• Welcome to The Cave of Dragonflies forums, where the smallest bugs live alongside the strongest dragons.

    Guests are not able to post messages or even read certain areas of the forums. Now, that's boring, don't you think? Registration, on the other hand, is simple, completely free of charge, and does not require you to give out any personal information at all. As soon as you register, you can take part in some of the happy fun things at the forums such as posting messages, voting in polls, sending private messages to people and being told that this is where we drink tea and eat cod.

    Of course I'm not forcing you to do anything if you don't want to, but seriously, what have you got to lose? Five seconds of your life?

Frontier Town Frontier Gazette Offices

Jackie Cat

A cat who writes stories.
Heartache staff
they or she
If one were to ask for the definition of “organized chaos”, they would have to look no further than the offices of the Frontier Gazette.

A single desk sat at the front of the room to greet visitors when they entered, neat and orderly with not a sheet of paper out of place. At it perched a near-motionless Glimmet secretary; the only blip of calm against a backdrop of frenetic energy. Behind her, the news floor of the Gazette was a whirlwind of activity and sound, dominated by the clacking of typewriters and less-than-hushed chattering conversations between staff – meek 'mon would have to speak up to be heard!

The printing press’s noise was dulled to a loud whir – punctuated by mechanical clunks – from where it ran in a back room framed by picture windows, so visitors to their headquarters could see that newspaper production was a full-time process. An ink-stained Malamar wearing a green-tinted visor could usually be seen through the glass, operating as much machinery with their many appendages as two or three ordinary 'mon might be able to handle.

In the foreground, a frantic Inkay rushed hither and thither across the cramped news floor, carrying stacks of paper, folders, files – they darted between desks with practiced ease, all crammed into a room far too small to contain the activity therein. Some desks were occupied with pokémon furiously generating staccato bursts of klak-klak-klak-TING on their typewriters, others scribbled away with pen and paper, and some desks were empty – perhaps their occupants were out gathering news straight from the source out on the frontier, or were simply part-timers.

Along the left-hand wall of the room hung a massive tackboard holding polaroid photos and scraps of handwritten news pinned haphazardly along its entire length. It was a minor miracle the journalists working here could make heads or tails of the information. Often, when not at their desks, a Sableye and a Shiftry in dapper neckties could be seen stood in front of it, chattering excitedly while pointing and gesticulating. Over to one side, a cheaply-framed photo of an unphotogenic Lampent limply holding a plaque hung next to that same plaque – which declared him to be the reporter of the year.

The right-hand wall was host to several enclosed rooms. Cloudy glass on one door backlit blocky lettering that revealed one ‘mon lucky enough to have some semblance of privacy: [~Shiftry Nathaniel — Editor-in-Chief~]. The other rooms appeared to be the paper's archives and storage, and an interview room for guests not used to hearing themselves think over so much clamour.


Many thanks to @Panoramic_Vacuum for assisting with the writeup.
[Ch01] ~ I'm Technically One Week Old
Mhynt had taken some time to ask around about this place. She still wasn't sure about how to evaluate it, but its chaos and focus on news seemed to be interesting enough. More importantly, it was very likely useful to get the proper word out instead of pure speculation... especially with the likes of Dayle floating around. Just one bad conspiracy catching fire could make their time in Forlas orders of magnitude more difficult.

So, her reasonable approach to this problem was to commit petty theft.

The little Treecko hopped onto the desk--too short for much else--and set a fresh cup of pens from their storage room on the front desk.

The Glimmet secretary blinked at Mhynt, and took a moment to process what she was looking at. A tiny bronze pin on one of her petals was her only personal decoration, and she polished it absent-mindedly, in some kind of unconscious fidget.

"Hello," she said.

Then, "Those are the same pens we use."

Then, "Where did you get those?"

Then, with a frown, "How did you get those?"
"A small talent of mine," Mhynt explained, sliding it forward. "I didn't use them. But it would make for an interesting opening line, wouldn't it?"

Then, she crossed her arms. "I was informed that this place had an... interest in me and others like me. I am Treecko Mhynt. I'm one of the 'new arrivals' to town. And if there was interest in interviewing us... I think information about this town and this establishment would be something I'd appreciate in return."
The Glimmet nodded, slowly.

"One moment."

She dinged a bell on her side of the desk, and in short order, a Shiftry emerged from a private office, and was at Mhynt's side with astonishing haste.

"Shiftry Nathaniel, Editor-in-Chief," he said, speaking fast. "A pleasure. By any chance, would you happen to be one of the new arrivals in town? Yes? Yes. Excellent, are you here with a lead, with an inquiry, with a view to interview— The latter, yes, I had very much hoped so! What's that? Oh, I see, the pens. Yes. Good, good, now would you kindly accompany me to my office? Thank you!"

Should Mhynt follow on foot, a brisk breeze would hasten her along.

The Glimmet looked as if she saw this every day. She probably did.
This place smelled of exhaustion.

"Of course," Mhynt replied to Nathaniel. She hopped off of the desk and followed the Shiftry with an entertained tilt of her head.

She left little to commentary for now, sensing his... hasty nature. She instead took the brief opportunity to listen in on the chaos and, more importantly, get a feel for the true atmosphere of the stories they seemed to write about...
Following the hubbub and piecing scraps of conversation together was a challenge in the Gazette's news floor, but one can still pick up impressions from that.

"—okay but can we get a second source for that? Before we print—"
"—folksy stuff like that. Variety, you know? Yes! I mean I know I'd zone out if it was all—"
"—right, but you asked what I thought, and I think it's horseshit—"
"—know that, we all know that, but does the public know that? Yes, well, that's precisely—"
"—a different audience. Nobody reads everything, everyone reads something, right? So we have those guest columns, right—"
"—fair enough! But if we have to print a retraction I'll personally shove—"

One could conjecture more than one conclusion about the Gazette writing staff from that, but you'd be hard-pressed to argue the staff there weren't passionate about what they did.

When Mhynt arrived in Nathaniel's office, he was already scribbling notes as he waved her in. His office was halfway given over to stationery, as if he was occupying an erstwhile supply closet, or else was himself a hoarder.

"I do apologise, but the interview room is unavailable today, and you are a walk-in, but I would rather not make an appointment for later when now is such an excellent time, would you like some tea or other beverage? Do sit down, here, take the comfy chair."

The Shiftry perched on a spare stool, bird-like, and offered a cushioned office chair to Mhynt.
"Tea is fine," Mhynt replied with a nod. Making her own tea was getting boring anyway.

"Seems that your staff are hard at work with all kinds of stories," she commented. "I'm surprised you haven't sought us out sooner, but maybe you're on the observational phase."
Nathaniel nodded and busied himself further making tea.

"Well, everything was already happening before your group arrived," explained the Shiftry as he worked, "and it would have looked mighty stupid to go straight for interviews with the first of you we could find, at least as far as I see it. I had a word with the marshal to see if he couldn't find us a good 'mon to talk to, someone who could give us answers that won't blow away in the wind after a couple extra turns of the world."

He looked back to her with a broad smile. It seemed genuine, even if his grimace-like Shiftry facial features weren't a particularly pretty sight.

"So how about it, Ms... Treecko?" He sniffed. "Ms Mhynt. Shoulda caught that earlier. Do you take mint in your tea, by any chance?"

He raised the mug he'd prepared and gave it a vaguely disapproving look.

"I used to do tea service just like my uncle," he commented. "Luctemarene folk just want their black tea – hot, quick and sweet. Seems I've reached the point of forgetting to even ask. Tch."

He placed the tea on his desk, clearing some loose paper to one side and whisking a leaf stone coaster into place.

"So how about it, Ms Mhynt? Will you tell the folks of the frontier the facts about your friends? You have my word as a fellow grass-type that I will not misquote you in the slightest."
This one asked a lot of questions. She wondered if she could get away with not answering all of them if only due to how many came with each volley.

Or was that part of the game? Trying to determine which questions she was willing to answer, and which ones she wasn't? How good was this person at extracting information where none would be given?

She had to be careful.

"We're foreign," Mhynt replied, "but after looking around and hearing the stories, we aren't the same kind of foreign you're used to. The information I have about us may be just as useful as what you know that I don't.

"Tell me," Mhynt said, "what are humans? Until I came here, I only knew of them in myths, but I've been told they are very real."
Nathaniel did a momentary double take at Mhynt.


He returned to perching on his stool, and rested his leaf-fanned limbs on his knees as if he were a monk, meditating on a pole.

"Alright, I will humour you," he said, not speaking quite so fast, now. "Humans are not well-understood here in Sojavena, and to many they are just as you say – myths. However, for nearly twenty years, Frontier Town had a sheriff by the name of Jesse Stranger, who was widely understood to be a human."

Nathaniel reached for a framed article on the wall behind him and placed it next to Mhynt's tea. It was about the appointment of Sheriff Jesse, and had what looked like a very fine pencil sketch of a sour-faced Empoleon handing a badge to a bitter-eyed Delphox. A quick skim of the article indicated it was penned by 'Nuzleaf Naoki', and speculated on the new sheriff's astonishing fighting prowess being a product of his human nature. This human Delphox had never lost a duel since his evolution, claimed the writer.

"I didn't get another front-pager for a while after that," said Nathaniel, with a chuckle. "I believed every word I wrote, and I still do. Jesse Stranger appeared on the edge of Escarpa territory with a migraine and amnesia, with no witnesses to be found for miles, not even Escarpa scouts – and they don't miss a damn thing, I assure you – to his very existence on this earth five minutes prior. He was a peculiar sort, not knowing local custom or anything about the Soja', but fearsome in a fight and uncannily perceptive. And he told me, when I interviewed him, that one of the few things he could remember is that he was human."

Nathaniel put the article back, and shrugged expansively.

"What are humans? We just don't know. But that Delphox was an outlier among 'mon, and he did more to protect ordinary people in Sojavena than the mayor or his goons ever did."
"Mhm. Then humans are a form of status symbol than anything in appearance, as far as we're concerned," she deduced. Then, arms crossed, she added, "And put another way, it also has an internal effect on their natural strength. But there are surely abnormally strong Pokemon that aren't human as well? Do I give off such a signature?"
Nathaniel gave Mhynt a curious look.

"Not rightly sure what you are implying, but, hm, yes pokémon can be strong without being human. In fact, one of the remarkable qualities of Sheriff Jesse was that anyone who fought alongside him grew stronger uncannily fast. His partner became just as strong as he did, and she was certainly a natural-born pokémon. And then of course you have all sorts of other outliers, not to mention the Saints, and the Lords and Ladies of the wild."

The Shiftry's mane ruffled a little as he thought.

"'Signature', you said? What exactly did you mean by that, Ms Mhynt?"
Misstep. She'd said too much. She could lie or she could give a half-truth.

The latter was easier.

"An impression," Mhynt explained. "Like an energy signature. Is there a way to 'sense' this abnormality from others, such as from aura or other means? And, regarding those who fight alongside a human... From what I understand, that is also a natural property. It was more along the lines of those with no human influence whatsoever, can they become strong?"
"Aura?" Nathaniel scoffed lightly. "Will next you tell me that I look like a Lucario to you, Ms Mhynt? Perhaps. Shamans and the like say all sorts of strange things about reading the energy of pokémon. Maybe mystics and sages can tell a human from that alone."

He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. He was, in fact, always moving. Restless.

"Anyone can become strong," he said, after some consideration. "In fact, my uncle's homeland aver the western ocean greatly values the idea that one should work hard to become strong, though that does not always mean in battle. Not every country values this the same way, but the very act of working hard – challenging yourself, training your skills – will make you stronger. Just, maybe it will not be so fast or so easy as one who is born mighty, or who partners with such a person."
Optimistic platitudes of the weak assuring themselves.

"Thank you," Mhynt said with a nod, but she understood now why the humans were able to rise so easily in this place that summoned so many.

"Well. I suppose that's enough of me questioning you," she said. "Your turn."

Nathaniel's restless energy remained, but there was now an attentiveness to Mhynt specifically.

"Alright, I'll shoot. Treecko Mhynt, your arrival with your companions in various parts of town and nearby settlements has naturally drawn a lot of interest from local folks, and it's become clear that wherever you're from, it's a long way from Sojavena. It must be quite a, hm, 'culture shock' for all of you to adjust to the Soja'. What can you tell us about your homeland? Do your fellow newcomers hail from the same country?"
"I don't think anyone here comes from my country," Mhynt replied. "It's why my accent doesn't match." She assumed. "...My homeland is somewhere that hopefully will not spread its influence to this country. It has fallen into disrepair. You could consider it a terrible civil war of sorts. Not by humans. Just some power-mad Pokemon. I would rather not get into the details... seeing as I had escaped servitude there."
Nathaniel's eyes creased with concern, but his voice didn't change. By now he was taking notes, defaulting to journalistic inquiry as his mode of conversation.

"Understandable. Much of the old world is still unknown; perhaps your country and its misfortunes are simply unknown to the Commonwealth. You say you were in servitude – forgive my pressing you on this, but what manner of servitude do you speak of, Ms Mhynt? 'Mon mean various things by that word, and for some it calls to mind serfdom, while others might think of worse even than that."
"I was granted power. In exchange, I lost my autonomy. If I disobeyed, my will would be stripped from me, and I mean that literally." Mhynt's eyes closed, nodding. "In other words, I was not granted power. A power was granted me. As a result of my escape, I was stripped--or rather, freed--from that power... resulting in my weakened state now. Hopefully, I will regain my strength in time."

Most of it was truthful, sometimes entirely truthful. It was only framed differently.
Top Bottom