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EVERYONE: Shadows Over Hoenn (A Choose Your Own Adventure Story)

Part 9
Standing Out
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Alright, maybe giving our little metal bugger a tasty meal could placate it from its trance? Let's see what our culinary judgment and/or experience can offer.
The Rocket Grunt's words fill you with a mix of shame and sadness. You lean back against the wall and think about the situation. Try as you might you just can't put the thought of Larion and its condition out of your mind. Somehow, you'd lost both of your Pokemon, and when you found Lairon it had been turned into some kind of crazed monster, and who knows what state Corphish is in. The worst part is that you can't even remember how this had happened. Standing around moping isn't going to fix anything though. Straightening up, you begin to rummage through the kitchen for ingredients. Eggs, flour, milk, butter, sugar, berries. Perfect, everything you need. You're going to figure out a way to snap Larion out of whatever is going on if it kills you.
"What are you doing?" The Rocket Grunt asks as you dash over and turn on the oven.
"Baking." You say simply, retrieving the implements you'd need from the cupboards. You'd learned how to make poffins from your friend Diane, who'd moved down from Sinnoh a few years ago, and you'd developed your own recipe that Lairon in particular loved. "You know how to make batter?" You ask, turning your head to face the Grunt.
"Umm... Vaguely?" She says with a shrug. "You just mix together all that stuff you just got out, right?"
"No. Here, cut these up then. Thin slices on the pecha." You say as you pass over a cutting board loaded with pecha, cheri, and figy berries. You won't be able to make the exact recipe with the ingredients available here, but you should be able to approximate it reasonably well. By the time you'd mixed up the batter ready for the berries, she'd finished cutting them up and passed them back over to you. You mash up the chunks of cheri and figy berry, and mix the mush into the batter. The pecha slices you simply mix in as they were.
"So... What, your plan is to bribe Lairon with baked goods?" The Grunt asks as she watches you mix up the batter.
"Well, yeah, pretty much." You reply sheepishly. "It really likes a recipe that's pretty similar to this one, and I'm hoping it'll remind it who I am."
"Well, let's hope it works." She says with a soft smile. After you finished mixing, you stick a finger into the batter and have a taste. It's not perfect, but it's not like you have the berries left to try again. It'll have to do. You portion the batter out onto a tray and stick it in the oven, setting the timer.

These poffins are going to take about half an hour to cook. Is there something you want to do in the meantime? Or just wait it out.
 
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dark cherry
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Well, now. No plans brew on my head at the moment; and the Grunt seems decent enough that I don't feel like sacrificing dealing with her.

I kinda feel bad for the protagonist, tho. How 'bout we compel them to hum a song that they love/remember to further destress them?
 
Part 10
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Well, now. No plans brew on my head at the moment; and the Grunt seems decent enough that I don't feel like sacrificing dealing with her.

I kinda feel bad for the protagonist, tho. How 'bout we compel them to hum a song that they love/remember to further destress them?
Leaning on the counter by the oven, you glance over at the timer. 28 minutes to go. Pushing off from the counter, you begin to pace down the length of the room. After a time, you glance back over at the timer. 25 Minutes. Grumbling a bit, you kneel down in front of the cupboards and begin counting plates. There's 17. You get up and glance once more at the timer. 23. Gah, this is taking forever! You run your fingers through your hair. All this waiting is driving you mad. In an attempt to re-centre yourself, you close your eyes and begin to hum a tune, an old melody you remember your mother singing to you when you were little. You'd forgotten the words over the years, if you ever actually knew them, but the melody had burned itself into your mind, and it always helped calm you down if necessary. After finishing a verse, a feminine voice joined in and began singing along to your melody.

So
On the first evening a pebble
From somewhere out of nowhere drops upon the dreaming world

You open your eyes and look at the Rocket Grunt still sitting at the table, facing you. You guess she must've heard the song somewhere herself and memorised the words. She gives a smile and motions for you to keep humming. You do so, and she continues singing along.

So
On the second celestial evening
The children of the pebble, holding hands, compose a waltz

Sound Life

And so it continued. For the first time since your encounter with Lairon, you were finally able to put the situation out of your mind for 20 blissful minutes. Simply standing there, performing a song with a stranger, and allowing the tune and memories to wash over you and take you out of the moment. You're sure she must've reached the end of the song and started over several times, but she never spoke up, so you assumed she must not have minded and just kept humming along. Eventually, you're jolted out of your trance by a sharp ringing. Leaning over, you take a peek through the door of the oven. They've definitely risen properly. You put on the oven mitt hanging from the handle on the door, and remove the tray with the poffins, placing them on top of the oven. Giving them a few minutes to cool down, you examine your handiwork. They've come out bright red, a good sign, broken up by pink strips of pecha berry. Gingerly picking one up, you take a bite. The spiciness of the cheri and figy berries briefly threaten to overpower your palette, but a moment later you chew into a piece of pecha berry and its sweet juices flow through your mouth, balancing out the flavour. Yup, this'll do great.
"Here, try it." You say, passing it back to the Rocket Grunt. She looks it over for a moment before taking a bite of her own. Her eyes widen as she chews.
"Wow." She says upon swallowing. "This is good! Did you come up with this?"
"Uhh, well, kinda? I made the original recipe through trial and error, but this isn't really the right berries, I'm just lucky the flavours are close enough."
"Well it's good. I think you've got a talent for this."
"Thanks." You rub the back of your neck sheepishly. You pack the uneaten poffins into a container you'd found while counting plates.

You now have a container of 10 spicy-sweet poffins
What's the plan from here?
 
Part 11
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I guess it's to go see how how well bribing Lairon with poffins goes over.
Alright, now that you had your resources, it's time to head back and try to bring Lairon to its senses. You leave the kitchen and head back down the hall to the bedroom you'd left half an hour ago. Glancing behind you, you notice that the Rocket Grunt has followed you over. You give her a bit of a quizzical look.
"I need to know if this works." She says after seeing you face. "And don't worry. If this goes bad, I've got your back." She says, smiling and holding up her Poke Ball.
You once again push open the door to the room, this time armed with a new weapon: A box of baked goods. Your eyes quickly sweep over the room and lock in on Lairon, having moved back to that same corner of the room.
“Uhh, h-hey buddy.” You say, opening up the box. Just like last time, Lairon fixes its fierce, red, hateful eyes directly on you. “You uhh, you want a snack?” You take a poffin out from the box and toss it over to Lairon. Much like with the ball, Lairon’s eyes fixate on the movement as it leaps to intercept the poffin in midair. After landing back on the ground, Lairon snaps the treat down in a single gulp and looks back over to you. Something about the look feels different, though. Its eyes are still that same shade of red, but they seem softer somehow, as though something’s stirring in its mind. You take out another poffin and toss it to land about halfway between the two of you. Rather than leaping at it again though, this time Lairon walks over to the poffin lying on the ground and scoops it up in its mouth, chewing on it for a bit before swallowing. You take another poffin, kneel down, and simply hold this one out in front of you. You feel your heart pounding in your chest, desperately hoping Lairon will act the way you think it will as it walks up and sniffs at your hand. After a few tense moments, Lairon grabbed the poffin from your hand and began to chew. Hand shaking, you reach out to Lairon as it chews, its eyes tracking your movements. You slowly reach towards its head and touch the armour on its face. You begin to rub the hard armour. After a few moments, Lairon suddenly thrusts its head into your lap and begins whining, as though in some form of pain.
“Incredible…” You hear the Rocket Grunt say from behind you.

You have 7 poffins left.
What do you do with Lairon at this point?
 
dark cherry
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Well, it's already in a relatively passive state; maybe feed it at least one more Poffin before retrying capture. The rest should be saved for Corphish by the possibility that our little crustacean is an infectee of what Lairon's been afflicted with.
 
Part 12
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Well, it's already in a relatively passive state; maybe feed it at least one more Poffin before retrying capture. The rest should be saved for Corphish by the possibility that our little crustacean is an infectee of what Lairon's been afflicted with.
Continuing to rub Lairon's head, you reach back into the box and produce another poffin. You hold the poffin down in your lap, which Lairon sniffs and begins to chew. You reach into your backpack and produce Lairon's Dusk Ball. After finishing the poffin, Lairon whines and presses its face against the button, willingly returning to its ball.
"So it worked, right?" The Rocket Grunt said, leaning over your shoulder to see what happened. "It's back to its old self?"
"To be honest, I'm really not sure." You say, putting the Dusk Ball back in your backpack. "It's not going crazy anymore, that's good. But its eyes were still red, and it was whining at the end there."
"So... Does that mean it's not enough?" She muses, before perking up. "Well, no matter. Hey, I helped out with your thing (kinda), so what do you say you help me out with mine? Might even learn how to fix 'em up properly."

You have 6 poffins left
You have recovered Lairon
Will you help the Rocket Grunt with her task?
 
dark cherry
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Hmm....

....

....

....sure. She's pretty much been nothing but affable towards us. Let's be the good Samaritan and see how things go. We might even gain more information of whatever's going on through her.
 
Unova Confirmed!
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Is this thing still going? Oh well, let me say my opinion: Before I decide on whether to help her or not I'd ask what she wants.
 
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Is this thing still going? Oh well, let me say my opinion: Before I decide on whether to help her or not I'd ask what she wants.
Yes, this is still a thing, I promise. I just wound up hitting a real bad block that was not helped by a vacation for the holidays since it just further threw me out of the mindset and I'm having a little bit of a hard time getting back in. I'll try and get things back on track sometime within the next few days, so bear with me for a little bit and I'll get the next update out when I can.
 
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Yes, this is still a thing, I promise. I just wound up hitting a real bad block that was not helped by a vacation for the holidays since it just further threw me out of the mindset and I'm having a little bit of a hard time getting back in. I'll try and get things back on track sometime within the next few days, so bear with me for a little bit and I'll get the next update out when I can.
OK!
 
Part 13
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Before I decide on whether to help her or not I'd ask what she wants.
You eye her skeptically for a moment after her request. She's been helpful, sure, and she does seem nice enough, but she's also a Rocket Grunt.
"That depends." You say. "What exactly is this 'thing' you want help with?"
"Well, as you could probably guess, Team Rocket is... Doing something to the Pokemon they're capturing, driving them wild." She says gesturing to the demolished bedroom behind you. "I have no idea what they're doing or how to fix it, but I'm here to find out. You've definitely figured out something with how you managed to calm down your Lairon, but somehow I doubt it's as simple as giving them a quick snack. Unfortunately, grunts normally aren't allowed into the R&D building. I was planning to head over now that most of the staff have flown the coop, but then I found you unconscious after your last meeting with Lairon and got kinda distracted by that for a while. So yeah, I want you to come with me to the R&D building and help me figure out exactly what's going on, here."
Hmm....

....

....

....sure. She's pretty much been nothing but affable towards us. Let's be the good Samaritan and see how things go. We might even gain more information of whatever's going on through her.
You muse over the proposal for a short while, your arms crossed in thought. She's been nice enough so far, and finding information on what's actually happened here would certainly help you out. Eventually, you nod. "Sure." You reply. "I'll help you out."
"Great!" She cheers. "I've been good to go for like, a few hours now, so we'll leave once you're ready!"

Team Rocket Grunt has joined the party! Unlike the player character, she cannot be controlled directly, but suggestions can be made to her, which she may or may not agree with based on factors such as her own personality and goals, and her relationship with you. You can also talk freely with her in most situations, so don't be afraid to strike up conversation if you're not sure what to do next, or even if you're just feeling talkative.
Are you ready to head off to the R&D building with the grunt? Or is there more you want to do here first?
(The current building will not be blocked off, you can return later if you decide you want to)
 
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I'd like to see the map.
1610539774229.png

As a side-note I've added a little bit to the notes at the bottom of the last update, just to clarify what the exact situation is with the Rocket Grunt and how she plays into the game aspect of the story.
 
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Assuming that we've not visited it, let's go to room 2, and if we've visited that let's visit room 1. If both have been visited then lets head to R&D.
 
Part 14
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Assuming that we've not visited it, let's go to room 2, and if we've visited that let's visit room 1. If both have been visited then lets head to R&D.
You glance around the hall for a moment, trying to think of whether there's anything you still need to do here before you headed off, and notice the door at the corner of the hallway that you hadn't checked out yet. It's right there, so why not? You walk over and hesitate slightly as you approach the door. You gently push the door open and peek around the edge. It's dark, but it seems to be a small room, and nothing reacted to your opening the door, so you figure it's safe to just open the whole thing up. With the door opened you can see into the room better, and realise that there's not really much to see at all. It's just a small, empty room with a door in the floor.
"Oh, that's the tunnel I was planning to use to get to the R&D building!" The Rocket Grunt says, peeking over your shoulder. "It should (probably) be safer than trying to walk across the grounds at the moment. So, this mean you're ready to go?"

Are you ready to head to R&D? Or do you want to look around a bit more?
 
Part 15
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Might as well just head to R&D.
"Yeah, might as well." You say, turning your head back to her.
"Great! We've just gotta head down there." She points to the floor door. You crouch down, grab the handle, and give a strong pull. With the door open, you can see the stairs leading down into a dark basement-type area. "Alright, let's go. Don't worry there's lights down there." You make your way down the stairs into the basement, careful to take it one step at a time. As you reach the bottom, you confirm that yes, there are lights down here like she said. Dim lights, but enough to let you see where you're going once your eyes adjusted. There are two pathways branching off, the dim lights stretching down along the walls. "It's the left one." She says, having come down after you.
You walk down the indicated path in silence for a few moments, your footsteps echoing off the walls. Mostly lit or not, this place still kinda puts you on edge, thinking that some savage Pokemon might be hiding just around the corner you can make out ahead of you. You strain your ears to try and catch any other sounds in the darkness. You think that you might be able to hear... Something, but you really can't be sure.
"This is it." The Rocket Grunt says, bringing you out of your own mind as the tunnel opens up, revealing that the corner you saw was actually a room with stairs back up. You stick close as you both head up the stairs. She pushes the door open a crack and peeks through the opening. "All clear." She says, and opens the door the rest of the way.
The smell is the first thing that hits you. It's that kind of smell that fills a room animals are kept in, but nobody bothers to keep it overly clean beyond occasionally wiping down a cage or two. As you climb the last few steps and look around, you conclude that yes, that's exactly what this room is. The walls are lined with cages with sizes ranging from small to absolutely massive, the doors for each torn to shreds and hanging from their hinges. A small chest of drawers sits next to you, a torn bag of Pokemon food lies spilled in the corner, and you can hear a noise coming from one of the nearby cages, though you can't tell what's making it from where you're standing. The exit door is on the side of the room opposite yours.

What's next?
 
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I'd say that it's a good idea to check the noise, if it's coming from something in an open cage or out of a cage, it might ambush us when we're trying to leave the room.
 
Part 16
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I'd say that it's a good idea to check the noise, if it's coming from something in an open cage or out of a cage, it might ambush us when we're trying to leave the room.
You quickly decide that the most pressing feature of the room you've found yourself in is the noise from the nearby cage. As you cautiously make your way to the cage it sounds to be coming from, you figure out what the sound is. It's growling. You eventually come level with the cage in question, and take a look inside from a safe distance. Within, you see a Zigzagoon glaring back at you, hunched in its torn open cage. The most striking part about it, however, is those vicious red eyes, identical to the ones on Lairon.

What's the response?
 
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