near the last known location of regirock's tomb, several trainers have stumbled across an ominous opening. inside, they will find the ruins of the legendary titan, riddled with traps, treasures, and the mystical unknown. no one knows what awaits them but one thing is for sure — a new arc begins. despite the thin veil of peace, the public still faces unease.
after the ultra beast war, hoenn begins to heal. the megalopolan invasion may have failed; however, it is clear there is much more at stake. a prophecy revolving around a cyclical meteoroid, the appearance of necrozma and a dangerous and viral alien threaten the safety of the region once more.
with rocket's new boss, the resurgence and reappearance of the crime syndicate's presence is imminent. the league has done its best to repair its reputation, and with the victory of a war under their belt, perhaps it is enough. but the seeds of distrust have already been sown in the ravaged land of this region, causing many to wonder what will grow?
Orion's never herded a flock of sheep before, and yet he more than looks the part with the hat he'd dawned to avoid the sun's glare. He's feeling a bit sheepish himself — ha — as he leans on the fence and awaits the arrival of his partner. They'd never met, but he knows he's on the lookout for a woman named Avery. It was a start.
The first woman he sees that he doesn't recognize as a member of the farm's staff, he approaches. He's fidgety and awkward as usual, but he offers a polite nod in greeting.
"Hey, are you Avery?" He gestures at the mostly-empty field with its broken down fence and its few remaining sheep. "They, ah, told me that their flock got a bit excited about having all those new ones around — Wooloo, I think he said? — and we're supposed to bring 'em all back."
Orion's prepared with a 'sheepdog' and everything, his Absol prowling the length of the fence and sniffing for the Pokemon's trail.
Avery had, of course, jumped at the thought of helping herd sheep back into their pen. It seemed simple enough and it meant also being able to cuddle and snuggle the adorable sheep, so what more could she ask for, really?[break][break]
She was already waist-deep in Mareep fluff when a young man would approach her from behind. She giggles as she gets to her feet, brushing off dirt as the Mareep leans into her hip. She had already managed to find and befriend one of the dozens still missing.[break][break]
"Oh! Yes, that's me!"[break][break]
The woman follows his gesture, looking out into the barren field and broken fence.[break][break]
"Sounds like fun, right? They seem friendly enough, we just have to be gentle."[break][break]
She buries her fingers in the Mareep's fluff, giving him a scritch.
Avery seems friendly enough, certainly eager and up to the task. That's good enough for Orion.
"We can do that," he agrees, indicating not only himself but the Absol sat quietly at his side. There's a lot of superstitions surrounding the so-called 'Disaster Pokemon', sadly. "Katas here is good at keeping Pokemon calm."
"If you wanna guide that one there into the pen, I think I see a little group of them over that way." He points to a congregation of yellow fluff that appear to have surrounded a single, white-wooled sheep. "A Wooloo, too, I think."
He can't help but to burst into laughter as he sees the aforementioned Wooloo suddenly tuck and roll away from the Mareep, who eagerly chase after it. He exchanges a glance with Avery and grins at her, then takes off at a brisk jog.
Avery hadn't noticed the Absol at his side, but she smiles softly as her eyes fall on the quiet creature. Orion's statement of her abilities is not dismissed, instead she nods in agreement.[break][break]
"Yes! I can see that, plain as day. I can feel his calmness wearing off on me already. He's wonderful."[break][break]
She glances down at the Mareep at her side, who has buried her face into her hand and pocket, searching for more delicious treats. She giggles, giving the Pokemon a pat before nodding at Orion's direction.[break][break]
"Sure! Sounds good to me."[break][break]
Avery then begins to coo and hum to the young sheep, encouraging it to follow her. Her head lifts as Orion takes off at a jog, Katas at his side as they make their way to a group of Mareep who had begun chasing a shy Wooloo.
Orion offers Avery a genuine smile at the words, a sudden fondness welling in his chest. It's not often that someone so readily accepts his partner as a force of kindness rather than destruction.
Katas seems happy, too, a pleasant rumble rising in his throat that almost sounds like a purr.
The duo take off toward the crowd of Mareep harassing the singular Wooloo, Katas veering to one side as Orion circled around the other. They don't seem to notice or care about his presence at first, not until Katas lets out a loud cry and startles the flock. Most of them take off running toward the safety of their pen, a few freeze in place like Deerling in headlights, and the Wooloo curls into a ball... and starts rolling at surprising speed directly toward Orion's rodeo partner.
Through surprised laughter, he manages to choke out, "Avery, look out! Wooloo on your six!"
Avery is kneeling by the fence at this point, attempting to lift up the wood stakes, one of which had snapped completely in half - probably the aftermath of a Wooloo's rolling. She rolls it in her hand and grunts in exasperation at how surprisingly heavy it is. Her hair falls in her face and she puffs a breath, her exhale blowing a strand out of her mouth.[break][break]
With one hand, she tucks her hair back behind her ear just in time to hear Orion call out to her in warning. She's immediately surprised and confused by his instruction and what 'her six' meant, leading her to stand stock still in the path of the Wooloo.[break][break]
It knocks her over and she cries out in surprise, landing face-first in a mud puddle. Or at least, one could hope it was mud. [break][break]
Gasping and wiping her eyes and face, her beautiful pink hair is turned matted and brown, the front of her overalls stained with grass and dirt.[break][break]
"Oops. Guess I need a refresher on directions."[break][break]
She sits back on her rear, knees to her chin as she continues pulling weeds from her hair.
Orion claps a hand to his mouth to muffle any laughter when he watches poor Avery get bowled over into the mud, the Wooloo laying on its back like a turtle for a moment before it gathers itself and sits upright.
"I'm so sorry," he insists emphatically, wincing as she sits up and he sees the extent of the damage. Her hair and clothes are soaked with mud. "It's my bad, I should've been more clear!"
A little belated, he offers, "Six is behind you. Think of a clock. The, erm, non-digital ones."
When he thinks she's got the majority of the weeds from her hair, Orion offers a hand to help her up. He feels responsible for the spill she'd taken, heat flooding his cheeks. "Sorry, again."
One more deep breath helps her to steady herself as the last piece of grass is plucked from her hair. Except, instead of appearing at all upset or annoyed, the woman is laughing. There's tears in her eyes as Orion approaches and she's shaking her head at what a mess she's made of herself and how funny this all has become.[break][break]
He insists he's sorry but she honestly can't fathom why he would feel the need to apologize - it wasn't him who knocked her over.[break][break]
She giggles as he informs her of what, exactly, her 'six' meant, and she shakes her head.[break][break]
"Wow, how dumb of me. Of course that's what you meant!"[break][break]
Avery gratefully takes his hand, holding fast as she pulls herself to her feet. One quick glance at the mess she appears to be makes her shrug indifferently.[break][break]
"Don't be sorry at all! A little mud never hurt anyone. C'mon, let's finish fixing this broken fence."
At very least, Avery doesn't seem upset by her misfortune. She's laughing, in fact, and it helps Orion to relax his guilt a little as he helps her stand and they survey the scene together.
"It's not dumb," he assures her quickly, not wanting her to blame herself. "I'm a ranger, it's second-nature to me, but most people would say, y'know, 'lookout, behind you!' or something."
Katas catches up to his trainer after having herded some of the stragglers back to the pen, sits down at the opening in the fence in order to deter any more of them from escaping.
Orion nods, smiling at Avery.
Thankfully, a lot of the damage appears to be superficial. The flock had knocked over a bunch of the poles and broken one or two of them, but they're able to rearrange a few of the stronger parts to reinforce the weakest until the farmers can come up with a more long-term solution. It would stop the flock from escaping in the mean time, which was the best they could hope for.
"Pleasure working with you," Orion tells her by way of parting words, offering another nod. And this time, when he says, "Sorry again about your clothes," he's smiling, appreciating the humour.
Avery hesitates for only a moment at his mention of being a ranger. She can't put a finger on where her sudden hesitation comes from, but she quickly quells the uncomfortable awkwardness that soon starts to swallow her words.[break][break]
"Oh, that's alright. Although, 'look out, behind you!' would have been much easier to understand."
She giggles at this, tucking her chin to her chest as she looks down, though she soon lifts her chin to glance at Katas as he returns, and her smile reappears. [break][break]
The pair of them work hard to put the fence back into working order. It's a makeshift job and not 100% stable, but, as she wipes sweat from her brow and takes a deep breath, hands resting on her hips, the woman looks satisfied.[break][break]
"Yeah, yeah you too! Orion, right? I like that name. Um.. anyway.. don't worry about my clothes. I've done worse, I work at a daycare."[break][break]
She laughs again, airily, as she waves his apology dismissively. She's beaming, clearly over the moon with how things had played out today.
There's humour in his gaze, and he flashes a brief smile before kneeling down in the dirt to start on repairing the fence. It's rough work under the heat of the sun and he's sweating by the end of it, loose strands of hair sticking to his forehead, but it's worth it to see the final result.
"Orion, yeah," he confirms, when he's standing up and surveying their work in preparation to depart. "Daycare, huh? That sounds nice. Might have to stop by and visit sometime."
He offers her a parting wave before he and Katas move on.