Frosty Festivities: Team Diamond Dust

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  "Woooooooooooooooww," Ronnie breathed, beholding the vast, frigid space of the inn.  Dancers moved gracefully throughout the majority of the room, while others stood by and watched.  The air was so cold that icicles hung from the ceiling, and a thin layer of ice covered the walls and floor.  A nearby bar sported all sorts of foods and beverages in seemingly endless supply.  All of this added up to create a mien of mystical wonder for the young Sneasel, and she was already greatly enjoying it.  "This is awesome!"

  "Indeed it is," Edith concurred as she, too, took in the vicinity, sails shimmering a content forest green.  "Alright Veronica, since you're the one who wanted to join in the festivities, you should decide which activity we do first."

  The Shiny blinked, rather surprised by being given the choice.  "Let's see…  There's dancing going on right now, so that could be fun.  Oh, but there's also face painting, and ice sculpting, too.  Not to mention the outside activities, like apple-bobbing and sports.  There's also the possibility of helping the other Researchers, if they're still here… Gah!" The small Ice-Type flared her tail feathers, stomping a foot in frustrated indecisiveness.  "I don't know what to start with!  I just want to do everything!"

  "Now, now, there's no need to get upset," her partner chided gently.  "Might I suggest we begin with the more artistic pursuit?  I, myself, am interested in ice sculpting."

  "Okay!  If you say so, Edith!"  Walking through the crowd as politely as an overly energetic child and a dinosaur-like creature possibly could, the team made its way to a smaller area situated in a corner of the establishment, where those who wished to make ice sculptures or get their face painted during the dancing were free to do so.  Arranged against the wall in an orderly fashion were dozens of ice blocks, many of them already carved.  Several Pokémon were still working away at their creations with tools chosen from a nearby pile.  Towards the edge of the space, a group of Smeargle were conscientiously marking on the requested designs of their customers.  To Ronnie's incredulity, it seemed that one could have paint applied anywhere on their body, not just the face.  Remembering how cool she had looked when a certain potion from an Errand had donned her with stripes, the Sneasel hoped that the painters had access to purple.

  "Let's get started, shall we?" Edith took an untouched chunk of ice and set it on the ground before her.  "I feel like our final result will be more appealing if we sketch our ideas first, don't you?"

  "I probably would, if I could draw." Ronnie could write equations all day long, but, unlike her partner, she was unable to draw even a proper stick figure to save her life.  "And if we had paper."

  "Touché." The Aurorus glanced at the ice-covered floor, then at her partner, and then at the cluster of Smeargle.  After a moment, she suggested, "How about, since you also said you wanted to, you can go get your face painted, while I come up with a design.  I'm sure a few light marks on the covering of the floor won't be of any real concern."

  "Sounds good!" Ronnie started towards to painters, then slowed and turned back to the other Ice-Type. "What are you thinking of making?"

  "I haven't actually decided yet," Edith responded.  "Perhaps you have an idea?"

  The Sneasel considered the question for a second.  "You know that famous Explorers' team, the Archetypes?  A statue of them would be cool, I think."

  "I'll see what I can come up with."  With that, the Aurorus began scratching delicately at the floor's veneer of ice.

  Meanwhile, Ronnie skipped over to a currently unoccupied Smeargle and found, to her delight, that, yes, purple was an available color, and yes, full body designs could be done.  After the Shiny removed her lab coat and finally managed to explain what she wanted in speech not so sped up be excitement that they were incomprehensible, the Normal-Type artist went right to work.  The entire process proved very ticklish to the Sneasel, but the final result was worth it, in her opinion.  A duo of bands circled each of her limbs.  A stripe was painted over each eye, and two of them marked each cheek.  An 'x' covered her upper back, its points wrapping around her arms and stopping just before the gem on her chest.  A couple of small markings on her forehead and a blotch covering her featherless right ear topped off the orchid-hued design, and the Ice-Type very much liked it.

  "Hey, Edith!  I'm done!" Ronnie gathered up her coat, scampered over to her partner, and turned in a slow circle so that the Aurorus could see the full extent of the markings.  "What do you think?"

  "You look lovely, dear," the older Ice-Type answered, frills gold and pink with pleased affection.  Turning back to her drawing, she continued, "I just completed the preliminary sketch.  This seems like it would make a nice sculpture, would it not?"

  Shrugging back on her oversized coat, the Sneasel contemplated the design.  It depicted each of the Archetypes' four infamous members, marching one after the other in animated poses, as if the team was about to set out on another one of their grand adventures.  "Definitely!  It looks great!"

  "Wonderful."  Edith stretched out her neck to the pile of tools and grabbed several of them.  Giving a few to Ronnie, she continued, "Let us begin."


  Ronnie flinched in surprise as her stomach suddenly emanated a loud, complaining growl,  Beside her, Edith chuckled good-humoredly, sails yellowing in amusement.

  "Why don't you go get some food at the bar?" the Aurorus suggested, pausing in her work on the half-finished sculpture.  "We've been at this for a while now; a short snack break would be nice."

  "Okay!" Ronnie jumped to her feet and dusted shards of icy residue out of her fur and the folds of her lab coat.  "Do you want anything?"

  "I do believe that I saw some frosted Berries among the selection.  If you could get some of those, I would be very grateful."

  "Got it!" As Ronnie darted away in the crowd, she heard her partner say something about needing to be careful.  The warning in general didn't strike the Sneasel as unusual- Edith was always overprotective, and if she wasn't so absorbed in her work, she would've insisted on escorting the Shiny.  However, the specific wording of the precaution was a little perplexing.  Why would she tell me to be careful?  I'd understand a 'Hurry back' or a 'Don't talk to strangers', but 'be careful'?  This is a friendly community party; what danger could there possibly be here that would induce her to tell me to be caref-

  The Shiny's thoughts were rather ironically interrupted as she accidentally ran straight into another partygoer.  Both victims of the accident were sent sprawling, though Ronnie soon confirmed that she, at least, was unhurt.  Turning, she saw that the other Pokémon, a slightly undersized Mienfoo, also seemed unharmed, and had also gotten to his paws fairly quickly.

  "I'm so sorry!" the Sneasel exclaimed.  "That was my fault!  I should've been looking where I was going, and-"

  "Hey, it's fine," the Fighting-Type interrupted calmly.  "It was only an accident, and no one got hurt.  Everything's okay."

  "Thanks!"  Realizing that this was an opportunity to finally start making new friends, Ronnie promptly stuck out a sleeve-covered hand and introduced herself.  "My name's Ronnie, by the way.  What's yours?"

  "T.J.," the Mienfoo responded, accepting the handshake somewhat hesitantly.

  Noticing this, the Shiny inquired, "What's wrong?"

  "Er, nothing," T.J. replied sheepishly.  "It's just that, the last guy I shook hands with felt like he was going to break my paw off."

  "Really?" Ronnie choked back a snicker of amusement.  "What sort of 'mon would that be?"

  T.J. opened his mouth to reply, but was kept from doing so by a slightly upset, surprisingly familiar voice.

  "There you are, T.J.!  I thought I told you not to wander off without telling me!" A Zoroark emerged from the crowd.  It was Mirage, a rather friendly Pokémon that Ronnie and Edith had acquainted over the course of several Errands.  "You could get lost, or I could get lost trying to find you!"

  "I'm pretty good at not getting lost, Mirage.  You know that," the Fighting-Type answered, seeming a little disconcerted at the Dark-Type's anger.

  "Well, right now, I'm your, uh, caretaker, of a sort, so, um, I should do my best to look after you," the Zoroark retarded, trying and failing to sound official.  "Though I don't really know if this is actually the right way to do that…"

  "You two know each other?" Ronnie questioned, curious as to what relationship the duo might share.

  Mirage stared, apparently only just noticing that the Snesel was there.  "Oh, hi Ronnie.  Nice stripes.  And yeah, T.J. and I are roommates, in a way.  A predicament involving a burning building erased his memory; he's staying with me until we find a way to get it back."

  "Oh."  Turning back to the Mienfoo, the Shiny steered the conversation back to the previous subject, which she now saw as more intriguing.  "So, about that other Pokémon you mentioned earlier…"

  "Oh yeah!  He was this huge Buizel with a bunch of serious scars all over him, and he wore black gloves that had these big metal claws and spikes on them that didn't look safe at all."  As he talked, the Fighting-Type gestured animatedly with his paws, as though he was shaping the air to fit his description.  "He has this weird accent, too, and he seemed sort of distracted, like he was thinking about something else.  Maybe something that was too violent to reveal to the public.  There was just something really… off about him.  I don't know what, but it made him kind of scary."

  "Benedict is not scary," Mirage interjected defensively.  "He's a good friend to have, if you get to know him."  She looked suddenly to Ronnie.  "Right, Ronnie?  You've met him before, haven't you?"

  The Sneasel had indeed met the Buizel before, and he had seemed fine enough.  Then again, she had not actually talked to him, only overheard conversations he'd had.  She was about to say as such when T.J. spoke up sharply.

  "A good friend?" the Mienfoo spat dubiously.  "We saw him try to kill someone earlier for who knows what reason!  How can you call a guy like that your friend!?"

  Ronnie's eyes widened in astonishment at this news.  Sure, Benedict seemed a little violent-minded, with all of his scars and whatnot, but the Sneasel had still found it hard to believe that he could commit- or come close to commuting- such a terrible act as murder.  She swiveled her head to stare at Mirage in a way that demanded an explanation.  The Zoroark shifted her weight uneasily from foot to foot, unable to meet the gazes of either of the two younger Pokémon.  Her mind was working so strenuously that Ronnie could almost see the thoughts zipping about the Dark-Type's brain.  It seemed that none of those thoughts were acceptable answers to T.J.'s question, for rather than offering a proper response, Mirage instead resorted to a rather badly constructed red herring.  "Um, why don't we talk about something else?  Like your apple-bobbing experience, T.J.?"

  T.J. rolled his eyes, but replied to the desperate inquiry anyway.  "Because that resulted in the worst toothache ever.  Between that, being too small to successfully participate in any sports, and meeting that supposed friend of yours, I would've preferred to stay home and read."

  "Ooh!  You like to read, too?" Ronnie quipped, Mirage's ducking of questions forgotten.  "What genre do you favor?  Science?  History?  Philosophy?"

  Somewhat sheepishly, the Mienfoo replied, "Actually, I like fiction the best."

  The Sneasel flicked an ear in startled irritation.  "Fiction?  Why would you possibly want to read fiction?"

  "Err- well, it's interesting," T.J. managed, off-put by Ronnie's reaction.  "The author creates an entirely new world-"

  "What's the point of making a new world when we've got plenty of good stuff right here?" the Shiny interrupted angrily.  "Our world has giant, living statues and ghosts and amnesia-fog!  I have apprehended a ninja in real life!  How does that compare to some silly fairy tale coming from someone's head?  Huh?  How does it?"


  "You don't have an answer, do you?  No, of course you don't, because there's no point in reading a stupid, made-up fantasy when all the adventure you could possibly ask for is sitting on your doorstep!"  Driven by the sudden rage of negative emotions, Ronnie stalked off into the crowd, leaving T.J. and Mirage to stare in confusion after her.

  "What did I do…?" the Mienfoo muttered.  With a start, he realized that his older friend seemed to be… chuckling.  Turning sharply to face her, he demanded, "What's so funny?"

  "Oh, it's just kind of ironic," the Zoroark murmured, staring off in a direction where, if this were a movie, a camera would probably be stationed.

  "What's ironic?  What are you talking about?  And what are you looking at?!"

  "Hm?" Mirage started, as though coming out of a daze.  "Did you say something?"

  "You said that Ronnie getting really mad at me for liking fiction was funny somehow!" T.J. explained impatiently.

  Mirage stared blankly at him. "I did?"


  "Huh.  I don't remember saying that.  I don’t know why I would say that, either.  There's nothing ironic about hating fiction.  Not that I can think of, anyway.  Are you sure I said that?"

  T.J. sighed in resignation.  "I'm so confused."

  Meanwhile, Ronnie quickly went to the bar, got several frosted Berries for Edith and a few candies for herself, and headed back to the ice-sculpting area, hurried along by the remnants of a fury that she was no longer sure was entirely justified.


  "Aaaaannnd… done!"  Ronnie scraped off a final shard of ice, then sat back and stared proudly at team Diamond Dust's creation.  "It looks amazing!"

  "I concur," Edith agreed, sails green with satisfaction.

  It truly was an impressive sculpture, especially to have been made by a small child and an armless dinosaur.  The statues of the four members of the infamous Archetypes stood proudly in mid-stride, each a fairly accurate representation of their real- life counterpart.  First was Yin, the all-powerful Haxorus that led the group.  Then there was the coincidentally named Yang, a particularly lengthy Serperior generally seen as second-in-command.  Next was Blood, the notoriously ferocious Zoroark that served as the team's battle strategist.  Last, but not least, was Najwar, the mysterious Carracosta from regions unknown, who had yet to publicly say a single word.   Together, they made one of the greatest teams in all of history, and this ice sculpture of them was just one of many art pieces made in their honor.  That said, it was still a very pretty art piece, particularly since it now caught the light of the setting sun that had filtered through the inn's walls and glowed hues of soft pink and molten gold.  Yes, it had kept Ronnie from participating in other activities, but she had still found the work viable.

  "Hey, isn't there supposed to be a storytelling thing staring around now?" the Sneasel remembered, tail feathers twitching in excitement.  "Can we go?  Please?"

  Edith thought for a moment, then nodded.  "I suppose so.  Let's put our tools and sculpture in their place first."

  The two Ice-Types did just that, then headed out into the bustling crowd.  From there, they made their way to a shallow depression populated with dozens, if not hundreds, of other Pokémon, all spread around an impossibly gigantic bonfire.  As the duo scoured the area for a place to sit, Ronnie noticed Mirage and T.J. residing towards the edge of the crowd.  I should probably apologize to him, the Sneasel thought with a twinge of guilt.  I may not approve of his reading choices, but that was no reason to go all ballistic on him

  As it happened, Edith decided to take a place very close to the Fighting-Type, close enough that the Aurorus allowed her partner to go talk to him after only a few small pleadings.  Careful not to disturb the other Pokemon, Ronnie made her way over to the Mienfoo and lightly tapped him oink the shoulder.  This startled him quite badly, and it took several seconds to get him (and to and extent, Mirage) to calm down again.

  "Uh, so, T.J.," Ronnie started, annoyed at how difficult it was to find the right words.  "I wanted to say that I'm sorry for yelling at you earlier.  It was really inconsiderate, ands hurtful, and rude, and I shouldn't have done it.  Forgive me?"

  "Of course!" T.J. replied, inciting a surprised blink from the Sneasel.  "Everyone's different, and sometimes those differences cause a bit of trouble.  But if you respect them, you can live with them.  You got mad at me, but you apologized for it.  That's a good trait for a friend in my book."

  "Great!"  Ronnie grinned, exited at this new prospect of friendship.  She might've said more, but at that moment, the ambassador appeared before the campfire, thanking everyone for coming and welcoming them to the party's final event.  After finishing her speech, the Frosslass asked for volunteers to begin the storytelling, then chose one of the many raised appendages in the crowd.

  A sprightly, smiling Sylveon skipped down to the fire, obviously exited to begin.  Beaming at the crowd, she introduced herself with some long, fancy title that Ronnie didn't quite catch, though she was fairly sure it contained the phrase 'Great and Powerful'.  Then, with a mischievous look in her eye, the Fairy-Type began her tale in a deceptively sweet, singsong voice.

  "It was another day in Andalusst…"
"... and everybody got gloriously murdered.  The end! :3"
Just to clarify, the Sylveon is not a cameo of anyone's team.  It is an embodiment of :iconjunga90683:, who, at our writing class, loves to create disturbingly gory MLP fanfiction.  It always starts with "It was another day in Ponyville...".  So, unless she actually abides by the Guild Leader's rule of 'family-friendly content only', Ronnie and her friends will be in for quite the.... interesting tale.  Of course, that also means that there are no cameos in this entry, which means it doesn't really meet all the requirements to have a chance at winning.  That's not really the reason I wrote this, though.  I wrote it because a) I wanted Ronnie to have those fancy purple markings (that I will upload a picture of later), b) Ronnie deserves friends, and while I would've preferred cameos, T.J. is still a good start, and c) I came up with that fourth wall break a week ago and reeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy wanted to use it here.  So, enjoy!
(Also, if it wasn't apparent, and it very well may not be, Ronnie and Edith arrive shortly after Quincy and Benedict are escorted out.)
Pokémon belongs to Nintendo.
Free Sneasel Icon Aurorus Icon Zoroark la plz transformers-fan123.icon (He's mentioned, so here's the icon I use for him) and there is still no Mienfoo.  Nyeh.  These guys are mine.  Oh, and so are the Archetypes- OH MY GOD I FORGOT TO TALK ABOUT THE INDIRECT PLOT DEVELOPMENT oh whatever.  I'm not really sure who the Sylveon belongs to, since it's a representation of a person.
Diamond Dust:
Fading Echoes:
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