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~ 27 Years Old.
~ Enjoys all sorts of settings, and genres. Fandom and Original. Loves writing combat, and sappy stuff.
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Remember: Apricoatl may look cute, but it's all fun and games until she pulls something like this off.

There we go, collab posted! Time was a little weird on my end so it took a teeny bit longer than expected, but Clay and Apri are checking out the boards now.
A Collaboration Between @Lightning Fast & @Potemking

If Clay had the capacity to blush, sweat or cry, he might do some combination of the three. Between the wrath of Sylveon (whose attitude betrayed her absolutely adorable, cuddly exterior), the subtle acknowledgement of one of the Guild’s most decorated Ace, and the stares from the other beginners, Clay wanted to curl into a ball and roll right back to the quarry. However, he knew this would only make his status in the guild more perilous. “Sorry, yes, I’ll fix it, sorry...” he muttered, too quiet for most to hear.

Even though Clay had worked for the Explorers’ Guild for a whole year, he did not quite feel as though he belonged. From the start of his tenure, the Guild had never intended to induct him as a member. When his long-dormant body had been dug up and reactivated, the little golem seemed to have entirely forgotten where he had come from, who had created him, and what his purpose was. Apricoatl, the sweet shopkeeper, had taken Clay under her wing (or in her case, fluffy white tail) and helped him find work to make himself useful. Clay did not need to sleep, and worked almost around the clock to try and “earn his keep”, despite others’ insistence that this wasn’t necessary. Unfortunately, this meant that aside from Apri, Clay seldom spoke with his fellow guildmates.

Frankly, Clay needed to make some friends. He had thought about it for a long time, and decided that the best way to do this was to sign up for his first real expedition. Maybe he’d also find something about his past in these dark and mysterious caves.

Clay had already taken steps to register as an explorer, and Alakazam naturally already knew this. “Yes sir!” Clay proclaimed, saluting the mustachioed guildmaster and standing at attention, “Thank you, sir, I promise I won’t let you down, sir!” He remained frozen in this salutatory position for some time, until Alakazam had finished speaking and the beginners were starting to give Clay odd looks as they broke away from the group to go about their various daily activities. Clay then sauntered over to Apricoatl, either unaware or not caring how strange he must have seemed to the rest of the Guild.

“Hi Apri,” Clay said. It was sometimes hard to read Clay’s emotions, given that his face didn’t move and his voice was more robotic than most. However, the golem was clearly excited by whatever he was about to say next. “I brought you some stuff,” he began, placing the clothen sack on the ground where she could easily pick through its contents. Clay was great at finding things while digging, but couldn’t always tell trash from treasure; that was Apri’s area of expertise. This haul seemed to be better-curated than the last, though; perhaps Clay was learning from his mentor?

"Ohoh? Let's evaluate what you found," Her eyes shined at the sight of potential loot, Clay always knowing how to catch the girl's attention. Half of her tiny body was practically scrambling inside the bag within moments to take a peek at what he'd found. Although unsure of what some of it was, noting some broken sort of pottery and a rather gleaming stone. That stone was identifiable, Apri popping out of the bag with it in her paws. She squinted as she stared at it, allowing Clay his moment to talk about the real situation at hand.

“Apri, I want to go on an adventure. A quest. A real, bona-fide, exploratory expedition!” He paused. “... Will you come with me? Please? I’ve never been on one before and I’m worried that I might get lost or mess something up. I’m immune to Electric-type attacks, so you won’t have to worry about shocking me by accident, and I can carry anything you want to bring! Also I don’t sleep so if we need to camp out I can keep watch.”

A sly smile curved onto Apricoatl's features, looking away from the stone to instead address her large mineral-laden friend. The thought that, after a year, he'd now be trying to go out on an expedition? How much had he prepared for it, she had to wonder. She thought it was little suspicious to have needed a type-chart reference, but didn't think too hard on it. It wasn't like she was about to tell him no by any means. "Of course!" She answered positivity, but one of her eyes closed in a prolonged wink as she continued: "But, there's a few things you have to account for before making a venture out there! Don't forget what we were just told. About the storm, you know?"

Clay nodded. “That’s okay, we’ll be inside of a dungeon, won’t we?” Clay paused. “But if it’s raining hard enough, I guess I won’t be able to do my quarrying. Hopefully Glaceon doesn’t mind...” He seemed to trail off towards the end of his sentence, his attention split between the repairs and construction he was meant to do around the guild, and the exploration he wanted to engage in. “How long do these trips usually take? I don’t really eat, so I don’t need to pack much aside from tools. And how many Pokemon usually come along? It’s my first time and I’m really nervous. Do we just go and pick a mission from the bulletin board?”

Apricoatl didn't want to embarrass her big beginner friend, but she couldn't help but giggle at least a little. "Yes, we will be. But if the storm's bad, we want to try and be back before it gets serious." She rested against her bushy tail momentarily, preparing to explain. "Even the simpler jobs can take up a lot of your day. You account for prepping for the job, travel time, the work itself, then traveling back? It all adds up." She took note of the warnings again in her mind, realizing today was probably going to be a slightly odd start for him with the storm, but it wasn't a bad introduction. "For groups, we usually keep it to four or under. Any more and we'd attract too much attention out there, and get swarmed by angry Pokemon. Plus, the more teammates you have, the harder it is to properly split up rewards among your team."

Figuring her relaxation for the morning was over, she gave in and stood up properly so as to not doze off on her own tail. "And jobs? We've got plenty on the boards. But you've got to be careful on what you pick up, some of them are pretty dangerous, especially for a beginner." She explained, fiddling with the stone in her hands. "Plus, we're on a tight schedule. You've heard of the 'Mysterious Wind' that exists inside of a Mystery Dungeon, right?"

Clay had heard of the winds, though he didn’t know much about them. “They throw you out of the dungeon if you spend too long in certain areas. I read that there’s strange forces in the dungeons that we don’t really understand, and the Winds are just one of them.” It took him a second to realize what Apricoatl was getting at. “I know I’m not as fast as you, but I promise I won’t slow you down too much.” Despite being three times the Pacharisu’s size, Clay was clearly deferring to her experience and judgement. “If we need to move quickly, I’m sure there’s adjustments we can make. I can pack light! And bring an umbrella in case we get caught in the storm; I’m too heavy for the wind to blow me away so I’m not worried about that.”

The lumbering golem ambled over to the notice board, still speaking to Apricoatl. “What sort of missions are good for a first time out? Lost-and-found? Search-and-rescue? ... These, uh... ‘rampage’-type missions seem rather frightening.” He shuddered at the thought of being obliterated by some aggravated Gyarados or Aggron. “I’m most comfortable in caves and mountains and such, since I’m usually underground anyways, but I’m not overly partial. Just nothing near large bodies of water my first time, please.”

"No worries, there'll be enough water potentially atop our heads!" She cheerily remarked, tugging Clay's bag over and looking towards the requests. Tongue sticking out the side of her mouth in a moment of deep thought, she let out an opinion and observation based on what he'd said. "Slow and steady works just fine in dungeons, we just have to find a task that suits the approach. If it gets too late, those Winds won't let us camp inside the Mystery Dungeon, so we'd have to worry about being brushed out and left in the storm outside if we stay too late." She couldn't expect Clay to just be faster, though maybe at some point they could ask a move learner or dojo master about moves that'd raise the round-boy's speed. A lot of those TM's were in circulation in shops, all you had to do was keep an eye out and eventually you'd find what you seek.

Her eyes scanned the board, although she felt conflicted on what would be best for her friend's first real venture. "Hm," She audibly mused, uncertainty filling her features as her head tilted slightly in observation. "Tough call... There's got to be something decent plastered up here somewhere!" She scooted closer to the boards, eyes scanning each request with intent to suggest one that'd be fitting for Clay's talents. That being said, he'd have to learn to operate in conditions outside his comfort zone too, but that could wait. Nobody needed that much stress on their first adventure. Being a tad short to see the higher requests, Clay held out a helping hand for Apricoatl to climb up on his shoulder so that she could see the board more clearly, and the squirrel accepted the extra height with a giggle of appreciation, taking advantage to look at the requests on the top as Clay scanned the ones on the bottom. The two poured over the list of missions, wondering which one would be the best to undertake...

As conversations of how things exactly work go, is there certain requests and missions on the board of your own design that we'll be accepting, or should we improvise at the moment? I just wanna know exactly where to stop in this collab that me and Lightning are doing, lol
Dakota Rhett

November 29th? - Proving Grounds

Although momentarily annoyed his revenge plot would not bear fruit, Dakota realized that maybe big burly Barney was better at handling the physical monsters. Overall, he couldn't complain: As if he wanted to keep getting his ass kicked, right? The Shaxes, on the other hand, were a bit weaker physically. Which didn't make them as much of a problem to beat senseless, though blocking their attacks also seemed questionable. Not wanting to find out the result of that after his Buer scorching, he decided to take Spindle's advice on the fight. No need to worry about the range of his enemies' attacks if he could attack them at range first, right? Worked out better, since he was still aching from getting struck, anyhow.

Feeling a little more confident after managing to come out last time by reducing their ranks, he exclaimed his readiness as he psyched himself up for another round. "A weakness, huh?" He responded to the realization Spindle gifted, before using that building motivation and notice of the Shax readying to try and attack Barney to get loud and ready, mic stand hitting the ground as he brought himself close to the microphone hoisted at the top. "Alright! Give her a show, Thamyris!"

A screech of a battle cry and flapping wings brought forth his Persona's razor winds, the target clear. The Shax, much like Spindle suggested, reacted in a much more stunned manner than they did getting get with his weapon. It flailed helplessly in Thamyris' winds, feathers flying as the visible green shifting air entrapped and cut into it. It was so effective, in fact, that he was angry he hadn't used it on them prior! As the wind died down, he quickly approached upon noting that it hadn't been reduced to a blob like the others, meaning it was still possibly alive, just floored by it's own weakness.

Which, as he brought himself close, became a clear truth. He let out an audible "Let's see how you like this!" As he raised his mic stand to smackdown the creature in order to finish it off, but found himself taken slightly off guard as the creature flailed, functioning wing managing to launch another scythe-like projectile, which Dakota could do nothing more than swing his head to the side to avoid; Cheek getting cut and causing blood to trickle down the side of his face. Less angry, and more carrying his prior motivation, he glared back at the creature. "Let this be a lesson for that jackass back in the courthouse," He muttered, Thamyris lingering and overshadowing both him and the downed Shax. "That I'm not letting him decide anything for me, or anyone else!"

Turning, one of Dakota's hands released from his weapon to instead clench into a fist in front of him. ANother cry of battle echoed from Thamyris, as it released a potentially overkilling second Garu, winds tearing the Shax apart this time as it's vitality wore down. The black ink-like glob scattered in the wind, leaving it nothing but a bunch of grinded up bits like it'd been thrown through a blender with no lid.

This had ended just in time for Dakota to witness Barney's feat of summoning what appeared to be some sort of flamethrower out of thin air. Watching as his opposition was reduced to nothing, he couldn't hold back his amazement in his tone. "He wrecked them both! Talk about badass...!" This was, however, quickly replaced by panic as Barney keeled over like he'd been the one beaten the crap out of, sending Dakota into an alert state as he rushed over. Spindle explaining his Persona as a 'supportive' one made enough sense, since he had that healing ability. He dove onto his knees to stay beside Barney, weapon tossed aside which promptly disappeared before he brought an arm over the larger Persona user with a palm resting on his back. "You alright, man?!" Obviously, upon even a few seconds more of observation, he wasn't.

"We've still got a little magic in the tank, I-- I uh, I think!" His voice a bit more panicky, until Thamyris drifted over and provided healing to Barney as proof. Quickly Dakota offered the larger man a few reassuring pats on his back, before helping the big lug. "Yeah! See? You ever think you need that, just holler! I won't let these things get in the way!" He offered, getting a little over enthusiastic and quick-talking, a mix of the rush of being victorious and the fact that he could bring Barney back from a bad spot.

Though, his perhaps scatterbrained at times mind brought a second thought to him. "Hey, you fought to make sure we could even get this far!" He said loudly up to Spindle, not realizing he didn't need to do so. Without hesitation, Thamyris' Dia spell blessed her as well, though having healed five different people within a short period was cutting into his reserves for sure by now. Not that it mattered in this instance, to him. "That makes us buddies in my book!" He said, enthusiasm clear with a little thumb upward towards the sky.

Being informed there were enemies on the way, however, Dakota felt if they could avoid fighting here endlessly that'd be best. Worried if the others would end up in a bad spot, though his mind thinking of 'the others' brought another thought that had momentarily slipped his mind in the fighting. "Wait, we know where the guys were going, but do you know where the others are?" He tried to recall them all the best he could, though not everyone had time to properly exchange names in all this chaos. "Jin, that repair dude! And that lady, along with the much smaller lady!" He recalled as best he could as they walked. "That was just a kid with us before, right? I couldn't imagine someone like that running into monsters like these. Or-- A bigger one, like that stupid bird--" He felt a rumbling inside himself, realizing who that stupid bird was. "No offense." He offered with a meek laugh, though got not response.

He got back on topic quickly. "Do you at least know if they're all safe?" He quizzed Spindle, all the while marching beside Barney on-route to reunite with the trio that they'd let slip off.
"I simply remember things out of order."

Oh yes, I love this guy.

WORD COUNT: 749 (+1)
MENTIONS: Ace Cadet, Sakura

Mirage could understand splitting off before, knowing that rescuing the girls had been less of a choice and more of a necessity, but as he took in the current situation the group began to split apart of their own volition now. He, personally, thought this was a horrible idea. But what was he supposed to do? If that Lady did show up, and they didn't have their full force ready, they could end up toast. That being said, he understood the desire for potential supplies as well: But if they could've stuck together on this, it would've been preferred. Adding onto that, there was a third group being formed: Sakura, if not harmed enough by what had happened prior, seemed to have lost the last of her spark from this whole damned situation involving that poor kid. She decided she was going to sit out both options, sulking off into the dark, which if that meant her staying alone... With that Lady having gestured this way? And all those fatsos, as Jr perfectly labeled them, was that okay?

Nah. Of course it wasn't.

"Well," He spoke up to the conflicting decisions being made. "Guess I get some R&R for a few minutes." Smirking, he pulled out his gear: The second magnet half, and the Dart Gun, both offered up to the remaining crew, Ace in particular since he voiced going into that room. He figured since most of the remainder were the more daring types, they'd probably be running towards the Lady's Chambers too. And they could use all the gear they could get. "You guys make use of these in there, I'm gonna stick back with her." He jabbed a thumb back at Sakura's dark space, before walking over to join her.

Approaching slowly but steadily, he tried to vocalize his approach to not be startling. "Look at that," He started as a little small talk while taking a seat beside Sakura, bringing his hands behind his head. "There's just enough room for one more right here." He finished with a slight smile, leaning back with a slight sigh of relief with his elbows pointing outward. Everyone else was pretty good at stabbing, and running, heck, he was pretty good at the latter part. But this was a whole different beast, and it wasn't something that could just be left alone. That feeling of just curling up was a somewhat familiar one, though. Reminded him of how he was after his brothers never returned, though at the same time he couldn't just tell what she was thinking, or how he could potentially fix it. This had been one train wreck after another since he joined up with these guys, noting how long it'd really been. Maybe half a day at this point? He had no way to keep track of time, so who knew how long they'd been in here. Regardless, he felt he'd been through more than most people normally had to experience in their whole lives, so considering them his pals didn't seem farfetched. And if Elliot Witt cared for one thing, it was pals! And his self-image, of course.

Bringing one hand forward, he scratched his chin. Which was still odd, missing his facial hair. He liked the slightly scratchy feeling it gave, and his face felt pretty naked without it. Despite this decision, he still wondered if he'd be able to help either team somehow. If things got loud, he figured that was a cue to run off. Though once King Bowser came back through, it'd be a good idea to maybe enlist his help in getting Sakura to come with them. He wasn't particularly eager to push her into another situation quickly, so regrouping with them on the way back from the storeroom seemed like a good idea.

Though, for the moment, he just wanted to try and offer a little comfort, or at least not leave he to sulk entirely by herself. It wouldn't be healthy to leave her with her thoughts all alone, or at least that was his personal opinion on the matter. Of course, sitting there now, he realized maybe he should've asked. Though if she said no, would he have really gone and left her here anyways? Probably not. "Y'know," A thought came to mind, trying to strike up a little conversation. "Might be here for a little bit. Wanna talk about home? Bet it's way better than this rundown crappy theater," He hadn't particularly gotten to know anyone terribly well yet, and a little communication could go a long ways. Though, he could understand if she didn't feel like it. If that was the case he'd just kick back and stay regardless, as if anything at all was a bad idea, it was surely being solo around here.
Used to the routine by now, and being a generally busy girl, Apricoatl being up already wasn't much of a surprise. What also wasn't a surprise was the beating her door received, which to this day she was surprised that Sylveon hadn't actually kicked their doors down fully. In a way she'd mastered being irritating without causing permanent property damage, although that meant little when she was instead causing damage to the hearing of anyone even living in the vicinity of the Guild. The Guildmaster was smart to place it on the edge of town, or they'd surely be hearing a lot more complaints from locals. She learned a long time ago that complaining had no positive effect, so she kept her mouth shut about it.

All Sylveon would see with the door kicked in was a semi-relaxed, if glaring rodent staring at her. Calmly, she sipped at something in a small wooden cup: She had went ahead and prepared a small morning drink for herself: You'd be surprised what effects a boiled chesto could have on water, and it prepared her to brave the harsh mornings she fought here everyday. "Good morning to you, too." She grumbled, figuring this cute little wake up routine would've gotten old by now, but no. This girl was dedicated and gone within moments. It was like some sort of automated pathing in her head, Apri though. Like it was as natural as eating or drinking.

Setting her cup down for a moment, Apri quickly got ready. Which was as simple as throwing on her cloak, and giving a lick to her paw to brush the floof on her head down flat. And boom! A perfect little miss ready for a day of work. With a swing of her cloak, she turned to pick up her drink and head out to not miss any of the morning announcements. She could only imagine what basic announcement she'd heard before that'd play out, and to stall it out just a little longer she stopped by the dropoff box outside her swap shop. Things seemed orderly enough, though she came to realize as she opened the box that it was, indeed, very empty. With a tsk of disappointment, she mumbled "Nuts."

On the bright side, there at least wasn't any work to be done in that regard. Made her day a little easier, though it told her something: That Clay hadn't been by yet. He must've still been out, which was bad considering the harsh words he'd receive if he didn't wobble his way back from that quarry. "Should I go check on him?" She pondered quietly to herself as she took another sip of her drink, only to nearly shoot it out as she heard a huge thud outside. Quickly a sly smile crossed her face, realizing that silly little bundle of minerals had found his way back. That... Or they were under attack. Probably because of Sylveon shouting, if anything, so she could deal with it if that turned out to be the case.

Tiny feet moving, she brought herself in front of the Guildmaster's office to stand at attention, though still sipping away at her morning drink that was now quickly depleting. She stood closer to the front, if only because she was so short that most of the other Guild members would easily block her from view, which had been a situation in the past where she'd been assumed missing just because she was behind someone else. Irritating, at least slightly, though that was all in the past. Now she could just be annoyed at Sylveon shouting at her regardless! Splendid! Absolutely. Splendid.

Turning to the Beginners for a moment as everyone was finishing gathering, she let out a soft sigh. "So attentive!" She praised, leaning back and enjoying resting on the support of her bushy tail. She raised her cup in cheers, before finishing it with a quick gulp. "Best keep it that way, don't wanna see what happens once you get caught snoozing through the morning too many times." She added as a warning as she tucked the empty cup under her hood.

She spoke from experience, and wasn't afraid to admit she was a bit of trouble when she first started; A rebel spirit who played mostly by her own rules, including her own sleep schedule. It didn't take long to humble her on that in her beginner days with a slight reality check to a free-roaming wanderer, though becoming more orderly didn't mean that Apri was less sly. She was still a quick thinker, and enjoyed trying to stay one step ahead to not give others like Sylveon the satisfaction.

Though she was much more dedicated to her work and studies nowadays, sparing many of the potential infamy she could've gotten back in the day. For a moment as she leaned against her tail she yearned for those days back. Watching the other Beginners grow would just have to be enough, she figured. Plenty of personality among them meant it wouldn't be boring at least! Especially with big ol' Clay and all the mysteries surrounding him. Though as things stood, a lot of those mysteries didn't have answers she could easily find. Maybe another day of book-worming would help, after her Guild work was done, of course.
I'll be reading over and posting soon! Been busy today but now I'm free
I'd say give us the exposition honestly, because IC there's a ton of confusion (For obvious reasons) and it's probably wise to try and quell that before anyone gets too freaked out lmao

No worries about the trip, though! The heads' up is appreciated and I'll patiently await your return. Have fun!
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