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Little Scriven Scrivener's Library

"Don't see what the big deal is, anyway," Leaf huffed. "I'm fourteen, but my friends and I have done tons of traveling and training and knocking a bunch of thugs on their asses. The way I figure it, if someone was confident enough that they could help, and the Voice even bothered asking in the first place, then they've got every reason to be here. Not like anyone's a literal baby, right?" Her tail swished jauntily, managing to mostly disguise an irritated twitch.

Espurr turned to the robot thing, who had just offered to... arm wrestle? Eh, why not.

"I can go next," she said. "If you were offering, that is..."

Leaf smiled at Espurr when she stepped up; she would've been game for a little arm wrestling, but even with the weird bendy-grippy stuff it probably made more sense to let someone with, y'know, actual arms give it a shot. And anyway arm wrestling was cute and all, but she could do that back home whenever. If she was gonna be a pokémon now then she wanted to know how to battle, and it sounded like that meant figuring out how to get in to that dojo.

"Pardon me, you also asked about helping out at the Ranger Union? That is most altruistic of you! I should caution you that the rangers only recruit strong pokémon with good reputations, however! ...Please forgive my presumptuousness, but if Miss Anubel has offered to sponsor you, that may not be sufficient! I am more than happy to stop at the HQ on our way, but – my apologies – please do not anticipate that you will walk out with ranger badges, sirs and misses."

"Why wouldn't a mayor be a good enough sponsor? Amelia said everyone here trusts her. Who would we even ask, if not Mayor Enubel?"
 
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"You guys can all go before me," Andre said. "I'll go stretch my vines for a while."

He looked around and found a desk with writing supplies - exactly what he needed. He extended his two vines out of his withers and cautiously grabbed a pencil and a blank sheet of paper. Against the wooden desk, he began to draw... what would he draw? Something elementary - cubes.

They were very, very, shaky.

Andre slumped in disappointment. He knew to fear it ahead of time, but this confirmed it - all of his dexterity was gone. He couldn't draw. The one thing he was good at, and he couldn't do it anymore.

And it was of course at that moment that inspiration reared itself like a lapras emerging from the sea. Everything around him and inside him was inspiring, and he wanted to replicate it, to express it. But he couldn't.

No, no, don't lose hope. Maybe you can do it with your hooves.

Andre transferred the pencil to his right forehoof. He willed the grasp it like a pencil ought to be grasped rather than grabbing it into a fist. He began to draw more cubes.

They were worse than the ones he'd drawn with his vines.

Andre balled his fists, only he didn't have any, so he did the next best thing and coiled his vines. He clenched his teeth and breathed deeply.

He then took the paper into his vines, and crunched it up into a ball and dropped it in the trash bin. Defeated, he simply began to play around with his vines. Any exercise with them was probably good. Not that he'd ever draw with them as well as he used to draw with his hands.

He'd have to find something else to do for a living here.
 
Gil, despite their certainty that they would not trounce the newcomers, easily trounced the newcomers.

"Oh my," they said, after another victory. "I dearly hope you do not take offence, I did not mean to be unsporting! Perhaps you are still enfeebled by whatever phenomenon waylaid you? Or perhaps I have grown stronger than I had realised..."

If Gil was a benchmark for 'very modest' strength, the party had a great deal of training yet to go before they'd become ranger material, it seemed.

"Not to worry! I shall protect you on the journey south. I have made it many times."

"Why wouldn't a mayor be a good enough sponsor? Amelia said everyone here trusts her. Who would we even ask, if not Mayor Enubel?"

Gil waved their palms in polite distress. "Miss Enubel would be a most lovely sponsor! However... It's just that... Chief Ayda of the Ranger Union might not... That is to say—"

They fidgeted anxiously with their cap.

"Miss Ayda may believe, in her opinion, that Miss Enubel has 'her head in the clouds'...? And also, in simple matter of fact, you have no kind of history of conduct or record of achievement for Miss Enubel to refer to, nor do you have knowledge of these parts. I am merely warning you that Miss Ayda may not accept your applications until you've proven yourself by other means!"

They shouldered their satchel.

"With that said, are you all ready to depart?"
 
Andre hadn't expected much - he was a twink as a human and a twink as a pokémon - but losing so easily was still a hit to his self-esteem. HE would've hoped he could've put up at least a little bit of resistance. Maybe vines were the wrong choice...? No, if the others were beaten easily, there was no reason to assume his hooves would have been better. He wondered how long it would take to get used to using either appendages as his new limbs.
"With that said, are you all ready to depart?"
"I am! And I would hope the others are, too," he said, glancing around. "There may be more of us already waiting for us in Frontier Town, if they've all received the same suggestions."
 
"With that said, are you all ready to depart?"

Ridley cast a considering eye over his pile of books. He almost wanted to complain that he wasn't done reading yet, but honestly he'd made his way through most of them and didn't expect that the others would reveal anything new and startling. He knew more about this world and the dungeons than he'd started with, at least.

"Yeah, I'm fine to set off," he said. "Just let me hand these back to the librarian first."

"There may be more of us already waiting for us in Frontier Town, if they've all received the same suggestions."

"Luckily we're fairly easy to track down," Ridley said cheerfully. "Just ask people if they've seen any weird nudists or people claiming to be from another world wandering around."
 
Ghaspius let out a chuckle. "Hadn't gone into this expectin' to win, but did ya have to be surgical 'bout it?" He said with a bit of a defeated sigh and rubbed his sore tassel. "Guess we're gonna a heck of a lot more training then. And no Roya here this time."

The Misdreavus's permenant smile fell. He turned his head towards the window and gazed outside as a realized longing began to weigh on his face. After a long, silent blink, he put on a smaller smile again and looked towards the others. "Might need to pick up a bit more bread and water before we head out, but I'm ready to go."
 
"Oh yeah - did you learn anything useful from them?" Andre asked quickly.

"There's evidence of humans coming to this world before, even if a lot of the people here think of us more as legend than fact," Ridley answered. "It seems rare, though, and I definitely haven't found anything to suggest we've ever arrived in such great numbers before."

He offered his notebook to Andre and added, "You can read my notes, if you want. They're mostly about the mystery dungeons, but I don't think any of it's too technical for a layperson to understand." He had some thoughts about spacial warping and how the dungeons might function, but he'd need to take a look at them himself before he could start to form any proper hypotheses.
 
"There's evidence of humans coming to this world before, even if a lot of the people here think of us more as legend than fact," Ridley answered. "It seems rare, though, and I definitely haven't found anything to suggest we've ever arrived in such great numbers before."

He offered his notebook to Andre and added, "You can read my notes, if you want. They're mostly about the mystery dungeons, but I don't think any of it's too technical for a layperson to understand." He had some thoughts about spacial warping and how the dungeons might function, but he'd need to take a look at them himself before he could start to form any proper hypotheses.
"I see," said Andre, accepting the notes with his vines. "Thank you." He began to read, intending to continue while walking once they left.
 
"Miss Ayda may believe, in her opinion, that Miss Enubel has 'her head in the clouds'...? And also, in simple matter of fact, you have no kind of history of conduct or record of achievement for Miss Enubel to refer to, nor do you have knowledge of these parts. I am merely warning you that Miss Ayda may not accept your applications until you've proven yourself by other means!"

They shouldered their satchel.

"With that said, are you all ready to depart?"

They'd have to prove themselves first, huh? Made sense, Leaf supposed, and hardly a problem anyway. Surely there'd be other things that needed doing around here, and if fixing all that could pull double duty and build up both their strength and their résumés, even better. (And it shouldn't be that hard to find someone around this Frontier Town place who'd be willing to teach her to fight, right? Someone else from the Nexus, at least, if they really had wound up there—this crew didn't seem all that interested, but there was no way somebody wasn't gonna be up to throw down.)

"Yeah, I'm ready to go!" she said, giving her hoof a quick shake to work out the knot Gil had put there. "We've got a lot to see and a lot to do, and it'd be a huge help if you could steer us along. You seem plenty capable enough to me!"
 
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"Why, thank you for your trust and confidence!" exclaimed Gil, putting their clay palms together. "I will strive not to let you down."

Gil hefted the strap of their satchel bag, and exited through the door, clearly expecting the group to follow. They would have to follow with haste. When the golett was on-task, they were unexpectedly fast – perhaps this was why they could compete in the mail carrier profession in a world with sapient birds, horses, and the like. That, and their apparent lack of need for breath or rest.

While Gil's pace was exceedingly hard to match, their bulging satchel held not just letters and packages for Frontier Town, but 'dungeon items' – magic artifacts obtained from the bowels of so-called mystery dungeons. 'Quick orbs' to enhance a party's travel speed, leppa berries to restore one's energy levels, and uncanny food and drink that filled the belly and healed sprains and scrapes in no time. With these supplies to hand, the journey was cut from a multi-day ordeal to a single morning and afternoon's outing. There was even the opportunity to appreciate some of the natural beauty of the route, ruddy sandstone giving way to scrubland and sparse forest, the Silver River cutting through the landscape like a trickle of mercury, and the western mountains holding up the sky like a wall at the end of the world.

They would arrive in Frontier Town, unharried by danger, by the evening of their second day in Forlas.

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Ch04: Little Scriven Expedition, Part 2 New
The mayor's plans, like most news in town, hadn't gone unnoticed. From the dissatisfied-looking Dartrix with rows of unfinished cloth patterns to the Vibrava frying whatever they could to discover some unique “out there” recipe to the Spinda trying not to frown at the propellers attached to paper dolls that fail to lift — the quiet little town had been abuzz with frantic activity.

Yet despite the desperate and frustrated looks on many townsfolk, there were equally as many as bright as the shining sun above. A Starly had dangled lanterns just below a large tarp hanging over one of the alleys giving the illusion of a sea of stars. A Quagsire was admiring the beginnings of their mural right on the front of the library — small steps, but progress. Even Swellow Torria seemed to be in good spirits, though perhaps that was due to the cart of actual spirits she had been dragging.

No more had the activity been chaotic than right in the heart of town at the Scrivener's Library. In and out many folks traversed for both research and discussion alike, and the mayor's office was no different. When the Altaria spotted the Wayfarers, however, she quickly shooed out the Delibird she was talking to for their full attention.

“Oh, Offworlders, it's you all again!” Mayor Enubel cheerily chirped. “How have you been? Find any special treasures or uncover any world shattering secrets?”
 
"We've been well!" Andre responded with a smile. "Though we go by 'Wayfarers' now, actually. Regarding secrets, uh..." He paused for a moment. The mayor didn't seem like the person who could keep things on the down low, so he shouldn't get into any specifics. Or maybe he shouldn't make that decision on his own.

He turned to the others. "Well, what do you all think? Have we uncovered any secrets?"
 
“Well,” Archie said, folding his arms and leaning against the doorframe, “We did expose the corruption infesting the highest levels of Frontier Town government, and deposed and arrested the mayor in dramatic fashion during his own party.”

He grinned, trying to look at ease. Honestly though, the level of activity going around the whole town, and even inside the library – not generally a place the Oshawott would usually associate with this level of hustle and bustle – was more than a little overwhelming. Especially as his first experience with the place! He had no idea how trustworthy this Altaria was, though it seemed she was familiar with at least a few of their little group – was he the only new visitor? Either way, the whole escapade with Ignatius felt like the safest thing to talk about, likely she knew about it already. The rest – Cipher and Seth, Shadows and Radiance, felt like maybe it was better for more private conversation with people they were more certain they could trust.

Who knew if Cipher was still on their tails, after all...
 
Gladion nodded. “Some stuff happened. Fair bit is stuff we’d be wise to keep quiet about. My apologies if you’re curious, but some of it isn’t even really ‘ours’ to go spreading. Such is life sometimes. How are things going here?”
 
“Well, well, isn't that quite the most stellar of stories?" The Mayor trilled as she practically bounced in place. "We did read about in the papers, but I didn't know if that was just a media thing or if that's really what your wonderful group of winning wanderer-warriors was called! Excellent!

"Speaking of stellar, did Torria tell you the wonderful news?” Enubel swayed from side to side. “We're having our equinox festival be out-of-this-world themed! It's gonna be great! We can have exotic foods and games and performances… but!”

Her clouds fluffed up as she pouted. "Only a few of the townsfolk are really trying to get into the spirit of it! I keep telling them 'offworlders have crazier stories', but they keep defaulting to the same-old, same-old!" She shook her head. "Listen, if you have some time, can I ask you all a couple of favors?"

The Altaria relaxed and gave a gentle smile. "First, if you or anyone else on your team have ideas you'd like to see happen in the festival, let me know and I will do everything in my power to make it happen! This was inspired by you all, after all! Let this festival be your creation as much as it is ours!"

She let out a chirp. "Second, if you have any stories about your worlds you'd like to share... I'd love to hear it! And maybe the others too, if you'd like to be a speaker for the festival!"

Her tail shook a bit as though she were taking a nice stretch. "Finally, there's some townsfolk around who can help make a lot of this happen, but some might need help of their own, first! I can direct you to them if you're willing to spare some time to lend a talon!

"Buuuuut I'm guessing you came here for more than just that, right? What's on your minds?" Mayor Enublel passed a quick glance at Ghaspius, observing his features, and said, "Oh, and sorry for the 'kids' remark! You all looked just so soft when you first arrived, I couldn't help myself!"
 
Stories about their home worlds? To be honest, compared to what was going on here in Forlas, Treasure Town didn’t seem near so exciting. The locals would likely find any stories he could tell fairly disappointing, especially with the mayor hyping them up so much! But, helping around town was probably something they could do! First, though…

“Actually, we were hoping to check out the local Mystery Dungeon,” Archie said, “Is there anything you could tell us about it?”
 
"Dungeon?" Mayor Enubel chirped with the tilt of her head. She let out a hum as she ducked into her cloud. "Dungeon, dungeon, dungeon, let's see here, dungeon..."

She popped right back out of the fluff holding a closed scroll. The Altaria gently placed it on the desk as it unfurled, revealing a map of Little Scriven.

"Oh, I'd hardly call it a dungeon. More like a False Dungeon, really. A little riftlet juuuuust along the cliffs here. See?" Her beak pointed to an area that had been drawn with the symbol of trees along the cliffsides of the butte that the town sat upon. "It's our ancestors got their paper from! We're trying to get some more from there now, actually!"

It seemed they had their direction, if they wished to embark immediately. "Anything else I can help you Wayfarers with?"
 
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While it the group was eager to head out, the mayor would just not let go. She spouted short anecdotes about the dungeon's history and little ongoings around town as she tried to entice the others to join along — sharing their own tales of whimsy and woe.

Surprisingly, it was Ghaspius that had managed to quiet her: telling her that if they aren't allowed to go on their important mission, then they'd have no stories to tell!

The Altaria slowly nodded and let them go. Though the glint in both of their eyes signaled that they would surely meet once again in due time. One would shudder to imagine just how an uninterrupted conversation between the two of them would last.

Enubel's directions were a bit vague and not quite on the mark; it took the assistance of a kind and very lax Quagsire and less-than-pleased Vibrava coworker to point out what the mayor had meant by "along the cliffs": a rope bridge off the side of the cliffs crossing towards another, different butte off to the side.

The Vibrava next to the Quagsire scoffed, muttering, "Lousy tourists are gonna take more of the town's treasure, aren't they?"

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