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Frontier Town Sun Stone Saloon

Well, with the mood of the place pretty substantially dampened, it seemed like their little group was slowly beginning to peel apart. The chimera departed first, having gotten… Whatever all that was, off his chest. Next to leave was Wes, thanking Archie for the treat and awkwardly promising to return the favor next time. The Oshawott nodded and grinned at the Rockruff.

“Sounds great, looking forward to it!” he said. Wes projected a spiky exterior, but seemed like a pretty decent person beneath it. They had some pretty outsized personalities among the larger group of universe hoppers, so it was good to know that Wes, at least, was friendly and reliable once you got past first impressions. In the meantime, Ridley was making a valiant effort to keep conversation going between the rest of them.

“I’ve been working with a lot of the local bounty hunters on jobs, so I probably wander further afield than most of us,” Archie said in response to the Mimikyu, “If I hear anything interesting, I’ll be sure to fill you guys in.”

He looked down at his melting ice cream. Better get to finishing that. And Lorenzo would probably be wanting these clothes back. They were a little damaged from the fighting, but, well, it wasn’t like the Spidops would be getting anything back from Corey at this point. He’d have to stop at the Haus and get changed, maybe take a bath…

Yeah, a warm bath sounded very nice right about now.
He watched from the corner of his eye as Wes excused himself, ignoring Koa (Good. Jerk.), and made his way out. Good riddance.

Koa nodded in agreement with Ridley and Archie. "Yeah, that seems like a good idea. I heard something about another stranger showing up awhile before we did, also under mysterious circumstances. So maybe we can find something out about that. And maybe see if the local 'saints' know anything," he mused. Legendaries were usually always involved in these kinds of events. Once again he lamented the groups lack of ability to actually communicate.

"If you hear anything, I'm usually around the library. Or you can leave a note in my room at the Haus for now." Assuming they could even stick around...

Koa polished off the last few spoons of his ice cream. It was getting really late now, and he'd never been the type to like waking up early after a late night. "Anyways, thanks for the invitation Ridley, it was nice to catch up. Nice to meet you too, Archie. I'll be see you around, and if I find anything I'll let you know."

He dipped his head in farewell before slipping out of the booth to head back to his room.

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Ch02: After Hours Chat
"Nice to see you too, and don't worry about it. You have a wonderful night, and get home safe."

As Odette shut the door behind the last of the Sun Stone patrons who weren't taking up room and board for the night, she sighed to herself. Finally closed. Finally, a time to breathe. But, even as a tame silence filled the main hall, a sense of unease still swirled in her chest. Her hand was still shaking as she reached up to pull the decorative feather off of her head.

It wasn't like the set had been hard, but as always--when it rained, it fucking poured (what a joke that was, considering they were in a damn desert). The patrons that evening had been particularly tough, and she was heckled far more than she was used to being. Luckily, she found solace in a few friendly faces, but it did little for the anxiety prickling along her nerves.

Rubbing her eye, she waddled to the empty bar and sat on a barstool. She grasped her wrist, willing herself to calm the hell down. Somehow. It's over, we're done for the night.

"Greasewood," she called, not looking up from her trembling palm. "You need me to help you with anything else? I can wash some glasses or reorganize the spirits if you need."
The Whimsicott looked up at her from where he'd been doing exactly the tasks Odette had offered to. He moved alarmingly fast at times, despite his apparent age, and his small, dexterous hands were even now making short work of a used pint-glass. He peered at her through a set of small, round spectacles, considering his reply.

"You askin' me 'cause you think I need the help, or 'cause you need something to busy your hands for a spell, Odette?"

It had been 'Ms Mawile' for the first few days, but now it was 'Odette'. He hadn't explained the switch.

"Y'know, I can fix you a drink if you're havin' trouble easing up," he added, with a slightly mischievous smile.
"You askin' me 'cause you think I need the help, or 'cause you need something to busy your hands for a spell, Odette?"
Only then did she finally look up, shooting him a wide-eyed yet expectant look. "What, it can't be both?" she said coyly.

"Y'know, I can fix you a drink if you're havin' trouble easing up," he added, with a slightly mischievous smile.
At the offer, however, she tucked her balled fist under her chin and leaned her elbow on the bar. She exhaled deeply, the tension in her shoulders draining with the breath.,

"I don't know, I'm a bit of a lightweight. Might do more than I bargained for," she said, returning his smile with one that was far more half-baked. However, her pensive frown returned quickly. The uneasiness wasn't going away, and she'd known damn well she was going to need assistance for it.

"But I can't say I care. You're the master mixologist; what do you recommend for someone who just got off a weird set and can't get her hand to stop shaking?" she queried.
The cotton-fairy chuckled. "Gin and tonic with a twist, then. I'll add a razz splash for the nerves, and pecha to cut the alcohol."

He kept chuckling quietly, muttering master mixologist to himself. He might have seemed a little more cheerful than usual if Odette took notice of his expression.

"This'll treat your symptoms," mused Greasewood – with irony – as he rapidly assembled a slick-looking glass of ice, silvery liquid, and warmly-coloured berry essence. "But it occurs to me, Odette, that this ain't your first time lookin' wiped-out when the evening's over. Not that nerves after a spell on the stage are anything irregular, mind. Especially for a new 'mon in town."

He slid the glass clean across the bartop to arrive precisely at the Mawile's spot.

"I get the feelin' it ain't just that, though, am I right?"

The Whimsicott smiled warmly, and resumed attendance of his drinking glasses.
Odette watched, with a little sense of awe, as Greasewood assembled the drink. It sounded simple enough; she knew what a gin and tonic was, what razz juice was, and what pecha was. Once the concoction was in her hand, she could tell it would taste good before she even took a sip.

She was pleased by the lack of burn as it went down but also enjoyed how fast her stomach settled. "Shit," she said in a calm breath. "Maybe drinking is the healthy coping mechanism."

She shot him another look as she drank some more. "Well, yeah. It's the foreigner against the regulars. I don't want to be insulted, but I also don't want to say anything wrong and make my position any more difficult," she explained. A joking smile came to follow. "Though, I suppose, those regulars end up at the bar either way," she added sarcastically.

She couldn't tell if it was her lightweight body going to work, it was all the pent-up tension she had over the subject, or the warm smile her boss had given her, but what she had to say next came easy.

"What are you, a mind reader too?" she asked. She followed that up with a huff and began to swirl what was left of the cocktail in the cup.

"Yeah. You're right," she finally relented. Another sip, this one slower. "It's...really hard to explain. But I'm sure you don't get paid nearly enough to listen to one of your singers get into the specifics of her sob story."

She exhaled another sigh, something to ward off how sheepish she'd suddenly become. "Also, please don't take this the wrong way, but a good mood looks really nice on you, sir."
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Greasewood raised a brow above his eyeglasses.

"I rather think what looks good on me is the gin you just necked down," he countered, drily. "I'm flattered, but it's been a few seasons since I last looked any kind of handsome, young lady."

He leaned on the bar and put down a freshly-cleaned glass.

"Nah, I'm no mind reader. I'm just a bartender who's been at his trade for long enough." He chuckled again, tongue in cheek. "That, and I saw the mornin' paper. Front pager says you and your pals ain't even from this planet. Now, it don't take a head-doc to figure that you must be thrown for one hell of a loop."

The warm smile again.

"Believe me, Odette – I'd be more than happy to hear your 'sob story', as you put it. I'll wager you could do with givin' voice to it."
"Oh, come on," she snickered into her glass, rolling her eyes. "I didn't mean it like that. You just look happy, that's all." She downed what was left of the gin and gave the glass another once over. "Probably could have worded it better, but the only words that sound decent coming out of me are the ones that are sung." As she said that, she gently set the glass back on the counter before gingerly pushing it over to him.

At the mention of the paper, she groaned and nestled her cheek in her hand. "Mm, you saw that?" she said, suddenly sounding tired. Maybe that was why things were so rough tonight. It was "heckle the alien" night.

"Then I guess it's not out of line to say yes," she declared dramatically, lightly slamming her hand on the bar, "and wow, there is so much sand." Not that Alola didn't have a lot of sand, but at least there was copious amounts of seawater to offset it.

"But the obvious aside, you're correct. It's a wonder I'm not a head case yet. Or maybe I am, and I haven't realized it yet? Fuck if I know. It's hot."

Surely, the drink had started to settle because the mix of that and the warm vibes she was getting off of Greasewood was causing her inhibitions to dissolve. Not wholly, but enough to where she felt comfortable even humoring the conversation.

"Jeez," she huffed. "I don't want to admit you're right, but..." she turned an eye back toward the empty glass she'd slipped back to him and reached over to tap it, flashing a shy smile as if asking permission. "I'd talk better with a round two. It was really good."
Fortunately for Odette, Greasewood was used to babblers at the bar.

"Round two comin' right up," he chuckled, Odette's glass in his hand in the blink of an eye. "And you just did admit I'm right – though t'be fair, I usually am."

This really was the best mood Odette had seen him in. Usually he'd get a little snicker out and move on, but the sustained smile was new. He aimed it back at her before adding, "Don't worry too much about the big headline, Odette. I'll still hear your yarn, but you should know folks are mostly gonna be marvellin' at the part where Mr Voclain is out of office, and less so the exact origins of the fine folks who saw to it. That's my perspective, and you can bet half the town shares it."

He slid the second gin along, this time with a touch more pecha. For a Steel-type, that Mawile lass really felt her drink...
Odette reached for the new glass and took an eager sip from it. She tasted the more pronounced pecha notes, and after trying to figure out what had changed, she nodded to herself before raising the glass back at Greasewood. She’d have thought that the mawile body would have done something about her tendency to beeline toward inebriation, but she guessed this was a prime example of the idea that tolerance was tethered to the mind, not the body. Or, she was just unlucky. The pecha would hopefully help take care of that, and maybe she could start to work on increasing alcoholic endurance…

She was smiling while she listened to Greasewood talk. Ignaughty in the slammer meant whatever was dangling over the whimsicott’s head was off the table. Surely that was why he was so smiley, and it felt good to know she’d had a hand in helping him. He’d given her a pretty cushiony gig off an unsolicited audition, so it felt like the least she could do to repay him.

For a moment, she had half a mind to ask him about it. But, being they were on the subject of her sob story, it felt rude to consider asking him about his. Right now, at least.

“I suppose you’re right yet again.” She sat her glass back down, deciding to nurse whatever was in her system already before chugging anymore.

“I mean…when I say it, it all sounds pretty straightforward,” she started. “Where I’m from…” Not to get too far into that. The human thing still felt like a taboo. “…I was classically trained to sing and dance and act. That is quite literally all I ever wanted to do, ever since I was a little…thing.”

Note to self, figure out what the fuck Pokemon here call the kids.

“But, something, uh…bad happened. And to say it absolutely murdered my drive is a gross understatement. And I was just…terrified to do anything performative that involved a crowd. Stage fright, really. Bad stage fright. From a classically trained triple threat to quaking at the idea of getting up in front of a group for any reason. I’ve clearly gotten over it mostly but…that shit doesn’t fully leave you, ever, I’ve come to find out.”
Greasewood nodded sympathetically. Practiced bartender face or not, he sure seemed like he cared.

"Pardon my sayin' so if it's incautious of me," he began, "but it sure does seem like you've had your drive come back more than most 'mon ever have it. The kinda memories that change how ya feel about a thing – good or bad – do have a way of stayin' with us, so few things are ever the same our whole lives through..."

The old Whimsicott seemed distracted for a moment by something only he could see.

"Hmm. But yes – I've found that givin' up on it ever bein' the same lets a 'mon appreciate how things are now. Far be it from me to lecture anyone 'bout performance, mind. Ain't got a drop of talent in my blood, ma'am!"

He went back to smiling to himself, working away at more glasses. He certainly had racked up enough used ones during the evening.
Odette had been looking in his direction, but his initial compliment had her staring at her fingers. Soon, she was twiddling them, something to keep them busy while she mentally chewed on his words.

She did, however, eventually look up at him with a dubious grin. "Oh hush," she said. "You sling bottles faster than I've ever seen anyone do it, even where I'm from. That alone is entertaining in itself."

A chuckle as she moved her attention back to her fingers, still dancing over one another. "I really did work to get it back. It was all pretty much the only thing I was really good at. So when it all just disappeared, I was just..." she shrugged, "what the fuck do I do now? And I just wanted that state of existing back, you know?"

Now, she was frowning. "I get where you're coming from; the whole 'things don't always stay the same' stuff," she continued. No less than the fucking truth, but she digressed. "I am thankful I was able to bounce back, but I miss the times where I could just...be on a stage like second nature. Without having to psych myself up." She flicked her glass, snickering humorlessly. "Or down, I suppose."

Something behind her eyes became...melancholic. The notch that formed in her forehead, and the way she pressed her lips together only served to exacerbate the look. She didn't say anything before she shook it off, reaching up to rub her eyes in a sudden fit of exhaustion.

"Have you ever had a massive wrench thrown into your life? Or, perhaps, several?" she asked earnestly. Maybe some extra old soul sage wisdom was exactly what she needed. "How the hell did you cope? Aside from all the 'trying to appreciate the way things are now' stuff?"
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Greasewood pursed his mouth and nodded solemnly.

"Sure have. And those wrenches are worth a story or two each, if I were to tell them in full." He suppressed a yawn of his own, nearly catching it from Odette. "And if you want my advice, lass, you'll do better to get a good night's sleep than stay listening to me yarn."

That fae chuckle again. Even an elderly Whimsicott still sounded like a little devil when joking to himself, apparently.

"What I was gettin' at earlier was that being the barkeep here hasn't always felt like a good thing, but I've been good at it and that's been good fer me, all the same." He pointed up at the ceiling. "This thing fell into my lap when I were young and wanted nothin' less than to run a business. Now I love this darn building."

He sighed, but the smile was still there. The new one, specifically.

"It was a curse again for a while of late... but now when I think of all that, I'll get to think of that pompous penguin sittin' behind bars."

Sometimes the fae chuckle had a slightly vindictive edge to it.
Her smile became pained. "I'll have you know I don't remember the last time I had a good night's sleep," she admitted. "So I think I'm convinced I'd rather listen to you 'yarn,'" Gods that's a funny word in this context, she thought, "than lay in bed and deal with what's not going to come. You'd be doing me a favor."

Odette listened to him, nodding along and following his gaze wherever it went. "I can tell. You run a really upscale party here," she complimented. However, she did admit to herself she'd have loved to have seen it back in the day when it was just starting out. Just to see what had grown.

"Was the curse Mayor Birdshit himself?" she asked, matching his vindictive edge. The question had been purely rhetorical, but now that it had come out of her mouth, she fell into a reflective haze.

"Off the record, since we're closed," she said, "I did help break into a vault in his house." She tapped the tip of her boot against the stem of the barstool. "There was...stuff in there. He had a journal, a really...fucked up one. Your name was in it."

That was when she reached for her drink again and chugged another sip.

"I didn't read any specifics because I was trying not to catch on fire or end up in prison myself, and I don't want to prod. But...whatever it was, I hope it's sun off your back now."
"Is that so?"

Greasewood's weathered face went through a few emotional states before settling on relief.

"Well, I guess I owe you my thanks, Odette. It's nothin' I'm ashamed of, I'll have you know. But y'recall how I said Sun Stone fell into my lap? Well, that would be on account of it being an unexpected inheritance. My old man passed afore his time, and left this place to me. Only..."

He eyed Odette, then shrugged, and the mischievous grin came back.

"I weren't his son by blood. Only, the courts didn't need to know that, y'get what I'm sayin'? He was my pa, and I was his kid. That's how it was fer us, even if the law would have this darn building go to his cousins out east rather'n me."

Greasewood's lip curled, and he shook his head.

"They'd just as soon sell it off to the highest bidder. No sense of pride at all. And the king himself – by that I mean Mr Voclain – found hisself some evidence that'd put it in their hands over mine. So, naturally, I've been sure to treat Mr Voclain very nicely for some years now."

The cotton-fae's eyes narrowed, even as his smile got toothier.

"Maybe now I can collect all those tips he forgot to give me for my trouble."
Several emotions crossed Odette's face over the course of that explanation. Eventually, however, it landed on one anyone would call incredulous.

"He was the mayor of a whole ass town, but he truly had nothing better to do than blackmail you about your ties to your father and a fucking building?" she asked in what sounded like a gasp. She realized what she said could be misconstrued and quickly raised her hands defensively. "I mean, no offense to the building; it's a great place," she corrected herself. "I just mean in a sense of...mayoral importance. I'm not a 'politics' girl, but come the fuck on."

She felt like she was getting mad and reached for another sip of her drink. Trafficking, possible experimentation, apparently blackmailing locals like so...how the hell did he remain in power for so long? Nepotism really was a bitch.

"I'm still trying to get a hang of the slang here, but where I'm from? We'd simply call him a connard. Then add a little," she slapped her hand over her right elbow crease and raised her middle finger to nothing in particular, "sign language to really drive it home."

Was that too human? She supposed, at the moment, she didn't quite care.

"But yeah, just pull up a chair next to his cell and shake him down for everything he's got. I'll bring refreshments," she added mischievously. "Something to set the comeuppance in motion."
Greasewood chuckled to himself at Odette's derision and mocking of the Whimsicott's erstwhile blackmailer.

"Sounds like a mighty fine party t'me," he said, with a fae grin. "I'm sure plenty of folks'll be feelin' similarly to myself about this development, to tell you the truth. You may not see why someone'd pull what he did on me, but just think about the number of private meetings I would've given him without eavesdroppers around, the number of sordid guests not kicked out, the number of discounted services... and he coulda just landed me in hot water and made his move when he eventually fancied gettin' this place on the cheap, anyhow. Guess who'd evaluate the worth? One of his fellas, o'course."

The smile had turned into a haggard one for a moment, but Greasewood recovered, stacking his sparkling-clean glasses with a satisfied huff.

"You folks that did him in are welcome here any time, Odette," he said, decisively. "I'll give you good rates on rooms, my best service, and you can even use the lounge-bar as a meetin' room from time to time. That's the heft of my gratitute to y'all."

He eyed the clock on the wall with a dry smile.

"Startin' tomorrow. It's gotten late, young miss."
You may not see why someone'd pull what he did on me, but just think about the number of private meetings I would've given him without eavesdroppers around, the number of sordid guests not kicked out, the number of discounted services... and he coulda just landed me in hot water and made his move when he eventually fancied gettin' this place on the cheap, anyhow. Guess who'd evaluate the worth? One of his fellas, o'course.
She was shaking her head again. "Sounds to me like he's exactly where he belongs then," she said. "Really, fuck that guy."

You folks that did him in are welcome here any time, Odette," he said, decisively. "I'll give you good rates on rooms, my best service, and you can even use the lounge-bar as a meetin' room from time to time. That's the heft of my gratitute to y'all.
At that, however, she beamed a little. "Really?" she said. "Well, aren't you sweet." She thumbed the glass once more before downing what was left of the cocktail. "I might take you up on the room thing at some point...Haus is okay, but at least I wouldn't have to commute to work if I were living here."

Plus, better access to the gossip. Yes, something to consider.

"Startin' tomorrow. It's gotten late, young miss."
Odette peered over her shoulder to get a good look at out the window overlooking the dining hall. It was dark when they'd closed, but now it somehow looked darker. She chewed the inside of her cheek sheepishly before reaching over the bar and grabbing a spare rag, which she then used to start clean out the glass she'd just been sipping out of.

"Yeah, yeah, okay, sir," she said. "But I'm cleaning something before I go, and you can't tell me otherwise."

She wasn't even sure if she was doing it right, but it was the principle of the thing. "Thanks for listening to a dumb drunk mawile bitch for a bit."

Ch02 - Little Queens [Kimiko & Odette]
It had been a surprise to Kimiko how quickly she (and the rest of the party) recovered from their battle with the mayor. She knew from training her team that pokemon often healed faster than expected, but to experience it herself was something new.

It was early in the evening after a long day of training as Kimiko wandered around Frontier Town, thoughts of the wagon crew, and the Voice-Cloud, and more dancing around her head. She intended to find food and somewhere quiet to think to herself. Her body auto-piloted towards the Zera. She'd had most of her meals there, and while not quiet, it probably would have been good enough.

But along the way, a familiar sound caught her attention, pulling her out of her thoughts. Is that... Heart? she wondered. She stopped to listen, and while she didn't recognize the voice, she did identify the lyrics. She looked up to find herself standing in front of Sun Stone Saloon.

Kimiko had avoided this one so far during her stay. One quick peek inside shortly after their arrival had been enough to tell her that it was well out of her price range. But her curiosity got the better of her tonight. Someone in there knew music from her world. Had they come from the same one? For a brief moment, she had a strange sense of loneliness. But the moment passed, and she wandered inside. Worst case scenario, she could at least afford dinner here for a single night.

The song was ending as Kimiko found the band, but she recognized the mawile who must have been the one singing. She'd been at the construction yard. Seemed like they were about to take a break, so Kimiko worked up her courage and slid over towards them.

"Powerful voice you've got there," she said. "And an interesting song! ...Did you write it?"
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