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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
Zaria slowly opened her eyes, skull ringing and still feeling very tender. "Ow..." She touched the giant swelling bump on her forehead. She was not only an idiot, she now looked like one too. Magnet beeped, increasingly worried as he saw Zaria's facial expression change several times before scrunching into an upset look.

A concerned voice broke her thoughts, and she looked over to see a kind, good-natured looking boy shuffling his feet. He was stuttering as he asked, "Um... excuse me... A-a-are you ok...?"

Zaria wondered if she had scared him, why else would he have seemed so afraid of her? Until she realized the whispers she had feared earlier had turned into shouts and laughter. Her heart racing with cold dread, she turned to face the crowd that had gathered.

How had this happened? A quick glance around the surroundings told her she couldn't be sure how the others were taking it, since she didn't really know the lot of them. Self-conscious and full of doubt though, Zaria couldn't help but wonder: did any of the other four blame her? A part of her wanted to defend herself, say it wasn't her fault. But then another side of her was convinced that if she hadn't tripped, none of this would have happened. Either way, it was one thing to ruin the first day of school for yourself, it was another thing to ruin it for a bunch of other people. She took a deep breath, feeling her lower lip tremble. No, she couldn't cry here. Not now. Not ever. It was too embarrassing.

And yet, she could feel the hot tears squeezing out when she blinked. Nooooo! But it was too late, trying to hold them off was futile. They were already here, streaming down her face. I must look like such a pathetic wimp... She cried too easily, she tripped too easily, she was just a walking disaster. Why did this day have to start off so horribly? No, no, try to think about something different. You have to calm yourself down. Else she'd just turn into a blubbering mess. The memory of her father telling her she could never be a trainer flashed in Zaria's mind, and her melancholy began to churn, boiling into something else.

How did these little assholes dare to mock them when they had hardly done anything wrong? When she really thought about it, what were these stupid kids laughing at anyways? They were acting as if they had never tripped in their lives, never had a pokemon that disobeyed them. The more Zaria fixated on it, the angrier she became. Who were these other students to judge them and say they were idiots? This was exactly the way her father had used to make her feel. Inferior, less, unworthy... They deserved to be there, just as much as any of them. She marched out of the aisle, just a little more towards the crowd, closer to the group of five transfer students they were. At least they were in this together, sort of.

"LEAVE US ALONE!" Well, she wasn't the greatest with comebacks, but she hoped she seemed a little tougher at least. Hugging Magnet tightly even though he was way too hard and it hurt, she stood shaking from the adrenaline surging throughout her body.

Zaria Brightly

She had fallen on her face, cheek pressed to the ground as Zaria bent her elbows to break her fall. It was a common and simple trick they taught rangers since the ability to fall safely was the difference between being fine or having several broken limbs.
"Waugh..." She dragged her palm across her cheek as she looked up, realizing her foolishness. "I didn't mean for you to fall too! Ooooh." Zaria winced, how had she done this to herself and someone else? Damnit! I can't do anything right!

These ten seconds easily had to be some of the worst in her life. Falling in front of everybody bustling about! Sure, they were on the far right side of the amphitheatre, but there were so many snickers she swore she could hear around her, along with the guffawing Munchlax that was pointing directly at them. How have I screwed up this bad already? Ugh... I am the world's biggest asshole, Zaria solemnly thought as she rose to her feet. I have to fix this somehow! I have to!

There were some poffin and berries in her bag, Zaria remembered. She was always packing snacks; they were a necessity for being out long periods of time. I think those would help sweeten the situation. She gratefully accepted the extended hand that Antoinetta offered. "Ah, yeah, I'm okay. Again, I'm really sorry about that." Her heart was racing; surely she must have appeared to be a fool in a front of everyone, especially this girl. Whoever she was, she had a presence.

"But, I have some berries in my bag, and some poffin, and I don't know, I thought maybe I could offer some... Let me get them, stay right there!" Zaria was on it, her bag was in her seat and there was nothing in her way, except Magnet. She felt her skull ringing as her forehead collided with Magnet's, sending her stumbling over Valerie and plopping her into her own seat. "Owww..." She slumped, pressing her palm to her brow. "Magnet, maybe move next time..."

The Magnemite let out a sympathetic, "maag." He hovered just above Zaria, concerned. It was clear he was still learning, and had not quite realized how physically hard his body was. "Mag?"

"You're fine, I just need a second..." This was the worst.

Zaria Brightly

Zaria had received her first pokemon in her dorm room. It had been waiting for her on a sleek, cylindrical stand that was perched on-top of a dresser. She noticed it immediately, though there were quite a few things that hit her at once. One, how grand and spacious the dormitories were, two, how she was finally truly here at PMA, and three, how exhausted she was from her journey. New Bark to Marvolo had been a two-day string of connecting flights that were either late or delayed. Not to mention, sleeping on planes was terrible.

But she was here, thankfully, at last, and PMA was more than Zaria had imagined. She definitely hadn't expected a pokeball to be out in her room waiting for her, but there appeared to be one. There was an envelope right beside it, so Zaria hurriedly shrugged off her sparse luggage and hastily went to retrieve them. [color=lavender]"A pokeball! Does it have a pokemon in it? From who-?"[/quote] Her eyes glistened as she read the note.

It was a gift from the New Bark Rangers! "Oh no, they shouldn't have! Ah, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't completely thrilled! A pokemon, wow!" Though the school hadn't required anyone to have a pokemon to enter, and promised plenty of catching opportunities, it had been a nagging worry in the back of Zaria's mind. And just like that, it had been solved. "Thanks, you guys! That's one less thing I have to worry about!" What pokemon had they given her? "Oooooh, I've always wanted to say this! Go! I choose you! Take the stage!" Giddily, she pressed the release button on the pokeball.

In a flash of light, a creature coalesced. Shiny, round, and metallic, they opened their single eye to study Zaria.

"Uh, hmmmm..." Zaria furrowed her brow and studied the creature right back. "Wow, you are completely not what I expected! What are you called again? Magnetite?" It didn't sound quite right but it was close enough as far as she was concerned.

The pokemon sounded back a metallic, drawn out, "maaag."

Zaria reached forward and patted the Magnemite. "I'll just call you Magnet for now... Or something. My name's Zaria, and from this day on, we're partners." She stretched her arms out. "And, oh! It's so late. We gotta get to sleep soon. The opening ceremony's tomorrow, but let's talk while we get ready for bed!"


She was going to be late! Zaria had overslept, and the amphitheatre was quite a walk away from the dormitories. She had to gun it! "I'm late! Shooooooot! This is gonna be my last day if I don't hurry! Magnet come on!" Magnet, of course, didn't need to hurry as much as Zaria did, but breezily floated by her anyways. She was pretty sure he was laughing at her, but that couldn't be helped right now.

She was sprinting, trying not to muss herself up or get too sweaty but that wasn't working. After what seemed like ages, the amphitheatre loomed in the distance and Zaria could see a group of stragglers making their way. So she had made it! She took a moment to compose herself outside before straightening her shoulders and heading in.

Entering the theatre, it took her a moment to figure out how the logistics of everything worked. But once she understood she was heading to third row with her class, Zaria made her way through. So she had made it to the entrance ceremony with her pokemon and not too many things had gone wrong. This was okay. She had nothing to worry about- she was falling suddenly. Her foot had slipped out from beneath her, and she tumbled into a girl with green hair and a pretty dress before she realized it. "Oh no! I, um, sorry!"

@LuckyBlackCat yeah! Seems like it would be funny if they got into a spat xD
I'd like to change my name to jujube please! thank you!
Edited cs!

edit: Yay! Can't wait to start!

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