In Her Dominion - A Pokémon Roleplay (Closed, Started)

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Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. Wash let his heavy stow bag drop to the pavement. Here he was outside the Sleeping Sunkern, having finally located the sleeping quarters that he had rightly earned, and what did he find? That some jackass had blocked the only entrance with his big fat Tauros. And said jackass was riding the beast! Wash couldn't comprehend what kind of inconsiderate dolt would just bar entry to an inn like this?

"Aurooooo!"

"Heeeeey..."

And the rider was just chatting away to someone Wash couldn't see on account of the enormous Tauros's equally enormous hindquarters! Oh no. This wouldn't do. This bull and its long-haired delinquent owner needed to be told what's what.

"Oi, easy rider! Would you kindly move yourself and your overgrown rib steak out of the way?"

There was a faint recognition in the back of Wash's mind that he must look positively ridiculous to the outside spectator. Yelling angrily at a bull's behind wasn't particularly dignified. This only added to the captain's righteous indignation.

"Eh, wha?"

Rather than bothering to turn around, the droopy Simon shifted his weight around and tucked his head beneath his left arm to get a peek at the man complaining behind him. Something that sounded old and snippy was trying to get his attention. He caught a glimpse of the geezer, and his face twitched. Being upside down as it was, from Wash's perspective it wasn't quite clear if the expression was a smile or a terrifying grimace.

"Oi, easy rider! Would you kindly move yourself and your overgrown rib steak out of the way?"

Simon snorted, clearing out his sinuses as he considered the request. With a grunt of effort, he threw himself back to sit up straight, and twisted himself around to sit backwards on his mount, facing the old fellow. With a salute he said "Hey, I'm Simon."

A moment of silence. The light of remembrance sparked in his eyes. "Oh, right, the bull. Uh, one sec."

He held up a finger and with the other hand fished around the back of his belt, plucking a Pokeball off of it. He patted the flank of his Pokemon gingerly. "Sleep time, Max."

"Oruuuuu!"

Simon tapped the ball on the bull's hip, and in a flash of red light the whole thing was sucked inside. With a loud thud, Simon fell to the floor rear-first, and cringed. Carefully dusting his end off as he stood back up, the Trainer nodded resolutely to the captain. "Sorry about that. Maximum Bison enjoys meeting new people." The smile on his face said that he got a lot of pleasure out of saying that name. He casually plucked a second Pokeball and tossed it to the ground. "This one's smaller, promise."

A flash of light produced a Treecko.

"...Ko?"

"This is our hotel, Seiba. Look around, go meet some people."

The little lizard hardly seemed happy to do so, but she surveyed the room quietly... until she spotted the Grovyle that had just entered. Her eyes narrowed, and her little hands clenched into fists. Her whole body shrunk up, retracting into a fighting stance as she sidled up beside her trainer for safety. "Treecko, tree!"

Simon gave her a sideways glance. "...Really?"

"I think this tournament will let me see how we stack up."

"Mmmmm," Thomas grunted in response, doing his best to edge through a particularly dense cluster of restaurant patrons. He would've liked to give Trevor a slightly more articulate response, but decided that actually keeping up with his guide was of more importance than keeping a conversation. Besides, Trevor didn't seem to take any offense to the lacking reply, if his continued speech was anything to go by.

"And if we happen to get beaten to a pulp inside of the first round... then I'll just have to go back to basics. It'd be just my luck to get paired up with a child prodigy or some crap like that."

Despite his companion's somewhat defeated tone, Thomas couldn't help but chuckle, albeit stiffly, at his remark. That was one of the occupational hazards with Pokémon training, after all; 10 year olds with enough talent and willpower (not to mention a generous dose of luck) could be just as effective as seasoned veterans. "Yes, well," he said, his voice returning to its standard, neutral air, "I suppose that's always a possibility, isn't it? Still, it's not like worrying about such an eventuality would accomplish anything. You could just as easily be defeated by an older, more experienced trainer, yes?"

After a moment's thought, Thomas drew up short. In hindsight, that last sentence hadn't exactly been encouraging. "Wait, that came out wrong..."

"There it is, no sweat. Hm, if you don't mind I think I'll let you take the lead from here."

...Perhaps Trevor hadn't heard that last bit. Probably for the best, all things considered, Thomas mused, especially considering the chaotic scene awaiting them inside (and dangerously close to spilling outside) the inn.

"...Huh," the man muttered, blinking in surprise as he counted the people and Pokémon that had managed to squeeze inside the Sleeping Sunkern's entrance. Was... was that a full-grown Tauros stuck halfway through the door? "And here I thought the Professor said this place was somewhat obscure..."


It had taken quite a hunk of time to get everything cleared up and everybody squared away. Thanks in no small part to Mrs. Nanba's, the inn's owner, manager, receptionist, and, on some occasions, repair-woman, mysterious aversion to paperwork and bookkeeping. After some discussion, however, it was eventually revealed that somebody had checked into the hotel in Thomas' place, and had freely distributed rooms to the other guests.

Under other circumstances, Thomas probably would've been quite annoyed. But given the current circumstances, he honestly couldn't find a good reason to hold onto his irritation. The Professor had apparently reserved an entire floor's worth of rooms ahead of time, likely to give the Sleeping Sunkern some much needed business, which meant that there was more than enough space for both his assistant and anyone else in need of a place to stay.

After securing keys for himself and Trevor, Thomas had seen no reason to horde the rest of the rooms for himself. Anybody in the foyer who hadn't checked in yet found themselves the recipient of a room for the next few days, entirely free of charge.

With that whole mess finally put behind them, the inn's occupants went about their business. Some decided to venture out into Goldenrod again, looking for food, souvenirs, or whatever else they needed. Others, like Thomas, simply took the time to unpack and unwind, taking a few hours of quiet time to ease all the stress and anxiety of travel had left on them and their Pokémon. A few simply explored the hotel and its facilities: Though each room came with a small bathroom and shower, there was a nice bathhouse out back, decorated in a classic, antique style. A sizable basement area was outfitted with work-out equipment for both humans and Pokémon, sported a small arena for Pokémon battles, and even had a PC with a connection to the tournament's registration service. A small gift-shop sold a few trinkets, mostly postcards, snacks, and cold drinks, at prices that could only very slightly be considered highway-robbery.

The last of the Sunkern's features, however, would not see any activity until later that evening, when the sun was finally setting and stomachs were beginning to growl...


"Hey there," a young, uniformed woman exclaimed as Thomas made his way into the dining room. Though her smile was certainly bright enough, its sincerity was a little on the dubious side. "I certainly hope you're hungry; we've got a good menu tonight, with dishes for both you and your Pokémon. Of course there's the standard Pokéblocks and Puffins, but if you're looking for other stuff there's..."

As the waitress began to list off a few potential courses, only rolling her eyes a little bit as she did so, Thomas took a second to glance at her nametag. Marie Nanba it read, in blocky, easily readable text. "Uh, thank you Marie," Thomas said, cutting her off halfway through her clearly rehearsed speech, "I'm sure I can find something."

The young woman gave him a look that was half-grateful, half-annoyed, but didn't verbally respond to his interruption. Instead, she merely nodded towards the moderately sized room and its array of tables and serving stations.

"Come on, Farady," Thomas said, glancing back at the Magneton floating behind him. "Let's go find a seat."

The electric-type whirred happily in response and hovered after its trainer as they made their way towards one of the tables in the corner. "Bzzt-zzzzt."

"Eh, wha?"

Despite himself, Wash was just a bit startled at the young man. It wasn't just the oddly lethargic way in which he carried himself; if Wash wasn't entirely mistaken the Tauros rider had just smiled at him. People never smiled at him! At the very least no one that wasn't trying to gain favor with him, and they usually quickly realized how futile an errand that was. Was this young man some sort of deviant in addition to being a delinquent?
Perhaps he was one of those socialists Wash had heard of.

"Hey, I'm Simon."

"Humph! And I'm Captain Wash. But then I never asked for your name, boy."

It took young Simon a few more seconds to remember what had initiated this dialogue, upon which he fished out a pokéball and retrieved the Tauros.

"Sleep time, Max."

"Oruuuuu!"

And then immediately fell to the floor, as the dissapearence of the enormous Wild Bull pokémon left him stranded in midair.

Yes. Definitely a socialist.

Mumbling and grumbling about frivolities, delinquents and political philosophies Wash then pushed his way to the front desk so that he might finally get the room he so richly deserved. There he was, however, met with confusion as some girl-child had been given all the keys to the hotel rooms. The situation wasn't made much better when this scrawny guy came by claiming that he had an entire floor of the hotel reserved, and that everyone present was free to take a room, completely free of charge. Always one to look a gift-horse in the mouth, Wash demanded to know what was wrong with the room, and also what kind of fool these people took him for.

__________________________________________________________________________________

"Phew!"

Wash sat back on the bed, and the springs gave a reassuring squeak. He'd inspected the room from top to bottom, and aside from its cleanliness not living up to his standards (there was dust underneath the cabinet!) Wash couldn't find much to complain about. It seemed that there was nothing wrong with the room. He had really been given a perfectly serviceable room for free. This made Wash hugely uncomfortable. He had never been indebted to anyone in his life and he didn't intend to be so now! Did that scrawny guy in the snappy clothes expect something in return? Or was he just soft in the head? Something was wrong about this; that was for sure, and it made the captain itch all over.

"Bah!"

Wash rose to his feet and decided not to stop there. An old instinct from his life at sea kicked in. A captain needed to know his vessel in and out. These were foreign surroundings. Wash stepped out into the hallway and locked his room behind him. It was time to check the premises.

Trevor wasn't exactly sure what had happened but the short of it was he'd gotten a free room for a few nights. It had something to do with a timid purple haired girl, a cranky old man and, purportedly, a member of team rocket. The whole thing sounded vaguely like the setup to some corny joke and he hadn't really been listening all that well. Not one to sweat the details, Trevor thanked Thomas for the room and went to ditch his bag. He then went down to check out the basement where he discovered you could register for the tournament from any PC. Somewhat embarrassing but at least that was done with. He briefly considered challenging someone to a battle but quickly decided against it opting instead to have a nap. Sitting on a train for an hour was oddly exhausting. He made sure to get up for dinner though.

The dining hall was mostly empty when he arrived. It seemed he was one of the first there. His pokemon needed to eat, though. He hoped in vain they'd behave themselves. The waitress had a whole spiel lined up for him. He couldn't find a good time to interject so he just let her go through the whole thing, nodding at the appropriate times and thanking her afterwards. Scanning the room he saw Thomas in a corner but he figured that food took precedence over socializing. Taking a place at the nearest table he sat down and considered what to order and the best way to feed his pokemon. The facilities were designed with pokemon in mind, that much was true but they weren't designed with Jagg in mind and that worried him. Maybe it'd best to take some food with him and feed him somewhere else. If there was something he couldn't afford right now it was to pay for damages. Ice would be fine, though. Sickle wouldn't destroy anything but he felt like she'd probably prefer to eat alone. He sat there thinking for a lot longer than the problem called for.

A quick flash of red and the charmeleon was sitting besides him. "Charrr..." Ice let out a relaxed sigh and a yawn as he lazily inspected the room. "You hungry?" a slow nod was his response. "We'll find something to eat here and take some with us for the others." Trevor began browsing the menu, letting Ice see it in case anything piqued his interest.

Geez, the city was big. Tyler had been wandering around for what felt like an eternity. He wasn't exactly in a rush, but eventually the sites got boring. Everywhere he went, there were crowds of people, and they filled up each and every place to stay. He supposed he could have called up his parents and they could have bought out anyone staying in one of the fancier hotels, but if he was going to call them for money anyways, he'd rather keep it small. Even if he did win this tournament, if they had paid and equal price for him to get here, it likely wouldn't mean much. So he continued to look, his Swinub nestled into his arms. It seemed he was to never find a place to stay. It was just as suddenly that he'd given up that Colossus leapt from Tyler's arms and took off down the street. "H-hey! Wait up!" Ty could only think of one reason his partner would act like this: he smelled food, and it smelled delicious. "You better not eat it all without me!" He weaved through the crowd in time to see the small ball of brown fur dart around a corner, and he followed after it, stopping short at the door to a small storefront, called humbly "the Sleeping Sunkern." His Pokemon sniffed at the door.

"Swin! Nub," it squeaked excitedly, so Ty opened the door and ducked inside, the Swinub running along ahead.

"Hello? Got any rooms?" His stomach growled, reminding him of why they'd come here in the first place. "I'll settle for food."

=HARLEY=

When Harley got back to the foyer, the Tauros was in fact gone, and in its place was a Treecko, which she considered a massive improvement. After all, a Treecko couldn't take up the entirety of the semi-cramped entryway even without the other trainers and their Pokemon, much less its own trainer. And, apparently, the Tauros was retrieved just in time for another possible trainer to step inside, this time a bad-tempered old geezer, one she hardly paid attention to as she started to wander the hotel itself.

Overall, it was a rather cozy place to stay, and it wasn't long before she found out that the person those room keys were originally meant for had arrived, and didn't mind letting the other trainers use the extra rooms. At that point, she took the time to go down to the basement at at least check on the recreational area. As it was, it suited her needs well, though she had no plans to use it just yet. Instead, she walked up to the PC and made sure she was registered to the tournament, then made a quick detour to the bathhouse in the back.

It was a small indulgence, yes, but she enjoyed the time to get herself, and her Pokemon, clean before joining the others for dinner in the dining hall. She made her way down the hallway with each of her Pokemon in tow, with Godmother and Oracle in the air just behind her, while Fahrenheit was at her side, with Celsius not far behind him. And, just before she turned the corner into the dining hall, she could hear the bustling sounds of eating people already seated. So she saw no reason to waste an opportunity.

Reaching at her side, she flicked on her phone, which was already handily connected to the speakers on her belt, so that music blasted out to announce her arrival as she turned the corner and stood just in the entrance.

"PREPARE FOR TROUBLE, AND ON THE DOUBLE!", Harley announced, making sure that her timing was perfect as she struck a pose.

She didn't even notice as all of her Pokemon just ambled past her for the food.

"TO SCORCH THE WORLD WITH THE FLAMES OF AMBITION! TO TAKE IT ALL OVER HAS BEEN OUR MISSION!", she continued, sweeping her hand before her.

"TO TRAIN THE STRONGEST OF POKEMON! TAKE IT FROM ME, IT WON'T TAKE LONG!", she sang while waving a dismissive hand right on cue.

Then she jabbed her thumb into her chest and grinned in challenge. "HARLEYS THE NAME, AND TEAM ROCKET BLASTS OFF AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT!", she started to sing the final verses, before she finally noticed her Pokemon, "SURRENDER NOW, OR -- What are you guys doing?! I'm in the middle of my motto here!", she growled, glaring at each Pokemon in turn.

Fahrenheit himself merely glanced over as he stuffed a spicy Pokeblock into his beak and shrugged with a muffled squawk. Celsius was snuggled up against him with her own Pokeblock, and she didn't seem to mind Harley's ire. "Sneas, Sneas!", she called, before going back to nibbling on her treat.

As for Godmother, the Murkrow had settled down near the other two and was currently preening. Only Oracle seemed to be concerned in the slightest, as she took the time to float over, positioned herself above Harley's head and did her best to look as scary as possible.

"MIS-DREAVUS!", Oracle sang admirably, only for Harley to deflate and sigh.

"Forget it, go ahead and dig in.", she murmured as she turned off the music, before going to sit down and eat herself.

She couldn't blame them really. Besides, it wasn't as if they were at the tournament just yet, and she knew they wouldn't let her down then, during her motto or in-battle.

The music pounded on Trevor's thoughts but he didn't really notice it until the he heard the voice that followed. Startled by the sudden noise he dropped the menu he was holding on the floor and snapped his head around to get a look at the source. A short red haired girl had entered the room, belting out a bizarre song as loud as she physically was able. Trevor simply stared on, a bewildered look on his face, incapable of looking away. As the song reached its conclusion she looked as if she was expecting something and noticing the absence of her pokemon, barked at them only receiving support from one at which point she sighed and gave up, bringing the performance to an abrupt end.

The whole thing was ridiculous to a point where Trevor couldn't help but start laughing although he did his best to hide it. He glanced at her again and her abject disappointment set him off laughing in earnest, still trying his best to stop. He knew it was pretty seriously rude but he couldn't help it. Something about her wildly disparate mood, going from hyper enthusiastic to deflated was just too damn funny.

"S-sorry" he managed to blurt out between fits of laughter "Its just, pff, the look on your face..." and he broke into laughter again, but quieter now. He looked at her again and managed to control himself this time. He looked down as he thought about what just happened and murmured "sorry". He hoped she wasn't too angry with him.

Ice for his part completely ignored the loud intrusion, picking up the dropped menu and putting it back on the table, looking through the pictures.

Kayla was grateful for the free room. She didn't have a lot of money so anything that would save her a couple of dollars was a good thing. She threw her things down in her room, leaving them lying around haphazard. She pulled out a couple of gym clothes and went downstairs to the gym. Her pokemon and her were not used to battling so she wanted to give them a little bit of training first before the tournament.

She let out Vis first who went straight to the weight machines and started lifting. Adelpha set up a slalom around the room and started to race through the course, slowly at first and then faster and faster as she made her way around the room. King and Milan both faced each in the arena.

They circled each other, eyeing each other up as they prepared to attack. Milan made the first move. Sparks fly as the Luxio let loose two streams of electricity, trying to paralyse King. Rolling out of the way King gathers flames around his mouth and lets an Ember at Milan. Milan ducks under it and starts to charge King, a trail of white light appearing behind him. King not one to sit back gathers flames around his body and charges at Milan. The two meet in the middle of the ring, Milan'ss Quick Attack knocking back King, who's Flame Wheel left a scorch mark on Milan's side. They circle each other again preparing for another attack.

Alisia was glad that the somewhat absent minded trainer chose to withdraw his Tauros to its pokeball, it's sheer size was clogging up the lobby and making the simple task of getting to the front desk a chore. However she never could have guessed what would happen next, when in another flash of red, Simon would produce a Treecko in place of 'Maximum Bison'.

"Treecko, tree!"

She saw the newly released lizard glare at Sprig, who had nary a care in the world for it's pre-evolution, whether a female or not. He was too focused on Alisia's promise of food and lodging to return the feeling of animosity, although he noticed that she wasn't too bothered with being prompt about the matter.

"Vyle!" he chirped impatiently.

"Yes Sprig, I know. Just give me a sec okay?"

She was just about to negotiate the price of a room with the receptionist when before she knew it the kind old lady had appeared right in front of her, offering a room key to Alisia with a smile on her face. Whilst initially reluctant to accept the woman's seemingly innocent gift, upon seeing everyone else in the lobby heading off without paying she couldn't help but go with the crowd. Surely someone must be covering their expenses, as not this many people would be willing to take advantage of this woman's hospitality, right?


Quick to inspect her room, Alisia found the bed immediately to her liking. She would have fallen asleep right then and there, if it weren't for Sprig's anxious poking to remind her of dinner. Before she headed off to the dining room however, Alisia took the opportunity to use the PC in the corner of her room to check her emails and register for the tournament.

Hmmm, I wonder if everyone else that I saw in the lobby are also registering for the tournament... Maybe I should challenge some of them to a battle here... get a feel for their abilities.

A resounding rumble from her stomach reminded her of a much more pressing matter at hand- the issue of dinner. Sprig's eyes lit up at the suggestion, eagerly heading off down the hallway in pursuit of the enticing aroma of Pokeblocks and Poffins. Meanwhile Alisia slowly made her way to the dining room, curious to the exact source of the music that was emanating from her destination...

It was to have everyone out for once, though it was hard to see them through the dust cloud. They were certainly eager eaters. However, Mel didn't mind. They were happy, after all. Even Grimm was; the Sludge Pokémon had been forced to eat something relatively healthy compared to the usual gutter fare. Then again, Mel had coerced him into a trash-free diet. Meanwhile, Vincent was trying - as always - to sing and eat at the same time with cries of, "Wobbu~!"

Of course, it was a losing battle. Though, Mel had to admit, he was getting better and better at it. That reminded of something... The tournament! They still had to register! Well, that could probably be left until later.

Kero gave a short yawn and sat down. Soon, the others followed. Vincent and Grimm both blenched, and some of the people walking past the eatery had to dodge the small poison cloud, courtesy of Grimm. Afterwards, the Sludge Pokémon sank into the ground and started to nap. However, Casper still retained his usual peppiness and Vincent would probably stay up all night singing if he had his way. Nevertheless, back into their Poké Balls they went. Except for Casper, as it was his turn to roam free.

Normally, Mel would have gone back to the Sleeping Sunkern, but Casper had different plans. First, he floated off into a side street, causing to Mel to run after him. It quickly descended into a game of 'Chase Casper' as he ran off, never stopping for Mel.

At least until Casper seemed to grow bored of it. "Ha!" The Pokémon exclaimed as Mel finally caught up to him. Mel laughed in returned as she realised where Casper had brought her: the Pokéathlon Dome itself. He really wanted to sign-up and get that over with didn't he? Well, all she had to do was queue up and fill a few forms, right? Mel nodded to the Ghost-type, who then nodded in return. Both Trainer and Pokémon wandered up to the registration booth...

Wash descended the stairs and upon seeing that they didn't stop at the ground floor decided to just keep going. So there was a basement, eh? Alright, if he was going to check the premises he might as well start at the bottom. Only made sense, reall... 500 pokédollars for some fizzy drink?! The good captain did, however, take the time to gawk indignantly at the prices the vending machines strategically placed outside the basement gym sported. They called this a hotel? Wash called it a den of freshwater pirates!

It were the noises emanating from the half-open door to the gym that brought Wash's fierce mind back to the basement. He didn't actually know what purpose this basement level served, and the bizarre soundscape of footfalls, heavy breathing, electrical sparks and the roar of fire did not help. If anything it was a bit alarming. What the heck was going on in there?
Wash opened the gym door slowly and entered with a measure of barely restrained trepidation... trepidation that turned out to be perfectly justified as he was immediately about to be run over by the red blur that was Kayla's Scizor.

"Blundering bazookas!"

"Sci."

Adelpha, who was just innocently running her laps, was less fazed by this encounter than the captain, who fell to the ground and curled up into a ball immediately, and effortlessly leapt over Wash to continue her run. Wash got back on his feet with some trouble, all the while dusting himself off, adjusting his cap and surveying the room.

"Speed-crazed corsair... grumble... road roller... mumble..."

It was a decently equipped gym that greeted his sight. There was even a small arena set aside for battles and a computer terminal in a corner. It was only now that Wash noticed the young woman currently occupying the gym. She seemed to be having something of a workout herself with the four pokémon here: the aforementioned Scizor, some bug thing that was lifting some surprisingly impressive weigths, and a Growlithe and Luxio that were in the middle of a fight.
Oh great. Another girl-child trainer. Stupid kids with their critters...

"Hey, girl! Keep your monsters under control, alright? They're a danger to decent folk!"

For a brief moment, a tiny triangular sandwich was precariously trapped between the fingers of a very hungry man. If it had been a living creature, it might have tried to bargain for its life. But alas it was merely a sandwich, and its succulent contents were inhaled. Simon pressed his forefinger and thumb to his waiting maw, eagerly chewing up his little hor d'oeuvre and throwing it down his gullet with an overacted gulp. "Oh, mm, mwah. Jeez, that's good... can I just," Wayne held up a finger as he held down a belch, addressing no one in particular. "Can I just take a--braaaap--a second to say, that sandwiches are basically the pinnacle of human achievement? Seriously. They are literally just... portable little meals in bread wrapping! Is that not amazing?!"

"Auroooom!" replied his Tauros, happily wagging its tails. Maximum Bison sat at the table with his trainer, happily munching on imitation Magikarp poffins. This was his third order, and he showed no signs of stopping. As Max slurped up the latest poffin Simon groaned. "You know we haven't actually won the prize money yet, right? You're gonna bankrupt me if you keep this extravagant diet up." The Tauros merely snorted in dismissal and buried its face in yet more poffins. Rankine and Seiba sat on the table, happily nibbling on a few Pokeblocks crafted out of Cheri and Oran berries. The Dratini was getting the shaft, as Seiba quietly plucked away every block it reached for with a twig it was carrying. Rankine glared at the thief.

"Dratini, tini, tin!" It lurched forward and tried to slam the Treecko, who casually leaned to the side. Rankine went rolling straight off the table, yelping in terror as it hit the floor. With its shish kebab now safe from the hungry wyrm, Seiba hopped off of the table, walking past Rankine as it nursed its wound on the floor. "Tini..."

"...Hmph. Ko." Seiba left it to sulk as it sought out the Charmeleon on the other side of the room. Seiba placed his twig over its flaming tail and began to rotate it slowly, giving its dinner a nice and even roast. Simon watched these events from a distance, deadpan.

"...Okay." Turning back to his own meal, he was reminded that he needed to catch the waitress again. Milady had opted to remain behind once they'd moved into the room...


Simon warily leaned over the sleeping Nidorina, prodding her with a rolled up newspaper.

"Uh... Milady? That's... that's kind of my bed. I will be sleeping there."

"Ni-hee-do, Rin," replied Milady, snorting at Simon's limp attempt at authority. He was shot down like she hadn't bothered to aim.

"Then... where will I be sleeping?"

Without even opening her eyes, Milady nodded her head toward an open space in the corner, directly under the sink, and was back to sleep within the minute. Simon stood there significantly longer, blankly staring at the spot beneath the sink.


Yeah, she'd probably be wanting a Herdi-bag...

"'Scuse me, miss? Marie?" he asked the waitress as she walked by. She stopped by his table.

"Oh, yes? Are you enjoying everything?"

"Yeah, yeah. It's all great. Can I get a box of the Kakuna Stir Fry to go?"

"Of course!" said Marie, scribbling down his order on a notepad. Simon held up a finger to stop her before her left. "Also, could I get another order of these little bite-sized sandwiches? They're amazing!"

"Well, I'm glad you like them sir, but you ordered the Chef's Full Course. It'd count as a full-priced order to alter it."

"Oh." Simon scratched his chin for a second, looking defeated before he flashed a stupid grin at the waitress. "In that case, could I order a sparkling smile on that pretty face?"

Not another word was spoken. Marie turned around and walked away. Simon watched her go, leaning back into his chair. "Huh. Sure hope she's still gonna put that Kakuna order in..."

"Aurooooooo!"

Well, there certainly seemed to be a lot of noise in the other room. And it seemed to be the source of the delicious smell... but no! He was not such a rude person as to burst in on the dinner of another. No, he would wait here patiently until someone came.

"Swinub!" And Collosal was gone again, straight towards that room. Well, he certainly couldn't just leave his Pokemon in there to cause a ruckus, could he? Following after the Swinub, who was already racing around the room excitedly, and stood in the doorway.

"Sorry about the little one intruding on your meal, he really likes food. And have you seen the manager of this hotel around, I'm hoping they've got an open room," he said to everyone with a slightly sheepish smile. There sure where a lot of strange people in this city.

=HARLEY=

She had just piled various foodstuffs onto her plate when she heard the laughing, causing her to look up and glare at the source of it. It was a boy, near her age with dark blonde hair and a tan hooded jacket, who tried to stammer out an apology between fits of laughter. Her eyes narrowed dangerously until he finally managed to stop.

"You laugh now, but if my Pokemon actually paid attention to their cues as opposed to their food, I guaran-damn-tee that you would've been shaking in your running shoes and impressed as to that entrance.", she said, jabbing her fork at him, while directing a glare at her Pokemon, Fahrenheit in particular.

The Combusken merely swallowed the Pokeblock he had stuffed into his beak, and stared back blandly. After a minute, he snorted, causing Harley to scowl a little, but her expression didn't hold any real bite to it.

"Suppose I can't blame you.", she murmured, reaching over and picking up another spicy Pokeblock and tossing it to Fahrenheit, who caught it deftly and started to try and shove it into his beak like the last one.

When she looked back at the other seated Trainers, she started to shovel her own food into her mouth without much care as to what the food happened to be, much like a mirror of her Pokemon. As it was, it was good fare, so she was satisfied there. Both Celsius and Oracle seemed to be equally satisfied with their own food.

"So, 'oo all 'ere for uh tour-ment?", Harley asked with a full mouth, glancing at each trainer in turn with raised brows.

"You laugh now, but if my Pokemon actually paid attention to their cues as opposed to their food, I guaran-damn-tee that you would've been shaking in your running shoes and impressed as to that entrance."

Trevor screwed his face up, trying to stop himself from laughing again. He managed a quiet "I'm sure", doing his best to sound sincere rather than sarcastic for once. In reality, he was far from sure but it wouldn't really do to go provoking this trainer anymore than he already had. That could always come later if he had the opportunity. She didn't really appear to be all that upset however and mumbled something resembling an acceptance of his apology. She then joined her pokemon in their indiscriminate meal, seemingly eating whatever was closest.

For some reason, there was something about this girl that bothered Trevor. He couldn't really figure out what it was though. Was it something in the song from before? Maybe...he couldn't place it. His ensuing fit of laughter had caused him to forget what it was that had caught his attention. Like anything else that made him think too hard he pushed it out of his mind, he'd remember later if it was important enough.

His stomach let out a low growl as he remembered what he was doing there in the first place. Turning back to the menu he saw Ice idly flipping through the pages. He also noticed a small Treeko using Ice's tail as a rotisserie. Either Ice hadn't noticed or he simply didn't care as he hadn't acknowledged it. Knowing Ice, it could very easily have been either. Probably both, actually. Trevor briefly wondered who it belonged to but couldn't be bothered worrying about it. If Ice didn't mind, he didn't either. He resumed looking through the menu when he heard the trainer from before (did she say her name was Harley?) saying something with her mouth full. He glanced at her and saw her eyes moving between the other customers. Whatever she had said Trevor hadn't been able to make it out. He shot her a quizzical look, hoping she'd repeat herself intelligibly.

Thomas and Faraday spared a few glances for the various trainers and Pokémon as they poured into the dining room, but not much else. It wasn't that they intended to be unfriendly, it was just that they were in the middle of their meal, and it would've been quite rude to speak to the new guests with their mouths full.

Still, that didn't keep them from discretely observing them. It seemed that quite the eclectic crowd had gathered here in the Sleeping Sunkern: A very dedicated supporter of Team Rocket (Best to keep an eye on her), a couple of trainers who looked moderately serious (Most likely here for the tournament), Trevor (Should go say 'hi' to him after this), and-

"Swinub!"

-an overexcited Swinub. Huh.

Momentarily distracted by the ice-type as it began snuffling around for food, Thomas glanced up just in time to spot another trainer, likely owning (or belonging to) the Swinub, waltz into the dining area. "Sorry about the little one intruding on your meal, he really likes food. And have you seen the manager of this hotel around, I'm hoping they've got an open room."

"Hold on, hold on," a slightly exasperated voice rang out, coming from the approximate direction of the kitchens, "I'll be right out. Just need to get the stir-fry-"

A sudden hissing sound filled the air, followed shortly by the clanging of falling cookery and a few poorly muffled curses. Apparently family-owned inns weren't exactly family friendly.

About half a minute later, an annoyed looking Marie prowled out of the kitchen, angrily waving a hastily bandaged finger around. Glancing over at the entry to the dining room, she quickly spotted the late arrival and made her way over to him. "Sorry," she said, a little darkly, after "Granny's probably taking her nap right about now. Come on, I can get you checked in."


It took a few minutes, but Mel and Casper eventually made their way to the front of one of the registration lines, where they were greeted by a jubilant looking employee, dressed up in a colorful uniform with the Pokéathlon Dome logo on it. "Hello there," he said cheerily, picking up a blank entry form from a stack and snapping it into a clipboard. "I take it that you're here to sign up for the tournament?"

"Hey, girl! Keep your monsters under control, alright? They're a danger to decent folk!"

Wash's entrance and comment did not sit well with Kayla. She thought they were good pokemon and hardly a danger to anyone.

"Hey they aren't dangerous! And they aren't monsters! They are pokemon, friends, well trained and resons...," at that moment one of King's Flamethrowers went over Kayla and Walsh's heads and into the hopefully flame-proof wall. At the same time Milan's Thunder Wave went wide and hit Vis' weight machine, shocking the Heracross. Annoyed, Vis stood up, advanced on Milan who shrunk back as Vis approached. When Vis got close Milan tried to run between the Heracross's legs but Vis managed to grab his tail and threw him off the stage and into Adelpha, who happened to be passing by at that time, knocking her to the ground.

Standing up, Adelpha opened her claws as a bright silver light gathered around in the middle of it. Adelpha let loose a giant silver blast that missed Vis as she dropped to ground and the Flash Cannon smacked into the wall, leaving a small crater.

Kayla watched the scene, her mouth hanging open at the carnage. She slowly raised her pokeballs and recalled all of them back silently, sticking King's ball around her neck and the other three around on her belt.

"Um. Hi. My name is Kayla," she introduced herself to the sailor.

=HARLEY=

When she noticed that laughing-boy had looked at her as if she had sprouted a new head, she shook her head and finally swallowed. "Sorry about that. I was just wondering, all of you are here for the tournament too, right?", she asked, once again looking at the trainers that sat there.

"I mean, Goldenrod is a nice city and all, but I can't see any other reason for this many trainers to just flock in, unless you prefer to watch a fight than participate.", she added with a slight sneer, clearly showing what she thought of spectators as opposed to fighters.

"Com-Combusken, Com Bus-Busken.", Fahrenheit added, with the same derision in his tone.

At that, her other Pokemon seemed to gather around the Young Fowl Pokemon, and each chirped in agreement. Harley couldn't help but smile a little to herself. Despite their differences in personality, they were fighters, each and every one of them.

Reaching over, she picked up a pair of bitter Pokeblocks and tossed them to both Godmother and Oracle. While the Misdreavus had simply caught it in midair and seemed to swallow it whole, the Murkrow caught it handily in her beak.

"Murrr.", she cawed, the sound muffled thanks to its beak being stuffed.

The girl with the belts evidently didn't take kindly to Wash's comments.

"Hey they aren't dangerous! And they aren't monsters! They are pokemon, friends, well trained and resons...,"

Unfortunately, her impassioned defense of the team was somewhat undercut by the stray Flamethrower that went straight over the trainer and captain's heads. The Luxio took the opportunity to shoot a Thunder Wave that went wide, startling the Heracross. Which then retaliated by throwing the Luxio across the room into the Scizor. Which in turn provoked it to shoot a Flash Cannon through the air.
Wash decided to hit the floor again, clutching his cap.

Well trained? Resonable? They're a bloody Rube Goldberg machine of carnage, that's what they are!

When the dust settled the girl had retrieved her team and was looking awkwardly at the captain.

"Um. Hi. My name is Kayla."

Wash stared at her in disbelief. His eyes were bulging.

"'Hi'? 'Hi'?! That's all you have you say?! You and this... this raggle taggle bulldozer you call a team nearly level the place and all you have to say is 'hi'?!"

Of all of Wash's gripes with people this was perhaps his greatest. Being a trainer meant being responsible for one's team, and if you couldn't control your pokémon then you had no business being a trainer. This coupled with Wash's general disdain for anyone under the age of 31, meant that he was now fairly annoyed with young Kayla. And this meant a stern talking to.

"You kids! You toffee-noses shouldn't be allowed to keep these critters! Pokémon journey at age ten? You should be out working at ten! In fact..."

However, what with being busy yelling at the girl not even half his age he never noticed the red beam that flew out of his trouser pocket and materialized into a Spheal. Said Spheal gave Kayla a wave and a wide dopey smile, before starting to tug on his trainer's trouser leg.

"Spheal..."

"Were it up to me none of you would be let near a pokémon before you'd paid off whatever debt your parents racked up raising you! Work camps! They should implement those..."

"Spheal sphea."

"That would teach you responsibility! Would build character too! I'll have you know that my breath stank of seawater before my twelfth birthday, missy! I was never free to run off with some Mudchic or Torkip when I was..."

"Spheal." *CHOMP*

"Aaah! Spheal, you obese bowling ball, whaddaya want?!"

Even with his teeth sunk into Wash's leg, Spheal still managed to flash his master a adoring goofy smile. He then extended a flipper towards the PC in the corner. Wash still hadn't signed up for the tournament. In fact, Wash was completely unaware that this was necessary and intended to simply show up there tomorrow.

"What? No! Last time I let you near a computer you ordered seafood takeout all the way from Lilycove! On my bill!"

Unfortunately, Wash wasn't too adept at understanding his own pokémon.

"...I take it that you're here to sign up for the tournament?"

"Haunter!" Before Mel could even get a word out, Casper was already trying to speak for her. It was a shame that someone hadn't created a Poké Speak translator, otherwise the Haunter would possibly be Mel's mouthpiece. Still, the Haunter's intent was clear, but what about his trainer's? She blurted out a "yes" to the friendly employee, while it was not the most elegant thing to do, it got the point across. Wait... A thought came to mind: couldn't they have used a PC to register instead of waiting in line and filling out paperwork? A small pang of frustration pained her mind as she realised Casper's little trick. Was the Gas Pokémon trying to accomplish here? Well, that was something hidden behind Casper's grin... Nevertheless, she didn't want to waste time.

"Umm... Shall I fill out the form now? I don't seem to have a pen. Sorry..." Mel quickly added.

"Sorry, Granny's probably taking her nap right about now. Come on, I can get you checked in."

"Y-yeah." This was all certainly different from what he was used to. He'd done some travelling before, but only in high class hotels. Not that he hadn't tried to stay in one of those. Everywhere was swarmed with people, and the crowd in here was nothing compared to what he'd seen before. "C'mon Swinub!" The little Pokemon stared sadly up at the food on the table before trotting over to its trainer, grunting in disappointment.

"Umm... Shall I fill out the form now? I don't seem to have a pen. Sorry..."

"No problem at all!" the man behind the desk said, his smile fixed and unwavering. "Just let me... Ah-ha!"

With a small, entirely unnecessary flourish, he presented Mel with a pen unsurprisingly branded with the Pokéathlon Dome logo. Handing the pen and clipboard over to the girl, (and doing his best avoid making eye-contact with Casper), the man chattered on, offering instructions with the occasional flourish of his hands. "It's a pretty simple form, really. Just need your name, Trainer ID number, and a list of the Pokémon you plan on using in the tournament tomorrow. Oh, and of course we're going to need you to initial here, here, annnnnnnnd here.

"Participants under the age of ten must have a parent or guardian to sign with them," he continued, as though he was reading lines off of a script. Then, after flashing a friendly wink Mel's way, "But I don't think you'll have to worry about that, now will you?"

Apparently content to wait for Mel to finish the paperwork, the stand employee kept his warm grin and did his best to make an appropriate amount of eye-contact, paying no attention to the rest of the line stretching out behind the girl.


"Shame you couldn't have gotten here sooner," Marie mentioned offhandedly as she typed some information into a cash register behind the front desk. "One of the other guests had apparently reserved a whole floor's worth of rooms, and was just letting people stay here for free. Which is nice and all, I mean, but jeez are some people crazy. Even if he's loaded, just blowing cash like that can't be a healthy way to make money."

Pausing in her typing for a moment, the waitress/desk assistant gave Tyler a quick once over. "Just one person, right? And Pokémon, of course, but just you?" Turning back to the register, the young woman briefly furrowed her brow. "One night's going to be 1,000 dollars, but if you're staying until the tournament ends it'll only be 1,500. Kind of a 'buy one, get one half off' type deal.

"So," she continued, looking up again, "what name should I put this under?"


"I mean, Goldenrod is a nice city and all, but I can't see any other reason for this many trainers to just flock in, unless you prefer to watch a fight than participate."

Well, Thomas mused, washing down the last of his meal with a quick gulp of water, I suppose it's about time we greeted our fellow guests.

Nodding to Faraday, the man stood up from his table and paced over towards the other trainers, his gait steady and measured. After stuffing one last Pokéblock down its somewhat nebulous gullet, the Magneton followed after, hovering a step or two behind its trainer.

"You know," the scholar began as he approached the small crowd, his tone perfectly even, "I for one happen to find watching a battle far more educational than participating in one. In addition to being able to observe both teams and their respective strategies, you are also provided with an emotional buffer of sorts, one that lets you analyze the battle with perfect rationality."

Pausing for a moment, Thomas nodded respectfully towards the other trainers and Pokémon gathered in the dining room, though he natually took the time to say "Hello" to Trevor. Then he turned towards the boisterous girl in the Team Rocket jacket, raising a single eyebrow as he did so. "Honestly, I greatly prefer distanced observation to first-hand experience. Do you really think it's a pointless endeavor?"

"Honestly, I greatly prefer distanced observation to first-hand experience. Do you really think it's a pointless endeavor?"

"Kinda," said Simon, casually slurping down the last of his Octillery soup. He started gnawing on the last bit of rubbery tentacle, and kept talking with his mouth full. "I mean--mm--bashically what you're shaying is--yeesh this ish good--that you'd rather learn from other people's experienshes than your own, yesh?" He gulped down the last of the Octillery, looking briefly euphoric before moving on like the moment had never occurred. "You don't learn anything like that. All the experiences, and emotions, and junk that you collect... if they're not yours, then they don't have any meaning or context." He repeatedly poked the sides of his head with his index fingers with a jumbled expression. "It's just, uh, a bunch of... stuff floating around in your head. Boop boop. Hear that? Hollow as an Omanyte shell."

"Rooof!" said Maximum Bison in confirmation.

He quietly looked over at the people Thomas had actually been speaking to. He made eye contact with the girl dressed like some criminal. What were they called? Er... Team... Team something... Galactic, maybe? That sounds stupid. Maybe it just sounded like that. Team Glack? Team Black Tick? Team Spastic? Spastic colon?..

He was silent, lost in his own thoughts for a solid, disturbing five seconds before he abruptly said "I'm Simon." He then turned back to the next course of his meal, a Pidgey pot pie, and dug in.

POSTED IN THE WRONG THREAD.

"You kids! You toffee-noses shouldn't be allowed to keep these critters! Pokémon journey at age ten? You should be out working at ten! In fact..."

Kayla was caught off guard by the sailor's angry outburst. Sure he had every right to be mad but the old man grumpiness of it all really surprised her. That and the sudden appearance of the man's Spheal

"Um excuse...."

"Were it up to me none of you would be let near a pokémon before you'd paid off whatever debt your parents racked up raising you! Work camps! They should implement those..."

"Sir I thi......

That would teach you responsibility! Would build character too! I'll have you know that my breath stank of seawater before my twelfth birthday, missy! I was never free to run off with some Mudchic or Torkip when I was..."

"I think your pokemon is trying to say som," Kayla's attempt to talk to the sailor was cut off when his pokemon bite his leg and he let out a loud bellow and he started yelling about from Lillycove.

"Well the best place for seafood here in Johto is Olivine City. It has the best Chinchou stew around and amazing Krabby legs this side of Mt. Silver. But are you here for the tournament? Because if you haven't registered yet then you can do so by.............PC." It slowly dawned on Kayla that she still had to do the same. "Now if you'll excuse me I have to go do the same." Kayla ran out of the room and up the stairs when her stomach started to rumble. Deciding that registering could wait she went to the dining room where some of the other borders were at.

"Honestly, I greatly prefer distanced observation to first-hand experience. Do you really think it's a pointless endeavor?"

Kayla walked into the room as a nerdy looking boy asked that question and had an answer on the tip of her tongue when one of the other diners answered, probably the one to whom the question was posed to.
"Kinda, "I mean--mm--bashically what you're shaying is--yeesh this ish good--that you'd rather learn from other people's experienshes than your own, yesh? You don't learn anything like that. All the experiences, and emotions, and junk that you collect... if they're not yours, then they don't have any meaning or context." "It's just, uh, a bunch of... stuff floating around in your head. Boop boop. Hear that? Hollow as an Omanyte shell."

"I agree with him," Kayla said as she entered the room.

=HARLEY=

"You know, I for one happen to find watching a battle far more educational than participating in one. In addition to being able to observe both teams and their respective strategies, you are also provided with an emotional buffer of sorts, one that lets you analyze the battle with perfect rationality.".

Harley turned to see the boy who had sat away from the group get up and start towards the rest of the seated trainers, replying to her earlier question. He was followed closely by a Magneton, and it was clear from looking at him once that he was an intellectual, probably an assistant to a Pokemon Professor, if not a Professor himself.

"Honestly, I greatly prefer distanced observation to first-hand experience. Do you really think it's a pointless endeavor?".

Harley opened her mouth to speak, only to have another, seated trainer speak up first. This time it was the owner of the Tauros, and his reply caused her eyebrows to wing up in surprise.

"Kinda. I mean--mm--bashically what you're shaying is--yeesh this ish good--that you'd rather learn from other people's experienshes than your own, yesh? You don't learn anything like that. All the experiences, and emotions, and junk that you collect... if they're not yours, then they don't have any meaning or context. It's just, uh, a bunch of... stuff floating around in your head. Boop boop. Hear that? Hollow as an Omanyte shell.".

She smirked a little, but that went away quickly as he turned and stared at her for a full few seconds, causing her eyes to narrow. And he introduced himself abruptly a moment later.

"I'm Simon.".

"Harley...", she replied hesitantly, before turning back to the academic.

"Anyway, he's right. Observation can only get one so far when it comes to learning something. Take a martial artist for example. He can watch his master fight all he wants, and see the form, the timing, the stances so that he knows the theory of martial arts in detail. But, that's all it is. Theory. Without the personal experience, without having actually performed it himself, and learned martial arts first-hand, he can't actually be considered a fighter. Same principle.", she explained simply, before she grinned.

"Though, even I'll admit, watching a good fight can be entertaining, it just isn't as fun as being a fighter yourself. Right, Fahrenheit?", she asked her Combusken.

Fahrenheit promptly executed a few quick, yet elegant, kicks, before nodding rather smugly.

"Kinda."

Curious, Thomas turned his head to face one of the other trainers in the room, one who apparently hadn't quite finished up his meal. "I mean--mm--bashically what you're shaying is--yeesh this ish good--that you'd rather learn from other people's experienshes than your own, yesh? You don't learn anything like that. All the experiences, and emotions, and junk that you collect... if they're not yours, then they don't have any meaning or context. It's just, uh, a bunch of... stuff floating around in your head. Boop boop. Hear that? Hollow as an Omanyte shell."

Huh. While the young trainer's manners could certainly stand some improvement, he was certainly capable of creating a solid argument. Though Thomas would've preferred a slightly more structured and less interrupted comment, it still had some good reason behind it. Better than the alternative, certainly.

After a few seconds of awkward silence, the trainer suddenly decided what he wanted to say next. "I'm Simon."

"Thomas," Thomas replied, inclining his head slightly. "Thomas Meminger. Nice to meet you, Simon."

The girl in the Team Rocket jacket, following the trend, offered her own name and her thoughts on the matter. "Harley... Anyway, he's right. Observation can only get one so far when it comes to learning something. Take a martial artist for example. He can watch his master fight all he wants, and see the form, the timing, the stances so that he knows the theory of martial arts in detail. But, that's all it is. Theory. Without the personal experience, without having actually performed it himself, and learned martial arts first-hand, he can't actually be considered a fighter. Same principle.

"Though, even I'll admit, watching a good fight can be entertaining, it just isn't as fun as being a fighter yourself. Right, Fahrenheit?"

Ah. So she did have reasoning backing up her opinion. Good to know.

"I see," the researcher stated, his words gaining a bit more life as he continued to speak. "Please forgive me if I'm incorrect, but as I understand it both of your arguments center around the differences between practical and theoretical knowledge. I believe that's where our misunderstanding originates.

"You're both correct when you say that taking a practical approach to Pokémon training requires practice; there's no sense in debating that. Please, understand that I was not claiming that practical experience was superseded by theoretical; I was simply saying that observation and theoretical understanding could allow one to better comprehend a battle as a whole.

"Undoubtedly, one who does nothing but watch battles will never actually become skilled at them. However, I believe that this same person will develop a good understanding of the battles they observe, and will be able to think about them from a different, occasionally deeper perspective than any of the participants. That's not to say that it's a superior perspective, merely one with different applications."

Satisfied with his rebuttal, Thomas pulled out an empty chair from a nearby table and sat down, looking back and forth between Simon and Harley. A faint hint of a smile flitted about his eyes and lips for a moment, but for the most part his expression remained unchanged.

Kayla didn't let Wash's rant get to her and kept calm in front of the foaming captain. With the arrival of the Spheal and Wash abruptly chaning the subject to seafood the young trainer even offered a phlegmatic remark.

"Well the best place for seafood here in Johto is Olivine City. It has the best Chinchou stew around and amazing Krabby legs this side of Mt. Silver. But are you here for the tournament? Because if you haven't registered yet then you can do so by.............PC."

She then seemed to realize that she was in the same proverbial boat as the bearded sailor: neither had registered for the tournament. That really needed to be rectified.

"Now if you'll excuse me I have to go do the same."

Spheal seemed very happy that Kayla had understood his intent, and waved goodbye as she packed up her things and promptly left the gym. "Spheal spheal!"
She was nice. Spheal liked her. Admittedly, Spheal liked everyone but still. Wash, however, was just confused.

"H-hang on, what? Register? For the tournament you mean? How does that... Oi, wait up, girl child! Uh... what was the name... Kayla? Hang on!"

Too late. Kayla was gone, leaving behind a significantly pacified captain. Register for the tournament? This was the first he'd heard of this. To be fair, he had left Slateport hurriedly on a whim. A vindictive, outraged whim that didn't allow minor considerations such as whether he was even going to be able to participate in the tournament. Humph. Well, going by the girl child's words it was apparently not too late. It was possible to register online.
Unfortunately, this meant an encounter with Wash's old nemesis: computers!

"Spheal!"

Wash looked over to the corner of the room. Spheal had already rolled over to the PC and was now sitting snugly on top of the station. He was waving his trainer over, overexcited smile plastered on his face. Wash's frown deepened. Stupid perpetually happy bell-bottomed fat freebooter... I hate these infernal contraptions.
He sank into the seat in front of the station heavily.

"Alright you daedalean doohickey, how do I turn you on?"

"Spheal!" *Click!*

"Don't touch anything, Spheal, you idiot! I don't need you making this any harder than... oh, it seems to be on now. Are these things automatic? Okay, now where's Internet Explorer?"

"Spheal!" *Click!*

"No, not FireFennekin, you stupid box! Huh. Seems to get the job done, though. That's alright then, I suppose. Does this tournament have a homepage or something, or..."

*click clickity click*

"... Are computers voice activated now? I think this is just what I'm looking for! Spheal, you should see this thing! They finally figured out how to make them less cumbersome. Even you could operate this thing."

"Spheal spheal," the Ice type smiled sagely.

Five minutes later a Captain Herman Wash had registered himself for the tournament and was feeling rather pleased with himself.

"Well, I think I've earned my dinner tonight. Come on then, you freeloader. Can't very well starve you useless beasties, can I?"

Spheal clapped his flippers in open admiration of his trainer's technological know-how before returning to his pokéball.

The other's conversation was extremely distracting. Trevor wouldn't really have minded under normal circumstances but he was hungry and when it came down to between his priorities of food or training he was torn. Aside from an acknowledging nod to Thomas he did his best to ignore them, intently reading the menu. It shouldn't have taken anything like this long to figure out what to order but considering all the diversions and his general indecisiveness, he was having a hard time picking something. Granted, Simon's incoherent diatribe was easy enough to ignore but once Harley and Thomas actually started saying interesting things he began paying more and more attention.

Once Thomas had launched his counter-argument, Trevor found he was following along closely with the discussion and he couldn't stay out of it, despite his stomach.

"I'm with him." He said simply. "I spent a lot of time, maybe too much, watching battles. There are things you can see from an outside perspective that you'll never be able to see if you're fighting the battle yourself." Trevor spoke from experience and it showed. "If you're a participant then by necessity you have a single, narrow perspective. As an observer you're free to think more laterally. Its all about subjectivity." His normally easy going attitude had been replaced with a more analytic one, a holdover from his days of academia. He quickly dropped the more formal air though, he found it uncomfortable. "Of course, by the same token, actually fighting provides experience that no amount of observing will be able to match. I learned that lesson the hard way, I can tell you." He grinned. Starting out had been a trying experience. Only his obsession had kept him from being severely discouraged.

"So, I guess what I'm saying is you're all right. I'm a real damn fountain of wisdom, huh?" Sarcasm clearly invaded his voice. Derision included self-derision and he had plenty of that.

"..."But I don't think you'll have to worry about that, now will you?"

Under the eye of the Pokéathlon Dome employee and, of course, under the supervision of Casper. The Haunter grinned as each little bit was filled in, each small scribble brought them closer to the tournament. Of course, it wasn't long before it was all finished. She immediately tried to get it done as quickly as possible once she had turned around and saw the long line behind her. Mel handed the form and the pen back to the rather friendly employee. Well, overly friendly employee. The wink had made her a tad uncomfortable. But maybe it was just the policy there? A wink and a smile for every potential entrant? Regardless, Casper made a face at the man in an attempt to grab his attention.

Mel spoke in a little voice as she handed the form and pen over, "Uh, here. Thank you."

The dining room was abuzz with stimulating conversation, but forever fashionably late Alisia couldn't help but feel left out as she crossed the threshold. The sights and smells of food hit her immediately like an oddly satisfying sack of bricks, and Alisia was quick to reach for the Pokeballs on her belt to release her team one by one, all save for Sprig of course, who was already out of his Pokeball and had sprinted straight for the desserts.

She sighed to herself. After all this time she still hadn't complete control over her starter. Perhaps that was a good thing though, no point in having teammates who were completely reliant on you after all. A little independence and personal autonomy went a long way when it came to becoming stronger, yet Alisia still couldn't help but wonder whether having a completely obedient team would have its own merits.

I guess I'll never really know which is best, as such an extremist view is only shared by those who use Pokemon for their own personal gain - criminals that is.

Alisia's gaze hovered over the girl sporting the bandanna and jacket with the large red "R" on it. She couldn't help but find the logo oddly familiar...something about it reminded her of some eco-organisations back in Hoenn. She brushed off such feelings however as she happened to overhear a surprisingly thought-provoking conversation between several guests.

"If you're a participant then by necessity you have a single, narrow perspective. As an observer you're free to think more laterally. Its all about subjectivity. Of course, by the same token, actually fighting provides experience that no amount of observing will be able to match. I learned that lesson the hard way, I can tell you."

"Hmmm. You'll have to count me on the side of the empiricists. That is, learning through experience." she chimed in, picking up a drink from the table and giving a quick wave of the hand before introducing herself.

"Hi, Alisia. I take it you're all here for the tournament as well?"

"Just one person, right? And Pokémon, of course, but just you? One night's going to be 1,000 dollars, but if you're staying until the tournament ends it'll only be 1,500. Kind of a 'buy one, get one half off' type deal."

"Oh, just that? No problem. One second." Pulling out his phone while cradling his Swinub in only one arm, he held down a single button and put the device to his ear, waiting until he heard a voice on the other end. "Hey guys, it's me. Just calling to ask that you put some money onto my account. Like usual." Whatever he was hearing on the other end caused his smile to drop more and more, being replaced by shock and disbelief. "W-what? You can't be serious. But... but..." With a sigh, he pulled the phone away and stared at it. Ty shook his head as his Pokemon stared up at him in curiosity. He turned back to the reception. "Ah, sorry about that. I'm afraid I won't be able to stay here."

=HARLEY=

Harley nodded once as the academic introduced himself as Thomas, then explained his reasoning behind his own argument, and the values of learning by either observation, or by practical experience. He finished by saying that both had their place, and were useful for different things.

At that, another trainer stepped in, one that Harley couldn't be sure seemed familiar or not, and piped up herself.

"Hmmm. You'll have to count me on the side of the empiricists. That is, learning through experience.".

Then she smiled and waved.

"Hi, Alisia. I take it you're all here for the tournament as well?".

Harley grinned wickedly. "That's right. The names Harley. I'm looking forward to the competition, 'specially since most of my Pokemon end up itching for a fight sooner or later.", she said, before looking Alisia over and sizing her up.

"In fact, part of me was hoping for a... 'Friendly' sparring match. You game?", she added.

"That's right. The names Harley. I'm looking forward to the competition, 'specially since most of my Pokemon end up itching for a fight sooner or later."

Alisia smiled at the girl who stepped forward to introduce herself, she was the one with the Large red 'R' on her clothing. Despite the unsettling feeling towards the symbol, the girl seemed friendly enough, well, as much as you'd expect someone to be to a relative stranger at least. She returned a relatively mild smile, cautious at becoming too chummy with people she most likely have to compete against.

"In fact, part of me was hoping for a... 'Friendly' sparring match. You game?"

Hmmm... The chance to warm-up for the tournament does sound tempting... but the suggestion coming out of the blue from another participant sounds like it may be for more than just kicks, especially after the talks of "learning through observation"

She looked over at Sprig, who was gorging himself on Poffins and was likely not in the appropriate mood for battling after their trying journey. Still...

"Sure, why not. As long as nobody minds, I see no harm in it. Lead the way?"

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