Strange Pokemon. Ran for me earlier even though limping. Sorry sight. Was very thin, looked starving. Did not want to go through forest, but still wanted to go to Alomomola. Was hesitant when I offered to take him. Tossed and turned in his sleep. Cried out for his partner. Nightmares. Woke violently halfway through the forest and turned over my wagon. Spilled my cards everywhere. Told him to help pick them up. He picked them up for me, then went back to sleep. Wonder what he dreams of. I will not question him, he seems fragile enough as is. Would not wake up even when I got to Alomomola, so I left him under a tree outside the city.
Sad Eevee. Maybe I will end up taking him back to the boneyard on my way back.
Staccato was getting sick of twilight. He went to sleep after meeting Chex during twilight, he woke up in the forest from a nightmare during twilight, and now he’s waking up again during twilight, this time outside what seems to be Alomomola city. He couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be dawn or dusk, the thick grey clouds blanketed the area, allowing only the most filtered of light, and threatened to bring down their watery inconvenience at any moment.
He had a mission to do though, rain or twilight be damned. He still had his letter from Fresnel, and all he had to do was give it to Anana, and she would most likely reimburse him for his time and effort in the form of money. Or food. Either one would work, really. If she gave him money, he’d use it to buy food, and if she gave him food, he’d use it to not feel so hungry anymore. Maybe she’d give him both and he’d be able to buy himself a replacement bow tie in this city, he’d heard good things about the wide variety of imported fabrics and garments, and while his bow tie did have a tiny bit of sentimental value, it wasn’t much. He thought it wasn’t much at any rate, since he couldn’t remember where he got it in the first place. He knew Allegro didn’t give it to him, he was sure he’d remember if that was the case.
He shook his head and focused himself. Food and bow ties would come later, right now, he had a letter to deliver. The city gates right in front of him were wide open, swaying lightly in the breeze, as if gesturing him to enter and explore the cold, silent stone structures that lay within.
And silent it was. It confused him. From the tales and descriptions he had been told of Alomomola (or what he could remember of them), this was supposed to be a city absolutely packed with people at any hour of the day, it was a city that never slept. Yet here it was, right in front of him, sleeping. He knew he was in the right place from the sign emblazoned on the front gates, “ALOMOMOLA BAY” it read, in a very bright, welcoming color of paint.
The number of buildings surrounding him were legion, and he began to doubt if he would be able to find Anana in the midst of all of them, as his initial plan had been to inquire about her location from any friendly-looking Pokemon. He decided to look for some sort of visitor center where he could find a map, or at least some sort of advice on which direction to go to find his destination. His plan worked out, and as he spotted an abandoned rectangular kiosk off to his right labeled “MAPS BY MAGMAR” he praised himself for his quick thinking.
Not only was it abandoned, it appeared to be filled with nothing at all, not even a sign telling him when the Pokemon running this kiosk, presumably a Magmar, would return. As he went to open the gate that led inside the booth it fell to the ground, kicking up a small cloud of dust, causing him to cough and obscuring his vision for a few moments. As it settled and his coughing fit subsided, he noticed a familiar looking Pokemon laying face down in the dirt inside the booth. It was Allegro.
Hardly able to contain his joy and excitement over seeing his partner, he scampered over to her and gave her a small shake in an effort to wake her up.
“Allegro! Are you all right? It’s me, Staccato!”
She stretched and rolled over onto her back, opening her eyes and looking right at him. She sat up and got to her feet, brushing the dust that coated her fur off and smiling at her partner.
“I was waiting for you here, Staccato. Did you bring the note?”
He nodded and showed her, which caused her to smile even wider and hop up and down in place. She was really excited about completing this mission, it seemed.
“Follow me to Anana.”
He stepped to the side to allow her to exit the booth, and as she stepped on the small gate, it splintered and crumbled beneath her feet, turning into dust. She continued on at a slow measured pace northward towards the center of the city, which appeared to be a good ways off. At the rate she was walking, he estimated it would take about half an hour to reach it.
She didn’t respond to him. She merely continued to walk along the path towards their destination. Every step she took disturbed a small amount of dust on the road, and it swirled and circled her before dissipating despite the complete lack of wind.
“What happened to this city? Why is there no one in it?”
As they passed more and more buildings, it was clearly evident that that was the case. General stores, post offices, casinos, restaurants, activity centers, theaters... Most of them were decorated with broken windows and fallen rooftops, and some of them had appeared to sink into the ground, as if they had been built on quicksand. If anyone had occupied these stores, it would have been a very long time ago. Was Anana still even here? Maybe she was. Maybe they were traveling through some kind of ruined outskirts of Old Alomomola Bay or something, and they simply had to pass through this to get to New Alomomola Bay. That sounded nice, but he hadn’t heard of anything like that from stories and descriptions, and this was kind of a strange thing to not mention.
Allegro laughed and caused Staccato to jump a bit.
“Anana is in this city. She owns most of it! We’re delivering a note to her.”
They passed by another ruined building, SPEAROW’S SIZZLING SUCCULENTS, this one emitting a rather unpleasant odor that he couldn’t quite place. It was cold and damp smell, like a basement that had been flooded with water and allowed to stagnate, but that wasn’t all. Something else was in the building, and it reminded him of decomposition, but not of the vegetable variety. Were there Pokemon trapped in there? Weren’t they Rescuers? They had a job to rescue helpless Pokemon, right?
He headed off in the direction of the restaurant and stopped when he heard his partner speak.
“That’s not where Anana is. Follow me to Anana.”
He looked back at her and saw that she hadn’t stopped walking, clearly not paying attention to where he wanted to go.
“I think there’s Pokemon in here, don’t you think we should check it out? We’re Rescuers now, right?”
She kept walking. “Follow me to Anana. She’s this way.”
She was right. He had a mission to do, and he shouldn’t get sidetracked by any little thing, lest he become too caught up in them and become unable to deliver Fresnel’s letter in a timely fashion. She most likely wanted him to come back for whatever was decaying in the restaurant after they completed their task.
They continued onwards towards the heart of the city, and Staccato forced himself to ignore the rapidly declining state of existence the buildings all around them were in. As they neared their destination, the structures began to become much more abstract. Things that were once easily identifiable as buildings gave way to strange stone sculptures of white marble and basalt, towering and solemn. The road beneath their feet was no longer dirt, but paved with cobblestones of varying color and size and texture. He glanced around and saw nothing but these statues, and as he looked back from where they came he saw only a dust cloud, affording him no vision of the dilapidated buildings they had once passed.
Evidently no longer fit to remain as they were, the stone sculptures began to take on form as they kept on walking. He attempted to cry out and to run away from them, but felt compelled to continue on, and all he could do was observe. They all twisted and contorted their shapes to resemble something familiar, but he wasn’t sure what. As they continued their shifting, he began to make it out. They were all copying his appearance, placing his likeness in varying degrees of distress. One statue showed him being operated on by a faceless Audino, the one he escaped back in Tao Village. The next statue presented himself being tied up and lowered via rope into a cauldron with a fire lit underneath it, surrounded by the sneering faces of a Quilava and her amorphous friends.
A third statue showed him being pulled apart by a Ninetales, and as he passed by, it cracked and fell down next to him, shattering and turning to dust.
As that happened, he became aware that he had no sense of sound in this place. He could not hear his breathing, his heartbeat, the pitter-patter his paw pads were most likely making on the stones underneath him, nor could he hear Allegro right in front of him, walking towards something he could not quite make out. It looked like a heatwave, those shimmering mirages thirsty Pokemon sometimes see as they travel through the desert. This one was much closer than should ever be possible though, and Allegro was headed right for it.
He called out to her and heard nothing. He ran towards her and tripped over an upturned cobblestone, rendering him senseless for a few moments. As he scrambled to his feet, she was gone, the mirage previously in front of him now a singular building. Monolithic. That was the word he would use to describe it. Lifeless.
The statues surrounding him were gone, and he was alone in a wide open field of dirt. It was just him and this oppressive building.
A small, single door resided in the middle of it, and he knew this was where Anana lived. Allegro was probably in there too. Had she seen the statues as well? He didn’t know. His journey was almost over, and that was what was most important right now.
As he approached the door, it opened before him, revealing a long strip of carpet leading towards the very middle of the inside, where he viewed a large opulent throne, cast in solid gold and crested with jewels. Atop it sat a yellow Kecleon, and he knew she was where he would finally end his mission.
The inside chamber was vast and barren. Nothing resided in it save the throne and the Pokemon sitting upon it. He could not see the ceiling, and the walls were all bare white stone. Light came from a source he could not detect. The Kecleon beckoned towards him.
All he could do was obey. He bowed before her and presented the envelope Fresnel had given him what seemed so long ago. It was lightly crumpled and had dust on it, but it was intact and undamaged.
He lifted his head and stood upright.
“Lord Fresnel has charged me with a task of much import, I have been obliged to carry this document through wicked forests and strange cities. I have narrowly skirted death and worse fates in the course of delivering this to you. I ask that you humbly receive it.”
She nodded. “Approach, good citizen, and lay your parcel upon my lap. Your mission will be at an end only then, and with riches I shall reward you, gold from my land, and a chance to rest.”
He did as she commanded, and she placed a hand upon his shoulder.
“I grant you one question, citizen. What do you wish to know?”
He thought for a moment, and realized Allegro was nowhere to be found.
“This humble Pokemon desires to know the location of his partner, would you grant me the knowledge of the answer?”
She closed her eyes for a moment and sighed.
“You know that your partner has left this place. I know not when you will see her again, but know that hope will exist as long as you desire it.”
Staccato nodded. Of course. He knew all along Allegro
wasn’t with him. What he saw earlier was an apparition of the subconscious. He knew that that this ruler, this Anana, spoke the truth.
“With your quest at an end, fair knight, what do you intend to accomplish now?” Anana removed her hand from his shoulder and Staccato stepped back.
“My commander, Lord Fresnel, must have additional tasks that require doing. By your leave, I shall travel back to the Province of Tao Village and await further orders.”
She nodded. “I will arrange for you safe passage to Tao. Look for Barty the Steed, who has been granted the gift of flight. He shall ensure your safety and speed back to your home.”
Staccato bowed again and headed towards the door. The chamber was now much smaller, resembling a small yet comfortably furnished office. Small lamps lit the room and gave the atmosphere a warm, somewhat romantic atmosphere. The throne upon which Anana sat was merely a desk chair. Windows offered him a pleasant view of Pokemon of all sorts scurrying about, tending to their chores and errands outside, and the sun was shining.
“Thank you, Anana of Alomomola. May you rule forever.”
Anana studied the envelope the thin, scraggly Eevee had given her. It was crumpled and stained with dust, but for the most part the letter inside was very readable. She turned to her companion, a rather boisterous Ludicolo, and raised an eyebrow.
“Fabian, what just happened?”
He shrugged and kept filing papers. “‘Ey señora, who can say? I say you just had a real loco Pokemon just give you a message. Wonder if he’ll make it back to his home?”
“Well, yes, that’s why I told him to go see Barty. I hope he makes it that far, at least.” She frowned and began to read the letter. “So this is really from Fresnel. It makes me cringe to think of the state the Rescuers must be in if that Eevee was the best one he chose to deliver this thing.”