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The New Generation
“What does it say, Master?” Morgana asked curiously.
Nicholas was turning the letter the receptionist had handed him over and over in his hands while Morgana and Elaine enjoyed a sample basket of fruit he had bought at the market. “I haven’t opened it yet. It doesn’t even say who it’s from.”
Elaine was contemplating the half-eaten apple in her hand but broke out of her reverie to offer her own thoughts. “Well if there’s nothing on the outside then check the inside. Idiot.”
Nicholas glanced at her but Elaine had never turned away from her apple. “Incredible advice. Now how didn’t I think of that?”
Elaine shrugged and took another large bite. “Guess that’s why I’m here.”
Nicholas grunted and looked back to the letter. Breaking the seal he pulled out a long document with an embossed seal at the bottom and began to read.
Good day, Nicholas Topolski.
I am Joseph Stone - President of the Devon Corporation. You may recognize my last name, Stone. My son is Steven, the Hoenn Champion. Someone who I am sure you will one day test yourself against. But that is not why I write to you today.
I write to you because I have been told that you performed an incredibly heroic act today. My dear friend and old traveling companion was besides himself as he told me of the young man that, without fear for his own safety, pursued the villain that had stolen his darling Peeko when even the police had been foiled. That story ended well, as I understand it. While the thief is still at large, Peeko is back safely. Thanks entirely to you.
I would like to invite you to meet me in person at my office in Devon’s headquarters here in Rustboro. I believe we have much to discuss.
Joseph Stone, President
The signature ended with the embossed seal and Nicholas flicked back up to reread some of the letter before folding it up and putting it back in the envelope. “It’s an invitation. From someone named Joseph Stone.”
“Who’s that?” Morgana asked curiously.
“Apparently he’s the president of the Devon Corporation,” Nicholas replied. “Kalmiya, what exactly is the Devon Corporation?”
“The Devon Corporation, or Devon, is the dominant technology firm in Hoenn, Master,” Kalmiya replied. “They are comparable to Kanto’s Silph Company, though their influence is nowhere near as large. Silph supplies the entire Indigo League and their affiliates.”
“Hm. Seems like an important person wants to meet me.” Nicholas leaned back against a light pole and gazed off into the distance for a bit. “Honestly, if he didn’t claim to also be Champion Stone’s father I’d probably just ignore it. Getting yanked around by Scott and his camera crew has left a bad taste in my mouth.”
“So fuck him.” Elaine took another bite and finally turned to look at Nicholas. “You were getting yanked around so you started yanking me around. That happens again and you know what I’m going to do.”
“Hmph.” Nicholas returned to playing with the envelope while he gazed at Elaine. “Unfortunately Elaine sometimes the right thing to do is not the thing you’d like to do. If there was no reason to meet with this man I wouldn’t. I’d just send an apology somehow. But he’s the Champion’s father, apparently, and I will be back in Hoenn at some point to challenge his son. Keeping our relationship positive is the right thing to do.”
Elaine’s head turned as he pushed off the light post and positioned himself closer to the Devon headquarters. “Some point? All I’ve heard about you is that you’re some hotshot tamer conquering the world. If you’re not here to challenge the Champion right now then why are you here at all?”
“Apparently to listen to you insult me,” Nicholas replied with another sigh. “I was here on vacation before getting roped into this mess. So I’ll be getting right back to that as soon as I find a way there.”
“I want a tamer that will make me fight.”
Nicholas glanced back at Elaine. Both were silent for a few seconds before he turned away again. “You’ll fight. Don’t you worry about that. Once you two are done eating we’ll head over and I’ll meet Joseph Stone, then get back to finding us a ride to the Battle Frontier.”
He heard Elaine growl softly and then a grunt closely followed by a wet crack. He turned back to see her lowering her arm and the apple she had been eating splattered across the road. “All done.” She glared up at him. “I didn’t really like that apple anyways.”
Nicholas rolled his eyes. “No more apples then?”
Elaine smirked. “Just find me a better one.”
“Right. Sure.” He nodded at Morgana. “You, Morgana?”
Morgana upended the basket to show that it was empty. “All done, Master. There wasn’t all that much anyways.”
“Well then I guess we start moving.” Nicholas looked between the two before gesturing and leading the way down the road. “Back to Devon.”
The shattered front door was already completely repaired and as Nicholas approached he didn’t see a single sign of the incident the day before. But there were more guards in the lobby, that was for sure.
When he entered one held up his hand. “No tours today, sir. Unless you have business here please leave.”
“I’m here to see Mr. Stone,” Nicholas replied. “I-“
“President Stone does not receive visitors without an appointment,” the guard interrupted. “You’ll have to leave.”
Nicholas pulled the letter out and handed it over. “I have an invitation.”
The guard didn’t even read the letter itself, his eyes immediately drawn to the seal next to the signature. “One moment, sir.”
Nicholas waited while he approached the receptionist and showed him the letter; after a few minutes the receptionist nodded and picked up his phone as the guard returned to Nicholas. “Please make yourself comfortable, sir. An escort will be along shortly to take you to your meeting.” He gestured at a small sitting area nearby. “I apologize. President Stone had no scheduled appointments today.”
“Yeah, mine wasn’t exactly scheduled,” Nicholas replied. “But thank you.”
The guard bowed his head slightly as he returned Nicholas’ letter and the group gravitated towards the couches.
“He was surprised, Master,” Morgana offered. “I wonder why.”
“Probably because he’s turned away every single person that’s come through that door today,” Nicholas explained. “After yesterday I’d be surprised if anyone was being let in.”
It wasn’t long before an elevator dinged and a woman stepped out. Nicholas immediately straightened in his seat when she looked at him. Tightly fit black suit, spotless dress shoes, a pair of completely opaque glasses, dark leather gloves covering her hands, and a small wire trailing from an earpiece to disappear into perfectly combed blonde hair.
If he’d just opened a dictionary she would be standing next to the word ‘bodyguard’.
The woman walked up to him with a perfectly measured gait and came to a halt just out of reach. “Champion Topolski?” With her now a bit closer Nicholas was surprised to see that her face, which he’d thought was covered in a black mask, was actually uncovered. Her skin was pitch black without even the slightest sheen reflecting light off of it.
The woman noticed him staring and smiled slightly, exposing her glistening white teeth. It was not a comforting motion. “I’m not from around here so I understand your curiosity. Now let’s go.” She held up a hand when Elaine and Morgana stood along with Nicholas. “No pokegirls allowed out within the building. Return them to their pokeballs.”
Nicholas couldn’t help what came out next. “But aren’t you…?” he quickly cut off the rest of the sentence and ducked his head, hurriedly reaching for his belt. He could feel the woman’s eyes drilling into the back of his skull.
“Not all of us are as pasty white as you, boy,” the woman replied in a voice that seemed to cut like a blade through his ears. “One more comment like that and you’ll be outside, invitation or not.”
“Yes Ma’am,” Nicholas mumbled. “Thank you, Ma’am.” He glanced up and recalled the two, waiting for the woman to finally take her eyes off him before taking a few rapid breaths. He’d been holding his for what felt like ages.
The woman thankfully didn’t look at him again for the entire ride up the elevator. Nicholas kept his eyes locked straight ahead as she led him down a short hallway and came to a halt in front of a large set of double doors. Two crisp knocks before she lowered her arm and waited. Nicholas didn’t hear anything but she apparently received permission because she took hold of the door handles and flung the doors open.
Nicholas nervously entered the office behind her. The woman came to attention just inside and bowed. “Mr. President. I present Champion Topolski.” She straightened back up and turned to Nicholas. “This way, please.”
Nicholas followed her to a large desk heading the office. Pictures of rock formations and fossils lined the walls, with a few pokegirls on display as well, though they were definitely the minority. Behind the desk an older man sat expectantly. “Mr. Topolski! I am so glad that you got my letter. Thank you for coming to see me.” The woman left Nicholas in front of the desk and moved around to stand at the man’s shoulder. “Thank you for bringing him, Abby.”
“My pleasure Mr. President.”
Joseph Stone leaned forwards with a frown. “But, I was told you have two pokegirls? A Ralts and Torchic?”
“Sir, no pokegirls are allowed to wander freely in this building. Even our own company employees must be under heavy guard at all times.” Abby’s head barely moved as she spoke even though it sounded like she was reciting the same response she’d given a hundred times. “His pokegirls are in their pokeballs.”
“But that simply will not do!” Joseph exclaimed. “They were just as much a part of this daring rescue as Mr. Topolski was. I must thank them as well!”
“I am sure they will be satisfied with a recording or their Master’s word, sir.”
“No, no, no!” Nicholas felt himself relaxing a bit as he watched Abby. She was still managing to remain still but he knew that behind the glasses her eyes were probably rolling out of their sockets. “That is not good enough. Mr. Topolski, Nicholas, please. I must meet them.”
“Do not move,” Abby snapped. “Sir. If you must insist on this then I must insist on additional security measures.”
“Surely you can handle a Ralts and a Torchic?” Joseph asked. “I’ve seen you handle worse.”
“I can not guarantee your safety alone, sir,” Abby replied with just the slightest hint of exasperation creeping into her voice. “I insist on heightening security if you must see these pokegirls in person.”
“You are not capable of protecting me from two base evolution pokegirls on your own?” Joseph asked with his own hint of emotion, this time a hard edge to his voice. “If that is so then we may need to renegotiate your employment.”
“Not normally, sir,” Abby replied with the exact same edge.
Joseph took a moment before he blinked. “Oh.” He glanced at Nicholas before chuckling. “Well I insist that I see his pokegirls. If you are unable to protect me adequately from them find someone who can.”
Abby finally broke her composure, deflating slightly with a defeated sigh. “I will need to remove my jacket, sir. I don’t want to ruin another.”
“That’s fine. Do you need to remove your pants as well?”
Abby’s head twitched in his direction but she resisted the taunt. “You would like that, wouldn’t you sir.”
“I would indeed,” Joseph chuckled.
Nicholas nervously glanced between the two. “I’m fine not releasing my pokegirls…”
“No, no,” Joseph replied. “Abby just takes her job very seriously. It will be fine.”
“I, uh, have noticed that,” Nicholas stammered. Abby was finishing the last button on her jacket, revealing a pure white dress shirt underneath and a beautifully crafted silver necklace set with a swirling blue stone. “I promise not to cause any trouble.”
“You’re not a normal guest,” Joseph replied, turning now to watch Abby remove her jacket. “I forgot that Abby would normally never give a hint as to her true nature. The confusion is my fault, really.”
Nicholas’ eyes widened as the jacket slid off. The dress shirt at first appeared to go all the way down to Abby’s gloves but that wasn’t right. There were no seams and the material changed at the shoulder. No, what he was seeing was white hair running all the way down Abby’s arms. Fur?
Abby turned to him and lifted a hand to her glasses. As she pulled them off intense red eyes were revealed and she carefully hooked the glasses into the collar of her shirt before reaching up and beginning to comb her hair to the side. After a few pulls something dark could be seen in the middle of her forehead and with hardly a sound a deep ebony blade sliced out the right side of her bangs.
Abby sighed as a few blonde strands fell to the floor. “I apologize, Master. I’ve left a few more of my hairs on your rug.”
“Bah, they were that ugly yellow anyways. I prefer you when your hair is all white.”
Nicholas swallowed. “So… you’re a pokegirl.”
Abby’s eyes flicked back to him. “Just because your assumption was correct did not make your assumption right.”
Nicholas quickly bowed his head. “I agree. My apologies for my lack of tact.”
Abby shook her head and returned to her guard position, now fully revealed and ready for battle. “I am used to my skin making my disguise less effective. I am ready now, Ma-“
“Even though you’re used to it that doesn’t excuse my behavior,” Nicholas said quickly. He still was bowing his head as he continued through his apology. “I should have kept from speaking. It did not matter if you were a human, as you were implying, or a pokegirl, the color of your skin should not have categorized you in my mind.”
Since he wasn’t looking up he didn’t see the look of surprise cross Abby’s face, nor did he see the approving smile that Joseph grew. The two glanced at each other before Abby inclined her head and Joseph turned back to Nicholas. “Please, Nicholas, you are forgiven. I did not call you here to shame you.”
“Yeah, that would have worked out if I didn’t drop my foot in my mouth,” Nicholas grumbled. But he still raised his head, reaching for his belt and releasing Elaine and Morgana.
“You showed the strength to take ownership of your mistake,” Joseph pointed out. “I will not shame you for that. It is heartening to see the next generation led by tamers like you and my son.” He turned and smiled warmly at Elaine and Morgana. “And you two! It is a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for your bravery in rescuing Peeko from that thug.”
Both pokegirls blinked in unison. “Uh, we didn’t, I mean I didn’t, um,” Elaine stammered.
“Master Nicholas did everything. We were just there,” Morgana quickly amended. “We could not do anything without risking Peeko’s safety.”
“And if you had not been there I am sure Nicholas would not have been able to succeed,” Joseph replied. “Regardless of how much or how little you did, thank you.”
Elaine was still completely lost for words so Morgana took over and curtsied. “We thank you, sir.”
“The pleasure is mine. Now then, Nicholas. I’ve heard of your goal. Is that what brought you to Hoenn?”
Nicholas shook his head. “To be honest, I came here on vacation. That didn’t quite work out the way I planned it but it was the original plan.”
Joseph chuckled. “No plan ever goes the way you want it to. So if you were coming here on vacation, where are your other pokegirls?”
“It’s a bit of a long story.”
Joseph settled back eagerly into his chair and gestured for Nicholas to sit as well. “I love long stories.”
Nicholas cracked a smile. “Well then. It started when I received an invitation to visit the new Battle Frontier…”
Over the next hour he recounted everything he had done over the last few weeks, from Scott’s contract to meeting Tetsu, through Birch’s research center to Wally in Petalburg, ending with meeting Morgana and the journey through Rustboro.
Joseph had gone from relaxing in his chair to leaning nearly to the edge of his seat as Nicholas talked, and in many places he had interrupted with a barrage of questions. When Nicholas finally ended his story with him receiving the letter that morning Joseph settled back again with a sigh. “That’s quite a bit of excitement for such a short amount of time.”
“Yeah. It happens to me a lot,” Nicholas replied with a forced smile. “Which is why I’m eager to get back to my harem and actually relax.”
“I believe I can help you with that,” Joseph replied. “It’s the least I can do after your actions yesterday. Did you ever meet Mr. Briney? Peeko’s tamer?”
Nicholas shook his head. “The name seems familiar for some reason but no, I returned Peeko to the police.”
“I probably mentioned him in my letter. Well he’s a retired seamen and still owns a cruiser that he often takes out into the ocean with Peeko. After what you’ve done for him I have no doubt he’d be happy to take you where you need to go.”
“Really?” Nicholas grinned. “Wow. That’s perfect, where does he live?”
“He has a cottage on the coast west of Petalburg. I’ll provide you with one of our company transport pokegirls to get you there today.”
Nicholas reached out to shake Joseph’s hand. “That is incredibly generous of you. Thank you.”
“It is truly the least I can do,” Joseph replied. “Though, if you’re going to be leaving today, may I ask you for one last favor?”
Nicholas had let go and was leaning back when Joseph asked his question. “What kind of favor?”
“Nothing extraordinary. My son, Steven, should be on Dewford Island right about now. I think it would be a good idea if the two of you met.” Joseph had pulled out a piece of stationary and was writing on it. “Even if you choose not to, Dewford is a nice quiet place. Perfect for a rest stop on your way out to sea.”
“Well, if I’m probably going to be stopping there anyways I don’t see why I couldn’t say hello,” Nicholas replied. “Where would I find him?”
“Oh, likely in the caves around the island. He’s obsessed with stones, my boy. Picked that up from me.” Joseph flashed a smile and folded up the letter he had been writing, sliding it into an envelope and handing it to Nicholas. “If you could deliver this to him as well that would be wonderful.”
Nicholas nodded and slipped the envelope into his pocket. “Sure.”
“I’m glad that you’re going to meet.” Joseph’s gaze was thoughtful as he studied Nicholas. “The two of you are part of the next generation to shape our world.”
Nicholas wasn’t sure how to react to that so he stood instead. “It’s been a pleasure talking to you, Mr. Stone.”
“And you, Nicholas.” Joseph nodded when Abby stepped forwards. “Abby…”
“You will need to return your pokegirls again, sir,” Abby said, ignoring Joseph’s light protests. “I will escort him to his transport, Master.”
“Going to put your jacket back on?”
Abby flashed another toothy smile but this time it was warm. “Once he has removed the threats.”
Nicholas chuckled back and nodded at Elaine and Morgana; once the two were recalled Abby ran her finger over the supporting structure for her bladed horn, pushing it back under her hair and combing everything back into place before pulling her suit jacket back on. She was adjusting her glasses as she moved towards the office door. “Follow me, sir.”
“If I may ask, what exactly are you?” Nicholas asked. “I could just scan you but that, well, seems a bit rude.”
Abby was back in full focus but she still took the time to reply. “An Absol, sir. Though only you and a few other select people know so.”
“Abby the Absol.” Nicholas shook his head as the elevator doors closed. “How quaint.”
“President Stone is not exactly the most imaginative man,” Abby replied. “I am happy with my name.”
Nicholas nodded. A thought struck as they were approaching the lobby again and he glanced at Abby. “By the way. The blonde hair and black skin? I don’t think that’s normal for a human. Your regular white might actually be a better disguise.”
Abby didn’t break her concentration but he saw her head bob slightly. “Thank you for your input, sir.” When the doors opened she stepped out and gestured. “This way.”
Nicholas followed her to a door marked ‘Employees Only’ and stepped inside, past a few more guards and into a spacious break room. There were a handful of pokegirls inside along with nearly a dozen guards who all came to attention when they saw Abby.
“President Stone is requesting a transporter,” Abby barked. “This gentleman here is going to Petalburg. One way, express flight.”
Two of the pokegirls inside looked at one another before one, a girl with light blue and white wings, stood. “Mind if I take this one? I’d love to do a flyover of the ocean on the way back.”
The other girl snorted and stood as well, this one with deep blue wings and a brilliant red explosion of feathers covering her shoulders and chest. “It’s an express. I’m faster.”
“Oh, please.” The girls stiffened at a third voice. A girl wearing aviator’s goggles and a tight leather flight jacket had snuck up behind them and she clapped them both on the shoulders with a chuckle. “Neither of you are faster than me.”
Abby nodded when the third girl stepped past the others. “Morning, Scarlet.”
“Morning, Abby,” Scarlet breezed. “Do we need an additional escort to leave the building?”
Abby glanced at one of the nearby guards. “I don’t believe that will be necessary. Do any of you?”
The immediate chorus of negative responses made Scarlet grin and she shook out her arms. “Awesome. Let’s fly.”
Once they were outside Scarlet stepped away from the other two and turned away. Nicholas hadn’t seen her back yet so he was surprised to see that she seemed to have a heavy metal cape on. At least she did until the cape split down the middle, individual metal feathers spreading along the line as a pair of metal wings lifted into the air. Underneath the outer layer were hundreds of dull red feathers that Scarlet shook out with a sigh. “Give me just a minute,” she called back over her shoulder. “Need to warm up.”
Abby had activated her earpiece. “He’s leaving now, sir. Charlotte is taking him.”
“SCARLET!” Scarlet yelled.
“Your name on the books is Charlotte, Scarlet,” Abby replied. “All official communication uses your real name.”
Scarlet grumbled but didn’t press any further. Nicholas was enthralled by her wings. The dull red feathers were slowly growing brighter, almost as if they were glowing. ‘Warm up’, she had said. Were they metal too? He’d assumed they were actual feathers, but…
“Kalmiya?” he whispered. “What is she?”
“A Skarmory, Master,” Kalmiya replied. “A Steel/Flying-Type.”
The glow of Scarlet’s feathers was turning them nearly pink now and she fully extended her wings with a happy noise. “Ahhh! All warmed up. Ready, sir?”
Nicholas gingerly stepped closer. He didn’t feel any heat but that didn’t mean anything. “Am I going to get burned?”
Scarlet burst out laughing. “You’ll be fine, sir! Just place your hands and feet in the stirrups.”
Nicholas looked closer at her flight suit, identifying the leather loops she was referring to and climbing on. “Okay?”
“You’ll also want these.” Scarlet held up another pair of goggles for him. “Either that or keep your eyes shut.”
Nicholas quickly accepted the goggles. “How, uh, fast will we be flying?”
He could clearly hear the gleeful smile in Scarlet’s voice. “I’ll have you in Petalburg for lunch, sir.”
Nicholas made the mistake of glancing at his pokedex. It was just past eleven. “Oh.”
Abby was engulfed in a cloud of dust when Scarlet shot into the sky, Nicholas hanging on for dear life as the Skarmory rocketed southwards.
Nicholas fell to the ground. He could feel his arms and legs shaking uncontrollably from the stress of hanging on as Scarlet flew faster than he’d ever flown before. ‘Express’ indeed.
Scarlet was humming and stretching, her red feathers moving independently of one another to keep air flowing through her wings. “Welcome to Petalburg, sir. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.” She launched back into the sky a bit more leisurely this time, circling twice before winging off over the forest.
Nicholas slowly got to his feet. West of Petalburg, Joseph had said. Good. He needed a short walk to calm down.
It was around twenty minutes later that he felt the tremors subsiding. By that time he was nearly out of the forest surrounding Petalburg and had been catching glimpses of the ocean through the trees. Another twenty minutes and he stood on top of some dunes, gazing out at the gently lapping ocean.
He could see a dock and cottage to his right so he headed in that direction, picking his way across the sand until he was walking up the steps to the front door. “Hello?” He knocked a few times and waited. “Mr. Briney? Peeko?”
He waited for a few minutes but nobody came to the door so he looked around. There was a boat tied up at the dock and he headed in that direction next. “Anyone home?”
The boat was similarly quiet. Nicholas stood around for a bit, unsure of what to do, before returning to the door and knocking again.
“I guess it’s only been a day since their ordeal,” he muttered to himself. “Maybe they aren’t home yet.”
He walked back down onto the beach with a sigh. What should he do? This was his only good lead at getting back to the Battle Frontier. Maybe someone in Petalburg knew where they were.
He was walking back to the forest and had almost gone out of sight when he heard a distant screech. Pausing to look around he didn’t see the source at first and was turning back towards Petalburg when he heard the noise again.
This time when he turned towards the ocean he noticed a moving dot above the waves. The dot quickly grew in size until he could see wings and then a misshapen body. No, as it got even closer he could make out the two figures clinging to each other and he began jogging back towards the cottage when he recognized a flying pokegirl and a human.
It was them. Peeko landed in a run, whirling around with Mr. Briney pressed tightly against her front. As Nicholas got closer he noticed the old man’s lack of pants and began to grin. “Need a moment?”
Peeko froze in her happy dancing when she saw him approaching them. “O-Oh! Peeko sees-“ she stopped and her brow wrinkled as she took another look at Nicholas. “-Peeko sees… friend?”
“Let me down, Peeko,” Mr. Briney grunted. He got his feet under him and turned enough to see what Peeko was looking at. “Don’t know who you are but I’m a bit busy.”
Nicholas nodded. “Sorry. I’ll wait for introductions once you’ve cleaned up.”
Mr. Briney grunted again. “Sure.”
Nicholas waited for the two to head inside before following, making himself comfortable on one of the supporting posts for the dock while he waited.
After a while Peeko peeked out of the front door looking for him. “Over here.” She swiveled and Nicholas held up a hand. “Hey. I’m the guy who helped you out…” he paused. “Was it really only yesterday? Wow. Yeah, yesterday. How are you feeling?”
Peeko cautiously stepped outside. She was as nude as she had been the day before so she probably didn’t wear clothes at all. “Peeko… okay.” She lightly brushed the area on her body where the Poocheyena had mauled her. “Peeko alive.”
Nicholas smiled warmly. “I’m very glad to see that. Is your Master doing okay as well? I’m sure he was very worried for you.”
Peeko nodded a few times. “Master very happy. Very very happy.” She giggled and waggled her butt, making her tail shimmy along with it. “Very very happy.”
Nicholas chuckled. “And that makes Peeko happy.”
Peeko enthusiastically nodded her head. “Very happy!”
“Is he dressed yet?” Nicholas asked. “Can I speak to him?”
Peeko pranced back to the door and stuck her head in. “MASTER? PEEKO’S FRIEND WANTS YOU!”
“WELL LET HIM IN THEN!” The gruff voice roared back. Nicholas was already standing when Peeko poked her head back around the door expectantly. “AND GET YOUR CUTE BUTT BACK HERE!”
Peeko let out another happy giggle and dashed inside, leaving Nicholas to catch the door and follow her. He found her and Mr. Briney in a small living room, Peeko sitting happily in his lap while Mr. Briney played with her wings.
“You’re the one that helped us, then,” Mr. Briney said when Nicholas entered. “I can’t think of anyone else I haven’t met who Peeko would call her friend.”
Nicholas nodded and took a seat of his own. “I am. I’m glad to see that she’s in such high spirits.”
Peeko cooed when Mr. Briney kissed her cheek. “She always is, but she can be today thanks to you. Whatever your price, name it. It’s yours.”
Nicholas was taken aback by the immediate offer. “Uh- what? I didn’t help Peeko for a reward.”
“No but there’s a reason you’re here. Isn’t there.” Mr. Briney’s eyes were sharp as they peered at Nicholas. “Don’t bullshit an old man.”
Nicholas sighed. “I’m here because I spoke with Joseph Stone. Apparently you two are old friends?”
“I’m trying to find a boat to take me back to the Battle Frontier. Could you help?”
“That’s it? Gladly,” Mr. Briney instantly replied. “I don’t need an excuse to head out to sea. For you I’d leave today. Right now.”
“Right now?” Nicholas asked in shock. “But you just got home, didn’t you?”
“Bah!” Peeko yelped when Mr. Briney hopped to his feet and she fell off his lap. “The sea is my home. Always has been. Peeko! We’re setting sail, my darling!”
Nicholas had to run to keep up as Mr. Briney rushed out of the cottage faster than his age should allow. “Do- do we need any supplies? Anything?”
Mr. Briney laughed gaily and swept his arm to the sky as Peeko took off. “The sea provides all, my friend! Peeko is an excellent fisher. We will not starve and we will not go without water, for I have many ways to make sea water drinking water. Aye. The sea provides all.” For a moment his smile seemed to fade before he was back to normal, leaping onto his boat and gesturing Nicholas to join him. “Come! We may need to make a few stops to refuel but that’s it. We’ll have you at the Battle Frontier in no time at all!”
“Mr. Stone asked me to deliver a letter to his son in Dewford,” Nicholas managed to get in. “Is that okay?”
“Dewford it is then! Anchors away!” Nicholas stumbled when the boat’s engines roared, Mr. Briney pulling with a practiced hand to release each line keeping them tied to the dock. Within minutes they were surging over the waves with Peeko flying above them.
A figure approached a meditating one and bowed. “Lorekeeper.”
The meditating figure stirred and unfolded its legs, one adorned with a circling stone dragon. “Speak.”
“The ones seeking to awaken the ruler of the seas have successfully obtained the device we guided them to.”
“Excellent.” The meditating figure got to its feet, revealing a surprisingly small stature. “What about a suitable stone?”
The messenger bobbed their head again. “A meteorite with sufficient energy has been located and moved to an obvious location within the falls. There are multiple parties searching for it. One will eventually discover it, and word will quickly spread to the ones seeking to awaken the ruler of the land, if they are not the ones to find it first.”
“Make sure neither side takes too much of an advantage,” the second figure warned. “Both rulers must be awakened at the same time or our Mistress may not intervene.”
“Of course, Lorekeeper.”
“Good. Keep me informed.” The figure waited for the messenger to bow again and leave the room before settling back onto the hard stone and closing their eyes once again.
The visions were clearer by the day. The ancient prophecy. Total destruction. Only their Mistress could stop it, and she showed no interest in their calls.
If some must die to force her claw, then so be it.
Tamer: Nicholas Topolski
Elaine, Torchic – Level 12
Morgana, Ralts – Level 11
Kalmiya, Porygon-Z – Level 5