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Sojaveña Wilds Dusty Highway

"Oh, blast it..." Nico muttered. "I could just fly right over, but I can't strand you guys! What to do..."

There were plenty of ways the party could try to get past the bramblin. The question was, what kind of risk would they choose to take?
Another just expanded southwest of your location, in the vicinity of the Wayfarer expedition en route to Obstine Abbey.

Are they okay? Kimiko asked reflexively, pushing aside Powehi's concerns. There wasn't anything this squad could do for them at the moment, not at this distance, but morbid curiosity compelled her. Don't... try not to worry about the cosmic consequences right now, okay? True or not, it doesn't matter in this moment. We need you in the here and now.

That next problem, then, was these damned ghost tumbleweeds because of course there was damned haunted dead plants in the middle of the desert why not. Kimiko struggled to simply drown out their unsettling wailing, let alone think of a solution to get rid of them. Nico had already shot down the idea of simply blowing them away...

Bee, do you have any suggestions here?
[What's done is done, Beetle. You didn't know it would be a problem when you did it; you were just trying to do what you thought was right. It turned out more complicated than you expected, and that doesn't feel good, and that's okay. But now you know, and now we're here to help you. The only thing that matters is what you, and we, do next.]

The "next" that was up next was the bramblin parade that still hadn't stopped being a thing. Leaf glanced to the side of the road, in the direction they were coming from; was it possible to see where the line had started and cut around that point? Probably not, if Nico hadn't noticed it from up there. But then, cutting to the side wasn't necessarily the only "around" option they had.

"Wonder if I could jump it," she asked idly. Ponyta were really good at that, and while the rumors about them being able to leap over monuments weren't true—at least not back home, who knew with this place—the bramblin also probably weren't stretching out as far as a skyscraper was tall. She gave the rest of the group a quick once-over. Isidora was the only one here who was really taller than her, and even then not by much. "It'd probably have to be one at a time, but I might be able to get everyone else over, maybe? Especially if there's some way I could get a boost." Were there any rocks or anything nearby she could ramp off of...?
Koa nodded along as Leaf spoke, studying the Bramblin horde. It looked a lot like Leaf could make it with a running start. Would she be strong enough to lift everyone? None of them were very big yet, so it seemed like it could work, assuming Leaf didn't land in the midst of them.

He paced a few steps back and forth, watching them tumble along. "Maybe... Leaf you know fairy wind, and Nico, you know tailwind, right? Could we try to blow them? Get them to uh, where ever it is they're going, faster."

Glancing at Kimiko and Isidora he added, "And if any of you guys know some moves that could help we could try to use them all together?"
Kimiko glanced towards the blue electrike at his suggestion. "Uh... I've got leaf tornado?" she offered. "I'm... not sure if I could control it enough to act more like a breeze than a funnel, but... I could try, I guess."

There sure were a lot of them... would simply aiding their journey be enough? The swarm had to end somewhere. Worst case, she supposed, they could focus their wind against the flow and maybe slow them down enough for everyone to sprint across, maybe? But it probably made more sense to aid them rather than potentially provoke them... yeah, she really wanted to avoid that.
"Yeah! Like I said before, don't think I could do it by myself, but if more of us were working together we could probably move 'em aside long enough to cut through, or else just try to get them all out of the way." She moved forward, her mane and tail flashing green and gold as a breeze started to swirl around them. "Maybe the leaf tornado could help move them up and over, so we could pass underneath without actually stopping any of them."
Isidora smirked. "As it happens, I've picked up a new trick recently." Well, really it was more like 'accidentally stumbled upon something during training she had been intending to figure something out with later,' but no one needed to know that. She closed her eyes, placed a claw on her shoulder, and tried clearing her mind to focus on her aura. Her smirk grew more confident once she found it. "Between all your guys' wind moves and my Whirlwind, we can blow these shrubs any direction we want."

Her smile faded as she remembered the potential danger they were in with the nearby dungeon. She glanced in the direction the bramblin were coming from, trying to see if she could spot something out of the ordinary. "We should decide on something quick though."
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Leaf grinned at Isidora and the others. "Sounds like a plan! See if we can juggle 'em up and over, or at least anywhere that's not here, yeah? Get ready to move as soon as there's a break!"

The wind playing around her swerved toward the bramblin, and the sound of rushing air grew louder as the others joined in. Just needed to keep it up until enough were swept out of the way...
With a flick of her tail, Kimiko sent her own spinning air attack towards the cluster. It was an odd kind of struggle to not conjure aura leaves into the technique, and it probably wasn't as powerful as a result, but with four of them working together maybe it would get the job done anyway.

Someone should probably fill their Ranger guide in on their plan, however.

"Hey, Nico, could you give us a hand?" she called out to the wattrel. "A tailwind would be really helpful here!"
"Oh—!! We're doing this?? Okay! Wilco, casting Tailwind!"

Nico swooped down to the squad of wind-summoning offworlders and joined them with an enormous gust of his own. The combined moves struck the horde of bramblin, continuously speeding them along...

Bramblin's Wind Rider!
Bramblin's Wind Rider!
Bramblin's Wind Rider!
Bramblin's Wind Rider!!

What would have taken half an hour at best, and hours at worst if the tumbleweed 'mon had piled up and gotten stuck, now took hardly a minute as thistly ghosts blew straight on past the highway in hardly any time at all. Their wailing increased, with an altered tone that sounded... grateful? Delighted? Like... they were having fun.

The way was clear once again.

"Phew! Well done, you guys. Kicking myself for not thinking a little teamwork would sort us out. Good job. Real good."
Koa couldn't resist grinning in delight as he watched the last of them tumble away. "It was a great idea Leaf," he said. He wondered idly if Electrike could learn any wind moves... It was nice that at least one thing had gone right and at least they'd been able to all work together on something.

"Thanks everyone! Although if a dungeon caused them to come out like this, maybe there's going to be more wild pokemon. Is there any species around we should worry about Nico?" Hopefully some Bramblin would really be their biggest issue.
"Yeah!" Leaf bounced in place, excited. That'd gone even better than she'd expected. "Everyone did great! No big deal about not thinking of it at first, I figure. We've got a whole group here to come up with ideas, and then the whole group can pitch in and actually get those ideas rolling." She frowned a little, then shrugged. "Pun not intended but I'm keeping it."

Speaking of rolling: "Good luck!" she called after the bramblin rapidly tumbling their way off into the distance. Maybe they didn't know what that meant if they were the Forlas kind of wild, but hopefully they'd get the sense behind it.

Seemed like there wasn't much else for it but to get moving again, now the road was clear, but Koa's question did make her think. "Does Chief Sinopa know much about other dungeons?" she asked Nico. "Maybe she might have ideas about what happened here."
I believe you should all be fine, and unaccosted by wild 'mon from this point. I do not detect any other large populations moving nearby, or any strong individual auras in the vicinity.
Nico landed nearby Leaf to rest his wings for a moment, and adjust and clean his flight goggles.

"Well, the Chief used to be a pretty experienced ranger before she fused with the dungeon. She probably does know more than most people do about them! Maybe she can answer some things better than I can..."
Isidora was left panting from the exertion, but did well to hide it quickly. She placed a paw on her hip and couldn't help smiling a little while she watched everyone congratulate each other. Leaf and Koamaru act almost like children, yet when it counts, they have good heads on their shoulders. Her smile then dropped a smidge. Is it a human thing, maybe?

She readjusted her hat. Focus on what's important. And that happened to be Nico. "She fused with it?" Isidora sighed, grabbed a canteen from her bag and started fiddling with the cap. "It feels like you keep tryin' to downplay how crazy this all sounds." She got the cap off, paused, then held the canteen out. "Need water?" I know I do.
Nico beamed, a little sheepishly, and took the canteen with a wingtip. Most birds in Forlas seemed more comfortable using their talons, but maybe haptic telekinesis was easier for a seabird with webbed feet?

"Hey, thanks pal!"

He took a modest drink from the container, and passed it back with a grateful nod.

"It's not like it's totally unheard of!" he finally replied, a touch defensively. "It's just that people... get all peculiar about this sort of thing. We're used to it by now, so civvies who haven't met the Chief going on about how weird she is kinda sticks in the throat. Look, she's still a person, you know? And she's spent her life – and her afterlife – helping people. Maybe she's a bit eccentric, but I think anyone would be if they spent a few decades as a living spacetime distortion, am I right?"

Nico looked anxious, as if he was worried he'd given a poor impression of Sinopa.

"Look, just promise me you'll give her a chance, before judging her...?"
Leaf frowned a little as she thought. "To be totally honest, it does sound a little weird to me, yeah. We don't have any dungeons at all where I'm from so I don't know what all they can do, and you can have places with ghosts in them but I dunno if a ghost can just. Become a whole place?" The frown scrunched up tighter for a second as she tried to imagine how that'd even work. "Or maybe they can? I'm not a ghost expert; only one I work with regularly is Clyde, and he's not the dead kind of ghost anyway.

"But like you said, a ghost's still a person," she added, shrugging. "And if she's a person you trust, Nico, then no reason not to give her a shot like anyone else. I wanna know more 'cause I think it sounds interesting and I'm curious! But also I can just see for myself when we get there, if all the questions are bugging you."
Isidora had felt she was starting to get used to that word, but the way Nico put so much weight behind it bothered her. She didn't understand why.

She drank some water to wash the feeling down, then sighed again. "Fair enough; I promise. I'm not tryin' to offend," she reassured. "It was probably for the best you told us about her now so we can get some of the strangeness out of our systems early."
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Nico nodded awkwardly, and rotated his head to preen the feathers at the base of his neck.

"Yeah, well, uh. She didn't make it. They say... They say she was the first to ever solve the dungeon's maze and reach its heart. And she walked right into it... Or lingered there too long, or tricked it into swallowing her whole and making her a part of it, or just passed away inside it and is haunting the darn place. She seems to have some kinda sense of humour about it, 'cause she won't confirm or deny any of the stories! I bet it was deliberate, though... No joke, I actually have a bet in the Union pool that if she ever lets on what the truth is, that whatever happened was planned. Call it a hunch?"
"I'd love to meet her," Koa said, earnestly. "I mean, it is weird I guess but not in a bad way. She's dedicated her life to helping people so she seems cool in my book," he said simply. A pokemon who'd merged with one of those mystery dungeons... it was absurd in the best possible way, and almost felt straight out of a book he would have read as a kid.

He gave a good natured grin. "I don't know her yet but I'd put a bet on that too. Maybe she wanted to do something no one else had, you know?"
Nico laughed. "That does kinda sound like her, actually. They do say curiosity kills cats, right? Imagine being so without fear that you do something like that just because you need to know what'll happen if you're the first..."

He chuckled, stretched and warmed up his wings, and took flight once again.

"Come on, guys! We gotta keep up a good pace if we wanna make it to HQ in a timely fashion!"
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