Session 61

Dawn breaks, the sun poking up over the sea. Sleep has been somewhat peaceful, despite the tent being far from level; the branches are dense enough to support sleeping bags here and there.
Malta chirps with the morning sun.
Linnea is already up early, to enjoy the fresh air after being stuck in caves for what felt like Melo knows how long. She'd climbed down and would be seen dowsing if anyone else poked their head out.
Indeed, as the party regains consciousness, they see Sands looking at the tree trunk as if evaluating whether he could dig into it. Tim's stern hand blocking his way shows what Tim thinks of the idea, though Tim otherwise seems possibly still asleep.
Linnea rolled up 7d6, success >= 4, exploding >= 6: 3 4 5 6 3 3 2 6 2 (2 explosions)
Linnea rolled up 7d6, success >= 4, exploding >= 6: 6 3 5 3 4 5 1 5 (1 explosions)
Linnea rolled up 7d6, success >= 4, exploding >= 6: 6 5 3 1 4 5 2 1 (1 explosions)
Esme is up to her semi-usual shenanigans, despite the treetop conditions. Beakers and vials are scattered around her, as she chips away at what looks to be a crystal red crown. "…aaand Done~!"
Linnea, for once, finds shards of two colors - a roughly even split between yellow and violet.
Linnea would earperk, if she were a cat. Nonetheless, she pockets her loot and makes her way back to the base of the tree the tent ended up in.
Linnea: "'Ey, rise and shine, folks!"
Sam Spade: "Whadja make, Esme?"
Max Thorn gets breakfast going as Esme crafts.
Tim finally succumbs to wakefulness, shoos Sands out of the tree, and begins packing up the tent. Sands begins rolling around the hill the tree is at the top of, in wider and wider circles.
The meal this morning is warmed pockets of dough surrounding either a sausage link or cream cheese, with fruit juice in pouches.
Linnea idly marvels at the miracle of evolution that led to sandshrews not getting impossibly disoriented every time they did that.
Sam Spade is kneeling in front of Chicklet, holding up hands and letting Chicklet practice punches.
Esme: "Just an attack booster… and a bunch of Enhancers…" She thumbs to a pile behind her. "A few more plates. Been a bit since I had time to sit and work."
Esme: "Any luck with the dowsing, Linn?"
Linnea waves upward. "Eh average as always. Two different kinds here, though! Yellow and violet."
A second sun dawns in the north…wait, that's just a small convoy of airships arriving at Onix Peaks…and a familiar charizard with rider, tail flame glowing extra-bright.
Linnea: "We're at the border between worlds."
Esme: "Huh. Lemme go check it out, then."
Esme rolled up 10d6, success >= 4, exploding >= 6: 5 6 2 2 1 3 6 3 1 3 6 3 6 3 (4 explosions)
Esme rolled up 10d6, success >= 4, exploding >= 6: 3 4 4 2 3 6 4 5 6 1 1 1 (2 explosions)
Esme rolled up 10d6, success >= 4, exploding >= 6: 2 1 3 3 2 2 5 2 2 5 (0 explosions)
[OOC] Esme: 7/6 Violet Yellow ayyyy
Esme returns, having started scrambling when she saw there violet in the mix. "That IS odd. But not complaining."
Once the tent is fully packed, Tim disappears into the leaves…until he drops, pouncing-predator-like, on the assembled breakfast, hauling away a portion for himself and Sands. He almost bounces away, meeting up with Sands who rolls to a stop, and they get busy nomming in mirror-perfect synchronized moves.
Linnea: "… That's uncanny."
Linnea: "Almost makes me think there's more than just Mewtwo synchronization."
Max Thorn: "Eh. Partners with a particularly deep bond do that kind of thing; I can send you an article or two on that, later."
Linnea: "Oh, really? I'd like that, I think. Just something I've been working away on in the back of my mind…"
Max Thorn: "I've even heard that some regions are able to demonstrate special powers when trainers and their pokemon move in sync with one another."
Esme: "What, those weird Aura guys?"
Linnea: "Wow… though, that's the dream, isn't it?"
Linnea: "Mega Evolution?"
Max Thorn: "No…these ones use some weird 'Z crystal' thing to do it."
Max Thorn: "We don't have those in Amoda, though."
Esme: "Always something else…"
Linnea: "Ooooh! I think I know a bit about those! Those turn up in TV shows an awful lot."
Linnea: "Mostly for the dances, I think…"
Sam Spade: "Sounds neat, but…"
Linnea: "But what?"
Sam Spade: "But not all that relevant to us? Unless Tim or Sands has one of those."
Max Thorn: "I doubt it. Just, like I said, a particularly deep bond."
Tim, having destroyed his breakfast such that not even a scrap remains in evidence, leans back and sighs. "Nope! Though I heard one of the research projects at Sandbar Harbor was so we don't need symbols to represent our bonds."
Tim: "So, like, a trainer could BE a Mega Stone or a Z-crystal, or supply the critical part of it anyway."
Linnea: "What."
Linnea: "That's amazing."
Tim: "I haven't heard if they've made any progress. Could be just a pipe dream."
Linnea: "Well, dreams are everything to folks like me."
Tim: "Let me know when you're ready. I talked Sands out of more sledding, but this Route's mostly downhill."
Linnea: "I'm ready. Got up super early this morning to enjoy the open space."
Sam spends some more time with her pokemon to ensure they're ready for a day's work.
Max Thorn packs up the remainder of the gear, then shrugs on his pack and goes through the tree down to the ground, /then/ does his daily training. Amaterasu wags through her grooming, of course. Y'know, as dogs do.
The path is indeed mostly downhill. It turns out the sled and jump made more progress than it first seemed; the day's journey ends well inside the woodlands native to this part of Amoda. While not too dense, the redwood trees stretch far above the party, some growing taller than the hill the party slept upon.
Sam Spade: "Wow."
Here and there, some trees host whole colonies of pokemon - like vertical pokemon cities, both on the surface and carved inside.
Linnea: "This place is ooooooooolllllllllllllllld."
The Route, while not paved, is clearly marked, almost a world apart from the Routes around Rustle Fields.
Its "35" becomes like a sigil, each signpost visible from the previous and the next.
A light rainshower passes over the party just as they reach the trees. The canopies do not provide perfect cover, in particular not covering the entire Route, but keep the party dry enough.
Linnea peers at the signs as she walks. She pauses a moment and closes her eyes, trying to sense… is there something strange about them?
[OOC] Linnea: Roll Occult, maybe?
[OOC] WC GM: No need. Giving results based on her skill.
Linnea: "There might be something to these signs…"
At first the signs seem to just be signs, imposing a way through just being there…but with some concentration, Linnea can detect a slight magical signature about them. It is hard to tell if this was induced, or just naturally arose due to their being well maintained over…the Routes allegedly existed since the towns they connect were founded, but these signposts can not be more than a few decades old.
Max Thorn: "Did you see something?"
Linnea: "There's some kind of magic about them. Well kept, and seem relatively new compared to the roads."
Linnea: "What kind of magic, I don't know. They could be some kind of demarcation or magical sensor wire."
Linnea: "It doesn't feel solid, like a barrier."
Max Thorn: "Hm. Would you be able to take a closer look and find out more, or…?"
[OOC] WC GM: Occult check if you are looking closer.
Linnea steps nearer to one of the signs, laying a hand upon it.
Linnea rolled up 6d6: 21 (4 1 5 2 4 5)
Linnea: "Oh, so I see…"
Linnea: "They are signposts in both a magical and a mundane sense."
Linnea: "So you can always make your way down the road, regardless of the surrounding situation."
Linnea: "Like…like…"
Linnea pales slightly.
Linnea: "Like a fire, or something."
Linnea looks around, uneasily.
Sam Spade: "Please tell me that was a hypothetical."
Sam Spade: "That just occurred to you."
Linnea: "No. They're built for resistance."
Linnea: "Something like this happened in the past, and these were built to make absolutely sure people made their way."
The woodlands are very healthy. If there has been a fire here, either it has not been for a long time, or the pokemon somehow buried or regenerated the trees over any evidence of it.
Max Thorn: "Seems like a sensible precaution for wildfire risks."
Linnea: "I wanna say I'm just being paranoid, but…reasonings."
Sam Spade: "…Right."
Esme: "…Yeah, nobody makes barriers just for giggles. Usually, anyway. Lemme see!"
Esme rolled up 6d6+1: 24 (3 5 6 5 3 1) (Spoopy?)
Sam Spade: "Yeah, but if they're long-standing barriers, that makes sense. Forest fires happen, after all. Especially on a continent with Iggy."
Linnea shudders. "And you thought -I- was jinxing it."
Linnea: "Guh, which reminds me of something I need t'do next time we get a break."
Esme: "It's more…to serve as a guide."
Sam Spade: "I'm not worried about jinxing it."
Esme: "Whoever put these up, really, really, /really/ did not want anyone to get lost."
Esme: "Which isn't foreboding at all!"
Linnea: "No joke, right?"
Sam Spade: "I was asking whether you were talking about a hypothetical, 'yeah we'd be able to find our way in the middle of a fire,' or a not-hypothetical, 'WHICH IS GOOD BECAUSE I CAN ALSO FEEL A FIRE.'"
Max Thorn: "Hm. Did it feel like Shaymin?"
Sam Spade: "And you said it was the former, so."
Linnea: "I wonder if there's more to this path than there is here on the physical plane."
Esme: "…would explain the shard distribution."
Just then, from up ahead, comes a fire-like crackling. And, in the early evening twilight, a reddish glow visible from behind a tree. Tim and Sands are not immediately in sight.
Linnea: "Well fuck me, I had to say something."
Sam Spade: "Tim? Sands?"
[OOC] Sam Spade: So we've been walking all day?
[OOC] WC GM: Yeah.
Max Thorn: "…"
[OOC] Sam Spade: Kay, just making sure
[OOC] WC GM: You knew walking this Route would be a multi-day affair. They usually are.
[OOC] Sam Spade: Yeah
Max Thorn dashes forward at a dead run, pulling Suijin's ball off his belt as he runs.
Sam Spade follows, Chicklet at her heels.
Max and Sam dash around the tree and finds…Tim and Sands setting up a campfire. Tim looks up. "Oh, hey!"
Linnea sends out Miator and takes off after Max.
Sam Spade: "Hey Tim."
Tim: "This looks like a good place to camp. There was even a fire ring set up." He points to a circle of stones containing the campfire.
Sam Spade: "Oh, handy."
Sam Spade: "….I think."
Linnea: "O-oh."
Tim: "Is it just me, or is this Route unusually…well…Route-y? Or something?"
Sam Spade: "Hmm?"
Sam Spade: "What do you mean?"
Mia huffs and just stares at Linnea. Who sheepishly just returns her to the pokeball.
Tim shrugs. "I dunno. I just…got the feeling that even if we all died or something, we'd still make it to town."
Max Thorn skids to a halt, kicking up some loose dirt. "Designed that way to ensure nobody gets lost in the event of a disaster, we think."
Linnea: "This route is suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper guided."
Esme: "Yeah, but think of all the other ones. We almost got buried in an avalanche!"
Linnea: "SEE? I'm not the only one thinking that then!"
Tim: "You too? Huh. I guess it makes sense, then. I mean, given where we're headed."
Max Thorn: "Well…this /is/ a route to Elysium Valley…"
Sam Spade: "Yeah, that makes sense."
Linnea: "…"
Esme looks up a quick guide on Elysium Valley in her Pokedex. As a refresher, obviously.
Linnea immediately sets about making some Cleanse Tags while they're camped.
[OOC] Linnea: So, four for this current night.
Sam Spade sits next to Linnea for comfort.
A couple pidgeots and a staraptor, each with a stick in their beaks, swoop in near the fire just long enough to catch their torches alight, then swoop back into the sky to bring fire to their nests.
Linnea works feverishly putting all the right flourishes and lines into each talisman. When she's done, she leans heavily against Sam, relieved and somewhat exhausted.
Max Thorn sends Lin the articles he was talking about this morning, then gets the hot dogs, buns, and marshmallows out. Why waste a perfectly good campfire?
Linnea: "Why, why didn't I think of this before…"
Esme finds a map of Elysium easily enough. Oddly, the town seems to be in the shape of a ring at the lip of the valley, with a large unlabeled purple mass filling in the valley. The pokemon gym is at the center of it.
Sam Spade puts an arm around Linnea, then looks at the map of Elysium.
Rotating the map shows the gym is floating on top of the purple mass.
Linnea: "…I'm not gonna be able to sleep while we're staying in there, am I?"
Sam Spade hesitates.
Esme: "Interesting setup…"
Esme also finds an entry on the Routes leading to Elysium Valley. Sure enough, the signposts are renewed every 20 years, in a slightly-over-a-month-long ceremonial migration covering each of the routes, to and fro, in ascending numerical order. Officially, they are to guide the dead to their final resting place.
Esme plops down, setting up her usual circle. "Yup. Definitely for souls."
Linnea: "Mrghle…"
Allegedly, the surrounding trees absorb the souls once they are finally ready to rest.
Max Thorn: "Well…you could work yourself into exhaustion?"
Linnea: "I could…but then I'd be mentally vulnerable."
Linnea: "I'll…I'll think of something."
Max Thorn: "Nothing to craft to keep you safe at night? Or, perhaps, redirect the threat to something else?"
There is also an ad for something called "soulshoes" .
Linnea: "I mean that's what the tags are for, I'm just super jumpy."
Linnea: "This place is out of my wheelhouse of weird."
Esme: "Wow, that's very weird."
Linnea: "It's more I'm into fae, not ghosts."
The ad comes with no context for what they are, though they seem to be snowshoe-like constructions with prayer strips instead of the usual dense mesh.
Linnea pauses, then snorts. "No, not like that."
Sam Spade blinks
Esme: "Well, looks like you're not the only one, at least." She gestures towards the ad for Lin.
Esme: "You're part of a marketing demographic!"
Sam Spade: "I don't know."
Sam Spade: "I think that might be to get to the gym."
Sam Spade: "I mean…there are supposed to be a *lot* of ghosts here."
Linnea: "I, huh."
Sam Spade: "And that purple mass?"
Linnea: "Reminds me of something I've heard about in a horror story…in that case it was for crossing cursed grounds."
Sam Spade: "And why was it a horror story?"
Linnea: "Because when your school gets sucked into the otherworld, things get askew really really quickly, okay?"
Linnea still sounds a little panicky.
Max Thorn passes Lin a hot dog in a bun once it's done.
A closer look at the soulshoe image reveals the prayer strips to be cleanse tags, not dissimilar to what Linnea has crafted.
Linnea falls into a sullen silence as she forces herself to eat something. That's at least better than working herself into a fretting frenzy.
Esme: "We should be fine! We've dealt with ghosts before."
Sam Spade runs a soothing hand over Linnea's back.
Esme: "Between the tags and everything, we're probably safe, anyway."
Sam Spade: "I know what you mean, though, Linnea. Though ghosts arouse a different response in me."
Sam Spade: "Not like that!"
Linnea tenses slightly, then seems to slowly relax as she gets used to the feeling.
Linnea: "Whatcha mean, then?"
Sam Spade hesitates for a moment, looking at the trees.
Sam Spade: "Well, most of my experience was in Dojji. And at Scale Mount. Where ghosts were in a tragic feedback cycle, killing and killing and killing, and they still make me so…so very sad."
Linnea: "Umm…it might be different if this is a resting place…right?"
Max Thorn: "Perhaps, perhaps not. It depends on how they handle ghosts here."
Sam Spade: "I think it would be different under normal circumstances."
Sam Spade: "But I don't think we'll ever be here under normal circumstances."
Sam Spade: "Wait, that's not right."
Sam Spade: "I meant to say I don't think we'll be going to a town under normal circumstances for a long, long time."
Linnea: "Maybe some day."
Max Thorn: "…But at least they'll be returning to normal due to our work, right?"
Linnea: "Yeah…"
Linnea: "I just hope, after all this…life gives us back some measure of normalcy."
Esme snorts.
Linnea: "Ha ha, yeah, what a joke…"
Tim: "What is normal any more?"
Sam Spade: "There is that."
Max Thorn: "'Normal' is what we decide it is, as a people. And we four, we have the influence to guide that definition, yeah?"
Max Thorn: "Been a lot of talk about 'back then', on this journey. Let's change that to 'and now', with a hopeful, brighter outlook."
Linnea: "Er-hm…right!"
Linnea: "I mean, you all helped rebuild an island, right? And a desert into greener lands?"
Linnea: "With the aid of the gods, to not speak ill of them-"
Linnea: "I guess my point is…if we can build those things, we can build a future, too."
Linnea: "Right?"
Linnea didn't exactly sound sure.
Tim: "Right!" He smiles, though it is easy to tell he is forcing himself to do so.
Sam Spade pats Linnea.
Max Thorn: "Got things started, yeah. And the gods work through us mortals, though that requires that we serve as a bridge for them."
Sam Spade: "We can't not, really."
Tim: "Whatever we were, we can only change the now, to set up what we'll be."
Max Thorn: "And…we're building that brighter future, every step we take."
Sam Spade: "And the next step is to get some rest."
Sam Spade: "Linnea, are we still far enough away that you'll be okay sleeping?"
Linnea: "I think so."
Esme: "I'll be up for a bit longer, I'll keep an eye out! Third eye. Something."
Esme shrugs.
Linnea: "I'm gonna stick with you while we're in town, though."
Sam Spade: "Works for me! Sleep well."
Max Thorn turns in, then, if Esme's taking first watch.
Linnea sets about getting some kind of sleeping grounds set up, then seemingly instantly crashes into sleep when she's done and settled in.
Sleep is peaceful here. Although several wild pokemon watch the party, there is no sign of trouble. Indeed, a few of them almost seem to guard the campsite and its campers.
And then morning comes. Sands has struck up a quiet conversation with one of the guarding pidgeots. Tim has the campfire going again and is gazing into it.
Linnea is up early again. She seems a bit more confident, or at least quieter, as she sets about working on another batch of tags.
Esme has actually slept in for once- Draped over a curled up Gervais, tools still in hand.
Tim: "Hey…umm, Linnea? You'd know if this is just crazy, but…I was wondering…"
Linnea: "Just ask, man."
Linnea: "You were asking what is normal anymore? What is crazy anymore."
Tim is not looking at Linnea, instead just gazing into the fire, a bit of dread in his voice. "W-well…so, this place is like a soul magnet, right?"
Linnea: "It is, yeah."
Linnea: "Been tryin' to make my peace with that so I'm not a nervous wreck while I'm in there."
Tim: "For all of Amoda? What if…well…the 'signal', if there is one, reached up to Dojji, too? Got everyone who died up there who didn't, well, become a rotom."
Tim: "…and what if we fix it and it starts drawing in all those rotoms too?"
Tim: "Or would that be a good thing?"
Linnea: "You know, I'm not sure."
Max Thorn: "…Well, it didn't capture the ghosts we fought in Scale Mount, so…probably not?"
Tim: "It didn't have time to. And they were stuck in the pokemon storage system."
Tim: "Until we released them."
Gervais stretches and stands up, shaking enough to rouse Esme awake.
Max Thorn: "They weren't in the system when they died…I don't think, anyway."
Linnea: "I guess we're going to deal with that when the time comes. Though, with some amount of knowledge this time."
Esme: "Bwu-…ghosts? Storage? What I miss?"
Linnea: "I wonder if it would be possible to construct some kind of beacon specifically for Rotom."
Linnea: "To observe their intent first."
Max Thorn tells Esme all about that particular event.
Esme: "Yeah, I remember. It have something to do with what's going on out here?"
Max Thorn: "No, but if they weren't sucked to Elysium, I don't think the rotoms up in Dojji were."
Esme: "Hrm. Does raise the question of how far-reaching it is."
Tim: "We can hope. So…what's for break-"
A flock of staraptors swooshes by, dropping fruit all around the party.
Tim: "…"
Linnea: "Uh."
Sam Spade: "Fruit, I guess?"
Linnea: "We seem to be really appreciated."
Linnea: "I am honored and baffled in equal measure."
There is a note with the fruit. "Di talked the traders into extra. Can see you from here, figured we could send a care package. Good luck w/my brother. -GJ"
Esme: "Huh. Neat!"
Sam Spade: "Huh."
Tim is already nomming. Sands soon joins him, though not in mirror-twin mode today.
Esme grabs a piece, and decides to do a little mid-morning scouting/dowsing with Gerv while they have time. He could use the exercise anyway. "Allons-y, mon chou."
This close to Elysium Valley, Esme finds just violet shards.
Linnea will dowse on the way, having spent the earlier dawn hours making tags.
Esme rolled up 10d6, success >= 4, exploding >= 6: 2 2 2 2 2 6 5 1 4 2 5 (1 explosions)
Esme rolled up 10d6, success >= 4, exploding >= 6: 1 3 5 3 3 2 3 6 1 1 5 (1 explosions)
Esme rolled up 10d6, success >= 4, exploding >= 6: 6 5 3 1 1 3 5 1 5 1 2 (1 explosions)
Linnea rolled up 7d6, success >= 4, exploding >= 6: 3 2 3 1 3 3 2 (0 explosions)
Linnea rolled up 7d6, success >= 4, exploding >= 6: 4 2 3 1 5 1 6 6 1 (2 explosions)
Linnea rolled up 7d6, success >= 4, exploding >= 6: 4 6 4 4 3 1 2 1 (1 explosions)
[OOC] Linnea: wow, that first roll
Esme bags a smaller haul than before, but she's more than happy with the distribution.
[OOC] WC GM: Some checks are like that.
Esme: "Denser essence, but also denser forest."
The soil yields less shards as the party draws closer to town. The trees also grow taller and thicker. There is no immediate way to confirm if these are coincidental.
The day's journey goes faster than anticipated. Just as the sun touches the mountains to the west, the party crests a rise and finally reaches Elysium Valley, according to one final signpost.
It is as the map laid out: a ring of buildings surrounding…now that you are up close, that is one purple energy field. All the trainers can feel that it is more sensed than actually seen, as if the purple was being overlaid at their retinas in some environmental augmented reality. It definitely did not show like this from a distance.
The purple energy is like an angry sea, rippling and churning. Everywhere on it are humans and pokemon, wearing soulshoes or flying over the mass, taking what look like zen garden rakes to the mass to smooth it out. Everyone on the mass has wireless headsets, and here and there at the edge of the mass are what look like overseers with similar headsets barking orders.
Most of the buildings are away from the purple, but a few have fences made of cleanse tags keeping the mass at bay, and establishing walkways to "shore" .
As the party watches, one worker trips and almost touches the purple - save for a last-minute catch by a staraptor, who carries the worker (with "near death experience" practically branded in his expression) back to shore.
Linnea: "Ngh… th-this stuff…"
Linnea squints, pinching the bridge of her nose.
Esme: "Huh."
Linnea: "Hope I don't have to deal with this the entire time I'm here…anyone else headachey?"
Esme: "Not sure what I expected, but it wasn'-Guh."
Linnea: "You too, then?"
Esme shakes, like she was drying off. "Less headachey, more…punchy."
Linnea: "It might be one of those get-used-to things, but…"
Linnea: "It's still there, on like."
Linnea: "The very edges of the mind."
Sam Spade: "Well."
Sam Spade: "…You know what I said about vicious cycles?"
Linnea: "Yeah?"
Sam Spade: "That thing is pretty vicious."
Linnea: "N-ngh…"
Linnea: "Maybe whatever it is we're doing here will ease it?"
Esme: "Hopefully."
Esme: "In the meantime, I should probably, definitely, see about making a Ghost Plate. I can't imagine how people would live here with that going…all the time."
One of the overseers talks to the near-fallen worker, a mix of berating and encouraging given the tones, then points to the party. The worker bows deeply, hands over his soulshoes and rake, then runs over. "Hiii~! Did you just get here?"
Linnea looks up, at least. "Hi. Uh, yeah."
Sam Spade: "Yes, we did."
Sam Spade: "What is that?"
Worker: "That…ah. That is something you don't touch. Seriously, it'll kill you on contact, so don't touch it, even just a little."
Sam Spade: "Yeah, I got that."
Sam Spade: "It doesn't feel like a ghost, just…their anger."
Worker: "Oh, it is ghosts, but…umm. How long will you be in town, and what's your business here?"
Sam Spade: "Oh, we're pokemon trainers!"
Linnea: "Th-that's right."
Sam Spade: "So, as long as it takes to get a badge, and to challenge the gym!"
Worker: "Sorry I have to ask, but we want to make sure everyo-"
The worker blinks. And then blinks again.
Worker: "I'm sorry. It sounded like you said you were trainers, here to challenge the gym."
Linnea: "Oh boy."
Esme: "We get that alot, lately. Here, look-"
Esme pulls out her pokedex, and produces the badge case.
Worker: "…"
Esme: "See~? No joke!"
Worker: "Ho…ly…"
The worker staggers back a step.
With widening eyes, the worker calls out, "Boooss! You want to seeee thiiis!"
His overseer throws the worker a glare, then takes off his headset and stomps over. "What's all the…" He looks at Esme's badge case. "…what…"
The overseer claps a hand on the worker's shoulder. "Get them to the pokemon center. NOW!!!"
Linnea: "I-okay-"
Sam Spade: "I assume they have a reason. Come on, Linnea."
The worker salutes crisply. "Yes SIR right away SIR!" He makes a come-hither gesture at the party. "This way!" And begins walking off, looking back to make sure the party follows.
Linnea: "Oh, of course, just-"
Linnea follows the worker.
Sam Spade: "Don't worry, Linnea, we've got this."
Esme giggles. "This never gets old, I swear."
Sam Spade: "I find it at least slightly annoying."
The pokemon center is almost like a miniature castle, with triple-tall stacks of cleanse tags like a sea wall holding back the purple tides. A squadron of delibirds swoops back and forth, flying in to pick up supplies and carrying them off over the blazing sea.
Sam Spade: "Wow."
Esme snaps a photo. "Neat!"
Sam Spade: "Um. How often do cleanse tags burn through?"
Linnea is internally screaming at a question like that.
Esme: "Mmm…usually depends on how good you are at making them, versus how strong whatever it is you're trying to hold back, is."
The Nurse Joy in attendance is busy coordinating operations. A large pile of cleanse tags lies to one side, people dropping off new ones or taking some.
Worker: "Joy! Joooy! We've got some trainers here!"
Esme: "Lin's pretty knowledgable, so her's should be fairly strong, compared to the kinds you could probably buy from an average maker."
Nurse Joy does not look up from her desk. "I'll be with you in just a moment. The Jaegers just sent a message that-" She blinks, and then looks up. "…oh. They weren't lying."
Linnea: "Um, nope."
Nurse Joy bows ninety degrees from the hips. "Honored trainers. Welcome to Elysium Valley. Please pardon the death, but as you can see, we are dealing with a situation."
Linnea: "I mean, I figure in a town of ghosts, death is kind of a thing, but-what kind of situation?"
Sam Spade: "Overflow? Breach?"
Nurse Joy: "It might take a while to explain…Oku, are you off shift already? If so, do you have time to brief them?"
Worker: "Boss gave me the rest of the shift off. Sure, I can catch them up."
Nurse Joy: "…you almost fell again, didn't you? Uggh, they should call you 'Lucky' with how many times you've almost gone down."
Oku smiles and claps a hand behind his head. "Ah heh. Well, I'm still alive for now! You still have those spare quarters? I'll take them to them."
Nurse Joy gestures down a corridor and returns to her work.
Oku leads down the corridor. "So! You know we used to be - and technically still are - Amoda's main graveyard, right?"
Sam Spade: "…Technically?"
Linnea: "Sure, sure."
Oku: "So! Used to be, we'd bury the dead and transmute their souls, and bodies, into trees. You walked past them on your way in. So…a few years ago, we suddenly had a LOT of dead to deal with."
Oku: "We tried business as usual, but…we couldn't process the ghosts fast enough. They took over the graveyards - and kind of boiled over the city. We all had to evacuate to higher ground."
Oku: "Our gym leader managed to seal things up, so we can try to process them, but…there just seem to be more and more ghosts. Like they're breeding, on top of the natural death rate."
Oku: "Eventually it filled in the whole valley. Fortunately we all know how to make cleanse tags - or we LEARNED, real quick - and we can use them to keep things stable for now, but it's a losing battle."
Oku: "At this rate, it won't be too long until it spills over the valley's lip…and then it'll be loose on Amoda."
Esme: "That's…bad!"
Linnea: "Aha ha ha ha…haaa."
Linnea takes a deep breath, desperately trying to compose herself.
Oku: "If you really want, you can try to make the trek to the gym in the morning. We can get you some soulshoes - ah, shoes made of cleanse tags, keeps the ghosts down and you up - but you'll have to walk out into the middle of…that." He points toward the back of the center-castle, beyond which the vast purple lies.
Sam Spade: "The gym leader's still there, I assume?"
Oku: "That's where he stays. I think he's in meditation communing with the ghosts, to do something about it. No one's talked to him in months, though. A few people bring offerings so he doesn't starve to death, but at most he just nods to them."
Esme: "Hrm."
Oku: "We'd been hoping some trainers might come by, to…I dunno, do SOMETHING. At least they'd have the right to challenge him so he'd have to speak in response." He opens a door to a bedroom. "So we set this up in case someone like you came by."
The bedroom is wallpapered in cleanse tags. The pressure and sensation from the ghosts outside vanishes the moment the party crosses the threshold.
Linnea: "Haa…really, that's appreciated. Staying in a pokemon center makes me feel a whole lot better about this entire thing."
Wards and scripture line every surface, including the beds. It is almost like a bedroom temple.
Oku clasps his hand together and bows slightly to the party. "Please. I pray that you are the blessed ones who can save our town. If you are, this is the least we can do. If you are not, we will not be doomed any less for having tried."
Linnea: "Wouldn't be the first or last time we hear words like that."
Linnea: "I admire your cautious optimism, though."
Esme gives the wallpaper a lookover.
Esme: "We can promise we'll try!"
Dozens…no, hundreds…no, easily over a thousand hands contributed to this room alone. Oku was apparently not kidding when he said the entire town now makes this sort of thing.
Most of the tags are worthless, though. Barely two percent hold actual spiritual power. They are enough to seal this room, at least.
Esme: "…About what I expected."
Esme: "Not that I'm really allowed to complain, I forgot how to do these forever ago."
Linnea: "…I think I'm gonna put up one of my own, too."
Linnea: "If nothing else, it's probably tradition."
Linnea: "Like some kind of mystic signature."
Esme: "/Please do./"
Oku: "I assume you are hungry after your journey. It is traditional for a pokemon center to provide. I shall fetch dinner for you." With another bow, he ducks out.
Tim: "Good thing I called ahead."
Tim: "I have to admit, when the Jaegers here said they had an 'industrial spiritual' problem, this is not what I was expecting."
Linnea sets about applying one of the 27-strength cleanse tags in the approximate direction of the ghost ocean, trying her best not to cover up anyone else's tag too much.
Sam Spade hugs Linnea
Sam Spade: "Don't worry, Linnea! We're all here."
Linnea: "Yeah. Just don't go too far from me unless you have to, alright?"
Linnea: "I'm sorry. It sounds so clingy. But I can't handle this alone."

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