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Frontier Town Main Street

"Hmph. Let me take a look."

Samurott unceremoniously lifted Felin into the chair and examined her cheek-tufts with a flipper.

"Huh. Fur. Thought you'd have leaves, by the colour and smell of you."

He sniffed, and stroked his exceptional moustache.

"Alright. Neater whiskers. As you say. Still 'distinguished'?"

Samurott began selecting products for use on Felin's fur on the countertop in front of her. There was a mirror on the wall behind, which let her see the barber as he worked.
"Distinguished indeed yes. I'll trust your gut, if your fine mustache is anything to go by," Felin said with a snicker as she sat cozily on the seat.

"You know, my grandfather was a Samurott. He wasn't much of a barber, or a doctor," Felin began in her effort to make idle talk. "My parents say I take after him. Honestly? I don't see it."
Samurott's muzzle wrinkled in offense and confusion. What was wrong with his moustache?

"I don't see it either, miss," he replied, evenly. "Unless you have some hidden talent with a blade. Or as a swimmer."

The barber-surgeon himself busied himself lathering Felin's cheek-tufts. The foam had a thick, floral fragrance.
"No it's not like that," Felin replied, this time not following it with a chuckle. "Old man had hung up his blade and wanted me to never pick one up. That's where we disagreed, but we got along with him just fine on pretty much everything else."

Snipping sounds filled her ears as she tilted her head to make her good side easier to reach. Her pupils opened wider, and she was a bit taken by her reflection. "You're quite good, barber. How long have you been at this? Can't be easy juggling the job of a barber and a doctor, but I wouldn't know."
"Hung up his blade, huh?" repeated the barber. "Odd, for a Samurott."

He didn't elaborate on his own use of a blade. Perhaps being a barber-surgeon still 'counted'. Perhaps he could also fight.

"Barber-surgeon's a common enough living," explained Samurott. "Razor-edged steel is expensive – and needed for both tasks. Dexterity and coordination of paw is a talent – and likewise to the steel. Not enough demand for surgery to make a day job of it... So many surgeons are barbers – or barbers, surgeons. If need be."

He made a flourish with one paw, tossed his blade to his other paw like a flair bartender, and made the same flourish to complete the same fine trim to both sides of Felin's face.

"It's a good job," he added, with laconic satisfaction. "What is your profession, Sprig'?"
"I'm a delver, it's kind of like a Ranger I think. Much of my time was spent exploring dungeons or rescuing mon stuck in them," Felin answered. "I enjoyed being on the job even if it's not what one would think of as a safe and stable job."

She lightly brushed her freshly trimmed cheek and let out a satisfied purr. This is the best she's looked in a long while.

"I never caught your name. You can call me Felin." Felin said, leaving out the boots epithet. She hummed in thought. "Did you hear? Word on the street's that there's a gala coming around."
"A worthy calling," rumbled the otter. Then, "My name is Toru. Well met, Felin."

He didn't seem to have anything else to say about Felin's profession, but his voice eased up a little, and he set himself to applying some kind of conditioner or gel to Felin's tufts.

"I get a lot of patrons who're going to that," said Toru. "It's tomorrow night, is it not? It doesn't interest me much, besides the cheap street-stall food. There may be fireworks, I'm told."

He sniffed, and his moustache quivered.

"If Empoleon took as much care of the town as he does of his appearance, I might be glad to help him with the latter," said Toru, with a huff.
"Toru. That's a fine name," Felin said, repeating it in her head so she didn't forget. Every pokemon here having a name still struck her as odd. Was it really such a casual thing in other worlds that everymon had one?

She hummed in acknowledgement to Toru's next remark while she let her face soak in the benefits of the hair conditioning.

"I gotta admit, I'm still new to this town. I've only spoken to the mayor in person once and that was enough to put me off," Felin said. "Sounds to me like he hasn't been bringing Frontier Town to great highs."
"Depends on who you ask, and what you mean by 'highs'," replied Toru. "He oversees the construction of the grand station. A very fine building, to be sure. But does this make better the lives of the common pokémon working there? Better than they had no labour at all, perhaps. But not equal to what they deserve."

He shook his head, and set to finishing up, with a fine comb and a dry spongecloth.

"It is not at all right for the riches of the region to benefit the smallest number of lords while the crowds can count only on that they will survive. Were he not a martial 'mon, and guarded by others, I would duel him myself."
So far things lined up with what Sonora had told her. Felin frowned in disbelief.

"It isn't all right at all. Kyurem's bolt! Did the townsfolk never say anything about this?" She frowned slightly. "Or did he do something to silence everyone?"

That could very well be true, if the wanted poster for disturbing the peace had been anything to go by. What nonsense!
Toru looked confused for a moment, then scoffed. He began to neatly put the tools of his trade away, having combed and brushed Felin's loose hairs from her body.

"You must be from a remote part of your home country," remarked the Samurott. "When 'mon settle in town and cities, there is great wealth, but the lords always take the largest part. In Luctemar, these lords are politicians and company bosses. In my homeland of Tsainan, these lords are most often generals and warlords. In other parts of the world, the lords are grand dukes, priest-kings, or whosoever else has power."

Toru sighed, and held up a hand mirror so Felin could see herself more easily from every angle.
"You could say my homeland has a bit more freedom. Most of the benefits from of the land goes right to the mon living on it," Felin said. She failed to mention that things only became like that in her world somewhat recently. "I feel that pokemon should have more of a say in what happens to them, but perhaps I'm too idealistic."

Toru sighed, and held up a hand mirror so Felin could see herself more easily from every angle.

A smile tugged the corner of Felin's lip. She turned her head from side to side to fully admire the job well done.

"Gotta say I feel very distinguished right now," Felin said with a chuckle. "How much for the cut?"
"For you, miss, twenty-five cents."

Especially for an expert job, this was a very fair price – about as much as a simple meal. Felin might have expected a charge twice as much.

Toru looked as if he was considering something. With his face angled to the side, battle-scars down one cheek were more clearly visible.

"Felin Sprigatito, I have this advice for you. if you would speak out against power, remember that injustice does not live in 'mon. It lives in actions. I am glad for your countrymon, but a place does not become idyllic the moment its ill-rulers are struck down."
"Hmm. I'll keep that in mind," Felin said, right before fetching fifty cents from her pocket and offering it to Toru. She quirked a smile at him. "For the good talk."

[Ch02] Koa & Nova ~ Legends Never Die... Except When They Do
Following the gala, Nova showed up to work as if nothing had happened. He was sure word spread of the events, but had no idea whether his involvement in it came up. Nova hadn't contributed much to dealing with the mayor, after all. His role was ancillary. Support.

And yet you were still analyzing. Giving orders. The null shuddered. He ambled down main street, tired from a day of heavy lifting. Not clearly paying attention to his surroundings.
Well, at least no one had threatened to kick them out of town yet. He had no idea how their law system worked in this town, but it seemed that their brawl with Ignatius hadn't gotten them all arrested. Yet. Which meant for now, back to what he'd been doing before - keep training, and keep investigating. He still planned to go with Jade to that shrine, but until then he could hone his techniques.

This time as he walked down main street, he remembered to keep a closer eye on his surroundings. Nova was hard to miss, ambling down the street a few feet away. Koa tipped his head in greeting and was about to keep walking when he saw the pothole in the ground just in front of Nova. Wait, was Nova going to move or... "Hey watch out," he called.
Nova jolted stiff. He planted his right foreleg down right on the edge of the pothole, felt the uneven terrain, and abruptly hopped back. The null looked down and was able to see it now, even with his helmet limiting his vision. "Figures," he muttered. Nova sidestepped the pothole, eyeing it disapprovingly. Nova continued forward, only to realize it was a certain electrike who'd probably warned him of it in the first place.

"Ah. Hi." Nova recalled the saloon and shifted uncomfortably. "Thanks."
"No problem," Koa replied. "The helmet must make it tricky to see everything, huh?" It probably was good for battle though. He had to crane his neck a bit to properly try and look at Nova. Now that he did, he thought Nova looked kind of tired. Or probably out of it, judging how he'd narrowly missed the pothole.
"Not really." Nova pawed at the ground. "The helmet was forcibly put on me back home. A symbol of a shackled soul. It's tight. Painful. I've no idea why this body replicated it... other than this was how the summoner saw me."

There he went accentuating the negative again. Completely unhelpful. "You're the guy with the heroic spirit, right? Probably one of the youngest in the group."
Koa grimaced internally. Seemed like a tough deal, but then again a lot of pokemon had been reverted to their base forms, hadn't they? This seemed worse than that though...

"That sucks. Maybe whoever summoned us didn't know what else to do for you..."

He resisted the urge to roll his eyes at Nova's comment about being the youngest. Jade or Leaf had to be younger than him, right? "Anyways, I'm actually not exactly super young where I'm from. Other kids younger than me are trainers. But I guess here I'm younger than some." A lot younger, if not for the stupid age limit change to 14.
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