In Her Image: a Pokémon RP

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Lee went with the group to the shops, he had nothing he needed to buy but he might as well come along. He didn't need to train snover for the tournament, he yet had to figure out how to train octillery and duskull should have had more then enough practice by this point.

"Hey kid, ya feelin' any bet-- WHOA!!" lee turned to see were the noise came from and saw matt 'Dear lord your face looks like a tomato' he said

"Oranges. Your allergic to oranges aren't you? Look, I'm sorry for giving you that drink earlier, I simply didn't know, or maybe, I was never told. You really should speak up in future, that way, unpleasant instances like this won't occur."

"Yeah yeah, I know...I just... well, it would've been rude to say no..." Lee was stunned by this statement 'first of all it ain't rude, second of all even if it was, just be rude. any reasonable person would be fine with not making you drink something that is basically a poison to you, and last of all do you need to go do the hospital or anything?'

Darius walked along with the group, thinking about what he needed to buy, but zoned out when Remy started talking about the Department Store, he knew the place, they were laid out generally the same, so he wasn't worried about them until he got there.

Matt continued to swell, to the complete ignorance of Caleb, the one who'd given him the juice in the first place. The kid said he'd be ok, and Darius believed him, so he wasn't that worried except for the obliviousiety of the noble brat.

Darius sniffed and continued walking, blowing out smoke as he walked. Goldenrod was a nice city, not the best place he'd ever been, but a sight better than Saffron was when he'd been a kid.

"...any reasonable person would be fine with not making you drink something that is basically a poison to you, and last of all do you need to go do the hospital or anything?"

Matt's gaze, if possible, fell even lower. "I just... No, I don't need a hospital. This has happened before; I'll be fine in a couple of hours."

Well, this was a great way to start the day.

The eight trainers were fairly eye-catching as they walked the streets of Goldenrod together. Caleb with his sword, Darius with a trail of smoke following him, and especially Matt with his puffed up, red face. Matt's condition managed to freak out Rupert, as his regular musings were broken by the sudden appearance of what appeared to be the Elephantman. Rupert breathed an audible sigh of relief when he overheard Caleb say that this was simply the effect of a nasty case of allergies. Cubone looked up at his trainer irritably and let out a sigh of his own, albeit for entirely different reasons.

At the back of the group (naturally) Rupert fell back into his own mind; he had been considering this shopping trip. Being properly equipped was essential for a proper trainer. That much was clear. The problem was that he really wasn't a proper trainer. Was there something he was missing? How was he to know whether something was missing? He needed to be a good trainer to know that. And to be a good trainer he needed to have nothing missing.

Gah! Damn circular logic! Okay, calm down. You'll just have to look around the department store. See everything on offer. That can't be so hard oh my that is a large building.

Ahead loomed the fabled Goldenrod Department Store. People were flocking in and out of the monolithic building in droves. Rupert had never actually seen anything like it in person before.

This might take a while.

As usual, Tom was walking by himself slightly behind everyone, but not as far back as Rupert. And of course, he was also talking to Kusari.

"It's huge isn't it Kusari? I was here a really long time ago, just a quick shopping trip is all. My big going away present. It's where I got my trusty bike. I got those berry pots from here too. The place really does have everything. It's kinda amazing."

"Skor?"

"Oh, we're really just here for a TM. then we'll get right out to training, Ok?"

Seeming to accept this answer, the Skorupi nodded. Tom then noticed that Rupert had fallen behind the group. Walking back to him, He saw that he was once again looking distressed, although Tom found it interesting that the young man had let his Cubone walk around with him.

"Rupert! Why're you looking so glum? We're supposed to be having fun here! Want help finding stuff or something? What ARE you looking out for anyway? Anything in particular?"

Suddenly Rupert was once again the subject of Tom's endless barrage of questioning.

They had indeed arrived, and the Goldenrod City Department Store certainly lived up to its reputation of second biggest in the country. The building was huge, dwarfing other businesses around it, with constant maintenance ensuring it looked as modern and impressive as it did when it was first unveiled 60 years ago.

"Well? Shall we get started then?"

Remy asked, while ushering the gang inside. As they got in, everyone got the same courteous greeting Daria had just gotten moments ago.

"Welcome to The Goldenrod City Department Store! What can we do for you today?"

This was made all the more impressive by the fact that there were not one, not two, but several beautiful young women greeting would be patrons in their matching sky blue uniforms and friendly smiles.

Assuming that Rupert and Matt might not be very comfortable talking to the floor attendants, Remy turned to them and, with a chuckle, noted:

"If you don't want to talk to pretty ladies, there's always the floor plan."

He said, winking at the two and pointing a thumb at a glass monolith behind him, near the elevators.

Floor Plan

B1: Delicatess: Food, Berries, Drinks
1: Lobby: Info Desk, Meeting Point, Café
2: Trainers' Basic: Potions, Heals, Items
3: PokéBall Store: All your PokéBall needs
4: Apothecary: Vitamins & Rare Candies
5: TM Store: The largest selection of TMs in the region
6: Evolution Store: Stones & Other assorted evolutionary items
7: Electronics: PokéGear, Portable TVs, Music Players
8: Hardwear: Camping, Fishing, Tools
9: Food Court: Restaurants for every taste Human & Pokémon alike
10: Roof: Amazing view of the city, Roost Café

"Feel free to split up and do what you want, guys. Y'all know where the inn is, and if you have any trouble, here's my Pokétch number. Now, if ya don't mind, I have some business at the Evolution Store."

Having given his number to the other tenants, Remy and Sneasel made their way towards the elevator.

Wonder if they have any Razor Claws... I have a feeling I might need another one soon enough...
______________________________________________________________________________________________

Meanwhile, at the 8th floor, Daria got an answer to her question.

"Gee, miss, I can't say for sure. We don't carry construction materials here. You might want to ask around the Underground Tunnel. Be careful, though! There are some shady characters who do business in those parts."

As the group entered the Department Store, they were greeted by several beautiful young women who all wore matching sky blue uniforms, and overall friendly smiles.

"Welcome to The Goldenrod City Department Store! What can we do for you today?" They all asked in unison, to which Caleb gave a charming smile in return, and walked up to the counter.

"Well, hello ladies. I say, its been a while since I was last in Goldenrod, and I was wondering where someone might find a Dawn Stone please?"

"Certainly sir, you can find them on Floor Six, where all the various evolutionary stones and other evolution items are sold."

"Thank you for your assistance, it has been, most helpful. Enjoy your day ladies." Caleb said as he headed towards the elevators, and pressed a button marked Floor Six. He soon arrived on a floor that was stocked with various items, from Dragon Scales to Reaper Cloth, and all the various coloured Evolution Stones that existed. Casting a glance over the Stones counter, he spotted the item that he was looking for, and went up to one of the attendants, who seemed to wear a similar outfit to those at the information desk.

"Good morning, how much is it for the Dawn Stone?"

When Sav arrived at the Goldenrod Department Store she was in awe of the sheer scale of the thing, of course she had seen department stores before, just like the one in Lilycove, but this one's architecture was certainly something completely different and unique.

"Wow... it's so beautiful! I wonder how many floors it has?"

She entered along with the rest of the group, once there they were immediately greeted by a multitude of women wearing identical uniforms, the store's employees of course.

"Welcome to The Goldenrod City Department Store! What can we do for you today?"

She was initially startled by their seemingly unearthly enthusiasm and joyous greeting, although it wasn't until after that she recognised that they were just doing their jobs. Still, she never wanted to be in a situation like them, being paid simply for smiling and looking pretty. Once she regained her thoughts, she set her mind to the task at hand. Shopping!
She turned to one of the girls.
"Ermm...Yes! Now I remember!" She said with a massive smile on her face. "I was wondering which floor sold Technical Machines? It' my first time here and I just can't wait to get going!"

The girl returned Savannah's warm smile with one of her own.

"Certainly Miss, the TM Store would be on floor number five, we have the largest selection of TM's in the Region. Do enjoy yourself."

Sav thanked the girl, before stepping into the elevator with Caleb and Remy, who seemed to also be heading to a similar floor. In actuality, she was just eager to avoid Darius, and she thought the lift would be the way to go about things.

"You don't mind if I join you guys on the sixth floor do you? I just want to take a look at everything they have here, it's incredible!"

She looked out at the rest of the group from inside the lift and shouted as the doors closed.

"Hey! how about we all meet up on the roof when we're finished? O-..."

It was a short ride up, although the stereotypical lift music accompanied by Caleb's occasional glances made it seem longer than she would've liked it, although all along she was thinking of how she was eventually going to have to interact with Darius again, although it would now obviously be outside of the tournament, not that she cared. She couldn't care less about whether she could forgive him or not.

Once she had arrived at the Evolution Store, something immediately caught her eye as she stepped out of the elevator. There was a set of scales inside a glass case. They seemed to glisten and shine, with an almost mirror-like quality. Sav instinctively rushed towards them.

Could it be...?

She looked down at the sign that was beneath them. Prism Scales

"Oh God! I always needed these! They were always sold out wherever I looked for them in Hoenn! I need this! Oh god oh god oh god! 7000 PD... I have to get it, screw the budget!"

She walked over to the counter and excitedly shouted "One Prism Scale please!". She handed over the lofty sum, before turning it over in her hand, it's surface gleaming with an iridescent sheen. She felt a massive grin on her face, as she thrust the newly purchased item into the air victoriously.

"I have the poooooooweeeeeer!!!"

*DING*

"We've reached the 6th floor. Evolution Store. Enjoy our selection o-"

"Oh God! I always needed these! They were always sold out wherever I looked for them in Hoenn! I need this! Oh god oh god oh god! 7000 PD... I have to get it, screw the budget!"

Savannah rushed out of the elevator to grab and purchase a Prism Scale, holding it up to the light, making it glitter quite beautifully.

Caleb made his way to the evolutionary stones, apparently knowing exactly what he was looking for. Pointing at a light blue stone with a bright sparkle coming from its centre inside of the display counter, the gentleman asked:

"Good morning, how much is it for the Dawn Stone?"

The young lady behind the counter stammered for a moment before answering.

"A-ah, good morning, sir. The Dawn Stones are 10.000P. They are quite rare and sought after, you see."

"I have the poooooooweeeeeer!!!"

Remy lazily followed with Sneasel on his shoulder. He made his way to Savannah, looking over her shoulder (probably one of few to be able to do so) and let out a whistle.

"That's a pretty scale! Expensive too... What is it for?"

"There are some shady characters who do business in those parts."

The salesclerk was new at his job, and only trying to be helpful and warning the young woman away from getting herself hurt. Unfortunately, he hadn't received the memo of just who he was talking to. Rather than the usual thanks or even nervous worrying he probably would have expected from an average citizen, he got the trademark fiery grin of Daria Pace. She walked past him, slapping him on the back in some strange gesture of thanks in her mind.

"Shady's my favorite kinda guy!" was all she exclaimed as she marched off with her Staryu, still waving around a little wooden mallet as some sort of souvenir. The salesclerk was hunched over, leaning on the aisle shelf as he waited for the intense stinging to dull in his back. He glanced back, seeing Daria's back as she dwindled off into the crowd.

Was she real?


Daria casually walked out the store, as oblivious to her companions entering as they were to her exiting when they passed each other. She glanced to her right, at Gemini, still waving its new wooden mallet around.

"Did ya really need that, girl?" Daria asked, skeptical. "That cost me 50P, ya know."

"Hya!" replied Gemini, affirming the worth of its new acquisition. The trainer giggled a bit, shrugging her shoulders as she continued to walk with her companion. They found what they were looking for relatively quickly, a small stairway built into the side of the street and leading down into the Goldenrod Tunnel. Daria leaned down, getting a good look down the stairway. She could already see the eponymous Tunnel was quite dark, gray, and possessing its fair share of litter.

"Eeyup. Looks shady all right. Looks like it won't disappoint!"

Daria and Gemini descended into the Tunnel, their steps echoing off the gray stone. They were greeted by the smell of must, and the underbelly of a metropolis. No one was immediately visible down here, most people relegating themselves to corners and shadows. She could see a hair salon down in the distance, probably the only reputable business establishment in the entire underground. But it wasn't what she was looking for.

She turned off in the other direction, and began trotting down a ways. This was a more darkly-lit area, most of the lights burned out after a long time without replacement bulbs. She saw an alleyway to her right trailing off into the darkness. She considered going down it to see what she might discover, but it seemed fate was reading her mind. The contents of the alleyway came out to meet her.

Some punk with a scrappy frame dressed in a leather skull'n'crossbones jackets, with red leather pants and a blue spike-hawk hairdo stepped out into the center of the main Tunnelway. At his side was a significantly less scrappy Machoke, its burly muscles standing out even more in the selective lighting of the tunnel. They both stared down their latest victim, the trainer twirling a switchblade in his hand.

"Well, well, Machoke, lookee wot we got 'ere!" the punk cackled in his odd accent. Daria raised an eyebrow at him.

"What's with your voice, dude? Ya from Unova or somethin'?"

"Don't worry 'bout me voice, poppet." the man who could literally be nothing else but a mugger replied, grinning. Daria could spot a few missing teeth. "The matter at 'and's yer wollot."

Daria's brows furrowed, looking like she was about to snarl. Then, they went up into a hopelessly confused state. "What the heck's a wollot?"

The mugger slammed his face with an open palm and let a muffled scream into it. "Bloightin'... must be one of them Kanto hicks or somefin. Yor CASH, lady, we're talkin' 'bout yor MONEY."

"Oh... what about it?"

The mugger actually lifted his shutter shades to look at her more clearly, by now utterly dumbfounded. "Are... are you stoopid? This is a hold-up! A throwdown, a bleedin' robbery! Put yor 'ands in the air an' gimme yor money!"

Daria scratched her chin, confused by these orders. "How can I hand you my money if my hands are in the air?.."

The mugger screamed, openly into the air this time, before pointing at his Machoke. "C'mon! We don't got time for gettin' walloped with this idjit's stoopid stick! We'll just take it by force!"

Both the mugger and the Machoke stopped and felt a weird chill run down their spines as their target let out an uproarious bout of laughter. Daria hunched over, slapping her knee. "Oh, MAN! That's--BWAHAHAHA--oh, jeez, that's a good one, man! Ya almost got me for a second! Like ya think ya can handle the Pewter Fist in a fight!"

The man's eyebrow twitched, giving way to a sadistic smile. "Oh, from Pewter are we? Sorry, poppet, but me mate here's ransacked your gym more'n once wif all the trainer's 'e's been throo!"

Daria straightened up, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye. "Yeah, I guess I might be kinda scared if I cared for a second to fight you with a Rock type. In reality... WATER GUN!"

"HYAA!"

"Macho?--" blurted out the Fighting-type, just a second before a gout of water sent it blasting back into the wall with a solid smack. It rebounded off the wall, right around the time Daria called out a Rapid Spin.

"HYAAAAAA--" cried Gemini, its form turning into a circular blur as it rocketed from the ground and rammed itself into the Machoke's chest. It was ground back into the wall, being worn down by the arms shearing away at its chest. It let out one more cry before the pain was too much, and it slumped to the ground unconscious. Its trainer had only a second to note its loss before he saw Daria calmly approach him, giving a "come hither" wave with her fore and middle fingers.

"Let's see if you fare any better, Spikey." she taunted, with a smirk on her lips. The mugger made no retort, opting instead for the tried and true method of screeching through his teeth, charging with the switchblade and swinging it wildly for her abdomen.

"Hup!" Daria grunted said, leaping to her right. "And, ho!" She pivoted on her left foot, spinning to her right and bringing a crashing spinning backheel into the mugger's face. His shutter shades shattered, and the switchblade swiveled in the air before slinking out of his grip to the floor beneath. A pained little moan escaped his lips as he fell backwards, blood dripping out of his nose and a giant splotch of purple from the impact point and spreading out about three inches in every direction. Daria laughed, throwing a thumbs up to Gemini--who returned the gesture with an oustretched limb-- before leaning down over her defeated opponent with a beaming expression.

"Well, I was GONNA let ya know all about who I was, but seems like ya kinda went out easier than I thought ya would! I think I'll just take THIS," she added, picking up the switchblade. "so ya can't hurt anybody else."

She straightened her back again, calling over Gemini as the two of them went walking away. Daria stopped by a trash can, tossing her stolen blade into it, confident that the mugger wouldn't think for a second that someone would throw away a weapon. Her newest targets for conversation were a group of younger-looking hoodlums gathered on the stoop of a long-abandoned shop, all in too-big-for-their-size jackets and most of them wearing flat caps. She'd seen little kid's gangs like this back in Pewter before, though none as large as the seven members this one boasted. Little orphan kids, gathered together with each other and their Pokemon for protection. Not so great challenges, but good for information.

"Heya, slummers!" Daria cheerily shouted out as she approached them. She was oblivious to the negative connotations of the term; it was simply what she'd called the ones she befriended back in Pewter, and they seemed to take it well enough. "I'm lookin' for ironwood, anybody seen some around here?"

"A-ah, good morning, sir. The Dawn Stones are 10.000P. They are quite rare and sought after, you see." The saleswoman behind the counter remarked with a slight stammer, giving an explanation regarding the item's high priced. Caleb thought to himself briefly, before taking out his wallet, and checking over the money that was inside. He then faced the saleswoman again.

"Interesting, it could be that its high price, is also attributed to the fact that only two Pokémon can actually evolve from it, and even then its quite specific about the gender of said Pokémon. You know its funny, the pre-evolved forms, are gender opposites of what they become; perhaps when they call it the Dawn Stone, they mean that its the dawn of a new life for some Pokémon. But enough talking about semantics, I'd like to purchase one please." Caleb said, placing a number of Pokédollars which totalled the asking price on the counter.

The Dept. Store was nice, the same layout as the Kanto store, but this Johto one had better customer service, he supposed. At least, as far as he could tell, the area around the layout map was curiously much less scuffed and scratched compared to the rest of the ground floor, which was almost impeccable. Sav, Remy, and Caleb knew exactly what they'd come here for, and Darius was no exception, at least in that category.

He started off by bypassing the girls completely and using the stairs, if this place was laid out anything like the Kanto store, his first stop was up that way. He'd returned Daffy and Knuckles to their pokeballs so that he could get his shopping done and get out of here. A few of his "fans" from yesterday may still be a bit upset about his decision.

Arriving at Trainer's Basics, he put out his pipe, but kept it clutched in his teeth. He began searching through the aisles for a few items, when he heard a voice he knew quite well.

"Oh, look here,"A perfectly tuned, but high-pitched voice said from his left,"Lil Dairy is here buying pokeblock ingredients."

"And Littler Lucie is probably still as tiny as ever, I'd bet." He said, turning to face the slight woman with impossibly bright multi-colored neon hair. The two friends embraced, with a few strands of hair falling on Darius' clothes, along with a dusting of fur from her Delcatty which was sitting nearby.

"I see you evolved Kit-Kat. How long's it been?"

"Oh, I don' know, a few yeeeeeeeearrrs?" She said stretching, again he could never understand her fascination with her Skitty's, now Delcatty's, qualities. "You really screwed the Poocheyna, didn't you? Quitting and leaving that girl in the dirt, a shame really, Dairy."

"A shame what? Mind if we talk while I pick up some stuff?" They started off down the aisle, Darius having picked up a shopping basket and tenderly putting items in it.

"A shame that you broke up with her before you beat her that badly and then you go and give her a pity victory!" She jumped up and smacked the back of his head. "Dumbass! You don't do that to a girl the day you break up with her! You don't do that to any girl!"

Darius was visibly perplexed by this turn of events. Lucie was always a bit strange, since the day she'd passed by the Day-Care a few months after he'd decided to start his career. But this was something he'd never even considered with Sav seeming to be a bit miffed with him.

"Uhhhh...Kinda unsure how to say this, but...I just met her the day before yester-"

"Oooooohhhh, quick worker you've become, haven't you? Kick 'em out before the sun rises, eh?"

"Not really. I just got lucky and she'd said she wanted to go as far in the tournament as possible. Me winning didn't do much more than finish her part in the tournament and me getting bored eventually. I didn't come to win, I just came to drum up a bit of business, the old man went head-down, feet-up year before last, so I've been on my own. Took a bit of a tour of Hoenn, thanks to you not shutting up about it. Got a Whismur and Numel eggs out of it though. How'd this go from us trying to catch up to talking about my love life?"

"Because,"She purred as she spoke,Darius still had no idea how she did that"It's soooooo much more entertaining than two of us catching up."

"Oh, yeah, that. I forgot that about you." He picked up a few more spices and headed for the counter."Got any advice for how to somehow make it up to her?"

"That'll be 1200 PD." Darius handed over the amount from his wallet and took the bag the clerk handed back to him.

"Yeah, get her something here, maybe. Dumbass. Arceus, you'd think you'd never had a long-term relationship. Oh wait! You haven't! Ahahahahahahha!!!"

"Well, thanks for that ego boost. I'm at the Sleeping Sunkern if you actually want to talk or catch up. Plus I guess I'll be up at the cafe in a bit, since you love seeing people tear each other apart."

The breeder and trainer left the store then, both heading for the elevator, Darius pressing the Medicine Store, Lucie the Berry store in the basement. The elevator dropped and the doors opened at the Basement floor. She simply stood there, before the doors closed again and all she did was look at him, eyes twinkling, but face innocent and straight. They then ascended and the doors opened at the Apothecary Store.

"See you later Dairy. Don't be a stranger." Stood on her tip-toes and pecked his cheek before violently pulling his ear, and subsequently, head, down to her normal level."Don't screw yourself up too much."She whispered into his ear.

Darius rubbed his head before heading into the store and buying a bottle of Calcium to give to Daffy or Knuckles, he wasn't sure just yet, as well as going back to the elevator and heading to the TM Archive a few floors up. Once there, he looked around and after choosing a few Tms, he headed for the counter.

"That's going to be 9,000 PD, sir."

"Hold your Ponytas, I'm getting it out. Here kid, take an extra 100. And could you wrap this one?" He handed the green-disk to the clerk, who wrapped it in a purple paper and handed it back with a pink ribbon. The other two tms - Sandstorm and Flame Charge - he put in his pocket. Resilient little things they were.

Finally was to head to the Roost Cafe and wait for the rest of the group. The purple wrapped TM he laid out for whenever its recipient arrived. He let Daffy and Knuckles out of their pokeballs and ordered some food. A basket of fries and drinks. The trio dug into their food and awaited the rest of their shopping party.

"Feel free to split up and do what you want, guys. Y'all know where the inn is, and if you have any trouble, here's my Pokétch number. Now, if ya don't mind, I have some business at the Evolution Store."

Matt waved goodbye as Remy, Caleb, and Sav hurried off, each of them with some specific item or other on their mind. However, as the young trainer examined the listings that his guide had so kindly pointed out, he found himself at an utter loss. There was no need for him to purchase any berries or drinks, and his personal supply of healing items had yet to fail him. Thanks to an insistent guardian, he already had more Pokeballs then he would ever use, and the vitamins that could boost his team's stats would undoubtedly be well outside his price range. TMs might be nice, but they also posed quite a problem to his budget, as well as anything that the Evolution Store might hold.

No matter what venue he studied, Matt simply couldn't find anything he needed, or even particularly wanted. So, with little else to do, the lad readjusted his pack and made his way to the building's stairwell.

The enclosed space was, regrettably, quite crowded, even this early in the morning. As Matt ascended the seemingly unending steps, he was constantly surrounded by a swarm of other shoppers, many of them staring at his still bizarrely colored face with a mix of curiosity and revulsion. Still, at least there was a bit more room to maneuver than in the elevator; here he could always escape into the less cramped stores.

Though it took a while, and his route was full of detours and backtracks, Matt continued to make his way upwards. By the time he made it to the upper floors of the shopping center the hordes of people had thinned noticeably, and as the young trainer trudged past the food court, ignoring its decedent advertisements and mouth-watering aromas, he found himself almost entirely alone.

A mighty gust of wind greeted Matt as he pushed open the door to the mall's roof; it was only thanks to a quick hand that the trainer was able to prevent his hat from being blown away. Positioning the emerald accessory so that it wouldn't try to escape again, the lad examined his surroundings. Through the sun's glaring light Matt was able to make out a decent sized crowd clustered around the Roost Cafe, laughing and eating their various treats as they compared purchases. A few other groups of people, mostly tourists judging by their attire, could be seen standing at the railing that surrounded the roof, their admiring oohs and aahs nearly blown away by the wind before they could reach Matt's ears.

Spotting an empty stretch of barrier, Matt allowed the door to clang shut behind him as he marched over to the railing. As he walked, the trainer's hands went to the Pokeballs strapped to his waist, and in three brilliant flashes of light Ventus, Spike, and Persephone joined their master on the rooftop. Though the zephyrs nearly sent the Pidgeotto and Gastly flying away at first, it wasn't too long before they had adjusted to the constant bursts of air. In a matter of moments Ventus had figured out how to effortlessly slice through the wind, almost floating as the air buffeted his wings. Persephone, meanwhile, quickly learned that the best way to keep her gaseous form intact was to remain on the lee side of her trainer, bobbing around Matt's legs to avoid the worst of the gales.

Scooping up Spike and setting the fire-type on his shoulder, Matt approached the railing and stared out over the massive metropolis that sprawled out before him. When he had stumbled through the streets, alone and lost, the city had seemed so large, imposing, and threatening. But from up here, though it certainly didn't seem any smaller, Matt was able to see why Goldenrod was so beloved by its natives. The towering buildings that gleamed in the sun's brilliant rays, the hustle and bustle as millions of people went about their day, the scents of a thousand shops and restaurants melding into a single, appetizing aroma. From up here, Matt could almost understand why someone would want to live here, a single member in a sea of a million faces.

"Quite a sight, isn't it guys?"

"Quil," squeaked Spike from his perch on Matt's shoulder.

"Rrrrrroo," came Ventus' agreeing coo as he alighted on the railing next to his trainer and teammates.

"Gas, gastly," Persephone chimed in as she bobbed in place, unblinking eyes drinking in the impressive sight.

In silence, Matt and his team simply stood/floated, staring at the city stretched out before them. Things would undoubtedly get busy later on, but for now it was nice to simply stand still in peace and quiet.

Not yet recovered from his shock over the sheer size of the store, Rupert was bombarded with questions from inquisitive Tom.

"Rupert! Why're you looking so glum? We're supposed to be having fun here! Want help finding stuff or something? What ARE you looking out for anyway? Anything in particular?"

"Well, um... I... I mean..."

Tom only wanted to help; this Rupert knew. The Johto native had been a real friend to him during his time in Goldenrod, and Rupert still felt grateful to him for what he had learned in his battle against Tom (he still needed to thank Tom for that). There was even a side of Rupert that appreciated Tom's talkative nature; it made it so much easier for Rupert himself to stay quiet. That being said, he now felt a bit strained around him. He liked Tom and greatly admired him as a trainer. But this was exactly why he didn't want to seem like a fool in front of him. He had no idea what to get in the store. This was supposed to be the advent of Rupert the Mighty Trainer. Why was he still bumbling along? Quick! Make something up!

"I-I'm here for the evolutionary... potion. The Dusk Potion. The e-evolutionary dusk stone potion of... i-it's like a held item? I think?"

At this Tom looked as confused as a Koffing faced with a no-smoking sign.

"... Could I maybe just come with you?"

And so it was that Rupert later found himself on the fifth floor, feeling like a bit of an idiot. Tom was of somewhere browsing the store's considerable collection of TMs. Rupert was on his own, engaging in behavior that could best be described as sulking. Convinced that he was never going to be anything more than a middling trainer he was lazily looking at a display of TMs, reading their description all the whilst feeling sorry for himself.

TM01: Hone Claws - God, I'm such an idiot. I can admit it to myself. Might as well admit it to everyone else. - TM04: Calm Mind - Heck, they might even take sympathy on me. It's not like I couldn't use their help. - TM07: Hail - Hail? More like fail. I really thought I could change. Guess I'm still plain old Rupert. - TM09: Venoshock - And another thing! Why couldn't I talk to those nice girls who greeted u... wait, what?

Rupert's dragging steps came to a halt. He read the description for the move called Venoshock again. It seemed that Venoshock inflicted damage and that its normal power of 65 doubled to 130 when the target was poisoned. Haunter was part Poison. And his Special Attack was pretty high. And he knew the quite accurate Toxic.
The gears in Rupert's brain were slowly turning as he put two and two together.

"Um, e-excuse me, miss? How much is this TM?"

The young man at the counter struck the saleswoman as awkward but in good spirits.

Savannah, still standing triumphant, took her Pokeball from the belt on her hip, and released her Feebas into the shop.
A voice came from right next to her ear, someone's hot breath on her shoulder.
"That's a pretty scale! Expensive too... What is it for?"

She froze, her feet rooted firmly to the spot. She turned her head slowly, before realise just how close the person were, causing her to be incredibly startled and lurch herself, her temple colliding with the would-be eavesdropper with a loud *THUD*

"Owwwwww!"

Sav turned around, still slightly in pain, but more in annoyance and anger at the perpetrator. Her feelings subsided when she saw that it was Remy hunched over and rubbing his head furiously.

"I'm so sorry! It's just that you were so close... and I wasn't really expecting you..."

As she spoke she felt a warm rush come to her cheeks, her face turning slightly rosy, she knew that she was blushing due to their brief proximity. She quickly overcame this ordeal, shaking herself slightly, before giving a friendly hug to Remy, showing she harboured no ill feelings.

"Anyway, this is a Prism Scale. Ever since I acquired ol' Feebas here I knew that this wasn't it's final form, and that inside was a beautiful swan desperate to break free from the shackles of it's current appearance. This little item helps inspire it, to help it see it's inner beauty. To make it evolve."

She showed it against the light again, making it shimmer uncontrollably.

"Just like so..."

She gave the Prism Scale to Feebas. At first it didn't know what to do with it, but it soon became interesting in it's qualities, and understood it's significance. The Pokemon shed a single tear as it had found something that it could aspire to.

And Sav waited. She waited some more. Still nothing. Why wasn't it working?! Nothing else was happening, the pokemon floated there still holding it's item, oblivious to what it was suppose to do.

"...I don't know what's happening! It was supposed to make it evolve... Is there something wrong? I read it up, there's nothing wrong... Water Stones wouldn't work... and now this... What a waste of money!"

Feebas looked at her with it's beady eyes. Sav took her Pokeball and withdraw it, her public outcry causing quite a scene. She seemed to be adept at those nowadays.
She returned to the lift, taking it down one level to the TM Store. There she browsed the selection, hoping to find something to help her other pokemon, the one's that were capable of fighting at least...

She picked up an Aerial Ace. Funny, she had always thought that it was called a different name, but well enough, it would provide ample type coverage for Sprig for now. Hoping that she could other some of the other trainers for their TMs as well. She also bought Dig for Set, knowing that it wouldn't be able to learn it before it evolved.
Another TM caught her eye. Scald. A water type move with decent damage and a chance to inflict a burn on it's opponent. It was a move she had never seen before. At least Feebas was able to learn TMs, unlike Magikarp, so that was something. She took that too.

"9000 Pokedollars please Miss"

"Certainly" she said as she handed over the money, leaving her with , modest amount of funds left. 9000$.

Disheartened by her recent purchase, and having bought everything she set out to buy and more, Savannah once again returned to the elevator, and pushed the button for the Rooftop Cafe, hoping to retreat to a table in the corner and mope for a little.

Leaving Rupert to familiarize himself with the wide variety of TMs, Tom decided to go over the moves his team already knew.

"Alright Kusari, our main problems right now are Water types, Ice types, and Fighting types. I'd say there's nothing wrong with getting Thunderbolt and Brick Break, those two are always reliable. Then we can see if we have enough for Aerial Ace."

Gathering up the disks, he made his way to the counter. "Hello, I'd like to purchase these! Uhm.. How much are they?"

Tom wasn't really the best at shopping. He usually found all of his items from adventuring. He was always surprised by the things that people would lose. Nuggets, Great quality pokeballs, Even evolutionary stones. He considered himself good at finding things, but really he just tended to trip over them, and THEN find them. Pulling out his wallet, he fumbled with it and dropped it. After reaching down to grab it, he hit his head on the counter above him.

I hope I'll have enough money for some sweets afterwards... I'll need them.. He thought while rubbing the bump on his head.

Darius sat down at one of the larger tables, expecting company to appear sooner or later. As he and the trio dug into their orders, Matt came out for air and to wonder at the expanse of Goldenrod.
________________________________________________________________________________________________

At the Evolution shop, Remy, after making sure his face was still intact, looked on as Sav desperately tried to make Feebas evolve, causing a bit of a scene before withrawing the Pokémon and storming off to the next shop.

Heh... Cute girl, that one.

Remy made his way to the counter where Caleb was busy buying the rather expensive Dawn Stone.

"Interesting, it could be that its high price, is also attributed to the fact that only two Pokémon can actually evolve from it, and even then its quite specific about the gender of said Pokémon. You know its funny, the pre-evolved forms, are gender opposites of what they become; perhaps when they call it the Dawn Stone, they mean that its the dawn of a new life for some Pokémon. But enough talking about semantics, I'd like to purchase one please."

The clerk, while new and inexperienced, was nonetheless impressed by her customer's knowledge, and his graceful delivery.

"A-ah.. Well, yes... It is pretty... peculiar. Here you go, sir. Have a nice day."

Then came the redhead's turn. Remy approached the counter and, pointing at Sneasel on his shoulder, said.

"Hey there, you wouldn't happen to have Razor Claws? I'd like to evolve this lil' fella's little brother to be, and for that I need a second one."

"O-oh s-sorry, sir. We're fresh out of those. They've been hard to come by lately... I-it might have to do with the fact that wild Sneasel's t-tend to... You know, stash them for themselves..."

Looking at Remy's own Sneasel the cashier sheepishly added.

"N-no offense!"

Remy looked almost inconvenienced for a fraction of a second before clapping his hands together, scratching Sneasel's chin and speaking up.

"Hahah! None taken, chére. We'll just have to look somewhere else, right Sneasel?"

Sneee! Came the enthusiastic reply.

With that, Remy took his leave, making his way to the rooftop. Once there, he spotted Matt staring out at the City with his Pokémon. Releasing Zangoose and Primeape, he and his band of rogues made their way to the boy.

"Like what you see, kid? Oh hey, would ya look at that. Your face looks a lot better now!"

Meanwhile, the three Pokémon were looking around for any unsuspecting victims to pickpocket. People get so careless with their valuables when shopping...
______________________________________________________________________________________________

Savannah arrived at the rooftop a little while after, having spent most of her hard earned. Then again, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. As she exited the elevator she could see two different places where she could go. On the right, Remy and Matt were talking while their Pokémon hung around, Remy's making some people nervous already. On the left... Darius, alone with Daffy and Knuckles at the café table. It was time to make a choice.
______________________________________________________________________________________________

"Heya, slummers! I'm lookin' for ironwood, anybody seen some around here?"

The kids turned around in unison and tilted their heads and furrowed their brows trying to look as tough as possible. One of them spoke up.

"Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeh?!?! Who the hell are ya calling slummers ya old hag? Don't you know who we are?"

A few broken noses and bruised egos later, the kids were ready to talk.

"Okay, okay! Jeez lady... We'll take you to our boss at the docks, he's got what you need. Come on, follow us."
______________________________________________________________________________________________

After a somewhat long trek down to the docks, one of the kids whistled.

"YO BOSS, WE GOT SOMEONE HERE FOR YA!"

A man, clad in a grey jumpsuit, with a wild look in his eyes and silver hair came out and made his way to daria until he was only a few inches away from her face.

"This bitch kicked our ass and made us bring her here, boss!"
"Yeah show her who's boss, boss!"

The kids seemed to have regained their previous vigor now that they were in the presence of their older and more imposing leader.

"Shut up ya damn kids and go back to work! So... You think it's okay to punch my employees? You damn little city folk should know better than to come here and stir hornets' nests. Now you'll have to deal with the consequences..."

Daria didn't say a thing, but her visage gave away that the man's threats were not impressing her.

"Grh! So that's it huh!? I'll teach you to mess with the "South Dock King", AMON FOERN!!"

Amon's attempt at a punch was shortlived, however as out of the blue, a dropkick connected with the peculiar character's face and sent him flying for what must have been at least 8 yards.

Daria's would be savior was a girl with a long black braid of hair and a brown bomber jacket with "DISASTER" embroidered into the back. Not far behind came a large, well built man whom Daria instantly recognized as Forte from the tournament. Looking at the flung "corpse" of the petty gangster, Forte shook his head in disdain.

"Such a boisterous entrance only to be swatted away in minutes... He might even be dead... We might never find out."

The girl turned to face Daria, with what could clearly be identified as different flavors of anger and hatred on her face.

"WHO CARES ABOUT THAT ASSHOLE!" The girl bellowed as she made her way towards Daria and grabbed her by the lapels of her jacket.

"I'M HERE TO KICK THIS LITTLE HUSSIE'S ASS TO NEXT MONTH!!!"

The day was clear, and the sun beat down on the Roost Cafe overlooking Goldenrod and the Johto Region in general. Darius was glad he'd made the decision to grab his hat this morning. The three had been lucky to grab a table out of the sunlight and heat, and were comfortably nestled in the darkness. While relatively sparse, the place was still packed with all the trainers,breeders,rangers, and enthusiasts out on the town since there was a tournament in town.

He'd finished his food, or rather, he'd grabbed a handful of fries before Daffy and Knuckles grabbed the entire basket and within a matter of seconds, decimated it and the food within. With what was left of the oily paper, Daffy had made himself a folded hat, extremely small, only cover the few hairs it had on his head.The oil still held by the fibers began to ooze down his head, slicking his feathers before coming to a rest on his bill, which he stared at with keen interest. Knuckles had taken a different route to entertaining himself, by watching Daffy's antics of hat and oil.

A few minutes into that, and Darius heard the nearby elevators ding and open to reveal an obviously disheveled Sav. Instead of standing up immediately and giving her the TM that Lucie had suggested he get, he let her stew a little bit before standing and taking the purple package with the pink ribbon and walking up behind her. Tapping her on the shoulder, he handed her the TM.

"I ran into an old friend downstairs. Gave me a few reasons you might be a bit...upset about what happened yesterday. I thought maybe this would help smooth things over."

"Hello, I'd like to purchase these! Uhm.. How much are they?"

The man at the counter ran Tom's finds through the cashier and reached his total.

"Brick Break and Thunderbolt? That makes 6000P, sir."

Rupert had apparently had some sort of revelation, as he approached the counter and asked.

"Um, e-excuse me, miss? How much is this TM?"

"Venoshock is on sale for 2000P, sir." The female clerk answered readily.

"I'M HERE TO KICK THIS LITTLE HUSSIE'S ASS TO NEXT MONTH!!!"

"Er, what?"

Daria's mouth hung open in confusion, the bafflement reflected in her expression as she reached up to scratch the side of her head. Gemini was already limbering up for a fight, but for once the Pewter Fist was a little too confused to get to the punching right away. She shrugged and said, "Uh... miss, do I know you or somethin'? 'Cause ya kinda sound like ya know me. Well, I mean, heard of me, because, well, I'm not a hussie. Seriously, the hell?"

"Uh... miss, do I know you or somethin'? 'Cause ya kinda sound like ya know me. Well, I mean, heard of me, because, well, I'm not a hussie. Seriously, the hell?"

"Cut the crap, you man-eater! You think I didn't see you getting all chummy with Remy at the tournament!?! Well let me tell you something, REMY IS MINE!! And I'm gonna kick you to the curb to prove it!"

The girl took out her two PokéBalls, a Luxury Ball and a Dusk Ball, as Forte just sighed and sat down on the sidelines.

"Don't cry to me when you lose, Tatya..."

"Who's losing? I'm going to destroy her... IN THE NAME OF LOVE!!!"

"Brick Break and Thunderbolt? That makes 6000P, sir."

"Ah! In that case, I'd also like to buy one Aerial Ace please. That'll be image9000 right? That is, as long as there isn't a move that has two words starting with C."

Laughing slightly at his joke, Tom paid for the three disks, and then walked over to where Rupert was buying one of his own. The case was tinted purple, so Tom assumed that the trainer was getting a poison type move.

"Did you get something good?"

"A-ah.. Well, yes... It is pretty... peculiar. Here you go, sir. Have a nice day." The store woman remarked with a slight stammer, as she handed over to Caleb the glistening sky blue stone.

"You as well." Caleb responded with, before putting his new purchase inside his bag, gave the store woman a courteous smile in return, and made his way up to the roof level of the department store via the elevator.

Upon arrival, he could feel a breeze blowing across his face, and thought that this would make for perfect flying conditions for Angelique. He also noticed several other patrons of the Sleeping Sunkern already here. There was Darius, who seemed to be giving a present of some sort to Savannah; and Remy appeared to be talking to Rupert. He removed Angelique's Pokéball, and let her out. She immediately began flapping her wings in excitement.

"Go on Angelique, have a bit fun. Its been a while since you had some free flying time."
"Star." Angelique chirped, before flying off around the building.

"Well, hello there Matt. You appear to be looking better." Caleb remarked as he walked over to Remy and Matt.

Savannah stepped outside from the lift and immediately felt the cool breeze against her skin. Such a welcome sensation to her, it was something predictable, something that she had missed now that she had little time for cycling. She walked on over to the edge of the building, looking over the railing at the great expanse that lay before her, the beautiful Sun setting over the region, it really did make her troubles seem insignificant, and yet still she couldn't get past them.

It seemed like a lot of things had happened to her recently that had not gone gone how she would've expected. The Tournament incident, even though she had won, it was a far cry from what she had dreamt of, her first public win was by a technicality, a hollow victory. A feeling that she was inadequate had stemmed from that obvious defeat. Darius's gracious withdrawal only served to add to her sense of insecurity, something that she though she would never feel, always being strong, independent. And then the attack on the arena, that further illustrated how ill prepared and equipped she was for such circumstances, she had really lucked out that the Pokemon Centre had an independent generator, as well as having flashlights for her and her pokemon. Finally this recent fiasco with the Prism Scale... crushing her expectations even more, opening her eyes to the harsh reality that not everything in the world happens the way she wants, or imagines, or reads about, or wishes.

"You've got to learn from these things Sav... Never let anything hold you down, get stronger from each defeat, and never keep moving forward. To work with your Pokemon, to keep them happy and make them as strong as they can be... That is the essence of both a Trainer, and a Breeder!"

She tightened her fist and pumped her arm, nobody was going to get to Savannah Iris!

It was then that she felt a tap on her shoulder, somebody trying to get her attention. Probably the Mall security telling her to stay away from the edge. She turned to face them, only to see Darius, his face slightly downcast, his puppy-like eyes although still slightly oblivious, held meaning to this meeting.

"I ran into an old friend downstairs. Gave me a few reasons you might be a bit...upset about what happened yesterday. I thought maybe this would help smooth things over."

Sav looked at the strange purple wrapped package he was offering out to her. Finished off to a bow, it was surely the work of the Department Store and not a personal touch. Still, the thought was in the gift itself, and her thoughts were both in why he was giving it to her, and what it could be. She could feel her face flushing again which she tried hard to stifle, although there was no getting away from him here.

"Erm look... I'm sorry that I've been acting the way I have, it's just that there's been so much going on recently, and the tournaments been the only thing that I've been working toward for a while now... And then you come along and I get my ass handed to me, which is my fault.. But then you go and drop out to leave me to win? It was so confusing. Everything's so confusing right now, I just don't know what I'm supposed to be doing anymore..."

She was embarrassed, but every single word was the truth. She just wanted to let him know how she had felt, seeing as how he still had difficulty understanding, maybe being more blunt would help him with these kind of social situations. Sav didn't want this to happen again, he was what she should be aspiring for after all, a dedicated breeder, only in it for his Pokemon not himself. She didn't want any more animosity between them.

"Thank you Darius, this means a lot" and she gave him a peck on his cheek before looking over at his seating.

"Why are you all alone? Don't you wan to hang out with everybody else?"

"Who's losing? I'm going to destroy her... IN THE NAME OF LOVE!!!"

"Wait, what?!" Daria cried, taking a step back to match the revulsion on her face. "Love? Snow-boy? Why would I--"

A lightbulb flicked on in her head.

"Wait," she said, pointing at her with an uncertain expression. "You DO realize that I'm a... you know what, screw it! I don't need to waste my time talking to a nut like you!"

Her stance widened, dust kicking up into the air as Daria fell into a horse-riding stance, hovering a hand over her Pokeball belt like a gunslinger ready to draw. Sigh. Why are the pretty ones always crazy?

She prepared to pluck Slagger's ball, but hesitated when her eyes glanced over at the man watching their tension escalate into a Pokemon battle. Don't want to show off my new secret weapon to him right before our match. I'll have to use somebody else.

Her hand adjusted its aim and dove, snatching up a Pokeball and expanded it to full size as she threw. "BREAK OUT, SPIEGEL!"

A flash of white light revealed the Charmeleon, slamming its claws together in preparation for a fight. "CHAR!"

Gemini hopped and rolled out onto the field, joining its teammate in preparation for the fight. "Whaddaya say, psycho-chick? Double Battle?!"

"Like what you see, kid? Oh hey, would ya look at that. Your face looks a lot better now!"

"Huh?" Remy's arrival shook Matt from his reverie, as the young trainer turned to greet his guide. One of Jhoto native's hand reflexively reached up to examine the swelling that had once plagued his visage, only to find that there was barely a bump left. Like Remy had noted, the reaction had run its course; it would only be a couple more minutes before Matt's face was entirely back to normal.

"Yeah, I guess it does, doesn't it?"

Matt offered a small smile to his new companion, hardly noticing the effect Remy's presence had on his Pokemon. Broken from their trances as well, the trio each began to go about their own business eager to have a bit of fun. Ventus, tired of staying in one spot for so long, spread his wings and let the wind carry him off. While the Pidgeotto went to get a bird's eye view of the surroundings, Persephone and Spike decided that it would be best for them to remain safely on the roof, thank you very much. Spike, having had quite enough of dangerous heights, leaped down from Matt's shoulder and, using his small frame to shield his friend from the wind, began to converse with Remy's Pokemon.

While his team became lost in their own activities, Matt continued to chat with his new friend, turning around and leaning against the railing. "I gotta say, Goldenrod looks pretty amazing from up here. It's hard to imagine that so many people can gather in one place at the same time. I think... I think I might get why people like you want to be here."

"Well, hello there Matt. You appear to be looking better."

"Oh, hey Caleb!"

Matt grinned as the noble approached, waving in greeting. "So, did you guys get your shopping done?"

"Why are you all alone? Don't you wan to hang out with everybody else?"

Well, that was certainly a change from Lucie's way of doing things. No ear pulling, no fishhooks, no gutshots, and no swift boots in my ass.

Knuckles and Daffy slowly wandered over, the Psyduck still oil-billed with that paper hat, the Sandslash guiding him.

"Psy?" He said suddenly, flinging the oil on his bill into Sav and Darius's faces.

They both collapsed in fits of laughter then, and were unable to stop after seeing Darius's unamused face. He wiped it off and returned them both to their pokeballs, which continued to visibly shake from their continued laughter inside their opaque "dunce corners".

"Anyways,"Darius said, clipping them back onto his belt, there was some difficulty in the task, as they were still jiggling,"I got done a bit ago, and there just wasn't much use in really talking to anybody else just yet. You're the person I needed to talk to anyways. It's Energy Ball, by the way. Second only to Solar Beam or something close to that."

His face began to itch, a sure sign that he needed a smoke. He turned, filled, and lit it before offering his arm to Sav. That was something Lucie'd liked, he remembered that much at least, despite what she said about his memory.

"So, did you guys get your shopping done?" Matt asked with an obvious grinning face, waving as Caleb came over. Caleb himself could only but smile.

"Now thats a face I like to see, a happy one. And yes I did, fortunately I didn't need to get much, still have enough medical supplies to last a while. Bought myself a Dawn Stone, I've been thinking about the next member of my team, and a Gallade seems to work. So, what have you been up to then Matt?" Caleb asked in return, occasionally looking up in the sky to see Angelique flying about, she then landed next to her trainer. Raiden in a occasional bout of curiosity, put his paws up on the railings, and looked over at the Goldenrod City skyline.

"Everything seems so calm and peaceful, even after what happened yesterday."

Lee just decided to go straight to the roof as the group split up for shopping, after a long walk up the stairs he sat down on one of the chairs on the roof and started thinking about if there where any move combinations he hadn't already thought of for his team. Slowly the group started to regroup on the roof, lee watched the group from where he was sitting. Though lee's mind started to drift when he saw celab's angelique.

I need a flying pokemon, while octillery can take out flying types, especially with charge beam, I already really on him for too many things and he doesn't always listen to me. Lee spend a while going through flying types most of them are way to commonly used, I would loose a lot of surprise factor with their moves. It would be way too unlikely to get my hands on a fossil or a way to return into to its former state. There is very little chance of a tropius being out here after a bit more of thinking he came to a conclusion I know, a murkrow, they are common enough in this region so it won't be that hard to find and catch one. Also it can have the ability insomnia making it a great partner for snover as grass whistle wouldn't affect him.

He walked up to the group and said 'hey I am going to buy a mirror and the go and attempt to go and catch a pokemon, anyone want to join me?'

"I got done a bit ago, and there just wasn't much use in really talking to anybody else just yet. You're the person I needed to talk to anyways. It's Energy Ball, by the way. Second only to Solar Beam or something close to that."

Sav went rosy again as he mentioned her as important, before she went ahead and tore apart the wrapping that encased the gift to find the small disc labelled Energy Ball. It was an extremely powerful grass type move, one that would come in hand in the tournament. She took a while just staring at it, she had already thanked him, so now she didn't know how to proceed and was feeling quite uncomfortable, she kept looking down to avoid eye contact, her hands together and shuffling her feet awkwardly.

She saw Darius offer out his arm to her, which took her by surprise considering his earlier handling of the situation, she had not expected him to be so forward, or even have the knowledge of the gesture. Nevertheless, Savannah graciously accepted, and the two walked arm in arm back to his table in the corner of the cafe, Daffy and Knuckles both looking on at the strange situation, almost giggling to themselves.
She let go off his arm and sat down on the chair opposite, before releasing Spriggan from his ball and showing him the TMs she had bought for him, which he could not wait to learn.

"Later Sprig, once we get back to the Inn. We'll train you and these new moves there, okay?"

" "Grovyle" chirped Sprig gleefully in anticipation of boosting his own power. Sav reminded her self that she ought to remember to teach the other two their TMs as well.

She ordered herself a cup of chamomile tea, it's fragrant steam helped to soothe her about the situation, although the contents in the cup were far too hot for consumption right now.

"So, Darius, what's next for you? If you're not in the tournament anymore I mean. Do you have any plans, or are you just going to head on home due to your mission being complete?"

"So, Darius, what's next for you? If you're not in the tournament anymore I mean. Do you have any plans, or are you just going to head on home due to your mission being complete?"

"What's next? No idea, I've got family back in Pallet, I guess I'll ask Oak if he knows anyone that's looking for breeders, haven't been back there in a few months."

Darius had ordered a simple water, and sipped at it while he smoked his pipe. His bag of pokefood ingredients sat beside him on the ground and he contemplated how to mix the food. A few moments of quiet contemplation later he felt it was his turn to ask a question.

"What about you? You got any plans? Family waiting for you back in...Hoenn?Sinnoh?"

Rupert's mood improved significantly as he handed over the money for his new TM. He felt kinda clever thinking about the new battle strategy it would afford him. This wasn't a sensation he was used to.

"Did you get something good?"

Tom had snuck up on him. For someone so loquacious he had an uncanny ability to go unnoticed when he so chose.

"Oh. H-hi, Tom. And yeah. Yeah, I think I can use this. K-kinda looking forward to using it actually. Heh..."

Rupert suddenly realized that this was the naked truth. He was actually looking forward to another pokemon battle. He had never been excited about battling before. Maybe he really was changing. Rupert couldn't stifle an awkward smirk.

"Um, here's the case if you're i-interested. How about you? Get anything for your battle today?"

The two conversed for a bit, talking about their new purchases, before Rupert suddenly noticed the absence of someone: Cubone was missing. This caused Rupert less alarm than one might expect. In the past this wouldn't actually have bothered Rupert much at all. Cubone could take care of himself; he was one of the most self-sufficient persons Rupert knew, pokemon or human. Their relationship had changed within the last day though. Cubone wanted his trainer to grow more of a backbone, but for Rupert this meant assuming the responsibility and authority of a proper trainer. He wanted to be worried about Cubone. Cubone was strong whilst Rupert was weak. This had been their trainer/pokemon dynamic for years. Rupert wanted this to change. He wanted to be there for his team.
He also couldn't forget a time, years ago, when he had had to be strong for Cubone. Cubones weren't called the Lonely Pokemon for nothing. Cubone hadn't always been this strong.

Well, if I know him right he'll show up before long. He knows that we weren't going to stay too long.
... I hope.

As Tom and Rupert made their way down the store, Rupert grew increasingly anxious and it showed. 4th floor. No Cubone. 3rd and 2nd floor. Still no Cubone. It wasn't until they reached the first floor and Rupert was just about to tell Tom that he would have to go without him, that Rupert felt a tug at his leg.

"Cubone! There you are! I was getting a bit worried abo... what's that you got there?"

"Cubone," he flatly said as he smacked something into Rupert's open palm with a dull *thud*. It was a lump of clay. A lump of oddly light green clay to be exact.

"What is this? Did you find it here? You know better than to just take stuff like this."

Cubone's steady look told his trainer that he did indeed know that. He wanted his trainer to buy it.

"A lump of clay? Really? Is this some Ground-type thing I don't know about? Well, if you really want it that bad...
It's not like you don't deserve it."

Rupert paid for the Light Clay ("8-800p for clay? Um, a-alright then.") and handed it back to Cubone. The Ground-type seemed pleased, squishing it between his paws. Satisfied, he returned to his pokeball though not before giving a courteous nod to Tom and Kusari.

"W-well, sorry about that. We should be going, r-right?"

Remy and Matt kept looking at the impressive skyline while Sneasel found himself approached by Spike and Persephone.

Snee? Sel? Sneasel. *sniff* Snea...

Sneasel inspected the two Pokémon in front of him. Persephone gave off an annoying aura. Ghost-type. Feh. While Spike was something he'd never encountered before, further examination proved it to be a Fire-type. The Cyndaquil felt strange too. Strong, but not as strong as it could be. Why hadn't it evolved yet?

"I gotta say, Goldenrod looks pretty amazing from up here. It's hard to imagine that so many people can gather in one place at the same time. I think... I think I might get why people like you want to be here."

Remy chuckled slightly at Matt's musings before answering.

"Heh. Dunno what you mean with "people like me", but yeah, it's pretty amazing. It has the same sort of big city vibe as Celadon, while still retaining the laid-back manner of you Johto guys. I think I like it because it feels like a new place, while still reminding me of home. You oughta travel too after the tournament, kid. It would do you good to see the world."

Remy and Matt's conversation was interrupted by Caleb who, having finished his shopping, joined the two.

"Well, hello there Matt. You appear to be looking better."

"Oh, hey Caleb! So, did you guys get your shopping done?"

A lightbulb went off in Remy's head at Matt's question.

"Oh, damn! Forgot I had to buy Brick Break for Primeape! I want to give him something that can really make a dent on things ya know? Kid, mind if I leave my Pokémon with you for a sec?"

Matt had no time to react before the redhead had shoved 3 PokéBalls into his hands, and was now the temporary owner of three very beligerent looking Pokémon. He could feel a slight cold sweat go trickle down the back of his neck as his new "partners" turned to stare at him.

As Remy went into the elevator and back down to the 5th floor, he crossed paths with Lee, who made his way to Caleb and Matt.

'hey I am going to buy a mirror and the go and attempt to go and catch a pokemon, anyone want to join me?'

______________________________________________________________________________________________

At the docks, the air was getting tense as Daria released Spiegel who was promptly joined by an eager Gemini. Her earlier protests and attempts to explain certain facets of her personality flew right over Tatya's head, although Forte got the message. Loud and clear.

"Whaddaya say, psycho-chick? Double Battle?!"

"Bring it on, homewrecker!"

Tatya observed her opponent's Pokémon as she weighed her duo's chances against the matchup at hand

Mmmmh... A Fire-type, huh? I did recall her having one of those, might be trouble... Oh well, here we go!

You ready guys? Let's get 'em MAWILE! ABSOL!

The Luxury Ball opened to reveal the small but imposing Mawile, who's Intimidating horns had somewhat of an adverse effect on its foes' will to fight.

Even more impressive was the Absol that came out of the girl's Premier Ball. As it slightly inched forward, the elusive Disaster Pokémon was putting out an amazing amount of Pressure, that seemed to slightly tire out the two Pokémon in front of it.

"Heh... With a team like this, how can I lose? ABSOL! Start with a Double Team, then Shadow Claw on the Charmeleon, charge a Razor Wind and send it at them! MAWILE! Astonish Charmeleon, Faint Attack it, Bite Staryu and use Fake Tears on your enemies!"

Absol! Mawwww!

The two Pokémon obeyed in unison. The battle had begun.

Daria cackled maniacally, stomping her right foot into the ground as the battle began. "ALL RIGHT THEN, LET'S GO, SPIEGEL! GEMINI! MAKE SOME NOISE!"

"CHAR CHARMELE!!"

"HYAA!"

"BEAT 'EM TO THE PUNCH BOYS!" Daria commanded, countering Tatya's string of commands with one of her own.

"SPIEGEL, START OFF WITH SCARY FACE ON ABSOL, LET THE ASTONISH FLINCH IT IF YA HAVE'TA! THEN CHOMP ON THAT ABSOL WITH A FIRE FANG WHEN HE HITS YA! THEN, SMOKESCREEN!"

She then pointed at her Staryu. "USE CAMOUFLAGE, GET BEHIND MAWILE AND LET OFF A WATER GUN! WAIT FOR THE SMOKESCREEN, THEN SLAM 'EM BOTH WITH SWIFT!"

Both Pokemon immediately nodded and jumped off to get to the battle at hand.

"Hey I am going to buy a mirror and the go and attempt to go and catch a Pokémon, anyone want to join me?" Lee asked, making his way other to Matt and Caleb, who both just witnessed Remy handing over his Pokéballs to Matt, then rushing off down the elevator to purchase a TM.

"Of course Lee, I was looking to expand my team. And with some down time before the tournament begins again, now seems like the time to do so." Caleb remarked as he returned Angelique to her Pokéball, and reattaching it to the belt. Raiden soon got bored of looking at the skyline, and stood at his trainer's side, ready to get into action.

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