Session 62

In this windowless bedroom, it is hard to tell, but the party's internal clocks say "early morning" when everyone is woken by the sound of a brass gong, being beaten once a minute as it travels past the pokemon…castle? Center.
Sam Spade: "Huh? Huh."
Linnea: "Guhhhh. Whyyyyyyy."
Sam Spade: "Shift change? Morning."
The party's pokedexes say 6 AM.
Linnea rolls out of bed, literally. There's a grumpy sort of "oof" as she hits floor.
Tim holds his blanket tighter and mumbles, "Five more hooours…"
Esme stretches with a groan. "Guess they like to get to it early, around here."
Max Thorn is quietly reading a novel on his 'dex when the gong chimes.
Sam Spade sits up and fluffs Malta's feathers.
Linnea: "I mean I guess early mornings are a thing when you have to be ever vigilant of a freaking purple hellpit."
Esme gets up to her usual morning routine, looking over her pokeballs to check the status of her 'mon, grinning when she looks over Alexis' silvered Net Ball.
Esme: "You're not wrong!"
There is a gentle knocking on the door.
Linnea: "Door's open!"
A chansey opens the door hesitantly, bows to the party, then steps back to reveal…those food carts really must be standard issue, even if the food is different most times.
Sam Spade: "Good morning!"
Linnea: "Oh, hey, thanks. What's on the table this time, eh?"
The main offering seems to be marinated beef strips on beds of rice and lettuce.
The second level of the cart is filled with tea and tea accessories.
The beef and sauce are in the general shape of runes and glyphs, similar to what is written on the prayer strips covering the bedroom.
Linnea: "Huh, that's a pretty powerful start to the morning. I'll take it, we're gonna need it."
Esme: "Hrm."
There is also a written note toward the back: "Shift 3 (noon-6 PM) will escort you."
Max Thorn inspects the tea, chooses a cold green tea that doesn't require additives, then takes his portion of breakfast and returns to his novel.
Snoring echoes down the hall, as if there is a snorlax in the lobby.
Sam Spade gets some training time in with her pokemon.
[OOC] WC GM: Leaving the bedroom?
Esme rolls a wrap and stuffs it in her mouth. She cracks her knuckles and pulls out some shards. "If they're going so far to scribe on the food, I'm not taking any chances."
Linnea: "Haunted food?"
Linnea: "Though, actually…that'd be a pretty damn clever mode of possession induction."
Linnea shudders. "Great, now I'm scarin' myself."
Max Thorn: "I'm sure they've thought of everything…"
Max Thorn tips bowl over once he's finished, and…yup, there's runes and glyphs on the outside of the bowl too.
Including a few on the bottom.
Because of course there are. The teacups and teapot too. They look similar to the prayer strips; perhaps they are meant to protect the food.
Esme quickly works some of those violet shards she picked up yesterday into a Ghost Plate, with a delightful *SHWING*. Getting much faster at that.
Linnea just plows through food like some kind of superhuman eating machine. Fear takes a lot out of you.
The chansey just takes all of this in, standing just inside the doorway.
Max Thorn: "Are there any training grounds we could utilize?" Max asks the chansey.
Esme: "Aaand since I've been looking for an excuse for awhile…" She traces a small circular array onto the floor, placing her anklets at opposing sides. In the center, a Normal Bace, Booster, and an Ice, Fire, and Thunder Gem.
Esme: "…going to need to be a bit more Scrappy."
The chansey's eyes go wide, and she quickly shakes her head.
Linnea perks up suddenly as there's a little "boop!" noise from over by the beds. She meanders over there and pops Lulim's pokeball out of the TM case. She mutters darkly to herself. "Plans. Plans. Yessss…"
Max Thorn sets his 'dex aside and gets his grooming kit out, then, and gets to work.
The chansey waddles up to Max, and tentatively, questioningly points at his pokedex.
Max Thorn offers it to the chansey…?
Sam Spade smiles.
Chansey: "Chan!" Smiling and bowing, she brings up the map page, then starts drawing on it.
Sam Spade: "I think you might be the first Chansey to actually stay here after you deliver our food."
Sam Spade hesitates for a second. Then scans Chansey.
Esme focuses for a few minutes over her small ritual space, tracing and weaving the essence until only her anklets are left, twinkling. No explosions this time! "Phew. Way smoother than back at Scale Mount."
Pokedex: "Chansey. A kindly Pokemon that lays highly nutritious eggs and shares them with injured Pokémon or people."
Sam Spade: "Whoa! Where'd everything else go?"
Esme: "Hm? It's right there."
When the chansey is done, she hands the pokedex back. Four of the houses nearest the purple mass are gone, one with the purple. The mountain ring surrounding the valley goes up a little further past the current building line; the closest spot outside the ring now sports a crude "T" that Max can tell is just a local note on his pokedex, as opposed to the building ring update.
Max Thorn: "…Oh, so if we want to train, we go there?"
The chansey nods. An "unread mail" icon on Max's pokedex blinks.
Max Thorn taps the icon…
Mail: "Heads up, Elysium has a lot of incoming. Crazy pyro lady let off steam by giving 'mercy' to any pokemon still disfigured from the curse. Di wouldn't let us try to stop her, saying we'd just join them; she's probably right. Ghosts ETA a day or two. -GJ"
Max Thorn swears.
Sam Spade: "What's up?"
Linnea: "Well, that ain't good."
Linnea: "What's the deal?"
Max Thorn invokes text-to-speech on the email.
The chansey blanches.
Sam Spade blinks
Tim finally wakes up and sits, unbelieving eyes fixed on Max's pokedex.
Sam Spade: "Great."
Sam Spade: "So we have a time limit this time, huh."
Linnea: "Ugh."
Esme: "Given how a couple houses disappeared overnight, a pretty strict one, too."
Linnea: "So much pressure…"
Esme claps her hands together. "Wouldn't be the first time!"
Linnea: "…this isn't exactly great for my continued mental well-being. I'm glad we're doing this together instead of some solo quest bullshit."
Sam Spade gives Linnea a quick hug.
Sam Spade: "That's what friends are for!"
Esme clasps her anklets back on, which pulse with a very… plain glow. "Friends and lots of protective gear."
Linnea: "Ghost plating?"
Tim throws off the blankets - showing Sands had somehow sneaked food under the covers for himself and Tim. "If we're on short time…" He hops out of bed, shaking himself awake and making for the door. "…then I'm going to scout…" Tim crosses the doorway and freezes. "…whoa." He takes a careful step back into the room, then out again. "Weird."
Sam Spade tries that.
Linnea: "What the heck are you doin'?"
Sam Spade: "Ah. Like it was last night, only worse."
Sam Spade pats the prayer strip wallpaper.
Sam Spade: "Thank you, walls."
Esme has, in-fact, strapped a Ghost Plate on the side of her belt. "Something like that. Though the anklets are for punchin'."
Tim: "Yeah. Like…this is a psychic faraday cage?"
Max Thorn: "Great. Can we make up some spiritual tinfoil hats, then?
The chansey eyes the doorway a bit fearfully.
Linnea: "Isn't that what Esme just did?"
Max Thorn: "For /herself/, yes. I meant for the rest of us. And chansey."
Sam Spade pats the Chansey.
Sam Spade: "Does Nurse Joy need you for anything else?"
Tim steps fully outside. "I can deal with it, but…you go ahead and train. I'm going to ask around town. C'mon, Sands!"
The chansey shakes her head.
Sands hops up from having seemed comatose, and rolls past Sam to join his trainer.
Max Thorn: "Well…in that case, feel free to stay in here for a while, then."
Esme: "Honestly, my stuff is only really useful if we get into a fight. Lin's charms are your best bet for not getting possessed, or anything like that."
Sam Spade: "Yeah. Get some rest. I imagine it's hard to do that. This is a really nice room."
Sam Spade closes her eyes and focuses for a second.
Sam Spade: "I'm going to go talk to Nurse Joy."
With one of the widest smiles and two of the brightest eyes Max has yet seen on a pokemon, the chansey HUGS Max. "Chan SEY! Chan SEY! Chan SEY!" Then releases him to relax and meditate.
Max Thorn blinks, but hugs back for the duration of the hug.
[OOC] WC GM: Sam's stepping out into the lobby, then?
Max Thorn: "Well, no time like the present, I guess." He joins Sam, barely managing to suppress a wince when he steps out.
[OOC] Sam Spade: Yeah.
The snoring turns out to be Nurse Joy, passed out at her desk. Someone - probably that same chansey - put a pillow between her head and the desk, and a blanket over her, but sleeping in a chair like that can not be the most comfortable position.
Linnea follows Sam on the way out. Maybe a little less affected.
Max Thorn: "…swear I'm going to see her get her just deserts…"
Linnea shakes her head a bit. "Ugh…it's like the world's worst lighthouse. Darkhouse."
Max Thorn doesn't seem to have noticed he said anything.
Sam Spade: "Who, Iggy?"
Esme: "…Hoo boy."
Max Thorn: "…Hmm? Oh. Yes."
Max Thorn: "Anyway, if I had to guess, there are some pretty angry ghosts in that mass riling the rest of 'em up."
Monitors on Nurse Joy's desk show an overview of the town, with dots apparently representing teams of workers.
Max Thorn: "Sort of like what we had with the storage system, except directed outward instead of locking it down."
Esme: "Quelle horreur…it is really bad out here."
Linnea: "I wish it just -wouldn't-."
Esme: "No wonder they've got Cleanse Tag shoes ads. They need like, helmets! Gloves!"
Esme peeks over Joy's desk.
Linnea: "Maybe I should stitch them into my clothes."
Max Thorn: "…Also, there's this psychic…well, *itch*. Unfortunately, this isn't really Shaymin's domain, so I can't exactly scratch it."
Esme notes a couple of the 'bad' areas on her personal pokedex map. "We should find our rendezvous team she set up for us before we go anywhere. This place is basically a toxic waste dump."
Esme: "Except yknow, with souls."
Max Thorn: "Indeed."
Linnea: "Thanks, I hate it."
[OOC] WC GM: Heading outside, then?
[OOC] Linnea: Yeah.
[OOC] Max Thorn: Sounds like, yes.
Passing through the door…it is another level. The ghost pool was blocked entirely in the bedroom, detectable but mild inside. Outside, the party has to brace their minds to shield from the wash of anger. It almost feels like an intangible acid rain on their souls. At least it is still tolerable, for the moment.
Linnea whimpers audibly.
Linnea: "Whyyyy…"
Dawn is just now breaking over the eastern mountain lip. Workers - corresponding to the dots on Nurse Joy's map - are deploying to tend to the angry ghost sea.
Sam Spade just looks sad.
Max Thorn visibly winces this time.
Other workers are returning to their homes. Two of the destroyed homes are nearby - sure enough, their cleanse tag seawalls burnt through, flooding and breaking the basements, then breaking up the rest of the house as it fell in. Fortunately, from the lack of mourning, it does not immediately seem anyone was inside at the time.
Esme: "Bleh."
Linnea: "I really, really hope we can deal with this before people get killed. I don't even wanna imagine."
Max Thorn flags someone down. "We've a report that some more ghosts are inbound. Who do we talk to?"
New houses are already under construction right up on the mountain lip. Some of them, in fact, are filling in the lowest points of the lip, as if expecting to have to shore up the mountain.
A non-worker lady - dressed like a shrine maiden, though priest and shrine maiden styles seem extremely common here - looks over at the question. "More ghosts are always inbound. If you have a special report, Nurse Joy has been coordinating. Ah…may I ask, honored trainers, how is she? We used to hang out together, but I have not dared intrude on her work for weeks."
Max Thorn: "Ah. Um. She's asleep right now."
Sam Spade: "She's very tired."
The lady smiles. "It is good that she is still able to sleep. If this soul may beg on her behalf, please allow her what recuperation she is able to afford."
Linnea: "No joke…"
Linnea: "I'm hoping we can figure out some kind of resolution here and everyone can get a good night's sleep. Or ten."
Max Thorn quietly holds up his 'dex, with the email still open.
Linnea: "Living with this…mind static…"
Linnea shudders.
Lady: "We are all hoping that. The afternoon shift will be praying for you."
Max Thorn: "Is this important enough to wake her, d'you think?"
Linnea manages a small smile. "Hey, that means a lot t'me, thanks."
The lady blinks. "…if you have a day or two, please let her know when she wakes."
Lady: "Umm. H-honored ones, if you would indulge this soul's curiosity. From which way did you approach this town?"
Max Thorn points to Onix Peaks.
The lady's eyes widen. "Then…might you know what happened to the diverted river? The paper mill may have to shut down in a few days if we can not cool it off, and without paper we can not produce more cleanse tags."
Sam Spade: "Hum."
Sam Spade: "Maybe it got diverted back to be their water supply?"
Sam Spade says that totally innocently.
Linnea: "What."
Lady: "It…was never designed to run at this volume. We never needed anywhere near this many before. Fortunately we were able to quickly adapt it for increased pace, at the cost of running hot. As you know, paper and intense heat do not get along well."
Sam Spade: "No, definitely not."
Linnea: "This is escalating uncomfortably quickly."
Max Thorn: "(That gives us…two time limits,)" Max mutters.
Lady: "Thank you for the information. Is there anything this soul…" She glances at Sam and blushes. "…or this b…no, no, pure thoughts…can provide in exchange?"
Linnea gives Sam a "really?" look.
Max Thorn: "Would the aid of an Ice pokémon help with cooling the paper mill? Temporarily, at least?"
Sam Spade looks back at Linnea and shrugs
Lady: "It would. But if you mean to offer one of your pokemon, honored trainer, please make sure to have a full strength team when you see Gem Jules."
Max Thorn: "Would you, or anyone you know, be able to take temporary possession, then?"
Max Thorn glances to the deathpool. "Er. Custody."
Linnea: "Well played."
Lady: "I…" She blinks. "This soul had not considered that possibility. This body is not licensed as a pokemon trainer, but there are bodies at the paper mill registered to Team Jaeger, who have the necessary legal permissions."
Esme: "Full strength, huh."
Max Thorn: "Could you contact one of them and inquire, please?"
Linnea kind of picks up something at this point, and her eyebrows raise briefly. She closes her eyes and thinks… is there something strange about this person other than their mode of speech? (( Occult roll maybe? ))
Lady: "This body was on its way there, to perform this day's work."
Max Thorn: "Ah. Then may I follow? I'll ask someone going off-shift to ensure I make it back safely"
Max Thorn taps into his 'dex…
Linnea has heard this mind/body duality speech before. It is a form of spiritualism concentrated in a few locations, Elysium Valley for one.
Linnea freezes her raised-suspicion expression for a moment, then relaxes. Okay, it's not the -bad- kind of strange for once.
While it would be a good cover for dissociation, and for multiple souls trading out a body, whether that is what is happening here would require detailed inspection, and knowledge of which soul was supposed to be in the body.
[OOC] WC GM: That is: Linnea could be right to suspect, but it is impossible to be sure at this time.
Lady: "It is not for this soul to decide what the honored trainers shall do. If the honored trainers wish to accompany this body to its workplace, this soul swears to guide on this journey!" She clasps her hands together and bows, then begins walking toward the mountain lip.
Sam Spade follows Max and the lady.
Linnea trails behind Sam, growing increasingly unsettled by… basically everything in this place. The fact that apart from the death puddle, things seem normal-normal and not even creepy-normal makes it so much worse.
Max Thorn pulls up the trade/gift screen, anyway, and sets it up so that Nook's in the hot seat, as it were.
The path goes over the lip, downhill…and the moment good earth and rock block line of sight to the ghost pool, the sensations cease as if they had never been. The sun seems brighter, the party can hear the crash of the ocean miles away, and even what grass there is between the trees smells sweet.
Esme tries to take in some of the less-spooked atmosphere while she can.
Linnea actually stumbles forward at the sheer reduction of mental weight upon her.
The lady smiles, sighs, and visibly relaxes. "This soul swears it did not volunteer for paper mill duty just to get away from…that, every day."
Linnea: "It is a magnificent change of pace, either way."
Max Thorn relaxes, as well, not having realized just how /taxing/ that spiritual pressure was until it went away again.
Lady: "If this soul may indulge in being a tour guide, these conditions are like what Elysium Valley used to be, before the cemeteries boiled over."
Sam Spade: "Ah."
Lady: "With your blessing, may it be so again."
Sam Spade: "Not ours, though we may be able to help."
Sam Spade: "The blessing would come from the Legendaries."
Linnea: "We've done pretty spectacular things before. No reason we can't have a repeat."
Max Thorn: "Shaymin will it be so," Max agrees.
The lady shoots a worried glance at Sam. "We have prayed to the legendaries. They have not come. You have. Trust this soul, it is your blessings we now hope for."
Linnea: "Heheh."
Sam Spade wrinkles her nose at the smell of pulped wood.
Lady: "When the thunder strikes your enemies out of the blue, you do not thank Lugia for allowing it, but Zapdos for performing it. When necessary fire purges and cleanses the land, it is Moltres, not Lugia, you must appease." She sounds like she is quoting scripture, until she looks directly at Max. "And when a normal ice pokemon comes to soothe your paper mill, you do not thank Articuno."
Max Thorn nods.
Esme: "Fair!"
This is the most temple-like paper mill the party has ever seen - though this is also the first paper mill any of the party has personally visited. Sam's nose detects it before her eyes do.
Linnea: "Whoa, fancy…"
Lady: "Some day, this soul wonders if it will meet those who know exactly what to thank Lugia for."
Sam Spade quirks her lips but says nothing.
Max Thorn: "Wouldn't be hard, just go to Bay Island."
Giant trees are uprooted in ceremony, lifted into a nearby river for transport, then fed roots and all into an array of sawblades.
Lady: "Have blessed souls spotted Lugia there?"
Max Thorn: "From what I've heard, yes."
Sam Spade: "She appears to be pretty active lately."
Max Thorn 's too busy looking over the mill to look directly at the woman, of course.
Coming out of the sawmill part, thin blocks of wood are then fed into a large pool to be mashed and pulped, then blow dried and exposed to the sun. There are some signs of fairly recent, fairly rushed construction, and fully half the workers wear a jacket sporting a J.
Esme: "Anywhere the sea touches."
Sam Spade: "Though apparently it's all tied up with Amoda and Dojji's Ho-oh being tied down in Gaela somehow…"
Sam Spade: "….Which brings us back to the sea of ghosts."
There is also a sizable dry riverbed leading straight back toward Onix Peaks.
Max Thorn: "So…you've worked with these folks for a while. Who'd you recommend we talk to?"
As the group approaches, the lady waves and calls out, "Hoooi~! This soul brings guests!"
The workers look up. Those wearing the J jackets double-take and begin murmuring.
One of the older Jaegers - a greying lady with a regal air - walks forth. "Take your place; I'll deal with them."
The lady bows. "Yes, foremaster!" And runs off inside the mill.
Sam Spade looks over the Jaeger surreptitiously.
The elder Jaeger makes no attempt to disguise her measuring gaze as it sweeps over the party. Once that is done, she lets out a "Hmph" and points at Linnea. "Left your old friends for new ones, I see?"
Linnea: "Gee, you don't waste any time, do you? My friends are capable of taking care of themselves, you know. I was their rallying cry, not their mother."
Linnea: "So point that finger somewhere else before it gets bitten off."
Sam Spade: "Now, now, no one here slept well last night, let's not resume a war."
The Jaeger frowns, but at least lowers her finger. She sweeps her gaze back over the rest of the party. "Be careful with that one. She's a troublemaker. Now, where is Tim?"
Sam Spade: "He's scouting around town with Sands."
Sam Spade: "Probably, anyway. He could be following us."
Jaeger: "…Of course he is. Hmph, just like him to stay where there's trouble. I take it you're here to get a break before what the afternoon shift's got planned for you?"
Esme: "Could have already beat us here, and is waiting for an opportune moment."
Sam Spade: "Well, less 'break' and more 'see what we can help out with to keep ourselves distracted.'"
Max Thorn: "Actually, no. I was hoping to lend my Amodan mountain ninetales to someone here to help with cooling the paper mill."
Linnea: "More of a break for everyone else."
The Jaeger raises an eyebrow. "Really? Huh, guess you're not *all* bad. We could use an ice pokemon; our alternate coolant went away a few days ago." She gestures to the dry riverbed.
Linnea: "… That's weird."
Sam Spade: "It must have been diverted upstream. I remember hearing that Onix Peaks used to use it for water; given all the problems with the new cistern…"
Jaeger: "If any of you know much about paper making, or cleanse tag construction, or any of that…well, the natives mean well but they don't have a clue about industrialization. I've been trying to organize them to produce what they need to survive, but from what I hear we're just barely keeping up with demand - and with shoddy product, too. Won't be long before they lose ANOTHER house at this rate."
[OOC] Sam Spade: Haaaaa, so nice to be playing a character who knows how to lie.
Linnea: "… Seriously? That just screams terrible engineering."
Jaeger: "Yeah, we'd investigate if we had anyone to spare. We don't."
Linnea waves one of her personally-produced tags. "Can't really mass-produce these without either a lot of people or a lot of really fine machinery."
Max Thorn: "It's kind of hard to put a bit of your soul into a mass-produced item, I understand."
The Jaeger raises an eyebrow at the tag. "Where'd you get that?"
Max Thorn glances to Lin. "Made it herself."
Jaeger: "Real-ly?" She peers at Linnea.
Linnea: "Yeah. What about it?"
Linnea: "This place makes me godsdamned paranoid."
Jaeger: "Me too. But what was that about fine machinery? We've got a lot of people and they're not producing anything nearly THAT good."
Max Thorn coughs politely. "Anyway, the ice pokémon…?" He holds up his 'dex, all set up and ready to get the transfer started…
Linnea: "Maybe we can talk about that sometime we're not all gonna die and spew ghosts everywhere."
Jaeger: "Hmm? Oh, right. I'll take it; I've got a slot free after my…" She winces. "Well, let's just say I have some friends in the pool. Anyway." She produces something like a pokedex.
Jaeger: "No, no, if you're taking a break I'd like to talk about it in time to PREVENT ghosts from spewing everywhere."
[OOC] WC GM: Tech Ed check if you're checking out the Jaeger's 'dex.
Max Thorn winces sympathetically.
[OOC] WC GM: Or other skill related to history of technology.
Max Thorn rolled up 5d6: 21 (3 4 4 6 4) (Tech Ed)
Max Thorn , oh so casually, adds, "…Dojji's open again, by the way."
Jaeger: "So I heard. And I hear we have you to thank. All the people an' most of the buildings are gone, thuogh."
Linnea: "Leaves possibilities open again."
Esme looks over some of the facility. "We got the tea!"
Jaeger: "For you younger folk. I've made my peace with never getting around to running a Dojji gym."
Jaeger: "The tea?" She blinks. "You mean you actually found some…?"
Max Thorn: "Nothin' says you can't do it once more. We're here to, hopefully, do something about that deathpool. And if we manage that, well."
Linnea: "We're capable of an awful lot."
Max Thorn: "And yes, we personally arranged for tea plants to make it back."
Max Thorn: "Honestly, I'm surprised the tanks overlooked the greenhouse they were in."
The Jaeger blinks. "The greenhouse? THAT survived?!?"
Max Thorn: "Up until we got the plants out, yeah."
Sam Spade: "It was pretty thoroughly buried."
The elder Jaeger begins laughing. "I…heh heh…" She leans on a doorframe of the paper mill temple. "I was right! They…they couldn't…heh hee hee hoo!"
Max Thorn completes the transfer while the Jaegar lady's laughing.
Linnea: "What."
Sam Spade: "Were you one of the ones who saw to the rubble?"
Sam Spade: "Yeah, turns out even autonomous tanks possessed by angry rotoms aren't able to climb for beans."
The Jaeger recovers, summoning Nootaikok and sending him off inside the mill. "They really needed some hands. Yeah, I'm the one who set all that up before I split." She bows - just a slight formality, compared to the bows the party has been getting from the natives of Elysium. "Champion Nayla, atcher service!"
Linnea: "…what."
Her pokedex is briefly at just the right angle for the party to glimpse what appears to be at least eight badges inside.
Sam Spade blinks and bows back.
Sam Spade: "Wow."
Nayla: "Ain't much of a champion these days. Heck, I was kinda retired even before our League done blew up."
Max Thorn returns the bow, too.
Linnea: "Uuuuuuhhh-"
Linnea just bows.
Nayla: "An' I ain't holdin' the war 'gainst you. You folk were too young t' have participated."
Esme: "Oh!"
Nayla: "'Sides. These days we've all got bigger issues." She jerks a thumb uphill.
Max Thorn: "Eh, we're just lookin' to fix things up, at this point. And that deathpool's one of the consequences, frankly."
Sam Spade: "Yeah."
Nayla: "You sure got THAT right."
Esme also bows. "Yeah, we weren't there, but we're on clean up duty, now."
Sam Spade: "That's the one upside to Dojji becoming a desert. Everyone's in the same boat trying frantically to bail the water out."
Nayla: "Heh. Good metaphor. I found out where my friends went, so I came here t' visit, an' found…well, this mess. Been tryin' t' help out with it ever since."
Max Thorn: "I've got an ace up my sleeve, but it's sure not ready for Dojji yet."
Linnea: "Good to hear it's not just us, then."
Nayla: "Oh?"
Max Thorn gestures to his hair. "This was Shaymin's doing. I've been a bridge once, but this kind of thing takes practice."
Max Thorn: "And unfortunately, he can't really help with the deathpool, or I'd be on that already and not, well, lending my mountain ninetales to helping keep it in check while we figure something else."
Nayla: "You don't say. Yeah, I'm pretty sure th' way we grow trees ain't *quite* his domain."
Linnea: "Whose would it be, I wonder."
Nayla: "So. I'm curious. Th' way they speak o' you, it sounds like they just need t' getcha to the gym leader an'…somethin' happens. So what's yer plan?"
Esme shrugs.
Sam Spade: "Well that would be telling! Which sounds much more mysterious than 'play it by ear.'"
Sam Spade: "You got here after everything overflowed, huh."
Nayla: "I did. And…it's that kinda deal, huh?"
Nayla: "Welp. Mebbe I can help by tellin' you whatcher up against, if you want?"
Linnea: "Sure. Lay it out for us."
Sam Spade: "I think we would all *love* that. Please."
Linnea: "Even making it up as we go along will go better with more information."
Nayla: "Heh, heh. Decades go by and stuff never changes. I could tell you all kinds of tales just like this one from when…ah, but those days are gone, and ya gotta deal with these days now. So!"
Max Thorn: "(Probably be up to Arceus, I'd imagine. Or anyone else that deals with life and, therefore, death.)"
Nayla: "As you know, that sea's formed from the ghosts o' the war dead. Or at least that's how it started."
Nayla: "It's growin' faster'n people an' pokemon are dyin'. An' that's even WITH siphonin' some of 'em out to form trees, and that's slowed down 'cause you need calm souls for that."
Nayla: "All those ghosts, angry an' arguin' - many with each other, 'cause they were from opposite sides o' the war…"
Max Thorn: "Well…I know there was a replication issue up in Dojji. Maybe there's similar here?"
Linnea: "Sheesh, even in death people never change."
Max Thorn: "(…How /do/ you replicate a ghost, anyhow?)"
Nayla smiles. "Now, that's the thing, young man. Turns out, ghost pokemon can breed too!"
Max Thorn facepalms. "Then I'd guess that that's what's happening here. Great."
Linnea: "…So it's a giant breeding pit?"
Max Thorn: "Please tell me someone's come up with a ghost contraceptive."
Nayla: "Now imagine you're trapped in somethin' like a giant pokeball, with a thousand o' your best buds an' a thousand o' your worst enemies. You can't actually kill or even really hurt anyone else."
Nayla: "But whatcha can do? An' what seems t' be happenin'?"
Sam Spade: "You can try to outnumber them."
Linnea: "This is far more bizarre than I already assumed it was."
Nayla looks at Max. "You look like an educated fellow. You know what happens to an exponentially acceleratin' value if you leave it alone for long enough? In this case, years?"
Max Thorn groans.
Nayla: "In this case, number o' pokemon, with no predators an' apparently able t' feed off their own anger. I really don't get it; there oughta be SOME kinda input into th' system."
Esme: "Jeeze."
Linnea: "That's probably what we're gonna find out."
Max Thorn: "Sooner rather than later, I hope."
Nayla: "That's whatcher dealin' with: the result of that process."
Nayla: "Also it feeds on anger. Y'all notice how th' people up there got all religious-like REAL fast? All meditation and calm an' that?"
Nayla: "Guess what happens if you're out on that sea and you let yerself get mad?"
Linnea: "Pop."
Nayla: "Bingo. Right under you."
Linnea pinches the bridge of her nose.
Nayla: "Whiiich…well. Gem Jules, leader of the Elysium Gym, is a bit prideful in his duties. Says he has all this under control. Obviously, he don't."
Linnea: "Greaaaaaat."
Nayla: "Bringing you in to rub his face in it…I don't see that goin' too well."
Linnea: "I was thinkin' more he might have already been compromised."
Nayla: "'S why I figured I should warn you, so you could come up with another approach. Th' town's gonna insist you confront him."
Nayla: "'Compromised'? Y'mean there's some enemy faction about?"
Linnea: "The ghosts. I don't know."
Linnea: "I've seen some shit. I'm paranoid."
Nayla: "Th'…oh! Y'mean how some folk lend out their bodies so's a rotatin' family o' souls can use it, a small family in a single body?"
Linnea: "Yes."
Nayla: "Hmm, that happens. I think that gal who brought you in was one o' those types, given how she speaks. But s' far as I know, ain't none of them borrow from the ghost sea. That's just askin' for trouble - or t' sacrifice everyone they already got up in them."
Linnea: "Well, alrighty then."
Sam Spade: "Besides, if he was under control of the ghost sea, we'd know."
Sam Spade: "Now, they might be telling him he's set."
Nayla: "I got the sense those families merge after a while anyway - so it's kinda, a person eatin' a ghost, t' find another way t' deal with 'em."
Sam Spade: "…Um. That's…huh."
Linnea: "…"
Linnea: "I'm too sober for this."
Linnea facepalms.
Nayla: "Gives a whole new meanin' t' findin' someone 'delicious', heh. Anyway."
Max Thorn: "Doesn't necessarily have to be working against the town, though. If he's having to put energy into keeping it contained, they could be feeding off of that."
Max Thorn: "Evolutionary pressure'd cause it if they can't get sustenance otherwise, I would think."
Esme: "Great. Reinforces my views on ghosts."
Nayla: "Huh. What, you think he's got some other energy source he's been feedin' the mass?"
Sam Spade frowns
Max Thorn shrugs. "Lin would know more about that kind of thing than I would…but, well, soulstuff, perhaps?"
Sam Spade: "…Well, we'll find out soon enough."

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