. I'm not feeling very inclined to negotiate with the beast that killed me.

Her eyes moved back to the bird before her. “And where, pray tell, is the lair?”

Fezandipiti regained his composure and went on, The lair is up there, near the top of the mountain. He gestured towards the jagged peak rising behind the shrine. A cave of sorts. Or at least, that was where the ogre was known to live in my day. It's the best guess I have.

@FauxFox

“Here goes nothing…” Theo gestured for Ogerpon to follow as he confidently strode up to the gate. “Ahem, warriors.” Theo started, trying his best to mimic Fezandipiti’s voice. “The Ogre has been found back at the square, my associates and I have dealt with it. So you are, uh, permitted to leave this post and return to the festivities. This child,” He gestured to Ogerpon, “was separated from her family earlier, so I’m helping her return to them. I have no doubt that they are worried sick, and since they live a little ways away, I would not in good conscience be able to let her walk back alone. However, I must do so with haste, so that I may return before the Ogre recovers, as it is unlikely my associates could deal with it without my help.” Theo did his best to add as much flair to his act as possible, not too worried about overplaying his part.

Ogerpon nodded along; it was hard to tell her mood behind the mask, but the fact that Theo's new transformation failed to hide his tail definitely seemed to make her nervous. Still, she followed him without complaint, and covered her face when they came up to the performers, making some reasonably convincing sobs and sniffling noises.

Reactions were mixed. The Munkidori performer immediately crouched down in front of Ogerpon. "Aww, sweetie. It's all right. We can get you back to your family." They glanced up at Theo. "You don't need to worry about it, sir. I can take her the rest of the way. Now, where was it you lived, sweetie?"

Ogerpon sobbed more loudly.

The performer with the staff was more skeptical. "She lives through here?" they asked. "On the mountain?" They gestured with their weapon, towards the dark fields beyond the festival's lights, where the road stretched upwards towards the top of the mountain, silent save for the sound of insects and the occasional pokémon cry.

@ShiniGojira @System Error @IFBench

[[ Sorry for the temporal confusion in this scene! At this point, no one has attacked yet outside of the initial psychic aimed at Okidogi. ]]

No sooner had everyone recovered from the surprise of the attack on Okidogi than an elderly woman in an absol mask ran up, taking responsibility for the bronzong and beginning to ramble about Ogre Oustin' and her past. Okidogi growled, deep and low like a grinding rock slide, and looked to be tensing for a fight as his hackles rose.

He quieted a moment when Evie stepped forward, asking everyone to take a step back. More civilized, you say? Okidogi said. His face was still contorted in a snarl, and his eyes roamed from Gen, scalchop at the ready, to Satomi and the glowing bronzong. It seems your companions are eager for a fight. What will it be? A battle, or a reasonable discussion? He raised his snout slightly, as though listening to something far off. I am expected elsewhere. I will make it quick either way.

"Hold on, hold on!" Carmine yelled. "What is going on here?! You foreigners think you can just run up and attack one of our Loyal Three out of nowhere?" It certainly looked like she was ready to fight, a hangry morpeko chattering by her side.
 

FauxFox

Wandering Fool
Location
Somewhere, surely.
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. zorua
The performer with the staff was more skeptical. "She lives through here?" they asked. "On the mountain?" They gestured with their weapon, towards the dark fields beyond the festival's lights, where the road stretched upwards towards the top of the mountain, silent save for the sound of insects and the occasional pokémon cry.
“Y-yes, on the mountain.” Theo continued, trying to keep his composure. “Her parents are researchers of, uh, some sort, and have a home somewhere on the mountain. They just don’t come down much because they are busy researching, so you probably don’t know them.” Theo paused, trying to think of more to say. “I only know this because I was just as surprised that anyone would want to live oh so close to that dreadful ogre’s home.” Theo made sure to emphasize those words to try and sell the act. “And I’m sure that the return of the ogre would have made some of the wild Pokémon out there oh so restless, so I’m sure you can understand why I would escort her. Even with the ogre dealt with, at least for now, there are still many dangers of the night. So it would be most kind of you if you would be so gracious as to let us pass.”
"You don't need to worry about it, sir. I can take her the rest of the way. Now, where was it you lived, sweetie?"
“And I do insist on being the one to escort her myself. If I were to simply pass this duty off to you, it would imply that a deed like this is beneath me, and that wouldn’t be setting a good example to this child, now, would it? It would be best if the three of you returned to the town’s center, I’m sure my associates would be most grateful to your bravery and support this evening, and there may be others who are in need there too. Now we,” Theo gestured towards Ogerpon and himself, careful not to turn too far and reveal his tail, “Must get going. If I take too long, as I said, the ogre may recover before proper justice can be administered.”
 

Dragonfree

Moderator
Staff
Location
Iceland
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Partners
  1. butterfree
  2. mightyena
  3. charizard
  4. scyther-mia
  5. vulpix
  6. slugma
It wasn't hard to catch up to the boy in the Ogerpon mask; he was presently held up by what looked to be a group of kids around his age, who seemed to find the situation more entertaining than anything. As Jean approached he finally shoved his way past them, tearing off his Ogerpon masks to general hilarity from the other kids. Even with the mask gone his face was still mostly obscured by long, dark bangs.

He stiffened when he caught Jean waving at him, clenching a fist, but then he seemed to recognize her. "O-oh," he said, lowering his eyes. "You wanted to come, too? Well..." He seemed to gather himself, putting on a fierce scowl. "We have to find Ogerpon before anybody else does! We can't let those jerks send it away again!"

Amidst all the confusion of the festival, it looked as though someone had dropped something quite precious. A bright glint would catch the corner of Jean's eye--a sparkling crystal trodden into the ground beside a nearby candy apple stand.

> You received the Crystal Cluster!
Jean gave the boy a quick, apologetic glance before she stepped aside to snatch up the crystal. It sparkled in the lights of the festival. Ooh! It was beautiful!

She turned it over in her hand as she quickly returned to the boy's side, snapping a quick photo of it as well. "Do you think someone dropped this?" she asked unsurely as she looked over the crowd for anyone who seemed like they might be the ogre from the play. A real hero would make sure something beautiful like this got back to its rightful owner. She moved to hold it above her head. "Hey! Did anyone drop this crystal?"
 
Partners
  1. suikaibuki
"Is that...?" she asks. Quick as a flash and out of nowhere, she reaches out to try to snag the mask off her face! Success or fail, her eyes would light up (and she would quickly return it if succeeded anyway). "Ah, thought I recognized you, Carmine! 'Course, last time we met, you were just in diapers! Ohohohoho! Anyway~"

Priestess Satomi takes a few steps back and closes her eyes for a second. It was now or never. She flashes an unnerving smirk and gives a signal to Unami, who spreads their arm-like appendages. A strange energy fills the air around them. A Block attack, sealing escape. She was about to kick things off.

"Did you have a reasonable discussion with Ogerpon when you and your friends wanted those masks she had been gifted?" she accuses. No, accuses is the wrong word. Rather, she states just as much as one says the sky is blue or that Pokemon and humans live together. To make her point, she continues without so much as raising her voice, "You didn't when you decided to help yourself to these berries either, there was just less killing and getting killed involved. Funny that you were the ones enshrined after the fact, eh? But the current mask maker knows the truth, and he's about to tell it to everyone." Truth be told, Satomi didn't know whether that was true or not. She just wanted to get in the doggy's head. Maybe even provoke him.

She turns to the others. "For your benefit. Short version, a traveling man and his ogre suffered prejudice in Kitakami for being strange-looking foreigners, were gifted masks to blend in at festivals, suffered a home invasion, man disappeared, ogre slew the bandits in grief, and hasn't bothered anyone before or since. Long version, ask her grandfather." She gestures to Carmine as she says 'her' and briefly turns to the girl. Fighting was inevitable at this point - Satomi's intent was to stop their plot before it could gain traction. Dealing with one separate would be useful for many reasons. But would Carmine fight with them, against them, or stay out of it?

The elderly woman turns back, nodding at her foe and giving a pointing gesture to her Pokemon. "Unfortunately, they are using the twisted version of history to exact revenge. As you chose violence, so shall I to protect my friend. Let's begin." Her path was set and she was ready to accept any and all consequences. But before that, she would see that the 'Loyal' Three saw theirs.
 
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Negrek

Play the Rain
Staff
@canisaries @Flyg0n @Seren @Sinderella @UnknownUser55

The ogre hunt continued, and Fezandipiti continued to hang around the stage, accepting gifts of food and coin from awestruck festivalgoers--and answering skeptical questions from Marcel and Vienna. A minor commotion had begun down in the festival causeway and was slowly drawing closer, and soon Fezendipiti was craning his neck, trying to see what was going on.

An elderly man was trying to make his way towards the stage, despite the best efforts of several of the performers from the earlier play. "Shame!" he yelled up at Fezandipiti. "Shame on you! How dare you show your face here?" With a wrench he managed to break away from the performer holding him back and make a run at the stage. He managed to climb up before he was once again restrained by a couple perfomers, who began trying to drag him down again.

"We're so sorry, Honored Fezandipiti," one of the black-robed performers huffed. "We've been trying to keep him away from here, but he's actually quite strong for an old man."

"Shame!" the old man cried, pointing a finger directly at Fezandipiti. "After all these years, you dare show your face around here? You would spread such lies?"

Fezandipiti watched the old man cooly while the performers redoubled their efforts to drag him away. The man addressed the crowd next, struggling to turn in his captors' grasp. "Friends, you know me. You know my father was a mask-maker, and his father before him, and onwards back into the distant past. It was my ancestor who carved the masks we use for our yearly play. And he carved them for Ogerpon, not those three hooligans!"

Surprised murmurs went through the crowd. The performers struggling with the man froze, turning mortified looks up to Fezandipiti. The old man hastily went on, "Ogerpon needed the masks so she could mingle with the villagers without fear. But three greedy pokémon stole them from her, and may have murdered her human companion as well. And when she tried to get them back, well--our village misunderstood the situation entirely! My family has kept this secret for generations, but I can't keep silent any longer. Please, don't give Ogerpon up to those three! She means you no harm! She means all of us--!"

Finally a performer managed to get a hand over the old man's mouth, and he was dragged back from the edge of the stage.

"S-sorry, Honored Fezandipiti," another stammered. "He's not usually like this. What should we...?"

Yes, it's so tragic when the elderly lose their faculties, isn't it? Fezandipiti said with an expansive sigh. Please... Take him somewhere where he can calm down. But treat him gently. Fezandipiti gestured with a wing, and the performers wrestled the old man away from the stage. He didn't go quietly, yelling about shame and about Ogerpon the whole way, but he went.

Fezandipiti didn't go anywhere once the old man had been taken away, but the atmosphere had changed. The great bird continued to converse with anyone who sought an audience with him, but he seemed distracted, a certain hardness about his gaze, which wandered to the Cornerstone Mask even more often. The stage was beginning to look distinctly gouged up from where he'd clutched at it with his talons. And while a fair number of people seemed to have taken the old man's claims as simply good theater, there were others who didn't seem ready to accept them as senile ranting.

Out in the crowd, there were whispers.

@FauxFox

"Researchers? Really?" asked the performer with the staff. "I've never heard of anyone living up there. Surely they'd have to come down into the village to get supplies."

"Oh, come on, Toshio," said the one who'd knelt in fromt of Ogerpon. "I'm sure we can trust Honored Fezandipiti on this." They stood back up and waved Theo and Ogerpon through. "Be careful, though! We'll send somebody out to look if you don't come back in a few minutes, okay?"

"...not sure it's really Fezandipiti..." muttered the performer with the staff, but he didn't move to stop Theo as he went past. Both he and Ogerpon were able to pass through without a problem.

I... can't believe that worked so well, Ogerpon murmured once they were out of earshot. But out of earshot didn't mean out of sight, and there was a yell from behind them.

Evidently Theo's tail was more visible from the rear.

"H-hey! You!" one of the performers called. "You're not Fezandipiti! Who are you?!"

"Get back here!"

Running footsteps sounded from behind.

@Dragonfree

"Do you think someone dropped this?" she asked unsurely as she looked over the crowd for anyone who seemed like they might be the ogre from the play. A real hero would make sure something beautiful like this got back to its rightful owner. She moved to hold it above her head. "Hey! Did anyone drop this crystal?"

A number of heads turned when Jean held the crystal aloft, but no one stepped forward to claim it. With the number of people passing by, whoever'd dropped the crystal could easily be far away by now.

The boy gave the crystal a curious look. "It's not mine, but it looks like the kind of stone my grandpa uses when he makes his masks," he said.

Ultimately the crystal could only be a distraction from the task of finding the ogre. The boy stared out at the crowd, clutching the sides of his head. "I don't know... There's so many people... Where could we even start?"

The piece of crystal Jean had found felt strange under her fingers, almost as though it were vibrating, or perhaps sparking with some unknown energy. It actually felt like it was moving a bit when she closed her hand around it--pulling, ever so faintly, twoards the north.

The crystal's subtle tug might be easy to miss when there were such distracting revelations going on, though. There was a commotion up on the stage as an old man accused Fezandipiti of being a fraud, of framing the ogre, when it had actually been the Loyal Three's victim all along. "G-grandpa?" the boy said. He clutched his head even harder, digging his fingers deep into his hair. His yellow eyes were wide behind his screening bangs. "H-he knew? He knew the ogre wasn't bad all along, and he didn't tell me? He d-didn't tell... anybody?"
 

canisaries

you should've known the price of evil
Location
Stovokor
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. inkay-shirlee
  2. houndoom-elliot
  3. yamask-joanna
  4. shuppet
  5. deerling-andre
Kohath's brows raised in surprise as the old man climbed on the stage and gave his accusation. There were two sides to the story now. It reminded Kohath of the many arguments he'd had to settle during his time as tribe chief.

Well, which one was telling the truth? The bird or the old man? Had the ogre only been taking back what belonged to it?

Of course, it didn't really matter. When it came to non-Helixians, the only law was the law of the wilderness where the strong and cunning prevailed. Truth didn't really hold that much weight. If the beasts saw it beneficial to lie, they should. To say they shouldn't was to cling to old instincts of right and wrong, instincts Helixians had outgrown. The only laws that mattered were the ones set by Helix.

...Or, well, there was one reason to care. This whole thing, as it happened, was akin to a play. And he was part of it, even. Playing a role of his own. He had agency, the possibility to affect the outcome. How interesting! This kind of 'role-play' was a marvellous idea. Only he didn't know what to do. He could yell out that he believed the old man's story, but what weight would that have on the others' opinions? He was simply a foreigner. Damn. Perhaps he did not have as much agency as he thought.

With a shrug, he decided to continue to simply observe. To get a better view, though, he made it through the crowd to the man and woman questioning the bird. Perhaps they would have something interesting to say.
 

FauxFox

Wandering Fool
Location
Somewhere, surely.
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. zorua
I... can't believe that worked so well, Ogerpon murmured once they were out of earshot. But out of earshot didn't mean out of sight, and there was a yell from behind them.

Evidently Theo's tail was more visible from the rear.

"H-hey! You!" one of the performers called. "You're not Fezandipiti! Who are you?!"

"Get back here!"

Running footsteps sounded from behind.
"You may have spoke too soon." Theo said to Ogerpon, before turning his head back to look at the performers. "It's been fun, but now we've gotta run. My apologies for the deception, I promise this will all make sense later!" Theo let his illusion shift back to his human illusion. "And this is the part where we run." He said to Ogerpon. "You probably know these mountains better than I do, so lead the way. I can keep up."
 

IFBench

Rescue Team Member
Location
Pokemon Paradise
Partners
  1. chikorita-saltriv
  2. bench-gen
  3. charmander
  4. snivy
  5. treecko
  6. tropius
  7. arctozolt
  8. wartortle
Gen was starting to hyperventilate, seemingly on the verge of a panic attack.
 
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