Casper's eyes shot wide open as the early morning sun shone through his window. It was no ordinary day; it was the Mudkip’s birthday! Not only that, but it wasn't an ordinary birthday either; it was his 12th birthday. The 12th birthday of any young Pokemon was undoubtedly the most important. It was the day that they would make a voyage to the local guild, to become registered as adventurers, the day that they matured and became able to support themselves…in writing, anyway. In practice, the first few months at the guild were always bumpy for new recruits; but Casper’s situation was even more special. He wasn't the only Pokemon in his village having a birthday today…
The small Mudkip sprang out of bed, quickly getting himself dressed before blazing right past his family and out the door. He was on a beeline towards the house of his friend, Randall, who shared the same birthday as him, and would be embarking on the same voyage today! The two of them had shared a special bond ever since they hatched, and today would be the beginning of the next chapter in that bond.
Casper threw open the door to Randall's house, flying right past his family to end up in the Snivy's room. Unlike Casper, Randall was still out cold...that was, until Casper woke him up. By nudging him on his side about 14 times.
“Uuugghhh...five more minutes…” the Snivy groaned as he started to roll over, before blinking a few times and seeing that it was Casper standing in front of him. “Oh...hey, Casper. Did you crawl in through the window this time?” the Snivy joked, cracking a smile before he slowly started to stumble out of bed. “The only gift I asked for this year was being allowed to sleep all day…”
The two Pokemon bounced out of Randall's room together. In the time that they were inside, the Snivy's family had all vacated the home; they had been preparing the traditional send-off feast for the two young adventurers-to-be, and looking at the clock, it was about time for it to begin!
A large table had been set up in the center of the village, with more than enough spots to seat everybody living around here. And they were all full - save for two spots at the center. As Casper and Randall stepped out of Randall's home, the table immediately erupted into cheering. It was all a little overwhelming for the two as they took their seats at the table…
Once the food came out, though, things became much easier. Berries, pokeblocks, poffins...every flavor, color, and shape imaginable! It was unreal to see it all in the same place. Toasts were made to the two, before everyone started to dig in…
Oh, it was wonderful. A perfect send off for the two adventurers. Everyone enjoyed themselves, and by the end of it all, Casper and Randall didn't even want to move from their seats! It was time for the next leg of their journey, however, so eventually, they got up, hugging and saying their tearful goodbyes to their family before they set off on the trail out of the village. Armed with only a map, Their first task as adventurers would be to navigate their way to the guild without the need for any outside help. Their families tried to push extra supplies on them, but both of them declined; they were and that they would reach of the guild within hours, before nightfall, even. There would be a no need for extra supplies that would most likely be turned over to the guild anyway!
The sun burned high over the trail the two set out on, beating down on the young adventurers as they made their way through the plains and forest. They had been down this trail several times with friends and family before, so there was not much of anything to surprise them on their trip to the guild. In fact, the only disparity from what they had traveled time after time on was a fork in the road near the end and a short jaunt through a forest after that. The two intrepid adventurers reached that fork in the road without hearing or seeing any signs of another Pokemon on the entire voyage.
“Casper, do you recognize that rock?” Randall said, map in hand as he pointed off to some distant figure standing near the fork in the trail. Casper, with a puzzled look on his face, peeked over at the map the Snivy was holding, before changing his view to where his friend was pointing at. “That's not a rock, you doofus, that's a tree!” the Mudkip responded. Quizzically, Randall checked his map again, before squinting and stretching his neck out to get a better look at whatever it was by the fork. It looked pretty unnatural; a rock and tree were just the only comparisons the two could make for its shape. As the two would soon find out, they would both be wrong…!
Casper and Randall approached the fork, still arguing over exactly what it was in the road. As they got closer, and could see it better, their argument changed from rock, to tree, to “weird bug”, to fallen log...until they realized that what they were looking at was something they had never even seen before. And as they approached, they swore that the thing they were looking at was moving! The two adventurers prepared for a fight as they inched closer…
“Oh, thank Arceus! Adventurers!” a voice suddenly sounded, coming from right in front of the two adventurers. They were quite confused for a few moments, until they put 2+2 together and realized that the voice was coming from the thing in front of them...and that it was getting closer!
Casper and Randall started to fidget a little bit, not sure how exactly to respond to this strange creature that was approaching them. They didn't feel threatened, but considering they were complete novices...they also didn't know how to handle this, really! The Pokemon was unlike any they had ever seen before…
"We can help!" Casper eventually said, feeling like he would have to put forward confidence eventually if he wanted to become an adventurer. The Pokemon stood in front of them, looking like a collage cobbled together from all sorts of other creatures. It had the frill of some kind of feathered creature, the finned tail of a fish, but walked on four legs…
"Oh, thank goodness! My name is Hans. I am the retainer for a Shaymin from the royal house. Her name is Agnès...she ran away from home, wanted to explore the world...I've been trying to find her for days at this point. But I feel like I'm only going in circles. I've been trying to find an adventurer's guild, but these forests all look the same...so I decided to stop here and wait. And, oh, thank Arceus you two came along!" Hans explained, clearly exasperated and tired from what seemed like a long journey.
The two adventurers looked at each other for a moment. This sounded like quite the grand undertaking...would they be ready for this kind of quest? They hadn't even reached the guild! Randall stepped forward slowly, ready to explain the situation to Hans. "Well, the truth is, mister...we haven't even reached the guild yet. We aren't adventurers, at least…not yet."
Hans's elated look drooped just a little bit as he heard this answer from the small Snivy. "Oh...that is...unfortunate." he finally responded, before thinking out loud a little bit. "But if you two know where the guild is, perhaps I could accompany you there and post my job on one of those mission boards. It could even be your first job, if you two feel up to it!"
Hans's suggestion was a lot less committal, and it seemed agreeable to both Casper and Randall. "Sure, mister! We can get you to the guild. It's not far away at all…" the two of them said at the same time, jumping back out onto the trail, the strange Pokemon following close behind. He didn't say much, besides words of worry and nervousness and wishes of finding Agnès safe and sound. The three of them didn't say much more for the rest of the trip, but there WAS something that got them talking…
"Is that it?" Casper said, pointing to a group of buildings in the distance, just coming over the horizon. Randall looked down at the map he carried in his hands for a moment, before nodding softly. "Yeah, looks like it. According to the map, at least." he responded, seeing Casper's face light up out of the corner of his eye. "Oh, gosh! Mister, we're here!" the Mudkip replied with cheer, turning around to tell Hans the good news. The strange Pokemon ran forward almost immediately, his face glowing with hope as he saw the guild appearing on the horizon.
The three of them were in much higher spirits as they entered the town. "So we have to go to registration, right?" Casper asked his partner, who just nodded before pointing down a fork in the trail which led to a rather large, townhouse-looking building. The trail led right up to the side of the building, in which there was an opening that looked like it could be walked up to...which is exactly what the three of them did.
When they got there, Casper peeked inside, not seeing anyone attending the station, or even walking around in the background. "Uhh...hello?" Randall said, peeking his own head through the window and poking around as well. They heard a gruff voice coming from inside a few moments later, telling them "hold on a minute, I'm coming…"
They did as the voice said, waiting as patiently as they could for the owner of the voice to reveal themselves. It took a little bit, but eventually, a Pokemon they actually recognized slipped through the door: a round, tired-looking Wigglytuff. He slowly made his way up to the opening, before standing there and looking slightly annoyed at the three Pokemon standing in front of him. "Yeah?" he asked.
The two adventurers were silent for a few moments, not expecting such a...matter-of-fact response. Randall eventually broke the silence, though. "Hi, it's our 12th birthdays today!" he said, pointing to him and Casper. "We'd like to join the adventurers' guild." he continued, trying to sound as excited as possible. The Wigglytuff made a grunt of approval before pointing to the Pokemon standing behind them. "And who's your Silvally friend?"
The two looked at each other for a moment. "O-oh, I think you mean Hans! What's a...Sillvalley?" Casper interjected, turning around to look at the Pokemon behind them.
"New Pokemon species. Haven't seen one with my own eyes yet. Pleased to meet ya, Hans." the Wigglytuff answered as Hans stepped forward. "Are you with them, or…?"
"Oh, these wonderful adventurers led me here! I have a job I need the guild to tackle, but I had no idea where to find you…" the Silvally explained, fidgeting a little bit as he did so. "Well. I'll show you the guild board, while these two get registered...come with me." the Wigglytuff answered, waving Casper and Randall over and showing them the entrance to the guild.
The two walked through the door into another world. Adventurers were milling around everywhere they looked, species of Pokemon they had never even seen before! It was so loud, and vibrant, and wonderful...but the two had to walk through all of it to get to where they needed to be. The Wigglytuff led them down a central staircase into a large, open room. It was much darker than the others, and there was a long table wrapped around the perimeter, with 5 chairs arranged behind it. Four of them were occupied; all old, wisened Pokemon, who had registered countless adventurers before. A Honchkrow, Granbull, Medicham, and Walrein sat in each chair...except for the center chair, which remained empty. That was, until the Wigglytuff left the adventurers' side, waddling forward and taking his place in the center seat.
"Welcome to registration."
“Don't worry about it, despite the big room and everything, registration is a pretty simple process. We have most of your information already; stats, physical results, that kind of stuff. This is more of a confirmation for what has already been done...plus, I get to sit in this really tall chair.
“On to the assignment. As the two of you know, members of this guild are split into 6 categories based on what they are most proficient in. Hunter for Attack, knight for Defense, strategist for Special Attack, medic for Special Defense, covert for Speed, and villains...well, we don't talk about them. The council and I are about to assign each of you one of these roles based on the data we already have. Do you understand and swear to uphold the rules and limitations of your class without hesitation?”
Randall answered without hesitation. “I do.” the Snivy said, sounding far more confident than Casper could ever dream to muster. He was just a split second behind his friend in affirming his belief in the rules, but that hesitation seemed to not go unnoticed by the council.
“And do you understand that each class is separated into several ranks, through which you will progress by performing jobs and helping out the people of this city?”
This time, Casper was a bit more ready on the draw. “I do.” both of them said at nearly the same time, projecting much more confidence as a group then what just happened a few moments ago.
“Do you pledge to spend every moment at this guild working towards the betterment of all around you, those who look up to you and trust you to make things right?”
This time, it was perfect. “I do.” both of them said in perfect unison. The Wigglytuff said no more; instead, the five council Pokemon started to whisper amongst themselves, leaving Casper and Randall alone in their thoughts for a few moments. They didn't say anything to each other, out of fear of that not being allowed or something, but eventually, the Wigglytuff broke the silence once more.
“Excellent. The council and I are prepared to offer each of you your classes.”
He turned to Casper. “You are to become a hunter. Strong, both in body and mind. Steadfast and unwavering. Able to stand your ground.
“And you,” he said while turning to Randall, “you are to become a strategist. Quick-witted, Ableton to adapt on the fly. Resourceful. Able to get out of any sticky situation.”
Casper's face lit up when he heard what his class would be. Randall? Stonefaced. He knew what he was going to be, and he was most certainly okay with it. Being a strategist certainly fit his skillset, after all.
"What's the next step?" Casper asked the council almost immediately when they had finished, more than eager to put his new class to the test. "Well, before you two start to truly work for the guild, you'll have to settle in. Find your accommodations and all that...unless you're completely sure you want to embark on a job right now! I won't stop you...unless you two are far overestimating your ability at this moment.
"N-no, we had a friend who was gonna post a job! We were gonna take it after registration, if that's okay." the Mudkip said, practically vibrating in his chair, waiting for the go-ahead to start formally working as a guild member. The Wigglytuff let a smirk grace his face, before he stood up from his chair. "In that case, you two are free to go. Please feel free to make use of all this guild has to offer...in moderation, that is." he said calmly, walking past the two of them and out the exit, followed by the other 4 council members. None of them made eye contact with the two young adventurers.
The Snivy and Mudkip were left alone in the hall now, nothing but each other and their thoughts. They both sat there for a few moments, thinking about their respective roles and what it would mean for their future at the guild. Eventually, Randall broke the silence, getting up from his chair and looking down at Casper. "Let's go find the job board."
That got the Mudkip scrambling out of his seat, walking ahead of his Snivy friend towards the nearest door. "It's probably in the town center…" he mumbled to himself, slipping out of the building in a split second, Randall barely able to keep up as Casper ran out into the open town. All trails seemed to lead to the center of this small guild town, in the center of which was a large board, covered end to end in papers and flyers and other associated stuff. There was no mistaking it, this was the job board!
Both Pokemon took to searching the board for Hans's job. Casper was getting easily distracted by the other jobs, reading up on all the other problems that people needed solved; but Randall knew most of the jobs were way out of their league. This Hans fellow, though...they could potentially take his job on. Once they found it, at least…
It took a few minutes of searching, but eventually, Casper's eyes lit up as he found what he was looking for. "Got it! Got it!" the Mudkip shouted, Randall walking over to his partner as the both of them read the sheet they had found. Casper pulled the sheet off of the bulletin board as the two of them walked over to a nearby picnic table to see exactly what the details of their future job would be.
...Which, honestly, there wasn't a lot to go off of. What they had heard from Hans on their way to the adventurer's guild was basically all the information that was available; Agnes didn't leave a note, diary entry, anything that would hint at where she was going besides some vague need to explore the world. The two young adventurers just stared at the piece of paper for a few minutes, racking their brains as they tried to figure out what the next step was. They couldn't very much abandon this job in good conscience, but it seemed a little bit out of their depth…
“Well, we're not going to get anything done by sitting here.” Randall eventually said, standing up from the bench and grabbing his pack. “Might as well walk around town, maybe see if anyone has seen a Shaymin out in the wild. It's not something that happens every day, after all…” he continued, Casper slowly getting up himself and starting to follow his partner as they walked away from the bulletin board. “I think we might be able to find some clues in the cafeteria…” Casper mused aloud, rubbing his stomach as it burbled impatiently for lunch…
Randall originally rolled his eyes at his friend's suggestion, but he was feeling pretty peckish as well. That's how the two of them found themselves sitting at a table, plates full of all sorts of berries as they thought out loud about what they should do. Even with the presence of food, their thoughts weren't really going anywhere useful...but, thankfully, they had chosen to sit within earshot of a group of much more experienced-looking adventurers. And they had a little bit of conversation that Randall was suddenly very interested in. The Snivy tried his best to not look like he was eavesdropping as he slowly scooched towards this group of a Chikorita, Ninetails, and Numel, right in the middle of a conversation they were having about their latest trip…
“Yeah, and the weirdest thing about those guys is that they were traveling with someone that definitely did NOT look like the type to rob people.” the Chikorita said in between bites of berry, the Ninetails picking up where she had left off. “She kind of stared at me for a few seconds as we passed by. Made me feel really weird.”
Randall knew who these adventurers were talking about. A bunch of people in their village had told them about a roving group of bandits that they needed to watch out for when they were traveling through the countryside. The knowledge of such a thing had weighed on their Randall's mind throughout their whole trip, so it was actually quite a relief when they met Hans - even if he wasn't much of a fighter, having someone that...fantastic looking was certainly a deterrent for any sort of would-be bandits. They had a habit of hiding in the forests and snatching up anybody that looked vulnerable enough, usually to get a ransom out of their loved ones or something...and, now that Randall thought about it, that sounded exactly like a trap someone like Agnes would fall into!
“Excuse me, but I couldn't help but overhear that you were talking about those bandits. Do you remember what kind of Pokemon stuck out to you, exactly?” Randall asked bluntly, the Snivy having sidled up closer to this other group of adventurers the whole time he was listening, announcing his presence with a simple question. The other adventurers stared at him for a few moments, trying to remember if they had seen him around before or something...the quizzical looks Randall saw on their faces seemed to betray that they didn't.
“Uhh…I think it was a...oh gosh, what do you call them…” the Chikorita started to say, before she was cut off by the Numel, who had up until this point been silent. “Shaymin. It was a Shaymin.” Randall's heart almost skipped a beat when he heard that! His first mission, already seemingly having gone cold...but, now he had a lead. And a big one, at that. There was just one thing still weighing on his mind…
“So, if they looked so out of place, why didn't you try to help them?”
The Numel audibly snorted as he heard Randall's question. “Do we look like the kind of adventuring group to risk their lives on a hunch like that?” She posed, before continuing. “Plus, it wasn't our job. We wouldn't get any reward or anything for it.”
That reasoning struck Randall as a bit...utilitarian, but the Snivy had what he needed now. He thanked the group for their time as politely as he could, before sliding back over to Casper, whose plate at this point had been filled and emptied more than once. “Casper! Do you remember those bandits everyone was warning us about?”
Thankfully, Casper swallowed before he tried to talk. “Uh - yeah. Those gnarly looking dudes with eye patches and stuff?” He responded, with more than a hint of hope that this question was completely irrelevant to the job they had undertaken. The picture of a raving group of pirates always popped in his head when he thought about those bandits. Something about the eye patches…he didn't want to battle pirates!
“Yeah. Well, I think they are the people we need to pay a visit to if we want to find Agnes…”
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