[pest egg: 17]
It seemed to Cynth as though she hardly got any time to herself anymore. Augustus had kept her fairly busy back in Ashfield, but his business hadn't necessarily been in high demand. Because of this, she had frequently had random days off here and there to spend as she desired. Agata Mitja, on the other hand, seemed to have a never-ending amount of work that needed done. Constantly. There were patients to be seen, potions to be made, ingredients to be found, medical supplies to be made or bartered for, even the occasional emergency for which they would drop everything to attend to... it was exhausting. It was also extremely rewarding.
At first, she hadn't really minded the rigorous schedule all that much. It was good to stay busy and productive, she believed, and she was learning a lot of useful skills from Agata- or, as Cynth was more used to calling her (because the woman preferred to be called), Mrs Mitja. Not to mention, she did make a decent amount of money, which was more than enough to sustain her humble lifestyle, despite it only being an apprentice's pay. Mrs Mitja might keep her endlessly busy, but she paid well for the long hours and often repetitive tasks. To be honest, she wasn't sure how the much older woman managed to keep going and going, hardly seeming to slow down or struggle even during their busiest, most hectic days. As far as she was able to tell, Mrs Mitja never complained and never hesitated. The simile "like a machine" came to her mind, though she wasn't entirely sure what the phrase referred to, it seemed to fit Mrs Mitja's work ethic.
But over the past... how many months had it been, now? Two? Three? Four? It was difficult to keep track. However long it had been, Cynth had noticed that her relationships with her Pokemon were beginning to decay. Not in any major way, but in a few small ways. Imp no longer attempted to play with her, nor did he flop into her lap demanding to be pet as regularly and ritualistically as he used to. Indie had faded somewhat back into her more standoffish, grouchy habits that she had had during the first couple months of their partnership. Trick... well, Trick was about the same, she supposed. Perhaps he did seem to come around a bit less, though. She certainly couldn't blame him- she was hardly ever available to chat or to go out on little excursions anymore. On top of all of this, she was concerned that her egg hadn't yet hatched- sure, it had only been about a month since she had purchased it, so maybe it wasn't too worrisome that it hadn't hatched or even so much as wiggled yet, but she worried anyway.
Aside from the emotional distance she was beginning to feel developing between her and her team, she also felt as though she might be burning out a bit on the work itself. She felt bad admitting this even just to herself, primarily because of how doggedly Mrs Mitja committed herself to each day of work without ever giving herself a day off, but as each day dragged on and the days began to blur together, each one just like the last, filled with endless work from sunup to sundown and often even beyond the daylight hours... She was running out of steam. She couldn't tell one day apart from the one before or the one after.
That was why, at the end of the day yesterday, Cynth had managed to summon the courage to ask Mrs. Mitja for some time away from work. It was a couple of hours after sunset, and they were working in silence- as was the norm- on sieving and bottling the rest of their freshly made potions and salves. It was satisfying to lean back, heave a sigh, and admire the literal dozens of liquid- or cream-filled medicinal flasks and other containers. As she gathered them one by one and transported them to a set shelves where Mrs. Mitja stored her medicinal wares before using or selling them, Cynth had once again gone over the words in her head, wanting to be able to word it well. She didn't want Mrs. Mitja to think she was being lazy or anything of that sort- but she knew her relationships with her Pokemon were important, more important than this work. To her, at least. She actually wasn't sure if Mrs. Mitja felt the same way about her relationship with her own Pokemon, which Cynth did see occasionally, assisting Mrs. Mitja in some form or another, most often at the farm just outside the outer wall.
"Mrs. Mitja?" As she had begun, she had sounded much more unsure than she wanted to. "I'd like- I mean, I was hoping-" Cynth had had to stop and take a quick breath in to try and reset herself, to try not to feel intimidated as Mrs. Mitja had turned from where she had taking stock of what supplies she had in order to look at Cynth with her characteristic blank face. Cynth's words had then all came whooshing out suddenly: "I need to spend some time with my Pokemon and I was hoping I could take half of the day tomorrow to be with them instead of coming here. Please." All the words had tumbled out of her mouth one after the other, and she had tacked on the please at the end after a brief moment of hesitation.
Mrs. Mitja had merely nodded her head once in acceptance, with slightly raised eyebrows. "Fine."
This had been unanticipated. Cynth had expected a little bit of pushback. Thrown off, she had begun to figuratively backpedal, as if the old woman had used reverse psychology. "It doesn't have to be tomorrow. And maybe it only needs to be a couple hours. It could wait, though, if you think you need me tomorrow-"
"Don't come in tomorrow. At all. I ran this place just fine before you began working here, I can manage a day on my own."
"Of course you can, Mrs. Mitja, I just- I didn't- I-" Cynth had again sighed, and pushed that flustered feeling away. "Thank you, Mrs. Mitja."
That had been yesterday. Today, Cynth had gotten up as early as she normally did nowadays, just a bit before sunrise, when the sun wasn't yet visible but the sky was already lightened as it anticipated the arrival of the sun. She prepared herself as if she was getting ready for work- she washed in a basin of lukewarm water, scrubbing herself with a harsh and grainy soap. She then dressed, picking a pair of pants and a shirt that didn't look much different from the couple of others that made up her wardrobe. She then donned the same reddish cardigan that she had been wearing on the very first day of her memory, when she woke up in Ashfield. It wasn't too worn just yet, and it was wonderful for those in-between days of spring or fall when it was hard to tell if it was going to be warm or chilly. Today, however, she didn't pull up her hair like Mrs. Mitja asked that she do when she worked. She let it stay down, feeling the dampness of it against her neck and soaking into the shoulders of her cardigan and shirt.
The young woman moved very quietly as she did all this; her two canine companions were snoozing on the pile of miscellaneous cloth and blankets that she called her bed, Indie curled protectively around the purple egg and Imp sprawled indecorously on his back. She didn't want to wake them until she was ready to go. She wouldn't let them sleep in today, though. Mrs. Mitja had given her one entire day free to spend as she wanted; she wasn't going to waste a single minute of it.