You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. That’s how the old proverb went, yeah? Well, Maddie was just so close to finally just giving up and saying “fuck it” when, by some miracle of the Gods, the horse began to drink.
”Alright, if I answer that question of yours, would you leave me alone?
Actually why am I asking… if you would have, you would have done so already. Unless you are the most socially unaware person out there.”
Her best customer service face on full display, it took everything in Maddie’s power not to laugh in the woman’s face. Granted, Maddie WAS being rather pushy at the moment, but it wasn’t as if Little Miss Lone Wolf over here was much more...let’s say ‘socially aware’, shall we? The gall of this woman. If anything, they were just two little socially inept peas in a pod.
“Nai… that is my name.” the woman said. Nai. Just Nai, no surname? Alright then. Well, obviously the woman was lying to her, although people often choose aliases that are somewhat similar to their actual name or otherwise personal to them when asked to deliver one on the spot. Unless the woman was in a habit of giving out fake names, Maddie had SOME sort of workable information.
"Back to work, I go. Don't do anything I wouldn't do, you two."
Maddie turned back and stared at the now fleeing SOLDIER and silently let loose a string of profanities. He was leaving her alone with the psychopath. Awesome. Super great. Love that. As she turned back to face “Nai” and head back down the path, she caught the woman rolling her eyes and muttering to herself.
“I wonder what the chance for another rampaging Shinra prototype to be the reason for his anger just now...”
Maddie bit her lip and shrugged before taking a few steps ahead of the other woman and continuing her path back towards town. It would be shorter than going back the way she had come then going all the way around anyway. With her back to the Nai, Maddie began to replay the events of the fight in her head. Nai had triggered a reset in the mech which had halted its little rampage but…
How did she know it was a prototype?
It was possible that Soldierboy had let the cat out of the bag before she had arrived - he didn’t seem to be the best at handling sensitive information after all - but if he hadn’t, then how would some crippled slum rat be capable of making that distinction? It wasn’t all that surprising to Maddie that there were a number of individuals capable of forcing their way into Shinra’s systems - the absurd list of handles she had to memorize was a testament to that - but...the X-1 was new. As in, bleeding edge new. As in, not even a whisper of it on the WWN before the leak she herself had posted not even twelve hours ago. For Nai to have recognized it as a prototype…
Well, it certainly was possible it was just a guess. A slip of the tongue, even? But then why use the word ‘prototype’? Wouldn’t the more logical conclusion be that it was just a new series or model? Why prototype?
Was it...could she be...?
Nai might have seen the leak. Might have even been the person who had inquired about it.
But what would the chances be of her ALSO being the naughty little cybercriminal that Mr. Tseng wanted her to find? That would have been one HELL of a coincidence...but...
Nai certainly fit the profile: loner, proficient enough to get past Shinra cybersecurity, familiar with Shinra systems, and a deep loathing for Shinra - evident from her rather harsh interactions with both Maddie and the Soldier.
“Alright, so you got my name now what do you want?
The truth? Evidence to show that she was the cyberterrorist? Permission to put two in her skull?
“Maybe a shower.” ‘Naomi’ sighed absentmindedly, perhaps the first true thing she had said all day.
”What’s a consultant doing in Shinra anyways? You doing the same thing as the mayor, sitting in an office looking busy?”
Odd comment about the mayor aside, ‘Naomi’ spun on her heels and looked at Nai as she walked backwards.
“Hardly. I’m actually an engineer in Shinra’s Advanced Weaponry Division. We make things like...well, THAT.” Naomi paused, nodding towards the idle mech. “Well...I say that, but I haven’t gotten to actually contribute much in a while. I committed the unforgivable sin of daring to question our Dear Department Head, so now I get to spend my time getting flown out to all sorts of nasty places to show meatheads like Soldier-boy back there how their new toys work. And when I’m not on a corporate-sponsored suicide trip, I get the honor of being the department’s errand girl.” she ranted, getting increasingly frustrated as she spoke.
Naomi took a moment to calm herself before speaking again, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
”Lovely woman, that Scarlet. I think you would absolutely adore her.”
She spun back around, narrowly avoiding stepping into a hole. As she continued on, she scanned the path ahead, looking for any approaching nasties.
“So how about you? What’s got a disabled woman wandering around in a junkyard all alone?”
cha·os | \ ˈkā-ˌäs \ noun : the inherent unpredictability in the behavior of a complex natural system
Valerie was no stranger to the concept of chaos. One might even say that, on a base level, it was the very nature of chaos that so fascinated the young inquisitive mind. She sought to understand that unpredictability that moved every creature at its core. There was no ulterior motive, she was just simply...curious.
So it was that when the amphitheatre erupted into a cacophony of laughter, sneers, and jeers all pointed in her little group’s direction, Valerie fell into observation mode. Humans, despite how superior they as a species like to believe they are, are not above the laws that govern nature’s creatures. They behave in predictable ways in response to chaos.
Take the larger group for example: when confronted with an oddity within itself, a weakness of sorts, they choose to attack. A bygone relic of humanity’s past as predators within the wild? It made sense - eliminating the weak only served to strengthen the overall group, did it not?
When confronted with an attack, it’s natural for a creature to try to fend off its attacker. Just look at Zaria or Antoinetta : backed into a corner with the predator looming above, the prey will often try to appear threatening. Bristling its fur, barking, baring teeth. But fear was hard to hide. The girl shaking in her boots, the other -
Valerie watched as the girl tagged “Antoinetta” got caught in the labcoat and...her heel snapped. She fell to the ground, causing another round of laughter to rise from the peanut gallery. Valerie moved to apologize, but the obviously embarrassed girl stumbled once more trying to get up. As heartless as it may be, Valerie couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see how the girl would react now that she had humiliated herself before the “herd.”
But another of the group demonstrated a rather interesting response. It’s not unusual for prey to flee rather than fight. The boy “Tim” fled in his own way - by sitting down, by shutting off. An emotional flight rather than physical. Interesting. There was some merit to this - crying, at least in human society, tends to elicit a sympathetic response from some with others simply feeling uncomfortable around it. Either way, Tim’s use of it to push away his attackers and draw support was not lost on Valerie. It was fascinating.
There was, among the group, an apparent opportunist. The quiet one, who also demonstrated a more social form of flight by choosing to ignore the attack and appear above it, had seemed to fixate on Munchlax. Valerie had noticed the suspicious pokefood on the chair beside her when she woke up, and judging by the boy’s attempts at slyly sneaking glances at the fluffy pokepillow, she had suspected that he was the one who supplied it. This was, of course, confirmed when the boy marked “Troy” took advantage of Zaria’s outburst to flick a snack right towards Munchlax. Well, Valerie hadn’t overtly spotted it mind you, she was just as drawn to the sudden shout as anybody, but going by the pokesnack’s sudden disappearance, Munchlax munching down despite being pinned, and that oh-so-subtle look at satisfaction that Troy boy was obviously trying to hide, one could draw a reasonable hypothesis.
She’d let the boy have his victory - their little group could probably use one right about now - but she was curious about what he had said. He wasn’t wrong necessarily, there really wasn’t anything that any of them could do to stop the larger group now aside from blatant violence, but she would argue that no response was, in itself, another form of response. Pretending something wasn’t happening didn’t magically make it go away. Of course, Valerie understood the thinking behind it: don’t add fuel to fire. But creatures communicate in more ways than just verbal, and it was a helluva a lot harder to control one’s subtle body language than their words. By choosing to ignore the peanut gallery, Troy only invited them to amp up their attempts at getting a response. Perhaps he had the discipline to resist reacting, but...it was a curious response by itself.
As for herself?
It was difficult for Valerie to really gage her own reaction to this particular moment. She was, to put it bluntly, a freak. At least to her peers anyway. This sort of negative attention was something rather common for the girl. Well, perhaps not quite to this level. She was used to the judgemental stares, rude comments, and all that jazz, but typically people just avoided her. Well, except for some of the more...desperate guys. In any case, it was hard to be objective in her observations of herself. Any response she made would be made with full knowledge that she was analyzing herself. It made having an authentic reaction difficult. Normally, she’d probably go with Troy’s thinking: ignore it, it’s not worth the energy. Buuuut…
That wouldn’t be fun.
As the misfits began to talk amongst themselves, comforting each other and rallying together against the larger crowd, an idea began to form in Valerie’s mind. Only when Antoinetta’s issued her grand challenge to the student body did Val’s play solidify. A mischievous grin contorted the girl’s face. She was just about to put it in motion when an authoritative voice cut through the crowd. It seemed like a member of the faculty had finally decided to get involved. That...complicated the plan. But it wasn’t dead. Not fully. Not yet.
The aroma of a thousand flowery fields hit Val seemingly out of nowhere. It was as if she were adrift in a sea of petals, all her worries being carried away by beautiful waves of dazzling colors. Val spotted the source, a Meganium that was currently nuzzling her crying classmates.
Was it really ethical to use Pokemon to manipulate the emotions of your students, even towards a more calming, relaxed mood? At that moment, Val didn’t care. It was all smooth sailing as long as that Meganium stuck around. And besides, ethics were for nerds.
The Meganium’s trainer, a member of the faculty by Val’s guess, proceeded to scold the now semi-sedated student body. He gave Val a double-take, so she flashed the guy a peace sign. When he finished and finally decided to walk away, Valerie saw her opportunity. The calming scent killed off any bad vibes Val might have had, but her impish impulsives were rooted deep in the girl’s heart. She rose to her feet and stretched her arms above her head before looking around at her group. The grin returning, she addressed them all, fixating on Antoinetta in particular.
“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.
And with that, a fully smiling Valerie looked out at the sea of bright faces before her...and rose both arms up, middle fingers fully extended. She pumped the double Pidgey at anybody who was still gawking before giving an exaggerated bow and plopping back into her seat.
The thought of the student body now having to grapple with the rather odd and complex mixture of the calming emotions brought upon by the Meganium’s scent and the indignity of having a tiny freak flipping them off gave Valerie just an incredible sense of satisfaction. Sure, she might have been spotted by a member of the faculty doing it and might get in trouble later but...worth it. That was Future Valerie’s problem. Right now, she was riding high.
“You guys are fun. We should do this again sometime.” she earnestly announced as she got comfortable in her chair.
It was going to be a good year.
Munchlax, finally free, set his gaze firmly on the Food Giver, Troy. He required more and Troy had made the mistake of identifying himself as somebody with access to food. He was just about to harass the Food Giver for more when Valerie killed the plan by returning him to his Pokeball. Thwarted for now, Munchlax would plot. This boy was sitting on a stockpile, Munchlax could feel it in his bones. He had a target, now he just needed a plan and a crew.
After quite possibly the most boring individual the human species had ever created droned on about expectations and future and prestige and some other junk, the assembly came to an end. Valerie was, quite predictably, pulled aside for a little chat with Mr. Bellamy Herb.
He didn’t like her wardrobe, or her little flourish to his lecture.
She didn’t like his stupid haircut, or his audacity to actually take a position as orchard keeper while having the surname of Herb.
Obviously, they were going to get along just fine.
Valerie didn’t get a chance to stick around and go to class with the other transfer misfits as apparently her outfit was “inappropriate for a young lady in this sort of professional environment” or however Bellboy put it. It was no fault of his own, but since he was playing the part of the authoritative adult, Val felt obligated to drop into her own rebellious teen persona, which meant completely clocking out whenever he began to speak. Still, it was a fine line to walk, that between “difficult” and “completely insubordinate”, and if Val wanted to test this guy but not be dismissed from the school altogether, it’d be one she'd need to walk very carefully.
Which meant that she had to go out of her way to return to her dorm room, change, and get back to class.
Which meant that she had to book it.
She arrived at Class 2-A a new woman altogether. Alright...perhaps that was a bit much. She had changed her shirt to a baby blue tee with significantly less holes, her shorts to ones that had a little more length to them (still above the knee though, it WAS summer after all and she’d be damned before she wore pants), and threw on a stain-free lab coat. The bears and goggles stayed though. The school’s handbook didn’t specifically ban either of them and in Val’s eyes, the best kind of correct was being technically correct.
She was also completely out of breath. She sprinted both to and from her dorm to get to the classroom on time. She was an absolute blue white and gray blur. And kudos to her for being able to run so well in...bear slippers. While she thoroughly enjoyed her agent of chaos persona, she really did value getting a good education. So being late to her first class was just absolutely out of the equation.
So out of the equation, in fact, that she somehow - despite the pit stop - managed to be the first of her classmates to arrive. She had to double check that it was the right classroom, but when it absolutely without a doubt was, she had no choice but to head in and wander about. Everyone else was too slow. Way too slow. It was a crime to be that slow. She’d have to fine them. A million bucks. Have fun funding her research nerds.
…despite her urge to be nosy, Val found herself drawn to the window. She looked out and couldn’t help but admire the breathtaking campus. She watched as groups of students went every which way, walking and running over paths and grass. There was no rhyme or reason to each person’s movements. Just pure, majestic chaos.
Listen, my guys, it's been four days since I started working on a post and I've gotta be honest: that Google doc is still blank. I've got nothing. I'm just not vibing with Kimiko and I kind of dread writing her. So I think it would be best if I dropped.
Feel free to do what you wish with Kimiko - make her an NPC, kill her off, whatever. I wish you all the best and I hope y'all have fun going forward.
Here's hoping I see y'all around again sometime. Cheers!
Munchlax, a fairly simple soul, has but two passions in this world: munchin’ and laxin’. And right now, in the amphitheatre surrounded by absolute chaos in the form of chattering people, Pokemon, and what just might be either the clumsiest or most unfortunate human Munchlax had ever seen, he wasn’t doing either.
And that, friends, just wouldn’t cut it.
You see, for a suave, sophisticated specimen such as the Munchinator, there was a certain image he needed to keep up. And absolutely paramount to this image was his impeccable physique. After all, just look at him. That soft, flowing fur, those constantly quivering fat rolls, cheeks chubbier than a Skwovet in a Berry tree...he alone stood at the top of the Pokemon world, a Golden God amongst the common rabble who could only hope to one day attain even a fraction of his perfection if they were truly lucky.
Why, one could sit here all day marvelling at the majesty of Munchlax…
Truly a mesmerizing marvel of the modern day…
Hmm? Oh! Terribly sorry about that. One got lost in his glory. Now where were we?
Right. To maintain his magnificence, Munchlax requires a substantial amount of food to fuel his daily 20-hour beauty rest. And, as it would happen, Munchlax now found himself awake, but not currently eating. Truly a modern day tragedy. He found himself looking towards his servant, Valerie. She was asleep on the job. Munchlax was disappointed, yet not surprised. She was hopeless. That it would fall to HIM to wake HER up so that she could fulfill her duties of feeding HIM? How uncouth. Perhaps he would need to get a servant for his servant? Hmm...yes. He would get her on that right away! But first -
As Munchlax prepared to communicate his hunger by slapping the girl across her face with his tongue - the universal language for ‘feed me’ - something piqued his attention. A delicious aroma filled the air.
Munchlax, trusting it’s impeccable sense of smell, snapped its head towards the empty seat between his servant and some other peasant.
Had he managed to materialize food out of sheer force of desire? Or perhaps the Gods had decided to bless their favorite subject in an attempt to curry favor with him?
There was no time to muse. With each passing moment, Munchlax felt himself edging closer and closer to finally succumbing to starvation. And what point would the world have in existing without his presence? For the sake of every soul on the planet, it was Munchlax’s responsibility - no, his sacred duty - to eat that food.
But alas, the evil in the universe had decided to conspire against him. Before the Munch King could reach the planet’s salvation, the walking calamity masquerading as a human bumped into what seemed like a floating jawbreaker - note to self: consume the floating jawbreaker later - before stumbling over the servant.
Which, normally wouldn’t be a problem.
Because normally, the servant could balance herself.
Buuut...in her unconscious state, the servant slowly began to fall forward. The Munch King, fixated on the feast waiting for him on the cushioned plate, was not aware of this before it was too late. She fell on top of him, pinning him to the floor.
The Munch King squirmed and struggled, trying to free himself from his servant’s unconscious body, but the dead weight was too much. Desperately, he strained his neck out to reach the offering, but it was hopeless. He was too far away. He was stuck. He was trapped.
He hungered, yet could not reach the feast before him.
In what might possibly become his final words, the Munch King, utter a profound statement, blessing those around him with his infinite wisdom.
It was the usual dream again. Weightless, floating in the inky void of space. There was no air, but there was no need to breathe. Only expand. Infinitely. In all directions. Escape the known - create the unknown.
In the distance, one could see forever. But how long was that?
One could explore. Time was meaningless. One could explore time, but that would be meaningless too.
Space shifted. Careful. It drained towards the bottom. The bottom of what?
There is no down in space. There are no berries there.
But one is dragged downwards.
Maybe one is not in space?
Valerie opened her eyes, but the light flooding her senses left her blind. She could hear the commotion going on around her. Voices overlapping. People laughing. Munch.
Val brought a hand to her eyes and rubbed away the spots. Her pillow seemed to be a bit squirmy this morning.
No, not really lax. It was fairly soft. A bit on the hairy side though.
Valerie let out a yawn and looked down at the Munchlax she had pinned to the floor. He was squirming, obviously wanting out but...too bad. While she hadn’t planned this, it was a nice surprise to wake up to. She had unconsciously enacted her revenge. Way to go Sleep Val!
She looked over towards the others who seemed to be congregating around her area, rolling onto her back as she did so while still pinning down Munchlax. A couple were seated, others seemed to be standing and having a bit of a chat. The old man had told Val earlier that people would be seated with their classes. Did that mean that these were her classmates?
Huh. Well then. Perfect chance to introduce herself to her new friends, yeah?
Not quite picking up on Zaria’s mini-crisis, Valerie looked at the girl then over towards the boy that seemed, to be perfectly frank, just a bit TOO interested in...Munchlax? Well, him or her.
Whatever. She flashed a wide, cheesy smile at the two from below and held up her hand in a peace sign.
“Good morning, my dudes. Nice to meetcha!” she said with a yawn, stretching out her arms and legs for that oh-so-satisfying morning pop of the joints. ”Y’know, it’s actually really comfy down here.”
Meet Magdalene Lovell, age twenty-two, an undercover operative of the Investigation Sector of Shinra’s General Affairs Department. Currently standing in a dump in the middle of Midgar’s lower slums, the girl couldn’t help but appreciate how thematically appropriate her current surroundings were. After all, in less than twenty-four hours, she had botched a rather important meeting with a prominent leader in the terrorist group Avalanche putting months of undercover investigative work at risk, blown herself up with explosive Fire magic from short range, and now an unknown, likely dangerous individual who was apparently capable of slicing into a highly experimental - not to mention top secret - Shinra prototype security mech, was aware of her undercover identity AND the fact that she was an agent for Shinra.
It would probably be safe to say that in this moment, Maddie wasn’t exactly having the best day. In fact, it was all she could do to keep up her cheerful outward demeanor for the SOLDIER while she silently had a crisis as the weight of everything began to settle on her. Obviously she wasn’t cut out for this. She was waaay out of her depth here.
Everything was crumbling down.
Panic was settling in.
Everything fucking hurt.
She wanted to run - just say fuck it all and get away. Bury her head in the sand somewhere and just forget about everything. It was too much.
She was overwhelmed.
She had an out...but...she couldn’t...it would...how do you...how can...
"Naomi? I thought you were Elena. Kinda' hard to tell from a distance. She was in a guard unit I worked with, a real ass-kicker. You were that consultant, right?"
Heh. The SOLDIER recognized his slip-up and was trying to offer her a cover, huh? It was a little too late, she felt. The seed was already planted, but...Maddie’s smile grew a little less forced and little more natural. It was a sweet gesture. Probably completely futile considering the death stares Maddie could feel coming from the other woman, but still sweet nonetheless.
...wait...did he say Elena...?
”Yeah, no. I get that a lot actually. I think it’s the hair.” ‘Naomi’ off-handedly mentioned, not missing a beat. She had been reminded of the sister of one of her senior colleagues - well, former colleagues. Emma. The veteren Turk had been something of a mentor to Maddie in the brief time they spent together before...well…
What would Emma do in this situation? When everything was going to shit? Would she just sit around and throw a one woman pity party?
Maddie knew exactly what her senior would do. So she began to steel herself. The panic began to fade and a cold calmness filled the once-occupied space.
She may need to do something rather unpleasant…
...but she could do it.
"I'm Joe Hockner. And hey, no problem. It's what I do. Let's get out of here."
“Right. Sounds good..”
She had felt the glares coming from the unknown woman the entire time she spoke to Joe, despite her internal freakout. She had attempted to ignore it, or at least not let on that she had noticed, but it was...sort of hard to miss that sort of hyper-focused hate. While Maddie hadn’t quite heard the hacker’s mutterings, everything about her body language told the Turk that this woman was on edge. And she couldn’t help but notice the small robot with it’s gunbarrels seemingly trained directly on her. Which was unnerving, to say the least.
Considering that it was highly likely that she now believed Maddie to be a Shinra operative, continuing to point a gun at her seemed to imply that the woman was a radical.. After all, who else would be stupid enough to threaten to gun down Shinra personnel in the middle of fucking Midgar? With a SOLDIER operative standing right there?
"Are you two done flirting in broad daylight!?"
The woman’s outburst had caught Maddie completely off-guard. It hadn’t even fully registered with Maddie before the woman continued on, ranting and raving.
"I swear to the lifestream you two just go and get a room... in fact by the way you are going at it, why not just hide behind a trashpile somewhere here and get to it. At least you will stop bothering me.”
...oh. Oh, she was unhinged. Great. Simply lovely. That made everything just thaaaat much more complicated.
“Uhm...sorry!” Maddie called as she hurried after the woman in the wheelchair, her face flush from embarrassment. She pivoted after a few steps and silently mouthed “What the fuck?” towards Joe before spinning and continuing her little jog.
As she approached the woman, she saw her pull a pair of headphones on - the universal sign for Don’t Talk to Me. A dark thought flashed through Maddie’s mind and her hand instinctively went towards the small of her back to grab the gun...but she resisted and let her hand fall back to her side.
If the woman had been a member of Avalanche or something, her course would be simple - pull the gun, put a round or two in the head, contact headquarters to have a cleanup team get rid of the mess. That would be the textbook answer, honestly. But…after that outburst, and the way she seemed to be carrying herself, Maddie couldn’t picture the woman as a part of ANY organization. Not being as uncomposed as she was. It honestly seemed as if she were just an unfortunate citizen who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. But that didn’t change the fact that she still heard something that she shouldn’t have.
But did it really matter? Who could this absolute nutjob tell that would believe her? And what would she even say? “I heard a SOLDIER operative call Naomi Chambers an ‘agent’?” The language by itself wasn’t exactly incriminating - part of the Naomi cover WAS being a Shinra employee after all. Even assuming this whackjob COULD get that information to the right people, Maddie felt as if she could talk her way out of it.
Call it a hunch or intuition or whatever you’d like, but Maddie had a feeling that Joe wouldn’t just stand by and let her murder a disabled insane woman. Which, to be fair, when she put it that way, was actually rather dark. She felt her stomach turn at the thought. She was completely disgusted by even considering the act. It would be within her authority to do so...but at what cost? Would she truly be alright crossing that line?
She was in a pickle.
“So…!” ‘Naomi’ started as she pulled up beside the woman and matched her pace to the wheelchair. She spoke loudly, fully aware that the woman would likely try to drown her out with whatever she was listening to.
She considered how she wanted to approach this for a few moments before bending at the waist and trying to make eye contact with the woman ignoring her. “I think I’ve seen you around a few times. I’m Naomi, if you didn’t hear me earlier.” She lied. “What’s your name?”
If murder was off the table, then she needed some information. She was clearly not in the right place to make this decision, so she’d simply pass it on to her higher ups. Even if it came back to bite her later, she’d let someone else sign the death warrant.
She needed somebody else to justify her pulling the trigger.
The night before the opening ceremony, a restless young woman found herself unable to sleep. Yet, it wasn’t excitement that kept the small girl’s eyes open despite an aching desire to close. No, rather, one need only look towards the countless brightly colored wrappers lining the once pristine and lavish bedroom’s floor. Sugary sweets and artificial treats had given her an unfortunately timed burst of energy. When she should be calmly resting before what could very well be one of the biggest days of her short life, Valerie was…
By the stroke of midnight, the small girl was out of bed and pacing, exploring her new “nest” as she had taken to calling it. Sleep was out of the question, obviously. Well...for her. The girl found herself gazing at the bed with utter disdain and, to be frank, a splash of envy. Laying sprawled out in the center, taking far more than its fair share of mattress real estate, was a bloated blob of fat and fur. Her “partner”, Munchlax.
It wasn’t fair. Val crossed to her sleek mahogany desk and found a pencil laying across it. She picked it up, fiddling with it while she stared daggers at the snoozing slob. It wasn’t FAIR. She pressed her thumb against the writing instrument absentmindedly, yearning for that sweet, satisfying snap. No luck. It WASN’T FAIR! She found herself gnawing on the pencil, but black thoughts overcame her. No time to worry about potential dental damage, there was INJUSTICE at foot.
AND IT WASN’T FAIR!!!
It was HIS stupid idea to have a snack or two before bed. HE insisted on it! HE’S the one who kept dragging packages towards her. HE ate the Litleo’s share of the junk food feast. SO WHY WASN’T HE THE ONE SUFFERING?!!
In her silent nest, illuminated only by brief moments of moonlight peeking out from behind the clouds, Valerie stood still, eyes trained on her slumbering PokePal. The gears in her head began to crank, and with each pass, a mischievous grin began to sprawl across her face.
Quietly - ever so quietly - Valerie made her way across the room, careful not to make a sound. She approached the bed and gently grabbed the covers and bedsheet. Once she was sure of her grip, the girl gave the Munchlax one final smile before enacting her grand plan to right the wrong she saw before her. With all the gusto she could manage, Valerie pulled and tugged and ripped at the fabric…
...which didn’t even budge. She struggled and struggled, trying her damnedest to expose the big lug to the elements but...no dice. Val grunted and cursed, putting her back into trying to dislodge the damn things…
Munchlax, in its deep slumber, rolled. Which was at the perfect time to cause the sheets that Valerie was so desperately trying to remove to finally slip out from underneath him. Unfortunately for Valerie, who had not exactly thought her plan through in her sleep-deprived sugar-fueled mania, the momentum she was putting into the fabric carried through, causing her to be fall backwards with her next tug, trying out out muscle a resistance that was no longer there.
She landed on her butt with a thud. Silence filled the space where her grunts and groans had once been. She had all the time in the world to reflect on her actions.
A toot came from the bed as Munchlax, still fast asleep, passed a little snoozy-time gas.
Defeated and starting to experience a sugar crash, Valerie wrapped herself in the covers and sheets and curled up on the floor, secure in her cocoon of shame.
Early the next morning, Valerie was up. She hurried to get ready, taking what might have been the world’s fastest shower and dressing herself in a blur. She managed to get her top on, but didn’t notice that it was inside out. Her jean shorts were at least buttoned and zipped properly, but she couldn’t manage to find a pair of matching socks - not that she looked that hard for them anyway. She was running late. She had to hurry. Who cares if one sock stopped at her ankle while the other one claimed towards the knee?
Once she met the bare minimum of “dressed”, it was time to accessorize. Val slipped on her bear slippers, creepy necklace, and goggles before forcing a still-sleeping Munchlax into his ball and leaving the room. He would be a bit miffed at her later, but to be fair, he wasn’t exactly in her good graces at the moment.
She doubled back in and crossed back to her desk before quickly sprawling out her name in red crayon across a flimsy little nametag and affixing it sloppily to her shirt with a safety pin, unaware of the sticky back.
Valerie tore across the campus, reaching speeds she didn’t know were possible for someone like her. She didn’t see a single soul on her way, which was...terrifying. Was she really that late? She didn’t quite care if she made a poor first impression: it was more that...well...to be honest, she didn’t want to miss the opportunity to snoop on her classmate’s Pokemon. Missing an opportunity to see so many different ‘mons from all across the world? Valerie would rather die.
And die she almost did once she finally made it to the amphitheatre only to find its doors unmoving - locked from the inside. She tugged and tugged, desperately trying to find some purchase, but there was no luck. She had missed it. Woe to her…
...that is, what she thought in the brief moments before the door opened and a tired face peered out, looking downright perplexed. The man, a hard looking guy in his mid-forties by her estimate, asked what she was doing there so early.
Then it clicked. Why she hadn’t seen a single person on her trip. Why it was so hard to see the path in front of her. Why it was so damn dark…
Valerie checked her phone for the time.
She apologized to the man and turned around, ready to make the walk of shame back to her dorm room when he asked if, since she was already here, if she wouldn’t mind lending a hand setting up. Val silently blessed her janitorial guardian angel and eagerly took him up on the offer.
So when, some time later, her classmates began to flood into the rather spacious amphitheater, Valerie was already squarely in her assigned seating area. She had the perfect opportunity - a front row seat, even - to see all the wonderful Pokemon accompanying their trainers as they came in. But, as a consequence of her poor life choices and lack of planning, the poor girl found herself unable to keep her eyes open for even a few moments after plopping down in her chair. She zoinked out, finally catching up on some much-needed Z’s.
Even the entrance of her somewhat rowdy classmates weren’t enough to rouse the slumbering Ms. Cypress, who sat sprawled out in her chair like a hot mess. The commotion was enough to rouse Munchlax from his sleep, however, as when the fuss over the cute dog ‘mon began, he burst from his ball, eager to see what all the hubbub was over. Just in time to see the clumsy classmate tumble into the confident one. Which Munchlax found funny enough to belly laugh at.
These poor kids are all going to be beaten and bloody before the Chuunin exams even begin. Poor punks won't stand a chance. Mark my words, this is all just an elaborate plan by Emi-sensei and the Spineless Wonder to sabotage the kids' chances at becoming Chuunin T^T