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Posted: May 15 2018, 03:12 AM
[[Takes place directly following Try Everything]]
[[Development goals are to gain loyalty and experience for all pokemon involved]]
[[Two Crater City residents training on the field without a (paid) professional]]
Soren hurried to finish up his work as quickly as possible. Luckily, he seemed to be growing more skilled at handling Genesis. Either that or she was learning to better anticipate what he wanted and identify his verbal and body language. It was probably a combination of both, but for whatever reason the second half of the day passed much more easily than the first. It helped also that the cart became lighter and lighter the more deliveries that they made. The sun was beginning to set as they headed back to the farm, and Genesis and Soren both felt almost cheerful. Soren could hardly wait to meet up with the ambassador so that he could learn more about how to train and care for his pokemon. Genesis, however, just wanted to have her tack removed so that she could eat, rest, and relax.
As soon as Soren got Genesis home and into the barn, he scrambled to undo all of the straps and fasteners. Once free, Genesis gave a deep sigh of relief and shook her body all over, sending up a cloud of dust that had collected in her hair from being on Crater City's roads all day. Soren sneezed and put the tack away. "You need a good brush, but we don't have time right now. We need to hurry so that we can meet with the ambassador for training." Soren told her as she watched him expectantly.
She personally had no interest in training after she'd already worked hard all day. She'd only told him that she wanted to train because she'd thought it would make him take her tack off sooner. All she wanted to do now was sleep and eat. Genesis tapped her empty food barrel with a hoof and looked at the boy. "We'll have to eat on the go today, girl. I'm hungry too." Soren told her as he began stuffing his bag with carrots and apples for her to eat later. They'd had to skip lunch since they'd started off so far behind. He'd need to feed Cumulonimbus too. His mareep hadn't been out of his pokeball all day.
Soren had been torn about whether it was a better idea to keep his mareep in his pokeball while he and Genesis worked or if he should let the mareep out and leave him on the farm. Having the lamb out of his pokeball and trying to follow them in the crowded, dusty streets as they worked seemed like a serious hazard. However, Nimbus was so young that Soren was afraid of what he'd get up to even in a relatively safe place like the farm without supervision. Thus, Soren had opted to carry the mareep along even if it made him feel guilty that he hadn't had time to play with him. He packed even more carrots and apples and a couple of berries too for treats.
Genesis didn't like the way Soren was behaving, and she didn't intend to cooperate with this madness. He called her when he went to leave the barn, but she stayed in her stall. She laid down, and when Soren came to check why she wasn't following, she pretended to be asleep. Soren was just as tired as she was though, and he didn't have patience for this. He simply tapped the button on Genesis's pokeball so that she was sucked inside. She didn't have to walk if she wanted a short rest, but he wasn't going to miss training tonight.
Soren quickly ran inside the farmhouse and grabbed a large chunk of cornbread made with vegetables and herbs that he found on the counter. The other workers, including Soren's father were gathered around on a blanket on the floor where they normally sat together for their evening meals.
"Hey, where do you think you're going?" Ivka demanded, shooting Soren a glare.
"I have to go! I told Ambassador Aster that I was going to meet with him to train my pokemon." Soren explained. The others regarded him with wide eyes. His father looked surprised, but he didn't comment.
"Oh, you're so full of it!" Ivka accused, but instead of retaliating verbally, Soren looked at her with his eyes crossed and his tongue hanging out grotesquely before bolting right back out the door with his stolen prize.
Now all he had to do was skip on back to the ambassador's house. Hopefully he'd still be waiting, but if not he'd already told Soren where to find him. Before he left the farm though, he passed Ivka's personal flower garden. The spring had brought up a riot of colorful blossoms. Soren briefly looked left and right to see if anyone was watching him, and finding himself unattended, pulled out his bone knife. He cut the stems of a few flowers, lilies, gaillardias, queen of the prairie, black eyed susans, daisies, and lupines. They were the kind of flowers that grew like wild weeds on the plain, but Soren thought they were beautiful anyway. Once he'd arranged what he thought was a passable bouquet, he ran off through the farm's gate.
By the time he reached the ambassador's house, the sun was low in the sky casting everything in hues of deep lavender but for an orange glow to the west.
Posted: May 23 2018, 09:53 PM
When the boy hurried off, Avery watched him for a few moments before turning back to the house. He hmm'd thoughtfully and entered the house, slamming the door behind him. Rachel was nowhere in sight. She was probably in her room, or in the kitchen. It didn't matter. Avery crossed over to the far side of the living room and stared down at the shelf that rested beside a writing desk. A very small library of leather and wood-bound books sat there, a fortune's worth of knowledge and cloth. He shifted a few of the smaller ones at the edge out of the way, revealing an enormous tome that was pressed against the back of the shelf. Pulling it out, he rested it on the writing desk, spine first, and allowed it to fall open. He was extraordinarily careful with the pages. Luckily they were made of a fairly durable cloth, but he still took extreme caution to flip slowly and gently.
Bluebell grumbled with boredom and ended up curling into a ball in the corner. She fell asleep and quietly snoozed as Avery found the entry he was looking for.
He pulled a scrap of writing cloth out of the small drawer under the desk, a quill, and a small pot of black ink. First he wrote down a few generally known facts about the rare Pokémon. There wasn’t as much there as there was for some other Pokémon, but it was better than nothing. It boiled down to: “Normal/Psychic. Plains-dwelling herbivore. Tail has own central nervous system (CNS), bites anything too close, alerts main CNS of potential danger.”
Then, glancing at the book, he made a list of moves and abilities that Girafarigs were normally found with, as well as a list of moves that were possible for it to learn through dedicated training. He frowned at the scrap and added a few definitions, realizing that some of these may very well be beyond the scope of what was taught in school. Common, simple moves like Tackle and Ember probably didn’t merit much explanation, but differences between moves like Psybeam and Psychic were probably worth explaining. His handwriting was large, but the letters were squeezed close together horizontally. Even so, he needed a second sheet of cloth before long.
Eventually he finished. He closed up the ink and carefully laid the two sheets of writing cloth aside to dry. With that done, he found himself flipping to the next page, reading it, and flipping to the next. The boy probably wouldn’t be back until past dinner time. He settled himself down for a session of reading and reviewing the book that he’d already read many times before.
Hours later, the spring sun was beginning to set, and Avery rubbed his eyes. The light was starting to grow dim, so he very carefully closed the book and almost lovingly returned it to its place at the back of the bookshelf. He rearranged the other books, hiding the masterpiece that had taken him many hundreds, possibly even thousands, of hours to copy.
Something smelled good, and he realized Rachel had slipped right past him while he was reading and was now humming loudly in the kitchen. Bluebell was gone, too. His mouth watered when he realized he’d forgotten to eat lunch, and he lumbered to the joint kitchen-dining room. He stood at the entrance for a while, frowning slightly, partially out of habit, and partially because Bluebell was following Rachel’s every step, eagerly licking the tiled floor whenever a splash or drop of food escaped from Rachel’s busy hands.
"Bluebell," he growled. The young lion chirruped in alarm and her tail flew straight into the air. She promptly slinked away, going to join her much better-behaved mother and sit at the corner of the room. She flopped on the cool, stony floor and turned lamplike eyes on Avery.
He sighed slightly, but in a few moments Rachel came up to him, holding a bowl full of a hearty meat soup. "You should eat before you head out, Ave. Careful, it's hot," she pressed the bowl into his hand, followed by a large, rock spoon. He gave a small nod and took the bowl to the table, pushing a chair out of the way. It was hot. Too hot to eat comfortably. He didn't let that stop him, though, hastily shoveling spoonfuls of it into his mouth.
He paused to chew, and felt Rachel's eyes boring into him. He glanced up and swallowed. "What do you want?" he asked brusquely.
She shifted her weight to the other foot and frowned unhappily. After a few seconds of silently staring at one another, Rachel asked suddenly, "You're going to watch out for Soren, right?"
Avery's brow knitted deeply in a scowl and he replied evenly, "Of course. I watch out for everyone in Crater City."
Rachel didn't look assuaged, and she quietly commented, "Yes, Avery, but that's not what I mean. You'll tell him not to go wandering on his own? You'll be sure he doesn't? If he gets caught out there, with just a few young Pokemon..."
He spoke firmly, "He knows. Trust me. I was that way, too."
His mother smiled sadly and murmured, "I remember." Avery resumed shoveling hot stew into his mouth. The discussion was over.
Rachel returned to the stove and began ladling the food into a second sturdy wooden bowl, and then a third. She placed them on the table with spoons beside them, then glanced over the high counter just in time to see Soren coming along the road. In one hand, he held a bouquet of yellow and white and pink: fluffy flowers, elegant flowers, flowers that displayed rays of petals. She gasped and put a hand to her mouth. After a moment of shock, she quickly crossed over to the front door and flung it open. "Hi, Soren!" she beamed. "My, what beautiful flowers. Please, come in! I made too much stew for us, so you must have some! I won't take no for an answer!"
She ushered him in, half-pushing and half-pulling him through the main room and into the kitchen. Wave lifted her old head to see who the newcomer was. Bluebell, meanwhile, perked her ears up and made a growling purr when she saw the boy. Rachel practically dragged Soren into the seat across from Avery and set him down in it. She bustled about finding a vase for the flowers, filling it with water, and busily setting it on the table so Soren could put the flowers into it. Then she sat down as well and began eating some stew.
Avery regarded Soren, still chewing on a thick cube of meat. He glanced towards the writing desk, noting where the sheets of writing cloth were. They were dry by now, of course. He had forgotten to fold them away. No matter. He could give them directly to Soren now. "Eat quick. We don't want to wait around forever." He shoveled another mouthful of stew.
Posted: May 24 2018, 12:20 AM
Rachel greeted Soren at the door before he even got the chance to knock. He actually drew back slightly in alarm, but not fast enough to escape the woman. As he struggled to string words together, all he managed to stutter out was, "H-hello again ma'am." as he was basically dragged into the house. He couldn't argue with her. She was his superior, and even if she wasn't a higher rank she was still an adult. Besides, Soren was hungry and the smells coming from inside were delicious.
Soren's eyes widened as he entered the comfortable little home. He was afraid to touch anything, and he certainly didn't want to get anything dirty. He couldn't help but smile though as he saw the two feline pokemon lying so casually on the floor. They looked so tame, but Soren had no doubt that they would tear an unwelcome intruder to ribbons. He imagined the ambassador and his mother could always sleep soundly knowing that they were safe with such powerful pokemon protecting their house.
Soren was led to a seat right across from the ambassador, and he nervously sat and offered the man a shy tentative smile in greeting. "Hello Ambassador." Soren tried to will himself not to shake as he placed the flowers in the vase offered. Steady on, Soren thought to himself as he inhaled a deep calming breath. They're just people like any other people really, and they wouldn't have asked you to come back if they didn't already like you at least a little bit. Though they do have very strong pokemon, and they have tables and chairs in their house. The food's not too different though. "Thank you both very much. Oh, I brought something to eat actually. We can share it."
Soren reached into his bag and pulled out the great big cornbread he'd grabbed before leaving home. He unfolded the napkin he'd wrapped it in and set in on the table, watching Rachel for approval. He'd let her decide what to do with his offering, as it was her house. The ambassador lived there too, of course, but Soren sensed that Rachel was the true domestic ruling power within the home.
Soren then turned his attention to the stew, eager to eat quickly just as he'd been ordered. He glanced up at Avery as he spoke, watching the man's powerful jaw muscles work. He nodded in confirmation and set to eating. He slowed down after the first bite, however. Ew! This stew was full of meat, and not cut into tiny pieces and hidden inside something Soren actually liked. It had big chunks of the stuff, and Soren hadn't examined it closely before taking a whole mouth full of it. There was no way he could politely spit it out, so he just had chew and swallow and pretend to enjoy it. Soren tried to disguise his first involuntary grunt of disgust as accidentally burning his tongue on the hot stew and gave a very fake smile of pleasure as he forced himself to chew his food.
Soren's dislike of meat was partially innate. He'd never been especially fond of it. It often had a heavy stringy texture, and without proper seasonings the flavor could be pretty bland too. However, growing up on a farm, even a berry farm, a child was bound to find out sooner or later exactly where the meat came from. Knowing that meat was the prepared carcass of a once living pokemon was horrible. The mudbray and miltank on the farm weren't there for meat, but if one died, then it's body wouldn't be wasted. It would be carved up and put on a table somewhere in Crater City. The only pokemon on the farm where Soren lived that ever got axed was the pudgy pidgey. These pidgey were bred and fed to be too fat to fly. They lived in their own cozy little coop and the workers collected their eggs as an important source of nutrition in their diet. However, every so often a pidgey was butchered for meat.
Once, in a perhaps misguided attempt to toughen Soren up and teach him more about how tasks around the farm were done, Soren's father took him out to watch as a pidgey was killed and prepared. Gaspar still regretted this moment. Soren was in tears even before the pidgey was killed, and when the bird's final moment came at last, Soren dropped to the ground in a dead faint. Soren, for his part, didn't even remember this event when he came back awake. He did, however, decide he'd rather go hungry then even touch a bite of the pidgey soup that was made that night for dinner. In fact, Soren became physically ill anytime he was presented with a plate of cooked meat. Gaspar would admit that he was no parenting expert, but he was pretty sure that kids needed the protein and nutrients in meat to grow healthy. Thus, the man and his fellow workers (they were not quite blood relatives to Soren, but the boy still called them all his aunts and uncles) began hiding small amounts of meat in Soren's food.
Perhaps Soren's food preference made him a true product of Crater City. What other place in Terrene had enough bounty that a child could grow up as a picky eater? Soren didn't think there was anything wrong with his food choices, but he didn't expect people to cater to him either. He was simply more cautious about eating his stew, carefully eating around any meat chunks and scooping up any vegetables and broth around them instead. He was stealthy about it, and his eyes darted between Avery and his mother to see how closely they were watching him. If he saw an opening, he's slide a chunk of meat out of the bowl and into one of his hands. He'd then hold that hand behind his back so that the meat chunk was hidden from the adults but perfectly visible to Bluebell.
There was no need to waste food, after all, when the house was full of carnivorous pokemon. Just because Soren didn't like meat didn't mean someone shouldn't enjoy it.