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Frontier Town Nina's Place

Bellatrix let out a nod of agreement. "There are still many things for them to get used to, if I were to guess, evolution tends to bring those feelings out to the forefront and if not now, certainly later. That snivy, Kimiko, will eventually have to learn to navigate the world without legs, for example. I am admittedly curious to see how that will manifest."

There was a pause as she appraised Nova's form. Built, huh? Now that she thought of it, there certainly was that artificial look to him. "If you wouldn't mind it, perhaps you could tell me more about your species? I've been fascinated since I first saw Gladion."
"I, uh—" Nova stopped to consider his words. "I'm not sure I can speak to the species as a collective or anything. In my world, at least, I was built as a peacekeeper. By the one in charge at the time." He lifted a chitinous foreleg. "The idea was that I could adapt to all sorts of environments and terrains if I looked like this. And change my typing on the fly to help with that.

"For a time... I wondered if I was actually alive. Y'know, with a soul and all." Nova sipped from his glass. "I guess even if I hadn't learned that answer before, this whole business would make it a resounding 'yes.'"

He turned to nip at a knot on his shoulder, then straightened up. "The helmet was not something I was supposed to have. It just sort of... appeared when a human made me a shadow 'mon. And suppressed a lot."
"Ah, designed depending on the function?" Bellatrix asked. "Makes plenty of sense if the blueprints are adaptable." She leaned forward. "It's an interesting question, what makes something designed as a machine alive, how a spirit could form within though that seems more a question specific to one's specific world. What rings true there may not necessarily do so here."

Speaking of though... "Shadows exist in your world too and you were one?" she asked with a tilt of the head. She was beginning to notice how much easier the little motions came to the illusion making the entire thing feel less stilted.
"Not 'were.'" Nova shook his head. "Still am. Back home, anyway. A human shackled my spirit... with a chain made of jewels like the ones you have. And, well, shadows are pokémon whose hearts have been closed off.

"There is no Radiance back home." He sipped from his glass. "There's a big ass dragon who can wield light powers, but he and his powers are far from benevolent."
"Hmm, I can only hope you'll be able to escape that situation when all this is said and done. And a dragon made of light? That sounds similar to a key figure in a predominant legend in my world." She didn't add much more to that, although something else caught her attention.

"Those chains," she asked quietly. "You know what they are?"
"The Red Chain is said to have the power to 'bind the world,'" Nova whispered, like he was reciting it from memory. "To craft one, you need traces of three pokémon said to embody the spirit." He looked at his left shoulder. "Like plucking out a handful of my fur, for example."

He bristled a bit. "Those pokémon... don't technically exist in my world. But this man already had the Red Chain assembled." Nova finished the water. "I don't think any of that's relevant to Forlas, though."

Or he sure hoped that was the case.
Valour, Acuity, Verity. "Perhaps not to Forlas but there has to be a reason why its visage - one that seems to bear negative connotations in multiple worlds given Koa's reaction - attached itself to me. They even influence how I use the move Embargo." Bellatrix said with a sigh. "The problem is that I haven't a clue where to even begin to think of any said reason."

She took another sip of her drink. "Whatever it is, I can only hope that it's nothing too terrible."
Nova's cheek bolts whirred in their sockets. He focused to stop them. "I'm sorry?" He managed to keep his voice down, at least. "You're saying you think they're the genuine thing? I've met at least one like you back home and, yeah, they've got gems, but they're... more like conduits for natural powers."
Bellatrix tapped the sides of her glass, she looked deep in thought. "Do they feel like the genuine article?" she asked. "Because if it's that and not just a resemblance..." She shook her head. "As I said, I have no clue what they are so I couldn't tell you if they were real or if the Forlasian spirit nexus has some twisted sense of humour."
"Ah. You don't normally have gems in your limbs back in your world, then?" Nova supposed that was reasonable. He didn't really know why the ghost zoroark from his world had gems in their limbs, anyway. What were they, crystallized death energy or something?
Bellatrix nearly sputtered, now incredibly thankful that she was beneath the guise of an illusion lest she give away the fact that she had never evolved prior to this point. Trying to keep it natural, Bellatrix shook her head. It was technically true, zorua certainly didn't have them, and it wasn't as if Nova could stop by Kythra to check. "The common ones don't, so I cannot say I would know why the ghost-counterparts would have them," she said. "Gems are more a trait I would more associate with the rock-type than the ghost. What would a ghost not called 'sableye' even do with gems, anyway?"
Nova thought on those words for a bit. But rather than drawing any conclusions about Bellatrix's lack of experience as a zoroark, his mind zigged down a different avenue.

"Did you pass away?" he whispered. "There are stories back home of 'common ones' dying with resentment in their hearts and coming back as ghosts. That resentment crystalizes within the limbs. There's an attack the ones back home use that's just harming someone with the sheer intensity of that resentment. They call it Bitter Malice."
I should have, maybe I am— another shake of her head. "No, I don't believe so but that technique is known to me. Functions similarly to Hex with the added benefit of debilitating your foe with enough luck although personally, I prefer the latter," Bellatrix explained. "It strains far less and far from luck-reliant when paired with this." She placed the back of her paw on the centre of the table and on the tips of Bellatrix's claws danced a tiny blueish-white flame, practically invisible when viewed from more than a metre away. She didn't let it linger for long though, just in case, withdrawing her arm to take another sip of her drink.

"Why do you ask? Is the idea of a natural-born ghost new to you?"
"No." Nova's food had arrived. He managed not to start drooling this time so he could properly finish his thought before taking any bites. "A ruling monarch where I'm from is a dragapult, I believe. And she has nine dreepy."
"Ghost-zoroark, I mean," Bellatrix corrected. "Where I am from, the idea of a ghost, any ghost, being the spirit of the dead is simply folklore, although, nothing to say that the myths about curses aren't true." She cringed slightly at the mention as her mind called forth memories of the number of anxious stares or harsh whispers saying that she was nothing more than a curse or a bad omen.

That warranted some explanation so that poor Nova wouldn't be left wondering what she was even talking about. So with a sigh, "They say, in my world, there is a zoroark simply known as 'the Stranger' who towers over and makes bargains with anyone he meets. Though reviled, they say that his temptations are impossible to deny and when it comes time to pay his price, he curses his victims, twisting them to bear his visage."

Nova's sandwich arriving reminded Bellatrix of her own neglected plate of lechonk. Between bites, she added, "So everyone stays away, in fear of bringing the Stranger to their doorsteps."
"Huh. So, like, a superstition, then," Nova said between bites of food. "Ghost zoroark are far too rare for anyone to know anything about them. Even the one I'm still aware of pretends to be the usual dark-type. He claims it's to blend in, but I know the truth."

He took another bite and swallowed hard. "He was a dark zoroark. And then he died. And then he was an ice ninetales. And he died again."
A nod then a curious tilt of the head followed. It seemed that there was an extraneous step in that progression. "That truth being? Even the dark ones disguise themselves more often than not where I'm from."
Nova tilted his heard. "Err... I kinda just said it? The whole 'multiple lives' thing." His fur prickled a bit and he sighed.

"There are... several reborn souls back home. Working together to stop the human who once wielded the Red Chain. They don't realize the truth yet."
Bellatrix leaned back with a thoughtful hum. Human-made, huh? Though she also supposed it varied from world to world. "So it's like any other weapon then," she mused, rubbing her arms together, tracing the form of her gems beneath the illusion. "Not what they are but how they're used. Perhaps I have nothing to fear if they can be used for good."
"I wouldn't call something with the power over fate itself a simple weapon," Nova said, leaning over to nibble the steak sandwich. He sighed. "The man who had it where I was from called himself a pokémon wielder instead of a trainer. Which kinda speaks to how he viewed me."
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