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Frontier Town Sand Veil Archives

Laura rolled her eyes and nodded. "Yeah. Same story in my world. Indigenous cultures were here first, foreign ones moved in, and justified it with myths about their own superiority. Ignatius seems like he's pretty much the embodiment of that, to me."

She glanced at a free chair. "Mind if I join you? I'm honestly really curious about everyone's home worlds, if you've got time to infodump."
"Uh." Isidora scratched her cheek. She hadn't expected to get into a conversation like this. "I dunno if it's really all that interesting. I don't even know where to start..."

How to go about talking about her world? Isidora’s entire head was filled with whatever random history trivia she managed to sink her claws into. Great when you’re studying Liberian history with the explicit intention of becoming a scholar. Terrible in a completely different world where it may as well all be fiction. And it's not like she knew much about what went on outside Liber in the first place, beyond a map, some names, and a couple big events.

Plus, how different were the other worlds out there? Obviously some of them had humans too, but how similar did they get? Did anyone else come from a world with Liber in it? She had never talked to anyone about this, she wasn’t sure what to expect. At the very least, it didn’t sound like Laura came from Liber…

…There were a few concerns attached to that.

To start with, the conversation did provide her with a relevant topic.

“I guess... when you put the whole 'new world' thing like that, where I'm from has a story kinda similar. The story of how Hivech was founded,” she began, trying to figure out where to start. “It’s one of Liber’s kingdoms." Wait you didn't introduce Liber. "Th-that's the region I'm from. Before the Li-” Wait how do you explain the Liberation War? “Er, before Liber was founded, there were tribes of lucario living around the biggest mountain there. But then King Sharp-” Wait how do you explain King Sharp? “That’s uh, one of the Ten Kings.” Wait how do you explain the Ten Kings? “A-and those guys are-”

She shook her head. “Okay, maybe I shoulda started from the beginning, but anyway. He decided the mountain and all of its surrounding area should belong to him as his piece of Liber’s land, which put him in conflict with the lucario. Since they didn’t help the Ten Kings when they asked for it, King Sharp thought they should forfeit their right to the mountain as punishment. So he and his followers started a campaign against their tribes, until eventually he managed to defeat them all and force ‘em under his rule.”

Isidora leaned her head into her paw against the table and began absentmindedly scratching the wood with the other. “The agreement was that the tribes could continue to exist if they acknowledged Sharp as their King. But then that started to cause problems because some of the tribes had grudges with each other. And…” A pause as she realized she was rambling. She lifted her paw from the table and shrugged with it. “W-well, the history is all kinda hazy, since they didn’t really keep written records back then, and it’s a long story anyway, but eventually Hivech blew up. But it got better, I guess.”

...Did I just freakin' say all that?
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Laura listened with fascination, although also a little trouble keeping up. As undirected rambles about huge topics went, it was actually fairly coherent. She knew from experience what a really messy infodump looked like...

"Okay, you've got politics that sound pretty much like medieval to late renaissance politics from my world, I think," she mused, scratching her chin. "Species are different, of course, though tribal lucario aren't unheard of in my world or anything. I take it your 'King Sharp' is also a sneasel, and your world basically has mono-species cultures? We've got insular sneasel clans in my world, too, as it happens..."

She made a few other observations to herself, muttering about how the etymology would come through the voice's auto-translation, and whether 'Liber' had a root word that meant freedom, a concept the New World of her Earth was obsessed with.

"It sounds like your world isn't 'close' to mine," she said at last. "Or at least, it's a completely different time, or timeline. I've been taking notes, and a lot of things seem to crop up repeatedly between our worlds, but like... Well."

"Day and night have been artificial on Earth ever since Eternatus absorbed it."

"I guess I'm glad my world's in relatively decent shape compared to some," she said, quietly.
It finally occurred to her: right now, for the foreseeable future, Isidora was the foremost expert on Liber in Forlas. Even if someone else did know about it, they wouldn't know as much as her. And Laura actually seemed interested...

The pedant in her immediately came out. "King Sharp was a kingambit, actually. Or, actually he was a bisharp first, then he evolved. That's where his name came from." She straightened herself up, mild excitement growing within her, and acted as if she knew what was meant by 'late-renaissance.' "And, all that happened eighteen-hundred years ago, a lot's changed since then. The lucario aren't as insular anymore, though I guess they still have their own way of lookin' at things. And not many species in my world have their own societies just for them, though Liber is the only proper multi-species one. So technically it's an exception."

Isidora felt she could keep saying more. But no, she had to stop, it wasn't polite, and she was cooler than this, dammit. She scratched her arm and looked away. "I dunno about different times, but yeah, our worlds probably aren't similar at all." Or I hope they aren't, 'cause otherwise that'd mean-

She scratched her cheek as if to scare the thought away, then glanced back at Laura. "Sorry if I'm goin' on too much. It's just, these kinda things are my field of study, so I've picked up a lot." It felt so weird to say that. But also self-assuring. "You seem learned. You interested in history?" She almost said 'too.'
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Laura wrestled with embarrassment at jumping to conclusions in her effort to show engagement, and tried to take in as much as she could. She came away with too many questions to remain embarrassed. A whole world's history to get stuck into...

"I'm, uh..." – a university dropout – "I'm not a historian. But I have a really good general knowledge, I guess. I like to think so, anyway."

She'd already assumed plenty of other things about Isidora's world, she realised. For instance, that it was a world like this one, with spaient pokémon comprising its nations. After all, plausible-sounding names were pretty normal in Forlas, so 'Isidora' as a name didn't imply the exsitence of human-populated Hellas, did it?

"Eighteen centuries is a long time since settling a continent," observed Laura. "What're technology levels like in Liber? Have you had industrialisation, combustion engines...? Also, wait, hang on— Did you say Hivech blew up? Was that just figurative, or...?"
"Y-Yeah, it was figurative. I mean, how would you even blow up an entire kingdom?" Isidora laughed awkwardly at the very idea. "Hivech's gone through a lot of internal strife in the past, you could almost say it's built into the way they do things. But that's an entire story of its own."

"As for technology... it's kinda complicated? We're actually going through a technological revolution right now, though the scale's a bit different from what's goin' on in Forlas." Her gaze turned troubled. "It's hard to explain... The epicenter of it all is the kingdom of Farbroad. And nowadays I actually live in its capital: Array. So you could say I've seen a lot of what's goin' on first hand..." And I can't say how much of it's good.

She crossed her arms and nodded to the side. "Anyway, yeah, we have combustion engines. We also figured out telephones, lightbulbs, trains. And every year more and more places are powered by electricity. It's all been happenin' real fast. Even livin' in the center of it all, it's hard to keep up sometimes."

Isidora leaned back and placed her paws behind her head. "Y'know, I figured you were educated, or maybe some kinda noble or somethin,' but maybe it's just culture shock. Back where I'm from, most 'mon don't know much. Most can read at least, but not well enough to handle half the books in here." A shrug. "Though they always say cats are curious, so I dunno what I expected."
Electric lighting, automobiles and telephones were cutting-edge in Luctemar, as best Laura knew. Certainly out in the frontier. Isidora's world was sounding more and more similar to Forlas...

"Noble, huh?" Laura laughed, feeling ashamed. "My parents are, uh... middle class, I guess? I, um. I went to university. Then I dropped out." She wanted to sink into the earth. "My parents forced me to study business and economics. As you can maybe tell, I'm more into, y'know, literally anything else. Especially pokémon history, ecology and communication type stuff."

She shrugged, and rubbed the back of her neck. "Probably that sounds awfully spoiled of me, saying this to someone from a world where not everyone's literate. My world's a good hundred years or so further out than yours or Forlas, and literacy is pretty much universal in developed countries. I've always wondered what it'd be like to meet someone from the past and try to explain the internet or— I mean, the kind of modern technology we have. The moon landings. We've, uh, landed spacecraft on the moon and returned the pilots safely. I'm not even messing with you, I promise."

She chuckled awkwardly, feeling herself rambling again. Maybe if she and her new friend kept rambling at each other long enough they'd both stop feeling embarrassed?

"Anyway, uh. I guess it makes sense that the Voice shoved me in this body. Cats are curious, like you say. And, uh. That's me in a nutshell!"
As Laura explained her history with university, Isidora couldn't help but feel a flash of anxiety. "Oh." To her, it did sound spoiled. For schooling to be so accessible... It's the kinda future my world wants to build. In theory. But actually hearing it said, it didn't feel spoiled. It felt complicated. If I were forced into college, I'd probably drop out too.

In a way, Isidora could count herself lucky that she got into a college on her own terms. It's Giratina's luck I'm even there in the first place...

She let that topic pass, listening to Laura's ramble about what the future looked like. Universal literacy -- sounds like a dream... The internet -- what kinda net that supposed to be? Landing on the moon using spacecraft -- wait.

Her knee-jerk reaction was to perk her ears and widen her eyes. "The moon?! You sure you're not messin' with me?! I mean, how'd they even get somethin' to fly that high?!" It sounded incredible, that pokémon might be able to accomplish that someday. Hopeful even. Except...

Except, as the realization dawned on her, that hope was poisoned by dread. That's a human accomplishment. They own the moon.
"Anyway, uh. I guess it makes sense that the Voice shoved me in this body. Cats are curious, like you say. And, uh. That's me in a nutshell!"
Isidora's claws unsheathed reflexively. Stress burned through her strength. She couldn't ignore the possibility anymore. But, she had found someone who shared her interests. She didn't want it to be true. She didn't want this to be ruined.

She put on a strained smile. "But, um... the voice shoved you in that body? I mean of course they did." Her voice shook between nonchalance and seriousness. She stared directly into Laura's eyes. "You're a meowth, right?"
Laura laughed awkwardly. What was...?

"Yeah, I'm a... Well, I mean—"


Oh, no.

"I'm a Meowth right now, but that's new for me. Until we all got here, I was... y'know. Human."

And Isidora had a problem with that, for whatever reason. Could be anything. Humans existed in her world and they fucking sucked. Humans existed in her world past tense, and Laura may as well be an alien wearing a skin-suit. Humans didn't exist in her world, and Laura was an eldritch being, a total unknown.

She swallowed, intensely aware that she'd unintentionally stepped into a minefield. Had she really not mentioned this already? Did Isidora just... not trust half the team? Howls, howls, howls...

"I, uh. Kinda figured I was given this form because of my connection to my partner," she mumbled. "She's a Purrloin. So, we... We match."

She gripped her scarf and wondered if this had been a mistake.

Maybe she should just go.
Right. She should've known better.


Isidora glared at her book, rage and fear and disgust and disappointment boiling within her and bristling her fur. Should've known better. She channeled every ounce of anger she had into slamming the atlas shut. Should've known better. Then tucked it under her arm and curtly got up from the table. She didn't dare look at Laura. "Should've led with that."

Isidora turned to leave...
Laura jumped as the book slammed shut, her heart immediately battering her sternum.

"W-what...? Isidora??"

Her ears pressed back against her head and she shrank into herself. She could ask why Isidora was so angry, she wanted to know, but—

...What if that just made everything worse?

So she gripped her scarf and pressed it to her mouth, not trusting herself to say anything at all. Isidora could walk away, and Laura would avoid her like the plague, and maybe one day she'd figure out what she did wrong.
[Ch02] "I'm Learnding" (Corey, Archie, Tarahn)
Back to studying... It was really all Corey could bring himself to do after the eventful few days of sparring with samurai, mythical encounters, and strange bar room conversations. He was closely reading through every newspaper article available, looking for a sign, any sign whatsoever, that he was getting close to something useful.

The problem with such close reading of course was that such things tended to do a number on one's eyes, and eventually Corey, vision blurred and optics sore, simply thudded his bandaged head down against the newspapers. Whether he wanted to or not, he had to give it a rest for a bit.
"Hey Corey, are you sleeping?" Tarahn asked, appearing from gods-knew-where to pat the Ralts on the shoulder. "Me and Archie just got back from a mission!"

The Toxel used Corey's chair to climb onto the archive table, and he scratched under his misshapen hat as he regarded the stacked newspapers. "Huh! Did you read all these? Is there anything good? Moriko reads us Mega Pokemorphs and it's really good, but my teammate Vleridin gets mad when the morphs make a mistake or something surprises them, and she makes us stop and make up a plan for how they could have won."
Corey was up with a jolt, clutching at his chest in surprise at the sudden wake-up call.

“Tarahn… god you’re going to give me a heart-attack sneaking up on me like that,” he muttered, telekinetically re-stacking the papers and pushing them a good distance away from the Toxel before he could do anything… cat-like… to them.

“Afraid it’s not leisurely reading… I’ve been trying to see if any of these human supremacists have made the news in the past… Not coming up with anything though. I’m thinking I’m barking up the wrong tree with this one…” an unfortunate waste of time, but at least he knew this group was of the more secretive sort.

“So you guys have been doing missions, huh? I’ll admit, I’ve had a helluva day myself… Even if I haven’t found anything here I’ve definitely learned a thing or two…”
Archie was next to appear on scene, leaning over the table from the other side of the Ralts than where Tarahn had appeared. Of course, he didn’t get much chance to look over the papers before the Ralts had pushed them away, so instead the Oshawott’s attention quickly fell on Corey, instead.

“Corey… You’re not overworking yourself already, are you?” He asked, with a frown.
"No, no, I'm fine, Archie, I promise," Corey said, disregarding the fact that he had one some fresh bandages to hide some of the bruises left from the sparring match.

"Just had a quick bout, y'know, to stay loose and all. That's how word got out about those new techniques everyone's been trying their hand at. Nothing as bad as the gala situation." That was of course supposed to be some kind of justification, but then, knowing Archie's concern, Corey began to fret this might instead irritate the Oshawott some more.

"Look... I tried just sitting around and doing some researching and talking and stuff... but in this body it's like the urge to fight is just... constant... I mean I'd theorized Pokemon had an innate desire for combat but I hadn't figured it could be so potent... Besides... I'm sure you've heard by now that we all could be facing a new challenge pretty soon... I don't want to be caught off-guard by whatever it may be."
I’ve been trying to see if any of these human supremacists have made the news in the past…

The Toxel's eyes crinkled at this. Haha, human supremacists. Like humans could even do anything without pokemon! Humans didn't even have souls.

"Look... I tried just sitting around and doing some researching and talking and stuff... but in this body it's like the urge to fight is just... constant... I mean I'd theorized Pokemon had an innate desire for combat but I hadn't figured it could be so potent...

Tarahn nodded happily. "Yeah! Battling is fun!" Archie's brows had drawn down at Corey admitting he'd been in a fight, though, and Tarahn remembered how the Ralts had gotten really hurt.

Tarahn added, "We should have little battles every day, and then you won't get so hurt, or feel like you need to go real hard. Humans sometimes get pent up about things, and they wouldn't if they did a little bit every day instead of all at once." He raised one hand like he was going to lick it, but stopped and dropped it to his side, and lashed his tail from side to side instead as he thought.

"I know humans only fight by shouting, or games, or their pokemon do it for them, and if they do battle each other it's really scary and serious. I bet you're worried that someone is going to come fight you and it's going to be really scary again, so you feel like you need to fight really hard, in case it happens. It's usually not like that. But that's why it's good to be on a team, because if you meet someone bad, then it's easier to drive them off or get away."
“Well, I can’t say I’ve ever felt the innate need to punch someone in the face,” the Oshawott quipped.

Corey’s world sounded pretty… Violent, if you asked Archie. And given that Tarahn wasn’t exactly disagreeing with the Ralts’s assessment of Pokemon’s need for combat, likely the Toxel’s as well. Once again, the Oshawott found himself marveling at how different these two were from his home universe’s versions of them. Corey had always hated fighting, and would always hire escorts from the guild any time field research was demanded, and Tarahn talked a bit game, but preferred a speedy getaway and only fought when he’d well and truly been cornered.

Still, without Tarahn backing him, this didn’t seem like an argument Archie was likely to win. Not that Corey had even listened the first time, apparently.

“Just… Try not to hurt him too bad, okay?” Archie sighed at Tarahn, before reaching out and pulling Corey’s papers towards him, giving the top sheet a quick once over. “Anyway, I feel like most humans are going to be pretty hush-hush about the whole thing. I don’t know how much you’ll be able to learn from stuff like the newspaper.”
"We should have little battles every day, and then you won't get so hurt, or feel like you need to go real hard. Humans sometimes get pent up about things, and they wouldn't if they did a little bit every day instead of all at once."
“Just… Try not to hurt him too bad, okay?”

"Honestly I'd be up for regular little battles, y'know, nothing too serious just like a quick spar..." Corey remarked, though as he looked back at Archie and his subsequent reactions, he did begin to wonder if maybe he was starting to lose himself a little bit in this new body...

"...Ah, all that being said, Archie... if it does seem like I'm getting carried away, you've got my full permission to do whatever it takes to bring me back to reality... Much as it's invigorating and all I don't want to turn into some kind of maniac..."

With that established, the subject seemed to shift back to the human situation, and Corey had to relent that Archie was likely correct in his presumptions.

"Yeah... I think you're right... Well, nonetheless I've heard talk about both a fella who seems deeply ingrained in both these shadow Pokémon and this whole humanocentrism business... as well as some group that's apparently trying to combat it... Honestly I'm thinking I might go see about the latter. If these guys are serious they might be our way to fulfill our collective destiny here, whatever the hell it really is."

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