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Frontier Town The Wanderin' Zera

Eco skeptically eyed Clover at her... suggestion, before glancing down at Archie.

"Eco." the Grubbin clicked her mandibles. "My name's Eco, I guess. And I don't need any of your help. I can get down perfectly alright on my own. So, if you'd excuse me-"

The larval Pokémon took another glance down, and shuddered. "-Er, actually, yeah, please someone get me down from here. And preferably without jumping on any kids."
Gerome sighed and made what seemed to be odd gestures toward the outside. A gust of sand blew across the bar, but rather than make a mess of things, it instead collected meticulously into a thin but solid slope for Eco to slide down from the shelf to the floor.

"What're you going on about?" George said to Clover. "You can pick up things just fine. All Pokemon have it. Wanna pick something up, just get close and use your power. Requires touch, sure, but you ain't helpless." He narrowed his eyes. "How d'you not know that?"
"If you're cold, maybe you need some sun! You'd probably feel better. You too, Treecko! You might be less mopey if you had some energy!"

Kimiko turned back just enough to catch the shuppet in the corner of her eye. Right, of course the ghost could feel her anxiety. Some things never changed, even between worlds.

"...Yeah, you're probably right," she lied. "But we'll be getting plenty of sun soon enough. I can wait."

It certainly looked like that, anyway, since she still didn't see any trace of the rest of their group... They'd have to go looking eventually.

"Don't... pay attention to anything Dayle says. He thinks the world is always two days away from ending for one reason or another, and that only because of... heroes in the dark, or whatever, does it keep getting saved." Gerome sighed lowly.

Well, she couldn't admit she suspected that's why they'd all been summoned after that, could she? "So nothing like that has ever happened here, then?" she asked as she watched Gerome's impressive control over his sand, creating makeshift slide for the grubbin to escape the shelf. "No history of, er... world-ending threats?"
Gerome didn't reply immediately to Kimiko. He instead placed another washed plate on a shelf behind him. And, once Eco had made it down, made a few basic gestures to the sand that rolled it back into the streets.

"Pretty interesting questions you're asking there, Snivy," Gerome grunted. "You on a mission?"
Gerome didn't reply immediately to Kimiko. He instead placed another washed plate on a shelf behind him. And, once Eco had made it down, made a few basic gestures to the sand that rolled it back into the streets.

"Pretty interesting questions you're asking there, Snivy," Gerome grunted. "You on a mission?"

"'Name's Kimiko, by the way." She took a sip of water to give herself a moment to think. "We're not from around here," she reiterated. "And I like to learn a bit about the history of the places I visit while I'm there. I'd be happy to share a story of something that happened back where I'm from in exchange."
Eco glowered at the makeshift slope before her, before reluctantly boarding down it.

"Beats being carried around, at least." she dryly mused. "And, uh, thanks."

After crawling off the ride, the Grubbin took another quick glance around the saloon, finding herself needing to climb one of the empty stools to even get a good view of anything. She had to hold in a grumble as her gaze shifted to Gerome.

"What kind of jobs can we find around here?" she asked. "Anything that earns quick money."
“Archie,” the Oshawott replied, looking back at the Grubbin. Thankfully, it seemed the Tyranitar was amenable enough to helping out. That was one crisis averted, at least.

But damn if the others were just refusing to follow along what seemed to him perfectly good ideas. Going out for a stroll would've been the perfect opportunity to scope out the place and figure out if any of the others had arrived nearby. And on top of that, they kept saying suspicious things. He really wasn’t interested in being run out of town by a suspicious mob, but he felt like every passing moment made that a more likely possibility. Okay, maybe he could work with this. The Snivy – Kimiko – had given him something of an opening to put his own two cents in.

“It’s just, conspiracy theories like that don’t usually pop out of nothing,” the Oshawott said, adopting his ‘thinking’ pose again. “There’s some kind of incident that gets misinterpreted, or some kind of charismatic rabble rouser with a bone to pick and something he can use a scapegoat for.”
"Hmph. Sure, tell me your story," Gerome replied to Kimiko. "Bar's in the slow hours anyway. And as for you..." Gerome eyed Eco. "If you want money, you'll have to look at odd jobs or maybe even some frontier work, if you're looking for something unskilled and dangerous. Didn't really pay a whole lot of attention. Heard there's also a rumor about a magic bulletin board a ways in the middle of a nowhere crossroads that apparently gives rewards, too. But that sounds to me like another conspiracy or traveler's tale..."

His tail thumped on the ground as the last of the dishes were put on their shelves. With everything taken care of, he took a seat on a stool behind the bar, the seat itself seemingly filled with hard sand that collapsed softly against his stony hide.
"Hmph. Sure, tell me your story," Gerome replied to Kimiko.

Kimiko sipped at her water again, taking some time to decide what story to offer. Would the regular inhabitants (meaning, non-celestial-glowing-clouds) of this world even know what a human was? She figured she'd be better off just keeping everything to pokemon specific for the time being... although that made certain details difficult, and she had to try to condense it, too. Well, it's not like they could be verified.

She set her half-dull glass down and stared at it as she spoke, rather than Gerome. Easier to focus on-the-spot when she didn't feel like she was being watched.

"Okay, let's see if I can remember it all. The legend goes, several years ago, a region near my home was ruled by a... very lazy garchomp. And due to her laziness, the people living under her rule were suffering, as you can imagine. So eventually, another garchomp rose up and started a revolution against her. He managed to overthrow her, taking command of the region and righting some of the problems that had been plaguing its peoples."

Simple, believable enough opening,
Kimiko thought to herself.

"But unknown to him, his rebellion unintentionally sparked others, due to some unfortunate misunderstandings. His supporters in more distant lands mistakenly thought that the rebellion leader garchomp wanted to do away with the concept of leaders altogether, even kind and fair rulers. The leader of my home was one such person. Our rebellion was a bit more extreme, in that the rebellion there summoned our God of Death to help them. You can imagine the chaos and devastation that a being known as the God of Death would cause."

Another shiver went down her spine, and she shot a quick glance over at Clover before returning to the glass of water.

"Our legend says that my region's leaders were only able to defeat the rebellion by summoning our God of Life, and then convincing him to sacrifice himself to seal away her counterpart." She shook her head, finally looking back up at Gerome. "This was ages ago, of course, but the proof is there in how we're still rebuilding," she finished with a shrug.

Kimiko stared up into Gerome's eyes, trying to read his expression.
Perhaps Tyranitar as a species were hard to read. Gerome was simply inscrutable in one way or another. As Kimiko spoke, he stared, attentive, but giving away nothing at all. He only shifted once to adjust his seat, relaxing even more into it as the Snivy's story concluded.

And when Kimiko finished...

Gerome only stared at her with the same expression, saying absolutely nothing.

Mhynt finished her cup of water.
Kimiko cleared her throat, fighting back a frown, feeling somewhat awkward. Gerome wasn't giving anything away, far as she could tell.

"Anyway... yeah, it's just a myth, where I'm from, but there's evidence that it was inspired by actual events that took place." She forced herself to keep her eyes on his. "So... your turn, now," she said sternly, fully aware he'd never actually agreed to exchange stories. "Surely a barkeep has heard plenty of interesting tales, not just from travelers, but from his regulars."
"Mm." Gerome shook his head. "Part of the barkeeper's creed is that you don't speak of someone's tall tales if they're something to take seriously. I'm not sharing anything juicy with some strange Teleport arrivals."

After that pause, though, he added, "Then you don't even have a place to say, do ya?"

"I don't suppose your bar doubles as an inn," Mhynt said.

"That it don't. Besides, I'm not about to invite a handful of suspicious, penniless tykes into the place just because they chose my bar as the spot to appear."
"Is there anywhere else around these parts where we can stay, then?" Eco promptly asked him. "Someplace else that would be alright for a handful of Pokémon looking for some shelter, penniless or not?"

The Grubbin cleared her throat following a pause. "We're not picky." Or, she hoped so, at least.
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"That'll be a question to ask around town for," Gerome said. "It's the afternoon. You'll probably find some way to get funds. What, who sent you here with nothin' at all?" He eyed Mhynt. "You ain't even wearin' a scarf."

"Are you?" Mhynt asked.

Gerome faced downward, revealing an extremely tiny, turquoise bowtie over the first spike behind his head.

Mhynt valiantly kept a straight face.
"Mm." Gerome shook his head. "Part of the barkeeper's creed is that you don't speak of someone's tall tales if they're something to take seriously. I'm not sharing anything juicy with some strange Teleport arrivals."

Interesting... this wasn't anything Kimiko had ever heard, but she wasn't going to push her luck. She'd tried, at least, and still had gotten something out of the chat. Whether it meant anything or not was a different matter, but that was a later problem.

"Well, that's a shame," she said with a slight shake of her head. "I hope mine was at least entertaining for ya, then. Thank you for the water."

She turned to address her companions. "I think we've probably gotten as much help here as we're gonna find... I think it's probably best we set out again. Maybe find a place to settle in for the night?" Or the rest of the group, she thought privately. "Or maybe some bows of our own," she added, eyes lingering for a moment on Gerome's cute ribbon, before shifting to Dayle's abandoned chair.

"Unless anyone else has any other business?" She hoped the others picked up on her tone of voice, urging them to move on. She rather hoped none of them picked up on something she'd missed; Kimiko was antsy worrying over those who were missing.

And maybe in the process of searching, if she were lucky, she'd happen upon Dayle around town, too. Perhaps it was a wild goose chase, but if Gerome wouldn't tell any stories that were to be taken seriously, maybe he believed more than he was showing.
"Is there any significance to wearing some form of attire?" Mhynt asked.

"Separates you from those out in the wild. Status thing." Gerome shrugged. "Anything'll do."

"Hmm. I see. Well, I'll be sure to find something," Mhynt said.

"There's a lost 'n found that nobody visits," Gerome said. "You can grab some useless articles from there. One box is years old. Ain't nobody getting it. I can grab that fer ya."
Okay. This was all starting to feel like a serious waste of time. The Tyranitar was not interested in being any sort of help at all. They were perfectly willing to string Kimiko along through an entire story though. Really, ‘go ask other people’ was the best he could do? Honestly, if this was the level of helpfulness they could expect from the locals, it was no wonder such a multiversal cry for help as this one seemingly was answered by so many. Some kind of cosmic justice for a world whose inhabitants seemed truly uncaring.

The Oshawott sighed, and rubbed his forehead with a paw. Alright, his first impression wasn’t the greatest, but he was painting with far too broad a brush here. Still, they were burning daylight, and had yet to see anything but the inside of this saloon.

“I’m with Kimiko here,” Archie said, “I think we’ve taken up enough of this Pokemon’s time.”

To be honest, he was distinctly uninterested in waiting a moment longer, even if there were clothes potentially on offer. Still, he didn’t want to go off on his own in an unfamiliar land with most of his strength sapped away from him. That would be foolish. Plus, he did miss his hat and coat, and at the very least, having a replacement for the former would be practical.
"Mmf. Be careful out there. And if you ever get lost... whatever, show up here. I don't charge for seating. And when the air's too hot, I let folks into the shade anyway." He shrugged and returned from a room in the back, holding a dusty old box filled with various lost and generally useless or shoddy items. Among them were ribbons, cloth, scarves, and even a few hats, to name a few of the dry, dusty items to choose from.
Among them were ribbons, cloth, scarves, and even a few hats, to name a few of the dry, dusty items to choose from.
Clover jumped into the box, accessories splashing out like she had cannonballed into a swimming pool of fashion. She swam around, quickly popping out with a scarf around her "neck" and buttons on her horn.
"Wow! Thanks mister!"
Clover's body morphed as her cloth body wove the buttons into her head and the scarf onto herself. She shook out the slightly- too- long ends of the scarf and held them like tentacles.
"Look, I have hands now, kind of! I can help you guys out now! I'm Clover, the friendly Shuppet!"
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