Session 25

Dawn comes, and with it wakefulness. It is ghostly quiet in the pokemon center; it would seem at first that the party may be the only ones awake and present.
Sam Spade pulls herself upright, performs her morning rituals in perhaps a perfunctory manner, and leaves her room with Malta on her shoulder.
Sam Spade: "…It's too quiet here."
Jack Layfield: "Well that's spooky."
Esme appreciates the ghostly quiet as opposed to last night's ghostly…ghosts. She's up, needle in mouth, screwdriver in hand, fiddling with a tank top.
Esme: "Knowing us, it'll get loud soon enough."
[OOC] WC GM: Remember to get daily training XP. This will be your best time this game-day for it.
Anna Tommize huddles up in her blanket. S-scary…
Sam Spade does wander around the pokemon center, practicing hide-and-seek with Malta with absolutely no ulterior motives.
[OOC] Sam Spade: Aside from Focus and XP training, naturally.
Meanwhile Sandy has gotten into Jack's bag and is now making a huge mess looking for food.
After about an hour comes the smell of coffee and bacon from somewhere in the back. A few minutes later, this is joined by the sound of a squeaky-wheeled cart.
Tim and Sands, who have been playing land-torpedo drills outside, immediately poke their heads through the front door in unison.
Chansey emerges from the corridor behind the front desk with a breakfast cart, not as laden as some the party has seen but apparently sized for just the party.
Sam Spade: "Good morning, Tim, Sands."
Sam Spade: "Good morning, Nurse Chansey."
Tim: "Fooood~!"
Sands: "Saaaaand~!"
Sam Spade gets a peck on the head from Malta for her troubles.
Sam Spade: "…Right. I was hiding, wasn't I."
Sam Spade: "Come on, Malta, it's breakfast time."
Jack Layfield: "Good mor-WOAH!" Sandy bowls over Jack on her way to the food.
Bacon, hash browns, fruit, fruit juice, and coffee dominate the offerings. There is very little in the way of pastry or breads.
Sneeze pops out of his pokeball as well at the prospect of food, appearing standing on top of the back of the now prone Jack
Jack Layfield: "Sneeze, geddoff…can't…breathe…"
There is a little milk, but otherwise no dairy either.
Seeing the approaching party, Chansey leaves the cart in the middle of the lobby and backs off.
Specifically, down the hall to where the party was staying, where she looks to see if any are still in there. "Chan?"
Sam Spade: "Should be Esme, and Anna, and Max, right?"
Anna Tommize rolls around in her blanket.
Anna Tommize: "I dun wanna moveeee…"
Sneeze calmly trots over to the food cart, as Jack gets to his feet and rushes to the food as well, where sandy is already digging in.
Esme finishes up just in time for breakfast, slipping on her new duds. Gervais sleepily waddles from under the bed as she gets up and heads to the cart. "Oh, big boy finally showing himself again, hm?"
Chansey waddles up to Anna's bed and taps her shoulder. "Chaan?"
Anna Tommize: "Whyyyy"
Anna Tommize scrunches her eyes closed. Nooo….
Anna Tommize: "Fine…."
Chansey claps her hands together, smiling. "Chan!"
Anna Tommize proceeds to start rolling around in blanket to try and free herself. Uuugh…
Chansey attempts to pick up Anna wholesale, and if successful tries to carry her to the doorway.
Sam Spade: "…New clothes, Esme?"
[OOC] WC GM: Your call if Chansey succeeds.
Esme: "Sort of. Modified!"
Anna Tommize squawks unintelligibly and struggles harder, to no avail.
Sam Spade: "Oh, neat!"
Anna Tommize: "C-c-clothes! I need clothes!"
Chansey sets Anna on her feet as best she can.
Sam Spade: "Good morning, Anna!"
Anna Tommize pulls the blanket into place.
Anna Tommize: "H-h-hello."
Chansey walks off as if not noticing anything wrong.
Anna Tommize: "I-I'll…be right back…"
Sam Spade: "Aww."
Anna Tommize makes a mad dash down the hall to get dressed and fluff her hair out before returning.
Jack and Sandy continue their mad scrabble to eat Jack's food, while Sneeze casually eats pokemon food.
Esme grabs a handful of grapes, tossing some down to Gervais. "I have been lucky enough to not have been shot at in awhile! But we still get in our little scraps, yes? Just added some minimal protection."
Monica stumbles out from the hall behind the front desk, rumply-haired, eyes half-closed, wearing the same clothes as yesterday. You can tell by the blood and the gash, though underneath it you can barely see a faint scar where she had been pierced through.
Esme: "Speaking of…Should she be up?"
Sam Spade: "Monica!"
Sam Spade takes a few steps towards her.
Sam Spade: "Are…Are you okay?"
Monica comes to a halt, tries to look Sam in the eyes, and moans, "Coffee!"
Sam Spade: "Um. I think Nurse Chansey left some out for us?"
Sam Spade steps up to Monica and guides her to the cart.
Sam Spade: "And based on quantity, I think this milk is here as creamer if you need it."
Monica accepts Sam's assistance, pours herself a cup, and downs it - no creamer, no sugar, straight black - in one shot.
Sam Spade: "Yeah, I didn't think so."
[OOC] Sam Spade: Not in this town, anyway.
Anna Tommize freezes up.
Anna Tommize: "M-Monica…?"
Moments later, Monica's posture firms up and she sets the cup down. "Ahh…thanks for getting me here last night. You're real life savers."
Jack Layfield: "Coffee only deals with blood loss in a roundab- DAMN YOU LITTLE-" Jack is immediately distracted by Sandy grabbing some hash browns of his.
Esme: "It was nothing!"
Sam Spade: "Esme's the one who brought your sword back with us. I don't think the rest of us could have carried it."
Esme: "Sword though. Sword was heavy."
Sam Spade: "Well, not that Esme 'carried' it per se, but she was the only one who could move it."
Anna Tommize: "A-are you sure you're OK…?"
Sam Spade grins at Esme, impressed respect in her eyes.
Monica: "Ah…heh. Thanks." She looks out the front door where the sword still lies. It seems Sands built a small fort around it earlier.
Anna Tommize: "You were…stabbed…?"
Anna Tommize puts a hand on Monica's shoulder. ((Using Blessed Touch.))
Monica smiles. "Not the first time. Probably won't be the last. At least it missed my spine this time. THAT one was painful."
Anna Tommize flinches.
Sam Spade: "The ghosts out there. They really like to fight, huh?"
Monica relaxes into Anna's touch. "Hmmh…looks like Nurse Joy isn't the only healer in town. Thanks."
Monica: "Well yeah. Many of 'em are ghosts of residents of this town. Someone's got to oblige them or the pillars get all messed up."
Anna Tommize: "I-I'm not a healer, ma'am…"
Sam Spade: "How'd they manage to handle your sword? That thing's huge!"
Jack Layfield: "She lifts, bro."
Sam Spade: "Jack, I meant-"
Sam Spade sighs and rolls her eyes.
Monica: "They don't. And…" She looks at Anna, wearing a forced smile. "Please don't 'ma'am' me? I'm not THAT much older than you."
Anna Tommize: "S-sorry Ma'am…I-I-I mean, er…"
Sam Spade: "So that Jack here can understand, I meant to ask what kind of ghost pokemon attacked you."
Anna Tommize looks around for someone to save her. Sam's comment provides a decent distraction for Anna to shift posture.
Esme: "Indeed! Nobody else was around when we found you."
Sam Spade: "Was your rival satisfied by…" * visible gulp * "…nailing you to a pillar with your sword?"
Monica: "Strong ones. A couple gengars, a dusknoir, pretty sure there was a chandelure and a mismagius in there too."
Sam Spade whistles softly.
Monica winces. "Yeaaah, that was pretty much the end of the fight."
Monica: "So hey, how'd you fare?"
Anna Tommize: "M-Maybe a normal type would…"
Anna Tommize: "Be helpful, for you?"
Monica: "I was worried I wouldn't be able to come to your rescue, but you seemed to do alright?"
Monica: "Ehh…I don't want to subject anyone else to that if I don't have to."
Meeps bumps Anna sideways.
Anna Tommize yips and stumbles to the side.
Jack Layfield: "That seems hella bad if it happens on the regular."
Esme: "That would be why people avoid the place, no?"
Esme: "At least at night…"
Monica: "It was worse than usual 'cause that mewtwo had kept them down. It should relax now."
Sam Spade: "To an extent, anyway."
Sam Spade: "Given that you've gotten stabbed before."
Sam Spade: "…Why is it only you who goes there at night? In a town like Dojoholm, there have to be other people who are ready for a fight."
Monica: "You'd think that! But these are ghosts. Fighting type moves just don't work on them. That makes them boring, I guess…?"
Sam Spade: "…Huh."
Sam Spade frowns.
Sam Spade: "…Or, perhaps, less rewarding?"
Monica shrugs.
Sam Spade: "If the skills that you've spent all your time learning are useless, then you might be angry about having to go to such a fight."
Esme: "Yeah, Fighting and Normal don't do so well against spirits."
Sam Spade: "…And I suppose, even if your sword counts as 'steel type,' you did say that nobody else in town uses them much at all."
Monica: "Yeah! That's my theory about why some of the ghost-" Monica is abruptly GLOMPED from behind by Nurse Joy.
Jack Layfield: "Whoa!"
Monica looks down at the hands on her chest. "Umm. Good morning."
Nurse Joy: "Monica! Oh thank goodness! When they brought you in last night-"
Jack Layfield: "Aggressive medical care here."
Monica: "You've patched me up before, plenty of times."
Nurse Joy: "I know! But please stop relying on it! If you bled out completely - I can't bring back the dead!"
Monica: "It's fine, it's fine."
Nurse Joy: "It is not fine and you know MMMPH!" Chansey begins force-feeding pills to Nurse Joy, tickling her chin to get her to swallow them.
Monica takes the moment to unbuckle Nurse Joy's hands and exit the glomp.
Sam Spade frowns.
Sam Spade: "…Chansey…? Just what are those pills?"
Monica: "Stabilizers. Thanks, Chansey."
Anna Tommize: "E-err…"
Anna Tommize: "Are you two…close?"
Jack Layfield: "Aggressive medical care even for the staff, wow."
Indeed, less than a minute later, Nurse Joy stands up straight, hands at her sides, eyes seeming a bit glassy. "Ohh…I hope…please come again." Her voice is a pleasant near-monotone.
Sam Spade: "Um."
Sam Spade: "That's a lot of stabilizer."
Monica: "Well she's certainly a friend."
Sam Spade eyes Chansey suspiciously.
Monica: "Yeeeah…she needs it to get through her day, sometimes."
Sam Spade: "I…"
Esme: "Hum."
Sam Spade hesitates.
Monica: "I special-ordered them once Chansey explained the situation."
Sam Spade: "…I suppose a Nurse…oh?"
The front door opens suddenly. A machoke carries to the front desk a gi-clad man who is missing his left leg below his knee.
Sam Spade: "Yeah, a nurse in a town like this might need a bit of…extra…"
Sam Spade bites her lip and watches Nurse Joy's reaction.
Nurse Joy: "Excuse me." She walks with no urgency to behind the front desk. "Hello. Will this be pokemon treatment, human treatment, or both?"
Machoke: "Maaa." He offers the human in his hands.
Anna Tommize gulps.
Anna Tommize: "P-Please never give them t-to me…"
Sam Spade: "Me, neither."
Esme pats Anna. "We won't."
Nurse Joy: "Let me see your injured companion for a moment." She gets out a large tray and loads the man onto it, then wheels it behind the ceiling-to-floor pokemon healing device.
Lights come from back there for half a minute, then Nurse Joy wheels the tray and human - leg completely regenerated - back to the machoke. "Your person is fully healed. Please come again."
Jack blinks.
The machoke takes the man back, bows slightly, and leaves.
Sam Spade snickers a little at that phrasing.
Jack Layfield: "Waaaaaat."
Anna Tommize: "Thanks…"
Anna Tommize: "Umm. M-Monica? Are stabilizers…common…around here..?"
Tim just stands there, jaw open, and blinks. Sands mirrors his pose.
Monica: "No? I special ordered them for Nurse Joy."
Anna Tommize: "I…see."
Monica: "C'mon, let's get out of here before the morning rush arrives."
Esme: "Guessing the residents also have late nights?"
Nurse Joy stands up straighter. "Mmmm…mon…"
Monica looks toward the front desk. "Hmm?"
Nurse Joy gathers her words, then, "Please come again."
Monica shrugs. "Sure." And exits.
Jack Layfield: "Why does she need those pills?"
Sam Spade gives Nurse Joy a quick, friendly hug, says, "Thank you very much!" , and heads out after Monica.
Sam Spade: "Because a Nurse who sees this kind of damage, day in, and day out, would probably go insane."
Sam Spade: "…And maybe already has, or has come too close to it."
Esme waves, as she leaves with the crew.
Monica waves a finger toward Sam. "You've got it. At least, I think that's what Chansey said."
Anna Tommize waves, nervously.
Monica: "And this town? We need her, sane."
Monica: "Chansey was pretty insistent that I was the only one who could help her, and she was probably right."
Monica: "So you're going to be in that exhibition today, right? See if you can win your badge that way?"
Sam Spade: "Yeah, if Diablo doesn't have anything else he'd rather have us do."
Sam Spade: "…Truth be told, I'd rather try to demonstrate my fighting spirit in a fight Malta and I can win, anyway."
Sam Spade: "Right, Malta?"
Monica snickers. "Tch. My dad? Yeah, he'll have you fighting, in public, no matter what. Especially since you're the first journeying trainers to come by in a while."
Sam Spade eyes Monica. She has the vague idea that drugging Joy out of her mind was not what Chansey meant. She doesn't know how to approach the problem.
Sam Spade: "Your-"
Sam Spade pauses.
Sam Spade: "huh."
[OOC] Sam Spade: Lack of capitalization intentional.
Esme: "Double huh!"
Jack Layfield: "I guess us gym leader kids gotta stick together."
Monica: "Oh? Which one's your old man, or la-" She peers at the group.
Monica points at Anna suddenly. "Ah HA! Now I know what's been bugging me!"
Sam Spade snickers.
Sam Spade: "That said, I think it's only Jack and Anna…though…Esme?"
Sam Spade casts an inquiring look her way.
Esme whistles.
Monica: "You…look like Tommize's daughter, the one who came through here a while ago. You're her sister, aren't you?"
Jack Layfield: "I guess Layfields just aren't recognizable huh." Jack almost pouts.
Monica: "Layf-oh! Oh, riiight, Jack Layfield, wasn't it? I saw you in that Ice Cove ribbon event!"
Sam Spade: "Well, that and Dojoholm is directly adjacent to Wirehold."
Anna Tommize: "T-Tommize is…e-err…"
Anna Tommize: "Tommizes are…I-I mean…"
Anna Tommize: "My family can be a bit…"
Monica: "To be honest I shipped you with this one's sister a bit." She gestures to Anna. "Tee hee, two coordinators in rivalry~…"
Anna Tommize: "Eeeh!?"
Jack Layfield: "Say whaaaaaaaat?"
Anna Tommize: "M-My sister h-hasn't been around for years!"
Max Thorn yawns hugely as he follows the group out of the center…five minutes later.
Sam Spade: "Max! You could sleep through all that?"
Anna Tommize: "W-when'd you see her…?"
Monica: "Ehh? A bit under a month ago."
Monica: "She was here for a week. We hung out together."
Anna Tommize: "My sister's been…in Amoda…?"
Sam Spade: "Well, thank Anna, she must have distracted Nurse Chansey enough to forget that you were with us."
Anna Tommize: "P-Please tell me everything!"
Max Thorn: "I sleep like a rock when I desperately need it, so yes."
Anna Tommize lunges forward and grabs Monica's hand.
Anna Tommize: "My sister is…M-My sister was…"
Monica blinks at Anna's outburst, but shrugs. "There's not much to tell? I mean, now that I think of it she mentioned an Anna - she must've been talking about you."
Anna Tommize: "I…miss her…"
Anna Tommize: "S-she wasn't always the best person but still…"
Anna Tommize lowers her head and lets Monica's hand go.
Anna Tommize: "So please…"
Monica: "Oh! Now I remember! She said she was looking forward to her little sister finally going on her journey so she could meet her again!"
Anna Tommize sniffs a bit.
Anna Tommize: "N-no way…"
Sam Spade: "Wow. For some reason that sounds a lot like she really doesn't like visiting home. Probably nothing to do with your mother, though."
Malta whistles innocently.
Esme claps her hands together. "Lovely!"
Jack Layfield: "I'm getting the impression your sister was mad harsh on you Anna?"
Anna Tommize: "No, not harsh…"
Anna Tommize: "S-she was…"
Monica: "And she was wearing this flashy outfit. At first I thought she was heralding some new Team, but once I learned she was a coordinator I figured it was just her style."
Anna Tommize lowers her head.
Sam Spade raises an eyebrow.
Max Thorn eyes Malta. "'choo whistling innocently for?"
Malta cheeps at Max.
Anna Tommize: "She was…headstrong…and, umm…uncompromising."
Max Thorn: "Uh huh. 'Nothing', is it? Folks don't just do that out of the blue, so I'm afraid I don't believe you."
Jack Layfield: "So lots of fights with your parents then huh."
Anna Tommize nods slowly.
Jack starts whistling.
Anna Tommize: "But she was also…bright…"
Malta hops, wiggles, and bounces on Sam's shoulder, interspicing that with random peeps and chirps.
Sam Spade: "Malta, he doesn't need to know that."
Malta cheeps resignedly.
Max Thorn: "…well, then. Maybe we can talk about it some other time, if you'd like."
Monica: "Yeah. She could've brightened up this whole town, if she wanted."
Monica: "But after a week she said we had our own vibe, and it wasn't her place to mess with it."
Anna Tommize: "That…sounds like Hera."
Monica: "Hmm…actually…" She picks up the pace and heads for the pokemart.
Monica: "We took a picture together. Maybe you can confirm if it was her?"
It does not take long to reach the store. Monica unlocks and heads in, digging behind the counter.
Monica: "Ah ha, here it is." She lays a photo on the counter. Two ladies against a background of Pillar Field. One is Monica; one is a fully grown up, bustier, redder-skinned Anna wearing a familiar storm-grey-patterned uniform, though she does make it look more fashionable.
Monica: "Is that her?"
Sam Spade blinks at that uniform. She'd been wondering.
Jack Layfield: "…OH COME ON!! REALLY, SHE'S ONE OF THEM!!!"
Sam Spade: "That's shocking."
Sam Spade: "…It's…"
Anna Tommize sighs.
Anna Tommize: "Y-yeah…"
Sam Spade is reminded of the way the Machoke carried the human into the pokecenter.
Anna Tommize crosses her arms.
Anna Tommize: "Sis…"
Sam Spade: "Though I can see why she'd have left. The normal human-pokemon relationship doesn't apply in Dojoholm…"
Monica: "One of who?"
Jack Layfield: "Team…uh…it'll come to me…Torn Shroud? Exploloud? Something like that."
Sandy: "Sandi sand, sandile!"
Esme: "Stupid Pichu."
Sam Spade: "Stormderp."
Sam Spade: "Well, that's not what they call themselves."
Sam Spade: "They call themselves Stormcloud."
Monica: "Whoa, whoa, wait, she really WAS part of a Team?"
Jack Layfield: "That can't be it Sam. Stormcloud is too simple, too obvious."
Sam Spade: "But…well, they're run by pokemon, near as we can tell. And Pokemon don't necessarily understand humans that well."
Esme: "Outfit matches, at least."
Malta chirps offendedly.
Sam Spade: "Most Pokemon don't necessarily understand humans that well."
Jack Layfield: "Team normal loud?"
Monica: "Huh. She was going on about wanting freedom for people and pokemon. I thought that was just academic theory, not anything real."
Sam Spade: "I couldn't tell you how much she believed it, not knowing her."
Sam Spade: "But that definitely would seem to be Stormderp's stated goal."
Jack Layfield: "Yeah they're real radicals. I mean I even get the intention, but like, people and pokemon get hurt by their shenanigans."
Esme ponders.
Esme: "Well, people got hurt when they were trying to rid themselves of you, and mostly their pokemon got hurt when we crashed their blimp…"
Esme: "And the po-…Source thing was them getting tricked… What else have they done?"
Max Thorn: "And they're too willing to take action on mere word, without attempting to verify the situation first."
Sam Spade: "They made weapons."
Monica: "She said she was helping her friends look around for what needed doing, but she said nothing was needed around here, we were fine."
Sam Spade: "Weapons are meant to hurt."
Sam Spade: "So…"
Sam Spade frowns
Monica: "Though…she seemed to really like that few trainers came by for a while. She said that meant the Jaegers leave us alone, which is true."
Sam Spade: "Did she carry any pokeballs?"
Monica: "Not that I saw. She had a few pokemon following her around but she never recalled them."
Monica: "Well…wait. No. There WERE three balls…"
Sam Spade: "Then I wonder if Stormcloud is fundamentally opposed to the traditional trainer-pokemon relationship…?"
Sam Spade looks at Malta for a bit.
Monica: "And she mentioned that one of her friends was just too pretty and glamorous, and wanted to stay 'inside' when it wasn't time to shine."
Anna Tommize lowers her head.
Sam Spade: "Oh, and Esme? If it helps, my first encounter with Team Stormderp ended with me in a chair and them pulling a trigger on a gun. If Malta hadn't helped out, I wouldn't be here."
Max Thorn: "I don't think it's that…they seem to have a pokémon-first ideology."
Esme perks. "A-Ah! Then yeah, pretty bad."
Anna Tommize: "Sis wouldn't…"
Anna Tommize: "Sis never really needed balls."
Anna Tommize: "At least, her Flaafy never wanted to get in one."
Monica: "Yeah. She struck me as the type who…"
Monica blinks.
Monica: "Flaafy? She didn't have one that I saw. Unless that was that 'friend' who never came out."
Anna Tommize: "…What…?"
Jack Layfield: "Keeping pokemon outside balls is fine really. Its the pokemon who wait in their balls until they have the perfect chance to AMBUSH you that are the problem." Jack glares at Sandy. Sandy looks innocent.
Anna Tommize: "She wouldn't…"
Max Thorn: "Describe her pokéballs for me, please?"
Max Thorn: "Like, did they have any cases on them, anything like that?"
Monica shakes her head. "Cased up with sparkle and patterns. If you want what type of balls they were, I couldn't see through that."
Max Thorn taps into his pokédex, then holds it up. "I'm specifically wondering if they might have had an indication of being Lock cases, like the one modeled here."
Max Thorn: "I ask primarily because Lock cases can prevent pokémon from opening the balls themselves."
Monica peers. "Hmm…could have been? I mean it didn't look totally different, but she wasn't the type of friend who'd let me grab her balls and study them, if you know what I mean." She winks.
Anna Tommize: "Sis…"
Anna Tommize puts her face in her hands.
Max Thorn: "G'heh. Figured I'd ask, because that kind of thing, while not illegal, is frowned upon in most circles."
Sam Spade grins at that, letting a little flush rise into her cheeks.
Esme: "S-so…"
Anna Tommize shows her face again.
Anna Tommize: "My sister…joined a cult…?"
Sam Spade: "It happens."
Sam Spade puts an arm around Anna's shoulder. From the side opposite Meeps.
Anna Tommize: "Is it…is it my fault…"
Sam Spade: "Don't be ridiculous. She made her decisions for herself."
Anna Tommize: "I-I should have been braver…gone with her…"
Sam Spade: "You're not responsible for the problems in the world, and you weren't ready to leave home yet."
Anna Tommize: "I can't believe she'd leave her partner behind…"
Anna Tommize looks at Monica and starts tearing up.
Anna Tommize: "Y-you didn't stop her…?"
Anna Tommize sniffs.
Monica: "I had no reason to."
Anna Tommize: "Of course…"
Anna Tommize: "I…I need some time."
Monica: "I don't think she left anyone here, though."
Anna Tommize saunters off back to her room, Meeps rubbing up against her.
Anna finds the center increasingly crowded with examples of why Nurse Joy takes the stabilizers, but nobody else is in the trainer room suite just now.
Monica bites her lip. "…good thing that girl has friends like you around."
Sam Spade: "I hope she's okay…"
Sam Spade: "…Friends are really important in getting through hard times."
Sam Spade: "More important, I think, than - but, no, that's really not my place."
Monica: "Anyway! So, I took the liberty of enrolling you in the exhibition. Format's to be announced on site - my dad just LOVES his drama…" Monica eyerolls. "…but just show up and I'm sure you'll do fine."
Sam Spade blanches slightly.
Sam Spade: "Yay?"
Esme: "Do fine, huh."
Max Thorn: "Well. Guess we'll find out."
Sam Spade: "Malta, do you think we'll do fine?"
Malta peeps and settles her feathers. She's not worried.
Sam Spade: "…Well, good."
Jack Layfield: "Huh."
Monica: "Well, enough to get your badge, anyway. I mean, tch, ours is probably the most-awarded badge of all 18."
Sam Spade: "We did see someone not get awarded it yesterday."
Monica: "Anyone who shows enough fighting spirit qualifies. Don't even have to be a trainer - and most who get it aren't. I don't know if it officially counts for them, though."
Sam Spade: "Oh."
Max Thorn: "Probably not from a League standpoint, but I'm sure it's relevant in martial arts circles all the same."
Sam Spade: "Well, that would bring up the average quite a bit…"
Sam Spade: "And reduce the interest that the Boss has…as well as Team Stormderp."
Monica: "Well, I mean, you'd know, right? You're trainers. I hear Team Jaeger starts a whole lot of trainers on their journeys at the same time these days."
Sam Spade: "That they do."
Monica: "So…where are the other trainers?"
Sam Spade: "We went a different route from most of those who set out at the same time we did…"
Sam Spade: "I don't know where they went, though. Or if they gave up…"
Esme: "We barely spoke to them! I'm curious as to how much success they've encountered, comparatively."
Max Thorn: "If I had to guess, their first badge might've given them some overconfidence issues."
Sam Spade: "Plus we had a couple shortcuts. We took an…exceptionally direct route to Ice Cove. And then a very speedy trip to Foundry Town from Ice Cove."
Sam Spade: "That…yeah."
Sam Spade: "I can see the problem, though. I mean, we had that same kind of 'fight' in Ice Cove, and from what we saw yesterday at the Pokemart, I was expecting the same thing here. I'm really only hoping it doesn't come down to that."
Monica: "Come to what?"
Sam Spade bites her lip and thinks of a way to explain it.
Sam Spade: "Well, the Jaeger rules say that a single trainer can only have so many pokemon, and so most Gym leaders only have pokemon that are at their absolute peak."
Sam Spade: "So a fight between a trainer on their journey and a gym leader can really only go one way - it's hard for even a brave and tough girl like Malta to do anything that a pokemon that much more powerful will even notice."
Esme: "Sammy wants a /real/ match."
Sam Spade: "I mean…we're still gonna try and win. That's just obvious."
Sam Spade: "But I'd like, if we fail, to know that it's because we messed up, or we did something wrong. Not just that every lucky thing didn't come down in our favor to even give us a chance."
Sam Spade: "And from the battle we saw at Metro Beach, and the one yesterday with Diablo at the pokemart - that's what I saw."
Max Thorn: "That's…probably what the exhibition's about. To show your mettle against foes with similar experience, before you face the leader."
Sam Spade: "You lose, kid, but it was a good effort, here's your prize."
Sam Spade: "Yeah. And I can live with that, if that's how it goes."
Sam Spade: "If Malta can make her way to the top rung of a tournament and only then face Diablo's pokemon? Then we'll know she did something amazing."
Sam Spade: "But I find the idea of getting rewarded for trying hard enough…distasteful."
Monica snickers.
Max Thorn: "It's not about trying hard enough, I don't think. But rather, losing gracefully. I noticed Diablo's conversation with the younger trainer…"
Monica: "Yeaaah, just TRY telling that to my dad."
Max Thorn: "Still, though. While it's valuable to know the taste of defeat, we've already had that."
Esme: "The trick is to learn from it!" She pauses. "I still prefer winning, though."
Max Thorn: "Indeed."
Sam Spade: "Who doesn't?"
Monica's cash register beeps. She examines it. "Oh! Exhibition details just came out…hmm…"
Sam Spade: "Oh?"
Sam Spade: "Should…we have already signed up? Or…?"
Monica: "Well. It looks like you won't have to worry about winning by losing."
Monica shakes her head. "I said, I registered you."
Sam Spade: "Oh, thanks! Sorry, I may have been distracted."
Monica: "Hmm. You're working together, right?"
Sam Spade: "…Technically, at the very least."
Sam Spade winks at Esme.
Monica: "Then you've got this. Last ones standing get a badge."
Esme blinks.
Monica: "It's a free for all."
Max Thorn: "Works for me."
Sam Spade: "Well, well."
Esme: "Oh."
Esme: "Any…restrictions?"
Monica: "One pokemon per trainer at a time. I don't see anything here about teams."
Monica: "So if you just stand together after knocking everyone else out, that *should* do it."
Sam Spade: "Huh."
Sam Spade: "Would leave- oh, at a time."
Monica: "My dad's refereeing, but he's not participating. You'll be facing other trainers."
Sam Spade: "So Sneeze and Sandy can both participate, but not at the same time…"
Esme: "Hmm… I'm not sure if Lucrece is ready for a big tournament… they handled the Gastly pretty well, though."
Max Thorn muses to himself… Nook could use some experience, but he'd get pasted by the fighting-types…so it'll have to be Antheia…
Malta is prepared.
Esme: "Guess Gervy'll handle it!"
Jack Layfield: "Hmmm, I can lose to fighting types or get totally wasted by fighting types, I guess lose. Sandy, you're up!"
Monica: "You're the only participants from out of…oh, wait, no, there's one other visitor."
Max Thorn: "…oh?"
Esme: "Well, I could maybe help you lose a /little/ less, if you want."
Monica: "Yeah! A…huh, wait, this can't be right."
Max Thorn leans over the counter and has a look.
Monica turns around the cash register, showing a display currently showing the other visitor. "It says she's a gym leader. But that can't be right; what would Cheri be doing here?"

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