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Frontier Town Traveller's Haus - Dining Hall

"Then there is a chance still, a good one. He might be getting stronger now but even with just half of us protecting the prisoners, we drove him back." Maybe it wasn't much, but it was something then. It was proof that Alex couldn't just do whatever he wanted here.

Proof that his control could maybe be broken. He clung to that idea.

"He doesn't seem to have radiance here either... All of us together could stop him." Despite a cautious edge to his tone, there was a hope too. The only problem that remained was his shadow control.
"He never had Radiance," Mhynt said. "So, at least he lacks any familiarity with that. We could use that to our advantage. All he sees is a nuisance."

She sighed, trying to ease herself.

"...Thank you for talking, Koa. But don't we need to get ready for our trip to see Sybil?"
Koa nodded in agreement. Probably best to let her have some space anyway. "Yeah. Hopefully Sybil's found something that works."

The other option was far worse, and he wasn't sure how he'd even begin to handle the idea of not finding a cure. And what is Alex had gotten to Mhynt? Pushing the thought to the back of his mind, he dipped his head. One paw in front of the other for now. Maybe he couldn't help Mhynt himself, but hopefully she could find someone on the team to talk to.

"I'll see you there, then."

Turning, he started towards the door, then paused, glancing over his shoulder. "Take care of yourself, Mhynt."

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Ch05: The Red Hair Boys (Andre & Silver)
It was a new day, and Andre had slept surprisingly well despite his worries about his life back home. He'd come down to the dining hall for another delicious breakfast - one great perk of living in the Haus - and he was looking around, curious. He spotted one of the Wayfarers he was less a familiar with - the red-haired sneasel named Silver - eating some grilled fish on his own. Hm. Should he provide him with some company? Meeting new people was always fun. He didn't know if it was so for the sneasel, but he could always ask if he was intruding.

Andre took two slices of bread and spread berry jam in between, then took his breakfast with him as he approached the redhead. He cleared his throat. "Hey, Silver, was it? Mind if I sit here?"
A new day has come, and as per usual Silver was sitting by himself in the dining hall, taking big chunks of the grilled fish — was it a Finneon or something? — with strong, sharp-fanged bites.

Eating that fish was... weird, admittedly. He had never been much of a fan of freshwater fish, preferring the way more flavorful and salty seafood, and yet his Sneasel body seemed to enjoy it! Yet another oddity of having the body of a weasel that hunts preys by rivers and lakes, he reasoned, even if his brain was puzzled by the inconsistency and drastic changes in preferences.

However, his contemplative session was interrupted by a voice barging into his headspace, returning Silver to the real world.

"Hm?" With the fish’s tail sticking out of his mouth, Silver turned to the new presence, his eyes showing a blend of curiosity and wariness. His posture relaxed immediately when he recognized the Deerling with glasses by his side. While he didn't get the chance to talk to him during the raid, he remembered seeing him helping the prisoners and the other teammates.

Silver nodded and plucked the remaining fish out of his jaws, holding it tightly in his paws. "Huh, yeah. That's me. And you're... Andre, right?" He glanced quickly at the seat and shrugged casually, before motioning to it with his head and offering a tiny smile. "Oh. Sure, I don't really mind."

He whirled on his seat so that he could face Andre and nibbled at his breakfast, looking for some topic he could discuss with the Deerling. "Um... D'you have a good rest? These past days have been... quite exciting and full of surprises, huh?"
Andre took a seat. "As a matter of fact, I did have a good rest," he said, "though it's a break in the pattern." He didn't need to get into the real reason why, though. He could pass it off as stress from the raid. "Yes, it's been hectic. At least Blaguarro seems to be doing better." He sighed, then smiled. "Was it your first evil organization raid?"
Silver tilted his head, wondering how he should feel about that question. Should he be proud of joining the raid back home, or should he be upset because he had to? After one or two seconds of thinking, he defaulted to his usual stoic expression and shook his head.

"It wasn't, no. Back home, I joined a raid to take down an HQ of an infamous criminal organization: Team Rocket," he said, leaning against the table and holding his head with a paw. He sighed and let his gaze drift away. "They had... an illegal breeding ring going, where they bred rare Pokémon to give away as prizes to gambling addicts in the Game Corner in Goldenrod City. Between that and money laundering, it was a very profitable biz. Greedy scumbags!"

The now-Sneasel snorted with indignation and shook his head again, this time with more fervor. "Those Cipher prisons reminded me of the cages of those poor Pokémon. I'm... glad that we freed those folks. Nobody deserves that kinda fate..." Wishing to stifle the raging emotions, Silver resumed chewing his fish. "What 'bout you? First time as a raider?"
Andre stared at Silver, dumbfounded. "Oh," he then started, "I was kidding. I didn't think you would've actually had that kind of experience."

He adjusted his glasses with a vine. Silver seemed like a pretty emotional person. Then again, he was a teenager, if Andre had his facts straight. Maybe the hormones crossed over.

He frowned. Teenager, and already fighting Team Rocket, a criminal organization. He was all too young to be caught up in things like that. I mean, what was he, an anime protagonist? Well, with that hair...

The sneasel's heart was in the right place, at least. He clearly wanted to do what was right, and felt very strongly about evildoers. He and Andre had that in common.

Andre realized he'd been silent too long. He cleared his throat. "No, never done anything like this before. I'm just a simple painter from Galar." You make it sound like you're earning your own money. "I was pretty damn nervous about the raid, but I guess it went way better than it could have. Well, that's underselling it - it was a pretty resounding success, and all those people get to be free again." Shame about how they're probably all traumatized..

"Team Rocket, though, huh?" he asked. "Between that and the kimono I saw you wear at the festival in Little Scriven, is it accurate to guess you're from the Tohjo area?"
Silver quirked a brow at Andre when he lapsed into silence, recognizing the vague telltale of concern in the Deerling’s eyes.

Ah. That question was a joke, and Silver failed at realizing that. He sighed inwardly; why was he so bad at reading social cues? Should he have been less frank and direct, or replied with another quip, or…?

Much to his relief, Andre shifted the conversation in another direction. So, he was a painter from Galar? Come to think of it, the now-Sneasel might have seen Andre sketching stuff with his vines, once in a while, but he always shelved that matter.

“Hm! That’s cool! The painter part, I mean,” he said, his ears flicking with interest and his smile returning. “Never been in Galar, but I can speak fluent Galarish. It’s a standard business language where I come from.” Then, the smile stretched into a grin and he chuckled softly. “Heh! You’re quite the observant fellow, huh? Bullseye, I’m from the Tohjo area. To be more precise, I’m from Viridian City in Kanto.”

Silver took another bite of his fish. “My profession ain’t nearly as fancy or unique, though. I’m a Trainer, like most kids my age… well, except I’m an Ace Trainer, so my level is above average.” He shot a meaningful stare at Andre. “But you oughta know ‘bout that kinda trend with youngsters since Galar is very Trainer-oriented, what with all those sponsorships and stadiums. Right?”
"Oh, what a coincidence! Viridian City is where I've lived for the past few years," Andre said, smiling.

"Yes, I hear that's the case," he responded to the remark about Galar. "I used to live in Wyndon, and the roads around the Stadium were always congested right before a high-profile battle." He took a bite out of his sandwich, which he'd already forgotten about. "I don't know much at all about battling myself, though. It's why I've been somewhat skittish in combat..."
Silver nodded in agreement. “They really are totally different cities, huh? I guess Viridian must seem much calmer and cleaner, especially because of the nearby Viridian Forest.” He chuckled. “But I dunno if you’ve noticed how packed it becomes whenever the Indigo Plateau hosts the annual Leagues. After all, Viridian is the closest city to Victory Road, and with so many kids wanting to reach the top…”

Like me…

He trailed off to ponder the other topic. Probably it was because of his own sharp battle knowledge, but he could tell that Andre was still a bit green in that regard, and it wasn’t because he was a Grass-type.

“Anyway! If it helps, I think most former humans have struggled with learning how to battle — Trainers included,” said Silver, his head tilted and his gaze thoughtful. “After all, it’s one thing to teach ‘mons who have lived as ‘mons from the day they were born and can channel aura and stuff instinctively, and it’s another thing to teach yourself how to channel that same stuff without even knowing how that feels like. And then there’s the whole deal with getting new bodies, which is a whole challenge by itself.”

He waved his paw, trying to appear reassuring. “While I don’t have personal experience with training Grass-types, I’ve heard that their powers are at their strongest after they absorb plenty of sunlight. Maybe you would have a better time with learning and mastering new techniques during warm and clear days?”
"I have noticed that I feel more energized in sunlight," Andre said. "I think, though, that I've already been doing my solo training on sunny days just due to how common they are here. It's a far cry from Galar's grays, that's for sure."

He quieted to take a few bites out of his sandwich. Should he ask his question...?

Well, why not. It's not like there was much at stake here.

"So, if you were a trainer back home," he started, "would you be willing to train with me? When you have the time and feel like it, that is."
Bright sparkles shone into Silver’s eyes at the proposal, his feathers and claws twitching with intrigue. That sentence awakened a dormant side of himself, and he began pondering potential plans, strategies, and schedules. A Trainer gotta do what a Trainer gotta do, after all!

“Of course! I’d be glad to!” he exclaimed quickly, an unusual joviality radiating in his normally neutral voice and smile. “I never say no to a training partner, or some training lessons! I can teach you a few tricks I’ve learned during my travels, so that you can get up to speed with everyone, and—”

Silver blinked, surprised by his own excitement, and he coughed awkwardly in his paw to reclaim his aloof mystique. A sheepish grin appeared on his face and he rubbed the back of his neck.

“Huh… Did I sound too eager? Hehe, I guess I’ve been missing my Trainer routine and days far more than I expected…” He shook his head, still looking embarrassed. “There isn’t much demand for trainers here, but at least I’ve got to do something else I’m skilled at,” he flipped his red bangs, smirking proudly, “and that’s hair care! Sure, I might not be able to pursue my dream of becoming the best Trainer ever here, but heck! I’m gonna be the sickest hairdresser, instead!”

Satisfied at performing some damage control on something that definitely didn’t need fixing, Silver pursued that new topic. “Ah, but what ‘bout you? D’you get some art biz running here or you dipped your hooves into something else?”
Andre chuckled at the teenager's nerdout.

"I'm actually a mailmon," Andre answered Silver's question, "but I have been sketching a lot. When we first arrived here, I had pretty unfortunate dexterity problems due to having no hands, but time and practice has mended that. Now I can draw both with my vines and my hooves, though my vines are better." He'd raised his hoof to illustrate his point, and now he lowered it. "I haven't tried to sell my drawings, though I guess there is some demand. I've been sketching in different places in my spare time, and some folk have come up to me requesting that I draw them. I've done it for free every time, as it's something that I was already going to do and they're just quick sketches, but maybe I could ask for a little payment. Still, I don't think that would support me. And I do like being a mailmon. Lets me see people and get some exercise."

He smiled more widely. "You do look like someone skilled with hair care. My own hair - well, it's vines and leaves - seems to maintain its shape on its own, but maybe once I evolve into a sawsbuck, I'll have more to work with and could pay you a visit. Though I don't know if that's more a job for a botanist."
“Well, you do still have some pelt, so that’s something I could handle without problems,” pointed out Silver, before tapping his chin.

“But yeah, I must admit that leaves and flowers are currently above my pay grade. My boss is actually a barber surgeon, so he knows the various techniques and body types, including some basic pruning skills…” He paused, his mouth straightening and a blank expression swirling in his gaze. “Let’s just say that I never bothered reminding him to teach me that kinda stuff.”

Lacking actual brain bleach, Silver resorted to redirecting his thoughts into eating the rest of his fish, ravenous and almost ferociously. Soon enough, all that was left in his paw was the caudal fin, and he dropped it in the empty plate.

“Ah! Speaking of which, I oughta start my job soon. First shift is in the early morning,” he announced, before jumping off of his seat and grabbing the plate. “Thanks for the chat! It’s been a pleasure greeting to know you better! Lemme know ‘bout your mailmon shifts, so that I can arrange my schedule for training and stuff.” He smirked with confidence. “You’ll see! In no time you’ll become a badass and unstoppable Sawsbuck!”
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Andre beamed. "Of course! Have a nice day at work," he said.

Once the sneasel had left, Andre finished what was left of his sandwich and left for his own job in a mood even better than he'd woken up in.

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