Psychotropic Nymphaea, Grave Revelations, Drunken Memoirs, Wavering Alloy & Sorceress’ Saga
Just get the damn carts!
Saroja tapped her fingers together. She knew that Kalaghata really didn’t want to be in Andalusst right now. She nibbled at her lower lip, nervous.
The Kirlia wanted to bring up something that had happened last night, but she didn’t know if it would be worth… bringing up at all. It wasn’t like something that was worth mentioning had happened -- but the Ralts had once again been restless in his sleep, and eventually he had frustratedly stormed out of the house. Shortly thereafter, and before Saroja could follow him herself, Jezebel had darted down from the attic and gone outside herself.
Naturally, Narcissus wandered down after her, but he stayed inside, and Saroja, groggily, had sat up to look out the window.
She won’t be able to forget the image, but Kalaghata was giving her… odd vibes. Saroja couldn’t put her finger on it, ’I want to ask him… I want to know what’s suddenly made him almost… almost cold toward me… did I do something…? Has it really been bothering him so much to leave the house everyday and come to Andalusst?’
These thoughts continued to plague her, and she became more and more aware of the slight distance between her and Kal; the fact that his hand was just out of reach of hers, ’usually he… doesn’t like it when I walk behind him… what’s going on?’
And just when she had finally gathered up the courage to ask Kalaghata why he was behaving so coldly he stumbled back a step, then crouched.
“Oh, Astra!” he exclaimed, and Saroja peered over his shoulder to see a small Fennekin wearing a maroon hood sitting on the ground in front of the Ralts.
“What’re you doin’ in town?”
“Oh er…” she rubbed her paw over her foreleg, “I just… came to see what the fuss was all about.”
“The fuss?” he repeated - Saroja opted to listen - then realization lit up his eye, “oh you mean the errand! Or some shit like that. I’m really pretty sick of this city.”
Saroja flinched, then felt Kal’s gaze on her.
“Oh yeah, uh, Astra. This is my partner, Saroja, you know, the girl that lives with me.”
Saroja offered the Fennekin the best smile she could manage at the moment, given her state of confusion over the behavior of her companion.
“Hello there. He’s told me a bit about you, but um, yes, I’m Saroja. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Astra.”
“O-oh, hello, likewise-- I guess, Saroja.”
“You guess?” the Kirlia asked, tilting her head, then bit her lip, opting against saying more, ‘she seems so unsure of herself… I wonder why.’
The Kirlia sensed that the Fennekin was now flustered, “never mind it’s -- it’s not important!”
Saroja let out a short giggle, “of course, of course. No harm done.”
Kalaghata released a heavy sigh and stood. No sooner than he stood did Saroja hear a voice call out loudly.
“What the hell my name isn’t-- WOAH OH uh hey there!” he dodged the small Braixen and she stumbled forward, throwing her arms around open air. She immediately puffed out her cheeks and turned a childish glare to Kalaghata, throwing herself at him once more. Though he did his best to move back the Braixen was successful in throwing her arms around his chest.
“That was mean!” she complained and Kal - who was positively red at this point - stuttered and stumbled over his words.
“Y-yeah okay fine whatever!! But my name isn’t C-Cobalt!”
“Oh gosh I’m sorry Kal she’s extremely excited today for no reason at all,” Orianna stammered, and Saroja noticed that Astra had puffed up, her claws extended. She crouched down to talk to the small Fennekin.
“Don’t worry, we know them. Ciela is the Braixen clinging to Nami, and Orianna here is her sister.”
“Hi there!” Orianna gave a salute-like wave, her tail swishing behind her while Kal tried to disengage from Ciela, “didn’t catch your name though.”
“A-Astra,” the Fennekin managed, her purple gaze shifting to the Braixen. Though Saroja now sensed calmness coming from her, her fur was still puffed up considerably.
‘Actually she looks quite cute,’ Saroja noted, but then Ciela turned on the Fennekin and blinked at her.
“... sh-she’s tiny.”
“Ciela!” Orianna exclaimed in shock, “you were probably that size when you--”
“NO!!” the Braixen flopped down on the ground, her hat floating off her head for a moment, “she’s tinier than I was!! She’s really tiny!!”
Now irritation was rising off of Astra and Saroja could only guess that it was due to the fact that Ciela was constantly referring to her height.
Without warning the small Briaxen snatched Astra up off the ground and held her up to her sister, “she’s r-really tiny and and really light!!”
“CIELA!!” the Smeargle exclaimed, “you don’t just pick someone up without their permission!!”
“PUT ME DOWN RIGHT NOW!” Astra yelped, twisting and turning in Ciela’s grasp. Saroja outstretched her arms hesitantly, unsure of what to do, but she knew that she had to get Astra back on the ground somehow.
Kalaghata chose that moment to step in and jerked Astra out of Ciela’s grasp, startling a gasp out of the Braixen. He quickly set Astra back down and backed up, scowling at the little girl.
Tears gathered in the small girl’s eyes and she wailed, “I-I-I-I’m soorrryyy…”
“Ah um, Ciel, it’s okay, c’mon, d-don’t cry--”
“Why would she just pick me up I mean gees!!”
Saroja, unable to take the varying amount of emotions, forced waves of calmness over everyone. The calm had the desired effect on Ciela, at least, as the Braixen’s crying almost instantly reverted to sniffling. Orianna patted her sisted on the head, and Kal’s irritation slipped away, as did Astra’s.
‘Ah… at least they’re all calm now… she really panicked,’ the Kirlia breathed a sigh of relief, “a-anway. I don’t think she meant any harm, Astra. She’s just a child, after all.”
The Fennekin huffed in annoyance, and the Kirlia’s expression fell - though she supposed she couldn’t blame Astra. It wasn’t like everyone would be open to physical touch like she was, ’ever since I was a child mother and father always smothered me with a great deal of attention… emotional and physical.’
She tilted her head a little to one side as Orianna did her best to wipe away the remains of the tears on Ciela’s cheeks, ’furthermore, Astra looks quite tired. I hope she’ll be up for this task… whatever it may be.’
Saroja then sent to approach of a familiar signature, and looking up she saw none other than Teagan approaching with a male Smeargle before him, a Machoke next to him, and Samehk, the Kirlia she had met a long while back.
Naturally Ciela perked up at the sound of Gage’s voice and she turned about to find him immediately. She spotted him with none other than Dashiell, as well as two other familiar faces -- the small Braixen was, however, instantly distracted by the tall Kirlia once more.
‘He’s really really pretty,’ she thought, then shook her head and excitedly turned back to Astra. Before she could say anything, her sister bristled.
“Oh, it’s you guys,” Kalaghata drawled, earning a small noise of complaint from Orianna; he ignored her, his attention focused on Gage, “‘sup?”
“Eh, nothin’ really,” the male Smeargle shrugged, “just heard from Teagan that Solstice wants teams to either retrieve stolen carts or repair them. Or some shit - I mean we could make them too but…”
“Solstice would rather we not,” the Bisharp continued, shaking his head a little, “with the Explorer’s busy making more outposts, Solstice would rather we refrain from using the wood stores to build new carts. As for the ones that were stolen, it’s assumed they were taken by shady characters. If we locate carts that appear to have no owner, we’re to take them back to Robin, at the Hunter’s guild. From there, he’ll distribute them to merchants.”
Ciela listened eagerly to the conversation, her eyes darting to Kalaghata when the Ralts crossed his arms over his chest.
“The merchants? The fuck do the merchants need the carts for?”
“You’re quite disconnected aren’t you?” the tall Kirlia spoke this time, and Ciela turned her attention to him. He had a bored, uninterested expression dominating his features and one hand planted on his hip, “no matter. I don’t believe we have previously met, my name is Samehk; I’m Teagan’s older brother. Andalusst’s main resource is trade. The merchants require carts to transport their goods through the dungeons, though as you’ve heard they seem completely incapable of taking care of themselves, and thus it falls on the guilds to be their unwilling babysitters.”
“I guess being babysitters isn’t too bad,” Gage said, crouching while Kalaghata sighed and the others mulled over the information, “but uh… who’s this little ball of fluff?”
“Oh!!” Ciela jumped up a little and Gage’s eyes flicked to her, his lips twitching up in a smirk. The group, at that point, formed a semicircle around the small Fennekin. Ciela stood in the middle, sparkling with excitement, while Kalaghata, Saroja and her sister stood to the Braixen’s left, and to her right, of course, were the other four, Dashiell standing close to Ciela with Samehk and Teagan leering over her from behind. Gage, of course, was crouched, and Ciela, happy with where everyone was, chattered on.
“Astra, Astra!! This is Cookie--”
“No, no sweets, my name is Gage, not Cookie holy fuck--”
“Dashiell,” the Machoke added after Ciela’s tail had swished toward him.
“And and th-this um tall pretty guy!! Sam… Sam something! Sam!” her tail swished again, this time to Teagan, “and Tea-bag!!”
“We’ve met,” he purred, shooting Astra a coy smirk.
“And then and then Ori, my s-sister and Cobalt and Pale Blue!!”
Whether or not Astra was overwhelmed by the information didn’t seem to bother the little Braixen at all. She was just excited about all of her friends meeting each other.
Astra wasn’t sure if she should be amused or worried at the sheer amount of Pokemon she was being introduced to. It was hard enough keeping their names straight with Ciela throwing out nicknames, even if inwardly, a few of them made her giggle.
’Alright alright so… the male Smeargle is Gage… Machoke is Dashiell, I know Samehk and… Teagan already, I guess, and of course I know Kalaghata and… Saroja, and the Braixen is Ciela and her sister Orianna… ugh,’ she shook her head, tapping her paw against her forehead, ’that’s a lot of names to remember… but yeesh, Tea-bag? Hmph,’ she rubbed her paw over her foreleg now, instinctively wrapping her tail around herself, ’I’m surprised he can handle such a stupid nickname… whatever.’
“Um s-sure, I’ll do my best to remember…”
“Well if you need a reminder don’t be afraid to ask! I mean,” Gage stood, patting his knees, “with sweets throwing our nicknames around and all… pretty fuckin’ confusing.”
“Stop swearing around my sister!” Orianna snapped and Gage rolled his eyes.
“Yeah, yeah, chill, Ori. Let’s just go and find some carts huh?”
“Maybe we should, I don’t know, stop surrounding Astra like she’s some effin’ street magician.”
The Ralts’ irritation seemed to spread to the others and they moved back, sticking to the pairs they arrived in. Ciela remained in the middle, looking about confusedly and Astra’s ears flicked back.
’He’s not… worried about me is he…? I-I can handle it, it wasn’t like I was cornered or something...’ she shook her head, “so um… I can get a cart by myself.”
“Oh are you so sure about that?” Teagan asked, a certain tone of mockery dripping from his words. Astra shot him a glare, her tail flicking out in annoyance.
“Yes I’m sure, Mr. Tea-bag,” she retorted, a little pleased to see his eye twitch from the use of his oh so flattering nickname, “so I’ll be doing that, by myself.”
“Ah, well, if you say so Astra…”
The uncertain voice came from Saroja, and the Kirlia shifted on her feet, glancing at Kalaghata. He appeared deep in thought, then raised his head, “well? I think Sar and I will be more useful in the whole retrieving a cart or two. Depends on if any of ya wanna’ come with.”
“Oh, sure, we’ll come with you,” Dashiell said, and Gage nodded in agreement, “I mean I’m not that intimidating but I am a Machoke so…”
“Yeah, got’cha,” the Ralts shifted his gaze to Samehk and Teagan, and Astra decided to hang around, just to be sure of what the troublesome Bisharp might get up to.
’And his brother… damn it why is he so fucking pretty!? Ugh. Astra. Get a grip,’ she shook her head, her ears turned up in attention.
“I’m more useful when it comes to repairs. I’d rather keep my brother away from any possible encounters.”
The Kirlia released a huff, running his hand through his bangs. Orianna reached for Ciela’s hand and pulled her over to the two.
“My sister and I will go with you, then. She and I could use some help in repairing things. I don’t wanna’ endanger her in case the ‘mons that took the carts in the first place are dangerous.”
“Fair enough. We’ll go our separate ways in the meantime, and reconvene to take the carts to Robin?”
Astra tilted her head at Samehk. Aside from the good looks and the smooth voice, he held himself with quite a bit of poise, almost like a natural leader.
A variety of affirmatives went up from the others, and Samehk turned, “very well. At least Dashiell and Gage will be with two other Psychics. So, you two, contact me if you are in need. I’ll offer my assistance where necessary.”
“Sure thing; thanks Sam,” Kalaghata jerked his head up and he, Saroja, Dashiell and Gage started to walk down the street. Playfully he flicked up Astra’s tail with a tendril of shadow and she squeaked in surprise.
“Come on, Astra. You’ll at least walk with us yeah?”
’Why you little--’ the Fennekin huffed, flicking her tail a bit before walking ahead of the four, “I-I guess! I mean, since we’re going the same direction… it would be stupid to split up just to end up in the same place again…”
The group laughed, and Kal seemed to be the only one who dared to draw closer to her, ’maybe the other three heard the rumors… well!! Not that that bothers me at all. It’s to be expected.’
“Well that’s a fuckin’ point if I’ve ever heard one,” the tall Ralts mused, looking around his person, “man if I had pockets I’d shove my hands into them, but I don’t have pockets, so I’m stuck with leaving them by my sides. Ugh, annoying…”
“I know how you feel man,” Gage piped up, and Astra lowered her head, opting to ignore the rest of the conversation.
It didn’t take too long for the group to reach the more rural area of the city, where a variety of carts were scattered about. Astra quickly set about locating a cart she could carry back on her own - or pull, of course.
’It would need to have a rope though… guh, I might not have the strength--!’
Amidst all the carts she spotted one that had a white sash she could pull. It didn’t look like it was made of the lightest material, but then again, all the carts looked the same to the small Fennekin. She hurried over to the cart, ears flicked up and she looked around for a moment to see what the other ‘mons she’d come with were up to.
Gage and Dashiell were further off, checking out every single cart they came across. The Smeargle appeared to be testing the use of several broken down carts, and eventually he and Dashiell settled on one that at least had it’s wheels intact. They worked together to pull and push it away from the other carts, then set about inspecting it again.
Quickly, Astra looked around for Kalaghata and Saroja, ’they shouldn’t be having too much trouble…’
She found the two soon enough, squinting her eyes a little. At least Kal was easy to see given the brilliance of his blue hair. He kept pulling a cart forward, scowling, looking around it, then pulling it forward again.
’Looks like the carts have… something typically wrong with the wheels...’ Astra huffed, and scampered around the cart she’d approached. From what she could see, there was nothing wrong with it.
Pleased, the Fennekin returned to the front of the object and grasped it by the sash. She pulled. The cart didn’t budge. She pulled again, harder, still the cart didn’t move. Frustrated, she gave one final jerk and the cart barely lurched forward a centimeter. She released the sash, growling at it.
“... okay, I’ll try once more…” she grasped the sash in her maw again, pushing at the ground with her paws as she pulled and pulled and pulled the sash, putting as much of her weight into it that she could. The minutes passed by as she struggled, and eventually her jaw began to ache and she released the sash as her temper flared.
’Fine then. We’ll do this the window way,’ her thoughts hissed as she remembered the window panes she’d had to lift before, for that one leader of the Explorer’s guild. She shook her head. Lifting those glass panes had been a chore - but this was only one cart, how hard could it be?
She took a few steps back, concentrating her Psychic on the cart. Her lavender eyes shimmered eerily, light swirling around them, and then, around the cart itself. All of her concentration went onto that cart and she strained her mind. The fur on her back and tail began to bristle at the sheer amount of focus she was exerting.
Her strain began to pay-off, however, as the cart started to rise in the air. It creaked a little, and the wheels both hung down a little lower and bumped into the main body of the cart. Astra felt some pride in seeing the wagon afloat, and she stepped backward. After backing up a few more inches, her head suddenly went numb, and her vision was scattered into bright dots.
“Agh-!” she gasped, and reflexively released her Psychic. Her eyes widened as the cart stalled in the air for a moment before dropping; she too, dropped, covering her eyes with her paws, grimacing. She waited to hear the crash of the cart as it hit the ground and broke to pieces.
The loud sound never came, however, and instead she could hear the sound of footsteps.
She looked up, her vision blurred, confused, then noticed the cart was still in the air. It was surrounded by a pale yellow light that flickered here and there with deeper tones of purple and some orange. Definitely not Astra’s Psychic.
Her ears perked up and Astra looked around, then spotted the other four ‘mons that she’d come with were approaching. Saroja had one of her hands out, an expression of worry over her features; the Kirlia lowered the cart carefully to the ground, releasing it from Telekinesis when it was settled.
Astra realized her screw-up shortly after this and groaned inwardly, ’shit… they’re gonna’ yell at me for sure… and not gonna’ want me anywhere near these carts--’
“Hey, Astra, you okay?”
She tensed a little to find that Gage was the one speaking to her, but as she feared, before she could answer Gage Kalaghata interjected.
“What the fuck were you doing?!”
“Woah woah there Cobalt, she was just tryin’ to get a cart on her own like she said--”
“Did you just call me Cobalt?”
“Nami,” the stern voice came from Saroja, and even the two other boys took a step back at the sound of her voice, “that’s enough.”
Naturally a bead of sweat rolled down Gage’s forehead, ’fuckin’ hell this Kirlia is scary...’
He raised his hands in surrender, “okay okay, I won’t call ya Cobalt again - well, I’ll try not to. Anyway, gees, she was just tryin’ to move it herself.”
The Ralts was clearly irked, then he huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. Gage crouched, looking at the cart and looking at Astra, ’hm… actually I could probably tie the sash around her, and then Dash and Kal can pull their respective carts while Sar and I ‘help’ Astra move hers by pushing it from behind. That way she’ll still feel like she’s moving the cart herself.’
“Say, maybe I could tie that sash around your waist? That might make it easier for you to pull,” he said, cocking his head to the side.
“I’ve already tried my physical strength,” she muttered, “it won’t budge.”
“Yeah but how? I mean did you use your body or your jaw?”
The Fennekin scowled at him and he chuckled.
“What difference does that make?” she demanded, “I told you I already tried--”
“Er, Astra, if you use just your mouth, then you’re more likely to tire out your jaw and you could pull teeth out too,” Dashiell looked away, an embarrassed blush skittering over his cheeks, “w-what Gage’s suggesting is that you use more of your full body strength instead of straining your neck and jaw muscles.”
Gage bobbed his head up and down in agreement, “yeah, exactly. Well not sayin’ ya can’t lift it with Psychic, but maybe it’s a bit too much strain…? Either way. I can tie that sash around ya if you like.”
“I-I can do it myself!” the Fennekin hissed, getting up to her feet. Gage bit his lip against a chuckle.
’Gees ain’t she independent,’ his expression fell, ’like Orianna, I guess…’
He still remembered how she gave him the cold shoulder the last time, but pushed the thoughts from his mind and watched Astra loop and tie the sash around her waist instead with her Psychic.
“Okay, I’ll try this again…” she huffed in preparation and Gage tipped his head at the cart, pointing at it with his brows, his gaze on Saroja. The Kirlia was momentarily confused, but when Astra began to pull, the idea seemed to click in her mind. She carefully moved to the back of the cart - which was, in fact, moving forward ever so slightly as Astra pulled - and went around the back, giving the cart a little push.
“There ya go!” Gage grinned at the Fennekin, “it’s movin’ now yeah?”
She seemed unwilling to admit it, but eventually nodded her head, “yeah it… is.”
“Is it easier?” he asked, starting to walk along next to her along with Dashiell and Kal, who kept their carts at a good distance away.
“Yeah… um… thanks… I guess…” she muttered, and he cocked an eyebrow, then let himself hang back.
“You’re a bit clever,” Saroja whispered to him and his chest swelled a little with obvious pride.
“I try. I mean, she really seemed to want to do it on her own,” he whispered back, shrugging, “so I think it’s better to let her. But I mean uh… she’s pretty small so…”
A giggle left the Kirlia, “I think that if she got more sleep she might have been able to lift it all the way.”
He blinked at her, ’more sleep?’
“Mm. She seems tired. Her Psychic definitely isn’t weak, I mean I could sense it from a distance,” her eyes narrowed back, “I only managed to catch the cart because when her Psychic fizzled out I sensed it disappear.”
“Wow that’s pretty neat,” he set his hand on the back, nodding at her, “just so she doesn’t get suspicious, y’know. I’ll push for now.”
The Kirlia beamed at him and a soft blush skittered over his cheeks.
At least the five of them had successfully retrieved carts without too much incident.