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New Fizz City: The Metropolitan Zone

Eyes of Ruby
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SpikyShell: With the battle of the boardwalk pressing on both fighters were showing visible wear and tear, the scrappy Binacle proving a tough match even without its partner in crime. You concede that brute force might not be the be the easiest route and rely instead on your wits, even if it meant putting all your Exeggcute in one basket. Making note of the visible frosting up Binacle’s stalk you plan to double down on the sub-zero submission, hoping to chill the enemy into defeat. Hailstone nods affirmatively, bracing himself for impact as he weathers another high pressure Water Gun from the goose barnacle, this time managing to hold his ground against the slippery boardwalk. Shaking off the wet he cartwheels into retaliation, carpeting the field in another layer of Powdery Snow. The temperature starts to drop a few notches, numbing your face and extremities even from a spectator’s distance. That was nothing - at the epicenter of the icy tundra the frostbitten foe screeches in discomfort, hoping to wash away the snowy coat with its Liquidation while slapping your Sandshew silly in the process – but Hailstone denies it the chance with another icy flurry, the Powder Snow sending the swell of water around the Binacle’s face to below freezing! With the Binacle looking something like a frozen popsicle you had it teetering on the brink. It wouldn’t take much more to finish it off or even attempt capture, provided the cold didn’t take it first. What will you do?
The Binacle launched another powerful jet of Water Gun, the high-pressured burst of water a glittering arc of spray despite the overcast lighting. It seemed the barnacle was hoping that the jet would knock down the Sandshrew again, giving it an opening for a follow-up strike. Hailstone, however, had braced himself for the surge by using his short tail to stabilize himself against the boardwalk, and managed to hold his ground against the torrential onslaught. Once the surge died down, Hailstone shook himself off before curling up into a tight, icy ball. He rotated faster and faster, kicking up a flurry of Powder Snow and blanketing the immediate area in a frigid layer of light snow. The air temperature dropped and Sil shivered as she felt the bite of the cold, numbing her face and extremities despite her considerable distance from the battlefield. If she was cold at this distance, she thought, then certainly the Binacle must be absolutely freezing considering it was the focus of the snowstorm.

An ear splitting screech of pain came from the iced Binacle, lying half buried in snow, confirming her suspicions. It looked more like an upside down icicle than a Swanna barnacle, its grumpy face contorted in an expression of agony and rage so pure Sil feared the Binacle would melt the snow just from the blazing heat of its anger. Unfortunately for the Binacle, its wrath wouldn’t be able to melt the snow, so instead it opted to wash it away with the power of a Liquidation, as well as punish Hailstone for pelting it with freezing flurries. Just as the wave of water surged to its peak around the barnacle’s face, however, the Sandshrew unleashed another burst of frigid snow, and this time the onslaught was enough to freeze the Binacle solid.

“Yes! Good job Hailstone!” Sil shouted. It looked as though the frozen, popsicle-esque barnacle was now weak enough to attempt a capture. Sil slid her bag off her back, and rifled around for the
lone Diveball (1/1) she had bought expressly for this purpose. Curling her fingers around the ball, she lifted it out of her bag and took aim.

Hopefully she wouldn’t miss.


(OOC: Just a headsup, my username is actually SpinyShell and not SpikyShell. I noticed that it was written as SpikyShell instead of SpinyShell on the list of updatees.)
 
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The Foundry

Myahoo:
While not without its hitches you had a pot of molten metal cooling and just a few more steps to go until your product was finished. You summon three more of your Pokemon to the factory floor, forming a neat assembly line as you passed down careful instructions to hammer, cut and weld. The ragtag team accept their assigned tasks with varying degrees of interest, leaving nothing for it but to hope for the best and watch the work unfold before you. The Alolan Vulpix was first up, hobbling onto the workbench with a look of pure discomfort; the high temperatures of the Foundry were decidedly more suited to her Kantonian cousin. With the Iron settled in its mold it was time to hammer it to shape, Dust’s Tail flickering steely silver as it swung to and fro like a mallet. Batting a few misses the Snowpix eventually finds her rhythm, leaving you with a batch of evenly pressed shells. Still a bit jagged around the edges, it was up to Taze to trim it down to size. The goods tower over the incy wincy Joltik allowing him to scuttle across them with ease, incisors Cutting away with masterful precision. With the dimensions matching the blueprints, you connect the top and bottom half of the five shells like jigsaw pieces – the parts now just needing welding into place. Right on cue Kaito lends a breath of his firepower, Incinerating the joints and hinges until they were as good as fused! While lacking internal circuits and a fresh lick of paint, the shells were starting to resemble regular Pokeballs. It had been a hard slog, eliciting more buckets of sweat than you cared to know – but soon enough you would have your own handmade collection of Cyber Balls to show for it. Vulpix, Joltik and Zorua gain one level!

“You’re finished!” Fueco grins, “Let’s fire up the new CAD machine!” He ushers you to what resembled a mangle of a supercomputer, a vending machine and a classic arcade system in a corner of the Foundry, a wide berth from any sparks and flames. Its surfaces were coloured a mix of pastel blues and pinks with the Silph Co. logo adorned on its front side. The redhead places the half-baked Pokeballs into the system and plugs it in for the first time, the screen flickering on with an 8-bit whir:



“The software needs a minute to boot up but the steps from there are pretty simple. Just select the colours you’re after and presto!” the metalworker leaves you with an idle wait screen as he returns to his business, the loading bar moving at a Slugma’s pace. You’re eventually brought back from your reverie by a loud beep, the screen now presenting a list of options and requiring a prompt to continue.

Colours available: Red, Blue, Green and Yellow.

Newer software available for this system. V.2.0 features printing capabilities for Aqua, Orange, Violet and Majenta Cyber Balls.

Press Y to install upgrade.
Dust gingerly stepped up to the workbench, looking disgruntled, and hammered away at the metal, clearly taking his frustrations with the heat out on the materials, until they had a bunch of half-spheres in a pile next to him. At the end of it, he was drooping and panting and Aiden felt even worse about bringing the Ice-type out in this environment.

He reached out and scratched at the base of Dust's ears. "Nice job. You can get outta this if you wanna."

Dust shook his head and breathed out a Shard of Ice to lay on. "These're for us, right? I wanna be the one picking the colors for my Pokéball; not you."

Aiden huffed a laugh. "Yeah, alright. If you're sure." He turned back to the half-spheres as Tase skittered across their surfaces, Cutting the rough edges off and leaving scrap metal littering the workbench. The Joltik disappeared from sight once he was finished; Aiden hoped he and Hint didn't get into any trouble while he was finishing with these Pokéballs. He then matched up each top half with its corresponding bottom half and offered the appropriate edges to Kaito for the Zorua-masquerading-as-a-Growlithe to weld the two halves together.

By the time all five Pokéballs were put together, Aiden was panting and beginning to feel a bit lightheaded from the heat. An Ice Shard landed at his feet, Dust flicking his tail as he and the rest of his Pokémon gathered round to see the empty shells.

"Now what?" Kaito said, looking up at Aiden.

"Uhhh..." Aiden looked at Fueco, who glanced over and grinned.

"You're finished! Let's fire up the new CAD machine!" Fueco ushered them to some...vending-machine arcade-system thing set some distance from anything that might spit sparks or flames at it. It was pastel pink and blue and had the Silph Co. logo stamped large on its front. Fueco placed the half-finished Pokéballs into the system and plugged it in, the machine booting up with an old-arcade-sounding theme.

"The software needs a minute to boot up but the steps from there are pretty simple," Fueco told him. "Just select the colors you're after and presto!" He heads back to his work, leaving Aiden staring after him as the machine slowly loads its software.

"...He seriously doesn't think I'm gonna do anything to it, does he."

"Or the order he's working on is more important," Hint pointed out, floating nearby.

"Why's it going so slow?" Tase squinted up at the loading bar.

"Probably because it's a mess," Dust said dryly.

Kaito yawned and curled up against Dust's side. "Wake me up when we can actually pick our colors."

"Sure," Aiden absently replied, turning to the screen as it let out a loud beep. "Okay. We got red, blue, green, and yellow as options at the moment with the possibility of aqua, orange, violet, and magenta if we install the upgrade."

"Red!" Kaito immediately said, voice muffled because he didn't bother raising his head.

"I want aqua." Dust peered up at the screen, not wanting to hop up onto the machine and its dubious-looking stability. "Can I have aqua?"

"I want green!" Tase piped up.

Aiden glanced around for one of the brothers, wanting to ask if anything will happen if he installs the update, but he couldn't find either of them from his vantage point. He turned back to the machine. "Alright. Guess we're going with a different color for each 'ball."

He pressed Y and hoped he didn't just break the machine.


---

OOC: Kaito goes from Lv. 8 to 9. Tase goes from Lv. 8 to 9. Dust goes from Lv. 4 to 5.
 
~¤Sea Priestess¤~
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Bohem Reply in Deep Pink

If you want to get away from the traffic and crowds to kick back with the more beatnik populace of New Fizz City, head on over to Bohem. Years ago, artists seeking affordable housing, open studio space, and a lifestyle away from the mainstream metropolis seeped into this deteriorating industrial district and gave it new verve. They converted the abandoned warehouses into lofted art studios, independent galleries, and coffee shops buzzing with character. Visitors are invited to pull up a chair at the local coffee shop or stroll through its galleries, where you’ll meet all manner of artists, musicians and creative types.

Milcery Patisserie: Follow the waft of fresh baked pastries to what is considered the best (and most photogenic) coffee shops in town. The Kalosian inspired patisserie may be small, but its owners are big on serving some of the best pastries you’ll ever see. Customers flock from around the globe bringing all sorts of colorful tales with them, just be sure to arrive during off-peak times since it's tough to land a seat.
"Mm, something sure smells good~"

It had been a long time since Jess last visited the big city, and the scenery certainly seemed to have changed in her absence. New structures paved over old as the place grew more and more industrialized over the years, barely resembling its old self as businesses steadily developed and expanded their empire; grand and imposing skyscrapers towering even taller than she remembered. While all the constructs appeared unfamiliar now, the congestion however remained the same - and this time she hadn't the aid of her sturdy stone steed to help navigate the urban waters and part waves of people with ease.

"Hey, a Sphynx? Isn't that only mythological? Oh, and hey! Riddles! I love those! Rocky, you don't mind a little sand, do you?"

Though the memory was far-off and faded, Jess could vaguely recall having but a handful of friends with her that time, whom she'd endeavored to entice away from argument over their destination by suggesting an educational expedition to a historic archaeological site in the surrounding desert - few of which were enthused by the notion. In fact, as she struggled to recollect some of the blurred faces, she was sadly sure a couple of those companions were no longer with her. ...In turn though, her team had truly grown tremendously in size since then - and while some may indeed have come and gone throughout her life - those who remained were among her most trusted comrades. She too, had matured considerably compared to back then. While a part of her missed those young and wild days of charging headfirst into the unknown - halcyon turning hectic at the drop of a hat - today she was just here to enjoy a light excursion with a number of her newer recruits. Seeking not adventure, but simply a peaceful afternoon of good eating and entertainment.

For that purpose, her goal was to make her way past the hustle and bustle of the main commercial metropolis to the Bohem district, whose quaint coffee shops apparently boasted some of the best pastries in town. Traversing by foot was made more difficult, however, by the sheer amount of attendees she had to keep track of. By her side drifted Blueberry the Drifloon, who had excitedly proposed the trip in the first place. ("Blue" - there was a name that also tickled a strange sense of nostalgia for some reason.) Now the proud owner of a newly opened café herself, she had come to scope out the competition *ahem* perform some field research into improving her recipes. In her hearts she held a picnic basket filled not with food, but two young female ghosts: a Liltwick and Mimikyu, the latter of which looked a little disappointed to be here without her brother as well, pouting plainly for all to see. The fact Jess's squad had become so massive by now meant some members would unfortunately have to be left behind, and Blue's husband Waffle had volunteered to stay and mind the store along with their son. While Pan had been down recently about failing his first battle against a rampaging hat witch, he was feeling a bit better after his success in subduing an unruly sheep in his subsequent attempt; and so had urged his mother and sisters to go on without him to treat themselves for the day, without having to worry about striving to "cheer him up" anymore. Truth be told he had little interest anyway in learning how to cook himself, whereas Patty "needed the experience" - bouncing back to his old teasing behavior as proof of recovery. (Plus, Jess suspected a part of him didn't want to be stuck alone for too long with his younger sibling either, given the rather... "overzealous" level of affection and attachment she'd been exhibiting towards him.)

So today had turned out to be a girls only outing, as beside Blueberry hovered another two of her sugary staff associates: a Vanillite and Milcery, who had eagerly tagged along as a bonus for their hard work (the latter of which had herself originated in an eerily reminiscent eatery environment). In Jess's own arms cuddled the last colleague in their party: a cheerful Pichu who kept enthusiastically clambering up on her trainer's shoulders and head to get a better look at the huge high-rises. Enormous apartment complexes eventually gave way to warehouses converted into galleries and creative studios, signaling arrival at the artisan neighborhood. The Pichu's ears perked and nose quivered as a delicious aroma wafted past, attracting all their senses as they followed the fragrance to the nearest bistro with available outdoors seating. Upon finally finding an open space to accommodate such a large group and being politely shown to a table, Jess keenly scanned the menu, seeing some similar takes on classic dishes as Blue's but also a few new offerings she'd never tried before. After confirming everyone's selections, Jess inhaled a deep breath when the waiter came by to take their order before listing off one by one:

"For drinks, we'll have three Lilt- Litwick Hot Cocoas, a Nutty Buneary Frappé and Poppin' Pachirisu Float, Miltank Mix au Lait, and Lilligant Floral Tea please. Can we then get a Dugtrio Sandwich Trio, Eiscue Caprese Salad, Cheesy Rowlet Pizza, Piquant Pikachu Curry, Yummy Yamper Pasta, Gratin a la Pumpkaboo, and some Rainbow Oricorio Popcorn? For dessert we'd also like to try the Fluffy Eevee Pancakes, Combee Waffles with Honey, Burnt-Caramel Vulpix Sundae, Swablu Shaved Ice, Pikachu Fruit Flan, Decorated Alcremie Cupcakes, and a Ribombee Chocolate Cake. ...Erm, if it's not too much trouble."
 
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Milcery Patisserie

Lilbluecorsola:
Something smelled good as you passed by shop facades familiar and new with a colourful cast of Pokemon in tow. It had been years since you last stepped foot in the big smoke, the return not brought on by some call to adventure but rather the prospect of a lighthearted ladies lunch. Milcery Patisserie promises to deliver just that, its rustic-chic, exposed-brick interior instantly transporting you away from the city hustle. The café was bustling with sounds of ambient jazz and idle chit-chat and like the pit crew on a track, staff were quickly and efficiently shuffling guests through the ordering process. Upon finding seats your table is waited on not by a human server but one of the café namesakes, a Milcery at your service with a notepad in hand. The waitstaff were distinguishable by accessory only, a strawberry sweet lodged in the corner of this one’s forehead where a hairclip might typically be worn. A creamy bead of sweat forms on the waitstaff's brow as it efforts to jot to the speed of your order, feigning confidence with each growing list item. It calls over a few colleagues to confer, a star sweet Milcery asking you to repeat parts of the order while a berry sweet Milcery tried to decipher its colleague’s shoddy handwriting. A short back and forth ensues – Miruku even helping serve as interpreter – until customer and waitstaff are in total agreement and your order is sent off to the kitchen.

Their diligence appeared to have paid off as your drinks were served shortly thereafter, the Milcery correctly noting which beverage belonged to who as they made rounds with glasses and mugs of all shapes and sizes. The presentation couldn’t be faulted, each mug adorned with intricate artwork and delectable toppings. You all take a moment to soak up the sights and scents before going in for a taste. The party’s exclamations of approval are decidedly premature as each beverage carries a peculiar aftertaste; the marshmallows of the Hot Litwick Cocoa came with a burnt tinge, while the berries of the Miltank Mix au Lait were frozen solid, the Poppin' Pachirisu Float gave a nasty shock when held and the cookies in the Nutty Buneary Frappe were as hard as hockey pucks, threatening to chip a tooth! The slights could perhaps be forgiven if not for the Lilligant Floral Tea, colour draining from its drinker’s face with a taste so foul that it’s spat out immediately. It seemed strange a café that consistently topped the must-visit lists could botch an order so badly, and this was before your food had even arrived. Being in the hospitality business provided much of your company with an empathy for these sorts of mishaps, but perhaps for the sake of the other customers you ought to speak up. What will you do?

The Foundry

Myahoo:
With a beep and a boop the machine was booted and ready to go, its software capable of printing the stock standard Cyber Balls with ease. But what’s this? With an Up-Grade to the contraption’s circuitry you could get your hands on the rare Aqua, Orange, Violet and Magenta variations. The offer is too tantalising to refuse and in throwing caution to the wind you tap Y on the keyboard to proceed with the installation. The system lets out a high-pitch whir in response, the pastel pink character behind its glass bobbing enthusiastically. A file icon drifts across the screen before being swallowed by the virtual duck, its sharp shapes smoothing out.


Up-Grade initialising…

Integrating Curves…

Routing Neural Networks…

Obfuscating Covariance Matrices…

Malware detected in Up-Grade…

Scanning dubious.exe for viruses…

BZZZTTT

The machine starts to shake violently, the sprite shifting form once more; an antenna protrudes from its ovoid head as it detaches from its body, eyes blinking into yellow and black rings similar to a bulls-eye. The corrupted character looks about ready to seizure as the system flashes erratically, sparks dancing up and down its surface. You’re given no time to react as the machine lets out a immense shockwave, the burst of energy washing over you and your teammates as you brace for impact.


You open your eyes to find yourself unharmed, for the most part. You look to your hands to see them made up of pixels, lacking any discernible depth. Your new environment was just as two-dimensional, nothing but pink gridlines on black in every direction. You catch eye with Hint just a few grids away, equally nonplussed as he bobs to your fix. The Rotom had been simplified too, evocative of a character from a retro arcade game. Suddenly a chiptune melody breaks the silence, heralding the voice of your mischievous captor.

You’re in my world now, bzzt!

You want your Cyber Balls? Let’s play a game!

Win my games to earn prizes. Win two games and progress to the next level.

Win two more games to face the final boss and win your freedom!

Lose and you’ll be trapped in cyberspace forever, bzzzt!

Four pixelated spheres render ahead of you: red, blue, yellow and green. It seemed that by interacting with one of the balls you would warp to the first level, where you would play for the corresponding cyber ball and inch closer to freedom. Which colour will you choose first?

Cape Effervescence

SpinyShell:
It was down to catch or KO and with your team short on diversity you decide squarely on the former. Throwing caution to the wind you brandish a Dive Ball, one eye closed as you take aim on the frostbitten target. Your pitch isn’t bad for a rookie, arcing through the rain and striking the lone Binacle on its stem. Any sense of suspense is fleeting however as the ball unceremoniously ricochets off the target and down the promenade without so much as cracking open. The Dive Ball holds it momentum as its bounces off into the distance – while dumbfounded at its failure to activate, you’re not about to let your only one slip off into the murky depths. With Binacle going nowhere fast, you follow the special pokeball’s bearing down to where the promenade met with the beach, the sand wet and compact and doing nothing to slow the runaway item. It eventually comes to a stop against a small, capsized sailboat being hauled in from the waters by a woman in her mid-twenties. She was deceptively strong for her size, rainboots planted firm in the ground as she tugged at the rope mooring the vessel with all her might. She wore a pair of rainsoaked dungarees atop her bathing suit, hair tied in a tight ponytail sans for the few wet strands clinging to her face and neck. You pocket the Dive Ball for later use before turning your attention to the girl, who raises her hands in exasperation.

“My boat- look at what that thing is doing to my boat!” she yells, “Think you could help me dislodge it before it causes any more damage?” You notice the hull is pockmarked with punctures; poring over the damage you see a familiar face rear its ugly head, the
snickering before disappearing back into the hull like the sort of Whack-a-Diglett game you would find in an arcade. Through some coincidence you were face to face with the Binacle’s other half, it would stand to reason that if capturing them separately didn’t work you might have better luck by reuniting them. How will you react?
 
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Milcery Patisserie

Lilbluecorsola:
Something smelled good as you passed by shop facades familiar and new with a colourful cast of Pokemon in tow. It had been years since you last stepped foot in the big smoke, the return not brought on by some call to adventure but rather the prospect of a lighthearted ladies lunch. Milcery Patisserie promises to deliver just that, its rustic-chic, exposed-brick interior instantly transporting you away from the city hustle. The café was bustling with sounds of ambient jazz and idle chit-chat and like the pit crew on a track, staff were quickly and efficiently shuffling guests through the ordering process. Upon finding seats your table is waited on not by a human server but one of the café namesakes, a Milcery at your service with a notepad in hand. The waitstaff were distinguishable by accessory only, a strawberry sweet lodged in the corner of this one’s forehead where a hairclip might typically be worn. A creamy bead of sweat forms on the waitstaff's brow as it efforts to jot to the speed of your order, feigning confidence with each growing list item. It calls over a few colleagues to confer, a star sweet Milcery asking you to repeat parts of the order while a berry sweet Milcery tried to decipher its colleague’s shoddy handwriting. A short back and forth ensues – Miruku even helping serve as interpreter – until customer and waitstaff are in total agreement and your order is sent off to the kitchen.

Their diligence appeared to have paid off as your drinks were served shortly thereafter, the Milcery correctly noting which beverage belonged to who as they made rounds with glasses and mugs of all shapes and sizes. The presentation couldn’t be faulted, each mug adorned with intricate artwork and delectable toppings. You all take a moment to soak up the sights and scents before going in for a taste. The party’s exclamations of approval are decidedly premature as each beverage carries a peculiar aftertaste; the marshmallows of the Hot Litwick Cocoa came with a burnt tinge, while the berries of the Miltank Mix au Lait were frozen solid, the Poppin' Pachirisu Float gave a nasty shock when held and the cookies in the Nutty Buneary Frappe were as hard as hockey pucks, threatening to chip a tooth! The slights could perhaps be forgiven if not for the Lilligant Floral Tea, colour draining from its drinker’s face with a taste so foul that it’s spat out immediately. It seemed strange a café that consistently topped the must-visit lists could botch an order so badly, and this was before your food had even arrived. Being in the hospitality business provided much of your company with an empathy for these sorts of mishaps, but perhaps for the sake of the other customers you ought to speak up. What will you do?
Jess could see their server struggling to keep up with the ever increasing list of items, and so made a considerate effort to speak as slowly as possible in order to give the poor thing a chance to catch up. A dollop of nervous sweat rolled down the Milcery's forehead as she called over a few of her cohorts for assistance, and Jess couldn't help but coo at how each sported a different adorable accessory like a hairclip (reminding of the cute waitress outfits her own Sewaddle had stitched for Blue's waitstaff). Miruku hovered over to help act as translator, having her own experience with waiting on a particularly large party (not to mention similar sloppy handwriting).

Eventually they managed to correctly convey each Pokémon's preference and instructions were quickly relayed to the kitchen. Shortly after their beverages were brought out, each accurately assigned to the right requester with picture-perfect presentation. Everyone exclaimed in delight as they eagerly sampled the lovely-looking drinks - only to discover something seemed a bit... "off" about the taste. Patty and Mimi wrinkled their noses at the slightly burnt hints in their cocoa, as Miru herself picked out the marshmallows to discover the bottoms were mostly brown and black rather than white, charred as dark as the chocolate itself. Kimball meanwhile attempted to nibble on the cookie toppings in her frappé, finding herself unable to even crack a corner beyond the cream tufts. Jess blinked as she warily tested the berries in her own milkshake, which were also frozen stone cold. The only one who didn't seem to mind the mistake in her delivery was Momo, who giggled as the sudden burst of static tickled her cheeks, tingling with excitement over the extra punch to the Pachirisu-themed float.

Jess puzzled over how bizarre it was that a business which boasted such a charming atmosphere and supposed 5-star popularity could bumble an entire order this badly (and before even getting to the main entrée course). Being incredibly shy as she was, Jess was resigned to let the surprisingly shoddy service slide and not raise a fuss over it, but the moment Blue raised the teacup to her crossed lips and took an unsuspecting sip, they pursed immediately as if having just swallowed a sour patch. The dye drained instantly from her face until she resembled a teru teru bozu, spitting out the offending liquid with an indignant sputter like acid rain. Unable to stand for such an insult to chefs everywhere, the Drifloon's culinary compulsiveness kicked in as she determinedly rose up to demand to speak to the manager (in a rather loud and abrasive tone, much to her children's embarrassment) and learn the root of the problem, before her trainer could even endeavor to calm her. Jess sighed, recognizing there was nothing she could do to stop the busybody balloon from insistently butting in and fixing the issue herself if she had to. So much for their peaceful "ladies' luncheon"...
 
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Milcery Patisserie

Lilbluecorsola: There was naught for it but to hang your head in embarrassment as Blueberry literally huffed to the counter. If words could kill, the Milcery on the receiving end of the Maître d's rampage would have keeled over by now, shrinking to the size of a puddle before slinking off to the back room to find someone - anyone - better equipped to deal with the situation. The answer came in a comely blonde woman in her mid-thirties, her smile doing everything to hide her visible exhaustion. While the Drifloon’s blustering is for the most part incoherent, the manager is able to decipher the nature of the complaint quick enough, apparently not the first concerning spoiled beverages of late. She makes a beeline for your table before lowering her head in flustered apology.

“Je suis désolé… I am terribly sorry!” she starts in an elegant Kalosian accent, “We had our third barista quit and my husband, he is managing both food and drink orders. Let me go speak to him, I will replace the drinks right away – they are on the house, of course.” She rushes through to the kitchen and for a moment it seemed the small hiccup wouldn’t mar your sisterly outing, even Blueberry beginning to deflate to her usual size. The calm is fleeting though, the relaxing ambiance drowned out by a shouting match at the rear of the café.

“I’m tellin’ ya honey IT WASN’T ME!” his voice boomed over the chatter of patrons and then some, the local city accent a stark contrast his softly spoken partner’s. The quarrel is enough to intrigue the bulk of customers into complete silence while you sink deeper into your chair. “Someone’s sabotaging the drinks orders and I’m not talkin’ about the coffee machine going haywire!” You peek across to the kitchen and through the serving hatch where the young chef could be seen behind countless order tickets, red in the face as he raised his hands in exasperation. While you could hardly discern the wife’s rebuttal it had apparently done nothing to cool his jets, the chef pâtissier tossing his hat on the floor with a grunt and giving it a firm stomp before storming through the front of house and out the doors. The woman gave chase until the doors swung shut in front of her, picking up the trodden chef’s hat and bursting into tears, each and every Milcery meanwhile devolving into panic mode. While an introvert’s nightmare turned real, you can’t help wondering if you should, uh, do something?
 
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Cape Effervescence

SpinyShell:
It was down to catch or KO and with your team short on diversity you decide squarely on the former. Throwing caution to the wind you brandish a Dive Ball, one eye closed as you take aim on the frostbitten target. Your pitch isn’t bad for a rookie, arcing through the rain and striking the lone Binacle on its stem. Any sense of suspense is fleeting however as the ball unceremoniously ricochets off the target and down the promenade without so much as cracking open. The Dive Ball holds it momentum as its bounces off into the distance – while dumbfounded at its failure to activate, you’re not about to let your only one slip off into the murky depths. With Binacle going nowhere fast, you follow the special pokeball’s bearing down to where the promenade met with the beach, the sand wet and compact and doing nothing to slow the runaway item. It eventually comes to a stop against a small, capsized sailboat being hauled in from the waters by a woman in her mid-twenties. She was deceptively strong for her size, rainboots planted firm in the ground as she tugged at the rope mooring the vessel with all her might. She wore a pair of rainsoaked dungarees atop her bathing suit, hair tied in a tight ponytail sans for the few wet strands clinging to her face and neck. You pocket the Dive Ball for later use before turning your attention to the girl, who raises her hands in exasperation.

“My boat- look at what that thing is doing to my boat!” she yells, “Think you could help me dislodge it before it causes any more damage?” You notice the hull is pockmarked with punctures; poring over the damage you see a familiar face rear its ugly head, the
snickering before disappearing back into the hull like the sort of Whack-a-Diglett game you would find in an arcade. Through some coincidence you were face to face with the Binacle’s other half, it would stand to reason that if capturing them separately didn’t work you might have better luck by reuniting them. How will you react?
Sil closed one eye and took aim, holding her arm steady before chucking the Diveball straight at the Binacle. She and Hailstone watched as it arced swiftly through the pelting rain and struck the barnacle right on its long arm-stem part, the suspense heavy in the air as they held their breath. However, to their shock, the ball’s capture mechanism didn’t activate; instead it ricocheted off the frozen Pokémon, bouncing down the boardwalk towards the beach and gloomy ocean at a nerve racking pace. With no time to ponder the ball’s failure to activate and too fearful to lose it to the murky depths, the two of them raced after the runaway ball, nearly falling down as they ran at top speed across the slippery rain-soaked wood.

The ball skidded towards the edge of the boardwalk, and Sil and Hailstone watched in horror as the Diveball fell off, bouncing forcefully on the hardened sand which did little to slow its roll down the beach at breakneck speed. Fortunately, all was not lost as the ball came to a crashing stop against an overturned sailboat, the soaked vessel being dragged ashore by a very frustrated and waterlogged woman. Her rain soaked ponytail bobbed about with each pull and her teeth were clenched so tightly with strain that she could probably crush diamond between them. Too desperate to re-obtain the runaway Diveball, the two of them ran past her, the woman too busy tugging on the rope to notice their panicked rush, before finally reaching it. Sil gingerly held it in her hands, fearful of dropping the ball and losing it to the hungry waves, before pocketing it and turning her attention to the stressed-out woman, who threw up her hands in frustration.

“My boat--look at what that thing is doing to my boat!” the woman shouted. Turning to Sil and Hailstone, she said “Think you could help me dislodge it before it causes any more damage?” The two of them turned their attention to the capsized vessel, which they now noticed was riddled with holes. As Sil inspected the extent of the damage, Hailstone stepped forward and began to sniff the entrance of one of the punctures, squeaking quizzically at the strangely familiar scent. Before Sil could ask the Sandshrew what was puzzling him, a hideous and grumpy looking, albeit familiar, face burst forth from the hole--another lone Binacle!--before disappearing back into the depths of the hull with a snicker.

Hailstone squeaked louder and more confidently as he turned and gestured towards the boardwalk.

“You think this Binacle is the partner of the one we just fought?” Sil asked, and Hailstone nodded in response. Perhaps the Diveball didn’t work because the two hands of the Binacle were seperated, Sil thought. “Maybe we have to bring them together for the capture mechanism to activate,” she said to the Sandshrew.

Sil turned back to the woman. “Yeah, I think we might be able to dislodge the barnacle. Hailstone, could you please plug all of the holes except one with Ice Shard?” she said. Blocking almost all of the holes would hopefully make their job easier; now onto actually removing the bothersome barnacle.

Sil bit her lip nervously. Hailstone was weakened from his battle with the first Binacle and she had no healing items, while this barnacle looked fit as ever. She glanced down at the Sandshrew, who was lost in thought, but before she could ask him if he felt that he was agile enough that he could avoid all of the Binacle’s attacks, he began to dig in the sand. Unsure if she should interrupt him with her question, she watched as he took the sand he dug out and patted it into two small, irregular-looking spheres, freezing the leftmost one. Hailstone then proceeded to roll them together before looking at Sil.

Surely she would get it.

Sil bent down and patted Hailstone’s head. “I know we have to bring the two together--I just said that, silly. The question is how. I don’t know if you can outlast this Binacle after the fight with the first. Do you think you could avoid all of its attacks?”

Unfortunately she didn’t.

Hailstone shook his head--Sandshrew had sacrificed agility and speed somewhere along their evolution for a hard, protective shell. He would have to take a few blows, and his hard shell wouldn't be of much use considering how weakened he was. But fighting wasn’t the only way they could coax this barnacle out of the boat.

He dug another ball out of the sand, this one much larger than the other two. He tapped it before assuming a human-like pose and made a few high pitched squeaks.

“That’s me?” Sil asked. Hailstone nodded.

He then tapped the smaller, unfrozen ball and made a few more squeaks, before rolling it to the largest ball.

Sil’s brow furrowed. “You want me… to talk to the Binacle in the boat… and convince it to dislodge and come to me?” He nodded again. Now she was getting it.

The gears started to turn in her head. The two Binacle clearly didn’t like being separated. That was probably why the first one lashed out, and the second one most likely attacked the boat to get the sailor to return to the shore, closer to its lost partner. Perhaps she could convince this one to dislodge if she promised to bring it to the other Binacle.

Sil stared at the boat. She feared it wouldn’t go over well if they/when they brought the Binacle to its partner that they had just finished fighting. Hopefully the two would be happy enough reunited that they could overlook the fact that Hailstone had turned the first one into an icy popsicle.
 
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Cape Effervescence

SpinyShell:
“I think the little guy could be onto something…” the girl with the sailboat muses, “I only noticed the leaks on my boat shortly after taking her out, so the Binacle couldn’t have drifted far from the jetty before that. I wonder if the storm separated them?” It was merely conjecture, but Hail’s instincts were as good a lead as any as you work up a plan to unify the two halves. First up, you’d need to peg down the second Binacle who was popping in and out of view with a look of unbridled mischief. With a few breakneck jabs, the Snowshrew sends a volley of Icy Shards raining down on the capsized vessel like darts against a dartboard. The sub-zero spines plug all but one of the holes, giving the Binacle nowhere to hide as you clear your throat and ready diplomacy efforts. While much is lost in translation the Two-Handed Pokemon comes to an understanding in time, cheeks puffing at the mere mention of its sibling. It seemed bringing them back together would be easier said than done, until a methodical thud and skid from behind breaks your reverie…

Lo and behold, it was the other Binacle! Still semi-frozen it was digging its claw in the sand and lugging its rock housing down the beach with all its might. It would stand to reason that the sea dweller had been on your tail from the second it began to thaw, bent on revenge. The moment it spots its sibling though its vendetta seems to dissipate, the frosted Binacle making a beeline for the vessel instead. The family reunion is a little more hostile than expected, the Binacle in the rock attempting to yank its other half out of the vessel – met by a comical backslap in retaliation. The back and forth slapping and screeching is near impossible to decipher, but you get the impression that the two Binacle had reach an impasse regarding their lodgement; the Binacle latched to the boat had felt the call to adventure when the sailor passed by while the other was a stubborn homebody, content in the safety of its quayside refuge. If there was one thing they could agree on it was that being separated wasn’t working well for either of them – although perhaps you had a solution that would satisfy both parties, sating one’s appetite for adventure while offering security to the other. You’d need to split them up first though; it would be difficult to get a word in edgeways between their fisticuffs.
 
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Little Kanto

Maskerade:
With two remarkable yet opposing fighting styles on show, you find your gaze gravitating to the slow and graceful martial arts. You’d had your fill of power in your heyday but inner strength was what your heart yearned, so with that you forgo the mixed martial artists and make a beeline for the tai chi masters. Red Devil, Over Mind and Black Fist would benefit from the lesson too, joining you on the grassy knoll as you spectated from a cautious distance. The elders’ emphasis on slow breathing was noticeable closer up as they repeated the routine, acting in concert with their environment and guiding it, rather than avoiding, controlling, or working against it. While your pride kept you at arm’s length your Pokemon ogled with great interest; Infernape and Meditite were quick learners, memorising the steps and itching to put them to work. Infernape and Meditite learned Vacuum Wave! While Pancham was just as eager he was decidedly less spiritually attuned, the panda cub’s mock punches more evocative of the neighbouring MMA camp, failing to project any spiritual force behind them.

The master at the centre of the class eventually breaks out of her flow, locking eyes with a gentle smile, “We have a new pupil in our midst.” That had to sting. “I sense a powerful fighting spirit within you, but it has been twisted by turmoil. Perhaps you would like to join our practice to aide in clearing those blockages. If so, repeat my steps and have Infernape and Meditite follow your lead. I would like to see what you’ve got.” Despite her years the Kanto native had a youthful energy about her, it would be unwise to underestimate her on appearance alone.
As it turned out, RED DEVIL and OVER MIND were both remarkably fast learners. It spoke to their prodigious talent - which in Infernape's case came as no surprise to Blake, but he was glad to confirm that Meditite held similar hidden potential. As for BLACK FIST... its focus had always been different. It hit first and asked never.

Inevitably, they were noticed. Worst still, Blake was addressed as a pupil; clearly the elder was oblivious to his reputation abroad, his prior occupation as a Gym Leader or his side stint with the police as Galar's "Hero Maker". Maybe all she saw was a self-important, washed-up drunkard. Maybe that's all that was there to see.

Despite Blake's annoyance, his Pokemon seemed much more inclined to accept the old woman's offer - RED DEVIL and OVER MIND stepped forward almost immediately, perhaps sensing somethin special about the elder. Even BLACK FIST joined them, and so Blake was left with little alternative but to play along.

Besides, he remembered the steps.

There was a damn good reason I was never any good at this. Why I was always more like this Pancham than the Meditite. Back then I didn't see any merit to the spiritual side of fighting; I wonder if things had turned out differently if I wasn't so narrow-minded. Maybe we would've even been able to master the Roaring Punch...

"Greetings *sensei*. Didn't mean to interrupt your training..."

He could've recalled his Pokemon and left, but he'd been arrogant his entire life. Now, he'd lost both his jobs and, more importantly, his son. This wasn't about his pride anymore. So, he approached the old woman and took the appropriate stance, rotating his arms like she showed him.

Or what he thought in his mind to be a decent approximation, anyway.

"I was always shit at this stuff, " he admitted. Decorum wasn't Blake's strong suit either. "How am I doin'?"
 
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King Ghidorah:

You reason that the only way to revert the situation is to publicly embarass the man so badly he will have no choice but to stop and defend his honor. Even if you have to make yet another scene, which is becoming a little bit of a trend in your time here in Little Kanto.

"Have you no manners, young man?!" Suddenly yells a nearby vendor.

"That is no way to talk to your elders, you rabblerouser!" declared an old woman in the crowd, holding a shopping bag and looking disgusted by the aggressiveness of your words.

"If the gentleman paid for his Berries he's more than entitled to them!" Says another.

"Children these days have no education whatsoever! It's their parents' fault, obviously!" Adds yet another passerby.

The Galarian man does indeed stop, but when he turns to you he keeps smiling, emboldened by the impromptu public support.

"See, boy? You should know your place. I did nothing wrong, unlike that crook who has no respect for food. Why you aligned yourself with that scoundrel is beyond me, but as the most renowned food critic in Galar, I have sworn to uphold the values of culinary arts to my dying breath!"

He raises the berry bags as high as his frail muscles allow, in an act of provocation.

"You are nothing but a bully. Holding a PokeBall in your hand knowing mine are full to do the same. No doubt you're looking to assault me with some ravenous beast before I have time to defend myself! Shame, shame!"

Before you know it, several people in the market have gathered around you, many stepping in between the two of you with outstretched arms.

"You'd do well to get lost, punk. Before we call the cops on you," growls a middle-aged man in defiance. "Threatening a gentleman like that will get you in trouble around here. We might be foreigners in New Fizz, but we always respect our elders."

It seems your plan has backfired. Outnumbered and with the crowd rallying against you, you reason it's best to step away for now and gather your thoughts; something tells you that you'll be seeing the Galarian man again soon enough, but he's right there...

As you begin to backtrack, you happen to spot a tiny stall at the far corner of the precinct with four or five birds kept in a shoulder-high cage behind a young woman. Those are definitely Farfetch'd! The vendor seems completely oblivious to the commotion; in fact, she is staring blankly at nowhere in particular...

Would it be better to give up for now and head over to her stall and at least cut a deal for a bird, now that you missed out on the Berries? Or do you instead fight against the current and attempt to take the Berries from the Galarian man by force, despite the opposition of everyone involved?




DannyDrawsaLot:

The situation is as dire as nonsensical. One minute you were battling a wild Scraggy, the next you were intentionally running away from the police despite having done nothing wrong, and now you're talking back to a famous police detective with a Growlithe literally breathing down your neck. Such is the life of an honest Trainer...

Looker doesn't look the least bit impressed with your threats, considering you're lying on yout back with a fire-breathing dog pinning you down. As far as he's concerned, it's over - Growlithe has the high ground.

Still, negotiating with criminals is part of his training. He whistles and motions with his head for the dog to step aside, then lights up a cigarette. Growlithe does as instructed, its gaze shifting from you to your two Pokemon companions, clearly not trusting them to stand down as well.

"Tell you what punk. I'll give you chance."

He points over to the nearby Ferrothorn carcass with the burning tip of his cigarette and exhales a cloud of smoke.

"This ain't the first time we spotted your lizard friend scavenging around, but it's the first time I had the pleasure of meeting the human thief behind it all. So here's the deal: you tell me why you've been ordering your Helioptile to steal iron from the railway and I might just shave off a couple years from your sentence."

There seems to be a huge misunderstanding here; has the Police mistaken that wild Scraggy for your Helioptile?!

Looker looks at you in silence. Growlithe growls at you in warning. Everyone in this scene is so aptly named.

What will you do now?
 
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DannyDrawsaLot:

The situation is as dire as nonsensical. One minute you were battling a wild Scraggy, the next you were intentionally running away from the police despite having done nothing wrong, and now you're talking back to a famous police detective with a Growlithe literally breathing down your neck. Such is the life of an honest Trainer...

Looker doesn't look the least bit impressed with your threats, considering you're lying on yout back with a fire-breathing dog pinning you down. As far as he's concerned, it's over - Growlithe has the high ground.

Still, negotiating with criminals is part of his training. He whistles and motions with his head for the dog to step aside, then lights up a cigarette. Growlithe does as instructed, its gaze shifting from you to your two Pokemon companions, clearly not trusting them to stand down as well.

"Tell you what punk. I'll give you chance."

He points over to the nearby Ferrothorn carcass with the burning tip of his cigarette and exhales a cloud of smoke.

"This ain't the first time we spotted your lizard friend scavenging around, but it's the first time I had the pleasure of meeting the human thief behind it all. So here's the deal: you tell me why you've been ordering your Helioptile to steal iron from the railway and I might just shave off a couple years from your sentence."

There seems to be a huge misunderstanding here; has the Police mistaken that wild Scraggy for your Helioptile?!

Looker looks at you in silence. Growlithe growls at you in warning. Everyone in this scene is so aptly named.

What will you do now?

Looker lit a cigarette, much to Danny's disgust, as he watched the tip glow with smoke rising from it. After some time, he called out to his Growlithe to let go, and the dog did as instructed. Danny at first wanted to just lay on the ground, he was tired as fuck, but he got up and dusted himself off, and rushed over to his two lizards, who glared at the Growlithe, which the Dog Pokemon was sure to reciprocate.

Danny laid back and listened to what Looker said, watching him smoke and not really listening. He could just feel Looker's blackened lungs, really, Danny hated smokers. As he focused on the glow of the cigarette, Looker droned on, but then something caught Danny's atttention. Reversing back a few moments mentally, he replayed what he had heard Looker say:

"This ain't the first time we spotted your lizard friend scavenging around, but it's the first time I had the pleasure of meeting the human thief behind it all. So here's the deal: you tell me why you've been ordering your Helioptile to steal iron from the railway and I might just shave off a couple years from your sentence."

"Say what now?" Danny thought. Looker thought Soliera was a thief? How dare he? Danny picked up the whimpering Helioptile, who had a look of pure horror on her face.

"Listen here mister." Danny said, his fists clenched, his expression and voice grave. "No one calls me a criminal. No one calls my Pokemon a criminal!" Danny yelled at him, pointing aggresively. The Helioptile which had taken refuge on his shoulder glared at Looker, clearly agreeing with what Danny had just said.

"it was a Scraggy that did it, not Helioptile. Believe it or not, you can run from the police and be innocent."
 
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Cape Effervescence

SpinyShell:
“I think the little guy could be onto something…” the girl with the sailboat muses, “I only noticed the leaks on my boat shortly after taking her out, so the Binacle couldn’t have drifted far from the jetty before that. I wonder if the storm separated them?” It was merely conjecture, but Hail’s instincts were as good a lead as any as you work up a plan to unify the two halves. First up, you’d need to peg down the second Binacle who was popping in and out of view with a look of unbridled mischief. With a few breakneck jabs, the Snowshrew sends a volley of Icy Shards raining down on the capsized vessel like darts against a dartboard. The sub-zero spines plug all but one of the holes, giving the Binacle nowhere to hide as you clear your throat and ready diplomacy efforts. While much is lost in translation the Two-Handed Pokemon comes to an understanding in time, cheeks puffing at the mere mention of its sibling. It seemed bringing them back together would be easier said than done, until a methodical thud and skid from behind breaks your reverie…

Lo and behold, it was the other Binacle! Still semi-frozen it was digging its claw in the sand and lugging its rock housing down the beach with all its might. It would stand to reason that the sea dweller had been on your tail from the second it began to thaw, bent on revenge. The moment it spots its sibling though its vendetta seems to dissipate, the frosted Binacle making a beeline for the vessel instead. The family reunion is a little more hostile than expected, the Binacle in the rock attempting to yank its other half out of the vessel – met by a comical backslap in retaliation. The back and forth slapping and screeching is near impossible to decipher, but you get the impression that the two Binacle had reach an impasse regarding their lodgement; the Binacle latched to the boat had felt the call to adventure when the sailor passed by while the other was a stubborn homebody, content in the safety of its quayside refuge. If there was one thing they could agree on it was that being separated wasn’t working well for either of them – although perhaps you had a solution that would satisfy both parties, sating one’s appetite for adventure while offering security to the other. You’d need to split them up first though; it would be difficult to get a word in edgeways between their fisticuffs.
The sailor watched Hailstone’s little skit and his frustration at his trainer with a bemused and curious eye, before piping up, “I think the little guy could be onto something… I only noticed the leaks on my boat shortly after taking her out, so the Binacle couldn’t have drifted far from the jetty before that. I wonder if the storm separated them?” Sil nodded. While it was a guess, it was an educated one at that, and the only lead they had.

She glanced at Hailstone, who nodded before readying himself. With a quick wave of his paws, the Sandshrew swiftly flash froze the rain and water vapor in the air into chunks of ice that glittered and sparkled despite the gloomy sky. With surprising speed, he hurled each Shard of Ice at every hole but one as the Binacle dove into the hull for safety, each frozen dart hitting their mark with surprising accuracy. With all holes but one now plugged, there was only one entrance and exit to the hull, and the Binacle could no longer hide itself amongst the plethora of holes, forced to remain by the sole opening. Now with the Binacle effectively trapped, Sil walked toward the only opening and cleared her throat before crouching down.

“Um… hey there little guy,” she said, in an attempt to get the Binacle’s attention and coax it out of hiding. At the sound of her voice, the Binacle popped its head out of the hole and gave her a stern glare, its pouty face curling even further down into a frown. However, despite its clear annoyance, the barnacle did not retreat into the hull of the boat, instead opting to watch the strange human with wary eyes.

Sil slowly held up her hands in an attempt to appear non-threatening--the Binacle seemed to be on edge after the volley of icy spikes that nearly skewered it. “I’m not going to hurt you, okay? I just want to talk,” she said to the Pokémon, whose hostile expression seemed to soften a little even if it couldn’t fully understand her.

“I know Binacle come in pairs,” she said, “but you’re here all alone. It’s clear you've lost your other half.” The Binacle tilted its head a little. Sil wasn’t sure how much was getting through, but it looked like the Binacle understood some of what she said.

“We,” Sil gestured at herself and Hailstone, “just had a run in with another singular Binacle that was anchored to a rock. One that seems to have a scent pretty similar to yours, according to Hailstone’s nose.” Hailstone squeaked a couple times to the Binacle, attempting his best to clarify what Sil was saying. Slowly, the barnacle’s face lit up as it realized its partner wasn’t so lost after all.

“Why don’t we take you to it?” Sil said, extending her hand to the crustacean. The Binacle nodded and--

THUD!

The group turned their heads to the source of the loud sound, staring in shock. Standing dramatically defiant in the rain, and shivering due to the cold stemming from the glistening chunk of ice that encased half of its body, was the other Binacle. Face wrought with anger, the barnacle dragged itself across the sand with its claw, hellbent on getting revenge on Sil and Hailstone for turning it into a popsicle. However, the Binacle’s vendetta swiftly evaporated as its gaze fixed upon the second Binacle in the boat, and the Pokémon darted surprisingly fast towards its missing partner.

The three observers, expecting a touching reconciliation, were quite shocked when the reunion took a more hostile turn. The rocky Binacle scowled as it attempted to pull the other one out of the boat, before getting smacked in response. There was a moment of silence as the two glared at each other before all hell broke loose as the two descended into slapping and screeching at each other, their faces puffed out and grumpier than ever.

While it was hard at first to figure out what the Binacle were arguing over, through a bit of Hailstone translating with more clumps of sand, Sil learned the two had come to a disagreement of sorts. The barnacle attached to the rock preferred to remain in the refuge of Fizzby Harbor, safe and steady, while the barnacle in the boat yearned to travel the world and saw the sailboat as an opportunity for adventure. Their desires were at opposites with each other, but they couldn’t function apart, and they couldn’t figure out a compromise.

But maybe…

Sil pulled the Diveball out of her pocket, staring at the wavy ocean pattern, the gears turning in her head like hyperactive Klink.

Pokémon trainers explored all over the world, right? And their Pokémon could choose to remain in the safety of their Pokéballs. Perhaps she could convince the two Binacle to join her and Hailstone on their journey around Fizzytopia. The more adventurous one would be able to explore the world while the homebody would still have the benefit of security.

But first, they had to separate the two fighting crustaceans; they were currently too distracted with their argument that any attempts at talking to them would be fruitless.

Sil turned to the Sandshrew, who seemed to be thinking something similar. “Hailstone, could you please Dig between the two Binacle without actually hitting them? You might be able to break up their fight that way. Then I can come in and make my offer,” she said.
 
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Milcery Patisserie

Lilbluecorsola: There was naught for it but to hang your head in embarrassment as Blueberry literally huffed to the counter. If words could kill, the Milcery on the receiving end of the Maître d's rampage would have keeled over by now, shrinking to the size of a puddle before slinking off to the back room to find someone - anyone - better equipped to deal with the situation. The answer came in a comely blonde woman in her mid-thirties, her smile doing everything to hide her visible exhaustion. While the Drifloon’s blustering is for the most part incoherent, the manager is able to decipher the nature of the complaint quick enough, apparently not the first concerning spoiled beverages of late. She makes a beeline for your table before lowering her head in flustered apology.

“Je suis désolé… I am terribly sorry!” she starts in an elegant Kalosian accent, “We had our third barista quit and my husband, he is managing both food and drink orders. Let me go speak to him, I will replace the drinks right away – they are on the house, of course.” She rushes through to the kitchen and for a moment it seemed the small hiccup wouldn’t mar your sisterly outing, even Blueberry beginning to deflate to her usual size. The calm is fleeting though, the relaxing ambiance drowned out by a shouting match at the rear of the café.

“I’m tellin’ ya honey IT WASN’T ME!” his voice boomed over the chatter of patrons and then some, the local city accent a stark contrast his softly spoken partner’s. The quarrel is enough to intrigue the bulk of customers into complete silence while you sink deeper into your chair. “Someone’s sabotaging the drinks orders and I’m not talkin’ about the coffee machine going haywire!” You peek across to the kitchen and through the serving hatch where the young chef could be seen behind countless order tickets, red in the face as he raised his hands in exasperation. While you could hardly discern the wife’s rebuttal it had apparently done nothing to cool his jets, the chef pâtissier tossing his hat on the floor with a grunt and giving it a firm stomp before storming through the front of house and out the doors. The woman gave chase until the doors swung shut in front of her, picking up the trodden chef’s hat and bursting into tears, each and every Milcery meanwhile devolving into panic mode. While an introvert’s nightmare turned real, you can’t help wondering if you should, uh, do something?
Jess could only attempt to hide her head helplessly as Blue huffed and puffed straight to the service counter, inflating irritably as the receiving victim of her matronly wrath shriveled in turn. The poor verbal punching bag practically melted into a pile of putty from the balloon's scathing outburst, before retreating to the back room to find someone in charge to help bail her out of the situation. She soon returned with a lovely fair-haired lady who, despite her polite demeanor, clearly showed signs of stress and fatigue. While it was difficult to decipher the Drifloon's exact dialogue (which was perhaps for the best), she quickly grasped the gist of the grievance and hurried over to Jess's table with an apologetic bow, evidently having dealt with this kind of unfortunate incident before.

"Je suis désolée…" It was Jess's turn to mentally translate, remembering at least that much from her Kalosian language lessons in school, before the woman caught and corrected herself anyway. "I am terribly sorry! We had our third barista quit and my husband, he is managing both food and drink orders. Let me go speak to him, I will replace the drinks right away – they are on the house, of course."

Satisfied by the remedial response, Blueberry nodded in approval as the manager promptly hastened to the kitchen. The Drifloon began to deflate back to normal, and Jess breathed out in relief, hoping nothing else catastrophic would occur to put a dent in their day off...

"I’m tellin’ ya honey IT WASN’T ME!"

Jess froze as a brash, obviously local accent bellowed out from the back, slicing through the stillness and startling the younger members of her party. The clash continued between the thunderous storm and his gentle but persistent partner, causing several other patrons to stir and crane their necks to see what the ruckus was about. Through the hatch the husband could be seen standing behind countless expectant tickets as he threw his hands up in the air, face fully flushed from frustration.

"Someone’s sabotaging the drinks orders and I’m not talkin’ about the coffee machine going haywire!"

Jess shamefully slid down further in her chair, as even Blueberry appeared a bit uncomfortable as the colorful argument completely drowned out the ambient atmosphere. The Drifloon looked guiltily at her distressed daughters as Patty covered Mimi's ears to protect her baby sister's sensitivities at least, while Kim and Miru exchanged nervous glances. (Momo meanwhile continued to simply sip on her soda, blissfully unaware of the chaos ensuring around her.) Though they couldn't make out much of the rest of the mumbled conversation, the wife's reply definitely didn't win the man over as he ripped off his white chef's hat and flung it to the floor, stamping flat with his foot for good measure. He then proceeded to stalk right out the door, leaving his stunned spouse behind as she gingerly lifted the compacted cap and began crying. The image almost reminded Jess of a certain animated comedic skit between an adorable married couple - inadvertent insult over faulty food and remorseful chase turned running gag - only with roles reversed. But this was no laughing matter as the Milcery swirled in a flustered flurry, unsure what to do as the remaining customers murmured tensely to themselves, wondering if they should leave or not given the supremely awkward air; not to mention the fact no one seemed to be manning the stove anymore.

Mortified at having ultimately made such a huge scene after all, Jess was tempted to just leave advance payment for the meal and strive to sneak away unnoticed, but Blue shook her head, determined to right what she had wrought. Calling out cooking gaffes was one thing, but she certainly hadn't meant to stoke any flames to instigate marital strife. Being wed to her own business associate herself, she understood how devastating losing one's other half in both personal and professional affairs could be.

Hovering over to the sobbing mess, she contritely offered out a handkerchief before pointing towards the kitchen, then at herself, gesturing to her supporting cast as well. Sensing imminent confusion, Jess inhaled deeply as she cleared her throat and steeled her confidence, speaking up softly to explain.

"Hi, uh, I'm really sorry we caused so much trouble for you and your husband... Um, if it would help, my Drifloon's actually a pretty good cook so she can take over the orders while you look for him. She also runs a café, and some of the staff is here too so they can help out as well. Maybe we can also try to figure out what's causing the issue with the drinks?"
 
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The Foundry

Myahoo:
With a beep and a boop the machine was booted and ready to go, its software capable of printing the stock standard Cyber Balls with ease. But what’s this? With an Up-Grade to the contraption’s circuitry you could get your hands on the rare Aqua, Orange, Violet and Magenta variations. The offer is too tantalising to refuse and in throwing caution to the wind you tap Y on the keyboard to proceed with the installation. The system lets out a high-pitch whir in response, the pastel pink character behind its glass bobbing enthusiastically. A file icon drifts across the screen before being swallowed by the virtual duck, its sharp shapes smoothing out.


Up-Grade initialising…

Integrating Curves…

Routing Neural Networks…

Obfuscating Covariance Matrices…

Malware detected in Up-Grade…

Scanning dubious.exe for viruses…

BZZZTTT

The machine starts to shake violently, the sprite shifting form once more; an antenna protrudes from its ovoid head as it detaches from its body, eyes blinking into yellow and black rings similar to a bulls-eye. The corrupted character looks about ready to seizure as the system flashes erratically, sparks dancing up and down its surface. You’re given no time to react as the machine lets out a immense shockwave, the burst of energy washing over you and your teammates as you brace for impact.


You open your eyes to find yourself unharmed, for the most part. You look to your hands to see them made up of pixels, lacking any discernible depth. Your new environment was just as two-dimensional, nothing but pink gridlines on black in every direction. You catch eye with Hint just a few grids away, equally nonplussed as he bobs to your fix. The Rotom had been simplified too, evocative of a character from a retro arcade game. Suddenly a chiptune melody breaks the silence, heralding the voice of your mischievous captor.

You’re in my world now, bzzt!

You want your Cyber Balls? Let’s play a game!

Win my games to earn prizes. Win two games and progress to the next level.

Win two more games to face the final boss and win your freedom!

Lose and you’ll be trapped in cyberspace forever, bzzzt!

Four pixelated spheres render ahead of you: red, blue, yellow and green. It seemed that by interacting with one of the balls you would warp to the first level, where you would play for the corresponding cyber ball and inch closer to freedom. Which colour will you choose first?
The machine started whirring, the little Porygon icon bouncing as a file icon drifted across the screen. The Porygon icon swallowed the file and its edges smoothed out, going from a regular Porygon to a Porygon2. Aiden huffed a laugh at that. Appropriate.

He watched a bit anxiously as the machine listed out its status, heart jumping as it declared that it found malware in the upgrade.

"Shit."

"What?" Hint drifted closer to see the screen.

He didn't get a chance to reply. The machine started to shake violently, the sprite changing once more, but Aiden didn't exactly look too closely; he was backing away from the machine, searching for someone who could possibly help figure out what went wrong. Which meant he was facing away from the machine when it emitted a burst of energy, only catching his team's exclamations of surprise as the shockwave washed over them.

When everything seemed to be calm again, Aiden cautiously cracked an eye open, dropping his arm and staring wide-eyed at his new surroundings. Pink gridlines on black everywhere he looked. Looking down at himself, it looked like he was made of pixels, too. He spotted Hint bobbing several squares away, but no Kaito, Tase, or Dust. Heart dropping, he spun in a circle and confirmed it. No Zorua, Joltik, or Vulpix. Well, shit.

Right as Aiden was going to start searching for his team, a short tune came from nowhere before something or someone spoke. "You're in my world now, bzzt! You want your Cyber Balls? Let's play a game! Win my games to earn prizes. Win two games and progress to the next level. Win two more games to face the final boss and win your freedom! Lose and you'll be trapped in cyberspace forever, bzzzt!"

As whoever that was signed off, four spheres rendered in front of him, in colors matching those of the original Cyber Ball options. Assuming this worked like a video game, picking one would take him to the appropriate level and the color he picked would be the one he got.

He glanced to the side as he caught movement in the corner of his eye, Hint floating up alongside him. Or, well, as much as he could when it looked like they were restricted to the grid.

"Did you see where the others went?"

Hint shook his head. "Hopefully, they didn't get sucked in, but it's entirely possible they did. It's not like that energy wave was particularly discerning."

Aiden pressed his lips together. "Then, we should probably go for the colors they wanted, just in case. Since, if I could hear from inside here, that's probably what I would do."

"Best case," Hint pointed out grimly.

"I know." He...didn't really want to think about the worst case scenario. Also, their frickin' captor stole one of his Cyber Balls; he absolutely caught that. Moving towards the red sphere, he called out to the general area, since he assumed their captor would be watching/listening in. "My team better be around or I'll find some way to make you regret it. And I better get that fifth Cyber Ball back, too!"

Mike was gonna kill him. If their captor didn't get to it first.
 
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Milcery Patisserie

Lilbluecorsola:
The lovers’ quarrel had left the kitchen deserted and front of house in disarray, the waitstaff melting under unsurmountable pressure. Dollops of cream splattered across the carpets as they ricocheted from wall to wall in hysterics, doing nothing to abate the piling order tickets and customers’ wearing patience. It would be just as easy to pay and dash but a collective sense of duty compels your lunch party to don their chef hats instead. In that moment the jilted maître d’ forgets to sob, blinking in disbelief.

“You and your Drifloon would really help me? Merci, merci beacoup!” Her foreign affectation requires no translation as she wipes away her tears and grabs your hands in a gesture of unbridled gratitude, escorting you out of the chaos and through to the kitchen which would serve as your work station for the day. The state-of-the-art appliances were a café owners' dream, if not for the sorry state left by the chef pâtissier’s sudden exit; the worktops were a mess of flour and dough, littered with uncooked pastries and half-decorated cakes. The stoves had boiled over and a distinct scent of burnt pastries causes your nostrils to wrinkle, black fumes seeping from cracks in the ovens.

With Blue assembling her team to familiarise with the kitchen you’re led to the drinks station, the apparent root of the problem. “Where are my manners?” the busybody exclaims while taking apart the equipment, “I don’t think I ever introduced myself, my name is Malori.” While exchanging pleasantries you leave no stone unturned, inspecting everything from blenders and roasters to steamers and stoves; giving even the ingredients a taste test you find them nothing but delicious and fresh, a stark contrast to what had been served up a short while prior. It was all very peculiar, a sentiment Malori seems to share as she curses in her local tongue.

“All working à la perfection”, she utters in sardonic laughter, “The moment you show someone a problem it often just magically fixes itself, huh? I want to believe my husband is telling the truth, but he has been out of sorts ever since the accident...” The maître d’s gaze seemed to wonder off with the tail end of her sentence, a trauma she was alluding to still paining her to this day.

“The year we opened the patisserie was the worst year of our lives. But for me, getting this café off the ground became my only distraction. Patrick on the other hand, I think he resents all the time I put into our business. It has been eating away at him for years and I fear that this time he won’t come back.” The woman fell into tears against the kitchen top, louder than before despite the racket of a kitchen in chaos. It was difficult to discern how to console her but perhaps actions would speak louder than words. With order tickets stacked to the nines, helping clear the afternoon rush seemed like the best place to focus efforts; Blue bobs to the ticket bar right on que, roles divided and raring to go:


2x Combee Waffles with Honey (1 with extra honey)
1x Happy Snorlax Loco Moco
1x Gratin a la Pumpkaboo
1x Dugtrio Sandwich Trio
2x Happy Snorlax Loco Moco
3x Cheesy Rowlet Pizza (1 gluten-free base)
1x Dugtrio Sandwich Trio
1x Yummy Yamper Pasta

2x Eevee Latte (both with soy milk)
5x Decorated Alcremie Cupcakes
5x Lilligant Floral Tea
3x Eevee Latte (1 with almond milk)

Please describe how you would restore order to the kitchen and beat the lunchtime rush through the help of your team, in as simple or detailed terms as you wish. Imagine the patisserie has all the typical trappings of a five-star café.

The Foundry

Myahoo:
Imprisoned in a world of pixels and polygons there was nothing for it but to play the mischievous captor’s games and win back your freedom fair and square. You could only hope that your wider team were had been spared the same fate, back within the warm corrugated walls of The Foundry safe and sound. It seemed unlikely the trickster would be so merciful; it had duped you out of a Cyber Ball, after all. Once conferring with Hint you move toward the red orb in jagged steps, tapping it with the quadrangular limb where your hand might usually be. It reacts to your touch instantly, emitting a beep as your party are enveloped in white and warped from the lobby in the blink of an eye! All you can do is hold tight as you hurtle through cyberspace at lightspeed – if your pixelated body came with a stomach, it would no doubt be churning from motion sickness. You pass through a kaleidoscope of flashing colours at growing speed, the intensity forcing you to shield your vision.

Soon enough you come crash landing into a similar, yet different, world. You were plunged into a maze of sorts, lined with blue fences and littered with white dots. There were several pixelated ghost Pokemon patrolling its corridors from what you could see: a Duknoir, Gengar, Mismagious and Golurk. You look down to see yourself sat atop a giant yellow ball which seemed to blink to life the same time as you… It was Hint! He had come into possession of the spherical character, sporting a mouth the size of a trash compactor that made up for his lack of discernible arms and legs and then some.


Zorua hunt better in a pack, man!

Eat as many white energisers as possible while avoiding the detection of the ghostly sentries. Bzzt!

The cryptic voice fades to the aether as Hint readies for your instruction, prompting you to pore over the maze in efforts to discern the most optimal routes, spotting a cage in its centre with a familiar friend locked inside. Kaito looked blockier than usual but his snarl was unmistakable, the stakes of the game all of a sudden a whole lot higher…

Play this web version of Pac-Man and a post a score of 2,000 or more to pass the level!


Little Kanto

Maskerade:
It takes every bone in your body not to walk away from the impending schooling while you still had a morsel of dignity. It then strikes you that said dignity had left you somewhere in your downward spiral, shifting to the appropriate stance therein. Twisting your arms to and fro feels clunky at first, your mind doing everything but calm as you effort to mimic the master’s slow and graceful flow. She seems unphased by the profanity as she slips in to make small adjustments, tapping the underside of your slacked arm then jabbing the base of your spine and coaxing it to straighten. The elder appeared to hold masterful expertise over human pressure points, the rapid knocks seemingly pushing you into perfect formation.

“You are quick to learn the physical aspects of martial arts, yet still, I sense the spiritual aspects are escaping you,” she gestures to Red Devil and Over Mind, eyes closed as they gracefully drifted through the steps with a look of pure zen. “Perhaps the best way for this lesson to sink in would be for you to fight together as one…” Tailing on a cryptic note she gestures two Pokemon to the centre of the class, a scrappy cream and red fighter with arms adorned with baggy fur sleeves, and a serious blue and black fighter with steely spikes on the backs of its forepaws. The Meinfoo and Lucario would make an even match for your fighters in both size and stature, following their sensei into fighting stance.

“I want you to move in tandem with your Pokemon, while you and I will not exchange blows our Pokemon will. The exercise is intended to benefit mind over body but nonetheless, I’d like to see the full range of your team’s skills, not just the steps I have taken you through today. No verbal commands, just fighting movements, like so.” Without warning she leans into a lunge, arms bending before cupping in a circular motion. Her Pokemon followed the movements to the letter, channelling their chi into a pair of Aura Spheres and propelling them at your allies’ feet as a warning shot. The unprovoked assault catches your party off-guard, the elder giggling playfully as she invited you to retaliate.

For this battle you’ll have to act out the move through martial arts rather than verbal commands. You can order two attacks per Pokemon, which can be the same attack as demonstrated or different. The moves don’t necessarily have to be fighting-type either.


Cape Effervescence

SpinyShell: With tensions rising you opt to drive a literal wedge between the feuding family. Hailstone shovels at the sand until he’s completely burrowed, homing in on the slap-happy siblings and sandwiching between them. While a hide clad of ice and iron offers some buffer from the smacks the Sandshrew looks in visible discomfort; he’s spared of any further beating soon enough as the space driven manages to free the Two-Handed Pokemon from its frenzy, allowing you to step forward and sheepishly state your case. The language barrier was tricky to bypass but this wasn’t your first rodeo, the pair quick enough deciphering your words and gestures. They lock eyes with each other in unison, huffed-up faces slacking as they seemingly agree to set aside their differences and take up your offer of sanctuary. The siblings then join hands in a sort of handshake, the one in the rock yanking the other out from the boat without resistance, finding it a place by its side. In spite of its resting grimace, the Binacle appears content in its restored unity, one of the pair elongating to tap your Dive Ball before the other can change its mind. The ball cracks open and swallows the Binacle in a flash of light, giving off a slight tussle before coming to a stop, a resounding click indicating success.


You caught a Lv.11 Male
It knows the EM Helping Hand and TM Liquidation!

Sandshrew gained 3 levels!


“You two make quite the pair of mediators,” the woman with the boat giggles, “I’m Atla by the way, what are your names?” She offers a handshake before returning to her boat, taking advantage of its capsized position to mend the punctures caused by Binacle proper. Shuffling underneath the vessel she becomes so absorbed in the repairs you almost wonder if she’s forgotten your presence, in two minds whether to wait for her to resurface or just be on your merry way. She appears to sense the uncertainty as she slides out from under the boat with an adventurous smile on her face.

“The storm looks to be passing,” she remarks, catching some of the gentle pitter-patter in her palm, “I’m thinking of taking her back out if you cared to join? I’m a wreck diver you see, and storms have a tendency to shift the ocean floor around, unearthing all sorts of hidden treasures.” With another feat of strength Atla tips the boat back to its upside, before rummaging through its lazarette and handing you and your teammates each a Fresh Water. It was true that the troubled skies were starting to ease off, its clouds wringing out the last drops of rain. The choppy surf below had calmed too, the clamour of crashing waves replaced by the gentle bob and creak of sailboats tugging on their moorings; with a seasoned navigator and a water-type teammate in your midst perhaps an expedition out sea wouldn’t be so daunting after all.

“So, what do you say? It’s the least I could do for your help saving my boat!”
 
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King Ghidorah:

You reason that the only way to revert the situation is to publicly embarass the man so badly he will have no choice but to stop and defend his honor. Even if you have to make yet another scene, which is becoming a little bit of a trend in your time here in Little Kanto.

"Have you no manners, young man?!" Suddenly yells a nearby vendor.

"That is no way to talk to your elders, you rabblerouser!" declared an old woman in the crowd, holding a shopping bag and looking disgusted by the aggressiveness of your words.

"If the gentleman paid for his Berries he's more than entitled to them!" Says another.

"Children these days have no education whatsoever! It's their parents' fault, obviously!" Adds yet another passerby.

The Galarian man does indeed stop, but when he turns to you he keeps smiling, emboldened by the impromptu public support.

"See, boy? You should know your place. I did nothing wrong, unlike that crook who has no respect for food. Why you aligned yourself with that scoundrel is beyond me, but as the most renowned food critic in Galar, I have sworn to uphold the values of culinary arts to my dying breath!"

He raises the berry bags as high as his frail muscles allow, in an act of provocation.

"You are nothing but a bully. Holding a PokeBall in your hand knowing mine are full to do the same. No doubt you're looking to assault me with some ravenous beast before I have time to defend myself! Shame, shame!"

Before you know it, several people in the market have gathered around you, many stepping in between the two of you with outstretched arms.

"You'd do well to get lost, punk. Before we call the cops on you," growls a middle-aged man in defiance. "Threatening a gentleman like that will get you in trouble around here. We might be foreigners in New Fizz, but we always respect our elders."

It seems your plan has backfired. Outnumbered and with the crowd rallying against you, you reason it's best to step away for now and gather your thoughts; something tells you that you'll be seeing the Galarian man again soon enough, but he's right there...

As you begin to backtrack, you happen to spot a tiny stall at the far corner of the precinct with four or five birds kept in a shoulder-high cage behind a young woman. Those are definitely Farfetch'd! The vendor seems completely oblivious to the commotion; in fact, she is staring blankly at nowhere in particular...

Would it be better to give up for now and head over to her stall and at least cut a deal for a bird, now that you missed out on the Berries? Or do you instead fight against the current and attempt to take the Berries from the Galarian man by force, despite the opposition of everyone involved?
As they say, no good deed goes unpunished. Hugo tried to do something to benefit the people of this conclave, and was met only with being villainized. But no matter. If that’s how they wished to play this, so be it. Hugo raised his hands in surrender and slowly backed away.

“Fine, fine. Have it your way,” he announces to the crowd. “If those are the rules, those are the rules.”

He narrowed his focus on the food critic.

“But you said I hadn’t seen the last of you. But it’s YOU that hasn’t seen the last of ME! You’ll get what’s yours, sir. I assure you of that.”

Slowly, Hugo backed away from the crowd and eventually they dispersed. Instead, he stumbled upon the Farfetch’d vendor who seemed a bit oblivious to what was happening, but hey, under these circumstances, that was probably to Hugo’s benefit.

“Um, hello, miss,” Hugo said, trying to force politeness though he was still steamed from his interaction with the crowd. “Those are certainly some lovely birds you have there. They look very…”

Think of the right word, think of the right word.

“…feathery.”

Nailed it.

“I’ve been tasked with procuring a Farfetch’d for a friend. Well, not really a friend but more of a…well, a total stranger to be frank. But I told him I would give him a hand with something that seems very important to him. I’m not much of a Farfetch’d expert myself, but I was hoping perhaps you would be able to give me a hand…?”

And then…
 
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Milcery Patisserie

Lilbluecorsola:
The lovers’ quarrel had left the kitchen deserted and front of house in disarray, the waitstaff melting under unsurmountable pressure. Dollops of cream splattered across the carpets as they ricocheted from wall to wall in hysterics, doing nothing to abate the piling order tickets and customers’ wearing patience. It would be just as easy to pay and dash but a collective sense of duty compels your lunch party to don their chef hats instead. In that moment the jilted maître d’ forgets to sob, blinking in disbelief.

“You and your Drifloon would really help me? Merci, merci beacoup!” Her foreign affectation requires no translation as she wipes away her tears and grabs your hands in a gesture of unbridled gratitude, escorting you out of the chaos and through to the kitchen which would serve as your work station for the day. The state-of-the-art appliances were a café owners' dream, if not for the sorry state left by the chef pâtissier’s sudden exit; the worktops were a mess of flour and dough, littered with uncooked pastries and half-decorated cakes. The stoves had boiled over and a distinct scent of burnt pastries causes your nostrils to wrinkle, black fumes seeping from cracks in the ovens.

With Blue assembling her team to familiarise with the kitchen you’re led to the drinks station, the apparent root of the problem. “Where are my manners?” the busybody exclaims while taking apart the equipment, “I don’t think I ever introduced myself, my name is Malori.” While exchanging pleasantries you leave no stone unturned, inspecting everything from blenders and roasters to steamers and stoves; giving even the ingredients a taste test you find them nothing but delicious and fresh, a stark contrast to what had been served up a short while prior. It was all very peculiar, a sentiment Malori seems to share as she curses in her local tongue.

“All working à la perfection”, she utters in sardonic laughter, “The moment you show someone a problem it often just magically fixes itself, huh? I want to believe my husband is telling the truth, but he has been out of sorts ever since the accident...” The maître d’s gaze seemed to wonder off with the tail end of her sentence, a trauma she was alluding to still paining her to this day.

“The year we opened the patisserie was the worst year of our lives. But for me, getting this café off the ground became my only distraction. Patrick on the other hand, I think he resents all the time I put into our business. It has been eating away at him for years and I fear that this time he won’t come back.” The woman fell into tears against the kitchen top, louder than before despite the racket of a kitchen in chaos. It was difficult to discern how to console her but perhaps actions would speak louder than words. With order tickets stacked to the nines, helping clear the afternoon rush seemed like the best place to focus efforts; Blue bobs to the ticket bar right on que, roles divided and raring to go:


2x Combee Waffles with Honey (1 with extra honey)
1x Happy Snorlax Loco Moco
1x Gratin a la Pumpkaboo
1x Dugtrio Sandwich Trio
2x Happy Snorlax Loco Moco
3x Cheesy Rowlet Pizza (1 gluten-free base)
1x Dugtrio Sandwich Trio
1x Yummy Yamper Pasta

2x Eevee Latte (both with soy milk)
5x Decorated Alcremie Cupcakes
5x Lilligant Floral Tea
3x Eevee Latte (1 with almond milk)

Please describe how you would restore order to the kitchen and beat the lunchtime rush through the help of your team, in as simple or detailed terms as you wish. Imagine the patisserie has all the typical trappings of a five-star café.


Upon receiving a sign of salvation from the very one who had "sabotaged" her business, the woman brightened and thanked profusely in her native tongue, grasping Jess's hands to lead the embarrassed girl and her group to the kitchen - which was, frankly, a disaster. Flour coated the counters like a heavy snowfall, with wads of raw dough and unfinished pastries piled high. The stoves were bubbling to an overflow and black smoke billowed forth from the ovens, as the overwhelming odor of something burning attacked all their senses.

Blue and her team immediately set to work tidying up the space to a usable - if not at least semi-recognizable - degree, as Patty quickly cleared away ruined pots and pans with her TELEKINESIS before replacing with clean utensils, whilst Mimi enthusiastically COPYCATed her sister's movements (unfortunately making even more of a mess until Blue hurriedly intervened and handed her youngest daughter a coloring book and crayons to keep her occupied). Meanwhile the maître d’, who introduced herself as "Malori", showed Jess the inner workings of the disobedient drink device. Despite taking the appliance apart entirely to examine its guts and even sample the ingredients, which tasted fine and fresh, they could find nothing apparently wrong with the machinery.

"All working à la perfection," Malori chuckled sarcastically. "The moment you show someone a problem it often just magically fixes itself, huh? I want to believe my husband is telling the truth, but he has been out of sorts ever since the accident…"

Her words trailed off at that point, misty eyes sliding off into the distance. Again, Jess was too shy to ask for further details, but it was clear she was recalling some sort of deep pain in her past.

"The year we opened the patisserie was the worst year of our lives," she continued with a heavy sigh. "But for me, getting this café off the ground became my only distraction. Patrick on the other hand, I think he resents all the time I put into our business. It has been eating away at him for years and I fear that this time he won’t come back."

Remembering her husband's seething rage as he ran away, she burst again into tears as she laid her head upon the tabletop and proceeded to sob uncontrollably. Having little experience with relationships, let alone the courage to try and console, Jess nervously determined the best they could do for now was make it through the afternoon rush so she could at least cry in peace and get all the emotions out. Blue rolled up her strings and approached the ticket window to glance over the orders, before clapping her hearts for attention and barking out to assign roles.

Pointing to Miru first, she instructed the experienced waitress to go out and get the rest of the staff calm and under control with her AROMATHERAPY, as well as explain to the customers the hold-up and please ask for their patience. Shifting into professional mode, the Milcery nodded and headed out to herd up the horde of hysteric blobs currently bouncing off the walls and ceiling, smearing everything in off-white cream. Seeing as a second extra server wouldn't be necessary so long as Miru could effectively handle the situation outside, Momo was to remain on-call in the kitchen and lend a HELPING HAND where needed. She and Kimball were thus delegated to decorating duty; though there weren't any dessert requests at the moment that specifically required a frozen touch, Kim could at least AUTOTOMIZE the process of plating to finish dishes faster in timely fashion, yet still ensure the appearance was exquisitely attractive as befitting a five-star restaurant.

As for Jess herself, she couldn't boast much culinary confidence other than aiding to ready the rice and pasta, so was content to simultaneously struggle with wrangling the soda contraption into producing satisfactory results. Though she didn't know much about making coffee or tea either, having familiarized herself with its components she felt the system seemed simple enough for her to understand. Meanwhile, Patty eagerly went to join the balloon at the bench in expectation of helping her mother with the main courses. Blueberry smiled awkwardly however and denied needing assistance, patting her eldest and suggesting she go play with Mimi for now to keep watch and make sure she didn't get into any trouble. The candle's flame drooped as she pouted in obvious disappointment to be stuck with babysitting, frustrated at being brushed off so easily when it came to a matter of public pride. She knew her own cooking skills sucked, but how was she going to get better if she wasn't permitted to practice? ...More than that though, she just wanted to spend some quality time with her parent. Truth be told she was feeling somewhat snubbed lately in favor of her little brother, who'd been pampered like a prince while going through his "funk" (and admittedly the addition of another baby in the family only intensified her feelings of being ignored). Watching her mum hum happily as she began CUTting up vegetables for the gratin, the left out Liltwick decided to vent her annoyance by booting the beverage apparatus in PAYBACK for robbing her of today's chance to just enjoy a nice meal with her mom.
 
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SpinyShell: With tensions rising you opt to drive a literal wedge between the feuding family. Hailstone shovels at the sand until he’s completely burrowed, homing in on the slap-happy siblings and sandwiching between them. While a hide clad of ice and iron offers some buffer from the smacks the Sandshrew looks in visible discomfort; he’s spared of any further beating soon enough as the space driven manages to free the Two-Handed Pokemon from its frenzy, allowing you to step forward and sheepishly state your case. The language barrier was tricky to bypass but this wasn’t your first rodeo, the pair quick enough deciphering your words and gestures. They lock eyes with each other in unison, huffed-up faces slacking as they seemingly agree to set aside their differences and take up your offer of sanctuary. The siblings then join hands in a sort of handshake, the one in the rock yanking the other out from the boat without resistance, finding it a place by its side. In spite of its resting grimace, the Binacle appears content in its restored unity, one of the pair elongating to tap your Dive Ball before the other can change its mind. The ball cracks open and swallows the Binacle in a flash of light, giving off a slight tussle before coming to a stop, a resounding click indicating success.

You caught a Lv.11 Male
It knows the EM Helping Hand and TM Liquidation!

Sandshrew gained 3 levels!


“You two make quite the pair of mediators,” the woman with the boat giggles, “I’m Atla by the way, what are your names?” She offers a handshake before returning to her boat, taking advantage of its capsized position to mend the punctures caused by Binacle proper. Shuffling underneath the vessel she becomes so absorbed in the repairs you almost wonder if she’s forgotten your presence, in two minds whether to wait for her to resurface or just be on your merry way. She appears to sense the uncertainty as she slides out from under the boat with an adventurous smile on her face.

“The storm looks to be passing,” she remarks, catching some of the gentle pitter-patter in her palm, “I’m thinking of taking her back out if you cared to join? I’m a wreck diver you see, and storms have a tendency to shift the ocean floor around, unearthing all sorts of hidden treasures.” With another feat of strength Atla tips the boat back to its upside, before rummaging through its lazarette and handing you and your teammates each a Fresh Water. It was true that the troubled skies were starting to ease off, its clouds wringing out the last drops of rain. The choppy surf below had calmed too, the clamour of crashing waves replaced by the gentle bob and creak of sailboats tugging on their moorings; with a seasoned navigator and a water-type teammate in your midst perhaps an expedition out sea wouldn’t be so daunting after all.

“So, what do you say? It’s the least I could do for your help saving my boat!”
Hailstone flexed his tiny claws; while his ancestors might have lost the Ground typing long ago, he was still adept at Digging. Scratching rapidly at the sand, he swiftly burrowed between the two arguing Binacle, wincing a little as he surfaced, feeling the sting of their slaps even through his tough icy and steely hide. However, despite their blows, Hailstone managed to wedge himself between the two barnacles, stopping their fight in the process. Now, with an opportunity to get an ear in, Sil cleared her throat to get their attention before giving her offer, hoping that she wouldn’t appear too nervous; she hoped she wouldn’t just cause another rift in their relationship.

“It’s, uh, clear the two of you are at an impasse,” she said. “One of you wants to go out and explore the wider world; the other wishes to remain safe and secure in the harbor. And I can tell you two can’t function without each other, so you can’t just go your separate ways. You guys are stuck in a situation where neither of you are happy, right? But… um... I think I have a solution that will satisfy you both without splitting you guys up.” ” She paused to let her words sink in with a bit of translation help from the Sandshrew.

“You see, Hailstone and I want to explore all over Fizzytopia. And, um,” she turned to the Binacle in the rock, seeing its face form into a frown at the mention of exploration, “D-despite how scary and, uh, not-secure that might seem, we’ll still have some stability and safety. There’ll probably be lots of inns and hotels and such that we can stay at. And, if he chooses too, Hailstone can return to his Pokéball for security, resting time, and, uh, so on.” She held out the Diveball to each Binacle. “While I’ve never been inside a Pokéball, I’ve, um, heard they’re very comfortable… and they can even carry heavy Pokémon, or items that the Pokémon hold, like a, uh, rock,” she said. Hailstone gave her a nudge; now was the time to make her offer. “What I’m getting at here is… my solution for you both, is, um…” she coughed nervously. “Would you two like to join me and Hailstone on our journey?” she finally said.

The two Binacle seemed to deflate as they digested her words and locked eyes with each other, the fight long behind them. Slowly, the two grabbed each other in a handshake-like motion, before the Binacle in the rock pulled the other out and gently placed it in the rocky hole beside it. One of them reached out and tapped the Diveball, the sphere opening with a click and swallowing the Pokémon in a burst of blue light.

The Diveball made one shake... two shakes... three shakes… CLICK!


The sailor chuckled. “You two make quite the pair of mediators,” she said. “I’m Atla by the way, what are your names?” she asked before offering a handshake. “The Sandshrew is Hailstone,“ Sil said, trying not to wince at the woman’s iron grip, “And I’m Silver, but you can just me Sil for short. As for the Binacle… um… I think we’ll call them Limestone collectively. Lime for the one in the boat, and Stone for the one that was anchored in the rock.”

Atla nodded, before returning to her boat, mending the holes created by the Binacle. She ducked under the vessel to continue her repairings, the minutes ticking by in an awkward silence. Sil fidgeted uncomfortably, fiddling with the hem of her shirt, unsure if Atla had forgotten she was there. However, just when she thought about leaving, Atla reappeared from under the boat with a wide grin on her face.

“The storm looks to be passing,” she said, looking up at the light grey clouds, “I’m thinking of taking her back out if you cared to join? I’m a wreck diver you see, and storms have a tendency to shift the ocean floor around, unearthing all sorts of hidden treasures.”

Sil looked out over the ocean. It did seem like the last drops of rain were falling, and the foreboding grey clouds were giving way to a patchwork sky of blue and white. And the waves had calmed down too, gently lapping at the shoreline sand...

As she mulled it over, Atla opened a storage container and handed her, Hailstone, and Limestone a Fresh Water each. Sil stared at the bottle in her hand as her thoughts tumbled about in her head; with both a Water type and an experienced diver on hand, maybe such an expedition wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.

“So, what do you say?” Alta said with a cheerful smile, “It’s the least I could do for your help saving my boat!”

Sil looked over at Hailstone and Limestone, who all had an adventurous glimmer in their eyes, even the homebody Binacle. It seemed like they had all made up their minds.

“I think we’ll take you up on your offer.”


Code:
Silver caught a lvl. 11 Binacle (nickname: Limestone) with EM Helping Hand and TM Liquidation! It has the ability Tough Claws.
(OCC: I don't remember an ability being given for the Binacle so I just chose one, if that's alright)

Hailstone grew to lvl. 11. Hailstone learned Rapid Spin, Rollout, and Fury Cutter.

Silver obtained x3 Fresh Waters
 
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The Foundry

Myahoo:
Imprisoned in a world of pixels and polygons there was nothing for it but to play the mischievous captor’s games and win back your freedom fair and square. You could only hope that your wider team were had been spared the same fate, back within the warm corrugated walls of The Foundry safe and sound. It seemed unlikely the trickster would be so merciful; it had duped you out of a Cyber Ball, after all. Once conferring with Hint you move toward the red orb in jagged steps, tapping it with the quadrangular limb where your hand might usually be. It reacts to your touch instantly, emitting a beep as your party are enveloped in white and warped from the lobby in the blink of an eye! All you can do is hold tight as you hurtle through cyberspace at lightspeed – if your pixelated body came with a stomach, it would no doubt be churning from motion sickness. You pass through a kaleidoscope of flashing colours at growing speed, the intensity forcing you to shield your vision.

Soon enough you come crash landing into a similar, yet different, world. You were plunged into a maze of sorts, lined with blue fences and littered with white dots. There were several pixelated ghost Pokemon patrolling its corridors from what you could see: a Duknoir, Gengar, Mismagious and Golurk. You look down to see yourself sat atop a giant yellow ball which seemed to blink to life the same time as you… It was Hint! He had come into possession of the spherical character, sporting a mouth the size of a trash compactor that made up for his lack of discernible arms and legs and then some.


Zorua hunt better in a pack, man!

Eat as many white energisers as possible while avoiding the detection of the ghostly sentries. Bzzt!

The cryptic voice fades to the aether as Hint readies for your instruction, prompting you to pore over the maze in efforts to discern the most optimal routes, spotting a cage in its centre with a familiar friend locked inside. Kaito looked blockier than usual but his snarl was unmistakable, the stakes of the game all of a sudden a whole lot higher…

Play this web version of Pac-Man and a post a score of 2,000 or more to pass the level!
Once Aiden got close enough, he tapped the red pixelated Cyber Ball with his...blocky arm, a beep sounding as white wrapped around him and sent them warping to the first level. A dizzying array of colors sped past him and he had the weirdest feeling that he'd feel motion-sick...if he wasn't made up of pixels at the moment. The lights flashed faster and got brighter, forcing him to raise an arm to cover his eyes.

When his vision cleared, he was perched atop something, looking out over some kind of maze. Blue fences and white dots everywhere he turned with a set of four Ghost Pokémon patrolling the corridors. Aiden squinted at them. A Gengar, a Dusknoir, a Golurk, and...a Mismagius? Weird.

He glanced down at the...yellow ball he was apparently perched atop, which stirred to life as he watched. A familiar set of eyes blinked open.

"Well. This is odd," Hint said as best he could when he was basically just a head.

"No hands," Aiden agreed, looking back at their surroundings. There was...something about this layout that struck him as familiar, but he couldn't put his finger on it.

Their captor's voice came from overhead. "Zorua hunt better in a pack, man! Eat as many white energisers as possible while avoiding the detection of the ghostly sentries. Bzzt!"

"...did that make any sense to you?" Hint swiveled, looking around.

Aiden frowned, looking over the maze to plan possible routes. "I think...maybe?" Blue fences, white balls, a yellow head, and four Ghosts. His eyes widened. "Oh! It's Pac-Man!"

"The game?" Hint spun around. "Okay, yeah, I can see it."

Aiden's gaze caught on the cage in the middle of the maze. Was that...? He squinted. A blocky black-and-red quadruped seemed to be sending a frustrated snarl at its surroundings.

"We need to head to the center," Aiden told Hint. "Kaito's there and it looks like wherever we are broke his Illusion." He glanced over as movement caught his eye. "And here comes the Dusknoir. Time to go."

Hint went.


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Fizzy Bubbles ZA
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Cape Effervescence

Faiyaa: While the subway train clattered to its destination packed shoulder to shoulder with passengers, you ponder what the big smoke might have in store for a small town sort. It was business that had led you here, although with gym duties out of the way you didn’t see the harm in paying a visit to the city’s famed harbour district to catch a familiar bit of blue. Before long the tram comes to a whirring break, doors sliding open allowing a drove of tourists to spill out. You amble behind at a more leisurely pace, hit by a familiar waft of sea salty air as you climb up the subway stairs, albeit tainted by the fumes of passing ships. Their foghorns cut through the ambiance of creaking boats and cawing Wingull, music to your ears compared to the cacophony of downtown traffic.

Cape Effervescence was a sight to behold even on an overcast day; the harbour was a bite from the land, its coarse sandy coastline dotted with barnacled rock poking out against the briny surf. In the shallows small children could be seen splashing about with juvenile fish Pokemon, while further out hundreds of boats bobbed and creaked, tugging on their moorings to the piers. With a dull sky the sea had given up her blue, the stones showing no russet colours and the ships taking on the monochrome look of old movies. On a sunnier day the Cape’s stretch of sand would be entirely obscured by vacation goers in their multicoloured board shorts and bikinis, a hustle and bustle you are kindly spared of as you make a heading.

There did still seem to be commotion afoot as you inch closer, a crowd swelling at the far reaches of the cape surrounding what appeared to be a large blue blimp dappled in black. Straining ahead you see it’s not a blimp at all but a beached
It lets out a low groan as what looks like black tar seeps from its blowhole region down to its eye, thrashing wildly against a pair of trainers and their Pokemon's attempts to push it off the shore, knocking them and much of the crowd off their feet in a fell swoop! Their rescue efforts were going to get someone hurt, the growing mob only working to exacerbate the Wailord’s stress. What will you do?
Being crammed inside a crowded subway car was not Gary’s cup of tea, but after bearing with it for a few minutes, the train finally came to a halt at the harbor according to the electronic sign overhead. Gary let out a sigh of relief as he filed out of the car alongside a myriad of tourists and the familiar scent of brine greeted him as it wafted down the staircase. A big grin formed on his face as he ascended into the daylight. He couldn’t help it; being around the ocean always put Gary in a good mood. The overcast sky didn’t seem to bother him too much either, as that was actually his favorite kind of weather. Things were looking picturesque for Gary as he gazed across the harbor at the fleet of merchant and fishing ships coming and going. The beachgoers all seemed pretty at ease and enjoying the scenery, which was what Gary intended to do as well, until a large gathering around a much larger object caught his eye.

Even at a far distance away, it was easy for Gary to identify the gargantuan Float Whale Pokemon, said to be one of the largest species of Pokemon in all of existence. The first red flag that lit up in Gary’s mind was that it was beached on the shore, never a good thing for an ocean-dwelling giant, and he knew that the situation could become incredibly dangerous for the Pokemon’s health if not dealt with quickly. Without a second thought, Gary’s legs already began to bring him closer as he hurried over to investigate. As he got a closer look at it, Gary could spot an incredible amount of sticky black tar all over the poor whale, making the situation that much more critical. There were a handful of people fruitlessly attempting to push the Wailord back into the ocean, but as it thrashed about uneasily, Gary knew it wouldn’t be so easy to move something that weighed nearly 900 lbs. Gary immediately began to wrack his brain for solutions on how to clean it up and get it back in the water, and he cursed himself for not bringing along one of his stronger powerhouse Pokemon like his Torterra or Blastoise to be able to do some heavy lifting.

First things first, the tar needed to be taken care of, or else even if it was in the water, it could become sick and crash ashore again. “There, there,” he greeted the Wailord softly as he stepped to the front of the crowd and carefully approached the creature. He made sure to keep a safe distance from its struggling, but wanted to be close enough for it to fix its attention on him. “We’ll get you cleaned up and back out in the ocean in no time, but I’m going to need you to settle down, okay?” Fortunately for Gary, he had the ideal partner with him to execute his plan.

“C’mon out, Pickle!” Gary called as he tossed a Luxury Ball into the air. After a brief flash, a fluorescent green Pyukumuku with yellow spines appeared before him. The shiny Pyukumuku gazed up at her trainer before turning her attention to the big blue whale as Gary picked her up and held her in his arms. “Alright Pickle, let’s start off by Soaking the Wailord in water. Then I want you to suck up and Purify the tar covering it. Lastly, it looks like it’s been through a rough time, so I want you to Split some of its Pain away, okay?” Gary then focused on the next part of his plan. He pulled out an empty Pokeball and held it at the ready. This part would only work if Pickle was able to successfully calm the giant first, but if she did then Gary hoped to call the wild Pokemon inside of the Pokeball and then quickly swat it into the ocean. He knew full well that it was highly unlikely to capture the Wailord, but the cost of one measly Pokeball was worth the trouble of moving the massive Pokemon back to safety.
 
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