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Frontier Town Traveller's Haus - Guest Rooms

Horrid roaring blotted out Koa's thoughts. Wes, getting to his feet, throwing something and then - Was he running- No. No the others were moving too, scrambling for cover. Cover get to cover. His shoulder throbbed for some reason and he felt sick. Focus! But Steven couldn't move yet they had to get out of the way-
"Run, Koa--" he blurted in a strained whisper. "Just run."
His head whipped back down to look at Steven. "A trainer doesn't abandon their team." Maybe he could just get Steven into a room.

A blur of purple in his peripheral vision. Then the room tilted end over end. No impact, only the sensation of standing one moment, then being thrown violently off his paws and sent hurtling through the air. His yelp was cut short by the wall and he slid to the floor.

Then he felt the impact. Throbbing where his head struck the wall. Stinging in his shoulder. Pain all across his side that made him gasp reflexively, only to choke on air, the wind knocked out of him. His legs scrambled helplessly at the ground, as he tried to rise, but everything kept tilting under him. He opened his jaws to call out (Archie where was Archie was he okay) and only managed a strangled wheeze.

Through hazy vision he saw the thing, filling the hallway, tearing through it and into other rooms, hunting the others. Steven, still down. No sign of Archie. Everyone hiding.

Was this it? Would a quarter of their group just get killed in the night by this thing?

Fine. But not like this. Not without a fight.

Gritting his teeth, Koa numbly gathered his paws under him, barely. Enough to raise his head. Enough to fix the stupid shadow bug in his sights. Enough to gather his wits and fire a final flash of electricity at its retreating form, desperately hoping to stun or distract it.
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Ridley just barely managed to yank himself free of the floor in time to roll out of the way of the enraged shadow drapion. He flattened himself against the wall as it passed. The remaining pin missile spikes were a hotcold agony in his side. The rasp of his breath sounded horrifyingly loud to his own ears; he stopped breathing, certain that the noise would cause the shadow drapion to lunge at him.

Shame at his own weakness rattled through his brain, beating in tandem with the fear. What good could Ridley do here? What use could he possibly be? He wasn't a fighter, not really. The closest he'd ever come was that brief spark of exhilaration in the fight against Farin and Valere, but that feeling was impossible to recapture in the here and now. Ridley only existed in the present moment, tasting pure terror at the back of his throat.

He was still holding the spike which he'd pulled out of the floor.

What good could Ridley do here?

The shadow drapion was ahead of him, its back turned, apparently unaware of his presence. Its looming body filled the hallway, its head swinging ponderously from side-to-side as it searched for a target.

If Ridley remained perfectly still, maybe he'd be safe. Maybe he'd survive this. But there were so, so many people who weren't Ridley in this building. He remembered the shadow skorupi in Blaguarro, the way it had been so desperate to hurt them that the light had been barely enough to hold it back. If they didn't stop it, then it wouldn't stop.

He doubted he could do much to hurt it, but if he could create an opening for someone else -

Ridley raised the spike and lunged, stabbing it as hard as he could into a chink in the drapion's exoskeleton.

Ridley (Aux Rogue/Spotter)
- Rogue Aux: Lower DEF @ Shadow Drapion
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Behind the door, Dave dug through the bag on his belt for a Leppa as the horrid noises outside in the hallway continued, drowned out by his ragged breathing and thundering heartbeat.

Come on, come on. There it was. He scarfed it down, barely chewing, staring at a spot on the wall.

Crunching, stomping, screeching. He waited uselessly one, two, three seconds for it to kick in, and for all he knew the thing was out there skewering the rest of them. Fuck, fuck, fuck why was it taking so long? Professor Greenbough had talked about--

Then a stream of warmth and energy trickled through his body, and he charged back out with a snarl before he could think better of it. Wouldn't know what hit it, wouldn't know what fucking hit it.

Dave (22 STM, 19 TMP, +0 SPD, +0 ACC)
- **Bonus Action:** Item (Leppa Berry) (+40 STM)
- Dash to Hallway (-2 TMP)
- AGILE Rage @ Drapion (-6 STM, +2 TMP)
- Howl (-18 STM, +2 TMP)
- Leer @ Drapion (-14 STM, +2 TMP)
- Rage @ Drapion (-4 STM, +2 TMP)
- CRITICAL Bite @ Drapion (-17 STM, -20 TMP, +2 TMP)
- Activate ability (Pickpocket) @ Drapion’s Acc
- Walk to Guest Room 3
Net change: -19 STM, -12 TMP
Net totals: 3 STM (22 after regen), 7 TMP
Odette watched the drapion stalk its way down the hall. Her adrenaline was kind to her, as it had yet to drain out of her system. Despite the pricks of pain radiating through her body, and the blood she was tasting against her tongue, she felt zen now. She'd left her old world to escape the aggravation and the trauma of the last few years, only to end up right back in a similar scenario. There was truly no escaping this kind of carnage, and all she could do in her current state of mind and situation was accept that. And fight.

Guzma would want her to fight. Maman would want her to fight.

Hau, Plumeria, Gladion, and Lillie would want her to fight. Her team would want her to fight.

Grandpa, Nana, her other friends would want her to fight.

Noel would want her to fight.

Clovis would want her to fight.

Odile would want her to fight.

All they could do was fight.

Pushing herself up to stand, her body felt weighed down and completely light at the same time. She aimed again, as before.

"̸̥͝S̴̠̈T̵̘͆O̴̫͌P̸̠̎ ̷̥̊F̵̫̐Ú̸̧C̵̣̆K̵͓͑I̸̱͗N̵̛̲Ǧ̷͉ ̷̠̓R̵̮̚U̴̹͋N̷̯͐N̵͈̈́Î̵͈N̷͎͐G̴̮̒ ̸͍̈́F̵̢̿R̷̞̈́Ȍ̴̻M̸͍̈ ̶̭̃M̶̯̈Ḙ̴̕ ̴͓̀Y̷͍̏O̴͔͐U̴̧̓ ̴͈̄S̷̟̀O̷̪̾N̸̼̚ ̶̝̔O̴̖̊F̷͓͆ ̷̗̚A̸̞͒ ̶̺̎B̴̲͋I̶̳̔T̶̠̚C̷̥̾H̷̳͑.̷̭́"̷͈͒ Jawile hollered, and she let loose another round of bullets.

Odette: Brawler AUX Strike (Steel) @ Drapion
"A trainer doesn't abandon their team."

Did Koa somehow think this was akin to a trainer battle and not a life or death situation? Battles had rules and codes of conduct. There was nothing like that here. Nothing.

Then the realization dawned. Koa was here because of him. Koa was in danger again because of him.

"No, that's--" he wanted to say 'not it', but a wince cut him off. Before he could recover, Koa vanished with a sickening crack of chitinous plates.


Steven tried to follow where Koa had been batted, but it was too quick, and he was still in so much pain.

This was his fault. He'd called out when he was attacked, trying to warn everyone to run, to get away, but they came rushing for him instead.

He grated out a harsh sound, half-frustration, half-pain, and tried to rise again, only to fall limp in a haze of exhaustion and pain.

The drapion stomped down the hall, tearing doors from their hinges.

This was his fault.

Poison laced attacks flew in all directions, followed by shouts and cries of pain.

This was his fault.

There were still four holes in his side, and with every attempt, he could feel the rotted, rusted pieces of his body flake off onto the ground.

The only thing he could do was lay there uselessly while the others--

His eye darted up and down the hall. Koa gritting his teeth and struggling to stand, an Oshawott slumped against the wall, blood spatters, poison gobbets, splintered debris, no sign of anyone else--

They shouldn't be paying the price because of his failure.

Steven's head slumped back to the floorboards. "Please. Please be okay."
Screeching, slamming, more splintering wood, shouts of pain and fear, and then—quiet.

Not entirely quiet, not with that thing thrashing in the hall, but suddenly Wes couldn’t hear any of the others anymore, and his own ragged, panicked breathing felt deafening in the empty room.

Get it together. Get it together—

He forced his way through the door and staggered out into the hallway again. The creature meandered and threw debris this way and that in its search for more prey—gods, prey, that’s really what they were to this thing, weren’t they? Then, in the darkness, Wes spotted a few prone forms amidst the wreckage. He wasn’t sure which limp figure belonged to who, but he thought he spotted the white Vulpix from earlier, and Steven at the other end of the hall, and—Archie, crumpled against the wall beside the door, stirring faintly.

His fault. The surge of guilt that swelled in Wes’s throat was suffocating. This was his own damn fault for not getting away sooner, for needing someone like Archie to come to his defense and get injured on his behalf—

No, this was Archie’s choice. He only has himself to blame—

Why did Wes have to be so damn useless—

He should have known better than to risk his neck for someone like you—

The giant bug was turning now, setting it’s chilling gaze on Wes as he stood alone in the hallway—


And then, out of absolutely nowhere, Dave was there. He crashed into the hallway with a barely coherent yell, his howl ringing in Wes’s ears and sending a strange shiver down his spine. Then, in what Wes could only interpret as a fit of insanity, Dave charged the damn thing. The Shadow creature reached out with its pincers, hissing and clicking and readying another blow—

Wes barely registered his snarled yell as his own. He surged forward, ignoring the pain flaring up on all sides, somehow managing to not stumble on the rubble strewn all over the hallway. Energy flared outward from his core, mingling with a swirl of fear and guilt and horror and burning, festering, blinding rage.

He blasted his way past Dave and hurled himself at the creature, all sense of restraint gone. He didn’t care about sparing this damn thing’s life anymore, not after the damage it had caused, not after seeing its sheer bloodlust. He wanted to destroy it, to make it hurt, make it pay, make it bleed until it wouldn’t stand up again.

Adrenaline fused with savage, reckless abandon, and Wes let all hell loose.

Wes (66 STM, 13 TMP, +0 SPD, +0 ACC)
- Walk to Hallway
- Quick Attack @ Drapion (-6 STM, +3 TMP)
- Quick Attack @ Drapion (-9 STM, +3 TMP)
- Rock Throw @ Drapion (-4 STM, hit, -2 TMP, +3 TMP)
- AGILE Rock Tomb @ Drapion (-25.5 STM, hit, -1 TMP, +3 TMP)
- Rock Tomb @ Drapion (-17 STM, hit, -1 TMP, +3 TMP)
- **Bonus Action:** Item (Leppa Berry) (+40 STM)
- CRITICAL Stone Edge @ Drapion (-20 STM, hit, -17 TMP, +3 TMP)
Net change: -42 STM, -3 TMP
Net totals: 24 STM (40 after regen), 10 TMP
Player Phase, Turn 4

Drapion glared at everyone in the hall hungrily, trying to find its next target. It turned when it heard everyone clambering back into the hallway to attack. With a threatening bellow, it rushed towards the entourage, ready to take any blow that came its way before it would, yet again, try to counter with its own devastating onslaught...

Ridley's Rogue Skill! Lowered Shadow Drapion's Def by 1!

Dave's AGILE Rage dealt 0 damage to Shadow Drapion! Dodged!
Dave's Rage dealt 0 damage to Shadow Drapion! Dodged!
Dave's Leer lowered Shadow Drapion's Def by 1!
Dave's CRITICAL Bite dealt 25 damage to Shadow Drapion! It's not very effective...

Odette's Brawler strike dealt 14 damage to Shadow Drapion!

Wes's Quick Attack dealt 16 damage to Shadow Drapion!
Wes's Quick Attack dealt 17 damage to Shadow Drapion!
Wes's AGILE Rock Tomb dealt 22 damage to Shadow Drapion!
Wes's Rock Tomb dealt 29 damage to Shadow Drapion!
Wes's Rock Throw dealt 22 damage to Shadow Drapion!
Wes's CRITICAL Stone Edge dealt 53 damage to Shadow Drapion!

Astrid's AGILE CRITICAL Frost Breath dealt 33 damage to Shadow Drapion!
Astrid's CRITICAL Frost Breath dealt 37 damage to Shadow Drapion! KO!!!


But finally, after being unnoticeably worn down piece by piece, the coordinated effort was too much for the shadow to handle. It staggered with a roar, planting its claws into the floorboards in an attempt to balance itself. However, it began to look notably unfocused, shaking its head from side to side in an attempt to break out of some kind of dizzy stupor. Exhaustion, probably, and chances were that it wanted to get straight back into the fight, although there seemed to be a flash of something behind those feral eyes that was keeping it from immediately diving back in to tear the present Wayfarers to shreds.

Now, it seemed, that there was the chance to finally do something.
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Heroic spirits! That drapion... Augh, I cannot focus on its foul aura. I think it is of great importance that you do not let it escape!
Knock it out while you still have a chance! Or... maybe you can call out to it? That is still a pokémon, sickened as it is by Shadow... Try to reach its fevered heart!
Act quickly!
[✅] Objective: Defeat the Shadow skorupi.
[✅] Objective: Save Steven.
[ ] Objective: KO the Shadow drapion.
[ ] Alt Objective: pacify the drapion's frenzy.
Try to 'reach its heart'? Was Beetle joking? Except Beetle didn't joke. Were they really expected to try and reach out to the Thing who'd just tried to tear them apart, and and nearly killed Steven nearly succeeded in beating them?

And then he thought of Rascal. He remembered Zeraora, filled with righteous wrath, and Anubis, tearing through Team Blackout. Angry. Maybe this thing didn't even want to be here either, if it was really out of control. What if the Drapion had been his pokemon? Would he really want to just... KO it, if Betel was saying there was another way?

Raising his head, he sat up partway, wishing the room would stop tilting so much. He tried to remember everything he could about dealing with angered mon back home. Don't be a threat. Don't be afraid. Stay calm. Keep an open heart. Right. Easy. Letting out a shuddering breath, he finally managed to stand on four paws. He hurriedly glanced around at the others still recovering, and desperately hoped they wouldn't try and attack.

Focusing on the ever shifting image of the Drapion, he called out softly. "Hey there." He waited a moment to get its attention. In the space between trembling breaths, he thought of Rascal. He reminded himself this was just a pokemon (one who almost killed Steven) and whatever this shadow thing was, wasn't normal. Not Drapion's fault.

"Its over now. You did good." He kept his voice soft and steady, but did his best to speak without fear. "That was a..." his words hitched but he pressed on, "good fight. But its done now. How about you rest? Just relax, and you won't have to hurt anymore, or keep fighting like this. It's okay." As he spoke he took one, then two steps towards it, keeping low to the ground and making himself less of a threat (and a target). He tried his best to make indirect eye contact, and stay in its field of vision. No sudden moves.

He spoke again, with more conviction. "W- I'll help you, if you can just let me, Drapion."
Was he doing something stupid? Maybe. Probably, actually. Kimiko and Wes certainly seemed to think so. To be honest, Archie definitely understood where they were coming from. Steven was injured, badly. But every time he tried to reason that he needed to get back to Koa and Steven, he thought about Corey. Corey was gone now, and Archie wouldn’t ever see him again. It couldn’t happen again, Archie wouldn’t let it happen again. And that meant he was right where he needed to be, between his friend and certain danger. He shot Wes a reassuring grin, “I just need to keep its attention for a few seconds, that’s all!”

He heard Koa yell, and grabbed his hat, tugging the brim down as he squeezed his eyes shut. Even still, the Flash was still bright enough to light up his vision red. When he opened his eyes again, the Drapion was flailing blindly. An inspired idea on the Electrike’s part if the Oshawott ever saw one. Some of the others were taking the opportunity to duck into other rooms. Wes was among them, shouting at him to try and draw the Drapion away from Steven and Koa. He glanced back at the Rockruff’s retreating form, and nodded.

“I’m on it Wes! You can count on-”

He didn’t get to finish that sentence. Not before the Drapion caught him in the gut with a lash of its stinger tail, winding him. He lost his grip on his Scalchop, its water blade collapsing as it sailed across the hall and landed on the wooden floorboards with a hollow thunk. At roughly the same time as he lost his grip on his weapon, his paws left the floor altogether. He hit the wall at an angle – his head and one of his shoulders striking first – likely driving one or two of the spikes in his back in a little deeper. Thankfully, he didn’t have to worry about the worsening pain for long. He was unconscious before he’d even hit the floor.


The first thing he saw, upon coming to, was his hat. It hadn’t had the decency to remain on his head when he briefly went sailing through the air, but it made up for it by landing at his feet once he’d come to rest against the wall. He reached out a shaky paw to grab it, though once he’d managed to plop it back on his head, the sharp jolt of pain that erupted from right behind and above his ear made him regret it. He reached up to feel the area, and when he pulled his paw back in front of his face, his white paw fur was stained red. He was bleeding.

The next thing he saw was the Drapion, and, standing before it, Koa. That jolted him a little – not enough to fully clear the fog in his head, but enough that he found the energy to pull himself back to his feet. He’d been so focused on saving Wes that he’d completely abandoned Koa. He didn’t know where his Scalchop had ended up, but he staggered a few steps towards the Electrike anyway. He’d promised Wes he’d draw the monster away from them, he’d promised Koa that Steven would be okay. Where even was the Beldum now? Had he failed so badly?

“Koa –” he started, but his voice failed him. There was something different about what was happening. The Drapion wasn’t attacking. Maybe it was just the head fog talking, but the Shadow Pokemon kind of didn’t even look like it wanted to at this point. Koa was talking to it, soothingly. Trying to placate it? Was such a thing even possible? Was it working? Was he about to ruin it by misreading the situation? He stumbled to a halt. Then, slowly, haltingly, he started approaching again. It was too late to turn back now. If this went wrong, maybe he’d have enough strength to toss the Electrike out of harms way. If someone was going to get hurt worse, better it be the Oshawott.

But if they could actually help this Pokemon, wouldn’t that be a major breakthrough? They weren’t evil, they didn’t choose this. It was forced on them. This Drapion, terrifying as it was, was just as much a victim here as all the rest of them.

“H-hey, um,” he said, haltingly, holding out his empty paws, slouching to try and make himself seem as small and unthreatening as possible. He kept his voice soft and gentle. “We don’t have to hurt each other anymore. It can be over now, if you want it to be. Please?”
The response was a sharp growl and a bearing of mandibles but it otherwise seemed to remain in place, the sheer feeling of intensity began to fade from its aura and as it did, its will to fight was gradually sapping. Still highly aggressive, likely to strike at any sudden movement, but it was a start.

Perhaps the thing would finally pass out from exhaustion once all the adrenaline wore off...
It went down. It finally went down. Her gun was still smoking as she watched the drapion crumble under the force of every attack that had been launched at it, and it was in that moment that she felt herself--mind and body--come back down from the adrenaline high.

Her breath was ragged again. Her hand suddenly couldn't keep still anymore. She realized blood had started to pool under the rims of her glasses, and she could vaguely feel every single little pin sticking out of Jawile. Her vision swam, the dull colors of the world around her meshing together until all she could see was red.

For the first time since she arrived in Forlas, her voice became Jawile's voice.

"SA ̶THE ̷F̴U̵C̸K̸ ̵O̴U̶T̶ ̷O̴F̶ ̸IT.̴ ̵YOU'RE ̵D̷ON̷E̸,̷"̸she screamed, hands balled into such tight fists she could have sworn she was drawing blood.

̴"̷G̴E ̶A ̴G̷O̷D̴D̸A̵M̴N̵ ̸GRIP ON ̴OU̶R̶S̷E̶L̷F̷ ̷AND ̶C̶OM̵E̴ ̴B̵A̸C̴K̴ ̵ON ̷TO ̵E̸A̸R̷T̸H̵.̶ ̴S̶T̵O̴P̸ ̷L̸E̶T̸T̴I̶N̷G̶ ̶WHATEVER ̸TH̴I̷S ̴I̷S̵ ̵MAKE ̵Y̴U̶ ̷ACT LIKE ̶T̴H̷I̴S̷."
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In the short reprieve after his barrage of attacks, as the Shadow mon staggered and seemed ready to fall, Wes spotted Kimiko lying in a puddle of blood and toxic ooze and bounded over to her. He somehow still managed to be agile despite his injuries; riding the wave of adrenaline, no doubt. It would likely wear off soon, and then he’d feel every scrape and cut in full force.

“Here,” he rasped, nudging his last berry to the barely conscious mon. “Hope this’ll help. Let’s get you to Drungfield’s—”

More hissing and clicking, more movement, though more sluggish than before. That thing was standing. Still standing, even after everything. Wes didn’t know whether to be dumbfounded or infuriated. After a moment, he chose the latter, and crouched into a fighting stance once more. “All right, you bastard—”

Then Bee’s voice broke through, and Wes was so stunned by their suggestion, he forgot to be angry for a second. “What—‘reach its heart?’ Are you serious?” he snapped up at the ceiling, as if somehow lifting his voice upwards would make Bee hear it better. “This thing nearly killed all of us, and now we’re supposed to hold hands and be friends? Please tell me you’re joking.”

But they sure didn’t seem to be, and out of the corner of his eye, Wes saw something small and blue move towards the hissing bug. It was the kid, because of course it was, because this damn snot-nosed brat was still determined to play hero even after everything, even after nearly dying twice, and Wes felt something in him snap.

“Don’t you dare!” he spat, fury or adrenaline or maybe fear making his whole body shake. “Don’t you—gods in a goblet, do you have a single ounce of self-preservation in you? Swear to stars, kid, if I have to haul that damn thing off you when it attacks, I’ll—”

But Koa, naturally, ignored him. Of course. Wes might as well have been a puff of air to him. And then, because why the hell not, Archie staggered up beside him looking like he’d been chewed up and spit out twice over. Scorching hells! As if one reckless idiot was bad enough to deal with! Wes snarled and snapped his jaws at them both, rage making all his fur stand on end as he prepared for the worst—

But the worst didn’t come. At least, not yet. Though twitching and on edge, the ugly mon’s movements seemed to slow, to…calm. Wes stared in disbelief, remembering another time and place and a different voice softly cooing to a suffering mon. “They’re not crazy, Wes, they’re just…damaged,” she had said.

I don’t care. I don’t freaking care, he thought savagely. It’s not like Kohna or Maku or even Nani. It would have killed us all and enjoyed it. It needs to be incapacitated, not befriended! I don’t care!

And yet, he wasn’t sure he fully believed that.

"SA ̶THE ̷F̴U̵C̸K̸ ̵O̴U̶T̶ ̷O̴F̶ ̸IT.̴ ̵YOU'RE ̵D̷ON̷E̸,̷"̸she screamed,

Wes nearly jumped out of his skin. Sands and stars, he had had it with everything tonight. He shot a terrified glance back at the Shadow bug. Oh, gods, Koa was so horrifyingly close to it, and if that thing snapped, there was no item or move or power that could make Wes quick enough to react in time…

“Quiet!” he hissed at Odette. He felt awful for snapping at her, and he certainly sympathized with her frayed nerves, but now was not the time, dammit. “You’ll set it off again!”
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The blue rockruff was... well, maybe not the last pokemon Kimiko expected to come to her aid, but he certainly would not have been her first guess, either. She greedily scarfed down the berry he offered.

"It's just a flesh wound," she choked out, hoping a joke would lighten her own mood, but in the moment, with her lying in a puddle of her own blood, and everyone else injured too, she felt it probably fell flat. "...Thanks."

I think it is of great importance that you do not let it escape!

No shit, Kimiko wanted to say. But even in her increasingly delirious state, she understood that Betel didn't deserve her scorn.

She was just grateful for the break in the action. She was still on edge, but she couldn't refrain from slumping back down to the floor, too, despite the rockruff... well, she thought he was attempting to offer his help, anyway.

And then she saw the blue electrike approaching the beast, and Wes snapped. Her heart skipped a beat, but then she heard words. She was too out of it to make sense of what he was saying, but his tone was soothing. Peaceful. His movements were careful, precise, and slow. (Why hadn't he acted like this with the rockruff??) It was a surprisingly familiar sight; that was how Spruce taught her to approach a scared, cornered pokemon. But all the pokemon she'd worked with had been at least somewhat familiar with her... she'd never had to try it on a wild one.

Somehow, even after almost (possibly still) killing her, between Koa's peace offering and Bee's plea, Kimiko couldn't help feel sorry for the drapion. Bee was right, in no way was it reasonable to allow it to slip from their grasp. But it was still a living pokemon, and what were the odds it had asked for this?

The problem, then, was how to contain it for the time being?

"I've got an idea," she said softly, using the rockruff as a crutch to help force herself back to her feet. She leaned on him heavily for balance, but for now that was enough.

And then she did the only thing she could think to do - she sang. Something soft, something soothing, doing her best to project directly towards Drapion, because as tired as everyone else was right now, they really didn't need to be falling asleep injured in the middle of the open hallway for the rest of the team to discover them in the morning.

She managed to keep up singing long enough for Drapion to fall under the effects of the sound, its body slowly rising and falling with its breath. Then, with that done, she let herself slide back to the floor, too.

"I think I'll just... take a nap, too..."
“Quiet!” he hissed at Odette. He felt awful for snapping at her, and he certainly sympathized with her frayed nerves, but now was not the time, dammit. “You’ll set it off again!”
Her breath caught in her throat, and what was left of it came out in something reminiscent of a gasp. So much, so much was going through her head. She was seething, she was in pain, she couldn't understand how anyone would want to coo and caw at this thing like it was a fucking baby and like it didn't do anything wrong. Appeal to its heart? What fucking heart? Everyone present was on the verge of death at the hands of this thing, and they were supposed to appeal to it?

But, one thing was certain. Wes was right. All screaming at it was going to do was make everything worse. As mad as she was, she did not want to be the person to set it off again. But she also wasn't going to baby it; she fucking refused.

Flexing her knuckles, she made herself take a breath and settled back against another piece of furniture. The drapion looked like it was on the verge of collapse, and that was a sight for her sore, blurred eyes.

"Let's just...stand back and let it wear itself out..." she huffed. She had no energy to yell anymore. Even as Kimiko began to sing toward it, an act she managed to find admirable between her scorched nerves and whatever reason she felt wary of the snivy, she couldn't bring herself to join in. For the moment, she had no such sort of sympathy to give. Not when she had pins sticking out of her and blood staining her pajamas.

She was tired.
At Odette's shouting, the drapion snarled and readied itself to spring at the mawile, taking it as a threat display. However, before it could retract its claws from the floorboards, Kimiko's song stopped it in its tracks. At first it gave the snivy-turned-pincushion a confused look and then, it slowly swayed and lowered itself to the floor, the soothing notes accentuating its exhaustion. Several long seconds passed before it collapsed on the floorboards with a loud Thunk! Several more moments and everyone would swiftly realise that it was now fast asleep, though there was no telling how long it would remain that way.

...Which lead into the very next problem. What on earth were they going to do with it? How would they even move the thing to begin with? The battle left everyone was ragged, exhausted and in no state to carry it or themselves very far. However, as these questions were being contemplated, the sound of someone shouting at someone could be heard. It was muffled, the words impossible to make out, and after a moment...


From Steven's room, from beyond the jagged edges of the hole left behind by the shadow skorupi, the distinctive ears of a maus, rounded and white popped into view. And then another, and another, and another, and so on. They landed on the floor with squeaks filled with worry and confusion. Chattering amongst themselves, they began to walk towards the fainted pokémon to carry them somewhere, hoisting them up in small groups in order to evenly distribute the weight.

From down the hall, the sound of blunt claws hitting wood was rapidly approaching the wreckage.
As the maus carried the limp body of the drapion away, Odette allowed herself to feel a mix of some relief, some shame, and all the extra exhaustion. Now, she was far more aware of how much pain she was in, but all she could think about was what to do next. A doctor’s visit (gods almighty, no), cleaning up the mess, contacting Nolan because they had a specimen now—

Gods. So much to do. And she was hurting so badly.

“We should…” she was cringing before she even said the words, “…head to the doc’s office.” Some were clearly in worse states than others, and Steven, oh gods, Steven, was he going to be okay?

He would be. He had to be. If they left now. The maus were handling the drapion, which gave them time to go get the help they needed.

They could decide how to proceed once they were no longer in bloody shambles. One step at a time for now.
Archie felt his fur start to stand up again as the Drapion growled at them, but somehow, mercifully, it didn’t immediately move to attack. Was this actually, for real, working? The Oshawott willed himself to remain calm, fearful that any sudden movement might set the Shadow Pokemon off again. It was a good start. Maybe if they kept at it, and were careful, they could walk it all the way to some form of calm.

And then the Mawile started screaming, and just like that all their progress evaporated. Archie grabbed at the Electrike, trying to push him away even as the Drapion’s eyes left them and zeroed in on the source of the noise. But his strength was fading, and the Oshawott realized all at once that, if the Drapion so desired it, they’d both be dead before it was on its way to the Mawile.

Thankfully, it didn’t come to that. Kimiko came to the rescue, putting the monster to sleep before it could work up the rage to climb back to its feet. It apparently took the last of the Snivy’s strength, and she collapsed soon after. But, even with the song stopped, the Drapion did not stir. It really, truly was over. Archie fell to his knees, letting out a breath he didn’t even realize he was holding. But, he willed himself to remain conscious, even as the missing Maus reappeared to tend to their fainted comrades.

He had to face facts; he’d been a liability. He’d contributed nothing to the fight, only distracted the others, abandoned those he’d agreed to help, and gotten himself knocked around for his trouble. Dammit. He was supposed to be better than this, he was a trained combatant, he should’ve known better. Hopefully the others would forgive him.

Still, he was injured, but the others more badly than him. He couldn’t sit here and wallow, especially with the sound of someone else approaching. So he pushed himself back to his feet, and staggered around to face the coming cavalry. They’d likely have questions, once he could hopefully help provide answers to. It was the least he could do.
As the Drapion finally collapsed, a wave of nauseating relief spread through Koa. Mumbling a vague thanks to Archie, he cast Kimiko an unsteady but grateful look as well. At least they'd been helpful, unlike Wes or Odette. The thought of it brought renewed anger surging through him and he wanted to turn and yell at them both. Exhaustion quickly drowned his anger as he realized he was still standing stiffly in the same spot, gaze locked on the unconscious Drapion.

It's over. His heart still thrummed erratically, and his side was beginning to sting and his head hurt. Gingerly he slid properly to the floor before the room spun completely out of control. His stomach churned and everything kept pulsing endlessly. They'd made it.

Everyone was alive. Steven would make it. And Drapion had calmed, at least enough to stop. Even with Odettes interference. That was enough for him. For now.

Instead he took comfort in the memory of Kimiko's lullaby. Even if it had been directed at Drapion, it was still rather calming. The pitter patter of the returning Maus was the final straw in the camerupts back. He watched through half lidded eyes, and realized he should probably ask where they were going. Though he was much more worried with making sure Steven made it to the doctor first...
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The squeaks made Wes jump again—gods-dammit, he had just stopped jumping at every little sound after the wagon fiasco, and now he was back to square one. Probably worse, actually, because now he knew these damn Shadows could come for them in their very beds in the middle of the night. Awesome. Great. As if he needed another contributing factor for sleeping poorly.

But the sight of the Maus (Mais? Mouses? Mausen??) was like a bucket of cool relief had been dumped over him, and Wes felt himself relax for the first time since his rude awakening. Thank the stars. The Shadow was finally downed, help was here, and this hellish night was almost over.

The wrecked floor tilted a little under his paws, but he clenched his jaws and willed himself to stay upright for a little longer, just a little longer until they knew everything would be all right—

“Where are you taking it?” he croaked to the little creatures. “And…and…are you taking us to Drungfield’s? Some of us are in bad shape.” As soon as he said it, he knew that was a stupid question. He watched them hoist up an unconscious Kimiko and realized there couldn’t be anywhere else they were planning to go with his injured teammates.

He glanced around—first at Kimiko, who was thankfully still breathing but who looked like absolute hell. Then at Archie, who was struggling to stay upright, and Koa—shit, he was on the floor now, was he…?—oh, good, he was breathing and even somewhat conscious—and then at Steven, who lay horribly still a few feet away. Wes could only pray that he was still alive; it was impossible to tell from where he stood.

He turned back to Odette and Dave, both of them looking as awful as he felt. “Don’t suppose any of you feel up to making the trek to Drungfield’s to alert her?” Maybe she can even Teleport…gods, I hope so. “If not…I can go.”

He stiffened yet again at the sound of claws on wood and snapped his head around toward the sound, lips curled in a snarl.
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