Tabitha had barely a moment’s notice before the spray came up to assault him, weaseling its salty way into his nose and mouth and soaking though his clothing. He cursed, stepping away instinctively and spitting out the water with a quiet cough, and he immediately threw a petulant look to the ocean. Damn thing had a mind of it’s own, he was sure— like the earth. But unlike a benevolent mother, it was some sort of shitty father who tossed people over and ruined their lives. He hated the the ocean, and those salty old sea dogs raving about their terrifying misadventures did nothing to curb this aversion.
But as Jasmine’s laughter registered in his ears, he realized it was nothing but silly to be so insulted at, well, water. He huffed once and followed her lead of ringing out his cloak, plenty more meticulous about it. The man was more akin to a feline than the masculine canines that he enjoyed fashioning himself so much after, and it was a touchy subject. Childish, even, but Mightyena too was filled with obvious distaste at being wet against his will.
As his attention was called to their destination, Tabitha eyed it curiously, tossing his cloak over his arm with little regard for the chill. “A… lighthouse?” Tabitha had heard about a lord’s daughter taking over the duties of the lighthouse, and with Ampharos, perhaps he should have inferred. But the information had meant nothing to him, and even now he found himself at a loss for connections. What was it she meant to show him? He wasn’t the type for… symbolism, and that’s all the building ever seemed to be. He gave Jasmine a quizzical look.
“So the virgin’s being thrown off the top.”
Jasmine was too focused on fetching the small key she wore around her neck to open the lock that gave the door a little protection. Ampharos on the other hand wasn’t too pleased with the statement and with a quick side swipe of her tail smacked the shady man in his gut and followed Jasmine as if it was unaware of it’s action. With a forceful push the rusty door opened allowing them entrance.
“Ampharos could you give us some light please?” Jasmine asked in which her companion obliged with the orb on it’s tail glowing bright enough for 10 lanterns worth of light. She then began to lead them up the stone stairway that would end at the top. “Please watch your step, some of the stones are loose.” When they had conquered the all but 60 steps it took the top floor opened out revealing the grand view of the ocean widespread to the horizon. The floor was actually quite spacious for a lighthouse which allowed for even large pokemon to occupy it. Not as large as Steelix of course but even so.
“Ah! Let me get you and Mightyena a cloth to dry yourselves off with.” the brunette remembered grabbing the lantern she placed by the door, lighting it, and then scurrying off back downstairs.
Aron barked happily at Jasmine’s appreciation of its coat, and puffed out its chest as far as it could in pride. Steven simply laughed. “Thank you, Lady Jasmine. I do try to take care of it, and this little fellow seems to especially pay attention to looking its best.” How true that was. It seemed to want a shine everyday of the week, and between its constant whining for one and a certain friend of his’s flair for indulging the small pokemon’s vanity, there was hardly a moment the Aron didn’t shine brilliantly.
The delight that flashed in Jasmine’s eyes didn’t go unnoticed by the aron’s trainer either, however, and he smiled. “If you’d like, and wouldn’t mind his inflated ego growing another few inches, you could hold him. He’s not the lightest thing in the world, but lighter than most and I’m sure he’d adore every moment of it.” His grin widened as he gave another chuckle before a sage nod. “Only of course, if you’d like to.”
Meanwhile something flashed by the window before slowing down and returning to it. A skarmory flapped idly by the window, hovering and examining the scene with several twitches of his head. Eventually it gave a soft call before landing lightly on the window, preening itself apparently inspired by the aron’s show or otherwise slightly jealous at the attention. it was always hard to tell. Soon enough the large metagross levitated in as well, silently floating over to its master and taking position next to him.
Jasmine looked back to him in surprise before a light smile had forced it’s way past her and showed itself. “R-Really? I can hold him?” She stuttered looking back down at the small but proud Aron before picking it up in her arms. The thing was heavier than he looked but easy to hold enough. “H-He’s….cute.” The brunette had to admit as the pokemon burrowed itself closer to her as to gather as much affection as possible. That didn’t sit too tight with Rampardos who emitted a irritated growl from it’s throat. Jasmine didn’t pay no mind as she allowed the Aron to return to it’s own trainer.
“The rest of your pokemon as well are very impressive.”
Red blinked between Jasmine and her Pokemon, wondering what the problem was. She sounded so… nervous. It surprised him, just a little.
“…Yes, it’d like one, but…” Red looked around the area. He did have an advantage to hide underwater, but the Ampharos had an advantage of sending out electricity. The area also was pretty open, he knew that could be a problem. With the sparks of electricity being lit up in the air and the water contributing to it, it’d be obvious what was going on here if someone were nearby.
“Hm… we can’t here, I hope you understand..” he stared at her, then looked at his Pokemon. The Blastoise seemed to calm down a bit better than it was earlier. Red decided to put his arm down, heading over to Jasmine.
“I’m Red… may I have a look at that?” he asked, pointing at her hand. It was slowly turning into the color of his eyes, he wanted to make sure it wasn’t infected.
Ampharos seemed to settle down once the shell shock pokemon’s temper lowered however; it continued to stay close to it’s trainers side. When the male approached the electric type’s fur bristled with anxiety but made no motion until he showed a threat. Jasmine who had previously held her hand tightly closed opened it to reveal her palm was still bleeding from the gash and ultimately spread across her fingers with red.
“I almost forgot.” She tried to joke but in reality the pain was returning to her awareness. “I-it’s r-really not all too b-bad. If y-you still want to I s-suppose it c-couldn’t hurt.” The brunette agreed and held her arm out so that he would be able to examine the damage.
“Although w-we meet under t-tense circumstances I’m g-grateful to meet you R-r-red. My name is Jasmine Arryn.”
“Ah, Thank you Lady Jasmine,” Steven replied crossing the room to take the seat he had been offered. He still carried a few of his supplies with him in a neat light satchel while his other larger bag remained by the door. Chuckling in a friendly matter, he gave a wry smile. “If you really don’t mind them crowding the room further then I’m sure they would be happy to meet you all.”
With this, he pulled a small silver whistle that had been hanging around his neck, tucked underneath his shirt. Playing a few sharp notes in varying patterns, Steven slipped the instrument back into its original hiding space. “They should be here momentarily; one is out hunting for food and stretching his wings while another is a bit more bulky and slow. One, however,” there came a small cry from the goldsmith’s larger bag, and it rustled with movement, “is right here.” Clumsily making a small thump as it rolled to its freedom and out of the bag, the small aron got to it’s feet and blinked at all of the faces he had never seen before. Warily it shuffled over to his owner who promptly picked the compact steel pokemon up and sat him in his lap. The aron happily barked its call before inquisitively staring at the young lady and her pokemon.
Jasmine’s eyes suddenly brightened with delight at the sight of the smaller steel pokemon emerge from the bag. However she suddenly had to remember her more lady like manners and resume a more ‘graceful and appropriate’ appearance. In truth ever since she was a small girl she wanted an Aron for her own and took to even begging her Uncle who remained to this day a steel-type breeder near the border of Kanto. Her mother would insist on her first pokemon to be a Skarmory like herself but of course she didn’t want a beady-eyed vulture like her mother’s flying companion. Take no offense it wasn’t as if she disliked all Skarmory but it was just one. Instead of the small pocket sized Aron, her Uncle had presented her with a Steelix. Of course the two had become inseparable and her thoughts on her previous wish faded.
Rampardos gave a small growl from his position on the floor not to show aggression but simply out of his own form of curiosity.
“Ah! Y-You take quite good c-care of it’s c-c-coat!” The brunette mentioned admiring the sheen that glistened from Aron’s iron armor.
Tabitha followed silently, fingers working dexterously once given enough room to undo the clasps of his cloak and flip it swiftly over on his back, hiding the emblem of his underground work. It was a luxury that only the organizers enjoyed, but Tabitha had to say, he’d have found a way to get himself one anyway. What a wonderful air of secrecy! Of cunning! He felt like a boy playing dress-up, but rather than demeaning, it was nostalgic, in a way. Or maybe it just suited his juvenile fancy, as little as he ever sought to display his youth.
His footsteps were careful but steady, trailing behind the spritely young woman without any hint of hurry. He wasn’t much one for the ocean, and the sand, he found, was more annoying than entertaining. But Jasmine and Ampharos were clearly enjoying themselves, so he ushered his Mightyena forward and allowed the Pokemon to hop about in the wet sand, stomping his paws and biting at the tide. It was… pleasant. He wondered just what Jasmine had in mind.
As she looked back, Tabitha offered another smile, speeding his step a little to catch up with her. “So, what we gonna do? Sacrifice a young virgin to a sea monster? ‘Cause if that’s the case, I think we need a little more ambience.”
She stood just past the waterline with Ampharos before glancing at Tabitha as if to answer his comment. However before she was able to do so the tide rushed in a bit higher this time catching the two off guard and soaking them through with sea foam and salt water. Her pokemon simply shook itself dry before giggling softly at it’s trainer’s misfortune. Jasmine began to laugh too before taking off her cloak and ringing it dry as much as she could. It was fine after all she wasn’t paying attention and where the company was going she had dry clothes to change into anyway.
The night air was cold which made it a bit chilly but Jasmine pointed to their destination with obvious pride in the location. The lighthouse was nothing really spectacular in appearance as it was old, rusty, and less than colorful. Yet Jasmine had made it her own, took the duty as the lighthouse keeper with Ampharos by her side, and it had become her second home. Of course Jasmine wasn’t going to show Tabitha the view from the top at all, no, he wasn’t the type of person who’d find ocean waves and moonlight all too interesting she assumed so instead Ampharos and herself had readied a small surprise for the organizer and his companion.
Tabitha paused in his half-hearted attempt to get up, his gaze stalling on Jasmine with a curious expression. She was doing the thing again; he wondered why this little proposal made her so nervous. But, if the actions of her Pokemon were anything to go by, she was being prodded into it, and Tabitha understood that well enough. His Mightyena was a right pushy piece of shit.
Tabitha gave an impish grin. “My lady,” he admonished, “you’d chance being seen with the likes of me? How scandalous.” Mightyena gave a little yip-laugh, his front paws prancing on the stone ground. Well, decision made, then. “But yea, sure. Just let me go put my stuff away, yea? I’ll be right back.”
The thief stood, adjusting his cloak slightly and giving his Pokemon a vague look before walking quickly away, disappearing into the crowd and— by extention— the shadows. He was quick to hand over his coin purse to the boss— he’d already taken his share, and nobody much cared to check him. His banter that evening was quick, flippant, and the grunt he passed his items to was almost taken aback by the unexpectedness of it. Nobody could say that Tabitha wasn’t brisk. Before long, he’d returned, his grin back in place. “Alright girlie. Lead the way.”
She felt her face grow slightly hot at the man and his pokemon small exchange; however, quite pleased that the two had accepted their offer. She simply nodded in understanding and waited in her seat for his return. In the span of his leave a few other regulars she had become acquainted to made idle small talk such as which pokemon she would be using their next meeting or which technique did she recommend regarding rock and steel type match-ups. Joan, a fighting based trainer even commented that she should slate herself for the steel type tournament the following week. Yet soon enough Tabitha returned faster than expected as she adjusted her cloak over her head and lead him back out through the iron guarded doors.
Stepping lively Jasmine trotted rather happily on the beach side occasionally her feet sinking a bit farther into the wet sand. One hand clutched her cloak while in the other held her shoes as it was harder to maneuver on sand with them on. It was safer to take the beach route rather than the ocean side path as it was more likely her family guards would find her during their patrols. Jasmine just couldn’t risk it both for the legal punishment and her mother’s lectures. Ampharos happily stood near the water line and when the tide brought itself up it happily growled in amusement then shake it’s wet fur dry and wait for the tide again. Jasmine secretly knew that in her past life Ampharos was probably a Marill. The brunette turned around to see if Tabitha and Mightyena had been keeping up.