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Zaria Brightly

Having already headed into the classroom before Evey and Masaru had left, Zaria didn't realize there were going to be homeroom tournaments. For the present, she remained blissfully unaware, already daydreaming of being one of the popular and accomplished students of PMA. Perhaps the first hour of school had been embarrassing, but she could redeem herself if she studied and worked hard. Students would start coming up to her then, she was sure.

She managed to pull her head out of the clouds when class began, especially with Caprea introducing her pokemon. The Tropius and Bronzong both impressed and intimidated Zaria who had never heard of them, let alone seen them before. Woah, so cool... Intense too. Thankfully, they could take their pokemon out just as Caprea had. So Zaria released Magnet from his capsule and they both headed over to the back along with everyone else. Eventually settling for a cushion, his single eye swiveled around the room curiously before settling on Zaria as she patted his head. "This is class time, so you'll just need to sit tight and wait, okay? I know we don't really know each other yet, Magnet, but please be good." He let out a beep that sounded like agreement in return.

Settling in again once more, Caprea shook things up by having everyone play an ice-breaker game that seemed pretty fun. I've got this, I've got experience, I can come up with something good! That was how she felt initially... Yet achievement after achievement from her peers came up, and she couldn't help but feel discouraged as her turn neared; even Troy and Netty had ended up kicking it out of the park, she thought with a twinge of envy. Tim had come off as shy, but on the flip side he'd had that popular Evey girl come up to him, so it all kind of cancelled out (in Zaria's eyes) anyways.

How was she supposed to set herself apart in all this, then? Well... I guess it's less what you say, and more about how you say it. Okay, fine! I've still got this. It'll be great. When she was finally called up, Zaria grinned as she faced the class and saluted everyone, life an offcer or ranger would. Here we go!

"I'm Zaria, a junior ranger! I've experienced a forest fire, I've seen a shiny Butterfree, and I've rescued over 50 pokemon!" Zaria blurted it all out as fast as she could, realizing that her second to last statement was the lie she had been touting as truth earlier. Oh no! Damn, me and my big mouth! Why?! Well, there was no turning back now. Her other two statements were as close to the truth as it got, and they sounded much more impressive than the dumb Butterfree story she'd made up, so she didn't feel like she had the option to switch the verity of them around. I just gotta go along with it and apologize to the others after class. Hopefully it'll be okay.

The first guess was tossed out, with someone calling out that she hadn't been in a forest fire. Zaria grinned, pleased that she got to elaborate before someone made the correct choice. "Actually, I was! We were called onto the scene and there weren't a lot of water pokemon to help, so it was tricky to deal with. We ended up containing it though!" It sounded a lot more dangerous than it had been, especially since it had been a very small fire, but that was neither here nor there.

She probably hadn't rescued over 50 pokemon, someone else said. "Ha, I definitely have, and that number's only gonna get higher, just so ya know." Nevermind that well over half of those had been measly pet rescues, nobody needed to know anymore than what she said. It all culminated in the lie being left then, which Zaria had to own up to completely, whether she liked it or not.

"I guess you'd all know by now anyways, but I haven't seen a shiny Butterfree, haha! So, um, that was my lie." Ugh. She made sure not to look at Netty, Troy, or Tim, as she went back to sit down. Hopefully they wouldn't roast her too much.

Zaria Brightly

The spat resolved itself quickly enough, but not without Antoinetta getting the last word. That was fine with Zaria, she had been past done at that point. She's probably just sensitive. People had insulted her plenty about her preferences of things, and that was supposed to be normal and fine, right? She'd had things she cherished made fun of before, and people had always told her she was being silly. Netty had probably had people saying yes to her all her life, Zaria thought with a roll of her eyes. She and her stupid contests, she fumed while trying to brush away the feather of jealousy that kept tickling her.

Troy shot down her request, and though she felt a little miffed, she got over it pretty quick. Should she have been surprised? Probably not.

When they reached class, a pair of students were waiting for them, though they seemed more intrigued by Troy and Tim. Again, Zaria felt a pang of inadequacy. Why hadn't anyone come up to her? Learning that their names were Evey and Masaru, she studied them, but once Evey started her reprimands she didn't want to listen anymore. Ughhhh, do they need to bring this morning up? I was the one who started the whole damn thing. Then I just shouted at everyone! Can't wait to forget about this... Too busy internally freaking out, she didn't notice anything else off about Evey, but Zaria did decide that she would avoid her at all cost anyways. Evey had made her feel awful about herself, and she tended to steer clear of people who did so, friend or foe or stranger.

Her cheeks tinged with pink from embarrassment and her grin looking sheepish, she excused herself. "Yeah, class, so I'm gonna head in. See you guys," she said, slipping past her peers to the classroom where she could just sit and think.

Zaria Brightly

"Ahem, I think you'll find there's more to 'weird' Pokemon than you think," Netty said, making air quotations. "I'll have you know, there's a coordinator in Sinnoh who proves Ghost types are anything but weird and ugly like people usually think. They can be just as stylish as any other Pokemon. And believe me, so can bugs." She put her hands on her hips. "Care to tell me, Miss Badass, what exactly makes a Pokemon cool enough for top ranger standards?"

Huh? I don't get it. Why is she mad? It's just a little harmless banter! Zaria was so confused. She was sure she had already de-escalated the situation with her silly little joke. Okay, perhaps it hadn't been a full joke, as she did prefer 'big cool looking' pokemon. Nevertheless, she really didn't get why Antoinetta was so upset. It was just an opinion, wasn't it? Why take it so seriously? All the same, Zaria was starting to get angry too, but she wasn't ready to deal with the confrontation. Netty was intimidating, as much as she hated to admit it.

So she would attempt to lighten the mood and make amends. As Zaria was confronted with someone who had a problem with her, her nature was to keep de-escalating and not take the situation seriously. Thinking it best to keep it playful, she replied as cheerfully as she could. That way, Netty would know she didn't mean any harm, right? Well, it was a strategy, but it wasn't the right one; nor did she have the social tact to pull it off.

"Ahahaha, please! Who cares? You're taking this the wrong way, there's nothing to worry about!" Zaria reassured her, barely listening to Netty's impassioned words.

Strike one.

"Nobody said anything about ghost or bug types! I didn't say they couldn't be cool. All I said was that Butterfree were ugly and weird. And we can have different tastes! I might prefer a Garchomp to a Butterfree, but that's fine! You're blowing this out of proportion. Just relax!" Of course telling someone to relax when they were upset was a terrible approach, not that she considered that. She thought she was being playful. She was smiling, she was laughing. There wasn't anything to be mad about.

Strike two.

"Anyways, to tell you the truth, I don't care about contests. They're kinda lame? And that's just another opinion you know, nothing to get upset over!" Zaria's voice rose just at the end, though she didn't mean for it to. Things were becoming heated, she was nervous, and it had just slipped out. She immediately regretted it. No she didn't! Contests were vain and useless and all they did was focus on the shallow aspects of pokemon, no matter what anyone said. So she had nothing to regret, right? She was here to be learn how to become a selfless pokemon ranger hero, not some prancing puppet on stage. She had better things to focus on.

"Sooo, can we just move on? I'm done talking about this. Say, Troy, you didn't take your pokemon out at the ceremony, right? What kind do you have? Show us your starter! Inquiring minds wanna know! Haha, right Netty?" Surely, things would lighten up.

But that was strike three.

Just as that happened though, a Gust from the Combee blew over them, ruffling Zaria's hair and clothes. It didn't hurt, just felt like a strong breeze. Magnet seemed to ask Combee why it was doing such a thing, ever curious. The pokemon hadn't quite spent too much time around human adolescents, and was learning all he could about their mannerisms and behaviors. His human in particular smiled quite a bit, but he felt like there was something else behind it. He couldn't quite put his magnets on it, though. Instead he zoomed over to Zaria, asking for pets, which she obliged, before flying back over to Mell to continue the discussion. So far, he could mostly understand her, though some of the cries were harder to distinguish with the three heads and their own colloquial rules.

The little distractions like Magnet and Mell interceding made Zaria think the spat was over. She had forgotten her anger anyways, as she tended to do. Her father's awful temper had made her afraid of turning out like him, so she was conscious of her ire and tried not to give into it. Besides, why be angry when you could just be happy? So she smoothed her hair and patted her skirt, making sure she didn't look too mussed before class. "Ahahaha! That was funny! Your Combee's cool!" Zaria would have never had one on her own team, but Netty didn't need to know that and it was cute enough. I appreciate all pokemon, I'm just not gonna have something lame on my team!


Zaria Brightly

"Wrong!" Tim interjected. He regretted saying it as soon as the words left his mouth, but it was already out there now. "Butterfrees are adorable... I mean... aren't rangers supposed to appreciate all Pokemon?”

Zaria was taken aback by Tim; his reaction was not one she had expected. "Well I never said I didn't appreciate them-" she wanted to defend herself. After all, wasn't it a matter of opinion? She wasn't going to go out and hurt Butterfree just because she thought they were creepy. Normally she was better at spitting out responses, but she was unsure how she felt, as the statement made her feel quite guilty. So would she be a bad ranger if she didn't like every single pokemon? But as she was working it out in her head, before she could say anything else, Troy interjected.

"Not necessarily. Their job is to protect all Pokemon, but they need only appreciate the most useful pokemon available to help them do their job."

Wait, she hadn't expected him to be on her side, if she could have even called it that. But wait. She squinted, thinking. She still didn't quite resonate with what Troy said either. They don't need to appreciate pokemon that are only useful to them, right? I don't think or feel that way. I think rangers just need to be... Troy continued. Zaria kept thinking.

"Butterfree tend to be less useful than Venomoth in battle, though I'm not knowledgeable enough to say whether that translates to a Ranger's job or not."

How did he know whether Butterfree were better than Venomoth in battle or not? That didn't seem completely right, yet he spoke it as if it were absolute truth. To Zaria, Troy seemed too sure of himself, to the point of arrogance. So when he mentioned he had seen 'countless' shiny pokemon and how his daddy had so many shinies, she'd had enough. Ugh, quit acting like such a know-it-all! It was stressing her out, especially his 'suggestion'. What was she even supposed to trade with in the first place? What had been the point of that bogus advice she clearly could not act on? Just ignore it. he's full of himself.

When the conversation moved- as conversations tended to- over to Tim and his aspirations, there were some other points of discussion. Zaria chimed in when she had the chance, eager to share her own thoughts, if only because they kept rattling around in her head, insistent to come out and be heard.

"I think you could get a lot of jobs just raising pokemon for companionship, focusing on making sure they're happy and healthy. I had a neighbor who was elderly, and she had a support pokemon from a breeder, an Ivysaur. He was just incredible with how much he helped her around the house. And his senses were incredible, she never fell when Ivy was by her side... Even if he was kinda dumb looking," she added. "Okay, don't crucify me for saying that. It's an opinion! Having an opinion and not respecting pokemon are different things. Just because I think a pokemon might be ugly, doesn't mean I don't appreciate them. I'm just sayin' it how it is. But it's not just about which ones are the most useful, either! Hear me out."

Zaria paused, hoping to be heard.

"For rangers, I feel like 'appreciation' is more about understanding ecological niche. Butterfree are important pollinators, and they play a huge role in feeding the entire world. Even though a forest may have hundreds of pokemon, those pokemon populations affect environments in unique and important ways. There's a balance, a cycle, and rangers have to acknowledge pokemon under that context more than anything. They're stewards of the wild. I definitely appreciate that."

She shrugged.

"So anyways, you can think Butterfree are cute but they're weird to me! I like big, strong, cool looking pokemon. If I'm going to be a Top Ranger, I'm gonna need a bunch of badasses like me," she laughed, trying to keep the mood light and upbeat. Still, she didn't realize that she had the tact of a Donphan when she spoke about pokemon so shallowly. Definitely something she'd need to work on, for sure, once she was self-aware enough.

Zaria Brightly

"Oh yeah, I once saw a Roselia with black and purple flowers in a contest,"

Zaria had never been to a contest in person. Of course not, her father had been much too strict. She'd hardly had T.V., though she had eventually gotten herself a secret smart phone. Having spent countless hours staring wistfully at that tiny screen underneath her covers at night, it was only natural to feel jealous. "That must have been cool," she said lightly, feeling an internal stir. Contests were dumb, she knew that. A ranger wouldn't waste time with contests when they were supposed to be out saving the wilderness and pokemon. Of course not. And she didn't want to be in a contest at all. Not one bit.

As the conversation went on to talk about the shiny pokemon from the assembly, Netty asked Zaria a question she hadn't expected.

"You like Butterfrees?"

A grin spread on Zaria's face, bubbling into mirthful giggles. "Oh, well the shiny was cool, but-" She guffawed, not realizing how hurtful her comments could be.

"-They're just not my kind of pokemon. I mean they're alright! I just wouldn't want one. Ever." She waved a hand dismissively. "They're freaky!" Naturally, she didn't understand how her words could affect Antoinetta, Zaria was just spitting out her thoughts as they came naturally. To her, this was just sharing of opinion and harmless fun, as her oblivious self had not picked up on Netty's apparent love of the bug type. "They're pretty from afar I guess, but if you get up close and see their face, they're just gross," she added with a snicker.

Butterfree of course, roamed the land and rangers saw them commonly. But Zaria figured she wouldn't need to deal with them too often as they could fly away from most danger. When heavy storms, fires, or floods hit, flying types were safe. Not to mention poachers or the like were hardly after pokemon as common as Butterfree either. She was all but grateful that she would never have to handle a strange, hairy, alien-like Butterfree up close.


@Ryik@Crimson Flame@LuckyBlackCat
Zaria Brightly

"I guess we might as well," Netty replied. "Just, uh, try not to crash into anyone this time."

Zaria bristled and squirmed at Antoinetta's comment. Though Netty had most likely not assumed any maliciousness, thin-skinned people like herself were torn easily. Still she tried to quip back with cheeriness and a jovial attitude.

"Huh? You're one to talk!" Zaria shot a mischievous smile. "Pretty sure you fell more than me, Antenna! We'll call it even though," she added with a grin. There, that felt relaxed with just enough hint of challenge.

They were joined by Tim and Troy rather shortly, and the group was walking together now. Tim was definitely cool, but Zaria couldn't figure Troy out. Why did he seem so mad all the time? Was that just his face? She didn't for a moment consider it may have been her own biased perception, and instead leaned into the idea that Troy was just permanently angry looking. He seemed like a huge grump, and she would avoid him like her life depended on it at all costs. Hopefully, I won't ever have to partner up with him.

They walked through the school, taking a scenic outdoor path that seemed to be a simple way to class 2A. Realizing that she could take Magnet out once more, Zaria pressed the release button on her pokeball, "come out, Magnet, enjoy the fresh air!" Out came the Magnemite that the New Bark Rangers had sent her, his screws whirling and his magnets gently ticking this way and that. Out of his ball once more, the hyper and curious Magnemite zoomed over to Mellona, intrigued by her three heads. He let out a series of electronic cries, probably asking Mellona all sorts of questions about it.

It was a little funny how similar Zaria and Magnet were, really, as Zaria wanted to chat too while they walked. Both trainer and pokemon were quite talkative. "What a morning, huh? Things got kinda crazy there. But we got to see that shiny grass pokemon. That was amazing! You know, I saw a Butterfree like that once! It was pink instead of purple, and super pretty. Saw it when I was out on ranger patrol." Well, she had seen the Butterfree in a photo on the internet. But they didn't need to know that. They just needed to think she was cool. Doubtless, their heads would be filled with amazing imagery of her being a badass while she was out on the field, Zaria was sure. "Cool, right? What about you guys? Have you guys ever seen shinies before?"

@Ryik@Crimson Flame@LuckyBlackCat
Zaria Brightly

"I... don't know... Can you stop bullies from existing? I just got here, and people are already talking bad about me, and I didn't even do anything to them. I already got enough of this in my last school. I didn't want it here. Now it's going to happen again. I just want to be a Pokemon Breeder and raise a lot of Pokemon. Not endure the wrath of other kids...

Rocky let out a few friendly barks, and Tim rubbed the dog Pokemon's head reassuringly. He took a breath, and his eyes went wide. "Oh... um... Oh gosh... I'm sorry... I didn't mean to unload all that on you..."

Zaria shook her head, feeling sympathetic. She had been bullied too, though perhaps not to the extent that Tim had been, she thought. She'd been made fun of a few times at her previous school in a few classes, sure. But for the most part she'd been more of someone who blended in the crowd, really. Cracking a joke here and there, being relatively friendly, but not standing out. She had spent most of her lunches alone, or perhaps in a group of 'friends' that didn't really know her.

Whether their past was similar or not- they had gone through this incident together, the hurt was all too real, and she found herself understanding Tim. "No, no, you're fine," she interjected at his apology. "It sucks, I get it. You shouldn't have to apologize. We shouldn't have to." Maybe the jeering students would stop soon. It was getting hard to think and she was getting angrier. "They're just a bunch of assholes." She wanted to stick up for herself more! Put them in their place! Why couldn't she? "I wish I knew what to do..." She hissed between gritted teeth.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a Combee buzzing around her. "Wha-?" She was confused momentarily, until she realized the bug pokemon was trying to cheer her up. "Oh, thank you..." It had been the other green-haired girl's pokemon. Her name was Antoinetta, wasn't it? Zaria looked over in her direction, just as Antoinetta made another declaration.

I wish... She felt grateful for them sticking up, but a tinge of jealousy all the same. How could they be so strong? Well, I could be too! But when she tried to open her mouth to chime in, no sound came out. Her tears had long stopped, but now she was just left with regret and feeling helpless. That boy from earlier had been right whe he had told her to ignore the others; it irritated her so that she had to admit it. He was still kinda an ass, but I get where he was coming from now.

Another teacher burst onto the scene with their pokemon, a floral, spicy smell filling the air. Zaria stared- the pokemon was clearly rare, with a wreath of golden orange flower petals around their neck. They glimmered with a sparkle that she had only seen once before on a pink Butterfree. Then, did that mean this pokemon was-? Wow, a shiny! She marveled at the pokemon, who made a beeline for Tim. "Ah, well, thank you," Zaria muttered sheepishly as the Meganium gave her a well-intentioned nudge after checking on Tim first. Somehow, she had calmed down so much quicker than she had expected to. No, it wasn't as if she had forgotten what had been going on, but her heart wasn't racing and she felt so oddly yet gloriously relaxed. What is that? Was it the grass pokemon with Tim? Even around her, the chaos began to quiet. It wasn't just her, everyone was feeling a little calmer, apparently. The feeling sort of swelled before ebbing away quietly. At least the noise had finally stopped. Zaria let out a sigh. So was it over...?

Apparently not.

“If they’re gonna talk about you, give ‘em somethin’ to talk about. She gets it.” the girl said with a nod towards the green-haired one.

Zaria really didn't want to hear how she was supposed to be acting, she wanted to get on with her day and just forget about this whole mess. I'm over this whole thing and people telling me what to do, she thought. So when Val made a show of her middle fingers to the crowd, Zaria couldn't help but roll her eyes. Couldn't they just move on? What was the point of instigating any more? But at Valerie's mention of hanging out again, she perked up. A motley group of friends just like in the movies and shows she had seen. "Not the best start off to a friendship, but I'd be cool hanging later!" Why not? What did she have to lose?

Magnet beeped next to her, hovering close. Zaria patted his head before returning him to his ball. In the amphitheatre, other trainers were recalling their pokemon and people were taking their seats as the ceremony began. Squaring her shoulders and sitting up straight, Zaria vowed to absorb every word and syllable that left Principal Poplar's face. Yes, she would be alert and a perfect, model student. After around a minute or so, she assured herself that the first few minutes of Poplar's lecture weren't important. He was just talking about the future and how the school was honored. Zaria closed her eyes, because she could still listen with her ears of course! Her eyes didn't need to be open. Suffice it to say, Zaria nodded off without a care soon enough. Being dark, with the exception of the stage being lit up as formal ceremonies went, it was also the perfect ticket to a nap.

When the lecture was over and the general bustle began to sound as people prepared to leave, Zaria awoke with a jolt. Had she slept through that entire speech? How long had it been? Had anyone noticed? She shook her head, feeling groggy. Class. Go to class. You have to get to your homeroom after this, remember? But... Wait... She paused, thinking.

She didn't know the way to homeroom, come to think of it, she didn't even know the room number! HOW COULD I FORGET? This was the worst of all days, truly. Arceus, she'd have to ask someone around her to help her get to class. How embarrassing was that? First tripping, then seeming like a coward, sleeping through the ceremony, and now forgetting her homeroom.

Well she had to save face somehow. If she addressed the group, then perhaps she could work off what Valerie had said earlier, about them all getting together."Hey! Guys, does anyone want to walk to class together? Tim? Anotinetta? Er, Troy? It'd be kinda nice after everything that just happened," Zaria let out a sheepish laugh. There was strength in numbers, but more importantly, one of these people had to know the way to class! And there was no way she was going to admit that she didn't know the way.

@Ryik@LuckyBlackCat@Crimson Flame

Eterna Forest | 10:30 AM

Eterna Forest was known as the place where time stood still in the pokemon world. Famous for being one of the particularly large and puzzling forests to navigate through, there were countless campfire stories about trainers going in and never coming out.

Cyan Marcet, on the other hand, had dismissed these so-called warnings as urban legend and bullshit. Eterna Forest was a forest just like any other, and they lived in the wonderous age of technology where devices could pinpoint location from anywhere in the world. How could anyone get lost in Eterna Forest when there were perfectly capable cell towers just over in Eterna City? Perhaps there were odd spots and areas where signal couldn't reach, but just walking around could remedy that. A year and a half into their pokemon journey, Cy had navigated through enough woodland to understand the basic approach to any forest. Any trainer worth their salt could figure their way out, really. Have a fully charged pokedex, a back-up battery, a few local maps downloaded in case cell service was lost. Follow the route laid out, and if you lost service, use the local maps. It was that simple. Throw in a childhood of running around one of the largest and complex port cities of the region, and all the signs pointed to Cyan Marcet being perfectly capable of navigating a forest. Because that's all Eterna was, not some fabled place shrouded in mystery.

Yes, it was a large forest and maybe Cy had forgotten their back-up battery but they should have been able to find their way back. They hadn't ventured that deep— had they? Signal had been spotty from the get go, but Cy had been fairly confident that the pokedex had been doing an accurate job of tracking their location. The dex hadn't reloaded and updated as consistently as they hoped it would, but it had seemed fine.

"Daru? What do you think?" Cy directed their question towards the ice-type in question. He was a stout, round little ball of white, snowy fur with ice crystals and a perpetual frown.

"Da?" Daru waggled his arms and blew out a gust of freezing air, creating a small snowball. He promptly threw the snowball at a tree and jumped around furiously.

"You weren't paying attention? Daru!" Cy was more than irritated now. Daru was a more recent addition to the team who didn't listen all the time and regularly skirted around the rules. The little creature had pounced upon them around Snowpoint City after Cy had offered some food, and Daru had decided to stick around thereafter. But he had a wild side to him and liked to challenge Cy when he could.

"Piiiii!" Triton the Piplup, a proud little puff of a light blue down and watery eyes shrieked at Daru for not listening to Cyan.

"Triton, no-"

"Iiiiiii!" Triton ran towards Daru, beak glowing with the indication of Peck.

"No, don't start fighting-" Cy reflexively grabbed the Piplup with his left arm and scooped the Darmanitan with his right. "We don't need this right now." Their voice was firm. Triton, ever obedient, immediately sunk with a disappointed expression on his face. The proud little penguin had been more than dissatisfied with this new team mate since he'd joined, and it was all Cy could do to stop Triton from picking fights for no reason. Meanwhile Daru was content to ignore Triton and keep throwing snowballs into the distance. At least it's not attracting any angry wild pokemon, they thought, but this wasa tad excessive. Cyan patted Daru on the head coaxingly. "Why don't you take a nap or something? You're going to wear yourself out. And you don't have to go in your pokeball..." Cy unzipped their backpack. "You love being in here, right?"

Daru glanced at Cy and the backpack a few times before leaping in and retracting his limbs. His eyes shut slowly, and soon he looked just like an icy tumbler doll in Cy's backpack.

Triton let out a huff and Cy scooped him onto their shoulder. "Come on. We've got to find a way out of here, not that we're lost. I mean we're not that lost. Triton, I know you were paying attention." They'd find their way out.

Zaria Brightly

Zaria couldn't help but feel powerless after the situation worsened. The proud girl from earlier had tripped and the boy who had tried to talk to her was crying. They had both tried helping her, but proximity wise Zaria was closer to the boy with the Rockruff. Besides that, he sort of looked like he needed more help anyways. Just as she was about to go to him, the blank-faced trainer spoke to her.

"Just ignore them. They're only engaging in the worst form of tribalism. The ones hurling insults like children could care less about anything embarrassing you've done and the rest are either apathetic or subject to the bystander effect."

"I, well..." He was difficult to grasp, and his being intimidating didn't help. Everything about him was so brusque and brief. So was he angry or something? Or was he looking down on her? After all, it was easy for him to tell her to ignore it. He hadn't tripped once today! Unable to get a proper read on him, she took a deep breath, trying to stop from shaking.

The other trainer's intimidating vibe, combined with the jeers and bullying in the background, wasn't conducive to a productive conversation in the least bit. And in spite of his words even resonating with her some, Zaria saw them more as a form of lecturing or criticizing than friendly advice, unfortunately.

"I don't know," she said in a low voice. "But I couldn't just ignore it! It didn't help!" The latter burst out of her. "I can't just-- maybe you don't get it. Nevermind. I'm sorry, okay?! Just leave me alone! She avoided his gaze and went over to the trainer with the Rockruff.

"Hey, I-" she had no idea what to say. Her eyes slid down to his nametag. "Tim?" A pause before she sat down next to him, finally releasing Magnet from her grip.

"Tim? Is there anything I can do to help?"

@Ryik@Crimson Flame
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