Hidden 1 yr ago Post by jujube
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After sleeping like a log through most of the day before and night, Indigo was able to actually have the energy to wake up early, around 7 am. His early rising, in a strange and contradictory way, was also due partly to his nerves. As soon as his alarm went off, he was up and out of bed, anxious energy spurning him to move.
It was strange, he thought as he readied himself for the day ahead, he had never felt like this before. He had always avoided his problems and his deadlines and his important dates so much, then they sprang up on him when he least expected it. I used to push stuff away and just... Not care. Or maybe, I guess I did it because I didn't really want to deal with consequences.

But here was a team of dedicated, fun, and slightly annoying pokemon that just wanted victory. Indigo could see it in their faces, shining with determination. They really want to win this. And he was going to try his best to direct his pokemon and give them the victory they so deserved. Remember though, you're not in this to win. You're just here to improve yourself.... But isn't that what a loser would say, a tiny voice jeered in the back of Indigo's mind.

"Viii," Kovi swooped in front of Indigo's face, his large, compound eyes blinked. Indigo saw his face in all of the pokemon's ommatidia.

"I'm fine, just nervous," Indigo murmurred. He exhaled. You have plenty of time to rehearse with everyone, you've been practicing your techniques... At this point, he would be trapped in a cycle of perpetual anxiety and trying to make himself feel better. But he needed to pay attention to his pokemon. "Just jump into it, come on," he urged himself as they made their way to the back of the pokemon center. It seemed he wasn't the only one who was gearing up for the contest. There were three other trainers out already, practicing routines with their pokemon. Indigo noted a Flareon, a Butterfree, and a few others that he didn't recognize.

Damn, I thought we could practice alone out here. I get so nervous around other trainers. I wonder if they're judging me or the way I'm training... I wouldn't blame them.

"Caw!" Hawka snapped Indigo out of his hazy and distracted thoughts. She let out a low rumble from her throat before spurring up a cloud of sand and unleashing a fiery orange swirl into the air.

"Hawka!" Stunned momentarily, he didn't react. Kovi took the opportunity to shoot a string shot into the flames, pulling out the skein of silk and twirling it around as if it were a ribbon. He danced, whirling the flames around on his String Shot, before blowing it away with a Gust and finishing with his wings fanned out to their fullest extent.

Hawka screeched, glaring at the butterfly who had just stolen her show. She wouldn't be outdone.

"Wow, that was really good," Indy had the beginnings of a slow but sure grin on his face. He was beginning to have fun focusing with his pokemon and not worrying about winning or losing. "Okay Hawka, Fire Spin into Flame Charge, let's go! Show Kovi what you're made of," Indigo felt himself loosening up.

Hawka blew out a swirling vortex of flames; molten gold, orange, and red hues surrounded Hawka as she rushed into the eye of the attack. It brought out her own vibrant plumage, making her a fierce foe to be reckoned with at the same time. As she leapt through, her whole body glowed with the beginnings of a Flame Charge. There was a moment where she was completely engulfed in the blazing tornado of flames--

before bursting out triumphantly, cackling. Cloaked in an inferno, Hawka was ready for next move.

"Bring your fighting type out!" Indy called out.

Alight and revved up, Hawka launched into a series of fierce kicks that had her leaping off the ground, and into the air. Her act was convincing and without hesitation, it seemed as though she were fighting real opponents with how quick her reflexes were. A swooping kick turned into a back flip, and she even swung herself around as if she were breakdancing. She finished with a final kick, extinguishing her flames just in time to land next to Indigo.

"That was awesome," he breathed. Hawka nodded, smug.

"Alright, Mimzy, you're next! Let's go!" There was no more wasting time, no more being mopey, no more holding himself or his pokemon back. They were doing well so far, and Indigo was even beginning to become excited. One thing was for sure-- they'd get in a few more practice rounds before the contest started. And hopefully, they would stand a chance at winning.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by iKatamalicious
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Margaret wouldn't admit it but she was getting the heebie jeebies from this old woman, startled as the chair across from her moved of its own accord. Her eyes dropped to the floor instinctively, wondering if a Spoink had pulled it out for her but no pig pokemon were to be found. Biting the inside of her cheek, she chanced a glance over towards Crowne to make sure he was still ok before obliging the fortune teller and taking the spot across from her.

She took her backpack off, placing it on her lap and surveying the tent in an attempt to avoid eye contact with the strange lady. Her question made her bite her cheek a little harder, wondering what she could possibly mean by that?

Her hands wrapped around her backpack defensively, looking down at it and thinking about the mysterious book she had hiding within. But... perhaps she was just doing a cold reading--anyone who walks into a fortune teller's domain probably has questions they want answered. Maybe Margo could test the waters...

"Well sure I do. But shouldn't you be able to tell me what I'm here for? Do you want to take a look at my palm and get a better reading on why I'm here?" Margo was joking, but she still placed one of her hands face up on the table anyways. She smiled politely at the older woman despite her borderline mocking comments.
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"Well sure I do. But shouldn't you be able to tell me what I'm here for? Do you want to take a look at my palm and get a better reading on why I'm here?" Margo was joking, but she still placed one of her hands face up on the table anyways. She smiled politely at the older woman despite her borderline mocking comments.


The old lady lowered the hood of her cloak and smiled. A purple flower stuck out of the back of her long grey hair. No longer did she look like a mysterious witch. She now looked like anyone's grandmother, albeit a very wise one.

She spoke softly. "Put your hand away dear. I'm not that kind of psychic. I'm more interested by that strange object in your backpack. I can feel its energy. If I had to guess, that is why you came to me, correct? .... Well, let's see it then."
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by iKatamalicious
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Margo's shoulders drooped, her guard lowering now that she could see this old woman's face. Her eyes softened, no longer regarding her with that hint of caution nagging at the back of her mind.

Listening to her instructions, the trainer withdrew her hand and instead rested it atop her backpack, glancing down at it. Should she show this woman? Who knew what secrets might lie within and what might happen if said secrets fell into the wrong hands. But who else could possibly give her answers but a random psychic in this random new town? Margo assumed that this might be a better lead than any she could think of right now.

With a quick affirmative nod--mainly to herself--Margaret opened her bag and retrieved the blank book, placing it on the table gently and pushing it towards the old woman. The book seemed to reflect in the pink pearl ball on the table, glinting. For a moment she thought she could see something on the cover that wasn't there before in the reflection. Blinking, Margo looked towards the old woman with that skeptical look from before.

Crowne suddenly appeared at his trainer's side, pawing at her leg and clambering up with little grace. Looking over the table, the Wartortle glanced up at Margo with a wide smile before slapping his stubby arms onto the table expectantly. Margo gave an apologetic smile at the woman as she placed her hands on Crowne's and removed them from grabbing at the book she had just put out for observation. "Well... Here is Crowne, my Wartortle, and the book that you... felt. What do you make of it? All the pages were blank when we got it... Nothing to be seen anywhere, really."
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Crowne suddenly appeared at his trainer's side, pawing at her leg and clambering up with little grace. Looking over the table, the Wartortle glanced up at Margo with a wide smile before slapping his stubby arms onto the table expectantly. Margo gave an apologetic smile at the woman as she placed her hands on Crowne's and removed them from grabbing at the book she had just put out for observation. "Well... Here is Crowne, my Wartortle, and the book that you... felt. What do you make of it? All the pages were blank when we got it... Nothing to be seen anywhere, really."


The old lady's eyes grew wide as Margo took the book out of its hiding place. "I'm not sure exactly." She said, not taking her eyes of the book. "Can you open it for me?"

Margo opened the book for the woman, who then reached out and touched the page that Margo had turned to. "Whatever this is, its energy is unlike anything I've every felt, but..." Suddenly, the old lady looked up at Margo, a realization on the tip of her mind. "Where did you say you came across this book?"

Margo then relayed the story about the tree in the Zanna Historical Library.

"Yes, it makes sense now. I've heard legends about that tree, but I never believed they could be true. You see, that tree is said to be the oldest tree in Septoh. It is also said that the tree continues to grow, to this very day, but instead of growing upward, it grows downward, through it's roots. Legend has it, that tree's roots stretch underneath the entire region. Legend also has it, that the tree is alive in a way no other tree is, that it has a mind of its own. It listens to everything that happens in Septoh, and it remembers everything it's every heard, all of the secrets, all of the stories. If this book came from that tree, as you say, you should hold on to it with everything you have."

Then the old lady held up a finger, asking Margo to wait while she walked across the room and grabbed a necklace off a dresser in the corner. She walked back to the table, with the necklace held out toward Margo ceremoniously. The part that would go around the neck was made from a simple rope, and the center piece was a small pearl, a smaller version of the one on the table. The little pink pearl had an soft glow to it, that grew ever so brighter as it got closer to the table.

"Here, this is a gift. I want you to wear it. This pearl will glow when it's around psychic energies like that book or if there is a psychic Pokemon nearby. If it ever glows brighter, and you don't know why, check that book of yours. I suspect it will give off more energy whenever it does... well... whatever it does. All I want in return is for you to promise me; you'll call me when something happens. I'm as curious as you to know what it does. Will you do that for me?"
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Balthazar007
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[Accidental Double Post. Please Ignore]
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by iKatamalicious
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Margo could feel the change in energy in the room, the skepticism and weariness of this old woman now gone and replaced with a curiosity that consumed every other feeling she had towards this stranger. Her wrinkled fingers scanned the page before looking up at her with furrowed brows, as if she had an idea. Upon the telling of her story, the woman nodded along slowly before a realization came over her. She regarded Margo kindly as the teenager leaned closer over the table to the book, her eyes wandering the blank pages and waiting for something to happen. She wasn't sure what, but her stomach was in knots thinking of all the possibilities this canvas held within it.

After her caution and the old woman went to fetch something, Margaret glanced down at Crowne in her lap, the Wartortle looking up at her and blinking. He wasn't exactly sure what was going on--this book didn't seem that interesting to him. Margo returned her gaze to the book and brought it closer to her again, her fingers dancing across the empty sheets of paper. No matter the amount of flipping and rifling of the pages, nothing ever showed up. Her eyes were beginning to play tricks on her, thinking things were there when they weren't.

The mystic came back with a shabby necklace--at least at first glance--and presented it to Margo like royalty. Bowing her head obediently, the necklace was placed around her neck and hung loosely near the center of her chest, the pink glow from the pearl illuminating Crowne and Margo's faces. The woman's voice was faint in her ear as she held the pearl gingerly in her hands and turned it over, looking at its luminescence with that same child-like wonder from the book.

Margo looked up and nodded quickly in response to her request, scrambling to put her precious book into her pack and retrieving her pokedex from within as well. Holding out the square, she waited for the mystic to put in her contact information, wondering where she should go next--had the contest started yet? Maybe she should try to regroup with Indigo and tell him about what this woman said. It was vague yet important information. This pearl was yet another piece of the puzzle. Now it would be their job to connect the two.

"T-Thank you, ma'am. You've been very helpful. I will give you a call as soon as I have an update for you!" Margaret felt renewed with a fresh burst of energy, raring to go and find out what this pearl might interact with and what the book might do in response to the psychic energies as well.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by jujube
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After Mimzy had finished an appeal using her fairy-type Baby-Doll Eyes technique, Neon was left. The strange pokemon was quite ugly, there was no denying that. With his single eye and strange, steel body, the Magnemite was hardly what anyone, especially Indigo, would have called appealing. Still, an annoying quote from a certain someone popped into his head as he was examining Neon.

"I mean, if you really want to impress the crowd, wouldn't making an ugly pokemon look beautiful be even more impressive than making an already beautiful pokemon look good?" Margo's challenge bounced around in his thoughts. "It's harder, but if you pull it off, you might earn my respect."

Indigo's eyes narrowed, annoyed that he hadn't thought of it himself. As if he needed any direction from her. Of course he knew that! Maybe Neon was hideous, lacking the intimidating toughness of Hawka's newly evolved form. Perhaps Neon was not as beautiful as Kovi's glittering visage. And, obviously, Neon lacked the cutesy adorable charm that Mimzy radiated. But there were some things that were salvageable. For one, Indigo thought as he polished the surface of Neon's body, technology was cool and there was no doubt that pokemon like Neon embodied the technological appeal that their world had come to depend on. The artificial appearance truly demonstrated something futuristic and complex about the pokemon line. They were metallic, they subsisted on electricity, and they were like robots from the movies, Indy thought. There was something extraterrestrial and futuristic about them. That their typing was steel and electric only served to further the point that they were living machines.

"Looking good Neon," Indy said, holding up a small mirror he'd retrieved from his backpack. Neon's single eye swiveled about this way and that, and the Magnemite let out what sounded like a happy beep. His chrome body so shiny, he could see his own reflection from the mirror in it. "Ready to try an appeal?"

Neon's eye darted about nervously. Kovi flew over with a small noise of encouragement. Mimzy bounced up to hold onto one of Neon's magnet's playfully, and Hawka shoved him to where she had practiced her own appeal. Neon let out an alarmed sound.

"It's okay, I know you haven't really practiced in public before, but it's just us," Indy said, gently removing Mimzy and Hawka. "Just have fun, Neon." Indigo beamed in his attempt to ease Neon's nerves. "You'll be fine. Let's start off with Mirror Shot. Fly straight up."

Neon floated upwards speedily, releasing a flash of energy from his polished body. The steel type energy released was silvery and prismatic, only amplified by the day's sun. It showcased Magnet's sleek and shiny coloring, while emphasizing his steel typing. That's perfect! Okay, let's see... "Spark!"

Neon's body became enveloped in crackling blue electricity. Indy and Neon had refined Spark quite a bit in their days of practice. Controlling the voltage and flow from his center, Neon was able to undulate the electricity around him, creating a visage like a blue sun. With the remnants of the Mirror Shot energy as a bright refraction of light surrounding his amped up form, Neon looked stunning. The crowd would admire his beauty for a few moments and then--"Sonic Boom and circle around, go!"

The crescent shaped shockwave attack was directed in random direction around Neon. Combining with the Spark and remnants of Mirror Shot, the Sonic Boom flitted around Neon like a boomerang. As Neon floated, making a lap, the Sonic Boom attack raced around him frenetically. Shooting straight up into the air with another Sonic Boom from Neon, the attacks dissapated into a shower of glittering energy after a satisfying BOOM!

Even an ugly Magnemite could pull something off, Indigo thought with a grin. That would prove Margo wrong, for sure. Running towards Neon who seemed thoroughly exhausted, Indigo pulled the pokemon in for a hard hug. Literally hard, because Neon's steel body was no joke.

"Ouch! Ha, Neon, you did great!" WIth this, they'd have a quick lunch and head over to the contest hall. Margo hadn't called him yet, but Indigo figured she was doing her own thing. At least he knew his pokemon's moves looked decent, and they could be combined in all sorts of different ways to boot.




Sometime later, Indigo had thoroughly cleaned up his pokemon and donned on his tuxedo. But the nerves were getting to him once more. Dialing Margo through his pokedex, he hoped she would pick up.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by iKatamalicious
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Margo picked up on the third ring. "Indigo! Your contest didn't start yet, did it?"

"No, no, you're fine, it starts in like an hour or something," Indigo replied with an exhale. He swept some of his curls back with his hand. "What's up?"

"You tell me, you're the one who called," Margo teased. "How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine, it's all good," Indigo said, trying to seem calmer than he felt. "Let's not focus on me. Just tell me about you." He wanted anything but questions or talk about himself.

"Welllll, you'll never believe it," Margo confided in a hushed tone. "It's going to sound crazy. But I saw this like, fortune teller shoppe thingy? I went inside and this lady could tell what was inside my backpack! And she knew that I had the book we got from the library!" The words tumbled out of her. "Yeah, no, you heard me! I walked in and I tried asking her to read my palms but she was all, "I sense a magic book in your backpack!" A pause. "No, my backpack wasn't open! It was completely zipped, Indigo. I'd never let my backpack be open, not when we have an item like that, okay? I swear it wasn't open. She just knew."

"Alright, I believe you, I was just trying to be skeptical," Indigo said. "Cover our bases, you know? Anyway, that's freakin' wild. She really knew what was in your backpack? Man... Like a real life psychic or something. I never thought they were forreal." And though he truly believed Margo, it was also still hard to digest. "I'm kind of like... just in awe."

"I know, but when you think about it-- there are psychic pokemon. And, I dunno, there are some crazy legends about some psychic pokemon who used to be human. I mean, psychic's an energy or something. I guess people can have it too?"

"Or maybe-- Wait, no, we can talk about this later. What else happened?" Indigo asked. Theorizing and coming up with their own hypothesis would definitely be something that they needed to discuss, but certainly not now.

"Ooh, it gets even better," Margo squealed. "She told me about the tree, the one the librarian called the oldest tree in Septoh? He was right about it being the oldest, the teller lady told me that too. But Indigo, it doesn't grow taller. It's roots keep growing and they stretch all over Septoh," her tone was hushed with excitement now. "And it's alive-- somehow? It like, has a mind of its own, and it can hear everything that happens because its roots are everywhere..."

"That's crazy," Indigo murmurred, his heart pounding. Seeing Ho-oh and then coming across a book like this? What were the odds? What did it mean for them? "This is so cool."

"It really is," Margo sighed. Thinking about the tree, the rich history of the region, Ho-oh, and just how lucky she was to witness and be apart of these amazing phenomena filled her with emotion. There was awe, gratitude, inspiration, and so much more. It welled up into a ball and almost made her heart hurt, so deep was the yearning to know more.

The conversation brought a certain calm to Indigo. How infentissimal this contest seemed compared to their interactions just the day before. Oh-oh, the book, Team Rocket... The contest didn't quite hold the weight it had. A calmness came over him. Perhaps his nerves wouldn't be steeped for too long, maybe the anxiety would come back. But for now, it all seemed serene.

"One more thing, she gave me a gift. This... pearl. It's on a chain. It's supposed to glow when psychic energy is nearby, I don't know if that means attacks or objects or whatever." Margo fiddled with the chain, trying to resist the urge to cradle the pearl and risk getting her fingerprints all over it. "But... it's supposed to activate with the book I think. Our book has psychic energy and-- well no, it's not showing any signs right now. No, it hasn't really glowed at all. But the lady said something would trigger the book and it would make my pearl glow. I guess it's almost like an alarm. I mean, there's nothing in these pages. And we wouldn't know if anything came up in them unless we had some kind of notification, you know? Like when you get a text or something."

Indigo nodded. "That's so awesome that she gave you that. I wouldn't have thought of a reason why, but it totally makes sense. Man, that teller was really something, huh? She seems super cool. Is that weird?"

"No, when you think about it, you're totally right," Margo agreed. "She was super nice and I mean she gave me this necklace and told me all this stuff... Come to think of it- I didn't even pay her!" Margo slapped her forehead. "I can't believe it! Agh! She must think I'm a spoiled brat! Ahhhh, okay, okay, I'm cool! I'm calm! I'll get back to her as soon as your contest's over."

"I'll foot half the bill," Indigo offered. "It's the least I can do."

"Ooooh, well, we'll see," Margo said, feeling a tad embarassed. As someone who wanted to be completely independent, she wanted to pay the teller all by herself. After all, there was that sense of achievement and earning that came with an independent purchase, especially for something as important as this. But a pearl necklace? She wasn't even sure if she could afford it, and making Indigo pay for any portion of something she had practically stolen seemed terrible... She laughed sheepishly. "A-anyways, I'll be over soon! I better see an awesome show, Indigo!"

"We'll bring it to the stage, thanks. Bye, see you soon," Indigo hung up with a smile on his face.




Margo rushed through the city, but it quickly became apparent that she had wandered much too far away from the Contest Hall. "I need a ride! Shoot, I don't have a ride pokemon. Oh wait, duh, apps!" Flipping her pokedex open, she searched through the app store and found a local ride share app. In most cities, specific pokemon with permits were vetted and allowed to deliver people from one destination to the next. And of course, if it was raining, vehicles were another option. Pokerides saddled a user up with the closest available ride, and so Margo found herself pleased when she saw she would be riding in a compact car. She did love riding on pokemon, but it was a hot day.

As they traveled through Jimmal, Margo couldn't help but admire the pictureseque architecture through the dark gray tinted windows. The mostly desert and arid climate of the region lended itself to mostly white stone buildings that were strangely uniform in color. As Margo perused articles on her pokedex, she found that the white stone of the mountain face was fantastic ventilation, reflective, and a common, reliable material. Little wonder that nearly everything was built out of it. Weaving through the city on a rickety road, she passed quite a few open air markets and vendor stalls. Things were so different compared to Nimbasa! Where her hometown was chrome and glossy and modern, Jimmal in comparison looked rustic and historical. There were some marvelous edifices carved right out of the mountain face, and these were clearly the cultural landmarks of the region. One was like a castle, ornate columns supporting an architrave with beautiful, calligraphic patterns chiseled delicately into the rock. Statues of ancient pokemon which Margo wasn't sure existed bore their fangs at the entrance to the building.

"It's the Jimmal-Khaz Colliseum," the driver said, noticing Margo's awestruck expression. "It's been the place of some regional championships, and there's typically some big tournaments that go on there."

Margo nodded. "Incredible, thank you for sharing." And as they continued driving through the city, there was more to come.

There were plenty of domed buildings, minarets, and horseshoe arches that seemed to incorporated into the city infrastructure. That the architecture was heavily geometric was something else she realized, as her eyes gazed at some of the photography of Jimmal's desert castles, forts, and places of worship. Looking at the interior design of the buildings online, Margo realized that many of the domes had complex archways that formed precise, ornamental, spacial patterns. Some were like large vaults that looked like honeycomb, others were like eight-pointed stars criss-crossing acrossing ceilings. Topping it all off were the specific patterns that decorated the buildings. Whether they were made of tile, or engraved, they were intricate, interlaced, geometric and floral. The repeating patterns seemed to lend themselves to something spirtiual, and Margo felt like she could lose herself in the details of the motifs. The countless glazed tile mosiacs, wall paintings, and caligraphic filigree embellishing these ancient structures almost reminded her of optical illusion pictures. On first glance they looked like normal patterns, but on closer inspection, their minute details seemed to go on forever.

"This city really does have an amazing feel to it," Margo sighed. As they neared closer to the contest hall, she pressed her forehead against the window. Not that she didn't believe in Indigo, but losing happened to everyone. I hope he'll be okay. He's so difficult... But we do have everything else ahead of us. This probably won't set him back too far. And he'll have to learn how to deal with wins or losses regardless. I just hope he'll be fine.




Margo arrived, spotting her seat in the third row from the front of the stage. It wasn't just to see Indigo. In fact, she would have eagerly tried to get front row seats at any sort of pokemon related event. But the fact that she would get to see him up close and offer her support was what being a good friend entailed. It all rolled together in the end. Sending him a quick good luck text and her seat number, she hoped he'd be able to see her too.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Balthazar007
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This wasn't the event of the century, or even the event of the month. It was more like the event of the week. The stadium was only a quarter full by the time Margo took her seat, but people were still coming in the doors. They were probably going to be looking at a half full stadium (approximately 30,000 people). But to the many new trainers, these numbers would prove to be quite nerve wreaking.

Indigo was being held in a large waiting room, with hundreds of other trainers. Some looked just as nervous as he did. Others had a polished air of confidence surrounding them. And as the judge had explained to them an hour ago, only the top sixty four trainers would make it passed the first appeals. Then there would be the group appeals, where four trainers at a time would make appeals one after another, and only the crowd favorite would move forward to the one on one coordinator battles.

"Indigo Rose!" The proctor shouted for the third time in a row. "Mr. Indigo Rose, you're on deck in five minutes! You need to report to the stage side! Mr. Indigo Rose!" The man then grumbled to himself, obviously unhappy with his job.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by jujube
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Indigo stepped onto the stage as his name was announced, his heart fluttering and his mouth dry. Neon's expression was indecipherable as always-- although Indigo knew the Magnemite was probably feeling just as on edge as him. This is Neon's first... He laid a reassuring hand on the Magnemite's head, a few affectionate pats for good measure.
"It's alright. Whether we win or lose, just try and have fun. That's the only thing I'm really thinking about it," Indigo whispered. Neon crackled, and Indigo wasn't quite sure, but it felt like he had done something right.

Truthfully, winning was always more fun than losing, and he hated that at this point, all he could think about was winning. But Margo's words of advice echoed around in his head. If he was always focused on winning, that left no room to focus on learning, growing, or his pokemon's needs in the middle of battle. This is about Neon and his confidence and his ability. I can't worry about winning, I need to support my pokemon.

"Alright, let's start off with Sonic Boom!" Just as they had practiced earlier, the appeal started with a startling and impressive Sonic Boom. Throwing in the Spark and Mirror Shot lead to a colorful and iridescent display where electric and steel type energy flowed and weaved around Neon. It went as well as Indigo could have hoped-- Neon was hitting all the points just like they had in practice earlier, and Indigo, overcome with relief, could barely stand after the appeal was done.

After the initial appeal, there was a half an hour wait for the other contestants to finish up. And Indigo found himself holding his breath with other contestants at the TV screen in their backroom. Fingers were crossed and nervous glances were made all around. Who would be making it onto the group appeals? Who would be eliminated? As the contestant avatars flashed onto the screen, Neon huddled into Indigo, his steel body shivering and colder than usual.

"Hey, you'll never figure out what happens next if you don't look with that only eye of yours," Indigo quipped, trying to lighten the mood, even if he felt anything but. As the last avatar appeared on the screen, he let out a choking sound. It wasn't true, was it?

"Neon, look! We made it!" Indigo hissed, turning the floating steel ball toward the screen. "No! Look! You're there too-- open your eye!" Neon let out a low electric beep and transfixed his eye on the screen, now unable to look away.

One appeal down, the group one was left to go. Indigo grinned, hugging the Magnemite. "Neon, that was all you-- thank you!"

The group appeals were next. There were four of them on stage, and since they were all using different pokemon for an appeal, Indigo wasn't sure what the contestants would do. One thing was for sure, they were all probably more capable than him. But that couldn't deter him, Neon had pushed him this far, not to mention the rest of his team members were counting on him. He took a deep breath as the emcee shouted, "Begin!"

There was a girl and a Chinchou that were using Bubblebeam, dancing and playing around in the bubbles. It was a classic appeal and never failed to get old, especially with how choreographed they were. As the Chinchou popped the bubbles with quick jolts of electricty, a rain of shimmery mist glittered around them. Then there was a boy with a Growlithe-- they were tossing a flaming torch back and forth, with the Puppy pokemon adding occasional flares to the performance with bursts of flame here and there. It looked simple, but Indigo knew for a fact he would have never been able to handle fire as elegantly as the other boy was. The third contestant was another girl who was commanding Cotton Guard from her Ampharos-- they were playing around and blowing the spores into each other and the audience. The spores were like dandelion tufts, fuzzy and white and blowing away gently into the wind.

Indigo took a deep breath. "Mimi! Come out!" Unfurling his top hat, Mimi bounced out with a flourish. A non-pokeball entrance was sure to get some points with the judges, he hoped. Thinking of his plan, he wasn't entirely sure it would work, but it was an idea. And he had experimented with it some time before in a few other practice sessions... It was now or never.

"Mimi! Let's bounce!" The Buneary nodded and using her strong ears, she bounced into the air with gusto. Indigo tossed his hat into the air at the same time.

Buneary as a species were known for their cuteness and especially how they bounced on their ears. "Use the whole stage, and make yourself the center of attention! Use the other attacks!" And this was the hard part-- he was going to try and catch her everytime too. Mimi bounced over to Bubblebeam appeal; the girl and her Chinchou were surprised, but nothing could quite prepare them for Mimi bouncing off the bubbles and rising higher into the air before plummeting into Indigo's hat from high above.

"Again!" And Mimi jumped out from Indigo's hat, using Quick Attack to speed over to the Cotton Spore appeal. Bouncing off a particularly fluffy cushion of Cotton, Mimi grabbed a tuft herself and blew into it, scattering a glittering trail of spores before falling into Indigo's hat once more.

"You've worked with Hawka's fire, so the last one'll be easy! Go!" Indigo whispered fiercely into the hat as Mimi once again burst out with gusto. The timing couldn't have been more adequate, because as Mimi bounced out of Indigo's hat once more, she leaped into the center of the Growlithe's Fire Spin, navigating the heat before falling into Indigo's hat once more.

Finishing up, Indigo and Mimi went through a series of twirls and choreographed dance together. Finally bouncing off Indigo's hat and landing on his outstretched arm, their group appeal finished. And as the crowd burst into cheers, Indigo hoped at least some was for Mimi and himself. Though, the next results would tell for sure.

((Sorry, I know this took me forever. I apologize, these past couple of weeks have just been super had for me personally. I still definitely want to continue though, so please let me know if we are still on! :) ))
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Finishing up, Indigo and Mimi went through a series of twirls and choreographed dance together. Finally bouncing off Indigo's hat and landing on his outstretched arm, their group appeal finished. And as the crowd burst into cheers, Indigo hoped at least some was for Mimi and himself. Though, the next results would tell for sure.


The excitement from the crowd died down steadily but never quite came to a halt. The judges conversed with one another quietly, occasionally pointing to one of the contestants and their Pokemon. The anticipation was building.

Meanwhile, out in the crowd, Margo sat on the edge of her seat with both her fingers crossed. Of course, she had screamed and applauded after Indigo's and Mimi's appeal, but now, like many others, she was simply hoping for the best.
Come on you judges, you know Indigo and Mimi swept this round, what's taking you so long?

Finally, the judges stood. It was time for the results. The show host walked over to them and received the piece of paper that the middle judge was holding out for him. He then walked back to his microphone, keeping the score card held close to his chest, as if anyone in the crowd could even read it from that far away.

"The results are in and a decision has been made!" He said into the microphone dramatically. This seemed to quieten the crowd even further. "The top two contestants will be moving on to the contest battles which will start tomorrow. So, without further ado, our runner up, with quite the fiery display, is Malik Rhineheart and his illustrious Growlithe!" The crowd cheered loudly for the boy, and Margo began to hold her breath.

"And for our first place winner, by unanimous decision, we have..." The announcer paused dramatically, purposefully teasing the crowd. "Indigo Rose and his energetic, lovable Buneary!!! The crowd erupted in another roar, this one louder than any before.

Through the noise, Margo cried out, "You did it! I knew it!". Margo hoped that Indigo could see her, that he got her text message. She wanted her friend to know she was there for him. Either way, she planned on finding him after the rest of the groups appeals. Maybe they would even have time to celebrate nearby before it got too late.
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Indigo walked out of the contest hall in disbelief. At the end of the day, he had [i]won[/i.]

It felt surreal. Him? Winning? Anything? They had done it! He had actually managed to keep up with his stellar team and pull off a victory. And yet... He glanced around.

The sun was setting now, casting far-reaching gold rays that streaked across the late afternoon sky. Congratulations and prizes had been doled out, and the contest hall had all but quieted, a few stragglers lingering behind here and there. Most people had cleared out. He hadn't seen Margo, and it shouldn't have come as a surprise but it still very much was. He glanced at the message on his pokedex he had received shortly after his win.

Hey Indigo! I had to go. I can't really explain why, but I needed to go. I'm sorry, I know this is out of the blue but it's just out of my hands.

I saw you out during the appeals round. You pulled off pretty some pretty good moves! I was honestly kind of impressed, and I'm glad you've got your first win under your belt. Just so you know, you've still got a long ways to go before beating me and Crowne! But you're at least improving.

Well, I'll catch you later sometime!


Indigo shook his head, utterly confused and-- he couldn't help it-- hurt. Why did everyone keep ditching him on his journey? Was he that much of a drag to be around? What had he said or done to chase Margo and Dan away? He sighed, turning his pokedex off and glancing at his pokeballs. This was a bittersweet day for sure.

"Well, might as well get some rest." There wasn't much sense in traveling while the day was so late, especially with his pokemon having expended so much at the contest. They were all tired, as was he. "Let's go," Indigo sighed, and shuffled away to the pokemon center.

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"Well, might as well get some rest." There wasn't much sense in traveling while the day was so late, especially with his pokemon having expended so much at the contest. They were all tired, as was he. "Let's go," Indigo sighed, and shuffled away to the pokemon center.


Check-in at the Pokemon Center was surreal. All the other trainers and staff members were congratulating Indigo on his victory, but he would have traded all their praises for the praise of a real friend. He was alone in a crowd, one of the worst feelings in the world, for sure. He would have trouble sleeping tonight for sure. Then again, it had been a long day, and he was tired.

The Next Morning

At 9:00am in the morning, Indigo received a notification on his Pokedex, but it wasn't from Margo like he hoped. It was from the front desk of the Pokemon Center where he was staying. Apparently they had a package waiting for him downstairs.
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Sleep came easily to Indigo, especially after the emotional roller coaster that had been the day prior. He woke groggily to the bright, early morning sunlight pouring through his window.

"Kovi, shut the blinds," Indigo mumbled, not wanting to get up. He flopped his arm around lazily in an attempt to grab his pokedex and see what time it was. "9 AM? Get out, I've got at least an hour to sleep in... Wait, a notification?"

It was a pokemon center text, and it was alerting him that a package had arrived. He debated back and forth for a few moments before setting an alarm on his pokedex and going right back to bed.

An hour and a half later, a dressed and prepped Indigo headed towards the lobby, scanning the room for a moment before he realized it would probably be with the front desk associates. "Hey, uh, Indigo Rose. I've got my ID right here," he said as he fished his pokedex out of his pocket and held it up. "I heard there's a package for me?"
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... "Hey, uh, Indigo Rose. I've got my ID right here," he said as he fished his pokedex out of his pocket and held it up. "I heard there's a package for me?"


"Why yes!" Said the cheerful front desk attendant, who wore a bright blue suit. "One moment." The man then bent below the desk, out of sight. When he resurfaced, he held a simple brown package in his hand.

The man passed the package across the counter with a smile. It was from Margo. There was nothing written on it besides her name and trainer number and his name and trainer number.
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Indigo received the parcel; it was simple and nondescript, a cardboard box with a lid on it. Lifting the lid and sifting through the white tissue paper revealed the book and pendant Margo had excitedly told him about earlier.

It was simultaneously uplifting and utterly crushing as Indigo quietly took the contents of the box and placed them in his backpack with care. He swallowed. They had seen Ho-oh together...

"I just need to get out of here," he murmured as he felt his eyes begin to glisten. Packing his things up, he headed outside the center to release Kovi, Mimi, and Neon.

"Viiii!" The Vivillion let out a pleased cry as he stretched his wings.

"Buuuun!" Mimi was immediately lifting her arms, wanting to be picked up, which Indigo obliged to. Neon beeped and tried to wriggle in next with Mimi, who pouted.

"Easy, I can carry both of you," Indigo assuaged, though it was a lie. They were both too big to be held together, but Neon didn't need much convincing as they were a floating ball of steel. The weightlessness of being lifted didn't necessarily appeal to the Magnemite. Rather it was just the constant touch of something warm and organic. They were content to receive pets while Indigo hefted Mimi with his other arm.

"I heard there's a pokemon groomer somewhere around here. I think Neon needs a better polishing," Indigo quipped up, trying to be productive, cheerful, engaged. Anything but hurt and disappointed. "Annnd–– oh! Some of those trainers had some really cool effects coming from their pokeballs during the contest... I wonder if I can find out where they sell those." He was off to explore.

Shopping, consumption, sales–– these were all things Indigo could jump into, leaving his mind at relative ease. He wasn't one to mope about indoors, and very much preferred the distractions of the city. There were a plethora of things to do in Jimmal, and thankfully, many cost nothing.

Indigo set out by going to a trendy location- a trainer park with an orchid for picking berries. Berries were common, and Indigo had gone on his fair share of trips as a child in elementary school, but he had never brought pokemon. Would their first experience berry picking be similar to his own? I think Kovi, Neon, and Mimi are gonna be well behaved, gotta watch out for Hawka. But the berry orchard went swimmingly enough. By the end of the hour, he and his pokemon had filled their bellies with berries, and it was time to move on to something else.

Shopping was up next. Indigo had earned a some cash after the contest, and while he was normally good at saving money, all he wanted to do was get some retail therapy amd splurge. Fortunately the ball capsule seals were pretty cheap, and Indigo didn't need to spend as much money as he originally thought.

The selection was impressive-- there were seals that errupted with colored flames, seals that released electricity, even artificial shapes such as hearts or stars were able to shower out of the pokeball when the pokemon was released. They were going to have to rework their entrances now, he thought, but there was a smile on his face. After purchasing a few different seals, they were off again.

Indigo busied himself with different things for the rest of the day, mostly wandering around the city and looking for interesting spots. He found a crepe shop that had the most divine pastries, a trainer park with all sorts of reinforced playground equipment for pokemon and trainers, and a good grooming service for Neon, where they showed Indigo the optimal wax for polishing a pokemon like Neon.

By 5 pm however, Indy and his pokemon were exhausted. The day had been fun, but tiring. It was time to head back to the center and wind down for the day. Making it back to their room in the pokemon center, Indigo and his pokemon promptly fell asleep.
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By 5 pm however, Indy and his pokemon were exhausted. The day had been fun, but tiring. It was time to head back to the center and wind down for the day. Making it back to their room in the pokemon center, Indigo and his pokemon promptly fell asleep.
May 28th, Jimmal City, Pokemon Center

The early morning sun woke Indigo once again, this time at 8am. "Early to bed, early to rise." as they say. Indigo shook his fist feebly at the blinds before letting out a groan and sitting up in bed.

Some freshening up later, he was headed down the stairs to grab some breakfast and be on his way. 'To where?' he thought, uncertain. Maybe the next city that was having a contest? Or maybe just stick around a few days longer? He didn't know what he wanted to do.

Down in the Pokemon Center's cafeteria, Indigo ran into two familiar faces, the rich and famous twins, Jack and Jill. The two blonde haired siblings sat at a table, looking a lot more miserable than the last time Indigo saw them, which felt like years ago. How long had it been? Days? Weeks?

Jill stirred a bowl of cereal. She'd apparently been doing this for a while, because the cereal was soggy. Jack's normally pristine hair was clean, but not styled, and he had bags under his eyes. He bit into an apple, a bit of aggression in the bite.

Jack noticed Indigo first. "Well if it isn't the great Indigo Rose." He said, then took another bite of his apple. He then stood and spoke a little louder, food in his cheeks. "I bet you'd love to rub your victory in my face, but if I would have been in that silly little tournament, I would have been the winner, not you."

The other trainers in the cafeteria tried to ignore the scene Jack was creating. They kept to their breakfasts, only taking occasional peaks.

Before Jack could say anything more, his sister stood up and put a hand on his shoulder. "Jack, stop." Luckily, this worked. "Look at him. Does he look like he wants to mock you? Hey Indigo, where are you friends?"
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Indigo sighed. Running into Jack was the least of his problems, but did it have to happen now? He was grateful for Jill's kindness nontheless.

"Hey, uh," he paused, searching for words. "Good to see you guys. Right, Margo and Dan and me-- we decided to go our separate ways." He shrugged, trying to hide the surge of pain he felt. "But you know, that's how it is. How are you guys doing?" He figured he could at least inquire. It was the polite thing to do and they would probably dismiss his general concern. Then he'd be on his way.

Right?

Right???
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"Hey, uh," he paused, searching for words. "Good to see you guys. Right, Margo and Dan and me-- we decided to go our separate ways." He shrugged, trying to hide the surge of pain he felt. "But you know, that's how it is. How are you guys doing?" He figured he could at least inquire. It was the polite thing to do and they would probably dismiss his general concern. Then he'd be on his way.

Right?

Right???


May 28th, Jimmal City, Pokemon Center

"Oh..." Jack paused. "Sorry to hear that." He then huffed and sat back down in his chair. He took another bite of his apple, which was almost finished at this point, and stared off into blank space, just the way Indigo had found him when he arrived.

Before the silence got too awkward, Jill explained. "Jack lost in last night's contest. The Saturday contests are generally for established trainers, but given our reputation, they made an exception for Jack."

"And I got my ass kicked." Jack said, still staring off into the distance. "I did well in the appeal rounds, but I was slaughtered in the contest battle. I was just... too weak..."

Indy sympathized. Losing sucked. "I doubt you were weak. I think it just happens sometimes."

Jill shrugged and crossed her arms. "He shouldn't have accepted the invite to begin with. Nobody else in that contest had been a trainer for less than a whole year. It was a-"

"And now I'm a laughing stock." He interrupted, dropping his apple core onto the plate below. "My reputation is ruined." His face remained stoic, but his voice shook.

Again, saving everyone from silence, Jill spoke up. "So what's your next move, Indigo? We're still trying to figure out ours."

"Weeeeell," Indigo drew out the word. "I... don't really know. I was just going to go to the next contest?" It sounded more like a question than an answer. "See the sights too, on the way. I haven't thought about it too much... What about you guys?"

"Well, the next arena is in Valpisa Town." Jill answered, happy to change the subject. "It's home to the Clear Sky Arena. We'll have to go there eventually. I need the badge and you two need the ribbon."

"Right," Indy nodded. "Valpisa? I still haven't looked up where that is. Thanks for letting me know. Do you know when the contest is? And how long it takes to get to Valpisa?"

Jack remained silent, content with letting his sister do the talking. "If we were to go straight there, it would take about two days, counting time to rest. Of course, we would want to catch Pokemon and train along the way, so we're probably looking at longer than that."

The very mention of that much effort woke Jack from his daze. "There has to be a better way to get around. That's ridiculous."

"Well, until we catch Pokemon that we can ride, that's the only way." Jill shrugged. "What about you Indigo? Have you caught any Pokemon that you can ride yet?"

"No," Indy shook his head. "I've seen some cool ones, like I saw this Rapidash the other day-- super beautiful. But I don't have any of my own.... Wait, could we maybe rent some ride pokemon?"

"Rent ride Pokemon? Yeah... I think I heard something about that." Jill answered. "I think there's a Pokedex app for that." She pulled out her Pokedex. "You have to download it though. It's not pre-installed."
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