Ivy Chateau: Prelude
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With a quick wave, Ketzal returns a casual greeting from a passersby. He'd been leaning on the front door of this mock-castle, waiting for the sign to enter, for some time now. In the back of his mind he'd been counting how many people had passed by and what amount had taken note of the renovations. Heads turned on the regular, which he would take as a good omen. Nimbasa was a city of steel and lights, what with the grand Pokemon Musical and the Rondez-View Ferris Wheel, so finding a mock castle just outside the city limits had a thematic whiplash to it. But what better place for a new hotel than outside the most heavily-populated city in Unova? His self-satisfied reflections would be interrupted by a small knock from the other side of the door. A flurry of hushed squeaks followed, then quieted immediately. Biting down an entertained smile he stood upright, dusting off his shorts and stretching his neck. Readied, he pulled the ornate door open. Soft piano music twinkled through the opening as he moved into the gloomy reception area, blinking to try to dispel the afternoon sun from his eyes. The Cinccino at the desk gave an excited cry, hopping across the counter to stand and address him. By the time his eyes adjusted she had already directed one of her compatriots to her side, holding up a platter of cucumber slices and baby carrots. The second in the room hummed crooning notes alongside the keys of the piano, standing on the rightmost side of the bench to play the deeper notes on the oversized instrument. With a moment to take in the scenery, Ketzal tried to imagine what could turn guests away. The dining area in the back looked spotless with the polished metal tables, though the folding chairs left something to be desired. The TVs mounted on the walls were powered off, which was something he'd probably have to handle himself later. The walkways were clear, but again the dim lighting of the room could cause an issue. Directing his search down to the Cinccino, he replies "Your mood lighting's too low." Her smile falls some, a contemplative look on her face. After a rapid conversation with the assistant at her side, she shrugs, then responds with a quick assortment of gestures. [Low lighting is better for Pokemon. We have better sight usually. Do we need to raise it?] Her (relative) mastery of League Sign Language had been her best link to Ketzal, allowing them to communicate in both directions. Were it more commonly known, she'd not need him at all anymore, but most Trainers didn't need to learn it, and as such, wouldn't. "No, actually. If that's true, keep it. We can find some glow-in-the-dark strips for the paths or something, but I can tell the Trainers who come by that's why and I think it'll look better for us." Ketzal responded, watching her proud smile return. "The whole point is to focus on Pokemon care anyway. If it means less Trainers wandering around here, good." [Anything else?] She signed immediately after, waiting to celebrate her perfect success. The Minccino by her side lowered the platter, asking her if it was still needed, and with a quick wave of dismissal they take their leave, going to join the third on the piano bench. The song drew to a rushed close as the singer and waiter both start to dine on the snacks. Ketzal judged his options in silence. There was plenty that could be improved, but any improvements were coming out of the budget that they'd barely stayed within as it was. Maybe once the customers came in. Nothing here should chase them out, at least. "No, I think we're good. They shouldn't realize your workers are wild, they seem pretty well-behaved. The snacks are a cute touch, but I don't think most Trainers will bend over for them, so we can probably just have them on the desk." With a nod, Ketzal referred her to the reception desk by their side. "Unless you want a mouse holding food in front of what will almost certainly be predatory Pokemon. The Musical crowd should be omnivorous, but competitive battlers tend to hunt." The Cinccino takes a thoughtful stance. With a low squeak she shakes off her thoughts, waving to get Ketzal's attention back on her paws. [Your turn!] She signs with a grin, waving him forward into the hotel. "My turn?" He asks, stepping into the central pathway. To the left were the few amenities they'd managed to set up in the short timespan, the right a dozen or so rooms. They'd not yet managed to get the second floor ready with their meager staff, so the rooms upstairs weren't quite furnished. Maybe the back door? Past the dining area was a set of (new) glass doors leading through the stone walls into the terraformed fields - a flooded field for the water-inclined, a nice open pasture for the herbivores, and a small hill with more old ruins on it. The first two had taken hiring Ground and Grass-types to sculpt the land, but the last had come with the property. Something he'd meant to look into when they had time, but opening a hotel had brought a host of problems even he hadn't predicted. The Cinccino squeaked sharply again, snapping his attention back down to her. [Give me a tour.] She ordered sweetly, giggling into her scarf with the surprise inspection. "A tour of what, exactly? The kitchen? Most of these places our guests aren't supposed to enter." He shook his head. "We don't have much to show even then." Her eagerness wouldn't be so easily quelled, however. [Say a Trainer wants to see the hotel. Show me around. Why should my Pokemon be left here?] With a wink, she lead him forward into the dining area, waving an arm at the tables. Following a series of quick chirps the waiter returned to her side, crunching away at a carrot. She directed him into a chair, then clambered into one herself. [I can't talk to them, so tell them what I would!] Her hopeful eyes watched Ketzal, practically vibrating with excitement. "Hmm. Well. Dining room here, chairs being light and foldable so larger Pokemon who prefer not to - or just can't sit in a chair have little difficulty moving them. We've got a waterflow dispenser-" He gestured to the recirculating free-fall waterfall, sinking into a bowl at the bottom and flanked by a stack of paper cups. "-and on request a number of different Berry infusions for Pokemon with more refined tastes. The dining area is manned through our full service hours six-to-ten, and the workers will provide options for food relative to the dietary restrictions you've put on your file. Room service is available too." He added as an afterthought, glancing down at the seated pair to get his review. The Cinccino gave a few follow-up chirps to the waiter before acknowledging the assessment with a paws-up. "We might want to look into a nutritionist in the future. If we get a lot of attention from the League challengers, they'll be particular about calories and such." [And a chef.] She admitted with a grimace. [I'm not good at cooking meat for obvious reasons and they aren't comfortable handling it. Chef first.] Ketzal nodded, tapping the notes into his phone while she lowered herself back to the ground. She waited patiently for his tapping to cease, then added [Not bad! How about the rooms?] The two walked together through the hall, set wider to allow for larger Pokemon. The doors weren't as easy to deal with, and only a few of the rooms on the end had larger entrances. "Alright. Personal - Pokemon bedrooms?" He checked quickly, getting a shrug in return. "Personal bedrooms sounds better. Personal bedrooms are unlocked with a key card on a lanyard, which I... don't have on me, but will if this actually happens." Ketzal deflated slightly, recognizing that this was where the tour would be stopping. The Cinccino wasn't going to be stopped though. With a lilting squeak she grabbed his hand and pulled him over a few rooms. From her scarf she drew one of the lanyards, pressing the card to the reader and, with a click, the door into the room. He looked down at her with a smirk, which she returned with an exaggerated bow. "Fine, fine. Personal bedrooms, they have..." Ketzal took a few steps in. The rooms were spacious, expecting a variety of sizes and shapes of Pokemon. Approaching the knee-high mattress he continued "King-sized mattresses of course. Should your Pokemon have other needs, such as with quadrupeds who tend to prefer to be closer to the ground-" He reached down and drew out the underside of the bed, rolling a similarly-sized platform with a downy comforter off the railings and onto the ground. "There's that. Also, heated blankets on request, and cooling blankets, and each room has its own temperature control we can set to your specifications." Ketzal listed, counting the three points off on his fingers. Gesturing to the opposite wall, he added "We don't put televisions in the rooms because it's generally accepted that that's detrimental to healthy rest. If your Pokemon has difficulty sleeping without white noise or your voice, you're welcome to send us recordings and we can set up a portable player in the room for their comfort." Again, he looked back at the Cinccino for his review. [When we went to the hotel, they had bathrooms. Should we talk about that?] She wondered aloud, looking curiously at the open space in the room. "If they ask I'll tell them about the bathhouse and grooming stuff, but I don't think there's going to be questions there." Ketzal said with finality. He wasn't much of a Trainer, having only one Pokemon to his name, but he'd spent more than enough time caring for them previously. She gave a curt nod. [Then that works! How about...] Her paws stopped, head tilted in thought as she tried to decide what other features would paint them in a good light. The hotel wasn't much yet, but it was still already a miracle. There had to be more they could show off. "We've got the exercise equipment in the gym, but without an actual trainer - Pokemon or human - it's pretty much just a bunch of dumbbells. The bathhouse is just hot showers and the sauna... which is great, but I don't think we can walk Trainers through the bathhouse when we're in business." [Probably not. Surprising a bathing Pokemon wouldn't go over well.] She signed, sighing as she started to count the rooms off on her paws. "The pasture's pretty straightforward, so is the swamp. The ruins probably shouldn't be a draw or we're going to end up with some starry-eyed archeologist shutting us down while they excavate." [You think so?] Her expression had turned to one of worry. After a pause, she continues with a quickly-signed [Do we need to put off opening and have them do that first?] "I wouldn't suggest it. We've got public curiosity now, if we put off for a few months we'll just be another background building. The whole point of opening now was to catch the next wave of Pokemon Musical contestants, so if we wait we'll just be worse off." Ketzal mumbled to himself, though there was no way the Cinccino wouldn't hear him. With a shrug he shook his head. "We'll manage. They're probably just some old rocks a Ground-type was playing with." [Let's hope so.] She replied, brushing her paws through her scarf as though she'd touched something unpleasant. [Are we ready if we only have this?] Ketzal raised an eyebrow. "This?" She gestured to the room around them, looking discouraged. "Oh, for a guest draw? Well... I don't know. We're not in a bad position. We have the basic amenities. We're feeding, grooming, and housing the guest Pokemon, which is actually more than you have to do to legally run a Pokemon hotel. And since most hotels don't allow Fire-types or Pokemon over four hundred pounds, we have a specialty market." She nodded her agreement, considering the facts. "But I don't think looking at amenities is the key for your success here." [What do you mean?] She signed back without missing a beat. She looked up at him suspisciously, waiting for some clever joke at her expense. And he was considering it, but not right now. They were opening tomorrow, and she needed to be in high spirits. "Well, this whole hotel thing? Is it running the way you want it to?" [I guess?] She replied warily. "Then stick with it. We can make improvements on the way. But this whole concept runs on your dream, not my budget. We can pour funding into any project in the region. It's up to you to make it work. So if we're putting the budget on your dream, here, make it your dream. That's what's unique about this place." [Really?] She ventured, the movements slow. "Yeah. You managed to convince the mice out there this was a good idea-" [Better than living in the wild. Not a hard sale.] She interrupted with skeptical look. "A sale's a sale!" He remarked with a smile, stepping out into the hall. She followed behind him, but with his attention towards the doors she couldn't do anything but squeak under her breath. "This business isn't going to be about how much Pokemon like the backyard, or the pool, or the food. The Pokemon coming here have been places neither of us have even heard of. What you can do for them is give them somewhere that feels like a home, not a rest stop between Pokeball trips. You know what I mean?" He glanced back, finding her apparently lost in thought. After a moment she catches herself, giving a ginger nod. "You're doing this because you like caring for other Pokemon. So do that. Worst case scenario... the loans aren't in your name." Ketzal concludes with a single nervous laugh. "Really though." He reached the front desk, sitting on it to look back down on her. They looked at each other in silence. Ketzal, expectantly: the Cinccino, doubtfully. [I'm going to need your help.] She signed, slowly and deliberately. Ketzal's smile faded, his eyes moving off to the front door. "I know. I'll be here when I can. In fact, if we can get a telepath or something to help with translation, that'd probably be a good idea..." He trailed off, tapping away at his phone again. Still the Cinccino held the eye contact, waiting for him to put it back away. He realized, and with a sigh, added "Really, I'll try. But we only have a budget because I do other things. So you'll have to work with me on that." She took that as something approaching a satisfactory answer, giving a low squeak. Her energetic demeanor suddenly returned. [I want to hear you say it!] She signed rapidly, her tail sweeping across the floor. "I'll... try to be here often?" [No, say the greeting! The welcome!] "Welcome to the Vines Hotel!" Ketzal announced with a laugh, drawing a glare from the Cinccino. He waved off her rapid reclarification. The words wouldn't translate right in LSL, and she had to spell the name in full. "Alright, alright, calm down." In the moment he took to dramatically clear his throat and straighten his posture, the Cinccino reached up and snatched his phone off the desk, tapping at it randomly to try to open the camera. "Frappe, what're y- nope, that's my work stuff. Hand it here." With a disappointed roll of her eyes she hands it back, only to recieve it with the camera set to take a video. "Alright, point it up at me. Might use this in the help wanted ads later." She grinned, taking the phone and balancing it precariously on one paw. Deliberately, she held up her paw, ticking down one pad at a time. "Oh, together? Alright." Frappe chirps excitedly, waving the pianist and the waiter over. She cried louder, with the other two joining in, until the room caretaker managed to find their way into the room. A quick high-pitched conversation ensued, and after a moment they were all crowded around her. "The gang's all here, oh boy." Ketzal laughed, preparing for the ear-splitting cry that was sure to follow. <Three!> Frappe announced, looking at the group of mice around her. They had been strangers, completely, but since the purchase of this land they'd been the most reliable Pokemon she knew. They weren't quite as social as she was, but she could count on them to do their best, and all they wanted was food and safety, something she was happy to provide. <Two!> She continued, looking up at her best friend sitting on the desk. The one who'd taken her in (even if by accident) after the farm had shut down, the same Trainer who'd never put her in a Pokeball and had put his future on the line to help her reach her dream. They'd be there for humans and Pokemon, providing a place of safety and comfort in a world of fear and danger. Even if he had to leave, he'd be back. They'd do this together. <One!> Her cry wavered, brushing a tear from her eye. One more day. Tomorrow, they opened to the public. For better or for worse, another first step towards the rest of her life... but tomorrow years of dreams and wishes would come to fruition. The guests would arrive.
("/<)WELCOME TO THE IVY CHATEAU!(>/")
Avatar from Changed, by DragonSnow.
The cry of pain snapped Ketzal from his idle tapping, sitting up in the chair to look for which mouse had managed to hurt themselves. Spotting Frappe in the hall nursing her paw, he relaxed. "Frappe - the universe is telling you you're pacing too much. You'll wear the carpet raw." Her weary complaint echoed back, and she started the trek to the front desk where he was. Ketzal moved through the computer's tabs as he waited, her travel slowed by both her small strides and her disappointed pace. A small sigh from behind the desk signaled she was ready. He leaned forward over the desk to see the diminutive Pokemon, grabbing one of the carrots off the platter to hand down to her. She took it silently, starting to nibble at one end while he spoke. “Look. I understand why you’re worried. Two full days without a customer…” He sucked in some air through his teeth, releasing it in a quick laugh. “...doesn’t look great. But most companies don’t make money for the first couple of years, and we’re operating at a lower overhead than pretty much any hotel in the region!” He offered cheerfully. She gave no response, despite his wait. A moment passed, Ketzal waiting for the mouse to offer anything to the conversation before giving up and sitting back in the chair. The Cinccino finished her snack sitting in front of the desk, safe in the knowledge he couldn’t see her over it. She struggled to put her thoughts into words… a little time to compose herself was necessary. Eventually, she’d have to deal with it though. She had nothing else to do. Everything was as ready as it could be. With another dramatic sigh, she pushed herself to her feet, walking around the counter to get Ketzal’s attention again. [Hi.] The salute-wave was unenthusiastic and the accompanying squeak nearly mute. Ketzal turned in his seat, looking down at his friend with an amused smile. “You know, one day you’ll miss this place being so quiet.” Her look of disinterest made it clear she didn’t appreciate the sentiment. Brushing a hand along his face, Ketzal continued, “Frappe… ugh. Sitting around moping isn’t good for you, and apparently walking around moping is worse.” [I don’t know.] “Don’t know what?” He asked, surprised. [Why this is bad.] “You don’t… what?” Ketzal paused, repeating, “You don’t know why this is bad.” to himself. “Well, what were you expecting to happen when we opened?” He asked gently, leaning forward in his chair. Her paws increased in speed, a foot tapping against the ground nervously as she opens up. [I know not to get my hopes up. I know we weren’t supposed to get guests yet. But I hoped anyway. And I’ve spent so long hoping. Now we’re here. It’s so close!] She squeaked aloud, a reserved excitement to her accompanying statement. Then she stopped. Then, one more set of signs. [But it’s so quiet.] “Oh.” Ketzal muttered, pushing himself back up. He surveyed the empty lobby for a moment. He’d been in hotel lobbies before. Outside of breakfast hours, they normally were pretty quiet. People didn’t spend time in the lobby, they passed through to get to their rooms or passed through to go explore the surrounding areas. But now, this made a little more sense. He had assumed her request for entertainers was some odd lost-in-translation moment. “Frappe, what does this place look like when it’s done? What do you want to see on a normal day?” Frappe looked lost in thought. There were a million answers to the question, and it was hard to be specific with the language she was using. She had to try though, if only for her own sake. [Swarming.] Her paws had to stop to cover a small bout of titters. [Pokemon, big and small, in the rooms, in the lobby, talking, laughing. Some enjoying beautiful weather outside, chasing each other around or training in the arena! Great food, better people, everyone so happy to be together!] “A family.” She stopped cold. The warmth of the dreamscape was lost, the baggage that had suddenly been forced on it making it uncomfortable. [No.] Her paw cut the air quickly, her attention suddenly anywhere but him. [You said make it feel like a home. People at home should be happy and comfortable. Safe. But they’ll leave. It’s temporary.] Ketzal watched her for a moment, letting the tension hang in the air. He only spoke again when she finally made eye contact. “Alright. Yeah, you’re right. We’ll only have each guest for a week, maybe a month at worst.” He concluded with a playful smirk. “But that’s useful for me. I didn’t realize… I thought you wanted to run this more like a human hotel. Guess I should’ve figured your plan would be a little more unique.” [How?] She retorted defensively, her eyes narrowed. “Well, in a human hotel, you don’t stay in the hotel. You just go there to sleep. But in a Pokemon hotel, we probably should expect our guests to stay on the premises. I might have to actually find you one of the singers you put on the list. We’ll see what I can do.” He shrugged, watching her expression gradually change to one of surprise. Little miscommunications weren’t particularly rare between the two, but the line between humans and Pokemon was something they weren’t often reminded of. It was easy to forget she’d never stayed in a normal hotel before. They had had many more difficulties with Frappe being short or illiterate than being ‘too Pokemon’, especially considering there were a number of Pokemon that were both of those things. [Thank you.] She seemed distracted, but far less mopey than she had been. Thoughtful, if anything. [Maybe it will be weird, but I can accept that. If Pokemon are happy here, I don’t care how weird we are!] Frappe stuck her tongue out at Ketzal, getting a small laugh. She began to speak aloud, apparently considering something, before stopping with a sudden squeak. [But that doesn’t matter if there’s no Pokemon here.] “Stop, stop. Don’t go back to sulking. I meant to do this earlier, before we actually opened, but here.” From the desk drawer, Ketzal drew two pamphlets. Being of his design, they weren’t anything incredible, just some paragraphs of text accompanying well-angled photographs that accentuated the ‘rustic charm’ of the building, but they would do. “I’m going to send these to Citris and Sheo, and maybe I can drop some of them around town. Give them a look.” He handed them down, with one being immediately dropped so she could better inspect the first. Turning it around, upside down, folding it, unfolding it, doing all of these things in random order, eventually, she had her decision. With a decisive shake of her head, she tossed them both in the trash bin. “Frappe!” [We should send personal invitations!] She grinned. [Those two are the investors, right?] “Well, yeah, but that doesn’t mean I actually know them personally. I only met Sheo when they closed down his first farm and Citris… well, we don’t travel in the same circles anymore.” Ketzal shook his head. He reached for the pamphlets, only to be stopped by a swat at his hand. With a determined squeak, she explained, [Then I’ll write them! I can thank them and invite them to visit.] “You can’t write.” Ketzal shot back immediately, rolling his eyes. “Or read.” [Just give me some paper.] She stared back, a sly challenge in her eyes. With a shrug, Ketzal sat back up, digging in the drawer for something to write on. After displacing about half of the assorted small tools and files thrown in the drawer, two blank pieces of letter paper finally end up on the desk. He glanced down at her. He then stood up. She gave a dramatic curtsy of thanks, hopping up into the chair so he could push her up to the desk. “Alright, let’s see it then.” Ketzal smiled, leaning over the desk to the side so he could watch her fumble with the pencil. He would be surprised to watch her cast it to the side. Her claws dug into her scarf, searching for the thin fishing line invisible against her coat until it finally caught. Slowly, she worked her claw along it, pulling the small pouch out and over her head to free it. “Oh, Frappe, really? For this?” Ketzal shook his head, exasperated. She placed the pouch on the desk to free her hands. [I have to practice with it!] She protested, an indignant chirp her defense. “Can’t wait to see this go wrong. Evil magic letter destroys stone castle, more at 9.” Ketzal stated, his mock headline complete with a smirk. [It won’t be that bad, calm down.] She pulls the pouch open, the coin-sized pink gem emitting a dim glow among the gray haze of dust within. Reaching in and pulling it out, she swore she could hear the soft chimes of the Fairy magic, singing its otherworldly tune. The gem was held to the light, its translucence marred by the coating of dust across the surface. With a peek over at Ketzal’s disapproving watch, she gave her own little smirk. She gave him another quick squeak of reassurance, then she was ready to begin. Holding it in both paws, she whispered to herself, <I wish I could tell them how thankful I am.> A quick moment of reflection to check for any obvious slip-ups that could be interpreted in such a way to somehow cause the letters to come to life and destroy the building - because you never know - and she continued. Gingerly, she released one paw, brushing it against the dirtied faces of the gem to clear the dust coating. She then sprinkled it across the letters, watching as the dust sparkled in the air, settling into strange looped shapes. Once the dust had settled, it glowed a soft pink like that of the gem, then vanished, leaving behind markings black as char. “Huh.” Ketzal stood upright, moving to the other side of the letters as though his perspective would change the result. He then shifted again, standing just next to Frappe. Quickly she dropped the gem back into the bag of dust, pulling the cord over her head and burying the pouch back in her scarf. [What does it say? Read it read it!] She signed, squeaking loudly and rapidly. Her excitement was obvious enough, the chair rotating from her eager movements, but Ketzal wasn’t moving fast enough for her. Cautiously, her human made to grab one. He stopped just above the letter, waiting for some searing heat; nothing that obvious. The font looked proper, a formal cursive, written in black instead of blood or neon or something else crazy. Maybe it had worked right this time. Holding it at a safe distance, he read: “Dear… Citrus.” He scanned over the other letter quickly, finding it at least spelled the other name correctly. “We can fix that in post.” There was an annoyed grumble, Frappe rolling her eyes at the technical failure. Clearing his throat, he continued, “My name is Frappe, and I’m the Cinccino whose dream you helped fund. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for your generosity. This hotel, now open to the public and ready to serve the Pokemon of Nimbasa, stands in no small part due to your investment, and it’s my sincere hope that our success may in some way serve to benefit you in pride, fortune, or mere gratitude. You are a angel in all of our eyes - a angel? It should be an angel.” He looked down at her, frowning. [I’m going to hit you.] “May this day find you well, and all those to follow… yours truly, Frappe.” Done with the joking, he reread it silently to himself. Just the fact that it hadn’t burnt through the counter meant it had been better than he expected, and while he wished he had the chance to actually test Frappe’s abilities with this gem, clearly she had been. She was more comfortable using it than she had been the last time it’d come out. The handwriting was more than just legible, it was far better than his own. Perfectly spaced, measured, with a consistency in the letters’ designs that only a printer could match. With a quiet hmm he returned it to the desk. “It’s a little schmaltzy, but it’ll work.” [A… What?] “There is one issue though.” He said, suddenly serious. Frappe looked up in concern. Snatching the pamphlets from the bin, he added, “It doesn’t actually invite them to show up. So, we’ll send both, and see who comes!” Frappe sighed, rolling her eyes. [Fine. They better show up though!] The now-folded letter and pamphlet fall into an unearthed envelope with a soft thk. “Something tells me they will.”
“So, everything is fine now, yes? all the sylveons are being shipped to kalos and we can carry on with the whole goat program with out issue” The man talked in the phone while walking around the grounds of the new farm “I swear if I need to pay one more lawyer I’ll be done for. Had to ask for an extra loan just to pay for the new farm equipment” It was pretty clear that the investment on the sylveon ribbon farm had been anything but a good idea. And to make things worse, in his panic to save up some of the money he ended up investing on a sad overpriced daycare that wasnt even in a good location of Nimbasa. All he could hope for was that these goats could make a good job at recovering his losses. He ended the call, and sat down on a nearby log. Yup, this was an entire mess and a half he had gotten into! And chances were that he wasnt about to get things fixed. As he was about to get lost in thought, he was quickly brought back by the jittering sound of a glitching pokemon bringing some stuff to him “TAF” He said to the porygon-z “dont bother me with the mail right now, I’m not in the mood of checking what else is breaking down in whatever other thing I invested on” though he said that, he did reach out to grab what the duck was offering, to which the duck responded by throwing the stuff into the air “...” Sheo managed to grab one of the cards as it flew, with a second landing on his leg, which he checked in that order “well would you look at that… the news from the daycare. Thought that was lost money by now” He looked up at the artificial pokemon, who did little more than twitch in place “aaaaand just as things are starting to get better, I finally lose it. Talking to you as if you’d understand. even the goats are better listeners” Attached to the first letter was a sticky note saying: Frappe insisted on writing you a personal letter for helping with the Ivy Chateau. We wish you take this as an invitation to take one or more of your pokemon there! Sheo grabbed the sticky note and pasted it to the back of the envelope once he read it, pulling out the letter itself to see what this ‘Frappe’ had to say Dear Sheo My name is Frappe, and I’m the Cinccino whose dream you helped fund. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for your generosity. This hotel, now open to the public and ready to serve the Pokemon of Nimbasa, stands in no small part due to your investment, and it’s my sincere hope that our success may in some way serve to benefit you in pride, fortune, or mere gratitude. You are a angel in all of our eyes. May this day find you well, and all those to follow… yours truly, Frappe More than anything that was written in the paper, Sheo’s mind was occupied trying to figure out how a Cinccino was able to write a letter. Did they teach it how to write? well, that’s certainly new “So it actually opened… huh… TAF, write a mail, tell any contact that said I was foolish for wasting my funds on the daycare to- no no, the ‘Ivy chateau’, it sounds more proper. Tell them that they simply dont have an eye for business! I could see that they’d be able to open up and become profitable! Just needed a small push of money!” He checked the second letter, the one that fell on his leg, and read through it as well. It was nothing more than a proper ad for the daycare. Might be worth keeping an eye out for how well this investment developed, especially after leaving it out of his radar for so long… the robot made unworldly robotic noises as it worked on the request, but as soon as it was done another instruction came “TAF, are you done? Pack yourself, I want to see how well this hotel does and the goats aint gonna cut it for intel, now are they? Buy a porygon system and make it so they deliver it here, I’ll need a replacement while you are having vacation” The man stood up, and made his way to the farmhouse while writing things down on his phone. This was bound to either save him or bring him down to the pits of bankruptcy. Dear Ketzal and Frappe I appreciate the letter you sent me, and I can't be happier about your success in opening your hotel. Regarding this, I have to ask forgiveness due to not congratulating you sooner. I often try to stay in contact with my most promising investments, but I was unable to due to the farm incident you are already aware of. To amend this, I send this package with a pokeball inside with a porygon-z. I wish to aid your continual growth and believe that TAF will be able to aid you during it’s stay at the hotel. I’ve instructed it to follow whatever Ketzal needs it to do, though I also told it to return once it believes it's no longer needed for the smooth work of the hotel to continue. If you are unaware of how a porygon-z works, I have also sent an instruction manual that will be below the pokeball. Wish you the best development!
pixel art done by me! Using the uranium protag as inspiration
Citris stared at the letter on the corner of the desk. He had hardly looked at it since he had brought it into his office a week ago. He knew who it was from, he knew what it was about, and he knew he was too busy to deal with it now. But as the week progressed, the tiny nag of guilt at the back of his mind grew as he knew he was avoiding something he needed to follow up on. One of his biggest investments. He took another mouthful of coffee. It was far past sunset, well into the night, and most of the Pokemon living on the farm had settled down for the night; although a few stragglers had wandered through the flap installed at the bottom of the door, likely coming in for the warmth of the room. A couple of Rattata had made a small bedding of shredded papers in one of the corners a few days ago and were already lying in it asleep, an Umbreon with blue rings was being irritated by a young Rockruff batting at his ears with their paws in another corner, a Purrloin poked its head through the flap, then twitched one of its ears and withdrew back outside. At the moment, Citris hardly noticed the Pokemon around him. It wasn’t that he didn’t care for them; he wouldn’t have installed their office entrance if that was the case. He was just used to Pokemon being free to go wherever and do whatever they wanted, so he let them. And personally, he often became so focused on his work that would take something as drastic as the Pokemon fighting each other for them to disturb him. It was part of the reason why he preferred to keep more mellow-natured Pokemon on his farm; as long as they got along with each other and himself he could work more on maintaining the farm and less on individual social relationships. The computer in front of him chimed, a usual sound in the office that played every few minutes. Citris put his coffee down on the desk and took the mouse. Another entry from Wonder Trade to the farm. He specified an open spot in one of the inprocessing fields for the Pokemon to be released to and returned one of the farm’s outgoing Pokemon to the system. This was a large part of his job - accept incoming Pokemon from Wonder Trade, compare them to the ones present on the farm, and trade back the weaker of the two. The farm was designed with keeping a male and female pair of each Pokemon, as strong as they could get. Then, business would be made when whoever needed a Pokemon escort, or bodyguard, or whatever they wanted to pay him for to loan out a Pokemon, for however long they needed. Admittedly, there were finer details he would like to iron out before they officially started advertising, and the farm was pretty new so they didn’t have any Pokemon candidates to loan out yet, and funding was pretty low, so they were just barely making room for all the Pokemon they were taking in - A Poochyena suddenly made for his beverage, hitting the desk hard and causing everything to shake. The coffee jar wobbled violently, almost spilling over - Citris, recovering from the scare, grabbed it with one hand while he held the Poochyena’s head back with his other. “No! No, you! This is the third time now! That’s my drink, it’s not for Pokemon!” he said sternly, only taking his glare off of the Poochyena when it whined and dropped back down to the ground, out of Citris’ reach. He steadied the coffee and let out a breath. That was a sign, if any it was time to read the letter, before it was soaked completely by a spill. He took it from the desk, then after looking at the front briefly again, shook it and cleared his throat as if preparing to read the contents out loud. He tore open the envelope and removed the contents. Inside was a pamphlet with a sticky attached and a hand-written letter, although it wasn’t any handwriting he recognized. He took his time reading it, finding it hard to not notice how much it praised him within it and how it caused his guilt to rise up again. Although… finishing the letter, he was expecting something else. Some sort of… plead for more funding, or action on his part, or… something. To hear that the hotel was having success already was the best outcome, but he hadn’t expected it to happen so quickly given the situation the two were in when he had left. He picked up the pamphlet. It was definitely the same building he had seen before, accompanied with some flowery text that he only skimmed over; it was mostly filler text about the location and the services they offered that he heard Ketzal list numerous times in the planning. He instead read the stuck on note - “At least come out and see what we’ve made while you’ve been gone. And maybe we’ll take a trip out to your place in return. In fact, bring one of those guard dogs you were talking about - we probably still need one.” Guard Pokemon. He said he was going to have guard Pokemon to rent out, not just canines. Of course Ketzal would still mess with him, even if he wasn’t around. But regardless, there was the response he was expecting. They wanted him to come out and visit. Citris sighed, wondering if he should make the trip and how the farm could possibly manage with him gone. He reached for his coffee and his hand sunk into a pelt of fur instead, scaring him again at the unexpected feeling. He looked up to see the Poochyena standing on the desk, muzzle stuck into the glass jar, looking at him from the inside. The Poochyena was standing. On. The. Desk. Citris stared at him for a few seconds, processing the situation, then threw up his hands in defeat. “Alright. Just have it, I don’t want it anymore. I gave you fair warning though; you’ll be up all day now too,” he rolled his eyes, then pushed his chair back from the desk and stood up. Walking to the back of the room, he salvaged a full piece of paper that survived the Rattata and a pen, then returned to the desk and gently pushed the Poochyena to one side to give him room to write a response. The Poochyena continued to lap up the coffee loudly, quickly running out of liquid he could reach from the top of the standing jar. “Ketzal and Frappe,” “Thanks for the letter (and brochure, I suppose). I’m glad to hear that the hotel is already running; I don’t remember if that’s ahead of schedule or not, but good news regardless! Sounds like you two are getting your dream after all. I could probably find some way to get away from my own work for a week or two to visit and check it out. Ketz said to bring a guard
dog Pokemon and I think I have one in mind. At least one that’s pretty persistent and curious. I guess we’ll see if that’s a good fit. We’ll both head out soon, probably within this month; I just have to figure out how to manage this place remotely. I don’t trust anything I code up to run automatically. Plus computers don’t really put out fires very well. Tell me if anything changes.”
ba-dum ba-dum ba-dum ba-dum Frappe stepped back from the pounding thrum of the dryer, watching the pile of towels tumble in the drum. Only a single guest had used the bathhouse, but with his size, he'd needed half a dozen towels to dry off! It would be an hour or two before these were done, not that they'd need them too soon. She simply didn't have anything else productive to do. <-Granbull bites!> A strange voice, deep and droning, broke her dreary wander. Had something snuck into the hotel? As she made for the door, she heard it continue, slightly clearer. <When Combee stings!> The words struck a chord with her, vaguely familiar. Was it trying to sing? It sounded more like shouting. She dug her paws into the small gap in the doorway, pulling the door open so she could leave the room. Arceus forbid she had shut it behind her, she'd have to go find a ladder to get out. <When I'm feeeeelin' saaaad!> The voice croons dramatically, earning a chorus of giggles from an audience she knew well. Now she could hear the piano's accompaniment, no contestant to the singer's volume. That was no surprise, though. Even if Talon tried to compete, her paws wouldn't be able to slam the keys hard enough and keep the melody intact. With a growing smile, she jogged through the hall to enter the lobby area. Their Orcalot guest was the source of the yowling, standing by the bench where Talon joyfully added the piano's sounds to the mix. Her quiet laughter had reached a fever pitch with the Orcalot's hammy singing, and as he raised a massive metal paw to the sky in preparation for the final line, she doubled over, barely managing to maintain the melody. <Iiii simply remember my FAAAAVORITE things, and then I don' FEEEEEL, sooo BAAAAAAD!> It was easily among the worst covers of the song she'd heard, but thankfully he wasn't in town for the Musical. He didn't need to know that though. She smiled brightly as Talon regained herself to clap and cheer, laying her head on the keys as the last of the laughing fit worked itself out. <Ahaha! Mister Brine, that was awesome!> Talon squeaked, pushing herself back upright. <Ah, I know better than that, lass. But I appreciate the flattery.> He responded evenly, a smile on his face. <Not bad work on the instrument there either! Don't think I coud've done better myself.> He placed his metal paw down on the keys, releasing a discordant twang that caused Frappe to flinch. Quickly shaking the disturbance off, she waved for his attention. <Good afternoon Mr. Brine!> He maneuvered his way around to face her, turning a little slower with the four feet. <Ah, Ms. Frappe. Enjoying the ambience?> He chuckled, gesturing back to the piano as though she'd just arrived. As far as he knew, she probably had. <The sound of music is always a pleasure - though I have to wonder just how old you are after that song.> She replied, giggling behind a paw. <Far older than yourself, I'm sure of that.> He nodded. <We tend towards the ancient side.> He inspected his worn mechanisms, the various scratches and small dents on his coated claws. <Time's been kinder to me. Really though, are we being a disturbance?> Frappe waved her paws in denial. <Oh, not at all!> She told the pair. <On the contrary, I'm glad to hear some life around here! I was just passing through. I imagine it's quieter here than you're used to, though?> <That's an understatement!> He roared, catching himself as his volume once again skyrocketed and the two mice around him flinched. <Sorry. Enough time in construction and your hearing starts to fade.> <Really? Why's that?> Talon interjected. Brine turned his midsection to face the Minccino, looking down to explain. <Well, construction work means a lot of heavy metal and power tools. They make a lot of noise when you throw them around, and when you're close to it without ear protection you start to hear the ringing even when you're offsite. It's just part of the job.> She gasped sympathetically. <But that's so sad! Can you get ear protection?> With a single laugh he shook his head. <'Fraid they don't make 'em for folks like you and me. You just have to be careful and let me know when I get too loud, ya hear?> <Oh, you aren't that loud!> She giggled. <You are pretty loud though. Maybe a slow song next, for more of those long notes!> <Well, if you insist!> He grinned down at her, displaying the gleaming fangs. Talon doesn't hesitate to smile back, looking to the keys to try to recognize where she needed to be for the next song. Frappe gave the Orcalot a curtsy before her retreat to the reception desk. A hop, jump, a clumsy landing, and the door to the office crept out of the door catch, letting her pull it the rest of the way open without the chair's aid. Once inside, she shut it tight behind her. Ketzal was sitting at the desk with headphones on, tapping away at the desktop keyboard buried among the random mess on the desk. Her approach went unnoticed, as was her squeak of hello, requiring her to walk over and tug at his jeans for his attention. He looked down immediately, pulling the headphones down onto his neck. "Oh, hey Frappe. What's up?" [I'm done with everything.] She signed, leaning against the desk. "You're bored?" Her nod of approval recieved a shrug in response, then, "Actually, you got some mail. We can deal with that while you're here." Her face perked up immediately, the mouse excitedly hopping and squeaking to try to see the top of the desk. The human stood, clicking the monitor's power button before beginning to dig through the scattered papers. By the time she'd reached the cushion, he already had the two letters in one hand and a Pokeball in the other. That was cause for concern, but upon seeing her worried expression he replied, "It's fine. Sheo sent help, apparently." Which served only to change her concern to curiosity. [S-H-E-O? I know that name.] "Yeah, these are the responses from the invitations you sent." Her gasp seemed to be the right reaction, as he would begin to read the related letter aloud. By its conclusion, Frappe was staring at the Pokeball in wonder, while Ketzal was just shaking his head. "Well, probably better that he didn't come himself. He's caused you enough problems already." Frappe's small whine couldn't be clearly interpreted by the human, so he simply assumed she agreed. "I'll get around to reading..." The manual, now excavated and visible on the desk, sat as a textbook among the paper forms. "Arceus. It'll get done eventually." He said, more to himself. There were more pressing matters. The Pokeball was returned to the table, the letter dropped into the trash bin nearby. <Hey!> The Cinccino cried, running over to grab the letter from the bin and nearly overturning it in the process. Once it was retrieved, she waved it at him. <He took the time to write this, we should be respectful!> Her nonsensical cries do no more than stop him from continuing to the next letter, his eyes watching with no emotion behind them. He waited in silence, letting her calm for a moment before replying, "Ready for the next one?" Her tired squeak was enough of a change in tone, so he began to read the folded letter. This one took significantly longer not for the content, but rather the handwriting, which he took the time to comment on after finishing. "Man, he still writes like he's in the middle of a heart attack." [Wait he's actually coming?] "Yep. And since this is snail mail that arrived a few days ago, probably soon." She stared up at him with some mix of horror and excitement. Confused, he asked "What's with that look?" [He's a V-I-P! He gave us money and he's a friend of yours! We have to get ready!] The second part of the reasoning raised on eyebrow on the human, but he wasn't going to argue the point. "Well, looks like you've got things to do then, right? Better gather the crew." <We have to set up the room, we have to re-do ALL the cleaning, we need to have proper ingredients for the meals...> She listed off rapidly. Ketzal nodded along, looking down at the mess on the desk and fidgeting with one of the topmost forms. <Arranging a tour of Nimbasa, and - getting some dog toys! There's so much to do and he could be here tonight! I need to get moving!> She addressed the last line to Ketzal, her gesturing paused while she awaits a response. "Go get 'em, tiger. I'll be in here." He waved towards the door, and, in a flash of grey, she set off to work.
The Ivy Chateau begins in full with Chapter 1: Every Dog Has Its Day!
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