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The Colonists, Task 1: Explorers A

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  Quincy sighed in exasperation as his paw snagged on yet another bramble.  That’s… what, the fifteenth one so far?  Stupid fur, he thought as he pulled himself free.  And I don’t seem to be getting any closer to that blasted tree stump.  I could be curled up next to the hearth with a nice, lengthy book right now, but no: Instead, I’m trudging through this stupid forest, looking for something that I couldn't care less about!

  If he was honest with himself, it wasn’t just the rain and brambles that upset him.  The Furfrou’s bad mood was mainly the result of his most recent conversation with his parents.  The other night, he had gone to them, complaining of his partner’s violent tendencies and begging to be allowed to disband the team.  At first, it appeared that he had finally gotten through to them.  But then they insisted that he should give the psychopathic Buizel just one more chance.  ‘Surely he has his reasons’, ‘It certainly wasn’t as bad as it looked’, and ‘There’s no way he’d possibly think of hurting you’ were just some of their Slowpoke-brained pleas.  While they had, in the end, decided to let the team split up for the remainder of the current tasks, the Normal-Type was still furious that his parents repeatedly refused to see reason.

  There was also… another thing that was bugging Quincy.  After their dispute about Benedict was done, Quincy’s mother had brought up a very different topic for discussion.  It seemed that she was expecting an Egg, so in several months, the Furfrou would have a little brother or sister.  He wasn’t fond of children, and, according to the books he’d read, younger siblings could be an absolute pain to deal with.  Babies were also incredibly annoying, with their constant yowling and their inability to take care of themselves.  The Normal-Type wasn’t sure which phase he was dreading more.

  I love my parents, I really do, Quincy thought, but sometimes it seems like they’re out to make my life an absolute-

  The Furfrou’s paws lost their hold on the slippery earth, and he went tumbling down a steep slope and into a raging river that, due to his brooding, he hadn’t realized was there.  He flailed his paws wildly, reaching in vain for something he could use to fight the rain-strengthened current, but there was nothing to grab.  The icy waters chilled him to the bone, numbing his limbs and making it difficult to swim.  Again and again, his head was pushed below the surface, and each time, he found it harder to reach the air.  Stones and twigs battered his pelt, too small to help him but going fast enough to give him countless bruises.

  I suppose this is what I get for reprimanding my parents, Quincy thought grimly. I’m going to drown here and Benedict will dance on my grave, being the horrendous monster he is.  All because I was too depressed to pay atten-

  The Normal-Type’s head crashed sharply into a rock.  As his consciousness faded, thunder boomed at the highest volume, and lightning’s yellow-white light shattered the dark, cloudy sky.

~~~

“Come on, wake up!  Wake up and breathe, darn it!  I didn’t waste my web pulling you out of the river to have you die anyway!  Breathe!!!

  A sharp jab was delivered to Quincy’s chest, and with a cry, he began coughing up water.  Opening his eyes, the Furfrou found himself on the riverbank, and standing above him was an Ariados, who, unlike him, seemed completely unfazed by the rainfall.

  “Took you long enough,” the Bug-Type muttered as Quincy scrambled to his paws.  “For a second there, it seemed like I fished you out for nothing.”

  Quincy scowled.  He tried to fire back an angry response, but instead started coughing up more water.  By the time he had finally stopped, his throat was sore, and he couldn’t seem to stop shivering.  He waited for the Ariados to do something; to attack him, perhaps, and eat him as prey; or maybe just leave him here to die of hypothermia.  But the Bug-Type did neither of those things.  Instead, with a tone of both wariness and curiosity, she asked, “What are you doing in this forest, dog?”

  “M-my name is Quincy, n-not dog,” the Normal-Type retorted though chattering teeth.  “And I’ve been s-sent to f-find the entrance to a d-dungeon.  It’s s-supposed to b-be in a t-tree stump.  P-perhaps you know w-where it is?”

  The Ariados narrowed her eyes, thinking.  After a moment, she replied, “Follow me.”

  The Bug-Type walked away, leading Quincy through the forest on a trail he couldn’t see.  They continued on in silence for several minutes, for which the Furfrou was thankful.  He wasn’t much for talking with strangers, and right now, he’d rather focus on keeping his paws steady than a conversation.  After a while, the two stopped before a tree stump so big around that an Onix could’ve coiled up on it comfortably.  Between its roots yawned a gaping hole with shadows shrouding the inside.  The Ariados turned to look at Quincy.

  “We natives call this the Echoing Stump,” she told him.  “No one knows what type of tree it belonged to, nor what lies beyond its tunnels.  We hear strange sounds, though.  It convinces most to steer clear of it.  But I guess that won’t stop you, huh?”

  “Actually, I’d m-much rather st-stay away from it, t-too, but I’ll likely b-be forced t-to go down t-there.  The w-whole idea of p-poking around in such a d-disturbing place c-comes from the E-explorers, n-not me.”

  “Well, if you do go down there, and if you make it out alive, do tell me what’s lurking down there, ‘kay?  I’ve always been curious about it.”

  “Wh-what do you mean, ‘if I m-make it out alive’?” Quincy asked, soggy fur fluffing up indignantly.

  “Says the guy who nearly drowned in an easily avoidable river,” the Ariados responded coolly.  “Anyway, you found what you were looking for, so, on the assumption that you live in Andalusst, I’ll be taking you home now.  And don’t try telling me that you know the way out, because you don’t.”

  Quincy rolled his eyes and stalked after his current guide.  He didn’t enjoy being around someone that possessed such an attitude of superiority.  Just because she lived here didn’t mean she was better than him.  She’s like a smarter, less violent version of Benedict!  Though I can’t decide if those traits make her better or worse than that ridiculous Buizel.

  “Sure, sure, just don’t thank the one who saved your life and stopped you from being lost, that’s fine,” the Ariados muttered, though she may or may not have meant Quincy to hear.

  “I v-very well may s-still f-freeze to d-death, you know,” the Furfrou snapped.  “A-and maybe y-you’re not t-taking me b-back to Andalusst.  M-maybe you’re actually l-leading me t-to your n-nest s-so you c-can eat m-me!”

  “Not the most trusting fellow, are you?” The Bug-Type sighed.  “Look, if I wanted a scrappy, soggy piece of prey, I would’ve killed you on the riverbank.  But I didn’t kill you, now did I?  I know a city Pokémon when I see one, and I also know they don’t take kindly to those who threaten them.  I’m not stupid, unlike what you might believe.  Now let’s pick up the pace; that shaking isn’t getting any better.”

Of course she couldn’t be trying to kill me; why didn’t I realize that?  This cold must be getting to my head.  Quietly, Quincy hung his head and continued walking.

  “The name’s Luzi, by the way,” the Ariados commented.

  Hmm.  Quite the odd name, Luzi, the Furfrou thought.  But perhaps it would serve me well to remember it.

~~~

  Quincy arrived in his dormitory, wondering how he was to spend the rest of the day.  The Guild had insisted that he rest, and had even given him a bunch of soft, fluffy blankets in an attempt to warm him up.  But it was only the early afternoon; how could he possibly sleep now?  Then again, there wasn’t that much else to do.  He supposed he must try, even if he didn’t really think he needed to.

  The Furfrou tossed the blankets on top of his pillow and set his reward, a polished Apricot Ocarnia, onto the bedside table.  Then he got into bed and pulled the blankets over his head.  It was then he realized just how exhausted he was.  Sleep came for him, and he welcomed it gladly.
Alrighty then!  I hope to have the second Explorer task I'm doing out by the tenth, so soon!  Also... does interrupting an Ariados's nap by nearly drowning in a river count as 'disturbing the native bug Pokemon'?  I can't tell.  So for now, no new Merits or Strikes.  Whatever.
While writing the rough draft for this (at around 11:53 P.M.), I realized just how much Quincy's suffering right now.  I mean, first I nearly run him to death, then he still has to put up with Benedict (probably because his parents think he's heavily exaggerating what happened with the Sceptile, or just making it up altogether), he's going to have a sibling soon, and they can be little demons sometimes.  And then he nearly drowned and was at risk of hypothermia.  Geez!  Maybe I need to listen to less depressing music.  But don't worry, Quincy!  It's not just you!  Before these tasks are done, there will be explosions, pointless arguments, bloody noses, and general anger!  Yay!  ...I might have a problem.
:iconpmdunity:
Pokémon belongs to Nintendo.
Furfrou Icon NUUUUU!  Where are the Ariados icons?!  Well, characters are mine...  Now someone go make me an icon for Luzi!
Colonists: fav.me/d7h07lx
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Deeborm's avatar
So, did he ever thank Luzi?
Jerk!