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Frontier Town The Wanderin' Zera

Gerome stood where he always did as if witnessing the arrest of the mayor and an all-out brawl had just been little more than odd weather a few days ago. He finished cleaning the cups and settled down until the next customer approached.

It was hard to tell at first, but there seemed to be a small indentation--crater, more like--where Gerome's habitual sitting spot was.
Odette felt a little bad trying to bother someone while they were at work. The last thing she was looking to do was get somebody in trouble for putzing around. But, now that Sonora had a “steady” job at the Zera, it was a lot easier to get ahold of her. A lot easier to ask her about what she was planning to do about the wagons, and Terminal Two.

Even with her agenda on the mind, she did have to stop and admire the floragato’s tenacity. She looked like she was in her element. Somehow. Good for her, she thought.

When it finally looked like she had a moment to spare, Odette slipped herself into a barstool. She tried to be smooth about it, but her boot caught on a loose board in the floor and instead of gracefully settling into the seat, she stumbled into it. Her glasses falling off her face probably only added to how stupid she looked.

“Gods I fucking hate wood floors,” she grumbled as she leaned down to pick her lenses up and push them back over her nose. She took a steadying breath before folding her hands on the counter.

“You didn’t see that,” she started, trying to ignore her internal screaming. “How has it been going over here?”
"Same 's always," Gerome replied, getting up from his crater to grab a simple glass of water and slide it over to Odette. It seemed to be free. "Though it ain't as big a headache anymore dealin' with the drunks this time around." He eyed Sonora, then looked back at Odette. "How's town treatin' ya after taking down the mayor? Not e'ry day y'get to do that, y'know. Take out the mayor, then have a drink at a bar in the same town."
She jolted almost unnoticeably at the sound of Gerome’s voice, but accepted the glass of water with a nod of thanks. She took a sip of it before speaking again. “Really? Your new bouncer’s keeping them in check, hm?” she asked in jest, shooting a half-smirk toward Sonora.

With a shrug, she took another sip. “Yeah, I’m willing to bet we lucked out there,” she said through a humorless chuckle. “Though I’m kind of ballsy, I feel like I’d at least make an attempt to get a cocktail if things hadn’t exactly gone to plan.”

Sarcasm aside, she shook her head. “It’s still hot. I still have a lot of questions. But I’m thrilled to fucking death we helped put a fuckhead in prison.”
Lyle drifted in through the doors just in time to overhear Gerome and Odette talking at the bar about exposing Ignatius. He blinked a bit and noticed Sonora at the counter. He traded looks between her and Gerome with a befuddled looks.

"I know that I'd been out of the loop lately, but I didn't think you were doing this openly, Sonora," he said. "So what's the story? Is the big guy your new fence?"
"Looks like some of you are already here. Good to see," Felin said, walking into the wandering zera. She had a few cuts on her shoulder and her cape had been torn by a claw of some sort. "Nothing brightens the spirit like a drink after a job."

Felin sat down beside Odette, quirked a smile and gave her a brief salute in greeting. She turned her gaze around to find Sonora and waved her paw. "Sonora, how's the new job coming along?"
As the offworlders filed in, Sonora moved from her bouncer's post at the door to the counter, and gave them a casual salute. She still wore a little of her cocky charm, but dialled very much down from the team's previous bar encounters – which could be because she was 'on the clock', or possibly because of what she'd seen of the recent disaster on the northern highway.

"Howdy, you lot," she said. Then she looked at Lyle and pointed to Felin. "She's got it right, partner. My work today is all clean an' legal."

She tipped her head to Gerome, and forced a smile.

"Been dreamin' of ousting Voclain Senior fer years, but now that it's done, it presents me with some hard choices. I can't make a livin' off of hitting his wagons now he ain't runnin' the show, and Voclain Junior has told me he's instructed the local lawmon my warrants are voided. My whole gang, too. So, uh. Gotta find other work, and I can actually hold down a job without worryin' about the badges comin' for me."

She made a face, and muttered, "Ain't never had a fence, anyhow."

Turning to Odette, she grinned a little wider.

"King Bird's not in prison just yet, but from what I hear, the evidence against him is heavy enough that any judge in the county will send him down for decades. If y'all wanna grill him, you'd better do it before his trial. There's still time, but you'll have to get permission from Prince Bird, I figure."
"Hmph. Seems like you'll wanna get some info outta him sooner 'n later, sure. Who knows? Maybe put a good word if he cooperates, lessen his sentence by a couple years." Gerome spoke like he didn't know nor care about how sentencing worked in the town.

He silently noted Sonora's more subdued attitude.

"Heard there was some trouble on the trail," he commented.
Odette didn’t know when the others had walked in, but she didn’t let her moment of confusion show on her face. She was unfamiliar with the first one who spoke, but she’d seen enough of Felin to where she felt comfortable in her presence. For now, at least. Odette returned the cat’s smile and salute before peering back over at Sonora.

“Close enough,” she scoffed, going for her water again. As for grilling him…

“I don’t know; I might be compelled to take a bite out of him if I get too close,” she muttered into the rim of her glass. Then again, what if he knew more about Terminal Two than what he had put down on the pages of that journal? He had to have. Though she couldn’t imagine he’d say much to the ones who took him down, let alone out of a jail cell.

She perked up at Gerome’s next comment. “Trouble on the trail? What trouble?”
Felin held off on remarking about Ignatius and what might become off him as the new conversation topic pulled on her attention.

"A couple of our guys got beat quite hard after a bit of an... encounter with something I hear," Felin said, and her gaze veered towards Sonora. "They said you held them get out of there with their skin. Thanks for doing that, by the way."

She leaned her head on her paw as her eyes darkened. "What the fuck did they run into?"
She gaped at Felin. What the hell did she—

It didn’t take Odette long to put two and two together.

Terminal Two. Witching Beasts. Some fucking idiots went by themselves, didn’t they?

“Jesus motherfucking Christ—“ It gave way into a slew of Kalosian curses, which she proceeded to muffle with another sip of water. She could feel the stem of her jaws twitching, like they had a few choice words themselves.

“Are they okay?”
Sonora nodded stiffly.

"Yeah. My crew and I were waitin' for 'em further along the highway. My scout saw fire and got us to come runnin' – got there as fast as I could, gave 'em berries and bandages and sent 'em home with orbs."

She looked over at Felin and acknowledged her thanks.

"Dunno what that fuckin' thing was, exactly. The angels— The team told me it looked like a Charmeleon with no tail-flame, spewin' clouds of smog and shootin' black lightning bolts. Sounds like a demon t'me."

The Floragato looked back over to the front door, her arms crossed, obviously uncomfortable.
“Gods, I fucking said we shouldn’t go in a small group, I said we needed to go in waves in case something fucking happened, mother—“

She didn’t mean to slam her fist on the counter, but it just happened. With another breath, she settled herself and pushed her empty glass back over to Gerome.

“Sorry,” she muttered.

Turning back to Sonora, she willed herself to speak with as even of a tone she could. “Who went? Did anyone get a hit on the thing? Did you see where it went if it got away?”

She didn’t want to overload the floragato, who was clearly uncomfortable, but the mixture of her own aggravation and desire to know just what the fuck happened had the questions spewing out before she could stop them.

“Do you know if anyone who wasn’t you or your crew saw what happened?”
"Dunno what that fuckin' thing was, exactly. The angels— The team told me it looked like a Charmeleon with no tail-flame, spewin' clouds of smog and shootin' black lightning bolts. Sounds like a demon t'me."

The Floragato looked back over to the front door, her arms crossed, obviously uncomfortable.

Lyle blinked incredulously at Sonora's account. That certainly didn't sound like any normal Pokémon he'd ever heard of, and he'd had experience with inexplicable Pokémon in his own world. Sure this was a different world, but he couldn't help but wonder.

"Are they sure they saw that? Nobody was drinking anything funny like Drive- uh... berry syrup beforehand? And is there any reason to believe that someone might have been attempting to use illusions or something like that to mess with them?"
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"One of yours got one hit in right at the end, apparently. Rocks to the face – then it scarpered." She shook her head. "Only other witness would be the wagon-puller. A Mudsdale. Also scarpered – no idea where to."

Sonora eyed Lyle evenly.

"The sand around the site of the attack was flash-vitrified. The smog, fire, and wounds were definitely real, too. If it was an illusion, then that'd be an awful lotta effort to go to fer no particular purpose, I reckon."
"Were they targeted or did they simply fall victim to plain old bad luck?" asked Felin with a thoughtful frown. Anyone staring closely at Felin would notice her fur starting to stand on end.
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“Gods this is so fucked,” she hissed. “This is why we needed to wait, figure out who was suited to go first, figure out who had the physicality to fend off whatever attacked, and come up with a decent way to get in there without getting our fucking asses handed to us.”

Who could have possibly ended up on a wagon out there? They’d been talking about scouting not a few days ago, but nothing had been definitive. Not enough info, not enough planning, and they just went. She didn’t know anyone in their group well enough to say for certain, but whoever had gone, she could say they were surely lacking something in the brain matter department.

A charmeleon was only a mid-tier evolution. Nobody was exactly up to that point (if they ever would be. Could their bodies evolve normally?) but they had taken down Ignauseous and his goonlings. If they’d just planned accordingly, nobody would have gotten fucking hurt. Right?

Then again, Ignauseous and his goonlings weren’t exactly spouting smog and black lightning…

Something is definitely wrong with that Terminal Two shit.

“Tell us honestly,” Odette said. “You saw what it was. Would there have been a chance to wail on it and take it out if there had been a few more of us there?”
"Turned to glass, eh? That's some powerful fire." Gerome nodded idly. "Or whatever that is. Sounds like they had a decently sized team there and still couldn't take 'm out. After what you accomplished with the mayor, can't help but wonder why that didn't work out with just a little fire lizard."
Sonora scrunched up her muzzle for a second. "Well, I'll put it this way. I've seen y'all coordinate in battle, and it were a thing to behold. Fluid, y'know? Every one of ya movin' in perfect sync. Even when thirty-some of you fought in one place! Well, I caught the final seconds of the fight as I sprinted to help, and those folks were a mess. Amateur stuff, like they'd never battled together before. I don't know that they coulda won if they'd had that same spark, but maybe they'd still have been fendin' fer themselves when I showed up."

That... may have been my fault. I was unconscious at the time, focused entirely on creating a link to the Silver Ravine distortion, to improve my connection to you in this region. By the time I came to my senses, the fight was already almost over. I am so, so sorry.

Sonora, deaf to the voice, didn't react.

"What? What'd I say?" she asked, when nobody said anything for a few seconds.

The more Sonora spoke, the angrier Odette felt herself becoming. See, had they just planned, that wouldn’t have happened. If they had the right ‘mon calling the fucking shots, and the right ‘mon who could keep a level head in an ambush like that, it’d have been less likely to fall apart, and—

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the Cloud Voice. Her gaze fixed on something just over Sonora’s shoulder as her mind focused entirely on what it was saying. Her brows lowered.

So…you’re telling me our coordination is somehow your doing? Without you we’re just fucked? How does that even work?

She supposed, in some fucked up world, it made sense. How did 30 characters drop into a new world, some whom haven’t even formally met yet, and somehow throw down cohesively enough to take down the Mayor?

“Nothing. You’re fine,” she said. “Got lost in the thought of strangling everyone who got on that wagon.” A pause. “Affectionately, of course.”
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