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 Try Everything, I won't give up [Social]
Amissa
 Posted: Apr 25 2018, 05:30 AM
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Soren and his father stood near the farm's main gate hurriedly trying to tack up Soren's girafarig, a beast that had no previous experience with this equipment or activity and wasn't sure if she liked it. Soren wasn't going to try to ride her. It would be quite a while before either the pokemon or her trainer were ready for that, as both were very inexperienced and still growing. However, in a stroke of luck or misfortune depending on how you look at it, the boy and his new pokemon had a rare opportunity to spend their day outside the farm and exploring the inner city. The boy who normally delivered produce from the farms to the houses of the more wealthy citizens within the inner walls was down with a severe injury. His gogoat had evidently given him a severe kick to both knees, and there was no one trained and ready to replace him on short notice.

Thus, Soren had been recruited out of desperation. He was not as big or as strong as would be ideal, but he could read, he was polite, and his pokemon was large enough to help carry a load even if she wasn't ready to carry full-grown people yet. Soren was given a list of names and addresses as well as instructions for what was to be delivered to each person. Meanwhile Genesis, his still wild and untrained girafarig, was receiving a crash course in halters and harnesses. Gaspar helped with this, and Genesis felt some reassurance that at least she was being dressed by a more experienced human. He moved with gentle confidence gained from years of handling pokemon.

He took the lead rope that attached to her halter and handed it to Soren, instructing the boy to practice leading her around before they put on her harness and the cart that she would need to pull. The design of the halter was simplistic. It had a noseband and a headstall the buckled around her head and attached to the lead rope. All she needed to do was follow Soren around, and it allowed her to easily understand where he wanted her to go. She wouldn't consider the setup perfectly comfortable, but it was tolerable. Every now and again Soren would give her commands like "walk", "trot", or "stop" that she didn't understand but after a short practice her performance was judged to be good enough. After this, Soren offered her orange bits of crunchy carrot.

She didn't go for the treat right away but stared at the boy and his outstretched hand of carrot bits as he watched her expectantly. He was clearly waiting for her to eat the food right out of his hand, and she wasn't sure how to feel about that. She leaned her head forwards, sniffing his hand and the treat before finally extending her long tongue to scoop the food into her mouth. She gave the boy's hand one more lick for good measure, an act that made him smile and giggle, before she straightened and crunched in satisfaction. Treats, praise, commands...this must be training. Overall, not as bad as she feared it would be.

Of course, that was before Gaspar and Soren put a harness on her. The harness attached her to a small lightweight two-wheeled cart so that she felt the constant weight and drag of it as she moved. Worse, she had to consider the cart at all times to make sure she didn't overturn it or get it caught or stuck on anything. After leading her around with the cart behind her, Soren gave her another crunchy carrot piece, but she didn't feel like that quite made up for her suffering.

Finally, the cart was loaded up with baskets filled to the brim with berries, fruits, and vegetables from the farm. This made it heavy and frustrated Genesis even more. She snorted unhappily and stamped one front hoof while refusing to budge, glaring at Soren in a way that she hoped would drive home the point that this was unacceptable. Soren and Gaspar both tried to placate her by making soothing sounds and stroking her neck. "This may be a bad idea," Gaspar suggested. "We can switch her out, and you can take Destiny instead. She's obedient."

Soren gave his father a sad look, leaving unsaid what they both knew. Destiny would be obedient, but she would show no interest or pleasure in anything. She'd been that way since her first human partner died, and Soren would have to spend the whole day with the sad dead-eyed deer instead of his own pokemon. He thought Genesis would like exploring the city, but he somehow had to get her past the unpleasantness of pulling the cart. "What if I helped too? Maybe we can attach a rope to the cart and I can help pull it with her."

Gaspar didn't feel like arguing, and they didn't have much time for explanations anyhow. Soren was already running behind and he'd need to head out soon if he had any hope of finishing deliveries by sunset. He allowed the boy to tie a long rope to the cart and tie a knot in the end for him to pull. "See girl, now I can help too. We'll haul together. This should alleviate some of the strain on you." Soren told the pokemon as if she could understand him. He held the cart rope in one hand and Genesis's lead rope in the other and began walking forward.

Genesis considered protesting more. Perhaps she was just feeling overwhelmed. She'd only been in the human settlement for a couple of days and already they were strapping her up and expecting her to do their work. She stayed put and watched as her undersized human strained as if he was trying to drag both her and the cart by himself. He was trying so hard, and she felt a pang of pity for him. Then she noticed where he was heading towards, the gate that led out into the main city. She hadn't explored much of the city yet, and there would be many more humans to see out there. It was important to get a good sample size when doing research, and she was realizing that these humans on the farm were simply not enough to make any significant progress towards studying this species. Here was her opportunity to go beyond!

Abruptly, she began walking and Soren actually fell forward as the weight he'd been pulling against suddenly ceased. He quickly righted himself, brushed a bit of grass and dirt from his hair and face and hurried to recover and keep pace with Genesis. "Goodbye, Daddy!" Soren yelled victoriously as the trainer and his pokemon set out on their way. "We'll see you tonight when we're all done."

Soren led Genesis and their cart of produce deeper into the city along well-worn dirt roads. Genesis had seen these roads before, but she hadn't observed how dusty they made everything. Between her hooves, the cart, and the feet of the many people and pokemon bustling around, a thin cloud of dust rose up and settled over everything. It made her sneeze, and the feeling of the straps and the weight of the cart still bothered her. It was noisy, especially when they turned down markets where people were selling wares. People yelled and argued. If Soren had given her a verbal command, there would be no way she could hear it above the din. How did anyone function in this sort of habitat? Why would humans choose this life, when they could live in the quiet beauty of the wilderness? Genesis tried to keep her mind distracted, watching all of the humans around her while minding the tension on the lead rope in an effort to tolerate her discomfort.

Eventually, Soren led Genesis through a second wall similar to the one they'd gone through when she first followed him home. Once they passed this, the city became much quieter. It was less dusty, and just cleaner overall. The humans were different as well. They seemed to walk slower, and none of them seemed to carry the strange burn marks that Soren and the other farm humans sported on their foreheads. There were fewer of them, and they didn't seem to bunch together in such large crowds. Genesis felt relieved. It was even easier for her to breathe. Instead of the scents of dust and sweaty human and pokemon bodies forced together on narrow streets, she could smell cooking, flowers, and the pleasant scent of the ripe produce she was lugging.

Soren stopped and Genesis did too, watching the boy to see what he would do here. He reached into his leather shoulder bag and pulled out a cloth with markings all over it. He looked it over intently and spoke. "Aster household is first. Aster...that's the name of one of our ambassadors. I learned that in school. I think he's the one with the sword." Soren muttered, more to himself than to Genesis. That wasn't surprising. These deliveries today were for the more wealthy class in the upper echelon's of Beta's hierarchy. Soren took a quick moment to whip off his hat and dust it off before placing it back on his head. There wasn't much he could do about the dust covering the rest of him or his pokemon, and he was already running late. These fancier folks would just have to take him as he was.

He went along until he found the correct address, inwardly pleased with himself that he spent so much of his childhood exploring the city. He had no difficulties navigating within his own home, and maybe if he was quick he could make up for the delay they'd had in the morning while they set up. Soren walked up and knocked on the door before taking a step back to announce himself. "Produce delivery!" He yelled so that the people inside the home would know who he was. Crater City didn't have a large problem with crime, but some folks might like to know who was waiting behind a door before they open it.

@Rixie

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Rixie
 Posted: May 1 2018, 12:51 AM
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Lore


There was a long period of silence, possibly long enough to cause the boy to believe nobody was home. Before he could give up though, the door was suddenly flung open and a giant of a man was standing in the doorway, looking down at Soren with a severe expression. His eyes were slightly squinted, his brow furrowed, and the corners of his lips pulled back just a little bit into a seemingly contemptuous look.

As if his neutral, yet vaguely annoyed and even somewhat bored-appearing face weren't enough, he simply looked at the boy before saying, "You're not the delivery boy." It was more of an observation than an accusation, but his words were curt and his voice naturally low and gruff.

He stared at the boy for a long few seconds, taking in every detail: the shock of dark hair, the long eyelashes, the dark, raised scar of the brand on his forehead. His eyes wandered to the Pokemon that was lashed to a cart behind him, and his breath caught.

"Where did you get this Pokemon?" he immediately demanded, brushing past Soren and stepping over his threshold to walk up to the Girafarig and take a closer look. He peered at it, his brows knitting together and his eyes narrowing further as he leaned closer, his face a few mere inches away.

However, before Soren could answer, a new voice emerged. "Ayy-ave!" a singsong voice came from inside the house, and a woman who looked to be at least fifty years old, possibly sixty, appeared in the doorway after a few seconds. "Did Jeremy bring my tomatoes? You simply can't get good tomatoes except from outside the city walls!" The woman had wispy hair that was mostly silvery-white, but still held strands of blonde that could be seen in the crisp, tight ponytail it was pulled into. A Luxray stalked after her, looking, for all the world, like a content old cat, except for the gleam in her eye as she casually surveyed the surroundings.

The tall man turned away from the Girafarig for a moment to frown deeply at her and he half-scowled, half-shouted, "Not now, woman!" He swallowed and his voice lowered to its usual tone, "We have a substitute delivery boy."

"Okay, dear!" she addressed her son cheerfully. Her attention turned to the boy, "Well, I'll be!" Instead of retreating back into the house, as Avery had hoped she would do, she walked right up to the unknown boy. For her age, she was surprisingly spry, placing her hands on her hips and leaning a bit so she was beaming right into Soren's face. "I'm Rachel Aster. What's your name, hm? Can I get you some tea? Maybe a cookie? My, aren't you a handsome young man. Are you hungry? When's the last time you ate? When Avery was your age-" This went on for some time, a tirade of questions and words without ever giving the boy a chance to answer.

Avery heaved a sigh, and suddenly his hand was at his waist, poised over one of the pokeballs buttoned there as he spoke a loud word of warning, "Bluebell. I see you." A Luxio bounded out of the house behind the elderly woman and Luxray, a fake sulk on her face. She skidded to a halt, and her sulk changed to a look of sheer wonder, as she saw the Girafarig.

"Wha-! Hi! What are you?!" she excitedly pressed towards the Pokemon that she'd never seen before. She babbled happily as she leaned forward to sniff the creature. Her voice was a slew of cheerful mews that sounded like they should be coming from a small kitten, not a dark blue and black, several-foot-tall lion, "My name's Bluebell! I'm going to be a Luxray! That's my mom, over there. Her name is Wave! She's a Luxray, too! I've never seen a Pokemon like you, before!" Excited sparks came off her whiskers and through her spiky mane, though they were hard to see in the sunlight. Her tail was high in the air and waved back and forth happily as she eagerly sniffed the air around the stranger.

Between his mother and his Luxio, Avery was beginning to regret ever coming out of the house. His eye twitched and he took another deep breath, struggling to retain his patience.

"...Oh, but he would never get fat or put any meat on his bones at all! He just kept growing taller and taller! Like a beanpole! I say-!"

"Shut up!" he roared, unable to take it anymore. His face was twisted into a wrathful glare, turqoise eyes sparkling dangerously and mouth snarling.

There were a few seconds of silence, and then his mother beamed, "Okay, dear!"

Bluebell blinked and her spike-ended tail lowered as she calmed herself. She looked up at the Girafarig and cleared her throat with a small, wheezy cat cough. "Ah. I mean. Greetings. My name is Bluebell. What's yours?" She was somewhat embarrassed, but she had simply gotten carried away in the excitement. She knew she wasn't a kitten anymore (and she hadn't been for a couple years now), but it was hard to accept that sometimes.

Avery sighed and put a hand over his face for half a second before removing it. It seemed he regained his composure, as his expression had returned to its resting state. "How is anyone supposed to answer your questions, or even think, if you won't stop talking for a few seconds?" his voice was calm, even, and deep.

He turned away from his mother and back to the boy. He pointed a finger at the Pokemon hooked up to the cart and asked once again, "Now. Where did you get that Girafarig?"

@Amissa

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Amissa
 Posted: May 1 2018, 07:59 AM
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Soren waited patiently, wondering what length of time was it polite to wait before giving the door a few more smart knocks. What did he even do if no one was home? Did he leave the basket in front of the door, or should he step inside and leave the basket there? Locks and latches weren't common obstacles, though some people might leave a pokemon behind to guard their house when they went out. Before Soren needed to make a decision, the door finally opened.

The boy looked up, and then up further, his eyes steadily widening as he took in the size of the man before him. He looked decidedly unfriendly and stated curtly that Soren was not the delivery boy. Thank you, Ambassador Obvious, Soren thought. His manners were far too good to let loose such sarcasm out loud, but he did have just enough cheek to come back with. "I am today!" Though he kept his tone cheerful enough that he might be forgiven as simply being overeager and energetic. Soren felt like the man's tone was demanding an explanation, so he continued. "Jeremy got kicked in both knees by his gogoat and there was no one else to replace him. I wonder why a pokemon would do that."

Genesis, who was still acutely aware of her tack and the cart she was still unhappily attached to, could think of a few reasons why a pokemon might do that.

"Anyway, my name is Soren and this is my pokemon Genesis. This is our first day, but we're very happy to be at your service." Soren explained only to find that while he was talking, the man had already moved in on his pokemon. Genesis stared right back at the man with the same intensity with which he stared at her. It didn't frighten her that he was big, but she did find it interesting. What made this human so much larger than her own? What made him so much larger than most others of his kind? Was his diet better? Perhaps he'd lived a long time and endured many battles. That's how pokemon grew big and strong, after all. If so, would Soren grow larger if he engaged in a few spirited fights? She had a feeling this would be a hard theory to test.

Soren was about to answer the man's question when a female voice drifted out of the household. An old woman came to the doorway, and she appeared to be followed by a luxray. Soren felt goosebumps rise on his arms, though he wouldn't say he felt fear. Or at least, it wasn't entirely fear. Luxray was an alpha predator pokemon, right up there with pyroar. Their sleek black fur made one worry that they might be a demon, but they were in fact a powerful electric type. Even with his heart hammering with excitement, he tried not to stare at it or let his mouth hand open like an idiotic country bumpkin.

"Jeremy got kicked by his gogoat and won't be able to make deliveries for a few days. I'll be happy to serve you," Soren told the woman, hurrying behind the cart to collect the basket assigned to the Aster family. He nearly dropped it when he heard to man raise his voice at the lady. Soren leaned over to frown at the man from around Genesis's flank. Who talks to people like that? Who raised you? Soren wanted to ask the man, but knew that would be beyond inappropriate. He ducked back behind Genesis and focused on his work, hopefully before the man turned around and caught his expression of disapproval.

The basket was heavy, but Soren was able to lift it in both arms and bring it over. By the time he'd done this, the woman had come closer and gave him a beatific smile. "My name is Soren. It's a pleasure to meet you, ma'am," he told her, speaking softly and feeling a little shy suddenly. He wasn't sure if he could call her Rachel or Lady Aster or anything else, but "sir" and "ma'am" were usually always safe fallbacks. Soren felt almost overwhelmed as she began to offer him refreshments. He hadn't expected people around here to be so nice. If Jeremy accepted snacks at every house he visited, how did he ever get his deliveries done? Soren was very tempted, especially by the cookie, he almost never had sweets.

However, he didn't have time for a tea break. He already knew that he'd be skipping lunch today to make up for the late start. As nice as Rachel was, Soren now found that he couldn't politely escape this conversation. He smiled and nodded eagerly as she went on, but searched for a way to interrupt. Her stories were interesting, and he'd honestly love to hear them, but he was growing more and more anxious about making good time. He was so distracted with Rachel that he entirely missed the luxio exiting the house and investigating his pokemon.

"I am an even-toed ungulate mammal, a ruminant herbivore." Genesis stated, perhaps misunderstanding the luxio's question. In the wild of the plain, luxio and luxray would be her mortal enemies, and there was an animal instinct active inside her that was urging her to run or fight. Instincts had a purpose, of course, but Genesis would not be a slave to hers. Here in the human settlement, tamed pokemon like herself were cared for and protected as long as they served a purpose. She was serving a purpose now by hauling this infuriating cart, so the logic would follow that she would not be harmed. In the off chance that her hypothesis was incorrect, well, she wasn't exactly defenseless. The cart and harness were a physical hindrance, but she still had her psychic power.

The luxio continued to prattle on, and Genesis listened with only mild interest. "I will not grow into any other form besides a larger version of myself, I hope. My own maternal ancestor is most likely still with our herd on the plain. Unless she's dead. And I have seen pokemon like you maybe once or twice before." Genesis hummed as though she were reading from a script. The truth was that she had never been especially skilled with interacting with other pokemon even when she'd lived among her herd. They always thought she was weird, and she never knew the appropriate words to say. She hoped that by mirroring Bluebell's conversation, she'd get it right somehow.

Suddenly a great bellow cut through the chatter. Soren clutched the basket of produce close to him (his arms were beginning to ache by now and he wished these people would just take it from him) and let out an alarmed little squeak. He looked nervously up at the big man who appeared downright enraged. Soren didn't dare speak a word. Genesis gave Avery a sharp look and actually pawed the ground with a front hoof and snorted in warning. She didn't know what had set the large human off, but she'd seen aggressive behavior in humans before and didn't like the way this situation looked.

His yell at least seemed to bring some level of order to the area. The old woman no longer babbled at Soren and the luxio managed to compose herself with some dignity more befitting her species. All of the pokemon here seemed to go by their human-given nicknames, Genesis noticed. She wondered what influenced a human's choice in names. This luxio appeared to be named after a flower, which seemed strange since she neither looked nor smelled like a bluebell. This pokemon's maternal ancestor lived in the same home as her and appeared to be named after a disturbance in a body of liquid. Genesis couldn't help preferring Soren's naming method for her, which at least made sense. "My name is Genesis. My human chose this name to represent that we were both embarking on a new experience and life together."

Meanwhile, Soren was recovering from his yell-induced terror. Rachel was so sweet that she didn't even seem bothered by the man's super rude outburst. He didn't dare glare at the man even though inside his mind he was screaming. You can't speak to people that way! After the few seconds had passed and everyone looked to be calming down a bit, Soren seized his opening to respond to Rachel. "No, thank you for your offer, ma'am. However, if it isn't too much trouble, could I ask you for some water for my pokemon? Today has been very stressful for her, and I'd sure appreciate it."

Soren addressed the tall man last, and a bit late. This was entirely on purpose and because Soren didn't like him. Soren was so caught up in not liking him that he nearly missed something very important that the man said. "Girafarig?" Saying the word out loud came with the same satisfaction as turning a key inside a lock. There was joyful mental "click" as a critical puzzle piece fell into place. Soren was now fully alert and trained on this man, the aching in his arms forgotten as he focused entirely on this stranger. If he knew the name of her species, maybe he could tell Soren more about her. This might be the only person who could tell him exactly what kind of creature he'd captured. "I met her out on the plains only a few days ago. We hit it off, and she followed me home, sir," Soren said carefully. He remembered his father's reaction to him venturing out on the plains alone, and he suspected that one of Beta's highest officials wouldn't approve either. And yet, he knew that he couldn't lie, not if he hoped to receive honest information from Avery.

@Rixie

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Rixie
 Posted: May 1 2018, 03:44 PM
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Lore


[[OOC note: “Who raised you?” would be a hilarious question to answer, since it was largely the very woman who he’s being so rude to! Well... and Beta.

Rachel: /happy chattering/ Are you hungry? Want some tea? How about a cookie? Lala dee dee...
Avery: Shut UP!
Soren: /horrified/ You can't just say that! Who raised you?
Rachel, cheerfully: I did!
Avery, sullenly: She did.]]


Bluebell’s jaw dropped, but she quickly closed it and her tail raised back into a happy wiggle as she responded to the other Pokémon. If she was offput by any of her words, she sure didn’t show it. She did seem a tad bit nervous about the pawing hoof though, as she shrank back a few inches and mewed, “Oh! Um... don’t worry about Avery. He really hates it when people talk too much. He lets me off the hook usually because I’m a Pokémon and he can tune me out pretty easily honestly but when it’s other humans he just can’t handle it. But he’s not going to attack anybody or anything! I’ve only seen him ever strike out in defending himself or his friends or his city! Not that he has any friends. Just his mother and Beta, the king of this city, and a few other people that he hangs out with sometimes mostly for business reasons, I think.”

She took a pause to take a breath, and the Pokémon introduced herself. “Oh, cool! My human named me Bluebell because... um... oh yeah, that’s right! Because I’m loud and mischievous and cute like a stereotypical Fairy type! Avery says there’s a rumor that you can attract a Fairy type’s attention by “ringing” bluebell flowers. He says that’s just superstition though. Oh, but... I guess I’m less cute now. But I was adorable as a Shinx! And I still know how to act cute at least! See?” She showed off her Baby-Doll Eyes, giving the Girafarig a good eyeful of her shimmering, enormously wide eyes that just begged to be cooed over.

The topics she talked about seemed to zigzag back and forth from discussing herself, her human, and things he told her. A lesser Pokémon would probably get confused or outright ignore her. But this new friend surely was clever enough to keep track, right? Something about her air told Bluebell that she was a smart one.

Even though the request for water seemed to be addressed to Rachel, Avery turned his back on Soren with a soft, "Hmmf," and walked away. He disappeared into the house.

Rachel leaned close to the boy and she whispered, "Please don't let him fool you. He really is such a sweet man, though he tries so very hard to hide it from everyone. Mama sees right through him, though." She gave the boy a sly wink.

A few seconds after her wink, Avery suddenly returned, the neck and arm muscles bulging slightly as he hefted a large wooden bucket by its rope handle and took careful, even steps so he wouldn't spill it everywhere. He kept his eyes trained on the ground, watching for potential sources of tripping or slipping, and conveniently able to avoid looking at anyone's face. A few more steps, and he was able to lower it to the ground right in front of the Pokemon. He stepped back and watched her.

The boy finally spoke to him, and Avery nodded, still keeping his gaze trained on the Pokemon, "Girafarig."

The boy chose his words carefully as he explained where he’d found the Girafarig. ”I see. Good, good...” murmured Avery as he continued his curious examination of the Pokémon. Earlier, it had examined him right back, which amused the enormous man greatly. He knew they were fairly intelligent, so it didn’t surprise him too much, but it still felt odd for a specimen to be regarding him as... well... a specimen.

Rachel, on the other hand, gasped and her hand flew to her mouth, "Eeeeck! You did what?! In the plains? For Arceus’ sake, you-you weren’t alone, were you?!”

Avery blinked as he turned to his mother, then back to the boy. His face was calm, though his brows still seemed to be somewhat furrowed. ”It was unwise of you to do such a thing, but what’s done is done. The important thing now is that you learn to work with her and grow with her. You’re willing to do that, right? See, Mother? It's fine.” Avery looked at the boy again. Even though his face still appeared to have stern lines in it, he seemed to be... rooting for the boy.

As his eyes roved over the boy again, he took note of the way he clung onto the box of produce. Without a word, he walked over and took the box, easily lifting it from the boy’s arms. He took a few steps and placed it just inside the house, turning a stern look on Bluebell, who was eyeing a bright, plump berry that she knew to be both spicy and sweet. Her favorite. She pouted as she was found out, and returned her attention to the new Pokémon. She whispered in a not-so-quiet yowl, "Dangit! I wanted one of those berries! I love those, but Avery says I can only have them after training because otherwise I'll get fat!" Her yellow eyes glowered as she eyed the doorway.

@Amissa

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Amissa
 Posted: May 3 2018, 10:41 AM
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Genesis grew more interested as Bluebell spoke. She realized that this pokemon, however young she behaved, must have spent a great deal of time in the company of humans. Most interesting was that she seemed to at least get the gist of what the humans were saying in their language. This was a talent that Genesis envied greatly. Perhaps Bluebell wouldn't mind helping translate Soren's words for her, and helping Genesis learn more about these humans.

Already, Bluebell was providing helpful insight. It seemed like her human, the large male named Avery, became stressed when subjected to profuse trivial chatter. He was not actually a threat, which was a relief. In her current condition, Genesis wasn't sure that she could protect herself let alone her undersized human from that giant. She calmed down and stood still.

Genesis couldn't add anything or comment on Bluebell's talk of friendship and such. Genesis couldn't say that she had any friends herself or even that she had the best understanding of what friendship entailed. Nor did she recognize the name Beta or understand what a "king" was. There were no kings on the wild plains, but by the context of the word, Genesis figured that a king must be an occupation or a rank.

When Bluebell explained the origin of her name Genesis's brows went up as she was genuinely impressed. Not by the name or by her cute eyes, but that her human had managed to explain all of this and his pokemon understood it. Bluebell must be close to fluent in understanding human. As soon as Genesis had an opening, she launched into her questions. "What do you know about the burn marks some of the humans here have? Why is your human so large? How did you and your human meet? Were you born here among the human herd?" She spoke quickly like Bluebell did, in part to ensure that Bluebell couldn't interrupt her.

Soren was a bit relieved when the ambassador went back into the house. The man's loud outbursts and gruff manner of speaking made him nervous. Rachel said that Avery was nice, but her opinion could hardly be unbiased. Since Soren had never met the man before, he had to go by what he saw. And to all appearances, Avery came off as short-tempered and unfriendly. In the best case, he was at least incredibly rude.

Despite Soren's rather ungenerous thoughts, Avery came out hauling a big bucket of water for Genesis. Genesis was parched from the march through the dusty city streets. She happily lowered her head and began drinking from the bucket while she listened to Bluebell answer her questions or simply ramble at her as seemed to be the luxio's way.

"Thank you, sir!" Soren said. Even if Avery was grumpy, it wouldn't deter Soren from searching for the answers he wanted. Girafarig, Soren thought of this word over and over. It was the same spelled forwards and backwards, perhaps a reference to the pokemon having a head on both ends. His low opinion of Avery's manners didn't stop him from feeling a beaming pride when the ambassador seemed to praise him after he told the man where Genesis had come from. Rachel's reaction worried him though. He didn't confess to the woman that he'd been alone on the plain. His guilty expression when he looked over at her was confession enough.

It was relief to see that Avery didn't seem like he was going to punish Soren. Technically, Soren hadn't broken any rules. There was no law stating that he couldn't leave the city and go to the plain even if he was a child alone. It was simply understood among everyone that it was a very bad idea. "Yes! Of course, sir," Soren responded eagerly, looking into Avery's eyes thankfully as the man (finally) relieved him of his burdensome basket of produce. "Genesis and I are going to work very hard together." Soren left out that they didn't really get a choice. Soren was branded, after all. He was either going to work hard within the city, or he would leave and probably die. No one lived for free.

Soren took a brief moment to stretch his arms before going over to Genesis. The girafarig still had her front hooves spread and her head lowered, drinking peacefully from the bucket while the luxio mewed at her. Soren wanted to chatter on about how great she was, how she showed no fear of predators and didn't shy or panic even moving through the city for the first time. He wanted to boast about her strength, but he had other priorities right now. He stroked a hand lovingly along the girafarig's neck and back, carefully avoiding bringing his hand near her second head.

"What do you know about girafarig, sir? What type are they?" Soren's guess was a normal type, but he'd once seen Genesis use a strange invisible power. Maybe she had more than one typing, or maybe she was a normal type who could use different types of moves. No matter what, knowing her type would be crucial if Soren was to protect her. It would also be important if he wanted to capture more pokemon. He'd want to look for pokemon who would be able to make up for Genesis's weaknesses.

Genesis didn't react to Soren's touch. She knew by now that he would not hurt her. More likely his arbitrary contingence was an attempt to be friendly, to comfort her, and initiate bonding. Soren seemed to do this much more than other humans she'd seen, and not just with her. Soren did it with other pokemon on the farm and other humans sometimes. She supposed the word to describe this trait would be "cuddly". Still, she wasn't sure how he expected her to react, so she simply didn't. She merely filed this observation away in her growing mental library.

Once she'd had enough to drink, Genesis straightened and shook her head slightly to get rid of any droplets of water clinging to her snout. "Then I suppose you should initiate a training session with your human as soon as possible." Genesis suggested to Bluebell. It was only logical. If Bluebell wanted the berry and could only obtain it by training, then she should let her human know that she wanted to train. More selfishly, Genesis wanted to see how Bluebell interacted and communicated with her human. Maybe she could learn some tips that would help her with Soren.

@Rixie

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Rixie
 Posted: May 3 2018, 03:43 PM
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Bluebell beamed at the Girafarig’s impressed expression. She knew she was adorable! She turned expectantly towards Avery, but to her displeasure, he wasn’t looking. And Carnation was safely tucked in his pokeball, so he wouldn’t have seen it at all. A small pout replaced the cute, cheerful face. Luckily, before she could begin scheming and plotting to get what she wanted, the Girafarig distracted her with a series of questions.

Light-heartedly, Bluebell turned to her and chatted away rapid-fire, yet lengthy, answers, “Well the burn marks are to indicate that they’re lower rank and that we have to take care of them! Avery calls them ‘Branded’, but in human language, of course. Whenever there’s a Branded person who needs help, Avery jumps in to make sure they’re okay! Like one time a Branded accidentally angered a wild Pokémon, and he didn’t have any strong enough Pokémon to protect him, so Avery went over and made the wild Pokémon stop before it killed the Branded human! Oh, oh! There was also one time where there was a human who was really weak and hurt, and Avery said that if he gets the Brand, they’ll cure him and feed him! Avery’s bigger than most humans because his mom and dad are pretty big, too! But he got to eat a lot more, so he’s much bigger than them! At least that’s what Wave tells me. Plus he works really hard on exercising and training himself in addition to us, his Pokémon. That makes him have lots of muscles! I don’t think he’s taller because of it though. I’ve seen a lot of humans who train and they get muscles and they get bigger that way, but they don’t get taller. I met my human when...” she hesitated as she tried to remember the very first time she saw Avery. “I guess when I was born! I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know him! I was his second Pokémon, I think. The human... herd? Hehe. That’s a funny way to put it. I’ve never thought of humans living in a herd, but I guess you’re right! They sort of do! Wave was born in the wild, but I was born right here in this ‘house’.” She turned and looked fondly at the mud-brick structure.

When Avery returned carrying a heavy bucket of water and Soren thanked him, Rachel raised her eyebrows at Soren and smiled, as though saying, What did I just tell you?

Though that ended quickly with the discussion about the boy heading out to the plains alone. Rachel gave an unhappy huff when she saw the guilty look on Soren's face and Avery backed him up. Her sunny demeanor changed rapidly and somewhat chillingly, her blue eyes suddenly having a much stronger resemblance to Avery's icy turquoise orbs. She grumbled, "Boys!" but Avery wasn't paying attention to her. Annoyed, she quickly made an excuse to leave, "I'm going to go put away the produce," and she flounced into the house, waited until Wave entered just behind her, and then shut the door with a harsh snap.

Avery's mouth tightened into an ever-thinner line when the boy said they would work very hard together, and Avery wondered if he should clarify that he didn't only mean working... Finally, he decided to do so, "I'm glad you understand that you need to work... but I also meant training physically and mentally so you're prepared to defend yourselves and your city if need be."

Avery watched Soren go up and lovingly stroke the Girafarig's neck, his face seemingly blank, though he was staring quite closely. The boy asked him what he knew, and his eyes flicked away, down and to the left as he tried to recall what he had read. After a few seconds of silence, he spoke, ”Girafarig are quite rare. I didn’t bother memorizing all the specific powers they have or can learn. I’d have to review them and bring a list some other time we see one another. But...” His gaze returned to Soren’s face, ”she is dual typed, Normal and Psychic. To cover her weaknesses, I’d suggest a Fighting type with moves strong against Bugs: Fire or Flying. Even Rock or Poison, as long as the Pokémon isn’t Poison type.”

His face stern, his eyes focused on Soren’s, he spoke quietly now as he repeated a point he deemed important. "I emphasize: she is rare. Train her and guide her, and she'll become powerful. You are granted a unique opportunity. Seize it. I will assist in whatever way I can, but ultimately it is your opportunity, and your responsibility. You can find me here, or in the training grounds.”

Bluebell cocked her head as her gaze turned to Avery. Yes, he would probably reward her with one of her favorite berries if she trained. On the other hand, what were the chances that he’d agree to training right now, out of the blue? But Bluebell had nothing to lose. She interrupted the chat between Soren and Avery with a rumbling mew as she took several steps towards them, "Averyyy..."

Avery’s head turned towards her, a frown on his face. From experience, Bluebell knew it was a thoughtful frown, though, and not an angry one, so she pressed on with her request. "Can we train? Please?" He wouldn't be able to understand her precisely, so she mimed her words with actions, taking a ready stance. Her paws were spread slightly, her knees bent, and her eyes and ears fully trained on Avery. Finally, she sent electricity coursing through her fur as she used Charge, indicating she was ready for action.

He continued frowning at her for a few seconds, and when he didn't immediately respond, she released a bit of the electricity impatiently, zapping a stone near her paw and returning her alert, expectant look to Avery.

He sighed, "Good grief. Now?" His lip curled into an annoyed, contemptuous expression as he tried to decide what to do, still staring intensely at the Luxio, who was eagerly waving her star-tipped tail back and forth now. He explained to Soren, "She wants a Shuca Berry. They're her favorite. But she knows she has to work for it. So now she wants to train."

@Amissa

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Amissa
 Posted: May 4 2018, 06:55 PM
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Ah, so the human herd had a ranking system. It turned out that their social structure was far more complex than most pokemon gave them credit for. This was a major breakthrough! She wanted to learn all about their society and their ranks. Soren and most of the humans she'd encountered on the outer edges of the city carried the burn, so they were of the lowest rank. They were the weakest humans then. In pokemon with societies of similar ranking structures, the weakest were usually grouped in the center of the herd where they would be best protected. If the stronger humans wanted to protect the weaker ones, why were the weaker ones positioned nearest to the dangers of the plains? Maybe the humans were just bad at city planning, but it was possible that Bluebell was wrong too or just partially incorrect. She might not be the most reliable source of information, and Genesis had to keep that in mind.

According to Bluebell, size among humans seemed to be determined by a number of factors. It sounded like a combination of genetics, diet, and exercise. Soren appeared to get plenty of exercise, but she needed to learn a bit more about the typical human diet. She didn't know how much a typical human ate or what, so she couldn't tell if Soren was eating enough of the right nutrients for his size and weight. Since he was her human now, she felt some level of responsibility for his well-being. Plus, it would certainly benefit her if he could grow a bit more and pull his own stupid cart. Genesis wasn't surprised to hear that Bluebell was born right here in her human's home. That would certainly explain her language fluency and possibly her immature behavior.

Soren felt a little bad that he'd made Rachel angry, especially after she was so nice. He lowered his eyes apologetically and swore to himself that he'd never go on the plain alone again. Of course, now that he had a pokemon, he hoped that he would never need to go anywhere alone. Soren continued to stroke Genesis's neck a bit nervously as he was left alone with Avery. The man didn't sound like he was angry at him, but his face certainly looked angry as though Soren had said or done something wrong. He was the very picture of strained patience.

Avery spoke to Soren as if he was expecting the boy to become some kind of warrior. Defend the city from what? No one would be dumb enough to attack Crater. Their city was a beacon of order and prosperity among the chaos of Terrene. Plus, Soren hated fighting. It frightened him. "I don't think I understand, sir," Soren confessed, hoping he didn't anger the man and make him start yelling again. His father had always told him to be honest. "Do you mean like, fighting the pest pokemon that cause problems on the farm sometime? Who would we need to defend against? And how do you learn how to do that?"

Soren's heart made a small joyful leap when Avery said he'd prepare a list of Genesis's powers and attacks. That was far more than Soren had dared to hope for. Plus, since he would be on deliveries for at least as long as it took for Jeremy's knees to heal, he was bound to see the ambassador again and probably very soon. He said she was a psychic type, and Soren gave Genesis a proud little smile (that she couldn't see because she was too busy chugging water). He'd known that she was special from the moment he saw her! Psychics were said to be on par with even dragons intellectually, and there were stories of psychics moving objects, speaking, and teleporting with only the power of their amazing brains. Unfortunately, Soren didn't know a single other person with a psychic pokemon, so Avery seemed like his best source of information right now.

As the ambassador went through suggestions of possible companion pokemon that would make up for Genesis's weaknesses, Soren smiled and nodded as he followed along. His brain was on the exact same track. A pokemon with a normal and psychic typing would only be weak to demons and bugs. Demons were weak to fighting and bug types while bugs were crushed by fire, flying, and rock type pokemon. "Tepig and Torchic can be a bit difficult to find, but I think some of the farming families in the city might breed and sell them, provided that I could ever afford one. Both evolve into fighting fire types." Soren muttered, more to himself than to Avery as the gears worked in his head. "A bug and flying type pokemon would be wonderful, and those are much more common and easy to catch though they have that unfortunate weakness to rock pokemon. But a fighting type could be harder for me to raise..."

Soren turned from his own thoughts to Avery as the man lowered his voice. The softer a person spoke, the harder others were likely to listen. It was a trick that Soren used himself from time to time. One look made it clear to Soren that whatever Avery was saying must be deadly serious important. Soren's mouth fell open when the ambassador offered his personal assistance, and the boy had to make an effort to close it in order to avoid looking like the village idiot. That was out of the blue! Soren had never for a second expected to have anyone among the higher ranks offer to spend time with him or teach him. But as Avery mentioned the training ground, Soren's heart sank as reality hit. "That's very kind of you to offer, but I don't have any tokens to pay you, sir." Soren's voice remained polite, but he couldn't hide the tone of disappointment. He'd looked into the prices for assisted training the very day after he caught Genesis, and there was no way he could afford that right now. Avery was a higher rank than even the bishops, so reason would conclude that he'd expect to be paid even more. "And if I did, the only times I could train would need to be before dawn or after dusk. If we finish our work sooner maybe we could get a little training done before sunset, but normally we need to work as soon as the sun rises and we keep at it all day. I'm sure you wouldn't want to train in the dark."

Did workers train their pokemon? Soren's father took great care of his pokemon, but he'd never seen the man spend much time training. Soren knew his mother must have somehow because she'd managed to evolve her deerling into a sawsbuck. Why did Avery expect so much of him? Did he make the same offer to every delivery boy that came around? Soren didn't want to disappoint the man. As bad as Avery's manners were, Soren felt an instinctual admiration for the man. He knew so much about pokemon, and he was big and strong and he had a cool sword. He was basically what every kid wanted to be, as inspiring as he was terrifying. Avery may have noticed that ever since Rachel went into the house, Soren had not left his pokemon's side. He wasn't quite cowering behind Genesis, but he kept one hand on her for comfort.

They were shortly interrupted by Avery's luxio who gave a rumbling mew as if pleading for something. She posed as if she was preparing for a fight, and Soren pressed a little closer to Genesis as he watched the cat warily. He smiled though as he watched the luxio use charge. He'd never seen that before, and it made his heart race with excitement. Bluebell was so cute and dangerous, playful and powerful, Soren couldn't help loving her a bit even though he'd only just met. Avery seemed to understand her perfectly too. They must have spent a lot of time together. Soren wished he could understand Genesis in the same way but Genesis seemed much less expressive. Mostly she just gave him these intense stares like she thought of him as an especially fascinating bug pokemon to study. Little did he know that this was about to change.

"I want to train too," Genesis hummed, though only Bluebell would understand her. "I want to do anything that will get me unhitched from this abominable cart." But how did she tell that to Soren? She couldn't show off her kicks or her tackles wearing all of the tack and now she had a water barrel in front of her too. Well, she did have other talents to work with. Genesis focused her gaze on the stone that Bluebell had just zapped. She concentrated hard and her ossicones twitched as she used confusion until she was rewarded by the small stone levitating slightly in the air right in front of Bluebell's face. Genesis glanced at Soren to see if he was looking and immediately her lapse of concentration caused her to drop the stone.

Drat! There was one other option, but she'd only ever done it with other girafarig back when she'd lived among her herd. She wasn't very good with telepathy and she had no idea how a human would react to it. Could you even speak telepathically with a human? She had no way of knowing if Soren's mind would accept her intrusion, but it seemed like her best option. Bluebell's human seemed to have already understood and translated the luxio's desire, so all Genesis had to do was chime in that she wanted the same. Me too! She tried to project the thought at Soren as hard as she could. Her ossicones twitched again as she stared fiercely at the boy.

Soren's eyes seemed to become unfocused as he appeared to disconnect from reality for a moment. It lasted just a few seconds before Soren blinked hard and looked at Avery. "I think Genesis wants to train too." He said. He couldn't say what made him think that, but he'd just gotten the idea in his head.

@Rixie

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Rixie
 Posted: May 6 2018, 09:29 PM
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Avery noted the boy’s apologetic expression when his mother revealed her cold, angry side, but said nothing. He wasn’t sure what should be said anyhow. He supposed the boy had likely learned his lesson. If he hadn’t, Avery probably wouldn’t be able to convince him of it right now anyways.

Soren confessed that he didn’t understand, and Avery’s face crinkled into a sharp frown as he tried to figure out how to explain... Avery thought for a few seconds and chose his next words very carefully, measuring them out as he spoke lowly, ”That’s alright. But no, not exactly mere pests... there are also predators that seek to destroy our livelihoods or kill us. There are bandits who, though repelled before they reach the city gates, might steal from — or kill — any who are... unprepared.” His voice grew more fluent, less careful and more urgent as a surprising number of words flowed from him, “Beyond isolated events, large-scale attacks of enormously powerful wild Pokémon are possible. Or even attacks launched by humans from other cities or areas. It is true that Crater City is prosperous and defensible. Full-on assaults on us would be unwise. But there is a reason for that. If we let our guard down or ceased to train and grow as strong as we can... if we allowed ourselves to become unprepared... those full-on assaults might become plausible.” He took a breath and looked intensely at Soren, his mouth forming a question without any of the questioning intonation, “Now. Do you understand.”

He was interrupted before he got to address Soren’s question on how to accomplish this task. He frowned when the boy mentioned a lack of tokens, ”...” He was about to point out that he had never asked for payment, but that was when Bluebell grabbed onto his attention.

Avery stiffened as the Girafarig used Confusion on the stone, causing it to rise slightly into the air. With bated breath, he stared at it until it fell back to the ground with a small puff of dust. A barely perceptible sigh escaped through his nose. It seemed the Pokémon hadn’t given up yet. Avery’s gaze flicked from Genesis to Soren, his eyes narrowed and focused closely on her every twitch. Soren suddenly went quiet and still, and Avery felt as though something had gripped his stomach and squeezed hard. His teeth clenched and his jaw locked, but as soon as Soren blinked and resumed his normal activity, Avery visibly relaxed.

He sighed deeply, the typical exasperation mixed with a hint of... was that relief? It was difficult to tell precisely. He addressed Soren as he looked away, down the road towards the other houses, “I’m glad she wants to train. However... I do believe you have a job to do. I’ll tell you what though. Go quickly, and you might still be done around dinner time.” Avery shook his head, “There’s no reason not to train in the dark. On the contrary, one should train their Pokémon under all possible conditions, to be ready for anything.

“As for tokens... I never requested any. It is the job of the peace officers, deacons, and bishops to sell their assistance in the training field. It is my job, currently, to train my Pokémon until they are strong enough to safely and quickly escort more people who would like to move to Crater. If I can accomplish that while also assisting someone with a promising new Pokémon, it would be even better.”


He finally looked back at Soren and he said firmly, ”Come back when you’re done. If you’ve still got the strength and spirit, I’ll bring you with me to the training fields. If not, I’ll at least have a list written for you.”

Bluebell whined audibly as she overheard the conversation, ”Nooo, I wanted to train now... Avery is all work and never any play.” She pouted and electricity fizzled off her whiskers. She gave a regretful look to Genesis and said, ”Well, I guess I’ll see you later then. Unless your human totally sucks and doesn’t bring you back here after you guys finish your job.” Her continuously pouting face turned lamplike eyes back to Avery, who stared back silently.

@Amissa

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Amissa
 Posted: May 7 2018, 11:44 PM
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Soren visibly flinched when Avery used the word "kill". He wasn't a stupid boy, and he understood that killing and death were just another part of life in Terrene. Sometimes if you wanted to survive, killing was necessary. At least, that's what Soren was told. However, Soren was far from comfortable with the idea or even the word. He did get Avery's point though. Aside from Destiny, who'd been trained by his late mother, none of the pokemon that lived on his farm were very strong. If they were attacked by invaders or a very powerful pokemon, they could lose their home, their resources, their lives. Soren thought of the youngest child on the farm, Taavi, who was only four. Taavi still went to daycare and was far too young to carry a brand or a pokemon to protect himself. If the farm was attacked, how long could it take for peace officers to come to the rescue? How much could be lost during that time? How much harm could be prevented if Soren was able to train his pokemon to be strong enough to protect others?

"Yes, sir," Soren said with absolutely no confidence and looking pale and shaky, as if he would like to hide under a boulder forever. He understood why training was important, sure. But Avery was also scaring him. What if someone attacked right now? Soren and his pokemon were both so inexperienced, and the thought of having to fight anyone, let alone kill anyone, made him physically nauseous.

For his part, Soren hadn't noticed Genesis using her psychic powers at all. He'd been staring into space and imagining all the horrible possibilities. He pictured people in barbaric outfits (actually sort of the same outfits that were worn in Crater but with big furry hats for some reason) hefting huge weapons as they sliced through innocent Crater City workers and spilled their guts all over the dusty roads as they tried to flee in horror. Suddenly, his internal screaming was interrupted by a different thought. It wasn't precise words, but it was a very calm thought that was by far preferable to his own imagined apocalypse event. The thought seemed to suggest that since Bluebell wanted to train, maybe Genesis would like that too.

It didn't occur to him that this thought was not his own, nor was he aware of his own strange facial expression or Avery's concern. He'd simply voiced the most prominent thought in his head at the moment. Of course, the ambassador reminded him that he needed to work his job first before he and Genesis could do any training. Soren actually found it comforting to be reminded that he and everyone else in Crater had their assigned tasks to do, especially after his earlier anxiety. Everyone in this city had a place, had a purpose, had a role to play in the success of the community. It made him feel wanted, needed, like he belonged.

It was even more comforting to hear that the ambassador wasn't going to charge him. This day just kept getting better! Aside from the fact that Avery talked like he wanted to make Soren into a cold-blooded fighter, and he yelled at his own mother for almost no reason, this was an opportunity that Soren would be crazy to pass up. He was positive (for some reason) that Genesis was game, so of course he was too!

"Yes, sir! I'll come back as soon as I can! Come on, Genesis, we'll need to hurry up!" Soren said excitedly as he tried to use the lead rope to direct her back onto the road.

Genesis was at first delighted that her telepathy appeared to have worked. There had been a possibility that it would have killed him on the spot if she'd done it wrong, or at least induced a seizure. She had the feeling she'd be in some trouble if she'd accidentally murdered her own human, but that possibility had been slim enough that she considered it an acceptable risk. More likely, it just wouldn't do anything. Her joy was cut short when the boy began tugging on her lead rope.

"Wait, no! You're supposed to unhook me so that we can train!" Genesis snorted and resisted, looking between Bluebell and Soren. The luxio was annoyed that she had to wait for a berry she wanted to eat while Genesis had an actual real problem and no one seemed to care. She was enslaved! And sure, she knew she was going to be enslaved when she let Soren tap her with that pokeball. She just thought enslavement would include more exploration of various human settlements and less hard boring labor. "Why can't Bluebell carry the cart? Or Avery? Why does it have to be me?" Genesis hummed in protest.

Soren didn't know what to do to make Genesis follow him. Yanking her rope wouldn't help. Come to think of it, he'd had this same problem when they first started out. He glanced at Avery nervously, realizing that he probably looked foolish and unable to control his own pokemon. Even so, he took his scroll and read off their next destination. "We need to deliver a basket to Deacon Bartolome."

"'Deacon'?" Genesis hummed thoughtfully. "Is that a word for another human rank? He says it like a title. Oooh, I wonder if the humans in different ranks have different kind of homes. Maybe they live among different sorts of pokemon. Do they reproduce more...or less...Oh! What if we meet a gravid female? I've always wanted to see a gravid human!" Genesis didn't seem to be speaking to anyone in particular so much as chattering off her own internal thoughts. She began trotting after Soren eagerly, all but forgetting the weight of the cart tugging behind her.

Soren couldn't quite suppress his smile at this small success. "Goodbye for now! Thank you, Ambassador!" Soren called, carefully taking up both of his ropes, one of which connected to the cart itself in an effort to help Genesis pull. The chore would become easier as they went along since the cart would become lighter. Hopefully, Soren would manage to keep Genesis interested enough to move quickly without tiring her out so much that she couldn't train later. He led her back onto the road and down the lane towards the next house.

@Rixie

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Kaien
 Posted: May 12 2018, 01:52 PM
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Oml Avery is so intense xDD Soren is presh and go him for keeping good spirits in the presence of this high ranking scary duuuude ~~

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