Session 72

Away the party goes, with passengers new and old! The scent of salt sea air is everywhere, and the port quickly shrinks into the distance.
Skel: "How far do you want to go before sampling? I've just tried off the coast, but our route takes us right over one of the cities if you wanted to try there."
Skel has her wetsuit out - a sport yellow-with-red-stripe outfit that would look at home in a speed swimming competition.
Esme stretches, taking a nice long breath of the sea air. "Ah, as close to the source as possible would be best!"
Skel: "Well, to listen to Slakes, Lugia is the source."
Skel: "And you said she's back in Amoda."
Esme: "Well, the ocean is one of her Domains…but she's been preoccupied. Might be some weird side effect."
Esme: "Oh! Unrelated to the task at hand but, Slakes told me I should ask about your Thesis?"
Skel: "Ehh?" She blinks. "Shard recoloring. Ah…'Shifting Elemental Essences Between Shards To Make A Rainbow Of Greens'." She blushes. "I was, ahem, *younger* when I wrote that."
Linnea: "Wait, really?!"
Linnea: "What kind of progress did you make?"
Linnea: "Because let me tell you, I have an excess of certain types and not a lot of others…"
Skel stares for a moment, surprise written plain on her face. "I…w-well…I *did* manage to make that rainbow - though it was more 'clone-imprinting'. Take three shards, two of…err. You're really interested in this?"
Linnea staaaaaaaaaaares expectantly.
Linnea: "Yes?"
Skel: "W-well! Maybe I could show you? It's…well, Slakes - he was my thesis advisor - said I should call the core trick a 'shard diode', because it makes energy flow one way but not the other."
Linnea: "Hmm…"
Skel: "If you've got two shards of one color and one of another that I could demonstrate on, I could set it up, if you'd like?"
Skel: "Just…don't plan on using them soon."
Esme claps her hands together. "Ah! Another studier of Essence!"
Linnea fishes around in a belt-pouch for two violets and a red.
Linnea: "Actually-"
Linnea: "Which way does the essence flow?"
Skel shrugs. "It's a hobby. Slakes keeps going on about the practical applications. Hmm…" She peers over Linnea's shards. "Okay, if I were to do it on those, you'd wind up with one strong violet and two weak reds - for a day or so, until they balance out. *If* they balance out; it can overstress and permanently weaken the donor and recipient shards."
Linnea: "Eeeeeh, hmm!"
Linnea: "And how long does it take?"
Skel: "Several minutes. It varies by shard; to predict how long takes analysis longer than to just do it. At least, I haven't found a way to speed it up."
Skel: "You want me to demonstrate?"
Linnea: "Yeah, go ahead!"
Esme: "Please, please!"
Skel: "Well. Fortunately I keep them around, as a memento." She pokes a claw inside her skull-helmet - apparently upgraded with a small pocket - and digs out four small wires, laying them down in two parallel pairs, with just enough space in the center for a shard.
[OOC] WC GM: Crude ASCII diagram: O=O=O where O is an empty slot.
Linnea: "You know, I've heard of head cases before."
Linnea: "But I've never seen a literal one."
Skel: "Place the red shard to the right - my right - and the violet ones center and left."
Linnea carefully places the shards as directed, and watches.
Skel grins for a moment. "Eheh. It's handy! Can't carry as much as Slakes, but I don't need as much."
Skel delicately nudges the wires into contact. Nothing seems to happen at first. She moves around to shield the assembly from the wind.
Skel: "It's kind of…well, a watched pot doesn't boil?"
Linnea: "Someone techier than me can probably create a case for shard, um…what would we even call this? Transmutation?"
Max is, unfortunately, busy overhauling the semi-portable pokemon center.
Esme takes notes. "Mmm…making a circuit, diffusing the essence and then reconfiguring it to another frequency…"
Esme: "Yeah, pretty much!"
Linnea: "Think you could scrap something together, Esme?"
Esme: "Oh absolutely! I'm mostly hitting myself for being dumb."
After a few minutes, the central shard - which was the same shade of violet as the apparent recipient - has become noticeably violet-red. The other violet shard is more vibrant, and the red shard is slightly faded. All of the party remember chemistry experiments from grade school where two strips of paper were inserted into an unknown liquid to see if it was an acid or a base, one of the strips slowly changing color depending on the answer.
[OOC] WC GM: See: the literal, original (or at least non-political) litmus test.
Esme: "My research has been focusing on more…'pure' transmutation. Like straight Fire essence to Water. I'd been /so/ focused I had put aside the idea of using something else as a median for transfer between them like Skel is doing."
Sam Spade: "Isn't that what universities are for?"
Sam Spade: "Getting enough viewpoints that you don't miss something because you're too focused?"
Linnea: "This probably takes less energy and is less dangerous for the time being…maybe."
Skel blinks, her jaw slightly open. "P…pure transmutation? That's POSSIBLE?!?"
Linnea glances at Esme. "Apparently?"
Esme: "Maybe?"
Esme: "Like that was the thing! It's clearly a thing that happens in Nature, pokemon change Types all the time! And shards have their affinities but are likewise flexible. It's the 'big question' at the end of all this!"
Skel: "So…but…err…so, shards evolve?"
Esme: "Ehe, not quite. A red shard has the potential of Fire, Psychic, and Fairy within it. It is simultaneously all of those types, and none of those types."
Esme motions to her belt, where there's a Fire Plate now…wasn't it Ghost earlier? "But, with the proper 'nudge' it can be balanced in one way or another."
Esme: "Your circuit there is basically an application of that!"
Skel: "Well, yeah. My research came out of thinking how you could get a red shard from a volcano and use it to help psychic energy, and wondering…" She stares at the plate. "…uhh. Your 'nudges' aren't the kind of nudges just anyone could do, are they?"
Esme coughs. "Well /that/ one, no. But basically things like Bracers and Boosters? Anyone could make with a little bit of background knowledge."
Linnea: "I've finally got the right sort of study to make those…I have a long way to go."
Esme: "Pbbt!"
Esme: "With your history, you'll be fine."
Skel: "We've got all day until we reach port. Umm…is that enough time to teach me?"
Skel gets on one knee and clasps her hands, shining eyes staring at Esme and Linnea. "Please?"
Linnea: "Uh…awkward…"
Esme: "Well I'm not exactly a great teacher, per se…but I don't mind giving it a shot!"
Chicklet: "…Esme can teach you! She's nice!"
Skel: "Thank you!"
Esme: "…Uh."
Linnea: "Oh, you can talk? Awesome."
Chicklet darts behind Sam.
Esme: "Every day is full of surprises. Thank you for the compliment!"
Esme: "Though, let me try one thing before we go back to basics."
Esme crackles her knuckles, and spins her wrist, essence gathering at her fingertips. She begins to trace on the wailord in front of her, hands weaving to draw a series of runes…that form a circuit. Unlike Skel's, hers is essentially a triangle with a circle at each tip, and one in the center.
Skel watches intently.
Esme: "I want to see-" She places a blue shard at two of the points, "-If with a bit of outside influence-" a green shard at the third, "If I can get a full change." And finally, she unclasps her Rainbow Gem from her choker, placing it in the center.
Linnea: "Ohh…?"
Esme scratches her head. "I'm thinking I can maaaaybe get all of them to stay a decent charge of blue."
Esme gives it a kickstart *zap*. "Lessee!"
Blue and green energy flies around the circuit! When it settles, the rainbow gem is unaffected and there are still one green and two blue shards - but at least which one is green is now different.
Skel: "Hmm…that's just a circuit that goes around?"
Sam Spade: "It did something, at least."
Esme: "Hrmm."
Esme wipes the line between the two blue.
Esme: "One more, then I'll actually do that teaching thing I said I would." Zap!
Now there are three blue shards - slightly faded, but definitely blue and not green. The rainbow gem looks slightly greener for a moment, but quickly returns to normal.
Esme: "Ahahaha! Take that, nature!"
Skel applauds briefly. "Nicely done! What, umm…" She points to the gem. "Is that an elemental reactor of some kind?"
Linnea: "Well, it's…hmm. Omni-elemental?"
Esme: "Oh ho~" She holds up her Rainbow Gem proudly. "This is the pièce de résistance of my research!"
Skel: "Oh?"
Esme: "It's essentially everything I want to do! …On a smaller scale."
Sam Spade: "Everything?"
Esme focuses on it in her palm, cycling it through each of the colors, pausing on each one. "See? It's all of them. Proof of the flexibility of essence, proof that it's all just a matter of hitting the right wavelength."
Esme: "It's small, but it means alot!"
Skel: "So, errm, you…want to be a larger version of that gem?"
Skel: "I've never heard of a human evolving into a gem before, but I suppose…"
Esme: "N-not quite. But I've indulged enough today. You've been a great help!"
Skel: "Oh! Well, thank you!"
Skel: "So…we're almost over the city now. We should check the water first. THEN you can teach me all you know!"
Esme: "Right!"
Sam Spade: "Okay. So…um."
Sam Spade: "…I'm…not all that good at swimming."
Meloetta - still in skitty form - bounds up on top of a tent to look Sam eye to eye. "But you can make the water dance if it must."
Sam Spade: "I what?"
Sam Spade: "How?"
Linnea: "Ohh?"
Sam Spade: "I mean, water can't listen…"
Tim kneels down near the wailord's front and talks to it. The wailord glides to a stop.
Meloetta: "No. But it can boil."
Sam Spade blanches at that, and whispers without thinking, "Melo…"
Linnea: "Hm, what would happen if you boiled this weird water?"
Sam Spade: "Chicklet can-"
Chicklet: "I can show you!"
Meloetta does not acknowledge Sam's slip. "It need not be crude. A bit here…" She thrusts a paw out. "…a bit there…" She thrusts the paw in a different direction. "…and you can make art." Facing Linnea, she adds, "Please guide your friend. I wish to see you inspire!"
Linnea: "Hm! Well…"
Linnea: "If you step here…then here…lead this way…"
Linnea: "Dancing is but one of many ways to raise power, yes?"
Linnea: "Why not dance with your pokemon?"
Sam Spade: "Uh, okay…"
Linnea: "I'll join in, even! It doesn't have to be anything complicated. Just go with what you feel. March, turn, express with your arms, spin…whatever it takes!"
Sam Spade starts…dancing?
Esme: "Lin's pretty addept at uhh…dancecraft. Follow her lead!"
There does seem to be a bit of tingling in the air, a slight feeling of power and potential even as the dance begins.
Tim: "So how deep is the solid water, anyway?"
Skel: "…" The marowak is mesmerized for a moment, then shakes her head. "Not deep. They could dance on it with their heads above water, barely."
Linnea: "…You think that's a good idea?"
Skel: "Your dancing is clearly more than just dancing. What does it do?"
Linnea: "It's an act of potential!"
Linnea: "Not only does it draw the power within the lands we walk on, but also with us!"
Linnea: "…it sounds pretty cheesy, but I don't know how else to put it."
Sam Spade: "Feels kinda…"
Sam Spade: "…….fun!"
Sam Spade starts throwing herself more into the dance.
Linnea: "That's right! Once you start feeling it, let it guide you into continuing!"
Linnea beckons Chicklet over. "We could use your fire, I think!"
Skel: "…'draw the power'?"
Chicklet: "Okay!"
Chicklet joins in the dance.
Linnea: "Brings it up nearer to us, for whatever occasion."
Esme: "Mmhm. Leylines!"
Skel: "So…er…if you *were* to dance right on a magically-powered barrier…?"
Esme: "Well there'd be a response, for sure."
Linnea: "Well, boom! Or make it stronger."
Linnea: "Depends on your intent."
Linnea: "I mean, I've done it before, with a lot of help."
Sam Spade: "We aren't-gonna make it-explode, are we?"
Chicklet: "Fire is fun!"
Sam Spade looks at Chicklet, opens her mouth, and shuts it without saying anything.
Skel: "Actually, if you wanted to draw the power…I mean, I'm just guessing, but I'm thinking more 'melt'."
Linnea: "Yeah!"
Linnea: "So, if we focused on getting this strange water out of the way…and had Chicklet use some kind of fire move…"
Skel begins putting on her wetsuit. "Anyway. Esme, while they're talking about that, could you help me get samples?"
Esme: "Of course!"
Skel: "Thanks!" She quickly seals up, checks herself, produces a couple clear rubber-stoppered glass test tubes, and dives overboard.
Tim: "…she's going to need help getting back up. I'll get some…" Sands hands him a coil of rope. "…right."
Esme makes her own preparations, and pounds her fist into her palm, creating a thin barrier around herself. She dives in after.
Indeed, the barrier is not that far down. Esme finds Skel standing just below the wailord.
Esme perks, and leans down to investigate the icy water.
Skel opens one vial and scoops just beneath her feet, then closes it. She holds up the vial - which appears to just contain ordinary seawater - and shrugs, then offers the other vial to Esme.
Esme feels a slight twinge of power as she drops beneath Skel, but the water offers no resistance to her. Skel just boggles at that.
[OOC] Sam Spade: Really? A barrier of Lugia's energy, not stopping someone who's been Touched by Lugia? Whodathunk!
Linnea: "…Did anyone else feel that? Something huge just happened."
Sam Spade: "A bit, yeah, keep dancing?"
Linnea: "Mm-hm. Not sure if it was us or someone else…I hope Esme's alright."
Meloetta lifts her head. "You felt that too? Lugia clashing with Lugia."
Sam Spade: "Clashing?"
Sam Spade: "…Fighting herself?"
Sam Spade: "Cuz binding maybe~"
Esme shrugs! And quickly swims back up. She accepts the vial, and scoops as she begins to sink again.
Meloetta: "That is an accurate way of putting it."
Looking close, Esme can see the water rippling around her as she swims below where Skel stands. She manages to catch a ripple in the vial.
Esme points up, and swims back up to the surface. Hard to get a good view down here. Also, speaking is useful.
Skel follows Esme back up. By the time they surface, Tim has the rope tied securely atop the wailord, and the other end dangling down to the water's edge. Climbing back up is easy.
Sam Spade slows to a halt, and stands there panting for a minute.
Linnea: "Heh heh…how did it feel?"
Once topside, Skel shakes herself dry - away from camp - then very carefully peels off the wetsuit so as to not get any water on her.
Esme managed to stay fairly dry due to the combination of circumstances and her pre-barrier. She looks over the vial. "Yeah, definitely something involving our girl, it seems."
Sam Spade: "What happened down there?"
Sam Spade: "Miss Meloetta said Lugia was fighting Lugia…"
The vial definitely contains solid water. Not ice, but closer to very stiff gelatin. There are a couple small bubbles in the water, that do not move no matter which way Esme turns the vial.
Esme: "Hrm. Going to violate good lab etiquette, since we're not in a lab." She un-stops the vial, and dips her pinky finger into the solution.
The water churns and moves around Esme's finger. A bit of it leaks out onto the wailord.
Esme: "Huh."
Sam Spade: "Yup, definitely…"
Sam Spade shivers.
Linnea: "Okay, there's that weird sensation again…"
Linnea: "Coming from the vial."
Sam Spade: "Lugia/Lugia, maybe? Or…"
Sam Spade: "…Maybe Lugia/Ho-oh, but I doubt that one."
Esme: "Well I was able to sink through the barrier fine, so I'd guess the former."
Esme pulls her finger out.
Sam Spade: "I…kinda want to know if the rest of us could pass through it."
Air replaces the volume inside the vial that Esme's finger occupied, though it is still 2/3 full. The leaked water rolls away like normal seawater.
Sam Spade: "We've all been carried by the Legendary Birds, but…"
Sam Spade: "Or it looks like you might be able to melt your way through?"
Esme passes the vial. "Worth a try, though we'll still need to fix it for everyone else."
Meloetta: "Not just my champion. Her power improves as she shares it, and inspiration."
Sam Spade: "And we'd need to swim through the water, too, which…is kinda frightening."
Esme: "At the very least it doesn't mind me…maybe I can turn it off somehow?"
Esme: "Though there's definitely a lot of ocean."
Sam Spade: "Well, only one way to find out."
Sam Spade grimaces, takes a big gulp of air, turns, and slides off the wailord.
It is easy enough to find - specifically, to sink to - the solid layer.
And indeed, if Sam stands on her tiptoes, she can keep her mouth barely above water.
Sam Spade touches it, grasps at it, and…kicks off it to get back to the surface and the wonderful wonderful rope.
Sam Spade: "Okay! That covers that."
Sam Spade clambers back up the rope, then flattens against the wailord.
Linnea: "Well, that's a problem."
Skel: "I can understand. I'd give you a hug but you're, well, wet."
Esme snickers, and gives Sam a hug anyway. "Thank you for testing."
Chicklet follows Esme over, gives Sam a hug of her own. Sam starts looking dryer.
Malta alights and begins preening Sam's hair back into place.
Sam Spade: "….Okay. So either we follow Esme through and hope that's possible, or…"
Sam Spade: "…or maybe Esme dances with us and we break the barrier that way?"
Esme: "Oh. I was going to just hop back in there and punch at it for a bit, but that's probably a better plan."
Sam Spade: "I will never get in the way of you and punches, Esme. I bruise too easy."
Tim: "Or, we get underway again. We've still got to get to Port of the Snow. The underwater city's far enough down we'd need diving equipment, or a pokemon who can dive, to reach it, right?"
Sam Spade sighs
Meloetta pats the wailord with a paw. "I provide, oh la~. But our friend would need a really big hole to dive through."
Esme: "Very big boy."
Skel: "If you need diving equipment, I'm pretty sure Port of the Sand has some. Even if they can only do short dives now, it's still popular there."
Skel: "I wouldn't recommend diving much closer to Port of the Snow. Hypothermia's a problem there if you're not indoors or protected."
Linnea: "Maybe Esme could hold the door open, as it were?"
Esme: "That's what I was going to try the 'punches' for. At least until we can come up with a more permanent solution."
Esme: "Maybe get the diving gear then come back and try the anti-barrier dance thing?"
Sam Spade: "Works for me."
Tim: "Alright." He walks back to the wailord's front and points ahead. "Let's go!"
The wailord lurches into motion once more.
Linnea: "So, we dance underwater…? Interesting…"
Linnea: "Or on it, as it were."
Esme: "Through it?"
Linnea: "It would seem so."

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