• 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 Sand Veil Archives

Laura did a double take. The fuck...?

"Wait, you know the guy who lifted the chimera? And he was the kid of someone with access?"

She blinked, processing. Half her head was filled with re-contextualised rumours about the Skull gang, about the CEO of Aether, about chimeras... The other half was insistently reminding her that Gladion was a goddamn RKSC, for some reason. His soul had resonated with that form.

"What about you? You work with the chimeras, or something?"
Hm. He was treading out onto thin ice now. He tried to think of a way to tell the truth while working around the heart of it, but he couldn't think of anything as elegant as before. He'd probably be edging towards lying this time.

"Me? No. But most of their shadier work takes place in the depths of their metal structure, out at sea. Meant a lot of people ended up living there at least part-time. Spent a lot of time there, and while technically no word of the projects down there was supposed to make it's way up, things really seemed like they were going to work out for that project right up until it very pointedly didn't. So that rule didn't get followed as closely as it should've. When, at the bottom the project's death spiral, one of the Nulls lashed out at the researchers... Guess it stuck with me."

He tried to raise a brow, though it probably ended up looking more like an eyelid twitch. "You think that matters, or's it just personal interest at this point? Here I was saying I didn't want to get into it, but now you have me at a disadvantage again. And to think I believed I knew how to keep my mouth shit. I can see why you ended up a journalist..." He laughed. "I don't mean that as an insult, to be clear. Gonna be a useful skill around here."
Laura laughed, only a little awkwardly. "C'mon, I think you're doing all the work getting yourself to talk about anything, here. I hope you're right that it'll be useful, though. If I even turn out to be any good at it."

Right, what had Gladion just asked? Whether his connection mattered? She couldn't know, but she had a gut feeling...

"I don't have a good, rational reason to think so, no. But... Something tells me – call it intuition – that the species we got has something to do with who we are as people. Like, for me, it just made perfect sense I'd end up as a cat. I half expected to specifically be a Purrloin, tell you the truth. And then, like, there are like three different blokes on the team who're shouty, defensive types, and they all became fucking dogs. That just tracks, if you ask me. I'm pretty sure the Voice said something back in the Nexus about how that Andre guy might've ended up as a Deerling if he was the kind of person who changed with the seasons? Didn't sound like it knew, but it sets a bar, right?"

She tapped her nose, trying to look like she was being savvy. She probably just looked daft.

"So for you? Well, I'd be guessing blind, but... Maybe you just really give a shit about RKSCs? Or, and don't take this the wrong way, this is pure conjecture and not based on anything you've actually said, but – maybe some part of you feels about yourself the way you feels about the chimeras? Maybe trapped, 'cause of the helmet. Or illicit, what with them being a secret project. Or mismatched, chimerical, artificial, whatever the hell resonates with you."

Gods, that was a bit much. Maybe dial it the fuck back a bit.

"Maybe I'm just projecting," she finished, lamely. "Things aren't going great for me in my world."
Gladion laughed at the first remark, and this time it was entirely authentic. A brighter sound than the previous ones. "Oh, I see, I'm making your job too easy for you, am I?"

His first instinct was to try and smirk, but he couldn't so instead he acted on his second instinct, which was to wink. Instantly afterwards he decided that was a bad choice. "Hm. Was that weird? Still don't know how to body language properly without arms, a mouth, or a movable neck... Augh, whatever. In all seriousness, though, I'm usually much better at shutting up. You'd just been pretty good at asking the right questions to pick off little pieces one at a time."

The levity drained from his tone as Laura continued. "Not answering that one, though. Given Null was a possible species I'm not surprised it happened. That's all."

He needed something else to talk about. "Purrloin? Guess that explains the connection to Alolan Meowth if you've never been here. Our Meowths are supposed to... Well, they started as a distinct breed in the upper-classes of Old Alola, before their fall. But they make clever tricksters, too, and that's why they outlasted their origins. Sure, they've got the same rep as thieves that Purrloin do now, but they came from somewhere different. Maybe that history made the difference. Cunning, proud, abandoned, or burdened with a legacy they cannot possibly uphold." He tried to keep his tone deadpan as he continued, but he couldn't help but let a bit of levity creep back in. "Or whatever the hell resonates with you... Maybe I'm just projecting. Things weren't always going as well for me back in my world."
Laura's tail thrashed anxiously as Gladion shut the tangent down – message received, don't pry – but thankfully he didn't ditch her or anything. Even bounced the thread back at her. Okay, cool.

"Definitely projecting," she teased, matching his deadpan. "May I'm a little cunning, but the other stuff? Nah, mate. No self esteem, possessive parents, and... Well, I guess you could say I couldn't follow in my parents' footsteps, but it wasn't what I'd call a legacy or anything."

She shook her head, and smiled wistfully.

"Maybe it's just that I'm a real cat person," she joked. "But like, I figure it's because I legit do vibe with feline 'mon – curious, skittish, independent, need eighteen hours of sleep a day..." She laughed. "I like finding stuff, and that feels very Meowth. Shorthair ones, anyway – not so much the Galarian forest guys we have too many of back home."
Was something missing from that refutation? Gladion hadn't actually paid much attention to what he was rattling off, mostly focused on setting himself up for his end-line. Except maybe the legacy bit, that was probably a point where he was precisely guilty as charged. Not that he intended to concede that point.

"Oh no," He deadpanned back, without a sliver of actual concern in his voice. "It seems I've been fooled into revealing even more of my tragic backstory. Sorrow of sorrows."

There had to be more to it than that, right? He wasn't sure if he was sold on it being a complete reason why she'd be an Alolan Meowth. On the other hand, he'd be a hypocrite to pry, and it was quite possible Laura didn't have an answer herself. "Suppose that seems a fitting enough reason to end up feline."

He felt like they were approaching the end of the line. Not much further for this conversation to go... barring smalltalk, which would suck.

"...Don't know what else to say, really. I suppose you don't have anything else you need of me? I'd ask if you've any more insight as to what I should be looking for here, but really, that feeling of needing to keep desperately hunting for anything at all now that I've... I don't know, acknowledged it? Glad you came around. Genuinely."

That much was true— The crushing drive that had forced him here had taken it's claws out of him.
Laura chuckled at the deadpan joke, and gave the chimera a sympathetic look for his troubled admission.

"I get it – I go stir crazy too when there's a mystery I just can't get at. I really don't think there's anything about RKSCs in a public library way out on the edge of civilisation, but if we find anything out eventually, I promise I'll loop you in. And if we can get a better connection to that voice, maybe you can grill them about it some more? I hope so, even though it sounds like they're a bit... clueless."

She extended a paw.

"Nice meeting you properly, mysterious stranger," she quipped, with a smile. "Good luck with... you know."
"Thanks for that." It wasn't as if he'd expected to find anything about Nulls directly here (not that it'd stopped him from checking) but anything that gave him a push in the right direction would be something.

"Nice meeting you, too, my fellow mysterious stranger. Good luck with the crimes back home— or the legally-legitimate corporate espionage or whatnot. I'll let you know if I find anything interesting too, but don't hold your breath for it."

Gladion wasn't entirely sure what to make of Laura. His gut feeling was that he trusted her, she was knowledgeable and clever. And important to communicate with, if his intuition was correct. But that combination of things also made her dangerous if he wanted to leave the shadows of his old life behind... Even if that was the case, though, it wasn't really her fault. So he liked her, in spite of the circumstances.

[Ch02] Wrapped Up in Research, Haunting the Halls [Corey & Ghaspius]
How on Earth... or... on Forlas, to be technically precise... had he not stepped foot in this place yet? Corey truly felt right at home in the presence of so many books, tomes and documents to pore over. Irked as he was that he couldn't immediately go out there and do some more active quests so soon after his injuries sustained in the gala, he had to admit, this sort of environment helped alleviate some of that negativity.

Telekinetically grabbing as many archived editions of the Frontier Gazette as his mind could lift, he dropped the pile down on the nearest table and eagerly began to glimpse through them. He figured past events before their arrival might well hold a few extra clues that could help clear up a few lingering mysteries... maybe even regarding these earlier human arrivals at that...

"There's gotta be more about them somewhere in here... Can't be stirring up controversy like 'human supremacy' without getting in the papers a few times at the very least..." he mumbled to himself as he read, his focus entirely on the printed page before him, everything else seemingly fading entirely from his perception... which wasn't too difficult with his peripheral vision muddled by the bandages.
Ghaspius strode in quietly as a smile had become a near-permanent fixture on his face. That Steven fellow had some wonderful conversation, and he even got a promise of a future dungeon delve — how exciting! Not to mention the fact that he had been permitted to wrap up early that day thanks to the recent gala event. After all, the rest of the crew would be probably be taking this time to rest and recover rather than go on any more bombastic escapades.

He took in the familiar scent of flax and sandstone as he fluttered towards the Health & Sciences section. Quaint as the Archives were, he still enjoyed purusing the hand-me-down tomes and papers and mentally compare notes with his own world. Thankfully, many of the same principles were the same, so it would only be a matter of time before he could get his old lab running again.

"There's gotta be more about them somewhere in here... Can't be stirring up controversy like 'human supremacy' without getting in the papers a few times at the very least..."
As he carried one of the books atop his head, the Misdreavus perked up at the faint mumbling as he turned towards the Ralts. He slowly creeped behind as he peered over the man's shoulder.

"Say, weren't ya at Drungfield's a bit ago?" Ghaspius asked in a ghostly whisper. His eyes moved towards one of the papers. "Hey, that's the article we're in!"
"Say, weren't ya at Drungfield's a bit ago?" He asked in a ghostly whisper. His eyes moved towards one of the papers. "Hey, that's the article we're in!"

A sudden shiver went up Corey's spine as he jutted upward, briefly freezing in place at the sound of a distinctly spectral voice whispering towards him. For a brief moment he thought it was the voice of his... 'guide'... lurking its way into Forlas just to mess with him a bit more, but upon turning to face the source of the sound, he was instead met with the surprising sight of a Misdreavus. What a rarity, seeing one of those in broad daylight... but then... there was something familiar about him... The Doc had someone helping her out, he could definitely remember that much through his memories muddled by pain and fatigue... Was this her new assistant?

"Y-yeah... I was ah... I got hurt pretty bad... Had to get patched up..." he murmured after catching his breath from surprise of this unexpected drop-in. So... he was one of the 'heroes' then... Obviously if he was associating with one of the most recent articles... Boy, there really were a lot of them here, weren't there? Corey didn't even recall seeing a Misdreavus beforehand... Must've been one of the bunch that got flung a ways out of town at the start.

"If you wanna look at that article, be my guest, I'm not interested in anything too recent. I'm trying to see if I can find anything about these past humans..."
"Ah, I was runnin' back and forth with the Doc while she was grumblin' about a green-head or somethin' or another," he said with the shake of his head. "Glad you're feelin' least a bit alright. Should be a pretty quick turnaround once all's said and done, but no more spooks and scares, alright?" He let out a bit of chuckle and a cold breath.

The friendly neighborhood specter floated over the Ralts's head to get a better view of the papers — seemingly unaware of the shadow he was casting in the process. "Oh, ya mean like Jesse Stranger and all those folks? Bit of a headscratcher if ya ask me," he said with a light hum. "Huh, the Meowth's one of 'em too, just like Steven. Never thought I'd meet one human in my life, let alone two. Groovy."

Thankfully, his inadvertedly rude behavior was quickly quashed as he fluttered over to the side of the table and drifted down to a reasonable eye level. "Anythin' in particular 'bout the past ones striking your fancy?" He asked he set down his own book with a thud. The title read, 'Electrolysis: Lightning in a Bottle Miracles'.
"Yeah, she ah... she's certainly on the more bitter end of things where 'bedside manner' is concerned... 'least she's damn good at what she does though, y'know, especially in a world with as limited technology and medical care as this one," Corey remarked, his eyes narrowing in irritation when the Screech Pokemon cast a shadow over the papers he was browsing. Fortunately he was just as quick to float his way back to a less distracting position before Corey could get the chance to politely request he move over a bit.

Once the Misdreavus went on about meeting two humans, and making it clear such a phenomena was far from mundane wherever he came from, Corey's interest seemed to shift a little more in the ghost type's favor. Mayhaps this was one of those Pokemon that only knew of humans through myths and legends? How quaint... almost as quaint as that choice of adjectives he decided to use in regards to the subject...

"'Groovy,' huh? You sound like my Dad when he tries to be 'hip'," Corey commented with a light chuckle. "Well... I suppose since you're part of our group, I ought'a let you in on something... I'm human as well." He of course said this last part in a somewhat hushed voice, not that it was really that big of a secret... or at least, not as big as it may have once been. Still, best not to just blurt that info out ad nauseam.

Regarding what in particular about the past humans intrigued him, Corey seemed to give it some thought before answering.

"I guess you could say I'm wondering what made them get so... prideful and haughty, you know? If what the rumors are saying is true, they... or at least, some of them... really believe those of human origins are some kind of objectively superior breed... Leans way too close to that mess that is Eugenics if you ask me... and that sort of thing leads to nothing but trouble... believe me, I'm a researcher by trade, and I've met a few people who think that way... Can't say I've really seen eye to eye with them very often."
Last edited:
Ghaspius floated along as he intensely listened. His smile didn't even waver for a second as he remained silent for a few moments after the Ralts's spiel. Finally, he let out a laugh. "Well don't that beat all!" He said with equal parts surprise and amusement. "Sometimes it feels like I'm the odd one out these days!"

His next words were in a whisper. "Guess that makes ya the 3rd, then. What should I call ya, then? Probably not Ralts, right?" The Misdreavus cleared his throat as he adjusted his scarf. "Mismagius Ghaspius, pleasure to meet ya," he said not realizing his slip-up.

"And just for your reference, a cool close mentor of mine liked to flow with his words. Glad your pa thinks the same." He hummed as his volume returnd to normal. "Far out that humans got that lingo, too. Though I guess there's that whole translation thing. Wonder what it sounds like in y'all's native tongue..."

He lifted his head towards the ceiling. "Well, I'll say this: if any lick of those legends 'bout humans is true, then that's a bit of a dilemma, ain't it?" He swerved to be completely upside down — now staring down at the table in deep thought — as he continued. "'Cause that means you can't prove it with just words. You'd have to match power for power, and well, that only proves them right. Guess if a 'mon like me tried, it'd help, but I'm also not from here either... bit of an unpleasant thinker, ain't it?"

Ghaspius's eyes widened as something registered in his mind. "Hang on, researcher? What kind?" He rolled back to a normal position as a glint began to shine in his eyes.
"Oh, right, names, sorry, god, I'm dense..." he muttered with a shake of his head in faint embarrassment. "Corey Holdaway, and the pleasure's all mine. I've rarely gotten a chance to see ghost Pokemon up close before, they can be pretty elusive where I live... and I take it you're a full-fledged Mismagius where you live and not a Misdreavus?" Clearly he caught that slip-up.
"Even more of a privilege for someone like me! Y'know... there are hundreds of people who seek your kind out because they say your voice can cause people to fall in love or otherwise experience good fortune." Of course, most people ended up just getting cursed, but Corey chose to neglect that part.

Corey could hardly stifle another chuckle at Ghaspius' rather colorful dialect. It was doubtless amusing, but in a charming sort of way. And though the topic of discussion got a bit unnerving as it drifted around the rather unfortunate subject of how one could combat humanocentrism, fortunately it livened up again as Ghaspius clearly took a great interest in Corey's career.

"Oh, ah... Well, I'm a Pokemon researcher. I suppose you could say that ultimately makes me a biologist. I've studied hundreds of different species, their usual habitats, their behaviors, naturally their abilities, and of course, any rumors or myths that might surround them, locally or more universally. I've always found Pokemon so fascinating... One can learn so much about them and yet still be completely in the dark about any number of things... oh but... I'm sorry, I'm probably wording that strangely, since you're a Pokemon yourself... and ah... so am I, at present... Sorry if that makes it seem weird..."
"Two names...? How 'bout that. You prefer 'Corey' or 'Holdaway' then?" Ghaspius asked with a curious set of blinks. "Oh! How'd you figure that one? Was it the chin? It was the chin, wasn't it?"

He sputtered at the mention of the rumor. "My voice? Nah. Most people just say I sound like I'm burpin' or somethin'." He let out a belch to demonstrate. "Maybe there's somethin' out there I could brew up for that sort of thing, but sadly ain't found anythin' that fun just yet." His robes quietly brushed the cover of his book.

The Misdreavus's smile wavered for just the moment at the mention of a certain word, but he kept his expression otherwise steady. "No offense taken. Way I see it, if my sis were here, you'd be havin' a preeeeetty mirrored conversation here," he said with a wink. "Speakin' of which, you can kinda look in the mirror yourself these days for your studies, can't ya?"

He twirled in place for a bit as he chuckled. "But nah, I get it. There's all kinds of different reactions goin' on amongst all kinds of different 'mon. Heard some folks that put seviper venom into a zangoose, took the blood from the zangoose, and suddenly they had a cure! And somethin' I found myself was that if you take a milotic scale, crush it into powder, then boil it in water, you can make super-tough ceramics. Far out stuff."

One of his tassels brushed back his wispy "hair" before he spoke again. "Well now ya got me curious: what's some interesting discoveries you've made?"
"Ah, Corey's fine. That's my first name... 'Holdaway' is my family name... It's commonly how we humans sort out where we come from," Corey explained, sticking to a simpler explanation as he didn't feel entirely up for a grand lecture on the nature of names, surnames and other monikers in the human vocabulary.

"Heh... well, guess not all the rumors can be true, huh? Kind of a shame, if I could have a ghost scream at me and suddenly I'd have a partner, that'd be far easier than the usual courting rituals..." though that was partly in jest, there was no doubt that Corey was far from being any sort of casanova.

He listened intently at the various tidbits that Ghaspius brought up, certainly intrigued by the almost alchemy-like degrees of medicine and craftmanship he was discussing... It really was amazing just what one could put together with the right materials...

As for his own discoveries however... "Hah... well now you've got me on the spot here... just a sec..." he quickly racked through his brain to come up with some interesting trivia. "Hmm... Well, ah, let's take evolution for example. In my world, it's become rather well known that certain Pokemon can evolve with the exposure to a proper stone, environment, or simply a close bond... That last one perhaps is the most intriguing of all... Species like Riolu, Pichu, and Cleffa for instance, if they form a close enough bond with someone, if that friendship is genuine, the happiness it brings them can be enough to trigger their evolutions into Lucario, Pikachu, and Clefairy, and there are dozens more Pokemon who follow a similar trend. To think that simply forming tight friendships can cause a species to physically grow and change..."
"Oooh, so it'd be somethin' like, 'Sonora Forlas', or 'Ghaspius of the Sun Tribe'? Ehh, 'of the Sun' sounds a bit better. Think I'd go with that if I couldn't just use my species!" The Misdreavus hummed with intrigue. "Still, wow, there musta been a lot of you if you had to come up with secondary names like that!"

Ghaspius shrugged. "Haven't seen any ladies I'd be interested in myself. I'd happily do the yell-y thing if it made such a miracle for ya though, Corey. 'Til then, you'll wanna wait on that love potion." Not that he knew how to make such a thing or if it was even possible on Forlas.

The ghost settled onto top of the book. His dress splayed out like an inkay on land as he listened closely. "The strength of bonds, though, now that can really make miracles happen," he said with a wistful smile. "Way I see it, many 'mon do as plants do. You treat 'em right, you give them love, and you tend to them while makin' sure they don't go overboard, and they become somethin' else entirely. Somethin' amazing."

He wondered if he should've taken more from the Orchids. "From a seed to a towering tomato vine, or from a darlin' lil' Riolu to a tough-as-nails Lucario." He hummed peacefully. "It's poetic! I know a few folk who were early bloomers with stories like that, but that's good to know it's somethin' confirmed! Over back in Crason, age seemed to be the biggest factor, but lots of theories went around for all different species. All contradictory stuff. Feelin' it out seemed to be the best way to go, honestly."

A satisified smile pursed his lips. "Glad to know there is a science to it."
"Yeah, I suppose you could say that... Most family names stem from some kind of job or tradition or value... but... nonetheless, there are indeed a lot of humans in my world. We're very social creatures... mostly. Even those of us who crave isolation still have to spend some degree of company with others, and so, be it with fellow humans, Pokemon, or a mixture of both, we build highly populated societies... and you should see some of the things we've built... Buildings and structures so grand it'd give that asshole Ignatius a damned heart-attack from sheer envy... and so often we end up taking it all for granted."

The mention of love potions and whatnot only caused Corey to scoff. "Frankly, if I'm gonna be completely forthcoming about this sort of thing, I'd just be happy if anyone shared that sort of romantic feeling with me to such an extent. Whether it's because of my work or just my overall... me-ness, I've just never really been able to make it 'click' with a person... Suppose that puts the two of us in the same boat, huh? Ah, but, you know how it is... sometimes these things just take time... hopefully not too much more of it though, yeah?" he awkwardly chuckled at that part before moving on to the next topic.

"Science can come from the most peculiar places sometimes... It's the study of our reality and everything in it after all... to the best of our perception at least. The more we learn from it, the more we learn about our very existence... and the more we realize we only know the tiniest little modicum of the true nature of everything... Just the fact that we come from different worlds and likely different universes is only a further testament to that fact."
"Well, perhaps y'all ought to render that in drawin' form or somethin' sometime. Would love to see what ya got," Ghaspius replied with a nod. "Though I gotta admit, that penguin lived in excess already — you're sayin' there's humans that live grander than that?" He brows furrowed in a mixture of disbelief and, strangely, resentment at the idea.

Just as quickly as it came did it leave; his face settled back into it's usual smile as he replied, "Way I see it, ya can't make love the end goal. The right one will come to ya like the winds. It'll be so subtle you might not even notice." He shook his head. "But I'll admit, I ain't seen any apples in my eye yet."

The Misdreavus beamed at Corey's closing remarks. "See, that's what a lot of 'mon can't see! For them, it's all about power and moves and techniques, but there's only a few that ask, 'Why is it like that?'" He lifted off the book and tapped it. "And when you find that reason, you can start makin' lives better. Figure out cures for diseases. Make concoctions that let the anxious relax. Learn somethin' that turns your whole world view upside down!"

Of course, Ghaspius followed his words by rolling 180 degrees. "Whether it's like me and alchemy, or like sis and her anthropology!" He let out a victorious laugh. "And then when you're done with that, explore another world entirely! See what's different! Make a miracle happen by disobeyin' one set of rules and startin' a whole new set of 'em!"
Top Bottom