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Frontier Town Frontier Town Outskirts

Jackie Cat

A cat who writes stories.
Heartache staff
they or she
Civilisation doesn't keep to clean borders. It bleeds into the wild places, with beaten tracks and signposts and fences. At the edges, where there are no walls to corral the horizon, you can can feel small... or you can feel free.

East of town, patchy scrubland covered rough hills, providing a habitat for small wild pokémon, plentiful tiny insects, and the occasional thinking 'mon who needed a bit of space. Kids came out here sometimes to play, not always with permission. It also made a good place to spar for the more boisterous adult residents. If one walked far enough out, and faced away from town, they could kid themself that they were out in the wilderness. Save for the occasional tell-tale lost shirt button or beer bottle, that is.

The Silver River swam through the hills, here, extending up towards a ravine several miles away from town. It was good for fishing, or for taking a raft into town. Follow it far enough upstream, and you'd find the Silver Ravine mystery dungeon, tame enough that the occasional kid still got lost in it on a dare. Dungeon dust must have filtered into the water; the banks of the Silver bore a fair number of uncanny herbs and berries, like pecha and cheri. Townies liked ciders made with the stuff, apparently.

A 'mon could easily spend a day out here without encountering another soul, if the mood so took them.

Ch01: These Weasels Mean Business [Silver & Rodion]
Apex Notes:

- Silver ponders the whole “hide your humans” deal.
- Collecting sheddings isn’t ideal, but a job is a job!
- How to Be a Sneasel for Dummies!

Ah, the wilderness! That was without doubt the ideal place where Silver could contemplate and have some quiet time, away from the incessant ruckus of civilization and the prying gazes of the town-folks. And indeed, there were plenty of matters and thoughts that Silver needed to filter through, while sitting by the river to take in the fresh air.

There was one topic in particular that bothered him more than anything, after eavesdropping a hushed chatter between a few fellow heroes: All humans-turned-Pokemon needed to hide their true nature. At all costs.

While Silver didn’t understand yet what was so special about humans, keeping a low profile wasn’t a foreign concept to him, what with having to avoid the police for many months while he was burdened by his reputation as a thief.

‘…Not exactly a stress-free state of mind, but well! Gotta do what I gotta do to blend in!’

And that was the other reason he decided to seclude himself. He needed to learn how to behave and act like a true Sneasel, without others noticing his more “human” mistakes and mishaps.

Silver glanced at the tiny bag of coins tied to his belt and hidden underneath his poncho, before swiping one of them. He smirked at his own ability and began whistling contentedly. ‘Heh! At least there’s something good about turning into a Sneasel. I have a speedy and reactive body, as well as claws to help me with my job.’

Right, his job. Perhaps the cosmos wasn’t that unfair, since he got lucky enough to have found a barber-surgeon willing to take him as an apprentice. Not the most rewarding profession, but he had gained enough money to afford some cheap drinks and meals, and there were more coins to come if he kept working as hard as he did.

‘It’s alright,’ he mused, holding his head with a paw while twiddling the coin between the other claws. ‘If I managed to get through everything with a low budget when I started out my Trainer journey, I don’t see why I can’t do that again.’

But enough of that! It was time to learn how to move, think and breathe like a Sneasel! Getting back to his feet, he reminded himself the lessons he had learned from the anatomy book, and began practicing by the river. The Silver River.

‘You’re such a riot, cosmos…’
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The thing Rodion definitely missed most about home was the open sea. If he'd known he'd be travelling to a desert, he likely would have had second thoughts about coming here. At least there was a river close to town he could swim around in that made things more bearable. Even if he didn't have nearly as much freedom to move around as he did at sea, it was still refreshing nonetheless.

As Rodion swam along with the current, he eventually banked for the shore and pulled himself out of the river, before shaking some water off his pelt. He supposed it was about time to head back into town.

The Buizel began to move forward, when he noticed Silver not that far away from him. Rodion tilted his head curiously, before going up to the Sneasel.

"Didn't think I'd run into anyone from our team out here," Rodion began. "It's 'Silver', right?"
"Didn't think I'd run into anyone from our team out here,"

“Hm?” Silver’s ear perked up, prompting the former human to focus on whoever addressed him. A Buizel with a golden scarf… Oh! But of course!

“…Ah. It’s you. Hey there,” greeted Silver, letting his guard down a little. It was someone familiar and from their group. That was both good and reassuring. “So we meet again, huh?”

"It's 'Silver', right?"

The former human nodded. “That’s correct. Silver, just like the metal. And you’re… Rodion, if I’m not mistaken.” He crossed his arms and motioned toward the river with his head, before flashing a small smirk. “D’you have a pleasant swim?”
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Rodion nodded with a smile. "Sure did. I definitely wish there was more water around, but I guess I can't complain too much given that we're in a desert."

He looked around for a moment, before turning back to Silver.

"So what are you doing out here, anyway? Desert heat can't be comfortable for an Ice-Type, I'd imagine."
“Oh, it surely wouldn’t!” said Silver with a nod, his mind wandering to his memories of Nyula. Gods, how much that weasel complained and whined whenever someone burned him with some fire attack!

Silver sighed with nostalgia, but he quickly shook off those vaguely sad feels with an amused smirk.

“Good thing that I’m not an Ice-type, but a Poison-type!” He flashed his purple claws and wiggled them. “I admit I got confused at first, since I’m not all too familiar with this kinda Sneasel, but the shade of these claws is telling. That cloud transformed me into a mountain Sneasel, which is considered an endangered species in my world. And…”

Silver blinked in realization, his eyes widening slightly. No, wait! Hold on! He was telling too much! Perhaps it was a bad idea mentioning the transformation.

What… was Rodion going to think about that? Could he trust that Buizel? Should he invent an excuse and use some other Pokémon species to justify his slip of the tongue?

…However, if they were going to work together, then it would have been better to be honest with each other, right? Besides, if some bad situation arose in the future, it would have been good to have an ally by his side. Someone who he could rely on and who could rely on him. Though, he needed to gauge Rodion’s reaction and opinion first.

“Hmm… This might be sudden as a question, but bear with me. It’s kinda related to the reason I’m here to practice and contemplate stuff.” Silver leaned forward, his ear oriented toward Rodion and his gaze inquisitive. “Say, what do you know and think about… humans?”
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"What brings that up?" Rodion asked as he tilted his head. "Is it because we supposedly have to keep it a secret that some of our teammates used to be humans?"

The Buizel leaned against a nearby tree and crossed his arms, a small smirk forming on his face as he continued on.

"But to answer your question, I think they're pretty great," he said. "While they're no longer around in my world, our civilization is the way it is because of them. Our very way of life is similar to how they lived. Without humans, my life would probably look the same as that of any feral Buizel or Floatzel. That's a pretty good reason to like ‘em, doesn't it?"
Silver listened with keen interest, holding both Rodion’s gaze and his own breath. When the Buizel told that humans were ‘pretty great’, the now-Sneasel’s mouth curled up a little, in part proud and in part flattered to hear that.

Once Rodion was done with his explanation, Silver brought a hand to his chin and began tapping it, clearly intrigued. So, humans influenced the lives of the Pokémon in his world, huh? Well, that explained plenty, and he could see the stark contrast between Rodion’s behavior and Jun’s Floatzel much more clearly. Such an intriguing story…

“Heh! Yeah, I guess so,” remarked Silver, flashing a smirk of his own. “Humans are a truly unique species, huh?”

But then, his smirk faltered a little, and the now-Sneasel shot many fleeting glances around, his ear and head feather twitching as they took in every sound and vibration in the air, respectively. Once Silver was absolutely, unmistakably sure that there was no other sapient creature around, he focused once more on Rodion.

“Okay, huh. Here’s the big deal.” Silver took a deep breath to steady himself. “Those teammates who used to be human and who must keep it a secret for now? Well,” he closed his eyes and his voice lowered to a faint, hesitant whisper, “I’m one of them.”
"I see," Rodion said, his smile widening a little. "Well, I'm glad I can say to have met a human during all of this then. Even if I did see some of you already in the Spirit Nexus, but obviously there was a lot going on then."

He shifted slightly, as he looked at Silver curiously.

"Though I suppose it's a bit different actually speaking to a human instead of just hearing stories about them. If you don't mind me asking... just what was your life like before you came here?"
Apex Notes

- Yeah, having a rap sheet as a thief ain’t easy!
- Being an Ace Trainer rocks, though!
- Even the most stoic people have a tender heart and can show appreciation and gratitude.

“My life?” Silver blinked, then narrowed his eyes, uncertain. Okay, sure, after greetings and introductions often followed some brief background, alright. But what could he say? “Hmph, it was…”

Messy. Complicated. A tangle of stupid decisions and unfortunate circumstances. Only in recent times people were starting to put some tiny trust in him, a former thief. Oh, about that! Stealing three Pokémon? Would that be considered a series of kidnappings in Rodion’s world?

He huffed and rubbed the back of his neck, while his eyes focused on anything but the Buizel in front of him. It took him a few more seconds than expected to find a suitable descriptor.

“…intense. That’s for sure.”

Silver hummed in thought. That definitely didn’t feel like a satisfactory answer, but it was highly unlikely that Rodion had ever heard of Pokémon Trainers, Leagues, and all that stuff. Besides, Silver needed to be discreet; that kind of topic could rise a few eyebrows and suspicion, in case someone decided to walk by for whatever reason.

It was best to take a more indirect approach.

“…Okay, I’ve got it.” Silver nodded to himself and placed a paw on his hip. “Where I come from, I’m known as a Trainer, a popular career among people of my… well, species. A Trainer is someone who creates teams made of six Pokémon, and who acts as the leader and strategist.” He smirked. “And guess what? I’ve got the title of Ace Trainer, which means I’m one of the best Trainers in my region!”

The more Silver talked about his world, and the more he felt his tension evaporating from his guarded heart and spirit. Excitement poured out of his words, and even his eyes and gems seemed to sparkle with fervor and energy.

Positives. Only focus on the positives.

“So, many big competitions are hosted worldwide, where opposing Trainers and their teams fight each other, win rewards like tokens and money to show off their progress, and prove to the world their power and talent. It’s an extremely popular sport, with Pokémon growing much stronger and skilled in safe environments and Trainers learning more and more about their partners and how to coexist with them.”

For the first time since he reached that world, Silver smiled fondly. “I’ve learned so much from my team, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for them. And… for the other Trainers, too.” He looked down and sighed with nostalgia. “They care so much about me, and only wish the best for me… I wouldn’t trade them or their happiness for anything in the entire cosmos!”
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As Rodion listened to Silver's story, he couldn't help but be fascinated by it. Back in his world, he'd heard stories of how humans and Pokémon used to battle together and bring out the best in each other. What Silver was telling him certainly seemed to match up with that. For a moment he couldn't help but wonder how things would be like to travel with a human Trainer. Maybe along with Hess, Kichiro, and three others of the crew he particularly got along with, like Kenny...

The Buizel shook his head. No. Unfortunately that age had passed in his world far before he was born. He had to take care of himself and couldn't rely on a human to do that. And the best way to do that while still having some adventure in his life, was piracy.

"Sounds like you got a pretty good life back home," Rodion remarked. "It's a shame that we had to all come to this world on our own, since I get the feeling I'd have liked meeting your team."
"Sounds like you got a pretty good life back home," Rodion remarked. "It's a shame that we had to all come to this world on our own, since I get the feeling I'd have liked meeting your team."

A twinge rang into Silver’s heart for a split second, but he refused to let that spoil his mood. Whatever problems he still had in his world he would have dealt with whenever he returned to his world.

“Hmph! I can’t really complain about my life, but there’s always room for improvement.” Then, he puffed his chest as a smug smirk stretched on his face, while his eyes burned with confidence. “Heck, we’ve worked so hard and for so long, and someday my team and I will become the best of the best! It’s only a matter of time!”

The burst of enthusiasm waned quickly and all of Silver’s muscles relaxed. However, his smirk didn’t disappear. “But yeah, it would’ve been cool if my team was here as well! I bet Ordile, a Feraligatr and my best friend, would’ve been elated to meet you. He clicks so well with all Water-types and he loves some good water races.”

But thinking about it… Why did that talking cloud bring me here, instead of any member of my team? Or why bring other humans, for that matter? What’s the point of summoning humans if they need to be crammed into Pokémon bodies, instead of bringing Pokémon used to Pokémon bodies? Isn’t that taking unnecessary extra steps?

…I guess some entities in other universes work in backward ways or something, because I can’t understand why humans are such a big deal…

“…Anyway, enough talking about me, my world, and all that sentimental stuff.” Silver motioned toward Rodion, and the glint of his eyes shifted from confidence to intrigue. “How about you? How’s your life in your world? I admit I’ve got no clue how a Pokémon-only society would work, so I’m curious.”
"It's actually not that different from this world," Rodion replied. "There's a lot more land here and some of the inventions appear to be a few centuries ahead of what we got my world, but the fundamentals are pretty much the same."
“Oh… I see.” replied Silver, nodding in understanding. “Sounds like a typical civilization, just set in other times.”

And with extra fur, scales, feathers, and everything-in-between. This sounds very much like a Poké Maniac’s fever dream or something.

“And, hmm… d’you got a profession? Or, I dunno, some special partner, or… stuff like that?” asked Silver, tapping his claws rhythmically. Small talk wasn’t really his forte, but he knew it was essential to learn more about his teammates.
"Well, our society was built with knowledge passed down by humans, so it makes sense that it would feel familiar to you."

A small smirk formed on Rodion's face, as he continued on.

"As for what profession I have... I guess you could say I'm a free trader," the Buizel said. "I'm the first mate of a crew called the Iron Fleet. We sail from island to island, picking up different things along the way, and selling what we don't need."
“So, you’re a sailor?” asked Silver, before humming in thought. “Well, that sounds like a cool profession. Getting to see new places and getting to stay close to the water? What’s not to like about a job like that?”

Silver’s expression shifted once more. A wave of restlessness flooded through his body, and the same tingling sensation spread to his claws. He huffed and waved his hands close to his face.

“Okay, then! That’s enough talking from me! It’s been enough chitchat for a day, and I’ve got other stuff to do!” A sudden lightbulb flashed into his mind, and his neutral expression turned into a smirk. “Hmm… Y’know what? There’s a little something, actually, and perhaps you can help me out with that…”

With a swift motion, Silver took off his poncho and let it drop on a nearby rock, keeping only his belt on his body. He flexed his claws and felt the tingling sensation intensify.

“As you’ve found out mere minutes ago, I’m no born Sneasel. And I came here because I needed some place where I could learn how to behave like a Pokémon, without being judged or attracting unneeded attention.” Then, Silver held out an arm in front of his face, his claws gleaming in the sunlight. “And what better way there is to learn how to be a Pokémon if not with a fight?”

The now-Sneasel’s smirk widened and his eyes narrowed, as a sign of defiance. “So! Are you up for a sparring match? A speedster versus a speedster! Sounds like a fair duel, don’t you agree?”
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"Heh, I'd definitely be down for that," Rodion answered. "I wanted to get some training done now that I'm a Buizel again, anyway."

Rodion looked briefly. Seems like they were already in the perfect place for a sparring match. The area was wide enough, and the nearby river meant he could get creative if he wanted to.

The Buizel stepped a suitable distance away from Silver and turned back to face him. Water began to build up along Rodion's paws, before it extended forward and tapered out into two blades of pressurized water. He stood there for a moment with a grin, before gesturing with one of his swords to Silver.

"Go ahead. Make the first move."
“Aw, how generous of you!” quipped Silver, striking a poised stance and readying his claws. “Don’t expect me to repay the favor, though.”

Mental gears spun at top speed, and Silver recalled countless memories and sessions spent learning and training with Nyula. The way his friend always sprinted around the battlefield to confound his targets and strike them from the shadows; the way he lunged with his claws, slashing silently and mercilessly; the hunger of brawls and tussles, to satisfy his untamable predator instincts.

Silver chuckled internally. Who would have ever thought that those same sessions would have been useful for him, of all things? Not even his wildest dreams could have crafted such a scenario. And yet, it was really happening — the Trainer had become both the leader and the partner.

The now-Sneasel’s gaze lingered on the water swords, his mind already working on ways to get around that obstacle. He paced around the Buizel, eyes locked on eyes, looking for an opening.

“Show me what you’ve got!”

And then, Silver felt it. A sudden spark of power, pulsing inside his chest. Heartbeat accelerated, legs burned, and claws tingled like crazy. His body felt as light as air and he sprinted forward, barely more than a blur, his claws whistling.

Silver used Quick Attack!
Rodion braced himself as Silver rushed forward and slammed right into him. The Buizel stumbled back slightly from the impact, before quickly regaining his balance.

"Not a bad opening!"

He began to move forward and readied his left blade for a forward thrust, only to suddenly side step around Silver and instead slash the Sneasel's leg with the watery sword in his right paw.

Rodion used Aqua Cutter!
Hmm… Using Quick Attack as a scouting move had been a good approach, but that Buizel took the hit much better than he had anticipated. Silver grunted in annoyance: was his attack too weak, or maybe that was because of his lack of experience with his body, or both?

But he had no time to ponder! A blade was rushing toward him! He stepped to his left to avoid the incoming lunge—huh?! No, wait! That was a trap!


Silver gritted his fangs when the solidified water struck his leg. By the gods, how could freaking water hurt so much?!

Aided by the adrenaline rush, he jumped back to avoid other slashes and landed as best as he could, ignoring the ringing pain. But despite taking the hit, Silver couldn’t help but grin. Oh, it had been so long since he physically fought someone, and that was almost exhilarating!

“…Heh. Not bad. So, you wanna play rough, huh?” Silver pounded his fists together, and smirked when he felt the same surge of power flow through his limbs. “Then let’s play rough!”

He rushed forward once more, his claws and mind brimming with fighting spirit, and he engaged Rodion in a close quarter combat by aiming rock-shattering strikes at his paws and swords.

Silver used Rock Smash!
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