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?
“You look a little less like an Oreo now.” He got a giggle out of her, though it was muffled by a mouth full of pancake. “You’re funny, you know? Not in a bad way, but aren’t you supposed to be the big old confident manly man? Superhero ranger guy? Crime-fighting protector of the realm?” She paused and furrowed her brow again. “Well, I guess you’re still two of those, but you sure don’t sound confident in that. So… I don’t know the word. Dismissive? Blaze? Something like that. Or maybe you’re just super-humble.”
“I don’t know if this is how all of you rangers are, but you’re doing a good thing, right? You’re allowed to own that. Give yourself a little pat on the back once in a while and all. Especially since-“ She’d started pointing again. “You haven’t once said that you enjoy what you’re doing, or that it’s fun, or that you like it. And I hope you do, because dang, it’d suck to work so hard for something you didn’t love, but..” She narrowed her gaze. Paused. Her lips contorted and her eyes darted around as she tried to decide if her questions were appropriate. “Do you enjoy it?” Another pause. “You don’t have to answer, actually.”
It was for the best, she thought, if she was the focus of their conversation for a little while. There wasn’t much that could keep her mood down – that she knew of -, and more importantly, she’d realised that her questions weren’t exactly first-meeting friendly. “I knew that I wanted to leave home, and to leave home I’d need a Pokemon. Things weren’t too great there even before Rocket showed up, so it wasn’t like it was a spur of the moment thing.” Did she mean the region, her hometown or her actual house? “Well, kinda. One day, things got really bad, so I grabbed Kit – my Zorua, he was like our house Pokemon – and got the heck out of dodge. I didn’t even have a Pokeball for a while. Luckily he liked me a lot so we made it work, but… Where was I going with this?”
She took a bite and tried to remember the question. “Oh! Yeah, not really. Besides travelling, I… don’t really... know what the plan is.” Oh. So there was something that could bring her mood down, and her gaze to the table. Her day-to-day life was so hectic, and her journeys were unplanned. She was too busy thinking of how she’d find her next meal to figure out where she was going in life. Part of her preferred it that way. Planning where she would be the next morning was bad enough, let alone the next five years. Let alone where she should be. Where she wanted to be.
So she didn’t. And with that, the smile returned. “I know one thing, at least! I wanna be remembered forever. This girl’s spent too long lurking in the shadows, and worked too hard getting here to go out quietly. The details don’t matter yet, but I’m sure this won’t be the last that you see of me.”
Orion blinks, not entirely sure what she means by less like an Oreo. It doesn't seem to be a bad thing, however, so after a pause he laughs it off.
"Am I?" He's amused by the mere implication that he might be considered manly, pancake slipping off his fork as it halts its journey to his mouth. Then again, Annie didn't know the mess of anxieties that plagued him on the daily, made him feel exactly the opposite of 'manly.' "I just never really think of myself that way."
Self-esteem issues would do that to you.
"I do," he says, very quickly; perhaps a little too quickly. "I do enjoy it. I never want anyone to think—" His words are coming out a jumbled mess, and he forces himself to take a breath. "I love my job. Wouldn't trade it for the world. I just..." His cheeks are beet-red, because he doesn't usually talk so openly with anyone. Maybe it's because she's a kid, maybe it's just because of her personality, but he finds himself admitting, "I just worry that I'm not doing enough. Sometimes. That's all."
He's beyond relieved when the conversation shifts toward his guest, giving his poor heart some much-needed rest.
"You have a Zorua?" It would be impossible to miss the way his tone lifts, the shine of excitement in his gaze. "Ah, I've always wanted one of those. They're fascinating."
Annie seems concerned about her lack of direction, and god could Orion relate to the anxiety that came with such an uncertainty. "That's okay, you know?" He has a feeling she doesn't. "Not having a plan yet, I mean. You're young, you've got plenty of time to figure things out." And when she tells him that she's going to be remembered, that it won't be the last he hears of her, hell — Orion believes it. She's got some kind of spirit. "I don't doubt that for a second."
She still smiled. There was something sweet about seeing a grown man, her supposed superior, so flustered over a simple question. She’d never say it out loud – she didn’t trust herself to say it right, and he’d never show his heart again if he thought she saw him as a child. A cheeky comment wouldn’t hurt, though. “Now you’re more like a newspaper. Black and white and red all over.” Another giggle escaped her. “Well, at least one girl thinks you’re doing just fine. And I’ve got an eye for talent and high skill, so you’ve gotta be doing something right!”
It was her turn to show a glint in her eyes, as she almost always did when her Pokemon became the main subject. There she was, running her mouth again. “Oh yeah, Kit’s a little devil! He’s always full of energy and likes to wander off, and sometimes it takes me hours to find him! He can shapeshift- well, only kinda. When he gets nervous or feels like being a butt, he’ll transform and suddenly it’s ten times harder to figure out where he is, because he could be anybody! But he’s got a good heart in him, and him and Fortuna are all that I have from Kanto. Sure, he can be annoying sometimes, but he’s family.” She allowed herself a moment to breathe, showing the kind of relaxed smile that could only come from gushing about a loved one, with delicious food and a kind stranger in an odd tree house. She’d practically forgotten about the fire that had brought them together.
“I know he’d never leave me behind. Not for real. So I want to keep him around too. You get that, right?” She quickly shook her head. “I don’t have to ask. I can see that you do. You and your orphanage.” He was a good person. A very nervous, initially icy, somewhat confused man, but a good man nonetheless. He just needed a bit of help to see more of that.
“Young, huh? Yeah, I keep telling myself that, but sometimes it gets me anyway.” Her eyes flicked to her plate, if only for a second. “But it works out, mostly. I’ve got my hands full travelling this whole region, and taking care of my Pokemon along the way. I’ll probably-“ Hopefully- “figure something out along the way, and if not… Then I’ll just keep going, and at least by then I’ll have some good stories to tell.”
She lowered her fork to fill her belly some more, but stopped short when she noticed how few pancakes she had left. “Already?” Mild surprise showed itself, but it didn’t last. “Well, I guess I’m full! I’ll leave the rest for my team to share, if that’s alright. Oh, and thanks again for the food! I know that I asked why and all, but I would’ve been in real trouble if it wasn’t for you. I’ll find a way to return the favour someday, promise.”
The aforementioned red intensifies at Annie's explanation, and Orion ducks his head with a quiet laugh. "All right, you've got me there."
"That's a high standard to live up to," he adds, but doesn't seem too intimidated by the prospect. He's smiling, and he strikes a dramatic pose with his hand over his heart. "I'll do my best to live up to your expectations of me as a superhero."
Annie's fondness for the Zorua is evident in the way she talks about him, and the ranger listens with quiet interest as she describes their relationship. He knows more than most about the importance of certain Pokemon, glancing at Katas and seeing the Absol watching on with intelligent eyes. All his Pokemon were beloved, cherished, but there would always be some that held a significance beyond comparison.
He opens his mouth to agree, laughs when she gets ahead of herself, nods. "Yeah," he says softly, nevertheless. "I really do understand."
He offers another nod, encouraging, when she tells him of her travels. Hell, he wishes he'd had his shit together enough to strike out on his own and travel at her age, but his teenage years had been spent withering under the judgmental glare of his parents and older siblings.
"Of course," he says, waving a hand when she double-checks that her Pokemon can have the rest. "Any time. It was no trouble, I promise." He doesn't want her feeling like she'd imposed on him at all. The company had been nice, in truth, and her compliments had bolstered his spirits more than he cared to admit. "I'd say there's no need to return the favour, but I don't think you'd take 'no' for an answer." He laughs, smiles with a flash of teeth. She's stubborn, just like him.
“That’s what I like to hear! Camp Annie Tenet Number One: Make every impression a strong one! Being a superhero’s a good way to get that done. Maybe I’ll have to look into getting myself a cape for that. And a hat. A really cool, fancy hat, so everybody knows that I’ve arrived.” She touched a finger to her bottom lip. “Although… I think you’ve inspired me. The Camp’s got five rules to live by, but maybe we’ll need a sixth. Oreo’s Tenet. Something about not leaving anybody behind.” She smiles and nodded to herself. “I’ll figure something out and let you know. Somehow. Maybe I’ll get somebody to announce it on the news.” The sly edge to her grin made it hard to tell whether she thought that was a joke.
“I’ll get to it, then! It’s a long road to wherever the wind takes us next, and the days aren’t getting any longer!” She sprang up onto her feet and walked over to collect her bag. “I’ll probably head in the opposite direction of the fire and see what’s out there. After the Camp eats breakfast, of course!” As nice as it would have been to stick around, summoning a two-metres sea beast into somebody else’s tree house was bound to end badly. She took the pancakes off the plate, folded them in half and held them as if they were pieces of paper. “Of course I wouldn’t! You were nice to me, and you didn’t have to be. A good deed like that deserves to be repaid. I just haven’t figured out how yet… But I always do, eventually!”