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Cactus Fields Tasks: Fading Echoes

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  Mirage yelped as the large platter of Charti Bombs nearly went flying out of her hands for the sixth time.  As she clumsily regained her balance, she wondered for neither the first nor last time why she'd opted to do this.  I have no real social skills or experience and it's super crowded; in those conditions, waiting tables should be the last opportunity to come to mind!  Yet here I am… The Zoroark sighed, peering through the shifting Pokémon.  Where was that table of five, again?

  Several very strenuous minutes later, she finally arrived at a table seating an irritated group of Scraggy and Scrafty.  Immediately after she set down the platter, the three children snatched up the food and devoured it, spewing crumbs across the table.

  The oldest one groaned with a dramatic eye roll.  "Oh, come on!  These aren't even warm!  We waited all that time for cold Charti Bombs?  What kind of crappy waiter are you supposed to be!?"

  "Be polite, Graham," his mother chided, though her expression implied agreement.  She glanced at the nervous Dark-Type.  "Things won't always live up to your expectations."

  "S-sorry!" Mirage stammered, fidgeting.  "I'm, uh, a little new to this…"

  "I can tell," grumbled one of the other children.

  "Gail!  What did I tell you about holding your tongue!" exclaimed the father, more out of common etiquette than actual sympathy.

  Not wanting any more insults thrown at her, the Zoroark hurriedly retreated back into the crowd.  Craning her neck, she attempted to pick out any guests in need of service, but with all of the activity, it was nearly impossible to tell who needed what.  Stifling an exasperated grunt, she instead chose to wander about until she was called by someone who required her assistance.  Eventually, she was hailed by a pair of Drapion, each of which requesting a Meatroot Needle Skewer in the largest available proportions.  Those were the exact words: 'largest available proportions'.  The Dark-Type had no clue why anyone would order that much food, let alone with such peculiar diction, but she chose not to question it.  Several minutes of stumbling into others and cursing her bad sense of direction later, she finally arrived at the Thirsty Cacturne.

  "Two Meatroot Needle Skewers, please," she told the Nidoqueen at the bar, who then yelled the order through the kitchen doors.  Having nothing better to do, Mirage sat on one of the barstools and began to wait.

  A short time passed.  The Zoroark watched idly as some servers came with their orders and others left with their food.  She heard snippets of conversation from the 'mons who had chosen to remain in the restaurant for the barbecue.  She wondered what sort of things could possibly be making all that noise in the kitchen.  For a while, that was all.

  Then the entrance door swung open rapidly, slamming against the wall with a loud bang that caused several to jump in their seats.  Mirage turned her head to see Ronnie bounding towards the counter, Edith following close behind.  The Sneasel looked rather sweaty, but nonetheless cheerful; her partner was just sweaty.

  "One plate of Desert Sweetcakes, please!" the Shiny chirped before hopping onto the seat next to Mirage.  After a moment, she noticed the familiar Zoroark.  "Oh, hey, Mirage!  Long time no see, huh?"

  "Not since the Errand at Honehenge, no," the Dark-Type agreed, feeling thankful for the company.  "So, what have you guys been up to?"

  The smaller Ice-Type thought for a second or two.  "Apart from the dungeon?  Not that much, I guess."

  "Honestly, I'm thankful for that," Edith added.  "That dungeon was enough action to last us all for a while, don't you agree?"

  "They certainly were… eventful," the Zoroark replied.

  "Well, I thought going through Basalt Halls was pretty cool," Ronnie objected.

  "Says the one who got burns all over her feet?" Edith responded, eyebrow raised.

  "It was worth it!" the Sneasel spluttered.  "We got to help the Guilds and we'll be rewarded once we get to Geoda, not to mention that we're going to Geoda in the first place!  Plus, Cactus Fields have been pretty great, too!  I'd say new friends are worth mild injuries any day!"

  "I'll admit that you make a compelling argument, Veronica."  The Aurorus smirked, then turned to Mirage.  "What about you?  What have you been doing?"

  "Well, Ronnie's not the only one who got beaten up in the dungeon," Mirage began, holding up her bandaged right hand.  "Between that and, um… some hectic stuff that happened afterwards, I was really tuckered out, so I just kind of took yesterday off.  I mean, the Hunters' Guild Leaders have some weird problem with the ambassador or something that I don't want to get into, and I don't really think I'd be much use with patrolling, either, so it's not like I really had anything to do otherwise.  I figured I should at least help with something, though, so here I am!"

  "What do you mean by 'hectic stuff'?" Ronnie asked.  "I know a lot of teams were arriving all at once, but it wasn't that bad.  What happened?"

  "Well, I got lost, for a start.  And there was also…"  The Zoroark trailed off, trying to figure out how to describe such a panicked, emotional ordeal without becoming too personal.  "There was this… um… a bit of a-"

  "Two Meatroot Needle Skewers!" called the bartender, setting a huge platter onto the counter with difficulty.

  "Oh!  That's my order!"  The Dark-Type grabbed the dish and struggled to lift it, wincing as her arms almost immediately began to burn.  She glanced at the two Ice-Types.  "I-I'll tell you guys about it later, okay?"

  "Alright!  See you!"

  "You, too!"  Mirage stumbled haphzardly through the restaurant, bumping into numerous other Pokémon.  Upon reaching the door, she attempted to nudge it open with her foot, but to no avail.  She then attempted to let go of the platter with one hand before hastily grabbing it as it very nearly toppled.  She considered putting the platter down, but doubted her ability to pick it up again afterwards.  She could've asked her for help, but that would require moving around to find someone, and her heavy load made that much more difficult than necessary.  Having run out of ideas, the Zoroark instead chose to glare angrily at the two gigantic hunks of meat, criticizing their painfully large weight.  

  The Dark-Type sighed with relief as another server opened the door to enter.  She was so greatly greatful for the unwitting assistance that she was about to thank the other 'mon before realizing that it was none other than Quincy, an empty platter tied loosely to his back.  She quickly stiffened and hurried out the door, desperately wishing that she could slam it behind her.  Perhaps she had brushed him while doing this, and perhaps he noticed and tried to call out to her; with all of the other commotion, it was hard to tell.  Not that it mattered to her.  Nor did it matter to her when he caught sight of her later during the barbecue while waiting tables and made numerous attempts to get her attention.  As far as the Zoroark was concerned, she didn't ever want to talk to the Furfrou again.

  What ever that pompous, uncaring jerk wants to say, he can keep it to himself!  He can make all the excuses and pleads he wants; he's no good to anyone and never will be!  Nothing he could possibly come up with can change that!  Nothing!

  …One day, he'll get what's coming to him.  
All 'mons like him will.

  I'll make
sure of it.
When it comes to abandonment and/or betrayal, Mirage does not mess around.  Faulty battle skills or not, she won't stand for it.
Happy Thanksgiving!
And so, my entries of the Cactus Fields tasks come to an end!  I considered adding more, but due to pacing, coherency, a lack of desire for the other rewards, and just plain lack of time, I didn't write any more than this.  There are also a few other things that I couldn't work into this entry logically, but still want to share with you:
-The Basalt Halls epilogue will involve less 'wandering through a city' and more 'crap how do I even get to the city' than it does right now.  Other than that, the premise is similar.
-Edith probably attempted to hone her cooking skills for the barbecue but had to stop after Ronnie kept accidentally burning all of the food.
-The sweetcakes Ronnie ordered were for Kiri and her family seen in the previous entry.  Ronnie was a little confused by the whole 'kid-brother' thing, but is cool with it now.  They're going to swap science notes later.
Other than that, the tasks are done!  Now, if you'll excuse me, it is past midnight where I live.  I should sleep.
Results: Recruitment Slips for all teams (please let Quincy's appearance count.  It's not much, but he's still doing stuff.  Right?  Please?)
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hotpotato26's avatar
so cool i like love ur art so cool i heart ir