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Frontier Town Frontier Town Outskirts

"All right..." Nova cleared his throat. "So, we should get on the same page about what we're doing. And that includes what we should be thinking as we go to sleep the next few nights. If we're prepared, we might be able to get something out of Powehi."
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Steven's gaze lingered on Seth as the Lycanroc disappeared into the silvery moonlit night. He had little qualms in letting the Wolf wander off by himself. He'd come this far on his own, and like he'd said, most of the things on that wanted poster weren't even perpetrated by him. He was just trying to get his pokemon back, his life back.

Turning back to the group, Steven regarded Nova with an even look.

"Well, whatever story we decide to tell Lucien, the important takeaway is that he's made aware that the Wolf is no longer an issue plaguing the people of Frontier Town. If he wants to ask questions beyond that, I'm sure we can explain more. Hopefully the truth that our Zoroark friend here was the one causing all the trouble is sufficient."

Steven caught one last glimpse of the Zoroark body before he averted his eye with a grimace, electing to focus on the group as a whole, one at a time. His tone was light and vaguely conspiratorial.

"I don't see a reason to bring up Seth's name at all, do you?"
Nova shrugged. "Nah. But are we bringing this body or just telling whoever that it's buried in the outskirts if they must see for themselves?" He looked over his shoulder. "I'm going to a need an answer, because I'm the one who'd have to do the carrying here."
So no burning the body (thank gods), and they weren't burying it either...honestly, using it as evidence felt like a good bet. As Nova produced a Pokeball, and Seth confirmed that only Cipher had them, Odette had to rub the whiplash out of her head. So an evil team was hopping in and out of this world, using Pokeballs on these civilized 'mon, and Nova just had one? She'd heard through the grapevine that someone had. Pokeball given to them by a legendary or whatever, but she'd put it so far out of her head that actually seeing it in person gave her pause. Were the fucking legendaries they'd met with Cipher? What the actual fuck was going on here?

While she saw no inherent issue with the Pokeball itself, she understood why Seth wouldn't want to be put in one. Fucking off seemed to be his final decision, and she supposed that worked out too. Less to worry about. If he ended up in a jail cell, it'd be by his own accord (though, she could imagine there would likely be some form of a group need to bust him out, which would be a whole other issue). However, if these Cipher people found him, that would also be a different story.

She didn't say anything else as he stalked off. She did, however, raise a brow at his attempt at "banter." Or, at least, what she assumed was an attempt. Evidently, this guy didn't know the difference between fucking around and straight-up bullying, and she wondered if he'd even have the function ever to make that distinction.

"We could leave the body here," she said, interjecting into the conversation. "But then we might need to come up with a story on how we managed to stalk all the way out here, find the shallow grave, and dig it up without bringing up Seth. Might be easier just to lug it back and explain we found it in the dirt."
"We'll have to take the body," Archie said, suddenly. He'd been lost in thought, but with Seth gone and everyone preparing to move out, he managed to rouse himself again. And, as the experienced bounty hunter, he figured he had information worth sharing. "They'll want the body to report the bounty. We're taking 'The Wolf' in dead, after all..."

It was grim business, but if it meant it got the law off Seth's back, that was one less thing they, and the red Lycanroc, had to worry about. Maybe if he kept reminding himself of that, he'd feel less sick at the thought...
Koa couldn't help but but cock his head at Seth's remark. He almost thought it reminded him of how Kitto or his cousin would rib him. Maybe Seth was trying to be friendly?

There wasnt a chance to give a snide retort so he watched as Seth left, fighting the unease inside him. His thoughts were swirling again now that Seth was gone and they were left trying to see what to do next. There was so much to consider...

It wasn't until he heard Odette's voice, following up Nova, that he realized he'd spaced out for a good while.

Blinking, he turned towards Odette, his gaze only dancing across the body and not really looking at it. "We should just... Tell Lucien the truth. And take it with us. We don't want to lose it." His voice felt like it wasn't coming from his own body.
"All right." Nova approached the shallow grave. With a few grunts of effort, he managed to hoist the dead zoroark onto his back. He didn't really care that much about the fact it was a corpse. After all, how many broken or Self-Destructed units had he carried off in the past?

"I'm not walking through the old manor or whatever with this thing, though. So, someone else will have to get his attention." Nova started walking away from the grave. "Don't think we're doing ourselves any favors staying here any longer."
Wes rolled his eyes at Seth, but still watched him disappear with anxiety churning in his stomach.

Then, as soon as the Wolf disappeared, all of his exhaustion hit him at once and it took all of his concentration not to fall over. He nodded mutely at Archie’s suggestion and watched numbly as Nova hauled the corpse out of the pit like it was no big deal. Like he was used to dealing with dead bodies, for some gods-damned reason. Nova said something else, but it didn’t quite register; everyone’s voices were muffled to him now, like his ears had been stuffed full of cotton.

“Let’s…get going, then,” Wes murmured. He rose and fell in line behind Nova, limping unsteadily as he went, careful to avoid eye contact with anyone else.

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Ch04: Grovyle Mhynt
It was quiet. The morning sun's rays warmed Andre's fur as he ambled along the riverbank, and a slight wind slithered around his ears and rippled the surface of the water. He needed the walk after last night's dream with Powehi. It had been somewhat of an unnerving experience.

A glint caught his eye. A glint not from the river, but from the land. He trotted over to investigate.

It was a metal bucket. It resembled the one that Mhynt liked to carry around and soak in, but it was... all cut up. Who would do that to it? Was Mhynt... attacked? Was he in danger, too?

No, calm down, he thought. Investigate before jumping into conclusions.

He raised his head and looked around for the treecko. "Mhynt? Are you there?" he called out, heartbeat quickening.
Someone gasped softly behind some nearby shrubbery. He wasn't alone. But whoever was behind the shrubs wasn't coming out, either.

"I'm here," called an unfamiliar voice. The countenance was the same but it was all so much deeper and shaky. There was a light hiss behind her words. "I'm fine," she lied.
"Mhynt?" Andre asked. "You don't... sound like yourself. What happened?"

He approached the shrubbery slowly as he spoke, and then circled around...
Treecko Mhynt was no more, replaced by a larger, ganglier Pokemon with leaves sprouting from her rear, head, and wrists. She looked like she had been focusing for a while, or at least sitting there for some extended meditation when Andre had arrived. Her yellow eyes were bloodshot.

"Andre," she greeted, her jaw tensely closed otherwise. "...How are you doing?"
"Oh," Andre said. "I see you evolved." He blinked. Mhynt really didn't look good. "I-I'm doing fine. Are you sure you are?"
Mhynt winced when Andre pointed it out. And for a short moment, despite how much stronger she certainly had become from the evolution, how much more versatile her abilities had probably become... she looked more vulnerable than ever. She said nothing and took the time to steady her breathing. Her leaves fanned out to absorb the sunlight. It relaxed her... slightly.
Andre poked at the ground with his hoof. He really, really wanted to ask if the evolution had hurt - if he was going to go through that as well - but it seemed impolite. "If you're in the middle of something, I can leave," he said.
"No, it's... it's fine," she said, finally gathering herself. "I'm... sorry. I'm not myself right now. I've..." She searched for the words. Andre could easily see the way it was eating at her, the way something was horribly wrong.

But Mhynt always kept so much to herself.

"...I wasn't... expecting to evolve," she said. "I wasn't expecting this body again. It happened in the middle of the night and... I haven't been able to sleep since. I'm too... lost in thought." The last of her words felt evasive.
For some reason, Mhynt seemed to inch away from Andre without realizing it. "...Yes," Mhynt finally said. "In my world... certain people with certain abilities... could choose their form and not affect how powerful they were. I was one of them, and I chose Treecko. When I was told to enter other forms, it... I don't... want to talk about it." Her leaves shriveled like there was no sunlight to absorb.
Andre couldn't hazard a guess what Mhynt was talking about, but he knew empathy. "I won't force you to," he said. "But if you ever change your mind, you can come to me anytime."

He looked up at the sky. He didn't know if it would help Mhynt, but Katie had always said his voice was calming. "I wonder how it will be when I evolve," he mused. "I wonder if those antlers will be heavy. I guess they also mean I won't be wearing hats anymore..."
"They might have something to help you with that," Mhynt said idly, her leaves slowly relaxing and fanning out again. The sun reminded her she wasn't back there anymore.

"Maybe they'd have hats that you don't put on but wrap around. Little holes to clip through. More cumbersome, but at least they can be put there."

She used a claw to draw a little diagram of it. It looked a little more like a diaper for a head than a proper hat, meant for a baby with incredibly thin legs, but the idea was there.

"The humanlike articles of clothing here still confuse me. I... I think I forgot to put mine on when I evolved." She glanced at her bare wrist. "Thankfully, I think my kind are so rare here that I'd never be mistaken for a feral."
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